A hundred thousand things to see

silvermoon02I usually alt tab into windows seconds after taking a flight. The travel takes too long and I’ve seen it all before right? Well in this particular case wrong because I’m usually in windows. I was making the epic journey from the Isle of Quel’danas to Ironforge and a word or two said in guildchat caught my attention so I stayed ingame. Compared to all the other start zones, Eversong Woods is certainly the most vivid and beautiful.

The delicate trees frame a picture perfect landscape. Its easy to imagine parking beside that lake with your picnic hamper and watching the world go by. Perhaps working up an appetite swimming or fishing.

Eversong inspires lazy days basking its golden glow. Think thats why I like it so much.

Ave, Caesar, morituri te salutant

With the new patch we get a new instance.

 

  • Your first challenge will pit you against a group of terrifying beasts the Argent Crusade captured in Northrend, including (but not limited to) a magnataur and not one, but two jormungar wyrms.
  • Some call the lieutenants of the Lich King fearsome creatures made of pure nightmare, which is doubtlessly a fitting description. How the Argent Crusade managed to capture these fiends remains a mystery; what’s less mystifying is your fate should you fail to overcome this challenge.

So we go from fighting our way into ancient temples to face off against Old Gods hellbent on bending the world to their will, taking on slightly insane dragons and fighting the Scourge in their own necropolis’s to beating up prisoners for sport.

Perhaps my ego is a little hurt that it seems in order to prove myself to these Argent guys I have to fight for fun even though I have two Old Gods, several dragons and a big fire elemental on my CV but I can’t help but find the situation a little dark. Plenty of people have already commented on the imfamous torture quest in the Borean Tundra but this seems worse. Torturing someone to save lives (I admit I was disappointed I couldn’t use the needler on the Gnomeling) on versus killing prisoners for gold and shinies, which is more distasteful? Ever other instance ingame has seen us, the heroes venture into enemy terrority, whether that be temples, keeps or lairs yet here our prey will be brought out like lambs to the slaughter. Giant worms are such wellknown evil doers…. oh wait. The terrifying beasts sounds more like the Argent Crusade’s private zoo than a clear and present danger to Azeroth.

The time to strike at the heart of the Scourge is drawing close. Clouds blanket the skies of Azeroth and heroes gather beneath battle-worn banners in preparation for the coming storm. They say even the darkest cloud has a silver lining. It is this hope that drives the men and women of the Argent Crusade: hope that the Light will see them through these trying times, hope that good will triumph over evil, hope that a hero blessed by the Light will come forth to put an end to the Lich King’s dark reign.

So the Argent Crusade has sent out the call, a call to arms for all heroes far and wide, to meet at the very doorstep of the Lich King’s domain and to prove their might in a tournament the likes of which Azeroth has never seen. Of course, a tournament such as this needs a fitting stage. A place where potential candidates are tested to the limits of exhaustion. A place where heroes… become champions. A place called the Crusaders’ Coliseum.

Is it just me that finds the whole concept ironic, heroes become champions whilst committing war crimes. Coliseum implies spectators, popcorn, a good day out for the kids and of course blood on the sand. Blood of prisoners forced to fight and since the Argent Crusade already managed to cage them, exactly how much of a fight will they produce? If in order to fight Arthas we have resorted to his own tactics, practising on prisoners, torturing people, committing wholesale slaughter does it matter whose banner ends up being raised in Icecrown Citadel, he and the Scourge have won. “For now we see through a glass, darkly” and our reflections should frighten us.

I’m interested to see how many of the people disgusted at the torture quest have an issue with this and indeed whether it will stop any of them from fighting there. From an RP perspective, Erinys certainly finds the prospect leaves a bad taste in her mouth, one she isn’t sure that all the honeymint tea in the world will erase. Will she take part, probably as her loyalty lies with those she fights along side but at the back of her mind, words once read still trace themselves through her thoughts as she lies nightmare tossed in bed “when you look long into an abyss, the abyss looks into you” and then she wakes, heart pounding.

The Ice Stone has melted, again

I’m a little disappointed in the lack of repeatable content in this year’s fire festival. Ahune whilst refusing to drop my scythe (wanted for rp purposes) or the mini flameling is really easy since he’s still lv 73. I did most of the flames last year so in order to grab enough blossoms for the few remaining things I want, I have to juggle torches every day. Juggling torches on a full server even at 7am is “tricky”.

I suppose it encourages doing stuff on new characters or leveling alts but I rather wish they had updated it even slightly. Some fires in Northrend perhaps or scaling Ahune to 80ish. Makes me a little nervous about the rest of this year’s festivals.

Edit: It seems that there are indeed new fires in Northrend.

New patch, new tears

The first version of the patch notes for 3.2.o have been released and the forums are drowning in nerf driven tears already. So here is my take on what we know so far.

The good:

  • Isle of Conquest, the new 40 vs. 40 player siege-style battleground is now available for testing. – I love big battlegrounds and I love Sota and wintergrasp so I’m hoping for big things from this.
  • All new Silver Covenant and Sunreaver daily quests and rewards have been added for players exalted with these factions. Rewards include tabards, new ground and flying mounts, and a new pet. – Whilst I hate the principle of dailies, I’m a complete and utter sucker for anything that offers vanity items. Just need to farm my way to exalted before the patch.
  • New druid art for cat and bear forms has been added – Yay, dayglo girly kitty for me.
  • Northrend Children’s Week has arrived in Dalaran! Players can find out more by visiting the Eventide District. – More mini pets :O
  • When standing at a capture point that you control, you will gain a buff called Honorable Defender. This buff grants +50% honor gained from kills. This currently affects Arathi Basin, Eye of the Storm and Isle of Conquest. – Might actually have some company whilst defending the Lumber Mill now.
  • Chain Heal: Jump distance increased to 10 yards. In addition, the amount of healing now decreases by 40% as it jumps to each new target, instead of 50%. – Whilst I think this is a start, I really don’t think it will fix shaman problems completely. Its cast time is still clunky, so there is the risk of lots of overheal. 10 yards really isn’t much either as people tend to use the range checker on DBM which means that everyone bar the melee are likely to be 11 or more yards apart.
  • Ghost Wolf: Can now be learned at level 16. While in this form, snaring effects may not bring the shaman below base normal run speed. – More reasons to bounce around in dogform.
  • All stackable potions now stack to 20. –  Finally bag space.
  • Non-Combat Pets: 8 new pets have been added (not including Argent Tournament rewards). Raptor Hatchlings can be found on rare and elite raptors throughout the game world. In addition, an Obsidian Raptor Hatchling can be purchased from Breanni in Dalaran. – Oh happy days.
  • The Nexus: The Oculus & The Eye of Eternity – Vehicles (drakes) used in these instances now scale with item level. – The gnomeling and I might actually manage to two man the final boss in the Oculus now. Yay, something new to try.
  • Ominous Clouds in the Yogg-Saron encounter are now more vocal about touching players. –  Wonder if this means they are going to yell out “X touched me” or words to that effect. Makes me glad we have the fight on farm already so I’ve had lots of practise at dodging them.

The bad:

Priest Nerfs :O (not that I’m biased at all.

  • Prayer of Healing: The percentage of spell power this spell gains in healing (per target) has been reduced from 80.7% to 52.6%. - Although looking at parses from our recent raids, I’ve been noticing I use this less and less. Unless we are running with hardly any healers at all, it just ends up as overheal due to the number of smart heals bouncing around. As an example tonight we did Razorscale, Ignis, Deconstructor hardmode, Kologarn, Mimiron, Hodir hardmode and the Cat Lady whose name I can not spell. Now thats fights with lots of aoe damage yet prayer of healing made up less than 10 percent of my effective healing. If thats the only real nerf that holy  priests receive I really don’t see my raid role disappearing just yet. In fact if used carefully, it might end up still contributing a similiar amount of effective healing just cutting down on the overheal component. I would like to see a mana reduction however especially since replenishment is also being nerfed.
  • Penance: Cooldown increased to 12 seconds, up from 10 seconds. – I find this nerf a lot harder to understand than the Prayer of Healing one to be honest. Having to glyph to stay in the same place you were before the glyph was introduced in the first place seems like a rather large slap in the face.

The ugly:

  • Any dungeons that previously dropped Emblems of Heroism or Valor, such as Naxxramas or Heroic Halls of Stone, will now drop Emblems of Conquest instead. Emblems of Conquest can still be converted to Valor or Heroism. – So the gnomeling and I can two man badges of conquest, the same reward we get for doing hardmode Ulduar with 23 other people. Ok, unless they add new rewards its not like I need more of them, but this does seem a little crazy even though they are adding a new tier of badges for the new content.
  • The newest season of Arena gear can only be purchased if you meet the requirements with your 3 or 5 player team rating. Rating requirements from 2 player teams can still be used to purchase the previous season of gear. – Oh well, no point in us arenaing then. Its not that I’m particularly antisocial just that I really don’t like committing to anything outside raids. I did 5 v 5 for a while back in season 3 and trying to get everyone available whilst all of us raiding 5 nights a week was virtually impossible. I really don’t want to go back to that which is a shame since thats exactly what our priest/warlock combination were going to be for.
  • Crusaders’ Tribute: Active on heroic difficulty only, the tribute system will limit players on the number of attempts the raid is allotted each week. Additional rewards can be earned depending on the number of attempts left in the tribute run each week when the final boss is defeated. – If I’m reading this correctly, I hate it. Things which limit the amount of tries you have on a boss per week are not fun. They cause all kinds of guild drama and emoness which is really unpleasant for everyone concerned. Especially when your server is best described as unstable and some nights you have people dcing on every single try.

Its a mixed bunch really. Have to say I’m glad I’m not a tanking death knight as Blizzard seem to be gutting everything tanky about their class at once. Priestwise I’ll be glad if we escape without any more nerfs but some new glyphs would be nice, unless of course the nerf to replenishment forces me back to using glyph of flash heal. The whole concept of the Coliseum raid instance doesn’t fill me with excitement, sure the Ring of Blood was fun the first time around and ok the second but since we will be able to run it 4 times a week, I think the novelty value will wear off pretty fast.

Full notes can be found at: Blizzard.

It takes two baby, it takes two

One of the reasons I enjoy playing WoW so much is the clear progression you can see in your character. As you advance both through levels or tiers of content you (nerfs not withstanding) become stronger, things become easier and its obvious that you are moving forwards.

Now I’ve mentioned before that the Gnomeling and I find two manning things not designed to be two manned (two personned sounds stupid) relaxing. We had great success with Heroic Old Kingdom back in the first weeks of being 80 and managed to pick off a few bosses in various of other heroics as well. However we hit a brick wall with two particular bosses:

Trollgore in Drak’theron Keep and Meathook in the Culling of Stratholme.

No matter what we tried we just couldn’t get past the stacking debuffs they cast. However months have past and we have both collected a variety of loot since then so we thought lets try again.

Heading to Stratholme first (my favourite instance ingame), I was my usual holy build and I have to admit I was a little nervous. Neither of us can do particularly awesome dps and my memories of the last time we tried were a little depressing. When he spawned, Tabs positioned him against a corner so I was out of line of sight of the evil abomination to avoid the constricting chains. Aggroing a passing zombie in the first few seconds of the fight, it turned out that prayer of mending bouncing between us (hooray for zombies) was enough to cope with the bulk of the healing with the odd direct heal thrown in.

meathook01

All in all, it really didn’t seem as it were on heroic. Sure, I think we will need either a massive increase in prot warrior dps or another 10 levels before we can do the timed event with us 2 of us. We did however clear the rest of the instance without any issues. I was actually asleep for 90 percent of the Mal’ganis fight which doesn’t say much for demon dps.

All happy with our success beating those naughty time changing dragons, we headed off to Drak’theron Keep to take on a big angry Troll. The last time we tried, we tanked him in the doorway and I tried to kill the trolls as they came down stairs whilst sustaining the healing required to keep up the gnomeling. It was a total failure. We felt the stategy was probably correct and just had to hope this time “I had learnt to play”. I managed to kill two out of three trolls everytime because the healing required was so miminal but I’m still going with it being skill not gear (its my blog and if I say its skill, it is, honest). On a side note, disc is completely awesome for doing this (I made my second spec disc for our General “I’m a great big annoying bluebottle bug thing from hell” Vezax hardmode tries and whilst I adore holy for raid healing, disc has surprisingly grown on me). Turns out from a 2 man perspective at least, Novos and his stupid blizzards are far more annoying to heal than the cannibal troll.

Stratholme and Drak’theron are both pretty similar in boss design. You have your dps race (or tank/healer test when 2 manning) first. Then you have some annoying caster type with randomish irriating stuff and for desert you have two completely trivial bosses who require virtually no effort from anyone. Which from a design perspective seems a little odd, surely the last boss should be the hardest not the easiest?

Nest

I’ve had several attempts at making mages in the past. My most successful attempt was an aweinspiring level 22 (I desparately wanted blink, got there and kind of lost the plot) but this time…. this time its going to be different.

nest

Meet Nest, no of course thats not her real name. As a small child she was fond of exploring, of getting dirty, of climbing things and so her hair was often likened to a bird’s nest by her long suffering and terribly dainty mother. The name, like the engine oil and deck polish in her hair, stuck fast and Nest she became.

Coming from a family of sailors, Nest imagined a life at sea or failing that one spent cooking. Certainly nothing to do with study, with turning other living creatures into sheep or blowing them up. Magic was something that other people in far away cities had, there was sea salt in her blood not arcane power. Yet things don’t always work out the way we want to them to and it seemed the grand design had no room for Nest the sailor, only Nest the unwilling mage.

Random thoughts are random

I haven’t written much recently. Its not that I’m not playing much because I am. Its just that the Ulduar Hardmodes are taking up most of my time and leaving me feeling pretty jaded. Plus there isn’t much of interest to write about relating to them. I could do tactic posts, but for a lot of content what works for us (winging it) wouldn’t necessarily work for other raid groups nor it is necessarily the easiest or simplest way to do it.

So some random observations from my last week or two of playing.

Teasel got to 80. DPSing is harder than healing. Or at least they are two completely different mindsets and in my first raid (albeit far from hit capped as I wasn’t intending doing anything PvE wise for another week or two) I found it far harder than I expected to do decent damage. My PvP gear on the other hand is coming on in leaps and bounds, helped no doubt by the fact that slaughtering people in PvP is far easier than sustaining dps in raid instances whilst wearing PvP gear.

In Ulduar we are working on General Vezax hardmode. As a primarily Holy Priest this fight is not fun on normal so the Hardmode makes me want to curl up in a little ball going “la la la la” til the big evil bug thing goes away. On Sunday I’m going to try a slightly weird disc spec purely for the fight so I’ll do a post about that. Fingers crossed it works the way I want it to.

Having done Thorim Hardmode, if Sif was that annoying in person, bouncing around blinking, frost novaing and aoeing people I’m not at all surprised that someone killed her. In fact I might do Halls of Lightning this week and buy Loken a cold beer. Also I get how Thorim can see the illusion of his dead wife whispering stuff in his ear, but how come we can see and more importantly feel her too.

Altwise, my hunter (attempt number 7 at leveling a hunter) reached level 11 and got a pet. I picked up a strand crawler crab thing which is currently nameless. The boyfriend’s attempts at helping on the naming front have been less than helpful, he thinks calling it “STD” would be both amusing and original.

I’m trying to decide which alt to transfer over next, its roughly a toss up between my shaman and my druid but I can’t quite make up my mind. Pink kittens versus ghost wolves…. hmmm.

On a brighter note, when leveling herbalism in Azshara I noticed just how pretty it was early in the morning. I’ve always felt that this is underused zone, made even worse by the passing of time and two expansions.

AzsharaGiven that leveling requires less and less quests I really think that Blizzard need to do something about all these beautiful but empty landscapes. In the hours I spent wandering around picking flowers and taking screenshots, I didn’t see a soul. Its like having your own personal seaside garden complete with a sandy beach and lots of ivy clad architecture.

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