Monday, December 28, 2009

"New" Calendar Wallpapers

Some people call it lazy, but I prefer to call it simplifying. If I can get all of my Wow news information from one source, or one web page, I do it. Sure there's probably stuff I miss sometimes, but overall, I get the big picture.

So, in that spirit, I stopped going to worldofwarcraft.com a loooong time ago. Their news of their own game was usually already out on some other site. The comics were funny, but I was generally following those artists on their own sites already. But somehow... I missed this.

Blizzard has been putting out Wallpapers for your desktop that are Wow images, and have a calendar of the month on it. Apparently they've been doing this since about April of this year, and I'm just now discovering it. On top of that, I'm generally forgetful about changing my Wallpaper, hence why (at work) I've had the same alpha picture of Stormwind Harbor since after the NDA was lifted from a friend of mine who was lucky enough to get in to alpha.

So, there's a really fun wallpaper up for December, 2 in fact. I hope they continue this trend. I'm not sure when they release the next month's one. Hopefully they'll have January's up soon. At any rate, it may actually motivate me enough to monthly change my wallpaper. Now, if I can just figure out a way to automate that.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Toothpick of Winter's Veil

I know this is actually old news. In fact, this news is technically about 1 year old. The majority of people that care are completely over the fact there is a Winter's Veil achievement. They've done it. Heck, the probably did it a year ago. But for me, and all the other people that haven't gotten around to it yet, there is an achievement, and I'm working on it.

But, just like Hallow's End, there's a completely crappy random part of the achievement that you have to complete. It's the Bros. Before Ho Ho Ho's achievement. Nevermind the fact that Horde has to find 3 brothers while Alliance has to find 9. No, that's not my issue. Also ignore the fact that we have to go to 5 different locations, where again, the Horde has to go to only 3. No, that's not what I care about either.

The issue is, just like the Tooth Pick, it's completely random what you get... you know... from the person you can get stuff once every hour. In Hallow's End, it was the Inn Keepers. In Winter's Veil, it's the Mistletoe. Yep, once per hour you can /kiss one of the Holiday people in the Inns and they either give you Snowflakes, Fresh Holly, or Mistletoe.

Want to take a guess who's gotten a ton of Fresh Holly and Snowflakes but no Misteltoe? Yep... there's the random part of the game again that's completely against me. /sigh. Well... at least I have until January 2nd. Maybe I'll log in once per hour tomorrow. Of course, I still won't have any, but still...

At any rate, hope everyone has a very, merry Christmas. And may all your loot drop and you win the rolls.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

3.3: The Death to Hogger Raids

I spent a small amount of time on the PTRs this time for 3.3. It was fun to get a sneak peak of some of the stuff coming up. Other than that, I really haven't read too much about ALL the details of the patch that's going live today... until today.

Since it is patch day, I try to read in detail, or at least peruse the lines that would be of some importance to me. (Like I really care about warlock changes. lol) And with 3.3, I read a line that saddened me. It basically ruins a number of the fun things that I always wanted to try but never got around to actually organize or participate in.

From the official 3.3 Patch Notes:
Players below level 10 may not join raids.
So, what does this mean?
  • I can no longer suggest my running joke of level 1 Hogger Raids.
  • Level 1 bank alts cannot form raids to help 80's farm Old World Raid Content.
  • And the naked gnome race from SW to IF that I always wanted to do can no longer be tracked with a raid mod.
Think of it as the end of an era, I guess. I also remember seeing a really cool even where a bunch of level 1's took on a level 70 mage "boss". Looked like a fun time. If I recall correctly, the mage only used low level spells, had certain emotes before major spells, etc. It was really well thought out. But alas, it would have to be a bunch of level 10's against the lvl 80 mage "boss" now.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Screwed Again by Legendary Weapons

Preface:
Let me start off this post with a disclaimer. I fully realize the tremendous feat that it can be to obtain some of the Legendary Weapons in the game. Especially some of them that required long quests or multiple drops. I also realize that I will most likely not ever be in a position to actually obtain any current-content Legendary Weapon, but that said...

So, it looks pretty certain that 3.3 will be coming on Tuesday if not "soon"®. And with it, we get a whole bunch of goodies that Blizzard has been working on. That's great! I'm excited. No really. There's a lot of new stuff that I'm really looking forward to. From running dungeons with Pug's from other servers, to the random dungeon quest, to the new dungeons to the new raids... It really looks like Blizzard is hitting a home run with this one. With the cop-out of easy design for ToC and Onyxia's Lair, this is really a breath of fresh air.

Only... I'm a little concerned about some itemization. And while I don't play my mage as much as I used to, I'm going to have to take a full mage point of view here. Furthermore, as possibly a first, I'm going to have to side with Warlocks. *gasp*.

See, the thing is... if you take a look at the Legendary Weapons and which class can use them, there's really a huge discrepancy in what should probably be equal distribution. Out of the 8 Legendary weapons in the game as of 3.3 (1 of which, Atiesh, Greatstaff of the Guardian, is no longer attainable), Warriors can use 6. And those 6 can all be used in a Warrior's role. (I'm not counting the temporary Legendary weapons you loot in The Eye while fighting Kael'thas.) Rogues and Paladins can use 4. Death Knights and Druids can use 3. (1 of which is Atiesh for the druids.) Priests, Hunters, and Shaman can use 2. (Again, Atiesh for the Priests.) And Mage and Warlock? Well, technically it's 2 that we can use. But 1 of them is Atiesh and the other is Thunderfury, Blessed Blade of the Windseeker.

Does anybody see anything wrong with this? As a Mage or Warlock, if you want a legendary weapon, your options are either get Thurderfury that does absolutely nothing for you since it's a melee weapon, or buy an account that got Atiesh before it was taken out as of patch 3.0. Furthermore, we haven't had a new legendary weapon introduced into the game since before The Burning Crusade. That's over 3 years!

Rogues had a hay-day in TBC when the 3 Legendaries that dropped off of Illidan and Kil'jaedon could all be used by them. The Thoridal, the Stars' Fury practically screamed Hunter, but could be picked up and used by the other two bow-wielding classes. And most of the classes, except for the one fight up in The Eye didn't get a single legendary for all of TBC.

And now? Now they're bringing them back. All of the healers I knew were excited for Val'anyr, even if better weapons are out now. And with the introduction of 3.3, we have this new Shadowmourne.

Look at it. Mouse over it. Click the link. Do what you need to. You'll notice something. It blatantly mocks every class except the 3 listed. Even if the other 7 classes wanted it just to look cool, they cannot. It is for these 3 classes only: Death Knight, Paladin, and Warrior. One class that's been here for only 1 expansion, one class that also had access to Val'anyr, and one class that now has access to 8 Legendary weapons.

So, the morale of the story is thus: If you're looking for Legendary weapons, role a Warrior.

The Wow Doldrums

So, I got called out on my lack of writing lately. And since it's completely true, I figured I should fix the situation. But truth be told, there's just not a lot to write about lately. So, I really feel like I'm in the Doldrums for Wow.

I've seen and conquered all the fights in 10-man ToC. There's still Ulduar to finish off, but people aren't as interested to do that with ToC gear out. I started building my tanking set for my Shaman, but it requires way too much pvp, and I could never get that dang stamina trinket to drop out of normal 5-man Toc. So, I've been slowly working on my druid... just to have a tank for kicks, but he's still about 11 level away from tanking anything at level 80.

On top of that, work being slightly engaging lately... and Ikariam taking up time. (heh... yep.)

So... yeah... but I have been working on a post. I'll see what I can do to finish it up and get it out today... maybe. :)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Gear Rating Web Sites

I'm a little concerned about the recent trend that has come up to entirely base people's ability to play WoW on a gear score. I mean, these gear scores have been around for a really long time. I can remember in mid-BC sites like be.imba coming up and telling you everything you need to know about your toon (wrong enchants, upgradable gems, etc.). Now we have ones like Wow-Heroes and probably 15 others as well that will give a score and tell you where these people can (and can't) raid.

This was set off when earlier this week, we ran a pretty smooth 25-man PUG into Onyxia. There were only about 4 of us from the guild that wanted to do it, so we had to PUG just a few people. As we were forming the raid and getting people on Vent, a couple of people were asking what gear score was needed to join our PUG. Is such and such number high enough for my friend to come along?

Umm... I hate to burst anyone's bubble, but it's Onyxia. Get a couple of geared tanks (which were in guild) and a couple of good healers (which I am *flex* and so was another guildie or two), then you can pug a crappy healer and a whole bunch of dps. As long as everyone stays out of the deep breaths, you really don't have to worry about killing her in record speed. I'm thoroughly convinced that a group in all blues could take her down. She's not hard. She hasn't changed much in the past 4 or so years.

So, while I really appreciate all these gear-checking/rating sites, I would advise using them with caution. Even with the best gear in the world, you still have to know how to (A) do your job, and (B) avoid fires.

Furthermore... didn't Blizzard make "most" classes equal so that we can play with our friends? If one of your 15 (or so) DPS is a lame duck, it's probably okay if he dies. Especially if you get Ony to phase 3... DPS makes it go faster... that's all. Shoot, at that point, all you need is your healers and your tank. She'll die eventually.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Economics on Enchanting Pre-3.3

Matticus posted his thoughts on disenchanting for 3.3. Overall, he believes it's a good thing. And while I agreed with him initially, his article got me thinking about materials we use and how they're gathered, and how I completely disagree with him.

One of the points he makes is that skinners, miners and herbalists get to keep everything. Heck, you don't even roll on one of those things unless there's multiple toons that have that profession. And yes, that person gets to keep it all.

He also points out that given this thought process, enchanters would roll on everything so they could shard it. Personally, I think this is a huge fallacy. If an item is an upgrade for a player, it is much more valuable then the shard would be. So the priority list would go something like The Upgrade > The Offset > The Shard > The Gold from Vendoring the item. Look at how we treat green items today. No enchanter "needs" on all the greens. I've never had anyone ask if there's an enchanter that will collect the greens. And I'm sure that's a function of greens that drop in instances are BoE. But in a sense, aren't blues and purples BoE for a short amount of time now with people in your group?

So, let's take a look at what we get from those gathering professions that everyone in the group can use.

Skinning
You get leather. I suppose you could argue that that could be useful to everyone by means of the Drums of Forgotten Kings or Drums of the Wild. But we always run raids with at least 1 druid and 1 paladin, so I really don't care. You could even go as far as to talk about leg armor for melee classes or tanks, but it doesn't really benefit everyone. So, Skinners? Go ahead and keep your leather.

Herbalism
Herbalism gathers flowers. Flowers make flasks. Flasks can also be ground into ink for Glyphs. Maybe we should start rolling on herbs. Then again, if you want a flask or glyph, you generally just go to the AH and pick those up. You don't usually see somebody looking for an alchemist in Trade unless the AH is completely out of them. But I'm sure you'll get a fight if you ask to roll on the flowers.

Mining
Ore can be prospected into gems. Gems are generally more valuable than ore. Even the raw ore is still something that should be rolled on, but I don't see that happening after years of habits of letting the miners get it. So, fine... miners can keep their ore as well.

Enchanting
Yep... everyone can use the enchanting materials. Everyone can (and probably should) enchant their gear. And yes, it's needed by everyone. But as an enchanter, do you want to disenchant all of the items people don't use? The economic answer is: NO! You do not.

Let's pretend that all enchanters on your server went on strike. "No more Instance Disenchants" is their battle cry. (It's not catchy, but you get the idea.) They only disenchant the blues, purples, and greens that they win on greed rolls. Supply for Enchanting Mats would go down, therefore raising the price. On the other side, for you non-disenchanters, you'll be forced to sell those blues and purples you won on a greed roll to a vendor, so you now have more money to spend on Enchanting Materials. Prices go up some more.

Bottom line is this: Enchanters revolt! We only have a small window of time before 3.3 goes live and forever breaks our ability to revolt. Stop* enchanting all the PUG blues and purples. Reclaim the enchanting materials market and profit. Make sure every enchanter you know gets this message!

*Note: You might want to continue providing this service to guild members. But then again, I guess it just depends on how much of a jerk you want to be.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Disenchanting in 3.3

So, I was riled up and ready to rant about the whole Disenchanting in 3.3. It appeared that any group, even one without an enchanter, could disenchant items dropped in a raid or dungeon. I was prepared to explain how it even further invalidates the Enchanting profession, how it was a horrible decision, and even on my non-enchanter I understand that I may not get shards.

Then Blizzard clarified that this option will only come up if there's an enchanter in the group with the high enough skill to disenchant the item.

Oh. Okay. I guess that totally invalidates my post now.

11% Drop Rate

My lack of blogging lately has mostly been due to being busy during my normal blogging hours, but also because I didn't want to turn this blog into a huge rant-fest. Well... I now have the time, and I'm going to turn this into a rant-fest.

11% Drop Rate. That's the chance that a Tooth Pick will drop from the Treat Bag. You need the Tooth Pick in order to get the achievement for That Sparkling Smile. You need that achievement in order to get the Hallowed Be Thy Name achievement. You need that achievement in order to get the What A Long Strange Trip It's Been achievement. And finally, you need that achievement in order to get the Violet Proto-Drake.

Now, for those that have been living under a rock (or simply haven't been logging in lately), you get the Treat Bags from Trick or Treating the Innkeepers during Hallow's End. Once per hour, you can Trick or Treat. They'll either give you one of those Treat Bags or you get tricked (changing you into a random critter that can't cast for about 20 seconds). So, the chance of actually getting the Tooth Pick is actually less than 11%. I don't have any data, but I'll take a stab in the dark and say 10%.

Unless you're toon's name happens to be Zanderfin. In that case, the chance of getting tricked is about 50%. And when you do get a Treat Bag, the Drop Rate of the Tooth Pick is probably closer to 0.02%. Again, no hard data to back up my guesses, but that's just my gut feeling. Who knows, maybe they even removed it from the loot table of the Treat Bag if your name is Zanderfin.

So, I've been logging in before work (5 am) and then as soon as I can in the evening to get in as many attempts as possible. I'm almost "Hallowed", execpt for the Tooth Pick. Oh how I despise the Tooth Pick. And all the Innkeepers are just as guilty. It's like one of those kind, old ladies on your block that gives out full, king-sized Snicker bars to all the other kids, but to you, she gives you a nice, shiny Penny. (Side Note: That bag is the same drop rate, and I've seen that at least 5 times.) You'd better be careful, nice, old lady. You give me enough pennies and I'm gonnna come around swinging that bag full of pennies. Now that will hurt. *smack!!* Take that you old hag Innkeeper!!!

Grrr... I still have 4 days. It could still happen.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Hallow's End: Sounds Like Rear End

For whatever reason, I have the holiday bug. I just feel like I actually want to eventually get the Long Strange Trip Achievement. Brewfest wasn't bad. And the trinkets were useful (save me a few emblems here and there). But then we came to October and Hallow's End.

Just like Coren from Brewfest, the Headless Horseman in Scrarlet Monastery is a pushover. If you stay out of the way of the whirlwind when the head is away from the body, your group will take little to no damage. So, you need 1 tank and 4 dps. Each time he dies, you get a ring which is ilvl 200 and epic. They're decent rings. And for what it takes to kill him, they're actually great rings.

But the issue with this meta achievement is two fold, namely: Sinister Calling and That Sparkling Smile. The smile one isn't too terribly bad, I just don't seem to have the luck doing it. Every hour, you go trick or treating at one of the Inn Keepers and there's an 11% chance that you'll get a Tooth Pick. Use it, and that achievement is done. However, there's also an 89% chance that you won't get it. And I seem to get that, every single time I get the Treat Bag.

So, if that isn't frustrating, you then have to go kill the Headless Horseman. Just like Coren Direbrew, each person can summon him. So, in a typical 5-man group, you can summon him 5 times. If you have people bringing in their alts, you can have even more chances. From him, you need to get a Sinister Squashling and the Hallowed Helm. 7% chance drop rate for each of those. And if it does drop, you may be fighting 4 other people, so your chance could now be as bad as 1.4%. Now, both of these items will also drop from the Treat Bag, with a 1.3% chance drop rate.

Call me a pessimist, but those numbers are awfully low. And by laws of statistics, each chance you take at getting those drops, you still have a 1.4% and 1.3% chance. (Well... 7% if you're the only one that needs it.) That just sucks. You have to rely on 3 random drops in order to get your achievement. One of my buddies tried and tried to do it last year, but never got the squashling, so he had to wait until this year to finish the meta achievement.

The one thing they have done is that there's The Horseman's Reins. So, you could pretty easily be in a group with 4 people that are only going for the mount and not the achievement items. And that one? Oh yeah... it's a huge 0.4% drop rate. At least Coren with his Ram and Kodo had a 3.3% chance to drop one of the mounts.

So yes, for the record: I am not a fan of Hallow's End. I've been fortunate enough to get the two achievement drops from Headless Horseman, but have yet to get the Tooth Pick. But still... not a fan.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Accomplishments

For some reason, ever since Nibuca and Fimlys asked me about my accomplishments related to Wow, I've been thinking about that. What have I done? Or have I simply played a game for my own personal enjoyment?

I think it's peculiar that the words "achievement" and "accomplishment" sound similar. And because of the new Achievement System in Wow, that word has an entirely different meaning to me now. Some accomplishments are considered Wow achievements, but most of the Wow achievements are not accomplishments. And me? I like the accomplishments. Let me give you an example.

I've been having some car issues lately. Luckily, they all seem to be in the past now, but I just got my care back from the mechanic two days ago. Before everything bad started, I knew that I had one headlight out. It was on my radar to get that in the next couple of days. Yesterday, I started my car, turned on my headlights (it's still dark when I leave), and after literally 2 seconds, the other one goes out. I drove to work with only my fog lights on, which acted as headlights. That, I would consider an achievement such as the achievement to explore the entire world in Warcraft. It's not hard. Anyone can do it. You may not have thought about it before, but once you were aware of it, it's pretty easily done.

On my way home from work, I stopped off at the parts store and picked up two new bulbs. (Achievement for figuring out what type? You decide.) I get home and figure I'll take a few minutes to install the bulbs really quick. I've done it before with other cars. It's fairly simple. After I unscrewed a few bolts, I realized that nothing was coming out, so I turned to the Owner's Manual (yeah, like I really thought that was gonna help me... it's as good as the Wow Owner's Manual), and then to the Internet. The Owner's Manual told me to consult an Authorized Mazda Service Center. (Oh, come on! It's a light bulb!) The first few sites on the Internet told me I needed to remove the entire front bumper. (Don't believe me? Go check on a 2003 Mazda 6.) I finally found a site that described how to replace the driver's side headlight, but it still sounded like it would be major mechanical work to replace the passenger side one, and that I should take it to a mechanic.

The reason that this task is so difficult is the limited amount of space you have to deal with. You have to unscrew a cap to gain access, open a spring to release the bulb, take the bulb out, replace the bulb, and then reverse the process to install the new one. But because of the space issue, you have to do the majority of it by feel. Sure, you can kind of see down in there without your hand there, but once you put your hand down there, your vision is completely blocked. And even the view you have without your hand, it's not exactly a clear view. So, I got the driver's side headlight after about an hour of when I first started my project.

And the passenger side? That was even more of a pain. Yeah, I knew exactly what I was supposed to do at this point; but the space was so tight, I had trouble taking the cap out so I could gain access. After about 30 minutes though, I had replaced that bulb as well.

Now this, I would consider an Accomplishment. It was a challenge. Many people would have probably given up before I had. Many people might have taken it to a mechanic right away. I'd even venture to say that not everybody could have done it. It wasn't a simple time sink of flying around the entire kingdom, but it took thought and some persistent work.

In Wow, my Accomplishments aren't exclusively things that nobody else has done, or only a select few. They're things that required thought, and probably some persistent work as well. Sarth +2 (never got around to doing +3) was a challenge. It took some work and coordination before Ulduar gear came out. But it doesn't have to be hard modes. It took some work for us to down Iron Council. That was probably a minor accomplishment. Heck... some of the PUGs I've been in, it may be considered a major Accomplishment just to take down Hogger. lol.

Completing X number of quests is probably an achievement, yet having the patience to figure out all the quests you need and having enough for Loremaster, is something that I'd consider an Accomplishment.

Bringing it back to a point, personally, I'm not one to go after achievements, especially not for the sake of achievement points. I am, however, very interested in accomplishments. And what's an accomplishment? Whatever you have fun doing. So, I have played the game for my own personal enjoyment, but I've also accomplished a lot of things both by myself and with others.

What about you? What are some of your accomplishments?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wow Peggle

Okay, so I'm just a little behind on this addon. Just for kicks, I downloaded the Peggle addon last night. This isn't a review, per se, but it is a nice little addon. There's a single-player mode that's just like the non-wow game. You get to choose one of two people (that basically decides your super ability). And it's just like one of those dumb online flash games that suck you in for no reason. (That wasn't meant to be negative, that's just how I classify them.)

They've made a lot of intelligent choices for designing the game. From the way it will automatically go away when combat starts, to the way that it is sort of grayed out and less protruding on the screen when your mouse is elsewhere, it really shows that they put a lot of thought into it. You can even brag about your scores by a Peggle announcement in different chat channels (only tried Guild). There's also a talent tree. How Wow can you get? lol.

I could totally see the benefit of having this addon. Since there's generally at most maybe 5 people in a 25-man raid that are doing something pre-raid. 1 person is deeply involved explaining strategy, maybe a couple are listening because they don't know the fight, a couple more are listening to add to anything the raid leader forgot, and the rest? The other 20? They can be playing Peggle. Or maybe 2 people are actually looking to fill the PUG while the other 18 are playing Peggle waiting for 5 more people to magically join.

The only problem for me is this: I'm usually the guy explaining the raids. And if I'm not, I'm usually listening to make sure nothing was missed. And if I'm not doing either of those things, I'm talking with my wife. So, after one night of one heroic 5-man TOC run, my wife suggested that I probably shouldn't get hooked on a game within a game. I wholeheartedly agreed with her and uninstalled the addon after getting off last night.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Blink Fixed?

Is it true? Can it really be? Ghostcrawler has said that in 3.2.2 they fixed a lot of the issues with Blink. I don't know if it's true or not, since I haven't been blinking around lately. But wow... that would be cool. Then again... it's only taken them what? like 5 years? Oh well... better late than never.

Twisted Nether Blogcast Interview Posted

In case you missed the live podcast with the folks over at Twisted Nether last week, they've now posted it up on their website. Go to their post here. Oh, and you can get it on Zune or iTunes as well. Yep, yep.... go. Now. What are you still doing around here?

And even if you don't go check it out... I had a lot of fun doing it. After the show they were giving me the breakdown, like we'll have it posted on this day, yada, yada. And I was like, "You know... I really don't care if people go download it. I just had a lot of fun hanging out with you guys." Heck, it's what my closest friends and I do when we get together... just talk about Wow. Yep... we're that geeky. lol.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Phase 3: The One Where Onyxia is a Chump

After running the daily heroic yesterday, one of my guildies gets the idea that we should PUG 25-man Ony. "Sure," I say, "get us into a group." Before I know it, we've formed a group, and had 24 people ready to storm Onyxia's Lair. (Yeah, not sure how we didn't get a 25th, but whatever.)

Like I said, it was mostly a PUG run. I knew none of these people except for my 1 guildie, and an ex-guildie (good friend).

And... the result: We one-shotted her.

Much like the 10-man version, the hard part was Phase 2. But once we got to Phase 3... even with about half the raid dead, it was still a pretty easy kill. I guess it just goes to show that some bosses can be very easy if people know what they're doing.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Cornering a Market

There are very few times in my Wow career that I have used my professions to actually make money. And even more so, to use the AH wasn't exactly my forte. Until I discovered a little secret last night.

Leiandra's professions have always been enchanting and tailoring. Until this last expansion, I had to sit out in front of the IF bridge and spam trade channel letting people know that I have the enchants. Tailoring was less of a chore, but it didn't ever make much money. Oh, I suppose there was the time back in TBC where I had the pattern for Belt of Blasting that was a pretty good money maker. But other than that... well... you just don't go off and make a boat load of Moonshroud Robes and expect to sell them in one weekend. Currently I do sell my enchants, but only a few at a time. I'm mostly just burned out on spamming trade channel, and generally just lazy about making money.

Well, Zanderfin has been my miner/jewelcrafter. For the most part, I'd say it's been profitable. He's mostly used his own materials to skill up. And most of the meta gems I used to finish off the skill up process have been sold for only a small loss.

But last night, I happen to do a quick scan of the AH to find out what the current price of Runed Cardinal Rubies were. It's one of the few epic cuts I can do, so I'll post one of those every once in awhile for a small profit. When the results showed there were none, I had to check a few times. Sure enough... none. So, I quickly posted 2 for about 40g more than I usually post them.

Then I searched again to make sure nobody else had quickly undercut me. The results showed 1 auction. But wait. Where did my other auction go? Did I mess up and forget to post it? After searching through my bags, I finally looked at my auctions tab. Sure enough, somebody had bought the first one at almost break-neck speeds. What's a person to do? Yep, throw a few more up at an even higher price.

When you have a profession like Jewel Crafting, it's actually quite easy to make some money. Each gem is relatively cheap. Even epic gems are only about 200g. (Which is kind of a lot, but not as much as a couple thousand for epic tailoring items.) Every class needs them in some form or another. So, with the low price point, people are generally lazy about purchasing a raw gem and finding somebody to cut it. They simply get the cut gem, and move on. It's not worth the inconvenience to save a few gold for that one gem.

And that, my friends, is the beauty of Jewel Crafting. The "pure stat" gems like pure spell power, pure attack power, or pure stamina seem to sell the best. The more I do my daily JC quest, the more gems I can cut. And.... most importantly: I don't have to spam trade channel!!! Yeah!

The down side of this profession. If you're a miner/jewel crafter, there is an opportunity cost in using that ore to prospect. You don't get to make the boatloads of money as you're leveling up. A lot of your gems will probably be sold to a vendor... especially the lvl 70 ones. But you'll eventually get to make some pretty sweet money with this profession.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Twisted Nether Blogcast Details

As I mentioned the other day, this Thursday, October 1, 2009, I am going to be on the Twisted Nether Blogcast. You can listen live starting at 8 pm PST. (See the link for all the details.)

In case you're not familiar with their format, they do have a live chat room that you can log in to to ask questions, or just kind of "hang out" with us as we do the show. You can log in as a guest to be in the chat room, or you can register to ask questions, and then we can see your name as well. It will screw up my raid time this week, but it should be a lot of fun. And the world can't always conform to me. (See? I can be a giver sometimes.)

If you can't make it on Thursday, they usually post the podcast sometime next week. I think it's on a Tuesday, but I could be wrong. You can also subscribe to them via iTunes or Zune.

Hope to see everyone on Thursday on the chat room. Remember... you can't participate and ask questions if you're not there live. :)

The Loremaster

In case any of you aren't aware, Loremaster is the title you get for completed a ton of quests. To be specific, you have to do 2,843 quests. That's 700 in Kalimdor, 700 in Eastern Kingdoms, 528 in Outlands, and then 875 in Northrend. That's a lot of quests. I've been playing Leiandra for years, and granted, I've taken a lot of time to raid, but I'm sitting at 2,280 quests. Just under 600 shy. Yeah... I don't think I'll ever bring myself to do the 300 or so that I need in Kalimdor.

But on Saturday, I went to go help out my best friend to finish the last few group quests he needed in Icecrown to get this achievement done. His brother also came along, and the 3 of us busted out these last few quests. So, we had my shaman (healing), a warrior, and a hunter. The annoying part was that I couldn't help with all of the quests. Since Zanderfin has done roughly 35 quests in Icecrown, I had very little phased. So, the more difficult places where they needed a healer, I couldn't help them out. But he had enough other quests done where we could complete the achievement. Cool, right? I mean, you get this cool title... and then... well... you get the following tabard:

Umm... okay. I mean, I guess it makes sense. But let's look at the letter you get:
From: Tyrande Whisperwind
Subject: Greetings from Darnassus

Your accomplishments have been profound and far-reaching. Azeroth, with all of the recent turmoil, benefits greatly from those who seek to rid the land of evil.

Only those who take the time to know our lands understand the sacrifices of the fallen and the valor of our heroes. You are one such hero. Hopefully, you will recant the tales of your adventures for years to come.

On behalf of the Alliance, I thank you, Loremaster.
Okay... so, really cool title, awesome letter... and then they go and design an exclamation mark? Just seems a bit cheesy. I mean, sure... you didn't slay the biggest, badest bossess, but for "profound and far-reaching" accomplishments, you'd think they would have made something you'd want to actually wear. After doing that many quests, do you really want do see another "!"?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Asleep at the WoW

First off, I am totally stealing the name of Fim's blog for my post title today. It just seemed fitting. But it has nothing to do with him or his blog, other than the name. Maybe he's just on my mind since I'll be hanging out with him (and Nibuca) for the Twisted Nether Podcast later this week. But more on that tomorrow.

Last night, I logged on to Wow simply so I could do the dailies for Brewfest and then be done with this holiday. That's how close I am. In the portal trip from Dalaraan to Iron Forge, the guild asked if I had time to run an instance because their pally had DC'ed on them. It was the daily heroic, they had already taken a boss down, so I figured, why not. UP went smoothly. Since we were out there, we decided to roll that group (less the one guildie since my wife wanted to play) into Utgarde Keep.

Somewhere in this instance is where the sleepiness started to set in. I generally go to sleep before I get as tired as I used to. But it just kind of hit me like a ton of bricks. We made it through UK easily, and I was ready to log off. So was my wife for that matter.

"Gonna go hand in the quest, you guys want to do VH really quick?" came the question from one of the guildies in the group. I really, really should have listened to my sleepiness and said no, but since my wife really needs the +hit trinket from there, I said we'd go. Now keep in mind, this is the trinket that I tell her she needs, not that she desperately wants or anything. She's started to hate VH, but she's really, really not a fan of doing instance over and over again. Been there, done that, that's her motto.

Nevertheless, we entered VH. Sleep was still creeping up on me and starting to take over. The first boss was Zuramat the Obliterator. It was easy enough. We even did the achievement for it. Then came Xevozz. This is the guy you have to kite all over the room. I'm not sure if it was the tank's fault, or if I actually fell asleep, or if it was some random bug, but I vaguely remember the tank's health go from full to 1/2 to dead. I'm sure I tried to cast a heal, but to be honest, I'm also not 100% sure.

And the worst thing about that instance (as well as the in TBC Black Morass), is that if you screw up, you have to start all over. So, you have to kill Zuramat (or whichever boss you had the first time), and you get no loot from him. Nothing.

Finished the instance the second time with no problems. Quickly bid the guild goodnight, and I'm pretty sure I fell asleep just as soon as my head hit the pillow. Lucky I remembered to turn on my alarm or I know I would have way overslept.

So, yes... that "just 1 more" mentality is still alive and well with me. Even if it's at like 9:30 and I'm falling asleep. (Not the normal bed time, but was just way wiped out.)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Spell Rotation for Single Target Fire Spells - Revised

Over two years ago, I wrote a post about Spell Rotation for Single Target Fire Spells. To this day, it is still, by far, one of my most popular posts as far as hits it gets. Nevermind the fact that it's 2 years old. Google doesn't recognize that when people start searching for it. "Fire Mage Spell Rotation" is what people are generally searching for, and that's how people find that old post. So, I thought it only fair that I update the post. Why, after all these years, am I deciding only now to update it? Honestly, I have no idea. lol. Nonetheless, here it goes.

Mages are created for damage. We harness the raw arcane energies and unleash them on our foes. Sure there's a couple of "perks" that we get with free food and water (which I really miss when playing my shaman), and portals to practically everywhere (which isn't as big of a deal if you have Astral Recall). We also have one of the best CC's in the game... not that that's really used much anymore, but I digress.

As a history lesson (and for anyone leveling a mage), fire mage spell rotation has historically been about a number sequence. Something along the lines of 7 fireballs and then an improved scorch, rinse and repeat. But it's really more of a priority system now, much like shadow priests have been for years, with a bunch of if-this-than-that-else-that's.

Let's go through the spells in the "typical" order. I'll explain the spell, talk about some of the talents that support it, explain when to use it in a single target sequence, and then you should be good to go.

Scorch - As a fire mage you'll generally want to start off hitting the boss with this spell. The main reason is because of a talent that you will want to have called Improved Scorch. As you can read from the tooltip, after 5 applications of Improved Scorch, all spells (yours and others) will have a 5% increased chance to critically hit. So, you want to make sure this is on the boss at all times. If you choose, there is also a Glyph of Improved Scorch that will mean you'll only have to cast this spell once before going on with the rest of your rotation.

All of that said, if you have a Frost Mage (Winter's Chill) or Afflication or Demonology Warlock (Improved Shadow Bolt) in your raid/party, you can completely ignore Scorch. All of the Frost Mage's spells will add the Winter's Chill effect (same debuff as scorch) and the Warlock usually uses their filler spell, Shadow Bolt, in between casting DoTs anyway. So, you can ignore it if somebody else is taking care of it.

Pyroblast - This spell is probably the biggest reason we're no longer a number sequence class. And more specifically, it is this spell in unison with the talent Hot Streak. So, whenever you crit twice in a row (which generally happens quite often), you can let this insta-pyro go. You do want to make sure that you have the full 5% increased crit debuff up first so that the spell has a greater chance to crit, but after that, let it fly. I do suggest a mod such as MageAlert to let you know when Hot Streak, Brain Freeze, or Missile Barrage proc. It's an audible way to let you know that it's ready. I just don't see the tiny little buffed button otherwise.

This spell is also towards the top of the prioritization since it's a huge hit AND you want to make sure you clear the crit table. If you crit twice and keep casting another spell, you could be sitting with an insta-pyro ready to go while you continue to crit. Cast the spell, go back to what you're doing, and then you have the opportunity to get another double crit for another insta-pyro! Additionally, there's a nice little DoT on this spell as well. It's not a lot, but it does help.

And finally, because we only cast this spell when we have Hot Streak up, it becomes a type of mobility spell. Need to reposition yourself? If you have the time, you can wait until Hot Streak procs, and then move as the 1.5 second global cooldown has triggered.

Living Bomb - If you haven't proc'ed Hot Streak with your Scorches, it's time to get your Living Bomb DoT up. Keep this spell up on your target as much as possible. You can't refresh this DoT; you have to wait until the final explosion until you cast it again. So, it's unlikely that you'll have Living Bomb on a target 100% of the time. Aim for the most, but you don't want to be sitting there waiting for it to go off.

For example, if you've just finished casting Fireball and there's 0.5 seconds left before Living Bomb goes off, what do you do? Do you sit there for 0.5 seconds waiting for the Living Bomb to explode? No. You cast another Fireball, let that fly, and then reapply Living Bomb.

Again, this is one of the mobility spells. If you have to move, this is a good insta-cast spell. You may even be able to justify using that 0.5 seconds in the example to move and then cast this spell as you're continuing to your destination.

If you're this far into fire and you have this spell, you'll also want the Glyph that goes along with it. Everybody loves more crits, right?

Fireball - This is where it comes down to what type of Fire Mage are you? You're generally a Fireball Fire Mage or a Frostfire Fire Mage. If you're a Fireball Fire Mage, you probably have some points in Arcane to take advantage of Focus Magic. You'll also want the Glyph of Fireball which means more crit, which means more damage, and also means more mana by means of Empowered Fire. Once the crit debuff is up (by means of Scorch or a Warlock), Living Bomb is going, and there's no Hot Streak, this is your main nuke. Spam this until Living Bomb blows up, Scorch needs to be renewed, or Hot Streak procs.

Check Fireball specs with Elitist Jerks or simply google it to find one. If you believe the masses, this is currently one of the highest DPS specs. You do need a good deal of hit to go along with it since you lose some in talents, but that's not really the point of this post, so I'll leave it at that.

Frostfire Bolt - If, on the other hand, you're more of an elemental mage using both Fire and Frost schools, you'll probably be using this as your nuke. Frostfire Bolt takes advantage of talents from both of those schools to increase it's damage. And the Glyph of Frostfire is required for this build. There's absolutely no down side for this glyph. It's your main nuke, it increases damage and crit. Use it.

As for spell rotation for Frostfire Bolt, if you're a Frostfire Mage, then simply use this spell instead of Fireball. As a Frostfire mage, there's really no reason to cast Fireball. Likewise, as a Fireball mage, there's no reason to cast Frostfire.

Fire Blast - With the way this spell scales, it's really not in the normal rotation much at all. You can use it as a filler here and there, but overall, it's generally better to cast another spell. That said, there is still some uses for this spell. Take the example I gave before. If you're on the move but waiting for Living Bomb to explode before you reapply, throw in a Fire Blast and then use that Living Bomb. Otherwise, you'll generally do more damage simply going back to your nuke.

Of note:
Molten Armor - While this isn't one of the spells in the "rotation", you'll want to be raiding with this armor on. And most likely, you'll want the accompanying Glyph as well. More crit... yep... we love it.

So, to sum it up. Scorch Debuff > Hot Streaked Pyroblast > Living Bomb > Fireball / Frostfire Bolt.

Now go out and do some damage.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Healing for Coren Direbrew

For a short window of only two weeks, heroes have a chance to take on one of the deadliest strongest hardest drunkest bosses in all of Wow. This may be one of the trickiest fights to heal for in all of Wow. Possibly even more difficult than Heroic Hogger. This is.... Coren Direbrew. Dun! Dun! Dun!!!

Okay, in case you didn't get the sarcasm from the opening paragraph, Coren Direbrew is not a difficult boss. Yes, he's the guy you go kill in Black Rock Depths bar as a daily quest. So, with a 5-man party, you can kill him 5 times. If you keep bringing new toons in like we did, you can kill him upwards of 14 times

So, I got the Ancient Pickled Egg, which was a decent upgrade for my healer. I won one of the Stamina trinkets, but gave it up to one of our tanks. We had two Great Brewfest Kodos drop. Which is a heck of a lot more than I saw last year. Two other people actually won the rolls, but they each gave them to other people. (It was an all guildie thing so no biggie there.) One was given to one of our druids that really, really wanted it. And the other one was given to me since the original owner probably wouldn't use it, and I thought it was pretty darn cool. We didn't see the Ram drop, nor did we see the Tankard O' Terror. But I think we saw every other drop.

Oh! Anyway.. back to the subject of the post. Again, it was mostly satirical. With a decently geared tank, he's pretty much a pushover. He can be disarmed. And at one point, my wife's shadow priest was healing with Vamperic Embrace. So... yeah... no need to consult bosskillers on this one. Just have all 5 people dps. Maybe throw down a healing totem just in case... but that's about it.

Yep... it was seriously that easy. I kind of snickered when at one point, I saw 3 people advertising in General Chat: "Healer LFM for Brewfest." Hmm... I wonder if I can solo him... Maybe I'll try that tonight.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Starting Brewfest Due Date

Like many of the holidays, Brewfest is one of those holidays where you need to start relatively early and miss few days in order to get all the achievements possible, and get the meta-achievement. I generally stay away from these types of holidays in Wow, but this one really don't seem too horrible, so for some reason, I'm trying it. But then you do the math, and it's really not that hard. Here's the breakdown:

For those that may be reading this a couple days late, you'll most likely have to start no later than September 29th. That will get you to 350 Tokens. You'll need 350 for the outfit so you can complete Disturbing the Peace. As Brajana points out, if you save up and buy all 3 clothes pieces (350 tokens), you can return them for full value in 2 hours.

This schedule assumes that you do all of the dailies each day. You'll get 40 tokens the first time you kill Coren, 40 when you take out all the pink elephants, 10 when you do the first brew delivery quest, and 10 when you throw beer at S.T.O.U.T. Other than that, you have the daily to ride through IF or Org to bark the beer (15 tokens) and the daily that occurs every 1/2 hour to get the Dark Iron Dwarves drunk (10 tokens). Then finally, this assumes that you can deliver the kegs of beer 15 times in 4 minutes (2 tokens for each delivery).

So... 55 tokens per day, with the first day netting an additional 100 from quests. At 5 days, you'll have 375.

If you want to walk away with Hops and/or the pets, you may have to spend a few more days gathering tokens. But strictly speaking on achievements, that is what you'll need. Remember, this is based on being able to do the keg run 15 times in 4 minutes. If your lag means that's just not possible for you, you may need to figure out other math. But even if you only do it 13 times, you can still get the 350 in 5 days.

Edit: Had inadvertently missed the Elephant quest which gives you 40 tokens. I updated the remaining numbers and pushed back the Due Date accordingly.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Account Locked by Boy of 18

Just when you thought all of the stories about accounts getting hacked had slowly faded away, here comes another story of a new tactic that is out there to mess with your World of Warcraft account. So beware, and consider yourselves forewarned.

It was a typical, relaxing Saturday afternoon. We had spent our Saturday attending soccer games, doing yardwork, and then recovering from those activities. I logged in to Wow and did some mining just to pass some time. Everything seemed perfectly okay with my account. Nothing was wrong at all. Plus, I have an authenticator. My account isn't in jeopardy at all, right?

Furthermore, I keep the authenticator in a specific spot on my desk. It is well out out reach of our toddler, and the older children know that this is daddy's key to his online world, and I would severely beat anyone be sad if it were to be lost. (Yes, that was a joke.) It always goes back to that location. That safe spot.

So, after my farming, I was fixing some food. I noticed that I didn't put it back in THAT spot. It was just sitting there on top of the desk. To the best of my recollection, I meant to take care of it, but I didn't (or so that's how I remembered the story). But I didn't think much of it.

Not until I went to log on for our raid that night. I had been off to a meeting, come back, put the kids to bed, and was ready to log on for the night... but the authenticator was gone! It wasn't in it's spot. I replayed the events in my mind, and after retracing my steps, I knew that my 18-month old was to blame. My wife and I searched the entire house. (Big props to her for looking so hard, btw.) At one point, our oldest woke up, and we asked her about it as well, and she didn't know anything. I did log on to vent to let everybody know why I was late, and then eventually that I wasn't making the raid because of my "locked" account.

After quite some time searching, and even looking into calling Blizzard to disassociate my authenticator with my account (they're only open weekdays from 8am to 8pm FYI), I decided to give it up for the night. Hopefully I could figure out a way to coerce my 18-month old (who doesn't talk much, but can understand basic commands) to retrieve the authenticator for me.

The next morning after all the kids got up, I had this vision of the Brady Bunch where everybody searches for the authenticator that "Tiger" ran away with, and "Cindy" finds it in the dog house or something. Nice thought, right? Yeah... didn't exactly happen like that, but all the kids did search... mostly. And we didn't find it.

Then Sunday afternoon, I went to get dressed for church, and what fell out of my suit pants? The authenticator. So, due to my own failing memory, I had locked myself out of Wow and our raid. As a side note, I still have to make up for getting upset at my son and blaming him. But on the plus side, he's 18-months, so he didn't really get what was going on anyway. lol.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Time for: Stump the Raid Leader

As I've mentioned numerous times, our guild now takes things a bit slower. Sure, you'll find a small band of us running heroics on most nights, but as for raid content, we generally only raid 1 or 2 nights per week. And with the recent change and us able to carry over our raid ID's from week to week, it's been our new goal to go in and see new (to us) content.

Before the raid lock extension was made available, as a guild we'd get in and take down Flame Leviathan (with as many as 2 towers up), Deconstructor, Ignis, Razorscale, and Kologarn. That's pretty much where we were in progression. And with a couple of hours per night, it would sometimes be Flame Leviathan and Deconstructor one night, and then Kologarn and attempts at Iron Council the other night.

But 2 weeks ago, we decided to start carrying over the Raid ID. And due to RL conflicts with some people, we were only able to raid 1 night per week. So... Flame Leviathan and Deconstructor one night. Kologarn and attempts at Iron Council the next week.

Now we're at this week. A couple of attempts at Iron Council, and we beat it. Woot! My first time. Then one attempt at Auriaya, and she's dead. Woot! First time for most of our guild.

And... and... that was it. I had been leading the raids along with another guy. Neither one of us had been further. Sure we could have looked it up on Wowhead or Bosskillers really quick, but I guess we get to spend time on it next week. It was just one of those moments... one of those realizations that YES! we killed the bosses, but NO! I have no idea what to do next. lol

Have a great weekend everyone. I've got a couple posts in the hopper, so see you next week.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Leiandra on Twisted Nether Blogcast

So, the last couple of weeks has kind of hit me hard here at work. But that's only part of my excuse as to why I haven't posted much. The majority of the reason is the following: I've been asked to be a guest on Twisted Nether Blogcast on 10/1/09.

Why does this make me want to post less? I have no idea. In my mind, I think I'm worried that if I post too much, that I'll run out of things to say on the Blogcast. I have no problem talking about Wow and theorycrafting with my friends for hours on end, but there's all of a sudden this pressure because it's recorded. Yes, I know... completely silly, especially since it's still 2 weeks away. I promise I'll repent. But yeah... my first Blogcast. Woot! (Oh, and don't tell Nibuca. lol.) Yep... I'm that big of a dork.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Bowling Post, Part 2

Continued from Part 1. If you didn't read it, go start there.

Now that you have all of your bowling gear. You have your own shoes, your own ball. You may even have a dedicated towel and wrist guards because you're just that good. You're strong enough to roll the ball all the way down the alley, and you even get a strike or spare... even if only every once and awhile. You enjoy bowling so much, that you'd like to share this experience with a bunch of friends that also enjoy bowling. Or maybe you want to make new friends that will share in this new found enjoyment of yours. So, you head to your local bowling center and you sign up for a league.

(For Wow, you hit 80... and that seems to be the only basic requirement. I've seen people in full greens headed in to heroics. At any rate... however you did it, you're now in a guild.)

While your commitment to the bowling league is only 1 night per week, you're pretty hardcore. So, you also spend a lot of extra time bowling on the side, watching bowling on TV, and also researching the latest technologies. You're committed. You may even be bowling 2 nights or more per week. I think my Grandpa, at his peek was bowling about 4 nights per week.

In Wow, you generally are raiding for more than one night per week (obviously depends on the guild you're in). But even if you do only raid once per week, you're pretty hardcore, so you research gear, upgrades, min/maxing with your gems, etc. "What other achievements do I need," you may ask yourself. Or how do I get that cool pet that others have. Endless amounts of research and actual "work" are involved to have the gear to truly contribute to your raids.

Now here's one of the things that I don't get in the differences between these two "sports". If you're not going to make it on your bowling night, you generally need to get a sub. Somebody that will fill in for you, take your spot. And/or at least let your teammates know. This is generally taken into account by raiding guilds having more than the minimum number. If you're a 25-man raiding guild, you probably have at least 30 active accounts in your guild. Hey, things happen. Things like, "Gotta go, guys. Cat's in the oven again."

But if you sign up for a guild that raids say Monday through Wednesday, make it a point to be active, be online and ready to raid on those days. If you've previously spoken with your team captain (raid leader) that you can't make it on certain days, that's fine as well. Just live up to your word. Do what you've said you will. That's called integrity. :)

In the actual game, the most coveted thing you can do is bowl a perfect game. (That's a score of 300 for any of you non-bowlers out there.) Or if you've already completed that task, maybe you aim to bowl a perfect series. (That would be 3 perfect games.) These would be the achievements in Wow.

But remember, you also need your teammates to win. Even if you bowl a perfect series, sure this will help your team substantially, but if they're practicing gutter balls, I'm afraid you're not going to be winning any tournaments. (You may be going pro and making some bucks there, but you won't be winning any team leagues with your current teammates.) The same thing goes for Wow. You want to be equally yoked with your teammates. If you're the highest DPS'er in the world, but you're running with a tank that can't hold aggro... you're gonna be running around like a little girl... with her hair on fire... you get the picture. Furthermore, if you're 90% of the DPS in your 10-man raid, and something somehow happens and you die, your raid just lost a heck of a lot of DPS.

The whole point of this post, besides a lot of fun analogies is that while Wow is a game, so is bowling. And if you make a commitment to join a league, or be in an active raiding guild, do your best to live up to those commitments. But on the flip side, if you're not having fun, don't register with that team next season, but don't just stop showing up.

Monday, August 31, 2009

The Bowling Post, Part 1

I come from a long line of bowlers. My dad bowled. His dad bowled. And while I don't have first-hand knowledge, I suspect my great-grandfather also bowled. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me to find out that my ancestors were a part of the group that started bowling in Germany back in AD 300.

At the height of my teenage/young adult bowling career, I averaged around 160-170. But while my patriarchs were all in bowling leagues, I never joined. It was simply a pastime that I enjoyed.

For me, my bowling league has become a little game called World of Warcraft, and more particularly raiding in World of Warcraft.

Stay with me here while I explain. In order to raid, I had to first level to 80 (well, 60 when I first started, but that's besides the point). Along the way, I ran various instances or ad-hoc groups for group quests. I may have even had a high level toon run me through an instance or two to complete a quest or get a low level blue item. Likewise, I may have started bowling with the bumper lanes and doing the granny roll to get the ball down the alley. (They actually didn't have the bumpers when I was a kid; at least, I never used them at that age.) Sometimes on hard splits, I might have my dad come and pick them up for me.

The gray and even green equipment that you get in Wow will eventually be replaced by shiny, form fitting epics. Those epics are soulbound (or at least account bound), so you don't have to worry about the last guy that wore the shoes. You don't even have to worry that Mr. Bowling Shoe Giver Outer didn't spray the shoes properly. They're yours, and they just help you to do your job better.

Every bowling alley also has balls that you can use. They're generally uncomfortable since your fingers don't fit exactly right. At best, you'll get the right weight that's not too uncomfortable for your fingers. You may even have some comfortable finger holes (seems like they put multiple holes in it sometimes), but the weight is way off. So, eventually, you may even buy your own ball and custom bag. Maybe put your name on it.

In Wow, you'll find add-ons to be your friend. They can track auctions, warn you of boss abilities, track your own abilities, etc. etc. In case you've been living under a rock, there's whole web sites dedicated to add-ons. And as many ways as you can purchase a bowling ball or bag, there's at least that many add-ons for Wow.

To be continued...

Friday, August 28, 2009

Blizzcon 2009 Pics Are Up

Okay... these aren't the best pictures in the world. In fact, some of them are pretty dang blurry. The camera was actually the only thing I had forgotten when I left for work with all my stuff for Blizzcon on Thursday morning. And being that I was staying at a friend's house that it slightly closer to Anaheim, I didn't get a chance to go pick it up. I did, however, have a loving mother that loaned me her old camera.

Her old camera is great for stills, but was a challenge for action (e.g. screenshots). Plus, it takes forever to actually take a picture. She warned me about all of this beforehand. I'm not complaining; at least I had a camera. (There were also thoughts of "renting" a camera from Circuit City Best Buy, but I figured the restocking fees probably weren't worth it. Not to mention the fact that that's slightly dishonest.)

So enjoy. I only had time to sort through and get rid of some of the super blurry ones, so didn't have a chance to add captions yet. I'll do that this weekend. And for those on RSS feeds... you'll have to come to the site to see the pictures. Don't worry... they'll probably be up for about a year like last year's Blizzcon pictures were. :)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Report on Blizzcon 2009

I'll get the pictures up soon. I'll state that right up front. Hopefully tonight. I took quite a few screen shot pictures, so not sure how well some of them turned out. At any rate... soon.

Once again, I was glad I went to Blizzcon. It was a lot of fun. I got to meet a few new people by randomly talking to people in lines, and also at the Twisted Nether Podcast party. I played Starcraft 2 (shaping up to look like a really, really great, detailed game) and the new races of Wow Cataclysm. And of course, sat around for lots of panels too.

If you missed any of the announcements of everything they're going to do.. well... go check out Wow.com. They did a great job covering it (as I was sure they would), and there's just too many changes.

The one that I will mention is that of everything they're going to be changing about guilds. The funny thing is though: I was talking to a guildie on Friday about how it should mean more to be in a guild (which is a belief I've had for years), and on Saturday, Blizzard talks about the changes to guilds. Leveling up your guild, items bound to guilds, guild only recipes, and even a guild talent tree! Worgen and goblins are cool, but this is the kind of stuff that will be for everyone's mains.

Again... if you need more information about this one, read the article over on wow.com.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Raid Instance Comparisons

A comment by Guest yesterday got me really thinking about the Raid Instances that we've had in World of Warcraft. So, I thought I'd start with a little table and then draw some conclusions from there.
VanillaTBCWrath
UBRSKarazhanNaxxramas (2)

Gruul's Lair (1)Obsidian Sanctum (1)
Zul'GurubMagtheridon's Lair (1)Eye of Eternity (1)
Onyxia's Lair (1)Zul'AmanVault of Archavon (1)
Molten CoreSerpentshrine CavernUlduar
Blackwing LairTK: The EyeTrial of the Crusader
Ruins of Ahn'QirajMount HyjalOnyxia's Lair (1)(2)
Temple of Ahn'QirjBlack Temple
NaxxramasSunwell PlateauIcecrown Citadel
(1) Single Boss Encounter Instance
(2) Recycled Instance

As for my footnotes, I am very well aware that Gruul's Lair had 2 boss encounters and technically EoE has 4. Furthermore, I'm also aware that VoA will soon have 3 bosses. But I believe it is fair to lump them into one category and compare them because they're much shorter instances. If you want to talk about environment, you could even consider Trial of the Crusader as a Single Room Encounter, which meant a heck of a lot less work for the graphic designers. lol.

Further clarifications: I put a space between UBRS and Zul'Gurub since UBRS was still 10-man (down from 15 at a certain point) and Zul'Gurub being a 20-man instance seemed that it needed more coordination and "raid" tactics.

All of that said, Blizzard did a lot in the first few years of Wow. They created 9 classes (8 playable by each faction). They created 2 continents, 24 5-man instances, and 8 raids. Not too shabby. Granted this was all work done from alpha to beta to about 2 years and 2 months until the next expansion came: The Burning Crusade. They then gave us another continent, flying mounts, 16 5-man instances, and 9 raids. Then about a year and 10 months later, Wrath of the Lich King came. So far, we know that they have given us a new continent, 13 5-man instances, and 6 raids with 2 more (Onyxia's Lair and Icecrown Citadel) on the way.

Recycled
Of the 8 raids in Wrath, 2 of them will be completely recycled from Original Wow. Honestly, I'm completely okay with that. I don't think a lot of people (as a percent of the whole) got a chance to run Naxx or, to a lesser extent, Ony before TBC came out. So, it's good that people now get to go back and see these fights. Especially with Blizzard's redirection that everybody should be able to see raids, it just makes sense.

Albeit, I recognize that there's been less development time, but if you factor in that these 2 instances got recycled from before, the true number is really down to about 6 new instances. And 3 of those are Single Boss Encounters (4 if you count Trial of the Crusader).

Now, I'm not saying that any of the Single Encounters are bad instances. I'm simply saying that they seem like they'd take a heck of a lot less work. And yes, Blizzard has given us these hard mode options to them to make them last a little longer... it's not like it takes them the same amount of time as a brand new instance. If you've been around Wow for a bit of time, you know the excitement that comes with heading in to a recently released instance or raid (bugs and all).

Brand New With Quality
On the other hand, I have to really hand it to Blizzard for Ulduar. It's a fun instance. It really shows that Blizzard has learned what people like and don't like. People like to be able to mount in these huge zones, even if it's just in the first area. Being able to teleport around in Ulduar is also great. Graveyard run times are also greatly reduced. There's a repair person in the instance... at the beginning... and you don't even need to defeat a boss before you repair. It also uses the technology that they've been working so hard on (vehicles) and gives you credit for your awesome gear by making your vehicle stronger.

And from what I hear about Icecrown Citadel, it's going to be more of the same quality. I know it was only a joke, but Ghostcrawler joked that it would have 31 bosses. Even if it only has half that, it's still more than Ulduar has, so I really expect the same level of polish and newness to Icecrown.

But... wasn't that level of polish there in the Vanilla Wow? You know... in the first 8 raids that existed? Or will the trend simply continue and mean that in the next expansion, we'll all be farming Sunwell Plateau as soon as we hit 80?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Important Item for Blizzcon

Okay, for all those last minute packers, I need to add one more item to your list of things to pack. I'm sure you've seen a dozen different sites of what to bring to Blizzcon. But I'm not sure I've seen the most important thing on any of those lists.

Seriously, folks... do yourself a favor. Stop by any local drug store or whatever and pick up a set of earplugs. Last year Lvl 80 Elite Tauren Cheiftan was loud. I'm sure Ozzy Osborne will be even louder. You only get one set of ear drums. Please attend Blizzcon responsibly and protect those ears.

(I realize I'm getting older, but if you get good seats for the closing show, you'll thank me if you picked up earplugs.) You'll be able to feel Ozzy's sweat (or whatever) and still be able to hear your friends afterwards as well.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Blizzcon, ToC, and Correction

Okay, first off, I'm alive. Work has been busier as of late, and I just don't take the time to post at night. Working through lunches and breaks and whatnot leave me little to no time to blog. Not to mention that I've been figuring out upgrades for my Shaman, Mage, and my wife's Priest. heh.

But this week is Blizzcon for those that haven't paid attention. And I will be there. Then again, for those of you that haven't paid attention, you probably don't care that I'll be there.

As previously mentioned, I've promised to make an appearance over at Tangerine for the Twisted Nether Meetup on Friday night. I shouldn't be hard to spot... if you're that interested in meeting me, just check out my pictures from last Blizzcon; I'm the one with the Panderan Brewmaster. I'm also the one standing at the entrance of the Anaheim Convention Center. (Note to self: update blog pictures with this year's Blizzcon pictures.)

Now, on to actual Wow related information.

I previously wrote that the new 5-man Trial of the Champion on heroic mode dropped Champion's Seals only if you were already a champion with at least one faction. This is incorrect. My wife, who isn't exactly excited about any quest you need to repeat over and over again, isn't even close to being a champion with any race, and she too got the Seals from the Heroic instance.

Now that that's out of the way, I actually like what they did with this 5-man. For a pure gear-reset / farming instance, it serves it's purpose well. It's not too difficult, but slightly so if you still need the gear. It goes quick and drops lots of purples. At first, I really wished there was a way to get rid of all the talking and introduction of the first 3 champions, but now I simply use that as down time to do RL stuff. ("Okay, gonna start the event and go afk for bio, get a drink, and solve world hunger. I'll be back when they're ready to joust.)

Is it simple? Yep. But it was almost too simple. Like Blizzard is getting lazy. I was hoping that it was simply the fact that they were so focused on the next instance. But now that they're going to revamp Onyxia in 3.2.2, I think I'm going back to Blizzard just being lazy. /sigh

Oh well... at least some people will get to see some of these instances/encounters that were in the game before they started playing. It's just that I'm not one of those people.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

3.2 First Impressions

I'd love to tell you how wonderful the new patch is. I'd love to tell you how much fun I had in the new instances. Oh, and I'd also love to tell you how smooth this patch was compared to all the others. Instead... the realm I play on, Bronzebeard, was one of the Emergency Maintenance realms.

I did log on to a Shaman on another server that hit 20 last night. I was 19 when I logged on, went and bought ghost wolf, and then one quest later, I hit 20. (Probably should have looked at that before flying all the way back to Exodar first. sigh. Oh well.) It was a pleasant surprise to see how the mount prices had dropped substantially. I was worried that at level 20 only alts would be able to pay the steep mount cost. I think the total cost of a mount was like 4g. Nice. And very reasonable if you manage your money.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Healing Firsts: H-VoA (Troubles with Healbot)

In a small way, it's a little anti-climactic to take down bosses with alts. Yes, last night was the first night that I got in a PUG for Heroic VoA, and we cleared both bosses pretty easily. But it wasn't like I was jumping up and down now that I have the achievement. On the contrary, I felt a little embarrased... it's kind of like, "No, I swear! I've done this content already." lol.

There were a few issues on Emalon (4% on the first attempt, and then people focused on the boss and not the Overcharged add... bad raiders), but after 3 attempts, we beat him down. And no issues at all on Archavon. I was really hoping for any Shaman drop... simply because I was the only Shaman. But no, such luck. Oh well... there's always next week, right?

But the major issue I had was actually with Healbot. I know it has the settings to make it like the picture below. You know... mulitple columns and rows. Maybe instead of the 40-man picture (4 x 10), it would be more like 3 columns with 10 people in the first two and 5 people in the last one. That would make sense, right?

Yeah, well.. no. Mine is just one column. All 25 people in one column. I'm sure it's a setting that I have messed up or something. I just didn't have time to fix it. I got the invite, accepted the summons, and then Wow crashed. It does this enough that I know I have to completely restart the computer or else it will keep crashing. So, as soon as I got back online, I had to run in the instance: everybody was already waiting at the boss. A quick healing assignment (I was on raid healing), and we were off. I dragged Healbot around a bit so that it went from the top of my screen to the bottom. And I think I could heal most people. And those I couldn't, probably got hit with a chain heal anyway, right? And since none of the wipes were the healer's fault, it didn't matter if I couldn't see a few.

Regardless of the reason. I have to fix this. Furthermore, I really need to stop being lazy, enter in my MouseOverTarget macros, and then just use the x-perl interface that I have up anyway. Either way will work, but healing with one column... what a pain!

Oh... and there's just something about being the only one to have the power to drop Heroism and make 25 people instantly smile that they're casting, hitting, shooting 30% faster. It's a fun feeling.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Preparing for 3.2

I know I've read this over the past couple days, but darned if I can't find the reference now. But I'm gonna press forward and tell everybody what to do anyway. lol.

For those that have paid attention to the PTR or the patch notes or any Wow reporting site lately, you'll know that there's a new patch coming out, probably soon, and in that patch, among other things, there will be a new 5-man instance called Trial of the Champion.

This instance will drop a ton of purples on both normal and heroic modes. From my understanding (and again, not even having transferred a single toon over to the PTR this time), there are 3 events that drop one purple each. The first event starts out with jousting, so you may want to brush up on your skills there. Normal mode drops ilvl 200 and Heroic is ilvl 213.

Also on Heroic, each encounter awards you with a Champion's Seal. BUT... (and this is the part I can't find a reference for) you only get the Seals if you are a champion already. So, if you haven't done anything at all, you'll need to do the 4 daily quest for 5 days so that you can be knighted by your race. (Up to you if you want to be knighted by the other 4 factions as well.) And while the Champion's Seals won't buy you Tier 9 gear, they may provide some upgrades, or at the very least a pet you can sell on the AH. :)

So... if you've done nothing for the Tournament, you need to start today. You'll complete you're 5th set of dailies on Tuesday and then you can go do the Trial of Champion and get your Seals. Then again, that's assumming that 3.2 is going live on Tuesday. And being that they haven't closed the PTR yet, I'm guessing you probably have at least another week. But don't procrastinate too long.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Hit Cap: Fast Track

Like most casters, it's important for a dps shaman to get spell hit capped. It doesn't matter if you're enhancement or elemental, you still need to not miss with your spells. For Enhancement Dranei shaman, the magic number is 420 (that's 16% hit against a level 83 boss).

One of the reasons my dps was so poor the other night was that my spell hit was so low. (The other reason was because of my horrible weapons, which I'm working on, but that's really a whole other post.) So if the magic number is 420, I was sitting at 143. That means that aproximately 10.65% of the time, I missed with my spells. Ugh.

So, I figured that I'd work towards getting closer to that number. Little did I realize that 2 days later, I'd be hit capped.

Now, I get to cheat a lot as a Jewelcrafter. I get to create a Figurine - Twilight Serpent and throw in 2 Rigid Dragon's Eyes to get an instant 96 Hit rating. The Ring of Scarlet Shadows with a +16 hit gem in it produces another 54 spell hit. Throw in a belt buckle and another Dragon's eye gem for 27 more. Then add some Dragonstompers for another 26 to make a total of 362 hit.

Wow! And I didn't even set foot into a single instance for those upgrades. BUT... that still doesn't get me to 420. I'm still about 58 short. So, I'll still miss about 2.23% of the time.

So, what does one do? He recommits his wife to run instances with him (3% hit from Misery) and then I'm actually 20 spell hit over cap. I guess I can change one of the gems to an expertise gem.

And THAT, my friends, is how you get hit capped. lol.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Off-spec Gearing

Here's yet another post that will probably alienate a number of people, but at least this one is Wow related. And it won't alienate them as much as have them rolling their eyes thinking, "Yeah, duh! We've done that for years."

Let me start off by giving some background. I've been playing Wow for over 4 years now. During that time, I've had exactly 1 main, my mage, Leiandra. I've also leveled various alts, mostly on the same server. My mage always hit level cap first with each expansion, but I've had these alts as well. My priest hit level cap back in Vanilla Wow. Both my Shaman and Priest hit level cap in TBC. And so far, just my Shaman has hit level cap in Wrath. Besides the actual leveling process, I haven't done much of anything else with these toons except to level them to level and sometimes profession cap.

Now, as I've mentioned, I've been focusing on my shaman quite a bit and having a lot of fun doing it. From 70 to 80, I leveled him as enhancement, but started looking for resto quest rewards at around 78, because that's where I wanted to eventually end up. So, now I have this hybrid toon. My first one. So while I have my main spec of resto, I have this other spec of enhancement. Now the logical gear choice probably would have been to be elemental for my other spec, but it still would have required gear, and if I want a ranged DPS, I might as well just use my mage, right?

So, I've done a decent job of researching my resto set. I know there's still a lot of upgrades that I need, but I've got most of my stuff pretty well tied up. Enchants are fairly in order. Proper gems, including my jewelcrafting gems. My resto set is doing quite well.

Well, now I have this semi-neglected set. And as the case would have it last night, I went on a run with a bunch of friends. And the usual healer is a dual spec'ed Disc/Holy Priest. She heals. That's it. We had enough DPS to cover my crappy DPS, so I wasn't worried about that. I even played the hybrid role and threw a few key heals. I even off-tanked a mob that was beating on the priest for a bit. And at the end of the run, when I asked how my dps was, I wasn't even surprised that the tank had done more damage than me.

Pretty sad though. But what do I expect with level 75 quest reward items (with a couple purples and greens, but mostly blues) that are gemmed with green gems and no enchants against a full purple tank? And since we're all friends, it was no big deal, but on a normal run, I'd be that guy. Then again, to be fair.. in a raid, I'd probably be healing, but still... I don't want to be that guy. I don't need to be top dps in my off-spec either, but I certainly want to be above the tank.

So, in a way, with one toon, it really feels like I have to spend twice the amount of time on him. That's twice the researching. Twice the farming. But at least it's only 1 raid lock out. lol.

Oh, and not to mention that the research is much more difficult when I'm now looking at 3 armor qualities instead of just cloth as before. Sure, I'd like to be in mail, but that's not always what drops. In fact, it's almost too much math. Like I just want somebody to tell me at each drop if that's an upgrade. 'Cause not only might it be an upgrade for one set, but possibly also for my other set!!!

Wow. I finally have a whole new appreciation and understanding for the raiders that we had that had gear for both of their specs.