Tuesday, June 2, 2009

So Long Yogg We Barely Knew Ya

So just like last Monday we had a full night of Yogg-love ahead of us last night and I honestly had a good feeling. I told the one co-worker I have that also plays Wow that we were going to down Yogg that night.

We had a decent start, the first attempt was smooth but still resulted in a wipe near the end of Phase 1. I'm not sure of the exact order but pretty soon we were into Phase 2 and getting some solid time. Then we made it through Phase 2 into Phase 3 for the first time and immediately wiped, Honors never saw what hit him, lol.

And then it happened, a solid Phase 1 with extra mobs being put down quickly and everyone getting into position. Phase 2 went smooth with good clearing of the tentacles, solid work on the brain by the melee + Blue (requiring only 2 passes into the portals). We were into Phase 3 and everyone was alive and after only a brief pause for "What the Hell do we do now?" we settled into position. My world shrank into watch my sanity, turn away from the lightning, and watch Yogg's health trickle down while trying to maximize DPS. I have no idea what the heals+melee did regarding the adds but it sure sounded like utter chaos. I feel sorry for Honors and applaud him at the same time, it seemed like every few seconds I would hear the call "Theres another one Honors !!" but I was never bothered by an add nor did I notice one running loose. I remember at one point hearing cheers for an apparently very well timed Lay on Hands by either Honors or Mag and Honors never went down.

When Yogg finally succombed the cheers on Vent were almost deafening my own amongst them, even though my part was much less stressful than others. Achievements flashed across the screen, it was a wonderful moment. I have to say we have some of the best healers and tanks in the game; Zadorr and Black were amazing with all the decursing, dispelling and healing they had to do in a very intense, chaotic fight.

I have never been part of a group that was raiding at the edge of progression, I've only ever experienced the story through videos and reading transcripts of fights. Its such a great feeling to see it for myself and experience the fights first hand. I also love that there was actually a sense of accomplishment, when we downed KT in Naxx there was very little feeling of accomplishment because it was so easy. Ulduar was very different especially since we managed to stay ahead of the nerf curve, Mimiron being the latest boss to be hit with nerfs. I have no problem with Blizz making the fights easier, but I am also glad that we did it before that happened.

We finished the night by one-shotting Iron Council hard mode, and starting us on the road to Algalon. Algalon we are coming for you.

Congratulations to all that were part of last night's great moment. Ellevis, Honors, Black, Zadorr, Mag, Tonk, Vundermann, Origami, Blue, and Myself. Also, just because you guys weren't there last night, Absouloot, Bandaidez, Ofn, and Lakini doesn't mean you didn't help make it happen.

Sorry for the touchy-feely moment but I am really proud of our raid-team. I have a lot of fun raiding with these guys and am glad that we are having such success.

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Non-Wow Post (Kinda)

Things have been fairly quiet as of late due to my recent vacation and not much play time since I've been back. In fact I have only made 1 raid since returning in which Heroes managed to down Mimiron for the first time, and I'm pretty sure it was because of me. (My secret ? In Phase 4 and dpsing the head, make sure to stay in Viper aspect, pro tip.) Aside from that I've done some fishing dailies and have now got my fishing to about 285.

On my vacation the Wife and I went to Maui, and we took my mother-in-law and her good friend. My wife and I love Maui, this is our 3rd time there and we have every intention of retiring there when we have finally had enough of horrible Canadian winters. Leading up to the trip I had a major dilemma, bring the laptop or not. I will elaborate on this. I love to sit on a patio or balcony and just listen to the waves crash, I can do it for hours and it completely relaxes me (unless its constantly interrupted by mindless chatter by your mother-in-law and her friend but I digress). If I were to win the lottery tomorrow, next week I would be back in Maui (for good) listening to the waves and playing Wow from my laptop, and I wanted to know how that felt. However, last time we went there was no internet available in suite, wired or without, and that would not have been possible. We stayed in a different condo facility this time and I had thought well maybe they may have something, although nothing was mentioned in the ads or websites. In the end I decided against bringing my laptop as a 17" notebook is a pain to lug around for no good reason, and sure enough there was wireless internet available throughout the complex. Bollocks. Other than that and one other thing our trip was fantastic.

Now, in game I play a Hunter and I like to shoot things, it's what I do. Out of game, on holiday, I also like to shoot things, although a little differently, underwater photography. I am by no means a professional photog or diver, I merely love to snorkel (I would scuba if I lived there) and take pictures of fishies, turtles and whatever else I find. In this vein, Mrs. Taxiderm got me a snorkel mask with a digital camera built in to it. I was all set, we had booked a trip to Molokini, a partially submerged volcanic crater off the coast of Maui, which has some of the best snorkeling in the world, I had been there before and it was made me fall in love with snorkeling, its beautiful. The trip was scheduled for an ungodly early hour since the best water conditions are at that time, so I was running around grabbing stuff in the morning trying to get us out the door on time, and sure enough halfway to the rendevous point I realized I forgot my mask and had no time to go back and get it. Bollocks again. Two things made this worse:
  1. Due to several things, (6 mos. pregnant wife, elderly people along with us, my lazy out-of-shape ass) this ended up being our only snorkeling trip.
  2. On this trip we saw a Manta Ray, which was beautiful and amazing, and apparently incredibly rare for Maui. I could have had some amazing shots, but I didn't.

So to sum up, similiar to how I ran out of bullets against KT, in Maui I forgot to bring my gun to the raid. Noobsauce, utter noobsauce.

Now since this is a Wow blog and I'm sure that both of my readers are wondering why they care I'll bring this back to warcraft somewhat. At Blizzcon this year in August (which I will not be attending but will be watching via internet stream) I fully expect them to announce the next expansion, just as they did 2 years ago. At Blizzcon 2007, 7 months after the release of TBC, they announced Wrath of the Lich King. There have been many rumors about upcoming expansion plans with the the 2 most prevalent ideas being the Emerald Dream and the Great Sea. I think it is quite obvious which one I am hoping for, the idea of underwater gameplay would be something I would enjoy a lot. I will sign off with my idea for the perfect expansion and character I would probably not be able to resist playing.

Lets assume that the Great Sea expansion is announced which would include water based gameplay, underwater areas, and sea-faring areas. You would probably see the Nagas and Azshara as primary enemies as well as the Tomb of Sargeras. You would see new places such as Gilneas, Nazjatar, Undermine (goblin homeland), Kul Tiras, and probably a bunch of pirate stuff. Since we may get new races, Lich King not having any, I suggest that the Worgen would be a logical choice (since Gilneas is supposedly overrun with them), it would make for a logical starting zone and Capital city, I have no idea whether they would be Horde or Alliance though. Now, since worgen are essentially werewolves, the idea of shapechanging is possible. If they made it possible to roll a Worgen Druid I would drop everything and do that, guaranteed. Since they are working on new skins for Druids they could have wolf form instead of cat form, or something like that. I also suggest that they may introduce underwater gameplay and combat in a more complete way, say using scuba gear or something. Druids could be given a whole new set of forms to go along with this, cat form = shark form, bear form = killer whale form, travel form = fish form. Hunters could have cool new pet types such as sharks, eels, squid/octopi.

Wow, I had only meant to quickly talk about my vacation but I kinda got carried away. Now I have to think of a name for my Worgen Druid and reserve it as well as a name for my Octopus pet.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Time to Put the Dual in Dual-Spec

Time to decide on my second spec, my first of course being MM, although the specific spec will be changing a little. Actually I will discuss that first. I am currently specced 7/57/7, which is cool but our DK tank just switched to Blood tanking and I am wasting a point in true-shot aura. I might just move that point into Silencing Shot, which was taken off the GCD in 3.1, which can be macroed into every shot for free DPS, this will destroy my mana though. Hmmm, may require more thought.

Instead of respeccing tonight, I may just fill out my second spec with a BM spec. Our survival hunter will be coming to Ulduar so I won't have to bring Replenishment, (one of my thoughts for a second spec). I could give BM raiding a try and let loose the Spirit Beast (still need a name for it). Of course I will than have to acquire a new set of glyphs, macroes, blah blah blah. I'm guessing it will depend entirely upon what time I log on, if I get on early enough I will go BM, if not MM.

I am also shopping for a new UI. This is a frequent occurrence as I get bored or frustrated with mine and like to switch it on at least a monthly basis. I've had this one for a couple of months and while I was never totally satisfied I have been content. Now I'm bored with it and I find that I don't use/look at some of the screen items taking up valuable real estate. Perhaps I will do a post exclusively about addons later today or tomorrow, work is slow so I have time to research.

Hmm, things to do:
  • Figure out a good BM spec
  • Check my gear for possible improvements with a BM spec (remove haste for better dps)
  • Come up with a name for Spirit Beast, and Wolf for that matter
  • Research UI's and addons, decide what to change
  • Change MM spec
  • Think about Maui, ahhh 3 more days
  • Try not to think about no WOW for 12 days while in Maui, I think copious amounts of pineapple and sunshine will help with the shakes

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Post 3.1 Post

Well, 3.1 has dropped and for the most part Altar of Storms was pretty stable, I was pleasantly surprised. I specced MM as planned and pulled my Wolf out of the stable. Our raid group was slow in getting underway as most people were fiddling with the dual-spec system and getting used to the new stuff, I did not go the dual-spec route as I am very poor, although I will probably get it this weekend.

In reasonably short order we were standing inside the Ulduar instance taking in the scenery. The beginning of the instance is all vehicles and destroying towers and good, good fun. I was piloting a Demolisher with Ellevis riding shot-gun, I suspect much to his chagrin as I have little sense of direction. In my defense however when there are four possible directions to go, "Go that way!!" is not very helpful. :) After clearing all the trash and getting used to our vehicles, we engaged the boss, Flame Leviathon. Well, technically we engaged a bunch of large brutes in front a door, and after we beat them down the boss crashed through said door and engaged us. After a few tries and figuring out stuff, we managed to down our first boss in Ulduar !!

After that we moved on and wiped several times to the trash in front of Ignis, and wiped 3 times to Razorscale. It was awesome to not actually breeze through content, and to have to think and play well to succeed (hope I can remember how.)

After the raid broke up, I went and checked out the Argent Tournament. There doesn't seem to be too much to it, but it is designed to get more in depth as you go on, needing three days of dailies to advance to the next phase. I didn't try to joust another person which I suspect will be more interesting.

I will give more impressions as I am able to play more, but I am very optimistic about the raiding.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Obligatory 3.1 Post

Things have been a little quiet around Azeroth in the Taxiderm stables of late, with 3.1 going live probably tomorrow or a week from tomorrow, and no real chance at Glory of the Raider; I have been doing more preparing for my trip to Maui on the 23rd and my trip to fatherhood in July.

That being said, I have been doing a lot of thinking about what 3.1 has to offer and the direction it will take my hunter. Specifically, I mean professions, specs, pets & alts. And for those that just cringed with the mention of alts I have no intention of changing mains again, despite seeing Rhubarb finally venturing into the Howling Fjord.

I will start with the bombshell that Blizzard dropped on me last week, finally making Engineering a viable PVE profession. For those that don't know, the Hand Rockets have been taken off the Global Cooldown (GCD). This means that they can be used without having to replace a spell or ability, they can be macroed into your existing spells to be fired whenever they are off cooldown. This is huge !!! I have been a very big fan of engineering since I began playing, every single 1 of my characters (except Taxiderm oddly) have been an engineer at one point, Rhubarb still is. That reminds me, I should add a link to my armories on the side, you know, really shout out my shame. What makes this announcement especially irritating is the fact that just a couple of weeks ago, I dropped skinning, for ... Alchemy. I had been debating going Engineering or Tailoring, you know for the mounts. Tailoring was potentially providing a small PVE DPS increase in 3.1 and of course Engineering was at that point a DPS loss for PVE. Ellevis suggested Alchemy which would provide a nice DPS increase and save me money on my consumables (we'll see if it ends up being enough to offset the cost of levelling it). I just recently hit 435 in Alch and can make all the Flasks, I am ready for Ulduar in that regard. I was tempted to switch to Engineering but in the end I realized I couldn't afford it, and left it to my pally. Tough though.

This brings me to alts. I have been levelling my pally so that I could have a source of bullets, Rhubarb being mining & engineering. I also plan to make her my non-raid Achievement whore. Between Wrath going live and the onset of the Achievement system, I did almost nothing but collect Achievements with Rhubarb, old dungeons and exploration type stuff. In hindsight I probably should have just made her my main from day one but whatever, hunter action is now where its at. I also have a thing for soloing old content, or at least trying to, Chickenpox was fun for that and I will probably be speccing her for that purpose alone.

The mention of specs brings me to the really big question, what will be my 2 specs ? And how will I afford them ? Cost aside I would like to maximize my use of the dual spec system. My plan is to spec MM as my main raid spec, I really like it and it will be competitive in 3.1. I had intended to spec BM for my second spec and I probably still will, since I have (in my opinion) the best looking pet in the game, the Spirit Beast, Loque'Nahak. If BM happens to be a better DPS spec than MM, I may make BM my main spec and just go MM for pet unfriendly fights. The problem is Survival is really fun for PVP, which I don't do a lot of, but I enjoy Wintergrasp. Hopefully my chosen specs will be fun too.

Now for pets, I plan to use my Wolf for MM or Surv and my Spirit Beast for BM. If I need to tank something for some odd reason I have a Worm for that purpose, although that would require a 3rd spec if being serious about it. *Sigh* Dual spec will definitely NOT save me any money.

I would really like 3.1 to drop tomorrow, mostly for selfish reasons, I leave for Maui on the 23rd and I would like to go into Ulduar before I go. I will try to log on in Hawaii, but I would definitely not raid, or really do anything but see what it feels like to enjoy my favorite hobby from my favorite place.

Upcoming posts will either be about 3.1 that has just dropped (fingers crossed, plz, plz, plz), or I will go into more detail about my intended specs.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

So Huntarded

Saturday was a day I would very much like to forget, and it's a day my guildmates will likely never let me forget, lol.

That fateful day, our raid group, which has since been renamed twice in my honor (more on that later), ventured into Naxx10 with only 8 people in search of 'The Dedicated Few' and 'Subtraction' achievements. Everything was going well, people were joking around and having fun as usual, despite an early wipe on Maexxna due to bad luck.

The first noob moment came on Heigan. Phase 1 was no problem, Phase 2 was no problem. The problem came during the transition back to Phase 1 from 2. Having recently specced into Aimed shot, I've been weaving it into my rotations and I took full advantage of it and explosive shot during the dance. Combine that with a Lock 'n' Load proc and you've got a fairly one-sided threat generation situation. During the switch, my finger in the act of pushing down my feign death keybind, Heigan calmly swatted me and I was one-shotted. Total Huntard !!

The second noob moment came during Four Horsemen. This time I wasn't paying attention and didn't notice that after switching to the Baron I failed to get fully out of the Thane's range and I was still accumulating his Mark's. When the time came to switch back to Thane I noticed I had 5 Mark's and decided to head for the center for the 6 or so seconds for them to come off. I was watching my debuffs so I noticed them rollover from 5 to 6, somehow going to the center I picked up another Mark and they would not fall off for 20 or so more seconds. I stayed in the center to let them fall off but of course Iwas getting no heals and I died. This left us with exactly 1 dedicated DPSer until the front two Bosses were down, that fight took a long time, lol.

Now I know you're thinking that has to be all, but no I saved the worst for last.

The third noob moment came on Kelthuzad. Having only 8 people meant the beginning was a little more hectic but not too bad, I let some skeletons through but the others picked up my slack. Once the opening trash was finished we engaged KT himself and quite early we lost Honors who was going to pick up the adds that came later in the fight, we were without a Battle Rez so this meant that Ellevis who was tanking KT would have to pick up the adds as well, which he did with no problems. This meant of course that he was taking a lot of damage so we DPSer's were giving it our all trying to burn the boss down fast. I was doing good, managing my mana well, (read that as popping into Aspect of the Viper and actually remembering to go back to Dragonhawk when my mana was back), and my rotations were good. Then it happened, my character stopped attacking and I couldn't make her start again. I checked my mana, it was fine, i checked my bar mod, it also was fine. I couldn't for the life of me figure out why I wasn't attacking. Then I made the biggest mistake of the night. I pressed my push-to-talk key and opened my mouth. So dumb, lol. "What the Hell !! I can't attack !!" I said frantically. The first reply was from Ellevis, "Are you out of arrows ?", I knew it was true. I immediately started trying to make some more, (from Engineering crafted arrow makers), and I think I got 1 autoshot off before KT died. It was at that point that the mocking and the shame began, lol. Oh, and oddly enough the Nerubian Conquerer dropped and so despite my idiocy, I received the best weapon available for 10 man progression.

Our raid group almost immediately got renamed to "WTB Arrows", and later to "Shooting Blanks". Maybe I should be honored, maybe not, lol. I run with a great bunch of guys who are very good at this game, they are also a lot of fun and we make a lot of jokes at each others expense. I think I have given everyone plenty of "Arrows" to shoot at me for quite a while.

In other news I have dropped skinning and picked up Alchemy, currently at 180 skill level.

Also, Heroes Inc. went back to Naxx25 last night and completed the Construct quarter, finally managing to down Thaddius who had been our roadblock previously, at least on the runs I was able to go on. I received the achievement "Heroic: Construct Quarter" and my Tier 7.25 shoulders, yeah - loot !!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Sarth, Sarth & Gear

Last night our raid group was scheduled for Sarth 3D10, but due to some RL stuff we downgraded to attempting 2D10. After several wipes and some close calls we were having no success whatsoever, my DPS was frustrating and disappointing me. I've finally got the survival rotation to the point where I'm somewhat comfortable with my DPS on stationary fights, but on mobile fights like Sarth+ I have trouble keeping my rotation trim, ah well practice will make perfect.

We eventually downgraded to Sarth1D, and knocked it out no problem, and surprisingly I got the achievements for Sarth & Sarth1D; I didn't realize that I hadn't even finished Sarth at all in 10 man.

Later in the evening I got invited to a Sarth25 run with Dominion, everything went very smoothly and soon loot was being rolled on, I lost the roll for my T7.25 gloves, the only Hunter drop but whatever. I was there for the emblems, I only needed 2 more to finally upgrade my stupid boots. As soon as I was finished I went to the Emblem vendor and picked up the Pack-Ice Striders. Low and behold, I received the 'Superior' achievement. Yeah!! Now the worst piece of gear I have is my rings I believe.

My luck with drops still sucks but I feel I am Ulduar ready, bring it on. That being said I would still like some more loot, plz.