Saturday, June 28, 2008

This just in...

...Shaman to remain awesome and over-powered in WotLK.

Huge announcements coming in from Blizzards Invitational event in Paris, not the least of which involve Shamantic love in the forms of:

- raid-wide totem effects
- hex, a short-duration but very-needed CC
- windfury to affect sum bare durids
- rockbiter replaced(?) with earthliving, a +heal buff
- strength and agility totems to be combined into a single totem


Friday, June 27, 2008

18k Honor, 20 EotS Marks

PvP here I come again? With the start of Season 4 Arena, Season 2's armor and weapons are now up for sale for honor and marks. I swore I'd never go to Eye of the Storm again, but looks like Merciless Gladiator's Right Ripper is the next best (easily achievable) weapon upgrade. -_-

That is, once I get my computer back. Waaah.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


So even though I missed our guild's run on Gruul yesterday (boo busted 'puter), a few days prior I managed to get a raid spot with an allied guild at the last minute. It was to be my first time, and I didn't even have my unstable flasks yet. >.<

I had seen some videos, read some strats, but of course nothing prepares you like the real thing. There are very few trash pulls, thankfully, fairly straightforward stuff there. Bunch up on the Brutes, interrupt the casters.

First major encounter of course is High King Maulgar and his Pals. There's a lot more coordination that needs to happen here than your average instance. Hunter misdirects, Mage tanks, even a Hunter tank in our case. Lots of weirdness and folks scrambling into position. Luckily for me, it was just following Blindeye's tank in and melee'ing from behind, watching Omen and Earth Shock'ing to interrupt the heals. From there it's just following kill order, watching threat, etc. Ahh, the life of a no-pressure DPS'er. :P

The first attempt was almost insta-wipe as we had our positioning wrong, but the 2nd shot was much smoother. Unfortunately I hit the dirt at some point, popped Reincarnation, then promptly died again. It's not a party until a Shammy goes down! We managed it on either the 2nd or 3rd try (can't remember), but it was all sorts of fun, total chaos as folks scrambled from one mini-boss to the other. I seem to recall a near-wipe on the successful downing, with backup tanks picking up HKM, only a few healers left and ONE DPS'er around to finish off at ~2%.

After HKM comes some more minor trash (bunch up on the Brute, LOS the casters around the corner), then its on to Gruul The Dragonkiller hisself. He's actually not a terribly complicated fight, basically tank/spank with some tricks in-between... Like rocks falling on your head and flinging you into the air before shattering the ground under you. Good stuff. With some helpful mods (DBM FTW) and paying attention, though, it's definitely do-able. Just don't get frozen next to a healer! We had all healers marked with raid symbols just to be able to spot them easier.

I personally seemed to do better on Gruul than HKM, although I think I did die on try 2 of 3, but overall not bad. Average damage for the whole instance was reported at 733 DPS, number 5 on the damage meters. <3 those raid buffs! Probably coulda been higher if I didn't spend so much time AFK'ing during large portions of HKM (squished blueberry).

Sounds like our own guild is going to take another shot at Gruuls in a few weeks, hopefully the computer will be back in action by then!

In other news, I'm now wearing a goofy Mardi Gras decoration in the offhand... yup, I broke down and got Vanir's Left Fist of Brutality, and slapped on Mongoose.

I look ridiculous.


Tuesday, June 24, 2008


I'm typing this on my iPhone. The Macbook Pro is in the shop with a bad "logic board." Sounds like a Johnson Rod explanation if u ask me.

Late last night the darn thing booted with no video. Not on the built-in screen, not on the external monitor. Apparently its a semi common issue, there's a fair amount of noise about it on the apple forums. Also its being fixed for free even though I'm three weeks out of warranty. Hmm, class-action prevention?

So besides being computerless for possibly a week, I missed tonights Gruuls run. Doh. Hopefully me guildies came away with a good time and phat loots. Lame thing is GuildPortal won't run propers with mobile safari, so I can't even check the loot list to see what dropped! Boo.

WTB working puter plskthx.

Friday, June 20, 2008


Yesterday I got an email from the folks at FigurePrints, the outfit that "prints" 4-inch tall 3D models of your WoW character. Several months ago, I had signed up to be part of their lottery system as apparently the demand is greater than their current output. Last night's email was a congratulatory message. :)

It looks like their prices have gone up from $99 to $129, but I'll still be placing an order this weekend. I realize that to some, that amount may seem expensive, but the chance to have a physical representation of a virtual character that I've spent so much time on is, IMO, awesome. Someday the WoW chapter will close and I'll be busy leveling my Protoss Archon in UoS (Universe of Starcraft!), so it'll be great to have Exelus sitting on my bookshelf, dual S1 axes at-the-ready.

Now is pretty good timing too, as Exelus currrently has a relatively-matching set of armor and weapons. Most likely I'll be decking him out in PvP gear rather than the mixed PvE/PvP leather gear you see pictured, as it matches a little better. (a Shaman in a skirt seems more fitting to me anyway - but maybe that's just the cross-dresser in me)

Umm wut?

I'll post pictures as soon as it arrives, of course. :)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Mounts at 30

So apparently the new patch is on the PTR, lots of bug fixes and whatnots, but the biggest news for us altaholics is basic riding skill now purchasable at 30! (For 35g!) Pallys and Warlocks can learn their summonable mounts at 30 as well.

Zones like Darkshire and STV should be a little more tolerable now.

WTB bear mount, though. Rawr.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Future's Looking Bright

I've accidentally stumbled across some info relating to upcoming Shaman talents, both tweaks to existing ones as well as insights into new ones, and zomg things are looking pretty interesting. :)

Of course none of this stuff is set in stone, much of what we'll see will evolve between now and release (and even after release), but I'm looking forward to maintaining our OP status after the expansion.

GG to Blizz for making (what appears to be) further needed changes to even our lower end talent trees, as well as (possibly) adding a few tricks that bring us closer to the Shaman we saw in Warcraft 3.

That is all.

Also, WTB moar Badges of Justice.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Not Prepared

So I had this post all thought up about The Adventures of Haelus the Wonder Alt and his new goofy weapon enchant: Lifestealing, but tonight's Karazhan run totally trumps that.

Through a series of RL happenstance, our fearless raid leader was unable to start the run, and our backup (fearless GM) was also unavailable. Gulp. Since I started the invites, I somehow wound up "leading" the raid - totally unprepared and amateur-style. Luckily some of us had been doing Kara for a while, and they helped me along. Everyone performed fantastically despite my noobery.

So the big lesson tonight is that Enhancement Shaman'ing is ridiculous ezmode compared to raid leadin', where you have to be aware of Everything, all the time. It's not merely about knowing the mobs/encounters, but also knowing the capabilities of every class in your raid, including other considerations like gear and specs.

And then there's marking. Sheesh. I have all the function keys set to marks (F1 = skull, F2 = X, etc.), but I've only really used three. Tonight we had banish's, traps, shackles, two tanks, wandering patrols, the works. I must've cycled through ten keypresses trying to find the right marks on some of the mobs. I'm totally taping little icons to my keyboard.

I also wound up as master looter which is also more work than I had previously appreciated - l2delegate. :)

Anywho, the net results:
Attumen one-shotted.
Moroes two-shotted.
Maiden one-shotted.
Romulo and Julietta two-shotted us. :P

A great experience, but kinda nutty. Lol.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Tew Much Pew Pew

So what happens if you out-level or out-gear your party? What happens when you're in Karazhan and the skeleton ushers freeze your tank and oops, you're 2nd on the threat list? What happens when you just can't stay under the tank's threat at all, because you've got your maximum DPS rotation down and you're going to use it, dammit!

At the very worst, you die, and the lack of DPS wipes the group. Or, at best, your healer is irritated at you because they now have to heal more than the tank, unnecessarily. Lets talk a bit about threat and throttling your DPS.

Sure there are things like Blessing of Salvation (best evar), Tranquil Air Totem (only if you're not in the tank's party), Subtlety cloak enchant ('spensive!), etc. These are all helpful, situationally. But really, it's best to have some tactics of your own to keep threat to a minimum. Choice of weapon imbues is a good place to start:

Windfury is uber. Windfury is awesome. Windfury is the cornerstone of Enhancement DPS. Windfury can get you killed, too. -_- Some fights, like the aforementioned iceblocking ushers, I'm finding its best to just disable weapon imbues altogether. Your DPS suffers a bit, but living through the encounter is a fair trade-off.

Another option is Flametongue weapon, which still adds DPS but without the spiky-ness of Windfury. This is helpful for when you slightly out-gear or out-level your party mates. Again, just turning them off altogether is always an option.

Then there's your SS/Shock rotation. If you're having problems shooting past the tank's threat, simply don't Stormstrike until several seconds into the fight. Or maybe ever. Flameshock maybe, reserve rank 1 Earth Shock for interrupts, and you're set. (you do have rank 1 ES next to your full-rank ES, right?) :)

I think as DPS we can get carried away with big numbers and OMGCRITZLOL!!1!, but the best encounters are those that have a certain flow - call it being "in the zone."

Go with the flow, (Sha)man...

Murmur and Moar Leatherz

Last night in Azeroth was a bit random, did some dailies and then helped a guildee with two Kara key frags, taking us into Shadow Labs and Arcatraz.

First, lets talk about Murmur. He's the big dude pictured at right. He's the final boss in Shadow Labs, and has had my number on speed dial every time I had been there before.

Ring ring, "Hi Exelus? This is Murmur. I kills you now."

It's a seriously Enhancement unfriendly fight, with the shockwave slow thing followed-up by that neat debuff. What a mess. I've never lived through this fight, until last night. :) The quest to down him also yielded a nice 32g at 70, after selling the quest reward.

As a bit of vindication, he also dropped the Leggings of Assassination, part of a nice Rogue set. I had been wearing Seer's Linked Leggings (one of my last two remaining blues), but Rating Buster lit up with green numbers in all meaningful PvE categories. More AP, crit, hit, etc., and this was before applying leg armor.

I was too beat to do the EP calcs last night on-the-fly, but it looks like Rating Buster was absolutely right, the Assassination pants come in at 200.85 EP over the Seer's 122.66. I lost a bit of raw strength but gained agility, probably a good thing as I seem to be out-of-balance on the two at the moment anyway. Also passed 100 hit rating (6.72% +9% with talents).

Woot for leather.

And Arcatraz, that's just a fun instance. I really need to come back and do both of these in Heroic.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Almost Forgot

It's a new month, go gets your free gems!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Understanding EP

Sometimes the World of Mathcraft makes me a little nuts. Thankfully, people who are even more obsessive-compulsive than I have already done the work for me - so it's just a matter of understanding the words that are coming out of their mouths.

Lolwut? L2math.

Backtracking a bit... tonight was a breakthrough in our little guild that could: the first time Chivalry ran two simultaneous Karazhan raids. Pretty exciting stuff, as the potential for 25-man content is there, even though it's definitely not one of our stated goals. Sometimes it's enough to know you *could* do something if you wanted to. Lol.

Gear-wise it was a pretty decent night. We had two random-drop epics off trash, and a blue jewelcrafting recipe that got defaulted to me. Woots. One of the purples was Zierhut's Lost Treads, which caught my attention with all it's raw stats and mail-like armor. Since the kind Rogue in our raid passed (already had PvP boots), and there were no Druids, I was lucky enough to collect them. Rating Buster reported it as a pretty decent upgrade over my current Outland Striders, but I wanted a 2nd opinion.

Getting back to the part about people doing the work for me already, the Elitist Jerks have developed a formula for Enhancement Points (EP). No, this has nothing to do with those commercials you see on TV. :P It's a way to weigh the stats of a particular item, based on the tier of content you're in and whether or not you typically get Blessing of Kings (which we usually do - three Pallys tonight!).

Here's the EP breakdown for our current raiding level, Tier 4 (with Kings):
AP = 1
Strength = 2.2
Agility = 1.91
Crit = 1.97
Haste = 1.28
Hit = 1.34
Armor Pen = 0.22
Expertise = 3 (zomg wtb expertise gear)

Stats like Intellect, Armor or Stamina are not considered, as they're often included for "free" in sufficient amounts.

So using EP, below are three items: what I previously had, what I received tonight, and what I considered getting with badges before tonight's drop. You can mouseover each to see their stats, and next to each their respective EPs - spreadsheets FTW.

Outland Striders 91.37 EP
Zierhut's Lost Treads 128.28 EP
Nyn’jah’s Tabi Boots 180.07 EP (two +8 strength gems)

So using EP seems like another great way to obsess over compare Enhancement Shaman gear, and it's pretty obvious that going from Striders to Boots woulda been like, zomgdoublebetter. But now that the Treads are on my hooves, the Boots are less of an upgrade, especially considering the other bits of gear I could spend badges on first.

Like Mardi Gras decorations. -_-

p.s.: there's some hooves for ya, Fel!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Moar Haelz

Today Project Haelus went to four-man Blackfathom Depths as main healer with two mid-20's DPS and a level 29 Feral Tank. More or less level appropriate, but most mobs were gray to the tank - and at 25, most mobs were green to Haelus.

Wow what a long drawn-out instance! Took us over 2 hours to complete, with only two wipes. First wipe was in the murloc boss's room where we accidentally pulled the entire room, and second was in the Orc Warlock boss's room where someone clicked on the braziers, unleashing turtles and elementals. Woops. Twasn't me, though. Swears. And holy crap those elementals hit hard, but we got em down on the 2nd try.

The big lesson in today's BFD run was threat management: I think I'm starting to understand the mechanics of healing aggro a bit more. Starting slow with Lesser Healing Wave then using regular Healing Waves (or Gift of the Naaru) seemed to do the trick. On overpulls though, I could pretty much guess which mob(s) were going to come after me even before I started the cast. Not exactly sure yet what to do in those situations when the tank needs a heal, but hasn't yet established aggro on the adds.


So later I also ran Stockades with a different level-appropriate group, and thanks to a Paladin tank didn't have any issues with over-aggro'ing adds. Consecrate FTW! Went pretty smoothly, but did have a wipe that was entirely my fault on the Ogre boss - I was futzing with my totems as we ran in, and didn't notice the crazy burst damage that the tank was taking until too late. :( Nature's Swiftness + Healing Wave woulda come in handy here.