Monday, December 28, 2009

Recovering from Christmas.

First Mrs. Skraps got me this totally awesome polo for Christmas. Gift wise, I think we spent the least we have ever spent, but yet we probably have had the best Christmas ever.

The Skraps family also received the Khet Laser Game a super fun strategy game, as well as the 5-6 player expansion for Settlers of Catan. We played a LOT of board games over the 3 day weekend. Something I always enjoy. (Especially when you make a totally awesome coup de grace and win Catan) Next up for the family game nights will be Pandemic, Cant wait to try this one.

When "the boy" has friends over we always try to play a board game or two when we have dinner. His friends think it is a little weird, but I am a big fan of the family sitting down at the table to have dinner and play a social game, although most of the guests grudgingly play just waiting to get back to the xBox.

Speaking of the xBox, "the boy" got Modern Warfare 2 for Christmas. Can someone please tell me how to beat him? Please? I spend most of the game running from him, while he hides behind a riot shield that I can only figure is made of some special material unknown to man. I hit him with a friken rocket, he laughs and throws a knife at me, hits me in the foot and I die! HE LIVES THROUGH A ROCKET ATTACK, I TAKE A KNIFE TO THE FOOT AND I DIE! Anyway, after a few hours of dying I at least am able to aim (somewhat) and shoot. I have gotten to the point where I do not die as soon as he pops up on my screen, but I still kind of suck like a Hoover.

Not much going on in the WoW world due to the Holiday hiatus but hope to start raiding again this week. I did finish my 100th random party member and got the cute Pug pet. Tank gear seems to only drop when I am healing so no great upgrades for the tank alt. I would love to replace my blue boots, and trinkets though.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas part 2: the Revenge

Someone please tell me why my we ever thought it would be a good idea to have a birthday party for my wife's brother last night, 30 people for Christmas dinner tonight and 25 people for Christmas dinner tomorrow? I will have almost 100 people coming through my house for these 3 days. I'm just happy I get to work until 5:00 today so I can rest a bit.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Winter Veil = Done

I Finally got the Winter Veil achievements and title done. Once again the RNG shows me how much it hates me. I so far have collected 167 boughs of fresh holly fa la la la la la la. 40 Mistletoe, and just 10 snowflakes. I had to very carefully stalk each of the race/class combination in Dalaran. Surprisingly the most difficult was the Tauren Shaman. It turns out most Shaman on my server are either Orc or Troll. I had to beg a guildie to logon one of his long neglected alt to get the Tauren Shaman.

I was quite surprised how easy "With a Little Helper from my Friends" was. I suited up, went into a Warsong Gulch, found a Death Knight with a high health pool, and followed him around healing him. By the time we (the Horde) capped 3 flags I had 48 HK's. I queued up for another BG, Arathi Basin popped, got my last 2 HK's and proceed to heal my way to a 5 cap on AB.

I have discovered that while I am probably the worlds worst arena resto shaman, in the BG's I excel. People are not nearly coordinated enough and I can easily out heal the damage one or two people are capable of doing to me. I absorb damage, while some DPS class comes in like a wrecking ball and the floor is littered with dead.

With family in town, and holidays rockin I will probably not play at all the rest of the week, but here is to hoping I can sneak away for a random or two somewhere.

Hope everyone has a excellent Non-Denominational Winter Celebration Season, and a happy reset of the Judeao-Christian Gregorian Calander. (Hey I am a California Liberal. Heaven forbid I say Merry Christman and Happy New Year)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Productive weekend for Tank alt. No joy in mudville for the main.

Well almost a full week down of 3.3 and I still feel that the new LFG in sht most awesome improvement to WoW ever! I find I have a hard time grinding things on my main right now, especially with the ease of finding a group. 8-10 seconds wait time to get into a random group! Yay for being either a tank or healer.

Friday night was a no raid night for the guild so I ran the new 5 mans as a healer and got a really nice upgrade to my weapon...and by nice I mean sucktastic. Another damnable dagger! It is actually quite a nice weapon, but couldn't they have made it a mace, or sword or a fist weapon? Yeah a caster fist weapon...that would be nice right? But I always feel when I am a big burly Orc Shaman, with a tiny pointed stick on my belt where my mace should be. Other than healing the 5 mans the Shaman did not get a spot in this weeks raids (I have been low availability the last few months, and agree that my spot should have been given to someone that shows to raids) so i spent a LOT of time farming heroics on my tank.

As a side note I did every heroic Saturday via the random dungeon feature except the second two new 5 mans, and AN. I did get placed into HoL x2, HoS x3 and The Oculus x3. Surprisingly The Oculus wasn't full of suck. It was completed the first two times, with no wiping and about 30 minutes total. The third time I ended up dropping the group after the 3rd wipe just in the drake flying portion. The healer and two DPS had never done Oculus and it is too difficult to explain the finer points of drake riding via party chat.

Inc: Loot list from Saturday's farming of Heroics.
To start off I got the 2 piece T9 bonus with The shoulders and gloves. Both of those items replaced blues and bang for the buck were awesome upgrades. Got the BiS tank ranged weapon for a measly 25 emblems, about 3 random dungeons worth of emblems. Finally I converted some Emblems of conquest down to pick up the valor tank cloak, as I was sporting a iLevel 187 blue tanking cloak.

The next two pieces I am looking to pick up are the ring and trinket. I should have them by Wednesday if I miss raiding this week.

Hoping to make the cut for this weeks raids as I would like to write a how to guide for healing ICC, you know at some point that it is still relevant. It seems I am really good at writing how to guides about 2 weeks after everyone else has already figured it out.

p.s. Final thought for the 3.3. It is excedingly difficult for a warrior tank to hold threat on mobs that keep teleporting behind me due to the known but that is hopefully fixed today. I also learned how difficult it is to hold threat against a boomkin that is doing 6.5k dps in a 5 man. I shudder to think what that dude's dps is in a 25 man! I am willing to bet he can go back to sunwell and look sternly at Brutalus and he will keel over. Lastly I am only 3-4 groups away from the Perky Pug!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

3.3 First impressions

Why do i ever try to log in and do anything on patch day?

Yesterday after work I tried to be good, I tried to be smart and avoid patch day woes. I got off work, went to work out. Attempted to take the dogs for a walk, but since it was 30 F'ing degrees outside (hey leave me alone, I'm from California. COLD is 50 degrees) neither me or the dogs wanted to go out.

At 6:30 pst (8:30 server) I logged in. There were a few guildies on, and by a few I mean ALL of them. Everyone was trying out the new 5 mans, as raids are scheduled for Wed/Thurs. I thought I would try the new LFG.

I got dropped in Gun'drak. I was tank, have a very competent healer, and 3 dps. Then 2 DPS, then 3 DPS. It was a rough start, but then we basically chain pulled the instance, without stopping to clear some of the raptors before King Dred. I thought well at least I will get the 6 raptor achievement. Nope. The DPS was on fire so much it was all i could do to keep aggro, they killed King Dred before he summoned the second set of raptors.

After getting my 2 emblems of frost, a void crystal and some dust (the new DE system rocks!) I got together with some guildies to run the new 5 mans. At which point we were greeted with the fail: Additional instances can not be launched. 30 minutes later we got in, cleared the first 5 man, and got 1/2 way through the second. Then the guild leader put the call out..."We are going to do ICC 10. Anybody want to join us?"

The group fell apart, the healer and 2 dps left group to join the raid. This was OK with me as I had fatherly duties to attend to and I like to do 25's first, then do 10's on Sundays. We said our good byes and I logged for a bit.

Review of 3.3 so far...

The lfg is so full of win that if Blizzard were to come to me today tell me in payment for the new feature I had to go down to the tenderloin and wake the homeless at 4:30 in the morning I would be OK with that. I ran 4 random dungeons yesterday, and had 0 fail in the groups. The 5% buff for doing a random dungeon rocks. 5% Damage, 5% healing win win!

Tonight I am going to hop on to one of my low level alts and try the LFG tool for them...After the raid of course. the 10's team cleared 2-4 last night before I logged, not sure if they got 3 down last night.

The only loot I got last night was Nighttime. Not exactly main spec for me, but if I ever go with a dual wield fury for off spec this will me fun.

Oh and yesterday I managed to accrue 6 emblems of Frost, and 14 triumph for just over an hour and a half of dungeons.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Instancing levels 40-60

With 3.3 dropping any time I thought it would be an excellent idea to post a leveling by instance guide. Because you know, everyone will be pugging everything under the sun, and the cross-server LFG should help get you into more instances while you are leveling, or at least you can sit around with 4 other people looking for a tank or a healer in cross-server LFG.

Starting at high 30's you can get into Uldaman. This is a very
long instence, as a lot of them were in old Azeroth, but if for nothing else it is a lot of fun for the "Indiana Jones" boss. I don't want to give any spoilers for anybody that haven't done this, I will just say i got a kick out of it the first time there. There are 8 bosses in Uldaman, that is almost like doing a 5 man raid, except trash respawns much faster.

There is a TON of loot in Uldaman, but nothing worth "farming" for. If you find a group ready to do it awesome, but do not feel like you have to visit it to move on in your leveling.

Some of the loot highlights include:
Olaf's All Purpose Shield - Not the best shield and lets face it at this level you will have a 2h or very close to dual wielding, but the on use makes it very useful.
Spaulders of a Lost Age - MP5 mail? Sure why not!

At level 40 you will hit Zul'Farrak one of my favorite old world instances, and someplace we all went to for the then awesome Carrot on a Stick remember this was back in the day when epic riding was the fastest movement speed in the game. This instance also has what was my first ever "Event Boss" that takes place after freeing captives at the top of the temple. I have so many excellent memories of ZF that to this day if I find someone needs to run ZF I will always go. This is also the first place you learn things like positioning, CC and agro management. Becasue if you do not do those things, you will die.

Loot highlights:
The Hand of Antu'sul - Really with the proc, you should pass to the tank, but it is an excellent Enhancement weapon.
Gahz'rilla Scale Armor - Stam + MP5, this screams Shaman...or hunter cough cough.
Ripsaw - I actually had this weapon for far too long on Skraps.

After ZF You can move on to Maraudon and Sunken Temple. These are both REALLY long instances, but if you have committed to leveling through instancing and are able to use the new LFG tool to find a group, you will really enjoy these places. Back in the vanilla days, the hunter class quest culminated in Sunken Temple and really required you to use all the skills a then max level hunter would need to be a successful end game player.

The loot lists for these dungeons are ridiculously long, so i am going to cheat out and refer you to the Awesome Kalibans Loot list to make a wish list of gear you want.

Here is to 3.3 and hoping the new LFG works as good for low level instances as it does for end game Heroic Dungeons.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Leveling Enhancement 40-60

Continuing my leveling guide after a long hiatus, lets just jump right into it! Again the point of this build is ease of leveling and getting to those sweet sweet spirit wolves as soon as possible. I know there are some Shaman resources out there (with actual numbers to back them up, where as mine is just love of the ability) that say spirit wolves are under powered and kind of a joke but for leveling they are a must have.

As soon as you ding 41 run, do not walk to your Shaman trainer and train Storm Strike aside from the fact that it is a wonderful damage tool in your bag of tricks the increased nature damage makes your next 4 nature damage spells kick it up a notch. With the mana return from the improved version you will almost never sit to drink again.

Your next 3 points will be put into dual weild specialization this will minimize misses, and really helps get over the hit penalty you take with dual wielding.

At level 45 you get another excellent ability Lava Lash this ability really shines when you are doing something like MH Windfury off hand Flametongue. Remember as an Enhancement Shaman you are rewarded for slow weapons. So find the slowest big fat mace, or axe you can find and pummel things to the ground. You could also use fist weapons, but at this level I do not think there is any fist weapons.

At 47 you have a few options on where to put your next 2 points. You can go with Static Shock which may allow you to refresh lightning shield a little less often, but maxed out it only provides a 6% chance of discharging and recovering 2 orbs. i much prefer to go back up in the tree and put these 2 points into Frozen power 10% more damage from damn near every spell you fling? Yes please.

At 49 you get Shamanistic Rage this is a wonderful ability with a short cool down, and you are going to want to pop it on almost every fight. Reduces damage, and regens mana for every melee hit. One of the defining talents of the Enhancement tree. After Shamanistic Rage you will drop 3 points into Mental Quickness this converts attack power into spell power. With the true hybridization of the enhancement tree being both melee and caster dps this talent is a no brainer.

At this point in your leveling you will once again have a point to put where you please. I do not do any PvP so you will notice I do not take the PvP talents like Earthen Power instead I go back and put slack points into Elemental Weapons as this increases the effect of all our weapon imbues.

We are getting very near the bottom of the tree, and put 5 points into Maelstrom Weapon this is the awesome ability that allows you to instant cast Lightning bolts, chain lightning, and and heals, although if you are casting heals something went terribly wrong. When we ding 60, there is much rejoicing (yay) and you get Feral Spirit and every three minutes you get your puppy pals to come play with you.

This wraps up talent selection for the level 40-60 grind. Tomorrow I will be posting instances and gear selections to go with it. Normally I would suggest you just grind out quests as the fastest way to level, but with 3.3 potentially dropping on Tuesday Dec 7th I like to think instancing through levels will be possible with the cross-server LFG.

He beat WoW?!

So there is a story out today about a Taiwanese man who "beat" WoW. Now what does this mean? It means he has gotten all 986 achievement points and has completed an amazing 5906 quests. Here is his Armory Profile. Just looking at his Feats of Strength makes me kind of sad. So many Server firsts, the amount of time he has spent on this game must be ridiculous. Sometimes I think I spend too much time on the game, I raid (usually) 2 nights a week, play in the mornings on weekends, and an hour here and hour there when the wife is watching something on TV I hate.

I would like to take this moment to remind everyone this is just a game, go out and make adventures in real life. Spend time with loved ones, have a beer. Run naked through the center of town, ok so I got arrested for that last one, but you may be lucky.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wednesday night durnken...drunkings?

So it is Wednesday night. The day before Thanksgiving, and I have a 4 day weekend ahead of me. Not only that, but today was our Unix admins last day of work, he is now retirewd! I am now the Unix admin. Yay! Sorta...I get a promotoion with no pay raise.

But more importantly he come over tonight after work and we got ripped :)

Youy see to lhe left here a picture of my 2007 fathersday gift. My son bought me a kegeratore. How awesome is that?

I am currently pretty ripped on 4 pints of homebrew Honey Stout, whic runs abotu 13% alchahol by volume. The unic admin has lef t the building and I thing it is time to login to wow and see how fail I can be.

Will lwet you knwo how it gowes,

Happy turkey day to all my ones of readesr!

May you have as many drunken nights as I hav eahead!

Monday, November 23, 2009

How fail can a Fail Naxx be?

After recovering a bit from the weekends events I logged on to WoW to see if I could acquire a piece or two of gear for my warrior. I putted around Dalaran for a bit, putting Titansteel and epic gems on the AH to fill my pockets a bit, when I see a request for an OT for Naxx25. I whisper the person and get a raid invite.

Things that should have clued me in to the potential of fail ahead of me.

1.) When looking at Raid comp, I see 8 DK's.

2.) Looking at the 22 members currently in the raid there were only 5 that were classes that even had the potential to be healers. Only 2 of them were speced heals, the druid was the bear MT and the 2 shaman were enhancement.

3.) When I connected to the vent server provided and heard the "raid leader" (I used quotes because giving this guy the title "Leader" is being generous) talk I realized he was a 8 year old kid playing his dad's account.

4.) After 30 minutes, we were able to get 2 more healers, which I think is a little light for an inexperienced PuG we started clearing trash to Anub'Arak, the DK dps'ers were constantly Death Gripping mobs away from myself and the other tank.

You would think that after all this just to START a raid, I would have bailed and moved on with my evening, but no. I am a glutton for punishment. We got to Anub, explained the fight. Something that I feel should not be necessary for the first raid this late in an expansion. I mean come on people, even if you are gearing your first toon, this late in the expansions cycle there are enough resources out there for you to come to a raid reasonably educated to the boss fights.

Attempt 1: The main tank, pulled I heroic threw (is that right?) to one add, switched to Prot and charged the other and picked them up nicely if I must say. I know I know. Should I really be patting myself on the back for doing the first part of the easiest raid in the game correctly? With this group the answer is yes. Adds were burned down, and fun was had by all. The first time Anub'Rekhan cast Locust Swarm the melee dps failed to exit the area, there was much dying and the corpse scarabs had their way with the raid.

We wiped. On Anub'Rekahn. Yet I still stayed with the raid.

Attempt 2: We explain over and over the importance of running away from the locsut swarm and coming into the middle to DPS the add. Fight starts well, adds go down, Anub casts locust swarm, melee dps dies, and corpse scarabs have their way with the raid.

We wiped. On Anub'Rekahn. Yet I still stayed with the raid.

Attempt 3: We explain on vent once again how to do this boss. A number of times. It is not hard. There is discussion from the "raid leader" that we should go to a different quarter and try an easier boss. Really? an easier boss than Anub? There isn't one. Myself and the 2 other experienced raiders explain that if this raid can not down Anub there is no way we can down any other boss in Naxx. There was more suggestions of a diffrent boss, one that did not did not spawn the scarabs, because you know they are SOOO HARD!

The main tank, at this point is getting a little frustrated and says this fight is real easy and if the people that do not know it just listen and follow directions we will down this boss and see about moving on. Now I do not know how to emphisize the importance of this next phrase, uttered by the "raid leader", one of the DK's that could not get out of the swarm and stay alive.

He says and I quote "I DON'T HAVE TIME TO LEARN THESE FIGHTS, I JUST WANT TO RAID" let me repeat that. "I don't have time to learn these fights, I just want to raid.

Thank you ladies and gentleman, I'll be here all week. Tip your waitresses. Good night.

I would 4 friends and ran 5 heroics in an hour and a half. Received no gear upgrades, but got the same amount of badges the Naxx run would have netted me, had a great time and built my AOE tanking skills a bit.

How I spent my weekend

This weekend was a very busy weekend. Mrs. Skraps threw a baby shower for her sister on Saturday, so Friday night was clean clean clean the house. With some WoW thrown in at the end of the night, nothing major just a few heroics. Saturday started with a canned food drive for my son's boy scout troop. A soccer tournament that included me being AR. I must say my old fat body did not take well to running up and down a soccer pitch for 210 minutes. Then the wife had her party, so I had to avoid going home. Finally at 6:00 pm I went home to take a little nap to prep for the evening.

At 9:00 pm I took my son to the church we have our boy scout meetings at, picked up 3 other boys and caravaned with the rest of the troop to Davis, CA to go to Rocknasium for an over night lock-in. At 5:00 am, we rounded up all the kids (it was a co-ed trip as the troop and venture crew went to this event together) we headed home. I walked in the door at 6:30 am, hit the couch and fell asleep. I slept until 9:30 when the father in law woke up and started rattling around the house. I tinkered around the house a bit, when the wife got up, I went to bed to sleep a bit more.

I have come to the conclusion that I am getting a little old to be running around for 3 soccer games, then staying up all night with the boy scouts. But it was a fun weekend over all.

Later today or tomorrow I will talk about the total Fail PuG Naxx 25 I joined thinking I might actually be able to get a little Naxx raid in.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Gearing up, and Raiding again.

After a very long stretch of sporadic raid availability, real life has mellowed out a bit, the boy's soccer season is over and Tuesday is the only night of the week that we have booked, and I am able to raid again. This week marks the 3rd week in a row I have made raids and I am finally accruing some DKP to win some upgrades. This week I won a nice pair of wrists for the paltry sum of 5 DKP. This really nice cloak also dropped this week but after I bid 50, another resto shaman in the raid, checked how much DKP I had and bid 5 over what I had, essentially slapping me in the face with his enormous ePeen. I'm not bitter though. It is good to be raiding again. Also I managed to get Water Walking cast on the Guild Leader a split second before he hit the water, to the joyous laughter of the entire raid.

In other news. I have spend most of my "down" time in WoW over the last 2 weeks gearing up my alt (was my main in classic, and first ever toon to 60). I have worked really hard, with the help of some excellent guild healers trying to get myself to the defense cap. There was quite a few hairy moments running heroics with just over 500 defense, that our awesome healers managed to keep me alive through. I dropped about 500g getting my engineering up to 450, made a Combat Shotgun, and tanking goggles and with the help of a few gems got up to 541 defense. Now I just need to work on stamina and avoidance. I am hoping to get a PuG together this weekend and try a 10 or 25 Naxx. I really would like to try tanking a raid before 3.3 comes out and I am busy gearing up my main.

Besides last time I tanked a raid it was MC and Baron Geddon was giving us problems. Mind you I came into WoW a year after release and the guild I was in, in an amazing paradox wanted raiders geared for highest level raids in order to step into the lowest raid instances. because of this bizzare gear requirement, our guild was mainly a farm guild. People would come in, cut their teeth on raiding and move on to progression guilds. I have a few friends still in that guild, and they still have this problem of keeping raiders.

Final note: Last weekend some friends and I went to a beer tasting event called "Around the World in 80 Beers". Now correct me if I am wrong, but does that not sound like there would be 80 beers at the event? Instead of 80 beers there were 31. Now I admit I struggled with math in high school and college but I am pretty sure that 80 is not equal to 31. To top it off, the advertisement for the event said and I quote "served by beautiful "ambassador" models dressed in specially designed sexy costumes with an around-the-world theme". The advertisement for the event even included this picture as part of its promotion. When we arrived at the event there were 3 men, and one very angry woman pouring beer. No models in sexy outfits. About 30 minutes after the event started three of the 4 tables were staffed by women, but none were in sexy costumes, and only two of them were willing to chat at all with the patrons. We were not falling down drunk, and hitting on these women, just trying to chat with them like we would any waitress at any bar we have ever gone to. So if they host an "Around the World in 80 Beers" event in your area I suggest you skip it. It is not worth the $30 price tag for admission.

Monday, November 9, 2009

My request for Cataclysm Changes.

So far I only have one request for a Cataclysm change. Make Karzhan a 5 man leveling instance. Remove some of the trash, drop them down to the 68-72 range, and have the bosses drop blues for leveling from Outland through Northrend. I spent a lot of time in Karazhan during the Burning Crusade. I tanked it for my guild in the early days of the Burning Crusade, although we never cleared it. I then moved into Ex Obscurum and began running it every week as a hunter, while we regeared the guild for our run up to Illidan. While I did raid in classic it was pretty sporadic as my former guild could not muster the required 40 raiders. Kara is the place I learned not to stand in the fire, how to face pull, lulz and all the great time I had making friends in OxOb. I hate to think of that sprawling castle just gathering dust the bosses wondering when someone will come to visit.

So make the trash packs non-elite, lessen them so the time between bosses in only 5 or so minutes and let us all run Kara with the goblins, worgen and every new toon we re-roll.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Thursday Night Adventures

Because I fail at so much, including calendar reading. I showed up to last nights raid right on time at 7:00pm server time. There was only half a dozen people on. I then looked at the calendar and saw that this weeks raids were moved from 7:00 to 10:00.

Since I had already cleared the time with the wife/house/boy as play time, I hopped back onto my warrior. Just short of 2 hours later DING!

Things I learned on the short trip from 78 to 80:

1.) Tanking is fun again.
2.) People REALLY hate Halls of Stone/Lightning and you can only get a group by begging guildies
3.) Despite the fact that it says you can do ToC Regular at 78. YOU CAN NOT TANK IT at 78, 79, or possibly for a good while after you turn 80.

I had 23k health buffed, and the faction champions cut through me like butter. Now mind you I am still 90 def points below the def cap, so I expected to get hit hard. but OMG. I will beg some guildies this evening to spam run ToC Regulae tonight as DPS and hope I can gear up quickly enough to maybe OT Naxx on Sunday.

If anybody has recommendations on how to quickly gear a tank I would love some advice.

p.s. Working on a How to Heal: ToC 25, 25 heroic. Hope to have it up this weekend. Also putting the finishing touches on leveling from 40-70.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Halloween 2009

For all my ones of fans out there. Here is a pic of Mrs. Skraps and Me, at our annual Halloween Party. She is dress as Coralins, I'm Rorschach. My costume was actually better than it looks in the picture, but it was like 80 degrees in Northern CA Halloween night. That costume has many layers, including Coat, scarf, gloves, mask and hat. By this time in the evening I had been cooking in that getup for hours. I was minutes away from melting. Good thing my brother-in-law had my over sized Beer glass (it actually holds 6 cans of beer in 1 glass. It is full of WIN) just out of frame. Enjoy.

- Skraps

Aion Review - Final

I REALLY wanted to like Aion. I really did. Not that I was bored with WoW, or felt I needed something more from my MMO. I just wanted to have something new and exciting. I wanted a new world to explore while waiting to re-roll a Goblin in Cataclysm. Unfortunately I just could not get into Aion. Sure the world was beautiful, the character customization options were phenomenal but there was just something missing. My first month expired yesterday, and I let my account close.

Frankly I could not get a character past level 20. There was just too much "grinding" involved in the leveling process. I found I would complete all the quests in a given area and be forced to kill mob after mob just to gain that next level so I could safely move to the next zone. The quests that I did complete were just standard MMO fare. There were no lore driven quest chains that ended in a "whoa" moment, like the Wrathgate (I know it is not fare to compare a near endgame event by a company known for incredible lore, against 20 levels of a new game) But there were plenty of events early in WoW that were minor, like Thrall tasking you with clearing a cult from the heart of his city at level 12 that I just didn't see in Aion.

In the end I went back to WoW about 1/2 way through my Aion subscription and started working on leveling my Warrior to 80. Something I thought I would never do, since I shelved being a tank in the early days of BC. But you know what. I had more enjoyment leveling my 3rd toon through Wrath than I did exploring all of the new world of Aion.

Having said all that Aion is not a bad game, and if I had to break it down to a plain number scale rating it would probably score pretty high. If you are feeling burnt out on WoW or whatever your game of choice is, I would recommend you try Aion, I just hope they start 10 day free trials sooner rather than later. I would hate to think someone drops $40 on this game based on my reviews.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

New 3.3 Patch Notes

Not a lot new there, except a major buff for Shaman of every spec.

    • Earth Elemental Totem: The cooldown for this totem has been reduced from 20 minutes to 10 minutes. Cannot be used in Arenas.
    • Fire Elemental Totem: The cooldown for this totem has been reduced from 20 minutes to 10 minutes. Cannot be used in Arenas.
Now that's what I'm talking about! Elementals will go from being used only on DPS races to every fight. They will be much more useful for the leveling Shaman as well. Nothing like a Oh Shit Earth Elemental when thing s go wrong, or a Fire Elemental to help you solo that 3 person quest.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

How did I get here? This isn't my beautiful wife?

In other news I have found renewed joy in leveling my very first toon. When I first started playing WoW in November 2005 I looked over the character selection screen. I selected Warrior, because that was one of my favorite classes in PnP D&D. I soon reached level 10. Got my first talent point and put it in the protection tree. All points earned from that day forward were put in the protection tree.

You see I didn't know you could respec, nor did I know you could put points in more than one tree. So I leveled in Classic from 10-60 as Prot. It was slow. I think it took me something like 22 days /played. But it was fun. I got to 60 in the closing weeks of Classic. I think I was 60 for about 3 months before BC was released. I got to tank my share of Classic End-Game raids. It was fun. When BC came out I briefly switched to furry to get from level 60-65, when I switched back to Prot. I tanked a lot of level 80 Heroics, but my then guild had some pretty ridiculous gear requirements just to step into Kara. They basically wanted a tank geared to tank Prince, just to step into Kara. So I farmed, I farmed, I farmed heroics. It was slow going. Then one day I was invited to a PuG, but they wanted me to DPS as they already had a Pally tank. I walked into Shatered Halls, fearing our lack of CC and watched the Pally walk into a 6 pack, and tank every damned one of them. I was disgusted with the state of warrior tanking, and hung up my breastplate, never to tank again.

That is until just last week. My son who is still hanging around level 73 asked me to hop on my warrior and tank UK. I begrudgingly obliged, and warned the group it had been a LONG time since I had tanked and to cut me some slack. I had put a little time into this character and got him to level 73, so I had atleast played around with the new talents and abilities.

Tanking was FUN again! I could run into a pack, Thunder Clap, Shockwave, and improved/glyphed Revenge, with glyphed Sunder and multi-mob tank. It was Awesome. Now a little more than a week later and I am at 78, I am a veteran of the Wrathgate (btw the most epic quest chain in all of WoW) and I am pressing hard to get to 80.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

What a long strange trip it has been...Well not really

Yesterday after a long and painful trip to the dentist I decided I had had enough of work and took the rest of the day off sick leave. I went home, had some chicken noodle soup and napped for a bit. When I was woken up from pain after the Novocain wore off, I took some Motrin and sat down to WoW for a bit. I soon found a group for Headless Horseman. Now as I have said before I hate the RNG. I killed HH at least 5 times every day last year, and so fat this year I have killed him close to 10 times per day. So that is close to 100 kills this year. Well yesterday on our last summons for the day he finally drops. I select need, one other person in the group rolls need. I see Skraps rolls need...2 Other guy Rolls need...67. GAH!!! This is the first time it has dropped for me this year and I roll a 2! See that damned RNG.

Due too a Epic act of Charity my trade window pops open, and I see the Squashling in the trade. So an act of pity grants me...

Friday, October 23, 2009

Quick Geek Moment...

Linus Torvalds Mocking the Windows 7 guy at the Japan Linux Symposium.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Fare thee well, Shagger of Rats!

I just want to wish a fond farewell to one of my all time favorite bloggers. Ratshag, of Need More Rage. For whatever reason he has moved on from this silly world of the blogosphere and he will be missed. Ratshag is one of the reasons I started to write this blog. I knew I could never come close to the entertainment value of his RP posts, but I hope I can give 1/10th of the entertainment I have received.

I wish you luck and happiness in whatever endeavors you embark on.


How I hate the RNG.

Today is Wednesday. Five days after the launch of the Hallows End event. I have been part of no less than 45 Headless Horseman kills. I have trick-or-treated once per hour every non-working hour, including getting out of bed in the middle of the night, and hearthing away from raids to trick-or-treat then be summoned back to complete the raid. I have not seen a single drop of the Sinister Squashling. I did much the same last year. In two years, my relationship with the RNG has not improved. I fear I will finish this years event with still no pet. I never really tried for the What a long strange trip it has been achievement, mostly because I planed a romantic get-away with the wife during duration of one of the in-game holidays (I know, why oh why did real life trump a game?) that made the achievement impossible last year, but this year I want to complete it.

Every day when I am online, I see 3-5 guild members with the achievement pop up exclaiming they received the squashling, as well as completing Hallowed Be Thy Name meta achievement. Including one group that I just missed out on joining who saw 4 out of 5 Headless Horseman kills yield a Squashling.

That is why I hate the RNG.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I guess I should L2P and STFU.

So my wife whom I love very much hates WoW with the fiery passion of one passion of 1000 burning suns. She just doesn't understand why I enjoy it so much. She also has a fair bit of OCD, so is afraid to try it for fear of getting sucked in and never seeing the sun again. She goes out of her way to avoid WoW, "Leet Speak" and most anything related to gaming culture. I was explaining to my son the other day how angry I am about the Reincarnation Cool Down, while my wife was on the couch watching *shudder* "So You Think You Can Dance". She paused the Tivo, looked at me as says "QQ MOAR Nub" unpaused the Tivo and went back to her show as if nothing had happened.

I was briefly in Bizzaro World there.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Just a little bit of QQ.

I am going to sit here and QQ a little bit. Looking over the patch notes for 3.3 I feel it is necessary to whine here. THE signature ability of the shaman is Reincarnation. The problem is it is on a SIXTY MINUTE cool down! With two points into improved reincarnation you can drop that down to 40 minutes. Ridiculous.

With the new patch notes today I read with much excitement the following line:

Reincarnation: The cooldown on this spell has been lowered from 60 minutes down to...EXCITEMENT BUILDING...50 minutes. WTF? Even with the 2 points in it it is still 30 minutes. Two talent points is incredibly expensive for an ability that is wipe prevention at best, wipe recovery at worst.

The same patch notes drops the warlock soulstone down to 15 minutes. So a Warlock soloing can cast a self resurrect on themselves and "pop" just like a shaman every 15 minutes. This same soulstone has way more utility in raid than Reincarnation. The druid's battle resurrection in on a 20 minute cool down, an ability I argue has more utility than Reincarnation.

Why is it that shaman get the short shrift on their prime ability? I would like to see Reincarnation dropped to 40 minute cooldown, that might make 2 points more palatable for the improved version dropping it to 20 minutes. Or maybe 30 minutes base, and 20 minutes improved with more health and mana after popping.

What do you think? Should us shaman band together and start a massive QQ campaign on the official forums?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Oh yes I am now Undying

Or not. With ExOb no longer raiding on Friday nights I found myself home alone with no wife, no kid, no father-in-law. If only there was a raid it would have been a perfect Friday night. I logged in and within minutes I had a friend pst me and ask if I wanted to heal or DPS a emblem run in Naxx. I said sure. We got the group together, I started checking everyone's gear and achievements. Everybody was pretty much over geared for Naxx with a few exceptions. We had all been there a number of times. So I suggested we make it an "Undying" run. Everyone thought it was a great idea. We cleared the trash to Anub'rekhan where I promptly and epically AFK walked right into Anub'rekhan and died.

Friday, October 9, 2009


I just got a Facebook friend request from my biological father, whom I have not seen since I was 3. What to do?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Aion Review

(click the picture for high res version)

I spent a long 3 day weekend in a seedy motel doing secret dirty things behind the back of my first love. While it was a great experience I have decided to come clean and confess my sins. I have not logged in to WoW since Friday and I have stories to tell.

One sentence review: Aion is not a WoW killer.

Long review: While Aion is a beautiful game it will not replace WoW for me. I am going to break this down into two sections, what I liked and what I did not like. Now mind you I have not played this to End Game. In 3 days I was only able to make it to level 15, and did not see any dungeons or group quests.

What I liked:
NC Soft is the king of character creation. My first MMO was City of Heroes. A game that allowed for huge character customization. Aion takes what City of Heroes did and expands it exponential, and the models both male and female are down right gorgeous. One of the features that I thought was neat was Titles that you earn grant buffs to skills. Like "Tree Hugger" grants +20 magic protection. The starting zones are well laid out, and quests flow quite well from quest hub to quest hub. The trade/gathering skill system is quite nice too. As near as I can tell you can select every trade skill and there is just one "Gather" skill that allows you to collect any resource. When you choose a profession you are given two quests to introduce you to the skill one with mats provided and one where you have to gather and process the mats. It is quite nice, although I am not sure how this affects server economy with everyone being able to gather all materials.

I will hide my shame no longer:
I am also going to come clean and admit something I have never told anyone. I am a gold buyer. What can I say I was young I needed the gold pieces. I only did it once, way back when I first started and did not understand the implications of gold buying/selling. I bought 100g back in the olden days when I hit 40 to buy my first mount. If I could take it back I would. The only thing I can say in defense was it was in the early days of WoW and long before the malicious hacking/spamming that occurs today.

Not a problem with the game per se, but a serious problem.
Spam. Holy dog in heaven there is a severe spam issue. All the gold sellers that left WoW when Blizz struck entire IP ranges with the Ban Hammer have jumped to Aion. Some of the spam looks a lot like system messages directing you to sites with key loggers that were one letter off from the actual NC Soft account management page. A character that I grouped with to complete some kill x numbers of y an hour before came back on and spammed trade as a bot. NC Soft needs to get control of the spam problem.

What I did not like:
Quests: Aion breaks no new ground here. Basic FedEx, kill x of y etc. etc. some of the quests felt down right "grindy". I know the RNG hates me, and I will never get luck and have a quest item drop from the first kill, but I spent 45 minutes today killing thieves trying to find a journal for a quest.

Classes/Abilities: There really is only 4 classes with 2 specs each. I started as a Priest as I really like playing healing classes. From level 1-10 every priest is just a priest. At level 10 you "Ascend" and become a Deava and get your wings. You also get to choose your "spec". For the priest the choices were Cleric (healing class) and Chanter (similar to Enhancement Shaman). I accidentally chose Chanter, and am stuck with that decision. There is no option for a respec what ever you choose you own.

One of the much hyped aspects of Aion is flight. I hear there is in flight combat, the only in flight combat I experienced was a quest to destroy 3 floating rocks. It was kind of a "this is how you do it" quest, not really enough to get you into combat. So far at this low level the flight is just a gimmick. Not even on par with a regular ground mount in WoW much less a flying mount.

I have 27 more days of my initial Aion subscription, and I will continue playing. Hopefully I will be able to level enough to experience some dungeons. I am not sure if I will be able to make it to "End Game" content before the end of my subscription, but I will write another review at the end of the month.

Friday, October 2, 2009

I have done the unthinkable

With ExOb cutting raids down to just two nights per week, and me being available for only one of those. Today at lunch I went out and purchased Aion. I will let you all know what I think next week. Oh yeah. I switch up my schedule this week so I am working Tuesday-Saturday for the next month. Posting will be on an alternative schedule for the next month.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Onyxia PuG, Brewfest, and fun for all!

Yesterday I had to leave work early to take the wife to a doctors appointment. I got home from all the running around before I would have normally gotten home from work, so I logged in to WoW for a bit before taking the boy to Boy Scouts. I completed my achievements for Brewfest finally. Only 12 more months to go to get my proto-drake.

I managed to get an invite for a Onyxia PuG. This was my first time on level 80 Ony. I had tanked her a number of times in classic, and this fight is pretty much the same. Healing this fight was a blast. We wiped 3 times, once due to bad luck with the tank dying right off the pull, once with really bad timing going into phase 3. She hit phase 3 right as the elite add spawned, and a whelp spawn. There was no recovering from that. The 3rd wipe was also in the phase 3 transition, with a flame breath knocking some of the dps into the rookery as she was landing.

ExOb is recruiting, our Warrior MT has had a change in work schedule and will not be able to raid for the foreseeable future, so we are scaling raids back to just Wednesday and Thursday until we are done recruiting. This means I can put the wife on Soccer duty, and raid my 2 nights a week...I hope.

So hopefully tonight we will smash down the ToC 25, and one shot Ulduar tomorrow, and I can show off all the phat lewtz I win in DKP, cause lets face it I can't win a roll to save my life. Yay DKP!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Weekend Update

This week was fun and profitable, an early brewfest drop of the Tankard o' Terror last week I was able to sell the tankard for 3500g. The tankard was selling over the weekend for 500g. I am just 41 tickets shy of my Brew Master title and feeling pretty good. I used some of that gold to buy flight for my DK at the newly reduced price of 225g, and bought Northrend flying tome for both my warrior and DK. I actually brushed off the cobwebs and tanked a few instances this weekend with my warrior. I think I did pretty well, except the DK in the party kept dying. Turns out he did not understand aggro management, I got tired of trying to save him. Let him get killed, then intervened the healer picked up the run away mob, and continued.

I did not play WoW at all on Saturday. Saturday started with an incredibly early 7:15 am appointment for team pictures for my sons soccer team. Took my car to the shop at 8:30, had $500 worth of repairs. Stupid German Sports car. It turns out it is quite bad when the check engine light is flashing. Then my son's soccer game at 11:00 am. They played a team that has been undefeated for 3 seasons in a row. They play a very physical game. They had 2 boys yellow carded for rough play. One boy was sent of the field and red carded for throwing an elbow on our one scoring opportunity. My son has a dozen bruises on his legs and thighs from being kicked. It was a rough 5-0 loss. We had some friends over Saturday afternoon. It was about 100 degrees, the pool was a wonder 82 degrees. We played in the pool for a couple of hours, I BBQ'q a pepper and garlic rubbed pork loin, then we played Settlers of Catan until the wee hours. Other than that whole car repair thing it was a perfect Saturday.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Grunty is in the hizzle!

In lieu of actually attending Blizzcon this year, and the fact that I was working Saturdays when Blizzcon rolled around I purchased the online stream of Blizzcon so I could watch it at work. Well this morning I was running early so I checked my email before work. There was an email from Blizz, with my Grunty code. So because I was running early I thought I would redeem it, and log on to check him out. Well guess what I was late for work. But I did get this quick screen shot of Grunty on Papa Hummel's pet biscuit. Enjoy. I will try to frapps it and post him later today.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Brewfest Rocks!

Yesterday I went home for lunch, I can do that because I live only 4 miles from my office. It rocks. After reheating my enchilada left over from Monday night I decided to log in to WoW and do the ram racing daily or maybe kill Coren Direbrew. Well I popped on, and was immediately hit with a pst "Wanna heal Direbrew?" Sure I says! 5 minutes and 5 Direbrew kills, 2 brewfest mounts and one Mug o' Terror. I won the roll on the mug, lost the mounts. Put the mug on the AH because I don't do melee dps. When I got home from work, and soccer practice, and boy scouts I hopped on to finish gathering coins for the day.

Low and behold, I had a new message from horde AH. It said my Mug o' Terror sold and I was 3500g richer! Woohoo! That put me over the top to but Epic and Northrend Flying for my level 72 Warrior who I am trying to get to level 80 and start tanking again.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Brewfest, Achievements and ToC 10

Last night I was conflicted. Do I sign on to WoW and get more tokens so I can complete the Brewfest Achievements or do I watch "The Big Bang Theory", a show that I contend is the best show on television.

Well WoW won, I thought I would logon and complete the dailies and then go back and watch TV. Well soon as I popped on I got a message. "Want to heal ToC 10?". Why yes I did, and we burned through the place in about 40 minutes. No loot for me, even though just about every boss dropped mail. It was all hunter/enhancement loot. I got these nice little achievements and got to do a quick raid, and still made it to bed in time to not make Mrs. Skraps angry.


Last year I gave up on "What a long, strange trip it has been" right after Hallows End, when I failed due to RNG and a lack of Sinister Squashling. This year I think I will try again, starting with Brewfest.

I hear you can get about 100 tokens per day. I have gotten 85 on the first day, then about 50 per day since. If I do not get the 550 needed to get the garb, and brew of the month I will give up again.

There has to be a plus side you say? Well Brewfest is now 3 days old, and I have killed Coren Direbrew 15 times, I have seen two Brewfest Kodo's and one Brewfest Ram. I think I have a pretty good shot of getting one by the end of Brewfest, if I can ever beat the RNG. So Far I have rolled a 3, a 2, and an 11 today at lunch.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Healing Heroics: Part 2, How to heal

Healing heroics as a new 80 Shaman is tough. Our heals are not as big as some other classes, we only have one HoT (not counting Earthliving procs), and we bring a different type of buff to the group that takes some getting used to. But what we do bring to the party is totally awesome. We bring Totems, we bring Bloodlust, (Or Heroism, for you Alliance types) and we bring the totally awesome Chain Heal!

With the new Shaman totem interface it is easier than ever to place your totems. I have 2 standard totem sets when I heal. I have the With a Paladin, and without a Paladin sets. With a Paladin I drop Flametongue, Stoneskin, Healing, and Wrath of Air. If we do not have a Paladin I swap Healing with Mana.

The most important thing when you first start healing is knowing when to heal and what heals to use.

ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS have EarthShield on the tank. Not only does it benefit from your spell power but any threat generated from the heal goes to the tank, not yourself. (Edit: Turns out I missed in patch notes, like a year ago, Earth Shield threat now goes to the Shaman who cast it.) Get the Riptide Glyph, and spread it around the group, but be careful it generates a lot of threat and sometimes you can get aggro early in the pull.

Master the Jump. I always have a heal casting on the tank, even if she is at full health. If I get to the last 15% of the cast bar, and the tank has taken no damage, hit the space bar to jump and interrupt the cast. Then recast Healing Wave, watch the cast bar etc. etc. etc. This way you always have a heal almost ready to go, but you are not wasting mana on overheals.

Once you start getting geared into early Naxx gear you will find healing as a Shaman much easier. Your mana pool gets bigger, your MP5 goes up and your heals land bigger heals. Once you get over 2k bonus healing your Chain Heals first jump will land for a 10k heal, your healing wave will land for 15-20k. There is nothing quite so awesome as seeing a tank go from 50% health to 100% in 1.8 seconds.

One last note on this guide to Shaman healing. Never forget to imbue your weapon with Earthliving. The proc is quite nice as it heals the target of your last crit with a pretty nice HoT, and it costs zero mana! You gotta love free heals right, that doesn't cost a CD, a Global Cool Down, or any mana. On top of all this it increases your bonus healing by another 150.


There is a little bit of leeway in the glyphs you choose, and it depends on your healing style and role. The glyphs I heal with, and I recommend are:

Glyph of Earth Shield
Glyph of Riptide
Glyph of Chain Heal

You can swap out one with either:

Glyph of Healing Stream
Glyph of Lesser Healing Wave

The problem all 5 Shaman greater glyphs are so awesome it is hard to pick one. If you are mostly raid heals, I would recommend the top 3 glyps, you could loose Glyph of Earth Shield for Glyph of Lesser Healing Wave to increase passive raid heals. If you are mostly MT heals I would switch Glyph of Chain Heal for Glyph of Lesser Healing Wave.

I hope this gets you well on your way to healing through Ulduar and beyond. Happy healing!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

I work in IT.

I have been working in IT for, well it seems like forever. I have had many jobs in IT, and in every organization I have worked IT is pretty much below the janitors in level of respect. Three years ago I got a job with my local county. It is a strange place. The staff treat us with respect. They love us. When they do something stupid and we have to come fix their computer they send us baked goods as an apology. When we do something out of the normal daily grind everyone makes a point to thank us. We are worshiped as IT Gods. The most bizarre organization I have worked in I tell ya.

Today, I received an email from a user at one of our branches, stating that a computer that we replaced the front USB plugs on has once again gone defective. This is how she reported it.

Bad bad 303
Has yet again,
Lost its’ programming
For the USB

I opened admin
Plugged in a flash
Added the driver
With nary a clash

Restarted the beast
On the same day
Was able to use
In the normal way

Next day no good
Bad bad 303
Again had lost
Its’ USB….

Now mind you I do work in a library, and librarians are strange ducks, but i just got the biggest kick out of this.

p.s. unfortunately there is not a hot librarian in the organization, but one can always hope that there is one in library school waiting to make it to the big leagues.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

In which I Fail Epically.

Way back in the day (like Classic back in the day) I played an Undead Warrior. I leveled to 60 fairly quickly 15 days /played. I tanked A LOT of classic raids. I really enjoyed tanking. Along comes BC, I get a new job, get home from work two hours later than I used to, and I am not an hour and a half late for every raid night. As you might guess, this doesn't work for me, for the guild, for anybody.

After many days of contemplation, and discussion with the guild leadership I left the guild (Hallowed Arcana, I still have an Alt parked there so I hang out sometimes) and joined Ex Obscurum. They are a great guild, and they raid much later than HA did. Win-Win. Except they did not need a tank, they had tanks coming out of the wood work. They needed DPS, I had a DPS. It worked for both of us. I ran DPS with ExOb through BC up to and including Illidan, pre nerf. It was good. I got bored with hunter DPS, and completed leveling my Shaman to heal. I healed a lot of Kara alt runs, and some ZA main runs, but never any real raids until Wrath came out.

Any way long story short (I know too late, but you needed the back story). I have a special talent for wiping raids. I mean epically! Like sending my pet into Mags, attacking his captors, starting the encounter with only 1/2 the raid in the room.

Following this trend of Epic Failure, I have my little 73 warrior parked in Dalaran, He has the Heirloom 2h Axe and Shoulders that he shares with my DK. I had a little time after doing daily's last night and bed, so I thought I would run a quick AV or two with my warrior as you get a crap ton of XP even with a loss now.

Well 8 minutes into AV, I am charging other players, Thunder Clapping Auto-swinging, and shouting, but for some reason I am unable to use any of my abilities. I think WTF! I can charge, I have rage, I can auto attack, but no heroic strike, no execute, no bleed effects.

This is when I realize I have no weapon equipped, no shoulder armor on nada. I also have no backup weapon in my bag. Nothing, zip, zilch. I spend the rest of the AV running around trying to help, but not. Warriors with a bow, goblin rocket launcher, and fear on 5 minute cooldown not terribly helpful.

This is how I Epic Fail! Can you top that? I don't think so!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Weekend Update.

The boy kicked ass Saturday, they won 6-0. Other coach looked like he would have a coronary from screaming. First goal was 10 seconds in, 25 minutes into the game, our coach told the boys to stop scoring. At half time he said only forwards are allowed to cross the mid-field line, and we still scored 2 more goals. That was two of our boys vs. 11 of theirs and they still scored.

Got the pond done, will get new Koi and plants next weekend to fill it.

Got the trailer loaded for the dump, but havent gone yet. Arms too sore from moving a literal ton of rock around the pond.

Didn't get to the pool repairs, maybe next weekend.

Didn't get into Uldaur, as a matter of fact no WoW till Sunday about 7:00. But did get into the Undying run of Naxx. Someone dropped before the first boss, so we are doing a 9 man undying. Two wings down still no deaths.

Never got to writing Shaman guide post. So I guess I will have to do that this week at work.

But I did get down to the brewing supply store, and bought enough Whites Labs California Ale yeast to brew 15 gallons. Also got a new recipie for a Honey Stout. Will make that one this week so it is ready in time for Thanksgiving/Christmas. Nothing better than a nice stout for those cold California winters, you know the 65 degree days that are so miserable.

Friday, September 11, 2009

To do list this weekend.

In no particular order, except the wife will make sure anything WoW related is on the bottom of the list.

1.) The Boy's first soccer match of the season. Against the team who we refer to the coach as "The Yelling Coach". As in at a game last year heard yelling at his son "What the hell are you doing! Get your head out of your ass! Do that shit again and you are benched!" Yeah he is our favorite coach to play against.

2.) Complete reconstruction of the koi pond. Hopefully by Sunday we will have water in it, and maybe even a picture to show of my garden. It used to be beautiful, but I have been angry at the garden since a Blue Heron landed in my pond and ate $2000 worth of fish.

3.) Make a dump run. Finally get rid of all the crap in the alley leading to my back yard, rebuild the fire wood storage box and clean the garage.

4.) Find and fix the pipe leading to the pool filter that is draining all the water from my pool.

5.) Finish writing and post the leveling guide 40-60.

6.) Get in and down Yoggi with the guild tonight and/or tomorrow night.

7.) Relax.

Guess what 3 items on that list they wife will go out of her way to keep me from doing this weekend?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Valkyr Twins, or How I fail at clicking

Last night after helping the boy with homework, soccer practice, taking the dogs for a walk, finalizing plans for this weekends reconstruction of the Koi pond and being forced to sit through the first half of "So You Think You Can Dance" with the wife. I sat down to a little bit of WoW. I hoped to get a few daily's done and make a bit of gold. I still have two more epic fliers to buy you know.

Before I finished loading into Dalaran I see a group invite from the guilds main pally tank. Not to be confused with our main warrior tank, or our main deathknight tank, or our main bear tank. I accept, than ask...uh so what am I in group for?

They summon me into the coliseum, and we are on the Twins fight. I REALLY like this fight. I think it is a unique boss fight. It is a lot of fun, it is not just tank-n-spank. There are a few phases that require everybody to do something other than sitting there and DPS'ing or healing. It is not a terribly difficult fight, just all around kind of fun.

A quick summation for those that have not done this fight. There are the twins. One is light, the other is dark. Light gives fire damage, dark shadow. There are 2 light portals, 2 dark portals. Before the fight starts you need to get either a light or dark debuff. I don't know really who gets what or how to split the group, because I am just a lowly healer and the debuff doesn't really do anything for me.

When the fight starts 1/2 the raid is on light 1/2 on dark. At some point the portals spew forth light and dark balls. If you have the light aura catch the light balls, dark catch the dark balls, this gives you a stacking buff, when it gets to 100 it does something uber. I am not sure what it is, again because I am a healer and they do not do much for me, so I mostly ignore it. If you catch the wrong color ball it hurts.

This fight has a LOT of sustained raid damage. Like I just spend the whole fight spaming chainheal, earth shield, and riptide on every cool down. (BTW, with a glyphed and 2 piece t8.5 it is super awesome that I can have riptide on 4 targets at once)

About a 1:45 into the fight one of the twins will do a special ability. It is hard to miss, even if you are running no boss mod. Blizzard was kind enough to put in a raid warning, that says hey moron, something bad is about to happen.

This is where the I fail at clicking part comes in. If you have the light aura, and the dark twin does his special you die, and vice versa. Remember those portals from the beginning of the fight? If the dark twin is doing his special and you have the light aura, you need to run to a dark portal (hehe dark portal) and click it to change your aura.

We wiped 2 times last night during the fight. I died both times on the first special because every time I tried to click the portal, I targeted a boss. the camera was kind of wonky and killed me every time. Even the 3rd attempt when we brought the twins down, I died to a special because I just couldn't click the portal.

So this week I have learned I need to L2Raid, because I stand in the fire, and I can't click a portal.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Koralon the Flame Watcher, or loot Pinata part deux.

Last night I had one full hour of uninterrupted WoW time. Yes folk one FULL hour!

I tried to make the best of it. As I logged on I see scroll through guild chat, "Anybody want to heal H ToC? We have a full group sans heals, and ready to summon." I can't believe the luck. within 2 seconds of logging on, I have a full group G2G. We smash up H ToC in less than 30 minutes. As I land back in Dalaran to sell off the crap that dropped that no one could use I see another message in guild chat. "Starting 10 VOA, anybody free?" Again I say yes, I have at least 30 minutes ow WoW time before the wife starts nagging.

I let everyone know I had not had a chance do do the new boss yet. No big deal they say. Watch the raid after fire breath AOE, and don't stand in the fire.

I think, what do you guys think I am a moron? I have been raiding for a number of years. I know from not standing in fire.

Raid starts, flame breath, heal raid up...WTF I am dead! leader> Skraps, you stood in the fire! I call shenanigans. There was no fire.

Recover from the wipe, flame breath, heal raid up...WTF I am dead! leader> Skraps, you stood in the fire! I call shenanigans. There was no fire.

Do this one more time, and I still say there was no fire. I just couldnt see it for some reason. I am told to go update DBM, I do. Now Raid starts, flame breath, heal raid up DBM flashes warning on screen "Hey moron! You are standing in the fire!" I move, continue healing and we clear the place out.

Now other than the invisible (at least on my computer, other people tell me they see it no problem) Koralon is a very easy encounter. I really expected/hoped that the loot pinata raid would get a little harder after Emalon, who when he was new was quite difficult. There was raid coordination required that was tough, especially if you were in a PuG. But Koralon, cream puff.

Just don't stand in the fire!

Are you ready to heal Heroics and Raids?

Part 1: Gearing Up

When you first ding 80 the first thing people want to do is jump into LFG, or guild chat and shout I'm 80 now! Lets do a heroic! Sometime it is raid night, and you get an invite. Does that mean you are ready? Not really. I would like to preface this post with a disclaimer I do not believe healing is any harder or easier than DPS'ing or Tanking. It is different from the other roles in it's own ways.

When you are a tank it is pretty easy to know if you are ready for a Heroic or Raid (not accounting for skill). There are two pretty easy metrics to measure against. Are you Def capped? and do i have enough health? There is a few other things like mitigation, expertise, block etc. But those two are pretty much what you need for Heroics, Raids are another story, and I haven't been a tank in a long time.

When you DPS it is even easier to know when you are ready, and you can even be carried by party members that out gear the encounter. Basically all you have to worry about is do I have enough health to survive whatever AOE the boss spouts out. If you are not being helped by a guild that is willing to carry you until your gear is up to par you also have to worry about can I do X DPS?

When you first ding 80, before you get your first Heroic group you will want to look at a few things.

1. Is my bonus healing high enough? (Spell power) When looking at this do not forget your Earthliving on your weapon, and drop your totems. I would shoot for 1200-1400 spell power for your entry Heroics. (CoT: Strat, VH, UK) 1600+ for your advanced Heroics. (everything not in that first list)

2. Do I have enough mana? (Intellect) Intellect is an awesome stat for Shaman not only do we get (I think) 15 mana per point for every point of Intellect we have we get a bit more crit. The more Intellect the better. To start heroics you are going to want 13k-15k mana.

3. Can I regen enough mana to make it through a boss fight? (MP5) Just throwing out a number, I think I started heroics with around 150 MP5. This was acceptable, but got a little scary on some of the more mana intensive bosses. This in conjunction with Water Shield, a mana pot and a well timed ManaTide should get you through any heroic boss. (Maybe not HToC, Black Knight is a pretty long fight, with LOTS of burst damage at the end)

While the skill > gear > skill debate will rage on forever. There is no denying that even the most skilled healers will never clear Ulduar in greens. You NEED certain stats to survive an encounter, to have enough mana to continue casting your spells, and frankly to keep people from laughing at you.

Later this week I will discuss how to heal, in my scathing two part expose on Shaman Healing.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

WoW Lovin' over the weekend

I finally had some quality time with my favorite MMO over the weekend, but didn't really do any thing. I am kind of on a mission to finally get my rep with the tournament up to exalted or what ever you have to do to spend the Champions Seals. I realized this weekend that I have almost 75 Seals, and a crap ton of non-combat pets I want to buy. I ran HToC every day this weekend on my main and my hunter alt, but alas no loot was to be had for the hunter. As a mater of fact, all loot that dropped was sharded. We got cloth when we had no one to wear it, we got leather with no rogues or ferals, we got plate with the bear tank. All in all I think the instance has a grudge against me.

I also ran it about 20 times on normal with my hunter looking for any upgrade. What I learned, I really suck at hunter DPS now. Even in my mix of Nax gear I out DPS my shaman, but I still barley hit 3k DPS. My Shaman hits about 2.8k DPS in my Elemental set, but that still is mostly healing gear, with my +hit coming from rings, trinkets etc.

I have gotten to the point with emblems of conquest that there are no upgrades I can purchase for my main spec. I have enough right now to buy the tier head and chest for my elemental set, I think I might have enough to buy a ring or neck too. So hopefully in the next week or two I will have gear to DPS at Ulduar level as well as heal.

Oh, and I am embarrassed to say, but I FINALLY picked up this Achievement. I know, I know, that is something I should have had a long time ago, but I have horrible luck with ring and trinket drops. I picked up this ring Friday night and finally had all slots over 213.

Yesterday was a no WoW day for me, as I spend the day digging 12"x12"x32" holes all around my back yard trying to find where the water lined on my pool have broken. You would think it would be as easy as digging a hole where the yard is wet. It isn't. I think at some point I might hire one of those guys with a camera to find the hole so I can just dig there. The one good thing about digging holes, the dogs were in heaven! They love to play in the mud.

Hope everyone had a great 3 day weekend, and I will talk to you later this week.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Why I have not played WoW this week

Well I am feeling lazy today, and haven't played WoW this week, here is a list of excuses, er reasons.

1. Soccer season is in its third week, and I am spending a lot of time driving too and from soccer practice and kicking balls at the boys head in the yard in the evenings. Last year the boy was a full back/defender. This year he is a striker. He scored four goals Saturday. I have discovered that the 14 year old testosterone driven soccer player is not the timid kid he was last year.

2. Boy Scouts. Sure they say come volunteer to help out, it is only about an hour a week. They are all damn liars! I thought Boy Scouts were supposed to be noble and honest and all that crap?

3. Trying to keep the girl out of jail. So my 20 year old daughter is not wining any awards in the smarts department right now. She got a ticket for a broken tail light, driving with expired registration, no insurance and she left her license at a friends house. This all led to a $700+ fine. After many hours of arguing with the wife about how many more time we can bail the girl out we (the wife) decided we would buy her one month of insurance and pay to register her car. But the girl was required to go to court yesterday and talk to the judge about lowering her fine, request service hours to pay the fine, and get a job. Guess how many of those things were done? Yep none. She got to the court house, was told by the clerk it would be at least two hours to see the judge, and she had plans to hang out with friends, so she asked for 30 days to pay and left. Did I mention she does not have a job and no way to raise the $700? Yeah it has been happy times on the home front.

4. The job. Now don't get me wrong as far as jobs go, this one isn't too bad. My actual title is Information Technology Specialist III. It doesn't really say what I do. I work for the local county library system. I am a systems security administrator, Cisco network admin and light unix admin. It is a job. Mostly I wait for things to break. This can be days, or weeks with no "real" work, just busy work and projects. This week I have been working my ass off. I just complained to my wife last night I had to work ALL day yesterday! Tuesday I came into work at 8:00 am, and got home at 8:15 pm.

5. The wife. The lovely wife, is a teacher. She teaches High school. She is a very lucky teacher in that she gets to teach her very favorite things in the world. She teaches Drama, Dramatic Productions, and Dance. So the kids she teaches actually want to be in her class. She is THAT teacher you may have had in high school, that not only treated you as a person, but had an amazing impact on the rest of your life. I started playing WoW, because the wife would on average be at school until between 8:00 and 9:30 every night when she was producing a show, and she produced a play, a musical, at least 2 dance shows, a student directed show, and a talent show almost every year. This left me with two options, go hang out at high school, or get a hobby. I chose WoW. Well now that the boy goes to school with mom every day she has vowed to never be home later than 6:00, and to her credit she has been sticking to that target. But this cuts into my WoW time. This isn't a complaint because all things considered, I'd rather spend time with her than a dumb video game. But it has hurt my progression with the guild.

So enough whining from me? I hope so, and since it is Thursday, one of my guarenteed WoW nights, I hope to have something WoWish to post tomorrow. Who knows maybe I will finally get into a ToC Raid?