My Chars

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Preparing for Wrath

Gamer Mommy is preparing for Wrath by getting several things done. Her post led me to think of my preparations for WotLK.

I've messed about a bit with both the LK invasion event and Hallow's End. I've tried to keep myself restricted to small, easily achievable goals. The Hallowed Be Thy Name achievement seems a bit too big and too resource intensive, especially since I want to invest time in several of my chars, not just my mage.
I wanted to do achievements related to both these events because of their transient nature - soon they will be over and I will not have a chance soon (or ever) to get things like the Tabard of the Argent Dawn.

I've also been trying to grind rep with Solidd with the Cenarion Circle. Both Solidstate and Solidfaith have titles and I really wanted to get one now for Solidd. The Guardian of Cenarius title is very fitting for a druid to have. However once LK arrives, it's not likely I'll go back to grind this rep (at least not before doing many other things, and maybe even getting other titles), so it's pretty much now or never.

I should still collect alot of plants for my Death Knight (who will be an Inscriber/Alchemist). However I'm having a hard time getting around to this, with all the distractions from the invasion and Hallow's End. However I'm nearly done with those so hopefully will have more time soon.

Lower on my priority list is getting more achievements for Solidstate, like re-visiting all the dungeons that are not yet marked on my achievements list (like Doodle has been doing). This is something I want to do, but achievements like those are something I can do just as easily (more easily in fact) at 80. I like going to older instances, it's not like grinding an older rep.

As for gold? I'm not going to worry about it at all. I've found in the past that whenever I had a specific goal, even if it was 5.2k gold for the epic flying mount, I could grind the gold in a reasonable amount of time. I find both grinding gold (e.g. doing daily quests) and playing the AH quite boring, so I take the attitude of "do it when I must".

I'm not going to level any of my alts now. For one thing they are all too low and I would never hit 70 before the LK release. For another, I'm already going to roll a Death Knight so I will be focused on playing five different chars come LK. I think that's more than enough for one person to handle... :)

I'm also not doing anything special with Supersolid - he's got a shiny new level 69 gorilla so as far as I'm concerened he's all ready for the expansion.

That's pretty much it for me :)

I'll be there!

Both Hunter's Mark and BBB wrote about how they intend to pick up their copy of WotLK at release night. So I wanted to confess, I'm just as crazy and am going to pick up my copy in the middle of the night from a store 1 hours drive from my home.

I also intend to stay up until I see either the WotLK opening screen on my monitor, or a very large patch downloading. Oh, and I've taken the next day off from work :D

Unlike HM or BBB I'm not going to show up 2 hours before the opening though, my insanity has limits you know! :)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Zerging Zul'Gurub

Ah, Zul'Gurub. When I started raiding, about 3 years ago, Zul'Gurub was hard. At least at first. I still remember wiping multiple times to the Bat boss. Killing Hakkar without killing at least most of his aspects before was considered impossible, and for my guild we always killed all of them and still occasionally wiped to him (although near the BC release he was becoming pretty easy).

Level 70 changed all that of course, and I haven't been there in a long time. Not much fun in something which is not a challenge, and there was always something else to do. However, last night, the guild we sometimes join with for raids was organizing a ZG run and there were a few open spots. As Solidstate didn't have the achievement I joined. We were nearly 20 people when we started, so almost full.

I knew ZG would be easy. Heck, the rest of my guild were in ZA (I logged in late) and rolling though the fights without any problem, I later heard they got the 3rd chest with ~25 minutes to spare on the timer. But I didn't reallize how easy it would be.

Trash lasted seconds, and barely hurt us. Several times I pulled agro from the tank and had a Gurubashi Berserker hitting me - I usually didn't even bother to Ice Block.

We skipped the Bat lady. We also skipped the Spider boss and Panther boss.

We downed the Snake boss and all his adds together, first by doing AoE to kill the snakes, then killing the boss. I may have managed to get off 5 frostbolts - I'm not sure. We didn't bother keeping distance from him.

We killed the Raptor boss. There were no tactics, we didn't even get ready for the fight as a priest pulled the add by mistake. The boss even killed 2 people and it made no difference. No mount dropped, alas.

Tony the Tiger and his adds went down so fast he didn't manage to do even one of those annoying AoE knockbacks that used to annoy me so much at level 60. He also didn't manage to summon any tiger adds - or if he did they went down too quick for me to notice. We didn't bother seperating the adds, just AoE'd them both. Again, no mount dropped.

We ran straight to Hakkar, skipping most trash. Once we started the fight, the MT spent most of the fight Mind Controlled. Hakkar used abilities from 3 aspects. Once or twice I even pulled agro and had Hakkar melee-ing me - I lived. Hakkar even manged to do the Blood Siphon once (and of course we didn't nother with a Son of Hakkar). All of it didn't matter, he went down. Alas, I lost the roll on the Heart, which I had never won back when I was raiding him at 60.

The entire run took about 25 minutes, not including time to invite and summon people.

On the one hand, it was fun to get an achievement so easily and quickly and not have to worry about nearly anything (keeping mana up with the fast pace was my only real worry :)). Tip to those going to ZG and reading this - kill the Bat Lady as the AoE silences from Hakkar were annoying for the casters.

On the other hand, my main enjoynment from raiding has always come from the careful planning, execution and cooperation needed to take down a complex boss. Last night's ZG run was not a raid by any definition, except for the technical aspect of being part of a group of 20 people. Of course most people would not have wanted to do the run any other way - getting a ZG achievement in ~30min (summons and all) is the fastest and best usage of that most precious commodity, time. But I'm weird :) In spite of it having been longer, I would have liked to try and re-create the feeling of challange. Perhaps by going in a group of 5 people. Or even just talking over the tactics before the boss and trying to execute them, even if they are not really needed now.

If it's hard to understand my motivation, consider this - a group that can force themselves to follow an exact and personally demanding tactic even when it is not needed - such a group can have a much better chance to down bosses that do need such tactics.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Funny Forum Quotes

The Blizzard forums are usually a source of whining and trollish posts, but sometimes there are some pretty nice ones:

Q u o t e:
You can't stay angry at a doorknob for long, now can you?

These people can. They'll also claim it is overpowered it can do the same operation as a handle whilst retaining the ability to swivel as well. The doorknob is a hybrid, it should not outperform pure opening mechanisms such as handles.

More to come... :)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Wave of Hostility

People are not happy about the zombie event. In post after post on the official Blizzard forums, as well as in various blogs, a wave of hostility to the minions of Arthas is sweeping the Internet.

People are saying they don't like it due (mostly) to the fact that players can misuse the event to grief/camp/molest lower level players, even on PvE servers where this is usually harder.

I'm not going to tackle each individual point or case. I think in many cases people are right to be angry and in many cases people are wrong - for example, people have always been able to kill NPCs of the opposite faction, this type of griefing was hardly invented when the zombie invasion started.

However I'd like to say in general, in my very personal opinion I think the negative aspects of the event are being overblown. Yes, there are some jerks who misuse the event. These people have always been around, causing problems in PuG runs and they will continue to be an issue when the invasion is over. However from what I've seen, they are outnumbered by the people simply trying to have a good time and enjoy the event for what it is - a one time opportunity to do something out of the ordinary.

Not every killing of a flight master or banker NPC is the act of griefers. Not every player who tries to turn you into a zombie is a ganker. Some are simply trying to get into the spirit of the event and I for one don't begrudge them their fun, even if it inconveniences me.

I think the forums and to a lesser extent blogs cause people to make a bigger issue out of this than it is. Even a mild post can turn into a nasty argument, let alone a provocative one. The entire invasion looks like it will last only a few days. Certainly the phase where people started being actively turned into zombies in large numbers has so far been what, 2 days long? And yet people are focusing on the negative aspects as if their entire 3 years of WoW have been ruined by the last 2 days. I think people, especially bloggers and forum posters, need to take a deep breath, step back and re-evaluate whether this is such a major issue.

For many people, even a determined zombie ganker can be dealt with by using higher level alts or friends, or even asking for help on the local-defense channel (that's what it's there for, after all). At worse, you can switch locations or even log off for an hour till the ganker gets bored. Is this an ideal situation - no. But it is hardly game breaking.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Embedded Comments

Via Tobold's blog I found out about a new Blogger feature - embedded comments. Now the comments box appears below the existing article+comments instead of having to go to a separate page or popup in order to leave a comment.

Very nice IMHO, so I just enabled it :)

A Romp Through SSC

Last night my guild joined another to go to SSC. I was asked to come as a healer so I can't comment on mage DPS in there, except from looking at Recount and seeing how other mages did.

At least one mage in my guild whom I know to have good gear and a good grasp of mages was specced Arcane and came up only 5th or so in the raid, not bad but not brilliant either. First 2 places were hunters and the third was, hold your breath, a Retribution Paladin. Nerf! :)

Trash were a blast, people rarely died (unlike before the patch) and the trash went down amazingly fast. The new CoH was sweet to use, I used up mana like there is no tomorrow but it healed like crazy.

Hydross was 1-shotted. We went through 3 phase changes before he was down and luckily all DPS managed to stop in time and not pull agro to the wrong side. The new AoE abilities of all the tanks I am sure helped a lot in tanking the adds.

Lurker started out badly, the tank somehow got knocked back, causing some melee to get agro and die. Also a few people didn't jump in the water fast enough and died from the spout. Luckily the fight was easy enough that the rest of us managed to recover and finish the fight.

From there we continued to Morogrim, wiping a couple of times on trash. Even in a nerfed raid tanks need to make sure people are ready and wait if healers are still rezzing people... Anyway Morogrim himself was easy, easier I think than Lurker. The ability of tanks to AoE-tank meant none of the healers was ever in real danger from the murlock adds.

Karathress was next and again we wiped on trash... hasty pulls ftl :(
But thankfully the boss himself was a snap. I managed to die to the spitfire totem while healing the MT but the other healers on the MT didn't have a problem keeping him up even near the end and once the raid finished the last add and went on the boss, he went down quickly.

Last for the evening was Leotheras. Of course, you guessed it, we wiped on trash on way to him. Sigh. By this time everyone was getting a bit tired (~3 hours since raid start) and making mistakes so we wiped the first time, mostly since we couldn't keep the warlock tanking the demon phase alive (he was BR several times during the fight). We tried again but failed. Third time, the warrior MT simply continued to tank him during his demon phase and we managed to do it, although just barely. Most made it alive to the final stage where he splits up (I even managed to kill my inner demon) but the demon form started fire-blasting random people and killed about half the raid before they managed to bring down the humanoid form.

We decided to call it a night after Leo and not try Vashj as it was getting late for most people. Also being a complex fight, she will probably wipe us a few times and it's best to try her fresh.

For a couple of guilds full of people who had barely set foot into SSC in the past, this was a fantastic night. Both Karathress and Leotheras were first kills for the vast majority of people. However in no way did I feel SSC was trivial for us, as evidenced by the multiple trash wipes. Yes it had become very easy, but it was still possible for individuals to die or even for the raid to wipe on both trash and bosses. So there was definitely a feeling of challenge there, even if it was mostly in keeping our mistakes from killing us ;)

Overall I enjoyed the run, I even got some new epic shoulders which should help me a bit while leveling :)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Supersolid the Gorilladin

Having taken the time to re-spec my other 3 characters, and achieving the heck out of Solidstate (you know what I mean :)), I decided it was time to prep my hunter for WotLK.

Logging in to Supersolid and respeccing was fast and painless. Super will never be a raider (probably), so the correct max-DPS spec, shot rotation, gear etc. all don't matter. I specced BM - 55/3/3 currently. If I have agro problems due to lack of focus with my pet, I'll spec 11 points in MM in order to get Go For the Throat. Max fun, E-Z mode leveling and playing for this guy. Only really meant to have an easy time with him to grind leather, ore and gold.

Once I specced and also put in talent points for my cat, I decided it was time to get a new pet. Good old Notallthere has served me well since I dinged level 19 but now that leveling a new pet has become easier and now that all the pets have changed, it was time I felt to get a new pet. I was really impressed by the BRK Gorilladin movie (even though the name "Gorilladin" is slightly silly :)). In addition, it helps that the Gorilla is a tenacity pet, perfect for my goals.

Of course I didn't want any old Gorilla, I wanted the cool looking Uhk'loc. However I have very little patiance for camping, so in the end I tamed U'cha. At least he has a nice looking fur, even if he isn't as nice looking as Uhk'loc.

As soon as I tamed him he dinged 65, as per the new system, me being level 70. I fed him, specced him and started doing daily quests in the Shattered Sun Offensive Island.

What's that you say, why are you taking a level 65 pet to tank level 70 mobs, are you daft? I guess I am, because I did it :) It actually wasn't all that bad, a little kiting, Frost traps and concussion shots were enough to serve most times. It was not as easy as it would have been with a level 70 pet but even as a level 65, Gorilla (no I haven't named him yet :)) was in no real danger of dying. Plus I got some nice gold out of it :)

After doing the 10 Island quests I continued to grind mobs in BEM and finished the evening when Gorilla dinged 67. I think 2 levels in one evening is very nice and I think once he dings 69 I will consider him ready for LK.

I have to say the experience of taming and leveling a new pet has been made much more friendly by Blizzard, something for which I as a casual hunter am really greatful. I'm even considering getting one of those cool looking Core Hounds as a pet, just for the novelty value :)

As for playing a hunter post-patch, what can I say, it was easy before, it's even easier now :) I switch to AotV once in a while to mana up. Overall my DPS was not bad but again this isn't really a concern for this char so I wasn't trying to optimize or anything. I will over time try of course to improve this since it makes it easier to grind when mobs die more quickly, but it's not a priority atm.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Having fun with content

Last night as I logged in I was invited to an AQ20 run organized by my guild and a guild we sometimes raided with. We started about 17 people and filled up over the run to the full 20 people. We managed to wipe on Ossirian once due to pulling an add in parallel to him and the tank not picking up the add in time, leading to healers dying. However otherwise it was an incredibly quick run, without any worrying about tactics, mobs/bosses abilities, etc. Just run and nuke everything.

As many people have noted, the new talents and the general nerfing of instances has led to raids being incredibly, sometime ridiculously, easy. I don't have a problem with that. At this stage no loot that drops, except from BT or SWP, means anything anymore. So when I read people blogging or writing in comments in blogs or forums about how sad it is that raiding is now so easy, I have to scratch my head. I can understand being sorry you didn't manage to take down a boss before the nerf, but why be sad about the current state of affairs? I read about people complaining about how easy Karazhan has become - if you want a challange, why not simply go to a harder instance, or try an instance with fewer people?

For us this is exactly what we did last night - after we downed Ossirian we decided to try AQ40. I had never managed to take down the first boss and I think few if any of the people in the raid had, so this was new stuff for most of us. We actually wiped there 2 times before downing him - first when clearing the adds in front of him we pulled the boss by mistake, and the second time when he managed to wipe us due to the Mind Controls and the adds he summons. Still in the 3rd time we managed to get him down. With ~20 people in the raid it was not a trivial fight and I although I was there as DPS (on Solidstate) and not as a healer I think the healers did have to work a bit harder.

Alas, we had to stop after Skeram to a server shutdown. Later I came back online but most of the people had logged for the night so I just completed a few more Achievements (fishing FTW :)) and went to sleep.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Poor Solidd, What A Mess

Tonight for the first time since patch 3.0.2 went live I finally logged on to Solidd. I've been so busy grinding achievements on Solidstate I haven't had time to take care of my druid, but I decided it was finally time (for no particular reason).

My poor druid, what a mess he was post-patch :(
Without talents and with sub-optimal gear (still 2 pieces of clefthoof), I had 10k (!!) less armor than before the patch. Several hours later, I finally have my tanking and DPS items sorted out (at least partially) and my talents invested.

I now have more dodge than before, but slightly less health and a lot less armor (~8k less armor). That kinda sucks TBH but I was expecting it.

Apart from spending time on my talents and gear, I also spent some time with macros for both my bear and cat form. So for example I now have my mangle activate my trinkets, and my cat auto-attack also includes both Barkskin and Berserk (I want both up as much as possible when I'm hitting stuff as a cat). Again, still not done there. For example, not sure if I should auto-activate Barkskin as a bear. Guess I should but as a bear I want to optimize it a lot more than I do as a cat. However I tend to forget long-CD abilities so this will probably be something I'll automate.

I did 3 daily quests on the SSO Island just to see how my cat DPS stacks up. Must admit I am very pleased, I had good DPS and the new way Blizzard have implemented to let energy go back up is infinitly better than before and means I need to wait a lot less for my next Mangle or whatever.

So Solidd was a mess before I logged in tonight, but he is doing much better now. Next project - Supersolid... :)

Solidfaith BTW got the uber-quick treatment, as I was invited as healer to a quick UBRS run to get the Jenkins title with him a few days ago. I could have gone without talents but since I logged him I decided I might as well organize him. Did it in less than 5min, unlike the hour or so I spent on Solidd tonight. I most probably didn't pick the best holy build but even if I am called to heal a raid I doubt I will have any problems, I got most of the important talents I think.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Luck is a big part of WoW. Obviously, for some things no, or little, luck is required. For example I got my "The Diplomat" title 2 days after patch 3.0.2 went live after I finished grinding exalted rep with the Timbermaw. This required little luck, just the ability to grind.
Same with the exploration achievements I finished yesterday (only Northrend left :)) - there was no luck there, just the time needed to run around.

However as part of my exploration I had to go and discover Orgrimmar. Since I was already there, I figured I would go inside and do the Ragefire Chasm instance for the Achievement. Took quite a few deaths but I finally made it. By the way, Shattered Barrier was increadible, really helped a lot. Every time I would rez I would first of all put on my Ice Barrier. Quickly I would have a bunch of guards on me, hitting me like I was aiming to kill Thrall or something ;p Ice Barrier would quickly break and poof - suddendly I'm running alone, leaving all the guards far behind me :) Invisibility was also my friend :)

Anyway once I did the instance I figured as I am inside Orgrimmar why not catch a fish in order to get The Fishing Diplomat achievement done. So I ran a little more to the closest pool (another 2 deaths), fished a single fish and got it. Well, as I was already in a pool, in Orgrimmar, with a fishing pole in hand, I figured - why not give it a go and try to catch Old Crafty! He's also needed for an achievement! Alas, I did not have any luck - first I spent 30min fishing without catching him, then a horde hunter decided it would be fun to gank me and that pretty much put an end to my fishing.

So in general I much prefer those things in WoW I can get done without depending on luck. Usually, I simply don't have luck :(

However, last night, to offset the disappointment with Old Crafty, I got very lucky indeed. I went to do the Headless Horseman with some friends. Didn't even plan on doing him last night, we wanted to do some heroics, but all the Outland instances were bugged and could not be entered. So we decided instead to do the Horseman. As all 5 of us had not yet done him, we could summon him the full 5 times.
The 4th time, The Horseman's Reins dropped. We all rolled need, and I won! Talk about lucky, first I got lucky the item even dropped, then I got lucky by winning it. Soon after I had the Headless Horseman's Mount in my mounts window and when I summoned him after porting to Shattrath I was blown away - a flying horse is very awesome :)

So I dislike depending on luck, but when I do get lucky? It's awesome :)

Friday, October 17, 2008

More 3.0.2 Impressions

I ran 2 heroic instances today with Solidstate, Sethekk Halls and Mana Tombs. Both with my Fire build. I don't know if Blizzard nerfed Heroics but the mobs went down in next to no time. As a Fireball is a 3sec cast and my other spells don't have the DPS to compete, I was either 3rd or even 4th in damage (behind even the Paladin tank!) Only during AoE could I really compete.

I don't know whether it was due to the other classes or just the short fights but I didn't really have any mana issues. Sometimes with very fast chain pulls I would still be drinking but not often.

On both practise dummies and the summoned boss in Sethekk Halls (which let me build up 5 scorches and nuke) I got to over 1.2k DPS which is good - on par with my pre-patch DPS. However any short fight or caster-unfriendly fight (such as the first Seth Halls boss), my DPS lagged badly behind that of the hunter, druid and as I said sometimes even behind the Paladin tank.

The heroics were insanly easy, sometimes we would pull 2 groups at the same time, sometimes we would pull agro from the tank - it all didn't matter, the mobs just went down increadibly fast. Even bosses didn't last long.

After the runs I switched to the full Frost build I mentioned in an earlier post and went to nuke a test dummy. Guess what? Again 1.2k DPS! Of course this is the combined damage from my WE but still, Frost doing same damage/dps as Fire... Why would anyone take Fire?

Annoyingly, the length of time I managed to nuke the test dummy as Frost before going OOM, including using 2x gems and Evocation, was only 25% or so longer than the time I lasted as a Fire mage. So Frost is not as big an improvement as I thought it would be with regards to mana.

I'll continue to Arcane spec if Frost doesn't work out for me, but I still need to try it in a run or other more real situation.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Patch 3.0.2 First Impressions

First of all let me say the new patch graphics, entry screen, new loading screens - everything looks good. In terms of looks, this patch is a winner. I tried setting the new shadows to highest setting and it looked nice but my frame rate dropped from 75 fps to 15 :) So I gave that up. But everything else looks fantastic.

The new UI elements all worked well and were nice. The mount/pet interface took me time to understand due to server lag issues which prevented me from playing but once that cleared up it became clear what was going on. The new Achievements screen was a lot of fun to play around with. I was a bit annoyed by all the new "[x] has achieved " messages in the chat window. I didn't find a way to turn them off, even though I ticked off the appropriate box in the chat settings. Probably a bug which I hope will be solved.

Addons - I started with all turned off and started turning them on one by one. Even though I had updated them using the Curse Client, I still had a few which I had to manually update (beta version was not updated, release version was old) and even then a few did not work correctly even then (Outfitter :( ). Still I hope the authors will quickly update all of these.

However I started playing late and with all the playing around with addons, getting to know the new UI and trying to get a few new achievements (Shave and a Haircut :)) time passed quickly and I found myself near the end of the time I could play and still without any talents.

Now to the interesting stuff (for mages :)). I took my 0/58/3 build I outlined in my previous post and learned the new talents, then went to practise a bit on a practise dummy in Ironforge. BTW I have to say the new practise dummies are a fantastic idea, will help a lot in theorycrafting and understanding relative merit of various builds. Too bad I couldn't level my melee skill on them - at least even after a minute of hitting one I didn't get any skill points :( Just make sure you pick on a level 70 one to test your talents - a friend picked a level 80 one by mistake and couldn't understand at first why all his attacks were missing/resisted :)
Right away I noticed my damage per Fireball was not higher compared to my Frostbolts before the patch, and the crits were actually lower. This was an increadible disappointment. Another big issue was mana regen - it was very low and I was running OOM very quickly.

I teleported to Darnassus and flew to Felwood in order to try out the spells on low level mobs (the Timbermaw mobs which I had been grinding for rep). It felt really bad. Before the patch, I was one or 2-shotting these mobs with Frostbolts and was basically able to run around and never drink because my regen was higher than my usage. Now, I was still one or two shotting mobs but my mana was running our insanly fast. I have no idea how full Fire can be now used for anything with such high mana usage and low regen, but now I better understand why beta mages were QQ-ing about mana issues. I am sure as Arcane or Frost I will not have these problems but I was really hoping to have some fun with Fire, plus with the other two trees my DPS will go down even more.
I am also worried about the relatively low damage my fire spells were doing, while it's true my spell power dropped due to missing the Arcane tree talents which increase damage, my fire spells specifically should still have been doing more damage. Adding the occasional instant Pyroblast and refreashing Living Bomb might be good for DPS but will make my mana issues even worse.

BTW the Timbermaw repeatable turn-in quest gave me 330 rep now istead of 165 before the patch, so this was seriously buffed by Blizzard. Nice, will be it much easier to get to Exalted :)

I'm going to try installing an updated Recount and if it works spend as much gold as required to fully comapre my DPS and damage and mana usage on practise dummies for several specs. I'll start with my current spec and compare to a 0/0/61 full Frost build. If I have mana troubles with full Frost, I think I'll give up on my mage for a while and play with just my druid and priest :(

Speaking of my other chars, I haven't even started looking at them... sigh, so much to do, so little time... :D

In spite of the intial server + lag problems, addon and talent troubles and misc small bugs I would say this patch is a huge success. The new content is captivating and while I will be disappointed not to top the damage meters any more, I still expect to have lots of fun - maybe even more than before :)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Build for patch 3.0 - Solidstate

This Wednesday patch 3.0.2 is coming to WoW, bringing with it many changes, not the least to the talent trees. As there will be about a month between patch 3.0 and WotLK, I need a good spec for Solidstate that:

  1. Will be useful to me at level 70 for about 1 month.
  2. Can be used for mainly soloing and raiding/instances
  3. Is fun.
I've already decided I will go full Frost once WotLK arrives as it is simply the best leveling spec possible. Therefore I have decided to go Fire once 3.0 comes, specifically this 0/53/8 spec.

I went with fire because I want to try something different before I respec to "boring-old Frost". I want it to be good, or at least viable, damage in raids. I also from looking at Arcane just don't see a good raiding spec there at 70 since the AB nerf.

My choices for talent points started with the requirement to have the extra 3% spell hit chance from Elmental Precision, meaning I had to spend 8 points in the Frost tree. Everything else was put in the Fire tree, mostly I tried to take talents that would increase my crit chance and spell damage. Regarding the spells I didn't take:
  1. I didn't take Improved Fire Blast because I just don't see Fire Blast as a viable part of my spell rotation.
  2. Burning Determination is a clear PvP spell so that's out. Although it would have come in handy in some specific fights, I just couldn't spare the points.
  3. Impact - pure leveling/soloing/grinding spell, not really useful for my purposes.
  4. Molten Shields - silly spell :)
  5. Blazing Speed - PvP.
  6. Fiery Payback - I was confused about this spell description. Reduced damage is always nice to have but hardly essential for a mage. Increasing the CD on Pyroblast while decreasing the cast time? That's good for what exactly? It looks to me like the developer here couldn't make up his mind...
  7. Firestarter - nice to have but I don't see Flamestrike as being all that useful even as an instant cast. Especially if you're close enough to be using Dragon's Breath or Blast Wave on the mobs.
  8. Playing with Fire, Hot Streak - I had 1 point left to use up. PwF looked like the more solid upgrade to damage. HS the more fun talent. I went with fun :)
It's really too bad about the Arcane tree, I really liked being an Arcane mage with "uber" damage. Ah well, back I guess to doing mediocre damage, at least untill WotLK is out and we all start leveling...

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Solidstate exalted with Sporeggar

Just a quick update, in little less then an hour I finished getting to exalted. I did the repeatable quest "Now that we're still friends" a few times rather easily, except once when a slave was attacking me and kicked me while I was trying to cast Frostbolt and I couldn't understand why I clicking the Frostbolt button did nothing until I noticed the cooldown on the Frost buttons due to the kick. Used Arcane Explosion afterwards when fighting those pesky slaves :)

After I hit exalted something a little depressing happened. Specifically what happened was I saw the Fhwoor Smash! quest light up (I later read it becomes available at exalted). On a whim I decided to take it, even though it said that it needed 3 people. Of course the first part went okay but then the elite showed up and killed me.

This is one bummer which illustrates one of my pet peeves with the Mage class. A level 65 elite is not a problem for a level 70 Hunter, Druid or Paladin. To a lesser extent, a Rogue or Warrior will also do fine (depending on gear). A Warlock has a fighting chance if the elite can be feared. But a mage? Most of all quest elites are not kitable - immune to both the slowing effect from Frostbolt. So as powerful as my mage is, for all my immense power, I am essentially helpless against such a mob even though it is 5 levels beneath my level.

Solidstate gains rep, Solidd gains Swift Flight Form

It's been a while since my last update, partly because RL has prevented me from both playing and blogging much, and partly laziness :)

On Solidstate, I've grinded Cenarion Circle rep, from just above revered to exalted. Almost 21k rep, done in just a few days of playing. How was this possible?
First of all because of the current Human racial 10% bonus to rep gains, which meant each turn-in of Encrypted Twilight Text gave me 550 rep instead of the usual 500. The announced changes to racial bonuses, including the removal of this racial bonus to Humans, is part of the reason I decided to do some rep-grind now, before patch 3.0.
Secondly because as an Arcane mage running around 1-3 shotting the various Twilight mobs in Silithus with Frostbolts, using the Mage Armor on me meant I simply didn't need to drink - my mana regen was higher than my mana usage. Once or twice in a long while I did stop to top off, but it was much much easier than killing mobs at my own level, which forces me to stop and drink after every 3-5 mobs. The one exception was the elite Twilight Prophet which required some AoE due to kill her 2 adds and took a few more spells to finish off the prophet herself - not that I had to drink after killing them but it usually brought me down to 70% mana and as a mage does around 300 DPS (wand) without mana, I never like to go much below that. Matter of habbit, even when fighting much lower level mobs. It has saved me a corpe run more than once in the past :)
Thirdly I stuck to grinding and left enough room in my bags so that I didn't have to go every X minutes to the mail or vendor.
Lastly, I usually went down to the southern most camp, I was always alone there, unlike the camps closer to Cenarion Hold which were many times visited by other players.

Now that I'm exalted with CC I'm trying to get my Sporeggar rep up to exalted, haven't had much time but it shouldn't take long - I'm now at around 19k/21k :)

Solidd has finally done something I've meant to do for a long while - the Swift Flight Form quest. I entered heroic Sethekk Halls with 4 guild mates, me tanking of course. This was actually a few days ago so I don't remember the exact group composition or run details (except that we wiped only once on some trash). But the fight itself with Anzu the Raven God was fairly easy, even though I didn't really manage to hold agro on the adds that spawned they went down easily enough. Alas, no raven mount dropped. However the Swift Flight Form is a joy to use. It is beyond me why regular mounts have a cast time, as having an instant flight ability is just too much fun. Maybe Blizzard are afraid of PvP issues but I wish for the same of all of other characters they would reconsider.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Respeccing Glyphs

Glyphs are going to be a not-inconsiderable and constant drain of gold/resources on every serious raider.
Why do I say this? Because of the fact that while some glyphs are good for solo play - grinding, daily quests, etc. - some are better for raiding. So a serious raider will want to switch back and forth between the glyphs.

Consider for example Glyph of Frostbolt. This will be a must-have glyph for a raiding frost mage, as the slow component of Frostbolt is (almost?) never needed in raids. However the +5% damage is invaluable.
However as soon as you finish the raid and want to go do your dailies, what do you do? If you leave it on you'll lose ability to kite the mobs, a core feature of playing a frost mage. We don't want to get hit on by the mobs, that's for fire mages to endure! ;)

So what can be done? Nothing much in my opinion. Do your homework, select which glyphs you'll be replacing regularly and which will stay and get a large stock of the ones you'll be switching. I'm hoping the extra cost of switching glyphs will be offset by the reduced cost of using less mana and health pots during raids, but we'll just have to wait and see.

As for leveling 70-80 and doing instances - if you're worrying about glyphs while leveling, you're either waaay more hard-core than me or over-optimizing. Consider the fact that a shadow-priest can be a healer for an instance run while leveling - do you really need to tweak your glyphs?

For leveling 70-80 my current plan is to go as Frost on my mage. My prefered glyphs will be: Glyph of Water Elemental, Glyph of Mage Armor and either Glyph of Evocation or Glyph of Mana Gem. I might switch to Glyph of Frostfire at 75 - I'll have to wait and see :)

For my other characters I still haven't taken a look but I will have time as I really won't have time to level all of my chars at first.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

On Mage QQ and balanced posts

I like reading wowinsider. As a site that gives current news, opinions, tips and helpful articles it's a one-stop place for all your WoW needs. Various bloggers, each an expert in his/her field/class, all contribute to the site, making it a place for any WoW-enthusiast, regardless of class or specific game interest.

So it's unfortunate that my favourite class, the mage, has gotten an article that has gone over the deep-end with a QQ post. The entire article complains about a single talent, Deep Freeze. Mages have been known as the QQ class but as far as whine posts, this one takes the cake.

Seriously, does a single-point talent, even if it is the top most one in the frost tree, warrant writing an entire whiny QQ post about? Are we supposed to be serious about this article when the writer states about the talent that "Its fate will determine the viability of an entire spec in PvE"? Really? Just below Deep Freeze in the talent tree lies Chilled to the Bone, a fantastic 5-point talent which every frost mage will take. Sure, the next talent sucks and is currently not worth the extra point. So what? Slow sucked (pre patch 3.0.2) through TBC and that didn't stop me nor many other mages from speccing Arcane and nuking the living daylights out of anything in raids and topping damage meters.

The article specifically states PvE viability, so I'll go out and say it right now - Deep Freeze will have ZERO impact on mage raid viability, with or without the damage component. Barring a massive re-working of this spell, the only ones who will really care about it are PvP-ers.

Perhaps frost mages (or mages in general) will have damage problems in raids. That remains to be seen. But Deep Freeze, with or without damage, will not be a factor in increasing this damage or determining whether a mage has a raid spot.

Does it suck that our 51 point talent isn't as cool or helpful as that of other classes? Yes. Is it a spec-breaking issue? heck no!

This has been a whine post about a whine post, brought to you by a mage irritated by mage whining :)