Archive for November, 2009

24
Nov
09

Happy Trails, Zaltu

Its a sad day when a blogger hangs it up.  I want to salute Zaltu for his contribution to roguecraft through his blog, One Rogue’s Journey.  He’s announced his retirement from the blog and WoW.

When I started blogging a couple of years ago there were very few active rogue blogs.  The only one I knew of at that time was Parry, Dodge, Spin! (that blog is still there, but Valenna hasn’t posted since last December)

Over the past year a number of rogues have added their voices to the internet, and its been a great exchange of thoughts and ideas.  Zaltu, through his entertaining writing style and his contributions to Big Hit Box, became one of the more visible rogue writers.  Now that he is giving up the blog and the game, his insights will be missed as we go into the new patch and then Cataclysm.

/salute

24
Nov
09

Tips for Turkinator

I did the Turkinator achievement today.  From my experience, I have a few tips.

  • Use your mood-calming substance of choice.  You’re probably going to be yelling at the computer screen, pulling out your hair, chewing your nails, and throwing things at your dog.
  • Warn your family that you might be in a foul (or fowl) mood until you finish this.

I hated this achievement.  It took me hours of running around Elwynn Forest before I got it.  Hours. So frustrating – its not based on any kind of skill or technique.  Its sheer perseverence and a bit of luck.

While I won’t go as far as to say the achievement is bad, it certainly has some issues.  There are clearly some turkey-free zones in Elwynn, and you don’t realize it until you get there and can’t find any.  That shouldn’t happen.  If turkeys are in Elwynn, they should be everywhere in Elwynn.  Also, there are high and low concentrations.  Worst is that the turkeys are spread out enough that there are not enough to support more than one person at a time.  You need to be the only one going for the achievement, or you have little chance.

In seriousness, here’s what I did to help myself succeed.

First, they say that you have 30 seconds between each turkey kill.  Really, you might have a bit less, depending on your class.  For rogues, our only ranged attack is our gun/bow/thrown weapon.  That is not an instant cast.  If you have a gun with a 3 second speed, then you really only have 27 seconds to get in range of a turkey, allowing for the time it takes to shoot.  (a lot of casters have an advantage here due to their instant cast spells)

Rogues and warriors, you can help yourself by using a fast ranged weapon.  I put away my 2.9 speed gun and dug a thrown weapon out of the depths of my bank with a 1.7 speed, and that 1.2 seconds actually saved me once.

Second – location, location, location.  For Alliance, the best spot is the far east side of Elwynn Forest.  My route was to circle around the Eastvale Logging Camp.  The highest concentration of turkeys was along the mountains east of the logging camp, but there weren’t enough their to support the achievement.

My secret on my successful run… there are about 8 turkeys on the island in Stonecairn Lake.  No one goes there.  I got to 32 turkeys, then used Sprint with the Glyph of Blurred Speed to run across the water to the island and finish up the achievement without worrying about competition.

Third, time of day.  All it takes is one other person in your route to mess it up for you.  If possible, do this early in the morning or late, late at night.

Fourth, I used a macro to help me find and target turkeys.  I got it from the comments for this achievement on Wowhead.

/cleartarget
/target Wild Turkey
/script SetRaidTarget(“target”,5)

What that does is it targets the nearest turkey and puts a blue square over its head.  The blue square can be seen even through trees or terrain.  Without that macro, I would have missed a lot of turkeys that were ust out of my line of sight.  Note: to use this you have to be in a group and be the group leader so that you have marking ability.

Even with these tools, it took many, many failures before I was able to finish it.  Good luck, PIlgrim!

 

22
Nov
09

Blog Milestone and Status

My blog reached 300,000 page views today according to WordPress’ internal counter.  I have no idea how many people actually view it through readers or otherwise – its not something I strive to track.

I’m glad that people continue to find the blog.  My goal to be informative about rogue issues, with some other WoW commentary thrown in.  My most popular posts have always been the guides – my guide to Hit Rating is the most viewed post, and my Karazhan and Naxx guides helped a lot of people get through those raids.

My posting has been sporadic lately.  I have little time to blog during the week, so I usually write posts over the weekend and publish them throughout the following week.  If I miss a weekend, then I have nothing to post for the entire following week, which accounts for the occasional long gaps between posts.

Also, the rogue class has had nothing happen in recent memory that evoked strong opinions.  We haven’t seen major mechanics changes in a long time.  Mutilate and Combat are very comparable in damage, so there’s no real controversy to stir up.

I’m not ready to retire yet, from the game or from blogging.  Even though I have spent more playtime on my tank in the past two weeks, I am still a rogue to the core.

Thanks for finding the blog.  I hope there’s something here that you find helpful.

21
Nov
09

Making the Game Safe For My Kids

My daughter is thirteen, and she plays WoW.  She has a toon on my account, so her playtime is severely limited.  She can’t raid with the guild because I’m online during the raids.  She only plays during off-hours, so she sees very little guild chat as few players are online with her.

For her birthday this week, a family member bought her a WoW account and is paying for it for a year.  I’ll transfer her level 80 DK from my account to her own account, and she’ll be able to play alongside me, maybe even do runs with my guild, etc…

I have no concerns about bringing her into our runs.  As the GM, I have molded the guild in a way that appeals to me.  Since I am a parent with young kids , their presence has influenced my thoughts on the guild’s culture.  A lot of the policies and playstyle that I have established previously are working in my favor here.

  1. My guild has a strict no-swearing policy.  Its been this way since I have been GM, and it has nothing to do with children.  I hate being around people who use swearing as a substitute for actual vocabulary.   I can understand people sometimes swearing in an emotional outburst.  But within the game you have to make a conscious effort to type it or press the push-to-talk button in order to share your vulgar language.  That’s not an emotional outburst – its a specific action taken to demonstrate to the other people that you know swear words.  Its inane and serves no purpose.  Since it has no purpose, all it can do is offend people or make them uncomfortable.  Therefore its prohibited.
  2. We actually enforce the profanity rule.  Lots of guilds have such rules, but officers are often reluctant to enforce them.  We make sure that every new recruit is told about it, and if there is a transgression all of the officers are serious about addressing it.
  3. Her account has the profanity filter activated (found in the game Settings).  It replaces vulgarities in chat with cartoonish symbols like &*$(*%.  It has a pretty expansive list of words that it will filter out.
  4. Communication with officers is important.  In my guild, every officer is aware of the children in the guild (we have a family guild, and several members let their kids play on occasion).  If a child is online, and the conversation starts to stray into more adult themes, then the officers can rein it in before it crosses a line.
  5. We’ve all been subjected to the “anal ___” and other moronic exchanges in the Trade channel.  My daughter’s account has Trade and General chat turned off.  To do that, type “/leave #” where # is the number of the channel you want to shut off.
  6. I am very aware of the people in the guild who like to talk about off-color topics.  Some people like to intentionally say things that are borderline offensive, just to get reactions.  This is especially true with some high school and college students (and immature adults, as well) who bring up sex or sexual innuendo frequently.  They know better than to do that while my kids are online.  If your guild has many people like that, it may not be an appropriate environment for your kids.  Either you have to find a way to control that, or don’t bring your kids into the guild.
  7. Vent (or any other voice chat application) is the hardest part of the game to monitor.  Some guilds use their vent for many different purposes, not limited to raiding.  There are people who hang out in vent all day and talk, there are people who flirt in vent or even carry out virtual affairs.  Remember that you have no idea what kind of person is behind the voice that your child is chatting with.  I wouldn’t let my daughter use vent at all at any time unless someone I trust is in the channel with her, preferably me or my wife.  We are just as strict about curtailing swearing in vent as we are in guild chat.

Not every guild wants to be like that.  Some will object, saying that they should be free to say what they want in chat and children don’t belong.  That is, of course, ridiculous.  First of all, swearing in chat is against the Blizzard ToS.  Second, its a game.  Certainly there are children in the game and its almost impossible to avoid all contact with them.

The key phrase here, that I used earlier, is guild culture.  In my guild I am the GM so I steer the culture myself.  If you are not an officer in your guild, you need to carefully gauge this before you ask to bring in your kids.  Don’t assume that people will want to change to accommodate your kids.  If your guild’s culture doesn’t support the measures I have listed, then bringing your kids in would only cause stress and resentment among the members who feel inconvenienced.

Many of the officers in my guild are parents themselves, so they don’t shy away from the responsibility of safeguarding the kids.  That’s part of my guild’s culture.  Will your guild’s officers want to police the tone of the chat when kids are online?

There are plenty of adult-only guilds out there that are made to avoid the issues that come with children.  If I were in one of those, I would not try and disrupt the guild culture by bringing in my kids.  I’d either leave the guild myself or make an alt guild where my daughter and I could play together.

Making a separate guild may be the simplest option.  If I were in a guild where children would not be tolerated, I would make a new guild, put my kids in it with some of my alts, and also invite the alts of some friends.  It would be a small, self-contained, and most importantly safe community where you and your child can play the game together.

 

18
Nov
09

Summary of Rogue News in Patch 3.3

I’ve barely made any rogue posts lately.  I haven’t played the rogue much.  I’ve been passing up my raid spots so that others could get geared, and I’ve mostly been working on gearing my prot pally (who is now about ready to tank early Ulduar).

So, what’s up with rogues these days?

The big Patch 3.3 that includes Icecrown, a new LFG system, T10 gear, and our final confrontation with Arthas is coming soon.   As has been the norm with patches in WotLK, there are not a lot of significant rogue changes announced.  Mostly they are looking to make little gameplay tweaks without major alterations in what we do.

  • Improved Poisons now increases the chance to apply Deadly Poison to your target by 4/8/12/16/20%. (Up from 2/4/6/8/10%)
  • Deadly Poison now has an additional effect –  Once stacked to 5 times, each application of Deadly Poison also causes the poison on the Rogue’s other weapon to apply.

The first change seems to be a little bump to Mutilate dps to keep up with Combat.  The second is Blizzard’s way of eliminating weapon-swapping as a useful tool.  For those who are not weapon-swapping, this will be a buff.  For those who were swapping, it seems like this should essentially keep your damage the same but without the need to swap.  And so ends the brief life of the PoisonSwapper add-on.

  • Murder now increases all damage by 2/4%. (Old – Only affected Humanoid, Giant, Beast and Dragonkin targets)

This is presumably put in place so that rogues won’t take a hit in DPS on Icecrown mobs that don’t fit into one of the original categories.  As a flat 4% dps increase this will now be a mandatory talent.  In the past, a rogue might spec out of that in Naxx, for example, because it had no effect on dps vs. undead, and use those talent points elsewhere.

  • Filthy Tricks now reduces the cooldown of Preparation by 1.5/3min. (Down from 2.5/5min)
  • Preparation cooldown has been lowered from 10 to 8 min.

This is part of the trend toward reducing cooldown times across all classes, but it has no real effect.  Formerly a pvp rogue with the standard subtlety talents had a 5 minute cooldown on Prep (10 min base minus 5 min from Filthy Tricks).  Now it will still be 5 minutes (8 min base minus 3 min from Filthy Tricks).  The reason for this is that the new arena rule that says that abilities with a 10 minute or longer cooldown cannot be used in Arenas.  Thus, by changing Prep to an 8 minute base cooldown is is still an arena talent.

As always, these changes are tentative, pending PTR testing.  Nothing is final until the patch drops.

10
Nov
09

Pandaren? Lil’ KT? No worries.

There’s a lot of chatter around the blogosphere about the new Blizzard Pet Store.  For many, this is a nice perk in the game.  For others, its the end of the world.

From Wikipedia

Slippery Slope = a classical informal fallacy.  A slippery slope argument states that a relatively small first step inevitably leads to a chain of related events culminating in some significant impact, much like an object given a small push over the edge of a slope sliding all the way to the bottom.

The argument usually goes something like this… now that Blizzard is selling pets for real money, its only a matter of time before they start selling epics and levels.

That’s ridiculous, and I think that most of the people who make that argument realize that they are making a ridiculous statement, exaggerated for effect.  Its crazy to think that Blizzard would do anything to upset their cash cow.

As I see it, a person who paid $10 for a Pandaren Monk is no different than someone who bought a Spectral Tiger TCG loot card for a few hundred dollars on eBay.  Its a harmless piece of fluff.  It is a HUGE leap to think that Blizzard would expand that service to include purchasable, game-altering items.

The only people who should be upset about this are the hard-core pet collectors.  Those who sweated out the long grind to get their Azure Whelpling, who spent hours in Zangarmarsh going for their Tiny Sporebat and Captured Firefly, all to get the Lil’ Game Hunter Achievement.  Those folks can be upset.

Used to be that walking around with a Little Fawn was pretty rare.  If you can bypass the more tedious grinds by buying pets for real money, then the uniqueness of that achievement will be lost.

Much like people used to brag about how they cleared Black Temple or Ulduar “pre-nerf” as if that was a mark of prestige, pet collectors will now have to say that they got their 75-pet achievement “pre-RMT” to show off their collecting prowess.  Is it annoying?  To some, certainly.  But is it game changing?  Definitely not, and there’s no indication that Blizzard will go nuts with this.

09
Nov
09

Comin’ for you, KT

Ah, good old Naxx.  Our old friend.

Who am I kidding?  I’m sick of Naxx.  Still, it is a path to take for gear when your alt first dings level 80.

Yes, you can get now gear with Emblems and 5-man heroic ToC that are Ulduar-quality or better.  However, while you are busy running heroics and accumulating Emblems, there are some juicy items sitting in Sapphiron and Kel’thuzad’s loot tables.  Many alts never get a shot at them because its hard to get a raid to do a full clear of Naxx these days.

No longer!  In patch 3.3, you will be able to go to Sapphiron without clearing the other four wings first.  If I read that correctly, that means you can do a nice quick 30-minute run to Sapphiron and KT and get their sweet loot.

Even though I have been gearing my priest and paladin alts through other means, it would be been nice to get a couple of quick drops in Naxx to help me get ready for harder raids.  This is another way to help us along the gear path to Ulduar, ToC, and on toward Icecrown.

I approve.

04
Nov
09

Tanking again, for the good of the guild

Our guild is currently in that no-man’s-land of numbers.  We have too many raiders to do 10-mans without people feeling left out.  We don’t have enough for 25-mans or even two 10-man teams.  The raid leaders are unhappy when they have to choose who gets to raid and who doesn’t.  The players are unhappy when they are uncertain from week to week if they will get to raid.

To address this, we’ve decided to make two raid teams anyway.  To make this work, a few people will have to do double-duty and raid with both teams on different toons.  That means we need several players in the guild who have multiple well-geared characters.

With that in mind, I quickly finished leveling my paladin to 80.  I leveled as a shockadin, which was a lot of fun.  It played like a mage with plate armor and infinite mana.  Shame it can’t break 2k dps, so I can’t raid in that spec.  I still have that as my off-spec for soloing and doing dailies.

Once at 80, I switched to a prot spec.  I grabbed some tanking plate off of the AH.  Finished leveling my engineering and made the Armored Titanium Goggles.

With 493 defense (not even close to def capped), 24k health, no enchants, blue and green quest gear, and one epic helm, I started tanking heroics.

It was… easy.  I quickly got the hang of the 969 rotation from the maintankadin site.  The tankadin rotation plus a rogue with TotT generates such a massive amount of threat that I held aggro even with ToC 10-geared dps in my runs.  Ardent Defender was there to keep me alive when I took a crit or two.

It helps that our guild has awesome healers.

I have now tanked heroics up to 5-man ToC heroic.  I’ve gained enough emblems to buy the T8.5 chest and grabbed a couple more epics along the way.  I’m still not def capped, but as soon as that happens I’ll be jumping into Naxx and Ulduar to get some real tanking under my belt.

Tanking was fun – more fun that I remember when I used this character to tank Karazhan.  Back in BC tanking was stressful for me.  It felt like generating threat was difficult and a slight error would be costly.  Now it seems smoother, easier.  I feel like I have room for error, and the threat generation is through the roof.

I have no intention of giving up my rogue.  However, once my paladin is geared up I will have three characters at Naxx25 level gear or better – a tank (paladin), a priest (healer), and a rogue (dps).  That versatility will really help us put together our guild raids until we have enough members to get back to 25-man raiding.

 




Armory

Dinaer - 90 Assassination Rogue (US - Sen'Jin)
Derence - 90 Prot/Ret Paladin (US - Sen'Jin)
Metius - 90 Shadow Priest (US - Sen'Jin)
Liebnitz - 90 Arcane Mage (US - Sen'Jin)
Fastad - 90 Subtlety Rogue (US - Sen'Jin)
Darishin - 90 Resto/Balance Druid (US - Sen'Jin)
November 2009
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