Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Time to spam Starfall

And the game gets easier. There are three spells you have to watch very carefully -- well, two spells now. They were Starfall, Force of Nature, and Typhoon. Each of these had the ability to aggro outside of what you were intending to DPS and had to be used very carefully.

Treants will often pursue new groups of trash if you forget to tell them to stop and follow. Starfall would aggro *anything* nearby, which, honestly, was great for the Fireland dailies that require smashing charred mobs. Typhoon travels a ways, and tends to aggro things that seemed to be too far away... or yellows you forgot to factor in. An unglyphed Typhoon is even more difficult, as you sometimes had to make sure you didn't push mobs into the wrong areas. Touchy tanks hate typhoon pushback as well. Both are occasionally reasons to line up to the side of the mobs and Typhoon them into a wall if you're unglyphed. (I really enjoy Typhooning mobs into walls for some reason.)

Anyhow, apparently it's time to strike Starfall from the list of spells that require skillz. I used to be overly careful about using it, as I've accidentally pulled some trash, especially in Grim Batol, with SF. But now, well, SPAM AWAY!! (I'm on a trip right now or I'd check it out.)

Patch 4.2 hotfix roundup:

Starfall is no longer hitting targets that are within 40 yards if they are not in combat with the druid or his/her party/raid members. It is targeting all hostile characters in combat with the druid's party/raid members, is not hitting Stealth characters, is not breaking crowd control effects, and is not targeting nearby critters.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

We go a-raidin'

Well, I've joined a new raiding guild. Strange how that changes your approach to play. When I don't get every Mark of the World Tree I can each day, I feel I'm falling behind. When I don't get every VP I can each week, I feel like I'm not quite measuring up. This outlook is bonkers, of course, especially as I joined saying that though I was decently geared, I was responding more to the guild leader's call for "social players" than raiders, but I'd raid as much as they'd let me.

We ran through BWD. I watched a few Tankspot and ZAM video guides and glanced at Icy Veins beforehand, which was useful, but probably not absolutely required. Knowing how to jump up on the Nefarian pedestals was probably the most useful result of the preparation. The Aliena guide on ZAM talked about staying away from either end of Oxynia, but I ended up being told to stay firmly behind her. Lots of tail whips there, but very few wipes.

I really was the n00b occasionally. A few times the raid (and guild) leader had to say, "Boomkin, DPS Nefarian now," or something similar. We did wipe four or five times, but there were a few players that were fairly overgeared for BWD, so we didn't have too difficult a time once folks learned strategy.

It was fun, though long. The move away from waves of trash to boss after boss was an interesting change. We turned up Security Measure Alpha at one point, and even though it was my first run, the guild let me have it, which was great. We also have one restokin guildy that took an interest in Jal pre-raid, got my gear and talent tree spec'd "correctly" (I do miss Solar Beam while PvEing, though). He also brezzed me at least three times, and *very* quickly when I went down, which was appreciated. A few well timed whispers also kept me in the right places.

And it's that help that's probably the biggest change for me, other than the sheer number of instance and raid runs the guild does, when moving from small social to medium-sized raiding guild. This guy knew how to play balance, and balance was his off-spec. And he was patient as get-out, minus one communication when I said, "Can you show me your talents for resto?" and he interpreted that as, "Prove to me you're a talented resto player." The guild leader had asked if I could heal initially, and I said I could try, but hadn't off-spec'd yet and didn't strictly have healing gear, so I was asking how to set up the resto tree. That was a quick lol from anything nasty, though.

So raiding is fun. Putting a raid on your schedule is nice. Not really caring if I get any loot -- and getting some anyway -- helps. Having people patiently help you like mad is great. Finding replacements in seconds if someone has to drop is awesome. And the anxiety level during the mostly guild staffed raid run was a heck of a lot cooler than your typical PUG.

In other news, I'm still slowly adding VPs and quickly adding JPs. Bagged the Relic of Norgannon after a PUG Heroic yesterday. Better than Eonar , I think, because Eonar only adds Spirit, which I think essentially reduces to hit for us, and I'm finally hit capped (note to self: don't reforge SPI to HIT; there's no change). Before that, I went Haunt of Flies, as my cloak stunk. That took me from 333 to 359 on the back. Though I added Stormrider's Leggings, the difference looking back isn't enough over Blazewing's Klt for me to have bit. The thinking was that I'd get the chest and gloves from VPs, so all that was left from JP T11 was legs. /shrug I think next on the JP list is a ring and trinket and then I'm nearly "done".

Jal's first VP item will probably be either Obsidian Arborweave Gloves or the Obsidian Arborweave Vestment. Tyler at Shifting Perspectives argues pretty strongly that I should ignore the gloves, but I'm not as sure. See below for a quick exchange we had over on WoW Insider, edited a bit for stoopid grammar and clarity issues on my end.

rufworkrufwork said...

Okay, admittedly, I only read Blood Pact because I *can* find an RSS for Tyler, but not one just for Balance dr00d Shifting Perspectives articles.

That said, how do you quantitatively factor in tier set bonuses? Contra T12, [Tyler] says...

"The most common thing that I see people do in situation such as this is that they always, always rush off for their tier gear first. The simple matter is this: Everything is an upgrade. ... Get the upgrades that you can get now first, and get the ones that come later, later."

Though locks apparently have hands alternatives, they're from Rag. You can PUG Heroics and get T12 gloves after a little over a week. It's tougher to raid in a social guild.

But okay, let's even say you *can* bag raid gear easily. How do you factor in T12 2P bonuses? You know, for laser chicken, how do you measure the worth burning treants? For locks, um, how do you factor in whatever you guys get? Don't Tier bonuses make T12 items disproportionally powerful compared to other Valor Point gear? Or, rather, why *don't* tier bonsues make T12 disproportionally powerful? JP gear is nearly free with 70 points per Heroic boss -- and that bonus doesn't max out; you can run Heroics indefinitely and keep bagging 70 JP a boss.  But if I'm spending 2200+1650 = 3850 VP = a pretty solid month of PUGging, what are the numbers on getting 3850 VPs of non-tiered gear [which is essentially what Tyler suggested] before two tiered?

Being a part timer, Valor Points are something I can still earn without raiding. I think I go 2xT12 first, and gloves being only 1650, I think I start there. ?? If I can find 20k, I get valor bracers too. /shrug

7-16-2011 @ 12:04AM

rufwork said...

@Tyler -- The what amounts to a "price of entry" logic is interesting. There's a sort of T12 price of entry per piece -- 1650 VPs -- and then a price to get that more efficient piece -- 2200 minus 1650 = 550 VPs. 550 VPs gives me a pretty good jump start on VP bracers if I don't have 20-30k gold sitting around, and gives me the T12 2P.

That's why I'm still thinking that I want a set with the most pieces possible with my VP that still includes a 2P bonus, though. I'm assuming you can keep the T11 2P bonus on top of the T12 2P. Now you're one drop in BoT away from having ((Chest or Legs)+Shoulders) * T11 + (Hands+(Legs or Chest)) * T12, and you can find a good BoT PURaid relatively easily, all things considered.

That's the way I was leaning, anyhow, and with your "T12 set bonus isn't >>> T11 set bonus" suggestion, gloves for VP seems even more like the cheapest way to get "2P+2P ~ 4P" and your valor bracers more quickly.

I mean, sure, if you could have any two T12 pieces and points isn't an object, you go legs and chest. But here, I think it comes down to if having valor bracers more quickly offsets having fewer good stats on the T12 gloves. Is (again, on Boomkin; sorry to hijack the thread)...

86 Int
157 Sta
266 Mastery (1.48)
683 Armor
30 Haste (0.23%)
1 Sockets
-177 SPI (so hit, like you say)

... (the diff of T12 chest over T12 hands) worth 550 VPs? I guess you could argue yes. But 44% of 227 INT = 99.88, and 44% is how close you are to valor bracers and their 227 INT with 550 VPs.

Perhaps it largely matters what T11 pieces you already have.

Thanks for the reply. It's really too much for a casual guy to think through and feel confident about. Bring back BC and point-blank wrath-spam! ;^)

This exchange really shows the disconnect between WoW Insider posts and your typical casual player.  Even after I've stressed casual gaming and PUG reward VPs as the only means to getting T12 gear, Tyler continuously seems to be assuming things that casual gamers just don't have access to get -- unlimited valor points and raid drops.

There's a huge disconnect between the "Here are the three best items in each slot" guides we sometimes get and the way most gamers, even max-level gamers, are almost certainly playing.  As soon as I get two Tier 12 items, I'm done with the PUG grind.  If the guild tells me I need more, no problems, but hopefully we can raid for them.  The chest is the only points-only tiered piece, right? I mean everything else in the Tier 12 set potentially drops from somewhere, right?  If I was still in casual/social land, if it weren't for what have to be kewl buring treants, I'm probably done chasing VPs after a single item, and the second can show up whenever it wants.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Very Good Zul'Gurub Heroic Guide

After figuring out that 7x70=490 and I was done with Heroic Valor Point bonuses for this week, I decided I'd read up on and try out the new Zul'Aman randoms. Got sucked into ZG with two bosses already down. Not sure what happened to the last DPS, but I do know I'm always glad when I hit an instance that's nearly done. Seems to happen most in Grim Batol.

Anyhow, this Zul'Gurub Heroic Guide on Icy Veins is quite good. I really didn't know what the heck I was doing, caused at least two wipes, and offered to drop seconds before I saw the finished dungeon plaque appear. Still got to roll on drops, which was nice. I guess I did okay, but boy, I had some learning to do.

Having gone through three bosses now, though, combined with the guide, I think I'm good on at least two.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

All +INT Justice Point balance gear from 4.2 that's not a Tier 11 piece

Panzerkin: Doing the nasty Wowheading so you don't have to. ilvl 359 stuff listed first. (That's the stuff that's new to JPs in 4.2) Some of this is resto stuff, but there are a number of lists that say you'd rather mix in some resto situationally, so it's all here.

EDIT: Now with prices.

359 Back 1250
359 Back 1250
359 Feet 1650
Leather Armor
359 Finger 1250
359 Finger 1250
359 Trinket 1650
359 Trinket 1650
359 Relic 700
359 Relic 700
346 Hands 1650
Leather Armor
346 Head 2200
Leather Armor
346 Held In Off-hand 950
Off-hand Frill
346 Legs 2200
Leather Armor
346 Neck 1250
346 Neck 1250
346 Shoulder 1650
Leather Armor
346 Waist 1650
Leather Armor

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Smolderskull sighting

Wow. Thirty grand. I'd guessed between 20-25, and then had a guy in chat offering for 20k, and heard someone else who bought another set of VP 378 bracers for 30k. Guess that's the going price.

Pre-Heroic Druid Guide 4.2 Update

I made a quick update to the Soloer's Pre-Heroic Gear Guide today to include a bit of 4.2 information. The Chest of Forgetfulness is off. Those 2200 JPs are better spent on the Tier 11 chest. Pretty much all the changes I made are below. I still need to add the 4.2 Firelands grind currency options.

Just quickly, the Jal update: More Firelands grinding while waiting for LFG PUGs. I've gotten in Vortex Pinnacle and The Stonecore that I haven't run before. And after a bit of a sales war between three sellers of the Chestguard of Nature's Wrath(I canceled, dropped price, and relisted twice), I managed to clear 4090g on the AH. Picture above. Four more times and I can buy new bracers. ;^D

Auction House:
Smolderskull Bindings (4.2) -- Going for 20k-30k in chat; haven't seen in AH yet

As Lissanna says, and then there were bracers. The Smolderskull Bindings are new in 4.2, and are actually 1250 Valor Point items. But they're BoE. I think you're better served by saving Valor Points once you earn them for Tier 12 gear. And when you're pre-Heroic, you can't get Valor Points anyway. The price is so high I considered keeping these off, but some folk are so good crafting or have access via guilds or mains that it's good to keep them in mind.

Reputation: Hyjal (again)
Nightweaver's Amulet (4.2)

You've already run Hyjal and gotten good rep just with the quests. That bagged the Aessina Blessed Gloves I mentioned before. With 4.2, you can quickly pick up an ilvl 365 neck for under 90g if you've finished Hyjal and enter the Firelands. It takes a few more Marks of the World Tree to enter the Firelands proper, but it's a minor grind. There are more rewards for grinding Firelands that I'll be adding shortly, but they take 31+ days to unlock, which is insane. Tol Barad-like, but grindier.

Justice Points: (note that the full lists for each of these is in the full guide)
Stormrider's Regalia items

Chestguard of Forgetfulness (enchant with Mighty Stats) (2200 JPs)

With the addition of Tier 11 to the list of Justice Point gear in 4.2, this list gets lots longer. I'm going to remove my recommendation for the Chestguard of Forgetfulness and replace that with Stormrider's Vestment. That's a no-brainer. The same JP cost for a 359 ilvl with the possibility of tier bonuses instead of 346 is obvious.

At the same time, note that you only get 140 Justice Points per normal Cata dungeon. Getting everything on this list means you're running 59 normal dungeons. That's a lot, obviously. And you don't need all of this gear to be geared for Heroic, which is a change with 4.2. You're easily overgeared, if only slightly. So let's get the Vestment and Cluster (still the best head pre-Heroic). Then if you've got a one-handed weapon, go with Apple-Bent Bough. If not, save for the Stormrider's Leggings. Why? Because when you go Heroic, you'll want the lower price Tier 12 Valor Point gloves first, I think. Honestly, if you've got the Furious Kilt from the AH or farming, you could potentially skip the legs here.

Ultimately it's up to you. Just know if you gloves for the T11 two-piece bonus that you might replace those pretty quickly once you're in Heroics.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Quick item up: Moonwell Chalice Nightweaver's Amulet

ARGH. At first I thought you could get the Moonwell Chalice immediately upon entering Firelands, but no luck with the vendor for 31 days, apparently.

There is a full month-long chain of dailies to unlock her and the other two vendors.
To unlock the first vendor takes 31 days; to unlock all three takes 41 days.

But for your parting gift, I give you the Nightweaver's Amulet, which you can bag essentially immediately after hitting the Firelands.

And now back to the item you can get 31-41 days from now.

I've been trying to update the pre-Heroic gear list for 4.2, and it's been a pain, in part because Wowhead was misreporting Valor Point items as Justice Point ones. I thought I was about to get insane legs, pants, chest, wrists, and rings. Now, not so much.

That said, check this item out. I like the Gale of Shadows as much as the next guy, but this item is apparently purchaseable right inside the Firelands available only after a month of constant daily runs:

Moonwell Chalice - Item - World of Warcraft:

Binds when picked up
+340 Intellect
Requires Level 85
Item Level 365
Use: A small moonwell appears, blessing you with 1700 Mastery for 20 sec. (2 Min Cooldown)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Ooops -- WoW's Free To Play to 20

Boy, I really missed something when I applauded Blizzard's move to open BC to vanilla-only owners.

From Blizzard Support:

The World of Warcraft Starter Edition allows players to access World of Warcraft for free -- all you need is a Battle.net account and an Internet connection. Starter Edition players can play up to a maximum character level of 20 and are able to upgrade to a full, paid account at any time, allowing them to continue their adventures where they left off.

Okay, I'm less happy. It turns out the free BC was just to pacify that I'd paid to level to 20. Matlocker, as you can see, is just barely over level 20. Matlocker's buddy in Recruit-a-Friend is just barely 20. Now of course one bud probably should be in a paid account. If nobody is, they can't play together in a group (if neither can start a group -- and FTP characters can't -- they're just fighting near each other), have one use heirlooms, or get the RaF bonus, but the $15-$5+$30 we paid for Matlocker to get WoW vanilla and a 30 day time card seems a lot stoopider [sic] now.

Oh well, Blizzard robbed me of another $40. What else is new?

I think the real take home for me is that I've got something to do the next time I suspend my account. I still don't have a Horde alt worth a rip. I also planned on checking out the Worgen starting zone at some point. Now I can do both off the clock while Jal's fishing, and that's a good thing.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Burning Crusade Improved! Now Free as in Beer!

Well, TBC is now free.

World of Warcraft and The Burning Crusade -- Together at Last! - World of Warcraft:

In addition, anyone who owns the original World of Warcraft, regardless of when they purchased the game, will automatically be able to access all of the content and features from The Burning Crusade expansion at no additional cost. It’s time to set forth from Azeroth, adventurer -- Outland awaits!

The question is why. I mean, Matlocker, my alt account alt that I got to play a little refer-a-friend, is excited. I paid something like, what, $15 for WoW Old World at Xmas with a $5 dollar gift card back, so now I've gotten a month and an expansion for $10, which wasn't bad.[1] I guess maybe this will convince alters and friends to run ten more levels o' fun, which takes another month or two. (Now Matlocker would like his free 10 days to try BC out. ;^D)

Of course this means that BC boxes in Gamestop etc now, if they're still out there, are worthless. Woe to those who buy. I hope they've pulled the SKU. Beware habitual eBayers.

I guess this is good in that Blizzard can get rid of one bit flag. Now everyone can hit BC. Still, I can't imagine that's a huge savings. Perhaps now they have one less client to test. That would be worth a bit of time==cash.

But are there tons of level 60ish characters running around who got Vanilla and stopped? Am I missing something? Though if we assume those folks wouldn't buy BC but will play a month if it's free (especially with a quick email prod), 1% of 11 million * $15 is still a lot of dough, I suppose ($1,650,000).

[1] Okay, okay, I know what you're thinking. A $5 gift card isn't worth a full $5! You're right. It's hard to spend a Gamestop gift card at Burger King. But if you're going to spend that $5 at Gamestop immediately anyhow, well, it's worth $5 to you.