Archive for June, 2009

Recent Inactivity

Posted in General on June 25, 2009 by Randul the Dwarf

Hi folks, this post is pretty much completely non-wow related, so if you don’t want a personal post, now’s the time to bail.

I apologize for my recent inactivity.  My first child, Evan Michael was born on June 23, 2009 at 3:10 a.m.  He was 6 pounds, 12 ounces and 20 3/4 inches long.  That’s the good news.

The bad news is that there were some complications and he was transferred to the Childrens’ Hospital in Columbus.  It seems as though the complications have been taken care of.  We hope to have him home this weekend.

Thanks and I’ll be back.

My Solution to the Emblem Controversy

Posted in World of Warcraft with tags , , , , , on June 19, 2009 by Randul the Dwarf

To quote the current Patch Notes:

  • Emblem System Changes
    • Both the 10 and 25 player instances of the Crusaders’ Coliseum drop a new Emblem of Triumph.
    • Any dungeons that previously dropped Emblems of Heroism or Valor, such as Naxxramas or Heroic Halls of Stone, will now drop Emblems of Conquest instead. Emblems of Conquest can still be converted to Valor or Heroism.
    • The heroic dungeon daily quest will now reward 2 Emblems of Triumph and the normal daily dungeon quest will reward 1 Emblem of Triumph.
    • The existing achievements to collect 1, 25, 50, etc. Emblems of Heroism, Valor, and Conquest have been converted to Feats of Strength since Heroism and Valor Emblems are no longer attainable.
    • New achievements have been added to collect various amounts of any combination of emblems.

    My solution is extremely simple, and surprisingly brilliant.

    1. Make anything that currently drops Emblems of Heroism drop Emblems of Valor instead.  This would be 10-man Naxx, OS, Maly & Heroics.
    2. Make anything that currently drops Emblems of Valor drop Emblems of Conquest instead.  This would include 25-man Naxx, OS, Maly & 10-man  Ulduar.
    3. Leave anything that currently drops Emblems of Conquest alone.  This would include 25-man Ulduar.

    Doing this will allow for people who run 5-mans to finally get some new and better gear.  This will allow people who are a little behind the curve, either timewise or skillwise to catch up a little quicker.

    The only thing this doesn’t do is upgrade 25-man Ulduar, but in my opinion that doesn’t need upgrading.  It’s just one step below the forthcoming tier, so it’s fine.

    My biggest problem with the upcoming changes is that Heroics will drop Emblems of Conquest and the dailies will award Emblems of Triumph.  This is completely unnecessary.  It completely skips a tier of gear that these people should be perfectly happy with, Valor.

    Anyway, this is a quick and dirty post to show my point of view.  Enjoy.

    Patch Notes….WoW

    Posted in World of Warcraft with tags , , , , , , on June 18, 2009 by Randul the Dwarf

    and I don’t mean the game.

    The patch notes for Patch 3.2 are out and they are pretty shocking.

    For a full version of the patch notes, go to the Test Realm Patch Notes page.  I’ll be quoting the things I find significant enough to talk about.

    • Construction of the Crusaders’ Coliseum is complete. Testing not yet available. New raid normal and heroic modes for the Crusaders’ Coliseum can be toggled using the Dungeon Difficulty setting. This applies to 10 and 25 player versions. 10 player (normal), 25 player (normal), 10 player (heroic) and 25 player (heroic) all share separate raid lockout timers.

    • Trial of the Champion
      • 5 player (normal and heroic mode) dungeon.
      • Daily quest added to the heroic daily dungeon quest giver.
    • Trial of the Crusader
      • 10 and 25 player (normal mode) raid dungeon.
    • Trial of the Grand Crusader
    • 10 and 25 player (heroic mode) raid dungeon.

    10-man Normal and 10-man Heroic.  I think that’s awesome.  I am a 10-man raider so I think that willbe great.  I do think, however, that the gear from 25-mans should be better than 10-mans.  Maybe something like…10-man normal, then 25-man normal which is equal to 10-man heroic which is lesser than 25-man heroic.  I think that’s fair.

    The newest season of Arena gear can only be purchased if you meet the requirements with your 3 or 5 player team rating. Rating requirements from 2 player teams can still be used to purchase the previous season of gear.

    Gotta tell ya, I’m not a fan of this.  My wife and I do 2v2, so even though we want to do 3v3 and 5v5 in the future, this change means we will be forced to do so.  Why have 2v2 at all?

  • Battleground experience has arrived!
    • Players will now be awarded experience for completing objectives and actions that yield honor in Battlegrounds (honorable kills not included).
    • Players who do not wish to gain experience through PvP can visit Behsten in Stormwind or Slahtz in Orgrimmar – both located near the Battlemasters in either city – and turn off all experience accumulation for the cost of 10 gold.
    • Disabling experience gains will prevent a player from gaining experience through any means available in the game.
    • Players with experience gains turned off who compete in Battlegrounds will face off only against other players with experience gains turned off.
    • Behsten and Slahtz can reinstate experience gains for players, for a 10 gold fee of course. Any experience that would’ve been accumulated if experience gains were not turned off cannot be recovered.

    Absolutely awesome.  I cannot say how incredible this is.  You can do BGs while leveling without feeling like you are wasting your time and twinks can still stay at their level.  Amazing.

    When standing at a capture point that you control, you will gain a buff called Honorable Defender. This buff grants +50% honor gained from kills. This currently affects Arathi Basin, Eye of the Storm and Isle of Conquest.

    Nifty, encourages the actual completion of objectives.  I can dig it.

  • Arathi Basin
    • The time it requires to capture a base has been reduced to 8 seconds, down from 10 seconds.
    • The game now ends when one team reaches 1600 victory points, down from 2000.

  • Eye of the Storm
    • The time it requires to capture the center flag has been reduced to 8 seconds, down from 10 seconds
    • The game now ends when one team reaches 1600 victory points, down from 2000.

    Okay?  Were those extra 400 points a huge problem?  /shrug

  • Emblem System Changes
    • Both the 10 and 25 player instances of the Crusaders’ Coliseum drop a new Emblem of Triumph.
    • Any dungeons that previously dropped Emblems of Heroism or Valor, such as Naxxramas or Heroic Halls of Stone, will now drop Emblems of Conquest instead. Emblems of Conquest can still be converted to Valor or Heroism.
    • The heroic dungeon daily quest will now reward 2 Emblems of Triumph and the normal daily dungeon quest will reward 1 Emblem of Triumph.
    • The existing achievements to collect 1, 25, 50, etc. Emblems of Heroism, Valor, and Conquest have been converted to Feats of Strength since Heroism and Valor Emblems are no longer attainable.
    • New achievements have been added to collect various amounts of any combination of emblems.

    Okay, this is where I get fired up.  What are they thinking?  As someone who has never really been into the 25-man raiding thing, you’d think I’d be cheering the loudest…but not so much.

    • Both 10 & 25-man versions of the new raid drop Emblems of Triumph.  Why?  It’s been the way it is since the start of wrath, are the whiners really making that big of a stink?  I’ve seen what it takes to get a 25-man together, that effort alone is worth the jump in gear in my opinion.
    • Any dungeon that dropped Emblems of Heroism or Valor now drop Emblems of Conquest.  I’m actually fine with this.  Why?  Emblems of Conquest are NOT the highest tier emblem when 3.2 comes out.  It will make gearing for cutting edge content a little easier.  Good change.
    • Heroics awarding Emblems of Triumph.  What?  This just boggles my mind.  Heroics, which are easier than Naxx & Ulduar will award a HIGHER TIER ITEM than the raids?!?!  This makes no sense.  I’m casual, okay?  The people who are wanting this change must be UBERcasuals.  The ubercasuals want the same gear as the top-end raiders.  Why?  To do more of the content you will completely outgear?  So you can rofflestomp Heroic VH?  Wow, who needs challenge amirite?  Another argument I’ve already seen is that this will breathe life back into Heroics.  Why?  Heroics are boring content I’ve done to death and present no challenge.  Will I be more likely to do the daily now?  Yes.  Will it be more fun to me?  No.  Not at all.

    I’ve already talked mount changes, so I’m not going to go into that.

    Resilience: No longer reduces the amount of damage done by damage over time spells, but instead reduces the amount of all damage done by players by the same proportion. The other effects of resilience (reducing critical chance, critical damage and mana drain effects) have not changed.

    Okay, whatever.  I assume this is meant to prolonge arena matches, which is good.  So…sure, why not.

    Death Knights

  • Due to significant talent changes, all death knight talents will be reset for players.
  • Blood Strike: The bonus damage this ability receives from diseases on the target has been increased to 50% per disease.
  • Chains of Ice: Now reduces movement by 95% instead of 100%. The main effect of this change will be that targets of Chains of Ice will not have to re-issue a movement command to continue moving.
  • Frost Presence: 10% bonus health reduced to 6% bonus stamina.
  • Frost Strike: This ability can now be dodged, parried, or blocked. Weapon damage bonus reduced to 55%, down from 60%.
  • Icebound Fortitude: Cooldown increased to 2 minutes.
  • Talents
  • Blood
    • Dancing Rune Weapon: This ability now has a fixed duration of 12 seconds (which can still be modified by its glyph) and a fixed cost of 60 runic power.
    • Veteran of the Third War: Stamina bonus reduced to 1/2/3%.

  • Frost
    • Blood of the North: Reduced to a 3-point talent. Increases Blood Strike and Frost Strike damage by 5/10/15%. There is now a 33/66/100% chance whenever you hit with Blood Strike or Pestilence that the Blood Rune will become a Death Rune when it activates.
    • Lichborne: Duration reduced to 10 seconds, and cooldown reduced to 2 minutes.
    • Threat of Thassarian: New 3-point talent. When dual-wielding, your Death Strikes, Obliterates, Plague Strikes, Blood Strikes and Frost Strikes have a 30/60/100% chance to also deal damage with your off-hand weapon. Off-hand strikes are roughly one half the effect of the original strike.
    • Toughness: This talent now grants 2/4/6/8/10% armor instead of 3/6/9/12/15%, placing it in line with similar abilities of other classes.

  • Unholy
    • Desecration: This talent has been reduced to 2 points for 25/50% snare and no longer increases damage done by the death knight. It has also been moved one tier earlier in the tree and its spell effect has been made more transparent.
    • Desolation: New talent. This talent is in the position formerly occupied by Desecration. It causes Blood Strikes to increase all damage the death knight deals by 1/2/3/4/5% for 12 seconds.
    • Scourge Strike: Weapon damage bonus reduced to 40%, down from 45%. Damage increased by 10% per disease on the target, down from 11%.
    • Summon Gargoyle: The gargoyle now flies lower to the ground, making it susceptible to melee attacks. This ability now has a fixed duration of 30 seconds and a fixed cost of 60 runic power.
    • Unholy Blight: This talent has been redesigned. It no longer deals damage to nearby targets. Instead, when you deal damage with Death Coil, the target will take periodic damage for 10 seconds equal to 30% of the damage done by Death Coil. This damage accumulates in the same way as Ignite and Deep Wounds.

    There are a LOT of nerfs in there.  I’m not even sure what to think about most of them.  It’s gonna take me some time to digest, but I will probably write about this section tomorrow.

    Priests

  • Prayer of Healing: The percentage of spell power this spell gains in healing (per target) has been reduced from 80.7% to 52.6%.
  • Talents
  • Discipline
    • Penance: Cooldown increased to 12 seconds, up from 10 seconds.

  • Holy
    • Inspiration: The buff from this ability now reduces the physical damage taken by the target by 3/7/10% instead of increasing the target’s armor.

    My wife’s Penance spell got it’s cooldown increased from 10 seconds to 12 seconds.  Yay for nerfing her.  I’m sure she’ll be thrilled about that.

    Warriors got…well we got an AP buff from Armored to the Teeth.  Not much, but at least it wasn’t another nerf.

    I think that’s plenty for now.  I might come back later and talk about the rest.  I know I’ve got some formatting issues, but dangit I don’t have time to fix them.

    Why I Love Vigilance

    Posted in Tanking with tags , , , , , , on June 18, 2009 by Randul the Dwarf

    Vigilance is a Warrior talent in the Protection tree.  What does it do?  I’m glad you asked!

    Vigilance: Focus your protective gaze on a group or raid target, reducing their damage taken by 3% and transfers 10% of the threat they cause to you.  In addition, each time they are hit by an attack your Taunt cooldown is refreshed.  Lasts 30 min.  This effect can only be on one target at a time.

    Why do I love this awesomeness?  Two reasons.  25-man Noth the Plaguebringer and add tanking on Ignis the Furnace Master.

    On 25-man Noth, he blinks every 20-30 seconds, wiping all aggro and casting Cripple on everybody around his old location.  That’s according to wowhead.  In my experience, he blinks more than once.  He’ll blink, I’ll taunt, then he’ll blink again almost immediately.  This is where Vigilance comes in.  Sure I can taunt him once, but what am I to do after the second blink?

    By casting Vigilance on the add tank on Noth, as long as their are adds up, my taunt is never on cooldown.  He blinks, I taunt.  He blinks again, I taunt again.  It’s a beautiful thing.

    Ignis is a similar situation, with an aggro wipe.  The difference is, I am tanking adds.  This particular tactic is highly dependent on your Main Tank’s ability to hold aggro even with a 10% reduction.

    Place Vigilance on the Main Tank.  He’ll be getting beat on by Ignis the entire time, so your cooldown should never be a factor. When adds come, the off tank’s job is the get 10 stacks of the fire debuff on them, causing them to become Molten.  When they become Molten, they wipe aggro.  Their aggro is very finicky at this stage.  In my experience, the aggro wipe doesn’t happen as soon as they become molten, but a few seconds after.

    The point is, when they drop aggro and start heading for a healer, you always have a taunt available to bring them back.  As I said, your MT has to be able to hold aggro while losing 10% of it to you.  However, they will also be taking 3% less damage, which is a good thing.

    These two fights are why I love Vigilance.  Sure it’s good on pretty much any encounter when you can just toss it on a DPS to get an aggro boost, but these situations really make it shine.

    As a final note, Vigilance is not required to perform the necessary tasks in these fights.  It’s just a tool that can, when used properly, make your job easier.

    Screenshot of the Week

    Posted in Screen Shot of the Week with tags , , , , on June 16, 2009 by Randul the Dwarf

    I present to you, the Dancing Gnomes.  Yeah, we’ve all seen something like this at one time or another, but this one really struck me as funny.  Sure the bear and tree dancing are humorous, but I think they actually take away from the overall effect of the gnomes.

    As you can see, Randul had a front row seat to the show.

    dancinggnomes

    Progress Smells Like Burning Flesh

    Posted in Raiding with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 15, 2009 by Randul the Dwarf

    It smells like my burning flesh to be exact.  Well, Randul’s burning flesh, but he’s an extension of me!  Once again, the Dinner Goat crew only got two shots at Ulduar this week, Friday and Sunday.

    Friday

    On Friday, we started out a little weak.  We wiped on Flame Leviathan.  After we got the jitters out of our system by downing FL, we one-shot Razorscale, XT-002, Kologarn and Auriaya.  I finally picked up the Flamewatch Armguards off of Flame Leviathan, which made me a happy dwarf.

    After we finished up with Auriaya, we didn’t have much time for Hodir, so we decided to go get a look at the Iron Council.  We wiped hard on the first few attempts, but soon realized the trick.  Steelbreaker‘s Fusion Punch puts a debuff on the target that makes them take a TON of damage.  As we realized this little tidbit, we called it for the night since we were over on time.

    Saturday

    On Saturday, quite a few of our raiders couldn’t make it, so some of us decided to throw a 25-man Naxx pug together.  The wife needed Spider & Plague Quarters to get her achievement, so we asked to start there.  On the first boss of the day, Anub’Rekhan dropped Pauldrons of Unnatural Death, which I snagged immediately.  I’m losing my two-piece set bonus from my t7 gear, but I think overall these are an upgrade.

    We downed Faerlina, Maexxna and Noth before I had to head out to go to a work event.  The wife got Heigan down which was all she needed for her achievement.  I’m not sure how much longer she made it after that.  Apparently most of the puggers were complaining loudly about the pace of the raid.  She doesn’t like whiners, so she probably bolted immediately.

    Sunday

    On Sunday, we ventured back into Ulduar and went after the Iron Council again.  This time, the Raid Leader put me on lightning guy so I could interupt and stun his abilities.  We had a cat druid go bear to tank the Rune Guy and our Paladin tank on Steelbreaker so he could cleanse himself of the Fusion Punch debuff.  It worked out well, but the healing assignments were a little screwy at first, with a Disc Priest on me, a Disc Priest on the Pally and a Resto Shaman on the bear.

    We decided that I wasn’t taking nearly enough damage to warrant a Disc Priest, so the shammy came to work on me while the wife went to heal the bear.  After that, things went smoothly and we made all three of them fall down.

    Now we had a decision to make.  Hodir or Ignis.  Either fight would be progression, even if Ignis would be optional progression.  We decided we wanted to take a stab at Ignis.  This is where the burning flesh from the title comes into play.

    Ignis sucked.  I have to admit, I was completely frustrated trying to deal with his adds.  I felt worse after every attempt.  I felt like I was completely failing at the task I’d been assigned and completely failing the raid.  The biggest hurdle for me was the aggro reset after they became molten.  We had more than a few attempts that ended before 60%.

    Demoralized, we came back in for our final attempt.  The kitty druid was making an attempt at helping me corral the adds.  On what was called as our final attempt of the night, I found my groove.  I was doing so well, in fact, that halfway through the fight the bear decided I didn’t need his help anymore and just started dpsing.  I had finally figured it out.  As a result of me doing my job, we downed Ignis.

    ignisdown

    And there you have it, the end of Ignis the Funace Master.  At least for this week.  As a side note, he dropped what could quite possibly be the oddest piece of gear I’ve seen.  Gauntlets of the Iron Furnace…Armor Penetration…on tank gear.  What the…?

    Anyway, this weekend I got lots of achievements, but the ones I’m most proud of were clearing the Siege of Ulduar and the Antechamber of Ulduar.  We are about halfway through the raid, and we are coming for you, Hodir!

    The Hippogryph is Mine!

    Posted in World of Warcraft with tags , , , , on June 12, 2009 by Randul the Dwarf

    Note: I will not be doing the Tank Fight of the Week: Auriaya I had wanted to do this week.  I’ve only tanked her successfully once and don’t feel I have the experience to do a guide yet.  I’ll be tanking her again tonight, so next week I hope to have that one up.

    Last night I FINALLY obtained the Argent Hippogryph.  5 days to get to the Champion level plus 28 days to get the 140 Champion Seals I needed to add to the 10 I got for becoming a champion brings me to 33 days of Argent Dailies to get that stinking mount!

    That’s a lot and, to be quite honest, I’m tired of jousting.  The good news is, my overall goal has been achieved.  I am the proud owner of an Argent Hippogryph.  The bad news?  Ol’ Derrick Brindelbeard and his buddies have five more mounts I can buy without spending a single piece of gold.  In fact, I will make money by getting those mounts.

    So, at 100 Champion Seals a piece, not including extra Seals I get in my gold bags, it would only take me 100 days to get all five mounts.

    I…think…not.  /depressed

    There is, however, hope!  When patch 3.2 (or, the mount patch, as far as I’m concerned) comes out, I’ll be able to buy 30 mounts for 165 gold!  What does this mean to me?  It means as soon as the patch comes out, I’ll have my Albino Drake.  /happy

    Sure, it will lose some of it’s luster.  Sure I didn’t work as hard to get it as Fandark did, but who cares?!?!  I’ll still have it.

    So, what will I do now?  I’ll continue working on my Sha’tari Skyguard rep with Randul till I get my Nether Ray.  The wife is still doing her Argent Dailies, so I’ll probably hop on Kered to get those.  He could use the reputation with the Alliance cities.

    Oh, and one more thing…GUILD FIRST ARGENT HIPPOGRYPH!  I think.