Archive for June, 2010

The Point.

Well, despite my lofty plans of actually playing WoW today, it seems that Blizzard, in their infinite wisdom have decided to release patch 3.3.5!  Good news, yes?  If you enjoy not playing, then yes it is!  Maybe I’m picky… but especially since I actually had time to play just as the servers should have come up today, the delay is getting on my nerves.  So, what’s a poor guy to do when he can’t play WoW?  Why blog about it, of course!

The Battleground.

Last night I was going about my usual business, which recently has involved a lot of BGs, since I’m into a PvP phase once again, and am working crazily towards finally getting my DK into some kind of respectable PvP gear.  So, I found myself running about AB for a couple hours (AV was on Call to Arms, but I just hit random.  So of course I get the same BG five times in a row… isn’t that what random means?).  It was during what I remember being the first AB, that something really remarkable happened.

I joined the game and found those dastardly allies were up a  painful 1400-1000.  400 points in AB these days generally seems to be a “GG, let’s let them 5 cap us”, so my heart sank as I realized I’d  just entered a lost cause.

But for a pleasant change, that was not the case.  In fact, the team wasn’t giving up as I’d expected them to.  It seems what had happened was that almost 2/3 of the original raid had gotten tired of losing and dropped the BG (it had probably gone long enough to not have them take a debuff).  And We the fresh players had no intention of just joining a BG to lose.  So people worked together.

They teamed up, communicated (as Gnome points out is the way to go), and co-ordinated in ways I’ve only ever seen a premade work.   It  wasn’t long before we had the allies down 3-2 bases, and with a big push we threw them out of LM, securing  a 4-1.  As the cap on LM ticked, I was carefully watching my DBM meter, which was cheerfully informing me we had around 1 minute before the allies took the game.  “Just wait,” I kept telling myself.  “The fourth base will tip it our way.”

Sadly that wasn’t the case.  Even after reaching 4-1 bases, the allies still had just enough of a lead they were still going to win (they were up by around 50 points at this point).  I realized we were going  to lose.   Everyone did.  The allies were all backed into the Stables, and there were far too many to take out in the 30 seconds we had to go.  But there was no complaining.  We all knew we’d given it our all.  It was the kind of game you don’t  mind losing.  We were only down by a marginal 50 points, and we all knew that if we’d joined an even game we most certainly would have won.

The Comeback.

It was while I was counting down to defeat that something miraculous happened.  The win meter changed from blue to red, with only seconds to go.  DBM now wanted me to know that the Horde would take the BG in 45 seconds.

Cheers went up across Arathi Basin.  Apparently what had happened was that the allies had decided to pressure our bases (God knows why, they were going to win anyways, after all) and this had divided their forces.  Although they assaulted the mine and got the blacksmith, they’d lowered the defenses on the stables.  And some industrious player (I was too far away to see who) managed to cap Stables.

This put us at 2-0 bases.  Meaning the allies wouldn’t get points.  Meaning we would win.  In 30 seconds.

With literally 2 seconds to go, however, the allies capped a base.  This left us at 1-1, and with 10 seconds to go on the ally win meter, they took the game 1600-1590.

BUT- even though we’d lost, we lost in the most epic way imaginable.   We put our hearts and souls into it.  And I didn’t mind losing to the allies.  No one was insulting our side in /bg,  and there were very few complaints.  After all, we put up a hell of a fight.

The Raid.

Later that evening I ran around 6 boses of Molten Core, with two guildies (my internet died before we can finish… GG Flairn).  I healed my through what used to take 40 people, with two friends.  It was a ton of fun.  And we managed to see the pattern for Enchanting Weapon:  Spellpower drop.  The reason  we were running it was for our enchanter friend who wanted the pattern.  He told me that he’d been farming the pattern for YEARS.  It turns out it’s an uber-rare 1% drop rate, on a dungeon you can only run 52 times a year (read: raid).  Turns out it’s one of the few enchants that work on heirloom weapons, and subsequently it’s easily one of the most rare, and most in demand Old World enchants out there.  He said there were only 2 other people Horde-side on the realm who had it.

I don’t know how you folks might have felt, but helping an old friend become the third felt pretty damn epic.

The Point?

It was throughout these simple occurences, that I realized something I think a lot of players tend to forget.  WoW is a game.  We play it to have fun.  In the mass of end-game raiding and arenas, in the rush for MOAR EPICZ, I think a lot of us tend to mistake something stressful for something fun.  Don’t get me wrong, I love endgame everything as much as the next guy.  But I think if more people took the time to smell the roses, and really drink deep of all the amazingness of the game, they’d enjoy it a whole lot more.

Just my two cents.  But it’s something to think about.  Maybe I’m just late to the party, and people run into stuff like this all the time.  But I think sometimes players get lost in the rush of endgame, and forget the simple fun of working together to achieve something really cool.

After all, isn’t that the point?


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This week’s shared topic over at Blog Azeroth comes to us from Spinks, at Spinksville, who asks the following question.

Cataclysm is coming! The old world is going to be destroyed and remade.

Which town, quest, NPC, or zone really needs to be purged with fire, in your opinion? Will you enjoy dancing on the ashes of a particularly hated quest giver? Or is there some zone you avoid like the plague (plaguelands excluded) where being nuked from orbit could only improve the experience? And why do you hate it/them so much?

This is a question that, with the new expansion on its way sometime in the not-so-distant future, has probably been on the minds of a lot of WoW players.  A lot still isn’t known for sure about Cataclysm.  How much of the Old World will be left?  Will old quest hubs even exist after the change?  And when is the thing even going to arrive?  And with all these questions up in the air, it’s only natural a lot of players start to ponder exactly what changes the new expansion will bring.

And on that same note, if we were blizzard, and we had the power to just hop into that code and make some tweaks to WoW, how  much would we change?  And what would we  change?  Or, more importantly… what would we destroy?
Throughout my illustrious career in WoW, there is one thing which, above all others, I have hated, despised, and abhorred.  And that one thing is the Barrens.

Now I know that we all know for sure that the Barrens are going to be redone.  There’s going to be a whole fun volcanic eruption type of thing going on, and it’s going to be pretty crazy.  According to the somewhat shifty information Blizzard has already provided, we’re going to be seeing shifts to volcanic craters in some areas, and lush wetlands in others.  I’ve seen a couple pictures of the volcanic apocalypse areas, and yes, it looks sweet.

BUT- it’s not the appearance of the zone which I dislike.  I play Horde, I’m totally fine with the desert wasteland sort of areas.  If I wasn’t okay with those, I would have leveled a Night Elf, with all their pretty early zones.  The thing I hate about the barrens is that it is, above anything I’ve experienced in the game- a HUGE drag.

Everytime I step into the Barrens with an alt,  I essentially lose interest in that alt, because I just can’t bear to submit myself to the horror of that place again.  I usually get through it… but with much crying and gnashing of teeth.  I feel on occasion that I’ll probably go pre-maturely gray, largely because of the Barrens.

What’s wrong with them?  Let me explain.

The size.  The barrens is a HUGE zone.  Baby orcs, trolls, and Tauren all go from Mulgore or Durotar (both of which are around half the size of the Barrens) into an enormous, sprawling mass of hills.  It doesn’t seem that bad, until you find yourself running from the Crossroads (on foot- because you’re still mountless in these early levels) to a  bunch of savanah-themed mobs and back again for the 90179874th time.   It gets old very, very fast.

But even that wouldn’t be enough to cause my hatred of the place.  I can deal with that, there’s plenty of other zones that have similar leveling styles.  It’s the fact that, after finally clearing your way out of the Barrens, you always end up going back.  You finished the area around the Crossroads?  Congrats.  Now go take a break, and come back in a few levels, there’s Camp T and Ratchet still!  My first time through the place, I was horrified to find that even in my mid to late twenties I still had some quests to finish up in that god-forsaken zone.

My issue with the Barrens boils down, not to its monotony, that’s just part of the Old World (until Cataclysm, that is), but do to the length.  You enter the Barrens at level 12, and even upwards of levels 26, 27, you’ll still find yourself going back.  I do not want to spent 15 levels in a zone.  That’s way too much.  I need to move on and have some fun somewhere else.

So, if I could throw something into the fire before Cataclysm, it wouldn’t be the look of the Barrens.  It would be the layout of everything inside them.  And with the huge shakeup in that zone, I can only pray I won’t find myself in the same horrible place, with a new, prettier skin.

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For today’s post I invite you to pretend.  Visualize yourself in this situation:

A random Battleground.  Let’s call it Arathi Basin.  Your team has three bases, to the alliance (or horde I guess… not that I condone playing that other faction) 2.  But it’s been a pretty close game.  A lot of back and forth, and your guys are only up by about 100 points.  You’ve been chasing the allies around the Basin most of the game, capping what they leave undefended.

BUT the alliance gets wise.  They double back and defend… let’s say Stables.  Your core raid of around 10 players wipes on this impromptu defense.  Maybe because there’s one of those tree druids that just won’t die, who knows.  But you wipe.  And the alliance gets ahead.  Even worse, the rest of their raid caps the totally undefended Gold Mine and you find yourself down 4 bases to 1.  Stuck in the Blacksmith island, the allies pour in and wipe you again, leaving them ahead by around 200 points by the time you’ve recovered your senses.

In /bg chat:

PvPer #1:  Dude wtf.

PvPer #2:  lame

Pvper  #1:  This is totally fail.

PvPer #3:  You all suck.

Smart PvPer #1:  That’s fine, let’s just try and regroup…

PvPer #1: Screw this.  You people are pathetic.

Smart PvPer #2:  You could always leave…

PvPer #1: There’s no point we’re going to lose anyways.

PvPer #3:  You all suck.

PvPer #4:  gg.  That was sad.

Smart PvPer #1:  Inc BS.

PvPer #1:  So what.  Nothing we can do.

Smart PvPer #2:  You could defend…

PvPer #1:  No point.

PvPer #3: What a fail.

/end hypothetic scenario

A big beef of mine when it comes to the Battleground circuit is the ridiculous degree of complaints that often accompanies anything less than a complete domination.  The second your team starts losing, many people will just give up, and start simply complaining in /bg what a huge fail everything is.  Half your raid starts trying, and even the people that don’t stop to complain start losing hope.

Inevitably, your raid loses the Battleground, amidst much complaining and ‘Woe is me”ing.

If you’ve PvPed at all in Battlegrounds, you’ll probably have run into a situation like this at some point.  You’ve probably had to deal with people that feel that complaining is the only solution to a losing game.  And you’ve probably run into a whole bunch of people that want to tel you you’re not good enough.  Heaven forbid you’re my under-geared DK, and not in full relentless or wrathful gear.  That’s just totally unacceptable.

Yes, if you’re assuming I just had a bad experience in AB, you’d be right.

Although the situation above is totally fabricated, it’s not that unreasonable, and I’ve seen much worse.  No matter how good you are, sooner or later you’ll have to lose a BG, and you’ll find out that we PvPers often are sore losers.

Rant about complaints aside, let’s just take a moment to clear things up a bit.  Let’s say you raid.  Would it not be acceptable to wipe upwards of 4 or 5 times on progression fight, then down the boss, and call it a good day?  Of course.  Raiders are well aware that dying and/or wiping is just a part of the game.

So, the point of this long-winded rant is simple.  If you’re a PvPer and your team starts losing, don’t just start complaining about how everything is awful.  Take a moment.  Take a deep breath.



Everyone will still be there.  There will still be plenty of alliance to demolish.  And you’re going to be doing that whole lot better without all the complaints.  And if you must complain- please do so constructively.

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Woah.  That’s sort of all I’ve got to say right now.  If you’ve been following the Cognisance Council over the past week or two, then you know that I’ve been working on gearing my druid up for raiding.  That’s been my eventual goal at least.  But last Thursday, my guild was short a player for our regular ICC 25 run.  That’s right.  ICC 25.  Not even just ICC 10.  And just like that, I was whisked off into the hardest normal mode version of the latest content in the game.  Pretty crazy stuff.

Of course, before getting to a boss, a storm blew in and knocked out my wireless.  C’est la vie.  But the fact remains that my guild has, for whatever possibly misguided reason, recognized me as a raider.  That means that, if everything goes according to my loosely defined plan, I’ll take my first real steps into ICC next Tuesday evening.  With this whirlwind of PvE I’ve really not had time to do anything else.  Suddenly I’m mildly concerned that I need to rank up with three or four factions for enchants.  Suddenly getting Sons of Hodir all the way up seems really pressing.

Needless to say, I’ve been farming rep and random heroics like a mad-man.  I still need around 3 upgrades from random heroics, and I need to rank up with (I think) three more factions to get all the enchants I need.  With all this PvE craziness, I’ve decided to do up a post explaining just how to get raid ready.  And how to do it in a few days (which is what I’m trying to do… for better or for worse).

To start things off, this isn’t a comprehensive guide by any stretch.  It isn’t even really a guide, more of just some helpful tips to get you on your way.  If you’re looking for some really helpful guides, check out places like WoW.com.  For druids out there looking for gear, Shifting Perspectives (WoW.com’s druid column) has some great posts about gearing a new druid.  The resto version for my fellow trees can be found here.

Heroics, Heroics, Heroics.  If you need to get gear pre-raiding, heroics are the place to do it.  If you’re in a PvE guild (which makes life oh so much easier, trust me I’ve tried it without), ask around.  Usually people are more than happy to help a guildy out by running some quick instances.  Of course with the new LFG tool you can PuG anything relatively fast, but you’ll go even faster with guild-mates, especially if you’re a dps and don’t want long queues.  People you know will also pull all the bosses in an instance, instead of skipping to the last one for the two frost badges.  If you have no other option, PuG, but if your guild is willing, running with friends (even if you have to random one or two spots) makes life a hell of a lot easier.

Shop Around.  If you can, ask an experienced raider in your guild with your class/spec about what you should look for in gearing a new toon.  They can be extremely helpful and informative for people wanting to learn a new spec.  Even if you have a main raiding regularly, learning a new alt at 80 can be tricky without some help.

If you don’t have a veteran raider conveniently on tab, widen your search.  Hit up blogs and other resources for your class.  Generally speaking, most class-specific bloggers have some tips for gearing/ playing their class.  For instance, Mystic Chicanery has a great flow-chart basically explaining exactly how to gem up a new affliction warlock.  Even just googling the gear you’re struggling with will often bring up a solid list of opinions from the greater blog-o-sphere.  Post a question  on the forums (either official WoW ones or otherwise).  Use the community.  That’s what we’re here for.

Rep Up.  Although this seems kind of obvious (much like heroics), if you’re a totally fresh 80, work on running dailies to rep up with factions you need for enchants.  If you can spare badges, convert extra triumph to reputation from the vendors in Dalaran.  It might seem like a lot of work for a head, or shoulder enchant, but once you’ve got all your gear enchanted, it makes a huge difference.  It’s like the difference between running about without socketed gear, and finally breaking down and acquiring some gems.

Be Selective.  If you’re planning to raid with your guild, make sure you actually enjoy raiding with your guild.  Don’t run with a group of people you don’t have fun running with.  Whatever you end up raiding (10s, 25s, hard modes, etc.) it’s no fun if you don’t enjoy the people you’re with.  And this is a game (much as some of us tend to forget it).  Whatever you log in to do, always make sure you’re having fun.  That’s a big part of it.

Anyways, having read my brilliantly creative tips, go forth and pwn some bosses for me.  Seriously.  I’ll be here.  I’m waiting.  I want to see some dead Lich Kings with “Flairn” carved into their necks.  Just let me know.

Oh… and have fun!  That too.

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Although this is a couple weeks after the fact, over on the Blog Azeroth Forums, Nexdominus suggested a shared topic involving preparation for Cataclysm.

What are you doing if anything to get ready for cataclysm?

Although at the time, for whatever reason I never bothered putting together a shared topic post, I’ve decided to do so now, because very recently I’ve begun my preparations for Cataclysm.

Something you should know about me.  I hate leveling.  Like I really despise it.  It’s always been my least favourite part of the game.  But for some strange reason, I’ve recently felt compelled to roll the warlock alt I’ve been thinking about rolling for the past month or so.  I’m in the process of pimping out my level 9 god of warlockery (Shhh… don’t tell Gnomeaggedon) with heirlooms and I’ve decided to do something I’ve never really done before.

Actually take my time, and enjoy leveling.  Achibald, the new undead warlock (over on The Venture Co. US- my server of choice) is going to be my loremaster toon.  I’m going to run him through the old world, and just take in the sights.  After all, they’re going to be gone pretty soon.  I’m planning to just, really take my time, and breath in all the vanilla glory one last time before Cataclysm hits.

The reason he’s undead mostly because I’ve always really enjoyed that starting zone.  While when I first started playing I though “Ewww, how do people live with this?” I’ve since really begun to love it.  Maybe my Undead Death Knight was the inspiration, but something about that starter zone feels really cool to me.  There’s a great Left for Dead/ Resident Evil/ 28 Days Later/ feel to the whole place.

Basically the plan is to actually read quest text as often as possible, and to go through and complete Loremaster at level as much as possible.  I’d like to be able to hit Northrend and already have Loremaster of Eastern Kingdoms, Kalimdor, and Outland all wrapped up.  That would be pretty cool, I think.

A lot of people around the World of Warcraft are starting to work towards making Loremaster, simply because the quests are, in all likelihood, going to just go away, or not be available anymore.  And I want to experience all that great content as it was designed, at level.  Although I’m probably going to outlevel a lot of the zones and make that pretty impossible, I’m going to try anyways.

Besides that, I still really want to get my paws on an Invincible mount before the end of the expansion.  Downing 25 man hard LK might be a bit out of my range right now, but I’d like to see it happen sometime before the world goes and blows up on us.  After all, I’ve never been able to take down the big boss of an expansion before (I never hit max level back in BC and vanilla was before my time), and I’d love to see it happen.  Plus that undead horse is just sooo cool.

So anyways, that’s my plan as far as Cataclysm goes.  Experiencing all the old content at level.  I’m going to try to run every dungeon too.  It should be a blast.  I’ll make sure to keep you updated with any cool things I find while leveling my way up.  And thanks again to Nexdominus for giving me something to write about today, and probably a bunch of times in the future.  This should be fun.   And I can’t wait to finish everything off before the next expansion.

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Dance Healing

If you’ve been following this blog, you may have noticed (or just sort of guessed) that I’m not really raiding yet.  Although my PvE toon is certainly my restoration Druid- Flairn, I’m not really in any sort of gear to really begin raiding in earnest.  I just recently got my T9 bonus put together, but I’m still a ways from raiding ICC.

So, outside of the odd VoA run, weeklies (when I can get a group together for them) and the occasional gear up raid through ToC with my guild, I spend most of my time in heroics.  This means a whole whack of time spent putting up two HoTs on the tank and sort of zoning out watching the health bars.

Which brings up the question of- what do you do during this downtime?  Resto Druids are pretty unique in having this problem- most healers have to be almost constantly casting to keep up their heals.  Not so for trees.   We cast a couple spells and refresh them on occasion.

When I was leveling my druid, I spent a bit of time healing the odd instance.  All through Outland I carried around a pretty laughable healing set made up of the odd green and some quest rewards.  It was always 5 or so levels behind me, but it was enough that after I picked up dual spec, I could heal Outland 5-mans.  Before healing one of my first instances, a player who was pretty experienced with Restoration explained healing like this to me:

“Step #1- Put HoTs on the tank.  Step #2- /dance.”

I thought it was pretty funny, but after actually stepping into my first five mans, I discovered it was true.  This habit has carried all the way through to level 80 heroics, and during downtime I still fill the moments with dancing.  My guild has dubbed this habit “Dance Heals.”  While it could be argued that I should be dpsing in time not spent healing, my job is not to dps, and I’m fairly lazy.  I stay in tree form most of the time.  So, when I’m not healing I make use of the most amazing dance currently in the game.  Seeing reactions in party chat will often amuse me to no end.

So, while you’re out there running your daily heroic for some frost badges, just look out for the tree at the back twisting his way through his gearing up.  You might just have found yourself grouping with the World of Warcraft’s leading expert on dance heals (that’s probably not true.  I give credit to the guy who taught me to heal like that… although I never really asked for his main’s name).

So, I’m putting out the question to the blog-o-sphere.  What do you during down time?  Either while waiting for queues or (if you roll around as a tree) during time between heals, or even just pulls?  /dance?  Grab a coffee?  Or just crank up your iPod?

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