My Chars

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Sartharion + Shadron Down

Until now my guild has only taken down Sartharion + Tenebron. However we are planning to try for Sarth+2D and in preparation we went today to try and down Sartharion+Shadron, as Shadron is considered the harder add.

The fight was indeed hard, however after several wipes we managed to fine-tune our strategy and down Shadron, after which taking down Sartharion is a walk in the park :)

The final stratgy that worked for us was to have one DPS (a hunter) stay outside and DPS/Mis-Direct the spawning fire adds so that they left the 2 tank healers (myself and a paladin) alone. Meanwhile the rest of the group (including the 3rd healer) went inside the portal to down the disciple inside.

Our DPS wasn't very high and it took us time to down Shadron but really this fight was about focus and execution, high DPS would have made it easier but was not essential.

For our 2-drakes attempt next week we're planning to fight Tenebron + Vesperon. We probably won't be able to down Tenebron before Vesperon lands so fight could get a bit messy, but we'll see. I expect our main problem to be healing since keeping the tanks up is hard even with one drake up. With 2 up, I shudder at the damage spikes...

Well, we will cross that bridge when we get there. For now I'm happy with the accomplishment, a new Sartharion add taken down in one night and after only a few wipes. Left us enough time to go heroic UP with my DK tanking, I got revered with Wyrmrest Accord and got a nice new chest, huzzah :)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Slow going till Ulduar and "has WoW peaked?"

A combination of RL keeping me busy and slowdown in WoW have kept me from blogging much. My guild has slowed down raiding although we hope to start some OS+2 tries soon, if we get enough guild mates online and interested.
I've spent the time leveling up Faith's Hodir rep, doing the daily quests on every day that I could. Between that, the odd heroic run (still not exalted with Ebon Blade) and the occational raid I've managed to stay fully occupied without even the time to play on Solidstar or even level yet an alt /gasp :)

I spent one fun evening going with 4 guild mates and doing 9(!) BC heroic instances in one evening, for achievements. We had myself (healer), 2 plate-wearing DPS (warrior and paladin), and 2 hunters. We did manage to wipe here and there when people got a bit crazy with the pulls but otherwise it was no problem, didn't need a tank at all :)

Like everybody else I'm looking forward for patch 3.1 but I do have a feeling that WoW has peaked, barring Blizzard pulling a rabbit out of their hat and re-engaging current and new players. WoW is over 4 years old now, and long-time players, even dedicated ones, are starting I think to feel a little burned-out. Contending with annoying PuGs and lack of raids due to lack of interest and apathy brought about by the lack of new content vs. ease of exisiting raids has meant current level 80 players are losing motivation to login. Although Dalaran is as full as ever, there are many people just running around not doing anything.
Meanwhile new players have to deal with leveling 80 levels in a mostly empty world.

I don't know this for sure but looking at how long Ulduar is taking and considering the scope of the problem and that Ulduar is just a single instance, I would say 3.1 will help people for a while but will soon run out of steam, leaving raiders with the options of grinding Ulduar till the next instance is released or trying "hard mode" encounters which are just the same content made harder.

In my opinion while on the surface it seems Blizzard is still investing heavily in WoW it does seem like design and content is being added very slowely, maybe teams were taken to work on more "exciting" projects such as Diablo-3. Maybe Blizzard see WoW as a stable cash-cow without the need to invest as much in it as in a new game. Or maybe they have simply given up on WoW...

Personally I still enjoy WoW and will enjoy it for a long time to come (I hope). After a long day I'm not looking for too much hard-core action, either PvE or PvP. A bit of grinding, a bit of instances/raids, fishing, gathering, fun with friends. I'm not a Darkfall type :)

But if the world becomes too empty, if people leave in droves for other games, WoW will be a lot less enjoyable. Well, we'll cross that bridge when we get there...

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Solidstar Dings 80, Turns Unholy Tank

Last night I finally dinged 80 on Solidstar, having taken my time about it since I played so much on my priest :)

I did it while still questing in Zul'Drak and in fact Solidstar is close to the 100 quests achievement there. Unlike my priest who found it difficult in Zul'Drak, none of the trolls there could even slow down Solidstar, who with his blood spec had zero downtime while questing and if wearing tanking gear could even solo 3-man quests (rather easily I might add). I'm glad I stuck to this area this time instead of jumping ship for the Storm Peaks like my priest, it let me complete some interesting quest lines involving troll gods.

I think that (assuming I have the time) even though I am now 80 I will continue questing with Solidstar, as I am sure it will be still easy even though he is no longer specced blood. The reasons are as you might imagine, it is good gold and it is more interesting than grinding daily quests :)

As for my level 80 spec, I will miss being a DPS but I missed tanking too, I always had a lot of fun being a tank on my druid and I am looking forward to it on my DK. I chose an unholy 7/11/53 spec which is not a "classic" Frost tanking spec because frankly I tried out frost tanking while I was leveling and it was very boring and I hope unholy will be more exciting and fun.

I am a bit worried about mitigation, but I have seen a DK tank all through Naxxramas so hopefully it will work out. Of course I will have to play around with the spec due to patch 3.1.0 but I'll cross that bridge when I get there :)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Enchanters on Strike

Pugnacious Priest has an interesting post up about Enchanters and DE (Dis-Enchanting) BoP drops from 5-man runs. The question is, should enchanters stop doing DE for free (or at all) in 5-man runs? The usual example given is that miners/herbalists/skinners don't share items they loot inside an instance run.

For the first 2-3 years my main has been my mage and one of his professions is Enchanting so this is an issue I can relate to from the enchanters' side. I remember how hard/costly it was to level my enchanting and how many disappointing PuGs I was in where I DE items and didn't even win the roll on the shards - as the person providing the ability to get the shards, this was annoying.

But I think the idea to stop doing a DE service in PuG runs is not the solution. To explain why, I will first quote a comment made on the above blog:

I don’t get this campaign. Based purely on probability, enchanters are going to get the same number of shards for themselves either way.

True. But if the "campaign" catches on, there will be less shards on the AH and more people needing to buy shards (since a lot more stuff that would have been sharded gets vendored). This will drive up the cost of shards on the AH.

On the one hand this will be good for enchanters who have enough shards that they are able to sell the surplus on the AH for a bigger profit.

But in my eyes most people, including many enchanters, will lose out from this when all is said and done. Taking a large number of possible shards out of the economy will make it harder to enchant yourself, your guild mates and your friends (with the exception of hard-core raiders and people adept at making gold). I just don't see this as a good thing. So really, stopping DE BoP blues in 5-man runs will help the "rich" and hurt the "poor" and this is true for both Enchanters and other people.

Enchanting is not a gathering profession and should not be compared to one. However it is also unique as a crafting profession - except tailoring which has the same problem - in that there is no gathering profession directly related to it. This is why enchanting and tailoring are so often taken together.

As for those claiming Enchanting is a money sink - this is also true for other crafting professions, although it depends on the amount of time and effort one is willing to put into it. I've heard of people making lots of money from enchants - but they spent a lot of time on trade channels for that. To some extent enchanting should be less of a money sink these days with scrolls available to recoup some of the cost from doing enchants just for leveling up.

One possible solution would be to make Enchanting more attractive by beefing up the benefits from being an enchanter. E.G. better self-enchants, or a skill so that enchants which enchanters do an enchant on their own (soulbound) gear have a lower cost of mats compared to enchant done on scroll or in trade window.

But I think a better solution would actually be to take a look at the sister profession I mentioned, tailoring. Tailors have no lack of mats since tailoring mats drop from all mobs and so are readily available for farming. Furthermore being a tailor gives you an edge when farming cloth in WotLK as you get more cloth drops.

So what I think is, enchanters should get en edge where if they farm mobs they get a higher chance at getting green items and the DE table for green items should be changed to allow a greater chance for dream shards and even higher-level shards. This would make leveling enchanting much easier, provide enchanters with the ability to farm their own mats and solve the original problem with DE BoP drops - since with these changes enchanters will no longer be as pressed for shards, at least not for themselves.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Heroic Nexus Achievements

Tonight some guild mates were asking for a healer for heroic Nexus while I was playing on Solidstar (who is level 77 BTW and now can fly again - forgot to post about that :)). So I said "sure" and logged Solidfaith.

When we started the tank asked if we would mind doing achievements and since none of us minded we went for it :)
First up was Split Personality, we simply bunched up the images and AoE'd them down so that they died together. We did this both twice and easily got the achievement. I was a bit worried a couple of times when the time stop prevented me from healing the tank when he was low on health but we pulled through.
Next up was Chaos Theory, this was significantly harder. We basically followed the tactic on the wowhead comments and kited the boss, but there must be something not mentioned there because in all of our attempts we were swamped by adds. Finally after several wipes we got the kiting speed just right or something and managed to get the boss down before the damage got too much.
Finally was Intense Cold, I already had this from a previous Nexus run and for the others it did not prove difficult to get - just keep jumping. I had to be quick on the dispelling of the Crystal Chains but otherwise an easy fight and the others got this one easily.

Till now I've never been a big fan of achievements, it seemed to me to be a system for making you jump through hoops and artificially making content harder than it was.
Well this is still true in my opinion and I still don't think I'll actively go chase achievements for their own sake.
However, heroics lately have been getting very easy when running with guild mates due to our much better gear, and the challange of doing these achievements, especially Chaos Theory, added a lot of spice and fun. Suddendly we were wiping, discussing tactics, laughing and happy when we managed to get a boss down - things I haven't done in a long time in a heroic run :) So it felt good and we I get a good guild group together for another heroic instance I might actually suggest going after achievements, you know, for challange and fun... :)