Thursday, February 26, 2009

Dual-Spec, Tri-Spec, Quad-Spec.. argh

I usually don't write about other blog posts. Maybe I will do more of that, however, since I often can't think of original things to talk about. BigBearButt talked about how some Noob ranted about Dual Spec. The rant was very good and certainly made me think about it. Without going into detail, I'll just say that I'm starting to like the idea of dual-spec less and less. Miss Elf found some people complaining about dual-spec as well.. except this conversation begins with crying about the 1000g price tag for the privilege. *rolls eyes* Taffybag, Stompalina, and Half briefly discuss Dual-Spec in the RawrBitchRawr podcast which they did live for the first time (grats!). Floramel at Grimmtooth's Troops had something to say about Dual-Spec, as did Santyn from Lethal Shots. Now Hunters, Mages, Rogues, and Warlocks are single-purpose (DPS) classes, but that doesn't stop Perzyx (Crooked Bow) from writing about how he may use Dual-Spec to switch to and from a Survival build and Lassirra giving us her take on Wow Insider.

Ok, I think I got it out of my system. I'm feeling a tug in another direction. BTW, Eve Online players... after years and years of asking for it, we're finally going to get a skill queue. Might be time to fire up those inactive accounts.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Loot Rules

It's Tuesday and that means a naxx run with HiredGun. This run was supposed to be the group's first full clear in one night. Before it gets started tho, there's an announcement that loot rules are changed. Basically there are 2 tiers of members coming. "Raiders" and "Other". If you are of "Raider" status, you get 120 "loot points" to spend on items, "Other" get 100. When an item comes up for distribution, you private message the raid leader with your bid (minimum 10 loot points). Right away, you can see this isn't completely fair. Why should certain people start with more points? Because they show up every week? I dunno maybe this is normal procedure for most people, but I am of the beleif that when running a raid, everyone should have an equal shake.

Only main-specs can bid on an item. It's a blind auction, nobody knows what anyone else is bidding. Naturally, whoever makes the highest bid gets the item and the "loot points" are deducted from them. If there is a tie for the highest bids, those people roll to determine a winner. If nobody makes a bid on an item, it then directly goes to Off-spec, and people roll on the item. Whoever wins the off-spec roll gets the item without spending ANY loot points. Now here's the thing that annoys me about the off-spec thing... During this off-spec roll, if the item would have been good for your main-spec, YOU AREN'T ALLOWED TO ROLL ON IT. So if I'm a hunter, a mage, or a rogue, basically you'll never get an off-spec roll "free" item. Very unfair to the single purpose class I say. There were MANY off-spec rolls last night. Raid leader's response "oh well, if you let main-spec roll on it they'd never use their loot points." So f'in what? If someone is going to let off-spec roll with them on an item, they're taking a big chance that they're going to lose it rather then spend the 10 points they'd need with a bid. Just let them roll if that's what they want to do.

So why was this system put into place? Apparently last week there was some complaints about a somewhat-scrub mage taking 4 greed items and then winning his need roll on the KT mage ring. *shrug* I've personally never had a problem with the 1 Need, 1 T7 need, unlimited main-spec greed system. I guess some people do not like it tho when someone gets 3-4 items and then scores the nice KT loot as well. What does it really matter tho? The stuff the guy won with his greed items couldn't have set anyone back really that much? They always had the option to use their need on any of that stuff. Besides that, there are going to be days when the mage can't win anything on a roll. It all evens out.

What's happening is this... The very well-geared members of the raid (that perhaps only need an item from KT) don't want to have to roll against scrubs who still need stuff from the rest of the raid. So if you go into naxx knowing you need a drop from KT and nothing else, I can see why you like this system. Btw there was still a Pally last night who won *5* items in the run using these new rules, including an off-spec piece and a T7.5 item. Weren't the new rules supposed to prevent such a thing? Was this unfair? Guess not, since it wasn't competing with anything the raid leader was rolling on, and this Pally didn't have any points to spend on KT.

Is this system one you've seen before? It's not DKP, the points don't carry over to the next raid. Any thoughts?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Remember Find Treasure?

That quirky little dwarf racial ability... It could be used to show semi-rare spawned world treasure chests or quest items on the mini-map. It still exists in the game, but for some reason Blizzard has neglected to have it detect anything in Northrend. There are no world treasure chests to find. There are no quest items that it will detect. It's useless. Did the designers think it was OP? Did they just forget to tag certain quest items as "treasure?" I wonder if there are other racial abilities that became obsolete in WotLK.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Retro Friday - A much better game

Happy New Years 2006 from a the Demon Temple! =) This was me wielding my Demon Slayer sword quite effectively. The "best Demon graphics" were actually an older version of the demon graphics that they had put back in. Imagine that, going backwards to an older version of art because it was actually better. Yeah most of you probably look at this and think "man, the other demon graphics must have been REALLY bad" .. lol

Ultima Online was never really about it's graphic prowess. It was about meaningful online gameplay, of which it had no equal. Everything you did in the game seemed meaningful. Consdering it was the pioneer for popular online RPGs, it's amazing the game is still going. I miss it.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

There are mounts, and then ...

There's this mount:

The Ashes of Al'ar is one of those mounts most people in the game never even see! The other day when we were doing Malygos I caught a glimse of this amazing bird-mount. It's owner, Lichshock was in the process of moving his guild to Cenarius. *shakes fist angrily at the Queue*

I'd love to get this mount but realistically will never be able to get one. Getting the people together to do it every week would be one thing, winning the roll the 1 or 2 times it dropped a year would be another.

Edit: I'm actually pleased that there are still items like this in the game. Everything should not be easily obtainable by anyone who thinks "I want one!" Things that are near impossible to get still have that "epic" quality about them, and this magnificent mount is certainly in that category.

The Heartmender Meta-Game

Yes, Love is no longer in the air. If you tried to get the "Fool for Love" meta-achievement you will probably remember the Heartmender part:

You basically had to use your Unbestowed Friendship Bracelets on other people who had their heart broken during a token of love turn-in. If you did this early on in the 5-day event, you'd probably have good success as many people were turning in their tokens. It was a target-rich environment for the menders. Near the end of the event, however, the game changed. Not as many people were turning their tokens in, but lots still had to get this achivement.

One strategy was to camp the guards near heavily populated areas like Ironforge bank/auction house. If you click on the picture to the right you can see that's exactly what people started to do. These aren't people turning in their tokens, they're waiting for a chance to mend someone's heart. This quickly turned somewhat ugly as many competed to get the "mend" in before the others who were camping. Chances to do so were becoming more and more rare.

Another strategy people started to employ was to have a friend help them. They'd both ride around on fast mounts, turning in massive amounts of tokens just to try and get heartbroken so their friend could do the mending. Fair enough, but I was going to try and get a piece of this as well. I started following around, weither I knew them or not, and started to mend them. When it came to someone helping out a friend, they didn't want me to be mending them, so once I did mend them they'd just stop for a bit, wait for me to leave, then continue on.

Time was running out on the event. 6AM on Monday was when things turned off, and if I didn't have the achivement done by then, I wasn't going to be able to complete it for another year. It became kind of a cat & mouse game. I ended up having to hide behind pillars and walls etc, then dashing in to mend before their friend could. I was at a disadvantage near the end, as they could usually get their mend in first. Once they ran into the King's chambers where there were many guards available, I was on equal footing. Spamming the friendship ring to mend was fine since we were already dismounted. (+15% run speed from Failsauce's unholy aura didn't hurt either) I got my last couple mends, thanked the person and went on my way.

I'm sure there was a little "hate" in the air, but hey I needed my achievements!!

5 days was not nearly enough time for this event. Besides a couple naxx's and work, I was basically humping this thing all weekend and was just barely able to get it done for my 3 level 80's. There was too much randomness., too much stress trying to get it done in time. At least there's a couple months before the next holiday event.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Retro Friday - Pre-TBC Elite Pet!

King Bangalash Tamed on 10/31/06?

This is an unedited picture taken on 10/31/06 of Darn seemingly owning King Bangalash as a real, elite pet. It was his pet, but this was some kind of display bug that happened at the Flight Path apon landing. It's interesting that the game knew what the original pet's name was even after it had been tamed.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Is that a love rocket in your pocket?

...or are you just happy to see me?

If you haven't noticed (how could you not) the "Love is in the Air" world event is apon us. The main cities all have scenes that look like this:

...And my backpacks are starting to look like this:

I have to admit I haven't done any of these world events before. In years past they came when I was taking a break from WoW or just too busy to notice. Now that the achievements are all tied in with them, I have more interest. Want to learn about the current event? Lets see...

There's the WoW Insider guide to Fool for Love.
Jaximus posted a Guide on the Official Forums.
WowWiki's Guide to Love is in the Air.

There are many other guides but I'm sure you can get the idea by checking out those. I received 2 romantic picnic baskets on one bank-alt (that's his backpack pictured above). I've also scored 1 perma-peddlefeet and 1 Lovely Black Dress. I now actually have a reason to log on to my toons before heading into work each day. I could wake up 15 minutes earlier...zzzzzz hmm? Oh sorry I dozed off there for a second.

Dragon Wars EXTREME!
Chaotic ran a mostly-guild 25-man Malyos last night. We wiped 6 or 7 times but finally brought the beast down. I have to say this is one case where the 25-man version is probably harder than the 10-man version. Maybe it's because a lot of people still haven't done this fight before. Perhaps once everyone knows the encounter better, it will become as easy as the other 25-man fights. During each run back to my corpse I kept wondering if I was having as much fun as Larisa had on her Malygos "wipe night"... I can't say that I was. But I still had a good time overall and hope to be able to do this every week.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Tuesday is for Phat Lewts!

An upgrade for a hunter's ranged weapon slot is usually reason for great celebration. With a dwarf hunter, however, it is somewhat shameful when it comes time to trade in his gun for a "better dps" bow. This is what happened last night when HiredGun picked up Final Voyage during his trek through Naxx. Having only 1 skill point in Crossbows was something he was actually proud of. Let the fruity night elves use the bows, damnit! A dwarf needs the smell of gunpowder and a loud BANG BANG sound to make him feel as if he's doing his job. (The racial +1% crit when using guns doesn't hurt either) Unfortunately, in terms of dps, the only guns available as an upgrade were from KT (normal and heroic). So a quiver was made and arrows purchased. HiredGun flew down to Crystalsong Forest to shoot some wolves, trees, and dryads. In less than an hour his crowssbow skill had reached 400. *sigh*

But some more mad hunter loot dropped last night, some monster upgrades actually. Shoulderpads of Secret Arts and Torn Web Wrapping replaced blues on HiredGun. That was pretty awesome. At least now I don't have to contemplate spending 4000g on the belt! =) Hunter loot continued to fall... Arrowsong dropped, a Warrior won it with an uncontested greed roll. Grim Toll fell and was nabbed by some other dps, as was the more common Aged Winter Cloak.

Tonight should be lots of Vault and OS running. I didn't even know that there was a rare mount from the Vault. BigBearButt got one from 10-man, so run that thing.. even if the T7 stuff is kinda junky lookin after a while.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Monday is for the desperate.

It seems to be a theme every Monday night. The desperate people are trying to get their Naxx, Vault, and OS in before the Tuesday reset. The guildless, the undergeared, the lazy, the procrastinators... basically the opposite of what you'd find on Tuesday afternoon's groups for doing raids. You don't want to wait until the last minute to get these done whatever the reason.

This being said, Failsauce had not done either naxx 10 or 25. What gives? Well the 10-man naxx for her guild Chaotic was scheduled for Friday night but was then rescheduled for Monday. No big deal, I was told by the GM that Failsauce would "probably" be able to go, but would only get loot if any of the "mains" that were going didn't need it. Sounded just fine to me, at this point anyone who was a main was unlikely to need much from 10-man naxx.

I show up 15 minutes prior to invites and start hovering outside of the giant necropolis, patiently waiting. I mention on vent that I was hoping that Failsauce was going to get a spot when an officer spoke up "I don't really want to be running other people's alts through, gearing them up." ??? Wanker. I reminded the GM with a tell that I was there and waiting. Start time +10 minutes go past, no word, nothing. I ask again about it and get "We need ranged DPS." Which I guess meant I didn't have a spot. No biggie, but being as this was Monday it wasn't looking too promising for getting in another group. Oh yeah, the GM was running the raid with his fresh 80 paladin alt. Funny, I didn't hear the officer complain about it.

I remain on vent to hear how things are going. The other (holy) paladin is having extreme connection problems. Disconnected nearly 10 times in the first wing. Eventually he didn't return. After they were unsuccessful filling his spot, I spoke up.. "Failsauce still isn't saved.. I could join you for some more DPS". I got no response. Nothing. Then someone spoke up "I guess we'll just do this with 9 then." !!!11!!!ONE!1! WHAT?? They would rather go shorthanded then have my alt go? WTF!?!

So now I'm steamed. I look around for a spot in another raid with no luck. I speak up in vent once in a while between battles but nobody seems to acknowledge anything I say. Is this some sort of prank? I leave the vent server and rejoin just in case something is bugged. Still nobody seems to respond to anything I say. Oh well.. assholes!!

I run some instances, and by the time I'm done with those the guild raid is nearly finished. A couple wipes on KT but they finally get it done. Post-raid chatter fills vent. One guy is asking where to get the cooking recipe for Northern Stew. I mention, "You get it from a quest. Go to the cooking trainer in either BT or HF". Someone else says "You just get it from the cooking trainer." Hmm if this was a prank they certainly are being very disciplined about pretending not to be able to hear me. I continue to respond to conversation, hoping someone will slip up and respond to something, anything I say. No luck. What the heck? Something must be wrong. I completely shut down vent, rejoin the server, and I still apparently can't be heard.

Then I noticed the red light on my headset. It had been muted.


Monday, February 9, 2009

Weekend Update - Jane, you ignorant slut.

I played WoW all weekend but feel like not much was accomplished. I'm talking about in-game accomplishments... anything outside of game went to hell, nothing new there.

With three characters now at 80, I need some kind of schedule or to-do list for each of them to plan out activities for each day. HiredGun needs to work on is Frenzyheart Tribe dailies. Both he and Failsauce must keep up the grind with Sons of Hodir as well as the Kalu'ak. Make sure everyone does their cooking quest. Try and remember to use the Titansteel cooldowns. Who's saved to what raid? Which raids am I not joining with what toon because I'm going to do them with guildies later? Do I want to try the fishing contest this week? How many days left on the Lunar Festival? Is it too late to make some of those trinkets at the Darkmoon Faire? Argh.

Breathe. Relax.

I joined several PUG raids and heroics over the weekend with less-than-stelar results. "Heroic HoL?" Hell Yeah! HiredGun still had the Sons of Hodir quests for this instance. I zone in, get saved, wait just inside the instance. "Oh, btw we're on the 3rd boss." Awesome. Way to wait til I'm saved before serving up that little nugget. Two of the party members yammered on and on about some "stupid druid" who had just left the group. I did my best to /ignore it, but had to wonder if the said druid was actually the smart one.

We immediately have 2 near wipes on just trash. My well-timed feign death combined with Jumper Cables (er, knife) saved the priest a long run back. Ionar is not a difficult boss but you wouldn't know it by watching this group in action. Twice in a row the priest died very quickly, causing wipes. Both times she was unable to get away from the nasty spark-things on the ground. The group broke up shortly after that. Momma told me there would be pugs like this.

Then a guy named "TheJuice" was putting together a 25-man OS. Everyone loves OS! Great loot, short fight, even a nice 22-slot bag at the end. Chock-full of win! It wasn't until everyone zoned in that we noticed: "Hey, where's the dragon?" Mother f... TheJuice you are now on "The List." Blizzard, please...please...please just put up some kind of warning the first time you try and enter a saved instance/raid with a group? "Entering this portal will save you to RAID: 6951233.. do you wish to continue?" Would that be too hard?

2AM Sunday night, about to wrap it up.. "LF2M DPS for 25-naxx, 1/2 of Military left plus Construct, Saph, KT". Sleep could wait for this! HiredGun had much room for gear improvement so I joined their vent and caught a summon right away. Gothik the Harvester peered down at me from his balcony. I could see the fear in his eyes, as HiredGun had arrived. Apparently not everyone was on vent, or something, because the fight started with only 5 or so other people with me on the dead side. GG. After everyone got back we tried again, this time with a proper number of folk on each side. We got it done this time and were on to the Four Horseman. Despite good dps, the raid wiped several times as healers/tanks/whoever didn't know their duties. After the 4th try we downed the quartet. I was actually a bit surprised to get past this fight; most unorganized groups don't have a chance.

We then met up with Patchwerk. I'll save you a lot of time here and just say it was horrible. People were dying within seconds of the fight starting, and this happened over and over. From the confusion on vent it was clear that the proper tanking/healing strategy was eluding them. As ranged DPS, I haven't really learned a lot about how these roles function for this fight. I just know there's nasty attacks and healers have to be spamming heals. Besides steady DPS, I could only contribute ScrapBots to help move things along. Around 4am people were dropping and the raid was called. "No More Play", indeed.

Is the game too easy or are players just better now? Both, however I think it's more of the latter. The game still feels very difficult when you're grouping with clowns. My role as DPS is usually one that doesn't take much thought (pew pew!). Is it unfair for me to judge when tanks/healers/raid leaders fail at their jobs? Probably, but clearly people can do much better.

DPS need to do better also. At least put an enchant on that 2-hander you got at level 75. Yes, other hunter in the raid.. I'm talking to you!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Retro Friday - Onyxia raid

Hornlove got a minor upgrade to her bow last night, Arrowsong. Here's hoping KT stops being stingy next week =) After the raid a few of us went to farm some Onyxia Scales and it brought back some memories. Here's Darn on Dec 1st, 2006:

Click for larger image

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Dragon Wars!

Hornlove is in there somewhere

Hornlove got her chance vs Malygos last night. Fortunately the other members of the 10-man raid had done this fight at least once before. It was a nice experience, doing combat from the back of dragons! (and not in an Occulus nobody-wants-to-be-there kind of way). The first attempt started with a couple early deaths and we got wiped by his enrage in phase 3. The 2nd attempt went great except I stood still inside a cloud while using my "5" shield key and died. No matter, the rest of the party finished the Dragon off and we had our victory!

Hornlove's raiding prowess authenticated by a title!

It's an interesting fight, I can't wait to do it again. (especially since Black Ice didn't drop)

Earlier in the night we did some vaults and 25OS+1 drake. Survival seems to be doing well.

25-Man Vault

10-Man Vault

I'm happy to report that my connection nightmare from tuesday night was history. HiredGun also joined a 25-man OS (pug) and did OK. The goofballs wanted to try it with 1-drake. Of course it took a few wipes to make everyone realize it wasn't going to happen. You know the raid is going to have problems when you get a ready check accompanied by "Press No for 1 drake, press Yes for No".. wait, what?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

You have been disconnected from the server.

It was HiredGun's turn to do some raids. The only thing I felt was sub-par about his gear for being 80 for less than a day was his pet. However as a survival hunter, the pet does such a small amount of damage. Bringing a level 76 cat wasn't going to bother me too much, and it wasn't going to be the difference between success and failure.

First up, it was time for 10-man Naxx. This should be fun! Also it was the first raid I'd be doing as survival. The first couple trash pulls. "Anyone else seeing spikey lag?" Nope, I was the only one. Shortly after that I was disconnected. Hmm.. Ok, log back in. Disconnected again after the next trash pull. Wow. This is going to make it hard to see where I stand in the damage meters. We got to the first boss in the Spider wing, I made it thru the fight this time. Hiregun getting his "First Heroic badge" achievement was a bit embarassing, but oh well =) My DPS was 200+ higher than the other hunter which had been joining this raid for several weeks now. Not bad for being a day-old 80 I thought!

It went steeply downhill from there. Disconnected over and over and over. What the hell was going on? Did they move the "bad router" to my corner of Blizzard's server room during the morning's rolling restarts? Since I moved to this city 7 months ago I've never had any problems with my ISP. The disconnecting problems continued. We got thru the Spider Wing. A *explitive deleted* pally took my Wraith Spear to boot. This trip had not gone at all like I had hoped.

We then did the Military quarter. Struggled a bit but did down all the bosses until the Four Hourseman. These guys pwned us over and over. The raid DPS was seriously lacking (me disconnecting twice on average on Thane alone didn't help). I offered to be replaced because I wasn't doing the raid much good. After a couple guys had had enuf, the raid was called. I doubt if anyone felt satisfied with how it turned out.

After that I joined a 25-Man pug vault run. How bad could this be? It's one friggin fight. The group had a massive amount of DPS and healing, as is typical on Tuesday raid pugs. (The ones on Monday people seem to come in greens and 70's gear) More of the same, I disconnected twice on trash. At this point I just wanted to finish this raid and go to sleep. Start of the vault boss fight (which has to be done in less than 5 minutes). I disconnect no less than 4 times during the fight, getting reconnected the last time just as the boss fell. I sheepishly looted my badge of valor. What a nightmare. The uber-pug was going on to 25-man OS which would have been awesome to join if I wasn't in DC hell. I let the group know that I was useless and that they needed to replace me.

I always hear others complain about days like this. It's easier for me to relate now. I can only hope this was a one-night thing and when tonight things will be back to normal. It's easy to take a stable connection for granted.

Edit: Drotara from LessQQMorePewPew also had some problems with connection last night. He also is a comcast customer. Apparently comcast was doing some maintenance last night so hopfully thats the reason why my service was crap.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

And then there were three

HiredGun hits 80

I finished off HiredGun's last 6 bars, yay! Pictured with his pet, Pitch.. er, I mean BadCat. Burned some saronite to get Engineering to 450 and made a gun. Gemmed, enchanted, scoped, all the fancy new gear. Ran more quests after that for the Sons of Hodir rep. More later...

Monday, February 2, 2009

It's a copy-cat league...

Jan 25th, Seabrat writes about PowerAuras.
Jan 26th, Drotara writes about PowerAuras.
Feb 1st, BRK writes about PowerAuras, makes a movie, and crashes his server.

I'll refrain... although this mod is great and is certainly going to help out my hunters and DK.

Super Weekend

Did everyone watch the Superbowl? Well, this is the WoW community, so probably not. If you didn't see it, you missed a very entertaining game. I watched it but at the same time powerleveled HiredGun to 6 bars short of 80. Considering he was only 75 at the start of the weekend, that's not bad at all! There was some serious quest grinding going on. Hiredgun has done every single quest for Borean Tundra, Dragonblight, Howling Fjord, and Sholizar Basin... in that order. He's currently burning thru Storm Peaks right now and has his ScrapBot plans learned. Mining has reached 450 as well (hello Titanium nodes!). He is leveling as a survival spec to get some practice so that it would become second nature for the upcoming raids.

Some things I've noticed about leveling as Survival:

1. Pet can't hold aggro. At all. The pet is just doing a way smaller portion of the damage, and if you lead off with a SS/ES, you'll have that mob bearing down on you most of the time. Trying to do any Volley with the Gorilladin was very frustrating. Even throwing a Kill Command to the pet, waiting for 2 Thunderstomps (zzzzzzz....) My volleys would still draw aggro at times. I also miss longevity which would keep those thunderstomps happening more often.

2. Pet can't tank. No buffed HP or Armor. No improved Mend Pet. No Improved Revive Pet (missed this one more than I thought I would). Even a tenacity pet like the Gorilla can't stand up to the elites I used to solo with no problem like the large green bird in southern Dragonblight. I blink and .. dead gorilla.

3. Even in normal dungeons, some people got annoyed at me dropping traps. Maybe they don't understand survival. /shrug

4. There are a lot of really bad tanks out there. Ok, this one has nothing to do with leveling as survival.. but how hard is it to tank the mobs at the f'in portals instead of the center of the room in VH? My god... Normal instance PUGs are not alot of fun.

I've got some gear for HiredGun's level 80 party tonight. Hornlove will craft him up some bracers and legs too. Now if I can only get another 3 points in Engineering so he can make his own gun. Can we get something other than these damned knives to level it please? =)