Friday, March 26, 2010

Clearing Trial of the Crusader

Well, the weekly raid quest lured me into Trial of the Crusader for the first time last night. Luckily, I had a guild invite me to the run, so it was a smoother learning curve than would have occurred in a PuG.

Many of the group already understood the mechanics of the fight and could explain/remind those of us whom didn't know what we were doing. As healer, I didn't have to worry about quite as much as if I had been tank.

The Beasts weren't too much of a problem until Icehowl. He seemed fine until he turned his sights on me. I tried to get out of his path, but didn't quite make it before his charge. After his charge killed me, I popped Reincarnation and healed up myself and the tank. A bit later, Icehowl tried to punt me again, but I got out of his way and he was downed shortly after the stun.

Lord Jaraxxus went down without much of a problem and then we moved on to the Faction Champions. We wiped on these guys three times before we got them down. For the last attempt, I tossed on my PvP trinket to get out of Polymorph, but I still spent most of my time wandering around as a sheep as the mage seemed fixated on me.

After stumbling a bit on the PvP fight, we had little trouble with the Twin Val'kyr and Anub'arak. Overall it was a nice run and great learning experience for me.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Stepping into Icecrown Citadel

I took my first step into Icecrown Citadel last night and had a blast.
Due to my schedule and lack of desire, it’s been a while since I participated in a raid. Most of my recent experience has been healing heroics to earn badges for newer gear. I also ran a lot of the new 5-man ICC heroics to improve my gear in preparation for heading after the Lich King.
I really enjoyed the story presented in the 5-man instances and was looking to continue that experience while fighting my way to Arthas.
Right from first pull, I could feel the difference and quickly realized I was going to have to up my game to heal in Icecrown.
I had done some reading on the raid, but it’s is completely different when you are actually there. Luckily, I had the Deadly Boss Mods addon to help remind me of things, such as to stop casting when Deafening Roar was cast.
We steadily cleared the trash in the area and found ourselves facing Lord Marrowgar. I think most of the group had seen the skeletal beastie before, but this was my first time. After a few wipes, I figured out how to get away from his Bone Storm and could survive the encounter, leading to downing the boss.
After that, we took a couple stabs at Lady Deathwhisper but couldn’t down her.
Overall, it was a fun experience and I look forward to trying again.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Dread Pirate Ring ripped from my hands

Staring at the coveted [Dread Pirate Ring], I couldn't believe I lost it. No matter how many times I clicked Continue, I couldn't trade my [Blacktip Shark] for the ring. I was half a second away from winning the Kulu'ak Fishing Derby Saturday and if I could click faster, it would have been mine.

Fishing in the Sholazar Basin, I had nearly given up on finding the shark this week. It had been around 5-10 minutes and I knew a winner would be announced soon, just as in the last three weeks I've attempted the derby. Then I did a double-take and when the [Blacktip Shark] came across my screen.

I didn't bother opening my bags to double check, I just hit my Astral Recall (which takes 7.89 seconds thanks to my haste rating).

I arrived in Dalaran quickly because I had already lowered the quality of my video and disabled all my addons for the tournament. Out the inn door and running, I didn't see anyone near Elder Clearwater. I click through the first dialog box and try to click through the second, but it stops me. I didn't choose a reward!

For the bonus 5 percent experience and "The Princess Bride" references, I only wanted one item - [Dread Pirate Ring].

Moving my mouse back up to choose the ring, I couldn't believe it when Elder Clearwater announced the winner, using the name of some Horde character who wasn't around when I arrived.

I tried several times to complete the quest, but it wouldn't work. In the end, I had to settle for a [Bag of Fishing Treasures].

Though not much of a consolation prize, at least I picked up a [Strand Crawler].

Monday, March 15, 2010

Ninja looting

Last week, Gevlon claimed that ninjaing can be beneficial as long as it's from M&S (morons and slackers for those of you unfamiliar with his site.)

While I can understand his argument, I disagree with ninjaing items on the whole. It's a underhanded way of getting something you want.

For example, I was healing a pug group through Heroic Pit of Saron the other day, when Ick's Rotting Thumb drops.
The tank says, "Finally!" and rolls need.
Since he's the tank, so I pass, figuring he should get the item, making our journey to Scourgelord Tyrannus even easier.
But, of course, a dps death knight decides he wants it for his off-set and rolls Need.
The RNG gods side with the dps and the tank apologizes and quits, leaving the rest of us around to wait.

While, ninjaing hasn't taken an item I needed, it has abruptly halted my progress through the dungeon and wasted my time. Of course having nothing better to do than chastise the DK for his error in judgement, I did. If the tank hadn't left, I probably could have gotten the DK to turn over the trinket. Luckily, I haven't had to do convince many players to "do the right thing" and hand over ill-gotten booty.

While I understand that Gevlon is entitled to his opinion, I think any M&S stumbling upon his site are going to use that post as an excuse to ninja anything just to better themselves.
That's unacceptable.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Clear out cloth before 3.3.3

As the title suggests, I'm getting rid of most of my [Moonshroud], [Spellweave] and [Ebonweave] before the next patch.

When 3.3.3 hits, the cooldown and location restrictions for the cloths will be lifted, making it easier for crafters to make and causing the price to drop. Depending on your server's current prices, it may be wise to liquidate these before the patch.

On my server, the prices have steadily decreased since the release of the incoming patch notes, but they are still about 20-40g more than the cost for materials. As the patch hits, you can expect this profit margin to drop closer to the material costs.

At the same time, we'll see a drop in the prices for epic items made from the cloths, though the ilevel 264 craftables will still fetch a high price given the cost of [Primordial Saronite].

I've also been toying with the idea of crafting a bunch of [Glacial Bag], but given the expected drop in material prices that may not be a wise investment. It's debatable how the pending 7-day cooldown on the bags will balance with the decreased material cost.

I'm leaning toward ignoring the market because I don't have a tailor who is exalted with the Sons of Hodir, but I've heard others are making a slew of them before the patch.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Blizzard should hand out skill with epic gear

While it's nice for us casual players to have easier access to better gear, I think it would be a better idea to offer more opportunities to learn group skills at an earlier time.

Epic gear falling from the heavens is fun, but without skill, it just leads to a nice-looking corpse.

With my shaman, I leveled as Restoration. Granted, I'm cheap and didn't want to pay the cost to respec, but I leveled that way because I knew that I wanted to heal in raids. I put my wife's paladin into Protection and that's the way we learned our characters. (We also named them Morkk and Mindey after the TV show for anyone who remembers that one.)

Leveling in restoration helped me understand my spells better and learn to use more of them reflexively. Granted, it took longer to level, but it was worth it. I have received many complements about my healing in random groups I have joined.

When dual specs were released, I shelled out the 1k gold to make an Elemental spec. (I still don't know how I justified that when I refused a 5g respec cost.) But I quickly found that I wasn't as proficient with the spells and had a lot of learning. The basics are the same, but the talents specific to elemental shamen were foreign to me. Practice has helped me develop my DPS a bit, but I still feel more comfortable healing with occasional DPS. I imagine the reverse would be true for future tanks and healers leveling in a DPS spec.

If players had more opportunities to tank or heal before reaching max level, I think we would see more skill develop as players are more familiar with their abilities. We need a better way to train tanks and healers than trial by fire, usually resulting in a great many wipes.

I can work on my DPS rotation with the training dummies, but they offer nothing for the two most difficult jobs in a group.But the static training dummies don't do much to prepare raiders. Even DPS rarely get to stand around in a raid.

Blizzard already offers multiple zones for leveling up, so it would just be a matter of having two ways to do it.

For example, in Cataclysm they will likely have two 81-82 zones. One would be easily soloable, but not offer as much experience, meaning it would take longer to level.

The second zone could be more challenging and have a good share of 3-man group quests that offer more experience. Going through solo would be very challenging, but innovative and hardcore players could do it. It would also offer an incentive for group play before the level cap rather than random group quests (which I believe are largely ignored anyway).

Blizzard already offers separate zones for the same level areas. This would just make the zones actually different, rather than changing the quests so you gather 8 acorns instead of 8 wolf tails.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Downfall of gear scores

With all this talk of gear scores, I've been paying more attention to mine and I'm starting to rebel.

First of all, gear score has never been a good assessment of a player's skill. While his character should be able to do something, that doesn't mean the player behind the mask can accomplish the task.

The gear score also doesn't factor in what items are good for a character, it just looks at a number and assumes players would only wear useful gear.
Yay! Our tank has a 3800 gear score. It would be more impressive if half of it weren't cloth.

So as all these morons run around asking for groups with 5k gear scores, I am left wondering if it would be better to equip useless gear just because it has a higher score and make it easier to group up.

For example, I just picked up [Mudslide Boots], but my gear score went down. I had been wearing [Lightning Grounded Boots], a 226 ilevel item, but my score dropped by 6 points when I equipped the [Mudslide Boots].

Since the new boots are better for me, but the gear score fanatics out there would have me use the old boots.
What's a spacegoat to do?

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Back in the Saddle

It took a while for me to get my finances in order, but I'm back on Warcraft.
Currently, I am just grinding out daily heroics and the weeklys for badges to get my gear ready for Icecrown.

I am loving the new LFG tool and generally don't have to wait long for a group. Of course the bad part is that if the group fails, we have to wait again for the queue.

My problem with the LFG tool is the need/greed system, specifically how it won't let me roll on the [Very Fashionable Shoulders].

With a healing main spec and bolt-throwing on the side, many pieces of cloth and leather in the 5-man ICC heroics would be upgrades for me. For the shoulders, I have twice seen them disenchanted in front of my very eyes because I didn't win the greed roll.

Actually, I haven't had any decent drops from my sparse heroics, except for [Mudslide Boots], which is a marginal upgrde for me.

Here's crossing my fingers for the RNG gods to shine in my direction soon.