Friday, 27 March 2009

Healing Heroic OHF... as enhancement

Thursday night, the Naxx raid is cancelled, and we are a-bored and looking for things to do. Someone asks to do Black Morass for their Alchemy specialization quest, so Kam jumps into the party. The group dimly recalls some irritating design from the past where you need to do Old Hillsbrad Foothills before BM, so it's off to OHF first. The party consists of a tankadin, 2 mages, warlock and Kam the enhancer. "Who will heal?" someone says... umm I guess Kam can throw some heals out I say, and so it begins. We did normal OHF and BM, during which hardly anyone needed healing anyway, so Kam was meleeing all the time. Healing Stream totem ftw! Then some mad man suggests we try heroic OHF... how hard can it be?

Kam carries a scrappy set of healing gear with him (to compare offspec raid loot against), so on it goes, and his spellpower goes from around 1000 to almost 2k. This is a good start. Then I switch to my healing bar... (the group have already pulled twice while I was trying to sort myself out), what spells do we have here...

Lesser Healing Wave. Nice and quick, this will get the mages out of a tight spot if they pull aggro. Except it seems to restore the tiniest chink of health. I guess thats Kam's lack of healing power and any resto talents whatsoever. Instead, let's try...

Healing Wave. This is more like it, a nice big heal on a ... umm 3 second cast. I had a faster heal when I was resto, but now HW is taking ages and if any DPS pull aggro, I have to use LHW as they are dead before this goes off. Still, its good for healing the tank, who isn't taking a lot of damage. Kam's lack of spell power means the heals only restore a small bit of health anyway. It's ok, if anyone else takes damage we always have...

Chain Heal. Without Improved Chain Heal, this thing was useful for topping up the ranged but of course the tank was standing too far away for it to bounce from tank to ranged, and I am the melee. Oh gods we've pulled 3 buildings at once! Mobs... everywhere, damage... all over the party. Chain heal for the... loss it turns out, curse Kam's lack of spell power in his melee/spell damage spec.

Of course, I had Earth Shield on the tank anyway so they... nope, Earth Shield is a talent in the resto tree. Riptide? Nope, resto talent. Kam had to resort to spamming Healing Wave and Lesser Healing Wave if the DPS got into trouble, and I managed to lose a Mage when he got aggro and Kam was being interrupted by bad mobs (I can haz no Healing Focus, see?).

Despite the basic Shaman healing spells being quite... basic, the group managed to successfully infiltrate the Castle and were well on their way to rescuing Thrall when my WoW client locked solid and stubbornly refused to let me log back in again. I would have got away with it, if it hadn't been for those pesky crashes.

Roll on 3.1 and dual specs I say, when I can get me a proper set of healing spells and throw some mean Riptide/Tidal Waves/Chain Heal action out.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Dear Alchemist Finklestein

Yet another day on Troll Patrol, Kam was trying to up his standing with those Argent Crusaders. I find the Alchemist Finklestein quest the hardest by far, my memory is shot and I usually end up shouting at the screen "oh f*** it's on the other side!". For those who have not done it, you need to find ingredients from 7 racks and various boxes, across 2 rooms. You get 30 seconds to find each one, but some ingredients are only in one room and in 1 or 2 places, so if you go to the wrong room and spend too long looking, game over man.

I wondered if I could write a mod which remembers the locations of the ingredients, then when Finklestein shouts out which he needs, tell me in some way. That would be awesome, in the same way the Ogri'lazy mod was awesomely cheat-tastic for the Ogri'la dailies.

Looks like some people have already written some mods for me. EasySerum does precisely what I've described, sticking a good description of where the ingredient is into the chat frame. It looks like the case number it puts out is going clockwise from the entrance to each room, so for the left room, case 2 is the 2nd one clockwise from the entrance, not the 2nd closest one to Finklestein.

Combine that with the Finklestein daily serum quest helper mod, and you also get a minimap spot for where the ingredient is, and when you mouse over it you get a useful ping on the screen.

So you could memorise where each and every ingredient is, then get really good at Troll Patrol: The Alchemist's Apprentice and always get your Congratulations!... or use these two mods and stop tearing your hair out!

Monday, 23 March 2009

Achievement points - Get down with the sickness

This post brought to you by Disturbed - Down With The Sickness. Now my Metal Up Your WoW moment is over with...

Recently I find myself wandering the entire of Azeroth and Outlands on the most strange of missions. Not quests, no, nothing so straightforward. It started when I got around 2900 achievement points - they sit there, uselessly displaying their count to me, taunting me with their closeness to the nice, round number of 3000. A sudden compulsion came over me, surely there was a few bits and bobs Kam could knock off to make a hundred or so points?

Heroics are a bit of a non-starter on a raid night in our guild, however I was lucky to get into an OS run and cheese the Besting the Black Dragonflight one. Everyone else in the raid was like "wth you don't have this yet?". Then after persuading the raid leading bear with some Shaman callings (we can persuade more than just the elements to do our bidding!), the Construct Quarter of Naxx was pwned, and we managed to Knock the Widow out, possibly my finest raid achievement yet.

Among such noble achievements are the vague dross of Pest Control, various explorations and It's Happy Hour Somewhere. These are really just topping up that achievement point score, but look now, its at 3000! I could stop here, but the compulsion to do silly things is still strong, and I want to catch some slippery rogue, even though he continues to gain points! At least I'm miles ahead of the raid leading bear (slacker) and our elemental shaman.

Why is this compulsion to collect achievement points with me? Shouldn't I just go grind some Northrend rep instead, or finish up some more quests in Sholazar? Then I could get 5 Exalted Reputations or go Into the Basin and see The Snows of Northrend. Oh dear, there's no escaping those points, I think I really am down with the sickness.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Tier gloves - a slight upgrade not taken

Thursday night, The Obsidian Sanctum is on the raid calendar, Kam is signed up. Unfortunately not enough tanks sign, so it is cancelled. How odd then that the guild goes ahead and gets a run going anyway. Luckily our DCPS warrior (that's disconnections per second, due to his rubbish internet) has to drop and Kam gets in.

The remaining drake and Sartharion later, the Gloves of the Lost Protector drop. With no competition, Kam grabs the token and I get to ponder the loot later.

So we have Rusted-Link Spiked Gauntlets versus Heroes' Earthshatter Grips. Roll on 3.1 when I think Kam will have enough mana regen to use Static Shock, but for the moment its Water Shield all the way, so the set bonus does nothing for me. So on the tier gloves we have 5 extra crit rating, 2 more int (which means 2 more attack power) and what the hell, 20 more haste and 34 less hit rating? Now I thought the tier chest was good with a big wodge of hit, but a set piece with no hit rating at all? Do they realise I need 446 hit rating? The rest of the stats are a slight upgrade, but at what cost?

In conclusion, these tier gloves are staying in the bank till I can spare 34 hit rating. Or they might make a pretty neat pair of healing gloves mwuhahaha.

Friday, 13 March 2009

DPS don't be afraid of pugging Archavon!

I was quite nervous when I joined my first PUG to the Vault of Archavon (VoA). What if I died, or messed up in some horribly embarrassing way? PUGs never do tactics, so what if I forgot something vital?

Having done VoA in 25 and 10 man settings, I can say don't worry. It's quick and fairly easy. It's totally the same on 25 and 10 man. Let's take a look.

There are like 4 trash mobs, all single pulls. They are all Archavon Warders. As melee you just need to watch out for their Whirl ability. This has a 2 second(ish) cast and does around 10k damage to Kam, so I imagine rogues would go splat. You just need to back out of melee range as soon as you see the cast bar, or alternatively be too slow and loose a lot of your health, but don't worry because the healers will most likely top you up again.

The trash takes all of about 5 minutes to clear, then it's onto the main event...

Archavon the Stone Watcher
Standing in a chamber alone, Archavon watches... a stone, for what purpose I don't know. This fight is pretty much a tank and spank, with some things melee need to watch out for.

Every so often, Archavon will target a random player and throw Rock shards at them, which harms the player and those in close proximity. These shards look like... little gray shards which stick up from the ground. In the groups I've been in, if you are close to the player, move away. If you are the player, stay still, they don't hurt that much and you can't avoid them, but if you run off into the healers... the raid might not like you too much.

Secondly, Archavon will occasionally jump over to a random player, hit them and leave a choking cloud on the ground. The cloud does 2k nature damage per second, so you want to avoid standing in them. Unfortunately, void circles they are not, more like indistinct gray clouds which are tricky to spot. Because the tanks tend to follow Archavon when he jumps on someone, I end up running all over the place and need to avoid getting in any clouds. You could run a Nature Resistance totem if you wanted to, although the healers on the runs seemed able to cope with it.

Finally at various times Archavon will stun the raid, grab the main tank and the off tank will have to taunt him. You will see the emote Archavon the Stone Watcher lunges for MrTank when this happens. We are usually advised to watch our threat during this transition from MT to OT, because someone other than the OT may be second in threat and the OT may fumble their taunt, or something. If of course you do borderline average DPS like Kam, you don't really need to bother - the OT will have more threat than you anyway.

After 5 minutes he enrages but he's probably dead long before that, WoWWiki suggests each dps raid needs to do 1100 DPS on normal, 1700 DPS on heroic. So if you can hit these figures, you are good to go.

Lore justification
Who knows? Archavon is watching a stone, is this the "attuned Titan relic" which lets the controlling side see the elementals? As usual, there are no quests to go kill Archavon beyond the endless quest for gear.

Loot justification
Ah this is more like it. Archavon drops 2 Emblems of Heroism on normal and 2 Emblems of Valor on heroic. You can trade Emblems of Valor for Emblems of Heroism in Dalaran. He also drops raid token loot and PvP arena loot, so if your guild only does 10 man stuff, pugging VoA 25 man might get you some pretty nice loot, like these. Ok so I didn't actually win them, but I got to drool over the stats. If you are really lucky you can get the Reins of the Grand Black War Mammoth from 25 man VoA.

There are also achievements to be had inside VoA. Archavon the Stone Watcher and Heroic: Archavon the Stone Watcher are for killing Archavon. If you've never done a 25 man raid, you will get Emblem of Valor from VoA 25 man, and 25 Emblems of Valor in time. If you are lucky enough to get a War Mammoth in 25 man VoA then Grand Black War Mammoth is yours.

Getting into a PUG
I've gotten into VoA pugs in two ways. Firstly, by hanging around in Dalaran watching the general channel, people often advertise for members. Be sure to whisper your DPS and relevant stat, for example attack power in my case (so long as it's nice and big of course). Your faction needs to control Wintergrasp to be able to run VoA.

Secondly, I've gotten into the raid attacking Wintergrasp and won the game, at which point the raid leader indicated those up for VoA should stay in the raid. After some waiting we hit VoA. You can look out for LFM calls on Wintergrasp general just after a victory too.

In both cases, the 25 man VoA was done and then the raid formed a 10 man to continue, so in theory you can hit both VoAs, get 4 Emblems and a chance at some raid and arena loot.

Actually getting into a PUG, or winning Wintergrasp, takes longer than doing VoA, and there is some good loot and achievements to be had inside. VoA is definitely the simplest raid I've done, so I would recommend everyone to have a go.

Friday, 6 March 2009

An awesome Naxxramas night

Last night we did the Military quarter and the Plague quarter. Although it was mostly rogue loot, Kam did win the tier chest piece from the Four Horsemen.

So Kam can now stop championing Argent Crusade trying to get a Polished Regimental Hauberk. Or can he? Argent Crusade have some leather boots at Exalted which look pretty nice, certainly better than what Kam has currently. Leather? Yuck! But the boots have +66 hit on them, so getting these would allow other items to be replaced with more powerful ones with no hit, like the crafted necklace or kirin tor ring.

My other options are championing Wyrmrest for the resto glyph in anticipation of 3.1, and the drake mount of course.

For now I think Kam will stick with the Argent Crusade, they aren't a bad bunch, they got digs in ZulDrak and a pretty nice crib in Icecrown I helped them build. Of course if Kam gets the Trespasser's Boots from Noth all bets are off.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Noblegarden extended to one week

According to the in-game calendar on the PTR, Noblegarden begins Sunday April 12th and ends Saturday April 18th! This is very awesome because it means we don't need to grind all the Noblegarden quests on just one day. There are also a bunch of new achievements for Noblegarden and the Argent Tournament, amusingly one for getting a Dual Talent Specialization. The most expensive 10 achievement points I've got so far.

Noblegarden is still not part of the It's Been a Long Strange Journey meta achievement, but according to this post, it will be added. Let's hope the 3.1 patch is on live before April 12th then.

Some images:

The First Fifty

Thanks to a run through the Heroic-of-the-day The Nexus, Kam got his first 50 Emblems of Heroism, which he promptly spent on Pride. I could have used 40 on Mirror of Truth, but I figure being a weapon-toting character, big shiny purple weapons are more important. Even if they may look like a sock puppet. The Mirror is next, definitely.

With the massive 50 hit rating this thing has on it, Kam is now finally over the spell hit cap (of 446) with Snapper Extreme by around 35 hit rating. Which means I can finally dump his Therapeutic Cloak and get me an Ice Striker's Cloak made. It's what all the melee are wearing this season.

I'm not really sure why I kept the cloak all this time, I hesitate to say it's because I didn't find anything with better stats, although for the hit rating that's true. Maybe I wasn't looking hard enough. However, I've noticed that a lot of the crafted BoE epics don't have hit rating, so I guess Blizzard intended them for use in heroics (where the hit caps are lower) and not raids. The Therapeutic cloak has become my Staff of Westfall, the one loot item I keep around for far longer than I should, simply because I fixate over one particular stat. Druid B kept his Staff of Westfall for many levels and we teased him about it mercilessly.

Now if I can remember to take a screen shot on the toon select screen, I'll update my Path of a Hero profile.
© 2008, 2009 FlameShock. All Rights Reserved.