Friday, January 30, 2009

Raiding Checklist - The Reprise

Apparently it's time now to redo an old checklist that I had written for raiding back in the prehistoric times that were Burning Crusade. It was merely a checklist to make sure you were ready for the Karazhan raid that was starting in 30 minutes.

Now, we've migrated to the WOTLK. Replace the word "Karazhan" with "Naxxramas" and you've got the same sort of checklist. Now in a new, improved WOTLK flavor.

Food - You need an appropriate buff for the class (and role) you're going to be playing. As I'm sure most of you already know, many of the statistics and categories in the game have been blended. There is no +healing food (curse you Golden Fishsticks). Now, you'd eat some kind of spellpower food to raise your healing. Consider eating foods that buff your hit rating (review the hit rating caps for your class and expected raid composition), Spellpower, Attack Power, Haste, Mana Regeneration, Critical Strike rating, Armor Penetration and so forth. You should know what is going to help your class most. In the spirit of WOTLK, be aware that there are "feasts" now that many people can eat from (think of a Vegas buffet) and get a well-fed buff. If you're not the one on the hook to provide the feasts, make sure you have some of your own personal food. It helps you get the buff back if you go wild and pull aggro and die.
Water - Next on Mazlowe's Hierarchy of Needs is water. Yes, I know. Rogues, warriors and death knights won't require this. And most raids will have a mage to make a handy refreshment table. But, always be prepared for the eventuality that your raid won't have one. Bring enough to last you.
Potions - Health potions are usable by everyone. Mana potions are usable by those classes who also need water. And don't neglect the special use potions that give a (usually very powerful) buff to something your class/role cares about. These buffs usually last 15 seconds, but can really be a lifesaver. You shouldn't need quite as many mana or health potions as you did in BC since you can only drink one per fight. However, if you bring too many, they won't spoil in your bags before your next raid.
Elixirs/Flasks - These are very important. You can be under the effect of one guardian and one battle elixir OR one flask. The flasks will persist through death and is generally what I drink for progression content. Deaths happen when you're learning and it can become quite pricey.
Ammunition - Mostly this is for the hunters. However, warriors need it to pull, rogues might need it in fights where melee is forbidden, and so forth. Nothing screams huntard more than needing to be summoned back after the first half-dozen pulls because you need more bullets or arrows.
Pet Food - Again, mostly for hunters. The amount of pet food you'll need may decrease drastically from BC based on the pet talent trees. Some trees allow your pet to gain happiness based on them attacking. This is a good thing. I wouldn't suggest more than a stack (if that) of normal food for pet happiness. Do, however, look into the pet buff foods that can be cooked. Are you paying attention warlocks? This affects you too. And, here's a question, how about DK ghouls. Can they benefit from this cooked food?
Reagents - Candles, dusts, symbols, nuts & berries, ankhs, corpse dusts, shards and poisons. Get them. They allow you to do things like buff your party, bring yourself (or someone else) back to life in battle, prevent a wipe by Divine Intervention, make warlock "candy" (healthstones), make soulstones, do more damage, and so forth. There aren't many profession specific mats you might need, but it doesn't hurt to take a few stacks of herbs (if you can make on the fly potions, elixirs or flasks) for those who don't follow this checklist. Also remember to bring your goblin jumper cables (or the new Gnomish Army Knife) or a repair bot if you're an engineer.
Enchants & Gems - Please don't come to my raid with an empty gem slot. Just. Don't. As for enchants, nearly every piece of gear can be enchanted or enhanced somehow. Helmets can have an arcanum put on them, shoulders get inscriptions. Pants receive armor kits, embroidery or threads. There are some nifty new "enchants" that are specific to professions. Leather workers can make some fur linings & what-not. Engineers can enhance gloves, cloaks & boots. The only items that are not enhanceable at all are: amulets, off-hand items, and trinkets. Specifically important is the existence of a belt buckle to be applied to your waist armor. It holds a gem. It's a shame to not have a gem slot filled at all or a completely unenchanted piece of gear. It doesn't have to be the "best in slot" gem or enchant, but PLEASE have something.
Durability & Bag space - This is more of a what you don't bring rather than what you do. And the things you should ALWAYS leave at home are broken or damaged armor and full bags. Repair and clear bags before you step inside.
Inscriptions - While most of this list has been a re-hash, from here on out it's all new baby. You should have every inscription slot filled. Even if it's not the absolute best for your class, have something that will help out in the spot. No. SRSLY.
The "right" pet - Yay. More hunter love. Please don't bring your tenacity pet to a raid to offtank. It's not your role in a raid. If you bring the wrong type of pet, you're gimping your own performance. With the advent of 3.0 and WOTLK, different pets bring different buffs. Some of these pets can fill buff & debuff holes you have in your raid composition. Got no warrior to sunder - bring something that puts an armor debuff out there (like a wasp). The pet families all have special abilities. Learn what your raid needs and fill that hole in if you can.

So, that's the list. There's only one more thing to bring. And this has been around since the days when Molten Core and Onyxia were the only end-game. Bring your research on the fights and your ability to follow the raid leaders directions. Leave your argumentative, combative attitude at home. It'll be a lot more fun for, for the raid leader, and for the entire group.

Good luck and Have fun!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Burning Up Some Groceries

Ah yes, the daily cooking quest in Dalaran. Remember back in the day when we did cooking quests for The Rokk? He only had four options, and for the most part they involved going someplace specific to cook something (Soup for the Soul, Super Hot Stew) or going someplace specific to gather something (Manalicious, Revenge is Tasty).

WOTLK upgraded (pshaw!) the quests by adding a quest for a total of five. The problem is that fully 80% of the quests have you competing with others for (very limited in most cases) ground spawns. It doesn't matter whether you're collecting wild carrots from Crystalsong Forest, Mustard from Dalaran City grassy areas, Half Empty Wineglasses from tables in Dalaran buildings, or venturing into the sewers to secure Magic-Infused Mushrooms. Four of these quests have you fighting the most tenacious mobs in the game - other players! Let me tell you, it's not half bad doing these quests if you can manage to get online when there aren't thousands of others attempting to do the same thing at the same time. I know I'm not the only one annoyed by having to "camp" spawn points to have even a miniscule chance of completing my quests.

There is, I think, a much needed improvement that isn't terribly hard to implement. Instead of having the daily cooking quest be the same for every character on the server, have them be randomly assigned at the time you speak to the quest giver. If only 20% of the server population were harvesting mustard, the time invested in getting a stupid cooking token could be minimized.

And since I'm on the topic, exactly where, Blizzard, is the skill in stealing a wheel of cheese and pouring six glasses of wine into a jug? There isn't even a fire involved. How can this be a daily cooking quest? All of them really are more about being daily clicking quests. Soon I'll be exalted with my mouse.