Previous month:
September 2010
Next month:
November 2010

October 2010

My Week in WoW

WoWScrnShot_102610_191712

Last week's WoW time was somewhat curtailed by the livestream of Blizzcon taking up most of my attention (and it rocked to share thoughts and reactions to the panels real-time via twitter; not as good as being there but still pretty darn fun.). But I made up for it this week:

  • My Alliance warlock, seen here watching the circling bats at Telredor, dinged 66 today. I am a terribly slow leveler, so her progress over the past 2 weeks has been phenomenal.
  • My bank alt gave in and bought her 4th guild bank slot. Now, I have to do a sweep and make sure I am not hanging on to much in the way of pre-Cata Azeroth quest items. Somehow I don't think I am going to need those red, green, yellow and blue Un'Goro crystals again...
  • The purchase of the slot was due in part to the mass creation of Jewelcrafting items for the lock as she moves towards 450 JC (she's presently at 328 jewelcrafting.)
  • I've not managed to obtain the Headless Horseman's Mount on my Horde Shadow Priest, despite her daily attempt at it. This is fair and all, since my 3 Alliance ladies got it, mind you. I am also awash in hallowed helms and sinsiter squashlings on some toons. WTB BOA hoiday pets!
  • I didn't follow-up on trying to attain my goal of guesting on a podcast, but I did do some audience-sitting for a few post-Blizzcon podcast recordings
  • I was thoroughly charmed by the Blood Elf Druid song,  (from the Plants vs. Zombies composer who brought us the new sunflower pet's voice.)

Blogs You Should Read

Although it wasn't an incredibly busy week around the blogosphere, there were some good reads:

  • Twisted Faith wrote a post that debunks the offhand Blizzcon comment that so riled me up: "Shadow priests have been known to be bursty" (hint: no we haven't and no we're not.)
  • Cynwise posted a A Pre-Cataclysm Warlock Guide, but hurry as this manual will self-destruct in 5 weeks.
  • Twitter was abuzz with Blizzcon pickup lines, and Tastes Like Battle Chicken compiled some of her favorites.
  • This is a bit more than a week old but it's so handy I had to share it: Windsoar's list of buffs and debuffs by class.

 


Slowly But Surely Leveling my Warlock

warlock uncovers the secret of the moonkin's origin in Winterspring

The first time I logged in and played my then level 43 warlock after the patch,  My blueberry died. A couple of times. And then I died three times in short succession. I'm pretty sure I hadn't died three times in getting to that level. And thus, I nerd raged.

And then I logged off in a huff.

But as this character is intended to be my Alliance jewelcrafter (my former Alliance shaman who is a maxed out JC now resides as a troll shaman on another server), I took a dee breath and went back to her this past week. And this time, things just clicked.

  • I love having an extra bag open to collect things instead of being crammed full of soul shards.
  • My demons' names are now operating as intended so they stop startling me.
  • The blueberry has stopped dying and now adequately protects me as intended.
  • I never get low on health or mana, except after we get dismounted when running through Zeth'Gor, but even then we both live and /cackle at those silly orcs who tried to stop us.
  • I love having shard-free soulstones and healthstones.

There are a few differences I am still getting used to though:

  • What am I supposed to do with those 3 soul shards staying charged up on my portrait all the time? So far not really ever using them.
  • I am not loving having a 30min cooldown for applying a 15 min soulstone. Now I keep a stone handy and soulstone myself only if I think I am in danger of death.

Somehow, yesterday, I plowed through from 55 to 60. The motivator of having flying to visit all the candy buckets of Outlands spurred me on. And once the servers are up, I'll be back at it. Gotta get to 65 to train up the jewelcrafting after all! That leaves a month to get her to 75 which is the required minimum level, I think, for learning the Cataclysm recipes. That part is the longshot in all this. I'll be back at work on November 1 which means significantly less playtime. And Northrend questing always takes me forever and a day -- I have quest fatigue from running seven 80s through them all.

But I am hopeful that she will be the little warlock who could. Wish me luck!


Updated: Blizz Con @Home: Livestream

Despite my best refresh and clicking efforts, we did not get lucky enough to purchase tickets to Blizzcon. As a condolence prize, we ordered the livestream of the event, and are watching it (well, the pre-show right now) on the 27” iMac in glorious HD.

I am bummed to not be in Anaheim, getting to meet the many tweeps and bloggers I enjoy chatting with online. But I am happy to be sitting at home with the kitties, wearing comfy clothes, and still getting to participate virtually.

There have been some hiccups with the stream, right now probably due in large part to the opening ceremonies and pre show being viewable for free to everyone.  I’m not going to be liveblogging everything word-for-word, but I do plan to make some regular updates here with highlights of what I see/hear.

cheers!

Opening Ceremony Update

Not at all comprehensive, but these were the highlights from my POV:

  • Mike Morhaime announced the Moonkin Hatchling will be this year's charity pet! Available for sale from the Blizzard store in November.
  • Last year's Pandaren Monk pet raised $1.1 million in proceeds for Make-A-Wish.
  • Arthas has been slain ~489,000 times.

Chris Metzen

Getting all the fan love. Which makes sense. How often do CEOs get fan love? Other than Steve Jobs I can’t think of any others off the top of my head. Today's word? GEEK. The power of the word.

And MAN he does a great Arnold Conan the Barbarian impersonation.

The Geek is segment got a little long but Metzen did a nice job of getting the crowd engaged and excited. Cute how he got a little choked up over the idea of his kids watching and absorbing Star Wars for the first time.

Big announcement? The 5th and final Diablo 3 class -- demon hunter. Nice bonus that she was a fully-clothed, bad ass chick.

Also, Cataclysm will be available for download digitally as of midnight on release day, December 7. (Personally, I am OK with my release day delivery from Amazon.) Will be interesting to see if folks will be able to pre-order and download it all in advance and thus actually start playing on December 7, or if that's when downloads can start. UPDATED: later in the event they said one could start playing at midnight.

Between Sessions

Cryptozoic is going to be releasing the World Breaker WoW TCG expansion close to Cataclysm's launch. Nice to see the card game finally synching up more closely to what's happening in WoW.

Dungeons and Raids Panel

When doing the Cataclysm dungeons preview, I liked their inspired tagline for Abyssal Maw: "It's nothing like Occulus." Heh. So, not a ton of news in this panel but still a number of nice little chinks of good to hear information:

  • As previously announced, you now get your dungeon quests inside the dungeons. No more zoning in and realizing that awesome blue quest reward item requires you to have done a 7-stage quest chain on the opposite continent.
  • Long dungeons are being trimmed down (removing excess trash or extraneous wings that are not necessary to clear to complete the instance
  • Complex dungeons such as BRD that can't be cut in half (like Mauradon will be) will have teleporters to help get from section to section
  • Graveyards will be within a 30sec run back from the dungeons so no more extra long death march through Serpent Lake!
  • Improved 2D maps for all dungeons (existing and new) in Cataclysm
    • These dungeon maps -- basically incorporating what Atlas Loot used to do (great maps with boss loot details) plus details on the boss's background and abilities

 


Starcaller Anexxia

Face to Face with Algalon

My last major achievement of Wrath of the Lich King. I never really put it on my to hope for list. I was afraid of being disappointed. Especially after all the Sunday afternoons spent watching people run into fire on Mimiron Firefighter attempts...

:)

But tonight, I got to see Algalon for the first time. And after 40 minutes of working on him, we defeated him. And that makes me Starcaller Anexxia. And I am nearly teary eyed over it. Because it feels good to hit up that one last thing as the days tick down on this expansion.

Thank you Emtox for perservering on this, even in the face of flaking and no shows. This meant a lot.


The Changing Face of Spirit

Snakedriver_ZD_ScreenShot_090110_213821
Just when we had mages and warlocks conditioned to roll on +spirit gear, and shaman chastised for even thinking about taking a piece with some on it, Blizz had to go and change up everything for Cataclysm. But not everyone has gotten the message yet. And some have gotten the wrong impression that +spirit is now exclusively a healing stat.

Here's the scoop.

Clothies

Priests

Shadow Priests can and likely will take the Twisted Faith talent: Increases your shadow spell damage by 1/2%, and grants you spell hit rating equal to 50/100% of any Spirit gained from items or effects.

Holy and Discipline Priests have Meditation (Passive) - Allows 50% of your mana regeneration from Spirit to continue while in combat. Holy Priests also have the Holy Concentration talent which increases the amount of mana regeneration from Spirit while in combat by an additional 10/20%.

Other Clothies

Mages have no spirit related talents.

Warlocks have no spirit related talents. Fel Armor no longer adds Spell Power from Spirit. Life Tap (and Glyph of Life Tap) no longer use Spirit for their various effects.

Druids

Balance Druids can and likely will take Balance of Power which increases nature and arcane spell damage by 1/2% and now increases spell hit rating by 50/100% of Spirit.

Restoration Druids have Meditation (Passive) - Allows 50% of your mana regeneration from Spirit to continue while in combat.

Shaman

Elemental Shaman can and likely will take Elemental Precision which now increases your Fire Frost and Nature damage by 1/2/3% and grants you spell hit rating equal to 33/66/100% of any Spirit gained from items or effects.

Restoration Shaman now get Meditation (Passive) - Allows 50% of your mana regeneration from Spirit to continue while in combat.

Paladins

Holy Paladins now get Meditation (Passive) - Allows 50% of your mana regeneration from Spirit to continue while in combat.

What This Means for Master Looters and Raid Leaders

At this point in the game, someone's undergeared alt may still see a +spirit piece as a major upgrade even if the spirit is a wasted stat for them. When you are comparing an ilvl 200 blue to a 232 epic, there is still likely a big upgrade there. But as of December 7, that's when things get hairy.

Once Cataclysm drops, a mage or a warlock grabbing a piece of spirit gear from a priest of any flavor is akin to a DPS spellcaster grabbing a piece with dodge or a healing proc on it or a healer pitching a fit over wanting a weapon with hit on it. Yes, they should have it if it would otherwise be DE'd, but they shouldn't be getting that item over the classes and specs that can actually use the spirit points.

The big question is, how do you want to handle the +hit gear? Yes, a shadow priest can use +hit. However, they are also able to gain hit fro the spirit gear for which they should now only be competing against other priests. It's too soon to know (having not seen all the potentially gear from Cataclysm) if a shadow priest could conceivably obtain all their BiS pieces and hit the 17% hit cap without donning any pieces of hit gear. But if that does turn out to be the case, you may want to strongly consider giving warlocks and mages priority on the +hit cloth gear. What to do about weapons remains to be seen as well, until we know how Blizzard is choosing to itemize them.

Why These Stat Changes Now?

Why did Blizzard throw this big spirit monkey wrench into everyone's gear bucket? All in the name of gear homogenization.

They didn't want to have to create relics specific to each class. Or to have endless flavors of trinkets and weapons and off hands to allow for the variations that existed previously from class-to-class performing the same role. If you  play hybrids (which is almost exclusively what I play, and is exclusively what I've raided with) you've probably seen a number of times what a PITA it was to get the pieces that were right for you from an itemization standpoint, and often had to do some armor proficiency downranking to get them.

Hopefully, these changes will mean there won't be another restoration shaman raiding with the same bracers for 10 months (/wave at Emtox), and that boomkins can stop having to mix and match cloth and leather.


Friday Five: Patch 4.0.1 Edition

WoWScrnShot_101410_212622

Ah yes, the Patch she has arrived. And thus I bring you today's 5:

  1. Least Surprising Post-Patch Nerf: Shadow Word: Death.
    Remember how I wasn't convinced that spamming the heck out of SW:D was really going to be a viable tactic? Blizz agreed that they'd never intended SW:D to be the shadow priest's highest DPS spell, and quietly beat it down with the nerf bat within about 24 hours.
  2. My Favorite Spell Change: One Telescoping Button for Portals and Teleports.
    Whenever my mage sphere mod would break, the loss of 1-button access to my portals and teleports is what I usually missed most. Thank you Blizz for finally giving us 1-touch access to portals and teleports instead of forcing us to eat up another row of buttons/cast bars with them.
  3. My favorite UI Change: The Much Improved Companion Pets Tab.
    When you have 100+ pets, it can be hard to remember which little white cage has which pet inside. Or where exactly some of the pets are filed. The magnificent changes to the companion pet UI solve that -- they now spell out the names of the pets in each tab and give you an animated preview of them when selected.
  4. Most Fun Class I Play Now: Boomkin.
    Pew pew pew! /boomkin happy dance. They've already started in on the nerfs (insect swarm was the first spell hit), but having one day wherein my Alliance druid handily out DPS'd my much better geared shadow priest was a giggle.
  5. Most Bizarre Patch Bug: Amazing Appearing Tabards.
    Not just on your login screen -- but in game as well. Characters that have never donned a tabard and don't have one equipped in game are still showing up as wearing one. Weird, and apparently fixed by equipping a tabard, but a bug nonetheless. Less annoying than the launcher screen BOOM! Significantly less annoying than enchanting items and seeing "Item not yet modified" on my screen when in fact the item has been enchanted.

Which patch changes are you enjoying thus far?


UPDATED: Patch 4.0.1 New Inscription Recipes

At my trainer in IF this evening, I learned the following new recipes:

I tried out my Northrend Glyph Research which had not returned anything new for over a year and was rewarded by learning Glyph of Living Bomb. No learning from my second try at it this morning. Learned Glyph of Colossus Smash from a Book of Glyph Mastery; no further learnings from a second book.

Note that the Dalaran trainer does not have anything the IF trainer didn't have, and that if you have already learned your limited quantity glyphs from the Dalaran supplier, there is nothing new for you there either.


My Shadow Priest's Planned Patch Day Build and Glyphs

  WoWScrnShot_091310_210456

Since I've been able to do some playing around on the PTR, I have my plans solidified for my talents and glyphs when the patch comes out in the next week or so. These choices are for being raid-ready at 80. I'll certainly change things up for my off-spec and for leveling when the expansion drops on December 7.

Glyphs

As of the patch, you'll get three glyphs each for your prime, major and minor glyph slots.

Prime

  • Dispersion
    Reduces the cooldown on Dispersion by 45 sec.
  • Shadow Word: Pain
    Increases the periodic damage of your Shadow Word: Pain by 10%.
  • Mind Flay
    Increases the damage done by your Mind Flay spell by 10% when your target is afflicted with Shadow Word: Pain.

I know that Blizz wants us to move SW:Death back into our rotation, but until I actually see in action that I am using it enough to warrant its glyph, I'm choosing SW:P over it. In BC, when it was part of my rotation, I still don't think it got enough use that I would pick decreasing its cooldown over something else. And if you are spamming it trying to get those juicy big crits at the 25% and under health levels, well you'd better have a healer keeping an eye on you unless you enjoy floor hugging.

Major

  • Spirit Tap
    When you kill a target with your Shadow Word: Death and yield experience or honor, you instantly receive 12% of your total mana over 12 sec.
  • Psychic Scream
    Targets of your Psychic Scream spell now tremble in place instead of fleeing in fear, but the cooldown of Psychic Scream is increased by 3 sec.
  • Fade
    Reduces the cooldown of your Fade spell by 9 sec.

Despite not thinking I'll be using SW:D a ton, the Spirit Tap glyph seems like a good buy (especially since there aren't a ton of other glyphs in this range that I am dying to use.) The psychic Scream glyph rocks for providing PvE priests the ability to use Fear in a raid setting without sending off its targets to go find new friends. Huzzah! And given my love for using my Fade button, that glyph is also a no-brainer.

Minor

  • Fortitude
    Reduces the mana cost of your Power Word: Fortitude spell by 50%.
  • Levitate
    Your Levitate spell no longer requires a reagent.
  • Shadow Protection
    Increases the duration of your Shadow Protection spell by 10 min.

Nothing to see here. Pick your favorite boring old minor glyphs. These are the ones I've used since the dawn of inscription.

Talents

I've used MMO Champion's talent calculator to show my build. Basically, you go through the Shadow tree, minus the stun for Mind Blast and the psychic horro and sience points, then put your remaining points into Discipline.

Talents

(NOTE: Now that you get your talent points every other level, you can't spend that next point in Discipline until you hit 81.)

Rotation

I'm not set on my rotation at this point. And from all the nerding back and forth on SP.com, I don't know that anyone else is yet either. But this is what I am looking at:

SW:P > DP > VT > SW:D > MB> MF

Then wait for the MB and SW:D CDs to be back up, and refreshing DoTs as needed. Toss out your shadowfiend whenever the CD is available, starting when you are down 25% mana or thereabouts. If it's a short fight, you may want to lead with it for pure DPS boost.

Reforging

The current talk is that mastery becomes better than crit and haste only at the point that you have 1400 of each of them. Which I, not having any heroic gear, certainly do not have. So at this point, I won't be worrying about it, other than as a way to manage my hit rating. Basically, 40% of the following stats on a piece of gear may be reforged into any stat not currently present on that piece of gear:

  • Critical Strike Rating
  • Dodge Rating
  • Expertise Rating
  • Haste Rating
  • Hit Rating
  • Mastery Rating
  • Parry Rating
  • Spirit

Overall it's looking like our 4.0.1 gear stat priority would be: Intellect > Haste > Crit > Spirit > Mastery (at hit cap) or  Hit > Intellect > Haste > Crit > Spirit > Mastery (until hit cap)

For Further Patch Related Reading

 


Friday Five: Five Things You Probably Don't Know About my Shadow Priest

Anexxia Archturus ScreenShot_100707_160840

  1. Anexxia was born in January 2007. She is seen here with her co-conspirator Archturus, a disc priest with whom she duo'd a number of instances at level. I didn't start playing her in earnest until October of that year. After only a few months, I was hooked on shadowy spellcasting.
  2. By December 2007, it became clear that the friend whose server I rolled on didn't have the most inviting/friendly guild, and wouldn't be a place I could see myself join. The guild ended up dissolving and my friend ended up quitting WoW, hence why I rolled my Alliance shadow priest in December 2007.
  3. Anexxia was moved to Bronzebeard in December 2008 to join Daughters of the Horde, a guild with whom I'd become acquainted through Livejournal. I slowly leveled her up to 80, while still raiding Naxx on my Alliance druid, but by mid-Spring, toe dipping her bony toes into raiding in Naxx 10s and 25, she had usurped the druid's position as my main.
  4. Despite the fact that many folks pronounce her name Onyxia, her name was, in fact, one I made up from scratch, playing off the idea that she was an auxiliary character I had created to explore the horde-side of the game and as a break from my progression raiding guild.
  5. No, she doesn't heal. Yes, she has an offspec that the armory notes is holy. However, truth be told, she has used it approximately once. When a bunch of us were running around Northrend visiting elders. On a lark, the peeps asked me to heal. I lasted through a partial instance before one of our group members volunteered to go get his healer. *cough* Yes, I am sure I could learn how to heal if I put my mind to it. But I LOVE LOVE LOVE shadow priesting and thus am not inclined *to* put my mind to it. And that's OK. You can have me heal on my shaman, and I plan to learn how to druid heal again in Cataclysm, but for me, priesting is all about the shadowform, baby.

Two Months Until Cataclysm -- So Now What?

image from farm5.static.flickr.com

It's nice to finally have a release date in hand so I can start figuring out what I want to -- and have time to -- accomplish in game before the world changes. December 7 gives me two full months before I have to start thinking about leveling my primary toons and their professions and the alts' professions...

I'm sure that having a concrete date two months away is going to make some folks angsty. After all, if you don't have an army of alts and killed the Lich King months ago and have already been feeling like you were stuck in a holding pattern, I can see how it would seem like way too long to wait. Had I not rediscovered the joys of playing my Alliance characters, I would likely be in the cursing the release date under my breath camp.

But luckily for me, I have plenty to do and to look forward to between now and then:

  • Level warlock to 80 (she's only 40 now)
  • Level warlock's JC
  • Level a new shaman and their corresponding profession(s)
  • Farm rare pets
  • Obtain remaining old world cooking recipes
  • Work on fishing up the elusive mister pinchy and the turtle mount
  • Complete world explorer for the druid
  • Hallow's End fun and festivities
  • Pilgrim's Bounty (a.k.a. the cooking leveling holiday)
  • Find more places like the Horizon Scout that I always meant to get around to seeing and go there

So, now that we have a date in hand, what's your plan of attack?


Friday Five: Five Guild Forums Commandments

ScreenShot_092810_191435

  1. COMMANDMENT 1: Thou shalt not troll thy guildies.
    No, really. Trade is for trolling. And no one wants guidies who troll. Especially not in G or in the forums. Don't be that guy. You can't win at the Internets. And there is no winner in a difference of opinions. Put down the mouse and step away from the forums.
  2. COMMANDMENT 2: Private forums can not ever remain truly private.
    There's this function called copy/paste. And this other one called screenshot. If you slam your guild in an application in another guild's private forums, rest assured it will get back to your guild. Or make its way onto your realm forums. Watch your back. Same holds true for your own guild's forums. Save your racial slurs, sexist remarks and porn links for some place that will appreciate them. If you can't say something nice, maybe you should log off.
  3. COMMANDMENT 3: The way you treat declined apps will influence your future rounds of applicants, and the way one responds to their application being declined will influence their future guild opportunities.
    If you are nasty to failed applicants, putting them down and acting holier than thou, you'll scare off future applicants. Likewise, if you are declined for not meeting a guild's requirements or needs, and you swear at the officers and stalk them online, word will get around that you are a crazy person. Treat guild forum applications like a blind date with someone who knows all the other hotties in your neighborhood.
  4. COMMANDMENT 4: DBAD.
    Don't be a d***. This seems obvious, right? Go look at my post on how to lose friends and annoy guildies thorugh your guild forums then come back here. That's right. DBAD. Thank you.
  5. COMMANDMENT 5: Save the drama for your momma.
    Some people seem to live for starting drama on their guild forums. Perhaps you should consider a career in writing for daytime serial dramas. I guarantee that no one appreciates your /emo, your /flounce, your /devils advocate for every opinion or post shared on the forums. This is especially true for interpersonal dramas. If you have a rpoblem with a guildie talk it out -- in private.

Major thank yous go out to all my tweeps who gave input and ideas for this list, especially to Druidis4fite. What would you add to round out a top 10?