Monday, February 22, 2010

Scattered playtime

Between work, getting ready for a daughter's birthday party, and various household stuff.. My warrior dinged 80 over the weekend.

It continues to amaze me how doing a quick quest here and there over the span of day adds up to a bunch of experience over time.

All that remains are my mage, prior to Cataclysm.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wow, just WOW!

Blizzard's plan to sell virtual mini-pets for real money paid off.

The Pandaren Monk Pet is sold on Blizzard's website, but they offered to donate half of the proceeds to Make-A-Wish foundation.

Today the check was delivered for $1.1 million. That is a big MOUNTAIN of pets!

Kudos to Blizzard for supporting the community.

Read more at WoW Insider.

Wow status check

Based on Tobold's World of Warcraft Personal Status Report I decided to do a similar one.

My only problem is I have much more alts. So sit back, and enjoy the fun/misfortune of an Altoholic.

I currently have seven level 80 characters, a Warrior close to 80 and a mage in the low 60s.
My Priest is my main progression raider. My paladin is my other non-progression raider. My other 80s, are used to fill raid holes, or assist guild members with whatever they need help with. My Hunter and Rogue are not even geared for heroics yet.

My Priest's gear is good - she just needs Frost emblems for her heal set, and more Triumph for her Shadow set. Paladin has a great tank set, but could use a shield upgrade. Her heal set also needs some Triumph badge loving.

The Druid has heal set from Triumph badges, but her tank set needs work. Death Knight's both sets (Tank and DPS) needs Triumph upgrades, similar the Shammie. All of these three can fill both their main and off-spec roles in non-progression raids.

My Hunter and Rogue just both have some BOE new level 80 epics, and quested blue/green gear. My Warrior will have the same when she hit 80 (which should be in the next couple of weeks). I spend over 1,200 gold last night to have a guild blacksmith craft some of the Titansteel BOE epics for her (as he needed the skill-ups). Mage is too far of to really have a good idea of how her level 80 gear will look.

So what's my plans?  Previously I thought to get Loremaster on at least on of my characters, but that lost its appeal. I love questing as my army of alts demonstrate... So I think, once all of them are 80, is to start by having all of them complete all the Northrend quests for the zone quests achievements. That should provide me with enough gold in the bank for Cataclysm (and I might even get epic flying on more characters).

Other than that - just keep queuing in either Dungeon Finder or LookingForRaid to collect emblems for T9 upgrades.

Friday, February 12, 2010

RL trumps game time

Due to the recent heavy snow in my area, my work load has fallen behind and that cut significantly into my game time.

Just had time for a quick log in, play the AH for gold, and do a quick couple of quests.

My bedtime reading for the past couple of months have been to re-read the entire Honor Harrington series written by David Weber. I bought the latest book in the series over Christmas, and it came with a CD, that included electronic copies of all the books!

I loaded them all into my Kindle, and have been enjoying it tremendously following her adventures again.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Love Festival boss encounter

Two more nights of multiple attempts with my army.. only netted us 1 more pet. Very unhappy. 1st night had 12 attempts, and the second night 10.

No mount drop either. And the Lunar festival starts soon. I'm guessing the doggie is see my alt-army regularly as guildies need the encounter. Since it's a simple tank and spank fight - a tank and healer can kill him.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Blizzard incoming! Level 80 Alts are useless?

And no, not the developers.

My North-East state is schedule to get a visit from Old Man Winter, and his coat of 12+ inches of snow...

At least my snowblower is repaired and ready for the avalanche.

Last night was an interesting WOW game night. I am not big into the festival events, but I am willing to help my guildies that are fanatic about it.

Back to last night, I logged on to just do a quick frostie run, but got asked to help out with the new seasonal boss, since my guild members wanted the pet and/or mount drop. None of us really needed the gear that dropped.

So between the 5 of us, we cycled through all our level 80 characters. One person only had their Warrior, another had a Warrior & Rogue, 3rd person - DK, Paladin, Shammie and Mage, 4th person had Lock, Shammie & Druid.... And me with Paladin, Priest, Shammie, Druid, Hunter, DK and Rogue...

Out of 17 attempts, we had 2 wipes, and 1 pet drop. A couple of the characters got either main spec or off spec upgrades, but most were disenchanted.

all of mine remained parked just outside of the instance at ShadowFang Keep. To assist with each days attempts to farm up either the pet or the mount.

And who said alts were useless?

Monday, February 8, 2010

Snowy weekend

Spending the weekend dealing with youngest daughter being sick and snow-locked on Saturday with 8-9inches of snow.

This resulted in a down-tick of WOW game time. Together with my promise to drop the game if my family needs me, locked my out of raiding and 5mans for the weekend. So my alts got plenty of game time. My mage's restedbonus XP got fully consumed, and my warrior's dipped to under 80%.

It was interesting saying good bye to the classic world with my last character moving to the Outlands (before cataclysm). I am still considering working on the Loremaster achievement on my Death Knight.

My other observation from the weekend was, how "twitchy" a protection Warrior plays in style vs a protection paladin. When tanking multiple mobs, I was always switching targets, stunning, or shield-slamming casters, etc. It made for a more frantic pace of combat. Definitely not Paladin easy-mode tanking.

But the strategy to mount up your horse, pick up agro from 4-8 mobs and beat them down works very effective. Just had to watch my health more carefully since I do not have self-heals except for a healing potion.

My mage and her pyromania is a boatload of fun. Yes, I know Ice-spec is faster to level. But nothing warms my heart than saying "Hello" to a mob with critical Pyroblast, critical Fireball and a scorch to finish them off.
But her survival once things get in melee range is numbered in hits: 1! Especially if I am in the Alterac valley battleground.

Still it was a pleasant weekend's gaming.

On Sunday night we did do my "training" raid, and we had a brand-new solo-all-way Druid in the raid. He struggled to break 800DPS... His gear was not even end-game quest green/blues. Some items were still from the Outlands! But we got him a couple of upgrades, as we cleared Spider and Plague wing in 2 hours. But I advised him to run random instances and heroics to improve his gear (either with guildies or PUG - depending on his level of comfort).

Some of the encounters in Naxx10 are trivial now with characters being over geared for it. On most boss fights we did not lose a single person due to 2 ICC raid geared healers, althought our single tank was only in average ilvl 213-228 gear. Our Off-tank was a DPS spec and geared DK (when needed).

But still we had 3 new raider running with us. And we took the time to explain the strategies, tactics and plans that will allow them to grow as raiders in the guild.

Friday, February 5, 2010

When RealLife calls...

Last night was one of those nights that we gamer-parents dread.

Youngest got sent home early from school with an ear infection, and she was just miserable. I relieved my wife from care-taker duties when I got home, got kids fed and in bed.

Once everyone settled down in sleep, finished my household chores and fired up WoW. I started a quick frosty heroic run on my tank, and got Halls of Stone. We made quick fast progress. Cleared the crystal boss and Maiden.

Then during the scripted encounter with the waves of adds, youngest one woke up bawling. We had 45seconds let on the encounter. I threw down consecrate, typed /p AFK - kid crying and ran to the room.

Got the little one calmed down. Gave her some medicine, and she was quickly back to sleep. Walked back to my computer expecting to be in Dalaran vote-kicked. Mmm, nope... Had 20seconds left to roll on the chest drop from the encounter. Clicked greed and started running to the entrance for the last boss.

Type /p back. And received cheers form the group. The DK switched to his tanks et and they cleared the trash, but his gear was not up to snuff for the boss. They decided to give me 5 minutes, before kicking me.

I was humbled by the kind consideration 4 strangers showed me, in allowing real life to take preference over the game.

Once we were done, I thanked them. Once back in Dalaran, I informed our raid leader that I could not attend the raid as a result of RL-home expectations. And was I glad I did, the little one was up every hour or so. I think she slept most of the night being held in my or mommy's arms.

It feels great holding on to that precious little one. Sleep is overrated.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Skill vs Gear: Intelligent analysis Hunter
Brian Wood, over on the Hunter discussion performed a very good analysis of how gear increases would scale with the various ilvls.

However, his startling conclusion was that raid buffs contribute even more to your DPS than gear upgrades.

But his conclusions is Skill > Raid buffs > Gear.

So why are people so fascinated by gear scores?

Heavy-handed: Ensidia suspended for 72 Hours (updated)

Update: Apparently you can only damage the tower if targetted, not as part of normal DPS rotation on the boss or adds. Still, in my mind as a raid team, they analyzed the encounter and found a method that would ensure success. Great analytical thinking, and then superb execution. I do not think the punishment fit the "crime".

MMO-Champ article

Dear Blizzard

Now that is extremely heavy-handed of you. Your premier global raiding guild defeated your final raid boss... Due to an glitch, bad coding, unforeseen use of special items made by an Engineer..

That is just not acceptable. Yep, apply the hot-fix to prevent it from happening in the future, but removing the achievement, items AND banning them... That is too much.

I think you over reacted and used a 10ton hammer, instead of a more dignified approach.

Yes, its terrible that your premier, showcased final boss are defeated more hours after it became available to the the players. Yes, it was a mistake on your part for allowing saronite bombs to assist with the ease of the default. But were has your Q&A and design teams been? Have they not kept up with the players' theorycrafting to maximize DPS for each class and talent build?

However, banning the entire raid for the use on a item, that is a common craftable item from one of your crafting professions - is egg in your face. Not Ensidia.

I applaud the players and raiders in their guild. I wish them the best on the next time they face the Lich King and that the "fixed" encounter pose no additional problems for them.

Blizzard - go take a chill pill and rethink how you will handle situations like this in the future, when players, using the tools you provided them, destroy your carefully crafted plans in a short time period.


Monday, February 1, 2010

Satisfying newbie raid

This past weekend I kicked of my "training" raid for WoW. It was a commitment I made to our guild leadership, that I would continue to help develop and train any member that is new to raiding or want to learn how to improve their characters as well as skill to join our progression raiding teams.

We started off with a easy raid: Naxxramus. We had 3-4 people that never raided before and that were interested to learn. The remaining 7 raiders were old hands - either on their main characters to help, or on alts they wanted to gear up.

First off, thank you to the new people - without you, this would have been boring :D. Ed/Black, Kristie/Garsindrea, Chance/Meetloaf and Lex/Iceelatte - thank you for allowing us to teach you. Black was tanking, the rest were doing melee or ranged DPS.

Friday night we started in the spider wing and after a rough start on the first boss (2 wipes before we took him down), we 1 shotted the next 2 in the Spider wing. In Plague wing, Noth was a pushover but Heigan's dance caused 3 wipes. Rather than beat our heads against him, I opted to switch to Construct wing, and we took down  Patchwork and the next boss pretty quickly. We called it a night - and I was well pleased how the new people learned.

Thanks to the experienced people that was willing to swap their characters, talent specs and assignments in the raid around as needed to be successful.

On Sunday night we continued. Icelatte did not join us, but Adam/Gracefulfury joined us on his rogue. The experienced people once again had to swap some characters and talent specs around, but we started off with a wipe on Gluth, then downed him next attempt. Thaddius was 1shotted with only 1 raider being killed.

On to the DK wing. The instructor caused a wipe due to our new tank not clearly understanding the use of the bone shield from the trainee, but next time we got him down very smoothly. The trash to the next boss continues to be a problem, but we 1shot the next boss even with us losing the healer on the Dead side. The 4 Horseman suffered a similar fate, although we lost 3 people (including myself - watch your stacks! :D ).

At this time, rather than go back and finish plague wing, we headed to Sapphiron. We had a very good 1 st attempt, that failed due to our Druid healer DCing twice during the fight. But on the next attempt the big undead wyrm bit the dust.

I unfortunately could not stay longer, but the raid planned to proceed to KT without me.

All in all, a very successful first training raid. We had 5 new raiders came and learn. I hope to speak to them individually through the week, to discuss their performance, lessons learned and plans for the next raid.

But why spend this effort if very little of the gear is off use to the characters? 1) Due to most raiders having much better gear than what the encounters were designed for - they are much more forgiving, and allows for a "safe" training environment for new raiders. Almost like Karazhan was towards the end of the Burning Crusade.
Secondly, it introduces basic raiding concepts to new raiders. The value of raid buffs and consumables, tactics and strategies, as well as the need for voice communications.
And lastly, it allows the experienced raiders to share their knowledge, wisdom and experience playing with the new people to make them better gamers, and future participants in our progression raids.
It allows creates a larger pool of skilled, experienced players to fill holes in the progression raid roster, if a raider is absent on a given night.