Monday, July 28, 2008

Shamanistic Update

KK, this is supposed to be a blog about Shaman'ing, so here's teh latest update on the adventures of Exelus.

Several days ago, he and some guildies assaulted Magister's Terrace - still a challenge in T4-ish gear in regular mode. Cleared up to the 5v5 PvP boss with relative ease, but weren't able to complete it. The chaos of this encounter really requires a different mindset/playstyle and it's something that will require more practice. :) The coolest part though, was learning the Priest's trick to thinning out 4-5 person pulls: mind control FTW. The Priest strips down and MC's someone in the mob group, which promptly gets burned down by their compadres. Of course the priest then dies too, but a Shaman can has rez. The key is to have the rest of the party far away though, so they don't enter combat and get aggro'ed as well.

Yesterday's heroic was Black Morass/Dark Portal, and being one of my favorite instances I was in-like-Flynn. Four guildies and a guest Rogue resulted in only one wipe and five badges. (The wipe was a simple tactical error on Temporus, where we didn't pay enough attention to the adds, and the healer was stuck in combat from the previous fight and couldn't drink beforehand.) And of course, the Hourglass did not drop. Not that I really need it anymore, but it's still on my list. *shakes fist*

Badge Watch '08: only 50 more to go... /sigh

In crafting news, Exelus seems seems to have developed an expensive gambling habit in the form of creating Brilliant Glass. Which, out of of dozens of attempts, has only yielded one epic gem (and not a very good one at that). Needs to break this habit and focus more on dailies so he can support Ciribrus' leatherworking endeavors (ding level 63, LW 360, honored @ CE yesterday!).

Friday, July 25, 2008


The Druid alt recently dinged 62 (shouldn't that technically be "dung?" lol), and made another spec tweak while visiting Moonglade. (That free port spell is oh-so-handy when you need to get to Darn/AH without blowing your hearth!)

After some research, it appears that the Dreamstate build is still viable for healing regular 5-man content - and conveniently, leaves enough points in Balance to do some damage as well. This build would seem very appropriate for what I'm trying to do at the moment: get to 70 via soloing/questing and instancing as healer or DPS.

Lolwut is Dreamstate?

The idea behind the Dreamstate build seems to be maximizing MP5, as Druidic healing is a constant affair: re-applying HOTs in a continuous cycle. Dreamstate is a Balance talent that grants 10% of your Intellect as MP5, and when combined with the early Resto talent Intensity (30% mana regen IFSR), would seem to keep a fair amount of mana coming back during combat.

So for the moment, Ciribrus is working a Dreamstate-lite build: with just enough points into Resto to get the insta-nuke-heal from Nature's Swiftness. In a few levels he'll be able to max-out the namesake talent, all while keeping Doomkin form.

I'm thinking that the NS insta-heal is one of the more important tools that was missing from the healing arsenal during those early Hellfire runs... am looking forward to trying out this new build, especially armed with an emergency oh-noes-tank-be-dyin' button. :)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

WotLK Overload

I realize its been a while since The Burning Crusade, and a lot of folks are burned-out on the old content, but geebus there's such a flood of Wrath info that I'm starting to get burned-out on Wrath itself! Wowinsider, Elitist Jerks, just about every blog I see out there is all abuzz.

The issue I have with all this speculation and pre-analysis is that the thing's merely in BETA at this point, with so many changes/tweaks yet to come. Yes, it's neat to check out talent trees, speculate on the economic impact of Inscription and watch videos of DK's pwning Orcs in Terokkar, but isn't there something to be said about waiting for the real deal?


Monday, July 21, 2008

Gearing your 70

Now that I've got the lolchicken to 60 and questing/instancing in Outland, it's causing me to reflect a bit on the gearing-up process that Exelus went through on his way up to (and beyond) 70. There are several tactics that can be used to outfit your character depending on what you want to do in-game (PvP, PvE, or both).

On the way to 70: Quest Rewards and Drops
With the sheer number of quests and instances available in Outland, you'll likely find a number of great class-and-spec-specific blue quality items that you'll continue to use at 70. The trick is knowing which items are worth pursuing/keeping, and luckily there are great resources out there, like and Kaliban's Loot List (see Sample Builds).

Also on the way to 70: PvP Epics
Currently one of the best investments for a 70 Enhancement Shaman are the Arena Season 2 Merciless Gladiator weapons (36k honor, 40 EotS tokens for both). Since honor and tokens don't degrade or expire, you can begin working on them several levels before 70. Get the Axes if you're an Orc, otherwise take your pick of the Fists, Axes or Maces. These weapons are great for both PvP (resilience) and PvE (hit rating). Just be sure to take the 2.6 speed version for your offhand. :) Definitely worthy of Mongoose, or Crusader if you can't afford it yet. Note however, that the 45-badge Vanir's offhand is definitely better than a S2 offhand, and is also relatively easy to get if you run Kara or heroics with any regularity. Other classes can absolutely benefit from PvP epics in the same way: Ciribrus certainly has his eyes on the S2 caster staff.

Newly at 70: Reputation Gear
If you've been completing quests and running the occassional Outland instance, you'll likely have reached Honored with most major Outland factions. With this, you'll have access to some quite good level 70 blue gear, albeit PvP-oriented. (This is still great filler gear even if you're doing mostly PvE.) For many classes, there are also quite nice epics availble at Revered/Exalted: a musket and caster sword at Honor Hold, Feral Druid mace at Cenarion Expedition, etc. There's also some excellent gear available from the Shattered Sun Offensive vendor (something for almost every class/spec/profession), and is totally solo-able by just doing dailies. It's like getting paid for grinding reputation to be able to buy epics. Brilliant!

Crafting/Buying Epics
The aforementioned SSO faction dailies on the Isle of Quel'Danas is a ridiculous moneymaker. In 45 minutes you can easily make 100 gold or more, and earn reputation at the same time. With all this cash flow it becomes feasible to level crafting professions and/or just buy epics right off the auction house. At this point Exelus has bought a chest, cloak, (mats for) gloves and a trinket directly off the AH. The gear list at has little icons next to each item to reveal their source: some are excellent BoE crafted items! As a Jewelcrafter, Exelus was also able to craft one of the best DPS trinkets in the game, thanks to a few badges and gold. Each profession may have several BoE/BoP items that are now much more attainable thanks to dailies. (Many high-end recipies can now be purchased directly from reputation vendors.)

Raiding/Heroics and Badge Gear
With a mix of high-end blues, PvP gear, reputation gear and crafted/purchased gear, you may find that upgrades will only come from raiding drops and badges. At this point you're certainly geared for most heroics, which can be fun and challenging, and a great source of extra badges if you do the daily heroic quests. Many of the badge-purchasable gear rivals the best stuff attainable in the game (Black Temple/Hyjal/Sunwell level), and there are some bargains to be had as well. The Stonebreaker's Totem is the first thing Exelus bought, a staple of raiding Enhancers and dirt-cheap at 25 badges. He's currently got his eyes set on Vanir's mainhand, but still needs 60+ badges. Ouch. :)

So as you can see, there's numerous ways to get your character geared, and I've found that doing a little bit of each of the above combines into a decently-geared character without having to become a hardcore raider. Exploring the various paths also makes for a fun and diverse gameplay experience, and also makes for a well-rounded player.

Happy hunting!

Healing Ramps

After dinging 60, Ciribrus the wonder chicken ported himself to Moonglade to learn some new skills and respec. Since there are so many great instances in Outland, and since healers are always in demand, I figured I'd try a Balance/Resto hybrid build. Specifically, I was gunning for the 15 points in Resto to pick up Subtlety, reducing threat by 20%. Seems like a pretty decent talent (if not required) for both healing and pew pew in groups. The remaining points went all back into Balance for now, can't quite give up the chicken for a tree just yet. :)

I tried out this build on a regular Hellfire Ramparts run, and was happy to find that it worked pretty well. The only times I drew aggro were on the accidental overpulls, but I think that's to be expected. For the majority of the run, though, it was fairly easy going. A little pre-HOT as the tank pulled, then just re-applying Rejuvination and Regrowth as needed. I don't think I had to cast a single Healing Touch, so mana efficiency was excellent.

Pretty fun, and I plan on going back to Ramps soon (as healer or chicken) before completing too many more Hellfire quests. (Ramps continues to give out HH rep until Honored, I believe.)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Is Outland Ready for This?!

Tonight was a big night for Ciribrus the Lazer Chicken alt. After dinging 58 in Eastern Plaguelands, he made a beeline for the Dark Portal and Honor Hold. Those early Hellfire quests are amazing: in less than an hour he gained a half level and got some neat early quest rewards, like the Staff of the Twin Worlds, which totally beat the crap outta my old level 50-ish of-the-Eagle staff.

His Skinning was already up to 300, so in the interest of not falling too far behind in Leatherworking I also spent some time powerleveling him up to 300. He chose Tribal Leatherworking, natch, as a caster. Someday perhaps, Windhawk Armor? :o

Also discovered the beauty of the Focus CC macro while grinding Turtle Scales. This ingenious bit of code will cast the CC of your choice (Roots or Hibernate in this case) and set the target as your focus. You can then move on to other targets (friendly or otherwise), and if the CC breaks/ends, simply hit the macro again and your original focus will be re-CC'ed:

/focus [target=focus, exists, nodead] focus; [btn:2][] target
/cast [target=focus] Entangling Roots

With that little gem, I was able to nuke down a turtle, root it around 25%, cast Insect Swarm and move on to the next mob while the turtle died a slow horrible death from DOTs.

Genius! :)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Laser Chicken

In the past few days, I've gone back to working on my original main, a (formerly Feral) Druid who has gone Balance since 47 or so. Thanks to a boatload of rested XP, he's now sitting at 54 after not too much effort. While leveling Balance has been noticeably slower than Feral, I decided to try it out as a caster playstyle experiment. Also, since our guild already has several excellent Feral Druids, going Balance with an eye on Resto seems like a natural fit.

The thing that draws me to hybrid classes of course is flexibility - being able to sling spells, cure stuff, throw a few HOTs around then going back to DPS is right up my alley.

Another reason for leveling said Druid is Leatherworking, which I'm envisioning could be useful in helping out my Enhancement Shaman... For example: I've been seeing a Cloak of Darkness float around the AH recently, which would be a fantastic DPS cloak for Exelus, but at 1500g, it's more than I'm willing to spend as a marginal upgrade from Aran's Drape of the Dark Reavers. Buuut, if Ciribrus can eventually make a few nice things for Exelus (esp during Wrath of the Lich King), then all the better, right?

Or, what I could do is get a 2nd account for the level grind from 70-80, transfer this Druid over and autofollow Exelus around and toss HOTs as needed. :O Hmm, this idea has merit...


UPDATE: just read up a bit on Moonkin DPS, where a theorycrafter puts Starfire and Wrath spam up against a Mage's Fireball. Interesting! Also learned that Insect Swarm does roughly the same DPS as a Priest's Shadow Word Pain, at about half the mana cost.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


I'm at work, banging my head against a particularly frustrating .NET/Safari bug - because you apparently can't debug Safari using "attach to process" from Visual Studio... WTF Microsoft? (Do you like how I blame MS rather than Apple? Yep, that's how I roll...)

So instead, I'm going to write a post about my shiny new Blizzard Authenticator. :) This little bad boy arrived yesterday in the mail, despite all the talk about out-of-stockness and shipping delays. (I must've gotten my order in just before the madness.)

After pairing it to my account at (there's a serial number on the back that creates the association from your device to your account), I'm now required to press a little button on the keychain device to retrieve a temporary PIN to enter along with my user name and password. It's like having a second password that changes every minute or so. Brilliant!

Now, I'm not naive enough to think that I'm 100% hackproof, but my limited knowledge of application security tells me that my WoW account is way more secure than it was 24 hours ago. The fact that many corporations and financial institutions use these seems to support the notion that multi-point authentication with physically-held security devices are the way to go.

In other news, iPhone's 2.0 software was released today, which now officially includes support for third-party applications. (ZOMG gamez!) Super Monkey Ball is superhard and superfun and super-better-graphics-than-I-expected. I now have something productive to do while flying from Darnassus to Gadgetzan. (Or from Seattle to Vegas?)

So given the surprising graphics and processing capability of the little iPhone, is it too much to expect we'll see some sort of mobile gaming experience from Blizzard? How about a 2D side-scroller-jump-n-shoot game in a Diablo/Starcraft/Warcraft theme? WTB!!!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Healy Gear, Etc.

It's been a little while since my last post, but am happy to report the computer is back from Apple, good as new. Let the postings begin again. :)

Tonight we had an absolutely great run through the first half of Karazhan - it's been a while since I've been able to run it and it was fun to join in again. 3-ish hours yielded six bosses down and 12 badges with ZERO wipes. Woots.

One of the highlights was off-healing the Maiden fight with my "caster set." It was a nice change of pace, and even though my spec is wrong and my gear was patchwork, I felt I did OK and was able to contribute to the fight without becoming another melee liability. Chain Heal, of course, made it pretty easy. :)

The gear wasn't really a true healer set (maybe 600-ish +healing?), since most of the bits were comprised of the Elemental reputation PvP set, but after running heroics/Kara a few times and getting exalted with Shattered Sun, I've come away with some decent healy epics so I figured it was time to step-up the other offspec gear.

After collecting the Resto-focused Seer's Ringmail PvP set along with various healy Jewelcrafting trinkets, gems and glyphs, I now sit at 932 +healing, 90 mp5 IFSR (241 OFSR) with just under 9k mana. Lol, not bad for a field medic, methinks.

I still need to look at some cheap enchants (including the Aldork shoulder 'chant), but am not totally sure where to start. More research is warranted, but it seems like I could use some more Int (and Stam, for that matter) in this getup.

In other news, I'm still 12k honor away from S2's Right Ripper. Maybe I'll grind out some honor as "restohancement." Lol.