Friday, January 30, 2009

Pally Power: OT/MT Mentality - Where did it go so wrong?

8 comments
I'm doing a direct copy and paste for Fuubaar since she wrote this at work and can't post from there. Enjoy! -Ful

As a paladin tank, I have seen more buffs and nerfs to my class than I can count. Doing research has always become second nature to me. Making sure that my gear is up to snuff and making sure that my gear is actually itemized to me and not a Healadin pre-wrath. (I’m never using +int EVER AGAIN!!! You can’t make me!) I know the 69696969696969696 tanking rotation and I also know the +def is the new hotness in mitigation. Even being armed with all of this knowledge, this does by no means guarantee me to be a good tank. I am just a knowledgeable person that knows what I should be doing.

Pre-Wrath, pre-nerf in BC, when I actually raided, I was never MT. I was always the person to “Pick up the adds” or pick up the last two in a 4 mob pull. I didn’t mind this when I was new to the fight but when I really felt that I was capable of being the MT, someone else would step in with 5k more health and I would be pushed to the way side once again to be the trusty side-kick (emphasis on the kick part). I just ran with it feeling that if I would get some more drops that my gear would improve and I would be able to MT without a doubt. Well, the nerf came and I finally got my wish. Most of the BC stuff we ran in easy-mode and I was just fine with that. It made me feel like I was actually pretty decent and I knew the mechanics of all the fights.

Fast forward to the release of the WotLK, everyone had some major changes to how they did their job. I went back to doing my research on the new changes and made sure that I would have all of the gear that was possible to be bought, quested or Repped to give me the best chance of eventually MTing and be the go to gal in Wrath. Fulguralis and I hit 80 and I was, in my mind, in a really good situation to be able to MT all of the Heroics. When I tanked the Regular instances, my threat was very high and I didn’t worry too much about it and my health had exceeded 20k. I had tanked Heroic UK and Nexus with ease and I even got to MT the dragon in OS. I felt like I was doing something right.

We just recently started back up with our 10-25 man raid group and I was pumped to be able to MT. When we got the invites going, I wanted to see how the other tank would measure up to my hard work. Naturally, he walked in with 5k more health but pretty much the same gear… wtF! He was a Warrior so maybe he had some stupid talent that gave him 5k more health than the next person in line. OK… OK… calm down. Maybe I just need to spend more gold on enchants to push me over the top. I can do that.

I got the crafted purples made for me from our lovely guild BS and our Jewel crafter gave me some sweet gems and a new epic ring. Now, I should be much better for the raid. Again, and again, I’m getting showed up by our other tank. Don’t get me wrong I’m extremely happy for our Raiding group to have an excellent tank that is progressing so quickly in gear but I can’t catch a break. Am I really just supposed to be the resident OT? Can I really handle another round of this until they nerf it again? I know that I don’t play as much as I should in regards to Heroic runs but in all seriousness, I’m starting to get the mentality of why should I even bother gearing up if I’m just going to be the side kick again.

I am currently the only tank in our guild, so you would think that I would be that last person to have tank envy. My confidence has suffered greatly and now when I’m running heroics that I KNOW I’m geared for, I get sloppy and do it half-heartedly. I’m a better tank than this but once again getting kicked to the way side has really put a ding into my armor and my mood. Maybe I’m just being selfish and I know that I should just stop QQ’ing but this has really made an impact in the game for me.

Many times when I would get into an instance with others in a heroic, they would always proclaim that, “This fight is easy-mode” and we would wipe, and wipe, and wipe some more to the point were people would leave. I’m currently so turned off by the thought of running a Heroic that is not UK or Nexus, that I’m pessimistic about it even before we walk into the door. I’ve found myself in this horrible cycle and I don’t know how to get out. I would rather explore Kalimdor 3 times over before I would run another Heroic.

The best way that I can describe this is how DPS use your meters to compare how good you are on your Damage output, well, tanks don’t get meters but we are still jockeying for the top spots. Hell, healers do the same damn thing. This is not a new concept so why am I being affected by it now?

Where did it go so wrong?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Lewis and Clark Ain't Got $&!# On Me

2 comments
Cartographers. If you're wondering about the Lewis and Clark reference, its cartography. This is your American History lesson of the day. Louisiana Purchase, go west, you remember that whole story right? Well, besides being explorers, they made maps. Thus, the addon I'm spotlighting today is Cartographer. I was going for clever, but perhaps fell short.

You see, Lewis and Clark would have perhaps made something like the Blizzard default map. It's large, takes up your whole screen, and is just sort of clunky. Technology being what it is... we have made advancements. Cartographer is one of those advancements.

One of the things I hated most about the out-of-the-box map function in the game is that I can't see what I'm doing while checking my map. What if I was keeping one eye on the map and the other on where my trusty steed is leading me (or the person beating on my poor horse's flanks)?

Enter Cartographer, the map replacement addon of your (or maybe just my) dreams. Here at the pics:


Full Screen


Zoomed In

As you can see, the map appears now it's own window. You can drag the window around to a position of your choosing. You can zoom in and zoom out with your mouse wheel. You can drag your cursor around to see other parts of the map. It even works with questhelper. In short, it does everything your Blizz map does... only better, without taking up your entire screen.

It also has some of the dungeon maps pre-loaded with locations of bosses, etc. These can come in quite handy I've found. Usually they don't get the new ones right away though. Also, it can show you the location of guild members in the same zone. There are all sorts of neat tricks I'm sure I haven't figured out myself.

This is an addon I highly recommend and use a ton, if only because it doesn't take up my full screen. Besides, isn't a map an explorer's best friend?


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Snow Day Gear List

7 comments
The picture at the right was shot using my cell phone at 9:00AM this morning. I'd like to call your attention to two things. First, the green arrow on the left is pointing to my car. Mind you, that car was completely cleaned off less than 12 hours ago. Fuu would also like to point out that her car is the one next to mine that is also covered. The other point of interest is to the right, you can see the man just came by with the snow blower and there is a precipice of snow. Yeah, we got 11 inches over night. That's 27.94 centimeters for you folks who do the metric system. That's a lot! So yeah, Fuu and I get a snow day from work today. I called my interim boss (the other one is out this week), who was also at home (and ironically plays WoW), and he told me not to worry about it. I told him to enjoy his PvP today. Fuu works downtown in the city, and the place is a mess right now. Her boss is one of two that braved it, but is just there to tell everyone else: "Stay Away". Anyways, epic snow day.

Since I'm home, I've actually got some links for you today. Sorry if you were not so lucky as us and are actually at work :-).

Okay, so what I did was hit up the Emblem of Heroism vendor in Dalaran and browse her wares last night, picking out the pieces that would be an upgrade for me. Then I put them in order of what I thought would be my biggest upgrades, and allow me to do the most with my gear. I must preface this list saying that your priorities may be different. Some of it may not be worth the investment, but I haven't been getting any drops, and I know these pieces will go to good use. So anyways, here's my summary of good, 10-man badge gear for Warlocks. Keep in mind, I'm sitting at mostly quest blues right now, so if that is your case, I'm hoping this list may help.

  1. T7.10 Chest - Heroes' Plagueheart Robe - 80 Emblems of Heroism
  2. Waist - Plush Sash of Guzbah - 40 Emblems of Heroism
  3. Neck - Encircling Burnished Gold Chains - 25 Emblems of Heroism
  4. T7.10 Gloves - Heroes' Plagueheart Gloves - 60 Emblems of Heroism
  5. Trinket (Optional but I like it) - Discerning Eye of the Beast - 50 Emblems of Heroism
  6. Good Off-Hand (If I ever get a good main hand) - Ward of the Violet Citadel - 25 Emblems of Heroism
And that's it. Those are all purple items except for the trinket which is bind on account. I'm focusing on 10-man stuff, because that's the majority of what I'll be doing. I'm not pugging 25-man stuff, even though I know the gear there is vastly better. I'll get to it eventually. This is just my aim for now with doing heroics and 10-mans. I may do some PvP (especially Clustergrasp), but I'm not doing an exhaustive bit of research on that list either.

I feel I should point out that I picked up the Titan-forged Hood of Dominance from the Wintergrasp vendor the other day. I filled it out with a +19 SP gem and the +20 (and minor run speed increase) meta gem from the same vendor. I don't care much for the PvP aspects of it, the run speed is kind of nice if you're kiting something, but the stats were much better than what I had on and I might as well make those marks work for me.

So that's my plan to "go epic". I really need some better trinkets, but just haven't found any. Mine are still green (the only green pieces left). Obviously, this isn't going to completely epic me out, but I'd like to think it'd give me a good start and make raiding/heroics a bit easier. I also plan on getting a hold of some of the crafted stuff (I'm a tailor) as well, but that's a list for another time.

Ding. 12 inches. :-D

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I'm Too Sexy For My Map

2 comments
For your reading pleasure, I'm going to be sprinkling in a few short posts about the addons I'm using currently to keep my UI clean. I had a big screenie a few days back where I just did a general layout. I plan to reuse that screenie and zoom in on certain parts, just letting you know what they are and perhaps a tip or trick to using them. I don't plan on making long exhaustive posts on how to use them, often times this has already been done. If there are questions though, feel free to ask them in comments and I will try to hit you up with an answer.

First, one of my recent additions can be found in the upper right hand corner of the big screenie re-pictured below.


The Big Picture

Zoomed In

You'll see a nice, neat little square mini-map. My love of this add-on stems from the OCD-engineer in me. I mean, the screen is square, so why the heck is the default minimap round? Aren't maps usually square too? The roundness bothered me, just so much wasted space. Plus all those little bubble buttons staring back at me.... ugh!

Enter the SexyMap addon. I can't claim to have discovered this all on my own and credit must go out to Phaelia over at Resto4Life for the original inspiration. She has a great guide on how to make a tree-friendly skin that can be easily adapted to make something more... evil. If you want a great in-depth look at how to customize the addon, head over there.

For my part, I just use the "Simple Square" preset that comes with the addon. It is what it says it is: a simple square. Go squares!

But Mr. Ful, there are not buttons and no clock! How shall I know the time or tweak some settings?

Do not panic, they will appear via magic when you mouse over the map. This is perfect for me. I don't want to see them 90% of the time, but when I do need them, I don't want to have to hunt for an hour through menus. Just mouse over, and there they are, just where you left them!

Additionally, you can set the clock to be "always shown" or even replace the clock with a display of your coordinates. I've toyed with both depending on my needs. I usually like the coordinates to be on when leveling, but like the clock when counting down to another exciting adventure in Clustergrasp. You can even set the "Always show, never show, show on mouse over" choices for each individual button.

The functionality of the mini-map remains the same. You'll see the same maps, the same quest indicators, the same blinky-target-thingy-when-someone-in-the-group-accidentally-clicks-up-there... you know, all the good stuff. You can still zoom in and out. This just makes your map... sexy. I guess in the world of the OCD enginerd, simple square is sexy? Ugh... I need to get out more.

Fuuuuuuuu!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Why Planning A Wedding Is Like Tanking

3 comments

  • Everyone has their own garb, but yours is always the most expensive.
  • A good Priest is a treasure beyond worth.
  • Don't forget the buffs or people will be really upset.
  • While there is plenty of Rage to go around, you always seem to be OOM. (Mana or Motivation, you pick).
  • It certainly is a struggle to be uncrushable and uncritable, but you have to be because otherwise... you're dead.
  • Because sometimes the best offense really is a good defense.
  • The shinier the gear, the more you're gonna pay for it.
  • Does anyone have a map of this place?
  • Yeah, you're gonna wanna avoid LFG channels. Just trust me on this one. PuG's don't often turn out well.
  • Special food is a must. Potions and Elixirs are "optional", but can greatly ease the pain, especially if you don't have the good Priest mentioned above, so you'd better plan on bringing a lot.
  • Why is it so hard to find a balanced group? I don't care whether you're trying for 5-man, 10-man, or 25-man instances, you always seem to be missing at least one vital class.
  • I got it, I got it. Just let it beat on me and you'll do the rest. I've heard that before.
  • You must be very careful with what you click.
  • There is no such thing as too much room in your inventory, you're always gonna need more slots.
  • Watch out for those Holy spells. They can hurt.
  • I don't care who else is in the group, they can't get started with YOU.
  • "You pull it, you tank it"
  • There are always adds and YOU have to pick them up, regardless if you're currently getting your face smashed in elsewhere.
  • A good shield can really help. If you can't use a shield, you're gonna be taking it on the chin.
  • You leave your guild hanging and there's gonna be hell to pay. You think they can "just find another tank" that easy?

Feel free to add more in the comments =).

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Shared Topic: Only In WoW

2 comments
As I was perusing Sideshow and Syrana, I saw that they were posting about the Blog Azeroth shared topic, and its one I like. Not to say any of the other ones are bad, I just usually can't come up with material on-the-spot like. Random, witty humor I can do. So thanks to InspiredOgre for the idea (please send all complaints to the Ogre. Ha! Alliance humor?). So without further adieu, here is my attempt to make your laugh. (Disclaimer: most of these are YouTube links, I figured it'd be okay since it is the weekend).

Only in WoW...

Can a mammoth inspire vertigo.

Can a single dance say so much about your identity.


Does farming not mean sowing seeds and creating life, but gathering up life and ending it en masse.

Is the fauna mostly NOT stationary.

Can you kill a human for his ears and find that they often have only one, or none.

Is a person celebrated for blatantly disobeying caution and getting everyone killed.

Is there no clean-up after cooking a feast.

Can you create an entire motorcycle in under a minute.

Would you wear metal clothing in the frozen tundra.

Can you use a sheep to ruin someone's day and create tons of laughs.

And, finally the most serious. Only in WoW can a fantasy world inspire so much in the real world.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Numbers, Rotations, and a Funny Pic

5 comments
Today's lazy Friday post is brought to you by the letter D. You can't spell DPS without "D".

Yesterday was actually a busy WoW day. I ran heroic Nexus on my Warlock and then went back later and three manned regular Nexus on my level 71 DK. The tank was 80 and the shammy healer/DPS was 74, so its not as cool as it sounds. Still, it was fun and we only wiped once.

With my Warlock on heroic mode, I was able to push out just under 1600DPS average for the instance. This is very good. Normally trash brings me down much lower. Bosses saw me at nearly 1800 DPS and I'm basically gear in all blues. I'll be excited when I break the 2k mark, but for now I'm a lot more content with my Warlock. It seems that because of the "easy mode" on the regular stuff, it took until we hit heroics and raiding to really find out DPS stride as a class. It can still be a struggle at points, and the affliction rotation can still use some work, but I'm gonna stop my QQ'ing.

I use a somewhat different rotation than most I've read, mainly because I don't lead of with a shadowbolt. I know having shadow embrace up early is good, but I like starting with something more... instant. Therefore, I put Corruption up right away, then follow with a Haunt, SB, and UA. This is pretty much as far as I get on trash, tossing on the occasional SL and switching targets well before the first one dies (checking my aggro table to make sure I don't outpace the tank). This has served me quite well. For bosses, I just keep going after UA adding CoA, SL, and Immolate. Yes, I'm using Immolate.

Despite the large number of dots I need to pay attention to on bosses for this, it really isn't too hard. It can make you feel scatter-brained at times, but basically when I get done applying all the dots, I'm right back to the front with a Haunt refresh. I'll clip spells to make the rotation fit nicer with less downtime, but they line up quite well in this order. At least in practice that is. There is very little shadowbolt filler, so that's something. I'm not sure what that something is, but it's something. On one hand I like being less reliant on shadowspam, but on the other it keeps your hands full if you have to pay attention to other things besides dot timers.

On my DK, I was pushing out almost 800 DPS on average for the instance. This seemed to be pretty good. I wasn't in the group with similarly geared/leveled people, so it was tough to gauge. Plus, when you're three manning, its not all about damage output, its more about just staying alive and beating the content, which I enjoyed. I wasn't too noobish and tried to not just faceroll through it, but after having headaches with a crazy rotation on my Warlock, DK'ing just felt, well, easy. It's a lot more forgiving, IMO. *shrug*

For my DK, I went with a crazy, made up utility spec that places emphasis on group heals (I was planning on not being in "real" groups and needing the healing). Thus I'm a crazy blood spec that can kinda party heal and such. Therefore I can't claim to have a spec that makes sense, but my rotation ends up being IT, PS, HS, HS, OB. I throw in a DC whenever I get high on runic power... but that's about it. If I want to AoE, I do the two diseases just the same (Icy Touch and then Plague Strike), then Pestilence to spread the disease, then a little Death and Decay to make 'em burn. This will pretty much use up your runes, so its nice to have a little runic power to shoot off a death coil or two while you wait. I usually still try to finish up with and obliterate too if I can.

Okay, enough about numbers and rotations, here's the part you all really wanted to see, the funny picture. The context here is that when you go to this one area of Storm Peaks, they turn you into a huge girl. We thought this looked quite humorous while on our mounts... so I snapped an action photo. They look like toy horses:
Poor Ponies

Thursday, January 22, 2009

DPS Check, Post Patch or Warlock Inauguration Speech

2 comments
I made some simple upgrades with gems and a clustergrasp head piece (netting me a meta slot, check 'em out at the vendor in the borked zone) and saw significant DPS increase. How much is from gear and how much is from fixes, I couldn't tell you. The good news is I was competitive for the top spot again pushing around 1800DPS on the bosses of OS (decked out in mostly 80 blues from quests and early rep). The bad news is, with the complicated rotation, it takes all of my attention on one target to keep that kind of DPS up. When you have to help deal with adds and such, it really starts to fall off fast. Not to mention I don't feel like I add a whole lot on the adds (ha, a pun!).

I'm not sure how to remedy this. The problem is that as an Affliction 'lock I have just about zero burst DPS. For instance, when you pop into the timed egg portal on one of the mini-bosses in OS, you only have about 10 seconds before the eggs hatch. Any good aff'lock could tell you that that just isn't enough time for a DoT rotation on one target, much less 6 in quick succession. Our shortest DoT is 12 seconds long.

For you non-warlock types, it helps to think of a DoT like this. Say you have a(n) [insert class here] who has a spell, [insert spell name here]. That spell does a certain amount of damage with perhaps a cast time and cooldown period. Let's say, for the sake of argument, that the spell is instant cast, uses the GCD, and normally does about 800 damage on average. So as a(n) [insert class here], you use the spell, a pretty number 800 pops up above the mob, then you move on to the next attack, repeating as desired. After x amount of time, you've done y number of 800 spells and gotten z damage.

As a warlock, that 800 damage spell for me is spread out over a certain amount of time. So I may cast the spell, get 0 damage initially, but I know that after, say, x seconds, I'll be getting the full 800 and can do other stuff in the mean time. Thus, all things being equal (things being stats and skill), over the same period of time, I can use y number of 800 spells and get z damage as well. Hence, equal, balanced, good.

I've QQ'ed before about the state of Warlocks, but upon closer inspection, I believe I may not have been very clear about what I really think is wrong. Sure we have some bugs and stuff that need worked out, but I don't think the class is broken by any means. Blizz keeps saying "you're not broken" and I'm inclined to believe that diatribe. I believe that given the same stats and gear and skill as another class, we can compete in damage and probably win against a hybrid type (as we should). We CAN do the uber DPS we want, we just don't. Why is this? What is the problem? Did we all wake up after TBC and just take "suck" pills?

In my opinion, the problem exists when the monster doesn't live for enough time that my DoTs equal out your burst damage. We're just not getting x seconds on anything anymore, plus with the decreased dependency on shadowbolts we asked for (and got), that "x" has been extended somewhat. However, since just before WotLK released, we were seeing "x" decrease on trash, on adds, on some bosses even. Thus, where do Warlocks get to shine? Right now, end game raiding is one place where most people claim "Stop your QQ, 'locks are fine, I'm in T120 gear and can push just fine DPS, you lolsuck" (or something like that).

Looking at that though, it makes sense... stuff is harder to kill there, stays up longer, etc. Also, most of the referenced fights are long, boss fights with few adds. That, or that adds are handled by others. In short, they are warlock friendly fights.

Where am I going with this? Okay, you caught me, I'm ranting a bit. But the whole point I wanted to make here is just that when I QQ about 'locks being broken or under powered or whatever, I think I know why it is. It isn't that Warlocks are broken in the game, its that the game is broken for Warlocks (at a certain level).

I know, I just blew your mind. But look, we were given a more complicated rotation in WotLK, trying to decrease our dependency on shadow bolts. We're became MORE dependant on to hitting longer living stuff because we're constantly keeping a rotation up. However, there are FEWER longer living things, and more bosses with "cool" mechanics, necessitating more than just a "tank and spank" mentality. Sure affliction locks are more mobile, able to reposition while DoTs are ticking with minimal DPS loss, but we just CAN'T keep up good DPS on multiple targets right now. Not without losing a good portion of the DoTs we need to keep up. Especially when those targets die too quickly for us to get even one full spell to tick.

We can still AoE decently, but when you get into that grey area when you're supposed to be following a kill order for things that are going down far too quickly, what is a 'lock to do?

The good news here is that as we all progress and see new content, things will live longer and we'll get our chance to shine. We may get an easier rotation that can alleviate some of the pain. We also aren't really "broken". We're just out of our element in most of the content right now.

The good news is that Affliction Warlocks are setting the bar for the biggest headache to play. How is that good news, you may ask. Well, that's why I love my class. It's no walk in the park and on a complicated fight I'm afraid my fingers and brain might explode. But I wouldn't have it any other way. Those of us sticking it out will be better players for the struggle right now.

Look at my Pally cohort. Her class was the very picture of broken for some time. When they "fixed" it, now she seems to be completely OP/easy mode. I have to believe part of that is because she struggled to be a good player with a broken class, and when it got some love, she was still a good player, but now had abilities to match. This can make a deadly combo.

So fear not, my warlock brethren, our time will come again. Until then, sharpen your staves(?)! Hone your nimble fingers! And stay the course. Ask not what your class can do for the game, but what can the game do for your class.

Or something like that anyways. :-D

And since you're now bursting with the faux pride that I inspired with spirited writing (right?), here is a photo of OS success from the Warlock front. A dead dragon always makes me proud...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Doomed

6 comments
I mentioned yesterday that I was playing around with Curse of Doom. This arose from the fact that I as I was filling out my PvP bar, debating what was and wasn't going to make the cut, I suddenly "remembered" that I had this spell. I believe the last time I used this was on Curator, right before one of his evocations. Since that time, I haven't really had occasion to use it. CoA has always seemed like the better choice, or CotE.

In any case, in reading the tooltip and realizing it cannot be used on players, I was about to throw this one out, but then I read the part about potentially summoning a Doomguard. I realized I had never seen a Doomguard before. That is, one of my own summoning. I guess I've just never really killed anything with CoD.

So a plan hatched itself in my brain. I would go out and test this spell on something that would both give me honor and yet not kill me. I.E. a level 77ish mob. I flew north out of Dalaran to the nearest area I could find with mobs in Icecrown. This is where I encountered problem #1.

Problem #1 stemmed from the fact that the undead are immune to fear. Icecrown is crawling with undead, so that is what I found when I landed. My plan was to put CoD on an enemy, drain some of his life, and then fear him and let him run around until he died. Welp, there goes the fear part.

It's okay though, they don't hit very hard and I can always drain tank. Problem #1 solved, drain tanking for one minute... check.

I popped CoD on the baddie, then got him to under 7k health (my tooltip said CoD would hit for 7k, so I got him well under that to make sure he died from it). I let him beat on me, draining him down, but not too low lest I kill him by mistake. The monster dies and I get meet a Doomguard. Yay! Success!

But wait, I forgot about Problems #2 and 3.

Problem #2 is that I am now decently injured from allowing the baddie to beat on me until death, thus I'm sitting at maybe 50% health when the Doomguard puts in his appearance. I'm also a clothie, mind you, so he starts hitting me for a decent amount.

Problem #3 is that I don't normally use "Enslave Demon" so the spell is most definitely not "at hand".

Thus, with those two problems in mind, I am not getting whacked by a being of my own creation, threatening to kill me, and I have no way to stop him in the immediate future. Did I have a soulstone on? Of course not. Healthstone? Nope. I wasn't planning on an epic battle here...

So, yeah, I got three shotted by my own Doomguard. I guess that's what I get for trying to use the stupid spell. I really have to figure out something else to put there...

Here's a picture of the outcome... notice dead baddie, dead me, live Doomguard standing on my face and taunting me with his awesomeness. He despawned before I could exact my revenge too. I was pissed.
Curiosity Killed the 'Lock

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Patch Day!

5 comments
That's right, 3.0.8 hits today... NOW! Even as I'm writing this! Whaaa?!

I'm making up for my lazy weekend with a dual post today... I won't bore you with a huge copy pasting, so go read the patch notes for yourself here. Apologies if you're at work and can't read them, so I will copy the Warlock's section below...

Here are some highlights.
  • Tapping: All player spells which cause a creature to become aggressive to you will now also immediately cause the creature to be tapped.
  • Lots of Wintergrasp changes. Read up. All in all, I think its good.
  • Bunch of DK stuff. My fave: Heart Strike no longer has a haste debuff but will now be able to strike two targets.
  • Reduced the cloth required to make a Bolt of Imbued Frostweave.
  • Many high level enchantment recipes have had the amount of Infinite Dust and Greater Cosmic Essence requirements significantly reduced, but with Dream Shards being added to them.
  • Much much more. DK's probably have the most class changes. Tapping is great for 'locks. Profession changes are overall good.
Here is the Warlock section. Painfully small, but some good stuff in there:

Warlocks

  • Curse of Agony will now scale better when used with the Glyph of Curse of Agony. Ticks beyond the original duration will do 33% more damage than the ticks that preceded them. i.e. 74 -> 145 -> 217 -> 290.
  • Demon Armor and Demon Skin: Armor increased by approximately 120%.
  • Demonic Circle: The teleport now clears all snare effects.
  • Drain Mana: Now drains a percentage of maximum mana.
  • Emberstorm: Now works with Conflagrate.
  • Ritual of Summoning: Will now create a summoning portal object which can be re-used for multiple summons for 5 minutes.
I may be tempted to make more use of CoA and perhaps pick up the glyph. I'd probably replace my Shadowbolt one then... I still don't see using Demon Skin/Armor and losing the bonus SP from Fel Armor. The circle buff is good, but I still don't like having to set it down before using it. You should be able to use it to "teleport" in-place, just to clear effects if you haven't put down the first part. The summoning change is huge and much needed. Yay for not wasting all my shards getting people to the raid! There is also a bunch more about "bug" fixes for warlocks too, some of which were mentioned before so I won't rehash. Hopefully we're seeing a DPS boost across the board from these fixes.

And that is that. Here's to hoping the servers are actually up for playing this evening.

Dot, Fear, Run Away: PvP Bar Stylings

3 comments
Sorry for the long, post-free weekend. It was my birthday and Fuu took me on a wonderful trip. Mostly we skiied for a day, and contrary to Fuu's precognitions of what the day would mean for her, she did not die. She does have a couple of pretty new bruises. I suggested that she wear plate instead of cloth next time we ski. What does a Pally know about wearing cloth anyways? The trip was great, but obviously Internet free, so sorry for the lack of posts.

I did get to play a bit once we returned home and was able to accomplish a few things. First on that list was the construction of a PvP bar for Clustergrasp. My PvE bar just wasn't cutting it; I needed different spells at hand. So here are a couple of pictures to get this discussion started. First, a full screenie so you can see how I'm rolling nowadays:
Clockwise from the top left, you can see I'm employing a frame replacement addon, some fubar addons, a map addon, a minimap addon, a bar replacement addon, and a warlocky addon. I won't go into specifics on which ones I'm using, but if you'd like to see such a post, leave a comment. For the sake of this post, we're going to zoom in on my action bar at the bottom (the one bound to the numbers):
This is what I came up with for my PvP guilty pleasure. Keep in mind that I pretty much only do Wintergrasp, so this is tailored with that in mind. From left to right we have:
  • "PvP" macro - All my instant casts are here: SL, Corr, CoA; for quick application. I like SL first because it keeps my health up if I spread it around a lot. Corr is the next best thing and CoA is the third. The nice thing about this is it gets 3 DoTs up in <6s.>
  • "PvPB" macro - This is just binding two spells to one button: Haunt and Shadowbolt. My s-bolts can be shot with "alt" held down. Good to have at finger's reach.
  • "DoTs" macro - This is the same one I use in PvE. It has UA and Immolate in sequence. Again, good to have at finger's reach. I also have my bolts and dots on the same keys I use in PvE so that I don't confuse myself.
  • Fear - This has high priority since I'm supposed to keep it up a lot. Since almost every class seems to have multiple ways of being immune or getting out of this, I get pissed quite often because I don't seem to have an equal number of ways to get out of their crap. QQ of the day here. Everyone got so pissed about fear that we got nerfed to hell through added abilities to other classes, yet what can warlocks do to avoid? We have what.. that new portal crap to break out of stuns or traps? We can't blink or run fast. Bah!
  • Death Coil - See Fear rant above... need to have close by for obvious reasons.
  • Howl of Terror - See DC and Fear above... I have all these stacked on one key for PvE, but for PvP I have the nasty habit of pounding on my keys when I've been stunned, etc, to try and get a fear off before I die. Having these on their own keys is a must for me, for facerolling purposes.
  • Drain Life - Helpful to have around
  • Drain Mana - I'm hoping this gets buffed, but when I'm OOM and can't anything else, might as well have this one around.
  • Curse of Tongues - Remember this one? I sure didn't. I'd like to use this on casters. Good stuff.
  • "LT" Macro - This is the same macro I use in PvE that has three spells on one button. Life Tap is the unmodded key, Dark Pact is with an "alt", and I can apply my super cool warlock armor with the "shift" key.
  • Rain of Fire - For those times when you really wanna AoE...
  • Curse of Doom - Not for PvP at all, but because I wish it could be. Imagine being able to hit a couple people with this and having Doomguard pop amongst their ranks. Fun stuff. This button isn't really used, I just put this there as a place holder. I've been playing around with this in PvE too, as it can be useful for farming low level stuff since you can put on all your instants quick and just run around, fearing as necessary. I've been playing around with CoD there and that's why its here.
  • What you don't see - You may think "but what about bandages or food, etc?" If you look at the full screenie, you'll see I have some stuff that is clickable above my action bars. This is where my general utility stuff like food goes in both PvP and PvE environments. I saw no need to change this.
So there you have it, my brand-spanking new PvP bar. I haven't been able to run a Clustergrasp with it yet, but I'm looking forward to it. Got any questions? Suggestions? Obviously I am by no means a PvP god, just looking to make it fun for us UP (under powered, not upper peninsula) 'locks.

Friday, January 16, 2009

VA, OS, GoSL and other Acronyms

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As the title might imply, this is going to be a random smattering of thoughts I'm having at the current point in time. I'd like to slightly recap my raid experiences, point out that I picked up the Glyph of Siphon Life, debated with constructing a PvP bar, and almost leveled my DK to 70.

First up, the Vault of Acha... Archa... Notgonnabealiveanymore. This is the theoretical "prize" for winning Clustergrasp. That is to say, you must own the zone to have a shot at this place. It's a quick, few trash pulls then single boss type of encounter. The trash is easy, and so is the boss if you know the fight. He's basically a big DPS-check. Not even a high one at that, just has to be killed before his enrage timer goes up. This can be done with all sorts of different raid compositions, which is a good thing since most people will PuG this. Things to watch out for here are the "fart cloud" and "crazy rocks".

The "fart cloud" is an AoE attack that looks like a dirty cloud that the boss releases after jumping somewhere in your party. This can result in death if you do not move out of it. The "crazy rocks" are linked to an attack that the boss performs on a random member of the raid, throwing out rock shards that cause AoE damage around that person. Again, this is a very visible attack, so do your best to move out of it. As a not-very-well-geared clothie, the stupid rocks will three-shot me, giving me a scant three seconds to get out da way. Other than these two things, though, stand your ground and DPS hard. This was a good warm up as a 'lock, and my fingers were burning when I was done. I felt my DPS didn't show the effort I was putting in, but that's a different story.

OS is the Obsidian Sanctum I believe. Basically it is a lair of baddies from the black dragonflight. Thus, you're gonna fight a plethora of dragon based opponents (Wyrmkin and the like). When you enter the place (under Wyrmrest Temple), you'll see the final boss in front of you. Three mini-bosses surround the main boss, but do not have to be killed to take on the final boss. There are a few trash pulls as well. The idea here is that with each mini boss you kill, the final boss gets a smidge easier, but you also get fewer rewards (less gear drops). Thus, you kind of have to make a group decision on how good you *think* you are.

The mini bosses each summon little portals that you'll want to hop into and DPS the stuff inside down before rejoining the boss fight. There are multiple approaches to these fights, but what we did is have one tank and healer stay outside while another tank and healer and all DPS went inside to do our jobs, rejoining after killing everything or the timer ran out. Two of the mini-bosses have the same thing in the portals, namely a wyrmkin elite that need be DPS'ed down. These encounters are pretty easy. The other mini-boss has a bunch of eggs in the portals, if you do not kill the eggs before the timer runs up on the portal, you'll have a bunch of whelps on your hands and it can get messy. We opted to go in and kill as many eggs as possible.

The final boss is a full grown dragon, thus stand to the side as we all have learned (see the L2Dragon post by Secret Agent Cat that I referenced in case you have forgotten). The tricky part here is avoiding the walls of flame that sweep the boss platform from either the left or right. Each of these flaming walls have a "hole" in them where you will need to stand to avoid damage. Basically when the wall comes from the left the hole will be near the "back" of the platform. The opposite is true when it comes from the right, with the hole being near the boss or "front" part. Additionally, you're gonna have to find a way to deal with all the little flame elemental adds that spawn.

This is more of an awareness fight, and I can't claim that we were successful on it. We sort of ran out of time for more tries, since it was late. As a warlock, this is a cool little place to use that portal of ours. You can set it in one of the "holes" and use it to get there quick and/or reset yourself in position.

Switching gears from raiding now, I obtained a Glyph of Siphon Life last night and popped it into my spellbook. I actually changed my mind at the last second and removed my Glyph of Unstable Affliction. Did it get changed to only decrease cast time by 0.2s, or am I just an idiot? I thought it was 0.5s back in the day. I don't think 0.2s is worth a major glyph spot and I'd rather take the mana decrease on s-bolts. I don't think I'm really 0.2s accurate yet, so that time would be wasted anyways. I'd like to say I'm more perfect to make it count, but the reality is... 0.2s is pretty darned small. I'm still holding off on popping in a Glyph of Immolate because I want to see how they fix the spell in the patch. Right now it does weird stuff like dropping off with an early refresh which is annoying and makes me not want to use it. I have enough to deal with.

The GoSL has a second benefit in that I almost always use this spell along with my other insta-casts when I PvP in Clustergrasp. I mentioned that I'm debating making a PvP specific bar, which is true. I have always really just used one number bar at the bottom and several click-able bars throughout my screen to contain my spells for PvE. I'm finding that the PvE setup can hinder my PvP reaction speed a bit, so I think I will set up a second bar for PvP. I don't like the whole shift-# change thing, because I usually do it accidentally, but this may be a good case to do it purposefully. After I get some time to work with it, I'll try and post what I set up for reference. Basically I'm going to put fears, insta-DoTs, and escape spells with higher priority than my PvE bars gives them (a lot of these are buried, reflecting their "situational" usage only). I may even make a one button insta-DoT macro since I'm not ever really doing a rotation, but dotting and running like a good 'lock. We'll see.

Finally, my DK is about to hit 70, and hopefully will do so this weekend. I was DW'ing an axe and sword last night and felt like the BAB I was pretending to be. I like feeling powerful again after raiding on my sad 'lock. I even did some tanking for one of the quests with a random person from a friendly guild that I ran into. I slapped the correct presence on, but didn't need to change gear or anything and ran up some massive threat. It was pretty cool. I yearn for the day when I can feel powerful on both my toons. Until then, my DK will be my not-so-secret escape and I will beat my head against the 'lock wall trying to make myself better so that when the changes do come (and I believe they will), I will be a BAB and a BAL. Figure that last acronym out for yourself :-).

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Small Glyph Update

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So I had the following all typed up last night but didn't get quite finished with it as we had an important meeting last night: Fuubaar and I have officially "set the date" for July 18th. What date, you may ask... You see, IRL we've specced into an aura called "engagement". This is general aura that can be applied and gives you x2 to all stats. We are speccing another point into the talent to bring us to "married" which makes the aura permanent. We'll officially "ding" on July 18th. Long story short, sorry I didn't get his up last night.

I usually try to post earlier in the day, since I figure most people like to read around lunch time. However, today's post is coming to you later, complete with wowHead links because I needed to actually do some research for it. As I've said before, work firewalls prevent me from visiting research sites, so this necessitated a later posting time. Apologies if you were disappointed on your lunch break today.

With that said, I felt it was time for an update on the Glyphs I'm employing on both my Warlock on and my Death Knight. As I start to prepare for raiding, I'm finding it is becoming important to make sure my glyphs are appropriately applied. My old post on the subject can be found here, if you are interested in my original thoughts for why I chose what I did.

Okay, now that you've read the preamble, here's the list:

Warlock Glyphs

Major

Minor


DK Glyphs
The caveat here is that I have not raided with my DK and may never end up raiding with her. I choose most of theses glyphs for solo surviveability and fun. Also, I wanted to be able to help out with the healing aspect of a group as we're normally okay for tanks but short on healers. I've found a blood DK can be a band-aid to a half-a$$ heal solution if done right. For a better list of DK glyphs and choice, see Skeleton Jack's posting here (though he is talking more about PvP, I like his list).

Major

Minor

So that's that. I'm not saying that these are particularly the best choices, but they are what I've settled on. I currently don't have a friend who does inscription, so most of this is just based on browsing the AH and seeing what I can pick up. Mix that in with a healthy dose of what is out on the blogosphere right now, and you have my recipe for success (hopefully).

Now, off to raid! (finally)

And raid we did, pulling together a 25-man VA and 10-man OS (I'm not exactly sure how to spell what they stand for yet, because they're long names, so I'll just stick with the acronyms). After a few rough tries we succeeded at the DPS-check boss in VA... his 5 minute enrage timer makes it rough, but we did it. OS was not so lucky, as we couldn't beat the final boss before it was bed time. Still, it was very good to be back in the saddle even though my DPS was crap. Also, I think my xPerl got glitchy in the 25 man, appearing to drop some of my DoTs off the boss. I'm not sure what was going on. I hope they fix that immolate bug soon too because I'm still using it despite my better judgement (I've been too lazy to edit my macro).

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Ding 20!

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20 readers that is. Yay! Thanks go out to all of you who tune in to listen (aka read) to my daily drivel. Hopefully it hasn't been all dull. Maybe I've even helped along the way. In any case *Cheers*!

I'll be actually making a real post later tonight when I can get to my research sites. Hopefully, its going to be a short update/summary on all the glyphs I'm using both as a Warlock and DK. I suppose we'll see. The weather is bad here with snow and all, and I may just as easily end up in a ditch.

Hopefully Not Like This

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

It's Okay To "Just Say No" Sometimes

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As I was reviewing my normal daily digest of blogs, I noticed a theme taking shape today. It seems numerous individuals are using today (or recently) to write about guild raid formation issues. There are a smattering of GM's and officers bemoaning choices that need to be made for raiding and leveling and gearing.

The main point I take from all this blog buzz about guilds is that, right now, there are a lot of guilds struggling to get the raid train going. Whether it be gearing, lack of a class, or just old fashioned drama, people are re-evaluating their approach to raids. This is a healthy, natural part of an evolving game, but buzz worthy nonetheless. While the hardcore raid train has long since left the station, us casual raiders are still just warming up.

As such, I wanted to throw in my two copper on the subject. For reference, I am speaking from the perspective of a casual guild Officer, sometime Raid Leader, and often de facto organizer.

In my time with WoW I have experienced several casual guild pitfalls and have struggled to learn the lessons taught by the mistakes. One of my approaches to life is to learn what you can from your mistakes in an effort not to repeat them. It has served me well in the past, but is not always as simple as it sounds. With that in mind, I've noticed two pitfalls that I believe are avoidable if identified for what they are.

One main pitfall of casual guilds that raid seems to stem from the recruitment process. Often, the desire to raid is so strong that we recruit the wrong people. The emphasis stops being on the person and starts being on the class or player. This, to me, is where the problem begins. Casual guilds have personalities of their own, and they're not for everyone. If you recruit a great player of a class you need solely for that reason, and they don't fit in, drama ensues. Drama which can tear a guild apart.

Instead, we must strive to be patient and look for the type of person that will fit in, that will be happy with your guild, regardless of the class. This may put your short on healers or whatever, but IMO it's far better to PuG that one class than to force a guild down someone's throat. Everyone will be happier in the end.

The reason I feel this is of utmost importance is because this part happens before all the other crap. Before you can decide on loot rules, chat rules, raid times, attendance, all the other things things where problems can crop up... you have to have people. It is the people that make the guild. I would bet you'll have a lot more success with all that other crap if you have good people in the first place. Keep that in mind as you try and prepare your guild for raiding.

Another common pitfall stems from officer/GM burnout. Sometimes, an officer or leader of some type will push so hard that they neglect their own game. They're trying to get everyone organized and ready and geared... to the detriment of their own fun. As officers we need to make sure to share the load of casual raiding. Sure, you may have one actual raid leader, but everyone should try to help out as much as they can. Be it as simple as offering to run some heroics with people to give the RL a night off and help gear the others, or as complex as offering to actually organize the event so all the RL has to do is show up and talk on vent. Whatever you can do helps. Maybe even take the approach of an RL by committee. I know there are nights when I like to lead, and nights when I just wanna concentrate on my messy DoT rotation.

When officers get burned out, they get pissy. This is bad for everyone. We all play this game first and foremost because we enjoy it. If that stops being your reason, you need to think about making a change. Everyone, even officers and GMs, deserve some "me" time. I don't care if you're the Explorer-Loremaster-Battlemaster-Super-WoW-expert-I-have-tons-of-a-cash-and-have-done-it-all, everyone needs a night off now and then to just farm boars or something for no apparent reason.

These two issues seem to be in line with themes I've read about recently and, like I said, I wanted to offer my advice on them. Its not my best writing, but its hard to condense the complicated issues that revolve around casual guild management into a simple post. I think the easiest way to sum it all up is one word: Balance.

There has to be balance in your gaming life. Just like "all work and no play" makes us cranky and dull IRL, we need to strive for a balanced gaming life. Yes, some of it is going to be "work". Whenever you're dealing with other people, their schedules, and their lives, a certain amount of effort needs to be expended simply to not be an asshat. On the flip side, don't be an emotional vampire and drain those around you of energy and enthusiasm for the game. Share the load! Be aware of the effort that officers and GMs put in. Sometimes a simple "thank you" can go a long way to making someone's day.

Monday, January 12, 2009

More Confessions of the Sidetracked Warlock

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In an ineffective show of protest against the state of Warlocks everywhere (and mostly because we're currently on a "guild afk" from raiding), I spent the weekend on my Death Knight, Decedereful. She's my little Kate Beckinsale/Wesley Snipes wannabe. If you don't get those two references, I'm sorry. Here's a little hint: I'm blood spec and love swords of all types. Also, see the picture to the left for a clever view of my little BAB (that's Bada$$ B!tch, I just shortened it DC style). Wow, far too many non-WoW references there, but you get the point.

Sometimes things need killing and apparently right now my 'lock won't cut it. He's like the Diet Coke of Evil, unfortunately (I'm rockin' the movie refs today, am I not?). This is where she comes in, a whirl of blades and blood, taking on far too many mobs for her level. You know, generally behaving noobishly (solo, mind you, never in groups. I'm too good to lower myself to huntard levels).

In any case, the extended play time has me almost to 68 and ready for an early date with Northrend. As I was playing, I decided that this little hellion is getting to 80. I'm such a 'lock lover that I have never leveled any other alt past, oh say 22. I've never really had the alt-urge. I mean, I've tried all of the other classes just for fun, getting most to around 20-ish and stopping, but never really had the urge to go the distance (Field of Dreams style there).
Obviously, a DK to 80 is kind of cheating since I'm not really "going the distance", but still, it is something.

To me, making the commitment to max level a character necessitates a certain amount of knowledge about the class. I mean, I have to be geared and specced appropriately so as not to look like a dunce. I need to make sure I have the right stats and rotation to make the most of my character. I don't do this crap at 22, only as I get to 80.

As a side note, a separate issue for me wanting to get my BAB up to snuff is that our guild could probably use the extra tank. I don't really want to tank, DPS is my style all the way, but the utility is there. I absolutely refuse to heal (too much "light" in that), so I'll fix me up a tank and say I done my duty. 'nuff said about that.

This brings me to the little tidbit buried in today's rantings. Namely, hit and expertise capping for Death Knights. As a Warlock, we know the importance of being hit capped. Thus, what do I need as a DK was one of my first questions. Thankfully, Skeleton Jack over at the website of the same name has already done a wondrous post on the subject. Reading this nets me three (two new) numbers:

  1. 446 to cap spell hit (but we already knew this one)
  2. 263 to cap melee hit
  3. 99 expertise rating to cap (with Blood talents and racials)
I'm not quite sure what I want to shoot for again. Since this character may be used as more of an off tank, I'll have to start learning tanking stats too. Mostly I'm going to want Stam, Agil, and Parry for that (DK's cannot block). Then we get into Def capping too, and I am already beyond my area of expertise. I need to talk to the lovely miss Fuubaar for more on that. Maybe I'll have her gear me if I can beg well enough...

The bottom line here is that, for now, I'm gonna go for some uber DPS to try and fill the void my 'lock is leaving me with right now. To do this, I'll have to hit those caps and then throw on a bunch of Strength and Attack Power. I'm shooting for more of a balanced character gear out, so I may just go for a decent amount of armor along with my DPS stats to make me able to take a few hits without switching gear (Off Tanking ftw?). We'll see how it goes. The good thing is, with a blood DK talent, armor converts lightly to AP, so its not totally a wasted effort. I'll let y'all know if it turns out cool, otherwise I'll keep it to myself :-).

Finally, I wanted to give a shout out to a new Warlocky-type blog I've come across from Sideshow and Syrana. The site is very pretty and hints at a promise of future tales of warlockery (I particularly enjoyed this post right here, great stats). We are the few, the proud, and must stick together until we get the fixes we so dearly need and can reclaim our rightful spot atop damage charts everywhere.

So, woot for new Warlock Blogs, and check out Sideshow and Syrana's site.

Aside: You may notice that I finally updated my blog list. The top one I try to keep for Warlock (and now Death Knight) related sites (keeping in line with what I try to write about). The bottom one is just general WoW stuff that I usually read daily. Also, I'm not sure I ever pointed it out, but I added that little WoW headlines thing at the top because I think its funny. Feel free to offer suggestions, as I try to update it from time to time with some new material.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Achievements: Evil or Glorious

2 comments
Well as you all know, Fulguralis & I hit 80 a while ago. We are patiently waiting for our guild to catch up. I have made sure that the moment someone says, “Who wants to run [insert Heroic here]?” I can reply, “Ow Ow Pick me!” I am currently at my Defense cap for Heroics and currently working on more +Stamina gear Blah Blah Blah…

Anyways, so minus the instance time Carry the 2 = I have a lot of free time on my hands. I am finding that my ADD is taking over and the journey around the world has begun.

/ADD Begin

OK, here’s how this all started. I’ve always wanted a title on Fuu and since the achievement hit the fan, I knew how to get one: Merrymaker! I saw the list of objectives that must be accomplished: Kiss some Bros, Find Metzen the dumb@#& Reindeer, Dance with Ful in my cute Snowman outfit, bake some cookies for the kids. Wait… WHAT!? I haven’t lvled cooking since I left the starting zone. ZOMG, how am I going to pull this off? To make the highest recipe for this achievement, you will need 325 cooking; Game Plan. There have to be power lvling guides out there to help me with this. I’ve always heard that it’s very cheap to lvl cooking with fishing, so let’s start there.

I did end up finding the perfect guide for me so I wanted to link it if anyone else was ever in the same position or just wanted to learn more about fishing http://www.elsanglin.com/ Going from lvl 50 to lvl 325, I think I spent around 100g including the pole, lures and spices. I worked on this accomplishment for around four days. Not too shabby.

Finally, with my new title over my head and my new skillz that killz, why stop now? I want to be able to fish in Northrend as well. I’ve become a fishing monster Grrrrrrr! Shhh, you’ll scare away the fish.

What I’ve found is that these achievements have given me an excuse to explore completely different aspects of the game that I never thought I would find myself doing. I even participated in my very first BootyBay Fishing contest. Of course, I didn’t win but I got to see the ruthless aspect of fishing. Thank the Lord I’m on a Carebear server :)

What have you found yourself doing since the achievements went live? Is it something that you would have never done before? Are you quietly collecting cute little non-combat pets and not telling anyone? Your secrets safe with me ;) Tell me what you’ve been doing with your spare time and maybe you’ll win the "Cool" Award.

PS: Isn’t that guy creepy? I wouldn’t want that guy in my kitchen.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Warlock Bugs and DK Macro

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I realize I seem to link an awful lot around here, but I like to give credit where credit is due without regurgitating other's posts. Also, nearly all of my information is gathered from blogs in general, since many of the main research sites are blocked at my work. This equates to mucho linkage and difficulty providing an original twist. Or, at least, coming up with original posts that aren't random stories and pictures of personal exploits. For that, I apologize, but I will also continue to do it. Chances are, if you're reading this, you're not here for my shining insights anyways, but rather to grin at my various idiosyncrasies. Woot, big word.

In any case, in keeping with that tradition here at KES, I'd like to link the MC yet again. I love her work and the way she lays the info out without being preachy. Plus, good Warlock blogs are in short supply nowadays so I'm gonna spread the love on thick if I can :-). In any case, she does a wonderful round up of the warlock bug fixes coming our way.

I don't have much to add other than this may entice me to drop Immolate from my rotation again. I'd noticed some odd behavior with it and had just written it off to being scatterbrained or glitchy. However, what I was seeing would be best explained by the bug they're fixing, so I guess that it was, indeed, what I was experiencing. Thus, Immolate is back on my bad side. Add that to the fact that I really don't want to have to worry about clipping on another spell and the merely marginal DPS gains, and you get a picture of a spell that can safely be dropped without too much grinding of teeth. I tried to like the fire, I really did, but I guess I'm shadow to the core.

Immolate, you are the weakest DoT, good bye.

Other than that stupid spell, I see that Corruption may have been screwed up as well. I'm hoping the fix fot that will bump my DPS a bit as Corr accounts for a large chunk of DPS and the everlasting affliction method of refreshing is my bread and butter. If you're using the set-and-forget method of Dotting, this should be a welcome fix.

After reading all that though, I still fail to see a true aid package for Warlocks. Unfortunately, I think we're still going to be average DPS'ers and struggle to put up big numbers. That makes me sad, but what can we do? Maybe I'll send my imp to live with a Blizz developer for a bit. I haven't been using him since the Wrath Felhunter changes anyways. After a week of his banter, I'm sure changes will appear. OP Imps would be pretty cool too. Say, let them DPS in shifted form and make it an AoE fireball. Yeah, completely OP. I'd even start to learn to like fire then. For Sar, they could even make it green fire. However, until I learn the RL imp summoning spell, I guess I'm just going to have to be patient.

In that case, I think I'll switch gears to my DK then, since melee classes seem to be in ship shape right now and my DK is the closest playstyle I've found to warlockery. It can actually be a quite satisfying little change when you want to feel cool again.

If you've been following patch notes, you've probably seen some the DK changes coming up. There are two in particular that I'm excited about found on the DK.info site:

  1. Heart Strike no longer has a haste debuff but will now be able to strike two targets.
  2. Vampiric Blood: In addition to its current effects, also adds 20% health temporarily.
Striking two targets is fun. Woot for that. Also, being able to "bubble" your health is a cool thing too. Especially since I just wrote a macro last night to make better use of this ability. I'm pretty sure the macro has been done before, but I just "winged it" (or would that be wung?) last night and was pretty proud of it.

Basically I wanted to make use of Vampiric Blood right before Rune Tapping for life, thus maximizing the tap and using VB more often without having to think about it. This one-button feature is kind of an "Oh $h!t" button, hitting you up with a quick, larger heal while also increasing your self healing abilities from your auras and stuff. As a blood DK, it works quite well and has saved my butt a couple times when I felt like being Death Knoobish and pulling more than I could handle (Disclaimer: For safety's sake Death Knoobing should only be attempted in a controlled soloing environment. This author does not condone the use of Death Knoobing outside of said environment). In any case, here is what I wrote:

#showtooltip
/cast Vampiric Blood
/cast Rune Tap

This is neat in that it lets you cast the two simultaneously since VB is an "ability" and thus not tied to GCD. It will also cast either one when their respective cooldowns are up, even if the companion spell is not. I thought it was pretty slick, though I'm sure I'm not the first one to think of it, and it can come in quite handy.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Because I Felt I Needed More Pictures

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Well today's random story time is going to be tied together by several pictures into a (hopefully) coherent post. Leading off, to your immediate left is an old picture of two bears dancing. Those are Fuu and my RP Druids. They're a happy couple and doing just dandy at about level 12 over on Abi's server. We've never leveled Horde, so we're taking our time and enjoying it. Sometimes it is nice to start fresh.

Then, *insert clever segway here* we have questing for achievements on my main. I now have only to do Storm Peaks to get the Loremaster of Northrend achievement, having finished up Icecrown the night before last. For the record, when Blizz recommends 5 people for a quest, they're really saying its potentially solo'able. Don't ask me why, but it seems the 5 man quests don't really ever seem to require the full five people. I spoke some about this in my other post when we were running with four of us, one being a 75 druid healer. Some require more than others, but Fuu and I were able to duo a good percentage of it, more than enough to get the achievement for the zone. A good rule of thumb is to check up on wowhead what the commenters say. Most will give you a decent idea of how many people you actually need. If a commenter says he/she solo'ed it on an 80 Rogue just the other day, for example, chances are you can duo it no problem.

We also recently finished up Scholazar Basin too. I'm sure how I feel about how Blizz has done the quest based achievements in Northrend. I mean, if you go for these same goals in Outlands, you have to do every single quest to get the achievement. It seems in Northrend they alleviated this PITA somewhat in that there are extra quests. On one hand, this is nice because if you missed one random quest from somewhere out of the way, you don't have to go searching for it to finish off the zone. However, personally, I find it difficult to stop after I've gotten the achievement and still have quests left in a chain. Be it a cool story or just a desire for completion, I find it kind of annoying. It's like... I just finished 75 quests here, I should be done according to the achievement, yet I still have 5-10 more.

What's up with that? Do I do them? They don't really get me a whole lot. I mean, the gear is low for me, the money is so-so, and I no longer can use the achievement as an excuse. Sometimes it's hard for me to just let go, but there are times when that is a good thing. Take, for instance, the final couple of quests I had left in the Basin. One was the extremely fun ride-on-the-shoulders-of-another-giant-and-kick-gratuitous-amounts-of-ass quest. I'm glad I didn't miss that one, the game is about fun after all. Did anyone else notice that when you tried to jump with this character, he just kinda locked his knees and floated a bit? Despite his size, he's got no ups. Here's a decent screenie, and yes, I just jumped from that cliff full of dead bodies behind me, but you can't really tell (it looks superimposed to me):


Look Out Below?

Finally, to wrap up this incoherent quest babble, we have yet a third random picture. This one is a holiday hold over that I found while looking last night in the ever popular screenshots folder. I was being silly one night and had the crazy idea that riding the reindeer mount somehow reminded me of a shuttle launch. Therefore, I went outside to the Dalaran Aeronautics and Space Administration's (or DASA's) launch facilities and preformed a test launch. It was captured in all its splendor by a Gnomish Positioning Satellite (GPS) as it exited the lower Magisphere. All right, that's enough puns for one day, here it is:
Stormwind, we are "Go" for launch

And one more thing. Ever fight a dragon or plan on it? Secret Agent Cat has a great post called L2Dragon. I particularly liked the picture since I'm a visual learner myself. It's worth checking out if you feel so inclined.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Maintenance Day

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Rumor has it there is some major maintenance coming our way today, so be prepared to do something else tonight. Here's hoping the servers won't all be down *crosses fingers*.

Rumor also has it that this is an indication that another nifty patch is coming real soon. I sure do hope there is some warlock love in it. Do we need it? Hell yes! Don't believe me. Read the MC here, or BRK here. Both places you'll see sympathy for the devil. One from a 'lock herself, the other from the hunter extraordinaire (even if it is just a clever jab... I'll take it).

Many 'locks haven't been posting DPS number (me included), probably out of pure shame. That, and, perhaps like me, you're almost 90% sure you'd doing something wrong but can't figure out what it is. There is no way you're that bad. Right?! I mean, I'm being routinely out DPS'ed on trash by my pally tank counterpart. That's ridiculous, I'm obviously just facerolling or something. But I've checked and rechecked my rotations, tried different spells, even thrown down on some good old AoE, and none of it seems to matter. Sure, on bosses I can still maybe compete, and when I don't have to worry about things like aggro, positioning, etc, I can AoE stuff with the best and still be decent.

But since WHEN has DECENT cut it for us? I can't heal. I can't tank. I can't CC very well. And I'm reasonably sure that those aren't just due to a lack of skill (perhaps the CC'ing, but fear isn't exactly the CC of choice, my banish is just dandy thank you). Give me some DAMNED DPS. I want to KILL SHIT. It's kinda what we do, right? Ugh!

Okay, okay, I'll stop complaining. I just love my class, I love my spec, I don't even mind the rotation... it's challenging. It's just frustrating that when you complete the challenge, you don't get cool numbers to show for it. IF you're lucky, you get average numbers (Like MC, I'm somewhere ~1.5k on average). Woot?

Right... 1,2,10 /calming breath

If all this hullabaloo is not for you (woot rhyme), check out a class neutral post about PuGging over at BBBB. He gets wordy at times, but I think its a really good example of my feelings on avoiding PuGs, randomly finding good ones, and hoping your guild catches up. Oh yeah, and always remember only you can prevent asshattery.

And I'm sure I have some pictures around here somewhere... gotta remember to get them to work with me. Oh yeah, work...

Monday, January 5, 2009

It's a Geyser!

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Have you ever been startled at the force of a particularly forceful toilet flush? You know, the kind that get the seat all wet like it's trying to make believe its something more epic than a mere toilet? Like it thinks its Old Faithful or something? Well apparently I'd forgotten how forceful the toilets at work are. Luckily, as is common practice in public restrooms, I stood well back from the toilet when initiating the explosion, thus, no harm no foul.

Ah work, back to the grind. Back to regular posting again. You see, at work I can't play or otherwise waste time, so I'm back to writing and reading. Hence, you get to hear more from me. Yaaay (or groan, depending).

Oh yeah, WoW-blog, stay focused.

/focus on

Fuu and I were able to complete a variety of group quests in Icecrown yesterday. If any of you are struggling with these so-called five man quests, fear not... they do not all require five men (or women). In fact, none of them do. We were able to complete all of them with a level 75 druid healer, an 80 hunter, me, and fuu. We even three manned two of them before we convinced the healer to be dragged around Icecrown.

Mind you, if you bring a low level healer into Icecrown that cannot fly... the zone is designed under the assumption that you can fly. Plus there are phased areas. As a 'lock, you can bypass the need to fly with some clever summoning. However, if you summon to a phased area, the individual will show up in the phase they are in. It may not be the same one you are in, thus you won't see each other. For the curious, you can /target them still, which is interesting.

Also, be mindful that the cauldron quest "Basic Chemistry" can be a bit buggy. Blizz knows of this and is working to resolve it. We spied a cauldron without an orange glow on it that was farthest from the entrance that gave us good luck. We'd previously had some troubles with glitchy behavior and bad raid warnings. This last one worked like a charm. Be it because of the lack of orange glow or the actual cauldron itself... who knows? Keep in mind that to complete this one, you'll need at least two people with the neutralizing agent due to cooldown issues on the item. You'll probably want at least one more person to help with the crap that spawns. A couple passerby helped us on our final attempt which was quiet pleasant and went swimmingly.

All of the other fights are just large boss-types. If you have a good tank (like I'm fortunate enough to have), you will only need minimal heals for the fights, but will definitely need some. A lower level healer worth their salt can do it, as ours did. Be careful of AoEs and other random things that will kill the healer right quick though. In the ring of blood-type boss fight (Battle for Vahallas or some such), the first round is a bunch of randoms which will zip straight to the poor low level tree if you are not ready. Other than that, just keep the tree at max range and you'll be fine.

So grab yourself a healer in need of experience, a good tank, and a couple DPS and knock these out. They have decent rewards and are pretty fun. Plus, we could all use a few more healers at the level cap.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Burn Baby Burn

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Recently, despite my innate hatred for fire spells as an Affliction Warlock, I've started throwing Immolate back into my rotation. Now that I'm a lot more comfortable with it, it isn't as hard to keep so many DoTs up. On more complex fights, it still is usually the first spell I throw out though. I can't say I'm noticing a large difference in DPS, maybe an extra 20 on average. Maths would say that immolate is better than an extra shadow bolt. Perhaps I need to pick up the immolate glyph to really make it worth my while.

For those who are curious, the rotation I've been using since the patch and am still sticking with is this: Corr, Haunt, CoA, UA, Immo (new), SL, SBolts. I'm sure there is some criticism for this rotation. Most are advocating throwing in another SB early to make sure to get Shadow's Embrace up. I throw it in as soon as I have space, or a Nightfall proc. Why? It's easier for me and the embrace is low on my list of things to keep up. Perhaps it shouldn't be, but oh well. I lead off with Corr just because it is instant and easy to "set and forget" since I'll keep refreshing it with Haunt.

Putting Haunt early is a must, same with CoA. I'll sub whatever curse in that slot if I need to change too. It's nice to have those up while you're doing the rest of your crap. The real meat of the DoTs are the three in the middle. UA and Immo run up at about the same time, so you can always cast them back to back if you're good. SL will run up half as much, so every other time you'll throw down on three refreshes. Haunt will usually start creeping in on the front of these spells too, so what you're really getting for a refresh rotation is something like: Haunt, UA, Immo, SL (half time). Obviously you'll refresh your curse whenever you're forced to. The rest is shadow bolt filler. I usually like to life tap right before haunt runs out to keep my mana up. This works out pretty well, IMO.

For trash I just start truncating DoTs depending on the life span. Real short trash may only see Corr, Haunt, SB's. Usually if I'm farming I'll put on a SL on multiple mobs before doing some sort of AoE, as it kind of takes away from the beating. I'm not real happy with trash DPS on the whole right now, but I haven't read anyone who is. I'm hoping future patches will show us some love there, otherwise we'll just keep doing well on bosses but never topping charts. Sad but true. We need to be at least moderately respectable on trash to keep up nowadays, as we don't just wtfpwn bosses anymore. It is very hard to compete with the hunters of the world.

I really need to do more instancing to test all this, but I believe I've already made a post bemoaning the lack of grouping Fuu and I are able to do at the moment, so I'll spare you another rant. Mostly, I've been running quests to get exalted with the Oracles and slogging towards a long term goal of one day being a "Loremaster". Plus, my DK is now at 64 and slowly making her way up. I'm not sure what's in store for her yet, but DK is totally easy-mode for me right now and a welcome distraction to the current frustrations in warlockland.

In other news, I need to take some more pictures...

Friday, January 2, 2009

Violet Hold Heroic Sucks

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Yeah, so what's up with having to restart an instance every time you die. I know, I know, its exactly like BM, but that sucked too. This one is even slightly worse because you have this whole random couple of bosses thing. Why is that bad? Well let me tell you...

You see, 90% of them are easy tank and spanks. Even the water elemental one you can kill the adds with a simple crystal dohickey. They're all pretty straightforward.

Then there is that one dude who summons the orbs and makes you kite him all around the friggin crumbling, broken, irregularly shaped room. He SUCKS. If all the other bosses are max 5 in difficulty on a 10 point scale, he is an 11. It's higher than 10.

Now, I know there are plenty of tougher raid bosses out there, and maybe even a more difficult heroic fight. I'm not saying this is the most difficult fight ever created, just that it is a huge PITA. Combine that with having to restart when you fail, and you create an incredibly frustrating situation. Get unlucky enough to have him as your first boss, and you get a lootless, thankless, expensive waste of time.

I compare the frustration of this fight akin to the 1% wipe on Prince in Kara, when you know you're doing everything right, but just can't beat it because of some stupid luck mechanic.

It wouldn't even be so bad if you could go right in at the boss right again instead of having to go through all the crap you already cleared to get back to the point where you failed. Forget learning this fight, you either need someone who knows and has done it going in, or prepare for the pain of failure... repeatedly.

Perhaps your experience wasn't as bad as mine and Fuu's. Granted we were both undergeared, but you have to start somewhere right? I felt way worse for her because she was uber frustrated though she was doing her best to try and kite the idiot around. There is just very little margin for error for a tank here. It didn't help that the pugged healer just kept repeating "You HAVE to keep him away from the orbs." Thanks bro, do you wanna tank it? Its not like we're not trying. It's stupid random boulders and curves that kinda get in your way when you're focusing on avoiding an orb and walking backwards. I mean, I have a hard time walking backwards IN REAL LIFE. I mean, I AM blonde, but it can be tough... and I'm not usually fighting anything while doing it and avoiding crazy orbs. At least not on Fridays.

And then when you're just getting the hang of it... he ports you back to him and you all die instantly. Sweet. GG Blizz. Lets go through some more portals to get back and give it another try. Nah, F@$& this guy.