Sunday, February 28, 2010

Next round of moves

Dubh, Grizzlyadam and Fidgette have now made their moves from Malygos to Aman'Thul.

Unfortnately, Dubh and GA had to be renamed and are now known as Anion and Benzol respectively.

Nothing too special behind the names.  Anion was found as an alternative female elf name, though she could be interpreted as a negatively charged particle.  And Benzol, as a priest, well, he's just not good for you in certain quantities.  There's a good chance he'll need to complete the Brewmaster event later this year.

Fidgette can be found in Dalaran, taking over duties of AH bitch from Crumpler.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Blackthorn stalls

Blackthorn hit 80 during the week, and now he's a little scared and in an odd spot with regards to gear.

I'd really like to tank with Blackthorn.  It's been a long time since I've accepted any tanking responsibility. 

The last time I did it was with Pathak during TBC.  He got as far as running heroic Steamvaults, but I felt I never had the gear or skill to do heroic Mechanar for the best pre-raid weapon in TBC.  Threat generation was a little bit of a problem for Pathak, and he had two weapons to help get the job done.  The first was a slower weapon for initial hits, and to help get rage up, and the second was a fast dagger used during periods of rage dumping.

Anyway, Blackthorn is only just at defense cap, and has 6 more defense skill points to earn on his natural defense skill.  Currently, he's about 23K unbuffed HP, and has all his prot gear enchanted and armor kitted where possible (except for the belt socket).  With the appropriate Flask or Elixirs, food and scroll buffs, he's get some more HP.  All he has to do is visit IF, and practice his threat rotation, then start off tanking with something easy, like Nexus or UK.

Blackthorns DPS is something else.  I haven't practiced his rotation against the dummies, so I'm not sure what this theoretical max DPS is, however, he's typically doing about 1K DPS while soloing, and that's not good enough for heroics. 

And Blackthorns PvP gear leaves alot to be desired as well.  I did Wintergrasp last night, running around with only 17K HP.  On the bright side, I did get enough honor to purchase the epic honor bracers.  That ought to do something useful for my DPS, in PvP and PvE.

I think the plan of attack will be to practice my tanking rotation in IF and attempt to tank a regular Nexus, where I still have all the outstanding quests.  If that goes well, then I should complete the lead in quests for the other regular instances, and tanking them in order of difficulty.  Eventually, I should get enough quest rewards to fill the gear gaps (some analysis will be needed here), bet better at tanking and bolster my confidence somewhat.  It should do some reasonable things for my rep as well, which will further fill some gear gaps.  The only problem here is that rep gear seems to be quite comparable to crafted items, with the exception of the defense chest plate at revered with the Wyrmrest Accord.

And in between times, running Wintergrasp should get some some PvP hear that will replace my low level greens and help my DPS to the point where I can run heroics and get some decent PvE gear that has more appropriate stats than resilience.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Blackthorn Flies

Moving Pathak, Col and Boj has done some interesting things for Blackthorn.

It has allowed him to get access to a Tome of Cold Weather Flying, and has given him enough funds for an epic flyer and the riding skill to go with.  Which, in turn, makes doing dailies and getting around alot quicker.

Blackthorn's daily routing has expanded a little, now that he has hit 74.  He starts with the Dalaran Cooking and Fishing dailies, then depending on the fishing quest, will go to Howling Fjord or Dragonblight for the first Kalu'ak daily (and fishing daily in the Frozen Sea).  From either destination, he'll duck over to the Grizzly Hills PvP dailies to get some Venture Co coinage.  So far, he's earned enough coin for one of the Sigils (the one that improves Death Coil), but will keep doing those dailies until he has the cloak and the trinket.  After this he'll go for the second Kalu'ak daily (64% through revered, so it shouldn't take more than a week to get to exalted), and then over to Borean Tundra for the last Kalu'ak daily.

When I was leveling Dubh, the Idols available from the Venture Co PvP were a definite upgrade, however, I'm not too sure about the DK Sigils.  The first Sigil that BT picked up is the Sigil of the Dark Rider.  Since Heart Strike appears at least twice in his soloing rotation, an extra 180 dmg is quite nice.  When deciding what Sigil to get next, I went with the popular opinion of Sigil of the Wild Buck.  However, in a solo rotation, I don't get to fire off DC all that often, and it's usually an afterthought when I've got a runner, or I notice I'm sitting on 100 rune power, and could do with losing a bit of it.  I've got a feeling that Wild Buck might be more for PvP, or maybe a more solid DPS rotation on instance bosses.  I think I will stick around with the Venture Co dailies, and pick up Sigil of the Frozen Conscience.  This seems like a good AoE tanking sigil, offering a bit more dmg and threat against trash.

Blackthorn didn't do alot of leveling this weekend, but instead got caught up in the Lunar Festival.  I've still no idea why I'm bothering with it.  Perhaps it is just for the achievement of it, since I've hunted down all the Elders of Kalimdor, Elders of the Alliance, and 2 Elders of the Horde.  After my dailies tonight, I'll continue the chase of Elders across the Eastern Kingdoms.  The Undercity is going to be interesting.  I'll have to make sure my bags have plenty of space so I can do the run naked, and try to avoid gear damage.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Pathak passes the torch

Since Pathak isn't really an actively played character any more, the torch will be passed to Blackthorn.

As a result, the name of this blog will be changing shortly, and if possible, so will the domain name.  It will probably be something like, if I can get it.

Edit: Couldnt get the domain name I wanted, so I'll stick with a historically accurate

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Pathak has moved realm

This afternoon, Pathak, Bojsen and Colerejuste relocated realms to Aman'Thul to provide support for Blackthorn.

Grizzlyadam,, Fidgette and Dubh are likely to do the same next month.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Mayhaps a Migration

Aman'Thul had a bit of emergency maintenance last night to try and fix some database issues that were making themselves know by introducing some heavy lag while looking at trade list windows and looting. That was at about 11pm.

I still hadn't had my fill, so I headed over to Malygos and did something I hadn't done for a very long time. I started leveling my hunter, Nevynoch. Hunters are still easy mode, while leveling, though Nevy does have a few heirloom items. Having said that, I did die once due to me being level 70, my tenacity pet, the little bear Cheeks being lvl 66, and me not knowing where all my emergency keys are, or even being that familiar with the hunter abilities.

Anyway, this has got me thinking again about migrating some toons to Aman'Thul. When Cataclysm is released, I'd like to level a Worgen Druid. I'm leveling Blackthorn, a Death Knight, and I've got a priest bank alt.

Back on Malygos, I've got a full realm of a toon of every class. All of them, with exception of the Hunter and Mage are at lvl80. I won't be able to migrate all of those to Aman'Thul, and there are some that I'd not migrate, because I don't have much interest in playing that class in any capacity. However, here are a short list of alts on Malygos that would be eligible for migration, should I choose to migrate any. This migration would be on the basis that I would use Blackthorn as my tanking and melee DPS toon, and the Worgen Druid as my healing toon.

Pathak, Warrior, Herbalist and Blacksmith

Pathak would be eligible for this Blacksmithing. There are a number of BoE items that Blackthorn will be interested in getting at lvl80, and Pathak can make them all. The prices for those individual items is around 900g to 1500g, depending on the day you go looking. And considering I'd like Blackthorn to have tanking and DPS kit, that looks like about 7K in equipment.

Colerejuste, Paladin, Miner and Jewelcrafter

Col would be eligible for his Crusader Aura while farming for ore, and his Jewelcrafting. He can also has access to a Titansteel cooldown, which would help with crafting BTs gear.

Bojsen, Warlock, Shadowcloth Tailor and Enchanter

Enchanting is a tough gig. And I'm not particularly looking forward to doing it again with Crumpler, so I may just take Bojsen to fill that gap. Tailorings not particularly fun, either, and he does have that speciality.

And those are the toons that would need to move. There's a bit of a maybe list, as well. Mostly because there would be a place for them, but it's not absolutely necessary. That list is:

  • Fidgette, Rogue, Mining and Engineering. Handy for an auctioneer in Dalaran.

  • Grizzlyadam, Priest, Mooncloth Tailoring and Elixir Alchemist. Moonlcloth production would be handy for large bags, and I'd probably convert him back to Transmute Alchemy.

  • Dubh, Druid, Skinning and Leatherwork. This is mostly because of the leather work, which would continue to serve the new Worgen Druid. I really liked playing the druid, and I could have one be resto/feral and the other be resto/balance. Or even just have one be resto PvE/resto PvP. The sad thing here is that I'd likely not get the same when I transferred.

There would be the toons I cant move, and that would be Hinny, a Death Knight, Miner and Herbalist. You can only have one DK per realm.

And then there would be the toons I'd have no interest in moving.
  • Nevynoch, Hunter, Herbalist and Scribe
  • Chivers, Mage, Tailor and Alchemist. I think he's a spellcloth tailor and transmute alchemist.
  • Znakharka, Shaman, Herbalist and Skinner. She was fun to level, but totems just aren't my thing. Plus lack lustre performance in PvP was also a bit off putting. I'd rather PvP with a resto druid.

Now, at US$25 a pop, I'm not going to start transferring yet, but the thought is definitely there.

Hmm, this blog would probably get a name change, too.. Probably to just Blackthorn.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Pugging on Aman'Thul

I've done a bit of pugging. Mostly, it's all recent and it's all because of the Looking For Dungeon tool, but nonetheless, all of Dubhs tier gear has come from pugs and she has the Perky Pug to prove it.

Now, all that pugging was done on Malygos, which is in a predominately American battlegroup. Aman'Thul belongs to a battlegroup in the Oceanic zone, which means it's mostly Australians and New Zealanders, though probably has a smattering of other nationalities (Japan and South East Asia springs to mind, with Americans and Canadians looking after the graveyard shift, as I did on Malygos).

Now, everyone has the capacity to be jerks, and behind the veil of anonymity, you tend to get a more than less. I'm not saying that the events that transpired were worthy of being called acts of jerkdom, but when you're playing at primetime I'd be guessing that there would be a few immature Australian gamers that get their backs up pretty quickly or just do stupid things because there's no one there to slap them upside the head and tell them to pull it in (their head, that is).

Anyway, my one PUG run for the weekend ended up with smiles because I scored Ingvar's Monolithic Cleaver. However, it was touch and go for a while.

I entered the queue for UK as DPS. At level 71, I didn't think I had the health pool to tank, and I definitely didn't have the gear. Lucky for us, our tank was a level 80 pally, who decided to switch to Ret. Interesting choice, but there probably wasn't going to be a threat problem, unless I started doing Death and Decay. As it was, I hadn't mastered my DPS rotation, and was still doing Heart Strike (hits target and a neighbor) instead of Death Strike (hits target using blood rune) or Obliterate (hits target using frost/holy rune pair).

It was all good until the tank left after the first boss, with out even so much as a "cya".

So we queued and waited, and he was replaced with a lvl72 warrior. We explained the first tank was lvl80 and left without a word. Not a problem. And on we went.

The tank was pretty quick, charging from mob to mob. The resto druid was pretty slow, not moving with the group. Quite possibly because he was refueling on mana. So at one point, he asked for the tank to check mana first, before moving to the next group. Fair enough call, so we waited at the top of the stairs before the next group for the druid to catch up. And then the druid came up the stairs, walked into the pack of mobs and body pulled them back down the stairs. Well, he must have been so embarrassed, he dropped group before he even died, and left us to wipe. He must have had a friend in the pug, or the other DPS thought the whole group would fail, because he left too.

So we queued and waited, and the resto druid was replaced with a holy pally and the other dps was replaced with a feral druid.

And on we went to complete the instance with no acts of jerkdom. I almost didn't survive the last encounter. I really need to look up that Dark Smash ability. I think it's a "run away" thing, but there's also something else that happens were you need to hide behind a pillar. Anyway, I was popping Rune Tap, my herbalism heal and a health pot to try and stay up. Just before he died, I was hiding behind a pillar, frantically trying to locate a bandage on the UI.

Yeah, time to research Ingvar.

Got any recent acts of jerkdom or pug nightmares?

Edit: Apparently you can LoS the Roar to avoid getting the stacking debuff that increases shadow damage by 5%. However, the Smash and Dark Smash are a cone effect that all melee, including the tank, should move out of. Melee DPS should be behind the boss anyway, but the tank should move through or move to the side to avoid the cone effect. I was pretty sure BT was behind the boss when the Dark Smash hit, but then again he might have been facing me while I was running away... the tank did have trouble keeping certain mobs facing one direction.

Zoom zoom for Blackthorn

Blackthorn has had a pretty busy week with leveling, and is now half way through lvl72.

He hit 68 either on Wednesday or Thursday night, and trucked off the Netherstorm to pick up his Transmute Mastery, which he quickly dropped for 150g, and picked up Elixir Mastery is Shatt'rath City.

On Friday night, he hit 70 while guiding Betsy back to her owner. There were still some good quest rewards in Netherstorm to get, so he completed the Violet Tower line as much as he could, and then completed the Triangulation quest line to the point of meeting Adal. It was at that point, he decided that time would be better spent in Northrend.

When I level from 70 to 80, I like to start with Howling Fjord, then move to Borean Tundra. However, I did a couple of queries on Wowhead, and it would seem that Borean Tundra is the place to be for weapon upgrades, especially the kind that a DK can use. However, on Sunday morning, I queued up for an UK run as DPS (and lvl71), and after a few eventful drops from various members of the party, I finally scored a 2H Axe from Ingvar. Cheers, Ingvar! Seems like quite a good 2H axe, and I wont need to be replacing that for a while.

Anyway, I started out doing the Howling Fjord quests. I completed the start area, and the Explorers League hub, but then decided I should round out some of my professions before continuing on. Primarily, I should play catch up on my cooking so I dont end up saving a whole bunch of food mats, waiting for that day when I do finally catch up. So Saturday afternoon, and a good portion of the evening was spend following El's Fishing and Cooking Guide.

Now, I had already done some basics with cooking (up to 35 skill points with the spice bread), and had done some fishing while waiting for boats, and the like. So I was able to pick up the guide and work in where I had left off. The guide is pretty good, and there were only a couple of places were I deviated. The first was near the end of fishing near Stromguarde. Cooking those last few Bristle Whisker Catfish to get to 175 was killing me, so I ended up picking a couple of Tangy Clam Meats off the AH to get me over the edge. And then it was Mithril Head Trout all the way until 263 cooking. Oh, don't forget to train. Early in the cooking, I was sitting there, watching my toon cook up something I'd spent some time fishing for, and wondering, why arent I getting skill ups? Oh yeah, I needed to train. Doh!

My next deviation was not having enough fishing skill before moving on to Azshara. Or was it Bay of Storms in Azshara. I did enough fishing to get the raw materials I needed to level the cooking, but once that was done, I would move on to the next zone. As a result, I was fishing up alot of junk in the Bay of Storms, but all I really needed was a few Winter Squid to get me up to 300. I seemed to recall Ravager Dog not being available until 305, so I picked up a few more, just to be sure.

Then I moved on to Outland to level my cooking out there. This time, I left the guide completely, and cooked up all the ravager, buzzard and basilisk meat I had collected and saved while leveling out there. This got me to 350 cooking pretty easily, but my fishing was languishing back at 260 or so.

Then in Northrend, I cooked up the materials I had gathered out there, like Shoveltusk Flank. I got so far, I could even pick up the Northrend Stew quest, needed for the cooking dailies that were to come. So far, cooking has advanced to 394, and will probably stall there for a while until I advance into places that have worm meat available.

On Sunday, I started doing some of the seasonal valentines day quests. These are usually set to whatever level you happen to be, and can offer some pretty good XP. This year, I'd just like to get the companion pet, so I started doing what I could to collect Lovely Charms and make Lovely Bracelets for all for faction leaders. It was then that I paid a mage to port me to Dalaran, so I would have better options for traveling around.

Dalaran is busy! I've never been to Dalaran during peak times on Malygos, in my 4 years of playing. Aman'Thul was packed! Trade was no less busy with trolling morons and no one knowing or caring for the dedicated LFG channel. I picked up the cooking and fishing dailies, and ventured to Crystalsong Forest for carrots, and then went to Wintergrasp for some dangerous fishing! Wintergrasp is no place to be for a flagged lvl71 DK, but the fish were biting, and that got me a bit of free gold, and few mats to help with cooking, and hopefully money making down the track.

While I was in Dalaran, I confirmed what I had read about Cold Weather Flying. Your first toon on the realm has to wait until lvl77 before being able to purchase this ability. After that, your lvl80 can purchase a BoA tome that can be sent to your alts, so they can learn the ability at lvl68. Well, it's only four and a half levels to go before BT can fly around Northrend. Should only be a couple of weeks away.

So after all that, I decided not to pick up where I left off in Howling Fjord. I took the slow turtle to Moa'kai(?) and did the Kalu'ak quests there, and then took another slow turtle to Une'pe(?) and did the other Kalu'ak quests there. I'm determined to get exalted with those guys this time, and get that fishing rod.

On to Borean Tundra, and did what I could with the intro quests, Farshire and D.E.H.T.A. Tonight, I'll be starting a daily routine of Shatt'rath cooking (and fishing, if I have the skill), Northrend cooking and fishing and the three Kalu'ak dailies. Then I'll be tripping around for the Valentines even. I think I only need to visit IF and SW, and then I'll have enough tokens for the pet. And then I can get on with questing, and the line I'll be working on next is Coldarra, so I can have the quests when I step into The Nexus.

Well, that's enough for one posting.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Mobius Strip

Blackthorn has been slogging it pretty hard, making his way through Outland.

He has discovered that Briarthorn and Goldthorn are great sellers, and that Alchemy Masteries are not available until lvl68 (which was disappointing, since I thought it might have been around lvl65 for some reason).

On Friday night, BT ran a couple of Outland instances as DPS. He was only lvl63, and I didnt feel he had the necessary spells to tank properly. Namely, he was missing Blood Tap (remove the cooldown from a Blood Rune and converts to a Death Rune) and Dark Command (the DK taunt).

The first run was Blood Furnace. Kinda strange, since I hadn't completed Ramparts yet, but that's probably a side effect of the Random Dungeon in the new LFD tool. The run was ok, with a couple of wipes and a couple of bad pulls were we ended up on top. We actually had early healer exit just after the first pull. It was hard to tell if they left because we said to no to the healer needing on all the greens, or if it was because the tank was a little on the slow side. The value of the hero class came through, with him topping the DPS charts against a lvl66 Boomkin and the lvl63 Hunter. Also beat the lvl66 tank, but that's not really a fair comparison.

I'm not normally one to watch the DPS meters too much, other than to check I'm up to scratch, and I'm aware that ranged damage from cross realm party members is always lower than reported. However, we were all from the same server, except for the healer, so there was no need to add the pinch of salt to the results.

The healer left, and we agreed to join for another round in 5 min or so. I took a visit to HFP and starting leveling the Axe I had scored from the last boss of BF. As it turns out, max weapon damage is the key stat at lower levels, rather than calculated AP. This is mostly because abilities like Heart Strike are based on that weapon damage.

The tank, who was also party leader, signed us up for another random, and we came up with Mana Tombs. I thought that Mana Tombs would have been a little out of my and the Hunters league. However, no one mentioned anything so on we trucked.

Then we had group drama.

The hunter kept pulling aggro, or the tank was taking aggro fast enough. So the healer would try to keep the tank up, then try to keep the hunter up, and a little backward and forwards argument started between the tank, hunter and healer. The tank tried to initiate a kick, but it was too early. We tried for another couple of pulls, no one died, but still, the hunter and tank were on the defensive and spoiling for a fight.

After the 15min counter was up, the tank initiated a kick of the healer, and off he went. We'd only got passed the first boss, so it wasn't all bad. But still, I wasn't a fan of kicking the healer since he wasn't doing a bad job. Unfortunately, the hunter was pulling aggro by attacking mobs while the pally tank was doing a LOS pull and hadn't taken full threat yet.

Anyway, we got another healer in and completed the rest of the instance will a few more wipes (bloody fearing Nexus Terrors) and little other drama. I did note, however, that we were able to complete the instance with no use of Crowd Control what-so-ever. I do remember that back in the day, CC was king.

I must say, I do enjoy the shorter runs of Northrend and not having to do as much CC.

Anyway, I'm not sure if I want to do any more runs in Outland. Maybe I'll try to complete a Ramparts run, but that's about it.

Since then BT has managed to hit lvl66. Hopefully, I'll be able to get to lvl67 tonight.

Had an interesting experience grouping while in Terokkar Forest. While BT was level 64, he joined with another DK, who was 66 to complete the Unruly Neighbors quest. He then offered to help with the other quests (to which I declined), but insisted he needed them too.. and then asked me to share them all. So I did, and it turn out he hadn't really picked any of them up.

As we ran round, killing Timber Wolves and looting for the associated quests, he kept fiddling with the loot settings. First to round robin, then free for all and finally to master looter. I think it was mostly so he could pick up the quest items before I could. I had already got into a pattern of only looting every second kill anyway, but after two greens dropped and he snaffled them both, it was game on. I'd loot whatever I could, even if it was just for junk and quest drops.

We managed to clear out the population of Timber Wolves pretty quickly, and after about a minute of him flying around, I mentioned he might want to pick up Olemba Seeds as well. Maybe I sounded too much like his mum, because at that point, he said "cya" and dropped group. He's on my friends list now. I'm going to keep a tab on this Blood DK who was two levels above me, didn't use diseases and had rubbish DPS.

Final thought for the post. Raiding on Aman'Thul. Playing on Aman'Thul is quite different from Malygos, from my perspective, anyway. And I guess this is mostly because of the timezones. Anyway, the raid action is definitely there, with groups being formed all the time. However, the disturbing trend is that you can only get into one of these raid PUGs if you have already have the achievement, and a 5K GearScore, even if it's just for a ToC10 badge run. It looks like if you want to get into the raiding PUG scene on Aman'Thul, you'll need to get in a raiding guild to complete it first. However, why would you bother with PUG raids when you're in a raiding guild?

When I do start tanking in Northrend, if I ever get a healer to complains about my GearScore or my Health Pool, and proclaims "I cant heal that", they're going to get kicked.