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Archive for November, 2010

A Week to Go

After a week of the Shattered world, I can say that releasing all this two weeks before the expansion was brilliant. I’m having so much fun that I’m not twitching with eagerness. It’s like Cataclysm is already here, I just can’t start leveling to 85 yet.

Last night we got on our mid-30s pair, a hunter for me and a shaman for Rev, and finished off Cape of Stranglethorn. Just… wow. I won’t spoil it but: pirates! Ninjas! Noble Cow Sacrifices! [Redacted] pirates! And an awesome phased event that was just incredible. Then we talked to a War-Mage hanging out near the flight point and he ported us up to Western Plaguelands, which aren’t so plaguey any more. We ran around helping Thassarian get his ass kicked fight a rear-guard action in Andorhal, helped the Cenarion Expedition, and played with a faildruid (NPC). We dinged, but honestly I don’t know what level we were when we started and what level when we ended; it was so much fun I don’t ever remember checking my XP.

My paladin is a scribe and she has successfully researched Glyph of the Treant, so our druids are all happily Treant-trees, not creepy Pedotrees. Again, yay.

Anyhow, I’m looking forward to next week but not desperate for it. I did have to go be stubborn at Best Buy on Saturday – we ordered a normal edition and my collector’s edition through their online stuff months ago and, well, Best Buy and I have had so many go rounds on so many issues I hadn’t be able to get an answer of whether or not I’d actually be getting the games. Apparently we are. Yay. (My issues with Best Buy include, but are not limited to, the fact that they variously think my name is [Mangled First Name] [Mangled MAIDEN Name] or “Shirley Legind”. That bit is not made up. My name is absolutely nothing like “Shirley Legind”. Well I do have some I’s and E’s in my name…. and an L… but really. I’ve spent about six months trying to straighten things out). So it’s possible that Tuesday I will be very angry at not having my Lil’ Deathwing pet but… let’s hope not.

How is time passing for all of you? Are you enjoying the new world or chomping at the bit for what hasn’t come yet?

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Just some random ‘what we have been up to’ stuff from this weekend along with Cata thoughts.

Anyone that has not been rolling alts and trying the change noobie zones should do so. The main ones I did so far where they Gnome and Dwarf 1-5 areas and then the 5-10 area in common. Loved it!

The gnome starting bit is pretty cool. It does feel like it is ‘on rails’ as far as linearity but I think at lvl 1 that is great for getting a new player into things fast. I like the way as soon as they give you your first new ability they send you to use it on a dummy a few times. I would love to see what sort of statistics Blizzard collects on various bits of game play. I wonder if something told that some large percent of new players were only spamming their ‘1’ for the first 20 levels.

The dwarf area… Great changes! They tweaked things here and there, changed a couple quests out and the whole place was new again. I like how they weave the old ‘unchanged’ quests in with the new and tweaked ones to form an entirely new pattern.

The rest of the dwarf starting area… uber. Don’t leave if you hit lvl 10 early. Finish it all because it ends with some nice epicenes… epicocity? Epciferousness!

We did a few quests in Loch Modan too. Very impressed there too. Again it was small changes that were really important. Like making the second level of ‘kill troggs’ able to be gotten two without hiking back tough the first level troggs.  A minor rearrangement of the world and now you don’t have to hack through guys you already killed to get to part 2.

This highlights the improved quest design that Bliz has learned. The most changed areas work like Northrend in that quests are in nice neat ‘packs’. You get 2-3 quests, go somewhere, do them all together (kill one thing while collecting another, etc) and then turn in and get a new ‘pack’ of quests. Also they don’t let you see all the packs at once. You tend to get only one or two options when you hit a new area and the new options don’t open up until you do the old ones. Some people might find that to be too ‘linear’ or something. I don’t. It was annoying to me to hit a new town, gather up eighty-leven and then stare at your log going WTH. Some would be green, some would be red. They would be scattered all over the zone. You could do them in any order but no matter what order you did them in they told no story. Linear? More like ‘plotless’. I want to feel like all my running around in the world means something. I mean if it is oh so important that I got kill 10 troggs… well why? Why does it matter? Oh so they invaded the troll area. ok, that is new… What? The trolls got displaced and are now attacking our town? Now I have a REASON the trolls need to die. Not just because some bored and probably drunk dwarf said so.

There are epicly cool quests woven in all over now. Don’t miss the G-Team in Gnomer or the Rambo quests in redridge. Or the ZG quests. Just start questing at Fort Livingston and don’t stop until… ah man, I can’t spoil it. It was too cool.

The whole time we were questing on noobies we were hearing in guild chat about other people doing other cool quests. Heck even in our own computer room. I was doing some other stuff while Analogue was catching her hunter up to my shaman. Despite not wanting to get spoilers I was hearing about some super nifty baby raptor quests. Now I have to get an alt into northern ST and see if I can find it.

In short there are amazing moments of epicness hidden all through the game now. Go find them!

 So now we have a Priest-Shaman pair in the teen. We are resisting using heirlooms on those so we can savor all the quests.

We also have a Shaman-Hunter pair in the low thirties. I think those still have heirlooms but we might remove them.

We got our Warrior-Priest pair to 80 now so that is 4 80’s each.

 I did a little gearing on my warrior which culminated in my first heroic que…. And I got PoS. Ouch. Despite me pulling out all the stops of tanking I was just too squishy to get Tyrannous down. Both me and the healer were doing ok skill wise but had too little gear to get’er done. I was in an average of 200 level gear but no enchants and most of it did not have tank stats. It was a good reminder that yes, there was some really hard content in WoTL and yes, gear does matter. If it had been worth enchanting my stuff I probably could have done the deed but oh well. I do look forward to having two flavors or max level tank in Cata.

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I love long weekends. Seriously love them. They give me time to play WoW and also do other things I love (cook elaborate turkey-based feasts, work on NaNoWriMo, watch the toddler tease the kittens, check out the Playstation Move Gladiator Combat game [ow, stiff arms today!]). Mostly play WoW though.

This was definitely a healer-centric weekend for me. From least advanced healer to most:

My Gnome Priest, Elucidate, dinged 80 yesterday. That makes four pairs of 80s for Reversion and me. Three pairs of tank/heals, including one pair that’s tank/heals/heals/tank. Huzzah! We got them enough gear to get into regular TOC and the ICC 5 mans (did anyone else notice they raised the gear requirements on heroics and such?) by raiding the guild vault, buying a piece or two, and crafting a couple ilvl 200 pieces. Then we ran TOC and FOS/POS on regular a few times for some gear. Yeah, it’ll be obsolete but hey, a few pieces will make leveling to 85 easier. And my trinkets were really really bad.

The best bit was, I’d been queueing all day as dps/heals. Halfway through our third TOC I was thinking how easy it was to heal this time. Then I saw a Living Seed on myself. Then I noticed the druid wasn’t showing up on Recount. Ooops. I’d forgotten to check what my role was, and I was supposed to be dpsing! I switched to Shadow, apologized, and dotted the Black Knight to death. Ahem. Ooops.

So she’s disc/shadow. I’m not sure I’m good at disc yet, at least not beyond “bubblebubblebubbleSMITE” but I can keep the party alive most of the time. And PW:Barrier is cool. Too short, but cool. Even if people always run out of it. Sigh.

Divergent, my Holy Pally: this is backwards chronologically but I want to whine about druid heals at the end so, Saturday we did an alts run on ICC and I brought Divergent. I like paladin healing right now. Charging up Holy Power and using either Word of Glory or Light of Dawn feels amazing. With Beacon and my self-healing, I can keep myself and one tank alive with basically no effort. It’s very nice. We went 9/12 with a couple heroics but the group wasn’t our normal one, we had alts and some guildies who don’t really run with us and while it was fun I didn’t feel like we made as much progress as we usually do. Still, I like having the pally heals available.

Analogue the Druid. Oh, my. Friday night’s ICC we extended a lockout that had just Sindy and LK. Try as I might I could only get 9 guildies in (turkey casualties were high this weekend) so we ended up bringing in a friend of one raider as a third healer. So our heals setup was druid, paladin, disc priest. I thought we were in trouble when the other healer observed that the disc priest wasn’t gemmed and enchanted. Oh well; the two of us were well set up.

It took a couple tries to get Sindy down but it always seems to. I don’t know if that fight ever feels really clean. Well, I’m sure it does if you’re really good raiders but ours always feel chaotic.

Then we went up to Arthas. Reversion explained the fight, we got into position, I prepared for the usual slowly progressing wipes. I was confident in our ability to get him down though. I mean, we had most of our normal raid, the dps looked fine, the heals were fine…

It was a nightmare.

Infests were killing us. I’m not going to assign blame there: all three of us could have done better. The disc priest could have pre-bubbled us, but he wasn’t running any raid frame addons (sigh. And insisted he didn’t need to. Sigh.) Multi could have timed his Light of Dawns to have three holy power and go off at just the right second. I could have timed Wild Growth and Swiftmend perfectly. As it was, we were wasting cycles healing Infest victims back up (and, as the disc priest couldn’t freakin’ see the debuffs, since he WASN’T USING RAID FRAMES, he wasn’t helping at all there. Can you see I’m ticked about this one?)

Then we started getting into the transition and I realize that I popped Innervate already and I’m at 17% mana. In transition 1. What the heck? Well, it’s a wipe anyway. I’ll pay more attention.

Next attempt I watch and notice that I can see my mana pool go down every time I cast anything. This should not be. I have a mana pool that makes paladins cry. I end the LK fight with 70% mana. I haven’t worried about mana in a year. What is wrong?

I’d noticed a mana problem on Sindy, and asked the arcane mage to switch to frost so we’d have replenishment. Had she switched back? Nope, there’s replenishment right there. I ask Multi and he’s hurting too.

Wipe after wipe, we’re struggling to handle infests and running out of mana. We’re not even getting into phase 2. I’m starting to tear out my hair: I can heal the infests back up, but if I do, I won’t have any mana for later in the fight. As we’re buffing up from a wipe, we discuss strategies. Multi pulls out some flasks of pure mojo. I take one, and then look at my stats.

Oh. There’s the problem. I’m regenerating 600 mana per 5 in combat. Rejuv costs 900 mana. If I can cost 3 rejuv in 5 seconds, that means I’m using three times as much mana as I’m regenerating. Innervate is basically worthless, I get one potion – and they freaking nerfed replenishment; it returns half the mana it used to. Wow. No wonder.

Ok. I understand this is the Cataclysm healing philosophy. And I know the 4.0.3a changes to druids hurt and they may have to change us back. But I realized as I stood there, staring at my stats, that we had probably seen our last LK kill until we were 80. The math just doesn’t work any more.

My mana pool, all buffed up, – I forget what the numbers were this week; I think they were lower than usual. Let’s say 40k. That’s 45 casts of Rejuv. With replenishment and Revitalize, let’s pretend I’m regenning 700 MP. That means if I do my usual Rejuv spam, I’ll be OOM in…. let’s see. Math. If I cast 3 Rejuv in 5 seconds, not counting mana gains I would go OOM in 75 seconds. However in that time I’ve regenned 10,500 mana. That’s another 12 Rejuvs. So there’s another 20 seconds. Say I popped innervate and a mana pot in there, and be generous and say that buys me another 45 seconds.

Total: 140 seconds. 2 minutes 20 seconds. Or, Transition 1 of LK.

(Math not intended to be theorycrafting, just envelope calculations like I did in my head standing there on the platform)

So don’t rejuv spam. But how am I supposed to get everyone over 90% health every time Infest ticks?

That is what makes me angry. Not what I might or might not be able to do at 85. That’s weeks away. I care about today, about those last chances to down the Lich King,the Kingslayer title for some of my friends, the fun I can salvage at the end of an expansion. I have faith that if the numbers are really bad, Blizzard will fix them not long into Cataclysm. But right now, I feel like they cut my legs out from under me. They gave me the new healing model while I’m still trying to play encounters designed for the old model, and it just doesn’t work any more. Spout your lines about wanting us to use all the tools in our toolbox, Blizzard, but sometimes that nail really is a nail, and darn it, I want my hammer.

Anyway. I’m not really angry. I obviously had a lot of fun this weekend. I just wish I thought this next Friday, which hopefully will be our last ten man night before Cataclysm, will go better than my last attempt to raid on my druid. I think we’ll just work on the Lich King and see if we can kill him one last time. I’ll adapt my strategies, we’ll work even more closely as a team and we’ll see what happens.

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Woooah!

We are loving leveling noobs to see all the changes. The tweaks to quests are outstanding. Everyone should roll noobs and check them all out. And it is hard to beat moments of pure ‘woah!’ like clearing a trog camp, climbing a hill, and looking down. Oh my!


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So some of y’all will be, like me, enjoying the real world Pilgrim’s Bounty tomorrow. It appears that some of us who have forgotten to level our cooking skill past 15 (all you need for most TV dinners and frozen pizzas, after all) will be trying the abomination known as Cranberry Sauce From A Can.

This Must Not Be! In fact the in game version requires far more cooking skill than the real life kind. Don’t believe me? Ok. Here’s all you do

Take one bag of cranberries. Remove any that are obviously ewwy. Rinse them. Place in a microwaveable dish – they should be maybe an inch and a half deep.
Add one and 1/4 cup sugar
Add one-half cup water. Or orange juice
If you have it, add a tablespoon of Grand Marnier

Stir thoroughly. You can also mix the water and sugar first, but make sure all the sugar makes it in.

Cover with saran wrap or wax paper, except for about an inch wide strip at one side for venting
Place in microwave. Cook for somewhere around 10 minutes. Be near the microwave because how you know it’s done is all the cranberries pop. This is why you use the saran wrap, otherwise you have a lovely mess.

Let it stand for a few minutes, then cover and place in fridge for at least four hours.

Done! And my, doesn’t it look and taste nicer than the can stuff?

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Just a Short – Er, Quick One

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Gnome Priest Day!

So I hear some rumors that Azeroth as I know it may be different this afternoon. Who cares? The important thing about today is that it’s finally, at long last, Gnome Priest Day!

No longer is the smallest yet most awesome race of Azeroth forced to be without healers. Today marks the start of the viable all-gnome raid. Unites, gnome warriors, death knights, warlocks, mages, and rogues! Band together and send a message: “LF2M healers Blackwing Descent, gnomes only”.

Sometime this afternoon, my Draeni priest is getting a rather drastic procedure done. It’s supposed to reduce her height, make her less blue, remove her horns and hooves, and replace them with sheer awesome in a pint-sized package. And buns. I know some people like the pigtails but IMO, it’s all about the buns. Couple that with the reduction in XP to get to 80 and I think this weekend will see me in possession of 4 80s. Huzzah!

Represent, my gnomish brothers and sisters!

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