Not dead yet

Hello dear readers!

Just a message to confirm that I'm not dead yet - real life is quite busy (exams and now resits) and so is WoW (finally raiding Ulduar 25!).

I bought a new computer and it took me a while to find my photoshop install CD so this post doesn't have a proper pic to accompany it.

Recent Achievements


Some noteworthy achievements I obtained since my last post... let's see...
We finally got around to downing the city leaders again, so I got a black war bear.
I noticed I only needed a few more heroics for it so I did the right heroics and got the Champion of the Frozen Wastes title.
I worked towards the Argent Tournament dagger and got the title Aeltyra of Stormwind in the process - not particularly something I was aiming for, I use it as my PvP title but meh.

Gearing up


I also worked on my reputations and such a bit to get my gear up - the bracers from Wyrmrest Accord and the boots from Argent Crusade.
We did Naxx and the loot gods granted me two fist weapons (Calamity's Grasp and The Hand of Nerub) so I am combat specced now, and the badges got me a new ring.

Raiding Ulduar


Immortalis (the reincarnation of Athanatoi) ventured into Ulduar25 for the first time last week, and I was there. Due to a lot of people already having done most of the fights on 10 man, we downed the bosses from the siege of Ulduar without much of a hassle. The sunday team got down the antechamber (I wasn't there) and yesterday we had a few attempts on Thorim and Freya (no kills sadly).
Still lots of fun, though.

Non-rogue stuff


I tanked some normal instances on my death knight and I quite enjoy it. She is now 74 and I'm hoping to have her ready to do heroics by 3.2
With the badge change, a lot of people will be wanting to do heroics for them, but they won't need the gear anymore - so I can tank for them, roll on all plate gear I want, and get badges of conquest while I'm at it.

Because my healer was a guildie with a fairly high level alt (77 is high for Nexus and UK) he was bored throughout most of the pulls and thus we upped the pace a bit.
Eventually he just kept pulling stuff himself, and I still managed to pick it up. It was chaotic, but fun! The first boss pull in UK was borderline suicidal (pulling the room and the boss with it) and a few of our PuGed DPS died (sorry guys) but the runs went smooth and quite fast otherwise.

Shared Topic: Awareness

[Reply to Blog Azeroth Shared Topic of June 22nd: 'Being aware of your surroundings during raids' as proposed by Lissanna[src]
As a raid healer, a common thing these days is trying to balance keeping everyone in your raid alive, while still being able to move when you need to (ie. having the right amount of situational awareness to your surroundings during raids).

I thought it would be neat to see how all the classes (even tanks and DPS) handle the multi-tasking that is required during raids. Do tanks and DPS sometimes have tunnel vision and forget to watch for the AOE effects or whatever they need to move out of? How do other healers deal with avoiding the tunnel vision problem?


Interesting topic as usual, and I'll be giving my view as a rogue, but I'll also try to give some bear tank flavor to it to spice things up.

User Interface (UI)


Replying a bit later to this topic than usual I've had the chance to read up on some other replies to it (check the end of this post for links) and it seems everyone so far agrees that a good UI is important. The problem with this is of course that the concept 'good UI' is up to the player. Some people swear by the default UI, others change their UI mostly for the visual customization, others for the increased functionality, but often a mix of those.

Take for example my screenshot from the XT-002 fight. You can't really see the scrolling combat text that much (it's only showing a rupture tick after my death) but other that than it shows the most important stuff. You can see DBM warning me of Gravity Bomb and Light Bomb in the middle, with bars that stay into place to remind me of who has them, and you can see the Tantrum emote and the enemy cast bar (which is the Quartz mod) also warning me of that.

As you can see, the middle isn't all that cluttered and I have a pretty good view on the battle field (also note the effect of the camera distance macro allowing me to zoom out further - with thanks to Karthis of Of Teeth And Claws for sharing it back in the day). Granted, the scrolling combat text obstructs the sideview a little, but when tanking on my bear I set up a filter on my outgoing hits to only show stuff that didn't hit (e.g. a dodged Mangle or something).

DPS and 'the zone'


As Kahleena from Fel Deeds Awake! notes, DPS isn't always the facerolling people think it is. When you have a priority system to keep up your debuffs and DoTs and the boss, and there's a lot of stuff happening because the boss is trying to kill you, you need to multi-task and do both DPS and avoid damage.
The zone, then, is that matrix-like situation in which the world moves in slow motion (I'm not talking lag here, people) but you do everything at normal speed. You anticipate slice and dice is about to fall off. You feel the cooldown on Fear is almost over and you run away from doomfires before you are feared into them. You see that the timer on Light Bomb is almost over, and you get ready to cloak out of it should you get the next. The zone is the ultimate DPS state of mind.

As a tank, it works in the same way, but you have this predictive feeling where you can almost see the path adds are going to take. As a main tank, you're kind of limited even when in the zone, because you can't do much with a boss in your face.

DPS and tunnel vision


Often mistaken for 'the zone', tunnel vision is when you are paying so much attention to your skill priority ("oh god, slice and dice AND hunger for blood are about to fall off!") that you fail to notice your surroundings (your feet are on fire and you're not wearing the summer festival sandals) and you're taking damage that could easily be prevented. In the best case scenario, you're still causing healers to divert their attention to you when they could be doing something more useful. In the worst case scenario, they spend a lot of mana to try and save your behind and you still die.

As a tank, it's where you think you picked up all adds, but half of them are actually preparing healer soup with little bits of DPS.

Training awareness


The good news is you can train on getting in the zone. Just by practicing a lot on instances you can get better, of course, and the more you see a boss fight, the more you'll learn to predict scripted abilities etc.
For training your reaction to random abilities, PvP might prove to be interesting. Because the opponent is also controlled by human players, a lot of things are totally random. For example, a rogue can train in cloaking things by lurking around a group of opponents, killing one and getting away safely. This usually requires a fast combination of some form of CC (blind, gouge, KS ... you won't use these in PvE a lot but it's often necessary in PvP to have a chance in getting away) and a few things to get you into safety (cloak of shadows, vanish, sprint, not necessarily in that order).

Other bloggers on this topic


Lissanna @ Restokin
Shopshopshop @ Runeforge Gossip
The Renaissance Man @ The Children of Wrath
Almaster @ Lux Legis
Kahleene @ Fel Deeds Awake!

Reader question(s)


So what about you? What does your UI look like? Are you often in the zone, or more often in the tunnel vision state? If you play multiple classes, do you lose focus easier on some classes than on the other ones?

Patch 3.2 PTR: first thoughts

(For the full 3.2 patch notes, check this link on MMOChampion)

Somebody set up us the bomb! ... I mean, this is quite the controversial patch so far.

PvP
* Arenas
o The newest season of Arena gear can only be purchased if you meet the requirements with your 3 or 5 player team rating. Rating requirements from 2 player teams can still be used to purchase the previous season of gear.

I suppose this is because they believe that 2v2 is too hard to really balance... but I think it's a bad idea if they wanted more participation in arenas.

PvP
* Battlegrounds
o Battleground experience has arrived!
+ Players will now be awarded experience for completing objectives and actions that yield honor in Battlegrounds (honorable kills not included).
+ Players who do not wish to gain experience through PvP can visit Behsten in Stormwind or Slahtz in Orgrimmar - both located near the Battlemasters in either city - and turn off all experience accumulation for the cost of 10 gold.
+ Disabling experience gains will prevent a player from gaining experience through any means available in the game.
+ Players with experience gains turned off who compete in Battlegrounds will face off only against other players with experience gains turned off.
+ Behsten and Slahtz can reinstate experience gains for players, for a 10 gold fee of course. Any experience that would've been accumulated if experience gains were not turned off cannot be recovered.

So, one can now level purely by PvP (but I suspect the exp gain would be roughly the same as grinding mobs, e.g. questing will still be faster.) Pretty cool though. I've had times when I wanted to hop into a BG but didn't because I would lose out on leveling.

PvP
* Battlegrounds
o When standing at a capture point that you control, you will gain a buff called Honorable Defender. This buff grants +50% honor gained from kills. This currently affects Arathi Basin, Eye of the Storm and Isle of Conquest.

This fixes the problem where defenders gained less honor than the HK farming idiots. Okay, you'll still get less honor if nobody actually comes to the node you're defending, but if that is the case, you're probably defending the wrong node :P

PvP
* Battlegrounds
o Arathi Basin
+ The time it requires to capture a base has been reduced to 8 seconds, down from 10 seconds.
+ The game now ends when one team reaches 1600 victory points, down from 2000.
o Eye of the Storm
+ The time it requires to capture the center flag has been reduced to 8 seconds, down from 10 seconds
+ The game now ends when one team reaches 1600 victory points, down from 2000.
o Strand of the Ancients
+ The faction starting on attack/defense will now be randomized at the start of each match.
o Warsong Gulch
+ There is a now a 20 minute timer on this battleground. After that time, the team with the most flag captures wins. If this would result in a tie, the team that captured the first flag wins. If neither side has captured a flag, then the game ends in a tie.

No more endless WSGs, and some sped-up ABs and EOTS. I guess it'll be a bit more bearable to farm Justicar/Conqueror now?

Items: General
#Emblem system changes
* Both the 10 and 25 player instances of the Crusaders' Coliseum drop a new Emblem of Triumph.
* Any dungeons that previously dropped Emblems of Heroism or Valor, such as Naxxramas or Heroic Halls of Stone, will now drop Emblems of Conquest instead. Emblems of Conquest can still be converted to Valor or Heroism.
* The heroic dungeon daily quest will now reward 2 Emblems of Triumph and the normal daily dungeon quest will reward 1 Emblem of Triumph.


Whine topic of the day! Anyway, I guess it's nice - if the new dungeon coming with this patch is a step up from Ulduar, this'll get people geared a lot faster (including me - I'm behind a month and a half in gear).

i'll write up some more thoughts on other stuff in a later post.

Isle of Conquest: AV meets SOTA and Wintergrasp ?


Okay, I'm not gonna quote the wall of text full of info on the new battleground, Isle of Conquest, that is coming up in the next major content patch. You can just read the source. Go ahead and read it, I'll wait.

Noticed this ?

Taking this resource garners precious reinforcements and a continuous flow of honor to the side that controls it.

This is a bit like the mines in AV, but the honor part is new. That's a lot more of an incentive to hold the objectives, too.

Once onboard the airship, players will find it comes equipped with parachutes enabling a strike team to drop into the enemy keep from above.

Not really new as a mechanic, but nice to see it officially supported by Blizzard ;) If isle of Conquest should turn into a grindfest like AV, I know what I'll be doing.

It will be interesting to see how the vehicles fit into the battleground. If Isle of Conquest is to become a controlled (read: lag-free, more or less even numbers of players) Wintergrasp variant, this could be a lot of fun.

With Wintergrasp being so popular that they have to change daily quests into weekly quests, I see a chance for a very popular battleground that will usually be filled. And with the sides being even in numbers, it's a great alternative to Wintergrasp for those realms with an incredibly skewed Alliance to Horde ratio or low overall population, because a battlegroup should be able to provide plenty of players.

Off-topic: traffic
At the start of this month I noticed my google Analytics tracker wasn't installed properly and I had been tracking nothing at all since the start of this blog. I fixed it though, so I have two weeks of traffic reports now.
It reports 2541 visits and 3180 pageviews (a whopping 1633 of those were on my 'Gearing up for PvP' guide which Wow.com linked to in their Daily Quest column - that's the huge spike at the end). This was a lot more compared to the other time they linked to me (that was the post about having fun in PvP) which had about 93 pageviews. So yeah .. nice flow from there and I hope it helped a few people out :)

Gearing up for PvP


Note: thanks to my guildie Pharous for posting a similar post on the guild forums and inspiring me to write my own.

Now, this is not a chronological list, it just lists some options you can use to gear up, and how they rank compared to eachother. I'm assuming you have no arena rating or points.

Crafted Gear
The most basic gear here is the Eviscerator's Battlegear set. This is an eight-piece set with no sockets and a total of 350 resilience. However it's got a fair amount of stamina and it's not that expensive to get either. So buy the mats, find a leatherworker, give mats and tip, collect gear.

You can also supplement this set with some crafted jewelcrafting stuff (Emerald Choker, Scarlet Signet and Savage Titanium Ring or Titanium Impact Choker and Titanium Impact Band if you have more money to spend) and a crafted cape, the Frostguard Drape.

Regarding weapons, you can get a Titansteel Shanker crafted by a friendly blacksmith.

Emblems
You can trade Emblems of Heroism, Valor etc. for PvP gear. Emblems of Heroism give Savage Gladiator gear, which is a step up from the crafted set. I would recommend buying a Rolfsen's Ripper first, though.
Emblems of Valor get you Hateful Gladiator's Gear, which you can also buy for Honor. They are all the same iLvL as most of the Titan-forged gear from the Wintergrasp vendors.

Honor
Other than the Hateful set, you can also buy the Deadly non-set pieces for honor (that is, bracers, belt, boots, necklace and ring). The bracers and boots are better than the ones you can get through Wintergrasp, the belt is roughly the same.

You can also buy the Battlemaster's trinkets here (I chose Battlemaster's Conviction myself, but in retrospect I might've gone for the +crit one), and the Medallion of the Alliance/Horde, which you will definitly want unless you're Human.

Wintergrasp
Lots of PvP loot to be had here. The titan-forged helm and boots are on par with Hateful Gladiator gear, the belt and chest are on par with Deadly Gladiator gear. All of them are bought with Wintergrasp marks.

There is also an alternative to the medallion available, keeping the traditional trinket effect and replacing the resilience of the Medallion with another useful stat (crit/AP/haste/hit), a PvP version of the Mirror of Truth, and another trinket with passive resilience and an on-use AP or haste increase.

You can also buy some gems and enchants with Stone Keeper Shards. And a mammoth.

And last but not least, you can raid the Vault of Archavon for a chance at both PvE and PvP loot.

How to gear up
My guildie suggested this:

[STEP ONE]
(a) If you don't raid or you don't have any excess Emblems, get the crafted gear and go farm battlegrounds.
(b) If you do have Emblems to spend, do so. Just don't buy the chest.

[STEP TWO]
Grind honor and buy Hateful Glad pieces with them (but not the chest) until you have the 4 set bonus. Get the Belt and Boots from Wintergrasp Marks.

[STEP THREE]
Get the chest from Wintergrasp.

[STEP FOUR]
Get the bracers, two rings (Hateful and Deadly), necklace, cloak, and the Medallion for honor. Buy the cheapest things first.

Enjoy !

Digging up old screenshots

When I'm bored, I like to go dig up old screenshots in my WoW folder and rack up those old memories. The contrast between my early Horde days and what I am now is big ... and there are a lot of people on these screenshots that I miss.

It's odd, though. When I first started playing, I was on EU-Defias Brotherhood (RP-PvP) and I mostly RP'd. In fact I was so focused on roleplaying that I didn't really get on with leveling. The highest character I got on that server is a lv 47 Troll hunter. It's not that I sucked at leveling, but there was always RP to be found, and I rarely chose leveling over RP.

Then I rolled Alliance on an RP server and I consider myself a raiding/PvP hybrid player. I'm not even interested in RP anymore (unless I'm in a really poetic mood maybe). And it's kind of hard getting both of those things done on this server, because we are one of the lowest ranked realms on the raiding progress list (#239 of 255 on wowprogress, I would guess the only ones behind us are newer realms) and our battlegroup isn't exactly balanced either as I said before.

Anyway, some of these things are memories that will stick for a very long time.
Stuff like massive RP guild meets, or doing stealth runs with a few druids and a rogue, epic tanking moments (misclicking and getting shifted out of bearform as Azgalor hits me ... err bad example.). The opening of AQ. A lv 1 Hogger raid.

I also found some even older screenshots in my Fraps folder. Terribly old screens, because they're not even from WoW - they are Guild Wars screens. Screens of my lv 10 elementalist, with a christmas hat, watching the new years fireworks in a city I can't even remember the name of.

I'll leave you with a GM chatlog that I found on these screenshots ...

Unmercey 7 and other rogue videos

I watched Unmercey 7, which Rogue-Rogue linked to in their latest blog entry.

The subtitle of the video (Unmercey 7: Hana) confused me at first. I figured it referred to the flower in the description image, because 'hana' is 'flower' in Japanese. The problem with this is that Unmercey is a Chinese player, not Japanese, so it didn't make sense - it should have been 'huā' (I have no idea what tone it is in Modern Chinese - I just know it is this one in archaic Chinese .. go figure). Turns out it was reference to the last song in the movie, which was a JPop song. Ah well.

Anyway. The video featured some refreshing Shadow Dance spec footage. Assuming the players he duels have a decent amount of resilience, he is still getting 5K ambushes off, which I found fairly suprising. With the (justified) nerf to Overkill and our burst as Muti/Prep, perhaps the more burst-biased people might spec Shadow Dance.

This Sub spec also has shadowstep for increased mobility (though I do wonder if it weighs up against Fleetfooted). I must admit I preferred some of Unmercey's earlier videos: Unmercey 5 & 6 both showcased some very creative moves like FoK-Vanish-Sap to flush out stealthers.

This movie didn't showcase that many new moves, but it did prove that a subtlety build can be just as viable in the right hands (and with the right amount of keybinding, no doubt).

There's some other good rogue movies out there as well. Akrios from Rogue-rogue has some neat ones (though I think the only up to date ones are a few random arena footage ones) and Krymu is also a popular name in the rogue movie scene.

Meanwhile I am still stuck with exams. I passed my archaic Chinese exam yesterday, and the next one is friday: business economics. I'm doing some 'when I get back' planning for WoW, but I'm running out of ideas since my armory isn't up-to-date and I can't remember my PvE gear that well anymore (especially enchanting and gem choices are foggy)

Shared Topic: Healers

[Reply to Blog Azeroth Shared Topic of June 8th: Non-healers views of healers as proposed by Nigiri[src]
I would love to read blogger's thoughts on who they like to have heal them. Would you prefer a Holy priest of a Disc priest? A Holy pally or a Resto druid. Shammy maybe?
This depends on some things in my opinion. I don't think I really have a particular choice.
The role
I find I'm not that aware of my healers anymore since my transition from tanking to DPS (as you know I played a druid tank in TBC). When I was tanking, I had a good idea of who was keeping me up. You know when there's a lifebloom rolling on you because of that constant green stream in scrolling combat text, and the bigger heals from the other classes stand out because of that.
As melee DPS much of the damage done to me can be avoided by paying attention. A heal will come sooner or later, but if I can help it I might not need one right away.
I guess I depend less on the healers as a DPS.

The place
In five mans, you usually take one healer only. Here is where you will really feel if your healer is paying attention to you. It's very fun as a tank to chainpull and test yourself and the healer. However, I have found out that DPS casualties are sometimes a result of this hehe. In 25 mans there is usually a healer for 'raid healing', so you will probably get a heal thrown your way.
The particular boss fight is also an important factor: if a healer or two is enough to keep up the main tank, than the rest can concentrate more on keeping DPS alive.

The healers
From a tank point of view, if you group with your healers a lot you know what they are capable of healing you through (sometimes they can pull off amazing things) and they know what you can take if you have your cooldowns.
From a DPS point of view you can't really expect them to keep track of all your cooldowns (I very much doubt if a healer knows if I used CloS recently or not).

As a bear tank, if I would really have to choose a class to keep me up I would say paladins. It's kind of hard to explain why -it doesn't help that it's been a while since I've tanked- but I suppose in my opinion, the flash of light stream of heals fit the dodged/non-dodged style of incoming attacks for a bear.

As a DPS, I think it's really nice to have a tree druid on raid healing duty. A HoT feels very secure for some reason - like you are safe for the time being, as long as that HoT is rolling. The fact that they can also use Swiftmend to turn that HoT into an instant heal when needed just adds extra security.

The tanks
Say what? Yes. A good tank should be able to safeguard the DPS from a lot of damage (think picking up adds quickly and such). With a bad tank your healers will have to work harder. With a good tank (and we have those, I hope you do too) you are safe to DPS to your hearth's content, and an occasional heal will keep you up.

Special mention: PvP
It's always awesome when a player decides to heal in PvP. Here, there is that tank-and-healer-like connection between you and your healer, because often, you are the one 'tanking' the opponent regardless of your class. This is also a nice opportunity to see how a healer performs under extreme pressure: bosses do not make intelligent decisions. A boss will never try to lock down a healer while luring the tank out of line of sight of that healer. A boss will not alternate an immunity CC (like cyclone) between you and your healer so you cannot be healed.

Shared Topic: Favorite Quest

[Reply to Blog Azeroth Shared Topic of June 1st: Deconstruct your favourite quest/zone as proposed by Spinks[src]

The first part was deciding what quest or zone. I decided I'd go for a quest, because there is not really a particular zone I like, though there are some I have fond memories of (for example, Netherwing dailies in Shadowmoon Valley).

In the end I managed to choose to pick one that has stuck to me for several reasons which I will explain below. The chain in question is the famed Cipher of Damnation questchain in Shadowmoon Valley, which also happens to be the start for the attunement process for Serpentshrine Cavern. Do not read this if you haven't done this questline, because it contains heavy spoilers.

The start
The chain starts off when a member of the Earthern Ring redirects you to Earthmender Torlok in Shadowmoon Valley. Nature in this zone doesn't look too well (it's all dead and there's green lava and such) and you are sent on three quests to commune with the spirits. Anyway, having done that, you learn about a spell that may have caused the current look of Shadowmoon Valley, and you are sent to seek out Oronok Torn-heart, a scruffy looking orc hermit.

Oronok and his sons
Oronok puts you to the test by having you kill some things in the neighborhood of his place, and then he reveals you his story. He tells you:
"They [the words of the spell - red.] are know as the Cipher of Damnation: The words uttered by Gul'dan himself to shatter this land. The very spell that severed the last remaining tie the orcs had with the elements of Draenor."
He then asks you to go search for his sons around Shadowmoon Valley. All three of them have some chores for you, and all three will eventually (after a quest or three each) give you a fragment of the cipher of damnation.

The grand finale
With the cipher recovered, you head back to Oronok and are asked to go summon an elite you have to kill with a group. The place of summoning is an altar in memory of Gul'dan, at the base of the volcano known as the Hand of Gul'dan. The spirit of Gul'dan can be found here, as well as some other shaman spirits. When you read the spell aloud (you may recognize it from the Black Temple trailer) your screen shakes heavily, and the lava in front of you starts to develop smoke.

In the smoke, Cyrukh the Firelord spawns, with one of my favorite game quotes I might add:
Little creature made of flesh, your wish has been granted. Death comes for you!
And as you can see, he's one big, mean chunk of rock. I have very fond memories of this guy, because on my druid, I have tried every role on him. I originally did him as a balance druid. I have screens of this, and two of the randomly PuGed people would later end up in the same guild as me.
Later in my WoW career I would come back to help guildies and throw some heals, and even later I would be helping out by tanking him.

The reward is a nice blue item and a fire resistance necklace, but the special effects, including all sons and Oronok flying in to help out, and the effect of 'casting' the cipher, make this a very cool quest IMO.

Honorable mention: Dragonmaw Races
I should point out that I really liked the Dragonmaw races you can do for Netherwing rep. While I never beat Captain Skyshatter, I did defeat Mulverick and it was a fun and fresh concept. Learning the path he races and then trying to stay either ahead of him or right behind him made a very adrenaline-packed type of quest. Anyone remember that sharp dive on the north-eastern edge of the Netherwing Ledge ? He dives behind a ledge there and then 'pulls up' so you're right in his line of fire if you don't watch out.

As a sidenote I'd really appreciate some input on the layout. I got tired of the pitch-black feeling of the previous one, so I adjusted one of the basic blogger templates a bit so it matched my new header.

Adjusting layout

Don't panic if things look awful, I'm working on it.
Patience is a virtue of a good rogue !

EU PvP forums up in arms

There was a fairly important announcement last week for us EU PvPers: the long-awaited cross-language battlegroups were being implemented.

For those who are unaware of this feature, it basicly means that for example a group of Alliance consisting of French servers may be pitted against a group of Horde players from Spanish servers. A common misconception is that players from these servers with an other language will be mixed with the English servers, which is not the case.

Anyway, the goal of course is to decrease queues. There may not be enough English-speaking Alliance out there for you to smash, but perhaps there's a whole bunch of French Alliance queueing. So yeah, nice find.

Except not all battlegroups are being merged.

Battlegroups that will not be merged
English – Blackout, Misery and Vindication
German - Blutdurst
Russian - Шквал (Flurry) and Вихрь (Whirlwind)


In a suprising twist, six battlegroups are not being merged, for unknown reasons.
Blackout, Misery and Blutdurst are all big battlegroups. Vindication and the two Russian ones aren't.

Now, being from Vindication myself, I was quite suprised with this. The view I have of the battlegroup is a fairly low activity battlegroup, with an overrepresentation of Horde. I have instant queues, but I bet the Horde doesn't - from what I hear they can vary between 30 mins - an hour and a half.

A possible explanation for not merging the Russian battlegroups could be due to cyrillic characters posing a problem. Perhaps they don't want English/French/German/Spanish players to have to try and pronounce a Russian player's name over Vent, or something. Still sounds like a bit of a dumb excuse.

Others are bringing up technical limits due to the physical location of the battlegroup servers, but I don't buy that, and I hope we will get a proper answer soon.

Big Hit Box Guest Post

I finally got off my lazy ass and tried to write up something for BigHitBox, the melee blog I've talked about before.

So without further ado, a link to the post: Being up close and personal @ BigHitBox.com

I've also messed a bit with the rogue blog links to make sure all blogs there are up to date.

Fun things to do in PvP

As a rogue, we are one of the two stealth classes, and this gives us a huge advantage in PvP - it allows us to pick our targets and go unseen where others cannot go. Here's some fun things you can try in PvP as a rogue (not all of them involve stealth).


Parachuting into Wintergrasp
Granted, everyone can do this, but none can do it as well as we can. Go to the southern part of Icecrown and fly into the mountains overlooking Wintergrasp Fortress. When the battle starts, fly in. As you know, Wintergrasp is a no-fly zone and you'll be automatically dismounted soon. An added bonus for us, rogues, is that we can stealth as soon as we are auto-dismounted. Unless people saw you fly over, they'll never know you're there. Now is a good time to go destroy some cannons on a more quiet side of the fortress, or you can lurk around and kill players trying to man them.

Defend a healer
You should always love your healers, especially in PvP. Defending one to the death can be a real pain for your opponents. An added bonus could be that the healer remembers you if you are both in battlegrounds on a regular basis. With many tricks up our sleeve and a bit of help from the healer, the two of you can wreck havoc on the other team.

Harass a healer
On the other hand, healers on the opposing team should be harassed and/or killed. A well-geared healer you may not be able to kill on your own, but that doesn't mean you can't keep him busy. Interrupt his heals, blind him if he's not being attacked, stun him, slow his movement and casts, ... If you can catch him out of combat, vanish and sap him. If you can't kill him but can do a fair amount of damage to him, keep pressuring him. If he's busy keeping himself alive, he's doing less healing to his group mates.

Make someone paranoid
Doesn't always work, but very fun if it does. Using distract and sap from maximum distance, you can make people try to locate you by spamming AoE or the likes. You can use this to stall people traveling to a nearby node or something, for example.
Just make sure they don't destealth you ! You can also do a 'fake' attack to keep them busy: after a few distracts and a sap or two, go in for the kill, apply some bleeds etc, and vanish (unless they're an easy kill, just kill them then). Wait until they try to heal up and attack again. This is mostly a tip for when there's opponents around that you can't kill 1v1, though.

Stalling the enemy in WSG
Your group managed to grab the enemy flag and is trying to bring it home? Bring some crippling poison and go to town with Fan of Knives on the enemy chasing your flag carrier. This is also nice when there's a group of defenders in the enemy flag room - just hop in and FoK a few times to slow most of them.
Of course, for the really persistent chasers out there, a stun or a blind will usually stop them dead in their tracks.

Is there anything you like to do in PvP that I might not have thought of ?

Comparing combat & mutilate

Yes, dear reader, back to the less emo posts (for now). First of all I'd like to test something I added when adding the new header, so I'll quote the Overkill nerf that is planned to hit us next patch.

Overkill: Talent redesigned. Now increases energy regeneration by 30% while stealthed, and for 20 seconds after breaking stealth.


So yeah, there you have it (that should look like a Blizzard quote). I won't say too much about this, other blogs have already done their predictions, I'd prefer to wait and see the impact on PvE. It's obviously meant as a PvP nerf mainly, and we knew it was coming.

Combat vs Mutilate
I'm still without a WoW subscription at the moment, but that doesn't mean I don't have stuff to write about! I dug up a few screens in my WoW folder. Right before I left I respecced my PvE spec back to Mutilate, and before I did that I ran some tests on the target dummies. I used the same gear except for the weapons (Greed/LPC for Combat and LPC/LPC for Mutilate). For the exact gear, glyphs etc used, check these chardev profiles: combat / mutilate.

I used the stopwatch and clicked to start it while I used a keybind for my opener. After 4 minutes (sharp :p !) I took a screenshot to record my current dmg done and average DPS on Recount. In retrospect I should probably have done both spec tests multiple times - I only did Combat once, and then did two tests for Mutilate because I thought I had to get used to the changes a bit (I hadn't played with the new HfB yet and such).

Anyway, the results:


Number one is my combat test, two is the first mutilate test, and three is the second mutilate test. As you can see, my second mutilate test had the highest average DPS, and the first had the highest overall damage done.

The numbers are very close together though, which is nice, people can just pick whatever they want to play, or play with whatever weapon is best for them.

I'd like to try this revamped mutilate in a raid now that I've raided as combat a few times. With the changes they made to poisons etc, I will probably be able to use my Rolfen's Ripper with Berserking (originally purchased for PvP) as my OH.

Just gotta run some Heroic HoS for that dagger there and I'll be set for some mutilating.

Supermassive Black Hole.

As I said in my previous post, the guild I was in fell apart, and I left for Japan the day after. Now that I'm back I've been thinking about my options for when I start playing again.

Option one: keep Aeltyra as my main.
The easy solution. She's my most advanced character. PvE-wise, one tier 7.10 and one 7.25 piece. One piece that acts as a decent replacement for T7. Crap weapons and quest blues besides that. PvP-wise, one hateful glad piece, two savage glad pieces, and a few titan-forged pieces. Decent OH, crappy MH.

So yeah, barely touching the rest of my guild (I was 'catching up' from my previous exam period) and since it's still a month or so before I'll get back into WoW, it's only going to get worse. On top of that, there seems to be too many melee DPS already.

Still haven't felt the awesome DPS rush either, as I was usually scrambling to stay above our tanks in DPS. I'm not asking to be better than the full T7.25 (and now Ulduar gear too I bet) DPSers, but I hate having to fight to beat the tanks in DPS and essentially being carried through raid content.

Option two: get Azretha from under the dust.
My old main. Full of memories. Level 72, and still all of Northrend ahead of her.
I could get back into tanking (which I would really like) but the lack of changes to druid forms has frustrated me. Also, I feel a bit uneasy with 'cleave' maul, mass swipe and the likes.

I could go for moonkin. It's been a while, and my old healing off-set would probably suffice to let me pick up some balance gear in Northrend. The guild might appreciate another ranged DPS.

Still, there's the druid form thing, and leveling Az would mean shelving out another 1K for Cold Weather Flying.

Option three: level my death knight.
The character I had been spending most time on before the hiatus, actually, was this death knight. She's 68 and had blasted through Outlands. She has only done three zones in Outlands. I was leveling Inscription on this character (together with herbalism and alchemy on my rogue). She's just as good a choice as Azretha to get back into tanking, if not better, because she'd actually look cool while tanking.
Only downside: normal flyer + cold weather = 2K, plus epic flying for convience = 7K.
And then i don't have a single item crafted yet to get me up to date with the rest of the guild.

Option four: reroll.
I'm not sure if this is really an option. So many hours of playtime go to waste. But I'm not sure if I want to go back to my guild, either.

When it reformed, it reformed with a few old officers and a few new officers, and most members came along (some went looking for other guilds, which is fair enough).
So probably, a lot of problems that might have surfaced in the old guild will arise in the new guild as well, since it's mostly the same people.

The officer team is different, the philosophy has stayed roughly the same, though perhaps became a bit more casual. I'm not sure if I want that. Athanatoi barely forced anything in raids. People were showing up in suboptimal specs, with unenchanted gear, without consumables, etc. If someone made a mistake, it was often waved away.

I'm not sure I want to go back to that. I may not have the time to achieve full tier gear and raid every raiding day, but I manage my time so I can be the best damn rogue with that limited time. This is one of the reasons I'm not happy with being on an RP server anymore, either. I don't enjoy RPing anymore, and I feel it is a useless waste of my precious time to sit around doing nothing, when I could level a profession, do some dailies etc to pay the bills.

That said, the goodbye party and the Ventrilo session in which we talked about our memories together were a push in the direction of the new guild and a shove away from my rogue.

When people started talking about 'group one pride' (always the tank group in our 25 man raids) and the theorycrafting in our tanks channel, I was reminded of the great fun I had as a beartank ... and then an evil little voice in my head pointed out there is nothing like that on my rogue.

Yes ... there is a melee group. But in the few times I have been in there, I didn't have the same feeling as group one. Usually, there was no talk at all. Only on XT-002 there was a bit of talk about the light bomb, and I offered to exchange ToTT with the other rogue.

So yeah .. kind of at a loss atm, and I fear it's only going to get worse for when I finally do come back to WoW.

Death of a guild


'ATHANATOI will cease to exist in its current form on May 3rd, 2009.'
And so, the message was out. Of course, the officer team knew this for a lot longer already. When our GMs became bored and stressed out by WoW, we still kind of managed, guild council style. Some officers shared the feelings of our GMs and also spent less and less time in WoW, some just had a lot of real life stuff going on.

The killshot, if you will, was probably when our raiding officer tried to quit WoW. He came back after a week or so, but refused to have anything to do with his officer position. Fair enough. We instated some of our unofficial (non-officer team) raid leaders, and some officers also had a shot at raid leading.

However, unknown to the members base, there was also a Ventrilo officer summit discussing the state of the guild. Everyone including the inactive GMs and officers were present. The GMs proposed to disband and move on. We asked for another shot at saving the guild, and were given the chance.

Hence, in the eyes of a guildie, the future was clouded, but a new lightray shone upon the guild scene. In the eyes of an officer, dark clouds were gathering. We cursed as problems such as 'What to do with Val'anyr' and 'who can raid lead the sunday progression raid this week?' surfaced.

We held on for a few more weeks. Then, things sped up rapidly. One of the remaining officers posted a long explanation on why he needed a break from WoW and how he felt about the state of guild in the officer forums. There were mixed replies, and another officer gquit over it. In the end the conclusion was easily made: most of the officers were inactive or had quit. We had failed.

And so, a two year old guild dies.

The future

Because I'm going to Japan for ten days, and I have exams when I return, I won't be resubbing for a while. I will use this time to think about what I want to do. There's several options:

- I have been asked if I would want to join the new guild that some ex-officers are now creating. It would be a more casual version of what Athanatoi was.

- I could reroll. I had joked many times to my guildies that they 'made me play Alliance', and this is true. Even Horde alts on the same server never got far, because I missed the crowded guild chat too much. With Athanatoi gone, it may be a chance to let myself be tempted to join the Horde.

- I could join another guild. I have a great reference, we had some great inter-guild relations.

I guess I have to ask myself where I want to go with this game. In all honesty I'd love to get back into tanking, so I might drop my rogue as my main.

Shocking news


Aeltyra lets out a hacking cough.
Suprise! Yes, dear reader, I have a small confession to make.The picture you see on the right is an accurate depiction of my character. I had a sex change. Now, Out of Character this is easy to explain: I was tired of the male character animations and wanted something more visually appealing.

But In Character? (For the people unfamiliar with RP, imagine yourself being an actor. Your in-game avatar is the character you act out. Thus, In Character is things your character would do / think etc) I don't think Azerothian technology, or magic for that matter, is advanced enough to pull this off (besides blaming magic is way too cheesy). Even if it was easy to explain HOW I did it, explaining WHY I did it is still a riddle.

There are other options of course. You could just treat it as an entirely new character, which is probably what I'll do. The womanising behaviour of my character cannot be transfered to a female version of that character, or she'd be some kind of weird, obnoxious lesbian. I think I will explain that this is the twin sister of my male character, or something. Input on this is welcome however - make those brain cells work!

Remind me to change the header image to reflect these changes.


In other news I was taken into an Ulduar progression raid yesterday evening. Our target was XT-002 Deconstructor. I am horribly undergeared for this fight, but I guess they just wanted to do me a favor since I don't raid a lot anyway.

It's a pretty straightforward fight for us rogues: nuke the living daylights out of him. You can CloS both the Light Bomb and the Gravity Bomb, but since the last is more dangerous I prefer to save it for that one and just run when I have the Light Bomb. Other than that it's a good idea to keep an eye on your back, if a lot of scrapbots are coming dangerously close it might be a good idea to get in there and throw a Fan of Knives at them.

We lacked a bit of a punch to really down him, but we definitly improved over our attempts - while we could barely hit 30% on first attempt, the last few attempts were 10%, 8%, 12% ... etc depending on how many scrapbots he consumed before he faceplanted all of us.

DPS-wise I have no idea how I did, because I had disabled Recount for some reason and there is no option to take a WWS yet if I remember correctly. This was also the first fight in which I have exchanged Tricks of the Trade with another rogue, giving some very nice numbers on the Heart phases when combined with Heroism, Blade Flurry and Adrenaline Rush.


As a final note I've been doing more PvP now that I don't have to worry about respeccing costs, and one noteable thing is a Warsong Gulch match in which I was given the Iron Man achievement as a little present from my guildies (thanks guys!). I'll be happy to spend some time in there helping the others that were present to get the achievement as well.
The way we did it was pretty simple really. I stayed in defense in our flag room (a bit risky but I have a lot of 'oh sh-' options). I had to stay alive the entire match, so if a Horde attack didn't look safe, I stayed in stealth. Meanwhile my guildies bulldozered through the Horde as one block, and with a protection warrior and a bit of dedicated healing, they got the flag to our flag room and handed it over to me so I could cap it.
Let's just say it's pretty stressy when you have one flag left to cap and you have to stay alive no matter what :p

PS: If you have found this page because Google found the words 'sex change' and 'lesbian' and concluded this was some kind of obscure site: HAHAHAHAHA
Aeltyra points at you.
Aeltyra cackles maniacly at the situation.

Rogue fashion, dual specs.


Rogue Fashion
First, a bit of character progress news. We did Malygos 25 yesterday (due to the two tanks that could tank Sartharion having their PCs wrecked ... we suspect voodoo is involved) and I got Frosted Adroit Handguards (for the minimum KP bid .. gotta love no competition). I think I will keep this as my non-Tier piece, instead of the usual Chestguard of the Recluse, since I have Heroes Bonescythe Chest already and it would break my two piece Tier bonus if I rolled on that chest.

After that I went into a 10-man Naxx run that was almost full melee DPS (only one hunter). Grobbulus was interesting with this setup as one might suspect, but we did get him down. I also got a nice piece of rogue fashion (Scourge fashion?) in the Cloak of Mastery. Not that I'm complaining, but I had the Ice Striker's Cloak crafted a few days ago /sigh.

I was quite satisfied with my DPS on that run, though. Using Zaltu's macro recommendations and Dinaer's weapon switching comment I setup my Sinister Strike and FoK with Closetgnome gearset switching. On the trash I was second on damage done and DPS until late in Naxx, below the hunter and above all the death knights.
For every FoK I would automaticly switch to double Broken Stalactite for some big FoK numbers. As soon as I hit Sinister Strike, I would switch to my usual Greed/LPC combo for max single target DPS.

Dual specs
With patch 3.1 nearly upon us, what will you do with dual specs? Will you buy it at all? I will probably (when I get enough money ... I got my bronze drake so I'm balancing on the verge of poverty at the moment) go for a PvE combat and a PvP Muti/Prep spec.

I'm just happy I'm not playing my druid as my main at the moment. Trying to decide between Tanking, Moonkin DPS, Cat DPS, Resto, Resto PvP, Feral PvP, Moonkin PvP ... dual specs would almost make you depressed when you think of it that way.

Sure, I could come up with a few more rogue specs, but there is a difference between choosing combat PvE or muti PvE and cat DPS or moonkin DPS.

Sartharion 3D

This post is just to confirm to a certain hunter that I will indeed report on this run (hah!) But not in the way he might have thought.

So yes. Yesterday I joined an attempt at Sartharion plus three drakes.
I had specced HaT, since it's the only raid spec I hadn't tried yet, and brib..I mean, asked the raid leader if I could be put with the hunters.

For the information I managed to gather from them in the secret hunter party channel, I refer to the 'things we know about hunters' subpage.

Other than that I must say HaT was a pretty fun experience. With four hunters providing me with combo points, I was constantly throwing out Eviscerates. The crits were around 7k-9k. Since I was running dual Anesthetic Poison to keep elementals under control (and sort of failed at it) I can't really say how poison damage was.

The guild had tried this encounter a few times before, but now we got some practice on a new tactic and a different raid leader. Sadly though, it seems this night was one of those nights. I think about eight people had problems one way or another (random disconnects, power surges, connection resets and who knows what else) so I don't think we ever got an attempt in where everyone was online the entire time *shrug*

On the positive side, we've now used up our bad luck quota!

Random collection of awesomeness.

Now that I got my raid report out of the way for today .. time for something completely different.

The naming blog meme
Found on Sideshow&Syrana who found it on Killing 'em Slowly: a meme in which you tag three other bloggers and they have to tell how they chose their names.

I haven't been tagged yet so I'll take the liberty of tagging myself for the sake of this post. My druid's name, Azretha, is from the spell Archimonde uses to destroy Dalaran. Using my own idea of transcribing the Eredun used in this spell .. when he raises his hand in the air to drop the sand and create a replica of Dalaran, he says (or how I would transcribe it anyway) 'Belar sumares az'retha rakass ib'na' And that's where Azretha came from, though I changed the 'e' to sound like 'ay' so you pronounce it as-ray-tah.

Aeltyrs name is a lot easier. It's just an anagram of Tyrael, the archangel from Diablo II. You know him from the minipet, too.

Then as a final one, my warriors name, Kaguzuchi, comes from an anime influence. More specificly, it comes from an attack by Shishio from Rurouni Kenshin called Tsui no hiken: Kaguzuchi (Third Secret Sword: Kaguzuchi), and the kaguzuchi is reference to a fire god if I remember correctly.

I would hereby like to tag the following three bloggers for this meme !
Zaltu from One Rogue's Journey
Dinaer from Forever a Noob
Eskel from Gone Rogue
Tell us where you got your names !

RP event: The Silithid War
I would just like to shed some light on this as well. I attended the start of this RP event, a march to Silithus, and I had a lot of fun. You can find some screenies by me and my guildies here.


Epic flying mount

As a closing paragraph a small note on my monetary status here. Despite buying a Mongoose enchant for my Greed and respeccing, I have managed to sell enough junk and I hit 4000 gold. If I could now force myself to do enough dailies I should finally be able to fly my bronze drake by the end of the week.

The noob went raiding



First of all, hooray I got Greed ! Got some guildies to run CoT with and it dropped on the first run. I then spent the weekend leveling Unarmed skill (because a huge fist tool to smash faces with is obviously not a weapon) and respecced Combat so I was ready to raid as combat.

Sartharion and two drakes
My first time doing this encounter on 25-man and with any drakes up. It took a few attempts (I guess the healers had to get used to nub rogues taking damage all the time, ahem) but we got our focus back and downed him.

I did roughly 2100 DPS on the final attempt, which is not bad if you consider I was running Anesthetic Poison instead of Wound to help ease the elemental adds. However, I am not really satisfied with my overall performance here because I died several times on the other attempts due to not noticing the void zones. It's a bloody purple circle on a red-ish background! Though like one of my tanks pointed out, I might also have been misjudging the range of them. Evil voidzones.

Malygos
Now here's a (to me) more familiar fight.
First phase went fine. Did a Killing Spree during the vortex to get some extra damage in on Malygos and avoid damage from the vortex.
Second phase I still ran from bubble to bubble for quite a long time. Still no hoverdisk achievement.
Third phase ... well. I, uhm. Messed up. Started up the rotation well. Got targeted. Pressed FREAKING SPEED BUFF instead of Flame Shield. Watched the entire phase from a corpse PoV.

Arachnid Quarter
Quite useful that I can compare these with my last run.
Anub'rekhan: last fight 2312, this time 2277.
Faerlina: last fight 2773, this time 2594.
Maexxna: last fight 2417, this time 2589.

Well, at least one fight improved (I wasn't wrapped this time)... Perhaps this is also because of my party composition - I was in the melee group with two other rogues, a warrior and a DK. I don't know what group I had last time, but yeah.

Sapphiron
Carrying on with our dragon killing spree, we fought the guy that should be on the Frosties Cereal Box ... I died at the iceblocks here, but not because I didn't manage to jump behind an iceblock. No, I ran to the other side of Sapphiron to avoid his Blizzard, and I suppose I was out of range from the healers there, so I took quite a bit of damage from the frost aura (we went for the achievement so 75 frost resist max). When I came back to the other side I wanted to hit my healthstone because I was about to die, but I was frozen as an iceblock.

Can you guess what happened next ? Frost bomb, iceblock canceled, frost aura tick. Dead rogue. No time for healing, potting, etc. Oh well.

Kel'thuzad
And then the last guy on the list. We first did two attempts at the achievement, but people died for some reason, and we were five minutes from raid end, so we decided we'd rather see a kill without the achievement than no kill at all. Focused and got the kill in. I didn't do all that bad on interrupting either, though the more experienced rogue was faster a lot of the time.

Anonymous WWS to be found here. I am Gojushiho.

Screenshot of my UI here, should you want to see it. (Might take a while before it is 'made public' so check back later if it doesn't work the first time.)

Back to combat

While I still haven't had the chance to test the new patch (I have no DVDs to burn that anime on so I'm a bit stuck at the moment), the constantly updating patch notes have assured me of one thing: I will respec combat.

First of all, I don't like the Hunger for Blood changes. As it stands now, it's a self buff, costs 15 energy, and lasts one minute, but requires a bleed on the target. This means a 15% damage nerf on trash. (Unless someone else applies a bleed or we open with garotte.) Combat was already stronger on trash, now it's just clearly better.

Second, they've added some talented melee haste into Lightning Reflexes. 3 ranks means 10% melee haste. This works even better with the recent buff to Slice and Dice.

And third, Mutilate isn't that much better as one would like. While it is potentially better in a tank and spank fight where you just stand around and DPS, there's a lot of fights out there (and in Ulduar as well I guess) where a lot of crap is happening and that's just not possible. Worse, there's a lot of abilities out there that can make your HfB and SnD drop (like Maexxnas Web Wrap), severely nerfing your damage until you can get them up again (especially with SnD having been buffed to 40% and HfB having been buffed to 15%, it's even more of a blow when they fall off).

And last but not least, bigger weapons just look cooler than small daggers, k?

So I'm gonna have to nag at my guildies to run Heroic CoT with me, so I can pick up Greed for my Main Hand. With my Mongoosed Librarian's Paper Cutter in the off-hand, that should make for a fairly decent combo to start the combat life with.

As a final note I'm getting closer to my epic flying mount again. I had reached 3500g, but made some investments in the AH, and currently only some of them are selling. Perhaps I can sell them during the weekend.

Then I can start spending money on enchants and the likes :p

Sartharion

This'll be a small post since I'm posting from university, but nonetheless. The raid night I spoke about in my previous post didn't go through, because our raid leader decided he needed to revise his priorities and quit WoW. So, kudos to him, but it was of course slightly annoying from a logistic POV.

Yesterday though, a 10 man bonanza was organised and three groups hit the instances. Our group was fairly imbalanced, with way too much melee and an unfortunate early leave by one of the two ranged DPS. We tried Construct Quarter, and got our asses kicked a few times by Grobbulus. We almost had the Patchwerk achievement, with a fight of 3 minutes and 14 seconds.

We decided not to let Grobbulus ruin our evening and went for Sartharion instead (since not all of us, including yours truly, had seen the fight yet). We attempted with one drake first, but we didn't have the tanking or the DPS for it, so we went back to kill the last drake and just downed Sartharion.

The anonymous WWS can be found at this link. You'll notice there's a lot more people in there, this is because I forgot to turn off the WWS when we hit Wintergrasp afterwards /blush.

I am Heian again, and as you can see I did 2700 DPS on Patchwerk. The DPS on Sartharion isn't really representative since I switched Instant Poison for Anesthetic Poison, as the raid leader had asked me to dispel enraged adds with a FoK every now and then (which worked, sort of).

I got enough badges now to buy Lillehoff's Winged Blades, which I'll probably do this evening.

Also, if you have any ideas on a topic I could write on for BigHitBox, please drop a note! I've got the famous writer's block, where you can't write when you have to...

The noob goes raiding again

I see I have been put in the raid line-up for tonight, and on the menu are Malygos, Military Quarter, Frostwyrm Lair, and Sartharion 2/3D.

I'm sure I'l do better on Malygos than last time now that I've gotten a feel of the fight, and while I haven't really done Frostwyrm Lair on my rogue yet I have retroraided Naxxramas before it floated towards Northrend, so the mechanics aren't really new to me.

The big obstacle for me is Sartharion, which sounds quite complicated (what with lava tsunamis, twilight realms and all that crap). Not only that, but we will be doing him with two drakes up, three if we have enough time, so it's also the hardest fight I would face so far.

Now I'm still not that fantasticly geared, but there have been some improvements since last time. I'm now sitting at the poison hit cap. I'm working on expertise (got a Trollwoven Girdle crafted and smacked a belt buckle with an expertise gem on it).

We'll see how it goes. Loot-wise, I don't have a lot of KP, but there is only one rogue that can outroll me on rogue stuff (in this line-up ...) and he has basicly everything you'd ever want (4T7.25, Webbed Death/Murder, etc) so on that regard I'm safe.

Of course, there's still all other classes that want those Tier tokens, and melee competition for trinkets/jewelery, and so on.

Anyway, doesn't matter that much. I'm just gonna try my best for the raid (already got my flasks and food!) and see how things turn out.

A week of PvP

Aeltyr casts Blind.
Oh, sorry. Didn't see you there!

I recently said to myself: self, we don't want to grind money. We don't have the time to look for instance groups. Let's do something fun. Let's respec and do some PvP.

And since you can't argue with yourself (try it - you're always right) that's exactly what I did. I respecced Mut-Prep, got me some nice PvP oriented glyphs for a relatively cheap price, put on my super awesome Eviscerator's gear and hit the BGs.

And I'm doing well. I bought the Titan-forged Boots with Wintergrasp Marks (though no enchants or gems yet .. on any of my PvP gear) and after a few evenings of battleground switching I also bought the Hateful Gladiator's Belt.

I got some more achievements. Arathi Basin Perfection (not bad for PuGing), Storm Glory (again, not bad for a PuG), Damage Control (it didn't bug out for once), Stormy Assassin (rough and long game so I got to switch around a lot) and Take a Chill Pill (didn't even notice he was berserked)

But most of all, I had fun. I spent money and I'm thus further away from my epic flying mount again, but it was worth it. I'm gonna keep PvPing, perhaps until I can buy another Hateful piece, or until I get bored of that.

On another note, I will be guest-posting on Big Hit Box relatively soon. Like, when I can think of a subject to write on.
Big Hit Box is a melee blog, a source of information for those of us who like to be in the face of mobs (or .. in the backside actually. Don't DPS from the front.). So ret pallies, rogues, warriors, druids, shamans, melee hunters .. err perhaps not melee hunters.

So suggestions on topics other than melee hunters are always welcome - what would you like to hear about ?

Aeltyr casts Preparation.
Aeltyr casts Blind.

Stabbing in PTR 3.1

Some guildies are already foaming at the thought of hitting the PTR, and I'm going to give it a shot as well. Plenty of rogue changes we can test in there, and if enough guildies sign up perhaps I could do some Ulduar coverage as well.

We're not quite there yet, though. The character copy screen reports an average 29 day waiting time (I kid you not). I've downloaded the 200 MB installing thing, but now my installer complains I need 12GB of hard drive space to slap the PTR files on. I hope that's not all to be downloaded, because that's my monthly bandwidth.

Except I don't have 12GB, not anymore anyway. Most of my harddrive is packed with anime episodes which I haven't been able to burn yet (I trashed the burner accidently)

Yes, I am an anime nerd. I study Japanese, so this was to be expected.
So what anime is on my hard drive you ask?

Naruto, of course. A ninja-themed anime. A bit overhyped, but certainly not a bad anime. Samurai Champloo, a samurai anime with hip-hop elements. Historically accurate usually, but sometimes fictional elements are added in that really make no sense (like graffiti with paint).
Bokusatsu Tenshi Dokuro-chan (Club-to-death Angel Dokuro-chan, gotta love the name-see pic).

I can't say much about this one without spoiling the story. She has a huge bat and overreacts easily, and thus clubs one particular victim to death all the time, only to ressurect him right after. Oruchuban Ebichu, an anime about a hamster. Has a very rudimentary drawing style that reminds me of Shin-chan and Hamtaro. The theme is adult, though - it's full of sexual jokes and -my main reason for liking it *cough*- wordplay. And lastly, though only a couple of episodes, Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, a mecha anime. I also have a few DVDs with Rurouni Kenshin (another samurai anime) and Gundam SEED (another mecha anime).

Anyway. Back to the world of Warcraft, I have also added a few more blogs to my blogrolls, some of which were 'sleeping' when I started this blog but have recently shown some more activity.

This post has gone way off-topic, but yeah. I guess now you know some more about the real life me. An anime nerd/student of Japanese with a lack of hard drive space.

P.S. More serious posts about the PTR when I actually get on it, I promise!

P.P.S. No, I don't want you to call me Stab-to-death Aeltyr-chan.

Achievements: yay or nay ?


I finally made some time to reply to Pixelated Executioner's Shared Topic, namely my thoughts on achievements. Now, I know, this sounds odd since I already did a post that was full of achievements, but I usually don't pursue achievements for the sake of pursuing them.

I will go for achievements if they add to my character (examples are Fool for Love and For The Alliance).

I won't go for the Violet Proto-Drake for example, because it's too much of a bother.
If someone were to offer me to try some achievements from Heroics while in the particular instance, then sure. But I won't actively put a group together to try and beat them (an exception is the timed run for the Bronze Drake).

I use the Northrend questing achievements as an indicator how many quests are left in a zone. Like recently I gained the Grizzly Hills questing achievement, which was the cue for me that Grizzly Hills was mostly robbed of quest money and it was time to move on to other zones. I'm trying to get the achievement, but not for the sake of the achievement.

On that note, I've hit the 3k gold mark, so 2k more to go before I can fly my Bronze Drake !

PvP achievements
These are basicly an exception. When in a battleground I will try to pursue these, usually because it is the only way I can maintain my sanity in there. It gives me some extra motivation to go for the objectives instead of giving in to the general mindlessness that some battlegrounds turn into.

Raiding Achievements
A bit of an annoying topic. Some achievements you just get for clearing stuff. In a way, I'd like those. As a memory that I've been there, for when my loot has long been sold to vendors and we're raiding T9.
But the others ... well they're nice of course. Some of them are a nice challenge for the raid. However I think actively trying to get 'The Immortal' for example puts an unnecessary strain on the raid (and the healers in particular).

Conclusion
(You didn't skip the rest and went straight to this, did you ?) I would say some achievements are worth going for if they add to my character, and they are a good way of staying busy or getting more of a challenge out of something, but some achievements are really just there 'just because' and I don't think they are worth achieving just to achieve them.

Aeltyr sneaks and attempts to pick your pockets while you're reading his diary.

The noob hits Naxxramas 25


As I said in my previous post, I was signed up for a raid thursday. I made it into the line-up, so I bought me two flasks and got some buff food, and off we went. This was a split run, where we first went to kill Malygos and then went to Naxxramas to clear the Spider and Military quarters.

Malygos
Fun fight, sadly my WWS isn't really saying a lot of it. I did okay in the first phase, managed to keep up HfB and SnD most of the time. I didn't manage to chain ToTT on the tank due to being out of range too much, and somehow I could not judge the distance to a power spark so I failed at power spark killing (also, no death knights in this raid for some reason).

The second phase I usually stood around doing nothing except for running from bubble to bubble. I had proposed the other melee DPS (the better geared ones) to take hoverdisks first so it was quite late into phase 2 until I was airsurfing.

The third phase, well, I hate it. It's very chaotic, my unit frames don't show the combo points made by the drake abilities, and counting them is suprisingly hard when you have to watch your stacks, watch Malygos so you don't get caught out of a bubble when he focuses you, and stay with the flock of dragons. I guess this is a matter of practice too, and it did go better as we tried the second time.

Arachnid Quarter
We went for the achievements on Faerlina and Maexxna, so that basicly means we AoE'd every trash pack (hello Fan of Knives) and rushed after we killed Anub'Rekhan.

According to the WWS, my DPS on the fights:
Anub'rekhan: 2312 DPS
Faerlina: 2773 DPS
Maexxna: 2417 DPS

However, I was wrapped on Maexxna right after our Heroism and my Potion of Speed, and the ranged DPS was slacking in freeing me. I was wrapped for a full minute / 11 ticks and the fight only lasted for just under 2 minutes and a half.

Military Quarter
We had two new priests practicing Mind Control on Razuvious, so we had a few bumps until the fight was under control (nonetheless they did a good job).

Razuvious: 2714 DPS

On Gothik I was fairly slow in getting to mobs despite being specced into Fleet Footed (can't compete with charge) so I kinda sucked on that fight.

Gothik: 1135 DPS

The Four Horsemen fight really didn't work out for some reason. Our ranged tanks kept dieing, people (including me) were plagued by frequent disconnects, etc.

So in summary, as expected I was sort of carried through. I didn't completely suck (at least I stayed above the tanks) but my lack of decent gear (half of my gear are blue quest rewards that don't suffice for the Superior achievement and I lack Expertise and to a lesser extent hit), decent buff food (I used Spicy Hot Talbuk and Dark Desire) and in the Malygos case, experience with the fight really hurt my DPS.

Due to not having any KP yet I only got one piece of loot, Dislocating Handguards. I will probably get an expertise enchant on that.

Also, getting Trollwoven Girdle crafted will help in getting some more expertise - in any case it is an upgrade to my current PvP one (Eviscerator's)

EDIT: Post edited and pic added. I would also like to add two things I forgot to say in the first place, namely that you can hear a mail sent in by me on Episode 77 of The WoW Insider Show, the podcast of WoWInsider, and that I added Gone Rogue as a link into my blogroll. Definitly check it out!

EDIT nr2: a nice guildie told me how to use anonymous WWS reports, so here it is. I am Heian.

The Love Fool


I have a confession to make. I wasted my time on getting this title.

Instead of questing to earn money, doing dailies to raise my reputations, or instancing to gear up, I dashed around the cities, giving love tokens to everyone (and I really mean everyone). Was pretty fun trying to find an Orc Shaman or a Troll Rogue, too - in the end I camped the graveyard in Wintergrasp, found and sapped an Orc Shaman and showered him with rose petals, and I had to sneak into Orgrimmar, and climb up the gryphon tower to find a Troll rogue.


But I did it because it fits my character. I'm on a roleplaying server, after all.
My character is a mix between Duffman, Johnny Bravo and Duke Nukem, only he is not as muscular as them. He does share the trait with Johhny Bravo of thinking he's sexy but failing horribly with every girl he starts talking to.

Anyway. I did get some gearing up done, namely I managed to pick up another Librarian's Paper Cutter that was underpriced, and I did enough heroics to get my Mirror of Truth. I also hit Revered with the Knights of the Ebon Blade so I can buy my Arcanum now. I'd prefer to wait until I get a headpiece that can take a metagem before I spend money on that, though.

I've also started leveling my Fishing and Cooking further -I stopped doing that when I hit Outlands- because I'd like to be able to supply my own buff food. That way I just have to buy flasks (at least until I switch from Mining/Engineering to Herbalism/Alchemy) and I'm ready to raid.

I'm signed up for the Malygos/Naxxramas run of Thursday, so we'll see if I can get in to do some stabby DPS.

Did any of you (try to) get this title?

Not dead yet

No, I'm not dead yet. I just have been very busy, both in real life and in game.
Since this is a WoW blog, I'll concentrate on the in-game stuff, and I'll tell you my story using achievements I gained in these few weeks I've been playing WoW again.

PvP
I felt in the mood for PvP when I got back. As I had said in my previous post, I got me an Eviscerator's set, bought me two Traditional Flensing Knife, respecced Muti/Prep and hit the road.

I got Call to Arms.

The reason I didn't get this earlier is fairly simple: I always forget to pick up the daily.

I joined a raid with the people from Beyond Defeat and hit the Horde capitals, netting me three leaders - I sadly had to leave before we killed the Elf, so no bear for me yet.


After some mucking about in Wintergrasp for some honor and Stone Keeper Shards, I respecced again to a Muti raid spec, minus of course the two talent points I was missing because I was still 78.

PvE
I hit Storm Peaks to do the Sons of Hodir opening questline, because I was told it's pretty awesome, and also started questing in Icecrown a bit.
Both felt extremely slow on my little snowy gryphon (the bad part about switching your alt as your main I guess) but eventually I did hit the big 80.


So then the next task was doing normal instances to gear up for heroics to gear up for raids. I bought my Hateful Glad's Cloak as a filler cloak until I can get a decent one crafted or drop.

My guildies were kind enough (or desperate enough) to invite me to some heroics anyway, despite my DPS being barely that of the tank.

I also was invited to a casual 10-man Naxxramas run because the rogue that was supposed to come had some PC trouble and had been installing WoW for a few hours, but still wasn't there yet. We did Plague and Construct Quarter, and I got the T7.10 chest and some nice shoulders.



I bought a Librarian's Paper Cutter and got it enchanted with Mongoose (no funds for two of those sadly)

Some other day Alliance managed to drug Horde and conquer Wintergrasp somehow, and the guildies formed a PuG to VoA 25. I, of course, was there. Outrolled the only other rogue in the raid (he's better geared anyway) with a 96 and got me the T7.25 pants. (Yay set bonus !)


So yeah, it's been quite a productive week. I gotta get some stuff gemmed, and really gotta get my cooking up, other than that I think I'm good to go to ride along the weekly 25 man Naxx farm runs.

PS: One of the heroics I did was CoT Strat, and yes we did the timed run, and yes I won the drake. Let me tell you, it sucks having that thing in your bags and not being able to use it yet. But at least it'll be there when I quest my 5K epic flying together. No silly gryphons for me !