Archive for August, 2010

/facepalm

Posted: 26 August, 2010 in Dickhead of the Week

I don’t know what it is about Trade Chat that fascinates me so much.  It’s usually a vile cesspit of snobbery, elitism, idiocy and bigotry, this much is true.  And yet I feel drawn to it the same way you can’t stop picking at a scab or probing a sore tooth.  Call it morbid curiousity but even though you know it’s not going to do you any good you just want to see what happens next because there is comedy gold in them thar hills.  I spotted this one just before the weekly reset…

/facepalm

Just so it’s clear what you’re looking at here this is a Druid and a Deathknight, classes that between them can dps, tank and heal, looking for a tank and healer to carry their sorry arses through Pit of Saron.  And yes, the third member of their group was a Paladin.  What else could it have been?  I say “carry them” because in this case while Deathknights are theoretically capable of dpsing, I was in a Vault of Archavon with this particular example earlier that day and with his dps output we’d have had downed the bosses faster if we’d kicked him and stacked a third tank.

Next we have irrefutable proof that it’s not just Alliance idiots who have their irony glands surgically removed when they enter trade chat.  This is Benkins, the level 16 Draenie Hunter, and he’s Horde till he dies.  Do you want to tell him or shall I?

If this sort of thing floats your boat you can spare yourself the horror of sitting in Trade Chat yourself and take a look at some of the gems over at WoW Bash.  My personal favourite, which puts any of my feeble efforts to shame…


Or maybe it’s this one…


You decide!

As mentioned earlier, Gorn’s on a whistle-stop tour of the Old World while hammering out the Loremaster achievement (18 quests to go, fact fans).  Along the way, he picked up World Explorer and it struck me once again just how incredibly gorgeous the world is.  I’ve banged on about this subject before but it bears repeating, especially as these Old World zones are all changing very soon and there isn’t a lot of time left to get the Explorer achievement before Cataclysm turns it into a Feat of Strength or something.  Here’s Gorn hunting for Brumeran in Winterspring…

And here he is fresh from searching for the remains of Apprentice Surveyor Scrimshank in the Silithid Hives of Tanaris…

One of the good things about bimbling around the Old World zones without much of a plan just to see where you end up is that you discover things you never would have otherwise, which I guess is sort of the whole point of the Explorer achievement.  When I was doing it on Calli I discovered a Silithid Hive in Feralas I never even knew existed.  On Gorn I stumbled across something a little more practical and lucrative.

Anyone who ever spent any time in Desolace (and if you played vanilla wow and got stuck levelling in Stranglethorn Vale after level 33 or so you probably did) may have noticed a goblin caravan doing a circuit around Mannoroc Coven and the Kolkar Village.  You can’t interact with them, or at least I thought so, until purely by accident I passed by them on the way north from Gelkis Village and they’d stopped by the side of the road and deployed a vendor bot.  The bot was selling, amongst other things, several rare cooking recipes I didn’t have, so naturally I snapped them up.  As I was leaving they packed up shop and started to head north, which happened to be the way I was going too.  After a few score yards they stopped and started yelling for bodyguards to escort them through Mannoroc Coven.  Lo and behold a quest icon suddenly appears over their heads.  I take the quest, protect them from a few demon attacks and get sent ahead with their thanks to collect my payment from Smeed Scrabblescew’s outpost.  I’m curious now, however, so I follow them to see where they’re going.  Sure enough, they stop again by the side of the road near Willows’ Hut and deploy another vendor bot, this one selling a bunch of different rare cooking recipes, so naturallyI snap those up too.  After ten minutes they head off again, this time past the Kolkar Village where they once again stop and yell for further assistance.  Another quest pops up and I once again escort them to safety and get sent to Scrabblescrews’ outpost to collect my payment.  Two more quests towards Loremaster and a bunch of valuable cooking recipes   that I’d never otherwise have even known about if I wasn’t taking time out to smell the coffee.

Oh and if there are any Zelda fans out there, there’s a quest line in Un’goro Crater that you must do.

In other news, one of our guildies was going through a 25 man Icecrown PuG on the weekend and had this litany of horrors to report in guildchat…


Getting hit by two Deathwhisper Shades is careless, but pretty understandable.  Nine Rotface Ooze explosions is pretty dramatic, but it was either mutliple attempts or the doofus was actively running around looking for exploding slimes to stand under.  Standing in Gunship Rocket Strikes eleven times is starting to stretch the bounds of possibility though.  For those of you who may not have done it, enemy Rocketeers target you and have the courtesy to paint the ground you’re standing on with a great big RUN AWAY MORON targetting symbol under your feet.  They even give you five seconds to realise what’s going on before you get a rocket in the face.  To fail to get out of the way eleven times takes a pretty special kind of stupid.  But the crowning glory is getting hit by Saurfangs’ Bloodbeasts seventy eight times!  Words fail me at that point, you just shouldn’t be allowed to play if you’re that stupid.  Or at the very least you should be made to carry some kind of public warning…

And because no post is complete these days without something from the Daily Blink, here’s one for our very own special snowflake class…


I’m so pretty, oh so pretty…

You Cannot Be Serious

Posted: 20 August, 2010 in Rant, Wrath of the Lich King

I’m busy grinding out Loremaster on Gorn, it’s something to do while on summer leave anyway.  So I’m farming all the newish quests in Dustwallow Marsh and get onto the conclusion of the Defias quest chain that revolved around King Varian Wrynn being kidnapped by the Defias as he travelled to Theramore for a secret meeting with Thrall, brokered by Lady Jaina Proudmore.  Time for a quick history lesson…

Back in the good old days, there was no King in Stormwind.  King Varian was missing, and Prince Anduin Wrynn was being fostered by Lady Katrana Prestor while Lord Bolvar Fordragon was Regent of the Kingdom in the Kings’ absence (which explains why Varian’s so incredibly pissed at the Horde when Bolvar is betrayed and apparently killed at the Wrathgate, the guy took care of Varian’s son after all!).  An extremely long and amazing quest line had you discovering a Stormwind Marshal imprisoned in Blackrock Depths, a Marshal who had vital information about the Kings’ disappearance and the true power behind the throne in Stormwind.  Once you’d freed Marshal Windsor from prison, you escorted him to Stormwind, exposed Lady Prestor as none other than Onyxia herself, and embarked upon another epic questline that culminated in and attack on Onyxia’s Lair and the defeat of the Brood Mother of the Black Dragonflight herself.  It was truly epic stuff.

Of course, you can’t do the quest anymore because King Varian is back from his imprisonment on Alcaz Island and his time as a gladiator in the horde arenas.  So now when you do the Defias quests in Dustwallow, you end up with a flyby scouting of Alcaz Island and when you hand in to Jaina Proudmore she babbles on for a minute about how it’s all okay now because King Varian escaped from Onyxia’s evil clutches, returned to Stormwind, exposed Lady Prestor and slew Onyxia.

Er..  no he didn’t, I did!  I have the screenshots to prove it!

What the hell are you babbling about, woman?

This has pissed me off more than it has any right to.  Not just because I worked hard to complete that awesome questline (on 9 characters!), not just because Blizzard slapped such a godawful and hasty conclusion onto the end of it in Theramore which pretended I never existed, but mostly because they’ve turned Jaina Proudmore into a blithering idiot.  Again.

Believe it or not, she actually used to be cool.  People were actually in awe when they zoned into the Mount Hyjal raid instance and realised they’d be fighting with the legendary Jaina Proudmore at their side.  In Wrath of the Lich King she’s turned into a love-struck moron who bursts into tears at the drop of a hat and can’t even get basic facts right.

After you defeat Deathbringer Saurfang in Icecrown Citadel (if you’re Alliance) , King Varian and Lady Jaina appear to grant Saurfang the Elder access to retrieve his son’s body.  At which point Jaina bursts into tears (again) and blubbers about how she’s so proud of her King.  Er..  he’s not your King you silly cow!  You are the daughter of the ruler of Kul’Tiras, not Stormwind.  And you rule the Island of Theramore, which is not part of Stormwind either.  And don’t get me started about her mooning over Arthas and getting everyone around her killed every time we clap eyes on her.  Most disturbing of all, she’s still wailing about how Arthas is just misunderstood and loves her really while he’s beating her to death with a Runesword! Miss Proudmore, get help.  Now.

There’s a lot of this about in Wrath.  Revered lore figures who kicked major butt in vanilla wow have become laughing stocks.  Are the Night Elves even involved in Icecrown?  I’ve not seen Tyrande Whisperwind or Fangdral Staghelm since I was doing the Ahn’Quiraj quests at level 60.  At least Magni and the brothers Bronzebeard are getting stuck in, even if they reduced poor Muradin to yet another Varian Wrynn lackey.  “Right away yer Majesty!”  he says in Icecrown as Varian barks orders.  Muradin, grow a pair, please.  You’re the King of the Frostborn and Wrynn’s in YOUR house now.  And look at poor Tirion Fordring.  It all started so well with some major buttkicking at the Battle of Lights’ Hope Chapel and the Cathedral of Darkness, then by the time we reach the end of the expansion he’s nothing more than a pimp for the Entertainment Sports Network who doesn’t remember he got Hand of Freedom sixty-two levels earlier until after the Lich King has wiped the floor with his champions.

At least they didn’t fuck with Bolvar.  He’s still a badass.  Mostly dead and almost certainly consumed by hatred and evil, but you still wouldn’t spill his pint and get away with it.

Waaaagh!

Posted: 19 August, 2010 in Uncategorized

No news to post as such, but I felt I couldn’t just completely redesign the way the blog looks and carry on without saying anything, so…  I completely changed the way the blog looks!  Other than the obvious cosmetic differences, please note that comments now appear at the top right of new posts, rather than the link at the bottom you’re all used to.

And since I can’t really slap a new post up without at least some content in it, here’s a picture from the always reliable Daily Blink

Wif lotsa pics so Gorn can reed it!

Warriors.  Pfft.

/flee

Posted: 17 August, 2010 in Cataclysm, levelling, Mage, misc, Wrath of the Lich King

So it appears that Arcane Intellect is going to be changed in the next expansion, no big surprise there, pretty much everything’s changing.  Right now it provides (at max rank) a static buff of 60 points to your intellect.  Since intellect is going to translate directly to both spellpower and mana, it’s being changed to simply add to your mana pool .  People are complaining about this.  “It’s Arcane Intellect”, they say.  “Not Arcane Mana.  It’s our signature buff, don’t mess with it!”

Really?  They’re taking Tree form away from druids and this is something that’s worthy of complaint?  Standby for a newsflash my fellow mages, because the following is absolutely 100% true and a lot of you probably don’t realise it.

Arcane Intellect is shit.

“How can you say that, Calli?”  Well I’m glad you asked, allow me to elucidate.  Fire specced and fully raid buffed Calli has 30484 mana.  Take away Arcane Intellect and she has the massive total of 30348 mana.  Wait…  what?  Intellect is supposed to give 60 Intellect, that’s worth more than 136 mana!  So perhaps it’s being partially overwritten by some other buff?  And in fact it is, with Gift of the Wild being the culprit.  If you have Gift of the Wild, Arcane/Dalaran Intellect gives you something like….  wait for it….  9 intellect.  Don’t even get me started about Blessing of Kings, which scales with your gear so only gets better as time goes by.  Yes folks, Arcane Intellect really is the shittiest buff ever.  They can do what they like with it in Cataclysm, they’d have to work real hard to make it worse than it already is.

Speaking of the expansion, I note with some dismay that Blizzard are increasing the health and damage output of the mobs in the 80-85 levelling areas.  By a lot.  I’m not really sure how to feel about this.  Part of me is pissed off because I didn’t work through heroic 25 man Icecrown content in order to gear up to the extent that I still have to run away from packs of fucking kobolds when I’m levelling to 85.  The average mob in Icecrown has 12k health, give or take.  That’s one Fireball crit or a non crit and a Fire Blast.  Boom.  Dead.  And so it damn well should be!  I’ve slain the Lich King for fucks’ sake!  I solo Threat From Above, wearing a dress!  But no, I’ll be hitching up my skirts and running for my life if I aggro more than two Murlocs again pretty soon.  When Tirion Fordring was recruiting for the Argent Crusade, all he needed to do was pop down to Elwynn Forest and recruit this guy.

I eat Icecrown Raiders for breakfast, and I'm very hungry!

And yet, you can see it from the opposite side too.  Back when The Burning Crusade was released, very few people were wearing raid gear.  I was lucky enough to be sporting full Mage Tier 2, and didn’t feel the need to replace any of it until I reached about level 68.  The vast majority of players were still overwhelmingly geared in blues and greens, so I was two tiers of content ahead.  The normal world mobs in Wrath are scaled to be competitive for players in level 80 quest rewards.  That was four tiers of content ago.  World mobs in Wrath are scaled to be defeated by players in gear that no-one is wearing for more than a week these days.  Everyone is wearing raid gear.  It’s a completely different ballgame to when I was levelling to 70 in gear that was only available to maybe 5% of my server population.  Or when I was levelling to 80 in Tier 6 gear that was acceptable for entry into the first Tier of Naxxramas raid content!  So in order to provide some kind of meaningful content, the levelling zones in Cataclysm are being populated with mobs that are going to hit twice as hard and have twice as much health as world mobs in current level 80 zones, because pretty much everyone is now sporting at least Tier 9 raid gear in most slots.

Or in other words, we’re all going to be running away from kobolds again.  Meh!

On a lighter note, we’re plugging away at Glory of the Icecrown Raider to pass the time before the expansion hits, there are still of couple of us who don’t have our Drakes, so last night we were at Sindragosa doing All You Can Eat once again.  Our glorious raid leader has just finished ranting at us to switch our brains on and try to stay awake, and perhaps three seconds later a very large and pissed off cleaving and frost-breathing undead dragon turns around and faces the raid.  We hear an “Oops” on Teamspeak.  “Taunted by accident” he says and I had to chew on my fist to stop laughing.  I shouldn’t get too smug, however, on the very same attempt my combat log crapped out and I stopped getting raid warnings from my addons.  I was so busy staring at my Mystic Buffet stack counter I failed to notice that when the boss was at 1.8% I’d been targetted by a Frost Beacon and was standing pretty much slap-bang in the middle of the raid.  By some miracle, neither of these cockups wiped us, and we managed to get the achievement again.

Just, you know, don’t tempt fate.  Because she’s a bitch.

Sad Tank Is Sad

Posted: 6 August, 2010 in Cataclysm, Healing, Tanking

In current raid content if your tanks are out of cooldowns, drop below 50% health and don’t get a heal landing in the next two seconds, they’re roadkill.  Healers are conditioned to panic if they see tanks drop low on health for even a fraction of a second.  As for low health dps, if the tanks are in trouble, you’re on your own.  Stand in a boss’ cleave, you are dead dps.  Stay in Fire for more than one tick, you are dead dps.  Fail to move out of the way of Bad Shit, you are dead dps.  Worse, you’ll probably take someone else with you.  Right now, fully raid buffed, Calli is rocking 37k health.  Calli is a Mage.  She wears a dress.  I’ve seen tanks in VoA with less health than that.  And yet, Calli is still seriously fragile in heroic 25 man raids.  She can survive one hit from the likes of Malleable Goo if she’s on full health, and she’ll be dead seconds later if there’s not a heal on its way.  In Cataclysm, things are seriously different and tanks and healers are having a hard time adjusting to it.

There was a quote I heard from a healer doing beta testing on Cataclysm a while back which perfectly illustrated the differences between healing raids on live and healing in the next expansion. It went something like this:

“I struggled to heal even a 5 man until I realised that I didn’t actually need to keep the tank and dps on 100% health all the time.  Once I realised that a tank or even a dps on 30% health was in no immediate danger of dying from anything I started to relax and enjoy healing again.”

I’ve seen green level 305 dps plate armour with a third again as much stamina on it as the current best in slot epic tanking plate.  The gear reset coming when the expansion hits is to going to send a lot of folks into deep shock.  All that gucci gear you’re struggling to get in Icecrown right now?  It’s going to be vendor junk real soon, homeys.  With the stat inflation on Cataclysm gear, no-one’s going to be dying anytime soon if they take a 20k hit.  You will not be one-shotted by a Lava Burst crit even in pve gear.

All of which leads me in a fairly roundabout way onto the real point of this post, which is about a couple of tanking experiences I’ve had recently in current content.  I get asked to log a tank for guild groups doing random dungeons fairly regularly.  Now you’d expect a guild random dungeon to be smooth sailing, and in most peoples’ experience you’d be absolutely right.  Gorn and Sithica both have 50% avoidance and Sithica, the “squishiest” of my two tanks, has over 42k health unbuffed.  Gorn tanks Heroic ICC10 with ease and Sithica could too.  Niether of them have anything to fear from 5 man heroic dungeon content, except when you’re doing a 5 man with certain players from my guild, you cannot keep aggro for a second.

I join a guild group and see certain 25 man heroic-geared names in the party and I just get a sinking feeling.  I know that the dps are going to be pulling for me, often grabbing the next pack while I’m still dealing with the last one.  There is no single target dps.  They pull the next pack with aoe and don’t care if I’m ready or not.  It’s not that I’m slow, I know the healer likes a fast pace and I know she can handle it, it’s just that 5 man content is so utterly boring for these guys that the only way to make it mildly interesting is to see how far they can push themselves.  I know you’re all thinking “Let the dumb pricks die if they won’t let the tank dictate the pace and hold aggro” but it’s not like that, they’re not being malicious, they’re just enjoying the game.  And in any case, it’s not that easy to “let them die”.  Not that I have any pangs of conscience about it or anything, but the little buggers just won’t die!


Last week we were doing Old Stratholme and by the time we’d cleared the gauntlet with me desperately running after the dps who were having the time of their lives blowing shit up, I just quit and switched to Fury spec and gear for Mal’ganis and the Twilight Corruptor.  It didn’t make any difference at all, except stuff died a little faster.  Last night we cleared Utgarde Pinnacle in about seven minutes.  At one point the healer whispered me to not panic if I suddely lost all aggro from Blessing of Protection on the next trash pack, then proceeded to BoP me while the Hunter misdirected to the Warlock.  And the little bugger lived!  They were actually making a game out of trying to get the Warlock killed from trash aggro (not that he needed their help) and couldn’t kill him! He even took it as a challenge and happily played along.

It gets worse.  On Hellscream this weeks’ weekly raid quest is Instructor Razuvious.  just to refresh your memory, he’s a boss who hits so hard that he cannot be tanked by a player and has to be tanked by a Mind Controlled npc.  Even that npc will die if he doesn’t have his Bone Shield up, so you have to switch tanks between the npcs regularly.  Or at least, that’s how it used to work when Razuvious was current raid content.  Yesterday, one of the Laser Chickens actually managed to pull aggro off the tanking npc, an npc whose taunt is on something like a 20 second cooldown.  Dead chicken?  Nope.  Guess what, fact fans?  With ICC25 Heroic dps and healers, you don’t even need tanks for raid bosses anymore.  I’ve never felt so completely and utterly useless.

All of which leads me back to that quote from the healer in the beta test.  The realisation finally sunk in last night that I am that beta tester, except I’m playing on Live.  Once I realised that not only do I not have to keep aggro on everything all of the time, that in fact it doesn’t matter if dps are pulling aggro, I started to relax and have fun again.  When you’re this far ahead of the content, roles cease to mean anything.  Anyone can tank, because anyone can tank.  All you need is to be the one with aggro.  Survivability is a non-issue.

I can recall back in vanilla WoW that my Rogue couldn’t solo Deadmines until he was level 40.  I recall being very pleased, relatively early in The Burning Crusade, when my level 70 druid was sufficiently epic geared to be able to farm Scholomance alone for drops that Calli could disenchant for profit.  That’s a 20 level gear difference in vanilla and a 15 level gear difference in TBC before you were sufficiently overgeared to be able to completely trivialise the content.  Right now in Wrath we’re trivialising current content.

Cataclysm, we’re ready for you now!

Kill It With Fire!

Posted: 5 August, 2010 in Cataclysm, Mage

There’s been another round of spell changes on the Cataclysm beta, as reported by our friends over at MMO Champion.  Since I don’t pretend to be a news site, I’m going to skip the utterly boring Arcane and Frost changes (sorry Arcane and Frost mages) and go straight to the part where we set the world on fire using just the power of our minds. THIS WORLD WILL END IN FLAMES!

*cough*  Sorry.

Fire

  • Critical Mass – Your Pyroblast and Scorch spells have a 33/66/100% chance to cause your target to be vulnerable to spell damage, increasing spell critical strike chance against that target by 5% and lasts 30 sec.
  • Improved Flamestrike now increases the effect radius of Flamestrike by 1/2 yards instead of increasing its damage.
  • Hot Streak now procs when you score 2 non-periodic critical strikes in a row with your Fireball, Frostfire Bolt, Scorch, Fire Blast or Pyroblast spells.
  • Fire Power is now a Tier 2 talent. Down from Tier 3. Increases the damage of your Fire spells by 1/2/3% and gives your Flame Orb a 33/66/100% chance to explode at the end of its duration.
  • Firestarter *New* – Your Molten Armor allows you to cast the Scorch spell while moving instead of reducing the chance you are critically hit.
  • Cauterize – You have a 50/100% chance that an attack which would otherwise kill you will instead bring you to 40% of your maximum health. However, you will burn for 12% of your maximum health every 1 sec for the next 4 sec. This effect cannot occur more than once per minute.

Oh YEAH baby!  From the top, Critical Mass gives our Pyroblast the ability to refresh the Scorch debuff.  This is awesome.  Too awesome for words.  Anytime we get a Hot Streak proc, Scorch gets refreshed, simple as that.  This brings our target debuffs into line with all the other class’ debuff mechanics, where the debuff is applied by casting something that you’d actually want to cast anyway, and it’s about damn time!  Hot Streak itself has been through some changes, it previously procced off any three consecutive spell crits, including DoT crits like Ignite or the Living Bomb ticks, but for now it’s back to what it is on live with any two consecutive direct damage crits, except Living Bomb no longer procs it.  Hmmm..

Firestarter on the other hand, made me “lolwut?”  It swaps the crit defence on current Molten Armour for the ability to cast Scorch while moving.  Yes, you read that right.  Yes I chuckled with glee too.  And finally, we have Cauterize, a new talent that pretty much gives us our own Guardian Spirit.  Yes, that’s exactly what it is.  We’re getting Guardian Spirit.  I lolled all the way to the reagent shop.

Finally, you may recall from my previous post that I’d been stiffed out of Glory of the Icecrown Raider (25 player) on the weekend by a crappy connection midway through the Arthas kill with Neck Deep In Vile on the cards?  Right after I’d published that post I logged into WoW to be greeted by a wave of “Gratz!” in guild chat.  Utterly bemused, I noticed I had a message waiting in my mailbox from Customer Support, in response to the ticket I logged on Sunday night.  Well…  the picture explains all.


Now that is a seriously cool mount.  Blizzard Customer Services…  I love you. 🙂