Tuesday, June 23, 2009

3.2 Changes

So I've been messing around in the game a lot recently. I started leveling a hunter and got him up to 40 when I realized that it would be much faster to level all my alts when the next patch came out and I was able to get epic ground mounts at 40 and flying at 60. Not to mention that there will be a new bind to account eveling piece giving an additional 10% experience. While that will be a great motivator when it goes live, right now it's more of a deterrent. Why should I spend time leveling an alt at a slower pace when I'm not really making a rush for endgame and it's just to see how different classes play at higher levels? Might as well just wait until the patch is released and then have an explosion of leveling activity.

In the mean time, I'm back to doing all my dailies with my eye on the prize of patch 3.2 and it's new rewards. With some good luck (and if I don't get burned out on them) I should have enough Argent Tournament badges to upgrade my squire when the time arrives as well have have enough jewel crafter tokens and titanium ore to prospect so I can start making some headway into the new realm of epic gem crafting. I just finished up the Midsummer Festival meta achievement on my DK (just two holidays to go for his proto drake) but I think I'll keep doing the midsummer torch dailies and try and get that pet you buy for 350 flowers. As obnoxious as torch catching is, I think I've finally got the hang of it (turn 180 degrees after catching and start running) so it doesn't take too long.

As someone who doesn't have a ton of time to play, I'm happy about the changes to the emblem system that will be releasing with 3.2. It's a lot easier to throw together a 5-man then to hope that a raid happens when it's scheduled, especially these days in my guild. Though things are improving for us, we still are having attendance problems. Being able to get gear upgrades outside of out regular raiding schedule means that the time we do get to raid will be of higher quality (hopefully) since we'll all be better geared.

I have read a lot of complaining about the upcoming changes to emblems and to mounts. While I understand the impulse to be upset that someone just starting the game won't ever have to walk all over Stranglethorn (remember those days?) while we who have been around a bit longer had to suffer through, I say, so what? Having a tougher time and having to wait longer and pay more is the price of being an early adopter. If you bought a cell phone anytime before the last 5 years, you know what I mean. My cell phone in college was bigger, cost a bunch more both to buy and to talk on, and had almost no features. Nowadays, you can get a phone for the price of your cell phone service (and a 2-year contract), it will take pictures/video, play games, etc . . . Does that mean I should expect a refund for all the money I spent on my old brick of a phone? Of course not. I would be insane to ask for such a thing. The money I paid wasn't so that I could finally talk from wherever I was 7 years from when I made my initial purchase, it was so I could do that right then. The same goes for when I did the Shatari Skyguard dailies every day for 2 months to buy epic flight for my warlock. If I have known that, if I only waited a year, I could save 1,000g, would I have continued to ride around on my 60% flyer? No. Absolutely not. It was worth 5,000g to be able to fly that fast.

So it costs less to buy epic flight for an alt or to gear out that same alt using only heroics. I'm cool with it. I have a lot of alts.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Argent Tournament: Jousting Made Easy

I was having a conversation with a few guildies yesterday who mentioned that they were not doing the Argent Tournament Dailies anymore because they had trouble with the jousting portion. Upon hearing that, I decided to create a post dealing with what I've learned about the mini-game and some tips to do it quickly and efficiently. Using my system I've been able to complete the Champion level daily (joust 4 faction champions) in 5 minutes or less almost every day.I begin this short guide by stating that, while it doesn't seem like a big deal now, the ability to joust, much like the ability to run a siege engine and fly on a drake was for the last two updates, may be used in the newest raid instance. Therefore, being able to joust efficiently in the mean time will prepare our raiders for whatever may lie ahead as well as providing a good source of income (doing the dailies is worth 92g with just the turn ins and after 8 days you can buy a vanity pet that sells for between 1,500-2,000g. That's a total potential of 2,736g in a little over a week for jousting 10 min/day)

On to the meat of the guide:

The most important thing about jousting is your shield. The shields have three levels or stacks (not counting zero) red (1 stack), yellow (2 stacks) and green (3 stacks). Make sure that when you start each match, that you have all three stacks of shield up and ready to go. There is absolutely no point in starting any match with a disadvantage. Each stack of shield you have up, blocks incoming damage from your opponent. Therefore, the more shield, the longer you last. Now, the same is true of your opponent’s shield, which works on the same system. They have the same amount of health as you (50,000, though I believe you start with less if you are not yet lvl 80) and their shields work in exactly the same way. As in real life, perfectly symmetrical violence never solves anything. If you stand there with 3 shields up and melee an opponent with 3 shields up, you will get no where. Imagine trying to melee down a mob with 50k health by hitting it for 350 damage every few seconds. Obviously, this would take forever. That's where your other abilities come in.You have your lance throw/shield break ability (hot keyed automatically as "2") and your charge ability (hot keyed as "3"). These are going to be your bread and butter. Every time you hit your opponent with the shield break, they lose 1 stack of shield and all of your other attacks (melee and charge) will hit harder until they get their shield back up. This is how you make headway in the fight. Your charge ability will cause you to charge (duh) at your opponent and hit them for greater than normal damage and, if they still have stack of shield up, will reduce the stack by 1. If not shield is up, charge will do a maximum of 8,500 damage. Now, the trouble with these two abilities is you have to use them at range, which, of course, leaves you vulnerable to have these same abilities used against you by your foe. How can you maximize your attack while minimizing vulnerability? My strategy is as follows. The strategy is for the champion level but can be used for the previous level as well (who's name eludes me).

The fight starts when you talk to your opponent. After the fight has begun, the NPC will run a little ways into the ring. At this point, you stay where you are and start and start spamming shield break. This takes your opponent down to 2 stacks of shield. Immediately after you see the animation start (throwing the spear), close the gap between you and the NPC to melee range. At this point the start becomes a rinse and repeat that goes a little something like this: when you are close to your foe, spam the melee attack. As cooldowns allow, run a short distance away from the mob until shield break becomes available. Activate it and close the gap between you. Melee. Run out again, shield break, run back. By doing this (if you do it right), your opponent's shield stacks will go down to red or none and your melee will hit harder. By running right back after you shield break, you don't give the pc (which does not have a programmed reaction time faster than a player) enough time to launch a spear at you. Also, since the shield button has roughly twice the cooldown of the shield break ability, you can easily make headway. The NPC will follow you around sometimes when you make your break to chuck spears at them. When they follow too close, flip 180 degrees and run the other way. That usually works. Now every once in a while, the NPC will turn away from you and get some distance. They are doing this so they can charge at you. This is when you charge them. They've given you the opening, you've been reducing their shields, so when you charge them, it should hit for maximum damage, or at least around 5,900 if they have 1 shield stack up. After you charge them, make a quick arc around and close melee distance and start the process over. If the NPC managed to throw a spear or charge you while you were charging them, take the opportunity to throw up a stack of shield while you're running back to melee range. If they didn't do anything to you because you were so fast and awesome, use the time to throw another spear.

Hopefully this is helpful. It has worked for me. I spent a long time struggling with the mechanics of jousting before I figured this out and I hope I have saved some of you that anguish.As a final note, all these skill can be used in very similar fashion in the "Before the Citadel" quests where you have to mount up and fight the scourge. Keep your shields up, keep their shields down, watch out for the damn gargoyles as they will lower your shield stack by one with each hit (shield break ability x 2 takes them down). Also, don't make the mistake I made the first time I tried this quest and try and melee the skellies on the ground. All you have to do is run over them with your horse and they'll break apart.

If you have further questions or need clarification, post below and I'll answer any questions I can.

Happy Jousting!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Rep Grinding for Fun? What the Hell Kind of Fun is That?!

I read a post over on Tobold's Blog where he stated that he doesn't find a challenge in grinding out rep or other repetative tasks. As I have been spending a good deal of time doing this very thing, it got me thinking what do I find the most challenging about what I'm doing in the game? I have mentioned that I'm currently grinding Netherwing rep for the Netherdrakes (I should be at exalted with them by Saturday) and I am also in the process of grinding Sha'tari Skyguard, Mag'har and Horde faction rep to get the 50 mounts achievement with the albino drake. I've also started running old world and Outland dungeons to get the achievements there.

Now, grinding rep is not really a challenge, per se, as much as it is an endurance trial. Do you have the time and patients to do the same set of quests over and over every day for a few weeks (or in some cases, months)? Before there was such a thing as achievements, the answer for me was that I most certainly did not. I ended up getting exalted with the Skyguard on my Warlock mainly because I needed the money to buy an epic flyer for him. I got halfway through exalted with Netherwing as well before I gave up to level another alt. But with achievements thrown into the mix, there's another reason to spend all the time. Before, you would get a drake for completing the netherwing quests day after day, now I'm going to get six drakes because I (1) have money to blow on things that don't matter (helloooo mechanohog!) and (2) buying all those mounts doesn't take up any inventory . . . neither do vanity pets or titles. Tabards still do, but I am less excited about those anyway. With all the downside removed (as well as the dailies being much easier with a lvl 80 DK) I'm blowing through the quests and having a much better time doing it.

As far as the dungeons go, sure it's fun to run them, but it's made more fun to try and figure out how to complete them with an overgeared, yet understaffed party. My brother and I (DK Tank and Enhancement Shaman) and various 1-3 slots of dps managed to get through the heroics with only his occasional chain heals, but it wasn't easy all the time. We tried to get though all the dungeons fighting as few mobs as possible which is easier in Steam Vaults than it is in Shattered Halls, I can tell you that much.

Anyway, it seems that I am easily swayed by achievements and vanity pets/mounts that don't really matter in the game. But then again, doesn't anything in the game really matter? I'm having fun and I like it, so I guess that's what it's really all about.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Effect of Patch 3.1 on Fel/Emberstorm

As I was leveling up my warlock, I had imagined myself raiding as affliction. I have always enjoyed the play style of affliction and don't mind making things a little more complicated for myself if it means I can dps at a higher level. Once I got to 80 and tried it, however, I realized just how complicated afflictions rotation had gotten and started to rethink my plans. It was very difficult as I was getting back into running 5-mans as ranged dps, to concentrate on where I needed to stand and what I needed to target all while trying to keep 5-6 DoTs on 2-3 mobs and wondering what mischief my felhunter has been up to since I hadn't been paying him any attention (sometimes, if I ignore him for too long he leaves a little surprise in my PvP boots). This prompted me to check out what specs the other raiding warlocks in my guild were using. To my surprise, they were all using the Fel Guard/Emberstorm build. All of them. This got me to wondering if I should give it a shot. As much as I love affliction in theory, I love having the Fel Guard out in practice. Ever since I saw his cowling face back in the first 2.0 patch, I've had a special place in my heart for the big lug. He's been through all my leveling from 60 to 80 so I think he deserves to see some real action, other than just being around for a bit when I was asked to lock tank Leothoras the Blind in SSC (the only time I ever spec'd Demo in BC raiding). I have to say, after a few weeks and 2 wings of Naxx cleared (Arachnid on regular, Plague on Heroic) I am pleasantly surprised at how well this spec currently works.

The basic idea is that you have the felguard and most of the spell damage boost of the Demo tree and then add in the fire buffing of the Destro tree all the way up to emberstorm, which is a fire damage boost that procs off of shadow spells. You cast your two insta-shadow dots (CoA and Corruption) to proc emberstorm, then cast Immolate which will boost your direct fire damage spell, Incinerate. After that, it's just a matter of refreshing dots, spamming incinerate and making sure you click your demon's extra crit ability (I forget what it's called) when the CD is off (once per minute) and you're good to go.

I think the thing I like about this spec is it gives you a good taste of just about everything in the tree. You get the best demon who is out and doing damage instead of sac'd, you are refreshing 3 DoTs (unless you're assigned Curse of Elements which only needs to be refreshed every 5 minutes) and you are throwing regular direct damage spells. It's everything that a lock is rolled into one spec.

Now, with Patch 3.1, they are throwing in the Soul Fire talent that, when the target is below 35% health, you'll get a proc that reduces the casting time more than in half and removes the soul shard cost, meaning that we'll have another button to push between incinerates right when we need to push our dps the most. Plus, they are giving our demons more survivability though a 2 point talent in the easily accessible top of the demo tree that will heal our demons by 30% of the damage we do ( ! ). For those of you paying attention, that is similar to the t5 set bonus and will keep those pets up through just about anything. Also they have thankfully reduced the cost of a talent that allows your demon to gain mp from life tap from 3 points down to 1 making it very attractive and will help keep your pet's dps up where it needs to be.

I cannot emphasize enough how much I am looking forward to the new patch as they take my current favorite build and make it that much better.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


So last started out as an exercise in frustration for me but ended as a triumph. I have limited time in which to raid every week where as my guild (who seems to be largely unemployed or living on the east coast or both) raids all the time when I'm not around. Tuesday and Thursday nights are usually my time to take a shot at Naxx (which I have yet to complete on any character) and I was very much looking forward to another attempt.

When I logged in after work, the GM who was supposed to be setting up the raid was not on, so we waited for him. It turns out he was hanging out in vent and told me that he was waiting for the right people for 10-man Naxx group 2 to log in (of which I was to be a part). In the mean time, we set up a VoA 25-man run with some pugs and the two 10-man VoA's (the second of which took considerably longer than the first for whatever reason). Now and hour and a half has passed and Wintergrasp is open for business again so most of the people who would be raiding are trying to protect the fortress. I'm not a huge fan of PvP, so I decided to wait impatiently for them to finish while trying to get a straight answer to "Are we raiding tonight?" Finally, I got my answer: "No, it's too late to start." . . . . it was 6:45pm my time. Now my DK has wasted time I could have used to start all the Netherwing quests I got pulled away from on Monday (to wipe 3 times on 25-man Thaddeus) and was blocked from logging in to do on Tuesday morning by server maintenance. Grrrrr . . . .

Well, come to find out that Group 1 wants to get back in there and try to get the achievement for the Arachnid Quarter, Arachnophobia, which consists of killing the second 2 bosses within 20 minutes of killing the first boss. I didn't want to get my tank saved to a group that didn't need a tank, so I offered my warlock's services. After having gotten the group together, we started on the first spider boss and wiped 3 times (we were trying to 8 man it, but just didn't have the coordination). We got 2 more players and killed him and then ran to the next boss and downed her on the first attempt and ran to the final boss and downed her (him/it?) on the first try earning the achievement with 1 minute to spare. I ended up getting 2 much needed epics for my warlock as well as an achievement I hadn't even gotten on my Death Knight.

It's this sort of thing that makes me go crazy. When playing a game like World of Warcraft, you are forced, should you want to experience the game's best content, to rely on others. And, to be honest, since there is no real life consequences for them not showing up or adhering to the guild calendar (they won't be fired from WoW) people show up or don't. I understand why this happens, but it makes me want to throw things.

Monday, March 16, 2009

End Game Fun?

So I've decided to start working with my Death Knight again and getting some more obscure achievements and reputations up. I have mentioned in the past that I am a bit of an achievement junkie (Violet Proto Drake, here I come!) and there are some titles and mounts I'd like to get my frosty little paws on. For example, starting this afternoon, I'm going to be doing the Netherwing dailies. Until I saw the proto drakes, the netherwing flying mounts were the coolest in the game, bar none, and I'd like to see my Tauren Death Knight showing up everywhere on one of those bad boys. Also, every day I have time, I'll be attempting to do all the Sha'tari Skyguard dailies and slowly grind that one out. When I left off, I was at honored. If I get all those done, I'll grind Mag'har rep in Nagrand or start going back through the rest of the barrens and Undead starting areas for rep (I've already done the orc/troll and blood elf starting zones) so that I can grab all the racial mounts. When I'm done with all that, I'll start running the 3 original battle grounds for tokens so that I can get those mounts. This is gonna take me a while, I think.

As I ponder the vast amounts of time I'm about to dump into this endeavour, I wonder to myself if it is in fact worth it. Then I picture my toon riding his white drake through the skies of Northrend and I remember that it totally is. Man, I'm a sucker for this stupid game.

Friday, March 13, 2009

/target Boss Drop RNG, /cast Curse of Agony

I would like to take a few moments to curse the random drop system in raids. I have a limited amount of time to run raid dungeons that usually falls on Tuesday nights, when my guild is starting to run Naxx. This means I have done the Arachnid Quarter (which they always start with for some reason) 20 times and have yet to see 2 of the three bosses in the plague quarter. It seems very rare in that time that I'll get a tanking drop for my Death Knight. He has pretty good gear but he needs a better cape, pants and shoulders. Last night was my first time taking my Warlock into Naxx. They brought me in for Maexxena and Patchwerk. No cloth drops off of either boss, but a tanking cape and tanking shoulders drop respectively. Now, I understand that the drops in this game are based on a random number generation system, but I am now firmly convinced that the game is mocking me. I mean, really, no cloth drops at all on the only two bosses I'm likely to see this week? And then to get two tanking drops on the only time so far I have not run it with my tank? *sigh*

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Wow . . . Just, Wow . . .

So I've been trying to get my newly 80 Warlock through as many heroics as I can so that when my guild has an empty dps raid slot (and they don't need my DK to tank) I'll be ready. Anyways, I was pugging a run of H Nexus and realized that I was grouped with a hunter that used to be in my guild but, I believe, had been kicked out for low dps (it is a raiding progression guild, after all). Now, I had done a H UK run with this same Hunter a month ago and was baffled by his low dps. For a Hunter to be doing 800 dps on AoE trash pulls in a heroic is really unacceptable. Confused by his poor performance, I looked at his gear and saw that he had one dagger equipped. Just one. If you, by some chance, are not familiar with the hunter class, most of them use a two-handed weapon of some kind since they have such high agility, a stat hunters covet. They also have the ability to dual wield if they get better one-handers. This hunter only had 1 one handed weapon on a heroic run!! When asked why, he said that he was waiting to get something good for that slot. Fast forward a month. I am curious to see if his playing has improved at all having played the game some more and, most likely, run more heroics. Well, as it turns out, I'm sure he was dragged through most heroics. When our party leader asked this hunter why he didn't have his pet out he said, "Oh, I never use a pet in this instance." I have a feeling it was this bafflingly bad playing that got him booted from our guild. Bad dps you can fix. Stupid is a little tougher.

As with my experience a week ago with the dpsing DK tank, I started to question if WoW is really that complicated a game and, to a certain degree, I suppose it is. However, the trouble isn't inexperience, it's failing to gain any knowledge from a hobby that takes up a good portion of your time. I just don't understand that kind of mentality. Unless he bought his toon, he spent at least 10 full days (240 hours) leveling his hunter to 80. At what point in his time spent did he learn that you don't always have to equip something in every slot and that you don't use a pet in instances? Are he and I even playing the same game?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The doll is cursed....But it comes with a free Frogurt! :)

Ok, ok…so with all this talk about Warlocks and how the class is changing and how much fun they are to play I got to thinking, I have never leveled a Warlock past lvl 2. About 2 years ago I created a very funny looking Forsaken Warlock lvled him to 2 and then never played him again. About 6 months later I deleted him just to save space. Reading about Warlocks and talking to people about warlocks has inspired me to roll a Warlock. I also realized looking at my character screen was that I only have 3 Trolls, 2 Blood Elves, and a Tauren. The only forsaken that I rolled was that poor poor warlock and I have never even thought about making an Orc…… Enter new to the World (of Warcraft)……Frogurt the Orc Warlock!!! (The frogurt is also cursed). I will be leveling him up (already set a new record with lvl 4) and write periodically about my experiences as a new found Warlock.

So far I am decently happy with the class. Tip to anyone who is starting a caster in the Orc/Troll starting area is skip the cave!!!!!!!!!! It’s not worth it!!!!!!! 20 mins on 1 enemy pulls to get to the back and then 20 mins to get out!!!!!!! Makes me want to play minesweeper instead!!!!!!!! Once I got out of the starting zone, I went with my little Imp in tow to the Troll village. I am looking forward to practicing using curses on the trolls out on the islands and figuring out how to Shadow bolt spam the best. I will post again when I get to Ogrrii…ogramm…Orc Town and have selected professions. Post if you have suggestions on which I should do.

P.S BS and Eng and LW are not options, been there done that.

Player Housing Suggestions

Just some quick thoughts about the issue of player housing. For some background on my MMO, I spent a little over a year playing Final Fantasy XI Online before I set foot in Azeroth. FFXI had player housing so I have some experience with how that kind of a system can work in an MMO from the player's perspective. I have to say that when I first started playing WoW, I was a little disappointed that I did not have a room to call my own that I could decorate with cheap furniture and potted plants. I've since gotten over it, but I started thinking about it today and thought I would jot down some of my ideas for posterity.

The first problem I can see with adding playing housing is it either has to be free and available to all players either from the start or once they reach a certain level, or it has to have no direct effect on game play. Allow me to explain. Blizzard's philosophy in game design is such that when they add something new and interesting to lengthen the game experience, but that is tangential to the main game (i.e. not a new dungeon, but a new feature), they don't want it to be mandatory. This isn't because of player complaining (which they do no matter what happens, it seems) but more because they don't want to make something that initially seems like a fun side project into a mandatory get for anyone who was serious about the game. For example, imagine that they introduced the player housing that cost 20,000g. Obviously, it would take some time (for most of us) to rack up that kind of money with the game's economy as it stands. If that house gave some sort of advantage, as I have seem suggested, for example anything you cooked there would be slightly more powerful, all of a sudden home ownership is mandatory by high-end raiding guilds. Therefore if the player house is going to be anything more than cosmetic or storage, it has to be available to everyone. For an example of this design philosophy in action, see achievements. While they offer rewards for completion (titles, mounts, non-combat pets, tabards) they don't give you an advantage one way or the other (the exception being for the uber achievements that give out a 310% speed flying mount like the Heroic Raid Meta and the Holiday Meta).

Personally, I'm in favor of Blizzard just giving everyone access to a hovel at level 1 and allowing us to level it as we level our character. Allow me to elaborate. Upon reaching their race's capital city, each character, by the grace of Thrall (Varian Wrynn? I don't play ally and could not be bothered to look this up. Haha!) each character is granted a small and rundown house. Very small. Very rundown. At this point, you never have to do anything to the house that you don't want to do. What the house looks like and how much it can store or what conveniences it will offer you, will be entirely up to you, but the main game altering feature I envision, trophies, will be available to all, no matter the size or look of the player's house.

One of the things Blizzard has said, if I remember correctly, is that they don't want to invalidate old material or older zones by making you skip them all completely. With the trophy system, I think we can reinvigorate the older zones, specifically older dungeons, without having to do anything as silly as a Heroic Mode for Wailing Caverns (I take it back. That would be awesome.) The way trophies would work is you have 5 slots in every player house again, no dependent on size. Every final boss from every dungeon in Vanilla, BC and WotLK drops a trophy, usually their head but sometimes their hide or claw. It would depend on the boss. This item would be lootable by all members of the party. When you got back to town, you would place the trophy in one of the 5 trophy slots and it would give your character a Pride buff. The Pride buff would vary based on the trophy. For instance, completing Mara would grant you a trophy that increased all stats by +2. Completing Ragefire Chasm would grant a trophy that adds +1% experience to all kills. Now your Pride buff gives +2 to all stats and +1% experience to all kills. This would work for up to 5 buffs at once rolled into the Pride buff. In this way, Blizzard could at once encourage players to not only experience old content, but experience it at the appropriate level. What person leveling from 10-80 would turn up their nose at a buff to xp? Obviously, the higher level the dungeon, the better the trophies buff all the way up to Arthas' Helm which will grant you your life back (just kidding, WoW still owns you). Now for the non-combat goodies.

In addition to the trophy aspect, players will want to be able to store things in their new abode. However, it's just an empty shack! The solution? A new secondary profession called Carpentry. Carpentry uses various ores (or maybe bars) to make nails and other parts as well as granting the ability to harvest lumber from various places around Azeroth (Warsong Pine or Un'goro Mahogany anyone?). Using these materials, the Carpenter can start to repair and build additions as well as furniture for his home. Create a closet that can hold sets of armor. Create trunks for holding potion and items. Create a work bench for your main profession. Make yourself a bed that slightly increases the rate at which you accumulate rest. The higher your carpentry skill, the larger and more intricate the furniture you can make. Also, at certain skill points similar to how enchanters have to make new rods every 100 skill points or so, Carpenters will have to expand their homes to create room for the larger furniture by gathering a diverse and large amount of level specific materials.

Now the player house will start out as being in just available from your capital city. However, a ways down the line, and for a fee, you will be able to install a teleporter in one room of your house. Having done so, you will be able to purchase access to portals in each capital city. In this way, you can set your Hearth to your house and exit into whatever city you wish, adding extra convenience.

The final idea I have is an expansion of the player housing scenario to include the rest of your guild. The Guild Hall. Each guild will have the ability to create a meeting place and hangout for their membership. It won't be cheap, though. It will take all of the guild's members working together and gathering the mats to finish this project, though once it is completed, there will be room for expansion. Guild carpenters will be able to craft lounge furniture and other decorative items that serve no real purpose other that posterity. The big deal though, would be the Guild Trophies. This system would work similarly to the Pride buff players can get from their own homes, but with the Guild Pride (which would read as " Pride" on the buff table) players will be able to visit the trophies of bosses the guild has downed and get a temporary buff (works like a flask for, let's say 3-4 hours). If the Guild Hall was implemented at the same time as Player Housing, I would say that only guilds can loot trophies from Raid Bosses while players can loot individual trophies from 5-man dungeons.

This kind of thing is always fun to think about. I'm sure it will never happen, but I just wanted to throw my ideas out there.

Hero Class Suggestion

I posted this on the Official WoW Forums a while back, long before this blog was a twinkle in my brain, and thought I'd bring the idea back and write about it again, since I think it's a fairly good idea.

I have always been a fan of the prospect of playing a new class, so even though my new main still has that “New Death Knight Smell” (ewww) my thoughts have wandered to the next expansion and what the new hero class would be. I have read most of the forum topics on the subject and would like to throw in my 2 cents about what I think might be a fun new class that could fill a gap and make healing fun for a whole different type of wow player, thus eliminating the need to change healing for those who enjoy it, but hopefully, getting a few new people off their DPS toons and into some 5-man’s. Here it is:



Biomechanics’ back story (since they have to have a reason for already being lvl 55 or 65 if that's the case) is very similar to that of Gnomeragon in that they lived in peace studying the finer points of biological engineering, mechanology and how magic relates to those fields. The player character would be the WoW equivalent of a grad student at the Biomechanic University (Scholomech?). The stating area looks like a mix of Goblin and Gnomish tech. At some point, the new antagonist of the next expac, whoever that may be, launches an assault on the school and it’s up to you to fight your way out before the school is totally destroyed/overrun.


The main concept for the biomechanic class is a loose combination of shaman, hunter, warlock and disc priest. Allow me to explain: The biomechanic would be a ranged dps/ranged healing class that would be able to heal, though in different ways, from all three trees similar to the idea that Death Knights can tank in all three of their trees with the right talents. They would use ranged weapons, most likely guns, as well as two-handers, though they would rarely melee when dpsing. They would also use golems that would work like a mix between a hunter or warlock pet and a shaman’s totem, depending on the golem in use. The golems could be used for HoTs (similar to the Jewelcrafting Figures that fall out of use by the time you get to BC, inasmuch as they would follow their target around while channeling a healing spell) for group buffs (dps buffs, group shields, etc kind of like the Unholy Death Knights' Magic Barrier), for CC (taunt or hold an enemy in stasis) or as explosives (smaller golems ala Dr. Boom in Netherstorm). Besides the golems heals, the main source of healing as well as dps for the Biomechanic would be his/her gun. Biomechanics would use regular bullets, but with a mechanic similar to the DK’s rune forging, they would be able to transform their bullets into darts. In this manner, when a Biomechanic is healing the main tank, they are firing darts into his back with restorative potions inside I personally feel that this mechanic would make healing feel a little more visceral and might appeal to previous DPS-only players). Bigger heals would be several darts at once and group heals would be handled my multiple golems and the Biomechanics “OS Button” which would be a shower of tiny robots (nannites?) that would scurry to all party members and repair damage done to them.

These same mechanics are used when the Biomechanic is DPS’ing. The tiny robots now act like Insect Swarm and put a dot on the enemy and lower his chance to hit. The golems can taunt the mob, hold it in stasis, or simply hit it. The darts inflict a stacking DoT on the target (the actual gun fire would do significantly less than a hunter, which would be compensated for by the refreshing DoT. Now to get specific.


The three trees I imagine for the Biomechanic would be Biology, Mechanology and Symbiotics.


This tree would focus on the DoT’s that regular gunfire would do, as well as additional poison/disease shots. Also, this is where the talents are to buff the Biomechanics direct healing.


This tree would focus on the dps and healing abilities of the golems, making them stronger and giving them more versatility


This tree would focus on both group buffs as well as personal buffs, via stim-pack like injections. This tree offers some of the most difficult choices for the biomechanic as they will be able to talent into several group buffs that are only available in this tree (their own version of innervate, a battle rez . . etc). In addition, this tree has a focus on reducing damage to the biomechanic and the group with the use of shields and protective golems. This is the tree that you would spec into that makes healing similar to that of a disc priest, except with even more emphasis on preventing damage from happening (though buffs and shields), since healing power would be weaker.


The final aspect of this class is what allows them to switch between jobs in the party. This is similar to a hunters aspects and I am tentatively calling it Emphasis. The three Emphasis' (Emphasi?) would be Help (healing), Hurt (DPS), Buff (shields and buffs, obviously). Having mindsets would do for healing what DK's presences did for tanking and allow soloing with a healing spec just by changing your Emphasis from Help to Hurt.

So that's my idea for a new healing class for WoW. It targets a specific type of player that doesn't normally want to heal, but gives enough fun mechanics to change the way healing is done and make it more akin to what these players are used to. However, giving so many tools out also makes the class a challenge to use and versatile enough to adapt to many situations.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Orc Town

I was reading a blog about the pronounciation of various areas and names in WoW and was reminded of something funny. While I sometimes struggle to say names of places, I feel I have a pretty firm grasp on how to say them aloud, as well as the proper way to vocalize player character names that are of greater complexity that Xxxxsephirothxxxx (on a side note, anyone who names a character any variation of "Sephiroth" should be forced to pick another name. Come on people, you can do better than that). It's probably a bit mean of me, but I always take a perverse pleasure in listening to other people butcher WoW names in Vent. The first time I came across this was when my brother was trying to say the name of the Orc/Troll Capital City of Orgrimmar. He had (still has) a terrible time with it. I have no idea why. It got to the point where he'd sound like the giant in all those Disney cartoons: "In Orgama . . Orgrinn . . .Ormagon . . . . . . . Orc Town . . . with green gravy." While I get a chuckle when I think about this (and when my GM tries to say the name of anyone in the guild who he doesn't have a nickname for), it always makes me wonder: what am I saying wrong? Is it really pronounced Oot-gahrd Keep? or am I right in saying You-teh-gahrd? Who knows? I think I'll just type that one from now on.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Shamanistic Diversions

In my quest to have a lvl 80 character of every profession, I started leveling my shaman again and I have to say the difference is jarring to go from Death Knight and Warlock to Shaman. The problem with casually playing a shaman is that not only do the two shaman trees (elemental and enhance for leveling purposes, I'd never even consider leveling as resto) have vastly different play styles, but a shaman, even with no talents at all, has a staggering amount of abilities. My poor un-modded user interface is completely overwhelmed. I realized that I hadn't played this particular character since the last content patch so I had to assign her talents out (I went with enhance since that was the gear I had) and re-add the abilities to the action bar, trying to remember where I'd carefully placed them back in October. By the time I got it all straightened out and could go complete some quests in the Bone Wastes (she was lvl 67) it was time for me to log out.

Another funny thing about coming back to a character you haven't played for a while is seeing holiday and event items that have long passed sitting in the inventory. I saw some stuff from last years Winter's Veil. But more surprising still, she had quests from the pre-wrath zombie event in her log that I didn't discover until the next day when I was cleaning it out for her trek to Borean Tundra (hit 68 late last night).

Well, soon I'll have my Shaman Scribe up to level 80 and that will make 4 professions covered (tailoring and enchanting on the warlock, jewelcrafting on the Death Knight, and inscription on the shaman) and leatherworking (lvl 70 Druid), engineering (lvl 34 Hunter), alchemy (lvl 27 Rogue) and blacksmithing (lvl 70 Warrior) to go. Ugh. Why was this a good idea again? . . . . oh yeah, I hate using trade channel.


Well, I hit 80 on my Warlock over the weekend. The gear I had gathered was enough to give my 4 lvl 80 epics and all 78+ blues except for a BC epic Badge of Justice trinket and a green ring and wand. The ring and wand I can't find replacements for since I'm trying to stack +hit (I respec'd to an affliction build for heroics and raiding) since I'm still a bit shy of the affliction hit cap. That very evening, I ran my first Northrend Heroic on my warlock. It was H Violet Hold and I was concerned that I wouldn't be able to pull my weight. However, I did a solid 1,500 dps average and we completed the dungeon at which point I scored two cloth pieces ( ! ) from the final boss, epic bracers and rare pants. All in all, a good experience. I will say that Affliction has got to be one of the hardest dps rotations in the game. Leaving Immolate off the table, you have 5 DoT's to keep up at all times, not to mention trying to squeeze in a few direct damage spells in between. I have begun to wonder if the alleged poor performance of raiding locks has to do, not so much with the limitations of the class itself, but more with the complexity of the game play. If you don't keep those DoT's up, you're dps is going to be much lower than if you can somehow keep that rotation going. For instance, on the last boss of H VH, I would have been well served to remember about the warlock teleport we have now. As it was, I found myself running back to the same spot and losing precious casting time every time Cyanigosa dragged us all to the center of the room. I did alright, but I think my dps will improve with time as I discover the intricacies of playing affliction.

The State of Warlocks

I mentioned a few things in my blurb about soul shards that I'd like to expand upon regarding the perception of the warlock as it stands in the current iteration of WoW.

First of all, there seems to be a perception that locks aren't capable of being the dps chart toppers they were in BC and Vanilla WoW and that frustrated locks are jumping ship/switching to Death Knights. Now, as I don't have access to Blizzard's internal dps numbers, I do know what I've seen raiding as a DK: locks are doing just fine. I always see warlocks in the top 5 spots for 25-man and the top 3 for 10-man runs. I think the idea that their damage has somehow gone down relative to other dps'ers is due to two things: one is that all the other dps specs have been buffed as of the first 3.0 patch to be close to equal to the olde dps guard of Hunter, Rogue, Warlock and Mage. I don't see this as a problem, but it does change how these four classes appear next to the others. Whereas there used to not be a comparison, now, with the right gear and skill, what used to be a non-raiding spec (moonkin, I'm looking at you) is now not only viable, but can top the charts. This scares the pure dps classes because they worry they will be left sitting in Dalaran twiddling their thumbs while an army of owl-bears starfires Naxx into the ground. The logic behind this fear being that if a Druid can output the same dps as a warlock and can heal, rez and tank, why bring a warlock? Especially when dual-specs roll out in 3.1! For me, I just don't see that happening. First of all, everyone wants at least one warlock in the raid for a Soul Stone, Health Stones and to summon stragglers (or people too mind-bogglingly cheap to buy a flying mount). Even with the ability to switch roles wherever and nearly whenever they want, I don't see this making too much difference besides speeding up the raiding process. Right now, if the raid loses a tank and has a moonkin, the moonkin may be asked to respec. The only thing that's changed is that now they don't have to go back to town and be summoned back to do it.

The second thing I wanted to discuss was Soul Fire. I have only used that spell once or twice in my entire career as a warlock. It looks cool, I suppose, but is impractical to use because of it's cast time/damage ratio is too high to keep it in a dps rotation and it also costs a soul shard, which are hard to come by when raiding (and wiping). However, all this will change with patch 3.1 with the addition of a Destruction talent that, on a proc I believe, will reduce the cast time of Soul Fire and remove the shard cost. All of a sudden, warlocks have another button to press! Yay! Gone are the days of sitting there pressing the shadow bolt key with a sacrificed demon and topping the charts. Now destro locks will be using mostly fire damage and have a refurbished tool to use. I have to say that when this change is made, one of my dual-specs will be destro. The developers have done so much to make that tree fun again, I don't think I can pass it up.

All in all, I'm happy with the state of warlocks. I think that a lot of the problems are imagined or are just the normal complaining from the vocal minority who both hate it when things change and hate when they stay the same.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Attention Death Knights! Get a Violet Proto Drake This Year!!

I just read on the latest version of the PTR that Brew of the Year (which takes 11 months to complete) is no longer required for the Meta Achievement "What a Long Strange Trip It's Been", the meta that awards a Violet Proto Drake Mount. This is great news for DK's who were still polishing Arthas' boots the last time that Brew of the Month was sending out membership applications.

I will admit to being somewhat of an achievement junkie (more a title junkie than anything else) and have already completed all the holiday achievements so far on my Death Knight main(Merrymaker, Elder, the Love Fool) and am glad that all my hard work will pay off when I can complete the final set of holiday achievements in Oct/Nov.

Here's hoping they leave this in when the patch goes live!

Death Knight Tanks: They are not a Myth I have /seen them!

Well I am the brother that Kadav spoke of. My name is Oldscratch and I am what would be considered a true Hybrid player. I naturally gravitate towards toons with completely different play types/abilities depending on the spec. The 2 toons that I have brought to Level 80 are a Shaman: Oldscratch (Currently Elemental) and a Paladin: Maginot (Protection), I am also leveling up my Druid: Divinewrath (Feral) but he is still a ways away from dinging 80. You might be asking yourself at this point “self… Why is a guy who only runs toons where the biggest DoTs are Flame Shock, Consecrate, and Moonfire writing on Connect the DoTs.?” Well let me tell you. While I do not play a DoTer, I have run with them, won with them, laughed with them, and died with them, and feel that observations from someone who has interactions with your strange and mysterious kind can be some what beneficial if not comical.

The first issue that I would like to post about on Kadav’s blog is a matter that I am very much struggling with on both my main toons and that is of the Death Knight tanks. Thus I begin my article:

Death Knight Tanks: They are not a Myth I have /seen them!

Now of course I am not talking about those brave souls that feel as if any person with a Def cap and a 2 handed sword can walk into Naxx, bang their head on the keyboard and walk away with Betrayer of Humanity. NO no no. I refer to those Death Knights such as Kadav who understand a very simple principle that we all learned from G.I Joe (if you are a child of the 80s that is) all those years ago…. “Knowing is half the battle”. The difference of Wipe or Win is in the knowledge. I have seen so many DKs fail time and time again not because they are under geared or under healed, but because of knowledge of the fight. Running UK for hours because the DK did not know which mobs were ranged and which melee, which healed and which AOE. It is because of this that given the tanking choice of DK or Paladin…most pugs will take the Paladin. I think it is due to the simple fact that DKs don’t have the experience of tanking BC or Vanilla and it hurts their server rep.

I tip my hat to those DK tanks (and I'm willing to put a lot of money down that they were tanks on other toons) who know the fights, plan the pulls and hold aggro like crazy. Whenever I run a heroic and the DK tank is on the ball I stare in amazement. It is such a beautiful thing to watch, the grace and fluidity that the DK brings to the tanking table is awe inspiring.

With more experience comes better tanks and so I say to the DKs out there, please do not start your first instance tanking on a Heroic. Go to Reg VH or Reg HoL instances that are not easy but help you get used to the idea of blocking with your face with out spending hours upon hours on clearing trash. Get the finger skill up and then step into heroics with a vengeance, impress the world (of Warcraft) with the might that is the Death Knight.

Soul Shards in 3.1

It looks like with the new 3.1 patch that the developers are starting to address some of the Warlock issues that have not only been present since the beginning of WotLK, but since the inception of the game. The biggest of these, in my mind, is the issue of soul shards. soul shards are what truly make Warlocks unique from every other class in the game. As many have surmised, without soul shards we're a shadow mage, which in high-end BC content was true anyway, as many warlocks would sacrifice their demon (another semi-unique feature locks have) for a little extra shadow power so they could spam shadow bolt. Whee. But, for better or worse (mostly worse), soul shards have been an integral part of the warlock experience. What better way to fill a bag slot that with reagents? Just ask hunters!

In recent times the developers has been trying to streamline the system by giving us more effective ways do do things. They added summoning stones outside of instances so that locks would not be required to personally summon every single member, then they gave us cookie jars for health stones and, most recently, our very own demonic armoire that, once in place, can be used by any party member to summon the rest of the raid. Now with the upcoming patch, they are changing the way we can collect and store shards altogether.

The latest notes say that our channeled shard collecting spell, Drain Soul, which does some slight dps but has no other purpose besides creating shards, will now give one shard per tick of channeling, which would overload our bags very quickly is they had not also imposed another change: that we can no longer carry more that 32 shards at once, which is the maximum capacity of the largest shard-only bag currently in-game.

While there are some warlocks I've heard complaining about this, the change (which the devs have said is a temporary fix with a more in-depth look at the whole system incoming "soon") is a positive one. With the previous system, a shard would only proc if you had drain soul on a mob when it died. This way, you can create them whenever you might need them, like say after having used them all on a boss wipe-fest. Since we use the shards for demons, aggro-wiping, and (with another change to soul fire that will make us actually use it) for some high damage abilities, a quick way to replenish our stock without blowing out our inventory space will be most welcome.

The main complaints I've heard are that some locks want to be able to carry more shards and other are concerned that have to drain soul will hurt their dps. To the first, I've never carried more shards on me than will fit in my shard-only bag anyway, so that's not a big deal for me. I've never understood locks who show up to raids with no shards OR those who show up with all their bags bursting with them. One shows lack of planning and the other lack of faith in your raiding partners. As for the dps, I suppose we'll have to wait and see how it plays out on the live realms, but I'd have to think that with an easier way to get them, I wouldn't be so reticent to spend my purple zirconium whenever the need arose for fear of a wipe fest with no mobs I could farm more from.

Over all, I'm happy with the change and think this is a positive step in making warlocks even more fun to play.

Why People Hate Death Knights

I was all ready to write about the state of the Warlock and what I'm looking forward to in patch 3.1. Then last night, while I was trying to finish leveling my lock (and after successfully main tanking Patchwerk on Heroic for the first time on my DK, yay!) I get a /w from a real life friend of mine who was working on gearing his second level 80, a hunter (his main is a resto druid. guess which one was more fun for him to level?) Anyway, he asked me to jump on my DK and tank H VH, which was the daily. If he wasn't a friend I wouldn't have. There's nothing my DK needs from badges that I can't live without and I was anxious to get that last level on my lock but, like a good RL friend, I switched toons and sat in Dalaran while he found a healer.

The instance starts and I'm pulling all the trash mobs, but I notice that they don't seem to be dying as quickly as I'm used to. I look at my dps meter and see that the other DK in our party who was dps'ing was doing about 800 dps on AoE trash pulls. I take a second and examine his gear: he has all tanking gear equipped. . . . okaaay. I ask him why he's wearing def gear in party chat. no response. I /w the same. No response. We wipe on the first boss because I forget you have to kite that particular guy (hey, it's been at least a month since I've done any heroics) and I take the opportunity to try and get a response from this guy. I ask him if he's there in party chat. I /poke him. He finally responds and says he's there. The conversation went as follows:

Me: Hey, how come you are wearing tanking gear?
Him: I was tanking in the last instance.
Me: Oh, well you're dps'ing now so why don't you put on dps gear.
Him: I don't have a dps set yet.
Me: (head explodes)

Really? He really just leveled all the way to 80 and decided it would be a good idea to dps a heroic in his tanking set? What's worse, his tanking gear included the Red Sword of Courage from H UP. This was not his first heroic. He must have know what he was doing at least a little bit. I guess I just don't understand the mindset of someone who would go into a group for an instance not only under geared, but geared for the wrong role entirely. I couldn't have been more flabbergasted.

Now, I'm not the kind that would boot someone from a party for under performing but sometimes there is just a lack of respect. He knew he wasn't going to be able to dps at the level the instance would require before we even started, yet he chose to hold us back anyway. I understand not having the best dps set and wanting to do a heroic run to gear up with stronger players, but there is absolutely no excuse for showing up in the wrong gear entirely. I would have been a lot less upset if he was in full greens (and he most likely would have done more damage in full dps greens) though I don't know how it's possible to level all the way to 80 and not get at least a few blues, whether from crafting or from quest chains. If he had not been in my friend's guild, I'd have kicked him after that first wipe. As it was, I tried not to freak out and, though we had a druid healer who had never done a WotLK heroic before (got the achievement for first Emblem of Heroism off the first boss) we somehow managed to complete the instance. And in a way, that was almost more satisfying that powering through it with a well geared group in 20 minutes. However, it's that kind of shenanigans that gets all DK's a bad name. As a person who thinks about this kind of stuff quite a bit and works hard in the game to make sure I have the best gear I can attain, it's frustrating to see someone leeching off of my hard work who can't be bothered to put forth a little effort.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

ding in sight . . .

I have had locks on the brain (sounds like a bagel shop delicacy) as of late because I recently decided, after having leveled my shiny new Death Knight to 80 as fast as I could when WotLK dropped, that it was finally time I gave a little love to the toon that saw me through my formative WoW days. My Undead Warlock was the first character I created back in July of 2006. He was my first toon to 60 (when that used to be the level cap), he was my first toon to 70 (when THAT used to be the level cap). Throughout all of BC, he was the only toon on which I had been able to bestow epic flying as well as being the first toon I took into a raid somewhere around mid-BC after a much needed mental break.

I had raided with my lock to about tier 4.5, so through Kara, Gruul's and some SSC and Mags before I switched to a druid and warrior and ended up spending all of my time in Kara and Gruul's (until the 3.0.2 patch where I was suddenly tanking stuff on my Warrior in BT).

Anyway, with a full bar of rest and a few gold in my pocket, I respec'd my lock to demo for the trek to 80 and actually had a blast doing it. I'd forgotten how much I enjoy playing a warlock. I was concerned when I started that I would find questing in the same zones too much of a retread of my DK time there to be enjoyable (since I took my DK to Northrend at 68 and never gave him time to build up any rest, I ended up questing in every zone before I finally hit 80) but after the initial foray into each I started discovering things I'd missed the first time through, including entire quest hubs (I had no idea there were friendly murlocs in Borean Tundra).

After getting the questing loremaster achievements in Borean Tundra, Howling Fjord and Dragonblight, I realized that I would hit lvl 80 before I even met the Ebon Blade and switched to seeking out all the lower level quests that give out rep (having already completed all the Wyrmrest and Kirin Tor non-dungeon quests) and headed to Zul'Drak. When I hit 77, I went right to Storm Peak and started grinding Son's of Hodir rep. My goal is to make sure I'm as close to raid ready when I hit 80 as I can be.

Now, I'm on the eve of dinging 80 (just hit 79 this morning, still with full rest) and I am 5 skill points away from being able to make my epic tailoring robe, my DK, who's a jewelcrafter has churned out an epic spell ring and and epic spell neck and I should be honored with KotEB and get a blue cape. If all goes well, I'll have a nearly complete set of blues and 4 epics the second I hit 80, which is an exciting prospect, and be able to head right into heroics. At the very latest, I figure I'll be gathering emblems by this weekend.


This is the first entry to what I hope will be an interesting blog (my first) that will focus on my experience in the World of Warcraft playing a warlock and a death knight (hence the name Connect the DoT's). I enjoy reading blogs that other have written and thought it was time I contributed my own thoughts and ideas to share with other players. My brother, who plays a capped Shaman and Paladin may also contribute from time to time.

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy this!