Sunday, November 30, 2008

Handy mods: RatingBuster

Many people are aware of this mod, but if you're like me, you might not have bothered with it in the past. Once upon a time it was easy for me to pick upgrades; does it have more spellpower (without losing stats)? Upgrade! Now though, our gear is peppered with stats that we used to avoid (like crit and haste). Healing has been rolled into Spellpower, and I'm finding that a lot of gear choices aren't as clear-cut anymore. I can't just look at an item and know that it is better than what I have.

Add to that the fact that your talent choices can increase your spellpower and your regen, and a math-phobic like me turns to jelly when I try to consider any intricacies involving int, spirit, mp5. I just want to know those magic numbers at the end, I don't really want to try to wrap my brain around how they are calculated.

So I finally bothered to get RatingBuster. RatingBuster does all the complicated equations for you, taking into consideration your spec, existing gear and innate abilities, and spits out a tidy little stat summary, colour-coded for your convenience.

It will tell you whether you are gaining stats (green), losing them (red), and also tells you things like how much crit you gain from intellect on an item, how much regen you gain from spirit on an item, etc. As you can see in the above picture, every stat is an improvement on my old gloves (all of the numbers on the right are green), and it even tells me how much healing I would gain from spirit (since I was in ToL when I took this screenshot).

It will even re-calculate these numbers as you change your gear around. For example, here is a trinket with 184 spirit (on use) on it. With no gear on, it gives me about 20mp5 (for 20 seconds every 2 minutes). With all of my gear on, the mod takes into account my mana pool and my full stats, and the 184 spirit now gives me around 50mp5.

So you can see that as you change items of gear, the mod will recalculate the stats that you get from your items (and buffs). A trinket with 184 spirit might give you 48mp5 for 20 seconds, but when you pick up a new pair of pants, that same spirit now gives you 50mp5 for 20 seconds. There's still the brain-exploding task of comparing it to other trinkets (hate), but at least it can give you an idea of what 184 spirit will mean in terms of actual regen.

And look at this: it knows that spirit will give me extra healing while I'm in tree form. In caster form, it shows no healing bonus from the spirit, but in tree form, it calculates it for me:

It's really handy for times when something drops and you need to decide in a hurry whether it is good for you or not. Of course, with the consolidation of healing and damage into spellpower, you do still need to be careful about taking items that are probably more geared towards casters, but this mod will at least help you to know whether something is better than your current gear.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Malygos down

So I was Keeva, Conqueror of Naxxramas for a day; now I'm Keeva the Magic Seeker. :)

Now to gear my character, level my fishing, do some heroics, level my hunter to farm for me, grind some reps, and work on some achievements until Ulduar!

Bragging time - Naxx 25 clear!

Server first. Naxx cleared in one night, on our second week of raiding. Flawless KT one-shot. One extremely stressful moment when I disconnected and couldn't get back on - thought I was going to be robbed of my title - but I got back online, phew.

Well done Inexorable!

~ Keeva, Conqueror of Naxxramas

Monday, November 24, 2008

Spoiled food: Northern Spices have ruined my fun

Unless I've missed something, here's how the daily cooking award system works.

Each day, the daily cooking quest in Dalaran (which, I have to say, is lots of fun and doesn't seem like a chore, unlike the old cooking dailies) will reward you with one cooking award and a small spice bag which typically holds a few spices (let's say 5, for the sake of keeping things neat). The awards are a form of currency, and can be viewed in your Currency tab.

New cooking recipes can be purchased for 3 awards, so you have the potential to learn one new recipe every 3 days. The new recipes are foods that are superior to their trained counterparts. For example, 40 stam, 80 attack power, 46 spellpower, compared to 30 stam, 60 attack power, 35 spellpower. Obviously, as a raider, I want the better food, at least for when we are attempting content that isn't on farm yet. I like to maximise my stats as much as possible, and that means using the best consumables I can get.

Here's the problem.

The recipes require Northern Spices, which can only be acquired through the daily quest and are limited by the number of cooking awards that you have. I can only "earn" 15 spices per day (on my main character) - 5 from your daily reward, and 10 if you use your daily award to buy more spices (they can be purchased in lots of 10 for one cooking award). So, basically, I can make 15 pieces of the best food per day, or around 5 stacks per week. Considering that we raid 4 nights per week, this isn't very much food. The best food will have to be rationed, and I'll have to use second-best food where possible. This REALLY goes against the grain, because I always like to use the best consumables available to me.

The biggest problem for me though is one of my biggest joys in this game is giving to others. One of my favourite things to do is to supply my tanks with food for raiding. Not because they won't do it themselves, but because I enjoy helping them out (farming as a tank is yuck, and they already pay big repair bills etc). I love to spend a few hours fishing or farming food that is then donated back to the guild to help us progress.

Under this new system, I won't be able to do that unless I buy extra spices - I'm going to go ahead and assume they'll go for astronomical (or is that gastronomical) prices, or park alts in Dalaran to do extra dailies. That may end up being what I have to do - have Keeva spend all her awards on recipes, and have the alts buy all the spices.

I feel very frustrated. Blizzard have given the cooks a bunch of new, awesome recipes, but then restricted us to making only a few per day (and that's AFTER you've bought any/all of the new recipes at a rate of one new recipe every three days).

On top of that, if you're a raider, you won't be able to afford to spare any of those spices for fun foods like critter bites or tracker snacks, because in order to buff yourself as much as possible for raiding, you won't want to spare any spices for frivolous things. Similarly, there won't be any room to sell our new foods on the auction house to earn a little money, because all of the spices will be used for raiding.

Considering all the moves Blizzard has made to prevent raiders from being "forced" to use expensive consumables, it seems a little odd that I will now have to park alts in Dalaran in order to earn extra spices to make sure I have all of the food I need... and as a raider, I can't afford to make any of the fun recipes either. Doesn't this go against all of the past changes to relieve the consumables strain on raiders?

I used to enjoy supplying food for myself, my tanks, and keeping some spare in case someone in the raid ran out. Surplus went to the AH for a tidy profit, to offset the cost of raiding. A few hours spent peacefully fishing would set me and my tanks up for the week, and earn a little extra money as well. Now all I will be able to do is make my own food and possibly a stack for the tanks per week, not one each per raid night. Even if I can eventually buy extra spices from the AH, or park 3 alts in Dalaran to "farm" spices for me, I still feel as though I can't farm food the way I used to. I can't spend the weekend farming and give away or donate stacks of food anymore, unless it's the second best food, and that's just not the same. I don't like settling for second best.

It may seem trivial, but I love using my tradeskills and farming time to help others, and this system has made me really sad.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Level 80

At last. I would have been 80 a couple of days ago had it not been for the constant disconnects and today's lovely hail storm that took out my power for a couple of hours, grr.

NOW I CAN GO FISH! *bounces*

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Realm first tailoring

Thank you to all of my friends and Inexorable guildies who sold or gave me cloth and dust, farmed for me, sent me greens in the mail, patiently disenchanted gear for me, and most importantly to those who put their own professions to one side to help me out.

A lot of people spent a lot of time and gold helping me achieve this and although it might seem like a trivial achievement, it really showed me how great my guild (and extended Warcraft family) is. I'll be donating cloth, enchanting mats and healing services back to the guild for a long time.

Thank you also to the (literally) hundreds of people who whispered me the second I got my achievement, I couldn't believe it. I'm sorry I couldn't reply to everyone to thank them personally.

So... anyone want to buy a couple of bags..?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Monday, November 10, 2008

Hoarded quests WILL give XP after WotLK release

Blizzard has confirmed that quests completed before the expansion but turned in after you upgrade WILL give experience.

Q u o t e:
I'd assume I'd get XP, because the XP-or-gold determination is made at hand-in, not while performing the task.



NB: some people are misinterpreting this and saying that you shouldn't waste your time doing daily quests because Northrend quests give 20k xp each. That's fine; but when people mention this, they are not talking about ignoring Northrend for a couple of hours in favour of doing TBC dailies instead. They are referring to doing 25 dailies this week and keeping them in your log. Then, on Thursday, after you upgrade to WotLK, you zip around and hand them in (15-20 minutes tops) for somewhere in the vicinity of 20% of a level.

I already have a list of which dailies are the most beneficial, and a plan for where to park my toon and how to whip around to hand them in on the day.

20% of a level for around 15 minutes work is definitely worth it, in my opinion.

Edit: Here is the list I put together a while ago. You may find it helpful - there are still a few days left to get your dailies done!


If you have all the Netherwing quests, my suggestion is:

- park at Netherwing ledge (or use your BT neck if you have one), hand in quests
- hearth to Shatt, port to the Isle, hand in quests
- use your scroll to get back to Shatt, hand in quests
- port to Orgrimmar or Stormwind and head to Northrend

Make sure you do the quests ahead of time (don't do dailies on release day, that is not a good use of your time as Northrend quests are worth a lot more). This should only take 15-20 minutes to zip around and hand them in, since you can port to the major quest hubs.

If you are able to do the Netherwing daily quests, this is the list of quests you should aim for.

Call to Arms: AV 12000 (EoTS is 12,300, the others are less. AV probably the easiest)
Cooking 12650 (lolwtf)
Multiphase Survey (Nagrand) 9500
Sunfury Attack Plans (Netherstorm) 9500
Maintaining the Sunwell Portal (BEM) 9500

Include Gaining the advantage (gathering) 12650
Exclude Maintaining the Sunwell Portal (BEM) -9500

Isle of Quel'Danas
Rediscovering your Roots 15800
Further Conversions 9500
Arm the Wards! 9500
The Battle Must Go On 9500
The Air Strikes Must Continue 9500
Know your Ley Lines 12650
Keeping the Enemy at Bay 12650
Crush the Dawnblade 12650
Don't Stop Now 12650
Atamal Armaments (SMV) 15800
Disrupt the Greengill Coast 12650
Open for Business 12650

Netherwing Ledge
Deadliest Trap 15800
Picking up the pieces 15800
Dragons are the Least of our Problems 12650
Netherwing Crystals 12650
A Slow Death 12650
Not so Friendly Skies 12650
Booterang 12650
Disrupting the Twilight Portal 12650

Include Nethercite Ore/Pollen/Flayer Hides 12650
Exclude Multiphase Survey (Shatt/Nagrand) -9500

TOTAL XP: 306,150 (312,450 if you have a gathering profession)

You'll be short 8 extra quests. Substitute:

Blast the Gateway 9500
Blood for Blood 12650

Banish More Demons 12650
Bomb Them Again 10100
Wrangle More Aether Rays! 12650

Fires over Skettis 12650
Escape from Skettis 9500

Include Gaining the Advantage (Shatt - gathering) 12650

TOTAL QUESTS: 24 (25 if you're a gatherer)
TOTAL XP: 278,350 (281,500 if you have a gathering profession)


Daily instance
Daily instance - Heroic

The Relic's Emanation


Friday, November 7, 2008

AoE heals under fire

Uh oh.

Are CoH and WG better than Chain Heal? 11/04/2008
From what I've been seeing and hearing they're performing far better in Sunwell and BT. Is the supposed AoE healing class being out healed by the HoT and all-around healers? Why? What changes should be made?

Circle of Healing and Wild Growth are definitely on our radar. This would be a good time to discuss them.

Our concern is that they are turning two classes with a large arsenal of healing spells into single-button healers. Meanwhile, ironically, the other two healing classes have fewer heals to use in the first place.

We have seen raid parses where 75 to 90% of a priest's healing is through CoH. It's a good spell, useful in a variety of situations. But I think you can understand our concern.

A priest said to us the other day "Please nerf Circle of Healing so I can push another button!" He's even thinking of going Disc.



OK, first off, I'd like to know which raids these raid parses are coming from. Northrend beta raids? Or live Sunwell raids? I sincerely hope people aren't judging these spells on Sunwell parses, that would be incredibly stupid. Take an instance built around massive, constant raid damage, add some (supposedly) "smart" heals, take away the mana constraints for the time being, and what do you get? Of course you're going to see parses like that.


Mash, mash, mash, wheeeeee! Look at my HPS!


The T6 guilds are bored and zerging for gear now as we countdown to the expansion. There's not really much challenge in healing any fight at the moment, perhaps with the exception of KJ in the latter phases. Everything else you can buttonmash and collect your epics. I'm the designated Burn healer for Brutallus; the other night I fell over dead quite early due to lagging and getting a Burn/Slash combo - and even though the raid ended up with about half a dozen Burns, he still died easily. The point is, mana is not too much of a concern at the moment, plus we have these shiny new toys, and Sunwell's huge raid damage lends itself to AoE healing. Of course people are going to start mashing those buttons.


It is easy to become a masher when you have no mana problems and a heal that targets people for you. I get lazy sometimes - I have been known to blindly mash WG on trash. I actually DON'T like the "smart" aspect of these heals. I am completely against the game choosing who to heal for you - I want to be able to choose who needs my heals the most. Unfortunately it is probably the best way for WG to work; if they made it the 4 closest people to your target, or party only, it would be highly situational and lead to a lot of wasted healing. It would be fine for fights like Felmyst or Bloodboil, but otherwise not so great.


But the button mashing won't last long. It's not going to be like that at 80, when we are having to make much more judicious use of our mana. At least I certainly hope that will be the case, because I hate button mashing. Unfortunately though, if a fight lends itself to group heal spam, then group heal spam it is. Just look at how CH dominated most of the latter part of TBC - because that's what the fights called for. You can't really blame the spells for being overpowered when it is the encounters that force people to use them.


I think CoH is the one mostly under fire though, because yeah, CoH does seem pretty ridiculous at the moment. I don't like seeing healers nerfed, so I hope they are making these calls based on beta raids and not live - at least give the priests a chance to heal at 80 and then judge whether CoH needs to be tuned.


WG is probably up there because it's new, and people have trouble adjusting to new things. It is powerful in situations where the raid is taking constant hits and WG is able to tick, as well as the raiders being fairly close together; otherwise it is fairly weak. Because Sunwell has a bunch of fights where groups of people (or the entire raid) takes constant damage, of course it is going to shine - but again, that is encounter design, not a fault of the spell.


Honestly, if they nerfed WG's healing, I am not sure I would use it. At the moment it ticks for around 500 with full raid buffs, and that's not too bad, providing a couple of ticks get off, to get your money's worth. If they nerfed it down to 300 or 200 or something, I just don't think I would bother with it.


Time will tell; I just hope they aren't too heavy-handed. WG has only just been buffed back up from being useless, I hope they don't send it back again, to be relegated to being the 51pt talent for 5-mans.



From mmo-champion: (digest version)

Based on feedback from this forum, elsewhere and our own brainstorming, what we are thinking about right now is something like a 6 sec cooldown for Circle of Healing and Wild Growth.


We decided it was a problem based almost entirely on numbers coming out of Naxx. CoH and WG were doing the heavy lifting on almost every encounter. They were easily the top two heals for many parses. CH wasn't. Your individual raids may vary, but that is the overall trend. If we go ahead and make this change and see CH then completely fill the void left behind, then we would nerf CH as well.


We don't like the stacking mana cost solution in this case, though we did talk about it a lot. We suspect that would actually lead us to the land of priests saying their mana regen sucks because they have to spam CoH to be competitive, and I'm not sure we can count on all you guys to be around to explain the logic when that happens.

We don't want to just nerf the healing throughput on the spell because then it won't be able to do its job. CoH was in this state before when Holy just ignored it.

A cast time might work, but the instant nature of both spells is part of what makes them so useful in emergencies.

We're not crazy about reverting the smart heal aspect, though that is still on the table. Having too many spells that favor party over raid forces you back to having to worry a lot about your raid composition. "Oh, sorry hunter, we can't bring you because we need another melee for our melee group or else CoH won't reach you."


OK, I'm happy with this.


A) They're not just listening to people whining about Sunwell parses (phew).


B) They're not nerfing the healing of WG again, thank goodness, or it would go back to being nearly useless in raids.


C) They didn't up the mana cost.


D) I'm fine with a 6 second cooldown because I usually DO use other spells during that time, and I do prefer to still keep lifeblooms and rejuvs up, throw regrowths, etc. This basically allows me time to do those things without feeling that I should be spamming WG instead. I like that. It guards against us being button mashers.


A tentative thumbs-up from me!


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Cows in dresses: Why I choose cloth

There's a lot of concern from clothies at the moment about the consolidation of +healing and +dmg into the single stat, +spellpower. I say clothies in particular because they are the ones will probably run into the most problems with other people rolling on "their" gear - either within the cloth-wearing group (priests, mages, warlocks), or through competition with other classes who can wear other armor types but are greedily eyeing off the cloth items for their yummy stats. I can definitely sympathise with them in part; even in these few short weeks post 3.0, I'm sure many healers have felt the sting of dps casters rolling on weapons and items that were previously healer-only (and I'm sure the casters feel the same about us rolling on their previously caster-only items).

GC said:

There are still pieces which are more appropriate for one class or spec than another. Some of the changes we made, such as spell power, will blur the lines slightly more. Our goal with that was more to help say an undergeared paladin get healing gear or an undergeared warlock be able to benefit from the "healing" cloth rather than just sharding it.

I've played a priest enough (I've played every class) to know that it can be frustrating when a paladin wants to roll on a piece of cloth, but most of the time the raid leaders I have run with tend to let the cloth-wearers get first dibs. I agree that there is a big social aspect to loot distribution. To some extent, that is by design.

I'm sure this issue will only become more obvious now that even more people will potentially be gunning for the same items. I thought I would share my feelings on the issue before we step into WotLK - before we see what happens when the Northrend loot starts dropping, because I'll be interested to look back on this in 6, 12, or 18 months' time to see how things panned out.

I'm not going to go into who should take which stats and why - Graylo and Phae have done an excellent job outlining which stats are best for which roles, and any kind of number crunching usually makes my head explode anyway. I mostly wanted to share my take on it and how I feel about non-clothies elbowing in on "their" gear, particularly now that priests have to compete with even more people, not just the occasional druid.

So.... why would I wear cloth, when as a druid, I am meant to wear leather?

I can't make up my mind what to wear!

1. Stats > Armor

First and foremost, if a cloth item has better stats for me than available leather items, I will wear that cloth item.

Now, I'm not a selfish jerk. I will often wait until the holy priests have that item before I will take it for myself, seeing as cloth is the only armor class they can use, and therefore their loot pool is smaller than mine. However, this is usually on a case-by-case basis, and depends on who I am rolling against (old members vs trials), who stands to gain more of a nett upgrade from the item, the status of the rest of my gear, the relative rarity, whether the item is "best in slot", etc. Generally speaking though, I'm a nice person and try to be reasonable when rolling on items that aren't "meant" for me. This may be tougher in WotLK because there's now a lot more competition for that gear, now that a lot of it is open to mages, warlocks, and shadow priests, and I may find that if I choose to pass on an item, I'll be waiting a long time...

At the end of the day though, if a cloth item has the best healing stats, that will be the item I put on my shopping list. The name of the game is to improve my healing, and to that end I don't care if something is made out of cloth, leather, cardboard, glomesh or whatever - I only care about how the stats will help me heal my raid more effectively. I don't care about how much armor an item has - even with the changes to ToL armor, it's rare that I am getting hit anyway. I don't need extra armor.

Man, glomesh would be SO COOL.

A few people share my sentiments, which is great, because I like it when people agree with me. Bith from Emerald Dream says:

Sorry my priest friends, I love you guys, but over half my gear as a Resto Druid is cloth. I really do try and hold out on stuff if there is a good leather alternative but more often than not, I find the cloth one just being absurdedly better. I deserve a chance to get it too; just because I can wear leather doesn't mean there are all good leather pieces out there. To be honest, a lot of the leather I've seen sucks compared to some of the cloth on the same boss (there is also a lot of the opposite too, a lot of leather being better which I try and take advantage of as much as possible).

This pretty much sums up exactly how I feel. I want to do the right thing by my cloth-wearing buddies, and I will wait for a nice piece of leather if I can, but if that leather doesn't exist, then I need to roll on your cloth item too. It's nothing personal, believe me. I'm just trying to get the best gear I can. On the other hand, some people disagree, and believe that druids should not be allowed to roll alongside priests. Ojousama from Dalaran wrote:

No sane raid lead is gonna let a druid shaman or pally roll on cloth gear as a first need roll. After the clothies have their choice then I'd see the druids/shaman/pallies roll but that isn't the problem at all. That has always been the case and if your guild allow druids for ex. to roll on a cloth item when your priest needs it I suggest you find another guild.

Hmm. I think this is a bit harsh. I believe that other classes can have the opportunity to roll/bid on cloth gear alongside priests, but I would hope people would exercise some commonsense and courtesy.

Idealism? Perhaps.

2. Tailored epics > Leatherworking epics

Crafted gear is probably a side issue since I'm not really taking gear away from someone else. It's worth mentioning though, because crafted gear plays a big part in the reason why I twirl around in a dress rather than in a tunic made of dead birds and branches.

In the past, tailored gear was always arguably superior to crafted leather healing gear. The Primal Mooncloth set (despite looking shocking on cows) was just so good for healing. I wore mine until partway into Black Temple.

The Windhawk set was geared more towards Moonkins, with a bunch of crit that druid healers had no use for. The PMC set, on the other hand, while missing out on stam and a small amount of spirit, had much more +healing, and traded that useless crit for a bunch of mp5 (which at the time was quite useful). The PMC set also had a very tasty set bonus of 5% mana regen while casting, compared to the Windhawk, which has no set bonus.

The Windhawk does have 2 more sockets than the PMC, and both sets use blue and yellow sockets exclusively. If we take a trip back down Memory Lane to when I was wearing PMC, it was before epic gems were easily available, so I was socketing with Royal Nightseye (5spp/2mp5) and Luminous Noble Topaz (5spp/4int). Fully gemmed in this way, here's what I would get if I chose PMC over Windhawk:

Armor: -299
Stam: -67
Int: -17
Spi: -10
Spellpower: +22
Crit: -47
Mp5: +23

So I would gain 22 spellpower (about 40 healing back in the day) and 23mp5 at the expense of armor that I don't care about, stam that didn't cause me too much trouble, a relatively small amount of intellect and spirit (which hadn't been buffed at the time), and 47 crit that I flat out didn't want.

In fact, a lot of leather druid gear in early TBC just wasn't what I wanted as a healer. The Moonglade set was a hybrid set - not what I wanted or needed at all. I'm a healer, I want pure healing stats - I don't want agility and crit on my gear!

Blizzard seemed to really miss the mark when it came to druid healing gear between stepping into Hellfire and finally getting into Karazhan - and along the way they didn't give us a decent leatherworking set either. They seemed to finally pick up their game by the time Sunwell was rolled out, with some shiny healing leather patterns finally becoming available - but very few people were able to get these patterns.

I intend to stick with tailoring for WotLK. Some people /boggle at me for being a tailor, but the benefits are really nice, and I don't feel like it's an odd choice. PMC meant better healing, and better healing is what I want. The PMC 2.0 gear is quite a nice stat upgrade, too, and I'm confident there will be some nice patterns further into Wrath. On top of this, I get to fly around on magic carpets, make my own cloak enchants (thank goodness, that's another thing that was never decent), make cheap spellthreads, sew my own dps gear, and I'll be picking up extra cloth from humanoids to boot. I do hope though, for the sake of my leatherworking counterparts, that there are some decent leather healing patterns out there for you guys, too. Until that happens though, I remain unconvinced that Leatherworking is a worthwhile profession for me.

3. Aesthetics

Finally, I like to look good. I don't like wearing dead birds (a common theme), nor do I enjoy always being dressed in shades of brown and green, while other players get to wear robes in pretty colours (don't even get me started how good dps weapons look compared to healing weapons).

Leather gear is UGLY. Universally UGLY. I don't think I've ever seen a leather piece and thought "wow, that looks great." I like my character to look nice! I already have the handicap of being a tauren (and often a tree), so I can't really look as attractive as an elf.. but I still like to wear things that look nice.

While I appreciate the nature theme, I don't like wearing the same colours day in, day out, for years. Sometime a girl just wants to look pretty, y'know?

I think in WotLK, people's experiences will vary a lot depending on how they are acquiring their gear. If you are coming from a Tier 6 farming guild, the Level 80 blues may be a slight upgrade for you, whereas someone wearing greens is likely to get a much bigger upgrade from that same gear. That's where the social aspect comes in and we may see problems with undergeared healers wanting to take +hit items because they genuinely are huge upgrades for them, despite being "meant for" a dps caster. This will be especially apparent in PuG groups, and should make for some interesting times if people aren't really familiar with the changes to stats and who wants what.

For me, personally, I don't foresee any problems, because I belong to a close-knit guild, and tend to pass to whoever needs an item the most. I generally subscribe to the idea that gear should flow to whoever needs it and will use it in a way that will best benefit our progression overall. I would rather see two people in good gear than one person take another small upgrade and leave the second person still wearing blues. A lot of people think this is silly and idealistic, but that's how I roll. I also get a stupid kick out of seeing people get new gear. I'm a weirdo.

Having said that, though, I certainly won't be afraid to roll Greed on cloth gear, and even +hit gear, in early instances, if the items are upgrades for me. If it helps me make the bars go right.. I'll wear it. I wore dps caster cloth and leather into Karazhan because that's what I could get my hands on at first. I don't mind looking silly (my character or my armory) if it gets the job done.

I suppose the most important message for everyone, whether you're in a PuG or a guild run, is to make sure you set out the loot rules clearly in advance, and if you intend to roll on something that people might not expect (a different armor type, off-spec gear, etc), then it would be wise to let the group know in advance so there are no nasty surprises. Not only will this (hopefully) prevent any squabbles over loot, but it will also make the run smoother and faster, and stop you from being branded a ninja over something that might just be a simple misunderstanding.



Yes, he's not just for Halloween. I know.

So apparently Tenris Whats-His-Face is still in Kara. Not sure why - Blizzard said he would be around for "about 10 days" which coincided approximately with Tuesday's reset, which is why I assumed I had missed my chance.

Then a friend told me on Wednesday that he had just killed the boss again. After I stopped hyperventilating I posted a very eloquent thread on my guild forums to politely ask for assistance to go and get my pet bat. *cough*

We went in after Sunwell and I kept bouncing on the spot to show I was still online. We started the fight, and about 10 seconds in, I disconnected AGAIN. What is up with my net, geez..

But.. I was there for the pull, and made it back just as he died, so I got my bat. Everyone cheered and we all went home, the end!

<3 to my guildies for accommodating me :P

Monday, November 3, 2008

Blizzard announce three new "role" forums: Tanking, Healing, Damage Dealing

Blizzard have announced that they have added three new "role" forums for tanking, healing, and damage dealing. Originally they were going to add these forums and scrap the old class forums, but it seems now they have abandoned that half of the plan. I'm so glad they did; I would have hated to lose the druid forum. Although it is often filled with rubbish threads - which is par for the course with such a large community - there is still a lot to be learned from other players, and a lot of threads simply wouldn't fit into one of the above three categories. Class guides and questions that don't relate specifically to tanking, healing or dps would be left in limbo.

For example, where would someone go to ask about macros for shifting, seek help with their aquatic form quest, or announce druid events? Where would we lament our lack of feral form customisation? And with the future dual-spec system, I'm certain there will be questions and discussions about synergy between two specs - will the healer forum really care about someone asking for advice on whether to go balance or feral on the side?

Although I predominantly play resto spec in a PvE raiding guild, I have other druids so that I can dabble in other things. I used to do a little bit of 5 and 10 man tanking; I really enjoyed it back then, and I'm really, really looking forward to speccing resto/feral (when we get dual specs), so that in my spare time I can solo as feral and also help out my guild by tanking instances and heroics. But... it's been about 18 months since I did anything as a feral druid in groups. I'm VERY rusty - so pretty soon I'll need to start getting a better handle on that.

On top of that, I don't really enjoy playing balance, but the undeniable fact is that with the new spellpower changes, my resto gear will be moderately effective as "balance" gear. Pick up a few different pieces, gem for hit, etc, and I could turkey it up in 5 mans - but I would prefer to know a little about how to do things properly.

The addition of dual specs has opened up more opportunities for me to play healer, dps, or tank, at any time I want, according to my mood or what my guild needs at the time. I need to dust off my bear suit and get back into the tanking groove, and with the spellpower changes, I should learn a little more about nuking effectively. I have to re-learn the other two aspects of my character that I have neglected for so long.

The point is - despite the often low signal-to-noise ratio of the druid forums, it's still a one-stop-shop for all three of our roles. If they ditched the class forums, I would have to go sift through three different forums to learn about how to play one character. The new forums should be helpful for topics and discussions that are healer-centric, but I'm definitely glad they left our class forums intact. My only gripe at this point is that without going looking for them I can already see thinly veiled "my class is better than yours" posts. I sincerely hope that bringing different classes together and consolidating them under a single role will encourage people not to squabble over which class "wins" at healing.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Cruel, cruel internets - why must you thwart me?

I missed out on my chance at the Vampiric Batling pet from the new boss in Karazhan. All signs point to him disappearing at next maintenance, so I've missed out. Hmph.

There were two chances to get him; last week I had organised a "speed clear challenge" for my guild, so most people already had a Kara team when the new boss appeared. That was cool though, there was still the following week to grab my little bat pet, which is a 100% guaranteed drop for everyone in the raid. I just told everyone I would get him next reset.

We pulled a team together last night and went in to kill him, but I was having a lot of trouble with my connection, and kept dropping in and out. I was disconnected as we were standing outside his chamber, and when I got back, he was dead. My guildies didn't realise I had been cut off before the pulled him. Sadly, since I wasn't there for any of the fight, I missed out on the pet, and since we had killed Attumen, I am now saved to Kara and can't try again.

So that's that - I guess that's one pet that I will have to cross off my collection.


I didn't want the stupid stinky bat anyway. *pout*

No more sharpening stones or weapon oils at 80

Sorry about all the blues guys, but there's been a few interesting things posted that I wanted to share.

Here's one from Verimonde on the beta forums:

Sharpening Stones and also Wizard Oils have been discontinued. While they were something nice to use once in a while for most people for many raid guilds they were simply another burden to the cost of raiding. They also caused some issues in that they only helped certain classes and took away some of the uniqueness of other classes who were able to imbue their weapons with temporary enchants such as rogues and warlocks.

It would seem that the old oils and stones won't be removed from the game, but Blizzard are not introducing any new ones after level 70. But, just as many of us farmed for the level 60 Brilliant oils from ZG rep (because they were so good), this new announcement immediately had people assuming that we would all just have to farm for Level 10 oils to put on our Level 80 weapons. That would be tiresome to say the least.

Sekdar from the beta server Northrend revealed that old oils and stones will NOT be able to be applied to high level items:

Image 1: Applying a stone
Image 2: Failed!

Which means that we won't be forced to go farm for Outland materials to maximise our stats in raids.

It's all very interesting. I think the references to rogues and warlocks is a little weak, and really the main reason would be economic, not for reasons of keeping rogue poisons a unique feature of the class.

Personally, I don't see how 3 Arcane Dust (that we are all swimming in at the moment anyway) and 1 Nightmare Vine (even as one of the most expensive herbs) was terribly burdensome - and I would imagine that Northrend mats wouldn't be too different. Even when these Outland mats were at their most expensive on my server, this would have equated to about 6g per oil, and with 5 charges each that last for an hour, that's 1.2g per hour or for most people who raid 4 hours per night - under 5g for an evening of raiding. That's really not expensive at all, and if I can pay 5g to increase my spellpower by 42 for the whole night (and not have to reapply after wipes), then I definitely do not begrudge handing over 20g a week. But maybe that's just me - maybe this is seen as a substantial financial burden, even though most of us have gold coming out of our ears, and a quick whip-around of the Isle of Quel'Danas netts plenty of easy cash in a very short amount of time.

Is this really a massive drain on people's gold?

I guess I'm slightly disappointed because unlike most people, I actually get a huge kick out of farming consumables to give my character as much oomph as possible. On the other hand, I do understand that not everyone enjoys it, and not everyone has a lot of time to do so. Even so, I think oils are probably the least trouble to acquire and one of the least expensive of all raid consumables. Removing the only items (apart from flasks) that persist through death is a bit.. mean. Wiping hurts - being able to keep that weapon oil on regardless of how many times we wiped made me feel a little as though I wasn't pouring too much money down the drain.

I liked having that option to increase my spellpower or mana according to the situation, and have that last through countless wipes. I liked doing that little something more to boost my healing above and beyond the standard two elixirs and buff food.

On the other hand - it'll be one less consumable that I need to bark at people to use... so I suppose it's not all bad!