Archive for March, 2009

31
Mar
09

A Sense of Entitlement

Because I haven't talked about it enough

Because I haven't talked about it enough

So last night I logged on and started running around, taking care of some errands on Dueg, when I did something I’ve never done before.  I changed my settings to see my own name.  I know, vanity, thy name is Dueg, but I was still feeling some pride, so I wanted to see what it looked like.  As you can see, it appears as though someone has dropped a sack of letters all over me.  I’m sorta glad I don’t have to see that all the time actually.

I’m sure I’ll wear this title for about a week or so and then go back to being Elder Duegathalas, because I like the look of it.  What I keep meaning to work my way to though is the Ambassador title.  Just look at it: Ambassador Duegathalas.  Fucking gorgeous.  Anyhoo, my point is that our reasons for having titles and choosing which one is on display are legion.  Some will say that it’s all about customization and being that much more unique with their chars and I can certainly understand that draw myself.

I’m old school in the sense that I used to play Everquest way back when and I remember one of the greatest feelings was when you hit level 20 you got to type in /surname and enter a new last name for your character.  For some of my characters, this process was easy (such as my main, Confooshus Say) and for others it was a process (my cleric, Justarius Souldeceiver, took a bit of thinking), but the point of it was the customization of it.  The fact that it gave you that little extra bit of a sense of “this is my character” was one so enticing that I still long for it when one of my WoW chars dings 20.

The thing about the title system though is that it also gives you this feeling, only to a much lesser degree in the sense that there’s almost no entirely unique titles.  A very few, select people have unique ones for various accomplishments or whatnot, but generally titles are going to be available to the WoW community en masse.  So what is it that draws us to one particular title over others even though we know that half the server could have it tomorrow?

Well, for some people, there is no draw, they just want title after title after title because they see it as something to do in game.  It gives them a sense of accomplishment to open up their character and scroll through the 20 or so titles available to them while they giggle with childish glee.  They’ll choose whatever title suits their current mood without much thought and that title may sit over their head for weeks and weeks or get changed out every time they log in.  Others still are more like innocent bystanders, running around, doing achievements for whatever reason or fighting a particular boss and all of a sudden they’re immortal, or a diplomat or whatever.

Then there’s the RP draw of it.  Even on regular servers there are people who connect with their characters to the point that they begin to breathe a certain personality into them.  People who have never RPed before can still occasionally see their character as someone with wants and needs and goals even if it’s just a projection of themselves into the avatar.  Because of this you sometimes just see the title as just fitting on your character and will happily put the title up and leave it there forever.

For some though there’s usually a particular title that their shooting for, one that they’ve had their eye on or stumbled across and love the way it sounds.  I was never a title seeker till I found out I could be Elder Duegathalas, then you better believe I was running around all the continents like a crazy man, shaking my walker at all the kids.  For me it was purely an exercise in vanity.  I was only half interested in the lore and all that jazz and didn’t really want to run any instance in the new or old content, but I wanted those five extra letters in front of my name.  In this sense, the achievements system accomplished what it was implemented for and gave me a reason to log in and play my level 80 in between raiding.

Some people even go so far as to plan their character’s actual names to match up with titles they’re planning on getting.  Usually as jokes,  but sometimes with a thought to how it will actually sound.  You can even tell what era a character is from based on their titles since certain ones such as the military ranks and past one time event titles are no longer available.  There’s even the “I’m better than you” titles with two new ones for server firsts coming in the next patch to go along with the current uber difficult ones of The Immortal and The Undying.

So now I ask you, what do you look for in titles?  Is it all about aesthetics for you or are you simply an achievement hunter who thirsts for the ding of that little box popping up at the bottom of your screen?  Maybe there’s one particular title that you’ve been slowly meandering towards forever (ah, Champion of the Frozen Waste, you shall be Dueg’s someday) or maybe you had a particular one within a week of being 80 just like you always planned.  Or perhaps you’re one of the humble few who refuses to wear a title, satisfied with the fact that you’re just you.

Oh, and a quick congratulations on the newest member to the Title Club: Ms. Cadistra Jenkins, may she always have chicken.

-Dueg

30
Mar
09

Carrot vs Stick

carrot-on-a-stick

art by mynxie-chu

So anyone who was following me last night saw that I posted that after a few weeks of attempts and then restructuring, my guild was finally able to down Sartharion with three drakes up.  Hold on a second, *re-reads the previous sentence a few times* ahem, so yes, there was much rejoicing to be had in Duegville.  As the warm glow spread over me though, I thought back over the process that brought us to this point and some thoughts struck me.

Of course, it wasn’t easy, and I’m not just speaking of the fight.  Any guild is going to require weeks of preparation at least simply because it’s not easy to adequately gear out 25 people.  However, it’s not just an issue of gear, but there are other factors as well.  A guild must become a team in order to be able to accomplish these sort of things, wherein each person knows their job and sticks to it, working towards the common goal.  But it’s not always so easy to just throw together a group of people and say “Perform!”  The best gear in the world won’t accomplish a raid if your hunter is off hopping in the lava while your shaman decides to tank out and your DK tank thinks it’s better to be blood spec because that’s where the damage is.  But how do you do that?

For our guild, it wasn’t easy.  The main problem was that everyone was focused and brought their A-game when it came to the loot pinata of Naxx, but as soon as someone mentioned dragons, everyone would suddenly find something more interesting to do on raid nights.  We had a solid core of people who understood that guilds are more than loot machines, but beyond those 15 or so raiders there was a certain lackadaisical attitude towards progression.  So the leadership got together, hunkered down and started trying to actively encourage people to come to raids.

We had just started our DKP system so the most obvious choice to begin with was bonus DKP for progression fights.  Just showing up would net you an extra 10 DKP, plus 10 more for every hour of wipes, plus an additional amount of DKP at the end of the night, even if we hadn’t downed the content.  Downing it for the first time meant 50 DKP.  This was a very big carrot.  It sort of worked in that it brought a few extra raiders to the table for progression fights, but we were still consistently short a full raid on progression nights and always bursting at the seams for Naxx fights.

So the next idea was that there was no longer a single Naxx night, but instead we would turn Naxx into part of the carrot.  We started each evening on progression fights, once we had wiped for a couple of hours on those, then we would do Naxx as a reward for those who had stuck it out and at least tried.  This system worked better and we were able to finally start doing regular progression fights, but that didn’t mean we were a force to be reckoned with, oh no, not at all.

The fact is that the difficulty from Malygos or Sarth 2D to 3D scaled dramatically.  This meant that people who had been coasting through easy raiding content suddenly found themselves having to actually pay attention and make sure they were doing things right.  It wasn’t faceroll time anymore and people are regularly failing at void zones and flame walls.  Now yes, Sarth 3D is crazy with stuff happening all over the place, but fact is, it’s not impossible.  Other people have done it, so why can’t we?  We’re good enough, we’re smart enough, and gosh darnit, people (who aren’t alliance) like us!

So here is where the stick came out.  The first thing that came into play was a death tax.  Basically this meant that if you died to a flame wall or a void zone, you had to pay 25g directly into the guild bank.  Reason was, if you died before a wipe, you contributed to the wipe, therefore, you had to help pay for everyone’s repairs.  We went from about half the raid dying on the first flame wall (sad, but true), to about three or four immediately after this was announced.  After a few progression attempts with this rule in place, people were focused enough that we could sort of forget about the death tax unless for some reason it was just a failtastic evening all around.

Of course, though we were able to get progression shots in regularly, we were still having problems getting full raids on every raid night.  People were still ducking out of the harder content or only coming one night a week for whatever reason.  Again, the stick was brought out and it was decided that you had to come to at least 2 out of our 3 raid nights a week otherwise you were deemed a “casual” member and would not receive raid invites.  A little harsh, yes, but it also meant we weren’t bringing along and gearing out someone who was going to sacrifice the work the guild put into him or her in the interest of just being a “casual raider” (whatever that means).

Because a few of our semi regulars lost their status, we were forced to take a few weeks off from the only progression we had left, Sarth 3D, and bring in some new trial members who could meet our new standards.  After letting them prove their worth (which they most definitely did), last night we went back in and finally progressed like we had been trying.  The main differences?  Last night people were focused and professional, paid attention, did their jobs, accomplished what needed to be accomplished, and basically acted like a raid team.  The fight, though not easy, felt much more doable than it did in the past, and I could definitely tell after the first wipe that it would be our night.  An hour and a half of wipes, and the job was done.

Now that I look back, I can see that it took an equal amount of carrot and stick to get this accomplished.  At first we tried to be all carrot, and that certainly helped to a small degree, but all it did was encourage people to show up, it didn’t encourage them to do it right.  When the stick came out, it caused people to focus and to understand that though we weren’t going to be a harsh, tyrranical guild, we were going to progression guild and if you weren’t interested in that, well, good luck to you elsewhere.  We lost some members along the way, but normal attrition to real life and burnout will do that regardless, and besides, we gained some excellent ones as well.

So now I ask you, how does your guild handle a lackluster raiding force?  Are they all carrot, hoping people will fall in line for rewards alone or do they bust out the stick and start whacking away at stupidity?  Do you think one is better than the other or does it have to be a fair balance?  Opinions are good, so leave yours in comments!

-Dueg

PS:  Today is Ambrosyne’s b-day, so wander on over to her siteand wish her a very bubalicious year!  Happy Birthday Bubz!

29
Mar
09

Twilight, Consider Yourself Vanquished

twighlight-zone

As of 10:25pm EST, March 29, 2009, <NEED A DISPENSER HERE> of Darkspear server, Horde side, has officially cleared all current content of Wrath of the Lich King.

"Mmm, yes, let me taste your tears of infinite sadness!"

"Mmm, yes, let me taste your tears of infinite sadness!"

How sweet it is.

-Dueg

29
Mar
09

A Quandary

So yesterday was my fourth week of posting the Saturday RP and if I do say so myself, I thought my best one so far.  I enjoyed writing it and was very thankful for all the complimentary comments everyone left.  I don’t consider myself some sort of awesome, ready to publish writer, but I enjoy being able to let my creative juices flow.  And I must admit, I was actually ready to write the Saturday RP back on Thursday or so.

While chit chatting in twitter, someone suggested that perhaps I should expand the Saturday RP from just Saturday and the idea was seconded by another friend of mine.  I had been toying with possibly doing this myself already and the idea does intrigue me.  I couldn’t do it everyday, but maybe twice a week could be accomplished (it’s not like I’m writing epic length posts on it or anything).  So then I will turn to you, my regular readership and ask, would you want to see a second RP post a week?

Not so fast though, before you rush off to the comments section to post your answer, there is a catch.  If you would vote “yes” then I require you to create a post on your own blog of a one shot story involving your character.  It doesn’t have to be a novel and it doesn’t have to be serious, but there should be at least some substance and a plot.  I don’t care if you think you suck at writing or whatever, I want to read it, so post it, link back to here and I’ll consider that a yes vote.  For every yes vote I get here, I’ll have at least one week with two RP posts and if I get enough I’ll make it a permanent thing for as long as I’m writing RP.  If you regularly write RP, feel free to just dedicate one of your normal posts to a yes vote and I’ll be a-ok with that.  If you don’t have a blog, go ahead and vote in the comments.

I’ll post with my final decision a week from now, GO GO GO!

-Dueg

29
Mar
09

The Sunday Cop-out, Wherein Dueg’s Filthy Mouth is Revealed

Warning:  The following post is going to have offensive language, if that offends you, then the adjective is accurate.

I have a secret, a dirty little secret that till now I have yet to reveal to the blogosphere.  I, Dueg, have a filthy fucking mouth.  I like to curse, some people call it a crutch, but nothing makes me feel better or relieves stress like a good, loud, muscle clenching “FUCK” yelled out when you wipe or someone ganks you.  I won’t go into the psychology of it, but needless to say, yes, I am a fucking fan of cursing.  That aside, I’m also not a fan of cursing in a public or professional setting and definitely not around children.  I feel that this is rude and I just think of the uncomfortable situation that’s created when an eight year old asks their mother what “shit” means.

It’s not just cursing either, I can say the most vile things without using a traditional curse word, have no doubt.  The funny thing is, the only people who usually hear me say those sort of things are my closest friends (who, trust me, usually have no problem saying the same sort of things back to me).  Since I’ve moved to Long Island relatively recently, I have yet to really connect with anyone around here to the point where I’m regularly telling them where to shove their opinions (hint: not a comfortable area), or pondering why their mother is so promiscuous and/or just can’t shake those extra 500 or so pounds.  So I usually get my fix of eff bombs on WoW.

I’ll give you a few examples, these all involve Scrat since he’s my best friend/sidekick (HEY BUDDY!), but he’s not the only one I talk to like this.  They’re not exactly melt your eyeballs filthy convos, but they are pretty rude, so I won’t post the pics directly on the page, if you’re interested you can view them here and here and you can see Scrat giving as good as he gets here.  I don’t know why I say these things to him, the guy is seriously my best friend (he’s already agreed to be my best man at my wedding), I just do, my fingers type of their own accord!

So now I ask you, gentle jerkwads, how are you when you’re in game?  Are you the most polite guild member, always please and thank you?  Or do you offer people a cock sandwich regularly, and suggest a somewhat multi-species family tree?  Are you like me and polite in general except with your friends, at which point you turn into a dying sailor who has a curse word quota to get into heaven?  Perhaps you’re completely different in real life, always polite and demure until you log in, at which point you could make George Carlin roll over in embarrassment at some of the things you say?  Drop me a fucking comment and lemme fucking know!

-Dueg

28
Mar
09

Saturday RP – Ambush

Dueg collapsed against the trunk of the scrawny, dead tree, grunting against the impact.  His head swam and multicolored stars flowed through his vision as he weakly looked down to the arrow jutting from his chest.  He could already feel the blood pooling at the back of his throat telling him that his lung had most definitely been perforated.  He reached up, grabbing at the shaft as blinding pain shot from the wound, causing him to abandon the idea of pulling the arrow out himself until he had stabilized the ruined area of his chest.  “Ren-” he coughed violently, the blood at the back of his throat costing him his ability to speak his prayer to the light.

Everything had gone wrong.

* * * * *

The small group had left Vengeance Landing three days earlier, traveling due north towards the Grizzly Hills.  The first day had been uneventful, a small escort of militia had seen them to the wooden elevator which brought them from the base of the sunken valley Vengeance Landing was hidden in up to the flat plains of the Howling Fjord proper.  Once there, they had met with a group of Forsaken agents,  who provided them with a map of the local area and some mealy, unappetizing rations to sustain them for a couple of days.  After gathering those supplies they had snuck their way past a Vyrkul village and began to follow the coastline, always keeping the sea to their right.  During the third evening, however, Reyk approached Dueg while he was setting up his tent for the night, feigning as if to help.

“We’re being followed,” he said in a low voice as he raised the mallet to strike Dueg’s tent stakes, “I can’t tell by how many, but I’ve seen enough to know we’re not alone.”

Dueg kept his eyes focused on the canvas, adjusting the way it hung from the tent pole as he whispered back, “You are certain?”

Reyk snorted slightly, “I’ve been in the field long enough to recognize shapes on the horizon that stay the same size no matter how far you move from them, priest.”

“Very well, what do you suggest then, with your expertise?”

“Pray for Scrat and I, fortify us with the light’s power, for tonight they’ll come.  After we eat we’ll retire to our separate tents, you’ll know when they’re here.”

Dueg nodded as Reyk stood and walked away after finishing with the stake, settling in the center to whisper with Scrat as they lit the evening cooking fire.  Once finished, Dueg ducked into his tent, opening a side pocket in his travel bag and producing a thickly proportioned candle, placing it in the center of his tent and sitting cross legged in front of it.  He closed his eyes and relaxed, feeling the cleansing power of the light flow gently through his mortal frame and reach out to the candle, which slowly lifted into the air on currents of power.  

Dueg had to hold himself back from reaching for that power and drawing more through his soul than he could handle.  He knew that to do so would sear his soul with so much divine power he would either simply burn into nothingness or become a simple fool, like those wretches who couldn’t handle their addiction to magics.  But the draw was powerful, he wanted it to sear his soul, to fill him with a power that would burn his consciousness till nothing was left.  The thought of entering oblivion by that method brought a shudder of anticipation to Dueg’s rigid frame.

NO! he thought, I have not spent years mastering myself to burn out now on this horrible lump of frozen rock!  He gritted his teeth and allowed a small tendril of power, a simple trickle of the possible torrent, to flow through him into the suspended candle, causing it to flare into life as Dueg whispered, “Fortify.”

The flame on the candle burst into sudden brightness as it melted the wax into nothing, drawing from the previously whispered holy prayers infused into it and creating a glowing sphere.  The sphere immediately shot forward driving through Dueg’s chest and out through the tent, similarly depositing energy into Reyk and Scrat.  Dueg heard them gasp softly, but otherwise do their best to ignore the sudden infusion of the light’s blessing they had just received.  He hoped that their unwanted shadows had not seen that little display, but knew that from such a distance it would be difficult to notice the blindingly fast mote of light that delivered the blessing.  He stood and went to sit at the fire with his companions so that he could take dinner.

The meal was a tense one as the three kept an eye on the horizon and their plates at the same time.  Little talking was done and when they finished their bland meals, they had each retired to their tents in order to partake of their daily rituals.  Dueg began his meditations as the sun slipped below the horizon, bringing darkness to the small group of tents except for the quickly dwindling flame of the fire.  The wind continued it’s mournful song as the stars began to blink into life once more and the moons of Azeroth rose, inciting a symphony of exotic insects that had been waiting to greet the White Lady and the Blue Child as they awoke from their slumber.  With the flap of his tent slightly open, Dueg witnessed all of this and allowed the music of the plains to flow through him, refreshing his soul with the light’s energy.  

Then the attack came.

The arrow came first, making a low whistling noise as it landed with a quiet fwoomph, blasting out some sort of smothering dust and causing the last of the flames to die.  Almost immediately he heard the thumps of heavy feet accented with the jingle of plate and mail armor as their attackers rushed the camp, thinking them blinded and defenseless.  Suddenly Dueg saw Reyk burst from his tent in full plate armor, decorated in symbols of Silvermoon City and the Horde, a gleaming blade bursting from his sheath as he smoothly jumped the distinguished fire and brandished his shield.  

“This is sacred ground!” he screamed as light flared from him, consecrating the camp site as Scrat and Dueg both tore from their tent flaps.  Scrat immediately threw a sharpened, wooden idle deftly into the fire pit where it burst into a torrent of flame, causing the fire to grow to mammoth proportions.  Dueg called upon the light’s power to create a glowing shield of power around Reyk as the first attacker whirled in, his sword flaring against the divine barrier.  Reyk suddenly kicked out, taking a foot out from under the armored attacker as he whirled around, using his opponent’s off balance flailing to sneak an elbow above his guard and smash into his helmet.  As the first one reeled away, Dueg saw a second attacker rush in from behind Scrat’s tent, diving for his back as Scrat was planting his second idle into the ground.

Light’s shadow, find purchase in this fool’s brain and enlighten him to your sacred power,” Dueg prayed as he stepped forward, unleashing dark energies into the human’s, and Dueg could see that the attackers were indeed human, brain at the same time as a burst of flame shot from the magically enhanced fire at the center of their camp.  The fire wavered for a moment, then split as the top portion raged forward, becoming a living element of the fire’s raw power.  Confident that Scrat could clean up this interloper on his own, Dueg looked back to Reyk to see that he was being sorely pressed by a third human and the first, who had recovered enough to split around and try to flank him.  Dueg began to step forward to assist Reyk until a blast water caught him hard in the chest, flinging him backwards onto the ground.

Another elemental being, this one composed of water, flowed into the melee, darting past the battle dance that Reyk was engaged in and bared down the flaming elemental that had incapacitated Scrat’s attacker.  Calling on the elements once more, Scrat fired a burst of lightning at the water elemental, causing it to contract in agony as the electricity flowed through it and the living fire shot burning pitch at it.  Steam began to fill the area, clouding the site in a swirling fog as Dueg recovered from his fall and rushed forward once more, until the ice flowed up from the ground, grasping at his ankles and jarring him to a halt.

Quickly he speared his staff into the ground before him and yanked his wand from the sling at his belt, aiming and firing a violet bolt of shadow energy that pierced the closest combatant’s mind and gave him pause.  Reyk tried to take advantage, but his second attacker stepped, diving in under his shield and slapping Reyk across the ab section of his armor, leaving a deep crease behind and stealing the wind from him.  Thinking the fight won, the human closed in for the kill when suddenly Scrat burst from the thickening fog of the elemental’s battle, his mace raised and charging in behind the would be victor.  However, as Scrat brought down the weapon, his forearm suddenly froze itself solid and shattered from the vibrations of impact against the human’s back.  Scrat stepped back, grasping at his now halved limb.

“Light’s blessing,” Dueg prayed, “have mercy upon this champion’s w-“

The world changed.  There were noises!  Loud and frightening, Dueg had to run!  Large shapes moving quickly, danger!  A tree!  He charged away, his hooves digging little furrows into the this grass of the Fjord.  He stood before the tree, safe, for now.  Grass.  He bends to ea-

Dueg stood in elf form once more, spitting blades of grass from his mouth, he looked back to the camp, seeing that his companions were not faring well.  Suddenly, pain blossomed in his chest and his knees went weak.  Dueg collapsed against the trunk of the scrawny, dead tree, grunting against the impact.

* * * * *

Dueg looked up as the blood bubbled from his lips, seeing the lithe form step from the darkness towards him, bending as it stood before him.  A female night elf, her violet face framed by the brightness of the white moon as her large, quizzical eyes studied his face.  He also became aware of a sniffing noise immediately to his right as he looked over to see a large, striped saber cat staring intently at him.  He turned back and spit a glob of foamy blood onto her cheek.  As it rolled down, she sighed slightly and suddenly struck out, smashing against Dueg’s temple with the base of a hunting knife.

Everything went black.

-Dueg

27
Mar
09

Friday Strats – Loatheb

You know what the say about big hands, hur hur

You know what the say about big hands, hur hur

So you’ve come to the end of the Plague Wing and the only thing standing between you and a glowy portal is this big sack of fungal crap.  Loatheb is a very gimmicky boss and not too difficult if you’re good at timing, so let’s get right into it.

The Prep

Not much prep involved really.  You’ll only need one tank and one healer to watch him (although having two wouldn’t hurt).  Make sure everyone is through the doorway, buff them all up and pull when ready!

The Fight

Loatheb himself is not going to have too many abilities and he’s not exactly a hard hitter, so the tank won’t be crazy damage.  No, his biggest ability will be Necrotic Aura.  Cast every 20 seconds, this ability blocks all healing and lasts for 17 seconds, giving you only a 3 second window to cast heals on other raid members.  He’ll also begin casting Deathbloom every 30 seconds, which is basically a DoT version of Lifebloom, dealing 400 nature damage every second for five seconds till it “blooms” for 1.5k at the end.  After two minutes of fighting, he’ll begin casting Inevitable Doom every 30 seconds.  This debuff will inflict 5k damage after 10 seconds.  After being engaged for five minutes, he’ll begin casting Inevitable Doom every 15 seconds instead of 30.

Occasionally while you’re fighting a fungal spore mob will spawn and slowly meander through the raid, hitting people for minimal damage.  When killed, these spores grant a two minute “debuff” that increases your crit chance by 50% and lowers your threat production to zero to the five closest people in a 10 yard radius.  DPS should try to stack on this and get as many people as possible to gain the buff.  Since it reduces your threat output, it is very important to burst the spore away from the tank.  You can’t death grip them, so make sure to have someone with taunt ready to call it over if it spawns near the tank.

As a healer, your one job is to get as much burst healing in as possible during the three second healing window.  I usually try to que up a Prayer of Healing so it’ll land just as the Necrotic Aura fades, then I’ll pop CoH and usually I have a Surge of Light proc, so I can instant cast flash heal on anyone who looks to need it.  This will usually close the window.  Also, priests should keep in mind that PW:S does not count as a healing spell and therefore can still block damage during Necrotic Aura.  For some reason it won’t block the Deathbloom ticks, but it will block the final burst of damage.  Divine Aegis will also work during the non healing portions of the encounter.

Since the fight is a dps race, healers will want to throw some dps up on Loatheb during Necrotic Aura in order to help out.  They should not be concerned with getting the spore debuff though until all the dps have gotten it since you’ll be doing minimal dps anyways.  That’s pretty much it for the fight, he’s not a difficult boss, you just have to have the dps to down him before he really gets going.  He’ll enter a Berserker Rage after 12 minutes and tear your raid apart, but if you haven’t downed him by then, chances are you’re in trouble anyways.

The Loot

Cowl of Innocent Delight – This is a very sweet helm for Holy and Disc and can very easily hold you over till you can find BiS.  Shadow should look somewhere else unless they’re really jonesin for the mp5.

Boots of Impetuous Ideals – Shadow spec should definitely try to grab these bad boys if they need the hit.  Healers should, of course, leave these for dps unless building an off spec set.

The Impossible Dream – Dare to dream this if you’re Holy or Shadow.  Disc will definitely have better options out there.  If you’re not obsessed with seeing the highest possible number in your SP column, this mace will be BiS for Holy spec.

Fading Glow – This is a fantastic, possible BiS wand for Disc priests.  Shadow might be interested as well, Holy should leave this for other, non spirit loving classes.

Mantle of the Lost Protector – this is the token for our tier shoulder piece.  For Holy spec, the tier piece will be the second BiS till you get the shoulders from Malygos.  Disc might want to look elsewhere, but the tier piece is still extremely excellent for them if they haven’t found a BiS item yet.  I’m not too sure where the shadow version stands.

And now we’re done with Plague Wing.  An easy enough wing, next week we’ll be starting on the almost laughably easy Spider Wing.

-Dueg

26
Mar
09

Parity Problems, A Priest’s Lament

Pictured: A run of the mill healing priest

Pictured: A run of the mill healing priest

So lately there’s been some mumbling and grumbling going on concerning the new tier 8 healing priest set.  The problem is not the look of it (though some people aren’t too happy about the rogue look), but more to do with the new bonuses we get from having multiple pieces.  I’ll review them real quick:

  • 2P Bonus — Increases the critical heal chance of your Prayer of Healing by 10%.
  • 4P Bonus — Casting Power Word: Shield also grants you 250 spell power for 5 sec.
  • Both of these are somewhat “meh” to begin with, but when viewed through the eyes of holy spec, even more so.  The PoH bonus is weak because as a holy priest, you’re more likely to use CoH with PoH being a back up.  Even with the changes to Serendipity, this will only give an extra incentive to cast PoH if you have it glyphed and even then I’d choose my spots to cast it carefully.  This is more of a “shrug” sort of bonus for both specs, something that’s nice to have, but you wouldn’t exactly miss it if it was gone.

    However, it’s the 4 piece bonus that really highlights one of the issues a lot of priests are beginning to have concerning Blizzard’s recent major changes to the priest class.  The problem here is that this tier bonus is obviously aimed at Discipline spec priests.  Even though it’s kind of lame (I mean, c’mon, 5 seconds, Blizzard?  That’s like kissing your cousin), it’s something a disc priest wouldn’t mind having in their arsenal for the occasional boost.  However, as almost every holy spec priest I’ve read over the last few days has pointed out, if you’re running with a disc priest in your raid, you’re probably not casting power word: shield because you don’t want to cut part of what makes a disc priest so damn discy.

    But here’s the problem: The stats on the gear are very very nice for holy spec.  Not BiS (tier armor almost never is) but damn close in all cases and something that anyone wearing only Naxx gear will jump at the chance to pick up.  However, the stats are only mildly interesting for disc priests, who are not looking to stack the spirit heavy pieces that are part of the tier 8 armor set.  This essentially means that both specs have a reason to find these attractive and a reason to turn their nose up at them.

    Look, Blizz… can I call you Blizz?  Blizz, you’ve done a fantastic job turning the discipline priest into a true PvE healing class.  You did such a good job, in fact, that you’ve actually made it into a wholly different type of healer, pretty much a completely different class.  The style, mindset, major spells, important stats, hell, even the importance of secondary stats are completely different than that of a holy healer.  They cast different heals at different times, basing their job performance on what buffs are up when and how much damage they help the tank avoid.  They chortle condescendingly when we suggest spirit is fantastic and reach for that extra helping of int instead, and that’s actually pretty awesome.  It’s also your fault, Blizz.

    You created a system that rewards the disc priest by how much mana they have and how fast they can cast their spells, turning them into haste hungry int mutants terrorizing the countryside.  Though you’re set to change their major form of mana regen with the rapture nerf, it’s still based on a percentage of total mana, meaning any smart disc priest will forgo spirit in favor of extra int and straight mp5 where they can get it.

    Holy priests on the other hand love them some spirit.  When you’re pushing 1,000 spirit (and top geared priests will), you don’t really give a crap about mp5 because you don’t need to.  You have enough mana regen that your i5sr amount should be equivalent to someone stacking mp5 instead of spirit.  The only difference is that your spirit also adds a straight sp bonus, making it one hella sexy stats for us.  I’m talking stilettos here, people.

    So we come to the crux of my argument: Why are you trying to please both sides, Blizz?  Why do you have to make a single healing set for the priest class?  I understand that we’re the only class that has two specific healing specs, but you’ve changed them to the point where they might as well be a dps and healing spec because they’re so wildly different.  Classes with three distinct specs such as shamans and paladins get three distinct tier sets, but we’re forced to put up with tier bonuses optimal for disc and disc is forced to put up with stats optimal for holy.

    Back in BC this argument would not have been really necessary because it could be argued that the PvP set was the disc set.  But with a switch in priorities for the spec and the rise of Blizz’s “bring the player, not the class” philosophy, that idea’s gone right out the window.  There are also changes in the mix to make disc into an even more attractive raiding class which will ensure more than a few holy priests picking it up as a secondary spec instead of dps.  Because of this, you’re going to see a lot of priests passing up tier gear in favor of items that don’t have spirit slathered all over them.  Holy priests will still take them, but the idea of losing the tier bonus won’t really give them pause.  This idea of forcing the needs of two fundamentally different specs into a single set devalues the gear for both specs.

    Let me close with this.  Blizzard, you have turned the priest into three different classes, two of which are healing classes.  However, they’re not the same type of healing classes.  They’re like Resto Shamans and Druids when it comes to what they want in stats.  They do a lot of the same things and have the same end result, but what they value when they’re looking for gear is wildly different.  You wouldn’t expect them to seek out the same type of gear stats-wise, yet you seem to think that priests will quietly do just that because we’re united under a common class name.  You divided us, and we’re happy for it, but the time has come to finish the job.  Acknowledge that we’re just too different to be happy with the same gear for both specs.  Otherwise, you probably won’t get much healing in the next Naxx run.

    -Dueg

    26
    Mar
    09

    I Humbly Agree that I am Awesome

    So apparently there’s an award of sorts going around the blogosphere lately wherein the person awarded picks out some blogs they consider fine reading and perpetuate the award onto them.  Both Kagrra from the Druid Team and Kestrel from Kestrel’s Aerie were kind enough to lie about me and make it sound like I know what I’m doing.  So I shall not dissapoint and accept this auspicious award!

    “This award is bestowed upon a fellow blogger whose blog content or design is, in the giver’s opinion, brilliant... in bed”

    “This award is bestowed upon a fellow blogger whose blog content or design is, in the giver’s opinion, brilliant... in bed”

    Now in order to accept this award, there are a few catches, which are as follows: 

    1. When accepting this auspicious award, you must write a post bragging about it (done), including the name of the misguided soul who thinks you deserve such acclaim, and link back to the said person so everyone knows she/he is real (double done).
    2. Choose a minimum of seven (7) blogs that you find brilliant in content or design. Or improvise by including bloggers who have no idea who you are because you don’t have seven friends. Show the seven random victims’ names and links and leave a harassing comment informing them that they were prized with Honest Weblog. Well, there’s no prize, but they can keep the nifty icon.
    3. List at least ten (10) honest things about yourself. Then pass it on!

    So first we’ll cover the ten interesting things about me, so here we go with Fun Dueg Facts!

    1. My mother was a catholic nun in the late sixties and early seventies.
    2. I have three first names (Christopher Allen Kyle).
    3. I’m not American, I’m Texan.
    4. Even though I was born in Florida (moved to TX when I was 1).
    5. I met my fiance at my brother’s wedding and moved to Long Island for her.
    6. I can move my eyes independently of each other, my ears too.
    7. I grew up a twenty minute drive from Mexico and South Padre Island.
    8. I play electric guitar and bass, both quite badly.
    9. I am a beard enthusiast.
    10. My last meal would be a Whataburger w/chee and an ice cold Shiner Bock to drink.

    So now I must give out this award to seven other bloggers.  So the roll call for this will be:

    1. Khaeli of Shadow Weaving.
    2. The Suicidal Priest.
    3. The Pugnacious Priest.
    4. Daria from Pixels – A Gaming Blog.
    5. BobTurkey, Gobble Gobble.
    6. Myssidia of A Casual Encounter.
    7. And the only non priest to make this roll: Kaleyen of Hungering Cold (maybe now he’ll stop waving his twighlight drake in my face, but somehow I doubt it).

    So there ya go, keep in mind that this list were just the first seven that came to mind and if I truly put down everyone I was curious about, it would go much much further.  Plus some of my other friends were already tagged so I went ahead and left them off.  If you’re someone who reads my posts regularly though, consider yourself awarded and feel free to make a post regarding this.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go wait by the mailbox for my prize money which is obviously on the way.

    -Dueg

    25
    Mar
    09

    For to Wear – A Guide to Pre-Heroic Gear

    So recently my good friend Lyrandre hit 80 and some malcontent absconded with my friend Anea‘s boots (honestly, hell in a hand basket).  Both of these got me thinking about that most precious of flames for us moths of WoW: Gear.  I had been wanting to write a gear guide for a while, so I figured I’d start small and try to help everyone find gear you can wear when getting ready to do your first heroics.

    Now let me preface this by saying I never looked at “target numbers” for your stats, though they do have their place.  I was lucky in that I was able to regularly get PuGs and my MO for leveling was PuG a dungeon till I got all the blues out of it I wanted, then finish the level with quests, then move to the next dungeon on the suggested levels list.  When I was finally ready to enter heroics, I had a full set of Northrend dungeon blues except for one trinket, so I felt confident without looking at my target numbers.  So in this guide I’ll be showing you the items I personally targeted and the ones I think would be good for shadow and disc as well.  So let’s get this show on the road and we’ll start with…

    Head

    Cowl of the Vindictive Captain / Volkhan’s Hood – These pieces are close enough in stats that they are pretty much interchangeable.  They are good pieces of haste gear, due to a lack of higher level spirit headpieces before heroics, all specs might want to shoot for them.  The cowl is a quest reward within Utgarde Pinnacle and the hood drops from Volkhan in Halls of Lightning.
    Hat of Wintry Doom – This is gonna be a best in slot for shadow spec until you start raiding, so definitely try to pick one up.  It’s a tailored item, so shouldn’t be too difficult to find.
    Static Cowl – This is an excellent crit item for all specs, so you should decide if you prefer haste or crit and plan accordingly.  This item drops from Sjonnir the Ironshaper in Halls of Stone.

    Chest

    Bauble-Woven Gown – Possibly your easiest get, this one is a quest reward from Utgarde Pinnacle.  The quest giver spawns right when you zone in and all you have to do is pick up a bunch of little items as you run through the zone.  You can turn it in right by the exit on your way out after defeating the King.  These are an attractive entry level heroic robe for any spec.
    Raiments of the Titans – The gem slot makes these robes slightly more attractive than the Bauble-Woven Gown.  Simply choose what stat you feel is more crucial to your spec and insert the proper gem.  Drops off Loken in Halls of Lightning.
    Robes of Lightning – The end reward of a very long and lore heavy questline that will get you started with the dreaded Hodir rep grind, these robes are a good item for shadow priests looking to get that hit cap.  You have to defeat Loken in order to get them.
    Vestments of the Scholar – I highly recommend these robes for discipline and shadow priests.  Holy priests may want to pick them up in order to up their crit, but balance it with how much spirit you would lose and make sure it’s really worth it first.  Drops from chest at the end of Occulus.
    Robes of Refrained Celebration – These are good for entering level 80 dungeons, sketchy for heroics.  I consider these “if all else fails” robes.

    Shoulder

    Mantle of Electrical Charges / Silken Amice of the Ymirjar – These items are exactly the same… way to go, Blizzard.  Excellent for all specs, although disc priests may want to look elsewhere in order to shore up other stats.  The mantle drops from General Bjarngrim in Halls of Lightning, and the Amice from Skadi the Ruthless in Utgarde Pinnacle.
    Mantle of the Intrepid Explorer – Good for holy and especially for shadow, these shoulders are are a great way to up secondary stats without sacrificing spirit.  Reward from a quest in Halls of Stone, picked up after you kill you the final boss.
    Lightning Infused Mantle – A quest reward for defeating one of the bosses in Halls of Lightning, this item is another “if all else fails” item.
    Mantle of the Flesh Giant – Quest reward from a long chain in Icecrown, these bad boys are excellent for a disc or shadow priest looking to up their haste.  Holy priests should look elsewhere.

    Cloaks

    Cape of Seething Steam / Dark Soldier Cape – Another case of identical items, these are excellent pieces of hit gear for shadow priest but healers should probably pass this up.  Seething steam drops from Volkhan in Halls of Lightning and the Dark Soldier is a rep purchase from the Knights of the Ebon Blade.
    Shroud of Dedicated Research – Pick this up if you’re looking to up your haste any, but I would leave this more for shadow spec.  This is a rep purchase from the Kirin Tor.
    Shroud of Resurrection – I highly recommend this one for healing priests although a little mp5 never hurt dps either.  The int and sta are identical to Shroud of dedicated Research, so it really comes down to if you value mp5 or haste.  Drops from Gortok Palehoof in Utgarde Pinnacle.

    Wrist

    Ancestral Sinew Wristguards – These are the best wrists you can get without running heroics.  Good for any spec and very flexible with the gem slot.  Requires revered rep with the Wyrmrest Accord.
    Demonic Fabric Bands – These are your best bet for holy spec, shadow and disc may want to weigh other options.  Drops from the chest at the end of Culling of Stratholme.
    Verdisa’s Cuffs of Dreaming – These are a better option for shadow or discipline as the gem slot will allow you to properly customize them for you.  Holy priests shouldn’t be afraid to pick these up either.  Drops from Drakos the Interrogator in Occulus.
    Rune Giant Bindings – If all else fails, these guys drop from random mobs in Halls of Stone and are BoE so you might be able to grab them for cheap from the AH.

    Hands

    Sterile Flesh-Handling Gloves – These bad boys are another heroic level item that can be picked up without doing heroics, making them excellent for all specs.  Requires revered rep with Knights of the Ebon Blade.
    Gloves of the Azure-Lord – A decent pair of gloves for holy, better for disc or shadow though due to low spirit levels.  Drops from Varos Cloudstrider in the Oculus.
    Gloves of the Time Guardian – These are a better option for holy while disc and shadow should shoot for the previous gloves.  Quest reward from within Culling of Stratholme.
    Light Blessed Mittens – Only very slightly better than the Time Guardian gloves, I’d only recommend getting these if you can pick them up for cheap or are a tailor yourself (hint: that means they’re tailored).
    Muddied Crimson Gloves – Another alternative to Gloves of the Time Guardian, all three of these are pretty much interchangeable options.  These required revered rep with the Wolvars.
    Thundercloud Grasps – These are definitely the best item a disc priest can find without grinding out the wyrmrest rep.  Drops from Ionar in Halls of Lightning.

    Waist

    Deep Frozen Cord – Best item for a disc priest or any other priest looking to up their crit bonus.  It’s tailored, so shouldn’t be too hard to find.
    Fishy Cinch – This is going to be the best option for a holy priest with such a high spirit count on it.  Requires revered rep with Oracles.
    Sash of the Wizened Wyrm – Excellent for a shadow priest looking for more hit, otherwise I’d recommend the Deep Frozen Cord for you.  Requires honored rep with the Wyrmrest Accord.

    Legs

    Frostmoon Pants – Your best option for holy priests, other specs may want something with a higher int to spirit ratio.  This item is tailored.
    Ring-Lord’s Leggings – With a higher int count, this is better served for disc or shadow priests due to low levels of non spirit pants.  These are a random drop from the Oculus.
    Leggings of Burning Gleam – These are good for any spec until you can pick up a more specific item for yourself.  Drops off Krystallus in Halls of Stone.

    Feet

    Aurora Slippers – Best selection for holy spec with the extra spirit, also a tailored item so keep an eye out for one.
    Silky Iceshard Boots – I really don’t recommend these boots unless you are seriously hurting for haste and crit.  These strike me as more for PvP.  They’re a tailored item.
    The Conjurer’s Slippers – Best item for a disc priest or a shadow priest looking for the extra haste, these drop off of Mage-Lord Urom in the Oculus.
    Fur-Lined Moccasins – An ok item till you can pick up Aurora Slippers, these are easier to get as a reward from a quest to kill a Gundrak boss.  Disc should definitely pass these up.
    The Darkspear’s Footpads – A decent holdover, disc or shadow should look into these if they need a nice blue.  These are a quest reward from a mob int he middle of Icecrown.

    Maces

    Gavel of the Brewing Storms – Best pre-heroic mace you can pick up, the crit and haste coupled with high sp makes this a must have for any mace enthusiast.  Requires revered rep with Wyrmrest Accord.
    Beguiling Scepter – A decent mace, the crit especially makes Dueg smile, any spec should shoot for this.  Drops from chest at the end of Culling of Stratholme.
    Totemic Purification Rod – This mace is geared more for haste lovers, but really any spec can use it.  Requires revered rep with the Kalu’ak.

    Daggers

    Flameheart Spell Scalpel – The only decent dagger for heroics, this is more for shadow priests obviously with the hit.  Requires revered rep with the Kirin Tor.

    Staves

    Malygos’ Favor – If you are a holy priest in need of spirit, pick this bad boy up and hold on for dear life.  Drops from the chest at the end of Oculus.
    Sempiternal Staff – Better suited for disc or shadow priests, with the extra crit bonus, holy priests not hurting for spirit may want to take a look at this staff.  Drops from Chrono-Lord Epoch in the Culling of Stratholme.

    Wands

    Ancient Measuring Rod – This is a good wand for shadow, but also not a bad pick up for disc.  Though the hit is useless, this wand has the highest int of any pre heroic wand.  This drops from Loken in Halls of Lightning.
    Brazier Igniter – This is a holy priests’s best friend.  Pick it up from Svala Sorrowgrave in Utgarde Pinnacle.
    Purifying TorchShinygem Rod – These wands are basically a choice between wanting crit or wanting mp5.  I don’t recommend either, but if you desperately need to up either of those categories, these are good options.  The torch requires revered rep with the Argent Crusade and the rod requires revered rep with the Oracles.

    Off Hand Frills

    Prison Manifest – A random drop in Heroic Violet Hold, these items are BoE so you might be able to pick them up in the AH.  An excellent off hand for anyone starting heroics.
    Seal of Valgarde – Nice haste item for a disc or shadow, holy might want to look for something with spirit.  Drops from Gortok Palehoof in Utgarde Pinnacle.
    Tome of Salramm – With crit and spirit, holy and shadow priests should be all over this.  Good for disc priests who need crit as well.  Drops from Salramm the Fleshcrafter in Culling of Stratholme.
    The Witching Grimiore / Bonecaster’s Endgame – These items are both from the same quest in Icecrown and are basically a “healer” and “dps” version of each other.  A holy priest will obviously look at the grimiore first and the disc vice versa, shadow will most likely be interested in the endgame.

    Amulets

    Dragon Prow Amulet – Random drop from heroic Utgarde Keep, check the AH to pick this up.  Best for holy priests, but a good item for anyone entering heroics.
    Chaotic Spiral Amulet – This is a fantastic holy or shadow priest, but disc priests shouldn’t be afraid to pick it up.  Drops from Loken in Halls of Lightning.
    Timeless Beads of Eternos – Comparable to the chaotic spiral amulet, you can definitely grab this one as an alternative.  Drops from Drakos the Interrogator in Oculus.
    Chain of Fiery Orbs – Definitely one of the better disc amulets till you reach heroics, this one comes from the Maiden of Grief in Halls of Stone.

    Rings

    Enchanted Wire Stitching – This is a great overall ring and one of the best you’ll find before entering heroics.  Pick it up from Meathook in Culling of Stratholme.
    Signet of Ranulf – Best pre heroic disc ring, this is also a nice compliment to any shadow or holy priest’s gear set.  Drops from King Ymiron in Utgarde Pinnacle.
    Ring of Northern Tears / Windfire Band – These are jewelcrafted rings and are great for shoring up weak spots in your stats.  Search for them in AH or ask a friend if you need a little oomph.
    Ringlet of Repose – This is a good mid level ring for holy specs to start heroics with, but I would try to balance it with at least one higher level item.  Drops from Maiden of Grief in Halls of Stone.
    Arcane Focal Signet – This is better for discs, same as previous though, shouldn’t be your better ring.  Drops from Moorabi in Gundrak.

    Trinkets

    Soul Preserver – This is the best healing trinket in the game pre heroics and can even serve you well in Naxx.  Drops from chest at the end if Culling of Stratholme.
    Tome of Arcane Phenomenon – An excellent dose of straight sp for a trinket, this is very nice for someone looking to up their number in that department.  Drops from chest at the end of Oculus.
    Cannoneer’s Fuselighter / Cannoneer’s Morale – Out of these two I would recommend the Cannoneer’s Fuelighter, but some people might really be jonesin for the mp5, in which case you can’t go wrong with the morale.  Both items are from the same quest in Icecrown.

    Now this list is not exhaustive, it’s basically all the easier to obtain blues from the upper dungeons I could find.  I didn’t include BoE creations obviously.  I will mention though that tailoring has two sets that make excellent alternatives that you can use to patch holes in your gear.  One is a PvP set called Frostsavage Gear which has resilience, but it also has decent doses of crit on each item and the other is a PvE haste set called Black Duskweave Gear.  Neither set has spirit, so they’re better for disc priests, but will do in a pinch.  I also welcome any suggestions in the comments section and keep in mind that I did not include epics on this list as I’ll be covering that in a later post.

    -Dueg




    Tell me how awesome I am!

    Beat the rush and send me an e-mail at: HolyDueg@gmail.com. It's good to have heroes.