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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.