Monday, December 24, 2012

Dragon Kite!!!

I discovered this afternoon that Blizzard did actually did make the Dragon Kite a fightable pet!


I know this was supposed to happen with the 5.1 patch. However, when I checked after that patch it wasn't actually fightable then. I moped a bit and then forgot about it in my attempts to get my main battle team to 25.

But today I was randomly wandering around the eastern kingdoms trying to get all the pets captured, and happened to look at my dragon kite. Lo and behold! it was fightable!

Now my dragon kite is level 9.


What, if anything, should I name it?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Update

Sorry for the long hiatus, but between work and my family visiting for Thanksgiving both DraNgNon and I have been quite busy. I know all three of our readers were sad. :P

*Raiding*
Darkfall continues to raid. We're 4/6 in MSV, and working on Elegon. We're also still trying to a 25man going. Last week we actually managed to get a 25man formed and had decent success with the Stone Dogs, however, between the server going down, disconnections, and people not being as observant as they should be we didn't get Feng dead. Dropping fire in the ranged group is just as fatal on 25 as on 10, but there are a lot more people available to be unobservant enough to do it.

Monday nights are still fun runs. We are working on the Cataclysm meta achieves. There were a lot of raids in T11, so it's taken a bit to make sure that we get all the necessary heroic and non-heroic achievements. Currently we're only missing Four Play from Glory of the Cataclysm Raider. We did kill Al'Akir with the feedback buff on him, but the achievement is currently bugged. I had been worried about getting the Omnotron achieve, but it is so easy to stomp those raids when you've got a full raid of 90s with current raid gear. On normal the trons died before the second boss activated.

This past Monday we hit up the first few bosses of Heroic Firelands. Possibly it would have been easier if we'd hadn't been doing 25man with only 15 people. But we still did get the first three bosses down. (Shannox, Beth'tilac, and Rhyolith) Alysrazor, however, really does need closer to a full raid, what with all the different things to kill.

*Alts*
Khyrie and Tylara are 88. They have gotten access to the Vale of Eternal Blossoms and are spending some quality time leveling up their professions. We parked them for a bit until Morn and Kuan reached revered with the Shado-Pan and bought the Grand Commendation of less rep slogging. Eeyan and Telt are chillling in Valley of Four Winds and will probably be the next ones to get some love. Viljo and Ikoli are just barely into Jade Forest, but will shortly make the Hozen their friends.

What with all the raiding, and dailies, and pvp, and valor to get it's really hard to make time for the alts. It is important to make time though. I suspect that if I don't start doing fewer dailies my last wisp of sanity is going to blow away.

*Pets*
I've gotten a battle pet team up to level 20. Fang, Clever Girl, and Ember are now trouncing their way through Outland. Kairon, my long neglected hunter, is chaperoning them around. If the pets get too much bigger I'm going to have to level him to keep up with them.

I have some vague ideas that I want to smash through the old Vanilla raids. I haven't had a chance to thoroughly inspect what pets drop where in the vanilla raids, but MC is pretty easy to smash, so I figure it'll be speedy with Kuan and Morn.

I am eagerly awaiting for Pet Theory to be updated. I have to admit that some of my pet battling enthusiasm has slipped away without this addon to make the UI reasonable for finding out what pets I am missing in what zones and what quality pet I already have. Possibly I'll be forced to update it myself if it doesn't get fixed soon.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Iron Mantid

There is an achieve: Stay Klaxxi. It is to complete 5 daily quests while buffed with each of the different Klaxxi augmentations or enhancements. The different paragons give these buffs, and you can have both an augmentation and an enhancement on you at the same time. So you cannot complete this achieve until you're revered at least and have freed all the paragons.

Most of these buffs are pretty nice. How nice you think they are depends on your spec, and also your playstyle. A few of them are not all that useful, but again I'm sure that is influenced by the fact that Morn is a tank and Kuan always runs around with her. So we can quite easily and quickly aoe down large groups of mobs.

However my favorite, the bestest buff in the ENTIRE world, is Iron Mantid. It's an enhancement given by Malik the Unscathed. He is the second Klaxxi Paragon you bust out of the amber, and this buff is one of my favorites in the entire game.

Iron Mantid:
Absorbed, blocked, dodged, missed, parried, redirected, reflected, and resisted attacks against the bearer cause Bladeturning.

Blade Turning:
Upon reaching 10 stacks of Bladeturning, deal damage and stun all nearby enemies.


This is the buff of tank AoE heaven. The more mobs you pull the faster they stun themselves. You're only limited by how many mobs you can get together at one time. And with all the groups, patrols, and fast respawns in the Dread Wastes that is not much of a limitation at all.



I just wish there was some way I could pick this as a talent for regular use.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pet Battle Update

Fang the Worg Pup, Ember the Phoenix Hatchling, and Clever Girl the Fossilized Hatchling make up my main battling team. They are all level 13. As I contemplated before, I ended up benching my Spirit of Competition and bringing my Phoenix Hatchling on to my pet battle team. Between captures and random faffing about I have various other pets at random levels. I'm trying to get a secondary team picked out, but it's really hard when the vast majority of cute pets are all beasts.

Leveling

My pet team is making its way through the Kalimdor zones. I've beaten all the trainers up through Southern Barrens. I've got the quests to go defeat the separate trainers in both Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdoms. However, I'm not quite ready to actually go head to head with those trainers. I think I could beat the one with the lowest level pets, but that is the only one.

While I level my pets I've been doing my best to catch every available pet in a zone. It took me a while to get the phoenix caught up to the rest of the team so I've gotten a pretty good set of rare pets.

The only pet I've failed utterly to capture is the Giraffe Calf in Southern Barrens. It can spawn anywhere in Southern Barrens, but is very very rare. So rare, in fact, that despite leveling my team from 10 to 13 in Southern Barrens I've not seen even a single one.

Battling

When I had all three pets at level 12 I tried another pvp pet battle. It was rough but Clever Girl and Ember will still alive at the end of it. Fang unfortunately has no heals, so while he can shield himself, he can't regain any health.

Addons

I actually only have one addon that I use for the pet battles. Pet Theory gives you better sorting options, but most importantly it'll show you the quality of the pet you're currently fighting. It will also add the highest quality of the pet you have captured to your minimap and to the pet tooltip during battle. And it shows quality colored borders for the pets in your journal.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

mounts, why are they so hard.

Ever since 5.0 came out, I have been trying to mange the mounts properly. In 4.x, what I had done was set up this macro for riding mounts. I mostly wanted Kuan on raptors, with some exceptions (Zulian Tiger, Qiraji Battle tank), and on drakes. To get that in a macro, I just used the order in which they appear in the mount list:

/run if IsMounted() then Dismount() return end local t={5,8,9,16,20,21,31,43,46,47,48,52,52,55,60,61} CallCompanion("MOUNT",t[random(#t)])
/dismount

to save buttons, I wanted flying and Vashj'ir on the same macro:

/run if not IsMounted() then local t={4,13,15,30,37,38,39,42,42,56,61}; local mapid={610, 614, 615}; for z,n in ipairs(mapid) do if (n==GetCurrentMapAreaID() and IsSwimming()) then t={1} end end CallCompanion("MOUNT",t[random(#t)]) end
/dismount

I used the IDs becuase the names popped it way past 255 char limit on macro.  Note the above macros are for Kuan, but only the value of t changes for Eeyan.

However with 5.0, this doesn't work.  Blizzard combined the mounts - shifting the IDs - and moreover, reorders the mounts based on zone, instead of keeping them in a consistent ascii order.  ...I found it pretty distressing to have Kuan tumble off the edge of the top of Orgrimmar, becuase he's really on a Purple Skeletal Warhorse instead of a Rusted Iron Proto-drake.

it turns out there aren't actually, a lot of addons with this kind of functionality: randomly select from a user-selected subset of all mounts based on character!  they are all about auto selecting this and that based on zone and flying and whatnot, which I really just don't need.  I finally found Yay Mounts (creative name, I know), but while it could be keybound, it had no macro - and I've discovered I am seriously used to clicking a button, for mounting - keybindings are for battle, right...

anyhow now Yay Mounts lets you put /click YayMountsButton in a macro, so I'm going to do that.  for ground-only there's a /click YayMountsButton2 - but the '2' button doesn't handle dismounting right, so the macro has to be:


/click [nomounted] YayMountsButton2
/dismount

now I just have to set it up all properly for all my characters.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Candy

Mornara and Kuanchichi took a little bit of time to Trick or Treat in Pandaria last weekend.


And then Morn took some time to eat all the candy! NOM NOM NOM!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Stone Dogs and Feng and Sha

Last night was a pretty good raiding night. Darkfall killed the Stone dogs and Feng the Accursed in Mogu'Shan Vaults. We also had the good luck to have Sha of Anger alive in Kun-Lai Summit without a raid already forming to kill him.

Or raid on Tuesday had been mostly a bust. We'd killed the Stone Dogs for the first time last week. But that was a comp without the annoying Jasper Guardian. This week we had Cobalt, Amethyst, and Jasper, so there was a lot of crap on the floor to dodge while still staying near your chain buddy. Anyway Tuesday we'd made some progress on killing them while dancing around with the chains, but unfortunately we ran out of time before we actually killed them.

Last night we got back in there and on our second pull we squeaked out a win. A few late deaths meant that a second after the dogs enraged the entire raid but the monk healer was taking dirt naps. Between dots and the time it took for the dogs to run over to him, the monk had just enough of a chance to Touch of Death them. It was ridiculously epic.


We collected loot and headed onwards to Feng. We'd worked the kinks out of the first two phases last week, but were having trouble with the transition from second to third phase. Specifically we were headed into phase three with many stacks of draw flame on Feng and it just wasn't possible to live through that plus Arcane Velocity, or Resonance for that matter. We'd come up with a strategy tweak before end of raid last week, that I'd change the times I put down Nullification Barrier so that we'd not get stacks of evilness from the last draw flame before the phase change. However we'd not had a chance to really put that into effect before we had to end for the evening.

Last night we still had our excellent setup for the first two phases. We blasted through them, and found that the new strategy for dealing with draw flame worked white well. And then we had a Resonance right after a Velocity, and the raid dropped dead. So we had a couple of tries where we worked out making sure that the resonance didn't kill us while keeping close enough together for Velocity. A boss location change plus everyone turning on their range tracker and a little bit of everyone being aware and then the boss was dead!

And extra plus good was that Kuanchichi won the roll on a fabulous helmet from the Stone dogs and Mornara got an extra loot roll win of some lovely tanking wrists from Feng.


After I made everyone line up for the boss death screenshot of Feng we exited Mogu'Shan Vaults and flew around Kun-Lai Summit for a bit. Fortunately the Sha of Anger was up, and no one else was forming a raid to kill him. I promoted everyone to raid assist and through advertising in Org, Shrine of Two Moons, Valley of 4 Winds, and in Kun-Lai itself we managed to fill the raid. We even pulled in several guildies who hadn't been in the raid. With 12 or so Darkfall people in on the kill we got the Guild achieve for killing him!

Sadly he dropped nothing but gold for me, but I'm ok with a lovely guild achieve!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Sha of Repetitive Dailies

Mornara and Kuanchichi have been level 90 for a bit now. We are doing our best to get them geared up. This involves a fair amount of heroics. We got the achieve for completing all Pandaria dungeon heroics the other night. I rather like the Pandaria heroics, but that is a post for another day.

Gearing up also involves a ridiculously large number of dailies. Klaxxi, Tiller, and Golden Lotus are all necessary and add up to a pretty large number of dailies. I wouldn't mind if there were optional routes to the necessary rep. In the case of the tillers you technically can just plant and harvest your crops, but at 55 rep per crop that's a long, slow way to get more veggies for feasts. In the case of Golden Lotus getting to revered is required before you can start on the Shadow-pan rep grind.

With Golden Lotus you have a mixed blessing. As you gain more rep with them more daily hubs unlock. However Blizzard learned the wrong lesson from Molten Front and the DK starter quests. So you can't do the new dailies until you've slogged through the older sets of dailies for the day.

I was complaining about this to a friend I often chat with at work about tanky stuff. I opined that by the time I finally managed to get enough dailies done with Golden Lotus and then Shadow-Pan the rep gear I was able to buy would not be all that useful.

Tanking-friend:
anyway, that's just the sha of despair talking
or maybe the sha of boredom
sha of repetitive dailies

me:
sha of repetitive dailies
a lesser form of the sha of boredom
or maybe greater form?

Tanking-friend:
the true form, imo
final phase
heroic mode only

me:
lol

Ah yes, the Sha of Repetitive Dailies. A fearsome and vile Sha. Be on guard!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

DIAF Hackers

My lovely plans for a relaxing morning drinking tea, eating scones, and either fishing or pet battling have been ruined. Entirely ruined. As of writing this the servers have been down for three hours. Initially, it was rolling restarts. Then it was the auth servers not being up. Now it appears that Blizzard is trying to fix a hack.



Why yes, that is some asshat killing everyone in Stormwind. No, I'm not linking to the various websites where the hackers are discussing and describing their hacks. I will note that this hack has been around for roughly three weeks, but Blizzard has neglected to fix it until now.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Pet Battles!

The other day I wanted to try out the pet battles. I looked through my pets to pick a roster.

First pet would definitely be my Worg Pup. I love the worg pup so much! Other than Dragon Kite, it's the pet that Morn has out most often.

Second pet? Ohhh, Spirit of Competition!

Third pet? Hmmm, I don't know! I have too many pets! Too many doubles and triples, and OMG there are 7 Sinister Squashlings, and 5 Peanuts, and 6 Horde Balloons, and 12 extra snakes?!

OCD powers ACTIVATE!

I spent the next 45 minutes sorting my pet tab of 219 pets. I took out all the doubles and mailed them off. Some of them I mailed to Kuanchichi, since I was pretty sure that DraNgNon didn't have a few of them. But most of them I mailed to Nivki, my banker alt. She can sell them or just get rid of them. By the time I was done I only had 116 pets in my tab.

Of the pets that I had left I spent another fifteen minutes picking out two favorites in every pet family.

I finally ended up with my third pet fighter being the fossilized hatchling. But I am also leveling the phoenix hatchling as a fourth, and the sea pony as my fifth battler.

I then embarked on the various pet battle quests. Both personal and quest log. For the quest log I ended up fighting my way through to the master pet trainer in Desolace. I'm now ready to be sent to Southern Barrens. Personal quest wise, I captured a whole lot of pets. There are so many cute ones. I think the cutest one I've caught so far is the Darkshore Cub, but the Rabid Nut Varmint and Stone Armadillo are up there too. I've only been mildly obsessive with the captures. I will continue on when I've got a green quality pet caught, though I prefer to wait for the blue quality.

Once I had a feel for it I tried a PvP pet battle. It turns out that, when you're not fighting wild critters a couple of levels below you, it's a lot harder to win. Also your opponent having the same number of pets as you is not nearly so one sided... Anyway, the PvP pet battle didn't go well. I need to reconsider my line up and how their abilities interact. I'm strongly considering swapping in the phoenix instead of the spirit of competition.


Now, I just need to come up with some names for my pets.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Level 90 & Pandaria First Impressions

Mornara and Kuanchichi hit level 90 last night. I'm sure we could have reached max level faster, but between work having annual reviews due two days after MoP launched and generally taking our time it was last night when we got there.

I have been having a fabulous time romping about. I'm really enjoying the story and art of Pandaria. The zones are beautiful and each has it's own feel. Honestly, the zones remind me more of Wrath than Cata. The Cata zones and story lines weren't bad, but they were nowhere near as awesome as the art and story of Wrath. Cata was also very strictly on rails.

We've also been taking a rather meandering path through the zones. We don't have any of the zone achieves for quest completion or exploration yet. Instead we've been following where the interesting bits of the story take us. It's made things a lot more interesting to have choices about where to go. The only exception is Jade Forest. The first third of Jade Forest is very tightly scripted. The interaction of the story between Horde and Alliance is tightly coupled, which makes for a great story. However there were a couple of quests I'd have preferred to have skipped.

There are several general quality of questing improvements that have appeared in Pandaria. These have helped make the quests even better than they already were.

One major improvement that I really like is the increased amount of voice acting. Several of the quest NPCs have their own voices and emotes and actually talk to you as part of the quest. This really helped make the section of Jade Forest that was on rails a lot more pleasant. In general, this also gives the world a more life-like feel. Not every orc has the same voice and emotes.

There are also a lot more cut scenes. Fortunately these cut scenes are actually quite well done. I still get mad when I think how a lot of the cut scenes in Uldum made your character act in ways that, for me, were totally out of character. (Morn is NOT going to cower just because some annoying hitler-wannabe goblin is pointing a rocket launcher at her. She is going to pop CDs, take the hit, and then come out swinging.) But the cut scenes so far in Pandaria just show you what is happening. You can choose how your character reacts to the events, the cutscene just gave you the event or some backstory with a really pretty view.

Phasing is also used to great effect. With all the events that happen there is a lot of phasing and There are several very well executed cut scenes that let phasing be put in without the cumbersome need to exit the area. I'm also quite impressed by the individual phase that every single character gets for their farm. It's your very own little section of Pandaria.

The drop rate and spawn rate of crafting materials is through the roof. Morn and Kuan are both fully maxxed on both their primary professions and First Aid. Ikoli and Viljo are maxxed on a primary profession each. Telt and Eeyan are well on their way with their crafting professions, too.

In general I am a lot more pleased with Pandaria than I'd expected after the dumb way that the Theramore scenario was introduced.








Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Theramore Fail

DraNgNon and I have now run all of our 85s through the Fall of Theramore Scenario. We brought along various guildies to come with us, so all four of those runs counted towards the weekly guild scenario running. It was nice to see the guild get 250g each time we completed the scenario. However, that was really the only nice thing about running the scenario.

A lot of other people have said it quite well, but the Theramore scenario is a big failure in a lot of ways.

The scenario from the Horde point of view is as follows: You've gotten through the Alliance blockade and need to go rig powder kegs on the six Alliance ships in port. Once those are detonated kill the flight master and his gryphons. Then destroy the siege engines at the front gate. Now you find out that the horde had a spy here, who was imprisoned after his sabotage was discovered. Go kill the commander of the garrison and get the key to the spy's chains. Unlock the spy, who will port you out, while revealing that the entire siege and his sabotage was a feint. As you take the portal out you watch a huge mana bomb level Theramore.

Every time I ran the scenario I was more confused. Why was the Horde there? When had we decided to siege Theramore? Why were we bombing the shit out of them? Why were we using a Mana bomb? WTF could Garrosh possibly have been thinking???!?!

Garrosh


I'm really disappointed that the characterization of Garrosh has been totally upended. He had some interesting growth, and this seems to wreck all of that. When we first meet him in Nagrand he's a whiny mopey brat, too torn up about his father's failure to do anything constructive for his people. Thrall snaps him out of that, and he goes off to Northrend. There he gets strategy lessons from the elder Saurfang and a warning about honor. Time passes and in Cata he's in Stonetalon executing a general who *bombed* the Alliance. He even quotes what Saurfang told him about honor, and how it's more important that winning. Oh, and don't forget that in Ashenvale he's absolutely furious that an Orc demo driver uses some demonic energy to defend Splintertree from the Alliance. The only reason she and the player don't get killed is because you managed to root out and execute the warlock/demon that encouraged that corruption.

I'm not sure why Garrosh suddenly decided that his attacks in Ashenvale and Stonetalon were insufficient and he needed to piss of EVERYONE ELSE. I mean, with all the important NPCs who are now dead the entire rest of the world is mad at the Horde. Dragon flights angry? Check. Kirin Tor Angry? Check and double check. All the Outland factions that had a mana bomb used on them? Check. Alliance angry? They already hated the Horde, but the long voice of lets-not-start-a-war, was JAINA. The person whose city was just turned into a glowing crater.

I can understand the decision to attack Theramore. It is a strategically sound decision. Dustwallow Marsh has many resources and Theramore is too valuable a beachhead to let the Alliance continue attacking from there. The sack of Taurajo must be avenged. But a mana bomb? I'm totally confused as to why Garrosh chose that method of attack.

Game Continuity


This scenario was missing any sort of in-game explanation or reasoning at all. Both Horde and Alliance were just dropped into the middle of the siege and bombing. There wasn't even anything to tell you to look at the scenario UI to queue. Honestly I was expecting a set of quests to explain what was going on. It would have been totally logical to add in a couple quests for assisting the siege of Theramore and the creation of the mana bomb. If Blizzard had wanted to get complicated they could have put some extra phasing for a battle around Theramore and had some fighting in that phase.

Comparing Theramore to any other expansion lead in is almost too pathetic. BC had hundreds of demons pouring out of the Dark Portal. Viljo still fondly remembers slaughtering them, and still keeps the fabulous tabard from that event. Wrath had an undead plague and gazillions of zombies attacking the capital cities. Cata had the elemental invasion with elementals assaulting the world and especially the capital cities. For all three of those events and the Echo Isles/Gnomeregan event there was a really great limited time event. Yes, development time had to be spent on something that didn't last more than a week or three. However, the incredible unique experience of those events was not to be scoffed at. And I'm sure was a great subscriber boost too.

With the Mists expansion we've got a lack luster scenario that only makes any sort of sense if you've read the book, or surfed extensively online to figure out WTF just happened.



Edit: Oops got the date wrong on publishing this. It should have gone up a couple of days ago...

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Random Post-Patch Screenshots

Here are a few random screenshots that I took after the 5.0.4 patch.

Druids got some cool new forms.

And some cool new glyphs.

Death Knights have some neat glyphs now too.

Still bitter about my Dragon Kite. :-(

Friday, September 14, 2012

Darkfall is 8/8H Dragon Soul

I extended our raid lockout from last week to give us the maximum time to work on the last two heroic bosses in Dragon Soul this week. It was definitely the right decision, because we managed to get them down tonight. I would have preferred to kill them Tuesday night, but it took us a while to work out the kinks in our strategy for Spine. Specifically how we were maneuvering to toss extra bloods off when we rolled.


We'd been regularly getting to the third plate on Spine before dying horribly on Tuesday night. So I was not surprised that on our second pull tonight we just slaughtered Spine. It was a pretty messy kill, we had three people down at the end, and had used our battle rez and a both Shaman had popped as well. Kuan in particular popped at just the perfect time. Just in time to help slaughter the last tendon, but after the exploding Hideous Amalgamation had gone by, so there was as little strain on the healers as possible.


Heroic Madness is a lot easier that Spine, but still pretty challenging. The fight as a whole felt faster paced than normal. I'll check later to see if the timers are really that much faster or if the increased health of everything just makes things seem to be happening faster. We had several wipes while people learned to run for the parasite and not explode everyone else. And I did need to emphatically remind people to not pad their dps by hitting other arm and wing tentacles early.

Our successful kill I had us save Lust until Kalec's platform. Even with three heals we were only getting a second impale on that platform, and having lust then let us get away with one impale. With the new Glyph of Icebound Fortitude I had my own major damage reduction cooldown up for every platform, which greatly decreased the coordination requirements.


After the kill I had everyone line up for a fabulous screen shot. Complete with new titles and our rogue's legendary dagger wings.

I'm amused by the racial make up of the raid. We're an oddly orc-heavy raid. All the melee dps and tanks are orcs. Both main healers are blood elves. The off-healer is our lone tauren. And the three remaining ranged dps are orc, blood elf and our lone troll (Kuanchichi). It seems like a raid that is actually representative of the horde.


Since we'd had a Life-Binder's Handmaiden drop we all went back to Orgrimmar to get a pretty pic of that. Everyone hopped on their favorite fabulous mount.

I am super proud of the raid and the guild for killing all eight heroic bosses in Dragon Soul. There was a lot of work put in by a lot of people, and this was a really great way to end the expansion.



Friday, September 7, 2012

Pet Battle Prep

I hadn't really admitted it to myself until recently but I'm actually excited about the upcoming pet battles. I'm not sure how enthused I will be about the pet battles themselves since I haven't tried that out yet. However, I have been having fun with the account wide pets. I've been accumulating different pets for a while now. I even went back and made sure I got enough tokens to buy the Durotar scorpion pet from Argent Tournament.

The other night I was looking in the AH for some pets I don't have, and I realized that there were a lot of Alliance pets listed in there for ridiculous amounts of money. I briefly considered buying them, but then realized that I do still have a level 64 Nelf druid languishing on some server that I never visit anymore. So my long abandoned druid was sent to Elwynn Forest, Dun Morogh, and Darnassus to purchase cats, rabbits, and owls. It was a bit of a pain to find the boat to Teldrassil. The last time I played her the boat was from Menethil if you wanted to travel to Darnassus.

I also took a look at the current Darkmoon Faire. The quests finally got reset, so I completed a bunch of them. I am only missing 2 of the pets, but do not have nearly enough tokens to buy another one at the moment.

And yes, I'm still bitter that my Dragon Kite won't be able to zap opponents in the battles...

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Post 5.0.4 Thoughts

Patch 5.0.4 has been here since for a week now. I've had time to spec a character or two, update every addon at least twice, and even run a raid.

Mornara's rotation hasn't really changed all that much. I made the happy discovery that using Blood Boil on a single target will refresh that target's diseases, which goes a long way to address the (new for Blood DKs) 60 sec cd on Outbreak. I honestly can't see why you'd ever not take Roiling Blood as a talent. I'm looking forward to getting Soul Reaper, and even have a space saved for it on my bars.

Viljo's new rotation seems pretty nice so far as well. I like having a little more control over the pyro procs and feeling less at the mercy of RNG. I'm not sure I'll like the changes that Alter Time and the last talent bring, but we'll see when I get to level 90.

The raid was mildly successful. Despite addons crapping out all over the place we managed to kill the first 6 heroic bosses before we ran out of time. This task was made a lot more difficult by a bunch of disconnects, and the fact that about half the raid forgot that when they updated DBM they also needed to grab the Cata pack for it. There were general adjustment to new rotations, but it went well for the most part. Not being able to release until a fight is over is actually rather annoying. I can see it driving me batshit when there is that one jackass who doesn't listen when a wipe is called for.

I was amused at all the new achieves and combining of old achieves. It did not surprise me that logging in Morn and V was enough to get me the 100 mount achieve and 100 pet achieve. Combining mounts and pets for your account seems a bit odd, but not terribly game breaking. However, I am not going to substantially alter the mount macros I have for my characters currently. Their mounts reflect their personalities, and it just wouldn't make sense for them to be riding anything else than what they already are.

The once thing I am intensely disappointed about with the pets is that the Dragon Kite is not a fightable pet. I had all these awesome plans about how my dragon kite was going to kick ass whenever we actually get to do pet battles. Those plans are all kaput now :'-(

I did get a chance to try out the new aoe looting. This will make farming old instances slightly more profitable and less time consuming. Which is nice, since Morn still needs rep from a bunch of the BC factions. It'll help with her rampages through IQD and older dungeons.

Oh, I was also disheartened to see that the requirements for the DS meta-achieve changed. You no longer need Spine or Madness of Deathwing. It was a bit sad to log in and see that achieve pop up. I'd been looking forward to getting it when we actually downed those two bosses. Now it feels like we were just handed a consolation prize, even though I know we worked so hard and completely earned the achievements we did get.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Umbranse

I've been going through the quests in Kalimdor with Mornara. It's amusing to tromp through zones, and it's nice to see the new stories and compare it to the old ones.

A particularly interesting story I ran across in Winterspring. People should remember that in Vanilla you'd bring the Chained Essence of Eranikus to Umbranse the Seer in Winterspring after killing corrupted Eranikus in Temple of Atal'Hakkar. It was a giant plot hook, that was never ever followed up on in Vanilla. Sadly they just let it rust away in Cata, too.

Umbranse the Spiritspeaker yells: All those dragon essences I've collected... the power... is exhilirating!
Umbranse the Spiritspeaker yells: You can't take this away from me! Not now, not ever!


Turns out we can, but we still don't know exactly what he was doing... :(

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Dragon Soul: Ultraxion Dialogue

Ultraxion is the 5th boss that Darkfall killed in Dragon Soul. He is a large, and angry, twilight dragon.

Ultraxion has a single phase. He pulls you into the twilight realm at the start of the encounter and the entire fight takes place there. As the fight goes on there is steadily escalating aoe damage as Ultraxion becomes more and more unstable.

To counter that steadily escalating damage Thrall and the Dragon Aspects give you buffs. Thrall has a very lovely tank buff. Ysera, Alexstraza, and Kalecgos have healer buffs. And then near the end Nozdormu will give the raid Timeloop, a get-out-of-death-once free card.

The Aspects are super happy to see you once you get back from trouncing Hagara.


Ysera the Awakened says: Praise the Titans, they have returned!
Nozdormu the Timeless One says: Not entirely unexpected.
Kalecgos says: Excellent! We will begin the ritual at once!
Alexstraza the Life-Binder says: The ritual will take much from us, as it requires a piece of our very being. We will be weakened greatly.
Thrall says: Heroes, this burden falls to you once again.
Thrall says: You must protect us from Deathwing's forces while we imbue the Dragon Soul with the power of the Aspects.
Thrall says: Speak to me when you are ready to begin.


Thrall says: Heroes, we must place this burden on your shoulders once again. You must protect us from Deathwing's forces while we imbue the Soul with the powers of the great Aspects of Azeroth.
<Player> says: You may continue your ritual, we will defend you.

The first time you start the encounter by talking to Thrall Deathwing himself shows up and taunts Alexstraza. He sends a bunch of twisted former red drakes at the raid. Alexstraza is quite harsh about telling the raid to kill the twilight drakes that used to be part of her flight.

Deathwing yells: It is good to see you again, Alexstraza. I have been busy in my absence.
Deathwing yells: Twisting your pitiful whelps into mindless abominations, bent only to my will. It was a very... painful process.

Alexstraza the Life-Binder says: They... are my clutch no longer. Bring them down.

Deathwing yells: Mere whelps, experiments, a means to a greater end. You will see what the research of my clutch has yielded.

Once the drakes are dead, you've got a short while to buff up and stack up on the Northern edge of the top of Wyrmrest temple.

Deathwing yells: Nefarian, Onyxia, Sinestra... they were nothing. Now you face my ultimate creation.
Deathwing yells: The Hour of Twilight is nigh; the sun sets on your pitiful mortal existence.


Ysera the Awakened says: I sense a great disturbance in the balance approaching. The chaos of it burns my mind!
Ultraxion yells: I am the beginning of the end...the shadow which blots out the sun... the bell which tolls your doom...
(The raid gets pulled in to the Twilight Realm as Ultraxion says he is the shadow.)

Ultraxion yells: For this moment ALONE was I made. Look upon your death, mortals, and despair!
Ultraxion yells: Now is the hour of twilight!
Thrall yells: Strength of the Earth, hear my call! Shield them in this dark hour, the last defenders of Azeroth!


Ultraxion yells: You have no hope!
Ultraxion yells: Through the pain and fire my hatred burns!
Alexstraza the Life-Binder yells: Take heart, heroes, life will always blossom from the darkest soil!
Ultraxion yells: The final shred of light fades, and with it, your pitiful mortal existence!

Ysera the Awakened yells: In dreams, we may overcome any obstacle!

Kalecgos yells: Winds of the arcane be at their backs, and refresh them in this hour of darkness!


Nozdorum the Timeless One yells: The cycle of time brings an end to all things.
Ultraxion yells: Through the pain and fire my hatred burns!
Ultraxion yells: But... but.. I am... Ul... trax... ionnnnnn...


Alexstraza the Life-Binder says: It is done! Our power now resides within the Dragon Soul! Our fate lies with you, Earth-Warder!
Thrall says: Taretha... Cairne... Aggra... I will not fail you. I will not fail this world!

Then you get a short cinematic where Thrall fires the Dragon Soul at Deathwing and mostly misses but manages to shatter one of the armor plates on his back. In retaliation, Deathwing destroys the Horde airship and retreats towards the Maelstrom.


Ultraxion yells: I WILL DRAG YOU WITH ME INTO FLAME AND DARKNESS!
Alexstraza the Life-Binder says: The have failed us sister.
Ysera the Awakened says: I have awakened only to sleep once again.

However, if you fail to have the requisite number of people soak the Hour of Twilight then the Aspects get clobbered, and you all die. Oh, and you get bitched out by Alexstraza and Ysera...



It's odd that despite this being a completely stationary fight I think of it as quite dynamic. Especially for the tanks there is a lot of taunting and dodging in and out of the Twilight Realm for Hour of Twilight and Fading Light.

In 10man normal mode the tanks can alternate taking each Hour. A single tank can even take every single hour, as long as appropriate cool downs are available. We haven't done normal mode kills for a while but on Mornara I usually alternated Icebound Fortitude with Antimagic Shield plus Bone Shield. In 25man normal mode you need three people bearing the brunt of each Hour. We usually had a 3rd person go tanky and just have all three of us popping CDs and stay in for hour.

In 10man heroic mode two people need to be there for each Hour. Additionally taking the hit from Hour of Twilight puts a debuff on you so that you can only take every third Hour. So there needs to be a strict rotation of at least six people for who takes which Hour.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Pandemonium Unholy DK PvP build

I don't actually dps with my death knight. If I'm in a raid, I'm the tank. What I do with my unholy build is go into battlegrounds and arenas. So the glyphs and talents are chosen for that rather than actual dps maximization.

Talents:

Level 56 Talent:
Unholy blight! With auto diseasing! How could I say no?

Level 57 Talent:
I've put Lichborne here but I'm really not sure about that. I could see a good argument for AMZ or Purgatory.

Level 58 Talent:
Chillblains here. Having a 50% slow is handy, and even better will be the 3sec immobilize from chains of ice. Plus I already get a run speed boost from Unholy Presence.

Level 60 Talent:
Death Pact for the win. As unholy I'll always have a ghoul around, and the new pact doesn't actually kill my ghoul.

Level 75 Talent:
Runic Empowerment. Sometimes I'll get a wierd and useless rune, but the potential burst from getting a good run is totally worth it.

Level 90 Talent:
Currently Desecrated Ground, an extra trinket button is excellent. However, I could see a strong argument for Remorseless Winter. AoE slow with a potential stun is quite nice. Gorefield's Grasp might also be really nice too, having a second yank for people hitting my arena partners might be super nice.

Major Glyphs:

Unholy Frenzy is a spell that I currently never use. It increases haste, but has a pretty nasty dot affect. If I could glyph that to not kill my teammates I'd love it.

Add an offensive dispell to Icy Touch? Sign me up please! This seems tailor made to combat recalcitrant healers in the arena. I'm actually looking forward to chasing down a resto druid, between this and a couple of other talents.

The Death Coil glyph will add an absorb shield if used on allies. That seems like it will be incredibly useful in PvP.

Minor Glyphs:

I can't resist turning my perma-ghoul into a perma-geist. I'll definitely be taking the glyph of Geist.

Again, removing the taunt from Army of the Dead is far too good to give up.

I still like taking less falling damage with the Path of Frost glyph. I could see swapping to Foul Menagerie for the awesomeness of having a rag tag army of the undead, but I've already got a geist so I'll likely keep this as Path of Frost.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Dragon Soul: Hagara Stormbinder Dialogue

Hagara is the fourth boss in Dragon Soul. She is an orc shaman who was corrupted by the Twilight's Hammer and is now working for Deathwing.

When Thrall needs help using the Dragon Soul, Kalecgos suggests using the focusing iris in the Eye of Eternity to help control and direct the energies. Hagara is lying in wait for the raid in the Eye of Eternity.

She has three separate phases, a main phase, a lightning phase, and an ice phase. She alternates these phases in the pattern: main, lightning, main, ice, main, lightning, main, ice. Though she can have either the ice phase or the lightning phase first. You can tell which phase she'll start with from the buff on her weapon.

Thrall says: It is no use, the power of the Dragon Soul is too great. I cannot wield it safely; the raging forces contained within it may be the doom of us all.
Alexstraza the Life-Binder says: They truly, we are lost.
Kalecgos says: Not necessarily. I believe...yes...it just might work.
Kalecgos says: The Focusing Iris within the Eye of Eternity may allow us to converge the magical matrix contained within the Dragon Soul.

Thrall says: Yes, I see. We can finally turn Deathwing's own power back against him.
Ysera the Awakened says: I sense danger...it is a trap...carefully laid for us at this crucial moment.
Thrall says: We have no choice. We must have faith in our allies.

And then Kalecgos opens the portal to the Eye of Eternity. Once you touch the Focusing Iris, Hagara appears and gets ready to beat up the raid. She'll send several waves of trash at you and one of her lieutenants to beat on you.

Hagara the Stormbinder yells: Even with the Aspect of Time on your side, you stumble foolishly into a trap?

Hagara the Stormbinder yells: Don't preen just yet, little pups. We'll cleanse this world of your kind.
Hagara the Stormbinder yells: You'll not leave this place alive!

After all those trash mobs are dead she'll hop off of her floating stone circle and be ready to take on the raid. You do have a chance here to buff up and drop raid markers. You can also send in a sacrifice or hunter to swap her from frost to lightning phase first, though that sometimes takes a few tries.

Hagara the Stormbinder yells: You cross the Stormbinder! I'll slaughter you all.

In lightning phase you need to overload her lightning conductors. For heroic we have two teams of melee running the lightning chains. All the ranged and healers stand in the center to make sure they don't take any avoidable chain damage.

Hagara the Stormbinder yells: Suffer the storm's wrath!
Hagara the Stormbinder yells: What are you doing?
Hagara the Stormbinder yells: You're toying with death.
Hagara the Stormbinder yells: You think you can play with my lightning?
Hagara the Stormbinder yells: Impossible!

Frost phase we have everyone running away from the ice walls, also know as ice up the butt. Especially, on heroic, the important thing is for everyone to live through the phase. Any damage you can put on the ice crystals is good, but it's not worth falling behind and getting hit by the ice wall.

Hagara the Stormbinder yells: Die beneath the ice.
Hagara the Stormbinder yells: The time I spent binding that, WASTED!
Hagara the Stormbinder yells: Enough!
Hagara the Stormbinder yells: You'll PAY for that.
Hagara the Stormbinder yells: Aughhhh!

In heroic mode, Hagara will also put the Frostflake debuff on random people. I'll put a slow patch on the ground around where it is dispelled unless you're standing in the water bubble. We just ignore it and have our hunter keep Aspect of the Pack up for the Ice section of the fight.

Hagara the Stormbinder yells: You can't outrun the storm.

Main phase you have to watch out for the ice tombs, and the ice lances, and her main attack on the tank Focused Assault. Break out the people in ice tombs asap, and make sure your healers and ranged know to not take too many stacks of ice lance. The tank should also run away from focused assault on normal and get ready to pop a CD on heroic. Being a DK for heroic makes it a lot easier since I can just make sure I'm prepped to get a nice big Death Strike shield.

Hagara the Stormbinder yells: Stay, pup.
Hagara the Stormbinder yells: You face more than my axes, this close.
Hagara the Stormbinder yells: Feh!
Hagara the Stormbinder yells: Cowards! You pack of weakling... dogs...

Hagara the Stormbinder yells: You should have run, dog.

Hagara isn't too bad a fight once you get the different phases down. Though she does seem to have a fixation about dogs.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Blood DK Mists of the Pandaman Talents and Glyphs

I still feel it is a bit early to be making hard and fast talent or glyph choices, but here is a pretty basic spec I could see Mornara running with. Honestly there aren't all that many actual choices to make compared to previous versions of the talent tree. And I could see a lot of them changing on a fight by fight basis.

Talents:

Level 56: Roiling Blood just seems awesome. This will be really handy in any sort of multi-mob situation. No need to hit pestilence, pretty much ever again. I still miss the old glyph of Pestilence that would refresh diseases on your current target. But this will mimic that affect if you drop diseases and then hit blood boil. So double bonus of disease spreading and AoE damage.

Level 57: I've got Lichborne chosen at the moment. But on a per-fight basis I could see strong argument for Anti-Magic Shield. Purgatory is on a 3 minute internal CD, and seems like it'd only be good for small over kills. Otherwise the healers won't be able to get your health back up before three seconds runs out.

Level 58: Death's Advance. I'll never put runspeed on my boots again! Plus a sprint button every thirty seconds? Asphixiate with a Vader quote macro'd in would be hilarious, but this seems a lost more useful.

Level 60: I've picked Conversion here, but kind of at random. It really depends on the math for Death Siphon and how fast runic power generation ends up being with the change to Scent of Blood. I could also see an argument for Death Pact, but again it depends on how strapped I will be for runic power or GCDs.

Level 75: Runic Corruption seems like the best route to go here. Not as RNG as Runic Empowerment, and not another resource to manage like Blood Tap. This may lock you into a more fixed rotation, but I kinda like having my pairs of frost and unholy runes come up together.

Level 90: Desecrated Ground here seems like a useful thing. Gorefiends Grasp and the multi-yank could also be handy. I think this choice really depends on the specific boss mechanics you'll be going up against, because I could also an argument for a stun available every minute.

Major Glyphs:

I've currently got Vampiric Blood, Anti-Magic Shell, and Icebound Fortitude. Honestly I'm not super impressed with those glyphs. I like the Vampiric Blood glyph, but I'm a bit dubious about AMS and IBF glyphs.

Vampirc blood seems to be just the same as it is now. So I'll keep that glyph. Yes, sometimes more health is good, but I think that more healing is always good. I will be VERY sad to lose the 4pc bonus from my current gear when we get to Pandaria. (Current Blood 4pc is to give your raid 50% of the effect VB has on you. That increased healing is a nice raid cooldown.)

It seems like the AMS glyph won't increase the amount of absorption, it'll just make it get used up faster. It will be a win if there is a single boss ability that you're using AMS to guard against, but not as good if there is a pulsing AoE that applies a debuff. That seems like a reasonable trade off though.

I think I like the new glyph for IBF. Current IBF is a 12sec DR on a 3min cooldown. This glyph would change that to 3sec DR on a 1.5 min cooldown. That's a pretty small window, but being able to use it more often would be very helpful. Same as with AMS, you're often using this to guard against one specific boss ability and that usually doesn't need the full 12sc duration.

Minor Glyphs:

Path of Frost, Army of the Dead, and Foul Menagerie are what I'm rocking for Minor Glyphs at the moment.

The minor glyph Army of the Dead removes the taunt ability from your army of the dead ghouls. I can think of a few current uses where I wouldn't want this, but in the vast majority of cases it will be much better to have non-taunting army. Yes, they don't taunt raid bosses as is, but honestly I almost never want them to taunt anything. Having this glyph turns army from a potential major problem to just another handy dps cooldown. And if there is a specific need to have army taunt then you can unglyph just for that fight.

I'm foolishly excited about the Foul Menagerie glyph. It is solely a cosmetic glyph, but I think it will look super awesome to have a variety of undead creatures respond when I call for my army. I'm sure it won't have any sort of dps change, but honestly it's ok to just look cool.

I like that Path of Frost reduces falling damage. However, I am tempted to replace it with the Geist minor glyph. I'm also tempted by the Corpse Explosion glyph, but I actually hate it when people explode a boss so that the actual corpse goes away.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Mists of Pandaria Trailer

I saw the Mists of Pandaria Cinematic this morning. As usual it was the excellent animation that we all expect from Blizzard. I continue to wish that the game actually looked like the expansion cinematic. Or at least that the in-game animations for orcs and humans looked closer to that cinematic.

I liked the cinematic up until the very end. It really emphasized the conflict with the Horde and Alliance. The fighting scenes between Human and Orc and then Human, Orc, and Pandaren were quite well done. However I have to say that the Pandaren just looks utterly ridiculous. It was all ok until we got a full lighted view of his face while he was chewing his cud?!? It looked like some cross between a country bumpkin and, well, a panda. Not the greatest combo.

This cinematic does a good job emphasizing the plan to bring the game back to the Horde vs. Alliance fighting. And a reminder of what both sides are really fighting for. I think my favorite moment was when the Human passes a weapon to the Orc, so that they can both fight the Pandaren. It had a very excellent feel of sibling rivalry. Which makes perfect sense to me. The Horde and Alliance have been fighting for years now, but they mostly put their differences aside and smash the current Big Bad.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Ironbound Protodrake!

Lately the Monday Fun Raid has been going after meta achieves that will give us drakes. We're killing the heroic bosses in Bastion of Twilight and fighting our way through Ulduar. Another goal is to kill Sinestra.

A week ago in Bastion we had to pug in a few people and we brought along some new guildies. It was a bit slow to start and our group hadn't gelled all that much, but we did pretty well for half of the raid not remembering the fights at first. We got Halfus and Double Dragons down pretty speedily, but the second phase on Elemental Council/Elementium Monstrostity is just so annoying. It's way too easy for one small mistake when kiting the frost orb to wipe out half or three quarters of the raid. I'm confident we can get it if we practice a bit more, and have a more cohesive group. A few of the guildies who came along got the heroic kill achieves for the first two bosses, but most of us already had them. So my plan the next time we go to Heroic Bastion is to save the lockout and just start at the council fight.

Last night we went back into Ulduar25. Kuanchichi and Mornara were only missing ONE achieve from Ulduar25. They both need the Hodir achievement I Could Say That This Cache was Rare. When we did the rest of our Ulduar25 achieves months ago, too many people got trapped in flash freeze so we missed the deadline by a single second. I tried to set up an Ulduar25 raid a couple of weeks ago, however you do actually need at least 15 people for all the necessary vehicles if you're going to kill Flame Leviathan with all four pillars up. There are just too many sources of damage otherwise. So our attempts with 10 or 12 people were not as successful as one would hope.

But last night I stubbornly pugged until we had 15 people. Then I booted the two people who were saved... And found another person to take their place. But still we ended up with 14 people and handily smashed Flame Leviathan flat. We headed straight for Yogg, skipping Ignis, Razorscale, Iron Council, and Algalon. If it had taken less time to get a full raid we'd probably have been able to come back and kill them all. However we had a few wipes on Yogg and then had to call it at 12:30. I put another Ulduar25 raid on the calendar for 2 weeks from now. We'll come back and kill the last 5 bosses then.

I have to admit that all my logic for skipping the bosses we did was mostly to head stright for Hodir. It was selfishly motivated, because I wanted that last Hodir achievement! But even if I hadn't needed the Hodir achieve I'd still have skipped the bosses we could. It's easy to come back and get the early bosses later. But it's a lot harder to get Yogg and two keepers later. Plus I think a number of people have the early achieves already, just because it takes time to get through Ulduar and the early achieves can be really tiresome. Especially the one for Razorscale where you have to wait for her to toast dwarves.

Regardless once the raid was done Kuanchichi and Mornara checked their mail. Brann had mailed them again, the exact same letter as before and there were lovely ironbound protodrakes waiting in their mailboxes.


Don't ask me how it fit in the mail box.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Hopes for Mists of Pandaria Expansion

I've talked about what I thought about the Cataclysm expansion. I've planned what I'd like to get done before Mists. Here is what I hope to see in Mists of Pandaria.

I am, as usual, excited about all the new things for Pandaria. I have quite deliberately kept away from any sort of story spoiler. Yes, I know there will be Pandaren and Monks, and there is a new continent called Pandaria, and Garrosh is the end boss, but that's all I know. In fact, I have instituted a No Spoilers rule in guild chat and on our vent server. People who start to say something I think might be a spoiler get the same noise that I use when the dogs or cats are misbehaving. I have not tried the beta at all. And I've pretty much entirely stopped reading WoW Insider, except for the Drama Mamas.

New Stories

I am looking forward to the new dungeons and raids. I hope that the heroic dungeons are kept challenging, at least to start. It was awesomely fun to fight through the heroic dungeons for the first time in Cata. The group was really challenged to do their best tanking/dps/healing, and I hope we get that same experience at the start of Mists. I love fighting my way to the end of a instance and getting to see all the cool stuff that happens along the way.

The new story for Pandaria should also be quite exciting. I like reading quest text and seeing what all the NPCs have to say. I really enjoy video games as a method of storytelling, and I'm looking forward to the next Warcraft installment. I really, really hope that the way the story develops isn't dumb with respect to how Garrosh gets taken down. And I hope that the way that Pandas are available for both Horde and Alliance is dealt with delicately as well.

Monks

I'm also hoping that Mists raids don't have melee vs ranged damage requirements. In Dragon Soul there are two fights where you absolutely cannot succeed unless you have fewer or even numbers of melee compared to ranged. The rest of the fights are merely harder if you have too many melee. I'm currently having to juggle people so that we don't have too many melee dps. And adding another melee spec isn't going to help that. Currently it's never a problem if there are too many ranged, just have one of them stand in melee range or target the usual melee target. But it's just not possible for melee classes to stand with the ranged or target the ranged target, if there are separate targets.
    With monks there will be 11 classes, with 34 different talent specs (since druids will get 4)
  • tank specs: 5 (blood DK, prot Pally, prot Warrior, bear Druid, and new tank Monk)
  • healer specs: 6 (holy Pally, resto Shaman, resto Druid, holy and disc Priest, and new healer Monk)
  • ranged specs: 12 (ele Shaman, 3xHunter, balance Druid, 3xMage, 3xWarlock, shadow Priest)
  • melee specs: 11 (ret Pally, 2xWarrior, 2xDK, enhance Shaman, cat Druid, 3xRogue, new dps Monk)
Monk adds 1 to each of tank, melee and healer. Granted there are, and will be, fewer melee than ranged specs but my anecdotal evidence comes down on the side of there continuing to be more melee dps available. I'm guessing that has some sort of relation to the number of pure dps specs, but that speculation is outside the scope of this post.

Death Knights

I have not been actively avoiding DK talent and skill information, but I'm not yet doing any research. Honestly I think it's still a bit early, and besides I'm busy having fun with my current WoW playing. There is no reason to rush off to the next expansion yet.

That said, I'm a bit worried about Blood DKs. We're in a good spot now at the end of Cata, and I'm worried that will not continue into Mists. There are things I would change, but I like our Death Strike/Mastery mechanic. I hope that in Mists that doesn't get messed up or overly needlessly complicated.

One good thing about the new Monk class, with respect to DKs, is that it'll be the new class on the block. I'm sure it'll start out just as ridiculously OP as DKs were in early Wrath. But maybe, just maybe, all the faddish people will reroll Monk and abandon their DKs. Hopefully most of the dumbest DKs will swap to Monk and then those of us who are competent will get less crap just for being DKs.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

TODO before Mists

Things I want to get done before Mists of Pandaria:
  • Kalimdor quests completed on Mornara.
  • I want to get all the Jewelcrafting recipes from Orgrimmar and Dalaran:
    • Dalaran jewelry recipes - only four epic ring/necklace recipes left = 24 tokens.
    • Org epic gem recipes - sixteen gem cuts to go if I buy them randomly = 64 tokens.
    • Org jewelry recipes - seven ring/necklace recipes = 49 tokens
    • The end is in sight for Dalaran tokens. For the Org tokens though it is far far away. Really the most I can hope for is that I get the rest of the Org epic gem cuts. I'll just have to keep coming back during Mists for the other tokens I need.
  • More heroic kills! We're 6/8 in Heroic Dragon Soul so far! We are currently working on Spine.
  • Get more guild and raid recruiting done for Darkfall.
  • Figure out race/gender/name for my monk: orc/male/?????
  • Finish Dragon Soul boss dialogues. I have the first several bosses posted. I need to take all the screen shots I have and crop the dialogue images out of them for the last half of the instance.
  • Shocking achievement in Naxx25, last one needed for the meta achieve, sadly the drake reward was removed years ago.
  • I Could say That This Cache was Rare in Uld25, last one needed for meta achieve and Ironbound protodrake.
  • Blood Infusion, the next step in the Shadowmourn quest. I am not sure if that is still bugged or not.

Edit: Oops I wrote this last weekend and we killed heroic Blackhorn this past Thursday.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Heroic Blackhorn Dead and Blazing Drake

Last night Darkfall continued our Dragon Soul raid. My plan was to spend as much time as we needed on Blackhorn and kill him on heroic. We'd made some excellent progress on Tuesday and I was excited about killing him.

It turns out that our work on Tuesday paid off. We had a single unfortunate wipe when partners got confused about what little purple swirlies to take and two people each took a swirlie by themselves. Which lead to not enough people in the Onslaught. But then we got that sorted out and slaughtered him on the very next attempt.

It was a close thing, the boat was down to 3% health. However, once we got to the second phase it was a pretty easy fight. I'll credit the second phase smoothness to fabulous healers who didn't explode the raid, and awesome dps who absolutely murdered Goriona and Blackhorn. The tank swaps with Goriona and Blackhorn both still up were pretty smooth, too.


Having killed Blackhorn so quickly we then had the whole rest of the raid before us. Since Blackhorn had gone so swimmingly I suggested that we spend some time on Spine. We decided to take a short break so that the new gear could be gemmed, enchanted, and reforged, because we'd need all the help we could get on Spine.

Our Spine attempts were ridiculous to start. One good thing is that when the raid dies from Blood Corruption: Death, you don't take any durability loss. This is a really good thing, because while the healers were figuring out how to make that buff show up with the highest priority in their UI we died to it a lot. It was utterly hilarious. We'd be killing corruptions and starting to roll the dragon and then BOOM! Everyone was dead! We were all laughing really hard.

But we did start making some progress. By the time we called it for the night and swapped back to normal mode to polish off Spine and Madness we were getting the first plate off in two tendons. Our deaths started to be about Amalg and blood placement. Well, mostly. Every so often there would still be an insta-death wipe and we'd all laugh. Honestly, I'm still giggling a bit just thinking about the entire raid dropping dead instantly.

Anyway after we swapped back to normal mode we handily slaughtered both Spine and Madness. As a raid we're definitely ready to start killing them on heroic. Not least because the loot they drop on normal was entirely useless to anyone in the raid. More crystals for the gbank, I guess. The one drop that wasn't DE'd were the Reins of the Blazing Drake.


We use EPGP for most of our loot, but mounts go by free rolls. Mornara apparently had the hot dice. Or, more accurately, everyone else had crap rolls. I won the drake with a 77, and the next closest person was Kuanchichi with a 73. I did see a number of rolls in the single digits, so I totally lucked out.

I'm super pleased with the drake, even if it's horns do seem to be ridiculously oversized. We all headed back to Org to see what it looked like and I immediately added it to my random flying mount macro.


I"m pretty pleased with our progress as a guild. We're actually getting pretty close to the Glory of the Dragon Soul Raider achievement. Only two heroics left for Mornara and Kuanchichi. There are a few missing achieves for other people, but we're working on those as we go. This week, in fact, we started on Kalec's platform again because someone is missing that and Noz's platform for Chromatic champion. I"m going to be so super proud of the guild when we get everyone the meta achieve.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Gaming Update

DraNgNon and I are splitting our game time between Diablo 3 and WoW.

Diablo 3 is a fun game but I'm a bit nervous about Inferno. We've got two pairs of characters that we play together. A monk and demon hunter who are at the end of Act I. And a wizard and barbarian who are in Act II. Both pairs are on Hell difficulty. It can be quite frustrating how totally random the difficulty level is for the random trash. Especially if you've got a narrow hallway to work with and the blue pack has molten, plagued, or arcane.

I am really enjoying playing both the monk and the wizard. I think I like monk best. But both are quite excellent. I'm also very very glad that DraNgNon and I decided to mix up our pairs so that we have a melee and a ranged in each pair. We'd tried it with two melee and that was just not good.

The WoW is going pretty well. Last night Darkfall one shot the first 5 bosses of heroic Dragon Soul. I was pretty proud of that even with the 30% buff. I did speak sternly to the raid before Morchok, to remind them that 30% doesn't mean they can goof off. However, I suspect that when we get to Madness later this week we'll still have at least one messup where we trigger blistering while we either still have bloods or big tentacle or elementium bolt. Hopefully that won't be a wipe, but it'll certainly be annoying and may cause the healers to burst a blood vessel.

The reason that we didn't get to Madness (or Spine) last night was that we spent some quality time wiping on heroic Blackhorn. The deckfire and other increased damage to the boat make that a pretty tough fight. We had a few wipes where not everyone got to the Onslaught. There were also several deaths due to one partner for the little purple swirlys not keeping up. Most of our deaths were due to the boat exploding out from under us. There was steady progress overall though, so I'm confident that we'll get him on Thursday.

I'm working Mornara through the Kalimdor quests. She is messing about in Winterspring right now. The current quests are merrily killing furbolgs and pretty much anything else that moves...

I've also got my jewelcrafting & alchemy & enchanting production line going. I'm making a modest amount, but, more importantly, I'm easily able to supply Mornara and Kuan and all our other toons with the gems and enchants that they need. It's also a good thing to do while I do the guild leader thing and chat/discuss/soothe all the things that need it.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Cataclysm Retrospective

The Cataclysm expansion seems to be winding down. The Mists 5.0 PTR is up for testing. The Mists beta is doing raid testing. Deathwing has been made dead many times over.

Guild and Raiding

It's been a pretty fun expansion for me and, I think (hope), for Darkfall too. This is actually the first expansion since Vanilla that I've been in one guild the whole time. Of course it helped a lot that I became a guild officer pretty early on. I could make sure the raid schedule was as comfortable as possible for DraNgNon and myself. Fortunately this wasn't actually any sort of change from what Darkfall had originally had as a schedule.

It was fun, over the past 18 months, to learn how to be a better raid leader. And, over the past eight months, I've learned a lot from being guild leader as well. Though I don't think I'm nearly as good a guild leader as I am a raid leader. Darkfall is currently 5/8 in Heroic Dragon Soul 10man so I don't think I've done a terrible job as raid leader thus far.

I am also really happy that I instituted the Monday night fun runs. I initially started them as a way to get guild achieves. We'd grab whoever was on and and interested to run old dungeons and raids. It actually turned into a really fun experience as we also would get whatever achievements individual people needed from the raid or dungeon we were slaughtering. In addition to being fun it was also a great way for the guild to bond. Most of the time I'd alternate easy and hard stuff on a week by week basis. So one week we'd be romping through Outland 5mans or Ruins of Ahn'Qiraj while laughing and talking on Vent. The next week we'd be concentrating on avoiding the defile from Heroic Lich King or twilght cutters of Heroic Halion. There was still laughter, but often it was laughter as someone fell to their death from an unnoticed shadow trap. Regardless of what happened it was a good way to have fun and helped the guild bond.

Story

The general Cataclysm story was pretty good. It suffered a bit from not being separate from the rest of Kalimdor and EK. With BC and Wrath I expected it when the new zones were their own new and separate stories. But with the new Cata zones being part of the original Azeroth it was both nice and odd that the rest of Kalimdor and EK were updated to fit with them. I think that it's going to be increasingly jarring to level as more expansions come out. I'm not sure there is any way to solve this, but I do wonder how the new trainers in the starting zones are going to fit in with everything.

The major problem I had with the Cata story, both in the new Cata zones and in old revamped zones, is how very linear most of it seems to be. I've complained about this before. And I still think that Blizz learned just the wrong lesson from the DK starting area. The very linearity seems to have taken away a lot of the mystery and the sense of a big unexplored world just waiting for you. Except for the sections where the dangling plot hooks are just completely unexplained. Azshara, Neptulon, and the Naga spring to mind as a story that had a lot of promise but was just dropped to the floor. I have fun theorizing about that, but, of the new zones, that is the only place where there is any sort of major speculation possible.

There was also a lot of recycled content in Cata. Some of it tried to bridge the gap from Vanillla to current times, and some of it was just entirely recycled. I think that Blackwing Lair to Blackwing Descent would have been more successful if we hadn't had to kill Onyxia for the *third* time as part of the end boss encounter. Perhaps I'm more forgiving of Nefarian in that encounter because I didn't ever raid BWL more than the first few bosses. However I did raid Molten Core on a semi-regular basis so I had no leniency whatsoever for the entirely recycled nature of Firelands, and Ragnaros in particular. OH LOOK! The Sons of Ragnaros!! /wrists

I also would have been more impressed if the revamped troll dungeons were handled a bit better. Well, in fairness, Zul'gurub did have updated story around it, so the new bosses there made sense. However, Zul'Aman didn't have any explanation for why Daakara replaced Zul'jin but the animal loa bosses and Hexlord were still there. It would have been a good chance to update the Blood Elf starting area, which is sorely in need of an update, or at least the ability for people to use flying mounts there.

Uldum Sucks

However, my least favorite part about Cata was the Harrison Jones quest in Uldum. I really, really hate that quest line. I did it on one character, and I will NEVER complete any of it again. It was such a bad story, but what I truly hated was how often you lost control of your character.

Understand, I did the Uldum quests with Mornara. Mornara is a TANK. This means (I'm talking to you Blizzard) that she regularly gets hit by very large and angry beings and it does not kill her. Ok, yes, there is a full raid group, with healers, behind her. But consider this situation: Mornara and Kuan and various raids have fought their way through ICC. They defeated Arthas. Anub'arak's carapace lies cracked at their feet. They ride Rust-bound Protodrakes because they freed the Keepers of Ulduar and killed Yogg-Saron without their help. Now they are headed off to Uldum, and a band of pygmies with spears and rocks capture them?!?! And then later Harrison Jones needs to rescue them from a single goblin with a rocket propelled grenade. Mornara jumps on grenades for fun! It's called being a tank!

I'm also not a big fan of the pygmies in Uldum. It's rather racist portrayal, but Saif said that better than I can.

Oh and lets not forget that the entire set of Harrison Jones quests is thinly veiled WW2/Nazi references. Yes, yes, I like Raiders of the Lost Ark, it's a fun movie, but the quests in Uldum had too many references to actual Hitler and his cronies. That's history, it's not something that should be made into a joke.

Archaeology

The new secondary profession for Cata, Archaeology, was also a modest success. I found it most useful as a filler while I was waiting for a battleground or arena queue to pop. I suspect it is also useful if you are waiting for a dungeon queue, but as a tank the longest part of my LFD queue is waiting for that one dps who is asleep to time out.

I've gotten some cool rewards with archaeology. There are bunch of rather cute companion pets you can get. I'm also always happy to be riding my skeletal raptor around. And even better, to my mind, there are a bunch of small bits of lore you can get out of Archaeology. Every item you assemble has a sentence or two at least of explanation or history on it.