Saturday, May 24, 2008

Testing tooltipping with balance druid helms

I'm mostly trying out the Wowhead tooltip, but the helms aren't selected by random. Each is a pretty easily attainable helm for balance druid helm

Druidic Helmet of Second Sight
Exorcist's Wyrmhide Helm
Wyrmhide Helm

Thottbot's Helm of Second Sight
Thottbot's Druidic Helmet of Second Sight, but possibly with a wowhead tooltip. Nope, no luck.

Course as nice as tooltips are, they don't really do much for letting you compare stats at a glance, do they?

Note to self: q2 is green. q3 is blue.

Tooltips a-comin'

From Wowhead's Wowhead Tooltips: FAQ & Guides:

Have a guild site? Blog? Personal website? Page on Geocities with pictures of your cat?
By the power of Wowhead...

We are pleased to announce a new, easier than ever way that users can implement Wowhead mouseover tooltips to item links within their pages! :)

Please be sure to follow all of the steps very carefully:

Step 1: Add this piece of HTML code anywhere on your page:

<script src=""></script>

Step 2: Smile and pat yourself on the back at a job well done!

I still use Thottbot for reading user comments, usually on quests, and WoWWiki for reputation guides, but Wowhead has slowly made its way in as the place I go for item info. With this nicely done script, I think we'll start seeing some hovering tooltips on panzerkin soon.

Thunderfury, Blessed Blade of the Windseeker

Fwiw, you can get good info from the Armory if you use Firefox (Safari's no go -- more specifically its for me right now) with links like, but you'll have to parse the XML yourself. That is, I'm not aware of any tooltip html functions at Blizzard's site.

In other news, I found my crappy healing gear isn't likely good enough to get through Shadow Labyrinth during this, my third run through. Luckily our main tank's mother made him stop playing (I doubt he argued; I'd lost him (but only him!) twice already), opening up a slot for a guildie to bring in his priest. The OT went MT, I rolled from heal to DPS, and we finished up with just one wipe at Murmur. Got the Demon Book from Vorpal (sp?), so I should have the +185 dmg to demons dagger after running Mechanar soon.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Yay, Druidic Helmet of Second Sight

Welp, finally went for the Gorefiend quests and bagged my Druidic Helm Tuesday. It's a nice enough helm, with decent heal/dmg bonus and three gem sockets. I'm not sold that it's better than my Stylin' Jungle Hat for Panzer nor my Nature's Wrath for Boom, but it made it into my farming outfit. First head armor item I've had with those danged antlers. And why does Jal's facial hair go away when he puts it on (see far left in pics below)? Must be related to the Second Sight.

The most fun part was when the 5 man all got to the mountain top to wait on Vel'khur and someone remarks, "We don't have a tank." I said, "I'll do it," the same way I said I could heal when we had four, and went bear -- but only to build confidence. When Vel'khur came back around, I swapped to Moonkin. Okay okay, the first time I missed him because I forgot the goggles, but the second time, I got on panzerkin gear, pulled with Starfire, and started wailing.

It's incredibly easy to tank a single mob as a moonkin, of course. Very easy to out-DPS everyone by Wrath spamming, Starfiring, and proc'ing a few trinkets. The shammy, iirc, kept me at 90+% health (I didn't realize shammies healed, honestly. Casual gamer, folks) and we knocked down the undead dragon easily, as in the picture, above.

Course it was hard to see jack with five folks, totems, and a summoned demon all sitting on the pinnacle of a small mountain.

Interesting on the Gorefiend quests is that my treants couldn't see the dead things, as they weren't wearing the goggles. That stunk, and I almost got myself into trouble aggroing too many mobs. Barely soloed the horsemen, and only got two down, which was embarrassing, but the trunch dropped and all was well.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Welcome, Windhawk Bracers

Welp, I finally leveled my leatherworking, farmed even more mats, caved and auction housed the last three Primal Airs, and created Windhawk Bracers, the only item of the Windhawk set that doesn't require a Primal Nether and, therefore, a little instancing to craft.

So let the mathes comparison begin. Rather than trying to go theoretical, let's just slap up a screenshot comparison of Jal's stats with the Windhawk Bracers versus Murkblood Bracers of Nature's Wrath, the latter worth 115 armor and +42 nature damage.

So here are the changes with the Windhawk with a vendored +4 spell critical yellow gem, all stats listed while in moonkin form:

Nature damage: -10
Health: +220
Mana: +285
Non-nature spell dmg: +32
Healing: +52
Crit %: +1.14
Mana Regen: +10
Armor: +220

I'm not too worried about the base stat changes not listed above, as their practical usefulness should be reflected in the stats.

So here, it's a nobrainer. I lose 10 dmg per Wrath, but gain pretty seriously everywhere else, including +1.14% crit, which is another (381 to 429 + 745) * 1.14% = 13.11 damage already for my wraths, on average. The Murkbloods aren't better even with wrath damage, their speciality area. So out go the Murkblood Bracers to the vendor. Sad to see 'em go.

Other nature's wrath items aren't so obvious, I don't think. I've upgraded a few slots since I last took stock. My helm gives +81 nature damage, iirc. That's going to take a disproportionate increase in stats to beat (realizing there's no Windhawk headpiece). Chest is currently giving +75 nature damage, and the Dragonhawk version gives +81; will the Windhawk Hauberk beat that? Its intellect bonus is just 12 more than the bracers, and spell dmg just 19 more. Can that beat a +39 nature damage increase on the chest relative to bracers? It'll be closer, I think. We'll see.

Again, for general use, the Windhawk armor has it all over "of Nature's Wrath" gear. I'm here looking specifically at burst damage, as that's the most important thing when doing PvE outdoors, when you can root most anything, and when filling the DPS slot in a 5-spot instance. Your drinks are going to outweigh mana regen bonuses for PvE and 5-spots, and armor shouldn't matter too much if you root melee mobs and have good tanks.

And you can't come close to beating the price of the Nature's Wrath gear at 8-15g a slot. That's less than many daily quest rewards!

Here's what a full set of Windhawk needs, according to gajackson at

18 Heavy Knothide Leathers
48 Wind Scales
34 Primal Airs
6 Primal Mights
3 Primal Nethers

+ 3 Yellow gems (or compatible) total
+ 3 Blue gems (or compatible) total

+ whatever you are going to choose in the way of endgame-ish AKs, enchants, etc.

What's the better causal gamer buy again? All of the above for 3 pieces of armor, or less than 100g for 400+ DPS?

The Windhawk bracers beat out Dragonhawk Bands even for adding damage to wrath, so, farming already done, they're in for all of my outfits, panzer, boomkin, and hybrid. It's my first purple armor since I made Lava Belts for the Old World. I just wonder if completing the set is going to be worth it, or I should save the time and effort to run instances until the WotLK shows up.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

WotLK interview: Yes, we know you're bored

Haven't had any time to play for two days, but here's an interesting quote from Behind the Blue Curtain: Discussing Wrath of the Lich King with Jeffrey "Tigole" Kaplan:

The MMO Gamer: Probably the number one complaint I hear when speaking to the "average" WoW player, someone who logs in an hour or two a night, maybe raids with their guild on the weekend, is that once they hit 70, their day to day existence in the game consists of either farming for primals, grinding reputation, or doing daily quests. They seem to feel that's slightly monotonous.

Do you personally believe that's a problem in the game, and, if you do, do you have any plans to address it in Northrend?

Jeffrey Kaplan: I do think that's a problem, and I think it's a very true statement, what you said. What I really hope is that hitting level 80 is not the end, but just a milestone, a very momentous milestone.
The daily quests that I've really enjoyed lately are things like the fishing daily, the cooking, the battleground, the dungeon dailies, because they have randomization in it. So you don't feel like you're in a set pattern of activity every time you log in. I would rather players do daily quests for money than farm primals, which is a very repetitive sort of behavior.

So, I think we can do things to smooth out what feels like a grind, and make it not the same every day that you log in. I think that's when it becomes an issue, when you log in and do the same activity every time, because certainly when you're leveling up that’s not your experience.

And we all like "very true" statements, not just those that are "fairly true." ;^)

Look, the dailies are nice, and though we all know dailies are just about making it rain cash to make raiding more accessible, they really aren't a good answer to the end game boredom. I mean, look, what Kaplan's saying, whether he knows it or not, is that they're going to turn on the gold faucet and pour cash all over those who don't like farming so that only those insane enough to farm by default have to wax a million Enraged Air Spirits for Primal Air. Prices on everything will go up as the faucet opens wider, and soon everyone will be part of the never ending virtual economic bubble. Reminds me of Mobutu printing Zaires, where daily inflation approached the single digits.

The problem is that the daily quests really aren't all that exciting. They don't particularly engage a larger storyline. Though they change in character slightly, they really are still, "Kill X of Y and get Z gold," mechanizations. The bottom line is that dailies are bribes in virtual currency for you to keep playing. Maybe it's time to make some alternative to grinding, farming or questing, that allows soloers to access instances in a more satisfying way.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Are you a WoW addict?

From a guest blog on a randomly Googled up site called Soul Kerfuffle: The View From the Top (the search was 'warcraft abandoned quest progression'):

60 levels, 30+ epics, a few really good "real life" friends, a seat on the oldest and largest guild on our server's council, 70+ days "/played," and one "real" year later...
To illustrate the impact it had, let's look at me one year later. When I started playing, I was working towards getting into the best shape of my life (and making good progress, too). Now a year later, I'm about 30 pounds heavier that I was back then, and it is not muscle. I had a lot of hobbies including DJing (which I was pretty accomplished at) and music as well as writing and martial arts. I haven't touched a record or my guitar for over a year and I think if I tried any Kung Fu my gut would throw my back out. Finally, and most significantly, I had a very satisfying social life before. My friends and I would go out and there were things to do every night of the week.
Blizzard created a game that you simply can not win. Not only that, the only way to "get better" is to play more and more. In order to progress, you have to farm your little heart out in one way or another: either weeks at a time PvPing to make your rank or weeks at a time getting materials for and "conquering" raid instances, or dungeons where you get "epic loot" (pixilated things that increase your abilities, therefore making you "better")

Scary because it's true, right? I remember during the first month of my second long hiatus from WoW (the one in the middle of this blog), I couldn't stop thinking about it, even doing a good deal of research for what quests and recipes to run and bag once I got back. It really felt like I had a bit of withdrawal. No doubt that this is an addiction. The question is what the real damages are, and how one can accurately measure them.

And now, back to figuring out where I was on the I see dead Draenei quest line before the hiatus... *sigh*

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Gimme a chilli chese dagger A PLENTY!!!!

WARNING: This is a true blog post, with logic all over, messy html, and no real conclusion. That said, today we're talking daggers.

I've started in on the Capture the Weapons quest, and thanks to a guildie managed to down Makazradon, having soloed Morgroron a while back.  The end result of the chain is the Illidari-Bane Mageblade, a dagger that ups spell crits by 20 points and spell damage to demons by 185.  I'm not sure it's worth it, as my Bringer of Death gives me +121 as is against every mob, but some demons did own our guild plus a couple of pick-ups when we hit the Terrace recently.  And it was a nice break from farming...

Anyhow, on the Illidari-Bane Mageblade page for Thottbot, there were links to "better" daggers that themselves had links in the comments for yet still arguably better daggers.  I thought I'd include a few here.

First, the
Illidari-Bane Mageblade.
Illidari-Bane Mageblade
Binds when picked up
Main HandDagger
31 - 100 DamageSpeed 1.60
(41.3 damage per second)
+12 Stamina
+11 Intellect
Durability 65 / 65
Equip: Improves spell critical strike rating by 20 (0.9%).
Equip: Increases damage done to Demons by magical spells and effects by up to 185.
Item Level 115
Disenchant value: 30 Gold 14 Silver
Vendor value: 9 Gold 7 Silver 91 Copper
Source: Quest

Score: 43.0  (Customize)
Thott <Afterlife>  Live (2.4.1)

Now a few "alternatives."  Let's see if we see a theme.
Nathrezim Mindblade
Binds when picked up
Main HandDagger
24 - 124 DamageSpeed 1.80
(41.4 damage per second)
+18 Stamina
+18 Intellect
Durability 75 / 75
Requires Level 70
Equip: Improves spell critical strike rating by 23 (1.0%).
Equip: Increases damage and healing done by magical spells and effects by up to 203.
Drops in Karazhan
Score 1.4     Vote: [-] [+] by Fire00F1Y, 1.3 years ago
Drops off Prince Malchazaar - 2nd to last boss in Karazhan and evidently hard as crap
Talon of the Tempest
Binds when equipped
Main HandDagger
25 - 122 DamageSpeed 1.80
(41.2 damage per second)
+10 Intellect
Yellow Socket
Yellow Socket
Socket Bonus: +3 Intellect
Durability 75 / 75
Requires Level 70
Equip: Improves spell hit rating by 9 (0.7%).
Equip: Improves spell critical strike rating by 19 (0.9%).
Equip: Increases damage and healing done by magical spells and effects by up to 194.
Score 1.7     Vote: [-] [+] by delther, 1.3 years ago
This drops from doomwalker just outside the instance entrance in the black temple... 2k AoE, 20k crushing damage yummeh

Vengeful Gladiator's Spellblade
Binds when picked up
Main HandDagger
16 - 116 DamageSpeed 1.60
(41.3 damage per second)
+30 Stamina
+20 Intellect
Durability 75 / 75
Requires Level 70
Equip: Improves spell hit rating by 17 (1.3%).
Equip: Improves your resilience rating by 18 (0.5%).
Equip: Increases damage and healing done by magical spells and effects by up to 247.
3150 Arena Points

Merciless Gladiator's Spellblade
Binds when picked up
Main HandDagger
18 - 112 DamageSpeed 1.60
(41.2 damage per second)
+27 Stamina
+18 Intellect
Durability 75 / 75
Requires Level 70
Equip: Improves spell hit rating by 15 (1.2%).
Equip: Improves your resilience rating by 18 (0.5%).
Equip: Increases damage and healing done by magical spells and effects by up to 225.

2739 Arena Points
To this, one might add the Gladiator's Spellblade, which takes twenty Eye of the Storm Marks of Honor and/or 25200 Honor Points. I'm a casual gamer, so I'm not sure how those work.

The theme? Three of the four (four of the five if you count the last), are all BoP and require some really serious gameplay. I realize the Bane is only good for demons, but what can I do? Where can I get a better weapon as a part-time gamer? I'm not sure there is one. The daggers, above, are not alternatives. They are daggers, sure. They increase spell damage. But finishing up Kara? Not in my immediate future. Nor are the battlegrounds, though that might be a more realistic opportunity.

I suppose taking down Doomwalker might eventually be a possibility, since there's no instance to run and only one boss to bring down.  Also, that Talon is BoE, so for a few thousand gold I could just buy the danged thing.  Not sure either is short-term possible, however.  I think I've got about 400g right now after the LW respecs, which stinks.

Finally, why mess with this when you've got a decent staff that's doing only 60 points less damage bonus than the Talon or Bane?  Well, do remember that 1.) 60 is more than zero and 2.) You then get an off-hand slot as well for more +dmg.  Not to mention the Talon has double sockets.

So having written another blog to think aloud, I suppose, I'll finish up the Bane line of quests, though it looks like it's going to require a run through two dungeons.

Long quest line
Score 41     Vote: [-] [+] by GandalfSC, 1.2 years ago The Hermit can be found at 77,38 (in Terrokar Forest)
This quest then follows into the following dungeon quests:

Fresh From the Mechanar  (The dungeon is the Southern Instance of Tempest Keep in Netherstorm.� 82, 70) You will need a flying mount to reach this location and no you can not be summoned.

The Lexicon Demonica  (The dungeon in Auchindoun's Shadow Labyrinth, the Southern instance of Auchindoun in Terrokar Forest. � 39,73) For this one you must have the Shadow Labyrinth Key

Who says this is a game for idiots?  Reminds me of the Pokemon Game Guide I got paid to write, though.  Seriously, in thirty years (if not next year), what good is all this information and hours wasted going to be?  And this time, I'm not even clocking some coin.  *sigh*  ;^)

EDIT: Note to self, solo half the instance requirement:
The Mechanar: Overcharged Manacell Solo - 20070324, 2:40 @ 640x480
Contains bonus feature, Sixty to Seventy in Seventy Seconds
Right-click, save-as: 36.7MB -- 2.1Mbps

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Triviawizard is for real

Today while running around IF with my bank toon, I stumbled over a good-sized gathering at the Proudmoore IF mailbox. Up on the wall was Triviawizard, a level one gnome in fancy clothes spouting out random, well, trivia questions. I noticed a lot of people guessing, and started making smart-alecky remarks of my own for laffs and cetera. Once I heard from the 'gnome that there were prizes, however, I starting whispering to see if he was for real.

He was! For every question, the first person with the correct answer got 25g. No joke. I answered two before he took a break and got 50g cash money. Not bad! Even without the prizes, it was a fun diversion. With, it's a pretty cool and very memorable little addition to the game o' WoW. Thanks Triviawizard!

Learning gems

I've got two pieces of gear in my standard sets now (panzer, boomkin, and healing sets have been standard, though I'm inching towards a healing/boom hybrid set recently) that have sockets, and I figured with the new daily quest money I oughta fill them in. Originally, having gone Scryer, I figured I'd just vendor some 2g gems from the "Fence" outside of the Shatt inn, but after doing a little research at WoW Gem Finder, thott, and wowhead, I hit the Auction House first.

In brief, the move panned out. I've now got every blue or red socket filled with this thing (aka "Royal Shadow Draenite"), which on Proudmoore was going for less than 2g per gem. Heck, +7 Healing +3 Spell Damage and +1 Mana per 5 Seconds for 1.2g? Not bad, and I finally get the socket bonuses on my items.

So if you've been thinking about socketing gear but either thought you'd replace the piece(s) in short order or were too cheap to shell out for lowbie gems in an attempt to save up for blues & purples (or if you're worried about both), stop. Go to your AH with a few gold and socket up.

In other news, my last week has been mostly spent farming. I don't know how you farmers do it. I'll post more about it later, but I'm generally trying to make my way to creating the BoP Windhawk armor set, which apparently is as good a set for moonkin as you can get without raiding or instance running. Being able to make it requires me to respec my specialization to Tribal Leatherworking (100g) and gathering a ton of of mats. I also turned out to have only gotten to LW 360 before my "hiatus", so I've been trying to level up LW last night and today, which hasn't been fun.

So yes, I've decided to go boomkin with my BoP items instead of Panzer for the time being. Huge cred loss if you call your site "," yo, but I've already got pretty good armor/stam gear for bear and Panzer and figured I'd go DPS for instances, which is where my guild is lacking.