Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Why "the Casual"?

Not the author
Like any small community, there are cliques. In high school, you had the jocks, the nerds, the popular and the completely unpopular. Depending on how your parents dressed you in the morning and your genetic predisposition to sports, often placed you in your high school clique. Now while, I never (who would) consider myself a total outcast, I didn't exactly fit into the jock crowd. Maybe I should have listened to the track coach and tried out for the x-country track team....

Throughout life, my moto has been c'est la vie (yes it's a cheesy 80's reference). I take most as things come. No bumper sticker commitments. No standing on fad commitments. It's served me through college, work and now into my game play. What has this to do with my topic?

OK, what does "Casual" mean to me??

First off, casual means family first. I do not want aspects of my game play to impact my wife or children. Yes, they know I play Warcraft. They have seen me killing beasts, doing the dailies and even the regular holiday event. I have not let this take time away from them. When they are awake, I can get up from the keyboard at any moment and wander off. Since I am on a Central coast server and live in Pacific TZ, has this impacted raiding?? Heck ya. I typically can't raid with the standard server groups. I can only raid with late night groups. Forutunately, my guild is made up of a good portion of PST residents and they've been making an effort to include myself and others in my situation (guild perks!!). In fact, I have or do work with my healer, tank and dps (see about page). This makes raiding at 11PM server easier..

Casual means efficiency. Between work and family, I have little time to raid, much less grind. I don't want to spend hours, upon hours trying to get that specific trinket from the 3rd boss in ICC, or that neck from HoR just because it's the absolute best in slot, or the ... you get the point. I want easy to use, correct websites to provide me upgrade options. Not ones like WowArmory that list ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING as an upgrade, or maxDPS which doesn't allow you to remove HIT (or any spirit) if you're already at max (sorry, but healy gear is NOT an upgrade for a lock, no matter how you reforge it). I need to be able to control the filters, the gear has to be specific to my current toon and my play style. I love spreadsheets, I can review the math. I love pawn and LootRank for the same reasons. I can play, I can tweak, I can find.

Casual means lack of commitment. Oh yeah, you heard me. I'll commit to the raid invite, if it fits. I'll commit to meeting friends and guildies for the random dungeon marathon. I am even planning on taking a little time off next month. What I won't commit to is giving stuff away. I've heard of friends are making 0 gold, because their giving away ALL of their gem transmutes. Sure, he also has 6 max level toons, but having 0 income because you're generously giving away a transmute?? Silly. I'll give away the random proc, but not the CD. Maybe not being on enough, they find someone else!!  :)

Casual means variety. Sure, you may say it's because I am missing raiding. I say it's cause there's more to life than raiding. I PUG raids, I PVP, I quest, I do the dailies and I make gold. By not raiding 6-10 hours a week, I can put 20 minutes into playing the auction house, while sitting in the DPS dungeon queue. Finish that, then run a few PVP sessions until horde wins or frustration does. If I am still not at max level, finish a quest chain before bed (BTW, did I mention it's now 2am PST).

Casual means late nights. Yes, 12am to 1am are fairly regular nights for me. My wife has to leave for work by 630am. That means, on average, max 4 hours of sleep each night I play and very strong espresso in the morning. Definitely makes for some very long, and interesting meetings at the office. My blog is accessible from the office, so most the time I compose or at least start an entry there. Before you ask, no I don't play at the office.

Casual means sacrifice. I will never have BIS gear. I will likely never get "The Kingslayer" title, no matter how cool it would be. I will never see ALL of the raid bosses (AFAIK, there are only 6 in Ulduar). Until the 'recent' changes in Wrath, I would have never seen level appropriate tier gear. Which I do absolutely LOVE the fact that Blizzard implemented; non-raiders are able to see a (virtually) full set of i264 level gear and all it cost me was a tractor trailer load of emblems (and a short-lived, failed arena team). At ~20 emblems a week... go figure.

Casual means I play on my own terms. I play when I want to, do what I want and try not to be green with envy about the cool i277 gear dropping off LK. (Thanks, Blizzard for fixing that in Cataclysm) By playing casual, I've never had burn-out issues (for long). From my perspective, the game is an outlet, not a source.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What the Shattering means to me.

A quick run down.
  1. My pictures from the Beta, now look like live. 
  2. Cry because the portals are gone in Dalaran. Caverns of Time portal works, but is it shorter than flying to a zep? Dunno.
  3. Cheer cause so are the flight restrictions (in Dal at least).
  4. Cooking Dailies in Org  (see Marogg). +1 cooking skill if not max. Otherwise just +1 cooking award (see vendor standing next and no, not same as Dal cooking daily award) and 7.4g. Looking forward to a little in-game espresso..
  5. I can now roll a troll druid and start leveling up. (oh, sorry just joking).  Saw a level 7 troll druid on at 10pm local.
  6. Had to retalent and reglyph my priest. 
  7. I now need to change my tabard to the Goblin one, gotta have my trike.(see Frizzo Vallamar by Orgrimmar flight master/trainer). No rep yet, even hFoS. Cataclysm.:(
  8. Carbonite is broken (as with I suppose any number of addons). Updated via WowMatrix and Curse before loading.
  9. Spotted some new fauna in Orgrimmar. 
  10. You get to see the Goblin (troll and Tauren) home zone in Org, without the background of playing the starting area. Note, the mage trainer and lock trainer aren't as social earlier on. 
  11. Land changes, including development of Troll starting area. 

 Nice first day in New Orgrimmar. Little sad cuz I wanted to get to bed earlier.

    Monday, November 22, 2010

    Idle Thoughts: Pilgrim's Bounty

    With this holiday, I become reminiscent of my childhood. I remember those long drives, early in the morning (without any of the modern conveniences) to Grandma's house, to have fun filled afternoon with cousins I barely know. I remember sitting there watching hours of televised sports (aka American Football) not knowing the difference between the teams (or secretly caring - nerd, not jock) or who wins. Now I get the honor of spreading that same joy, this year to my kids.

    Now as one can imagine, with any family get-together comes food and eating. This means one of two rooms are usually extremely busy, and I am not referring to the kitchen. Playing a horde character, I am some-what surprised by the lack of facilities in our lands. Sure the Alliance lands are spotted with little rooms with moons, but I have yet to see one in Durator. Is this due to the belief that Horde are animals? Unless I am missing something, the Blood Elves and all their glory, do not either. Just saying... there isn't an appropriate emote..

    That aside, anyone found a replacement for Advanced Trade Skills Window (ATSW)? While it works, it appears to have a bug with buying reagents. Instead of buying 2 stacks of flour, it is buying 2. I still like that I can simply select "make 5 stuffing" and it queues 5 spiced bread, then 5 stuffing. I also like that my alts get shopping lists when I log in. Plus integration with Lil' Sparky's (or a similar addon) is very important crucial. Note to self, buy 25 of each local ingredient before flying to next local.

    Finally, I am not sold on the Pilgrim's Bounty event as a great time to level cooking. OK, yes, you can pickup all the mats you need and there are several level appropriate cooking recipes provided to get you to 350. What I hate, and I think you'll agree. The drive-time to the 3 cities is time consuming. Well, at least you no longer have flight points, and can taxi directly from TB to Org, without seeing Crossroads. It would be easier, if I could find a pocket-mage to provide me some portals. Note, if you're leveling an alt this week, make sure you keep your Spirit of Sharing buff up by visiting a feast table once and hour. Nice rep gains.

    Things to remember:
    1. Empty those bags before beginning. I had best luck buying 60 of each local ingredient.
    2. Macro for killing turkeys. You'll need 25 a day, 40 if you want to get the achievement (40 turkeys killed less than 29 seconds apart, have mount)
      / tar wild turkey
      / cast instant damage spell (there is a bunch of competition)
    3. Start in Undercity -> orgrimmar -> Thunder Bluff <<=
    4. Look into picking up some beast tracking food. It might help with the turkeys, or mess up the mini-map with non-turkey bits. (wonder if you could use Critter Bites then AOE?)
    Oh, BTW, got Loremaster done yet?? Today's your LAST DAY!

    Thursday, November 18, 2010

    To Download or Not?

    Despite being in the Beta, I am planning on taking a day or two off next month. With that commitment of time off around the 7th, I don't want to be caught without a game to play. Over the last week, I have been torn, Amazon with "Release Day Delivery" or Blizzard with their streaming download. Luckily for me, my pre-order from Amazon of a recent BluRay movie arrived a day after release. This helped settle my decision; I canceled my pre-order with Amazon and ordered the download from Blizzard.

    Since their download model is a P2P, the more who do purchase it this way, the faster the updates. I have a feeling that Blizzard isn't going to necessarily leave us hanging, and will have the game slipstreamed onto our machines between now and then. The physical media, which is probably being printed now, will not. All users who upgrade via the DVD, will probably have another 700mb to download on C-day.

    What's your plan?

    Download?

    DVD?

    Wednesday, November 17, 2010

    Interesting Patch Changes 4.0.3

    Reading through the 4.0.3 patch notes, I thought I'd comment on a few:

    When in a Looking For Dungeon group, using an instance portal to that instance will now take players to the Looking For Dungeon entrance point instead of the normal destination of that portal. This will make it easier to return to the instance after dying in an LFD group.
    This I see as ideal for two instances. One, anything in the Hellfire Citadel, and second Gundrak. Too many times running from the graveyard, to find myself going in (or towards) the wrong portal. Now if this works the way I hope, I can simply hop into the first portal I see. No longer running all the way across and back for the specific one.
    The default UI Scale has been altered so it will be set at a 1:1 pixel/texel ratio. This will result in a smaller UI appearance for higher resolution monitors.
    Using Bartender4, I run some of my buttons at 60% of normal because those default buttons seemed HUGE. This might be a nice fix for those display concerns.

    Repeatedly inspecting other players should now function correctly.
    Does this mean the GearScore addon might work again? One can hope. I hate over threating my tank, because he's in LOUSY gear.

    Here's to waiting for A, of the 4.0.3a patch..

    Tuesday, November 16, 2010

    Alt Progression - BUBBLES!

    In this off time, I've been leveling my priest alt and having a lot of fun. Back in June, she was a level 9 Holy priest. I did the fire festival dailies and got her up to level 15. At that time, I thought I'd quest and do dungeons. With healers, as you may know, the typical dungeon queue time is nothing like that of a warlock. I hate to say it, but I don't like running dungeons on my lock now. "/g 15 minute queue!! NO WAY! toon hop.."

    At level 40, I picked up dual spec and started running a Discipline build. In fact, I am finding that mana usage on disc is quite a bit lighter than Holy. I also find that as a disc priest, I am able to usually keep tanks alive in red content (1-2 levels higher).

    As I see it, Disc priests have 2 major differences advantages from Holy. First, disc is not necessarily about healing, but about damage mitigation. How? Bubbles! Power Word: Shield and Divine Aegis to be specific. There are also a number of talents that directly buff bubbles. Bubbles that are reflective. There's one to make them regen mana and finally one to increase my haste after casting one. Except for the high amount of threat, I cast bubbles (at least on the tank) each and every fight.

    Secondly, Disc priests are encouraged to do damage. Smite, the holy/disc staple damage spell get's a major bonus from Evangelism. If you time it right, this spell can be converted to Archangel, which grants mana back also. Secondly, Attonement, which heals when it deals.


    Gear? I am totally for the BOA gear. She has 5 pieces of BOA gear on her at all times (shoulders, chest, weapon and both trinkets). If I had any chance of getting that darn BOA ring, I'd be all over it. Why? My prime objective is to level, not quest. (Yes, I did the Hallow's End achievements that a level 50 could do, but that was possibly for the free 310 mount). OK, yes, if someone shares a dungeon quest, I am all for that. Heck, that's what made the final 2 bubbles when at 60 to 61. Wearing BOA gear, that free 10% is wonderful. Think of it was 1 in 10 less death. 10% less grinding the trash in Hellfire Ramparts.

    By now, my priest is level 62 with enough rested bonus to hit 63, maybe 64 by end of next dungeon marathon. I love that I can basically pick and choose tanks to run with. Don't like the group? Finish dungeon, then drop and regroup. Let the RDF gods have fun. She'll be blowing bubbles again in about 4-5 minutes. Here's to happy, shiny, bubbes!!

    Monday, November 15, 2010

    Idle Thoughts: Put ZG mounts on Blizzard store!

    I know, I know. ZG mounts are difficult to get. Virtually impossible based on the less than 1% (0.7% according to Wowhead for ZG tiger) drop rate of these beasts. This rarity makes them a status symbol to many.

    Now, what if Blizzard, once the means to get a mount goes away, it goes on the Blizzard store. For example:
    1. Zul'Gurub mounts?
    2. Achievement based mounts (i.e. iron bound proto-drake
    3. Amani War bear?
    4. Argent tourney mounts? 
    5. Class mounts?? (warlock, pally)
    6. Cross-faction (retired only) mounts? Can't you just see an orc on a frost ram? (A H)
    Would you do it? How much would you spend?

    Friday, November 12, 2010

    Alchemy Mount?!

    Did you see this mount as posted over on MMO-Champion? It appears to be from a BOP Item from Alchemy Recipe. It is supposed to transform you into a rideable mount!!



    Since, I think this is absolutely cool, I thought I'd break down the required mats. Considering the #2 ingredient is sold in Uldum, I'd bet (some part of) the recipe will require an Exalted standing with Ramkahen.(which also has a couple camel mounts also!). Yasmin, who sells the Sands is in Uldum, just south of Cenarion Hold, Silithus. She appears to be part of a Nessingwary-style camp, so I doubt it will ever have a rep discount.

     Vial of the Sands x 1
         Pyrium-Laced Crystalline Vial x 1
         Sands of Time x 8
         Truegold x 12
             Pyrium Bar x 36
             Volatile Fire x 120
             Volatile Air x 120
             Volatile Water x 120
         Flask of the Winds x 8
             Volatile Life x 48
             Azshara's Veil x 96
             Whiptail x 96
             Crystal Vial x 8
         Flask of Titanic Strength x 8
             Volatile Life x 48
             Cinderbloom x 96
             Whiptail x 96
             Crystal Vial x 8
         Deepstone Oil x 8
             Albino Cavefish x 8

    • Albino Cavefish are found in Deepholm, a level 83+ zone. You can't even access the quest until 83 to get there. 
    • Cinderbloom is available almost everywhere (wowhead says deepholm, uldum and twilight highlands). I remember it in the beta in Mt Hyjal. 
    • Whiptail available in Uldum. 
    • Azshara's Veil is from Vash'jir
    • Volatile Life from picking any herb
    • Volatile Air, Fire, Water = random transmute
    • Truegold is requires your alchemy at 525.
    Overall, I don't expect to see one of these until level 85. With mats (like mechano-hog) going to cost upwards of 25000g, it shall be a fairly rare mount.



    Thursday, November 11, 2010

    Cata Beta PVP Test



    I have not a very good beta tester these last few weeks. Heck, it's been a good month since I last logged on. Just having too much fun running dungeons with my alt-priest. It seems like she's seen more low-level dungeons that Elk has. Ah, well.. Anyway.

    Yesterday Blizzard announced an in-game, beta test of the PVP realms, today (11/11/10) at 4PM PST.
    If you want to participate, all you have to do is form a raid group with nine other players and queue for Rated Battlegrounds. We'll be conducting this test in a 10- vs. 10-player setting using Warsong Gulch, Twin Peaks, and Battle for Gilneas as the locations, so be prepared for some sweet, sweet ownage.
    This sounds like a lot of fun. I read that Wintergrasp doesn't play the same way it was planned. Wrath beta only had a few regular testers, so the game zone played differently that real-life "production". People moved and used the area differently. That is why we had a number of patches soon after Wintergrasp opened. They had to adjust for the play.

    Now if I can only get the family out of my hair! Unfortunately, wife and kids have day off too and I usually game after their all asleep (~9PM PST). If you see CataElk - Lost Isles in your PVP party, wave and say hi. :) Knowing that I was able to sneak in a few minutes of game play.

    Wednesday, November 10, 2010

    Shared Topic: What Locks Bring to the Raid.

    With most guilds putting raiding on the back-burner until Cataclysm drops, ambitious individuals are trying to pug ICC. This leads to interesting creation process, as these ambitious raid leaders are forced to pick between several competent players. Often the deciding factor on who is asked to come along, is based simply on what they bring to the table (as a class). So, I bring for your raiding consideration, Warlocks.


    Healing
    Yes, Warlocks can heal. I've mentioned it before, but I've ranked #2 on recount in numerous VOA runs due to my epic healing abilities. A generous lock will even donate a glyph spot to provide 30% improved healing. Sure, if you get into a bind, a lock heals are going to help, but not carry you through.


    and mana replenishment
    Destruction locks have a fourth tier talent called Soul Leech. Blizzard has already implied that mana will be an issue as we move into Cataclysm raiding. Sure, 1% of 10 people isn't a lot, but it will definitely help out those casters in a pinch.

    Affliction locks, if they run with their felpuppy, their Intelligence buff now provides mana regen. I hear that the pup is soon on the way out.


    We got pets
    Our pets minions are not the best DPS monsters. Maybe in Cataclysm, I can just sit back while my minion does all the heavy lifting... Sure, they help were they can, but you can no longer have a VW tank OS. Their biggest help, in some accounts is the buffs they provide to the group.
    • Imp = Raid-wide stamina buff. Who doesn't need a little more health?? A destruction lock's best friend.
    • Felhunter = Mana regen buff - Often seen with Affliction locks. (psst! Healers, heal me! I gave you free mana!)
    Dark Intent
     5 and 10 man content are going to benefit (the most) from this level 83 spell (assuming 1 lock per party). The lock picks a dps friend and grants them both a 3% haste boost (for 30 minutes). When either person spell crits, you both gain a 3% increase to damage/healing for 7 seconds, stacking 3 times. Imagine a boss fight, where you tag the boomchicken, you both crit in the same fight, so you both cause more damage.

    Fear this! 
    Crowd control is going to be BIG! No longer is a tank going to simply round up a bunch of mobs and everyone AOE them down. Who you bring along to keep a group together is going to be key. Locks have 4 basic options available to them to keep your mobs busy.
    1. Fear  - Fear causes a mob to stop attacking you (at least until someone dots them). With glyphed fear, they don't even run around the room picking up adds. They just cower at your locks feet. I remember going into Shadow Labs, using fear tanking to keep one the party goers busy while guildies burned down the rest of the group.
    2. Shadowfury - Nothing beats a blast of shadow damage to stun a group of mobs. BAM! I personally love running up to a flag in AB and dropping this on the fighting. Those alliance that live, are stunned for invading forces. Instant Horde win.
    3. Curse of Exhaustion - Level 4 Affliction talent, great for PVP. Slows movement speed of target by 50%.
    4. Seduction - Despite her cleft feet and horns, my succubus can still keep a human's attention. Glyphed, will keep those annoying DOTS from breaking her spell.
    BREATH!
    In Cataclysm, look forward to questing underwater. Far, far, far underwater. You know, where the mermaids swim and the naga rule. In the Beta they introduced "sea legs", a underwater breathing buff that allowed anyone to level in that area while underwater. At one point in time, this buff was removed and locks could cast Unending Breath again. (Maybe I wasn't in the right zone?? Maybe it's just the beta and my quests had been reset.) Either way, just holding your breath, may not be a viable option. Pots, locks or that nifty fishing pole.

    Get over here!
    With guild perks coming in Cataclysm, one of those nifty perks will be guild summons. Instantly summon all your guildie raid members to your current location. This is great, if you're not pugging positions in the raid. In Cataclysm, another major change will be you won't be able to use the random dungeon finder for Cata dungeons, unless you've completed the intro quests that get you there. This means the lock closet might be used more than expected.


    When it comes down to it, locks are a viable member of any 5-man team. Sure, we can't go around handing out Fortitude, but we do a lot more dps than your average priest! :D A destro lock will have out his Imp and give you a good dose of stamina. CC options are available, including a fear + tremor, a stun, a slow and if all else fails seduction. Dark Intent comes available at level 83 from the trainers, so more haste and more damage from your team. Finally, if for nothing else, (shardless) pug-summons.


      Tuesday, November 9, 2010

      Idle Thoughts: Druids Should Be Vegetarians.

      Book 1 - Click image to dl.
      During my daily commute, I am listening to audio books. Not one to invest actual cash into the endeavor, I have found free sources for excellent stories. One of my current books is a fantasy story, with lots of magic, intrigue and of course, sword fighting.

      In book 2 of the series, you are introduced to a race of creatures called the Pooka. These beings are humanoid, close to nature, and can at a whim, transform into a beast. Bear pooka, hawk pooka, fish pooka, etc. During a conversation between the main character and a pooka, it comes up that they actually eat animals, animals that some of their race turn into. Odd.

      Got me thinking, druids do the same thing. Turn into beasts, eat beasts. Roasted, toasted and smoked. Anyway you have it, their eating the animals, that (IIRC) they are trying to protect. Going a step further, there's no buff, vegetarian food. Sure, lots of vegetarian treats (cookie, cupcake, cake), occasional holiday items (i.e. gingerbread, candied sweet taters) and drink options (coffee, tea and kungaloosh), but nothing seriously vegetarian.

      No mats? How about giving herbalism a boost and make recipes that use picked posies? Or those darn mushrooms from undead ("festering mushroom soup")? While not personally a vegetarian, I think it would be fun(ny) to see a "[Enormous Fruit Salad]" dropped instead of Fish Feast before a big boss fight.

      I am the father, prepare to dine.

      Monday, November 8, 2010

      [Tripping the Rifts] Achievement

      Tripping the Rift (Amazon)
      No, I am not referring to some Sci-Fi network cartoon, featuring aliens, but a Feat of Strength based on the Cataclysm pre-launch events. This achievement requires you to kill ten elementals at each of the various types of rifts. These rifts are spawning all over Azerorth.

      In one night, I killed elementals in Stonard (air), Blasted Lands (fire) and Darkshore (water). The rifts spawn on a roughly 50 minute timer and last for approximately 10 minutes. This means you could (like I) run from Blasted Lands to Stonard and get both in one time frame.(Note: no way to track which elementals you already killed, so keep notes or do it quick).

      The best list of spawn points I've found is on Wowpedia. This site contains a table for each elemental containing zones, levels and coordinates. Find a good spot, and camp it. The first night, I partied with a guildies and we camped two spots concurrently. Calling out in vent when they arrived.



      If you kill (or are present for 10) elementals at your level range (i.e. 70-80), once a day you can pickup and turn in a daily quest with your local Earthen Ring representative. This quest awarded Elk 13g.

      Friday, November 5, 2010

      Shared Topic: Home Sweet Hearthstone

      When Elk was a young Orc, a hearthstone was this cool thing. Fighting his way, deep into a damp, dark tunnel, grab the final quest item, and then hearth to safety. As he leveled, this safe spot changed throughout, always to the safety and comfort of a Inn. This was continued all the way until Elk learned to fly.

      Orgrim Doomhammer
      Flying meant that Elk was no longer tied to a specific location. He didn't need to hearth home, he could fly back home or to at least to a local taxi stand. This meant the hearthstone could now be homed on a more permanent residence; one that included useful vendors, trainers and possibly portals. Shatrath was an excellent choice for quite sometime.When the scourge brought the plague, Elk moved to Dalaran (eventually).

      Despite all Elk's travels, none of these has ever felt quite like Home. Sure he could get around both Shat and Dalaran, but they never met all those needs, requirements. As Elk's burgeoning raw gem empire was taking off, he was required to make frequent visits to a larger Horde city. When that happened, that closest portal, the hometown of Thrall, city named after Orgrim Doomhammer, always came first.

      Orgrimmar is a Orc's first love. This flat, slightly spreadout city is welcoming to all who enter. Upon entrance to the grand city, you are immediately presented with the trophy head of our most recent monster kill (sometimes two). The bank, AH, Inn and even a few repair stops are all within arms reach. The taxi stand is easily accessible, plus 4 zeppelin stands right outside town. Overall, everything is accessible, easy to find and nothing will kill you.

      All the other Horde cities pale in comparison. Elk continuously needs directions from a guard to find someone or something. Undercity is a maze of tunnels and levels. Thunderbluff is more of the same, just add precarious bridges (Yes, I've fallen off a bridge more than once). Silvermoon is a twist of strip malls without continuous space. These last two cities don't even have zeppelins (well Thunder Bluff does, but only to Orgrimmar), so you need to travel to Org or UC to hitch a ride to Northrend.

      When Cataclysm strikes, Elk knows where he's going to be. His hearthstone will be changing to Orgrimmar, his one true home. If the beta change holds, those handy portals in Dalaran and Shattrath will be shut down, forcing all to travel through the areas using more conventional means (i.e. zep, taxi and mount). Why not home your hearth where everything is happening?

      Thursday, November 4, 2010

      Excellent write-up Cynwise!

      I gotta give kudos. A few days ago Cynwise posted a most excellent article covering the fine art of DOTS and Haste in Cataclysm. It's detailed, concise and to help, there are graphs, and lots and lots of maths. The article has really helped me understand the changes and why they are no longer an issue (except for BoAgony).

      For example: There's no dot clipping in Cataclysm

      Excuse me, those aren't Haste caps, but haste plateaus.



      Go check it out!!

      Tuesday, November 2, 2010

      It's a Dead Man's, Doomsday Party, Who Could Ask For More?

      I was struck with the notion to log in this evening and dance with Catrina. Day of the Dead, as I mentioned before, is one of those interesting holiday's. Sadly or smartly, I could not locate a Macabre Mariachi Marionette. Does not look like this is a permanent pet, still.

      What I did find was fire elementals. Their sprouting up all over town. As Horde, I did all my questing in Orgrimmar. Here's a basic walk-through.


      1. Find Blood Guard Torek in front of the big bonfire by entrance of Org. He has a quest for you. So does one of the Earthen Ring shaman standing by him. Pick up both. 
      2. As you head towards Grommash Hold (i.e. Thrall's office), chat to the first Doomslayer you see by entrance of the Drag, then the next three have packages for you. Grab one at each.
      3. See Grommash Hold and say Hi to the Earthen Ring Tauren in there. Head back to Torek
      4. Torek now wants you to put up "don't believe the cultist" propaganda. Look for little blue hunter's marks. All over the place. Grab your first five and turn in quest. 
      5. Grab a Recruit's Robe from first Doomslayer by entrance to Drag. Now head outside Orgrimmar. Equip robe.
      6. Talk to Overseer Jintak (Jaggedswine Farm). Turn in quest, pick up new one.
      7. Find the four people for "The Missing", then equip the sandwich board, and run into the entrance of both zepplin towers (note the guards ridicule). I was able to stay mounted.
      8. Now run down to the center or Razorback Hill (wish you had a flight path there yet?) and back.
      9. When you return, Jintak will have another quest for you. Look for the podium and listen in on the status report. (boss in first dungeon?). This give you a lead into your next step.
      10. Jilak now gives you a handful of igniters. These are those floaty hourglass shaped items all over town. Turn in the igniters to Torek.
      11. Torek, now wants you to destroy 5 of the igniters around town. No worries, I did it on my 80 lock and 53 disc priest. The elementals spawned 1 level below my current level (79 and 52 respectively). I saw a level 29 also fending off one. 
      12. Finally, get last quest, "run and tell Garrosh". (He didn't look happy). Complete that and turn in. You're done.
      Easy 20k XP and ~1000 Orgrimmar rep on my priest and 200g on my lock. Just had to remember to equip my BOA gear when I came into town. Was in my "around town" gear on my priest. The phasing was rather nice, no overlap, no worries about fighting for limited resources (but it is day 1).

      Monday, November 1, 2010

      Bling Zing!



      Reviewing this week's Blood Pact, I realized that my ideal gem selection has changed. I was never a big fan of stacking Spirit on my gem selection, but it worked better when trying to match gem colors. Now that Spell power is only on weapons, it makes gemming a LOT easier.

      Looking over Elk's gear, I just realized that he is running 4 Purified Dreadstones. Their suggestion is to replace them with veiled (purple +hit) or brilliant (red) gems. I personally also like the reckless (orange +haste) for my affliction spec (DOTS burn faster when cooked with +haste). For a breakdown of all the pretty +int gems, here's a few to consider.

      If you haven't reforged your level 80's gear yet, I suggest you check out the entire article over at Wow Insider for Adam's review of what you should remove all that Spirit for (and why you may need to make up an additional 6% Hit).

      Soapbox: Lazy Form of Raiding

      Over the summer, I spent 2 weeks with my family (parents, brother's family and my family) on the beach in Maui. It was absolutely awe...