My Chars

Sunday, August 31, 2008

New Blogroll

After reading about Blogger's new "Blogroll" feature I decided to move to using it instead of the custom HTML+JavaScript solution I was using before.

On the cons side:

  • It lacks the categories of my former solution.
On the pro side:
  • I filled in the initial list from my Google Reader (but why can't the blogroll stay synced with Reader changes? :( ).
  • The list can be sorted by last update, making it easy to see which blogs have recent posts. This is the winner for me over my previous solution. I can also see the title and date of the last post, which is even better.
Some features I would love to see:
  • In order to update it I need to add feeds one by one (no e.g. OPML import option). Also the update window is small and there are no real management features, such as sorting the window by blog name, seeing the url, sorting by last update, etc. Very poor management features currently, in other words.
  • Categories/tags for grouping feeds.
  • Better integration with Google Reader (auto-update list whenever Reader changes happen).
  • Some nice formatting options, like changing the background between every other line.
Some features I don't use:
  • The ability to see a snippet of the latest post. A Blogroll is not a poor-man's replacement for a proper Reader. Having the title of the last post is one thing, but a snippet just makes the entire list too bloated and un-wieldy IMHO.

How is this all WoW related? Oh well all the feeds are of WoW blogs, some are actually very good. Happy reading :)

Monday, August 25, 2008

3-man UBRS

Yesterday I continued my Old-World attunment process on Solidd with a UBRS run. Since UBRS requires 3 people at least to activate the fire-elemental room, I looked in the guild list after logging in to see who could join me. Luckily for me there were 2 level 58 alts (a s-priest and a rogue) online and both were happy to join my UBRS romp.

Right from the start though, things didn't go smoothly. The s-priest died after getting agro from a dragonkin right at the beginning room (before even opening UBRS proper) even though I was swiping like crazy, so I had to BR him. Further on we cleared easily enough but in the Fire-elemental's room, once we had activated it, the casters there banished me and killed the rogue. Luckily the s-priest was also banished and so stayed alive while I killed the mobs and fire elemental. He actually did quite a bit of damage to me but by this time the priest was released and could throw me a bit of healing.

Progressing further, we did okay up to and including the big Rend event, but after that again one of the alts died due to an Assasin stunning me and all the mobs going for the alts. Really the mobs after Rend's room were actually hard for me as they kept stunnning/bashing me, making the fights hard to both hold agro and DPS the mobs (can't dps when stunned).

Just before The Beast the rogue said he had to go, so we gave The Beast one try, however I did not remember that he does huge knockbacks on you that throw you high into the air. Everytime he did this I took a huge amount of falling damage (~4k) and was quickly dead, leading to a wipe. He also fears so trying to tank him against a wall didn't work either.

After the wipe the rogue left. Deciding I didn't want to try Drakki or the trash on the way alone, I asked a friend from the guild who had just logged online and was not busy (a level 70 lock) if he could come to help. He came and clearing the trash went well except for one unlucky wipe as I got knocked off the bridge and down into LBRS.

Finally we got to Drakki. My plan was to have the warlock kill 1 add while chain fearing another and have him "OT" Drakki while I was conflagarated. However I didn't count on how long the conflagarate lasts, or on how hard the adds would hit on the lock, so even with his (very good) pvp gear he died.

Luckily for me (no fun doing all of UBRS just to stop at the boss I need!) a hunter from my guild came online was was willing to come help. With a hunter's pet as OT and myself as tank, the fight was finally doable (although not easy due to the only healer being a level 58 s-priest). However we managed to do it (although I did need to BR the lock) and finally Drakki was defeated.

With the hunter's pet tanking and myself healing (and the warlock DPSing), The Beast was very easy, however alas no skining knife dropped.

Overall a tough run, especially the mobs after Rend's room and Drakki fight. If I ever try that again, I will not go with less than 2 tanks and a proper healer.

Still I'm pleased as I'm now both BWL attuned and (once I return the last quest in Witerspring) Onyxia attuned. It was not easy but not too hard overall and it was fun, which is the most important thing I guess :)

Next up, Naxx? We'll see... :)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Old World Content

I spent most of yesterday doing daily quests, getting back some (most?) of the gold I had spent on the Badge of Tenacity.
After all that gold grinding, I didn't feel like logging in today and doing dailies or PvP and in the middle of the day I can't count on being long enough in front of the computer in one session to go to an instance with a group.
So instead, I decided to do some old-world content with Solidd. I started the Onyxia chain quest, and once I entered BRD I also took the time to get the Prison Cell Key and the Shadowforge Key and get myself attuned to MC.

It was surprisingly easy, and fun, to solo BRD with my druid. Both bosses and large trash group were no real problem, although I did die once when I pulled a large group wearing my DPS gear. I switched to my tanking gear after and had no problems (although mobs did go down a bit more slowely).

Once I was done in BRD (got my keys, ATC done) and had the quest to go kill Drakki, I went to LBRS in order to get the key for UBRS. You need a minimum of 3 people to do UBRS (to activate the room with the captive fire elemental) and I didn't want to count on another having the key. Turns out, this was even simpler/faster to do than BRD - I just stealthed around most of the place, only killing mobs where absolutely required. I think I finished the instance in 30 minutes, even with getting up in the middle. Druids are an amazing class :)

Finally I soloed Emberstrife and again this was no problem, and after returning to Vaelan I am now the proud owner of a Seal of Ascension :)

Friday, August 22, 2008

A Good Night

Not only did Solidd get exalted with both SSO and Scryers in the same night, I even found the Badge of Tenacity on the AH for a reasonable price and bought it. So now I have a new trinket which is much better than what I had before, and a nice new neck for tanking plus another nice neck for DPS which is also good.

I'm a happy bear tonight :)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Wrath Cinematic

Very awesome :)

My only complaint is, I really want a cinematic showing off a deathknight doing battle with mobs, and other classes fighting in Northrend.
Arthas is cool but I can't really relate to him, you know? It's as if the TBC cinematic showed only Illidan. Where are the shamans, warriors, Deathknights showing off their skills in glorious ray-tracing... err.. glory?
The cinematic is too short, feels incomplete. It's not... inspiring enough.

But still, if you haven't, go see it. Seeing Arthas and what he does there is still, let me just say it again, very awesome :)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

SL Normal PuG

Last night I was invited to join an SL normal PuG. The group consisted of a warrior tank, shadow-priest healer, and as dps a rogue, a feral druid (Solidd) and a fury warrior. So basically, apart from the rogue's sap, we didn't have any CC. Plus our healer was not healing-specced. Nontheless, we managed to finish all of SL (caviat Murmur - more on that below).

Luckily, like most normal instances, your exact group composition doesn't matter, as long as you can keep the mobs away from the squishies. In our case, the tank simply let me OT 1 or 2 mobs while herself and the 2 other DPS took down the adds. It worked in most cases, although we did have a few wipes due to poor pulls and/or outright mistakes. Bosses were fairly easy, all going down in 1-shot except for Murmur. After the 2nd wipe on him the tank and healer elected to bring their mains just to finish the run - turns out the healer's main was a tank and the tank's main was a resto-druid :) With 2 much-better equipped chars we managed to take down Murmur.

On the face of it, a successful run. Certainly I've had much worse. The tank mostly knew what she was doing, the dps mostly did what we were supposed to do and the healer kept us mostly alive :)
However, I think the run could have gone much better. Here are my thoughts. Not to say I am/was perfect, but these are points I am pretty sure would have improved the run:

  • Let's face it, if you're taking 2-2.5 hours to finish SL you've failed. Sure that includes the time till everyone accepted the summon, buffed up and was ready to go. Still that was maybe 10 minutes. The rest of the time? Just slow going, wipes, waiting for AFK people. Some of factors couldn't be controlled beforehand, some could...
  • Slow going - the tank took a long while to mark mobs and pull, something which really slowed us down. Keybind those lucky charms! The tank also wiped us once due to a bad pull (she didn't run behind a corner like she was supposed to and the caster+imps who stood in place pulled more mobs from behind) and had to be shown how to correctly pull one of the patrols in the room before the 2nd boss. If you don't know the pulls, don't be afraid to ask. Wipes = lost time. If you're not sure how to mark the mobs (which to cc etc.) don't be afraid to give the job to someone else in the party.
  • Low DPS - with myself as a bear we were already taking a DPS hit on the big trash pulles. Add to that the fact that the fury warrior had very bad gear and our progress in killing the trash was abysmal.
  • Bad players - this is what really kills most PuGs for me. By bad players I mean players who are one or more of: clueless, inconsiderate, under-geared, don't know how to play their class, don't know how to (or don't care to) follow instructions, frequently AFK, don't know how to play as part of a group. Thankfully this PuG included only one such player, the fury warrior. Unfortunately even one such player can significantly slow down the group and this guy fitted several of the above categories. He was horribly under-geared (his DPS was barely above the tank's and way below what the rogue and I were dishing out), was clueless about the instance and about how to play as part of a group, consistently failed to follow instructions, went AFK several times. He had no idea on how to run an instance, once pulling a trash pack who wiped us and several times getting in front of the tank and nearly pulling mobs. Don't get me wrong, I know that there are players new to WoW and to 5-man groups and I have no problem with them learning the game. But most of the "noob" players I have met (this warrior included) never once tried to learn or ask questions - the simply do their mistakes and let the rest of the group suffer with them... and they rarely listen even when told what to do... My point in all this rant - for the sake of the rest of the group, don't be shy about telling a player to shape-up or even removing him from the group. If a player needs to do some learning/gearing in order to learn how to play, let him do it in easier instances and with his friends who are willing to devote the time for it. It's not required of you to teach every new eBayer how to play his new level 70 char...
Overall the run was actually enjoyable. I got to use my char to the fullest, switching frequently between bear and cat forms and twice using my heals to aid the party. I also battle-rezzed and innervated the priest on several occasions.
The 3 other people in the party (apart from the fury warrior) were nice people, all in the same guild. After a while they told me we had a friend in common - don't know how they found out but once they did it became almost like running with my own guildmates. Their final gesture of bringing mains to finish off the last boss was very nice of them and allowed me to finish a couple of quests that I still had for SL. I look forward to joining them for more instances in the future :)

Oh and I'm maybe one normal SL run away from honored with Lower City, after which I can finally do heroic Seth Halls and get my swift flight form, woot! :)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Solidd - not many updates

I guess it is natural that once I dinged 75, I have a lot less to report. Sure, I still do heroics, dailies and misc small stuff but without raiding and taking down new bosses, I don't find anything noteworthy enough to write down here for future reference.
Still I can summarize a bit of what I've been doing:

* Tanked Kara with my guild, all the bosses except prince. I wiped us 3 times on prince and then let another druid do it so I could see how it should be done. I think I have it now and hopefully when we go back to Kara I will be better equipped to tank him (also better geared, haha ;)). It felt good to tank Kara but let's face it even with a group of alts that place has long ago stopped being a challenge. Good way to get a lot of badges in 1 night though :)

* Speaking of Kara, I tried going to a PuG Kara with my priest, just so I could get some practice healing and see if Kara PuGs really are that horrible... they are! First of all we started at Moroes but the people who invited didn't bother to mention it before we were inside. Then we wiped because the 2nd paladin didn't buff anyone (and the first paladin buffed me with BoW instead of BoS). 2nd try, after raid leader asked the 2nd paladin to buff me with BoS, we managed to get Moroes down. We headed back to the steps outside the big hall before Moroes in order to continue to Maiden. Then the other healer (we were only 2) said he had to go AFK for 5 min. Well before all were in place (still looting etc.) the tank pulled an AoE group, I healed him, got agro and died. Rezzed, asked for BoS, didn't get it. Raid leader asked to give me buff, was also ignored. Instead of kicking the paladin or at least waiting for the 2nd healer, the tank pulls again, I (stupidly) heal and get agro, die again. This was enough for me, and I left. Bitter tase of PuG :/

* I dinged 375 LW on my druid, yey! Actually doesn't feel all that good, not like dinging 375 tailoring did with my mage, there I had the spellfire set to look forward to, nothing really at 375 LW except for very expensive single items (where the recipes usually come from higher-level raids and are expensive or impossible to get). Still it's nice to have maxed out yet another profession. Working on my various factions now in order to get LW recipes from them. Oh and I have tons of Drums of Battle that I'm slowely using up in heroic boss fights and in Kara runs, fun stuff :)

* Spent an entire evening messing around with my UI mods instead of playing. Hmm, maybe I was meta-gaming? :) whatever, most of my mods now get updated via the curse client, so hopefully that should keep most of my UI updated and (relatively) bug free. I kept having annoying bugs with the older setup and I have replaced some addons (e.g. moved from Bagnon to Tbag), removed and added others. Pretty much the most major change is that I got rid of my button replacement mod and am now using the default Blizzard buttons together with Autobar, which should by itself cover enough buttons so that I can stick to using just the Blizzard ones. We'll see, I still have to config my mage and priest and hunter, that entire evening was spent on just the druid O_O

Well that's pretty much it for now. I've been thinking of making a post listing my favourite WoW youtube videos but most are very easy to find via search so maybe such a list would be redundant. Will see, depends on how bored I am :)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Tanking Heroic SH

Heroic SH is a tough instance to tank for a druid - large pulls with very hard-hitting mobs. That place is practically made for tankadins. So when I was /w and invited to tank heroic SH PuG (I was in the LFG channel but looking for an heroic BM run) I was frankly skeptical. However, nothing ventured, nothing gained...

The group consisted of a mage, hunter and fury warrior as DPS, and a priest as healer. This made me even more uncomfortable, as having the fury warrior meant one less DPS (in an instance with already large trash pulls). The priest was very well geared but priests tend to draw a lot of agro and are very squishy.

I assigned marks, made it clear to the DPS that they had to take the Legionnaire down first and quickly, and we pulled the first 2 mobs. This pull and the following single mobs all went okay, as did the pair at the end of the corridor, just before the first room.

Now came the first challange, a 5 mob pull. Again, you have to kill the Legionnaire quickly or he summons more mobs, and with only 2 CC this meant I had to tank 3 mobs. The mage, thinking to sheep quickly, stood out front to sheep her target. Unfortunetly she didn't blink back behind me after the sheep, and the passing mobs 1-shotted her. Luckily our DPS was enough to kill the Legionnaire before the sheep released and I was able to hang on to it when it broke, together with the remaining mobs I was tanking. No one else died and the first hard pull was a success! :)

The rest of the instance was rinse-repeat - corner pull, AOE pull, MD pull, all were methods we used. Not everything was perfect, e.g. the warrior would sometimes kill a mob other than the "X" after the skull went down, drawing agro and making life hard for the priest. Luckily our priest was up for the challange and all went well.

The only wipe we had was on one of the large groups of Gladiators, they hit so hard I had to keep backing away to give time for the priest to heal me. Since I swiped less, the mage got agro more quickly, and things quickly went bad for us. So instead of the usual "pull and AOE", I treated the pack as a usual pack of mobs - 1 sheep, 1 trap, 3 tanked. Worked wonders for us and we didn't wipe again on those. Sure, the sheep healed back to 100%, but as it was the last mob killed it also went down fast.

As usual in heroics, bosses 1-3 were less trouble than the trash. However in heroic, Kargath, the 4th boss, can be a real challenge, especially when your DPS is a bit low (as ours was). Still after 2 wipes we got our act together and managed to take him.

2 hour run for 4 badges and some SH quests and rep. Maybe not worth it in terms of badges/hour but at least now I know it is possible for my druid to tank heroic SH and damn that feels good. Good feeling >> badges :D

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Solidd's Rock-n-Roll Kara run

Last night I logged in fully intending to do only a few daily quests and go to sleep early. No instances, no other grinding. But as soon as I got in I got a /w from my guild master and friend if I wanted to go to Kara on my bear as OT. Did I? of course I did! So much for plans for an early sleep... :)

It was a great run. I didn't get any tanking gear but I did get some very nice DPS gear: Terestian's Stranglestaff, Chestguard of the Conniver and Ring of a Thousand Marks. More importantly, the run was really fun and fast. We cleared the entire place in ~4 hours with (I think) 2 wipes and we finished Prince just 1 minute before a server shutdown. We couldn't have cut it any closer :)

Part of the reason that it was fun was that this was my first time to tank in a raid. Another was that one of the people started playing music over TeamSpeak and at least for a while no one objected so we were taking down trash to the sound of Rock-n-Roll :) It was also a very easy run, our GM brought his very well-equipped Paladin tank and left me with very little to do. This is also easier for the healers :)

On Nightbane I started as a cat but just to be safe I stayed in bear gear - and it's a good thing I did. At around 80% the tank DC'd, but luckily he told us he was DC-ing before his character disappeared from the game. This left me enough time to go bear and get agro on Nightbane so that when the tank did disappear I was next on the agro list and Nightbane didn't go rampaging through the raid. I tanked him down to ~50% before the tank managed to log back in and tank him the rest of the way down to zero.

Another fun fight was Aran, at least for me as melee DPS. Aran is an annoying fight for a mage or healer, but as a melee DPS it's a dead simple fight. We did wipe once due to people interrupting Aran's arcane spells (in addition to the assigned frost+fire ones) which made him run around - this made us lose DPS and we also got un-lucky with the adds + Blizzard. The 2nd time though all went well and as I said it was a very simple fight for me.

In Prince we wiped once due to an Infernal dropping too close to the door but the 2nd time was okay. Only problem the 2nd time was that myself and 2 other melee-DPS died due to the debuff+explosion, so DPS was a bit low and as I said we were very close to a planned server shutdown - we were getting messages in chat from the Blizzard system, it was sort of like an enrage timer :)

All in all a fanatasticly fun night and I think well worth the time, even if I didn't improve my tanking gear. After all, I did get 22 Badges :)

Tuesday, August 05, 2008


What's a blog worth if you can't post funny/amusing signatures seen on the WoW forums?

So here's the first one I'm posting. Won't be the last :)

In WotLK sap will work on pretty much everything with a brain. It's a huge nerf to Horde Rogues, since they won't be able to use it against Alliance in PvP any more.

Would be even funnier if it weren't so true (at least w/regards to my battlegroup) :(

Solidd Progress

Solidd made some nice progress since last Wednesday.

  • On the rep front, got to revered with Keepers of Time and Shattered Sun Offensive (for the SSO rep I did 2 MgT normal runs in the same day). More importantly I hit exalted with Cenarion Expedition - this was due to mainly normal SV runs.
  • Of course getting exalted with CE meant I finally got Earthwarden, and although I had to give up ~500 health, I gained enough armor and AP (in cat/bear form) and therefore threat that I think it is worth it. further tanking related updates - got 2 new rings, one from badges and one from MgT normal 2nd boss. I also changed my chest and back enchants from defense to +6 to stats and +120 armor, respectively. Even with these changes I'm way over the crit cap but there's nothing I can do - just the gear I have. anyway I now have ~22k armor in bear form (self buffed) which is sweet, and ~14k health. Health could be higher but I'm confident I will get it up with more newer gear.
  • Actually did some PvP, e.g. yesterday played 5 AV, won the first, lost the next 4 in a row. Typical clueless-Alliance behavior coupled with some matches against premades and 2 matches with high lag. Sigh :( Even so advancing nicely towards a S2 item, I hope...
  • Spent ~500g (probably more but I was careful in not notificing exactly how much gold I spent ;)) in the AH on mats to bring my LW up from 364 to 371. "Only" 4 more points till 375... sigh. Ah well, at least I did enough dailies during the weekend that I'm not broke even after this expenditure, but it's not something I'll be doing again soon in the immidiate future.
That's it for now. Good progress I think but there's still a long way to go before I can comfortably tank every heroic out there. The MgT normal runs were especially hard and I kinda dread trying out the heroic version on my tank...