Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Why Do I Play this Class? - Redux

One of my comments yesterday (Hi Noosh!) said I hardly play the warrior and warlock anymore. And he’s right. So, here are the final three 70s that I have. And in this group are my two favorites.


The Story

Remember what I wanted to make first instead of a warrior? Right. Priest. After the warrior and the warlock were at their max level, I decided I needed to do something when I wasn’t attempting to raid or playing at max level. I have a leveling partner (druid) so it shouldn’t be a big deal.

The story continues as of January 16, 2007. At the time my intention was to level my warrior to 70 first and fulfill a main tanking role. However, with the folks I was generally playing with at the time, my priest would be the better choice. I stuck firmly by my choice and eventually convinced my guild that I would not abandon progress on my priest to help them out “just for a little bit” with a tank for an instance.

What I like

I sometimes feel the most useful on my priest. Tanks and healers are a symbiotic relationship. Neither can function without the other. I don’t want to imply that I’m more important than the warrior, but I sometimes feel that way. I really appreciate the complexities of playing a priest that didn’t really exist for me with either the warlock or the warrior. This became a game of how well I could estimate what was needed now, what was needed in 5 seconds, what was needed within the next minute, and so on.

Recently I’ve done a little PVP and I’m really enjoying what, at least in my battle group, is a void. I don’t see many people healing (on Alliance side) much, and I feel I can be an asset in this area. And I like being asked to switch to a priest from an alt because someone “needs a really good healer for Heroic Instance X.”

It’s also very cool to have been my first to 70, and thus my most played at 70. That means he’s got the best gear of any of my toons. And that makes him even more fun to play than someone in crappy “I just dinged 70” gear.


The Story

My first horde character was a hunter. And hunters can solo. And I wanted something to do when I was just fooling around. Unfortunately, my hunter languished around 37 for a very long time. It was only once the expansion came out and I decided I needed a jewel crafter that I had the moment where I figured out how to get one without all the pain of massive leveling.

I had this neglected miner/engineer hunter at level 37. I could get his skill up to 300 with little or no stress. And at that point, I knew I wanted to make it to 375, and that meant leveling. So I did.

My hunter rapidly turned into one of my favorite characters to play.

What I like

I like still being able to get onto the hunter and solo. I like that I have many answers for everything in a PVE sense. I love being able to effectively chain trap and crowd control anything. Having a pet makes farming very simple. And being the first character with an epic flying mount further simplifies that. And I totally was passionately am in love with feign death. Get out of jail, here I come!

If my guild would allow me to swap mains, I would. But as I said above, the priest is just too darned good a healer to consider letting the hunter be primary.

To some degree, my hunter is the most fun I have. I don’t watch timers well enough to be a kick butt warlock. If DPS is my game, I need to use the hunter to pump it out. Raiding on my priest is fun, but I don’t often state that after a raid. Whenever I get to raid with my hunter, I tell everyone who will listen (and some who won’t) how much fun I’ve just had.


The Story

Back several months before Burning Crusade, a group of five of us got together to make midgets to play once weekly. The rules were: the five had to make a viable five-man and they all need to be midgets (i.e. short – dwarves or gnomes). We were only allowed to play these little dudes when we were all on, which quickly fell apart. So my little rogue stayed at about level 16 for almost a year. With patch 2.3, I took advantage of the increased leveling speed. And now he’s 70. And. In. Greens. And. Blues.

What I like

Did I mention get out of jail free? Vanish FTW. I’m also enjoying the new (to me) play style being right up in their faces (er..butts?) to get the job done. And there are so many situational tricks to be employed to let your group last just a bit longer. I’ve not begun to plumb the depths of the rogue, but I’m really liking it.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Why Do I Play this Class?

Over at BlogAzeroth, there’s a thread that asks about why we play our chosen class. Several members of the community have already responded on their own blogs about why they play what they do. As I sat down to tackle my take on my chosen class, I quickly got caught on the horns of a dilemma.

I don’t play “a class.” I’m an admitted alt-oholic. (I hear that admission of problem is the first step to recovery.) I guess the real answer here, is most folks have a main, I have five. So if most folks have a reason, I should also have five. Here goes. Since I don’t want to play favorites, I’ll enumerate them in the order that they hit level 60 (which was the level cap when many of them were being played.)

So, what follows is part one of this post. I just have too much to say.


The Story

Honestly, warrior was not my first choice. Several of us had played many levels on a PVP server, playing the Horde. The bad news was twofold. First we were on a server where horde to alliance ratio was something like 1 to 3. Secondly we started from 1 to 4 months after release. So, it seemed like the vast majority of the vast majority was always over-level for us. We finally got tired of never completing our quests and spending the better part of our play time running back to our corpses. We made the move to a carebear server and swapped sides.

On the Horde server, we basically all ran whatever class felt good. So we wound up with something like 87 hunters, 2 shamans and a warlock. When we made the swap, I insisted that at least a few of us build classes that could be the core of a five-man. I selected priest. Within a week of re-rolling, the guy who chose warrior decided he didn’t want to do that and instead went for priest as well. He took my trade skills to boot. Still wanting to be able to form a five-man, I re-rolled (again) and began a warrior.

What I like

I liked tanking. I liked the idea of my peers relying on me, to some degree moreso than on the healer, to keep them not dead. I liked being the guy who got dibs on the plate drops. I liked never having to look for a tank when I wanted to do Scholomance.


The Story

When my group of friends wasn’t really available, I still wanted to play. A good friend told me once that watching a protection warrior fight is like watching two old people make love. (Well, maybe he wasn’t quite so delicate, you get the idea) And this was never truer than my little dwarf tank. I sure could fight 3 or 5 mobs at a time and not die. But boy did it take forever. I wanted someone who could solo. And I wanted a mechano-chicken. And I wanted an engineer. And it sounds like gnomes would fit that bill (with the built in racial mount and extra engineering skill) if they were a warlock. It was only at level 40 that I realized, I’d get a free warlock mount and thus never probably have my mechano-chicken.

What I like

DOTs make the world go round. And a good warlock is hard to kill solo. Mobs lose agro and you can always sacrifice a voidwalker. Properly healthstoned and soulstoned, a warlock gets multiple attempts to not die. I was handy in five man dungeons and raids, always having a repairbot with me. And if I accidentally draw aggro in an instance, I have the stamina to live at least a little while.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Saving My Cool Downs

Everything I know about managing resources really came from me playing Magic: The Gathering. Back in the day, I was a big fan of saving my bombs for exactly the right moment. Unfortunately, I found that sometimes I was stuck at the end of the game with a handful of cards that could’ve come in useful when I was still alive.

To some degree the same principles apply in WoW. We’re all used to resource usage. You have a finite amount of mana, rage or energy. There are only so many reagents, bullets and potions you can carry. There are whole discussions in the blogoverse about it’s better for healers to have a larger mana pool or a greater rate of mana regeneration. And warlocks are constantly faced with the decision about conversion of one resource type (life) to another (mana).

But we all have at our disposal another resource type – time. I’m used to time as a resource as far as potion timer goes. If I drink a mana pot early, I’m likely to be able to drink another in the later stages of a fight. At first it was counter-intuitive to drink a potion when I didn’t really, really need it. But it turns out that this is quite often the best solution.

Of course, this article isn’t really about potion timers either. It is really more about abilities we all have that have a longish cool-down. I’m talking things in the 3-6 minute range rather than the cool downs that are more easily measured in fractions of hours.

I’ve always been a big saver of cool downs. For instance, I only tend to pop my Rapid Fire on bosses. However, I think I’m playing wrong. I should be popping that skill each time it comes up as long as it’ll also be available for the upcoming boss.

I think the thing that needs to be kept in mind is that these abilities have a cool down because they are very powerful. More powerful abilities tend to have longer cool downs. So as long as you can use the cool down and still have it available for key fights, you should. You’ll have better luck knowing when you can use cool downs on bosses that you’ve cleared before, but for the most part it’s never “Surprise! Here we are at a boss!”

I tried to follow my own advice on the guild Karazhan run and I noticed some improvement in my overall performance. Of course, I don’t recommend this for key abilities that more appropriately belong to your raid leader than you (battle resurrection, enervate, and the like). Good luck out there!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Crowd Control - Again

In the interest of completeness, I'm posting this addendum to the crowd control post. As pointed out in the comments, I did miss Wyvern Sting buried deep, deep in the Survival Tree for hunters. I had the nagging feeling I'd missed something. Surprised anyone found me out in the wall of text!

But as I was headed home last evening, I realized I'd also missed a whole other category of crowd control. Yeah, I covered the classes pretty well, but what I missed is the trade skills.

Engineers seem to hit the mother lode here with several options for crowd controlling. The first comes at fairly low level. Low enough to abuse it in Gnomeregan! The Gnomish Universal Remote Control does a mind control effect like priests that only effects creatures of type Mechanical. Later they get the Gnomish Net-O-Matic Projector. Finally, in the Engineering world we get the ever popular Gnomish Poultryizer. Only the Poultryizer requires Gnomish Engineering Specialization. None of these is 100% reliable. You have to love the uncertainty of engineering.

The other trade skill that has crowd control is tailoring. Enter the Netherweave Net. The net only lasts for 3 seconds and is unreliable against targets over level 70. Your mileage may vary.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Raid Symbols & You!

Does everyone recognize those 8 symbols over yonder?


Now tell me what each of them means?

This is where things start to fall apart. Not each group uses them to mean the same things. I admit, I'm biased about what these things mean because I'm often the group leader in charge of marking. So I've decided what I think they mean, but let me tell you it is NOT universal.

Pretty much everyone uses the skull to mean "we kill this first." So far so good. Quite often the X (or cross) means the tank will hold this one and we'll kill it next. In the case where there is an off-tank, that's usually his or her symbol.

Next is the blue square. To me (and apparently a lot of other folks) it looks like an ice cube and invariably is assigned to the hunter.

Now, some real disagreement begins to set in. While the first three symbols are (becoming) standard, the other five are not really at all. Perhaps, the most consistent, is using the moon to designate sheep. I've used it that way from the beginning and I've begun to notice other groups doing the same.

The yellow star is sometimes used as the sap symbol. I like the alliteration of star=sap.

The orange circle (or condom or nipple) is what I usually mark patrols with. Strangely enough, I also use it to designate a mind control target.

The purple diamond belongs to warlocks in my mind. I think it is because of all the symbols it looks the most like a heart. And a seduced target has hearts rising up from its head. I know, "Bremm is a weirdo."

Lastly there's the green triangle (or panties as Owaru told me). I generally reserve this as a spare symbol in case I have more than one of a class that can CC (the second sheep, the second ice trap) or for the second warlock target if we need enslave and banish. In cases where I need to mark a patrol and mind control, or there is more than one patrol, I'll also use this.

I'm not sure how common my usage is, but I thought I'd share.

Note: Although these are called raid target icons, they are also used a lot in instances. In fact, I will often use them when duo-leveling just to highlight where things are. Don't be afraid to use them, they're not just for raiding anymore.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Two Degrees of Separation?

So. WowInsider linked to one of Kestrel's posts this morning for the breakfast topic. About bandages. You see, Kestrel referenced my post of last week about Secondary Skills when he began his post on Bandages.

So, if Kestrel, having been linked is at one degree of separation, I'm at two. I'll share now the impact this has had on my hits. And the day is scarcely begun.
I'm pretty happy about the hit increase! Thanks again for the linkage, Kestrel!

Crowd Control THIS

Conventional wisdom says there are three roles in MMORPGs. Tank, Heal, DPS. I posit that there is a fourth in the form of crowd control. Let's take a look at crowd control (CC) options that exist for us. And while the photo over yonder has exactly zero to do with our favorite game, it is what comes up on a Google image search for "crowd control." Who knew?

There are several categories of crowd control. Some forms of crowd control can be applied prior to combat only, some can be applied before or during combat, some have long cool down times, and most affect only a few categories of enemies. Some methods of crowd control last a long time; some last mere seconds. Nearly all forms of crowd control can be broken.

Mages are well known for applying polymorph (sheep) to humanoid or beast enemies. Mobs can be re-sheeped in combat. Any damage will break the polymorph. Many instances and raids are absolutely chock-full of monsters vulnerable to sheep. Polymorph lasts around 30-45 seconds subject to resisting. It's a reliable, repeatable form of crowd control if you're fighting humanoids or beasts. The only other method of crowd control that mages have is frost nova. This will lock down melee mobs, but will not prevent spell casting or ranged weapons. Quite often frost nova is used to hold mobs in place for eventual death by AOE.

Rogues are known for sap. Humanoids can be sapped but only when neither the target nor the rogue is in combat. It must also be applied from stealth. Since sap requires both targets to be out of combat, mobs cannot be re-sapped. There is also a danger that a rogue will be "noticed" while setting up for the sap. Liberal use of distract helps lower this chance and if things truly go south, the rogue should be able to vanish out of the problem. Another caveat about sap is that some mobs can "see through stealth." Any enemy in a group that can see through stealth effectively eliminates this method of CC. Rogues can also make use of two other types of limited CC. Blind causes the target to walk around in confusion for a few seconds. This may be useful if a sap wakes up too early, giving the party just a few seconds to burn down another mob before dealing with the sapped mob. Finally, rogues can stunlock mobs keeping them from doing much for some time. Eventually, the rogue will run out of combo points and energy-usually with a pissed off mob on his or her hands.

Priests have a few options for CC. Undead mobs can be shackled. Shackles, apart from which categories of enemy can be affected, are very much like sheeps. Both can be re-applied and break on damage. Humanoid mobs, on the other hand, can be mind controlled. Mind control can be an effective means of crowd control, but prevents the priest from doing anything him or herself for the duration. Instead, the priest will have a "pet bar" representing a (very small) subset of the mobs normal abilities. Mind control is generally not favored for CC if the priest is your healer. While the fight is going on, the priest won't be giving any heals unless the mind controlled mob has healing spells on the pet bar. I've most often used MC as CC for dicey gigantic pulls when there is another healer. Keep in mind, some mobs have access to incredible buffs and a priest that MCs one can buff the party. Keep a watch out for these buffs if you are mind controlling one. Finally, priests can do an AOE fear. Fears are often dangerous as you can't control where feared mobs go. And a priests fear is often overkill as you can't select only one or a few targets to be feared. Everything in the area will be affected (subject to resists, of course).

Warlocks have a large number of CC options but only against specific mob types. First of all demons or elementals can be banished. This CC does not break on damage and can be re-applied. However, not many enemies match the types that can be affected. The warlocks succubus minion can seduce humanoids as well. The seduce is not as strong as sheep, for instance. It lasts less time (around 15 seconds) and is harder to reapply (without a macro). Aggro from the previously seduced mob is on the succubus. The succubus is a fairly fragile minion and will often die if the mob is not dealt with immediately. Warlocks can also enslave a demon enemy. This comes at the cost of the warlock's current minion, so don't ask a warlock to enslave and seduce concurrently. Enslave lasts a long time (up to 5 minutes) and can be re-applied. However, most parties will have the warlock release the demon prior to expiration. Enslaves have a nasty habit of breaking mid-combat otherwise. Warlocks also have access to fear in three flavors. Like the priest they have an AOE fear. Untalented, this takes about 1.5 seconds to cast (can be lowered to instant cast in the affliction tree). Additionally they have two single target fear effects (Fear and Death Coil). Death coil lasts only a few seconds and has a 2 minute cool down. However, it gives the warlock back some life. All warlock fears can be broken by damage.While I don't consider off-tanking to be true crowd control, a warlock's minion can also keep a mob busy. The only really viable off-tank pets are the voidwalker and felguard.

Hunters have access to Freezing Trap. Freezing trap will freeze a mob (of any type) in place for about 30 seconds. Any damage will break the trap. The mob must be drawn to the trap and will then trigger it freezing in place. Hunters that manage cool downs can have 2 (or even 3 specced right) mobs on ice at a time, but only one trap can be laying on the floor at a time-traps will last for up to one minute before they disappear. The cool down is shared amongst the five types of traps that hunters have (at 70) and is 30 seconds. While most crowd control can be applied wherever the mob is, the hunter must lure his target to the trap. It is harder for a hunter to CC mobs that cast spells or use ranged weapons. Another party member can interrupt a caster's spell to help the hunter, of if he or she is a Marksman spec, silencing shot can help. Hunters also have a fear effect, but it only works on beasts. The cool down is long (about 30 seconds) and it doesn't seem to last long. I'm sure all PVP hutners know this but both other hunter pets and druids in animal forms count as beasts. I still don't consider off-tanking to be true crowd control, but a hunter's pet can also keep a mob busy. The pet will likely need heals either from the hunter or the party healer to fulfill this duty. Finally, marksman hunters might have access to scatter shot. This will be similar to a rogue's blind.

Druids have access to several CC options, but with even further limitations. First, if outside, druids can use entangling roots to keep mobs in place (but like frost nova doesn't prevent ranged weapons or spells). Some raids and even one dungeon are considered "outside": Zul'Farrak, Zul'Gurub, and Zul'Aman. Basically, if an instance starts with Zul and features trolls, it's probably outside. Druids also have access to hibernate to put dragonkin or beasts to sleep. This is similar to a sheep-can be broken by damage, can be re-appplied, etc. Lastly druids can use cyclone to take a mob out of the fight for about six seconds. The enemy will be invulnerable for the duration (like a warlock's banish).

As we approach the final three classes, CC options are getting more limited. Warriors have an AOE fear like priests and a stun in the protection tree. Paladins have a single-target fear that affects only undead and a stun. Shamans have well...did I mention that I don't consider a pet off-tanking to be true CC? Shamans do have both an earth elemental and fire elemental totem that can keep one mob busy for a short time.

So. I'm looking up at this wall of text. It's important to know what types of crowd control you have available to you in an instance. If you're the group leader, you'll save yourself a lot of embarrassment by not asking rogues to "re-sap" or assigning a mage to polymorph a demon.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Check these off

A few days (weeks) ago, I posted my Hunny Do List. Things I wanted to get done on my rogue.

  1. Decide on a final spec - I'm not done, so this is still on the list. Still toying with Mutilate, but considering a more traditional combat spec, albeit with Daggers over Swords. I just like the idea of rogues with daggers.
  2. Create a list of wanted equipment - Done. Not going to post full list, but I've got my list done.
  3. Finish Karazhan keying - Still need Black Morass. All other quests done and waiting on a BM run
  4. Get Enchanted - Nope. Not got equipments. I think only the helmet I have is final equipment (pre-Kara) and that does have a Glyph on it. Can I get partial credit?
  5. Finish Alchemy Specialization - Done. Woot. Potions.
  6. Clean out the *expletive* bank - Semi cleaned out.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Space Goats?

In my daily life, I'm pretty sensitive to things that may or may not be offensive. If I'm in doubt, I err on the side of caution. But the other day I was either chatting with some people at work or reading a blog (the two run together, don't ask) and came across the term "space goats." At first I was a little concerned that this is (or could be offensive).

Then I started thinking about all the other things we call ourselves and others in game. Gnome players are often making fun of their own height. Hell, one of the Blizzard programmed jokes says something about being "short-changed." And have you even thought abuot the number of Tauren named after some beef, steak, meat pun? My favorite Tauren name of all time has to be "Eatmorchikn" from the popular Chick-Fil-A advertising. Undead guys are named after rotting, putrescence or famous deceased folks.

After I rationalized this a little more, I've come to the conclusion that this is completely non-offensive. But maybe that's just me. Does anyone else have thoughts on how offensive this may be in game? Or do you care? And more importantly, and I'm looking at Pike (and other RPers) it different on an RP server?

Secondary Skills

We've talked about skills for various classes. Today, I'd like to touch on each of the secondary skills. You know, the ones everyone can learn in addition to the two primary trade skills you're allowed. I'm talking about cooking, fishing and first aid.

Let's start with first aid. There is no reason for any character to not learn first aid. Yes, it takes cloth. Yes, the cloth resources may be stretched if you're also leveling tailoring as one of your primary skills. However, it's my belief that there will be (nearly) enough cloth drops from mobs you kill to support both first aid and tailoring. But, I hear you say, why should I learn first aid on my class that can heal? Priests, paladins, shamans and druids can all heal themselves. But I know I've been in situations where I was totally out of mana, in combat and had time to bandage. What I didn't have was the mana to finish the mob and heal myself. Most of those classes have ways to put a single mob out of commission long enough to get a few ticks in from a bandage. Stuns, fears, and roots can handle that job nicely. I think the taunt totem would also allow you a few ticks of bandaging. And sometimes in an instance, a bandage will serve any of those classes well. Please don't ignore first aid. As a tip, you can use some bandages before you can make them. Wowwiki has a nice chart, so if you have other characters that can make bandages and "outgrow" something they've made, consider sending them to a lower level alt who can benefit from the bandage before it can be manufactured.

Cooking also is something that I think everyone should learn. I find a total of 26 cooking recipes that are quest rewards. These quests are likely going to be in your leveling chain anyway as you level. Additionally, many mobs will drop items that can be cooked. Most of the time, I do not "cook in the field." I collect the bits & pieces as I quest and when I'm back in town I hit up the (usually) handy trade vendor, buy the spices I need, find a fire and cook up everything I have. Rarely will there be no fire (or cookpot or stove) handy. In those cases I often carry a stack of wood and flint & tinder. Just in case. The last couple of times I've leveled a character, I found it very easy to keep up with cooking. There is a pronounced deadspot around 270 where nothing you can cook will come from drops. You'll have to fish. This is supposed to be fixed in the next patch, but for now you need some fish to get to 300. From 300 on it's easy. For those of you that have leveled fishing, there's currently a market for fish to get you to 300. I got all of mine from Azshara. Tip for fisherman who want to make some gold. And past 300, some of the easiest to acquire buffs in the game come from eating cooked food. And things like Golden Fishsticks or Ravager Dog also sell pretty well on the auction house.

This leads us to fishing. I do not recommend leveling fishing "as you level." I find that fishing takes too long to make significant gains while I'm focused on leveling my character. I usually get fishing to 75-ish and then carry my pole with me. Whenever I'm waiting on a party member or a boat, I fish. It never seems to go up fast enough. This is definitely a skill that I tend to level post 70. However, keeping fishing in line with cooking will make the cooking even easier to level.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Respec Notes

So, the time has come to fix up my hunter’s build a little. No, this isn’t the great hunter experiment of 2007 where I run simultaneous runs with two different specs and all other variables held constant. That experiment has for the most part fallen by the wayside as I’m not that eager to go to Beast Master. Instead this is more in line with some things I knew I had done wrong when I first went to my build after hitting 70. This was only exacerbated by the post in mid-December by BRK about the (and I'm paraphrasing) dungbombs in the marksman tree. When I actually looked, I found I'd taken most of the dungbombs listed. Lest anyone think I'm a "bad hunter" and needed my shortcomings pointed out by BRK, I knew that I'd taken some less than optimal choices, but unless something is really broken, I quite often go back and fix it.

That said, I thought I'd share my personal philosophy on how to best respec. Here it comes another list.

  1. Determine why you are respeccing. Is it to change to a completely new build? Are you intending to take on another role within your class? Is it to make microscopic adjustments to your build? If you don't understand what you're trying to accomplish, how can you determine your success?
  2. Faithfully copy your build into an online talent calculator (like the one at Wowhead). Preferably this one should be something that can print a text version of your build. Double check and make sure you've copied your build exactly. Print this build.
  3. Reset the talent calculator and build your new proposed build. Print this too.
  4. Mark the two print-outs with labels. (I reccommend "OLD" and "NEW." Use whatever makes sense to you!)
  5. Cross out any skills that are in common between the two builds in every way. There is no net loss or gain from those skills between the two builds. They are the same in every way.
  6. Open your favorite word processing program (that supports tables) or spreadsheet program. Make the following columns: Skill, Old Effect, Old Rank, New Effect, New Rank, Net Effect, +/-, Weight.
  7. Using one line for each skill that's different begin filling in the table. When you get to the +/- column mark + for a new ability, - for an ability you lose on respec. Assign a weight from1-5 in the weight column.
  8. Add up the pluses and minuses. This tells me whether I should respec or not. That is if my assigned weight to the skill makes it "worth it."
That's it. Happy respec!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Hunny Do List

Well, it seems like everybody's doing it, so I'll also bite the bullet and give a quick list of Bremmie's goals & objectives.

  1. Decide on a final spec - I'm currently using a mutilate/combat build that Doom wrote about.
  2. Create a list of wanted equipment - this is purely an out-of-game activity. I need to figure out what gear I really need. Right now I know I need a couple of good daggers, several pieces of dungeon set 3 armor, and some other pieces. A lot of this will be dependent on my first goal.
  3. Finish Karazhan keying - The odds of me ever getting to go to Karazhan with Bremmie are pretty small. But I'd like to at least be eligible even if that never comes to pass.
  4. Get Enchanted - I'll need to decide on what enchants I want on each piece and then start farming mats (or have my other toons donate them)
  5. Finish Alchemy Specialization - I chose Potion Specialization since my other alchemist is an elixir specialization. This involves running Botanica since I've already got the needed potions stockpiled in the bank.
  6. Clean out the *expletive* bank - I have herbs everywhere. My priest is an alchemist and still has some stuff hanging out in his bank. My warlock is an herbalist (to feed the priest) and has stuff in her bank. My rogue is both and so has herbs - of all levels. I need to get these things consolidated. So that Bremmie will have a slot or three free in the bank.

That should keep me busy.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

A good PUG

Since just two days ago I gave you an article on PUG instancing, I thought I'd share my latest experience with it. It was late, but I was in queue to do Shadow Labyrinth. As I was nearly ready to log off, I got a whisper asking if I'd like to go. I said sure. Here was the (eventual) group we wound up with. We had a different initial tank, but went offline without explanation and was dropped in favor of our druid.

The cast-

While I was a little dismayed to see the Boomkin we started with (I don't think any of us knew he was boomkin) tanking in moonkin form and using trees and what not, it worked out pretty well. At times he brought in his epic-geared warrior. That went smoother, but the two wipes we had were not because it wasn't a standard tank. One wipe resulted from a bad pull where we got the big six-armed chick and a six group right before Blackheart. The second was an uncontrolled runner before Murmur.

What was nice to see was that even though none of us knew one another before hand, we all did know our own roles. And we executed those roles during the run.

Needless to say, I've made room on my friends list for each of these guys and/or gals. It was nice to see people who could do what needed to be done. And honestly a couple close calls were my fault. I've not played a rogue before in an instance where me performing crowd-control was really required. Let me just say - fires suck. Thank god for vanish!

Monday, January 7, 2008

What I did on my Christmas Vacation

Got the rogue to 70. Yes, that makes 5 of them now. Incidentally, it turns out that shaman/rogue combo levels incredibly fast. I'm guessing the only pair that could match would be rogue/druid, but not by much. Whatever Blizzard did to the leveling from 20-60 was sorely missed post 60. If I hadn't had the time off, this would've taken me too long to bear.

Went and said hello to BRK and the rest of the Aetherial Circle gang on Drenden. Still waiting on the concept nee idea.

Mucked around a bit on the shaman. 23 now.

Found out I was dead on right about Cenarion Rep. Never having entered a dungeon for CE rep on the rogue, I was revered at level 68 in Netherstorm. The last few points to tip me over the top were from the Night Elf just outside the Stormspire.

And made out well on the trip to the folks house. For something completely non-WoW.

When PUGs Attack

When a PUG forms there are a lot of things going on all at once. And there are a couple of varieties of PUG out there. First of all, there's the true PUG. This is the one where you'll see five different guild tags floating above the heads of your party. Probably no one in the group has played extensively with any of the other members. This is the type that takes the most trust building all at once. There is also the mixed PUG where usually the five members are distributed across two guilds - two from one guild, three from another. This is potentially the easiest PUG to adapt to, no matter if you're the two or the three. Lastly there is the PUG where all members except one are from one guild and there is a sole member not in the guild.

The PUG with five different guilds takes some trust building at first. You don't know what to expect out of your party members and they don't know what to expect of you. This is the PUG that I've had the most problem with. I expect to be in for big repair bills and lots of frustration when I join this type of PUG. When I'm playing my healer, I'm adjusting to exactly how good everyone is at their job and how good the armor is. Mostly I need to learn how low I can let a tank go while I tend to other's lowering health pools. There's no way you can know right from the start whether a down-ranked heal will keep the tank up while you flash heal or renew another member. When I'm playing a DPS or CC class, I show them that I can do my job by keeping my mob locked down until the group is ready for it. If I'm playing the 'lock, I ask if I'll be CCing (so I know whether the succubus or the imp is the better pet to have out). Most of this will probably have to be done in chat because I've not found many using in-game voice chat and there likely won't be another method of voice communication (unless someone has a ventrilo or team speak server available). This is also the only PUG in which I'll specifically ask about loot rules. You should definitely be comfortable with whatever the loot rules are before heading out.

The 2-3 or 3-2 PUG is easier on you. You (presumably) know at least your co-guildmember in this PUG. You have to only be concerned with the other guild. And quite honestly, this type of PUG rarely forms unless two of the non-guilded players have played together before. Even if you don't know three of them and have ridden on your guildmate's coattails, they will expect you know how to do your job because your guildmate recommended you. Voice chat is much more likely here. Someone will likely offer their guild server

The 1-4 PUG is easy if you're the 4. If you're the 1, you're the odd-man out and you need to prove to this other guild you know what you're doing. If you're the 1, re-assure them that you can do your job. Voice chat is almost assured here as well. Voice makes all PUG work easier.

I will say that in general, I've had very good PUG luck. I like to think that's because I know what I'm doing and can prove it. And there's nothing like having them say in chat that "At least you're not like that last hunter."

Friday, January 4, 2008

Didja All Miss Me?

I've taken a much needed vacation from work. Although this doesn't mean I needed to take a vacation from the blog, I did that as well.

Don't worry, I didn't take a WoW vacation as well in fact, there was hardly a day I didn't play. So, I'll have lots of WoW related goodness to catch you all up on come Monday.

In fact, there may be so much goodness that you'll be getting caught up for weeks to come.

See you all on Monday.