Tag Archives: I talk too much

Ask Achloryn

20 Dec

I was rampaging around twitter while at work last night, and looking over my search hits, as I am prone to doing from time to time. As I listed a few of them for my twitter people to see, I got this suggestion.

EUREKA!!!Well… I thought this was bloody brilliant! Maybe it’s something i’ll do once a month, or maybe i’ll just do it whenever I feel like it, and I am at a loss for actual things to blog about. So, I am not going to answer EVERY single search term (because I really do get a surprising amount, and that would take me forever), but I will go through and pick a handful out, and answer/rebutt them. So, without further ado, here we go!

 

“since when can a fucking druid fucking ice fucking block”

Resto druids get ice block from mages via Symbiosis. There seems to be nothing fair about this. Also, symbiosis is not a new spell, where have YOU been?

“good gear from rep for deathknight in mop”

I have several posts touching on this already. Here, is the main one. It may not be all-inclusive, but it’s a pretty solid list of what gear you can get from what reps. (That reminds me that I have not done one to add Operation Shieldwall/Domination Point yet. I should get on that)

“i want you to help me decide which”

…decide which what? I don’t know if you can’t answer me, random google user? DECIDE WHICH WHAT?!??!?!

“are dks good in mop”

This is a question I see pretty damn often. Yes, DKs are doing just fine. Tank balance is at an all-time high, and our DPS specs are performing quite well (with unholy, sadly, falling behind again it would seem)

“blood boil does so much damage”

Actually, it’s not that bad. I think it took a moderate nerf, and now it certainly doesn’t seem to hit any harder than Heart Strike does. As per the old standard, BB will be better with 3+ targets (and refreshing diseases if you’ve had bad luck with Crimson Scourge), and HS is good for 1-2 targets. Replace HS with Soul Reaper as often as possible sub 35%.

“mop solo chess event”

I’ve been soloing Chess (in Karazhan) since WotLK. It’s not terribly difficult if you use the right strategy and play smart. The problem is, that unlike everything else on the planet, you can’t just outgear the shit out of it. I may do a video, since this is another thing I see rather often.

“enter gruuls lair solo”

Yes, you can, as of 5.1. And you can solo it pretty easily too. Hell, i’ve done it on my alt warlock without any issues.

“worlds of the warcraft”

I think you may have it a bit backwards. Close, though!

“mogushan vaults last boss how to dodge”

Will of the Emperor’s is kind of a fun fight for tanks/melee dps. It takes practice is all I can tell you. Keep at it and you’ll figure out that A – there is no actual pattern that he does with the swings, and B – which swing visuals mean which direction he’s going. Practice it lots in LFR, that’s how I got better at it.

“wow where does spaulders of the scorned come”

They’re a world BoE drop, that can come from any level 90+ mob, it looks like. Good luck.

“dk t14 4 piece worth getting?”

I did briefly touch on this subject towards the bottom half of this post, but I would like to elaborate a bit more on it briefly. If you are one of those DKs who is going for a pure mastery > everything else build, then no. the 2p bonus is worth getting, but the 4p bonus is not. However, if you’re going with the hit/exp cap gearing strategy first, then the 4p bonus may be worth looking in to. The shoulders and helm have expertise, while the chest and gloves both have hit.

“how raid work in pandaria bloob (sic) knight”

…../falls off his chair laughing hysterically

“does starfall drop for blood dks?”

By “Starfall” I am assuming you mean Starshatter, and then answer is yes. There was a bug a while ago with blood DKs having 1h weapons show up in their gear list, but that has since been corrected, and I can assure you, you will see Starshatter in your list of drops while specced blood.

“is mark of the dancing crane warcraft ring unique”

No, it doesn’t appear to be unique. Have at if, if you need the JP upgrade.

“why dks suck in mop”

L2P. DKs are doing just fine. Maybe gimme an example of the issue you’re having and I might be able to help.

“why can’t i use insribed tiger staff on death knight”

For one, because it’s a staff. For two, it has agility on it. What why. I don’t. what? /flail

“which necklas should a hunter choose fron anji autumnlight”

(there’s only one agi necklace she offers)

…….I would like you to meet:

dk tank unyealding blood plate or breastplate of ancient steal”

you’ll get along famously, i’m sure.

(To answer the question, Unyielding Bloodplate, without question.)

“how do i stay out of ice blocks when soloing kt”

Worry  not. When soloing Kel’thuzad, he doesn’t iceblock anybody! That’s how you stay out :D

So, that’s it for this time guys! I hope you enjoyed reading them as much as I enjoyed did. Keep the crazy/funny/brain damaged google searches coming, and i’ll do my best not to laugh my kidneys out of my body before answering them. (But afterwords, i’m on my own I guess)

Good Night, and Good Riddance

11 Sep

Two weeks until Mists of Pandaria goes live. Can you believe that shit? I think I am going to take a break from the useful information posts and get back to babbling a little bit.

I’m sitting here talking to Kia about it, and she made the comment that it seems like we’ve been waiting for it for 6 months. The more I think about it, the more I realize that she’s not too far off. See, as far as Stands In Bad is concerned, Cataclysm as an expansion has basically been over since February, when we first killed Deathwing. Or perhaps you could say it ended in April, when our lone rogue got her Fangs of the Father legendaries. I think what hit our guild the hardest was the May 15th release of Diablo III, and the vacancy (read: gaping vacuum) it left in our guild ranks for a while. Our guild-wide server move back in June did help bring some prodigal children back, and of course patch 5.0.4 definitely saw a lot of people crawling out of the woodwork, but I digress.

No doubt, the end-of-expansion burnout is a real thing. I felt it, my guildies have felt it, it’s nothing new. I do, however, want to take a minute to look at what was different this time around versus the last couple of go-rounds.

  • Dragon Soul, the last raid of Cataclysm was patched into the game on November 29 of last year. Mists of Pandaria goes live September 25.  That is a 10 month gap with absolutely no new content (save the pre-expansion patch).
  • Ruby Sanctum, the last raid of Wrath of the Lich King was patched into the game on June 22, 2010. Cataclysm launched December 7, 2010. That is only a 5 1/2 month gap of no new content. Even if RS was/is considered a stop-gap, or a holdover raid, it was still new content before the expansion.
  • Sunwell Plateau, the last raid of Burning Crusade was patched in, March 25, 2008. Wrath of the Lich King launched November 13, 2008. That leaves a (nearly) 8 month gap of no new content.

So, the first thing you notice is that Cataclysm will have gone the longest with absolutely no new content patched in. (Vanilla is a whole different, discombobulating story… and I didn’t play then anyway ;D) So it seems natural, of course, that this particular waiting game seems more miserable than those before it… right? Well… maybe. Let’s take a look at what ELSE came in with these patches.

  • Dragon Soul’s patch brought with it 3 new instances (End Time, Hour of Twilight, Well of Eternity), the introduction of the controversial (yet undeniably popular) “Looking for Raid” tool, and the obscenely popular Transmogrification/Void Storage abilities.
  • Ruby Sanctum’s patch the epically questionable Real ID feature to life. No other new content.
  • SWP’s patch brought with it the Isle of Quel’Danas daily hub (which had to be “taken back” in stages… a very cool idea that Blizzard tried to revisit in the Molten Front, but didn’t seem to pull off quite as neatly), and Magister’s Terrace along with it.

So, I think Cataclysm’s “final” patch brought arguably the most content to the game. (I *still* love the Isle of Quel’Danas though… I don’t even care) Theoretically, this should make that 10 month black hole easier to cope with, shouldn’t it? So what is it that makes this time around feel so much worse than the previous ones?

I think the biggest part, for me, is that Dragon Soul told the ending of a story I wasn’t very engrossed in in the first place. I didn’t want Garrosh to take over the Horde. I didn’t want to see Thrall get all green-skinned freaky with Aggra. I didn’t want to see the Dragon aspects lose their power and say “Welp, its your show now squishies… have fun with it!” And most of all, I didn’t really care what the hell happened to Deathwing. Cataclysm’s biggest failing, to me, was Wrath’s biggest success… Tying the entire story together, and making the player *care* about wtf is going on. Y’know what Deathwing is to me? He’s a Godzilla. He’s an angry, flying lizard who flew around Azeroth for a year torching cities and giving people stupid achievements that they could get by rolling into LFR and dying on Spine or Madness anyway (which is an almost certainty with most pugs nowadays).

Putting together the actual dragon soul, and helping the aspects empower it to use against Deathwing inside the raid was kind of cool. The dialogue was well done (Blizz has never been at a shortage for top quality voice acting), and there seemed to be legitimate urgency with the task we were given, but y’know what? I honestly didn’t care much about Deathwing. He didn’t have any motivations other than to destroy the world. And yeah, I get it… A dead old god drove him insane by whispering in his brain for many years and blah blah blah… but does insanity mean a character has to be stripped of all his interesting qualities? Just look at Arthas. He had been driven mad by Frostmourne’s voice for all those years, sitting on the frozen throne, dwelling on what happened to his home, and everything he had become. There’s no question, in my mind, that Arthas was insane by the time you broke Frostmourne at the end of the Lich King encounter, but he was still an *amazing* character.

Recently, I went and finished up Loremaster on my druid. Northrend was my last continent to clear out as I went along the way, and I have to say that the storyline in each zone was magnificent… and yet each zone was tied in to the next (sometimes, with great subtlety, I admit), and all of them were overarching and pointing in one direction… Icecrown. From discovering the corruption of the Vrykul in Howling Fjord and helping Thassarian rescue his sister in Borean Tundra, to helping the Avatar of Freya combat the scourge coming down the mountains in Sholazar Basin and re-discovering Arthas’ long-lost (and presumed dead) friend Muradin in the Storm Peaks. Everything ties in together, and drives you forward to wanting to make that sonofabitch pay for what he’s done. And the Icecrown Citadel raid was the perfect cap to such a long journey.

Dragon Soul had none of that. None of the Cataclysm zones had the feel of pushing you towards your final confrontation with Deathwing. Hell, some of them i’m *still* not entirely sure what they had to do with the overarching story (Uldum had about 2 quests with some vague indication of “Here, there be dragons”, and that’s about it). There was just no compelling reason to kill Deathwing other than “Oh, he flew around and gave me an achievement for inconveniencing me for 5 minutes”. It was disjointed, disconnected, and dammit I just didn’t care enough. I seriously hope that the Blizzard storytelling team takes a look back at what worked in Wrath, and applies it forward into Mists of Pandaria, because honestly… I haven’t felt much compelled as a character to do anything since our guild cleared Bastion of Twilight.

5.0.4 makes my blood boil!

29 Aug

Okay… I hope you’ll pardon the pun in the title. I’m actually quite thrilled at the DK changes i’ve run across. Crazy amounts excited about the blood DK changes. I spent some time playing with it last night, and some little things REALLY caught my attention that just made me happy. A lot of them are tiny little quality of life issues, but still, some of them are just AWESOME.

I went in and blew through Naxx 10 solo, just to get a feel for things. Initially, I was going to play around and test out the different rune regeneration talents (level 75 tier). The first one I went to check out was Blood Tap, and the first boss I went after was Patchwerk. I gotta be honest guys, after doing Patch with Blood Tap on, I was sold. I didn’t even WANT to try Runic Empowerment (because I already know how it feels, it’s what blood’s been using ever since release). Macroing Blood Tap into all of your main abilities really is the ONLY way to regenerate runes guys. It is so smooth and seemless…. it’s just awesome.

Another thing that I hadn’t really paid attention to before, but made itself ABUNDANTLY clear when fighting Patchwerk… Crimson Scourge is now baseline for blood DKs. Previously it was a talent that we didn’t really pick up because… well blood boil was kinda worthless, even with that extra damage. Well, now I can freely admit that blood boil STILL doesn’t hit very hard, but now, they’ve made a pretty big changed to Scarlet Fever… For those of you playing along at home who AREN’T clicking on links… Blood Boil now refreshes diseases.

Let me say that again, in case you just skimmed over it without paying much attention.

Blood boil. Now. Refreshes. Diseases.

Holy batshit you guys, that’s amazing. Not only does it solve the problem generated by moving Outbreak back to a 1 minute cooldown across the board, but when combined with the Scarlet Fever passive, it means that our diseases pretty much will NEVER fall off the target. Why’s that? Because you ALWAYS have blood runes to get rid of. The *easy* answer is that you can simply replace heart strike with blood boil, but that’s a relatively inelegant solution (although perfectly viable). Ideally, you’ll want to use heart strike as much as possible, only spending a rune on blood boil if your diseases are JUST about to fall off and you don’t have a proc. It is possible, but probably won’t happen that often. Generally, save runes for heart strike, and CS (Crimson Scourge) procs for blood boil.

Now, a caveat to the above statement. Crimson Scourge *also* gives you a free death & decay. It doesn’t reset the cooldown on it, but it’s extra damage. This is one of those things that Blizz gives you a way to seperate yourself from the pack. It’s perfectly acceptable to do nothing but blood boil. Your diseases will guarantee to never fall off, and you’re only sacrificing a modest amount of DPS. But the DK tanks who can properly weave in heart strikes, and even Death and Decay (I confirmed that it DOES do more damage, even on a single target at zero vengeance, than blood boil) properly will squeeze out that extra bit of dps. With the way vengeance no longer has a cap, I suspsect that it’ll become more and more significant as the content you run becomes harder.

Now… The other thing I noticed while playing, that I hadn’t noticed before, was the Scent of Blood change. Interestingly enough, this accrues with *every* auto-attack swing. This will be a little more curious to see how it plays out in the grand scheme of things, but I suspect that some of the absolute “Best of the Best” tanks will somehow find a way to time their death strikes properly after getting a couple stacks of this. Big damage incoming? Stave off the Death Strike for a bit and get a couple charges. Take the big hit, heal yourself back up massively, watch the healers go “wait what just happened?”, laugh yourself silly. Fun times for everybody!

This ties in to my (ever ongoing) indecision on which class i’m going to play for Mists. I figure I will spend a week on each toon (druid and DK), exclusively. Raid tank with it, run 5-mans with it, the whole shebang. At the end of each week, I will post my overarching thoughts, and then I will compare the two. My comparison may go into another blogpost, it may not… I haven’t exactly decided yet.

By the way… Pretty much ALL THE TIME, my DK will be on the Headless Horseman’s mount. LOOK AT MY HORSE, MY HORSE IS AMAZING!

Soloing things!

12 Aug

Those of you who are curious… No, I *still* haven’t decided whether i’m going to Druid or DK for Mists. And as such, I haven’t decided whether i’m going to race change my DK or not. These things are important okay? Seriously folks, i’ve tried the “pros and cons” list, i’ve tried the “close your eyes and imagine the first class you’re playing sort of thing, i’ve tried pretty much everything I can think of and all I can come up with is a big fat goose egg.

In the meantime, i’ve been slowly chipping away at my Loremaster (3 zones left on the Fuzzy one!), and in between that, still soloing old raid content. Last week, I got a wild hair to try and solo Ulduar. Why? Because I was bored mostly and it was like 2am haha. I realized that there’s a LOT of good money in soloing these old raids for the time being, but it’s also a great way to put your tanking skills to the test. It helps you hone your survivability like normal raiding or even 5-mans just aren’t on par with. I realize i’ve talked about this briefly before, a couple weeks ago, but I want to get into more details on which bosses you can solo, and which ones will give you more problems than others. Keep in mind, that i’m soloing these as my tank spec, and both toons are pretty well normal Dragon Soul geared (DK is 386, Druid is 397).

Burning Crusade raids -

Karazhan – All of these bosses can be soloed, no problem. Hell you could do them in your DPS spec without issue. The Chess event takes a *lot* more thought than it would with 2-3 people, but i’ve found the most reliable way is to move the pawns in front of the King and the King-side Bishop (priest) forward one square, and take control of the bishop for most of the event. Move him and the king forward out of fire when Echo of Medivh cheats, and keep healing everyone around you as much as you can. It’s time consuming, but overall, not terribly difficult.

Magtheridon – This can be a little tricky, especially if you’re undergeared, because it’s VERY difficult to kill the channelers on your own. Mainly because when one hits around 25%, the other 4 get into the “I need to heal him” mode, and you can sometimes get lucky and catch him before they go off, but usually not. So it’s a couple minutes of stasis – attacking mobs that you really can’t kill very quickly (as a tank, mind you. As a DPS you’d have a much easier time with this I’m sure), and then Magtheridon comes to attack. Now the boss is pretty much a wimp. He doesn’t hit very hard, and you *can’t* interrupt the flame nova solo, but it’s pretty tame these days.

Gruul’s Lair – Sadly, I wasn’t able to make it past the High King fight to actually *fight* Gruul. I’m sure there’s something I am missing in that fight, but it’s rather difficult when you’re being consistently CC’ed, and one of them is constantly healing the others. I’m sure the trick is to kill the healer first, but it probably requires a good bit of luck. I’m not giving up on this one, so i’ll keep you posted.

Serpentshrine Cavern - Lady Vashj, to my knowledge, is unsoloable. I haven’t actually *tried* it, but i’m pretty sure that’s just the mechanics of it.

Hydross The Unstable had me stymied at first, but that’s mostly because I was unfamiliar with the mechanics. You simply cannot just tank and spank him, because the debuff will get too high, and you’ll take far more damage than you can overcome. Move him out of the beams at 50-100% of the debuff (depending on how comfortable you are), kill the adds when they spawn and you’ll have him down in no time.

The Lurker Below can be an absolute pain in the ass to solo, mostly because of the whole knockback. Simply put yourself right in front of the giant pillar and it’s usually not an issue, but where the BIG problem comes into play is when he submerges and spawns the adds. Chances are, you won’t be able to kill them all before he resurfaces, and the first thing he does is the giant water beam of knockbacky annoyance. Make sure you’re near the big pillar when that happens so he doesn’t send you screaming off into nowheresville to be eaten by those damnable frenzy fish.

Leotheras the Blind can be tricky. His whirlwind isn’t particularly painful, but his stacking fire debuff will hurt…  a LOT. The trick is to time your cooldowns carefully. DKs can really help with AMS to keep the buff from stacking too high, but druids just kinda have to eat it up. The trick is, don’t drop him below 500k until that debuff is COMPLETELY fallen off of you, or the last few percent will be enough to make you grind your teeth.

Fathom-Lord Karathress is pretty easy, all things considered. None of his 3 minions hit very hard, but one of them will juggle you up into the air pretty often. Kill the healer first, then kill the others in whichever order you prefer, saving Karathress for last. You’ll occasionally get frozen, but it’s not a terribly big deal. Nothing really hurts very badly on this fight, but the juggling can be kind of annoying. Just make sure you’ve cleared the room first.

Morogrim Tidewalker is also easy, but he has a big health pool, and he will occasionally cast a slowing debuff that lowers your swing-speed (thus rage generation for bears/warriors) and haste (thus rune regeneration for DKs) pretty significantly. I don’t believe this debuff can be avoided by AMS, but I could be mistaken (or my timing could’ve been off). The murlocs he summons are no big deal. When he drops below 25%, keep kiting him around the room to keep the bubbles from freezing you and just slowly chip away at him. He’ll go down soon enough.

Tempest Keep - I haven’t actually tried soloing Kael’Thas, because i simply haven’t felt like it. I know it is possible for some classes who can wield the dagger (i think?) that prevents you from getting Mind Controlled, but all things considered, it’s easier to just come at him with a group.

A’lar is *annoying*, but pretty simple. Be prepared to do lots of running around the room to catch up with this fucking bird. The second half of the fight (after she dies and is reborn), is a lot easier because you can keep her on the ground level. Simply move out of the way of where her bomb falls and keep chipping away at her. She goes down for good eventually, and you’re 250g richer (plus drops!).

Void Reaver has long since been known as the Loot Reaver, and soloing it at 85 is absolutely no different. Simple tank and spank. He silences you pretty regularly if you’re in melee range, so depending on your class, that can be problematic or completely ignorable.

High Astromancer Solarian is even *more* annoying than A’lar. Not because he’s difficult, but because every 10 seconds you get rocketed up into the air. Thankfully, you don’t take any fall damage, but it makes the fight run about 3 times longer than it should. Whenever adds spawn, kill them because they DO cast heals on Solarian, but they’re dropped pretty quickly if you can keep your feet on the ground.

I didn’t go into Sunwell Plateau, because I have it on pretty good authority that Kalecgos is impossible to solo, and Brutallus is pretty impossible to solo as well. I’d like to try Brutallus on my DK, but i’m not sure if I can get past Kalec to get there.

This post ended up a *lot* wordier than I had originally expected, so I will break this into two parts, and deal with Wrath raids in a few days. I may even put some videos up on my youtube to show exactly how I did it. Keep an eye out!

The Battle Rages On

30 Jul

Fair warning ahead of time… this post will probably be pretty disjointed, and I think i’m going to end up talking about 3 or 4 different things in here. Consider this making up for not posting for 2 weeks.

I still don’t know what the hell i’m going to play come MoP. Right now, it’s a tossup between my druid and my dk. I decided to dust off my DK a few days ago and work on tanking with her again. It has been… a while since I gave DK tanking an honest shot, and man I had forgotten just how much fun it really was. So I poked Kia and asked if she wanted to run some dungeons with me. (For the record, her response was “/blinkblink…are you feeling alright?”).

So, I ran several dungeons, and absolutely NOTHING dropped for me. Go figure. So, LFR, I thought. “I’ve had no luck in dungeons, that must mean my luck in LFR will be better, right?” Well… I was half right. I picked up two upgrades in the first 4 bosses, and nothing in the last 4, but it still went pretty well overall… and I had a ton of fun. Also, I had a good reminder of just how damn powerful their defensive cooldowns are (HELLO ANTI-MAGIC SHELL!) when used at the right times. I also realized that I was pretty damn rusty at proper rune-gaming for Blood DKs, but thanks to a brief conversation with Rades I have that figured out pretty well also. (It takes work to do it “perfectly”, but it’s definitely much more effective than what I was doing.)

Well, after going and getting my DK some tanking gear, I decided that I wanted to transmog  her tank gear to look like an actual “blood” set (and this is the gear you see in her armory picture). This is a big part of what got me into the “OH MY GOD WHICH CLASS DO I WANT TO PLAY” conundrum I find myself faced with. Both the druid and the DK have some great bonuses, and some drawbacks. (One of the drawbacks of the druid is that I can’t see his mogged gear very much…  Go figure)

Also, over the last few days, i’ve spent a significant amount of time soloing old raid content. Partly, because it’s pretty damn good money (seriously, i made 5k in a day and a half on the DK), and partly to see if I could, and partly because raid bosses are having their gold amounts nerfed into oblivion adjusted to depend on the size of the party. I figured I might as well “get while the gettin’s good”… or something.

Man, it just felt wrong to type that, but I digress.

Soloing old raid content is a lot harder than I had expected. Well… some of it was anyway. I took my DK (who is considerably lesser geared than my Druid) into SSC, TK, and Naxx to see how I would fair. All told, I did alright, but I had to work a *lot* harder at it because of the gear disparity. Also, my druid puts out some *beastly* DPS for a tank, and my DK, who isn’t terrible by ANY means, just doesn’t compare right now. Taking the DK into older raids, however, DID give me the chance to see things that my druid might not have survived, and see things that my druid probably would have excelled at comparatively. It gave me more of a chance to see the variations between bear and blood rotations, and how they handle different problems. Also, it helped me realize that my DK needs a fuck ton more hit/expertise overall… sigh.

Sidebar on that topic: My druid is currently *bleeding* expertise to the point where it’s reforged off from every piece that has it, and i’m STILL over the soft cap. On top of that, he also has a modest amount of hit rating. My DK on the other hand is a draenei, so she has the built in 1% hit, and as a blood DK comes with 6 expertise or something like that, baked into the spec. My druid has 31 expertise, and about 3% hit, whereas the DK has 10 expertise and 1.48% hit. What the shit. Anyway.

Soloing old content is a lot of fun, but the money from bosses (like 130-180 from naxx 10, and 250 from BC 25 man raids) is about to go away, and that is sad. It’ll still be a good moneymaker if you can pull it off, between trash drops and gear being sold, plus you get a lot of practice at learning how to stay alive. All told, that in and of itself is very good exercise for a tank who wants to improve his game. Go solo Naxx or SSC or something. I would be willing to bet that you’ll find SOME way to get better. Hell, even if you don’t? You made a good chunk of change for your efforts. Win-Win situation.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go take my druid into the Battle for Mt Hyjal and see how that goes.

Max Level PvP

8 Jul

I’ve written several posts in the past about lowbie pvp and twinking and things like that. There’s been a big discussion on twitter this morning about max-level pvp, and I mentioned that none of my max-level toons have any pvp gear. This seemed a bit strange to me, considering my recent spazzmoid of lowbie pvp posts lately, so I sat for a bit and thought about *why* i didn’t get into capped pvp.

I actually tried to get into pvp on my druid back in Wrath. It was the end of the expansion, and while we were still actively raiding, we had ICC on farm and were mostly going back for achievements like Ulduar drakes and things of that nature. So, in my downtime between raids, I decided to go into BGs to see what that was like. Sure, I didn’t have any pvp gear, but i was a damn good geared tank, and I felt like I could be pretty survivable like that, meanwhile going into kitty and doing some pretty good damage (because agility conversions for ferals are win). And I did okay. I wasn’t spectacular, and I *definitely* wasn’t topping charts for KBs/HKs/Damage or anything of that nature, but I did… modestly well. I also found out that I absolutely LOVE Strand of the Ancients… but that’s beside the point.

To me, the problem with getting into max level pvp has always been the gating system. You need pvp gear to perform well in pvp. You *could* argue that the same is true for pve (whether it be heroics or raiding or whatever), and you would be right, but the gating system is a lot more severe into pvp than it is to pve. Let me put this another way. When you first ding 85 on your toon, if you want to go the PvE path, you’ve already got a bit of JP saved up (most likely) from doing 5 man randoms, and probably some halfway-decent dungeon gear. You may or may not be able to get into level 85 heroics as soon as you ding, but if you CAN’T, then it’s a pretty easy fix. Run a couple more regulars hoping for good drops, or go buy some BoEs off of the auction house. You then run heroics for Valor points and heroic drops, working your way into LFR level, which you run for LFR-raid drops, and take THOSE into normal raids (some people can bypass the LFR altogether, if their raid team isn’t overly picky. It just depends I suppose).

So that progression looks something like: Ding 85 > Normal 5-mans > Heroics 5-mans > LFR (optional) > Raiding

Now, let’s take this SAME fresh 85, and decide we want to pvp with him instead. Naturally, your first instinct is to just queue into BGs and run them until your head falls off. Or you get enough Honor/Conquest for some good gear, whichever comes first (to me, they’re almost parallel). You may be able to buy some BoEs off of the AH for some blue 372 (i think?) ilvl crafted pvp gear, and you may convert some of your saved up JP from running dungeons to honor (AT A LOSS mind you) to buy a piece or two of gear. Hell, you may even have some honor saved up from just doing BGs at the lower level queues, so you might be able to get yourself a good 3-4 pieces between honor, jp converted to honor, and boe crafted shit on the AH. So you step into your first BG with your horridly mismatched gear.

Now here’s where the roads start to pull apart, pretty heavily. See, the pve person knows what he’s getting into. He’s facing a normal/heroic 5-man boss, which is attuned to right around his gear level. The pvp person, on the other hand, has NO CLUE what he would be getting into when he steps into that bg. He may run across a couple other people who are similarly geared, but at the same time he may run into a raid-boss equivalent DK with full Cataclysmic Gladiator gear, and the top weapon from Dragon Soul raid, who will basically laugh at your attempts to stab/shoot/cast him, and blow you up like an old M-80. So your pvp toon needs to deal with all difficulties, gear levels, and all kinds of shit running the gamut from other fresh 85s to arena masters, and in doing so, scraping up enough honor for himself in between massive amounts of dying to buy himself some pvp gear and eventually stepping into arenas or rated BGs.

So the pvp progression looks something like: Ding 85 > Run BGs > Run moar BGs > Arenas = Rated BGs.

Are you starting to see the discrepancy here? Your pve 85 can’t step into Dragon Soul and expect to meaningfully contribute, but you also won’t be seeing Ultraxion when you queue up for Heroic SFK either. Conversely, your pvp 85 can’t step into any BGs and expect to meaningfully contribute, but there’s a VERY real chance that you WILL see an arena-geared individual… or several. Hell, if you’re really unlucky, you’ll step in and face a full on premade and at this point you might as well just expect to get blown up a lot and hope you can take a few of them down for some honor until they decide to win.

Blizzard has tried, and probably will continue to try, to make gating into PvP less and less painful, and to a point i’m sure they WILL succeed, but it’s always going to be the same way, because there is no logical “pre-heroic” step. The best way to get pvp gear is to just jump in and pvp, and get kicked around a lot until you can scrape together enough points to buy stuff that make you effective. It’s kind of a flawed system, and honestly I don’t have any legitimate way to fix it. Don’t get me wrong, i’m not saying that just any shmuck should be able to dive right into BGs at level cap and be able to own face the minute they hit 85, but I do feel like there should be another step *somewhere* in there, that doesn’t require saving up 4k honor, and 4k jp (to convert to MORE honor) before you ding 85. It’s a punishing system, and that’s mainly why I don’t get into pvp at max level.

I’m not dead, i swear!

5 Jun

There are certain points in time where it gets more and more difficult to find things to write about on this blog. The period of time JUST before an expansion can definitely be one of them. I find myself in an awkward place where I want to find out a lot of things on the beta, but I also don’t want to spoil TOO much for myself for when Mists is released. I have come to a compromise in that respect. I have been playing nothing but Diablo 3 for the last 3 weeks instead in order to keep myself from seeing ALL THE THINGS in the MoP beta. >.>

No really. Haven’t even logged in to WoW, live or beta version since May 15. Is that bad? Maybe so, but it’s left me with little to talk about on here. I know i’ve thrown the occasional Diablo 3 post on this forum before, but those were mainly introductory-types for, what i’m sure, is a LOT of people who received the game via Annual Pass, but were overly unfamiliar with the franchise. This is MAINLY a World of Warcraft blog… I mean hell, look at the title right? Don’t worry, I have NO intention of shutting the doors to this blog any time soon.

Anyway, in spite of my basically taking the second half of May off this blog saw record-breaking traffic for the entire month! That’s awesome guys, and I really appreciate all the views and links and stuff i’ve seen :D I have another post in mind coming over the next few weeks, to wrap-up the expansion, much like I did at the end of Wrath. I also have some thoughts to work out in my own head about some of the new PvP announcements made only today. They’re relevant, because i’m on a PvP server! D:

Right. This is a light post today, but I just wanted to put the word out there that i’m not dead, retiring, closing the blog’s doors, or anything like that. I just took some time to do a *lot* of demon killing (and if you’re interested, I have two toons in Act 2 of Hell right now. Hell may be about as far as I make it, but we’ll just have to see). I plan on commencing a semi-irregular posting schedule again in the near future.

Have I been labeled?

4 May

So, this morning before I went to sleep, the lovely Kialesse and I were discussing the idea of throwing guest posts on each other’s blogs, since neither of us particularly knew what we were going to write about for our own blogs at the moment. Don’t get me wrong, I am quite certain I could find something beta related, monk related, or something of that nature to comment about, and fire off another thousand words+ in that general direction, but nothing *inspired* me. Then I woke up this afternoon and started scanning my feedreader, and came across Kia’s latest post, added sometime while I was asleep. I read through the first couple of paragraphs and said to her “My blog isn’t a tank blog. It’s a blog run by a tank, distinctive difference.” Her response was “well yes, I know that… that was sort of the point of my post, that you’re more than just a tank.” So I read onward into this whole thing where Kia delved into the psychological effects of labeling people and things of that nature.

Now, i’m not here to completely that Kia is completely wrong or completely right. In fact, I am sure that she is right about a lot of these things, but I have to think that to a point *some* of these things don’t necessarily apply to the gaming/mmo world. For instance, Kia thinks of me as a tank. Y’know what? I am *perfectly* okay with that. Why is that? Because tanking is what I do most in WoW. It’s what I do best in WoW. Sure, I have a DPS DK that I tool around with sometimes, and a shaman healer that I bring if I have to, and i’m not particularly TERRIBLE with either of those toons, but I am by far the most comfortable being the one to get hit in the face instead of everyone else. I just… know how to react to things better that way. Maybe it’s a bit of a control issue that I have, but I think that to a point tanks should have that desire to control things. I’m getting a bit off the subject matter here. I’ve actually had a similar discussion with Jen before as well. Her main is a resto shaman, but occasionally she’s been called on to sub in as DPS when the signups were a little light. Now, I know that she doesn’t MIND DPSing as a fill in, but I also know that healing is where her heart is (for lack of a better term.) She’s told me on more than one occasion that even when she’s dpsing, she is far more aware of everyone’s health than she probably should be. She still has the healer mindset, and wants to make sure everyone is going to live through the next big bad ouchie, even when her job is to just PEW-PEW FOREVER OMG.

My point is, I guess, that while everyone may not let themselves get pigeonholed into specific roles, some of us DO. And it’s not necessarily a bad thing. I think the majority of us come across that one toon that just fits like an old glove, and we feel back at home in them. Does that mean we’re labelled by our role, or class as our entire identity? Maybe, maybe not. I have never claimed this blog to be a tank-specific blog, but I (probably) end up talking about it the most because it’s what I love doing. I don’t think that being “labelled” as a tank is a bad thing really. In fact, I take a bit of pride in being seen that way. It means I am doing my job well… when i’m actually DOING that job, that is. I apparently do my job so well that Kia has taken upon herself to make me tank even when i’m not tanking… I will admit that i’m not entirely sure WHAT to think about that.

Also, apparently me cursing over vent has some sort of Pavlovian response to make Kia feign death… I feel like I could abuse this from time to time.

Y’know… for funsies.

 

Intro to Diablo 3 – part 2 – Crafting!

19 Jan

Alright! To continue on with my “Intro to Diablo 3″ series, i’m going to spend this post talking about the crafting system.

 This first screenshot is of your “stash”. This is basically your account’s bank. Unlike the banks in WoW, it is not character specific. This will span across every character you have on your account. There are also no “Bags” in the game. Instead, you buy pre-sized tabs (much more like a guild bank) with a certain number of slots (14) automatically given. There are 5 pages of slots of 5 14-box slots. Unlocking each one costs a bit of money (the first few are cheap, progressively getting more expensive as you open more pages).

 This screenshot is meant to point out the Nephalem Cube. This operates just like the “disenchant” ability from WoW. You click the cube, and then you click the item in your inventory or bank that you want to break down, and then crafting materials are automatically placed in your inventory. As you would imagine, the better items require higher end crafting items. UNlike disenchanting in wow, you can break down items of any quality (grey, white, blue, yellow, etc). Of course, disenchanting lower quality items gives you a higher chance of the “cheapo” crafting materials, and the higher quality items give you higher quality crafting materials.

 Throughout your travels, you will come across this item: a “Page of Training”. These are for your crafting NPCs, to upgrade the amount of items they can craft. 5 of these pages, when combined, will form:

 A “Tome of Training”, which is then something you give to your crafter, along with some basic crafting materials and a modicum of gold to upgrade them. In the two screenshots below, you will see the “Upgrade Crafter” screen, and the Crafting interface.

 When upgrading your crafter, you will see the recipes that he learns from the upgrade process. (For the record, my blacksmith is upgraded WAY beyond anything I can use in the beta. /sadface) When you upgrade the crafter, he “levels” up, giving him access to higher item level recipes. As you can see in the crafting interface, there are apprentice,  journeyman, adept, and master “level” items, which equates to their item level. This particular NPC is the blacksmith, who creates weapons, armor, as well as repairs your gear. The crafting interface is very similar to what you’re familiar with from any crafting done in WoW. Click on a recipe in the list, and it will tell you what materials you need, as well as the gold cost associated (which also increases with the higher level of item to be created). Also, as you can see, the recipes also show you how many of that particular item you can create based on the materials currently in your bag… it doesn’t take into account any crafting materials in your stash.

It is also worth noting that your crafters, just like your stash, are account-wide. When you upgrade your blacksmith on one toon, all of the new recipes are available for creating among each character. Also, along your travels, you can find crafting recipes, which you can simply give to the respective crafter (weapon/armor recipes to the blacksmith, etc). Crafting in Diablo 3 seems to be very simple, and if you’ve ever done any kind of crafting in WoW, then you’re already 4/5′s of the way to understanding this crafting system.

And now for something completely different…

16 Jan

A post on Diablo 3!

If you’ve been following my twitter, you may have noticed that (much to my GREAT enjoyment) I was picked for the Diablo 3 beta the other day. Let me just say that this game is *awesome*. As a big Diablo 2 fan, I can safely say that this has been worth the wait. I am so ready for it to go live. Anyway, I distract myself. I haven’t felt much to blog about in WoW lately, and since i’ve found myself to be one of the lucky few to test D3 out, I thought I would post about it. Some of you may have never played any of the Diablo franchise, so i’ll give a brief overview of the game. There’s a good chance this will be broken up into 2 or more posts, depending on just how verbose I get. These posts WILL be spoiler free in the sense that I won’t give away the story (such as it’s told in the beta), but I will be giving basic mechanics and class information. I will also be posting lots of screenshots (and possibly a youtube video or two, somewhere down the line). Enjoy them :)

Now then, the first thing I want to talk about is talents, such as they are. Why is that first? Because it’s a very similar system as what is to come in Mists of Pandaria, as far as I can tell, and feels like a good jumping-off point for a WoW-based blog to start talking about Diablo 3 (as if I really needed one).

So, here you see the talent tree of a level 12 Witch Doctor. The way it works is quite simple. You unlock hotkey slots as you level up, for a total of 6, active abilities. (levels 1, 6, 12, 18, and 24, with level 1 giving you two slots automatically). Those are the 6 slots you see descending from top to bottom. The 3 circular spots in the very bottom of the screen are the passive abilities. You gain 3 passive slots (at levels 10, 20, and 30). Each class has 3 different “schools”, but you unlock the ability to use every spell just as you level. There is no spec that you have to pick to unlock all the talents. You just get them all as you go, and you can mix and match them as you please, provided you’re at an altar in town.

It may not be identical to what’s going to happen in WoW (as there will still be specs, and such), but there are similarities in that abilities are just given to you right off the bat, for you to use. And there aren’t any talent points to spend, you just have to pick which abilities you want to use. In D3, there is no “wrong” answer. Whatever abilities you feel the most comfortable with, by god that’s what will work for you.

Here is a simple screenshot of the in-game UI. Not much to explain other than what’s on the screen so… Enjoy.

And now, let’s get into the fun shit of this game… the classes :D  First, every class is a little different in that they each have their own resource system, and they all work a little differently from what the other classes have.  And without further ado, Let’s get to the first one… (Also, please pardon that the pictures aren’t all cropped to the exact same size. I fail at life :P)

Barbarian: The barbarian is, as predictable, a basic warrior/heavy melee class. Wade in and kick some ass. They can use either a 2-handed weapon, 2 1-handed weapons, or a 1-handed weapon/shield combo. Each have their benefits and drawback, as you could imagine.  The Barbarian’s resource is called “Fury”, and it works very much like warrior’s rage in WoW. Building up as you fight, allowing you to use abilities, and declining the longer you’re out of combat.

Demon Hunter: The demon hunter is the archetypal ranger class (only no pets, so they’re not WoW hunters). They can use a normal bow, crossbow, or (as you can see) specialized 1-handed crossbows that can be dual wielded… very badass. DH is unique in that it has a dual resource system: Discipline/Hatred. Hatred is quickly regnerating, and used to fuel your offensive attacks, whereas Discipline is very slow to recover, and used for defensive manuveurs and trapping.

Monk: The monk is, much like you would expect, the quick martial artist melee fighter. He can use fist weapons or a certain 2-handed called a Daibo. The monk’s resource is called Spirit, and it neither regenerates nor degrades in combat. The level of spirit you have is built around the abilities you use. Some (combo-type moves) build spirit, whereas others expend it. The spenders tend to be much harder hitting, but you’ll spend most of your time on the builders.

Witch Doctor: This is a personal favorite of mine. The witch doctor is a voodoo shaman sort. He plays a like a strange mixture of a warlock and a death knight, controlling zombies and spiritual fetishes to do his dirty work, while he sits in the back and throws things at you. The WD’s resource is simply mana. Nothing fancy about it. It regenerates relatively quickly on it’s own, as there are no mana potions in the game.

Wizard: The wizard is your archetypal caster/nuker class. They wield wands and orbs or tomes as their weaponry, standing in the back causing all varied kinds of madnes. Their resource is called “Arcane Power”. Arcane power regenerates quickly on it’s own, and is used only for their most powerful spells.

I think i’ve been wordy enough for one day… I will come back in a few days with a new post to go a bit more in-depth on the talents and how to play each class… maybe even some gameplay videos. :D Hope you all enjoy

 

ETA: I made a booboo. I originally referred to the barbarian’s resource as “Rage”, but it’s actually called “Fury”.. /facepalm. I made the change in the description.

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