Monday, June 22, 2009

New Wings

My first foray into World of Warcraft was way back in 2005, when a co-worker convinced me to pickup a copy and join the guild they had formed in the office.

Naturally, I rolled a Night Elf Hunter (so predictable...), bumbled my way through Teldrassil, got tricked by that Satyr on the way to Dolanaar, found my way through the impossibly-large Darnassus, and finally out to Rutheran Village, where Araes took an incredible flight to Darkshore.

I remember that first flight quite well: being amazed by the speed, altitude and distance! Equally amazing was the winged steed I was precariously perched on, with it's motion-sickness-inducing bob and zany color scheme. I loved it, and took lots of rides back and forth just to marvel at the beast.

About a month later I decided to put WoW on a shelf (not to revisit the game until 2007), and Araes' magical Hippogryph ride faded from memory...

Fast-forward to last night, and the picture says it all:

Cenarion War Hippogryph

Saturday, June 20, 2009

All Red

This weekend I decided to dive into another zany Heroic Naxxramas PUG, prepared for the usual endless wipes, random afk'ing, finger-pointing and loot drama, but came away pleasantly surprised after a totally pro-style full clear.

The addition of Ulduar-level gear has definitely made it's impact on the PUG scene, as we were able to steamroll the place quite easily, picking up these two achievements along the way.

Typically, I try not to set any expectations for winning gear when I do these things, as the random number generator always seems to be in cahoots with Murphy. Instead, I like to focus on having fun, improving my own performance and collecting badges along the way.

In fact, I had been saving EoV's in order to convert my remaining Elemental-flavored blue T.7 pieces into their red T7.5 counterparts: shoulders and legs. (Something about having mismatched gear really brings out the OCD in me, I guess.) But as luck would have it, I managed to pickup both pieces during the run, and didn't have to out-roll anyone else to do it! Good karma FTW.

So now what to do with those EoV's? Oh wait... there's news on the emblem front!

3.2 Emblem Changes
Apparently in the next patch, EoH's and EoV's will cease to drop from heroics and raids, to be replaced by EoC's! There will still be trade-downs available to buy things like gems/orbs, heirloom items, and PvP gear, but overall I'm very excited that raiders will have additional incentive to run heroics again. As I stated before, it's good mojo for guilds to have better-geared toons mixing-in with new 80's and alts.

So currently, Ex has a few EoH, 60-ish EoV and a handful of EoC. With the new system coming, I'll be zeroing-out my EoH's for an orb, and the EoV's can now buy a nice upgrade for my DK's wrists, which will solidify his ability to backup-tank for the guild. Woot! (as long as I remember to enable the right spec...)

And apparently, the new Icecrown instance/raid thingy and daily heroic quests will bring us Emblem's of Triumph - looking forward to seeing what they're all about.

The Alt Report
  • Neverus - the obligatory 80 DK alt now has 2/5 T7 and has tanked most of Naxx10 up through Kel'Thuzad. WTB moar hit rating and expertise, though.
  • Lightus - with improved regular flight speeds incoming (150% up from 60%!), I've stalled his leveling at 78. Just don't have the patience to putter around, nor do I want to drop yet another 5k on an alt! For now, he's sitting in IF, happily disenchanting random greens.
  • Haelus - also stalled at 77, but have been considering a Shadow spec revisit. I've been routinely impressed by their DPS output, and they're always in demand for Naxx25 (uhh bring the player, not the class?). Plus, Nev can craft this shiny new knife for him!
  • Ciribrus - still sightseeing in Howling Fjord at level 71.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Horrifying Thought of the Day

The next WoW expansion may bring another hero class, and has been speculated to be a DPS/healer hybrid - perhaps some sort of leather-clad chiropractic monk?

If Blizzard follows the Death Knight example and allows all races to participate, then a certain branch of the Alliance will finally have all four roles covered: tanking, melee/ranged dps... and now heals.

Do you see where I'm going with this...?

All. Gnome. Raids.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

On Shaman Tanking

Recently I found this neat Q&A between Ghostcrawler and the development team at Blizzard. One of the things that stood out to me was the comment on Shaman tanking, which got me thinkin':

"Once upon a time there was a potential tanking role for shamans as well, but we have pretty much phased that out."

I knew it was a longshot that they'd ever return to the idea of Shaman tanks, but it's still a little disappointing to hear. I understand class balance (and spec balance, since Enhancement is really the only practical place for these talents to go) is always a challenge, but I think some tweaks could really go a long way to making this a reality:
  • Stoneskin Totem could increase mail armor to plate-levels and also dramatically increase a Shaman's overall threat
  • Frost Shock could have it's threat increased and a talented effect to "force the target to attack the caster," for use as a single-target taunt
  • Magma Totem (specially talented or glyphed) could be used for establishing AoE threat, like Consecration
  • Rockbiter Weapon could add defense rating, similar to the DK's Rune of Stonesking Gargoyle
  • Additionally, since there's no defense rating on hunter mail, some talent would be needed to convert existing gear into tanking gear (perhaps converting Agility into Defense)
  • In order to make the use of a shield required, add a new type of imbue: Stone Barrier, which dramatically increases stamina (and maybe defense, too) when applied to the Shaman's shield. This shield imbue idea could be extended to Elemental and Restoration as well, with something like Air Barrier (haste), Molten Barrier (spellpower) or Ice Barrier (mp5 with a slowing effect, like Frost Armor).
Of course there's also the issue of PvP balance, as the ideas have the potential of making Enhancement OP in battlegrounds and arena, but maybe buffing survivability isn't such a bad idea? :)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Notes to Self: DK Tanking

When tanking Sartharion and Emalon, do not attempt do so while in DPS spec.

My sincerest of apologies to our guild healers.