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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.