Thursday, May 28, 2009

Probably the only feral druid bloger on the planet who has not yet.....

Commented on the new bear form models. Frankly I have been undecided about them.

I made up my mind last night when I realized I was not alone in feeling disapointed. In a shocking move ME AND KAILEE ACTUALLY AGREE ON SOMETHING (mek I blame you for this!!!).

Also, why does it seem like more non druids than feral druids are like OMG AMAZING LOOKING, they really are not that amazing.

In the news post about it over at tankspot someone posted:
Are the color changes nice? Yes.
Will it be nice to be able to differentiate the furballs in a raid? Yes.

But am I the only one that just sees a palette swap and the addition of an armband and necklace? I don't see a big change here. And nothing that indicates anything about the gear they're wearing, which is what I thought most druids had been requesting. *shrug*

I'm just glad I don't stare at a furry butt everytime I play, no matter what color it is. ;-)

After 5 years this is all they can do. I am extremely disappointed. There is absolutely nothing new they took the old models into an editor and changed the color, probably took all of 30 seconds per form. And it took them 5 years to make that. Where is my armor?

For as long as they made us wait I expected something better than the same models just with new colors.

Also, where are the shots from behind. Sorry but thats what I have been looking at for the last 3 years thats what I really care about them changing not the faces I never see.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Community Spotlight: Sometimes Warriors know what they are talking about

As many of you know I have a level 80 alt warrior, and as such I read a lot of warrior blogs as well as feral blogs.

My favorite warrior blog is, written by a good friend and my blogging mentor Veneretio (who just happens to be a fellow tankspot author). One nice thing about it is that he also covers a lot of general tanking theory as well, some of which I have been able to apply to my druid.

One example is

For trash mobs (level 82s), the hit and expertise caps are:

177 Hit Rating (5.4%)
22 Expertise Skill (5.5%)

Thanks to Satrina (tankspot moderator) and Vene for bringing these numbers to light.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Glory of the Ulduar Raider: Firefighter

Last week I posted complimenting blizzard on their balancing of 10 man hard modes (compared to the atrocity that was the difference between 10 man 3d sarth's difficulty and 25 man 3d sarth's difficulty).

Last night, after about 12 hours of attempts over the 2 days, my 10 man raid completed the Mimiron hard mode Firefighter achievement. This finished off our meta as well, making us only the 26th raid in the world and 7th in the US to earn the Rusted Proto-Drakes.

The amount of time we put in not only on mimiron but the entire 10 man instance since it came out with sub-par raid comps (bad synergy overall due to wanting to take whoever was on to get it done, having to shoot up our best demolisher driver on orbit-uary, no mages on Freya, 4 melee on mimiron, and less than ideal healer compositions specifically for XT pre nerf) was a little less than I had hoped so I am truly looking forward to Algalon and Alone in the Darkness.

(on youtube: "This video is still being processed. Video quality may improve once processing is complete." Also means HD is not available yet.)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Darksend's Weekly Tip: The best macro you probably are not using

I mentioned this briefly in my last post, "/targetexact". My exact macro that I change depending on the fight is
"/targetexact name
/script SetRaidTarget("target", 8)

If you are simply typing /tar then that works, but if you are going to be making a macro anyway why not use this more precise method. It carries with it all the benefits of a standard /target macro with some added benefits.

The most important use of this macro is on bosses that spawn multiple types of adds at once from the same location. Trying to click on the correct one can be a pain. I first started using this macro on M'uru so I would not target the mage as it was running out but continue to find uses for it.

Using M'uru as an example, the adds both have "shadowsword" at the start of their names. Using "/targetexact shadowsword Berserker" instead of simply "/tar shadow", it would garuntee never targeting the mage.

The other use is finding things that spawn in random locations. Spamming that macro while spinning around your camera helps you easily find where the new add spawned and allows you to get to it much quicker than you would have if you had not marked it. The best example that comes to mind is trying to find spores while dpsing on Loatheb or finding the tree on Freya.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Community Spotlight: Kalons reply to GC

You did not honestly expect me to pat blizzard on the back without a rant shortly after did you?
We want to get out of the business of needing to offer 2 types of weapon for a single tree of one class, given that we already have to itemize Balance and Resto druids somewhat differently. It is just not our design to make two-handed tanking weapons, and we have attempted to design DKs and druids so that they don't need them.

The classes and spec have grown so divergent that even with Ulduar offering something like 800 items (which to be fair, counts 10 vs. 25 and normal vs. hard) some players still feel like we aren't filling their niche. We don't want to have to offer 1000 or more PvE items in one patch, so we need to handle things at the class level so that there is less of a need for those items.

If you want to focus on tanking as a Feral instead of dps, you should do that mostly through talents, gems, enchants and the jewelry and cloak pieces. We have fit two fairly different roles into the Feral tree and you can even hybridize them to a degree, but we want to stop short of having to itemize the druid as four classes.
Kalon (of thinktank) said it best in a reply that echoed my thoughts almost exactly:
And that would have been a fine design decision at the start of WotLK.

But then you came out with the Enraged Feral Staff.
And staff of shrouded mysteries.
And Origin of Nightmares.
And if that weren't enough, you came out with a tanking staff with armor from the Argent Crusade vendors.

I understand that your vision is that you don't want DK and druid tanking weapons. What I don't understand is why you keep undercutting your vision. It's this duplicity that is problematic (though hardly surprising). It's that duplicity that causes the quality of life issue that druids aren't happy about.

Simple fact is blizzard you already opened the door, you thought about putting in 2 DK blacksmithing tanking weapons, AND YOU VERY VERY SWIFTLY removed them before they ever went live. If this was truly your design philosophy than none of the current weapons in game would have armor.

If you do not remove the armor from Origin of Nightmares then it will continue to be the best tanking weapon well into the next instance, you simply cannot compare with 700 armor unless you have the levels of agi that exist on the currently bugged pvp weapons.

Also, @ kalon, have you run the numbers on the pvp weapons with their new agi levels? Is the 1850 one still better than OoN ?

Dear Blizzard, I am truly impressed

Congratulations Blizzard, I am truly impressed by Ulduar.

But before I get to that I want to address a fellow blogger and if he will allow me to call him so a friend, Andrew formerly Karthis of "of Teeth and Claws". He has decided to quit playing wow and shifting the focus of his blog to other things. In his goodbye post (you can read it here) he noted his reasons for quitting. One think that seriously struck me was:
I simply cannot get excited about those encounters because they present nothing new. In many cases it's just "kill faster", "heal harder", and "screw up less". Unique encounters suck me in.... rehashed encounters push me away.
Having done hodir hard mode I can tell you, there is a lot of strategy beyond simply "kill it faster" and the rest of the hard modes in there do bring back some of that feeling from TBC. "Screw up less" ... there is no less, back in TBC a single screw up caused a wipe, even if it was something small by the person with the least important job in the raid, which is the kind of difficulty you wanted anyway andrew is it not? Flame Levi, XT, IC, Mimiron, hell the only hard mode that is not a completely new and unique encounter on hard mode is hodir (and to some extent thorim).
Instead of truly difficult raid content we have relatively easy fights that can be tough only if you strive for the achievements.
I will agree with you that the achievements are pointless, I hated the glory of the raider achievements as it really did nothing to make the fights unique. However, hard modes are not achievements, you just happen to get an achievement when you complete a hard mode for the very first time. I love all the ulduar hard modes, and with that on to addressing blizzard.

Since the day my guild killed muru for the first time I have never been that happy about wow, until this week. Almost as happy as killing the royal pain in the ass known as Archimonde for the first time or pre-FA nerf Mother Sharaz (having a top 50 world-wide kill of Archimonde and a top 50 US kill of Ilidan). Those types of challenges are the reason I play wow. Ulduar is so far living up to them. While not nearly as difficult in the sense of time invested into it (muru archimonde sharaz and ilidan took weeks of learning) a lot of those hard encounters were nothing more than having a perfect raid composition and the countless hours of wipes missing 1-2 people from that raid comp but going anyway even though you know you only have 2 resto shaman for Eredar Twins, having to play my alt priest on Felmyst because we did not have enough mass dispells, or not enough pally blessings. Raid stacking is without a doubt something every hardcore guild will tell you we are happy to live without.

Now, why am I happy. This week my guild cleared 3 elder Freya, the Saronite Animus, and One light in the Darkness on Yogg. This leaves us with only 4 tower Flame Levi and Firefighter to complete the Ulduar 10 man meta.

I never thought I could have this much fun raiding a 10 man. As far as blizzards goals, it is tuned perfectly for people wearing full ulduar 10 man gear (or in our case the comparable 25 man naxx, maly, and 2d sarth gear). The first week my group got hard mode Iron Council and Thorim (the second day of the patch with little to no 25 man ulduar gear). The second week we smashed 2 minute hodir, 2 elder freya, and 2 tower Flame Levi. The third week we finished 3 towers, and hard mode XT. Due to pushing hard modes in the 25 man we did an easy week in 10man the 4th week just repeating everything we had already killed.

That brings us to this week. We breezed through 3 tower flame levi, hard XT, hard IC, disarmed and crazy cat lady (only because they are for the meta), then hard hodir and finishing with hard thorim. We did all this in just under 3 hours. Granted by now we all have a fair share of 25 man gear, but nothing was stuff we had not done before either. The following day we went to 3 elder Freya. We had been worried about her because she was kicking our asses in 25. But after only two attempts she was dead. We may or may not have tried hard mimiron, i seem to not be able to recall several painful hours of my life during that time. That is possibly the hardest encounter in the game right now on both 10 and 25, and I can see why. Finally we decided to move on and kill it and come back to hard Vezax the next day. After a few stupid wipes, we had two attempts in a row where a different healer died around 80% both attempts. We ended up wiping to tank deaths with the animus at low percents both times because the 2 remaining healers simply did not have the mana to make it through. We then had an attempt where we killed the animus but 2 ranged died, resulting in an insta-gib crash killing all the melee. Next attempt a clutch battle rez by yours truly on a healer after killing the Animus gave that healer just enough mana to keep the tank alive after the two living healers were oom. I love the smell of saronite.... CHECK

One light in the darkness, the moment all of us have been dreading for the past 2 weeks. We knew a while ago that the sanity beams only come from freya, but also that the phase 3 adds cannot die without the assistance of thorim. The two week debate on which to send down has ended very switftly, the response: HOW THE HELL do you kill yogg without being able to refresh sanity? First attempt we did not even need it, very first guardian in phase 1 a dps pulls agro and 2 of them end up getting blown up next to sara at the same time (part my fault as well) and the warrior died instantly because he had the damage increase taken from sara. Well that out of the way we get to phase 2 next attempt, finally getting to test our new strat for the melee inside, well it worked. We had 35+ seconds left to dps the brain each of the 3 brain phases with lich king being our 3rd portal, pushed 55-30 and forced phase 3 with 8 seconds left. I have been a part of the inside group every time I have killed him on my druid and I still contend we have one of the best inside groups in the world, my hats off to all of them in both 10 and 25. We ended the fight with our main tank about to hearth about before being MCed, but he made it and no one else was even close to going insane. Second attempt ever at 1 watcher yogg: US 12th.

We then went on an alt run and fully cleared it on alts (all alts except for 1 main healer since we had no heroism without her) in 7 hours (in all 25 man naxx gear) including IC, hodir, and thorim hard modes (with my warrior picking up the soon to be buffed tanking mace from hodir in exchange for my offtanks stam trinket off yogg which finally dropped). We 2 healed hodir with 30 seconds left. That is the only encounter that I feel is tuned incorectly, for 10 man a 2 minute 30 second timer would be much more appropriate. The three completed on alts are the only 3 I feel alts would be capable of doing, but by god we would be close on most of them. I have accepted that 10 man is tuned for people in 10 man gear, despite being so much easier than 25 man they still require a tremendous amount of concentration and if we had not been wiping for hours on freya and general in 25, I do not think we would have had such an easy time with them in 10.

So blizzard, as far as the 10 man goes, YOU ACHIEVED WHAT YOU SET OUT TO DO. And for that I will end by saying good work and thank you.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Darksend's Weekly Tip: Lucky Charms make a comeback

The trash in Ulduar is not the "PULL AND AOE" trash that we have seen so far in this expansion. For this reason marking is becoming a factor again. In most cases when it is not the raid leader marking, it will be the tank.

When marking, try to keep the icons consistent. Most people use skull as the primary kill target, then x, sheeps are always moon and square, saps are always star and circle, etc (or whatever your guild/raid/group has decided on ahead of time). Before the run starts, assign each person to a symbol and state what you are using for your kill order to make things much smoother. This not only increases focus fire but also speeds things up by not having to call over vent or type out who is doing what target on each and every pull.

In your keybinds there is a section "Raid Targeting." This allows you to hotkey all your symbols directly. You can mark in combat, so say a CC cannot be reapplied because that person died, change that symbol to skull so the DPS knows to ignore the kill order and kill the broken CC instead. Manually selecting symbols take several seconds, use hotkeys or a mod.

There are also a lot of mods that help you mark. The one I prefer is called Baud Mark.

The final method is "/script SetRaidTarget("target", #)". This is the macro command to mark a target where 1 is star 2 is circle etc with 8 being skull. Where this comes in handy is on encounters that spawn multiple types of adds. By using this in conjunction with the "/targetexact" command it allows you to quickly target and mark the correct add. Some examples of where this can be useful in Ulduar are Razorscale, to some extent XT during the heart phase for pummlers, Thorim if you are tanking the arena, and Freya.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Darksend's Weekly Tip: Emblem of Conquest Item Review

Emblem of Conquest Items to buy:

The first item depends on if you have Hood of the Exodus. If you do than get the T8 Chest Token first. If not, then the T8 Helm Token is your better choice and the chest should be bought second.

Next I would suggest the neck, but only if you do not have Boundless Ambition or the neck from 10 man Kologarn, both of which are better

The belt
is an amazing threat piece, but it is still not as good as the crafted belt overall. It is also the cheapest item besides the necks and much cheaper (18x6 for the orbs) than the crafted belt. Good placeholder until then.

The legs are again a threat item, but overall worse than both the 10 and 25 man t8 legs.

For DPS:

The neck is almost exactly equal to the 25 man saph quest reward neck (worse if you are a JCer and used a prismatic).

The gloves are not even going to get a link because they are pretty bad. They are an upgrade from 25t7 but that is where it ends. Both t8 gloves are better, as well as the 25 man Auriaya gloves. Best in slot for gloves are by far the PVP gloves.

As always, all the past weekly tips are viewable here and here.