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Archive for the ‘Alt’ Category

Holy Shock, Batman!

So this weekend we transferred my paladin and Rev’s spare druid over to our new home on Winterhoof. I pulled the paladin out and started figuring things out. We were planning to do an alt raid that night and I needed to get either my tank set or my holy set back up.

I decided to start with the tank set. I grabbed a belt, added some new gems, and queued up for heroics. I’d gone ahead and re-specced her already so I thought I was ready. It had been a while but paladin tanking had always been fun, I’d pulled 3k+ dps while holding aggro like a pro. No problem. Right?

Ouch. After an instance run where I struggled to pull more than 900 dps, couldn’t keep anything on me to save my life and was absolutely lost as to what I was doing, I went and read more details. Ok… so either Crusader Strike or Hammer of the Righteous, but not both. Excorcism Consecration (edit: brain fart. Thanks for the comments) maybe but it’s not as good as it was. And Holy Wrath is better than before. Let’s try again.

Three hours later I was still miserable. Tanking just wasn’t fun any more. With reluctance I switched spec and gear. I stared at my blank talents, going “uh….” and then went over to Blessing of Kings and grabbed a spec and plugged it in to my own talents. Then I replaced my 219 shield with a ilvl 270 pvp shield, queued as healer, and we’re off.

Ok… so. Beacon still works, just not as much. And Holy Shock gives me holy power. And Word of Glory is a nice heal when I’ve got enough HoPo. And heals-with-a-cast-time on my beacon target generate HoPo… hmm. I can do this. No Sacred Shield but that one was always dumb anyway. And Holy Crap I Can Shoot Lasers From My Hands.

Wait… this is FUN! Whoa!

See, I never really like paladin healing before. It felt like a one-note pony: beacon the tank, roll flash of light or holy light. Meh. And in 5 mans I just didn’t have the tools I really needed to keep people alive.

Now I have big heals, little heals, fast heals, slow heals, instant heals, auto-self-heals, auto-Beacon-heals, and an AOE. Seriously? It’s like being a druid! I have choices and have to change my priorities second by second.

One guess what spec I took to that raid! I had a blast there, healing in a team with another pally and a shaman. Way too much fun. I think I’ll keep this holy spec… but I may have to switch from prot to ret.

Or a dual-Holy-build. Some of those other talents look fun.

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Wait, I have a mage?

My mage, Invariant, was my first main. She’s been somewhat neglected in the last year, doing the holidays and grinding pets and other “fun” stuff but not getting much real playtime. I like healing too much, and raiding on two characters just wasn’t for me. So she’s mostly in TOC25 gear she bought on a GDKP (lucky run where all cloth dropped and nobody wanted it so I got it cheap)

We moved both our sets of 80s over to Winterhoof and into Crits and Giggles last weekend and since then I’ve raided three times – twice on my mage. Monday and Tuesday nights I took her to an ICC 10 man. The Monday night raid was awesome though we only downed  3 bosses – Reputation Grind wrote about that here. And last night we got 6 bosses down and some good tries on Putricide. It was late though and I had to quit. Morning comes too early these days…

Anyway it was neat. Arcane mage rotation is… nice and simple. I’ve macroed most of my cooldowns into one giant macro that I just pop every few minutes, otherwise it’s stack Arcane Blast to 4, wait for Arcane Missiles to proc, fire. Shoot a little on the run. Profit. My gear is weak but I was putting out a respectable amount of damage, which pleased me.

Being a healer has made me a better mage, no question. My situational awareness is way higher than it ever used to be. Get out of the fire? No problem. Stack for spores? No problem. Switch to bonespikes? Got it! I was really thrilled. It’s always nice when skills in one role translate into skills in another role.

And the fights – wow! You really see so much more of them when you’re not staring at healing frames. I’ve been running ICC for nearly a year now and there are things I’ve only just learned. Lady Deathwhisper’s adds, for instance, which ones a mage is supposed to hit. And how you can kill yourself if you shoot the wrong one (fully stacked Arcane Missiles spell reflected back = dead mage. Ow. True story). That the axe throwers on the ship get stronger if they’re not taken down. And just how pretty some of these fights are.

It’s not going to make me switch my preferred roles, but perhaps with the new tighter lockouts, Invariant will get more playtime. At the very least I feel like she’s got a new lease on life. Something beyond “pet collector” and “achievement monkey”.

So that said… where’s all the mage blogs at? Other than Frost is the New Black I just don’t know any….

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ME109’s shot down -8
Hurricane’s – 0

 We win! Wait… no… Wrong RAF.

Refer a Friend is over. Well it is almost over for the account I had linked up. Analogue still has a month or so on hers. Actually I am not sure exactly how long. We had better check that. We don’t want a repeat of last night.

You see, earlier this week we realized my RAF was about to run out. I was SURE it was not going to be gone until a week from this coming Sunday. I was all set to have a weekend marathon of leveling up the last couple alts. Because it ended early I am left with a couple alts short of the finish line and some a long way away. Still, the results of this RAF stint are nothing to sneeze at.

–Note: I use the term ‘offside’ to mean a character you are playing in addition to your ‘main’. That character usually gets less attention and is used less efficiently compared to the ‘main’.

Despite not playing much in the last few weeks and my miscalculation of the end date I still have a lot to show for it. I now have the following alts.

Mage – 60

This was the first RAF we did. It was leveled as a pair with Analogue on a warlock. That went ok. You can kill things fairy fast. The mage can provide food for both and then lock can do a little pet tanking. But this pair does lack the ability to survive serious ‘oh crap’ situations. It does have a lot of AOE later on though. You just have to employ in carefully and not bite off too much.

Shaman – 61

This one was also leveled mostly as a pair. It was mostly with a paladin. That makes a very solid combo. We have used that pairing now about 3 times and it works well. It was leveled as a combination of Resto and Elemental. Despite the bad press it gets Elemental is actually fairly good for leveling. It is quite good if you are leveling in a pair or with a lot of LFD.

Rogue – 58

This one was level mostly using the ‘grant level’. Hence I have not played it much and don’t really know how it works. Oh well. I have done some Hellfire with it. It is geared for the outlands and ready to level.

Hunter – 55 (just a bit short of the goal)

At some point Analogue and I suddenly decided that leveling as a pair was silly and we should be doing quads. We talked a bit more about this in the posts we did earlier. This hunter was part of the first ‘quad’ set we did. My offside partner was a druid. My wife Analogue was running a Shaman and an ‘offside’ pally. This set worked well with the hunter doing as much damage (with heirlooms) as everyone else put together. This set showed us some things. For one we did not need that many healers in one party. Also hunters make very good choices for the ‘offside’. With a hunter you can get a large fraction of their damage output with just one button press. Just autoshot and petattack put out a lot of damage for almost no effort.

Priest – 50

This was my ‘main’ in our second ‘quad’ set. My offside was a hunter. Analogue was running a mage main and hunter offside. This quad was very solid. I spec-ed the priest disc and was able to toss out some instant cast heals and shields as needed. Stuff died fast. I mean stuff just sort of exploded when we looked at it. And with dual tanking pets (bears) we had all sorts of off tanking. That first ‘quad’ was durable but this was durable and also cranked out the damage. As you all know killing stuff fast is its own sort of ‘durable’. So the survivability was actually better with this pair. If things got bad we did not lose as much dps or healing. Actually things almost never got bad because stuff died so fast. This quad got to just over 30 before we realized we were out of time. I got the priest to 50 using level grants.

Warrior – 44

This one was mostly level grants. It was paired with an alt of Analogue before we turned RAF on.

Pally – 17

Warlock – 4

Both of these were where I tossed the last few grantable levels. I wanted to get them higher but the time miscalculation got in the way.

Conclusions

If you have two people that want the RAF rocket and lots of alts, do them both together as quads.

Quads work much easier If you can do one or more of the following:

-Have a second computer. Set up some macros to control a few key abilities and pick a class like a hunter that does not need a lot of attention to be helpful in a party.

-Get a program that does synchronization between game instances on one PC. Pick two of the same class and level them as a set.

-Or, use an offside character that you can mostly ignore. /follow and forget.

Other realizations include the following:

-Heirlooms are fine. Use them on if you want. Just be ready to skip a few quests on that one to keep it synced with the other account.

-You ‘main’ and your ‘offside’ do NOT have to match which one is the disposable RAF account and which is your real account. You can control the disposable character and have your heirloom geared alt on /follow. This actually helps when you want to just do the collect type quests on the non-heirloomed one.

-If you want to you can easily get 1 of every class leveled up with a single use of RAF. We did a lot of slacking and still leveled a ton of alts.

Next up we will be doing some experimenting with trios and pairs as we finish out Analogue’s RAF period. I think there is a few weeks left on it… pardon me while I go check.

Last night we cleaned out all the little alts in the disposable account and got it ready to sleep. Battle.net says I have until 8pm tonight… whenever that is. So I plan to try and get a few more levels on the priest. Since all the alts are gearless I will do it by running instances and then afterward standing next to a nekid RAF alt while I turn the quests in. That way my wonderful wife can keep killing Zerg while I put this thing to rest. I will let you know how it goes.

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Friday the Starcraft 2 collector pack came. We hadn’t bought a collector’s edition Blizzard item before and I was impressed. Actually my first reaction was “so where’s the actual game?” It was one of the two dvd boxes (the other was a making of). And there was a soundtrack, a comic, a very very nice artbook, the usual tchotchke in the form of “Jim Raynor’s dog tags” – a usb stick. Actually I thought the gimmick came off well there.

The one thing it didn’t have was a hard copy “Mini-Thor” pet code, 90% of the reason we bought the collector’s edition in the first place. We decided it probably auto-applied to the Battle.net account you hooked the game up to, so Reversion very kindly connected it to my account.

Mini Thor is about the coolest mini pet ever. First off, he’s huge – he’s got to be the biggest mini pet I’ve seen. He flies. He hovers. He shoots things with his cannons, all the darn time. He’s totally awesome and Invariant loves him. She’s getting close to 75 pets and I need to make an effort there: Invar is my achievement and pet collector. It makes up to her for not being my main. She also got the Touring Rocket that I finally decided to give her. Same reason. Also because gnomes love rockets.

Friday was a level-skills-on-Argent-Dawn -SAN-alts night; whee fun.

Saturday I levelled my disc/shadow priest while Reversion killed zerg. I haven’t played Verdandi in a while and had forgotten how fun it is – actually this was my first major solo shadow questing session. I like it a lot. At 71, you just don’t die and don’t go oom in normal questing. Vampiric Embrace means you heal for a percent of your damage done. Throw a bubble at the start of the fight, toss your dots, Mind Flay, profit. Throw in a [Whatever that spell is] + Mind Blast combo to trigger replenishment before something dies, combine with the Spirit Tap proc, you’ve got mostly full mana for the next encounter. She wandered around Dragonblight for a level and a half, ending at a good ways into 72. Not sure where I’m going to take her next. She needs to get to 73 for Grizzly Hills, she’s done all of Howling Fjord and the fun bits of Dragonblight (I don’t like Star’s End and Wyrmrest much). Might go play with the tuskarrs for a while. Or back to Borean Tundra.

Saturday night after church I fired up Starcraft 2 myself. Interesting item: you only need to log in to Battle.net to load up your single player campaign. We were both able to play at the same time without any problems. I think you don’t get achievements if you’re not on battle.net though: I got a few, then Reversion logged on and I didn’t get any more.

The “Casual” mode of play is perfect for me. I know how to play RTS games, I’ve played some Starcraft and most of Warcraft 3, and I’m really good at turn based strategies like the Civilization games, but I tend to forget to do things in RTS games. Or I’ll have trouble concentrating in two places at once, and either my advance team gets slaughtered or nothing happens back at the base. But the easy mode in SC2 (thanks for calling it casual by the way, nice way not to diss us not so good players)

This isn’t a Starcraft blog so I’ll keep it short: I’m really liking the game. The story is fun, the writing feels good, and the game play is interesting. I played it late Saturday night and all Sunday after church. I’m not letting Reversion give me much advice although he did tell me, and I listened, to do all the memory crystal missions at once: it gives you a good leg up on tech and then later points that would have been tech go to cash. The most interesting time was when there was a decision mission: side with the humans or side with the protoss, and the mission itself was different. Reversion picked one way so I picked the other and everything was totally different – the objectives, the enemies, the strategy. Overall it didn’t have much effect on the game – either way you lose the services of a certain NPC – but it felt like a fun difference.

So I feel revitalized for now, both for WoW and in SC2. I think I might have a shot at getting this priest to 80 before Cataclysm; my pet achievement is in view; and I killed zerg for like, 15 hours this weekend. Whee!

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Thinking about your Worgen or Goblin and trying to pick a class? Want to run up an opposite faction alt to see Old WoW before New WoW hits? Or planning to use an offside RAF account and need a really low maintenance second character? Can’t pick a class? Here’s something to think about: what specific quests do you need to complete to unlock basic abilities of your class?

Druid: Bear form is a quest chain. Fairly straightforward, a little running back and forth and you have to kill a big bear spirit, and then you can become a bear. Easy but essential; even dedicated trees can find bear useful in a pinch.

Previously there were chains for swim form, cure poisons, and epic flight; the swim form quest is entirely gone, while the cure poisons quests are merely obsoleted because you can train the abilities without doing the chain. Same with epic flight, but it’s still worth doing; completing the chain means you can summon Anzu the Ravenlord boss in Heroic Sethykk Halls. He drops a nice raven mount that would make you the talk of town.

Hunter: You have to do a chain at 10 to learn how to tame and feed pets. Obviously if you don’t do this, you’re not going to be a very good hunter. You won’t learn to Mend your pet until 12, so don’t freak out. Tip: make sure you have a stack of food on hand to feed your angry, hungry bear cub when you tame him.

The quest chain itself is fairly simple: your trainer, in the second newbie village (IE Kharanos for dwarves) will tell you to go train a bear (for instance) and then a cat and then an owl. When you’ve completed all three quests, you learn the “Tame Pet” skill, the “Feed Pet” skill, and can go tame a pet of your own.

Mage: None. Every mage quest gives you gear. Some of them are cool, but none of them are essential, which made it doubly annoying leveling a mage years back when you ran out to Dustwallow Marsh (on foot) ten levels low, drowned in the swamp, got et by spiders, only to have Tabetha tell you she’d give you a nice belt.

Rogue: Lockpicking is still a quest chain, apparently. Poisons used to be, but no longer are. At level 16, your trainer will give you a quest. It’s pretty straightforward and leaves you near a field full of locked boxes you can practice your skill on to get a few points up. There are fields like this scattered around the world – like in the Wetlands, for instance – as a great way to train up your lockpicking skill.

Priest: Nope. Like mages, you don’t need to do any of them.

Paladin: At 12 you’ll get a quest chain to learn your resurrection spell. DO THIS CHAIN: I can’t believe how many paladins I’ve encountered, leveling, who don’t have a rez spell because they never bothered to do the chain. Basically, your trainer will tell you where to go; the chain involves, amazingly enough, resurrecting someone. Awesomely, Blood Elves get to resurrect someone who they actually killed in the previous step in the chain. Yeah.

Warrior: Defensive and Berserker stance are both quest chains. Make sure you do them, or you’ll be unable to tank! The Defensive Stance quest is at level 10 and is a simple “Bring me [NPC]’s head” quest. The Berserker Stance/Intercept quest chain starts at 30 and will send you to the Barrens.

Warlock: Most demons  require a quest, basically all along the lines of “This dude X has something that belongs to me. Kill him and bring it back. Oh, you’re back? Ok, go summon a demon in the basement and kill it. Yay! Now you can summon that demon as a pet!”. Do the quests. They aren’t hard and you need your pets.

Shaman: Saved these for last for a reason. Every one of your four totems requires a quest; Earth at 5, Fire at 10, Water at 20, and Wind at 30. They go something like this:

Earth: Talk to something, kill something, maybe drink something. Done.

Fire: Run around a bit, kill something, run around more, kill a Fire elemental, run around, get totem. Done.

Water: If you are Alliance, basically the same as fire, except underwater. If you are Horde:

1. Go talk to some annoying hermit on the edge of the Barrens, as far from a flight point as possible

2. Go retrieve a  bag of water from halfway around the world

3. Return to the hermit

4. Go somewhere else, also halfway around the world. Get a bag of water.

5. Return

6. Guess what! You get to go get MORE water, as far as possible from ANYWHERE else you’ve ever been

7. Return

8. Ok, that’s enough water! Now, go halfway across the world and KILL some water

9.Realize you’ve just spent three hours traveling, log off, and cry. Congrats, you now have a water totem!

Wind totem: Show up, talk to an air spirit, get a totem. Anticlimax anyone?

Anyway, shaman require totems, so you have to do these quests.

Each quest also has assorted quests that give weapons as rewards. They are a fun way to feel more ‘into’ your class but honestly, leveling has been so nerfed these days it’s hardly worth it. All the level 50 quests land you in Sunken Temple so if you hate that place, skip them; if you love the place, grab the quests.

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So my shaman is up to about 55 right now. She’s RAF-paired with a druid that Reversion is running. We spent time over the weekend tweaking hardware and right now he’s down to one computer and I’m up to two, so we’re just doing pairs and not quads (his Mac doesn’t run two copies of WoW at a time)

I wanted to get the shaman up a bit more last night so we logged on and Reversion specced feral on the druid. I bought my shaman dual spec last week and she’s got a nice resto offspec to go with her elemental main; the gear is close enough, leveling, to support both.

We queued, me as damage or heals, and got BRD. (This is after an uneventful pair of instances where Rev’s druid was boomkin; we ran into one total jerk of a hunter but otherwise boring.)

Somewhat to my surprise, it slotted me in as damage, so I switched specs, drank a bit, and started merrily dpsing. Fire nova, chain lightning, shock or reapply my shield, and back around – it was seriously fun. There was another shaman along, also elemental, and I encouraged myself to stay ahead of him on the dps meters.

We couldn’t tell if we were supposed to be doing Prison Break or the whole city, so we went and killed the boss who is for Prison Break and – nothing, so we set off further into the city. Partway through the healer says “sorry got to go” and drops. We requeue. Both of us shaman select dps or heals, and I’m selected to heal, so I switch specs. And promptly let Reversion die when things hit harder than they should. Ok, get Earth Shield up, make sure the totems stay down, and Healing Wave for the win!

We run around in the city for a while, and then the other shaman mysteriously drops group. We queue again – and this time I’m back to dps! Heh. I switch again as a wisecracking paladin joins up – he says “if you die it’s because I’m playing Bejeweled”.

Sadly no one in the group has the key to the doors in the place. Blizzard should think about either moving the key quest inside the instance or removing the need for a key entirely. No one ever seems to have the key any more.

We ended up killing everything we could, and then broke up. That was the longest stretch my shaman has done in a party and I’m starting to feel like I have the hang of it, whatever “it” is. She heals very differently from my druid or paladin, but I like her style. And the totems are cool. I’m looking forward to getting her up a bit higher.

One step closer to my four-healing-classes-at-max-level goal. Not sure I’ll be done by Cataclysm but I might… my disc priest is at 71 but stalled out.

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Post Certified 100% RealID Angst Free!

So last night Reversion and I got on our level 80 SAN alts – my pally, his druid – and ran a few randoms for badges; I need the heirloom bow for a hunter I want to roll. We queued up. The second heroic we got was DTK. Our DPS were a shaman, a hunter, and a dk. Right off the bat, the hunter pulls. I pick up the aggro, figuring it could have been a tab target issue. We kill things, finish buffing, start down the hallway.

Then the hunter and DK start speaking in tongues not even a Pentecostal would recognize. Took us a couple phrases to decide that no, they were not speaking another language. We noted the pair was from the same server but different guilds, shrugged, and played along, throwing some random Japanese and a few nonsense words out there. Trollgore died, we went upstairs. I notice the hunter isn’t following us as we move toward the summoner boss. Who cares; things are dying fast and I’m starting to suspect this guy is fooling with us.

“Skip this” the dk says as we enter the summoner’s room. First time I’ve ever been asked to skip that boss. We ignore him, the shaman triggers the boss by running past him, and we kill him down. The hunter rejoined us at some point. We proceed.

“Skip this one,” the hunter asks as we near King Dred.

“We’re here for badges,” we explain, and I pull raptors.

“Fine,” he snits. “You kill him. [dk] come over here.”

They proceed to go hide in a corner. The shaman says nothing – and pops Heroism as soon as we pull the boss. Awesome.

I notice that the hunter is now displaying his Kingslayer title. As expected, this is a Big Raider here for Frost badges and nothing else. Ah well, who cares.

On the upper landing, he starts pulling trash. I try to let him get killed but the shaman, who I’m not resentful of, keeps dpsing and pulling aggro. So I kill things. Then he runs down to the end of the hall, shoots a couple. We’re well clear and I’m going to let him eat a few hits – but the mobs start running right for Reversion, who is healing. Yup. He misdirected to the healer.

I easily pick up aggro. He and his dk bud are upstairs already. “[Shaman] don’t get aggro,” I say, as the dk dies. I keep trying to kick the hunter.  First, I still had time to go (This was annoying, I’d have sworn that I was one of the sort of people who rarely kicks and should get insta-kick rights!). Then it kept being too soon after combat.

The DK released and was running back; I’m pretty sure he didn’t expect a rez. The hunter, meanwhile, engaged the boss while the rest of us stood around well away. He must have fake died and reset it, because the boss stopped talking and the hunter wasn’t dead.

Finally, there it was, the vote kick option. “The vote to kick [Huntard] has passed,” my screen said, and I declined to pick up another person.

“[DK], you going to play nice or should we three man this?” Reversion asked.

“I’ll be good,” he promised, and since he was already back, we went ahead and took out the boss.

“[Hunter] is my rl friend but I’ll tell him he’s an a**hole,” the DK added after we finished the boss.

We shared a laugh and told the DK he was ok even if his friend wasn’t. The whole thing put a smile on my face. That hunter was back in the queue to get his frost badges, due for another 15 minute wait because he could not be civil for one fast dungeon run.

And I had a decent start toward that heirloom bow.

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