Sunday, August 23, 2009

The new TBJ is finished!

I'm so worn out, I've been working on this thing day and night to try and get it done.

I've really tried hard to make it a better site this time around, which better features, a cleaner layout, and easier navigation.

I had some problems with different browsers, but I think most of the issues are sorted.

Please update your links :)



Come on over: www.treebarkjacket.com

Edit: My host is having a few issues presently so things might be shaky for a short while. But it's up. :)


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Decided against the Blizzcon live stream.

After agonising over it quite a bit, I've decided I won't be getting the Blizzcon live stream this year.

I really wanted to do it so that I could post any druid-related news as it is relayed, and without relying on sites like MMO and wow.com to post transcripts to copy/paste.

(It's not the end of the world, I just wanted to be able to do it myself, not just re-post the other sites' news.)

There are a few reasons why I decided not to do it:

  • I'm working hard towards my RL goal of buying a house, and $50 counts!

  • The panels I want to see are at 6:30am on Saturday and Sunday for me. That's not a huge deal, I've been up early for WoW commitments before, but it's still a factor. If I wanted to post things as we hear about them, I'd have to be up really early to catch the panels (I don't care about the archives/replay).

  • There's no guarantee that they won't cut to random stuff like behind-the-scenes or interviews, meaning the few segments I want to see may be cut short. I would be very cranky if they cut to stuff I didn't care about. Lots of people have asked about this, but no answers have been given by Blizzard, and if it's the case, I think that's pretty crappy, to be honest. If people are paying $40 ($50 here) they should be able to choose which "channel" (stage) they want to watch. It's not difficult to do.

  • Australian internet isn't the greatest, and I live in a rural area, making it worse. There's a very good chance it will be very poor quality - especially if my connection forced me to use the low-def version. I guess I should be grateful that I have internet - but boy is it suck compared to a lot of other countries! Australia really needs to get its A into G, as we say here. Give us better internets!



So all up I would be paying $50 for poorly streamed (due to my connection) video, at 6:30am on Saturday and Sunday, and the coverage may not stay focused on the 3 panels I want to watch, anyway. I really wanted to catch the news live, but I can't justify $50 for about 3 hours of panels that could be cut short and may well be very low quality due to my backwater internet.

So I'll just have to suck it up and deal with compiling druid info from the main sites. It's disappointing to me - I would rather be posting it first-hand, but it's not the end of the world.

To everyone on their way to the con itself - have a blast! Wish I could be there with you!


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

It's spelled L-O-R-E, not L-A-W.

I've been spending most of my spare moments working on the new blog (and it's coming along very nicely), but I had to take five to expand on the speculation about the coming expansion. We're only a few days away from Blizzcon now, so we'll find out very soon if it's true or not.. and I'm quite excited.

If you read this blog, and hate spoilers, I've probably already spoiled stuff for you earlier, so uh.. sorry about that. But just in case -

SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS


What amuses me is the number of people getting REALLY upset about the possibility of changes that go against the lore of Warcraft.

I certainly respect their opinions and their passion for the story, but what people need to understand is that lore is a history, it's not a set of rules. The past can't be changed (well, unless we head over to CoT and mess around!), but the future is an open book. Just because something has been a certain way for thousand years does not mean that it can't ever happen.


Night Elf mages: WRONG WRONG WRONG.. right?

The possibility Night Elf mages seem to be causing the biggest uproar. Evidently Night Elves can't be mages because:

From http://www.wowwiki.com/Night_Elves
Their powerful magic was recklessly unleashed by the quel'dorei,[2] who believed they were superior to other Kaldorei and practiced magics far beyond the considered norm.[citation needed] This careless use of magic may have allowed the Burning Legion to invade the world, and finally led to a catastrophic battle known as the War of the Ancients. This battle changed the face of Azeroth for all time, and resulted in the creation of the continents of the world, tearing the land apart and forming the vast nexus of energy at the center of the ocean known as the Maelstrom.

...the Well of Eternity imploded in a magical cataclysm, sending untold numbers to their doom. Many Kaldorei were dragged to the bottom of the sea, only to be twisted and transformed into the sea serpents now known as the vile naga. The catastrophe tore the continent apart into three sections, and left a permanent storm known as the Maelstrom where the well once stood. With the majority of the Highborne dead, the kaldorei turned away from their arcane legacy and began a new culture focusing on attunement with nature and their surroundings.

The TLDR version is that the Highborne dabbled in magic that they shouldn't have, which led to the destruction of the Well of Eternity, which in turn turned many of the Night Elves into Naga, tore the world into several chunks, and created the Maelstrom.

Basically: bad things happen when you play with magic.

So the Night Elves are a little shy (to say the least) when it comes to dabbling in the arcane.

But does that mean they'll never do it?

What if something REALLY big went down, and they were forced to reconsider? They are, after all, avoiding magic mostly by choice - they're not incapable of it, right? They can just change their minds, no sweat.

Oh, wait:

From http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/info/encyclopedia/508.xml
Afterwards, arcane magic was outlawed on pain of death, but the Highborne arrogantly continued their dangerous sorcery.

Rather than execute their defiant kindred, Tyrande and Malfurion sentenced the Highborne to exile. The exiles journeyed over the sea to Lordaeron, where they founded the kingdom of Quel'Thalas and began calling themselves high elves.

Okay, so, it's outlawed. Fair call. But if the Highborne can break the rules, is the idea of the Night Elves changing their minds really so inconceivable? Sure, it's been quite a while, they're creatures of habit now.. but is it such a massive leap that a cataclysmic event might drive them to change their ways?


Forever changed (again)

This already happened. We just weren't around to see it. Something really big DID go down, we just didn't log on until the dust had settled.

Is it time for round two?

I LOVE the idea of the world going through a massive, cataclysmic event that changes zones dramatically - destroys some, sinks some, tears some in half. That something so massive, dramatic and violent tears up the world as we know it, and the people have to rise up and find new alliances and new ways to fight back. I got goosebumps just now as I was writing that.

Posted by Irem on wow.com Aug 15th 2009
This is why I want for this to be true. As players, we've often only got Blizzard's word to go on that we've lost something. "The Scourge has killed thousands of people!" That's not our loss. Those thousands are just words on a screen. "Bolvar and Saurfang the Younger are dead!" Suddenly that's our loss because they're characters we knew and liked and will never see again.

If they really want to make us feel something powerful while changing the old world, they have to actually -change- it. Make us feel that punch in the gut when we log in and the places we leveled and played in are altered permanently, and when we realize that things we took for granted seeing every day are gone. Force us to own our place in the world by actually taking something away from us. That's the kind of immersion a time-frozen-from-character-creation game world can't provide, and I applaud Blizzard for not playing it safe, if this is all in fact true.
This. This, this, THIS.

This is exactly how I feel, and I couldn't possibly have said it any better.


Caving to the whiners, or building on the story?

Most people seem to be in one or the other camp.

Is Blizzard relenting to the whiners who want gnome healers and to fly in Azeroth, or are they putting the boot up this game and shaking it up?

Is it a lazy plot device to accommodate player wishlists, or the next step in an ever-evolving tapestry?

Is it lore-breaking, or lore-expanding?

If the speculation is true, they're going to have to spin some really fantastic stories to explain it all and make it believable. As long as it's done properly and not someone waving a wand and saying, "BOOM! Garrosh is the boss of you guys now, trolls can be druids if you want, and Night Elves got over their silly aversion to arcane magic. As you were."

As I said above though, I don't consider lore to be "the rules". I consider it to be a history book of what happened once before. Who's to say it can't change?


Phasing - oh please let it be phased

If this is all true, I have every finger and toe crossed that they use phasing. I have to say I would be very sad if the geographical changes were brought in and simply made permanent for every player, old and new. I would be sad to lose the ability to go see the old barrens, and i would miss Orgrimmar so, so much.

I hope that they leave the old world how it is for new players (and new alts), but perhaps once you hit a certain level (maybe trigged by a questline), the world changes to post-cataclysm. If it's true, I hope they put in a device like speaking to Alexstrasza at the Wrathgate - something that allows you to go up to old Orgrimmar and say "show me what happened here". This game needs more Wrathgates. That will never, ever get old, and I get goosebumps every time I watch it.

I'd love to be able to roll an alt and go see "old Orgrimmar", and take a picture and preserve it Postcards from Azeroth style.

A small, worn and neatly folded card, tucked carefully into my Orc's armor; that she might glance at it occasionally while looking over what is now left of Durotar - remembering what once was.

Oopsie, slipped into lorenerd mode for a sec..

Please Blizzard - if you're going to change the world - use your magic phasing powers for good. Make us another Wrathgate-type video to make all the little hairs on my arms stand on end.






PS - I'm a little ashamed to admit it, but I jumped on the possible-Tauren-paladin bandwagon and reserved "Holycao" (which is a play on the name of my first druid, Caoimhe). I couldn't resist!

Bring on Blizzcon, and the truth!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Are druids being trolled?

MMO-Champion has done what they do best and served up some datamined info about the next expansion.
None of the information below has been officialy announced by Blizzard, this is only a compilation of information gathered from reliable sources. Just keep in mind that it takes a LOT to make me post something on the front page and I'm definitely not speculating here.

Here's the exciting part, if it's true:
The expansion doesn't have any new class. Instead, Blizzard will offer more race and classes combinations to players, some of them have been datamined on the 3.2.2 Test Realms.

* Human Hunter
* Orc Mage
* Night Elf Mage
* Dwarf Mage
* Blood Elf Warrior
* Dwarf Shaman
* Undead Hunter
* Tauren Paladin
* Tauren Priest
* Gnome Priest
* Troll Druid


Troll druids? Or Blizzard trolling us?

I don't think I would swap to a troll, I like my Tauren, but it would be great for us to get a couple more races as druids.


Then again, if this was our Dire form, I think I would be tempted..

I think I'll be taking this with a grain of salt - MMO say they have reliable sources, but here's the part that made me a little doubtful:

Flying in Azeroth
Part of the redesign of the Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor is the introduction of flying to the two continents, allowing access to many new areas and quicker travelling across the large continents.

I could be wrong, but I find this very hard to believe. Blizzard have always said this would be a mammoth effort, with a lot of recoding to do, and they didn't want to put that much effort into revamping old content (they prefer to spend time and money on new and exciting content). Edit: If the follow-up info that MMO posted is true (about a lot of 80-85 stuff happening in the old world), then it would make sense to allow flying, I suppose..

So.. I'm not sure. As Matticus said recently, these news sites don't post "news" flippantly, they have reputations (and therefore, revenue) to preserve. But Blizzard have always been adamant that flying in Azeroth would be time and effort better spent on developing new content.

As usual, I'm taking the stance of, "I'll believe it when I see it."

Besides, we all know that Undead cannot play hunters.

Some new druid races would be really great (without mangling the lore, if possible). If the above is true, I can only assume they haven't "found" the second Alliance druid race yet - otherwise it might be a bit unfair. Although I love my Tauren and doubt I would reroll (other than for fun - hey, a 6th druid might be good for a laugh), it would be nice to have a choice.



Friday, August 14, 2009

Progress report: the new TBJ

A few people have enquired about the progress of my new blog, so I thought I would give a quick report.

I had some problems with the initial WordPress install and a bunch of 500 errors. My host has been really fantastic though, and fixed them quickly for me.

Back in May I had a crash course in WordPress when I created my (now abandoned) guild website. It wasn't too difficult. I used to dabble in web design, but that was about a decade ago, and I never sat down and learned any of this new-fangled CSS stuff. Steep learning curve.

No matter. I might not know a single thing about CSS, but I'm pretty darn good at opening up a template file, reading through it for something that vaguely resembles the part that I want to change, fiddling with the settings, saving, and then checking to see if that changed what I wanted. In fact, I'm a champion at this. I am a VERY stubborn person, and I won't walk away until the template is doing what I want it to do. I've been able to stumble through and get it to look how I want - I'm quite proud.

The original template author would probably cry if she saw it, though.

You should feel for my friends too, it's been a rollercoaster ride with me alternating between "!@%$@%!### I HATE THIS THING ITS BROKEN I CAN'T MAKE ANYTHING WORK WHY WON'T IT WORK THIS IS RIDICULOUS" and (2 minutes later) "I am amazing. I'm so thrilled with how this is looking."

They must be so tired :P





Anyway - here's the deal:

- domain and space acquired (stop trying to peek!)
- WordPress installed
- theme butchered to my liking
- plugins added: contact form, related articles, etc
- lots of stupid test posts made


To do:

- put the static pages together (About, Blogroll, etc)
- transfer old content over (?)
- test that everything works
- put stuff in the sidebar
- little stuff like a favicon, wowhead links, etc
- ??
- profit


I'm not sure about bringing the old content over, or whether I should just start again (I would bring over particular guides etc, however).

Obviously, bringing it over means people will be able to search the older content.. but I worry that it's going to be a pain in the butt to do. WordPress has that annoying problem where it strips out your superfluous p and br tags, meaning that you have no extra line breaks between your paragraphs. I use those a lot.

150+ posts, no paragraph spacing.

On one hand, having ALL of my content on the new site is logical - all in the one place, for people to search. On the other hand, do I want 150 posts that look like ass? Is it better to have an archive of all the posts, and have them looking kinda bad.. than to just start fresh and say "go here for older posts" and point back to blogspot? I'm not sure what to do. I'm leaning towards "of course you have to import it" but ugh..

I suppose I won't know how bad it is until I give it a try!

At any rate.. I still have quite a lot to do before the new site can go live. It is a gradual project, at the moment.

:)



Thursday, August 13, 2009

Community spotlight: Recent posts that I enjoyed

Here are a few great posts that you might have missed:

1. HoTs Tree - Ulduar Healing Guides for Resto Druids (an index)

Aertimus has gathered together a whole lot of the druid healing guides for Ulduar, and put them in one place as a quick-reference.

Best of all, they're not one-sided guides from a generic wiki or website; they are guides written by bloggers from their own perspective, so you get a player's-eye view of how the fights work, and some great druid-specific tips.



2. Twig Heals: HealBot (setup 1)

Healbot resources are rare and very hard to find. Twig Heals shows you the first few steps to getting your Healbot set up and ready to go.



3. Heal With It - Screencap Quality and You

WoW screenshots can look a little bad if you don't know how to change the capture quality. Heal With It shows you how to improve the quality of your screenshots - which will be especially important if you want to show them off to the world!



4. Healing in 3.2 – Blog guide updated

Lissanna from Restokin has updated her well-known druid healing guide for patch 3.2. In it, she covers:

- Tank healing – Nourish supported by HOTs
- Tank healing – Lifebloom strategies
- AOE raid healing – Wild growth and other HOTs
- Recommended talent spec(s)
- Glyphs for tank & raid healing
- Set bonuses and Idols
- Consumables & enchants

It's a really thorough guide, and a great resource, especially for newer druids who aren't sure how to use all of our healing tools. If you've ever asked, "what rotation should I use?" then you should check out Lissanna's guide.



5. Dreambound - Raid Icons

This one speaks for itself - a guide to our available raid icons, and the best ways to use them.


6. HoTs & DoTs - Patch 3.2 Resto Druid Gear Guide: for the Casual/10 Man Raider


This is Part 1 of a planned two-part series from HoTs & DoTs. This part covers:

- The casual player who runs heroics with friends & occasionally PuGs 25s
- The fairly serious 10man raider who occasionally PuGs 25s
- The 25man raider gearing up a Resto alt or dual spec set
- The player back from a break, who wants to get back into 25man raiding



7. Mad Cow Chronicles: WoW TCG Fundamentals

Llanion has set out to teach us a little about the WoW Trading Card Game. If you'd like to give the TCG a go and you're not sure how it works, this is a great primer.

The second installment can be found here.


Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Val'anyr - and why I want it to just go away

Warning - this has nothing to do with item mechanics, healing, theorycrafting, or anything remotely informative. This is purely a personal post about things near and dear to me as a player, and will probably just end up as a silly ramble more than anything. Feel free to skip over it if you're not a big fan of that kind of thing.


I wish we could put items on ignore. Once upon a time, it might have been Foror's Compendium of Dragonslaying.

These days, it's Val'anyr, Hammer of the Ancient Kings.

I don't want to see it, I don't want to hear about it. I don't want to see it linked, I don't want to see screenshots, I don't want to read about buffs or nerfs or anything else that has anything to do with it.

I want it to go away.


It's not sour grapes

You're probably already thinking I'm sulking because I don't have one. Classic sour grapes, right? I suppose it looks that way to most people. Straight-up jealously probably forms a small part of my feelings, I'm sure.. I think it would be silly to try to claim that it has nothing to do with it. But the jealousy over not getting a shiny weapon is a tiny, tiny part of why I feel so bitter when I see it. Few people would believe that, though, I suspect.

The truth is, only a few people close to me would probably appreciate how I really feel about that weapon, what it really means to me, and that I'm not just pouting because I'm not sporting one (and I probably never will).


I never set out to earn it, but I believe I did

I did a lot for my guild. A lot. I didn't do it to be rewarded, or thanked, or celebrated. I loved helping, and teaching, and serving. I enjoyed researching fights, spending hours creating diagrams and plans, stocking the guild bank, and helping people with quests. I helped to keep the forums running, and over time seemed to fill the role of "guild PR".

I helped the newbies, I ran some guild events, dealt with problems in whispers (sometimes successfully, sometimes not so much), ran the recruiting threads, and spent time being a "good influence" on the forums and in dealing with other guilds. I farmed for potions and fish, I brought spare consumables for the healers, I sat out or passed on gear to new people, and I always carried candles, symbols, pet food, bullets, and campfire materials, so that nobody ever got stuck mid-raid without something.

I'll never forget the day in Black Temple when the tank ran out of bullets for pulling, asked if anyone had any, and I put some in a trade window. Better, though, the confusion from the tank and half the raid - wondering why on earth I was carrying bullets around with me. But it was precisely for moments like that - I loved saving the day, making things smoother.

I gave away large amounts of my own bank supplies to help guildies level professions or buy mounts, always loving it when someone asked 'has anyone got a ......' and being able to say, "I have it on an alt, I'll go get it for you". I kept the guild bank tidy, and helped to sell BOEs and other materials to keep our gold supplies up. I ran instances that I didn't want to do and had no need for, purely because someone needed my help.

Everything I had, I gave freely to the guild.

I loved helping, teaching, being a shoulder to cry on or a spare ear to listen, saving the day, coming prepared, supplying what we needed, greasing the guild's wheels, being someone to look up to, and keeping things running.

And while I never, ever did any of that because I wanted recognition, a trophy, a pat on the back or a medal... I believe I deserved that mace the most, and I defy anyone to say that I didn't.


I nearly lost it to a /random

I envy the guilds who are able to unanimously agree that Bob the priest has been around for 3 years, never missed a raid, is a tremendous healer, and he just deserves it hands down, no question. I had to campaign for it. I had to stand up and say no, I'm sorry, but I don't agree with a /roll between all healers, or even a /roll between the "finalists".

There were three of us. All long-standing members of the guild. All with excellent attendance. All good healers, in our different classes and styles. So the majority of the healers said that we were equal and should just /roll.

At the risk of sounding like a brat who wanted the shiny for herself, I put my foot down. All things were NOT equal. If our attendance, dedication, and skill were too difficult to separate, then why wouldn't it come down to the person who had done far and away more for the guild?

Wasn't it obvious?


Val'anyr is more than just a shiny weapon

Even worse was that - even after it was finally agreed by the officers that I would receive the first mace, Blizzard released the patch a week earlier than we expected and I could not get time off to raid on the Wednesday, or I would risk losing my job. The inevitable happened, as I knew it would - a shard dropped, while I was stuck at work, so it defaulted to the only finalist who was able to raid that day, because he didn't work during the day.

I had to fight to convince one officer in particular that it was unfair to then change things and give the entire set of shards to that person purely because he was lucky enough to be there on the day - during a raid time that was not the norm. If I had missed a normal scheduled raid, that would have been my fault - but I could NOT get time off work (and having a sick day would risk my job), and he wouldn't accept that.

The main arguments were "If you really wanted it, you would have found a way to get time off," and "Why is it such a big deal that you get the first one? What does it matter?"

I think that was what drove me crazy, really. Well, two things.
  • that people couldn't recognise the MASSIVE effort I had put into the guild, which in my mind would mean I was the obvious choice, all other things being equal; and

  • that you're DAMN RIGHT the first one is important, how can anyone say that?

It's not just a cool weapon - and I suspect the above argument is typical of people who are more concerned with loot than other issues. That weapon was not important to me because it was orange, or cool looking, or because I'd have lots of people /inspecting me on the Dalaran steps.

It was a testament to just how much I had poured into that guild.

And it hurt so much that I wasn't the obvious choice.


25 fragments short of a guild

But the guild split up. We never killed Yogg without a watcher. We didn't even get to kill him with all of the watchers.

Everyone went their separate ways. Some to hardcore guilds more progressed, others to play with friends. Some quit entirely.

So I will never get my mace. I will never get my trophy.

Instead, I have five fragments sitting in my bag. Five fragments to remind me of the fantastic team I was once part of, that I poured my heart into, but will never get back.


To some people.. it's just a silly weapon in a fleeting game. It doesn't matter. But to me, it symbolises friendships, hardships, hard work, good times, bad times, triumphs.. and everything I gave to my team. It was a small token to say "thank you for everything you've done for us."

You may think it's silly to put so much emphasis on a trivial pile of pixels.. but to me it means so much more than just another item in the game.


And that's the story of Christmas

So, ex-guildmates, friends, rivals, strangers... that is why I get sad when I see those fragments, or see other people with their new maces. It's nothing personal - but I can't help but feel a little bitter, because they have two things that I had, but lost:-

a shiny, orange "we couldn't have done all of this without you"..

..and, more importantly, a family to belong to.

Official word on Vezax and no more Clearcasting

To follow up on my previous post about the apparent nerf to Clearcasting:

Blizzard wrote:
We wanted to make players aware of several changes made to the General Vezax encounter upon the release of patch 3.2, which weren't noted in the official patch notes.

These changes affect both 10-player and 25-player modes. First off, when considering the hardmode of the encounter, the mechanics were overly favoring groups that made heavy use of Restoration druids (Omen of Clarity procs) and “Enhancement” shamans using healing gear (Shamanistic Rage and Improved Stormstrike) to circumvent the mana restrictions. Omen of Clarity will no longer proc for Restoration druids, and Enhancement shamans receive a healing debuff similar to the ones Retribution paladins have had since the encounter’s initial implementation.

Recognizing that this would make the encounter far more difficult for raid groups that have come to rely on those mechanics, we also made changes to ease the overall mana burden when attempting the hardmode. The health of General Vezax and the Saronite Animus was reduced by roughly 25%, and the Animus will now spawn after six Vapors, down from eight, assuming none have been killed.

In addition, prior to 3.2, General Vezax could be very erratic in the use of some of his abilities, leading to long gaps between Shadow Crashes in particular. His behavior in this regard is now more consistent. As a side-effect of this change, in 25-player mode in particular, he will also cast Searing Flames slightly more often – whenever his Fire school isn’t locked out by player interrupts, essentially. Finally, because the “more consistent” Crash use ended up being a bit on the frequent side, a minor hotfix recently increased the period between Crash casts.

(my emphasis)

Edit: oops, it wasn't GC - force of habit! Also edited to include the link.

So there you go, trees - it's official. Any tree-punching on this boss will now be purely for entertainment purposes.



Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Wild Growth bug fixed! Wait, no..

Resto druids have a long-standing (it's been months, now) problem with Wild Growth not playing nice with our mouseover macros. The digest version of the story, if you're not aware, is that if you have a dead or out-of-range person targeted and you try to cast Wild Growth using a mouseover macro, the Wild Growth won't fire (you'll just get a "your target is dead" or similar error).

There are ways around it, specifically a /canceltarget macro:
/canceltarget
/cast [target=mouseover]Wild Growth
..but it's incredibly annoying to have to use clumsy workarounds when the issue shouldn't be hard to fix (GC even said that himself).

Edit: the above macro may not be correct - if it doesn't work, try this one:
/cleartarget
/cast [target=mouseover,noharm,exists] Wild Growth
/targetlasttarget

This one comes from Restokin from a while ago. (PS - ignore my comments on that Restokin post - I thought my own macro at the time worked, but it turned out I was just lucky enough to go a long time without noticing the problem.)


After months and months, druids are still wondering what's going on. Why isn't it fixed? What's the hold-up?

Then GC said this today, and I had to laugh:
I was going to post that we fixed this, because we did. But I'm glad that I didn't because sometime during the 3.2 patch it broke again.

Sometimes when we don't address simple things head on, it's for reasons like this. We'll try to get it fixed (again) as soon as we understand what happened.

It's a serious issue that we want fixed.. but this really made me giggle. Glad they finally gave us word on what's going on, though.

Back to waiting!

I don't think it's much to ask..

Along with big changes rolled out in every patch, there are usually a lot of tiny changes and seemingly insignificant changes to the game; but often these tiny changes are often some of the most anticipated and celebrated.

Recent triumphs in the "finally" category:

- moonglade mailboxes
- being able to track quests that don't have any "objectives"
- turning off XP at will
- updated feral forms
- an extra stable slot for hunters
- flight form affected by Crusader Aura
- potions stacking to 20
- the ability to swap items after a misloot
- Ravasaur mount


With that in mind, here is my list of little things that I really can't see as being terribly difficult to implement.


Blizzard - I don't think it's much to ask:
  • ..that our characters to be sortable on our character collection screen.
  • ..that we have a tabard storage system similar to pets and mounts.
  • ..that we have a better pet/mount UI, with a search function.
  • ..that we have another druid race per faction. It's about time.
  • ..that we might upgrade our original 16 slot backpack.
  • ..that "lowbie" mounts could scale to the speed of our epics.
  • ..that we have a search button on our achievements.
  • ..that Blizzard fix our ongoing mouseover macro issue with Wild Growth.
  • ..that we have a 2000 Fish achievement.
  • ..that we have a 100 pet achievement.
  • ..that Chillmaw be made to be a summoned NPC.
  • ..that we could display the number of quests remaining in Kalimdor and Azeroth by zone.
  • ..that Australia would get its own servers (ha!)



What are yours?

What are the things that you wish would be implemented, and you just don't understand why they're not in the game already - after all, it's not much to ask, right?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Raptormania Part Deux: When Boredom Attacks

Got bored. Went to Wailing Caverns to farm raptors, despite having earlier said something to the effect of "screw Wailing Caverns, I hate that place, I'll just buy the pet."

But I was bored, and an instance is the one place that you can farm by yourself without five billion other people camping the mobs that you need - so I figured I'd give it a shot and see how easy it was to do. As much as I LOATHE this instance, I discovered that the part in which you farm the raptors is right inside the instance door, and you just run in a big, straightforward circuit. You don't need to go deep into the bowels of the instance (as I had feared). The whole thing takes around 5 minutes per run and is actually FUN.

I know - I was shocked, too.

Without further ado, here's my ultra top secret method for farming Deviate Hatchlings:

  • Ignore all of the raptors outside the instance portal - they don't drop the pet. The ones you want are immediately inside the instance.
  • Turn thorns OFF.
  • Remember: nothing in an instance will leash. Run through every raptor you see. The room is basically a big rectangle - just run right around the whole thing, gathering every mob.
  • When you have them all, Hurricane or kitty Swipe as appropriate.
  • Loot the sparklies.



Result:

Now, I may just be crazy lucky, but those three came from just two runs, out of 5 runs total (I got two on my fourth run, and another on my fifth run). I kept one (that makes 87 pets) and I am going to sell the other two while the prices are up. Obviously these are one of the easier raptor pets to farm, so the price of them probably won't stay very high for long (at the moment - 2000g to 4000g). I suspect they will plateau somewhere in the low hundreds - it's still annoying to have to go to WC in the first place, after all.

I don't really intend to farm for the ones that drop from elites.. too many people camping them already, and it's too stressful to sit there and watch the spawn point for hours, waiting to mash your moonfire button. I'd rather do a few days of dailies and buy them at inflated prices, to be perfectly honest.

(If you're on Cael and you have one to sell, drop me a line. I buy and trade!)


Isn't he cute?


Aww, bless.


DISCLAIMER: I cannot be held responsible for any raptor-related maulings which may result in injuries ranging from feelings of mild discomfort to death. Raptors are wild animals and should be respected (I recommend paying particular respect to their pointy ends).

Remember: raptors run at 10m/s and they do not know fear.

Boy howdy are they cute though! /chin tickle

Sunday, August 9, 2009

General Vezax - no more clearcasting procs

Disclaimer: Everything I can find about this issue points to it being an intended change, but I can't find an official word on it - or even on the fact that his health has been lowered and the Animus spawns after fewer vapors.

The fact that his health has been nerfed and the Animus spawns sooner (which I doubt is accidental - you don't nerf a boss' HP by 25% by accident) says to me that the clearcasting nerf is deliberate, but I can't find actual confirmation, so I've edited the post to more speculative, and to add this disclaimer that we still haven't had official word on it.

PS: I also heard Onyxia deep breaths more - but this is also unconfirmed. ;)


EDIT:12/8 - this has been confirmed as an intended change.


Ulduar raiders - something you may not be aware of is a recent possible "stealth" nerf to General Vezax and the strategy used by many druids to supplement and sustain their mana over the course of the fight, usually in hard-mode.

I'm referring to tree-punching, of course.

The General Vezax fight seems to have been changed so that it is no longer possible to use clearcasting procs such as Omen of Clarity to get free casts off. This affects all clearcasting abilities for mana users. As far as I have read, ferals are ok.. but I can't find an official word on this.


The (defunct?) Tree-Punch Method

If you weren't aware of this method until now, here's basically how it worked:
  • Stand with the melee.
  • While going about your normal healing business, tree-punch the boss until you get a Clearcasting proc.
  • With clearcasting up, cast a Lifebloom. This will cost 0 mana.
  • When the Lifebloom expires, it will return part of its base cost. (not as much as usual though - I think it is 25%)
  • ???
  • Profit.

Figure 1: BAM.

Because the Lifebloom cost you 0 mana to cast, but refunded you some mana, this method means you are gaining mana every time you do it. Alternatively, you could use that clearcasting to cast say, a free Regrowth.

It was a very effective way to sustain your mana, particularly on hard mode when you aren't able to use the saronite vapors to get mana back. It also meant that you could sit with the melee and stay out of the way of Shadow Crashes.

Unfortunately it seems that no mana users can use clearcasting anymore, and if this is the case, this method will no longer be viable.

(Insert sad pandas here.)



Figure 2: This is actually just Figure 1 with a big red X through it.


Other changes to the fight

Vezax's health has been nerfed, and in hard mode the Animus' health has been nerfed too (it now also spawns after 6 vapors, down from 8). This means that the fight is shorter, so it should be less of a strain on mana.


No more melee tree?

Some people choose to continue to use the "Shadow Crash Dance" method - casting Lifeblooms from the puddle (which reduces the cost by 75% but also the ticks by 75%) and allowing them to bloom for a nett gain in mana (particularly if you are wearing 2pc + Spark of Hope etc).

It has been argued by some that the mana gain is too small to bother using this method - but on hard mode, if we can no longer punch our way to free healing in Phase 1, it may become a more commonplace strategy to sustain our mana.

Could anyone confirm (or would someone like to test) whether Fel Mana Potions still work on this fight? They were working pre-3.2.



Just a heads-up, it may mean no more tree punching on this boss.



Saturday, August 8, 2009

Raptormania

I've started my quest for a Whistle of the Venomhide Ravasaur. Horde characters can do this quest, it is basically the equivalent of the Alliance Wintersaber - but nowhere near as grindy, contrary to what many people assume.

I'll sum it up:
  • Go to Un'goro Crater, speak to the trainer to get the quest.
  • Take off your clothes and go aggro a handful of Venomhide Ravasaurs. Being naked helps the mobs stay alive for longer.
  • The raptors' skin is full of poison - and you have to get splashed by it by hitting them over and over (you can't just stand there). Keep hitting them until they have splashed poison on you 20 times. Note: if you are grouped, you will get credit for other people in your group getting splashed - so group up!
  • If you go with a friend and aggro a handful, it will only take 5-10 minutes. If there are lots of people competing for spawns, it may take longer.

  • Hand in the quest and get your baby raptor. He will give you a random daily quest each day for 20 days - for example, go kill 20 dinosaurs and feed him the meat. Very simple.
  • At the end of the 20 daily quests, return to the trainer with some extra materials (80g 20 Runecloth, 20 Rugged Leather), and you get your mount.

That's it!

Note: if you are soloing this quest, you'll need to be at least around the level 50 mark, to be able to kill the appropriate mobs. However, this mount can be used from level 40 and up - so if you have some higher level friends who can save you from being eaten by things in Un'goro, you can let them do all the poison-soaking while you get credit too. (I can't find anything that suggests there is a level requirement to accept the quest, so I assume a level 40 can do it)

As an aside - have you bought an Obsidian Hatchling from Breanni in Dalaran? He's adorable. But the little Venomhide hatchling is even TINIER! Of course, he won't be tiny for long; only 20 days if you quest for him every day - then he'll grow up and let you ride around on his back.

Aside from Breanni's, There are also a number of other baby raptors that you can adopt as pets. They are BOU (bind on use), which means you may find them on your local AH.


Keeva keeps a watchful eye over her new charge.

Now, as cool as it is to ride around on raptors and have them as baby pets.. frankly I'm slightly perturbed. Did we learn nothing from Jurassic Park? These animals are SMART. They learned how to open doors. I think we need to ask ourselves - are they just biding their time until they can rise up and eat our faces?

You won't be cooing, "aww, cute" when that happens, will you?



Non-combat pets my foot.

In the meantime, if you're happy to be lulled into a false sense of security, here are some resources to help you:

Wowraid's quick guide to the Ravasaur quest
MMO-Champion shows you which raptors drop the BOU pets

Enjoy!



(but when your new pet eats you, don't come crying to me about it.)


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The new Empowered Touch - will you use it?

I actually always liked Emp Touch for the huge Healing Touches I could belt out if I needed to; but it wasn't very economical when Healing Touch is used so rarely (unless you're a HT glypher). Two points for something that I would use usually once per fight at most is a stretch. I loved those big (cue fanfare) "I'LL SAVE YOU!" moments, but two points to boost ONE spell that I use so rarely.. it was hard to justify.

Of course, this ties back in with my article on black sheep talents and the fact that you need to weigh these things up for yourself and your own situation.


What I'll likely do

I had a leftover point in Natural Perfection, with the reasoning that "1% crit is better than an empty slot." Concrete argument there ;P

I would have had 1/2 Emp Touch but I (currently) use HT so infrequently that it just wasn't warranted. It's a weak argument, but I went with 1% crit on Regrowth, blooms, and the occasional Nourish, over a boost to HT which I rarely use. I did miss my big emergency heals, though. I see this buff to Emp Touch as an excuse to get my big NS heals back :P Hooray!

So that was one point to pilfer, but where to get the other?

I'm likely going to drop a point in Living seed, making it a 66% chance of a seed rather than 100% chance. My overall talent spec would then look like this.

I don't like dropping a point from Seed because I really like it, but in the end, I prefer to put a point into something I can rely on to be boosted every time I use it (even if that is not very often), rather than an additional 33% chance to proc Living Seed, a spell that:
  • can only come from a portion of my heals (the direct ones);
  • is rarely valuable in a raid-healing situation;
  • after proccing, may expire without being used;
  • may or may not end up entirely as overheal; and
  • is of unreliable size.
There are too many "ifs" in there. I would rather know that my point is helping a particular spell full-time (even if that spell only gets moderate use), rather than applying to something only when the stars align themselves nicely.

Plus, a 66% chance is still quite a high chance - I'm not losing the whole talent. I will still get some Living Seed buffers when I direct heal.



A hybrid within a hybrid

It's important to note that the spec I mentioned is basically a "hybrid" resto build.


Look Ma, an analogy!
Original photo credit to Redken on Flickr.

By that, I mean that it doesn't focus on raid healing or on tank healing specifically. It's an "allrounder" spec.

I choose this middle-of-the-road option because I am mostly doing earlier raiding content, heroics, etc. I don't need to hone my talents or have them specialised for either raid healing or tank healing. I don't need to max out all of the tank healing talents at the expense of the raid healing ones, and vice versa. I've gone for a balanced spec that will serve me well in a range of situations.

Check out Restokin's post about 3.2 healing builds - it explains your options for more specialised raid healing and tank healing builds a little more, and where you might want to pinch those points from.


FYI, why I didn't drop the others

Nature's Grace - I've dropped points here before and there's a noticeable difference (and I don't like it). It feels slowww. I think NG makes a difference and I will avoid dropping points from here.

Revitalize - I like this one too much. I enjoy bringing something to raids that nobody else can. It's certainly not mandatory, your raid will do okay without it - but I like bringing it along.

GotEM - This was where I actually wanted to drop a point from, but I don't have the haste to support that yet. More importantly, I am still getting upgrades over blues and greens at the moment - I don't want to play around with this talent if my upgrades may cause my haste to fluctuate all over the place in the next few weeks. Plus - we all know how much I hate math and calculating ratings and whatnot.


What about you?

1. Are you going to take Empowered Touch, now that it also applies to Nourish?
2. If you didn't have it before, what talent points will you rearrange?
3. How does your usual assignment, play style, raid size and level of content affect your decision?


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Farewell, you fugly feral forms (except you, purplecat)

Patch 3.2 is upon us.

Never again will we glance upon the twisted visage of a Tauren "cat".

No longer will our bears' jaws sag and droop like so much saggy, droopy stuff.

Our feral forms are finally being replaced with shiny new models, after years of complaints (mostly about rampant, chronic lockjaw). It's not just a reskin, either - this is a full revamp. We're getting more polys.

I have to say, I'm slightly sad. Don't get me wrong - I'm very excited for the new forms, I think they look great; but I can't help feeling a little sad about losing the look that we have had for such a long time. Definitely want them gone - but still sad to see them go!

So, I decided to give our old forms a bit of a send off. I shipped all of my Caelestrasz druids (yes, all four of them!) to the Barrens for a bit of a photo opportunity. All of my Cael girls in the one spot, together, to say goodbye to the forms we have lived in and loved (or perhaps endured, loathed, switched to first person mode..) for the past few years.

And, through the magic that is Photoshop, I can share the moment with you all.





From left to right:
Keeva, my beloved Tauren; Drucie, my baby feral; Caoimhe, the Elf who started this whole crazy thing; and Kiiva, the newcomer.



Farewell, you fugly forms (except you, purplecat). In a strange way, I'll miss you.

A plaintive request: Chillmaw and friends

Dear Blizzard,

The Threat From Above quest is very poorly designed.

I am tired of rocking up to the little snowy plateau to find 20-30 people all "waiting" for their "turn" (and I use these terms VERY loosely) to tag Chillmaw.

Now, waiting I can handle. That's fine.

What I can't stand is a bunch of random people standing around, racing each other to tag him, then a mess of people tagging the cultist NPCs (either on purpose or by accident with AOE), meaning that the group who tagged Chillmaw has missed out on one or all of their adds, and will now either have to steal from another group (thus perpetuating the problem), or wait until the end and do the quest all over again. The "cycle of hate continues," as one forum poster put it.

If that doesn't draw out the process long enough, invariably some group will have 5 members but one is still dawdling at the Crusade area, so they'll do the quest, then the 5th turns up and they decide do it all over again for that slow member, while everyone else has to wait (again).

The other day I was invited with a friend to join a group - we were told "we have two spots left", so we dropped group and asked for an invite. "Sorry, 1 spot now :(". So we didn't bother to join, and chose to wait and do it ourselves after that group had finished. But when they ENGAGED Chillmaw, there were only 3 people there. Not a full group of five. Halfway through, another DK turns up, and the group has to do the quest over again because he didn't get full credit.

Friendly players will also try to help, but inadvertently tag the adds with AOE or otherwise. I am guilty of this - I hit kitty swipe and then realised my folly. It was an accident, but caused the group to have to start over. This kind of thing happens a lot.

Then there's the completely innocent, random stealing of adds: yesterday I was standing off at a distance, minding my own business (waiting) and one of the cultists ran all the way over to me and started belting me. Not wanting to "steal" the mob from the group, I shadowmelded, and luckily after a few hits from someone else, it was re-tagged to them. I must have looked at that one funny.


Why this quest just plain sucks

One mob for 20-30 people who want to kill him at any given time.
Deliberate and accidental tagging of the adds.
No "queue", just people jostling to have their turn.

Add in the warlock standing on the hill deliberately griefing by tagging over and over, and this really has to rank as one of the worst designed quests I've ever known.

Please make it a SUMMON quest, so that you don't have to wait around for it to respawn and then miss out because some jerk ninja-tagged it for the 5th time. And make the adds automatically link to tagging the dragon, so people can't rob you of credit and force you to do the whole thing over again, or incourage people to steal from the next group in line.

Please think really hard before ever making a quest like this again.

Love, Keeva



Monday, August 3, 2009

Moving (soon). Do you have suggestions for TBJ?

I bit the bullet and put things in motion, I'm going to move my blog to my own space (sometime soon), which will give me more control over the format, and make it less of a "dear diary" blog and more of a helpful and informative resource. That way I can have static pages that I can keep updated - rather than links on a sidebar to old posts that slip away into the void. Side bars are nice, but I prefer tabs. I see side bars as incidental info - a place for things like your blogroll highlights, some icons/banners, a quick blurb about something, your recent achievements. I don't like having my guides sitting in my sidebar, getting lost.

Anyway.. I was going to do this all in secret, revamp the site, and then say, "TADAAAA!" but I realised that this is probably the perfect opportunity to ask if anyone has any particular suggestions. It would be an opportune time to squeeze things in and make changes now, since I'm working with a new template and whatnot anyway.

So.. are there particular things you'd like me to add in? I'm looking to add things like recent/featured/related posts; a list of categories.. and I've just added a chatbox.. what else is missing?
What would you like to see?
What would be helpful to you?
Content wise - would you like to see more articles about (XYZ)?
Are there things you've seen on other blogs that you wish I had on mine?
Have you seen cool widgets that I probably have no idea even exist?
Is there anything that bugs you about the current site, that you hope won't be duplicated?


It's difficult to know what to change without knowing how other people see the site. For example, back when I first started, I think my blog was only allowing comments from registered members. Some bloggers prefer that - but personally I would rather open the floor up (while still having control). I get frustrated when I have to go through all sorts of hassles just to send a quick comment to someone. The point though is that I don't comment on my own site, so I wouldn't have known there was a problem until someone said so!

Have you noticed any annoying niggles like that about my site? Do you have any display issues with the text or graphics? Any and all suggestions and (gentle) criticisms are welcome. :)

I can't make any promises - any suggestions will still have to fit into the template I have chosen, obviously.. but I'm really keen to make my blog into less of a diary and more of a resource - so now is the time to ask what it's missing - and get it right from the start! I'm not sure how long it will take me to put everything together - I want it to be very polished before I open the new one up again, and I'm super busy (in real life, in the game, and blogging), so it may be a project over a number of weeks. I love projects.

One of my goals will be to be diligent in setting up and using categories, and then each week try to do at least one piece that fits into one of those categories - for example, Technical (UI, mods, macros, etc), Community (new blogs, interviews, links), Theorycrafting (talking about healing).. so that I have a reliable and constant stream of meaty articles mixed in with the other random bits of news, my characters, and non-druid posts. I haven't made use of Categories before and I am regretting it - so that is definitely one thing I want to implement. It would be much better to be able to click "Technical" and see a list of all of my UI/mod related posts, instead of relying only on keyword searches.

This kind of hindsight is great; now that I am revamping, I have an opportunity to fix these kind of problems.. but I know I'm probably blind to other things that I should be doing on the site. My blog hasn't even been around for a year yet, so I am still learning some of the basics.

Maybe you've noticed something missing, or there's something you would like tweaked or added?

Thanks in advance for your help! :)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The race I would most love to play is...



I think Vrykul are awesome. Apart from being undeniably inherently awesome, they also look fantastic - especially the females. They're not stick-thin, "pretty" girls like the other mostly-humanoid races in the game (humans, elves, etc). That's probably why I love orc girls as well - because they're not pretty.

I don't like to play ugly girls, I do like them to be feminine.. but I prefer characters that don't necessarily look like fashion models. Vrykul girls look like girls.. but they still have that warrior look about them. They're attractive, certainly, but you probably won't find then dancing on letterboxes for gold - they have better things to do than to have men fawning over them.

Like.. making necklaces out of your entrails.

(I was never really into the whole arts and crafts thing, myself..)


Figure 1: Vrykul girls will kick your ass six ways from Sunday.


I LOVE Vrykul and wish I could play one.



It's your turn! Which race would you love to be able to play and why? Choose any race you like (even if doesn't exist in the game). Include a picture if you can.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Jousting guide redux

A couple of days ago, Turpster posted a video on WoW.com explaining how to do the Argent Tournament jousting quests.

Ever so slightly annoying is the fact that I had actually planned to update my jousting for beginners guide, and make a video of it - just a day before he posted his. Darn it. So now I look like I'm riding around on his coattails.

But I don't care, I'm gonna do it anyway!

Not exactly as polished as his, though :P

My small criticism of Turpster's video is that while it does go through each of the abilities and explains what they do and how they all tie in together, it doesn't really show you how to move around while you joust - there's a bit too much close up melee mashing, and the inset Turpster screen often obscures your view of what's going on. I think being zoomed in to almost first person mode doesn't really help you get an idea of what is happening. Basically, what he's telling you to do and what you're seeing on the screen don't match up very clearly.

I wanted to show the method that I think the majority of people use, showing the positioning and movement (zoomed out), plus give a few tips that I have picked up from others.



Three methods for three skill levels

There are probably a number of ways to do this, but here are three methods catering to various skill and experience levels.

Note: For all methods, you need to begin by facing the center of the ring.


Method 1 - for absolute beginners
(or for those who just can't seem to win!)

1. Get 3 stacks of Defend up.
2. Talk to the NPC.
3. As he runs away, throw a Shield-Breaker, and then run towards him to close range (or he will charge you). If he took off any of your Defends, reapply.
4. When you are in melee range, spam Thrust.
5. Whenever the NPC runs away, throw a Shield-Breaker and then follow him to get back in range and to stop him from charging you.
6. Get back into melee range and continue to spam Thrust.

This method can be summed up as "never let the NPC get range on you to charge or shield-break, and slowly whittle them down with melee attacks."

It's slow, but it is pretty much guaranteed to get you through the quest in once piece.


Method 2 - Intermediate (the common method)
1. Get 3 stacks of Defend up.
2. Talk to the NPC.
3. As he runs away, spam Charge until it goes off.
4. Swing around in an arc, and throw Shield-Breaker as you move back around to melee range.
5. Get back into melee range and spam Thrust.
6. Whenever the NPC walks away from you, back up and spam Charge until it goes off, then repeat steps 4 and 5.

The basic idea here is that anytime the NPC walks away, you want to Charge and Shield-Break them to remove stacks of their defend. Charge also does bonus damage. Then once his shields are down, you can spam Thrust as much as you can until he walks away again.

Optional: some people prefer to begin by throwing a shield breaker and THEN charge the NPC. This will nett you more damage, because you're removing one Defend with Shield-Breaker before you charge, which then makes your Charge do more damage. So this is a good way to do it.

However, I don't do it this way because of my high latency - I can't time a shield breaker AND a charge before the NPC decides to charge me instead. On the other hand, it is extremely easy to mash my Charge button, then shield break afterwards. It is still a very effective method, and you're only missing out on a small amount of damage at the very start.

If you have high latency, or you're not so great with keybindings, charge+shieldbreak is probably going to be easier for you than shieldbreak+charge, and it won't make a huge difference.


Method 3 - Advanced (very fast method)
1. Get 3 stacks of Defend up.
2. Stand behind the NPC to talk to him.
3. As soon as you have hit "I am ready to fight", hit Thrust.
4. Back up a few steps as the NPC runs away, throw a Shield-Breaker, and then Charge.
5. As you charge, hit Thrust again, to do additional damage on the way past.
6. Swing around in an arc, and throw Shield-Breaker as you move back around to melee range.
7. Get back into melee range and spam Thrust.
8. When your Charge cooldown is almost ready, run away from the NPC, then do a 180 degree jump-turn, and Charge him. Hit Shield-Breaker on the way back around, as above. Get back into melee range, spam Thrust, and repeat this step.



Remember to try to keep your stacks of Defend up as much as you can. One mistake Turpster makes is that he says you should "mash" your Defend button - don't do this. It will put your Charge and Shield-Breaker abilities on cooldown. If the NPC removes one or more of your charges of Defend, reapply - but don't mash this button otherwise, there's no need.

I've made a very quick and dirty video showing how to charge/shield break at the start, as well as jump-turning and charging. It's not as shiny and pretty as Turpster's, but it shows the basics, I think. Try to ignore the pet birds in the background, and be gentle about my blatant keyboard turning in some parts (I actually use a weird hybrid method of half keyboard, half mouse turning).


YouTube video: Jousting - how to (1:33) NB: Volume may be a little loud - sorry if it is!


Another excellent video can be found here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jIE8RiFqpSI&NR=1.
It's nice and clear, easy to see exactly what the player is doing, and he steps you through everything.

And another:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_hSCvj6uBsY
This one is in slow-motion to show you exactly what to do, and shows you the jump turns also.

The above two videos put my little one to shame.. but I made mine to help people who have problems with charging and moving around. When I was first learning, I was frustrated by how wide the turning circle of my mount was - which usually caused me to have my Defends taken off, and I would take a lot of damage. I didn't realise I could use this sweeping circle to my advantage to hit the NPC with Shield-Breaker on the way back (something that I hadn't tried until blog commenters mentioned it). It's something that beginners may like to graduate too after using the "safe" method.

It's a very amateur clip - but hopefully it helps someone :)




If you have other tips - feel free to comment and I will add them in.