Ulduar – the best looking instance?

One good thing about wiping on new content is the fact that you get plenty of time to have a good look at your surroundings.

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Most of Vanilla WoW’s instances were dark, dank and full of either orcs or bugs. Neither of which are a particularly attractive species.

TBC brought us neon pink Bloodelf decorations, more dark dank stuff in the Black Temple and Naga. Although I have to admit a slight fondness for troll related instances and karazhan. BT, SSC and TK I loathed with a passion I usually reserve for Brussel Sprouts.

Ulduar on the other hand is diverse. Different zones with different types of ornamentation, trash mobs and a completely different feel. Light airy zones intermingle with darker more mechanical ones. There is a feeling of space, of openness and the impression you could easily get lost whilst exploring.

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Given that raiders will be spending a large amount of time in a new instance, its look and feel are important. Personally after my very first Tempest Keep raid I would have been happy never to return so to find Ulduar is for  the most part easy on the eye helps take some of the pain out of corpse running.

Another reason to hate achievements

So the other night we killed the Iron Council in Ulduar. For some unknown reason I didn’t get the kill achievement ticked off, but I did however get:

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I ticketed a GM explaining the problem and asking to be awarded the kill so the achievement for clearing that particular area of the instance would display with the correct date. My response, after they scared the living daylights out of me by logging my character was this:

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My boyfriend was out mining this morning whilst I was in bed and woke me up to the shocking news that my character was online. For a couple of horrific minutes I thought I had been hacked. Turns out it was just some Blizzard employee trying to discover if I was telling the truth.

Despite the fact that I got the achievement for the Stormcaller, despite the fact that I have one more token than I have boss kills… they can’t prove I was there. Makes you wonder exactly what they do log.

As for why it annoys me, I hate things being inaccurate. I have been to every one of our Ulduar first kills and I understandably wish my achievements to correctly reflect this.

Under the Sea

Under the Sea

Or more accurately under a lake in Nagrand.  I can’t help thinking this is taking swimming mounts to a whole new extreme though and why isn’t my flaming horse heating up the lake and killing all the plant life?

I’m holding out for a hero

Or my random reflections on the patch.

I’m really enjoying Ulduar, for the first time we have challenging content this expansion. However I can’t help thinking its a bit too easy. We are now 5 bosses down in two nights, techinically one because all we did the first night was get stuck in random places. Having the floor disappear on you in Ulduar was one thing, seeing yourself fall through Dalaran another entirely.

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So that lead to

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See the teenage mutant ninja turtles and their ratty master. The end of that particular journey was a graveyard in Crystalsong Forest from which all had to take res sickness. Fun fun fun.

However when I compare our Ulduar progress to that in MC, BWL, Naxx the first time around, AQ 40 and even TBC content, we never just walked in and killed that many bosses on the first few nights. I realise that partly why they  implemented hardmodes, but call me picky, but I want harder fights with different mechanics rather than doing the same fights in a slightly different way.

XT-002 Deconstructor adds a whole new meaning to tank and spank fights. By the time we killed him, I never wanted to hear his annoyingly whiney voice again. Next week, I’m doing it with the sound off.

Divine Hymn is awesome. Ignoring the Flame Leviathan, all the other four bosses we did last night require massive amounts of aoe healing at points, cue the fabulous Divine Hymn. Prayer of Healing also being castable on any party is rather sweet, given the amount of raid damage that Ulduar seems to favour (a slightly easier Sunwell mark 2 perhaps).

All in all, I’m pretty taken with Ulduar. From a  visual perspective, I like the differences between the areas we have seen so far. None of this depressingly similar look for the whole instance a la Molten Core. The first fight was completely different to anything I’ve done so far and whilst I thought I hated vehicle fights (still hate Malygos) it turned out to be really good fun. The other fights required huge amounts of aoe healing and movement which help add an extra level of excitement to them (for me at least, I tend to dislike fights like Patchwerk where its as simple as stand there and heal X til the boss dies).

The Argent Tournament = my second new favourite thing (the first obviously being Ulduar now that the server has stopped trying to slaughter us wholesale everytime we enter).  Perhaps it appeals to my hopeless romantic side, after all as a small child I loved reading about knights in shining armour and tales of daring do .

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Have to admit I’m glad it is a neutral zone though (slight hint of cowardice which doesn’t sit with the whole knight thing I know) but especially on my priest I prefer doing dailies knowing I can’t be slaughtered by players.

It seems that we aren’t the other Northrend inhabitents wishing to fight the good fight.

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The penguins are amassing their forces too.

Enjoying the fishing dailies, although fishing in River’s Heart alongside three quarters of the servers level 80s is a bit scary, both sides eyeing each other up. What would happen if there was blood in the water I hate to think. Speaking of which, for the blood frenzy one, other people’s blood pools are trackable with the fish finder and they last a while so you can share.

Over all, I can’t really think of any negatives.

Patch Day Blues

Its 23.12 CET and the server has found multiple amusing ways in which to kill us. So far we have only managed one boss in Ulduar between the lagspikes and mass dcs. The server has been restarted at least 5 times and I’m currently staring at Razorscale’s backside casting prayer of healing, an action I’ve been doing for the last 15 minutes. In fact we have spent more time getting stuck in instances/outside instances/in the middle of nowhere/falling to our deaths over and over again than we actually have fighting.

Moral of this story? Don’t raid on patch day.

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On the plus side, I did get some fairly good shots of the drake in question.

Dual Speccing: then the shadows come (part 1)

I’ve spent most of the four years I’ve played a priest being holy, its the safe spec, the comfortable one. Its spec number two that has me cowering in the bushes hoping the nasty patch will just go away.

Given the nature of my guild (fairly small, but progression minded), my second spec has to be shadow but as it dawned on me recently what I know about raiding as shadow is rather pathetic. To make matters worst, we don’t have a raiding shadowpriest in the guild so I have to do my own research. Eeeeek.

So where to start. My first thought was Elitist Jerks, after all they know everything right? However whilst there was a wealth of information about shadow as it is now, PTR stuff seemed rather limited.

Spec: I’m thinking this. However there are so many variables I just don’t know the answer to and that scares me.

  • Do I need threat reduction? Come Ulduar and our tanks stacking effective health rather than threat will I be at risk of pulling aggro? If the answer to this is yes, then surely I need to find points for either shadow affinity orveiled shadows. I’m gambling on the answer being no.
  • Will mana be an issue? Should I be taking veiled shadows for the shadowfiend cooldown?

Also the majority of specs I looked at, all had two points in Improved Vampiric Embrace and I just don’t get why. Am I missing something obvious? I know I put 2 points in it myself in that build, but only because I can’t quite decide what I would rather take. The only possible reason I could come up with is for grinding, but since I never grind alone, its more likely I’ll be doing that as holy. Then there is the improved shadowform talents, are they really necessary for raiding? How often do you need to remove movement impairing effects in an instance? Not that often that I can think of.

Attempt number 2 looks more like this, with one point still spare whilst I try and figure out where I want to put it.

Outland Bound again

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Back in Outlands on my warlock. It feels a bit weird, I mean everyone else is leveling death knights so at least we get to be unique snowflakes. Did some 51-60 and 61-70 AVs and literally it was 80 percent death knights, 12 percent ret paladins and the remaining 8 percent fielding one representative per remaining class. For some strange reason I find being bounced all over the place rather frustating, in fact if I ever got the person who conceptualised death grip alone….. hmm lets leave that train of thought right there.

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When Teasel bravely entered the Dark Portal looking for career prospects and all that, I’m pretty sure she wasn’t expecting to have run around looking like this. In fact on the path to lv 64, I’ve had around 5 pairs of pants… and guess what, they all looked like those. Likewise, I’ve had multiple chests and not one of them has been a dress. Ah, well only another 4 levels and several hundred bloodelf deathknight corpses to wade through before shes in Northrend wearing terribly serious, muted green, gray and dark purple dresses. Maybe I’m just a little picky, but it annoys me on some basic level that all leveling gear looks the same. For casters in the Burning Crusade we have the mismatched slut look and in WotLK we have the governess look. I realise that in the priority list of developer and designer stuff, the look of loot that gets disgarded as soon as people hit the level cap is pretty low and sure I whine when there is months without new content… but if I wanted to be running around looking like a burlesque clown, I would be doing something entirely different with my free time.

More cheerfully, I’m loving the burst of my warlock. Nothing beats being able to chaos bolt for 2.5k annoying little twink mages who think they are safe in their shields, or nuking through pain suppression. My first warlock was destruction way back when demonology hardly qualified as a talent tree and I got addicted to setting things on fire back when PvP equalled Southshore/Tarren Mill (cue misty eyed rant about having to walk up mountains barefoot to farm soulshards to PvP  with). Whilst I accept its not the best leveling spec (I would have serious sustainability issues without a pet priest),  its certainly great fun for PvP.

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