Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Beer Snob? Yeah kinda

So I am so ashamed to admit it, but I am a huge fan of TJ's monthly summary of Cosmo. After reading/commenting on the post, and comments I feel it is my duty to bring up something in the comments.

Yes I am a bit of a beer snob. I will not drink beer from a can, I do sometimes drink bottled beer, but only out of a mug, or pilsner glass, or a wheat beer glass you know whatever the particular brew calls for. Just like the wine snobs we love to make fun of, beer tastes better when drank from the proper glassware.

The other thing I am ashamed to admit is I read Maxim. Really I am not that guy. (lol bewbies he he) But Maxim has a few articles I enjoy, and their tech gadget coverage is better than most anyplace else.

This month they had a article about the 25 best new beers. I do not really understand what their criteria for "New" is as some of them are quite old. It is pretty informative for those of us who enjoy beer, but do not really know where to go after venturing from Bud, or Coors to something more exotic like Sierra Nevada. This list has a pretty good selection of beers, and they tell you what it tastes like using terms you can throw around to impress your friends.

The problem is the article looses all of its credibility when they recommend Bud Light Wheat. Really? When I read that it sent me into such a nerd rage I scared the cat. There has to be 1000 easily available good Hefeweizens on the market. It appalls me that they would recommend what might be the worst wheat beer available in the United States. I feel I can criticize them both as a beer snob, and due to the fact that I live less than 5 miles from their California brewery.

On to happier subjects, from my personal brewery in the backyard I have tapped my first ever keg of Heffewizen. I made it with 6 pounds of Bavarian wheat, and 2oz Bavarian hops at boil and another ounce at finish. I am quite proud of the outcome, although it has a strange banana flavor at finish. I need to figure out what I did wrong there and correct it for next time. Also my first ever completely original recipe will be going in the keg tonight and should be ready to drink by mid-February. It is an American Ale. I used 4 pounds of honey and 2 pounds of malt, with an ounce of bitter orange peel at finish. I will let you know how it comes out.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Parenting Skillz...I has them.

Last night I flexed my parenting muscle and uttered the following phrase: "You can do your homework later, lets play WoW" Am I a great parent or what?

I have once again been thrown from raiding life by real life events. So to fill my downtime I have started yet another new alt. With the new LFD I find I generally have enough time to complete a few quests waiting for the que to pop, do the dungeon then logout for the night. I have also managed to convince my son to start and level a new alt with me. We are running a mage/holy pally combo. The real nice thing is in this low level setting he mounts up, gathers 5-10 mobs, consecrates and I frost nova them to death. I find it super efficient for the kill x of y quests.

This weekend Was super busy, we had Cirque du Soliel Ovo Friday night. Had familial obligations Saturday night, and plans to play WoW all day Sunday. Well I got up Sunday, went to the garage to do some laundry and there was a spreading puddle of steaming water on the floor. 5 hours later I had a clean garage and finished installing a new water heater and was too beat to do any WoW.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Just in case you missed it.

World of Matticus has an excellent article up about 5 misconceptions on healers. I can't tell you how many times I have heard the phrase "Healers, what happened?" and slowly boiled. So many times I have wanted to yell "You F*ing died! Move out of the mother lovin fire, teach the dps to move, blow a cool down early in the fight sometimes!" Of course I never do that, bacause I am a little passive aggressive sometimes. My favorite part of his article comes at the end with this...

"When a boss goes down smoothly you almost never hear anyone say; “That was awesome! Great job healers! That was all you!”, but when a wipe happens you will hear the phrase “what happened healers?” way too often. Not everything is within a healers control. Sometimes things happen that stretch our abilities so thin there is no recovery. Random mob abilities chaining together can cause a group to wipe before a healer even has a chance to react. When someone places this burden on the healers, it’s a short trip to off the rage deep end."

Just once after a really close downing of a boss I would probably squee with joy if I heard "Nice job healers, couldn't have done it without you!? Strangely I hear quite often "DPS...Fantastic! You really are on top of your game."

OK enough QQ. It is Friday, and I have a big weekend ahead of me. Mrs. Skraps' birthday is next week and we are starting early.

Sunday we are going to the Winter Wineland event in the Russian River Valley. Thirty dollars for free food and tasting at 123 boutique winery's? Yes please! Then dinner Wednseday with her family and finally on Friday a night out to see Cirque du Soleil. Don't tell her that part is a surprise, and she has never even once considered to read my blog.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


I have spent the last couple of days reading blogs with horror stories of the new LFG is working. Everything from DPS'ers queuing as tanks, to healers droping group in the middle of boss fights.

Now I like to PuG. I have been PuG'ing pretty regularly since I started WoW. I have always felt Pug'ing is an excellent way to learn your class. When you run with experienced guildies and friends there are very few "Oh Shit" moments. They happen all the time in PuG's.

After years of PuG'ing on my server, and having more bad PuG's than good I had braced myself for all kinds of horror in the new cross-server lfg.

It has not happened. I have not once had a horrible awful noobtastic PuG. (OK that one Oculus PuG doesn't count) I have thoroughly enjoyed the groups I have been randomly matched with. Gear wise it seems I am paired with groups that are all pretty much on par with me gear wise. It is usually 4 very well geared people and one person in blues and greens. I like this. It gives newer 80's the chance to learn their class role in 5 mans as well as get the lions share of loot, to help gear them quicker.

The only times I felt the gear matching portion of the LFG fail was when I queued as a tank. Now my tank is getting there, but at this time I could almost reack 30k health buffed, I was sitting at 544 defense and 26k health. I was put in a group to tank Halls of Reflection. When I zoned in I saw the HoR loading screen and thought "Really? They think I am geared to tank this?" When the rest of the party zoned in I immediately stated I don't know why I am here as tank, and I don't think my gear is up to tanking it. The party concurred, but decided to give it a shot or two anyway as we all had the 15 minute debuff from the LFG.

We made two attempts, managed to down the first boss in the ghost waves. But I couldn't keep alive and threat on all the targets. Partly due to my lack of skill as a tank, and the healer trying so hard to keep me alive. After the 15 minute debuff was gone, I suggested we bail. the group agreed and we parted ways in a very good way.

That is my LFG horror story. We tried, failed through no egregious errors on any party members fault, and parted ways happy, and willing to run anything else with the same group.

Now I have to ask. Was my server just so full of bad players that I had numerous horror stories in the old LFG? Or has the new LFG made players step up and play better? Or is it simply the gear matching system, presumably if you have put enough effort into aquiring gear of a certain level you have become a decent player?

Monday, January 11, 2010

How Lame am I?

So the guild did not down any of the new bosses yet this week in 25's. Although all 3 teams on 10's downed at least Festergut and one downed Festergut and Rotface. We only raid Wednesday, Thursday and sometimes Monday if we have the numbers and there is still content to down. As I do not raid on Mondays (or even play at all usually) I will miss the guild first kills and this makes me sad.

But on to the rest of the weekend. I had A LOT of playtime over the weekend and was able to finagle my warriors way into a Ulduar 10 for the weekly raid quest. Before I start explaining the level of my lameness let me explain that I have never played a DPS warrior. My warrior is my very first ever toon in WoW. Back in the prehistoric age of WoW, you may call it Vanilla WoW. I did not have any thottbot, or WoWHead or any of the great resources we have now. I pretty much soloed to 60. I did eventually join a guild around 40. But it was a small guild, a lot of them were even more noobish than me. Well when i hit level 10. I put my first talent point into the protection tree. I thought you could only use one tree, and I did not know what a respec was. So there I was, prot solo leveling to 60 in classic. It took me something like 22 days /played.

Fast forward 3 + years and we are in Wrath, and my Warrior is now 80. I have purchased dual talents but have rarely used the Arms spec I bought. So when I was invited to the 10 man I thought I would be OT. Well I was DPS. I broke out my blue giant hammer and tried to dps.

After the first trash pulls I looked at recount. I did 667 DPS.

There was much laughter from all my "Friends". I do more DPS when I heal on my shammy. We engaged Ignus, and I pretty much auto attacked, as I couldn't figure out how to get any rage. Every minute when I had enough rage saved I would either mortal strike, execute or bladestorm as I frantically facerolled through the encounter.

So the lesson learned. I am not DPS. But I did have a good time, and the guild had a few decent laughs at my expense. I just wish I had done a screen shot so you could see out top dps pushing 8k and me with 6. I mean 600.

oh but I did get 2 neat achievements, that are soo 3.1.

Welcome Cassidy Jade.

Mrs. Skraps was gone most of the weekend. She spent 2 days at the hospital with her sister who was having a baby. Yay for 44 hours of labor huh? So every one welcome Cassidy Jade. she was born Saturday at 7:00 weighing in at 4lbs. 10oz and 17 inches long.

Mom and baby are both doing fine and should be heading home from the hospital about now.

Included in the pic is Mrs. Skraps' best Friend Cyndy. She is gunna love having a pic of her on the internet. This is one of maybe 10 times I have ever seen a pic of Cyn, and I have know her since 10th grade. She actually introduced me to Mrs. Skraps. So it is all her fault!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Healing Plagueworks, and nerfs to Lady Deathwhisper

Last night was Ex Obscurum's first 25 man attempt at the Plagueworks. Our raid got started later than usual and we had a few stupid wipes on Lord Marrowgar. You would think that this group of raiders would already know to not stand in the fire. (Myself included, for some reason I died to that twice last night) There was one shot when I had the particularly bad luck of getting bone spiked, then the coldflame shot out right under me, that hurt!

The rest of the first four bosses were all 1 shots. I never thought that Lady Deathwhisper was particularly difficult, but the nerfs that dropped with maintenance yesterday are ridiculous. The add health is so low, our DPS had time to run and bash her shield for 20 seconds between pops. Her mana shield is also 2 million points smaller. We had her shield down, and engaged before the 3rd wave of adds were down. This made it the new loot pinata.

Healing Plagueworks:

Trash: There is not a lot of trash leading up to the boss and nothing particularly interesting. There is a few mobs that simulate a mini Leotheras the Blind, as they spawn inner demons on a number of the raid. We accidentally pulled two, and had a crap ton of shades running around the raid. We ended up using our DK's army, my fire elemental and a bloodlust to kill this trash. It was one of the most epic fights I have seen. Even though it brought my fairly speedy computer down to 3fps.

When the small trash is clear, you meet Precious and Stinky Rotface, and Festergut's dogs. These dogs are...unpleasant. They are very much mini-Gluths. They spawn zombies, they Decimate and generally wreak all sorts of havoc. If you know Gluth, you will have no problems here. Just make sure that the entire raid has healthstones, and healing potions, as even the best AOE healers will have a hard time keeping everyone up through the decimate. Once the dogs are down you will get to move on to pick your first boss, Festergut, or Rotface.

We choose Festergut. This fight is not an easy fight. The boss has 43.5 million HP a 5 minute enrage timer, and high raid AOE. This is the first ICC gear check. When the encounter starts the entire raid takes 4500 damage every 2 seconds. We ran with 1 tank, 6 heals and 18 DPS. At this point in the guilds gearing we can hit the required DPS, if no one dies. One healer should be able to keep the tank alive and the rest should be on raid, with a druid rolling HoT's on the tank on the side. The rest of the healers are basically frantically trying to keep everyone alive.

You MUST be aware of your surroundings. During the encounter 3 gas spores will spawn on 3 random members of the raid. We think it will always spawn on a melee range player and 2 ranged, but don't quote me on that. When the spores spawn the raid must find the closest spore and sit under it. When the spore pops you will get a shadow damage DoT, if you survive the DoT, you become inoculated and gain 25% shadow damage resistance. This stacks 3 times. If you do not have 3 stacks when Festergut expels Pungent Blight you will die. (although I guess some tanks could live through that.)

I wish I could tell you we 1 shot him, or even 3 shot him, but alas with the late start we did not have him down by the 9:00 end time for raids. So we will go back in tonight and down him as well as his brother Rotface, hopefully with a wipe or two to spare on Professor Putricide and I can revise this guide for a kill instead of how to wipe on Festergut.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Shaman healing Icecrown Citadel's first wing

With the opening of the second wing of ICC I figure it is about time for the Sham-Wows guide to healing ICC. This guide is aimed specifically at shaman, but I am sure other healing classes may benefit from it.

Lord Marrowgar - As is the case with almost all raids the first boss is pretty easy. He is no Atumen mind you, but pretty easy as far as raid encounters go. This is a 2 phase encounter and as such is mostly just a tank-n-spank affair. Phase one is plain old tank-n-spank. He does a cleave that does a fairly high damage to the tank and 2 closest melee. DO NOT EVER GET NEAR THIS. During phase one he does a line of frost, that ticks for a substantial amount of damage. As in all raid settings, do not stand in the fire... I mean ice. Phase two is the whirlwind phase, he does a AOE that ticks higher the closer you are. Get away from him. He also shoots out lines of frost during the whirlwind. Strafing is the easiest way to avoid these slow moving lines.

Depending on your healing assignment, there is a few different things to do. If you are assigned to raid heals, your best bet is to stand behind Marrowgar, close enough to melee that they can break off the boss and get you out of the Bone Spikes, but far enough away to get out of the way of the whirlwind when it starts. If you are on tanks stay just outside of his hitbox with the rest of melee.

This fight just requires raid awareness, and keeping players topped up. If you have mana and casting time to spare, it would not hurt to throw an instant cast damage spell on the bone spikes if you can. This will get the dps/healer out of the spike faster, and lower the over raid healing required.

Lady Deathwhisper - I found this to be an incredibly fun fight. The event starts with the Lady in the back of the room protected my a mana shield. She will spawn adds in the front and either side of the room. I am not DPS so I am not sure what the adds abilities are.

There is an element of controlled chaos in this encounter. During the adds phase while Melee and Ranged are taking care of the mana shield, the Lady will randomly mind control people. Be ready with a quick Hex if needed. Nobody wants to be killed by their friends. She will also drop death and decay on the ground. As always do not stand in the fire...or death and decay. Again as far as healing goes there is no big "gotcha" in this fight. Try to keep everyone topped off, run your standard riptide rotation on the tanks, and chain heals on the raid. You should come through this unscathed.

Icecrown Gunship Battle - Three weeks into this new content and I am still not sure what is going on in this fight. All I know is that bear tanks become bears with rockets on their bums, but when we shift to ghost wolf, we get a "Can not be used while shape shifted" error. I cry foul and want this fixed NOW! This fight is pretty chaotic as far as healing goes. Raid members will be jumping off the ship and therefore going out of range and LoS through the entire encounter. If you are assigned to stay on the ship you have a pretty easy job. Stay put, and spam chain heal. There will be targets showing up on the ground around you. If the target is where you are, move. Don't stand in the fire. If you are assigned to go to the other ship. Rocket boost over just behind your tank, drop your totems, and spam chain heal. Make sure you come back to the ship when your tank does. It will go poorly for you if you forget to come back.

Deathbringer Saurfang - This fight is the first fight in ICC that is difficult. It requires a ton of raid awareness. But you are raiding ICC, you have already learned all the lessons tought by raiding since vanilla right? No? Oh. I assume everyone runs DMB or something like that. Before the fight starts type /range 12. This will tell you if anybody is less than 12 yards away from you. If they are, you or they need to move. Saurfang uses an ability called blood nova it hits a random player and all players within 12 yards for 7500-8500 damage.

There is a lot going on in this fight, and the basics you want to be aware of is Saurfang heals when people die, there are also a few abilities that when linked together will eventually heal Saurfang for more than the raid can do in damage. You want to stick to your healing assignments, and do your best to keep everyone up. Do not be afraid to run forward and drop a earthbind totem at the foot of the stairs before he summons blood beasts. But when you do drop your totem, make sure you turn around and run back to position to avoid making things worse in the raid. There is a ton of damage in this fight, and your raid leaders should let you know who to heal and who to let die based on your strategy. Generally we let the first two marked players die, then heal through the rest of the marks. This is a DPS race, a healing race, and a gear check for the tanks.

If this final fight is any indication of what the rest of ICC will be like I am pretty excited about the forthcoming encounters. I think there will be a excellent oportunity for everyone to hone their raid skills while having a blast earning fat loot.

New loot for a new year

Three weeks into ICC and I finally have enough DKP to win some new loot. Man DKP sucks when life gets in the way of raiding. But now that I have had some DKP accrued I managed to win two pieces if iLvl 264 loot. From Marrowgar this week I picked up Bulwark of Smouldering Steel, a BiS item. not only that i picked it up for a mere 5 DKP. Later on the guship battle I managet to pick up Althor's Abacus but this cost me the remainder of my DKP. Going into this weeks raid I will only have 25 DKP picked up at the end of this weeks raids. But all in all I am extremely happy with those two pieces.

p.s. I was in Pit of Saron this weekend and Battered Hilt dropped. I know it is a low drop rate item that is BoE, and damn near everyone can use/wants it. But you have no idea how demoralizing it is when two people pass, and you roll a 2. A freeking 2. Damn you RNG.