Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy New Year

Happy New Year! Or is it last year? I'm in so many different times and places right now... 
I have a minor Bronze Dragonflight obsession. It's growing - especially for Chromie. She intrigues me and one of these days I'd like to dedicate something a bit longer to her. For now, a quick doodle!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

LFR - Why do I keep checking leader?

I think I have a problem.

Normally I raid with my guild, so I've only qued for LFR 5 times. 4 times on my shaman and once on my warrior. Of those 5 times, I landed the raid leader spot in 4 of them. I noticed that I had the leader flag checked, and I didn't unceck it. Why? Why didn't I uncheck it? Does my subconscious hate me?

Actually no. Turns out (at least in my limited experience), spamming useful hints with raid warning pretty much keeps 24 other people in line. Now I'm assuming about a third of the people in LFR at any given time actually know what to do. They also might shout out helpful things like "GET OUT OF THE PURPLE" but nothing quite beats the ping! of raid warning. The other two-thirds might be a little confused, but they can read, and so adapt quickly. Usually - there's one or two that you might have to sacrifice to the derp gods, but so be it.

And there are some that disagree with you. Especially on Yor'sahj. But, raid leader powers take care of that too. We can all debate the slime kill order until the end of time, but the people follow the /rw. Hell, I called out black once, leaving both green and red alive. It was a stupid call, and I immediately questioned my own intelligence, (ala "WTF AM I THINKING") but it didn't matter. The people followed. And it worked (mostly b/c green aoe damage in LFR is negligent, but still).

Still, it's amazing to me what small bits of organization will do. Sure, wipes occur, but I noticed not as many people drop if the wipe occurs and there's been fight communication. Everyone seems more willing to stick around if there's been a bit of group interaction.

So if you know your stuff, been around the block a few times, please, please check the raid leader flag. Typing /rw hit the button during Ultraxion makes all the difference between an easy LFR experience and giving up all hope for humanity because they can't hit a goddamn button.

Or maybe I've just been really lucky and LFR is still filled with crazy, brain-dead degenerates. But I've gotta hope...

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Heroic Beth'tilac

Party up top: We had four melee go up (myself, 2 rogues, and a DK). Our composition was based on what groups had the most self-healing, since we only have one healer go up. The 4 melee we send up can pretty much avoid/heal/mitigate incoming damage, leaving the healer free to heal the tank and conserve mana. Wolves, stoneclaw, shamanistic rage, even the occasional MWx5 chain heal, are all recommended. On the last descent I run towards the spiderlings to kill them before Beth follows me down.

Frenzy on the bottom: I fell off the web on two different attempts just so I could experience the bottom level. It had nothing to do with the fact that I stupidly avoided one lava puddle by jumping straight into another. Nope. It was all for science! For melee on the bottom, stick to the drone like glue. The drone will occasionally fixate on someone. Whoever that fixated person is must run to the drone tank. Help taunt the spinners down in the beginning. Ranged will be managing the exploding spiders.

Phase 2: Stack on butt. Pop dps and dmg cooldowns. Pray your healer’s mana lasts long enough. Save your lock cookie for that last 20 to 10%. We found Beth needs to be at 80% or lower before Phase 2 for a successful kill.

Swag: Widow’s Kiss, I guess. Shoulders, if you’re desperate.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Oh heroic Morchok. It's not that you're conceptually difficult. We're just having a "derp" night. All 25 of us. Go us.

That's ok! Wipe time = picture time!
Yesss my minion. Crush them! Crush them ALL!
They stand and watch the WHOLE fight. You'd think they'd help a little more. But no.
And finally, from last week:

Friday, December 9, 2011

Heroic Alysrazor

Heroic Alysrazor's changes come in the first phase. The adds still come, but with more health, and are a bit more staggered out. Meteor's also drop into the middle and must be stopped (i.e. killed by ranged) before they reach the walls and explode. The meteor is crucial because after a few seconds Alysrazor will cast a giant firestorm, and you have to hide behind the meteor to avoid it.  It goes:
Add 1
Add 2
Add 3
Add 4
Fiery Vortex
Lather, Rinse, Repeat

With 4 melee to an add (in 25m) they all drop in time. However, depending on your DPS and how well all 4 are paying attention and not trying to chase the hatchlings, Add1 and Add2 can cause some problems. We had to assign a hunter to get the first interrupt off Add 2, because Add 1 was just barely dead and none of us could make it over to the second in time (not even with ghost wolf...though it helps).

If you don’t kill Add 2 before the meteor drops, it’s not the end of the world. They won’t cast Fireball while Firestorm is going on. Just make sure you kill her ASAP after the storm is over.

Don’t know what side to hide behind? Follow the crowd. Angle your camera up and make sure the rock is between the fiery bird and you.

Fire tornadoes still hurt. I drop stoneclaw as a precaution. We pop hero as soon as the tornadoes are in, because it usually lasts longer than the down phase does.

As long as the melee can manage adds, and the ranged can handle meteors (plus help on the hatchlings from both when appropriate. Read: when neither adds nor meteors are up) Alysrazor will go down.

Swag: Pants!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Madness of Madness

6/7 down in 25man Dragonsoul. Working on Madness all night. We had him So.Close. Like, 3% close. But RL dictated sleep > raid. Tomorrow for sure!

Some fun shots from tonight!
Wipe on Spine, the pile of dead makes me giggle

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Heroic Rhyolith

Planning on knocking out my remaining Heroic FL guides this week so I can dive right into DS guides.

H. Rhyolith: Ugh. This guy is the bane of my existence. RNG-determined  volcano spawns suck. Weird turning mechanisms suck. Even after we had him on farm I cringe every time he's up.

This is another heroic fight that changes for ranged, but not so much for melee. There are more adds to kill, including little gray blobs that increase Rhyolith’s armor if they get close enough for him to absorb them. I don’t want to encourage too much melee cleaves – since, while damage on the adds is good, it could influence turning (or lack thereof). I did get in the habit of having earthbind hot-keyed for this fight. It did seem effective in giving the ranged (or the arms warrior that cleaved anyway) just enough time to kill some of the adds.

Again, have one person designated to call out directions. For Normal we had our raid leader calling turns out, for Heroic the melee leader (me) does it, since ranged and heals have a lot more of their own stuff to worry about. Try to keep him going straight for as long as possible after he crushes a volcano, so that you can respond to him activating the next, wherever this might be. Obviously if he’s near an edge you can’t do this, so you just have to turn him in a direction and pray it’s the right one. Even if it’s not, never change direction. It’s faster to force him to do a complete circle than to make him reverse. Also (and I learned this the hard way) call out straighten several seconds before you need it. Nothing sucks more than having him miss the volcano you aimed him for because he’s just a little too far right.

Phase 2 is different. Now there are dancing lasers! Do your best to avoid them, while still sticking behind and to the middle of the boss as much as you can to benefit from AOE-heals. Shamanistic Rage, Stoneclaw, and eating your lock cookies, are key here. Several of our wipes were just because we got flattened by his first phase 2 stomp + lasers. The goal is to stack everyone up for heals in the beginning, yet far enough apart, quick enough, that lasers won’t cut a path through half the raid.

Swag: Dreadfire Drape

We did him on normal last week, just to get the achievement. I may or may not have been yelling "DANCE YOU ANNOYING ROCK DANCE" as he spun around in all-right circles. May have.

Friday, December 2, 2011

4.3 Dragonsoul First Impressions

A couple days into 4.3, I've been able to run all the new dungeons, plus the new raid. Here are my thoughts: 

New Dungeons

End Time has a cool, cool setting. Bosses easy in heroic Firelands gear, but just the design is awesome. I love the bronze dragon flight. They are so twisted in lore. What's really up? We may never know. Poor Normy.
Hour of Twilight is a trip back to Northrend. I was having Dragonblight quest flashbacks the entire time. But it does continue to the string of quests that really make you feel like you're in the middle of the this whole "get the Dragonsoul or ALL ELSE IS LOST!" 
Well of Eternity SO COOOOOL. And pretty. The Well, spiraling down throughout the whole dungeon is an excellent touch. Also: Azshara! I can't wait for Mists of Pandaria when she's an actual raid boss (it'll happen, you'll see).

Dragonsoul Raid
 Deathwing circles Wrymrest the entire time you're fighting in the first section. Scared the crap out of me the first time he swung towards us. I like that it's in wyrmrest. it makes Northrend not feel completely forgotten (though we get there through Caverns of Time...a little roundabout). On one hand, as a raider, I was glad I could hop right into DS and start raiding. On the other hand, as a lore nerd, I would have liked a few required quests ahead of time, tie it all in. I guess the new dungeons do that -  I just did them in opposite order.
Though the falling dragons makes me wonder if they're rehashed models from normal Northrend when Malygos' forces were fighting. Reskin that red as green or yellow or blue or black and bam! New war.
Morchok was so.very.easy. We had 2 people DC, relog, and rejoin (though one sadly got tele'd out) and we still got him on the first attempt.
Warlord Zon'ozz entrance is pretty fun. Hurtle me into a gaping maw? Wheeeee. The fact that he is Pong reincarnate, come back haunt us every more?! 14 wipes later the General is dead. We finally mastered pong. I think personally it's pong's way of staying relevant. Don't forget me bitches, or I won't hit the giant boss hitbox. Mwhahaha.

Yor'Sahj the Unsleeping. Skittles. Skitttlessssss. Once you know what color slimes play nice with each other, he's pretty easy. I was distracted half the fight watching the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show and was still able to kill everything. Skittles because each slime is a color of the rainbow!
Aspects are the best part of this whole raid.
Ultraxion requires you to push a button. At a certain time. Can you push that button? Can you even see that button or has your super customized UI hidden it? This guy is also a pretty steep DPS check, but I'm saying most our wipes came from button troubles.
Lootship: Part2
Warmaster Blackhorn started out with "hey guys, remember lootship?" And then we all nodded but agreeded this guy was no lootship.  ... He totally is.

Spine of Deathwing starts with a cinematic. Hint, this cinematic pulls everyone into the fight, no matter where they are. Buying gems in the temple? Too bad.YOINK, onto Deathwing you go. My guildies weren't very happy with me for that one. Actual attempts have a fast learning curve. Every time he does a barrel roll I giggle a little.
Madness of Deathwing has an awesome setting. Maelstrom. All the aspects behind you. Truly epic. Actual fight? We're still working on. Getting very good at dying though! 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

MoP Talents

Fine. Fineeee. I'll bite. Talent speculation time! First thing to note: these are utility based spells. At this point, we have no idea what our actual damage output is going to look like in the next expansion. We don't know squat about gear and all our other spells/attacks look the same as they will in 4.3. (Except for all the spec improvements that went poof. More on that at the bottom of the post).

Thus, don your tinfoil hat and come with me as  I speculate the valued utility of each of these shiny talents.

Your Frost Shock now also roots the target in ice for 5 sec.
 Single target root. Good for pvp or leveling. I doubt there will be a single target add in raids that will be affected by this talent. In any raid situation with adds that would be able to be rooted there would be multiple adds, making this a poor pve raid choice.
 Summons an Earthgrab totem with 5 health at the feet of the caster for 45 sec. The totem pulses every second, rooting al enemies within 8 yards for 5 sec. Recently rooted enemies will instead have their movement speed reduced by 50%.
Good for pvp or raid/dungeons where there are multiple adds. I wonder if this means shamans will be expected to kite more? I know I kite the last boss of Blackrock Caverns now, with Earthbind and Rockbiter. When talents like this it might become even expected of shamans to. 
 Summons an Air totem with 5 health at the feet of the caster for 15 sec that repels enemies. 
So it's a knockback talent? Again -  I see it's use in pvp or leveling, but I wonder how many endgame adds would be affected by this. I guess it could be like Thunderstorm now, using the knockback to keep the adds from something. But in situations where you're controlling adds in generally makes more sense to have more control. Thus Earthgrab would seem more logical in most cases. But sense I don't know what all the dungeons in MoP will hold, I could be wrong.
Whenever a damaging attack brings you below 30% health, your maximum health is increased by 15% for 10 sec and your threat level towards the attacker is reduced. 30 second cooldown.
Summons an Earth totem with 5 health at the feet of the caster for 30 sec that grants the caster a shield absorbing 5573 damage and refreshes that shield every 5 seconds. 
Seek haven by shifting partially into the elemental planes, reducing damage taken by 50% but also damage and healing dealt by 50%, for 6 sec. 
 I'm lumping all three of these together because they are different sides of the same three sided-coin. (If such a thing existed.) At this point it doesn't look like we're losing wind shear, so the threat reduction from Nature's Guardian doesn't give it much of a leg up. The question is, which of these 3 level 30 talents gives us the most bang for our buck? Is a 15% increase in health better than a refreshing shield or a 50% damage reduction? One is an "oh-shit" button, the second is for sustained damage, and the third is for surviving a massive but quick attack. Also, these need a little bit more explanation: Does Stone Bulwark scale with level like Stoneclaw does? Does Nature's Guardian always kick in when it's off CD, or do you have to put it on yourself, like an extended Divine Guardian? Is it worth the substantial dps loss for Astral Shift?
For enhancement purposes I'm imaging Bulwark to be our normal choice. Astral Shift sounds really nice, but it's just so short. Most damage that dps have to worry about would be sustained, such as Phase 2 Beth'tilac, thus a longer lasting damage reduction would benefit us more.

While in Ghost Wolf from, you ignore the effects of snares.
PvP. Enough said. Unless there's a dodge the snares dungeon, but Blizzard would never design something that class specific. 
Summons an Air totem with 5 health at the feet of the caster for 6 sec, granting raid members within 30 yards immunity to movement-imparing effects.
Unless they would? All these level 45 talents seem more pvp orientated. That means I'm missing something and dungeon mobs are going to be snaring more often, or something? 
Summons an Air totem with 5 health at the feet of the caster for 6 sec, granting raid members withing 30 yards immunity to spellcast interruption and silence effects. 
As someone with healing alts, I love this one purely for it's immunity to silence. So, so many deaths because the healer cannot heal. Only 6 seconds though, so it's for burst pvp damage or maybe for certain phases in a raid, like if Chogall silenced people instead of mind controlled them.

Summons a Water totem with 5 health at the feet of the caster for 10 sec, healing the most injured raid memebers within 40 yards for 2229 health every 2 sec.
Nifty, but I'm betting it scales way better with our healing brethren. 
When you deal direct damage or healing for the next 10 seconds, 40% of that amount is copied as healing to a nearby injured ally. 
Even more nifty. 40% of damage could equal a sizeable chunk of health.  If you're averaging 30k dps, then you're healing 12k a second. Still going to be nothing compared to a true healer, but for instances like upstairs with Beth'tilac, you could probably get away with being the "healer." I wonder if it heals yourself? Probably not...
Allies standing within your Healing Rain receive a 10% reduction to incoming magic damage.
10 seconds of 10% damage reduction. Is it more useful than the direct healing from Ancestral Guidance? Probably in most raid situations, especially where you and the raid have to stack.

When activated, your next Lightning Bolt, Chain Lightning or Lava Burst spell becomes an instant cast spell. In addition, your Fire, Frost, and Nature damage in increased by 15% and you gain 20% spell haste for 15 sec. 
Sup Elemental Shamans, sup?  At first glance it seems it's all for them. Resto shamans might like the 20% spell haste increase, and the 15% fire/frost/nature damage could be a big dps increase for us. No way to tell yet.
Passively increases spell and melee haste by 5%. When activated, your next Nature spell with a base casting time less than 10 sec becomes an instant cast spell.
Look, melee haste! I wonder if that will actually be attractive in MoP. Because right now it does nothing for us. And having an instant cast spell doesn't mean much, especially with hardcasting Lava Bolt/spellpower main hands going extinct in 4.3 (yay!)  If haste is a more attractive stat in MoP, then the 5% passive increase is awesome. Big IF.
When you cast a damage or healing spell, you have a chance to gain Echo of the Elements, duplicating that spell's effect.
The chance that my maelstrom lightning bolt hits twice? Awesome. Earth Shock hitting twice? Cool. Though... the chance that my Flame Shock hits twice? Less awesome. Hmm. 

You may summon multiple totems of the same element simultaneously.
This wins. Hands down. Fire elemental and searing totem out at the same time? Yes please!
If a totem is replaced or destroyed before its duration expires naturally, its cooldown is reduced in proportion to the lost duration. 
So...let me work through this one. You drop a totem. It lasts for a minute and has a 3 minute cooldown. 30 seconds in, the totem gets destroyed. Your cooldown now drops from 2min30sec to 2min. Yay? But if it's destroyed right away it drops to 2min. And if it's destroyed near the end of it's duration, it's still the same cooldown.
I really don't see the appeal of this except in pvp where you need to worry about 30second cooldowns and people actually killing off your totems.
Relocates your active totems to the specified location.
Meh. If this uses a GCD, then it's the same thing as replanting your totems. The exception being if you're moving an Elemental or long cooldown totem. So the only time this seems useful is if you're killing an add this is constantly on the move and you need your Fire Elemental to do it. But then you're wasting all your GCD's on moving the damn totems and not attacking. Also: buff totems are going bye-bye, and half the reason we complained about moving totems was because they were distanced-based buffs.

So there you have it. A couple of these  I can almost promise you I won't take. The rest just depend on the fight. Until we see what kind of bosses we're up against in MoP, we won't know which talent is most useful. The same holds true for the specs. The current MoP talent calculator has base spec spells (i.e. the existence of Lava Lash for enhancement), but none of the improvements like Improved Shields or Ancestral Swiftness. But they do have Searing Flames and Stormstrike.
Which just leaves me confused. Did we loose the others completely? That's a lot of change. Could be good could be bad. At this point I think it's too early to tell what is up. The whole system could be redone between now and the expansion drop. Blizz itself had a post that said everything was basically still up in the air, they just want to get as much out for the players to comment on as they can. Well, we're commenting.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

10 v. 25

Guild attendance has been lacking a bit these past few weeks. I'd blame Skyrim, but it hasn't been out quite long enough to get blamed for everything. Either way it means our 25m heroics have had to drop to 10m. Now that I have perspective on both sides, I would like to add my two-cents to the 10 v. 25 debate:

They're both harder and easier.

Here, I'll break it down by boss.
  1. Shannox: 10m wins this one, but only barely. Heroic Shannox is pretty easy on both, but I find 25m slightly easier because you have more people for Rageface to eat. This makes the DPS race easier.
  2. Beth'tilac: Again, 10m is harder. Less people handling the adds. Someone misses the spiderlings on 25, you just throw another body at them. 10m not so much. 
  3. Rhyolith: Tie. He just sucks. The end. 
  4. Alysrazor: 25m, but only because the caster adds shoot more often and take longer to go down. 
  5. Baelroc: 25man is harder. So. Much. Harder. The whole "25man raids are more difficult because it's like herding casts" argument defines this fight. There are so many reasons 25m makes me want to slit my wrists, while 10m took us 20 minutes and bam! the boss we had been working on for a month is down.
    • Two shards instead of one. That means more people with tormented and one of the shards is in ranged. And it loves healers. 
    • Decimation attacks come way, way faster in 25m. While you have more healers, they're still split over 2 shards and the tanks. The quicker attack time means you can't recover as quickly if a healer gets tormented.
    • 25 people running around like chickens with their head cut off. 10m has SO MUCH ROOM. 25m means someone sneezes and half the raid has tormented. Or the guys with Countdown have to run through people because there's not enough time to go on the outside of 23 people. 
    • Sure, if we were a perfect guild with perfect reaction times, 25m would be no harder. But we are not, so 10m seemed like normal by the time we tried it. 
  6. Staghelm: Tie? I think 10m is harder in normal because you have less cooldowns to eat cleaves with. In heroic you're not taking that many cleaves anyway. I guess 25m wins slightly because you have 14 more people that want to blow you up with their seeds. It doesn't matter how far away you stand. They will find you. 
  7. Ragnaros: Hah. Right. Like we've killed him on heroic. Pffft.
Mind you this is just my experience, so take it with a grain of salt, but overall I'd say 25mans are easier in fights with lots of adds, while 10mans are easier in fights with very specific mechanics. Not rocket science, I know.

What's that? Mist of Pandaria talents? Lalalala I can't hear you. I refuse to make judgments until it's way, way closer to the actual expansion. Or, since I sold my soul to Blizzard for  Diablo 3, I withhold judgment until I get my MoP beta invite.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Heroic Shannox

For this boss, everything is exactly the same as normal, only we will now waste a global CD every 10 seconds to replace our totems, since we’ll be chasing the boss all over the map. 

No really, that’s it. 

Our overall strategy is to have everyone attacking the boss, except for one arcane mage and one hunter, who are responsible for breaking Facerage and for leading Rageface into a trap.
Shannox’s tank keeps him in constant motion 1) to avoid melee traps 2) to give Riplimb’s tank the max distance possible to run and trap. 

This means melee is in almost constant motion. Now I don’t know about you, but I put my extra talent points in slots other than Totemic Reach. And even if you did spec into it, you’ll still be moving so much that you will have be constantly reapplying totems so that they don’t get out of range. So hotkey that totemic call button and get ready to dps on the run. Heroic Shannox will be down in no time. 

(Hint: If Riplimb’s tank dies around 20% or less. DON’T STOP! Treat it just like Chimaeron. Sure he’ll go down the threat table killing off DPS, but you should get Shannox before Riplimb gets you.) 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Countdown (to Insanity)

I didn't post anything on the Firelands nerfs when they came out because it really seemed like a non-issue to me. My group was only 2/7 in heroics at the time, and  getting Lord I-Can't-Step-On-Volcanoes seemed more luck than anything else. We were about to hit a wall.

Then nerfs came  and we got up to 5/7 in one week. Hint they were too easy? Maybe. Alysrazor, Domo, and Beth gave us a bit of a hard time; but, we adjusted our strategy, tried again, and got them a couple times later. Sure they'd been 'dumbed down,' but it was nice to be able to see the fights and make progress on them.

Enter Heroic Baelroc. 22 attempts on him tonight. The level of confusion in our raid may have killed some of us. Thank goodness none of us were playing in the same room. Bodily harm could have resulted after that one melee dragged tormented through all of us. Or the healer ran into melee, got tormented, then ran back out. Or countdown targeted both channelers, as they stared helplessly at each other, unmoving.

I was frustrated at first, but I know we'll get him eventually. The main point of this little post? THANK YOU BLIZZ FOR NERFS! If this is what all of the fights would have been like pre-nerf, I'm pretty sure I would have snapped and murdered my guild. You'd see it in the morning news,"girl loses it, stabs guildies, screaming 'tormented take the crystal! NO THE OTHER CRYSTAL!!' ".

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

But she's 3 feet in front of me!

Everytime Beth'tilac is about to do Smoldering Devestation, this part of Mulan is all I can hear in my head:

Thursday, October 6, 2011


Congratulations Ale! I expect you to carry us through every raid now. I hope my many, many deaths were worth this shiny staff.

I think my favorite part were the people who logged on after the beginning of the event. "Why is there a dragon?" "What's going on?" And, my personal favorite, "DPS LFG for whatever that thing in the sky is!"

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Patch 4.3 Changes

Disclaimer: This is all tentative right now, and things good change a lot before the actual patch hits.

So we got the first glimpses at what 4.3 might bring us. First and foremost, a buff to melee. Maybe now those mages won't be the top of recount every night. ...Right.

The Shaman changes seem standard for right now...
1) Flametongue Weapon no longer increases spell damage. It now increases all non-physical damage done by the wielder by 5%.  
2) Lightning Bolt has a new spell effect.  
3) Wind Shear now has a 25-second base cooldown, up from 6 seconds.
    ...except. OH SWEET BABY THRALL. My wind shear!!! 19 extra seconds?! Kill me now. Looking at this rationally (which I'd rather not), I can see why they did it, as elemental shaman currently had a big one-up on all the other ranged interrupts. BUT we don't play elemental shaman now do we? Thus as of this moment enhancement are the only melee without a reliable, 10second interrupt. And at this moment I will swear to you 80% of my raid utility is because of that interrupt. Buffing melee should help some of that, but still all melee classes get a buff, but only one (read: US) loose their interrupt. Harsh..."

    Edit, based on 4.3 Changes Explained: "We made changes to Wind Shear to restrict the short cooldown version to the DPS shaman (who have the Reverberation talent) and make Restoration less potent at interrupting. We think Restoration is currently too useful in PvP relative to other healers because of a potent, ranged interrupt. We don’t think this nerf will have major PvE ramifications." So, is Ghost Crawler telling me that Reverberation will talent it back down to 6? Otherwise his "major PvE ramifications" prediction is about to be WAAAY off. Also, apparently elemental shammy can have interrupts, just not resto. Who knew. 

    I thought I'd tackle each Enhance change one-by-one.

     1) Improved Lava Lash now causes Lava Lash to spread a Flame Shock debuff from the target to up to 4 nearby targets. This excludes crowd-controlled targets and those who already have a Flame Shock debuff from the shaman.
    Hello AOE! Am I ever glad to see you. This brings the fire nova button mashing party down to just three. Instead of six or so. Sure it still takes more thought than "durr-cleave-durr," but it's an improvement to be sure.  

    2) Improved Lava Lash no longer increases base Lava Lash damage by 15/30%. This increase has been rolled into the base Lava Lash skill.So did we loose that talent completely? If the talent buff goes into the skill, what replaces it? 

    3) Mental Quickness has been redesigned. Instead of granting the shaman spell power, Mental Quickness now causes Enhancement shaman spells to behave as though the shaman has spell power equal to 55% of attack power. Enhancement shaman spells no longer benefit from spell power from other sources.Take that Eye of Purification, and take that all you spellpower-enhance theory crafters. I cling to my beautiful, beautiful attack power and agility-based weapons, and, you know what, so does Blizzard. Mwahaha.  (Remember what I said about being rational...) Edit: Straight from the man himself: "We changed Mental Quickness and Flametongue Weapon to hopefully put a nail in the coffin of Enhancement shaman using spellpower weapons. We want Enhancement using melee weapons."

    That's it for now. I'm sure there will be much tweaking in the weeks to come.  Now if you excuse me, I have to go sob uncontrollably about the wind shear nerf.

    Sunday, September 25, 2011

    Tier 13 Set Bonus

    Tier 13 set bonuses were announced yesterday. I admit I'm optimistic but slightly puzzled by ours. 2-piece looks good at first glance. Lightning bolt is one of our staple attacks, so increasing it's damage is nice. However, is the 20% increase uniform if it's 2 stacks of maelstrom or 5 stacks? Or do the number of stacks matter? The blue post reads like maelstrom stack numbers don't matter, in which case will we be changing when we shoot off lightning bolt?

    Right now we shoot lightning bolt at maelstrom weapon x 5, it's the most damage efficent. However, with the 20% increase it might be more efficent to have a slight cast time and shoot at 3 or 4 stacks of maelstrom. Probably not, but the possibility exists.

    4-piece seems kind of lame aesthetically but good damage-wise. We can only have our wolves up every two minutes, but they're out for 30 seconds at a time. More maelstrom stacks means more lightning bolts, and they'll be super-charged because of 2-piece.

    I'm not really a get out the sim and go crunch numbers type of gal. If I get super bored at work, maybe. Until then I'll leave it to others to calculate exactly what effect these bonuses will have on our DPS. These are just my non-math-backed thoughts.

    I don't know why but I have this expectation that 4-piece sets should have some sort of cool aesthetic bonus. Like my wolves come out on fire or something. Fwoosh.

    Saturday, September 24, 2011


    This is one of those fights that is really about repetition. Do each of these phases enough times and you WILL get it down. The only problem is in player consistency. Rag is very much a patterned fight. Which is dangerous. You can be lured into a false sense of security and then completely not notice that Engulfing Flames is spawning under your feet. Having all DPS alive is a big priority in the last phase, so even losing just one or two - even in 25man - will pretty much guarantees a wipe (except not really anymore, thanks nerfs).

    Ragnaros can be broken down into five chunks: Phase 1, Transition A, Phase 2, Transition B, Phase 3.

    Phase 1:
    Run in (not before the tank, though if you have nice healers you will live through one stack of Burning Blood. Not that I speak from experience...) and plant yourself as close to Rag as you can get without swimming in the lava. My fellow melee and I stack together, which makes the placement of Sulfuras Smash predictable thus much easier for the ranged to dodge the resulting shock waves. Because you are hugging the front edge of the platform, you will always be in front of Sulfuras Smash and will never have to worry about getting hit by it.
    Fire traps are put down, but let those ranged with fall mitigation deal with them. They always are placed on ranged, so you should never touch one.
    The only thing we really have to worry about this phase is his knockback ability. Sometimes you resist it and stay where you are, other times you get knocked back into the middle of the platform. This is dangerous because it can knock you into the remenants of Sulfuras Smash or - rarely - into the waves themselves. To avoid the first pitfall, just move/angle a bit to the side after he smashes. To avoid the second, make copious offerings to the luck gods.
    At 70% Ragnaros hits his first transition phase.

    Before the fight starts you have to assign transition positions. These small flame adds can be stunned, but not slowed. Healers and tanks with stuns should use them as well as all DPS. Knockbacks also work (just make sure your Boomkin and Ele Shaman know how to aim) Once the adds HP is under 50% they move at a crawl. They CANNOT reach the hammer. Remember, if your add is moving slow at low HP it's probably safe to move off it for a bit and help DPS another down.

    Phase 2:

    Three things will always happen in this phase. 1/3 of the platform will engulf in flames. Sulfuras Smash will drop. Searing Seeds will plant themselves where raid memembers stand. These three things may seemingly come at random, but there's actually a set pattern.

    After the transition phase everyone should stack to one side. Immediately after Sulfuras Smash hits, Molten Seeds will plant themselves where everyone is. The exact second they appear everyone must run to the opposite side of the platform, because the seeds grow and do a distance-based AOE explosion when they blow-up. In 10man it's easier to be standing far enough away from each other, yet still firmly on the side, to avoid two seeds coming down on each other. In 25m you have to be a little more careful that you spread enough to ensure the seeds (which do distance based damage before they explode) don't kill those nearest, but remain close enough to the side that you don't have exploding seeds reach you when you shift. Melee is especially infamous for causing role-wide death with seeds. We like to stack on each other, it generally means we're in the right place. But having six melee stacked with seeds dropping = dead melee and angry raid  leader. Spread out! Rag has a GIANT hit box so you can pretty far into the middle of the platform and still be hitting him.

    After the seeds explode, little adds come out of them and converge on the raid. These need to be AOE'd down fast. I'm going to be honest here...I don't touch these adds. My AOE contribution is neligible and I lose a ton of DPS on the boss if I try to switch to them. The adds just die too fast to really make use of multiple flameshock + fire nova.  Of course, I can really only get away with tunneling in on the boss because I have a solid group of other raiders that can pull the AOE needed to down the adds. If we struggled a bit more with DPS on them I would switch to them. Luckily that's not the case (and now with nerfs!...).

    After the adds the floor will spontaneously combuts. This can happen in front, middle, or back. If it happens where you are standing, move. You can still hit Rag from the middle (just barely) and there is enough warning time between the charred, cracked floor visual and the actual floor-of-pain that I could run out of there backwards and still make it in time.

    The 2nd shift will always have a Sulf Smash right after. Just know that on that 2nd shift you should all stack up front. I usually have shammy rage up when I can, and I drop stoneclaw at the beginning of every shift (before shifting into ghost wolf) for a bit of a buffer while I run.

    At 40% you begin the second Transition. Remember your positions, they don't change from Transition A. Kill the little adds, just as in the first one. However, there are now two big adds on screen. They should get picked up/misdirected to the tanks and then ignored. Kill all the little adds but one and switch to the scions. Have ranged ready to kill that last little add when he gets too close to the hammer, but not before. This is so that you have max dps time on the scions without Rag up.

    You might get Blazing Heat put on you. If you do, you should run to the outside of the platform and away from everyone else. This is both to 1) not light your raid on fire and 2) not heal the small adds with the fire, because it will.

    Phase 3:
    When Ragnaros emerges your tanks should drag the remaining scion(s) to the middle. Once they are dead it's a full out DPS race on Ragnaros.

    About 30seconds into this Phase the first meteor will come down. It WILL try to land on someone so make sure everyone is paying attention. If you get hit by a meteor in any fashion (it lands on you, it's fixated on you and catches up, you're standing in it's path, you sneeze near it) you will die. The meteors can be slowed, and upon damaging them (only when they're lit) they will be knocked back.

    If everyone goes about hitting the meteors, they will be knocked back willy-nilly into the raid. This is bad. The person who the meteor fixates on should run from the middle to the back sides of the platform, once there the person angles themselves so that the meteor is knocked off the edge. From there on out the meteors new target should always be able to turn and knock it back out.
    I have F4 bound as my "rotating use key." Some fights it's Purge. Others it's Grounding Totem. This fight it's Frost Shock. If I'm being targeted by a metor I will run angle it so that the knockback puts the meteor into the boss and use frost shock to do so. Yes I lose a shock cooldown, but this way I slow the meteor, I don't have to waste a MWx5 Lightning Bolt, and I don't have to wait for Flame Shock to tick.
    If you're not being targeted for a meteor just make sure you're not in their path. They are hard to miss, so it's very easy to sidestep out of their way and continue DPSing the boss. Once everyone understands how to handle the meteors they become far less threatening. Admittedly the first time I was fixated I panicked and managed to drag the meteor through three of our healers, taking them out like a bowling ball to pins. Not my proudest moment.

    At 10% the fight is over! Congrats. You scared Ragnaros into hiding.Only on heroic will that last 10% mean anything.

    Spoils of war: Matrix Restabilizer. DROOL. Choker of the Vanquished Lord

    The Blooper Reel:
    1) Never have a priest lifegrip someone during smash. Biggest heart attack I have ever have. Died, ahnked, was immediately lifegripped into an oncoming wave. I lived, but it scared the crap out of myself and the other 5 healers who saw my health go from 100% to 2%.

    2)If you're going to wipe anyway, make sure you go by smash. There's something satisfying about that giant hammer just smooshing you in one blow. Like some old school arcade game whack-a-raider.

    Wednesday, September 14, 2011

    Tier 13

    My guide to Ragnaros is written and waiting to be posted, but my tablet is packed away, so I don't have any pictures for it yet. And I simply cannot post without pictures. Everything should be unpacked by Sunday. Hopefully.

    But! I am alive. To prove it to you I've quickly compiled my thoughts on the newest shaman tier. Completely useless, but there you have it.

    Tier 13 for shamans was revealed today. I like it - I think. The shoulders kind of remind me of Tier 2, if Tier 2 died. It's a good dead though, looks nice. Loving the fangs that hang down off of them.
    It's also a kilt. Again. I suppose that's just one of the things I must accept as enhance shammy. Though if I squint hard enough they kind of look like samurai style pants under kilt-like armor. Squiiiiiiiint.

    Oh well. We will fight in dresses and we will be awesome about it.  I'm on the fence with the helmet. I think the front part, with the fangs over face, is sweet - if even a little understated. MOAR FANGS *cough* ... but the top with the bones sticking out seems a little too cartoonish. Like Pebble Flinstone meets Shaman.

    And is it just me or is the decoration at the bottom very horde symbol-ish? I guess it can also be seen as a shaman symbol, but with it extending towards the bottom it definitely looks more like the horde symbol. Not that that's a bad thing. My draenei can be horde at heart.

    I'm looking forward to Tier 13, overall. It feels more bad ass than Tier 11 and Tier 12 (if only slightly). I was going to jump on the Transmorgify train, but I got too OCD about trying to create the MOST UNIQUE AND PERFECTLY MATCHING OUTFIT EVER!!!!111!! Thus, for mental health reasons, I'm going to stick with tier gear for now.

    Thursday, August 25, 2011


    Ragnaros finally down! My guild has had him for a few weeks, but I managed to miss the first two times we got him and 10man, and we've been training everyone to get him in 25man, so I haven't actually been in on a Rag kill until now. ...and I just realized I didn't take a screenshot of it. Ffffff.

    Oh well. That means this weekend hopefully I'll get the strat for Rag up.

    Wednesday, August 17, 2011

    Majordomo Staghelm

    Majordomo Staghelm! Finally we get to pay him back for the countless bundles of Morrowgrain we collected on his behalf. The traitor! I didn't even play until Wrath, but I was adamant about doing every quest I was offered, so I too collected waaaaay too much of the stuff until I was told there was really no reason. Fun fact: I thought his name was Stranglehelm for a good year or so.

    There are 4 distinct mechanics you will need to worry about in this fight.

    1. Scorpion Phase. This will be your opening phase, and will start with everyone stacked up in the middle, in FRONT of the boss. The reason we all sit up front is to share the damage from his cleave. During scorpion phases it is all damage cooldowns, all the time.
    1a. Eventually Domo's stacks of Adrenaline get too high and he's insta-cleaving the raid. At this point the raid spreads out to trigger the next phase. Even though we are melee, I suggest hurtling yourself out from the boss as well during this transition. If the transition is triggered too slowly Domo could get another cleave off, killing the tank and whatever melee are left.

    2. Cat Phase. In kitty form Domo will leap onto various ranged raid members and leave giant fire pools on the floor. Don't worry about them, as you should be sticking squarely in the middle (having run back in after ensuring a good transition). On every leap fire cat adds are summoned and picked up by the tank. It is melee's job to kill them ASAP.All melee need to switch to the adds, period. Just like with the scorpion, Adrenaline stacks will build and Domo will leap quicker and quicker, meaning you can easily have two adds up at once before transition. If not all melee are on the ball, you might end up with three or four, overwhelming your tank.
    2a.Everyone runs back in, triggering Domo's brief human form during which he will stun you and casting Searing Seeds on everyone in the raid. Make sure debuffs on you are easy to see. The debuff timer could say anything from 5 seconds to 55 seconds. At 5 seconds run out of the raid, and not towards anyone else running out or in. At 1 second pop shammy rage, the seed will explode, then you run back in to help eat cleaves with the rest of the group. If you explode you seed in group, you will wipe the raid. End of story.
    The raid will eat 5 or 6 cleaves then transistion to cat. Then back to scorpion, then back to cat. On this transition Domo will go human and summon Burning Orbs, which look a lot like orange alien plant pods. In 25 melee usually don't worry about these. In 10m one of the orbs might show up in the middle and then it's like Baelroc. You take orb damage for as long as you can then switch with someone else.

    Tip: We find the Burning Orbs cat phase really hard on the healers, so we usually only go to 4 stacks and then switch back to scorpion. At this point flaming sycthe cleaves hit really hard but we usually only have about 15% to 10% to go. If you have a priest healer or a paladin tank you can have the tank run through the boss and eat one cleave solo. This is because both these classes have an ability that also for the tank to basically be saved from a killing blow. Just make sure the tank runs through Domo, and doesn't just try to turn him. This boss turns at the speed of molasses. A normal turn will just result in taking half the melee out.

    All in all, I find Domo a lot easier than a boss like Lord Ryoltih, because this fight just requires good situational awareness, there are no random elements involved. As long as you understand the phases it's a cinch. Though I will admit this fight does require a high level of personal responsibility, especially with searing seeds.

    Saturday, August 13, 2011

    Blog Azeroth: Shared Topic 08/08/11

    Bags and Bank Space
    This week's topic, paraphrased from Amerence
    Over the expansions a lot of soulbound items have piled up, in banks and bags alike. Tier gear, trinkets, random grey items, you name it.Some people collect this stuff, some don't.  Some do it consciously, others not so much. Amerence asks, "Would it be worth a try to suggest to Blizzard to extend the capacity of our Bag and Bank item slots? Or do you think the cost of just tailored Bags (22-30slots) will do the work?" Should storage space even be an issue at all?

    To answer this question  I first had to take inventory and see just what it is I do have in my bags and bank.

    Bags: I do try to keep my bags current and useful only. Only two (backpack and a frostweave) are full all the time. The frostweave holds my offspec gear, as well as alchemist stone, permanent flask, and hearth stone. My backpack is full of fun little things to use when bored in raid, such as my Orb of the Sin'dorei or my Spring Flowers. Everything else in my bag is alchemy mats and enchanting mats, so  I essentially always have two and half free bags for quest/dungeon/raid drops.Overall I don't really consider bag space an issue, once I've hit level cap. It seems kind of backwards that we get the big bags once we stop questing so much, as every time I've ever run out of bag space, it's when I'm leveling a new character. Maybe that's supposed to be part of the challenge or, more likely, a reminder to go into town when you have to sell stuff. (Side Note: I love the option in Torchlight where you can send your pet into town to sell things for you. We do have mounts that bring the vendors to us in WoW, but they're all at level cap and thus not helpful to leveling chars either).

    Bank: Oh are not nearly as free as my bags. I have T11 and T10 both saved, down to the trinkets. Why, I'm not sure. I didn't even really earn T10, as I came to raid ICC so late that badges basically showered down upon me and bosses tripped over themselves and spit up gear. T11 I feel like I actually earned, so maybe I can understand wanting to hold onto that. Really, though, I'm afraid that if I delete them I'll suddenly need them again. Like, Blizzard will push the rewind button and bam! we can only wear T10. It's a completely insane fear, but there it is.

    Maybe  I should just keep my favorite piece of each tier (usually judged by looks) until I have my own unique shaman gear. I don't roleplay, but it might offer me a nice compromise of keeping some of it and still having bank space.

    Next is tabards. By all accounts, I have very few tabards - they only take up one bag - and even I can see the need for something like a tabbard holder, separate from the bag and bank system, more like the title system.

    I have two bags full of holiday stuff. I always wear the holiday's clothing during the holiday and switch my title to the most festively appropriate one.

    I have a trinket and totem bag, where I keep the fun/cool ones I've collected over the levels. This includes the Totem of the Earthern Ring, my first combined totem, and trinkets like Commander's Badge, that took me forever to earn.

    Then I have the bag of things that no longer exist in this game. Primal Hakkari Tabard anyone? I have four pieces of the shaman tier 4 set, collected not because I really wanted them, but because I joined the boyfriend in facerolling Molten Core a couple times. These items have no use to me, and really no sentimental value...but it comes back to, if I delete them ...I might need them suddenly.

    Based on what I see in my bags and bank, I'd say the amount of storage space Blizzard has provided is fine, for me. There is no reason for me to hang onto half the stuff I have, if I needed more room I could easily get it - as soon as I convince myself that no NPC will ever accept that Zulian Coin for anything, ever.

    However, I am not a roleplayer and I have only played WoW for a little over a year with any sense of dedication. If I did RP, I can easily see how I would use up all my bank space in a second storing different outfits for Kaezhol. If I had played since Vanilla, I would probably care a bit more about owning a tier 1/2/3/4/etc set or hard to get items. As it is, i just haven't played enough to become attached to a large number of things.

    To sum it up: banks and bags are cluttered. Sometimes it's for good reasons (RP/nostalgia) and sometimes it's for not so good reasons (deranged belief that Gutbuster might become best-in-slot again). Ever growing bag sizes might be the easiest fix, in terms of coding or something (not that I claim to understand that); but, if Blizzard ever decided to devote the time and resources storage in WoW could really use a good makeover.A tabbard hanger, an equipment closet for sets of old gear, and trinket drawer - storage that is specific and organized. That would proabably require a huge overall of ...something? Everything? I don't know where/how things are stored in WoW dataspace now, but making it pretty probably wouldn't be...well, pretty..

    Saturday, August 6, 2011

    Blog Azeroth: Shared Topic 08/01/11

    Identity and Affiliation
    Courtesy of Akabeko
    How does your character define themselves? What part of their identity is most important to their personality and self-presentation?
    In meatspace, we have so many affiliations, it's anyone's guess whether we consider ourselves a tuba player first, or a student, a Gators fan, a New Yorker, a mother, a nerd, a liberal. Our identities are comprised of so many different aspects of life that it's hard to tell which parts different people will choose to define themselves.

    In game, there are less game-related ways to identify.
    You can identify as:

    your class - your spec
    your race - a particular subgroup (Mag'har, Wildhammer)
    your faction - a faction other than Horde/Alliance

     This topic brought up a rather curious revelation for me - my main is perhaps the least defined of all my characters. Kaezhol is who I raid with, so I spend the most time with her, but I know very little about her.

    I know small things. I know that her parents wanted her to be a paladin but she stubbornly decided to study shamanism instead; but, that she was bad at the harder (read: healing) spells so stuck to lighting axes on fire and whacking things with them. I know that she's calm unless she's fighting, and when she's fighting, she doesn't mind getting her hands dirty. I always picture her right in the middle of it: weapons swinging, grungy armor, hair slicked back with sweat. But that's it.

    It doesn't seem to make much sense, considering I love playing her. I couldn't spend twelve hours a week doing the same things over and over (like tanking the floor with my dead body) if I didn't enjoy playing her. It's just that... I don't know what her story is.

    My warrior on the other hand, now she has a story. I know where she came from and where she's going. As far as game time with her goes, however, I just use her to get enough valor points to buy Kaez bracers and then she's back on the bench.

    My lowbie druid alt is the same - though not quite as fleshed out as my warrior. But the point is she too has more of a story than Kaez. Heck - I even have half a story developed for a forsaken alt I have yet to make.

    Why does Kaez get the idenity shaft? Is it that I spend so much time thinking about her in terms of raid - did I cap valor this week? What gear is BiS this tier? How should I improve my DPS on this boss? - that I don't feel the need or have the time to think about her creatively?

    Or is it simply that I see her as an extension of myself? In WoW I am Kaez and she is me. I don't have any elaborate identity associated with her because, to me, she is already as defined as she needs to be.

    Thursday, August 4, 2011


     You know, every time  I type out this boss's name  I have to mentally think "Aly's Razor," very slowly, in order to spell it correctly.

    Quick Version: There are four phases to this fight. You will cycles through all four at least twice.
    1. While some ranged are flying through hoops and chasing the boss, we melee are on the ground taking out evil druid casters.
    2. Alysrazor crashes to the ground and you run around avoiding vortexes.
    3. The boss is pooped, so she lies there vulnerable while evil druids try to reenergize her.
    4. Flame on! Alysrazor is back up and ready to go. She’ll try to take out the raid before she heads back up. 
    The battle always begins with a knock back and AOE damage. When the pull is signaled I drop stoneclaw and pop shammy rage and end up with little to no damage taken. (If this is the first pull, wait till after the dramatic intro to use them). 

    Phase 1:
    In 25man you need at least 3 DPS on each initiate side, but it’s probably safer with four. In 10man you need two. The casters fly down as fire birds then transform into druid-of-the-flame form and start casting. They will always start with an uninterruptable Brushfire, followed by Fieroblast, which can and must be interrupted. Even without talents we can usually interrupt every cast of Fieroblast. I say usually, because about 10% of the time, for no apparent reason, they’ll double cast. If this is the case you can drop grounding totem or have one of the other melee get it. I’ve had grounding totem miss, but I think it was a range problem.

    The reason you need more than just yourself on the casters is because they come down at a preset time. You need enough DPS on them to kill them before the next lands.The always come down in this same order:
    Stay out of the middle to avoid her frontal attack when she sweeps through the center. As for feathers – pick up a feather or two if you can, but wait until the second or third molting. Healers and flying ranged have priority.

    There are worms. The tanks will be dragging the ugly hatchlings around to get them to eat the worms. Watch out for them, as at least two will always spawn in your way. The brilliance of wind shear is that it’s a ranged interrupt so just step back to avoid the worm’s flame.

    After your caster dies there should be roughly 20 seconds left before phase 2. Pick the nearest hatchling/tank combo and start wailing on it.

    Phase 2:
    This phase is singularly responsible for 85% of our wipes. Either half the raid ends up dead because of the vortexes, or we use up all our battle rezes and then the tank dies. Long story short, learn to run in a circle and you will not wipe the raid.
    If you have a feather or two, get to one of the middle to outside rings. Wait for the vortex to spawn and just follow it. The vortexes don’t start damaging immediately and you’ll have enough of a run speed buff to always stay behind it.

    If you don’t have any feathers, you still have ghost wolf. You can also alternate between two lanes. Follow one vortex to start out, when one passes you going the other way turn 180 into its lane and follow it. Then another 180 again and follow one in your original lane. It’s kind of like a NASCAR race. Left, left, left, left.

    Once you see the trick to the vortexes, they’re actually quite easy. At this point you will no longer fear a fiery death and can happily dance back and forth between them collecting rings to up your DPS in the coming burn phase.

    Phase 3:
    Stack on her tail, pop wolves, pop hero, and start mashing buttons. The better your tanks are at interrupting the reenergizers, the longer the burn phase lasts.

    Phase 4:
    Once her energy restores to 50, Alysrazor will get up and start doing heavy raid-wide damage as well as nasty attacks on the tanks. These attacks have a huge cleave range so make sure everyone but the tanks is stacked well on her tail. This is a great time for shamanistic rage. I also drop a glyphed stoneclaw right before she hits 100 energy, so that I have a bit of a shield when she knocks everyone back.

    After the knockback it’s back to Phase 1. The adds still spawn in the same place, you’re still interrupting, etc. When she finally drops from the sky you have a chance at Moltenfeather Leggings, or if your raid AND your roll is really lucky, Flametalon of Alysrazor.