Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Note to self: Consider buying...

Titanium Spellshock Necklace - Item - World of Warcraft: "Titanium Spellshock Necklace"

Deathchill Cloak - Item - World of Warcraft: "Deathchill Cloak"

Consider questing in the meanwhile:
Bloodbane Cloak - Item - World of Warcraft: "Bloodbane Cloak"

And then to buy with emblems:

Idol of Steadfast Renewal

Have installed GearScore. Kinda fun to take a look at what everyone's wearing, but also feels a little like high school where everyone's measuring what everyone else is wearing. I wonder if I ran into a group who'd just lost their tank because he checked out GS -- apparently joined, appeared, and dropped pretty quickly right before I showed up (though that's not to say I've got gear -- about 2970 iirc). Ran Halls of Lightening with a tank with GS of about 2300. Sheesh. Did fairly well during the run, however, even if my sorry self was the second or third highest GS of the group. Very close to revered with Sons of Hodir thanks to the two dungeon quests I finished up during the crawl. Very unfulfilling end to the Loki/Thor questline, however. DPS, take him down, and get a reward made from his tongue. Fun and all, but very little drama to end a very long questline. Decent panzerkin piece, however.

And it was also rewarding to see myself come out okay on the DPS chart for the Halls, even though I was dropping Innervate, bandaging, and even drinking (tanks love to keep it going, don't they?!) a bit during the fights. Good, fun group to run with. I'm thankful they took the time to let me know what to expect during my first run. (#2's gear was well over 3k, fwiw)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

More xserver PUGging

Another good night of PUGging. Back in June I was looking at gearing up with pre-raid content, mostly using the guide at Laser Chicken to figure out what to get after WoW.com's Shifting Perspectives had let me down so badly with the shoulders. I also decided it was about time I got serious and enchanted some gear. I'd been using the [Totemic Purification Rod] so long I figured it was safe. About 50-60g later in tips and mats, I had +50 Spellpower.

Not two hours later, I rolled on and won a [Blood Boil Lancet]. Bittersweet.

The cross-server LFG has really changed the game. I've been running quests and rep runs, and barely got in 5 minutes at a time before being zapped into a dungeon. The way this changes geography and social interactions is bizarre. It's the same game as before, sure, but it plays to much differently, it's difficult to describe. Obviously much quicker gear accumulation. No real reason to run rep for gear anymore, it'd seem, other than to pass a little time between instances. I'll probably start camping Sons of Hodir.

The grouping has gone well. I've gotten invited to two 50-80% done runs, which stinks a bit. I'd like to enjoy the whole instance rather than finish off a last boss or two, but on random you don't know ahead of time (and I guess you don't on the named dungeon LFG either). One group seemed to have recently kicked a hunter. I'm not sure how much better I did -- though I heard he didn't have ammo. FTW!!!!#1 Still, I'm not seeing people more than once. It's weird. Was nice to see someone who had gotten kicked out of Wintergrasp into the queue area in the snow from The Demonic Reich. At least they're local.

In other news, I leveled my Leatherworking to 440 so that I could make -- and did make -- [Windripper Leggings]. The leg armor that got me from 435 to 440 is worth about 100g a pop, which has been nice. Farming Eternal Air was a breeze in Wintergrasp. At first Wintergrasp was being contested and I had to wait. Couldn't even be a rear and sneak in; too long a queue for the battle. Later, however, I found that you could sneak into a couple of areas on the edges of Wintergrasp, not quite be in the zone, and farm some Tempest Revenants and Whispering Winds while technically in Dragonblight. The farming was very quick. Nobody around. Felt eerie. Quiet.

So that's two purples in the rotation with a low bid on some Windripper Boots that I hope comes through that would make three. The spellpower is growing well. No big deal to many, I know, but I'm at about 9k starfire crits now, which happens enough during Eclipse that I feel useful.

Last item -- I probably won't play as much for the balance of this month. Felt like taking a WoW break, and I've nearly gotten my $15 out already. I've enjoyed the instance runs and the gear, but I'm so freakin' far away from raids it's disheartening.

(Last last item -- none of my screenshots or movies from the last run were saved. Odd. Have to settle for making my leggings.)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Ethics and soloing in LK 3.3


Admittedly, there are better videos of the scene, in part because I forgot the keystrokes for taking a movie on my Mac until a ways into the "movie," but I figured I'd pass along my, um, unique directorial style anyway.

I've got to admit, Cleansing Drak'Tharon was something of a let-down. I'd grown to like Drakuru a bit over the months, and that in part was why I decided to finish the questline, even though, at 80 and several months removed from playing the start of the line, I'm a bit past and over it. To see him working for the Lich King kinda stunk. It seems there are a few quests in LK that trick you into doing tasks with dubious ethics. I'm remembering the worgen quest line where you're asked to skin someone after you off them, iirc. I liked the ambiguity there, as it was more a call for those who just hit "Accept" and keep running, killing X of Y without thinking about the text in between, to actually read the text. Still, it seems like there have been another one or two ethically questionable quests in addition to Drakuru that were less well done than the worgen.

In any event, I've been duped. And yes, I still took the reward.


My other "insight" was the way that soloing has changed in a big way with the new dungeon finder system in 3.3. There is a pretty in-depth guide for soloing Cleansing Drak'Tharon at WoWHead. I was going to give soloing a whirl, but figured I'd be efficient and hit LFG for the Keep while I was at it. Died twice learning to solo the spiders, and got an invite in the middle of the second death. Bam. I'm grouped, and a few minutes later, even with a Death Knight out of play whose wife apparently was giving him an earful about playing WoW when he should have been doing something else, we were through the entire instance, np, playing with four.

If I can group any instance (ended up being heroic) and end up with my first purple since my Lava Belt[1] more quickly than figure out how to solo, well, it looks like I might end up doing lots more PUGging than doing it alone in the future.

That's a shame. I've often thought that this blog should be called The Confessions of a Part-time Soloer, and it's a part of the game I get the feeling I'll largely miss. Though the loot makes it a lot easier.

[1] The purple was [Keystone Great Ring]. I'm usually good enough on loot that I pass on things I can't use, and greed on things that I'd put into the rotation immediately for DPS, but here I considered needing this ring for all of a millisecond. It would be (and will be) a great panzerkin soloing addition with all the armor and STA. I greeded and got lucky. And nobody asked me to trade afterwards (seems there was an another purple (in retrospect, I believe it was [Leggings of the Winged Serpent], in which case that seems to obviously be for the boomkin) that I could have needed for spell power, iirc), so I'm guessing I'm in the clear. Woohoo!

I have been panzer-soloing a good deal with what quests I do. Whacking melee makes for a more sustainable quest run than oomkin-ing all over the place.

EDIT: Didn't realize the Armory keeps track of your need and greeds! I'm 17 greeds to 2 needs right now. Not too bad. Wonder when it started keeping track.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Curse you, Google AdWords

Gmail convinces me to click on another WoW gear-for-cash link. I'm always curious to see how much virtual gear is worth, a problem I've had since a friend of mine bought a house for Ultima Online off of eBay for -- get this -- real cash! I mean, look, it is worth something to have someone grab this virtual gear and register a few zeroes and ones for you. I'm not advocating you have someone do it for you. It's just a game, folks. But it seems perfectly appropriate to put a dollar value on this stuff. It's like checking the lines of NFL games. If you get seven points, Vegas isn't saying that your team is going to lose by seven, but that they believe they can con the most cash out of gamblers by pretending that's what's going to happen. It's just that the point spread also has some basis in reality. Those seven points work because of the double perception that they're inaccurate.

Anyhow, this was pretty interesting, from their terms and conditions:

# We professional levelers will by no means take your gold and items away. Provided you lost your gold and items during our leveling timeframe, we will compensate you under the condition that it's our fault that leads to the stealing.
# we won't take any responsibility for the accidents happened in the leveling process such as password change and missing gold

Clear as mud?

Brings me to my thoughts reading through today's prices: Could you pay someone real cash to run instances and raids with you? That is, if I'm a blue and green 80, can I pay some purples to run with me? Seems like it's cheating, but not much worse that the rules are undercutting fishing skill advances or rep runs from the past. It's easier to run Sons of Hodir now b/c Blizzard thinks it'll make them more cash. Why not flip the payout and make my game easier *now*. It's not like I'm going to play less because I get the gear on these, um, patronized runs. I'll probably play more. Everyone wins.

There's not too much difference between hiring folks to run with you and paying someone to powerlevel/gear you. But it's distinction enough, I wonder if Blizzard would ever allow it. Especially if they could tax the service.

(This poorly edited and conceived post brought to you by "I've Got Too Much To Do And Need To Take A Nap.")

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Level 1s don't need to attack anymore?

Yes, I've been too lazy to alt up and see if all is... revealed, but why is it that the current patch notes say...

Attack: Level 1 druids, mages, priests, and warlocks will no longer start with the Attack button placed on their action bars by default.

What's the angle there?

And yes, Jal's taken a pretty long hiatus again. Spinksville and Of Teeth and Claws are doing good enough jobs blogging, I barely miss playing, even though the latter got tired enough of WoW that he's left for quite some time. That and I've started playing D&D Online in what little free time I've got now. So far, it's an okay, if inferior, MMORPG, and that's even considering that I played paper and pencil AD&D for years.

Jal did "come back" for the free 7 days Bliz gave us for the 5 year anniversary. I might put up a picture of the new whelpling if I get time. About all I got in was a round of rep quests before my week was up. Didn't even get a chance to try out the new xserver LFG, which, if Spinks is telling representative stories, sounds like a heck of an improvement.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Note to self: Ark Inventory

Add On – Ark Inventory | The WoW Economist:

Ark Inventory is probably one of my favorite mods and becomes even more valuable over time as bag slots continue to grow and we’re allowed to carry, store or bank more items.

I usually don't use mods, as I'm casual enough a player that I hate to be bothered with each major client update to run back through them all. I have a macro for coords and have at it. This one looks good enough to try out, though. My bags, other than my solo bag (mats, alt equip) and instance bag (pots, drinks, bandages, food w/ bonuses) which get swapped when I'm swapping to a PUG from soloing or vice versa, are usually a complete mess, and having a rule-based bag set up sounds great.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Cross server PUGs

From A day in the life of cross-server PUGs � Welcome to Spinksville!:

So what happens if all the people who aren’t bothered are given an easier way to get to the group content that they want? (Remember, they don’t hate the server community, they just don’t care either way.) But server communities have been valuable for people. By running server-based PUGs, new players can mix with existing ones. It has been one of the standard ways that people find guilds (or guilds find people).

Even as a part-timer, I've got to say I've enjoyed the community created by PUGs.

I waited for weeks to get into the Caverns of Time to finish up a rep-based armor set, and finally gave it up. Turns out there was another fellow on my server essentially doing the same thing. We both kept ending up in the same groups, doing quick runs we'd already done in the hope of convincing them to go CoT afterwards.

And yes, PUGs do, as Spinks points out, encourage guild formation. I've run with several good tanks and healz whose playstyle showed, well, showed they were at the very least extremely mature 15 year-olds. When I was considering running raids, these were the guilds I researched online. And after noticing some quiet folk -- not folk I'd necessarily want to play with on a regular basis, as they after would whine like crud at the 15 year-olds who weren't so mature (often the Warlock. I don't know why, Warlocks, but the young folk IRL flock your way), but good, solid, get the job done folks -- running with great gear, I started noticing that their guilds were the first to finish server-wide accomplishments. Opening gates, bringing down bosses first, etc.

To lose that sense of community would be to further commoditize players in a way that might work short-term, but I believe would get rid of the hard-core folk who drive game adoption.

There's an easy compromise, and I'd imagine Blizzard's already given it some serious consideration -- ensure that as few servers as possible are represented in any PUG, and reuse those server combinations. If I need two more to run CoT, then pull them both from the same server. Later, when others do the same thing, pull the extra folk from that sister server. And encourage server transfers at times between the two.

If Apple can Genius up decent playlists, Blizzard can algorithm cross-server groups.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Cataclysm reaction

Ah, Cataclysm. As we already saw a bit from MuShU's comment on my last post, the biggest deal to me is that vanilla Old World WoW is going away. Sure, we've had a few changes in the old world, like Dalaran leaving (you know, I don't think I've gone back since LK), but nothing nearly so extreme. WoW.com has a good video of the zone changes, and I'm a little embarrassed to say I was sad to see how Auberdine (and the rest of Darkshore and Ashenvale) are changing. Auberdine is where Jal usually logs off after some fishing to take a needed break (ie, when I suspend the account a few months). It's my resort town, dang it! (vacation snapshots from 2006, below)

But as far as the way the game operates, I was most interested in the worgen racial skills:

BlizzCon 2009: Live blogging the Cataclysm new starter zones:
Two Forms, instant, 1.5 sec cooldown, Turn into your currently inactive form.
Darkflight, instant, 3 min cooldown, activates your true form increasing movement speed by 70% for 10 sec
Viciousness, passive, increases all damage done by 1%.
Flayer, passive, skinning skill increased by 15 and allows you to skin faster.

This is a druid's dream slate of racials. With the elf, I get shadowmeld, which is nice, and was much nicer when I could eat and drink invisibly while mostly soloing my way up to 70. The tauren's stomp is useful, though perhaps more in PvP.

The worgen get dps, the ability to, I assume, cheetah away indoors twice per cooldown (once with cat form, another with racial), and I'm as envious as I could be about the faster skinning and built-in Finkle's Skinner and a half. Lissanna adds that they'll be able to use their claws to skin. Even more useful than the Gnomish Army Knife Jal's carrying. Seriously, how often do I cook on the road? (For those out of the know, the army knife includes a firestarter as well as a skinning knife, "Gyromatic Micro-Adjuster, Arclight Spanner, Blacksmithing Hammer, and Mining Pick", and takes up one more space in your pack than wogen claws.)

So so far, so good on the cataclysm. Interesting Old World reuse, a new, interesting druid race, and what appears to be an honest attempt to expand lore, rather than tack onto it. I'm looking forward to CC more than I was to BC and LK. I wonder if my nvidia Mac mini will still be up to the task.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Old World is New Again: Rumors, Rumors

I'm not sure why two blogs in my roll won't comment on the rumors about the next expansion. It's fun, yo.

So here we go: My favorite news from the World of Warcraft - Cataclysm rumors at MMO-Champion:

Classic Azeroth Revamp
A cataclysmic event caused by Deathwing and Azshara will change the face of Azeroth as we know it. Most of the new content for Cataclysm will take the form of a revamped Azeroth, taking advantage of newer additions to WoW such as phasing and daily quests.

If you've been reading a while, you might remember I mentioned criticizing the virtual ghettoizing in another blog, where you couldn't see nuttin' without the expansion, and asked (here on Panzerkin) for this style of Old World revamp to happen in LK (where we know it didn't happen). Here's a bit from those posts:

[From Curmudgeon Gamer]:
Blizzard needs to ensure that expansions are backwards compatible, not so much that expansionless folk like myself can go to the new lands, nor even that we should be provided access to the new trainers, etc, but players with expansions should continue to flow through old hotspots (possibly with new buildings in cities accessible only if you have the expansions, etc) so that the communities at least do not give the impression of being quite so perfectly cleaved.

[From Panzerkin]:
Instead, it created another system of virtual ghettos back in WoW's Old World. Endgames shifted. Years of development time for instances, etc, rendered worthless. Those new to WoW or who hadn't seen the OW end game had no real incentive to go back.

There were options. Create mobs that have a new attack type or one for which there was little resistance gear in the OW, kinda like fire resist was used in the original. Keep the progression of items natural, and ensure items (other than just epics) continue to have some important value in the future. Here, I'm thinking about something like the Illdari-Bane items -- perhaps there's a mob in the WotLK that can only be damaged by items that specifically harm demons by 150 or more points.

Glad to see that wasn't such a crazy idea after all. Looks like we might even get to fly in the Old World too.

This leads me to one question: What happens if you don't have the expansions? Can I still walk around the Old World? In fact, if, "Durotar is wrecked and apparently Orgrimmar could be destroyed. A new Orc city is rebuilt over the course of the expansion," and, assumedly, much of the 'make-up' content is hidden from newbies by flight, do I now actually have less available content in Azeroth than before the upcoming expansion? UO just recently got smart enough to give everyone access to every expansion for free. Let me tell you, when I played one month of UO two years after one month of UO, years after years of UO, one of the big reasons I didn't care to stick around even with the Kingdom Reborn interface is that I couldn't go anywhere new. I was still stuck on my Third Dawn era dungeons and content. Nice. Thanks for keeping me in the virtual ghetto.

But yeah, this sounds like fun. Assuming these rumors are true, IANAL, LMNOP, etc. ;^)

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Maybe they shoulda left in "of Nature's Wrath"

Druid Q&A for Moonkin � Tastes Like Battle Chicken:

Ultimately however the problem we are trying to solve is that Wrath and Starfire are just too similar. In PvP you get a little bit of interest out of the fact that they are in different schools, but in PvE by the time talents are factored in, the two spells just become fairly quick (but not instant) nukes and it’s easy to math out which one to use and which one to ignore.

You know, I felt there was a pretty good distinction between the two brewing in BC. There were elementals that couldn't be hurt by Nature, and you had to go to Arcane. The gear was also occasionally geared (no pun intended) to one or the other.

Why not bring back a little of the "of Nature's Wrath" and "Arcane spellpower" (iirc)? Removing the spell type specific bonuses was an oversimplification that caused the nondifferentiation we're seeing in the interview, above.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Ding! 80

Well, I'm done. Leveled out. Been running the Sons of Hodir/Storm Peaks quests, and have waded through the solo portion of the giant Whatever it takes 40+ quests-long quest line. Not a bad run, overall, but Thor and Loki -- ur, I'm sorry, Thorim and Loken -- haven't really made me feel all that involved. What do I remember about the quests? Not a whole lot. Mostly that Thorim looked really bored on his throne, and that some Sons of Hodir daily quest names have pitifully unimaginative double entendres. Still, nice to see a plot arc continued in a quest line longer than two or three quests, and just interesting enough to be memorable.

The exciting part, of course, is that I can quit leveling and concentrate on gearing up and moving slowly towards raiding. Time to stop grabbing whatever the quest rewards are and actually pursue whatever gives me the best gear. And I don't think my lack of swift flight form will be such a pain now. Danged spell costs with the new level brought me back from nearly 1k gold to under 800. Man, I sound codgery.

So I'm not sure what comes next. I'll keep running Hodir rep to get the enchant, and will follow some combination of WoW.com and Laser Chicken's best balance gear lists for pre-raiding 80s. Then I'll run dungeons for gear, and try a few PUG raids, I suppose. Then hopefully I'll start raiding proper after finding a decent raiding guild. Lots of guilds are recruiting, it seems, but many are pre-80 chars, which seems strange. I've got two guildies doing the level-a-friend XP bonus thing, and have gotten from 40 to 60 in about the time I've gone from 78-80. Seems a few people are doing something similar and forming toon guilds to house them.

I'm rambling. Yay, 80. It's kinda like the NBA playoffs; I'm ready for the second season/game of WoW now.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Gearing for Naxx

Welp, I'm trying to spend some of 79 positioning myself for good entry raid gear. Thanks to WoW Insider/WoW.com's Dan O'Halloran's comment about Shifting Perspectives' gear at 80 list, I thought I was starting off well. Unfortunately I made two mistakes.

The first was to go for shoulders first, and to try for Shifting's best quest piece: "Mantle of the Flesh Giant, from the quest The Flesh Giant Champion in Icecrown". Decent questline, horribly quick XP, but it turns out that Mantle isn't even as good as one of their runner ups, "Purehorn Spaulders, a Leatherworking BoE," which not only gives more boomkin power, but is a leather item. So I dropped the fleshwerks quest line and off I went last night to start farming Hath'ar Skimmers.

The respawn rate was ridiculous, and I was able to put on some melee gear and the Staff of ye olde Sorrowful Chieftan and grab 30 Nerubian Chitin's in no time. I was helped by someone who didn't reply to /whispers who was whacking everything in sight, but didn't skin. I usually like to /whisper before I start vulturing all the leftovers, but after throwing a MotW and Thorns on the farmer, I gave up. It was a level 80 character, so I'm not sure what the angle was. Gold farming? No idea. The mobs did keep respawning so quickly that it supported four folks running around whacking things. You can just barely see my proverbial benefactor over Jal's left (your right) shoulder in the screengrab with the Spaulders.

And though the Spaulders look pretty kewl and all, this brings us to my second mistake: Not comparing the list to Laser Chickens. I completely missed his wrap up, and it's a very good one. For shoulders, I do have the best craftable from Shifting Perspectives, it appears, but I'm apparently looking for Mantle of the Eternal Sentinel, a BoE drop from Sartharion. That's a big difference. Still, Shifting's on the mark here.

Shifting might not be for other slots, though, compared to Chicken's more recent gear. Let's compare the "accessible" gear (so the best spellpower (oversimp, I know) from Chicken's list, with the best craftable for any drops, and from WoW.com's.

(This will have to be a two-parter; here's the Chicken list, and the Chicken List totals:)

Intellect 405
Stamina 541 (616)
Spirit 185
Armor 3087
Resilience rating 186
Critical strike rating 238
Haste rating 37
Spell power 673
+ two sockets

Set bonuses in parens.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Note to self: Naxx guide on WoW.com, and Naxx gear suggestions?

Ready Check: Guide to Naxxramas (Arachnid Quarter):

This week's article examines the Arachnid Quarter, and we'll be visiting the other quarters in upcoming articles. We'll look at each boss on both normal and heroic modes, pointing out the differences (beyond HP increases). Generally, if you've defeated the boss on normal mode, there are only minor changes to adapt to on heroic mode (and vice versa).

And the raiding, ur, reading begins...

EDIT: Need to find a moonkin equiv for this mage guide to minimum Naxx gear.

WoW Insider was bored to tears in March; one temp fix

Okay, I know, I'm kinda beating the horse to death, but looking for guides on Naxxramas before hitting the dungeon, I found a bunch of choice burn-out quotes on WoW Insider's Ready Check from this past March:

We go through the motions of complaining about the looks of the new armor, watching live streams of new bosses and chattering endlessly when any tidbit introduces novelty into the dull sameness of WoW endgame. Yet a few weeks into the PTR schedule, with Ulduar right around the corner, some players are sizing the content up and thinking "is this it?".

Those players are going to leave, sooner or later. There's something keeping them playing, from social ties to the responsibilities of leadership to deep-seated psychological problems driving them away from their real lives. Yet there's a tipping point, and chances are if you're at the stage where nothing in the game seems exciting any more - not even the shiny new stuff - then that point will be reached sooner rather than later. Do you really want to spend the rest of your weekends from noon til night fishing ingame, just so you have enough food banked for Ulduar?

That's a long quote, and I don't feel bad at using it, as there's quite a bit more. I think the quote about fishing is particularly timely. Yes, Jennie, apparently Blizzard does want you to spend the rest of your weekends fishing. Might as well make fishing an iPhone game, huh? The comments over on Restokin where people are suddenly very happy to have something to do while spamming the Trade channel makes me wonder just how much time folks are spending on this game when they're not coming close to "playing" in the traditional, twitch video gaming sense. The answer is, um, lots.

Ms. Lees seems to hit the nail on the head (or at least confirm my increasing suspicions) when she says...

Yet there's this increasing sense that Blizzard's losing us. New content isn't up to expectations, people aren't frothing-at-the-mouth excited about every drop of PTR news, players are leaving right, left and centre and the mood is turning a little sour.

So far, there hasn't been much answer from Blizzard. There are certainly good answers, however. I'd like to see some sort of random item generation that also forces players to find matching pieces held by someone else. It could be very simply -- if you have piece A1, you get a green triangle over your head. Folks with A2 have green squares. A3 green circles. Whatever. But replace A1,2,3 with some interesting names. Put some lore behind the pieces, even mention character names in other characters' quest screens. Perhaps pyramid the pieces somehow, making each level a bit more exclusive. And while you're at it, pyramid scheme the pieces. Make it so that everyone who runs a lowbie quest meets somebody who has finished the end game so that they get their pieces upgraded or whatever, and make it worth the more hardcore player's time. Drive player interaction. Make certain players part of the lore. This will, not surprisingly, make people give a rat's arse about the backstory. Right now, even a Choose Your Own Adventure book does a better job of making its readers/players feel central to the plot.

I'd also make some NPC's puppets, played by Blizzard employees. A little role playing would go a long way to make Jaina Proudmoore seem like more than a Chuck E. Cheese automaton. Seems like it's pretty obvious that these sorts of human controlled, necessarily unrepeatable cameo appearances of the sorts of characters we often see only on rails in the Caverns of Time or the extended "cut scene" in Stormforge when Katrana Prestor became a dragon, when changed into direct interactions with players make for the most memorable pieces of game lore (even better version of Lord British's death here -- and a good list of the top 5 most memorable events in MMORPG history, with each one arguably being something that players created, most obviously so. Read it. You'll get the point; good gaming means engaging with the developers (the gods?), and one of the most obvious ways to do that is through exploits).

There's an infinite amount of life left in WoW, I think, but it's going to take a new approach to game development, and a real out of the box thinking for the next expansion. I think we all realize WotLK is essentially just TBC all over again -- it's just more. More. WoW needs to give players that sense of overwhelming wonder that it did when we started years ago, and that's coming much less often.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Ding! 79

Absolutely nothing exciting to report. Took about two weeks off, which is the reason for the delay in dings. Also been working overtime a good deal, which has eaten into the WoW time.

I guess the quest line in Storm Peaks where you turn into a frozen Amazon are interesting, if not particularly fun. Endless enjoyment trying to remember to go into moonkin form when you don't look any different once you've switched thanks to the disguise. I am neutral with Sons of Hodir now. The frozen "fossil" area is a neat touch. Ran the airship quests where you wax one of the lich king eyes. Not impressed. Not even motivated to look up the name. I'm honestly bored out of my mind with the quest lines right now, though I hear the spear into the drake quest for Hodir is very Gods of War like, and worth trying.

Switching to fiber for Internet post-move has paid off well -- when I first logged back in, I wondered for a few minutes why my system's performance was so much better.

So that's about it. Thinking about apping a casual raiding guild. Checked in with current guild captain to make sure it's okay to pull out my main, which it apparently is. We still don't have anyone over 74 other than Jal.

Okay, bed time. Carson Daly's show ist no goode.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

3.1 fishing changes are unethical. [sic]

I put a pretty phat comment up on Restokin, a blog I enjoy even if they spec'd their druid wrong. ;^D Unfortunately they were championing another change in the game that makes it more "accessible," which plays into a number of my pet peeve topics. Here it is, reproduced below (actually, I ended up drafting here then c&p'n there.)

However, I really think they made some great improvements to fishing in the 3.1 patch that convinced me to go back and work on my fishing some more.

What was that change? I can now fish anywhere, even with a terrible fishing skill. I could fish in the dalaran sewers or pond. I can fish anywhere in Northrend.

This reminds me too much of why of Teeth and Claws said he was hanging it up and leaving WoW: the game's becoming too accessible, imo. He's not the only druid that's said see ya to WoW recently either (a bit about it here).

There's a problem with ghettoizing the old world as well as cheapening the work behind the sense of achievement those that truly grinded through parts of the game have "earned". This change in fishing reminds me a bit too much of the reasoning behind dailies. Make the game easier and bribe your players with a little virtual cash. Good thing WoW learned the lesson from Ultima Online that a closed economic system doesn't work, and went straight to manipulating the virtual market in an attempt to maximize reality cash. (I'd say there's nothing inherently wrong with that, but then Jonathan Blow apparently thinks there is. Check the RPG Vault article I linked earlier, and Teeth and Claws is talking the topic up some more now too.)

And seriously (insert smilies! I kid Hasselhoff, I kid!), there's no excuse for a druid not to level up fishing the "right way". Moonglade teleport and a few casts before sign-offs, anyone?! ;^)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A rose with a thousand new polys is still a rose

Please forgive my lack of excitement -- or outrage -- regarding the upcoming new bear and cat forms. But then I've got a Generation NEX in my entertainment console, and completed Molten Core 2600.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

"What went wrong" -- Why one druid leaves WoW

Having taken at least two exteeeeennnnnndddddded breaks from WoW myself, I'm always suspicious when I hear someone's stepping away, but here's another one (thanks for the link, Revelart).

Of Teeth and Claws: Hanging up my claws:

1. Change in end game target audience. One of the key design goals of Wrath of the Lich King was to make the raiding end game 'more accessible' to the player base. This involved removing attunements, creating intentionally easy encounters, and nerfing anything that came across as too difficult. As I have been told repeatedly when I complained about this shift in focus, I'm living in the past when I state that I want the TBC end game back - WoW has moved past that model and is now something different. Fair enough, I guess, but this new game is not the World of Warcraft that I loved."

After [completing end game content], all that is left is the hard modes, and I simply cannot get excited about those encounters because they present nothing new. In many cases it's just "kill faster", "heal harder", and "screw up less". Unique encounters suck me in.... rehashed encounters push me away.


3. Removal of attunements. In the past content has been gated by a series of attunements, which represented plateaus that players had to achieve in order to enter certain content. While not a perfect system by any stretch of the imagination, this forced players to experience one tier of content before moving on to the next and had the effect of slowing down progression.

From the view of bettering your character, the complete disappearance of attunements means that there is literally no valid reason to run any pre-raid content. If you're a good player the gear you gain from questing is sufficent to get you through Naxxramas, and loot upgrades fall like rain in that instance. This speeds the game up, and leads to faster burn out of raid-minded players.

I'd like to include more, but I think that's enough of a steal for now. Honestly, head on over and give it a read if you haven't already. I do agree with #3 there in a big way, even though I never attuned in TBC! I enjoyed the pre-raid content quite a bit. Part of the attunement hit my favorite zones and quests list. I've also posted on it here (Attunements made you do your homework) and a little on the quest chain I enjoyed most here.

Karthis might really stay away, at least for a while. There's another post where he talks about the other games he's playing. Those that, like me, tend to break "for RL" usually come back, I believe, but I've also noticed that I can fill in the WoW craving fairly well playing a number of other games, particularly Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. I don't have the muscle in my system for GTA4 yet, but doing that would probably keep me away even longer than RL is right now. If you can find another MMO that works, well, sayonara. Can't say I've played Ultima Online more than a month or two the last three or four years, knowhutuhmean, Vern?

Looks like Part-Time Druid is having the same feelings (and he's the author of the blog I link to in a link in this post; he's been complaining about removing attunements as long as I have)...

At some point I exposed the gears and wires of WoW, it’s inner machinations. I used that knowledge to manipulate the leveling game, to get powerful fast. Now I just wish I could put the old machine back together again.

I guess the real question is whether opening raids to more players is financially beneficial, and if it's financially beneficial for the long run? If your top-tier guys all bolt for Conan or LotR or whatever it is we haven't seen yet, don't they take the cachet with them, making others eventually follow? Part-Time has another great phrase... With LK, we have: "Welcome to World of Twinkcraft. Leveling is distilled, processed, and the quickest paths are easy to find." The "exposed the gears and wires" is particularly apt. Everyone knows how to play now. WoWHead and Thottbot and WoWWiki get consulted nearly every day of play. Mathes (now "theorycrafting") can be done more thoroughly by players than devvers, it seems.

I just want to play. And I want to remember what I did -- and have a reason why. Look, once players are able to make MMO content as well as developers, we've got a problem. As I plug over on Curmudgeon Gamer, "We've obviously gotten to the point where quest creation is a franchiseable process, easy to reproduce by almost any french frying knucklehead."

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Another lame RL post

Sorry for the slack posting. Moved, haven't had the net, dog ate my Battle.net account. First two are true.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Ding! 78

It continues. Finally able to use my Totemic Purification Rod, my Kalu'ak rep reward. Got the achievement for exploring all of the Sholazar Basin. The Freya questline was surprisingly fun overall, though at times too experimental (see Jal-as-parot picture to the right). Oracles/Furyheart questline was better. I waded in on one side or the other heading to Nessingwary's originally when I saw the scores o' NPCs mobbing it out on the road. Wish I could recall, now that I'm firmly on the Oracles' side, rep grinding to grab the eggs -- which is idiotic, as I'm just 5kg (no pun intended for mass nor Celtics fans) away from my "free" epic flight form and don't need the green drake mount the Oracles' egg would give me. (Btw, MAN it's good to be flying again.) Ah yes, finishing the previous sentence. I wish I could recall which side I fought for when I initially saw the Oracle/Furyheart battle going on, before I started the questline. I think I was helping the Furyheart -- those Oracles are Murlocs, after all. Ewwww. Murlocs.

Nice to take a quick trip back to Un'Goro as part of the Freya line (and great fps too!), and decided I should smack down the Devilsaur while I was there. Pain in my butt. Felt childishly good to smack him down.

Did hit the Agent Tournament grounds. Might be a fun minigame, but so far not horribly impressive as I'm off to try its dailies.

For those kind enough to keep reading, I'll try to make things more interesting in a couple of weeks once I'm 80. I'm sold on not wasting any time until then instancing, etc. Still haven't even spec'd my second talent build. You can do nothing but waste time until you're 80. The gear's all going to be pretty much obsolete when you get there. Looking forward to digging up a raiding guild then, if I can't convince mine to do it. And that's looking doubtful, as our guild leader recently got [cue music] married.

Yes, in RL. Not to get someone the Kissing Bride achievement. ;^)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Speak softly...

... and carry a giant Melia's Magnificent Scepter. First drop I've bagged myself that was immediately useful since the swamp near IF. That was a while back.

Moonkin'info's "Ulduar Wishlist"

From My Moonkin Ulduar Wishlist | Moonkin | World of Warcraft Blog & WoW Tips:

Weapon: [Soulscribe] - this thing is absolute God-mode.  Perfectly itemized for us, to boot.  What’s funny is that from the weapons I’ve seen on WoWHead, it may turn out that [Val'anyr, Hammer of Ancient Kings] could be our BIS weapon from Ulduar.  I mean, apart from the +equip effect, there really is nothing else to separate it from a great DPS weapon. 

And drool...

Spellpower still >> Haste

Another look at haste for caster druids | Restokin:

Graylo concluded for moonkin that gemming for haste & eating haste food wasn’t a good use of resources. I’m going to have to second this, and add that it’s probably not that great of an idea for healing druids, either. Something with spell power is going to give both moonkin & tree druids more than putting pure-haste gems in your gear. Spell power food, fish feasts, or mana/5 food is going to be better for resto druids than haste food, in general.

Man, I hate the mathes. Actually, I like math, but I hate how much time you can lose worrying about it playing WoW. It's like an extended Wonderlic test. Why not just see who can throw the football during a game? Or, in this case, who can rack some major DPS while helping you have fun in an instance or raid.

Which is not to say I don't appreciate Lissanna and Co doing the theorycrafting for us.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Ding! 77

Took a few days off during the week for RL, but played a bit last night. Got 77 right at the moment in the quest line where you unexpectedly go from friendly with the Frenzyheart to Hostile, and vice versa with The Oracles. Laser Chicken's rep list has two items from each faction worth pursuing, but the real benefits seem to be getting the Mercenary of Sholazar achievement and grabbing the Mysterious Eggs which reportedly have a 4-8% chance of turning into a Green Proto-Drake. Which reminds me that I might should have saved my 1000g for Cold Weather Flying rather than spent it on dual-speccing, which I haven't done yet. 77 is the level where flying's back in Northrend.

You can switch back and forth between Frenzyheart and the Oracles, but I'm probably going to rep up just the Oracles so I can start waiting a week for each egg to hatch. And I'm going to have to start saving up for flying too, I suppose. Time to finally grab Auctioneer again and bring the bank character back online.

Let me add that the questline is hella easy. I'm not impressed. Fun, but waaaaaaay too easy.

One quick note: The Frenzyheart/Oracle questline sure ain't PC, is it? You start by whacking gorillas (not that I didn't whack scores in STV for leather), later poke baby gorillas with sticks until the mother shows up ("Run away dumb softknuckle! We gonna poke you more!") -- so that you can kill her!, and then kill Oracles, proverbial sentient beings, for no good reason. You're a "slave" the entire time, and then the Oracles are dumb enough to turn on a dime and friend you after you've been murdering them. Compare this with the werewolf line where the werewolf clan has you, what, go to capture an orc and dismember it, but you're stopped by some girl before you do it. Blizzard seems to be having a good deal of fun with the people who quickly click, "Accept" and click talk bubbles without reading, but they're also putting grinders and completionist through some questionable lines for no good reason.

Not arguing it makes everything okay, but the Frenzyheart text cracked me up a few times.

"Dajik the Wasp Hunter says: I placed most of the spikes. Good amount of pointiness I think. You like?"
"Dajik the Wasp Hunter says: Dajik's last learner eaten by sand-thing. We do better this time though!"
"Dajik the Wasp Hunter says: You do okay enough with that one. Just okay."
"Dajik the Wasp Hunter says: Oh! Dajik has idea! Make chicken sounds and maybe they come to you!"
"Dajik the Wasp Hunter says: In case you wonder, wasp sting not feel so good. No need to try."


Sunday, April 19, 2009

Update and panzerkin staff

The great DPS staff I grabbed was the Staff of the Sorrowful Chieftan. Insanely good DPS for me, but it really brings to light how bad damage mit is for 'kin since the LK nerf. I really miss Braxxis armor x 360%. The staff was a cinch to get with three in the group, and takes about a minute after landing at Zul'Drak. Get it.

In other news, I'm behind on posts, have dinged 76 which I'll backfill, and have been running the Nessingwary questline now that I'm 76. Also bagged my first rep reward, dropping back in with the walruses to grab the Whale-Skin Vest. I think I might also grab the Whale-Skin Breastplate (not on Laser Chicken's list; this is panzerkin only, folks) next time I log in, as that'd be a good upgrade for when I'm panzering solo with the Staff.

(Update: Argh, now that I do some wowheading, it looks like going after the Dark Iceborne Chestguard gives me both a better piece plus gives me the iceborne set bonus back, which I recently lost putting in a few new pieces. Argh. See what I mean about theorycrafting ruining your playtime?)

And Nessingwary's is danged busy. I didn't realize how many achievements were available in that zone -- mostly hunting -- until an 80 was nice enough to link a few for me.

Finally, let me reiterate how important it is to ignore theorycrafting pre-80. Not spending much of any time figuring out exactly what to wear or what rep to grab, etc, has paid off in much faster leveling. About all I did was leave Zul'Drak for the Dragonblight storyline, as those rep rewards will eventually be better. For now, the Kalu'ak rewards (76 & 78 level usables) are doing just fine. There'll be time enough to count points when the dealin's done.

PS -- Paid for my dual spec. Now I just need to find the time to pick a set of resto talents.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

3.1 talents -- a new bag

3.1's talents are much different on the balance tree than I would have expected from what casual reading I've done up until this point. A few observations...

* Seems to be some Starfire pimpige. Celestial Focus has Starfire pushback reductions, not Wrath. Improved insect swarm for some reason makes you more likely to crit Starfire on someone who already has Moonfire DoTting, making that talent affect two spells without any connection for the spell in the talent's name. Strange. I'm still lamenting the loss of 70+ of Nature's Wrath gear.

* Brambles is a sneaky boon in that it adds serious Treant damage. That is new, right?

* I'm guessing the Spirit bonus with Improved Moonkin isn't new, but it's new to me. Gotta start paying more attention to my +SPI. I don't think I had this talent earlier.

* Does anyone use Hibernate? Really?

Right now I can only figure out how to spend 63 points confidently, and if you pushed, I'd have to admit that I feel the three in brambles really isn't necessary. I could throw a few points into mana reg while casting, but pre-raiding this usually isn't a huge problem. /shrug

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Saving for the dual-spec

From Official Druid notes from Patch 3.1 : The Daily Druid:

Mark of the Wild and Gift of the Wild can now be cast while in Moonkin form.
Moonkin Form: Mana cost reduced.

In spite of the latter, the former means I'll hardly shift now aside from when I Starfall too many mobs and go into heal thyself mode.

Looks like lots of us are going to be out 1000g tomorrow, eh? Looking forward to trying out resto for the first time. Haven't paid for a respec yet, and each time I got a freebee, I've gone balance again.

In other news, I've finally got a staff that keeps my melee rotation within 200 dps of my spell-only rotation. Would get the name, but the Armory's down. Feel like a Panzerkin for the first time since BC. This plus Starfall should make things pretty viable again. We'll see at 80. Also finally got +1000 spellpower with the leatherworking self-buff. Note to others pre-80: Level to 400 LW sooner than later. It's not like there's a lack of leather around.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Ding! 75

Lots of Zul'Drak. The picture was taken after Starfall aggro'd a few too many mobs (six total)... when that happens, I usually bust out the trees, cast a few Moonfire DoTs, and start healing like mad while the trees down two or three. Luckily LevelSnap got the picture I wasn't anywhere close to thinking about capturing.

Now that I'm 75, I should head back to Nessingwary. I noticed that the two Nessingwary chains make up two of my very few quest achievements, not that I put much stock in those. Still, the bat and spider kill X of Y quests in Zul'Drak have been good with leather, especially others running them at the same time who don't skin, since the quests require they loot the mobs.

So nothing exciting. Quest loot is finally getting impressive. I'm well over +900 spell damage now in 'kin form, which is nice. Could probably go whack Abdul without an issue now.

PS -- Pretty phat 7.1 fps on the iBook G4 in that picture, eh? Not sure why, but I've dinged my last two dings on the old book, sitting in my chair, relaxing. In Dalaran, I've gotten it as low as 1.0 fps just walking around. Need about 6 to be playable soloing, I think. Most of my play is on the new Mac Mini, but it's nice to sit back every so often with the laptop.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Can we tie LFG to AIM, Gtalk, etc?

It's so obvious, it's probably been done.

I don't really care to sit in-game, waiting for someone to run Caverns of Time (okay, I can't choose that one any more at 74, which makes the sting that much worse!). But if I could sign up for LFG and have it IM me any whispers, sending, "Healz?" to my AIM or Gtalk account, I'd be all over it.

(The answer, of course, is that my freakin' comment says Boomkin. NO HEALZ. [until dual spec] Though I do off spec heal if they ask the rest of the group first.)

Does this already exist? Please say yes. And no, a guildie AIMing me doesn't count.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Ding! 74 -- and theorycrafting pre-80

Nothing exciting to report; just backfilling another ding. LevelSnap did an excellent job capturing the event, as shown above. The troll storyline in Grizzly Hills has been enjoyable, as has the werewolf line, give or take. The Voldrassil failed world tree storyline was wasted. I'd expected more. What, three quick runs, unspired mobs (slimes?), and a quick group and, well, you're done. The elves and druids have potential -- remember when there was evidence that the Darn druids were corrupt? -- but that potential simply hasn't played out.

I was going to save this for another post, but here goes...

Theorycrafting pre-80: Don't.

Don't theorycraft. Don't look at stats. If you can't tell which is better, sell one. When you're picking quest rewards, max your spellpower, and play with whatever's left.

Every second you spend theorycrafting pre-80 is another second you wasted getting to 80. Any time you spend is for an item you'll only use a week or two, tops! Don't do it. Buy the best dagger with spellpower from the AH ("of the Elder" rocks), and replace anything when you get the chance.

Right now, most of my time is figuring out how to keep the Iceborne +26 spellpower set bonus. Trade out shoulders, need gloves, etc. Don't waste time. Get to 80.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Ding! 73

Honestly, this one came out of nowhere. I got the Cooking quest from Dalaran that needed Rhino Dogs, and what better way to grab those than to meet back up with Hemet? (Actually, meeting up with Hemet again was a real letdown. Apparently his quests require level 74, including the one that's required to access the flight path, though smacking rhinos as a boomkin at 73 is extremely easy and I can't imagine doing this at 77.) On the way to the new Expedition site (while I was eating pancakes with one hand on the arrow keys of my iBook), the zone discovery XP apparently jacked me up to 73 and caught me too slow on the draw to get a golden aura screenshot (see Delos' helpful comment that solves my slow-on-the-draw screenshot issue. Thanks!). Nothing really exciting to report this level. Lots of quick quest XP, some more Kirin Tor and walrus rep, and a few profession dailies, just for kicks.

I put the talent point into Lunar Guidance. Why not? An extra 35 spellpower or so can't hurt.

Btw, anyone else noticing that Dalaran is waaaaay too processor/memory intensive? Sheesh. I don't have enough muscle even in the nVidia Mac Mini to keep up. I think I'll pull the white box (x86 tower I put together) back out of storage and see if it can do better.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Favorite zones & quests -- quick post

A few of the quests and zones in WoW have been much better than the rest -- more memorable. In a game where memorable stories are, for me, few and far between, I figure I should, at some point, blog in earnest about the ones I've enjoyed.

So far, the Archeus sword questline in Duskwood, along with the zone itself (with Stitches running through town) has far and away been one of my favorites. I wish I could have used the sword, and I'm pretty sure my hunter alt will head to Duskwood as soon as she's high enough level (if that ever happens), but I also remember thinking, "Wow, that's a lot of cash," when I sold it!

Obviously, the BT attunement questline that gives the Illadari-Bane (sp!) blade is a favorite, that I just recently finished with the help of a 74 pally.

I enjoyed the Blackrock Depths dungeon, if only because I was able to solo Lord Roccor and grab a druid-specific idol for loot (also the first easy source of gold for me, iirc).

I enjoyed farming frostsaber hides and leather from Everlook (?) for some strange reason. Good XP, few other players there to compete for mats, and good returns on the farming. Also helped that the sabers were rootable (no ranged dmg) and that spawned pretty quickly.

The Cenarian Circle area in BC grew on me, but it's not exactly a favorite.

Nessingwary is a favorite character, and Nagraand a great zone in general for farming, dailies, and sheer good-looking graphics. I don't believe I'll be helping the PETA group find and kill him, though his effigy is hilarious.

You know, other than the sort of awed feeling I got seeing Darn and then IF for the first time, that might be it. Sneaking into a Horde city as a cat was fun. I guess STV was a nice farming zone, though not full of great quests. I think SM was the first instance I ever ran, so it has some lasting impression. The quests on the Isle aren't bad, and were good dailies for a while, with about four that didn't get too old. /shrug I think that's it.

What did I miss?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Ding! 72

Forgot to get /played (EDIT: about 33 days. Sheesh. Lots of wasted time at 70). I'll grab that tomorrow when I get back on, which will have another couple of hours added.

Been running the Kalu'ak missions in Dragonblight, having stumbled onto them taking the turtle boat on my way to Dalaran. Been okay missions, though steal pups and killing their enemies to get supplies after talking about how the enemy's just confused is somewhat at cross purposes. They're also pretty clearly supposed to be Hawaiian or Samoan-esque, and, well, the stereotypes are right out of Phantom Menace.

So far I've bagged a Carved Dragonbone Mace, with decent spellpower stats, but the armor rewards haven't even tempted me to put away the Wyrmhide rep set. Surprised that the Mace and its other concurrent quest rewards have no WoW Head comments or even WoW Wiki entries. Not a bad mace at 72!

Laser Chicken's hot off the press rep guide shows that there are at least two rewards worth pursuing as long as I'm walrusing, the Whale-Skin Vest at Honored (tempting, but level 76 required), and the Totemic Purification Rod at Revered, which I'm not sure I'll bother to get (level 78). We'll see.

UPDATE: Looks like the Rod is is a pretty good spellpower pickup, and here are a few suggested off-hands to go with. Still, I'm a few levels away from either.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Laser Chicken makes my gear quest moot

Soloers rejoice; here's the list of craftable boomkin items from Laser Chicken with WoWHead.com compares (thanks Daily Druid).

There are four easy ways to get gear when you solo like a part-timer, and Laser Chick has them all:
* Craft
* Quest
* Reputation Buys
* Auction

Three down, though the lowest level for these is 75. I'm going to post a "Thrifting with Jal" post soon to start up what I think are the best deals I've found on the AH on Proudmoore.

UPDATE: Das Chicken has added AH and a summary of the best gear for soloers.

Again, the emphasis is on level 80, so I'm left with some questions in the meanwhile, but I guess the lesson is start leveling!

Recount Addon, Cleft-Edged Hammers, and WoWHead Compare

Grabbed Recount, a DPS gauge add-on a day or two ago.

Recount is a graphical damage meter written by Cryect. Recount (Preservation) is an attempt to preserve it through the 2.4 patch and fix up some minor things along the way. If Cryect returns the project really should be wholely his and he can keep or abandon any changes I've made here.

Kinda neat. I've used a few over the years, and this seems as good as any, and even has some neat graphing functions, if you believe all the screenshots you see. Already neat to see Jal's breakdown for damage when PvEing (shown below) versus instancing. In the latter, as you might guess, Wrath accounts for a higher percentage of damage done.

Did manage to dredge up a Cleft-Edged Hammer of the invoker while questing this morning. Seems to want to skip the AH and compete with my Cragthumper. The Cleft-Edged has better caster stats combined with slightly better attack stats (DPS, crit, and attack power), but without the 600 hp increase Crag has. Tough call. Cleft-Edged seems a better boomkin PUG weapon for when I go /oom and start wailing, with the slight bonus when the mana creeps back up long enough to throw in Moonfire -- though I guess I should have a macro to swap back to the caster weapons when I do that. /shrug

For now, it's sitting, unbound, in my pack.

Fwiw, the compare function at WoWHead ist mas cool.



Level 120 150 115
Required level 70 74 70

Intellect 65 140 88
Stamina 67 178 142
Spirit 56 56
Mana regeneration


Armor 743 1861 1357
Resilience rating


Critical strike rating 47 92
Spell power 101 376 141

Sockets 3  3
1  3
Number of sockets 6

Gains 56 Spi
47 Crit
6 Sockets
75 Int
111 Sta
56 Spi
1118 Armor
92 Crit
275 Spell Power
23 Int
75 Sta
25 MP5
614 Armor
85 Resilience
40 Spell Power
7 Sockets

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Dalaran at 71

It's not exactly a great use of time, but the trick...

... works.

I don't feel too badly for slicking my way in. Once I died swimming away from the folk on the ships in the Isle dailies and ended up in a graveyard back in the Blood Elf starting zone. Had to spirit healer out, and then run for what seemed like hours to get back to the Isle. That was not cool. You suffer from poor playtesting and you gain. It's karmic.

The graphics in Dalaran really took a toll on the new Mac Mini, nvidia graphics or no. Scaled back a number of settings to get things happy again. Still, pretty neat place. Not the same awe that Darn or IF gave me the first time I saw them, but a neat place, with plenty to buy, at least. Ran the Sewer Stew cooking daily, and the level 78 wolves weren't fun. Couldn't get 'em, but was close enough running was np.

Btw: Thanks to Icedragon, I'm now much surer the glyph of moonfire isn't for me. /sigh

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Glyph of Moonfire, yea or nay?

I don't kno' nuttin' 'bout glyphs, except, starting today, that they exist. Hey, I'm a part-timer, yo.

So they do [exist]. That's what this new Inscription skill in LK is. So we find that there are a number of glyphs that a druid can use, including the Glyph o' Moonfire. Should we use it? Its sizable DoT bonus comes with a serious up-front penalty.

Increases the periodic damage of your Moonfire ability by 75%, but initial damage is decreased by 90%.

So here's the best looking comment from WoWhead.com:

As you can see - If you don't crit often, Moonfire with Glyph does more dmg. But if you're lucky for crits Moonfire without Glyph does more dmg.

Don'crit often? Are you kidding? Gimme that up front dmg, then.

Ah, but wait. Combine with another glyph and we're on to something, maybe.

... use glyphed Starfire to extend its duration indefinitely (with crit + haste you can land a Starfire every 2-2.5 seconds). Since you never have to reapply the DOT you can keep up the highest possible tick and won't miss the initial damage from the glyphed Moonfire.

I love Moonfiring the killshot. OH, BUT IT W4ZT3Z M4N4!!1! Yes, yes, I know. That's why my favorite comment in the thread about the Moonfire glyphs is this one...

A Boomkin spams Moonfire to finish off someone quickly. Yes, it does burn mana. But you see, the Boomkin can sit down and have a drink whilst sitting on the corpse of their enemy.

The /oom now so that we can drink later tends to be my attitude, the impatience of my PUG for whom I was going to try main healing as Balance spec nonwithstanding.

Still, I'm intrigued with the Moonfire glpyh. The Starfire glyph, however, is a no brainer. Let's go see how tough that is to get.

(Btw, if you're wondering why a panzerkin blog has so much general balance stuff, it's b/c DPS == panzerkin threat. What's good for the goose, given plenty of armor...)

EDIT: Icedragon weighs in that there is no infinite Moonfire extension now, just a 9 second buff if all goes well. So for my playstyle, at least, the Glyph of Moonfire is out.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

From the joys of PUGing

I'll backfill the 71 ding in a bit, but this shot captured what it's like to wait hours to PUG what you need only to, well, be thwarted later. We were supposed to run Dark Portal next, and had run Durnholde just to qualify the healz. /sigh About an hour later, still no full replacements, and I went to Nexus instead for a full run.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Ding! 71

Argh, it just hit me that Jal dinged while in human disguise. Poor guy.

Welp, minutes after reactivating, Jal's 71. It's been difficult since finding anyone to run BC zones, so it looks like the Wyrmhide Helm is going to have to wait.

So far, the gear update is pretty thin, unlike the Burning Crusade expansion, which is a good thing. Seems like I was throwing away my best Old World gear with each quest reward for a while. So far I've only added the Vicious Spellblade and Cragthumper (good melee DPS and great STA) from quest rewards, and the Holistic Patchwork Breeches from instance runs.

And finally, caught Omen of Clarity back. Had played around with Starfall with my last point previously, but forgot I had it (idiot) and haven't cast it yet. Omen of Clarity is, obviously, a much more useful work-a-day talent -- though more points in Eclipse or Wrath of Cenarius might have been smarter still. Current talent tree here.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Tree's shopping guide; it's a start

Thanks to Blizzard's decision to merge +heal and +dmg, A Healing Druid’s Naxx-25 Shopping List at World of Matticus actually gives something of a start of the gearing endgame.

Of course I'm months from being high enough level to be months from finding and DKPing with a guild before I'd even need to consider reading this, but wanting to read it? Pretty neat. Found via Rolling Hots via Daily Druid.

The portion "Syd’s Gear Theory" is probably more useful (from the same Matticus post, lower down) for general DKP guild advice.

Panzerkin rules

I'll admit it's been a while since I've panzered, in part because it's so danged hard to pitch yourself as a PUG as an owltank. Still, there are a few easy to rules to ensure you're ready if you accidentally get the chance to step up.

  1. No cloth armor
  2. No Nature's Reach (keep threat high)
  3. Keep a weapon that gives armor and attack bonus (list to lvl 70) in your sack

That's enough for starters. I'm tempted to rid myself of Manimal's Cinch, etc, and not backfill as I go LK and just keep good leather balance sets, but I could change my mind. Now that Blizzard's killed RPing wrt healer gear, you've got extra spots in your bags, right?

The bottom line is that, as panzer, you can keep aggro. It's then just up to your healer. Even with inferior armor, most priests can keep up with you, if my BC experience. If you've got a tree healing and another innervate to toss around between you, that can be all the better.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Enchant Weapon - Spellsurge: Putting the Panzer back in your 'kin

Enchant Weapon - Spellsurge - Spell - World of Warcraft

Permanently enchant a melee weapon to have a 3% chance on spellcast to restore 100 mana to all party members over 10 seconds. Requires a level 35 or higher item.

Found this mentioned over on Druid Main. At some point I'm going to have to stop reading, but this was a good find for putting the Moonkin "nerf" (from my pov, at least) back into your playstyle.

Fighting terrorism with WoW

Thought others might get a kick out of my payment schedule. Looks like, if you add in a few bucks for the initial buy and the BC expansion, I'm averaging about $7.70 per month on WoW since I bought in. Though I'm tempted to be happy with all that I've "saved" by not keeping my subscription current for 48 months (48/6 * $77.94 = $623.52 + $40 (WoW) + $40 (BC) = 703.52!), it's still painful to think I pay that much for a game I only play half the time. Month by month, that's only about a $5 savings monthly to have turned WoW off. *sigh*

 Billing Plan:
2/27/09 N/A 10 day Wrath Trial
5/13/08 $14.99 USD One Month Recurring
5/12/08 N/A One Day Credit
4/12/08 $14.99 USD One Month Recurring
8/9/07 $14.99 USD One Month Recurring
7/8/07 $14.99 USD One Month Recurring
6/6/07 $14.99 USD One Month Recurring
4/28/07 $14.99 USD One Month Recurring
3/26/07 $14.99 USD One Month Recurring
2/19/07 $14.99 USD One Month Recurring
1/17/07 $14.99 USD One Month Recurring
5/10/06 $14.99 USD One Month Recurring
3/6/06 N/A Three Day Credit
2/19/06 N/A One Day Credit
11/19/05 $41.97 USD Three Months Recurring ($13.99 per month)
11/17/05 N/A One Day Credit
8/17/05 $41.97 USD Three Months Recurring ($13.99 per month)
5/16/05 $41.97 USD Three Months Recurring ($13.99 per month)
5/13/05 N/A One Day Credit
4/13/05 $14.99 USD One Month Recurring
4/10/05 N/A Three Day Credit
4/5/05 N/A Five Day Credit
3/5/05 N/A Free Month

Not exactly a victory. Wonder how much I've thrown into UO?

In any event, I've been wondering if I should postpone buying LK until after a few more months of leveling in BC. There's lots of XP back on the table [EDIT: Idiot. You ob have to have LK to get levels over 70. Dolt.], and a few more instance runs should do Jal proud. Still plenty of good gear to grab too compared to quest rewards, if I can find enough folk to instance. I'm hoping there are enough Death Knights flopping through BC.

By the way, somebody grab me one of these, okay? Figurines of your "little dude," as we like to call Jal around here, for just $130. If they get the Druidic Helm of Second Sight right, I'm interested. I think I'd have to equip the Illidari-Bane too, just because it's the most impressive looking hardware I've got right now, maybe with my very old skull off-hand from Darkshire. Man, I'm a geek. ;^)