Despite having been away for a bit, I happened to catch glimpse of some of the upcoming gear sets in Cataclysm, notably Tier 11 and Season 9 gear:
Not the most visually impressive shaman sets IMO, but one thing to keep in mind is they are being modeled on a human, so the proportions and what not aren’t accurate for most of the races that can wear the gear. I find shaman gear to be more visually impressive on an orc, anyhow; just a small touch of bias there, nothing more. :)
For the T11, I’m liking the color scheme on the right as being the default one, and I would suspect the purple one being the heroic version (if they stick to that formula to differentiate the sets). The green looks much like something you’d expect to see on a druid. With the S9 gear, I see either the top or bottom color schemes being used; I think I’m leaning toward the bottom (blue) set since it would be more of a visual contrast to the T11 colors shown. Of course, all of this is merely my opinion on the matter, so I could be totally wrong on all of it. Wouldn’t be the first time, nor last. :D
This week marks the first full week of raiding I’ve attended since I stopped playing, and I’ve gotten pretty lucky. This past Sunday, I picked up the Split Shape Belt, which was the last item from Halion 25 normal mode. Tuesday, I went into full on loot whore mode, scoring the Bulwark of Smouldering Steel, Necrophotic Greaves, and Belt of the Blood Nova. The shield was a definite highlight, for I had been using the regular version seemingly forever (I want to say I got it in February). Strange how some slots tend to go months and months between upgrades; the shield slot is one of such. With the stat changes going into Cata (mp5 converted to spirit, which is converted to hit for elemental), perhaps this won’t be as problematic.
Last, but not least: A wonderful note from the upcoming beta build.
* Elemental Reach now also increases the range of Searing Totem by 7/15 yards.
This will put searing totem’s range at 35 yards, and we don’t know currently if totemic reach in the enhance tree applies to searing totem. Based on the wording of the talent, it would, so we could be looking at a potential 41 yard range on searing totem. I think I may opt to pass on totemic reach, though, if this range increase via elemental reach does make it live (and I think it will) in favor of reverberation, most likely. As I previously noted, though, it’s really nice having some options available in the talent tree.
I haven’t done much notable stuff on beta (just got to 81 at one point last week), but I did pick up a rather snazzy achievement last night. Now I present Acheron’s first heroic Sindragosa 25 kill:
I did not record this; this work is courtesy of our shadow priest, Thaeron, so props to him for setting this up. If you are looking for yours truly, I’m the only orc shaman running around, usually off to the left whenever I a.) had Unchained Magic or b.) was running down to duck behind a frost tomb.
Of course, I die after Sindy goes down because everyone was being a goober going “YAY WE WIN!!1!1one” while I’m going “MMRMRRMRMRMRRMRRMRMRH”. That’s what I guess I sound like being encased in ice. o.o
Now we have options: We will work on Lk heroic some on Sunday, but starting next week, we will either start clearing all of heroic ICC to work on LK more, or we’ll treat ourselves to some faceroll achievements in order to obtain Icebound Vanquisher mounts. Either way, I’m happy.
Unrelated note, the little world event for the retaking of the Echo Isles is entertaining. Be a part of WoW history if you haven’t already!
So I do my round-about of wow-related sites this morning and find out that a new build is up on the Cata beta servers, and with it comes even more changes to the already radically changed talent trees:
Over-dramatized summary of initial community reaction: OMFG WARE IZ ANCESTRAL SWIFTNESS!1!11 It’s dead and out the door, least as of this build. I’m not sweating it, despite the fact I’m a huge fanboy of the current Improved Ghost Wolf (prior to 3.3 it was always in my PVE builds). The more logical conclusions is that the insta-cast ghost wolf portion of the talent will return, either as baseline or as a new glyph of some sort…perhaps one of the new “medium” glyphs (which will be called major in Cata).
With the current trees, 34/2/5 looks like a solid build; points in Spark of Life could be shifted into Improved Shields for maximum mana efficiency, or in the event we get some retarded Vezax-style fight in Cata, those 3 points could come from Unrelenting Storm and be put in Ancestral Knowledge. I’m liking the current tree setup a little more now than the previous build, because it allows for a little bit of customization: Do you want maximum mana efficiency, or do you trade some of that for some survivability? There may very well be more changes, but I like the direction this is going in, save for having lost Ancestral Swiftness as it was.
Another thing I just realized I like: This build could be utilized for both PVE and PVP. I do wonder how well we will fare being that we are losing Ancestral Shift, but with increased health pools in relation to damage, hopefully things will work out fine. Having done PVP in WoTLK without Ancestral Shift…ow. Don’t do that. :-P
In other news, I combed over my elemental leveling guide and found that I had omitted Fire Nova and Magma Totem…fail and some more fail. Everything else in it appears to be relevant and up to date, but that’s just for WoTLK. Cata leveling will be totally different (perhaps even easier yet more fun at the same time). My guide can be found here.
Last, but not least, the ICC welfare buff is now at 30%, which last I recall was the highest that it was shown to be, least from datamined information circa November 2009. I don’t see a need for it to go any higher, really, and this is coming from someone who’s only 9/12 in heroic ICC 25. Our tanks were already pushing 80k hp fully raid buffed, so this may put them over that…funny how that’s about 10 times as much as a well-geared tank in vanilla. We’ve come quite a long way since then, heh.
Edit: Or the whole thing with Ancestral Swiftness was merely a setback…it wasn’t removed after all. See? That’s why I hate discussing beta things (but there isn’t much else to discuss) :-P
Normally, I don’t pay much attention to news pages/announcements/etc. during the weekend, but a friend asked me if I had looked at the upcoming Guild Perks, so I had to check into them. Now this is all in beta still and a lot of this can change, but based off what’s available, the guild perk feature is going to be really sweet. I dare say it walks the line of “too good to be true”, so I’m being wary of being OMG SO EXCITED or anything of that nature.
Now, for material that would qualify as OMG SO EXCITING, this weekend in WoW would be it. Friday I finally finished the achievement “To The Rescue!” by getting 4 base defenses in one game…way to close that out in style. The biggest highlight were yesterday, though. Saturday night into Sunday morning, we worked on Lich King 10 hard mode, and around 2 AM Sunday, everything fell in place and we were once again wtfBBQed by Fury of Frostmourne at 10%…oh wait, that means we won! The only downside (if you want to call it that) was losing out on Tel’thas to our priest, but in all seriousness, I didn’t (and still) don’t give a damn; this was a win where the loot was only secondary. It’s all about the title, heh. Besides, the previous week I had upgraded from the heroic Midnight Sun that I had mentioned in a previous entry to Bleak Coldarra Carver, so I wasn’t exactly hurting. Yes, Tel’thas is a pretty significant upgrade over BCC, but loot was my last concern with winning this encounter. With 3 weekends worth of work on the fight, we just wanted to get it down and collect our sweet title.
So how could I top that? Well, that’s a hard act to follow, but later that day (after some healthy sleeping in) my mount farming partner and I did our rounds and I came out of ZG as owner of a Swift Zulian Tiger. I’ve been running in there for a good 3-4 months for just about every reset, starting out just soloing the raptor boss (came close once or twice on the tiger boss but silence + interrupts = heals going off), but my farming partner and I expanded our Anzu farming scheme over into other dungeons; so far he has Anzu for his main, while I have the Swift White Hawkstrider and now the Zulian Tiger.
But wait, there’s more! A couple of hours after picking up my shiny new mount, our guild ventured into ICC 25, which I was quite nervous about because for the time between raid start and when I won the mount, my connection speed went right into the doldrums and was shoddy right up to our first pull of Putricide. Connection stablized in time for LK (which feels like a total breeze after doing the 10 man hard mode, heh) and I was awarded theRoyal Scepter of Terenas II. Sure, Tel’thas is better stats-wise in terms of DPS, but the scepter wins out in that it’s faaaaaaar easier to obtain and it looks way cooler. :-P
With that, my Best Weekend in WoW was over, but damn, it’s hard to ask for more. Next weekend I will most likely end up the owner of another nice shiny mount, the Bloodbathed Frostbrood Vanquisher.
Oh, yeah…totally forgot to mention that I’m halfway home in terms of level 80s; my warlock dinged 80 yesterday afternoon amidst all the goings-on with my shaman and I’ve already replaced all of his heirlooms AND have 2 piece T9 on him. As much as I despise running heroics on other toons, it’s actually fun to run them with the lock, since he isn’t uber leet dps yet. I run some with a freshly dinged druid tank, and it’s scary to watch his health see-saw back and forth, but it’s a nice reminder of how far we have come in WoTLK, where once upon a time heroics were a reasonable challenge to their faceroll status now.
It’s been a busy couples of weeks on the RL front as of late, so time to catch the blog up on wow-related happenings, weee!
I can has cheese…ments?
I’ve become quite the achievement hunter as of late, and oddly enough it’s after I eclipsed the 9000 achievement points mark. I actually expected it to happen; it being that I would struggle to pass the 9000 mark (for which you get the ever-so lovely “It’s Over Nine Thousand!” feat of strength, which I link to noobs when they ask me what my gear score is). A month after acquiring said feat of strength, I now border 9500; 9495 to be exact, and I’ll tip over that scale once we make a corpse out of Halion.
The highlight of recent achievements was done with a pseudo-pug (pseudo in the fact it was mostly members of another raid guild on our server) that in 2 days cleared all of the Ulduar 25 hard mode achievements, including the Yogg +1 kill that taunted me for the past 2-3 months since the last pseudo-pug (which was more of a pug than this group) cleared all of the achievements except for Yogg +1, which we spent some 6 or so hours trying to complete. No more of that achievement festering like a wound, for now I fly the skies of Azeroth on an ironbound proto-drake, which is actually rarer than the ICC frost wyrm mounts that are starting to roll out in droves. Sadly, we could not beat Algalon with that group; our next to last attempt had him at ~5% (forgot the exact amount but it was single digits), but a LOT of people in the raid had never done the fight before. I believe that guild went back last week and got that done, though.
Speaking of frost wyrms…I’m only 3 achievements away from the bloodbathed frostbrood vanquisher, but I most likely won’t get that done this week. I’m in our hand-picked group that is working on LK hard mode, and I still need the achievement for letting necrotic plague or whatever stack to 30 (along with Full House and All You Can Eat). I should be able to coerce the guild into working those down, though. :-P
The largest chunk of the ~500 points I’ve acquired in the past month was by completing all the Midsummer achievements, which was the last of the metas needed to get the violet proto-drake. It was a bit anticlimatic, to say the least, since I got the violet a week after having acquired the ironbound…”eh, violet proto, whatever”…heh. :-P I still think putting up with doing all that stuff over the course of a year warrants a nice shiny 310% speed flying mount. Looking forward, if I decide I want to pursue this drake on any of my alts, I’ll be able to fly around the old world when Cata arrives, so knocking this stuff out should be a LOT faster.
Now my goal is to make it to 10k achievement points before Cataclysm, but I do not think that will happen. The largest chunk of points I could acquire towards getting there would be by acquiring Battlemaster; I’m only about 2/3 of the way toward that, with a lot of Strand and AV victories between me and it, among a slew of other achievements, such as the infamous “We had it all along *cough*”, where you win a game of AB by the score of 1600-1590. Sadly, I know for fact I’ve pulled that off 2-3 times in years past, but that was well before the achievement system came into play. I could start looking for arena teams, also…but I think I’d rather stab myself in the eyes with a rusty spork than bother with arena. I thoroughly enjoy battlegrounds and Wintergrasp, but arena infuriates me to no end, mainly because you can no longer do well by grabbing your friends and jumping right in; they have to be a certain class/spec to complement you so that you can compete at a respectable level. Perhaps my full analysis/opinion on wow pvp will come to fruition in the form of a future blog post. :)
Alt-itis in Full Swing
Despite enjoying BGs and WG, I barely bothered with it this weekend. Instead, alt-itis was in full swing. I have acquired dual spec on every single character I have now (since I have money running out of my ears on Kaz; I have bought pretty much every “gold sink” at this point). Played my DK and hunter for the first time in several months; switched the DK from blood dps to unholy and I’ve noticed it’s a slight dps upgrade without having a good grasp on the rotation involved. I’m pretty sure I can start cranking out 1k dps consistently on him…oh, he’s level 67, btw, and half his gear is still the DK starter gear, heh. With the hunter, I have picked up Marksmanship as a second spec, along with the standard BM leveling spec. I’m thinking that MM, with it’s focus on increased direct damage and aoe, should allow me to push more dps than I currently do as BM. Also, in the event my pet were to die, I wouldn’t lose 40 some odd percent of my dps (I am making that number up, for I haven’t really paid attention to the damage breakdown to that degree).
My rogue and mage are neck and neck level wise, having just passed over the level 40 mark. They are both solid dps, but polar opposites; I can wreck single target dps on the rogue like it’s cool, but the mage wins the overall battle due to having obscene aoe. I enjoy the mage experience more, but that’s mainly due to WoTLK Syndrome, where every dungeon/raid has ended up being “zomg aoe” and mobs evaporate in a cloud of flashy colors. I have dual spec on both toons already, but with no clear direction as to what I’d do with a second spec…maybe pvp specs for each, but BG queues for horde in general are abysmal, no matter the level.
The lock and priest are stuck in the low 70s range for now; I will probably resort to leveling via quests, since I am bored to tears with Northrend dungeons since I’ve run them 1340589372618934751236495823745132 times in the past year and a half or so. They have their professions (tailoring/enchanting on the lock, herbing/alchemy on the priest) maxed out, so I have my money’s worth out of them, heh.
I am slowly converting my paladin into a full time healadin; the only problem is motivating myself to run heroics to finish off his gear…I think my summary in the previous paragraph sums that up. Druid isn’t doing much of anything since I’m burned out facerolling heroics for welfare loot; current use for him aside from making glyphs for other toons is Anzu farming; I have a deal worked out with a friend where we run each other’s mains through for Anzu using our druids. No mount so far, but I think in time we’ll both have it. :)
Ruby Sanctum: First Impression
Ruby Sanctum was finally opened to the public yesterday, and elements from it are quite nice to see. For one, there’s a couple of trash packs featuring Commander mobs (forget the exact name) that have to be pulled out and away from the rest, or else it provides a battle shout or whatever that increases the damage done by nearby units; the more that are stacked together, the more they get buffed. Try piling them all together and AOEing, and you’ll quickly see that your tanks are dead. Said trash packs have my seal of approval.
The mini bosses aren’t anything exciting, although the one that’s to the left when you enter can royally eff people up if tanks aren’t awake and pick up the mirror images. As for Halion…ah, Halion, you bastard. I personally feel like this is a VERY easy fight, at least on normal (I have not been in for any heroic attempts). All that fire and shit you see on the videos? It tickles. Seriously. I was quite disappointed when I stood smack dab in the middle of A FUCKING METEOR STRIKE…and it hit me for all of 15k. Hopefully on heroic that’s an instagib in heroic, heh. I mean…a giant fucking rock the size of a UPS truck just fell on my head and I’m doing just fine, thank you very much. Of course, I stood there while we purposefully dying due to a wipe being called.
So did we kill Halion? No…and of course we had a soul-crushing 2-3% wipe. So what was killing people? Positioning was one, namely when folks would transition between the realms. Folks would get gibbed by cleave going into P2 until we were like “durr, move teh dargon 2 teh wahl” or something to that degree. Biggest killer of the night, though: Big Blue Laser. In the shadow realm, there are 2 big orbs that circle the room; they resemble the shadow orbs that float around in the Blood Prince Council fight in ICC. Every 15ish seconds, there will be an emote/warning that goes out about the orbs getting shiny or something (were I to write it, it would say “HALION IZ CHARGIN HIZ LAZURZ”) then a laser beam forms between the two orbs, going across the room and rotating clockwise. Hardest job here, imo, would be for the tank; they have to keep themselves just ahead of the laser, almost parallel with it, so that us squishy folk don’t get owned by cleave, breath attack, or a tail swipe that stuns/knocks down long enough for the laser to catch up and OM NOM NOM NOOB.
That’s Halion in a nutshell, more or less. Not a very difficult fight, and I believe we’ll have it done with either tonight or some time later in the week. For now, lunch time is near, so I must go feed my face. Adios!
As the title explains, I now find myself with a nice shiny new weapon upgrade as of this weekend. How could this be bad? When it’s heroic Midnight Sun (normally I link to Wowhead but as of the moment I’m posting this, it appears to be down).
When I won it, I won it as an off spec roll. After doing some number crunching, I figured out I would end up gaining roughly 50 spell power after shifting other items/gems around and swapping the aforementioned dagger in, taking the place of my long-beloved heroic Barb of Tarasque. The latter dagger has served me very well over the past 8ish months, only to end up replaced by a resto weapon due to the large chunk of additional spell power provided by said resto weapon.
For whatever reason, it’s as if I had to fight an allergic reaction when the idea of using Midnight Sun over the Barb in my elemental sets (both PVE and PVP). An upgrade is an upgrade, though…but I still feel dirty for being in this situation. :-P
To cast a more optimistic light on the situation, the last time I went several months without a weapon upgrade was when I went from the Naxx 10 caster mace off KT (obtained in Jan-Feb last year) to the caster dagger that drops in heroic ToC 5 I obtained in August of last year. From there, I upgraded to the caster dagger off Faction Champs in ToC 10 about 4-6 weeks later, then I landed my Barb sometime around October or November. Perhaps our luck with obtaining the Royal Scepter of Terenas II will continue, for we are 2 for 2 in batting average terms in regards to obtaining it. Now if only there wasn’t so much competition in our raids for it, heh…we have a good 10-12 folks that could benefit from it. Maybe some of them will be quelled with heroic Bonespikes and Traumas. :-P
So, where are other options that are more dps-ish in terms of stat allocation? Well, there’s the heroic Cleaver from Sindragosa 10, a fight I have yet to do (on heroic), and it features crit and hit; not the best stat allocation, but at least it’s all dps stats. There is a gorgeous dagger in ICC 10 that drops off heroic LK…lol. Our guild is looking to piece together a group to gun for Bane of The Fallen King, but I’m keeping my expectations low (no pun regarding my old guild, I promise :-P) for now. Aside from those, the Scepter is where it’s at. Perhaps we will also get more of the caster swords to where all the holy pallies end up with one, thus removing them from the scepter running. :-P
Acheron is 6/12 in hard modes after it’s first week attempting them, and I was there for 5 of those 6. I rode the bench for Sunday’s raid until we were at LK, which sort of sucks because I missed out on a Sindy kill (which is worth 35 achievement points to me, since it’s the last one left to get) and then I had a fail performance on LK (dead after first vile spirits in P3…durr; ankh was on cd due to being slowly carried along by a Valk during transition phase 2…moar durr!). It was one of those times when RNG dealt lemons…it happens.
Sadly, Lowered Expectations is pretty much a carcass at this point. The small handful of people left with the guild tag are now looking at other options to get their raiding fix, but I do not blame them at all. Others have found other things to do and will most likely quit playing at any given time. Such is the vicious cycle of guild lifespans, though.
More to come later! I need to drum up something more elemental-focused, anyhow. :)
After a couple of weeks of contemplation over what I wanted to do, I have moved on (at least as Kaz) to a new guild, free of the burdens of being an officer/GM. Lowered Expectations is now a shell of it’s former self, but I remain in almost-full force there with a whopping 9 alts (3 of which are 80).
Last night, being my first full night in my new guild, Acheron, I was invited to their ICC 25 group, which was extended from the previous week with the goal of defeating the Lich King. Well, 3 attempts later, Arthas was flat on his back, Frostmourne shattered, and Azeroth saved from the Scourge by our guild. One rather entertaining occurrence on one of the wipes was when I was carted off by a Val’kyr to be dropped to my death, only to be scooped up by a second Val’kyr as I was falling to my death, which then carries me further away and drops me. I guess they were making sure I didn’t try any ninja haxz tactics or something, heh.
Another entertaining thing to do: If you have the Iron Boot Flask, use it after the fight is over, stand over Arthas’ face, then /dance. You will bear witness to THE perfect teabagging. :-P
The big surprise was that I was awarded 1 of the 2 Protector Marks that Arthas coughed up. The entire caster corps wet their pants, for we had both the mace and sword drop along with those two marks. I honestly expected to go home empty handed, and wouldn’t have been a bit dissappointed if I did. I suppose someone among the loot council noticed my whopping 1/5 sanctified (264) T10, the one being my chest that I upgraded in…jeez, this past December, 2-3 weeks after ICC had been out. I’m licking my chops for another crack at that mace, though…heh.
Besides from now having heroic 25 man encounters unlocked, I also look forward to 10 man hard modes. Some folks in the guild already have their frostwyrm mounts, and I’m eager to add to that total.
I can also say that I have not felt so relaxed and care-free in a raid in quite a long time…a good 8-9 months, which coincides with when I took the reins of GM for LE. It is so nice being able to simply show up, bring the consumables, bring the A game, blow stuff up, then call it a day. It’s funny how once you drop all the feeling of responsibility in this game…it’s a whole lotta fun. :)