Wednesday, May 27

Jcing Changes

In the next major content patch we will be removing the prismatic quality of the jewelcrafter-only Dragon’s Eye gems. Like other gems, they will have to match the socket color to receive a socket bonus. When this change occurs, players with qualifying jewelcrafting skill will be provided a yet to be determined amount of Dalaran Jewelecrafter Tokens as compensation.

At first, I was pretty pissed at blizzard. Now, I'm just mad at the rest of the raiding community.

For those of us who have been Jcers since the start of Burning Crusade, we have seen some small but nifty things come our way. Primatics were a joke in BC so when Wrath came out with the super stat-ed Prismatics (Limit Three) I was pretty happy with it. Then, a strange thing occured that I did not realize was happening. Folks would take Blacksmithing and Jcing together. Not only did you by pass the Meta and Socket bonus requirements, but you were able to plop the gems into Prismatic Sockets and still be full of win.

I suppose I can't blame those folks for wanting to min max as such. But, like those stupid drums for Black Temple and Sunwell, this combination, or at the very least taking up Jewelcrafting alone, seemed like a standard requirement for raiding.

I kept telling people in my guild that Jewelcrafting would suck their souls and to not take it up. So much money spent on one tradeskill. My total cash dumped is enormous, and then there are folks who helped me get a rare but essential pattern (and one player who helped me get each pattern from the Sunwell Island). Total cash spent is easily in the tens of thousands.

I took it up in the beginning to help my guildies. Why pay money in the AH when you can ask me and save some cash? Especially with raw gems purchasable by emblems, all you have to do is spend a few heroics worth of time and energy and BAM, new gem. Ok, maybe that part is a pain the ass, but I have always enjoyed being able to provide a service to the needy in my guild. And, I suppose always having the gem I needed was nice.

Then, despite my pleas and warnings, more and more guildies grabbed the tradeskill. Other guilds did the same. And blizzard responded with a nerf.

Now, a nerf is fine for me. I had been doing things wrong all along and did not use the Dragon's Eye gems to fill socket requirements. I used them just like an enchanter would for their rings or a leatherworker for their bracer enchants. They were an extra bonus for me that no one else had. What I hope is that they change them correctly to be solid colors.

I am sure they had to decide at some point to choose between changing all the JC only gems to the pure colors they represented (sparkling to blue, subtle to red, brillant to yellow) or remove them and force players to start over, with compensation. I personally would have liked to have made them the solid colors and fix sockets accordingly (which wouldn't have been terribly difficult).

Blacksmith/JCers are still edging out in the win column. BS sockets are still going to be prismatic, which means they can still keep those dragon's eye gems and use regular gems to fill their metas.

What I don't understand is the 77 current pages of "This tradeskill is worthless now." Really? Having an extra daily to work on the Horrible Kirin Tor rep must be worthless. Having a cut you want any time is worthless. Having an extra powered gem when you want is not worthless.

In addition, epic gems still haven't come out. Stormjewels are just a taste of whats to come and there is still a light at the end of the tunnel. There are many things that could be better with Jewelcrafting, but this nerf to the Min Maxers is not going to hurt me.

Hell, maybe enough will drop the GD thing so I can go back to selling my gems at a good price :)

Monday, May 25

Fear and Loathing

Fear: Deciding to let go of T7 in favor of other gear choices, and tweaking a talent spec in order to optimize other raiders.

I decided to drop t7 all together. OK, maybe I kept the shoulders because my spirit was a little too low for my taste, but otherwise I am sporting my new Ulduar upgrades. Much to my pleasure, I got Phaelia's Vestments of the Sprouting Seed last night, which when the blogsphere said Phaelia was getting a peice of gear named in her honor I knew I was going to have it. It's not optimally the best thing I should be wearing at this point, not to mention it was BoE and easily gone in the guild bank... but hell I took it for sentimental reasons.

Again, rawr says my choices lately blow, which reiterates my idea that these gear calculators are guides really. Sometimes, I have to just go with my gut on some things. Having nearly as many hps as our melee dps makes me feel good on those fights that having me taking extra damage (which in Ulduar seems like every fight). I will say that I spent a good several minutes going over my gear and regemming or tweaking until my stats were at a comfortable level. In order to keep my haste and spirit at those levels, I had to take a gem I never thought I'd use- 8 spirit, 8 haste. As much as it pains me to drop some int gems, I needed to make sure my global cooldown could keep up with my personal reaction time. In addition, we have discovered that between me and our other druid, I am better suited for raid healing and therefore need have speed to make sure all my targets have the hots flowing.

Currently, based on gear item levels, I am the third top druid on the server. The other two are sporting 3 peices of t8.5 and I can accept that their guild is a bit more progressed than I am. Competitive? Sure I am, but at the same time I also don't want to sacrifice too much of my own personal goals.

So what did I tweak? I took Revitalize over the weekend in order to test it on our next progression run. It was actually a friend of mine sending me a tell before my next DM Rep Run saying something along the lines of "Hey I could be getting 200 more dps if you specd this." OK, it wasn't quite like that, but he did challenge my perceptions on the talent. The good folks at Dreambound had a nice write up on the math taking Wild Growth into account. After doing some reading, talking with my friend (who also crunches numbers and in general trolls info sites) I decided to give this talent a shot. See, I had it before but thought it sucked hard, regardless of the amount of rejuv I was tossing. Lately, though, with my new full time role as raid healer I had to bite the bullet and say that perhaps there was some value to tweaking my talents. Add in my recent addition of the Wild Growth glyph, and I started seeing some possibilities. It still is pretty marginal as a mana regen talent. However, we run with more DKs and Hunters than any other class. Without rehashing the math already done before, I will say our Deathknights got a nice boost last night. Hodir, especially, was fun as I got lucky and was given our two top DKs as my heal targets. Maybe I should tell my friend to give me the 35 gold for the respec cost, since it pushed him to nearly 9k dps on Hodir with a 560 runic power gain. mmm...

Loathing: Um, the prospect of tackling Thorim and Mimiron in the comming weeks. Shudder.

Have a safe Memorial Day. My brother will be BBQing while I tell him how I obliterated one of his healers in VoA. (What's the point of being a big sister if I can't call bragging rights?)

Wednesday, May 20

Set bonuses, patches, nerfs

Sometimes having a set bonus on the gear can be a crutch. So much is dependant on having two or all four peices of a certain gear that once you finally get them you are loathed to break up the set.

The druid t7 bonus is a boost to Nourish. This has been amazing for things like MT healing or any other targets that need quick direct heals, but I also know there are druids out there that aren't using the full set anymore.

So when the Mantle of the Preserver dropped from 10 man Ulduar last night and I saw it had more spellpower/crit than my T7, I was torn. Do I break up my set or do I take the shoulders (I was the only one who wanted them). Sure enough, I decided to break the set. It sucked and that's when I thought "I'm going to have to break the set anyway for the t8, might as well start picking up what I think will work."

Rawr says I made the wrong choice, ratings busters says they are close, and I'm waiting for some test runs to see how it actually will play out.

I suppose this wouldn't be so difficult if my role was a bit more defined. I have now proven that I can raid heal and tank heal, which leads me to tough choices about my gear.
Patch notes:

# Innervate: This ability has been redesigned to grant 450% of the casting Druid's base mana pool to the target over 20 seconds.
# Improved Moonkin Form: Now grants 10/20/30% of spirit as spell power.

For some reason I thought this went live already, but officially now it has. This is an important change to innervate, as I have already commented on, and maybe now I can drop the glyph to grab the Wild Growth Glyph.

Not sure how I feel about the boomkin change. I don't have a lot of spirit on my gear but maybe upper end, full time nukers will see some boost to their dps.

Ulduar was nerfed again on several different difficulty levels. I find it interesting that the World First XT hard mode kill happened after the nerfs went in... Oh silly Blizzard.
With those many changes, our 10 man last night was the smoothest run to date, with us clearing to Hodir in two hours. After banging our heads against the 25 man version and with the nerfs, I swear 10 man seemed like a much more relaxed adventure. I look forward to more progression.

There are rumblings of just doing 10 man all the time and saying screw it to the 25 man version. I'd rather not, but I understand the temptation. It's like herding sheep sometimes to get all 25 people to do what is needed, the healing is stressful, and the dps have to carry other dps.

All we have to do is look back to our Kara days and remind ourselves why focusing on 10 man raids is teh suck. Heck, even the cluster that was two ZAs. The drama was insane and cycling in folks to make sure there wasn't an A team and B team mentality forced some to quit and others to just merely want to fall off a cliff. We have 15 or so core raiders, which would either leave folks on the sidelines, or vie for attention from the raid leaders. In addition, getting the healers situated is also a pain.

In addition, unless we do 10 man hard modes, the item levels and significance of the upgrades is marginal between 10 and 25 man versions. Sometimes the itemization is a little different, but I hear more and more folks saying they are waiting for large upgrades and not small ones, which 10 man doesn't provide for us at this point.

I've already spent points on a staff and ring, dropping me below the other healers when it comes time for the T8 to drop. Others are still sporting player made items and are hogging their points for a shot at a certain item (this I can get behind, as they got screwed on RNG in Naxx and are seeing Ulduar as a chance for a very important upgrade).

I have no problems spending my points. I know t8 will drop for me eventually, and I'd rather have steady increases to performance than rely on one large one. In addition, the Ulduar drops have more HP than naxx versions (at least the items that I picked up) which in turn means more survivability. Can't do jack when you are dead.

It is all a personal choice, and I can't begrudge folks on their decisions.

Sunday, May 17

Will the real Kir, please stand up

Ambrosine of I Like Bubbles mentioned being identified by the characters you play. After playing MMOs for so long I tend to echo the sentiments she makes about being known for the character you play the longest.

Never had I had so many alts as I do in WoW. Well, the other game I've played longer is EQ and to be honest, leveling a new character kinda sucked, even with items not being bound to a certain character (read: my Monk got a Fungi tunic and my Ranger had a full set of some uber something I don't remember anymore-- all before level 10).

Wow makes it so easy to just roll up a new character and get going, even with crappy newbie gear. My allotted character list is full, both with horde and alli characters.

Regardless of my characters, I'm still called Kir with the occasional naming of the character I happen to be on. Same goes for my guildmates. I still call Jerke, Sumnor, even though he hasn't played his mage since last summer.

This extends to Real Life aswell. I use game names and real life names interchangeably, and sometimes it's just more comfortable for me to use the game name instead. For others, they are more used to real life names, and often times you will hear a name or two on vent.

All of this makes this a blurring of realities in a way. Sure, EQ was highly immersive for me, but Warcraft has moved beyond and made the game uniquely special on its own.

I wrote a paper for Sociology that explains why being a gamer is part of being in a subculture. Parts of this is not exclusive to WoW however. Phrases like training, camping, agro, mobs, and the like have been part of gaming for more than a decade, and are ingrained into our language. I argue that this is not merely slang, but a separate language for us. One thing that truly makes me feel like we are part of a subculture is that our language is being adopted by the main stream. How often have you heard the word Epic to mean something truly awesome? I'm sure it can be argued differently, but as a gamer, I feel it has something to do with the millions and millions of players of MMOs of all generas influencing our pop culture.

I think I digressed a little.

For some, WoW is just a game and a social life killer. For the rest of us, it's a place to hang with friends both close and far. We get to know personalities (sometimes so well, we can spot imposters), quirks, failings and strengths. Sometimes, its like being with co-workers who you love or hate, and other times its like being in one big family (who you also love or hate)

Thursday, May 14


Finally, we are feeling like we are making some progress in Ulduar. On 10 man, we killed Hodir which was awesome (I actually was in Moonkin form since we had extra healers) and for 25 man we tried Cat lady (Honestly, some of these names are hard for me to spell so they get nicknames).

Spent a ton of points on a new staff Rapture. Sure, a main hand and off hand are a better combo, but it had leaves and stuff... obviously a druid weapon. Sadly, all the haste I worked hard on got shot to hell, but I regemmed some haste gems.

We got our first pattern to drop- a blacksmithy one that went to our dps warrior. And my friend got two upgrades (a weapon which he can now stop bitching about, and a sigil)

All in all a good couple nights, with tonight on the way as well.


I have decided to stop being so grumpy at folks. Some of it had to do with a manipulation of vent (cryptic I know, but that's all I have to say), and a small chat with one of our healers. Turns out the healer is using the old click to target then heal method, which is what I used to do before the beauty of mods. This explains the low healing per second. Also explains why this person is better for single target or low impact raid healing. And the massive use of WG before it got nerfed. Basically, I understand a lot more what this person is up against as far as reaction times. I'm not so grumpy anymore.

Ugh, I lied. One small rant. If you get invited to the raid, start heading to the zone. If you have to afk, try to afk INSIDE the zone so that way when you are back, you are more ready to go than if you were dinking around in Dalaran. When you do get back, and the raid has started, don't say over vent with an incredulous voice "You guys already started?!" Yes, we started. It's 5:01 and the raids start at 5:00. Sometimes the raid is late, but not because we are waiting on you.


Off topic- I have a small case of insomnia. Actually, I got up this morning to deal with the cats and when I tried to go back to bed, had a small pain that nagged me to stay awake. Sucks more when we stayed up way too late and I have work today. Just when I'm trying to get more sleep lately, today it's about 6 hours.

Monday, May 11

Monday, Monday

I wouldn't say I am a min/max-er in the strictest sense. I do see what is an upgrade and weigh it against my current gear- not just piece by piece but if it upsets the over all balance. This was much worse when I was a tank. Literally one new piece had me scrambling to regem everything I had.

I do check out Wowheroes and Be Imba and downloaded Rawr. Often it starts out innocently: I check out what I have, what I could be getting etc, but then move to checking out everyone else is wearing and what they could be wearing. I get a little obsessive.

Rawr is fun, and like everything else, I take it with a grain of salt. When it tells me to gem a certain way or use a certain item, I use my head and not blindly follow it. In addition, sometimes the upgrades are only a few points different which doesn't seem like an upgrade. Now, if it scaled to being a few hundred points different, then it has my attention.

I do wish I had the purified twilight opal pattern and spent a good hour running in a little circle killing mobs hoping it would drop. Lame? Yes, since it's a BoE world drop. The other motivation was to get 10k gold looted. Apparently, I am number 3 in the guild for achievement points and while I didn't care before, someone is looking to take my spot and I can't help but to get competitive. He will eventually out-do me; I am not interested in the drake obtained from the World Event achievements.

Ulduar (I think I spelling it right, for once) is still fun and a little frustrating. I got invited to a coolkids channel, which at times is entertaining and other times is a healing meter-fest. It's kinda funny actually, watching folks compare how they are doing fight by fight. Ranting, ahh ranting. I died early on a boss fight and typed out nasty curse words in all caps in the channel, then blamed it on the sourpuss :) What is nice to see is how those friends can keep in touch during the raid without bugging others. Is it a clique? Probably. I am usually very mindful of the Officer hat I have to wear, and generally will not say things that will compromise it. Except regarding certain folks, and even then I don't mention names. Like, what I am doing right now. Right now, there is a certain raider that has now gotten the reputation of another raider and its not flattering for either of them. What kind of reputation? Well, being as useful as a rock, maybe.

I love my guild mates, I love my guild mates, I love my guild mates. This was my mantra yesterday, healing VH on my priest. Seriously, I wanted to shoot them. (It didn't help that my connection went to shit again and I DCd or lagged a bunch of times. That is not a dungeon you want your healer to be craping out on you. Think we had to start it over 4 times.) One of members kept saying stuff like "You should put your DnD over here to start." or "When I play my deathknight, I tank it like this.." What? I have never seen him play a deathknight. And, even if he has one, where does he find the time to tank? Our tank actually has been tanking for the little 10 man Naxxs that are run, but this know-it-all? He has a tank but not a DK tank. Two totally different ways to play. All night I had to hear about what the tank needed to be doing, what the mage needed to be doing, what the elem shaman needed to be doing. Thank gods he doesn't have the balls to tell me what I should be doing. Towards the end of the run, I turned the volume down on my headset and all became much more enjoyable.

Regarding this know-it-all again, I heard a funny story of him tanking in AN with one of our pally casuals. He said to the casual "I eat the pound because I know Ongora will heal through it." What a freaking douche. /shakes head and sighs I really really hope I was never like that when I tanked. Every time a tank runs out of LoS or eats breath or does anything in anyway to make the healer's life more suck, I think back to my tank days and pray that I was never like that.

I have this odd reputation of being a great healer. What this really means is I'm a sucker and will heal these mor--- Sorry, poor souls through instances when others wont. Sure, I am good at what I do, and there are times where I am not so good. I always seem to kill our raiding MT in a 5 man, and I am not entirely sure why that happens.

I hope folks called their moms for Mother's Day or what ever you do during the holiday.

3 more weeks left in the term and gods, summer can not come soon enough.

Tuesday, May 5

Need... more... rage

Ok, maybe not rage. I've been pretty frustrated the last couple days just fine on my own.

See, Ulduar has been exposing some wonderfully glaring errors in everyone's performance. Not even the healers or tanks are immune to the scrutiny the officers are placing folks under.

It's easy to see problems in DPS. Low hit rating, bad rotation, dieing to fire all show up when you look at the stat meters later that night. When we placed a 3k min dps requirement (so to speak, we aren't evil but we make very strong suggestions), some of our dpser's started to get the attitude of "Well, I can't change things, so I won't sign up for raids period."

This is hurting us, actually, because now instead of being able to cycle in one or two spots, folks aren't signing up for raids at all. Sigh. Bang Head. Little do they know that 2.5dps is being replaced by someone even more casual then they are because we need to fill spots.

Over on the other side of things, we have a unique problem: our tank and healer team is made up of mostly the officer core so when one of them has a bad day (week, month, one is loathe to tell them to step it up. Healers are prima donnas, tanks have fragile egos. I'm a prima donna with a fragile ego left over from my bear days, so imagine trying to tell me anything!

Seriously though, I have found that being respectful and more or less honest when the person is enough to get the ball rolling. Instead of saying "Hey, you sucked last night" doesn't help and yet, people do that all the time across many guilds.

I need to remind myself over and over why I left the guilds who treated me like crap or second rate. What I have learned is:

Get to know the person beyond the game. We have more than one player who is in a wheelchair for various reasons. I remember calling out a player for not moving during the flame wave in Sartharion. I grumbled, battlerez'd them and told them if they did it again I would not battle rez them, like, ever again. Later, someone else told me that the player uses a special device to play WoW and that movements are not as reactive as they would be with a keyboard/mouse set up. Man, did I feel like a chump and went back to the player and apologized for being an ass. This goes way beyond the dumbass dps need to get that last spell off and pray shit doesn't kill them. I didn't bring up my newfound knowledge, but I did, inwardly, have enormous respect for this player and what he has been able to do with his 16 bucks a month. Does he need to get out of fire? Yes, and he knows that and each raid gets better and better.

Of course, not everyone who plays has a physical disability but it is good to find out a little more about people you work with. Some have kids and have to stop the game in order to attend the little ones (I prefer duct tape, but maybe that's why I just have cats), others are naturally slow learners, others have low social skills which draws them to the game in the first place and don't think before they spew out what's in their heads, while others are insanely fantastic people who never say a word in vent or raid chat and won't tell you what's bothering them.

Everyone has a bad day or two, as a leader of anything it is important to take care of your people so they in turn can take care of you.

Friday, May 1

Changes, Tweaks and Fixes

Which is which? I guess it all depends on your perspective.

The changes to innervate are interesting and so far, I think they aren't horrible.

Innervate: now Causes the target to regenerate mana equal to 450% of the casting Druid's base mana pool over 20 sec secs

Druid base mana pool... 3496 which should be approx 786 mana per 1 second to the target.

Not bad, but not great either until you consider that it is a flat rate now and not a Spirit based rate. This is great news for the Pallys and Mages. However, even with the glyph, I am not at a stage where I can toss it around to whichever raider is begging for it at the moment.

Honestly, the shaman totem seems to out perform our ability and makes me think that for now it will be a self casting way of getting mana returns, like a priest's shadowfiend.

Tons of changes to Ulduar which have been a godsend. I am all for making things a challenge, but when I am busting my ass on the first couple boss on 10 man, something is not right.

Post changes, we have made it further in on the 10 mans and I look foward to tackling things in a real 25 man raid. I now worry that with the t8 within sight that I will be so used to my 4p t7 bonus, I wont want to give it up. Oh well, will see it goes once I actually start getting the upgrades.

Oh, and one last thing... Finally got my Fawn!! She is the cutest little thing and makes me smile. Up to 77 pets now and dread the day they add a 100 pet achievement.