Friday, January 29, 2010

Miscellaneous Notes

None of these is deep enough to have a separate post, so I'm lumping them all together.

Playing DPS as a Ret Spec Paladin isn't so bad after all

I was so used to running dungeons as a Holy Spec Paladin that I wasn't sure what to expect; after all, I'd only dual spec-ed to a Ret Spec Paladin for my questing work. However, after a disastrous set of circumstances in the Trial of the Champion where our group must have wiped about 4+ times, Murtaugh sighed and told me that maybe my gear isn't up to spec for healing in the ToC, so he told me to switch to Ret Spec and go as DPS.

My first run as a Ret Spec paladin was interesting, to say the least. Murtaugh told me to just go in there and hit something, so I obliged. Of course, in our first trash mob, who dies? Me. Well, at least I didn't have to run far to get back in.

I also discovered that questing as a Ret Spec and dungeon delving as one are two different animals. When I quest as a Ret Spec, I hold back on Consecration unless I've got more than two monsters to deal with at one time, but in a dungeon that's the thing you should be using the most. Those first few dungeons, Murtaugh kept telling me that Divine Storm was doing the most damage for me, but it should really be Consecration. I paid more attention to Consecration last night, and it apparently showed.

I still die in the Halls of Lightning

"When those iron dwarves start their whirlwind," Murtaugh told me, "run."

I obeyed.

Naturally, I thought we were past those guys when we hit some vyrkul. Well, a couple of the whirlwind dwarves aggroed on us as well, and from my viewing angle the vyrkul blocked the dwarves. What happens?

The dwarves whirlwind.

I don't see it.

I die.

Then, to add insult to injury, my brain says "Get your ass in gear, buddy. You're the healer and you have to hoof it back." So I do.

Except I'm not the healer; I'm DPS. We have not only one or two but three people in our PuG who can Rez -myself included- and I naturally make it into the entrance before either of the other two can do it.

So I run. And run. And make a wrong turn. (But I correct myself before I run into a trash mob.)

"Quint," Murtaugh's wife says via chat, "you've got a map."

I do? I've gotten so used to not getting any help with interior maps while questing that I never even bother to look, so I was stunned to see an actual map of the dungeon, laid out before me when I pulled the map up. "Wow," I said. "I never knew that."

I could hear the facepalms from across the state.

Just What did that Pally Do, Anyway?

I'd been trying to get the To Hellfire and Back achievement for ages, and I was perpetually four quests short. I was reading on Thottbot, and I finally found what I'd been missing: a four quest chain that starts in Shadowmoon Valley.

Hot Damn! I was up early this morning, so I figured I'd get on WoW and knock those four out before work. The quest chain is the finding of the mold and the forging of the key for Heroic Hellfire Citadel, and the last quest in the chain was to go and kill a Fel Reaver to use the thing's innards for the key.

Crap. I'd watched an 80th level Pally die trying to kill one of those things, so I knew this wasn't going to be fun.

Well, I thought, let's do this. I don't feel like waiting around for help. I went out, found a Fel Reaver, took a deep breath, and went after it.

Surprise surprise, the thing went down with my only needing to pop a bubble once early on.

As I flew back to complete the quest -and the Achievement- the only thing I could think of was if it was that easy to kill a Fel Reaver as an 80 Ret Spec, just what did that other Pally do wrong? Was he using Holy Spec or something?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Rinse and Repeat

I'd logged in this past evening with the intention of knocking out a couple of quests. Nothing special or anything, just wanted to get a bit more gold back after depleting my funds to get Artisan Riding. Anyway, Murtaugh and another Guild member were on, and after a few minutes of chatting they asked me if I wanted to do a quick random dungeon. "Sure," I said, after a quick consultation with the Boss.

(I've noticed that if I don't check in on the non-designated WoW night, she tends to get testy when I spend all evening in front of the computer. Can't say I blame her much for that.)

What shows up? Halls of Stone.

"Oh joy," I thought. A blast from the past.

You see, this dungeon was the first really bad PuG experience I had.

The only other time I ran this dungeon, I did not do well. At first, we had a DPS and a Pally both acting like the tank, and I had trouble keeping them both healed. Then, while I was trying to drink to replenish all of my mana the Pally (the true designated tank) kept running on ahead and getting himself into trouble. There's one thing about the tank running on ahead when they can do that -see Murtaugh's Kriegtrommel for an example- but quite another when the Pally isn't that overpowered.

Then, after the second set of trash mobs, the Pally turns on me and asks me if I can Heal this instance or not. After I replied that I have to keep drinking, he points out Arcane Torrent and Divine Plea, and that I should use them.

Well, duh, except that I'm replenishing 80% of my mana, not 20%.

After the first boss (the giant who turns you to stone) he runs on ahead before even letting me get a chance to get unstoned. One trash mob later and he just up and disappears, leaving the rest of the party in the lurch.

Damn, that sucked.

Yeah, I could have done some stuff better. I tried to make liberal use of Beacon of Light to keep him up and running while keeping the others going, but that was the first time I felt overwhelmed in trying to keep everyone afloat. I've had it easy keeping our regular group healed -Krieg as the tank was overpowered compared to just about anything else- and this was a real test with people who didn't have the epic gear and might not have known all the angles.

So this return to the scene of the crime was going to be interesting.

One difference was that this time I was going as DPS -I didn't bother switching to Holy Spec and running as the healer- and that I'd known enough as the Healer to help my DPS work. The simple things, like let the stinking tank get all the mobs to aggro on him before you start using your Judgements, are incredibly important. A Healer doesn't want to have to heal every little mistake, since it takes mana away from the tank.

Anyway, this run went well. I ended up biting it at the very end -quite literally the very end- but that was okay. An AoE got me, I think. About 3/4 of the way through, I asked Murtaugh how many more bosses we had, and he said one. I think he thought I was keeping an eye on the clock, but really, I had no idea. I'd never finished this damn thing before, and here I was going through it the first time on Heroic mode.

But hey, it all worked for the best; I ended up with a nice belt for my Holy Spec and a good 2H sword for Ret Spec.

(Um, my skill level for 2H Swords needs work, but other than that....)

Thanks for the run, gang, and thank goodness you guys helped me put that bad experience to rest.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Amusing post on the official forums

Somebody got the idea of following the popular TV show, Who's line is it anyway?

Suggestions are given in the thread, and participants try to act or emote out the given suggestion in a random PUG group.

Isn't anonymity great?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

An Open Letter to Blizzard

Dear Blizzard--

When your character is going through the Storm Peaks questline that ends up with a warbear, either show the entire picture of the Brunnhildar warrior maiden disguise or your regular character in the Armory picture. Putting the warrior maiden and then covering her up in armor is a mite bit disconcerting, since it looks like Quint had a sex change operation.


The Management

Monday, January 18, 2010

How long is too long?

To set the stage for this question...

3.3 is released and the battered hilt item is available. I was excited to learn that you can actually get a great weapon with out having to do raids. Plus, I remember warriors from my first raiding guild taking great lengths to farm up for the book drop that started the quest for the Quel'Sarrar.

It was a pretty cool quest line that gave a unique item that just LOOKED cool. I was always disappointed that rogues (my main back then) never got a similar quest line.

Anyhow, 3.3 is released and the drop rate for the battered hilt that starts the quest for this sword is bugged, and Blizzard had erroneously set the drop rate at 10%. They quickly adjusted it in time for my gear to get good enough to run the new heroics though, and it's back down to 1%.

So, back on topic: I have now killed Scourgelord Tyrannus 30 times, and the last boss in the Forge of Souls roughly the equal amount of times, just slightly less.

I know these instance well enough to describe every pull in vivid detail. In fact, I'd say on the average run through the Pit of Saron, there is roughly 36 trash mobs I have to clear that actually have a chance of dropping the hilt, give or take a few depending if people are doing the quest in there on their first run through. And the average Forge of Souls run you clear roughly 31 trash mobs that could possibly drop the hilt.

On my combined runs thus far, I have killed roughly 2,010 mobs that have a chance at dropping the hilt. And I HAVE seen two hilts drop, but lost the rolls (as per my usual stacked dice... they're just stacked against me).

So I ask, how long is too long? How many more times can I throw myself at the mercy of tanking for random pugs hoping that a hilt drops and I actually win... Which by the way my chance of getting a hilt and actually winning would be .02%. How depressing is that?

Not as depressing as the thought of subjecting myself to further torture by means of PUG.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A Short Ponderable

Is Quintalan going to Hell for working with both the DEHTA and Hemet Nesingway?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Care to find out what we've been up to?

Just check out the new RSS character achievement feeds. Blizzard implemented this feature to Armory recently along with a 3D model viewer, which is now integrated into bottom of the page!

Now I just need to get the layout right so that the 3d viewers are next to each other. That would be nice.

Cool stuff!

-edit- Got the layout right as well as a new background picture on the title. Looking good...

Monday, January 11, 2010


To get some of the quest achievements for Northrend, you have to have completed a certain number of quests in each area. Now, I know that I left quite a few quests on the table when I moved to Dragonblight from Borean Tundra, but I figured I was finished with Howling Fjord when I moved away from there. Looking over the number of quests left to reach the achievement for Howling Fjord, however, I see that I must be wrong.

Where the heck are those extra 20+ quests anyway? Inquiring minds want to know.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Earlier today -way earlier, don't ask- I finished the Wrathgate questline, which included the cutscene and it's subsequent follow-up.

Powerful stuff.

I like the complexity and depth of the characters portrayed -not necessarily in the cutscene, which is pretty standard, but in the events following the cutscene. I was already predisposed to like Thrall, but his pathos after the confrontation with Varian Wynn and Jaina's intervention is very cutting. His discussion with Saurfang about the dashing of his hopes and dreams for his people reveals more layers underneath him than what you'd expect, and you can see now why he rules from the Valley of Wisdom in Orgrimmar. By comparison, Sylvanas is motivated by hatred, grief, and the desire for vengeance. Those blind spots enabled her to be unwittingly manipulated by Varimathras, and instead of learning wisdom this experience seems to have fueled her desires further. Varian Wynn and Jaina are the most stereotypical of the four main characters (not counting Varimathras), with Varian's overt racism providing the kindling for the destruction of the tentative collaboration between Horde and Alliance in Northrend.

The push in Northrend now seems to take a more desperate tone, as Arthas proved in the cutscene he is still the master of all. Only the Blight is the potential game changer that the Alliance and Horde can use, and that has been taken from them by the betrayal of the Apothecaries.

I'm now really curious how the subsequent quests will play out, given all that has happened in the interim.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Beacon Schmeacon

Ever since I've begun to pay attention to Beacon of Light in the Holy Spec bag of tricks, I've discovered an annoying side effect: spam healing.

Ideally, you slap Beacon of Light on a tank just before a big fight so that you can heal not only everybody else but the tank as well. It's great in theory, but when you're running through an instance without a clue as to what's up ahead, you end up healing the tank when it's not necessary. The trash mobs may or may not do a lot of damage, and unless you know the instance -and the tank- pretty well, odds are good you're going to misjudge when you need Beacon of Light.

Result: spam heals on the tank.

Side result: Healer looks like he's wasting mana.

Part of being a good healing Paladin is actually anticipating when someone is going to need healing so that you can start the Flash of Light/Holy Light spells just before they're going to get thwacked. If you don't know the instance, you run a greater chance of misjudging when to start the healing.

A short example: The first time we went through Drak'Tharon Keep, I was juggling everybody and keeping bodies up in the air. We survived pretty well all the way up until we reached King Dred, and then the debuffs he threw down simply overwhelmed my ability to keep up. Being too close to Dred when he unleashed Bellowing Roar didn't help either, and the party ended up wiping. The next time I ran through the Keep, I anticipated what was ahead and not only kept out of range but was ready and casting the healing spells slightly before Dred unleashed his attacks.

That kind of ties in with something that I've noticed about the new dungeon finder tool. If there's a drawback to the tool, it's that the random selector will throw the noob for a loop. For the noob, every instance is new, and with the instant gratification of the tool there's no time to strategize beforehand with your group before you're off and running.

Of course, that sort of issue will crop up in regular old pickup groups as well, but you can minimize that by getting a feel for the people and the instance you'll be going through beforehand.

While the Healadin's tools are great, there's no substitute for experience and advice.