Archive for January, 2010

25
Jan
10

A Blogging Guild

I’ve had my blog running for a couple of years now, although it was only recently that I let my guildmates in on the secret.  The blog thing may be contagious.  There are now three of my guildies who now have their own blogs.  I’ll shamelessly plug them here.

Our main tank (bear druid) is phenomenal.  He’s writing a blog about feral druid tanking and raid leading.  Trust me, he knows what he’s talking about.  Check him out at Primal Precision.

The guild’s other raid leader is a mage who has been playing and raiding since early WoW.  He’s got a new blog that focuses on mage raiding, with particular emphasis on macros and other helpful tricks.  Find him at The Mage’s Den.  (ask him for stories about pre-BC raiding – he’s got a ton of great stories)

Its neat to see what other talents your guildmates have.  One of my friends from the guild has a non-WoW blog where she shows her immense artistic talents.  See her stuff at fawn of the white island.  Maybe you’ll see something you want to buy!

22
Jan
10

Pugging at Low Levels, part 2

As far as pug groups go, I’ve had a mix of good and bad pugs so far.  The tanks have generally been good.  Even at level 25-30 we’ve been able to group up the mobs and AoE them down.  We’ve had a couple of weirdos, but mostly smooth.  I’d say the number of obnoxious jerks is higher in my low level runs so far than in my level 80 heroics, but its too small a sample size to draw a conclusion.

My big obstacle has been Gnomeregan.  It creates a problem that interrupts the smooth operation of the Dungeon Finder system. The problem is that mobs just inside the entrance respawn fairly quickly.  Lets say your group is 3/4 of the way through Gnomer, and someone drops from the group.  You re-queue and get a replacement, who is ported in at the entrance.  Unfortunately, there are elite mobs between him and you.  Your only choice is to run back and re-clear some trash.

In the efficiency-at-all-costs environment that exists in the game right now, most players are not willing to make that effort, and so the group falls apart.  This has happened to me 4 of the 5 times I was put into Gnomeregan as a random dungeon.

What will happen when I am high enough level to do Maraudon?  Or BRD?  Those places are enormous and mazelike.  I can imagine someone getting ported in as a replacement, seeing that they need to make a 20 minute run from the entrance to the group, and just dropping out.

_____________________________________________

Another interesting thought.  When you run instances at level 80, you have the expectation that the other players in your group have learned their abilities through the leveling process.  That’s why level 80 players who only do 1k dps are often disparaged or insulted.

What about at level 25?  If there is a player who clearly doesn’t know how to play the class, what do you do?  It *could* be a brand new player.  Or it *could* be a guy with five 80s who is on his 12th alt, and should know better.

In one of my runs a staff dropped with +spellpower.  I indicated in party chat that I was going to roll Need.  The druid healer started yelling at me!  He said that spellpower was no good for a mage because it only gave +crit and mages didn’t need that.  I replied that Intellect gave crit, and that spellpower was good for any caster class.  He rambled on and on… wrong the whole time.

If this is a new player, this kind of misunderstanding is understandable.  If its an alt of a high level toon, its terrible.  How to react?

I simply passed on the staff (knowing that there are many more such weapons in the game that I can get without loot drama).  I told him to mouse over his intellect stat and see what it says about crit.  And I dropped it.  Maybe he learned something there.  Maybe he is long past learning such things.  I don’t know.

I could take a teacher-like approach here and share my game knowledge in hopes that I make some difference in their game experience.  Or I could just sit quietly and allow the ignorance to contiue, especially since they are not even players on my server so I’ll never hear from them again.

22
Jan
10

Pugging at Low Levels, part 1

With little to do when I’m not raiding, I’ve picked up another long-forgotten alt.  Ages ago, I had leveled a mage to 23, then let him sit.  At that time, I had three level 80 toons and I swore that I would never level another alt because I was tired of doing the same quests over and over again.

The new Dungeon Finder has completely changed that.

I’ve got him wearing two pieces of heirloom gear for a 20% boost in xp from killing mobs.  With that bonus, questing cannot even come close to instancing as far as xp/hour.  At level 25 I got into a pug for Razorfen Kraul.  I started the run having just barely dinged 25.  I ended the run 20% of the way through level 26.  A second run of Razorfen Kraul got me halfway through level 27.  Cleaning up a few quests in my log got me to 28.  Three levels in about 3 hours online.  Wow.

I expect that I will level him almost entirely in instances.  For me, that’s perfect since I have already done most of the available quests multiple times.

For a player new to WoW, this is a COMPLETELY different game than the one I played.  When I leveled in vanilla WoW questing was the way to go.  I ran each instance once, a few twice, to complete the quests that brought you there.  I spent a great deal of my playtime running from place to place between quest hubs (no mount until level 40!).  Even the times that I ran instances required the time spent getting there, assembling the group, and then running back when finished.

For a new player today, once he gets high enough to do Wailing Caverns/Deadmines/Raging Chasm/Shadowfang Keep he can level without ever leaving his home city.  Sit at the auction house, pop into the dungeon, pop back to the AH when done.  And forget doing quests for gear rewards – the Satchel of Helpful Goods reward from the pug gives nice blue items.

I’m not judging whether this is good or bad.  I’m just pointing out that this is not even remotely like the game I played 5 years ago.  I really liked the immersion that old WoW gave.  If I started the game today, I’m not sure how I would react, or if it would suck me in the way it did then.

From the point of view of a mage, this changes the leveling game completely for clothies.  One of my biggest frustrations when solo leveling the mage was my terrible squishiness.  If I let the mob get close to me I was in trouble, and accidentally aggroing two or three was certain doom. Now, in instances, I have a tank to protect me and healer to heal me and my squishiness is a non-factor.  This is a HUGE change in the leveling experience for mages.

It will be interesting to see in few months what the new players are like when they reach the level cap.  For us grizzled veterans, we we forced to learn our classes thoroughly through the long leveling process.  Sometime during BC and into WotLK, things changed so you could powerlevel a toon through only soloing, and not really learn to play it in a group.  Nowadays, new players can do nothing but instances the whole way up.  Will they be better prepared for the endgame?  Time will tell.

21
Jan
10

Loot Torture

One of my guild’s main tanks is on a bit of a sabbatical as his school semester has started.  For us to run ICC, then, we needed to bring in another tank.  We have two top tanks, and after that our next level of geared tanks are all alts of core raiders.  Last night in ICC it was my turn to set aside my main and take on tanking duties as a prot pally.

We got through the first four bosses pretty handily.  Other than a few hiccups on Lady Deathwhisper, the run went very smoothly.  We even one-shot Saurfang, despite it being the first time seeing the fight for a few of the players in the raid.  We managed to earn the I’ve Gone and Made a Mess achievement for those who didn’t already have it.

On the plus side, this was a good week for me on my paladin.  Most of my tanking experience before this was in heroics.  In the past week I have tanked 25-man Ignis for the weekly raid, and 10-man ICC (through Saurfang) twice.  I got Titanguard from FL25, received the first rep ring from Ashen Verdict and now have enough Emblems of Frost to buy the tanking trinket.

But there was loot torture aplenty in our ICC run.  Since I wasn’t on my rogue, I had to stare in horror at this debacle…

First, Marrowgar drops the Shawl of Nerubian Silk.  I have coveted that on my rogue.  It went to a hunter.  That was like a stab in the heart.

Next, Deathwhisper drops the Chestguard of the Frigid Noose.  There was no leather wearing dps in the raid, so it also went to the hunter.  Rip my lungs out, why don’t you?

Finally, Saurfang dropped the Scourge Stranglers.  I don’t even remember who got those – either the hunter again, or the druid tank.  At that point everything was all hazy through the tears in my eyes.

So the thrill of successfully tanking ICC was blunted by the disappointment of seeing all MY gear go to other players.  As if its not bad enough seeing hunters pass me on the damage meters, now they are taking my leather gear!  Loot rage !!!! lol

08
Jan
10

Rogues nerfed, news at 11

We all saw this coming, so there is not really any cause to complain.  I agree that rogues (especially mutilate rogues) were outperforming everyone else by far too great a margin to go without fixing.

So here’s the hotfix, which was applied Thursday night:

  • The base damage bonus from Hunger for Blood has been reduced from 10% to 5%.
  • The bonus damage rogues gain from attack power for poisons has been decreased. This applies to Instant Poison, Deadly Poison, and Wound Poison.

Remember that HfB was reduced from 15% to 10% not long ago.

I know they were going for a quick fix.  I just wish they taken more time and found a more subtle adjustment in the mechanics.  HfB is an easy and obvious place to make cuts, but its a heavy-handed way to do it.   I always liked HfB, even when we had to stack it and refresh its stacks.  However, as time goes on and it keeps getting weakened it becomes a less interesting talent.

According to the theorycrafters at Elitist Jerks, this change reduces mutilate dps by around 7% and combat dps by around 2% (pending further testing).  Mutilate still comes out ahead of combat spec on tank-and-spank bosses, but they are quite close and its possible that there will be fights where combat is preferred.

In my 10-man raids, we typically bring two rogues.  We are both mutilate spec.  I considered switching to combat for the Savage Combat buff, but the decrease in my personal dps outweighed the overall gain from the extra raid buff.  Now, though, it might be worth it.  Further testing will tell.

I think there are probably a couple of hunters in my guild who are looking forward to the damage meters for our next raid.  :)

P.S. – we also got this…

  • Stealthed rogues should no longer trigger traps in Ice Crown Citadel from long range
08
Jan
10

More Icecrown Citadel Traps

Just a heads up for those progressing in ICC.

Once you kill Deathbringer Saurfang, you can go through the door behind him.  You’ll see some kind of mist spray that blocks the hallway.  Don’t go in it!  After watching it for a moment, you’ll see that there are several such sprays, and they go on and off in an alternating pattern.  Yes, its another Frogger boss!  You can go through them, one at a time, pausing between each one to wait.

Rogues to the rescue!

When you get past the first spray right behind Saurfang and look to your left, you’ll see a lever against the wall.

If you are in stealth you can pull the lever and shut down all of the mist sprays.  Frogger down!  Problem solved!  (of course, you get the ability to teleport past them with the ports so its not THAT much of a help, but still…)

Wait, there’s more!

In a previous post I showed the Spirit Traps that can be disarmed by rogues in the trash area before Marrowgar.

In the hallway where Stinky and Precious path, there are geist traps.  They look exactly like the Spirit Traps.  If they are tripped, a mob of geists spawns behind you and jumps your clothies.  They can be detected in stealth and disarmed.

Like the other traps, this is a good source of rep so you may want to set it off intentionally and AoE the geists down.

Enjoy your rogue goodies!




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)
January 2010
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