31 October 2010

My, it's been a while...

Guess I haven't had a lot to rant about lately.   Well, I haven't had as much time to rant, to be honest, as I had to go out and become a productive member of society and find a full time job...   After I stopped posting here (and the Moonkin Repository forums, and the WoW Druid forums, and everywhere else I frequented in my abundant free time while jobless), my guild managed to down 25 man LK and several heroic 25 man encounters... and then....

Starcraft 2 happened.  And the Cataclysm Beta.  And burnout.  And suddenly people stopped showing up for ICC, or for much of anything.  I got a beta invite courtesy of a guildie who has a friend with connections, and leveled my main on the beta server to 82, and then my friends in beta got more interested in Starcraft 2 and were never on when I was, and I got bored of playing by myself.

Now that 4.0 has dropped, we've managed to scare up enough interest to raid one or two nights a week again, with the help of a few non-raider friends and a PUG or two willing to fill a spot for a chance at offspec or unwanted drops.  And I'm still not back in full forum-lurking mode yet, although I most likely will be by the time I'm 85 and trying to gear up to raid new content.

Meanwhile I've been logging onto WoW a good bit less, and reading more.  After my most recent re-read of George R.R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" series, I started lurking more at the Westeros.org forums, and finally created an account to post there.  The only thread I've dared to post in so far is one in the Entertainment subforum dedicated to WoW - for the ASOIAF related threads, I still feel too much like a noob to contribute anything.

This morning I decided to contribute to a conversation about the best and worst of 5 man dungeons over the history of WoW, and I thought I'd share it here as well:

27 May 2010

Another Kingslayer, and another 80

Been a while since I've had a rant to share, but I thought I'd toss up a couple-few updates, in case anyone bothers reading (and for posterity's sake, when I look back fondly on my WoW career as an old lady... lol).

First off, I've picked up another Kingslayer title, this time on my priest alt.  Her weekly ICC10 group used to struggle mightily with Rotface and Dreamwalker, but over time we've gotten a bit more cohesive as a unit, and picked up a few more skilled players (the ever-increasing zone buff doesn't hurt either).  Two Saturdays ago, we downed LK, and I found myself standing around Dalaran on an alt with a Kingslayer title.  It feels odd.

A couple of nights ago, my hunter hit 80 - that makes 7 level 80 characters, and only the second one who isn't a hybrid.  I took my time for the last several levels, after the dungeon finder went live I'd queue for one random per day (when I felt like it, which was certainly not every day) to get my two triumph badges, and quested while waiting in queue.  From level 78 on, I stopped questing, just to stretch out the pre-80 experience and get more triumphs in hand before hitting max level.  I was able to purchase 2 pieces of T9 the first night, and a third piece last night. 

I also made the decision to respec Survival (from my BM leveling build) as soon as I hit 80, so when that last instance run was over, I ported straight from Dalaran to Ironforge, and hit the trainer to respec.  Set myself up with a spec for me and my new wolf from the WoW.com Survival 101 guide, got Power Auras all configured to notify me when my cooldowns were up, and started learning how to play all over again.

About 10 heroic runs later, I got into a group with someone who was running RankWatch, which was the only reason I became aware that I completely forgot to train my level 80 abilities.   Epic fail.

Otherwise, let's see... my guild recruited half of a guild from another server to solve our raid attendance woes, so progression may pick back up again once the newbies get used to Sindragosa, which they hadn't even downed on 10 man before the transfer.  We've at least been seeing LK and getting a few attempts in every week now.

My main's 10 man crew stopped showing up for a few weeks, and the main organizers have given up on further scheduling, so I'm stalled at 9/12 hard modes in ICC10. One of my good friends from another guild was going to set up a 10 man group to include my main, but some of the people he was counting on including got snagged for a newly organized weekly run within my guild.  This may mean my main won't see her ICC drake after all, even though I'm 4 achievements away. :(

My shaman may be getting into that aforementioned new weekly group with some well geared and experienced mains, including a couple of 10m Kingslayers - they didn't have room for my main, but needed healers, and particularly wanted a shaman.   Three Kingslayer characters?  Is that too much?

24 April 2010

Trade Chat PuGs and "Elitism"

So last night, a group of 4 or 5 of us were hanging around in vent together, bored out of our skulls.  It was well past midnight server time, nothing going on, and a couple of us had switched over to lowbie Horde alts to pass the time while chatting to the others.

Sometime after 2 AM server time, one of our crew spotted an ICC25 PuG forming, with a smallish guild leading the run and advertising in trade chat.  The raid leader had indicated he'd be checking people out with WoW Heroes, which was fine IMO because he wasn't just going to be looking at Gearscore.  All four of us have experience in ICC on our mains.  My guildie and I have done Lich King attempts in 25 man, while our friends' guild is working on Sindragosa - I have killed LK in 10 man and am 9/12 on Hard Modes, while the others are working on LK10.  None of our alts are undergeared scrubs, and we know the fights better than your average trade channel pugger at 2 AM.

We contacted the raid leader separately and asked for an invite - these are the characters we proposed to bring:
My resto shaman
Geo's arcane mage
Chim's marks hunter
Duce's survival hunter

One of us got in the run - the mage.  The rest of us were told we weren't geared enough.  Caydance was willing to accept that explanation - that was actually his least geared 80, and his character was showing on WoW Heroes as having ICC25 in the "yellow zone" for difficulty (the rest of us had it as green).

03 February 2010

A Public Service Announcement...

... to those who tank Heroic Utgarde Keep:

The Dragonflayer Weaponsmiths stun you so you can't dodge, block or parry.

The Dragonflayer Metalworkers sunder armor.

If you pull all the packs in the first hallway, unless you are extremely lucky, you will wind up getting owned, no matter how good your gear is.

To those who were just in my priest's random heroic:  Things would have been fine but your AOE pulled an additional pack.  The tank kept them off of you but got owned because of the mobs' abilities.  It was not his fault.  It was not my fault.  Dropping group immediately after the wipe wasted a bunch of time for all of us.  And to the tank:  if that wasn't a random disconnect, sorry that I bailed.

30 January 2010


Over at WoW.com, Matthew Rossi's Breakfast Topic for today was about dealing with jerks in PuGs - sometimes by being just a little bit of a jerk right back to them for the greater good of the group.  The comments section is full of stories, and other readers judging the behavior in those stories.  Some of them are rather entertaining, while some make me shake my head in wonder at those who perpetrate such things - and then brag about them.

I left a short comment of my own, but really wanted to expand on my "maybe I was a jerk but they deserved it" story, and this is of course the best place for it.  Especially since I don't think anyone else is reading this blog anyway, so nobody's going to be bored by it unnecessarily.  ;)

A li'l background here... Except for a couple of short forays into Hyjal, BT and Sunwell just for grins, my guild was not raiding at the time Patch 3.0 was released.  Hence our first real raiding with the new WotLK talent trees took place in Naxxramas, where there was AOE a-plenty and classes with new knockback spells that positively delighted in using them on trash packs.  Being a new moonkin determined to prove my worth to the raid, I got a bit defensive when accused of using Typhoon in those days - especially because my talent build did not at the time allow me to even have Typhoon in my main spec. 

It became something of a joke within the guild to blame me whenever a mage Blast Waved an AOE pack, and while I quickly became less prickly about the blame thing, I never really did get over the irritation at mages and shamans who continued to use unglyphed Blast Wave and Thunderstorm on trash packs.  Knockbacks on large trash pulls are bad, mmkay, for several reasons.  Tanks hate them - especially when they've barely touched the mobs - because it makes holding aggro more difficult.  Healers hate them because half the time the mobs aggro onto someone else that they have to heal (or the healers themselves), or they reposition themselves behind the tank when they run back, making the tanks harder to heal until they can carefully adjust them back to the frontal cone.  Other ranged DPS hate the knockbacks because suddenly our AOE is hitting... nothing.  Melee DPS really, really hate knockbacks because the mobs have disappeared, and they either have to run after them or wait until they run back to the tank - if they make it back to the tank.

I've played all four roles, and I can say without hesitation that the only person who really enjoys the knockback in 99% of the situations is the person who cast it.  Now, there's that 1%  where a situational knockback can be useful.  That's the only reason why Typhoon is unglyphed and in my spec right now.  I picked it up when we were farming Trial of the Crusader and starting to work on the hard modes, specifically because it came in handy on Faction Champions when one of the melee mobs was in my face and Nature's Grasp was down, and on Anub'arak when I just couldn't keep one or two scarabs off of me.   I keep it now for the blood beasts on Saurfang, and the occasional use in instances when a stray mob comes after a squishy, knocking it back toward the tank. 

Of course, Typhoon is a staple in my PVP spec.  My friend Geo and I had a fantastic time one night running late night BGs - for once, I had my own personal healbot, as she runs as PVP resto and chose to stick by my side as I ran flags in WSG, etc.  The most fun, though, which caused the two of us to giggle like giddy schoolgirls for most of the night, was guarding the Lumber Mill in AB.  The two of us would go cat form and stealth near the flag, calling out in vent when we spotted incoming Horde with Track Humanoids.  When they'd inevitably think the node was deserted and start to tag the flag, I'd position myself, pop into Moonkin Form, and Typhoon them to a plummeting death.  If I had time, I'd target them and /wave.  Then we'd re-stealth and laugh in anticipation of the next hapless Hordeling who tried to make an easy cap.

But I digress.  My point is that, as a main spec raiding moonkin, I am very sensitive to misuse of Typhoon. 

29 January 2010

WTF PuG Moment of the Day

My intent with this blog is not to skewer individuals I run across in cross-server PuGs - although I have no problem calling out the really annoying ones that behave like spoiled children or sociopathic asshats, there are some players who are still new and haven't learned a lot about this game yet.

And there are some who, no matter what the rest of us would like them to do, would not research how to gear, gem and play their chosen class or spec even if they knew where to go for the information, because they consider WoW "just a game" and that sort of research too much like work.  I can kinda see where they're coming from, really... but even when it comes to games, I dislike sucking at things.  If I find myself doing poorly at something, I either choose not to engage in that activity except under very specific circumstances (see golf, bowling and other such activities), or I use whatever resources are at hand to get better at it.

Twice yesterday, I found myself in PuGs on my mage where an essential party member decided they were not doing well enough and dropped the group very suddenly.

The first time was a Heroic Halls of Lightning group.  I was on my mage, who is now decked out in 4pc T9 and a new shiny Merlin's Robe, along with mostly heroic level or better items (except for cloak, boots, and crappy trinkets).  She can put out some very respectable damage, and I'm learning quickly just how fast I need to be ready on the Ice Block/Invis trigger. 

The tank, a DK who was very personable and set a nice pace for progressing through the instance, seemed to be slightly on the low end of the heroic tank gear scale, but I'm not one of those who expect every heroic instance tank to have 35k health or more - as I recall, this one was more along the lines of 28k health, which is perfectly fine for the non-TOC/ICC heroics.  She/he did a fine job on the first boss, and the "suppression room" gauntlet with the WTFexplodyslag that tends to kill anyone in melee range if you AOE them (one dead rogue at the end, due to overzealous and overgeared lock who just couldn't be bothered to single target).  At the first landing above that room, someone accidentally pulled both packs, when you can normally skip either the left or the right one, and the tank admirably rounded them all up, managing to lose only one of the DPS in the process.  Great healing, heads-up tanking, and I gave the team a cheerful compliment at pulling that one out with a win.  

At the top of the stairs, while rounding up trash to the second boss, the tank informed us that she/he was actually brand new to tanking, and still learning.  The warlock took this announcement as a challenge to test his/her ability to hold threat, and proceeded to do his darnedest to pull aggro on the next 2 trash packs.  And, unsurprisingly, the warlock died.  I tried not to pull, but I did watch Omen carefully and pushed my threat to the limit a few times.  After the lock's death, the tank decided we were too geared for him/her, and needed a "better" tank.  I was just on the point of reminding our tank-in-training that it is the DPS's responsibility not to be stupid and pull aggro, and he/she was doing fine, when we abruptly found ourselves tank-less.  We would have been fine for the rest of the instance, really, and the warlock laughed about the fact that he knew he was setting himself up to die when he started pushing the tank's threat purposefully, but it was too late.  We knew she/he was a new tank, but we didn't know they were that insecure about being a new tank.

So the dungeon finder served us up a confident and overgeared DK for our next tank, and the lock and I stayed on the low side of his threat easily.  Life went on.