Archive for the ‘Cataclysm!’ Category
If I had a theme song for this expansion, I’m pretty sure it would be Survivor. As we finally stop to catch our breath, I feel like I’ve just gone through nine rounds with Sugar Ray Robinson, and while he won by unanimous decision, I had the victory of being able to walk out of the ring at the end of the fight.
Raiding in Cataclysm has been an experience that has had many ups and downs for me, and as I sit here at the end of it all, I find that I don’t have as much to say about it as I thought I would. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely have a few things to say, but at the end of the day I find myself exhausted from the journey, and happy to be finished so that I can stop and rest a minute before charging into MoP. However, before I hang my gloves up for the off-season and go drink beer and shuck oysters (wtf…I don’t even LIKE oysters!), I thought I’d give a few of my thoughts on raiding this expansion.
The Biggest, Baddest, Hardest Boss of Cataclysm was Recruitment
Hands down, I think the thing that just about every guild struggled with was maintaining a roster of players capable of meeting their goals. Trying to recruit to keep up with the attrition, especially for a 25 man raid team, was a daunting task that unfortunately doesn’t look to be getting any easier as we move into the Mists. It was also the thing that killed more guilds than anything else, although I think that Heroic Rag is probably a close second for “guild killers” this expansion.
The Best Raid Tier Was…
For me, I think it was Tier 11. My only complaint with the tier was how long it was, and how little time we had to finish it out relative to its length. Ok, and maybe the over use of interrupt mechanics. But overall, I really enjoyed most of the encounters present in the tier and found the level of difficulty to flow pretty well. Even though I hated Ascendant Council with a passion, and wanted to shove a lightning bolt up Al’Akir’s ass, I found most of the encounters to be dynamic and interesting from both a healing perspective and a raid perspective.
The Worst Encounter This Expansion was…
Dude! Read like two posts ago! (I jest…) Heroic Spine of Deathwing, without a doubt. While I was frustrated with the pacing of the Heroic Ragnaros encounter, nothing compares to the tedium of the Heroic Spine encounter. Since I just posted on it, I won’t rehash everything outside of stating that I hope to never see an encounter designed like this again.
The State of Druid Healing at the End of the Cataclysm
At the end of the expansion, I’d probably grade us at a B/B-. As our gear progressed we were a little less constrained with utilizing rejuv, but I still feel like it costs us more to have the output of both Holy Paladins and Priests, and that we were less effective, less efficient and had to work harder for the same results, all while bringing less to the table. However, being a druid at the start of T13 and working through T13 progression was often times painful and frustrating at best. It is my hope that as we see some changes moving forward that help to supplement our strengths without punishing us for them.
Killing Deathwing was…
A breath of fresh air. I know a lot of people indicate that they feel the encounter is somewhat unfulfilling, and to an extent I can agree with them and see where they are coming from, for me, however, I was just so glad that we made it. I’m glad that, despite many struggles, I held in there and that the guild held in there and we pushed through to the end. In an expansion that almost killed us as a guild, we persevered, and I guess that what our victory meant to me was more important that the actual thrill of the kill. If that even makes sense. I’m just thankful that our team pulled together and that we have some down time and some extra time for “fun things” before Pandas take over the world. I’m really looking forward to that.
My Overall Thoughts of Dragon Soul
Unlike some other folks, I didn’t really mind the use of re-hashed scenery. I thought that most of the boss encounters were OK, but none of them were anything that will be retold in my WoW history as I recount my past glories. I’d probably give it a B- if I had to grade it. Some of the zone is colored by non-raid related happenings that aren’t really the fault of the zone, but even setting that aside I just can’t think of one boss in the zone that felt like killing Illidan or C’thun or Princess Huhuran or Nefarian (either time).
An Observation of the expansion
I think I’ll conclude with one last observation. For me, everything about this expansion felt very rushed. I felt pushed into new content before I was ready. I felt that content came out too quickly for a large majority of the playerbase. I felt like I was moving on Blizzard’s seemingly rigid time table, which was disconcerting when it felt like a little more time was needed. And as we come upon a new expansion, with an unknown release date and a beta that hasn’t even started yet – I can’t help but ask “what was the rush?”. Would adding another month of T11 progression have been a bad thing? Would another month of Firelands have let more of those 6/7 guilds push into 7/7? Granted, I don’t know Blizzard’s reasoning for their time table, but sitting here at the finish line, I do believe that I would have preferred a little more time at the start of the race than at the end.
Regardless, I’m weary, glad for the rest and so very proud of our team!
Last night we went in and spent some quality time with Al’Akir. Before we encountered him, there were a few crass jokes – like our goblin warrior refraining from wanting to tank him because “he’s too big for my tiny goblin body” *ahem*. But once we got in, we were ready to get down to business.
We had done our research, were ready for the encounter, and after a couple of hours managed to snag a kill.
However, I’m not really here to talk about the kill, per se, although I will answer any questions that you might have regarding the fight in the comments or via email. (We used a 1 tank, 2 melee, 4 ranged, 3 healer set up). What I am here to talk about is why I think that guilds will end up struggling with what is largely a fun and interesting encounter. Read the rest of this entry »
Last night, on my quest to figure out if Atremedes’ gongs are bugged, I made the mistake of venturing to the official dungeon and raid forums. I’m not sure why I thought that there would be much useful information there, but I really wanted to explore every avenue to see if we were dealing with a buggy encounter, or frankly, just botching a mechanic and not playing well.
(For those curious – gongs were not zeroing out our sound. It was suggested that perhaps it was just a tick of the searing flame that got off the same time as the gong, but people’s sound was more than the 7 that would be created by that tick, so I don’t know if that is it. I still have not found an answer – so if anyone has any insight, I’m all ears).
Anyhow, back to the point. The forums not only failed to have any helpful information, but when I arrived, what I was exposed to was enough tears to flood the Nile. I am not exaggerating. The majority of the posts were akin to “thanks for killing WoW for the ‘casual’ player, Blizzard”. And so I proceeded to read through some of these posts. And the Cliff’s notes version of the majority of the complaints is basically “the game is too hard”.
Of course, I have been enjoying myself immensely this expansion. I have found things challenging, and I have had a good time working through the challenges that I have been presented with. Of course, I also wouldn’t call myself “casual” in any sense. So, naturally, this got me to thinking about the complaints literally flooding the forums and the validity of said complaints. Read the rest of this entry »
Well…you won’t find it here! (I jest…mostly! :P )
In my “posts to have go live during Cataclysm Release week” I had slotted to do a post with a comprehensive listing of the level 85 Pre-Raid Resto druid gear that was available at launch. However, at some point I got the crazy idea that a week before release would be the perfect time to re-do our guild website – and became entrenched in The Great Front Page Project. While I am happy to announce that I am incredibly pleased with the results of that project, I am a bit saddened that it meant I had to pull my efforts away from the blog on the eve of Cataclysm.
Since I have already outlined the post that I had intended to do, and I did a very similar post for WotLK Resto Druid gear, when I have a few free minutes I will likely go ahead finish it out, because I do think that it will be a useful resource to have available here.
However, being part of a thriving community (hooray!) does have it’s perks, as other members of the Resto Druid Community have had time to sort through all of the gear available to you! And so, until I’m able to properly get my guide up for you, I’d like to offer you links to several resources that are available as you start to sort through all of the new gear that is out there – and how the stat weightings for Resto Druid’s have shifted and changed. Each guide offers a different perspective, and so I do encourage you to explore the different thoughts of the various authors presented below!
And without further ado:
- I would first encourage everyone to head over and read through EJ’s Resto Druid Guide – Presented by Hamlet. Before we can make determinations on gear, it’s imperative that we understand how each stat is going to effect us, and subsequently the gear choices that we make.
- Once you’ve done that, I’d recommend that you take a look at the extremely comprehensive list provided by
Lightflower EDIT: Lightflower’s thread has been combined with Hamlet’s Guide, listed above. You will also find a nice trinket guide there as well. If you read through some of the commentary from Lightflower’s original post, you will also find some discussion on stat weightings and haste break points that will be useful.
- Jarre gives you an inside look at the items that he’s going to be aiming to collect before his first raid and the reasoning behind his selections.
- If you are a numbers person, you can pop over and look through Angelya’s comprehensive Pre-Raid Gear List complete with an explanation of the formula she used to “score” each item. While you are there, you may also want to check out her Resto Cheat Sheet that has put all of the relevant resto information into a concise – need to know – format.
- Looking for leather caster gear to serve both your Resto and Moonkin needs? Well, Lissanna has put together a list of what non-epic, blue quality, leather caster items are available to you through instancing and justice point purchases.
I do believe that should be sufficient reading to get you started as you reach level 85 and start sorting through your gear! If you have any questions, please let me know and I will be happy to give you my thoughts.
Good Luck, happy questing, and I’ll see you on the flip side of 85!
On Guild Websites
I am debating undertaking the task of changing our guild website front page over to WordPress. We are already self hosted, but some time ago one of our web monkeys found another program/site that made the ease of updating information/progression/applications and the like very simple and subscribed to the service. At the time, this was extremely good for us, because it was right after the guild split and the person that had previously updated the website was no longer doing it – and I had take over the job.
Only I didn’t have a clue what to do.
So the change was incredibly helpful, and made it extremely easy for my simple mind to wrap itself around having to deal with updates onto the front page. I had never had any experience with HTML or CSS or anything of the like. However, what ends up happening is that when you visit our website, you are redirected to a front page that is actually hosted on a different server. When you go to our forums you are redirected back.
Now, it’s been this way for the past four years, and hasn’t been a problem. Except that since I’ve started blogging, I’ve gotten a little more experience with putting stuff out there on the interwebs. And well, now that I have a tiny inkling of what is possible, I am no longer satisfied with the simple system we are now using. While it is very easy to maintain (mostly because someone else does all the work!), it’s also not hugely customizable and somewhat costly. You can see how it currently works by visiting our website at www.monolithwow.com if you’d like to poke around.
As such, the idea of moving our guild front page to WordPress on our current host server (since we are already self hosted) instead of having the redirect, has been floating around in my head for some time. I’ve been weighing out the pros and cons of it – and while I’ve not come to a conclusion just yet on what I’d like to do, I have decided that I do want to import wordpress onto our host server and play around with it and “mock up” a front page to see how much work it would be and if the upkeep seems to be sustainable (I am, of course, assuming that I can do this before sending the change live). I suspect that the lion’s share of the work is going to be in the set up – and that the actual upkeep will be minimal. Of course, I’ll have to archive almost 4 years of stuff from the current front page, but I have 133 days to do that before our subscription on the current system expires.
As you can tell – I’m still in the “oh god can I do this” stage of planning. I think that the answer is “yes”, and I’ll never know if I don’t take the leap and give it a try. It’s not likely to be anything too fancy – but I think I can make it into something that I like better than what we have now. I read through the installation process over at wordpress.org and the first bit of panic entered when I read “set up a database on your server” – so I emailed our server host asking about it, and asking if it is something that I can do or they need to do. I suspect they will need to do it – but I did ask that if it’s something I can do I get a few minutes for them to walk me through it. Maybe I should have offered cookies….
However, having never done anything with self-hosted wordpress before, I’m a bit unsure of myself. Once it’s all downloaded is the interface like the “free” wordpress that you get here on my blog? Will it be as simple to make changes and updates and whatnot? I know that there are tons of plugins for widgets and what not that I can use for things like progression and recruiting, as well as a plethora of themes but is it complicated to get them all downloaded onto my host server? I imagine that once I learn how to do one, the rest will be simple?
If you have experience with this sort of thing, is this something that you’d recommend doing? Will I be overwhelmed by it? Should I hire someone to help me get it all up and running so that I only have to worry about maintaining it? I really do think that I want to make the change, but mostly I’m just absolutely terrified of screwing it up and not having anyone to help me fix it if I do it all wrong.
On Last Minute Alts
Elentari – my mini me. I don’t know that I can put my finger on exactly why the bug bit me, but for some reason it became imperative that she hit 80 before December 7. Maybe it’s because I no longer have a Tauren at level 80, who knows. Regardless, it had to be done. So in between working on guild things to prepare the guild for Cataclysm, and preparing myself for the upcoming holidays, and making sure that everything is order at work before my Cataclysm vacation, I’ve been furiously leveling her. She hit 79 last night when I ran out of steam and needed to do something else. Hopefully here in the next few days she’ll reach level 80
I’m overwhelmed…and somewhat frustrated.
I think that it’s cool that we get the new zones and everything before Cataclysm. But I’m frustrated that even though I’m a loremaster – all of the questing that I did in each zone doesn’t count for the new zone achievements and I have to completely redo each zone. Sure, the content is new and fresh, but I had wanted to experience it on my goblin – from scratch. Having to go back and completely redo each zone on Beru just seems…tedious.
Not to mention the new fishing achievements. How on earth can some of those old fish not be tracked?! Specifically when you have an achievement to fish from different pools of fish?! At the minimum I should have credit in my fishing achievements for the fish in those pools without having to trek out and re-fish them.
I just log in and feel completely overwhelmed at everything to “be done” on Beru. Which is probably why I’ve been spending so much time on Elentari. And thinking about spending the time to redo the guild website. Mostly, I’m just overwhelmed with all of the new stuff. And you know what – there is really no huge rush to get it all done. It will still be there a year from now waiting for me.
I went in the other day and finished out the ICC 5 man achievements that I was missing…and now that Beru can dispel, did The Faceroller as well.
But now I have a dilemma, if you will. Perhaps you can help me out with it. I am sitting on a battered hilt that I purchased off of the auction house with the sole purpose of giving it to my DK to replace her heirloom weapon. But Beru still needs the achievement for doing the battered hilt quest line. Now…Isulde will surely get a weapon upgrade in short order in Cataclysm – so I was thinking the maybe, perhaps, I should give Beru the hilt for her achievement. What do you think?
On Being Prepared
I think I’ve come to the conclusion that no matter how much I prepare, I will never be fully prepared for Catalcysm. No amount of organizing, putting things together, posting on the forums will fully prepare me. So, I think I’m just going to have to settle with being as prepared as I can be, and letting the rest come. Yup. That’s the plan!
I don’t know how many people here know that I’m an avid collector of Non-Combat pets, you can sneak a peek at my collection by clicking on the sprite darter over there on the left if you are curious ;) Anyhow, I am currently at a total of 139 of them to be exact! So while everyone else was out riding the boat in Thousand Needles last night, I was scooping up all of the new non-combat pets that became available with the Shattering! As such, I thought that I would share with you what I found to be available, and any insight on how to go about collecting them for yourself! Read the rest of this entry »
Boubouille posted confirmation this morning on what will, and will not, be part of 4.0.3a. I thought that it was interesting enough information that I wanted to pass it on, for those wondering exactly what to expect here in the next week or so. I don’t think that there is anything that will be a huge surprise to anyone that has been following the Cataclysm news, but we did finally receive a confirmation that the new race/class combos will be live with 4.0.3a. I’ve reproduced the information for you below:
What is not in:
- Creating worgen/goblin characters
- Worgen/Goblin start zones
- Professions past 450 (Illustrious Grand Master)
- Guild leveling
- Guild achievements
- Eastern Kingdoms/Kalimdor flight
- New Zones (80+)
What is in:
- Portals in Dalaran/Shattrath Removed
- Class trainers in Dalaran where portals once were
- New race-class combinations (excluding worgen/goblin)
- New Gnome/Troll starting areas
- Changes to existing zones
- New cata load screens
- New cata intro cinematic
- New cata login screen
- New music
- City Quartermasters, with rep tabards
- Bug fixes
- Class balancing
- Druids, paladins, priests, and shaman will have their talent trees reset
- Experience required to gain levels 71 through 80 is being reduced by 20%
- New tamable hunter pets (Monkey, fox, dog, and beetle, as well as new skins for existing pet classes.)
I’m pretty excited that I’ll be able to get my race change done before December 7, however significantly less excited about the prospect of a talent tree wipe :( Is there anything on this list that catches your eye? Anything you are happy, or unhappy to see go live (or not) with 4.0.3a?
One of the trickiest things about expansions is having to level up again…and being a “newbie” all over! My biggest problem is I’m never quite sure where to go next, even after leveling all of my alts, I still sometimes have to ask in guild chat “Uh, guys, where should I go at level 30…and don’t tell me Desolace!”. So, as much for my reference as yours, I thought that I’d offer up this little tidbit for those looking to set out their leveling plans before December 7! And, uh, not have to ask where to go next ;)
You can find a great interactive map of the zones here, which I’ve reproduced for you below, to show you where each new zone is located (although I really do recommend clicking the link for the original!).
The New Zones -
- Hyjal 80-82 – Located in northern Kalimdor. Story lines involve the druid defenses of the world tree.
- Vashj’ir 80-82 – Underwater zone located off the western coast of the Eastern Kingdoms. Story lines involve Naga attempting to enslave Neptulon.
- Deepholm 82-83 – Located through the Maelstrom. Story lines include The Earthen Ring trying to recover the World Pillar from the Twilight’s Hammer.
- Uldum 83-84 – Located in Southern Kalimdor. Story lines include Titan lore and archeology, as well as an introduction to Al’Akir and the Ramkahen.
- Twilight Highlands 84-85 – Located in Khaz Modan (Eastern Kingdoms). Story lines include disputes between the alliance and horde – and Twilight’s Hammer.
- Tol Barad – 85 – Located off the coast of Lodaeron (Eastern Kingdoms). There will be a Wintergrasp-esque PvP zone, and a daily quest hub.
Also don’t forget that many of the old world zones have been redone, so consider leveling up that goblin or worgen from scratch to check out the new flavors of Azeroth! I plan on leveling my Goblin without the benefit of Heirlooms just to see as many of the newly revamped zones as possible on my journey.
Of course, I am forgetting something very important! What would new zones be without new instances to go with them?! I don’t know about you, but instancing is one of my favorite parts of leveling. So of course I’m going to want to visit them all on my journey to level 85 and after! (I will probably also be able to offer a rant or two about them on the way…so, uh, stay tuned).
The New Instances –
- Throne of Tides – 5 man, levels 80-81. Located in Vashj’ir.
- Blackrock Caverns – 5 man, level 80-81. Located in Blackrock Mountain/Spire (just inside the main ring).
- Abyssal Maw – 5 man, level 81-83. Located in Vashj’ir. (May only be The Throne of Tides, and no additional instances at this time!)
- Vortex Pinnacle – 5 man, level 82-84. Located in the Skywall/Uldum.
- The Stone Core – 5 man, level 83-84. Located in Deepholme.
- Grim Batol – 5 man, level 85. Located in Twilight Highlands.
- Halls of Origination – 5 man, level 85. Located in Uldum.
- Lost City of Tol’vir – 5 man, level 85. Located in Uldum.
- Heroic: Shadowfang Keep – 5 man, level 85
- Heroic Deadmines – 5 man, level 85
What was that? You can’t find the zone in? No problem, I’ve got you covered! Just check this out!
Good Luck Everyone! The Last One to 85 is a Rotten Egg! I hope everyone is as excited as I am to start the journey :) I can’t wait to hear about everyone’s adventures in the weeks to come!
Also, please don’t hesitate to let me know if I’ve missed a zone or instance, so that I can update the information before release!
After much internal debate, I have finally made my decision. As soon as the new race changes are available, Beru will become a troll.
I have struggled with this decision since they announced that Druids could be Trolls. I have loathed the female Tauren casting model ever since vanilla. So much so that Savory Deviate Delight was considered a “raid consumable” to me. When they announced ToL – a form that I got to raid in and hide that god awful Tauren casting animation, I was thrilled. But then they took my ToL away from me, and forced me back into that horrible clunky animation. And shifting still removes all costume effects.
Many times in my debate I have wondered if I would feel weird playing a toon that I have been playing for the past 6 years if she was “different”. I have struggled with if I thought I would lose part of “Beru” by race changing her. I like the gentle giants that the Tauren represent in WoW lore. I think that Thunder Bluff is beautiful. But when push comes to shove – on the day I created my druid, if Troll had been an option, I would probably have never gone Tauren to begin with.
I had thought that I made up my mind a while back on this dilemma…and then they introduced troll flight form. It’s cool, sure. But HELLO – it’s a friggin’ dude. The fact that I was going to morph into a male bat for flight form put a bit of a hiccup in my decision. I understand the lore reasoning for needing a different flight form. And, I do think that the flight form is kinda cool. But IT IS DECIDELY MALE. Seriously, would it have taken much more time/effort to code in a female version of the damn bat?
So here I was, uncertain again.
Sure, just like everyone else I weighed out the pros and the cons of the differing racials, etc. But when it came down to it, my desire to not to be a female Tauren caster is so strong that it outweighs just about everything else – including bat boy. It may seem superficial (and it is), it may seem silly (and it is), but in the end, and after 6 years of hating it, I just don’t want to deal with having to look at the female Tauren casting model any longer.
The more I thought about it, there were only two things I would miss about Beru being a Tauren: The new cultivation racial (hey, don’t knock the power of speed herbing in flight form until you’ve tried it) and warstomp. And in the end – those two things just weren’t enough to hold me.
I think I came to this decision over the weekend, when I made an attempt to “pre-purchase” a race change. (which as a side note isn’t available for druids, you get an “you have no races to change to” error message when you attempt to process the payment). In the end – it’s not permanent. If I hate it, I can always go back to being the gentle giant. Until then, and as soon as they are available, I will enjoy my more svelte figure and relish in the fact that I will no longer sound like a member of the 1976 East German Women’s Olympic Swim Team.
So, I’m curious! How many other of my Tauren brothers and sisters will be feeling the Mojo come Cataclysm?
(image courtesy of mmo-champion).
Last night on Twitter I was having a discussion with Jar regarding the new nerf to Efflorescence (which is a rant for another day), and one of the things that I mentioned was something that Keeva brought up in her post on the changes. Namely that the change, which effectively means that efflorescence now only heals 6 people, has a significantly larger impact on 25 man raids than it does on 10 man raids. Which then got me to really thinking about the differences between the two raid types, which of course then started making me ask questions.
Forgive me if I start to grow a bit rambly here as I work through my thoughts on this…or run in fear as you see my brain try to process and function. If you look hard enough you can probably see smoke coming out of my ears as the cogs are turning in overtime.
******* Before I get started here, I want to make something very clear: I do not have a problem with 10s, nor do I have a problem with them getting equal gear for their efforts. I am happy that my 10 man brethren were finally recognized and received the validation as a “proper” raiders that they sought throughout the entirety of this expansion. I just wanted to get that in before the “QQ more” comments that I’ve seen from some of the 10 man raiders who seemingly characterize valid concerns from the 25 man front as nothing more than whining. As such, please keep that in mind when commenting here. ******** Read the rest of this entry »