Archive | August, 2009

If I Could Rearrange the Alphabet, I’d Put U and I Closer Together

So far, I have covered gearing up (both pre 3.2 and post), enchanting that ish, and distributing your talent points. Now, I’m gonna go over my user interface, or UI, to give newbie rets an idea of what’s necessary (and what’s not, but looks fuckin’ awesome).

For all of the following pictures, if you click them they should enlarge, just like… never mind.

Here is a screenshot of me in a 10 man Trial run with my guild. All I want you to focus on here is the clusterfuck of addons that I have. But trust me, apprentice, clusterfucks are good. I’ll go over all the addons you can see on my screen and why I think they’re important.

GRID

Grid is an addon that takes your party and raid frames and condenses them into little boxes, as seen here. The little boxes are colored by class (pink for paladins, thanks Blizzard). When someone loses health, the box becomes emptier (look at the orange box and you can see that our druid has lost some health). People out of range will be grayed out, and dead people will have a gray box with DEAD in place of their name. Of course, this mod is highly customizable; you can change the shape, spacing, coloring, and shading of the boxes, among other things. I like it because it saves some of my screen real estate. Yeah, that’s pretty much the only reason.

PALLY POWER

Next up is Pally Power. As a paladin, this could be the single most useful mod for paladins in a raid environment. What it does is condense your blessings, seals, and auras into a little strip. What’s unique about this mod is that it allows an individual, with either lead or assist, to assign who gives what blessing to whom. The assignments will show up in the main window, such as above, and all you need do is click each class to give them their buff. Or, if you’re REALLY lazy, you can click the little Badge of Justice-esque icon below your seals many times and it’ll automatically apply the buffs in a sequential order. Neat, huh?

CHATTER

All Chatter does is retool your chat interface, colors names by class, includes their level, timestamps, and other stuff. One cool feature is that you can click a button and open a chatlog that’ll allow you to copy stuff from your chat. Not entirely necessary, but nice.

DEADLY BOSS MODS

Deadly Boss Mods is a must-have for raiding. Wrathy, from Avenging Wrathy, has pointed out an alternative to DBM that is called BigWigs; I’ve never used it, but if you don’t like DBM for some insane reason, try that out. What these addons do is alert you to special moves that bosses have, when they’re happening, how long they have on cooldown, even what raid members are affected by what debuff. Excellent for those with situational awareness issues (i.e. myself), as it plays noises and flashes your screen when shit goes down.

PITBULL

Pitbull just redresses your raid frames from the standard pilgrim smock of Blizzard’s UI to a sexy, slimmed down string bikini. Highly customizable, highly confusing (the two kind of go hand in hand). Don’t let that detract you, though; I much prefer these frames to XPerl. I have my focus, self, target, and target of target frames in the middle of my screen because those tend to be the most important.

POWER AURAS CLASSIC

Oh, how I could sing a lovely song on the wonders of Power Auras. This mod is so customizable, it puts Build-a-Bear to shame. Simply put, this mod makes visual and/or audio signals that are triggered when an event that you specify occurs. Huh? For example, when my Art of War procs, I have it show up as a yellow, glowing circle, as seen in the picture above. I also have a timer that indicates how much time I have left on the proc. For Prot, I use Power Auras to signal when my Divine Plea drops and my Holy Shield needs to be refreshed. The uses for this mod are endless. Not a necessity, but it’ll make your virtual life much much better.

DOMINOS

Dominos replaces the action bars from the Blizzard UI with highly moveable and customizable bars. You can move them any which way, on whatever scale you desire. Personally, I don’t like clicking my moves, so my bars are really small to discourage me from clicking.

MSBT

Mik’s Scrolling Battle Text (or MSBT) replaces the default floating combat text in the Blizzard UI. With MSBT, you can control the size of the text, the positioning, all that fun stuff. Useful for clearing the center of your screen of Blizzard’s floating numbers so you can see that boss’s cute ass better.

QUARTZ

So I failed and didn’t get a screenshot of the ACTUAL use of this mod in action, but use your imagination. Quartz replaces your cast bars with better looking ones (they’re smooth and shiny), but more importantly, you can move and scale them. Also, as seen in the picture, the buffs and debuffs that YOU applied to the target will be shown above the target’s cast bar.

OMEN

Your tanks will thank you for installing this addon. It shows your current threat on your target, as well as how much threat you need to produce in order to pull off the tank. Gives you a good goal to shoot for. Seriously though, get this.

SEXYMAP

Completely and totally unnecessary, just makes your map look sweeter. There are different styles to choose from, and you can customize which icons you see on your minimap and which you don’t.

RECOUNT

I saved the best for last. You aren’t a TRUE ret paladin; nay, a true DPS, if you don’t have this mod running. It keeps track of other things (who tops dispels on IC? this guy!), but they’re not as important. The two graphs I have below my Recount window keep track of overall raid DPS and my latency (ping).

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So there you go, take from my UI what you like and leave what you don’t. Pally Power is a requirement in my guild, as well as most raiding guilds you’ll join. When your UI turns you on, then you know you’ve done a good job.

Just a Quickie

This is a shout-out to all my peeps on Thunderlord-H: I need this drake. No, I don’t “want” this thing, I require it for my continued survival. If you are interested in doing some moar chieves to get it, hit me up in game or in an e-mail or comment.

Also, I’m lookin’ for a new banner. If anyone can make one, or have ideas of what it should look like, lemme know.

The Birthing of a Relic

What ho! Ye Belt of the Titans!
The girdle of my destiny,
The band of my dreams.

Thine crafting was a thing of legend:
Assembled from saronite, most durable,
Titansteel, the ingot of the Gods,
Engraved orbs of olde magicks, and
The essence of the shadow itself.

T’was nigh a fortnight of patience required,
But I held steadfast and ever diligent.
The smith, with a sweaty brow and determined eyes,
Smoothed and shaped the metal to his will
Until it revealed its fated form.

Blood-red jewels of empowering strength,
Glistening with the blessing of those most high,
Were united with the smith’s work,
Begetting a masterpiece of combat
Worthy of bearing the Titans’ moniker.

With great pride and alleviated mind
I adorn the fruit of my own toil.
I bellow an invigorated roar,
Thanking the stars and
Warning those full of bane.

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TL;DR version: I finally made my Belt of the Titans; it’s fuckin’ sweet.

On Val’kyrs’ Wings

I got invited to a 10-man Trial and Ulduar group last night (in my own guild, no less), the first 10-man group in our guild to face the new Trial boss, the Val’kyr Twins, or Twin Val’kyrs, whatever. After one-shotting the new boss, I have one question for Blizzard:

Are you serious?

I suppose if you don’t have DBM, the fight might be a little challenging. Raid damage was almost non-existant, and it seemed like the damage the tanks were taking was pretty pathetic as well. If you could gather up enough balls to stack their buff to 100, you got a Bloodlust-y effect that let you rip more evil angel face.

The fight seems to be one that weeds out the chimps from the chumps, i.e. a chimp could figure out that opposite colors probably are bad for you and for the boss, so as long as you stay away from floating orbs of black when you’re white and you’re hitting the black boss, easy mode. Maybe that’s giving chimps a lot of credit, but they have the strength of 8 men, so OF COURSE I’m going to stroke their egos.

Like any good ret paladin would do, I was browsing the loot table for the Twins while we were going over strats or something that seemed important and I noticed this: Edge of Agony. I started salivating over the thought of a new weapon without Resilience on it when I realized it had WAY too much Agility on it, and no Strength, and ArP, of all stats. I then started to sob gently into my QQ pillow, wondering why Blizzard had teased me with a hunter weapon that was so tantalizing.

When all was said and done, I had enough badges to get my 2-piece T9: Liadrin’s Gauntlets of Conquest. I would’ve waited for a Trophy so I could get 9.25, but apparently they’re being distributed evenly, so people who have already received a Trophy (i.e. me) can’t get one until all 24 other raiders do. Where’s that pillow…

The Cataclysm of the Texas Ranger

I hate jumping on bandwagons, but I have to say something that I’m not sure many people have discussed about Cataclysm. According to WoW.com,

“The Barrens is cleft in twain, with an enormous volcanic fissure splitting it into two different zones.”

“Cleft in twain” means “cut in halfsies.” Just an FYI.

For any Horde veteran such as myself, this can only prompt one question: which zone will have more Chuck Norris jokes?

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Immaturity aside, I was reading a few of my blogs this morning (I was out from work both Friday and Monday, so strangely I forgot about this magical blogosphere) and I found an interesting post over at Critical QQ. Actually, his post references a post at Greedy Goblin, but we don’t need to get into that much detail.

Euripedes argues that skill makes the player, not gear, and nothing could be more accurate. I was PuGing my heart out this weekend on my Frost DW DK that just hit 80 and, yes, I was rockin’ two BoA weapons, BoA shoulders, and BoA chestpiece.

First, let me tell you, that shit’s ugly. The 20% XP bonus is the only thing keeping me from tossing that plate into a river of molten lead.

Back on topic, with that setup and some quest greens, I was pulling about 2k dps on trash and 2.5k dps on bosses in just about every heroic. I almost got laughed out of a heroic VH for having 16k health (don’t get me wrong, I find it pathetic too), but I pulled 2.9k dps on Cyanigosa. ‘Sup son?

How is that possible, you may ask? Is Frost DW that OP? Perhaps. But I wouldn’t be anywhere near those levels of DPS if I had no idea how to play the spec. Applying diseases, Obliterating your heart out, knowing when to Blood Strike to build Runic Power, then dumping that Runic Power in Frost Strikes, watching for Rime and Killing Machine to proc together so I can get a free Howling Blast that crits automatically, all the while making sure your diseases don’t drop because then your Oblits hit as weak as George Lucas hitting any clothing store that doesn’t carry plaid. And that, my friends, is pretty damn weak.

Therefore, if you see a lack of achievements on my Armory or if you, for some reason, play on Thunderlord and don’t see me on, I’m probably on my DK. I’ll throw up an Armory link for my DK so you can laugh at her. Oh, and yes, it’s a Blood Elf female.

King Wrynn Must Troll AJ

Tried to open too many programs at once and Firefox cried uncle.

Me in my tanking set (kind of outdated now, but it’s all gravy) and Jeeves in his rockety goodness.

The JC shop in Dalaran the day of 3.2. Where’s Antigen? Here’s a clue: I’m NOT wearing red and white.

If you can read that, then you must be mad. I am. Nerf ferals, kthx. How DARE they have bigger numbers than I do!

My favorite part of the new Trial encounter. Did we down it? No, we got shit on. Why? Our priest DC’ed and never came back, among other things.

Finally got the Dragonhawk from Champion’s Seals. Worth it? Better than that sickly-pale drake I was riding around.

Ahhhh, those shoulders. Now to just get T8/8.5 gloves and it won’t look like I’m washing dishes no mo’.

I Thunk, Therefore I Are… and Sometimes It Hurts

I apologize to any that have been reading this blog lately and have found it lacking in prolificacy; I’ve been trying to be more competent at work than “the NMR data looks… good.”

Besides, there hasn’t been a whole lot happening in my World of Warcraft to write about. I’ve been farming Champion’s Seals for the Dragonhawk mount that I got this morning, and Emblems of Triumph for my second level T9 shoulders which I’ll get tonight. I’ll post some screenies later tonight, don’t fret.

I’ve been running 10man Trial and Ulduar with a different guild lately because my current guild doesn’t seem to want to invite me to any of their three 10man groups. If I found better shoulders than these for my tanking set, I might be persuaded to start a 10man in my guild and tank it; alas, I have not been so blessed.

We had a guild meeting after our (thank God) successful 25man Trial run. The officers and guild leader addressed concerns about standbys and whatnot. Lots of people were kinda upset about being on ‘back-up’ duty for 25 mans (some actually left the guild), but the fact of the matter is that we are trying to progress, so the management looks for the best we can offer. Apparently I’m counted among those, as I was placed on our “permanent” 25man roster for DPS. Woot? Yes, woot!

Anyway, gentle readers, just be patient and have faith that the screenies will come. There will be many.

The Beast, the Two Beasts, the Big Beast, and the Red Beast

No sleep.

Naxx 25 on Saturday till 1:30, stayed up till 4am for some reason.

Trial 25 on Sunday, Ulduar after till XT, ended raid at 12:30, stayed up till 1:30 for some reason. Couldn’t sleep until about 3:00 because my sleep schedule was destroyed on Saturday.

Woke up at 7:15 for work this morning.

Bright side?

Trophy of the Crusade

Any ideas of what to replace? I’m thinkin’ shoulders.

3.2.2 is a Protection Patch

Patch notes! 3.2.2 is on the horizon (sorta, if you call almost 3 months on the horizon), already up on Euro PTRs, and ready to rock. I thought I’d just take our chunk out and see what’s shakin’ for us in the next patch.

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Paladins

* Righteous Fury: The bonus threat from Holy spells caused by this talent has been reduced from 90% to 80%.

* Talents

o Protection

+ Judgements of the Just: The reduction in cooldown to Hammer of Justice provided by this talent has been reduced to 5/10 seconds instead of 10/20 seconds.
+ Touched by the Light: This talent now provides 20/40/60% of the paladin’s strength as spell power instead of 10/20/30% of the paladin’s stamina.

o Retribution

+ Seal of Command: This ability now chains to strike up to 2 additional targets when it is triggered by an attack.

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For Ret, it seems like they want to make SoC a Cleave-ish seal. Will this change make it better for:

a) Trash pulls? It might. We’ll have to wait till the theorycrafters pump out the numbers. My outlook: promising.

b) Raid bosses? No. No, no, no. The 38% (37.95% to be precise) increased weapon damage from a full stack of SoV dots (that’s including the bonus from Seals of the Pure) is too sexy. Besides, ususally there’s only one raid boss, so the SoC cleave would be pointless.

For Prot, ouch. But not too much ouch.

It seems to me that the HoJ change was for PvP purposes and shouldn’t (correct me if I’m wrong please) affect PvE.

The Righteous Fury nerf is technically reducing our threat. From what I hear, however, this shouldn’t be too consequential.

The more weighty of the changes, Touched by the Light‘s basis on Strength now, instead of Stamina, will mean less spell power overall. I just checked one of our guild’s raiding Prot Paladins, and currently he has 2653 Stamina and 1131 Strength. That means he’s going from +795.6 SP to +678.6 SP. Why is this significant? Well, the following moves scale with SP:

- Avenger’s Shield
- Holy Shield (only the damage portion, not the block)
- Consecration
- Seal of Vengeance (which applies to Judgements and the DoTs applied)
- Sacred Shield (although I never remember to put this on when I’m tanking stuff)

Again, we’ll have to wait for the number-crunchers and PTR testers to see how this affects our tanking ability in the future. Again, my outlook: optimistic.

Revitalizing an Old World

In the beginning, there was Azeroth. Then came The Burning Crusade, with the addition of the entirely separate planet of Draenor, which is now the shattered Outlands. With TBC came four new zones in Azeroth, for both of the new races: Eversong Woods, Azuremyst Isle, Ghostlands, and Bloodmyst Isle. And now, we have Wrath of the Lich King and its addition of the frozen continent of Northrend and Acherus: the Ebon Hold in Eastern Plaguelands.

In each expansion, and in many patches, Blizzard adds new content by introducing new areas; they did this for the Sunwell patch of 2.4, adding the Isle of Quel’Danas which offered a plethora of new dailies and a new normal, heroic, and raid instance. Currently we are in patch 3.2, which many say is the “Sunwell of Wrath.” 3.2 offers a new gaggle of dailies and a new normal, heroic, and raid instance. Many of these changes were implented through the addition of new areas (Hrothgar’s Landing) or by modifying existing content (the construction of the Crusader’s Coliseum).

If the next expansion is what everyone expects it to be, then Cataclysm will be set around the Maelstrom, the swirling vortex of water created by The Sundering, which split the continents apart. This expansion would require new areas to be created, possibly beneath the sea, in the form of the sunken city of Zin-Azshari (now called Nazjatar), possibly above it, in the form of the Isle of Kezan, the Broken Isles, and Zandalar.

The entire focus of this new expansion would shift every high-level player to the South Seas and away from everything else. New players, more than likely facing a new leveling cap at 90, would rush through the content of Azeroth, Outlands, and Northrend, eager to start the “end-game” that the new expansion introduced.

Do you see something wrong with this picture? When I started playing WoW back in TBC, I hadn’t even heard of Onyxia or AQ or ZG. My raiding experience began with Karazhan, moved to Gruul, and pretty much ended with Magtheridon. Then came Wrath, and I tacked Naxxramas, Eye of Eternity, Vault of Archavon, Obsidian Sanctum, Ulduar, and the Crusader’s Coliseum onto my resum

é. While that’s a lot of raiding content, imagine how much I’ve missed.

Now imagine someone that starts playing when the new expansion hits. All of the content that we are playing through right now would be rendered obsolete. While some may argue that this is simply the evolution of the game, it’s still a rather unfortunate consequence that all of this gets left in the dust.

90 LEVELS OF PAIN

If the level cap is indeed raised, whether it be to 90 or 100, reaching that number is a rather daunting task for a new player. Given Blizzard’s stance on end-game accessibility, it would seem reasonable to conclude that they could raise the level at which players begin the game. For those that think otherwise, consider this: my paladin took 9 days played to level to 80, and I already knew all of the quests and zones. Now take someone who is just starting the game, and you can easily push the playtime required for level 80 to something like 12 days. Now add another 10 levels, all 10 of which the new player would have no idea what quests were where and what the names of the zones even were.

INC MATH!!

After all is said and done, you’re looking at 15+ days played for 1-90. Depending on that individual’s schedule (let’s assume 8 hours of work, 8 hours of sleep, and 3 hours for eating on weekdays), that leaves 5 hours a day to play during the week; weekends, perhaps 12 hours of playtime per day. Together, that comes out to 49 hours of playtime a week. 15 days played equates to 360 hours of gameplay, which would take this individual approximately 7.35 weeks, or just under 2 months.

Note that this is not taking into account other activites, like those related to family or friends or any extensive sort of personal hygiene or fitness. So perhaps this individual isn’t a ‘noob’ at all, but rather intense in their gaming. Casual players could easily have their required playtime doubled to reach 90.

Does Blizzard really want players spending months to just reach the level cap? Maybe. The more time people spend in their game, the more money Blizzard makes. However, the longer grind could result in discouraging many from even playing, resulting in a loss of revenue. The latter is what makes me think that Blizzard plans on either raising the minimum level or make it easier to attain max level.

FOR IN THAT CATACLYSM OF DEATH, WHAT DUNGEONS MAY COME

Whichever option Blizzard goes with (to be accurate, they’ve already opted into easier leveling, from decreasing the XP needed for levels to increasing XP from quests to heirloom items granting 20% bonus XP when both chest and shoulders are equipped), a ton of old content will be left behind. What’s to become of these relics?

Blow ‘em up. Make ‘em reach for the sky and gun them down GTA-style. The only point of these vestiges of past expansions is to allow max-level characters a chance to experience old content with their uber gear and snazzy weapons. I soloed Onyxia about a month ago; go ahead, check my Armory.

Do you get to experience the content this way? Sure.

Is it fun? When you get past the novelty of soloing a raid boss, no, it isn’t very fun.

Are people going to level to 60 (or 70, or 80), turn off XP gains, and raid these dungeons like they were meant to be raided? No. Many thought that this would indeed happen, but think about it for a minute. New expansion, new talents. While, yes, you might be able to reach the top tier of talents by 60, it certainly wouldn’t be the same experience as if you were playing in Vanilla; too much has changed since then.

As such, I return to my previous statement: get rid of the older content. How? Why, a Cataclysm of course. Make these old dungeons unplayable by having a world event render them inaccessible or utterly destroyed. The death of the Lich King could set in motion a chain of events that destroys Northrend, or at least Icecrown and Naxxramas. With the Lich King and Malygos defeated, the Dragonflights could take their Chamber of Aspects elsewhere (not just pulling this out of my hat). The Eye of Eternity could collapse in on itself due to the loss of its keeper, Malygos. Yogg-Saron’s defeat would break the control he had over the minds of the Keepers, who could close Ulduar to outsiders. Let Azshara raise Nazjatar from the ocean depths and have the tsunami-esque waves decimate some coastal areas in both Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdoms.

… You get the picture. Blizzard, stop taking up so much of my hard drive space.

Will this happen? Probably not.

Should it happen? Here’s one person who thinks so.

**UPDATE**

Apparently Blizzard heard me, because according to WoW.com, in celebration of WoW’s 5 year anniversary, Onyxia is returning as a level 80 raid boss, with new loot and (somewhat) new mechanics. Apparently the level 60 version will no longer be available, so at least Blizzard is heading in the right direction in refreshing their older content.