Sunday, November 30, 2008

Straight Out Of Sci-Fi

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Another pretty pic from around the World of Warcraft:

Matrix Meets Minority Report?

Fuu and I just hit 75 this weekend and found Dalaran. While the above pic has absolutely nothing to do with Dalaran, I've just been enjoying the views from various platforms we've been teleported to. Dalaran itself is breathtaking; GG Blizz. I love the storefronts and just the general architecture of the area. I'd really like to run a few more instances this week, but in-game attendance has been spotty what with the holidays and all. Hope yours was great, I'm about 5 pounds heavier and probably need to get away from the computer screen, but hey... its still vacation :-D.

Back to the Dragonblight!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Pally Power: Talented Tanking

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Since the Paladin Protection Talent tree has received a major reworking, there is not yet a “cookie-cutter” spec. To be honest, I love it! It gives me the freedom to place my talent points into areas that I feel are slacking, and to ignore places that don’t quite need the attention at the moment. Also, it gives me the pleasure of testing it out while I’m leveling without someone scrutinizing my set up.

Sometimes I can’t help myself from messing around with the talent calculator on wowhead just to see what odd spec I can create. Here is what I have found to be a practical leveling spec; I feel that it covers all of my bases:

I Feel Talented

To start off with, Improved Devotion Aura has received a rather nice boost since this last patch. Not only does it give your armor a helping hand, but it also increases how much we are healed. This seems more useful than having Retribution Aura up because I feel that the mitigated damage and the +healing outweigh the benefits of keeping Ret Aura up. Ret Aura would then be used on occasion when rounding up a ton of lowbie mobs and it’s rather enjoyable to watch them beat themselves to death. /evilgrin

Reckoning is one of those talents that could be invested in or not. My feeling on the whole thing is if I’m generating an extra swing, it will generate more threat over boss fights or longer fights in general. Now with trash mobs, you might not ever see these talents put into play. For me, I’m going to invest 3 points in Hammer of Justice because I will find that more useful while I’m leveling. This will most likely change after I’m geared and ready to go into raids.

Blessing of Sanctuary is something that you do not want to pass up. This blessing is what I will be taking over Blessing of Kings. It reduces damage from all sources by 3% and every time you mitigate damage, you regenerate mana. This will help when we are getting hit a lot but not hurt. This blessing also gives you the ability to get the best out of this tree such as Holy Shield, Avenger’s Shield (Tankidan’s one of few pulling abilities), and Shield of the Templar.

I have invested 5 talents in Seals of the Pure because I use Seal of Vengeance every time I hit something. Why not get the most Bang for your Talent point? It increases damage (read: threat) while saving mana by limiting the need for other spells for threat generation: PRICELESS!

Since I have 6 talent points left to spend, I will be thinking long and hard as to where they should go. I have seen many builds that go into the Retribution Tree to get Pursuit of Justice because of the movement speed, but I currently have a Meta Gem that does the same thing. Others invest it in getting Blessing of Kings for their raid party. I have also played with the thought of investing into the Holy Tree to receive an Intellect boost. I’m thinking if I have a threat problem, I will go with the Intellect boost for the extra mana. If not, then I will put them in Blessing of Kings.

Once I hit 80 and start gearing up, I plan to post about my in-game findings and what spec seems to be working for me in Heroics and Raids.

Edit: I (Fulguralis) was able to add a picture to Fuu's post a day later... when she originally posted apparently our network was having a bad day.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Hit Cap Shenanigans

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If you head on over to the Warlock's Den, you may notice a wonderful post detailing the calculation of hit cap (it recently got moved off the front page and now I can't find it to link it, apologies). I have also previously linked MC's hit cap musings. What I found was, they're different. How can this be?! But wait a minute... now they're the same. Am I taking crazy pills?!

Upon further investigation, we see that Nibuca commented on her own post that a different scalar was used originally. She has since changed the post to reflect the correct values. Apparently some sources aren't the same as others. For the record, 1% spell hit at 80 = 26.231 hit points. This has been verified by players at level 80 and leads to a final hit cap value of 446 (or 368 with the various talents).

In any case, the bottom line is that, at 80, you'll somehow need to make up the 17% that level 83 bosses will be resisting your spells. The easiest method is to pay attention to your stat screen in your character menu. Mouse over the hit and you'll know right away where you stand. The only problem with this that it doesn't take into account the talents you have specced, so make sure you add that in.

The new numbers above should be good, but in case Blizz changes something, you'll be able to check for yourself.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Pally Power: It Isn't Easy Being For The Light

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As Kermit D. Frog best stated, “It isn’t easy being Green”. Well Kermit, it isn’t easy being for the Light either. I’m finding that many people have had their fill of the changes and roll something else. It makes it difficult for those of us who are left behind because then we have to learn through trial and error with only a small sample size.

I had previously played a tank in FFXI (our previous MMO) and I fell in love with the thought of protecting my group and feeling unkillable. I figured that there would be differences in WoW, but the concepts that I enjoyed were still there. Having the ability to adapt to any situation that the game could throw at me: BRING IT ON!

Since I knew that I was going to get the fine opportunity to run and level statically with a crazy Affliction Warlock (*wink wink*), I recognized that I would need to fill in some gaps such as healing, tanking, and the occasional rez. A pally would team up well with a warlock, so I chose to roll a paladin and never looked back. I commenced to do as much research as I possibly could with regard to my class and the game itself. When Fulguralis and I embarked on our adventure, we were graciously accepted into a guild named Generations because of a RL friend of ours. There were many helpful and knowledgeable people within the community so it was a great place to start to collect information and find answers to my questions. This was also when I started to see some problems.

Out of our large selection of members, we only had one protection specced paladin, and, even then, he was rarely online. We had several other tanks but none were paladins. While they could be helpful when it came to general tanking techniques, obviously they couldn’t help me with wielding the Light. This was when I started to dig up blogs and guides on WoWHead, but they all seemed to come up short for me. Most of the time I would come across something useful, and it was either out of date or I would have to read through numerous pages to find only a few goodies. I was also seeing a trend that few are writing anything new about the massive changes that Blizzard keeps throwing on our plates (not to be confused with our gear). It was easy to understand why paladin tanks were rare gems. Long story short, I felt like I was on my own to learn how to tank as a paladin, which caused quite a lot of carnage.

So that brings us to today. I am Fuubaar, a level 74 Protection Paladin with some dented plate armor and a corpse running achievement. Well, Blizzard needs to work on adding that, but if it were there: ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED. I am not going to pretend I’m great at theory-crafting, but I do want to share with you what I’ve learned in order to hopefully save you repair bills and that achievement. Also, I’d love to hear what you have learned through your own trials, and maybe clear up some of the confusion that’s out there with all the changing.

I have three posts planned out. The first one I’m working on will cover my spec and thoughts on the protection tree. Then I’d like to follow up with some gear choices and finish off with some threat generation tips. Look for those soon, as I’m going to try and kick out at least one a week. Please let me know if there are other things you’d like to see, as I’ll probably be doing the research anyways, but will try not to restate what’s already been said.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

AN and ATOK FTW

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I have to say, I'm a fan of short instances with quests right outside. Especially when two instances are located in relative proximity to one another. Yeah, this is probably a bone thrown to us "casual" gamers; the type that can only get on for one or two hours a night. Its real nice to jump on, get summoned to an instance (or fly in), pick up a couple quests and knock out a dungeon.

There is also a very good trash to boss ratio in these dungeons. I've always felt like in some of the old world dungeons especially, it took you an hour just to get to the first boss. You were killing gobs of trash mobs with no "main event". I really do like the change, even if it is a catering to a more "casual" gameplay style, and I'd like to see this theme continue.

Opinions aside, I was able to run both Azjol-Nerub and Ahn'kahet: The Old Kingdom (hereafter referred to as AN and ATOK). I will try not to redo what has already been done, and point you instead to some good guides over at fear.win for both AN and ATOK if you want more in-depth coverage. I will, however, try to add a few of my own observations about them. I didn't grab any screenies, so its not a pretty post, and I apologize.

Before you start either of these, there is an NPC right near the summoning stone that will hand out the only three quests that are associated with these two instances. Pick 'em up for some bonus exp after you finish: none of them have you do anything too special.

In AN, there are three bosses and the dungeon is pretty linear. Just trash pull from one to the next. For the first boss, The Gatewatcher (are you the Keymaster? Ghostbusters anyone?), note that once you start pulling the three mobs in front of him, you are then locked into the encounter... make sure you're ready to go before you do that. I had that thing happen when you are leader and have to explain what's going on while starting a fight. Never good for the 'ole DPS. Other than that, he's pretty much cake. Some AoE makes his adds a bit easier.

The second boss is a nightmare for those of you folks with arachnophobia. However, this fight is all about the setup. When you exit the ramp onto the giant web, you will set into motion events which will lead up to the final encounter with the giant spider. A valid, tried, and true method for this fight is just to sit just to the right of where you exited the ramp and pull the large elites that sit in the middle of the web. After you pull the first one, the next two will show up. Pull those and kill 'em one at a time. Then you play the waiting game. You'll see some random non-elites wandering around. A few may come to you and you will just kill them, but Hadronox (the spider lady) will seal up the exits with web, cutting off the supply of adds and then turn her attention on you. While you can fight her earlier with the adds on her helping you, each time these adds die she gains a bit of health back, so it's probably best to just wait her out. She's not really all that hard, but this is the simple method. The only thing to really watch out for is her green AoE cloud of death... move out of it!

The final boss in AN takes place in a circular area that feels very much like a cage match for insects. Make sure everyone is in the circle before you start as a web forcefield will lock them out if you've left someone outside. Anub'arak is the name of this friendly burrower, and he'll take some time to DPS down. You'll have to deal with some adds and avoid the spikes that shoot up from the ground while killing him, but as long as you pick up the elites and kill them quickly, it shouldn't be a problem.

Next, head on over to ATOK to finish satiating your inner insectivore. This instance adds an extra boss, but is still pretty short. It is done well, and even evokes the feeling of claustrophobia at some points.

The first boss you encounter is Elder Nadox. This dude hits decently hard, so you'll want to let your tank focus on him when you need to pick up his "Guardian" elite adds. When they hatch, they will make him immune to damage, so DPS will need to kill those guardians. They're not too tough though and we had a hunter tank/kite them pretty easily as they don't hit very hard and can be killed quickly (we also had no other melee DPS). Swap back and forth and lay on some AoE to knock out the little guys that hatch as well.

Another Prince character (Teldaram this time) waits further in the instance. It should be noted that you will need to deactivate his magical forcefield by clicking on some orbs on two platforms leading up to the boss area. This isn't a Zeldanian puzzle (I think I made that word up), so you should be able to figure it out easy enough. The boss will do some chain fire damage that you'll want to spread out to avoid, plus he'll pin down a random party member and suck life from them. Knock him around real good (like 40k damage or something) to get him off. No one likes an uninvited mounter. We're not steeds mind you. He should die quickly enough though, and you'll spilled enough royal blood by now to call it a revolution.

A long, claustrophobic tunnel later and some more trash will bring you to Jedoga Shadowseeker aka "that floating lady". This fight can be tricky to learn. If you have a pally tank, its good to stack up when you run in to begin this fight to AoE down the little guys that will swarm you. The encounter begins when she lands and you'll just want to DPS her until she floats back up and calls for a sacrifice. It is imperative that you kill the minion before it reaches her little sacrifice area, as she will buff way up if she's allowed to complete the ritual and wipe you like single ply. Other than that, make sure you avoid the lightning circle of death and stay within the group of observers and you'll be fine.

The final fight takes place after you traverse a long, web ramp (Blizz loves the spiders in this x-pac). You'll pull the three blokes wandering around the boss chamber first, and then engage the boss himself, Mr. Herald Volazj. This big ugly is one of the more enjoyable fights so far, IMO. While you're tanking and spanking he'll throw in some AoE shadowbolts, but nothing big. The fun comes when he does an ability called "Insanity" which will pit you against the four other members of your party. Don't panic though, they each only have 4k health. If I were you, I'd take out the healers first and then just DPS down the rest of your group as you see fit. As a 'lock, I dotted everyone and laughed when they died so quick. The good news is that then you can help your remaining party members with their "insanity". After a certain amount of time, the remaining adds will appear to all and join in the fight as the boss resumes, so its good to get 'em DPS'ed down prior to that. It should be no problem if you have a couple good DPS'ers as they can help you after they take care of their own if you happen to be a healer or tank. All in all, a really fun fight.

Well, in any case, those are my thoughts on these two wonderful instances. Look for the first installment of Pally Power tomorrow, as I believe Fuu is typing up her post this evening. It may take an extra day, what with Thanksgiving festivities and all, but stay tuned and have a Happy Thanksgiving! If you're like us, you'll be spending at least half of it in the "new world" of WoW :-). Christopher Columbus ain't got $&!# on us.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Pally Power (Not The Addon) and Some Links.

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So my partner in crime has decided that she would like to contribute to the blogosphere. I plan to let her have a couple posts to cover all things Pally. Now, before you all complain: "This is a Warlock blog! Paladins are the Light to our Dark!", I will agree with you. However, the title of this blog is Killing 'Em Slowly, and that is indeed what a protection paladin does. Thus, not completely off topic. A reach? Sure, but it is my blog.

I will try to put a tag on her posts so you know what to expect, and will still cover the things I enjoy. Namely: darkness, death, warlockery, DKs, and some officer stuff. Fuubaar will guest post with the lighter side of things and perhaps add another officer perspective. We'll see how it goes. Definitely give us feedback. We're both learning and enjoying sharing our experiences.

Look for her first post to come soon, I don't know the topic yet, only that she has ideas. She wanted me to note that she is not as fast as I am at cranking stuff out, so be patient with her. If it does not interest you, all 10 of you (yay double digit readers and thank you!!), then just skip me that day :-). However, I'm sure most of you will enjoy another perspective on things, especially if she proves helpful.

Other than that, not much else is going on. If you're tuning in for DK information, check out The Stoppable Force for a great post on rotations (pretty similar to my musings on a DK rotation earlier). Also, Skeleton Jack has proven to be a great resource for me. Kudos to him for not letting little things like sleep prevent him from getting to 80 so dang fast AND finding the energy to come up with some good posts.

The Warlock love is a little thin right now as we haven't had any major breaking news for a while. MC talked about the benefits of Shadow Embrace which I picked up in my lastest respec and am finding it really easy to keep SE up with my rotation, plus it's beneficial in the DPS department. It's hard to tell how I'm really doing on DPS since I've been instancing and questing with people of all different levels. I've really grown into the four button technique that I laid out just before the expansion, and it seems very flexible and easy to keep up, IMO. At the very least, my DPS has been competitive for the top spot in the 5-mans even when running with a hunter two levels above me (who happens to be a very good player as well: we often competed in our raids for top spot).

I haven't even replaced a whole lot of gear, just picked up the dagger from the first boss in UK for the most part. I've been told that will last quite a while, so if you don't have it, it may be worth your time to pick it up. I should be catching up to the levelling curve a bit this weekend after Thanksgiving festivities because I will have some time off work.

Oh, and if you haven't seen it yet, there is a pretty cool boot enchant (Icewalker I believe) that can help you pick up some extra hit early on. I haven't gotten too deep in levelling my profs yet, but that just stuck out.

Finally, if you're looking for something to read and it's not blocked where you are. Head on over to The Warlock's Den via my link on the right. I have to read this on my iPhone at work (/evilgrin), so I don't have clever links for you. However, they have a bunch of great guides up on there already; All the 5-man instances are discussed, there's a great listing of the current crop of daily quests in Northrend (if you've hit 80 or really can't wait to get dailies?!), and a great discussion regarding spirit and its importance (or lack thereof) to Warlocks everywhere. Check it out.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Swappin Specs

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I hit 73 and decided to do my first ever respec. First ever?! Yeah, that's right, I don't really like to respec a lot. Also, since I'm not a hybrid, I don't really have reason to. I loves me some afflictioning, and that's the end of it. Dual specs will be nice to try other stuff, but I'm not going to waste gold when I know what I want in the first place.

However, I had specced for levelling prior to the whole healthstone change they slipped in. If you don't know what I'm referring to, be aware that now you can only have ONE healthstone no matter what level. Most warlocks have already experienced this, but I do run into the random druid or hunter now and then that doesn't get out much. (Just kidding; I'm jealous I'm not at 80 yet with as much win).

This means that that one talent point I always specced into my Improved Healthstone is pretty useless. You should either fill it up or leave it blank, as everyone will want the best stone if there is more than one warlock. If none of you have the improved, then the rest of 'em can shut up and be happy with what they get. It's just not really worth the points anymore, IMO. Thus, I needed to respec out of it to not waste that point. I took this opportunity to re-examine my spec too and perhaps find some other little tweaks.

This brought Improved Life Tap onto my radar. Since getting haunt worked into my rotation, I have never been low on mana. Not even close. If I'm ever below 50%, I basically get a free life tap every time haunt runs up without even worrying a healer if I'm clever. This made me question how useful the "Improved" version is. For the most part, I "demon tap" anyways. Couldn't these two points be better spent elsewhere? I think yes, and will see how much I miss the bonus from life tap. So far, it was only a problem when I was talking on the cell phone while fighting a boss (bad, bad warlock I know, but it was my mother and gaming is still not a good enough excuse not to chat with her apparently). In that case, I just didn't have the fingers to tap enough. In another fight where my puppy died, it still wasn't a problem, so I'm thinking this is a good place to trim points if you're feeling like I am.

I'm also getting rid of my points in Eradication (the haste talent). I haven't really noticed it and won't miss it. I will probably fill this one up by the time I hit 80, but no use having it now as there are other talents that will give you more bang for your talent point.

I'm still not worried about pushback, so I'm not filling up fel concentration either. I still liked the 2 points I had in it though and didn't feel like putting them elsewhere, so I will just leave it.

So, for now, with my "extra" talent points I'm going to fill up Nightfall to get more of those procs. It's pretty sweet when I start proccing with Nightfall and the Glyph of Corruption... S-bolt machine gun ftw. I also plan on getting the second tier destruction talent that increases the hit rating for my shadow bolt to match Suppression for my DoTs. This way I will be hit capped (356 with these two talents) much earlier and can focus on other stats. At some point, I'll probably want move those points out as I get extra hit on upgrades anyways. In my experience, that won't be until I've been raiding for a while though.

So, here's what I look like at 73:


And here is what I plan to be at 80:


I'm filling up a couple of talents earlier than I'd planned to take advantage of the bonus damage. Mainly this is the Shadow Embrace talent, which I'm finding stacks nicely when you have a haunt early on and then hit shadow bolts later. The nice part is that each stack appears to reset the debuff timer, so it doesn't run out too quick and stays up the entirity of a boss fight with little to no thought.

All in all, I think its a good plan and not a bad way to spend my 1G. :-)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

4 Years Old

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Happy Anniversary WoW!

PS - Thanks for the Bears :-)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Blood on the Rocks

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Man, there are just so many fun looking talents in the Death Knight trees that it seems very hard for me to choose. I know I want to go blood spec because I really like the survivability of it and the parallelism with being "vampiric". I've always enjoyed that part of warlocky too. I guess it's because I'm an independent player. I don't like having to rely on a healer or tank to get the job done. I guess you could say that about any class, but the ability to drain tank as a Warlock was always something I thought was pretty cool.

In any case, I fooled around with a Blood spec that I think I'm going to shoot for at 80 and here it is:

Is it the best? Probably not. But basically I went through with two things in mind: Does it help my damage or is it vampiric? That second question is more of a "want" than a "need" and probably where my tree fails as a "max DPS" spec. I also wanted to get the top blood tree talent, and wanted to buff my often used abilities in the Frost and Unholy trees, especially the DoTs. That's why you see the points there. Finally, I wanted to be able to resurrect as a ghoul when I die because my Unholy friends were doing it and I was jealous :-). It just looked like fun.

Eventually, for a raid spec, I'd probably get rid of that and some of my points in the unholy tree and pick up some of the DPS oriented talents I gave up. A big one is that second tier 2-hand specialization talent. I didn't put points there right now because I'm not sure what weapon I'll be using at 80. I may really want to dual wield (just because its cool looking or it may be best for my DPS). Until I get there, I really don't know. Thus, might as well use those points to have some fun coming back alive as a zombie now and then maybe respec later.

The same could be said about a couple other talent choices, but you get the idea.

I just wanted to show what I was doing, not pass it off as some "uber" spec. I've always subscribed to the school of thought: "What good is maxing out if you're not having fun?"

The cool thing about this spec is that I also picked up the Glyph of Rune Tap, so that my Rune Taps affect everyone in my party in addition to all the usual healing effects. Thus, we almost never finish fights with lower than 75% health. It's pretty nice and allows a smaller group to do things without a main healer if you're clever. We ran Stratholme with three DKs last week and got to the boss that drops the Key to the City. It took a long time and there were some deaths. But boy was it fun and we were running an instance without a true healer. Pretty cool, IMO. Probably won't work too well as I get to higher levels, but still, fun times.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Confessions of a Sidetracked Warlock

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Okay, you caught me. I've been completely sidetracked from leveling.

I mean, I'm sitting at a respectable 72.5, but I still feel that I'm falling behind the curve. Why? Well, a couple reasons...

First, there is just so much to do and see. I wasted at least half a night messing around on that giant turtle and having fun with guildies. I guess I got some exp from exploring, but its not gonna speed level me to 80 (which isn't really my goal anyways). Plus, if you read my post on Wednesday, you'll know that I tend to run around messing with people for fun. Warlocks can't be all focus right? We gotta have our moments of mischief.

Second, I've said it before and I'll say it again: I love my DK. And no, Sar, that is not Donkey Kong (though getting Diddy as a pet would complete that mental image and be pretty BA). No, I love my little Kate Beckinsale wannabe. I may even throw up another lovely picture if I can find one. My newest guilty pleasure there is power leveling mining and engineering to try and get on par with my level (59.6). My end goal, you ask? Kate Beckinsale ON A MOTORCYCLE.

KB and Engineering FTW?

The DK mount is all well and good, but come on! KB! Motorcycle! Blood Spec! Vampires!

Hmm, perhaps I'm just too excited. My warlock is jealous. Oh well, I'll get there eventually. And, have no fear, I'm still a warlock at heart. DK's just give you the awesome power to DoT and melee instead of just casting all the time. Thus, a wonderful switch for a warlock without straying too far from what makes us the toons we are.

In other news, looking to procrastinate a bit? Check out this post from Leader of The Pack. Pretty neat little webapp. I'm ESTP apparently, AND a man. Yahtzee. Gotta like it when I live up to my own imagined machismo.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Disney World? No Just WoW.

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Am I the only one who thought the boat ride into the Howling Fjord sort of resembled a ride at Disney World? The fire in those ships looked pretty darn cool.


Utgarde Keep is kind of hard to miss as well.


As I mentioned Monday, we completed both instances this past weekend and today I'm devoting to UK related pictures. I actually had this post made up, ready to go on Tuesday, but I had a rough evening and forgot to post it. Then other things came up, so it got delayed. Plus, I figured to spread out the pictures a bit.

First off, the waterfall view going into the instance is pretty sweet as well. The instance itself reminded me a lot of the Ramparts, but prettier. If you call crazy nordic looking men hellbent on killing you pretty, that is. The good news is that this instance is quick and quite a bit easier than the Nexus (as you would expect with level requirements). Since I did things backwards, I guess the difference was more glaring to me.

There are a pair of lesser bosses that stand between you and the last guy: Ingvar the Plunderer. The first boss is pretty basic, with the exception that he'll summon some adds. Don't worry about them because even if you do kill them, he'll just make new ones, so just DPS the boss down and you'll be fine. It's a good idea to have all members stack up in front of your tank (especially if you have a pally tank) so that all the adds are sucked in an easily picked up. You'll also want to quickly DPS the icy tomb that this fella does to free up your encased group member. Being stacked and close together helps this issue as well.

The second boss is actually a pair, and if you've ever done the Romeo and Juliet fight in Karazahn, you know the basic idea behind this fight. The deal here is that if one of the two dies before the other, he becomes a ghost of himself and can do exactly the same things as he did when he was alive, but you can't kill him anymore. Thus, its a good idea to DPS one low, switch and kill the other, and then finish off the first. With that in mind, it shouldn't be too much trouble.

The final guy can be somewhat difficult. His first phase is easy enough and he'll go down quick. However, he will then get resurrected and become a lot more powerful. He does a crazy smash that is a conic AoE in front of him, so have any melee DPS make sure to stay behind him. The casters should stay at full range to avoid both that and his roar, which will silence the school of magic you're casting when he interrupts you. If you stay out of its range though, you shouldn't have a problem. Also in his second phase, he'll throw an axe out that will go to a person and then sit there and do damage. RUN AWAY FROM IT. With these tips in mind and a little luck you should have him down in no time.


You Only Die Twice


I picked up a pretty sweet dagger there that had 233 spell power on it, too. I'll take it!

Finally, after killing the sweaty savages, head out west and ride the crazy ski lift! Okay, so it isn't really for skiing, but that's what I was reminded of. Also, take a ride on the giant turtle and grab the FPs linking the Fjord with the Tundra and call it a night. Or at least that's what we did. I even used my Eye of Kilrogg to check to make sure that the turtle did, indeed, have flippers (we weren't sure).

In Addition: Second time running through UK and fighting Mr. Ingvar was much much easier. Just have your casters park it on the edge of the circle where you fight Ingvar and tank him in the middle... you should be out of range of the interrupting, silencing roar of death. The tank should dance away from the smash attack (in a straight line so as not to turn him by accident toward the melee) as it decreases the damage from that uber attack, and can help your healer out. Just take care not to LOS your healer behind those damned pillars. Casters can fan out a bit to lessen the likelihood of an axe getting them all too. Just make sure to pay attention to your aggro if your tank is dancing a lot.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

As Promised, Yay MC.

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I knew someone better than I would get around to a gear analysis. As promised, here is the link that I'm sure you all know anyways. Just wanted to make a note that it is out there. Love Mystic Chicanery for Warlockery, she does a wonderful job. You don't even wanna glance at my pathetic attempts :-/. Anyhoo, here 'tis:

Pre-Naxx Gear Guide From Mystic Chicanery

With that being said, I'm nowhere near the point where I'll need to start gearing up. I've got plenty to do. I did, however, want to note that I'm planning on keeping Suppression for a while, so I'm shooting for the 356 +spell hit mark that's oh-so-important for aff'locks. Yeah, that means my s-bolts might miss a bit, but what's that old saying about how to eat an elephant? Also, it may be less of a problem now that s-bolts aren't 50% of our damage. Still, not ideal.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Don't Get Mad, Get Even

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If you read Big Bear Butt, you may have read his recent challenge to the blogosphere general populace when he shared a funny tale of asshatery and idiocity, and asked for other stories to be shared as well.

As you may or may not know, asshatery is a topic that I feel strongly about. It comes in many forms and WoW is just one of the places it has clustered as of late.

In thinking of an appropriate story to answer this challenge, I found myself circling around one central theme: Don't get mad, get even. So I wanted to take the challenge a step further and suggest ways to steal your fun back.

That is NOT to say: "just gank bank." Oh no, if you thought that I am advocating a course of action that would cause MORE people to wear an ass on their heads and parade around proudly, you would be mistaken. Please give me a second to explain what I mean.

You see, there are really two types of hats these asses wear:

  1. The "Center of the Universe" Hat - This person just believes they are better and more important than you. Their mothers never taught them how to share, and they can't really fathom that someone else may be upset over their actions because, hey, the world is their burrito. The good news is, if you just are patient and let this person get on with it, they're not gonna mess around with you for very long because you really don't exist.
  2. The "I Stole Your Fun" Hat - This person delights in other's misfortunes. For some strange reason, they take a sick pleasure out of ruining your fun. These are usually the worst kind of asshat, because they will torture you as long as possible to try steal the MOST amount of fun that they can.

So then, with this understanding we can begin to combat asshatery where it begins. Basically, the goal here is to aim to create something fun FOR YOU out of an "unfun" situation. To better explain, let me share some examples. It is probably important to note that I am on a PvE server, so I can't just, you know, kill them.

First, during a recent excursion into the Tundra, a quest required the hunting of orcas. Thus, I jumped into the bay area and swam towards some of the big fish. Another individual saw me coming and hurried to swim around and hit every single one of the fish in the area (there were only like four and they had quite the head start on me). Now, I'm not complaining that they took SOME of the orcas, but they could very easily have shared at least ONE. With the spawn rates being what they are, by the time they kill a couple I'm sure there will be more. Why act like an asshat?

So here's what I did: I just calmly swam right into the middle of this individual's scrum and unleashed a Howl of Terror. This of course sent all the orcas running wild and resulted in the asshat having to chase them down (being a melee class). I even amused myself further by chain fearing one of them just for the heck of it. It was funny, fun for me, and I didn't have to resort to ganking. In fact, after that first round this person stayed in their section and let me have my own area of water to "fish" in. Maybe they learned something, maybe not, but at least I had fun.

A second such experience occurred in that same area, but on a different day for me. You see, if you haven't done it, there is a quest that requires you to go save a bunch of baby murlocs. Said murlocs will then follow you around for a period of time. These babies can be highly contested at times as there are not a lot of cages for the 20 you need to save. There is another quest in that area requiring you to don a murloc costume and go kill something. I was doing the costumed part, but this individual did not know that. They saw me clearing out the room in preparation to go on to the next part and hurried to try and "cut me off" to get all the murlocs first. Now, this person may have just been competing, but the fact that they already had quite a crew of murlocs led me to believe that they were trying to rush through this quest at the expense of others.

So, while they were gathering their tadpoles, I finished the guy in the next room and returned to this individual while wearing my murloc suit. I proceeded to follow him around as he completed his quest just like I was one of the murlocs in his bevy. Every once in a while he would stop, turn around, look at me like: "is this guy serious?" I was. I probably followed him for a good ten minutes before the suit wore off. It was quite humorous for me as I'm sure it bewildered him and others.

Again, I just made something fun out of the situation. I mean, it IS a game after all. And those suits are pretty darn funny. Especially if you dance or jump in them. Try it, trust me on this.

The point here is that you don't have to "let them win" and get angry. Chances are, there are things you can do to make the situation fun for you, even if it doesn't advance your quest. Take the fun back! If they're wearing hat #1, they're not gonna notice anyways, and if they're wearing hat #2, you've just retaken what was stolen from you. Either way, YOU'RE still having fun and that's the main point, right? Especially if others giggle at your silliness too, AND you haven't had to lower yourself to the level of a hat wearer.

So next time you're in that situation, try to come up with some clever ways to make the situation fun. Maybe you follow them around for 10 minutes like you're their personal healer to mystify them like: "Maybe they think they're in my group or something. Is this person crazy?". Or shadow them and /cheer after every kill like a groupie: "Hey! You're the man! You're so amazingly GOOD at GANKING!". Or my personal favorite: if the individual happens to be a paladin and is dropping consecrates (cause who doesn't love to pick on pallies?), run around on your horse picking up mobs and "drop them" right in their aura. See how good they really are, while "helping" them finish quicker. If they're good enough, they won't mind, or you can always dance on their dead body when you bring them an giant elite: "I thought you wanted them ALL." :-)

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Nexus and Other Tales

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Because a picture speaks 1000 words (or thereabouts), I am continuing to write my "picture book" posts to save you text walls and boring commentary. That, and maybe I lack the skill to adequately describe the beautiful instances that Blizz has given us.

So over the weekend I led some 5-man teams of guild mates through the first two instances encountered in Northrend: Nexus and Utgarde Keep. Oddly enough, we did Nexus the first night even though it is the harder instance.

In case you are unfamiliar with the Nexus, the general layout is kind of like a three leaf clover with a diamond in the middle. That is to say, from the entrance, the final boss is encased in ice in the middle of the diamond, with a wing to the left, right, and behind. Each of those wings contains a boss that must be killed before you can thaw out the final boss. You can do them in any order, but clearing either the right of left first spits you out in a different part of the back wing. I beleive the right wing's "spit point" would give you the shortest path to the back wing boss, but I recommend just seeing the entire instance as it can be breathtaking in spots.

As promised, Blizz has shortened up instance runs and these can easily be completed in an hour or so. We went slow on our first time as we were learning the pulls and such, but these are not the huge dungeons you'd find in the Old World.

The wing bosses shouldn't prove too difficult for you, as they are all basically tank and spanks with a little mechanic thrown at you. The right wing guy is probably the easiest and you'll just want to DPS him down fast. The left wing caster has three phases, the middle one is probably the hardest when she splits into three clones. They can be CC'ed (even feared!), so keep that in mind. If I were you, I'd kill the purple looking (arcane) clone first as she has a tendency to polymorph people. For the back wing guy, make sure you take down the voids when he opens them.

The final boss is a challenging fight. After you click on the orbs to release the dragon, you will need to pick her up and have everyone stand to the side of the dragon to avoid a tail swipe. Someone will need to dispel the shackle that is done as there is a DoT that will kill you if you stand in one place too long. Basically, as a 'lock (or any class for that matter) you will need to hop after EVERY cast, since any movement dispels the debuff. It takes a little to get the hang of, as standing still will get you killed right quick.

The boss herself is actually quite slow and you can almost kite her as I found out after the rest of our party wiped. Here is a rather humorous picture of me attempting to run away while she was dotted. I almost made it to the entrance!

Run Away!


After a couple of tries, you'll get the hang of it and then can celebrate on the dead body. This kill was really close to a full wipe and I got a lucky Nightfall proc as she was running at me. Kind of intense, but really a lot of fun.


And Stay Down


Because leveling is best in small doses and I love my Death Knight. I went later to help Fuu get her Ghost Saber on her hunter alt. Who doesn't have a hunter alt (me!)? In any case, it was fun to run around and pwn low levels on the DK while looking for these stupid cat idols. It can sort of take forever, but at least I made my Fuubaar happy after she finally got it. You can see the transparent kitty in the front here with my death gate to the left. I was ready to get out of that place after an hour or so.


Bad Kitty!


On the gear front, I was doing some more research and came across this little tidbit: apparently the rule of thumb amongst beta testers in regards to how long gear should last you is...
  • T4 equivalent items should last until 71-73
  • T5 until 73-75
  • T6 until 75-77
Some really uber items could last all the way into your first raid, but that would be the rarity. So if you start to feel like you're seeing better items than what you have and it fits into those ranges, chances are you're completely sane. At least when it comes to gear judgement :-).

Edit: I was informed that some of my picture's links were broken... I think they're fixed now, sorry about that.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Tag, You're It

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During my recent leveling binges, I have noticed that trying to tag mobs as a Warlock in a highly contested area can be quite annoying. I guess I had never noticed before because I hadn't ever been through the craziness that is an expansion. However, the fact of the matter is that you have to be quite crafty as a Warlock to try and tag a mob, but even then it can be a matter of luck. Thanks goes out to The Warlock's Den for reporting on the following:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grimshadows on the official forums
Saw a great thread on the suggestions forums and i thought i would bring it here: Instant dots need to tag mobs.

To put the thread briefly, warlocks need a quick and simple way of tagging mobs. I very often run into a situation where I can start casting or dot a mob, and dome one sees I'm doing it, so they will give the mob a light hit. Tag it and let me stay with the aggro. Since it's tapped I can't CC it away from me.
  • Shadow burn had to long of a cool down and a heavy reagent cost.
  • Death coil had a long CD to use it for grinding and it has the side effect of bringing other mobs you didn't want to bring to the mix.
  • Instant dots don't help, the delay in damage some one can just walk up and smack the mob for 2 damage and it's their and I'm stuck with the aggro as they stand there and unwillingly watch me kill it for them
  • Our Damaging drain spells you have to stand still to long for to tag a mob and cast it. Most classes have an efficient way of moving towards a mob and tagging it quickly.
All I'm asking is if there is a way to make something very simple, doesn't matter what it is, and instant somethings that does some small amount of damage and is on no cd just for the sake of tagging it.

Practically every class has something that's trainable or specd to instant tag mobs.

anyone with good hearted suggestions?
Ghostcrawler responds:
We just talked about this and agree that it's dumb you have to go to such theatrics just to tag a mob. We'll try to get this fixed.
***
No, we should just be able to make a spell tag regardless of how it does damage. That would be the more robust implementation.

I wonder what they have up their sleeves? In any case, keep your eye out for a change to that effect. Boy, would that be nice.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Sequencing Even In Death

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As I mentioned yesterday, I rolled a Death Knight and I liked it. The moral ambiguity of the class reminds me a lot of why I chose to roll a Warlock in the first place. The playstyle is addicting and fast. The trees are varied and fun. You start at 55. What is there to not like?

As such, I believe I have found a "main" alt. That is to say, I think I'll be spending a lot of time on my DK. Warlocking is still and will always be my main squeeze, but DK is an excellent change of pace while not abandoning my "evilness". Thus, I brought a warlock's mind to the playstyle of a knight of death and devised a rotation and some macros for playing the class.

I don't know if its the best, but I'm pushing about 480DPS on a level 55 dummy at level 58. That can't be all bad, right? So, here's what I've come up with, feel free to compare notes.

First of, lets run through my cast bar:

  • Button 1: Blood Strike
  • Button 2: Macro "Plagues". I will post this macro in just a moment. This button's purpose is to use spells that apply a disease.
  • Button 3: Macro "Ill". I will post this one in just a moment as well. This button is used for spreading your diseases (ew... but oh so wicked).
  • Button 4: Death Coil... not to be confused with the Warlock Spell of the same name. This one will only do damage to mobs, heals from friendly undead.
  • Button 5: Death Grip. Ever want to be Scorpion from Mortal Kombat? Yeah, awesome spell. Great for pulling or ping ponging a mob around between multiple DKs.
  • Button 6: Chains of Ice. Sort of a DK shackle with diminishing returns over time. Haven't used it a whole lot yet but I'm sure it'll be handy.
  • Button 7: Mind Freeze. Caster interruption spell. Good to have handy as well.
  • Button 8: Raise Dead. 'Nuff said. Fun to raise your buddies as zombies.
  • Button 9: Vampiric Blood. This is a Blood tree only spell and increases my blood tap. Haven't used this one a whole lot yet, but it is mid-range in the tree and will probably start being useful in the "real world".
  • Button 0: Blood Tap. Almost a reverse of Life Tap for Warlocks. Get the talent in the blood tree where it heals your party and you can almost be healer... but we don't that around here. This is just really nice to have to keep you alive.
  • Last two: Not shown, but I always put my pots on these.
Macros:
  1. #showtooltip
    /castsequence [nomod] reset=target/ Pestilence, Death Strike, Blood Boil
  2. #showtooltip
    /castsequence [nomod] reset=target/ Icy Touch, Plague Strike
Okay, so with my short descriptors and now the macros, you may be able to see a playstyle forming here. At least that is my hope.

Single Short Lived Targets
My goal here is going to be to apply an initial disease early (which in turn amplifies your blood strikes) and then go to town with blood strikes. Thus I'd get a button sequence sort of like this: 2, 2, 1, 1, repeat. Add 4 (Death Coil) in there as you generate runic power. This seems to work pretty well and keeps up a nice DPS.

AoE Type Target Pulls
The goal here is to spread your diseases around and do some AoE damage while DPSing a main target. Thus, my button rotation looks like: 2, 2, 3, 3, 3, 1, 1, repeat. Again you can add death coil in there. This is rough to keep up you diseases as they expire, so you may want to swap back to that 2 button when you can to keep up the DoTs. As I'm blood specced, I don't want to cut out my blood strike though, so you just kind of got to feel it out. The nice thing about the 3 button (the second macro) is that you'll spread your disease around, do a nice little hit that will heal you per disease, and then pops all the diseases on all the targets in range. Its a nifty little rotation and should prove quite useful. Death coil is probably less of a priority here, but it does do some nice damage.

Single Target Bosses
I haven't really gotten a chance to work much on this, but from dummy work, I would do the same strategy as I used with short lived bosses. There is no real reason to spread you disease, then might as well focus on your heavy hitters. So I'm going to use that same rotation.

Results
Like I said, with both rotation types I'm pushing over 400 DPS in the blues at 58 straight out of the starting area. That seems pretty decent to me, but I don't really know. My goal here is not to try to say that this is THE spec or THE rotation, but to give an idea of how to play a basic death knight using the same logic that helps make a Warlock effective. I choose the blood tree for its obvious vampiric ties. The health regen is fun. Fuubaar is doing the unholy spec and loves the little minion you get there. We both use similar rotations and get similar DPS numbers. If you love pets as a Warlock, you might like unholy. If you like sucking life while killing, go blood. If you want to tank, that's what that icy tree is for.

All in all, a REALLY fun class and something I can see getting to 80 after my Warlock. I promise not to deviate too much on DK stuff on the way unless I see a lot of interest, but after spending some time working this all out last night I wanted to share. I'm also working on a pre-raid gear list. I'm hoping someone else does a better one that I can just point you to, 'cause its a lot of work :-).

To make a gear list I'm just going to be using the affliction template over at Loot Rank and searching through each slot. It won't be necessarily "the best", but it will give a general idea of what stats are good for 'locks, and what is out there. I will try to stick with "easy to obtain" items, mostly looking for the best quest rewards and maybe some non-heroic instance drops. This will probably take me some time, so don't expect it soon, but I wanted to say that I'm working on it. If someone else does a better job in the mean time, I'll definitely bow to them :-).

Edit: The Warlock's Den has a wonderful Warlock gear guide for the new continent. Not exactly the pre-raid list I want to put together, but really nice all the same.

Friday, November 14, 2008

A View To a New Kill

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It's time again for a picture post. I haven't really been coming up with content for here because, obviously, I've been playing a lot. Fuu and I had today off, so we stayed up late last night and got to 71. Today we rolled Death Knights to see what they're all about. I promise not to reveal any plot spoilers, but did want to share some cool pictures from around the World... of Warcraft.

Valiance Keep
This is a lovely view from outside the keep. I thought it was real cool how you're almost immediately immersed in combat. Really a "beach head" type feel.

Overlooking the Field of Battle
I thought this is a cool picture looking towards the beach area. Blizz always does a really good job making skies. Have you ever noticed that?

Escape from the Temple City
We were complete nerds after storming this city for a quest. We were definitely singing the "Indiana Jones" theme song as we ran out. Even with the multitude of people, there were no lag issues on our server AND the spawn rates were sufficient so you didn't have to wait a godawful amount of time for a mob.

In the Service of the King
Like I said, no plot spoilers, but I really love my new DK. The fighting style is just oh so fun on them. Fuu and I decided to reverse traditional gender roles, plus see my previous post about Kate Beckinsale and you'll know why I designed the character I did. Two thumbs up to Blizz on the design of this area. I think my Warlock is gonna be jealous though.

Dead Sexy
We dinged a couple of times on our DK's doing the extremely fun beginning quests. Another beautiful sky in the background. I'll probably leave this vixen sitting in Outlands for a while because right now those zones are flooded with DKs. I still have a few levels to go before we get to that point though.

And that's it. More content perhaps to follow as I come up with it, but I really don't want to discuss quests and such on here and ruin the experiences for anyone. I still have yet to set foot in an instance, but leveling hasn't been nearly as painful as I had feared. The zones are just so... pretty!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Northrend or Bust

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I won't chat much today as I'm eager to get out of my work responsibilities so I can go join the rest of y'all in Northrend. Here are some blue posts that may be off interest to you though, courtesy of The Warlock's Den:

To ensure a smooth transition to Wrath of the Lich King, we recommend that players who have newly upgraded their accounts, log into the game and log out completely for a short period of time in order for their account to fully update.

And this:

As many players have noticed, there have been service issues which resulted in additional downtime over the last two days, and we would like to provide an update as to what the issues were as well as what we are doing to address them. During yesterday’s maintenance, an issue occurred which resulted in mail not displaying properly in players’ mailboxes. We have now identified the cause of this issue and are currently working on resolving it. Players should begin to receive the impacted mail over the next several days. Our customer service team will be unable to expedite the resolution for this issue. We appreciate your patience as the automatic fix is implemented.

In addition, an issue occurred last night where certain Arena and Honor items were displaying their costs incorrectly. The costs of the affected items have been corrected. Our in-game support department is currently working to resolve any problems that came with this issue, and we would like to ask that you please remain patient during this process.

We understand the frustrations and difficulties that you may have experienced surrounding the recent issues and extended maintenance. As such, we will be providing 1-day game time compensation for the recent events within the next two weeks. Please check the Account Management page after the two-week period to verify the game time has been successfully added to the account. As always, thank you for your patience regarding the recent issues, and we look forward to seeing you in Northrend!

Additionally, if you're taking a reading break from your levelling madness, here are a couple amusing posts.

The first can be found on MMO Champion and proves that Blizzard employees aren't all business.

The second is over at the Crave, and is some good photographic coverage of a midnight opening. Since I wasn't there in spirit, this post cheered me up a bit. Also, this post gives some good "box shots".

Additionally, if you're reading this anytime in the next two days, chances are you're stuck at work like me and unable to enjoy the awesomeness that awaits. I FEEL YOUR PAIN. :-)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wrath's Eve

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Okay, so its not quite as exciting as Christmas Eve, but I am getting something really cool tomorrow. It's not really a surprise, as Fuubaar gave me the box she pre-ordered for me. It's still exciting though.

I'm disappointed we won't be attending a midnight release shindig, but we have responsibilities and couldn't get work off tomorrow. Plus, Fuubaar pre-ordered at a store that will be closed at midnight. That's part of it too. I love her anyways.

/forgive

So it wouldn't make a whole lot of sense to show up at a midnight release and wait... for nothing. Plus, its probably for the best anyways. If I went out tonight in the cold and was convinced to purchase a copy despite the pre-order, not only would I be wasting perfectly good money, but I would be at a high risk of developing an illness overnight.

/fakecough

No,no. I will do the responisible and honorable thing. I am a member of the Alliance after all. I mean, if I were a member of the HORDE it'd be different. That, or if I had any vacation days left. *shrug* I used them well so I can't complain.

So, all you crazy midnighters live it up and tip one back for me (if you're tipping things, Tauren maybe?). I will be the loser getting some last minute gold from dailies tonight (if the servers are fixed). And then I will hurry through a boring day at work to pick up my copy and join y'all.

I'll have to remember to pick up some adult beverage for what I'm sure is going to be a long night of "catch up" :-).


Oh, and if you're curious what spec I'm going to be using, I already posted about that here. One change to be noted, however, I will be removing my one point in Improved Healthstone (previously entered to enable multiple stones in a raid, but that has been patched out). I will probably use this point to fill up Nightfall, as I'm really enjoying my shadow bolt machine gun tactic on trash mobs.

See you in Northrend!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Vampiric Warlockery

6 comments
So my little sister turned me on to a little group of books called the Twilight Saga. You may have heard of them. There is even a movie coming out soon.

First, aside, a little known fact about me: I love Vampires. I just have always loved the stories, myths, lore, everything. There are so many good vampire tales out there. From TV series (yes, I was a Buffy AND Angel fan!), to movies (who wasn't sort of in love with Kate Beckinsale in Underworld?!), to classic books (Dracula anyone?). Maybe its just me.



So I got turned on to this series in which Vampires play an essential role. Needless to say, I love the books. Very engaging, well written, fun reads. I'm a decently fast reader, but I started the first book yesterday and will probably finish it tonight; I can't put it down. Then again, being a bibliophile, I'm that way with most books. Who needs crack, right?

In any case, as I was doing my daily dailies last night, I got to thinking: I wonder if there is a link between my love for Vampires and my choosing a Warlock. I mean, if you're going to pick one class in WoW that is most like a Vampire, wouldn't it be warlocks. Even more specifically, wouldn't it be affliction warlocks with our "damage you, heal me" mentality?

I think one of the things that has always drawn me to Vampires is the moral ambiguity presented in a lot of novels. Vampires are not always pure evil. Sure, they have a strong disposition for evil, but the best Vampire stories seem to involve a misunderstood Vampire who is inherently good and must fight the evil temptation; the internal struggle of being exceedingly powerful yet compassionate; Good vs Evil personified.

Could not the same be said about Warlocks? We are most certainly morally ambiguous. I mean... I love dotting squirrels and watching my puppy eat them. That's evil. However, I'm also not down with letting the Horde pick on lowbies or the scourge infecting all the NPCs (yes, I fought the zombies). Also, I fight alongside a freaking Paladin!

I also love my little vampiric batling I got from the recent holiday Kara boss.

There really isn't a point to this other than I thought it was an interesting parallel and those are good books. Read 'em if you're looking for something, or check out the movie when you get burned out from a weekend of levelling. I believe it comes out in 9 days, so like next Thursday. We'll all be 80 by then... right? Right?! *sigh*

Why did you pick the class you did? Crazy insatiable thirst for blood? It "just looked cool"? BRRAAAINS? Wait, we found the cure for that last one. Sorry, forgot.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Take It To The Bank

1 comments
Chances are you've heard about this expansion coming out on Thursday. I know, I know, "Crazy!" right? I think we've all read up and done a heck of a lot to try and prepare ourselves for the "new world" coming our way.

One thing we often overlook: banks. From what I understand, it seems that people either take one of two approaches:
  1. Throw it all away! All this will be WORTHLESS, lets get rid of it.
  2. HORDE HORDE HORDE... or is it hoard? Either way, I want it ALL!

You may fall somewhere in the middle, but you get the point. This is all well and good, but for most of us we're still overlooking a very useful part of the game... Guild Banks.

What do we do with these monsters? Spring.... er Fall cleaning?

If your guild bank is like ours, it probably is home to dozens of worthless items. That is to say, items that someone at sometime just wanted to get out of their bank, but didn't really want to throw it away for various reasons. Maybe it was tough for them to acquire, maybe it isn't worth anything to AH, or, my personal favorite "the vendor does not want this item".

If only I could display that message in our Guild Bank.

So I ask the masses, what do you look for in a guild bank? With the impending doom of an expansion, now is the ideal time to freshen up things and try to make our banks more useful. Do you throw away stuff to make room for the new items that are sure to come? What is worth keeping? What do you find useful about a guild bank? Are you organized or a pack rat? Do you want that to change?

The way our Guild Bank is set up is with four tabs. The first two are for general purpose goods and gear. Everyone has access to these and can take out a stack a day. Right now, we have a lot of "leveling" gear that does not seem to be used ever. We also have things like "essences of water", which used to be valuable, but I don't know ever were used in recipes later on. We have various levels of pots and common glyphs and gems. In short, a lot of crap that may or may not prove useful.

The other two tabs contain crafting materials for the most part. These are used by officers to stock up the first two tabs with useful items and to supply our raids. We have TONS of shards since no one is really "gearing up" right now. Most of our recent raiding has just been for fun and the occasional badge. On one hand, it is nice to just experience content. On the other, its rough seeing so much gear sharded. We also have a good variety of herbs for pots, but most of the commonly used ones are not stocked. People have grown lax on the farming with the certain change looming on the horizon. That's fine, but makes me question the usefulness of the items that aren't "sold out".

I'm of the mind to just convert a lot of things to straight cash and put that in the bank. I mean gold is gold, we can always buy things we find are useful/needed. Also, I think we're going to need room when everyone starts the leveling process again for items that can really help. Plus, who wants to wade through a bunch of crap for that one nugget of usefulness?

There are a couple problems with maintaining a Guild Bank though.

First, it is a communal space. That means everyone has some opinion/say on what to keep and what to toss. What I may value as a Warlock is a lot different from say... a crazy Paladin named Fuubaar. There are also those that just *can't* throw anything away. Face it, most of us in this game are pack rats. Some more than others. Thus, how do we approach getting rid of stuff without causing people fits of OCD-inspired panic?

Second, we don't really *know* what is going to be useful. We all have our guesses, but until we all have played in the new world for a while, we won't really know where the "important items" are. Some items that we think are going to be hard to find, will end up being easy. Other items it will seem just the opposite.

These issues make it difficult to answer the question "How can I make my bank more useful." Even if you're only dealing with your personal bank, the second problem exists. So I guess what I want to know is: What's in your wallet? Or bank...

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Such a Good Dog

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Blizz recently posted this on their forums:

We recently changed the way defensive stance works for pets. In the old design, the pet would not attack a target that you were attacking until it did something to generate threat - typically attacking you. In the new design, as soon as you attack a target, the pet will attack the target too. Our thinking was that this made defensive a little easier to use and you still have passive to override that behavior.

However, we have heard from some players (hunters mostly, though this isn't just a hunter issue) that they prefer the old defensive stance. We wanted to get a little more feedback from players on the issue.

Personally, I have enjoyed the new design, as I have been able to not worry about adding or deleting a "/petattack" line in my macros. I primarily use my Felhunter, and in raids he seems to be pretty smart. He doesn't die a whole lot on AoE attacks and such, and if its a problem I just have him sit next to me like a good boy. What do you think? Better let blizz know if us Warlocks want to keep it this way... those pesky hunters...

Friday, November 7, 2008

As The Guild Turns

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I have posted before about some of my views on guild drama and the challenges of being an officer. A recent post over at Mystic Chicanery inspired me to relate my own recent story.

First of all, GJ to Nibuca over there for sticking to her guns. That can be a lot more difficult than it seems sometimes. On one hand, you hate to lose people or be the cause of drama. On the other hand, rules are rules. You made them for a reason. You have to enforce them. People are not always going to agree with this. The bottom line is that Guilds are NOT democracies. We're spoiled into thinking we always have a "vote". The truth is, when it comes to WoW guilds, you just don't. Good officers and GMs will listen to their membership, try to be fair, and try to make everyone happy. However, they don't have to.

As officers, we are appointed, not elected. Usually by the GM. This means we absolutely do NOT have to cater to whiners and asshats. They don't get a vote! However, it also challenges us to separate those who truly care from those who truly wear a rear-end as a hat. Sometimes that is more difficult than it sounds.

Which brings me to my recent personal story.

To set the stage, member 1 shall be related to members 2 and 3. Until very recently, all members had been pretty decent. Member 1 had shown some good leadership qualities and really helped pull raids and events together. In short, member 1 had shown caring for the guild. Members 2 and 3 played nice for the most part and attended events. They weren't going to pull stuff together for us, but they would do their job. A guild needs those people too, and so all was well.

I have recently developed a saying that I believe has truth to it: Want to see adults act like children? Just add politics.

This is not a judgement on either party or any side or whatever. There are just people that feel very so strongly about their politics that they lose rationality and composure in discussions, and feel the need to degrade whomever does not agree with them. The concept of a "difference of opinion" does not exist here, that other person is obviously "ignorant and stupid".

(Aside: I find people often are called both ignorant and stupid, which makes me chuckle. In my experience, it is hard for one to be both ignorant AND stupid. Stupid implies you know better, but choose not to acquiesce to rational thought. Ignorance implies a general lack of knowledge. Thus, it would seem to be one or the other... not both. Also, if you don't like where this article is heading, stop now, I would hate to upset you, and check out these shoes).

This sets the stage for what I'm sure was a common occurrence in the last few months: a political brawl. This one just happened to take place in guild chat. While we're on a raid. Lovely.

Member 2 was offended by a remark that was not in any way racist, but this member chose to let us know that we were ALL racist and promptly left the guild. I find this humorous on one hand because, well how can I be racist in this game? First of all, the majority of the membership was raiding at the time, and thus not participating in guild chat. To call EVERYONE racist is just unfair. Secondly, even if I've heard your voice on vent, I'm pretty sure I don't know what race you may be. I could guess, but I don't really know; I can't see you. I guess if I were complaining about how Night Elves's voted in the last election, I could understand.

Member 3 decided that they were going to "stand up" for their relative and put an ass on their head, sending a hateful message and immediately /gquitting. For the record, I really dislike this method of confrontation. If you're going to be an asshat, at least be an asshat to my face and let me respond to your asshatery. Spam and run is the WoW equivalent to calling someone a "doo doo head" and then going to hide in a closet. It just does not scream to me "I have a valid concern". I don't know what people who use this method expect to occur: "Oh well in that case, please can I change every rule to cater to you?"

See paragraph too about WoWocracies.

This brings us back to member 1. Member 1 is not caught between a rock and a hard place. I mean, we all know family members can do stupid stuff, but they're family. You can't just cut and run on family, at least not in my opinion. Thus member 1 was obligated to follow the family as they left. Member 1 did not agree with the family, but had to go anyways. Were it up to member 1, this person would remain friends with everyone and continue to help.

This presents a dilemma as an officer. On one had, I'm not gonna deal with asshattery. Members 2 and 3 saved us the trouble and removed themselves. Thankfully, the rest of my guild didn't take the bait, and we just said "kthxbye". Don't let that door knock off your hat.

The challenge for officers then is to separate the feelings toward members 2 and 3, and see that member 1 still wants to be friends. This can be extremely tough on both ends. Thankfully, in our case, member 1 sent apologies to those involved and has really made an effort to remain friendly, despite the family members. Hopefully, this will allow us to not lose a good friend while getting rid of drama.

No one likes a nighttime soap opera while raiding.

The point of all this is just that things can often be a lot more complicated in the World... of Warcraft than we admit to. A lot of people spend a lot of time on here. We must all take care not to "throw the baby out with the bath water".

I posted before about the importance to not burning bridges and fostering friendships in our diverse community. Remember that just because someone runs with a group that chooses to wear a funny hat, they might not subscribe to the same sense of style. For officers, this is extremely important to separate the chaff from the wheat... the good from the bad. You may miss out on a good friendship because you looked only shallowly at a problem.

Clear heads and calm hands almost always prevail over knee jerk reactions and condemnations. Don't ever be too quick to judge, and hope that if you ever get caught in a messy situation, that you may be shown the same compassion.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

More Dead Bosses

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Because I like to keep things colorful around here, here are some more screenies of first time kills I've had recently (yes, we're flying through things with the nerf).


Fathom Lord Sent to the Deep

This is a rather difficult fight, but reminded me a lot of when you're first learning Moroes in Kara. There are a lot of adds with this guy, so a large portion of your success is going to be determined by how you set up fight. The pull and positioning is really key in this one. This can be the test of a good RL and add management.


Defeat Your Inner Demon

This is a very fun and different fight. Great for a warlock as you'll be looked to to tank (?!). I did not do that on this particular run, as I don't really have the stamina gear for it. You probably need about 15k health (raid buffed) and some fire resistance doesn't hurt. Giving each class a chance to solo DPS a mob is pretty cool too. Make sure you clear out the room first as this whirling dervish will spin all over the place.

Boss In The Bank?

Or just an epic glitch. I turned around from a vendor and... What do we have here? Bring it!


Yay X-Perl!

I also thought you might like to see my screen in a raid environment. I like X-perl for the ease of customization. As you can see, it keeps things decently clean.

Random Thoughts

I did some more raid testing on my sequence last night and found that I don't really like Immolate in the sequence. It didn't seem to affect my DPS all that much one way or the other, but made it more of a headache to keep up my rotation on bosses. I pretty much just substituted where I would hit some shadow blots earlier, and used it instead of UA on most trash, but Corruption and Shadow Bolts were still my top two spells at around 26% and 21% of my damage done. Immolate was a distant 6th on the one boss fight I used it (Lurker). With the rumblings that Blizz may remove Immolate from being useful in our sequence, I'm inclined to just do without it for now. At least until they settle their minds on what they want to do with it.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Election Day... or Patch Day?

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Well, I did my civic duty and voted, then wanted to avoid the frenzy and play a game. But alas! The servers are down (oh, and when they come up, block the general channels for a week or so, trust me on this). Shucks, guess I'll have to write a post or two, so here is what I came up with (with another to follow tomorrow):

A couple Affliction Warlock related changes from Tuesday's patch are worth noting:
  • The epic ground mount is now available on the trainer at level 61, requiring 150 riding skill, and the non-epic mount learned.
  • Drain Soul: Rank 6 now properly deals additional damage to targets below 25% health.
  • Shadow Mastery: Increased the shadow damage bonus.
  • Shadow Embrace: Now works on ranks 1-4 and stacks properly with multiple applications.
  • Glyph of Souls no longer removes soul shard cost. It instead reduces the mana cost of your Ritual of Souls spell by 70%.
Similar to the Druid community mourning the loss of the swift flight form quest chain, old timer Warlocks should feel saddened by the removal of the Dreadsteed quest requirement. The quest will still be there to do, but will not be required to get your mount. The quest does allow you to get the steed a level earlier, however. I suppose it is for the best, but, having just run a guildy through this quest last night, I, for one, will miss Jeevee's antics.

The middle three points are all part of the buffs that were promised to us. Good stuff, I'll take buffs.

The change to Glyph of Souls will probably NOT make me want to use it. I mean, its not like we use it in combat, so why is mana even an issue? With all the ways Warlocks have of restoring mana, low mana is NOT one of our problems. Especially out of combat. *shrug*.

Cookies anyone?

Want this post in song? Check out a great post here.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

He's On Fire!

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I found a couple interesting "Blue" posts last night that I wanted to pass on. I found both of these on the forums over at Warlock's Den, but you can also find them on MMO Champion as well.

First, in regards to the buffing of Warlocks everywhere:

The coefficients of these spells were hotfixed last Thursday I believe.

Corruption's coefficient went from 0.156 to 0.20.
Immolate's coefficient went from 0.13 to 0.20.

This ends up being a reasonably significant dps buff to all 3 specs. In our preliminary testing, Demonology may have benefited the most.

Well this just throws my whole "don't use Immolate" rationale out the window. The good news if you've read about my cast rotation is that I have more time in those "windows" to throw this spell in. It doesn't mean a major change. Because of the cast time, I don't think I'd use this on trash, unless in that section I replaced the UA cast with an Immolate cast. My trash rotation would then look something like: Corr, Haunt, Immo, (optional UA/SL), S-bolts, D. Soul. For those of you counting on your screen, this means 6 spell timers to watch on boss fights with the rotation shaping up as (using CoA): CoA, Haunt, UA, Corr, Immo, SL, filler. Yikes!

I can't say I'm completely sold yet, and part of why is in my next blue clip:

When we set out to work on the classes in Lich King, we had some specific goals for each one. Our mission was not to overhaul every class. We had specific things we want to accomplish.

For locks, the list looked something like this:
  • Give Destro a rotation that involved more than just Shadowbolt.
  • Make sure Affliction had dps comparable with the difficulty in pulling off the rotation.
  • Get locks to care more about pets without it just being Imps in PvE and Felhunters in PvP (and sac'ing pets as often as possible).
  • Get the Felguard back out and make the Infernal and Doomguard not a joke.
  • Make the dps stones something someone might actually use.
  • Make Affliction care more about Shadow and Destro fire.
  • Get Demo back into the PvE game again.
  • Get rid of the hassles with demon training.
Now that Lich King is virtually done, we've moved on to some different topics. This is a partial list, but includes things like:
  • Make sure locks do rogue / hunter / mage level dps at 80.
  • Make sure locks have enough survivability in PvP (since we nerfed a lot of it).
  • Fix some of those deep Demo talents that really aren't worth the investment.
  • Make shards more interesting and less of a hassle.
  • Get the Voidwalker (and possibly Succubus?) back out.
  • Look at the dps spells that cost shards.
  • Try and make more of the dots a consistent length, so that Affliction's rotation doesn't require such a big brain.
  • Get dots to either scale with crit or just crit.
I know that's vague, and I'm reconstructing the list off the top of my head. Of course I imagine we'll add to that list once we see what the 3 specs actually look like at 80 with thousands of people playing them.

This is definitely a very interesting list. It's good to know they had a plan and want to keep us top tier for DPS. If you look at line 6 of the first list, it says "to make affliction care more about Shadow..." This is why I'm not completely sold on Immolate yet. I mean "one of these things is not like the other..." We cast all shadow spells except for one fire spell? It just seems odd to me. However, one cannot ignore the buffed damage output of the spell. I'm just thinking they may tweak something in talents or whatever to make Immolate more of a Destro/Demo rotation must, but not as much for Afflocks.

I plan on throwing it in there sometimes when I feel "on fire". (aside: if you ever played NBA Jam back in the day, insert the crazy announcer saying "He's on Fire!" I want that sound byte in an addon for when my Shadow Trance procs too). It would probably help in an optimal rotation, but 6 DoTs does get hard to manage. Are we really going to be able to keep all these up in a boss fight that requires more than just standing still and being a DPS cannon?

All in all, I think Blizz has done a good job according to that list. The spell stone has definitely become a regular for me, and a nice replaced me to the old hassle of Wizard's Oil. I would love to see something cooler with shards, and anything that brings all three of our trees viability in all aspects of the game is a plus. The second to last point, however, can be good or bad depending on how you look at it.

I know the current rotation is rough to manage, but I think a lot of that is just not being used to it and expecting everything to line up nicely. Who said we were never going to have to make trade offs between spells and deal with some downtime? If this is taken into account in our end-game DPS, I think its good overall. I mean having to make choices will get us away from one "set in stone" rotation that everyone uses and allow individualization. That is never bad, IMO. Plus, it gives me things to write about and play with.

Additionally, I want to see changes made, and then mostly settled on. Its hard to get used to a class if it is constantly in a state of change (see any Paladin for some valid QQ about this). This can be frustrating and drive people away. We don't want that.

On the other hand, it shouldn't take a math degree to figure this stuff out, so a little simplification would probably go a long way in this case. I just don't want to see it eased into idiocity. Warlocks have always been the smart, evil, scheming type. Lets not lose our identity :-).