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].

    Thursday, June 18, 2009

    Take That Feral Druids

    These are some of the new patch notes that are coming with 3.2, we already knew about the changes to our forms with the whole Bedazzled cat, but I figured that while they were at it, they are gonig to take a nerf bat to feral druids to make them pay for doing DPS on fights where the player is simply good and following their rotation. And even though we were technically 8th or so in the actual DPS meters according to most Boss tracking meters [thanks to movement, etc] to many of your fellow DPS was complaining that on fights like XT-002 where we can stand still and get almost our entire rotation out [assuming no light or gravity bombs] and put out close to 6-7k DPS if they are really pushing it. Because of this Blizzard has made it know that almost every single cat ability is being scaled back in damage

    Here are the full patch notes:

    * Flight Form: Can now be learned at level 60. Flight speed increased to 150%.
    * Innervate: Duration reduced to 10 seconds, and cooldown reduced to 3 minutes. This means each use of Innervate will give half as much mana as before, but it will be available twice as often.
    * Lifebloom: The final heal that occurs when this spell blooms has been reduced by 20% on the base and on the spell power coefficient.
    * Mangle: Ranks 4 and 5 base points reduced by about 11%. Scaling from attack power unchanged.
    * Rake: Ranks 6 and 7 base points on initial and periodic damage reduced by about 7%. Scaling from attack power unchanged.
    * Rip: Ranks 8 and 9 base points and points per combo point reduced by about 6%. Scaling from attack power unchanged.
    * Savage Defense: The animation for gaining this buff will no longer make the bear stand upright
    * Shred: Ranks 8 and 9 base points reduced by about 10%. Scaling from attack power unchanged.
    * Swipe (Cat): Percent of weapon damage done reduced from 260% to 250%.
    * Travel Form: Can now be learned at level 16.
    * Talents
    o Balance
    + Balance of Power: Now reduces all spell damage taken by 3/6%, rather than reducing the chance to be hit by spells by 2/4%.
    + Eclipse: The Starfire and Wrath buffs from this talent are now on separate 30 second. cooldowns. In addition, it is not possible to have both buffs active simultaneously.
    + Owlkin Frenzy: Now also restores 2% base mana every 2 seconds for the duration (10 seconds) in addition to its current effects.
    o Restoration
    + Empowered Touch: Now also increases the amount of bonus healing effects for Nourish by 10/20%.
    + Improved Barkskin: No longer provides dispel resistance to all effects on the druid, but now reduces the chance your Barkskin is dispelled by an additional 35/70%.

    As a druid, that is just a bit annoying, you'll also notice that Barksin is no longer keeping us from getting dispelled, apparenlty the Arena QQ was so much with regards to us staying alive [not doing any damage mind you, like ever other healing class can]. I think in that regard that blizzard is afraid of another Arena season 2, where Restoration druids who spec'd deep into balance were simply eating everyone else alive.

    So lets try to break down each change.
    Flight Form Now at 60: We no longer have a two level advantage on flying that we used to, but Blizzard has reduced all flying to 60. This is perhaps to admit that they will never see any more new players and that they have finally hit the cap for incoming revenue, so its just best to appease those who love their alts, so they can fly the instant that they make it through the dark portal. I assume their cost have been reduced as well, given that flight form was simply an ability purchase, I don't think we'll notice any real difference, other than getting through Hellfire and Zangermarsh a little quicker once we hit outlands. Though that does really kind of destroy that quest in Zangermarsh where you are turned into a bird by a local druid to scout out the area.

    Travel Form now at 16: Again to appease those who love their alts, and maybe because they took a note or two from Warhammer online, they have lowered the mounts to 20 for the base mount and 40 for epic ground mount respectivly. As such our travel form has taken a leap from level 30 to level 16, [ignoring the fact that Shaman's had their travel form dropped to 20 when level 30 mounts came out]. The only real affect is 1.) we get it at the same time as aquatic form [now without its quest], and the level 19 twink battlegrounds will I'm sure be crying for weeks

    Rip, Mangle, Rake, Shred, and Swipe: All having their base damage reduced for the final two ranks. This is that side effect of other DPS QQ'ing because we can top the meters when we get a chance to sit still. Mind you, I haven't seen what they did to rogues, but if they haven't done anything I'm going to be very dissapointed, because lets face it they were way above on any single target meters and fan of knives is much easier to spam than swipe.

    Innervate now cut in half in every way: This seems to be a direct result of arena QQ, and disturbing that the mechanic for this spell has changed so dramtically in WoTLK. It is now only going to restore half of what it was but on a shorter timer. So essintially if you were using it, you'll probably want to look into doing it when you have much more stable mana rather than say when you're approcahing 4,000 - 2,000 as the restore will only get you back to say around 10,000-12,000 at best [if I am understanding the new mechanic correctly]. I'll play around with it on fights like Ignis and Patchwork [the only times I can remember using it] though with patchwork that tends to be more based off how bad the tanks avoidance is, and its been a while since I healed for that fight, it may be much less painful now that I'm actually geared.

    Lifebloom: Will no longer be blooming for those nice 19,000-20,000 crits and 10,000 easy, apparenlty they didn't want it blooming for that much. I'm going to pretend that there is some sort of reason for this, as in PvE the only time that even matters is if Lifebloom actually blooms when its supposed to. I'm sure again there is a PvP reason for this and the rest of us are going to be made to suffer because 1500 rated Arena teams don't know how to play, and face rolling DK's are finally dropping from their 2200+ ratings. Luckily of all the changes, this will probably effect us the least because lets face it, most of us aren't using lifebloom any more anyway, Blizzard wants us to go Rejuv > Wild Growth > Nourish, and forget the rest of the spells on our bar [save maybe swiftmend and nature's swiftness.

    I dare not speak on Boomkin changes, because I don't know enough about the spec to open my mouth. See if I can't wait until the PTR comes out to see how it will be affecting things, though I imagine we will be seeing a drop across the board of Cat DPS.

    Wednesday, June 17, 2009

    Getting Reputaion with the Netherwing

    Ever since they were introduced into the Burning Crusade, it was pretty much the one thing that I wanted out of a flying mount, and now even with the Proto Drakes in the WoTLK expansion pack, this drake still has more appeal to me in terms of just looking nifty and being something cool to fly around on. That said, given that lynxchan is a relativly new character, which I created back in October just before the 3.0 patch came out, she never really had a chance to get in on the race for the Netherwing when it was still all the rage in Burning Crusade, and my hunter at the time [who was level 70] was so uninteresting to play that I don't think I'd even looked at him since July, I was just to busy goofing around with the Warhammer Online Beta or various alts to try and find a new class to play. I had a druid around level 35 on Gilneas, but I had always wanted to see what it was like to roll around on a PvP server since folks seemed to talk about the difficulty of it all. I guess given that I showed up during 3.0 rather than say the early stages of the game when everyone and their mother wasn't on a different continent or planet it would have been more competitive. Anyway not to drift off into another topic, the reason Lynxchan didn't have Netherwing rep, or really any outlands rep is because by the time she hit 70, WoTLK had just come out [by a 2-3 week time frame I think, because I was in Winterspring when they were getting all the server first].

    So I went off after getting all my Northrend Reps to Exalted and decided it was time to go back to outlands and start getting some of those reputations up. Admittedly it's a bit tough, because for 1, I'm still trying to actively raid and get geared for Uld 10 / 25, so that eats a lot of time and gold I could otherwise sink into Outlands reps. But enough complaining, you're hear because you want to learn something useful about getting reputation with the Netherwing, and I'm here to tell you that it really is just a 3 week process, just like it was back in Burning Crusade, and yes you can beat captain Skyshatter without any speed boost. The big thing to remember is that its really just a matter of time, and while the idea of grabbing eggs from everyone else seems nifty, the fact is that there really aren't that many to begin with, and even on my lucky days, at most I can find 5-6 and that is checking the mines, all the cliffs, and every nook and cranny of the Dragonmaw bases.

    So what you're left with is you and probably [it seems at least] 7 or 8 80's who are all out there chasing after the flying purple dragon. The nifty thing about going back is that thanks to the fact that all the mobs have around 6k health, a good mangle or two to the face should easily take care of them. This makes that 3 man quest once you get to revered all that much easier to deal with, also thanks to being 80, your aggro range is much smaller, so you don't have to worry about the elites that are stomping about the island. As for captain Skyshatter for druids at least I simply put the flight form button on my casting bar as number 1 so that whenever I did get knocked out of the air I could just hit 1 and try to keep up with him. It still took 4-5 tries to get the right pattern down, but its very doable. There's also some other nifty things to pick up while your back in outlands, including the Skyguard who will fork over an assortment of neatherray's once you are exalted with them, as well as a tiny pet.

    If that's not enough it should be easy enough [even with a normal DPS feral spec] to bear tank the Underbog so that you can start gathering those flowers for the Sporregar, on normal mode it shouldn't take that long to clear, and I usually seem to find quite enough flowers to make up for my time in there.

    And of course, why would we be in Outlands if we weren't Anzu farming. Once you get epic flying, go ahead and take the druid Epic Flight Form quest, its still a lot of fun, and gets you involved with some nifty Emerald Dream lore, and at the very end of it you'll get a chance to summon Anzu. Once that's done the druids kindly add something to your keyring so that you can continue to summon him as you wish. And if you're really up for it [and hadn't already done it] there are a load of quest chains and reputations to get up along the way, including the Caverns of Time, the Violet Eye [some druids are reporting in a Feral Spec that they can solo a good deal of Karahzan].

    So once you're done in northrend, if you're bored and haven't already done everything in Outlands, be sure to hit it up, there are some nifty mini pets [like miniwing - ] that are very easy to get a hold of for all you pet collectors.

    As a nifty kind of side note, every time I fly in to Netherwing Ledge, I loose my Matron Title, and its replaced with Patron, but as soon as I shift to cat form while still on the ledge, the title reverts back. It doesn't do this for Travel, Bird, or Tree form as far as I can tell. Just an interesting thing to note.

    Druid's Revolt

    Its time to throw off the shackles of oppression, for to long we have been used by raid groups and guilds as nothing more than cannon fodder whose skill far exceeds those around us. And while everyone else is busy eating void zones, we are happily humping their corpses and still doing more DPS or keeping non void zone loving raid members alive.

    For this reason, and for the soul fact that druids are by our very nature bored easily its time to throw a riot. Until further notice, I strongly encourage all druids to go on strike.

    Saturday, June 13, 2009

    Why aren't you people Defense Capped?

    A friend of mine once asked why it is that people who play wow are often as bad at the game as they are. I often ponder that question and wonder just how it is that people ca do as badly as they do, that somehow they can't tank, or dps, or even heal [and of all the things that people do, the only way you can really fail at the one is if you just sit there and stare blankly at a wall while your party is dieing. Anyway needless to say, you can find these people if you're just willing to step into say a Heroic Instance.

    Now I know, I really shouldn't be going into these things, but I love free badges so that I can start to collect my horrible pvp gear [I suck at pvp, I can't help it]. Oh and its also nifty to make 10 a day so I can turn them into a a delicious frozen orb and sell that for 75 gold, or turn that into an icy prism, and sell whatever is inside [it's a lot like those wonder ball adds you see on TV years ago, just sing the tune whenever you make an Icy Prism]. Also for my kitty DPS set, I'm still looking for some gear from Gundrak, Culling of Strath, and Nexus. And from the looks of things, I will see these items about the same time they actually let me DPS for Ulduar 25.

    But today's story is about people who think they can tank. Now druids out there, I don't know what it is that spares you from this, but usually when you insist you can tank, you have also bothered to take the tanking talents and I thank you for this, because lets face it, where others lack in gear we can simply make up for in talents. And usually when you suggest you can tank, you understand that you can swipe spam your way through a heroic and I don't pull aggro while I'm healing or dps'ing.

    No, instead I'm looking at you Warriors, Death Knights, and Paladins. Less so on the Paladins and more so on the Warriors and Death Knights, especially the ones who are running Prot / [unholy / frost] as their off spec. Listen to me please, because I don't like dieing, and I like being blamed for your death even less so. If you aren't at the minimum of 535 defense rating [As I understand this is across the board], you need to do some normal instances, get some rep, and spend some money on gemming and enchants. But please stop blaming those around you for your failure.

    The reason that there is a "Soft Defense Cap" is to give people an idea [and by idea I mean minimum] to shoot for when they are going to be getting beaten in the face by a mob. As you may have noticed that is the actual rating [see diagram 1] Where you see that "400" that needs to be "535" in order to tank a heroic, this scales with I think "540" for Naxx 10 and 25. Now there are also some health requirements and preferably some armor, but most people don't seem to understand the concept of defense so I'd like to focus on that first.

    Druids, you have another method of making sure that you can actually tank something with your face, and that comes in the form of Survival of the Fittest. Pictured to your left. Once you have that as a druid, you meet the same 540 defense as the rest of your tanking classes. Now to make up for this, Blizzard thought it would be funny if they instead took things away from us. In recent patches our health has been cut down, as has our armor, and don't you dare stack Stamina as a bear or I will reroll the opposite faction and come to your server and beat your bear face in until you learn. Well that seems a bit extreme, but the point is that you need to learn to tank. Bears have really one thing going for them [dodge], and you dodge chance should be close to 40% once you're gemmed, enchanted, and maybe in a bit of heroic gear. I think I had 42% dodge and 29k armor with 28k health unbuffed. This might be a bit steep to get as a bear not having stepped into heroics, but we can help you out there too

    First, make sure to do your Argent Crusade Dailies to, this will get you either the Staff of Feral Furies or the Silvery Sylvan Staff depending on Faction. These come with nifty bear stats and it will make a great weapon to start tanking heroics in. Also be sure to get at least honored with the Sons of Hodir. It doesn't seem like a lot, but their shoulder enchant can really help any druid. If you're not sure how simply follow the guide here to start your chain. It may take a bit, but it will prove handy later.

    Even if you aren't an insanely rich druid, you could also use the money from the Argent Crusade Dailies in order to get some Trollwoven gear [or make it yourself if you went leather working]. It provides Expertise, Stam, and Agility which are the stats we're looking for when you want to tank.

    Now that we have a shoulder enchant available to us, a staff, a decent belt and a decent pair of shoulders we can start looking at other things [this is all about not jumping in before you are ready]. First go ahead and put a belt slot on that belt [with the eternal belt buckle]. You can really never have enough gem slots. If you aren't insanely rich than simply slap a green +agi gem in there, if you can drop the gold go ahead and put +16 gems in there, by now someone on your server almost has to make them.

    This will also give you some money to pick up a Durable Nerubhide Cloak, they go for cheaper [it seems] than their Ice Striker Cousin [I don't know why, they really are better] and they can give starting bears a lot of useful stats including dodge. Also just slap the +22agi enchant Or +16agi if you are penny pinching. The +16 only cost 9 infinite dust and its part of the training that most enchanters get so ask around as infinite dust is usually 35-50ish gold / half stack [10]. You'll notice a lot of this pre bear tanking stuff is really dependent on doing a few dailies, saving up, and spending the money on gear.

    Once you've done that, you should be start at least running some heroics [as a tank]. The rest of your gear hopefully consist of some quest blues / greens [There is a quest for Normal Utgarde Pinnacle that drops a nifty helm for druids]. Don't use the Eviscerator stuff, its for the most part PvP centric and won't help you out a lot in an instance. What you can do however is go after the BoE drops from heroics, as they usually sit at a low price in the Auction House. These include things like the "King's Square Bracers", "Leggings of Violet Exstanguination", etc. Look for high stam, expertise, and dodge.

    But seriously folks, I'm glad you're reading this because it means you've taken the time to research what it is that you need to tank heroics. Please don't walk into a heroic under the defense cap or wearing DPS gear.