Thursday, 28 May 2009

Ulduar BoE epic items

Now Ulduar has been out for a while, and Kam has assisted Bronzebeard with getting the keystone, my thoughts naturally turn to the phat loots that are in the place. Unlike most loot, I might have a chance to get the following if I am lucky and the Auction House coughs up.

Enhancement - Ulduar 10
Cloak: Shawl of the Shattered Giant drops from Kologarn (just after XT) which is 3 bosses in if you skip Razor and Ignis. I have actually seen this, but lost the roll. The cloak itself is very nice, with a good mix of "basic" stats (without any of the second-gen funnyness like haste and armour pen). It would make a fantastic replacement for Ice Striker's Cloak. Wowhead lists this cloak for 4000 gold but I have not seen it on the AH. Given our guild can kill Kologarn, I will not be buying this item.

Bracers: Bracers of the Smothering Inferno drop from Razorscale, right at the start. These bracers are only slightly better than Naxx 25 ones, but that's still very good. I've seen them on Aszune Horde AH for 1500 gold, which is pretty good considering the item. Given we can kill Razorscale and Kam has the Slime Stream Bands, I won't be bothering with these.

Enhancement - Ulduar 25
Neck: Nymph Heart Charm drops from Freya, one of keepers just after the antechamber, so fairly far into Ulduar. This neck ranks as one of the best, beaten only by Seeds of Budding Carnage which is a Hard mode drop for Freya (and thus lol no chance). It is a little better than the Malygos 25 man quest neck and a fair bit better than the Malygos 10 man quest neck. Wowhead prices this at 3000 gold, but I've not seen it on the Aszune AH yet. Because I won't be getting the Maly 25 necklace, I shall be on the look out for this item. If you have the Maly 25 necklace, I would strongly consider saving your gold.

Legs: Darkcore Leggings drop from Vezax, just before Yogg Saron at the end of Ulduar. These are very nice legs indeed, hit rating, haste, AP and some sockets. However the Valorous Worldbreaker War-Kilt (the Tier 8 legs) are just a little worse and drop from Hodir, who we have killed once. I have seen the Darkcore Leggings sell for 5000 gold on Aszune. Given they are a slight upgrade over the Tier 8 legs available in 10 man, I'd want them to be a whole lot cheaper before I could recommend buying. The Random Number Generator does suck tho.

Elemental & Resto - Ulduar 10
Strangely it seems all the BoE items for casters are suitable for both Elemental and Resto. It's like someone doesn't like itemizing mail items... Now we get into the gear zone where I don't have a handy loot ranking scale available, so my comments will be (more) inane.

Armbraces of the Vibrant Flame drop from Ignis (after the first boss). These are comparable to Pigmented Clan Bindings from Emblems of Valor. Wowhead prices these at 630 gold.

Elemental & Resto - Ulduar 25
Asimov's Drape drops from Mimiron who is one of the keepers of Ulduar, so around half way in. As it says on Wowhead, this is comparable to Cape of the Unworthy Wizard from KT in Naxx 25. Wowhead prices this at 2500 gold.

Leggings of the Stoneweaver drop from Kologarn, who can be the 3rd boss you kill in Ulduar. According to Wowhead this is very nice for a Resto shaman. Wowhead prices it at 3000 gold.

Phaelia's Vestments of the Sprouting Seed (leather beware) drop from the Assembly of Iron, in the same area as Kologarn so they can be the third boss(es) killed. It is worth a mention even though it is leather (yuck). Wowhead prices this at 1500 gold.

Leatherworking BoE using Runed Orbs
In Ulduar you can get these magical Runed Orbs which can be crafted into very nice epics. The catches are many and varied; the recipes drop from Ulduar 25 bosses or Ulduar 10 bosses in hard mode, the recipes require many Runed Orbs which cost upward of 2000 gold each on Aszune, and Runed Orbs only drop in Ulduar 25 or on Hard mode in Ulduar 10. So this list is basically "for interest" unless you are seriously loaded, or hardcore, or crazy.

Boots of Living Scale. These pwn my current Trespassers Boots most severely. The nearest Ulduar 10 item is Boots of Unsettled Prey, the Scale boots are way better. I have not seen this on the Aszune AH, Wowhead does not have any prices yet but Allakhazam prices them at 13000 gold (ulp).

Belt of Dragons. This belt is a lot better than Torn Web Wrapping because it has more AP, same crit and some haste, plus 2 sockets. Again there is no information on price, apart from Allakhazam says the pattern sold for 6000 gold at some point.

Blue Belt of Chaos. Comparable to Belt of the Fallen Wyrm when gemmed, so this looks like a pretty solid belt for Elemental shaman. No prices yet, given the Belt of the Fallen Wyrm is a drop from Razorscale in Ulduar 25, it isn't worth a king's ransom.

Lightning Grounded Boots. Very good boots with 2 gem slots to customize and solid stats. There are no prices yet.

It is worth saying that although some of these items may be Best In Slot now, come the next tier of raiding they will merely be good. Unless you are hardcore or have mucho mula, I don't think it's worth paying over the odds for any of these (especially the crafted items). Having said that, I might get 3-4 months or more use out of some of the items, so if they can be had at a good price I will indulge.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Guild video scam alert

Today a scam was attempted on our guild, using in-game mail sent to several guild members.

This one is quite good. Whoever sent the in-game mail carefully chose a character from our guild who has an "i" in their name, then made a character with the same name but an accent on the "i", so the mail appears to come from a guild member - the difference between the two names is literally a couple of pixels.

The mail then directs you to an executable which no doubt contains a keylogger or something equally nasty, but claims to be a guild publicity video. Luckily the website has been taken down, but let this post serve as a warning, as this scam may be attempted again. I also recommend never downloading and running executables from the internet without virus and spyware scanning them first!

The Patch 3.1.2 post... very short, no fixes or class changes for Shaman at all... rejoice!


* Equipment Manager When enabled from the Interface Options menu, this feature will allow players to store sets of equipment, easily swap between saved sets using hotkeys, and pull items directly from backpacks or bank slots (must be at the bank to equip inventory from the bank).

The Equipment Manager is being added, so I may well take a look, because I run WoW on two PCs and it is a pain keeping my Outfitters in sync. Storing things on Blizzard's servers FTW!


* Fishing Jewel of the Sewers: You can now fish in all parts of the Dalaran sewers for this quest. Phantom Ghostfish: Can now be caught from Nettlefish schools in Sholazar Basin.

Handy, but I shall still stick to the part outside the underbelly Inn, where I know the rat drops for sure. Fishing in pools is handy because I can have a chance of catching the rare turtle mount.

Dungeons and Raids

* 10-player bosses that drop Runed Orbs will also sometimes drop the recipes that use those orbs.

Hopefully our guild leatherworkers will get some recipes for tasty epics and I can investigate getting some crafted for Kam. When we start killing said bosses.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Quickest City rep with Argent Tournament

I have been grinding Argent Tournament reputation, mostly because I like collecting non combat pets. The following tip is all over the internet already, but I thought I'd mention it anyway, and I can haz graph.

Basically there are two sets of dailies to do - the Argent Valiant ones and the Argent Champion ones. Both have 4 quests, Valiant dailies give 250 reputation to the relevant city and 62 rep to other cities, Champion dailies give a Writ which you can hand in for 250 rep to any city you are a champion of.

So say you want to be Exalted with Silvermoon and you are Tauren. You complete the Valiant dailies for Thunder Bluff (I'll call this City 1), become champion of TB, unlock the champion dailies and start on the valiant dailies for Silvermoon (I'll call this City 2). While you do your champion dailies you get writs which you can hand in to City 1 for 250 reputation, 4 a day, shown on the blue line. While you are getting your 25 valiant seals, you are getting 250 rep for City 2 per daily, 4 a day, shown on the purple line. You also get 62 rep for other cities, shown on the green line. Because City 1 and City 2 rep go up at the same pace, only the purple line shows. Starting at say revered for City 2, it would take you 21 days to get City 2 to exalted.

However... if you saved those Writs until you were champion of City 2, then handed them in to City 2 for rep... you could effectively be gaining rep for City 2 from your champion dailies, even though you were not a champion of City 2. Then you can gain rep for City 2 from City 2 valiant dailies, and writs to hand in for City 2 rep from champion dailies. This is shown on the red line, which takes merely 11 days to get from revered to exalted for City 2.

But you gather valiant seals at 5 per day (doing all the quests), so it only takes 5 days to have enough to become a champion of City 2. Then you valiant another city and thus stop gaining City 2 rep. The tip I've seen around for this one is don't hand in your Valiant's Seals for City 2 so you can continue doing the valiant dailies and gaining City 2 rep. In fact, you could continue doing valiant dailies for City 2 until the rep you needed to be exalted is provided by the champions writs you have saved. Then you can hand in, become champion of City 2 and use the saved writs to ding exalted immediately. The Valiant's Seals stack to more than 25 so you can build up spares to hand in to another city.

The 62 reputation awarded for doing a Valiant daily is also a nice bonus, so long as you are doing the Valiant dailies for any city, the other city reputations will continue to rise slowly. Another reason to keep on with the Valiant dailies, not to mention to gold.

So although Kam has enough Valiant's Seals to become Champion of Silvermoon City, he will continue to do those Blood Elves bidding for a while yet.

Ye gods, Shaman buff in a hotfix?

Whatever next, they'll be making instant ghost wolf baseline or something (pretty please):
We are concerned that Elemental shaman dps is a little low in patch 3.1. We are going to hotfix an improved chance for the Lightning Overload talent to cast the half-damage Lightning Bolt or Chain Lightning. This hotfix should go in sometime over the next couple of days. The talent currently has a 7 / 13 / 20% chance to proc. The new change will be an 11 / 22 / 33% chance to proc.

We think this will provide a roughly 5% dps increase for say the raid-buffed level 80 Elemental shaman, but we will closely monitor the damage being done after this change. Note that the tooltip of the talent will not change from this hotfix – the talent will proc 33% of the time with 3 ranks, even though the tooltip says 20%. We will get the tooltip updated in a future client patch.

From the forums. Our resto shaman who has taken elemental as his off spec is understandably pleased about this. I would be too, lightning overload was always awesome, who doesn't like more free lightning?

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Running Naxxramas with 16/55/0

You may recall that I opted for 16/55/0 for my enhancement build, dropping Shamanistic Focus and thus gambling that I would have enough mana. I ran Naxxramas on Thursday with this build (sort of) and can now report the results.

Kam was deployed for full melee DPS against Noth, Loatheb and some of Heigan (until most of the DPS and healers died and he did off healing instead), and all of the trash. We had replenishment up for most of the time, thanks to one of our mages.

On the bosses Kam had no mana troubles - I had to use Shamanistic Rage of course, but was keeping Lightning Shield up full time, and the combination of Mana Stream Totem, replenishment and Improved Storm Strike seems to have done the trick. Unfortunately we did not have another Shaman there, so I was using Flametongue Totem rather than Magma/Searing Totem. I expect if I had spammed Magma I would have probably had some mana issues.

On Noth, I used Magma Totem on the skeleton phase, which probably contributed to my personal-record-breaking DPS (3300 is the most I have ever seen). What is interesting is that the mana gained from replenishment in the Noth fight is only 23% of that gained from SR and Imp SS, so reckon I might be good without any replenishment.

Loatheb was similar - no mana troubles with SR coming up soon enough to use before Kam went OOM. This time replenishment returned 36% of the mana that Imp SS did, so again not a huge amount. Hopefully I'll get into a raid without any replenishment so I can see how Kam does there. I say hopefully, the best scenario would be that we always have replenishment!

The rest of the fights Kam was off healing in his not very uber healing gear and second talent spec, so his DPS figures are a bit poor ;) Finally, for comparison of how far we have come since TBC, here is an old report I dug out from an Illhoof kill where Kam was known as Ando.

From 585 to 3300 DPS in the space of a single expansion? My my how far we have come.

Sunday, 3 May 2009

They don't want us to be in their Battleground and neither do we

The School of Hard Knocks achievement has sent PvE players flooding into battlegrounds in, one suspects, record numbers. However, I don't think any PvPers are happy about this. All over the battle-sphere, players are exhibiting odd behaviour, some of which is utterly counter to how you should play a battleground.

Alterac Valleys start with mass rushes to the enemy bunkers and towers, graveyards which are normally captured are ignored. Once a tower is captured many players simply leave the fight, those left behind must try to secure victory. Bunkers change hands as if players are letting the enemy capture them, then recapturing them, then repeating in a loop until a serious player puts a stop to it.

In the fields of Warsong Gulch, players defend their flag rooms viciously, awaiting any enemy foolish enough to enter. However, they do not attack until the enemy siezes their flag - then they bring their wrath down upon said enemy with furious anger. Normally ranged classes flock around the stricken opponent like frenzied piranhas, desperately trying to click the fallen flag. Attempts to capture the enemy flag seem to have been forgotten.

Players swarm in the center of the Eye of the Storm, ignoring all sage wisdom to ignore the flag and hold the towers. When the flag is placed, no one is attacking the enemy who also gather - they are all channeling a capture spell. When one lone runner breaks off, the rest of his team spit and curse his name, then wait for the next flag to appear.

Finally in Arathi Basin, positions which could once be entrusted to a defender or two are changing hands with alarming regularity, almost as if the defender is hiding, letting their enemies capture the flag before swooping in and recapturing it. The beginning of AB sees the players possessed with a supernatural desire to capture the Farm, or the Stables, or the Blacksmith.

You can observe one commonality between the proponents of such strange behaviour - they are all persued by a small orphan boy or girl, goading them on with promises of Violet Proto-drakes.

I can only imagine what serious PvPers think of all this - I reckon they would like all the holiday PvEers to get out of the battlegrounds or play properly. Unfortunately I think us PvEers would prefer not to be in the battlegrounds either, but a force more powerful than PvPers or PvEers is at work here - the overmaster of achievements.
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