Thursday, September 30, 2010

How to improve character and have a direction to improve for noobs


There have been some posts and discussions over the few weeks in the WoW blogosphere about the difficulty of gaining enough information on how to improve your character. General consensus seems to be that the game gives you quite enough information on how to gem and enchant your character, but to me this is utter bull. The information is scattered and not concise, and sadly you have to resort to the internet resources.

To be quite honest, the mere basics of a character improvement are pretty easy to come around. To get the talents, glyphs, gems and enchants to at least tolerable level you can use WoW Popular in which you just choose the class, main specification and push button. The listing shows the most popular builds, glyphs and all in a very concise manner and thus gives a solid basic set up for your character. If you are clever enough, you can also see what these suggestions really aim to.

I'd say WoW Popular is the first place to go to just to get the basics right.

After hitting the magical 80, you find yourself grinding for gear and emblems. This is the part where things start to get ugly, as the gear contains so many stats and variables to take into account. Generally you should check Elitist Jerks or a dedicated blog about your class to see the main stats to concentrate on. For some classes MaxDPS gives excellent recaps on both the stats, rotations and specs, but not all. The rotations are a generalisation and you should -no, I should say you MUST- practise the rotations on a dummy to get them right.

To select the right gear or see if this goes above that you can use the MaxDPS's fine gear selection tool, for which you can even restrict the instances or raids you can attend to to see what would be best from that area. On the other hand, if you want to see what you SHOULD have on your character, you should see Gear-Wishlist which just ranks the gear for your character based on its spec: the beauty of this wishlist is that you can see where to acquire the gear, if it's sold or crafted and how it relates to other gear.

Caution should be advised, though. Gear-Wishlist is just dumb ranking system, and some of the suggestions will not endure a real stress test with all classes or specs! Running stuff like Rawr (highly recommended later on!!!) may well show the lack of finesse in the Wishlist ranking, but it's a solid way to build your character upwards.

For normal instances you are ok with the gear you have acquired from questing: in fact, some of the pieces hold as high as the entry raids (which are now defunct as everyone and their cousins are running ICC). Heroic instances require some normal instance gearing, but not much as long as you stay out of Halls of Reflection. To enter raiding you'd most definitely need at least the tier 9 equivalent gear, say almost full set of Emblem of Triumph gear with some random epics from heroics and perhaps that first piece of Emblem of Frost gear you should be able to get after all that daily heroic grind.

And you should put most emphasis as soon as possible in grinding the IC5 man instances: the loot and emblems really make it worth the while.

I hope this helps the newcomers and people with life to get their characters into shape and accepted in PUG raiding and/or guilds raiding. Just check your Gearscore for the nerds out there and be prepared with the strategies.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The effort in taking the effort...

Most players will agree on the fact that it should take some effort to get to the more 'valuable' rewards in a game. But what can be categorized as being an effort?

Defenition of 'effort': 1. The use of physical or mental energy to do something; exertion.

When you look at this definition almost anything can be seen as an effort. Starting up the game can be seen as an effort, or even moving your mouse from left to right can be seen as an effort. So this general definition does not provide that well of a description for what is seen as an effort in-game.

In general, things that are seen as normal activities, and thing belonging to everyday life are not seen as an 'effort'. So maybe we can translate this to the game world, lets give it a go...

'Regularity thesis'
Walking around is seen as normal, questing is seen as normal, but a quest involving elites is less standard. Another example, heroic 5-mans are seen as standard, but do result in higher rewards. Raids can also almost be seen as standard (the majority of the WoW population raids as far as I know, be it pugging or fixed groups).

So, 'things not regular' is also not really a measure of effort. So what is it then? Time? Is the time required to get to a certain point/item/reputation the only thing that is seen as an effort?

'Time thesis'
Heroics take more time (more than a standard quest in general). Raids do not take time, but absorb time so can also be placed in that category. Grinding for that special item takes time (not skill). Taking 20 days to get the venomhide ravasaur takes time (also no skill).

However, 'behind the scenes'of time is a far more important aspect: Perseverance. It takes willpower to endure the endless raid and HC grind, going back to Un'Goro each day for 20 days for the mount or fishing thousands of fish for the turtle mount.

This can be translated to (very roughly): The amount of time taken to complete one 'event', multiplied by the amount of time the event needs to be completed.

Testing the thesis
As a test: For a full set of HC-emblem gear one needs say 250 emblems (quick guess). With an average of 6 emblems each time, this equals to 42runs of 20 min average each. So 'only 14 hours of playtime total to get you 'raid ready' (not considering the crazy 5.6K GS requirements on some servers).

As a comparison, how many runs will it take you to get a full set of raid gear considering emblem of frost items. 405 EoF for a full set, 2 for each boss, meaning 203 boss-kills. On average 8 bosskills a week(spread over 2 raid days) means 26 raid weeks. Each takes about 4.5 hours (average of 1 or 2 raid nights) so that means a total of 117 hours spread over 26 weeks (thats half a year). And an average of 39 raid nights. (not taking into account weeklies)

Taking purely the amount of hours needed, getting a raid set takes more than 8 times the effort than getting a Heroic-5man set. (This would ofcourse be even more when considering the real time weeks needed instead of hours played)

So this appears to give atleast some kind of indication.

That's it?
Is that really all? If you take the time and stick with it, you will get everything you want/need? Is that what blizzard qualifies as an 'effort'?

To be honest, I think a lot of people actually do believe this. Put in the time and you will be rewarded. Afterall, it is a game which they pay for fun, not a game to be agonized by each and every step you want to take in gearing. So Blizz should toss them a bone every now and then, but it seems that the bone has grown into a full grown cow to be devoured whole within seconds of its 'magically' appearance.

So what should Blizzard use as their criteria to determine the value of the reward? Is it the 'epicness'of the quest? Or simply progression criteria which do not involve 'bones' or is it the amount of 'skill' needed?

Monday, September 27, 2010

No play (YAWP)

It's a bugger to have a life, you know. All time goes to commuting, work, kids and hobbies. Games -as strange as it may seem- take the backburner seat in my schedule when things start to get hectic.

That's what has happened lately. I had plans on doing clever posts, but got struck with severe case of life instead. Over the last weekend I played one CrossFire daily, and that's all. Didn't have even stamina to login to WoW to see my AH sales break new records.

Like I tweeted a moment ago:

All work, no play, makes a blog a very dry and uneventful place.

Sorry for that. Life just happens.

Monday, September 20, 2010

One beast of a weapon (YAWP)

It seems that getting 25 Primordial Saronites was more strain to the wallet than to the playing. I mean, I bought the stuff from AH, spent some nice gold for that to gain my new dps weapon.

And now I have Shadow's Edge. It's perhaps the best Arms DPS weapon available before completing the quest for Shadowmourne, a quest line which continues from getting Shadow's Edge itself.

Am I happy? Yes.

That was actually all I did ingame this weekend, par few AH deals and two battlegrounds with my spriest. Won in Eye for the first time and of course lost in Warsong Gulch, which seems to be quite horde heavy fight anyhow. Well, to be honest, any daily bg is horde heavy and horde dominated in the battlegroup I'm in, so that's no news.

Hopefully I get time to dig into the gearing this week. Don't hold your breath, though. The background downloader is screaming red all the time, which makes playing -or surfing- a pain.

Play nice!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Quick note from the front

As it happens, I'm a bit bound currently by work related things. I have in mind a post which would combine the last two ones, namely the one about gearing being too complex and Arms DPS, mostly from the point of view of the arms.

However, this will be postponed to next week, when I finally should have time to invest in WoWHead, Gear-Wishlist and Rawr. And writing it, of course. I might be tempted to go through some musty old pages of EJ, too...

Till then -unless Az comes up with a topic- Play Nice!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Arms DPS

One's performance is pretty interestingly dependant on her/his subjective view. The commonly accepted or required values tend to be easily measured and are usually posed more out of the convenience rather than actual facts.

Take the GS for example: you can have completely wrong gearset which exceeds the actual requirement, but still doesn't improve your actual performance in the role you sign in. This is sadly pretty common, so now we can see more and more requirements for gear checks, dps checks and achievements.

My achilles heel has always been my lack of interest in the dps role of the warrior. However, this has to change if I'm to continue on the raiding path I'm trying to follow, and thus I have started to dig up information on Arms dps.

Before anyone starts telling me that Fury is by far better in delivering the overall dps I can say that I don't like Fury and I'm not going to change my view to please others. That would make me miserable, and you have seen what that looks like.

In the search it has become very clear that there is a lack of actual Warrior dps blogs out there: in fact, there is a certain lack of Warrior blogs in general, except the few excellent tanking blogs everyone is following. The only one remotely touching the subject of Arms dps is the blog of Pixelated Executioner, or Pix for short.

Now the main point of an Arms Warrior is that he's an utility to the group. Not only a valid dps cannon which really starts to shine at the final 20% of the boss fight, but as a valid buff source. Trauma, Mortal Strike and Rend are all very much appreciated in any party or raid an Arms warrior is part of.

The critical stats are almost the same for an Arms Warrior as they are to other melee classes:
  • 8% or 263 hit rating to soft cap the hit
  • soft cap on Expertise, meaning 16 Expertise with proper talents
  • Strength to give the hit some real punch
  • +Crit and +ArPen to cover the cake
I'm more inclined to go the way Pix has gone, and that is to gem for +STR rather than the overall consensus of going for +ArPen. This same route was also pointed out in, where the difference between the two routes was deemed to be very slight in PvE. ArPen might have more impact in the PvP setting due to the fact that you need to get through the armour anyhow. In PvE you as melee DPS are supposed to be standing BEHIND the boss, dealing damage as crazy. Also the point that ArPen is being removed in the event of Cataclysm, it's a safe bet to gem for +STR, too. Cheaper, at least.

Now the rotation of an Arms Warrior is pretty simple, and goes along the same ways as with warriors in general. Rather than being a rotation per se, its more a priority like Protection Warriors, being as:
  1. Rend has to be up all the time
  2. Overpower
  3. Mortal Strike
  4. Execute
  5. Slam
  6. Bladestorm
Well, the last one is an addition from Maxdps' priority list, but it's worth the mention in these AoE heroics days, as it is the most potent AoE attack Arms Warrior has. I take that back: combination of Sweeping Strikes and Cleave is the most potent, but the combination has gotten some tweaks since Pix made his excellent posts about Arms and I think it was nerfed quite a bit. Sure, Bladestorm is prone to be nerfed completely in a fight where the boss -or player- disarms you, but in a PvE boss fight the boss shouldn't even be hitting you, let alone disarming!

The main point is the same as with all the classes with DoTs: keep the DoTs up all times and don't clip them. So in general terms Arms Warrior pops up Berserker Rage and charges in on the footsteps of the tank, striking with the Rend as soon as he arrives to the combat. Followed by mandatory shout (Commanding as priority) as the Rage builds up (utility to the group first and foremost, dps as an added value is my view) its time to start using the rest of the skills which have a pretty limited window of execution because Overpower, Mortal Strike and Execute are available only on procs. This is the main reason for the priority list rather than rotation. Thankfully our Taste of Blood talent, Overpower also procs pretty decently over the fight and is almost interchangeable with Mortal Strike, with Slam as filler if neither is up. If you're lucky, you may land a Heroic Strike in there, too, but that shouldn't be prioritized.

If, and ONLY IF, the boss doesn't have adds you can use Bladestorm. On a boss like Saurfang it's an absolute no-no (as well as Thunderclap) only because of the Bloodbeasts. If you get hit by a boss or an add you are not supposed to attack, you have failed.

Like I mentioned earlier, Arms Warrior begins to shine at the last 20% of the bosses health, as then the Execute starts to proc constantly. The fight, especially with stationary bosses, turns into a one button smashing show, but the result is quite impressive.

In short, Arms Warrior will not currently top the damage meters, but s/e sure as hell fills her/his spot in the group by giving a good damage buff and an increase in overall dps.

Did I mention I've always liked the underdogs?


Monday, September 13, 2010

Ramp up the beat (YAWP)

Somehow the weekend was cut short to sessions of WoW and sleep. Don't ask me how and why, but in addition to those, there was only some lunch and breakfast.

Not too bad though: I spent the time in game trying to ramp up my dps in my Arms spec (more about that tomorrow). The reason to this was a lengthy discussion with a guild officer about my performance and my own view that I lack most in the DPS side. So it was off to the drawing board on that for me.

First of all it was all gearing and gemming. Simple as anything, especially as I had few Emblem of Triumphs to spend. So the gear was about there where I could start doing some dps. On gemming I went all strength, more about that too tomorrow.

First try was very, very disappointing. My dps was sub-par by far, reaching only 1.8k on lv80 dummy. After getting the priority rotation around the way it's supposed to be I got the dps up to 2.1k. Nice improvement just by getting the priorities right. And all this unbuffed: warrior dps is crap unbuffed anyhow, so I'm almost pleased by the level I got myself to.

I also tested the protection dps, but that is just stupid and ... dumb to test on a dummy. You need to be attacked to get the Revenge to proc, which is quite considerable damage dealer in the priorities (the best, to be honest...). So those numbers will be left out of the public. Sufficient to say that I got some other skills to the picture and I was pretty happy about that.

And then I got to ICC25 with the guild. First of all I got the quest from the lobby, to collect blood and stuff for Morgraine. Then we went in: the bloody lag hits me like a truck every time, and its funny how bad Marrowgar really is. It has to be all that mist, frost and all which does the encounter next to impossible for my computer to handle, despite the fact that the spammy addons have been cut off.

Long story short, I'm pretty pleased with my dps now, even though there is a lot to improve. That improvement will come shortly as the quest reward is Shadow's Edge which is arguably the best Arms DPS weapon before Shadowmourne. What really made my day was that I got an upgrade to my lousy neck, as I got the Bile Encrusted Medallion to myself.

Now I have to earn enough gold to purchase all those 25 Primordial Saronites for the quest. That Light's Vengeance part was too meh after Wrathgate and the level the quest expects you to be, really. It could have been an epic fight for the individual, but it wasn't. Who would teach the game/quest designers the few valuable things every pen and paper RPG gamemaster learns about pushing the players to the limit and making sure they won't fail despite the odds? This part would have needed such an encounter, really.

Anyhow a very nice weekend, despite the lack of activities. Total game time over the weekend... 4.5 hours?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

How complex should gear changing be...

At some point or another, there comes the time that you will be looking at making tiny gear changes to optimize DPS.

Last week was such a point for my warlock. I had gathered 100 or so frost emblems and spend some DKP on a warlock tier token. Up till that point, I had always picked up non-tier gear (hands and chest) and had picked up some other items in ICC's. But as I already had the head tier-piece (no other suitable head had dropped or was available before I bought it) I decided that I wanted to give the tier bonus's a go. So the decision making process begun.

I had to buy a second Tier-piece...but that would mean that I would have to replace another part. As it turned out, every part I owned was better stat-wise (tier bonus not taken into account) than any of the remaining tier parts (ilvl 251). But, I still had the token available, so I looked at the sanctified (ilvl 264) set of T10. Those items were more or less on par sadly enough, making my decision even harder. Should I exchange some haste for SP? or some haste for more crit? Sure, there are information sources which provide a priority list, but they will only get you so far.

Looking further, I could also use the token on the head, which would give more advantages statwise. But that would leave me with a second Tier piece which was worse than the item that would be replaced...

Gear set comparisons on different sites did not provide the answers, as it is very hard to calculate the added benefits of the set-bonus. The Rawr software provided the solution. It gave me a clean DPS rundown of the different options. And surprisingly, it came down to upgrading my head with the token, and replacing my shoulders with a lower-stat Tier item resulting in a substantial dps increase of about 300 (without buffs etc)...who would have guessed...

But would there have been any other way to make a decision or than a full day of theorycrafting? Trial and error comes to mind. But when you use token, or frost emblems that you worked so hard for, they are gone. Making trial and error a very slow process.

Did Blizzard make the gearing too difficult? Or does the availability of the external sites etc make things overly complicated?

Now most know that with Cata, things will be changing when looking at the gear stats. But, as far as I can see, the new 'transparent' way of dividing stats, might still be rather confusing. And as far as tier bonus's go, nothing really changes...

I do think though, that some complexity should exist in gear selection, as you should be able to find your own way in how you gear your toon...but in the current system, this is not the case. You can choose to gear in a certain way, but in general the theorycrafting will show that there is only really one way to do it right. The choices are very limited...

So, how comlex should gear selection be? And how does this fit in the end-game-gear-grind?

Another passed year of confusion

This blog is now officially two years old. There are no celebrations planned, as there never will be due to the fact that it coincidently is the same date as the Twin Towers incident's date.

This time, though, the date will mean some changes in the blog and its focus. The randomness of both schedule and topics will most probably continue.

Who am I kidding. Everything continues as normal.

I think.

Move on.


Friday, September 10, 2010

Is it epic?

I have been touching the subject of raiding being revered as The Game within the MMO. I myself think that raiding itself has been created as a superficial way to keep the players who want to beat the game and see the flashing Game Over, You Win screen happy and working ad nauseatum. The opposing point of view deems quests and levelling as boring solo endeavour and raiding as being epic battles and epic experiences.

Look around in the blogosphere: how many posts about quests, epic storylines or great deeds done while completing quest can you find? Let alone blogs?

Based on what I've seen -which isn't much- I think it's pretty few, most of them mostly concentrating on completing the Insane to the Membrane achievement or speed levelling by going through the few longer quest lines, skipping the finale because the reward is obsolete at the time you reach that point.

Now that I've dipped my feet into the raiding end of the pool, I'm waiting for it's magic to get hold on me. The min-maxing minigame which being capped forces on you finds its culmination point in raid gearing with all the finesses from flasks, potions, enchants and buff food. The further we go in an expansion the higher and higher the arbitrary gs expectations of the PUG raids go, leading us to the point where a fun run in Sunwell Plateau requires "properly geared, min. 5.6gs players" (saw yesterday a call for full group of lv80's for that one...) and you can't get on weekly below 6k. Couple of days ago I was turned down from weekly in Ulduar (XT-002) for lacking from 5.6k gs...

This superficial requirement armada creates the false assumption that the life at the cap is the cream of the crop. It makes us forget the stories, the lore and the real adventure experienced while climbing up to the top. Then again, the game designers guide our decisions and impose us with certain solutions to their puzzles, forming the way the game is played. If they wanted, the game would look very much different.

One aspect I've noticed lacking is the quest line composition. There is no way of telling if the quest you just picked up is a continuing one (unless you run a quest helper addon or another), and despite what Blizzard thinks not everyone is rejoiced to find a quest hub and see their minimap blink yellow: the most rewarding quests and quest lines I've taken have been those which you find out there in the wild, in a dungeon which you just passed or out there, beyond any quest hubs. Sense of adventure, excitement and exploration, I say!

The quests should give us also choices which have the chance of changing the future quest composition. You should be able to make a decision whether you want to torture a prisoner or turn their superiors in. By choosing either your future quests should reflect this change, thus making every levelling experience different by more than just choosing another area (only to return to the same path later).

There are no real epic story lines out there, even though there are some pretty long ones. The ones that tickle your fancy and force you to hurry to the next chapter in the story are few and far, but those are the ones that really make the game epic.

Will we see this change in Cataclysm? I don't know. Like I said earlier, I hate the Cataclysm leaks, and can't bother to find out beforehand. But if the questing is more and more the same as always, then the only thing that remains epic is gear.

The question is, whether the quests and questing in general is epic enough, when beating the 'unbeatable' odds of group content seems to be?

Could questing be as epic, even?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A bit better

Oh my.

I have gone through a grinder and I presume I'm still at one piece. Lack of practise shows -and feels- deep in my head. And partly in my corpse body, too.

You see, last night was the raid night and the guild went to Ulduar 25 for a change. I have decided to give this kind of life a shot and see what the cards hold for me. Staying up late is just a minor repercussion compared to this raging hyperactivity my mind is experiencing. It goes along the lines:
- Did I execute the right skill on that fight?
- Was that really the right decision based on the info I had then, because it sure as hell isn't when I'm looking at it now?
- How could I do it like that?
- What can I do to learn that other thing better?
And so on.

Most of the time I was in my protection spec and in defensive stance (mental note: work out the key layout for prot spec-battle stance!). In couple of fights I had my dps spec and gear on (mental note: badge gear upgrades and practise on this set!), and I even got to tank some fights (mental note: streamline keybinds, pay attention to UI layout, too).

I can see the lure of the dark side raiding, though, a bit more clear now. In ICC25 my computer's performance is too low for the playing to be responsive and controllable enough, but in Ulduar... I could do something and feel I was working with the team and for the team. It was not constantly guessing where I should be, if that attack landed or if I stepped away or in the goo.

This time I had my flasks, I had my foods and I was more prepared and tweaked up. The beginning feels always easier when the encounter is something you know at least adequately, like Flame Leviathan and XT002, latter of which happened to be the last weeks weekly which I tanked succesfully, btw. So tanking the Life Sparks in that encounter should have been easy, but honestly speaking I didn't even remember where they spawned originally! Once I got the grasp of it (thanks to everyone patching my misses) I felt I did it quite properly, missing one which really bugs me (mental note: mocking blow still exists if taunt is on cd).

The first wipe we faced was that with Auriaya and her kittens, but that was because we wanted the achievement and really weren't trying hard enough. And I was the first to die because I just didn't pay attention to my cooldowns just there and then. The second run went smoothly as if everyone had been just woken up.

Kologarn was a blast as the second tank of the colossus himself, even though I didn't find the debuff showing on my screen anywhere (it's on the left side in the middle you idiot! You just put it there SO YOU WOULDN'T MISS IT!!! :P ) so the taunt rotation went a bit awry. But it worked anyhow.

Hodir was our second -and final- wipe, as we tried to go for the heroic one with all sorts of achievements on the way. For this one I changed to my arms/dps set, and boy, was I lost (mental note: dummy): the buttons just were so WRONG! No shield slam, no revenge... Hello, you're holding a two-hander! I suppose I do better damage with my current prot set than with my dps set, so I decided to go with that after this fight. The logs will tell me if I'm correct, but anyhow my dps set requires some badge love. I had even a blue trinket in there, that should tell something!

The only fight I'm really disappointed with was the one with Mimiron. You see, this was the only fight along with Hodir in which my screen froze to ICC25 kind of state, and this resulted a pretty quick demise in the first  Plasma Blast. I think I was one shotted. Never the less, I followed through the whole fight with my face buried beneath Mimiron himself, enjoying the view and admiring the scenery. Just like I'm used to when we're going through content undermanned with my brothers, mind you, so it made me feel so warm and fuzzy inside...

All in all I now understand why Ulduar is referred as being beautiful and well thought instance. Granted my experience of raid instances comes down to ICC25 (being laggy as hell for me), I still loved the feeling of space, epicness and completeness of the place. It has much in common with the scenery and feel of Karazhan in a way, having something new to see behind every corner and imaginative visions here and there. Also there are some great references to Uldaman and other old world instances, which really made me smile on the way.

Now, the next step is to get out of this self-doubt and see what I learned. Now that is a challenge of epic proportions!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


by Copra

Cataclysm beta leaks. I hate them. I really do. But they are a genius pre-marketing tool from Blizzards side in many ways.

Achievements. Guild levelling. Instances. Class changes. Gear wipe. You name it.

Every little bit of information going out of the new shiny expansion fills a specific marketing target. There is a fabulous name to this creation of future expectations which cause people focus on the future rather than to the current moment.


It's the current trend that we expect the next big thing to be The Thing. The same as the reason to publicise the next big concert a year ahead, put an outrageous price tag on the ticket and see how the price of the tickets declines the closer we come to the gig. It's the way we look our world tomorrow and forget to concentrate on the current moment. Tomorrow everything is better.

And we're all playing according to Blizzards pipe on this.

Take the guild achievement system for example. ICC is more or less on farm for most of the guilds out there. They are keeping some sort of raiding schedule to keep the raiders happy, to feed the not raiders through the LK grind and get everyone geared for the next big thing. (See what I did just there? Nextopia!) Some have started to look for greener pastures, and Blizzard reveals their plans for guild achievements and how ancient legendary weapons are ranked high in that system.

Guess what happens. Oh, sorry, you may have seen this, so it's no spoiler at all.

The guilds which have gotten bored or just lost the zest to go through ICC for the umpteenth time turn their eyes towards their legendary weapons. Suddenly there is a new surge in going through Ulduar, vanilla raids and so on. The people scatter from Dalaran to do their magic in the areas where they have set their foot a couple of years ago, if ever.

Blizzard just created 'meaningfull' stuff to do to you people! Clever marketing trick using the Nextopia idea!

At least I'm interested to see how Blizzard will fool us all to go through the old content once again. Cataclysm itself started the new minigame boom on achievements, but what if they introduced another one just to make sure everyone leaves the safety of Dalaran to see the old world again...

I can't wait for it to happen. It's bliss to live on expectations!

Like a pun or something

As I messed up with my first impressions in raiding, I also messed up with my good intentions to upgrade the layout.

Sorry for losing the commenting for a while there. It's up again. Took it for granted that it would follow the layout changes, but it doesn't. It has to be activated each time.

Sorry. The program resumes as normal after this.

Monday, September 6, 2010

I messed up my good impression (YAWP)

by Copra

They say that you can make a good first impression only once. I had my chance and I blew it, really.

You see, I got myself to enter into the Saturday raid and I made a promise to myself to be prepared. Like all good plans, it was ruined by bad luck and bad execution.

First of all, I took upon the preparations in a hurry and by accident put the flasks meant for my warrior on sale. I was to check my gemming before I enter the raid, but was sucked into a living hell of a Stratholme and couldn't leave that be.

And I noticed the lack of flasks when the raid leader did his check...

Then the actual hell began. Like I've told earlier, my computer handles the 25 mans very badly: my fps dropped to 2 on Marrowgar, making it next to impossible with my experience in the encounter to avoid everything. No problem, though, as the other two were pro's and I learned that one of them has the same issue with the encounters. Though it never shows in his performance due to long learning. Which I lack naturally.

Marrowgar was just the initiation rite for the lower depths of hell. My heart sinked when I had to change to and fro between dps and tanking, as I noticed at one point that my action bars had gotten messed up. I was supposed to dps, I was in battle stance (my secondary spec is Arms) but my bar was lacking the critical skills! No time to switch anything in the heat of the battle, but I learned later that... I had been in my protection spec all along...

Now the logs are a mess on my part: they'll show me being is protection spec on fights I was dpsing and I fear it's the other way around on some other fight.

I think all this comes down to two things. Trying too hard and leaving things to the last possible minute.

Let me tell you something: I wasn't pleased on my performance, my gems nor my preparation. I feel miserable enough without the motivational message from the tank officer, which explained in detail what I had done, what I hadn't done and what I should have done. However I've taken everything under consideration and I'll be more prepared next time, if I'm ever allowed to join again...

Raiding is really fun. /cry

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Three conquered all

by Copra

Another Thursday evening, the evening for the Three Stooges to stand up against unbeatable odds. And get beaten the heck out of them in doing it.

That's the general idea of our brotherly Thursdays and this one was no special. One random heroic to begin with (smooth and crispy Utgarde Pinnacle) followed by Icecrown instances. Three against the odds designed for five.

We like to give the opponents an advantage, you know.

So we went from the beginning. Forge of Souls. Bishopgeorge decided to give the instance the advantage of having his keybinds being unlocked. This did cause a wipe on trash (aye, on this gear and knowledge level, it's just appalling :D) but we downed the bosses one by one with no real problems. The Devourer of Souls was a kind of "one man standing" in the end, but FoS was a nice distraction. Lots of unnecessary movement, strange mantras being recited by Förgelös who is trying to learn to use his Trick of Trades and one hand miracle working on my part.

Pit of Saron. Off we went like the current modus operandi states, riding on our high horses past the initial introduction of our main target, Scourgelord Tyrannus. Where the tanking me and the dps'ing Förgelös circumvented all the additional trash, decided our residen healer, mister Bishopgeorge, give the instance an upper hand again by leading a group of mobs to our combat zone. Thanks to that, we had a very pleasant bloodbath and survived the hilarious onslaught of pixelated carnage.

Forgemaster Garfrost was just a tad short of being a let down. You see, I had the Permafrost debuff at around level 30 all the way, only resetting it twice over the course of the encounter. It took a while, but it was over just around the time we all started to worry if we would make it.

Krick and Ick. Now this bugger is really a bugger. For some reason it seems that this fight is our Achilles heel in many ways, but not because of the movement part. Oh, no, the movement is ok, the stopping to hit is the bugger: we gain so much momentum -each one of us- that we just simply keep running when the running part is over. And we always seem to manage to reset the darn boss in the middle of the battle. Like this time.

Then I have to admit that we resorted to the current modus operandi of avoiding the majority of the trash leading to the tunnel: mount up and run as far as you dare. Which usually leads you to the last pack of mobs before the entrance.

Like the mobs in the tunnel, the mob was a pushover. I heard my brothers yawn even though Bishop didn't even have his headset on. I on the other hand had fun, trying to learn to time my Spell Reflect right on the casters: the havoc it caused!

Finally, Scourgelord Tyrannus. The only boss in this set that tries to bore you with his monologue. Really... /yawn... boring, but the fight was a perfect example of dedication, sacrifice, selfless commitment and sheer dumb luck. The execution was perfect and when Tyrannus finally fell, he was the end of a series of very long boss fights in Pit of Saron. We prevailed and Tyrannus went down on the first try, even though we had had problems with him last two times we had visited him!

By the cost in repairs, Tyrannus has been the most expensive boss for us so far. But I fear that Halls of Reflection will best that and some more. You see, we got in and tried to see what it was like on three of us. I was the only one who had been in there before and I have tanked it only once with a good group of guildies.

We were severely under dps'd and even though my control over the incoming mobs was pretty good (ok, one or two got to hit the other two, maybe once or twice before I caught them), the sheer amount of damage was such that the healing had a bit of a problem there. And it didn't help that we had three waves on us at a time because we couldn't kill the buggers as fast as they came.

Result: The three stooges have a new challenge, a challenge for which everyone of us has to work on. I need more dps (I really need to check if I can get some str or haste on me), Förgelös has to get new set of daggers and attack power and Bishop... well, he just has to be.

All in all, one great night at the Icecrown instances.