“Playing a mage is easy”

I wasn’t going to post today, but then I watched this, and felt I simply had to point it out. Clearly, playing a mage is easy, and everybody should roll a Warlock.

NB: You probably will want to just skip about 95% of the video as is recommended by the producer, or at least skip through – he literally does read the entirety of the document (I watched it). The original document which somebody actually wrote up for serious can be found here. And yes, the maths makes sense.

Vel.

Future plans, WoW style

While I have a to-do list for my blog, as I’ve mentioned, I also have one for the game itself. Some things are on-going and are more on my list as reminders, but some things I need to do sooner rather than later, lest they be gone for good when the expansion arrives and shakes up the old world (no pun intended). While Cataclysm seems a long way off – at least a year – if I don’t start on some things now, I never will, and then I’d regret it.

  1. Finish up the Loremaster achievement on Veliaf. I only have about two thirds of Kalimdor left, it’s just actually getting round to making a start which is hard.
  2. Find a way to get enough money for a motorcycle, because my guild-mate Tom can make them now, and I want one.
  3. Farm until I get that darn Deathcharger mount from Stratholme.
  4. Finish grinding rep with the Cenarion Circle, Zandalar Tribe, Wintersaber Trainers and Timbermaw, all of whom I could be exalted with by now if I could be bothered!
  5. Get my new level 80 Mage, Heryst, geared up and good to go.
  6. Get my AoE-specced Paladin, Darrick, up to 80, because by sitting in Wyrmrest at 73, he ain’t doing no good. Then I can do a Hobbs and go farm Icecrown for the sweet, sweet golds.
  7. I’m contemplating doing a photo gallery of all the old world, before it changes and is gone. I know everyone else is doing this too, but it’s a good idea, and one which I’ve had for a while.
  8. See and finish AQ20 and 40, to get the Dungeon Master achievement (and just to see them all!).

Most likely there are things I’m forgetting, but that about sums it up – finish old world things on Veliaf, and level / gear alts, with a smattering of mount collecting mixed in.

What’s on your to-do list?

Vel.

NaBloPoMo completed!

One month ago, on August 1st, I decided to embark upon NaBloPoMo, the National Blog Posting Month event, where the idea is to post an article each and every day for a month. I’m happy to announce that with this post, on August 31st, I’ve successfully completed the event!

Generally, posting an article every day hasn’t been too hard. I haven’t really struggled for content – only once or twice – and so the trickiest part was often simply finding the time to actually sit down and write the post itself. This has sometimes meant sacrificing other things (usually my WoW time) in order to get the post published, but that’s okay. I started NaBloPoMo whilst being pretty burnt out from WoW, and I’m still not playing as much as I used to, so I don’t mind missing playing time to write here instead.

I’ve actually quite enjoyed the experience, and in future I’m definitely going to try and post more regularly than I was before NaBloPoMo. It’s kind of a habit now! While I might not post quite every day, I want to try and keep it up.

Ding!

Ding!

In other news, my Mage, Heryst, leveled to 80 yesterday evening, which means I finally have a second max-level character!

I actually did 79-80 in Alterac Valley – after a quick guild poll as to whether I should try PvP leveling (introduced in 3.2) or just hit Icecrown, and getting the same number of votes for each (typically), I thought I’d try it out, and I was pleasantly surprised. Destroying a tower netted about 20000 xp, the same as turning in a quest, or ~1% of the level, and winning the match actually got me loads – in some cases, it seemed like 2 or 3 bars.

I’ve already been forced into a heroic Halls of Stone by my guild, and found myself doing about 1600 dps, which I figured wasn’t bad for someone in questing blues and greens. As you can see, we had a very sensible group:

Typical guild instance group: A dancing bear, a jumping Furbolg, an Iron Dwarf and a Saturday Night Fever Human...

Typical guild instance group: A dancing bear, a jumping Furbolg, an Iron Dwarf and a Saturday Night Fever Human...

Finally, off-topic for a second, for anybody interested in opera – or more accurately, the history of it – I’m going to shamelessly advertise the launch of the website of several of my associates, http://www.operastoriesonline.com. Each monthly edition of the magazine contains several stories to do with operatic history, as well as audio versions, and various other things. Personally, I’m not a fan of opera, but I’ve seen the material and if you’re interested, it looks pretty darn good.

Concluding not only this post, but NaBloPoMo too,

Vel.

So many alts

So while I’m doing all this new stuff on Veliaf, I feel like leveling an alt on the side – but who? It’s up to you, dear readers.

Two continents, two hours; Two alts, two days

I didn’t manage to get onto WoW yesterday as RL intervened – went to a smashing concert starring some friends of mine, well done to them – so as I’m away Friday morning  to Sunday afternoon this weekend I’ve just realised I have approximately 5 hours to do all the fires on 2 of my alts – my druid and my paladin, at 71 and 73 respectively. Fun times…

With respect to that, I’m bringing you this live from the docks of Azuremyst Isle, where I’m wishing the boat would hurry up so I can go do the rest of Kalimdor and then move onto my paladin. I have fires to be burning myself on!

In other news, this means I’ll be finishing my leveling guide next week sometime, though I will make it a priority. It also means I’ll have missed a week’s worth of dailies when I get back, so the mammoth is on hold for a short time. I’m pretty sure it means other things too, potentially deep and meaningful things, but I can’t think of any right off the bat because this heatwave is draining my soul even more effectively than my warlock does others. Also, I’ve been sat in an office programming software all day and hence I’m pretty tired. The job is going great though!

Have a good weekend folks,

Vel.

Of Mages, Midsummer and Mounts

Just some quick updates about what’s been going on with me, since I’m realising how impersonal this blog is when all I do is review patch notes and write guides!

So being bored of level 75 on my mage I decided to spice his life up by doing all the Midsummer fire quests – I don’t like Zul’Drak, and Sholozar only goes so far. After extinguishing and honouring my way across all of the Eastern Kingdoms and half of Kalimdor, I’d covered the 7 or so bars to 76, and after finishing Kalimdor, Outland and the 4 Horde cities, I was about 6 bars into that – the xp was very good, equivalent to a normal quest which might take much longer, and I enjoyed grabbing flight points and seeing some of the older areas for once.

From this I also netted around 250g and a huge 587 blossoms, which will probably go towards a pet as I don’t think I want the achievement on this guy. Following that I spent the rest of the day killing seemingly random animals in Sholozar and helping Mirtai configure DBM (God save us all), and eventually hit 77, which was undoubtedly the best level for him so far. Except perhaps for when I got Blink at 20 or something, ‘cos I’d been looking forward to that.

When he hit 77, I was sitting on exactly 28005g server-wide – the plan had been to get to 30000 before spending any just to say I’d had that amount, but the Cold Weather Flying Trainer looked at me with big puppy dog eyes and a few minutes later I was 6800g worse off after purchasing regular and epic flying, plus Cold Weather training.

Now I had been planning the mount I wanted upon reaching 77 for a very long time – the Magnificent Flying Carpet. It cost hundreds of gold to level the ridiculously expensive skill that is Tailoring, but all the mats were there ready and waiting for me, and 10 seconds of FRAPS later I had the ideal mage mount and I was zooming out of Dalaran and floating around Crystalsong testing it out. Next up, Storm Peaks and level 80!

On Veliaf, I’ve been running heroics with my guild every day for a week to attempt to gear up our members for our first guild WotLK raids, the first of which is going down tonight in the Obsidian Sanctum. We also have Naxx planned for tomorrow. Hopefully it will all run smoothly, even if we have to PuG some members, and at the very least we’ll finally see the fights together and get some experience (I’ve cleared all this content before, and even seen Ulduar a bit with some PuGs, but the guild is pretty casual and so we’re only just getting into the swing of things now). Planning the raids is also proving to be fun, as I don’t often get a chance to raid lead – if you’re lucky I might even post some of the Venn Diagrams I drew to work out which members were doing what! Darned dual-specs.

Additionally, Veliaf has also done the Fire Festival and got the achievement and accompanying title in about 2 hours, though in fairness he’d done many of the fires last year. Now that the bug seems to have been fixed (?) I might go back again to the others for blossoms, as doing the dailies won’t get enough for the pet, which I’d quite like – more pets means closer to the achievement for getting 50 after all. Certainly more useful than the brazier.

Anyway, I’ll be keeping you updated as to the raid progress and with any luck I’ll get that level 10 video done at some point. Hopefully this weekend, as I’m starting a job this Monday and then it’ll never get done.

Vel.

Raiding as a BM hunter

Continuing on with my tale of Mirtai and her sudden desire to raid efficiently, I spent a few hours putting together an email for her with a load of useful information about raiding as a Beast Mastery specced Hunter (this was after she pinned me to the floor with her feminine, Dwarvish arms and asked whether crit was more important than haste). However it seems like a partial waste for only her to see it and benefit, so I thought I’d adapt it and post it here, so everyone can access it.

So for one night, and one night only, ladies and gentlemen, I present you with der Jägerthe Hunter.

Basic tips for improving your dps:

1. Make sure you have an optimal spec. Whilst a Survival build is the best Hunter dps build out there at the moment, the best BM build (according to my research and EJ) is this. A video for this BM spec can be found here – the spec in the video is slightly different to the one I gave a link to, so compare the two and see what you prefer. I think the difference is just a choice between points in MM and Survival, but I’d be more inclined to go towards the one I listed first, as opposed to the video.

2. Ever had your dps drop sharply and suddenly? Chances are, your pet died. As a Hunter or Warlock it’s VERY important you keep your pet alive. I think I heard somewhere that Hunter pets do about 40% of your dps as BM? Also, remember to use cooldowns whenever you can, provided you’ll have them for bosses, and combine this with on-use trinkets and the likes.

3. Use resources available to you to research things. A list of possible resources I’ve found:

  • Elitist Jerks’ BM raiding forum thread. The original post is the one to look at unless you’re interested in all the discussion which has affected how the original one has been updated. Information here should be fairly easy to follow, but pretty advanced.
  • TribunalxHunter’s blog. This guy plays a BM Hunter and is the bloke from the video I linked above. Information from here might be basic to moderate.
  • The Scattered Shots weekly column from WoW Insider. May not have any relevance at the moment with regards to specific specs as it only recently restarted and so might not include specs for 3.1 yet, but a good read regardless and it may contain useful information. In particular, two posts from it that you may want a look at are their list of Hunter resources and one about fixing your dps. Info here could range from basic to advanced.
  • Be.imba is a great website which rates your gear and stats and tells you what can be upgraded. It also tells you how far below the hit cap you are, and whereabouts on the chart of heroics and raids you ought to perform well. Definitely worth a look to easily see what to improve.

4. Download one or two essential raiding addons you may not have, which most raid guilds would require you to have. The first two listed here are non-negotiable, the third is a little more optional depending on your damage at the moment, but highly recommended:

  • Recount. It takes very little configuration and is easy to set up. Seriously, this is an invaluable addon. Not only can you see everyone’s dps for yourself, but it will be useful for testing your dps on target dummies, etc. Also, something I didn’t realise until very recently – when an addon like Recount records dps, it records it from the combat log. However the combat log only has a certain range and so if something is outside this range (like a player) it won’t be recorded. Hence, the most accurate data about yourself is always going to come from YOUR version of Recount, as you’re always in range of it. This is why there are sometimes discrepancies between different versions.
  • DBM (Deadly Boss Mods). As far as I remember this is completely out-of-the-box, so it needs no setting up. What DBM does is basically provide you with timers relating to the fight. For example, in VH it tells you how long until the next portal will appear. Or in AN, on the last boss, you can see the CD on his ‘Pound’ ability (which is obviously useful for healers, as they need to know when to cast a bigger heal on the tank because there is more damage incoming), and it also tells you the CD on his ‘Summon Scarabs’ ability (i.e. when he summons the little adds) so you know when to prepare to AoE.
  • Omen Threat Meter is also a good idea if you don’t have it – whilst, at the moment, you probably won’t ever be out-threating the tank at all there will be times when you’re maybe attacking an add that the tank isn’t, such as during an AoE pull, and you might pull aggro. With a threat meter you can see your level of threat on the mob compared with everyone else that’s attacking / healing, and so you know when to slow down to avoid pulling the mob off the tank.

5. Hit. Hit. Hit. Hit. Hit. Hit. Hit. Gear until you are hit capped. You don’t have a choice in the matter. Until you’re hit capped, the stat which will increase your dps the most is HIT. There is food for +hit, such as the Worg Tartare, and alchemists can also make elixirs which give hit rating. The more hit you have, the less you miss, and so the more dps you will do. You want to improve your dps, do all you can to raise your hit rating. Gem for hit. Enchant for hit. Gear for hit.

6. Make sure you have the right glyphs. In addition, as mentioned above, get appropriate enchants and gems, and other gear enhancements, for every piece of gear you can improve – it may be slightly costly, but it’s worth it when your dps goes up. Also linked to that and to the above lecture on hit rating is buffs and consumables – potions, food, etc. It all improves dps.

7. Knowing the boss encounters beforehand will actually increase your dps. If you know when to move, when to stop dps’ing, when to kill adds, or whatever, you won’t be learning on the spot and everything will be more efficient. Simply Googling the fight will usually turn up sites with information as to the fight, and when it comes to learning raid bosses there are some good sites but they don’t cover heroics which is what we’re doing at the moment. For a reliable website for boss strats, try WoWWiki. Additionally, this will help with pugging, when groups may not be as forgiving with regards to explaining things, especially if it’s a heroic run (theoretically, you ought to have done the encounters in normal). This is also linked to #2 above – you’ll know when the best time to use CDs and trinkets is if you know the fight.

8. Keep running instances for gear upgrades, and remember that the EoH can be spent on upgrades. Also, check reputation vendors, etc, and remember that the Armoury as well as be.imba can list potential upgrades. Just look at all the listed ones which don’t come from raids.

9. Know your goals. I believe that the average dps needed for heroics is approx. 1500, which is still fairly low. Don’t be satisfied until you’re pulling about 1600 on a target dummy though (the extra 100 could be lost in a real fight through movement, dealing with adds, etc). For the first lot of 10-man raids (Naxx, VoA, OS), you need about 2000 dps when raid buffed. I’m not sure what you need for the next level (those raids in heroic mode / Ulduar and EoE 10), but I do about 2800 dps when 25-man raid buffed and that almost always gets me in the top 5 dps at least, if not higher.

That’s all folks! Hope this helps, and we’ll be returning to the ways of wickedly whimsical Warlocks next time. I might even finally get that next video done now that RL has lightened up.

Vel.