Monday, December 31, 2007

"Life" Outside WoW

Tis the season to be sick.  Without going into details, suffice it to say that I haven’t been feeling well.  That’s my only excuse for not blogging on Friday when I had said I would.  But on to other things.

I know this is a WoW blog, and I usually only talk about WoW related things.  I know I’ve ventured out into Starcraft 2 on a time or two, and even talked about some board games here and there.  But I may venture out a bit more today.  (Yes, yes… I’ll get back to WoW in the New year.)

Last Wednesday, my wonderful wife took the kids and went to her mother’s house so that I could have an all-day guy party on Thursday with friends that were around for Christmas.  It was a really fun day.

I got the killing shot on two Battlemechs when we were playing Battletech.  (I really wish I had more local friends that played that board game.  Haven’t played it in years, and used to all the time.)  We took on Onyxia in the WoW TCG, but with only 4 decks.  With our mostly white cards, we probably needed a 5th to make it happen.  Got to the last phase of Onyxia and only needed 11 more hit points to kill her.  (With all phases, she has 100, I think.)  Played some Sid Meier’s Pirates.  (Fun game.  Played the old one a lot.  The new one has some nice, updated additions (like graphics you can actually see).)  And even got some WoW time in as well.  It was an awesome day.

I was feeling sick since Monday, but Friday hit me especially hard.  Hard enough that I slept a lot and stayed home from work as well.  (No sleeping on the job for me.  :P)  But got in a fair amount of mindless Wow as well.  (Farming anyone?)  The family came back mid-afternoon; and by the evening, I thought the kids would enjoy seeing the Pirates game, so I headed off to my local Best Buy to pick it up.  On a curiosity, I went over to the video game section first to see if they had Rock Band for the PS2.  I was slightly amazed to see 8 PS2 boxes of Rock Band.  I grabbed one and headed for the check out.  I guess I’ll put Pirates off for a few months.  Lol.

Rock Band is a lot of fun.  Kind of challenging to do the drums, but I’m sure I’ll get used to it.  All of the equipment is actually PS3 compatible, if I ever want to buy one of those.  The mic doesn’t work, but I headed over to the EA support site, and they’re shipping me a new one.  It was kind of really easy to replace the mic.  I had read there were a lot of equipment issues with the PS2 version.  I wonder if somehow there’s a special PS2 version of the mic, and they just didn’t bother including it in my package for some reason.  Like maybe those were in short supply or something.  Maybe that’s just a conspiracy theory.  At any rate, great fun.  And if you have an opportunity to play, I would highly suggest it.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Supply and Demand - Rock Band edition

Christmas was quite successful this year at my house.  The wife said it was her best Christmas ever.  The kids have played with all their toys and seem generally excited about them.  And I blame Amazon for not getting my big present this year.

Let me preface this paragraph by saying that it’s standard practice; I understand that.  When something new comes out such as a video game, then there is a chance that there will be more pre-orders than there are actual units.  Well, my wife pre-ordered Rock Band for the PS2, but Amazon came back to her at the beginning of December and told her that they were canceling her order due to too many pre-orders and not enough actual units being shipped to them.  My wife and my mom have spent time every day searching for another copy of it for me.  I recognize all the hard work they put into it.  They even went to Circuit City once to pick one up after a confirmation through a phone call, only to find out that it was the PS3 version.

So, I now have permission to go buy one, I just have to find one.  Ah yes, I can certainly go buy one for $400 through a seller on Amazon or Ebay, but I’m not that impatient.  Furthermore, price gouging like that really doesn’t sit well with me, even if I’m the one making the profit; so, I don’t buy or sell stuff like that.

The other option, I suppose is to buy a PS3 and then buy the Rock Band bundle for that one.  Since it’s been out longer, I’ll probably even have an easier time buying an Xbox360 and then the bundle for that system.  But Rock Band is the only console game that I seem to be remotely interested in buying at present, and it’s been that way for awhile.  Sure, I’ve also been into all of the Guitar Heroes games, but that only required a PS2.  And while the downloadable content would be very cool, I can’t justify spending what would amount to about $600 just for one game.

So, I’ll wait.

I also got the Nostromo n52 SpeedPad for Christmas.  I have to pick up a USB hub to support my cable management system (I have enough extra ports), which I’ll do today so I can start playing with it.  I’ll take some time to play with it before I write up a review on it or how I use it.

And for my last point, after opening only 3 Ethereum Stasis Chambers, I got a Mark of the Nexus-King.  That puts me one step closer to summoning Yor.  I’m not sure why I have this obsession.  Just the last reputation that I really want besides Netherwing, I suppose.  (Which is slowly progressing as well.)

Monday, December 24, 2007

Trudging Through Consortium Rep

Not a whole lot to report today.  I’ve been working on my Consortium rep in order to be able to summon Yor.  Yes, yes, you can summon him without being exalted, but that’s just a one-time charge.  Being exalted (and getting through a few quests) gets you the permanent summon, and he has a few great rings that I know some of my guildies can use.  Plus, being exalted gets you more gems on a monthly basis, so hopefully I can get there before the month is over.

And unless I’m missing something, there’s not a lot of ways to get Consortium rep.  If I can get a Heroic Mana Tombs run, I guess it’s only 4.2 runs there.  Or I can turn in a set of 10 Zaxxis Insignias 40 more times.  There’s still a group quest or two that I haven’t done for the Consortium, but if I’m gonna get a group, I might as well do Mana Tombs, right?  At any rate… I’m not far.

So, this week will be light on blogging, probably Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  But Merry Christmas everyone!

Friday, December 21, 2007

High End Crafting Mats

I probably should have done some research on my own Auction House before posting this article, but instead, I’ll use the cheap imitation of WoWEcon.

Another one of the services I offer is that I maintain the sticky post on my realm forums for all the crafted items that people can produce and that can help others.  Lately, I’ve noticed that one of the raiders from our realm has been getting some high end patterns that will allow him to produce some of the items that have an item level of around 141.  Most of these crafted items seem to require at least one Heart of Darkness.  Those Hearts only drop from Mount Hyjal and Black Temple.  For my realm, that means that there’s only 4 guilds (or roughly 100 people) that can get any of those Hearts at all.  Per WoWEcon, at least somebody’s putting them up on the AH for about 500g a pop.  So, that means that my Bracers of Nimble Thought would cost me about 2000g.  (I can farm the rest of the mats myself.)

First of all, I was a little surprised to see these on the AH at all.  I figured that the guilds would keep them all to themselves providing the materials to guild crafters for epic, home-grown items.  I guess there’s always the possibility that these guilds have used all they can, and want to cover the repair bill for everyone for a night.  They know they’re going to get more (an 8% drop rate isn’t too horrible).  Maybe only one of the guilds has been lucky enough to get the pattern drops.

At any rate, even with my new-found wealth at having my Flying Epic Mount, I can’t imagine spending 2000g on bracers.  Furthermore, I have the Bands of Negation, so I’d really only gain +5 Spell Damage and +2 Stamina, lose 2 Intellect, and gain 28 spell haste.  (And armor doesn’t count for PVE.)  Hmm.. for 2000g?  Yeah, I think I’ll pass.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Who's Fault Is It?

I had this kind of random idea, so I decided to post it both here and on my guild forums.  Check me… I’m reblogging.  Lol.  The question is this: Who got you started on WoW?  I’ll go first.

I’ll back up a bit and explain my MMO history.  I was initially against spending a monthly fee for a game, although I liked the idea of always playing with real people and not just AI.  When Everquest II came out, my boss at the time, who had played Everquest for years, helped give me the small push to play.  He said we’d group and be able to do stuff together and whatnot.  For the 6 months or so that I played, I think I grouped with him twice.  But I really enjoyed the guild I had found and the online friends that I had made.  I also really enjoyed the idea of playing with other people.

During that time, a good RL friend (Hi, Jimbo) played with me and then quit.  About that time, Guild Wars came out, and the idea of no more monthly fee appealed to the both of us.  We played it for a bit, got to level 20, and then found that the maturity level of the players just wasn’t all that great.  Who knows… maybe we just didn’t find a really active guild, I don’t know.

My best friend (Hi Elinor) had been playing WoW since beta, and at about that time, his brother (who I also grew up with) decided to start playing WoW as well.  It was only a matter of time, and I’m sure I was going to pick up the game very, very soon; but conveniently enough, my wife bought it for me for my birthday.  And I’ve been hooked ever since.  So, to answer my initial question, even though my wife bought it, I’d say my best friend was the one that got me started on WoW.  Who’s fault was it that you’re now hooked?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Heroics at about 60%

I was having a conversation with a few guildies last night, and I realized that I really haven’t completed a lot of the 5-man instances on heroic setting.  I’ve completed all 15 of the expansion instances on normal mode, but only 9 or 10 of them on heroic.  And the Underbog (being one of the 9 or 10), I’ve completed multiple times, but only when you could do the speed runs straight to The Black Stalker.

The guild mate I was talking to has completed all the instances on heroic except for two of them, I think.  While that’s cool, I’m not 100% sure that’s really a goal of mine.  Do I care that I haven’t killed Murmur on heroic?  Is it really that important to free Thrall when the odds are even more against us?  I’m exalted with all of the associated factions of those instances except for the Consortium.  (More Heroic Mana Tombs anyone?)  There aren’t really any upgrades in those other heroics for me.  Yeah, I still get badges, but I can do that in the “easier” heroics just as easily.  I don’t know.  Where’s everyone else on this subject?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Zul'Aman Guide to the First 2.5 Bosses

After killing Nalorakk on Sunday, and Akil’Zon last night, we thought we’d head on over to Jan’Alai, the Dragonhawk boss in ZA.  I waved at Jan’Alai, and looked menacingly at him, but that was about as close as we got.  For those that haven’t gotten here yet, let me give a few updates on some of these bosses in ZA.

He’s known as the Bear Avatar.  Getting to him, isn’t too tough.  You have to have two well geared tanks, but the pulls are pretty basic.  There will be groups of up to 4, so you’ll need to have some CC in there as well.  Some of the mobs will get off their bear mounts when the mount is almost dead, and the tank will have to pick up those as well.

The boss himself hits very, very hard.  You need two tanks for this fight.  One tank will take him in the troll form, and the other in the bear form.  Essentially, the bear form has a bleeding ability that’s pretty rough, but the troll form has an ability that increases bleed effects by 100%.  You also need to have both tanks on top of each other to divide the damage of Brutal Swipe between the two tanks.  Then, they just taunt them off each other at the appropriate time.  He’ll also randomly charge people, but that shouldn’t be too much of an issue.  Finally, there’s a silencing effect, which shouldn’t be too bad either.

Basically, if you have a group that can take on Prince Malchezaar, you’re probably okay.  If both tanks could tank the Prince, it’ll probably make Nalorakk very feasible.

This is the Eagle Avatar.  Getting to this boss, is probably half the battle.  There’s a gauntlet type event that only ends once you kill the Amani’shi Tempest.  Along the way, you have to kill 4 sets of Amani’shi Wind Walkers and Amani’shi Protectors.  (1 of each per set.)  Meanwhile, you get a steady spawn of 2 elites and a bunch of non-elite birds.  We found that one tank would pick up the Wind Walker and Protector while the other would pick up the two that spawn in the back.  We’d also have a paly (any spec) consecrate to pick up the birds.  Kill, the Wind Walker and Protector and then one of the spawned elites, and then pull the next set of Wind Walkers/Protectors.  The biggest thing to remember, is to stop the Wind Walker from healing.  If you can do that, it’ll probably be an easy fight.

Akil’zon is a little more difficult.  The less melee you have the better though.  It’s a 1-tank encounter, so best to have a second tank that is a hybrid so be able to maximize DPS (druid) or healing (paladin).  The more people are spread out, the less damage they’ll take from the Static Disruption.  He has a few other abilities and even summons eagles (which you can basically ignore), but nothing you really have to worry about much, except for the Electrical Storm.  Everyone has to collapse in to the person that is lifted in the air by the Electrical Storm (you can see a shadow on the ground), but you can’t stand on top of each other or the Static Disruption will get everyone.  So, you have to continually expand and contract.  The other tricky thing is that the Electrical Storm is every 45 seconds to a minute, so if you contract right at 45 seconds, you may get hit with a few Static Disruptions before he decides to use the Electrical Storm.  The first few hits of the Electrical Storm don’t hit too hard, so you don’t have to immediately be in the protection, but you do need to get there quick, or else you’ll start taking a lot of damage.  It’s a long fight, but not too difficult once you get the movement down.

The Dragonhawk Avatar.  I’d love to be able to tell you first-hand knowledge of this one, but since it was another gauntlet type encounter, we didn’t get to the boss yet.  There are these patrolling Scouts that respawn fairly quickly.  They’re non-elite, so you can kill them pretty quick, but they also run fast.  And they run straight for these drums.  If they hit the drums, they pull in a lot of reinforcements.  We got through the first few groups, but we’re still learning placement and whatnot.  We didn’t spend a lot of time there on this one.  So… even though we didn’t quite get through all the trash, we’ll call this our 0.5 part of this guide.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Meeting Guildmates

Last night, I jumped online a little late for a ZA run to find out that one our main healers had a system failure (hard drive we suspect) on his desktop, and he was in the middle of downloading patches for his laptop.  He was patching from version 2.1, so it was taking awhile to get everything.  While I had yet to meet the guy in RL, I knew that he lived less than a ½ mile from me.  I jumped into the Vent channel he was on, and told him to come on over.

Within 10 minutes, he had come over.  We hooked his laptop up to my network, transferred the patches he needed, and then sent him home to actually apply the patches.  It probably saved him an hour or two of downloading.

He’s a neat guy; I think I’ve always liked him (at least as far back as I can remember).  He’s been in our guild for months and months.  I keep saying to myself that I should find some excuse to actually meet him, but I just never do.  So, I guess that was my good excuse.

I suppose that this isn’t the first Wow friend that I’ve met in RL.  I got to know my friend DadGuy through Wow, but he works with my best friend, so I knew he wasn’t an axe-murderer.  And I suspect that this guild healer isn’t an axe-murderer.  (Only time will tell, right?  Lol)

So, I guess I was simply wondering how many people actually go out and meet their Wow guildies in RL?  And I’m not talking about in a romantic way.  Just in a “hey, I wanted to meet my WoW friend” way.  Or a “Come on over and I can help you out” way.  Anyone?  Or am I a total freak of nature?

Friday, December 14, 2007

Don't Be An Idiot

I was thinking a lot about an article over at The Forgotten Monk.  As much as it applies to WoW, it basically said, “Know when to give up.”  His last line is “Don’t be an idiot.”

To 10 people running into Gruul’s Lair expecting to kill High King Maulgar and Gruul, let alone the first trash mob, I’d say, “Don’t be an idiot.”  Now, granted these 10 people may not have a clue what the instance is, so they may just be uninformed, but isn’t that basically what an idiot is?

But for my focus, I’m going to pretend that I’m not an idiot.  Yesterday’s Heroic of the Day was Shattered Halls.  I was minding my own business, hanging out in Shat when I got a random whisper from a guy asking if I wanted to do Shattered Halls.  Turns out two of the guys were from a guild that’s rated top 10 in progression for alliance and the hunter they got is from the top guild on our server.

To make a long story short: We had some difficulties with the instance, but when we lost our main tank, none of us could readily find an easy replacement.  We could have grabbed some random PUG, but we were all pretty tired.  In a group decision we decided that the 2 badges that we got would be sufficient for the night.

Kind of along the lines of what Jimbo posted in the comments yesterday… get the right gear for the right instance.  Use the Badge Gear to your advantage.  Oh, and don’t be an idiot.  ;)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Heroic Dailies

For whatever reason, I’ve been focusing on the daily quests a lot lately.  There’s obviously a desire for me to finally get my Netherdrake or get my epic flight form for the druid, but the rep and the money aren’t the focus of today’s post.  Today, I’m going to talk about the daily heroics.

Pre-patch 2.3 (when the daily heroic and 5-man quests were introduced), there always seemed to be a huge desire to run Heroic Mechanar for the “easy” badges.  If you completed the whole instance, you’d get 5 badges.  If you just did the easy stuff, you’d get 3.  That’s not bad for an hour’s work.  It seemed that I was running roughly the same instances for the same elusive gear, and happen to be collecting badges at the same time.

Now that patch 2.3 has had enough time to settle in, I’ve realized that it’s been really nice having a daily heroic.  It’s almost as if it’s the suggested heroic of the day.  You get 2 more badges for completing it, you get 25g, and if you should happen to need an additional PUG (or two), there’s usually plenty of people in the LFG tool for that instance.

There other nice thing that I alluded to is that it gives you a chance to see some of the instances that you might not have seen before or for awhile.  Haven’t seen Hellfire Ramparts since level 61?  Guess what?  It’s the heroic of the day.  Haven’t seen Thrall in Hillsbrad Foothills since you helped the last group of guildies get Kara attuned months ago?  You’ve now got to go there for an Epoch Hunter’s Head.

While I know this to may get old, at least it spices things up a little.  It helps you get a few more badges.  And it also helps give some motivation for some of those 75-badge items you’ve been drooling over.  So now there’s one more reason to do your dailies.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Making it Easy

In the real world, it is much easier to make money when you have money.  In it’s simplest form, if you have $10 million dollars sitting in a simple savings account at a dividend rate of 1%, you’d make roughly $100,000 per year.  Of course, you’d probably get a much higher rate than that, but you get the idea there.  While people of lesser RL assets may be playing Flip this Tree House, savvy investors may be making a few million dollars on flipping businesses.

World of Warcraft is much the same way.  While it’s not always the money you have that makes the big impact, but the level that you’re at.  Quests at level 1 provide a few copper at best, where quests at level 70 generally provide no less than 5 gold.  At the copper rate, it would take eons for a level 1 toon to save up for a mount.  (Thank goodness that the money scales and we have 39 levels to raise the funds.)

Then there are these daily quests that I’ve spoken of that can be an awesome profit center.  Expecting a night of wipes learning a new boss?  Great!  Do a couple dailies, and you’re set for the night.  But wait, there’s a catch… you have to be level 70.

I’m not proposing that this changes.  I’m merely pointing out the ease of raising money once you’re in a particular situation.  Furthermore, once you’ve laid out the 5000g for the epic flying training, you can start working on the Netherwing and open up a whole slew of other daily quests.  In fact, if you do 7 quests, you can get 55 gold in quest rewards alone.  That’s not even counting all of the gray drops or other greens that you might find.  Plus, you can still do 3 more daily quests for even more cash.

I was reminded of this last night when I thought I’d go help out the guild by farming Primal Life.  After what seemed like an abnormally long time to get 10 motes, a friend pointed out that in that time, I could have done a number of daily quests, bought more Primal Life than I had farmed, and increased my rep with Netherwing as well.

I don’t have a high level miner, that may be the exception to this rule, but… Farming is for Suckers.  Go out and do your dailies.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Akil'zon Down

Last night, we ventured into Zul’Aman, and we finally downed Akil’zon.  I’d post the picture, but since I don’t have direct access to Blogger1, it’s kind of a challenge.  /sigh.  The main issue that I think we were having was to make sure that everyone bunched up for the Electrical Storm.  We’d either all bunch up and he wouldn’t do the storm for a few seconds causing massive amounts of damage due to Static Disruption, or he’d catch somebody in the Electrical Storm that was so far away from everyone else that by the time we all got over there, it had killed at least one person.

We had him down Sunday night to about 2%.  I’m not sure what exactly happened in the end as I wasn’t there for that night.  Last night, it really seemed like smooth sailing once we got some of the kinks2 worked out.  Congratulations to Simiavus who won the Chestguard of the Hidden Purpose.

1. I’ve been contemplating changing domains as a number of my fellow Bloggers have.  My main reason would simply be to have direct access to my blog again.  It probably won’t be until after the holidays, but if you’re going to subscribe to my blog, sign up via, so that you don’t get left behind.  And if you've already subscribed, take the time to update the address.  Thanks.

2. I generally play Wow on my couch on my laptop.  It’s a couple years old, but still does a great job… mostly.  As we were headed up the gauntlet to the Eagle Boss, I was main tanking and getting about 5 fps.  As I engaged Akil’zon, that dropped to about 2 fps, and I couldn’t even tell what was going on at all.  I had told the raid, but we didn’t want to lose out on chances due to my downtime of changing computers.  When I couldn’t even tell if I was successfully lacerating, it was a tell-tale sign that we would wipe.  We wiped.  I switched to my desktop.  I got a rez, and then tanked at my no less than 30 fps.  I really need a new laptop.  Lol.

Monday, December 10, 2007

WTB AH Greens

It was a busy weekend with the holiday season, events, and a Christmas concert, so I didn’t get too much noteworthy Wow time in.  The one thing I did accomplish was to get a group to go back in and defeat Pandemonious.

I logged in late Saturday night and asked a few guildies if they wanted to come in to Heroic Mana Tombs with me.  We ended up with me (the tanking druid), a mage, a holy paladin, a resto druid, and a pug warlock (everyone else was in an instance).  I told the pug that my focus was killing Pandemonious.  With my remembered gear, a few other AH greens, and a Shadow Resist Aura, I was sitting at about 240 Shadow Resist.  Granted we did have two healers, but I was taking considerably less damage then our other tanks that tried this boss.  It was almost trivial.

The funny thing was that I was mostly in green AH gear.  It seems that Blizzard has provided all these great resist gear items for plate wearers of epic and superior quality, but for the leather tanks, they get random drop greens that have stamina and resist on them.  Maybe I just have to get over my prejudice towards the purple items.  The same can be true for the tanking mage in the fight with High King Maulgar… just a lot of green plus stamina gear will usually do the trick.  So, maybe it’s situational, but don’t underestimate the green items you see drop.

On another note, I got the recipe for the Stormchops from the daily cooking quest.  I made a few, but have yet to see them in action.  I suppose it will be of most use to my Enhancement Shaman when he gets another 3.5 levels (level 55 requirement for the Stormchops).  I also got a world enchanting drop of Enchant Weapon – Potency.  I used it since I didn’t have it, but at a Auctioneer value of about 600g on my server, I may have made the wrong decision.  Is +20 Strength really worth it?  Well… I have it if anyone wants it.  Heh.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Heroic Mana Tombs and Gear

So, I guess it’s just my week to complain about Heroic Instances.  Last night, I got in a guild group to help with the previous day’s Heroic daily quest (that somebody still had) of Mana Tombs.  I’d been in there a few times before.  I knew the instance was tough too.  And sadly, we didn’t even make it past the first boss, Pandemonius.

We got the general strategy down: don’t attack when he has his Dark Shell up.  The hunter and I (on Leiandra) stayed at max range so we wouldn’t get hit by the Shadow Bolts.  Our paly tank would just get eaten up, and the druid healer had a hard time healing him.

He deals all shadow damage, so with the proper resist gear, he really shouldn’t be too bad.  Of course, our tank only had about 80 shadow resist, so that was probably a big part of the problem.

I checked my druid to see how much resist gear I had, and came up with about 80, and that was with Mark of the Wild.  I forgot about a bunch of pieces that I had in the bank that would have brought it up to about 170.  And I bid on two more pieces that were on the AH that would push me way over 200 with still a good amount of stamina.  (Armor would be useless for this fight since it is all magic damage.)  I’ll have to try tanking him with my full shadow resist outfit.  I’m sure the fight will still be a challenge, but it’d mean that the druid wouldn’t have to spam heals on the tank.  I’ll have to let you know how that goes.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Where'd it Go?

Today, I just got busy with a lot of different things.  So, I’ll use the cop-out and tell everyone about my guest post over at World of Matticus that got posted late yesterday.  I’m really not sure where the day went.  But since I technically wrote two yesterday… yeah… we’ll see you tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Group Composition Matters

Primogeniture has had a number of new recruits, and we’re slowly getting to the point where we’ll soon be able to put Gruul’s Lair back on farm.  Even though there were a few people that weren’t online yesterday, we still had enough to run two full Kara groups, and I even got to bring in Leiandra (yeah!).  My group composition happened to be 1 Prot Paladin, 1 Prot Warrior, 1 Holy Paladin, 1 Healing Priest, 2 Shadow Priests, 2 Mages, a Hunter and a Warlock.  In case you weren’t counting, that was 3 Shackles, 2 Turn Undeads, 1 Ice Trap, and 1 Banish (when the occasion would arise).  It made the instance quite easy.  We killed everything through Opera, but since we got a late start, decided to put off the rest for another night.

After Karazhan, I recruited a bunch of guildies to help Justicar get that one more badge.  We headed into the heroic instance of the day which happen to be Mechanar.  The group that were interested happen to be me, Prot Paladin, Resto Druid, Rogue, and Enhancement Shaman.  “Me” being Justicar, that’s a lot of melee power.  So, I figured I’d get the badge another day.  We skipped Nethermancer Sepethrea (is she even possible on Heroic), and went straight for Pathaleon the Calculator.  We couldn’t seem to down him, what with our rogue that kept stabbing us all in the face.  So, when I was ready to give up, it was suggested that I grab Justicar, who was parked just outside.  I tanked Pathaleon, Talek tanked the adds, and he was dead in one shot (with that group).  We attempted Sepethrea, but our first attempt wasn’t fun, and we were all very tired.

But before I logged off, I turned in the daily and purchased my new bracers.  For some strange reason, at about 2 o’clock in the morning, I decided to check my blog and update some of the non-links that I had.  Only then did I read DadGuy’s response that I should save up for the Waistguard of the Beast.  He’s right.  He’s almost always right when it comes to Wow Theorycrafting, and even more so when it involves Druid Tanking.  My only consolation is that with the number of active tanks we once again have, I’ll probably go back to Leiandra full time, since I’m just a mage at heart.  So, who knows how long it would have taken to get the other 25 badges?  Oh well.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Upgrades!... almost

So, with all the tanking my druid has been doing lately in Kara and ZA, I thought it would be a good idea to see how many Badges of Justice I had and if there were any good upgrades for me.  Before last night, I had 29.  And a really great upgrade would be the Band of the Swift Paw (Shouldn't it be "Bands" - plural?)  So close.  Only 6 more badges to go.

We had enough people to run Kara online, but since they were saved in different instances, neither group had enough.  So, we looked at the Heroic of the day and found that it was Hellfire Ramparts.  With the guildies that were online and not in an instance already, I grabbed Leiandra to DPS through Ramparts.  We had to PUG one person, but I had a great warlock on my friends list so it was relatively painless.  We had our pally tank, our ret pally*, myself (mage), our priest, and the aforementioned warlock.  Our guild's not lacking in pallys atm.  It was fairly easy.  We died a few times due to bad pulls just before the split to the two bosses, Omor the Unscathed and Varuzden & Nazan.  The pat there makes things a little tricky if you can't remember the last time you ran the instance.  :)  So, 5 badges and 25g later (after turning in the quest), it was a pretty good instance.

So good, in fact, that before we had even finished splitting the loot from Varuzden, I was planning to go back in with Justicar (my druid) to get a little bit closer to the 35 badges.  This time it was all guildies: Druid tank, Shadow Priest, Rogue, Hunter, and Tree Druid.  So, we had 3 forms of CC which helped a lot.  I'm still learning how to solo tank in 5-man instances, so there were a few wipes.  But overall: successful.  But, as I've seen in the past, it was just fun hanging out with people from the guild.  We were mostly chatting and having a good time.  They understood my noob-ness, so it wasn't a big deal when we had to run for our corpses.  So, again... 5 badges and 25g later, I'm now just 1 badge away from finally not having blue bracers.

*Our ret pally has actually become a great asset.  Not only is he great as a person (always willing to help out the guild and other players, and understanding if he's not included in every run), but his DPS is also actually quite impressive.  If I'm not paying attention (read: being lazy or 1/2 falling asleep on a run), he'll beat Leiandra in DPS.  So I'm certainly not saying that all Ret Pallies are great, but I am saying that they can be.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Links Fixed?

Almost 2 months ago, I had to start e-mailing my posts to my blog since I don't remember to do it from home, and the company I work for has blocked all Blogspot traffic.  We also use... umm... an inferior e-mail program (in my opinion) than the one that most of corporate America seems to use, so links can't be easily posted in like I thought I could do.  I guess I don't link as many things as I thought I did since it's taken 2 months for somebody (2 people actually) to point out that my links aren't working.

So, as to Friday's post of the top 5 things... head on over to The Forgotten Monk to see the top 10 things that I posted.  And if that link doesn't work, I'm ditching Lotus... errr... the e-mail program that I'm unfamiliar with, and I'll figure out another way.  And in case it didn't work, my post can be found at the following:

p.s. I'll work on fixing past links for those that might want to go back and see anything.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Top Five Things I've Learned From Recent Video Games

One of my RL blogging friends started this by asking me to give him a top 10 things I’ve learned from Wow. It was harder than I thought to come up with 10 original things. Then The Bronze Kettle put more pressure on me by each of them starting their own list of 5 things. (I can do 5, right?) Now I’m just a sheep since Girl Meets WoW has done it as well.

So, here are the top 5 things that I’ve learned from video games over the past few years. I’m also going to guest blog over at The Forgotten Monk with the top 10 things (these 5 plus 5 more) I’ve learned from video games. That post should be published by Monday.

  1. Playing Wow can give you the competitive edge over other candidates for a job. And it’s okay to put it on your resume.
  2. Video games have evolved and relatively large, legacy game systems can now be held in the palm of your hand.
  3. Some games get you to move.
  4. Some games get you to groove.
  5. And some even get you in the mood.
Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

We Don't Need No Stinkin' Badges?

On Monday night, we had a blood bath in Zul’Aman.  The bear boss is basically a tank check, and while my druid seemed to do okay, our undergeared pally tank seemed to get 3-shotted real quick.  (We just had him respec, and while he’s doing an awesome job with what he has, he just doesn’t have a lot atm.)  Then we tried our hand at the eagle boss, and WoW locked up on my computer about mid-way in to our last attempt.  Apparently though, I help agro pretty well with just white damage until I went offline.  So no loot from ZA.

Last night, we had two groups that were headed in to Kara to help gear people up.  The guild’s MH was in my group and asked, “Is this the Kara group?  ‘Cause I’d rather get badges that wipe tonight.”  Just to clarify, there’s two ways that that statement can be taken, at the extremes: (1) He’s not interested in learning new experiences -or- (2) He’s really interested in getting the badges.  Knowing him, I’m sure he was just joking around about the wipes (kinda a necessary evil in learning new instances), but I’m sure he was relieved about the badges.

So, in a way, it seems that the badge implementation was made just for us, or a guild exactly like ours.  It basically brings back an incentive for people to run Kara even though they have all the drops out of there.  Due to numbers, we have to leave some people out at times.  We usually determine who goes to which fights based on who needs what (among other factors).  But I guess I also forget that there’s a lot of easy badges right there at the beginning.

I’ve read in lots of places that the 10-man to 25-man transition is a hard one, and I can testify that that’s true.  We were doing the 25-man content, and then slipped a few raiders, and are now, once again, right on the cusp of starting it again.  Sure there’s been a few times when all of us, at one point or another, probably thought it would be easier to just give up, but we’ve pressed forward.  We’ll get there.  And, at least for now, the Badge motivation in Kara is helping motivate a lot of people to gear up the new recruits.  

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

TBC Quests

Today I was thinking about some of the quests that have come out with the expansion and subsequent patches.  From what I’ve read, the programmers and quest writers have really been able to do a lot of different things since when WoW first came out.  No need to stick to the standard kill x mobs or gather y teeth from certain mobs.

I’ve found a number of quests in the expansion that are really quite fun.  I mentioned the racing quests for Netherwing yesterday, and I’ve found those quite fun and challenging.  Within the first few quests or so through the Dark Portal, you get to bomb areas on taxi-type flying mounts, and then eventually get to do the same out in Blade’s Edge on your own flying mount.  There’s the trampoline in Nagrand to get up in the tree and break the egg.

There’s also a distinction in group quests.  Before, it seemed that all group quests needed to have a full group.  Now there is even a line or two that says how big of a group you should probably bring.

I don’t have a toon at the appropriate level, but I imagine that they incorporated a bunch of these types of quests in the new quest hubs in Dustwallow Marsh as well.  I was surprised when I ran through Theramore and saw a Lurker Below-type mob in the middle of the harbor getting shot by NPC’s.  I’ll have to put a toon through there one day.

So, what are some of your favorite quests that have come out with or post expansion?

Monday, November 26, 2007

My Druid Tank Clears Karazhan

First off, welcome to any new readers that I my have due to the Wow Insider post from Dan O’Halloran this past Saturday.  As a matter of clarification and updates, I do have my flying epic mount now, and I’m about ¼-way through honored with the Netherwing.  The racing quests are a lot of fun; I like that the expansion brought out a lot of new types of quests.  But on to the main topic of today’s post.

Suffice it to say that I have a Druid tank that is pretty well geared for where we’re at.  Those of you that know the story and have “helped” him get all of his gear, the guild thanks you.  ;) I haven’t tanked in a lot of instances, so I learn something almost every time I do.  Over this long weekend we just had, I got the opportunity (read: responsibility) to be MT for most of Karazhan.  I really hadn’t tanked the main bosses in there at all.  But for the group we had online, I was by far the most well-geared tank.  The other tank we used was our pally tank (warriors were on holiday or something) who basically helped out on heals for the single tank bosses.

I think that the fights with Nightbane and Prince were probably the two most stressful times I’ve had in Wow ever, with Nightbane being about 100 times worse since you have to readjust multiple times.  Both of them need to be tanked in a certain position, so it is completely my responsibility to make sure the bosses are facing/standing the correct way.  Furthermore, I have to be standing against a wall, so I basically get to stare at this Big Bear Butt for the entire time.  And that’s if I’m lucky.  Most of the time, the graphics are so close that it just looks like multi-color polygons on my screen.  I had one of the healers tell me when I needed to move the bosses.

About ½-way through Nightbane (after killing Prince), I figured out one thing that made tanking these wall-hugging bosses easier.  Instead of my normal camera angle of right behind my toon, I found I could look directly down on my toon and actually see the angle of Nightbane.  I still had to kind of guess as to where he was relative to the party, and seeing the scorched earth was also a challenge, but it made things easier.  And, of course, once he went up into the air, I could resume my normal camera angle to take down the adds.  

We cleared the tower except for Illhoof and Netherspite, so it was a lot of tanking.  (Just didn't take time to attempt those bosses over the course of the 2 nights.)  There were also a lot of pulls that, normally being my mage in the back row, I didn’t really pay attention to the order of the pulls.  But it was a lot of fun.  No real down time, easy to chain pull stuff, always in the thick of battle… it was a lot of fun.  Now, if I can just get over the stress of it all.  Lol.  So, any other tanking tips like the camera angles thing?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Trainable Ice Block and Improved Mana Gem

Over on the official mage forums, Eyonix has posted a nice little bit for us mages.

In patch 2.3.2 (which should be on the test realms soon), Ice Block will be trainable by all mages at level 30.  This is one of the spells that I miss the most when I left my elemental spec.  It will be good to have it back.

There will also be a new rank of Mana Gem.  Rank 6 will give back 1800-3000 mana, but possible even better… it will have 3 charges.  No more creating multiple mana gems for those long fights.  Yeah!  I think that will pretty much solve any mana issues I’ll have until we come into some 20 minute fight or something.    The 2-minute cooldown will still apply.

There will also be a new talent in the Frost tree of Icy Veins.  It essentially decreases casting time by 20% of all spells for 20 seconds, and is on a 3-minute cooldown.  (What’s up with Blizzard and faster casting lately?)  Check out the official post on the forums for all the details, if you’re interested.

Ret Pally Update

Last night we went up through the gauntlet again.  There were a number of tries, and then we had a healer that had to log, so we switched things up a bit.  We brought in the retribution paladin I was talking about, and essentially had him tank the birds.  It may not have been the best use of all his abilities, but it kept the masses off of us.  And, quite honestly, it made the encounter so easy.  We walked up to the Eagle boss in one attempt with the paladin.  In recognition, we also had one of our DPS shaman throwing heals to keep the paladin alive.

So… to sum it up.  Bring a paly to tank the birds.

For the actual boss, we got him down to about 40%.  I'm guessing we'll get him down this weekend some time.

Happy Thanksgiving all.  I’ll most likely post again on Monday.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Don't Count Your Eagles Before They Hatch

On Sunday night, a few of members of Primogeniture (myself not included) went into ZA again.  They killed the bear boss on the first attempt.  They must have had some trouble with the trash beforehand since I didn’t hear anything about the time bonus.  (/e makes a note to ask other officers about that.)  And then they decided to try their hand at the gauntlet of Akil’zon.  It’s a pretty tough fight, and they didn’t get too far up the hill from my understanding.  Of course, it was also kind of a “thrown together at the last minute” group, so probably didn’t have the classes exactly as we wanted them.

Last night, however, we tried it again.  The group was probably a little better suited to what would be “ideal”, except for maybe a tanking paladin.  We tried to use the strategy that Girl Meets Wow pointed out, but the Amani’shi Lookout would break sap and not able to be incapacitated once we crossed a certain point.  We’d still sap him for the < 5 seconds that it gave us, but wasn’t quite as easy as we thought the new strategy would be.

Group composition was the following:  Tanks: Warrior and Druid.  Healers: 2 Paladins and a Priest.  DPS: 2 Mages, Warrior, Rogue, and Shaman.

We got to the top of the first ramp on the first time.  And then a couple attempts later, we cleared the thing.  I guess the respawn is on 30 minutes, which is just almost insane.  It gives you just a few attempts at Akil’zon.  I think it was the third attempt that everything was going perfect.  We’d all collapse in to the tank right before the storm, and then move to where we needed to once the person is thrown in the air.  We’d take quite a bit of damage on the static, but it would help us to all be in the correct spot.  Well… there was a longer than normal disparity between when Deadly Boss Mods said the Storm would hit, and when it actually hit, and we were taking a lot of damage from the static; so much so, that one of the healers thought that the storm had happened already.  Honest mistake since he’s mainly staring at bars on his screen, but bummer because that was the last attempt before respawn.

A few more attempts to get through the gauntlet again were unsuccessful.  Kind of a bummer, but we should be able to take care of it tonight.  Wish us luck.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Breaking the Mold?

For a long time, I had this preconceived notion that “pure classes” generally perform their job better than “hybrid classes”.  For example, a warrior’s main job is being a tank.  There’s no way that he can ever spec Arms or Fury and produce more damage than a rogue, for example.  Furthermore, the fallacy would continue that there’s no reason to bring a non-protection spec’ed warrior, right?  Continuing on this thinking, classes like paladins or druids can never really be efficient at much of anything since warriors will always be better.

As a whole, this seems to be proven mostly false, at least in my experiences.  I know druids that make great tanks.  I know paladins that make great healers.  I know priests that bring a lot to the group by providing decent DPS and using Vamperic Embrace and Vamperic Touch to help keep their group alive and full of mana.  Kind of unfair that all the hybrid classes can change roles without having to level another 70, and the DPS classes (rogue, mage, warlock, hunter) have to keep DPS’ing.  (I know, I know… cry me a river, right?)  But that’s not really the point of this post.

So, if you can heal, then you can be a healer (priests, paladins, shaman, and druids).  If you’ve got plate or high armor, you can be a tank (warriors, druids, and paladins).  And then everybody can DPS, right?

The only caveat to that last statement is that I have yet to really understand what a retribution paladin brings to the raid table.  Sure, there’s another blessing: awesome.  You can consistently have some judgments up that either heal melee or restore mana, where as your healing paladin is probably too busy healing to renew the judgments.  These effects would also be raid-wide, while a shadow priest only influences his 5-man group.  But on many occasions, I have heard that their DPS is “abysmal”.  Maybe it’s like the shadow priest: they’re not meant to be on top of the damage charts, but the additions they bring to a group help others to do well.  I don’t know.  Patch 2.3 was supposed to be a huge boost to the viability of a DPS’ing paladin.  Maybe that helped enough to make them raid viable once again.

This whole thought process came up because we had a Retribution Paladin apply to our guild.  My first thought, along with the other officers, was to ask him to respec tank, because that was what we wanted.  He’s willing to do that, but has the DPS purplez, where the tanking set is only blue.  To avoid burn-out of players, I tend to want them to play the role that they enjoy the most, as long as we can accommodate that.  So, I don’t know… maybe we have a new Retribution Paladin.  I’ll have to let you know how that turns out.

Anything else you can think of that I should consider about Ret Pally’s?

Friday, November 16, 2007

More Armory Updates

True to their word, Blizzard has implemented changes to the Armory in association with Patch 2.3.  Once you log on to with your user name and password, if you have access to your guild’s vault, you’ll be able to see “Bank Contents” and, of course, the “Bank Log”.  (Although, I really think they should stick with the word “Vault”.  It gets much less confusing if you call your personal space a bank and the guild’s space a vault, but that’s just my opinion.)

You can also see the guild Message of the Day and Guild Info (that little button on the guild tab that can hold any guild information you want).  Even the names the GM has made for each tab and the associated icon are in the Armory.  (Although it appears that the icon for one of my tabs isn’t loaded on the web site yet.)  Also your in game guild tabard shows (you can see that for any guild without logging in).

There’s also a nifty way to search through your whole Guild Vault.  There is a list of all items your Guild Vault holds that can be sorted by Item Name, Type, Subtype, and a few other things.  It also tells you in which tab the item is located.  Especially with a possible 6 tabs and 98 slots each, items could probably be able to get lost very easily.  This will help.

Lastly, in who deposited/withdrew what of the Bank Log, you can see the rank names for your guild.  So, instead of Rank 1 in my guild, you now see Tanist.  Now… if only you could do all the guild administration and moving items from the web site.  Yeah… I’m probably asking for too much then.

Quick Update: Daily Cooking Quest

I was sent to Netherstorm again last night to gather berries.  Choose the fish for the reward, and got the recipe for Kibler's Bits.  While it's a funny name, it really does no good to me.  And my guild only has 1 raiding hunter, and he can generally only raid on the weekend.  That's a problem when our raid nights are Monday through Thursday.  Well… I guess I’ll just let him know that if he wants to collect Buzzard Meat, I’m happy to cook for him.  That and 6 silver will buy me a Blackened Basilisk at a vendor in ZA.

Managing Expectations

There are certain things in life that I’ve kind of “fallen behind” on.  TV and movies are probably one of those big things.  I watch about 30 minutes of network television per week.  (I love me The Office, even if last night’s episode wasn’t the greatest, IMO.)  We have Netflix, so I usually keep up on my movies that way, and I’ve caught up through season 2 of Lost that way as well.  The last movie I saw in the theatres was Ratatouille at the dollar theatre with one of the kids as a treat, but only a few weeks before it was actually released on DVD.  So, because of that, I hear a lot of opinions about these things way before I actually see them.  I’ll give you a few examples:

At the beginning of the year when I heard that Transformers was going to be made into a movie, I was really excited about it.  It was almost to the point that I was going to go out and see it, even if I had to go alone.  (Which I’ve never had a problem with… you’re just sitting there in the dark anyway.  Why do we always have to go with somebody?)  Somehow, it never really got on my list of things to do for the weekend, so I made sure it was on my Netflix list.  I’ll admit that I had a lot of pre-conceived expectations after having years of playing with the toys, watching the TV shows, and watching the cartoon movie in the theatre as well.  (Did I just date myself?  Lol.)  One of my co-workers was pretty excited about the DVD release as well, so that raised my expectations even further.  When I actually saw the movie, I was mostly very disappointed.  I won’t go into all of the details of why I was, but I’m sure it boils down to the fact that I had expected something akin to what I knew as a child, and it really wasn’t that.

Before watching season 1 and 2 of Lost all on DVD, another co-worker had warned me that the middle of Season 2 was quite boring and slow.  I’m sure I stored that in my mind somewhere and probably didn’t expect much.  As I watched Season 2 of Lost, I really didn’t find any dull parts.  Sure there were things that happened that I thought might be out of character, but living under the stress that they were, I supposed it could be justified.

My last example, that I’m sure most of you will disagree with: Meet the Parents.  This one I actually saw in the theatres.  I know it’s been a couple of years.  Everyone played it up as that it seemed it would be the funniest movie ever made.  So, when I went and saw it, I thought it was barely entertaining.  I don’t think I even laughed out loud.  It had some humorous parts, yes, but I wouldn’t rate it with some of the funniest movies I’ve seen.  Basically, my expectations were set way too high.

Now, those that have gotten this far are asking themselves, “What is he talking about?”, “Why am I still reading?”, and “How does this relate to WoW at all?”  It’s kind of one of those real life lessons we can learn from WoW, but it’s very important to manage expectations.  With 2.3 out, let’s say you want to go clear Zul’Aman really quick.  The timed part gives you 20 minutes to kill each boss, and there’s 6 bosses, so you should be able to do it in about 2 hours, right?  Never mind that your whole party is in Outland blues and greens.  You should be able to take it, right?  Umm… no.  It takes time to learn each new boss.  Sometimes you may have to gear yourself up through badges, pvp or other raids (Kara, then Gruul’s and Mag perhaps).

We had a recent recruit that said that he had stumbled on some of the Black Temple quests if we wanted to help him out on those real quick.  (Or something to that effect.)  I had a chuckle since we’re pretty much nowhere near that at present.  He didn’t know, so it’s not his fault, but if he had expected to get that out of his quest log in the next few weeks, he was going to be disappointed.

So, as a member of any raid, and especially leadership, you need to make sure that expectations are set.  You’re not going to steam-roll over most bosses the first time you try them.  Set your expectations realistically.  Have a game plan for when you exceed your expectations.  To me, this is a much better feeling than thinking you’re going to clear Karazhan in one night because other guildies did it, and then you can barely make it past the Opera Event in 4 hours.  It might be better to say that you’re going to spend 3 hours in Karazhan, and this is the order you’re going to take bosses.  If at 2 hours and 59 minutes, you had the boss down to 1% when you wiped, maybe you take one more try (if everyone can commit to another 15 minutes or however long it will take).

What other things do you do to help manage expectations in groups in Wow?  (And feel free to bash me about Meet the Parents, if you must.)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Quick Comment: Daily Cooking Quest

One other thing that I wanted to mention as a sort of "duh" moment.  For whatever reason, I really want the new cooking recipes that come out of the daily cooking quests.  Tuesday night, I went out and made 3 Warp Burgers and got a Giant Kaliri Wing from the Monstrous Kaliris in Skettis, and made that into some soup or something to go turn in.  No recipe.

Last night after our raid, I switched computers to go sit on the couch, and then I was given the assignment to go pick berries out in the Eco-Domes in Netherstorm.  Taking my trusty epic flying mount (not rubbing it in, just really glad I have it), I flew up there to start gathering.  Well, I saw the bushes, they were even a little sparkly, but I couldn’t loot them.  I searched all over to make sure those were the bushes I was supposed to loot, and I’m pretty sure they were.  I ended up opening a trouble ticket to hopefully get it fixed.  I had minimal mods installed, so I doubted it was that.  After waiting around for awhile, I opened the chat channel window for some reason, and I noticed that Draycen was still in my party.  Even though there was no other indication of it, no other toons or raid windows showing up… apparently I was still in a raid.  I left the raid, looted the berry and closed my own ticket.  So odd, but I also felt kinda stupid.

Oh, and I didn’t get a recipe either.

In Your Internet, Stealing Your Purplez

I wanted to talk a little bit about my blog today.  From the start, I've generally wrote the blog just for myself and anyone interested in reading.  I use StatCounter and Google Analytics to get a sense of why people are coming here and, more importantly to me, how many people visit (mostly for bragging rights, that's about it).  I tend to write about what I want to even if it’s not necessarily what will get the most hits or comments.

At last count, I’ve had something like 9 guilds, not including my own, that have linked to one article or another.  Some of them continue to read my articles, some don’t.  I also have a lot of blogging friends that I have discovered through our common interest.  (/wave)  It’s become a really neat community.

On another milestone, my stats have been through the roof lately.  For a couple of weeks, I averaged about 100 page loads per day with around 90 visitors.  Something happened on Tuesday however, and I broke 200 page loads with almost 150 visitors.  Then yesterday, I had 276 page loads and over 200 visitors!  Of course, I guess I’m not very good because I still stay at around 25-30 returning visitors.  Lol.  But… I also don’t track the hits through RSS feeds (or for Blogger, I guess it’s Atom), so I guess my returning visitors could be hidden in there.

So, two things came to mind: First, why this huge spike?  And second, for all the visitors I get, where are all the comments?  I’m guessing that the spike is due to patch 2.3 coming out.  Everyone seems to be searching for various answers on everything from Guild Vaults to Zul’Aman Loot.  I’m guessing there’s also people that are looking for alternate sites to download their mods, since the mod sites generally seem to run slower at evenings.  (Is this the case in 2.3?  I haven’t visited any of them in the prime-time evening hours.)

As for the comments… don’t be shy.  We won’t bite.  Well… Matticus might a little, but he’s a great guy and really just looking for truth.  

On a game related note, we got Halazzi down to about ½ his life.  He gets full life every 25% and then you kill him or this Spirit, and then they go back to where they were (e.g. 75% health after the first transition).  So, we got him to 75%, killed him, and then down to almost 50%.  That really sounds so confusing if you don’t know the fight.  I’ll give a quick break-down soon.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

2.3 - Full of Win

I know I've long been addicted to World of Warcrack.  I get depressed whenever I type /played.  I even somehow have an add-on that will automatically give me my /played when I log out.  (I wish I knew which add-on that is; I hate that part of the add-on.)  I generally find myself completely sucked in to the “just one more thing” mentality that I’m sure Blizzard loves.

Sure enough, true to form, there’s so many things going on in the world (of Warcraft) that I’ve run out of playtime before I’m even remotely close to doing everything I want to.  Last night, for example, we went in to Zul’Aman and took down Nalorakk, the bear boss.  It took us some time, but we got him down.  We were slowed a number of times when we had one guy that kept having Wow freeze up (he thinks it was his laptop), but at various other times, other people, including myself, had the same problem.  We also got over to Halazzi, the lynx boss, but ran out of time before we could figure out exactly how to down him.

After the fun times in ZA, I had to set up the guild vault.  Had enough stuff to almost fill 3 tabs.  They raised the prices slightly, but justifiably so, I think.  I mean, come on... 1g for 98 slots in a 1-man guild?  I thought it was too good to be true.  The first 4 tabs are 100g, 250g, 500g, and 1000g.  I haven’t seen anything official, but I’d guess it goes something like 1500g and 2000g for the last two.  Or who knows?  Maybe it’s 2000g and 4000g.  Ouch.  I have the 3 tabs set up as Raid Mats (Potions, Herbs, and Buff Food), Tradeskill (pretty much everything else including primals and cloth/leather, etc.), and Armor and Rep items.  Everyone should be able to see everything in the tabs, but only officers can take it out.  (Hmm.. thinking about it now, it was kind of late, I may have missed a rank or two.  Oops.)

It was so late, but there were still so many things that I wanted to do.  I heard the boats are now full of NPC’s.  Check out the faster leveling in 20-60 (I guess I can wait for that on my Shaman with my wife).  See some of the new quests.  Continue my Netherdrake rep.  But since it was already 1 o’clock, I grabbed the daily fishing quest, grabbed the warped meat for warp burgers and a Giant Kalari Wing, and turned in that quest.  I didn’t get a recipe, but got a nice little bunch of fish.  It was 2 o’clock, so I figured I should go to bed.

Overall, I think this was one of the smoothest patch days I can remember.  Yeah, there were a few hiccups here and there, but for everything they rolled out, it’s really not that bad at all.  Oh, and food vendors in ZA that sell Blackened Basilisk for 6s each?  Yeah… it’s full of win.

What did you do?  What did you enjoy about 2.3 thus far?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

2.3, Flying Mount, and Tanking

Yesterday, being Veteran’s Day here in the United States, I was off work, so I figured that gave me a free pass for my blog as well. But by doing that, I’m going to have to make this a mish-mash of a post so I can cover a couple different things.

Patch 2.3
I fired up the old World Of Warcraft program on my computer this morning just to make sure that 2.3 has gone live, which it has. I know some people complain, but I love that the Blizzard Background Downloader did most of the work way before patch day. I think I only had to download 2 mb or something trivial like that (as compared to the over 200 mb patch that it is).

I think our guild, as a whole, is pretty excited about the whole patch. And I’ve stayed on top of most things on the PTR where when people have said, “Hey, did you know…?” I was confidently able to answer, “Yup.” And from what I’ve heard in the raiding community, it seems that this is one of the patches that has been able to be tested the most (at least for the new instance) since there’s a lot of guilds that have cleared Black Temple and whatnot. So, it will be fun to start playing in there, even if the instance server crashes once or twice.

And the guild vault will be a great place to store goods both in the large guilds, all the way to the 1-man guilds that have sprouted up all over. (I’d love to see numbers on how many new guilds started up over the past few weeks and next few weeks.) 2.3 is really just full of win.

Flying Epic Mount Update
Well, with dailies and a whole bunch of easy quests in Shadowmoon Valley, I was able to hit 5000g on Saturday night. I was also fortunate to find some purple BoE cloth bracers (totally forgot the name, and too lazy to go look it up) in Blade’s Edge which I empowered with Apexis Crystals and put on the AH. The buy-out was 550 with a bid start of about 450. It sold for the bid, and I was able to get both skill, and new riding mount.

I also started on the Netherdrake quests. In two days, I hit Friendly; I got really lucky with finding probably about ½ a dozen eggs. So, I now have something like 6 daily quests there. Not sure I’ll have time to do all of those each day, but it certainly opens up some money making possibilities from quests there. Heck, at this rate, maybe I’ll have enough for my flying epic mount if I ever get my priest past level 64.

My Shaman got to go play in his first instance since Dead Mines. And, I actually co-tanked it. The group we had was two Shamans (level 44), a Druid (level 38), a Hunter (level 40), and a Priest (level 44). The Druid was the main healer, and while I was the Main Tank, the other Shaman probably pulled agro and tanked ½ the time as well. (In this case, pulling agro was a good thing.) The Priest, my wife, was pretty much in shadow form busting out the damage the whole time. We made it through most of the instance by ourselves. It was a good challenge, and lots of fun. If I have the time and appropriate level friends, I love to do the instances at the appropriate level. They’re kind of a bore if you always have somebody walk you through. (Of course, there’s a few, such as Dead Mines, that I could probably live without seeing ever again.) We did call in reinforcements for the last two bosses. We go the 4 statues down to just 3, and then the other Shaman went and got his level 70 hunter to wipe up the rest for us.

The group was all RL friends, so that was fun as well. But afterwards, I remembered that it may have been more level appropriate for the hunter and druid to run Scarlet Monastery, which I haven’t run yet. Oh well. Like I said, it was a lot of fun, and I don’t feel bad that we called in help for the last two. I’m only a wannabe tank, after all.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Why Do We Do Dailies?

Lately I’ve been a lot more diligent about doing my dailies out in Blade’s Edge Mountains.  The driving force behind this is simply the aprox. 7.5g that I get from each of 3 pretty easy quests, and the 6g (and speed boost) from The Relics Emanation.    I look around at all my friends that have epic flying mounts, and I want one too.  My wife even got me a license plate holder that says “My Other Ride is a Flying Epic Mount”.  I really should make that an honest statement.

I’ve probably spent too much time in dungeons where you make less money, and neglected most quests.  I had no problem buying my flying mount, but probably stopped doing quests shortly after that.  In fact, I also realized that there’s very few quests in Nagrand (I knew that one) and Shadowmoon Valley (completely forgot about these) that I have completed.  And most of them are as easy as the dailies.

Oddly enough though, I’m not worried about the speed of the mount.  Yeah, the armor on the standard griffon looks cool, but that’s not really my goal either.  Ever since I first got sight of the Nether Drakes, I wanted one.  They just look so dang cool.  And of course, you can’t get past Neutral reputation with them until you have your 300 riding skill.  So, you need 5200g just to start the reputation grind.

I was thinking about this last night as I was doing my dailies.  One of my rich friends came out to where I was wrangling Aether Rays to get an enchant from me.  (He actually got his money off somebody else that quit the game, but that’s a whole different story.)  And he told me that he hasn’t done his dailies in a long time; there’s basically no motivation for it anymore.

So, when is enough gold… enough?  Once you buy the most expensive thing in the game (300 riding skill), and you’ve got enough to take care of your repairs, how much more do you need?  Sure, there’s still those insanely expensive World Drop Patterns that you’ve been ogling.  And I guess there’s the potential to have something similar to another level of riding skill once the next expansion comes out, but I imagine that 5000g will look about what 1000g did before the expansion came out once the new expansion comes out.  Oh, and there’s always that alt addiction… easier to make money when you have money, so why not have your main finance your alt’s epic flyer?  But seriously… when do you have “enough” money?

Thursday, November 8, 2007

It's Not All Good

Ah… next Tuesday.  Patch Day.  I’m very excited; but at the same time, I know it’s going to be bitter-sweet.  All the fun and goodness, with all the normal patch day activities.  This is more of a friendly reminder that 2.3 will break some add-ons, there will most likely be issues, there may even be random server restarts or crashes.  Instance servers have been known to crash; and with everyone wanting a peek at Zul’Aman, I’ll probably surprised if they don’t crash at all… at least somewhere.

Most of the major mod developers seem to be on top of getting things updated quite rapidly.  Hopefully, this will be true for 2.3 as well.  Remember as well, that a lot of times, you can simply load the outdated mod, and it will work just fine.  Sometimes there’s some small side effects as well.

On a pretty major mage note, Kalgan has stated that iceblock will soon (post 2.3 most likely) be trainable for all mages, mana issues in longer fights for mages will be addressed, and mana gems will soon get a buff.  Hmm… I wonder if they’ll ever be sharable.  Now wouldn’t that be wonderful?

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Managing a Guild Vault

If you’ve read any WoW news site or been on the forums, you’re probably aware that patch 2.3 is scheduled to be released on November 13th.  Knowing Blizzard and also that it’s only a week away, that’s a pretty firm date, unless testing goes horribly wrong.  I’m pretty excited about it myself, but I thought I’d start addressing some of the side effects that I’ve anticipate thus far.

Today, I’m looking at the Guild Vault again.  First, the facts: There are 6 tabs that can be purchased by a Guild Leader.  They have a progressive cost, just like the extra bank slots do.  The cost at the time of this writing is 1g, 10g, 100g, 1000g, 2500g, and 5000g.  Each slot can hold 98 non-soulbound items (one of the bigger differences between Banks and Vaults, IMO, besides the whole shared thing).  Each tab has its own permissions of who can see it, take items out of it, and how many items/stacks can be taken out based on rank.  Each tab can also be named and an icon associated with it (default is the red question mark).  Each tab also has its own log of which items are deposited and withdrawn and by whom.

The money of the vault is its own separate permission group.  Again, based on rank, you can specify how much gold a player can take out per day.  There is also a log identical to that of the item tabs, so you can see where the money is going.  Related to this, when each guildie goes to repair their armor, there is now an option to repair your armor with funds from the Guild Vault.  When I last tested this, that money would appear on the log, but I believe it would go against the cap for that rank.

So, what should one store in the Vault and why?  Also, who do you give access to?  Finally, how do you keep the coffers full?

There’s probably not a lot of armor that’s going to be stored here that’s extremely valuable.  In anticipation for future instances, we have a lot of resist gear in our current guild bank.  Most of them are random greens that we’ve picked up here and there.  You’ll have your occasional epic BoE; but for raiders, you’ll find better gear equipment on the bosses you down.  You’ll more than likely be storing enchanting materials, but other tradeskill materials would be ideal as well.  (Primals anyone?)  Since we’ve had a few months with TBC, you’ll also store a decent array of rep items as well.  Don’t need that Aldor rep anymore? (Just hit exalted last night, btw.)  Send those Marks to the Guild Vault.  Already have that semi-rare non-BoP recipe or pattern?  Send it over.  Assuming you have the space, this may be ideal spots for it.

Some other great items to put here are potions, elixirs, flasks, and food.  As I’ve mentioned, I’ve been skilling up my fishing.  I now sit at a skill of 315, and with a cheap lure, am able to catch most things in Terrokar Forest, the lower portion.  In the loot tables for those waters are the Golden Darters which can be cooked into Golden Fish Sticks.  (Increases healing by 44.)  While these sell for about a gold and a half each, I’ve been divvying them out to the different healers in our guild.  The Vault would make a perfect place for those.  Also, all those Apexis Shards that you don’t know what to do with can be converted into the Unstable Flasks for Gruul’s Lair, and then put in the Guild Vault.  Plus… almost everyone (/acknowledges Feral Druids) can use health and mana pots, so this is a good place to share them as well.

A lot of these items are the same ones that have been in question for years with the current guild bank situation (level 1 alts controlled by Guild Leaders).  But the biggest change will be with the gold.

First off, I think this is a great equalizer for tanks.  For years, they’ve had to endure the higher repair costs.  At one point, I thought a patch equalized the difference between repairing plate and cloth, but it still seems that I pay way less, even fully red, then my warrior friends.  Taking all the money from the same pot, will equalize that burden.  So, even though I technically will have to pay more, I think it’s a very fair idea.

But there’s also the possibility that somebody might take advantage of this.  Maybe it’s that guy who’s raiding with another guild because his schedule changed, and he never contributes anything to the Guild Vault, but yet his repairs are always from the Guild Vault.  Maybe it’s the girl that’s in Azeroth greens and running around in Gruul’s Lair.  (Who let that hypothetical person in the raid anyway?)  You’ll almost always have people that will participate more than others.  Some may spend a lot more in repair costs, but they might also be the ones that are contributing more.  

How do you raise the funds for the Guild Vault and how do you keep them there?  This is the part that I’m finding tricky.  You can claim all raid loot as Guild Property to be doled out by some loot system (DKP or whatnot), and sell all items to go towards the Vault.  You can tax your guild by a weekly/monthly or per instance amount.  If you have seed money, you can have somebody that’s good at playing the AH help to offset some of this.  Or do you hire a Chinese Gold Farmer to keep everything going.  (I like the last option, but haven’t been able to hire one yet.)

Whichever way things are handled, this will add another level of depth to running a guild.  Let me know of any other suggestions you may have.  (And I’m accepting applications for a Gold Farmer for Primogeniture.  Nationality is not important.)

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Bombing Fun with Opposite Faction - PVE Style

Last night, I ran over to Blade's Edge Mountains to do some of my dailies. I generally tend to do the dailies much later at night, but since there wasn’t much going on in the guild, I decided to do them when I first logged on around 8. The place was camped like Yosemite Valley in the summer. The bombing runs weren’t too bad, but banishing the demons was tough. It was so bad, that I had no fear in going afk to get a drink, even though I was standing almost right between two flak cannons; I knew somebody would get them if they spawned near me.

When I came back from the kitchen, I saw that health was down to about 50%, but there were no mobs in sight. I didn’t even have time to check the combat log before I figured out what had happened. A smart alec Tauren was mounting his flying mount right next to me and then just sitting there so the flak would shoot towards the both of us. He’s fly away just in the nick of time for him, but it would hit me pretty much dead on. I immediately checked to see if he was flagged PVP, which he wasn’t. So, I recognized the genius in it, and went on my way.

So, what do you do to annoy the opposite faction on a PVE server? I don’t generally go out of my way to mess them up all the time, but it’s fun on occasion. Also, I’ll generally only do it a couple of times; I hate when they’re pestering me. (Warlocks banishing the elementals I’ve already tapped…. I can’t sheep mobs that are tapped, why can they banish mine?)

Monday, November 5, 2007

Stopcasting and 2.3

In case you’ve been living under a rock while playing WoW, you probably know that WoW 2.3 is already being downloaded to your computer via the background downloader.  It started late last week, so I’m guessing that the patch will be next Tuesday.  Regardless of when exactly, it will most likely be soon.

Quite awhile ago, I showcased the Quartz macro and /stopcasting macro combination that will help casters improve the downtime due to the way your computer communicates with the WoW servers.  Coming at it from a different angle… With vanilla WoW, you had button mashers: people that would hit a spell many times when the previous spell was about to finish casting so they could get the spell off as soon as possible.  With /stopcasting, it now had to be precision.  If you button mashed, you’d just be interrupting your spells all over the place.  GirlMeetsWow spoke about 2.3 that it was the return of button mashing, while Altitis has said it’s more like the precision needed for /stopcasting.

I say that we’re actually somewhere in the middle now.  In 2.3, casting a new spell while you’re currently casting one will trigger the Global Cooldown (GC). But if your latency is decent, the GC will reset, not having to use the full time.  So, it’s not button mashing, but it doesn’t penalize you the full GC either.  So, what does a caster do when 2.3 comes out?  First off, get rid of most of your /stopcasting macros.  Quartz will still be extremely useful, as it will let you know when to cast your next spell.  Cast your spell like you would have when using the /stopcasting.  If you’ve been using this already, then it will be like nothing has happened.  You just won’t interrupt your spells if you cast it too early.  If you haven’t been using it, what were you waiting for?

Keep in mind that the /stopcasting command itself is still very useful.  A perfect example would be that of Counterspell:
/cast counterspell

This allows you to stop casting that pyroblast (or any spell) to the face and interrupt the paladin’s heal.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Karazhan Cleared... Again!

Since the guild coup, our guild has been farming most of Karazhan.  We'll usually get through Prince, but then somehow neglect Nightbane.  We either give it a few tries and a healer mysteriously goes afk (he fell asleep with his headphones on, lol), or we just don't get around to him before the reset on Tuesday.  But last night Primogeniture cleared Karazhan again.  We've got the skill, we're just a little short on numbers lately for Gruul's.  If anyone raids at around 8 pm server time on Bronzebeard, and they want to help out, let me know.  ;)

It's really everyone's responsibility to recruit when a guild has open recruiting.  Sure, it's up to guild leadership to decide how many of which class is needed.  And it's even up to them, generally speaking, to decide who actually gets in, but I really think that guild recruiting is the responsibility of everyone.  But I also feel that I'm in the minority as far as my thought process goes.  "Somebody else will get the new people" seems to be the standard modus operandi.  

p.s. Just for clarification purposes, I was not in the Karazhan group this week as I was helping other guildies get keyed, passing out candy, and helping the wife.  Oh noes... maybe it was me!  lol.  Being one of the best geared mages in the guild, towards the top of the damage meters, and rarely pulling aggro, I kind of doubt it.