Tuesday, July 31, 2007

"Oh... Karazhan is Sooo Easy"

On certain occasions, I remember back to when I was a recent 60. Our guild, Cracked Anvil Trading Co., was pretty much all recent 60's. This was before the patch, that changed many of the level 60 instances (Stratholme and Scholomance) into 5-man only instances. You were able to zerg these instances with 10 people, and farming your Dungeon Set 1 armor wasn't much of a problem. Well, our guild, being almost all noobs at the time, set out on our first raid of Stratholme, live side. If I recall correctly, we didn't even have everyone at level 60. I'm sure we didn't have a single purple; and if we were lucky, we had a blue. It was an ugly experience, and I think, after time, we eventually cleared that first corridor... I think. Fast forward a few weeks, and we could clear it no problem. Fast forward some more time and the whole instance became easy. Even after the dreaded 5-man cap patch... it was an adjustment, but it eventually became easy.

A huge part of this "easy" mode for dungeons is basic knowledge. If everyone is familiar with the tricks and strategies to kill Boss X, then it makes the event so much easier. The other part, is the gear that you obtain makes you more effective at your role.

Bring this into current day, and I hear many people say that Karazhan is easy. If you don't believe me, head on over to the official WoW forums. You can read many people screaming about the ease of Karazhan... how it should be on a 3-day reset instead of 7... how it's a shame that there's not a heroic setting for Karazhan. I think people forget that this dungeon is helping people ramp up, that there's a learning curve, that people still need gear from there to make them successful, gear from bosses that are difficult to clear in a raid of full blue armor.

This idea comes up because of a run I did last night. It's only my third time doing Slave Pens on heroic mode. First night was a bear. Second was much more of a breeze. Last night, however, we didn't have a single death to our party. It became "easy". We all knew the pulls or we had somebody with enough knowledge to tell us what to do. We had a skilled tank, healer, and DPS. While there's still things in there that we want, the instance is probably slightly beneath us as far as our level with our gear.

So now when somebody brings up Slave Pens, I can easily say "that's easy", but is it? With other players at my gear level, it certainly is. I'm sure to a Black Temple geared group, Karazhan would be easy. I doubt there's anything really "difficult" in the game. It's just about gaining the knowledge, gearing up, and then eventually, most things become easy.

Even more pointed to me, there are parts of Karazhan that have become easy, but we certainly haven't mastered the whole thing. Even in our own guild, we have people that struggle more with some of the "easy" bosses. It will take time, but I'm sure eventually, we will all find the instance easy.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Guild Professions

So, I was giving thought to all of the professions in World of Warcraft. There's not a lot of professions that benefit the guild as a whole. For example, there's not a lot a Blacksmith can do for a mage or warlock. Sure, they could make the Eternium Runed Blade, but that's a one-time thing, and then they're done. Tailors can make bags, but after everyone has 20-slot bags, there's not much more they can do. I'm being slightly flippant and over-simplifying, but I think you get the point. Furthermore, these few items can "easily" be bought through the trade channel or the Auction House.

But there are some professions that benefit everyone. Enchanting is one such profession. No matter what class, there's enchants that will help most of your armor. Yes, technically you can argue that Leatherworking can do the same, but that's just one small aspect of Leatherworking, and the rep "enchants" seem to take care of me just fine. Almost every time somebody gets a new shiny equipable item, they'll need it enchanted. So, what should be required of a Guild Enchanter? Accessibility would probably be a big thing, in my book. Because the enchants cannot take place through the mail or AH, you need somebody that will be online most of the time. You also need somebody that will be in instances (those BoP recipe enchants can be such a pain).

Jewelcrafters are very similar to enchanting in this fashion; and again, everyone can benefit from their end products. The one thing that makes them more accessible, is that gems can be sent through the mail. Reputation seems pretty important as well as it seems that there are a lot of recipes that are by reputation only.

At least on Bronzebeard, I can see where a Guild Alchemist (or two) would be huge. Get one specialized in Elixirs and one in Potions, and all of your potion making can be funneled through these two people. Unless I'm wrong, transmutes are still only 1 per day, so it doesn't make sense to funnel all guild transmutes through one person. Just like a specialized Tailor should in no way give up his extra primal mooncloth manufacturing over to whoever is next in line. But to have a chance to get free potions or elixirs... that's awesome!

Keep in mind that I'm not saying that other professions are useless. As a mage/tailor, I love my spellcloth set. Every profession has a lot of things that can benefit many people. I'm just pointing out the universal need for enchants, gems, and elixirs/potions.

What are your thoughts on Guild Professions?

Friday, July 27, 2007

A New Reign

Last night, we had one goal, and one goal only: to dethrone the Prince. It's so cliché to say that this fight is luck based on the positioning of the Infernals, so I won't say that. I will say that certain positioning makes the fight easier, but I'm guessing that it's rarely unbeatable. That said, it took us a few tries to learn our last little lessons in order to get him down. One really key item is to have somebody always orchestrating the dance of positioning the ranged DPS and the Prince with the tank based on the Infernals. Qamen did a great job watching the incoming meteors, estimating where they would drop, and positioning us accordingly. One of our latter attempts we had him down to about 10% before most of our DPS were killed off, ending with a full wipe at 3%. I think we only had 2 people dead when the Prince actually died.

The [Helm of the Fallen Hero] dropped, giving me a 1 in 4 chance to get my T4 head piece. I out rolled 2 people, and the third person passed. I am now the proud owner of the [Collar of the Aldor]. It looks kinda funny on Leiandra, to be quite honest. But no, you can't have it. lol. I'm also realizing how expensive it is to upgrade my gear these days. After I traded in the token for the head piece, I got the 90g head enchant from the Sha'tar. Plus I had to run out to Allerian Stronghold to buy a [Swift Starfire Diamond] with 8 Spirit Shards (those were "cheap" since I have about 50 just sitting in my bank), and then another 45g to get a [Glowing Nightseye]. If I hadn't done all that, the [Spellstrike Hood] would have been a better piece. I'm not complaining, just telling what I did.

This week has been really good to me as far as loot goes. I got the [Gloves of the Fallen Hero] (by default since the other two mages had it and we didn't have any warlocks or hunters in the group that night) off of the Curator. That translates into [Gloves of the Aldor], but I don't think it's worth it to use those and give up my [Spellfire Gloves] and the set bonus there. By some charity, I got the [Mantle of the Mind Flayer] off of Shade of Aran. I got the [Brooch of Unquenchable Fury] off of Moroes. And I hit exalted with Violet Eye, so I can now exchange my ring for the best ring from them (which again will cost me in enchanting mats to put the +12 Spell Damage on it).

I'm really excited about the loot, but I'm even more excited that we're progressing, downing more bosses, and gearing up to take on even more bosses. Next week we should start 2 Kara groups again. And then we'll see what we can do in Gruul's Lair on Saturday night. It'll be fun to see everyone else get purpleized as well. Until next week!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Winds of Change

I'm looking into a few things to change the layout of the blog. I'll blog about last night tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

More Zul'Aman

If you head on over to the Warcry network, they have some more details from E3 about the next new instance of Zul'Aman. The article goes into more details, but there will be Bear, Lynx, Eagle, and Dragonhawk boss. Much like Zul'Gurub, you can access any of these bosses from the beginning. Each of these four bosses should take about 45 minutes to an hour for a good group, and then the last 2 encounters must be done at once.

There will be no reputation associated with Zul'Aman, but the faster you finish the bosses, the better loot you get. Blizzard also sees this becoming somewhat of a competitive sport. Also on loot, they're going to move more towards logical loot. Basically... "players can expect creatures to drop things that one would expect. If that bad guy is holding a big, shiny axe, then odds are his loot is a big shiny axe." Makes sense, but not really earth shattering to me. Who doesn't look at loot tables? lol.

Voice Chat is once again confirmed for patch 2.2. That was also confirmed on the PTR forums as well. One thing that might be fun is that Blizzard would eventually like to be able to put in
voice fonts (distortion that makes the user's voice sound a bit like the creature they're playing). That could be neat, but I've kinda grown accustomed to most of the voices in my guild... that might be a pain to get used to the "new" voices.

Last thing: Guild banks will be coming the future. The GM will be able to set permissions on each bag so that different ranks in the guild will be able to access different levels of bags. Just helps assure that the new guy doesn't steal all the BOE purples you've got laying around.

Dun Morogh Airfield

After Adventar told me about a little expedition he had up to the airfield near Iron Forge, I had to go too. Personally, I thought it was no longer accessible, but it's really not that hard to get to at all. WoWWiki has a good article on how to get there using one of three ways. I used the third way as that was where Adventar went (and the video linked on WoWWiki was of help as well). The only challenging part was the first jump behind the tree. I did it pretty easily the first time I went up, but then when Byasaz and Mattosaur wanted to come along with me, it took us a bit more time. But we finally made it up to the airport.

We explored a bit after that and found the trolls (level 8 or so) constantly fighting the dwarves up there. The dwarf guard in the picture above was crying, but who knows what about. It's just a fun place to visit... once. Unless you're gonna be farming for linen, you're probably okay if you don't come here more than once. The other place we explored was on the top of Iron Forge. Byasaz said it was the second highest elevation point in all of Azeroth. What's the first? I have no idea.

So, after we took this shot, I opened a portal for my friends, and decided to have one more adventure for the evening. With a stack of Light Feathers that I always carry, I casted slow fall, mounted up, and then jumped off the mountain towards Menethil Harbor. I had to dismount and recast slow fall 2 times before it expired with me only about 10 feet above the water's surface, so the fall was about a minute and a half. It was a great ride. Almost like parachuting in real life, just without all that annoying wind in my hair, and I didn't lose a contact either. As you can see from the map, I landed on the other side of Menethil Harbor. I'd highly recommend this jump for any mage or priest. I'm not sure that anyone else would survive the fall or be able to glide for quite as long.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

BUGGED!!! and Illhoof down

Prince Malchezaar isn't an extremely bad dude. In fact, if the Infernals weren't landing all over the place, he'd probably be quite easy. But he does become substantially more difficult if you only have 8 people to take him down. Last night we discovered a few things. So much so, that I could almost put the label as Beginning Tips. So, in case you didn't know...
  • If you don't kill all the bosses in Karazhan, things respawn. Be careful as you move towards a boss you have not yet downed this week.
  • I suppose this goes for any boss that has a door.If you start a game of chess, you have to finish it. During the chess game, everyone gets a permanent debuff where no spells or attacks of any kind can be used.
  • When Prince Malchezaar is engaged, make sure you're on the correct side of the door. It will close, and you can be locked out.
  • Sometimes GM's are helpful and funny, sometimes they are not.
We started out the night having a few members believe that everything was clear from Shade's room (where we could now be teleported) to the Chess Event. Imagine their surprise when they ran into that first room only to get ambushed by a Sorcerous Shade or two.

On our way to Prince, one of our members thought it would be fun to talk with Warchief Blackhand since our usual experiences only let us speak with King Llane. He did so, and unintentionally started another game of chess. With our full raid buffs, I don't think that anyone really noticed that we were all silenced to both spells and normal attacks. So, we made the next pull and quickly found our mistake. Corpse run. Killed King Llane (had to be different that normal). Then we proceeded as normal.

Got out to Netherspace where Prince hangs out. Explained the fight and our strategy, and then we moved in to engage. Well, our two warlocks didn't realize that we were starting, and were on the wrong side of the door when it closed, leaving us with only 8 people to fight Prince. We figured it would probably result in a wipe, but surprisingly did quite well even with the deficit. Corpse run. Raid buff. Engage.... what? I said "Engage!" Turns out we successfully bugged Prince so that we could not attack him ("Invalid Target") or even body pull him. So... we went on to the next boss.

Meanwhile, I had opened a ticket for a GM in the hopes that they could somehow help us with our plight with Prince. We were about to start fighting with Netherspite when he contacted me. There was mostly nothing he could do about Prince. He said that we could soft reset the instance (exit the instance for 45 minutes) and that should take care of it. It was late, the instance was to reset the next morning, and I don't think we still would have had 10 people if we had said, "Okay, everyone. Take a 45-minute break." It's just a shame that the GM's don't have more power when it comes to something like this.

We did leave on a positive note though. We had one warlock go grab her fire resist gear, and killed two pulls to get to Illhoof's room. With the warlock in 205 fire resist, it was a relatively easy fight. The first time we attempted it, we missed a small part of the explanation that didn't bode well for the fight. Corpse run. Raid buff. Explained further. Downed him quite simply. So, there's one more notch on our belts. We had a Breastplate of the Lightbringer and Fool's Bane drop.

Today's the reset, so we'll start all the fun times again tonight.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Terestian Illhoof

We had a bunch of our higher DPS folks out this weekend, but we went after Terestian Illhoof. To cut to the chase, we did not down him, but we learned a lot. And our second to last attempt we got him down to about 10%. The imps that spawn out of the portals can easily overtake you if you're not constantly paying attention to them. We had a warlock spam Seed of Corruption which would take most of them out, but every once and a while, me or the other mage had to use some additional AoE to keep them in check.

At least the run isn't bad. Running back from the graveyard to attempt The Curator or Shade of Aran is really a pain in the butt. However, once you kill Shade, you can get teleported into Shade's room from the doorman, then take a quick jaunt to any of the remaining bosses. Nobody likes a wipe, but a wipe with a long walk is just painful.

In the fight with Illhoof, he will randomly sacrifice a player. The sacrificed player will be transported to the middle of the room and have Demonic Chains placed on him. The chains will do substantial damage every second, which means that the healers have to keep the person alive, and the DPS has to kill the chains ASAP. And for most of the DPS, they then have to quickly retarget Illhoof in order to burn him down as quick as possible. Most of the strategy sites talked about created a macro like this: "/tar Demonic Chains". That was nice to be able to DPS the chains quickly, but then I thought it was a pain to retarget Illhoof. So, while waiting for mana and in between deaths, I created this:

/tar [button:2] Terestian Illhoof; Demonic Chains

This macro gives you some options. If you left-click it (which I tend to spam once I see Illhoof casting sacrifice), it will target the Demonic Chains. Once the Demonic Chains are gone or if you lost Illhoof as the target for any reason, you can right-click the macro, and it will target Illhoof again. Granted, I know it didn't actually get us that last 10% that we needed, but most of my group thought it was a pretty good addition.

We'll see what we can do to take down a few punk bosses tonight.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Sacrificial Rogue

Today's blog goes out to a rogue in our guild named Solidad. As you probably saw in my post about the Curator, he's one of our highest, if not the highest, DPSer. Last night we took down Shade of Aran, but just barely. Hey, don't get me wrong. A kill is a kill. But we did one-shot him, so that's a great sign as well.

At any rate, we got him down pretty far. We had two warlocks that dealt with the 4 elementals. Everything was going well. We did, however, get sheeped. And a few of us died shortly after the mass pyroblast. And when I say "a few" it basically got down to about 3 people. So, this is where the story gets good.

Shade's health was down to 3%. All of our healers had been dead for a bit now. Elementals were gone. All DPS (all 3 of them) was on Shade. Then Shade decides to do his suck in, slow, Arcane Explosion thing. Davecrocket and Thellonious (I think that was who was left alive) ran out, but Solidad was determined to get him down before another round of random attacks erupted from Shades hands. It kinda turned into a sacrificial thing though. He got him down to 1% before the Arcane Explosion went off, killing him. He had used Cloak of Shadows, but he must have used it a bit too early (or that 10% possibility of not resisting kicked in). To cheers from everyone, Thellonious and Davecrocket finished him off, and we had our second defeat of the Shade of Aran.

Close calls... you gotta love them.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

World of Motecraft

I've been had a skill of 375 enchanting for quite some time now. I have the pattern for the Runed Eternium Rod, but I haven't made it yet. I've got the Eternium Rod, the Greater Planar Essences, the Void Crystals, and of course, the old Runed Adamantite Rod. I just haven't brought myself to commit to the 4 x Primal Mights. Part of which was I was so consumed with making Spellcloth that all my farming of motes of fire seemed to gravitate to that. The supply of motes of fire (and subsequent Primal Fires) also hasn't been helped by the fact that my favorite spots to gather these have been extremely camped even at 1 or 2 o'clock in the morning. (They used to be deserted at that hour, and I could gather them quite easily. I blame all the kids out of school in the summer. lol. But I digressed.)

Farming, in and of itself, I really don't mind. In fact, the mind numbing pattern of killing things over and over is kinda relaxing to me in a way, as long as I'm progressing. For example, if I was out killing Raging Fire-Soul in hopes to get the Ancient Scepter of Sue-Min, I think I'd go raving mad before I ever got the drop. But if I was killing the same mobs for the motes of fire, I'd settle into a relaxing, euphoric state.

Here's where the other catch comes in though. It's especially apparent in places like Elemental Plateau (where the Raging Fire-Souls can be found). I hate it when I have to fight for spawns. There's some areas that can support multiple people farming at once. Respawn rates are so quick in those areas, that a wait of 10 seconds at one spawn point will guarantee a spawn. I have yet to find one of those areas for the motes of fire.

I also find myself getting so frustrated with certain classes over these mobs. Warlocks banish my mobs in the middle of my kills, just because they can. (Only the Horde has done this to me.) Hunters, who are already taking on 3 of these mobs, decide that they have to tag the one that I'm in the middle of a cast to tag. It really just brings out the worst in me.

Yes, yes, I pull some of these same tactics too to make sure I get credit for the kill. But honestly, only when I know that my "enemy" (being the other players) will do and has done it to me first. I've had a number of times that I've accidentally stolen a kill from a fellow Alliance player and given, or attempted to give, the acquired motes to the person I felt I had wronged. I trust that the other players I'm fighting alongside will be courteous, but I guess that's where I make the mistake.

So... with that tirade, maybe my tip today should be: When farming, be a jerk. lol. Okay, that's not really my point. I think there's a certain distancing that a lot of us do when we can't been seen, and allows us to be those jerks that we wouldn't normally be face-to-face. Think of all the road rage issues that arise because people are "protected" by these metal boxes that surround us as we're driving down the road. To an extent, aren't we in the same protected state with our computers and the Internet surrounding us in this cocoon of anonymity? But we still co-exist in Wow with these people. They may eventually join your guild or your 5-man group. So, this message goes out to all those people who may have stolen my kills. It goes out as an apology to
those that I may have offended by accidentally stealing theirs. But bottom line: Be Nice.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


I had to create a whole different label for this post because I had so much fun doing it. Yes, we ran Karazhan last night, but it was the beginning bosses. Do you really want me to write about that?

So, after the raid, I went and goofed off with my friend, Justicar. We headed out to Eastern Plaguelands to 2-man parts of Stratholme. On our way over, we exacted some of my revenge on the Crimson Courier and his Crimson Bodyguards. (After all the times they got me, you can bet they'll die a lot more when I'm up near EPL in the future.) It's amazing how easy Stratholme has become at level 70. 45-minute Baron run, you say? I'm guessing that we could do it in about 15 without even trying much. We accidentally pulled a few groups at once and laughed at how relatively easy it was to shew away the gnats.

Then I suggested we go check out the new instance in the Ghostlands. Of course the portal to the instance is blocked, this time by a huge wooden door as you can see in the picture. But you can see the swirly green just to the edge of the door.

The area around it is quite beautiful. There's some design touches of a Zul'Gurub type area in STV, which makes sense being that the trolls will inhabit this one as well. There's various towers that you can climb on. And while it is completely deserted of mobs atm, I assume that once patch 2.3 (or whenever Zul'Aman is released) comes out, there will be a few more inhabitants here. There's also two wide waterfalls as you walk up the path to Zul'Aman. I know I'm a sucker for waterscapes, especially rivers, steams, and/or waterfalls, but I thought this looked really, really cool.

There's a summoning stone on the path up to the instance, that got me thinking about how easy it would be for Alliance players to raid Silvermoon City after getting summoned up to Zul'Aman. It also got me wondering how Alliance players will get to Zul'Aman. If flying up to EPL and riding the mount all the way up is the answer, just shoot me now. Maybe I'll have a permanent alt sit up at that meeting stone. lol.

I find it intriguing how the instance portals of unopened instances are closed off. There's obviously the one here at Zul'Aman. There's one in southern Wintersprings that I assume leads to Hyjal, but not the Caverns of Time variety. There's one in Stormwind between the Trade District and Old Town. And I believe there's one in Tanaris at Ulman? (Hmm.. help me out with the name of that one.) Anyone know of any other currently sealed off instance portals? If not... it may be time for me to do more exploring after raids. heh.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Heroic Slave Pens with a Side of PVP

After falling a bit short on numbers for a Kara run last night*, we decided to take 5 of us and have fun in Heroic Slave Pens. Trodar and I got to the meeting stone first, and Trodar decided to have some fun with the Horde that were sitting out there. So, he flagged himself pvp as bait, and waited for the 3 of them to attack. Sure enough, they took the bait and attacked him. I started in as well, but the 3 of them got us. Thellonious, Davecrocket, and Encore were still on their way while Trodar and I ran back. (Of note, they've moved the graveyard to Coilfang Reservoir a bit closer so it's not as painful to ghost back.) With the 5 of us (and their ranks had swelled to at least 6), we pretty easily mowed through them, and then went into Steamvaults by mistake. We buffed up, ran back outside to enter Slave Pens, and then killed them again as we changed instances.

I find that I'm actually enjoying PVP for once. I've got some decent gear that seems to put me on par with other people, and the PVP that I've been doing lately has been with a good group (including a healer) that knows how to PVP and communicate. So, who knows... on some of the days off of Karazhan, maybe I'll play in some of the battlegrounds a bit.

Anyway... we then started on Slave Pens of the heroic variety. The last and only time I've done Slave Pens, we may have been a bit undergeared. Each pull was just painful. We were getting through it through many wipes. Sometimes we'd have to kill 1/2 the group, die, come back, and then kill the other 1/2 the group. It made for a long evening. After a long time fighting like that, and after killing 2 of the 3 bosses, we had decided that we had had enough, and we called it quits.

That was the last time. Last night, however, was a completely different story. We pranced through the instance with relative ease. Yeah, we had a death here or there, but no wipes. Myself, I'm pretty squishy, so I think I died the most. (Note to self: need more stam gear.) But it was a lot of fun. Don't get me wrong, I love a good challenge. But when it feels like you're beating your head against the wall, like it did last time, it's kinda no fun. There were a number of challenges last night, we just dealt with them well, and overall, it was a very smooth run.

Quagmirran dropped the Pauldrons of Mighty Magic which we sharded with no Shaman in our group. I was really shooting for the Boots of Blasphemy... I guess I'll have to run it again.

*We'll be reverting to 1 group in Kara with others doing Heroic instances until we can get a few more people that are on consistently.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Shade Slain

On Saturday night, we took a band of adventures into the library of Karazhan to confront the Shade of Aran. We first warmed up by playing a quick game of chess (which I've found to be one of my favorite parts of Karazhan, probably because nobody gets killed). Then we talked about strategy and engaged Shade.

We did well to communicate and keep most of his fireballs and frost bolts interrupted, thus keeping his mana consumption to a minimum. At 40% health, when the elementals were summoned, our warlock took care of two (banish and fear) while we tank and spanked the other two down. This was probably where Shade used most of his mana. We had the elementals under control. We refocused on Shade. And at 3% health, he mass polymorphed us all. Was that the end for that attempt? Oh no... not this time. We were all topped off and ready for the pyroblasts this time. And while the polymorph had meant a wipe for our attempts in the past, not this time. The Shade of Aran left us the Pendant of the Violet Eye and the Drape of the Dark Weaver.

We next decided to check out the Prince and find out how we could do at that point. Did I mention that we only had 2 healers? Yeah, we know... you should normally have 3, but when you have uber-healing (and a shadow priest's VE on top of that), it was no problem for Shade. Prince, however, probably needed a bit more healing. We got him into the second phase a few times, but we just didn't get him that far. Who knows... maybe this next weekend. But again, we killed Shade, so we made progress and we were happy.

Friday, July 13, 2007

My First Sticky. Woot!

So, I'm sure there's very few people that care beside me, but I got my first (and probably only) sticky on the official Bronzebeard Wow forums. It's for a crafting post. Our old sticky on the BB forums wasn't being updated, so I started my own about a month ago. If you care, it can be found here. Thanks for any and all that requested it to be stickied even though I didn't mention it on this blog. heh.

Curator... Easy Mode

I don't think I mentioned it, but we've added a few more recruits to our ranks. We're now running two groups to Karazhan each week. Friday nights are great because everyone's on and wants to play. Hence, why we needed to do two groups so we don't have a bunch of people sitting out each week. During the week, we've had to PUG a few people, but I think it's worked out really well in getting some new, high quality recruits as well.

The main part of the huge need to run two groups came from an influx of about 5 new players that all wanted to join our guild at once. Most of them have a lot (if not all) of their Karazhan gear, but like the time we play. We've known some of them from previous guilds as well. Overall, they've been a great asset so far, and we expect to be able to do many wonderful things with all of them.
That said, it's a kind of paradigm shift for me. I went from being number 1 or 2 on top of the damage meters to 5th. (I imagine I would have been 6th had the pally been doing damage. lol.) I'm completely okay with it. It's not like I have this ego trip that I have to be on top. Most important to me is that we're succeeding, and we are.

At any rate, the main point of this post is more of bragging rights with our new members in the guild. The main damage phase to the Curator is when he evocates and takes something like 250% damage. I had a Fire Blast that did 5339 damage for goodness sake. Well with me being on the top of the damage meters, we'd usually have the Curator down about 25% after each evocation; so, it would take us about 4 evocates to kill him. With me being number 5 on the damage meters, we took him down in 2 evocates. 50% damage on each evocate. Yeah... that's a lot of damage.

I have a feeling that we'll have fun storming the castle tonight.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Omen Threat Meter

I think anyone that's done some raiding or 5-man end-game instances in Outlands has probably heard of KTM. KLH Threat Meter has been around for probably about a year and a half now. If all members of your group have the mod installed, it works great... sorta. If you've only got one target to kill (think bosses) it's a great way to know that the tank is on the top of the threat meter, and that pesky rogue that does uber DPS is not. It's fairly accurate and has helped a lot of groups with encounters. What did we do before KTM? Who knows?

But what about when we have multiple targets? KTM is an aggregate threat meter. Said in another way, if you, as a DPS'er, switch targets after killing the first (or at any point during the fight), the threat list you see will still be reflective of that first mob. KTM is pretty useless after that first mob. So, how do you know when you'll pull agro on that second, third, or subsequent mob? Bottom line: you don't.

So, while KTM paved the way for threat meters, a new generation is upon us. Enter Omen as the new threat meter. It actually tracks threat on different mobs. So, when you switch from Mob A to Mob B, you can see that the tank hasn't picked up much agro on this mob yet. You don't have to go back to the guess work of old to figure out how much damage you can do before you pull agro.

Sounds too good to be true? Well, there are a few catches. First off, the good folks over at Ace have said they're still in beta for Omen. Updates to the mod happen at least once a day, and sometimes up to 15 times a day. So, some of you might want to wait until release. They've also said that the only thing that's holding them back on final release has to do with pets, but all of the classes (the players themselves) are done. So, they're almost there.

One more word of caution. Because of the way that Blizzard allows you to track different mobs, mobs with the same name and level will share the same agro table as far as Omen is concerned. So, it's still not perfect, but it's a lot closer than KTM is.

Finally, while Omen will obviously work best if everyone in the group has Omen, it will also "listen" to other threat mods, such as KTM, and supply you with that data. As it's stated on the Ace site though, "Please be aware that as KTM is an aggregate meter and not aware of multiple targets, any values from it will be incorrect in any multi-mob encounter beyond the first mob."

I've been testing it on our raids, and it looks really good. Everyone else in our guild (that I'm aware of) is still using KTM, and I haven't pulled agro yet, unless I did it intentionally. So, once it goes live I'll let you know.

One last thing: I've tested a few add-ons recently, so I'm not 100% sure that it's Omen, but I believe that Omen flashes the screen red when you pull agro. If it's not this mod, I'm pretty sure it would be Deadly Boss Mods. Any additional information on this would would be appreciated.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Zul'Aman, Voice-Chat, and Guild Banks

Wow Insider just got a sneak preview of Zul'Aman from E3. Basically, it's a 10-man instance that's probably on the level of UBRS was, but with an outdoor feel like Zul'Gurub. In fact, much like Zul'Gurub, you pretty much need to kill the "lesser" bosses before you have to kill Zul'jin (think Hakkar).

But really exciting part for me is that before Zul'Aman, there will be a minor patch (or two) that will include Voice Chat and Guild Banks. Ventrilo and TeamSpeak work pretty well from my point of view, so that's not a huge benefit for the Voice Chat. There is something that's added to the interface to show you who is talking; that will be nice. And maybe more importantly, nobody has to say, "Who's not on Vent?" lol.

I'm mostly excited about the Guild Bank. I'm not even really sure why. Is it that it will be the only bank that you can actually store money? Maybe. I guess I've always been disappointed about what guilds are in Wow. This at least brings a little bit of something official to guilds. Where up to this point, it's been somebody's spare toon that's acted as a guild bank, there will now be something official. Will it keep people from leaving guilds? Absolutely not, but I still just like the idea. This wasn't available at launch for Everquest 2 either, but when I logged in for 10 free days about a year ago, it was neat to see all the things my now defunct guild had amassed.

So, no more having to wait for that guild bank person to be online. Have the guild pick up your repairs. Oh, and no more having to alt-tab to see who's speaking.

You're Entering... The Westfall Zone

*You're traveling to another dimension...a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind...a journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. Your next stop: The Westfall Zone.*

So, last night I wanted to get my Shaman on Spinebreaker her fire totems. I have a habit of always wanting to do just one more thing before I log off, even if that one more thing should be just go to bed. We had taken down both Attuman and Moroes, but had gotten a really late start. At any rate, point being: I should have gone to bed.

I logged in at Azure Watch and read the quest of where I needed to go for the fire totem. I read "northeast", but in my sleepy state, I took it to mean "northwest". I vaguely remembered an elemental that you could talk to up above Exodar, so I headed over there. Upon getting to the base of the mountain, something struck me to look at the quest again. I think I remembered the elemental near Exodar being of earth, and I knew I needed a fire elemental for this quest. Since I was near Exodar, I figured I'd scan the AH with auctioneer and put up my leather and herbs that I had gathered. (You see where this "one more thing" obsession takes me?) I then hearthed back to Azure Watch and made it over to Emberglade to talk to the fire elemental even though I was extremely sleepy at this point.

After that, things are a bit hazy. I didn't have my hearthstone, but I knew I wanted the rest xp in an Inn. I think my intention was to run back to Azure Watch. I know I fell asleep. I don't know for how long. When I woke up, I was dead, I had released, and my ghost was standing next to a Spirit Healer. I made the quick decision to rez and park it in an Inn before I fell asleep again.

The brown grass looked familiar, but didn't look like Azuremyst Isle. Getting my bearings and trying to figure out where either Azure Watch or Exodar was, I looked up at the map and it said "Sentinel Hill". What??!!?? Westfall? How the heck? I checked the log, and it said I was fatigued, so I must have swam out in the water. Still don't understand how my ghost got to the other side of the world though. Overall, it was a good thing since I was able to get the flight paths to Sentinel Hill, Stormwind, and Ironforge before hearthing back to Azure Watch.

I know there's other strange things that have happened. I think I've had about a half a dozen things like this happen to me, most of them while I was awake. How about you? Any strange dealings with Blizzard's land that have put you some place that was rather unexpected?

p.s. I really need to remember to take screenshots.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Mail Changes in Today's Patch

One of the more exciting things about today's patch is a slight change in the mail system. Before you get excited about the post from Eyonix, read through to the end:
As part of our continued efforts to protect the game's economy and ultimately the game-play experience of each individual player, we've made a small change to how an aspect of our mail system works. Just like in-game mail transactions containing items, mail sent with gold, silver, and copper coins attached will in most cases now take one hour to reach the recipient. This change will help us to better ensure the legitimacy of such transactions and further prevent the unlawful influx of currency into each realm’s economy. Keep in mind that this delay will only affect the following mail transactions containing coins:

Regular mail with coins attached.
CoD payments received via the mail system.

Note: This will NOT affect mail sent from one character to another when under the same account.
Also... later mentioned in that post and confirmed by Eyonix, items sent between toons of the same account now arrive instantly. Overall, I think it's a good change and may be able to help with battling the gold sellers. Kinda sucks that it will take an hour to send straight gold to a friend, but how many times have I needed to do that? Maybe once or twice that I wanted/needed it to get there instantly. Besides... I'm a mage. I can port all over the place. If somebody needs money instantly, I can probably just port there. heh.

White Recipes, Marking up, and You

Just for a small distraction, and to do all of the Dranei quests again (which I think were really well done), I started an alt on my co-worker's server, Spinebreaker. I enjoy leveling professions, at the very least in the beginning stages. Fishing and cooking are a prime example of that. After the quest that awards you with a fishing pole and a bauble, I decided to use the bauble and catch me some fish. I caught me about 30 Raw Slitherskin Mackerel before the bauble expired. So, I looked up on one of the many Wow item databases to find out where the recipe to fry those bad boys up was sold. Ironforge, Westfall and Teldrasil were the locations of the vendor for the Alliance. The cost is only 40 copper. So, I asked Adventar to pick one up for me and mail it to me. He first checked the Auction House, and it was listed for 1 gold!It's not like the recipe is one of those limited quantities at the vendors. This one's unlimited. You can buy as many as you want. Furthermore, since the required skill to learn how to cook this fish is 1, it's mostly for new players or new alts. Can you imagine if a new player, who somehow didn't know about Allakhazam, figured that the only place to find the recipe was at the AH? How depressing would that be? 1 gold is a heck of a lot of money for a level 10 to amass. I know, I know... it's just making money, but isn't that kinda taking advantage of noobs? I'm all about making a profit, but I think I have to draw the line somewhere. And 1 gold for a recipe for raw Slitherskin Mackerel is just a bit too low for me.

What are some of the things you've seen that might be considered low, mean, or just plain taking advantage of people?

Monday, July 9, 2007

New Protoss Units

Okay, okay... I know it has nothing to do with World of Warcraft, but I noticed that there's a few new units over at the Starcraft2 site. If you're a fan, you may want to go check them out.

What did you do, Ray?

In our first trip past the Curator, the week before last, it was quite a learning experience for us. Not really knowing any of the fights, we had a number of wipes, and there was a general feeling of slowness in the pace that we progressed to our final destination, which was the Chess Event. This past weekend, we decided to try our hand at the Shade of Aran which brought us through many of the same trash mobs that we did the week before on our way to play chess. The speed in which we went through the trash was noticeably faster. So, if nothing else, we can be taught.

Once getting to the door leading to the Shade of Aran's room, we explained the fight again, buffed up, and went in to a quick wipe. The Shade's Arcane Explosion fills almost the whole room, and you have to have your body against the wall. Most of us, including myself, hung out a little too close so his first Arcane Explosion caused the wipe. The next attempt was a little better. We weren't stopping enough of his fireballs and frostbolts so his mana was diminishing as fast as his health. The end result was a few deaths, a mass polymorph, a few pyroblasts, and basically... a wipe.

The next attempt was going great. His health was below his mana. We were all doing great. We had him down to about 50% health. Then a Flame Wreath came. No problem, nobody move. Well... it was no Stay Puff Marshmallow man, but somebody moved. And that caused that wipe. We still would have had to deal with the elementals, but to that point, it was the best we had done.

It's really funny how self doubt worked on me the next couple of days. I knew not to move. Deadly Boss Mobs had this huge message across the screen of "Don't Move". At the time, I knew I didn't move, but over the next few days I found myself thinking, "Did I move?"

I think we got two more shots after that and we came close, but no cigar. The elemental adds were our demise one time, killing our main tank. And I don't recall now what happened the last time. We then decided to go for the "free loot" from the Chess Event since there would be enough respawn to block us from going freely in the next time. Due to an unfortunate pull, we wiped, and that was the end of the evening.

It's a learning process. It's progression. There's some nights where you don't get the phat lewt. I had fun, but it was just one of those nights.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Tragedy for Romulo and Julianne

I really need to remember to take screen shots. I'll put that on my to do list. But last night we took down Romulo and Julianne, which means that we've not successfully defeated all of the bosses for the Opera event. Having done all of them, I'd say my favorite is the Big Bad Wolf. It's just a lot of fun to run around with the Little Red Riding Hood debuff on, providing you with the increased speed and being chased by a Big Bad Wolf. But I digressed.

For a quick summary of what happens... you kill Julianne, then you kill Romulo, then you kill them both together. Oh, and they have to die within about 10 seconds of each other. Again, see BossKillers for a more in depth explanation. The trickiest parts seem to be at the transitions. Yes, you need to keep vigilant to get rid of both of their buffs, and Julianne's heals must be stopped, but the transitions is where we seem to have the issue.

On our first attempt last night, we seemed to have everything going well at first. Killed one, then the other, and then they both came up. DPS was split between the two, we shifted focus when one had lost more health than the other. And at one point, Romulo needed more DPS, so we focused on him. Well... we lost focus on Julianne, she got off a heal. Meanwhile we killed Romulo, but there was no way we could kill Julianne once she got off the heals, so it ultimately meant a wipe for our party.

The second time was just like clockwork. We easily took them both down. And it made my night when Romulo dropped the Trial-Fire Trousers, and I won. It was a pretty big upgrade over my Incanter's Trousers. But since I had the spell thread on my old ones, I couldn't use them yet. I got the mats, and I'll get the thread on the new ones tonight.

Next it was off to Curator. After one failed attempt, we had him down to about 25%. Everyone had health. Everyone had mana. It was going to be an easy victory. Then our main tank disconnected. Well, the Curator went through and smacked down everyone at that point. I'm pretty sure the DC was the cause of the first failed attempt as well, we just weren't as close to killing the Curator. So, we politely moved him out of the party, got somebody else in, and then took him down on the first try with the new group.

We'll venture in a bit further tonight and see what fate brings us.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Raiding Orgrimmar for... Kicks

In World of Warcraft, we've generally been conditioned to do something because we get something in return. I know this is a huge generalization, but a lot of people now PVP because you can get some great gear from it. People raid because they want epics. Quests are done for rewards, etc. But sometimes it's fun to do something, just because.

I went with a fellow guildie or two on a raid of Orgrimmar of about 15 people or so the other night. As far as I could tell, there wasn't any real purpose in doing it, unless you count just hanging out and having fun. One of the paladins is fairly epic'ed out and was able to keep me (a low stam, clothie mage) alive as I tanked/Aoe'd everyone in sight. As long as we didn't get too may guards, we stayed alive and had a lot of fun. The funny thing was, about 5 people left, and it actually made the group stronger. Kinda odd, but funny. Eventually enough horde came in, and we had to escape out... somehow. The same pally provided a distraction for me as I rezzed and teleported.

I like to do a lot of things, just for the fun of it. There's the "silly" holiday quests, there's exploration/cliff diving for others... Personally I also like to fish, just to kill time and mess around. I don't really expect to make any major money off of fishing. (Currently a fishing skill of about 148 doesn't do much for the coffers.) I just do it for fun.

So, the question of the day is: What are some of the things that you do, or have done, in WoW just for the fun of it, that probably don't or won't net you any rewards?

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Chess Anyone?

Well, with the amount of time we had last night, we figured that it would be better to get the guaranteed loot from the Chess Event. "Guaranteed" only in the sense that once we got there, we'd most likely get the loot, but getting there seemed to be the challenge. It didn't help that our two MT's were not online. But it did help that we have a new recruit that puts all of us to shame on the damage meters.

The Chess event itself is kinda neat. If you don't succeed, you just get to try again. Nobody dies. No need to have a SS ready. Mages can effectively heal by controlling the bishops. Paladins can do damage. It's all great fun once you get there. We even had 3 epic items that dropped off of trash last night. One of them was Blinkstrike. (Still trying to decide what to do with it since it's BoE.)

But it's back to the beginning tonight. I'm assuming that if we have the decent group (like we've been having), we'll bust through all the beginning stuff and the Curator (at least) by the end of the evening. I'll be back to post about it on Thursday. Have a great 4th of July!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Curator Down

I love it when a plan comes together. So, among all my moaning and groaning about players that left the guild, something special happened. I guess you could say that the cream rose to the top, but that sounds a bit cliche. On Friday, we had most of our best players online. And I'm not just talking about most well-equipped. I'm talking about mad skillz. I'm talking about experience of working together. I'm talking about a group that just gelled. The group simply went very smooth.

Going in to Karazhan on Friday, we had only downed Attuman. Walking out on Friday night, we had downed, Moroes, Maiden of Virtue, The Big Bad Wolf, and The Curator. Some of the phat lewt was that of T4 Token that our Shaman got, Pauldrons of the Solace-Giver, Red Riding Hood's Cloak, Ribbon of Sacrifice, and Bands of Nefarious Deeds. (There may have been something else, but with all that loot, can you blame me for possibly forgetting something?)

We'll see if we can down the Shade of Aran tonight before the reset tomorrow.