Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I've Been Meme-ified

I typically don't do memes.  All more's the irony that I've responded to a meme on my non-WoW blog and now here in the past month.

This came from Anea, formerly of "Oh Look, an Alt!" who has since moved her blogging over to Wordpress and Ethermead.  This is a WoW-centric meme, which is no great surprise.

1. Raider, farmer, PvPer, or altoholic?
If I've the choice among the four, I guess it'd be a farmer.  In reality, I'd create a fifth entry, Questaholic, to stick my playing style in.

2. Favorite raid or dungeon?
Halls of Reflection.  How often do you get a chance to fight alongside Sylvanas Windrunner outside of the Wrathgate sequence?

3. Number one choice for a new playable race?
Naga.  A certain number of them could be cast out by Azshara for not living up to her standards, and they are forced to make their own way in the world. 

4. Class you suck the most at?
Warrior.  I created one, got him to L8, and dropped him.  I just didn't want to keep going.

5. Original UI or modded UI?
Moderately modded.  I've slowly been replacing the original UI with modded equivalents, and by the time Catclysm drops I'll have completely modded the UI.

6. Profession you've never levelled past 200?
Almost all of them.  The only professions I've leveled past 200 are Cooking, First Aid, Mining and Jewelcrafting.  (Fishing will get there, however.)

7. Favorite flying mount?
I like my drakes, but I prefer the old Swift Yellow Windrider.  It doesn't take up much viewing space, it doesn't scream "look at me!", and it doesn't look dorky running along the ground.

8. Nozdormu -- friend or foe, you figure?
Friend.  Unless Deathwing corrupts him, of course.

9. Useless item you have in your bank that you'll never get rid of?
Saltheril's Party Invitation.  I have no freaking idea why I want to hold onto it, but I just do.

10. Most expensive thing you've ever bought?
One Battered Hilt, 9300G.  I wanted to see the quest chain, finish up Loremaster for Northrend, and get the best non-raid weapon in the game.  I had more than enough money to cover it (and a Tyrannical Beheader to tide me over), but I waited until the price dropped from 11000G down to below 9500G before I pulled the trigger.  That waiting period sure took long enough, but it at least allowed me enough runs in the ICC 5-mans to see if the hilt would drop.  To this day, I've still only seen the hilt drop once:  on my second run through the Pit of Saron.

11. Favorite starting area?
Alliance:  Draenei.  Far and away the best of the Alliance starting areas, and emphasizes the otherness of the Draenei and their need to convince the races of Azeroth that they aren't in league with the Burning Legion.  What I've seen of the Alliance starting areas, it's easier for the Humans especially to see the Horde races as "those big ugly lesser beings who need to be exterminated."  I can't see the Draenei and Dwarves especially going for that sort of leadership long term, although Night Elves and Tauren Druids have worked together quite well.

Horde:  Blood Elf.  The big punch in the face with the destruction wrought by the Scourge contrasting with Blood Elves clinging to a semblance of their former glory makes for a good starting point.  The Tauren starting zone is a close second, with the great rolling plains and the influence by the Native American beliefs and architecture.  The more I think about it, the more I'm convinced that the Tauren --and to a lesser extent the Blood Elves-- are going to have a hard time following Garrosh Hellscream into a potentially genocidal war against the Alliance.

12. Inane goal you worked hardest to achieve?
Collecting whelps for the pet collection achievements.  I've got two down --Azure and Crimson-- with two to go.

(Ordinarily I'd say the Bear Mount from the Brunhildar Village, but since I HAVEN'T GOTTEN IT YET, I can't put that here.)

13. Darion Mograine VS Tirion Fordring, gloves off -- winner is?
Tirion.  The Old Man can still bring it.

14. Game music or your own playlist?
Right now, just the background sounds.  I was playing the game music for a long time, but I've since turned it down.  I typically play with headphones on so as not to disturb people nearby.

15. Particular option or setting that you always toggle on a new alt/server?
The beginner tooltips go bye bye; they only get in the way now.

16. Highest amount of levels gained in one play session?
Ten.  L1-10.

17. Thing you'd most like to experience or see in-game?
I already got to experience it:  seeing the Sunwell back in operation as part of the Quel'Delar quest chain.

18. Worst PuG moment?
Oh, there have been plenty.  Too many to count.  Probably the time in Halls of Stone where I was followed by a bot.  It wasn't an epic fail, but just the sheer humiliation of being the dude selected by the bot software to be followed.

19. Best dungeon/raid moment?
Probably the time in Heroic Utgarde Keep where someone had accidentally pulled extra trash (feared), and only myself and the tank were left.  When I saw the healer go down, I stepped back, bubbled, pulled out Healbot, and managed to heal the both of us through something like eight Vrykul at once with only 6k mana.  Both of us nearly died multiple times --the fight was so long the bubble timer and the mana potions reset-- but we somehow stayed upright.

20. Worst quest ever that you totally hate doing?
Thersa Windsong.  I did it once, and afterwards I swore I'd never do that again.

21. First thing you do when you hit 80?
Well, I only hit 80 once, and I really didn't party in the streets of Dal or anything.  I just kind of shrugged and went back to questing in The Storm Peaks.

22. Character (of yours) you would RP as if you had to?
Nevelanthana, my BE Mage.  Of course, that's because she was originally based on a D&D character of mine who bit the dust over last winter.  Even the traditional BE snarkiness and attitude fit Neve's original personality perfectly.

23. Keyboard, mouse, or both for using abilities?
Both.  Eventually I'll get one of those nicer mice, but that's kind of low on the purchasing totem pole.

24. Thottbot or WoWhead?
Wowwiki for me. :-P

25. Acronym you've seen in chat but don't understand?
There are plenty.  If I see it enough I Google it, but since I don't text and I'm not a long time WoW player, I don't have all the acronyms down.  I tend to type in complete sentences --thank you typing class!-- which is occasionally out of place in WoW chat.

26. Plot point you'd like to see resolved someday?
Toss up:  seeing the Ghostlands restored to their former glory, and seeing the Black Temple restored.

27. Biggest thing you're looking forward to in Cataclysm?
Watching the Theorycrafters freak out with all the changes.

28. Guild event you'd like to see?
You mean Karaoke Night isn't part of the menu?  None in particular, really.

29. Level range you hate being in?
L35-39.  That fast mount is almost there, but just out of reach.

30. Favorite map to quest in?
Howling Fjord.  That place just screams Scandinavia, and I have Grieg's Peer Gynt Suite running through my head when I'm there.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Don't Be THAT Pally

I've heard stories from various websites and people I've pugged with about a peculiar breed of Ret Spec Paladin, the Retardin.  Apparently this breed, like the Huntard and others of his ilk, has an overinflated sense of ego coupled with a lack of understanding of how to play the class.  When you throw in tendencies to tell everyone else how to play their class, you've got the makings of a real ass that can give Huntards and Boomkin a run for their money.

Having played WoW for less than a year, I've not found that many Retardins out there using the LFD tool.  Probably Cassandri's speculation over at Hots and Dots about how the tool matches people up is correct after all, since I rarely see another Paladin in the PUGs I've been in.

All that changed yesterday in Tomakan's run through Razorfen Kraul.  I've been in Kraul a couple of times, but that's only at L80 working on Loremaster.  Like I commented to Souldat while I was in the run, it's sure different when you're not steamrolling through here, and you've got competing egos to deal with.

The setting started with a Warrior tank, myself as healer, and Paladin, Hunter and Mage as the DPS.  Almost from the get-go the Ret Spec Pally started on the tank. 

"Use Challenging Shout!" 


"Let him go," the Hunter said.  "He's doing okay."

"He's L26!"

After the first boss, the tank had pretty much had enough.  "I'm leaving," he said.

"Oh, the poor baby didn't get the helm?"

"No, my friend is on and I get more XP with him."  And he dropped.

"That's okay," the Pally said.  "I can tank while we wait for a new one."

Normally, you'd think that a four man group would slow down a bit to recover some more in between pulls, but the Pally kept going.  I was doing okay, keeping my mana up by Judging Wisdom, until the pseudo-tank spoke up.  "You're interfering with my buff," he said.  "You Judge Light and I'll Judge Wisdom."

I bit back what I really wanted to say, and instead said "Just as long as you let me drink from time to time."

For the record, he did stop to let me and the Mage drink.  Once.

We kind of limped along until we got to the area where the mobs can use silence.  The first couple of mobs were okay, but the third mob was massive and nasty.  The first time I got silenced, I stepped back, getting out of their range, but the pseudo-tank was at the far end of the mob, so I couldn't heal him without going back into range.  And on that second round of silencing, the pseudo-tank bit it.

I then became the target of his ire.  "Way to go standing in melee with mobs that can silence you," he sniped.

I ignored him. 

"Why don't you learn to stand out of range?"

I ground my teeth and let him simmer.  With this guy, it was like mud wrestling with a pig, and I wanted to spend my energy on finishing off the mob --which we did.  Besides, with the profanity filter on, my barbs wouldn't have quite the same sting.

"Will you stop your whining?" the Hunter demanded.  "We survived."

"But I lost my buffs, and you don't know the cost of repairing Heirloom gear."

If the Retardin had actually paid attention and inspected everyone in the group, he'd have realized that we all had Heirloom gear on before sending that little zinger out.

"Oh be quiet," the Hunter said.  "We're almost at the end anyway."

We got to the last boss, and naturally I couldn't heal the Retardin because he ran inside and didn't pull the boss back out to where we all could reach her.  I ran inside and slapped Naaru on him before I could get silenced or stunned, and then we finished the boss off.

Instance finished, the Retardin vanished.

"Why am I not surprised?" I asked nobody in particular.

Moral of the Story:  Don't be an ass.  The instance went fine for the most part, but the antics of one guy didn't make for a fun time.

Yes, I could have done some more smack talk in the instance, but it would have done me no good.  Believe it or not, we were queued the entire run when we went 4-man, but no tank appeared.  If I'd harassed the Retardin enough to where he dropped, we'd have been waiting a looong time to finish that instance.

Also, a corollary:  silence does not indicate assent.  Sometimes it does, when people ask if we're ready before a boss fight, but other times people might actually be running the instance rather than talking smack.  When I'm DPS, I can talk smack all I want, but when I'm Healer or Tank my first responsibility is to the team.  And I'm least interested in responding to an overblown windbag trying to tell me what I can or can't do when he drove one pugger out already.  I've never stopped healing someone in an instance before, but don't tempt me into letting you be the first, buddy.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Something odd is happening...

Alliance actually won a wintergrasp this week... and in less than 5 minutes to boot! After which, I received my three marks from the battle, and turned them in (along with another 37) and got some fancy new pvp shoulders on my warrior.

The night after that, the Alliance were back to business as usual and I had a spectacular losing streak of battle grounds, but gained enough honor to purchase the wrathful cloak. So hooray for losing matches with the quickness. I did get the chance to get a bit of excitement, though. Tenacity x8 makes blaaaaaaade stoooooorm a LOT of fun. I had 76,000 health, and could drop an enemy player in 4 hits (a LOT less than that if they had no resilience).

I figured I'd try to get one battleground in tonight and WSG was what came up. Holy crap, was I astonished to see 5 other players pretty well outfitted in pvp gear, and not a single heirloom weapon to be seen anywhere! It was pretty much a steamroll in favor of the Alliance.

It's interesting to see the various battlegrounds now from two perspectives. The horde truly does seem intimidating, and the alliance has no flippin clue what they're doing. I cannot tell you the number of times I've seen half the team go straight for the flag in Eye of the Storm, or the entire team sans 1 person at the stables go to the mine in Arathi.

It's an odd feeling to just look at battlegrounds as a way to farm honor, instead of actually playing the game and trying to win. At points, when the team is just SO BAD I don't even feel like trying, because it would be a suicide mission to do so, I have to admit: I've given up and just stayed at a spawn point for a while until the match ends.

Come to think of it, I used to laugh about the crazy suicidal Allinace "I'm a hero - I'll kill you all with one fell swoop of my *gurgle - flop - overly dramatic death animation*" Who knew? They're not suicidal, they were just the only poor bastard on the team who actually was trying. And now it's me!?

I'm wondering if the attitudes of the players has changed a bit with all of the instant gratification we're seeing. "Oh, crap. The horde took three flags. Ok, that just means it'll be over quicker."

Honest to goodness, I have seen Alliance players justify their lack of effort as "the horde has 20 minute queues, and we can get in battlegrounds instantly." Which, coming from the Horde as I did, I know is completely untrue. It totally depends on the server / battlegroup.

And to further the topic, Blizzard is making regional cross battlegrounds, meaning all of North America will the thrust into the pool of players waiting to play matches. Which, should speed up the queue times for the Horde.

So all you Horde players rejoice! You'll be queuing up faster, and winning the same amount as always, because the Alliance just sucks at rational thought and organized fights; they'd much rather follow the safety of the herd and just defend one node.

Yep, we sure got stables here. No foul hordie is gonna take my flag! Yep, horses... Such a shame we can't give them any shoes or any work to do such as hauling ore, or even timber around because we'd rather just let the Horde have the mine, lumberyard and blacksmith. And we can't feed em either; no farm.

With treatment like that, I surprised the horses don't leave. Maybe that's what we're all there for? In fact, I think I'll start organizing an equestrian guard squad in the games from now on. Our battle cry will be "Hold your horses!"

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Where the greener is grass

Wow.com did an article recently that talked about when your alt become your main.  I find myself in this boat.  My deathknight is pretty well geared, and has around 5600 achievement points.

However, I've been playing my warrior a LOT more than my deathknight recently.  And I've been wondering if I really just enjoy the warrior class more, or is it more enjoyable because it's new to me? 

Each class has it's advantages and disadvantages.  Such as the Sindgragosa fight we're working on in ICC (8% grrrrr).  The DK is at an obvious advantage here because of anti magic shell, ice bound fortitude, vampiric blood, blood tap... there's just so many tools to keep myself up and fighting, where as the warrior has a shield wall, last stand, and enraged regeneration which are nice abilites, but not excatcly great for this fight.  There are fights though, that it's the otherway around.

I am enjoying the charge / intercept / intervene skills versus the pull method of the deathgrip.  And I enjoy the DPS offspec of the warrior a lot more than I do the DK.  There's just something enjoyable about the brutality of the warrior, either my target dies, or I do, either way I can and will put up one hell of a fight.  I get those moments on the DK too, but it feels some what artificial.  Like I expect to win most fights, and with the warrior I really have to work at it.

And I also must admit, my 2v2 arena team as resto shaman / unholy death knight really suffers against teams with a healing limiting mechanic (mortal strike or poisons).  This may get fixed with one of the new spells coming in the expansion for DKs, though.

So while we're in the current expansion, I'm still raiding and keeping my main as my death knight.  I just don't know about the expansion yet.  We've gotten plenty of info on DK changes, but a lot of it seems to be RNGish... but it's too early to tell.

I suppose if the changes to the DK mechanics make the playstyle feel more warrior-like, and less rogue-like I'd be happier.  If the current systems of using an ability every GCD slowed down a little bit to allow for the proc-type abilites it would bring some variation and thought to the rotation, which would be nice.

So I'm looking at either going with the pretty same as always warrior (with a small change to the rage system), or the DK who's getting mostly a complete mechanic overhual, talent tree overhaul, and more than likely months of rebalancing while they fine tune (aka nerf the shit out of) the changes they did.

How about everyone else?  Are any of the class mechanic changes making you leery about your current main?  How many of you are changing main characters in the coming expansion?

Monday, June 21, 2010

I Now Know Where the Wailing Comes From

Last Friday I pulled out Tomakan and dialed up Wailing Caverns.  I knew I wanted to take care of it before it disappeared from my radar, and I didn’t feel like trooping through The Barrens to get to the entrance when I was a much higher level.

I’ve been in Wailing Caverns exactly twice; like most Old World instances, I get lost pretty darned easily in it.*  I know what we have to do, but I don’t know where all the bosses are.

That’s what the tank is for, right?

Well, as soon as we got going, the tank admitted he wasn’t sure where everything was, but he was determined to wander around to find everything.  I had time to kill and I wanted the achievement, so I was fine with that.

We managed to find the first boss and downed him just in time to discover that our Gnome Warlock was rolling Need on all items.  “What are you doing?” the priest asked.  “You can’t use that axe at all.”

“I have a friend who will pay good gold,” he replied.

“You noob,” the tank said.  “You can’t trade a ‘Bind on Pickup’ item.”

On the next item that dropped, the Lock rolled Need again.  The Priest protested, and the Lock replied with a weak “but I could use that!”

“Okay,” the tank said, “everybody rolls Need from now on, then it’s the same as Greed.”

The Lock didn’t like that, and began to forge ahead of the group.

Shortly afterward, the tank had to drop and he was replaced by another tank, this one a Gnome Warrior.  He ported in, and immediately ran to the next trash mob and pulled.  At the same time, another mob swarmed over the Lock and the Hunter.

“Holy crap!” cried the Priest.

I’d have said something, but I was kind of busy spamming heals all over the place.  I was literally running back and forth between two sets of mobs trying to keep everyone upright.  I’m still not sure how I managed that one.

That finished, the Priest and Lock were out of mana.  The tank, oblivious to it all, bounded forward to the next trash mob.  “Wait!” I shouted.

Too late.  The tank had already pulled.

I ended up having to do a bit of DPS to cover for the lack of caster support, but the mob eventually went down.

“Yes?” the tank asked.

“The casters need to drink.”

“Oh,” he said, bounding around the entire area.

“What the hell happened back there?” I whispered to the Priest.

“The idiot Lock pulled at the same time as the tank,” she whispered back.  “He needs to stop doing that.”

“If he does that again he’s gone.”

Sure enough, the Lock ran ahead of the group and pulled the next trash.  “Dammit!” the tank cried.

I began mashing the “Vote to Kick” option, but the Lock was moving so quickly there wasn’t enough time between the next couple of mobs for us to officially hold a vote.  When it finally stuck, the Lock immediately dropped group.

A huge sigh of relief went up from the group when a well behaved Gnome Mage ported in and we continued our run.

There was one final misstep where we had to double back and get one final boss, but compared to the first twenty minutes, the last half an hour was a walk in the park.

When I was relating the tale to Souldat, who was on with his Warrior at the time, he replied, “A lot of people seem to think they can act exactly the same way as if they’re an 80 running an instance.”

I couldn’t agree more.

*Shadowfang Keep, by contrast, is a straight shot.  After having gone through there for the first time as a Draenei on Sunday, I wonder why on earth the Alliance would even want these Worgen in the first place.  Maybe the Horde could trade the Goblins for the Worgen.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Supply, Demand, and the Auction House

DISCLAIMER:  If you're looking for a detailed discussion on how to make gold using the AH, this isn't it.  There are plenty of great blogs that describe how to work the AH, and I recommend perusing a lot of them.

The other day, when a guildie and I were steamrolling our way through Arcatraz --gotta love Druid tanks-- talk turned to Greed vs. Disenchant.  "Have you seen what Dream Shards are going for these days?" I asked.

"Yeah," he replied.  "I pretty much stopped DCing blues, because I get more money from vendoring them than selling the shards."

After a short pause, I realized he was right.  A quick scan of the BC blues I was acquiring in Arcatraz revealed that I would be selling them for more than I'd get for a Dream Shard from the AH.  This morning, I paid close attention to the blues that I got from the Northrend 5-man instances, and I discovered I'd be getting around twice what a Dream Shard was going for.

I also spent some time farming for Saronite and Titanium to replenish my metal and gem stocks, and I discovered that Titansteel is going for 75G on the AH, half of the price it was two months ago.

How did prices get this depressed?

Yes, the simple answer is supply and demand, but I wonder about the underlying causes.  Is it that the gold farmers are trying to manipulate the price by flooding the market?  Is it that enough people are grinding for Frost Emblems alone that there's an excess of disenchanting materials?  Or that enough people per server are in ICC and don't need Titanium or Titansteel crafted items?

I suspect that there's a bit of everything --yes, even the supposed pre-expansion blues-- to blame for the current state of the market.  When ICC has been out long enough that even altaholics are able to get a good T9 set from Emblems alone for all of their toons, then the need for Titanium and Titansteel are depressed.  Add to that the availability of Primordial Saronite, and you've got the current state of the metals.  When Cataclysm comes out, this will be replayed again:  after all, have you seen the prices for Eternium and Khorium these days?  I can sell Mithril for higher prices than what Eternium is going for.

The gem prices in general drive me nuts.  The basic Epic gems are running only about 15G less than their JC'ed counterparts, and some days they can actually sell for higher.  Sure, it's 15G, but you have to ask yourself if your time is better spent doing an extra daily or two to get the same amount of profit.  Considering how little the Epics drop when you prospect Titanium, I guess the Alchemists are the ones making a mint on the market by crafting the Epic gems.  But right now, regular Jade and other low end gems are looking better than Dream Shards.  Nobody seems to be farming those gems, yet there's still enough of a need that I can beat the Dream Shard price easily on some of these low end gems.

What about your server?  Are you seeing the same trends?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Waaaay too Short and Sweet

I was on this morning to get my daily PuG run in, and only a few minutes after throwing my name into the hat I was able to port in.

The Old Kingdom was the destination.

The port finished, and...  I died.


"Well, that was a fine how-do-you-do," I said in party chat.

The healer, warlock and I began running back.  "Are you guys coming?" the tank asked.  "We're up to the Prince."

We got back to the area before the Blood Prince and surveyed all of the trash mobs walking around.  "We can't," I said.

"How come?"

"There's Geists in the way."

"Wait a second," the healer said.  "How did you get there?"

"We were sneaky."

"But you can't get to Taladram without taking care of the orbs first.  The barrier is still in place."

I should probably have dropped group then, but I decided to stick around.  Silly me.

The warlock summoned his void walker, and it kind of weakly tanked us through most of the trash on the main floor.  After the third set of mobs, the tank tried going back to us and died.  We waited about halfway up the ramp to the first orb while the tank ran back.  At least there were four of us now.  While we were in this holding pattern, I watched the last pack of Geists roaming around.  They hadn't made it to us yet, but I was still uneasy.  I could probably take the pack of them by myself, but I preferred having a bona-fide tank around.

The tank arrived, ran up the ramp to the trash awaiting us, and before I could finish switching to Frost Aura he began pulling them back down the ramp.

"Huh?" said the warlock.

I began to type something, but abandoned that as the tank pulled the trash down the ramp and was met partway up by the Geists.

Oh.  Crap.

At least I could say that I lasted the longest.  The healer was caught from behind and died almost instantly, the lock close behind him.  I tried taking out the Frostbringers, reasoning that they'd kill the tank and me quickest, but I couldn't pour the DPS on fast enough.

Before I could even release, the healer and lock dropped group.  I waited until I got back into the instance before doing the same.

For all I know, the tank and the mysterious other DPS are still there, hoping that someone ridiculously overpowered will come along and save them.  Who was it that said "you can't heal stupid?"  Well, this scenario definitely qualified as stupid.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Choosing the type of engineer to be

So, I'm leveling engineering on my warrior, and I was curious about the differences between the two types: goblin and gnome.

I happened upon an awesome post on the official forums and I wanted to share it with you all:

Courtesy of Mcnostril, of the guild Raging Hordeon on the Illidan server

Everyone knows the doo-dads gnomes make are far inferior to things that go KA-BOOM.

In a real life adventure, would you like a pocket knife that includes an hammer, wrench, and skinning blade... or a mini nuke?

The Death Star was goblin engineering at its finest.

Gnomes built the Frodo's Shire.

Death Star attacks with world shattering boom
Shire retaliates with a well made wind chime
Death Star adds 200% pewpew
Shire thinks a firm scolding is in place
Death Star lures you with waffles
Shire can only offer weak pancakes

Goblin engin or gtfo

 I also got a chuckle out of his signature line:
"How many Gnomes does it take to paint StormWind: Depends on how hard you throw them"
With logic like that, it looks as if I'm going to be a goblin engineer.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Down in the Deeps

I've continued my romp through the low level instances with Tomakan, hitting the Stormwind Stockades and Blackfathom Deeps last night.  Not having done the Stocks before, it was a pretty intense 15-20 minute run.  Luckily we were geared enough (and I had enough mana potions) that I didn't run into mana issues like I did in the Deadmines.

I actually was kicking myself after the Stocks run because I could have used some of those rings that dropped, but I was in my Northrend 5-man heroic mode and basically greeded everything.  I paid much closer attention in BD, but nothing I could have used dropped.

Blackfathom Deeps demonstrated that I miss my Blood Elf, at least in terms of judging distances between jumps.

It was embarrassing to be in a 5-man and miss the jump on the rocks not once, not twice, but three times.  I was cursing up a blue streak under my breath, suddenly grateful that I wasn't on Vent or anything.  But at least everyone stopped and waited for me while the big ol' lug finally jumped over the pattern of rocks.

I also had a Shaman in BD who, almost from the get-go, asked if I could handle this place and he could step in if I couldn't.  I kept assuring him that no, I was fine, but that all I missed was Cleanse for the dispelling the ice related debuffs from the nagas.  (I get it in the 30s, I think, so I have to get used to not having it for a while.)  In fact, the run was noticeable in that I don't think the tank's bar dipped below 50% more than once or twice until the final fights.  I didn't want to spam heal, so I typically waited until his health dropped enough that Flash of Light would have a full impact.  We also had some DPS that wanted to pretend they were the tank and pulled some of the trash, and I was surprised that the tank didn't call them out on it.  If I wasn't constantly watching the bars, I'd have said something, but really, the group could handle it.

That last boss fight with the Twilight's Hammer character, that was rough.  Not him per se, but the trash that flew to us after the fight ended.  A portion of them aggroed on me, and I was frozen in ice so I couldn't run to the tank.  Hand of Salvation didn't do diddly either, so I used Lay on Hands on myself and Hand of the Naaru on the tank, and hoped that when I freed up I wasn't watching a full party wipe in action.  After that initial onslaught, things settled down and we survived.

After the instance was over, the Shaman told me he healed a bit in that last fight.  Normally, I wouldn't have cared --I do that from time to time on Northrend 5-mans-- but for some reason that kind of irked me.  The entire run was pretty much a non-event until the final fight, and while it may not have been his intention, his comment came across with an "I told you so" attitude.  Perhaps it's my stubbornness in wanting to be perfect; on my first healing stint last fall, I used to take it as a blow to personal pride if the party wiped on my account, and I thought I did a decent enough job for the run.

Oh well.

A few things I learned:

  • Tanks can get lost.  The tank in BD got lost after the initial pulls.  "Where do I go now?" he asked.  "This is so not inspiring," one of the DPS said.
  • For a world tree, Teldrassil has a lot of smaller ones on top.
  • I can get used to the female Night Elves.  The males still don't look right, but the females are slowly growing on me.
  • I haven't seen a warlock since the Glimmer Twins in the Deadmines.  And I like it like that.
  • While I was waiting at the dock in Teldrassil, I was parked next to a Tauren DK.  The boat arrived, we got on.  The Alliance people getting off razzed him a bit --"Stupid Horde!" (as if he could read it)-- but the whole thing was amusing to me.  When I got the Explorer achievement it was on a PvP server, and I wouldn't have been caught dead doing what the Tauren did.
  • Oh, did you know that Tyrannus has a bug?  Apparently if you start the fight before he does, the entire last boss fight tries to reset itself.  What eventually happens is that things go haywire and you have to leave the instance.  I found that out this morning, much to my dismay.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Everything I Need to Know I Learned in PuGs

This list was inspired by my daily run this morning, when I was ported smack dab into the middle of the Garfrost fight in Pit of Saron.  One moment I'd landed on a mountainside away from any mobs in Icecrown, and the next I'm seeing the "Saronite Rock on You -- Move!" on screen.

That was not an inspiring feeling that went through my system, let me tell you...

  • Don't be a Jerk.  You'd think this goes without saying -Golden Rule and all that- but I never cease to be amazed at the number of pure idiots out there who think they can get away with bad behavior.  The anonymity that they feel they get in a cross-battlegroup PuG works both ways, pal, and the Kick option is a powerful one.
  • Expect the Unexpected.  Just when you've got everything down to a science, Karma has a way of throwing you a curveball.  Like a disconnect in the middle of a boss fight.  Or the healer going down when you least expect it.  In other words, don't assume things will always go the way you think they will; plan for a rainy day.
  • Don't forget Proper Nourishment.  Sure, you can slog through for a while without stopping to eat or drink if you're overpowered for a 5-man run, but that won't work if you're level appropriate for the instance.  Eventually, it catches up to you and you'll fail the team at a critical point.
  • Remember to Share.  If you can bring something to the fight that will help a run -a Fish Feast, a Felstone, etc.- sharing that skill will help the entire group.
  • If You Don't Know, Ask.  It goes without saying that a good sized portion of the wipes I've been part of are due to someone not knowing what to do.  If the person involved -and yes, I include myself in this- had only asked beforehand, we wouldn't have gone through the wipe and run back.  Bluffing your way through an instance only works when you are so overpowered you can solo it, and even then you still can mess up.
  • If You Want Friends, be a Friend.  I know that in the age of the LFD tool you can get away with not having to pester Guildies or people from your Friends list to join a run --and you just know the raid version of the LFD tool is coming-- but WoW is a social game.  Yes, you can play it solo, and yes, I do all my questing solo, but you can't really hide from everybody else in the game.  I know that people randomly asking you to duel or join a guild is annoying, but if someone asks for help, why not help out?  That way, when you need help others can assist you as well.  That includes PuG runs, when someone asks if they can work on an achievement or for the group to not skip any bosses.

Feel free to add to the list!

(Oh, and that Pit of Saron run?  Apparently the Pally DPS dropped group right at the beginning of the Garfrost fight, but they got me quickly enough that we survived the fight.  We had one wipe on the trash right before the tunnel, but after the runback we refocused and made it through.)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Duelling Crusaders

I'm lousy at duels.

I tend to think in terms of PvE, not PvP, and duels --especially spur of the moment ones-- emphasize that.  I think the first duel I ever accepted I ended up running away from, because the warrior involved was absolutely crushing me.  (I now realize he probably had heirloom gear, but still...)  I'm one of those people who motor through the front gates of Orgrimmar so I don't have some enterprising young whelp challenging me.

So, it was with some trepidation this morning that I was doing my Argent Crusade dailies and I received a challenge from a Tauren Warrior while in the Valiants' Ring.

My mouse cursor hovered over the Decline option of a good five seconds or so, but I had second thoughts.  Oh, why the hell not, I thought.  We're both mounted and technically pretty equal.

We started out the duel matched evenly: both of us with our shields up and on full, and exchanging equal blows.  I was thinking that he hit me first, so if it came down to a complete war of attrition, I would have to do something to sneak ahead of this guy.  From experience, I knew the first one who broke would be at a disadvantage, but I didn't know what else to do.

Then all of a sudden I started watching the Tauren's lifebar plummeting toward zero.  He'd forgotten to keep up his shields.

He panicked and tried to run, and I was able to run him down and get a good joust in before the fight ended.

Yay me; winner by TKO.

I hung around to finish up my daily, and the Tauren reappeared.  "Give a guy an achievement?" he whispered to me.

Oh hell.  I was feeling generous.  Particularly so since I'd not actually won a duel before.  I became a sacrificial lamb, left my mount's damage in place without healing it, and just let him beat me.  (To be honest, that wasn't that hard of a thing to do, since I'm not the greatest mounted jouster either.)

Feeling pleased with having done a good deed for the day, I went back to grinding some quests in Stonetalon.  I pulled into the Horde outpost there, and while I was catching my bearings the magical duelling flag popped down.

You have got to be kidding me.

I hovered over the Shaman, and discovered she was L31.  Apparently she must have discovered my level at exactly the same time, because she scooted away as quickly as possible.

Sometimes, it's good to be the 80 in a low level area.

EtA:  Oh, and I almost forgot.  I finally got that Azure Whelp pet to drop in Azshara.  Time to go buy a lottery ticket!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Which Way to the Deadmines?

Tomakan dinged 20 last week, acquiring Flash of Light in the process.  I'd promised myself that once he got FoL, I would be ready to try my hand at healing PuGs.

I also promised myself I'd ease back into this by getting Ragefire Chasm first.

For a Horde player, Ragefire is the first instance you go through, although Wailing Caverns is a close second.  For me, Ragefire typically wins out because it's so easy to get to:  there's no "just how do I get there?" moments while trying to traverse the hills in The Barrens.  (Alliance players take note:  Ragefire is smack dab in the middle of Org:  you see a path heading down, you take it.)    You also don't have a 8-10 deep quest chain that takes you into Ragefire, either.  You can pick up a one-off quest in The Undercity, or if you go about 4-5 quests into a chain started by Thrall you have your excuse as well.

So, I dialed up Ragefire before it disappeared from my radar, and away I went.  (I'm used to queuing as DPS, but instant gratification has it's advantages too.)

I was admittedly overpowered for Ragefire, but I was perfectly fine with that.  This was the perfect intro for me, since the last time I tried healing any instance was that ill-fated Trial of the Champion --with four or more wipes on Confessor Paletress without so much as denting her armor-- before I dropped healing for good.

Ragefire went as smooth as possible:  the pulls were one at a time, Flash of Light was my mainstay, and I hardly had to drink at all.  The tank told us to yell at him if he got lost, but I didn't need to say anything.  For the first time in Ragefire in a group and not as a loot monkey, the instance was as easy as pie.  I breathed easier, knowing that I could handle this.

Thus emboldened, I just decided to let 'er rip on the LFD tool.

An unfamiliar instance picture popped up on my screen.  Okay, I thought, Deadmines or Stockade, which is it?

It was Deadmines.

Before I even got my hello out of the way, I confessed this was my first time through Deadmines.  "I typically play Horde, so this one is new to me."

"Not a problem," the tank said.  "This is my favorite instance."

"I play Horde too," one of the two (!) Gnome Warlocks said.  "This is only my second Alliance character."

(Note to Souldat:  You were wondering about the friendliness of the Alliance side?  It's the Battlegroup.  I guess the others we've been on are more cutthroat.)

We started in through the Deadmines, and I have one thing I'm grateful for:  there's a single path through the instance.  No multipath instances like Halls of Stone here.  However, that first set of trash set my teeth on edge:  one after the other after the other.  I had to keep Judging Wisdom on the first trash pulls just to keep my mana up.  Once the room was clear, only then could I drink.

This was more like what I was used to; the Watcher sequence in A-N, but quicker.

After that first room, things got easier.  I settled into a pattern:  Judging Wisdom once the tank had aggro to keep my mana up, and using FoL on everyone who needed it.  When someone dropped around 50%, I brought out Holy Light.  (I'd made a point of picking up the Holy Light Glyph, so the extra spam heal it gave was a godsend.)

I pulled aggro by healing more often than I preferred, but the tank was typically able to yank it back.

However, things weren't all sweetness and light.  With not one but two Gnome Warlocks, I kept having to heal them because they'd use me as their gas tank when they swapped health for mana.  Yes, I know that's a class perk for Warlocks, but I'm a Holy Spec Paladin HealerMy specialty is in healing tanks, not every single caster who decides I'm his meal ticket and doesn't have to stop and drink.  I don't have AoE heals.  (Yet.)

The Locks also ran OOM frequently during a fight, and I made a point of laying down Consecration when my mana pool could swing it so we weren't down to one DPS on those longer fights.

We survived fairly well until we got to the bottom of the spiral slope before you get to the boat areas.  We not only had the regular trash mobs but the Overseer mob as well, and I could see things were pretty bad.  I kept up spamming the tank with everything including the kitchen sink (Gift of the Naaru), but it was just too much.  The tank bit it, and I did shortly thereafter.

You want to know who survived?  The Gnomes, naturally.

Anyway, I discovered the joys of running back to get to The Deadmines.  "Where the hell is the entrance?" I asked, frustrated.

"It's in the barn," the tank told me.  "Go upstairs and head down into the mines."

I went to the barn.  Looked pretty open to me; only one floor too.  Oh.  He meant that barn over there.  I followed his instructions and found myself in the caverns before you get into the Deadmines.  "Naturally, the entrance to a set of mines is in the second floor of a barn."

I then got lost in the caverns before the instance entrance itself.  "This is worse than Uldaman," I said.

"No, Uldaman is still worse."

Finally, after about 10+ minutes trying to find the darn place I got back inside and we hooked up with the rest of the group.  In the intervening time the most annoying of the two 'locks split, so my life was instantly made easier.  We then proceeded through the instance, wiping only on the plank heading to the top of the ship.  The comedy of errors continued on the runback, not because I didn't know the way, but because the hunter and then the tank kept wiping on respawning trash, thus necessitating further runbacks.  We lost and gained several DPS in the process, one at least asking why I couldn't Rez the tank.

"He already released."


The Van Cleef fight was almost anti-climatic at that point.

So, what did I learn? 

  • That Blizz figured out how to make instances easier to find by the time the two expansions hit.
  • Low level Warlocks can be just as annoying as their high level Boomkin counterparts.
  • That I see a male Night Elf, and the first thing that pops into my head is "Where's the Weed, man?"
  • That the entrance to a major mining and processing operation is through the second floor of an abandoned barn.
  • The ICC 5-man instances are nice and straightforward compared to this.
  • I'm going to need more mana potions if I'm going to do this.
  • Oh yeah, one more thing:  that I can heal instances.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

530 Levels

So seeing as we've been doing the "What have you been up to" posts, here's mine.

I've pretty much stopped playing my DK raider, except when he's needed by the guild for a random dungeon run or needing a raid slot filled on the regular Saturday / Sunday nights.  I still like death knights, but haven't felt the attachment to the class I once felt.  Mostly, I think, because I'm anxious about the retuning of the class mechanic and restructuring of the talent trees.  I'm sure Death Knights will come out overpowered like mad and then be nerfed constantly while they fine tune everything. 

Even if they come out on top, it won't FEEL the same as I'm used to, which I quite enjoyed the "push something every GCD" button mashing style.

I have been playing my warrior recently.  He's finally 80 and geared up in PVP gear with a Tyrannical Beheader, and slowly working on PVE gear.  This late in the expansion I don't really want to gear up another tank and plunge into the dungeons yet again.  In fact, I've been queuing up as DPS and trying out a fury build for fun.

I also joined up a 2v2 arena team on my warrior.  My first arena match ever was on the team I had helped build up to a 1300 rating.  We won the match (boy was I nervous), and I promptly got the "Step into the Arena" achievement.  HAH!  That other team had to feel just a little emasculated...  Not only did they get beat, but by a guy who's never done arenas on a particular character, and in a bracket that he didn't belong in.  My arena team mate and I got a good laugh out of that.

And I've also been busy feeling guilty about not rolling a lowbie alliance alt to play with Redbeard.  I don't think I have the gumption to level anything in this current expansion.  I added it up, and to date, I have gained 530 character levels through out most of my characters and alts.  I have 5 level 80s, and various alts (two of the 80s are Death Knights, so I only counted 25 levels each).  There's no other class (beyond the current 80s I have) that I feel a need to have, and leveling another of the same classes I already have feels pointless to me.

Once Cataclysm hits and teh old world gets a new face and lots of new quests I may want to level through it again, but for now I'm burned out on leveling.

How many total character levels have all of you earned?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Just thought I'd check in and give a little update on what is goin' on with Sat.

Well... since the drama that happened, I've been sitting back and just taking things easy. I'm still server transferring to Tichondrius, but its going to have to wait a couple of weeks. I'm making a trip out to Arizona so the xfer will happen either shortly before I return or shortly after.

I leveled a Death Knight to 80. She's specc'd Blood. I have the rotation down - its actually pretty simple. It is rather odd to go from a squishy healer to a plate dps class, but its fun. I leveled her mainly to farm. She'll be comin' with Satyana to Tichondrius =)

On another note... The guild that shall not be named that I was in is pretty much dead. I spoke with someone in the guild and was told that just about everyone was pissed I was g-kicked and everything went downhill rather quickly. My "replacement" just didn't seem to cut it. The pally healer we ran with every week said that I pretty much carried him through the raid and when i was gone he realized how much I really did in keeping the raid alive. People stopped logging in for raids - key people too. My friend told me the guild message of the day read "Its been a good run. Thanks to everyone who participated." I admit, I did do a /who on the guild a few times and each time, there weren't many people on. Just a couple at a time if any.

I don't want to sounds mean... or bitchy... but I feel somewhat vindicated. I'm hoping that now they are realizing that I did help hold that guild together and handled things that no one else wanted to. I was even told by a couple of people in the guild that I ran that guild and should have had the GM title. It felt nice to hear that the members of the guild appreciated the things I did even if the other officers didn't.

Well anyway... since I'm in between guilds/servers, I haven't done much of anything else on my priest. Just giving her a break for a bit. She'll be back in the action in a couple of weeks. A short hiatus is needed. After my trip, I'll be back to watching health bars and keeping folks alive and I'll be reporting on what its like to be in a high end raiding guild - #3 on Tichondrius, World ranked 627.

Until then, Adieu.

Not Much.... You?

I'd like to say that there's something important or earth shattering that prodded me to post, but... not really.

Oh, I don't have the summer doldrums or anything, but there's not much to report.  I'm still grinding through Loremaster, I'm still getting comfortable having an Alliance alt, I'm still prepping for migrating some more toons over to Ysera.  Even the random "Join Guild" requests I get on my alts seem to be dying down.

So there's a whole lot of "not much" going on.

However, there are a few tidbits I've discovered over the past week that I want to share:

  • I don't know about your server, but on the Area 52 Auction House, the Moss Agates and Jade are going for more than Dream Shards and Infinite Dust.  A matter of supply and demand at its best; nobody is mining/prospecting the low level stuff, and it shows.  When you've got 5+ pages of Dream Shards, there's too much supply.
  • For the PuGs I was in, Amber Void was harder to achieve than Ruby Void.  Admittedly, I don't ask if anyone wants to go for the achievements; that's almost a guarantee for someone to drop, especially in the early-morning-before-work runs.  But when someone else is interested -and I have the spare time- I'm happy to accommodate them.  I finally got some people interested in trying for Ruby Void in The Oculus, so we did it in near record time.
  • I have bad luck in getting those rare drops.  Here's a running total of drops that I haven't seen since, oh, January or February:  Reins of the White Polar Bear, Tiny Emerald Whelping, Azure Whelping, Dark Whelping, Reins of the Blue Drake, and Battered Hilt (only once, the second time I went through Pit of Saron, and haven't seen it drop since).  Perhaps I was spoiled in getting that Tiny Crimson Whelping to drop in 45 minutes worth of grinding...
  • I really enjoy the Draenei starting zones.  Of the starting areas I've played in so far, I like the Draenei starting zones better than all save for the Blood Elf starting zone.  I still find it fascinating that the Blood Elf starting zone makes absolutely no mention of Draenei at all; in fact, if you hang around the Bazar enough you'll find some commoners debating whether or not the Sin'dorei should abandon the Alliance and align with the Horde.  (Wouldn't that have been entertaining, the Draenei go to Azeroth to find the Alliance only to discover that the hated Blood Elves are in the Alliance?)
  • I'd forgotten how funny the BE representatives at the various Horde locations are.  There's the Magistrix in Tarren Mill is in trying to keep her obvious disgust over the Forsaken from showing:  "It's our duty to help these... these... people."  The Advisor in Stonebreaker Hold:  "I must have made a misstep somewhere to be assigned here."  The Magistrix at Freewind Post in Thousand Needles:  "What’s a sin'dorei doing standing on the top of a windswept butte in Thousand Needles instead of the halls of Silvermoon?"
  • I saw something I'd never thought I'd see:  A Hordie attacking the Goblin Flight Engineer at Ratchet.  My guess is that he was going for the Exalted with the Bloodsail Buccaneers, but no guarantees there.
  • I was under the impression that the people in my guild had forgotten that I came along with Souldat and Millalyn in transferring from Stormscale.  Nobody said anything, and I didn't feel like pouring lemon juice in people's wounds in reminding them about how things ended up.  Well, I was surprised on Friday when a couple of guildies asked me how Soul was doing, and whether I still hook up with him or not.  From the discussion that ensued, I was under the impression that they still liked ol' Soul; I guess he still has that charmer in him. ;-)
  • Speaking of guildies, I've gotten used to being the only one on early in the morning when I do most of my WoW activities.  However, these past few weeks there has been quite a few new people logging in and playing before work.  I don't think I started a trend, but they all seem to be IT people as well; for them, the odd hours aren't that big a surprise.
Anyway, there you have it. 

So.....  Whatcha been up to that hasn't made it into a blog post?