Friday, September 24, 2010

Dear Blizzard

Next Brewfest, PLEASE don't make me have to destroy a Mount most people would love to have just because I've already won one in my Keg earlier in the week. Make the Mounts Bind on Account. This way I can at least pass it to someone else (of either faction) who'd love to use it, not see it vanish into the ether.

Love and Hugs,

The Godmother.

PS: Thank you for P's Kodo. Why couldn't this have dropped when I was doing the 100 Mounts Achievement??? ^^

The Loneliness of the Averagely-Geared Priest

WHY is it always the DPS who are last to click ready...?
The last couple of days have been hard on the soul.

I took the decision to speed-gear my Priest, newly-dinged, based on a couple of factors. The overriding one was the enjoyment I get playing her: I'd genuinely forgotten how flexible and useful Holy Priests could be. Even with the portents of DOOM I'm hearing from Cataclysm Beta testers were not enough to sway me from my task: I would gear her to as close to pre-ICC as I could and she would form part of the Azerothian Expeditionary Forces.

Had the Dungeon Finder not existed this would, of course, have been a far longer task. However, I suspect it would have been a lot less thankless, but perhaps not as stiff a test of my ability to actually heal. I have learnt a great deal in the last few days. I'd forgotten people expect you to protect them when they stand in fire for long periods (Brann's Escort Event in Halls of Stone being a popular favourite) and the fact they will blame you if you let them die whilst doing so. Tanks, including the non-defense capped ones will expect you never to drink in the Pit of Saron, despite the fact it took all your mana to keep the group alive. They'll just keep running, so a polite 'STOP I'd like some mana now so I can continue to keep you alive.' macro is pretty much de rigeur. The Oculus is a great place for testing how many people still don't know how to use the Drakes (it took four tanks Wednesday night to arrive in the instance and leave without hitting a mob for us to find someone who knew what to do... ^^) Occasionally, if I'm lucky (and I have to say those instances are very few and far between) I got a great group. Those instances allowed me to play a bit with my spells, to work out which were best for what situation. Ironically, these were inevitably the ones with Guildies.

If the five mans are as hard as I'm hearing they are in Cataclysm, I have to say I think the days of widespread Random Dungeon Finder usage could be numbered...

I should also confess a sin at this point. I bought two pieces of ilevel 245 PvP gear, a cloak and a belt, to boost my stats. This means (after various purchases and crafts) I'm simply two trinkets and my legs away from the Epic achievement. My Weapon may only be ilevel 219 but I'm betting that will be replaced pretty quickly come Cata anyway. Once I have the Frost Badge Trinket and some nice ilevel 232 legs to complete my 4 set T9 Bonus I'm all set. It didn't stop some abuse concerning that gear yesterday though: my first trip into HoR heroic was halfway through, joining a four man Guild group from another server after the first ten waves of Hell. I wondered why, having survived what is by far the worst part of the Instance, a healer would choose to bail... I soon had my answer, as after I suggested to the tank he might want to fight closer to the walls on the Gauntlet waves the abuse began. In all of this I never forget this is a game, and if people won't take a suggestion in the way it is intended, there's always another group. If they have the time to inspect my gear and abuse me about it to boot...

Do I feel bad I left the Group mid wave and halfway through the Gauntlet? Yes I did, but it passed. Sometimes you need to know when it's time to walk away. I apologise for leaving you guys, but frankly I think it's the least you deserved. My gear doesn't affect my ability to heal, it just means I have to heal more to compensate. Some resilience on it doesn't make me a scrub. It just means I made a choice.

To add insult to injury, after a long day of random hell, our ICC 25 PuG has been canned by an instance server reset. Pfffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffft.

Here's a really lovely picture of my Priest high above ICC while we wait for the Server to come back up again...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Countdown is Progressing.

The timer to your right shows we're at 39 days and counting, but as several of my learned friends have pointed out I'm not sure November 2nd is where we're heading, it's likely to be a wee bit later than that. No matter, word reached this morning that things are getting a wee bit funky on the PTR. There's proper trauma incoming for the last stage of events prior to Cataclysm, including 5-man Minibosses dropping L251 loots ^^ That's going to ruffle some feathers...

The question now has to be: when will we hear an official announcement as to Cataclysm's release date?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Gadgets = WIN

The updated Mobile Armoury addon for the iPhone ROCKS!

I don't care how geeky it is, I have a picture of P ./flexing with Shatt in the background as my wallpaper \o/

Little things...

The First Divine Man

Heriocs are open on Beta. You're going to need iLevel 333 gear to even survive in them.

I sense the first Raid Content to test cannot be far off.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Secret of Great Comedy...

is, of course, timing. Witness this wonderful example from Trade this morning, whilst I was fishing in Dalagran.

The hilarity this response received pretty much brought the channel to a standstill for the next thirty minutes. It just goes to prove that, if you want to make that moment count, all you need is a quick mind and Mavis Beacon as your mentor. I managed a moment of brilliance once: it was Sunday afternoon and in response to the Retro Paladin for was LFG Naxx I managed 'Do you bring your own flares and afro?'

I think Trade generally would benefit from more comedy and less asshattery...

Lucky Bugger

I think today may be the one when I go and buy a Lottery Ticket.

Number of mounts won in Coren Direbrew Event = THREE.

Lucky recipients: Druid, BM Hunter and Priest who enjoys the Kodo of DOOM.

I might be wrong but I think they increased the drop rates... ^^

The Next Big Thing

There's more than the normal amount of healthy competition in our household of late: The Wonder Pally, who has grown increasingly perturbed at the amount of gold I've been generating ('money comes to money' being the phase he seems to mutter under his breath more often than not) has been doing some ZG and MC Runs to attempt to boost his income. In the spirit of this a debate began last night (fuelled by a similar discussion on Maintankadin) and we found ourselves discussing what would be best to stockpile to sell once Cataclysm hits. WonderPally pointed out to me something I'd totally failed to grasp: the lure of the Realm First Achievements.

I countered his argument quite well, I thought: people won't want Old World mats to get to 525, that's all new content that we can't pre-farm... until he pointed out we have two new races. Goblins and Worgen. Surely (I replied, getting a little concerned) these people won't care about trade skills, all they will be interested in is the quickest route to 85, to which Wonderpally responded with the killing blow: you know that there's going to be someone who'll want not only to get Realm First Goblin but Realm First on the trade skills as well, and if there's one...

There's no denying he has a point. The question then becomes what would be most sensible to stockpile.

I've seen at first hand the increase in Engineers and Jewelcrafters on my server in anticipation of the changes in game, but with the announcement this morning of a possible Alchemy-only mount there could be interest right across the trade skills. Part of me thinks that if I were going to be clever I should see what the most popular speed levelling guides suggest you have to do the job the quickest but I know in my heart that if I stockpiled amounts of the exact same stuff I'm selling currently I doubt I'd have any trouble selling it come Cataclysm because I can guarantee absolutely no-one is going to want to be farming anywhere except in the new content. The question then becomes whether I can squeeze in one more L1 into my accounts to act as a mule... of course I can. As it happens I already have part of the job done for me...

I have a fairly serious issue with hoarding, and C (who is, as it happens the first ever hunter I rolled back in 2005 on a PvP Server) gives me a place to store the stuff I occasionally need to use if I need to make a low level potion or have to prospect some ore/craft an item. The two Bank slots I think will come in very useful, and so I fully intend to clear out the rest of her bags and prep her to be storage space with a purpose, with an additional L1 on standby should I get ahead of myself. I think it might well be worth hoarding stacks of the very precious metals like Titanium and Khorium now for release, plus perhaps items like Frost Lotus which are unpredictable in their drop rate. Guaranteeing a supply after all is worth big money.

With seemingly no end to the speed I can sell raw materials at present, the question then becomes just how much do I save for the launch?

Stage Two Is Commencing...

The Second Pre-Cataclysm event is being tested on the PTR.

This suggests to me that the files for this will be activated in 4.0.1 when required.

I would go so far as to postulate that once we get 4.0.1, we should have a definitive release date for Cataclysm.

I may need caffeine and have no idea what I'm talking about.

At least one of these statements is true. I'll leave you to work out which it is :D

Monday, September 20, 2010

Very Bad Things

If you read any of the daily Warcraft News sites you will have noticed there's been a lot of changes to the way healing will work in Cataclysm. As I am now giving serious consideration to pulling at least one of my (potentially) three healers through the expansion fairly early on, I thought I'd better start doing some digging as to what the changes are. In my research I was pointed to this discussion which seems to indicate that Blizzard are doing Very Bad Things to Healing Classes in general. I think this post particularly is worth reproducing in full:

Q u o t e:
How about if I already have the pony, and Ghostcrawler says "Ponies aren't fun. Here, we're going to give you an elephant, a seahorse, and a lion. But we're taking the pony, because everyone just keeps riding the pony and we don't think that's very interesting, so you don't actually find it fun. We promise." And then TAKES the pony, jams the menagerie down my throat, and then silences me when I try to say that I really just wanted to keep the pony?

Let's put real names on those mounts though and see how odd that argument sounds.

Us: We noticed you have these spells in your book called Regrowth, Nourish and Healing Touch and we think the game will be more fun if you use those in addition to Rejuvenation and Wild Growth. Paladins, we're going to ask you to cast both Flash of Light and Holy Light, and we'll give you 3 or 4 new heals as well.

You: But I like casting nothing but Flash of Light. The game is more fun for me the fewer choices I have.

Now I read 'fun' in that context as 'easier' for the original poster and 'fun' as 'a proper challenge for a change' from G.Crawler esq. Whether it be to simply spam Flash of Light or shield your target for some quick mitigation, I have to say I have a certain amount of empathy with Mr Crawler's argument. Healing has become about how fast (in most cases) you can cast one spell. If your gear is good enough you need never have to worry about mana regen or in fact anything else. For the best healers in fact, things could start getting a bit monotonous. There's some merit in this argument because that's exactly what one of our healers has told me: 'I don't think I'll be doing any ICC 25 any more, healing's just become boring.'

Ghostcrawler even goes so far as to state that the high-movement fights in ICC are there pretty much to challenge the healers because there's not much else in game currently to do that. I'd have to say that this isn't simply the case for healing, that there are a number of dps classes who, given a well-practiced rotation are standing around simply mashing buttons and switching off. The problem inevitably occurs when you're not in all L264 gear, when you're having to scrabble for mana or raw power from gear.

It seems to me that what's going to happen in Cataclysm involves focusing far more on actually making decisions based on what spells you have available and what is going on around you. Gear appears to be stacked with  insane amounts of stamina, which should give healers a bit more thinking time as to how they better deal with health changes, rather than simply repeating the same spell over and over and hoping for the best. The prospect of this, I have to say, makes me really rather excited.

I'll be honest and say right here I'm not a fan of shields as a substitute for actual healing (I know they're really useful, it's just an Old Skool thing. Yes, I'm a dinosaur). I'm not enamoured with those who think there's only one spell that can heal a player, that the best way to win is to just be fast without any finesse. The spells in your book are there for a reason, and if you exclude them because that's what the guide says... I don't think that it should just be about that. I think the best healers not only know their class but how other healing classes work, so they can compliment their styles. I think you need to be prepared to heal even if you're not there to do so (don't get me started on shadow priests who refuse to drop form if a healer dies and then blame them for a wipe. I think if you're able to heal (druid and pally tanks excluded of course) and it will prevent a wipe you really should.) Most important of all however is understanding that you're a part of a larger mechanic. It's not just about you. Healers do a thankless task a great deal of the time I will accept, but so do tanks and without sensible DPS to mix it together the entire thing just does not work.

There's a very good chance my (much under loved) Priest is going to be the one who goes out as the Expeditionary Healing Force come Cataclysm. I look forward to seeing what 4.0.1 has to offer her, and whether all the talk about healing being Fun again is true. Not that I'm worried though, because I'm using all my spells right now and Holy is an absolute blast. Perhaps not playing the class to death in ICC will have an advantage after all...

Believe in Something

"Everybody has to believe in something.....I believe I'll have another drink."

It's Brewfest Time (again) but sadly there's no new Stein (just the three in my main's bank ^^) which gives me hope that if we're still all here next year (who am I kidding) I might get some new rewards. As it is, Coren Direbrew is in the Dungeon Finder, it's approximately a 30 second queue for a fight which let's be honest, isn't going to last nearly as long as the wait.

The good news is however that no-one will be ninja-ing mounts or anything of actual value this year: all that ends up in your Keg-Shaped Treasure Chest. The first lucky winner in the Alt Loot Lottery is K the Mage:

It's not pretty, let's be honest...
Brewfest lasts for two weeks and you get two Emblems of Frost per daily kill. That's TWENTY-EIGHT Frosties guys, so make sure you do this one every day because if you do want to get some T10 before the End of Badgers as We Know It this is the ideal opportunity for some quick additions...

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Hardly a Bargain

...or perhaps not :(

I am slightly perturbed, it must be said.

If things stay as they currently are on the PTR, a T10 chestpiece will cost 1100 Justice Points after all badges and other sundry gubbins are converted to the new currency. One Badge, whether it be Frost or Triumph, converts to 2.75 Justice Points. This means:

95 Emblems of Frost = 261 Justice Points

Apologies to everyone I lamented to this weekend about this, but frankly this seems like a TOTALLY bum deal. On the one hand, doing a 1:1 conversion and pricing the T10 gears accordingly was never really going to happen, if we're honest, because it then gives an inflated value to Triumphs. However, converting both Triumph and Frost at the same rate, albeit more than 1:1 is really not that sensible either. Frosties should have a greater value than Triumph, simple as. To make this even close to fair Frosties should be worth ten Justice Points each. Part of me really can't see that happening.

Bearing this in mind, I went and looked at everyone's Currency totals who's not at present in their optimal gear. K the Mage was nine Frosties away from a T10 chest as of Friday night, and with an ICC 25 T10 Upgrade token sitting in the bank it occurred to me I'd probably be pretty stupid not to upgrade her chest as soon as possible. Even if the conversions do get sorted (by some miracle) before 4.0.1 I'll still have a bunch of Triumphs I can use for a T10 Hat or the 264 Hit trinket, so I'll have lost nothing. If I left it however... that might be a far bigger issue. Everyone else's totals are probably too low for me to be able to do anything about them without a concerted farm, with the exception of G the EngiHunter whom I reckon will be wearing new shoulders before 4.0.1 hits.

With Brewfest incoming I do at least have the opportunity to pick up two extra Frosties a day for what should be less than 30 seconds work.  Let's see we where we stand 48 hours before 4.0.1 hits before we make any more decisions...