Archive for March, 2009

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WoW – The Widowmaker

March 31, 2009

BRK has posted today about his potential retirement from WoW-space and the Blogosphere. On the one hand I can see the wisdom in a decision to spend more time with family but a part of me still thinks that this could all be a very early April Fools. Call me cynical if you will!

I’ve quit WoW a few times since it was first released, once due to boredom and once due to the fact that it was starting to take over my life and yet here I am playing once more, with a second level 80 and spending time blogging about the damn thing too. What is it about WoW, and I suppose MMOs in general, that creates these situations where many of us end up in situations that cause disruption and damage to the relationships we have with our closest compatriots in real life?

I’ve been thinking about this and trying to come up with a proper reason for it. I believe that a part of it may actually be the social side of things. I couldn’t sit there and play Dawn of War 2 or Streetfighter 4 all day every day and, while my WoW time is much reduced from what it used to be, I can still spend a massive proportion of my free time running around Blizzard’s world. Not just Blizzard’s either, I remember being really into Star Wars Galaxies when that came out, I spent a massive amount of time playing that until the NGE kind of forced us out of it.

MMOs tend to be made by the people who you come into contact with, I have a number of people that I am in contact with that I met through the MMO scene, some of these online people are actually closer to me than people I meet regularly in the “real world”. I think that this gets a horrible wrap from those people who don’t play video games and try to perpetuate the stereotype that we are all anti-social nerds with milk bottle glasses living in our parents basements, unable to interact with any normal people. In fact, from personal experience I know very few people who cut themselves off from society, or find it difficult to interact with other people, as  a consequence of their online habits.

Perhaps the fact that these people exist in a virtual world with no real consequences to face for some of our actions is what leads people to invest too heavily of their time. We’re all guilty of wanting a bit of escapism and being able to actually see and walk around in a world as well as interacting with real people provides a unique experience. There really isn’t much to compete with the content of an MMO, I know I’ve certainly had a blast in the ones that I have been in, I’ve even gone into some of them purely because I’ve had friends from other games take a venture.

As well as the social aspect there is the whole levelling thing to do as well, with WoW’s 80 levels it takes a good deal of time (for those of us with full time jobs at least) to hit max level and then, depending on your tastes, there are a whole load of other things to do to involve yourself in the end game content. In a guild environment this can lead to people pressuring themselves to meet certain targets within a deadline, once this thinking takes root then obviously the person at the end of the monitor needs to choose priorities and it seems to be that the game is what wins a lot of the time. Whether this is down to the fact that our loved ones often stay silent about how they feel with regards to our adventuring, or just that from the players point of view other things are always there; from my point of view I suppose it’d be that my wife is always around even when the computer is turned off so perhaps there isn’t a level of neglect there due to the time we are around each other anyway. That’s not necessarily how things are in my case, I’m just trying to rationalise a point.

I know people who seriously do nothing else other than play WoW, I also know people who have jobs and then come home and purely spend their time in WoW. I hope that I spend enough time out of the game to not qualify as one of the people that is seriously damaging other relationships, after all, that’s pretty much the reason I left last year and I don’t think I’ve fallen into the same trap again (PC didn’t even get switched on last night). Although it is nice to see people take their life back.

I’ll admit to having some problems of my own, I’m sure that everyone that knows me is aware that I always have a crtuch, one thing in my life that seems to be the most predominant use of my time. At the moment that’s probably WoW but there are other things that come along and one of them will take over everything. It will continue to be WoW until something happens and I leave, then something else will take over. I don’t try and be this way and it isn’t really a conscious decision on my part, it just kind of happens like that, a quirk of my personality if you will. Whether those of us who enjoy such adventuring in MMO-space all have such a similar quirk may be worth investigation, we do seem to be able to get sucked in, maybe it’s a search for something more, beyond our regular humdrum, everyday lives that allows us to over-immerse ourselves in a fantasy world. After all, many of these worlds are very well built and bring an impressive level of immersion to their play.

I also believe that anyone that involves themselves in raiding is more likely to fall into the obsessive category of players, having other players almost “depend” on you to fulfill a group role certainly does make you want to be around more, after all, you don’t want to let anyone else down after they are giving up their free time to do these group events. I know this, it’s a feeling I had during raiding of TBC, others were waiting and I needed to be there. What started out as a casual two nights a week quickly became four nights a week with every other day spent farming stuff to prepare for the raids. I can certainly empathise much more with the casual crowd these days. I understand the hardcore people but they’ll probably look back on the time they spent and while having some good memories may well regret spending so much time to really get actually very little back. In 20 years time their kids aren’t going to care that they had the world first Arthas kill…

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For the Horde….

March 30, 2009

..or maybe the Alliance, it’s just that the exclamation sounds much better on the other side of the Azeroth warring faction divide. Therein lies a big clue as to what I accomplished over the weekend, but let’s start at the beginning shall we.

Over the last week I really didn’t get to do much WoWing at all, I just about managed to run the Oracles dailies and still fail miserably at trying to finish “A Simple Re-quest” I know the methodology just seem to get stuck with irregular play times. I’ve been speaking to Roop and Steller and they are both rather indifferent about WoW at the moment, they are good RL friends and will continue to be so, our bonds are not purely there because of this game, also I’ve been pretty much the only person online from the guild during the days I’ve been around. OK I’ll admit I wasn’t on really from Monday to Wednesday and Saturday my parents came round for dinner so I played a little in the morning but otherwise spent the day cleaning and prepping the house for mother-level scrutineering. Still, Thursday, Friday and Sunday were very, very quiet in our guild chat. I am still happy to keep on playing, we started a discussion last Monday about what to do with the guild and our people, we have friends in another guild that is much larger than ours but I’m not going to repost everything, I’ll skip all the waffle and get on with how I did against my goals.

I said late last week that I probably should get the tradeskills going, so, did I manage to max out mining or engineering? No, not even close, I think I did four gathers of Mithril the whole weekend…. I did however spend a good bit of time clearing more of Howling Fjord to increase my gold reserves. I was speaking to one of my friends who plays in the other guild mentioned above when I was at the store on Friday after work doing my shopping (he works there) and was explaining my thoughts about guilds and raiding etc… He gave some sage advice and on Friday night after taking two of our baby Paladins through some Auchindoun instances I got into a PuG for 10-man Obsidian Sanctum. I looked up the wrong loot table in Atlas-loot so until we got to the end I didn’t really have any idea what was going to drop and as this was a PuG raid wasn’t sure if it’d actually work. I’m also committing the cardinal sin of not being hit-capped, still having some green gear and having virtually no enchants. Still, it’s a PuG and no-one was questioning my gear or anything. Around 40 minutes later Sartharion was dead, it took a while to complete the group and get everyone there, but once we did it was a smooth run and I think only two people died through the whole thing and that was to the drakes. My first Wrath raid was a roaring success, I came 3rd on the damage charts (pretty respectable I think considering how many enhancements I consider myself to be missing) and got my T7 gloves and the 22-slot bag. I was very happy and thought the whole encounter was actually really good fun.

I spent some time later on re-gemming as I had a new slot to fill and slapped a +16 hit in the gloves slot, I’ve popped a Chaotic Skyflare Diamond in my meta slot and re-jigged some of the other gems to activate it while still maintaining +hit and am now seeing some juicy over 9k Lava Burst crits and I still have plenty of gear to come and enchantments to add to boost my Spellpower even further. Friday was a good  night!

Saturday didn’t really do much and I’ve found a problem with one of my graphics cards, I’m lucky (or mad) enough to be running SLi so kind of have an in-built spare so the one failing hasn’t really caused any issues and the performance difference in WoW is nothing. If I fire up Dead Space or Dawn of War 2 I might start to notice though.

Sunday, well, it took me most of the afternoon to diagnose the graphics issue but once I was back up and running I did a run through Gun’drak to clear some quests out of my log. After dinner I was wondering what to do with myself when the LFG channel started off with invites to a “For the Alliance” event. Normally these only start really late at night when I don’t have the time to do it, but this was nice and early so I bit the bullet (again, no other guildies on) and signed up. It took a while to fill up the 40 people but eventually we were all camped at Zul’aman ready to hit Silvermoon first. Maybe someone fraps’d it, I don’t know and I didn’t take any screenshots either but I have to say that it is probably one of the most epic events I have ever participated in. Shockingly (taste the sarcasm) the Blood Elf city of Cyb0rmo… sorry, Silvermoon was deserted of actual players. We ran straight into the throne room, AOE’d all the city guards that had followed us and then spanked the Blood Elf leader good and proper. From there we legged it through the sewers of Undercity to our next target. Sylvanas died to our onslaught and only a couple of brave Hordies decided to try and save the Banshee queen.

Two cities were down, two to go (damn I wish I’d have taken screenies). Orgimmar was next, 40 Alliance charging across the plains of Durotar is a stirring sight, to really rub it into the Horde we decided to take the front entrance too, riding right past the bank and auction house to let them all know we had arrived. Thrall was easy enough but we did have some more Horde players try to come to save their Shamanic leader, needless to say that attacking a full 40 man raid group in waves of two or three was not really going to make a dent in our formation. With Thrall dead we ran out the front entrance again and proceeded to interrupt the duels being fought outside the gates. Through a battle of attrition we were wittled down and regrouped back at Theramore. With many players experiencing a MacAttack we made all speed towards burger central. For the first time ever I used my Shamanic Far Sight spell to check out the defence around Cairn, four level 80’s. We charged in and I promptly DC’d….. bugger. Logged back in to find myself dead, so I ran back, ressed and ran back to join the group, only to get ganked from behind by a Paladin. Second corpse run ensues and I am right outside the city when the raid finally downs Cairn, achievements ping and I have a Black War Bear sitting in my mailbox.

There you have it, on my hotbar I have swapped out Baron Rivendare’s Deathcharger for my Black War Bear and am a happy camper. Over the weekend I did one PvE raid and one PvP raid, all in all, although I hardly did any mining I did have a lot of fun and that is really what the game is about. I don’t know what the future holds at the moment as regards to how my friends see the game but I am having a blast.

In response to Spinks’ question here of would I pick the same class again my Shaman definitely gets a yes vote!

FOR THE ALLIANCE!!!!

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They Love Me in That Town

March 27, 2009

I think perhaps I’ve set myself too many goals. There is the list I posted up not too long ago that I am working on but I don’t think that I’ve made a very good job or prioritising these things. I’m back to to almost 200g in the pockets and a couple of days will see me Reverred with the Oracles and punting for the Proto-drake from the egg you can get. I’m actually enjoying these dailies and I can make a fair bit of gold off farming the Frenzyhearts you kill for one of the quests. This leaves Howling Fjord in the same state it’s been for ages with me not having done any questing there for a while when I probably should and try to make some quick cash.

Last night I did manage to tick a few boxes though. I finished the starting quest line for the Netherdrakes. I am now just over neutral with them but need to do some research on the quicket ways to use the available dailies to claw in that rep. I also achieved Exalted status with Stormwind, I’m now exalted with the same home cities that Bo was before her “retirement” this leaves me with Gnomeregan Exiles and Ironforge, I still have some cloth hand-ins to do and am Reverred with both so we’ll see how I do, I’m guessing that Ironforge is going to be the next one finished and then I’ll have to grab a load of Gnomeregan quests and give that place the once over. So last night really was a rep night by all accounts, I tried to run BRD but seem to be missing the Shadowforge key so I’ll have to look into that, not too much left on the instance list for Classic content.

By achieveing Exalted with Stormwind I grabbed all the normal Horses from Eastvale, I’ll head over the Theramore to grab the black one at some point. I also visited Exodar to get the normal Elekk’s as I never had any of them when I hit 40, I was already Exalted with Darnassus at that point and spent all my time up until 80 riding around on the various Sabers. I bought a swift Palamino just for kicks but need more money to finish off the normal and epic ground mounts before I go collecting the rest of the flying ones. I’ve done my “Stable Keeper” achievement and now need another 13 to hit 25, keep going and I can grab the Albino Drake for 50. I’m not even considering going for 100 at this point, luckily they don’t take up bag space anymore.

This weekend I’m thinking that I’m not going to spending a huge amount of time online, it seems like the ideal time for me to really hit Engineering and Mining hard. Its all sitting there not doing anything and I know I need to do something about that as I can grab a couple of mounts through engineering too, I have the guide all printed out but think I’ll try and max my mining first which is going to be the part that takes the time to start with or at least finish off the Azeroth and Outland parts of it. I only really need Northrend when I hit exalted with Alliance Vanguard so I can make some choppers.

My parents are coming to visit on Saturday so I’ll be trying to help get the house ready for their arrival which will of course limit WoW time.

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A Class Act

March 26, 2009

I recently commented on this post over at Spinksville and got a response from the man himself. Rather than take up a huge column space with another comment I thought I’d take this opportunity to make a whole post out of it to try and explain my “inconsistency” with regards to my thoughts. Spinks does a really good job of writing out objective posts backed up by solid arguments, I am probably a little too emotive in the way I perceive things, this is not meant as a bash to him at all, I have a lot of respect for his opinions but I am going to try and set out my own arguments to back up what I have written, hence needing the extra space afforded me by using a proper post of my own.

Firstly, lets look at where my objectivity comes from, what point of view gives me the experience that I will be relating. I am going to ignore my vanilla WoW experiences, I didn’t really know the game and didn’t interact a whole lot with anybody, so therefore I only have my time spent on Alliance since TBC to go off. This is the first point at which I’ll admit there maybe some failings, Spinks is on Horde, I’m over on Alliance, we all know the generally accepted argument that Horde tends to have better players than Alliance, while Alliance get most of the kiddies playing the “pretty” races. I’m not getting into that argument here and I don’t really have enough Horde experience to prove otherwise, but I do miss not being Horde!

I have two level 80 characters, Bouaza the Priest and Lekktra the Shaman, both Draenei. Bo has had a lot more playtime than Lekktra and has been a healer for pretty much her whole life, therefore I have a lot of experience of groups from the healing point of view, this is where the majority of my play experience is coming from. Lekktra has been 80 for almost two weeks now and is unashamedly DPS, this is giving me a completely different experience and viewpoint on how a group works (or doesn’t work). So, there you go, I’m not an end game tank of any level (although I did tank Prince Malchezzar once when our MT was away and I got to use his toon to get the raid to keep going, yes, we did down him too!). I have a Death Knight, a level 33 Prot Warrior and a very low level druid and Paladin, my tanking experiences are not worth mentioning, this may colour my views, just warning you.

Right, onto my argument, DPS is OK for Ret Pallies and Death Knights, the other two plate wearers, but I have a problem with DPS Warriors. I’m going to try and argue this to the best of my abilities, no offense intended to anyone, especially not if you chose a DPS warrior, this is just my opinion, yours may differ and I have no problem with that, it’s your game to play as much as it is mine.

Argument the first; RAGE!!!!!!!!

This is really probably going to turn out to be the crux of my argument when I try and think about everything. It’s the basics of the Warrior mechanics, you want to use those abilities then you’re going to need a bar full of red stuff. Remember, I’m looking at this from a healer point of view mainly. How do you get rage, well, there are talents that help you get in and you have a skill you can pop that generates some and you can charge into combat. That gets the red bar filling up, the other options are hitting stuff and getting hit in return. For a Prot Warrior he wants to be beaten around like a dogs chewtoy the more he gets pounded the more rage he has to slam his shield up some guy’s ass thus maintaining a high threat. For the DPS warrior being hit is a bad thing, ignoring stances, the DPS warrior will not have as much mitigation as the Warrior, heck, he may not even be wearing full plate so if he gets hit he’s instantly going to take more damage than the tank. Rage diminishes over time, so the Warrior needs to be in combat hitting (or being hit) for a lot of the time to maintain his ability to fire off those skills that are going to allow him to make a meaningful contribution to the group. In solo play getting hit is fine, but in a group if you’re getting hit then generally you’re doing something wrong.

I’ve been in a number of fights whereby the only person to die during the whole instance is the DPS warrior, normally getting one-shotted by bosses. Spinks may be right, I may just have come across the nublet kind of DPS warrior, but I have never seen once do anything decent in a group. As a healer you know when a DPS warrior is in the group that they are going to be taking almost as much damage as the tank (personal experience here) and every single time you have a choice over who to heal it’s going to be the tank, hence DPS warrior death. I rank one Utgarde Keep where our DPS warrior died 4 times, no-one else did, just the DPS warrior. Whether this is down to skill use I don’t know but I’ve seen many a DPS warrior challenge the tank on threat generation and once they pull it off the tank that low mitigation means they get dead quick. I put this down to them needing rage and therefore really being dependant on being up close and personal.

On the other hand we have Paladins and Death Knights. Paladins have a very good melee DPS spec as do Death Knights (in fact Death Knights can do a decent job of tanking even with a primarily DPS spec), the difference here is that Paladins run on mana and Death Knights have their Runic Power and their Runes to use. Runes have a cooldown but don’t rely on getting an axe to the face, Retribution Pallies get Replenishment to keep their mana up (and that of the group) and use that mana for their spells, which they regenerate quickly and if things go pearshaped they have their bubble or even Lay on Hands. Neither of these classes need to be in melee to generate their primary abilities.

Argument the second; heals

Blood presence DKs are getting healed as they do damage, Paladins have healing spells that allow them to keep themselves alive. Yes each group has a healer and that should allow the group to stay topped off but primarily you’re going to want to keep the tank alive first and foremost, then the healer needs to keep themselves alive, healing DPS comes in last place. I’m sure we could get into a long discussion about Warrior and Death Knight talents that allow them to provide self healing. Pots do not count, they can’t be relied upon due to the Wrath changes which limits you to 1 per fight.

Argument the third; DPS

The reason to take a DPS warrior is down to them contributing meaningful DPS to a group. I’ve heard tales of DPS warriors hitting the tops of damage meters. I’ve already espoused in previous posts that simply being at the top of a damage chart is not the be all and end all of the group. Yes, being at the top probably means you’re alive through everything so have the maximum time to hurt things. However, this doesn’t show anything regarding the possibility of the DPS warrior (and any other DPS for that matter) constantly stealing aggro off the tank to ensure his place a top the meter, the only reason he gets there is because a healer who’s on top of her game makes sure that no-one dies allowing the warrior to keep the pewpew despite things being harder for the group as the DPS dude focused purely on the fact that his name needs to be at the top.

In my experience of having DPS warriors in a group they haven’t done anywhere near the output of other DPS classes, sure dual-wielding two-handers looks cool, but if you’re throwing out crappy DPS you’re pulling your weight in the group. Again, I’m willing to admit I may have just been with bad players, but it does seem to be a trend that some of the worst players I have come across all seem to be DPS warriors… I have yet to see one make a meaningful contribution to the group.

Argument the fourth; group benefits

Death Knights fall down here too, I’m going to agree with Spinks here and be a bit inconsistent, I’m of the opinion that even though the Hero class can do DPS, I’d much rather see them tanking, yes it’s a harder job than doing DPS but still, I’ll be much happier with a DK tank than a DK DPS. In terms of group buffs their not really bringing a whole lot other than the aura. Pallies however provide blessings, auras (ok yeah, only if you’re close to them) as well as replenishment and a backup healer. I love ret pallies, sorry, that’s an emotive side of the argument here, /slapwrist. Warriors have shouts but…yeah… don’t really see them doing all that much but I’m open to a counter here due to my lack of warrior specific knowledge. This is my opinion and experience, not a definitive “thou shalt not be a DPS warrior” post.

Argument the fifth; a class act

Winding this up now as I realise this is somewhat of a mammoth post. Paladins are a hybrid, they currently have three valid talent specs, they can do decent DPS, can tank well and can heal well. Death Knights are a Hero class, the first one and are therefore different to the other classes, their specs are not so clear cut, however, I fall majorly on the side that they are excellent tanks and that should be their top role. However, I know that most people with one use it for DPS which I am OK with even if it jumps in the face of reason. I’ll admit to being inconsistent on this point. Warriors, well, warriors are not hybrids, their not a hero class, according to Blizzard’s design they are there to tank. Personally I’ve always viewed their DPS specs as primarily for PvP in the PvE environments warriors are tanks. So, if you wanted to do PvE DPS (I know Death Knights are recent additions to let’s ignore them as much as we can) why pick a Warrior? Is it a case of wanting to play a warrior because they sound cool and then realising that you don’t want the responsibility of effectively leading a group? If I really sit down and think about this I can’t think of any reason to pick a Warrior as a pure DPS class choice, all the other classes (ignoring Death Knight remember for all the older characters we have out there) bring something else to the party and generally do better damage with better survivability. I know there are others in my guild who think the same as me, I cannot see any compelling argument for a DPS warrior opposed to another class.

If I had a friend who played a warrior and was DPS would I bring him to the group? Well, yes I would, I still advocate bringing the player not the class but this isn’t a post based on that argument.

I’m going to stop now as I probably haven’t made this half as coherent as I probably should, hopefully I’ve kept the emotive side of things out of it and made proper points that I’ve explained well enough.

I’ll re-iterate one more time, this is my opinion only as I have experienced things. If you want to be a DPS warrior then go for it, I await the day for someone to prove me wrong and I’m not going to write someone off for the choices they make in a game. It’s not that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things, do what you do to get enjoyment out of your leisure time as long as it doesn’t involve being an ass to others.

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The Pointless Post

March 25, 2009

My background downloader has finished grabbing all 594Mb of the 3.1 patch so I should be sitting pretty for when they actually throw it onto live. Other than that the only thing I did yesterday was my Oracles dailies, it’s an easy way to bring it a little cash and can be done inside of 20 minutes when I have other things on. I still have a lot of things I actually want to get done, not least of which is finish off all the Northrend quests to replenish my cash reserves.

Discussion also came up on Monday night regarding the future for <Naxxramis Bin Collection> too, the whole guild is based off people who know each other outside the game. There aren’t enough of us to start raiding and there are people that might not actually want to raid too. Options include folding into another guild that caters to both the more casual player and the ones that wish to take a peak into the raiding world. I’m actually starting to think about the whole Dual-speccing thing now too, getting hit-capped is seeming to be right pain which is something I’d need for doing DPS, although healing would be OK without it. I know that dual-speccing won’t let me change gems but I don’t need oodles of hit rating for Heroics, I’m doing fine as is. With keeping our guild together for running of Heroics then I’d keep DPS as we have a really good healer already, I’m still up in the air though as I wondering if I really want to raid at all as I have a huge list of other stuff I’m keen on doing. I just fear that those of the guild who’ve been 80 for a lot longer and don’t want to raid aren’t going to find anything to keep them interested and they drift off. Playing with friends definitely keeps me going too but some of them have been in game for so much longer than me that they’ve kind seen it all before. If not in quite the same way as stuff is now.

Social games like WoW are funny beasts when you get down to it. If you just choose to play and meet some cool people then it’ll keep you going. I know there is the option of joining some random guild and seeing how things go for me too, but I’ve made habits of playing with people I already know and that’s worked great for me. Does this post actually have a point to it? I guess not, I can’t think of a structure to all this waffling on and am really just penning my thoughts here. Lack of a conclusion to things is currently where my brain is at because the decisions do not solely reside with myself in how we sort out the future of our lives in Azeroth.

Who knows, Roop may even take up RP!……

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I Know You Want to Hit That

March 24, 2009

With my wife working all the hours under the sun (and moon) at the moment I’m having a lot of late nights. My WoW activities yesterday consisted of me finding that my “A Simple Re-quest” achievement had reset AGAIN. But I still did my Oracles dailies and that was about it.

I logged in later in the evening (post midnight actually) to check out some stuff on the Auction House, I ended up getting the Spellpower cloth for my new Epic legs as well as applying the Kirin’Tor enchant to my head slot and gemming my gear with two of the +16 hit gems and I took a Spellpower one just for kicks. I then bought four 20-slot Frostweave bags and have just under a hundred gold left out of the 500 I’d collected since purchasing my epic flying. My spellpower sits just under the 1600 mark now but I am well aware I’m probably going to have to grab some cloth pieces to get my hit rating up, although there are some trinkets I’ve got my eye on trying to get. My hit rating is now 80 which is way off the 263 I need to be hit-capped, I’m doing fine in the Heroics we’re running right now, I think I’ve missed once over the period that I have been doing them from what I see on SCTD. I suppose the real question is will I be raiding or not, if not then trying to get hit-capped probably isn’t going to be the priority it would be otherwise. I never had these kind of issues when I was a healer…

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Things I Did at the Weekend – WoW Edition

March 23, 2009

Not just in my own exploits, but in the guild’s, this was a weekend of achievements. Due to it beign Mother’s Day in the UK yesterday I only got a couple hours in during the afternoon before heading out to visit family.

I can’t really remember what I got around to doing on Friday night but Saturday was awesome. I logged in during the morning and finished off the last few hundred gold that saw me get Artisan flying, so I can tick that off my list. I’m now cruising around on my Bronze Drake and feeling very happy, the poor Swift Green Gryphon I bought hasn’t seen a single second of flight time yet, poor fella. I also ran through the Ring of Blood quests in Nagrand, I solo’d most of it then Roop came along and helped me out. I then helped out Lisuri’s alt Paladin do them all again later on that day. I finished the Nesingwary questline in the same zone too which bagged me the achievement for having done his collective extinction level events. Even took the little Paladin for a quick foray to Steamvaults to grab my second Key Fragment (yes I’m doing the Kara attunement). I want the key so I can get in and we might farm Lis’ Paladin through there as it’s pretty decent XP and the loot isn’t that bad either.

During the afternoon I completed the World Explorer achievement, that’s the second character I have that has earnt the title, it took a good bit of time to finish off and I grabbed a couple of nodes of Mithril to help my mining/engineering too. I ran through Scarlet Monastery while I was there trying to grab the Tabard but it didn’t drop, I thought I might as well grab the Instance achievement as I was in the zone driving through. Being all over the place also allowed me to grab “To All the Squirrel’s Who’ve Shared my Life” and “Pest Control” luckily I didn’t have to go out of my way to finish these off. In terms of the PvP achievements and the fact I’d set a goal of playing some PvP over the weekend I managed to grab some from running Arathi Basin as it was the League of Arathor’s weekend. I only played 3 games but we won 2 and lost 1 so I have 10 tokens out of the 150 I need to secure all the PvP mounts there are available. As well as “Know Thy Enemy” and “That Takes Class” I also did the required nukeage to pick up “Damage Control” too. I’m also only 11 HKs off the “Kill 100 Enemies”, the Shaman is slightly more survivable than the Priest but not by much, although Thunderstorming people off the cliffs by the Lumber Mill is worth getting ganked by Rogues and anything wearing Plate.

Later on we ran some Heroics, the daily was Utgarde Pinnacle so we completed that and we also ran Culling of Stratholme in the evening which saw Lisuri pick up his Drake, that means all of our little guild have the Drake mount now. Sunday was Nexus which saw me pickup the epic mace, over the weekend of running instances I’ve got the Epic cloth belt from Violet Hold and the Epic Legs from Culling. I also spent 35 badges to pick up the Caster shield which has seen my spellpower grow quite nicely. I’m still lacking a load of +hit but now I’m getting epic items I’m going to feel better about grabbing Enchants and Gems to fix that problem, especially since I’ve finally forked out for the super-flying. I’m not topping the damage meters in the guild groups but I am still lagging behind in terms of gear with them and I may start to turn it off as I am doing a respectable DPS anyway.

What I have begun to notice is that I need to tighten up my rotation, which I am doing and seeing an increase in DPS, I may just keep that part of the damage meter running as I feel a pull to try and outdo the other people in my group. It’s hard to do as they are all really good players and have been at 80 longer than I have, they even have some Naxx gear but the fact that I see Lekktra underneath them makes me want to crank out the damage anyway possible to try and win, hard when some fights are very AoE heavy and that’s a department that Shaman’s lack in. We are being successful in all our runs so topping a metre isn’t really going to mean anything. I’m doing around 1600DPS at the moment even on the AoE Heavy stuff which is about 200-300dps more than I was last weekend. Although on the one hand I can see Recount inspiring me to sharpen my game and look at ways of increasing my DPS but I can’t allow it to consume me to the point where I compromise the integrity of the group dynamic. Watch this space to see what I do, more than likely it’s getting turned off and then might through it up again now and then to make sure I’m not slacking.

I am small steps closer to another one of my goals too. I am now sitting on 200 Shards, a mere 100 away from the Black War Mammoth, yes it’s huge and yes, it is probably going to replace Baron Rivendare’s Deathcharger on my hotbar. I wonder if I can write a macro to randomly call one of my epic ground mounts instead….. not that I currently have all that many.

Overall it was a good weekend, Shamaning is certainly a lot of fun and I am still excited to be sticking with this character and seeing what I can do. Probably will not get to play properly until Thursday this week due to other commitments but I may be able to pop on and do my Oracles daily quests. Helps to get my gold back up and takes next to no time.

As things are coming off my “To Do” list, It’s only right that I add some more;

  • Save Badges for Epic Chest piece
  • Get a Netherdrake