Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Monday raiding - Hydra-phobia

A new boss to look at today!  Having done Magaera in LFR, I wondered if it was the same, but assumed that the splash damage and poisons did more damage than in LFR.  I wasn't too far off.

Fue had wanker's cramp a sore wrist so he said he was going to rest it for the rest of the week.  He might have said for the rest of the month... Soul has man-flu so he can't get on.  Damn those soft sickly pallies.

Raked: That must be the worst injury a gamer could have.
Me: He still has his other hand.
Raked: Well.. maybe being blind then.
Roshii: There's this guy who plays WoW and he's blind, and he's in a pretty progressive guild too.
Me: He's got an item named after him!
Raked: Well FINE!  How about both hands cut off?
Me: I wonder if you can play with your feet.
Raked: I give up!

There are a number of ways to deal with the heads of Magaera.  She's a hydra and to beat her you have to kill 7 of her heads.  She has 3 different coloured heads - red, blue and green.

The red heads deal fire damage, the green ones do nature/poison damage and the blue ones do frost damage.

In LFR, people only seem to kill red and green heads, and move back and forth from two spots.  Apparently this is the hardest technique on normal mode because you need higher dps.  However, it's the one most people are familar with.

It is interesting listening to the DPS talking about what is manageable from a raiding point of view.  As there didn't seem to be an enrage timer, they killed the heads down and for the first few heads it was ok.  However, damage ramped up ENORMOUSLY when we got to the 4th head.  Mana was depleted by the 4th head!  And by then, we couldn't heal up people anymore with cinders.  Healing cooldowns were sorted out but we probably needed double cooldowns from head 4.

We tried playing around with the blue head for a bit, and the ice kiting was unfamiliar so we had some issues with that and decided we didn't like it.  Back we went to the Red/green method.

However, I'm not sure about our mana.  It was really hard on the healers, and perhaps we just need to rotate our CDs better.  Also, we were missing spellpower without Az there, making our healing even worse.

Hope we can get there again next week!

Challenge Mode Noobs - Gate of the Setting Sun

I've decided to talk about our Challenge mode adventures as a series, and am calling it Challenge Mode Noobs - because, we go in to give it a try, no research and make mistakes like total NON Pros.  So, this is the story of ordinary players attempting challenge modes!

Yesterday we had about half an hour to spare, and decided to give Gate of the Setting Sun a go, since we had heard that it was pretty easy.  Gold time is 13 minutes, 22 minutes for Silver, and Bronze is 45.

Now, the first challenge mode I ever tried was Gate of the Rising sun and we failed on the pulls before the first boss!  I think we wiped about times on trash trying to do it like we do a heroic with good gear.

So, keeping that in mind, I hoped that everyone would focus a target down.

The first trash pulls really were spiky, and I blew a lot of CDs trying to keep Arv up.  Those windwalkers are annoying!  But as each mob died, it got better.  However, the mantid flying around the top dropping their bombs still knocked a few of us out, each time you got hit by the bomb it shaved off about 2/3 of your life.  

The first boss was relatively easy to kill - compared to the trash, it was a breeze!

Then, we thought we would be smart and run all the way down to the elevator, like you do on heroic.  The mobs would bug out once you reach the elevator and basically you could make it without killing anything at all.  We thought we were so clever... but that was NOT a clever thing to do.  More on that later.

So up to the flying boss who strafes across and drops those fire trails and I admit our awareness was poor.  We would split up and get separated, and when the guys got picked up, I wasn't fast enough on the heals (and I didn't realise they were picked up) so they would die a lot!  We wiped a few times on that but we got it down eventually and we headed down to get the mini cut scene of the wall breaking.  The trash before the next boss was a bit easier than the first lot of trash, and that boss was quite easy kiting him around with his poisons and adds. We thought we were doing pretty well!

Then we started on the last lots of trash before the big bug Raigonn who is a bit dumb and all he does is headbutt the wall.  If you're on the bridge when he collides you get stunned but you can jump and avoid that. Then Karn noticed something... we didn't have enough mobs killed as an instance requirement.  We still had plenty of time to scrape in a medal and we made our way down to Raigonn, 3 mobs short.  The early mobs had disappeared from the wall breaking (I think) and so, fingers crossed, some or Raigonn's adds would count towards the kill requirement.  But no.  Raigonn himself was quite easy, as long as people didn't run away from me, because those who ran for from me didn't get heals and died.    With 6 minutes or so left on the timer, we had to teleport to the start of the instance to look for mobs and we realised that there was none left - we couldn't finish the instance!

There was no choice.  We had to reset and start again.

OMG, it was getting late.  So our second attempt we tried to fix our mistakes but ended up making more mistakes - DPS stood in bombs more and died, and we STILL died to the flying boss.  It was getting late for Arv - it was nearly 1am - and he had to work!  20 more minutes and he was done, he said.

This time, as we stood on the bridge where you get stunned as Raigonn headbutts the wall, we pulled and wiped - THAT didn't happen last time!

Raigonn was quick and easy though, and this time we had our kill requirement and walked away with an easy Bronze.  Next time we will be cleaner and I will be more on the ball!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Sunday raiding - Slow and Steady beats the turtle!

Paladins boycotted the raid yesterday.  Fue wasn't there, and neither was Soultouched, so Falln tanked up and Lush went to heals.  Raked said he had to go at 1030.  I thought to myself, this was going to be one of those nights where we have a huge repair bill and nothing happens.

Druids were the flavour of the night.  Lush and I must have amassed the most first deaths of everyone.  I'm not sure why, but bats seemed to like the taste of druid.  Aza had his fair share of bats as well, and he had a cool idea of placing a gateway so that if the bats came for us we could gate across the room.  I didn't get to use it, but the idea was good.  Bats tend to chomp you in less than half a second!

Falln was tanking Tortos and that was good for him because he wasn't too hard to heal.  Without mastery, DPS were losing a lot of their DPS, and so Souglyy switched to a cat for the mastery buff.

Raked was getting frustrated one hour in.  He couldn't figure out why bat agro was going for healers all the time.  However, our attempts were quite solid, consistently getting down to 30% or so.  We only had a few wipes to not kicking turtles.  Poor Hwired, since that's his job all the time.

Then, it was our second last attempt and it seemed to fall in place.  We were down to 12 million and Hwired said forget the turtles, kill the boss!  Goddamn turtles were everywhere, avoiding them was annoying as hell! Everyone was still up, and the health ticked down and down... last minute big heals... yay!  Dead turtle!  That attempt I did the naughty thing and tranq'd under the feet of the turtle, so I could keep tanks and melee topped up, and yeah that might have given them an extra rockfall but the heals for the tanks was worth it!

Falln got a tanking cloak (Strenght/Dodge) and Aza got a cloak.  So that was under our 60 wipes!  I wonder how Magaera will go?  Now that's going to be fun healing.  Grats Frosties!

Look at all those skellies!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Minipost: I'm going to Blizzcon!

I thought this year, I would like to go to Blizzcon.  There hasn't been one for a while, and I'm pretty good with the finances at the moment, so it would be a fantastic family holiday.

I told Pel and she said she and Balinar/Xarek would go as well if we went, so we made a pact and tried to get tickets for each other.  Hyad said he would go, and Lushnek was also keen to go.

So, on the first release, we were all poised with our mouse buttons to buy our tickets, and we all ended up above 8000 in the queue.  Tickets were sold out by the first 3000 I think, so none of us got tickets.  I was really sad.  I had been looking forward to going, and even hyped up the kids about going to Disneyland.  Probably explains why I was so down in the dumps and sensitive about my healing on Tortos on Thursday.

So the second round was today.  There were a few hints by some people about how to get tickets - you don't have to select 4 on the dropdown menu, you can just leave the default as 1 and then hit purchase, which will shave at least half a second to a second off the time it takes to queue.  Then, you can purchase a greater number of tickets at the checkout.  Others talked about having your mouse poised over where the purchase button was going to be so as soon as it refreshed and the button appeared you were ready to click.

I was as quick as I could and I was just over 5000 in the queue, but Pel and Balinar were much better and were sub 4000, so they got our tickets for us.  I was so excited, I could hardly sleep after that!  Then I had to wait for hubby to get up so I could confirm the days to go.

Babysitting is the big thing - I can't take the kids to Blizzcon!  So I need someone to look after them.  I had played with a few options of how we were going to do it and I've decided that I would have to bring my own babysitter, someone I trust, with me.  I would pay for their airline ticket and accommodation for the 2 days but the rest of the time they would babysit for free and then the rest of the days they sort out themselves.  Sound fair?  Or too harsh?  Anyway, there is no shortage of people who want to do that for me, so the hard part now is choosing who to take - the nanny my kids had over the last two years, my sister-in-law or parents?  Not an easy choice (nor a cheap one either!).

So, I see lots of twitter peeps and bloggers will be heading out to Blizzcon - perhaps I can Navispam them in real life! :)  So for all you guys who got tickets - I'll see you there!  I'll probably be wearing a T-shirt with my chibi Navimie avatar on it, if anyone is looking for me.  For all those who didn't get tickets, I'm sorry, and hope you get a bargain on Ebay if you really want to go still and hopefully I will see you!

Friday PvP

I got on a bit late last night but the gang was there and we queued up a few BGs before we did some 3v3.  Two EoTS and they were nice wins, even hanging with Gutsy's undergeared mage.  He asked Shab for lots of spec and talent advice.

The second EoTS made me and Shab sleepy so he suggested we do some arenas now.  I was worried because I don't like doing arenas when sleepy.  But I forgot, that doing arenas wakes me up because of the adrenaline rush.

We had some really good games.  Some interesting combinations were seen - there was a triple priest team which I thought was going to be terrible and it was.  Double shadow and a Disc priest fearing and life swapping and dotting us up was annoying.  In the end we couldn't get them down but we did get pretty close on the priest before he healed right back up.

There was a double DK and paladin combo that we beat the first time but the second time I was smashed so we didn't do so well that time.

Had a mirror of our team, and the boys killed the druid, that was good.  Then we had the priest, warrior, warlock team, who were annoying the crap out of me with dominate mind.  They killed the others and while I was running around, I moused over them and I realised that I knew them!  These guys were from Joubran's guild and I run RBGs with them (and they obviously recognised me!).  So they let me go, sat down, and I waved to them and tried to emote them but it was a bit difficult, so I afk'd out of the game (well, logged out).  However, we tried to make a strategy against them, because their opener was going to be predictable.

The warrior would rush over to us as we tried to hide behind a pillar to flush us out with a fear.  The warlock would dot us up while the priest would dominate mind as the warrior killed a caster.  So, the solution was to kill the warrior whilst he was far from his healer and stop the healer from mind controlling me.

We came up against them again, and using that technique, the warrior went down.  After that cleaning up the other two was easy.

However, we came across them again in Blade's Edge and their tactic was different this time - they killed me.  Which was probably the better option since they knew that I would be healing my teammates up.  We'll have to think of a counter to that next time.

Shab and I were secretly trying to get Sev to 1550 and we him to 1530 before we dropped back again.  I think Sev would be pretty chuffed getting 1550, since Shab and I got that earlier in the week when doing arenas with Hwired.  I don't think I could play the higher ranks - I'm just not that good!

Anyhow, some really good games there.  And you know what, I didn't realise I could change talents and glyphs during prep time TOME FREE.  Think of all the tomes I could save from all that respeccing!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Pandaren Book of Fables - Wicked Nitun, the Masked Tanuki (Navimie and Mataoka Edition)

I love fables! And with the new Fabled Pets added in 5.2, they were just begging for a story. So Mataoka and I decided to make up our own book of fables to talk about these amazing creatures we battle for our gorgeous little pandas. It's a series that may take a few weeks, but once we're done we can put it into one big post!  This is the fourth post in the series.

"Have you ever read the great Pandaren book of fables? Pandaren pass these stories on to their cubs - stories of the cricket and the hawk, or the slow-moving turtle - to teach them lessons that they will find useful in life. What few cubs know is that these creatures exist, here, in Pandaria! Though the stories of their travels are made up, they are powerful denizens of this world. Should you happen upon them in your travels, you may test the might of your pets against their storied statures."
- Gentle San, Beasts of Fable

Wicked Nitun, the Masked Tanuki

Of all the creatures created by the gods, none were more sneaky and mischievous than the Tanuki.  While the fox was said to be the master of deception, the Tanuki were blessed with an expression of sweet innocence that belied the mischief they had been involved in.

For their crimes and incorrigible behaviour, the gods placed a mask on the tanuki, showing them to be the bandits they really were.  And of all the masked Tanuki, the most wicked of them was Nitun.

Nitun was a master thief and a master of disguise.  He was blessed with the cutest face and softest fur, but he had sharp teeth that could gnaw through a deer's leg.  But what he liked most of all, was to eat little pandaren children.  Every parent would lock their doors in fear, for at midnight, was when Nitun would appear and whisk his victim away.

In a small village, there lived a woodcutter and his wife and they had a little girl, named Ka-Mi.  Ka-Mi had a pet rabbit, named Koto, and they were very close.  Koto would snuggle up in bed with Ka-Mi and they would play hide-and-seek around the village all day long.  One dark moonless night, Nitun came to their house, disguised himself as the girl's mother, tricked the little girl and stole her away into the forest.

Ka-Mi's parents were devastated.  No child taken by Nitun had ever been found, and they mourned their loss, and the whole village mourned with them.  Koto, however, vowed revenge, and, taking a flint and tinder, a bowl and a rope, set off into the forest to find Nitun.

Tanuki live deep in the forest, but there is always a ready source of water nearby.  There was only one small  lake in the woods near the village, fed by a waterfall from the mountains, and Koto hid in the bushes by the lake, to wait for Nitun to appear.

At dusk, Nitun appeared with his bucket to draw water for his supper.  Koto could hear him singing:

Oh what a feast we'll have tonight
So fine it makes me sing!
Such tender meat, when cooked just right
I'll have me some crackling!

Koto bristled with anger, and followed Nitun back to his lair.  He saw Ka-Mi in a little cage, her mouth gagged and her hands bound, her tear-stained face and red rimmed eyes causing Koto's heart to tighten in his chest.  He had to do something.  But what?

Nitun was preparing the wood for the fire, and muttered to himself, "Onions, onions, where are the onions? Oh, this will not do!  I will have to go out and find some!"  Nitun slunk out of the cave, and Koto rushed in, and taking the bowl from his pack, scooped out some water from the bucket that Nitun had carried back and poured it all over the wood stacked by the fireplace, as well as all the wood stacked for the fire for cooking.

When Nitun returned with the onions, he went to light the fire and found all the kindling and wood was wet.

"Oh bother!" said Nitun, crossly.  "Now I will have to get some more."  He picked up his rope and set off into the forest to find some firewood.  There was a clearing not far ahead which often had a fair supply of dry stick and twigs.  Koto decided that this was the moment he had been waiting for.

Whilst Nitun was picking up dry sticks, Koto walked non-chalantly into the clearing from the opposite direction.  "Hello neighbour!" called Koto amiably as he went to pick up some firewood for himself.  "How are you this fine evening?"

Nitun nodded at the rabbit.  "It's suppertime, and I have found myself out of wood, so here I am."

"Oh, I found a lovely patch of sweet berries, earlier," said Koto, pulling out a handful of berries and popping them into his mouth.  "Would you like to share?  Perhaps we can eat together?"

Nitun's mouth watered and his eyes lit up.  Berries were one of his favourite foods.  "Why, that sounds splendid!  I am planning to have some sweet crackling for dinner this evening - I would be happy to share for some of your berries."

Koto swallowed the bile that threatened to rise, but forced a shining smile.  "That sounds marvellous!  Would you like some help with that firewood?"

"Thank you," said Nitun, beaming at the rabbit.  "Many hands make the work light."

They gathered wood until they had amassed a huge pile.  It was quite heavy and too hard to haul.  Koto made a show of trying to haul the wood, but collapsing exhausted from the strain.

"I am not as strong as you, friend tanuki," said Koto, panting for emphasis.  "How I wish I was as strong as you to be able to bite through a stout branch or carry a load of firewood!"

Nitun's chest puffed with pride, for all tanuki love praise and admiration.  "Yes, well, I'll have you know that I can carry this whole pile on my back!  If you could just help me tie it?"

"But of course!" said Koto, and he climbed upon a rock to help tie the sticks in place.  Koto tied them with triple knots to ensure that they did not come loose.  Unbeknownst to Nitun, Koto had also tied the rope from his belongings to the makeshift backpack.  When the pack was secure, and Koto was sure that Nitun could not untie the knots, he used his flint and tinder and set the pack alight.

"Aiyeee!" howled Nitun, and he ran towards the lake and threw himself in to extinguish the flames.  Koto tied the free end of his rope to a heavy rock, and with all his might, threw it into the lake, weighing Nitun down, and Koto raced back to the cave, and rescued Ka-Mi, and took her home to her parents who wept with joy and showered Koto with praise and the rabbit became quite the hero in his village.

What happened to Nitun?  Some say he drowned in that lake.  Others say that he changed into a fish to escape the tight ropes, and some other say he gnawed through the rope and set himself free.  But after that night, Nitun never terrorised the villages in that area, ever again.

So children, remember to lock your doors at night and be good, for if you are naughty, Nitun might steal you away and eat you!  And keep a pet rabbit, for good luck.

Read the other stories in the series
Lucky Yi
Skitterer Xi'a

So concludes our series!  I hope you enjoyed the Pandaren fables as told by Mataoka, Navimie and Kallixta!

Wednesday and Thursday raiding - Getting close on that turtle

Wednesday raiding went really smoothly. I thought that Council would be difficult but with everyone on the ball, it went down and I even had a bit of mana to spare.  Aza got some awesome upgrades with a rolled thunderforged (the same item dropped as a raid loot as well!) and Raked, Soul and Bish walking away with gear from the raid.  We had another giggle when we saw the video again at the end of Council because Soul STILL wasn't in it.  Fue has decided that it's an alphabetical order thing - Soul is the last alphabetically.  Poor Soul!

Tortos is going quite well.  We made solid progress on it getting it down to 7% before we wiped (Roshii had died ages ago - just think if he had lived it might have been dead!).  After that I think people were getting tired.  Bats weren't getting away all the time, just some of the time, and Soul and I went through a healer dying phase - Bish has somehow managed to NOT die anymore, what the hell has happened there? :D  I am sure awesome new computer helps!

I am having difficulty placing myself to do a tranquility.  It's funny reading about other druids doing the fight, saying "I symbiose a shaman for Windwalker's Grace" - well yeah, that's fine for them but I can't do it coz we have no shamans!!  I didn't like standing in the middle to heal because of turtles interrupting me and standing way to the side I miss half the raid... and so I was standing between Tortos's legs because I can get all the melee and not get any turtles!  However, the melee don't like me standing there because of rock falls on them, and when I stood on the other side I was getting killed by rockfalls but now Soul is bop'ing me so that's not such a big deal.  Interestingly the two times I didn't tranq for that stomp, the tanks both died soon after the stomp, so I think maybe I should continue doing tranq.  Some of the videos I watched, the druid didn't tranq at all!  I also was throwing mushrooms at the melee - remembering to pop them was the hard part!  I think the other thing I need to do is throw more rejuvs around as well.  But it was pretty good otherwise.

I was feeling a bit down yesterday because we didn't get Blizzcon tickets - so hard to get in the queue quickly!  So that, and being sub-par healer in the raid yesterday added up to me being a little despondent.  I wanted to go and PvP afterwards, to make myself feel better, but no takers unfortunately.  I ended up fishing - that was relaxing.

Well, Sunday is the next big day - more raiding, and also second round of Blizzcon tickets!  Fingers crossed I will be lucky :)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The 5.2 resto druid - A mid range PvP and raiding druid's perspective

Beruthiel made me think again (yes, and I think my brain nearly collapsed with all that thinking) with her post Mileage May Vary.  She talked about how druids effective healing is altered by the holy pallies and disc priests they play with.

My USUAL raid team runs heals with a resto druid, holy pally and disc/holy priest. However Bish, our priest, had his computer BROKEN by Nalak - he was there at our first guild encounter of Nalak and then suddenly the AOE must have been too much and his computer BROKE - so he's he was out of action for a fortnight.

"The sky weeps for your demise!  Say GOODBYE to your graphics cards HEROES!  I will DESTROY your puny computers!"
All through MSV/HoF, I had felt like the poorer healer.  Disc priests, resto shamans and holy paladins were the winning healers, with so many more USEFUL abilities brought to a raid.  Who needs MotW when you have a paladin who could buff kings or monks could buff.... whatever that is (not that we have a monk)?  Shamans have spell power and blood lust, priests can lifeswap, bubble and buff stamina, and paladins have lovely beacon and their disco ball aoe healing and bubbles.  At least I had some small mitigation thing with my Ironbark, but I would rarely need to use it and the CD is so damn LONG.  My burst healing was not great, and I would only feel useful in fights with constant damage where hots would actually tick and heal.  Most of the time my overheals would look ridiculous compared to my effective heals.

In patch 5.2, I have noticed an improvement in my healing.  Heals are bigger, mana is better, and I really enjoy placing mushrooms.  I use them on tank positions a lot for emergency heals because each mushroom pop is a whopping 200k so a 600k heal well placed can be damned useful!

I have never been one to say how wonderful my class has been.  Gutsy one of our healing priests, who plays a druid alt and raids with another guild on it would often tell me how he topped heals in LFR or in his raid, but I never had that experience, really.  I tend to play to conserve mana, though every now and then for fun with my friends we snipe heals and use things like tranq every CD to pump out the healing numbers just to be silly.  What, you don't do that? Come on, it's just for fun!

What really surprised me was that Beru and Jas said that fights that you would think druids would excel on, they don't.  I remember I had that experience with Hagara in Dragon Soul, my heals were always low compared to the others.  I didn't know why.  Jasyla specifically mentioned Horridon in her comment, as being a bit lackluster for her.  Beru mentioned that it was probably because of 25 mans, and when I think about it, she's probably right.

In a 10 man, Wild growth rarely hits all its targets.  More people are spread out, with only 2-3 melee clumped together.  That would be different on 25 man, where you would have at least 5 people together.  That's why I don't have the Wild Growth glyph.  However, it's much more useful in 25 mans, so I would expect a 25 man healer to have much better healing numbers from Wild Growth than me.

Efflorescence is another one that rarely gets its full potential.  I am a bit worried because the Tier bonus is lousy for me as hitting a few extra targets with Swiftmend won't happen unless we are stacking (like during Storm in Jin'rokh).  I might be lucky to get ONE extra person!  I guess that's not too shabby.

However, Rejuvenation seems to be the real winner for heavy raid healing.  I still like the Tier bonus from T14 because of the decreased cost of Rejuv (for mana heavy fights) so for fights that I'm going OOM, I put my T14 gloves back on.  The mana cost reduction for Rejuv has helped a lot as well!  I rarely go OOM now except in times of massive damage when I go tree and spam regrowth on the tank so they don't die.... and that's mostly for new fights.  For farm fights I am put my higher level gear back on and don't worry about the T14 bonus.

I've read a lot of resto druid complaints about mushrooms.  I actually like them a lot!  In 5.2 they changed them to absorb 33% of rejuvenation overheals and then when popped they heal up to 33% of my health in bonus healing amongst all players in 8 years.   I still am not sure how this works, as my health pool is 410k, but EACH mushroom heals for 200k.  Is there bonus healing from spellpower put in there somewhere?  It's a good aoe heal if you can use it but it's also great for an "emergency heal spot".  I can't train my raid team to go to them and call out for a mushroom if they need a big heal, but on fights where tanks tend to be static, I use it then, stacking 2 under the tank and one for me.  Since everyone can't be bothered using them, I set that one up for myself!  I put the one in some spot and put myself there if I am expecting heavy damage so I can pop the shrooms and heal myself.  I am not sure about this, but in 10 man you aren't throwing out as many rejuvs as you would be on 25, so I tend to think you have more "rest time" so you have more of an opportunity to place your mushrooms.  They cost no mana to place so in a spare moment where I have a free global cooldown, I'm putting down mushrooms somewhere!

It really hit home as I healed the Horridon fight with 2 Discs and 2 Pallies. There was nothing for me to do – no way my HoTs were going to get in more than a token amount of healing around all those shields. Our dps was completely on the ball and we had zero poisons or curses go out too, so by the end of the fight I was actually thinking “why am I even in here?”
- Jasyla, comment on Falling Leaves and Wings, April 17 2013
"Symbiosing a Paladin or Warrior would be my last choice since, really, who wants Cleanse or Intimidating Roar on a boss fight?"

Heh, I saw Jas wrote these two things and I thought I should tell her that to stop being bored in Horridon she should Symb a pally and dispel on the third door for fun LOL!  I used to complain about dispelling all the doors, but with the nerf to Horridon, the complaints seem to uwarranted now.

With all these buffs to our healing, I feel very competitive and more useful that I had in the previous tier.  Horridon is a good fight for me, as a druid, with all that running around, as is Council.  Council is so amazing for me, all that running around!  It's really hard to charge up mushrooms at times because of all the raid damage going - but at least my hots are getting used!

And, I hear with 5.3 there are MORE druid buffs!  I can't imagine that it will last, as they will probably smack us with a nerfbat after.
  • Ironbark CD halved to 60 seconds
  • Swiftmend's AOE effect radius up to 10 yards from 8
  • Wild Mushroom Bloom heals allies for 100% more and includes bonus healing from rejuvenation.
Wow, how much will a mushroom heal for now??  That will be crazy!  I can't imagine that PvP will be happy - the healing output from one mushroom will heal someone for at least 50% of their health!  Of course, people still need to position correctly, but mushrooms will be an amazing burst heal if they are buffed that much (though, they require planning).  I don't know about you, but I think that right now, it's a very nice time to be a resto druid. And I can't be the only one thinking that - it feels like every LFR I go in there are 4 healing druids AT LEAST!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Minipost: Sunday and Monday raiding - Turtle power

Tortos looks hectic on LFR and it's just as hectic on normal too.  We were running with 3 melee to start with 2 ranged and the turtles weren't going down fast enough so we could kick it into the boss to interrupt the breath.  Bish is back with his super computer, and he came back, shaped and his comp performed better than when he wasn't shaped.  So we got Lushnek to switch back to boomkin and me, Soul and Bish were healing.

It is nice that when you zone in, it plonks you right at Tortos, just like in LFR.  And also nice there isn't heaps of trash.  Though, those bats... are painful.  Lucky we can CC them,  but even then it's a dicey thing sometimes.

However, we're getting some progress!  Tonight we got it to 30% but the thing that stuffs us up is healing the tanks and kicking the damn turtles.  They die in funny places and people can't reach them and then by the time the boss is about to do a breath nobody is there to kick it.  I want to try to kick one but I'm worried I'll kick it the wrong way or something.

Aza is back, so yay!  Health stones, spell power, awesome DPS - what's there not to miss about Aza?

Let's hope we can get Council down on Wednesday so we can go again!  Think we'll hit the magic 60 again?  We've used up about half our goes already!

Navispam: Anyone want a Sodah?

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that Shab made me watch some druid PvP videos, and I found them really useful.  They were made by a druid, Sodah, and specifically spoke about Arenas and resto druid tactics to survive.  After that, I watched all his videos, and  he streams as well on Sodez (his priest) which is not as exciting for me to watch as his druid.

Anyway, so I thought he were pretty cool.  I noticed that Sodah was on a PvP server in our battlegroup, and one day I remember being in a random BG with my friends and we noticed someone from Sodah's guild.    I pointed it out to Shab and 

Coincidences however, seem to run in threes, and when I was reading Cannot be Tamed, Jasyla was on Team Wafflecast Podcast resto druid round table #3 - with Sodah!  A sign?  A hint?  Well, who knows!  When I dropped by to say hello to Apotheosis, I asked Jas if Sodah was nice.  She said he was.  So I decided Sodah would be my next Navispam victim as he was pretty easy to find, and he is online a lot - always a formula for success.

Now what, would an ace PvP resto druid think of some random nobody who asks for his picture?  Sodah doesn't know who I am, and most of what I talk about is of no interest to someone of that calibre, so it's a little embarrassing, to say the least.  But, you only live once!  And how else do I express my admiration, right?  This is borderline creepy but, it's what I do.

So off I go to the server.  And, I have toons on other PvP servers, but none of those servers were like Tichondrius.

Firstly, it's PACKED.  Server is locked at peak times, and their peak times are US, so when I try to get in at those times, there is a queue of 300....

Secondly, once I got to the major cities, I realised that trade chat was VERY different to my server trade chat.  Trade was FULL of RBG requests, arena requests... all high rated and scary looking!

I whispered one of the officers, a rogue and he was pleasant and answered my question.  He even said that Sodah was a nice, cool guy.  The next time I logged on, I saw Sodah on Sodez but he had a DND on and was not replying, so I decided to send an ingame mail instead.

I wasn't really expecting a reply, but I was hopeful.  I tried to word it so that I would inject the right amount of flattery with enough girlish embarrassment to sound cute, and be not too creepy that he would think I was a stalker.

Anyhow, I got a reply a couple of days later!  Though I had to laugh because he wrote:

"Haha!  No problem, I'll be at Blizzcon, if you can find me then it shall be done you weirdo you."

OMG he thought I wanted a REAL pic?  Now that's super stalky!  Though, Cynwise thought exactly the same thing when I sent him a tweet to ask about a Navispam... maybe it's a PvPer thing?  I had to laugh and write back and say I wanted a pic of his TOON.  He replied with a LOL.

So, lucky me logged in again at peak time (Damn those 300+ people in the queue ZOMG) and I saw him in Dalaran.  Blah, how was I going to get there?  I whispered Sodah and asked if it was ok if I took a pic with him and he said only if I could find him.  So I was wracking my brain thinking how to get there, and as I was about to get on the Zeppelin to Borean Tundra and have Luxy fly me across to Dal (hoping it would work CRZ) I noticed Sodah had moved to Org.  I ran around Org on my little legs, /tar Sodah as I ran and eventually found Sodah on top of a building.  Now how the hell was I going to get up there?

Someone sent me a whisper, asking me to join their guild (I had ticked the block guild invites option in Interface) and I said I would if they could put me on the roof of a building.  They said they would.  So I joined this poor random guild and got one of my new guildies to drop me on top of the building.  The person was very nice, and I feel bad using them that way but what could a level 2 offer them?

So, I whispered Sodah to say I was taking his picture, thanked him, and then logged off.  I noticed he was changing his look - he was wearing Nightsong Tier now instead of Malorne Tier.  Well, at least his female tauren was dressed nicely!  Sodah was prolly alt tabbed, so I didn't get the chance to ask him any questions, but I am glad he gave me his permission to take his pic LOL - thank you Sodah!  I've put him up with my other resto druid heroes Beru and Jasyla, and the PvP aspect of his healing truly inspires me to be a better all round resto druid player :)

Weekend PvP

It was a nice round of PvP for me this weekend.  I managed to conquest cap because of my conquest "discoveries" so I managed to grab an extra item this week.  I told Shab about it and poor Shab had to go and do all the scenarios for the area before he could start his dailies so he couldn't take advantage of those points.  He didn't need to do them anyway - more on that later.

Friday PvP was rather satisfying because with a full group of 5 we were just doing our usual half teamwork thing.  And I really felt like I needed to smash some Alliance faces to take a break from raiding and wiping.  We took Frostie with us on her priest, Priestietute (who was cross server from Frostmourne).  After a few warmup games we did our arenas so Sev and I could cap, and we had some good games that evening - not as many pesky rogues or boomkins as last week.  I've grown to love Blade's Edge Arena again annoying the crap out of people with my porting up and down - still haven't tried Sodah's wild charge tip yet.  I just never seem to lay mushrooms right.

Still trying to work on my pillaring for Nagrand and Uldum.  I ALWAYS end up pillaring myeslf from my teammates as they try to flush out the pillaring healer on the opposing team.  Hmm, speaking of arenas, what happened to the Orgrimmar one with the elevating pillars?   I haven't seen that arena for ages.

There was a enhance shaman team that smashed us the first time but when we got them again we paid them back.  It paid off to go tree for early for that one.

When Frostie went to bed we grabbed Dah for another game before it was too late and we had to sleep.  At least it was a win to go out on!

All this week, I had been busy every time Joubran's GM has whispered me with a spot for RBG, but when raid was forced to finish early on Sunday because Raked's game died for some unknown reason (there was much mirth over a Google search of the error message) I thought I would take the opportunity to RBG.  Joubran's GM was running a low rated team since he was conquest capping his mage, who had recently hit 90.

I asked if I could bring a friend - I knew Shab would love to come for an RBG - and so I brought Shab.  He only got 2 games in, but he won both games, so he was super pleased about that!  The first game, Twin peaks, was really hairy, and we scraped a cap in at the end.  The tension and adrenaline was high in that one!  The Temple game that followed seemed more like a random BG than a rated - I didn't feel like the other team was very organised, and we weren't super organised either, not like that other Temple game I did with the same group a while ago, where the opposing team was like a well oiled machine.  Anyway, Shab was pretty pleased with his performance in those BGs, and happy about the conquest cap as well, as he had pulled his weight and proven himself even with no RBG rating.

I hung around a bit longer, and it wasn't long before Basilio showed up and he said that Joubran was getting online soon.  I was happy because I enjoy doing RBGs with her guild much more when she is there!  She wasn't going to RBG as she was feeling a little down in the dumps so I gave her a Corefire Imp to help cheer her up - who doesn't love pets when they're sad? :)  Anyway, perhaps she felt bribed after that so she joined for 2 RBG - unfortunately both were losses but we had fun healing together.  The AB was pretty ordinary and I could not ninja cap stables to save my life, but Temple was even worse.

"I hate carrying orbs," I said to Joubran.  "It's just a death sentence because when the enemy team sees HEALER WITH ORB = SQUISHY KILL IT"
"I don't like mines," said Joubran.
"I don't mind that so much, I just feel really useless in this BG," I said.

The other team had 3 with the orb standing in the middle and SO MANY STACKS and nobody could seem to be able to get to them to kill them!  We also were one man down - Joubran's GM was afk because power was failing.  At the end of the game, when those guys finally died, Joubran and I both picked up orbs and stood next to each other healing each other and I emoted her how I hate carrying this ball, but the game ended so nobody came for us anyway.

I did a couple more games, 2 with the higher rated mains which was a bit stressful but we won!  Two WSG wins gave me an achievement and a little more rating - but it's the highest rating I've had for rated BGs ever so it was exciting for me!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Achievement roundup this week

Still working on those new BG achievements, and edging closer and closer - is it just me or are those achievements way easier than the older BG ones?  Anyway, only one really elusive one for me in mines - the ninja cap!  I thought this Escort Service achievement was a bit buggy - I'm not sure if I have to escort the mine ALL the way from capture or whether I just have to be in the vicinity if I capture.  And I also wasn't sure if being on my mount made it not count as a capture.  Anyway, either way I got it, so I can stop playing like a ning-nong now.

Shadow Rising let me and Lushnek come with them again for the last achievement I needed for my Glory of the Cataclysm Raider.  Yay, Heroic Conclave down!  That mount is better looking than I thought originally.  Still probably won't ever use it though.

I got Nalak this week for the first time.  That was an easy achievement.

And I went around camping those Warbringers and Warscouts for Zul'Again.  It was just as well that Lushnek was keen on the rep stuff that drops so that I didn't have to solo it (not that I could solo a Warbringer) or drag some reluctant person with me.  I have no alts so that rep thing is pretty pointless to me, so I was glad Lush was collecting them - he got enough to get his mage to exalted with August Celestials so now those Imperial Silks will be put to good use making bags!

Saturday was challenge mode day again, and we would have started earlier if Lushnek hadn't chosen Pinnacle of Storms as our LFR.  Of course, we didn't finish, but at least I got some loot (Tier shoulders yay).  We decided this time to do the daily challenge mode which was Mogu'shan Palace and after a few false starts and resets, we managed to live through our occasional death on a boss or trash and on the final boss Arv tanked the boss at the door and we managed to scrape into a Silver Medal with just 40 seconds to spare - we were all so excited!  3 achievements out of that run (Challenge mode, Bronze and Silver).

So then we went to do Arv's daily but it was Scholo and Arv wasn't sure he'd have time to do it, so we skipped to Scarlet Halls instead.  There was a slight hiccup as well - we had reset the instance so many times me and Luxy were locked out and were forced to have a 10 minute break!  We spent so much time wiping on trash and trying to stealth/die/res through the cannon bit it was hilarious, but we were only 2 minutes off a medal despite all our wipes!  So hopefully next time we will get a bronze LOL.

And 25 wins in rated BG finally.  It's gonna be a LOOOONG way to that mount...

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Minipost: Things about Conquest points I did not know

I was looking at my conquest points today and I noticed that I had 150 points over conquest cap for arenas. How did I get that?  I didn't win any rated BGs... however I did play one rated and we didn't win.  I so did not realise that you get conquest for LOSING a rated BG.  Gosh, then a whole bunch of people could play half heartedly just to get the points cap!  I guess this is part of how Blizz wants people who are joining late in the season to catch up.

The other thing I didn't know was about the Sunreaver dailies on the Isle of Thunder.

I knew that you could choose between PvE and PvP dailies, and I've never chosen the PvP dailies because of the Valour points you get.  However, what I DIDN'T realise is that those conquest points go ABOVE your arena/BG cap, so you can get an extra 350 points above your conquest cap from arena/BG without having to do rated BGs.  That's 50 points off the max cap if you aren't getting the extra conquest from high ratings, but it's better than nothing, right?

So yay, extra conquest points are cool!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Making Friends and Enemies from Battle Pets

Server pet battling communities tend to be small.  The top pet battlers/levellers and collectors on the realm recognise each other and tend to be friendly - that's how I met Luxy and Kamelle.  A good friend of mine, Cavendar, told me about his friend Yuuna, who is an avid pet battler, and is the #1 on their server (Proudmoore) for pet battle levels.  I am not someone who upgrades EVERY pet to rare and gets it to 25 - I tend to do the ones I like, and I'm just lazy!  Anyway, Yuuna was looking for some flying and beast stones to upgrade the final few pets, so Cavendar introduced us and I brought Luxy to meet him (as she only JUST beats him on pet levels) and we chatted about pets while I upgraded all his pets that I could and we showed off our favourites.

Cavendar felt left out of the Ethereal club
A gander of giraffes
Swapping minfernal stories

Yuuna was trailing me and Luxy in the carp department (we have one he has none) and I thought of Cymre who has all 4 and all the time she must have spent fishing because I have not had much luck fishing the other ones.  So he and I agreed to nag each other for carp fishing.  Luxy was pleased to meet another pet person who was happy to trade stones!  Yuuna upgraded my undeads for me in return for his flying and beasts.

However, things do not always go smoothly during such transactions.  Luxy was doing someone a favour, and levelling their pets for free, but when she traded their pets back, the person INSISTED that they had given her rares.  Luxy knew perfectly well they had not as she had all rares and there is no way she would have greens in her possession. But the person kicked up such a fuss and was yelling at her that she gave in and gave them her rares!  She was sad by the silly person and I told her she shouldn't have given in because that person is probably talking about how they swindled her :(  Why can't everyone be like Cymre who was very pleased and grateful to have her pets levelled for her?

For the most part, all my interactions have been positive.  Here's to making new friends! And having new pets (thank you my dear pet battle friends!)

Friday, April 19, 2013

Wednesday raiding - Take THAT Council!

Booyah!  Council is DOWN!  It appears that 60 is our magic number...

We tried so many things, but in the end, people can't stand in bad, tanks have to taunt, and healers have to heal a lot.  We did the Sul goes second method, so that we never got Sul to enrage again.  Mana was ALWAYS tight.  We don't have spell power, we don't have bloodlust, and we didn't have healthstones (though I thought they were valuable, not everyone agreed) but we somehow managed to do it!

Halfway through the night we managed to get Sul down.  But a few people were dead then so it wasn't a real attempt but it was encouraging!

On the kill attempt, Raked said with a resigned voice "Can we just kill this?  I'm getting tired and bored of this," and he resolutely faced Sul's foot again.  I honestly did not think that this attempt would go well, because it was 1040pm and we were all tired and demoralised.

But the fight went well.  People were not dying to bad stuff.  There were close calls of course, but they either used their healthstones or we managed to catch them.  Mana was CRAP.  There was a point when the raid was all around 20% health and I was in tree form just spamming regrowth on Raked so he would not die and I burned through 150k of mana.  Lush was OOM and so was Soul.  A few more seconds until innervates was up.... then Fue died. He got rezzed but died a minute later whilst trying to taunt a mob off Raked.  I was thinking what the other healers were thinking - PLEASE KILL SOMETHING! - and even Soultouched said "Can you please kill Sul?" and I watched as Sul's health ticked down and he went down.  I cheered!  Then the next to go down was Mar'li I think, and the Frost King went down and healing was SO much easier by then.

"Don't go crazy," said Narishma as they all went on Kazra'jin.  "Careful with dots too coz they continue to tick," said Lushnek.  But OMG the cheering when we got it down!  What a huge relief!

Talk about druid love!  Healing chest dropped as well as Tier gloves.  I took the gloves and Lush took the chest, so I was super pleased as I now had my two set tier bonus!  Falln and Moo rolled, and both got loot, with Falln getting a THUNDERFORGED Zerat, Malakk's Soulburning Greatsword, and Moopie getting a ring.

On the kill, I had a look at my spells and boy was I embarrassed!  My mouse button 4 is not working properly and half the time wild growth does not get cast on my button press and you can see that in the heals I used.  Wild growth should be very high on my list, but I have it way down - it's below LIFEBLOOM for goodness sake.  I really need to fix that button on my mouse or get a new mouse.

Oh we also got to see a cutscene, which was pretty cool, as it showed us in the cutscene.  I thought it was quite funny because some poor person wasn't in the cutscene... not sure why...

But good work guys!  Can't wait till Sunday (as long as Raked isn't playing soccer) when we can start bashing our heads on Torta.  Yay Frostwolves!

Pandaren Book of Fables - Dos-Ryga (Navimie and Mataoka edition)

I love fables! And with the new Fabled Pets added in 5.2, they were just begging for a story. So Mataoka and I decided to make up our own book of fables to talk about these amazing creatures we battle for our gorgeous little pandas. It's a series that may take a few weeks, but once we're done we can put it into one big post!  This is the third post in the series.

"Have you ever read the great Pandaren book of fables? Pandaren pass these stories on to their cubs - stories of the cricket and the hawk, or the slow-moving turtle - to teach them lessons that they will find useful in life. What few cubs know is that these creatures exist, here, in Pandaria! Though the stories of their travels are made up, they are powerful denizens of this world. Should you happen upon them in your travels, you may test the might of your pets against their storied statures."
- Gentle San, Beasts of Fable

The Mighty Dos-Ryga

There were many fish that liked to test their limits, but none were more bold than Dos-Ryga, the big green carp.

From when she was a little fish, she was told that fish could not go out of water.

"You'll die," said the Emperor salmon.  "The only time we can leave the water is if we're jumping out of the water to catch flies or insects to eat."

"Then why," asked Dos-Ryga, "Do we not die when we jump out of the water?"

"Because," said the Krasarang Paddlefish, "The air is only poisonous to us in large amounts.  We can take small amounts, small doses."

It sounded very silly to Dos-Ryga.  Why was the air poisonous to fish but not to other creatures of the land?

"Don't you know ANYTHING?" said the Jewel Danio haughtily.  "Fish can't SWIM on land.  You can't even move!"

Dos-Ryga couldn't believe that if she went on land she would be immobile like a stone. She wanted to see for herself.  One day she decided to test a theory and flipped herself out of the water onto some rocks, well hidden from predators by low lying branches.  As she lay there, she found it harder and harder to breathe, and when she couldn't stand the suffocating feeling anymore, she slipped back into the water, and gasped as the water flooded her gills, and she breathed easily once more.  She could move on land, just not very well.  It wasn't swimming but she wasn't immobile.

I wonder, thought Dos-Ryga, if I practice, perhaps I will be able to spend more time out of water?

Every day Dos-Ryga would jump out of the water as much as she could.  She would do flips, and spins, jumping as high as she could, trying to stay in the air as long as possible.  She would throw herself out onto sandbanks and then flip herself back in again.  Little did she know, that all of this exercise would make her strong, stronger than any of the other fish.

One day, a bear came to the lake, and saw all the fish in the lake and thought what a wonderful plentiful food source he had found!  The fish were terrified, but not Dos-Ryga.  How dare he come to her home!

When the bear came to fish, he spied the shiny scales of Dos-Ryga.  "Aha!  There's my first meal!" said the bear, and swiped the water with his big paws, trying to catch Dos-Ryga.

Dos-Ryga jumped out of the water, spinning, and dancing, deftly avoiding all of the bear's attempts to catch her.  She even leapt at the bear's face and landed a resounding slap with her tail.  She splashed water in his face, and she even managed to throw in a few more painful humiliating whacks with her rear end.  The bear was enraged and tried for hours to try to catch her, to teach this fish a lesson, but Dos-Ryga had more practice and more stamina at jumping and flipping in the water, and soon the bear became tired and frustrated, and he left, hungry, and decided to try and find an easier meal.  He told the other bears of the strange fish of that lake, who were so strong that they could fight you for hours, and you could never, ever catch them.

Now, in every body of water in Pandaria, there lives a Water spirit.  Water spirits are mischievous things but their job is to protect their home.  The Water spirit who lived in Dos-Ryga's lake saw what Dos-Ryga had done to protect the lake and her friends, and rewarded her with a spirit bubble, the same bubble that water spirits used to glide out and about.  Dos-Ryga was thrilled - the bubble would encase her and allow her to float above land, and be able to breathe.  Dos-Ryga took her new gift and travelled far and wide across Pandaria, exploring, and was the only fish to ever do so.

So you see, little ones, if you practice hard and exercise every day, you too can be like Dos-Ryga, so strong that she could beat a bear, who was much larger than herself.  If you ever see Dos-Ryga and challenge her to a sparring match, be prepared to lose for she can outlast you!

Read the other stories in the series:
Lucky Yi
Skitterer Xi'a

Note: Fun fact - Dos-Ryga is an anagram of Gyrados, a dragon water-type pokemon.  I love pop culture references! :D

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Griefing doesn't pay

Souglyy and Roshii have been farming those Zandalari Warbringers like there's no tomorrow.  Mounts drop from them, 3 different colours, and they hadn't seen one drop yet.  They used to do it on their mains (hunter and rogue) but there were changes to pet tanking with it and taunting and the warbringers cannot be taunted anymore, so they switched to a tank healer combo from their bevy of alts.

I found my first one the other day and I asked them to come along so they could get the mount, and I could get part of my achievement Zul'Again done because I have difficulty killing those things if I'm not partied up.  Lushnek was with me as well.  And wouldn't you know it, a Jade Primordial Direhorn dropped!  I passed it and Souglyy won it and she was so pleased.  Lush was keen on the BoA rep stuff but Souglyy won them both as they both greeded, but it's not tradeable once you win it which was a bum.  The stuff they drop is pretty cool!

Great for getting rep for alts!  Each one gives 2200 rep when you have the guild perk + the bonus commendations from your main.  Helps you bypass that golden lotus rep for your alts, as well as pushing them into the recipes you need!

So on maintenance night, before shutdown, Roshii and Souglyy were off farming Warbringers again, and they came across one.  There was a single alliance hunter DPSing some mob off to the side, so they thought he wasn't engaging the mob.  However, as he saw the approach, he turned and engaged the Warbringer.  Well, they knew he was not going to be able to solo the mob, so they sat and waited for him to die so they could grab it after.  The hunter died, and so then they engaged the Warbringer.  Well, the hunter was not happy, so when he rezzed, he flagged himself and stood right under the Warbringer, so Rosh and Souglyy were very careful with their DPS.  They killed the Warbringer and moved onto the next one, without getting flagged.

The hunter followed them to the next one and then had a shaman friend come and try to taunt the warbringer off but it can't be taunted.  After Souglyy and Roshii killed that one, they went to the next and the two alliance followed again, then both flagged up.

Lushnek was partied up with them and had been afk doing some work, but he came back to find the shaman was spamming Roshii for a duel as they waited for a Warbringer to spawn.  As he flew over, Roshii and Souglyy asked Shab if he would mind coming over to help get rid of the griefers, and Shab said he would.  So Lush landed, and managed to kill the shaman and then the hunter started killing Lushnek.  Shab turned up as the hunter killed Lush and returned the favour, so Roshii and Souglyy could camp in peace.  Souglyy had a big giggle after that, it made her day to see those annoying guys get their just desserts.  They had been following Souglyy and Roshii for 40 minutes!

The warbringer was up by then and so the group of Frosties killed it and then the alliance duo hung around a little more, so Shab and Lushnek killed them a few more times.  They flew away after that, and pulled a warscout, but Lush and Shab decided to teach them one last lesson and killed them again and then killed the scout, and left the poor alliance in peace after that.

All I can say is... I'm glad that I'm not on a PvP server.  Camping those things must be an absolute nightmare!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Minipost: 2H caster mace? Haven't seen one since Molten Core!

I was doing LFR the other day and you always get the excited feeling when you roll and the die spin takes a little longer than normal because it means you're getting loot!  So loot pops up and I'm all excited, wondering what it is... and it's a healing weapon!

I was surprised, I hadn't seen this weapon on the loot table.  And it's because it's one of those drops that can  drop off any boss but is pretty uncommon.  It was Invocation of the Dawn.

2H mace? A healing 2H mace?  Wow, I haven't had one of those since Molten Core!  Which was when I had picked up Finkle's Lava Dredger.

Obviously there are other 2H healing items like staves which I have used for a while, but not 2H maces!  Perhaps they brought them back for the monks to use?

It looks very monk-like if you are going for the asian look but it doesn't go with my transmog at all!  Yes, yes very vain, I know.

I wasn't sure if I wanted to use it over my sha-touched weapon, but I saw hat they had heaped a lot of spellpower on it to make up for the loss of the 500 intellect gem.  And with the addition of a socket in it using wrathion's thing, it doesn't look too shabby except that it has no spirit on it.

And wouldn't you know it, I had nothing in my bank for it.  I USED to - but I threw it out in my spring clean because I thought when would I ever use a 2H mace again?  It was Ironsoul, which is from Ulduar.

Fortunately it drops off the Flame Leviathan, the first boss in Ulduar so it is an easy boss to farm and it doesn't take long.  So, I went in there this week and I was lucky and it dropped for me!  Phew!  Arvash came along so he could get Take Out Those Turrets.

So I transmogrified my weapon to Ironsoul and now I think it goes quite well with my current set - yay!  And I do like the look of having a weapon on my back rather than sheathed at the waist.  I love using 2H weapons :)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Why Wreck-it Ralph is like Challenge Modes (and my first proper look at them)

I saw Wreck-it Ralph at the movies with the kids. And I LOVED IT. The kids loved it. And the funny thing about it, is that so many things in the movie could be about Challenge Modes.

"All right, Gene, you know what? I'm gonna win a medal! Oh, I am gonna win a medal. The shiniest medal this place has ever seen. A medal that will be so good, that it'll make all of Felix's medals wet their pants!"
- Wreck-it Ralph
Ralph is a bad guy, and he is sick of being a bad guy and wants to get a medal.  Now, challenge modes, are about not being a bad guy player and playing like a good guy player and getting a medal if you're any good.

Challenge modes are a race to do a dungeon as fast as you can.  Your gear is scaled down to ilvl 463 but you get to keep all your haste/exp/hit caps from your current gear which is useful as you probably couldn't hit those with 463 gear.  There is no loot that drops (you can't even open boxes or sacks that you have in your bags from outside because there is NO LOOTING in the instance).  I have wanted to try challenge modes but you really have to have the right attitude to want to do it, you can't just pick up any old person.  I used to think it was the zone of the heroic raiders only, and not really for us non heroic raiders.  You have to be:
  • ready for lots of wipes as you figure out how to do it efficiently
  • be able to cc and use your own survival cooldowns to live
  • really important to avoid damage because mana is tight
  • be quick on those cc's, switches, dispels
So just like in Vanellope and Ralph, you gotta find someone with the same goals/ideals as you!

"Look, you want that medal, right? And I want to race. So, here's what I'm thinking... You help me get a new kart--a REAL kart--and I'll win the race and get you back your medal."
- Vanellope von Schweetz
Oh and you know they're timed, getting silvers in all the challenge modes (finishing them all in 25 minutes) gets you a cool mount!

"I love it, I love it, I love it, I love it!  Look it's got a real engine and these wheels... I love it!"
- Vanellope von Schweetz

Ok wait, that's Vanellope's cool mount in the movie.  Well, cool to some.  It does look rather delicious!  Here's a pic of the Challenger mode mounts from when I visited Apotheosis.

"I want it, I want it, I want it!  Look at those feathers and the colours... I love it!"
Oh, and if you win gold, you get to wear pretty clothes!  Just like Princess Vanellope!  Don't you think she looks like a cupcake? :D  OMG oops, sorry for the spoilers peeps!

The gold challenge armour for druids is the Cycle set and it looks pretty damn sweet!  It doesn't quite look like a cupcake but it does look rather swish.

Courtesy of WoWRoleplaygear.com
Anyway, so those are the parallels between Wreck it Ralph and Challenge modes!  Now, onto my thoughts on the Challenge modes themselves.

My interest was peaked in Challenge modes again after reading Beru's post at Falling Leaves and Wings about Why You Should do Challenge Modes.  And she said this:

In short, Challenge Modes require you to become a better player and learn more about your class.

I was intrigued.  Beru said that I would learn my limits and push myself to the max, and do it in a group.  Hopefully, that's a like minded group!  However, how to find someone who is like minded?  Who wants to put in the hard yards, late nights, early mornings, or whatever it takes!

None of our guild tanks are particularly into time wasting in wiping in dungeons for personal achievements for no loot and not much valour.  Moo said he would tank for me, but I know what he's like with achievements, and his patience with strangers isn't really the most forgiving, and he can't do late nights (peak time is sucked up by raiding, PvP, LFR, dailies... where is there time for anything else).  I only had one reliable tank I could ask that I knew would have some reliable cross over with me, and that was Arvash.  The time of crossover is very late at night for me, and earlyish for him.  And he's an achievement nut, he'd like to do that stuff.

Luxy was also very keen to do challenge modes.  So between the two of us, we convinced Arv to come tank (actually, it wasn't that hard.  It was more like "Hey, come and tank some Challenge modes?  I'll heal and Luxy can lust and dps!"  And he pretty much said ok!) and we tried to find DPS for our runs.  I knew Roshii and Souglyy would love to come, so I asked them first if they would like to come.  However, I forgot to mention the times of day we would be doing them.

So, Saturday night 11pm was the time we decided upon.  However, Arv was up really early - because Mrs Arv was out of town, so he could get on early and not get in trouble for playing WoW all day!  That, and he also had work to do, so he was half afk doing stuff, and he wouldn't be done for a while.  He couldn't focus to tank a raid or a challenge mode, but he was ok to half ass DPS an LFR with me and Lush.

Luxy got a bit excited and told Rosh and Souglyy to come, but Arv wasn't finished with work, and by the time he was done, it was their bedtime (it was coming onto 2330).  So we had to find 2 other people who were happy to guinea pig with us, and I dragged Lushnek and Luxy dragged Karnmageddon to fill our group.

"Scarlet Halls is the easiest," said Karnm.  And so we tried to go do that.  Small hiccup though.

"Uh oh, I haven't done this on heroic on this toon... OMG I'm so sorry!  I can't enter challenge mode!" wailed Luxygaga.

So that was that.  We had to go to Scarlet Monastery instead.

We didn't start off well.  We wiped on the first trash group!  That was because Starfall pulled mobs from everywhere and we were overwhelmed.  Ouch.

So we reset it and started again.  We made it to the boss, didn't wipe, but then the first group of trash in the corridor wiped us another 5 or 6 times.  It was... humiliating to say the least!

By the time we figured out our CCs and line of sight and set our targets (and figured out that we are NOT pulling them outside LOL) we'd wasted a fair bit of time on it.  We had a few more wipe pulls and then we got to the next boss which was easy.  Then into the cathedral we went and you can't do that back corner pull like you do on a normal heroic, the whole room comes!  So we did it the normal way, and I was worried about mana but we managed to get it and we finished our first Challenge mode!  Now, I didn't know that you get an achievement just for doing the challenge mode, I thought you only get an achievement if you got a medal.  It took us an hour - OK NO LAUGHING, it was our first time!  I'm sure our subsequent efforts will be better :)

The next day, we planned to do Jade Temple.  Karn had been there before so all his tips were really helpful. This one was different - no cc happening here.  The first boss was different - we all had to run in together or we died from some sort of ranged attack, and the adds had to be kited out to be killed, or the splashy water stuff they left on the ground when they died would be really painful for us.  We died running in the first time.  The next time we stuffed up was when we hit the courtyard and then wiped and came back in all different directions when we rezzed, and the NPCs had dragged off some of the sha we needed to kill to get the boss to spawn.

The Sha at the end was slightly more challenging, but I managed to make it through with enough mana.  We got our first medal!

At the end of it, though I wasn't really pushed to my limits as a healer because we were still in the learning phase, I thought back to what Beru said.
Anyone who is looking to expand what they thought they knew about their class will find that they still had things to learn though the process of completing challenge modes. And that is the beauty of them. They really make you understand every aspect of your role. Every random talent has potential benefits. Every outside of the box solution has potential.

I didn't really find that in my challenge modes.  Perhaps it's because I also PvP with my druid, and that also pushes my skills to the limits, from escaping traps and burning cooldowns to avoid dying and saving my teammates, as well as cc'ing.  But I've only done a couple of challenge modes so far.  Perhaps if I ever reach a silver or gold, I might have to revisit this statement.  So I'll end this post with something I thought about druid healing, pre 5.2, which fit in very nicely with the Bad-Anon motto in Wreck-it Ralph, when druids were somewhere near the bottom of desirable classes of healers behind pallies, shamans and disc priests....