Thursday, July 31, 2008


I downloaded a mod that lets me cruise the LFG channel without actually being in a queue for a group and I saw something... Interesting. There was someone who was looking for a tank for Ony. Whowhat? Seriously... He was looking for a tank for Onyxia's Lair.

Onyxia's Lair... Man... Takes me back. When I first joined Crucify, one of the conditions was that you had to be attuned for Molten Core, Blackwing Lair and Onyxia's Lair. The MC and BWL attunements were pretty simple and the guys I was hanging out with at the time were stumbling through the attunements and I'd actually done those. But Onyxia... Well now... That was something else entirely.

We'd actually done most of the questline but I hadn't done the precursors... In fact, we did the absolutely godawful Jail Break! quest twice (three times if you count the wipe) before I even knew what it was for. So I had to do it again. And soloing those elites in the Burning Steppes was brutal in my PvP blues. It took a few lucky crits to get the black drake down.

Then I did Jail Break! a third time with one of Crucify's officers tanking it on his rogue... I was pretty sick of BRD by the time we were done... Plus that tunnel in Winterspring... Oy. Plus the three runs through UBRS to get the blood. But I got the attunement and in my first real week in the guild, I got an invite to an Onyxia raid. I'd just gotten to rank 10 and got my PvP helm just two days earlier. And in my first Onyxia raid, two of the mage helms dropped... And only two mages didn't have it. So I replaced the helm I had spent 5 hours a day trying to get within two days... Not to mention the only other epic I had was also a head piece. But I wore my Tier 2 helm with pride right up until Burning Crusade. It's still in my bank and I put it on every now and then.

Over the months, we got pretty blase about Onyxia. If we took her out, it was on an off raid night (possibly a ZG or AQ20 night) and we'd do it with alts and newbies and one time we did it with 22 people. But I'll always have fond memories of that place. Like how our guild leader would put all the mages except himself in the even groups and then draw aggro and get himself killed so I'd always whisper the other mages that I was going on the odd side. Or the time when all the mages got themselves killed but me during phase three and we got some whelps.... On the other side. So I blinked through Onyxia and started kiting them. A paladin whispered me that he had me so I just went to town and downed them. I basically saved the raid and got a number of tells along those lines after the fight was over.

We've tried to 4 and 5 man her a few times in my horde guild at level 70 but we didn't have enough ranged DPS to get through phase two. So when I saw the call for a tank for Onyxia... I couldn't resist. On the first attempt, we were wiped out by a deap breath. The second one was a combination of deep breath and whelps. But the third attempt we had the mage lay off on phase one and blow all his cooldowns on phase two and we managed to get through it. On phase three, the warritard two hand tanked her until I finally had to tell him to stop attacking. We finally straightened it out and got her down.

I know she's been soloed but still... It was nice trip down memory lane.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A Little Redemption

Hiahotah has a few raid quests outstanding (Kill Gruul, run Heroic Arcatraz and Heroic Shadow Labyrinth) so I put myself into LFG for those three instances and did a few rounds of Alterac Valley (man... The horde is hapless sometimes... They have no hap). About half way through the third straight game where the horde didn't even bother slowing the Alliance rush down, I got a tell asking me if I wanted to do Gruul's Lair. Strangely, my +healing was judged to be satisfactory so I was invited.

After about a half hour of trying to get a raid together, they only needed a couple of tanks. I'd rather do new content as ranged DPS or as a healer - it gives me a better idea what is going on. But the last time I tried this, the group wiped because the tanks couldn't take the beating dished out and I kind of wanted this over. I have a longstanding grudge against this instance: It broke up my Alliance guild. We were falling apart and it was thought that if we could pull off a 25 man raid, we'd save the guild. The High King schooled us and within a couple of weeks, the guild was no more. So I whispered the raid leader that I could respec feral if he wanted. When I told him what my bear stats were, he asked me to respec. Everybody loves a tank.

It took another few minutes to get the raid going and I thought it was going to fall apart (and I'd be out the 25 gold for the respec) but they managed to pull it together. While I was waiting, I started putting my feral talents back where they belong... You're home fellas. Hello Feral Faerie Fire, my old friend. Ah... Mangle... I've missed you so. Then I went out and tanked a few mobs because it had been a while. Then I went back and read my tooltips and put the right mangle in my bear form bar.

The first trash pulls were uneventful (and by "uneventful" I mean "a mage got tired of waiting, pulled the first mob, left the raid and logged out just before I zoned in and I was in bear form so I just picked it up"). I was assigned to tank Olm the Summoner with a paladin OT. I could have done without the fears... But I kept him on me most of the time. The group was pretty balanced (and the warrior main tank was, in a word, godly. His healers were complaining because they didn't leave him anything to do and he had more health than I did - only by a couple hundred but it still counts. He and I were a good 3k above everyone else. It was obvious who the main and off tanks were) and we downed him. Take that "boss who broke up Crucify"!!!

There were some issues with the trash pulls on the way to Gruul (namely, a three pull when we weren't expecting any mobs at all) so we had to rebuff before Gruul. I was assigned to OT to eat something they called the Hateful (actually Hurtful) Strikes. Those tickle (I missed being indestructible). We lost a few people early and I saw an angel of failure in there at one point. I found that the middle was a good place to hang out for the shadows so I mashed flying bear when we got knocked in the air and was only close to the main tank. He got to 15 grows and there were only about 13 people still standing and we had him to 7%. We threw everything we had at him. Calls went out to blow all cooldowns (I didn't pop Bearvasion because I didn't think it would help much) and we managed to get him down. I don't think I embarassed myself - I was second on Omen for the majority of the fight (in fact, the raid leader was telling the ranged they could pass me in threat... I don't think he checked to see how much PvP gear I was wearing. I generate a LOT of threat). He dropped a resto druid helm and no one wanted it, so... I took it. I mean... When I _started_ the raid I was resto. It's a minor upgrade for PvE healing so... What the hell, right?

I also got the last item in the attunement quest for SSC - I just have to get back to the questgiver in Heroic Slave Pens to turn it in. LF4M just need heals and 3 DPS and gtg.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Druids Dance with So Little Provocation

A couple of nights ago, there was a call out for all druids to come to the Scryer bank and dance. And, as a druid, I can't resist a good bear dance party (It's true. Try it yourself. If you don't have a druid of your own, roll one, get to level 10 and do the bear form quest line. Then go to Stormwind or Orgrimmar, walk up to the first druid you see and /dance. You don't even have to target them... Odds are they'll start dancing with you). I actually had to log off my mage and log onto my druid. I rushed over to to the Scryer bank, dropped into bear form, got in formation and started dancing.

Of course, with any druid activity, there will be a certain number of rogues, warlocks and hunters (who have nothing else to do. They certainly can't get into instance groups... Oh!!! Did I say that?!?!? Yep. Sure did) who ruin the screenshots:

Then some of the trees went to the front to add a little sparkle...

The bank started to get a little crowded with onlookers, so we rolled over to hang out with Alar:

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Cheating Death

Man-oh-mangoberry has there been an uproar about the nerf to Cheat Death yesterday. Most of the people complaining about it acknowledge that it was overpowered but that the nerf went too far. Here's what my Cheat Death experiences were like:

Kaylee (frost mage with Shatter) catches a rogue (at about 1/3 health) in a frost nova and gets off a shatter combo. The frostbolt is completely absorbed. Experience tells me that my frostbolts crit for about 3200 in battlegrounds. Rogue _still_ has 1/3 health. Then my ice lance hits for 200 and frost nova breaks. Then comes a fireblast for 100. Ice lance for 30. Now the rogue is in melee range, pops Cloak of Skill and... Oh... Some healer has noticed that the rogue is low on health. Dead mage. Or...

Same frost nova shatter combo gets the rogue down to 1500 hit points or so but there are no healers so the rogue runs (grrr... Pussies). I follow the rogue spamming ice lance because as soon as Cheat Death wears off, he'll drop. 100 here. 30 there... Then rogue pops sprint and Cloak of Skill. Resist, resist, resist, Out of range. Meanwhile, I've stumbled into the main Alliance force. Dead mage.

And with cheat death, it didn't matter if you had any resilience. Hell, the bigger the crit that would have killed you, the more invulnerable you became. Might as well wear your all DPS all the time PvE gear.

But that has been changed. Now a blow that would kill that rogue drops them to 10% health. Subsequent attacks have their damage reduced by an amount that is dependent on their resilience but not to exceed 90%. To get to 90% it would take (from what I've seen) 442-443 resilience. That's pretty much getting every piece of PvP gear and having it enchanted/gemmed for resilience.

Last night in the one AV I did with Kaylee, I got my shatter combo set up on a low health rogue. Frostbolt takes the rogue down to 10% health (yay. A spell actually did something to a rogue) and the followup ice lance did about 800 damage. The fireblast that followed hit for about 600. Dead rogue!!! I'm guessing that rogue had enough resilience to reduce the amount of incoming damage by about 60%. But with the initial blow not being resisted completely and that extra 30% damage, I had a fighting chance.

Yesterday was a very good day to die... For rogues.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

My rant on PvP gear.

One of my blogging heroes - the Big Bear Butt - had a rant about PvP gear a couple of weeks ago and while I don't completely disagree with him, I don't completely agree with him either.

Back in the day, I had an Alliance mage (Gifteye) who I got to Rank 10 for the blue PvP gear so that I wouldn't embarass myself when I went on raids with my new guild. Two days (not kidding, two days) after I got Rank 10, I got a Tier 2 helm from Onyxia. After a while, he started getting more and more and more PvE gear... To the point where I didn't even have any of the PvP gear any more. I'd go into a battleground with 7/8 Tier 2 and blast the horde to hell. One time, I got jumped by a Grand Marshall hunter in the Eastern Plaguelands and completely handed him his hat. Whenever I got jumped by a warrior, I'd school them. Get them down to about 5% health and sheep them until they healed to full (back when sheep didn't break after 10 seconds in PvP) and then polish them off... Just because I could. I'd pick a fight with anyone. I killed every undead of every level I saw. I killed each and every rogue I saw out in the wild. Why? Because I could. My gear was just that good and unless you were raiding, you couldn't compete. To get gear that good, you had to PvP 20 hours a day for months on end and get the High Warlord gear and even then there were probably only 60 or 70 horde with that kind of gear on the server... Hell, even the Grand Marshals in our guild ditched their PvP gear for raiding drops.

I'll say it... It was imbalanced. If I could polymorph you or hit you with a pyroblast-fireblast combo when you weren't expecting it, there was really nothing you could do. On a PvP server, things had to change.

And they did. It started with the release of the GM/HWL gear for honor points just before Burning Crusade. Then with BC came Gladiator gear. The first set was OK (but I missed most of that, I was leveling my horde druid during most of season one) but the second set... That was nice. I had saved some points from the first season (I started playing the last few weeks) and I was just starting to main tank for my guild for 5 mans. When I joined they were stuck on the second boss in Shadow Labyrinth. I got a smattering of instance drop blues and some quest rewards and had an OK tanking set. But I'd been using a set of green shoulders that +57 stamina and no other stats for... Ever, basically.

So I spent my first 1400 or so arena points on the Merciless Gladiator's Dragonhide Spaulders. After gems, I lost a little stamina, but I gained about 1000 armor (after the dire bear form multiplier), some dodge, crit, threat generation and crit immunity. Plus, I could justify getting one of the good shoulder enchants from the Scryers so I gained a little more crit immunity and even more dodge. Suddenly, I went from being a solid tank to a crit immune, hard to hit, damage mitigating, threat generating machine. Over the last few months, I've replaced every piece of gear two or three times... But not those. I still wear them and they're still awesome.

I ground out arena points for 5-6 weeks to get those. Now you can get them in 3 days of battlegrounds... Two if you happen to catch a couple of rainy days on an Alterac Valley weekend. And that gear is a LOT better than anything you can get out of Karazhan AND it's a lot more predictable. We have someone who has been waiting for the Shard of the Virtuous for months. He could PvP for two weeks and get something even better now. _I_ would prefer to do Karazhan because even though I have a nearly full set of PvP epics for all three of my horde toons, after a while, PvP gets boring. The Alliance zergs the horde base in AV and steamrolls the two mages who stayed back to defend for an instant win time after time after time. The horde taps the farm and then runs to wherever the fighting is and doesn't defend what they've captured in AB. The horde rushes to the middle to grab the flag (and all too frequently fail) while the Alliance sends 6 people to the Fel Reaver Ruins in EotS. Warriors (R 4 fite) running the flag in Warsong run headlong into the Alliance zerg (or run out the tunnel to find them waiting for us or just fight in the middle and don't try to grab their flag or return ours). I'm sick of the battlegrounds.

Here's _my_ problem with the PvP gear being so easily available: I can't get my guild to Karazhan because it's too hard. It's a committment of 3 hours to maybe down 5 bosses in Karazhan and maybe get to roll on something that isn't exactly an upgrade to something they "earned" through PvP or arenas. I have to find a night where 10 people are willing and available. PvP is something they can do on their own time and even 20 minutes a day will get you a noticeable return.

So... I don't have a problem with PvP gear being availble for non-raiders. PvP wouldn't be fun for everyone otherwise. I don't mind the demise of the old honor system with decaying points (I _did_ mind the first day when they opened the Officer's quarters up to everyone and some 12 year old kid playing a druid sat on the one vendor I wanted to buy something from and refused to move until someone asked him to move and said please. I swore at him for 20 minutes. Not kidding) because that was just insane. I'm surprised no one died of malnutrition or exhaustion trying to get to rank 14. What I do mind is that there's no incentive to raid. Hell... Even I really have no incentive to raid on my druid or my mage. They're both geared to the teeth. In fact, the druid has a great tanking set AND a great healing set. There aren't upgrades for either one of them until about Tier 6 and even those are nominal upgrades.

What's REALLY frustrating is that with all of these awesome PvP epics floating around the guild, we could steamroll Karazhan if we could just get people there.

Friday, July 11, 2008

2v2 Cherry

Well... I finally did some 2v2 on my druid with his resto kit. I couldn't find a warritard but one of our rogues respecced to shadowstep and we tried it out. Without having played before and without using Teamspeak, we went 5-6. The last game was against a warrior/resto druid and it took 25 minutes for them to beat us - and the warrior had season 3 shoulders. The rogue I played with still uses a lot of PvE gear and season one gladiator gear so it wasn't a bad performance.

I'd still like to try it with a warritard though.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Ritual of Refreshment

Lately I've been playing my mage a lot - mostly PvP but I've also been doing a few daily quests and on Thursday I even got in a PuG Karazhan with her (which, incidentally, isn't _quite_ as easy as it is with my druid or my paladin... Amazing how quickly "1800+ healing unbuffed" gets you an invite to pretty much anything...). And I really love playing mages. I really do. Before burning crusade, the first character I rolled that I actually liked was my Alliance mage: Gifteye. Gifteye was this badass, bald black human with enough wrinkles around his eyes to make him look wise but just enough of a scowl to make you think he was pissed off at something... OK... Everything.

I took Gifteye everywhere. While my friends were languishing in the 20's, Gifteye was up around 45. At 54 he ran into a paladin in the Western Plaguelands who was grinding Argent Dawn rep. The paladin would pull 9-12 mobs and start to consecrate while I would flamestrike and blizzard them down. That led to a sunken temple run where I recognized the rogue as someone who had a talent for returning the flag in WSG. That became 4 hours in Blackrock Depths. They asked me to join their guild, so I did. I mostly PvP'd with them which worked out well because I was trying to get to rank 10 for the phat blue PvP gear... I know, right?

They decided to form their own guild and we tried Zul'Gurub once and after one night of spectacular wipes, the guild fell apart. The guild leader negotiated a merger with an the number three PvE guild (and probably number one PvP. They had about four rank 14 toons that I can think of... Possibly more) on the Alliance side. I got to rank 10 and suddenly found myself doing attunement quests that I'd never knew existed. Suddenly, I'm in Onyxia's Lair and one of two mages who didn't have the tier two helm when two of them dropped. We raided Blackwing Lair. We used to have drunken Molten Core night where we'd get 32-36 people and we'd still clear the place. We got all the way to C'Thun in AQ40. We even downed a few bosses in Naxx.

And I loved it. All I had to do was keep everyone buffed, launch fireballs at things, maybe decurse a little and sometimes keep something sheeped. I did this for about eight months. And I did things on my own to improve my character. I got to exalted with Cenarion Circle by running Silithyst dust in Silithus. Revered with AD to get the "cheaper" attunement for Naxx. It was all great fun. One of the things I always prided myself on was always having stacks upon stacks upon stacks of conjured food and water before every raid. Middle of a trash fight and you realize you don't have any water? Just open a trade with Gifteye. Pow! 40 water right there... And there was more where that came from. I had 200 on me at any time during the raids. If I ran low, I'd just make some more while they were handing out loot. I was happy to do it. Until...

... Burning Crusade that is... My Alliance guild broke up and I power levelled my highest level horde toon to 70 so I could play with people I actually knew. I liked the anonimity of the 40 man raid and if I was going to be relegated to the more intimate 5 man instances, I was going to do it with people I knew. Gifteye was semi-abandoned (I still log in every now and then... Maybe look at all the gear he had from BWL and the like). And I levelled two characters to catch up with my friends on the Alliance side. I got Kaylee to 35 so she could disenchant some of the greens and blues I was getting from Outland. Then I needed to get her to 50 to start doing some of the Outland enchants. From there, it was a quick trip to 70. I never really get to do instances with her because I either had to heal or tank whatever we were doing, but when I do, I love it. Except...

... For the food and water situation (sorry about that... Had to move my laundry to the dryer...). Back in the day, it took a long time to conjure enough food and water for 40 people and most people respected that (with notable exceptions of course... Like the guy who felt it was my obligation to provide random Tom, Dickhead and Huntard with food and water to make his levelling easier... Had the nerve to put in an order for 60 water and 40 food... Man did he get an eyeful. I'm sure he tried to respond but I had ignored him long before I finished ranting at him) and if they were in a battleground and wanted a stack of water or food, they'd ask politely. But with Burning Crusade, their was this new spell: Ritual of Refreshment. For the scant price of two arcane powders, I could conjure 40 stacks of 20 manna biscuits - and those restore health AND mana. Oh joy. It certainly saves a lot of conjuring time. But...

... Now that people know about it... They want one every time I enter a battleground. And... Since it's so easy, they expect it. Doesn't matter if I'm just doing one WSG for the daily or I'm farming AV for honor and this is my 10th one of the day. Each and every time I enter a battleground, someone types "table plz" or if they're exceptionally sharp "mage table pls" (like there's a rogue table... Grrr..). It wouldn't matter if I'd dropped one in the last 5 battlegrounds, there'd be that one newcomer who didn't have his free (to him) food who would expect it. Doesn't matter if it's 11:30 at night or 4 in the afternoon. There's some one who wants their free (to them) food so they don't have to incur the expense of eating or drinking in a battleground. I should bear that for them. I can count on three fingers the number of times that I've dropped a "mage table" in a battleground. The first was when someone from my server handed me two arcane powder (See... THAT guy got it... Why can't everyone else?) and the other two were on nights when the guild was doing battlegrounds. The rest of the time, I pretend I didn't see their request, hope that someone isn't as stubborn as I am or just flat out lie and say I don't have the spell yet (harder to sell now that I have so much season 3/4 arena gear) (sorry again. Laundry came out of the dryers... I had to fold and go home. I hate the laundrymat). Hell, yesterday, someone asked "table kay?" (ugh... So many things wrong with that) and I said "No thanks. I'm good.".

It's less bad now that you're limited to 4 stacks per person. You could (and this is all theoretical because I don't drop them) drop one and one person could grab 300 or more units and then leave for their guild raid (Of course, in my experience, the rogues and warriors won't _use_ the manna bisquits during raids because one of the healers will top them off before the next fight... You know... When they're done drinking and before they drink again).

It's not that I can't afford the reagents. It's only 20 silver for each one (16 if I go to a vendor where I'm exalted) and Kaylee has over 4300 gold. Hell... I'm usually doing the daily quest and that gets me 12 gold. But it is also getting everyone else 12 gold. It would MORE than cover their food and water costs for a night in the battlegrounds. But no. That's too hard. That requires spending their own money and wasting their time going to a vendor. Instead, I'm expected to keep stacks and stacks of reagents on me and to go back to a vendor when I run low.

And I would do it. I really would... If people would only ask politely. But no. It's "wheres the mage table" or "TABLE" or "TABLE PLZ". And if I don't make one right away it gets worse. People get positively abusive... Like that will sway me. I won't go into details but I've been called all kinds of names and accused of not being a team player. It's not like I'm not contributing. I'm busy buffing everyone with arcane intellect - even the rogues and warriors as debuff fodder. And when they their biscuits, what do they do? Play smart? No. Warriors R 4 fite so if they end up with the flag, they run straight into the enemy zerg. They fight in the middle of EotS while the Blood Elf Tower is being capped by three Alliance. They tap the farm and run for the stables before it caps. And no one plays defense in AV even though that's a proven winning strategy. If I thought you were going to play the game correctly I'd consider making the effort.

I'm on this subject in the first place because I ended up in an AV with a guild member who whispered me pretty much demanding a "table". I didn't drop a table but I did conjure him some food and water. We had a brief discussion about why I wouldn't. He said he drops a soul well in every battleground. That's nice for you. People almost never ask for them and the "reagent" can be farmed in large quantities IN the battleground. I briefly ran down my rules for conjuring a table for him. I've had some time to think about them (I hate the laundrymat) and codify them. Here they are (and they would apply to other mages):

1) Don't say "plz". I know it's accepted shorthand but it wasn't accepted by me. I type in full sentences. I punctuate. I use apostophes. If you expect me to go out of my way for you, you can type out the word "please"... Particularly in the two minutes before the battleground starts. You've got time.

2) Don't say "pls". See #1.

3) It's a "Ritual of Refreshment" not a "table", "mage table" or "TABEL".

4) Use complete sentences.

5) Use a question mark. I know it's part of a complete sentence but no one uses them.

6) Be polite. It's my choice to conjure a table not an obligation just because I rolled a mage.

Special rule in case you actually run into Kayleefrye on the Cyclone battlegroup) If you're a Firefly fan, just message me with: <-- (insert name of what us Firefly fans call ourselves here). Use (insert name of what us Firefly fans call ourselves here)s have to stick together.