Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Loot drama, across the universe...

Only rolling onward, because we can't find reverse!

In a recent, not-guild planned raid, one of the Warlocks won 3 out of 4 cloth caster epics, and was apparently close to winning the 4th. Now this seems to be cause for complaint, with all manner of odd and wonderful loot systems being proposed to "rectify" this error.

So what are the sides to this story? Generally we hope people are sensible when it comes to loot, and that they are not really just here for the whoring. Why a sensible person might be magnanimous and actually not roll for their 4th epic of the night, and give someone else a chance. They might consider that by taking all the items themselves they a) have a big-ass enchanting/gemming bill all of a sudden and b) the raid is only getting stronger when they attend a raid, which may not be on every run.

The other side is of course why the complaint? By virtue of the Warlock getting 3 upgrades, they won't be rolling on those items again or equivalent ones, so others will get their chance next time. Is it really that bad to have to wait a few weeks for some phat epics, that we need to moan and complain about it? We are not a progression guild, and from what I've read, the raids in the game are just plain easy, so until patch 3.1 brings an actually hard raid encounter, the epics are just fairy dust on the cake.

Hopefully some sensibleness on the part of the rollers and those who loose the rolls will prevail.

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Merry Winter Veil everyone!

Kam lurks under the Winter Veil tree. The presents arrive. Kam strikes! Kam grabs a Crashin' Thrashin' car thingy and snatches several minutes during the day to crash up other peoples cars, while being interrupted by family members wondering where I've gone...

Bad lag does not make for a good car crashing experience. You need to press 1 to do the crash special when another car is directly in front of yours, within a small distance. Your car will leap forward and crash up anything in its path. Unless the lag means the car you thought was in front is actually far off to the side. You could also camp with your car under the tree, waiting for someone to drive in front of it. A most dishonourable tactic. Wink.

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

So sorry, Deino

Yes, Kam found the letter Lieutenant Ta'zinni was carrying. It started the quest A Letter for Home which is why you, Deino, have the letter.

We may have skimped on some of the details of how Kam got the letter. This quest makes me feel a little guilty. So sorry Deino.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Winter Veil Work complete (almost)

Kam the achieving Shaman has now finished all of the Winter Veil achievements with the exception of Crashin' & Thrashin', because like all good boys he has to wait until christmas day to open his presents.

With a Little Helper from My Friends was in the end pretty easy. The horde were attacking Lake Wintergrasp, so when the game started, Kam got gnomed up and hopped through the portal to Wintergrasp. He then jumped into someone's vehicle, which proceeded to run over around a hundred Alliance defenders - result! If you loose the gnome buff (due to deathage) then you can hearth back to Dalaran, grab another costume and portal to Wintergrasp again.

Let It Snow was ok, however Blizzard's choice for the Draenei was a little annoying. What's the number one most popular Draenei class from what I see in Dalaran... is it Priest like the achievement needs? Or maybe some sort of class the Alliance couldn't play until TBC and can only play as Draenei, like Shaman? Hmm I wonder. Luckily I spotted a Draenei Priest in the bank and snowflaked he was.

Bros. Before Ho Ho Ho's required a fair amount of work. Not from flying around, no. Not from spotting the Bro's we needed to mistletoe, no. No. It was the need to get to level 77 which was the work. Once dinged, Cold Weather Flying was a merely large amount of gold away and a quest was right there at Krasus Landing which took Kam to the airship where the final slippery Brother Keltan was. On the plus side, Kam can now fly. Woot!

See you under the Winter Veil tree on the 25th!

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Me like long hard trips

Yakra over at Mirror Shield has a post up about What a Long, Strange, (Hard) Trip It Will Be to complete all of the seasonal achievements, with his thoughts on the difficulty of each achievement.

Kam too is on this utterly insane grind, trying to get each one done as it appears, or, in the case of Brewfest, getting as much done as possible. My take on it is:

  • Merrymaker. Agreed this is quite easy, however there are complications for the Horde. The first is that to mistletoe Brother Keltan, you need to be level 77, or try some crazy tactics. Secondly With a Little Helper from My Friends is tricky; AblazeTheMage reports that basically AV is full of gnomes trying to hide behind each other, so I reckon by waiting till the end of Winter Veil there may be less people trying for it... people to hide behind.

    Also Wintergrasp looks like a good idea; Horde get a tenacity buff so our gnomes are hard to kill, and Shaman can hearth back to Dalaran every 15 minutes, get re-gnomed, then take the portal back. Finally the hat is a 100% drop off the Magus in Nexus - we farmed it on Tuesday by resetting the instance 5 times, so everyone got one.

    I think this is manageable in the time given.

  • To Honor One's Elders. The dungeons which need to be visited to talk to the Elders is the problem with this one. However, I have a cunning plan...

    Which is to reuse someone else's completed heroic instance, which should be clear of trash, and wander in there to talk to the Elder. In our guild a lot of heroics are run every night, so chances are someone will have done one or several of the instances on the list.

    I think this one is also manageable in the 3 weeks it runs.

  • For The Children. The PvP element of this event should be ok to do, where you need HKs of players with their orphans out, and to capture various BG objectives with your orphan out. Again hopefully later on in the event there will be less people around competing for captures... which means two runs, one early on to get HKs on players with orphans, then late in the event to grab BG objectives with your orphan out. However a lot of BG grinding will be required for this.

    Daily Chores will be impossible if you cannot login once per day for a few minutes, and the event only lasts for one week.

    This one is tricky; its only 1 week so is quite likely to be impossible for Kam to get all the achievements, unless he gets really lucky in a BG.

  • Brewfest. Kam got his mount last year, and is drinking the monthly ales, so basically he needs to grind more tickets to get the set of brewfest clothes next October. If you didn't get into the club and a got a piece of brewfest clothing in 2008, next year it will be a pain because you have a whole load of tickets to grind, and will have to wait another year to drink all the ales.

    This one is definitely achievable in 2009 for Kam.

  • Fool For Love. Personally I'm dreading this one the most, the tactic Warcraft Pets has to grind for Peddlefeet will not work after patch 3.0.8, so unless Blizzard up the drop rate, this achievement will be extremely hard to obtain. There is hope, because during Hallows End they added the Squashling and headpiece required to the trick-or-treat drops, so Kam was able to get them just by trick or treating a lot. I hope they up the rate of Peddlefeet drops from the gifts.

    This event will also need a hell of a lot of Gifts Of Adoration for the peddlefeet, love candy, rose petals, picnic basket, silver arrows, etc. Mmm the grind. This event is more troublesome because it only usually lasts a week.

    I don't think Kam will manage this achievement in 2009 due to the short length of the event and the sheer amount of hourly things once needs to do to grab all the various items required.


In conclusion, it's best not to look ahead at these seasonal achievements too much, otherwise it may depress you. Best concentrate on the current or upcoming one and take them one at a time ;)

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Further problems achieving

So Brother Keltan needs to be mistletoed for Bros. Before Ho Ho Ho's. The only complication is that he is on an Airship in a high level zone.

Thus far four ways have presented themselves. One is to be level 77 and have cold weather, and just fly onto the airship. The second is to pick up Preparations for War from Dalaran, which takes you to the airship, although it requires ... level 77.

The third is to follow the Wowhead comments on the achievement which involves dying on a ledge in icecrown where the airship passes, so you can res on the ship. Reportedly done at level 72.

The last method is to follow the Wowhead comments on Brother Keltan and use an Underbelly Elixir to turn into a wasp, then fly out of the sewer through the Dalaran exit and head for Icecrown. Again this can be done at any level.

Which one will Kam try? He is just level 76 so I could potentially get him to 77 before the end of Winter Veil. Or we could try one of the other, more cunning suggestions... they sound like fun.

Monday, 15 December 2008

Merry Winter's Veil

Tis the season to achieve things. I've already posted Kam's guide to the Winter Veil achievements and I'm sure there are others out there.

Kam's progress on the to do list was good; he now has 2 pieces of the winter clothing made for Tis the Season, and we finally unlocked those Ogrila dailies for Fa-la-la-la-Ogri'la.

This morning Wowhead has the locations of the Red Winter Hat which thankfully range in level:

So hopefully I can convince someone to come along to The Nexus for a quick bash at Telestra. The only other fly in the ointment is that we don't know if the gnome buff for With a Little Helper from My Friends fades upon death, which will make getting 50 HKs while disguised very tricky.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Tauren on a chicken!

From MMO Champion:

World of Warcraft PTR Patch 3.0.8

Racial restrictions on mounts have now been lifted. Night elves on mechanostrider? Tauren on raptor? You’re not seeing things.


Hell yes. Plus there are some nice buffs to Elemental Shamans, and the Magma and Searing Totems generate no threat (can you say A-O-E?). Of course these are all subject to change, but I hope that Taurens can ride any mount. Vary niice.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Enhancement: Mace vs Dagger

Weighing in at 84.8 dps, in the green corner we have the Soldier's Spiked Mace. This 2.6 speed mace was rewarded to Kam for Cutting Off the Source and has done good service, despite being slightly rusty.

Weighing in at 106.6 dps, in the blue corner we have the Blade of Nadox. This 1.6 speed dagger dropped from Elder Nadox in Ahn'kahet: The Old Kingdom last night, and was taken to see if fast daggers with flametongue are an alternative to slow with windfury.

The dagger has the advantage in DPS, while the mace fights back with a slower speed. Let the fight commence!

Ok, well let the simulations begin anyway. The dagger with FT didn't feel any worse than the mace, but it didn't seem to feel any better either. As a learning exercise I grabbed EnhSim, fed Kam's stats and buffs in, then ran a combat simulation for 20,000 simulated hours with the dagger equipped to see what average DPS it thought would result. The attack rotation was the standard I use; Stormstrike, Earthshock, Lava Lash, repeat, using a full stack of Maelstrom Weapon whenever it is up to throw out a lightning bolt. I then swapped in the mace, changed the stats around and reran the simulation. The results were:





NameImbueAverage DPS
Blade of NadoxFlametongue844
Blade of NadoxWindfury788
Soldier's Spiked MaceWindfury856
Soldier's Spiked MaceFlametongue869

So yeah, the dagger despite being having higher DPS and being a blue item, is not as good as Kam's trusty 2.6 speed green mace in the simulation, which confirms my "feelings" about it. What is also odd is the simulation shows that using FT on the mace should be marginally better than WF. I might try this, but applying WF on both weapons is very quick and easy, whereas I find doing WF on one and FT on the other a right faff. Me not like faffing.

Monday, 8 December 2008

Train new spells? Let's read books instead

Kam finally dinged 74 on Saturday after a good questing run. Unfortunately he's not been to Orgrimmar to learn whatever new stuff has become available - will it be a new Totem, or maybe a new rank of Water Breathing? Oooo! Thus far the selection from the trainer has been utterly underwhelming.

While faffing around Dalaran doing the cooking daily, Kam spotted the tome of The Schools of Arcane Magic - Abjuration lying on the floor of the Dalaran Visitor Center. Being the good citizen he is, he announced this on the Dalaran General chat channel, then wandered off to hand in the daily. Never has the Visitor Center had so many visitors.

If you spot a book, by all means read it, but please announce it on general too. The books only stay for 3 minutes after being read and any number of people can read them. Now Kam is 1/8 of the way towards the Higher Learning achievement, and hopefully some other players are closer to their goals too.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Am I riding a druid?

In this barely believable picture, we have one tauren shaman on a Armored Brown Bear and one tauren druid in bear form. The mount makes all the same noises the druid does, the roar sounds the same. It is also a bear.

However we can clearly see the difference here; the druid has horns - the mount has crazy goggles (like it has an engineering helm on), the druid's claws appear sharper, the mount is bigger.

So let's have no more claiming we are riding around on druids. Even if it is fun. Even if we claim we've captured one, blunted its claws, put silly goggles on it and fed it some growth elixir. Definitely not.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

You were doing what? Where?

Although Kam should have been mercilessly grinding to 80 in preparation for the crazed hardcore raiding season, instead he chose to spend last night unlocking a nice rep grind. Must be Sons for the shoulder inscriptions right? No? Maybe Knights of the Ebon Blade for the head enchant? No. Instead in a group consisting of a feral druid and elemental shaman, plus mage and paladin for the 5 man bit, Kam finally unlocked his Ogri'la dailies.

But why? Apart from the 19k XP each quest gave, there is the small matter of the Fa-la-la-la-Ogri'la achievement, which requires the Ogri'la stuff to be unlocked. Kam also has the winter boots and chest made, so all that is needed for the Winter's Veil achievement is probably to get to a decent level so Kam can get the hat. Last year these hats dropped in level 70 instances, so extrapolating they will drop in level 80 instances, which may require Kam to be close to 80. Which he isn't currently.

Finally my hunter got a proper portal to dalaran from Mr Ganymede, so when I can get on, I can do 2 lots of cooking dailies. One for the awards to buy recipes, the other I use the award to buy spices.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Slacking around Dalaran, jus' cookin'

Taking the advice of Kaliope's WoW Crafting Blog, Kam started on his cooking dailies as soon as he could. Using a "ghetto portal" to Dalaran, Kam hit the Horde bar and grabbed the quest from Awilo Lon'gomba. Unfortunately whenever I log in the first thing to do is check what the cooking daily is; Cheese for Glowergold is particularly easy, as it doesn't involve any cooking at all. This doesn't actually leave any time to do any real quests. Kam is now grinding on Snapper Extreme - the 40 hit rating buff will be very handy come raiding time, for someone or another.

Once I can track down a slippery level 74+ mage, I'll portal my level 70 hunter to Dalaran to participate in the daily cooking, thus doubling my Northern Spices earning power.

Other levelling-delaying activities included standing on the shores of the Borean Tundra for several hours over the weekend, fishing away. Partly following El's Extreme Anglin' guide to cooking and fishing in Northrend, Kam now has enough raw materials to cook Snapper Extreme ad infinitum. He just needs more Northern Spices is all. Now where was that level 74 mage...

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Eh, Water Riding?

Cast walk on water, you can walk on water. Pretty cool, it makes travelling across water pretty fast.


But you can then mount up, and ride on water. It makes travelling across water very much faster.

Is this new? Or have I missed an awesome trick?

Friday, 28 November 2008

Being Prepared: Prequests for Drak'Tharon Keep

WoW Insider have a good gallery for each instance with a list of the quests in the instance, but because they don't list how you actually get the quests (for those at the end of a chain) I'll continue with these posts, for my own benefit if no one else's. At least Drak'Tharon Keep has some quest chains to do!

These are all level 73 and 74 quests, so it will be a while before Kam can verify the information for himself.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Being Prepared: Prequests for Ahn'kahet: The Old Kingdom

The Old Kingdom quests are few and far between it seems, and no quest chains needed.

It looks like you can just roll up to the Azjol-Nerub area, pick up the quests and get going in either Azjol-Nerub or The Old Kingdom.

Being Prepared: Prequests for Azjol-Nerub

The shortest instance in the game, from what I hear. There doesn't seem to be that many quests for Azjol-Nerub and they aren't even at the end of any quest chains.

You really don't need to be prepared for this one!

Bye bye Howling Fjord, Hello Borean Tundra

Kam has finally finished the quests in Howling Fjord, having dinged level 72 in the process. He also got the I've toured the Fjord achievement, although I wasn't aiming for it, so it was nice to be surprised when the achievement appeared.

Using some slight of hand Kam got to Dalaran and in a moment of weakness, bought a bear mount from the nice lady who sells the mounts.

Next up is the Borean Tundra, which I initially avoided because all I read said it was a whole lot of snow, but having gone there I was pleasantly surprised. Especially by Warsong Hold, which is a magnificent base of the Horde. Blizzard really outdid themselves with the Hold.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Nexus quest spoilers in the quest text!

The following contains quest spoilers for The Nexus instance. Although I expect most people have finished with The Nexus by now anyway.

The quest Prisoner of War is obtained at the end of a chain where you help Keristrasza to attack Malygos. She is taken into The Nexus and we must rescue her - the quest text reads "Raelorasz at the Transitus Shield wants you to enter the Nexus and release Keristrasza". Rescue a dragon? Cool.

Except that the very spoilerish criteria reads "Keristrasza Laid to Rest". Hmm, I wonder what is going to happen here, will she be pleased to see us and let us all go? Suffice to say the outcome was no surprise to our party. Blizzard, you must try harder!

Monday, 24 November 2008

Being Prepared: Prequests for The Nexus

Next in the series is The Nexus, in ... the Nexus.

  • Quickening. First you need to do Secrets of the Ancients, available from Archmage Berinand in Coldarra. To get to Coldarra go to Borean Tundra, then to Amber Ledge, then get the flight to Coldarra.
  • Postponing the Inevitable. First you need to do Reading the Meters, again from Berinand.
  • Have They No Shame?. I just picked this up from Librarian Serrah, who stands in a tent near to Berinand.
  • Prisoner of War. A reasonable chain which starts with Puzzling..., which starts with a drop from Coldarra Spellbinders. I got mine on the first kill. The quest chain itself is pretty cool, so have your screenshot button ready!

The Nexus needs a few quests before you are totally ready to head on in there, but I managed to get the above all done in around an hour.

Friday, 21 November 2008

Being Prepared: Prequests for Utgarde Keep

Kam prefers to have a full quest log for whatever instance he attacks, so here is the first in a series of Being Prepared articles. First up, Utgarde Keep.

As you can see, UK is quite easy to grab all the quests for.

Did someone forget to sleep?

With the launch of Wrath, everyone has started levelling at 70 at the same time, so we've been able to observe some interesting phenomena. Beforehand, everyone was pretty much grinding this and that, and only a brief alt would level up here and there. Now we can see a direct comparison in play time, style and levelling speeds.

What we have in our guild is the following:

  • Hardcore leve11er. This type has been spotted on from around 8-9am and stays on until around 4am. They are streaking ahead at level 77, or their Death Knights are already passing mains. They are currently finding it hard to get a group for an instance run, due to the rest of the guild being so far behind. May have taken holiday to coincide with the Wrath launch and/or killed their girlfriend/boyfriend/spouse/family. You can bet they are on the second the servers come up from maintenance.
  • Working 9-5, levelling hard to make an 80. This type have a day job, or didn't book holiday, but that ain't going to stop them. Generally most in our guild are in this category, grouped together so able to run instances. They are mostly level 75-74 by now. A steely determination and a stuff around the house they can put off till they hit 80 characterises this set of levellers.
  • Questing from Home. This group can't generally play every evening due to family commitments, but they can work from home then spend some or all of that time in instances and questing. Most usually seen during the work day in some instance or another, they are mysteriously silent on IRC when at home, yet chat endlessly in IRC about WoW when at work. They are also liable to go AFK at a moment's notice in an instance, when the wife comes up to check on them, so beware if you are in a group with such people!
  • On not a lot. This sort, of which I am half a member (and I'll let you figure out which other group I belong to), plays some evenings but has severely restricted times due to other commitments, among them Heroes, Merlin, Sarah Connor Chronicles, DIY and child care. We lurk at the bottom of the guild, barely out of Howling Fjord and dinged merely 1 level.
  • Serial Altoholic. Lastly, they have a main who is keeping up with another set of levellers, but mysteriously have a level 71 Death Knight. Oh, and several other toons at levels between 70 and 73. A serial altoholic has been spotted, going round robin between all their alts to keep playing in rested XP, each making a little bit of progress but playing the same quests again and again. A high boredom threshold is probably required.

The lock at level 77 has dinged 78 since I started writing this. Sigh.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Facepalm moments in teh Wrath

Challenged by BBB we are to recount moments of asshattery in Wrath. This doesn't have a twist however, its just badness. Anyway March of the Giants requires you to kill big hard elites, then use a mining pick on their corpses to remove their runes. Unfortunately, it seems the quest is bugged and WoW will say "invalid selection" when you try to use the pick.

That is, it seemed that the quest was bugged, until I noticed our group were being followed by several Alliance, who would be hanging around right underneath the giant when it fell. Finally we realised the corpses can be "deruned" by anyone at all, even those pests who hadn't killed it and were just hanging around. So watch out - ninjas are about on that quest, it's best to drag the corpses away and refuse to kill them if anyone else is lurking around.

I won't mention the other incident where a member of my own guild nicked a stone artifact from right under my nose, as I was fighting off the mob who was guarding it. Well apart from just then. He did apologise afterward tho.

Monday, 17 November 2008

Horde and Alliance expedition quartermasters sighted

Apparently I wasn't quite right in my Shaman rep rewards guide, there is in fact a quartermaster for some Horde factions who sells items at a certain rep level. Wowhead doesn't list this information yet, but Wowwiki comes to the rescue. Gara Skullcrush in Warsong Hold sells the Warsong Shanker and Warsong Stormshield, both at revered.

Alliance Shamans may want to check out their faction vendor, who sells Vanguard Soldier's Dagger and Lordaeron's Resolve, both at revered.

Both also sell the recipe for the Engineering Hog at Exhalted, if you are an engineer and want a sweet Hog to tear up Northrend with.

From reports from guildies, it seems you gain faction standing with Horde Expedition whenever you gain standing with any of the sub-factions The Hand of Vengeance, The Taunka, Warsong Offensive and The Sunreavers.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Wrath first impressions

My first impressions of Wrath are quite favourable. Kam is lurking around the Howling Fjord mainly because I thought a snowy landscape would be boring, so I avoided Tundra (I didn't really like Winterspring). Plus 15 turkeys have already died in 3 minutes.


The scenery is really quite nice, the lift up the side of the huge cliff on Vengeance Landing is quite spectacular and the area around Utguard Keep equally so. The quests are pretty neat - one involved recovering underwater items, which is no problem for a Shaman. Kam is tearing through mobs with his enhancement spec, but I am really hoping for dual specs so we can get some healing practise.


There are problems - one of the quests involving researching runes from dead giants seems to be bugged, so that you can't use the corpse and have to go kill another one. Given these are elite giants who will knock 7 bells out of you, this is quite annoying. If Kam dies at the North of Giant's Run (trying to kill elite giants), he ends up in the graveyard at Vengeance Landing, despite there being a GY in Giant's Run. This means having to run away from his corpse to catch the lift!


Busy is a good word to describe Aszune. The queues are up to 40 minutes long at peak times and the questing areas are predictably camped out. Clearly some are making progress because on Saturday at around 4pm Aszune had a level 80 mage or warlock (I forget which), a mere 2-3 days after Wrath launched.


All in all it is still fun, and quite nice to be able to quest in new areas again.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Shaman Wrath reputation rewards and tactics

I have taken a look at the Wrath faction reputation rewards and tried to figure out which ones are of interest to Shaman, at what reputation level they are and how to go about getting such rep levels. Then I've broken down each faction into what sort of rewards (Resto, Elemental or Enhancement) they give at each rep level, to try to get an idea of which ones to go for first. I've not considered any cloth items, only mail and leather. Finally the assumption on the spell gear is that mp5 is for Resto and crit is for Elemental, so any crit based healers should check out the Elemental gear too.



From what I've learnt, all faction reputation, after quests, is earnt from dailies or championing in level 80 instances. There doesn't seem to be any more tactics needed, where you used to do the handins till friendly, then the quests, then finish off with instances. Having said that, some factions cannot be championed, making grinding their reputations harder.


Key C = caster of Elemental spec, H = healer of Resto spec, E = ownage of Enhancement spec, A = all specs.


Quick jumps:
Argent Crusade
Frenzyheart Tribe
The Oracles
The Kalu'ak
Kirin Tor
Knights of the Ebon Blade
The Sons of Hodir
The Wyrmrest Accord
Horde Expedition
Alliance Vanguard
Comparison table


Argent Crusade
Wowhead lists 81 quests for the Argent Crusade, 11 of which are dailies. It looks like you can only do 4 per day, as there is some sort of random factor much like the fishing and cooking dailies. They have a tabard so rep can be gained in level 80 instances.


Frenzyheart Tribe
This is the first of the Aldor/Scryer like factions in Wrath, the other being The Oracles. You can only be exalted with one at once, although there is a daily quest which lets you convert from one faction to the other, via handins which increase faction with one and decrease faction with the other... faction.


There is no tabard for the Frenzyheart Tribe, so you can't champion faction for them. Wowhead lists 21 quests, including 9 dailies from levels 77 to 80.

  • Revered C H: Scavenged Feathery Leggings. These legs give haste, so they are good for Elemental or Resto.
  • Revered E: Azure Strappy Pants. These are leather but may be good for Enhancement.
  • Revered A: Disgusting Jar. This turns into something after 7 days incubation - Wowhead comments suggest a potion which changes appearance. There isn't enough information yet to know precisely what the rewards are, although initially it seems to be fun potions.
  • Exalted A: Frenzyheart Insignia of Fury. This trinket is reminscent of the Skyguard Silver Cross with 71 haste rating and an extra damage upon kill buff, so something good for grinding.


The Oracles
This is the other faction you could chose over the Frenzyheart Tribe. They too have no tabard so rep grinding is done via dailies. They have 20 quests including 7 dailies for level 77 to 80. One quest is to swap factions to Frenzyheart. 3 of the dailies might be a random choice as their titles are very similar. Oh and they resemble Murlocs which may put you off, and actually make you want to get to Unfriendly with them...

  • Revered E: Glitterscale Wrap. A leather belt but again may be useful for Enhancers.
  • Revered C: Sharkjaw Cap. This mail head piece has crit so ideally for Elemental, but a crit-based Resto shaman may want it.
  • Revered E: Toothslice Helm. This mail head is the Enhancement version of the above. According to my scales it is a very good rare headpiece, beats the Swiftarrow one.
  • Exalted A: Oracle Talisman of Ablution. This trinkey restores mana when you kill a target which would give XP, again reminiscent of the Skyguard Silver Cross, so a good grinding trinket for any spec. However, currently my enhancement shaman doesn't have any mana issues, so the Frenzyheart alternative may be better.
  • Exalted A: Mysterious Egg. This egg hatches into one of 4 pets or failure. One for pet collectors. *Cough*


The Kalu'ak
These fishy guys again have no tabard, Wowhead lists 52 quests for them, and they only seem to have 3 dailies of level 71 to 72. So rep grinding will be done via dailies.

  • Honoured E: Cuttlefish Scale Breastplate. This mail chest has a total of 114 attack power with the Enhancement talent. However I replaced it with various crafted ones at 80, so good for levelling only.
  • Honoured H: Cuttlefish Tooth Ringmail. A mail chest with mp5 so suited to a Resto shaman or maybe Elemental if you don't have a critty one.
  • Honoured E: Whale-Skin Breastplate. This is a leather chest with the same 114 attack power as the mail one above. I would go for the mail chest to be honest for Enhancement.
  • Revered C H: Totemic Purification Rod. This 1 handed mace packs 314 spell power and haste!
  • Revered E: Traditional Flensing Knife. This 1 handed dagger does 119dps and has a speed of 1.7. This may be good for Enhancement if imbued with Flametongue and you don't have a good offhand. However I would recommend a slow off hand instead, even if its "paper" DPS is lower.
  • Exalted A: Mastercraft Kalu'ak Fishing Pole. An epic fishing pole with +30 fishing and free underwater breathing. Essential for fisher ppls.
  • Exalted A: Nurtured Penguin Egg. A penguin non combat pet! Any pet collectors will be after this one for certain. *Cough*


Kirin Tor
The mysterious magic dudes we stormed Karazhan for, now freshly installed somewhere in Northrend with a honking great floating city. They have 29 quests, but the only dailies are the cooking and jewelcrafting ones. Both award Kirin Tor faction plus either cooking awards or JC tokens.


They do have a tabard so reputation can be ground in level 80 instances.


Knights of the Ebon Blade
These Emo guys are still smarting from their encounter with the Lich King, but don't let their sweepy haircuts and dour attitude put you off. Wowhead lists 31 quests for them, 3 dailies at level 80, and they have a championing tabard.



The Sons of Hodir
The Sons of Hodir have no tabard, but have 4 dailies among their 11 quests. They also sell shoulder inscriptions at Honoured and Exalted very much like the old Aldor & Scryer shoulder inscriptions, except we get access to them all!


The Wyrmrest Accord
An alliance of the dragonflights except the blues, the Wyrmrest Accord have 38 quests, 5 dailies at leve 73 to 74, and a tabard for championing. Expect this one to be popular because there is a flying drake mount at exalted.


Horde Expedition
The other factions in Wrath don't have anything for sale individually. They are for the Horde: The Hand of Vengeance, The Taunka, Warsong Offensive and The Sunreavers. However there is in fact a quartermaster for the Horde Expedition, called Gara Skullcrush, who sells items at a certain rep level from Warsong Hold. From reports from guildies, it seems you gain faction standing with Horde Expedition whenever you gain standing with any of the sub-factions The Hand of Vengeance, The Taunka, Warsong Offensive and The Sunreavers. So doing the quests is the way to go. It also seems you gain rep by running level 80 dungeons without any championing tabard.


Alliance Vanguard
The other factions in Wrath don't have anything for sale individually. They are for the Alliance: Explorers' League, The Frostborn, Silver Covenant and Valiance Expedition. Again there is a quartermaster for the Alliance Vanguard who sells rep items. I would assume that gaining rep with any of these sub-factions will gain rep with Alliance Vanguard, so doing the quests is the way to go. It also seems you gain rep by running level 80 dungeons without any championing tabard.




The following table attempts to summarise what is available for each spec at each level. As before, the key is E=enhancement, C=caster, H=resto, A=all. The brackets are for leather items, and x* is for the head enchant for spec x, for example E*. Where there are more than one item I've written 2xE, for 2 items for Enhancement.








Faction/levelHonouredReveredExaltedChampionable
Argent CrusadeECE C (E)Y
Frenzyheart Tribe C/H (E)AN
The Kalu'ak E H (E)C/H E N
Kirin TorC/H 2xEC* C EE (E)Y
Knights of the Ebon BladeC EE* E (C)(E) HY
The Oracles C E (E)AN
The Sons of Hodir(1)E (E)2xE (E) N
The Wyrmrest AccordH* CH (E)Y
Horde Expedition/Alliance Vanguard C/H (E) N

1 - shoulder glyphs for all specs at Honoured and Exalted.



Choice of faction
So for the choice between The Oracles and the Frenzyheart Tribe, the Tribe have Caster and Resto leggings and a leather item for melee. The Oracles have a head piece for casters, crit-based resto and enhancement. They also have a leather item for melee. The stats on these pieces are fairly similar between the Tribe and Oracles. The trinkets are interesting, I think the one from the Tribe is better for enhancement because thus far I've had no mana issues whatsoever, but I know levelling as Elemental mana is a precious commodity so The Oracle's trinket would be better. Personally I am leaning toward Oracles because of the pets basically.

What to champion first?
Basically it depends on your spec (of course). The Kirin Tor, Knights and Wyrmrest have the head glyphs at revered, so those are worth picking up as soon as possible. The Sons have the shoulder inscriptions, but you can't champion them. So I will be championing the faction which gives the head glyph to revered.


Conclusion
There is a lot of enhancement gear available at various faction levels, plus some elemental and resto items. What I've not done yet is compare the items against quest rewards - in TBC the 5 man quest rewards yielded some very nice items which were ideal for gearing up for raiding and heroics.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

In defiance of the Lich King

According to the blurb which accompanies the Collectors Edition of Wrath, we "defy" the Lich King by having the Frost Whelp pet, having presumably somehow stolen it from his frost wyrms. Clearly Master Handler Sylvester is actually to blame, I have proof which I shall use to defend my innocence should Arthas come knocking.


This letter accompanied Frosty, skillfully glossing over exactly how Sylvester got this whelpling. He is a very cute little fellow though, so Kam is willing to risk the Wrath of the Lich King to have the guy around.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Thrall, Heal FFS!

You would think that the guy who brought Shamanism back to the Horde would at least remember to use Lesser Healing Wave when his health got low!


Actually this post is meant to be about Kam's experiences in Karazhan as melee DPS, but after running Kara, Kam popped over to the Valley of Honor in Orgrimmar to see the scourge invasion and awesome uber cool WCW-style fight between Thrall and Garrosh Hellscream. Check it out if you are in the area, the Horde faction leaders are all gathered in front of the arena area and argue a bit before the fight as well. It's a lore moment not to be missed. The only thing I'll say about the fight is that Thrall is down on health but not mana, and we all know for a Shaman you're not dead till the mana runs out. So here is hoping for a conclusion to the fight soon.


So enhancement in Karazhan. As a die hard ranged caster, doing melee DPS was... odd. Shaman could really do with some sort of charge to get in range quickly - those warrior types have one, but we spent a lot of time running around chasing mobs. In the chaos of spells going off, paladin consecrates and other effects, it was sometimes hard to tell which way a mob was facing, making getting behind them quite difficult. Luckily we didn't get to the Prince - I've seen the melee running in and out on that fight and don't really fancy doing it myself.


The fights we did do (Attumen, Moroes, Oz for Opera, Curator, Aran and Illhoof) were fairly standard and involved a fair amount of running around. Given all the running around it was surprising to discover that Kam did decent, competitive damage overall and maybe a shade more than in elemental spec.


In conclusion it was a lot of fun, but noticeably harder than being ranged DPS. There is a lot of running around to get into range of mobs and get positioned correctly for melee. Did I mention there was a whole load of running around? I don't know how the melee do it really.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Kam gets some Enhancement

After healing a few instances and some of Karazhan, the recent nerfs to raid difficulty have given Kam the perfect excuse to finally try out the enhancement spec. After some research I've chosen this 8/53/0 spec, but clearly I didn't do enough research because this one looks better, with a full load of Maelstrom Weapon for 4/5 Ancestral Knowledge.


First impressions:

  • Kill speed. Mobs are dying very fast, a shade faster than with elemental, despite Kam's enhancement gear being a lot weaker than his elemental gear.
  • Top tier talent. Feral Spirit wolves are very nice, the 2 controllable spirit wolves almost make you feel like a hunter, except they don't last (shame). By contrast the elemental talent Thunderstorm is just not as cool, or useful in PvE. The knockback and AOE is pretty nice, but it's just not in the same league as your very own spirit wolves.
  • Button mashing. Fighting as enhancement certainly requires more button pressing than elemental; stormstrike, lava lash and earth shock need to be used every time they are off cooldown, not to mention refreshing water shield and using Shamanistic Rage and feral spirit as appropriate. By contrast Kam's tactics for elemental was to pull with a few lightning bolts, then auto attack the mob, pressing flame shock every 12 seconds and occasionally lightning bolt.
  • Taking damage. One bonus of elemental is that Kam generally goes around with a shield, so his armour is quite high and he doesn't take too much damage. Dual wielding means no shield so quite a lot of damage is taken. Luckily Maelstrom Weapon works with healing spells, so we can pop off an instant healing wave when needed. This damage taking is really only an issue when Kam gets jumped by a few mobs, for 1 mob it dies so fast that it doesn't get the chance to do much damage.
  • Other. Another bonus of enhancement is that because a lot of the damage is melee, those pesky nature-immune elementals prove no problem.



An honourable mention must go to the Shock and Awe mod, which displays a handy hint for which spell to use next in a rotation. For an enhancement noob such as myself, its very useful indeed.


I'm not sure whether Kam will stay enhancement for levelling - to build a healing set will require lugging two completely different sets of gear around, whereas in theory elemental gear forms a good basis for a healing set. Except that currently Kam has almost 2 completely different sets of gear; one for healing that prioritises mp5 and one for elemental that prioritises crit. If shaman are to become crit-based healers then a set of gear with crit will do well for both elemental and resto, but I am not yet sold on that. I do however want to heal some instances so I hope the dual-spec feature is not too tardy.


I suppose the early Mail spellpower gear in Wrath will show Blizzard's intent - if it is all spellpower and crit then crit-based will be the only option, but if a lot of spellpower and mp5 stuff starts to appear (or heaven forbid they force us to choose between mp5 and crit for quest rewards), then I'll be horribly confused and have to strike some sort of balance.

Friday, 7 November 2008

You Stinker!

On his continuing quest to gain the 50 pet achievement, Kam had gotten to 49 out of 50, mainly with the help of Warcraft Pets. Next up was to try to get a Mechanical Chicken by completing all of the "Find OOX" quests. Except that it was around 2 years ago that Kam quested in Azeroth, and being a forgetful Tauren he had... not remembered which chickens he had rescued.


Following a Wowhead tip to ticket a GM, Kam was summoned by the awesome Rocking GM Wixibixe to a private meeting at Janeiro's Point. Wixibixe helpfully told Kam that yes, he was a slacker, and had only rescued OOX-22/FE. This was puzzling because Kam had taken apart Zul'Farrak the night before trying to get a beacon. However, those helpful Wowhead comments came to the rescue again, as it transpired Kam had gotten the beacon then failed the escort quest in Tanaris. So he couldn't get another beacon but could go back to the chicken and retry the escort.


Wixibixe was kind enough to teleport Kam to Tanaris, and then the hunt for OOX-17/TN began. And ended quickly due to the coordinates posted on Wowhead. Finally Kam found a use for Thunderstorm - confronted by 4 Wastewander bandits, Thunderstorm threw them back and killed 2 instantly, leaving the other 2 to run away in shock. A quick visit to the Hinterlands saw another robot chicken escorted to safety.


A visit to Booty Bay to hand in and finally the Mechanical Chicken was Kam's, the Shop Smart, Shop Pet...Smart achievement complete. Thank you Oglethorpe Obnoticus. Hearing of his obvious love for pets, Breanni was kind enough to mail Kam, asking him to look after Stinker, a task he gladly undertook. The little fellow is very cute, but hasn't exhibited the bad behaviour Kam was warned about. Suddenly Kam' lust for non combat pets has faded, although they are neat, I don't think we will be grinding for any rare ones. Well maybe just the one.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Patch 3.0.3 Shaman notes & changes

I don't usually do this but why not this one time. Here are the latest patch notes for Shaman with some idle commentary in italics.


Shaman

  • Flurry: Now grants the proper number of charges when it triggers. How handy.
  • Improved Fire Nova Totem: Increases the damage done by your Fire Nova Totem by 10/20% and your Fire Nova totem has a 50/100% chance to stun all targets damaged by your Fire nova Totem for 2 sec. Might be a useful escape option in PvE and will of course annoy lots of PvPers.
  • Lava Burst: The base damage has been increased by approx. 10%. A damage buff to a spell which, if you believe it, will be part of an end game Elemental rotation.
  • Maelstrom Weapon: Tooltips corrected to correctly describe the chance for this talent to be triggered. How handy.
  • Riptide: The initial heal amount has been increased on ranks 3 and 4 and periodic healing has been increased on all ranks. Extra HoT power is welcome, although it was pretty good already. Ranks 3 and 4 are at level 75 and 80 you gits.
  • Stormstrike: Other shamans can no longer consume charges of your Stormstrike, and each shaman can have their own stormstrike on the victim. This is good for Enhancement shaman who won't get their Stormstrikes stolen by Elementalists, although it says other shamans and doesn't mention if Boomkins and the like can use the charge.
  • Storm Reach is now called “Elemental Reach” and now includes Lava Burst. If Lava Burst was to be part of a level 80 Elemental rotation, it had to have a range to match Lightning Bolt, with this change it does. Oddly even with Lava Flows, Flame Shock only has a 35 yard range, unlike LB and Lava Burst which have a 36 yard range with this talent.
  • Thunderstorm: Mana gain has been increased to 8%. Maybe now it will be useful in PvE, although I am still underwhelmed by this supposed top-tier talent, and the knockback makes using it in raids a real pain.
  • Tidal Mastery: Now correctly applies its critical strike bonus to Earth Shield. How handy.
  • Tidal Waves will now also proc with Riptide. This means we have another option in a resto "rotation" - to Riptide then quick Healing Wave someone, rather than having to Chain Heal to get the quick HW effect.


Professions

  • The level requirements required to train gathering skills have been removed. How handy although I would prefer this extended to all professions ;)
  • Inscription

    • Glyph of Flame Shock: Now extends duration by 6 sec and prevents Flame Shock from being consumed by Lava Burst. As Baluki says this is now an awesome Glyph for elementals. I won't rehash his stuff, go read :)
    • Glyph of Lava: Glyph of Earth Elemental removed and replaced with this glyph. This glyph increases coefficient on Lava Burst by 0.1. Ok odd that they are mentioning coefficients in the patch notes but hey. This is an extra 10% on whatever the spellpower coefficient of Lava Burst is. I don't have the numbers so undecided on this one.
    • Glyph of Strength of Earth: Replaced with Glyph of Lava Lash which increases the bonus from having Flametongue Weapon by 10%. Enhancers, I think they want you to use FT on your offhand.
    • Glyph of Totem of Wrath: Replaced with Glyph of Elemental Mastery, which decreases the cooldown on Elemental Mastery by 30 sec. Makes EM have a 2.5 minute cooldown, which is nice enough but I'm not sure it is essential, as an Elemental shaman should be critting quite often anyway.



Bug Fixes

  • Shaman: Totem of Wrath tooltip updated to reflect that it affects all crit chance and indicates that it increases Spell Power (instead of just damage). How handy.

Oi!

Kam's Walking Stick found on a certain Kam Deepfury in The Stockade. Quite what this gentleman is doing with my staff is unknown, or how he got it, but I feel a trip to The Stockade is required to seek this pretender and acquire my rightful possession.


Thanks to Crashandburn for spotting this knave. Justice will be served.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Mods for achieving

It's no secret that the new achievements system has been a big hit with me, I've been scouring the length and breath of Azeroth to do some of these, and obsessively collecting non combat pets trying to get 50. Here are a few mods which help with the achieving.


Urban Achiever. This gives you a replacement achievement UI, with a search feature which is very very useful. I hate the clicky nature of the default UI, so being able to type in "rokk" to find Kickin' It Up a Notch is invaluable. The mod also tracks up to 5 achievements, rather than the 1 the default UI does, which proved very useful during Hallow's End when Kam was trying to hit all the candy buckets in WoW.


Over Achiever. This adds a tooltip when you hover a critter, saying if you have /loved it or not. Very useful. It tracks exploration achievements and automatically displays your progress in the zone you are in, which is again very useful if you are exploring. It does a ton load of other things including slash commands to search for achievements, although I prefer a search box.


Enhanced Achievements. This extends the achievement tooltip to show your progress on an achievement. So when you see an achievement spam, you can click to see if you have done it, when or how far through you are.


So there you go some useful mods for achievers. Anyone know of any more?

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Fishing is 4 fun

What an eventful evening of fishing... and I never thought I'd see the works eventful and fishing in the same sentence.


Friday evening and nothing much to do - first up to fish up the Lurker Below. With the aid of the Halloween candy and the ghost costume it makes, Kam entered SSC and slow fell onto the water, walked across the water onto the Strange Pool. After some uneventful fishing, a giant water monster jumps out and one shots him! Score one crazy achievement.


A quick visit to Old Man Barlo reveals the daily is Crocolisks in the City, so off to Orgrimmar to fish. Catch 1 and who else but Old Crafty appears, less crafty now he is caught. Check another achievement. Back to Shattrath to hand in, and who is in the bag? Chuck! Another croc joins Muckbreath in Kam's inventory, and the Crocs quest is checked off and Kam has been Old Man Barlowned.

Friday, 31 October 2008

I Kam haz bat!

What an interesting Karazhan. With an AOE heavy party all the trash pulls were done as packs, no crowd control required. A crazy mage decided to frost nova the last pack of elementals in the Menagerie... right in the path of the Curator. A ninja pull resulted, but we still killed the Curator in his first evocation.


Kam went as Elemental DPS and, despite a lack of spell hit now Blizzard have reduced Shaman hit from talents, managed to do 700-800 dps. Kam went with a 58/3/0 build, taking Thunderstorm just because. Didn't use the thing the entire night though, there were no mana issues because of the raid nerfing, and the knock back looks dangerous in some tightly-packed areas. Kam also didn't take Call of Flame or Lava Flows because there is no Lava Burst spell yet. I'm hoping the promised Elemental AOE improvements come through, because watching Mages and Warlocks annihilate packs of mobs in 5 seconds flat while I get 1 chain lightning off is... depressing.


We also hit the Wrath event boss Prince Tenris Mirkblood, on which Kam did some off-healing because our Shaman healer had a sudden compulsion to bring his Warrior in for some axe or another. The fight was quite fun and the bat pet is pretty nice, it helps toward the pet achievement for a start.


I'm really looking forward to any further world events in the prelude to Wrath.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Christmas is coming: Kam's guide to the Winter's Veil achievements

Hey it's almost November, and you just know as soon as the Halloween stuff is gone from the shelves, the Christmas gear will replace it. In the same spirit, I have recently been looking at the Winter's Veil achievements.


One in particular stands out, Fa-la-la-la-Ogri'la, which used to require the Ogri'la dailies to be opened by doing the prereq quest chains, but reports from wow.com claim this is not the case any more.


'Tis the Season looks ok apart from the requirement to have 3 pieces of clothing, two can be crafted (by a Tailor and Leatherworker) hopefully from recipes acquired last year, but the hats dropped from bosses in various instances in 2007. In 2008 they dropped from various bosses, the easiest of which is Magus Telestra in The Nexus. Wowhead has the locations of the Winter Hats which thankfully range in level:




A Frosty Shake looks fine, the kit comes from doing one of the Veil quests and according to the Wowhead comments, you can be portalled or summoned to Dalaran at any level. Then a helpful guildie, also disguised as a snowman, can dance with you. In 2008 I also found several people as snowmen waiting for someone to come dance with them.


Crashin' & Thrashin' uses a Crashin' Thrashin' Racer Controller which comes from a present under the tree around the 25th. Once controlling the car, you need to press 1 to do the crash special when another car is directly in front of yours, within a small distance. Your car will leap forward and crash up anything in its path. A helpful guildie should be good for this, or alternatively there are a lot of people racing near the tree around the 25th. This is no longer required for the meta. Looting the present will also complete He Knows If You've Been Naughty, although Kam has this achievement because he has various pets from under last year's tree.


Let It Snow appears to be much like the Hallow's End Check Your Weight. It seems you can only get up to 5 snowflakes per hour by kissing revellers - you get a debuff preventing trying for more, much like the trick-or-treating in Hallow's End. A bit of grinding for the snowflakes will be in order, then you need to spot the right class/race combinations. Over Achiever will put an entry in your tooltip to tell you if you need to snowflake someone. In 2008 I had trouble finding a Draenei Priest, the rest were fine.


With a Little Helper from My Friends is another make-you-do-PvP under the influence of some buff achievement (cough GNERD Rage cough) which doesn't look to hard to do at some point over Winter's Veil. However the gnome costume fades if you die; so ideally you need to hide at the back in a battleground, or better still, ride in one of the vehicles in Wintergrasp and run over the opposing faction for many HKs.


Bros. Before Ho Ho Ho's requires a few pieces of Mistletoe, which you have a chance of getting when casting /kiss on a Winter Reveler. Again a debuff will prevent you from trying to get Mistletoe more than once per hour. With the introduction of the Winter Flying heirloom book, Horde need only be 68 to fly to the Airship in Icecrown for this, to mistletoe Brother Keltan. Or you could try one of these tactics.


Scrooge looks simple, but might land Kam in hot water with the Thunder Bluff faction for snowballing his faction leader. He will claim it was the nearby Undead who did it.


The other achievements look quite straightforward to do, just complete the usual Winter's Veil quests.


So things to do before Winter's Veil starts:

Once this Hallow's End madness is finished Kam will start on those Ogri'la dailies.

Monday, 27 October 2008

Shadow of Doom tanked by Earth Elemental

As part of the current zombie events, the scourge invasion is back. Floating necropolises are appearing all over the world and, keen to acquire a Tabard of the Argent Dawn, Kam headed into the Eastern Plaguelands to kill some scourge invaders.


Joining a pick up group, the initial attackers were repelled easily. However we had no tanks in the group, so when the Shadow of Doom spawned, Kam quickly summoned an Earth Elemental which proved hard enough to tank the Shadow of Doom, so long as earth shield and riptide were kept up on it.


Now to grind another 9 or so Necrotic Runes...

Friday, 24 October 2008

The Nerfed Karazhan

Thursday night Kam went into Karazhan as healer, with the intention of trying out a 0/0/61 spec, seeing how using a spell rotation as suggested by Jagerbombz would work.


Unfortunately Karazhan is now just plain easy. Before patch 3 we could get almost all the bosses killed in 3 lots of 3.5 hour runs, except maybe Nightbane, over a total of 10 and a half hours. Last night we killed everything except Nightbane, Illhoof and Maiden in 3 and a half hours. I mean really. We even killed the elite packs of party guests! Kam managed to grab the tier 4 gloves and helm and many badges.


An earth shield and riptide was all that was needed to keep the main tank up, and some chain heals to top the raid off. While I agree that Blizzard spending a lot of time balancing stuff at level 70 would be a waste of their time, it seems the only serious healing practise is to be had in Zul'Aman or some new instances come Wrath.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Sinister Squashlings in Treat Bags

Ok so this is odd, doing the Trick Or Treat quest, Kam got a Hallowed Helm in the treat bag from Razor Hill. Then my druid got a Squashling in another treat bag from Shattrath! Looks like they have been added to the possible drops, so maybe farming treat bags is the way to go. Now if only I could get both on the same character...

Did the horseman leave his melee ring in his tomb?

Another night, another run into the SM Graveyard in the hopes of getting a Sinister Squashling. Our group this time was a feral druid tank, rogue, another rogue and a protection paladin in DPS gear. As a sign of how non tricky this encounter is, all Kam needed to do was to put earth shield (not improved) onto the druid tank and drop the occasional riptide. Without a healing stream totem down - I suspect with one down Kam could have read the gravestones or maybe popped off into the SM library to read some books while the fight was going on.


On the first kill, the Squashling dropped, won by one of the rogues with a roll of 99! I rolled anyway but had little hope of besting 99, and sure enough I didn't. The rest of the time the Signet Ring and Witches Band dropped. Have they removed the melee ring? 13 kills and no sign of it at all.


Not to mention the Hallowed Helm which is the other item for the Hallows End achievement. I've never seen that drop. The Random Number Generator can be a cruel mistress sometimes.


Image courtesy of David Besa.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Achievement-oriented task bloat

It is a good job the default UI won't track more than one achievement, otherwise my brain would overload attempting to coordinate my activities in WoW to achieve the maximum number of achievements!

Only yesterday Kam wandered up to Zangarmarsh to do the fishing daily. While he was there he spotted a pool of some fish he'd not fished from yet. Remembering there is a fishing achievement for fishing from different types of pool, out came the fishing rod and 1 fish later it was done. Now we can get the daily done.

Then Kam spotted some wreckage. Remembering there is an achievement for fishing from each different type of wreckage, out came the fishing rod. Maybe now we can do the daily.

Ah but what is that, a Bogflare Needler, which drops a rare Firefly pet to count toward the 50 pet achievement. After killing around 20 and no pet, Kam finally did the fishing quest - so he could get the achievement for doing all the fishing dailies!

Kam had of course checked the fishing daily in the hope it was the crocs one... for a chance for more pets. Shortly after fishing out of pools in Terrokar for the chance of a Mr Pinchy (both pet and fishing achievement)...

Aim: 1 fishing daily. Result: many distractions trying to complete achievements. Next time I won't read the achievements for the area...

Saturday, 18 October 2008

The Gutless Horseman

Today Hallow's End begins! Along with a massive number of achievements to gain for the probably-impossible title, there is the small matter of a non-combat pet, the Sinister Squashling, to obtain.


So the merry band of Kam, resto specced, 3 hunters and a resto druid headed into the SM Graveyard. Given we had no tanks interested, we had a tenacity pet tank the Horseman. This boar has 12,000 armour and was pretty good it has to be said, an Earth Shield and druid HoTs were all that was needed to keep him up.


Oddly each party member (but the one who had done it before) could summon the Horseman twice, so we got 8 cracks at it. A few items dropped including the Witches Band which made a nice healing upgrade, and finally the Squashling itself. Unfortunately Kam lost the roll, but at least it has dropped, so hopefully with more cracks at the Horseman there's a decent chance of getting it.


Things I learnt healing:

  • Riptide. It's so nice to finally have a HoT!
  • Mana usage. Mana usage was ok but I had to use Mana Tide Totem once per fight, and keep away from the Mana Pots because now you can only use one pot per fight.
  • Overheals. Over healing was quite... large, due to dropping a Chain Heal on the pet when it had taken a little damage, the heal lands for 4k and so much of it is over healing. I am still in the mindset to heal early and often, which is a problem when your smallest heal lands for 2k or so!
  • Rotations. I've still not figured out this healing spell rotation, although I was cancelling many of the heals in this fight so didn't get a chance to really test the new spells and talents out.
  • Not much else, this fight is still ludicrously easy really.
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