Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I must really love my wife.

Last night, after dinner I queued for a random, got Halls of Origination. (I have learned in the past any dungeon with "Halls" in the title is going to suck) First time I have been there and I must say, it is excellent dungeon design! It is by far the most fun I have had in a Cata dungeon! I mean come on! CAMELS! A boss that you fight while riding camels! What could be more fun? I had a great run. It was a dungeon finder PuG, and everyone seemed to know the place and their roles. Tank was great, explained his strats and marked targets. DPS didn't stand in the fire and went pew pew.

By the end of the run I was 1/10th of a bubble to level 85, some 100k experience. One quest, a few random mobs, and I would be 85. (I know I'm a slacker, 2 weeks in and still not 85) But instead of finishing the last little bit to 85 I sat down on the couch with the wife to watch this...
Is that love? Oh I think it is.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Level 85 Resto and Elemental Specs

*Disclaimer: These specs are not raid tested, not theory-crafted. These are just the specs I will be starting level 85 heroic grind with. Specs may change with raiding and after testing.

Restoration: I think the resto spec is pretty self explanatory. I did not take any of the PvP talents, and I also took none of the damage to increase mana/healing talents. I just do not see having the free GCD or mana to risk a lightning bolt or shock early in the expansion.

Other than the above mentioned talents I took pretty much everything in the resto tree. I took the talents in enhancement that allows for more efficient shields, and better weapon enhancements. (15% additional mana from water shield and 40% better earthliving) I also took ans am really excited for the reworked Ancestral Swiftness. I loved this talent in wrath, but could never find the free points to take it, and in Cata it is even better as it is an instant cast Ghost Wolf, but an overall 15% movement speed increase. Which should help in the promised "more movement" fights coming up. Other than that I took Acuity from Elemental, because 3% crit si 3% crit.

Elemental: Elemental is a little more difficult to come up with what I think of as an "optimal spec" as there are a few more discretionary points here. Basically I took the same 3 talents from the Enhancement tree to give me a little more oompf and the instant cast Ghost Wolf, plus all the standard DPS increasing talents from Elemental. There are 2 extra points at the end that you can move around. If you find yourself running out of mana drop the two points into Convection, otherwise I put them into Earth's Grasp. Rooting your targets isn't always what you want to do, but it is pretty helpful wen soloing, or kiting. Plus it is pretty nice if you find you have pulled agro and need to run to the tank before getting squashed.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Healing Blackrock Caverns

Here is a quick guide to healing Blackrock Caverns, with a little bit of boss strategy thrown in. This is based on personal experience, so your mileage may vary.

Rom'ogg Bonecrusher: You need to clear the pat and packs close to the boss first. If you do not he will call for help and probably kill your group. Once you engage the boss, stay at max range and heal. The boss has a few abilities you need to worry about. First is Quake. Quake is a fairly quick cast, targeted/AOE. Near as I can tell it targets 3 ranged targets and does a fairly significant amount of damage over time. When you see it targeted run away. Second ability you need to worry about is Chains of Woe. Chains pull you to the boss, and roots you into place. Chains need to be AOE'd down fast. Twenty seconds after casting chains he will use The Skullcracker, 360degree cleave in a 10 yard radius that deals 100k damage. If you do not get out of it, you will die. I recommend running straight through the boss and away soon as your chains are broken. Use any cool downs you have, make sure Earth Shield and Riptide are up on the tank and kill the boss.

Once you kill the boss, a large NPC is released from a cage, when ever you see a pull that looks impossible, wait a few seconds the NPS pops out, and kills the mobs for you.

Corla, Herald of Twilight: Only allow one zealot to evolve at a time or you will wipe. You need to swap DPS in the evolution beam, or one of the players will evolve and become mind controlled and you will wipe. We found we had the DPS to kill the cultists before they evolved, but then the boss dropped no loot. I'm not sure if this is a bug or a feature. Once a zealot evolves he will cast Shadow Strike you should interrupt it. We found it best to burn the boss till the first zealot evolves, kill the evolved Zealot then back to the boss till the second evolution. Once the second zealot is evolved you should have the boss pretty much dead.

Corla casts Dark Command, but tremor totem and chain heal should take care of it. She also Death Grips a random player to her through the encounter. Watch the Zealots melee abilities while you are running back out. The zealots are the real boss of this encounter, once the zealots are down, it is pretty much tank-n-spank. Don't be afraid to use chain heal and riptide.

Karsh Steelbender: From a healers perspective this is a tank-n-spank fight. Watch for the cleave, and don't die. Tanking is a little more difficult. He has Quicksilver Armor making him basically undamageable. The tank needs to drag him through the fire in the center of the room, giving him Superheated Quicksilver Armor. Every stack increases damage against him by 5% +1000 per melee attack. But every melee attack causes an AOE splash to the group for 1000 damage over 12 seconds. Anything over 6-7 stacks becomes unhealable and the group wipes. So you have to let the stacks of superheated fall off, then drag him back through the flames.

Beauty: Optional boss, Tank-n-spank. Boss has a fear, drop tremor totem. The only other things to look out for is the knock back ability Flamebreak and a random charge ability Beserker Charge. There is a lot of group damage, so chain heal liberally. One final ability is a living bomb like ability called Magma Spit. If you cleanse it, and the target is close to other members it will blow them up. Run from the group before cleansing, or just let the timer tick down.

Ascendant Lord Obsidius: The final boss of the first Cataclysm dungeon. He has two Shadow of Obsidius who should be off tanked or CC'ed away from the boss. These adds are pretty much immune to damage so ignore them. Obsidius will randomly swap into one of his shadows, so there is a target switch with an aggro reset.

Obsidius really doesnt have any abilities of note. A pretty basic melee ability Stone Blow, an identical ability to Warriors, Thunderclap and a shadow damage spell Twilight Corruption. This fight is by far the easiest in the instance, assuming you can target switch mid-fight.

Depending on how real life runs today I will try to discover Throne of Tides, or Vortex Pinnacle and let you know how those are.


See this post from a week or so ago. Cataclysm was Blizzards smoothest expansion launch to date. Servers were up at midnight, there was no regular Tuesday maintenance and near as I can tell there was no server outages all day yesterday. Good job Blizzard, I hope this sets a precedent for the future.

Of course it was brilliant planing on Blizzards side to put all the game-breaking data in a patch two weeks before the launch of the expansion, so returning players see nothing but a smooth running remade world.

Cataclysn: Day 1

I went to my local GameStop Monday night at midnight, with many protests from Mrs. Skraps. I got there a little late, almost 11 and paid for my copy and went to get in line to pick it up at 12:00. As I was walking out of the store I ran into a friend who was 5th in line who said as I was walking out "John! here we are come get in line!".

There were about 100 people in line, so unexpectedly being able to jump to the front of the line was nice, I was out of the store at 12:08 and on my way home to install. I promised Mrs. Skraps I wouldn't play Monday night/Tuesday morning, so soon as the install was complete I logged on grabbed my Lil'Deathwing and signed off to go to bed.

Yesterday, despite having the day off from work I didn't get to play much. I had to go do a bit of a side job, clean house, do laundry and go pick up my new lap top that conveniently was delivered to work on my day off.

I then powered on my new laptop, and they hard drive failed. I spent an hour on the phone with Dell before I could convince them to just send me a hard disk.

Well after all that, I spent some time in Vashj'ir, it is a beautiful zone, with some fun quests and you get the awesome seahorse mount. I then decided to head over to Hyjal. This zone is awesome. There are scenic views, awesome monsters, great quests and some surprises. (1980's Joust arcade game style mini-game with vulture non-combat pet as a reward)

I got to level 82 last night, 3 pieces of my T10 gear are still left, but 3 epics have been replaced with greens and 1 epic has been replaced with a dungeon blue. I have enshrined my T10 set in my bank, to marvel over forever. I will only replace the T10 shoulders when something more awesome than a elk pops out of the replacement.

Monday, December 6, 2010


Last night while struggling against great adversity the Natural Order alt run finally downed Arthas. The great adversity consisted of my wife wanting me to, in her words "QUIT PLAYING THAT STUPID GAME, COME HAVE DINNER AND DECORATE THE CHRISTMAS TREE!"

Our raid started right on time, 6:15 pacific. We started the first attempt at about 6:20. I am confident we would have 1-shot Arthas if it were not for something I did. We mastered phase 1 and 2 in the last few weeks, the phase transition into 3 was giving us trouble last week, this week we walked right through it.

Arthas was at 18% health, all 10 of us were up and it was looking like a 1-shot kill. I quickly yelled through the house to my son "Aristotle! We are killing the Lich King!", as soon as the words were out of my mouth, our tank somehow was one-shot. (We think whoever was sucked into frostmourne missed and Arthas enraged) DPS started dying to infest and it pretty much fell apart.

I jinxed us.

We went it for attempt two, Natural Orders alt team looked like pro sponsored raiders and killed the Lich King, without loosing a single DPS, stepping in a defile, loosing to an infest. It was basically a text book kill...

and I forgot to start FRAPS.

One consolation is this wicked-awesome screen shot.

So finally after almost two years I have seen the defeat of the Lich King and I can move on to Cataclysm tonight with a light heart and a massive sense of accomplishment.

I'll be heading to Gamestop tonight about 10:30 to grab my collectors edition and I am off tomorrow. I'll be posting screen shots and impressions as I start to level tonight.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Damn you Arthas!

So this is the third week on Arthas and he still lives. To be fair the first week we only had a couple of attempts before the raid time was over and we all went to bed. Last week we worked on him for a good hour, hour and a half. Last week we were struggling with phase 2, and getting the Val'kyr's down. This week we have mastered phase 2, killing the val'kyrs with no problem, staying out of defile, but it would fall apart at the phase 3 transition.

I am not sure how I managed to do this, but every single time just before we pushed into transition, defile would drop, and the raid would run one way, I always ran the other. I would get out of range and could never recover from the infest. We would loose 2-3 dps, and push into phase 3 with 2 tanks, 3 heals and 2 dps. I guess you could probably finish him off with those numbers but I'm skeptical.

We have decided to push one more week on Arthas, and do our regular Sunday night raid on the 5th , as well as raid into the night on Monday the 6th. I figure we have to midnight my time Monday if we do not get him down Sunday.

Then I heads out to game stop, pick up my Cata collectors edition, and take Tuesday off, and hopefully the servers cooperate and I get some "me" time with Cata before the wife and kid get home from school.

On the launch day front: Am I being overly optimistic? I really think this will be the smoothest expansion launch to date. I figure, almost all of the expansion data is running on live right now, the shattering has occurred and and everything is running smooth. All that is left is flip the switch to activate the Worgen/Goblin starting zones and the new 80-85 zones.



Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Lich King 10 Still not down.

Well Sunday night came and went and Natural Order's alt run still has not defeated The Lich King. We have now mastered phase one, the phase transition and managed to get almost to the second phase transition. We were killed by a lot of bad luck late in the evening with defiles and early in the evening with Varyklys. We have just about 2 weeks to finish him off before Cataclysm. If we can get the DPS coordinated I think we should be able to get him down this week.

Things I learned on Lich King.

1.) When DBM tells you you have Necrotic Plague, RUN and RUN now. don't finish casting, tont stare at your screen and watch the pretty timer tick. Get over to the ghouls and get cleansed.

2.) Watch your threat. A mage can tank Arthas, for about 1/2 a swing. It isn't pretty. When Omen flashes "High Threat" you can not cast "just one more arcane blast". Because that Arcan Blast will crit for 60k damage and Arthas will eat you.

3.) A mage with a lucky string of crits on a full stack of Arcane Blast can do some SERIOUS DPS in phase one, when it is pretty much stand and fire. Sunday night I was averaging 16k dps during phase one, and settling down to a more reasonable 8.5k DPS for the rest of the fight.

With Cataclysm so near I spend a lot of time reflecting on what I have managed to attain over the last two years in Wrath. At the end of the Burning Crusade I was in Ex Obscurum. We were a close guild, and had some major accomplishments. We were ranked number 3 on our server, the number 1 horde guild. I had successfully killed Illidan and the whole guild was excited for Wrath, and the future of raiding. The only problem was we raided 4-5 nights per week. I was a casual hardcore raider, and after almost 2 years of raiding 4-5 nights per week it was taking a toll on my home life. The wife and I were growing apart (she was working late most every night as well), the boy needed more dad time it just wasn't working.

Wrath launches, I cut back my WoW hours, and I was late to the level 80 party. I missed early raids, in fact I didn't even step into Naxx before Ulduar was released. I finally started raiding 10 mans with pugs and guild alts, and slowly got back into raiding with Ex Obscurum near the end of Ulduar/early ToC. But I was raiding only Thursday/Saturday. Late last winter, Ex Obscurum decided to server transfer and for the first time in my WoW lofe I had no guild for my toons. I spent a few months guildless leveling alts. I got both my Pally and Mage to 80, and found a new home in natural Order.

NO is a much better fit for my play-style/life needs. They have a number of runs every week from Hard Mode progression to alt runs, and it is a "come as you are" atmosphere. You do not have to dedicate your life to every single run every week. Show up when you can and if they have a spot you raid. We run so many raids, both 10's and 25's that if you want to raid on a given night there is usually a place for you. If you miss a raid there isn't 9 or 24 people missing you.

So Wrath is closing, I am so close to an Arthas kill I can taste it and level 85 is looming with a whole new sait of heroics, dungeons and raids.

Here is to the future, and the past. I toast Arthas, Anub'arak, Mimron, Illidan, lady Vash, C'thun and any other boss that myself and a group of myself and 9-39 friends worked those long nights to defeat.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Quick and Dirty Video Cataclysm Changes

This is a quick video sped up 2x flying from Bilgewater Harbor to Gadgetzan.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sunday night Natural Orders alt run did something amazing. After only 2 weeks we cleared ICC to the foot of the Frozen Throne. The previous week we cleared through Plagueworks, and Dreamwalker. This week we started on Sindragosa as we felt she was the hardest boss we had left. We spent close to an hour on Sindi, and thought we would be lucky to get the rest of the bosses before Arthas down.

A personal aside, FU Sindragosa. I went in on my Mage for the alt run, to save my lockout in case I can actually make the 25's on Skraps, and this is an ALT run. Probably shouldn't take my main on an alt run. I was targeted for EVERY SINGLE Unchained Magic, but with the patch 4.01 health pool improvement I was able to survive stacks getting as high as 10 without putting any strain on the healers.

The rest of the bosses were a cake walk, and we decided since we actually made it though to Arthas a bit early we would make a few attempts on the Lich Kink himself. We ended up calling the raid at just shy of 1:00 am eastern time, a full 2 hours after raids normally end. Lucky for me and my marriage that put us off just before 10:00 pm my time, and a good 15 minutes before wife agro one-shot me.

The alt run will extend our raid lockout for another week, or two or three if needed. Basically we have committed to getting as many people the Kingslayer title before December 7th as possible. It is looking good for both Skraps and Tharadra to get their kingslayers before Deathwing leaves poor Arthas alone atop his ivory tower wondering where all the visitors have gone. I hear Prince Malchezaar has a weekly poker night Arthas may be able to join.

As much as I am looking forward to the release of Cataclysm and the new leveling experience for my alts, I am really excited about downing Arthas before that happens. This will be the completion of two years of work, and completing a goal I have had since the Fall of the Lich King was pushed last December.

No matter how silly the goal, it always feels good to be this close to completing it.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Serious Case of Pre-Expansion Blues...

In the last 2 weeks or so I have been having a really hard time motivating myself to even log in unless it is a raid night, even then I only want to raid about 50% of the time. I have pretty much given up my spot in our 25 man, and only really run the Sunday night alt ICC 10. I guess I would like to maybe try tanking ICC on either my warrior or my Pally a bit, but not really sure.

Over the weekend I picked up the StarCraft 2 Collectors Edition at a local Fry's Electronics. The sticker on the box said $59.99. It was the only one on the shelf with that price, the Sticker said right on it StarCraft 2 CE. When I got to the register, I had to fight with both the checker and the manager to get the price as they said it was supposed to read $89.99. Well after about 5 minutes of fighting that I should have to pay what the box says I walked out the door with a CE for the price of the regular. Yay me?!

Any way, I have been mixing it up pretty heavily between the single player campaign, and the online multi-player matches. I am really enjoying the single player game, multi-player...not so much. I have been playing the "training" league for those of us who never played RTS before, even though I have been playing RTS's since Warcraft. I have had my ass handed to me a number of times. Some of the matches I am killed so early in the game I only have a few marines to protect myself with, and they are rolling over me with whatever the Protoss and Zerg versions of a tank are. How do they do it?

Last night for the first time I was matched with someone who played on my level. It was tedious. We spent hours gathering materials, and sending squads of units to their slow painful death. I would attack his base, take out forward defenses damage a few units, and get all my guys killed. I would then frantically return to my base, pump out units and wait for his attack, where I would barley get enough units together to defend.

We would then move to another resource and gather for a while and start the attack cycle over again. While it was long, and tedious I had a really good time. Finally when all the maps resources were depleted, and there was no way to recover from the loss of units, I was able to get into his base and win.

A far cry from watching the SC2 finals at Blizzcon.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Just for fun

If you ever wanted to write a blog post on faction rewards, check out Flameshock.

Also last night was Natural Orders ICC 10 alt run. There was much discussion as to weather they needed a healer, or not. I volunteered to heal on Skraps, even though there is nothing in ICC 10 I could really use this side of the LK kill. After much waiting, a guildie with a semi-geared healer came on, joined the raid and off we went.

Now don't get me wrong I fully understand that damage meters are a pretty lame measure of ones performance, and a DPS that puts out the least DPS could be the most valuable raid member if they are kiting, cleansing or some other vital job that prevents them from standing still and going pew pew.

But last night, for the first time ever I broke 10k DPS. I actually hit 10077 dps on Festergut, and topped the meter for that one fight. I normally hover around number 3 for 10 man, 5 or 6 for 25. I am not the best geared mage in the group, or frankly the best DPS, I am normally a healer remember.

But I was pretty damned proud of myself when I topped the meter for that one fight.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

And I Ran...I Ran So Far Away!

I shouted all over Durotar that the end was near, not one damned person cared. Although thes two little ladies were pretty impressed, you could tell by their looks of total indifference.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Sunday, October 31, 2010

This is not the greatest shirt in the world.

It is merely a tribute!

My favorite blizzcon shirt. More pics to come soon.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Blizzcon news...

I was struck near dead by some Blizzcon Super Virus this week. Today is the first day I managed to crawl into work. I'll get pics and info from my point of view posted this weekend after the Halloween party.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

I would like to have a word with AT&t

That word would be a big F.U. Ok that's technically two words, but you get the idea. I can not post anything from blizzcon. The network is so super saturated that nothing is going up. So I will just do a massive dump of information and pictures Sunday or Monday.

Opening ceremony.

I think the 10:30 start time on the wall is erroneous!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Figuring out iPhone blogger app.

Here is the pic of swag bag.

First look at blizzcon loot!

Finally in Anaheim checked in and registered. I finally have a 1/2 dozen beers in me and I have time to look at the goodie bag. The first thing you see in the bag is a large box of something. It is a "Deathling". Which is a stoneware mini featuring statue. It will look awesome on my desk! There is a poster for the wow magazine, some swag flyers directing you to booths and a Starcraft 2 trial as well as the 2010 limited authenticator. I spend almost 7 hours driving today. It is 11:30 and I have a Lon day tomorrow. The janky hotel has no wifi in my room so I'll post from my iPhone when I can. Hopefully some pics will come too. I'll try to get good pics from my slr up tomorrow night too. See you all tomorrow. BLIZZCON!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Two Days Until Blizzcon!

It is 4:15 Monday afternoon, and I am at work. But I am also trying to get all my last minute things together for my trip down south to Blizzcon Thursday. Today I had to take my car in for oil change and rotate/balance the tires to make it ready for the 400 mile drive to Southern California. So check here Thursday, Friday and Saturday for pics and video from this years Blizzcon oh and hopefully some hot cosplay girls ;) (don' tell the wife)

I also just confirmed my reservation for the hotel, and FINALLY got my ticket emails from Blizzard over the weekend. I was a bit worried that I had not seen them yet. Oh by the way...I totally win the internet at online hotel reservations. I am staying at the hotel across the street from the convention center, I got the room for Thursday, Friday and Saturday for the amazing sum of $108! It is probably a pit though. I was really looking forward to taking my son to the convention, but because he has his head in his ass and has gotten unsatisfactory grades in both Math and English he will be staying home. Instead I will be taking my cousin. So yay for a guys weekend at the convention, boo for the boy missing it and his poor grades.

I did two runs of ICC over the weekend. ICC 25 as DPS on my Mage, and ICC 10 on Skraps healing. The 25 run was tons of fun, the tanks really didn't have threat issues, and the DPS were kind enough to wait 3 seconds before opening up on bosses. I pretty much switched specs from Arcane to Fire between each trash pull and boss fight so I could get the feel for both. They are both a lot of fun right now, with Arcane doing slightly more DPS but I think that has more to do with my familiarity than any raw numbers. We made it through Professor Putricide in less than 2 hours with only one or two wipes on Festergut. Those were strictly due to people not knowing the fight and bad RNG.

Last night was ICC 10, I was healing with the awesome new resto toolbox. A few thoughts. Healing Wave isn't really a great replacement for Lesser Healing Wave. I found myself using riptide almost exclusively to top off the raid. During boss fights I was using Greater Healing Wave on the tanks, rolling Riptide on the raid and the occasional Healing Surge.

Let me tell you about Healing Surge. I think it may be by far the single most OP heal in the game. Again don't quote me, as I don't really know what other similar spells are out there for other classes, I just know what Healing Surge does. When a tank dropped below 45% health I was able to get a hasted Healing Surge from the T10 4 piece bonus off in .74 seconds that healed for 20k+. Supposedly there is going to be some mana limiting factor in Cataclysm, but I didn't see it in T10 gear. I was able to spam Healing Surge during phase 3 of Putricide almost indefinitely, I cast it at least 30 times before I thought I might want to drop Mana Tide.

Speaking of Mana Tide. How awesome is that? My rough numbers, possibly based on old spirit to mana regen numbers puts it to about 862 mana per second for 12 seconds every 3 minutes. (based on my current spirit and intellect numbers, unbuffed) for a total of 10,344 mana returned! And that goes for everyone in your group!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Things I have learned from 4.01

Wrath Heroics are hard again, at least for the first 5 minutes. That's when everybody figures out where they put their buttons and things go mostly smooth again.

Most of my glyphs diapered and I have neglected to buy any to replace them.

Healing Surge, Healing Wave and Greater Healing Wave all seem to do the job as advertised, although I am not seeing the new "Mana Management Game" I so feared. After healing through a few heroics last night, I never dipped below 85% mana. This may change in a raid setting where boss fights are 5 minutes or longer.

My Rogue friends are having issues. They claim that combo points are "Just Disappearing", I don't deny that this is happening, I just have not sen it first hand. I bet it sucks.

Arcane Mages are a bit more fun than before, they are a little more "proccy". Meaning you cant just spam arcane blast and arcane missile when you get to 4 stacks. But boy when Arcane Missile is up, and it is improved. It is freekin awesome to see all those missiles flying at your target.

Earthquake is super fun! I will be going into ICC tonight and I will see what it does damage-wise. I think it will be fun on the trash mobs before Marrowgar and the Gunship battle. I mean that is if I am not healing.

Wrath Heroics are HARD 4SRSLY!

Last night after tinkering with my Arcane spec on my mage for a bit and reforging my stupid 28% hit to an awesome 355 Mastery, a tank in the guild announced he was going to queue for a Heroic, and did anybody want to join him.

As a DPS I jumped at the chance, cause come on...skip the 15 minute DPS queue time? Sure! Well we got Halls of Lightning, one of the harder instances in early Wrath. Well we had wiped before the first boss. Everybody said no biggie, we ended up pugging the heals, the rest of the run was guild. We gave the healer the benefit of the doubt, since it is a new spec, and things were just generally wonky.

Well by the 3rd wipe on General Bjarngrim we were like WTF? Heals just were not happening. The healer was kind of dickish, and then dropped group.

I volunteered to switch over to Skraps and heal. I logged on, set my talents bought my skills that were new or missing and ported into the dungeon. Soon as I ported into the dungeon I found why the original healer had such a problem. Healbot is broken, and I am betting the healer never healed before there were healing ad-ons to make healing simple a whack-a-mole game.

Admittedly it has been a few years since I healed without an ad-on, and I think I would stroke out if I had to heal a raid without some kind of unit frame/cast click interface. But healing is perfectly doable with some smart key bindings, and focus-casting macros. Oh and you have to turn off auto self cast, unless you are just going to stand in melee and chain-heal yourself and let it bounce to the rest of the group, not the most efficient way to heal.

In the end, with only one more death, and some really ginormous fails on my part we completed the dungeon and got our justice points and a bit of experience for the five Natural Order folks with our new specs.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Welcome to Patch 4.01

This is what my Resto spec will look like tonight when the servers come back up. Natural Order will we going into Ulduar tonight to try out the new specs, and attempt a drake run. There is really no point in trying any progression raiding for a few days, between server stability and people trying to work out new specs.

I'll give you a run down on this spec, and why I selected the talents I selected.

Remember at level 80 we get fewer talent points, and I tried to pick talents I thought would benefit the raiding shaman the most.

I took all the talents in the first tier, not because I think they are all that important, but mostly because I need to spend the points to get higher in the tree, and I skipped Soothing Rains because we only get 1/2 the bang for its buck until lever 83, the 85 build will be quite different. I also skipped any talent that looked vaguely pvp oriented. So for tier 2 that left only Improved Water Shield and Totemic Focus and I figured anything that helps with Mana will pretty much be a must.

I am kind of conflicted about Nature's Blessing but I took it anyway. Outside of 5 mans I am not sure of how much tank healing I am going to be doing, but as I understand it with our new tool kit, we are better suited to tank healing than ever before.

I still skipped Telluric Currents for progression raiding, but if I decide to run more 5 mans to pick up my last 2 pieces of T10 that could be quite awesome since I am throwing Lightning bolts as often as heals in 5 mans. From here out the rest of the resto talents are a no-brainer. There is some decision on taking points in Elemental or Enhancement. If you drop 3 points into Elemental you get a 3% crit increase in all spells, but I choose to dump my last 5 points into Enhancement, mostly because I am afraid of being mana short, and a 40% spell power buff to Earthliving Weapon is nothing to blink at.

If I make it into the raid tonight I will let you know how it goes. Tuesdays are always iffy for raiding as it is Boy Scout night with the boy, and you know family first and all that jazz. Just a little side note, he completed his First Class Scout requirements last week, and is 3/4 done with Star Scout. He is working his way towards Eagle quite nicely, I'm pretty proud.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Natural Order's 25 man raid is progressing nicely

Natural Order's 25 man raid is progressing nicely. I seem to DPS for one night of raiding on my mage, and heal the other night on the Shaman. I'm pretty happy with this. I get to heal the stuff that isn't quite on farm, with drops I need and DPS all the farm content and get upgrades for my alt, although Nibelung refuses to drop for my mage. I know this item isn't BiS or anything, I just REALLY want to have a Val'kyr at my beck and call.

Last weekend I was super productive on my shaman. I finally completed the Argent Tournament stuff and got a bevy of titles and achievements.

Exalted Champion of the Horde, Exalted Champion of Silvermoon City, Exalted Argent Champion of the Horde, Champion of the Horde, Champion of Silvermoon City

That's a lot of achievement spam in guild chat I tell ya!

Last week's ICC run was particularly fruitful for Skraps as well, even though I used up all my PR points in EPGP. I walked away with the most epic gear ever! Plus some gear, that I guess is good and useful...Mail of Crimson Coins and Unclean Surgical Gloves.

I guess one good thing about raiding in a EPGP guild and going weeks on end without picking up any gear, when gear does finally drop for you, even from multiple bosses you get to clean up and loot whore it all. (although if another of the shaman in the guild had needed either I would have passed, cause I'm cool like that, and luckily there was only one other resto Shaman on the run last week who already had those pieces)

This week we again ran the first 2 wings, no Nibelung again, we will see what happens next week. Thursday it is back to the upper spire, we will see if I finally get my shot at the LK

Monday, September 20, 2010

Back into ICC...One more time

Natural Order runs a few different raids per week. We have a 10 man who has already killed the Lich King. Another 10 man that is currently on the Lich King, and a 25 man progression that will be on our 3rd raid extension working on a Lich King kill. (To be fair we only raid about 2 hours per week per raid group, so we have just under 4 hours into the LK fight)

This weekend we started a alt run 10 man group. Well Skraps has now gone into ICC as a healer once more. Strangely I find raid healing much less stressful than DPS. I know that is usually the opposite reaction most people have, but when DPS'ing I find myself constantly trying to make sure I am doing the most DPS possible, while trying not to do something stupid like stand in a defile.

I think my job as a healer can be distilled to a few simple things.

1.) Don't let people die.
2.) Don't die.
3.) Cleanse when something needs to be cleansed.

I know this is an over simplification of a healers job, but I only have to react to situations and I find that calming. When DPS'ing I have to make sure my debuffs are up, I am maximizing my DPS, de-curisng, slowing, and watching fro procs.

Oh and I finally got my super awesome T10 Resto Shaman shoulders. I broke my 4 piece T9, because I didn't thing the extra 5% crit on chain heal was really worth the extra stats from the T10.

And I get FRIKEN antelope jumping out of my shoulders! I think my next piece will have to be the helm to complete the awesome forest animal look of the T10.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Blizzcon 2010

Well Finally got off my lazy bum and booked the hotel for the trip. I will be driving from the San Francisco area to Anaheim Thursday October 21st. I plan to work a 1/2 day, and be on the road by 12:30. Pick up "The Boy" from school about 1ish and make the 6 hour drive. I should make it to Anaheim in time for whatever Thursday night party is going on. If you want to meet up drop me a line, would love to share a beer with my tens of ones of readers. I'll probably be dropping by the soiree as Matt "Matticus" Low owes me a beer for sending him a SC2 beta key. If anybody from the SF Bay Area are heading down and needs a ride and wants to share expenses, and can stomach hours of Kevin Smith podcasts on the trip I have room for 1 or 2 more people in the car.

Friday, August 20, 2010

What happened to Improved Reincarnation?

One thing that troubles me about being a shaman in wow, we still have the LONGEST cool down ability in the game. While the new 30 minute cool down is awesome, and I am more likely to use it when ever it is up (That is if I am actually dead). It still confuses and angers me that that in order to make the ability usable with some degree of certainty requires the additional penalty of wasting two talent points, and then we STILL have the longest cool down in the game out side of professions.

As it stands now in a raid situation, especially on progression raiding it is an incredibly difficult decision on weather or not to pop. You need to look at how long into the fight you are, what other members of the raid are still up, boss health left and the likely hood of a wipe, because with a 30 minute CD you do not want to pop it, only to still wipe. Especially if having that CD available on the next attempt could have made the difference between a 1% wipe and a successful boss kill.

Luckily for my my current guilds 25 man team has a GINORMOUS stack of druids, we have something like 6 battle resurrections available, so blowing the CD isn't always that big a deal. But on our 10's it is a huge difference, considering we are usually running with 2-3 healers and 1 druid 50% of the time.

One thing that still confuses me is when the CD was lowered from 60 minutes down to 30 minutes with the ability to talent into it to drop it to 15 minutes, the devs claimed it was so powerful that they didn't want Shaman to be able to use it on every fight. They wanted us to have to choose when to use it. Now don't get me wrong, but I LOVE! being able to pop when I make a dumb mistake, I think it is one of the signature abilities of the class. But I think the Druids battle rez, or even the Warloc's Soulstone provide quite a bit more utility seeing as how they can cast it on others.

What concerns me now is the fact that in all the Cataclysm preview data that has come out I have not seen the current CD on Reincarnate. Nor is the talent in the talent tree anymore. So I see it going one of two ways.

1.) They finally see it my way and dropped the CD to 15 minutes, still the longest CD in the game.


2.) They see that nobody uses the Improved Reincarnation talent in live, and think therefore nobody likes it and thinks 30 minutes is just fine. Without taking into account that spending those two talent points somewhere else provides much more bang for the buck. Talent points are expensive after all, and it really hurts to have to give up on mana regen, spell power or something else to make your ability ALMOST on par with other class abilities.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

My Cataclysm Fantasy

What I would love to see is a legendary shaman shield, or off hand or whatever you want to call it, that emulates the warcraft 3 giant totem the Tauren shaman carries around.

But what are the odds that blizzard would put in a legendary item aimed at a single class, and a under represented class to boot.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Back into ICC

This isn't me, just more mocking thereof
So Natural Order's 10 man team have successfully beaten the Lich King, and Ruby Sanctum. I am on the 2nd 10 man team and we are a bit behind that but not to terribly far behind that, im confident we will see the Lich Kind defeated and some of the hard modes down as well. We are also now hitting ICC 25 every week or so with full guild runs. We are 9/12 complete in ICC. Last night we spent a great night wiping on Putricide after clearing the Blood Wing Tuesday. We had a number of great attempts and have gotten him into phase 3 a few times, but just can't quite seal the deal. I suspect we will get him next time, we were so close this week.

Now here is what I am really here to talk about. Nibelung. It has eluded me since the opening of ICC. Every person in NO that can wield a staff has one, and they take it out on AOE intensive fights and there is 100 Valkyr flying around the raid mocking me. I understand that staff isnt exactly BiS for a mage, but the proc is so pretty I feel like I am reverting to my 6 year old self. Ever week when we get to Lady Deathwhisper I scream "I WANT IT, I WANT IT, I NEED IT!" Alas she never drops it when I am around. If for some reason I miss the first part of the raid, RNG be damned, she drops 2 of them. It is getting to the point that hunters and warriors are getting them just to mock me.

Friday, July 23, 2010

ICC, Paladin Alts

Picture is unrelated, I just got a chuckle out of it
Last night I was happily leveling my new alt obsession, Pallyadin the female Belf Paladin. It is all good fun, and I have been tanking my way to 80 using the dungeon finder and questing for gear.

There was a message in guild chat that said, if we do not have 1 dps for ICC we will have to sit 9 people for the night. Despite the fact that I was about to BBQ some awesome 3 cheese Angus burgers for the boy and I decided to raid, and make the boy cook me dinner. They needed DPS so I took the mage in instead of Skraps the shaman. It was a blast, and let me tell you with that 30% buff the DPS was averaging about 6k, with the top DPS hitting 10k. We wrecked the place, despite the fact that I still fail at moving out of the fire on Lord Marrowgar. (I mean really? WTF man, how do I always die in the fire on him? It isn't like it is hard to miss GIANT blue trails of fire)

Hopefully sometime this weekend, we will get past the plagueworks and head to the blood wing, an area I haven't seen yet.

On to my noobtastic self. As I mentioned, I have been leveling a Paladin alt. She is now level 78, just one and a half short levels to the level cap, this will be my 5th 80. I really need to get this altaholism under control, I have now spent 25k gold on epic fliers. It is too much!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Cataclysm Shaman 31 Point Talent Trees

OK. Before you get on my case, this is a COMPLETELY non-scientific, not in the beta so I don't really know, "Best Guess" of what the cookie cutter build of the Resto Tree will be in Cataclysm.

Here is a direct link to the talents so you can check them out.

There are a few talents I am not particularly happy with, and I am sure they will change as testing goes on. The first one, REALLY deep in the tree that I am not really sure of is Telluric Currents as I understand it mana management will be a big part of the healing game in Cata, and this spell may be necessary for the mana regen portion. I just worry that with things ramping up in Cata, not only will the mana management be required, but it may also require healers to DPS more to beat tighter enrage timers. This may well push the already difficult job of healing over the edge. Because not only will you have to be watching DPS that still in this day and age not move out of the fire, but on every spare GCD have to throw a lightning bolt, or shock in to beat the enrage.

Focused Insight is a talent I did not pick up, although thinking back on it, a instant cast shock, may be more efficient than a lighting bolt for the reduced cost of the next heal, plus a Greater Healing Wave with a 15% mana reduction and 5% bonus on top, kinda gets me happy in the pants.

As near as I can tell there seems to be about a 3 talent "option" in this new 31 point tree, depending on your play style, or weather or not you are doing PVP you can pick a couple of what I am calling tertiary talents, Ancestral Resolve, Focused Insight and Natures Guardian.

As far as your secondary tree, it seems pretty obvious that you are going to want to go into the enhancement tree, as the elemental trees lower talents only improve damage, while enhancement improves some of your buffs, and your mana pool. Although Concussion in conjunction with Telluric Currents may be required for the mana regen.

This ends my completley uninformed, best guess at the new 31 point resto tree. If I manage to find time later this week before I leave for a 3 day white water rafting trip I will take a look at the other trees. But I am not sure I will get the chance, still trying to recover here at the office after a small fire in the telco closet here at work over the weekend.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Exclusive Shaman preview!

I just had a wonderful chat with Ghostcrawler, he leaked some wonderful tidbits about upcoming Cataclysm changes for the shaman class.

THERE WILL BE A NEW TOTEM SCHOOL! In addition to the new totem, each totem school will have a summon elemental ability. These elementals will not be directly involved in combat like the current earth and fire elementals, but will provide a super charged raid buff from their usual schools. We will be summoning a air elemental to increase party haste by 20% for 30 seconds and water elemental (not like the mage elemental) that provides a massive AOE mana regen with an effect similar to a druids Tranquility.

To go with our current Earth, Water, Fire, Air. We will get the Spirit totem! Spirit totems will be able to combine the four original totems elementals into a super powerful Elemental.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Midsummer - Part one.

Last night I spent quite a few hours working on the meta for midsummer. I will write a longer post later on the in's-and out's of Midsummer, but right now I want to post a warning.

I was in a quiet place in the Dalaran sewers last night attempting to get the torch juggler achievement. Part way through the throwing a gnome parked himself at my feet, and ended up catching half of the torches I threw into the air. Not only did it interfere with me being able to do the achievement, it stole torches purchased with precious flowers.

I am not sure if this is considered griefing or "working as intended". But I suggest you attempt to do the juggling achievement in your faction only areas.

Spread the word about the ability to steal torches too.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The most bizzare spam comment ever?

This morning I received an email stating that I had a new comment on my healing ICC wing 1 post of oh, like 6 months ago. Here is the comment, links etc striped out.

The really good news is that through shamanic healing you can be cleared of your emotional, mental, spiritual and energetic blocks in a very gentle, yet deep way . Unlike many other healing methods, the healing techniques I use theta healing, shamanic healing, soul retrieval and spiritual coaching work to permanently clear up your issues.

I am not sure if this is trying to sell something or telling me I need to relax, and just cast chain heal till the boss is dead.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

All quiet on the Northrend Front.

With Ex Obscurum leaving Farstriders for greener pastures I have been struggling to find my place in Dark and Light. I am raiding 2-3 days per week, but not feeling it like I did back in the day with Ex Obscurum.

With the fall of the Lich King Northrend has fallen quiet. There are a few skirmishes here and there, the Argent tournament is still going strong, and allowing me to gain reputation with the remaining Horde cities. I spend a hour or two a day clearing out random dungeons for gold, as Triumph Emblems have even lost their value.

I am currently leveling a Paladin. This is the Paladin I started with the release of BC, got to level 17 and parked it. I finally picked it up again 2 weeks ago, and have made an amazing push to level it. I am now level 65, and I can feel the cold winds of Northrend blowing. I have only explored Hellfire Peninsula and parts of Zangermash, but I am dying to abandon the deserted locations of Outland. I spend 3 days in Hellfire and never once saw a player character. Zangermarsh is just as lonely. Thank God for the dungeon finder. As a Tankadin, I always find a group within 2-3 minutes.

Tonight I am going to start farming Sethekk Hall for the Paladin libram, hopefully I can take that into Northrend with me and ease leveling there.

I am not sure where this blog is going to be going while I work through the Northrend Blues, and await Cataclysm. I will try to post a little more often, if for nothing else than keep me occupied when I am supposed to be working.

There will probably be a lot on Alt news here until I either got into the Beta, or Cata comes out and I can start shamaning again.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Blizzcon here I come!

Hello John, thank you for shopping at the Blizzard Store!

2 BlizzCon Ticket - 2010(s) Purchased

BlizzCon 2010
October 22-23, 2010
Anaheim Convention Center
800 West Katella Ave.
Anaheim, CA 92802

See you there!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

It has gone from half-full to half-empty.

First off, I don't know who these girls are, but when doing a google image search for an appropriate image when talking about the Cata alpha. The search term Alpha came up with this, and lets face it who doesn't love hot college girls?

Anyway back to the real reason behind this post. With all the leaked alpha information and the current state of the alpha builds I have to revise my earlier estimates and move from the optimist column to the pessimist column. I no longer believe that Cata will be out in august, although I am still skeptical that it will come out after Blizzcon. I really feel a November release is too far away. So maybe events will unfold something like this. Cata release sometime late September, early October. Blizzcon late October, with an announcement of the next expansion, or a tease for the next gen MMO. Diablo 3 release sometime in first quarter 2011.

Ever the optimist I suppose.

Friday, May 14, 2010

The road. It has come to an end.

Tomorrow marks the last day of Ex Obscurum as a guild on Farstriders. The GM's and most of the core raiders have transfered to Emerald Dream, to become a more progression minded raid guild. I have been a member of Ex Obscurum for two and a half years and it was an incredibly difficult decision to stay on the low population, slow progression Farstriders realm. But since I have retired from progression raiding I could not rationalize the cost of server transferring 5 toons. I know it is kind of silly to want to keep all toons together, but I like to be able to move things around and keep within a single server community. So I bid a fond farewell to all my friends in Ex Ob, and wish them luck in their 25 man hard mode progression. Kick the Lich King in the ass for me!

I have joined up with a pretty organized guild on Farstriders, Dark and Light. I have become ranged DPS in their second core raid group. What does this mean? It means I am raiding on the mage, and doing guild 10 man pugs on my Shaman. The best part is Dark and Light is a uber casual guild. My team raids 3 nights a week, two hours per raid, and they have OK'd my absence on the first raid night, due to my commitment to my sons Boy Scout troop. So I am pretty confident I can put 4 hours of my life per week into organized raiding. This makes me happy, and allows me to see some progression, and maybe even the Lich King before Cata comes out.

On to raiding news. Team 2 is making its first steps into ICC, last night we made it past Marrowgar and Lady Deathwhisper. Sunday night it will be gunship, and a few attempts on Saurfang. I know a lot of people think this is nearing "old" content. But when you are just now stepping into ICC it is still pretty tough.

I remember healing Lady Deathwhisper 25 pre-nerf and thinking the encounter was a joke. Then they nerfed it and I laughed at how simple it was for my well geared, well organized guild that had raided more or less with the same group as a 25 man since SCC in BC. Well for a 10 man team that has only been raiding together for close to a month. Even with the 15% ICC buff that Lady was no joke. We took I think 4 attempts to down her. I think our main problem was a shortage of physical DPS. Our DPS consisted of a ret pally, prot pally, and finally brought in a hunter alt to get her down. The casters had no problem dealing with out adds, but with so much of the pallys DPS coming from Holy damage it was tough going. On our final attempt we managed to break the mana shield and get the Lady to about 75%.

The group decided to go one more time, even though we had passed our scheduled end time. Fourth time was the charm, we re assigned DPS, did a better job of marking physical DPS targets, and managed to actually get a few seconds of breathing room between add spawns. I actually remembered to slow targets, and decurse casters when needed. We downed Lady Deathwhisper with two tanks, two healers and me left alive. I tell you that last 8% with less than a minute on the enrage timer and no other DPS left up put a lot of pressure on my to squeeze out every ounce of DPS I could.

It was the most fun I have had in a raid in a long time. The group wasn't as well organized as I was used to, it felt weird for the raid leader to explain boss strategies before each pull, as in Ex Ob, if you didn't do your research and learn the fights, you didn't raid. But over all it was an incredible feeling to finally down a boss we were struggling with.

I will miss Ex Ob, but I think I have found a new home.

On a side note, the English translation of the latin Ex Obscurum is "From Darkness" or our of Darkness. I think it is fitting that my new home is Dark and Light!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Cataclysm predictions...

I have for a very long time stated my prediction that Cataclysm will be released this August. I don't know why I have felt so strongly about this but I do. I have posted this prediction many times here, and again I will re-affirm that prediction. If I am wrong I'm wrong. But I think I have some pretty good data to back up my thoughts. Today another piece of the puzzle dropped into place.

Today Blizzard announced that Starcraft 2 will be released July 27th. Blizzard has stated many times that some of the new Cataclysm features will be integration into Battlenet2.0. With Starcraft's release the end of July, that gives them a full month (I am guessing a late August release) to work out the bugs, and roll out Cataclysm.

Today the Cataclysm Beta realm character transfer servers are active. So I am guessing the beta should be starting around the 15th of this month. The Wrath beta was around 4 months. I am being pretty generous here, but assuming the familiarity the Dev's have with the tools, they can cut that down to 90 days or so. Worst case they are in beta foe 105 days and that hits my end of August guess.

Blizzcon is scheduled for October this year. I can't imagine we will be in beta for 7 months, to hit the November 2'nd release date I have heard bandied about. Also I just cant see them wasting dev time (not that Blizzcon is a waste per se) with just 2 weeks between Blizzcon and a major release. I also think Blizzcon will be more focused on Diablo 3, the other SC2 campaigns and possibly a teaser for whatever comes after Cata, as well as some news on the nextgen MMO.

I would to hear somebody tell me why I am wrong. But until then, I'll live with my glass half-full and hope for a Cata Release by the end of August.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Shiki Summarizes Clash of the Titans in WoW terms

Shiki is a guildie, she wrote this and I was so entertained I had to share...

So there was a guy named Perseus that liked to fish. He spent his entire life leveling his fishing skill with a few of his close friends, until one day the opposing faction decided to raid their spot. His friends left their corpses in the water and rerolled on a PvE server, because leveling as PvP was too frustrating.

With his fishing guild disbanded, Perseus traveled to the main city to look for another guild, and he joined . All he wanted to do was fish, but wanted him to be a warrior and defeat a world boss event before it laid waste to the main city.

But first, he needed some gear. So the GL of told Perseus to put a raid together and go farm some gear.

Perseus is a horrible raid coordinator. His raid had like 7 warriors, two hunters and a pug priest. The priest wasn’t very good. She sucked at healing and really only followed them around. The hunters were pro though. After leaving the city, Perseus finds a cool epic world drop sword.

As they traveled across the land, Perseus ended up getting cursed, and there was no way to remove it because they were too stupid to bring mages. As the curse is sapping his HP, they encounter a mini-encounter of giant scorpions and, after a while of fighting, managed to win the fight with seconds to spare on the enrage timer. The two hunters quit the raid after realizing they were the only two dps above the tank. Unfortunately by now the curse has depleted like 90% of Perseus health, so they have to find a mage.

Eventually they do find a mage, and he decurses Perseus, who also gets a cool faction shield to tank with. After losing the hunters, they invite the mage to the raid because it would be useful to have a decurse and biscuits, and continue on to the top of the mountain to turn in a quest to go fight the snake boss.

After turning in the quest to the creepy old ladies at the top of the hill, they head off to the docks in the lower city to go across to the other continent where the next quest is. As they prepare to go into the lake, the priestess AFKs and leaves the others to go into the lair for some odd reason.

When the encounter begins, most of the dps run off the edge, the rest pull aggro and get 1shotted by Medusa, leaving only the mage and two other warriors to beat the boss without any heals. The mage suicides to take a ton of Medusa’s health, as the other warrior dies while trying to use the stalactite mechanic to deal damage as well, but dies before he can do it again.

Perseus solos the rest of Medusa’s health and gets his trinket to drop. After returning to the outside, Perseus sees the afk priest get ganked by a rogue, so he flags pvp and bladestorms the rogue off the edge of a cliff. The priest releases her spirit to corpse run, but gives up because there’s no nearby graveyard.

Perseus gets a quest reward flying mount as a pat of his epic quest chain, and flies back to the main city to put together another group for the world boss event.

As he returns, two of the officers of (the GL and his daughter) are in a trade chat war with the guild over who is the better guild, and the daughter goes to solo the Kraken to prove a point. She gets sapped mid-battle as the Kraken spawns in the middle of the city, and the GL gets killed by one of the officers of .

After a long chase scene that involved the hunters running through the city on a scorpion (Leave it to the huntards to leave a guild raid to farm a mount…) Perceus goes to tank the kraken boss without a raid. The trinket from Medusa actually helped him one-shot the boss, but the platform collapsed duringt he rp event and the sapped officer of fell into the water.

Perseus goes to save her, and she offers to promote him to GL because he dad quit the game, but he’s all “hell no!” and /gquits the guild to run around on his horse.

He hooks up with the priest after she finally spirit rezzed.

The end!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I have a deep, dark and dirty secret.

I have been playing a Mage for some time now and I am loving it. I recently also joined a new raiding guild with her. Their raid schedule is much more forgiving than any guild I have ever worked with. They raid 3 nights per week, 2 hours per night, and they are doing old content. They are doing Ulduar and ToC with the occasional foray into ICC for the first boss. Even with my currently ridiculously restricted schedule I can fit 4 hours a week into my life to raid (one night is Boy Scout night with the kid so no raiding on Tuesdays). Not only is the 4 hours per week very doable it gives me some time to farm mats and contribute to the guild and maintain the tricky home life balance.

My mage is wearing almost exclusively valor gear, with the exceptionally embaresing blue sandals from Nexus, and there is no badge shoes available (ok there are but I refuse to spend 40 badges on i213 shoes). I hope to someday get a HoR/FoS to pick up the i219 pieces I could use.

This week I got in on two raids, we did the first section of Ulduar the first night, and Marrowgar the second night. I think I held my own at a respectable 5k dps on trash, and just under 4k on bosses. I think if I manage to replace the few low ilevel pieces with Ulduar/ToC stuff in the next few weeks I'll be a perfectly capable DPS heading into ICC in June like the guild plans.

I think my Shamaning is on hold until Cata comes out, as I just can't muster the availability to raid full time right now. I will however still be here, wiping PuG's and putting my two cents into all the upcoming changes to my beloved healing Shaman.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

It's the end of the world as we know it!

And I feel Fine!

Remember back in November when the Blizzard pet store debuted with the super cute Pandaren Monk pet and the Mini K'T pets? The forum troll, and blog rolls exploded with cries of foul and how this is the first step into the void that can never be taken back. They said WoW would be ruined for ever, and any day now we will all be able to buy epic, nay LEGENDARY items from the Blizzard store for real money. Thus ruining the game for every one forever.

Because we all know if you have the ability to pay for in-game it it will completely destroy the ecosystem. Well it has been 6 months since the introduction of the Blizzard pet store, I did purchase both the Lil K.T. and Pandaren. You know what? My server is still chugging along, the game still works and nothing was ruined due to the massive influx of tiny pets. I still take out my K'T or Pandaren whenever I raid during trash, or when farming heroics. But I take out any of the 57 other pets I farmed as well. I am a mini pet junkie, and I will farm, buy on the AH or the Blizz store any pet I can find.

Today Blizzard dropped a bombshell on the pet store. Not only can you buy the now Lil'XT for $10. You can also buy the super cool awesome OMGWTFBBQ Celestial Steed.

So I took a casual look at the comments, and the official Blizzard forums. There is a ton of uproar again about how these "micro transactions" (I use quotes because really come on! $10 or $25 is not a micro transaction, it is a full fledged transaction) is going to destroy WoW. Althought there is a new part to the arguement.

The general complaint now says "Blizzard is selling useful items for real money" WoW is once again ruined. Next up is legendary weapons and armor. I guess it depends on your definition of "useful items" I guess that a mount is more useful than a non-combat pet, but it is not something you cant acquire with minimal effort. To use the Celestial steed all you need is to be level 20, with basic riding skill. Of course all you get is basic riding speed, and no flying. I still fail to see how this is game breaking.

The second most common argument is "Whah! Everyone with $25 in their wallet will have this super cool and unique mount! If everyone has it it is no longer unique to top end raiders who get lucky and win a roll or DKP bid for a 2% drop rate mount, or highly skilled PvP'ers and lets face it I am neither of those, and I will never be. I cant seem to figure out arena play for some reason, regardless of the toon I have tried it on, from hunter, to resto shaman to warrior, to mage. My Arena experience has pretty much involved the match starting, and seconds later I'm a puddle on the ground while my partner says "WTF? Why didn't you do X?"

Well to the people making the second argument I have bad news for you. Regardless of what your mommies tell you, you are not a special little snow flake. You do not deserve special treatment, and I'm sorry you are just like everyone else.

I personally am fairly glad that Blizz made this mount available to anybody with $25 in their wallet. I really thought it would be a reward for something ridiculously difficult like "Defeat Alganon the Observer 25 hard mode with only 15 people, with no warriors, paladins or rogues in the raid and no raid member wearing any gear with an iLevel greater than 187."

I'm about to go home for my lunch break (I know how awesome is it that I can go home for my lunch break?) and if the que to buy the mount is less than 60000 I will be buying mine and trying it out. When you think about $25 really that much for a unique mount that you will have on all current characters as well as all future characters on any server you play in the future? I don't think so.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Happy Birthday!

So today marks the 1st birthday of Sham-Wows!
Coming soon, my first forays into ICC since the second wing opened.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

OMFG! Spirit Walkers Embrace.

So the Blues have released the first glimpse of the Cataclysm changes for Shaman. From what I see so far I like what I see. I mean aside from the change in cleansing. But that is just me picking nits. I like to think that you would use water to cleanse poison and disease, but it certainly isn't a game breaker.

Looking to the future: Spiritwalker's Grace (level 85): When this self-targeted buff is active, your spells are no longer interrupted by movement and possibly even by your own attacks. This will give shaman of all three specs another way to heal or do damage when it's necessary to move in both PvE and PvP. Instant cast. 10-second duration. 2-minute cooldown.

Go back and read that again, I'll wait.

Every 2 minutes we will be able to cast on the run? Yes please! I have to imagine that all caster classes will receive some kind of buff similar to this or there will be some epic QQ going on. But OMG! The thought of this ability has me giddy!

Read this one too: Healing Rain (level 83): An area-effect heal-over-time (HoT) spell that calls down rain in a selected area, healing all players within it. There is no limit to the number of players who can potentially be affected; however, there are diminishing returns when healing a large number of targets, much like the diminishing returns associated with AoE damage spells. This should give Restoration shaman another healing tool that improves their group-healing and heal-over-time capabilities. 2-second cast time. 30-yard range. 10-second duration. 10-second cooldown.

I hope to Sylvanas that this spell has an effect similar to the Druid Tranquility spell. A spell that for years I have thought the most beautiful spell effect in the game. I would love to see Shaman cast a area of sparkly rain on all his companions to heal them!

If this is where we are going in Cataclysm, I say bring it! Deathwing.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

I will be back from my WoW haiatus after spring break!

But in the mean time, check out my recent goings on. For the last couple of months my WoW time has been severely limited. I have only had short times to pop on, 15 minutes here, 30 minutes there. This lead me from raiding to doing the only thing you can really do in short intervals. Level another alt!

I had never played a mage past level 10, so I thought I would give it a shot. I found I really enjoyed it. I mean except at the lowest levels that required me to sit and drink in between every kill. Now I am level 80, after 3 months of casual play, have managed to get the complete t9 set, and I am working on collecting the badges for the trinkets, rings and necks. I should be geared to PuG some raids on off nights by the time I am back to WoW full time.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

StarCraft 2 Beta.

While I am on a brief hiatus from WoW, I have been really enjoying StarCraft 2. Speaking of the StarCraft 2 beta. I have received an additional SC2 invite. Anybody have any ideas on how I should give this away?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

StarCraft 2 Beta is in the house!

Today I received an email from Blizzard stating I had received an invite to the Star Craft 2 Beta. Needless to say I was very skeptical, and by very I was totally F*ing skeptical. So when I got home from work today, I copied the beta code from the email, and went to log on to my account. When I pasted the beta key into the field, I was prepared to get a rejection. But guess what. I now have SC2 listed in my account!

Downloading now, will let you all know in the next few days what I think!

Quick Update: According to the ToS I can't give any info on the game yet. Soon as I can I will let you know what I got on my hands. Short answer though: Awesome. Although all the games I have played so far I have had my ass handed to me pretty thoroughly.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Feeling a little Blue

So like so many others I'm feeling a little burnt out. It doesn't help that I have not been able to raid since before ICC was released. I am feeling a little blue. I am having the to wrestle with what I want from WoW. I think the biggest problem is I really love my guild, but due to changes in real life I am unable to make raid times. I really want to raid. So I have two choices. Suck it up and just play the solo game I have been playing or nut up and transfer servers to something on the pacific time zone, and find a guild that raids after 7:00 pm.

Every day I get a little closer to diving into the guild recruitment forums on The thought of sifting through all the crap there kind of makes me ill to think about.

So I guess I will do the cheap thing, and ask you folks, all my 10's of readers. Any body have a guild that needs a resto shaman, and a barley geared prot warrior? I prefer horde, but if the guild is right I may faction change. (after I complete my rep grinds with UC and Silvermoon)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

To Honor One's Elders

If you, like me are trying to play catch up to get the achievement What a Long Strange Trip it Has Been. You have spent the last 2 weeks grinding achievements. I spent the last two days casually grinding the Lunar Holiday achievement. This is probably the easiest holiday to complete, because it does not require the RNG or grinding or kills or anything like that. But it does take an incredible amount of time. There are a whopping 74 elders to visit! But the great thing is all the Elders provide 75 faction rep, for a total of 5500 rep for the holiday. After completing I have gotten Exalted with Thunderbluff, 1000 rep from Exalted with Undercity and 1/2 way through with Silvermoon. Some time in the next 30 days I should be exalted with everyone!

So now I just need to complete the mid-summer fire festival and I will complete the achievement and have my 310% mount and will put all this stupid holiday grinding behind me.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Love is in the Air!

When I sat down to write this how to, I had planned on writing a in depth how too of every step of the achievement. When I actually got to writing it I found that this holiday was redesigned so much that a guide is not really necessary. I will clarify some of the less obvious steps, but there is really only one thing you need to do to complete this achievement. Collect lots and lots of Charm bracelets!

I found the easiest way to farm these charms, for a max level character anyway is to goin to Ulduar, get into a demolisher and agro at least 2 towers. The endless stream of dwarfs will net you over 60 complete bracelets per hour. If you do not have a friend that wants to farm with you you can form a raid with a alt, with a few minutes help from a guildie.

Log on an alt, form a group, convert that to a raid. Promote your friend to leader and log off your alt. Re-log your character you want to farm with, join the raid, and take lead back. Your friend drops group and bobs your uncle you have a 1 man raid.

What do I do with all those charm bracelets I just farmed? First off visit all your factions capitol cities, and do the little quest for your nation of adoration achievement. This takes 4 charm bracelets and about 20 minutes of travel between cities.

Then do your holiday dailies, you want to get as many love tokens as possible to cut the farming time and the dailys and the quest chain all net you 5 tokens. When I was done with the first days quests I had almost 50 tokens. I farmed another 60 bracelets in Ulduar and was able to buy everything I needed to complete my partially completed meta yesterday, as well as buy my own Romantic Picnic Basket and Truesilver Shafted Arrow pets.

I had a lot of people ask me how do I Pity the Fool? Love Fools cost 10 Love Tokens, you will need 50 Love tokens, unless you are amazing lucky and find someone dropped a Love Fool in the 15 seconds before you arrived at the spot. You simply buy a love fool, visit the required zone drop a fool and /pity. You can do it anywhere in the required zone, except Arathi Basin. You have to be at the Black Smith to get credit. I hear people say you do not need to be in Naxx, simply in the Necropolis by the zone entrance, but if you are still in your raid from farming bracelets just enter the zone to be safe, kill Mr. Bigglesworth while you are there too...that cat has attitude.

You can lower the amount of tokens required if you use someone elses Picnic Basket in Dalaran for the Lonely achievement, but really with the ease of farming bracelets, just get your basket for fun while waiting for raids to start. If you use a basket found in Dalaran and you do not want the pet it is going to cost you 98 tokens, with the basket and the pet it is 148 baskets. Just under 2 hours of farming in Ulduar, and some luck finding the race/class combos for the pelting with flowers achievement. I found the easiest way to complete this part is in a BG or Wintergrasp. You will find every race/class combo needed in a PvP setting. Just try to pelt them before they kill you.

I must say as a Orc Shaman, I really do not look forward to spending the next 3 weeks with flower petals falling around my head every time I am in a city.

The hardest part of the meta this year, and the only one that falls victim to the dreaded RNG monster is My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose. The roses have a 100% drop rate from the following bosses: Maiden of Grief (Halls of Stone), Prince Keleseth (Utgarde Keep), Prince Taldaram (Ahn'kahet: The Old Kingdom). Both normal and Heroic. You just need to win the roll and you get the achievement. If you use the dungeon finder, roll need, because I guarantee someone else will.

If you are just starting the Fool for Love meta this year I recommend breaking it down to 2 or 3 days, as grinding is boring. But this year it is much more doable than last year. Good luck!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Productive Weekend

Last night was my son's Boy Scout Troops annual cab feed. The crab feed is our major fund raiser for the year, and procedes are used to pay for summer camp. The crab feed pays for more than half the cost for each scout to attend camp. It also pays for the less privileged scouts outright. We have 100% attendance for our troop at camp. It is awesome. Last night I was in charge of the raffle ticket sales and live desert auction. I took in just over $2000. It looks like a good year for the scouts bank account, economy be damned! I want to thank all the folks that made last night such a success. We took in just under $10,000 for the whole night, but our expenses were just under 1/2 of that.

On to WoW!

Managed to complete my "Fool for Love" meta in just a few hours today. All I needed was the nations of adoration, 3 race/class combos to pelt with flowers and a few /pity's on love fools. I also managed a bevy of achievements today, including FINALLY finishing the Lil' Game Hunter achievement, I now have my fawn.

Tomorrow, I will post hos to gather up to 60 Lovely Charm Bracelets and hour, so you too can complete your meta, and buy all the holiday goods you want.