Burn Baby Burn

Spellsteal is addictive, also my Mage is now level 80 which makes her my eighth character to reach the level cap.

That rankwatch addon is almost as bad as gearscore in the annoying stakes. The next person who whispers me and says that I’m using the wrong rank of rejuvenation, renew or anything else is going to get hurt, even if I have to level a Horde to do so. Yes, I’m using a lower level rejuvenation, that’s because I just stole it from a lower level druid….grr. Trying to carry on a conversation in a battleground or Wintergrasp whilst that is spamming you is tricky.

The curious case of the missing tick

I was playing around with WoWhead’s Cataclysmic data and I noticed something horrible. Renew on the beta only lasts 12 seconds down from the 15 it is on live.

A quick check of rejuvenation indicated the same thing, the level 85 rank has a 12 second duration.

If this goes live, it seems as if Blizzard are intent on stamping out pre-hotting one way or another.

Also

Healthstones are good and good players use them. If bad players continue to ignore Lightwell, we can live with that. If it becomes as useful as a Healthstone, perfect.

Also note that ignoring a Healthstone (or Lightwell) will be essentially like casting a mana drain on your healer, which is not the case today.

If Lightwell worked the same way as a Healthstone I would use them all the time. If the Lightwell went down before the fight began and people could collect a little beam of light to use whenever they needed, every Holy Priest would take Lightwell. However since that is not the case, two are not comparable.

I’m also a little worried about the implications of that statement. Holy Priests are the only healing spec burdened with a Lightwell so are we going to be the only ones suffering from these “mana drains” because our regen model is designed around people using it (even though it’s an optional talent which the majority of people hate)? Or are raids expected to bring a Lightwell and Healthstones as well as Health pots and bandages? Either way I have mixed feelings about Cataclysm and healing already.

Screenshot Saturday – Glitches

Can you guess the location of the bottom two pictures?

Wintergrasp Blues

I’m really beginning to loathe Wintergrasp, not because it has vehicles in it, or because it’s on a timer but because of the imbalance.

My server is high population but the Horde definitely outnumber the Alliance, possibly by as many as three to one. Of the Alliance, although there are still plenty of us, most people just aren’t interested in Wintergrasp by this point in the game. At the start when people actually wanted stuff of the various bosses, the win/loss ratio was roughly 50/50 but over time, we seem to win maybe once a day if we’re lucky.

Which means that games even at peak times tend to be in the region of 60 Alliance versus 120 Horde. Tenacity does absolutely nothing when 10 people are beating up on you and the extra damage portion just doesn’t pack a hard enough punch, although 23k starfires are nice when they land on undergeared trolls with offensively named pets.

So there we are, bravely battling on in an attempt to get my Mage her shoulders, when completely ignoring the numbers, people start whining about how the Alliance suck and it’s so easy for the Horde. Of course it’s easy when you completely outnumber the opposition. Arathi Basin is easy when there is 6 of them and 15 of you.

Implementing a one to one ratio surely wouldn’t be too hard and might even make them more money as people transfer faction to ensure they get games. Tenacity as it stacks should shorten cc duration, possibly even making you immune to cc completely if it reaches really high numbers. For the purpose of taking workshops and the like, people with tenacity should count as more than one person (some sort of scaling perhaps dependent on how many of each side are in-game), otherwise you just can’t take nodes if the numbers are heavily skewed. Vehicle health needs to scale better as well, because otherwise you just can’t keep them alive long enough to knock anything down.

However, ignoring that, I have to admit being worried about Cataclysm and Tol Barad. We need a number balancing system or a form of tenacity which works, otherwise it’s going to be impossible for us to compete and I don’t think I can take another few years of Horde making Alliance characters so they can crow about how much we all suck because they win when they have double the numbers.

Crocolisk Dreams

The one thing I really want from Cataclysm is a crocolisk mount.

Just like this one. No silly armour or saddles, just a plain, scaly crocolisk. Uldum would be the perfect place to introduce them, all that sand and Egyptian theme. Obviously I’ll settle for a camel but my heart’s really set on a crocolisk.

The Tale of Lyloid

Earlier this week, or possibly last week, Apple wrote about characters with gimmicks or quirks. So go and read her post if you haven’t already. Lyloid (who is Mr Harpy’s alter ego) has been around for a while and I’d been wondering about how best to blog about the little creature. Thank you Apple for helping to clear my head on the subject.

Every Gnome needs a cause. For some it’s the dream of taking back Gnomeregan, for others its the the thought of finally inventing something which doesn’t backfire. For Lyloid, it’s the thought of wiping Hemet Nesingwary and his cronies from the face of Azeroth.

It all began, as these things often do with a broken heart. Left alone whilst her best and only friend went off to fight the Scourge, Lyloid with pure Gnomish logic figured out that she too could venture to Northrend and be a hero. The boat from Stormwind deposited her on the cold wastes of the Borean Tundra and so Lyloid immediately set about exploring. Letters from home had told her that her friend was taking a brief spot of R & R in Sholezar Basin but without a map, travel proved tricky.

The first safe harbour she found was the D.E.H.T.A camp and it didn’t take many pamphlets to sway young Lyloid completely. Not only had she safely found Northrend but a few hours in, she already had a mission. She was going to hunt down the Butcher and all his followers. What better place to start than the deer hunters of the Borean Tundra.

Whilst I’m sure plenty of people get their first honourable kill in Northrend these days, I can’t help wondering just how many manage it at level 18 and I’d put money on the fact that very few level 18s score their first kill against lv 72s. (I actually felt rather sorry for the Shaman in question, but Lyloid was running straight at them and one shock would kill her…. so I didn’t have much choice).

Having spent a few successful hours culling Nesingwary’s lackeys and collecting their ears, Lyloid decided to hit Hemet closer to home… his son in Stranglethorn would be the perfect victim.

Lying in Wait

Gnomes are patient creatures, like crocolisks they can lurk submerged for hours just waiting for the perfect moment. Eventually some Undead Priests turned up, ready to slaughter wildlife for gold and secondhand clothing. No doubt they really weren’t expecting a lv 20 green haired gnome to throw itself at them. The element of surprise left Lyloid victorious once again.

Whilst so far the campaign has been successful, Lyloid realises that there is still a lot of wildlife to protect. Her next target is protecting Stanley from the Forsaken and then October might see her in Dragonblight preventing pup stealing by those evil Tuskarrs.

Knowing the enemy

However, wherever Lyloid ends up, her one true goal is eliminating Hemet. So next time you’re doing one his quests, be careful that a tiny ball of greenhaired gnome doesn’t throw itself at you.

(This is the reason I can’t leave him alone to play WoW without me).

Sunday Screenshots – Into the Mist

This is my favourite part of the Borean Tundra. I love the eye of the storm effect and because you rarely if ever find any other players doing these quests, it’s always peaceful.

A Naga Temple with a statue to Queen Azshara inside.

A closer view of the statue because I love the Medusalike look of her.

The Many Flavours of Polymorph

Besides Blink my main reason for rolling a Mage in the first place was a certain spell called Polymorph. In fact my addiction is so bad, I’m secretly hoping that Blizzard keep their promise about the Cataclysm dungeons needing CC and lots of it.

Anyway, polymorph comes in multiple flavours.

  • The common or garden variety sheep. All Mages learn this at lv 8.
  • Penguin. Personally I find this one too cute, it would be like frostbolting Mr Chilly in the face. It’s learnt from a minor glyph and can usually be found on the Auction House. As soon as you get your first minor glyph at level 15, you can use this.
  • Black Cat. The book which teaches this requires level 60 and can be bought from Endora Moorehead, one of the owners of the “Sisters Sorcerous”. It’s on a limited spawn timer and costs 2375g (since all Mages start out as friendly with the Kirin Tor the friendly discount is already deducted. If you are not a Mage and neutral with the Kirin Tor, it costs 2500g and its 2000g if you are exalted). Whilst I liked the idea of turning people into cats, I feel the model cat is a bit too small and can easily be overlooked in both PvP and PvE. That said, if my Mage was a Bloodelf, I think this would be my polymorph of choice.
  • Turtle. This can be obtained in one of two ways. Either you can farm it yourself from Zul’Gurub or you can keep checking the Auction House to see if it shows up there. If you go for the former, you will need someone who can fish up Gahz’ranka and then it’s just a case of hoping it drops. Requires level 60.
  • Rabbit. This book is only obtainable during Noblegarden. During the Festival it can be bought from a Noblegarden Vendor for 100 Noblegarden Chocolates. This also requires level 60 and unlike the other polymorphs learnt from a book, this one is bind on pickup.
  • Pig. Again this requires level 60 but unlike the others this is taught by a quest rather than a book.

As soon as my mage hit 60, I went running off to Azshara to learn that exceedingly important spell, polymorph pig. Whilst I’m pretty sure that Blizzard won’t be removing this crucial spell, we know Azshara will be changing and it’s likely that polymorph pig will just be something you learn from your trainer. Therefore I really wanted to experience the quest before it vanishes (it doesn’t count for Loremaster however).

The brief chain starts at Archmage Xylem who can be found up his tower in the Azsharian mountains and you need to be level 60 to pick it up. As far as I can tell, there are no breadcrumb quests from the Mage Trainers sending you there.

Quest Number 1 sends you off to kill Warlord Krellian, a Naga who resides in the large temple down at Zin-Malor. The second quest is where the fun begins. You have to polymorph the Spitelash Naga and then when they turn into lots of little sheep, you have to kill them. The best way of doing this is to wait for the the Naga to despawn and then hit arcane explosion right where their body was. Your screen should then fill up with exploding sheep.

If you are already in the habit of using turtle, cat or rabbit, you need to swap back to the basic sheep version for the quest. If your sheep is glyphed, that’s fine though.

Pig is currently my polymorph of choice, possibly because it came from a quest. When you cast it, there are three possible pigs you could end up with.

Exhibit A

Exhibit B

Exhibit C

Yes, the difference between A and B is very slight, but they are different, honest. In between wandering around, they chew on grass and generally look adorable.

Ideally however, I want all the different versions of the spell. That way, if Cataclysm does require CC and there are multiple Mages in the same group/raid, we can all use different ones and have a visual way of identifying which mob belongs to which Mage. I hope Cataclysm brings new Polymorphs, I’d like to see a bird perhaps (the hyacinth macaw model would be fabulous) or maybe a little deer. Although reading from the “Polymorphic Rules and Regulations“, it sounds as if some animals are just unsuitable choices.

Rule# 1: Do not turn a creature of lesser intelligence into a creature of higher intelligence – Cerebral brain function rarely translates in a polymorph… But sometimes it does. Voracious creatures such as serpents and wolves need not have their predatory instincts honed with a human mind. We feel obligated to quote Small Claims Disaster Case 12651-B, Labelled, “Bartholemew: The Bear who Bears Arms.”

Having said that,  on rereading the first line of  this, it sounds like Mages break the rules every time they cast polymorph in PvP.

Grumbles

Out of all the Paladin tanks that my little Mage has seen through the Looking for Group tool, 98 percent have been allergic to Righteous Fury. They don’t buff it at the start and when it’s absence is pointed out and they put it on, they don’t rebuff it when it falls off. Of course, when they lose aggro, it’s not their fault even if it’s the healer who overtook them in threat.  To say I find it frustrating is an understatement and what was perhaps more understandable in the lower levels by lv 64 has just become a huge annoyance.

Then there are the tanks who show up with resurrection sickness (seen a few of these), the ones who can’t hold aggro on one mob but still insist on hitting the sheep at least once and those that stand with their backs to half the mobs all the time and then blame the healer for their squishiness. Oh and people who use taunt every time it’s off cooldown like clockwork, even though the mob they taunt is looking firmly at them. In fact the favoured pulling technique of several tanks I’ve encountered has gone something like this. Run at mobs, white hit them a few times and then use taunt, so the only threat they have is the damage from the white hits.

Taunt
30 yd range

Instant 8 sec cooldown
Requires Defensive Stance
Taunts the target to attack you, but has no effect if the target is already attacking you.

Of course when someone gets aggro 3 seconds later, it takes them a while to respond. In all the instances we have done, the tanks (I use the term loosely) have caused more issues than everyone else combined. They have also been more obnoxious than anyone one else.

Am I alone in not feeling comfortable pointing out the mistakes of strangers? I know if I were tanking on a paladin and not using righteous fury,  I would want to someone to say something but experience has taught me that most people either explode into abuse or leave group, when someone says something negative about their play style. Therein lies the issue, especially when you have such high queue times as two dpsers. Do you say nothing and just tone down your dps appropriately? Do you just dps full out and hope that through the use of novas and high dps you can just kill stuff regardless of a bad tank? Or do you risk Mr Bad Tank having a hissy fit half way through the instance and leaving?

If nothing else, I’ve ended up with a massive admiration for people who manage to level mainly through the Looking for Group tool. Every second instance I’ve done, I’ve left feeling distinctly grumpy.

Spot the Difference

My Mage hit 58 tonight and I finally realised what was bugging me about her.

Here she is outside the Dark Portal

and here she is again, questing in Duskwood at around lv 28.

That’s a difference of 30 levels and yet she looks exactly the same. Yes, her health and mana have increased and she hits considerably harder these days, but she’s been wearing the exact same clothes since day 1. That dress has crossed deep blue seas, it’s been covered in salt, guts, mud and blood, she’s slept in it and climbed mountains in it. By rights it should be a shrunken, smelly rag by now.

I know before heirlooms I always used to moan when I hit Outlands, 10 levels of looking like you got dressed in the dark doesn’t do much for a girl’s self esteem but I hate the fact that I (a) look like pretty much every other caster out there and (b) look just the same as I did when I crash landed on this planet in the first place. Yes, I realise that wearing them is a choice but as much as I like questing, when you’ve levelled multiple characters over the years, I still like the experience boost. Doing dungeons with a group of casters and watching as everyone passes on the blue weapons, chests and shoulders because they all have heirlooms is a bit sad too. Heirlooms have invalidated so much of the existing loot tables. Then there is something a bit creepy about seeing all these people wearing the same thing, it looks as if somewhere there must be a factory turning out identical and no doubt evil Draenei, Humans and Gnomes.

Unfortunately though it seems as if heirlooms are here to stay, with the addition of even more slots come Cataclysm. I don’t know, maybe I’m a special snowflake in the sense that I actually like getting new gear as I progress. It’s part of the levelling story along with new talents and spells. Picking up dungeon blues, quest rewards, looking at what craftables and checking the Auction House, that’s always been one of my favourite parts of the journey, but now there isn’t much point. You make a character, run it to a mail box and collect clothes which will do just fine for the next 80 levels.

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