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.