Saturday, March 29, 2008

New Guild and Karazhan Updates

As you may (or may not) know, Kikidas is the Jonah of guilds. The last three guilds she was in self-destructed (or mini-destructed). As such, she was guildless for a little while there.

And may I say, when you are guildless, the game makes SURE YOU KNOW IT! You log in to 10 lines of 'You are not in a guild.'. And it repeats periodically. Like, gee, I didn't know. Thanks for reminding me! Let me go get in a guild, thanks to you!

Anyway, the guild that I was the PuG member of before I left for Florida accepted my application. Yay! So I'm now a member of Resolve. Which I like the name of... resolve. You resolve problems, you resolve difficulties... you resolve the boss with a well timed shadowbolt.

So, we had another Kara run Thursday night (they seem to like to do midnight Kara runs, which I can't do very often) and I convinced (okay, annoyed them into it!) them to let Dhark (my husbands rogue) join in.

It was gorgeous, yet again. Dhark was drooling. We had one tank (paladin) for the entire thing. When "two" tanks were needed, the shaman or healadin would get aggro temporarily while the rest of the group downed the primary target.

Then yesterday, I went into Kara with my hunter, Kiya. Now, Kiya isn't very well geared, mixed greens/blues. Kiya is a beast master with an lynx cub from the beginning of the Blades Edge Mountains (by Sylvanaar), named Bumper.

I was in there with three mages and one warlock for competition in damage. While my overall DPS wasn't the highest, it was consistently in the 400+ range. (One mage was 500, one was 450s, one was on par with me, warlock was 300) And for overall DAMAGE DONE, I was at the top (not counting pet).

We one shotted Attumen. We three shotted Moroes (only one priest and one ice-trap. Bumper did us all proud by being the tank on the adds and I did hunters proud by kiting and trapping my add until it was ready to be killed). We three shotted Maiden (we had a few 'cleanse' issues). We one shotted BBW. All this between the hours of 7pm (we got off to a slightly late start at 7:15) and 10:30pm.

Now, this was a KoU group. This was a SECOND TIER KoU group. Everyone in blues, maybe a few greens and a few purples. Our tanks were well geared and our healers were well geared, which gave us the time the low DPS needed to down the bosses. So, considering that ... WE DID AWESOME. Go Knights of Utopia: Annuu's Group!!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Dungeon Guide: MTe 2: Boss Fights

A Warlock's Overview: Please feel free to add information.

Selin Fireheart:
o Very similar to the end boss in SV. He channels. Kill the crystal before he finishes. When he channels the crystal, he gets mana from it. When he has mana, he uses fel explosion (AoE) until he's out of mana. Thus, the less mana he has, the better off you are. He does a drain life spell that is rather nasty, should be dispelled (paladin only?) or interrupted.
o Overall? Piece of Cake.

o Similar (sort of) to Curator. He summons little flares that need to be downed. The killer of the flare gets a DoT that can stack up to 30 times. At about 15-20%, Vex enrages and needs to be burned down fast. Apparently, this is a fight that depends on the healer's ability to keep people alive, more so than a DPS fight. I disagree. Kill Vexallus really fast, and you don't have too many of those flares to deal with, do you? Reports in WoWWiki are mixed, one says flares appear with health (in which case, doesn't matter how fast or slow you kill him), another says it's time based, in which case the faster the better.
o Overall? Piece of Cake.

Priestess Delrissa:
o Similar (sort of) to Moroes. You get a random assortment of four additional mobs with the Priestess. Though she looks like a demon, she's listed as humanoid.
o NONE OF HER ADDS ARE SEDUCABLE. This really burns me. It really does. Sheeping and hunter trapping work, but seducing doesn't. So, if you have a group of warlocks, this sucks for you.
o The demons ARE banishable. Stack a CoS on it to make the banish last longer.
o The adds are fearable. Clear the room before Delrissa's completely if you use this method, and try to keep the feared mobs back there.
o Priestess can be hunter trapped. However, we did best when we killed her first.
o Warlock's imp (Fizzle) is one-two shottable, but he'll resummon, so keep an eye out for it.
o Hunter's pet (Sliver) has a fast attack, it needs to be kept off of the healer so he can heal.
o Shadow Word: Pain could/should be left on the dispeller (if only one person can dispel it), to wake them up from any CC effects that may happen to them.
o To my knowledge, her adds can be sheeped, hunter trapped and possibly sapped. Seduce won't work. NOT TAUNTABLE!!

Priestess' Group Members
* Apoko: Shaman. Will purge effects off of people, including Righteous Fury and Holy Shield.
* Brightblaze: Fury Warrior. Kicks and stuns.
* Duskhallow: Warlock. Fears and SoC's.
* Garaxxas: Demon Hunter. Freezing trap on group and warstomp (stun)
* Nightstrike: Rogue: Cheap Shot, Kidney Shot and Gouge (stuns), vanishes and poison (crippling).
* Salaris: Warrior. Intimidating Shout is the biggest concern group wise, also mortal strike and charge abilities.
* Yazzai: Mage: Polymorph is the biggest concern, all the rest are ice-mage abilities (ie: blizzard, frost nova, etc)
* Zelfan: Engineer: AoE Sheep and frontal flame arc.

o Strategy: Tanks are very little use in this fight to some extent, since they are not tauntable. The tank should hold mobs on them as much as possible, but once the DPS really gets going, it may be hard to hold onto the target. Have a well established kill order, so the healer isn't healing too many DPS at once.
o The priestess does negligible melee damage, killing her first is ususally suggested.
o Keeping the intimidating shout warlord CC'd until last is the best, otherwise OUR CC breaks while we're running. Hard to fear something when you're running in fear yourself.
o Priestess's healing spells have no cooldown. She can spam heal herself and others. Keep her controlled or silenced/kicked.
o Overall: VERY GROUP DEPENDENT, not just your group, but what her group consists of. We had a hard time with it as we had two warlocks in the group and only one demon, so our CC was limited.

Kael'thas Sunstrider:
o Overall, almost anticlimatic. The group pull before him was harder than he was.
o Phoenix: Have someone kite it away from the group until it dies. Once it dies, all DPS need to kill the egg. If you do not kill the egg, the phoenix is reborn stronger. We used a warlock to do this, since DPS could be maintained on both Kael'thas and the phoenix.
o Kael'thas does summon more than one phoenix in the fight. Be ready.
o Flamestrike shows up as three glowy balls swirling around one another. Initial damage is quite severe, so move out of it.
o At 50%, the tank becomes nothing more than an ornament. This is when Gravity Lapse theorhetically starts. (I wasn't watching his % of life)
o Gravity Lapse was really very fun! Though it's "swimming", it's very FAST swimming, so don't overdo it. Avoid the floor and avoid the water balls, and just keep DPSing him. Try to keep health up at this time as during Gravity Lapse, you're taking constant damage from Kael'thas.
o Begin Gravity Lapse by the door out, so the water-balls have to come all the way to you. Then ZIP past them to by Kael'thas and keep DPSing him there, making them have to return to you from across the room.
o In between Gravity Lapses, just DPS to the max on Kael'thas. He doesn't do melee damage, just recovers then does Gravity Lapse again.
o Overall: Anticlimatic.

Dungeon Guide: MTe 1: Trash Mobs

A Warlock's Overview: If you have anything to add, please feel free to leave a comment.

Mage Guard:
o Abilities : AOE Stun, Glaive Throw (interrupts casting and stuns), Bubble Shield: Move mobs out of the bubble shield if possible, it reduces damage by 75%. It also seemed to break hunter trap, but this is not corroborated.
o Seducable? : Yes, but seems to break frequently.
o Nifty WoWWiki Tips: None.

Blood Knight:
o Abilities: Heals themselves and others. CC them or kill them fast.
o Seducable?: Yes.
o Nifty Tips: Mages can spell steal a seal they have on themselves to give their casts additional HOLY damage

o Abilities: Casts 10% faster every cast. Can AoE. Need to LoS or silence-pull them.
o Seducable?: No.
o Nifty Tips: The haste buff is stealable.

o Abilities: Imp pet can be one-two shotted easily. Casts immolate.
o Seducable?: Yes.
o Nifty Tips: Mages can spellsteal their fel armor for +250 spell damage.

o Abilities: Uses poison on weapons (what type of healer is this?!) and prayer of mending.
o Seducable?: Supposedly.
o Nifty Tips: None (what, did you mages think you could spell steal something ELSE? What more do you want!)

Sister of Torment:
o Abilities: Seduces random target (including tank!)
o Seducable?: No, but can be enslaved!
o Nifty Tips: None

o Abilities: Teleports and AoE's. Very annoying!
o Seducable?: Not to my knowledge. We tried, but not sure if it kept getting broken or if he was just immune.
o Nifty Tips: None

o Abilities: Nothing too special.
o Seducable?: Yes
o Nifty Tips: None.

o Abilities: AoE damage, don't stand by it if you're ranged!
o Seducable?: I wish. Drain Life and Siphon Life also don't work (damn mechs)
o Nifty Tips: None.

o Abilities: Nuttin special when they're alive. When dead, they give you a 1% boost to damage per wyrm. So best to keep moving when you down a pack of them to get the best bang for your buck!
o Seducable?: C'mon. They're wyrms.
o Nifty Tips: AoE is very pretty. And apparently, WoWWiki recommends that if you have a poor computer, do not look at them while they die. EXTREME GRAPHICS!

o Abilities: Detonates something that causes all the wyrm packs to act as one pack.
o Seducable?: Dunno. Killed her too fast.
o Nifty Tips: Nothing.

Wretched Dudes:
o Abilities: Nothing to worry about overall, bruisers do a type of mortal strike (reduces healing done to target), Skulkers are dual-wield melee and Husks are mages.
o Seducable?: Yes.
o Nifty Tips: Nothing special.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Magister's Terrace

I, along with 99.799% of all WoW players, went into the new 5-man dungeon last night.

Yay for new content!

In deference to the patch and the new zone, I took my "A Team" character, ie: Kikidas, along with the two members of my triangle, Owaru and Boon, to the new instance. Now, it's a 5-man, not a 3-man, so we took along two "A Team Groupies", namely Owaru's lovely and talented wife, Neshura the Beast Master Hunter and Absitively, a short-masculine version of Kikidas with a higher pitched voice (also known as a gnome warlock).

We stepped into Magister's Terrace and started to have fun! A bit of muddling around as we figured out that Mage Guard bubbles will break traps and that Mage Guards, though seducable, broke it really really easily.

We discovered that Magisters need to die fast and are not seducable. We discovered that Blood Knights seem to go from 5% health to 85% health with no warning (Who healed them, damnit!). I discovered I can 1-shot the non-elite imps (woot woot!).

The first boss we started without any warning (our hunter says "Oops." in ventrilo!) and downed him without any problem (well, he managed to channel his first gem all the way through.) and had a fun chuckle at the silly silly hunter.

The second boss hallway was really fun. Two warlocks make for pretty pretty AOE. The second boss, dead swiftly! Woot woot.

We get to the third boss and suddenly our delightful run turns into hell-fest. According to what WE knew, "seduce should work" on the mobs. Yeah well, they didn't. I mean, what the hell. SHEEP works but not SEDUCE? Seduce is about the most easily broken of all CC. A small, almost unnoticed, animation alerts people to the seduction. It lasts only 12-15 seconds if not resisted or broken early. It depends on the relatively small mana pool of the succubus, who also isn't exactly robust in the health department either. And they're IMMUNE?

So, whomever wrote that all CC works on the humanoids by the priestess needs to be shot. For our group makeup, we had a cruddy cruddy grouping. We had the naga warlord, the blood elf warlock, the blood elf fury warrior and the satyr hunter. The only CC we could do was banishing the hunter and having OUR hunter chain trap someone and possibly fearing one (though that did backfire on us a little bit, as one of our wipes was due to a feared Sliver running into friends.)

We tried multiple multiple multiple frustrating times. The warlord, though we tried to trap him, would get off an intimidating shout and there goes everyone! The warrior, though no one did anything to him at all, invariably came and pummeled me to death, while I was running in fear. (This happened twice.) The satyr did manage to stay banished. The imp was one or two shotted adequately. The priestess ran amok. We kept dying before we could get the warrior feared.

Unfortunately, our hunter had to go, it was getting late for her. So we called in a good guild friend, a mage named Gaaron. And lo and behold, they can be SHEEPED (I hate you, Blizzard). After Gaaron joined, we one-shotted the group. Satyr stayed banished, warlord stayed sheeped and warrior stayed feared. Priestess died. Warlock died. Warrior died. Warlord died. Satyr died. We lived!

As an aside, the boss fight is resettable if you run far enough. :) We learned this.

Then a brief jaunt to a big ass pull that we handled decently once we figured out how to pull 'em. (Our pally's consecrate was right where we were trying to seduce) With one wipe on them, we downed them the second time.

Then to Kael'thas. Ah, Kael'thas. This was a very fun fight! We wiped once on it, in part due to me starting on Kael'thas too early, and though I didn't do more than dot him up and turn my attention to the phoenix, he still decided to eat me. The second attempt was... humerous!

So, we decide to have Absitively kite the phoenix (not DPS it, just kite it until it died), then we turned and killed the egg. Otherwise, we all kept on Kael'thas. Unfortunately, we didn't take into account that the phoenix has that little aoe thing going on, and Absitively dragged it over a few of us before we learned to move out of the way! Heehee. You should have heard Boon, "How the hell am I supposed to heal EVERYONE?!" he would shout.

Then the reverse-gravity thing. NEAT-O! Like swimming, only much faster! We keep at it, swimming around. I almost got eaten by an orb because I wasn't paying attention (and in fact, my health dropped down too low!). At 10% or so, everyone but Absitively and myself are dead. I die at 4% (like I said, health was too low to survive the periodic damage) and then Absitively, brave little Absitively... killed Kael'thas. All by his lonesome! It was a brave sight. This little gnome standing toe to toe with Kael'thas and shooting him with a shadowbolt. All of us holding our breath that we wouldn't have to fight him again! And down he goes! Woot woot! WARLOCK POWER!

All in all, a fun evening, if a little frustrating (Seduce should work, damnit!) at times.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Dungeon Guide: Hellfire Ramparts

I'm stealing a page from Bremm's book. I'm going to start writing brief guides on the dungeons. Sure, they have this all listed at WoWWiki... but WoWWiki isn't me. I'm going to talk about pulls, tricks, bosses and all of it done with my typical style and flair. You can't wait to continue, can you?

So to begin... the first instance you likely encounter upon hitting Outlands... Hellfire Ramparts.

There are several quests involved with this instance, although you'll probably go in here enough at the beginning that if you do it the first time without the quest, don't worry, you'll be back.

(What, you want me to link the quests for you too? What do I look like, your personal guide to Outland dungeons?... oh wait, that's what I'm doing, isn't it? Tough luck. Click the link above.)

As soon as you zone in you're confronted with the 'if you take one step too far forward, you start a fight' scenario. A GREAT way to start your first instance!

Two fellows guarding a bridge, with a patrol. Fun fun, no? Typically, a first time tank will tank too far from the entrance, and the pat will aggro and try to eat your healer. Or, a DPS-Melee (I'm looking at you, rogues!) will be behind the mob and grab aggro (and it will go try to eat the healer. You know.. healing is a very dangerous job. Go ahead and respec to feral/balance elemental/enhancement tankadin/dpsadin or shadow ... it's safer.) ... (I jest. Without you darling healers, we wouldn't be able to do anything!)

You make it across that pesky bridge and associated mobs and right around the corner is a group of three (with archers, Blizzard loves us) and a doggy patrol. Here's where mistake #2 usually happens -- people fight right at the bridge! And then the patrol aggros and then the healer dies.

By this time, the healer is getting pissed. He's already died twice (or three times!) and the instance has barely started!

Crowd control, unless you've got a few 70's running with you, is the name of the game. The dogs can see through stealth, so rogues are limited in their use in this instance at times. The nice thing is the dogs are non-elite, though they put out some nasty damage. They don't NEED to be crowd controlled, just tank-controlled long enough for the DPS to kill them. If you want to CC them, go ahead and do that to. Whatever floats your boat. Just keep them off of your cloth healers, or you'll have to start looking for another healer. Mark one dog to die first, the second dog to die second, so your DPS focus-fires them.

This instance is riddled with caster/ranged type mobs. The archers are no big deal, we've all learned how to pull archers. People seem to forget the rules for casters. They get impatient and don't let them finish their aborted spell casts (they try to cast, then can't, then run up and try to cast, and can't, then run up... and so forth) and start trying to kill them before they're pulled.. which pisses off the melee DPS and the tank, just sayin... Healers are notorious for getting caster aggro that someone is trying to kite by staying in the line of sight of said mob.

The big first group of casters you encounter is 7 pulls in. (2 at head of bridge, 1 patrol, 2 at foot of bridge, 3 group stationary, 3 group patrol, 3 group stationary, 4 dog group stationary...) You see a group of three casters and one melee class. That melee person is a nasty customer. He isn't CCable and does a fair bit of damage. The casters are cake, with one exception -- they do short burst fears.

The usual tactic is to have the tank thwack the melee and go high tailing it around the corner. CC pick up their targets as applicable. So, they're casters. So if you're pulling them to your CC (hello, hunters, I'm looking at you now!) be ready with some form of spell interrupt/silencing shot or have a friendly mage or shaman stop their casting. Now, the other nasty thing they do, as I mentioned above, is short burst fear. This is why we don't fight them where they are, that and there's a dog patrol that walks to their position.

So, CC what you can, if you can't CC it, assign a DPS to kill it. They usually can die pretty quick with good DPS and a good healer who can keep the DPS and the tank alive. All other DPS should focus on the melee, since it does quite a bit of damage and has a decent chunk of hit points.

Fun, no? Whether you pull the dog patrol or not depends on whether it's on it's way up to you or not. The next pull is a beastmaster and two archer types. This part is really important... KILL THE BEASTMASTER FIRST AND FAST. All out DPS. Don't worry about aggro. Just hose the fellow. If you don't, he'll call in three dogs. Which, in a good group, probably nothing to worry about but in a new group, a wipable issue. Ideally, the two archers were CC'd just as the tank was engaging the beastmaster, so the DPS can just focus on the beastmaster and not worry about CCing.

Snag the doggy patrol after this group. Next is a group of four - two casters, two melee. Nothing special. Then you approach the hallway of the first boss. Here my memory is a bit fuzzy on the pulls, so forgive me if I leave one out.

There's a group (usually by a chest) under a pavilian. It has two dogs and at least two orcs (sometimes 3, not sure if it's a heroic vs. non-heroic difference). Cake.

There's a group next to them, two dogs, one melee. Cake.

On your left, half hidden by a wagon, is a group of one melee and two casters. This is right in the boss patrol zone, so you HAVE to pull them back. If I'm dps, I'll instant something on them and run away. Rogues and kitties can sprint, hunters can cheetah. Just run around the corner, then the tank can pick up the pieces.

One thing to be cautious of here... okay, a few things!

1: The boss. Try not to aggro him at this stage.
2: a lone patrol. He patrols in such a way that if you try to yank him before you clear the dog-3-pull, you'll usually grab them too. An experienced puller can get him first without clearing. However, to be on the safe side, I usually clear one group first. I usually kill that group and when he pats into their position, grab him. Alternatively, you can grab him with the wagon-group.

Once you've cleared the patrol and the wagon, now you have the boss. He has two healers who are CCable (or killable!) and ... obviously big ugly himself. You have a few options - kill the healers first, then the boss... OR kill the boss first while CCing the healers. The healers DO heal him, so you don't want to leave them loose. If you have a mage(s), sheep healers are usually left til last, otherwise, other forms of CC are considered relatively unreliable for this and usually the healers are killed first. The tank should stay on the boss at all times.

The boss charges and knockbacks his charge target. So don't fight him with your ranged DPS having their backs to mobs. This is what's known as a Bad Idea. Thankfully, it also doesn't happen often anyway.

Boss down. Yay! Skirt the wagon by hugging the left, then run along the diagonal crack in the floor to the opposite wall. You skip two or three groups on the right this way. There's a two pull in front of the door.

Up the stairs is a 5-pull of casters. The same method works if you want to use it. Another method I've seen used, if you have good AOE... is LOS pull them around so they are clumped in the doorway, then AOE the hell out of the casters. The tank needs to keep the melee on himself and off the healer/dps. You do NOT want to fight them in their hallway, there is a two-pull that you can be feared into.

Nab the two pull by the door. Do not go out the door. Repeat, DO NOT go out the door!

To your left is a five-pull (2 dogs, 3 orcs), to your immediate right is a 3 pull (melee and two archers) and patrolling around in a circle is a patrol (2 dogs, 1 orc). DO NOT pull the patrol first.

The order is right THEN left or patrol, then patrol or left. I typically nab the patrol after the right group.. pull the patrol when it is on the right side of the door. The 5-pull can be a wipe-fest if you aren't careful. Usually you have one caster in the group and two melee. CC as best you can. Remember, dogs can smell stinky rogues.

The 5-group is usually standing on a chest. Yay! Chest!

Now you have the other half of the room. A 3-pull of two archers and one melee is usually next, because the other pull is tricksy.

The last pull in the circle is a group of two casters, one melee and two dogs. The melee is a minor patrol around a box in the corner. HE CAN BE SAPPED without aggroing the dogs. The rogue needs to sneak onto the hall by him and sap him at his furthest pat from the dogs. This is the tricksy part. 1: sneaking around him and 2: the hall by him has a two pat of it's own you have to avoid.

Otherwise, cake!

You want to go to your right (from entrance) first. Kill the two pull patrol. At the end of the hall are two casters. You can fight them where they are.

Now you're on boss #2. Yay! Boss! Here's another trick. He doesn't move. Really, he doesn't. Some strategies are to have a ranged DPS "tank" him by holding the most aggro. Melee DPS and the tank can go in and whackitywhack on him, as long as they don't steal aggro. He summons felhounds, which the melee can then pick up and kill. The boss does a levitate-kick ability. Don't worry, you won't fall off, it's a tether ability. He also curses people -- if you don't have a good decurser, you want to make sure you aren't standing near to other people when you're cursed... it's a good way to get your party pissed at you. Melee are at a disadvantage for that, but ranged should be spread out anyway.

Now, after he dies, you do have to deal with the felhounds. (FYI: Heroic Mode: Tankadin, Healadin, Warlock, Mage and Some-Other-Mana-DPS-With-No-Melee-Abilities (ie: it wasn't a hunter, but I don't recall what it was)... NOT a good group for this. The felhounds eat your mana. And then we died. Because we couldn't kill the damn non-elite felhounds. It was pathetic.)

Yay! Boss 2 down. The last ramp has a group of two patrolling, then two stationary.

As soon as the stationary mobs are dead, the dragon will land and drop off his rider, so don't go nuts on the stationary mobs. Conserve mana. (By the way, if you wipe on the boss, these stationary mobs respawn.)

The tank needs to pick up the rider and we all start to have fun. The dragon, while in the air, spits fireballs on the ground. Now, you'd think this is common sense... but...


Usually when the rider is close to dead, but not quite dead, Nazan will descend. The tank NEEDS to pick up the dragon. It usually bee-lines for the healer.
This means the tank has the rider AND the dragon hitting him. If he's a good tank, the rider will stay on him until dead. His main concern is the dragon at this point. ALL DPS STAY ON THE RIDER until he's dead, then switch to the dragon.
An alternative strategy is to have some ranged DPS on the dragon while it's in the air.
Nazan does frontal arc fire bursts while on the ground. The tank needs to move, either in a circle to stay out of the fire, or pull back or something along those lines. Again...

There are multiple strategies on this fight listed on WoWWiki.

IMNSHO, unless you have a good group of DPS and healers, a NEW tank to Outlands can't tank the dragon. They just don't have the hit points or armor to do it. This doesn't mean they really can't, I just haven't seen it done without a good party behind them. With your brand spankin new group... well, at least your repair bill at this point in time isn't bad.

Once Nazan is dead, a chest will spawn. If you kill Nazan on top of the chest, don't miss it, he'll cover it with his body.

To get out, go to the entrance of Nazan's platform and the instance door is down and to your right. You can jump down and right on outside.

And you have just completed Hellfire Ramparts. Congratulations!
N.B. The melee classes in HR hit very hard. If you are cloth DPS, be VERY CAREFUL not to draw aggro from the tank because you will probably get 2-shotted (level/mode appropriate).

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

(Fun in the Sun, Day 4) aka (SHAMU)

Today we went to Sea World! That's right, an overpriced theme park where they exploit poor innocent sea creatures. I had a blast!

We saw Shamu first and the orca exhibit. It was ... well, it didn't go according to plan. They were maybe 3 minutes into the show with non-Shamu orca's when they just decided that they weren't going to play today. The instigator literally DROPPED its trainer in the water (the trainer was doing the stand on the nose while they propel themselves through the water) and swam away. The second orca followed suit. Finally, one of the orcas decided to come back and play.

As the trainer's said... when a killer whale decides it doesn't want to perform today, there isn't much they can do about it!

Finally, Shamu came out! He was HUGE. He also didn't have any trainer in the water near him at all.. probably due to his size and that he almost drowned someone once? Anyway... it was great.

We saw the dolphin and whale show, which was also spectacular. We rode the Kraken, which was an amazing roller coaster. Saw some sharks and beluga whales, a few puffins and penguins.

A good day all around, especially since it contained almost my entire family.

Tomorrow I return home, I can't wait for that. I miss my husband and my doggies and my kitties.

Monday, March 17, 2008

(Fun in the Sun, Day 3)

I slept.

No, really. I slept almost all day. It was thrilling.

Tomorrow is Sea World... with Chloe, brother, sister-in-law, uncle, aunt, 10-year-old twin boy cousins, grandma, grandpa and mom and dad.

That should be interesting.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

(Fun in the Sun, Day 2)

I woke up earlier today. Something buzzes in the bedroom. I have yet to discover it, but it's very annoying.

I went for a quick bike ride this morning, by myself, as my mother was taking the dog to the vet to have some staples removed. I didn't do the marathon ride we did the other day, but just a quick ride down the road to the beach.

I don't recall seeing them yesterday, but today the beach was covered with dead sea urchins. It was ... rather sad, actually. All these dead sea urchins. Were they dead before they washed ashore, or did they die afterwards, suffocating in the air?

What can I say, I have morbid thoughts.

Then we went to play mini-golf. I hit the ball way too hard and I wound up hitting it off of the green almost every shot. There is also this one hole that has a water shot that you have to hit the ball into the water and have it run down and onto the hole. So, mom goes and hits the ball into the water and down it goes. And dad goes and hits the ball and down it goes. And I hit the ball and.. it hits an eddy and twirls around without going down. Then it starts to go UP stream. I mean.. c'mon! Upstream?

Afterwards, we have lunch at the Longhorn and then we go S'platters, the ceramics place. I didn't find a my little pony, but I did find a dragon. So I painted a dragon. I won't get to see what it looks like for a little bit, since they have to fire it. But it was very much fun. I'm going to look and see if I can find a place like it where I live, because you could do plates and mugs and all sorts of interesting things, mosaics, glasswork... I had a good time and before I realized it, they were closing! I had spent almost 3 hours painting a little figurine.

Got home and had some excitment, as Katie makes a mad dash out the front door and starts to go running all thoughout the condo complex.... and out into the road! We had to head off two cars that she tried to kill herself with until we could get her caught. Have you ever tried to catch a running Greyhound? Then naturally, once we got her inside, I notice that she's bleeding and because she went running around on some concrete and stone like an idiot, she tore her front pads to shreds.

That was most of my day. Had dinner, got icecream, post this. Lastly, I'm going to play some Gin 500 (house rules!) with my mom.

One annoying thing about my trip... every time Chloe does ANYTHING, my dad takes pictures, then immediately makes it into a home movie and shows it to us. Like we didn't just watch her do it 2 minutes ago. Don't get me wrong. She is cute. And home movies are fun to watch. But... I just watched her do it, I don't need to see a home movie, do I?

So ends (almost) day 2. I may go take a dive into the pool tonight again, but we shall see.

I know this isn't WoW related, which is why the title is in parenthesis. But this is still something I'm ... I don't know, typing about. I should probably post it in my MySpace blog, which has more to do with my real life than gaming life.

But I know you guys want to know what I'm doing. Who doesn't? So I'm going to post it here, too.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

(Fun in the Sun, Day 1 in Florida)

I'm on my mother's laptop and my entire post was just erased, entirely. This is frustrating, to say the least. I had links! It also, being a laptop with a touch pad, keeps jumping the curser around as I'm typing, making this take three times as long as it should!

So, to recap my recap...

I slept in and woke up to fresh scrambled eggs and fruit. I naturally added a slice of American Cheese onto my toasted English Muffin, loaded it with the eggs and had myself a little sandwich!

Then we went on a bike ride to Casey Key, where Steven King lives and where John Gotti has (had?) a mansion. I don't know if he still owns it or not, and in fact, I'm not sure if Gotti owned it or if one of his associates owned it, but the place is a beautiful fortress.

After returning from the bike ride, my mother and I went to Siesta Key to walk the beaches. The beaches in Siesta Key are considered the best in the world. The sand is so soft and cool, even on the hottest day. Being Spring Break for everyone and everywhere BUT for my husband (who couldn't come with me), the beaches were jam packed. But Mom and I walked them anyway. Of course, every time the water came up and splashed my ankles, I gave a very girlish squeal of 'Ooh, that's cold'.

After the beach, we went and got myself a bathing suit (blegh, bathing suits!) and I also bought some My Little Ponies! Three for myself and one for Chloe.

Chloe is my almost 2 year old niece. I've been getting her ponies as gifts ever since she started to get gifts! Her first gift was a pair of 'vintage' 80's ponies (in played in condition, so no heart attacks for any pony enthusiest!) and one G3. I've been getting her G3 ponies since then. She got one at her 1st birthday party and I had two at home waiting for when I could see her again (from Christmas), and I found a Pinkie Pie that actually looks pretty as opposed to dumb like she usually does, so I grabbed her (both for Chloe and myself!)

After shopping, we returned home and I went on a motorcycle ride with my Dad on his hog. We saw the other side of Casey Key this time around. Some of those homes are outrageously gorgeous, and then right next to them are these little run down shacks. It's so strange. But the land those shacks sit on is ... probably worth more money than I'll make in my entire lifetime.

After I got back, my brother, his pregnant wife and my niece showed up. Chloe is very cute and rather smart, too. She isn't yet 2 and talks in sentences (a little mumbled, but sentences. When she can't find her dad or mom, she says 'where is mommy' or 'where is daddy'). She got to open one of her ponies today, the FIRST TIME EVER. Her mom has been keeping them out of reach for a while until she got old enough. She first tried to pick up and hold all three pony boxes. It was very cute. Then she walked around with the pony in her hand and would give it kisses on the head.

At first, once it was open, she wouldn't pick it up. So I put it on the floor. And she then gets down on all fours and leans over so she can look at it on its level. Talk about absolutely adorable!

At one time, she was doing something my brother didn't want her to do, and he called her over to him. She looked at him over her shoulder with this impish little coy look, like 'are you talking to me, daddy? heeheehee!' and she ran into the other room, away from him, giggling.

Uh.. so, we had dinner and played a domino's game called Mexican Train. At first, we were playing it however they played it the other day, which because I wasn't there for the first time they played it, I was reading the rules. And ... uh, yeah. They were playing a game loosely based off of Mexican Train. So I found rules that were a little easier to follow (I love the internet) and we had much more fun, as the game as it really plays has a little more strategy involved.

When my brother left, I got into my bathing suit and I went to the pool. Yes. I went swimming at 11pm. The water was a little cool but you know... that's fine. I did a few laps, stretched my muscles a bit and was refreshed.

The funny thing.. or not so funny, all things considered ... is that one of the first things I did when I got to my parents house was teach my mother how to clip her dogs nails. They used to have to muzzle her and have my dad restrain her. I did it by myself. I also taught her the rudiments of 'stay', which she didn't know.

I go on vacation and I'm still working! Not that I mind. Katie the greyhound is a great dog (not a rescued greyhound, they've had her since she was 4 months old, she was going to BE a racing greyhound, but my dad is... well, my dad, and wound up with her instead. I'll relate that story later if I need to.

So ends Day 1. I'm going to go to sleep and try to wake up tomorrow to take another quick swim before we get started on the day. I think the tentative plan is to play miniature golf and go to a store called Splatter, where you pick an unpainted ceramic statue, paint it and they fire it. And it's yours! And... my parents were pretty sure they had a My Little Pony in there. I can't wait!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Kikidas returns to Karazhan

I feel like I've returned home!

I was on Kiya, farming Life, when I answered a call for a 'well geared, non-noob, experienced warlock' for Karazhan. I asked a few questions and when the answer came back as '3-4 hour, whole raid clear', I said I'd go.

It was absolutely GORGEOUS. Only two wipes, both of them an 'oops'. A smooth, clean, quick, gorgeous clear of all trash, one-shots on all the bosses. No explanation given or needed other than mild clarification on particulars.

I cried, just a little bit. Especially when the Lightning Capaciter dropped. Initially I was going to pass, because I was the PuG member in a guild run. But then one of the tanks gave me a /tell and said 'Open rolls, go ahead and roll for it'. And I did. And I won. And *squee* now I'm all pretty in purple! (I'm such a gearist!)

It was a very nice way to end my 'night' before I go on a week of vacation.


Calm down. It'll be alright. It's only a week. I'll be back on the 20th. Where am I going? Florida. Sunny lovely Florida.


Since my current guild is also in the process of disbanding, after a long slow quiet deterioration, I went ahead and asked the kindly tank if I could see their guild website. He gave it to me and said I could submit an application if I wanted to. I'm hopeful that means that he likes me (he likes me, he really likes me!) and will put in a good word when my application is reviewed.

Maybe I shouldn't have written the application at 4am...?

Nah. I'm sure it's fine.

Tomorrow I'm going to be doing a lot of house chores and laundry to prepare for my trip. When am I leaving? Tomorrow at 4:30pm. No problem!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Theorycraft and Sethekk Halls

So, I have decided that theorycraft and myself will never mix. I don't like math anyway. I'm going to basically wait for someone else to do the math and make my decisions that way. Simple! (Hah!) Thankfully, WoWWiki supplies a lot of information so I have to do as little math as humanly possible.

As for the FSW/SI vs. Mixed Tier armor question... I decided to not go visit Mr. Boom, Doom, whatever, because my FSW/SI stuff isn't very well gemmed and I'm not about to sink a ton of money into gems, mainly because 1: I'm not that rich and 2: I'm not convinced enough that even though my DPS may go up, I'll lose too many other stats to make it worthwhile enough for my playstyle.

Instead, I leveled my mage to 36. (Somewhat boring. The most fun I had was when I solo'd the 'Forsaken Courier' and company.)

Then I logged in Kiya, my BM hunter, and said 'You know, I keep telling myself that since I hit 70, I haven't actually trained..', so I went to IF and trained. Then while I was just idly browsing in the LFG channel, someone advertised for a regular Sethekk. Since Kiya is almost entirely in greens, I looked and said 'oh, there's stuff in there for me', and said I'd go.

And I got a lesson in how you can turn a simple Sethekk Halls run (arguably one of the easiest of the Aunchindoun dungeons) into a 2 hour hell-fest.

Lesson 1: Don't inspect your tank. He's a paladin tank. They're all good! Ignore the fact that your pet has almost as much health as he does. It isn't important.

Lesson 2: Inspect your 'competition', the Marksman hunter. Inwardly cringe because they're decked out in blues and you're in mostly greens.

Lesson 3: Scream in party chat that you've been controlled by the totem and the other DPS has to take out the totem. It's a good way to stretch your vocal chords, because that's all it will accomplish. Eventually, that pesky totem will wear off.

Lesson 4: Don't insist on marking even though the leader of the group doesn't know what they're doing, isn't marking or using appropriate CC.

Lesson 5: Suggest to the paladin tank that they can pull faster, since you have two hunters and an ice mage and while after each fight, that 1/16th of mana ideally should be drunk away, it's really alright. Watch as your suggestion is either taken entirely wrong (see next lesson) or ignored (can we go NOW? How about now? Now please?... please?)

Lesson 6: Forget entirely that the tank so far has exhibited no signs of common sense and watch in dismay as he ignores your trapped bird (the single pull on the way to Syth) that you trapped so the group could move up safely, and without marking anything, shield pulls the next group of three.

Lesson 7: Watch in even more dismay as a "four-pull" as it now is, becomes wipe #1 because the ice-mage gets knocked back into the room and pulls a group of three, the totem (remember lesson 2?) takes over the other hunter who fears my pet into the two-pull guarding the boss room. (wipe 1)

Lesson 8: After returning and clearing what didn't die, don't bother eating or drinking, because the paladin will face pull Syth. (wipe 2)

Lesson 9: The words "The prophet's fear and spawn ghosts that you need to avoid, so pull back to fight them" apparently don't translate well. (wipe 3)

Lesson 11: The so-called competition doesn't need arrows. They can kill things with sheer good looks and elite speak.

Lesson 12: The competition also doesn't like the fact that you're doing 20% more damage than they are and doesn't understand that pet damage factors into damage-meters. Her meter counts her pet, but not mine. My meter counts my pet, but not hers. This is confusing.

Lesson 13: Needing to sleep and having no arrows, plus getting a drop off of the first boss, is a very good reason to say 'GTG, bye!'

Lesson 14: "I didn't realize the birds were hitting me when I pulled that group." is a common disease of some types of Paladins. As is wearing no pants. (He AFK'd to put on pants. I swear to God.) (wipe 4)

Lesson 15: Decide on a kill order in the room just before Ikiss. We didn't need one before.

Lesson 16: One-shotting Ikiss ... wait. That happened. Holy hell, it's a miracle!

On the plus side, I got a new ring for Kiya.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Frozen Shadoweave vs. Tier 4 or 5

So, in my journey of discovery that I've undertaken this week (what, didn't you know?) I've come across a few references where people compare FSW with Tier 4/5 gear, favorably.

So. Let's compare.

a. Shadow's Embrace / Spellstrike Infusion vs. b. Voidheart Rainment vs. c. Corruptor Rainment
(I can't get wowhead to pop up the cool little things, so you'll have to click!)

Now, the nifty thing about those links is they sum them up for you! Most of my work is already done. Woot woot.

The reason I list Shadow's Embrace with Spellstrike Infusion is that likely if you're sticking with those, you'll have both. Versus if you go full T4 or T5.

Now, I can't make nifty tables because I'm an idiot, so I'm going to go stat by stat comparison. Roughly.

Example: Longer Name: a. FSW/SI (35 letters) > b. VR (17 letters) = c. CR (17 letters)

Armor: c 907 > b 821 > a 734
-- armor is useful, but not essential for a warlock that isn't tanking.

Stamina: c 240 > b 183 > a 94
-- it's to be expected that the higher tier armor has more stamina, but of note is that the difference between stamina between B and A is almost double. In some instances, well, a lot of instances, you need a MINIMUM amount of stamina to survive. Most warlocks don't have an issue with that, but it's still something to keep an eye on.

Intellect: b 157 > c 146 > a 64
-- in this instance, B has more intellect than C, but only barely. But C has more than double A. Intellect increases your spell crit chance, not merely your mana pool. And while life-tap and dark-pact mean mana-pool-schmana-pool, they do nothing for your spell crit chance.

Healing: c 248 > b 203 > a 64
-- EDIT: Thanks to /emofire, I look like a moron! No, honestly thank you, Emo. :) So, according to WoWWiki, drain life, etc, does not benefit from +healing. So, does this only apply then to health funnel? What does it apply to? Do our bandages get a buff? Why the heck does our Tier armor have +healing? ... is it for those of us who want to secretly be shadow priests? Give it up, you can't heal anyone!... ahem.. So overall importance, depending on just which of our abilities it applies to (health funnel and bandaging??)... who the heck knows. I don't. Anyone?

Damage: Shadow: a 271 > c 248 > b 203; Fire: c 248 > b 203 > a 92; AVERAGE: c 248 > b 203 > a 181
-- This is the one place where, IMNSHO, A has a clear advantage over the others. You're a warlock. Unless you're destro-specced, (even if you are!) you do a lot of shadow damage. It's what we are. We're shadow-mages (only much cooler). However, it's boost to FIRE damage is pitiful and unless you're completely removing Immolate from your DoT rotation (some afflocks do), you're gimping yourself. I suppose destro-locks and firelocks possibly go Spellfire tailoring.

Spell Crit: c 88 > b 66 > a 50
-- If you're truly an afflock and you believe SB is for weenies, then this stat means nothing for you. However, even an afflock does a vast majority of their damage from SB. SB can crit. So, not so stupid a stat to look at, is it? The FSW set has ZERO spell crit. All the spell crit in this information comes from the SI set.

Spell Hit: c 65 > b 44 > a 38
-- Everyone needs spell hit. We all know the magic numbers. FSW set has ZERO spell hit.

Sockets: a 12 (2R, 5Y, 5B) > c 8 (6Y, 1B, 1Meta) > b 7 (3Y, 2R, 1B, 1Meta)
-- Though it lacks a meta socket, the sheer amount of gems you can put into set A makes it very customizable. A Great Dawnstone supplies +8 spell hit. If you ignore socket bonuses, you could get 96 spell hit in A, 65 in C and 56 in B. A Runed Living Ruby supplies +9 damage. Do the math, I'm lazy. Obviously, the more sockets you have, the more you can boost your gear. It's a nice versatility that so far, IMNSHO, is a saving grace of the mixed A set.

Set Bonus: There is no real rating for this, as the bonus of the set bonus varies from spec to spec and situation to situation.
A offers the chance for 92 spell damage for 10 seconds (SI) and 2% of shadow damage returned in the form of health (FSW). The FSW set bonus was rather nice to have when I was hateful bolt soaker in Kara and when I was farming, but personally, I'd rather have higher overall health and just siphon life.
B 2 pieces give you 135 fire or shadow damage chance, 4 gives your corruption and immolate abilities a 3 second boost in duration.
C 2 pieces gives your pet 15% of your damage in the form of life (hello demonology!) and 4 pieces cause your SB to increase the damage of your corruption by 10% and your incinerate to increase the damage of your immolate by 10%. (affliction or destruction)
IMNSHO, 2 pieces of B is better than 2 pieces of SI. What's really nifty if you could combine the two! Legs and Head of SI, two other pieces of B... then you could get a boost of 217 spell damage (fire or shadow) at any given time. Wouldn't that be nice?
I wish I had four pieces of C, since I'm a big fan of corruption. :)

Anyway... I guess this post could have come across better, maybe I can learn to put in a table and clean it up.

I suppose if you're looking in terms of just overall shadow damage and versatility, FSW/SI is the way to go. However, you take a hit in stamina, intellect, spell hit and spell crit and fire damage.

The nice thing is... my gear is mixed and matched! I'm wearing the FSW boots, T4 head, gloves, chest and legs and T5 shoulders. Though I've lost the FSW set bonus and obviously am no longer wearing the spell strike set, I evaluate gear on a gear by gear basis and upgrade to whatever is better, taking into consideration things like set bonuses and the like. It's a very individualized situation, where HOW you play and WHAT spec you play changes what gear works best for you. You don't HAVE to stick to only T4 or T5 or FSW/SI. You can do what I do, some T4, a T5, some FSW...

Maybe I'll make my first visit to Dr. Doom or Boom or whatever his name is with a few changes of gear and see what works best for me.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Maintenance Day

It just so happens that my day off from work is usually Tuesday. Which is maintenance day. Which sucks. I have the ENTIRE DAY to play and I can't until the afternoon usually. How sucktacular is that?

It's a good thing, really, as much as I hate it, because I do try to get some chores done around the house. You know how it is -- two WoW addicts (or one WoW addict who is me and one 'any game addict' who is my husband) -- mean that the house is always just this side of messy. (I won't say which side of messy it is.)

To give him credit, when Boon has a day off, he'll usually do quite a bit of cleaning and tidying up. He's such a good hubby. I wuv him.

Today though, I win! I get to WORK today, which means I don't get to sit at home waiting for the game to come up. How lucky am I?

Do you remember one point in time Blizzard was going to do mini-updates/maintenance throughout the week so that they didn't have one big maintenance day? I remember that one week fondly. It was beautiful.

Anyway... the point of this post is ... what do you do with your maintenance day morning? I'm talking to those people who are usually connected during those hours on any other day? Or would be connected if the game was up (like me).

Do you use your time productively and do house chores? Do you use your time unproductively and browse blogs, forums, web-comics, dust off your Game Cube or some other fun but otherwise useless activity? Do you sit in front of the computer, constantly refreshing until the server select screen comes up and I you can monitor what realms are offline and which ones are starting to come online?

I do a little of everything (except the dusting of the Game Cube. 1: I don't dust and 2: Game Cube? I don't like Zelda and I have the DS version of Animal Crossing.) that I listed above.

(Let me clarify. I don't like the new Zelda's. The old Nintendo 64 Zelda was fun. Most of the old Nintendo games were fun and I quite enjoyed them.)

Monday, March 10, 2008

5-Man Triangle

I have discovered the secret to running a good 5-man, be it PuG, guild, whatever! Have me in it.

Sorry, I couldn't resist myself. :)

Seriously though, it's what I call the key players. If you have good key players, no matter what else you fill in the middle with, as long as they aren't complete dummies, you'll have a good run.

The good key players ... you can probably guess what ones they are.
Main DPS/CC.

Now, this idea is probably formulated because that's the group that Boon, Owaru and I typically run in. One a tank. One a healer. One a DPS/CC. Is some of it playability? Sure, we kickass, take names and look pretty. But part of it is very simply that with a decent tank, a decent healer and a decent DPS/CC in the group, it's hard to screw up enough that you can't succeed (unless you're in way over your head).

Everyone's played with a bad tank. The healer pulls aggro by simple healing on a single target pull. They take forever to pull. They take forever to mark. They take forever and a day to build threat. They lose threat to a sneeze. They have craptacular armor/health and/or don't know how to hold aggro for their class.

Bad healers are also really tough to succeed with. They don't heal. They don't heal on time or with a heal that does any good. They run out of mana 2 seconds into a fight. People dying left and right! They wait too long between heal casts. They wait too long to START a heal on someone. You know how it is.

If you don't have a good DPS/CC class, at least one good one, then nothing gets accomplished. The tank has to hold aggro too long and non-repeatable CC wakes up (sap) or the healer runs out of mana because things aren't dying, or the CC keep running amok instead of being put back to sleep/sheep/etc causing the healer to 1: take hits and 2: keep himself and the dps and the tank all alive, which makes them run out of mana faster. Or almost worse, the DPS is the 'MUST BE T3H AW3S0M3!' and feels if they aren't top of the DPS chart, regardless of aggro, then they are the suxxors. (My elite speech isn't up to date, sorry if I'm using the wrong terminology!)

If any one of these three things are missing, it makes it really tough to succeed. The more key of the key players are the tank and healer. If one of those is missing, it's going to be tough to succeed. The DPS is a nice tie in, lending a strong support system to the tank and healer, but it is possible to succeed with only a good tank and a good healer.

HOWEVER... if you have all these three things with decent people in those places... all of a sudden, you have a recipe for success.

The tank, being a good tank, pulls appropriately, marks timely, keeps things moving and well paced. Keeps mobs off of the DPS and the healer. Keeps everything and it's brother hitting just him (or her!)

The healer, being a good healer, gives timely heals, is ready with a shield or a HoT or a something else if the mob turns its attention off of the tank. Has sufficient mana for a given 'regular' pull in said instance.

The DPS, being a good DPSer, does as much damage as they can without pulling off of the tank. They CC correctly and on time and continuously. Good consistent DPS and CC.

The other positions in the party are important, but not as important as the three key players. You can survive just about any five man with one really good tank, a really good healer and a really good DPS.

But without those three key spots filled with good people, you can't carry poor DPS/CC. With them in place, any DPS/CC, good or not so good, can be helped along to success.

In relation to this, people accuse Boon, Owaru and myself of having a clique. This is not true. We run with one another more frequently and preferentially because we know one another. We've been partying together for a really long time. We know what each other is likely to do in a given situation. Owaru can trust me to re-CC and pull aggro. Boon can trust me to DeathCoil him. We trust one another. So we play together more frequently and preferentially because we're good together. And together we typically have success. Why should I look for another tank when I have Owaru? Why should I look for another healer when I have Boon? In any incarnation of roles, Owaru and Boon are two sides of my party-triangle.

<3 you guys! (Boon slightly more than Owaru.) On a downnote... helping those two poor struggling DPS/CC to success without them having to do much of anything just perpetuates poor DPS/CC in the higher levels, dungeons, heroics and raids. How many times does someone get carried along in Kara or a heroic because 'we need the spot filled'?

Friday, March 7, 2008

Addendum: Curses and Improved Corruption

A well timed curse is a warlocks best friend. It's instant. It's usually low mana and it can serve lots of different functions.

Curse of Agony/Improved Curse of Agony: Damage DoT. Not so useful for things that die quickly, since it ramps up damage towards the end of the curse. Amazingly useful for long lived mobs. If you have three warlocks in the group, the lock that has Improved Curse of Agony but not Malediction should be doing this one, leaving CoE and CoS to the Malediction or non-Improved CoA warlocks.

Curse of Weakness: Useful for those mobs that hit like Optimus Prime. Heroic bog lords in Underbog come to mind. It does not stack with other CoW's from other warlocks, so pick one warlock to do this and stick to him (best if it's improved curse of weakness). In general, not often used on bosses when CoS, CoA or CoE is far more useful in raids, unless you have an unheard of four warlocks in one raid group.

Curse of Recklessness: The best use I've seen for this is when you're fearing something but don't want it to go too far. Swap between CoR and CoW. CoR will bring it running back to you. CoW sends it running away again. (or any other curse, really.) I've also heard in PvP if you use it on a warrior who throws up spell reflect, you've suddenly become immune to fear.

Curse of Exhaustion: I don't have this one myself. It's a talent, not a purchased skill. Makes them run away slower.. or chase you slower. Whichever is more applicable to your situation at the time. Need to kite something? This is your baby.

Curse of Shadows: If you're in a raid group with multiple warlocks OR shadow priests, this is the curse of choice. A warlock with malediction should cast this over a warlock without malediction. Get together with your raid warlocks and figure out who has what curses improved.

Curse of Elements: If you have a mage in your group, this is your curse of choice. Again, Malediction Lock> Non Malediction Lock.

Curse of Doom: Useful for various bosses, the Curator being one that comes to mind instantly. Another one where it's useful is the end boss in ZA. He eventually becomes a form that, whenever magic is cast AT ALL, it damages the caster. If you slap a CoD on him about a minute before he transforms into the hawk form, and then try to keep that up whilst wanding, it works nicely.

Curse of Tongues: Used on various casting mobs. Increases casting time. It's used on a few boss fights and trash pulls in 25 man raids. Again, only one of these can be on a mob at the same time. So assign it to a particular warlock.

Amplify Curse is a affliction lock talent. I'm not 100% sure if it works with the CoS or CoE or any of those, but I KNOW it works like a lovely lovely charm with CoD on the Curator and also improves the damage output of CoA.

In general, CoE and CoS should be put up for anything -- trash mobs, etc, if there is a mage or shadow priest in the group. If you have 1 lock, 1 mage and 1 spriest, CoS is the way to go. If it's just a lock and a mage, pick whichever of them will boost the better DPSer.

5 points in the affliction tree will make your Corruption spell instant cast.
Did you hear me?
Why wouldn't you get it?

You know you're cool when your clothes match...

From the beginning of the game, we get various 'sets' of clothing - some that don't have similar names, but were designed in such a way that they match. Undoubtedly this was done on purpose because no one likes looking like a hobo.

Except hobos.

However, at various times, in our quest to get better gear and upgrade ourselves, we wind up looking like we're either 1: seriously fashion deficient, 2: color blind or 3: both.

When Blizzard introduced the dressing room, we suddenly had a takeoff of a small subset of people who wouldn't wear things if they didn't make them look cool, despite any upgrades to stats they may get, unless they were actively in a dungeon or some other 'need the stats' activity.

People had always carried around (or had available) a 'town' outfit, probably a practice far more prevalent in RP servers than in nonRP servers. I myself did this, and fostered this for my guild, as a tailor who could make the Black Mageweave set (hello, sexy/slut!) for guild members, I was in high demand! I personally usually had my characters dressed in a robe of some sort, since to my eyes, they look better than slutwear! Which is not to say that I didn't enjoy slutwear myself, but at the same time... I'm trying to look respectable here! Or there. I was the co-guild leader and it was beneath me to look anything less than respectable!

Boon, the paladin, had a full set of something that made him look like a knight in shining armor. Everyone in the guild had a 'guild meeting' outfit that they wore specifically for any guild meeting, no matter what for. If you recall, I mentioned that my guild had its guild meetings RP style, in the world, at a set location, and with everything typed out.

It was a load of fun. People would farm for hours (or days!) for the mats to make their 'formal' gear. They had to look GOOD.

There were some outfits that weren't BoP that I would loan out to people who didn't have time to farm their own outfit, like the wedding dresses that are sold in Moonglade, I don't recall the actual name, hanbok? something like that. And of course, now there are the specific holiday related outfits and there's just so much fun clothing!

In my mind though, nothing looks so good as when you have REAL clothes that match. A full set of Hallowed Gear, or Voidheart, or whatever. 1: you match! Yay! 2: you kick ass! 3: c'mon, you get a thrill out of seeing yourself on your character select screen all matchy and kickassy. Admit it. You can't hide it from yourself!

We're a visual people. We like things that LOOK pretty to our eyes, be it a girl toon for a male player (the oft heard excuse: If I'm going to be staring at this thing for hours, it can at least look pretty!) or a matching set of gear, it says something immediately to us.

For those gear pieces that are obvious, where you can just look and not have to inspect to KNOW what they're wearing -- or at least (in the case of lookalike gear) the QUALITY of gear, everyone wearing the gear gets a big burst of pride. (C'mon, admit it. You take pride in being kickass and pretty.)

Anyway, last night I went and practically beggared myself by buying the primals to make 1: 4 bolts of primal mooncloth (2 tailors, 1 mooncloth tailor) and 2: 1 primal mooncloth belt.
(Okay, I'm not really beggared. I'm just not as rich as I normally am. I have 6 level 70's that are constantly questing, instancing and doing stuff. While I don't have enough to just buy myself an epic flying mount, neither do I usually have problems buying the Earthwarden off the cuff or loaning a guildy enough gold to get their regular flying mount.)
My priest, Kiljara, had a level 68 green healing belt on previously. So this is, obviously, a big upgrade for her. Yay for tailoring!
Kathe finally went and did Arc. It was cake. I'm working slowly on those SMV quest lines -- namely because I am doing them with two slackers! -- to get some more tanky gear for her.
Kikidas is still merely awesome. (I haven't talked about my 'main' for a while. So here I go.)
Now, everyone obviously picks their spec particulars because they think either 1: it's the best or 2: their guild says 'change or we kill you.'. However, IMNSHO, there are a few things that every warlock SHOULD have and SHOULD do if they raid.
A warlock in a raid serves a few very particular purposes.
1: soulstone
2: healthstone
3: banish duty/charm duty
4: improved imp bloodpact
1: A soulstone is for use at the discretion of either your raid leader or your class leader. Who it gets put on. The person who has it put on also isn't at their discretion to use USUALLY. It's always polite to ask 'Should I use it?' before you go and do that, with some few exceptions. When it isn't a wipe saver (ie: Maiden) or when something is almost dead and just a few more heals is the difference between living/downing the mob and everyone dying for no reason. Sometimes a SS is put not on a wipe-saver but with multiple warlocks, on the person most likely to die and by dying have a big negative impact on the group. (#1 DPSer, tank, healer)
2: Healthstones are important. I don't think I need to say too much about this. Don't forget to prompt your raid members for more, because they'll forget to ask.
3: If you don't have a focus macro for banish and/or charm, GET ONE. If you're a warlock in a raid, then your primary function is DPS WHILE CCing. Not CC then DPS. Not DPS then CC. Both. At the same time. You're a warlock. Multi-task. A focus macro allows you to not have to switch targets back and forth between your CC target and your DPS target. (This applies to mages and druids, too!)
(On a side note, any repeat-CC class can do this (unsure about hunters, but I'm sure there's something.), sheep, shackle, charm, banish, cyclone, hibernate...)
I don't know the numbers, but your DPS is going to drop like a rock if you have to anticipate your target breaking, turn to find it, click it, then recast (or wait for banish to cool down before you recast). Alternatively, your CC target will run amok if you try to eke out the last few DPS you can before you re-CC.
With a focus macro and a timer, you keep DPSing on your main target, you notice to yourself 'Seduce is ending in 3 seconds.', you finish your shadowbolt cast, you click your seduce focus macro, and then you go back to DPSing. No fuss. No muss. No more than a millisecond of time spent CCing.
With banish, you do lose a little bit of time, but that's unavoidable. To avoid any break in your banish, let your timer click to 2, THEN macro. Banish is a 1.5s cast. It SHOULD hit just as your previous banish wears off. But still no fuss, no muss. No target running over and one-shotting the healer while you try to re-target it. The banish focus macro that is on WoWWiki has a modifier that lets you switch between rank 1 and rank 2 banishes, which is useful so you don't waste time waiting for the rank 2 banish to wear off when you know they're getting ready to switch to your mob. Incidentally, you do have to try to switch between rank 1 and rank 2 banishes during a certain boss fight in ZA, so it's useful to get used to how to switch between the two.
4: This is an EXTRA 70 stamina your tanks can have. Not doing that is like a priest saying 'Sorry, I don't do fort buffs.'. Unless there are multiple warlocks in the group that can keep this buff on the tank group, you as the warlock don't get another option unless you need your succubus for CC or some other vitally important minion job. If you have another warlock keeping bloodpact on the tank, then go ahead and sacrifice if you're demon-spec, or DPS with it or whatever else you want to do with it. But if you're the one and only warlock in the raid group, then you keep that imp out. You keep him phased out, and if you're going to be positioned away from the main tank, you park him where the tanks will be standing.
(In Gruul's lair, a warlock will be asked to park their minion by the mage-tank for the extra hit points.)
The raid leader SHOULD say to any warlock that doesn't have their imp out 'Hey, will you get out your imp, please.', even if it doesn't have improved bloodpact, it's still more hit points for the tanks.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Kiljara goes to Karazhan

Yesterday, my priest ventured into Karazhan after having not been played at all for ... oh gosh, a long long time.

She doesn't have any of her stuff enchanted, except for a glyph and runic spellthread on her kickass pants. I have all the Hallowed gear (except the pants, but that's okay.). But not my primal mooncloth set (working on it!)

Still, with a potion of healing power and golden fishsticks, she's at 1350 bonus healing, 400 something mp5 resting and something in the 100's while casting.

The only time I ran out of mana was during the Maiden fight, and that's because I died and soulstone doesn't restore a heck of a lot of mana.

I love my priest. :)

Anyway, the point of this post is that different healer types do different things well. You have your paladin healer, your priest healer, your druid healer and your shaman healer. Each of them play particular party roles.

The paladin is, from everything I've seen and read, King (or Queen) of single target healing. Low mana, high value heals. What they lack is any form of a HoT or any multiple-member-heals. But they are like the energizer bunny. They just keep going and going and going and going...

The priest is undoubtedly the Empress of healing. We have a HoT. We have low mana-moderate value heals, we have moderate mana-high value heals. We have party-heals. We have binding-heal. We have prayer of mending. Depending on particulars, we also have have circle of healing and lightwell. What we lack are FAST heals. Flash heal, IMHO, isn't as mana-efficient as me just anticipating and pre-casting a larger heal or greater heal. The only time I flash heal is when I NEED to give someone just that little bit of health ASAP. AOE'ers being hit whilst AOEing, for example. But I notice my mana drops a lot faster if I'm spamming flash heal than if I'm anticipating a greater heal or regular heal.

The druid is .. okay, I've run out of terms that are applicable. The druid is AWESOME at instant cast HoT's. They have the most HoT's, that they can turn into a big ass heal by using Swiftmend. And while they can main heal something like Karazhan on the main tank, I think utility wise, they make far better party-toppers than they do main-tank healers. Need a little rejuv here a little there, how about a lifebloom? Not that they can't do it, it just is a better utility of resources, IMNSHO*.

Shaman healers are good at .. not healing. Earth Shield, Health totems, chain healing, that silly little - spam little heals to get a big heal - whatever it is they do. Honestly, shaman healing is the one I'm most clueless about. They seem to fall in the middle of the road though. Big heals, little heals, fast heals. Owaru, I'm looking at you buddy. Fill me in.


So, my priest is healing the offtank in Karazhan. This is fine. Except I didn't do much healing! Not merely because the tank had decent gear so wasn't taking much damage when he actually WAS tanking trash, but also because the same was true for the healer who was on the MT and the healer who was doing party heals. All of us were so READY TO HEAL!!!! that we were healing each others people. I know I saw a few HoT's that I didn't toss on my target on him. (I'm looking at you, druid! MY TARGET, MINE! HEALS OFF! ... (get it, hands off, heals off? Oh, nevermind!)).

I spent a vast majority of my time on trash mobs ... DPSing. I felt kind of guilty. For a while, I was pacing the OT on my DPS meter. Then I decided I should get down and serious and only healed... except for the occasional smite, mind blast and shadow word.

I don't know how other healers do it, but I tend to toss a renew and PoM on my target at the start of the fight and keep one up. Then I usually cast Rank 3 or Rank 4 Heal. Not Greater Heal. Heal. If I'm falling behind (not usually, but depends on the tank), I switch to mid-level Greater Heals. If a DPS class is getting whacked occasionally, I toss a renew on them and if the tank is doing their job, that's all I usually need to do. This obviously doesn't hold true if it's an AoE pull or something similar.

Like I mentioned earlier, the lowest on mana I ever got was 6500 mana on any trash pull, with me healing AND DPSing. (I have only 9something total mana)

For my shadowfiend... him I toss out when I get about 1/4-1/3 down on mana. This way if it's a long fight, he MAY be ready by the time I need him again. (Tip for Curator fight for priests, wait for his second evocate, if you can, before you sic your fiend on him. Double-damage means your mana bar jumps up! and double-damage to him, as well.)

To the warlock, I apologize for your death in the Maiden fight. I was hitting the wrong button and going 'Why the hell is her Holy Fire not going away?!'. I was hitting the RIGHT button for the entire rest of the evening, but for some reason, I didn't do it that time. In my defense, the paladin healer also didn't cleanse you in time, so it isn't entirely my fault! Sowwy.

(* In My Not So Humble Opinion)

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

My other addiction...

Well, honestly... I have several. But this one is blogworthy. At least today.

My Little Pony's are every little girl's dream. They're cute, colorful ponies that you can own, brush their hair, play with accessories and have lots of. Who wouldn't want one?

Most little girls grow out of that phase. And I'll admit, for a while I did too. I stopped buying them (because they got really ugly, sorry Hasbro, but what the hell were you thinking with the last few years of G1 and the entire G2 series?) and I packed away my ponies in a box and that was it. They came everywhere I moved, but they stayed in a box.

And then... it happened. I discovered ponies on E-Bay.

My collection went from merely what I had owned as a child to the possibility of any pony I had ever wanted and could never find or buy!

So, I whipped out my box. I took out my ponies. I arranged them on a large shelf in the computer room (yes, everyone who comes into my home sees a large shelf above two computers that has one half covered with pastel My Little Ponies. The other half is covered with Final Fantasy figurines. I think the My Little Ponies make Sephiroth and Auron and Cloud look all that much masculine and dark and brooding, personally. For some reason, my husband thinks the ponies make them look gay*. I don't see it! If they can be put in Kingdom Hearts by Disney running around with Mickey Mouse, then they can handle being next to some My Little Ponies.)

For a very long time I resisted buying any of the G3 ponies, on the grounds that 'they aren't G1'. However, friends started to gift me with pony things, and because they aren't insane and aren't going to spend 20 bucks on a plastic pony, they buy me currently-in-store things that are a little less insanity-spawned. So I've slowly started to collect G3 ponies. Including chibi's. (officially called Ponyville ponies)

But now the chibi's are taking over. And I like it!

And before you guys go all, '20 bucks for a cheap 80's toy!?', there are some ponies that, OUT OF BOX and PLAYED WITH can sell for over 100 dollars. If you have one MINT IN BOX... well, add another 0, at least. (on Ebay RIGHT NOW there is currently an out of box Rapunzel pony that's selling for 350 dollars, a Mimic that's up for 200 and a hand-painted Mimic that's up for 85.)

I have one of them that's out of box and played with, that I could probably get for between 50-80 dollars if I sold her. But I'm not going to. And no, I will not point her out to any of you so you can come into my house and steal her! I can't even tell my husband which one she is.

And the kicker... my cell phone ringtone is the My Little Pony theme song.

(*I apologize for it but yes, I am using the 'stereotypical' gay here. Which, by the way, there ARE heterosexual men who DO collect My Little Ponies. I have evidence!)