Four Oh One

 Posted by at 18:29  No Responses »
Oct 132010

Yesterday, the pre-Cataclysm patch arrived, bringing with it sweeping changes to fundamental game mechanics in WoW. So far, I’ve been very impressed.

  • The UI improvements are outstanding. I’m particularly a fan of a small, but highly effective touch they’ve added to indicate abilities procing1 by putting a little halo around the button for that ability on your action bar. Small change, huge usability improvement.
  • The new UI windows—character screen, guild panel, talent panel, etc.—are very welcome improvements.
  • The new talent system is far more intuitive. It seems actively difficult to make a bad spec2 now.
  • The new glyphing system looks like it’ll be much more flexible, too, though I was too afraid to venture into what I’m sure is going to be an incredibly volatile glyph market just yet.
  • As a prot warrior, I noticed no trouble with keeping up a healthy quantity of Rage against even world trash mobs, which was a welcome change.

Most of the Add Ons I used either worked out of the box or had updates ready for this patch. I fixed one (Random Mount) on my own, a handful (ArkInventory, GearScore, Auctioneer) had fixes released today, and some will need to be replaced (Satrina Buff Frames).

One thing I’ve seen reports of, though have yet to directly experience, is that tanks are having a hard time holding aggro3 against the now massive quantities of DPS that damage dealers are dishing out now. I’ve also seen counters to these reports suggesting that the original reports just aren’t adapting to the talent changes, so we shall see.

  1. “Proc” (pronounced prok) is a term used to indicate that a certain ability with a chance of occurring has triggered. For example, Warriors have a talent called Sword and Board, which makes their next Shield Slam free. This effect has a chance to trigger when using the Revenge and Devastate abilities. When it triggers, it’s said to have proced (pronounced prokt). []
  2. Spec is short for Specialization, and refers to the various roles you can fill. Warriors, for example have Protection (prot), Arms, and Fury. Prot is what one uses for tanking. []
  3. Aggro is short for aggression, which refers to where an enemy’s attention is focused. The tank’s job is to hold aggro from all enemies so that the healer and damage dealers aren’t slaughtered. []

Little Steps

 Posted by at 00:04  No Responses »
Oct 062010

Cody got Dehydration tonight! On top of that, we’ll both be done with Netherwing rep grinding come tomorrow, so that’s one less annoying time sink to worry about. The plan is to hit Ignis the Furnace Master in Ulduar for tomorrow’s weekly raid quest, and then start in on ICC if people are up for it. If not, we may also be able to rope some guildies into helping us finish out our Glory of the Hero achievements. In another piece of good news, this post seems to suggest that the Red Proto-Drake reward may not go away when 4.0.1 drops after all. Still, I’d rather not risk it.

I started listening to The Instance podcast yesterday and continued today. It’s the first “talk show” I’ve actually deliberately listened to, and it’s quite enjoyable thus far. I mentioned it to Curt1 today and it turns out that he has a fairly significant history with the guys that host the show. Ah, connections. They’ve namedropped 38, Curt, and Copernicus a few times already in the two episodes I’ve listened to. This industry really is small.

Though I’m enjoying listening to The Instance, I already miss Dresden, Murphy, and the gang. James Marsters did a brilliant job bringing all of those characters to life, and I think a large chunk of my enjoyment came from listening not just to the story, but to his presentation of the story. The next book is due out in March and it feels so far away, even though it’ll probably be here in no time.

On a completely unrelated topic, the water department was supposed to come today to install a water meter that they could query remotely, since we don’t have a landline. I have no idea if they actually did it, though. The meter attached to the water line might look different from the last time I checked on it…or I might just not be remembering clearly. Ultimately, I’ll have to call them tomorrow to confirm.

  1. Yes, Curt Schilling. []

The Main Switch

 Posted by at 22:00  No Responses »
Sep 262010

Some time back, I made the decision that Jakosta would now be my “main,” rather than Deowyn. Before, I was focusing on nothing for Jakosta other than leveling, and then gearing her out to be a sufficient tank for our guild. Since then, I’ve grown to enjoy playing her much more than Deowyn. As a result, I’ve been branching out my pursuits with her into the realm of achievements. I’m not planning to do Loremaster with her, though. That’ll remain Deowyn’s claim to fame. The rest are fair game, though.

Dovetailing nicely with that, Cody has decided that she wants to get as many mounts as she can. We’ve been working together on raising our Cenarion Expedition (for the Cenarion War Hippogryph) and Sha’tari Skyguard (for the nether rays) reputations. She’s also started on the Netherwing quests (for the Netherwing drakes), which I’ll probably start on soon myself. She already has the Green Proto-Drake from the Oracles, which Jakosta is working on the other half of right now with the Frenzyheart. We’re also both running the Argent Tournament dailies as a matter of course, and there are plenty of mounts that go along with that. So, all-in-all, we’re pretty widespread on our various mount fronts.

Played around a little more with my Death Knight‘s UI, though it’s still pretty silly to be working on a UI when I have no idea what my end-game UI priorities for such a character will be. I can’t bring myself to use the default Blizzard UI anymore, though. It’s just too clunky compared to the sleeker setups you can get with addons. Plus, it’s fun.

Into Eternity’s Eye

 Posted by at 12:42  No Responses »
Sep 212010

Continuing my streak of successful raids, Cody, Kt, and I tackled Malygos last night for the weekly raid quest.  We had previously done a guild run on Malygos for the weekly quest, but I was playing Deowyn at the time.  Deowyn, unfortunately, also had the key required to begin the fight against Malygos.  After about an hour of unsuccessfully attempting to find a group, Cody urged me to just start one, so I did.  We were fortunate enough to find a boomkin with the key and away we went.

Phases 1 and 2 went very smoothly, owing in no small part to the fact that they’re pretty easy to explain once you’ve gone through them once.  I don’t think our DPS team ever let an orb get near Malygos, which made the fight considerably shorter than it was the last time we did it.

And then Phase 3 rolled around.

For the uninitiated, the Malygos fight works in three stages, each increasing in complexity.  The first is essentially a straight-up tank-and-spank.  Malygos is tanked more or less in the middle of a platform suspended in space while DPS unloads on him.  Occasionally, a magical orb will spawn and head slowly towards him.  If it reaches him, he gets a buff.  As such, DPS should direct all firepower on the orb as soon as they can.  It helps tremendously to have a Death Knight who can pull the orb to him, which we did.

In phase two, which kicks off as soon as Malygos drops below 50% health, the dragon takes to the skies and the group needs to stay sheltered within anti-magic bubbles he occasionally drops.  While there, they need to take out several adds that spawn in.  A small handful of these adds can be fought in melee, but it’s mostly a ranged fight.  Once those adds are all dead, phase three begins with the platform shattering.

Fortunately, a bunch of drakes are there to catch you as you fall, and it is on their backs that you need to finish the fight.  Problem One: get within 30 yards of Malygos, and you get vaporized in short order.  Problem Two: if Malygos focuses on you and you don’t deploy Flame Shield, which requires “energy” that you may not have enough of at the moment you get hit, and you get vaporized in short order.  Problem Three: If the healers don’t stack their HOTs to the full 5 stacks and then blast out their AOE heal on a regular basis, you get vaporized in short order.  Seeing a trend?

We lost half of our raid in short order.  I switched from trying to attack Malygos to healing, since it looked like our healers had both died.  This managed to sustani the other four drakes enough to beat Malygos down.  And then I got caught in Malygos’s gaze without enough energy for Flame Shield. Fortunately, he was close enough to dead at that point that my own death wasn’t an impedance to finishing him off.

I continue to dislike that fight.

Apr 222010

It seems that the heavy breathing that accompanied playing frisbee1 on Tuesday over-exposed me to allergens to a sufficient degree that I had a sinusitis flare-up. Normally, once my allergies have come and gone, they stay gone. With all of the wonky weather, and the resultant effects on pollen distribution, I guess it’s not all that surprising. Fortunately, Claritin and Sudafed2 appear to be working their biochemical wonders adequately enough to keep me largely human.

Had a very smooth Sartharion run last night for the weekly raid. Five guildies and five pugs. No one died, and our resident tank and the pugged tank both rolled 100 on one of the items that dropped3. I’m getting close to happy with Deowyn’s UI, but I still feel like I have a long way to go before I have an adequate tanking UI for Jakosta. It doesn’t help that Jakosta doesn’t really do any tanking yet, and so I’m not just creating a UI that makes sense for leveling, but also one that makes sense for tanking in the future. This might be foolhardy, but the last thing I want to do is try to learn to tank while also learning my way around a retooled UI. So far, this is the best tank UI I’ve seen. It’s too cluttered for my taste, but it has a lot of elements that I do like. It’s also widescreen, which means even a direct adaptation would take some juggling.

I’ve spent more time fiddling with Jakosta’s UI lately than I have actually playing her. Maybe I’ll get a chance tonight.

  1. There’s a large contingent of 38 employees that utilize their lunch breaks for playing Ultimate Frisbee. I have been an infrequent participant thus far due to my damn allergies hitting more or less right when I joined the company and the weather got nice. []
  2. Real Sudafed, not that placebo Sudafed PE crap. If it doesn’t have Pseudoephedrine HCl in it, don’t buy it; it doesn’t work. []
  3. Our tank then won the roll-off by 2, so yay for her! []