Thursday, December 30, 2010

Moonkin Meta Conundrum (a.k.a What To Do Until 4.1?)

Last night, I finally picked up enough JPs after a couple instance runs to pick up the Cluster of Stars, my leather helm of choice pre-raid.  However, it also was the first helm in Cataclysm that has a meta gem slot.  However, this is where a situation arose.

There is no doubt that the Chaotic Shadowspirit Diamond is the preferred meta gem.  It is a 54 critical strike rating plus 3% increased damage with critical strikes.  The math, which if you would like to see it, I would recommend going to Graylo's site, finds this to be true.  However, it is going to be broken until 4.1 where they will return to requiring two blue gems like the old Chaotic Skyflare Diamond.  The current meta requires more blue gems than red gems, which as moonkins should never happen in the first place.

From there, we have three different choices to go to.  Each is dependant on what you may need.

Bracing Shadowspirit Diamond - 54 Intellect + 2% Decreased Threat

This is a very attractive meta for me specifically.  One, it has a blue gem requirement so that when 4.1 fixes Chaotic, it is going to be easier to transition over in terms of regemming.  Second, it has an intellect boost, which is our most important stat behind being hit capped.  Third, it has decreased threat which means it is Starfalls for everybody. (Not really, but you get my point.)

Ember Shadowspirit Diamond - 54 Intellect + 2% Maximum Mana

Originally, I thought this would be the one of choice depending on your mana issues.  However, it appears that at least in 25 man raiding, mana doesn't seem to be as big of a deal as first thought. (See post from yesterday.)   This means that having more mana may not be as good as having some sort of threat reduction.

Fleet Shadowspirit Diamond - 54 Mastery + Minor Run Speed Increase

If you remember the reasoning behind why Tuskarr's Vitality was the boot enchant for choice in Wrath, then you know what the Fleet diamond is on the list.  The faster you move, the sooner you can DPS.  However, this gem has two major problems with it.  One, it has Mastery, which is our worst stat.  Second, there will be an enchant for a run speed increase for boots that will stil be preferred.  The reason this is bad is because the speed run enchants don't cumulatively add up.  In addition, looking at the math, this is the furtherest behind the Chaotic in terms of DPS by a good deal. 

In terms of what I would recommend  until 4.1, it is all dependant on what you want.  If you have lots of gold to regem your gear when 4.1 and you want the maximum DPS, go with the Chaotic.  (I would also look at Graylo's site for how to gem in this circumstance because it is not easy.) If you want to put our solid damage, decrease threat, and make it easier to regem after 4.1, go with the Bracing.  If you are having mana issues in raids and 5 mans, go with the Ember.  If you want to get a small run increase prior to getting your boots enchanted, go with the Fleet.

As I said, there is no doubt after 4.1, you will want to go with the Chaotic meta gem.  It simply is the best output in DPS.  Until then, we will just have to make due with the other gems out there.

Last reminder for this.  Tomorrow is the last day for the Header Contest.  I will close entries at midnight tomorrow night so if you want a chance to win some great prizes, this is your shot.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Lessons From First Night of Raiding

Last night was the first night I got to step into a 25 man raid with my guild, Conquest. (Which we are recruiting quite a few classes so I would recommend checking them out with the link on the sidebar.)  I was only in for one boss, Halfus, since they had been wiping to the second boss all last week and wanted the experienced people in there for that fight.  Here are a few things that I found out while raiding:

1) Moonkin mana may not be as big of an issue in 25 man raids. - It may have just been the mechanics of the first fight, but I was never below half mana thanks to Eclipses, etc.  As I start to get some actual raid gear, I may see this improve over time.  I'm not gonna change my spec based off of one single boss kill, but if this continues, I may take points out of Moonglow and move them into Owlkin Frenzy.

2) Raid bosses are fun - Halfus is not the most involved fight in the game, but it sure is a lot of fun.  Between the dragon breathing fire on you all the time to activating the drakes and whelps, it is a hectic fight, but a lot of fun.  Which brings me to the next point.

3) Threat has changed - In 25 mans in Wrath, for the most part, I could open up on a boss almost immediately due to MDs, Tricks of the Trade, etc. to give the tank aggro.  Not the case anymore.  If I am popping Treants, Starfall, Wild Mushroom, adding DoTs, and start casting my nukes, I can pull aggro easy.  It even lead to our second wipe.  Now, it is better to delay slightly and let all the tanks pick up what they are going to pick up, then start bombing.

4) DPS standards have gone up - At the end of Wrath, I was pulling 13k - 15k DPS on most boss fights with highs of around 17k.  Last night, I pulled 18k on the Halfus kill.  It would have been great if the tank hadn't pulled 18k as well. (Admittingly, there are a lot of adds in that fight which add to tanks DPS) Most of the other DPS was above 20k + DPS.  This shows mainly one thing, if you think you are gonna step into a raid with any green pieces and do great, it is not gonna happen.  I still have a green 318 head that needs to be replaced in my moonkin set.  Also, I really need something with a meta to get increased damage percentage. (Once they fix the Chaotic meta gem) I'm at 1700 JPs approximately, so I'm sure the head will now be my next purchase. 

5) Trash Is Tough - Going back to trash like we saw in Ruby Sanctum, I think we had at least 6 - 7 different types of CC at one time on trash and we wiped more on trash then on bosses.  The trash it tight and tough and is easy to pull extra groups.  It requires special awareness to know that you are not pulling stuff you shouldn't.  Also, goes without saying, Starfall is a no-no on this trash.

So overall, I enjoyed the first night of raiding.  It was good to get back in the swing of things and am looking forward to more raiding with my guild. 

Also, just a reminder about the Header Contest.  The last day for entries is this Friday.  After that, I will post the nominees the week after and will let the readers vote on the next header for the blog.  Also, next Monday, I will have some major announcements on the new blog projects I talked about yesterday.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Best Cataclysm Factions for Moonkins

In Wrath of the Lich King, they found easy ways to raise your reputation with factions whether it was tabards or relics of Ulduar.  And, thank God they did.  Remembering back from Burning Crusade where you had to run heroic in Zangarmarsh over and over and over again to raise Cenarion Expedition rep to get the best pre-raid feral tanking staff was insane.

In Cataclysm, they have expanded it to include every faction in the game including your major capital cities. (Which I personally appreciate after having got Crusader on my  main and had to raise my city rep by either cloth or questing.  A level 80 druid doing level 1 gnome/dwarf quest just didn't seem right.)  However, determining which factions to do first can be a little tricky.  Let me go through each of the major factions and break down what goodies you can get as a moonkin.

Wildhammer Clan - The Alliance faction found out in Twilight Highlands, the Wildhammer Clan has some of the most interesting quest to open up its faction.  Also, there are several great rewards for moonkins as you raise your rep.  At honored, you get leather caster shoulders.  At revered, you get a nice caster ring.  However, at exalted, you get a couple of nice epics.  You get an epic caster neck and an incredibly nice caster waist.  Also, there is a bonus if you are a feral tank because the leather gloves at exalted may end up being BiS until you get into heroic raids.  Priority:  High

Guardians of Hyjal - The single biggest thing you want from this faction is the head enchant at revered, the Arcanum of Hyjal, which will be your standard enchant for all your head pieces of gear as a moonkin.  Beyond that, there is not a lot of great moonkin gear from here.  There is a 333 cloak at honored and 346 leather caster gloves at revered.  Unless you are a feral tank, there is nothing for you at exalted.  However, solely due to the head enchant, you should get this faction to revered early.  Priority: High

Earthen Ring - Yes, Thrall may be there, but that doesn't mean as a moonkin,  you should be.  At least not at first.  Both the caster pieces at honored and revered you could use have critical strike (Yuck!) and mastery (I just threw up in my mouth a little.)  In addition, there is nothing at exalted for moonkins.  Again, depending on your offspec, you may want to hit this early if you are a tank due to the head enchant.  However, if you are focused on moonkin, stay away from Earthen Ring to begin with.  Priority: Low

Therazane - Cataclysm's Sons of Hodir in more ways than one.  First off, you start off as hated.  Through about 5 quest, you quickly become friendly.  However, the difference is they have a tabard this time instead of relics to up your reputation.  In addition, they are also the faction with your shoulder enchants starting at honored.  While the 346 rings are nothing special (unless you are a feral tank), you really want to get your shoulder enchants quickly, at least the honored ones to start.  Priority:  High

Ramkahen - Come on.  Do you expect a race of cat people to have anything for moonkins?  Besides a 333 caster ring at honored, there is not a lot here except for a camel mount, which is gonna be awesome.  However, in terms of priority, it is not gonna be the highest.  They don't even have a lot of good feral druid stuff here.  Priority:  Low

Baradin's Warden - The Tol Barad faction.  There are a lot of interesting rewards, but nothing that really jumps out for moonkins though, although reforging the Slump of Time's hit into a massive amount of haste might be awesome.  Also, there are a couple of cool mounts.  However, this faction has no tabard and can only be raised by doing Tol Barad, which personally, I love more than Wintergrasp. Priority: Low

So if I was going to rate the order in which I would do factions based solely on moonkin,  here is the order I personally would go in:

1) Therazane to Honored
2) Guardians of Hyjal to Revered
3) Wildhammer Clan to Exalted
4) Therazane to Exalted
5) Guardians of Hjyal to Exalted
6) Ramkahen to Exalted
7) Earthen Ring to Exalted
8) Baradin's Warden to Exalted (Through Every Tol Barad)

Of course, taking into account the tanking offspec, I might get Earthen Ring to Revered before Guardians of Hyjal to Exalted for the head tanking enchant. 

Just a reminder, you have until Friday to get in your entries for the Header Contest.  I still only have two entries so if you enter, you have an incredibly good chance of winning one of the main prizes.

Finally, I'm going to start working on a couple new blog projects.  I don't want to give anything away yet because I'm not certain about what I'm doing yet, but I have a few ideas.  One is likely going to be a personal blog for stuff outside of gaming in general, like the fact that I got engaged this weekend.  I'm also thinking about resurrecting a general video game blog.   Just keep an eye out here for what may be coming up next.  

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas From Redhawk's Gaze

To you and yours, a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  May all your presents be epic and your feast be legendary.  To celebrate, my favorite Christmas song of all time. Combining my favorite classic Christmas singer and one of my favorite classic rockers.

Level 85 Moonkin PvP Spec Necessities

In our PvP division of my guild, Conquest (And yes, we are still recruiting for both our PvE and PvP divisions.), we had a new moonkin apply.  As someone who enjoys PvPing and tries to as much as possible and reviewing his spec, I thought that I would try to develop my very own PvP spec with what I thought were the major components needed for a PvP player.

Looking through our talent tree, here are the things that I found different from the PvE moonkin spec that are necessary in PvP.

Gale Winds - Increasing the damage of your Hurricane does not do a lot in PvP, but increasing the damage of your Typhoon is huge and necessary.  Also, being able to Cyclone at a distance is incredibly important.

Solar Beam - While it may be situational/CC use in PvE, Solar Beam is a life saver in PvP with the ability to silence casters in a huge area.

Fungal Growth - Since we have Wild Mushrooms now, we can set it up to slow people down in PvP besides cause damage.  Also, it helps with Treants as well, but in PvP, we would likely use Wild Mushrooms more.

Perserverance - Regardless of which spec you use in PvP, you should always go for this talent.  Having 6% less magical damage is huge in PvP, especially when combined with PvP gear.

Of course, these aren't the only talents you will take.  You still want to focus on spellpower/intellect and haste talents wherever possible and of course you want to pick up Typhoon and Starfall for PvP.  One of the more interesting talents that may look interesting is Owlkin Frenzy.  In fact, when making my list, I was left with a choice between Perserverance and Owlkin Frenzy.  While a 15% chance of increased damage is nice and no pushback from spells, taking 6% less damage in PvP is more necessary in my opinion. 

The other major question of concern is mana.  In PvE, mana can be drained pretty quickly depending on your spec.  From what I found in PvP,  mana seems to be less of an issue.  This will also require a few small changes, mainly, the elimination of Moonglow. 

So without any further ado, let me give you my custom moonkin PvP spec:

Nature's Grace (2/2)
Starlight Wrath (3/3)
Nature's Majesty (2/2)
Genesis (3/3)
Balance of Power (2/2)
Euphoria (2/2)
Moonkin Form (1/1)
Typhoon (1/1)
Shooting Stars (2/2)
Gale Winds (2/2)
Solar Beam (1/1)
Dreamstate (2/2)
Force of Nature (1/1)
Sunfire (1/1)
Earth and Moon (1/1)
Fungal Growth (2/2)
Lunar Shower (3/3)
Starfall (1/1)

Total Points: 33


Blessing of the Grove (2/2)
Heart of the Wild (3/3)
Perserverance (3/3)

Total Points: 8

As I mentioned, there are a couple customizations you can make.  If you are really not having any problems with mana, you can go for Owlkin Frenzy, but until gear and mana pools get better, I would hold off on getting that one in favor of more mana return from Innervate.

In terms of glyphs, there are a lot of choices for glyphs, but it probably won't change a lot from PvE to PvP.  The one in particular that you may want to change out for your PvP spec is adding Entangling Roots, which makes it an instant cast and may make it useful to set up and keep a caster in Solar Beam. 

Hopefully, this will get you started on your way to doing moonkin PvP.  It is a lot of fun, from pushing opponents off ledges in AB to keeping a healer under control while you are killing him. 

Finally, just a reminder about the Header Contest.  This contest will close next Friday so I encourage you to get in your headers as soon as possible.

Friday, December 17, 2010

I Have Spirit. Yes, I Do. I Have Spirit. You Should Too.

When I made my pre-raid gear list, I mentioned the priority of stats for me.  One of the things that I mentioned was that spirit was preferred over hit for boomkins now since Balance of Power converts all of spirit to hit.  This was all before Cataclysm came out.  Now having played for over a week, I can definitely and without question say that spirit is preferred over hit.  Here are the reasons why you should use spirit to get to hit cap (1742) instead of hit itself:

1) Makes Duel Speccing So Easy - I'm not a healer.  I prefer playing a tank.  However, if you are healer, having as much spirit as possible will help you be a great healer as well.  If you take out any hit gear and keep just spirit gear, you could literally use one set of gear (At least until  you get to T11 tier sets) for both specs.

2) Hit Provides 1 Stat While Spirit Provides 3 Stats -   Hit only provides one stat, which is hit.  Spirit provides 3 stats, all that are important now.  Of course, with Balance of Power, we get our hit from the spirit.  We also get two types of mana regeneration, in combat and out of combat mana regeneration.  If you have done any heroics, you may notice that you go OOM a little quicker than you should.  Spirit doesn't completely solve this, but it improves it drastically.  You still have to be smart with your mana and smart with  your Innervate use.  However, this will help you retain mana better.

3) Increases Your DPS Indirectly - This is an indirect benefit secondary to mana regeneration.  If you are OOM, you are providing approximately 0 DPS.  You are as effective as if you were dead.  Since spirit can help you from going OOM, it can provide a DPS increase since it will take longer for you to go OOM.

4) Gives You More Of A Reason To Hit the Hit Cap (And Maybe Go a Little Over) - While 1742 is the hit cap, a little extra spirit couldn't hurt you.  You shouldn't go way over though since some things that have spirit sacrifice intellect or haste for it.  If you are way over, you can reforge it into a stat that will provide more DPS like haste.  I'm currently at 1782 with 1488 of it as spirit (minus whatever the natural spirit is since it doesn't count in it).  I would say if you are above 1800 hit, reforge your hit or spirt.  If you are not, it is probably okay to keep it.  If a piece of gear has hit and spirit on it, you should take out the hit.

5) Saves Your Innervate - If you are not having to use your Innervate because you are not close to OOMing, you may be able to use your Innervate on your healer, which in turn may save a 5 man or a raid.  I have not had a chance to step into a raid yet with replenishment to see what my mana would do in a raid enviroment, but if a healer is OOM before I hit about 50% mana, I will let them get the Innervate so they can finish healing.  Plus, depending on how you are glyphed, you get 10% mana back anyway. 

As you can see, spirit has become a moonkin's best friend in terms of stats for all the additional benefits it provides.  Once above the hit cap, the important stats become intellect/spellpower and haste.  However, if most of our hit is spirit, it will provide us more of an ability to use that intellect and haste. 

Just a reminder, the Header Contest closes on 12/31/10 so if you have an idea for a header, you will want to get it in as soon as possible. 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Heroic Tanking With Minimal Headaches

None of us like the queues for LFD for DPS, which the last time I checked was about 35 minutes for level 85s.  This means that the hybrid classes are trying to tank or heal.  This could lead to some very good tanks, but more likely than not, there are people who have no clue how to tank.  If you are a feral tank and need some advice on how to tank, I would direct you to this prior post I made about tanking post 4.0.1.   The only thing I did not talk about is that you should be adding Thrash in your rotation as well as Swipe to help hold threat.  Beyond that, everything is the same.

Prior to being a boomkin, I was a feral tank and got very used to tanking in LFD.  However, these heroics are not the Wrath heroics.  Mechanics such as CC and LoS pulls are now needed to be able to tank effectively, something we really  haven't seen since Magister's Terrace in BC.  With the new heroics, someone in the group needs to step up and take the lead on pulls, marking, etc.  Usually, people look to the tanks to mark mobs and set the pace of the instance.  In fact, I usually expect the tank to mark, instruct, and set the pace of pulling.  So if you are a new tank in Cataclysm, let me give you a few rules to help you be a more effective tank in LFD and cause at least a few less issues when you are tanking.

1) Set the Pace - As the tank, you alone are the person who controls the flow of the instance.  You will get DPS who want you to pull faster.  However, you are the one who says if it goes faster or slower.  If they don't like it, they can drop group and wait for 35 minutes for a LFD queue.

2) Mark Mobs -  This is a skill that takes a little bit of learning.  In terms of marking a mob, it is easy in terms of how to mark mobs.  However, marking correctly is something that takes time to learn.  You have to look at your group composition and decide what CC you have possible, then mark according to what you have.  I usually mark all the CC targets and then the first kill target.  One of the addons that can help with marking is an addon called Lucky Charms.  Lucky Charms gives you a bar with all the different icons so you can click the mob then click the icon for the icon you want.

3) CC Casters First Then Melee - There is a specific reason why you choose casters first over melee and it is fairly simple.  I mentioned yesterday that you want to CC pull as much as possible.  If you CC melee instead of casters, you are gonna have CCed melee mobs in the middle of the casters you are trying to tank and kill.  If you CC casters and CC pull, melee will run right towards the person who CCed, which means you can pick them up and tank them.  However, this is also dependent on what type of CC you have.  If you only have an Entangling Roots, you CC melee first.  The other major question is how do you know who is the casters.  I would hover over the mobs with your mouse.  The ones that have mana bars are the casters.  If they don't, they are either melee or hunters.

4) Instruct on Your CC Marks - This is much easier if you are in vent with your group, but even if it is a PUG, the tank should explain where each person should be in terms of CC.  Skull is pretty much the universal sign for kill target.  Also, once you assign a CC to an icon, do not change it unless it is absolutely necessary. 

5) CC Pull When Possible - It makes getting non-CCed targets away from the CCed mobs because you are not gonna be rushing in and they are going to be coming to you, or more specifically, the person who cast the CC.

6) Be Situationally Aware - This is just a general dungeon rule for all players.  Look under you, above you and around you.  If you see something you aren't suppose to be around, move quickly.  Also, every tanking class has an interrupt now.  If you see a cast bar moving under his name bar, interrupt it just to be safe.  Also, tanks should notice patrols, commonly called PATs.  You have one of two options with PATs.  You can either move back away from the PAT or be ready to tank it.   If you notice it pre-pull, it is easier to just wait and not pull until they are gone.  Also, notice times where you have a wall around you to use to your advantage to create a line of sight (LoS) issue for the mobs.  You can have a CCer run around a corner towards you to create a LoS.  LoS should really be used when you have more casters than you have CC because this will draw them closer away from the CC.  All these things are learned in time as you get used to tanking.   

7) Know Boss Fights - Trash is one thing.  I have had very few problems with tanking trash.  However, the boss mechanics are very different from normal to heroic.  Make sure you at least know the basic strat and then you can variate the strategy to make it fit for your group.  If you do know the strat, you can explain the boss mechanics to everybody else and direct people where they need to be.

Tanking is not easy and at times is a thankless job.  However, being a good tank well help you get through each heroic instance assuming that everybody else is competent.  Take it slow and steady and you will do just fine. 

Also, just a reminder, the Header Contest is still going on.  If you have any artistic talent, you have a great opportunity to win some great prizes.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Moonkins Make Life Easier in Heroics

Most of my time in this expansion so far has been tanking dungeons/heroics, not DPSing.  I occassionally get in a guild run where someone wants to tank so I can DPS a little.  What I have seen from myself and other moonkins that we bring a metric ton of stuff that can help make heroics go a little smoother.

First off, moonkins should be using CC constantly.  We have some of the most versitile crowd control (CC) in the game.  We have 2 forms of CC and 1 ability that when combined with a CC makes it usable for caster CC.  The first one, Hibernate, is really only usable against animals and dragonkin.  But it does make Grim Batol go a lot easier with being able to Hibernate a mob.  Our second CC ability is Entangling Roots.  In and of itself, it can CC melee mobs.  However, you combine Entangling Roots with Solar Beam (also, this is one of my favorite combinations in PvP as well.) and you can CC casters.

Second, we should bring a good amount of DPS right now.  With mostly 333 - 346 blues, I'm finding that my DPS is almost equivalent to where it was at the end of ICC with only self buffs.  And this is with ICC trinkets, legs, and chest. A lot of classes are finding that their DPS has actually decreased from ICC.  In time, I'm sure they we will all be doing 20k + on normal boss fights, but right now, we are bring a fair amount of damage.

Third, and probably a big advantage right now among casters right now, is that we can cause have more constant DPS because our mana is very hard to deplete.  It is incredibly hard to run out of mana if you are doing things right.  How do you make sure you do not run out of mana?  There are two ways.  One is through your talents.  The second is through smart innervate use.  If you are properly specced (I personally would recommend Graylo's spec for level 85 raiding), you will have three major mana saving talents being used.  Those talents would be Moonglow, Dreamstate, and Euphoria.  Moonglow just reduces the mana cost of all your balance spells.  Dreamstate causes you to gain 30% more mana instead of 10% of your mana when you cast Innervate on yourself.  Euphroia is the interesting one in all of this since it gives you 12% of your total mana back when you hit either Eclipse.  Also, if you remember during my pre-raid gear recommendations, I mentioned that spirit was preferred over hit due to the out of combat mana regen you get with spirit as well.  That will help keep you up in between pulls.  The other thing that is important is smartly using your Innervate.  You should not wait until your mana is used up to use your Innervate.  You should be using your Innervate at approximately 50% of your mana depleted.  First, you will get 30% back because of Dreamstate.  Second, that should be enough to get you to your next Eclipse to get 12% of your mana back.  As our gear gets better, I'm sure that we will take away those mana saving talents (At least Moonglow and Dreamstate) to change for better DPS talents, but the way mana is now, you need it.

Fourth, we finally have great interrupts.  For interrupting casters, we have Solar Beam.  For interrupting melee, we have Typhoon and Cyclone.  I wouldn't Typhoon on trash, but when interrupting bosses, it would be effective.  I would use Cyclone on trash (Which is technically a 4th CC, but I would use the other 3 first) and use Typhoon on bosses where you can't knock them back anyway.

Count in Moonkin Aura, Earth and Moon, and Battle Rez (I have actually came out of bear form while tanking to throw a healer an Innervate or Battle Rez a player) and we are really a complete package for both heroic dungeons and raids.

However, this is one thing that I must stress that will make people hate you in heroic dungeons.  Unless you are in a boss room with no other mobs around, don't Starfall.  Starfall can get you in a lot of trouble in Cataclysm.  The need for CC and not pulling extra groups is more important than ever.  I have had other moonkins wipe groups because of using Starfall inappropriately.  Just as a general rule, don't Starfall unless it is a boss and even then, check around you and assess the situation.

Just following these simple rules as a moonkin will make it incredibly easy for you while handling the new heroics.  Tomorrow, I'm gonna go a little into tank theory and talk about why and how you pick which mobs to CC and about an addon I'm starting to use again since we actually have to mark targets.

Just a reminder, the Header Contest will close on 12/31/10.  If you want your art to be the new header for this blog, please get your entries in by then.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Handling Cataclysm Heroics

Now that I have started running heroics trying to get gear so that I can get into raids, I have noticed a few things that really help the heroic experience.  These tips will make it incredibly easy to get through heroic dungeons.

1) Don't PUG Them - Find a group of friends or guildmates to run them with.  Also, having some sort of vent communication will save you worlds of trouble when doing heroics.  If desperate, you can PUG.  Just be ready for the common douchebaggery that occurs.  For example, I tried to PUG heroic Throne of the Tides with one other guild mate of mine.  We got a shadow priest who the first words in party chat was, "Can we hurry this up?"  I promptly told him that this was not Wrath of the Lich King and if he doesn't like my pulling speed, he can leave group.  He then proceeded to wipe the group two times before we vote kicked him.

2) Get some CC - I can't think of a class that doesn't have some form of CC, even if it is weak.  Druids have entangling roots and solar beam, great for casters or melee DPS.  Mages and Shaman have sheep.  Shadow Priest can Mind Control, which is great for mobs that heal.  Rogues have sap.  If you do PUG and you are the tank, look to see what CC is possible in your group.

3) Mark Everything - On your first pull, mark some targets.  Also, keep the targets the same for the entire instance run.  For example, I will almost always give Polymorph the moon target.  I don't know why, but it is the one I associate with moon.

4) CC Pull 95% of the Time - Now, this seems weird, but there are only a few times you shouldn't CC pull.  One would be if your only CC is a rogue who can sap because he is not going to pull. (Not without getting his ass handed to him in the first place.)  The other would be single mobs/bosses.  If there is only one mob, just tank and spank him.

5) Healers Don't CC - Yes, you may have a restoration shaman in your group.  However, it is more important for them to heal the group than CC with hex.  That is why I never assign a CC to a healer unless there is no other choice but to.  I may ask them to do it only with the initial pull.  But once the pull happens, they need to keep healing, not CC.

6) Tanks Should Generally Not CC - They are going to be too busy tanking the mobs to throw out a CC.  The one exception would be is if they can throw out a CC as the first pull.  For example, as a bear tank, I would gladly throw Entangling Roots on a mob as my pull.  However, once he breaks, I tank him or someone else has to CC him.

7) Know Boss Strats (Especially Differences Between Heroic and Normal) - I'm sure that we all ran the instances while leveling for the quest in each of the dungeons.  It seems like that every boss I have seen in heroic version picks up new abilities from normal.  This is good since the Wrath heroics tended to be the same boss with more health and hits harder.  When I PUGed heroic Throne of the Tides, none of us were really certain on the strategy so we wiped a couple times on each boss.  Knowing the difference between normal and heroic will help out greatly.

Hopefully, taking these simple rules, you should be able to tackle any heroic in the game.  Some are easier than others, but all of them are similar in mechanics needed to get through them.  Hopefully, throughout the rest of this week,  I will start posting what moonkins can specifically do to help their group through heroics, both trash and bosses.

Also, just a reminder about the Header Contest.  I'm a worgen now so I need a new header for the site.  If you have any artistic talent, unlike I do, go ahead and enter.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Cataclysm First Week Review

First week has been incredible in Cataclysm for me.  I got to level 85.  My druid is now a worgen. (Reminder:  Header Contest still going on. I have two entries now.)  I got to the point I can start doing heroics.  I have run every 5 man instance.   I got to have my bear ride a camel in HoO in a weird interspecies sex act while singing "Hungry Like the Wolf" by Duran Duran. (Yes, pic incoming but no video.  Have to respect the camel.)

So after the first week in Cataclysm, I found I love a lot of things, like the camel.  I also found that I could already kill a few things, like when the camel tries to go indoors. (True bug, you go inside, the camel just dies.)   Here is my list of loves and hates after one week in Cataclysm.

My Cataclysm Loves

1) The 5 Man Instances - I'm sure I will be singing a different tune by the next expansion, but these 5 mans are the most fun 5 mans I have done in WoW.  They are challenging and it requires coordination and CC.  Yes, I said CC.  And even when you think your group is going to fall apart miserably, like I did with my last Grim Batol run where our only CC was entangling roots from a boomkin while I was tanking, it came together beautifully with me marking the targets and us getting through each pull carefully.  If the raids are anything like these 5 mans, we are in for some treats. 

2) All the Tabards - Yes, pretty much every faction in game has a tabard to gain rep with.  Even the new equivalent to Sons of Hodir, which is going to make rep grinding so fast since I'm going to be running heroics now to get all geared up for raids.

3) My Server - Yes, although we are a PvP server, the people in the questing areas for the most part have been respectful and letting people finish quest instead of killing each other.  Of course, the first few hours of release, I just went and ran LFD, so the areas were down a little when I went back to questing.

4) Uldum - I like all the new zones with one notable exception, but there is something about Uldum that I just love.  I don't know if it is all the Indiana Jones references, the pretty cool quests, or the best 3 5 mans in the game in my opinion, but it was incredible.  I was honored with the main faction in Uldum, which is Ramkahen, before leaving the area and really close to revered already. 

5) Prices for BoE drops on the AH - If you get an iLevel 315+ piece of gear, you can easily sell it for 300+ gold.  The higher iLevel, the higher you can charge for it.

6) Leveling Fishing and Cooking - They made it easy now.  I am not going out to farm fishing to get it up or make a single cooking recipe, I'm just gonna do the daily quests everyday.  It is a good amount of gold, plus you can make some good gold with the meats from cooking.  I hit 450 fishing before Cataclysm thanks to those dailies. 

7) Leveling Multiple Skillpoints at Once - I love the fact that new recipes for leveling professions can give you up to 5 skillpoints at once.  Yes, I'm looking at your Enchant Weapon - Avalanche.  Gives you 5 profession points for making one.

8) Flying - Something about even flying around in Stormwind to get stuff makes it so much easier now.  This is especially true when you are flying at 310% speed. Oh wait, make that 341% speed because ...

9) Guild Rewards - I'm friendly with the guild currently and we are at guild level 2 as of last night.  The XP increase is awesome and the 10% faster mount speeds are incredible.

10) Portals - Yes, we don't have portals to major cities, but we have portals to all the new areas.  You really don't need much else.  Plus, you have to complete a series of quest to open the portals.  You just don't automatically get them.

11) Spirit Linked Quest - Nothing is as awesome as doing a quest and once you complete it, you see the complete quest thing comes up with your reward and many times, has your next quest.

12) In Game QuestHelper - I have grown to love the in game QuestHelper.  95% of the time, I find it immediately.  Other 5% of the time, I actually have to look at the quest text to find out what I need to do.

13) Worgen Druids - Good God, the night elfs are lame compared to the worgen.  These guys are awesome.  I love the animation for Running Wild where you run at 100% speed in worgen form.  The new forms are awesome with the exception of one, Swift Flight Form. 

My Cataclysm Hates

1) Vashj'ir - What part of the Vashj'ir area do I hate?  Let's start with what I don't hate.  The boat ride going out is pretty awesome when you get attacked by a giant octopus.  Throne of the Tides is not a bad instance either.  Beyond those two things, I pretty much hate everything else about it.  I hate doing quest underwater.  I don't care about a seahorse mount since I'm a druid and have aquatic form and the speed buff.  But my biggest complaint is the complete and total headache it is to find the Earthen Ring Quartermaster to get the tabard.  First off, in Deepholm, right where you come out of the portal, there is a giant Earthen Ring center with everybody from Earthen Ring right there.  Thrall is right outside Deepholm controlling the Malestrom, damn it.  Why is the quartermaster not there and is instead in a cave you can barely find without circling the area for about 15 minutes?

2) PUGs - I really am not looking forward to running heroics with PUGs.  I have a feeling it is going to make me want to pull my hair out tanking them.  I have started marking everything in anticipation of heroics, but it still doesn't stop an overzealous DPS from hitting X first instead of skull.  Hopefully, I will find some guild mates to run heroics and decrease the number of PUGs I have to deal with.

3) Varian Wrynn's Son - I mentioned above that to get to certain areas, you have to unlock them through a quest chain.  To get to Twighlight Highlands, you have to do a series of quest in Stormwind.  Not only do you have to do these quest, but you have to drag along Varian Wrynn's son with you.  Just one small problem though.  The little bastard keeps getting lost.  I'm walking around the ship intimidating people to get info on Twilight's Hammer and he just disappears.  This means I have to go all the way back to the the castle, pick him up again, then go back.  Then he is bugging me about taking him to the Twilight Highlands.  I wish you could take him into a BG and get him killed by the Horde.  Horde, next time you come into Stormwind to invade and kill our leader, could you kill his son while you are at it?  It would be great.

4) Worgen Swift Flight Form - This is the smallest of complaints, but the worgen swift flight form looks exactly like the night elf druid swift flight form.  It would have been nice for a little change to make them more worgen like.  Especially considering the trolls got a bat.

There are so many things I haven't done yet, like Tol Barad, the new Wintergrasp-esqe zone in Cataclysm.  I have not done heroic Deadmines or Shadowfang Keep, both of which I have heard are incredibly difficult now.   I have not stepped into my first raid yet with my guild. (Although if I can get some heroics under my belt, I may be able to go tonight.)  So overall, I love Cataclysm and can't wait to continue to play it and get into some raids, battlegrounds, and heroics.       

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Cataclysm LFD's Dirty Little Secret

If you are using the LFD tool frequently and have looked at what specific dungeons you can queue for at any point, you have probably seen the blocks not allowing you to get into some instances without a certain average iLevel of gear.  However, there is a secret about this.  It was incredible when I looked at it and finally noticed it and I'm sure you will flip out when you figure it out as well.  Ready to learn the secret of the LFD tool in Cataclysm.

You Don't Have To Have The Gear On

That is right.  Looking at the character pane, I noticed that while in my moonkin set, which is still mostly iLevel 277 gear from ICC (with about 25% left to go until 84 and not a lot of good replacements still) that my average iLevel number kept going up, despite me not replacing any pieces.  The character pane iLevel is what determines what dungeons you can get into to.  Reading the tooltip for the iLevel, it states that the average iLevel is determined by only your best combination of gear that you currently have.  Not necessarily gear you have on.

So what does this mean.  If you are a clothie, your average iLevel is only determined by your cloth gear.  However, the higher up in armor you go (leather, mail, plate), you can use any lower armor type to count for it, not necessarily your armor type.  However, the bigger thing is that it helps you determine what gear to disenchant/sell.  Look at your average iLevel on the character pane.  If the gear iLevel is less than that of the average iLevel number, disenchant/sell it (with the obvious exception of if you are actually using it).  If it is higher than the number and is not an usuable armor (like for druids, mail and plate can be disenchanted or sold), hold on to it to keep your iLevel going up.

The more interesting thing in all this goes back to yesterday's blog post.  I mentioned that GearScore is getting more specific with the ability to look at spec to determine the quality of an upgrade for you.  While GearScore is going forward with looking at spec, Blizzard stepped backwards and made it non-specific to your spec and made it just about the gear. 

So the take home message in all of this is hold on to your higher iLevel gear even if you don't actually use it.  It will make it much much easier to get into the 5 man dungeons down the road.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

First Post-Cataclysm Blog Post Will Be About.....

I originally thought that I wouldn't be able to take any time off for Cataclysm.  Looking at my sick leave, I found that I could take one day.  And a very productive day it was.  I was able to get to level 83 by midnight and have run 4 of the 7 dungeons already.  There are so many different things that I'm sure I will talk about in the days to come, from my love of the new 5 mans, the hatred I have for Vashj'ir, my love of the new spirit links and quest progression, my love for the new dungeon bosses, my love for flying at 310% speed in Azeroth, the fun of doing new dungeons blind with my guildmates to figure out mechanics, how I was wrong about leveling only through LFD (fastest way, quest and queue as DPS), and how Raz the Crazed may be my new favorite NPC in WoW.  However, my very first post-Cataclysm blog post will be about GearScore.

Now, I'm sure you are asking yourself right now, why the hell would I talk about GearScore on day 1 after Cataclysm?  There is a very good reason for it.  But to start off, you have to understand the history of GearScore to understand why it is pertinent now, maybe more so than before.

GearScore was an addon created shortly after Wrath.  It's original purpose was not to judge characters by their gear and decide whether they can get into raids, etc.  The reason it was originally created was to see when characters could replace their BC gear with Wrath gear.  While doing this, they found an interesting fact.  Players who were fully Tier 6 would really not need to change their gear out until Naxxaramas.  There might have been a piece here or there that might have been better, but they really didn't need to.

Now, in the beginning of Cataclysm, they changed GearScore to make it even better than before.  The major update that I'm loving is that it judges a new piece of gear based on its stats AND your current spec.  In other words, if I'm tanking a LFD and a piece of leather gear with agility and stamina on it, I can immediately tell if it is an upgrade or not by looking at the individual gear score number against my equipped piece.  However, if a piece of leather gear drops that has intellect, spirit, etc. on it for a boomkin piece, I have to change specs and equipment to check about the status of an upgrade. 

In other words, GearScore finally addressed it's major complaint.  Before, it didn't care about your spec, it only cared about the GearScore of the individual pieces, which lead to a collective GearScore.  Now, it judges it based on your current gear and spec. 

What I'm currently finding is that if you are in ICC iLevel 277 mostly gear, like my moonkin set, you are gonna have a hard time finding an upgrade, at least up to level 83.  Now, hopefully, regular Grim Batol, Halls of Origination, and the Lost City of Tol'Avir and the quest around those areas will.  Heroic Dungeons at level 85 certainly will.  My tanking set, which was mostly 251/264 has found quite a few good upgrades to them already, especially in dungeons.

So, in the end, Cataclysm saved GearScore, at least for the time being, and finally made it useful for what it was meant to be used for in the first place, looking how to improve your gear along the way while you are leveling.  I'm sure when 4.1 comes out, people will once again require GearScores of x amount to get into raids, but at least right now, I can enjoy it for what it was meant to be used for in the first place. 

Just remember also, the Header Contest is going on still.  I have only received one entry so far, so there is a good chance that your work will be seen by everybody on the site.  The contest will close on 12/31/10. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Night Before Cataclysm

I'm not a poet, but I decided that I would try to parody one of the greatest Christmas poems ever for Cataclysm tonight.  

'Twas the night before Cataclysm, when all through the house

I was a-stirring and moving my mouse;

The banks were empty and sat there bare,

Knowing that Deathwing soon would be there;

The cats were cuddled up in their beds,

While visions of tuna danced in their heads;

And me still dressed, not wearing a cap,

Had just settled down for a long gaming night,

When out on the clock there arose such a clatter,

I sat up in my seat to see what was the matter.

I saw the time and ran really fast,

It was 11:15 PM and I needed my cash.

The moon at the Gamestop with no falling snow

Shown on the geeks sitting below,

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But an open Gamestop, and 3 ready cashiers,

While still in my ride, a Lexus, so quick,

I knew in a moment it would be time to get it.

More rapid than eagles the cashiers they came,

And we whistled and shouted and called them by name;

"Now Deathwing! now, Thrall! now, Alliance and Horde!

On, Hunters! on druids! on, goblins and worg!

To the front of the cashier at the top of the mall!

Now come in! come in! come on in y'all!"

I knew really soon that I see my Hurricane fly,

And Typhooning people mounted up in the sky,

So up to the front the gamers they flew,

Where the boxes with games were waiting there too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard the cashiers did say

"Collector's Editions can line up this way."

As I moved into that line and jumped in with a bound

Soon, in the line everybody came 'round.

People was dressed all in fur from their heads to their foots,

And some clothes were all tarnished with drink and some food;

A box of games they held on their laps,

And they looked very scared while opening their packs.

Our eyes -- how they twinkled! and boy, were we merry!

We wanted to really get our games in a hurry!

Our mouths were open, we were ready to go,

And our hands were nervous and white as the snow;

The crowd gatherer round as we clenched our teeth,

And we encircled the cashiers just like a wreath;

Many gamers had broad faces and big round bellys,

That really needed to stay away from the jelly.

I could not wait to get home to play my night elf,

And I laughed when I thought he would be a worgen himself;

A wink of the cashier's eyes and a twist of his heads,

We knew that soon we would get it in our hands;

They spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,

And filled all our hands and we ran off in a jerk,

And getting in my car and driving on home,

And speeding so fast, I knew it was close;

I sprang through the door and I gave a whistle,

And opened my box while my computer did whistle 

But I then exclaimed, driving my cats out of sight,


Friday, December 3, 2010

The Final Bucket List Analysis

With only a few days left before Cataclysm, I decided to take one last look at the list I have set up not to long ago for the list of things left to do in Wrath, a.k.a The Bucket List.  If you remember from the prior post, I set up an initial one, then revisited it based on what my guild was going to try to accomplish.  So, for one last time before Cataclysm, here is the final bucket list and what progress was made towards it.

Portal Jockey (25 Player) - Done
Neck Deep in Vile (25 Player) - Done
Glory of the Icecrown Raider (25 Player) - Done
A Tribute to Insanity (25 Player) - Did not get to do it again.
Call of the Grand Crusader (25 Player) - Did not get to do it again.

Tailoring to 450 - Done
Jewelcrafting to 450 - Expensive, but Done
Honor capped - Done
High amount of Justice Points - Currently 2500 JPs with 2 days of LFDs

310% Mount Without Paying 5k Gold - No.  I have the gold, but would rather save it.
Honor capped - Focused on Redhawks
High Amount of Justice Points - Focused on Redhawks


Level 78 - Close.  I'm level 72.
Skinning to 450 - Currently above 400.
Herbalism to 450 - Currently above 400.


Level 78 - I'm level 65.
Mining to 450 - Changed to Inscription due to Glyphmas after 4.0.1.  Currently 432.
Start Leveling Blacksmithing - It is my second profession.

Overall, I feel that I definitely put a dent in my list prior to Cataclysm and have set myself up nicely for the expansion.  And while I definitely wish I could have finished TotGC with the Insanity achievement, I feel that getting the 25 man ICC drake was probably the highlight of this expansion.

So I hope you did everything you wanted to do in Wrath.  And even if you didn't, there will be new achievements and accomplishments in the next expansion to shoot for.  But now, the past is behind us.  Arthas is dead and now we have to kill a huge dragon who destroyed the world.

Also, just a reminder about the Redhawk's Header Contest.  We have our first entry already and I'm hoping to get a bunch more for the header.  There are some great prizes involved so if you have any interest in drawing, go ahead and give it a shot.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Site News and New Header Contest

November was a great month.  My Gamecocks won the SEC East.  I celebrated the 6 month anniversary with my wonderful girlfriend.  And this site has continued to grow.  November was the biggest month on record yet.  It was the first month where I had over 5,000 pageviews for the month, something that was not even done in October when I was on Leet Sauced and Raid Warning.  I am humbled and grateful and thankful for each person who comes daily to read to the ramblings of a WoW player.  When I started it last April, I could have never imagined this blog would have become what it is.  So from the bottom of my heart, thank you.  I will continue to bring you all the pertinent moonkin, druid, and Warcraft information into Cataclysm.

Speaking of Cataclysm, I'm going to be making a little bit of a change.  My night elf druid will be becoming a worgen druid.  What this means is that my banner may become a little outdated after I become a worgen.  Since I have no skill in the arts, I decided it was time for another contest. 

The Redhawk's Gaze New Header Contest 

Rules:  To enter this contest, all you have to do is draw a header for the blog.  It can be anything you want, but it must meet the following 3 requirements.

1) Must have a picture of a worgen moonkin.
2) Must have the title "Redhawk's Gaze" in the picture.
3) Must have a Solar or Lunar Eclipse in it.

From there, it is up to you.  Do you want to have me riding a mount?  Sure.  Do you want Starfall to be hitting around me?  Awesome.  Everything else is up to you.

Once you have completed your entry, I would ask that you e-mail the picture in a normal format (JPEG, GIF, BMP, etc.) to  After I have received the entries, I will post my 3 favorite on the site and let the readers vote on the winner.  Now, from the Christmas in July contest, you know that I give out great prizes for the contest and this time is no exception.

Grand Prize: Featured as the header logo on this blog for the entire Cataclysm expansion and a sidebar credit to your site.  Also, you will get two 3 month game cards and two vanity pets (minus Plushies or Mounts) of your choice.
($80 value)

Second Place: One 3 month game card and one vanity pet (minus Plushies or Mounts) of your choice.
($40 value)

Third Place: The Shattering Novel and one vanity pet (minus Plushies or Mounts) of your choice.
($25 value)
So to all the artist and designers out there, good luck.  I will be closing entries on January 1st, 2011 so you have a few weeks to work on it.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Level 85 Pre-Raid Gear Recommendations for Moonkins

Last night, I hit the halfway point in my goal of becoming Justice Points capped prior to Cataclysm.  Just a few more LFG dungeons and I will at least be close to my goal.  However, when I do get capped, I have to start thinking about what my purchases will be.

 I started off by looking at some gear list of what you can get with Justice Points and I started to build my list of what I wanted.  Unfortunately, considering the choices available for us, our decisions are relatively straightforward for Justice Points.  Also, there are a lot of slots that are not covered by Justice Points.  To fill those slots, I looked at the heroic dungeons to find what gear would be the best to fill in those slots.

In terms of what I was looking for in gear, my priorities changed slightly from my level 80 stats.  Here are my current level 85 priorities in gear.

Spirit > Hit > Intellect = Spellpower > Haste > Mastery = Critical Strike

A little explanation.  The reason I chose spirit over hit is for one major reason.  Spirit is automatically converted to hit so it is at the very least equal to hit.  However, given the issues that may occur with mana in Cataclysm, we will need to have better mana regeneration out of combat.  In this vein, I chose spirit over hit.  This also shows the initial priority should be our hit cap, which at level 85 will be *prepare to catch your breath* 1742 to have 17% spell hit.  Also, I chose haste over mastery/crit due to the way haste effects the speed our spells are cast and DoTs tick.  Mastery and Critical Strike are relatively close in importance.  We will want to get plenty of both, but haste is our major stat.  What I tended to find with our gear is that haste and mastery were together or crit and mastery were together.  When there was a question, I took the haste/mastery.  Also, remember that reforging can  help to get the gear to where we want it.  Finally, and it should go without saying, but leather only to get the leather specialization bonus.

So with all that in mind, here is my ideal level 85 pre-raid gear.  I tried to only use Justice Points or gear from heroic 5-mans.  Also, I got all this information from Wowpedia, since it is the only one I can access from my job.  It doesn't have all the heroic 5-mans bosses' loot, so some heroic 5-man loot may be better than this, however, it has enough info to at least make a starter list.

    Head: Cluster of Stars - 2200 Justice Points
Neck: Celadon Pendant - 1650 Justice Points
Shoulder: Somber Shawl - 1650 Justice Points
Back: Solar Wind Cloak (Heroic) - Halls of Origination (H) - Rajh
Chest: Robes of Forgetfullness - 2200 Justice Points
Wrist: Armbands of Change (Heroic) - Blackrock Caverns (H) - Corla
Hands: Blessed Hands of Elune - 1650 Justice Points
Waist: Thatch Eave Vines - 1650 Justice Points
Legs: Leggings of Late Blooms - 2200 Justice Points
Feet: Awakening Footfalls (Heroic) - Halls of Origination (H) - Temple Guardian
Ring 1: Lavishly Jeweled Ring (Heroic) - Deadmines (H) - Admiral Ripsnarl
Ring 2: Rose Quartz Band (Heroic) - Stonecore (H) - Slabhide
Trinket 1: Witching Hourglass (Heroic) - Blackrock Caverns (H) - Ascendant Lord Obsidius
Trinket 2: Tendrils of Burrowing Dark (Heroic) - Stonecore (H) - Ozruk
Main Hand: Scepter of Power (Heroic) - Halls of Origination (H) - Setesh
Off Hand: Apple Bent Bough - Justice Points 950
Idol: Book of Dark Prophecies (Heroic) - Stonecore (H) - High Priestess Azil

So, for only 13,750 Justice Points (Don't worry, this won't be that hard when we are getting 75 justice points for downing heroic 5-man bosses) and a few instance runs,  here are the stats that you get.

Spirit/Hit: 1436
Intellect: 3068
Haste: 1158
Mastery: 1001
Critical Strike: 533

Since you are not at the hit cap, you will need to reforge slightly and maybe even gem for a little hit until you get some raiding gear under your belt.  If you are going to reforge for your hit, I would work backwards on the list of stats.  40% of the mastery and critical strike numbers come up to 613, so you should be able to find your hit in just those two stats to get to 1742 and still have a good amount of mastery and critical strike. 

Finally, if you want to save some Justice Points and go for a sweet staff instead, I would recommend getting Staff of Isolation (Heroic) from Lord Godfrey in Heroic Shadowfang Keep.  However, I think the stats would be overall better going with an offhand and main hand due to the increased spellpower of using a main hand/off hand combo.

Of course, when you start raiding,  you will want to go for your tier sets and then get the next level gear from there.  And you don't need all these pieces to start raiding.  From what I have heard, an average iLevel of 340 would be enough to get into starting raids.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Post-Cataclysm Release Plans - A Timeline

Sometimes, even good things can come back and bite you right in the ass.  Here is my example.  I had vertical gastric sleeve surgery in October, a surgery that I desperately needed.  (Lost about 85 lbs already) However, to have this surgery, I had to take two weeks off during October.  This left me with barely any leave at all.  This in turn means that I won't be able to take off the week after Cataclysm to level my druid to 85.  This also means that I have to be a little more careful about how I plan to level.

Here are the facts that I think are going to hold true when trying to level in Cataclysm.  Fact 1: LFD will be the quickest way to level if you get instant queues.  Fact 2: If you do not have instant queues, questing while waiting on LFD will be the quickest way to level.  Fact 3: Expect wipes in LFD due to overzealous DPS who can't define what a CC is much less how to use it.

So, with these facts in mind, here is my timeline for leveling after Cataclysm is released.

Day Before - I have the Argent Tourney tabard and did all the Argent Tourney dailies right there, which equals about 9 quests.  I'm going to log out in the inn there so when I get back in game, I can immediately turn those quest in.

Day of Release- Assuming that we are not getting "World Server is Down" every 5 minutes, turn in all the Argent Tourney quest, then hearth to Stormwind and start flying.  My first goal is to find all the dungeons in Cataclysm.  There are several guides on how to find all the dungeons.  The guide I personally would recommend is Here are the pics from the site as well for you to look at.

I would recommend this for everybody, DPS, tanks, or healers, because you will want to queue for those while you are questing according to fact 2.  Once I find all the dungeons, it is time to decide which one I want to do.  Since my second leveled character is my mage, I will get to do the quest with her since I will be waiting for queues.  For my druid, I can tank and will tank LFDs to get the instant queues since it will be the fastest way to level per fact 1.  I will play from 5:30 EST until Midnight EST stopping only for dinner and talking to my girlfriend. Log out in an inn or just stay in Stormwind anyway and put up needed goods on the AH.  Send greens to my mage for disenchanting. Day 1 Goal: 81.

Day After Release - Work, then playing from 5:30 EST until Midnight EST with same stops.  Day 2 Goal: 82, halfway to 83.

2 Days After Release - Work, then playing from 5:30 EST until Midnight EST with same stops.  Day 3 Goal: 84.

3 Days After Release - Work, then playing from 5:30 EST until Midnight EST with same stops.  Day 4 Goal: 85.

Now, I have not seen the leveling curve in Cataclysm so this may not even be possible.  However, I'm think that one level a day should be reasonable doing LFD. Worst case this would be doubled to a level every 2 days.  Again, with fact 3, I'm not accounting for wipes due to stupid DPS who thinks that this is still Wrath of the Lich King. 

4 Days After Release - Weekend so I will spend a lot of time playing. (Under the assumption that I'm not hanging out with my girlfriend.  She comes before WoW.) I need to make my first Justice Point's purchases before I start doing heroics.  I may even do this ahead of time since I plan to be Justice Points capped prior to Cataclysm.  Later this week, I will put out a list of what my purchases with Justice Points will be.  Random heroics to try to gear up.  Also, I need to level my professions during this time.  I will do Leatherworking first since it will give me gear I actually need for PvE and PvP then I will hit Jewelcrafting.

5 Days After Release - More Weekend.  More Heroics.  More Gearing Up for Raiding.  More leveling professions.

6 Days After Release - Work, then heroics, justice points spending, getting raiding gear, and leveling professions.

1 Week After Release - Stepping into the first raids with at least 10 members of our guild.

As I said, this may not even be possible, but this would be the ideal I would like to happen.  I'm sure my plans will get shattered to pieces once I figure out how long it takes to get a level.  But this is what I'm hoping.  It may not even be possible.  However, I see some advantages to doing it this way.  The main advantage is that the LFD will have some of the best possible gear anyway.  So while I'm leveling (levels 80-83) I'm gonna be going for tank gear to make me a better tank.  The last two levels, I'm gonna be going for moonkin gear to start gearing up for raids at least.  Also, it will help me learn the LFD instances when I step into the heroics.  A lot of people questing up to level 85 won't have a chance to run those instances until they start heroics.  It will give me a knowledge of those mechanics and will be able to help the heroic LFD groups I get in.

I know everybody is going to have different plans for when Cataclysm releases in one week, however, for my druid, I think this is going to end up being the best way for me to level.

Also, just a reminder.  The moonkin hatchling is out in the pet store.  If you want the most adorable pet in game right now, go get it.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Deathwing Caused .......

This was one of the running jokes that I saw around patch 4.0.3a that Deathwing caused certain things, which was mostly bugs in the game.  So since we are one week past patch 4.0.3a, let me go through some things Deathwing caused.

1) Moonkins to Forget How To Automatically Shapeshift When Mounting - Somehow, I can mount in bear form and cat form.  However, if I try to mount up in moonkin form, I have to shapeshift out manually then mount up. 

2) Major Cities To Get Lag - Have you been to Stormwind lately?  I would have thought that since Horde and Alliance are once again split up that we would see lag improve.  I am getting the same FPS that I got in Dalaran in Stormwind.  Maybe only slightly better.

3) Wrynn to Become a Douchebag Again - Seriously.  A dragon comes by and destroys your city and one of the first things you do is built a monument to yourself.  You are a douchebag.  And I'm even Alliance and I'm calling you a douchebag.  But at least we don't have Garrosh.

4) Northrend to Empty Out - Unless you are leveling (and why are you leveling right now anyway), there is nobody in Northrend right now.  It didn't ever really happen in Outland because they had DKs who went there immediately.  

5) Getting to Current Raids a Little More Difficult - No portals equals no hearthstones set in Dalaran which means you either need a summon or a mage portal.  That is why I'm glad I got my Argent Tourney tabard to at least get to Northtrend without having to set my hearth there.

6) Everything to Get Prettier - Ok, this is more Blizzard and not so much Deathwing, but everything looks better.  The graphics engine has been improved drastically.  Even with heavier lag like in Stormwind, it just looks really good.

7) Leslie Nelson's Death - I can only assume that the sudden death of the greatest spoof comedy actor of all time was caused by Deathwing.  OJ Simpson couldn't cause his death and he is an (alleged) murderer.  Only the evil of Deathwing was able to bring down Leslie Nelson. 

8) Beattles Being on iTunes - Nobody could convince Yoko Ono to let the Beattles music be on iTunes but Deathwing himself.  I'm sure every company has been trying to get their music for year, but Steve Jobs unleashed Deathwing to "convince" Yoko on letting the music come to iTunes.

9) Kenny vs. Spenny Ending - Yes, this has hit me the most hard until Leslie Nelson died.  My favorite Canadian TV show, Kenny vs. Spenny, is ending its run after 6 seasons and 87 episodes.  Although I live in the US, I have all 6 seasons on DVD and will find a way to get the Christmas special in the US.  Good luck to both of them.

10) A Whole New World, A New Fantastic Point of View - Don't believe me, check out the NPC comic from last Friday. 

Also, why can't tailors have two person carpets?  That would be awesome.  You could literally recreate Aladin in game.

I'm sure there were a bunch of other things that Deathwing caused, but most of them are annoying bugs. (Hello purple walls in Isle of Conquest)  But now, we have 1 week until the release of Cataclysm.  I'm Honor capped.  I'm going to get Justice capped this week or at least close since the first normal dungeon each day gives 75 justice points.  Hopefully, this week, I will give you my Justice Points level 85 spending list for my moonkin before next week.

Friday, November 26, 2010

What Next For the WoW Mobile App? I Have Some Ideas

With the WoW mobile app, we already have 3D armory access, auction house, and probably guild chat coming in the very near future.  So what should be the next feature that I think would be a great feature for the app.  I have a few ideas.

1) Out of Game Mail Management - Now, admittingly, 95% of my mail is from the AH so it is a non-issue.  However, people would communicate more through the mail system if people could get their mail out of game.  Need someone extra for a raid who is away from the computer, just in mail game them or guild chat them.

2) Crafting - Do you get tired of just having your character make X number of items while the bar is slowly moving across?  I know I do with my professions.  Since the mobile AH part of the app already looks in your bags, they should find a way to open your professioins and know what you can craft and you just make it with a press of a button.  Then, you can even post it in the AH immediately.

3) Battle.Net Integration - Why should I have to be logged into a game to see what my friends are doing?  In fact, I'm surprised this hasn't happened yet.  Show your RealID friends in game and you can message them from the app.

4) Account Management - Want to rename your character?  Or go ahead and set up a faction change for when you get home?  How about send an e-mail to yourself for a recruit a friend account?  All of these things should be possible on the mobile app?  Even if it just redirects you to the main site, this should be possible.

5) Guild Bank Access - Running late for a raid and need to get your flask, food, etc.  No problem.  You could just use the mobile app to pull out your flask and mail them to yourself to pick up.  Saves a little time.

6) Beastiary - This could be a feature that the mobile app could be used for even in game.  They already produce bestiaries to sell in book form.  Why not build it into the mobile app?

I'm sure there are probably a lot more features that would be great to have in the WoW Mobile App in order to make it seem more like our worth to pay the $2.99 for the monthly access.