Tuesday, December 21

Where the cool kids should hang out

When Orgrimmar got changed, I found this little spot where all the Tauren were. It was nice because I could feel at home with the totems and "May the winds guide you" talk.

After being parked in that section through this early bit of the expansion I noticed a few things:

1. It's close to the portals. Sure, we can all fly with our super sonic speed, but I don't have to dodge anything to get to them.

2. It has everything. Bank, AH, Blackmith, cooking fire, and mailbox are all within a few steps of each other.

3. It's open so I don't have to leave my mount/shapeshift if I don't want to.

Because of those reasons, when guildies say they are at the Bank/Orc bank/etc, I always add something like "Oh, not my bank... the ghetto bank."

The downside is that people on their GD freaking proto-drakes need to stop being arseholes and get off their mounts. I don't just mean in my little home away from home, but all of Org, while we are at it. Seriously, this morning someone went afk in front of the cooking vendor on their drake. Ok, side rant done.

My partner in crime and heroics has started calling it the death camp. It breaks my heart every time. He doesn't like to see all the cows rounded up in one spot ready for the slaughter house.

So, to my fellow Moo-ers... get away from the ghetto area and hang out with wisdom and easy access of the Tauren section of town. Just watch out for Orcs wielding heavy axes and meat grinders.

Thursday, December 16

Why I think the paper doll is a tease

Remember the days when we didn't have gear score or that little paper doll telling us what our average iLevel was? Remember pouring over guides and loot lists to see what numbers we should be hitting, like Spell power and Crit/Haste? Far too often, I see people fall into the trap of "Well, my ilevel says I can get into a heroic, so it must be true." I did the same thing and started to wonder if there was a flaw in the system.

Is there a flaw?

Yes and no.

Yes, because people are by passing requirements by just having gear in their bags that are higher level. Then, it's no wonder there are cries of heroics being too hard or that it's punishment for healers.

No, because the system is just crunching numbers. It is not designed to tell you if your spec is appropriate or that you are wearing enough gear to be viable. It's just a number. An average number, at that. It is not supposed to replace human thought and comprehension.

So, my recommendation is this: treat the score as it is- an average of all the crap in your inventory. Then, remove it from your focus.

If you are having a difficult time adjusting to the dungeons, heroic or normal does not matter, take some time to really look at the quality of gear that you have. Is your gear 333 or higher blues or are you plugging along at 312 greens? Are you wearing stuff with hit on it as a resto? Have to checked to see what reputation rewards are out there for you? Heck, even quest rewards can be substantially better than a drop.

Perhaps we need to go back to some basics. Work on those 85 dungeons, grab the 333 gear, rep grind some. If you have access to them, find some gems and enchants (which, depending on your guild and cash flow, may be difficult to do. I'm still using a Wrath meta gem because JC sucks to level).

Of course, this does not factor in what actually happens while in the group (usual stuff like teamwork and strat basics), or even you personally are capable of. But I can tell you that my first heroic in the minimum required gear still left me feeling like I had no right to be there. I was in greens and low blues, with a few pieces to get just above the random mark. I told myself that I wasn't going back to a heroic until I made some changes.

Your experiences may differ but I firmly believe that the number does not tell the whole story and that it is up to the player to fill in the blanks.

Tuesday, December 14

Fun and some tears in the new instances

Learning how to do these new instances with leveling gear is certainly a trial and an eye opener.

I mean, I knew things were going to be different in Cata and I am doing my best to adjust. First realization that something needed to change was in Vortex Pinnacle. I am going to reiterate some things Kae mentions that I learned the hard way.

Malfurion's Gift

This has been a lifesaver on mana. Roll Lifebloom on the tank and use the Clearcasts to bring up the dps. I am not doing heroics yet, but so far this strategy is working well for normals.


This may be difficult to spec for, forcing you to sacrifice resto talents to go this deep into balance. If you can manage it, great. However, if you follow EJ's post like I did, you may have to give up good 5 man talents like NS and Blessing of the Grove. It's one of those "your mileage may vary" situations, I think. I miss NS for saving tanks and may readjust my spec again when I am ready for heroics.

Less mobility

I am not the running around healer like I used to be. I use Nourish A LOT more on the tank now and while I am learning these fights, it can be rough to prioritize my healing. More than once, I have had to sacrifice a dps in order to save the tank (almost always due to overagro). In addition, I started to get a zen mentality for trash while I was adjusting to the mana changes. If folks were above 50 percent, I wasn't going to fret. All of this is with the mind set that Heroics are going to be different altogether, but whatever I can do to keep me sane while I learn everything all over again is what I have to do.

Being humbled

Couple of my friends pugged Vortex and had a level 81 priest healer. She rocked it and had hardly any trouble at all, on the heels (oh my, no pun intended) of my miserable showing of the same zone earlier that day. I felt dejected and at the same time scrambled to figure out what I was doing wrong. Halls of Origination also made me feel like a crap healer until we utilized proper CC. All in all, Wrath made me feel like a goddess among healers and Cata has knocked me off my pillar. It is a team effort now, so don't be afraid to ask for CC or the tank to adjust how he/she pulls.

Of course, I am harder on myself than others are to me. More than once I heard myself described as an awesome healer. I love you, too, guildies.

Gear choices and measurement

GuildOx has updated gear. I used the Resto Template and adjusted the weights on Haste, Int and Spirit along with other stats. Make use of the armory feature so you can see where your gear stacks up with the items suggested.

Wowheroes and BeImba are still being updated for Cata.

Gearscore always was and will be a spawn of evil. I hope you aren't using it.

Sunday, December 5

Around Azeroth by pictures

Here's a wall of pictures to go with my previous walls of text!

These guys really do look like candy.

I felt sorry for these little guys. Sure, at times they have wanted to eat my face off but look at them! So sad.

From the files of "What did they feed these things?" Oh... right. Noobs

Lastly, Blizzard makes us use disguises quite a bit. From boxes to unconvincing masks, this is one of the better ones.

Psst, that's really Kir on the left!

Had a good time exploring while working on Loremaster. As we gear up for Tuesday, I wish you all Happy Hunting!

Some thoughts while working on Loremaster

Decided to work on Loremaster before Tuesday hits and I must say, I hope these lower level quests are indicative of how the rest of the expansion will be.


Blizzard has taken the phase mechanic and ran with it, with fairly good results. For example, while questing in Stonard, I would pick up the quest from the quest giver, only to run around and find the place suddenly under attack. This was a slick move and was almost seamless.

Notice, I say almost. Phasing isn't a perfect system. Just ask one of my guildies who was unable to complete a quest during a phased portion. But there is ample use of it that I can see being of great use to transition the characters through phases of the quest lines.

Epic Battles

In almost all the zones, there is a culmination of the quests which lead to an epic-style battle of some kind. Be it a huge elemental or some dastardly villian, as I player, I feel like there is a sense of done-ness with these fights. As a level appropriate player, you may not actually wait to see how these stories are fleshed out, but there are often blue quality rewards attached to these fights which gives a little incentive to stay for the fight.

What I also enjoyed about these fights is the fact that the zones often have beginning, middles, and endings. This speaks to the RPG-er in me and keeps me invested in the world of the game. As with anything, the novelty of this can easily wear off by the end of the expansion, but I look forward to what kind of fights they present us as we head towards 85.


Most people would agree that the Wrathgate cut scene is one of their favorite things about WOTLK. Blizzard recognized that and sprinkled a little of it in many of the revamped zones. Luckily, instead of the high drama, several minutes long scenes, they are really short but help move the quest story along.

What makes it work is that it's dynamic. You aren't just looking at the same pixels, but for a moment taken to a different level of the game.


Blizzard has a reputation to maintain for it's ability to not take itself too seriously. However, this expansion has a lot of dark undertones and following after Shakespear, Blizz made sure to add characters which offer a lighter side of things. Dwarven congo lines, bragging NPCs, a ghost who asks about Mankrik's wife and a Don Quixote-type are some examples. Some are pretty cool, some are cheesy as heck, but it is well needed when there is so much war and chaos going around.

Bombing runs

When they added bombing runs in BC, it was kind of cool, but often required more than one run though to complete. This time around, they made sure that you are in the air as long as it takes and offer a quick (usually painless) way of getting back to the start. It also seems like the cooldown for whatever explosive/plague/destruction of choice has lowered a bit, making it a quick and dirty method of blowing stuff up. Well needed and I enjoy those quests a lot more. Of course, I am also usually the only one doing them at the time, and my opinion may sour in a couple days.

Some bad news

You didn't think that beloved NPCs wouldn't go unscathed did you? Some grew darker. Some didn't make it through the shattering (which, I recommend visiting a certain grave in U Crator). There is a lot of sorrow, pain and tragedy in Azeroth these days.

The other bad news is there are a lot of changes to how rep is acquired. Some quests and zones which normally gave a certain rep have been replaced, leaving folks who are trying to catch up suddenly lost. If you are one of those who are trying to bring up some rep in the lower zones may have to do some research and digging.

I have lots of screenshots, but will publish them in a separate post. In the meantime...

See you around Azeroth!