Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Disappointment with the Skyguard

As I mentioned, I am having a lot of fun on some of these daily quests. I'm sure it will wear off when I've done them for like the 100th time. Part of the appeal, I'll admit, is the promise of future rewards. I can't wait to get the [Airman's Ribbon of Gallantry]. But that will take me a bit of time. For a more immediate award, I focused on the flight path at honored reputation with the Sha'tari Skyguard.

Now, I'll admit that I didn't do any research on this flight path. From what friends said (or at least what I remembered), once you hit honored, you got another flight path down to Blackwind Landing. So, last night, I burned a little extra midnight oil (okay, well past midnight after all the other things I did), and made sure I hit honored. I turned in my quest to hit honored, and strutted over to the guy that would be the flight master. I was puzzled when, upon talking to him, he didn't open a map like all other flight masters do. And then I was just plain disappointed when I finally figured out that this flight was only between two points. With my porting abilities, there's almost no reason to take this flight path. Oh well... I took it once. I'll eventually get the Nether Mount itself, I suppose. And there's still Airman's Ribbon to look forward.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

High King Maulgar - First Kill

Last night was our second attempt at High King Maulgar. He's now dead. Well, technically because of today being Tuesday and the server maintenance, not really sure if he's dead or alive... but he was dead last night when we looted his corpse. He dropped [Pauldrons of the Fallen Defender], [Pauldrons of the Fallen Defender], and a third item that I totally can't remember at the moment. (Help me out, guys.) Those two pauldrons went to two of our druids, so gratz Justicar and Melanion.

The fight is pretty hectic. By far the pull and first few moments are the hardest. Each time you kill one of the 5 ogres, the fight gets a little easier. I honestly lost track of how many attempts we had. Our main problems were keeping the mage alive through the fireball that he'd have to take and keeping the Main Tank alive against High King Maulgar's hard hits. The warlock, Olm, didn't really give us any troubles (for the most part), and Blindeye, the priest, wasn't really an issue either except for the occasional big heal that he got off in some of the attempts. Kiggler got lose a few times, and I had to help range tank him. Me with about 20 nature resist. lol.

Our final attempt was one that wasn't starting out the best. Our Main Tank had to be battle rezed. The fight as a whole seemed slow and not one of our best attempts. But as we continued to trudge along, there was a clearing, and there was about 23 of us left to face the High King alone. After his enrage and a few deaths (including myself), we defeated him. So, the first time we got all the adds down, we 1-shotted him. (Isn't it amazing what the right qualifiers can do to a statement?)

To me, it's one of those fights that's really hard to learn (for some unknown reason), but once you get it, it's kinda a piece of cake. I say that now having killed him only once. lol. Like somebody said last night, the fight is very similar to the Moroes fight. You can watch videos, read strategy guides, but you don't really learn the fight until you start doing it. And at first it seems very difficult. And then something just clicks, and it becomes an easy fight. I'm not sure we've had that complete "click" yet, but I know things were falling into place, and we finally did it... that's the proof.

Gratz to all of Primogeniture. We've all contributed to the success. This week, let's kill the High King and Gruul!!!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Fun With Dailies

I realize this is probably old news to most of my readers, but I was a little slow on these. I'm just now starting some of the dailies, and the fun that goes along with them. Oh, and there's a good bit of money to be had as well. So, just what are Daily Quests or Dailies? Most of the dailies are quests that can be completed fairly quickly. You can do up to 10 dailies per day; and as the name implies, you can doe each of these quests every day, once per day. It seems that most of them are about 12g and reputation each time you turn them in. So, not bad. So, where are these quests?

At 58, you can start getting the ones from Honor Hold or Thrallmar (depending on your faction). Sometimes referred to as the PVP or Towers quest. You basically have to capture each of the 3 towers in Hellfire Peninsula. Not a lot of gold on this one, but you do get 3 Marks of Honor that can be spent at the Quartermaster for your faction here in Hellfire Peninsula. You also get some reputation with that city.

After that, I'll send you on over to Wowwiki to see all of them. I haven't done Banish More Demons from the Ogri'la yet, because I don't have the reputation yet. Nor have I done any of the Netherwing quests yet (still shy the 5000g for my epic flying mount). But I think a lot of them are a lot of fun. The egg bombings for Fires over Skettis are kind of neat. I hate those stupid birds that knock you out of the sky. Finding the prisoner for Escape from Skettis can be a huge pain, especially if all the spawn points are camped.

Bomb Them Again, Wrangle More Aether Rays!, and The Relic's Emanation are all pretty new to me. I think they're all pretty novel ideas. Granted, the Aether Rays has kind of been done before (see Fallen Hero of the Horde quest line) where you have to take an enemy down to a certain % and then do something before they die. Unfortunately, I kept killing the Aether Rays. I guess my spells just hit too hard.

The Relic's Emanation = Simon. Simply, fun, entertaining, but not aggravating to where you have to memorize a pattern of 20. Bomb Them Again is kinda almost exactly what I wanted/imagined when I first starting dreaming of a flying mount. I'm just really impressed with these quests. I really need to get out of a dungeon so that I can quest more. There's a lot of neat quests out there.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Group Composition for Karazhan

I remember when we were gearing up for Karazhan and trying to gather all the information possible. Is our gear good enough? Do we have the right classes? How far in should we expect to go? So, I thought I'd throw together a few observations on those questions you may have if you're first venturing into Karazhan.

Group Composition
We generally go with the philosophy of wanting one from each class, and then one additional member. Keep in mind, this is an "ideal" list, and rarely happens in practice. Things to keep in mind: You'll need 2 tanks, 3 healers and 5 DPS. You can get away with 2 healers for some of the easier battles, but to make things easy, this is what you'll need.

You may also have some of your hybrids play a duel role at some point. We generally have our pally tank some of the undead groups in the Ballroom right before Moroes. He can usually hold the large, undead groups better than our other tanks, so it speeds up the AoE process with less casualties. Also, a druid for a second tank usually has the gear to go full dps on the fights such as Shade of Aran or Prince where only 1 tank is needed.

You can certainly mix up the groups with different classes. Two or three priests for shackling in Moroes' room certainly doesn't hurt... being able to banish two or more of the elementals in the Shade fight... these aren't bad things. You mainly need to make sure that you stick with the basic rule of 2/3/5. If you have 4 prot tanks, you may want to think about letting 2 of them sit out.

What is needed? This is kind of a hard question to answer. The response question may be: how far do you want to go? You can probably do the animal bosses the first time in to Karazhan. To get attuned to Kara, you had to do enough in instances that you're probably geared enough for at least those. They may even be your groups first purple boots, bracers, and/or belt. The next few fights mainly take enough coordination, with Moroes and the Opera Event ramping up even more. By the time you're hitting Moroes, you probably shouldn't have any greens except maybe a trinket or two. And in the nights you're not running Karazhan, you should be getting the rest of your Heroic Keys and running Heroic instances. You'll should probably get a feel for what each boss will need as you attempt them. Give them a few attempts each, and don't be afraid to put them off to next week because you need more drops from Maiden or something like that.

This one may depend on how much money you want to spend. Flasks are going to be great to use while you're learning these bosses. They persist through death and last for 2 hours. You'll also want an ample supply of Health/Mana pots, food (stam, +dmg or +healing), and mana/wizard oil. As you gear out, you'll probably need less of these things, but it's better to be over prepared and one-shot 3 bosses then having to keep corpse running back.

Those were my initial thoughts of beginning to do Karazhan. Anyone else have ideas for the basics?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Death Knights Don't Require an 80

Good stuff came out of Leipzig, Germany. MMO-Champion provided a translation of the Q&A with Jeff Kaplan. I'll let you go over there so I'm not completely re-blogging, but some of the highlights are:
  • Level 80 Stratholme - You're the one that burns it. (Think Warcraft III.)
  • Death Knight creation is still uncertain, but it sounds like it won't be a level 80 quest so that players don't feel they have to rush to 80 to unlock it.
  • There's some further description on the Runes for the Death Knight, but I still don't have a good picture of it. heh.
  • And there will eventually be further Heroic Classes. I guess I'll eventually get an Arch Mage.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Battleground: Crossbows & Catapults

Okay, so this isn't a PVP post. It's not about any breaking news for Wrath of the Lich King. This will be more of a nostalgia post for me (and I know at least one other person, but hopefully more). For years I have had extremely fond memories of Crossbows & Catapults, the game you'd play on a hard floor and shoot discs at your opponents tower in attempt to knock it down. I've long since gotten rid of my pieces from this epic game, but it comes up in memories every once and awhile. (I know I had the Trojan horse, and the main set (I think), not sure what else I had.) I've seen it on E-bay or even used from Amazon for about $100 (like I'm gonna pay that).

But today, while walking through Toys R Us, browsing for upcoming birthdays for my children, I saw it: Battleground: Crossbows & Catapults. Even more geared directly to me, it's now the Knights vs. the Orcs. (Alliance vs. Horde?) I didn't pick it up since my kids won't be old enough for a few years, but I'm glad that somebody shared my dream of bringing back old toys like this one. Crossbows & Catapults? Check. Transformers? Check. Now if we can just get somebody to bring back the space guys that had magnets on their feet that would activate their vehicles (Space Something?) and the cars that would flip up their doors and fly (Not even a clue on the name of that one), I could relive my whole childhood with my kids. Oh, and of course Legos are on that list... but they're not going anywhere... ever.

Anyone else remember Crossbows & Catapults? And can anyone else remember the names of the two other toys I'm think of? (Gotta think 80's for this one.)

Tracking Damage

While I've admitted that I'm not a huge fan of knowing who's on top of the damage meters, I think I may have under stressed the importance of knowing who can deal serious damage when needed. If two people of the same class are dead and I only have one battle rez, who am I going to rebirth? Did the mage who went from quest greens to full Spellfire set really increase their DPS that much? So, while I hate them (for the pissing contest they can be sometimes), it's one of those necessary evils I suppose. Furthermore, I've probably had a damage tracker installed as an add-on since my first toon hit 25.

So, where do you go? What do you install? The time honored favorite from what I've seen seems to be DamageMeters. It's pretty simple and straight forward. It shows up as a little box that fills up any time somebody in your party or raid does damage or heals. You can have it show up as Healing Done or Damage Done. I'm fairly certain it will track all healing though. So, overhealing could certainly pad the scales quite a bit. Meanwhile, killing rats with Pyroblast could also be a way of cheating the meters, but not really the point I'm trying to make. lol. You can right-click on the meters to bring up a whole list of options. This is also where you tell it to report the meters to raid/party/whisper/whatever.

There are some limitations with DamageMeters however. It only tracks the damage you see, so there's a distance issue. If you die and are corpsing back while the rest of the party is still blasting/healing away, they don't get credit for all of that fighting. Or in some fights where people have to be spaced out, there may be some issues as well. I believe by default, the distance limitation is 50 yards, but I could be mistaken on that one. So, if you're on one side of the dining room fighting the adds for Moroes, the tanks on the other side may not get credit.

SW Stats, however, seems to overcome that limitation. You'll notice the same basic structure as DamageMeters. You get to see who's on top of the damage/healing charts. There's some nice, easy ways to report the stats to any channel you wish. But the difference is that SW Stats works behind the scene to synchronize the data between everyone that's running the mod. They recommend having 5 people using the mod will more than cover your entire raid. So, once a sync is requested by a player, all "members" that use the mod are asked to alloy the sync. (Usually would occur at the beginning of a raid or boss fight, but whenever.) That resets the meter from that point. It's technical, but it uses some type of time line, so your data isn't technically erased. At any rate... it tracks data, and it tracks it well. ;)

Now, to be fair to DamageMeters, there is some synchronization going on. But it doesn't work quite the same. If I recall correctly, all members have to have it set to allow syncs, and even then you sometimes get old data, or data from other players' alts. So, it seems that they've got the basic concept down, but I've never seen it work as well as the first night (and every night) that I use SW Stats.

So... If you want a damage/healing tracking tool, my recommendation is to download SW Stats and tell all your friends about it. lol. Does anyone know of any other tracking tools like these two? Who knows... maybe there's something better out there.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Things I Learned about Prince Malchezaar

So, I've talked about Prince once or twice in my blog. And I noticed that I may have "under-blogged" the necessity to have a really well geared tank. I think I've kind of taken that for granted. Of course, aren't tanks and healers always the unappreciated parts of the party? I'm certainly no tank. My range of tank alts is pretty low. I have a level 32 Druid that has pretty much done everything solo. I have a level 26 Paladin that has seen a few low level instances, and even tanked a few. And I have a level 19 Warrior. So, while I can't really give the intimate details of being a stellar tank, I have noticed a huge difference in different tanks that we use.

As with any class, there's two aspects of how well any toon will perform. First, there's the issue of gear. In my opinion, a warrior taking on Prince is probably going to want to have [Crest of the Sha'tar]. Yeah, it takes a bit of instance crawling in the Tempest Keep to make get the exalted rep required, but it's a guaranteed purple. No matter how anyone rolls, as long as you do enough Tempest Keep runs, this will be yours, guaranteed. For a druid, it's going to be [Earthwarden], which requires Coilfang Reservoir runs until exalted with Cenarian Expedition.

The next aspect, and probably more importantly, is the skill of the person actually playing that character. We often joke, sometimes more seriously than others, that certain PUG toons that we've run across got their accounts off of E-bay. It basically means that they didn't take the time to level to 70 (in the true literal meaning of it) or that they just didn't pay attention to how their class works or should work during those 70 levels. I have seen some exceptional players with mediocre gear pull off truly amazing feats.

Again, Prince Malchezaar needs both. The exceptional gear helps to absorb or mitigate some of the devastating damage that he does. But the tank also needs to know when to take potions or use trinkets, etc. It's a tough fight, and there's some luck that comes in as well. He also can proc Windfurry or something of that nature and do like 16K damage in less than a second.

So, what else have I learned? I've learned that his Shadow Nova, which is always a bad thing to take damage from, has a 30 yard range. Coincidently enough, my wand also had a 30 yard range. Luckily, my Scorch and Fireball spells have a > 30 yard range. So, if I can attack with my wand and I'm enfeebled, I'd better back up.

I've also learned to watch the comets that drop out of the sky and become Infernals. The comet always follows the same initial path, and then it will randomly turn once and follow that path until it hits the ground. It's a bit tough to figure out exactly where it will drop, but you can still get a pretty good idea.

Long story made short about last night: We attempted Prince a number of times. I think we got him down to 18% our first attempt, so we knew it would be possible. On the last attempt, his health seemed to sit at 1% for the longest time. Of course, most everyone was dead at that point because of all the Infernal spawns, so it probably did take a really, really long time. But, more importantly... when it was all said and done... Primogeniture had 2 (or 3) people standing over the Prince's dead body. I think it was the first Prince kill for about 7 of the people on the raid, so it was a great accomplishment.

Those are a few of my observations being a ranged DPS watching out for those darn Infernals. What have you learned from your experiences with Prince?

Monday, August 20, 2007


First off, sorry for missing a couple days of posts. I've been doing some training at work and haven't been able to make the time at home. That said... I'm back. :) This will certainly be review for most, if not all, of you, but I thought it would be important to document for any beginning raid/party leaders.

Back in the day before the expansion, the guild I co-led (Cracked Anvil Trading Co.) wasn't really a raiding guild. The guild was mostly started because 2 of my brothers and myself got tired of the random guild invites. Once we started the guild, it continued to grow by leaps and bounds by only by adding people we knew in real life. We had people of all ages, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, friends, etc... It made for an awesome social guild and if fit a lot of our play styles extremely well.

A lot of us wanted to do more and advance past 60. So, naturally we'd run things like Scholomance and Stratholme. We ran UBRS who knows how many times (and that's where my story today will focus). We eventually progressed through most of ZG, but never did a full clear.

Now I know this is no bragging rights by any means, but man did we have UBRS down. (That makes me sound so noobish, but let me make my point.) For most of us, it became pretty much a yawn-fest. But a necessary one. We needed more people to consistently fill 20 spots for ZG, but there was some lacking in the gear category. So, for Dungeon 1 chest pieces and other drops, we ran UBRS as a guild a lot. It got very second nature for most of us... we basically put it on cruise control.

Now, Karazhan's no UBRS, but I get in the same lazy mind-set sometimes. Or at least to a small degree I do. Because we've switched some groups around not everyone in my group has killed everyone in Kara. On the contrary, most people have not. So, I should be on the top of my game in both fighting and leading (which is one of my roles). I assume that everyone has the same "hurried" attitude and that we'll all be ready as soon as I say go. I've found this to be mostly false.

By no fault of their own, people aren't always ready when I am. Maybe somebody got lost or needs more mana or had a power outage and is completely offline. (Okay, the offline thing I've always caught.) But just in case you don't know... /readycheck is your friend.

/readycheck can be initiated by a raid or party leader or a raid assistant. It provides each member of the group with a little dialog box asking if they're ready. Then it provides information back to the person that initiated it. If folks are afk (flagged afk, not just literally away from their keyboard) or disconnected, it will tell the initiator immediately. It will tell that person if somebody hit "no", which is a perfectly acceptable thing to do if you're not quite ready. Or, if everyone is ready, it will give that feedback to the initiator as well.

It's just a great tool to use to make sure that everyone is ready for the next boss or pull; especially after any short break (such as a raid wipe or enough deaths to allow somebody to step away from thier computer for a short amonut of time).

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Wow Web Stats

I'll admit it: I'm a numbers guy. It's part of my nature at this point. After years of creating and analyzing reports, I don't think I could help it if I tried. So rather than shun this fact, I embrace it wholeheartedly. But being that I create reports for upper management, I'm also aware of the necessity to keep report meaningful.

That said, I have to go on record and say that I kind of hate in-game damage meters. It's like you're seeing one small piece of this really huge pie. Hey! That rogue did the most damage; he must be the best. It's like only looking at the revenue of a company's profit and loss statements. Oh great! This company is making millions of dollars! Of course, they're spending billions, so they're really deep in the hole, but who cares, right?

Enter Wow Web Stats. This tool gives an amazingly detailed and useful tool in analyzing your raid or group. You can sort the stats in many different ways. You can see individual players and down to the level of each spell. How much does that Fireball crit for in one night? How is the healer's HPS? Who over-healed the most? Which mage was removing more curses? The stats just go on and on. It really provides more of a true picture than just who was the top 3 on the meters.

It's really quite easy to set up and do. You simply type /combatlog while in game. (Note: each time you want a new combat log, you have to manually delete the old one.) Wow will tell you where the combat log is being generated. (Wow folder/logs if I remember correctly.) Once you're finished, you can type /combatlog again, and then get to work creating your report. You can even have multiple people gathering data and combine it in one report for increased accuracy. All the details of what to do and how to create the report can be found over at the WWS site. You can also see an example of how a report looks.

Just a really amazing tool to help you see the big picture.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Possessions Mod

I saw this one on WoW Insider the other day and knew I had to bring it up. Here's the scenario, and I'm sure it has probably happened to all of you: Somebody asks in guild chat, "Does anyone have any X item?" and your response is "I think I do in my bank" or "on an alt". So, you make the trip back to the bank because they really need it. Or you log on with the alt for the same reason. "Oh wait," you respond, "I used them all yesterday." There's certainly got to be a way to be better organized.

There used to be a mod that I used called Character Inventory (or something like that) that would show you the bags and bank slots of all your toons. It was really nice because you could see your own bank even when out in the field. But the Add-on that WoW Insider recently highlighted seems to go even further, and better.

It basically inventories all of your items in bags and bank, and then you can do a search for the items. Take, for example, the picture I borrowed from WoW Insider. You can type in search criteria such as "silk". It will bring up all the items that have the word "silk" in them that you have on any of your toons (once Possessions has scanned them all). Then when you mouse over the items, it tells you which alt has the item, and whether it's in their inventory or their bank.

While this add-on seems like it would really help me since I can't remember what is in my bank... for people that constantly move items between toons, this would probably be a required mod. I haven't taken the time to install it yet, but I can certainly see the huge benefit that this mod will give you.

For those that want it... head on over to World of Warcraft UI / Mods to pick up this beauty.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Consortium Rep

Starting out with my Everquest 2 days... when you got a higher standing with different groups, you would be seen differently. Guards might hail you as you walk by where as before you were completely ignored. It's been awhile since I've played, but I believe they would even salute you as you walked by if you had the minimum "reputation".

So, what's with all of the factions in World of Warcraft? You don't really get much. At Honored, all factions will give you 10% off their goods. I'm down with that. Great idea. What bothers me slightly is that after that, you really don't get much. Think about it. "Exalted" is a pretty high word to mean "we'll sell you this one item." But at least one faction in WoW will give you something worthwhile.

The Consortium can be found throughout all of Outlands. They're ethereal smugglers, traders and thieves who are led by Nexus-Prince Haramad. The greatest thing about them is they never stop giving. Once you reach a reputation of Friendly, you get a monthly salary that you can pick up from Gezhe in Aeris Landing in Nagrand. (Edit: Thanks Lichas for reminding me.) This salary is a bag of gems. As you progress up the reputation chain, you get better and more gems in the bag. So, not only do they have items and patterns that you obtain through reputation, but you also get a monthly dividend!

I want to see more of this type of faction in the expansion. But how do you get reputation with them? The simplest way is simply to do Mana Tombs over and over again. Once you hit Honored, you'll have to get Lower City reputation so that you can can get the key for Heroic Mana Tombs.

Most likely you won't live in Mana Tombs though. You may even get sick of running instances. And I only said it's the simplest way, not the fastest. There's quests all over for these guys. If you see an ethereal, and he's got a quest, most likely it will give you Consortium rep. You can see the quests over at WoWWiki. Of particular note, you'll want to complete Seek Out Ameer which starts in Stormspire, and then A Mission of Mercy. Once you've complete A Mission of Mercy, you can then collect [Ethereum Prison Key] in Heroic Mana Tombs. These will allow you to complete other quests, and eventually summon a 4th boss in Heroic Mana Tombs.

For the solo player, besides the normal quests there's also a couple of repeatable quests that do not require a group. You can complete Obsedian Warbeads and A Heap of Ethereals (Zaxxis Insignias) by pure grinding. The other repeatable quests are Ethereum Secrets obtained at Honored and A Thousand Worlds obtained at Revered.

Myself having only reached Honored, I haven't reaped a lot of the gem benefits from these guys. I've asked people to run Heroic Mana Tombs a lot of times, and I mostly get turned down. When I do get people in there and they realize they're getting Consortium Rep, they're usually excited about that. Maybe I just need to do a better job at my marketing. LFM for Heroic Mana Tombs should now become LFM for Heroic Consortium Rep Run.

Friday, August 10, 2007

TBC Reputation Calculator

WoW Insider pointed out a great site that shows how you can progress in reputation for each of the Burning Crusade factions. It also tells you how many of each instance/quest turn in/kill you need to progress to the next level. Check it out over at

Edit: Apparently the popularity of this site was too overwhelming for the traffic limit. Hopefully you can visit it at the beginning of the month when the server will once again allow traffic to the page. :)

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Spell Rotation for Single Target Fire Spells

PLEASE NOTE: As of 9/24/09, I have updated this post for WOTLK. I'm leaving this here for posterity, but please go visit the updated post here.

As a raiding mage, you have to know what your role in a raid is. You're not there to heal or to tank (although you do tank in some encounters). You're not there because everybody loves the intellect buff and your free food and water. You're there to do damage, and lots of it. We've got a little bit of all the flavors of damage as well. Aoe? Oh yeah... we're the kinds. Burst damage? Yeah, we got it. Sustained damage? I suppose this is kind of spec dependent, but there's certainly builds that help keep this even through most of the long fights. DoT's? Well... umm... Not exactly. But if you can get a Rolling Ignite and crit every 4 seconds, you're causing some serious damage. Okay, okay, we're not kings all around, but that wouldn't really be fair to the other classes, so we should be happy with what we've got. (And I am.)

"But which spell do I use in each situation?" you might ask. Being a deep fire spec (10/48/3), there's a few things that you should do to keep your DPS at it's height. The main thing is having 5 scorch (with improved scorch talent) up on your target at all times. This will increase all damage from fire spells by 15%. So, as far as Spell Rotation on bosses go, people say to start out with 5 scorches, and then something like 7 fireballs, 1 scorch, 7 fireballs, 1 scorch... etc. This keeps you doing your main nuke (fireball) for most of the time, but including a scorch within that 30 seconds to keep the full 5 debuffs on the boss. Personally, I don't buy it. I think it's kinda silly. What if you get resisted? You don't have time to cast another scorch before the debuff wears off. So, let's look at what each of the direct damage fire spells do so we can understand better when to use them. (I based the numbers from Arcannis Mage Damage and Talent Calculator using my current spec and gear bonuses.)

Fireball- This is your nuke. You're going to be casting this spell most of the time. Besides Pyroblast, it is your hardest hitting spell, but it is your highest DPS spell that does not have a cooldown. My average hit is about 2723 with a DoT of about 222 damage over 8 seconds. The average DoT from Incinerate is about 261 damage for 4 seconds. I have a sustained DPS (meaning over time and factoring in crits) of about 993 with this spell. DPM (Damage per Mana) comes in at 11.03. It's bread and butter; use it.

Scorch- As I mentioned before, if you have Improved Scorch as a talent, you want to make sure you have 5 of these debuffs on your target at all time. The debuff lasts for 30 seconds and is renewed every time somebody hits the target with another improved Scorch. (Remember, "hits" is an important word. The spell can be resisted.) With multiple mages, you can get 5 debuffs on a target in no time. The spell doesn't hit as hard as Fireball, so you can usually start a little earlier on the initial pull (don't have to worry about pulling agro as much). The DPS is 849 with a DPM of 11.45. The higher DPM means that you won't run out of mana as fast as with Fireball, but you won't do as much damage since the DPS is lower.

Fire Blast- This is the highest DPS single-target spell for mages. The hits aren't the strongest, but since it's an instant cast, the DPS comes in about 1334. The DPM, however, is 6.84. If you could chain cast this spell, you'd be out of mana real quick. But with the 8 second cooldown (6.5 talented), you'd be sitting around a lot. Use this spell if you need some burst damage, or you have some available mana. It's usually threaded somewhere in the middle of Fireballs.

Pyroblast- This is your hardest hitting spell. My average Pyroblast hit is about 3238 damage. But the super long cast time makes the DPS only 676. There's not a lot of reasons to use this in the middle of battle. If you've got Presence of Mind in your spec, an instant-Pyroblast is a huge boost to Pyroblast. It's also not a bad way to open with this spell. The DoT from this spell is the strongest we've got, so it doesn't hurt to have it on in the beginning of a fight. Let the tanks get agro while we wind up with one of these bad boys. It's even nicer if you have another fire mage in your group that can get the scorches up while you're casting this monster. It's deadly, no doubt, but, like I said, you probably don't want to be chain casting it.

That's about it for this week's Single Target Fire Spells lesson. I'll go through other specs and spells as well in due time. Our Kara group succeeded in clearing the tower in 2 days, so I actually have a few days of not being in there. :)

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

SmartBuff and SmartDebuff

I never saw a big problem with buffing my mage throughout her journey to level 60. Each of my buffs (Arcane Intellect and one of the two shields) were both 30 minutes long, and there was no real issue to remember to keep those buffs on. As I started leveling my priest, the 10-minute (max) Inner Fire, seemed to give me problems. Not to mention the Shadow Protection spell had the same problem for me. So, a friend of mine found a mod that would buff you, if needed, pretty much anytime you did anything. Whether you were turning or walking or running in circles, if you needed a buff, the mod was there. (Darned if I can't remember the name of that mod. Autobuff?)

Another mod from back in the day was Decursive. This one didn't have a pretty interface like most other mods I've used, but you would set up a macro to trigger it, and it worked great. Basically, any curse, poison, magic effect, etc. (based on your race) in your party or raid would be detected and moved when you clicked this magical button. It was great.

Then came the dreaded day for a lot of guilds when patch 1.10 came out. Blizzard no longer allowed you to hook procedures off of movements (that ruined Autobuff), nor did they allow you to cast a spell without first determining which target you would cast it at (bye-bye Decursive). I know this really devastated a lot of raiding guilds, but I can certainly understand Blizzard's point of view. They actually wanted us to think, and not mindlessly click a button until it said everything was clear.

I don't know if there's been any development directly on those mods, but the same friend showed me a replacement a long time ago. SmartBuff and SmartDebuff can be found on curse here. There's all the settings for all the classes. You can pretty much decide how and when you want to buff members of your group. It's not as easy as moving to cast, but it's still pretty darn simple. Once SmartBuff is all set up, you only need to scroll your mouse wheel and it will buff everyone in your group.

One of the great things about SmartBuff is that it takes some of the checking off your shoulders. You don't even have to check if Joe-Priest has Intellect on him if you absentmindedly zoom in and out like I do. If you're in a raid, you can click on check boxes to determine which party (or parties) you'll be responsible for buffing. And if those members aren't in your party, you would normally have to figure out if they have the buff (by either selecting them or looking for some small icon), then targeting them, and then casting the spell. Bah! Sounds like a lot of work. Just let SmartBuff take care of it for you.

SmartDebuff isn't quite as simple, but still is a huge time saver for me. A box similar to the one shown here is available to you. If you're solo-ing, it will have only your name in the box. When you're in a group, more names will come in. Personally, I have mine broken up by classes, but I believe there's a few options here. And hard to tell how fro this picture, but either a large "R" or "L" will pop up on the names. (I'm assuming it's the red ones how this picture has it set up.) As a mage, you only have to ever "L"-click (left click) the cursed members. But if you're a class that can get rid of multiple ailments, you'll either have to "R"-click (right click) or "L"-click the persons name. It's that simple. You just have to pay attention to the box. :)

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Netherspite Down Again

I've said this before and I'll say it again, most of the fights in WoW are really just learning the encounter and having everyone do their job. Yes, yes... gear has a big part too, but the experience and knowledge is even more important in my opinion. Netherspite is a perfect example of that.

Last night we only had Netherspite to kill before clearing Karazhan with the Gold Group. (We have two groups: Brown and Gold. I'm in the Gold.) Brown took down Netherspite on Friday night, but it was Gold's turn last night. I had done a lot of research, explained the fight and what we were going to do, but our first attempt wasn't too good. We got him down to about 70% or so, I think. Not bad for a bunch of people that hadn't seen the fight before. The next time, he immediately attacked and killed our paladin because he was sitting down (?) but since we only had 2 healers we didn't expect to win that one. Our next attempt was a miscommunication. We had told the other healer to go over and heal the tank while everyone else was running away from the dragon's netherbreathe. While we had previously all been huddled underneath the dragon, she thought that was where she was to stand. We only meant for her to stand in range to heal the tank. Communication ftl on that one.

I don't recall if there were other attempts in there, there may have been as we learned our roles. But we ended up having the rogue and warrior alternate to tank the green beam, the warrior and feral druid tanking the red beam, and the 3 mages and warlock tanking the blue beam. I'll tell you... it was fun standing in the blue beam for 30 seconds, then hitting my trinkets and combustion and seeing nukes for 7k. Fun times.

Our second to last attempt, we got him down to 9% before we wiped. Our final attempt though, was a clean sweep. Kind of funny how smooth the last time went. But we got the [Cowl of Defiance] and the [Earthblood Chestguard], the latter of which was sharded.

So, things should be pretty much on farm status for us. The Brown Group hasn't downed everything, but I'm sure that's just a matter of time and getting everyone together for a few nights. Like I said, I probably only really need my bracers to drop off of Maiden, but I'm really excited for everyone else to get some cool drops too.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Terran have Arrived

With Blizzcon, more units were announced for Starcraft 2. So, if you're interested, go check out and see what they're doing with the Terran race.

Karazhan Cleared

Looks like I have a little catching up to do. First off, anyone that hasn't read up on the next expansion that was announced at Blizzcon needs to head over to the Wow website right now. I'm sure Wrath of the Lich King and Death Knights will be come up in the conversation from time to time, and I don't want anyone to be confused or left behind. Other than that, I'll just go chronologically.

Thursday night, I had the most upgrades in one night. We killed the Prince, and I got [Nathrezim Mindblade]. The other mage with us, Spellfires, got his T4 helm, so gratz to him. The Prince also dropped the [Adornment of Stolen Souls], which I won on the roll. It was more of a side-grade than an upgrade, but the extra crit is pretty cool.

Next (same night) we went after Nightbane. The fight's really not all that difficult. You just repeat the same thing every 25% of his life. So... maybe I should restate that. If you can handle the first 25% of his life (and his flight right after that), then you should be able to handle all of the fight. Some fights seem to have a stage that totally switches things up and can wipe an unprepared party. Like I said, this is not one of those fights. It took us a number of tries, and a few "just one mores", but we did it. We downed Nightbane. He dropped a great off-hand, [Talisman of Nightbane], which I won as well. Now, if I can only get something to replace my [Shattrath Wraps]...

Our second group was actually the one to down Netherspite on Friday night. I don't recall what he dropped for them. Our group will be trying him tonight. It's all about coordination, from what I can tell. It should be a good fight.

Saturday we all grouped up and headed off to Gruul's Lair. I was a bit worried that I wouldn't get to go since our power was out for about an hour, but that was between about 6:30 and 7:30. I must have been bad luck though because our main tank, Thellonious, had his power go out just after we grouped up, about 8:30, and stayed out for an hour as well. Regardless, I was still impressed that our guild is so strong now. I think we had to get 2 (or maybe just 1) person from outside the guild. And there were a few regulars from our guild that weren't on. After some re-adjustments to now having 25 people in the group, and the two quick pulls, we got to the first boss. Long story short: we learned a lot, but we didn't kill very much. We killed the priest, Blindeye the Seer, once, but I think that was about it. I honestly think we're geared enough, it's just appropriating the right resources and getting the strategy down. I guess we'll all need to read up on some sites for this one.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Raid Progression

I'll keep this as a history, but for current Raid Progression, see Primogeniture's Boss Progress.

BossDate First Downed
  • Attumen the Huntsman

  • Moroes

  • Maiden of Virtue

  • Opera House

    1. Wizard of Oz

    2. The Big Bad Wolf

    3. Romulo & Julianne

  • The Curator

  • Terestian Illhoof

  • Shade of Aran

  • Netherspite

  • Chess Event

  • Prince Malchezaar

  • Nightbane

  • 5/25/07

  • 6/2/07

  • 5/25/07

    1. 6/22/07

    2. 6/29/07

    3. 7/5/07

  • 6/29/2007

  • 7/23/2007

  • 7/14/2007

  • 8/3/2007

  • 7/2/2007

  • 7/26/2007

  • 8/2/2007

  • BossDate First Downed
  • High King Maulgar

  • Gruul the Dragonkiller

  • 8/27/07

  • 9/11/07

  • New Item Links

    After much struggling with other possible solutions that didn't work out, I had to give credit where credit was due. I recently stumbled across Armory Musing... and found that he too was on Blogger and he had mouse-over item stats (something that I thought was really cool and was trying to figure out without having to write all the data myself). Furthermore, he even explained how to link items such as [Etermium Runed Blade] on a post here. So a big shout out and Thank You to Okoloth.

    The Price of Playing a Mage

    From the player that pretty much has the market on 1-300 or 300-375 profession leveling guides, come an interesting analysis of the cost of leveling the professions. Interesting to note that enchanting is the most expensive profession based on buying mats from the AH. Granted, I know all you enchanters get most of your mats from disenchanting items, but it still bring up an interesting point.

    I still don't have my flying epic mount. I've practically given up on farming for gold because I've found it mostly un-fun. I'll use my enchanting to get some gold here or there. I run enough instances that I break even at worst after repairs. I had always wanted to get the flying epic mount, and still do, but it's become less of a priority at the moment. From the looks of that analysis, I probably spent enough during the leveling process of tailoring and enchanting that I could have had a flying epic mount. But, as a guildie said, you can't take an epic mount into a dungeon.

    So, what does that mean? For a mage, having tailoring and enchanting as your two professions will almost always give you a leg-up. At 375, you can craft all of the Spellfire set including the [Spellfire Robe]. Each piece by itself is amazing considering you don't have to set food in any dungeon. But then you look at the 3-piece set bonus. Plus spell damage up to 7% of your Intellect. Being that Intellect is one of our major stats, it's very nice to have an increased reason to have that stat. And, in case you didn't notice, all of those items are BoP. So, while it may cost you 1,381g to get tailoring up to 375 (not including the gold or mats to make the Spellfire set), you can bring that into a dungeon. So, tailoring for a mage, while expensive, is a really good choice.

    What about enchanting? When I first started leveling enchanting, I did it because I wanted to make myself a wand. Little did I know that the enchanting wands didn't go very far, and I'd usually replace them with dungeon drops moments after I was able to actually craft them. It's been expensive, and a small part of me misses that money. But overall, I believe I've spent enough time advertising in the trade channel to at least make the hurt not so bad. So now that I'm 375, what now? Well, with the release of the Burning Crusade, the only enchant that non-enchanters can't get is enchant to rings. So that means that because I'm an enchanter, I can have an extra 24 spell damage (12 per ring) more than other non-enchanters can have. Would I suggest dropping 4,842g so you can get 24 more spell damage? Probably not. But at least it's a semi-sane justification for all the money I've put in. Don't tell me otherwise... I'm contend in my own little coma.

    Wednesday, August 1, 2007

    Expansion Details (Brainstorming)

    In scanning various WoW sites, I've read a lot of speculation about what the next expansion for World of Warcraft will entail. With Blizzcon this weekend and Blizzard's goal to have an expansion each year, there's a lot of rumors surfacing. I've read that the next expansion will be Northrend, possibly called "Wrath of the Lich King". There's also the possibility from IGN that the next expansion will be "Into the Maelstrom".

    Other speculations I've heard is that the cap will be raised to 80. The closest thing I've heard to help substantiate that is that Blizzard has said that a full raid at level 80 will be needed to down Arthas Menethil, who most likely resides in Northrend. IGN's tipster said:
    Advancement after level 70 will be through Hero Classes rather than talents. Hero classes will function as subclasses and each existing class will have 3 of these hero classes to choose from. These hero classes will not be limited by talent choices. Players will be able to choose these new subclasses at trainers when ItM (sic) goes live.
    It seems there's so many rumors flying around. Who knows what's true? Personally, I kind of doubt the Hero Class thing. The last comments I remember hearing about the Hero Class from a Blue was that the idea was pretty much scrapped. So, I looked it up. (Don't you love BlueTracker?) From a quoted blue post, we get that the Hero class was kind of put on the back burner. But looking at that one... it was more than a year ago. Have I really been reading the WoW Forums for that long? I remember when I saw Nethaera's original post. Oh yeah... I've been addicted for awhile now.

    I'd kind of like to see a new class. The last "new" class of giving Horde Paladins and Alliance Shaman, wasn't really new. Yeah, it was cool, but kind of seemed like a cheap way out. There's the rumor of the Death Knight being the new class. I'm not sure how different that would be from some of the other classes, but not sure that it has to be either.

    Also, another 10 levels... is that gonna screw up the gear again? Azeroth purples were being traded right and left for Outland greens. At some point, every expansion has to replace gear to allow for additional increased leveling, but is it too soon? I obviously have at least 5 months or so until the next expansion, so it's not like I feel like my raiding is wasted. (On the contrary, I really enjoy the fights and experiences I'm having even if I don't get any epic gear out of it.) Also is 1-80 going to be

    I know it's all speculation, but it's kind of fun too. So, what other rumors have you heard about the next expansion? I'm sure we'll find out a thing or two this weekend. At least... I hope we will.