Archive for February, 2010

What A Long, Strange Trip It’s Been

Posted: 21 February, 2010 in misc, Raiding

See that?  That’s me and my bitch, that is!  Yeah, baby!  We finally got to lay the smack down on The Lich King this weekend.  Well… truth be told, smack was laid down, but we were more the smackee than the smacker.  On the bright side, we got phase 1 down.  The bad news is that’s the easy part.  Getting dropped to your death by pissed-off Val’kyr is always worth a lol, however.  Sadly I’m off until the end of March with this Navy thing, so the raid will most likely have made him their bitch by the time I get back.  It was nice to get to see him at least before I was forced to bid a sad sayonara to everyone.

I’ll still be posting stuff, but only likely to have one weekend of gaming before I’m back full time (ish).  Until then, may all your lewt be phat and all your wipes recoverable!

Rank Amatuer

Posted: 19 February, 2010 in Shaman

I had an interesting night last night.  Raided Icecrown25 and cleared the first four bosses again, plus the Plague Wing and popped in to see Valithria Dreamwalker for the first time.  That is one heck of a cool fight, I can’t wait to do it on a healer.  It’s kind of like my favourite boss fight ever – Vaelastrasz the Corrupt from Blackwing Lair, but in reverse.  The dragon starts on low health and you have to heal her to 100% while fighting waves of nasties.  Going to have to do some research on that, it looks like being the most fun fight ever for a healer.  Anyway, Calli got some new gloves to replace her Tier 9 and then I logged Shinano to do the daily dungeon, completed Looking For Multitudes and got Shinano her Perky Pug pet.  So far, so straightforward.

Then, with time being limited, I had to choose between blitzing through the Shattered Sun dailies at Quel’danas on Sithica (I want that Tabard so badly!) or doing another random dungeon on Askara for badges, so I chose the latter.

Then I got a nasty shock.

We zoned in to Halls of Lightning, the group was four guildies plus a random Rogue dps.  Our illustrious raid leader was present on his Rogue alt, and with a very melee-heavy group I adjusted my totem selection for maximum melee dps buffs and off we went.

Apparently, there’s an addon called Rankwatch, it monitors the combat log and alerts you via whisper if anyone in the group is using downranked spells or abilities.  Our raid leader has it installed.  The reason I know he has it installed is because the bastard thing kept spamming me on every damn spell or ability I cast.

Askara cast Rank 7 Lesser Healing Wave, maximum rank available at level 80 is rank 9.  If you cast this rank on purpose, please ignore this whisper.

http://www.wtf.com!

Askara cast Rank 6 Chain Heal, maximum rank available at level 80 is rank 7.  If you cast this rank on purpose, please ignore this whisper.

Dammit, shut up!

Askara cast Rank 8 Water Shield, maximum rank available at level 80 is rank 9.  If you cast this rank on purpose, please ignore this whisper.

Zomg, please just kill me.

You are quite possibly the worst shaman ever :p

Aaargh!!

Seriously, what the hell is going on?  I was under the distinct impression that existing ranks of spells on your casting bars are automatically upgraded whenever you learned a new rank.  I can pretty clearly remember that happening as I levelled up and visited the trainer.  But it occurs to me, that there may be an “undocumented feature” with the dual spec system that prevents this from happening.

Let’s say, just as an example, you’re a level 77 shaman named Askara levelling as Enhancement with a Resto offspec for dungeons.  Let’s say you ding level 78 and return to the trainer to learn fresh skills.  You’re still Enhance spec so you’ve got your Enhance UI up when you learn the new ranks of your healing spells, so it therefore only switches the old ranks for the new on the UI which is active at the time you learn them.  Or in other words, the next time you switch to Resto spec and get your Resto UI up again, it’s still got the last rank of resto spells learned the last time you visisted a trainer with your Resto UI active.

Or to put it another way, Askara has been successfully raiding ICC10, ToC10/25 and Ulduar10 for the last 6 to 8 months with downranked spells that cost more mana and do less healing than the max rank versions.

I don’t know whether I should /flex or /flee at this point.  I know that as soon as I get home tonight I’m checking the UIs of every toon I have with a dual spec.  I’d best keep it under my hat though, if this gets out I’ll be a laughing stock.

Oh wait…

The PuG That Rocked

Posted: 18 February, 2010 in Druid, Dungeons, Raiding

So last night I’m doing the daily Dungeon grind for badges on various toons, and I end up on my trusty Tree Shinano staring at the Dungeon Finder.  The pattern is familiar.  Log one character, queue for a dungeon, do a daily cooking or fishing quest while I wait, enter instance, /faceroll, profit, log next character, repeat ad nauseum.  Something different happened last night however, once I’d logged Shinano, I couldn’t get off.

I was sitting in the Dalaran sewers doing the fishing daily on Calli when I noticed someone was looking for healers for Vault of Archavon.  Quick as a flash, I offer the services of Aluriel, Shinano or Askara since they obviously already have the tanks sorted and it should be a quick in/out once they get the required healers.  The leader asks for a Druid to complement the Holy Paladin, Resto Shaman and Discipline Priest already in the group and I log Shinano and get invited to the raid.  By the time I arrive they’ve already cleared all the trash and the 24 of them are sitting in front of Toravon waiting to buff.  No-one is yelling “gogogo” and the Holy Paladin actually whispers me to ask if I’d be happy to concentrate on the raid while she covers the tanks.  This VoA25 PuG is already turning into the stuff of legends!

Short version: Boss drops, loot is handed out, badges are collected and everyone zones out.  I’m back in Dalaran and since I’m already on Shinano I figure I may as well do the random daily as well.  So I pull up the dungeon finder and before I can queue I see someone looking for another healer for Trial of the Crusader 10.  I figure I may as well, there are still one or two upgrades in there for Shinano if I’m lucky enough for them to drop so I send the raid leader a whisper.  He replies wanting to know my gearscore and can I link the achievement?

First of all, I genuinely didn’t think Shinano even had the achievement for clearing ToC10.  Turns out she has in fact cleared the place twice and yes, the Cold Convergence staff poking over her shoulder should have clued me in to that fact.  But I’ve run that place so many times on so many different toons that it just tends to be one big blur to me, and anyway, I’m a druid.  I’m busy thinking of butterflies and lentils and stuff, don’t bother me with facts!

Secondly, I detest Gearscore.  I hate it with every fibre of my being.  It’s a spammy, bug-ridden piece of crap responsible for more dropped connections than BT Internet Unlimited.  I have no idea what Shinano’s Gearscore is and I don’t care.  I’m vaguely aware that Calli has about 6k from something mentioned in a PuG once, but beyond that I have no clue and long may that state of affairs continue.  I mention this to the raid leader and fully expect to be rejected with the customary “lol noob” reply, but something…  wonderful happens.  He replies in correctly spelled English with a totally reasonable reply:

“Hehe, well sure but you need to give me some baseline to judge from if I can’t see your gear.”

Which is of course, entirely right and proper, I’ve just never had it articulated back at me so politely and intelligently.  Ever.  I begin to get the impression that I may need to hold on to this PuG leader and never let go.  I tell him that my gear is almost all level 232 or better (my footwear is shocking though, SO last season, darlings), and I’ve completed Trial of the Grand Crusader 10 and Tribute to Skill on my Mage and he slings me an invite quick as a flash, no questions asked.

Turns out the raid leader is also the Main Tank, his name is Xtralarge, he’s a Bear, he’s covered in awesome sauce and tonight will only be his second Anub’arak kill ever.  Our MT2 for the evening is a Protection Paladin by the name of Sparve, and what he lacked in gear he more than compensated for with what our American cousins refer to as “heart”.  Much like the poor tank from my earlier Angry Priest is Angry post he had perfectly adequate gear for the content in which he found himself even if he lacked a bit of confidence.  Tonight would also be only the second time he’d ever completed ToC10.  My co-healer for the evening is none other than the Holy Paladin from the earlier VoA25 group, Skiidee is her name and she completely overgeared the instance in her ICC10 and ToC25 gear.  But here’s the shocking part…  no eltist attitude at all.  Quite the opposite in fact, I was expecting Snottydin and I got Mother Teresa.

Just to make the situation completely clear, I’m in a PuG ToC10 with people I don’t know who’ve mostly hardly ever been in the place before and people ARE giving me a warm fuzzy feeling.  The tanks are taking care to ensure people know what they’re doing and are standing in the right place, the healers are actually chatting amongst themselves and sorting out healing assignments.  The dps who aren’t sure exactly how certain fights go are saying so and no-one’s calling them noobs for asking.  I’m offering suggestions on how to do Faction Champions based on our group composition and previous experience of what composition we’re facing tonight and folks are actually listening.  In short, it was a joy to be a part of.  We had a couple of deaths on Northrend Beasts when Skiidee caught two snobolds right after each other and left me solo-healing right at the end of an impale spike, but we knew going in that Beasts with two healers could be tricky if you get unlucky like that.  The dps rose to the occasion and killed her Snobolds fast, and we recovered and one-shotted.  Jarraxus went down faster than a crack whore on the promise of five dollars.  Faction Champions went by in a blur with Skiidee spamming cleanse and me doing most of the actual healing while running around like a mad thing.  One death, boss one-shotted.  On Twin Valkyr, Skiidee worked the tanks and I intercepted black balls and kept the raid up, result: one-shotted again.  Then Anub’arak himself, with three of the dps admitting they’d never seen the fight before as this was the furthest they’d ever been in ToC10.  Xtralarge briefly covered what to do on the submerge phase if you were targetted by Anub, then we went for it.  A few minutes later, loot is being handed out, three guys have a new achievement and I’m getting compliments from Skiidee on my healing as she’d thought she was going to have to carry most of the raid judging from her quick look at Shinano’s gear at the start.  This is a reasonable assumption to make, I guess, but what’s surprising is that instead of calling me out or whispering the raid leader to kick me, I was actually given the benefit of the doubt.  This isn’t supposed to happen in PuGs damn it!

Meanwhile Xtralarge asks if the raid would like to continue and do Onyxia and VoA, and so Shinano finds herself on a bird to Mudsprocket Village from Gadgetzan.  I always find that the trickiest part of the Onyxia fight on any difficulty level is the transition into phase 3 as she lands.  You get overzealous dps who try to nuke her as soon as she touches down, getting you dead dps.  Then she fears while people are still all over the place, turns to follow the tank, cleaves, breathes all over everyone and hasta la vista baby.  Naturally, we one-shot her with zero deaths.

Sadly, I have to bid a fond adieu to The Raid PuG Made Of Win at that point, as a guild run to kerbstomp all over Sartharion for the weekly raid quest opens up.  However, I’d just like to send a big shout out to Skiidee of Senior Heroes and Sparve and Xtralarge of Heliox on Hellscream EU for being all-round awesome, as well as all six of the dps whose names I totally can’t remember.  When The Mighty Jingles takes over the world, you will all be given half a day off per week from the Salt Mines.

All of which also reminded me how much I totally love playing a Druid on those rare occasions when I actually play a Druid instead of logging on to get the daily random dungeon out of the way as fast as possible.  I guess I should really take a bit more time over my toons instead of just treating them like an emblem assembly line, but Shinano’s always been special.

Durids is 4 haf fun times wif frends!  :)

That Was Also The Week That Was

Posted: 12 February, 2010 in misc

Not many posts lately, but ir haz a gud excuse.  As long time readers may have realised by now, I’m actually a serving member of the Royal Navy.  Sadly this means I’m not, however much I’d like to, able to spend all my time glued to a monitor, pissing into a bag and festering in a darkened room.  Er… actually come to think of it, that does sound rather a lot like a warship at Action Stations (or what those pesky Yankees call General Quarters) anyway. 

But I digress.  Much time has been spent rolling around the Mediterranean and North Atlantic lately, and not a lot making with the smiting in Icecrown or anywhere else for that matter.  Although there are a few float targets off Gibraltar that won’t be giving anyone much trouble anymore.   I did get to play a spot of WoW last weekend, just in time for the Valentine seasonal to get started, and boy am I glad I got off that hamster wheel last year.  Good news for me is that Calli completed almost all of the seasonal achievements last year except for the Midsummer ones.  For the last two years running the Navy has seen fit to send me to foreign climes every summer, but not this year!  I’ll be around this year to get the Flame Warden title and finally get my hands on that Violet Proto Drake. 

Speaking of last weekends’ gaming, I finally got to see the Blood wing of Icecrown and got the Plagueworks cleared in 25 man.  I’m really liking the Putricide fight, and the Blood Princes remind me a lot of the Illidari Council fight in Black Temple.  Sadly the Princes were as far as I went, as I was swapped out at that point for a Feral Druid who’d actually seen the Blood Queen before.

Make no mistake, I wasn’t upset about being benched at all.  I totally understand why it happened and it did make solid sense for the raid leader to ask me to step out.  With limited attempts still up and three of those wasted on stupid mistakes on Putricide (top tip for Paladins, don’t Divine Intervention anyone in the Professors’ room if they’re in aggro range of Putricide, your repair bills aren’t that important) you definitely can’t afford to waste attempts coaching some noob Arcane Mage who’s never seen the fight before and never produces her best dps on first nights.  It made a lot more sense to get in another player who’d done it before and to hell with raid roster rotations.  I stepped aside gladly and the person asked to replace me is an excellent Feral who pulls off some mind-boggling dps.  So it’s all good.

Except…   there’s this little bug that was going around with any melee dps who were using the seasonal perfume buff to boost their crit and attack power.  This little bug meant that melee couldn’t attack at all if they were using the Victory perfume with the Love is in the Air buff.  Didn’t affect spellcasts at all.

I know I shouldn’t, but… Lulz.  Speaking of irony, why is it that the guy in your random dungeon who’s always yelling “go go go” at the tank has the title “The Patient”?  I can’t figure that one out.

Anyway, even if I’m unable to play much lately (and it’s not going to get much better before May) I can at least browse the blogs of other people who can, and there’s been some good stuff going around lately.

Tam and Chas at Righteous Orbs are always entertaining.   Clearly channelling Angry Priest, Chas has been Winning Asshole Chicken, and Tam has the most unfortunately-named Troll Shaman ever – Kumquat.  This will invitably be shortened to Kum, and at some point he’s going to be asked to heal a raid.  If you haven’t figured out the consequences by now, just go read the post.  Oh, while you’re there, go tell Tam that you like his new hat.

Keredria over at Tree of Life is on a roll lately.  She spotted this article on gamer clothing that make me choke on my cornflakes, but in a good way.  She also has a damn good old fashioned rant about the bias against healers with those Not So Lovely Charms, and she has a good point.  Such a good point, in fact, that Blizzard just hotfixed it so that anyone in a group can get a charm if someone in the group gets a killing blow.  About time too.  I prefer my healers to be healing, not trying to grab killing blows, call me old-fashioned if you must but I’m superstitious about stuff like that.  Keeva over at Tree Bark Jacket seems to agree as does Kae at Dreambound and I’m not going to argue with the Resto Druid community.  I’ve seen Evil Dead and I prefer my angry trees at arms length, thanks.

Speaking of Resto Druids, Leafshine’s not dead!  She’s just been resting.  She’s back and doing what she does best, posting frivolous nonsense about nothing much in particular, and long may it continue!  Welcome back, Leafy!

In the meantime I’m back for the weekend from pretending to fix imaginary wounds on people who’ve been pretending to fight imaginary fires on a ship that’s pretending it’s fighting an imaginary war (other people call it “training” or so I’m led to believe, I call it “getting in the way of doing my real job”) but I managed to end up being on duty for the weekend, so it’s more blog-reading-goodness and Season Five of The Wire for me.  Until Monday, take care.

P.S.   The guys at the cafe in Gibraltar got their USB Flash Drive back.

P.P.S.  How could I forget?  Calli got Muradin’s Spyglass last weekend!  Bye bye Illustration of the Dragon Soul, you served me well but your time has come.