Wednesday, October 29, 2014

2 Weeks Remain and Still So Much Ground to Cover

Is that a chicken in his right hand? 
Over the last few weeks, I have been actively trying to recruit some of my fellow co-workers (from the Horde Guild) to come back to Warcraft. The problem being that there's just so many, many options out there that they aren't taking the bait. They're playing Shadow of Mordor, they're playing Borderlands Pre-Sequel, they're playing anything that doesn't require a subscription... I've seen where Blizzard has waived some game time to attempt to get them hooked again, but for some it's just not enough. With only a few active players in guild it's going to be a quite expansion.

On my recently minted Alliance druid, I've reached level 72. Since reaching Wrath, she's started questing in Borean Tundra and ran the same dungeon three times, Utgarde Keep. I've been trying to make sure I keep the Wickerman +10% XP bonus up for a total bonus of 55%  (45% gear - head 10%, shoulders 10%, back 5%, chest 10%, legs 10%). I equipped the Stormwind tabard so that I am exalted with them. This means only 4000 gold and I can train into Artisan flying (and swift flight form).

This gold shortage, got me rethinking my auction house strategies. I've even started watching Elvine, but I am not sure his strategy works for me. First off, there appears to be a transmog'r already on the AH. Lots of variety of various helms available. There could be a niche for me to start making gold, but it will take a lot of market research.. I know in Wrath, I made my big bucks selling gem transmutes on my alchemist, but this druid is alliance (not horde) and on a different realm. (/sigh) More questing for me.

Hallow's End, curse you. I've tried 8 days, 3 times each, to get the Horseman's mount. If I give up on hoping it will it drop, will it drop?

I have not got back into the revamped UBRS again since the first try. The warlock has been in one or two times more because DPS is just so darn easy. Plus with the cloak, I have lots of AOE damage. Salt's has a great discussion on talents and I should really look into redoing them. I really would like some nice gear upgrades on all my alts. Here's Salt's UBRS video.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Hallows End, Healing & Honor Hold

Over the weekend, marked the start of Hallows End. The holiday that has for 7 years failed to drop the flying horseman's mount for any of my max level characters. This also marks the first event with the new balanced loot drops as promised by:
With this I ran through Horseman's on all my 90's until they each picked up their appropriate ring ( Warlock, Priest, Druid). Now I need to run through a few more times, because I'd really like to get one of the new pets, like the Curse Birman (curse siamese) or Widget (ghost tabby?), only need 150 candies (each).

Update: 10/21 12AM - If you are leveling up a toon using heirlooms, don't forget about the Wickerman buff, Unburdened / Grim Visage. This buff can be picked up by throwing a piece of embers on the Wickerman. Undercity/Stormwind have a wickerman immediately outside the city. I don't know if  it sticks around while logged out.

Healing in Horseman's was absolutely painless. I am not sure if it was the dungeon(?), the recent respec and re-gem, or maybe the fact that the horseman's fight is only 30 seconds long.. :) It does give me hope again that healing another dungeon won't be as dreadful as before. I think I will run a heroic MOP dungeon before hand though..

Honor Hold?! Remember... it's the first Alliance inn in Outlands. Around this Alliance castle I've been leveling up my skinning and think that I am close to finally catching up with the required level to skin in the dungeons. The leveling guide has been quite useful. I've been sticking closely to each of the areas, except for 260-300 zone. I found that the Burning Steppes (around Dreadmaul rock) to be close enough in level, within a single flight path from Stormwind and plentiful of wolves and dragonkin.

OMG, Outlands dungeon bugs! I tanked Auchineai Crypts on my alliance druid (was level 65) and ran into the bug. Each trigger, the dungeon resets and puts your entire group back at the beginning. (sort of looks like you've been kicked, but still in group, then need to 'enter dungeon' again.) All mobs respawned. The only saving grace was the resets happened a little further along each time; just got up to Shirrak, just got passed Shirrak, just about to Maladaar, and finally we killed him (while healer was dc'd). One complete run through AC and I used up all my 3-days of rested and leveled up to 66.

Overall, a nice weekend. I will be trying to run the HH dungeon every night for the next 11 days.

SSOTD: Orc, Orc

Old character model and new character model?

Friday, October 17, 2014

Patch 6.0 Day 2 - I forget how to heal..

Last night, I decided it was time enough for me to run my disc priest through the new patch content. Solid in her LFR gear, I believe she was totally capable of running a lowly dungeon. I am also aware that people have had issues with healing other content, so I am cautious about what's ahead. So I queue up and almost immediately immediately land in a group.

  • Wipe #1 - Only button on VuDu that works is Flash Heal. Tank dies to very first trash in entrance area. I apologize profusely about deaths.
  • Wipe #2 - I update a few more buttons on Vudu, now also cast trigger Penance, and Heal (lost Greater Heal, I guess?).
  • Wipe #3 - I kept the tank alive through the next three rooms of trash. We make it into the boss area, but we die to his AOE attack.
  • Wipe #4 - Tank gets cocky and runs immediately from first boss, to next trash at 30% health and dies quickly. 

At this point we start losing players. DPS is replaced, tank sticks around for maybe one or two more wipes. One time, I took two seconds and ran back out portal and repaired. 200g. Gear was at 0%. Ouch! We never killed the second boss, before they get tired of my (lack of heals) and give up.

At this point, I am so devastated by my lack of healing ability, that I hearth home and log out. (takes deep breath, doesn't send nasty gram to Blizz complaining about nature of healing post patch, sigh, thinks maybe everything will change when they rebalance stuff in coming weeks). Logon to Druid, start feral build and start running new area. Druid's gear level is only 508, so can't queue for revamped UBRS. Esha runs through all of the Iron Tide quest chain and is 512.

This time, instead of just hopping into the dungeon, I check AMR for help. MrRobot suggests all sorts of gem and enchant changes. I go through each of these (spending most of my valor cash-in) and purchasing them off the AH. (What sale prices!). This time when I queue, I start right after boss 2. They're already upstairs, about to pickup the the trash outside the arena area. I overpull the room and die. (sigh). Ok, I just went through this, slower pulls, smaller groups. Healing is able to keep up and I don't die. Make it to the final boss, Tharbek. I die, in all things, because of standing in fire. Yeah, flaming sword of whirly-ness. One of the DPS says, "hey tank, move around to use the defenses". At midnight, the first thing I think is, oh, this is like Violet Hold and how you can click the sconces to trigger an electrical storm, killing all the little water elementals. This generated a few LOL's in game as they basically told me not to stand in the fire.. Second attempt, I moved out of the flaming sword, and we killed the boss. No drops.

After this run, I went back to AMR, and checked out the optimizations suggested. Oh my, everything stunk. Eride is an enchanter, so I purchased a large stack of sha crystals and re-enchanted almost everything that can be enchanted (main hand, chest, wrist, back, gloves). No rings. Running the Best In Bags option, I was informed to swap out my wand for the mace. I was surprised to see AMR suggesting the older Horridon's trinket over the new Ironmender's that I picked up from the IT quest line. Maybe I should have picked up the +Int trinket?? According to the calculator, it's only a 7 point difference, so I guess it really comes down to gaining mana or gaining mastery?

Deciding to go back to basics, I checked the "you should already know this" tab in the talent UI and realized that I missed my number one aoe heals for priests. When used on myself, this returned 5000 health, plus a quick cast time, i should have used this instead of the generic heals. 

LFR, here I come. Next time I logon, I am going to test my current gear and build on an unsuspecting group, not the close and personal 5-man dungeon. I want to see (via Skada/Recount) how my heals are compared to others.. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Patch 6.0 Day 1

face via armory.
Last night I explored patch 6 and all it's glory.

First off, I went through each of my toons and purchased my reagents tab. 100g well spent. My oldest characters gained the least. Elkagorasa gained about 3 open bag slots. Haven't made any alchemy recipies in quite some time, so bags fairly empty of herbs. Eride had a bunch of tailoring mats, but not a lot. She's been working on the cloth healer pants. Alliance druid gained almost 2 whole bags free of skinning / leatherworking mats.

(time delay - break for dinner and finish assisting with homework)

Next, Elk went to the void storage and moved all his old gear into the new storage slot. A few more runs back and for to the bank would really help, but not last night. I had a world to save.
Old face from wowhead
model viewer. Maybe it's
just the expression?

Queue up for the new UBRS dungeon. 45 minute wait as DPS. Oh well, moving on.

Trip to the barber to get a new 'face'. Yeah, face. Ok, now looking at the before/after screens I am not sure it's that different, but the preconfigured options are only slightly different from each other. I liked the 'toughness' from this face (he's constantly scowling) vs the placid "town idiot" look of the old one.

Now, run down into the Drag and grab the portal to Blasted Lands. From here I picked up the quests and started running through them. At my time (approximately midnight PST) there was only 3-4 people running these quests. The kill # of something quests were easy, but there was a little competition. Scouts posted around the starting area were limited. There were only a few executioner, but they respawned quickly. I got 2 just standing still. The mini-bosses were all mass-kill so my dps helped those lower dps toons. I liked the changes to the mini-map dealing with questing. Blue zones (like before) for quest item "kill/get x of these" and yellow dots inside blue zones for items that I had to interact with. Overall, way too easy with i540 gear and the legendary cloak (tuned for i500 gear I believe). All the quest rewards were in the 500s. My druid will have to work at this.

Think Elk would
look good in this?
In the middle of the quest chain, UBRS popped. The revamp streamlined the entire dungeon. The eggs have all been cleared out and new boss encounters all along the way. If you are raid-aware, you shouldn't have any issues with any of these bosses. We had one DPS who kept dying. (I didn't check his gear or stats). It appeared to all be 'personal loot', so I never rolled on items. I got it or I didn't. For example, I picked up a new chest piece.. Maybe swap out my tier chest with this and equip my tier shoulders that I just picked up a month ago. AMR suggest Best in Bag..

A number of add-on's failed, most noticeably my all-in-one bag. Blizzard actually added two pop-ups telling me that I had outdated "interface additions". Will need to force curse updates each time I logon.

Overall, I enjoyed the changes. No negative fallout from the stat squish. My chaos bolt dropped from ~500k damage to around ~40k damage. It's still impressive, but more manageable. I was still two shotting most trash (that's leading with immolate, then conflagrate).  I do miss casting a curse to lead with, but that will pass (changes button bar order). Looking at my armory page, I do need to re-glyph, as two of them disappeared.

What has really surprised me is the grief Blizzard is getting for this (i.e. "stat squish", skills lost, PVP is now dead, healing is hard, etc. ). (Trying to find comment where player complained about how all his gear is now Wrath levels!?!? and the gold he lost due to buying gear on AH that are no longer useful!) Hasn't the PTR been available for at least a month now? Hasn't every WoW news source been talking about every one of these aspects since last Spring if not Blizzcon?

What's your first impression? Do you like where the game is going?

Monday, October 13, 2014

30 Days To Go!

Countdown to Warlord of Draenor. I am reminded to a post I did pre-Cataclysm that provided a series of things I suggested pre-expansion. Looking back at that list, it couldn't be more valid this time. Here is my list of items to plan for release date.
  1. Computer upgrade - With this next expansion, Blizzard has up'd the system requirements for WoD. If you want to see Draenor in full new-character model glory, you'll need to upgrade your PC. No longer will you want to run around with that 8 year old machine. Recommended specifications include i5 processor, 4GB RAM and latest patches of Win8 or OSX. On a personal note, I am still really loving my Vanquish II from Digital Storm. It's super fast. It handles WoW superbly. I run games like Assassin's Creed at max graphics quality without issue. Combined with the Corsair keyboard and mouse, I feel that I finally have a 'gaming' rig. 
  2. Add-On Re-review - With so many changes coming to the GUI in Warlords, I am really wondering how many of my addons will be relevant. Will the developers even update them? 
    1. BagSaver - used to auto-sell off grey and non-equippable soulbound items (plate on warlock).
    2. oQueue - while the new group finder will have a lot of the same functionality, I may or may not need something like this. Having most of the functionality inside the game and not need to download something else would be nice. 
    3. tBag - All in one bag app that sorts items. Will the bag sort function allow me the same functionality. This app has a long history of no developer support over expansions. So maybe this is the expansion that I'll finally love the default bags.
    4. Omen - Threat isn't supposed to be as important in WoD. In fact, that's one of the reasons they say warlocks won't need soul shatter (that and only affliction carry around soul shards). Tanks should be more focused on keeping us alive, not maintaining threat. 
  3. Pick a main / boost - Who do you want at 100 first? Will you boost a new toon to 90? Personally, I am going to play my warlock first as DPS is the easiest class to quest with. Bluey and me make a great team going through content rather quickly. 
  4. Pre-plan you garrison - I personally don't want to be faced with the need to pay some amount of gold to undo a bad Garrison building placement. Wait I wanted the Alchemy Alcove, not the Tailoring Tent? Blizzard has mentioned that there will be a way to 'bulldoze down your mistakes', but it ain't going to be cheap. 
  5. Rested Bonus
    Rest druid, rest.
    Your time will come.
    - If like other expansions, Blizzard will effectively wipe all your rested bonus. That means your (main) toons won't start off on Nov. 13th with 16 bubbles of 200% bonus XP. On the other hand, all your alts SHOULD be sitting in an Inn or capitol city gaining rested. Finish off your main in a week, you'll be fully rested on your second alt and almost feel like you skipped a full level. 
  6. Valor and Justice points? Blizzard will convert these tokens to gold with the 6.0 patch, so if you still have something you want to purchase (maybe upgrades on your MoP gear), buy it today.. 
  7. Empty mailboxes - Sometimes expac's go badly. One expansion, Blizzard lost all of our in-game mail. It was eventually restored, but it required opening each message with 2 clicks. One from Postmaster "This message was lost.." and one to open attached message then grab AH return. As an active AH player, I had close to 100 unread messages in my mailbox on one alt. This took several days to empty her mailbox. 
  8. RL Preparations - Snacks, time off from work, clean the desk, charge wireless device batteries, inform the spouse, etc.. There are no more 'realm first' achievements, so we can take more time to level up. In sake of Pandas, we are still asked to "slow down".
Are you doing anything special to plan for the next expansion?

Thursday, October 9, 2014

What You Get When? Part 2

Headdress of the Green Circle
So, after leveling my last druid up to 60, I boosted to 90. Now that I am leveling this second druid all the way to 90, I feel that I need to update this list to include items after.

Update (10/12): This list isn't quite correct with the level 65, Sethekk Halls dropped in my LFD queue. Looking for a better source of info.

58: Dungeon: Blackrock Spire
59: Dungeon: Hellfire Ramparts (first BC dungeon)

60: Talent slots open up
60: Expert Riding (normal flying)
60: Flight Master's License (fly in vanilla)
63: Dungeon: The Underbog
64: Dungeon: Mana-Tombs
65: Dungeon: Auchenai Crypts
66: Dungeon: Old Hillsbrad Foothills: "Escape from Durnholde"
67: Dungeon: Sethekk Halls
68: Dungeon: The Mechanar
68: Dungeon: Magister's Terrace

All these plus Utgarde Keep can be selected into.
According to this guide, these dungeons never come up on the random queue. This value should be if you queue specifically for them:
68: Dungeon: Utgarde Keep (first WOTLK)
69: Dungeon: The Nexus
Note: at 69 you can no longer random queue for BC dungeons. 

70: Learn swift flight form
70: Artisan Riding (required for swift flight form)

72: Dungeon: Azjol-Nerub
74: Dungeon: Drak'Tharon Keep
75: Talent slots open up (Ursol's Vortex, Mighty Bash, Disorienting Roar)
75: Third glyph activated
75: Dungeon: Violet Hold
76: Dungeon: Gundrak
77: Dungeon: Halls of Stone
79: Dungeon: Halls of Lightning
79: Dungeon: The Occulus
79: Dungeon: Utgarde Pinnacle

WoTLK dungeons Not on random dungeon finder:
80: Dungeon: Blackrock Caverns (first Cataclysm dungeon)
80: Dungeon: Throne of Tides
82: Dungeon: The Stonecore
82: Dungeon: The Vortex Pinnacle
84: Dungeon: Lost City of Tol'vir
84: Dungeon: Halls of Origination
84: Dungeon: Grim Batol
85: LFR for Cataclysm Raids opens up. :) 
85: Dungeon: Stormstout Brewery (first Mists of Panderia dungeon)
87: Dungeon: Shado-Pan Monastery
87: Dungeon: Mogu'Shan Palace

90: Talent slots open up (Dream of Cenarius, Heart of the Wild, or Nature's Vigil)
90: Wisdom of the Four Winds (fly in Pandaria)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Blizzard, I want another ROLL option.

As I actively level up my Alliance druid, I've come to despise loot. In fact, I typically just GREED on everything to avoid any confusion and delay.

Blizzard, I want a new need/greed option. I want the option, maybe a settings option, where I can say "For BOE gear, only offer roll on items for these slots (bracers, hands, neck, belt, boots, rings)." I really could care less about an item that would replace an existing heirloom item. On my main, I won't be wanting to replace my legendary cloak anytime soon.

As it is now, I want to evaluate each and every drop. Chest dropped, wait I have heirloom equipped. I bet there's an addon for this somewhere.. Maybe this one?

Taming MOAR Pets

WFH means Work Warcraft From Home Monday was a work from home kind of day, so I worked on a little project of my own. I saw this on Twit...