Saturday, February 28, 2015

Blizzard actually made my Dream Pet!

A while ago in my 10 days of Pet Battling, the last blogging challenge was to design a pet.  This is the pet that I designed:

Name: K'iri
Class: Magic
Location: Drops from M'uru in Sunwell Plateau

From the remains of M'uru this spark remains, and still pulses with life. Perhaps M'uru lives on after all.

Slot 1 abilities
Slot 2 abilities
Slot 3 abilities

And this was our Frostwolves Dream Team done by McTacky:

And how cool is it that Raiding With Leashes III is out, and the reward for getting all the new pets is K'ute, a little Naaru! What is cool though is that the Naaru doesn't battle, it's a peaceful pet, which makes MUCH more sense than the battling stuff I put for it!

I know Blizz wouldn't have known that I wanted this pet, but I am so glad they made it! Now I have to get it... I'd better get cracking on farming those pets!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Raiding - Kyjenn steps up to tank with surprising results

Exray/Snowcaller had capped internet due to his sister, and had been unable to get data blocks to be able to play, so Kyjenn was chosen to tank.  After the last time Hwired and Kyjenn tanked (which was the first time we did normal Highmaul) I was ready for a challenge.

It was made even more challenging that we were healing with 3 druids and a priest.  Koda, myself and Yuuda were healing, and Bish was also healing.  Bish was having another lame night because he had to have his beauty sleep at 10pm so he could get up for an 8am conference call.  LAME.  Geez, I have to leave at 7am!

The trash at the start is always amusing.  Let's just say there were almost as many deaths there as there were... later.

Gruul, our easiest fight, actually turned out to be quite hard. Tanks were dying! Kyjenn was still getting the hang of doing the taunt and move.  One attempt he did it too early and the blue side took an Overwhelming Blow as well as an Inferno Slice.

But healing was not wonderful either. I was OOM and struggling to heal and that was with 4 healers - we normally do it with 4 healers!  I ended up asking Nok to help heal so that he could just focus on tank healing whilst the rest of us did the raid.  And on our 8th attempt, we got it.  Thank goodness.

It was nice that everyone was chill about it - I know Kyjenn must have felt awful about his tanking (or, maybe not) and we all knew that without him we wouldn't have been able to have a raid.

There was at least good loot going out.  Dragonray rolled a heroic warforged Inferno-Flame Staff, and Aza picked up the one that dropped in raid.  I actually can't remember what else people got.  I just remembered thinking that Yuuda needs to get some loot so he can keep up with us (and also, to keep encouraging him to come).

Onward to Beastlord and HK told Kyjenn that the trash was fun.  I have really noticed the trash on the way to Beastlord but apparently they stun you a lot and run away from you chasing other people. Xyn loved it. It was all new and fun, apparently :D

I was ready for more pain and gain with Beastlord and THIS time we started off with 5 healers.  By this time Bish had turned into a Pumpkin and so I had to get Crooked to heal.  And for once, we one shot Beastlord!

Sev still suffers from white swirl blindness.  He got pinned again, but then so did Aza, Crooked, Luxy, Dragonray and Koda.  I think if we ever do Beastlord and Kelthal doesn't get pinned I will go out and Only Koda died from the pinning but it was towards the end and so we tunnelled the boss.

Kyjenn found this to be rather encouraging and he was extremely proud of the fact that he had tanked and one shot Beastlord.  Yuuda actually got some upgrades and that made him (and me) happy - he won Flame Infusion Drape and Cannonball Loader's Grips.

After that it was on to Operator Thogar.  I was secretly excited.  I wanted to try and get the There's Always a Bigger Train achievement.  I had attempted it last week and failed, but then when I did a PuG of normal BRF with Scruff, I managed to get it and I had figured out the timing.  I was excited, thinking that I could secretly do the achievement without anyone noticing (because that was what I did in the PuG).

All I had to do was drop the train on the track, then drop the Wind Up train wrecker, and when he was enraged he had to get hit by the train.  Last time I did it too early.  This time I put the train down when the door was open on yellow and I was pooping my pants as I tried to get the Train Wrecker out before the bloody train came out and squashed me.  I got it out, and put him down and I could see the train coming!  He wrecked the Toy Train and he turned into an Exulting Wind-up Train Wrecker (enraged looking) and then the train ran him over.

The problem with me doing that is that there is a big white flash and then there is achievement spam. Everyone was wondering where it was from and I tried to keep my mouth shut.  However, as I was trying to position myself, I got hit by a train...

So I was pretty much busted.

But!  This is new.  On death there is a recap button and it tells you what happened to you.

So that was Xyn's first night tanking.  Hopefully not his last - he still needs some practice :) Luckily Exray was back on Thursday!

Thursday went very smoothly for the first 3 fights.  Exray was back and so we knocked off Thogar, Hans and Franz, and Flamebender.  They all went very smoothly.  Then it was back to bashing at Kromog.

With 6 healers it was better.  And then we tried the 3 tanking and we did well the first time but subsequent attempts were poor.  It felt like people were still dying, still not getting into hands, healer cooldowns weren't going off coz people can't hear me on vent (I kept taking my finger off the PTT button). People are still dying from funny things, and my position for Kromog is just pathetic. Because I was on tank heals I am on the far right and always the last to get broken out.  I love how people say you don't take much damage in the hand but if I don't heal you in the hand you will die. Seriously!  Especially if you stay in it as long as I do!

Anyway, I guess we'll look at it again on Monday.  I really need people not to die from easy stuff :( Hopefully with everyone fresh on Monday that will happen.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Hwired actually transmogged!

The other week Hwired said he actually did a transmog and I complimented him on it.  "Hey, someone's been in Dragon Soul!" I said.  It looked quite good, I thought. I teased him that he was getting vain, like Kyjenn, who is always busy dressing his barbie doll female BE paladin.

Yesterday Hwired said to me that I hadn't commented or noticed that the transmog he did was the same one that I had designed for him YEARS ago!

In May 2012 I wrote a blog post, lamenting how ugly Hwired looked in his gear and made him a transmog.  My friends were teasing me, because I was transmogging without consent!  What a crime! Hwired took it all in stride. His comment at the time:

"Lol thanks Nav. Might have to look into it."

3 years later, and he's done it!  He told me he was farming Dragon Soul for weeks - I had seen him in there, I thought he was just catching up on the raid that broke him (Heroic boat in Dragon Soul broke Hwired and he had a massive hissy fit and stopped raiding) just to beat it back for beating him, back in the day.

Anyway, I had to take a picture of it.  I dragged him to my garrison so I could see it and I feel all chuffed that he actually used the mog that I had designed.  Thanks Hwired!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

So, I didn't know 6.1 was doing THIS to my garrison

I did not realise that Patch 6.1 would change what I said yesterday about trading post traders!  Today I have Tai'tasi at my Trading Post and the cost of everything has gone down by 80%!

They used to be 30 resources, now it's 6!
Not surprising really since there has been a massive change in the market with resources.  I guess now it won't really matter what I buy and from whom since the prices are all so cheap!  The gold bag is still 50 resources and still contains only 13-17g. What I failed to notice was that the items are now SINGLE instead of stacks of 5.  Whoops.  Thanks Sev. Saved me before I spent big $$ on them.

I like how there are dailies to get more resources now.  I think early game you're very resource starved, but by the end you're resources heavy so you can afford to make some money.

However, when I logged in this morning I was complaining bitterly that I couldn't find my guild bank tauren chick. I regret not taking pictures of her because I only realised hours later (when I went to find her again) that she was gone!  In her place is a goblin contraption - a piggy bank on some spinning wheels mounted to the floor.

Which is actually really good because these Storehouse NPCs like to walk around and then you find that whatever window you had open will suddenly close because they walked out of range.  It happens a lot, but especially with the transmog NPC.  He should be stuck to the ground like that mechanical guild bank so he will quit that wandering around.  It's so IRRITATING when you just manage to find a transmog that works and he walks off and poof, it's gone because you didn't apply the changes and have to start all over again.

Trade chat is full of people looking for certain traders in peoples' garrisons.  I don't think I saw any professions traders in my garrison, and I'm not sure what they do.  I did visit Nath and got to talk to Harrison Jones in his garrison.  I had the Jukebox visitor and Saurfang himself visiting my garrison (oh and a travelling pet battler) but I was wondering what these professions ones do.  Nok had the enchanting one in his garrison so I went to visit and I can interact with it!

Pretty cool! The daily quest he has is to turn in 50 dust for 25 primals - what a deal!  No wonder everyone is looking for one!  I guess you can make a lot of money if you have a professions visitor in your garrison if you advertise it in trade chat - see people offering 100-200g tip for a visit to the garrison having one of these profession dudes!

Once you complete that daily, you can speak to the trader to trade in more trade goods for primals - for Rath'thul it was 5 dust for one primal.  Gosh, these primals are now cheap as chips to get!

Oh, and finally the garrison pet battles are counted towards the Draenor Pet Achievement!  Though I am SURE I did more than 125 pet battles prior to patch....

So, there may not have been a lot of new content for patch 6.1, but there sure are a number of things to do, especially in my garrison.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Better value for your garrison resource at your Trading Post

I never had a lumber mill so I used my trading post to get Garrison resources by handing in ore or herbs.  Now that I have capped Garrison resources I trade my Garrison resources to the vendor for trade goods or gold.

I noticed the other day that the price of things was different from day to day in my Trading Post.  I had vaguely noticed that the trader was different on different days but I decided to look closer this time.  I only ever buy Draenic Dust because it sells the best on the Auction House compared to other items. One Draenic Dust sells for about 3g give or take a gold depending on the market fluctations.  If you consider that a Smuggled Sack of Gold for 50 Garrison resources gives you 12-17g then Draenic Dust is pretty good value.

Pyxni Pennypocket is one of my favourite vendors, because she sells what I want to buy at cheap prices!

She sells 5 Draenic Dust for 20 Garrison Resources as well as 5 Herbs for 20 Garrison resources. So I stock up a lot when she's on site!

Yesterday I had Elder Surehide, an orc female. She sells Draenic Dust for 25 Garrison resources, so not as cheap as Pyxni, however, she does sell Sumptuous fur for 20 Garrison resources and Ore - not that I need to buy those.

Ribchewer, a male Laughing Skull Orc was with me earlier in the week. His cheap goods are Raw Beast Hide and all the fish flesh for 20 Garrison resources.  His Draenic dust is 40 Garrison resources so I try not to buy from him.

Taitasi, a female troll, sells just about everything for 30 Garrison resources (except the Smuggled Sack of Gold).  She's a middle of the range trader, and I don't tend to buy from her.

So spend your resources wisely if you're capped!  Make sure you get your best value for Garrison resources with your vendors.  Oh and by the way, you can only see the vendors if it's your Garrison - you can't go to other people's garrisons and trade with their vendors!

Raiding - Thoughts on Kromog

I didn't really like Kromog on Normal when we did it on Sunday, even though we killed it. Though the fight itself was rather interesting, it seemed to be a lot of healing.  And I mean A LOT.

When we first walked in on Thursday, I remember everyone saying "Oh, it's another one of those half body bosses." Do we have to DPS his arms or something?

Close.  It turns out Kromog is the groping king and he has lots of little hands popping out of the ground everywhere just dying to grab you and also likes to squish you between his hands as well. Oh and avoid the sound rings that emanate out from the boss as well.

We wiped all night on this boss, even though everyone said it was easy.  There were a number of reasons why I think it wasn't easy.

We were trying to do it with 4 healers for 19 ppl.  Koda, myself, Nok and Yuuda.  Yuuda is a  little bit undergeared for it but he knows the fight, having done it as melee.  Crooked switched to healing halfway through the night.

We are also melee heavy.  Which means when they take that slam there's a fair bit of healing to do in that direction.

Tanks were also taking a pounding.  They were swapping at 3 stacks but the slam still hurt them a buttload!

People were DPS'd out of the hands a bit early and got hit by clapping hands or something.  You take less damage from clappy hands when you've been gripped.

And of course we were learning mechanics so people kept not getting into a rune, or they were hit by Reverbs, or the slow rock force wave that the boss does or during the Stone Breath which is a raid wide AoE damage which happens every 30 seconds or so.  So I need 6 healer cooldowns to be able to get through each stone breath.

We just died all night.  Lots.  Poor Hwired was getting frustrated and a lot of people were too, it just felt like an impossible wall and that we were missing some simple mechanic somewhere.  We tried moving the tanks closer.  Ranged were moving to the left.  Ranged weren't stacked up enough IMO, but that wasn't so bad, really.  Healers were tunneling a little bit and getting smacked by avoidable stuff.

There was an uncomfortable moment where there was some yelling, and I felt bad about that.  But it was officers yelling at each other - we can take it.  But I bet everyone else felt a bit AWKWARD /whistle

So what we DID do well was that we were using half the room instead of being spread out all over the room.  That made it easier for DPS to break us out.  Unfortunately, the cleave damage people weren't spread out in a nice line to distribute damage so there were some spots where people got out really quickly, and others where they got out really slowly.

It frustrated me that I didn't know when to time the cooldowns and I really wanted to learn.  So after the raid, I went to queue up in Group Finder looking for Heroic Kromog.

I got into a PuG and they wiped a few times (and eventually killed it) but there were a number of things that I DID learn from that PuG which were quite important.

  • Tanks can have Hand of Protection and run around in that groping hand phase and not die.  In fact, I think even a normal person can have that too.
  • You can 3 tank it.  With three tanks they took 2 debuffs each and therefore less damage overall.  That would put less strain on the healers, because the tanks seemed to instant die a lot.  They used a DK, monk and warrior tanks.  And that worked REALLY WELL.
  • They used 6 healers for 20 people.  Ok, so I was really short changing myself with healers.  Bish, where the hell were you!  They had 2 druids, 2 disc priests, 2 shamans.  Whereas I was trying to do it with 3 druids, 1 shaman and 1 monk.
  • The ranged were stacked up reasonably tight.  And they avoided the mechanics better - I was bad on the kill attempt I must have been hit by 5 bloody rock waves.  I guess that will improve with practice.
  • People were spread out to the far corners of the gropey hands but they managed to live and get broken out. I don't want to do that though but it was nice to see that it could be done like that and not be absolutely detrimental to the raid.
  • There IS an enrage timer.  Enrage is at 9 minutes.  But it's a very generous enrage timer. Someone told me that it doesn't have an enrage timer.  But it does, I saw it!
  • Deterrence does not save you in that groping hand phase if you didn't get groped.
  • The melee and tanks can stand how we had them in our raid without issue.
So I am really pleased that I did that PuG because now I understand the fight a WHOLE lot better.  It really is just avoiding stuff and not dying.  And judicious use of cooldowns.  If I have Bish, Koda, myself, Yuuda, Nok and Crooked then we should have enough cooldowns to cycle.

Aimei said to me that the average number of wipes on Kromog was 19.6 before a kill.  Well we just hit 19.  So I hope that we won't be too far beyond par.  I think that the once we all know which rune to take for our gropey hand so that we don't take each other's, and cycle our healer cooldowns better it will be much better.  And we can do the three tanks thing... damn it, Cptsars and Arelion are moving house!  It would be cool if they were both on, because then we can easily 3 tank.  Guess it will have to be Kyjenn in the meantime then.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Pet battles - what can breathe life into them again?

Balkoth said something in reply to my post the other day which got me thinking....
I had like 200 pets prior to MoP and was fairly proud of it...then they added another 300+ and I just thought "screw it." Too much effort to stay "current" at that point.
When pet battles first came out, it was exciting.  I loved collecting pets. I never did before because pets took up bag space and bag space was ALWAYS at a premium.  Pet battles were new, and something different to explore and collecting them was addictive for those with that slightly obsessive inclination.

The daily pet battles in Pandaria were exciting because of the chance for more pets, and then there was the Celestial Tournament which meant I had to figure out which of all the 600+ pets I had had good abilities for each particular battle.

However, I suspect that like many others, we turned to the internet to find out what other people used for their pet battles, and levelled the pets that others had for their teams.  It was daunting trying to figure out and memorise from the huge list of pets and abilities what would be good - and it would be the more serious pet battlers who knew the abilities of each pet without having to continuously look it up.

Up comes WoD, and there are few more pet battles, some more pets to collect, and some rare drop pets, which are a pain in the ass to collect, and I'm still going trying to get all my pets.  There are new tamers (which were not particularly hard) and there was also the garrison pet battle building.

But do you know what?  I have not levelled any of my new pets, I have been sticking to my old pets.  I take out my new pets to play with them and have them walk around in my Garrison, but I haven't really tried them out or battled with them. I should rectify that I think, my task for today.

The other thing I noticed, is that I feel like I play my pet battles the way I play Hearthstone.

There are new cards coming all the time in Hearthstone.  But I keep playing with my old cards, even though I am collecting the new cards.  I haven't quite worked out how to integrate some of the new cards into my decks because I'm so used to my old ones, and so my new shiny cards get neglected. Much like my new pets.  So much to choose from and there are so many that are the same!

OMG so much choice, some have pretty packets, some taste good but you know what? They all have CALORIES
What would make me want to pet battle more? How can pet battles stay relevant and yet interesting and allow people to explore it (but still keep it optional).

What I do wish, is that we could do mini games of pet battles, when not actually online in the game.  I doubt that feature would ever come. Imagine an iPad app for pet battles!  Unfortunately it would be as big an undertaking as Hearthstone if they wanted to add animations for it, but if they wanted it to be in simple style like the original Pokemon games then that would be rather cool.  All you would need was access to our Battle net account pet battle details and do some random generated numbers as we battled people online!

There are a few things that I would do to make the pet battle interface better.  I wish the filters were improved - for example, looking for an aquatic pet that could do magic damage would be a quite useful, or being able to search out a particular ability. I often go to Warcraft Pets if I'm looking for pets with a particular ability. Also because the sheer number of pets is enormous, I suppose I could just favourite all the pets I use, but it's almost like you need vanity favourites and battling favourites and maybe some backup favourites... Perhaps just cataloguing the pets differently would be nice.  For example, I doubt I will ever touch any of my run of the mill snakes, rats, cats or moths.  All of the undead and humanoids are quite interesting pets, but some of the critters, beasts and aquatics can be a bit yawn worthy.

And also, maybe something in the garrison that pets can do. Could you imagine, battle pet missions? LOL!  OF course, they are not followers, so they don't really have minds of their own because we are choosing their abilities for them, so that wouldn't really work out.  But maybe having a certain pet could add a buff to a follower, like an increase success chance with a Pug by your side or more better at avoiding danger zones with a moth/butterfly pet around (LOL).  But that would me make it more compulsory to pet battle, so perhaps not the best option after all.

So I suppose, pet battles do feel stale.  Adding new pets is not going to fix that (thought it might for a bit).  I wonder if they need some kind of tournament again like they did for Celestial tournament to get people trying out different pets and trying out different things, or perhaps the tokens could be used to buy pets.  Whatever they try, I hope it's something fresh!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Patch 6.1 - Meh or hell yeah?

I didn't realise that patch was so close, as in next week!  Official release date is February 24 and I am excited about some of the changes. Stick me on the hell yeah end of the stick.

The Grumpy Elf was on the meh end of the 6.1 bandwagon. He wasn't particularly excited about the new changes because:
  • They should have come out with WoD release
  • The social media stuff and selfies is for kids (ie he's too old for that shit)
Blizzard has never released a game till they thought they were ready.  Though many may disagree, I think that Warlords of Draenor was as it could be for release.  The server crashing thing with too many people in the instances - could they really predict that when they didn't have problems with it in beta testing?  "Why didn't they just upgrade the servers so that they could handle the extra load?" said a lot of people.  Well, how would you like it if you had to pay for a $2500 for a 2 million dollar life insurance when you could get away with a $300 for a $150,000 life policy? Because you don't have  3 kids and a mortgage right now but you might in the next year or so, right? So, you can't blame Blizzard for not knowing what it would do until it hit, you don't know how many people are going to start playing from Day 1.  You have to applaud them though, they got onto the instance server thing within a few days. A few days to have instance servers fixed is faster than getting bloody Telstra out to fix my damned phone line.

Also, having all those things from patch 6.1 ready for release meant that they would have to push back the release date.  People couldn't wait any longer for the expansion, in my opinion.  They were already itching for something to do, and if Blizz announces a release date, they stick to it.

So what's my take on the new things coming?

New Heirloom tab
Yeah I wish they'd had this before.  But people were excited with their new found bag space with reagent bank and toy tab, so this may not have been as exciting.  Now that we've all filled our bags with shit again, people may be excited to find somewhere to park all their heirlooms - though really, they don't take up too much space on my main since I store them all on crappy bank alts.

Updated Blood Elf models
People are going to start playing their Blood elves again so they can see some pert butt, nipples on men and sculpted backs with these character updates.  I think they'll be appreciated more because everyone was too busy looking at their Forsaken, Tauren, Trolls, Humans, Gnomes, Night elves and Dwarves.  I do wonder why Draenei were done before Blood elves though - you'd think since they came out together they'd be updated together.  I guess that's why people thought Blood Elves should have been updated with release.

Selfies and Tweeting pics
I think it's useful to have this function but it makes no difference to me.  At least Blizz is getting "with the times"!

A Buttload of Garrison upgrades - practically all win

  • Win! Something to shrink that stupid Bodyguard
  • Win! Treasure hunter trait. OK, I agree with Grumpy Elf, should've had this from release.
  • Win! Garrison UI being updated because Master plan is so successful and useful
  • Win! Platinum invasions - I'm not sure if I can do them on all invasions but Botani will definitely be an easy Platinum invasion
  • Win! Easier to catch Lunkers, and Nat will sell those baits to catch fish
  • Win! Trading Armour scraps for follower item upgrade. At last they are useful
  • Win! Ashran Auctioneer parts now have an increased drop rate.  Though, I probably won't keep my trading post much longer...
  • Poo! Salvage yard nerfed for drops.  I don't have one so I don't really care.
  • Poo! Scavenger boost to resources from missions nerfed.  It was a bit OP anyway.
I like that there will be a summonable raid bosses in the Garrison (more party times for groups more than 10!) and also there was the expected increase in item level for your followers and Blackrock Foundry Missions. 

Resto Druid changes
  • Moment of Clarity now lasts 7 seconds instead of 5.  So I can get four free regrowths in now instead of three.  Good for mana heavy fights!
  • Rampant Growth now also increases the healing of Swiftmend by 20%.  I can see that these two talents (MoC and RG) were buffed because everyone was choosing Germination.
  • Genesis no longer requires a target to cast.  About bloody time, the thing was an AoE effect, it's like finding a target to cast tranquility.
  • Can't cast Ironbark or Displacer beast when silenced.  Well, I did expect that to be coming.
Pet Battles
  • Raiding with Leashes III with new pets to get, will be fun for me.  Though I have not used any of my new pets, really, as part of  my pet battling repertoire yet.
  • Garrison pet battles easier - I thought of EJ and Raven when I heard this was coming!
I hated how better food dropped from the barn than from cooking.  I like that there will be a +125 stat food (self only - does that mean the food is soulbound? That's a good idea) so that we can all bring our own good food to raid, and it feels like cooking is WORTH doing.  Maybe now I'll be able to get Lil Leftovers.
  • Lunker drop rates increased yay!
  • Nat can give baits now and they last for 10 minutes instead of 5 minutes.  Much better when you're using it with worms.
  • Yay, you can hold 250 fragments now.  I had a really annoying time when I had a rare item to solve and it took 200 fragments and I couldn't pick up 7 fragments (I had 198) because I had reached the max limit.  I had to buy one of the special items to make up the rest of the archaelogy item which was expensive. 
  • I can now put Restored artifacts in the reagent tab! Yay!
  • Time between battles is now 10 minutes, thank goodness.
  • The PvP events now award 100 conquest instead of 125.  They should have made it 50 or 75, in my opinion.
  • Queue times are shorter.
  • They got rid of most of the Ashran only scrolls and wands.  YAY BAG SPACE! Though I will miss the Town Portal scroll.
I found it amusing that people said they were "done" with the expansion already.  The things that they enjoy are done, probably.  But that's because they're not looking to do other things in game, say pet battles or achievements, raiding or PvP.  I play a hell of a lot and I still am not done with those things. Perhaps it is a little disappointing that there is no new "content" in terms of quests, lore, dungeons etc, but Blackrock Foundry only just came out and LFR is out this week - that should keep people busy for a while!  I know it will keep my busy!

So, what side of the fence are you sitting on? Meh or Hell yeah?

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Raiding - The Fat Controller is down!

Operator Thogar - otherwise known as the "Train boss" - was our plan for the night.  Hwired had actually put three bosses up as possibilities but I only watched this one and it was a pretty cool fight.

In fact, all these train fights are pretty cool.  I wish I could get my son to see these fights, since he loves trains so much.

This fight is fought on 4 tracks, and a train will come out of one or two of them and you have to dodge it by moving to other tracks.  Getting hit by a train is almost a death sentence.

Image from Pushme's one page cheat sheet for Operator Thogar.

There is a cool addon that Hwired had that announced which track the train is coming on.  I didn't look at the raid warnings or listen to Hwired, but that was only because I was watching the doors. When the doors open, the train is about to come, so facing the doors was how I saw which train was coming.

The trains come in the same pattern every time (just like you expect a timetabled train to be!). So after a while it was easy to get a rhythm going.  There are of course adds and bombs and plasma circles to watch out for, but the mechanics of it are quite easy.

There is a "split" phase where two trains come and block off the middle of the room (see pic above) and we have a two group split for that.  The first time we go to the second round of the split phase our side had a shock because a train came rocketing out of the track and smashed half the melee (which didn't do that the first time we had the split).  But the train in front had left at that stage, so the next time we reached that stage it was a breeze - when the train left in front of us, we moved to that track and it was great.

Gosh my healing was crap that fight!  We had Koda, myself, Nok and Bish healing, and it went OK - most of the damage was avoidable except for tank damage and Iron Bellow which was when we had to use our cooldowns.  Those Man-at-Arms dudes really hurt!  Kill them faster!!

It was on our lucky 13th go we got it.  Koda and Kelthal had shockers with the trains! K is for killed by train!

More lovely tier to go around - but this time it was Vanquisher and Conquerer (those poor guys in Protector!) who got it.  KyXyn got his 2nd tier piece, and Duck got his piece also.  I was happy because I managed to roll a belt with a socket!  Everyone was feeling good about the kill and we were happy to get that down so easily.

We still haven't figured out Oregorger.  I am sure there is something easy that we're not doing quite right, but we'll figure it out!  And it's funny, we've killed more bosses on heroic than on normal! I think it's time for me to PuG some normal BRF runs.

Navispam - Ambushing Pushme

I've said before how much I love Pushme's little one page cheat sheets to raiding.  When Hwired linked them I was thrilled to be able to read them again.  I wanted to thank Pushme in person because they helped me a lot - that Paragons one in SoO I was STILL looking at, weeks later!

I had found Pushme on armory before when they were in another guild, but when I did it again, they were still on the same server, but different guild.  I sent her an email asking if I could meet her, and she replied me in the affirmative! She seemed pretty chuffed that I wanted to write about her so she gave me her Battletag so I could find her online.  To tell you the truth, I didn't realise that she was female! I'm not sure why I assumed she was a guy - after all, the toon was a girl!

So I finally found her online (when I was at work) and rushed over to take a picture!  Unfortunately it was whilst I was at work, so I couldn't talk to her much and had to AFK very quickly!  She had moved to a more casual guild - she had a lot of real life stuff coming up (like getting married) and so didn't have the time to be able to put into harder core raiding anymore.

She seemed genuinely happy that her guides had helped people and I teased her, thinking she must get that all the time!

I had a panic moment - here she was, in Stormwind with me and I couldn't for the life of me figure out how to take a screenshot.  There is no Prtscr button on my Windows Surface and I had to go back and do some work, so I did the only thing I could think of - I took a picture of my screen with my phone!

I'm sorry it was such a short visit - there was so much more I would have liked to ask her. But it was great that she took the time to visit a total stranger just to take a dorky screenshot!  Thanks so much Pushme!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Mataoka's #28daysofWoWlove - Second week

The other thing I love doing in Azeroth is visiting people in game... Navispam!  These 7 are my favourite Navispam pics - not chosen because they were any particular people but just because the screenshots turned out quite nicely!

I like how El is waving goodbye to me as I hearth away.  A shame you can't wave with a fishing rod in your hand.

I just like the way this pic turned out with Elfi and I yelling at our pets to move

Sil and I looking cute as can be atop giant pressies

Being ultra patient with Syrco paid off so I could see the mushroom event again

Rades playing dead so I can take a pretend that a resto druid killed a hunter...

Euphy and I jumping on the bed. This was the first time I did this pic and I have done others since but I remember the childish abandon of this one
Classy and I took a lot of screenies at pretty places but this one is nice because I never get to see this design much!

More Hunger Games and Coliseum thoughts

We do cop a lot of abuse when we go into Coliseum as a group, especially if we are the last ones standing. And of course if we die, then we are jeered at for being a lousy team.  Luxy said to me that it does make people angry because it seems a little unfair to go in there as a team.

However, everyone knows that it isn't easy to be the last one surviving by brute force alone. Everyone will be targetting you, if you're a hard hitter, so it can be tough doing it alone.  Or you can hang out with the other hard hitters.

Career Pack (Districts 1+2) - frightening similarities to DKs and ret pallies
Then you have the stealthies who hide in the corners hoping that nobody notices them and they come charging out at the end.  In the Quarter Quell, district 6's Morphlings used camouflage to hide until everyone else died.

Morphlings (District 6) - rogues, druids are notorious for hiding till the end
We went in as a group of 4 - pretty hefty when there are only 15 in the arena - and we managed to take them everyone out.  Shab, Sev, Hwired and myself were the last ones standing and I dotted them up whilst they killed each other (since Shab and Sev had already won it) and people were hurling the abuse out - how we were sissies since we couldn't do it on our own etc.  So yay for me cheesing my way to a win!

Yes, there were lots of angry people.

"People that group up because they can't win on their own are retards!"
"Luttle faggots"

Duh. If I want to work as a team that's my business.  If you want a team, that's yours.  Learn to make friends if you want to, or don't. If the weakest link person was targetted by everyone and died first every time, is that fun?  No.  So fighting together (though technically you can't help each other really since we're all enemies) is much more fun since you can live a little bit longer than if you're in by yourself, unless you're joining in on someone else (or a number of someone elses) wailing on one poor individual.  I die heaps on my own and I don't cry about it, people are just sore losers. If they went in as teams all the time and won, they wouldn't complain!

I got the title (Lady of War), and the toy Warlord's Flag of Victory. I also got the 660 conquest item which was boots - unfortunately I already had those.  It's not guaranteed - I remember that Shab didn't get a 660 item when he won.

I've been in by myself a few times and been targetted immediately for death by multiple targets.  I feel a bit fail, but I queue again and hope I can get ONE kill maybe each time I go in! I suppose at least SOMEONE is getting their kill! However, when you go with your friends, you can get more kills and also that hope to win the arena.

If I was going in as a ret pally or DK, I'd be teaming up with the others as well, just to survive to the end so the "strongest" ones could fight it out. If I was a good player, that is. Scary career pack. There were a few of those last night.  DKs and hunters fighting together.  SCARY stuff, the rest of the group didn't stand a chance.

Disc priests are also good at getting to the end.  They run away and heal themselves, and become too hard a target for the DPS (unless they are burnt down by multiple people) and I have seen disc priests make it to the end a couple of times, and once they won it as well.  I have never seen a resto shaman or resto druid make it to the final few, but others have.

I wanted to help Luxy get a kill but I had already won so I was locked out of the arena for the rest of the week.  She and Crooked went in with Shab, Sev and Hwired a few more times and only one time they were successful to the end, and poor Luxy didn't know Hwired hadn't gotten the achievement so she wasn't trying to kill him but he was intent on killing her and she died. A shame! I wanted to help her do it next week, but she doesn't really want my help.  I think she feels like it's a bit unfair but her class is quite strong - and she managed to get it all on her own today so I guess she doesn't need help after all!

Crooked hates PvP even though he is good at it, and his hunter was targetted and killed very quickly which made him very grouchy.  I don't blame him, I'd be grouchy too (but I am usually the first to die if I try to play boomkin) but I just like to help.  Maybe if we can all help him get one achievement with it then he will be happier :)

And in the meantime, when everyone has their title will I still go into the Sanctum? I think it's kind of fun still. I don't think I will do very well but it's a great way for me to learn survival, against multiple mobs, as resto.  Not many places to hide though, and I've noticed that once I start running and I'm low, then everyone joins in to kill me.  Kill or be killed.  Weakest first to die.  It's just the law of the jungle.  And would anyone expect wolves (or Frostwolves) to hunt in anything less than a pack?

Not really.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Raiding - Extinguishing that Flamebender

So we came back to work on Flamebender on Thursday night feeling much more confident about it. We knew the mechanics, we knew what to do (for the most part), and we had gotten it to 30% the previous night.


It was going horribly wrong for the first hour.

Problem 1: Tank kept dying.  Correction, Aimei kept dying.
It was weird, it was like an instadeath at the same time for a number of fights.  Every time one of the cinder wolves got overheated Aimei would go splat.  He didn't even have a lot of stacks of Rising flames. I tried everything, I had full hots rolling, a mushroom, a cooldown ready but still he died. Aimei was being scrutinized, he was using his cooldowns, and everyone was piping in with suggestions.  I think at the end, we figured out that one of the reasons was that people with Molten Torrent were running and standing on top of Aimei (instead of the melee group) and we also had the warriors start doing Vigilance on him at that time as well.  Charring breath was stacking on Aimei also, but I wasn't sure if he was the overheated wolf tank at that point anyway. After a few attempts that seemed to stop happening.

Problem 2: Ranged were dying a lot
The problem with where the tanking position was that it didn't leave much room for the ranged.  Lava slashes were leaving trails all over the place, the weapons were doing their little spinnies in a reasonably large area.  Then someone would get fixated by a dog and then get wiped out by the fire chain.  Koda was dying a lot very early, and we found that people also forgot to watch for the bomb (Magma Monsoon) which was hitting the ground, as well as standing in someone else's Blazing Radiance.

Kyxyn was getting frustrated and Hwired was doing his lecturing "C'mon guys...", and I told them off in officer - it's really easy for melee who just stand there and do nothing except hit the boss and sidestep a few bombs and get out of the charring breath from the overheated dog. Ranged had so much more to do and I already was struggling with finding places to stand.  I was very grateful because I was dancing around trying to reach the tanks but was blocked by flame, weapon and another player and Crooked swapped spots with me so I could get in to heal the melee.

When we finally DID get it down, it was a huge relief!  Yay!  Tier time!

Usually Vanquisher Tier (Druid, DK, Rogue, Mage) drops all the time.  We made jokes about that - because the only people in Vanquisher tier were myself, Koda, Snowcaller/Exray, Hwired, Duck, Disco and Dragonray.  There weren't that many for that token.

Protector Tier (Warrior, Hunter, Shaman, Monk) had a ton of people in it. Aimei/HK, Lushen, Punchynok, Madcow, Fallnapart, Arelion, Luxygaga, Cptsars, Crooked, Alcatots, Kelthal, Ultrapwn would all be there trying to get a token!

Conquerer Tier (Warlock, Paladin, Priest) wasn't heavily populated, with only Aza, Sev, Kyjenn, Una and Bish in it.

So it would be have been awful luck if no Protector Tier dropped, but fortunately it did.  One Protector and one Conquerer.  Una and Luxy both rolled Tier, so that helps take people out of that tier. Lushen and Kyjenn were the lucky winners of Tier, and Kyxyn was even more stoked that he managed to create one with a socket as well!  Oh and Kyxyn also rolled a weapon so it was a doubly good run for him.

It's going to be a long time before those Protector guys get their Tier.  Just hope that luck is on their side and they manage to roll it or a Protector token drops every week.

Good work though Frostwolves!  Hmm, what shall we do on Monday?  We had another look at Oregorger but it still feels so higglety pigglety that we should try to get it on normal first before we come back on heroic.  Maybe Sunday will guide us a little to give us a bit of direction if we do BRF normal again on Sunday.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Raiding - Working on Flamebender

The good thing about last week was that it set out a  plan for us for this week and by 1030pm last night we were at the same point as we were last Monday.  It was good, and everyone was feeling happy that things were going well.  Lots of loot to be had.  Only Koda, Alca and myself were main healing, and we had Nok on his monk off-healing as well. I was tempted to do Gruul with 3 healers but we ended up doing it with 4.  Probably just as well (19 in raid).

We struggled a bit with 4 heals on Beastlord and when we went to 5 heals we did better. I had a joke about who was going to get pinned and I said I had bets on Kelthal, and Nok said Alca. I'll just say that Navi knows best :D

I was surprised though that Aza got pinned. Twice.  On different attempts though. Alca got pinned once and I think poor Koda also. My goal is to have nobody pinned!

Those two stamp tramps Hans and Franz was actually a one shot but it was messy as hell.  We managed to do it without a backup third tank and the hot plate dancing was heaps better - overall healing done was lower than our Monday attempt (52.6 million last night vs 61.1 million on Monday).

I picked up Inferno-Flame Staff, Kelthal got Darklight necklace (that Ultra won but decided to give to Kelthal),  Koda got Ironspike Chew Toy, Aza got Eye Catching Gilded Robe, Crooked got Neckbreaker Shoulderguards, Duck got Ironcrusher's Collar.  Exray cleaned up with Bracers of Martial Perfection, Tablet of Turnbuckle Teamwork. Una also cleaned up with Seeking Ember Girdle and Eye Catching Gilded Robe.

There were some amusing moments that I had forgotten to mention which should be made into comic form I think.  Ultra said was talking about DPSing hard on a boss but his choice of words left much to be desired...

"Yeah I went fully hard on that boss in that phase!"

"Really?" I whispered him, incredulously.  "FULLY hard??"

"Oh GOD NAVI!" exclaimed Ultra, embarrassed.  As Hwired said, that Frostwolves GM, so classy.

We did have one pull of normal Flamebender on Sunday, and we have Falln(apart) our warrior who is a weekday raider, and Faulen our DK who is a weekend raider.  Faulen had to drop for one boss to cook dinner, but he came back for Flamebender, and whilst Hwired was explaining the fight, Fallnapart was feeling tired.  He thought he would just close his eyes for a second...

Come ready check time for Flamebender, Falln was afk.

"Falln, are you there?" said Hwired.
"Yes I'm here," said Faulen.

Gee, Falln sounded different, I thought.  I hadn't even realised at first that Falln hadn't answered.  So we went ahead and pulled and Falln died early but we didn't really notice because lots of people died. Raid disbanded at 11pm.  At 1115pm I got a whisper from Falln saying that he must have fallen asleep! I had not realised he was afk for the whole fight... no wonder his voice had sounded different! I laughed as Falln told me that the last thing he remembered was Hwired explaining the fight, and then the next thing he knew he was in a raid with only Snowcaller, and he was dead.  I laughed so hard about it and told all the officers. Hwired said he hadn't realised Faulen had come back to the raid. Maybe I should tease Fallnapart and say his new name is Fallnasleep.

So when Hwired started explaining the Flamebender fight, Falln piped up and said he was awake this time. He had even watched the video.

"How did you manage not to fall asleep in that?" I wondered.

We all made fun of how Hwired's voice puts us all to sleep and as Hwired started talking a few of us were yawning. Hwired still kept calling Flamebender Ka'graz a he despite her clearly looking like a female.

The fight itself is not complex.  At first, Ka'graz is standing with Aknor Steelbringer (and doing an achievement will make him your follower) and we kill him.  She summons two wolves who are linked by a fire chain, and they target two raid members (it seems to be one melee and the other on ranged but it's probably random) and they need to try to make sure that you don't have the fire chain cutting a line of death through the raid (and everyone needs to get away from them) and have to be killed together.  Ranged need to be spread out 6 yards to avoid spreading Lava slash around, and also need to run in with Molten Torrent (which is like a meteor effect) to the melee to share the damage.

We made good progress, and we're pretty positive about making even more progress on it tonight. Looking forward to raid!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Advantages to Ashran being stupid at the moment - achievement hunting

Ashran has been a bit stupid lately. Or maybe I should say Horde has been stupid lately.

Ever since they changed the battle so that it's half an hour between battles, it's as if people have decided to not bother trying to kill the opposite faction leader anymore.  All people do now is the events, endlessly.

Actually that's not quite true.  This is what has been happening to ME lately in Ashran.

I enter Ashran to find Alliance killing our faction leader.  I get invited to group and find everyone is one of the events whilst Alliance get their easy kill.  Of course, Fangraal is up so I after they kill our faction leader the NPCs and a few other people who just zoned in can kill Fangraal for our 25 conquest points.  So now it's 30 minutes before we can start the march down the middle.

People finish the event and go and hand in their Artifact Fragments and then summon Kronus, then start heading down the path to go storm the Alliance base.

Then it can go one of two ways.

We get to the Alliance base and the new game starts and all the NPCs respawn because we have none of the flags capped along the way and we all wipe and Kronus dies.


We get to the Alliance base and an event goes up and everyone rushes to that, leaving poor Kronus by himself to fight all the Alliance, which means he goes splat and they all get an easy 25 conquest points.

By this time we have wasted our Kronus, the game has started and Alliance marches down the middle with their Fangraal and kills our commander... AGAIN.  Then the cycle repeats when the game is on the half hour cooldown and I'm left bashing my head on the wall wondering why I am wasting 2 hours in here.  I might as well go do the events too.. oh wait, I'm capped.

Why am I in Ashran again?? Oh right, Achievements.

I thought this was as good a time as any (whilst we were on the 30 minute wait) to go and try to break those prisoners out.

I had been in the prison once before - a paladin had caught me running around their side and I got sent straight to prison.  I didn't realise that there was an achievement to break out the other people in there, or I would have done that.  Instead, I tried to sneak out.  Not clever.  Not when there's a room full of Marshals just above the prison. I tried to go out the roof but someone saw me and killed me.

And I had tried to get back in there multiple times, but to no avail. Each time I would get close, I would die and my insignia would be taken so that I would have to rez at the spirit rezzer.

Luxy told me that I could fly in there.  I had totally forgotten I could fly in Ashran if I had the book of Flight form (which is looted from the rares in Ashran).  So I flew over there but I couldn't get into the building.  I tried stealthing but I didn't get far and then I'd die and my body would be looted.

Crooked told me to corpse run and get as close as possible and I could rez inside the dungeon.  But I couldn't get close enough.

Luxy said I could try flying in the windows on the side of the building. Ohhh, I know those side bits, that's where I tried to sneak out but didn't manage to escape.  It was easy to fly to there and jump in right next to Grand Marshal Tremblade and get killed.  Fortunately, with the hiatus nobody was inside the building so I could corpse run back and go immediately to the dungeons below her and rez there.

The cool thing about the dungeons is that there is a scroll of Town Portal on the floor in the prison, so I could get out quickly if I wanted to.  I don't know why I didn't do that the first time, I was probably busy exploring or something.

So this is what the dungeons look like.  There are 3 cages and 2 gaol (this is how we spell jail in Australia) cells.  The gaol cells are not locked and you can click on them to go in and out.

You need a Stormshield Prison key to open up those cages, and it is kept on the Prison Guard (seen dead here in the picture above).  He respawns every 10 minutes or so, so you can keep killing him to get another key so you can unlock all the cages.  He's quite easy to kill.  He's just outside the door to the prison so you can easily pull him into the room and kill him without being disturbed by adds.

So the three people you have to rescue are:
  • Warlord Jugan
  • General Lizzie Heartbane
  • Marshal Lyrdrea Daybreaker
Catch you later, Lizzie!
Now one interesting decoration I noticed here was this here steaming cup of coffee...

OK, I am not that stupid, that's no steaming cup of coffee... it's a chamber pot with a nice steaming turd in it.  There is one in each gaol cell and also one just by the door of the gaol cell.  Lovely.

But at least, I got my achievement.  By the time I was done, the battle was up again.. and Alliance was marching down the Road of Glory.  Time to go to my Garrison, I thought.  At least I managed to accomplish SOMETHING in Ashran that day.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Raiding - And That makes three!

Our raiding week didn't start off well but after killing Gruul on Thursday, I was feeling better about raiding.  Sunday was a bit of a kerfuffle as we juggled what were going to do, but it turned out we did Blackrock Foundry on normal which was good because it was a great learning experience.  We had a few casuals turn up - Taxar, Hyperpali, Faulen, Tyefoods and Splatzor - so it was good to at least be doing SOME new stuff.  We killed 3 bosses on normal - Gruul, Beastlord and Hans and Franz - and we thought we'd go back and get them on heroic.

We did Beastlord a little differently this time - Elekk, Wolf and then Rylak - and to me that was a lot better in terms of healer cooldowns.  With Elekk first we could blow our big AoE cooldowns early, and then use them again later.

I was emphatically telling people not to get pinned because we were wasting a lot of DPS and mana healing getting them out, and then I started to do AoE assignments after the pull and guess what happened to me mid-sentence...

I got pinned.

What a BLOODY STUPID IDIOT I am.  Never going to live that down.

The number of pinned people was a lot less these attempts, compared to Thursday's attempts.  There was one attempt that had FOUR people pinned by one spear at one stage, which was hilarious. There was also one time where Koda rezzed Aimei and then ran away because she was on a pin point, and then Aimei took the rez and instantly got pinned (that was on our kill attempt, and we ended up just leaving him there to die whilst the boss was DPS'd down). Mana was tight and another bit of useless extra damage came from rend and tears when the wolf was jumping around.  If you stood at the tank when the wolf jumped back, you got an extra stack.

It took us three goes to get Beastlord down and everyone was pretty happy about that! Alca and Koda rolled some useful loot, plenty of others rolled some loot, and Aimei and Nok both got the weapon that dropped.  I was a little grouchy because Aimei got that weapon on normal Beastlord on Sunday and I had just enchanted him and now he wanted ANOTHER enchant!!

Hans and Franz was our next stop because we did it easily on Normal.  Heroic took a few more goes, as the stamping was not quite so forgiving, nor was the Suplex because tanks were dying all the time! Dodging the plates took some time, even though the idea of it was easy, but it's easy for the raid leader to say "don't DPS, just dodge the mechanics" because healers need to heal and dodge the mechanics! I was body slammed a lot - I am sure I was targetted quite a few times but if you look at Warcraft logs I look like an idiot who just took lots of damage! (though, that may also have been the case).

I wondered why this boss had a voice in it that sounded like Arnold Schwarzenegger, and upon googling, I found out that Hans and Franz were a Saturday night live skit where two guys pretend to be Austrian body builders wearing padded grey sweats, mimicking Arnie.  Woo, another pop culture reference!

We also had a few trash drops which were great - except that everyone took the items and I had nothing to sell!  We made a joke about it on Sunday because Hwired was master looter and we had so much trash epics, and then we switched master looter to Kyjenn later and the trash drops stopped! 

That was a pretty good week for our first week.  Looking forward to our next boss attempt next week!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Achievement: They Really Love Me!

Luxy had organised a time on Sunday to do this achievement, which requires everyone to have a Manufactured Love Prism (bought for 40 Love tokens from the vendors).  Basically you have to have 50 stacks of the Love ray on you, so you need multiple people to do the achievement.

Each time you use the beam it's a channel and it lasts 10 seconds before it needs to be reapplied. With 11 people in the group there were enough charges to go comfortably around.  We'd take turns being in the middle and then just take turns activating our crystal.

We all had some close moments but I was the only one who actually had theirs drop off! Luckily it was in the early stages so it's not like I was at 30 or something!

Crooked and Luxy did a lot of the calling.  Sars did a few too.  I had my daughter helping a little bit at first and then she got a bit excited and clicked later and then got bored, so I took over.

It took us about 1.5 hours to complete everyone, and Gelina turned up late - but we still managed to squeeze him in!  We get a toy reward after the achievement which shoots love rays - can't complain about more toys!  Luxy, Crooked, McTacky, Cptsars, Aimei, Una, Hyade, Buggerlugs, Hunterfaith and Taxar were the patient guildies and fellow achievement hunters who were happy to put the time and effort in!

When we were done, a number of people said "Never again!" Phew, it was a very long and tiring achievement, but I'm glad we got it done.