Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Badges of Justice... OR Conspiracy Theory???

This is another fun meta post. I was thinking about this a little last night. Bremagorn accumulated enough badges to have over 100 and visit the badge vendor on the island. I purposefully left his badges in his bank and avoid an impulse purchase.

After annoying my guildmates way too much about which to choose -- pants or chest, I think I've finally decided on the chest piece. I would save for the crossbow, but it doesn't seem that much better than mine, I have a skill of 1, AND I thin the crossbow is ugly.

So, then I actually got thinking about why we're using badges now. There seems a very simple answer. Blizzard has introduced a hard to acquire, soulbound object as currency to combat gold farming and account hacking. Gold is a very liquid currency. It can be moved easily, transferred by trade or mail, and is used for a great many things in game. Liquid currencies are easy to move and hide. And it's very easy to hack accounts to get at it.

Soulbound items can't be traded or sold (on the AH). Instead of charging 10,000 G for the new gear, the price was set instead at a number of badges.

However, what would be happening in game? Why on earth would vendors like the new smith WANT all these badges of justice? Is she hording them for some purpose. And if they're truly soul bound how can she even accept them (yes, I know she's an NPC. It's just a thought experiment). Or perhaps she is working both sides. Perhaps, she's SELLING the Badges that we turn in to bosses in raids and heroic dungeons. Perhaps the raid bosses are also doing their dailies to open a new vendor so they can gear up! Sort of makes ME wonder...

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Exalted - Five Factions

I've made some fairly heady posts the past two days, and I thought I'd make a "hooray me" post today that's light and fluffy. I ran Karazhan last night filling a DPS slot in my old guild and was able to hit exalted. That's my fifth exalted faction on (what I used to consider) my alt.

The other factions I'm exalted with are: Scryers, Sha'Tar, Cenarion Expedition, and Sha'tari Skyguard. I'm pretty happy with it.

There are six more factions that I'm Revered with and working towards exalted:

  • Honor Hold (20613/21000)
  • Ogri'la (15745/21000)
  • Consortium (3957/21000)
  • Lower City (8337/21000)
  • Shattered Sun Offensive (17327/21000)
  • Keepers of Time (3961/21000)
I guess, both the Shattered Sun and Honor Hold are laughable. One run of any of the Hellfire instances in Heroic (or a normal Shattered Halls) should get me over the top. And I'm pretty sure the Shattered Sun can be done in a couple days of dailys. Maybe I'm just lazy.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Raiding as a Caster - Spell Hit and DPS

Today we're talking only to the offensive casters in the raid group. So listen up mages, warlocks, shadow priests, elemental shamans, and boomkin. This post is for you. Hunters, rogues, warriors, elemental shamans and healers can have the day off.

In the world of raiding, you're going to have a set of "goal" numbers to get into Karazhan which is probably about +600 spell damage, 9000 Mana, 7500 Health. These benchmarks are set up this way because it's what you need to succeed at Karazhan. Luckily, as you are busy succeeding, you're getting gear drops. Each of those drops is hopefully making you a little better at turning mana into dead bosses.

At some point, you'll be heading off to the 25 man content. Your raid leader now may expect some things out of you that you're unused to dealing with. I think most raid leaders want to see consistent DPS out from all damage dealers at around 800-850 DPS. Damage meters will run and data will be collected. If for some reason you don't measure up, you'll have to work out why. Here is a list of potential pit-falls arranged in the order of easiest to hardest to correct.

  1. Did I do everything in my power to self-buff? Did you eat your +spell damage food? Did you have one flask or two elixirs? Did you put Wizard Oil on your weapon? Is everything enchanted with suitable enchants? Did I ensure I had all buffs? (The number of Paladin buffs you have should be equal to the number of paladins in your raid. Unless you are running in some bizarro world with 15 paladins.) Did I use my self-only buffs as needed? These questions all address one 0f the best ways to get yourself ready for a raid. Eat appropriate food, use appropriate elixirs or flasks, and ensure you have buffs. However, after doing just that you may still be falling short of your goals.
  2. Was I in the appropriate raid group? This is completely beyond your control. However, being in a group with a Draenei caster is always appropriate. Their racial increases your spell hit rating by 1%. While it's nice to have healers in groups with elemental shamans, it's often more appropriate to split them up amongst your casting groups. Totem of Wrath gives a +3% spell hit to group members. Alliance really lucks out here in that all of elemental shamans give +4% (racial + totem) to their groups. Warlocks may lose out here in that their imps often provide stamina buff to primarily tank/melee groups. If so, try to make sure those warlocks are affliction locks. (See Question #3)
  3. Is my spec built for end-game raiding? We all like to do some grinding, daily questing and PVPing. However, depending on your class there are some talents you must absolutely have to avoid misses.
      • Druids - Balance of Power (Balance Tier 6) increases spell hit by 4%
      • Mages - Elemental Precision (tier 1 Frost) increases fire and frost spell hit by 3%. Arcane Focus (tier 1 Arcane) increases arcane spell hit by 10%.
      • Priests - Shadow Focus (tier 2 Shadow) increases shadow spell hit by 10%. There is also a talent buried deep in the discipline tree that affects spell hit for some spells. I haven't listed it because I don't think there is a reliable spec that hits both of these. If there is, I'm sure an astute reader will find it.
      • Shamans - Three separate talents increase spell hit:
        • Elemental Precision (Elemental Tier 6) Increases spell hit by 6%.
        • Nature's Guidance (Restoration Tier 3) Increases spell hit by 3%
        • Totem of Wrath (Restoration Tier 9) increases entire party spell hit by 3%.
      • Warlocks - Suppression (Affliction Tier 1) increases affliction spells only by 10%.
    It is definitely worth a respec to check it out and see if you can't up your DPS just by not missing.
  4. Do I need spell hit gear? While your gear may have been perfectly fine for Karazhan, if you're missing on spells, you're sacrificing DPS. There is some very nice spell hit gear for casters in Karazhan. Also, consider giving up a spell damage enchant (you do have one of those, don't you) on your gloves for Spell Strike for the +15 spell hit rating. The amount of gear with +spell hit you need can be as much as 202 (for no talent/no buffs). Consider also Great Dawnstone (yellow) or Veiled Noble Topaz (yellow/red) to give yourself a +spell hit rating buff.
After you've worked your way through this list of items, you should be seeing a significant boost to the DPS you're doing as a caster. Don't get complacent though, you still need to keep your +spell damage as high as possible, keep enough stamina to not die to environmental effects, manage your threat and do everything else you've learned.

As we progress WoW becomes more and more of a thinking person's game. I hope you brought your thinking cap.

Friday, April 25, 2008

How Not to Spec

Every time I look at someone's spec and see 0/0/61 (or 0/61/0 or 61/0/0) I cringe. I'm just afraid that by putting the whole kit and kaboodle into a tree, you're really gimping yourself elsewhere. As I started the research for this topic, I found out that not all classes have the same number of talent points to work with. In fact, let's look at a picture.

This graph shows the total number of choices for the 61 skill points available to you (at level 70). It's pretty easy to see that rogues far outweigh other classes with a startling 208 possible talent point allocations. Coming in last place on the total number of choices are druids and warlocks with just over 180 points each.

I'd like to tell you how many possible rogue specs there are but the mathematics deals with absolutely HUGE numbers and the non-equal distribution of the trees makes this non-trivial. Let's just say there are a lot.

Something else that I didn't know is that for some class-tree combinations, it is not possible to have all 61 points into one tree. Let's look at another graph that shows the number of talents (per tree) for the various classes.

It's pretty clear that the following class-tree combinations can never spend all 61 points in that tree because there are fewer than 61 total points in the tree:

  • Balance Druids
  • Beastmastery Hunters
  • Affliction Warlocks
  • Feral Druids
The rest of you however CAN spend all points in one tree, but why would you? I can think of very few examples of when skills in low tiers of other trees would not affect your performance as your chosen spec.

I don't believe there are any true "winners" in the low tiers of either the balance or feral tree for retoration druids. So, if you're a 0/0/61 restoration druid, you can ignore this article. For the rest of you, look at the numbers, look at the trees. Take a good hard look at the tier 1 and 2 talents outside your chosen spec. Is there something in those tiers that could take the place of one of the less effective talents in your chosen tree?

Of my five 70s, I've spent 61 points in one tree on exactly none of them. My priest is discipline/holy, my hunter is beastmaster/marksman, my warlock is affliction/demonology, my rogue is subtlety/combat. Even my tank warrior doesn't have all points in protection. There are skills in the first two tiers of the other trees that are just too good.

With respec costs low (considering the cash flow available at 70) it might not hurt to try out a slightly different spec. I know I've spent plenty of gold on moving one or two (or five) points around until I found the exact spec I wanted. Take a look and see if you can't get some slightly better performance as well.

I need a new gaming computer

While this image is not my real gaming computer, that's sometimes what it feels like. The good news is with the IRS about to deposit my refund into my bank account, I'm going to be buying a new machine. If anyone who reads has some advice, I'd love to entertain it. I will not be spending $5K or anything like that but am looking at something in the $2500 range. If you have advice, feel free to leave me links in the comments. Also, I'm working on a longish post and have been ignoring new material in favor of finishing this post up.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Don't worry, my pet won't bite

A hunter in my guild sent me a question the other night about why his new pet bat (on an alt of his) wouldn't or couldn't learn bite. I asked a few questions and tried to answer his questions, but in the end couldn't come up with the right set of questions to ask as I was waiting to begin Karazhan. I promised to address his question here when I had more time to think of it.

Just for the record, the vast majority of my data and research for this article comes from Petopia. This is an awesome resource for hunters and if you'd don't use it, well, up yours.

Getting a pet to learn skill takes a couple of things. First, you as the hunter must have trained a pet that has the skill you want to teach. That is, if you've never had a pet that comes with a skill, like bite, you can't train it. Petopia will give you a list of pet families that can learn each skill and particular animals that are tamed aleady knowing a skill. The second thing you must have is enough training points to teach the skill. Rank 1 of most skills is 1 point. However, pets that have recently been trained may be too rebellious to have a positive total of points.

I have no evidence to support this, however, I recall training new pets and having them have negative points upon training. It takes them gaining loyalty to increase the points.

I suspect that this hunter is having the problem of knowing the skill, but the bat being too rowdy to actually be able to learn it. This is a problem with loyalty, not inability.

So, what's the best way to gain loyalty? Keep them happy! And the way to a pet's heart is through the stomach. Don't let the mood go to yellow or red, it must be green. In fact to keep happiness maximized, I feed the pet. Once they are no longer gaining happiness from that, I feed them again. The red/yellow/green indicator is really only ranges on the continuum of happiness levels.

Pulling numbers from thin air, say happiness can have numeric values from 1 to 1000. Dividing that up into three segments would mean that from happiness 1 to 333, the pet's mood is red. From 334-667 the mood is yellow; 668-1000 is a green mood.

The moment your pet's happiness goes above 667, the mood will be green. However, there is still a full range of happiness there to exploit. Keep feeding the pet until it stops gaining happiness at all (it'll show up in your combat log).

Then go engage mobs. Your pet should start working its way through the various loyalty levels from Rebellious (loyalty 1) to Best Friend (loyalty 6). Mania, who runs Petopia, discovered the chart for pet loyalty. It's avaialable on WowWiki.

So, unnamed hunter alt in my guild, I hope this helps. If not, hit me up in game and we'll consult the big guns.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Glyph of the Outcast VERSUS Glyph of Ferocity

I routinely look at what searches are generating hits for my blog. One thing that routinely shows up is the Glyph of the Outcast and the Glyph of Ferocity. As far as I know, I only mentioned this in one place, when talking about enhancements for the helmet.

Also, apparently, I'm one of the only places on the whole wide internet that has written anything about these two glyphs. Otherwise, I shouldn't be getting so many hits on those things. So let's review.

The Glyph of the Outcast (Revered with Lower City) gives the following:

  • +17 STR
  • +16 INT
The Glyph of Ferocity (Revered with Cenarion Expedition) gives the following:
  • +34 AP
  • +16 Hit Rating
Of all the classes for which Hit Rating (and not Spell Hit Rating) is the important statistic, two of them do not use mana at all. Thus the importance of intellect on the Outcast Glyph becomes zero and the Glyph of Ferocity is clearly the "better" choice. Congratulations DPS Warriors and Rogues. Your choice is simple. (I don't include Protection Warriors as there are better glyphs for tanking).

This leaves Retribution Paladins, Enhancement Shaman, Hunters and Druids (non-tank). Of these 4, the Attack Power formula for three of them has each point of Strength contribute two points of AP. For the hunter, each point of Strength adds one AP. Hunters, don't use the Outcast Glyph. The Ferocity is better.

Since for the remaining three classes 17 STR = 34 AP, we have only to look at the remaining stats to make the decision. 16 Intellect is equal to 240 Mana. Not insignificant, but not earth-shaking. The important thing is Hit Rating. There is a WowWiki page that talks about hit rating caps. It appears that the only class who cannot reap much greater benefit from hit rating is dual wielding windfury special attack shaman, who are hit rating capped from talents alone.

For all other classes, I'm going out on a limb here and say that the Ferocity glyph is substantially better. This is of course, just my (not-so) humble opinion. I could be wrong. I've not checked with Elitist Jerks.

I hope this clears up the Ferocity/Outcast glyph questions. And I suppose this may generate even MORE search hits in my page. But I can rest easy, knowing that the Outcast/Ferocity question has truly been answered.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Slash Ay Eff Kay

I'm in training all week at work. This means instead of thinking about what my post will entail at odd moments throughout the day and hopefully having a few seconds to write it down, I'm concentrating on training class. So, there's not much room for random thoughts in my brain.

And how silly is it that I'm posting to let you know I won't be posting much? Ah well.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Enchanting Drop Recipes

In the interest of continuing the thread from last week about where to find the bind-on-pickup recipes for a trade, I present where to find the enchanting recipes. These are all bind-on-pickup, and sadly, a larger percentage of these seem to come from instances (and raids). Gathering up the missing recipes is not necessarily an activity that a solo player can undertake.

Non-Instance BOP Drops


Netherstorm is home to three enchanting drops, all from specific mobs.

  • Enchant Bracer - Major Defense: This drops from the Ethereum Jailers and Ethereum Nullifiers. These mobs are located in the vicinity of Manaforge Ultris.
  • Enchant Cloak - Greater Shadow Resistance: This drops from Voidshriekers also around Manaforge Ultris
  • Enchant Weapon - Major Intellect: The Sunfury Researchers control the market on this enchant. They are around one of the manaforges (I think Coruu).
Blade's Edge Mountain
Blade's Edge has a pair of enchanting recipes. Be aware, that for one of these you'll need to be 70 and have a flying mount.
  • Enchant Bracer - Spellpower: This drops from the Bloodmaul Geomancers in the Southern part of the zone. If you are already attuned for Ogri'la quests, these mobs will be yellow to you and you'll need to clear less trash.
  • Enchant Weapon - Major Spellpower: The Bash'ir Spell Thieves have this recipe. They are in the same area as the stolen mana battery daily, so it may be worth grinding on them at the same time as the battery quest.
Shadow Moon Valley
Shadow Moon only has the Enchant Cloak - Greater Arcane Resistance from the Eclipsion Archmages.


  • Mana Tombs - Etheral Priests drop Enchant Boots - Fortitude.
  • Auchenai Crypts - Raging Skeletons drop Enchant Boots - Dexterity.
  • Steamvaults - Coilfang Oracles drop Enchant Bracers - Fortitude
  • Shattered Halls - Shattered Halls Centurions (there are only 4) drop Enchant 2H Weapon - Savagery
  • Arcatraz - Eredar Deathbrings (again, only a few of these mobs) drop Enchant 2H Weapon - Major Agility
  • Magister's Terrace - Delrissa (the third boss) drops Enchant Cloak - Steelweave
  • Karazhan - Wow FOUR enchanting recipes. Here they are (most from bosses):
  1. Phantom Stagehand - Enchant Boots - Surefooted
  2. Terrestrian Illhoof - Enchant Weapon - Soulfrost
  3. Shade of Aran - Enchant Weapon - Sunfire
  4. Moroes - Enchant Weapon - Mongoose
So, that's that. I've not mentioned the BOE world drops, I think this is quite enough of a list for now. Good luck in your farming

Friday, April 11, 2008

Daily Quests - Skettis, Ogri'la, Sunwell Isle

It's not news, but with 2.4 each character can do up to 25 daily quests each day. This is a lot of quests to do. I personally did about 80% of them last night on one guy and it took 2-ish hours. I thought it might be enlightening for me to share my three favorite and three least favorite daily quests and talk about them a few moments.

Please consider that I primarily do these quests on a character having an epic flying mount. That makes travel under one's own power much more palatable than slowly flap-flap-flapping around the Outland. Additionally, I've not done all of the Netherwing pre-quests so I can't address anything in that quest chain.

Favorite Quests

  1. Bombing in Skettis and Ogri'la: With an epic mount, the chance of being dismounted by either the giant Kaliri or the Legion Flak Cannons is almost non-existent. Each of these is a quick five minute jaunt through the air dropping bombs. Both are quite easy and I like them for the return on investment.
  2. Mana Batteries in Blade's Edge Mountain: This is a Sunwell Isle quest, but it's really the only of its kind. Find a phasing device and then pick up ground spawn batteries. Fun and different enough that I like doing it.
  3. Skettis Prisoner: I love the fact that I can solo this quest. It's fun, simple and now that everyone and his mother is doing the NEW daily quests, he's quite easy to find.
Least Favorite Quests
  1. Wrangle Some Aether Rays/Wrangle More Aether Rays in Ogri'la: I hate having anything tag along after me when I'm working on a quest. The giant flapping ray wings obscure my view and make me a sad Bremm.
  2. Collecting Nether Residue in Shattrath: The drop rate is so abysmal on this quest that it makes it tough to do. The only saving grace for my hunter is he's a miner and can potentially collect more than one residue from a node. Still, usually a quest I do every other day as I don't collect enough in one outing.
  3. Distraction at the Dead Scar in Sunwell Isle: This quest has gotten better since nerfing the mobs, but it's still hard to get it all done every time in one run. It usually takes me two runs as I can complete about 75% on the first run.
So, that's my least and most favored quests. But in the end I like any of them that gives me gold, which all of them do. It's just that some are better than others.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Like a Blog -- For your ears

I was having a discussion a while ago with a WoW friend and somehow we got on the topic of podcasts. Since my commute is an hour each way, I quite often will have my iPod earphones one. For a good long while, I was listening to audio books. But somehow I found my first podcast.

Podcasts are sort of like bunnies if you have one podcast to listen to, suddenly you have like a thousand. Or maybe they are Lay's Potato Chips and you can't listen to just one. Regardless, my podcast play list soon grew to enough podcasts that I was giving up the audio books in lieu of the podcasts I'd found.

I'm going to share just a few of my favorites out there today on the weird off chance that you all don't know what to listen to.

I struggled a good deal in putting this list up. I think all of the podcasts below are worth listening to and I don't want you to necessarily think those listed first are "better" than the others on the list. So, I actually put each of them on a slip of paper and drew it out randomly. So, there is no actual preference other than that of a God who plays dice.

  • Outlandish Podcast - This is the only EXPLICIT rated podcast on the list, but don't be afraid. Other than the occasional "eff bomb" this isn't all that explicit. In fact, I think they could get away without tagging their 'cast as EXPLICIT. While I like all of this podcast, the commercials are truly the thing that sets this podcast apart.
  • The Instance - This podcast has been described as "the big elephant in the room." It's true, this podcast has been around for over one hundred episodes. They are awesome, the editing and production quality are spot on. If you're a new podcaster, this is the one to beat.
  • Epic Dolls - I recently found this podcast and I'm really digging it. It's done completely (?) by ladies. The new(ish) lore segment is really well done, and quite funny. My only caveat is this one can get a little giggly. Luckily for me, I don't mind.
  • How I Wow - I've just found this podcast and really like it. While it's not strictly about WoW, it is about real people who play WoW. Each episode has a length interview with one person who mixes real life with WoW.
  • Elune's Grace - I found this podcast, which I also love, from iTunes by looking at what people who listen to Epic Dolls also listen to. I think. Anyway another podcast hosted by women and another podcast that's very well done.
What didn't make the list is the WoW Insider podcast or really anthing from WCRadio. I don't find the WoW Insider one as useful as it's really a recap of their posts for the week (and I read the site). Others may find this more useful. I've also listened to both Octale & Hordak vs. the World and Warcraft Anonymous. While they are well done, there's not anything that seemed to reach out and grab me.

So, if you've not, it's time to explore the podcasts that are out there!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Potions, potions, potions

There are three ways to learn alchemy recipes post 300 that don't involve learning them from a trainer. Of the three listed below, only one was introduced with the Burning Crusade. For those of us who played before BC (walking uphill to Molten Core, barefoot, in the snow), vendor purchases and drops are well known.

Be aware, some of the vendor recipes are tucked away in bizarre corners of Azeroth and most are on a timer (limited supply). Some of these can fetch a huge return at your local Auction House. I'm looking at you Frost Oil Recipe.

  • Vendor Purchased - Some recipes are purchased from a vendor other than your trainer. Some will require a certain level of reputation with the vendor's faction and some will be available only in limited supply.
  • Discovered - Some recipes will be learned because your character has a "Eureka" moment and "learns" how to make something completely different. Between my two characters who are alchemists, I've made a fair number of discoveries.
  • Drops - Some recipes are drops from mobs that are killed either insider or outside of an instance. Some will be static drops and some will be the bind-on-equip drops that can drop from any number of mobs.
I've written previously about the alchemy recipe drops that are world drops. What I've not detailed is the bind-on-pickup recipes that are static drops both in and out of the instances.

So, without further delay, here are the drops that you can farm just by killing certain mobs in the game.

There is only one static drop in Nagrand and it comes from the Vir'aani Arcanists around Oshu'gun. These are the casting mobs who like to chain arcane missiles. The level of these mobs is mid 60's so, anyone who can easily take these on can get this recipe. Coincidentally, they drop the recipe for Major Arcane Protection Potion.

Blade's Edge Mountains
There is also only one static drop in Blade's Edge. This one will require a flying mount as the mobs are up near Ogri'la. The Abyssal Flamebringers drop the Major Holy Protection Potion recipe.

Shadow Moon Valley
There are four static drops in Shadow Moon Valley. This is a 68-70 zone but everything is reachable without a flying mount.
  • Fel Strength Elixir Recipe - dropped in the area of Legion Hold.
  • Major Shadow Protection Potion Recipe - Also dropped near Legion Hold, specifically by the Shadow Council Warlocks. Farm this with the one above.
  • Fel Regeneration Potion Recipe - Dropped by a number of mobs in the area of the Deathforge.
  • Fel Mana Potion Recipe - Hunters love this as there is no side-effect for them. The recipe drops from mobs in the Eclipsion area. These mobs will also drop Scryer paraphernalia.
Old Hillsbrad Foothills
The second boss, Captain Skarloc, in Old Hillsbrad can drop the Ironshield Potion Recipe. This, and the other instanced drops are not as "farmable" as the recipes that drop from the mobs above. He can drop this in both normal and heroic mode.

Mana Tombs
The final boss in Mana Tombs, Nexus-Prince Shaffar, can drop the recipe for the Major Frost Protection Potion. It drops in both normal and heroic, but heroic has a higher droprate. (Heroic MT can be a real pain though)

Sunseeker Astromages can drop the Major Fire Protection Potion Recipe. There are a limited number in the instance, however more than the ONE in the other instances that drop BOP recipes. Still, being exalted on my alchemist priest, I've seen this drop exactly one time. Again, both heroic and normal can drop this.

So, to the alchemists out there, if you don't have these nine recipes, it looks like you've got some work to do.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Why Are You Doing This?

To Those Who Stand Atop Quest Givers PVP Flagged:

Why are you doing this? Especially on Sunday Night, when the server was at 99% completion of Phase 2, why would you do this?

Completion of Phase 2 opens the Anvil so you can repair and buy stuffs. Every quest turn in adds an incremental amount to completion of the phase. If you were that close, I can only assume you were even IN Sunwell Isle in ancticipation of the mondo-lag that would herald the arrival of the badge vendor.

So, if you are so cleverly anticipating that, could you do us a favor and get the hell off of the quest turn in guys? You do realize, I hope, that preventing turn-ins is only DELAYING the time until the stupid Anvil is open.

And don't you think that most of us are clever to how to circumvent your shenanigans? If we do not face the quest mob, but instead face AWAY from them and click sort of over our shoulder we'll not go into combat with you. Because even if you are jumping up and down hoping to catch us just as we click and our cursor turns into a sword and we attack, we'll be FACING THE WRONG WAY.

Really you're just being immature and juvenile. You're costing some of us gold in repairs if we've not learnt the facing away thing, but you're hurting the progression of Sunwell and the opening of the anvil.

I know that personally, I don't have enough badges to make the vendor THAT worthwhile. You're only hurting yourself. Please stop. Or I'll report you to the local Mental Health Unit.



Monday, April 7, 2008

Good Skills for PVP

As you look over your skills you're likely to find a few that are of limited usefulness in the PVE environment. The skills that you've maybe removed from your bars because that valuable space can be taken up by skills that actually need to be used in raids.

Today I'm going to highlight skills from several classes that are useful in PVE but they really shine when (or if) if you start getting into PVP.

The good news is that for most classes there are only one or two skills that truly are of much more usefulness in the PVP arena. And for many of these classes, the skills while situational are still truly useful in the PVE setting. I'll break them down by class in no particular order.

Many warlock skills are truly useful in all sorts of tough spots and are not going to be the sorts of things that are forgotten. Here are two.

  • Curse of Exhaustion Slow down those pesky melee types that are trying to give you some chin music. This is a talented (i.e. you only get it in the Affliction Tree) skill so not all warlocks will have it.
  • Banish Banishing of demons & elementals is well known in the PVE arena. Here's two things to keep in mind though. Other warlock pets are demons. Pets of Shamans and (Ice) Mages are elementals. Also, if you happen to find a druid silly enough to be in Tree form they are also elementals.
  • Devour Magic Your felhunter has a skill for removing magical debuffs on you and magical buffs from enemies. This is as good as a dispel magic or an arcane shot.
  • Spell Lock Your felhutner also has the spell lock ability which is great for stopping enemy casters. Don't forget about it.
Since quite often the focus is not on healing in the battlegrounds, Dampen Magic can significantly reduce the incoming magical damage. It's not much to mention, but it is something you might not think of during a BG.

Mind Vision allows you to look far into the distance (50,000 yards). While no BG is this large, it will allow you to look at any node from the Arathi Basin Lumber Mill. Depending on where you are, you should also be able to view any other node from any place in Eye of the Storm.

With patch 2.4, Turn Undead became Turn Evil. This means it will apply as well to demons; the demons your (not so) friendly opposing warlock spends time with.

I have only Mind Vision to offer here. But that skill can be used to great effect. It does give your target a debuff, so astute enemy players may notice you there in their grey matter.

And the hunter seems to have the most extensive list. Here are a list of skills that I think truly shine in PVP
  • Scare Beast This applies not only to Roar in Karazhan, but also to other hunter pets and druids in travel, cat or bear forms. Most druids know cognitively that it's possible, but just aren't thinking about it. Don't try it on opposing pets that are big and red (i.e. Under Bestial Wrath)
  • Eagle Eye This is the hunter equivalent of the Shaman Far Sight skill. Lets you look at any node (depending where you are) in EOTS or AB.
  • Aspect of the Beast I know that I tend to run Track Humanoids (or rarely Track Hidden) in BGs. I assume other hunters do as well. This aspect can allow you to get into place undetected.
  • Flare This is no secret. All hunters seem to do it in BGs that I'm in. But if you've forgotten that you can Flare and light up invisible targets, let this serve as your reminder
  • Wing Clip If you've read my other articles on PVP, you'll know some classes (rogue, druid, warrior) can be successfully kited. This skill will apply a movement debuff on them allowing you to get back to range where you do your best work as a hunter.
  • Track Hidden I mentioned above that I sometimes use Track Hidden. This seems to work best when I've actually targeted the unit prior to it going into stealth. Your mileage may vary.
And that's all I gots. If you're PVPing and have these skills buried in an out of the way place, or worse, off your bars completely, think about putting them back on. They are useful enough in PVP that they just might save your life.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Is my pet a boy or a girl?

Over to the right you can see Joanna (or at least on of her relatives). Joanna is my level 70 raptor on my hunter. By happy coincidence, I named her before I confirmed that she was a she. Imagine the years of psychotherapy I'd have to fund if I'd named a male raptor Joanna. Or I guess he could write a hit country song about his mis-nomenclature.

But how do you tell the gender of your pet. Being composed of polygons drawn on a computer screen, it's difficult to "turn them over and look" like you would with a real world pet. And to some degree, it probably doesn't matter. If you name a pet "Joanna" or "Sue," it becomes by default she. And if you name a pet "Fred" or "Henry," it becomes male. But there is a way to tell. Or at least I like to think there is.

In the Wetlands, which is incidentally where Joanna grew up, there are a couple of wrecked ships full of ghostly sailors and marines. They are for a mid-20s quest from Menethil Harbor for Alliance, but I think they're probably aggro mobs for the Horde as well. One of their abilities is to curse their target turning them into an undead and some other nasty stuff.

The fun thing, is that pets subject to the curse turn not into undead raptors, cats and carrrion birds, but into undead humans. And when Joanna was subject to the curse, she was indeed a she. I've never confirmed that pets do indeed turn into different sexes, but everytime Joanna was cursed she properly turned into a female undead.

I guess it's not really important, but if you are dying to know the gender of your pet (and whether or not you're responsible for therapy bills) take it over to Wetlands and get it cursed. Then you'll know for certain.

And now, for extra cool points (which I've never given) tell my what movie reference caused me to name Joanna.