Sunday, December 28, 2008

AFK, Posting: Bellbell Hates Death Knights

Death Knights.

I hate them.

...

Okay, ‘Wether says that’s not enough. I have to explain why. As if them being emo whiny babies who made bad decisions and now mope and gripe and weep about them isn’t reason enough! Yes, yes, Arthas made you some ultimate fighting machine and you did terrible, horrible things. Like killing people.

You know what you’re doing in Outlands and Northrend now? Killing people. They may look a little funny, they may make funny noises, and they may not be “human,” but you’re still killing people. People who raise young and have families and protect their own, who believe what they're doing is right, that they're on the right side.

Oh, it’s for a different reason now, huh? To save others, or the environment, or for some money or boots. Not because Arthas made you into what you are.

Wrong! You’re doing it with what Arthas gave you. And you’re going to grow past Outlands and go into Northrend. There you’re going to kill more people. And some you’ll even torture. You’re going to get to Arthas the same way you served him.

Kill, maim, rip, slash, tear, destroy, disease, degenerate, freeze, skewer.

And you’re sitting there, all hypocritical, bemoaning what you did while someone was in your head while you do the same now that he’s gone. You don’t think that makes you a hypocrite? You don’t think the Lich King would use that to break you and your suicidal resolve?

I’ve met only a few Death Knights I can stand. They make no apologies for what they are. They doesn’t mourn their lost innocence. Your innocence is lost as soon as you spill blood intentionally. There’s no pure killing, not even for the Light.

This is why I’m different from the other draenei Paladins. This is why they despise me; because I realize there’s no way to be truly Holy when you’ve killed people for something. And this is why I hate you Death Knights. You think you’ve lost something to Arthas he never took from you, but that you gave him. You gave him permission to make you a monster and now you’re all torn up about it? You didn’t realize it was stupid. Now admit it was stupid, idiotic and treasonous to your own feelings, and move on.

Own up to your mistakes, recognize what you are, and understand what you’re doing, or everyone who sees your hypocrisy will continue to hate you.

And Arthas will break you.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

AFK, Posting: Server Rivalry

I'm sure BRK didn't expect this post of his to be one that spawns a reaction from another blogger, enough so that they sit down to write about it, but...it did, so, I decided to indulge myself.

For those of you who don't watch everything BRK makes, this movie was just about him helping some taurs complete a quest. Big group quest with a scary elite, and so on. This, in itself, is nothing special, besides it being delivered in BRK's normal, enthusiastic, fun manner. It's a comment he made during the movie that got to me. "This is why we go carebear server, 'cause this is just too much fun."

Of course, as soon as he said that, my PvP server pride raised its hackles. Though, after I took a moment to calm myself by camping lowbies*, I started to think about it.

Obviously, BRK is not against PvP. He has multiple stories about eating PvP-flagged face that was chilling where it didn't belong and he went crazy for Battlegrounds and Arena just a little while ago. So, really, he's not afraid of conflict, as long as it's on his terms.

Hey, that's great! You have your favorites, I have mine. But, well, let me think about it for a bit.

Why do I like PvP servers?

I wrote about World PvP a little while ago. Well, actually, just about a year ago. I have plenty of friends who don't see it the same way I do, who get completely frustrated and annoyed and ticked off that someone is killing them on the way to their quests. That they're being camped. I even know people who become irrationally annoyed when they attempt to gank and fail. They are much happier on a "carebear" server, and that's fine. Go on, go, be free! You can even come back, now, if you want.

So, then, why, if I have that sort of mindset, did my hackles get raised at BRK's innocuous little comment? There's nothing wrong with him liking PvE servers over PvP, he never insulted my PvP server or anything...so, why the immediate feeling of defensiveness on my part?

Because of the subconsciously perceived assumption behind it, that cooperation between factions doesn't happen on PvP servers (now, he probably didn't mean it that way, but since when have gut reactions ever been the best thing to base opinions on?). We totally do, and it's awesome when you have that moment of fear that the 80 DK is going to stab you through the gut while you're just trying to get one final quest mob, and instead he helps you take it down, waves and mounts up to go. It's also awesome to do the same, /flex, /roar, and then fight each other to the death.

However, that's not the point of this post. The point is, as follows:

PvP server and PvE server players have often have a sort of rivalry going on. To stereotype (as we must)...

Those on PvP servers see PvE players as "carebears" who can't handle some ganking, who are "pansies" or other less agreeable words, scrubs who can't deal with unexpected situations, and so on.

Those on PvE servers see PvP players as immature gankers who can only gratify themselves by proving their epeen against characters 20 levels below themselves, and so on.

Obviously, this is a gross generalization of everyone on a PvP or PvE server, especially as people often have multiple characters on different servers. But I find there are some real differences between people who play mainly on one type of server or another.

For example, when I build a spec, part of my concern is often whether or not it will function for both PvP and PvE, or what kind of survivability it provides. This is for levelling, dailies, raiding, almost anything I would put my character to, this comes into effect. This just isn't a concern on PvE servers. They aren't worried about the rogue in the bushes or the hunter flying above them.

When thinking about class balance, when it's not my own, my immediate concern has often been "how fast can it kill me and do I have counters?" That is my gut reaction. Then as I look it over, it eventually works its way into my raid encounter mindset, my group mindset, and the rest of PvE. Thus, some classes seem to me to be immediately OP, even if they are struggling in a raid setting, as they're two levels below me and just two-shot me while I was picking flowers. On a PvE server, however, the focus is generally what you do more: if you're an Arena-goer, it's probably PvP balance; if you're a raider, it's probably PvE balance.

In the end, though, we're all people playing a game. We all choose to play in certain ways, and in certain ways are a product of our environments. Sweeping generalizations aside, we're all pretty much the same. /fuzzy feeling

*No lowbies were harmed in the making of this post. Except Blood Elves, but, in my defense, they make the most wonderful crunching sounds.

Friday, December 26, 2008

AFK, Posting: What's This Red Tag in My Ear...?

I've been tagged! By Bear, no less. I love Bear. He's so cuddly and fluffy and svelte.

For those of you who don't know, One Among Many started this "thing" where you go back and see who your first commenter was on your blog.

Well, my very first commenter was Leafshine on my introduction post, welcoming me to the blogging community. ♥

I'm also supposed to tag five other bloggers to do this. To be honest, I don't know who has been tagged already, so if you've been tagged twice, well...QQ moar, nubcaekz! ;)

Out of Mana
Mass Dispel
Toxnation
Two and a Half Orcs
For the Horde

Thursday, December 25, 2008

AFK, Posting: Happy Holidays!

And a Merry Christmas, especially, as that's my holiday of choice.

Enjoy time with your families and events in WoW.

Peace on Earth, Good Will towards All!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Guest Post: LFG, Pwn'n Plus Haelz, Durid

Alright, so not exactly the type of subject line I'd normally use... bah, who are we kidding, I would probably never even come up with using that line had it not been for Bellwether's call for a group to come to her aid during this year's holiday heroic (yes, the holiday time catches us all. I hope you have a wonderful trip!).

So, who am I and why am I providing a guest post? Even if you didn't want to know, here is the obligatory intro, and I'm not telling you how far down to scroll to skip it!

I am Byaghro of Casual WoW. Although not my original main, my Druid has been around for almost as long, and has almost always been Restoration spec'd. One of the things I seem to encounter more often than not, especially with all of the changes we have seen in Wrath of the Lich King, is in trying to help Druids who struggle to heal groups figure out what works best for them and effectively use that style of play to progress and have fun.

Honestly, although seemingly nothing more than an attempt to be funny at first glance, you really could equate the different styles of healing to sex. Some prefer fast, hard-hitting play. Some enjoy a more gentle approach in which their intended target is nurtured and coaxed along. And some like to mix it up, enjoying the excitement that comes with experimentation.

Personally, I think the latter suits Druids best, but everyone has preferences.
Anyway, without further ado, let's get to the root of this post: Nourish and Regrowth.




I have been on the fence about whether or not Nourish was remotely useful or pure trash, and I am finally convinced that it comes down to personal preference, healing style, and glyph selection.

Let's start by looking at a typical healing scenario:

The tank is the only person really taking any damage (minor splash damage on the melee dps). Lifebloom is being kept on the tank, as is Rejuvenation. For healing the melee, since it is manageable damage being taken for this scenario, Wild Growth fits the bill perfectly. But wait, the tank is still taking pretty massive damage, and you need to keep some other, strong, direct heal in the mix to make sure they don't get too low. What do you do?

Honestly, this is where every scenario eventually leads you. How do you heal through the times where you really need that direct healing? Technically, there are a few options open to you, and although I'm going to mention all of them here the main focus is when to use Nourish versus Regrowth.

Four common responses to the above scenario:

Swiftmend the target. Especially useful if you have the Glyph of Swiftmend, seeing as how it is a massive direct heal for a low mana cost comparatively.

Regrowth is an excellent candidate for this scenario as well. Typically I default to this as my next option because I like having the extra HoT on the target. It may not absorb all of the damage and I may have to add in another heal, but any additional healing that allows you more time is a plus in my book.

Healing Touch, especially if talented, is a very solid option now also. It is not my preference simply from a mana cost perspective, but it is (I believe) still the strongest direct heal in the game.

Nourish is designed to fill in this gap as well. At first glance it seems relatively unimpressive, and depending on your setup I can easily see why. This is definitely an ability that was designed to fill a very, very select role, and when that role is needed it actually does so very well.
With that very basic overview, it is time to look more at where you would use Nourish and, perhaps more importantly, why?

First, in order to understand the choice of spell best, let's evaluate my healing style, talent spec, and glyph choice. In my opinion these choices are what determine your use for the spell, or whether to completely ignore it.

Talent Spec: Byaghro's Current Talents

Glyph Choice: Glyph of Rejuvenation, Glyph of Swiftmend, and Glyph of Regrowth.

Healing style: I love my HoTs, and work on making them more efficient and stronger as a general rule of thumb. Typically, this means my go-to spells are Lifebloom, Rejuvenation, Regrowth, and Swiftmend.

So where does Nourish fit into all of this rambling?

Nourish is a solid direct heal. When the tank is taking heavy damage, and HoTs simply are not absorbing enough of the damage, then Nourish is the ideal option under certain circumstances. Those circumstances are, basically, as follows:

You are not spec'd for a stronger, faster, or more mana efficient Healing Touch.

You are not spec'd for Swiftmend, or it is on cooldown.

You do not have the Glyph of Regrowth and you have already cast Regrowth on the target (especially if you are like me and absolutely hate overwriting your HoTs early... that's less effective healing!).

Now, there are plenty of other arguments for/against the use of Nourish based on mana efficiency, effective healing per mana cost, etc. For most players this really doesn't matter as much as trying to understand when the spell is useful, and being able to heal to their full potential. Obviously, if you have mana issues then you will want to look closer at how to heal the most efficiently.

My personal experience has been somewhat lackluster with Nourish. Prior to getting the Glyph of Regrowth, however, I found it to be invaluable in those instances when I needed a very quick, direct heal. Now it really becomes even more of a niche for me, because the only time I go for Nourish instead of Regrowth is in the event I have just cast Regrowth. I prefer to use as much of the HoT portion of the spell as possible, primarily because it is just wasted healing otherwise.

In looking at my healing style and preferences, it is fairly easy to understand how Nourish fills a role that I only need on occasion, just as Healing Touch only fills a role I need on occasion. Typically speaking, I use Healing Touch macro'd with Nature's Swiftness most often, in order to either catch up on healing or for an emergency heal. Given that my talent choices do not place any emphasis on making Healing Touch any better (or Nourish for that matter) in a similar situation where I need to catch up on healing, and especially if Nature's Swiftness is on cooldown, it makes plenty of sense for me to use Nourish in the same manner.

In the end, it really does come down to playstyle preference, talent choice, glyph choice, and especially your comfort level with HoTs. This is one area where Restoration Druids are spectacular, and why it is so much fun playing one: we have a lot of choices, and a lot of leeway, to be able to get the job done in different ways.

I know...

...that I already said I won't be posting anymore this holiday season, but I just wanted to share something that is near and dear to my heart, although it is completely non-WoW related.

I know there is a lot of anti-military sentiment going on around the world right now. I know that there are a lot of people who flat out hate us, and everything that we do. I'm just here to tell you that it's okay. We don't mind. We're here so you don't have to be.

There are a lot of us, myself included, that are stationed overseas, and will not be able to make it home for the holidays to see our fiances, our wives, our children. So be thankful for what you have, and while you're home, enjoying your WoW, or asleep on Christmas Eve, still feeling that small twinge of excitement left over from your childhood, remember us. Because while you might be savoring that cup of hot chocolate tomorrow, we'll be waking up to lace up our boots and go back to work defending you and everything you love.

I just wanted to share that.

If you're interested in supporting your troops this season, please visit MSNBC.com for more information on how you can.

Again, happy holidays everyone.

- Sannhet

Friday, December 19, 2008

Happy Winter Veil, Everyone!




I'll be taking a break from writing and such for the holiday season, but when I get back, get ready for the next few installments of my critically ignored DK tanking tips :D.

Happy Holidays to all, and to all a good night!

- Sannhet

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Guest Post: 4 Taenkz: A completely unbiased guide to tanks in WotLK

Note: Sorry to Myze and other readers; Blogger had a hiccup and accidentally posted this in the future. I managed to remove it and re-queue it, so that may be why you've seen it twice. So sorry!

When Burning Crusade came out, Blizzard had a nice relationship with Warriors. They would go on dates, cuddle, and occasionally finish each other's sentences. Things seemed to be going well between them until Blizzard said that they wanted an open relationship, and wanted to experiment with others.

Now, naturally, this made Warriors upset, until Blizzard told them "we still need only you for the Illidan position." Well that made Warriors feel better until one night they came home early from work and found Blizzard in the Illidan position with a Paladin. "But I'll only do it if they're packing Divine Protection!" came the protests from Blizzard.

But the message was clear; Blizzard may have had intentions of monogamy with Warriors at first, but after wild parties and binges, it's doors have opened to new horizons. Debauchery at it's finest. Blizzard is now trying to seduce the clergy (Paladins,) experiment with Bestiality (Druids,) and now they are even messing with Domination (Death Knights.)

With all these tanks, how do you know which is best for your raid? Simple, it's Druids. But for the sake of argument, let's look at what the other classes have to offer, and why they aren't as cool as Druids.

Warriors are the typical, clean-cut, let's-always-do-missionary kind of class. Which is probably why Blizzard got fed up and took on more partners. They have all the core abilities you would look for in a tank, and not much else. They are fairly average in mitigation, threat, and ending the list of classes alphabetically. They are also fairly spoiled, what with Blizzard lying to their face for the past two expansions about how "cool" they are, and how they've "never had it like that before." Warriors tend to be overconfident because of this. They think they're the bomb. Well, they are _a_ bomb. Warriors are good for when you don't have a Druid. Or a Pally.

Death Knights are rather new, so I'm not too well versed on their techniques. But from their reputation, they thrive on pain. Your pain. Tired of being Arthas' personal pool boy, they have reasserted themselves as the Dom of the relationship. Just be thankful they can't use whips.

Paladins are the sensible ones. Or the overcareful ones. They always have Protection on Hand. They work well in large groups, or in more intimate settings. They are always there for you, even if they have no clue what they're really doing. You see, when Blizzard told Paladins that they were wanted, they freaked out and had about twelve midlife crises, always changing what they were doing and how they were doing it. I honestly thought it was just a phase, but it's been going on so long...

Druids are the cream of the crop. Well, I guess I shouldn't use the word "cream" given my current running metaphor. But studies have shown that Druids are faster, smarter, stronger, and more well-endowed than their tanking brethren. They are studlier or foxier, wherever appropriate. And this is why Blizzard loves them so. Blizzard said, "We'll give you more health and mitigation than any other!" And so it was done. And next patch, we get even more mitigation! Unless you use stupid armor trinkets. Short story, if you need something tanked, call a Druid. They always hit the spot. And it's not the same spot lemonade hits on a hot day.

It's the g-spot.

Myze
Leader of the Pack

Saturday, December 13, 2008

We All Have That Awesome Friend...

...and, well, I have a ton of them.

Many people offered to gift me WotLK.

Harl just got there first.

Thank you, Harl! ♥



As of tonight, I'm going on hiatus. I have guest posts, guest authors, and my own prepared works. When I'm back, I'll let you know!

Unless I'm too busy in Utgarde Keep. I missed healing so bad.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

For Those of You Who Didn't Notice...

...I have a new author on the blog. He kind of jumped the gun and didn't let me introduce him first (I suppose I didn't tell him I wanted to, though), so...

His name's Sannhet, but you all might know him better as "Button." Once a gnome Warrior of supreme terror, now he's an uncanny mixture of Ret Paladin, Frost Death Knight and soon-to-be Resto Shaman. I offered him a home here on my blog since he wants to write, he's my friend, and he seems to find maintaining his own blog to be a hassle.

Plus, he's got a wicked sense of humor, what seems like a bunch of free time, and is supremely tolerant of my occasional begging for guest posts.

Expect, when I have time, for the template of the blog to change a bit to showcase my new helper (no longer gnome-sized). For those of you terrified I'm losing sight of the Druidic way, no worries; my main is Bellwether, will always be Bellwether, and I am itching to start healing again when I get back from my time away.

Remember, you have until Saturday the 13th at noon PST to send me in guest posts! I already have a good selection of really nice ones, but more never hurt. Also, remember, if you're a blogger, include a link to your own blog. People reading your posts might want to find out more about you. :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot: Operation Dead Night

Hello, my name is Sannhet.

You may or may not know me, but I've been featured on this blog multiple times under different posts and different aliases. I'd go back and post them all here but y'know, I don't like to toot my own horn or anything.

I'd much rather you toot my horn. Cha-ching.

Anyway. While my writing skills, and indeed, my WoW knowledge repertoire, are not quite up to Ms. Bell's standards, I volunteered to at least help fill in for her while she deals with the school and the substantially greater problem of not having WotLK. That being said, don't judge the lady by my entries, as she's not a man, and that could cause some confusion later on.

Today, I'll be focusing on the first installment of a three part series I'm going to designate "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot: Operation Dead Night". You might know this by reading the title, but of course, I'm operating under the assumption that you are all illiterate. Which makes perfect sense considering this is a blog. This particular series of entries will be dedicated to, and indeed, revolving much like the universe around myself, around Death Knight tanking. I'll start with the basics, what every wanna-be DK tank needs to know about the basic spec, rotation, and so on, and move on to itemization, glyphs, and specific specs. There will be a pop quiz later this week.

Death Knight Tanking Step #1
Spec-No-Jutsu

For tanking, every single DK specs the exact same way....or should, at any rate. Now now, don't get your panties in a knot, I said for tanking. The trees further define their role and how they go about it, but in the end, there are only four core must-have talents, and they are:

Improved Thundercla--er, Icy Touch

This very simple talent allows for an additional 6% reduction of melee and ranged attack speed, added on to the spells base of 14%. In other words, with a single frost rune, you take the enemies beat-the-hell out of you rate and subtract 20% from it. Handy. The extra damage doesn't hurt your threat either.

Look Ma, No Blood!

This talent will allow you 10% extra parry for doing something you do anyway, and will give you something to brag about later when you see the other DKs dying. In another nifty measure, which the few of you who have played a DK past 67 will realize, it gives you more procs on Runestrike....10% more chance, to be exact. Twice the awesome, half the calories!

Hah! You Missed Me!
and
These Landlubbers Are Tougher Than I Thought!

These two shouldn't need to be explained, but for the sake of the "Mastarogue"s and "Mastapally"s out there, I'll just say, one gives you dodge. This helps you dodge. The other gives you armor. Which....is good.


Death Knight Tanking Step #2
We Prefer "Circular Movement"

Rotations vary between DKs, depending on spec, since they therefore have different skills with which to accomplish their tanking goals, but basic similarities do exist.

To start with, while you may be tempted to make every pull with Death Grip (hereafter referred to as 'GET OVER HERE!'), it isn't allowing you to function at your maximum potential. Instead, when possible, pull with Icy Touch.

This has several benefits that may not be readily apparent to the casual viewer, the first of which is simply saving your 'GET OVER HERE!' for later use, say when the healer gets aggro off that giant-troll-undead-demon and you can't pry yourself from the succubus that looks more and more enticing after twelve hours of farming mats and 23 cans of Mountain Dew. In this particular situation, 3 seconds of "hey, hey, look at me, lookatme!" will make your healer very happy. 35 seconds on cooldown may not seem like much, but neither does $5, until you need it and don't have it.

The second benefit is that by the time you've blasted that mob with an infectious disease (ew....) and he manages to meander his way over to you, you'll be well on your way to getting that Frost Rune back, allowing you to unleash more of that sexy tank loving that so resembles an abusive relationship.

After the pull, 'tis merely a matter of applying your next disease via Plague Strike and burning your Blood Runes as quickly as possible to allow Blade Barrier to do its beautiful, beautiful work, with whatever blows your hair back the most, be it Blood Strike, Heart Strike, or otherwise.

Judicious usage of Rune Strike and your respective Rune Power dump is all that's needed after that. Rinse and repeat, and consult your physician if you have an erection lasting longer than four hours.

Death Knight Tanking Step #3
I'm A Loser, After All

AoE threat is more complicated for a Dead Night than it is for any other tanking class. While Pallies (kek) can drop a Consecration and toss on Holy Shield, not to mention Captain America, Thor, being awesome....where was I? Oh, right. Droods have Swipe and *skill removed due to popular demand*, and Warriors have The Gift That Keeps on Giving, the newly minted Shockwave, and the Glyph of Awesomeness.

Death Knights have Death and Decay...and er....Death and Decay. But fear not, faithful listeners! MC Grand Master Funk Daddy Sannhet has the beat you need. Competitive AoE threat gen as a DK is possible, and while not exactly easymode, it isn't far from simple either.

After your first Icy Touch (hopefully applied during the pull itself, if you've been reading), drop Death and Decay, and follow it up with Plague Strike. If you're Frost and Rime procs, now is the time for Howling Blast. When your Runes begin regenerating, follow up with Pestilence and soon thereafter, Blood Boil. As in the discussion on rotation, continue as needed, doing your best to keep your Blood Runes down and Blade Barrier up. If your DPS is focusing as they should, at this point you should be pleasantly ahead on the next target. And if they're not, there's always plenty of DPS in LFG and sharks in the Atlantic that love fresh meat. Simple and effective.



And that's today's installment of "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot: Operation Dead Night". See you next time, and leave the vibrators at home. Remember, only you can prevent forest fires.

This is Sannhet, signing off.

TL;DR Version:
What, am I writing for my health? Go back and read it, ya knuckledragger!

*EDIT: It was pointed out that I linked Demoralizing Roar instead of Challenging Roar for the droods. But re-reading and seeing as Challenging Roar doesn't really offer anything in the way of threat per se anyway, it really doesn't apply, regardless. Anyway, thanks for pointing it out, I don't know what I was thinking about when I wrote it but I'm sure it'll come back to me.*

This is an Oath to the Fallen Heroes

(sniffle)

What? No. Of course I can do this. I’m fine. Why wouldn’t I be fine? You act like I’m upset or something. Go away, Bellwether, I have writing to do. You’re making me, now let me do it.

(hiccup)

I am not crying! You’re seeing things. I don’t cry! I’m a Paladin, we don’t cry.



Okay, she left.

(sigh)

Look, okay, fine. You know, Bellwether has said the crew needs to stay in Outlands. It’s not a good idea to just up and leave when the Burning Legion is still being active and everything. Plus I can’t mine the stuff in Northrend, and the Captain needs to free some dragons. It…I mean…okay, so it is a good…thing…that we’re doing. I know. But…but…

(sob)

Fordragon’s dead! My heroes are dying in Northrend and I’m stuck on this Light-forsaken Void-rock! For what, goggles? I don't need to be a better engineer or miner to rip an undead monstrosity's skull open and shove a hammer inside.

I…I could have done something. I would have given my life for him, for Fordragon, for the Alliance, against that abomination that is the Lich King, against those…those…Forsaken rats. Instead, I’m picking pieces of ore out of the ground while the Arthas drop-outs run around like they own the place. Make them fight the Legion as penance for what they’ve done, not me.

Let me at that gate that separates us from Arthas, and let me chip it open. Let me invade the Undercity and bring that bloated rat to justice. Let me into that thrice-damned cold and I’ll burn it with the fire of vengeance, of retribution.

I swear by the Light, I will cut a path through that land like none have known, or die trying.

But there will be justice.

Monday, December 8, 2008

4 Haelz, LF PUG

Well, the holidays are upon us, and I, like many, will be going places, doing things, being all Christmas-y. From about the 15th of December to the 7th of January, my time online will be very, very limited. I do not, however, want this blog to not update at all in that time.

That being said, I have some things I wish to write up and will hopefully be ready before I have to go, but! I would like to extend the opportunity for anyone, anyone, who is interested in writing a WoW-type post for 4 Haelz to do so and send it in. Whether you have a blog, don't have a blog, are new to the game, want to talk about druids, paladins, etc., want to write a little bit of roleplay fiction, rant about what Blizz changed, rant about what Blizz should change, or what have you, I encourage you to send it in. Seriously!

I'll read them over, and post what I can (if it's appropriate and coherent).

That being said, to be able to read them before I have to take my hiatus, I need them in my e-mail (4haelz AT gmail DOT com) by December 13th, 12:00 PM PST. I would prefer a subject line that is amusing, like "hai u ned deeps lulz" or something, as I'm technically looking for a PUG. If you feel a deep need to be professional in your subject line, however, something like "4 Haelz Guest Post" wouldn't go amiss.

Remember, as long as it is well-written, grammatically correct, not overtly abusive, and is, of course, WoW-related, feel free to submit it!

Thanks everyone! :)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Major Glyphs for Restoration Druids

*EDIT* Now updated for 3.1 and Innervate change! *EDIT* Confused about what to pick for your major glyphs? Well, I’m not going to tell you what your choices should be, but I can perhaps make it easier for you. How is that? I’m going to run down all the Restoration (and a few multi-purpose) glyphs, detail their pros and cons, and just give you a better idea of what you’re getting into. Ready? Let’s go (in alphabetical order)!

Glyph of Barkskin
This glyph was created in 3.1, probably to try and offset the high damage now taken in PvP encounters. This is not a PvE glyph, for if you're getting hit with physical damage, it's highly situational and something is very wrong (note that this is a guide for Restoration Druids; not Ferals). It's also important to remember that the glyph only affects melee criticals; not those brought about by spells.

Glyph of Entangling Roots
Wait, what? Glyph of Entangling Roots? Isn’t that a Balance glyph? Well…yes, yes it is. However, it’s not strictly Balance. Sure, in a 25-man raid group, it’s not going to be the best use of your slots. Perhaps not even in a 10-man group. Where this would shine is PvP. It would allow for more splash or focused damage to be applied to your immobilized target before they could move again (barring their release due to various abilities and items). Overall, this may be best for a Dreamstate PvP spec, and not for a straight Restoration or raiding spec.

Glyph of Healing Touch
The Glyph of Healing Touch is actually a highly debated glyph of questionable help. It cuts down cast time and healing of Healing Touch by 50%, but the mana cost by only 25%. Therefore, casting two glyphed HT’s in a row would do the same amount of healing in almost the same amount of time, but cost 50% more than a single unglyphed HT. Many people seem to be picking it as a sort of “Flash Heal” for a Restoration Druid; however, at level 80 we achieve the spell Nourish. It has the same cast speed as a glyphed, non-talented HT with arguably more healing done. It is rather expensive, however, but it leaves your long cast HT as an emergency button with your Nature’s Swiftness. The argument for this glyph is almost always that it’s for leveling Druids and Moonkins/Ferals who need a quicker straight heal. Since it’s available at level 15, this argument makes sense.

Glyph of Innervate
Glyph of Innervate changed a bit from its original. Now it returns 90% of your base mana to yourself if you cast it upon someone else, or combines the 90% with the 450% of base mana return when cast upon yourself. This means a return of 3146.4 mana to yourself (at 80) when you cast it on someone else, or a total return of 18878.4 mana if cast upon yourself, since you receive 15732 mana normally. This isn't a bad option if you're constantly having to boost that silly Priest or Paladin up from a dead mana pool, especially as it no longer relies upon Spirit.

Glyph of Lifebloom
This, at first, looks like a rather under-powered glyph. Only one more second on the duration of Lifebloom doesn’t seem like a lot, until you add in the talent Nature’s Splendor, which increases Lifebloom by 2 seconds. This greatly increases the timing of your Lifebloom, giving you more room to cast more spells, raid heal, run Lifebloom stacks on more people, or cast Nourish, Regrowth, or Healing Touch without letting a stack drop off on someone. With the nerf to Lifebloom’s ticks, it may not be the best choice for PvP, where the bloom portion can be more important than the periodic.

Glyph of Nourish
This handy glyph came in 3.1 as well, and it basically copies the bonus from your T7(.5) set. A 6% increase to Nourish's effectiveness with each HoT application isn't too shabby, and with the T7 set bonus, it's pretty intense. This glyph was most likely created to make Restoration Druids less hesitant to break their set bonus when heading into Ulduar. It is a very tank-centric glyph; not many people other than your tank will be taking enough damage to have stacked HoTs. If you're not often healing the tanks, this may not be the glyph for you, despite its power.

Glyph of Rebirth
This Glyph is a very raid-oriented glyph, as it can never be used purely for your own benefit. However, if you’re learning new content, facing bosses that will always kill people in your party just because that’s how the fight works, or you’re always having to use your Rebirth during the course of a raid, this isn’t a bad thing to invest in. It provides a buffer so that your reborn target is less susceptible to rezzing in a bad place and immediately going back down.

Glyph of Regrowth
Though it’s been nerfed, it’s still a good glyph depending upon your situations. I can foresee it being much more beneficial to five and ten-mans where your healing may need to come in bursts that ticks can’t cover, and you won’t have a wide range of healing abilities within your party. It’s not a bad glyph, but odds are you won’t be spamming Regrowth too often.

Glyph of Rejuvenation
I was under the impression for a while that this glyph was not functioning properly. However, after reading the comments on Wowhead and doing my own experiments, I found it to be the case that the 50% extra healing when you’re under 50% total health comes as an extra, in-between tick rather than on each normal tick of Rejuvenation. So, if your Rejuvenation would normally tick for 1k, at 50% health with the glyph, instead of going 1.5k---1.5k---1.5k--- it goes 1k-500-1k-500-1k-500. Extra healing, especially at those points, is never bad, and if you’re keeping HoTs rolling on a tank, Rejuvenation should be up in any case.

Glyph of Swiftmend
This glyph used to be the number one most important glyph of a Restoration Druid. However, since 3.1 and the introduction of new glyphs, this may not be the case anymore. Though being able to cast Swiftmend without worrying about refreshing your HoT immediately is more mana effective, Swiftmend has been rendered even more situational due to its cooldown and the variety of other tools available. Though by no means a bad glyph, it is no longer a necessity.

Glyph of Wild Growth
The final new member of the 3.1 glyphs, it extends your Wild Growth to another teammate, so it now hits six members of your raid or group. Though not the best choice for five mans unless you're running with a pet-heavy team, if you're often placed on raid healing, it could be invaluable. Since the cooldown of Wild Growth is six seconds, that's one less person to worry about during that time.

I hope this helped your choices!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Blogaversary!

It's my blogaversary!

One year ago I made my first post on this blog. I wrote about Dalliah the Doomsayer, a boss in Arcatraz, who I thought was tough and interesting and probably I put more importance on her than necessary. Later, I wrote more and more and more and established what I hope has been a good and helpful read for all WoW players (if especially druids), with some fun and jokes and sarcasm and RP mixed in for flavor and spice.

This blog has had a wonderful year, right? RIGHT!

Enough about me, though. I would like to extend my thanks to a large number of people, without whom this likely would not have been possible, or at least would be very different and not as good as it is now.

Sharlet:
I love you. Thank you for encouraging me, always reading everything I wrote, no matter how good or bad it was, and understanding when I get all excited. You understand it's not "just a game" and have helped me out so much. Thank you and, again, I love you.

Phaelia:
You write the defining WoW blog that spurred me into creating my own. You showed me that I could do this, that people wanted this sort of information. You set a standard that, though I didn't know if I could reach it, kept me motivated to give good, helpful information anyone could use. And you're a wonderful person who is fun to talk to. Thank you.

BBB:
You were the first druid blog I ever read. You were fun, smart, helpful and full of attitude. You helped me shape my own style and be a less afraid of critics and more confident in myself as a writer and informant (and you probably never knew!). Not only that, but you welcomed me into your guild, joked with me, played with me, and we had a good time. Thank you.

BRK:
You're a riot, you know your stuff, and you were my first WoW blog. I've never gotten a hunter past level 18, and your blog makes me sorry for that fact every day. Even though Bellbell finds your tactics frustrating, through reading your blog she managed to kill a Beast Mastery hunter a level above her in Hellfire the other day. You were my first inspiration and always have been a favorite. Thank you.

Ratshag:
You probably aren't aware, but through reading your blog and playing with Palintera on Feralicious, I was able to write for Bellbell. She gained personality and dynamic because I read your blog and thought "I want to do that, too." You also showed me how I could make amazingly great friends through my blog. Thank you, and thanks for taking me out to dinner, too.

Sannhet:
Thank you for being one of the best friends and the best guild leader I've ever had, and for always encouraging me to write. You've always told me I was a great druid, even when I was screwing up as a feral in the level 40's. I'll always be one of your generals at heart. Thank you.

Harl:
Thank you for bugging me when I don't post, telling me I'm a great healer when I refused to believe you anyway, and playing on a server type you disliked so we could hang out. You've been helpful to me in so many ways, including showing me that good friendships really don't end when someone stops playing. Thank you.

There are so many people to thank...it is difficult to get them all, and a personalized list of even just names would stretch forever. To everyone in BA Chat, to every blogger who has helped me, given me advice, or listened to mine, to every person who has read my blog, whether you agreed or disagreed, to my guest posters, to my guild members and WoW friends, to those who commented, those who simply said thank you, who shared my blog, who linked to me, to those who encouraged me, who debated with me, who pushed me, prodded me, and in any way influenced my writing and gaming experience...

Thank you! You made this blogaversary possible!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Guest Post: The Job of a Raiding Moonkin

Macbook is a raiding moonkin on the server Stormscale US. You can read about his journey as a moonkin over at his blog, Moonkin.

If you're reading this, you must be a little interested on being a PvE moonkin. That's fair, though, because the latest patch with new talents and the WoTLK expansion have made moonkins a very viable source of raid buffs, single-target DPS, and AoEing.

Most people underestimate the difficulty of raiding as a Moonkin. They say, all Moonkins have to do is push 3 buttons, what else? I've never heard a statement more false than that one.

For starters, the main job of a moonkin is to provide its buff to the entire raid. Since the patch, your Aura of 5% crit now affects the entire raid group, and if you specced in Improved Moonkin Aura (which I believe every raiding Moonkin should), you're also throwing an extra 3% spell haste to your raid, which may not sound like much, but is actually huge. Your Insect Swarm will decrease the chance of the enemy to hit the tank by 3%, and your Earth & Moon talent will basically increase the DPS of the casters in the raid by 13%. As you can see, many of your talents really help the raid out, and you should have most or all them even if they don't directly increase your DPS.

Since the patch, I've seen a lot more moonkins floating around my server, probably because resto gear with a balance talent spec is almost as good as just having balance gear. Even with all the increase in Moonkins on my server, and even going up against Moonkins in better gear than me, I am still putting out more DPS. Why? I know my role, and I am specced appropriately for it.

99% of raid leaders have moonkins for single-target DPS, not AoE. If your guild is any good, you're not having problems downing trash, its the bosses that are hindering you. Still, I see moonkins who spec points in improved AoE spell damage, which doesn't affect your single-target DPS. I see moonkins with weird casting rotations that are not mana-efficient, meaning they have to pop their innervate on themselves, instead of giving it to a healer.

The key word in balance druid is, well, balance. You need to find the middle ground between having high DPS (aka Boomkin/Doomkin), and still helping the raid out substantially. For example, dotting Moonfire on a boss doesn't really help the raid out, and isn't really mana efficient. My casting rotation involves simply keeping Insect Swarm up, and spamming Starfire, and then rinsing and repeating. Its simple, yet very high-dps and very mana efficient. I never run out of mana even on 5-10 minute fights -- if I get low, I pop a Mana potion on myself and save the innervate for a healer.

You should always make sure to have enough mana to battle rez someone as soon as its needed, and obviously always carry the appropriate reagents. In fact, if you get the Glyph of Unburdened Rebirth, you never even have to worry about carrying the seeds for your BR, which cleared up 2 slots in my bags.

Anyways, this was a pretty large overview, but in the grand spectrum of being a raiding moonkin. I usually manage to stay within the top 3 of the damage meters in my 25-man raids, even while using up tons of mana on Battle Rezzing and Innervating healers. Make sure you build your talent tree on something that you are comfortable with, but always make sure to realize your primary roles. In most cases, AoE should come secondary, so points in AoE talents or buffing existing ones are essentially wasted, in my opinion.

Thanks for the opportunity to post here, and hope you enjoyed it!

Macbook

Macbook blogs about being a moonkin, and he keeps a Moonkin blog.

Monday, November 17, 2008

An Update for the Concerned

I do not have a new computer, and will not be getting one in the forseeable future.

I do not have Wrath, and will probably not for a while longer (week or two). Wrath was released about the same time I was given, not lying, about eleven papers to write for my classes. If I downloaded Wrath, I would fail my classes.

I have not quit WoW. I am not planning on quitting anytime soon.

That being said, the times I have logged on have been depressing. Every one of my friends is over 70 and in Northrend, and all I read and hear about is the content I'm missing. The most interaction I've had with people is to run their Death Knights through Mana Tombs.

But, well, at least my Netherwing rep is climbing steadily, right? Eggs everywhere.

...

*sigh*

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Beginner's Guide to the WoW Forums


The following post has a large volume of both inappropriate language and sarcasm (with a hint of irony) based upon observation. If you cannot stomach vulgarities or are unable to properly detect said sarcasm (with a hint of irony), this post is not for you. And, yes, this is also on my realm forums. Which are slow and down. But if you feel you must track it down, do me a favor and don't respond to any trolls. Thanks!

A. A troll is someone who either strives to entertain or create drama, or both. New trolls appear every few weeks to every few months, depending on the activity in the forum. Some will have a weird, “unique” schtick; these are hit or miss. If a troll can keep them up for about a month, then they’re there to stay, barring account cancellations/bannings. Often trolls will not have signatures, or, if they do, never post on the forums on their main. Very few trolls actually are open about who they are. If they are open about it, they’re generally considered just NERD RAGErs, forum nerds, attention whores or simply forum residents. The best trolls become forum icons.

B. People who are assholes on the forums can often be nice in-game and in real life. However, it is perfectly acceptable to dislike/hate them for their forum persona without considering the person behind the character, just as it is perfectly acceptable for them to be assholes to people they don’t know without considering the person behind that character. This is only applicable to people you do not know and like personally, because obviously when you know the person acting like an asshole, you recognize that they’re just joking.

C. The easiest attacks on a person involve things which are difficult to prove, yet are somehow hurtful and incite anger. These include anything sexual (in a negative light), gender stereotypes, profession, weight, the quality of their life, how often they see the sun, and whether they have moved out of their parents’ residence. These attacks can herald one of a few things:
    1) The subject of the attack has no other failings, so the attacker must resort to the vague and obscure.
    2) The attacker knows the subject personally and therefore knows these to be true. This is only accepted if there is evidence to back up the information.
    3) The attacker is immature or lacking in wit/intelligence, and thus knows no other response to opposition.


D. Being openly, and truly, female on the forums will invite a disproportionate amount of replies to anything they say to revolve around their appearance and sexuality, whether “negative” or “positive.” Females subjected to this and who remain on the forums travel three paths: that of the e-whore, the flirt, and the willfully ignorant.
    1) The e-whore will openly flaunt herself as a sexual object due to her feeling of internet security, and her knowledge she will never be tracked down to perform all the fellatio and intercourse she has promised. The community either feeds into her need for sexual attention or detests her for being an internet slut.
    2) The flirt is a milder version of the slut. She only makes sexual jokes with her friends, or a few people. She is never overtly sexual, and is simply playful. Only e-whores hate her, because she takes away from their attention.
    3) The willfully ignorant glaze over all posts concerning their gender and attempt to work around them. They prefer to be gender neutral and not be classified due to their gender.


E. The above is invalidated simply by stating “there are no females on the internet.”

F. Everything on the forums revolves around who likes who, and who dislikes who. For example:
    1) A pair you like who play WoW together but live very far away are in a long-distance relationship, something difficult to maintain and admirable to be involved in and be able to keep stable. However, you also know a pair in the same sort of relationship, but you dislike them. Therefore, they are e-dating, and it is sad they are so desperate for sex, and no one wants them, that they have to fly cross-country to get any.
    2) Someone can be called both an “e-whore” and a “flirt” depending on who knows and likes them, regardless of their actions.
    3) Someone will be good looking (or have some recovering feature) if you like them, while someone else who you dislike will be ugly and have no recovering feature. This is only invalid if the person is universally considered to be attractive, at which point someone will generally revert to tactics covered in point C.

The basic thing to remember is: people will only attack those they do not know or do not like, regardless of whether their friends or their selves are guilty of the same infractions.

G. Posting any inquiries about the server, especially with intent to transfer, will always garner negative replies unless you are transferring back, in which case it is up to your old server rep to decide. These are actually a way of weeding out those who are undesired and those who will entertain. Show yourself as witty, undeterred, and interesting, and you will be welcomed with open arms. Fail at this, however, and you will be mocked off the forums.

H. Asking for help will give you an immediate link to wowhead or thottbot, a laugh at your incompetence (real or imagined), providing false information, or adding a snide comment. If the thread lasts long enough, it will be derailed. If in the first two or three responses someone is helpful, the thread will die, unless the information is obscure or difficult to interpret. Then the thread will devolve into people correcting each other or giving more false information.

I. Making perfect, logical, irrefutable sense on the WoW forums will open you to an attack on your armory. Therefore, if you are about to post something which no one can argue against, be sure your gear is at the highest level, you either have no arena teams or your ratings are above 2000 with a class not considered OP, all your enchants are up to date, and you have a cookie-cutter spec. If all this is completely set, be prepared for cries of being carried, either by guild or arena teams, of win-trading, being a ninja, that PvE isn’t hard, or just generally being without skill. If these fail, then, again, prepare for that which is mentioned in point C.

J. Every long thread can and will be summed up by someone as tl;dr, whether they are joking or not.

K. There is never an entertaining thread on the forums. Any thread with entertainment value will be made in triplicate or more, and the novelty will vanish. However, if a truly entertaining thread is created and not duplicated to death, it will be necro’d, or resurrected from back pages, with regularity. This will, eventually, kill its entertainment value as well, at least for those who have already read the thread eight times. Also, a necro will never add any fresh new insight, and will generally just consist of “LOL.”

L. When all else fails, argue semantics. Obviously, what you mean when you say an arbitrary distinction is far more correct than anyone else’s interpretation of the same obscure and unclear labeling. If possible, find a dictionary entry to support your stance. Since citation is not required, feel free to modify it to suit your purpose.

M. Grammar and spelling work two ways: either be (close to) perfect, or be purposely awful. Anything in-between and any point you try to make will be glossed over by the fact that you do not separate your paragraphs, your commas are weird and you don’t use “your” and “you’re” properly. The proper response to these attacks will be along the lines of not knowing the official forums were an English class.

N. All forums have inside jokes. They can often be old, difficult to understand or simply weird. If you don't understand it, and attempt to use it, you will be mocked off the forums. But never ask about it, as you will be laughed off the forums, again. The rule of thumb is: if you don't understand something, don't use it, and don't ask. Figure it out yourself or leave it alone.

O. Remember, no matter how offensive, wrong, inappropriate, upsetting, insulting or vulgar someone is, you shouldn’t get upset. After all, it’s just the internet. The fact that real people are sitting behind the screen isn’t important; it’s just the internet. Anyone who gets worked up over the internet is [insert response from point C].

Monday, November 10, 2008

An Important Notice, and Possible Bad News

First off, Child's Play is starting again. I know a lot of you already read Big Bear Butt Blogger, and if you don't I'm weirded out (seriously, who hears of me before him?), but he's looking for people to donate prizes for a raffle. If you have something awesome, or something semi-awesome (like a runner up prize) to donate, head over and follow his instructions. Every little bit helps, and it's a great cause.

Now, I'm going to wait while you go check out those links.

Done? Well, that didn't take long. Go back and do it properly!

All right, I suppose that's well enough. We'll get on with what will now be self-indulgent drivel.

I'm considering cancelling my WoW subscription. And, the worst part is, it feels almost like it's not my choice.

My computer has been steadily dying over the past few years. Now it requires a floor fan to be blowing on it constantly in order to keep from becoming piping hot, and that will be a problem come winter. The CD tray is broken; I have to download or just do without. And I can't play WoW at anything higher than 3-5 fps, consistently, anyway. It irritates me, and then I don't enjoy playing. The worst part is, I can't afford a new one. My lifestyle demands a laptop, and they're just too expensive for me.

A minor part of the problem is I'm not too keen on the fact that I can't get a copy of WotLK (and thus a CD key for when I do download it) until a week after its release. This means a week of doing dailies, levelling my lock, and gritting my teeth so I'm not jealous of what everyone else gets to do. I suppose, in a way, it would be a blessing in disguise; my computer obviously could not handle travelling to Northrend with the rush.

Then...there is another problem. The people I once enjoyed playing with have seemed to change almost overnight. Nice, caring, helpful people who I always enjoyed talking to suddenly seem stand-offish, elitist, arrogant, or just...different. WoW is a fun game, but I don't really enjoy it by myself too much. I was looking at server transferring, but I don't know. There doesn't seem to be much scarier than starting completely fresh, even though Sharlet will transfer with me.

I don't know what I'm going to do. I'd like to try WotLK, give it a shot. And there's the fact that, while I'm at school, the only way I can do anything with Sharlet is to play WoW. It's how we spend time together when we can't be together. I've made so many good friends on the server (those who haven't changed), on other servers and in the blogging community, and I don't want the largest connection we have to just...vanish.

I suppose, once I can finally get it, I'll see how WotLK goes. If things get better, then this speculation was for nothing. But if not...I just don't know.

Anyway, that's the long, oh-woe-is-me explanation for the slow posting around here (besides school work and my job). I hope you guys can understand, though I wish it wasn't the case. I enjoy blogging, but when your playtime is an irritating photo slide...it's hard to find something to write about.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Acceptance Speech

That's right, kids.

Bellbell's 70. I'm ready to mount my snowy gryphon, pop some pretty wings and eat more Horde face with my helm of oddly-deep laughter and haste-ridden scourge set. Not to mention the beautiful new axe Sharlet handed to me just moments after that pretty Divine-Storm look-alike swirl pronounced me all-grown up, until the expansion, anyway.

I'd like to brag more about how awesome I am, and how spectacular it feels to have hit the top for the moment, but Bellwether says I have to thank everyone who helped me get here. I mean, I could have done it on my own.

Maybe.

Anyway, here's the list...

Harl: Thank you for running me through SM, sending me BOE blues, helping me with quests in Terokkar and Nagrand, and helping me up my engineering. You're pro.

Tremlos: Thank you for running me through SM and RFD, and spurring me on by levelling your paladin faster.

Sorli: Thank you for running me through SM.

Ignacion: Thank you for running me through SM.

Button: Thank you for running me through SM, and always encouraging me when I was frustrated and levelling your paladin faster.

Amarax: Thank you for helping me take Towers in HFP, ganking Horde who ganked me, and helping me kill elites.

Bellezza: Thank you for bringing your paladin over, my twin, Bellebelle, so we could confuse people and wreak havoc.

And, last, but most certainly not least.

Sharlet.

Thank you for running me through SM, Razor Fen Downs, Zul’Farrak, Mara, Sunken Temple, Scholomance, Dire Maul, Stratholme, Ramparts, Blood Furnace and Slave Pens, for helping me through any quest, chasing down Horde who hurt me, helping me spec, helping me upgrade my gear, helping me itemize properly, helping me with dps rotations and pvp encounters, encouraging me, always being there to help me, and just being the most amazing person ever.

...perhaps I'm biased.

(I love you, Sharlet)

Friday, October 31, 2008

AMG HALP ME BELL-WAN-KENOBI


Recently I was sent an e-mail a fellow blogger named Doodle, the author of HoTs & DoTs. The following e-mail conversation could be helpful to those who are a little overwhelmed, spec-wise, and with some comments on gear.
So I just got recruited into a Sunwell raiding guild... and since you're the only resto drood I kinda know, I am gonna bombard you with questions. LOL

Is 5/0/56 the preferred Resto build right now? Is Elitist Jerks still the best theory-crafting place to look at? What would be the first thing you'd change, looking at my armory:

http://www.wowarmory.com/character-sheet.xml?r=Kael%27thas&n=Doodlebug

Thanks in advance for your help! ^_^

Since 3.0.2 there are a lot of options open for resto druids. I have to run to class, but after I'm done I'll be sure to send you links to a bunch of talent trees I've made up; there's a lot of options.

Pre-3.0.2 boss health nerf, I would have said you were woefully undergeared for Sunwell. However, that's no longer the case. If you have the badges, pick up the chest and/or pants that the SSO blacksmith offers. If you don't mind PvP, I'd pick up a Guardian or Vindicator's belt; I've used mine since Kara and way into BT (I still have it). A lot of bosses are health-oriented; I would get stam or stam/movement increase on your boots unless you think you're going to replace them very soon (in which case, don't bother). You've honestly done very well gemming and enchanting yourself; the little bit of stam is negligible, but can help.

Have to get to Philosophy and then Research and Design Analysis II, but afterwards I will most certainly have some specs for you.

Good luck with Sunwell!

♥Bellwether

Yay! Specs would be awesome. I'm thinking basically a 5/0/56 --- Genesis looks nice.

Not sure yet what the overall plan is, but I'm excited to be in a progression-guild!

For badge stuff: do you mean these? —

Shroud of Nature's Harmony
Grovewalker's Leggings

I'm scared of doing 40 ABs, but that belt is sex-ay.

Thanks for your help! ^_^

Here's some specs...if you have a moment, can you link me what your 5/0/56 spec is, exactly?

10/0/51
This spec is good overall. Boosts up just about everything, and gets you Wild Growth. It ignores some of the nice Balance talents, however, and doesn't really go into the Healing Touch talents.

14/0/47
This spec is really neat, in my opinion. It's about getting the talent to increase the duration of your HoTs so you have more time to throw out other heals before refreshing them, and increasing the crit chance of those heals to add Seeds of Life. Also, those crits will increase your cast time of your spells, so you can add even more into the mix. When I go back to resto, this is probably what I'll be. Downside is: no Wild Growth.

28/0/33
This is a dreamstate build. Its focus is on mana regen, period, and it isn't that great right now unless you're having a real problem with keeping your mana pool up. When you can invest 10 more points in at level 80, it'll be a mana machine, but right now it's missing a lot of important things like ToL form, Emp Rejuv, and full points in Living Spirit. However, it's really versatile if you find yourself in situations where you're not always healing, or need to fill multiple roles.

Yes to the chest and legs. They're pretty awesome; on par with Hyjal and BT gear. The legs actually beat the leather equivalent that drops off of Shade of Akama. And yes, PvP belts are sweet, unless you can manage the one from the ZA timed chest, which is better.

ARRRGH! I lost a roll on the belt last week! QQ

Here's the spec I was thinking of:

5/0/56

What do you think?

Ha, I've never even seen the belt drop. The ferals in my old guild all had it, though. ><

It's a nice spec, but I've heard Gift of the Earthmother is kind of a filler, and Replenishment doesn't proc enough to be worth the points. May consider putting them somewhere else. However, it'll work, and I see nothing wrong with it :)


(All links and information were posted with Doodle’s full permission, and the title is the subject of his e-mail. All references to Jedi from long ago in a galaxy far, far away are his fault. I claim no Jedi powers whatsoever, even if I can move things without touching them, through Typhoon.)

(Quick Edit: Doodle, Wyrmhide or Kodohide for the Guardian's belt will work.)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

You Didn't Even Say Goodbye...

I've had a lot of friends leave in WoW, whether they transferred servers, switched factions, rerolled, dropped out of contact, or quit all together. Some I still talk to, some I have a hard time getting a hold of, and some I've never heard from again. It's always a little depressing for me, as I play WoW for the people. I have alts on so many servers I just cannot visit them all the time. Or much at all, really.

Recently, I logged on and decided that I hadn't seen one of my friends online in a while, so I'd send them a mail for when they did log on. I bought a black rose, pulled open the mailbox, wrote "I miss you" as the subject, put in the rose, added a short message (mostly just a joke on how the rose was black like my emo soul without them) and hit send.

"Mail recipient not found."

...What? I pounded send again and again, checked to make sure I had written the name right, and then opened my friend's list in confusion. Name gone.

Just another reason I hate that message "Player removed from friend's list because the character no longer exists." It never says who it is, so you kind of have to mentally guess at times.

I pulled up armory; his name was pretty rare. His character was gone. I looked up his arena partner (also with a rare name); he had server transferred and had no one of the class and race of my friend on his arena teams. It was...depressing. Perhaps more so because my friend, at the last time I talked to him, told me he would tell me if he was ever quitting the game.

So, Magroo, I don't know if you ever knew I had a blog, so I don't know if you'll even see this. I don't know why your characters are gone or why you didn't say anything before leaving. But I want to let you know you were one of the best tanks I've ever had the pleasure of raiding with. You were fun to talk to and I enjoyed being in your group for every raid, even though I couldn't always give you my aura. Thank you for talking with me when I was bored, and thank you for taking time out of your play to let me duel you so I could practice CCing and kiting a warrior. Thanks for always being helpful, even when I was as scrubby as could be.

And, if you're around, drop me an e-mail or an IM sometime, as you are sorely missed.

♥, Bellwether

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Less QQ, Moar BRAAAAAAAAIIIIIINSSSSS

I'm going to say this very seriously. Lighten up, all of you who complained about zombies and infections and quest killing. It was one weekend out of your lives. It's over now, and I for one am sad. There is nothing to break up the monotony like an army of the living dead coming to eat your flesh and make you one of them.

Now, I understand the frustration of finding your auctioneers, flight masters or quest givers dead. Perhaps I understand it all too well, as on my server, a PvP server, that can happen at any time. And perhaps that makes me more tolerant of being ganged up on, whether it's my own faction or not, and being turned into a zombie.

I do not understand the people who became upset about the zombie event for one simple reason: if it bothered you so much, you could have shut off the game. You could have read a book, you could have played a different game, you could have taken a nap, gone to the movies, began thinking about NaNoWriMo or NaBloPoMo, you could have written a song, volunteered at a hospital, watched some TV, daydreamed, called your Mom or Dad, gone out with friends, gone camping, done theorycrafting, taken up kickboxing, played with your children...the list is endless. If something you want to do becomes something you do not want to deal with, the answer is not to complain about it, especially when it is temporary.

Try enjoying it, instead of figuring out every way it is an inconvenience to you, next time. And if you still can't, you're wasting more time complaining when you could be doing something else.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Indecision, Patch 3.0.2

So, I have a lot to talk about and little time. The patch came during Midterms week, and I'm still recovering. Honestly, I am a very, very tired druid that could use some time in the Emerald Dream. Perhaps a week, at the least. Unfortunately, that's not an option and I shall continue to run around like a chicken with her head cut off until Thanksgiving break.

Now, 3.0 hit and I became lost, confused and overwhelmed rather quickly. I was never in beta and my PTR kept erroring upon download, so I couldn't even muck around there. When the patch hit, I had to hit the ground running.

Pre-patch, I had used WoWHead's druid calculator to create ten or more different Resto specs. I had Dreamstate specs, levelling specs, raid healing, crit healing, mana conservation, five-man, ten-man, and all sorts of specs, both ingenious and ridiculous. And the night before the patch I sat there, going through the links, looking them over, picking through them and pretending there wasn't an exam I needed to study for (I think I aced it, though).

Then the patch came and I specced Moonkin.

The original idea was to spec Doomkin and test it out in arena with a warlock partner. However, midterms and my partner's work schedule (as well as my work schedule) cut our available time down. Then Hallow's End hit, and I'm much more concerned with getting a Squashling and Hallowed Helm than I am with playing in Arena (I lost the pet and broom twice in one run! and the helm in another! injustice!).

Spell power is just as confusing as it I thought it would be. I am in possession of over fifty different pieces of spell power gear, and no Outfitter to organize them for me. I haven't had time to download and fiddle with Closet Gnome, and I find myself hunting through my bags and manually clicking on various different pieces of gear depending on what I'm doing and what I hope to accomplish. That and the introduction of spell power has completely nerfed off-spec healing, but I suppose that's just a minor quibble.

At the moment, levelling a ret paladin (Divine Storm is gorgeous), a warlock, and a priest, combined with trying to sort Bellwether out, is just completely overwhelming. Besides that...I really miss being a healer. I imagine I'll be trading in my antlers for branches quite soon.

Though, Typhoon + Tree Mafia? Hella good times.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Recruit-A-Friend Revisited

Once upon a time I posted a short rant about Recruit-A-Friend. I was mostly in a bad mood that day, and it showed. However, now that I've actually participated in the Recruit-A-Friend program, I'm a bit more qualified to report upon the pros and cons of the program.

Shall we get started?

Pros
Ding! Ding! Dingdingdingding...
You gain triple experience from both mobs and quests. This causes levels to speed by, and you can have a level 60 in a couple days with little effort (level 60 is when triple experience ends). A red quest for SM can give around 17550 experience, catapulting a level 31 to level 32. Stocks runs can give two or three levels, both from mob experience and quest turn-ins, even when the run is lead by a level 70.

LFM...NOT!
The great advantage of the triple experience requires that you be grouped with the linked account and be within a certain level range. This encourages group play. Besides enabling the buddy system on a PvP server (where you're less likely to be ganked unless they're ridiculously higher level than you), it also means less downtime in the form of looking for members for a group quest or dangers of high-level mobs catching you unawares. If you pick classes that compliment each other, you gain a lot of experience and can adapt to many different situations. Also, you can get higher level quests done at a lower level, increasing the xp gain you receive from turning them in.

New Class, No Hassle
If you've always wanted to play X class but never had time to seriously level an alt, the triple experience smooths the way for you. Even if you simply need an alt at high level so you can get them max rank of a beneficial profession, such as alchemy or inscription, that you just don't have room for on your main, this is an effective means of gaining it. As well, you can try out a role you've never filled before, such as tanking instead of healing or DPS.

Cons
Penniless and Friendless
If your friend is using an account, likely they have no money. Triple experience gains speed you through questing areas and levels like no other, but what comes with levels? Skills and spells that need to be trained. Training costs progressively more and more money, but you're not doing enough quests to make that money. Therefore, it's an intense monetary burden upon the person who recruited the friend to supply money for both rapidly-levelling characters so that they can train and improve. In addition, since less quests are needed for levelling, reputation gains falter behind. If you want a certain class and race but want another race's mount, this is a detriment.

That Look is SO Last Month
You're doing less quests, making less money, and blowing through zones. At some point, you're going to notice your greens from VC and WC just aren't cutting it, and you haven't been picking much up along the way. You're stuck; do you keep going as you have, do you rope a 70 into some instance runs, do you grab a group and hope what you want drops and no one else needs it, or do you buy yourself some equivalent level greens which you also may/may not outstrip in just a few hours? It's a difficult question.

What Does This Button Do?
When in a group, mobs often die fairly quickly, before you're even through a full rotation. Group settings against squishy mobs often favor burst damage moves rather than a damage-over-time or a debuff setup. You can settle into a pattern of what works and works quickly, especially if you notice your partner is killing the mob before your DoT gets two ticks. You're training skills, but you're never using them. Some don't get bound or even read. I cannot speak personally for everyone who uses this levelling system, but my lock is at level 32/33 at the moment, and I only have a basic grasp of how to play her. I do not know what all my buttons are for or how to use them in a real rotation. I barely even know how to spec, because if I take too long to make a decision, the points pile up. Though my partner does not have the same difficulty (he's played a paladin before), I'm looking at all the different curses and have only the barest grasp of what works in what situations.

*~*~*

There are pros and cons to every system, as is evident. Of course, there are the bonuses of the free month and the Zhevra Mount, and it's all going to amount to personal choice. I'm going to feel incredibly noob on my lock and every other character levelled this way for a while, but hopefully I can figure it out.

All comments and additions to the list welcome.

Also, opinions: are there any races that actually look good on the Zhevra?

Friday, October 3, 2008

WTF NERF?!

I am outraged. This is by far the worst, most hurtful nerf of the year, if not the worst in the game's entire run. I am so upset, I'm beyond words. Except not really, because then I wouldn't be able to post this breaking news about the most over-looked, hardest-hitting, game-breaking-est nerf ever.

I am, of course, talking about the DPS nerf to this year's Blue Stein.

There has been a 60% nerf in the DPS of this year's stein, bringing it from the intense 2 DPS of last year's model to the paltry 0.8 DPS of this year's. You can clearly see the lost benefit of the Blue Stein thanks to WoWhead's new Item Comparison.

Was it not enough that they must take away our gain-by-quest mounts and make us suffer through agonizing RNG for a Kodo or Ram? Must they take our dignity as well? It's already shameful to realize you forgot to replace your tankard with your staff of tentacle groping, must they make our DPS so paltry?

I tell you, I am outraged.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I skipped so much content!

Champion of the Naaru, in particular this time.

Oddly enough, I don't have that title yet. The Naaru trial quests for Shadow Labyrinth and Arcatraz have been sitting in my quest log for forever, and I've just never gotten them done. Honestly, who needs Heroics when you're in BT every other night? Badges can be found lying in the carcasses of Karazhan bosses!

But, I digress.

To finish up the Trial of Strength, Sharlet and I recruited some PUGs (read: Sharlet did dailies while I advertised in trade chat) and headed in, me hoping to finally see Murmur. Grand Master Warlock Voidwalker Eating Banishing C*ckblock Vorpil had always stopped me from getting anywhere in Heroic Shadow Labyrinth other than the floor. Of course, the eventual "run away we're going to wipe I'm almost at the door OH CRAP TELEPORT *death*" is always amusing, in that repair bill sort of way. But to complete the trial, you have to kill him, not just be morbidly amused by your ineffectiveness.

First two bosses go out without a hitch, Sharlet and the lock dying in one of the early pulls thanks to a lag spike on my part. Followed by a disconnect in which no one died, and we're off to a great start! Still, the first two bosses are downed, including my favorite, without incident. "It's time for fun!" is truly what it is. Goodness but I love that boss.

I digress.

Anyway, we got to Vorpil, and unlucky banishes screw us over time and again. The worst was where Sharlet was banished...three times? in a row. Kiting was non-existant, dps was dying, and our repair bills mounted. By that point I was no longer amused, just frustrated. But he finally went down, and I was proud of myself for feral charging and bashing voidwalkers when I got a free moment to slow them down. Utility pvp spec ftw!

So then it's the mind controller pulls before Murmur, and 2 out of 3 times I ended up dead. Luckily, no one else did. You know, luckily for them.

Anyway, so now we're at Murmur. Sharlet explains him, and in we go. And there we die. And then we die again. And again. And one of those was completely my fault for dying in the first Sonic Boom. I felt horrible; I hate causing wipes. Hate it. So, back in we go. And this time, I watch it. I watch it so close that I don't get hit with it but once when I got Touched right before a Sonic Boom and got thrown into the air at an unfortunate time.

Thank you Health Potions.

Anyway, what was interesting about this fight was...well, the only ones who didn't die were Sharlet and me. Warlock died, hunter died, rogue died twice. Sharlet and I DPS, tanked and healed Murmur for about 10% of his life. And when he starts out at only 30%, that's a third of the boss. The rogue was taking bets about when I was going to run out of mana; he must have seen me chuggin' pots. In my mind I was thinking "What do you mean? I'm a resto druid, beyotch. Until the expansion, I don't run out of mana!" and, in actuality, I ended the battle with about 1/5th of my mana gone in total, due to needing to innervate at about 2%.

It was a scary game, me relying on my Vial of the Sunwell for a Silence, ticking HoTs for others, my Redeemer's Alchemist Stone helping me get more from my Health Potions, my Nature's Swiftness + Healing Touch for an emergency, and quickly memorizing exactly how far I had to go to avoid the SOnic Boom but still get in without taking his ranged attack to the face At one point I ran too far and Feral Charged in. In the end, it was exhilerating. A tank and a healer, against all odds, ripping into Murmur and kicking him til he dropped his loots.

I think I earned my reward for the Naaru trial of Strength.

Next up, saving Millhouse Manastorm, my absolute favorite NPC of all time. I'm coming for you, Mr. Manastorm.