Monday, January 31, 2011

UA vs FF: A Revisit

The question of Unstable Affliction versus Fel Fire has been a bit of a contentious point for me ever since its introduction. You see, the maths clearly show UA as being superior in a clean, stand-and-fire environment. Yet I've tried with varying amounts of success to argue for a much heavier use of Fel Fire in the affliction rotation. I love the spell, and think, when used appropriately, that it can greatly improve our DPS. The sentence "UA is better cuz of maths" simply doesn't tell the whole story.

Lately I've been running a whole lot of heroics. It seems that our fledgling guild has collectively passed over the gearing hump to take most of the encounters from Frustratingly Difficult, down to Mildly Annoying and even Totally Doable. There are still some fights that make us want to bang our keyboards against a wall. Especially with mechanics like the one where you need to reflect a DoT onto yourself so that you can avoid the Paralyze. Great for Warlocks. Not so great for Pally healers. Especially when you don't have anyone else in the group that could dispel it. Better stock up on the Salfuron Slammers!

A side effect of this new sensation of heroic success is that I've really been able to start fine tuning my spell weaving. This of course brings me back to the UA vs FF debate with a new sheen of experience on my opinions. Thus, a revisit.

The good news is that I don't think the "rule of thumb" is that complicated. In fact, I already know where I've seen it said best. Thank Nibuca: "Refresh Unstable Affliction between the last and next-to-the-last tick (or when you’re moving via Fel Flames)." Done. Simple.

So we use UA anytime we're able to stand and cast. If you have to move, throw a few FF's in while you're shuffling around for a net gain. It's that simple. Any interwoven FF casts don't have to be near the end either since they just tack on time.

To elaborate a bit, this leads us to the following considerations. Is this a movement heavy fight or is it a tank and spank? We can make the decision based on phases too. If you expect a lot of movement AND are able to anticipate that movement, just spam FF whenever you're on the run. After all, what else are you going to do while running? The only other possible button press that you should be hitting with any regularity is BoA. Corruption should be kept up by Haunt. CotE maybe, but it's got a pretty long duration. Oh, you can and should tap on any Nightfall procs as well. I guess there are things, but I'm finding that a lot of the time, I really don't have anything better to do than spam FF when I'm, say, navigating to get upwind. In fights like that, it may be completely plausible that you never use UA to refresh, since there is always a bit of movement looming on the blustery horizon. And don't be fooled, squeezing in FF's while moving IS a net DPS gain. Anytime you're throwing a damaging spell in when you'd otherwise not be casting is straight gain.

So yeah, the maths show that if you're able to stand still, UA is the better choice. But the question good warlocks need to ask themselves each and every fight is: how much am I standing still. I've found the situations to be about 50/50, with half the fights being stand and fire for most of the fight, and the others being so movement heavy that anything I can squeeze in while moving is totally bonus.

I'm holding off on guide updates until 4.0.6 drops, and then my little paragraph on FF should reflect this. Unless it gets changed, of course. I don't think it will, though, because it's a pretty neat choice actually. Well balanced and easy enough to juggle once you start getting comfortable. It adds a nice little option for us without being a DPS killer if we choose poorly. Plus, hey, we got some green fire and an instant nuke. Can't beat that.

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Happy Couple

The slap spun Fulguralis around. One moment he was watching a rather attractive Paladin land amidst the chaos, and the next he was staring at a very sympathetic looking Valentis. Nevermind that the Druid had been behind him.

"Where have you been?" Fuubaar wanted to know, hands on hips.

Fulguralis turned back around to face his wife. It was not exactly the reunion he was hoping for. Yet what was a Warlock to do? He'd been nearly killed... twice, he had long since lost all sense of the passage of time, and he'd been drinking. How in the fel was he going to explain anything to his apparently very pissed of wife?

So he took a different route and said, "Honey, you're drunk."

Stars bloomed, and once more Fulguralis found himself with an eyeful of Gilnean. He scowled and rubbed his stinging cheek. A deep breath should help before turning around.

"I'll just ah... I mean, it seems as if you two have quite ah... There's really a smashing... over," Valentis stammered, pointing in all sorts of directions.

"You stay where you are Gilnean," Fuubaar roared. "I'll get to you next. And I only feel tipsy."

"Right then, tipsy, of course. Wouldn't have suggested otherwise," Valentis replied, voice cracking.

Fulguralis slowly turned to face his wife. "Leave Valentis out of this," he said, throwing both his hands up in anticipation of an incoming arm. The blow didn't fall.

"Valentis?" Fuubaar said with wonder. "You're Valentis?"

"Guilty as charged ma'am," the Gilnean replied happily, stepping forward to stick out a hand. "And you must be Fuubaar. I've heard so much, and I must say, you're beauty exceeds all tales. It truly is a pleasure."

Fuubaar eyed the Druid suspiciously.

"May I," he continued, pointing at a vague area off to the side where some of the Wildhammer Dwarves were peeking over a retaining wall.

Fuubaar rolled her eyes and waved him away. He nearly shapeshifted and flew, but somehow managed a semi-casual, stuttering walk. The Paladin returned slightly cooled eyes to her husband.

"I was told in a dream there would be a Valentis," she admitted. "Well, rather, a sort of dream," she shrugged. "I think Ysera had something to do with it. She's been meddling around a lot more recently."

"I'd noticed," Fulguralis responded wryly.

"Why did you leave me?" Fuubaar asked. "Why desert me for months and then show up just to... didn't you die?"

Fulguralis shifted uncomfortably, "Um, I don't really know. There was Arthas, then my minions woke me up to find a wolf staring at me, then I went chasing you to Stormwind and there was an invasion of elementals and that huge dragon, and I'm pretty sure I died several times in there, but Ysera said..." he trailed off. "What year is it?" he finished suddenly.

Fuubaar's face softened further with each subsequent explanation. "We did that whole thing at the Frozen Throne almost a year ago," she noted.

Fulguralis held up a few fingers and did some mental calculating. "A whole year?" he asked. "Man, to me it seems like it all just went by in like a month, maybe two. There are a lot of blank spots in there."

"Why didn't you come find me right away?" Fuubaar pressed.

"I went to the manor first, no one was there!" Fulguralis said.

Fuubaar looked down at the ground, "I haven't been back there since... well, I just couldn't."

"There were new curtains up," Fulguralis noted. "They were... mage colored."

A hopeful gleam sparked in his wife's eye, "That sounds like my mother. It couldn't be, could it? I thought everyone had died."

"Deathwing really did do a number on things didn't he," Fulguralis said soberly. "The manor still stands, though. Speaking of, I seem to remember that you'd joined the Twilight Cult," he accused.

The Paladin waved him off, "It was undercover work. SI:7."

"Of course," Fulguralis nodded. There was an awkward pause. "That locket," he started again, "well, I found out it was your..."

"My father's," Fuubaar interrupted. "I know. You could have asked."

"You were being so... weird," Fulguralis argued.

"Arthas stole a lot from me," Fuubaar explained with an edge. "But he's gone now, and it seems that we've got larger problems to focus on."

"Your father was..." Fulguralis began to explain.

"Killed again," Fuubaar filled in. "Yeah. But mom could still be kickin' it, right? Just have to trust in the Light. Things will work out," she said.

Fulguralis shrugged, "Sure."

"Let's get back to the manor and leave them a note or something," Fuubaar suggested. "They're probably all out looking for you too." She stepped up to him and gave him a chaste kiss on the cheek.

"That's it?" the Warlock asked. "I sacrifice myself for you and return from the dead and that's all I get?"

Fuubaar grinned mischievously. "There's more where that came from," she whispered in a sultry voice. Then added, "Besides, people are watching. What kind of girl do you take me for?" She cocked her head back over her should.

Fulguralis followed her gesture. Valentis and seven Dwarves were staring unabashedly from behind the retaining wall. The Gilnean lurched to a start when he noticed the Warlock's gaze sweep their way.

"Now you will want to observe the road here, and, ah, you - yes, you look right full of beans - you'll want to leg it up there for a good view, and perhaps you two can go an' filch some supplies as well. We're won't always be able to blooming bail you out, you know," Valentis lectured with grand sweeping gestures in an overly loud voice. "And, ah, you may want to take a gander at that dwelling too - No, that one right there... Yes - there could be some food stuffs in there and, well... Bob's your uncle."

The Dwarves all stared blankly at the Gilnean. Finally, one piped up, "Let's go an' get summore ale."

All seven grunted out various forms of agreement. They stood up and filed off in a line, whistling as they went away. Valentis casually strolled back to the couple.

"Well, I chivvied them along right nice, didn't I," he announced.

Fulguralis patted the Druid on the back, "You sure did. Let's get out of here."

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Frost DW DK Update

Slowly but surely I've been leveling Decedereful, my DK, toward 85. Last night she just dinged 84 and I plopped the resultant talent point in it's place. Our guild has unlocked the first tier of increased experience gains, so with that and rested experience, the time I've spent has been quick. The zone path went from Hyjal, to Deepholm, to Uldum. I doubt I'll be able finish Uldum without hitting 85, but it will probably be close.

My second time through, a few things have struck me. First, leveling a gathering profession is infinitely more pleasant than the tailoring/enchanting hell I went through on my main. It was amazing to me that I maxed out mining as earlier as I did. I went from 500 to 525 last night in about an hour by doing large circles of Uldum. Pretty easy compared to how I've had to beg, borrow, and steal cloth and materials for my other professions. Engineering on this toon is still behind the curve, but there are a lot of 5-pointers which make it not so bad.

Apart from professions, I don't feel that my playstyle has evolved all that much. That is, I still feel like I'm doing exactly the same things I was doing at 80. I guess I was a bit spoiled by my warlock. There were significant spells added that you really had to think about, some that should be used extensively. With a Frost DW DK, there really doesn't seem to be anything that affects what I use. Sure there's a new strike that will steal some healing and there's the nice little spell that lets you instantly apply both of your diseases, but neither have really made it into my basic set of Things To Do. I'm still: Howling Blast > Plague Strike > Obliterate > Frost Strike... rinse, repeat. I throw some blood strikes in to keep some death runes active, but otherwise, I'm just using those four abilities as needed.

I guess I find myself sort of disappointed, yet not at the same time. I can see where some of those new abilities will have situational usage, and I look forward to using that healing stealing strike thingy in PvP, but it's sort of same-old, same-old. Really makes me appreciate the care they've taken with Warlocks anew. There were really smart changes to 'locks. DKs seem to largely have been left alone, which seems odd to me given that they basically destroyed several playstyles (i.e. DW and Frost tanking in general). Maybe this is a good thing, I don't know.

Any Frost DK's out there? How do you feel?

And I don't care what anyone says, Uldum is fun the second time around too, even though it is the epitome of a Universal Studios rollercoaster.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Moar Mouseover Macros!

Here's another thing I've done recent that I think really helps the flow of Affliction. In Cynwise's marvelous post several weeks ago on macros, there was a particular item he uses for PvP that really struck my PvE fancy. It was his simple, one line, mouseover macro for Fel Flame.

/cast [@mouseover,harm] Fel Flame; [harm] Fel Flame

What this does is simply cast Fel Flame on your mouseover target (if you can harm it), or, if you're not mousing over anything, on your current target. Great for getting rid of pesky totems. However, as someone who only rarely PvP's on my 'lock, it's probably not all that useful for me. Generally I only want to Fel Flame my target in order to refresh UA on the move, so it's situational at best.

Really, I've never used mouseovers a whole lot before. PvE is more about entering with a strategy, and part of that strategy involves knowing what to target. That's why we spend so much time marking. So it seemed like mouseovers were a more natural fit in the PvP world.

Yet, a few very nice uses came to mind eventually as I was playing, so I worked them out. The first one? Soul Swap. What about all those times when you want to just throw some DoTs on a boss add without really switching, or maybe you can start your DoTs on the "x" a smidge early even while you Drain the Soul of the skull. Soul Swap would seem like a natural fit for a mouseover in PvE, and I got this:

/cast [@mouseover,harm] Soul Swap; [harm] Soul Swap

Simple, eh? Just replaced the spell with what I wanted, then threw it on my bar. I didn't have anything else naturally bound to my SS spell, so it worked out like this for me. And the use! It's awesome. I have this bound to my "7" key. So I tap 7 once, the green ball flies to me, then I use my mouse to find the add, mouseover, and tap "7" again. Heck, usually when I know it's coming up, I can get my mouse ready so that it's 7, slide, 7 - super quick - and then I'm back on the main target.

It's really nice for dailies too. I'm out in the Highlands for the Wildhammer clan right now, and I'm toasting hoardies to get my insignia quota for the day. Dot the first up, mouseover-swap to a second guy. Basically, I kill them in convenient sets of two. Or, if I'm feeling really cocky, I'll just let the dots roll through on those two and repeat the process on another two. Throw in a shadowflame every now and then for good measure, and in a jiff I'm rolling in ale and dwarven hugs (which are a firm, open-handed slap on the arse) for saving the village.

The second semi-obvious use that reached up with a bony finger and tickled my sharded soul was a use with Curse of the Elements. If you're an Affliction Warlock specced into Jinx, then you don't want to be casting CotE on each and every trash mob. No, you want to find the last one that's going to die, cast it on him, and not worry about the rest of them. My CotE is cast using the "alt" key below my Haunt spell, so I modified that to look something like this:

/cast [nomod] Haunt
/cast [@mouseover,harm,mod:alt] Curse of the Elements; [harm,mod:alt] Curse of the Elements

This one's a little more complex, but not too terribly crazy. First, you can see I'm specifying a simple Haunt cast with no modifying buttons. Second, I append "mod:alt" onto what I would refer to as your "Preconditional Statement". That's just a complex way of saying "the crap in the brackets". It's interesting that you can set different preconditions, combining them by use of a simple comma, and then separating your larger conditional by a semicolon, which is what I've done in that second line. The conditional, if read out, would sound something like this:

If no modifier is pressed, cast Haunt.
Otherwise, If I'm mousing over something, I can harm it, and alt is depressed, cast CotE at my mouseover target; If that first conditional isn't passed, I can harm my target, and alt is depressed, cast CotE on my current target. (Since "@target" is the default for cast, though you can specific it if you desired).

Pretty interesting, no? What this allows me to do is when I'm on trash, find that last mark, which a lot of the times nowadays is my CC target (but which could be something else too), mouseover, and cast my curse. If we happen to be on a boss or other single target, I just don't point my mouse at anything and it's business as usual.

It gets even more useful when I have my focus frame displayed, so I don't have to hunt for a name plate, but just hover of my feared focus in the frame and pop him with my curse. CotE will not break fear (or sheep), so it's a great place to use it, as those are usually saved to last. It will break something like an ice trap, fwiw. I have used it on a banish target as well, but I've had mixed success. I do not believe Jinx will trigger from a banished mob. The curse will stick (provided you sneak it in before you banish), it just won't spread.

This has been incredibly useful in my PvE adventures. It does mean that you have to be a bit careful where your mouse is pointed. After all, you won't want to accidentally pull another group, but I haven't had any of those mishaps yet. Heck, I'm more likely to pull with my pet when he decides to take the long way around after we jumped from somewhere (I thought that was supposed to be fixed!).

So mouseovers are one of the new tricks that Cataclysm has seen me put into my bag. I'd never used them prior to this expansion, and never really felt the need. Now, however, I don't think I could live without these two. What new code has Cata seen you pulling out of your macro closet?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Pebble Approves!

Hey Gang!

So, back to live action! Our vacation was a great chance to unplug from all things interwebs. Which is really odd for Ful & I because we have smart phones, our jobs require us to be on the computer constantly, and we play an addictive MMO. Telling me that I can't do much more than play Plants verse Zombies for an entire week was pretty brutal. I mean, it's hard to pwn newbs when you're in the pool catchin some rays.


So, last night I got a chance to flex my tanking muscles in our weekly guild Heroic run. We were lucky and drew The Lost City of Tol'Vir. Which, by the way, if those stupid cat people can find it, how the hell did we lose it?! Harrison Jones must have been drunk: "Now where did I put that damn City....hic!"

So, we sauntered in, marked up the kitties, threw in the cat nip... wait... I mean the Frost Trap, and ripped it up. This place was rock solid. We downed the bosses with little issue. There was still a challenge but it wasn't eye bleeding pain. We zoned in and zoned out within an hour. It was a blast! Our clothies & hunter got a few upgrades, we all got a decent chunk of Guild XP/Rep, Faction Rep, Justice & Valor Points, and a Chaos Orb for our time spent. All and all, it felt like we had accomplished something. Something that we could have felt in Wrath long before now. Hell, by now, we would have ROFLStomped everything that Blizzard offered us and then we would all quit because we were bored out of our minds, sitting in Stormwind on our Welfare Epics on the biggest mount in the game blocking the Sun.


Excuse me....

So, last night was the first night that I actually felt like we had mastered that Heroic. It felt really good and I believe that we've been able to hurdle the gearing issues that a few of our guildies have run into. As of right now, we have (from what I remember) four more Heroic Achievements to get for our guild. That would mean that we've, atleast, seen all of the new mechanics and all of the bosses once.

I've come to the realization: Our Small Guild could not have achieved this feat of strength individually. It was only achieved with the help of everyone collaborating and pooling there resources to assist everyone to get over the "Gear Wall". This was only possible with:

-Multiple Tailors using their cooldowns
-All unneeded Greens & blues disenchanted and donated back into the guild
-Buying Gem cuts for the masses & keeping the guild bank stockpiled
-Alchemists converting Volitle Lifes into needed Airs & Fires & making Flasks
-Blacksmiths making belt buckles that are still extremely expensive
-An ocean of Fishers catching and stuffing buckets of mats for our cooks
-A metric ton of chefs cooking up a storm for everyone's food buffs
-An extensive & organized Guild Bank full of useful mats for every walk of life (Leveling, Professions, Raiding, etc.)
-An entire guild full of people who are ready & willing to run anything with you (Dailies, heroics, regulars, Achievements, etc.)
-Alts that have turned into mules for professions that we're using for Guild Mains (Poor Abigora only sees the Jewelcrafter Daily & the occasional Mt. Hyjal to pwn some elementals)

I could sit here & swoon all day about my guild and how incredibly awesome they all are but I wont because, well, that's annoying. <3

TL;DR The New Changes to Guild Stuff is Awesome!

Pebble Approves!

yeah, I'll bet you were trying to figure out where the title came from.... whelp, there you have it.

Question for you dear reader: Has your guild changed & evolved with the introduction of the Guild Achievements? Has it proven to be a good or a bad thing?

<3 Your Friendly Neighborhood Fuubaar

Monday, January 24, 2011

Quick Post and Heroic "Nerf" Idea

We made it back, mostly in one piece. I've acquired the debuff: "Epic Double Ear Infection" which, which made me especially vulnerable to the AoE of the Airline Boss. You know the one, Pressure Drop. Yeah, awful. Nearly one shot me.

Luckily I hit up the healer yesterday and go some solid buff food. Told me it'll take 3 days before I stack enough immunity to clear the lingering stacks of Pressure Drop. Until then, it's like I'm leveling in Vashj'ir. Everything sounds so muffled and is just a bit wavy. Thus, this is the best, most entertaining analogy I can come up with.

In other news, they didn't Rogue-drop the patch on me while my back was turned. They also tweaked Fel Armor away from stupid mana and back toward good health. Much rejoicing.

Finally, I wanted to add one little idea to one of the discussions I've seen floating around the blogosphere. This one is relating to the "Heroics are Too Hard" conversation. There have been several good posts both for and against nerfing heroics. Before my brain blew up on the plane, I had this idea: Instead of trying to tweak the difficulty of the dungeons, why not simply fix the rewards to adhere better to the effort invested.

The problem, as I see it, is that we're still being rewarded as if heroics were as easy as they were in Wrath. The gearing path is still the same. Yet, we're not completing things with enough regularity to feel a sense of progress, leading to friction. I'm not sure that the issue is being able to fully finish heroics or not, it's being able to complete enough that you feel like you "got somewhere". Since heroics are clearly the desired path step in "gearing up", then getting somewhere is synonymous with getting gear.

Therefore, let's simply tweak the rewards so we can get gear just a bit faster. Doesn't have to be as fast and easy as Wrath. The heroics can retain their challenge. It just seems to me that we should be getting a bit more gear than we are. This could be remedied simply by increasing JP for each boss, decreasing JP piece costs, or increasing the number and rate of items that drop. It could be doing one of those things, or all of those things.

Along those lines, my favorite solution is this: Rework the daily dungeon reward to be given with the demise or a random boss. Instead of only being rewarded for a complete dungeon clear, since some dungeons can run quite long, make it trigger on the first or second boss. Something early and achievable in about an hour. I don't really want to see the heroics made simple, but I would like to feel like I accomplished something in an hour. A nice VP reward would help that, I think.

Sure, some PuGs might simply drop and quit after getting the VP Boss down, but some PuGs drop and quit now anyways. At least then everyone has gotten something.

Maybe this could be even easier to implement by simply adding another daily quest.  Like the weekly raid quest, perhaps this simply rotates and requires the "head" of a certain boss in exchange for VP.  Why not?  You wouldn't have to even muck with the LFD reward system then.  The amount of VP rewarded could be tweaked so we're looking at reliably getting maybe one piece a month.  I don't think that's too fast, but I do think there should be a path that rewards you for time spent.  Perhaps that's catering to casuals, but it really sucks when you spend your precious 2 hours some night beating your head against a middle boss in a dungeon and leave with nothing but a minuscule amount of JP to show for it (because heaven forbid anything but mail drops when you're 3 clothies, a leather, and plate wearer).  

I don't know, maybe there are pitfalls there I'm not thinking about in my muddled state.  It just seems to me that a big amount consternation is just do to lack of feeling like we're progressing.  There would seem to be better ways to ease this rather than ruining a challenge.  Not that I think any of the proposed "nerfs" necessarily do this.  They really seem to "walk the line" between outright nerfs and well-deserved changes.  I guess we'll see, but I just felt the urge to try to think outside the nerf-bat.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Free Bird!

Fulguralis whirled and surveyed the hillside.  Three more orcs were running toward his position and he'd yet to see any sign of his dwarven backup.  He turned back to watch as the attacker he'd just been focused on continued in a frenzied path away from the Warlock.  Suddenly, the orc stopped, looking around as if seeing the world anew, and turned back to face Fulguralis with a sneer on his face.  The induced fear from the coil of death had apparently worn off.  The savage uttered something guttural and charged.  Fulguralis raised a hand calmly and fired a quick burst of green flame that consumed the beast.

"Aw, you match," he cooed pleasantly as the emerald-skinned attacker toppled over and skidded to a halt.

A feral snarl from around the corner of a ruined dwarven dwelling alerted him of his companion's imminent appearance just a moment before the furry man-wolf sprinted into view.  Valentis had a wild look about him that was only exacerbated by the lolling tongue that came with the dog-like panting.  Poor guy wasn't used to this type of action, apparently.

"Two more coming anti-clockwise 'round the bungalow!" the Gilnean yelled.


"From the left side," Valentis clarified.

"Why didn't you say so?"  Fulguralis retorted.  Ignoring the frown he got in return, the Warlock pointed toward an open doorway.  "Wedge your furry ass in there."

Valentis complied, then questioned, "What am I supposed to accomplish from here?"

"Just heal me," Fulguralis answered.

Taking a deep breath, he tapped into his lifeforce to refresh his magical abilities.  It wouldn't do to start shooting blanks now.  The spell stung a bit, but like most things in life, it got easier the more you did it, and Fulguralis had tapped his life a lot over the seasons.

A squawk to his left commanded his attention.  He turned toward the captive gryphon and regarded it with a questioning eye.  What did it want?  He followed an avian gaze to the ropes tied to stakes in the ground.  Ah, yes, he thought, freedom.  Such an expensive commodity these days, it seems.

"I'll do it," the Warlock replied, "but it's gonna cost you.  Don't be flying off before we finish these orcs off, you understand?"

The bird didn't speak common, but something it its demeanor reassured the Warlock.  He didn't consider himself an expert on bird-lion-hybrid expressions and body language, but he was pretty sure that this was one pissed gryphon.  Kneeling down, he struggled to undo one of the knots affixed to a stake.  After several seconds of futility, he gave up and just blasted the entire thing with some fire.

"Call whoever tied these King of the Knots for felssake," he mumbled.  The gyphon cawed in agreement and thanks.

After standing up, Fulguralis turned to find himself surrounded by five orcs, their tusks gleaming menacingly.  The Warlock looked up at the sun burning high about the Twilight Highlands, and sighed heavily.  Five to one, he counted.  Shoulda stayed in the Dream.  A small ball of thorns suddenly appeared and began orbiting around him.  Fulguralis stared at it curiously for a moment before realizing it had come from Valentis in the doorway.  I'm not that fat, he thought.

Frowning, he turned his ire on the pentagram of orcs that were steadily closing in around him.  He grinned at the shape.  Apparently they didn't want to live.

A loud screech behind him was all the warning the Warlock had before a bundle of feathers whooshed over his head, causing him to duck.  The gryphon he'd freed flew straight at the pinnacle of the five-sided formation, fluttering above the flustered orc's head and scratching him occasionally with sharp talons.  That left four to deal with.

Fulguralis called his Midnight from the void, and sent her over to dance for one of the two green skins behind him.  He induced a state of horror in the other while the two charged in at him.   A large, demonic skull appeared above the Warlock and spewed violet flames all over the orcs in front.  The burning of the shadowy fire slowed them and Fulguralis took the opportunity to jump behind a nearby log.  From there he set about corrupting, cursing, and afflicting one of the orcs.  Once that was completed, a mottled green a purple orb returned to his hand from his first target, ricocheted, and slammed into the second target, transferring all of the diseases of the first.   Both orcs cringed in pain and a quick bolt of shadow to the face of each sent them flying to either side of the doorway behind them.  A startled Valentis stood wide-eyed between the settling corpses.

The Warlock was pleased when a quick tapping of his life was immediately recouped with leafy healing from his Gilnean partner.  Valentis hadn't completely flaked on him yet.  Midnight, his Succubus, still had one orc in hand, so Fulguralis turned his attention to the feared green skin.  He cracked a sharded soul he's stored up and used it's energy to fuel a large ball of molten air streaking toward his would-be assailant.  He watched with glee as the fire engulfed the orc, burning out his very soul and leaving nothing but a pile of ash and some scraps of cloth.

One on one, now, Fulguralis mused happily.  He ordered his minion to whip the man back to reality, and fired a couple bursts shadow for good measure.  The orc stumbled but did not fall immediately, so Fulguralis queued up another salvo.  As his focus was falling, a bright shaft of light behind him sent him diving to the ground.  He rolled over just in time to see a green ball of concentrated natural wrath take a sixth orc in the chest.  The dead weight fell on him heavily, causing the Warlock to grunt.

"Sorry about that last one, mate," Valentis said, striding over as a shimmery dust fell down his body, returning him once more to his human form.  He frowned at the heap of limbs and began helping Fulguralis extricate himself.  "Jumped right out of the bush.  Sod's law, eh?"

Once on his feet, Fulguralis brushed himself off and took a moment to view the carnage around him.  Near the body he'd just crawled out from under, there was a pair of daggers that were shiny with an applied poison.  He'd come very close to returning to the Dream.

"Thanks," he said earnestly to the Gilnean.

"No' at all," Valentis replied happily.  After an awkward moment, he continued,  "What do you say we take a look in that keg over there?"

Fulguralis smiled, "I think that's the best idea you've had yet."

The two men sauntered over to one of the intact kegs that still sat under a ruined awning.  Valentis pulled two more-or-less usable mugs from the wreckage while Fulguralis set about knocking a hole into the wooden barrel.  They filled up a smaller cask to take back to the dwarves - there was no way they were carrying the whole thing - then filled up the mugs with the remains.  No reason to let the extra go to waste.

The happy squawk of the freed gryphon beside them caused them both to grin, and Valentis reached out to pet the beast.  Fulguralis settled back onto a banister and looked up at the clear blue sky.  In doing so, he noticed a tiny spec, growing larger by the second.  It looked to be another gryphon descending on his position, a shiny plate-clad rider on its back.

Sure, now the reinforcements arrive, he thought.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Pre-Vacation Miscellanea

Larisa over at the Pink Pigtailed Inn finished up her tripartite awards ceremony today.  To me, this is the WoW-blogosphere equivalent of the Emmy's.  Or Oscar's.  Or Globe's.  I don't know the difference between those.  They all feature celebrities and red carpets and shiny objects.  And while I'm sure Larisa lays out a metaphorical red carpet and has plenty of shiny mugs available for the consumption of ale, let's not confuse our gala event with theirs.  Ours is so much classier.  I mean did you see when Tamarind stole the microphone from Chastity during the acceptance speech?

Quoth Tam: "Ima give it back to Chas real quick, but first I wanna say that Gnomeaggedon gives the best hugs of ALL TIME."  (Only, you know, less Kanye and more Austin Powers). Then someone told the poor blinkered bugger that that was the previous award.  Poor Chas.

Nah, I lied.  That didn't happen.  Or did it?

Farcical humor aside, I wanted to congratulate Larisa on another year of well presented awards.  I even netted a stellar nomination this year (nom nom nom), so I was super-psyched.  Thank you for that.  I busted out my purple crush-velvet suit for the occasion.

Really, the awards, to me, represent one of the things that make our little corner of the world special.  I'm sure there are other, more "official" blogging awards out there, but Larisa is one of the cornerstones of our community and that makes it more "real" for me.  Plus, I don't envy her the task of having to make the choice and put her opinions out there.

Good times, and now I'll awkwardly transition to the next part of this random post.

This is fair notification that Fuu and I will be on vacation next week.  Therefore, don't expect any posts.  We're flying out Saturday at dawn and will be back the following Saturday at midnight.  Should be a great break from things and hopefully we won't get stuck anywhere.  For the curious, we'll be in Cabo San Lucas, completely unplugged, drinking and laying by the pool.  First true vacation we'll have taken in almost two years now.  Weddings and houses will do that to you, I suppose.

What this means is that they'll probably drop all those Warlock changes we've been hearing about next Tuesday, and I won't be here to talk about it.  That's okay, from what I'm reading, they mostly suck anyways.  It would just be angry ranting.  So, in a nutshell, here is my take on the proposed changes:
  • Curse of Exhaustion Nerf - Who cares?
  • Demon Armor and Fel Armor no longer cost mana and last until canceled - Um, was this an issue for anyone?
  • Drain Mana has been removed from the game - Cuz it's so game-breaking and we use it constantly
  • Fear now has a PvP duration of 8 seconds - I don't PvP on my 'lock so, meh.
  • Fel Armor Health to Mana Nerf - Absolutely sucks.  Mana? We don't need no stinkin' mana.
  • Seduction (Succubus) now has a PvP duration of 8 seconds - Goes along with Fear, says I.
  • Talent Specializations
    • Affliction
      • Unstable Affliction duration Nerf - Wouldn't want to be too cool in PvP, I suppose.  Where's my offsetting mastery buff?
    • Demonology
      • Demonic Rebirth now highlights summoning spells when active - Wahoo.
      • Demon Soul: Imp redesigned. - Spaz is a pain in the ass, I don't use him.
      • Felstorm (Felguard) damage Nerf - Sucks
      • Immolation Aura damage Nerf - Sucks
      • Inferno no longer increases the radius of Hellfire, but instead increases the duration of Immolate by 6 seconds in addition to its existing effect - Uh, 'kay? It was sorta huge anyways.
      • Master Demonologist (Mastery) buff - We're really struggling to make Mastery a relavent stat, aren't we?
    • Destruction
      • Burning Embers Nerf - Sucks
      • Fiery Apocalypse (Mastery) benefit from mastery increased by approximately 8% - See Demo comment above.
      • Improved Soul Fire now increases Fire and Shadow damage done by 4/8%, rather than 7/15% spell haste. In addition, this talent has been moved to tier-3 Destruction, switching places with Aftermath - I could think of better fixes... like say just moving Emberstorm, keeping the spell haste, and tweaking it slightly so it's more like a trinket pop than something to keep up.  Maybe max 5/10% haste but stacks with Heroism effects.
      • Shadow and Flame can now proc from Incinerate in addition to Shadow Bolt - Wouldn't want to get too shadowy now, would we?
See?  Angry ranting.  And look at all the Nerfs!  I'm hoping this all doesn't go live like this.  Ugh. 

Anyways, there will be an RP post up tomorrow, and then radio silence for a week.  Unless someone wants to submit a guest post between, oh lets say, now and Friday at midnight.  In that case, I'd schedule it for next week.  Otherwise, go sit at Larisa's bar and drink until she turns into a Warlock.  :-)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Quick Gold Making Tip(s) of the Day!

Hey Gang!

I wanted to make a quick post about something that I saw last night when I was on my Jewelcrafter. After I do my Jewelcrafting daily for my token, I head over to the auction house to stock up on the raw gems that weren't used for the daily that are running on the less expensive end.

On my Server, Nightstone should be renamed to Nightmare! Even when the raw gem isn't used for that Jewelcrafting daily, it still runs around 40g each minimum. So, if I see that it's less than that, I try to pick those up and hope that I get some lucky prospecting.

Tip #1: if you have spare raw gems that are part of the Jewelcrafting Daily that day, Post them on the AH. By around 8pm server time they will shoot from 10-20g each to 40-100g (depending on what it is). Post them in Batches of Three at a time because that's how many the Jewelcrafters need. If you don't enjoy selling your goods on the AH, you can always use the Trade Channel to Bark out that you are standing next to the Quest giver and have raw gems for that day.

Tip#2: If you are in desparate need of some quick gold, check out cut uncommon gems. Many Jewelcrafters are skilling up on huge batches of these and posting them in bulk on the Auction House. How does this make you money? Firstly, all cut uncommon gems vendor for 9gold each. When these Jewelcrafters post massive amounts of gems, they probably weren't paying attention to the vendor cost and just putting them on the Auction House without much thought. Check out Each Gem color and see if any cut uncommon gems are being posted for less than 9g. If so, buy them up and vendor them for easy profit.

The great thing about both of these tips is that you don't need to be a Jewelcrafter to make money from them.

Have you discovered any new tricks since Cataclysm?

<3 Your Friendly Neighborhood Fuubaar

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Dark Intentions Revealed

Dark Intent is, quite possibly, the first widely useful Warlock buff that's been seen in a while. Locks are not really a buffing class in spirit, but I'm a huge fan of this new spell.  It makes us... helpful (/gag), without being too... helpful (/cough).  I've been fiddling around with its use in heroics and I wanted to reiterate some that's already been said, colored by my own preferences and opinions.

First, what's been said:  Nibuca has a great post up right now.  A lot of what I'm going to say is based on what she's already written, so obviously I agree with it.  It's key to note that her advice is a bit different from the message I've seen delivered by more theorycraft-heavy sites.  The meat of the discussion can be found here, on MMO-Champion, if you're interested in delving further.

Perhaps, I'm getting ahead of myself though.  Most people, especially if they don't have a 'lock, don't even realize we have a new buff.  I feel like I need a clever macro that whispers someone to let them know I've DI'ed them.  Even then, I'd get mostly blank stares and grunts.  "Buffed me with something? A Lock?  Thanks... I think."

So what does DI do?  Well, the base is a 3% haste buff for you and the target.  Good stuff.  You get that no matter what.  The tricky part, then, is the little bonus that doesn't show up on an icon mouseover.  Very simply put, every time a DoT or HoT tick crits for either of the DI'd folks, you will gain an additional stacking buff (up to three stacks).  This bonus buff simply increases DoT/HoT tick size by 3% per stack.  So either your heals get bigger or your dot damage gets better.  

What this means, though, is that there is clearly a need to choose wisely in our buff target.  As Affliction locks, we're already in a good place due to our extensive use of DoTs, but not every class is so fortunate.  The old adage "two heads are better than one" certainly applies here.  The more DoT ticks, the better your chance to engage and stack your bonus buff.  Thus, we want to maximize our chances.

It would seem very simple then: pick the biggest DoT/HoT user available.  Indeed, that is what the advice from theorycrafters seems to center around.  Yet, what Nibuca (and now I), argue is that we need to be smarter than a mere table.  All fights are not created equal.  All groups are not created equal.  Depending on the roll of the dice, we may need more help healing on one fight, and then DPS'ing on the next fight.  Or, maybe we're consistent through one run, but not night to night.  The bottom line is, we'll need to judge for ourselves.

Nibs advises that we look to DI a healer first, until DPS becomes a problem.  As such, she lays her priority out like this:
  1. Resto Druid
  2. Holy Priest on the Raid
  3. Resto Shammy
  4. Holy Priest on the Tank
  5. Other healers.
If DPS becomes and issue, then one would look for this order:
  1. Shadow Priest
  2. Fire Mage
  3. DPS Druids (Kitty, Boomy)
Now, I can totally get on board with this approach.  It's a solid one.  However, I don't think I'm nearly as magnanimous as Nibuca.  I'm willing to help healers out, but only to a point.  I will take an almost reverse stance in saying that I will only put it on healers if healing becomes a problem.  After all, my first job is to kill stuff.  I want to give us the best DPS possible, and this means choosing the best target possible for DPS, not healing.  It's a petty difference, because I'm totally in agreement that if a fight is heal-intensive, we help the healer out.  Similarly, if it's a clear DPS race, then your choice is made simple.  However, I sit on the other side of the "help a healer out first" fence.  They already have bloated egos as it is.

Therefore, my priority looks something like this (All things being equal.  That is to say, when there is not a clear deficit in either healing or DPS'ing):
  1. Shadow Priest - This should be our best bet with our dotting brethren of the shadow.
  2. Resto Druid - Is anyone hottier?
  3. Fire Mage
  4. Boomkin - They call them Crit Chickens
  5. Kitty Druid
  6. Holy Priest - I'm not going to bicker over assignments.
  7. Resto Shammy
  8. Survival Hunter - I often run with one of these.
  9. Frost Mage - They have a DoT from Frostfire bolt.
  10. ???
If you get to 10 without having one of the above, then I'd look mostly at who could benefit from haste and not worry so much about the DoT thing.  For me this generally means lobbying with the resident Disc Priest for Power Infusion.  You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours... 

Also, you're notice that nowhere on that list is another warlock.  That would be a waste, since the buff does not work to the fullest extent on one another lock.  They just don't play well together right now.  Don't do it!  Just like when a guildy whispered me last night that he was running with a lock that was making extensive use of his blueberry in a dungeon... I will facepalm at your expense.

Whether you prefer the more healer-friendly approach of Nibuca or my more selfish approach, you should most definitely give it due consideration.  As you learn raids and boss fights, you'll want to note which ones the healers tend to struggle on, and which ones you could benefit from increased DPS.  Make an informed choice, first! 

I feel I must also add that if a Mage is ever beating me on the charts, I will purposefully withhold DI from them out of spite.  Not that such a thing has ever, or will ever happen. Nope.  Nevah.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Catching Up From A Rough Weekend

So no actual post today. Instead, I wanted to direct all of the Warlocks out there to stop by and say a kind word at Destructive Reach.  Saresa has (now officially) announced that she's closing her doors over there.  I think it's something we knew was coming (especially if you bum around on Twitter), but nonetheless deserves a mentioning.  As I've said in the past, Saresa was one of my early blogging inspirations, so in that respect it's sad to see her go.  I prefer to think of it as simply "good bye for now" and wish her only the most epic adventures wherever her path may lead.

(Now I just need to get over there to leave a proper comment.  That'll have to wait until home since she remains blocked at my place of employment.)

Sar - Wherever you go, keep that green fire a-burnin! 

Friday, January 7, 2011

Catching Up With The Light

Fuubaar sat atop the big, flapping, smelly birdlion.  The Wildhammer Dwarves loved these things.  Fuubaar found them tiresome.  It wasn't that the birdlion - sorry, gryphon - was a poor method of transportation, just... give her a drake any day.

Still, she had to admit, she admired the way the Dwarves handled the beasts.  They careened carelessly around in the sky, chucking hammers as if they were Greatfather Winter in some sort of crazy, Winter's Veil blacksmith giveaway.  Fuubaar suspected she would like such a twist to the traditional holiday.  It sort of resembled how she used the Light to bless people.

She also respected the way they held their ale.  There wasn't a one of them that didn't suck down a pint before taking to the skies.  Yes, Dwarves, especially these Dwarves, were her kind of people.  The namby-pamby Night Elves could have their forests. 

The thought of ale triggered a yearning in the Paladin as she flew over the hotly contested areas of the Twilight Highlands.  Her hand fished down into her breastplate and reemerged with a leather covered flask.  She popped off the cork that was shoved in the top, and it flipped to the side, still held to the container by a tie.  Tipping her head back, she downed a hearty drag of the biting liquid within.  A familiar warmth raced down her throat and into her gullet, settling her mind once more.

She'd been dealing the best she could.  Fuubaar had thought that, once the Lich King was dealt with, she'd be afforded some kind of peace.  She'd been wrong.  It had all gone downhill.

First, she'd thought her husband dead in the Citadel.  Months had passed and she'd gotten a bit reckless, joining a cult, playing the role of double agent.  Who could blame her?  Of course, things had spiraled out of control and she'd found herself defending Stormwind from a deluge of angry elements.  Then he'd appeared - with her undead father to boot! - in the Park in Stormwind, only to be snuffed out by a gigantic, stupid, metal plated dragon-thing felbent on destroying Azeroth.  In the name of all that was holy!

She threw back another swig of the bitter liquid.  It would not do to dwell.  She had to live in the now, not it in the past.  There was no time.  Azeroth was falling apart. 

As she flew over what remained of Thundermar, she saw two figures attempting to hold a road from Horde forces below.  A tell-tale bolt of shadow flew from the fingers of one, and glowing green leaves of healing passed from the other.  Apparently a druid and a warlock, then.  They were quite overwhelmed, and as Fuubaar watched she contemplated swooping in to the rescue.  Problem was, she felt a bit drunk.  Her thoughts were slowed and she wasn't sure how much help she'd be anyways.  She wasn't sure of anything lately. 

Indecision played in her favor.  Below, the two stout members of the Alliance were polishing off the last of the raiders.  Seemed they were just fine on their own. 

She watched the two figures celebrate by sauntering over to a nearby keg and filling some broken mugs they dug out of a ruined dwelling.  There was something about the way the Warlock moved; they way he carried himself.  Stop it, Fuu, he's gone.  She chided herself.  And his last act was to save you.  How do you repay him, by drinking you life away?  She took another deep drink.  Shut up, self, she thought back. 

Her flask felt light.  Might as well go below and join in the celebration, she decided.  And as she began spiraling her smelly, feathered mount downward, she still couldn't shake the feeling that there was something familiar about that Warlock.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Treasure Hunter: Lost City Episode

There we were in the midst of anchient desert ruins, sand blowing at our feet, the boiling sun beating down our backs.  The strange, four legged manbeasts were trying to keep us from discovering the secrets of their Lost City, but we were well equipped adventurers.  We'd barely begun to sweat when we saw... it.

You see, we'd been progressing carefully, avoiding what we could and subduing what we could not avoid.  We used every trick at our disposal to keep the scuffles quiet and manageable, lest we become overwhelmed.  The five of us - two paladins, a priest, a mage, and, of course, a warlock - had many tricks at our disposal.  We'd seen a lot together: the destruction of an Old God in Ulduar, the glory of the Tournament in Icecrown, even the Fall of the Lich King in the Citadel.  Yet, nothing we'd seen could prepare us for... it.

(Dramatic Cat is jealous.)

It began with the pigmies.  Those stinkin' pigmies, ridin' on each other's shoulders and shit.  What do they think they're playing at, pretending to be one mob, yet really being three?  It's ludicrous I tell you!

But then, some things happened - there may have been drinking involved - and we were presented with the opportunity to view two rare beasts: The Sheepdoublepigmy and the Pigmysheeppigmy.  What those pigmies are doing with their sheep, I don't want to... I don't even... In the name of all that is...  Well, you look at the pictures!

Look closely now!
I want a sheep mount!
Now what?
I'll pass on the sheep sandwich.

Needless to say, it was difficult to focus on proper exploration with such shenanigans going on around us. This whole city and it's freaky sheep rituals can just stay lost!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Warlock Macro Update... Again

The Azerothian Weather Service (AWS) has confirmed a Rain of Fire in the Warlock CC Posting province.  They are classifying it as a full Deluge. 

As such, I've picked up a thing here or there and returned to modify some of my macros.  Warlocks are, apparently, now the upper echelon of Crown Control.  I wanted to pass along the changes in case you're a weather lover like I am.

I'm also honing my Spanish since we leave on a vacation to Mexico in a little less than two weeks. 

Numero Uno
I have never been a pet micro-manager.  The concept is abhorrent to me.  If I wanted to micro-manage a pet, I'd go demo.  Or BM Hunter.  (/shudder)  However, with the increased emphasis on Warlock CC, I could no longer ignore the issue that my pet, on defensive, kept wanting to attack the damn CC target since I'd lead off with that.  So I did what I should have done a long time ago, I added a simple "petattack" line to one of my spells.  I generally lead off with Corruption, so that's where I did the work.  You may want a different spell, which is fine.  Also on this, you can see that I'm triggering my trinkets.  I use the slot numbers so that when I switch in and out gear, the macro doesn't need updated (like if you were to use the item name).  

#showtooltip Corruption
/use 13
/use 14
/cast [nomod] Corruption
/cast [mod:alt] Bane of Agony
/petattack target

That's it.  I don't need any more.  This sends my pet in to attack the target I've put Corruption on until it is dead.  I then leave the pet set to passive to avoid any CC-breaking unpleasantness.  The only down side is that I do have to pay attention and sick him on the next target, since normally I soul swap over my DoTs.  This is acceptable to me for now.

Numero Dos
Sort of a corollary to uno, if you are an engineer, you may be looking for a clever way to macro your Nitro Boost.  I used to have a button I could hit for my boots, then they switched it to belt and that broke.  I had to play around with numbers to find it (a quick google search yielded no results), so I wanted to make note of it.  If you're looking to use the item in your belt slot, use the following:

/use 6

I even chose a speedy-looking icon.  This is for my DK though, so the Warlock is a lie on this one.  I wouldn't think many 'locks are engineers, but I've heard of crazier things.

Numero Tres
Finally, I decided to further complicate my CC macro(s).  I added mouseover capability.  It kept happening where I'd have my CC target targeted, successfully pacify it, then fail at clicking over to skull for one reason or another.  Really annoying to just have plopped Corruption on your CC target, let me tell you.  If it's banish, not so bad, but if it's fear... ugh.

Mouseover solves this by letting me focus the correct guy without clicking.  I also bound one of my button slots to the "F" key, and I swap in the Banish or Fear version depending on my target.  Previously, I'd been clicking, but it makes it a lot nicer to not have to. 

#show Fear
/clearfocus [target=focus,dead][target=focus,noexists]
/focus [target=focus, noexists][target=focus, dead] mouseover
/cast [target=focus] Fear
/clearfocus [mod:alt]

The change from before is that I basically just replaced the "/focus" line with a new one that triggers on mouseover.  Now the only tricky part is mousing over the correct target if I don't have a good vantage point.  I think I can handle that.

Uno mas cerveza por favor.  Gracias.  Donde esta el bano? 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Non-WoW Storytime

Going to have a quick, non-WoW story time today. I promise it won't be a prolific bearwall of a story, but perhaps entertaining all the same.  I also need to do it right quick, because I need to get back to the grind of office life before someone notices I'm being naughty once more.  If the following is fraught with typos, please forgive me.

So I walk in this morning, sit down, and immediately get a call on the phone from my boss  We shall call him "B".  B needs my help.  "Now?" I ask.  "Yay, now," is the reply.  So I respond as any good employee would, "Give me just a second."

I then close up and save whatever I was working on, which, since the first day back from winter break is, officially, National Check Your Email Day, wasn't anything all that significant.  My laptop is likely needed, so I gather my cord, because as we all know, company laptop batteries never work for more than a year, and this is my third year with this overgrown paperweight.  Every office and conference room is equipped with at least one, maybe two power strips.  Standard office issue.  Some have even been cleverly zip tied up underneath the table to prevent people from kicking out the cords.  Nothing but the best.

I hustle up two flights of... I take the elevator to the second floor.  My boss has one of the high-walled cubes, as bosses generally do, so I meander my way in and plop down on a chair.  He then explains to me that his boss, whom we shall call "J", will be along shortly.  Cool beans, a two level encounter.   At this point, I wish I'd worn an undershirt because I am sweating a bit, but it's not that big of a deal.  This is a guy I've at least met before and can converse with easily enough.

As we're waiting the problem is explained to me thus: some other, vaguely related group has had a snafu.  There were given some software by a customer and just assumed it was good, neglecting to test it.  As a result, an error occurred down the pipeline.  In perhaps any engineering field, there is an obsession with "root causing" any error.  That is to say, we don't just acknowledge when mistakes are made, but we bask and wallow in them until the full weight of their errorness have been explored, felt, understood, analyzed, and dealt with.  We aren't satisfied until we know them in a biblical sense.  This isn't to say they're permanently remedied, because people will be people and history will repeat itself.  The goal, then, is to have a sheet of paper at the end of all this that says "The problem was X and is solved by process Y."  That way, when the error occurs again, you can simply point to process Y and say "process fail."

So what is my role in all of this?  Well, I'm sort of what you might call a "process expert".  It is an unofficial title born from the fact that I'm proficient in the use of computers, can communicate, and have excellent organizational skills.  A stellar memory helps as well.  Basically, I can read our crazy process, remember it, and recount it to others.  This makes me an expert.   In the world of the blind, the one eyed man is king.

If you are heading for a murder trial in which the insanity defense is to be used, you make damn sure you have your expert witnesses prepped and ready.  I am being called as such a witness to a procedural trial.  Is the process to blame, or the people?  There is no jury, mind you, only a judge.  A big, high up judge that makes significantly more money than I do.  Thus, this initial meeting is prep work.

Eventually J walks in, and recounts the problem to me.  That always has to be done - restatement of fact - each time a new person enters.  How else are we all to stay on the same page, right?  We then get down to the prep work, halfway through which it is decided that while the original intention was to have me explain things to B and J, and have them represent me in the court of procedural law, it is probably better if I just come along to give expert testimony.  So now I've been invited to attend a meeting with my boss, my boss's boss, his boss, and his boss's boss... the Judge.  Count them, that's like a penta-level meeting.  Did I mention I work for a big, global company?  Lot's of levels, and I think there are two more above what I'm seeing today.  I don't know, things get fuzzy that high up the mountain. 

"When?" I ask.  "In ten minutes," is the reply.  Great, now I feel like I should have worn a tie and prepared slides or something.  Oh well, elbow grease ftw.  Just need a piece of gum to get rid of my coffee breath... okay, let's do this!

I trudge down to the swanky executive area.  Being expected by the personal secretary, we're waved right in. We knock on the door, which seems to open of its own accord.  Inside we're presented with this scene: a collective of bosses of bosses, some of whom I've vaguely heard of, and behind the gigantic oaken desk, the Godfather of the Company.  The Judge.

He even looks like you might expect a Godfather to, sort of portly and smug.  If he'd had a snifter amber liquid dispensed by a crystal decanter and a cuban cigar in one hand, the picture would have been complete.  I feel like I should have been greeted with: "And what brings you here on this, the day of my daughter's wedding?"

Instead, he does what all executives do: finds a nearby clock (not the rolex on the arm, mind you) and rifles through an important looking scheduling organizer.  That's right, they're behind schedule.  Imagine that!  So this fella, who looks very much like a mob boss, gives us a semi-apologetic look and spreads his arms.  He then lets for with a thick Russian accent: "We have been very busy.  How about you come back, say, 3 o'clock?  Ok?"  Like I said, we're a global company.  I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised that the mobster looking big wig would have a matching accent.  Especially since his name was definitely not like Vladmir.  More like John.

How does one respond when the Godfather asks you to come back at 3?  Well, if your schedule wasn't clear, it's clear now, but you can't say that outright.  You have to think for a moment, because we're all certainly very busy, yes, busy busy, precious.  Then, only then, can you say: "Sure, I believe my afternoon is clear.  I'll be here."  Like there was any other option.

And I spun on my heels and thanked the Lords of Corporate America (Bill and Steve, right?) that I'd escaped with my job and life.  All bets are off at 3, though.  I commute, so running home for a tie is out of the question.  At least we have some time to prepare, and I didn't spill anything on myself at lunch.  I'll call that a win, because that always happens when you've got an important, impromptu meeting.  Now, if only I'd gotten that New Year haircut...

All work and no play... I know, I know.  I'll get back to WoW tomorrow, promise.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Affliction Warlock Pre-Raid Shopping List

I was able to do some shopping over the weekend.  Basically, I went to each rep QM and made a list of what was good for 'locks, then checked off what I either had covered or had already purchased.  It seems to me like rep gearing is the way to go, as I'm not too thrilled with the Justice Points offerings.  There are some decent pieces, but I seem to like the rep gear better.  Valor Point stuff is good, of course, but it's going to take a while to build those up with my current heroic success rate (few and far between).  Focusing on rep gear basically lets me face smash against heroics, not worry too much about building up JP or VP, and still gear up steadily.  In any case, I wanted to put the list up on here in case it is helpful, and for my own reference.  Definitely let me know if I missed some items. 

Some caveats: There was a good comment yesterday that mentioned PvP gear might be a good alternate route into heroics and raiding.  With the boost to a Tol Barad win, you get almost a piece each win.  Maybe every two.  So you can upgrade quickly.  I'm not really doing TB, so I didn't take that into account.  I'll probably use that route on my DK when I get her to max.  Also, I'm not looking at heroic drops in this list, only stuff you can buy.  Drops will come and if I get lucky, then I can just check these off my list.  Sure I may have it happen where I get a drop right after buying something, such is life, but I don't want to depend on drops.  I don't have the time to run them enough for that to be a valid gearing path.

With that being said, here's the list.  The faction is on top with the location of the QM in parenthesis.  Then the item below with the rep level in parenthesis, and perhaps a comment from me.  Bada bang, bada bing:

Pre-Rad Purchaseable Items
  • Hyjal (Nordrassil) - Will get tabard last.
    • Arcanum (Rev) - The rest of their stuff has spirit, so we don't need much from here.
  • Wildhammer (Thundermar)
    • Gloves (Hon) - Got these already, good chunk of hit.
    • Ring (Rev)
    • Neck (Ex)
  • Therazanes (Throne of Therazanes) - Doing dailies here first, then WH.
    • Lesser Shoulder (Hon) - Got this easily.
    • Ring (Rev) - Have this.
    • Greater Shoulder (Ex)
  • Ramkahen  (Ramkahen) - Using my tabard for this first, feet are my worst slot right now.
    • Chest (Rev) - Don't need this as I was fortunate to come across and epic drop: Dizze's Whirling Robe
    • Feet (Ex)
  • Earthen Ring (Silver Tide Hollow)
    • Helm (Hon) - Got this, good for hit.  I used an old meta gem cuz the new ones are so expensive.
    • Cloak (Rev) - And this.
    • Gloves (Ex)
  • Baraden's Wardens (Tol Borad)
    • Insidious Staff (Rev)
    • Stump of Time (Ex)
  • Justice Points (Stormwind)
    • Gloves (1650) - Better than the WH early rep reward, but no hit!  Probably will not buy these.
    • Helm (2200) - Basically a straight upgrade to the ER rep reward.  This is definitely on my list.
    • Off-hand (950) - I have always liked MH/OH better, but am using a staff right now.  If I get a good MH drop, this is pretty cheap and good.
    • Legs (2200) - I have Narkall's Leggings (a quest reward!) and these are a decent upgrade, but I'll go helm first I think.
    • Neck (1250) - I got this right away because it has a good chunk of hit.  Great to get to that heroic hit cap early.
    • Chest (2200) - I got that epic, so this is not needed for me.
    • Shoulders (1650) - I have another decent quest reward here in Blight-Lifter's Mantle, so I'll be holding off on this one.
    • Belt (1650) - This was one of my earliest heroic drops with Stratosphere Belt, so I'm set in this slot.