I’m Doing Science And I’m Still Alive

March 28, 2010

Okay, not so much with the science, though I’ve been plenty buried in studying raid strats and theorycrafting my badge and gold spending as we spend more time in Progression Town and my frost badge choices get less obvious. Either way, between real life hecticness and a writer’s dry spell during which I prioritized my regular blog when it came to unwillingly choking up content, this blog hasn’t gotten much attention lately.

Schedule aggro continues to be far more of a boss than the actual bosses are. We’re doing wonderfully when we’re able to get in there with everyone; we one-shot Festergut on our first serious attempt on him, and after doing a few under-researched runs on Rotface that night, came back to drop him like a sack of very ugly potatoes on the very first try of our return with an extended raid ID. We had a couple of experimental wipes on Putricide, determined Crimson Halls would be a softer target (think we need more DPS to kill the adds faster, among various strategic and positioning issues), and then had some more experimental wipes on Crimson Halls trash and Blood Council. I posted a bunch of guides to Crimson Halls stuff from various perspectives, so I’m pretty optimistic about taking out the Council and perhaps Lana’thel tomorrow. On that note, if anyone has a solid strat on handling the trash in there, I haven’t found it yet. Obviously we cleared it, but not cleanly and it’s not fun to die on trash.

No-shows are rarer, but people also aren’t signing up as much if they’re not sure that they wouldn’t rather spend the night doing something else rather than showing up hoping for a call from the bench. We are trying to rotate people in as best we can, but people are hedging their bets on getting rotated and not signing up.

I’ve been bowing to the benefits of honor (I really want a spikey wolf to ride instead of a prissy horse with curtains or an insane chicken), and doing the random battlegrounds. I have the world’s *cheesiest* ret pally PvP rotation which is literally bound to a single button, but works horrifyingly well since it means all my emergency buttons are in easy, fast reach. I *am* the paladin everyone hates; I’m sure I’d be slaughtered in arena but in BGs I’m just That Bastard. I’ve also determined that while Mal’Ganis may have some very awesome people, it is also almost invariably the tag attached to the guy (or guys) initiating the following conversation in AV:

MGite: “ZERG!! ZERG!! ZERG!! ZERG!! ZERG!! ZERG!! ZERG!! ZERG!! ZERG!!”
Other servers: “We don’t seem to have a tank.”
MGite: “I’M TANK ZERG! ZERG! ZERG! I’M TANK! ZERG!! ZERG!! ZERG!! ZERG!!”
OSites: “How does zerg work?”
MGite: “ZERG!! ZERG!! ZERG!! ZERG!! ZERG!! ZERG!! ZERG!! ZERG!! ZERG!! ZERG!!”
OSites: “We zerg, then we wipe horribly, usually.”
MGite: “ZERG!! ZERG!! ZERG!! ZERG!! ZERG!! ZERG!! ZERG!! ZERG!! ZERG!! ZERG!!”
*repeat theme of “zerg” with occasional voices of reason until boss*
*I’M TANK ZERG pulls boss*
*I’M TANK ZERG is chain cycloned by defending boomkin with nary a hint of PvP trinket or his own hand of freedom*
MGite: “OMFG NO ONE HEALED ME FAIL”
MGite: “ZERG!! ZERG!! ZERG!! ZERG!! ZERG!! ZERG!! ZERG!! ZERG!! ZERG!! ZERG!!”

I wish I were exaggerating. While I’ve run through several variants of this in AV, all of this is verbatim from today. If you’re interested, we ZERG’d uselessly until our horrible defeat while the Mal’Ganite’s (three of them) occasionally mixed up ZERG with verbal abuse about how fail the rest of us were and what useless asses anyone NOT DOING WHAT THE REST OF THE RAID IS DOING are.

I apologize to anyone from Mal’Ganis reading this, because it means that you can read. But if you reply with “U STFU”, then I’ll just wave hi to the PvP tank with no hand of freedom and no PvP trinket. You’re a real man of genius!

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How 2 Huntar

March 17, 2010

As suggested on the Single Abstract Noun forums, since so many of us are getting started with levelling all over again and many of us are scraping the barrel for content like a meth cooker scraping the beaker for crystal, why not turn our experiences into guide form?

The problem is I’m not actually very good with levelling guides, because I’m really not that good at levelling. I’m a very happy camper at endgame when I can spend hours researching how to gear and spec and glyph and gem for content way more hardcore than I’m actually doing, but while levelling I tend to bumble around a lot, find the most inefficient questing paths possible, get sidetracked trying to level tradeskills strictly off mats farmed during said inefficient bumbling, and generally take two to three times as long to level as any other person that’s gone through this process once already. Going to me as authority on levelling anything is like taking painting tips from Stevie Wonder.

I am, however, good at snarking my way through things I’m not actually any good at, so I can at least get some material out of THAT if people find it amusing enough not to want to tell me to stuff it after the third or fourth ADD-alt guide to levelling something badly. So let’s kick it off with something I came up with during the process of realizing that I really prefer actually shooting at animals I hope to eat in lieu of playing a hunter in-game.

How 2 Huntar!

Levels 1-10: Welcome to being a ranged DPS class with no means of keeping enemies at range other than running away from them! Those of you who are playing their umptieth alt may use this period to master the basics of kiting and more advanced skills like jump-shotting; the rest of you will be meleeing away and wondering why you don’t get Raptor Strike until level 8.

Level 10: go get a pet. There is a quest for this, and the quest giver will be very coy about the mechanics of taming. Have an exciting time being chewed on. As far as your choice of pet goes, if you’re playing for efficiency you’ll get a bear or a boar; they eat everything and develop into excellent pet-tanks. Of course, you actually tamed the coolest-looking thing you could find, so enjoy your cat, raptor, or dragonhawk.

Also at level ten you get your first talent point. Hunters get three talent trees, each with its own unique flavor. Ponder in depth the kind of hunter you want to become- focused on increasing your DPS via a complex shot rotation, focused on synergy with your pet, or focused on the class’s other utility features; now put all that aside and level as Beastmastery because otherwise you’ll be spending most of your time tanking mobs with your face.

Levels 10-80: Tell your pet to attack the mob. Shoot the mob. You win. Keep your melee weapons levelled too if you want, who the hell cares. You have the option to instance if you want to experience your class in a group setting; as your options for groupings mostly consist of people even more clueless than you and will probably slow down your levelling, you will most likely opt not to. Besides, some warrior will probably keep stealing aggro from your pet and the healer probably won’t heal him at all. Who needs that kind of aggravation?

Level 80: As the meanest DPS class around, now it is time to go show the rest of the battlegroup what you’re made of. At this point, you have a chore; drag out your spellbook, hotkey all the blatantly ridiculous skills you may or may not have bothered to train like Distracting Shot, Misdirection, any and all traps, and start relearning everything about how to play your class except the part where you stay at range from the mob. (Unless you liked swinging your axe so much at level 8 you’ve been playing a melee hunter- what else are those talents in the Survival tree FOR?) Whether you elect to stay as Beastmastery, with its challenging two-button rotation, or explore the strange and foreign other trees, your spec will need to be entirely reworked. Alternatively, keep pressing the win button- it’s worked for eighty levels so far.

Optional: You may decide to raid. In this case you will definitely have to go the “relearn your entire class” route. Be advised that your primary role has changed from keeping your pet alive while alternating Serpent Sting and Volley. Now you must work out your optimal shot rotation, as the mystery of why you have more than one shot has been revealed via the utterings of the sage oracle “Recount” that people keeping putting in party chat at the end of the instance. You also must manage your pet so that it does not stand in bad or attack things the tank has not yet elected to attack. Most of all, be aware that your job in raids will be one of two things; either you will be standing still shooting either one thing or a target-swapping variety of things, or you will be assigned the oddball job in the raid. Whether it’s kiting hordes of zombies, tricking an angry cat lady, keeping slimes annoyed, or slowing any variety of other things down, this will add spice, variety, and ulcers to your life while the melee DPS and the magic froofs supplicate the god Recount.


In Which I Exploit My Ability To Finally Take Screenshots

March 13, 2010

Very mundane sort of ability, I know, but it was still nice to finally figure out that the reason my screenshots never worked is because… my print screen button is broken. Re-keybound to F12, I can take all the shots I want. I love my old nigh-indestructible Northgate, but it mayhap be time to finally replace the old warhorse with one of those fragile, upstart membrane keyboards.

Things have been rather slow lately as Ossifer Bear, Holy Terror, and a too-large chunk of our DPS pool are all out of town having meatspace fun rather than raiding with us, so I’ve been spending more time in Single Abstract Noun, in which my altitis, kept in check on my home server due to my sense of obligation to keep Juuju in raiding trim, has blossomed like kudzu. This is the cast of characters currently competing for my attention:

Steelspark warms her bottom

Steelspark is a level 12 gnome warrior. Her meager talent points are all in Protection, as I’ve always wanted a warrior tank to play around with out of sheer Paladin Toolbox Envy. (Yes, I know ours is just as big, but I don’t have the same kinds and I really want to be able to charge around like a loon dammit.) She enjoys writing long monographs about the botany of Azeroth, birdwatching, philosophy, and ceaseless, gratuitous violence. Currently she toils at the whim of the Dwarven landlords and gentry, but she dreams of revolution and has a list of those to be first against the wall, currently populated by the two bourgeois pigs that made her jog repeatedly across wolf-infested tundra shuttling beer and the empty mug back and forth.

Dragonfruit finds your prose uninspired and your shirt ugly.

This is Dragonfruit the level 6 mage. He was inspired by brainstorming tropical fruit names to give characters in honor of Kumquat, and my discovering that, thanks to having male Draeni as an option, I could indeed make a character that looked both dragonish and fruity. Dragonfruit disapproves of pretty much everything, especially Night Elves, Gnomes, Dwarves, Humans, Orcs, Trolls, Tauren, Death Knights, Warlocks, Druids, Shadow Priests, youth that wear their mail pants two sizes too big so that the crotch dangles and clanks, and the color beige. He interacts with the world primarily by setting fire to the bits he objects to most strongly.

Sountrack: "Ride of the Valkyries"

This is Badgertooth the level 58 Death Knight, on his way to pour hellfire upon the innocent. He is mostly hostility and beard. He’s really pissed off about a great many things, none moreso than that beer, meat, and sex become a lot less enjoyable after death, though violence still holds all its old charms. Rumor has it that the beard has its own action bar, and can bubble-hearth, stunlock, conjure mana strudel, and silence.

Badger seems to already be evolving toward blood tanking (I see tanking talents and I’m just helplessly drawn to them), even though that is of course the most inappropriate tree to be tanking in until you’re raiding. I’ve always wanted a warrior tank and Steel was created to that end, but levelling a mage is so much more fun as Dragonfruit than it was on the previous mage I tried I suspect they must have changed something fundamental about it. Getting hit in the face without crying is my first love, but there is something different and novel about fireballing things to death before they can even reach me.

I’ll probably not get much of anywhere with any of them thanks to having my attention so divided, but the beauty of the whole concept is I have no reason to care.


Attendance Blues

March 8, 2010

Well, we’re swinging around from having slightly too many people to people assuming that since raid signups are always overflowing, to the point where we mark some as “standby”, that means they can blow it off and someone will obviously be around to take their place. Which is only slightly annoying when one or two people do it, but when three or more people do it it completely scotches the raid and leaves a lot of frustration. We don’t demand 100% attendance on raid nights or even 50%, but it kind of screws us when we have no idea if people intend to show up or not.

All this really tells me is what I already knew before, except with putting a greater sense of urgency to it: we need to recruit more, not even to fill out two ten-mans, but to broaden our pool of raiders that we know we can almost certainly count on to be there, on time and not waiting on something else to happen, when they sign up. And that second ten-man will come in time; really I should never have let the realm recruiting thread drop to the point that I did in the first place.

So to all twenty or so of my readers: if you are looking for a raiding home where you aren’t racing for server firsts or even thirds, progression is limited to two nights a week of about three to three and a half hours max, but progression still happens steadily and with a relaxed and good-humored atmosphere, Reprisal of Steamwheedle Cartel is looking for more. Our shiny new recruitment thread lives here.

In other news, Single Abstract Noun and Steelspark the bitty little warrior have been marvelous as a break from raiding, preparing for raids, officering, and so forth. Poor Steel is only level 10 and broke as a very broke thing, mostly because /gchat is usually more interesting and entertaining than killing another Trogg. If you’re looking for a “vacation” server/guild, I can’t recommend it highly enough.


Puzzlement of the Day

March 7, 2010

DPS paladins and tank paladins have obligatory multi-target or AOE abilities as core parts of their rotation- Divine Storm, Hammer of the Righteous, Consecrate- and suffer significantly in either DPS output or threat when circumstances force them not to use them.

Holy paladins, on the other hand, only have one ability that can hit more than one target at all, and it’s not directly targetable or “smart” like a lot of heals the other healing classes get.

That ain’t right.


Moving Right Along

March 6, 2010

Full clear of lower spire in our first night of raiding tonight, in spite of having some people filling in where they normally don’t. (Including Initial V, who we threw way, way into the healing deep end with her two-day-old resto spec. She rose to the occasion admirably.) We’ll move on to do some serious work on Festergut and perhaps Rotface on Sunday, though we’ll be down one of our top DPS and one of the solid middle-benchers; we’ll see if we can make up for it with what we’ve got left. Quite a few people got nice upgrades tonight, so I’m feeling cautiously optimistic.

I think we need to move in to do some serious recruiting. We now seem to have gone from having a surplus of tanks to having no surplus at all, and I really want to move toward that second team even if it’s awkward. If nothing else having a deeper field of more-than-ten will make nights like tonight where we have to rebalance around rotating some people in easier, and it’s really starting to niggle at me that it would be damned nice if me and Ossifer Bear weren’t so goddamn indispensable. I like feeling needed and I’m good at my job, but it would be nice to take a weekend off now and then without having to cancel the raid for it. I know he feels the same. If I have to rotate out now and then when I’d rather not, or spend some time in my very nicely geared but never used DPS set, then so be it.


Single Abstract Noun

March 4, 2010

So Tamarind of Righteous Orbs had an idea, which was to pick a server, form a guild called Single Abstract Noun, and make it a sort of social community hub for members of the WoW blogging community, in much the same way It Came From The Blog is for the WoW.com community. Alas, US players cannot play on EU servers and vice versa, so Miss Medicina formed a stateside chapter. Rules:

The guild rules of Single Abstract Noun are as follows:

1. Anybody with even the vaguest passing interest in the blogging community is welcome – which is why it’s a blogging communities guild, not a bloggers’ guild.

2. Single Abstract Noun is a pantocracy – which means, not only that pants are encouraged, but it’s rule by all. The guild belongs to all who belong to it.

3. Use the guild however you like, as a meeting place, for conversation, for running the occasional dungeon, have a million alts, have a single character, whatever you like.

4. There are no rules about respecting other people because GODDAMN IT I’M TAKING THAT AS READ.

5. Leave your wowcock in the stand by the door.

Just about every opportunity I’ve taken to meet other bloggers and otherwise participate in the kinds of communities they create has wound up a lot of fun. I don’t know how often I’ll be on her, but Steelspark the Gnome Warrior is now a member of Single Abstract Noun on the Argent Dawn-US. I only spent about forty minutes in there, but levelling in Dun Morogh has never been so much fun.