Thursday, June 25, 2009

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Healing in Ulduar

I see a lot of guides on line about how to tank, or how to DPS a boss in Ulduar, and while this helpful for the DPS and tank, it doesn't do much to let you know about the kind of damage that you can expect from a boss. I also have a lot of druids that I've seen ask for what the approximate level of spellpower you need before you can step into an instance.

First and foremost, lets get that Spellpower chart out of the way, the following is not exact, and it may vary depending on your style of healing, but I've found it to be the best guide for where a druid is on the scheme of things. I use spellpower as a guide because its the one thing that will scale with all healer gear [Spirit / Mp5 aren't so good about that, and sometimes when you don't have the luck of choosing gear, you're just left with what's best from the pot]. So with Spellpower, it gives us a steady guide, and goes up with all caster and healer gear. Note, that real healer gear for a druid will feature 5 very important things.

First as leather it will have +Spirit, this is your big sign that its healer gear and not boomkin [though they share a lot of our gear]. It's also a massive sign that your rogue doesn't need it. And lucky for you Paladins/Shamans don't need it either, as they get almost nothing from spirit. And if you see your Paladin roll against you on a +spirit ring [as I did once] verbally abuse him over vent for being a moron.

Next up is Spellpower, nearly all caster gear should have this, so the only real sign is that it will be leather. If it is leather and has spellpower, it belongs to you or a boomkin, so that's rather indeterminate, but to really make a difference, Boomkin gear will also feature Hit, where as ours will feature Mp5 . Thanks to strange itemization hand outs, most Leather gear will feature neither prominently, which leaves the two last stats you find hanging out all over our gear.

Haste and Crit Rating, I don't really find either to be that desirable, and usually make a judgment on the basis of spellpower, spirit and the weather or not mp5 is present on the item. But if it's between the two, at early Resto Gearing stages I always aimed for Haste over crit rating [up until about 300 / 330 ish ] because Haste has far more impact on our ability to heal than crit does [right now HoT's do not crit, though blizzard has stated that they would like to make this a feature]. As such, the only 2 spells you'll be getting off that often that do crit are Swiftmend and Regrowth, and thanks to talents Regrowth crits all on its own accord [or did rather, it has sense been nerfed]. So with haste having that nifty side effect of helping with the Global Cool down, you can doll more heals out in a shorter amount of time, and should you need to cast Regrowth [or god forbid Healing Touch] than you can do so without feeling to much pain as we are so used to casting a spell on an instant basis.

As for that chart.
1000-1200 Spellpower [Auction House / level 75-78 Instances]
1200-1400 Spellpower [Level 80 Instances]
1400-1600 Spellpower [Level 80 Heroics]
1600-1800 Spellpower [10 Mans Naxx / Sarth / VoA [Stone Watcher]]
1800-2000 Spellpower [25 Mans Naxx / Sarth / VoA [Both] / Maly / 10 Man Ulduar]
2000+ [25 Man Ulduar]

Again, I would like to stress that there are various factors that can throw this chart off, but its a wide blanket to give you an idea of where you are at, and where you need to be. If you want a more serious look at your gear, sites such as WoW-Heroes will provide you with a more level headed representation based off ilevel of your gear etc.

As for where to start getting gear, when I switched from Feral to Resto at 80, the first thing I did was drop about 3000g on the AH [a little less than that, but still a substantial amount]. You have to remember that I had no healing gear at all up to that point, and so getting it was going to be a bit rough.

I started by buying the Earthliving set [a useful little booste, and nice easy epic piece to get that is almost always on sell on the AH]. I also found a Putrescent Bands laying around the Auction House, they drop off of 10 man Grobbulus and aren't all that hard to find. In addition to that, there are several level 80 heroics that drop BoE items that aren't to hard to come by. These include the Re animators Cloak: which drops in Drak'Tharon keep on heroic difficulty, so one should be laying around the AH somewhere. About the only thing that won't be readily available are Helms and maybe trinkets. For the Helm, I went ahead and put some money towards a mage hat: [Hat of Wintery Doom] which is useful because of its meta / red socket, and like I said, when you're on a budget or just starting you can only be so picky about the products you are buying

Once you have some AH Blues / [maybe some Greens] you can probably truck it off to some heroics. If you have a miserable tank, this will be a horrible experience, and I advice new druids to try and find a Tank who is at the very least defence capped, or you will be spending the entire time wondering why you can't keep tanks up [This becomes easier to keep them up as gear improves, but if you're just starting, it can be very hurtful to moral].

But you're not hear for that, you're here for boss Strategies!
And Tonight's boss is one of the very first in Ulduar: Razorscale.

Razorscale from a healing prospective much like any other fight can be a nightmare if the other members of your team don't know what they're doing. Tanks should be keeping all the adds that wills spawn, and DPS should be stunning those that cast Chain Lightning, if they aren't stunning those adds and keeping those chain's from going off, the fight can be that much more miserable.

Other than that, just cast Wild Growth and Rejuv, your tanks [save spinning Vikings of doom] shouldn't be taking that much damage. Be sure to avoid Flames and prep a swiftmend for folks who are going to get a nice fireball to the face every couple of seconds.

Once the adds are down, Razorscale will land, giving your guild time to hit her, and attempt to bring her down to 50% [we assume its a she]. If they can, she will stay grounded, if they can't the cycle continues until the guild can get her to 50% or she enrages. The damage while she is chained down is close to non existent, so it should give you time to drop from tree form and drop a few spells on the dragon to help out with the Damage that needs to be done.

She will shrug off everyone just before she takes off, so I find this a very good time to drop a couple rejuvinations and wild growths just before going to tree form again.

Once Phase 2 is active and she is on the ground, your tanks are going to have to trade her off. As their armor starts to get slagged, you're going to want to stop worrying about anyone but the tank [if the tank is doing their job, there shouldn't be much raid wide damage]. The Tank with the debuff is going to start taking massive damage, so get full hots going on him [if you are having mana trouble, instead of DPS'ing while the dragon is grounded, take the time to let your Full MP5 help with regen]. I use Nourish, as usually by this point DPS should be able to down the dragon with relative haste, that way the mana spent isn't to bad on my overall mana pool. Innervate as needed, and keep a potion ready once the tanks start to really stack up that debuff, especially if the tradeoff goes badly, as you will see spike damage soar to nearly insta gib proportions.

And that's pretty much it, take it easy phase 1 [if its tough on you, try to have your DPS focus on stunning things, and avoid the blue flames], DPS when the dragon is down on the ground, and than a DPS race like a very easy patchwerk when you cross 50%

Good Luck!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Midsummer Reset

About 7-8pmish EST it would seem that Blizzard reset the quest related to the Midsummer Fire Festival. This seems to include all the quest in Kalmidor, Eastern Kingdoms, and Outlands [I'll check Northrend once I've got all my flowers from the other 3 continents]. Note that if you did the quest Sunday you will not be loosing the achievment, you just have access to the quest again. This is nifty because the quest in total add to your "The Seeker" title, and they also serve to take care of gold and flowers as well.

The whole trip usually takes about 2 hours to make the circle around Eastern Kingdoms and Kalmidor, and this time you don't have to worry about sneaking into all the Capital cities, you can simply go to each point, collect your flowers and gold, and move on. This will make for a quick and nifty 300-500 gold depending on how many fires you choose to revisit, and will almost ensure that you have enough flowers to get really anything that you need from the Festival. Now, the downside to this is that if you didn't do the quest Sunday, than you don't really get a chance at the reset, as the quest giver won't be giving you two quest, they'll still only be giving one.

This looks like one of the situations where they assumed that most players had already done the event in previous years, and simply thought that the best thing was to to do a global reset for all chacters rather than only for those who had done it in previous year. And if you're like myself and concerned that you weren't supposed to have access to the quest again even if you did them Sunday, Blizzard GM's have confirmed that the reset is global, and we just got lucky, so please enjoy a second trip and go out there and get your pet scorchling.

Also this includes the "A Theifs Reward Quest" so you can get a second crown if you managed to get it Sunday. And as I said none of the Achievements have been reset, so if you just don't feel like it, you don't have to deal with it.

In the meantime, check out the nifty ball of fire spirit or something...

Monday, June 22, 2009

Northrend Fires

Sorry for the poor craftsmen ship on that map rework, I'm still working on getting Photoshop CS3 back on my computer, I just can't find the copy I own right now [its buried somewhere in a pile of system software]. That aside, despite the fact that there are no achievements for it, there are actually Bonfires all across Northrend. They're in rather predictable spots once your realize they are there [Save Borean Tundra and Howling Fjord]. You can start at Fizzlecrank Airport and work from there to make kind of a stretch around Northrend before finally ending in The large horde base in Dragonblight.

This map purposely avoids flying over Wintersgrasp for the pure and simple fact that right now, you can't without paying for a gryphon rid, and let's be honest here folks, who in their right mind [save being lazy or fetching a burger] has actually talked to those Northrend gryphon masters since level 77?

That aside, the Red Dots on the Map are actual Flames, I made a twist in Icecrown, but there are no fires [that I am aware of, looked for a while] that are actually up there. This is great because each Alliance fire is worth 5g some change, and each horde flame is worth 13g and some change. This is an easy way to replace a round of dailies [or add to it]. Also if you were having catching up on Flowers, this should put you much closer. I had 150 after buying the entire Outfit [400 Flowers in all] to do the pole dance achievement. This should put you back up around 250-275 so that it will be much easier to do the dailies and get enough flowers to buy your scorchling or Flame Brazier. And as Blizzard Stated, they are working on trying to get the fires in the old world working again.

Also, because I'm so very happy with myself, here is that new Netherdrake that I worked for 2 weeks to get a hold of
That aside, as a note to druids, if you want to play it safe, I'd do this series in Flight form, with the horde quest flagging you, you will be able to put out the fire without ever actually touching the ground [vs. a 3sec mount time for everyone else]. If you're on a PvP server you should know very well already that if you have an excuse to use flight form to avoid combat, than you should.

I'm going to take a shot at Solo'ing Ahune on Normal [my theory is that this shouldn't be difficult, but you never really know]. I should have the results of that tomorrow.

As a side note, when you are doing the catch 10 torch quest, I highly suggest finding some place quiet, I tried doing it in Darnassus only to discover there were way to many people and torches in the air. I found that Exodar works well, no one likes the place, and it's got a pretty stable floor color so you can track the shadow.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Flame Warden Event

The Flame Warden event started last night, which is rather enjoyable, because it is easy money to walk around the continent for new characters, or those who didn't do it last year. The Achievements aren't all that bad either, so adding it to your collection shouldn't be to tough as long as you can get the set of clothes or had the set of clothes at some point. That being said, the really tough part of this whole thing is the silly daily the involves chucking 10 torches / hitting 25 braziers. The 10 torches one I found could be solved if I went to travel form, and set my camera something like what is pictured to the left there. That having been said, that's really the only tough part of this meta achievement, much like the Elders, this one just involves a lot of walking to get all the spots on the map.

Although I did find it kind of hard to believe that they would let me do the Ribbon Poll dance in tree form, something just didn't seem quite right about that when they wouldn't let me do the same dance in cat form. but all things aside, I suppose that isn't to much of a big deal, and it is quite funny to think of tree form voluntarily lighting itself on fire for amusement. The great thing about this festival is you're going to be in all the old zones, so take the time to set your old quest tracker on if you're going for Loremaster.

All and all its just another achievement towards getting that violet proto Drake [I messed up and won't be getting mine till what looks like next "Love is in the Air"], and should be a fun time for all, gather a group of friends and make your way around the old continent. A fair warning to you folks leveling on PvP servers, all the 80's especially those who usually are busy just raiding northrend are back in town and will be all over the place.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

IRL Dr00ds

I was walking along today checking out to see if anything good was at the local theatre, and I would have in fact gone to see Up, had my traveling companion not been informed that the movie was a sad work by Pixar, and would make most normal human beings all teary eyed. That said, I have no problems crying in a movie theatre, having worked in one for nearly 3 years, I've cried plenty of tears that are unrelated to the movie or sadness, and are generally just from walking in to discover that the couple that had just been in the seat before I came in with my trusty cleaning crew thought it hilarious to use the Nachos they had purchased to redecorate the interior design. That having been said, we did not see Up, but I did see a lot of preview posters that they keep outside, and one amused me quite a great deal.

If you're not aware, Blue Sky does a movie series known as Ice Age, which is quite honestly a great movie, and features perhaps one of the most memorable side characters known to man in Scrap [a small prehistoric squirrel which causes nearly all the problems of the Ice Age because he is simply seeking a nut]. But there was something else about the new Ice Age poster that caught my eye [and No it was not the fact that they don't seem to understand that the "Age of the Dinosaurs" actually came before the Ice Age]. Rather it was the pose that they had Dennis Leary's [spell it with 2 n's its funny to see Leary pissed] character posing in. I thought for sure I might have recognized it from somewhere else

It took a few moments, but than I realized what it was that was catching my eye, you see this kind of thing is something we druids see all the time. That's right boys and girls, Denis Leary is simply in cat form, they haven't animated a thing, [Blue Sky has been lying this entire time,] Just to prove my point, I would like you to take a look at this very simple comparison

As you can clearly see, Denis Leary is like some kind of Tannish [read white] Druid. This makes perfect sense. Anyway, point is that minus the long ears and tannish coat, the Blue Sky's animation for Diego the Saber Tooth Tiger would probably be what a High Res Version of Tauren Cat form would look like, had of course Blizzard not decided to go with an all male Tauren cat form population [sorry Cow Girls]. However, a recent discovery I made while collecting all those netherdrake eggs is that either Cat and Bear form are marked by the system as inherently female [If that were the case, I would assume that when Male Night Elf or Taruen's transformed they would also see what I was seeing], or that there is a bit of code that actually retains the caster forms gender. This doesn't mean much but, it does at least point to a notion that perhaps at one point Blizzard was looking to differentiate Bear and Cat Form Genders.

The bug any female Druid can stumble across if they run into Netherwing Ledge with the "Matron" title, [on or off, it will still change it]. When you enter the area, because you are under the effects of the Disguise while helping Netherdrakes, it has the unintended [I imagine] side effect of changing your title from Matron to Patron while in caster form. The interesting thing about this is that if you go to cat form while still in Netherwing Ledge, the system will revert the change and turn Patron back into Matron. I just thought it was interesting.

As for what I'll be up to in the future, I'm trying to get together a 25 Man Druid Raid for Naxxramas on my server. I know for a fact that a 10 man druid group can get through the entire instance, and with the exception of Ravenous , I don't know of any other point in the encounter where it should present trouble to druids [I know that there are some diseases, but rumor is that those can be healed through]. Anyway I'll be doing more research on the matter to let druids out there know, but I believe that it can be done by chain taunting Ravenous, but I'm not perfectly clear weather the taunt immunity that bosses build up is from a single target or if its just overall taunts. Like I said I'd like to do some research, but I think it could be doable.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Patch Notes

So I finally got around to reading the full blown patch notes, and something caught my eye.

  • Emblem System Changes
    • Both the 10 and 25 player instances of the Crusaders' Coliseum drop a new Emblem of Triumph.
    • Any dungeons that previously dropped Emblems of Heroism or Valor, such as Naxxramas or Heroic Halls of Stone, will now drop Emblems of Conquest instead. Emblems of Conquest can still be converted to Valor or Heroism.
    • The heroic dungeon daily quest will now reward 2 Emblems of Triumph and the normal daily dungeon quest will reward 1 Emblem of Triumph.
    • The existing achievements to collect 1, 25, 50, etc. Emblems of Heroism, Valor, and Conquest have been converted to Feats of Strength since Heroism and Valor Emblems are no longer attainable.
    • New achievements have been added to collect various amounts of any combination of emblems.
    Anyway with this in perspective I did some math, assuming that there are no changes made in the current loot tables for badge buy able items.

    This means the following
    t8 Helm - 2 Days
    t8 Chest - 3 Days [5 days total so far]
    t7.5 Shoulders - 2 Days [with 10 Badges left over from t8 chest]
    t7.5 Pants - 3 Days [Now with a total of 25 Badges Left Over]
    t8 equivalent Gloves - 2 Days [But with again 25 badges left over]
    t7.5 equivalent Ring / t7.5 equivalent Cape / t8 equivalent Neck / t8 equivalent belt / t7.5 equivalent idol - all 1 day, with one being bought from leftover badges
    t7.5 equivalent bracers / t7.5 equivalent shoes - 2 Days
    t7 equivalent trinket - 2 days

    Totaled up
    In 22 days, assuming you ran every single heroics and No Raids [which would add an additional 11 for 10 man naxx, 11 for 25 man naxx, 4 for OS, 4 for Heroics OS, 2 from EoE, 2 from H-EoE, and finally 4 from VoA and 4 from H-VoA, that totals up as 42 / week]. Factoring that in, every 7 days you would have an additional 42 badges, which would knock out 4 days of heroic farming.
    So in about 18 days for someone geared for Raids, or 22 days for someone just farming every single heroic, You are looking at the following

    t7.5 - Two Piece Bonus
    t8 - Two Piece Bonus
    And every single piece of gear save 1 trinket, a weapon, and 1 ring [0 rings if you are a druid healer or priest healer as you can buy the Renewal of Life and Band of Channeled Magic] will be tier 7.5 equivalent or better

    I am not sure what it is that Blizzard is trying to accomplish, but I suspect it is aimed at a casual player base and getting people straight geared for Ulduar as they assume their entire player base has seen all of Naxx 10 / OS / EoE / VoA. Which I suppose is a fair assumption as the majority have seen good bits of it. However it raises some very strong questions about actually earning gear and such, as someone in quest blues / 78 instance blues can easily farm all the heroics in game right now. So in less than a month [ie only 3 raid lockout periods, actually less] someone can go from all quest blues to nearly full epic [and almost the "Epic Achievement"] guaranteed.

    I would like to emphasize this math relies on the fact that Blizzard has said nothing about the cost of current items changing, especially the conquest items. For causals however, this is really a great change and allows them to see upper echelon gear, and for those of us who are heavy players not only can we get alts geared all the much faster, but our off specs as well. I'll be honest, I'm quite looking forward to getting Lynxchan's Feral Gear from only instance blues and a variety of weaker instance epics into nearly full t7.5 without rolling on a single piece of gear.

    Also noting that they are bumping the mp5 from all items that give mp5 by 25%. Again I'm not really sure what Blizzard is after, but all the more power to them. The key is about making the game fun, and I really do think that is what they are going for here. The only downside for their business that I could see is in players who have a strong dislike of the casual players out there.

    I can't wait to get Lynx her t7.5 shoulders and finally get a cool looking hat [lol sailor mon lol].