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Monday, December 07, 2009

Druid Healing, Baby!

It's been a little while since the last update, but I've been busy... playing... a druid. It's fantastic, and I cant believe it took me so long.

Dubh has caught up to 80, and has dual spec'd for feral and resto. For a little while, I did try balance as the primary levelling spec, but I discovered that with very little gear that had +int, and most craftable +int leather gear not being available until lvl74, it was going to be a hard slog through the remainder of lvl70 onwards.

So back to feral I went, and picked up resto as the secondary spec.

Levelling Dubh didnt quite follow my usual pattern of HF, BT, Dragonblight, ZulDrak and Stormpeaks. This time, I did HF, BT, Grizzlyhills, Dragonblight, Stormpeaks, though spent a few days doing the Venture Co PvP dailies to get some of the goodies out there. I'm still sporting one of the trinkets from out that way.

Speaking of levelling, unless there is a requirement of Cataclysm to progress profession levelling, Chivers and Nevynoch (mage and hunter) are likely to stay at lvl70 for quite some time.

I spent quite a while farming for leather and dailies (so I could buy more leather) to kit Dubh out in some pre-heroic resto gear. Mainly the crafted LW epics. Actually, only the crafted LW epics.

I had tried healing a reg Gundrak, but I just wasn't sure how I would go with heroics. One of my guildies asked me if I had reg ToC on farm yet, and I hadnt. Then he asked if I had my Moonshroud gear. Moonshroud? Cloth? But, but, I'm a druid. The leather wearing variety. But it made sense. My pally had picked up healing mail in TBC to help cover the gap until healing plate dropped, so why shouldn't a resto druid pick up some moonshroud crafted epics until replacements come along.

So I picked up some Moonshroud epics (chest and gloves, I think), then we went out to Zul'Drak and completed the Arena questline for what is possibly the best quested resto mace, and then I also had Nevy craft an off-hand book to complement. I did a bit of farming, and got Col to make the crafted spell neck and rings, and did a little AH trading to complete my Darkmoon Illusion set. Chivers whipped up a few elixirs to boost SP and MP5, not to mention AP/Agi and Str/Expertise, should she get called on for DPS or tanking. And last, but not least, Boj picked up a few relevant enchants. Now I know why Dubh was one of the last toons to come through. I was levelling all those others for support.

Since then, Dubh has been able to run a few reg ToCs. But the real progress was this weekend.

It started with a Heroic VH. I'd run heaps of those with Col and GA. How could it be? I actually wanted to do the daily, but someone asked me specifically for that instance, so what the hell. Got the instance done, only one death where the shammy went from full health to nothing in the space of 2 seconds on the last boss. I did get to see a fantastic feral staff, but we had a cat in the group, so I didn't even get to roll Greed on it. That was Friday night.

Saturday night, I pugged the daily (Heroic Nexus) which completed without incident. Awesome. I also picked up the feral chest piece. Double awesome. Then the big test.. heroic ToC. For the most part, it was ok, but I did have trouble on the final boss. I just didnt expect the damage to be so nuts. I died first (I think), then they kept falling over one by one until only our warrior was left standing. Yep, that's right, our warrior, who was there to gear up, managed to down the Black Knight with very little in the way of healing. That's how I saw it, anyway. Actually, I think the DK in the group might have been ok as well (Hi Von!). Well, it could have gone better, but I did pick up the resto chest piece, which I have since gemmed with 23 SP 2x, and chanted with Powerful Stats. I don't expect to replace that for quite some time.

Dubh also been doing her dailies. For a start, it was Sons of Hodir and Argent Tournament. Then I worked in the cooking daily as well, after levelling cooking to a decent level. More recently, I've been doing Cooking, Fishing, Argent Tournament and Ebon Blade dailies, with trips out to Dragonblight and BT for the Kalu'ak, so I can eventually pick up the fishing pole.

The Argent Tournament has been pretty good for upgrades. The feral staff, feral boots and I think the belt as well have been fairly handy. I've completed Darn, and SW, and will complete IF this evening. That will just leave Exodar and Gnomer left. I cant quite remember if I actually need to get exalted with those factions to get access to the Silver Covenant dailies, but I guess I can stop taking the gold and start taking writs, if need be. I did have a little go at completing the IF/Gnomer start areas for extra rep. I've still got the Gnomeregan instance up my sleeve, plus the lvl 10-20 IF area for quests. I suspect that I should probably be donating 10g a day for extra SC rep, since I'll probably need exalted with them.

This is turning into a massive post, and I haven't even got to the bit I wanted to go on about. Stay tuned for more, or at least come back in a couple of days.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Harsher Penalties for AFKers

This is probably going to come off as a bit of QQ, and I guess it is, to a certain extent. AFKers in battlegrounds: they make me /tar their name while I defend IBT, and report them as AFK. They hurt my clicky finger, and make me have to run more AV than I want to. /cry

I think it's great that Blizzard introduce the "Report as AFK" option. Its a very soft slap on the wrist, and active players get some sort of satisfaction from seeing them get little XP and honor from a winning AV. However, when half the raid is stationary in the AV cave, and you cant get enough players to stick around and defend IBT or TP, its a cold cold comfort that these buggers are only going to get marginally less honor than you.

So I'd like to see harsher penalties for AFKers in BGs. Here's my proposal.

Overall, I'd like to see repeat AFK offenders get banned from BGs for a period of six hours. Three hours might suffice, but if the player is using a bot to sign up for BGs while they're at work or asleep, its not going to make much of a difference. However, six hours is a fair chunk of time, and should certainly see a reduction of AFKers. Of course, people using a bot should be suspended pending investigation, but perhaps there's a new BG bot that Blizzard haven't been able to detect yet.

So how do we determine a repeat AFK offender? I'd like to see a debuff that sticks when you are reported as AFK at the end of a BG. It lasts for one hour, and stacks to three, renewing the cooldown for each application. Once it hits three, you get the BG ban. This will prevent accidental banning for genuine AFK cases, where the player was away from the keyboard a bit longer than they intended. You could even forgive the occurance twice. But three times in one hour, something is up, GTFO of my BG, you honor/xp leeching waste of pixels, and raid spot.

There are probably a few holes in the approach, like griefers reporting other players as AFK shortly before the end of a BG.

An alternative, or even addition, is for the Report as AFK debuff to have a count down, like a curse, and if you cant get some BG action, but getting into combat, in the time it takes to ride half the length of any given BG, then you should probably also get booted from the BG. That might be a little harsh, since you want to give players a little time to do things like take a small toilet break, see who's knocking at the door or answer that phone call. But ultimately, the honor / xp leeching AFKers are not welcome.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Min-maxing PvP gear

Bojsen has been hitting the BGs hard, in his quest for better gear, and to give his higher self a break from leveling his 3 remaining alts.

He now has 6 bits of epic gear, 2 of which are crafted, and one of which is Titan-Forged. The rest are Hateful or Deadly Gladiator bits, earned through honor.

Last week sometime, I wrote up a list of items for various slots that were available to me via Wintergrasp marks or honor, then used Rawr to compare the benefit each item for each slot would give me.

Not all slots could be populated via WG marks, and I was never going to get a PvP weapon better than the crafted Spellblade and Iron-bound Tome.

Somehow I thought I could do this crazy scheme where I could make best use of my honor grind by only picking up bits that were not available via WG marks, thus appearing to make my WG mark expenditure go further.

By very first honor purchase was the Hateful shoulders. This was earned with honor gained while leveling from lvl76 to 80. Since then, its been the waist (WG marks), hands and feet (both Deadly). Given the rate that I was able to pick up the 81200 honor needed for those two later items, compared the the accumulation of WG marks needed for the waist (only 15 marks, and 12 accumulated since then), trying any sort of min/max deal is just folly.

The idea was that I would buy the bits with honor that would be replaced by WG bit last. And that ends up being legs, chest and head. The small problem with that is that you are constantly behind the 8 ball, and you cant accumulate WG marks as quickly as you can accumulate honor.

As at the time of writing, I've only got a wrist purchase to make, via 15 WG marks or 31,600 honor, and then all the remaining bits are alot of WG marks (25 ot 40) or 49,600 honor each. At that price, I'd be foolish to only go for bits that wont be replaced by WG marks. I should go for what benefits me most, which is likely to be the head piece.

This really hit home the other day in an Eye of the Storm, when no one else was around to grab the flag. So I grabbed it, started running, saw the base I was running to was quickly overrun by Horde, so I started for the other. I had two healers on me, but neither thought to Cure Poisons, and couldnt keep me up through a rogue onslaught. While waiting to respawn at the GY, one of the healers did mention in the BG channel that I shouldnt have picked up the flag with only 17K HP, and that it "was just poop".

I'm inclined to agree. I shouldnt have had to pick up the flag, but if I didnt, the Horde would have. And 17k HP is quite low, compared with the 26K HP locks I've seen floating around. It was at that point that I decided I should just pick up the best Deadly gear I could for my honor, to give me more resilience, more stamina and more spell power.

I'll eventually get enough marks for the Titan-Forged gear, unless I get jack of PvP again, and go back to leveling. At 162 WG marks remaining to achieve that goal, I just may do that. Translation: thats 54 straight wins or 162 straight losses, I could be nuts at the end of it. Given the match is only available approximately every 3 hours, and I only get to do 1 a night, maybe 2 if I'm lucky, and 4 on the weekends, I'm looking at least 3 months of BGs to get the super sweet gear. Such is the plight of the super casual BGer.

Arenas has kinda crossed my mind, but since they cut 2x2 from being anything you can do anything with, it doesnt look good at all. I'll have to read up exactly what they cut from it. If it meant that no Arena Points could be earned at all, or if it was just that there would be no 2x2 ladder, and only certain items like shoulders and weapons would not be available.

In other news, Boj earned himself a nice achievement that you couldn't even plan for. It's called [We Had It All Along *cough*], and is for when you win an AB by 10 points. Nice.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Reply: ToC is too easy

World of Matticus is a blog worth my reading, worthy of any avid WoW players reading. After reading one of his more recent articles(Read more: http://www.worldofmatticus.com/2009/09/03/your-opinion-is-raiding-too-easy-or-just-accessible/#ixzz0Q5hbFdOn), and then reading the Comment Guidelines, I decided a reply post on my blog would be more appropriate.

I am the casual casual WoW player. My schedule is unpredictable, and my priority is family first (even though I just live with my GF, but its a mantra that will stick when we make the bigger moves in life), making the time I need to set aside for raiding an impossibility. Somehow, I still manage to wrack up 35 hours a week in WoW time.

I still get to run heroics with a couple of my toons. In fact, I only run heroics. It happens with a regular group. We're fairly comfortable with our abilities, and since the rest of the group actually raids, they know my DPS on whatever alt I bring, isnt going to do much more than 2.2K DPS. We usually do the heroic daily, then do a ToC, then swap toons, and do them both again.

Not once has it ever been mentioned that ToC was too easy. We still run out at the end of phase one, we collect our emblems, DE the loot and move on.

I cant imagine that its the gear mongers that are complaining. If the gear is from ToC is slightly better than Ulduar, they're probably the last folks to complain, unless they've got the gear already.

I cant imagine that its the folks truly after a challenge. They can just remove their gear, do Heroic Occulus with a PuG or put Yogg with all keepers on farm (they've got him on farm, right?)

What you've got left are the bored, the posers and these special people.. the ones talked about in this quote. "Thus their ego shattered and the crying began in full force.". I LOL'd.

For me, these are the ones that probably put alot of effort into getting their gear, earning their achievements, and but didnt get satisfaction from actually doing it. They only satisfaction they get is that other people might not get to do it. Nevermind that 9 or 24 other people helped them get there. Now they're having a tanty because someone else who doesnt raid can get equivalent gear just by running with 4 other people in the space of 30 to 45 min, instead of doing the schedule for 10 or 25.

That's a behaviour I describe as childish and selfish. They've got a toy, and they dont want anyone else to have it. It probably didnt occur to them that the other 9 or 24 people in the raid are collectively more important, given that its easier to replace one participant than the remainder of the group.

--------------

I just had a read of the thread linked as the QQ thread in the original post.

Judging from the armory of the original poster, this person is a very accomplished raider. And I'm inclined to admit, the person even has a point, up until the the last comment:
"Lets give out gear better than Hard Mode Ulduar, that was hard earned by guilds, to the worst of the worst."

That's the childish behavior right there. There's someone who fears the better player taking their spot. There's someone who judges the worth of another player based on the collective iLevel of their gear, rather than their actual skill and what they can bring to the raid.

I am the casual casual WoW player. I don't raid because of real life commitments, but I play, and log alot of hours for alot less reward than you do. I like getting shiney gear just as much as you do, though I'll never put it to use like you will.

And if you think Blizzard is ever going to alienate their customer base by making equalizing gear impossible to get, you should know, I am legion.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Tick, tick


Get Argent Dawn exalted for Col. Tick.

Create Jeeves for Fidgette. Tick.

Better think of things to do next.

  • Maxing LW for Dubh, via Znak doing a massive skinning grind.
  • Making other engineering bits, like wormholes, and hat, glove and cloak tinkers.
  • Completing the Argent Tournament grind for Col.
  • Get Boj some way cool PvP gear via Wintergrasp.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Znakharka to 80

Znakharka put in a mammoth effort, and got herself to 80 sometime yesterday. And now I'm done with leveling for a while.

  • Dubh, Chivers, and Nevynoch, 70
  • Grizzlyadam, Colerejuste, Hinny, Pathak, Bojsen, Fidgette, and Znakharka 80

I've set myself a couple of side goals instead, until I'm inspired to level Dubh.

  • Create Jeeves for Fidgette
  • Get Argent Dawn exalted for Col
  • Get Crusader title for Col (will be upgraded to Argent Crusader with AD rep)
  • Max out LW for Dubh

Unfortunately, the AD rep isnt happening today, due to instances being full on the server. So its a skinning grind for Znak for a bit.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Leveling Struggle

Znak his 76 last night, but it was a struggle.

  • Dubh, Chivers, and Nevynoch, 70
  • Znakharka, 76
  • Grizzlyadam, Colerejuste, Hinny, Pathak, Bojsen, and Fidgette, 80

She's taken a little bit of a different path than Boj, but I think they will meet up in the end.

After finishing Howling Fjord and Borean Tundra, she went straight for Wintergarde to complete the Wraithgate and Battle for Undercity. After falling short of the 76 mark, at that point, she then made a start on Stars Rest, and with a couple of AVs, managed to get over the mark.

I'm kinda tempted to go to the Basin now, so she can take advantage of the Nessingwary quests and get some good skinning in, but I also feel she needs to finish off the Temple quest lines for the rep.

Either way, its getting hard to stay enthused about leveling. I think I may have to take a break when Znak hits 80, and focus on something else, like either Argent Dawn for Col, Argent Tournament for Col or PvP for Boj. There's also a few Engineering items I'd like to create for Fidg, like Jeeves.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Leveling in BGs, again

Its been not quite two weeks since my last post on leveling in BGs, and my tune has slightly changed on the subject.

At first, I was all for it. From a winning AV you get great XP, and a good amount of honor such that you get can a nice set of PvP shoulders at lvl 80, to replace your heirloom ones.

However, its now really really popular, and a few negative elements have crept back into the experience.

The first annoying element is AFKers. Its good that we have a Report as AFK tool, but I dont think it does enough. In the last few AVs I've done, there will be at least 10 toons standing around in the Alliance cave, not contributing at all. And its always the same offenders. Yeah, looking at you Dweeb and Ck (with your fancy French C), and a whole bunch more I'm not going to name. So by reporting them, they get no XP and no honor from the time they are reported as AFK. But they don't get kicked and replaced by players that actually want to participate.

Sometimes, near the end of the match, it would actually be cruel to the newer joining players to have this functionality. About the best you can do at the moment, is hang around at the start of the match, target and report those AFKers. They get no honor and no XP. It probably wont deter them from continuing to do it, but it shares the pain.

The second annoyance is low toon mortality. This is something I've noticed alot more with Znak than I did with Boj. With a DPS caster, and a gnome one at that, you can hide behind tree, and rocks and get alot of DoTs up before getting noticed, targetted and squashed. However, people tend to notice DPS melee alot more, and a healers a little less than that. So, at lvl 71 to 77, when then only Resil gear comes from lvl70 BGs, and you can bet that no one these days has taken the time to earn that gear, the carnage is pretty high, and it only takes a geared 80 fury warrior to whirlwind a crowd of noobs into chunks.

The other part with low level toons is tanking, and that they cant do it against Drek. Many are the times when we've got to Drek, with all towers capped, and there's a bunch of DKs, pallies and druids standing around, and not a single toon capable of tanking Drek. On the flip side, I'm not sure an undergeared PvP resto shammy could heal through it. I even had one occasion where Boj lock tanked for the first 75%, and then a mage tanked the remained, because no plate classes were grabbing aggro.

One of the panels at BlizzCon 2009 did mention that something would be done about BGs, and the effect that XP in BGs has had on them. I'm hoping that there will be further level splits for AV... say lvl 68-70, lvl 71-77 and lvl 78 - 80. I'm not sure if its warrented for the other BGs, since I dont think they offer as much XP as a winning AV. But Blizzard would have the stats on that, and will probably make the right choice, when they do get around to doing something about it.

Oh, I almost forgot my last annoyance. AV noobs capping IBGY before we have IBT and TP. It would even be nice to have secured FWRH before taking IBGY, to avoid the Horde turtle wall through FWGY.


After the Cataclysm

I was having a WoW discussion with a friend who plays on the same server, and is much more advanced that I am, in terms of progression. He raids, multi boxes and does alot more theory crafting across all his toons than I ever will. If you meet any toon with Teg at the start of his/her name, and belongs to the guilds OOO, Stars of Orion or Unguilded on Malygos, give him a /wave (or a /lick).

Anyway, our topic for the day was what happens after the Cataclysm. Which of our many toons will make it through the next 5 levels, and in what order. I'm hoping to have all 10 toons at 80 by the time it is released. Given that thought, here are some initial thoughts for my alts on Malygos.

I've had some background thoughts on what I will level through to 85. It will probably be all of them, but order will be significant. I've enjoyed playing playing most of the toons I've levelled, so it will probably come down to profession synergies.

  • Gatherers First. Znak and/or Hinny first for herbalism, skinning and mining. Bonus is Znak for Resto or DPS, and Hinny for DPS or tanking.
  • Professions second. Col for JC (and mining), GA for alchemy (trans) (and tailoring). Col will probably stay DPS. GA for DPS or Disc.
  • More Professions. Pathak for BS (and herbing), Boj for enchanting (and tailoring). Pathak will stay Prot, put probably never tank an instance. Boj will probably do alot of PvP as Aff, or solo as Demon/Aff.
  • And the rest. Dubh for LW and skinning, Fidge for Engineering and mining.
  • And the dunces. Nevy for Inscription and herbing. Chivers for tailoring and alchemy (elixirs).

And I had some thoughts of my own (yar yar, I'm a Donald!) about the speed of leveling, based on WotLK, and there only being 5 levels in the expansion.

I wonder if they'll be a bit more frugal with available XP from quests for the expansion.

Before heirlooms, you could do Howling Fjord, Borean Tundra, Dragonblight, Grizzlyhills, Zul Drak and then part of the Basin, and get to 80, and still have the rest of the basin, Storm Peaks and Icecrown remaining.

With shoulder hierlooms, you could do Howling Fjord, Borean Tundra, Dragonblight, Grizzlyhills, Sons of Hodir (at 78), then come back for a bit of Zul Drak, and get to 80. Then have the rest of Zul Drak, the rest of Storm Peaks, and all of Icecrown and the Basin to go.

Now with shoulder and chest heirlooms and XP via BGs, Znak has done Howling Fjord, Borean Tundra and just a couple of intro quests for Winterguarde, and I'm already at 75 (30%). I figure she'll complete Wraithgate, and may have to do Stars Rest, and will only do as much of the temple as is needed to get to 76. Then she'll be off to the Basin, where she can skin most of her kills and provide Dubh will lots of mats to get Znak some PvP Resto gear, plus good craftables for Dubh.

Now how does that fit in.. well, there are 5 new levels to get in the expansion, and 5 new zones being developed. These 5 levels are supposed to feel epic, and not just fly by. So I wonder if there will be just enough XP via quests, that you will need to complete nearly all 5 to get to 85... though that might make end-game a bit boring, outside of instances and raids. Perhaps 4 zones will be required to get to 85, with the last zone being mostly end-game.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

And another one bites the dust

Fidgette has made her way to 80. Whilst Engineering was kinda fun, being undergeared in a BG is not. Bojsen was alot more fun in a BG, even at 79. If I were to pick a PvP toon for DPS, it is likely to be Boj at this point.

Fidgette is likely to stay as she is until the other toons are leveled, and I go looking for challenges in the engineering department (choppers, personal servants, mobile AH, etc).

On the other hand, she might make a good bank alt due to the the mobile AH in Dalaran, especially for engineers.

  • Dubh, Chivers, and Nevynoch, 70
  • Znakharka, 73
  • Grizzlyadam, Colerejuste, Hinny, Pathak, Bojsen, and Fidgette, 80

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Class Timers and addons (cont): Screen shot

So, this is the screen shot of my UI. Normally Autobar would be displayed on the right hand side, if I were hovering over it. And now I'm going to attempt setting up proper FPS mouse looks with a toggle key to go into mouse mode.

Oh, and maybe try and setup the n52te.

Class timers and add ons

I had an interesting night, last night, experimenting with the UI for Znak.

She's finally took up her dual spec as a Resto PvP shaman. I've got quite a few things to learn about the Resto spec for shaman.

The first thing I did for the evening is watch almost all of the video tutorials from www.pvptutorial.com. I skipped the one about Gladius, since I'm not doing arenas.

There were some good tips in those videos. Sticky Targeting and reducing duplicate information were the first good tips.

I ended up installing MSBT, and Elkanos, which would bring up the list of active addons to:

  • Xperl Classic Unit Frames
  • Bartender 4
  • Power Auras
  • ClassTimers
  • Quartz
  • Elkanos
  • OmniCC
  • TotemTimers
  • Healbot
  • AtlasMaps
  • Deadly Boss Mods.
  • Doom CooldownPulse

Passive Addons include, but are not limited to

  • Prat
  • Fubar (and a whole bunch of info on there)
  • Autobar
  • Recount
  • Omen
  • SexyMap

Passive Addons are addons that have a presence on the screen, but dont tend to tell me anything informative about what is going on with the situation at hand. The head tells me I should just remove them from view, but the player enjoying his game says leave them there for when you're in in AVs.

I should actually post a picture of my UI, but I'm not at home right now, and dont have access to the screenshot that I took.

UI Changes

Here are a few actions that I took with my UI, over and above what is already there.

I enabled Sticky Targets. I remapped my Strafe keys to A and D. However, I neglected to map my turn keys to Shift A and Shift D. More on that later.

Tried to make Autobar fade out when not in use. There did seem to be a global option for this, and then options for the individual bars that make up the autobar, but I couldnt work out how to make the global options stick. I ended up making the individual bars fade out. BTW, I sit my Autobar vertically on the right border of the screen, taking up two columns: common stuff on the right most bar, and class/race specific stuff next to it. I may have to remove the class stuff, since I tend to use Bartender for ghost wolf and mounts, and TotemTimers for shields and totems.

I deactivated buff displays on the unit frames, via Xperl. I have a setup with player, pet, target, target of target, pets target and target of target of target at the bottom of the screen, then I move the party unit up, and place the focus and focus target next to that at the top of the screen. The screen shot will help when I get it up.

I placed the Quartz cast bars in the appropriate position just above player and target, and just below focus unit frames.

I disabled the Xperl raid frames, and moved the AtlasMaps frame beneath the party unit frame. I like having the map up, in a reduce, semi-transparent state, so I can see where all the players are, what goals have been taken and how many AFKers there are in the save (and report them during quiet periods).

I configured Healbot to have 3 columns and placed it on the right hand side of the screen. I'm still not totally happy with this setup. The problem is, now that I have A and D mapped to strafe, I need to right click the to change my orientation. Ah.. maybe I've found a solution to the problem right there. In a normal FPS, mouse look is enabled. This means when the mouse moves, the camera moves and do does the orientation of the player. In WoW, I tend to click alot. This means I've setup my mouse so that it only kicks into mouse look when I right click and hold the mouse on the screen. This becomes a problem when my mouse cursor spends alot of time hovering over a Healbot frame housing at least 40 units.

I guess I need to find a solution to this. I could ditch Healbot (which I'd rather not do), or move to total mouse look model, and use a modifier key or toggle key to enter and leave mouse cursor mode. A toggle key might be better, since modifier keys tend to get used for Healbot as well. The Tab key might make the perfect toggle key for this, if it wasnt that I used it for Tab targeting. Hmm. This will take a little research. Maybe one of the mouse buttons will do the job.

The next part I'll need to work on is binding my abilities to the keyboard. I always have my keys mapped, but I don't often use them. There are some abilities I use. Given my time spent tanking in Classic WoW, and leveling my priest the long way, I have 2 as Taunt, and Alt-4 as button deep in my muscle memory. I also have a Belkin n52te that took about 6 months to actually order, got about 10 minutes of use, and has been gathering dust ever since. Maybe this will be the time to fire it up.

Class Timers and Cooldowns

The only other bit that has left me in a quandary is what to do with target debuffs, player debuffs and cooldowns. I've been using ClassTimers for quite along time, and have made limited use of Power Auras to remind me to put up Replenishment when playing Shadow Priest, or special abilities when playing the Prot Warrior (shouts and free heroic strikes).

However, what I've seen and really like is the tracking of special abilities on the target, and even tracking my own cooldowns, to a certain extent. For example, if a pally has just come out of a bubble or done a stun, I'd like to see what that is going to become available again. Much like DBM tracking the abilities of particular bosses. Elkanos and ClassTimer dont do this, and the Cooldown Watch, the addon showcased in the www.pvptutorials.com videos is no longer being maintained, since the author recently quit WoW. I'm pretty sure it works at the moment, but I dont want to introduce a dependency on an addon that is not being actively maintained.

So for the moment, I'm sticking to ClassTimers to track my abilities on myself and my target. I may remove Elkanos total, and go back to the default Blizzard buffs and debuffs, and use Xperl to display target, focus and pet buffs and debuffs, but with bigger icons. Then I can configure Power Auras to track certain abilities I need to keep active, or take advantage off, and use large buttons in Bartender 4 to keep a track of key cooldowns.

The only other thing that's a bit of a problem is gear and level. Znak is only lvl71 at the moment, and only has a few items of spell gear. So she tends to get owned very quickly, and runs out of mana even quicker. I guess these are the things I have to look forward to while doing PvP leveling with Znak.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Seven in one blow

Ok, that's a slight exaggeration, but being able to progress through an entire level in one night of play is on the same level of excitement.

That's because I'm still very excited about the ability to get XP while running AV.

  • Dubh, Chivers, and Nevynoch, 70
  • Znakharka, 71
  • Fidgette, 79
  • Grizzlyadam, Colerejuste, Hinny, Pathak and Bojsen, 80

Fidgette started out with 78% through level 77, and by the end of the normal night of play, running AVs, and progressing through the Iron Colossus questing line, she had completed up to 78% of level 78.

Then I went into abnormal night of play. I pushed through my usual 1am barrier to 2:30am, did a couple of more AVs and completed the Frostborn quest line. Now she's a wee way through 79.

Just a tip for other rogues levelling in that area. The quest leather is not rogue friendly. However, the mechagnomes at the Inventors Library are engineering friendly. I managed to pick up the SCRAP-E quest, and the Jeeves Schematic.

I think tonight, I'll stick with levelling Fidge, and try and get her to 80.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Boj hits 80

I forgot to mention a small thing that happened on the weekend. Boj hit 80, courtesy of XP from an AV. Specifically, capping Tower Point. The last thing Boj said, before hitting lvl80 was "I'm so close, I'm going to ding in my pants".

  • Dubh, Chivers, and Nevynoch, 70
  • Znakharka, 71
  • Fidgette, 77
  • Grizzlyadam, Colerejuste, Hinny, Pathak and Bojsen, 80

Since then, I've been alternating leveling Znak and Fidg. To be fare on the rest of the BG groups, I'll only start a toon in AVs once they hit lvl75. As it is, Fidg barely survives a AoE Whirlwind from Drek at lvl77.

Last night was Fidgettes turn to level. She did 4 AVs and questing in the K3 area in Storm Peaks. She got from 4% to 74% through the level.

Znak will continue leveling in Howling Fjord tomorrow night. I think I'll leave her as Enhancement, but still pick up Resto as a secondary PvP spec. And along the way, I'll just save spell Mail in the bank, until such time as Znak switches to Elemental.

Poetry from a BG

Fidgette, my femme Gnome rogue get a bit bored, waiting in the cave for an AV to start. On her way out to Galv, she burst forth with lyric and song, a battle ballad to propel the raid to just get this over so she'll shutup.

I fell in love with a pally.
She said her name was Sally.
She was a Belf, my forbidden pally love.

She said she was a Fan of Knives.
I said I knew otherwise,
'Cause mace is all she ever had for me.

I dreamed to take her in my arms,
and dazzle her with my roguish charms
And show her just how fun my fists could be.

When she said she wanted me in the sack,
I didnt think it would be with a litter of cats.
And she dumped me the cold Northrend Frozen Seas.

I fell in love with a pally.
She said her name was Sally.
She was a Belf, my forbidden pally love.

I stalked her to Dalaran.
A ice cold beer with an Orc, she was sharin'.
I could see there'd be no future, Sally and me.

I couldn't help, but one last time,
to make that Sally mine, oh mine.
I'd stun-lock her again 'n' again until she'd see.

But she turned that Stun around on me
She bubbled and hearth away from me.
My Sally, my forbidden pally love.

I fell in love with a pally.
She said her name was Sally.
She was a Belf, my forbidden pally love.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Leveling in BGs

We've just had a public holiday in Brisbane, Australia, but with the two levels I've gained on Bojsen since the last post on 10 August 2009, it feels like a whole weekend.

Since the last post, I've stuck to leveling Bojsen, and have done quite well at it. The first thing was to dual spec Boj into Affliction for PvP (http://www.wowhead.com/?talent#IMxMburNkVAMhkt0Gbhkh:MuZcz0). It's quite a nice build, and I did manage to get the Grim Reaper achievement last night (30 kills in the single BG). I think it does well in PvP for a couple of reasons:
  • Since its not Demo, there's no Felguard giving away my position (Boj is a gnome, and hard to see at the best of times).
  • The number of spells at my disposal is nuts.
  • Soul Link
More about that a bit later. More about leveling in BGs now.

So, the general decision process when logging on is
  • Do I have enough time for a BG or two?
  • If no, go Demo/Aff build and level.
  • If yes, press H and queue up an AV. Now go level in Demo/Aff build.
  • Try to pick up 4 or 5 soul shards. Used for spellstone, health stone, and demon swapping. You might use it for the odd soul shatter if you realise that there's not a single tank amid the 20 toons hacking at Galv or Drek.
  • When the BG comes up, remember to mount up and go somewhere quiet. The number of times I leave a BG, and find some gnoll gnawing on my leg... It's just unseemly.
  • In the BG, switch to Aff PvP build and go nuts.
I love the ability to queue a BG at any time via the BG frame / H option. It may only be a matter of time before the option is available for Wintergrasp (which reminds me, I should get a Wintergrasp timer for FuBar). I wish that option was available when I was leveling Pathak back in 2006, and was wasting 5min for flights to Winterspring to continue the furby grind between BGs and crawling up that bloody BG ladder.

AV seems to be the best BG for leveling in. Mind you, I've only done AB, AV and the new Isle of Conquest since the XP in BGs feature was enabled, and I've never stepped foot in Strand of the Ancients. XP is only granted for events and NPC kills, not player kills, and AV would seem to have the most number of events (towers and graveyards) and NPCs (Galv, Drek and wandering Frostwolf Clan) wandering around. I'll be interested to see what a Wintergrasp is like for leveling, but given that Boj isnt lvl80 yet, he'll only get in if there are no other lvl80s to fill the spots.

Now, more on that number of spells thing...

My usual rotation for a single target is Haunt (cast DoT), CoA (insta DoT), Corruption (insta DoT), Unstable Affliction (cast DoT). Then perhaps a Fear or Death Coil. If I'm feeling plucky, Immolate, but usually straight into Drain Life or Drain Soul (for a soul shard if needed). Then keep the fear up, and keep DoTing as required. And if I'm lucky, I get a Shadow Trance and an instant Shadow Bolt. I also try to have Demon Armor (for extra Armor and heals), and Soul Link up (so pet can take 20% of my received dmg).

In a multiple target situation (many vs many), I tab through the enemy, putting up CoA and Corruption until I start repeating through enemy and can put down Haunt and maybe UA, or just refresh the Corruption and CoA. I havent started working in Seed of Corruption yet, but probably will when I get the hang of the mulitple target thing a bit more. I'll also put in a Howl of Terror when its available, just to keep people from focusing on me, or at least keep melee at a distance. I also keep an eye out for other locks and shadow priests, and throw up a shadow ward at the appropriate time, just in case.

Affliction locks for PvP can be alot of fun, just DoTing, kiting, fearing and for the gnome variety, hiding behind trees and rocks.

The things to work on is pet usage. I've mostly been keeping the imp out on passive, and using Soul Link for the HP buff. If I have the soul shards, I'll pull the succy out instead, put on passive, and then flick to attack against melee enemy. I probably should pull the Fel Hound out instead, since that will have better utility for spell locking than the succy seduce which breaks on damage.

Once Boj hits lvl 80, I'll do a similar thing with Fidgette. I'll dual spec her into Subtlety for PvP, and level via BGs and quests until 80.

And then next exciting cab off the rank will be Znak. Znak is currently Enhancement, and I'm likely to change this to Elemental for soloing and Resto/Elemental for PvP. There seemed to be such a lack of healers in the BGs. Usually only 1 or 2 priests, maybe a druid but you never can be sure if they'll heal or not (durids are 4 attack!1!). When Dubh goes through, she'll probably level as feral and go PvP as balance/resto.

You may as well take a holiday, Nevynoch and Chivers. It's going to be a long while before you get your turn at leveling to 80.



Monday, August 10, 2009

Post 3.2 Update

Just a quick post 3.2 patch update.

  • Dubh, Chivers, and Nevynoch, 70
  • Znakharka, 71
  • Bojsen and Fidgette, 76
  • Grizzlyadam, Colerejuste, Hinny, and Pathak, 80

Not much has changed in the leveling stakes, and its got a bit slower in, fact. WoW has really lost its shine, and I'm doing weird things, like trying to level Boj in BGs, just to shake it up a bit, instead of going crazy from send something through the Wraithgate saga again.

Speak of leveling in BGs, it seems that AV could be viable for leveling a toon, whereas AB is not. I'm yet to decide on the new BG, Isle of Conquest. Of the few runs I've had so far, looks interesting, but I havent noticed how much XP I'm getting out of it.

What is interesting to note is the epic flying progress.

So far, Dubh, Chivers, Nevynoch, and Znakharka are the only ones left not to have Cold Weather Flying or the Artisan Flying skill. Znak and Dubh are likely to get theirs next, even though I only have enough cash for one of them to progress.

Just a few notes for things I'd like to do in WoW, given the time and in-game gold.

  • Dual spec Hinny into Blood for tanking
  • Dual spec Boj into Affliction for PvP BGs
  • Dual spec Dubh into Balance for PvP BGs. Main spec could go Resto, and just keep Feral for leveling.
  • Dual spec Znak into Resto for PvP BGs or instances
  • Get Col the Argent Crusader title (very likely to happen)
Even though I plan to get all the alts to 80, I'm not sure if I will do the same when the next expansion comes out. I'll probably nominate 1 tank, 1 dps and 1 heal spec to get leveled, and will probably mix in 1 miner, 1 herber and 1 skinner in that mix as well. Still got 3.3 to be released, and the actual expansion announcement to happen before I have to think about that too hard.

Actually, BlizzCon is sometime this month, so it may come sooner that expected.

Oh, and just a off topic note. Dante's Inferno may get my next game purchase, if Diablo III is not ready by then.


Saturday, July 25, 2009

All at least 70

Finally hit a significant mini goal, that probably a whole expansion behind the times: All of my toons on Malygos have hit at least 70.

  • Dubh, Chivers, and Nevynoch, 70
  • Znakharka, 71
  • Bojsen and Fidgette, 75
  • Grizzlyadam, Colerejuste, Hinny, and Pathak, 80

The next goal of all toons to 80 and all toons with epic flying is still there, but will probably slow up a bit. 3.2 is going to make it all a bit cheaper for the flying, but leveling some of the toons is going to be a struggle.

I've really enjoyed leveling Dubh through her last few levels, so I think I will end up concentrating on leveling Dubh, Znak and Boj through to 80 next.

Leveling Nevynoch seems a bit unappealing, since I've already leveled one pet class (DK), and will be leveling another.

I am considering dual specing Hinny into Blood, but I'm not sure if she'll ever get to tank in this expansion. Leveling the others is going to take some time first.

I'll probably put a bit of effort into Fidge when the chest heirlooms come in 3.2, so as to make it all go a bit quicker. Mind you, the leveling speed is quite noticeable enought already, given that Boj was 74.5 by the time he finished Howling Fjorde and Borean Tundra, and it only took Moa'ki and a bit of Stars Rest to get to 75. I'll be really interested to see just how much faster leveling will be with the bonus xp shoulders and chest pieces stacked.

Anyway, taking a week or so break from WoW to go skiing.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Enter, Crusader Grizzlyadam

Last night, Ambassador Grizzlyadam became Crusader Grizzlyadam, completing his Argent Tournament grind for the moment. And by "for the moment", I mean, until 3.2 is released, and new dailies for Crusaders and Exalted with Silver Covenant are available.

Now it's a waiting game, to see if the currency for the new heirloom chest pieces will be Champion Seals or a little cash and Emblems of Valor.

A little bit of leveling for alts was also done, over the weekend. The update is as follows:

  • Dubh, 65
  • Chivers, Nevynoch and Znakharka, 70
  • Bojsen, 74
  • Fidgette, 75
  • Grizzlyadam, Colerejuste, Hinny, and Pathak 80
Leveling will continue on Dubh until 70 or so, with Boj also getting leveled.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Argent Tournament Grind Has A Light

The light is at the end of the tunnel for GA, and that tunnel is coming to an end in 5 days.

GA just completed his IF Champion achievement, and only has Exodar remaining, before picking up his Crusader title.

Completing the Exodar intro quests, and keeping steady with the Champion dailies, such as Chillmaw, and Troll Patrol, as seen GA earn his Ambassador title, and not have to worry about Argent Crusade rep any more.

For the last 4 days, GA has been content doing the Valor dailies, and only completing Chillmaw if it happens to be convenient. He still manages to get the commander quests done, since there is usually someone trying to complete it as well. Even if they are Horde, its usually enough that if you help them with charging and shield breaking on the Commander, they will help you with yours.

I've fine tuned my jousting to be quite aggressive, and the method usually results in Valor jousts being completed in under a minute (for each joust), and the Champion jousts only taking 2 minutes, or under a minute if you're lucky.

The initial moves remain the same. Slide up next to your opponent, challenge, and hit them with a shield-breaker as they ride out.

Then it becomes a matter of pressing the advantage, and continually hitting them with the shield-break at every chance you get. The best way to do this, I've found, is to hit with a melee lance, then ride off to the left or right, using the A or D keys and right clicking on the screen. You may be able to do this using Q or E for strafe, but thats not how my hands have been trained. When you release the keys, your character will automatically turn to face the enemy, and you should be facing the correct direction to quickly launch a shield-breaker before closing the gap for another melee attack. The rinse and repeat.

Using this method, you should be able to reduce the shields on the enemy to zero, and keep it that way. A shield breaker attack on zero shields will result in 2000 dmg, and the lance will result in about 3325 dmg, resulting in very quick depletion of your opponents health.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Argent Tournament Grind

Game play has been limited to the Argent Tournament grind for GA and Col, of recent times.

Here's the way it usually goes...

Log into GA at 11pm.
Fly to AT grounds, if I'm not already there.
Pick up the Champion quests.
Pick up the Valor quests (for Gnomeregan, at the moment).
Keep an eye out for Chillmaw, Scourge and Commander calls.
Complete the Grand Melee for Valor tokens. If a Chillmaw call goes up, take that instead.
Do Chillmaw.
Do Scourge (completing 10 and 15 kill versions)
Do Commanders (completing Champion and Valor versions)
Say thanks for group, drop group and head to the Skybreaker.
Pick up the Argent Crusade daily for Slaves to Saronite and complete it.
Do the Valor blade daily.
Do the Troll Patrol daily with time (pretty easy to complete within the timer period)
Hearth back to Dalaran, and fly back to AT grounds for hand ins.

Log into Col
Pick up JC daily in Dalaran.
Repeat for what happened with GA, but throw in the JC daily, depending on where it happened.

I've been mostly picking up Writs, in the hope of increasing Gnomeregan rep when I've become a Gnomer champion. I also completed the cloth master quests for gnomer as well, to take advantage of some easy rep. I may even turn on my Low Quests tracker, and pick off some of the high gnomer rep requests available from the beginning areas, just to cut down on the number of writs needed to get exalted with the Alliance factions.

GA is probably going to need those writs more than Col. Col only has Gnomer rep to complete, and he's a bit over half way through revered.


All this, just to get heirloom chest pieces with 10% xp bonus, that wont be delivered until 3.2, whenever that will be (at least 2 months away, I'm guessing). I wonder if I actually put the energy into leveling, if I wouldn't have them all to 75 by then anyway.

On the bright side, I'm getting a little bit of disc practice in with the Chillmaw event, and approximately 160g per hour in gold earnings, for the two hours it takes to complete GA and Col.

Oh, and you may have notices the absence of the Champion melee daily. I've decided that its not quite worth the effort. The Valor melee only take a minute per opponent, and is required for the valor seals, but the Champion melee tends to take about 3 to 4 minutes per opponent, and there are 4 to get through. I'd much prefer to spend that 12 minutes doing Troll Patrol or something else that has better rewards.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Argent Tournament Duel Rotation

The Argent Tournament has been going for a while now, and I thought I'd add my two cents on NPC duel rotations for those starting the event even later than me.

There are only a few abilities, but knowing in what order to use them to best effect will take some practice. Just as a run down, here are abililies (the spell name might not correct, and the notes are not the Blizz tools tips):

  • Lance. Standard melee ranged jab with the pointy thing. The lower the number of shields on the opponent, the more damage will be done. You'll be using this one alot. Has its own GCD.
  • Shield-Breaker. Throw something (shield or lance?) at the opponent to reduce their shields by one. You'll be using this one alot as well. Must be used at a distance.
  • Charge. Charge at the opponent to reduce a shield. Must also be used at a distance. This one actually keeps you running past the opponent. More on the strategy with this one later.
  • Defend. Adds a shield for you defense. Stacks up to 3 times, and has a timer of one minute. Anytime you get charged or shield breaked, it reduces by 1.

And there's a Heal ability that can only be used out of combat. Remember to use it between bouts.

It should be noted that Shield-Breaker, Charge and Defend all share the same GCD.

The basic goal will be to keep your shields up, bring theirs down and do damage! Seems simple enough.

As a basic technique, stay close to the opponent. If they start to move away, back up a bit, launch a shield breaker, and get close for a lance attack. If you can do that, you should be fine. With latency, the opponent may get the jump on you and get in a Charge. Just put up a shield and keep the attacks up. If the opponent starts walking away while shield breaker is on GCD, because you've just used Defend, follow them.. dont hang around waiting for it to be available, or they'll charge you.

An opener tip is to stand next to your oppenent at the start and fact the same direction as them, towards the centre of the ring. When they accept the challenge, they will move toward the centre of the ring. This is a good time to get off an initial shield breaker, and get a few early attacks in. An additional tip is that the Healing ability shares the GCD with the other abilities, excepted Lanced! so hold off the initial challenge until shield breaker is available.

An intermediate approach is to force some distance between you and the opponent to get a sneaky shield breaker in. If you're fields are all up, and your shield breaker is available, back away from your opponent. If they follow, not to worry. However, sometimes they are slow to follow, and you'll get enough distance to launch a shield breaker. Launch it and run back in, before they charge. If you're lucky enough, they'll do their walk away thing just before or after you launch yours and you may be able to sneak in two shield breakers. Remember to rush back in and force the attack with Lance. If you can keep this technique up, you can force the opponent down to zero shields, and keep them down there for a quick win.

The advanced approach.. well, I dont have one. The intermediate is all I even need. While I do mine, I notice alot of other people working charge into their rotation, and doing alot of jumping around. For me, its not necessary. I hardly use Charge at all. But when do I use it? I've only used it a couple of time in the ring. Usually its because of a brain fart.. I've just done a shield breaker, the opponent has moved away, and I've gone for a charge, I then quickly turn around to face the opponent and throw another shield break, reducing their shields to zero. They usually get a charge in shortly after, but I make sure to close the gap and lance and defend at the same time.

Most likely, you'll use Charge while going up against the Lieutenants and Commanders when doing the other daily. Just make sure you angle your charge so you dont run into another Lieutenant or Commander behind them. I usually like to pull with a shield breaker for Lieutenants, but Commanders would warrent an initial charge and shield breaker to handle their 3 shields.

Just a note on the mechanics of the opponent. As I mentioned, we have a shared GCD between our Shield-Breaker, Charge and Defend. It would appear that the opponents do not. If they get the appropriate distance, it would seem that they can shield break and charge at the same time. At a guess, they probably have a small cast time for their shield break and maybe some sort of reduced cast time on their charge if they get in a shield break first. End result, if they get a charge on you, dont be surprised if you loose 2 shields instead of one.

Actually, looking up wowhead, it would seem they cast Shield-Breaker and Charge. These are different from our abilities, given that their Shield-Breaker has a small cast time and a scripted effect that is probably the trigger to charge or move closer.

Anyway, have fun with the grind! The 10% xp chest rewards coming in 3.2 will be worth it for altoholics that dont have all their toons at 80 yet (and maybe worth it for the next expansion, but I wouldnt bank on it).

The Weekend Run Down

Time for a bit of a rundown on weekend activities. First up, a status update:
  • Dubh, 63
  • Znakharka, 67
  • Chivers and Nevynoch, 70
  • Fidgette and Bojsen, 74
  • Grizzlyadam, Colerejuste, Hinny, and Pathak 80
It was a bit of a full weekend for WoW.

Saturday was a slow day, but fun. I took a visit too all my alts across all realms to pick up the Mountain Dew Battle-bot, but got side tracked on Barthilas (Oceanic PvP) and leveled my Horde DK (Petitemorte is his name) through the intro quests. Its alot more fun when you know what you're doing with the talents and the spells. This time, I decided to go for Blood. It will probably be another year before I visit that one again. I also have a full set of low level toons on Nordrassil (PvE Horde) and some other splashed around, used for logging tickets when Malygos crumbles.

With the annoucement of 10% xp chest pieces from rewards at the Argent Tournament, I decided to pull my finger out and get the base achievements done. I'm putting GA through the wringer first, since he has the rep bonus. So far, he's got Champion with Stormwind, and is now working on his Gnomeregan Valor. I'm also putting Col through it as well, just because he's a fair way through the rep with Alliance. hmm, maybe I should check out Pathak as well, since he's my oldest toon, and ran quite alot of AV back in the day (which gave IF, Darn and SW rep for turnins).

GA did his first Chillmaw quest. He two-manned it with a Hunter. The first attempt was a wipe, due to the unexpected dmg on the turtle pet. Second time around, GA healed the pet through, and the hunter handled the DPS and adds.

That was enough to inspire GA to finally dual specing into Disc, and he did so later that night. There are so many spells to choose from, and I'm a little bit worried about inflicting my noobish- ness on anyone. I'll have to do some more research on rotations and bonuses from spell combos.

Znak had a good run at leveling, and got up to lvl67. She was lucky enough to get in on a Ring of Blood run, and has herself a shiney fist weapon. She's about half way through Nagrand now, and is going to wait another 10 days for the rest bonus to accumulate.

This week will be mostly spent on Argent Tournament dailies, the JC daily for Col and leveling Boj.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

GA gets heroic

Lets start with a small toon update:
  • Dubh and Znakharka, 63
  • Chivers and Nevynoch, 70
  • Fidgette and Bojsen, 74
  • Grizzlyadam, Colerejuste, Hinny, and Pathak 80
GA did his first heroic last night, specced as Shadow.  Performance was lack lustre, but he still managed to do about 1200DPS, which means if I can actually apply the right rotation at the right time, he could get as high as 1400DPS with the current gear.  The instance was Gun'Drak, and we did manage to 4-man it, so it wasnt that bad.

Col has purchased his secondary spec into Holy, and time permitting, GA will purchase his secondary spec into Discipline this evening.  Both toons will have a bit of glyphing, gemming and chanting to do.

Col also spent another 40 badges on some heirloom shoulders for Znak, and Znak made a quick leap up to 63. 

After going at it, hammer and tongs, for Darkmoon cards, I'm over the leveling funk.  Between heroics, and farming for materials for profession cooldowns, Znak will be getting a leg up to lvl70.  At some point, Dubh will also leave the AH and make a dash for at least 68, so she can level Leatherworking and do something with all the Outland leather than Znak will be collecting, and then do something with Northrend leather that Hinny collected while she was leveling.

With a bit of luck from Nevy, and a bit of bidding from Dubh, I did manage to come up with a Prisms and Undeath deck.  GA is now using the Prisms deck (Illusion) to help with mana regen.  I'm undecided about who should use the Undeath deck.  Maybe I'll put it on the AH.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

It's Good To Have Goals

It's good to have goals, and this blog is usually about updates on the progression of my toons.  In fact, here's a snapshot of where things are at:
  • Znakharka, 62
  • Dubh, 63
  • Chivers and Nevynoch, 70
  • Bojsen, 72
  • Fidgette, 74
  • Grizzlyadam, Colerejuste, Hinny, and Pathak 80
So I thought I'd do an entry noting some of those goals.

Since most of my updates are about leveling, its a fairly safe bet that one of my goals is to level all 10 toons to lvl80 on Malygos.  So far, 4 from 10.

One of the other goals is to see each of them equiped with epic flyers.  Halfway there on that count, with Fidgette getting an early look in.  Gotta love the hula girl bobbing away on the dashboard.

One goal already fulfilled is to have enough heirloom shoulders to cover all armor types.  I did see somewhere else that the armor type would actually change to match the class of the user.  Maybe I'll try that out, sometime, since Pathaks plate shoulders arent doing much and might be better off donated to Znak or Dubh, while Fidge and Nevy can hold on to theirs.

You'd think that would be enough, but sometimes you need something else.  It can get boring doing the same quests over and over.  So here are some secondary goals to fill the gaps with:

  • Darkmoon Decks.  Hinny and Nevy have been working on this one, doing a tag teams of herb collection and card production. I'd really like the Greatness trinket for most of my toons, though I'll settle for the Prisms one for a few of the casters.
  • Crafted Gear.  I'm finding that it takes quite alot longer to craft cloth gear than it does blacksmithing gear. Hinny got a Titansteel Destroyer the other day, and I'll be gearing her with the helm and boots next.  Then I'll work on the one hand mace for Pathak, and spell blades for GA, Boj and Chivers (cant remember if mages can equip daggers).  I'll also be working on Moonshroud and Ebonweave sets for GA and Boj.  I'll figure out the remainding alts when they reach lvl 80.
  • Professions Leveling.  This happens anyway.  Tailoring for GA has been the hardest so far, but thats only because I havent even tried LW.
  • Sons of Hodir.  Any toon that I'll want to take to heroic would benefit from this, not to mention the cash injection from doing the dailies for two weeks solid.
  • Faction Reps.  I guess that comes down to which reps are good for which gear.  Ebon Blade and Wyrmrest Accord are great for Ret pallies, but Argent Crusade is not.  Kirin Tor seems to be the hardest, with little in the way of rep dailies amounting to the same amount vs effort, compared with Ebon Blade.
  • Vanity items.  Fidge wants a Hog. All my clothies want fast rugs.  Maybe Znak will pick up a Mammoth, not really sure or sold on the idea just yet.
As you can see, I have my work cut out for me, and the roller coaster starts up again when the next expansion is released.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

WTC Darkmoon Deck : Greatness

Last week, I finally leveled Pathak to 80, and I'm a little bit burnt out from it. Thats my 4th toon to 80, and I cant bear the thought if leveling another one, let alone, another six.

So, I decided to look at what I could do to get a bit more performance out of Col. Besides reaching a hit cap for mobs that are relevant to Cols progression (lvl82 elites), I turned my eye to Darkmoon Cards.

By far, the best Darkmoon Deck for Ret Pallies is the Greatness set with the +str flavour.

So I decided to embark on a journey of discovery, gathering and crafting.

Lucky for me, I have quite a few alts and some secondary goals, such as earning 6K per toon that doesnt yet have artisan flying and cold weather flying (and thats 5 toons remaining).

I had a look around at how many cards I'd need to produce to get a full Greatness set. Wowhead had some interesting comments, with one comment listing a simulation program that surmised it would take 87 cards to produce 1 full set. However, there's no guarantee that it would result in a particular set. Another chap went to the hard effort of recording the findings from 100 cards, and managed to generate 2 full sets, and miss out on the other 2 by two cards.

Now, producing 100 cards is no small efforts. Its a rather large elephant to eat, and one must do it the only way there is... one spoonful at a time.

There are "shortcuts" I could take, but the thought if grinding for cash to buy a complete set is as appealing as the furby grind in vanilla WoW (and I've already done that once, and dont wish to do it again).

So, here's how I'm going about doing it.

The cast of my production consists of the follow characters:

  • Nevynoch, lvl70, Hunter, Inscription and Herbing. Nevy is my scribe, and will be producing the cards. He wont be doing any gathering.
  • Hinny, lvl80, Deathknight, Herbing and Mining. Hinny is my gatherer, and will be doing all the ground work. She's spec'ed Unholy with On a Pale Horse, and flies as swift as a Pally with Crusader Aura.
  • Chivers, lvl70, Mage, Tailoring and Elixir Master. Chivers is going to do useful things with the Frost Lotus we find, and make us a bit of extra cash.
  • Colerejuste, lvl80, Pally, Miner and JC. Col is going to do useful things with an Saronite we should happen across. I've got a tertiary goal of collecting from gems to make a Magnificent Flying Carpet for Grizzlyadam, who has the artisan flying skill, but no swift mount.
  • Grizzlyadam, lvl80, Tailoring and Transmute Master. GA is going to do a transmutes to make extra Eternal Life, and collect Crystals that Hinny should find in her travels.
Lets take a look at what is required to make a Darkmoon Card of the North. The key ingredients are the 6 Snowfall Inks and the 3 Eternals Lifes.

To produce the 6 Snowfall Inks, you'll need 12 Icy Pigments, and to get Icy Pigments, you'll need to mill Ice Thorn, Lichbloom, and to some extent, Deadnettle. According to one of the addons I have (it may be Enchantrix), a single mill of Ice Thorn or Lichbloom should yeild 50% Icy Pigment and 300% Azure Pigment. Milling of Deadnettle is only supposed to yeild half the amount. Therefore, you should only need 3 stacks of herbs to hit the required number of pigments. However, it may take up to 6 stacks to get that amount, occasionally.

If you dont have the required number of Eternal Lifes, you'll probably collect a bunch as you herb, and chances are you'll have more than 6 stacks of herbs by the time you gather 3 Eternal Lifes.

So the first job is to grind for herbs. Out goes Hinny, doing her thing across Storm Peaks, arguably the best place to gather Ice Thorn and Lichbloom. To make this a little easier, you'd best run Gatherer or something similar, and have the HUD enabled. I'd also got the minimap overlay enabled, but I'm thinking of disabling that, since looking at herbs and ore nodes can get a little busy. Hinny also have a macro to swap between Find Herbs and Find Minerals (uses /castsequence).

Hinny gathers until she's got the 3 Eternals Lifes, or 6 stacks of herbs, whatever comes last. If Hinny comes across a place where Titanium is known to appear, or where there is more ore than herb nodes, she'll invoke the macro to find ore instead. Leave nothing ungatherer. Then its back to base for mailing.

Hinny will send all the herbs and Frost Lotus to Chivers. All the Saronite ore is sent to Col. All Eternal Lifes are sent to Nevy. All the Cobalt is sent to Dubh. Hinny keeps the Eternal Fire, Earth and Shadow for the Titansteel cooldown. The remaining Eternals are sent to Grizzlyadam for transmutes. Currently, Chivers is still discovering the Eternal transmutes, via Saronite to Titanium, otherwise I'd send some to him as well, since I dont seem to get transmute procs off GA for Eternals.

The next stop is Chivers. He's going to produce Flasks with the Frost Lotus that was gathered, and put them on the AH. You could just sell the Frost Lotus (goes for about 48g on Malygos, where as the Flasks go for 23g), however, if he gets a proc or two, its all profit. Given the abundant availability of Pygmy Suckerfish, I find it more efficient to produce Flask of Pure Mojo, since it only required 7 Icethorn, saving more herbs for milling.

Once the flasks are produce, send them to your bank alt, or put them on the AH. Dubh is currenly my bank alt. And send the remaining herbs to your Scribe.

Nevy collects all the herbs and Eternal Lifes from the mail box, and mills all the herbs. Hopefully, he gets at least 12 Icy Pigments. Now convert all the milled herbs into Inks (Snowfall Ink and Ink of the Sea). You should have more than enough Ink of the Sea to get the job done. So now make your Darkmoon Card of the North. Hopefully, you got a Noble card. They sell also better than they others, but thats not why we're here. We're saving them for the collection.

Now, you'll probably have a whole bunch of Ink of the Sea left, so what to do... Armor and weapon vellums! Cheap to produce, that can help with your enchanting alt, so you dont have to waste them, or sell them on the AH. In fact, you'll probably have enough for both activities.

Send the card and vellums to you bank alt.

If you need to, visit your transmute master and try get an eternal life from whatever else you will have collected. Thats one less eternal life you need for the next run.

The visit your JC to do prospect your Saronite. Keep or send to your bank alt whatever gems you think you'll keep or not need (or that sell well). For example, I'd keep Forest Emeralds until I have a stack, since they dont sell for much, but Scarlet Rubies are a sure thing and can get a high return on the AH.

And now its time to visit your bank alt. You'll be putting Flasks, gems, cobalt, and vellums on the AH. Hopefully, you'll make about 300g from the haul, maybe more if you've put in a double shift. Save your darkmoon cards. Maybe put duplicates on the AH for extra cash. It all depends on how many sets you want to make, and what types you want.


Now go have a break, and do it all over again. And keep doing it.

So far, the method seems to work for me. I've made 1K gold over two days, which I'm fairly happy with.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Hit Cap for Col

Col has been running Heroics for a while now, and he's my only toon that I tend to do that with.  Hinny is too fresh off the boat, and Grizzlyadam hasn't even bother specing since the last talent wipe (though I am considering  Discipline/Shadow dual specs for him).

Cols DPS is fair.  Its not fantastic, but he's usually at the 2K DPS mark by the end of the run, if not a little bit higher.  Col has never stepped into a raid, and is likely never to do so in the future.  I just don't have the time for it.  So for the gear he has, and the group he runs with, Col is pulling his weight.

Though I'd like just a little bit more.

So this morning, I took another look at his Hit rating, and what he would need to do to achieve his Hit Cap, without hurting his overall DPS too much.

I've read lots of articles that say the Hit Cap is all, and that it should be reached first, before stacking on whatever the primary stat is after Hit.  Col is a Ret Pally (save the lols for later), so his primary stat is Strength.  I know that dead DPS = no DPS, and a missed hit is also no DPS, but for some reason, sacrificing a whole bunch of Str, just to get Hit has never sat right.

But now Col is at a point where he can fine tune.  

With his current gear, Col has a hit rating of 154.  At lvl80, that's a Hit% of 4.69%.  Col is also a Draenei, so he gets an addition 1% Hit from Heroic Presence.  

Since he's never going to step into a raid, he doesn't need the hit rating required against boss levels, which is 8% (or 262.32 hit rating).  Since he's only stepping into heroics, he only needs to step up for lvl82 elites.  Normally, the Hit required for this would be 6%, but since Col has Heroic Presence, he only needs 5% (or 163.95 hit rating).

So, all Col needs is 10 hit rating points.

Col currently sources his 98 hit rating from gear (Gauntlets of Dragon Wrath, Spiked Titansteel Helm), and the remainder from gems, socket bonuses and the Icewalker enchant.

The easy way would be to replace his +6str/+6hit gem in his shoulders to +16hit. But with the resources I have available to me, I can do better.

With the help of RAWR, MaxDPS.com and Wowhead, I worked out I could replace my Colossal Skull-Clad Cleaver with a Titansteel Destroyer for an extra +54 hit rating.  This would free up the remaining gem slots that have been used for +hit to be filled with +str, sweet +str.

And by my calculations, that would net Col an extra 124 +str, and a slight loss in agi, because of the weapon change.  However, its a theoretical increase in DPS overall.

I guess the next thing I probably want to look at is the benefit of Expertise vs Strength.  Whilst the Hit rating takes care of missing a hit, Expertise takes care of preventing a dodge or parry.  Since I should only be attacking from behind, I'd only need to concern myself with dodge.  The tricky part would be determining if Col would benefit from an increase in Expertise over a decrease in Strength, over a period of time.  But I think that's a musing for another time.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Toon Update

Time for another toon update, given a bit of leveling has happened since the last one.

Here is the current state of play:
  • Znakharka, 62
  • Dubh, 63
  • Chivers and Nevynoch, 70
  • Bojsen, 71
  • Fidgette, 74
  • Pathak, 78
  • Grizzlyadam, Colerejuste and Hinny, 80
So, I finally got Hinny up to 80, and have since dropped her skinning and taken up herbing.  This has been great to have a herber and miner on the one character, and have her spec to be moving at the same speed as Col with his Crusader Aura up.

Once I got Pathak up to 77, and then spec'd Hinny into herbing as well, GA has managed to max his Alchemy, and Chivers is well on his way to maxing his.  I also decided to level Boj next, instead of Chivers, so that I can get Ebonweave production started for Glacial Bags (22 slot).  Leveling Boj will also help getting his enchanting up.

The next move is to get Pathak up to 80, to free up some of his bag space (as previously mentioned).  He's completed the intro to the Sons of Hodir quest line to the point of having the dailies available, but I'll finish off the remaining Thorim quest line until Loken does the nasty to him.  After that, Pathak will move to Ice Crown and complete the Shadow Vault quest lines until the Ebon Blade dailes have opened up, and then it will be back to Grizzly Hills and Zul Drak for the Ebon Blade quests there.  That should be enough to get him to lvl 80.  Gotta love those Bind to Account shoulders.

After that, current plans are to level Fidgette, Bojsen and Nevynoch, followed by Chivers, Dubh and Znakharka.

Blogging toon progress

Recently, wowinsider.com migrated to a newer site called wow.com, and they've introduced some nice features like toon blogging.

Given that I've been doing that for a while, though not regularly, I figured I might step up, and try to make regular weekly updates of what I've been up to, and whatever direction I've decided to take this week.

Also, I have regular WoW Pow-wows with a friend.  On our server, he's known as Teg, and has a general Teg theme to all of his alts names (Tegmark, Teglass, Tegasaur, Tegwraith, etc).  Alot of these emails have alot more info about what I'm actually up to, than my blog posts, so I'll be making an effort to post a few of those up as well.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Teg Conv: Duel Spec and leveling

I've been thinking about dual specing Col into Holy, and get back into something challenging again, though play time has been a bit stunted after the large number of hours put in last weekend.

I had a relaxing night, last night, doing a bit of herb collection to get GA to 450 alchemy, and getting my Northrend Alchemy Research for Chivers.  I dont think I'll bother doing the full range of discovery flasks for GA, since Chivers is the Elixir master. I'm about 3 days from getting Chivers to 425, which will open up a few Transmutes to get him up to creating Flasks.  Transmute: Titanium is what I have to use to get Chivers there, so its going to be a slow one.

And whatever excess herbs I have left, I'm giving them to Chivers to put into his 32 slot herb bag, and once he has enough, they'll be going on the AH.  I'm not really inspired to do much with Inscription for Nevy.  His bag space is a bit cramped, as it is, without filling it up with Inscription bits.  Maybe I'll progress it to the Weapon and Armor Vellums so Boj has something to do with his chants.

Pathak has finishing his fishing leveling journey to 450, and got his Titanium Seal of Dalaran for collecting all the coins.  Its a pity the top fishing achievement requires Lurker, or I'd try to give it a go.

Will probably try and get Pathak to 80 this weekend, so I can free up the bag space for all of his crafted goodies.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Addon news : LastPlayFu end of life

Late last week I put a ticket on wowace.com, and the RestFu addon, to get the functionality from LastPlayedFu added to RestFu.  And whaddyaknow, phyber came through and did it!

The addition is currently in alpha, but will probably be released before too long.  When it is, LastPlayedFu will go end of life, and will no longer be maintained (not that its had much maintenance over its short life span).  That will just leave MailExpiryFu as my only addon to maintain.  I've to plans to shut that done down anytime soon, as it remains very very useful.

In other addon news, SilverDragon has become my new favourite addon.  I didnt realise how many rare mobs were out there.  And since old world content isnt being visited as much as it used to, the chances of finding a rare pretty good.  Last night, I found a rare in Manaforge Duro and a rare in Menethil Habour (Sludginn).  Unfortunately, the mana worms got to the rare in Manaforge Duro before I could.

Hmm, I really should post a list of the addons that I use, at least for my reference.

Huntard to 70

After a bit of an effort on the weekend, I got Nevynoch, my Hunter, from lvl68 to 70. Those BtA shoulders with their 10% XP on kill really do pay off.

  • Znakharka, 62
  • Dubh, 63
  • Chivers, 66
  • Bojsen and Nevynoch, 70
  • Pathak, 73
  • Fidgette and Hinny, 74
  • Grizzlyadam and Colerejuste, 80

Continuing the rotation, I'll be concentrating on getting Hinny to 75 this week, though that shouldnt take too long, considering she is now about to start Dragonblight. The major hold up is likely to be fishing when Hinny is able to enter the phased version of Orgrimmar, and tries to catch Old Crafty (as did Col, and as will all my leveling alts, except for GA).

If things get boring enough with the fishing, I may even consider leveling Chivers up to 70, since he now BtA shoulders as well.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Bind on Account shoulders for all!

Well, maybe not all.  But Col has been having alot of fun running heroics with a regular crew, and has slowly been accumulating Emblems of Heroism and Stone Keeper Shards.  So much so, that now Fidgette, Hinny and Nevynoch are all sporting BoA shoulders of some description that will help them level with 10% bonus xp per kill.

My leveling plan up until yesterday, was to level Fidge, Pathak and Hinny together by keeping them all at approximately the same level, and then push the last one of the set to the next level, and bring up the rest.  i.e. Fidgette got leveled from 71 to 72, then Hinny to 72, then Pathak to 73, then Hinny to 73 (which are how things are standing now).  The next move would be to level Fidge to 74.

However, to take advantage of the 10% bonus XP shoulders, I'd have to do a bit of mailing between Hinny and Pathak, since they are both plate wearers (Unholy DK and Prot Warrior, respectively).  So I've decided to change my leveling order and get Nevynoch up to 70 so he can join the rotation.  Given that he is only lvl 65 at the moment, he's probably going to run out of rest bonus pretty quick, in which case, I'll keep the rotation between Fidge and Hinny.

Nevynoch will actually be sporting the PvP shoulders, which Fidgette and Hinny have the PvE shoulders.  

Col will continue to run heroics so he can get a set of cloth shoulders for Boj and Chivers to level up on.  After that, maybe he'll actually save some of those token for gear for himself.  He's doing about 1500DPS at the moment, which is still okay for entry level heroics, but generally, he gets out DPS'd by the others in the group who get to run regular raids.

Here's a quick summary of wear things are at across all the toons:

  • Znakharka, 62
  • Dubh, 63
  • Nevynoch, 65
  • Chivers, 66
  • Bojsen, 70
  • Fidgette, 72
  • Pathak and Hinny, 73
  • Grizzlyadam and Colerejuste, 80

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Fidgette to 70

After a couple of weeks of solid grind, I finally got Fidge to 70, and crafted her a Turbo-Charged Fying Machine.

Sought ought a proper combat spec, and picked up a couple of shiney swords from the AH for Northrend.

Monday, March 02, 2009

WotLK update

Well, Wraith of the Lich King (or LK, as I usually abbreviate it to) has been around for a while now, so I thought I'd so a bit of an update post.  In fact, in my head, I thought I'd done one in January some time. Oh well.

GA was the first to make it to 80, with GA following a few weeks behind.  Here's how things stand now:
  • Znakharka, 62
  • Dubh and Fidgette, 63
  • Nevynoch, 65
  • Chivers, 66
  • Bojsen, 70
  • Pathak and Hinny, 71
  • Grizzlyadam and Colerejuste, 80
I've decided to keep Col as PvE Ret for LK, as opposed to Holy like he was for TBC.

When I was leveling GA, he was Disc/Holy for the purposes of being able to do instance when need. However, GA only ever did one Nexus run.  For the Sons of Hodir grind, I switched him back to Shadow.  When Dual Spec are introduced, GA may go Shadow/Holy, though I think I just rather play Col as Ret.

So now I'm back at the start, wondering who to level next.  The candidates are as follows:

Pathak.  His BS has been leveled through to about 420, due to Cols mining and having an epic flying mount.  It would be nice to have him using some of that crafted gear.  Pathak will be remaining as Prot for leveling.  I'd also like to level Pathak for his herbing, and make use of the epic flying mount that he has.  I'd then use that herbing to finish off Alchemy for GA.

Hinny.  Death Knights are just fun. Plus I've already purchased the flying mount, which wont really get a work out until Cold Weather Flying at lvl77.  Hinny is a miner and skinner.

Fidgette.  My last remaining toon with a need for ore for Engineering.  Get Fidgette at least up to 70 would be hand, so some of the spare Cobalt and Saronite Col is collecting can be used.

Least likely to get leveled next are:

Chivers.  There doesnt seem to be a huge need for Spellweave, not that Chivers has taken up the specialisation for that yet.  Also, until GA has finished his Alchemy, there doesnt seem to be too much of a point in that either.  If anything, I'll just get Chivers to lvl68 to take up the specialties, and level Alchemy with the spare mats.  Given the scarcity of Frostweave in Northrend, its highly unlikely that I'll be pressing forward with tailoring on Chivers anytime soon.

Bojsen.  Bojsen has pretty much become my DE bitch.  Since there doesnt seem to be any limits to DEing lvl80 items from lvl70, I dont have much of a need to level him.  And I'm happy for his tailoring to stew as well.  I've decided that 22slot bags are probably overkill, and the cost vs benefit of leveling tailoring on Bojsen, just so he can get two Ebonweaves per proc is not worth it.

Dubh.  As fun as druids are, she's not high on the list because of her Skinning and LW.  Both Hinny and Znak are going to be able to provide Dubh with plenty of leather as they level.  I guess we'll see how it goes.

After leveling my plate wearers and ore users, I'll likely leveling my herb users.  Thats Pathak (BS and Herbing), Nevynoch (Inscription and Herbing), Znakharka(Herbing and Skinning) and maybe Chivers, if GA has not maxed his Alchemy.


I guess I'll sign in for another update in another couple of months.