Monday, June 30, 2014

SSOTD: LFR Fail

Here's what happened last expansion. I never saw several of the fights because I can't manage to randomly get into a brand new LFR "Downfall" group. 


Oh Man! I can't WAIT!!

g'bye old friend
6 years ago, I purchased a refurbished HP M8307C from Fry's Electronics. This PC featuring a screaming Core 2 Quad 6600 processor was wonderful when I first go it. Over the years, I've added more RAM (upto 6GB), added several hard drives (now have 4TB storage) and replaced the video adapter after it burnt out.

Last Friday, after issues with performance and a very frustrated spouse, I plopped down the credit card. I bought the computer from Digital Storm, based on a friend's recommendation. I had been looking at an off-the-shelf HP or Dell from the local CostCo. He likes Digital Storm because they build specifically gaming machines. This means faster video adapters instead of the card built into the motherboard. Better cooling on the CPU so that it's easier to overclock it. A higher (600w) wattage power supply so that you can fully power the machine. Top it off, they don't have the high sticker price that would come from buying AlienWare (similar model is more $$ and has no SSD)

Based on this same friend's suggestion, I selected their Level 4 - Vanquish II. This model features the fastest Intel i5 processor, 8GB RAM, a 2GB NVidia GTX 770 video adapter, and a 128GB SSD boot drive. Instead of leaving it on continuously for fastest access, we should be able to turn it off each time and watch it instantly come on!

The HP still has a purpose, just not gaming. With all that storage inside, I plan to still keep it running as a camera repository. In fact, once I uninstall all my games off it, the machine will be a great kids PC. Webkins and Club Penguin don't need ultra resolution 80 fps!

Next week can't come fast enough.  ;-)

Friday, June 27, 2014

Post 601 - What Would You Do With a Beta Invite?

This morning I jump into my WoW reading list to see that Beta invites have gone out. Woo-hoo! It's drawing closer! This got me excited, hey, did I get one also? Look into my Battle.net associated mailbox and what do I find?
Well, that's awesome! I think...

With all the coverage from the open Alpha that's been streaming, constant flood of updates on WoWhead about this UI change and those new do-hickey accessory things, it's been a bit too much.

Am I excited about the new expansion? Sure. It sounds like a lot of great ideas are finally coming together. New character models, "player housing", etc. All fine and dandy.

Do I want to see it early? I think so. With Cataclysm, I explored the Goblin starting area and went all the way through the underwater Vashjir(?) quest line. Pandas I took it slower and played the Panda starting area up to a point. It changed quite a bit by the time I came back on Live. With all the Warlock changes, I had to try out all three specs, at least in the starting area and up the giant hill. It was exciting and new, but made playing that same content over again in Live, a bit boring. I don't care for questing, remember?


How about you? If Blizzard hands you an Beta invite to WoD, are you going to play? What aspects would you check out? What aspects would you avoid?

Warlock'n the Brawlers Guild!

Elkagorasa was getting a little bored waiting for his turn. Esha-this, druid-that. Just left this 'lock bored and frustrated. So frustrated that when he finally got his chance at the Brawler's, he blasted the Bruce, then Vian, Goredome and Vishas all within a few seconds. The only thing slowing down Elk was the line. Fight, win, requeue, wait for 2 other players, repeat.

2 days later, Elk ran back to the fight hall late at night and found no one else there. Empty! Hey Boss, get me a fight! Rank 2, done. Rank 3, done. Rank 4, done... The only fight that Elk had to do twice was Ixx because he stood in front of him and his Devastating Thrust.

Now he is up to Yikkan Izu. This evil bird has been the first real challenge. Sort of like the giant baby head in the Green Fire quest line, he spawn lots of adds ( 4 at a time) who do decent damage. Something I still haven't mastered on the other quest either..
This large crow thing has one annoying thing about him - adds. 4 of them are present at start, and he periodically summons more. You wish to kill those adds as soon as possible, since they do deal pretty high damage. But watch out - if Yikkan sees more then 5 of his fallen kin at once, he enrages, which almost means a game over. Therefore, always make sure if he won't go nuts before killing off the adds. (source)
 I believe he spawns new adds every 8 seconds so killing them is the priority. Or maybe just nuke him down as quickly as possible, firing off all the CDs (got like 5 self-heals if I use them) with food buff, potion, 2 minions, etc.. Elk's gotta win!

Elk is working on his legendary quest line and gathering those darn Secrets (got 7 out of 20). He queues up for 6 LFR raids, (all 3 ToT that grant secrets except for Durumu) and first 2 SoO plus Garrosh fight, then enters the arena for 30 minutes while the DPS queue ticks away. If he can get passed Yikkan, maybe it's time to try again at the Green fire quests..




Friday, June 20, 2014

Review: War Crimes by Christie Golden [No Spoilers]

I have just recently completed listening to the War Crimes audio edition. This book, as if you don't already know, takes place soon after the events that happened in Siege of Orgrimmar. King Wrynn has saved Garrosh's life and he now stands trial for his crimes against Azeroth.

To make this work you have to make two concessions:

  1. Horde and Alliance can openly talk. Blizzard has already established this part of the lore via the SoO ending cut scene, but I guess we've had this in all forms for awhile. We can both talk to the PandarianKirin Tor, and the Goblins. It's just player-to-player communication that doesn't work in-game. (We're just not worthy!)
  2. Just by being a leader of a race, you are now a pretty good litigator. Sure, you've had to deal with political in-fighting, this must  qualify you to defend or accuse in a court of law, er, celestial training facility. 

The story provides a lot of wonderful backstory to events leading up to and including the trial. All of the major players (Vol'jin, Anduin, Go'el, Jana, Sylvanas, Varian, Baine and Tyrande ) play active parts in the book, with the point of view bopping around between each person regularly, playing out like an episode of Law & Order. The story includes references from several quests, scenarios and raid events in the game. Which was a little confusing because I haven't finished all the quest zones and the legendary quest line, so I didn't always understand the reference until afterwards. Which probably didn't help that I kept envisioning Garrosh in an orange prison jumpsuit, slumped down in his chair, sulking the entire trial.

The audio edition is a little over 13 hours long. It was well acted with Scott Brick changing up the voices for each character. (click book cover to jump to Amazon and give the sample a listen). Very similar accents and style as those done in the game. With 40 something chapters and my short 15 minute commute to work, I was able to complete at least one chapter each direction without issue.

As with the Shattering, I enjoyed the story. If you enjoy the lore of Warcraft and would like to see how things tie together in the end for Garrosh, I would suggest listening (or reading, if you want to do your own voices! ). I am curious as to what will come alive in-game.

The one question for me that remains, does the book give away the villain of WoD? Only December will say for sure.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Druid Week 3 in Review

This week has been rather fruitful for my druid.

  1. Got another Burden of Eternity, so I converted a head token. Of course, then ... 
  2. Tanked phase 1 of Siege of Orgrimmar successfully, picking up 3 items, head, neck and trinket 2. No wipes and very few deaths and now only one item still left post-boost set (main hand). Sort of liking the look of the head piece, so not sure if I'll transmog it back to Rayne piece or keep it.
  3. Realized as a Blacksmith, I can make my own belt buckle. (doh!) No excuse now for not having one equipped. They're still selling for 500+ gold on my server, whereas the living steel sells for around 250-400 gold. Took about 4 hours, going through Klaxxi quest chain to reach Honored and pickup recipe. Having two alchemist (only one with recipe), I made the living steel as well. 60 Ghost Iron bars = 1 living steel bar. A stack of 20 ghost iron are selling for about 80g. So for about 250g I made myself a buckle. 
In the process of running around for the Klaxxi, Esha was killing elites (including 2 warbringers) in all the surrounding areas. Amazing how many elites there are when not that many people are exploring the areas. Got an interesting 'potion' of 300% xp bonus for toons under level 84. Does this mean it's time to level another alt? 

Also got the elusive blood soaked invitation, and started on trying out the fights. Basically it appears to be dueling vs npcs. You check-in with a guard asking to be added to fight list. Until your turn, you are a spectator and can watch the other players fight it out. When it's your turn, you're ported to the center of the arena and start the next fight. WoWhead's guide is rather good on each boss's special move. 

So far, I am on Goredome and keep getting caught in his Lumbering Charge. In bear form, I am right on top of him, so I can simply run through him as he 'casts', but it's only a 1 second cast, so I need to be on-it. Benefit, as a bear, I take a 500k hit, but doesn't always one-shot me. I've healed up enough (troll power!) to take the hit two more times. I believe DBM will announce these for me, so I'll have to make sure that specific extension is loaded.. 

Overall, made it to a 505 average ilevel. Tanking isn't as scary as I had thought it might be. Still have 9 iLevel 496 items and 1 post-boost i483 item. Hope to run zone 1 and 2 of SoO soon, so maybe one of the main-hand items will drop!! 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

oQueue to the Rescue

For the last 2 weeks, I've been having a lot of fun with the addon oQueue. If you haven't used this add-on before, it's something the helps breathe new life into the game.

What does it do? oQueue allows users from cross-domains find each other. Players can setup a request for other players, post it out there. Then players see that request popup, and request to be put on the wait list. If the event organizer loves you, they can send you a meeting invite and off you go!

This is the addon that Blizzard hopes their new Group Finder will replace. BUT will they go far enough?
Another central innovation in Warlords is our Group Finder feature, which will allow players to easily form and search for raid groups (among other activities) with players from their entire region. [...] For players who want to take the next step beyond Raid Finder, or who want to find a weekend run for their alt, or who just need a last-minute tenth member for their raid, Group Finder will make that process easier than ever before.
WoD Alpha Group finder via Wowhead
These last few days, oQueue has helped me find a party for a Heroic Scenarios (got a useless 516 neck), two celestials kills and hopefully later this week, Twinbraid. When I feel a bit more confident, I hope to start running Flex modes. People are advertising them as "FLEX 1" or "FLEX 4 Fresh".

Without access to the Alpha WoD build, (this may not even be available yet), I am tempted to say this isn't going to be as cool as oQueue's implementation. I still use 30+ addons to modify how my UI is laid out, AH support and raid warnings.. :)

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Druid - Discovery Transmog

Spent about 2 hours yesterday gathering up items from the Discovery Transmog. The beauty of this set (especially if you haven't quested during leveling up) is that all the pieces drop from quests and not random drops off mobs. I've gotten 4 of 6 pieces so far and found a belt on the AH that I like (so far).

Head piece is from a single quest given by Rayne in Eastern Plaguelands. At 90, I could fly directly into the towers, drop the flower seeds and run back out.

The chest and shoulders are rewards from a short 5-quest chain near Rayne, starting at Carlin Redpath and ending at Chromie. The shoulders come from a mob kill which show how questing has changed since Vanilla. One player, one kill vs multi-players, shared kill. Had to wait for respawn on the wolf for about 45 seconds before I could get my own kill.

The pants required flying south from Orgrimmar down to Gadgetzan and finding Megs. She had 3 quests for me, then she moved to Lost Rigger Cove for Dead Man's Chest.

For the cape, someone mentioned using the Cape of the Black Baron (boss drop). Happily, I had the Inherited Cape of the Black Baron from leveling up, so I simply applied that. It does look nice.
heirloom

For feet, I need to go find Gus near Gadgetzan. He's got 2 quests for me, starting with I'm with Scorpid, ending with Gargantapid. (at least now I have the flight path). Sad thing about the feet and a troll is all you see is socks with toes cut out! :)
Before visiting hair salon!

Lastly, hands, standing near Gus, is Mazoga. He has a short chain of 4 quests to reach Secrets of the Oasis.

After putting it all together, Esha HAD to get her hair colored and styled. She had a blue ponytail and it looked ridiculous with that head piece. The Armory still has her the old way.. As of now she's sporting red dreadlocks and less pronounced tusks.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Week 2 - Slow down hun'

Last weekend, I ran a full Last Stand of Zandalari with Sinabun-Thrall, another guardian druid. I got a little over-anxious due to Sinabun's gear level and started running ahead pulling mobs back. AAGRRO!! Sin just laughed as I died a couple times and finally PST me saying "slow down hun..". It's then I really took those Pandarens to heart and 'slowed down..'. Bowing down, I let Sinabun dictate the pulls and how to run each fight.

  • Jin'rokh - I followed Salts video almost to a tee. Grabbing aggro each time Sinabun was hit by electro-smash. I never got wall tossed, so it was basically just stay out of the water. 
  • Horridon, line the dino perpendicular across each door in order. This put the DPS between the dino and the door to grab adds as they came out. 
  • Council, I tanked Mar'li and sometimes Sul until the stacks of Frost got too high on Sinabun. Then I grabbed Frost King for a few turns while they dropped. 

Where's the Cheese?
Still no drops. Oddly, still no achievement for completing. I never though to see if I could progress in ToT, maybe it's only once per account? After the raid, Sinabun and I chatted and got me thinking about those greens I was still sporting.

Go go go! AskMrRobot... be-boop. Initial review, there were absolutely no upgrades. I had to expand my filters on the site to accommodate post-boost availability. For example, AMR was assuming that I wasn't ready for any LFR, despite having a 493 gear score and could get into the first-wing of all 4 raids. So, some adjustments.

  1. Gear-Level - Pre-Raid - Turning this higher returned Normal mode raids. 
  2. LFR Gear - Tier 16 - Give me all tiers of LFR gear. It was set to None.
  3. Flex/Heroic/PVP/BOE - None - I don't see these options being immediately viable. PVP maybe, but tanking PVP has been painful experience. 
  4. World Boss - Four Celestials - I lowered this because I have 0 progress on my legendary. 
  5. Minimum iLevel - 483 - I won't see items lower than my current green gear as upgrades. I believe it was set to 476.
  6. Max/BiS/Scenario - no change. 
  7. Timeless Isle Items - 496 only - for initial pass, it was just more confusing seeing the BoE boosted gear.


Wonder Twin powers ACTIVATE - Flight Form!
Skimming through the upgrades available for my 3 green post-boost items, I found that I had roughly enough valor points to purchase a new pair of 522 pants or a 522 trinket from the Shadow Pan Assault. Fly down to the SPA garrison, grabbing flight paths as I go. Find NPC only to realize I am 200 valor short for the pants. Checking pockets, I found 11900 timeless coins (darn their small!).  Hop the taxi, fly all the way across panda-land and converted all of these coins to valor points (2x exchange rate ends today so I got 600 valor). Taxi all the way back, buy pants. Afterwards, I still have 600 valor left and could use 1200 to purchase the trinket. So I am considering running TI more tonight, in hopes of gathering up another 9000 coins. Doh, Heart of Valorous ended 9am PDT today. Ok, another 18,000 coins, or run a hundred dungeons.

5 TI back, 2 TI belts, 1 TI boot, 4 TI chest, 3 TI heads,
1 TI shoulder, 2 TI rings
With my pants happy, now I know what to use my first Burden of Eternity on. I have 4 Timeless chest tokens. Hoping RNG will drop me the BIS item for me..

Reading through Saga's blog comments, got me thinking about a transmog of my druid gear. Well, my priest had a roguish looking outfit and it appears there's a leather reskin of the Silver-Thread outfit she acquired. Sadly wowhead says it is no longer available.. :( On the other hand, I love the Sulfur Stave for a Troll Druid. (Shouldn't I be able to solo Naxx?) It has an awesome bat as the head piece. Maybe I can build a nice black outfit around that? Goth Troll Druid?!

Monday, June 9, 2014

(My thoughts on) Azeroth Choppers - Finale

I've been doing some thinking about the Alliance chopper and why it didn't win. Here are my thoughts.

1. What's to love? From the first time I saw the layered shield effect of the gas tank, I believed it looked buggy. I know I've heard it mentioned on a few other podcasts the exact same thing. "Looks like an ant." Personally, I think it looks like a wasp or mantis. Other people have complained about it having treads front and back instead of tires.
just chop of head, and grab wings
2. Faction size/community. Infographics like this, don't really represent anything useful. On my own account, I have 12 toons; 8 Horde, 3 Alliance and one panda who hasn't gone beyond starting area (aka neutral). My only 3 max level characters are all Horde. I log into each of these 3 at least once a month. Does the 52% equate to only max level characters? All toons ever created (from that overall 100 million accounts)? From my own experience, my very first toon was an alliance Human, but haven't played him since my friends changed servers and factions in 2006. Did he get counted as well (in that 52%)? Saying that there is any sort of faction imbalance is not well supported by the data.

does brightness count differently? or as only 1.
Overall, I think Horde always had an advantage. The trike has a nice look that feels right for the faction, while the alliance bike never set quite right with many players. I believe that the die-hard faction players are just about dead-even, leaving the bi-factional players to vote for the bike they liked.
Like many other I voted for the best looking bike that showed more pride to their respected faction and the Horde was just better. I am a duel faction player so I am usually neutral to both sides.


Friday, June 6, 2014

Look Who's Tanking the LFR

Hey, it's not that bad?! After running dungeons from 15-60+, I was timid about hopping into to full fledged raid tanking. Now instead of just 4 other people dying because of something, I had 24 other people's repair bills to keep in mind. Healing wasn't so scary, because I have typically 5 other healers who could cover for my lack of gear. 

Tuesday night, sporting 493 average gear (3 green 483 post-boost items [legs, trinket & mainhand], rest 496 Timeless token items), I hopped into the Mogu'shan Vaults. I had went through both the Bryna and Evaly videos on this raid tier and was prepared for the worst. Despite that, the 'main' tank was a pally sporting a luscious set of gear that I could only wish for, so it was basically me off-tanking everything. Each trash group and boss appeared to be a tank/spank boss with no real tank swap mechanics. "boy this is easy!!" Middle of the last fight, I realized that I hadn't loaded any good add-ons. Where's DBM?? Omen? Oh my? Luckily the main tank did such a great job, standing in the fire didn't hurt me really at all.. :) A trinket dropped, but it was the Jade Courtesan Figurine (i476) and not even close to an upgrade for me (int spirit??). 

Last night, I decided to up my gear chances, and hopped into a second LFR, "Last Stand of the Zandalari". Sure I skipped 2 other intermediate raids, but based on my gear level, they wouldn't have helped much. Am I selfish? Yep. Did I prepare, heck no. I'd get another main-tank and I'd just float along.. 

When I finally got a spot (7 long minutes), I was rewarded with landing in the trash before Horridon (or immediately after Jin'rokh). These last two bosses were a bit more complicated. My co-tank was geared similarly to me, with about 425k health. Based on some chatting, it was both our first times in there tanking. With that said, we only wiped once on Horridon (because I let the 'triple puncture' stack up too high) and one-shotted the council

After the wipe on Horridon, LFR asks "tanks know what they're doing??", um, no not really! but who was going to admit to that. In the background, I searched for 'tanking horridon' and found this excellent video by Salts from a Guardian tank pov. Fast forward through the trash mobs and he does a great job getting to the meat of the fight. 


Horridon:
  • Slowly work him around the room from 9 o'clock to 3 o'clock. 
  • Main on Horridon, off grab adds. 
  • Tank swap after each time he rams into a door. 
I was lucky and got a new neck off him. Maybe next time, I can replace my green pants or off-hand?!! 


Council of Elders
  • One tank take Mar'li, other take Frost King and Sul. Tank swap around 10-12 stacks of Frigid Assault.
  • Sul creates sand pools that spawn adds, that you should try to grab these adds. 

This is promising. Tanking isn't turning out to be as scarier (so far) than dps or healing. Heck, if need be, I can drop and see how quickly they find a new tank. buwahahaha!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Blizzard, Request for MY Garrison

Looking at all that's coming out about garrison's in Warlords, I am excited. The opportunities of having various npcs all working for me sound intriguing. Gathering blueprints from the various questing zones so that I can expand my garrison into areas that this single toon can't do. I look forward to expanding a blacksmith's hut and getting myself some nicer weapons.

So I spend the next 2 years building up this awesome, working town of Elkagorasa'shire. With everything I need to level up my gear, start raiding and maybe even some world PVP. I am totally excited that I'll be able to guide my progression through the game and tailor my daily quests to what I love to do. Plant a farm, go fishing, make GOLD on the AH... all at my garrison. I can almost hear the jingle in my head.

But like any expansion, I foresee my Pandaren farm going fallow. Why would I need to plant Windwool cactus while living in Draenor? My garrison is already going to have a farm ran by an NPC. It's highly unlikely that I'll even visit our panda buddies after leaving the giant floating turtle island.

Zooming ahead 2017. Elk is sporting his LFR iLevel 703 gear, doing extremely awesome 2000 dps, and is packing his backpack (and possibly scuba gear) for that inevitable next expansion. Now the place Elkagorasa has called home, building it from the ground up, he is simply to give up on it? I don't think so.

Option 1: Appoint a NPC foreman. Regularly, this NPC foreman will make the rounds, gather up the new materials/finds and mail them to me. "Hey Boss, here's the latest from the garrison. The alchemy lab was able to take those mats you sent from Draenor and make these awesome new healing pots." I am sure this foreman will want some compensation, but I should be able to fund him a few gold each time as long as the items sell on the AH..

Option 2: Take it with me. The Dalaran mages have already proven the technology exists. I'll simply have the goblins shrink it down, and hitch it up to the back of my Horde-a-cycle and bring it with me. When I get back to Orgrimmar, or wherever the dangers exist, I'll just pop the top, and blamo, I have my garrison.

Blizzard, if you want to keep old content viable and visited regularly, let's make a reason to go back there. I'd continue going to Pandaria, if my Tiller farm could grow alchemy mats for future expansions. Garrisons look to have a larger time commitment than the Tiller's rep grind. This is one item I don't think I'll want to give up easily. Blizzard, start thinking now about making it portable. The Dalaran mages did it, why can't I?




Sunday, June 1, 2014

Blizzard, What's Happening This Month?

June is starting to get busy for Blizzard.
  • June 2nd, Monday, voting ends on the bikes. 
  • June5th looks to be the announcement date on the voting winner. (Not Blizzcon 2014 like I had guessed).
Can you guess what's under the red tarp? 
The winner! #ForTheHorde

Seems like Blizzard is trying to keep us involved in playing just a little bit longer. (Get valor quicker, upgrade all your gear by 4 levels and go raid heroic?) Makes me think that the Beta would be right around the corner and they're just being tight-lipped about it.

Or AZ is correct?? Blizzcon 2014 is going to announce another expansion, completely out of left field. 





LFR TOS - Gates to Hell - Prot Pally POV

Last night, I ran the first wing of the Tomb of Sargeras raid on my Protection Paladin. We managed to one-shot all of the bosses. Thank yo...