Thursday, January 31, 2008

Some Days, It Doesn't Pay to Get Out of Bed

“Farm Status” is a very tricky thing. For example, I’d say that we have Karazhan on farm status, but some nights it feels like Prince and Shade can’t be killed if we used an atomic bomb. Sure, I still consider them on farm, but when does something cross over from new content to farm?

Last night, we took a group of people into ZA to try to farm the 2 bosses we’ve killed before, and make a good, solid attempt on the Dragonhawk. We were even optimistic that we’d get the first boss or two down in the allotted time for the bonus. We had heard that it was easier to take down the Eagle boss before the Bear, so we tried that first. Got through the gauntlet with no problems, and that’s when things kind of fell apart.

Long story short: we didn’t kill the Eagle Boss. After 30 minutes of trying, and then getting respawn, we decided to kill the Bear boss and then try the Dragonhawk. Ok, so… it’s still kind of touch and go with the Eagle. I wouldn’t consider him on farm even though we’ve killed him probably 4 times. The Bear boss should be a piece of cake for our raid group. The first time there was a mix up on who was supposed to tank which form, so a tank died. Then a tank got two bleed effects on him because he taunted too early, so he died. I think it was only 4 attempts before we pulled it off, but it sure seemed like a lifetime.

Then there was the Dragonhawk. I’m going to quote from Shade here: “I want this nightmare to be over.” We initially got through that gauntlet fairly smooth. Had a few learning attempts on the boss, and then part of our group had to run back in since our rezzers were dead. During the down time, I had enough time to get and eat a bowl of ice cream, play with my UI, have multiple conversations, knit a sweater, paint my kitchen, and solve world hunger. “Let us come back and help you out.” “No, no,” came the reply, “we’ll make it back.” I’m the GM… I should have just pulled rank. Lol.

At any rate… we didn’t kill him, but we got 30 of the 40 eggs hatched. We’ll try again tonight.

p.s. Got my whole, new computer put together last night, and only then did I realize that the old power supplies are about 4 pins short for the mother board power cable. /sigh. Picked up another today, and I should be set for tonight.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Late Night Heroics and the Last Few Days

Before I get to the title of this post, just a few quick housecleaning items.  I was too busy researching computer parts to bother to post yesterday.  (See where my priorities are?)  I really held back on a lot of parts, but I got a decent motherboard that should allow me to upgrade for awhile if I so choose.  NewEgg had most of the best prices, and I trust them, and since I only live one city away from them, the “3-day delivery” is overnight as long as I get it in before 4:00 or so.  So, old computer is out, and new one (in parts form) will be delivered today.

We spent a great deal of time on the Dragonhawk boss on Monday night.  We had some issues getting through the gauntlet, but still had a solid amount of time to work on the actual boss.  I love how you can reset that boss… it makes down time between attempts so much faster.  We got all of the eggs hatched on one side multiple times.  We’re actually really close to getting it done on the other side as well.  I have a feeling that we’ll get another boss down in the next night or two.  We’ll see.

Gruul’s last night was an interesting dilemma for Primogeniture.  For once in our life, we had too many tanks and healers online and not enough dps.  So strange for us.  The High King was a bit of a challenge for some reason.  We always have somebody pull him by mistake (grrrr…), and then the High King wasn’t positioned right another time.  At any rate, once we got the pull down, we killed him that shot.  (Again… all about the pull.)  Then we one shotted Gruul.  Of course with 8 healers (or whatever we had), we probably could have just healed him to death.  Lol.

So… I was putzing around thinking I should get off when a guildie asked me to go into Heroic Black Morass.  I figured that that’s one of the shorter heroics, so I’d give it a try.  It was both the heroic and non-heroic daily.  It was mostly guildie, with a healer outside the guild that I’ve run with many times.  So, Shelby, Mattosaur, Leiandra, Tygamoon, and Mundi (non-guildie) destroyed Black Morass.  I was the only death because I was stupid.  Went up way too high on the agro meter, and started to invis after just one more fireball… I pulled agro and should have iceblocked… but didn’t find the button in time.  I really need to put that in a better position.  My “oh crap” button is my mana shield.  I really need to change that.  So, finished by about 1.  Really not bad at all.  So… Heroic Black Morass is possible.  And at this point in my gear progression, it’s not all that hard either.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Speeding up

We had a number of normal healers that were afk for last night’s ZA run.  Luckily we had enough healer alts or mains that could respec to be able to form two successful groups.

One of my officers ran the raid since my 20-month old decided to misplace my usb sound card for my laptop and my desktop wasn’t working*.  I can use the built-in speakers to hear everything, but the mic and audio ports have been so damaged that they no longer work, hence the usb sound card.  

The group I was in was about 30 seconds away from taking the Bear boss down in time to save the prisoners.  My sheep popped early and smacked me down.  Hopefully we can get that next time.  And then we 2-shotted the Eagle boss, with the first time getting him down to 1%.

One of our healers had to leave after that quick jaunt, so we’ll focus on the Dragonhawk tonight.  I know I’m counting my chickens before they hatch, but it would be great to finally down a new boss.

*On another note… I’ve had some major issues with my main computer to the point where I almost bought a whole new computer (well, the parts at any rate) today.  Talking with a co-worker, sounds like there’s one more thing I can try before I have to bury the old mare.  I know there’s a ton of faster things out there, and for less than $500 (I think I figured I could spend $300 for some pretty nice upgrades), but why spend it if I don’t have to?  I’ll keep you posted to see if it works… I’m sure you’re all on the edge of your seat to know if I fixed my computer or not.  Lol.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Stuck in Karazhan

I’m kind of a sucker for funny songs.  Around Christmas time, Elinor introduced me to Flight of the Conchords, and I’ve been laughing at almost all their songs ever since.  Was always a big Weird Al fan back in the day as well.

More recently, I saw the WoW Idol songs over at WoW Radio.  Some of my favorites are Hazzyrd and Moonxtal – No Pugs and Pet Mage – Lvled You.  I actually voted for Eccky – NPC.  But after listening to those songs, I kept having flashes of song lyrics in my head.  So, I took a couple days and came up with “Stuck in Karazhan”.  It’s to the tune of Dave Matthews’ Band – Crash Into Me.  Be nice with the criticism, kk?  Maybe one day I’ll actually sing it as well… while I have a pretty good voice, don’t hold your breath for that one.

You did the grind
You got to seventy
Seems like it took all eternity
Now you’re in on
A friendly guild
Sure beats doing The Killing Fields
Jump into a heroic run
And oh man, this sure is
Lots of fun
Almost geared for your first 10-man

Now you enter in Karazhan
And you can not get out
You can not get out
In a Nelf’s dream
In a Nelf’s dream

Downed Attuneman and Moroes
Maiden, Opera; they weren’t close
Now we take on the upper tower
When you enter in Karazhan, back door
And you can not get out
In a Nelf’s dream
In a Nelf’s dream

Curator dropped my T-four
And Illhoof and Shade, oh they were no more.
We tanked all those beams till
He died

Oh you enter in
Karazhan, yeah, player
And you can not get out
All DPS Prince Malchezaar
And watch the Infernals with me
All DPS Prince Malchezaar
He’ll drop T-4 for me
In a Nelf’s dream… In a Nelf’s dream

Oh I was King Llane
Then we summoned up Nightbane
But we can’t get more than the standard 10-man
Week after week
The way it has to be
For you, for me
Stuck in Karazhan

Killed the Prince of the Castle
Shade’s a dirty rascal
In Karazhan

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Not Left Out

It seems that a lot of my blogging colleagues have been hit by spammers in their comments. I was feeling a bit left out. Luckily, I logged in this morning to see that I get included as well. Ahh… how sweet. /sigh

I know that in and of itself is a little thing, and kind of silly, but I really want control over my blog again. (#$^@ Corporate Firewalls) I can’t moderate comments or add pictures or links (very well) or so many other things that I’ve been thinking about during the day, and I just plain am too lazy to think about it at night. (Besides, I’d rather be playing Wow if I can anyway.)

So, I have to finish fixing my computer (was able to finally side step an issue I was having with the Via Controller for my motherboard) and installing all the old programs. I need to work on some upgrades I’ve been fiddling with for the guild forums. I need to map my keys to my Nostromo… and THEN… I can look into setting up my own blog away from blogger.

So, again… if anyone is subscribed to the blogger feed, make sure you update it to

Thanks so much. And I promise I’ll talk about Wow related things again tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Flying Mounts and PVP

I know I got it awhile ago now, but I am so glad that I got my flying epic mount.  The speed increase when I’m in Arathi Basin, zooming from node to node is just awesome!  What?  No flying mounts in AB?  Oh… right… That’s just my epic land mount coupled with Slow Fall.

Well, that makes sense.  I mean… it is a pre-BC battleground, right?  So, at least I can mount up on my epic flying mount in Eye of the Storm.  Sure it was released before the Burning Crusade was, but at least Blizzard was planning on flight and integrated it into that battlegrounds.  What?  You’re kidding, right?  I can’t do it there either?

Hmm… well, at least I can head out to Nagrand pvp and bypass the wyvern roosts completely.  And... once again, I can’t do that either.

So, seriously.  What’s the point of having a flying epic mount if you can’t use it in pvp at all?  And don’t even give me that crap about world pvp.  Sure, it kind of works in Nagrand if you want to fly on over to another roost, but that’s about it.  Maybe some servers have gotten into epic world pvp battles in Terrokkar Forest, but certainly not mine.  (At least not that I’m aware of.)

I imagine people have already covered this story, but it still baffles me why we can’t use our flying mounts in Azeroth.  I understand that they don’t want to take the development time to complete all of the land mass.  I’m fine with that.  I’m simply asking that our flying mounts get transformed into land only mounts while we’re in the more restrictive areas of the Old World.  I believe the official Blizzard stance is that the new mounts aren’t meant to be a replacement of your old mounts.  But why not?  If I just go too fast on land in Azeroth… fine.  Slow me down.  It just seems silly to have all of these new, really cool mounts when they can’t be used in ½ the land mass.

At least, on the horizon, there is a whole zone that is completely dedicated to pvp in the next expansion.  I’m sure they wouldn’t ban our flying epic mounts there once we can fly again closer to the new cap.  Right?  I mean… they wouldn’t... right?  Oh no… they just might.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Cartographer Routes - Links

Sorry about that... forgot the links for the last post.  Here they are in raw form.  I'll update the post when I get home.
Cartographer Routes:
The Khorium Toolbox:

Farming Nodes with Cartographer Routes

I actually used a new add-on that I found from Wow Insider to do the farming I mentioned last week.  The mod is an add-on to of Cartographer and it’s called Routes.  Cartographer has a feature that allows you to track nodes mined, gathered, or otherwise encountered.  It also takes this information from guildies that have this mod installed as well.  The main reason I initially started using Cartographer was probably for the removal of the fog of war of the undiscovered areas.

But this new part of “Routes” takes all that mining node data and gives you the most effective route to hit all those possible gathering spots.  In Burning Steppes, for example, it had me doing a general circle around the whole area with the best path mapped out on both my map and mini map.  It will also include new nodes that you have found into your route.  Just be aware that you may need to re-analyze your route or it’ll have you doing ineffective zig-zags like it did for me.

At any rate... Cartographer Routes is a pretty nifty tool.  You can also head over to The Khorium Toolbox to find out how to use Routes.  Very useful, in my opinion.

Friday, January 18, 2008

The Mining Issue

Today, I’m considering the 5 gathering professions and their progression as you level.  What?  You didn’t realize there were 5?  While 2 of them aren’t really professions at all, they still have reason to be in this discussion.  Instead of using the word “profession”, maybe I should say the way you get materials for your producing professions.  How’s that?  So, from easiest to hardest to skill up:

The only thing that I found challenging about this profession is that you have to remember to go to the trainer to get your next cap level.  As long as you got this as your leveling, it’s pretty dang simple to get it leveled to max and always have enough leather to hand over to your leatherworking profession.

Cloth Gathering
This is one of the non-profession gathering things.  While it’s easy to get cloth, as a tailor, I found that I ran out of materials before leveling on the mobs of the next higher cloth, especially starting at silk.  Furthermore, I didn’t even bother leveling First Aid until I was upper 50’s.  So, leveling those at the same time, I imagine you’d probably be having to take up a personal vendetta against humanoids around the transition from Wool Cloth to Mageweave Cloth.  Still one of the easier “gathering professions” since you don’t need any skill at all.

The only issue here is that when you enter a new area, your skill isn’t usually high enough for all the herbs.  Example: when you first get herbalism, there’s a lot of earthroot around, but your stuck picking peacebloom.  Through my adventures, the herbs were generally where you were questing anyway, so just took you a few seconds to go pick a flower real quick.  Of course, the lure of that yellow dot could also lead you into some dangerous spots.  But it is fairly easy to gather enough materials while leveling to progress alchemy at a steady pace appropriate to your level.

This is one of the more difficult gathering tasks (excluding the use of the AH), because how do you solo farm for greens that are at your level?  Sure, you just kill a bunch of mobs hoping for a drop.  That’s about it.  You can’t really go after the elites at your level.  The career path my mage chose was to do Tailoring and Enchanting, so at least I could disenchant the greens that I made.  But it’s amazing how much money you lose (in opportunity cost) by disenchanting all your greens.  So for the “poor” factor, it rates up there as more difficult.  (As a high level enchanter, you can make a pretty good living, but expect to be poor on the flight up.)

Like Skinning and Herbalism, there’s no way to power level this profession.  At the beginning levels, it helps that you can skill up by smelting the ore as well, but for most of its life, you have to be in the foothills and caves looking for these nodes.  While leveling my Shaman, I felt that this wasn’t really a bad profession.  I could generally mine the nodes in the areas I was leveling.  Like herbalism, I may not be able to mine all the nodes at first, but by the time I was almost finished with the area, I usually could.  Then I got to Thorium.  My routes during leveling changed a bit, as I tried to stay near the mountains to find the nodes.  I did all the non-instance quests in WPL, EPL, and Silithus and was just barely able to mine the Rich Thorium Veins (requires 275 skill).  And since I hit 58 last night and headed off to Outlands, I can’t mine anything unless I get to a skill of 300.  So, I had to loop the Burning Steppes for a couple hours last night to hit 300.  This profession is further complicated by the professions it supports.  I’m now at 286 with my jewelcrafting, but I should still be mining Thorium to get the mats I need to level.  (Sounds like a trip to the AH for me.)  And from my high level blacksmithing friends, the nightmare only grows worse for them.  Each item to produce takes far greater amounts of ore.  If you want all the recipes, you have to produce items that require massive amounts of these metals.  Even if you just want to specialize, it’s not exactly an easy task.

So, when Blizzard said that they’re looking into easing the pain of leveling Mining… To that, I applaud.  I hope that just means that there are more nodes out there.  If you simply can get credit for smelting Thorium, and other higher ores, you still have the issue with the professions.  Along the same lines, I wonder if the faster leveling from level 20-60 has made a negative impact on the ease of these gathering professions since you probably spend less time in each area.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

How Big a Fan?

So, this post may be a day late, but with yesterday being the 1 year anniversary of the release of The Burning Crusade, it naturally made me remember what I was doing on January 15, 2007.

I went to sleep very early that night (around 7 or so) with my alarm set for later that evening.  Around 11 pm, I woke up, got on warm clothes and headed over to my local GameStop.  The store was already mostly full with an impromptu line that meandered throughout the store.  But hey… at least I was inside, right?  They started selling them at midnight, and about 12:20, I was driving home to go install the expansion.

There were some issues with my install, and by about 1:20, I was in Outlands.  I played for a couple hours before deciding that I should get a few more hours of sleep before I had to go to work.  While Hellfire Peninsula was pretty busy, it wasn’t extremely packed until the next evening.  I could actually pretty easily do a few quests when I first logged on.  Ah… fun times.

I haven’t attended BlizzCon even though I live in the Southern California area.  The price was just a little more than I wanted to spend, but I think I may attend the next time they have it.  I also live close enough to the 2 Fry’s Electronics that Blizzard had release parties at for the expansion… maybe I’ll go to one of those next time.

I have some Blizzard swag that a co-worker got me from the last Blizzcon.  I have a WLK wallpaper on my computer.  I have a Mage t-shirt from J!nx (thanks again, Elinor).  There’s even an idea to name our unborn child Corin per a suggestion from my wife when we were questing in Eastern Plaguelands.

So, yeah… I’m a pretty big dork.  But if you’re reading this, you’re probably a dork too.  So, how big a fan are you?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

1% ≈ Dead

First off… Messing with my new hard drive (stupid SATA and Via Controller) and trying to get it work (and as of 2:30 this morning, still not working), and then other more RL issues, I had very little time to get my Shaman to 58 before our raid started last night.  My plan was to be on Leiandra at 8 for 8:15 invites for a 8:30 raid.  When I turned in my last quest at 8:06 and only needed one more kill, I figured that I was already late (on my time-table), and I’d just get it done tonight.  The wife needs a couple more kills anyway, and then we’d have to train and travel to Outlands and all that stuff… Anyway, it will be soon.

For our raid last night, we were back in Gruul’s Lair.  For High King Maulgar, it’s just a lot of little things that seem to be taking us out.  One of our pally tanks accidentally got too close and body pulled the group on our first “attempt”.  Then we were having some positioning issues where Krosh was Blast Waving a healer or even the tank on Maulgar himself.  Like I’ve said a million times, that fight is almost 90% positioning.  Once we got everyone in the right position, we took them all down.  (Is that considered a 1-shot?  Lol)

Gruul was just Gruul.  We had a few more detrimental attacks because of Shatters… it happens sometimes.  We didn’t have our resto druid with us, so the silences were a bit tougher.  We had some really great attempts though.  The first one seemed to be going the smoothest I’ve ever seen until about 7 people all landed in the same spot after being thrown in the air.  One of the attempts we got him down to 1%.  1%!  That was heartbreaking.  We did get respawn.  (/sigh) One of our melee had to go, and our resto druid was online by that point, so it was a 1-shot after the respawn.

We’ve got the gear to easily 1-shot both bosses… it’s just the little, technical things that are killing us atm.  Sort those out, and we’ll have a pretty good shot at Magtheridon.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

PVPing for PVE

While I enjoy Pvp on occasion, it’s not usually the first thing I think of when I log in to Wow.  I generally think of the next 25-man instance we have going or what we can do for the next boss.  I double-check if there’s anything I need from any 5-man instance or badge gear.  (Okay… I used to check for those last two, but haven’t had an upgrade there in a very long time.)  When I do decide to PVP, it’s usually for the fun of the actual game, not really for the honor or arena points.  That’s just how my mind works.

But as a raiding anything, you really need to look at all your gear options, including Pvp gear.  It’s probably not going to replace all of your Pve gear, but it can certainly help to supplement it.  There’s a lot of great stats in the Pvp gear that can be used in Pve.  You generally have some + hit or + spell hit.  Resilience doesn’t do anything for you in Pve, but the stamina stat, which is generally quite plentiful in Pvp gear can be a huge help for your Pve gear.

“But I’m a ranged caster;” you say, “I don’t need stamina.”  There are many encounters where you need a certain amount of hit points to stay alive because you will get hit.  Furthermore, you can have the highest + dmg in the world, but if you can’t stay alive to use it, it means squat.  So, just like any stat, you have to determine how much you need, and then plan your gear accordingly.

Now, I’m not suggesting that you all go out to get your Season 3 gear so that you can raid Black Temple.  You can’t do Pve in straight Pvp gear and vice versa.  What I am suggesting is that while drops are random, there may be items that you can purchase through honor or arena points, that will be almost identical to that drop you’ve been waiting for, or maybe even better.

While I will continue to run arenas and battlegrounds with my friends because I enjoy it, I’ll also take a look at the gear as well to see if there’s anything I can use to help me out.  I’d suggest you do the same.

p.s. I replaced my Nathrezim Mindblade with the Merciless Gladiator’s Spellblade with arena points I forgot I had laying around.  I lost a big of crit, but I’m pretty sure it was an upgrade all around.

Monday, January 14, 2008


I’ve spent most of my free time this morning checking out, so I thought I’d share some comments about it today.  Thanks, meltfacer for that great link.

It’s basically a great gear comparison site by class and spec.  Not all of the classes and specs are there yet, but I think there’s some great knowledge in it.  It ranks items solely on DPS based on the specific spell rotation.  There’s good and bad to this, but overall it gives a good indication of what DPS you can expect with a given item.

Let me start out with the bad.  Items are only ranked by DPS and not much else.  So, while I tend to lean more towards purple items, but also recognizing that some blue (or even green items) can be better than a purple, it’s hard for me to believe that a green quest-reward trinket is better than an SSC trinket.  And even though you’re a DPS (whatever class you are), you still need a certain amount of stamina just to stay alive.  So, it’s a good comparison, but not necessarily the Bible you should live by.

It’s a great resource to see what items are next on your upgrade list.  Yes, I know that the Armory does that, but it never seems to give a very good comparison.  And with the DPS number attached to the item here, you know exactly how much of an upgrade (in terms of DPS) you are getting.  It also gives you some good advice on how to gem your item.  So, go check it out.

On a side note: My shaman and my wife’s priest are about ½ way through level 57.  So… soon I’ll be abandoning all my old quests and heading through the Dark Portal.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Watching WoW

An interesting thing has happened at my household.  I’m pretty sure that I’ve mentioned that I’m currently leveling a Shaman with my wife’s Shadow Priest (her first character.  We’re both level 55, and we have a lot of fun.  I always kind of thought that my wife was mainly doing it just to hang out with me; and while she enjoyed the game, she enjoyed my company most of all.

Due to some slight concerns with the pregnancy (oh, did I forget to mention that?), she’s been having to sit down a lot more lately.  Basically, if she exerts herself too much, she starts having some contractions, which isn’t a good thing when you’re still 2 full months from the due date.

So, since she’s sitting there on the couch, right next to the laptop anyway, she thought it would be fun to start another toon for something to do.  I suggested that she start a Draenei because I think Blizzard did a really great job with the new starting area and the new quests, and also so that I could easily send her bags and money if she needed them (as apposed to starting a Blood Elf).  She asked about each of the classes, and came up with the paladin class all on her own.  (Like my guild needs another paladin.  Lol)

She’s not very far in (only level 13), but I find that there have been a number of occasions that I have sat down next to her to watch her play… and I’ve enjoyed it.  The cool graphics, the neat story lines… I try to keep my mouth closed as much as possible so that I’m not playing the game vicariously.  She does a really great job.  She asks me questions on new spells or talents sometimes, but really, I’m just there for the entertainment of watching the game.

Then, the other night while I was in a raid, she comes up behind me and starts watching.  Granted, it was a bad night to watch raiding because we were sitting around a lot for various reasons.  People were having to run back after attempts on the Dragonhawk boss and dodging the scouts and whatnot.  So, I can’t say that she had the same positive experience at watching WoW as I did… but she still did it.

What about you?  Do you enjoy watching somebody play Wow (at least for a period of time), or are you the type that has to play to enjoy the game?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

BlizzCast Released (and already outdated?)

Those of you that haven’t had a chance to check out the official BlizzCast, you really should.  It’s 24 minutes, and it’s kinda fun to hear the people instead of just reading the interviews.  Hmm.. maybe I’ll stop blogging and start PodCasting.  Lol

There isn’t really anything new coming out of the cast.  There’s an interview with Jeff Kaplan, but most of the stuff is old news about 2.4 and the Sunwell Plateau anyway.  And when I say “old news” I guess that’s just if you keep up on those types of things.

The thing that was a little disappointing to me is that Jeff was talking about minor tweaks to the UI in patch 2.4.  He talked about this really cool thing for /readychecks and how raid leaders and assistants would be able to see who had responded to readychecks and that it would be in 2.4, and that… Wait a second!  That came out on Tuesday with 2.3.2.  I know things change constantly over there at Blizzard, but a PodCast that was just released today that’s already outdated… Just kinda cheesy.

Player Housing ? Not a Fan

So, I happen to see the reference on WoW Insder to a post on the forums saying that some people aren’t really excited about player housing, and Blizzard acknowledges it.

I have to say that I agree.  I never really found the appeal to it.  Who’s going to come visit my house?  I only semi-decorated back in my EQ days because that used to be how you would sell your goods (at least one of the ways).  I think I only went and visited one guildies house because she and her husband had one of the larger houses.  But to me, it’s just a big money sink.  You have to keep playing the game to keep up with your weekly rent.  Sounds too much like real life to me.

I can see some benefit in the guild housing though.  Let’s say you want to check out where guild X is in there raid progression.  Yes, there’s a lot of external websites that do that these days, but a nice little trophy on the Guild mantle could be kind of cool.  And it’s always nice to have something official as well.  Not a necessity, by any means… but if they have to do some type of housing and then can only do one… I’d vote for the Guild one.

p.s. At one point, there was an awesome suggestion on the suggestion board that had a really cool, elaborate plan for Guild areas with Battlegrounds between guilds and whatnot… it sounded really cool, but I’m too lazy to go search for it now.

In Before The Buzzer

I have 3 kind of small, separate posts for today, so brace yourself.

On Tuesday night, we headed back into Gruul’s Lair.  We downed High King Maulgar without too many problems, but then had a heck of a time with Gruul the Dragonkiller.

Last night, even though we had Karazhan runs scheduled, we decided to finish up in Gruul’s instead.  Part of the problem is just the randomness of which way you’re thrown.  Sometimes you land in a bunch of people, and everyone accidentally runs the wrong way.  I usually don’t get thrown very far or at all because I’m running into the wall, but Gruul was pretty upset with me last night, and I was thrown across the room on a number of occasions. /shrug

Our other problem seems to be with healer schedules.  We have plenty of healers, we just can’t seem to get them all online at the same time.  We try to take 7 into Gruul’s, but it seems that 6 is all we ever get.  We have a few that are exceptionally well-geared, so it probably works out pretty well, but still… I think our encounters would be easier if we had that 7th.

Then again, we do have 2 Shadow Priests in 2 different parties.  If I can get both of them to cast Vamperic Embrace, then we’d probably be set as well.  (Yes, one of them wasn’t casting that last night due to agro.  I highly doubt he can get over our main tank.  After a quick discussion about that, and on a next attempt, he did it, and didn’t pull agro either.)

At any rate… Gruul is once again dead until Tuesday. We started the last attempt about a minute before respawn should have occured.  I wonder if they actually did respawn.  Hmm...

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

How Punctual Are Your Raids?

I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t do a lot of raiding before the expansion came out.  I’ve been in MC (never cleared), ZA (never cleared), AQ20 (came close to clearing), and that’s about it.  I’m not counting back in the day when Stratholme and Scholomance could have 10 people in them… they were mostly zerged anyway.  Even UBRS post the 10-man rule implementation wasn’t really raiding, since most casual could and had to complete it in one night.

But there’s something about the multi-day instances that are different than your average PUG.  It’s probably because you want to have the most time possible to get in as far as you can without running an all-night instance.  Whereas if you started UBRS late, it just means it would take you an hour and a half after anticipated start time vs. the hour it normally takes.  (Honestly, it’s been so long, I don’t even remember how long UBRS took at 60.)

At any rate, it seems that in general there’s a lot of waiting around in raiding.  I’ve had a few times where we’ve literally stormed the castle in Karazhan, even on a last second whim, and there was little to no waiting around at all.  I’ve had other times where not only does it take forever to actually start the raid, but then the group has to sit around talking about strategy before every single pull, stretching the instance into a never-ending situation where you just pray for your Internet connection to go out so you can go to sleep.

I’ve waited for groups for people to get out of other instances.  I’ve waited for players to sign online.  I know some people are more punctual than others, but I can’t believe that we’re the only guild that can’t seem to start on time even though we’ve continuously said that first pull is at x.  Sure, sometimes it’s the officers trying to figure out the best group strategy as well… it’s not like we’re always waiting for the same person.

I’d say on the average, we start about 15 minutes late.  Sure, sometimes it’s right on time, sometimes its way late.  So, 15 minutes isn’t bad, per se, it just starts to irritate me it’s on the later end of the average.  And I don’t think I mind the wait too much, it’s more that I know there’s 23 other people that are waiting for that 25th person as well.

So, today’s question is this: how punctual are your average raids?  (And Primogeniture folk, feel free to answer and disagree with my 15-minute estimation.)

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

This Week ?s Maintenance

Normally, I’m not really one to care if they bring the realms down from 3 am to 11 am on a Tuesday.  I’m probably asleep for about ½ of that time, and then at work or commuting for the other ½.  But this morning when my 20-month old woke up at 4 am, wide awake, I was a bit disappointed that I couldn’t go do a daily quest or two with her.  (Oh yeah… she loves it.)

I’m not bitter or anything.  Furthermore, it sounds like this maintenance is for patch 2.3.2.  What does that mean?  Well, a number of things, really.  But what it means to me is the following:
·        Ice Block for all Mages, trainable at level 30
·        New Mana Gem with 3 charges (no more casting lower level Mana Gems)
·        Druids get a nerf with their trinkets and Lifebloom :(
·        /readycheck gets some love in that you can now see who has and hasn’t responded

On an actual raiding note: we got our ZA group through the Scout Gauntlet on over to the Dragonhawk boss.  Let’s just say that it was a big learning experience last night.  And if you want more details, there was no loot.

Gruul’s tonight… hopefully we can do it in about 45 minutes. :)

Monday, January 7, 2008

The Art of Gemming

I remember when the expansion first came out within the first while, some of my guild mates and I were getting items that had gem slots.  During the low 60’s, most of the items didn’t make sense to use because we’d have to drop gold into these gems for gem slots, or we could simply use equal items with no gems.  Stats were about the same.  Of course, at level 70 and the “good gear”, being cheap with gems is a thing of the past (at least for me).

So, what do you put in those gem sockets?  Well, I’m certainly not about to tell you how to gem your equipment.  There are about 261 gems, and the possible configurations with multiple gem slots can grow drastically.  Some tanks want stamina, some want avoidance, while some simply need damage mitigation.  Some spell casters need spell + to hit, some need pure damage, while some may need stamina as well.  Things are further complicated in that even though an item calls for a blue gem, you can put any color gem in there (except meta gems), you just won’t get the gem bonus if they don’t all match.  

What do gems mean to me?  To me, it means that you can actually change your gear without having to go gamble for new drops.  Here’s an example: We have a holy priest that decided that he wants to go shadow for awhile.  With the changes in gear and that you get + spell damage along with your + healing gear, he was doing damage in mostly his healing gear (at least at first).  I’m not sure if he did this or not, but he could have replaced + healing gems with some that are strict + spell damage without having to get a single drop from any boss.  Yes, it would have cost him a small fortune, but there’s at least still that option.

Enchanting is sort of along this line, but there’s only so much you can do with one enchanting slot per gear.  When you’ve got armor that has 3 gem slots, it leaves a lot of things open to do pretty much whatever you want.

So, while armor upgrades when you start playing WoW are an easy science (“This old one has 15 armor, the new one has 30.  Woot!  Upgrade!”), it slowly becomes an art form for each and every class.  For a mage, you might throw on +9 spell damage gems in every gem slot you have, but then you may not be able to hit the bosses as much.  Throw in all spell hit gems, and then you might suffer on your damage.  How does Haste fit in?

My suggestion would be to go out on the Internet… find a good tanking/dps/healing calculator, and figure out what works best for you.  Even then, it’s all subjective in how you actually play your class.

And you thought this was a simple game.  rofl

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Scarlet Letter Award

Today’s Scarlet Letter of “D” for Deserter goes to an ex-guildie name Valrhona.

With the start of the new year, and having enough people to fill 25 spots, Primogeniture headed back into Gruul’s Lair last night.  A lot of our new recruits hadn’t even seen the inside of Gruul’s Lair, let alone actually down a boss in there.  So, I knew there would be a learning curve.  It seems that no matter how much you explain a fight to other people, it’s not really the same until they’ve seen it once, then everything kind of clicks.  A perfect example of this would be Netherspite.  You can talk about these beams shooting from these portals, but it’s kind of hard to understand until you see it for the first time.

With High King Maulgar, it’s another one of those fights where there are a lot of moving pieces.  Once you get those 5 mobs pulled to the correct position, it’s almost cake, but getting the pull right is usually about 75% of the battle.  So, it took us a few times to get that under control, but once we got the pull down, we downed all 5 of them on that try.  Go us.

Then one of our healers had to leave due to RL things.  Okay… no problem, we’ll just get somebody else in there.  It seemed that everyone was either in the middle of an instance or saved already or something, so it was taking a bit longer, but not more than maybe 10 minutes would be my guess (and I think that’s way over estimating).  Well, another healer, Valrhona, whispers one of my Raid Leaders and tells her that he’s going to go do 5v5 arena because those guys are waiting for him.  He then left raid and hearthed.  She took the time to talk to him to make sure he understood that we weren’t stopping, that we were getting somebody else, and gave him a chance to get his butt back in the instance.  He didn’t understand that it wasn’t okay to leave 24 people (well, 23 at that point) stranded in Gruul’s Lair because 4 people were waiting for him to do 5v5 arena.

It’s not the first time this guy has done some bone-headed things, but it is the first time we’ve kicked him out of the guild.  He left before when the guild split a bit, and then he came back because he wanted to focus on 25-man raids.  Hmm… maybe his focus changed, I don’t know.  But for leaving us in Gruul’s, he gets the Scarlet Letter of “D”.

Oh, we got replacements and proceeded to kill Gruul, so it wasn’t a huge impact, but why oh why would anyone ever leave people like that?  I guess, in my mind, there’s kind of an unspoken priority list if you’re in a raiding guild.  RL > Raids > Instances > Arena > Battlegrounds > Questing/Farming.  Sure, there may be some times when the last 3 or even 4 change priorities, but if you’ve signed up for a raid or instance, you should be there for the duration, or at least a reasonable amount of time.  From start to finish, Gruul’s Lair took us about 2 hours.  I know because my flask ended just before our last attempt that killed Gruul.  Yes, that’s a “longer” time for Gruul, but we basically had to re-learn him.  So for that, it was pretty, darn good, and not unreasonable.