Thursday, July 30, 2009

Is Thorim ridiculously hard? Or is it just me?

Because of real life issues I have been raiding only sporadically since 3.1 came out. Over the last few weeks I have gotten back into raiding. I have hit all the bosses up to Hodir and have had a blast doing it. The last time I raided and we got to Thorim, it was fairly late and we only had time for two attempts before we called it and decided to pick it up again the next day. Well real life bit me again and I never finished raiding that week.

Last night we smashed up Ulduar real good, until we got to Thorim. I must say, this fight is ridiculously hard. Not Thorim himself, but the gauntlet/arena portion. We finally downed him thanks to 3 rogues spamming tricks on the tank and fan of knives on all the adds over and over. This was a pretty healing intensive fight that I had to not only drink a mana potion, but i also had to drop a mana tide totem. I can't remember the last time I had come so close to going OOM on a boss fight.

Once Thorim entered the room, we had 24 people up and the raids other Resto Shaman to drop his mana tide we completed the job, and no tier dropped for me. But that's ok I really come to these things for the fun. Loot is just a bonus.

Although I am a little sad that Auriaya dropped the totally kick ass resto shoulders and i did not have enough DKP to win the bid. I mean shoulders with lava!! and boulders defying gravity and trying to escape chained to them!! They are so sweet looking I want them I want them I need them!

Oh yeah I also picked up a few achievements last night, moving closer to clearing Ulduar. I think I only need 4 more bosses, not including Algalon.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Loot and dungeons for leveling from 20-40

Since I am going to be discussing dungeons and loot today I couldn't think of a dungeon I like to run less, here is a map of Gnomergon!

Dungeons and leveling from 20-40. what can I say, I like pugging them, any of them, all of them. I find pugging may be the best way to learn my class, as there is never a better opportunity to find new tricks then those "oops" moments that that noob hunter just did.

Starting at level 22 you can visit BFD... or Blackfathom Depths. There is an excellent 2h Axe here, but you will be fighting Ret Pallys and DPS warriors for it, as well as 2 excellent pieces of leather for your hands and wrists and a ring. Lots and lots of stuff here for the Enhancement shaman. It is also a fairly fun instance if a little long. it might be tough to find a pug to stick it through to the end. There is also a what I call "gimmick" weapon here that if it drops, and no one else can use it take it to the Auction house. I am not a big of the sometimes shoots milk from its nose, or farts in your general direction proc weapons. Their procs are too inconsistent, people get all crazy for them thinking they are better than sliced bread. Let someone else have it, unless everyone is greeding for AH, then take no prisoners!

Moving on...

At level 29 you can start on Razorfen Kraul or RFK in the LFG channel. There is a 2h axe, and a 2h mace here for your whacking pleasure. More leather hands, and leather pants. There are also 2 rings you will want to try to get. This is also a semi-long instance, that can be quite confusing, and easy to get lost in if you don't know the way. Good luck trying to find a pug to finish it.

At level 30 you can get the quest that transports you to Gnomergon. Avoid this place like the plague, I mean because it is plagued, and irradiated and all kinds of dumb. I mean come on, who wants to visit a Gnome city? Well if you have your heart set on visiting the Gnome homeland there is a few pieces of gear you can pick up while you are there. There is a 2h mace with a real nice haste increase on use. A 2h Axe. A pair Gimmick BoE axes, again Auction house them if they drop. A pair of leather pants, and a pair of leather wrists, and a ring. they both have a random enchant though, so if they drop they might not be any good for you.

Starting in the mid 30's you can go to Scarlet Monastery. This is probably the favorite instance of all low level WoW players. There are 4 wings, with a ton of loot in them. so much loot in fact that I am going to make you look it up yourself on wowhead. but seriously, you should have no problem finding groups for SM regardless of your server population, there are usually 5-10 people in the LFG for one of the wings at any given time. Go to SM, have fun, and kill those Scarlet Crusaders.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Trying to slow my roll...

I am trying to slow down on the posting, but I have a flood of stuff coming out after being on vacation for a week. I'm sure this is an old video, and everybody has seen it and I am late to the game as usual. But I had to post it as it is new to me.

A good Loc is hard to find

Ex Obscurum runs a 10 man Ulduar group that is primarilary the guild officers, and a 25 man group. I have been active in the 25 man group for sometime now, but we recently started a Tuesday/Monday 10 man group. I was invited to this group as DPS, I know me dps? Whats up with that? I pulled a decent 2600 DPS. Not stellar, but OK for my gear. Over the last 2 nights we cleared all the way to General Vezax. We chewed glass on General Vezax for almost 2 hours before the trash respawned and we gave up. Our best attempt we got him to 63%. It worked much better when I was put on permanant interupt duty, although that cut my dps in half, as I was busy panicing about the interupts.

Once the trash respawned we gave up and decided to try again next week. I did walk away with a pretty nice upgrade from the Iron Council.

The real story comes after the raid. Horde had just gained control of Wintergrasp so we decided to run VOA 25. We had 19 people in guild that were up for a quick VOA raid so we pugged the last 6 DPS spots. We grabbed the first six people who said me when we broadcast in LF6 DPS in wintergrasp general chat we got 3 hunters, a warrior dps, DK DPS and a Destrcution Warlcok.

We did the first couple of pulls, looked at the meter and say the Loc was dead last. We started discussing in vent the locs performance, then started to inspect him. Now i have only played a loc to level 19 so i am no expert on warlock builds, but is 71 points in destruction a little odd? How about 71 points with out a single point in Improved Shadow Bolt?

Oh yea and he was gemmed for AGILITY!!! AGILITY!!! let me scream it one more time!!! AGILITY! A warlock with AGILITY GEMS!! He was promptly kicked from the raid and replaced with one of our newly dinged 80 alts, because lets face it we could not do worse.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Alt report

He was my tank in classic, he tanked through BC. By the end of the BC lifecycle I had gotten really bored, and discouraged by warrior tanking. Because lets face it, warrior tanks were sub-par in BC, (for 5 mans) They had no AOE threat and required CC for any 5 man to be successful. When 3.0 hit and all the warrior changes were live I had a ton of renewed interest in warrior tanking, and did bunches of stuff with him in the closing weeks of BC and was looking forward to BC. But I just couldn't bring myself to level him, I couldn't figure out how to DPS after 3 years of tanking. He is parked in howling fjord, retired and now he just cooks all my food for me.

He was my first toon to 80. My first toon with Epic flight, and first toon with the Champion of the Frozen Wastes title. He DPS'ed his happy way through Naxx, OS and Mally in the early days of Wrath. I still have a soft spot in my heart for him, I still think if BM huntering were restored to its glory days I may drop healing and go back to DPS'ing with my cat, Humar the pridelord. I camped that tree in the barrens for 2 weeks to get him. Then had to level him from 23 to 70, in the olden days when your pets didn't automagically jump to 5 levels lower than you. (To be fair, he did level with me as I got him when I was 25 or so) I still hop on My huter and DPS when I can find a 5 man or raid that absolutely will not need any healing from me.

My obligatory Death Knight alt. i have a lot of fun solo'ing with her, but I cant see ever having a DK main, or even main alt. I am not a giant fan of melee DPS, and I am not sure the world needs another DK tank. But she is kind of fun to play, and i like the heirloom shoulders and axe.

My newest alt. This one I am leveling up with my son. He is a level 32 rogue, I'm a level 32 Drood. I have been gathering gear so I can heal or tank as we level, and we play when my son has managed to get all his homework or chores done. i am actually having a ton of fun with the druid. I really enjoy the shape shifting aspect of the druid. RAWR!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Leveling Enhancement 20-40

This is pretty close to what my talents looked like when I dinged 40. There are a lot of talents low in the Enhancement tree that look great and it is really hard to decide what to take. My main goal in this talent build was to get to Spirit Wolves as fast as I could, then fill in whatever is missing in the Enhancement Tree and Resto/Elemental trees later.

After Thundering Strikes, while leveling I always put points into Improved Ghost Wolf. I do this because Shaman have very little escape options available to them, and instant cast Ghost Wolf is great when you pull too many mobs, or are about to die for running away.

Then I move down to Shamanistic Focus, because lets face it 45% less mana on shocks rocks! (hehe I'm a poet and I don't even know it!)

Next it is kind of a toss up between Anticipation and Elemental Weapons. Taking less damage is good, as if you are not dead you can still DPS, but with Elemental Weapons, you may be able to kill that big bad guy before you take too much damage. I leave this one up to you, for this guide I put the points into Anticipation.

Flurry for your next 5 levels will be a no-brainer. 25% attack speed boost after a crit? Yes please! Mental Dexterity is a great talent. It encourages you to stack intellect, which allows you to throw more of those nasty lightning bolts, and your yummy instant cast shocks. For every point of Intellect you also get a point of Attack Power, win-win I say. I find with the glyphed Flame Shock I can get off two Earth Shocks while keeping my melee rotation going. Quite nice. Later you, when you respec for end game stuff you may want to drop points into improved Windfurry Totem, but for leveling, when you are mostly solo, you can get away without providing maximum buffs for whatever group you manage to pug. And finally on this tier, you will take Spirit Weapons. Not because it is such a great talent, but because it is required for that ever so juicy Shaman ability Dual Wield.

I do not PvP much so on the 7th tier I don't take Frozen Power, instead I go with 2 points in Unleashed Rage and 3 points in Weapon Mastery, 10% more weapon damage? Yes please! Later on you will go back and fill in that last point in Unleashed Rage.

Now we are at level 40 and that super awesome Shaman talent to Dual Wield, and imbue our weapons with the elements. Now you are going to want to Enchant your main hand with Windfurry and your off hand with Flametongue. You will see a massive jump in your DPS as soon as you equip that second weapon, and you will finally look like an Enhancement Shaman. A side bonus of the dual wield, if you ever have to heal a group you can throw Earthliving on both weapons and increase your healing by a pretty good chunk, as well as give you a 40% chance for the Earthliving HoT to proc. This makes Enhancement Shaman excellent out of spec healers for dungeons while leveling. The only thing that makes healing difficult is the long cast times of heals while Enhancement.

Since I was so long winded on the talents, I am going to put loot in another post on Monday or Tuesday. Everybody have a great weekend, happy Shamaning (Is that a word?)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Back from Mexico, should be back to work tomorrow

As I said I am back from Mexico and should be back to writing tomorrow. I caught a little of the old Montezuma's Revenge and am feeling pretty crappy today. (Literally and Figuratively) In the mean time enjoy this video filmed of my son and I on our second dive. He has decided no more California diving though. I guess that means more vacations?

Back to posting regularly tomorrow.


Thursday, July 9, 2009

Not now I'm busy

The wife is preparing for her return to the Ashland Shakespeare Festival this week. Which means she needs to prep and pack for a three week stay away from home, and needs a ton of help. Not real help mind you but mostly moral support. I have not been able to play or prep for part two of the leveling guide this week. My life consists of "Honey can you get me the suit case?" "No not that one the big one." "No not the huge one, the middle big one." etc. etc. etc.

She leaves tomorrow while I am at work, I should be able to get in to Ulduar part two Friday night, and Saturday before I pack my own bags I should get Shaman leveling guide part 2 up.

Oh also none of you know this, but I was raised by good old fashioned San Francisco Hippies. Having said that I have never once in my life tie-dyed an article of clothing. Well a good friend of mine is hosting a fundraiser for her church Saturday morning, it is a tie-dying party. So I can't wait, 36 years into my life I will tie-dye my first article of clothing.

After Saturday I will be incommunicado until the 19th. Hurray for vacation. The boy, myself and my best friend and the boy's uncle Peter are heading to Mexico for a week of Scuba diving, drinking and jungle exploration. Hope we make it back.

p.s. If you happen to check out the link to my friend Sharon's church you will see a picture of her and her bride from their wedding last July at the bottom. It was a great wedding. If I were the church going type I would definitely check out the UU.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Business meetings with dragons?

I came across this article on slashdot today. Since I recently started up a game with some friends from college, my brother in law and my son I thought this was most excelent. I am posting the original link here, if you can please look at it. I don't want to be accused of stealing other peoples content, or what ever legal gray area I might delve into.

But if you cant get to the site here is the text from the article...Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Throughout my 20s and 30s, I played D&D and other fantasy role playing games at least once a week. Doing so did more than teach me the rules of combat or proper behavior in a dragon's lair. I gained several skills that truly did help me in my career.

Note that by "Dungeons & Dragons," I don't mean necessarily the very structured fantasy world made famous by Gary Gygax. I played in standard D&D and other created-worlds (such as Harn), but mainly I played in independently-created universes, at the whim of a particular dungeonmaster (DM).

I got real jobs as a result of playing D&D, one of them directly. One DM hired both my husband and me after we'd played in his universe for five months, because D&D is a great way to find out how someone solves problems and copes with stress. However, in this post I'm not talking about people-networking but rather gaming skills that map to real life. After coming up with a short list on my own, I asked the three primary DMs in my life for their suggestions. I'm grateful to Bill, Ivan, and (especially) Steve for their help. Which probably is an outgrowth of the first lesson....

  1. Feed the DM. Gamers laugh as they say this (and slide the veggie tray in the DM's direction), but it's important to treat those in power with extra kindness. The DM is busy rolling dice for your battle with the monster, while simultaneously responding to a scribbled private note from another player ("My character Rumin Bard is stealing gold from the cleric's saddlebag") and preparing for an interaction at an upcoming crossroad your party hasn't reached. If you take care of the DM (or your manager), perhaps he'll be kind to you. Or to your character. (Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference.) Or he'll answer silly questions sent to him by e-mail, 25 years later, because he continues to be your friend. (In feeding the DM, it helps if you can cook.)
  2. One spell, used well, can be more powerful than an entire book full of spells. I first met Ivan when he showed up for a game in Steve's standard D&D world. Ivan drew up a first-level wizard character who had almost no hit-points and only one wimpy spell: cast an illusion. Whereupon Ivan's character cast an illusion of a 5th-level illusionist... and proceeded to run that powerful "5th level illusionist" through the rest of the game. Years later, Ivan played in a play-by-mail dungeon (yes, children, we did those things before e-mail) in which the DM permitted custom spells. Ivan's "swap" spell seemed Mostly Harmless: Transpose a 1" cube of anything with another 1" cube of anything. Whereupon Ivan set up a magical FedEx business (for very short messages) and a sideline of an assassin-business (swap a square inch of heart muscle with anything else; who could tell that murder was done?). This taught me to get everything possible out of the tools at my disposal. It also taught me to expand my notion of "What do I have, and what can I do with it?"
  3. It's better to out-smart an orc than to fight one. Young D&D players get into the game because they want an endless repetition of "Find a monster. Kill it. Get its treasure." But your character (and career) can get hurt that way. If instead you set up a situation in which the orcs think that they were attacked by the goblins, the orcs will blow up the goblin castle in retaliation. That leaves your party to walk through afterward, picking up the spoils (and the experience points). "Let's you and him fight" is a very effective business strategy... or it's far safer for you, anyway.
  4. "I'm the DM. I'm not there." D&D players often turn to the DM to ask for information about the universe. ("Is the person offering me this three-headed dog trustworthy?") The DM often doesn't know, or he isn't telling; just because he puts something in your path doesn't mean you need to trust it, accept it, fight it, or buy it. Experimentation without investigation can be very painful; learn to ask questions. Steve didn't ask a single clarifying question about the beautiful fairy-fly before he decided to catch it... and it burned a hole straight through his character's hand. Don't rely on assumptions, particularly in a world (or an office) you don't know. It's the wrong assumptions that kill you. (Particularly in computer consulting contracts.)
  5. The best quests require a mixture of skills in the party. Find new friends and cultivate ancillary skills. That pesky little hobbit thief may eat you out of house and home, yet sometimes he comes in pretty handy. This is the point of all those tedious "diversity training" exercises from your HR department; perhaps the message would get across better if they talked about the apparently-weak wizard and the bard with those amazing negotiation skills.
  6. Simple and internally consistent is more fun than random. My dungeonmasters assure me that, while all players are "chaotic neutral" no matter what their characters' allegiance might be, the fastest way to upset the game is to be completely erratic. (Well, next to running out of food.) I like to think that most software developers understand this point, and then I see evidence to the contrary.
  7. You create your own traps. If you fall into a habit, the universe will bite you. One player had a "standard door-opening procedure" that rarely was effective, but John did the same thing every time. Another player regularly became "party leader" by bullying in the name of leadership; based on Ron's longtime behavior, the DM set up an irresistible scenario that Ron fell for... and his character barely escaped. (Ron never realized it was his own human weakness that inspired the trap.)
  8. Treasure is not always what you expect it to be. Both a rock and an egg hold hidden treasures if you know how to craft or care for them. Thought and creativity tend to win out over immediate return.
  9. You don't have to read all the books, but a modest description of the beast you are about to face is better than facing a daemon and trying six dozen spells before finding the right one. (If you live that long.) Do not eschew documentation. Learn from others' mistakes — or from your own. Draw a map as you go. It is easier to avoid the pitfalls and to find that hidden room the next time through.
  10. When selecting a weapon or tool, bigger is not always better. Unique weapons tend to identify the heroes in the room.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

This week's raids.

So this is the second week of Ex Obscurum's new DKP raids, and the second week I walk away with loot! It isn't much, but it was an upgrade, and I only blew 5DKP on it. I bid the minimum, and won, go figure?

Also got a few more achievements.

We hit the first seven bosses last night, tonight we are looking to complete the Antechamber, and begin the Keepers. Maybe before the summer is out I will be around to see the demise of Yogg-Saron. It is nice to be raiding again.

p.s. I also managed to make it through two weeks of raiding without wiping a raid. Although once last night I came close with bad totem placement. (like right in the path of a incoming patrol) That only killed half the raid.

Leveling Enhancement 10-20

The first part of my leveling guide will cover levels 10 to 20. I personally play a Orc Shaman so this guide will focus mainly around the Orgramar starter quests and how I did it. Remember this is not a guide for those looking to min/max or be uber leet. This is how I did it, and designed to speed leveling and for the most fun. Therefore I will recommend a lot of pugs in Wailing Caverns, RageFire Chasm, and ShadowFang Keep.

Well lets get started.

Before you reach level 20 you only have two totems to deal with, and I like to macro my totems to the "c" key. I find it is pretty easy to reach it from the wasd keys and I remember to drop all my totems for fights. The simple macro for for this is

/castsequence reset=120 Strength of Earth Totem, Searing Totem

This will work great for now, but will be made obsolete in the 3.2 patch with the new Totem interface. As you level up and learn new totems you can add them to the end of the string. The reset=120 gives you two minutes to drop all your totems while casting or moving. I find this really useful during raid heals, where I drop a totem, spam heals for 30 seconds then drop the next totem.

For talent points I usually drop my first 3 points into Enhancing Totems for the extra strength and agility. At level 13 it only gives an extra 1.5 strength and agility, but it scales well as you level. The second 2 points go into Earth's Grasp because it is the ONLY escape mechanism that Shaman have and you will be dropping one or the other when you accidentally pull 5 mobs. You will spend the 5 talent points from 15-20 on Thundering Strikes because 5% crit is 5% crit.

Loot you should be looking for:
Ragefire Chasm - Subterranean Cape
Wailing Caverns - Embrace of the Viper this is a set that will take many runs to complete, and the stats are kind of all over the place, but with the strength, agility and stamina on the peices and the set bonuses your melee attacks will hit harder, and your shocks and heals will be much more powerful.

From 10 to 20 I really like to focus on Wailing caverns. Mostly because I like grouping, and the exp from kills really adds up here in the low levels. If you choose to level by questing, I strongly recommend you avoid The Barrens, and head over to Silverpine Forest. I like the lore better, the scenery is better and you get to avoid all the running up and down the barrens. Also you then will be close to the Hillsbrad and Arathi highlands quests, which I love. The only downside to this questing strategy is every time you hit an even level, you have to hearthstone to Orgrimar to get training, then Zeppelin and Air Taxi to Silverpine Forest.

That finishes up Leveling part one. Tomorrow is the 3rd of July holiday and I won't be at work, so I should be able to get part two up. I head to Mexico for a weeks vacation on the 10th. So hopefully I will at least be able to get you to 60 by then.


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Zombie invasion has begun...

I work in a small office. My group is kind of the definition of small fish in big pond. We are the IT group there are 6 of us. We are the IT department for a library system that has 16 branches in 2 counties, with something in the neighborhood of 1000 bosses. Each of us has our specialties. We have a Tandem Admin, Windows Admin, Unix Admin a general all around IT guy, and me. The Security/Network guy.

So last month the Unix admin went on vacation to Seattle. He is kind of an aging hippy. I receive endless amounts of joy every time I tell him "You know my dad is a year younger than you". While on vacation he suffered a major heart attack and died briefly. (Something like 3 minutes)

This week marks his return to work, and I am worried. I mean the dude died, and yet here he is still walking around. That sounds like Zombie to me, right? I have taken to wearing a helmet while at work to protect my brains. If only they did not have a "No Firearms" law at work.

I have decided to arm myself with work approved weapons. I have a stick, I know not terribly effective against zombies, but I figure I should at least be able to keep him away from me with said stick. I have a couple bottles of solvent on my desk and a lighter. If he does decide to attack I am fairly confident that I can soak him, and light him on fire before he gets me.

That's all for today. Welcome back Richard. Stay healthy man.

I have been working on a Shaman leveling guide, but talent specs and abilities have changed so much that I am looking at my sons level 40 shammy to try some things out. I think I am going to break it down to a 20-40 guide, a 40-60 guide and a 60-80 guide. This will not be full of math, and theory crafting. Just how I did it. The guide will be designed to maximize fun, not dps etc.