Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Back in Pact

Nibuca mentioned it last week over at the MC, but I wanted to make a service announcement of my own.  Dark Pact is back.  Where did it go?  You may ask...

Well, back in the day (/hikesupbritches), all Aff'locks used Dark Pact.  It essentially made your pet a mana-battery, which at the time was mostly what pets were good for.  Additionally, it didn't have the potential to put you in dangerous health situations. 

This was also before the Glyph of Life Tap was introduced.  Once it was, though, the DPS benefits outweighed the risks, plus Life Tap was slightly reworked so that it made a lot of sense to use.  Thus, we all specced out of Dark Pact and started tap, tap, tapping again. 

Now darkness has reclaimed it's rightful throne.  Dark Pact has been made to trigger the Glyph of Life Tap, so that difference goes away, and the scaling has been reworked such that you should be getting more mana back per use when compared with Life Tap (even improved Life Tap).  Nibs linked the pertinent EJ article here, but I trust her judgment (and cannot view EJ at work).  Feel free to explore the nitty gritty. 

The bottom line here is that if you're a raiding Affliction Warlock, you should give some serious thought to speccing back into Dark Pact and replacing Life Tap with it in your dark castings.  After our ICC run last night, I went and did this myself.  I basically took the one "wtf-do-I-do-with-this" point I had stashed in Grim Reach and plopped it in Dark Pact, so I didn't really have to sacrifice anything spec-wise.  If you're one of those folks that had specced into Improve Life Tap, you could probably take a point from there. 

ICC in particular, but raiding in general has seen AoE raid damage increase a lot.  I presume the effort is to get us to have to move around while also giving healers something to worry about.  The side effect is that it can make Life Tapping somewhat dangerous and downright annoying for healers.  Normally, I wouldn't care if I'm being annoying to healers (case in point: our druid healer once asked, "Why do you always get hit at the start of battle?"  To which I replied, "Many Life Taps, handle it!"), but I also like to live, so it's a good move in my book.  The less I have to worry about cutting myself at the wrong time, the better, and it's not like Felpups are having mana issues right now with their redesign in earlier patches.

I haven't had a chance to see how it plays yet, but I did test the Glyph functionality and it works as advertised.  So hop on the good foot and do the Dark Pact.  Or something.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

All the Single 80's

Put your hands up... No, no. I'm not going to sing today.  I'm going to pontificate on the path that I believe a fresh level 80 Warlock should take.  It's been noted that we're in something of a pre-expansion lull.  For a lot of people, this means leveling the alts that they may have wanted to get to 80 but never had the time.  Thus, I would guess there are a good handful of freshly minted or soon-to-be minted level 80 'locks out there.

I got a comment yesterday from Darthregis reinforcing this supposition and asking for advice.  Basically, he wanted to know what direction I would go if I had just dinged 80 on my 'lock.  Would my love for all things Affliction dictate my moves, or would I go a different route?  Even more specifically, he'd like to know about how to plan his gear.  Should he go with the Tier 9 gear from tokens, or a mix of T8 and T9, or even the gear from ICC 5-mans.  Furthermore, he mostly plans to be running heroics and the occasional lower end raid on this toon, so what would work out best?

It's a great question and one where the answer would not fit easily into the comment area.  Hence, post.

So to break it down, there are a few key points to consider here:
  • T9 is notoriously Affliction unfriendly, though it is easy to get right now.
  • Heroics are notoriously Affliction unfriendly, though they are easy to get into right now.
  • In general, the fresh level 80 is looking to gear up quickly by running heroics.
So you can see, despite my undying (dare I say everlasting?) love for Affliction, the current state of the game is unfavorable to fresh 80 Aff'locks.  Mostly, this is due to how quickly stuff dies.  Affliction is probably the best sustained damage class out there.  Over time, our damage is smooth and constant when done correctly.  It adds up.  When stuff dies too quick, it chops us out at the knees.  Not much to it other than to suck it up.

Or go Demonology.  Yep, as much as I hate to admit it, the best choice isn't to somehow finagle a working spec out of Affliction, it is to seek refuge in the shade of a different tree.  Destruction might work, but I choose Demo.  Let's look at the Pros:
  • Demonology has the highest survivability of all Warlock specs.  This is great news when you're pugging a lot and not sure if your tank/healer is going to be competent.  It allows you to somewhat fend for yourself.
  • Demonology makes great use of the crit that is prevalent on T9 gear.  Destro is still probably the burst king, but Demo isn't bad.  Both benefit from crit far more than Affliction.  You can really make use of those Triumph emblems you'll be raking in. 
  • Demonology is a great balance of sustained damage, burst damage, and finishing power.  It's really a "jack of all trades" spec, allowing you to adapt to the situations you're likely to find in heroics and lower end raids.
  • The spec is FUN.  You get huge crits with soul fire.  You get to be a big purple demon.  You're weaving dots and procs.  You have crazy AoE potential.  It's an active spec that can keep you awake even when you're running Gundrak for the 25th time.
What about the cons?  Well I see only two:
  1. If you plan to eventually raid Affliction (which I would suggest as Affliction is Raid King right now, plus I love the spec regardless), then you are not training your fingers to the rotation.  Practice makes perfect, and you'd be getting it in a different spec.
  2. Again, if you plan to go Affliction, then once you get geared up, it might not be as ideal for an Affliction spec.  A simple respec might actually see a drop in DPS because of how crit is valued.
So here's what I would do (and have done).  I would spec Demonology right away.  I would spec it as I've linked up on the left there (in my Demonology Primer).  I would dual spec into Affliction.  For most of the time, I would run as Demo and gear as Demo.  For some of the harder fights in lower end raids (where you know the stuff is going to live), I might switch to Affliction to practice.  I can always practice on dummies later if I get into more serious raiding on my 'lock and find my finger training lacking.

I'd gear up to T9 as quickly as possible, but keep my eye open for hastier pieces.  Haste and crit are usually the trade-off stats, so any piece that has haste in place of crit, I'd snatch up.  I would not go so far as to keep two gear sets, but I would slowly replace my crit heavy gear with haste gear (probably using the Frost Emblems I begin to accumulate).  After all, haste is not bad for Demo specs, especially when you're trying to be quicker due to fast dying stuff anyways.  I would not get a "downgrade" just for the haste, but I would definitely favor haste pieces when looking for upgrades.  Eventually, you'll have a pretty balanced set that will work well for both specs.

It's simple, it's fun, and it'll keep you playing as an effective 'lock.  The reality is that Affliction is just not effective when the trash is falling over like dominoes in a whirlwind.  Start off Demo, switch to Affliction later.  That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Back To MMO Monogamy

You may or may not have noticed that I've gotten rid of the Aion stuff around here.  Yes, it was a short lived love affair.  No, I haven't quit entirely.  I actually still am quite fond of the game despite all the bad things you may have heard/read.  I just don't have the time for it.  We bought a house (time and money sink), I just finished up Dragon Age: Origins (V-day gift for Fuu, though I finished it first.  Ha!), and I'm also playing through Final Fantasy 13 (and loving it).  Plus, with the weather getting nicer, I try to get out of the Fu-cave every once in a while.

Before I get too much further, some thoughts on the two single player games I mentioned:

On Dragon Age: Origins - Great game for all the reasons you may have read.  Gearing is super confusing, IMO, but the game play and story is top notch.  DA:O was actually my first Bioware experience outside of their Star Wars (The Old Republic) game.  It made me give some serious thought about going back to play the Mass Effect series.  Bioware does make a helluva game.  Sometimes the choices can be daunting though, in good ways and bad.  It makes me excited for their Star Wars MMO.  Bioware has some mad street cred right now.

On FFXIII - I'm pleasantly surprised.  Final Fantasies have always been hit or miss for me.  They're so long and involved that it's hard for me to commit to one; I don't always finish them.  I really love what they've done as far as the battle system and pacing of game play in 13.  Yeah, it's pretty much "on rails", especially when you're jumping from DA to FF, but it was sort of a relief for me.  There is so much to do in Dragon Age that it can be daunting and hard to focus on the main plot line.  Some people really enjoy that depth, and I do on some days.  On others, I want a more mindless ride.  I want to be led down that single, winding path that lead inexorably to a boss.  Maybe there's a few little treasures hidden to the left or to the right, but I'm not really required to make face any major moral dilemmas.  It's relaxing.  There's something to be said for that, even though it seems a lot of critics today paint the "on rails" thing in a bad light.  I think they're just different games, but that's totally a personal opinion. Love the game, love the story, nostalgic over the art style/world.  It reeks Final Fantasy, yet feels newer, and I'm not even talking about the ridiculously pretty graphics.

Back to live action - The route I've decided to go with Aion is to "play it by ear".  That is to say, as time permits.  If I get a weekend of time, feel the urge, or get coerced by a friend, I have no qualms about shelling out $15 for another month of game time.  I just didn't want to pay month to month since I definitely can't commit that time.  It's just too up in the air.  Maybe I'm only able to make good usage of one monthly subscription game in my life.  Since de-activating and re-activating is so easy, it's really a non-issue.  Still, since I won't necessarily be "keeping up" with the game or any sort of community, I decided to remove all my links and such.  WoW is the only gaming commitment I have time for, and really it's because I'm well-established at this point.  I don't need to devote a whole lot of play time to continue to progress, especially since we only raid once a week for two hours. 

Is there anyone out there upset by this direction?  I think it's really only an admission of what my writing pattern has already shown.  I'm always one to just try to write what's on my mind.  I don't have a whole bunch of queued up topics.  In fact, I rarely ever have more than one, if that, in backlog at a time.  When they're there, they scream at me for completion.  It's really annoying and loud.  In my head, at least.  The point, however, is that it's pretty easy to look at my own writings and see the truth of the situation.  I'm just owning up to it today.

In any case, I'd still love to receive questions in comments or via email regarding any of the games I mentioned.  They may even spawn posts.  Left alone, I try to stay on the topic of WoW (being as this is a WoW blog), but I'm not opposed to taking short vacations in other strange lands.  After all, I figure most of you out there are like me, and enjoy the occasional dip in other waters.  Time permitting, of course.

Oh, and I don't care how much you ask about Home Improvements.  I'm no Tim Allen, so I'm not even going to try to make that topic entertaining.  Then again, I may have to chat about the new Fu-cave when we get it set up. So, I guess no promises?

So TL;DR - Aion is on a leave of absence, to be played and paid-for sporadically (which I think is cool that it's totally a viable option.  I wish magazine subscriptions could work like this).  DA:O is done, but I may have to pick up the x-pac or even another Bioware title soon.  I may have to write about the headache of complex choices.  A lot of people seem all for this direction, but maybe I like rails too?  FFXII is where the bulk of my game time is, love it.  There is a good "story elements" post in there somewhere if I can dig it out.  And there's always WoW.  ICC raid tonight.  If we don't progress, maybe you'll be graced with another awfully funny MS Paint "wall breaker" attempt.  Last time that worked out hella-well. 

I also wanted to pass on some good links about those single player games that you may or may not be aware of:
  • Samodean of Massive Nerd fame has been doing a great job with both DA:O and Final Fantasy.  He's been covering the basics in each rather well.  Here's the link to his latest on FF.
  • Abi snuck back on the wagon and pushed out a pretty good post concerning the DA x-pac.  It's good to see him back writing even if he won't be devoting as much time to WoW.  Here's the link to his latest on DA:A.
That is all.  Back to work!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Emanation is the Warmest Flattery

Fulguralis strode aimlessly between the tents as the first stains of sunlight began leaking over the distant frosty peaks.  It had not been a restful night and he had left his wife in the warm tent, curling spasmodically in her nightmares.  The day would bring more fighting, and the Warlock looked forward to a chance to vent his building frustrations.  

The amulet he'd taken from his unsuspecting wife weighed like a stone in his pocket.  Once more, he took it out and examined it in the rising light as if morning would change its implications.   On one side, a strange bird, white on a red background, stared back at him.  On the other, an inscription.  It read: All my love - M Brightrune.

Fulguralis did not like it one bit.  Who was this Brightrune fellow?  And why is he sending love trinkets to my wife?  No, the Warlock did not like it at all. 

He shoved the necklace back down into his pocket with more force than was strictly necessary.  The sun continued to climb over the mountains.  The day continued to break.  If Fulguralis didn't get to the bottom of this soon, the day would not be the only think broken.  A small insect dared cross the Warlock's path, and was subsequently consumed by a large orb of shadow.  Only a corpse remained when the darkness cleared.  Fulguralis took no notice and strode on.

He didn't want to believe that his young bride could be shucking her marriage oaths already.  He couldn't believe it.  Still, he hated the small knot of worry that burned at his insides like a smoldering ember in a dry pile of leaves, needing only the smallest of breeze to ignite the entire forest.  Relationships were difficult like that.  Could any one person ever truly know the mind of another? 

When would she even have had time for this M Brightrune?  Between their constant assaults on the Citadel and they few errands they were permitted to run in the down time, she was almost always in the company of her husband.  Sure, there were times when they each went their separate ways to pursue separate interests.   The Warlock liked terrorizing unsuspecting folk using his demon form, and sometimes brushing up on his spells by joining newer adventurers as they attempted to keep old paths secure.  It was a good excuse to start some fires.  He had no idea what his Paladin wife did during those times, but they were few and far between, often not of long duration in the first place.  Certainly there was no time for philandering?

Despite the rational protestations of the mind, the heart would not listen.  An irrational beast, it would be satiated only by clear proof, and maybe not even then.  Torrential logic would never douse inflamed emotion, no matter how sound.

Fulguralis reached up an irritably tugged at the over-sized, upturned collar on his new cowl.  The flaming hood took some getting used to.  It felt like he had wings sprouting out of his neck.  Still, he had to admit the fire illusion was top notch and went rather well with the shadow dust emanating from his shoulder guards.  All in all, he presented a rather handsome, if evil, image.  Clearly suitable of a powerful Warlock.

A lone, brightly lit tent drew his attention from his dark inner musings.  Fulguralis looked around to get his bearings, and realized it must be coming from the tent of their leader, Jessabelle.  The bookish Dwarf would be up early, probably pouring once more over the day's strategies.  She kept some odd hours. 

Fulguralis walked up to the tent and cleared his throat loudly.

"Come in, Ful," a slightly irritated voice called from the interior.

The Warlock ducked in quickly and began talking even as his eyes took in the scene before him.  "I was just out for an early walk, thinking about our last assault and I have some sugg-" he broke off as he finally realized what he was seeing.

The diminutive Dwarf stood before him, hands in a fist on her hips, glaring at his head.  Her own head was framed by large, upturned collars and a deep cowl with the illusion of fire atop it.  They were wearing the same hood.  Jessabelle's scowl deepened as they stared at each other across the tent.

Finally, Fulguralis spoke up, "Well, one of us is going to have to change."

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The New Hawtness?

I got this new helm from ICC on Monday. I'm not sure what I think of it. I know Jbelle has called it a fashion "crisis", but whether it's warlockerly enough is still in question. Let's take a look.

Really, as a warlock, what's not to like?  The color scheme fits with the T10 shoulders.  My face is hidden in deep folds and dark shadows.  There seems to be a small monogram of some sort of winged, presumably evil animal.  And, oh yeah, my head is on fire.  So now I've got shadow oozing shoulders and a flaming helm.  Kinda sweet.

My only complaint: I feel like I'm walking around with my collar popped.  Or that I popped out of a bad 80's Sci-Fi flick.  Or maybe like I'm one of those pansy vampires in the game.  Maybe I'll mount you until you do a certain amount of damage to me, who knows?

Still, all things considered, I might actually display this piece.  It'd be the first helm I've displayed in, like, forever.  Now, where's my Light beer...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Patch ummm what?

Hey gang!

I wanted to give you the update for Protection Paladin stuff for patch 3.3.3 So I'll copy it below:

As you can see, ... wait what? Hmmmm maybe my copy & paste button doesn't work. Hold on.

*Cue Jeopardy Music*

Well this is strange, I've looked up & down that entire list of updates for this patch. Nothing, Zero, Nada, Ziltch. It appears that nothing for the Paladin Class (minus some bug fixes) is changing.


/ducks for cover

/looks around for booby-traps

Calm down Admiral Ackbar, Blizzard knows what it wants and it was to leave Paladins alone for the first time in my WoW Career. That would be two years this May... that's not strange at all. /end sarcasm

So I'm thinking that this occurred because of one of two reasons:

A) Blizzard Likes where the paladin class is (Holy, Protection, Retribution Trees)
B) There is SO much in the works for paladins that they needed to skip a patch worth of changes so that they could put more work into it so that all of these changes weren't implemented with flaws (because we all know Blizzard never does that...)

Regardless, I'm not here to speculate about what the Developers have in store

*cough* AoE threat nerf *cough*

So I'll talk about what I've seen thus far of 3.3.3 in game.

Here is a tale of my journey through Dalaran trying to find that Stupid Gnome Frozo the Renowned fella who trades Frozen Orbs for useful stuff. From what I read in the patch notes is that he put up shop in the Magus Commerce in Dalaran. WoW, could you be any more vague? So I ran around trying to find him in the stores. I /target Frozo'ed him so I knew that he was close. I ran through every building looking for a Gnome who would trade me 1 Forzen Orb for 1 Frost Lotus or Eternal Fire (note: I don't give a poo about the other crap). I couldn't find the bugger anywhere. So I decided since I was so close to Threads of Fate, I would pop in and get my shoes shined and have some small talk with the friendly Gnome up there. Maybe he would know. Shoe Shiners know everything about everything.

10 minutes later: Fuubaar has shiny shoes and has totally forgotten to ask where the Frozo guy was located.

Damn it! Oh well. Let's do another lap, I should be able to find him because of the crowds. Sure enough, that little bastard is outside hovering on his cutesy little Carpet greeted by a horde of Horde (sorry, bad joke). So I traded him for my goods and off I went. He is located just outside of the big anvil and I believe the Engineering Store in the Magus Commerce in Dalaran.

For the next item on my list was to figure out how to exchange my Marks of blah for Honor. I checked my Currency Tab to see if they hadn't just exchanged them outright for honor... nope still there. I asked a few guildies and they didn't have a clue what I was even talking about. Thanks guys! :-P

Hmmm, maybe if I go to the Hall of Champions or what ever in Stormwind, I could figure it out. So I headed over there. Patch Notes where vague at best (again awesome Blizzard) when it comes to these things. My thoughts are "look for the crowd" and sure enough right inside where you can purchase PvP items for rewards has a guy on the top of the stairs where you can make the exchange. Cool, I thought this should be easy. I walked up the stairs to find gobs of people doing some sort of "Cha ching" motion and shooting off white and orange, almost similar to when you level up, kind of colors. This was happening to everyone near him roughly once each second.. wtf?

No, Admiral Ackbar, there must be a reasonable explanation for all of this. Let's talk to the NPC up here and figure this out.

Side note: Did you know that only one person can talk to an NPC at a time? I believe that it has something to do with the animation of them turning around & making a gesture of them actually speaking to you. Sometimes you had to stand there & wait in line to talk to the NPC before they would help you out. Why is that?

Anyways, so I finally got his attention and clicked on the Option to Trade in my Marks. This pulls up a tab where you can buy Honor Seals for 1 Mark of each battleground. Well, this isn't so bad. Ok, let's start at the top and work my way down. 10 Clicks later " YOU CANNOT HOLD ANY MORE OF THIS ITEM!" Wait, what? But I have more!

What you have to do is close your shop window with the NPC, open your bags, use the 10 Converted Honor tokens to get them out of your bag & repeat... well, that's freakin' stupid. You have to not only fight to get the NPCs attention but you have to do this multiple times to convert all of your marks because you can only hold a stack of 10 at a time.


Congratulations Blizzard! You have chosen the dumbest way to convert Battleground marks to honor. Hell, you could have just converted them all with a click of a button, but NOoooOOoo you have to make us do it for you. What did you believe that if you converted it for me, that I would miss out on the pleasure of doing it myself? Self Gratification? lolwut? Are you drunk?

New NPC = Crowds Crowds = some idiot dropping a train on top of it so that it annoys the hell out of you while you hopelessly have to spam stacks of 10 Honor Tokens at a time.

Or, what Blizzard should have done, was convert it all for you and if you hit the 75k honor Cap, in game mail us the rest in Honor Tokens... BRILLIANT!


Lucky for me though, I'm not a huge battleground fan so I didn't have loads of them to convert. I actually had more on my Priest but that's besides the point. I had enough Honor to buy a pair of Furious Pants for Abigora so that's pretty cool.

Around this time ADD kicked in so figured I would give my new pants a test run and I try out the new "Battleground Randomly Generated Lose & Humiliation of the Alliance" Feature that Blizzard implemented.

You can still be queued up for the other Battlegrounds like before but now it has the "Random Battleground" option on the top of your pvp tab. Cool stuff. I queued up & around 5 seconds later, I got one. I hop in and we lose a horrific battle against the Horde or Kittens... Not sure. Either way they kicked our asses and we left with our tails between our legs. Ahhh, the beauty of Alliance "Even when it's random, it's not really random" is what I say about such things.


No Admiral Ackbar, we just suck...

Anyways, that's pretty much it for patch related crap that effected me in anyway. Alchemy & Jewelcrafting didn't change, Paladins were forgotten, and Abigora isn't high enough geared to care that her tier 10 4 piece set has changed once again.

<3 Fuu

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

3.3.3 Patchy Day

Patch Notes! The official site wasn't updated at the time of posting, but I gleaned these off the forums with the help of Miss Medicina.  As usual, I'll just hit my two classes and let you read the rest elsewhere.

Short version for warlocks: Sweet bug fix and the life tap scaling change is expected with the impending Cataclysmic stat changes.  Otherwise this is pretty unremarkable.  Aff'locks may see a slight bump in DPS from the fix, but I think we'll all pretty much stay the same.  The Demo change is simply intended to keep your raid wide buff up more.  Good stuff.

Short version for DKs: Frost tank threat is straight buffed and Frost DPS (especially DWs) is straight buffed as well.  It's as simple as that.  It's kinda awesome.

So, anyways, here ya go:

  • Immolate: The damage-over-time component of this spell can now produce critical strikes.
  • Life Tap: This spell no longer scales with spirit, and instead scales with spell power (Tooltip still needs fixed though functionality is already according to known issues).
  • Talents

    • Affliction

      • Dark Pact: This ability no longer requires line-of-sight with the summoned demon, and the range has been increased from 30 yards to 100 yards.
      • (Bug Fix) Everlasting Affliction: Warlocks with the Glyph of Quick Decay active will now benefit correctly from that glyph when this talent refreshes the duration of Corruption. 
    • Demonology

      • Demonic Pact: This effect now has a 45-second duration, up from 12 seconds, and a 20-second internal cooldown.
Death Knights
  • Icy Touch: This ability now causes a very high amount of threat while the death knight is in Frost Presence.
  • Chains of Ice: The ability now innately applies Frost Fever to a target.
  • Rune of Razorice: Now stacks 5 stacks of 2% Frost Vulnerability instead of 10 stacks of 1% Frost Vulnerability. Proc chance changed to 100%.
  • Talents

    • Blood

      • Abomination's Might: This effect is now passive instead of being a proc on certain strikes. Rank 1 is 5% attack power and Rank 2 is 10% attack power. The self strength buff remains unchanged.
      • Will of the Necropolis: There is no longer a cooldown on the frequency at which this talent can be activated. In addition, this ability can now also be triggered by damage which deals less than 5% of your health.
    • Frost

      • Endless Winter: No longer causes Frost Fever to be applied by Chains of Ice, but instead grants 2/4% strength.
      • Icy Talons: The personal haste benefit provided by this talent is no longer exclusive with other sources of melee haste. This will allow death knights to always swing 4/8/12/16/20% faster when Frost Fever is applied. Windfury Totem and the party/raid component of Improved Icy Talons still do not stack.
      • Improved Icy Talons: This effect is now passive instead of being a proc. The self haste buff remains unchanged.
      • Nerves of Cold Steel: Now increases off-hand damage by 8/16/25%, up from 5/10/15%.
      • Unbreakable Armor: The amount of strength granted is now 20%, up from 10%.
    • Unholy

      • Scourge Strike: Now deals 70% weapon damage, plus 12% of physical damage done as shadow damage for each of the death knight's diseases on the target. The net result should be larger strikes with no diseases present, while maximum damage with all diseases applied to the target should stay the same.
      • Unholy Blight: In addition to its previous effects, this talent now also prevents diseases from being dispelled from victims afflicted by Unholy Blight.
      • Glyphs

        • Glyph of Disease: When this glyph causes Frost Fever to be refreshed, it will now also trigger a refresh of Icy Talons.
        • Glyph of Icebound Fortitude: Now always grants at least 40% damage reduction.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Gear/Strat Phenomenon

The weekly raid quest on Lothar this past week was Ignis. Our raid group popped on last night to knock it out and then subsequently shuffled some toons around, in, and out to put together a second "alt" run. Common enough, right?

Well, as might seem obvious, there are huge gear difference between your successful ICC raiding group and the smattering of alts we all have laying around (plus the wild card of substitutions for people who didn't have an alt or want to run again).  The first time through, we got the "under 4 minute" achievement, killing him in probably all of 2 minutes.  It was quick.  The second time, we wiped.  Then wiped.  Then wiped some more.  Finally, we switched up our strategies and on what was designated our "last attempt", we downed the big guy.  

What did we change?  For the first group, we just had the main tank stand in the water so the scorch patches went away.  We actually started to do it the "right" way, but the scorch patches weren't hanging around and we were really trying to make the adds molten anyways.  When you're going to burn the dude in 2 minutes, there's no reason to deal with the adds.  It doesn't make sense.  There's really not going to be that many of them on your OT.

For the second group, we obviously gave up a lot of everything since these were alts.  We weren't going for the 4 minute achievement, and weren't really going to be close.  Thus, the adds become a much larger problem.  We had to switch back to the old way of doing things, making them molten, brittle, and then exploded.  It's not a big change, but it certainly a different approach that is totally dependent on gear.  Which brings me to my question of the day:

Which boss fights do you think the strategy changes the most due to gear levels?

The waffling sense of difficulty is a natural thing that comes with character progression.  As we get stronger, things are going to get easier, perhaps to the point where a different approach makes more sense.  This is what we experienced so clearly last night with Ignis, but I'm sure he isn't the only such boss that evidences this phenomenon.  Which ones stick out in your mind?

I think the most prominent one on my mind right now (apart from Ignis, since he spawned this post) is the Sarth-3D challenge.  (No, we're not talking about doing it on a sweet monitor with funky goggles... three drakes.  Though flame walls would probably look pretty cool in 3D.)   I've read several blogs in the past few weeks that have gone and "burned" the 3D fight, basically ignoring the 3 mini-bosses in favor of focusing all DPS on Sarth to quickly down the bugger.  At ICC gear levels, it's a completely valid and executable strategy.  On an "alt" run, you'd probably die.  Such a huge change for what once might have been the toughest 10-man fight in the game (it's slightly more manageable for 25 man groups, IMO). 

Were you ever surprised to find the old "tried and true" not being the best option anymore?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Answers and Ale

Strange music from stranger instruments wafted among the tents. Warm light from lanterns glowed within each tent, silhouetting the revelers on the canvas. Each tent contained a handful of people, many of whom were dancing or drinking in celebration.  There was good cause for celebration: they were one step closer to seeing Arthas dethroned.  Argent Crusaders mingled with adventuring mercenaries and lent the camp the feel of a carnival.  Drunken folk clad in every sort of wartime gear stumbled between tents only long enough to duck excitedly into the next one.  Every time another section of Arthas's guards were routed there was a celebration much like this one.

The open flaps of each tent were invitations even as the sounds of laughter and the smoke from pipes roiled out in equal proportions.  Fulguralis glanced longingly in each one, wanting to join the party, but he had other things on his mind.   Dodging a drunken Dwarf clad heavily in plate armor, he quickened his step towards his destination.

As he past a tent he knew, he stopped for a moment as thoughts of sharing a drink - just one, mind you - grew stronger.  The tent's lone occupant appeared to be rolling around contentedly on a plush rug with a rather large mug of ale nearby.  Fulguralis scowled quizzically. He was pretty sure he recognized the priestly-looking robes, but... No, it couldn't beShe wouldn't be doing that.  Would she?

"Mmmm, it'sh sho shoft!" A familiar voice cried out from the tangle of cloth on the floor.

The Warlock shook his head, walking away quickly.  No, that definitely wasn't who I thought it was.  Definitely not.  Fulguralis drew himself up before the camp's lone, closed up tent.  The person outlined in the light from this tent was apparently settling in for the night.  The Warlock felt his face heat and his pulse quicken as he realized what he was seeing.  The silhouette before him removed a several pieces of armor and set them aside to be oiled.  The light caught her just right for a moment, accentuating all of her feminine curves on the canvas.  His mind momentarily blank, Fulguralis just stared.

Clearing a throat suddenly dry, the Warlock ducked into the tent.  Fuubaar didn't even look up from where she sat on a stool in her white, knee-length nightgown brushing auburn hair that spilled onto her shoulders.  Fulguralis walked over to his wife and put his hands on her shoulders.  She flinched for a moment, as if expecting something else, but then slowly relaxed and continued with the brush.  Fulguralis glanced down at the chest near where her armor sat and was surprised to see her medallion laying in a tangle on the top of it.  She hadn't removed the thing in several weeks.

Quickly yet gently, Fulguralis stood his wife up, hands at her waist, and turned her to face him.  He took care not to even glance in the direction of the medallion lest she snatch it up and hide it as had been her habit of late.  Fulguralis drank deeply of her liquid green eyes as she stared back with a glazed look.  It had been another hard week and she looked exhausted.

"Honey, you should get to bed," Fulguralis urged.

"Huh? Wha-" Fuubaar yawned sleepily, eyes still unfocused.

"Bed, dear.  Sleep.  There," Fulguralis pointed, leading her over to her cot and laying her down.  "Good night."

"But there isn't much ti-," She began, but fell asleep mid-sentence.

For a few minutes, Fulguralis looked down at his wife, sleeping peacefully.  He wasn't normally such a pensive man, but her recent odd behavior had him worried.  In sleep, the haunted look vacated her features, replaced with the smooth beauty that the Warlock had taken for granted before.  He wished he could figure out what was wrong.

A barking laugh from a passerby brought him out of his reverie.  The sounds of ruckus that Fulguralis hadn't realized he'd blocked out came crashing back in.  Laughter and music and drunken singing colored the night air.  Having put his wife to bed, surely he could enjoy a drink or three now.   He gestured at the lantern and the flame died instantly.

On his way out of the tent, Fulguralis paused for a moment at the chest, gazing down at the medallion.  This bauble had something to do with his wife's mental malaise, but how.  He held it up in the darkness, twirling it and attempting to examine it.  It did not seem to be enchanted.  Glancing worriedly at his wife, he pocketed the necklace and quickly left the tent.

Following the laughter, Fulguralis set off in search of answers and ale.

Long Story Short

I've been wanting to answer some of the comments from the last three days, but our internet has been broken at home. Since that's the only place where I can access the comment area of this establishment... I've got a backlog of stuff I want to say. It should be fixed tonight though, so then I'll be back in business. Just wanted to let everyone know that I appreciate the comments and plan on joining in on the discourse as soon as I can. I'm definitely reading them.

And this will be in addition to today's regularly scheduled IC Friday post, which I need to go do now...

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Is Burst More Fun?

I whined about it a little yesterday. I'm going to try to be less whiny about it today.  The question I have in mind today follows directly from my whining.  Still, I want to ask it on a larger level, and not just pertaining to Warlocks.  Fundamentally, the QotD is this:

Is Burst DPS More Fun?

"More fun" is obviously a subjective term.  That is to say, of course this answer is going to completely vary based on individual preferences.  However, I'm thinking more on a global scale, as in: Blizz designs a game to be fun for the most amount of people.  If the design is such that it favors burst damage, then it must be because they believe that's what the people want.  Maybe that's an incorrect assumption, but let's look at some of my rationale.
  1.  PvP = burst. -  I think they've been trying to make it less burst dependent for a while now, but there is still a pretty clear benefit to being able to take something out fast.  In BGs, burst is a huge deal because PvE gear is so prevalent.  Again, they're trying to make this better, but PvE gear was/is so much easier to get, that you completely gimp yourself otherwise.  PvP gear tends to give you better survivability, but it just hasn't been enough.  You may die marginally more slowly, but you're never gonna live enough to take that flag.  I don't really do arena, so I can't speak a whole lot from there, but from a design standpoint, PvP definitely favors burst damage.  Why?
  2. The are more adds during boss fights.  - I whined about this yesterday.  "Kill the adds quickly" has become an increasingly prevalent mechanic in boss fights.  They're not meant to live long enough and they try to overwhelm you with numbers.  Fights such as Razorscale and Freya in Ulduar, Lady D and Dreamwalker in ICC, and KT in Naxx are textbook examples of "burn the adds".  By necessity, this sort of design direction favors burst.
  3. Killing stuff quickly feels epic. - Having to deal with large quantities of baddies, going from one to the next, seeing piles of dead bodies... these all lend themselves to a more epic feel.  I think this is a big reason why Blizz employs the tactics.  We complain about simplicity if it's a tank and spank.  The side effect here is that by the transitory axiom of equality, if quick = burst and epic = quick, then we're saying epic = burst. 
  4. Enrage Timers are trending to be shorter. - Is it just me or are we seeing more 5 and 6 minute "DPS race" enrage timers and fewer 15 minute enrage timer marathons?  The longer boss fights are usually because of several phases, one of which might be an "add" phase.  Short enrage timers favor burst, unless they're as simple as Patchwerk.  
  5. Most "gimmicks" are burst dependent.  - Sort of going with the shorter enrage timers and the increase of add usage, most of the gimmicks we see in fights tend to be of the style "Kill X before Y happens".  Whether a count down to a massive explosion via stacking buff or a preventative measure to stave of a devastating AoE, the bias falls firmly towards burst damage.  So many abilities on boss adds encourage raiders to shift their focus for a small amount of time in order to make the fight even remotely pos-si-ble.  And by small amount of time, I mean less than 20 seconds.  You can't get into a full rotation, and if you are that means stuff is taking too long to die.  
I don't believe Blizzard would intentionally go in and say, "hey let's make everything favor burst."  I do, however, think they would try very hard to figure out what we, as players, enjoy and integrate those principles into more fights.   Which brings me back to my original question: is burst DPS more fun?  Maybe it's simply that in order to keep coming up with varied mechanics, fun fights, fast paced action - the stuff we love - we're dictating that we like burst.  We don't want to kill things slowly.  We want to kill them quickly because then we feel powerful.  We want action.  We want adventure.  Is WoW a strategy RPG or an action-adventure RPG?  Are we trending from one to another?  At the very least I think it's an interesting thought, though it may not be completely well formed in my head yet.  What do you guys think?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Whiny Post Day Shall Commence!

Hey Gang!

So yeah... I was attempting to start my day with a nice hot cup of Coffee and talk to all of you about my kiting Victories until it happened... Da Da Da! Drama.

/cowers in fear

Well anyways, I remember reading over at Klepsacovic's Blog  that today is officially Whiny Post Day.

Perfect! I can Bitch and Moan about dumb shit & people will respect that ;)

Obviously, this will not be as epic of a rant as Critical QQ's Post Yesterday but I'll try my damnedest to bitch about something.

So, ummm where shall I begin...

1) So Fulguralis and I are in the process of buying a house. If this doesn't want to make you want to become single again, I don't know what will. It was actually sort of fun at the beginning, going through the houses, seeing the potential in each one and laughing at some of them because the decor is ummm.... not us. Once you get past the, "Awww how cute, we could put our little kitchen table here. Yay, this would be perfect for our bedroom set in there!" It slowly boils down to "OMG it costs WHAT!" or "DAMN IT I have to Fix that?" Or my classic favorite, "What is that smell?" I believe we went through around 20+ homes before we found the one we really liked at the price we can afford. NOW the bank is dicking us around... which I believe they now enjoy doing to first time home-buyers. The appraisal looks like a bunch of monkeys got a hold of a calculator & a glue gun.

But Fuu, they worked really hard on it.

No... no they didn't. I would fail them in my class. Go HOME & DO IT AGAIN TIMMY.

2) Rogues Suck! I hate them! I enjoy pvp occasionally but damn Rogues. Seriously, try this whole stabbing on one of your friends and see how they like it.

"Wow, that's what I've been doing to people all this time? That sucks."

It's funny because so many people are so fed up with your stabbing, that they too roll one so that they can avoid your crap. This snowball effect is horrible. A whole snowball full of Rogues sapping each other into the nether.


3) Tech Support!  MOTHER OF GOD! Yesterday, I came home to play Farmville (yeah you heard me, I like this shit! WTF you gunna do about it!) & run dailies. "Offline: Google" Pops up in my face. I look over at the modem which is sadly blinking its 1 light indicating "I'm not here to serve you bitch". Lucky for me I have Dragon Age which does not require your interwebs. Now, I'm so excited about having to be on the phone for 2 hours with someone not from the United States asking me questions like,

"Is it plugged into the wall?"
"Have you restarted your modem?"
"Would you like to go on a date with me?"

OMG! Punches will fly. I am a girl but damn it! I'm not freakin stupid. I know how to do the whole power cycle thing. It doesn't work! If it did, do you believe that I would be on the phone with you? HELL NO! DIAF Tech Support!

4) DPS Pugs! Can I tell you something from an extremely overgeared "intelligent" tank. Here is a list of shit I do not want to hear/see in party chat when I'm tanking for you.

"Go Go Go!'
"Might Please,  Mite plox, of Might plzzzzzz kthx!"
"lol u sux"
"Go Go Go!"

Did I mention "Go Go Go?" OMG I will go as fast as I feel comfortable. Any faster and you get 75% Fuubaar. And no one wants 75% Fuubaar. It just sucks, ok? People will die and you are to blame because you make me flustered.

Oh & this goes with #2 on this list. Rogues, when you enter the instance, please don't Fan of Knives the first pull? I kid you not, you can tank the rest of the instance if you do this. I'll sit back & believe that you have tank envy and laugh when I pull aggro off of you. L2 tank Rogue :P

5) Here are some images that amuse me because 1-4 really got me pissed!

I mean, who doesn't want a cat that can Poop Rainbows on Command.

This is something that made me sad that, out of the 20+ homes I went through, I didn't get to see. I mean we did end up seeing some horrible decor & one that looked like someone was one step away from throwing a Molotov Cocktail on the Roof but no Fireplace in the kitchen. Hmmm, maybe we should see more.

Only because this is how the word Squirrel should be spelled ;)

<3 Fuu

Now a word from our sponsors:

I wanted to add my own short whine today.  I promise to be brief... or something. - Ful

Why does Blizz have a hardon for add boss fights?  We keep seeing more and more fights where adds are a big part.  New Flash: This sucks donkey balls for Warlocks.  We're all about single target damage and it's like they're getting away from single target bosses.  It was all right in Naxx, with some adds, a definite main boss that you could damage.  KT was maybe the worst, but at least the second half of that fight you were useful.  Early Uld (cuz I've not gone more than halfway yet) was a bit worse.  Razorscale in particular sucked, but again there was like... a boss to catch up on.  ToC was actually pretty decent, though a lot of "dual" bosses, but still with big enough hit pools to not completely gimp you.  

Now in ICC we see tons of stupid add fights.  Lady D, Gunship, DoucheBag Saurfang... all significant target switching.  Still those are pretty tolerable.  I mean I'm mostly worthless at Gunship, but it's a fun fight.  Enter Dreamwalker.  You may as well bench your warlock for the fight... it's all about sustained healing and burst DPS.  I do neither of those things.  Even in my more-busty demo spec it sucks.  Really, I just don't like fights where sustained damage has no part.  I guess not having boring, simple fights is good... but I wanted to whine about seeming to have a lot more fights where it's just increasingly tough to play as a warlock.  I mean I know it's tough for others too, but this is my whine day and I'm using it for felssake.

PS: Happy St. Patrick's Day! =c3   <---- this is an attempt to make a three leaf clover. It turned out to look like balls with a tumor but damn it I tried. <3 Fuu

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Fall of the Wall

Ahh, the power of community. Thanks to everyone who made this possible:

For the record, we ended up having Fuu run in a big circle (CCW), and everyone else ran out and took a right (CW) to merge the ooze.  We used cleansing totems.  We ran through big puddles.  We stayed in one group behind the boss, running through him when he decided to pull a camel.  We wiped about a half dozen times before he went down.  There was much rejoicing.

So thanks for all the tips and tricks.  Nibs did a great write up and the comments on here were what got me going in the first place.  I think we would have spent another precious week working it out if not for the help of the community.

Also, obviously a great job by all my fellow raiders last night.  We pwned this dude's face and he totally had it coming.  Ugh, what a bastard.  Wheeeeeee!

Monday, March 15, 2010

They Changed Something In The Matrix

Short, frivolous post today. I spent most of the weekend entertaining visitors. Normally, Fuu and I are pretty boring on weekends. We game, clean the house, game, eat some food, game... you get the idea. We're not of the legion of gaming couples that have kids, so weekends are still relatively easy going for us. The only time our laid back schedule is altered is when someone comes in from out of town for a visit. This weekend, it seemed like everyone was in from out of town. It was crazy. People I haven't seen in months (Or ever, for that matter) were just deciding this was "the" weekend.

It was a lot of fun, but being social combined with a daylight savings time change to conspire against energy and gaming. So I've skidded into Monday morning without having accomplished a whole lot this last weekend. I think we cleaned the kitchen at least five times in two days.  There was a lot of alcohol consumed, some drunken heroics run, but not much of what I would call productivity.

Still, I'm anxious to return to ICC tonight with our raid group and try out some of the strategies that have popped up on here via my Rotface article last week.  Thank you for all who shared their ideas and I'll let you know how it goes.  I definitely think I have a better grasp of the fight now.

I nabbed a picture a while back and am going to use it to fuel today's QotD.  I've realized my whole QotD is becoming more like a QotM (M standing for Monday).  I think I'm just lazy on Mondays.  It happens.  Today's question is:

Are there any visual glitches that stick out in your mind?

Like I said, frivolous, but I think it might be a fun question.  From time to time we get to have a chuckle when something unexpected happens to "break" the graphics system in WoW.  We call these glitches.  I remember one of the big ones from TBC was when you could have giant pets and people would stand around in the banks with the T-rex from Jurassic Park and stuff.  Or the huge core hound.  Usually placing it on the vendor I was looking for.  Fun times.

I'm not talking about "exploits" here, or anything that affects game play.  I'm looking for our favorite visual errors.  The ones that don't really mess anything up, but can cause quite a chuckle and usually result in a screenshot or a "hey guys, you gotta see this!"  Are there any that bubble up in your mind?

The one that made me chuckle the other day was more of a warlocky thing.  Most pet classes know that when you mount up, your pet disappears into the nether only to reappear upon dismount.  It makes a certain amount of sense, I suppose, but I know sometimes it bothers me when I forget that I even have a pet out or something like that.  Well there was a small glitch the other day that made me smile.  I mounted up and my pet stayed out.  Dumb? Maybe, but it gave me a warlocky smile.  With a pet, your mount, and a non-combat pet, it sort of feels like you've got a bit of a posse.  An evil posse. 

Screenshot or it didn't happen, right?   You can even see my toon looking over at my felguard like: "wtf are you still doing here?"  He hung around until I dismounted and tried it again. 

Friday, March 12, 2010

A Wild Eagle Chase

The lush, green, rolling hills of the Arathi Highlands did little to ease Decedereful's racing heart as she stalked around Refuge Pointe.  What was she doing here?  With her brother and his wife off helping the assault in Icecrown, she had planned to continue her own smaller skirmishes around Northrend as the occasion warranted.  It seemed that the Citadel was getting all the attention, however, and so her and Abigora sat, tending house for the last several weeks.

The priestly bookworm was not good company.  She always looked down on things like torturing small animals and eating flesh flakes directly from the box.  It's not as if Dece liked it a whole lot either, but she was a Death Knight for lightssake.  Her dietary tract wasn't exactly what it once was.  Three squares a day didn't really apply to the undead.  Besides, it seemed that the priest could subside on written word alone.  That and maybe the occasional vegan salad eaten by devotional candlelight.  It didn't help that the willowy Elven woman was practically a rail.  It wasn't fair!  She didn't have to maintain the muscle to carry around heavy plate armor.  It was hard to look pretty in plate. 

At least her brother had visited, though he had not been in the best of spirits.  It seemed that they had hit a wall in their assault on the Citadel.  A very ugly wall.  He also seemed rather concerned about his wife, which was out of character for him.  Usually he thought only of himself, but he kept mentioning how odd she had been acting, clutching at some sort of medallion and jumping at shadows.  Dece was worried too.  If her brother had noticed something besides his own big ego, then it was obviously a cause for concern.

Oddly, Abigora had seemed to share the insight, tearing her eyes from her book long enough to stare worriedly at the Warlock.  Fulguralis had left again swiftly in a puff of a purple smoke, anxious to get back to the battle and leaving the two women once more to their own devices.  Abi had turned her big eyes towards the Death Knight and calmly, if cryptically, suggested that she go to the Highlands and ask around about "Bright Runes".  Dece had asked her why, but despite the pressure, the Night Elf would yield no more information.  Her bluish lips locked in a stern grimace, she would only repeat her advice to head to the Highlands before returning her attentions to her books.  It had seemed important at the time, and sitting at home was quite boring, but Dece was now having second thoughts about what was turning out to be a wild turkey chase.

That was why Decedereful found herself stalking around Refuge Pointe amongst the members of the League of Arathor.  She was friendly with the league, no small task for a Death Knight that every faction seemed to dislike on principle, but her initial questions hand yielded only blank stares and murmured apologies of ignorance.  She had helped in several skirmishes against the Horde forces in the Basin, yet no one there seemed to trust her enough for a conversation of any length.

As she paced uneasily, she felt eyes wandering over her body.  "What do you want, Nathane?"

The dark haired young man drifted into view.  "I just wondered what worried you, love," he said sulkily.  He was a good-looking man, if it a bit too tall for her tastes.  A fair hand with a sword too, Dece grudgingly admitted.  He oozed confidence out of every pore, and seemed to expect to have his way with Decedereful just like every other notch in his probably equally tall bedpost.

"I'm not your love," Dece snarled through gritted teeth.

"Whatever you say, dear girl.  I meant no offense.  Your happiness is of utmost importance to me," he said, bowing formally.

"Unless you know anything of runes, get away from me," Dece said.

"I can trace every rune in the Elvish alphabet... with my tongue," he purred, taking a step towards her.  In a flash, Decedereful brought one of her two swords up, level with his throat.  The other was held threateningly around his nether regions.  The man's cool exterior cracked, and he swallowed heavily.  "Well, I suppose I should leave you to your stalking then," he added with feigned indifference before swirling away and slinked back towards his tent.

The man was insufferable.  Between his insinuations and everyone else ignoring her, it was enough to drive her up a cliff and right over the side.  She glanced angrily at the banner flying above the tent Nathane had hidden in.  It was not an uncommon banner among the League, a white Arathian Eagle on red background, the standard of Stromgarde.  She hated that damn eagle.  Stupid man and his stupid League!

Decedereful spun around as a horn sounded from the direction of the Basin.  It seemed the Horde was about to make another push.  The Death Knight looked down at the two swords she still held unsheathed in her hands.  If she wasn't going to be getting anywhere with the questioning, then at least she could bang out her frustration on some stupid Horde.  She trotted anxiously towards where the battle group was forming.  Perhaps she would be able to earn enough respect on the battle field to coax out some answers.  At worst, it wouldn't hurt and she might feel less like ripping someone's arm off and beating them with it before feeding it to her ghoul.

As the gates opened and warriors poured into the Basin, Decedereful smiled.  This was going to be way better than playing detective.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

To Break A Wall

So what do you do when you hit a raid wall? Make an MS paint of the strat, of course! Who doesn't love terribad MS paints?  Plus, firming up the strat with a cooky visual may be just what the doctor ordered.  At the very least, you hope looking at things from a different angle may help promote new ideas or understanding.

Like I'd mentioned before, we've been stuck on Rotface.  Taking my own advice, I drew something up:

Once you get past the obvious awfulness of my MS Paint skillz, you may notice the strange google-poached clip art. I shall expand now upon my symbol usage.

The tank is pretty obvious, but I broke the boss up into two key components: the hoof and the not hoof.  In this case, the hoof is represented by a... well... hoof, and the not hoof by a bird foot.  If you actually look at the ugly boss, you'll notice he has both a hoof and a three toed ugly-ass foot.  This will come into play in just a moment, but if I remember right the hoof represents his left foot and the not hoof his right.  Thus the boss should be facing the tank in the diagram I've created.

Charlie Brown running with a kite is, you guessed it, the kite tank!  This individual needs to run like hell along roughly along the red "kite path" that I've drawn.  You'll notice green ovals depicting each of the four "goo zones".  We want to stay out of the goo zones, obviously.  In this diagram, I've placed a picture of spilled goo in the currently active goo zone (where the goo "is") and drawn a green arrow to represent how the zones will travel around the room.  I've also placed a goo nozzle in each zone.  The nozzle will serve as your quick forewarning of any goo zone.  When the Wizard of Goo (pay no attention to the man behind the curtain) emotes about fixing his damn pipes (why couldn't the good news be like we all turned into Ninja Turtles, that goo is way better than this goo), you'll see some liquid come out of the nozzles very briefly before the huge goo zone actually shows up.  The kite tank should pay attention to this and use it to figure out the direction and location of the first few goo zones (before and during kiting).

The kite tank should keep things simple.  Use the entire two "safe zones" for a kite path (staying one zone ahead of the ooze, the other should clear so there is never more than two goo zones), stay ahead of King Goomba, and keep aggro on the filthy bastard.  That's it.  The kite tank should focus on staying out of the goo and keeping the king pissed.

The remainder of the part should be split in between parties 1 and 2.  Group 1 is denoted by the group of drunk looking stick figures and Group 2 is denoted by the rather more elegant Group Sitting At Table During Party clip art.  Party choice is really up to you, just try to spread it evenly.  You leave one party deserted and then the cops will show up and hit you with fire code infraction on the other (aka Rotface will spit on you and cause healers undue amounts of stress).  Party 1 occurs at the bar called Hoof.  Party 2 is being held at it's less rambunctious competitor's Not Hoof.  Both parties should be loosely gathered.  Don't spread way out, but don't turn it into an orgy either.  Think casual conversation over the general din of the bar.

It is up to each individual party-goer to watch for the "I Drank Too Much And Need To Blow Goo" debuff.  DBM should warn you with a big, fat "hey, you really need to cut your friend off now" raid warning.  More on cleaning up after the mess in a moment, just know that you need to pay attention to your own debuff.  Once you identify that you need to find a safe goo-blowing venue, you should go find Charlie Brown who will lead you to the promised land.  Run out of your party and find the bald, perpetually prepubescent kiter as he/she attempts to avoid King Goomba.  If you are the cheap drunk (first with the debuff), you'll have to be patient until another drunk comes along.

This is where there is a bit of a choice.  You can either charge someone with being the Goo-Be-Gone, or you can set up the more automated Goo-Be-Gone Totem (available wherever fine shamanic goods are sold).  Manual Goo-Be-Gone may be more difficult on a healer (who might have his/her hands full), so you could pass it to, say, a Ret Pally instead.  This fight is NOT a DPS race, it's more about staying alive, so do what makes the most sense for your group.

Once cleansed hath been the Goo, then shalt thou merge thy Goo.  If it was cleansed straight away, you should be on the run already (having already realized your status), so you merely need to find Charlie, cross his kite path and let your trailing Goo do the rest.  You must be smart about it, the Goo's have to be semi-close to merge, but there is no need to be perfect.  Any drunk could do it.  Should you miss on your first attempt, you could continue to weave behind the kiter, slowing only as much as you dare, until your Goo gets absorbed.  If there is somewhat of a delay to the Goo cleansing, you will still want to run as if it had been cleansed, but you may want to notify the cleaners when you are in position.  If you are hanging out waiting for your drunk friend (the first Goo'ed), then you will need to kite any Goo you spawned until said friend makes an appearance.

Finally, having donated your own personal Goo for the greater Goo'd (hyuck), return to your party purged and feeling your second wind.  Pick up where you left off.  It is important to note that the Goo Zones will revolve around the room in a predictable manner (much like a drunken room revolves around you on occasion) necessitating the shifting of the kite path as well.  Each individual should begin running immediately upon a feeling of Goo, and not stop until they have completed the entire Goo exchange.  Please do not stop and gawk at the Goo.  This is considered bad manners and will offend your Goo cleanser.  It also may result in getting "cut off" for good, and no one likes that guy.  After a certain amount of Goo has been accumulated within King Goomba, he will explode, and the process will begin anew.  

Like I mentioned, this fight is not a test of DPS, but rather a lesson in teamwork and coordination.  You must be in sync with each other and on the same page to survive this fight.  If you survive, you should win, as the boss himself goes down rather quickly.  Exchanges are key, communication is key, and situational awareness is key.  Each person must do their job and keep their cool.  Avoid the bad, exchange the Goo, party it up, and bring down that wall! 

Did I miss anything?  And yes, there is a lot of Goo.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

So, you're bored, what do you do? Heroics Edition

Hey Gang!

So if you're like me, you're probably so burned out from running the Daily heroics that your brain has exploded all over your keyboard. Spontaneous Combustion!


The situation that most everyone's still in is a couple of different things:

A) You still need Frost Emblems for gear
B) You still need Triumph Badges for gear
C) You have absolutely nothing else to do with your time
D) You are a masochistic person and enjoy the pain that it brings because it makes you feel alive

Well, what ever combination you're situation is right now, you still need to force yourself to run them. Most of the time, if you bring a buddy, it makes it 10x better. The more friends, the multiplication goes up to the trillions.

Ok, bear with me on this guys... it might be a doozy. Here's what I'm thinking. Variety is the spice of life right? So Spice this baby up with like Garlic and shit!

Depending on how many days a week you run them... and how long your sanity holds, you may need to dedicate each day as a certain day for your events. This is me just spitballin here but lets say:

Monday: Drama Llama Night! You and one of your friends has a massive argument during your run. Like OMG SCREAMING NOOBS! No cursing mind you because you could be reported. It's actually funnier if you don't curse and use different words instead like OH FUDGE! or None of your BEESWAX! This will liven up the chat a bit. Obviously continue on the instance like normal but have the chat go crazy with insane talk. It doesn't even need to be a fight just have a long deep conversation with your friend straight through chat and act like no one else is there. Most of the time no one talks anyways, why not go with it. Just enough to make it entertaining for you & your friends.

Tuesday: Article of Clothing Night! If you're like me, you WAY over gear the situation. Why not replace something with festive gear. Make sure to wear your normal gear and just replace one piece. Most popular are pants & helm. Who doesn't love tanking with no pants on? Who wouldn't love seeing that cute little Santa Hat in July? Obviously the more outgeared you are, the more gear you can replace. I would be careful with the new 5-mans though because if you wipe because of no pants... don't blame me my friend. >.> blame the healer.

Wednesday: Intoxication Night! It's Hump day right? I'll bet your toon is getting a little worn out from the week thus far & needs a little refresher. Why not stop by the local inn and grab yourself a case of the finest dwarven brew and have yourself a little fun. Once you zone in, Slam 'em down to get smashed & start tankin! Can't see what you're targeting? Who cares! It'll die soon enough. Watch out for those Ledges in Nexus & Oculus though, the fall sucks. For those occasions, make sure to have your "YIPE!" sign made for when you pull a Wiley Coyote move right off the side. Also make sure to stretch out your arms to make the biggest POOF on the ground that you can.

Thursday: Change your Role Night! This one might be a little harder for those of you who are pure DPS but hey why not? If you normally tank? Heal or DPS. If you're a warlock, go in for the melee. I'm sure since you've never used your sword or dagger before, it's pretty sharp. Forgot to equip a weapon? That's ok, you have fists! Go for it! Are you a healer who's always wanted to tank? Go in for the kill I say. Fulfill your dreams! But Fuu, I dont have the gear to switch my spec... that's ok! Just do it in what you have on! Paladins are OP right? You'll be fine ;)

Friday: Ladies Night! Tonight we kick off our shoes and say screw the men (not literally)! It's all ladies tonight! Round up your best gals & have fun! Don't have the right combo of girls to actually make an instance run? That's ok, rent one from the pugs! If it's a guy, tell them that they must only talk to you in a high voice and go by the name of Sally. Afterward, you can go shopping in Dalaran for those perfect pair of shoes to go with your T10 gear!

Saturday: Announcer Night! Ever feel like you are taking four other people on a ride? Well why not let them know what there is to offer?! Make a macro that announces your intentions. I believe the Pugs wills enjoy your courtesy.
"Hello Ladies & Gentlemen. I hope you enjoy your time here in ~insert Heroic instance here~ Please keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times. Remember to turn off your cellphones. There are trash receptacles at every exit and at the beginning of each Boss. Thank you & Enjoy the Show!"

You could also offer popcorn and free passes to upcoming events such as, "Fuubaar Wipes the Group" "Oh Noes! Where's the tank?!" & our classic, "Fuubaar where are your pants?!"

Sunday: Jeopardy Night! Are you tired of listening to boss strategies? Ever wonder what it would be like if Alex Trebek helped explain them? Well I sure do. Turn into a Jeopardy game!

"Ok I'll take Complex Strategies for 1000 Fulguralis"
"The Answer is, "This is the Strategy used on the first boss in Halls of Reflection"
"What is Line of Sight?"
"That is correct. Your board Fuubaar"

Alternative Ideas:
-Pig Latin Night!
-Pretend to have a Vent Conversation Night!
-British Accent Night!
-Dance After every pull Night!
-/Chicken Night!
- Act Like you're a Hunter Night!

The list goes on & on my friends! Following these steps can really liven up your Heroics from dull & horrible to "OMG I CAN'T WAIT UNTIL TOMORROW!"

What ideas do you have to turn heroics into a tolerable situation?

<3 Fuu

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Just Do Your Job: Fulguralis' Thoughts with some Fuubaar Flare

It's official: we've hit a wall.  Rotface has stymied us for the time being.  Sometimes in the course of raiding, you hit that wall where you just don't feel like you're "getting it".  I'm not talking about when you feel like you're making headway.  I'm talking about when you feel like you're taking steps backwards.  It happens even to the best raid groups and usually it's a direct function of frustration.

The above is actually the beginning of Fulguralis' thoughts before he emailed me.

"I have meetings sweety... finish my thoughts"

Continuing on from what he was trying to express was that yes, we've officially hit what is known as the proverbial wall in our raiding. What sucks is ... I'm the one kiting & I'm the one dying. I know how to kite properly, I know how to deal with Adds you aren’t suppose to touch. I also know that it's not just me who is at fault here regarding this Rotface matter.

This post is not at ALL about pointing fingers.

"It's the healers fault for not cleansing and keeping the raid topped off!"
"It's the Kiting tanks fault for failing to run the path of a Kidney Shape!"
"It's the DPSs fault for not merging the slimes together!"
"It's the Main Tanks Fault for looking so awesome while standing there in the middle!"

You see? Everyone's at fault if you look at it that way. Last night, we spanked Festergut with his own fart spores, walked down the hallway and watched our dreams of downing Rotface pass us by in the breeze...a smelly gaseous breeze. My kiting was horrible because I was paying attention to WAY too many things at once.

-Watch for Pipes bursting
-Watch for puddles on the floor
-Watch for where the infected person is
-See who the next infected person is and help cleanse if need be
-Keep Aggro on the Big slime
-Make sure the Slimes are Merging
-Make sure the big slime doesn't touch me

See there's nothing that I have to worry about during my kiting.... NOT!

Fulguralis and I discussed each time why I was dying and how could we stop that from happening again. Trouble shooting isn't the problem here. I just felt like I wasn't getting it long enough for me to actually get into a rhythm for the kiting. What we were realizing was that I was trying to do too much at once. Everyone was! Why? Why were we trying to make this fight so much harder than it really has to be?

"Do your job!"

Don't pay attention to what the healers are doing if you are a DPS... DPS!*

Don't pay attention to what the tank is doing if you are the Healer.... HEAL!*

Don't pay attention to what the stupid DPS are doing if you are the Tank... TANK THE DAMN THING!*

No matter how hard you stare at those bars as a DPS you aren't going to help the healers keep people up. I'm thinking that if I were to cut my To Do list of crap on that fight down, it would be much easier to execute what I actually need to do. So here's what I'm thinking that I need to do as a tank kiting those Slimes on Rotface:

- Wait until two people have the infection, and their slimes create one big Ooze
- Taunt the Ooze
- Watch out of Puddles on the floor
-Watch out for Burst pipes
- Keep aggro on Ooze
- Live

What changed is the person infected has now picked up the job of watching the Slimes merge not me. I'm not going to watch for the person who is infected anymore because wtf does that do? I could cleanse them but that is either the healer's job or the Cleansing totems. My job is to keep aggro on the big Ooze and make sure that it doesn't touch me.

It has now become Fuubaar Verse Ooze! Not Fuubaar verse observing everything going on in the raid plus Ooze.

That's not a fair fight.

Now I tell you this because I believe anyone who's ever raided before feels responsible for what happens. I'm not sure if it's purely a Tank or a healer feeling but when I tank a raid, I feel like if something messes up, it's my ass.

What a selfish way to look at it really. What about the 9 other people, is it not their responsibility to feel like that too? I have to have faith that my healers will do their best to keep me and the rest of the raid alive. I have to have faith that my DPS will pour their little hearts out to kill this thing.

It takes all of us to become victorious at the end, not just the tanks, not just the healers, not just the DPS.


Have faith in your fellow raiders that they will do their job so you can solely focus on doing yours.
<3 Fuu

PS: I hope this is where you were going with this honey ;)
PPS: So, I know you are waiting for the reason for the crazy Disco fella that has absoluely nothing to do with this post. Well, Google Image search strikes again. I searched for the word "Ooze" and I found this gentlemen. The caption was "This man Oozes Sex" and I about died laughing. So there you have it folks :)

* Unless you are told otherwise from your raid leader. The Bold and simplistic aspect of my statement is just that. It does not mean that if your raid leader tells you to stop DPSing and do something else to not listen to them. Please listen to your raid leader and take my bold statements to heart. Dear Lord, if I start receiving emails from your Raid leaders stating that you weren't listening to them and said that you were only suppose to DPS and nothing else. I reserve the right to tell you to stop being a mindless Zombie.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Don't Drink and Vendor

Last week I'd mentioned that I'd probably be doing shorter, "QotD" posts... then promptly entered into a tripartite look at Cataclysmic stat changes.  Such is the nature of blogging, I suppose.  When topics rear their wordy heads, who am I to back down? Sissy Robe be damned; I shall see your post, and raise you one wall o' text!  In any case, back to the plan this week... maybe. 

Todays QotD: Have you ever accidentally sold an epic piece of gear that you didn't mean to?  How'd that go down?

The short version of today's story is that I now have an ilvl 200, 25 Emblem of Heroism off-hand.  That's the end of this story: me, shamefully converting triumph emblems all the way down to heroism emblems and choosing to pick whatever that creepy book is called over the violet ward thingy that was all the rage back when I started Naxx.  Now, let's Tarantino this and see how it happened.

It was a normal Saturday night.  We had spent the day with my family, eaten a dessert at the 'Bees, then went out to dinner with another couple we know, had wine and another dessert.  Yes, we went from Cookie Madness (or w/e it is a the 'Bees) to Key Lime Pie in the span of hours.  That's a nice little Saturday.  Forget Home Depot.

But yes, wine was involved.  Then more wine at home and perhaps some beer too.  So Saturday night found me logging in (repeatedly, since I had the login boss set on heroic mode apparently) just a bit tipsy.  I was not sloppy.  My words per minute still exceeded my typos per minute.  It was a happy buzz.

The night was pretty uneventful too.  I waltzed through a few heroics on each toon (easy enough in raid gear, if all the mobs blur together: that's working as intended) and participated in Wintergrasp (because I'll only do it drunk now, so when the lag hits, it's all normal speed to me).  While I queued, I fished.  I like contributing to the Fish Feast Bonanza that happens every raid night, and if I refuse to cook, at least I can fish.  Besides, if you fish right near the fire elemental area of WG, you can run through and pick up a few eternals every time they spawn (and/or avoid the times when it seems like everyone had the same idea).  All in all, it's a rather relaxing and productive practice when waiting for the main event.

As my night wound down, I found myself in a strange chat channel talking to strange people (which happens) about strange things.  I know I wasn't the only drunk one (you know who you are, Hunter Girl).  At some point, with my eyelids drooping into the red and in need of repair, I called it a night.  I did the normal routine of Hearth, vendor random crap, pop good stuff in the gbank, log out (which is much easier than logging in, I might add).

The next day, I signed on for the weekly raid quest we had scheduled, and my equipment addon notifies me: "Cannot find Scourgelord Baton".  Wait, what? I have no off hand.  Ah, must be in my bags since I still had my fishing pole equipped.  Nope.  Not there.  Bank?  No.  Gbank?  Now I'm just reaching.  Holy crap! It's gone.

It took me a moment.  What happened last night?  Things got a little crazy.  They escalated quickly.  There was that one Dwarf with the jiggly... Yet, through the haze that was Saturday night, I seemed to recall emptying my bags.  Now, if you take a moment to look at the icon for said baton (I can't link at work or I would), it looks like a crappy skull.  A crappy skull that fits in with the rest of the crappy stuff you tend to fish up.  Now, I'm guessing (and I'm not really sure I believe it, but I was drunk) that I saw crappy skull next to crappy seaweed and crappy piece of wood and just right-clicked my way to free bag space.  Right before logging off for the night.

So my baton is not lost in the nether.  Gone forever.  Never to be seen again.  At least until we reset our raid ID and probably get it to drop on Mr. Ram-You-With-Bone like it does every time.  (I think now is a good time to mention out that our strange mantra for the guy is that "it get's easier the more you do it" which is both apt and gross.)  So it's not a huge deal, and I ran the weekly, sans off-hand, and still pulled good DPS and picked up the shoddy replacement after we finished.  Still, it had to be one of the pieces that relies primarily on drops to upgrade.  It couldn't have been like, my shoulders (which I also replaced last night to get my 2 piece T10 bonus).  Gah.

So this is a service announcement: If you're going to drink and sell things, you might want to name a trustworthy friend your Designated Vendor.  Always game responsibly.

(It's also a cry for commiseration.  I can't be the only one committing Gearscore suicide, can I?)

Friday, March 5, 2010

Everyone Needs A Break

Fulguralis brushed his robes once more in vain. Speckles of blood and grime covered him and would not be removed my mere wiping. He either needed a stout wash basin or someone with a better understanding of the non-volatile elements to be able to get the garment clean.  Out in Icecrown, the nearest wash basin was a long ways away, and, on principle, Fulguralis refused to ask a mage for anything. 

The fighting had been long an arduous over the past several weeks, but the hard work had paid off.  Tirion and his groups of adventurers and crusaders had gained a tenuous foothold in the Citadel.  The supply lines were steady and secure, and the soldiers well fed.  That was something at least.  Something to show for so many lives lost.

Wiping a grimy hand through his greasy, blond hair, Fulguralis looked at his fellow adventurers gathered in the camp just outside of the Citadel gates.  They were resting now after yet another push deep inside of enemy-held territory.  Several tents encircled the fire pit with the ten adventurers scattered around.  The camp had looked the same since day one of the assault on the Citadel, faded canvas tents staked into the group with the miscellanea of war strewn about haphazardly.  There was no time for tidiness in war. 

Jessabelle, the dwarven priest, sat nearby, face buried in a book.  She was the default leader of the ragtag crew; it was her efforts that had brought them all together.  She did a rather good job at keeping them focused, though she seemed to have a propensity for getting her own self into sticky situations - Fulguralis recalled the narrow escape from the headsman a few weeks ago - no one know the lay of the land better than her.  It only made sense, considering the amount of time she spent buried in those ever-so-flammable books. 

Near the priest was her druid familiar.  The strange, willowy man was always at her side.  He was of few words, but when he did talk, it tended to spill forth in brambles as tangled as his branches in tree-form.  The hunter tended to her pet off to one side, while two shaman categorized their totems on the other.  The mage - yes, Fulguralis was forced into behaving civilly to a mage - sat near the fire, alternatively smothering it with ice and starting it back up again.  A trickle of water ran away from the pit in a steady stream.  Fulguralis could not see what she hoped to gain from the exercise, but it wouldn't be the first time he misunderstood the intentions of a mage. 

Raucous laughter spilled from one of the tents in which a lantern glowed brightly.  Through the pulled back flaps, Fulguralis could see a warrior and two paladins, one of whom was his wife.  They appeared to be playing some sort of drinking game that involved the finger bones of some defeated monster and several large mugs of ale. 

Fulguralis was surprised to note a rather fond feeling for the group swell inside of him as he surveyed the scene.  They had been through a lot together, and were all similarly focused on seeing the Lich King taken down.  It was a motley crew, but the common purpose bound them as tightly as any of those silly Argent oaths.

Fulguralis took several steps towards the party tent before glancing over at Jessabelle, "Hey! Jbelle!  The drunks found another cask of ale."

Wide dwarven eyes unearthed themselves from the trappings of the book, a slight sheen of excitement seeping into them.  If there was one thing that could get the woman away from books, it was ale.  Carefully, she shut the book and stood, smoothing her robes in an overly dignified manner.  It would not do to point out the ink stains on the cuffs of the garment, remnants of furious note-taking.  Fulguralis knew such an observation was likely to get a snide response.  Several of the other adventurers' ears perked up as well, and like fel bugs to holy light they were all drawn inexorably towards the tent. 

Fuubaar spared a glance from the game towards her husband.  Fulguralis caught her eye in the moonlight, and the warlock noted the somewhat drunken cast to her gaze.  She had obviously started early again.  He was beginning to worry about her, she had become increasingly reticent of late.  Sure the battles had been hard, gory, and seemingly endless, but that had never seemed to bother her before.  Perhaps it was the feeling of a looming storm on the horizon that had everyone on edge.  It felt as if the very fabric of Azeroth was being pulled at the edges and would be stretched so tight as to split down the middle.

They all chalked it up to just another effect of the Lich King on the world, another crime for which he would pay in the end, and tried to ignore it as best they could.  Still, his paladin wife had become somewhat skittish as of late and had taken a bit more heavily to the bottle.  Being a warlock, Fulguralis wasn't quite sure what to say, if anything.  Emotions weren't his strong suit.  Their eyes stayed locked until a look of concern crossed the paladin's eyes and she dropped them to the floor of the tent.  Fulguralis wasn't sure, but it certainly seemed as if she were hiding something.  Whatever it was, it would have it's day when the Lich King finally fell.  There'd be plenty of time for mushy talk then, surely.

Still, Fulguralis felt a keen sense of unease as his wife nervously fished a hand down the front of her armor and emerged with a strange amulet in hand.  She had taken to wearing the thing lately, but every effort on Fulguralis's part to get a closer look at it only set her hackles up and sent her off into a rage about him being too "nosy".  She had the strange crest on the end of the silver chain in her fingers, and was worrying it rapidly.  Fulguralis picked up his pace, hoping to perhaps get a better look at it.

As he closed in, Fuubaar seemed to sense his proximity and realized she had the amulet out again, since she hastily shoved it back down the neck of her armor.  Grabbing her mug of ale, she lifted it skyward and drained it to the last drop.

With a glare in his direction, she announced quite loudly, "Pour ush another round! We have more playershesh... hic!"