Saturday, May 29, 2010

Game Based Movies - Why the Warcraft Movie Will Likely Suck.


This weekend, one of my favorite games had its movie adaptation released.  The Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is probably in my top 10 action platformers of all time.  Will I go see the movie?  Probably not.  Why you ask?  Continued disappointment would be my main reason.  

I remember the first video game based movie I have ever seen.  It was the Super Mario Brothers movie.  As a kid, I thought it was okay.  Now, thinking about it, it was absolutely terrible.  From there, I remember Dungeons and Dragons, which also sucked.  Street Fighter was equally terrible.  The only one that was even tolerable was Mortal Kombat.  And that was only the first one.  After those, I promised to avoid video game movies.

This is a similar problem that comic movies had.  Everybody remember the terrible Batman and Robin.  That movie was worse than terrible, it was an abortion.  However, directors came along like Sam Raimi and Christopher Nolan, and brought a seriousness back to comic book movies which made them pretty good to watch.  The Dark Knight is probably the best example of that.  Now, this renissance has lead to less mainstream comics being made into movies.  Who knew that Kick-Ass was a comic book before it became a movie?  I didn't until I did some research.  How about The Losers?  I have not heard of that one either.

Well, Sam Raimi is now turning his attention to the Warcraft series.  You would think with a great director that this movie would have a chance.  However, I have a few reasons to think that this movie will not be great at all.  Here are some of my thoughts on it.

1) It is difficult to capture the essence of an MMORPG - What makes an MMORPG great is not usually the story, it is playing with other people to beat challanges and raids.  I don't care how good the movie is, Sam Raimi can never capture the joy I had when I killed the Lich King for the first time.  And what I know of the Arthas story is really good.  But the movie can never capture what I enjoy about the game.  I think you will find a lot of people who feel that way.  I think this is a general feeling about game based movies.

2) Video game writing is way behind comic writing - You can have a movie script that carries you through hundreds of emotions.  Now, games are getting better in that respect.  I'm playing through Heavy Rain and that game is the closest I have felt to those emotions in a game.  What makes games great is the interactivity and is usually less based on the story.  Did you play Bioshock for the story? More than likely, no.  You played because of the cool mechanics of having extra awesome powers.  Having a good story was a cherry on top of the ice cream.  Does anybody play Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 for the story.  No, they play it for the incredible mutiplayer. (Also, if they made a movie based on the multiplayer of that game, it would be the most vulgar movie ever and would probably get rated NC-17.)

For just a comparison, go read The Watchmen comic.  That comic will take you through every possible emotion before you get to the end.  There has not been a game that has made me feel that.  Gamers play games because they are fun.  Until movies can incorporate the fun of games into movies, it will be almost impossible to make a good video game based movie.

3) They have no incentive to make a great movie -  This is my biggest concern about the Warcraft movie.  The current World of Warcraft base is around 11 million.  Now, let us say that even only 40% of the installed base goes see the movie.  This would be 4.4 million seeing the movie opening weekend.  Take $10 per ticket and you are talking about a 44 million dollar opening weekend.  Now take into account people who are children whose parents will go see the movie.  I think you could reasonably be talking about a gurantteed 100 million dollar opening weekend.  They could put out a movie with Thrall and the Lich King becoming friends and killing all of Azeroth until the gnomes take over and it would be a financial success.  Sam Raimi could put a turd on a movie screen with the WoW logo and it would make the same amount of money.  This is true for any game based movie.  Even the upcoming Bioshock movie.  It even has a decent story to start off with.  A lot of people who are fans of the original game will go see the movie.  When you have such a large installed base as gamers, you have no reason to make the movie great. 

Need proof of this. Look no further than Uwe Boll.  He has never made a great movie.  Never.  However, he is a genius.  Not for what he puts on the screen, but his thinking behind movies.  Start with something that has a large fan base and try to get people to pay for it.  And he has made millions doing this.

Although I'm a negative nancy when it comes to movie based games, I do have one hope for the Warcraft movie.  If Blizzard holds Raimi to as high a standard as they do themselves, the movie could be good.  Every time Blizzard puts out a new cinemetic, it is incredible.  If they take that much care of their franchise, the movie stands a chance.  Maybe.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Remote AH App Beta - A Raider's Perspective

The economy of WoW is something that has never really interested me.  I am a raider and pretty much only have time for that.  I go and buy enchants or gems on the AH.  Maybe put a vanity pet on the neutral AH from the Argent Tourney once I get the needed Champion Seals.  I have only bought one epic (Thank you to whoever put The Bracers of Swift Death for my tank set on the AH for the cheap price of 2k.) from the AH. 

Now that my mage is level 80 and is doing professions that can have a lot more interaction with the AH (Enchanting and Tailoring), I have started looking a little closer at those things.  What day is the best day to put up enchants? (I'm hoping Tuesday with raiders.)  Should I put up extra mats on the AH or put them on vellum for enchants?  However, I'm also very lazy when it comes to these things.  I use Auctioneer to run my AH processes in game.  I like a lot of the features including looking at not just your server prices, but looking at across all servers as well as scanning other auctions to help you price your items.

This brings me to the new remote AH app beta for the IPhone.  I personally don't have an IPhone, but I do have an IPad and I can run it on that.  My initial impression was kind of lackluster.  The graphical interface was not overly great. (Albeit, on my IPad, it is blown up to 2x the size to fit on the IPad, so I think it is more of the IPad's fault.) Yes, I could see my auctions and could even get my auction mail and send it to my character.  However, the more I played with it, the more I saw the awesomeness of this app.  This has a lot of the features of the Auctioneer add on built right in.  Want to see what your item is going for currently on the AH to determine your price, it is right on the screen where you set your price.  Want to browse all the auctions for an item at a good price, you can do that as well.  While it won't tell you prices between servers, even seeing that information in an out of game format is incredible.

However, I do have some general complaints about this app as well.  First, it is not easy to switch between characters.  With two level 80s and 3 others above level 60, I would like to easily switch between characters to see all their auctions.  I actually have not even found a good way to do that yet.  Second, the limit is really low for a beta.  25 transactions is enough to pull your AH mail and maybe put 10 more things back on the AH.  In the live version, this will be a non-issue, but it is still annoying.  Third complaint is the format.  Blizzard, please come out with an IPad version for all of your apps, including this one, please.  The final and biggest complaint is the price.  If it was a flat fee of five to ten dollars, I would go for that.  However, charging $3 per MONTH for these actions make it a little questionable.  Does it really take me that long to do my AH stuff in game to warrant paying an additional $3 per month to Blizzard for access out of the game?  I don't carry my IPad everywhere and my work doesn't allow me to get on to the armory website.  My instinct says no.  However, it would be incredibly convenient to have this especially if I get an IPhone sooner rather than later.

So overall, it is not a bad app, but I don't know how many people would buy in to it, especially at a monthly price.  Of course, who thought that Blizzard would make over two million dollars selling mounts.  Once people start having to pay for it, we will see what the demand is for this app.             

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A PUG's Guide to Joining Guild Raids

We have had it happen all the time or another. You get in a raid and learn that it is a guild run and they need to fill some of the spots.  We had that happen last night.  We couldn't get a guild run of ICC 25 man due to sign outs and so we PUGed a few spots in the raid.  While I'm happy to have you in our guild run, there are a few rules that I think PUGs should live by if they are filling out the spots in the raid.  I call it a PUG's Guide to Joining Guild Raids.

1) Get In Vent - Nothing annoys me more than being in a raid and not having everybody in vent. Some raids I don't care about.  ToC 25 man can be done with nobody in vent.  It is not that difficult.  Same thing for VoA, OS, and Malygos.  However, if we are going to Ulduar or ICC, everybody should be in vent.  It is just common courtesy.  Even with some of the raids that I mentioned, if the raid leader says for people to get in vent, you get in vent.

2) Come Prepared - While asking for flask maybe too much to ask for some PUGs, you should at least come with reagents for your buffs.  While I don't mind doing it, it gets annoying for another person in the same class to ask me to buff because they forgot their reagents.  Not only come with reagents, but come prepared by knowing the fights.  While I don't expect you to know my guild's strategy for fights,  you should know the general mechanics.

3) Guild Run = Guild Strategy and Guild Loot Rules - My guild has tested methods for each boss fight in ICC with the exception of LK, which is our progression. (But let's be honest, how many guilds are gonna bring PUGs to LK)  We have downed every boss in ICC except LK.  I don't care if your guild stacks up all in the center for Saurfang.  You are in a guild run so you go by our strategy.  If you don't like it, leave.  We can easily find another person to replace you.  Same thing for loot.  If we say one MS, one OS, and one token per run, that is the rules.  If nobody wants something, you may have a chance to get it.  I got the Sack of Wonder last night for my tank set because nobody wanted it.

4) Keep Your Mouth Shut (Or Your Fingers Away From Raid Chat) - I don't care if you think that the slime kiter in Rotface should always be a paladin or a DK.  Our druid tank has kited the slimes more times than you can imagine.  Think of guild runs as going to a person's house for dinner.  You may think the painting on the wall is incredibly ugly, but you are in no place to criticize it in front of them.  Say it is nice and shut your mouth.

5) Wiping Does Not Equal Raid is Done - Do you not want to come back and raid with us ever again as a PUG?  Leave after the first wipe.  I dare you. PUGs by nature are not always the best raiders.   Why would I make that statement?  Because if they were good raiders, they would be in a guild that raids ICC and they wouldn't be hoping for some guild to take them along out of necessity.  Some are in 10 man guilds which is understandable.  As a general rule, I give a PUG raid 5 wipes or until the group disbands.  And that is 5 wipes without downing a boss.  If you can't get Northrend Beasts down in 5 wipes in normal ToC, you probably aren't going to get too far.  If we can get  the first boss down, I will usually stay until the end of the group disbands.  Maybe I have more patience than others, but I think leaving after one wipe is kind of tasteless.

6) Shut Up About Gearscore - I don't care if you think my Gearscore is too low.  Let me give you an example.  Last week, we did a guild run of 25 man ToC.  I asked to come on my mage, which had just hit 80 so I was not geared yet.  One of the PUG retribution paladins complained that my Gearscore was too low after the first wipe.  The problem is I did almost as much DPS as he did even with a substantially lower Gearscore.  I brought this up to him and he promptly shut up about it.  In addition, this retribution pally died every single fight while I was alive for all the fights when we beat them.  You complain about my Gearscore and I will just embarrass you, if need be, to the whole raid.

7) General Manners Go A Long Way - All these are things that annoy me to no end, but you want to know how to really get me angry at you.  Make a racist, sexist, or other inappropriate remark.  An example from last night was our druid tank was trying to get everybody ready to pull.  She is a female and is incredibly nice from my interactions over vent.  One of the asshole PUGs decided to make a comment along the following lines: "Shouldn't you be in the kitchen cooking dinner."   Now the other raid leader called him out on it immediately, which I'm grateful for.  However, there is no place for this in any raid.  Especially if you are a PUG in the raid.  It is one thing for guild members to joke around because we know who is joking and who is not.  However, if you are in our vent and make a comment like that, that would be an almost immediate kick from me if I was the raid leader.  The other thing is when a PUG member puts in all caps that they need a certain buff.    We are getting the buffs we can.  And if you still need a buff, just say it normally in raid chat.  No reason to yell in chat or on vent that you need a buff.

I don't like to quote other WoW people, but there is somebody at the end of The Instance podcast called Mr. Manners.  He has some of the best advice I have heard on how to handle yourself politely, like a human being should.  I would recommend some PUGs going to listen to that.

8) Do Not Post Damage Meters Unless Asked - Sometimes, especially when you are PUGing people, you may have a legitimate DPS issue that needs to be addressed.  The raid leaders are running meters just like you.  There is no reason for you to post them.  If the raid leader wants to post them, they will.  Otherwise, don't show off. 

9) If You Are Asked to Leave, Leave Quietly - Sometimes, guilds overestimates a PUG's ability to perform.  If we have a guild member who comes on in that time who we know can do more DPS, healing, or can tank better, don't be offended if we ask you to leave.  Don't go to trade chat and complain because it only makes you look bad.  Thank them for their time and for taking you and leave it at that.

10) If You Have A Question, Ask - There is no such thing as stupid questions, only stupid wipes.  If you are not certain about something, I would rather you ask the question up front versus causing a wipe to the raid with what you think is correct.  If you have questions about strategy, loot, etc., just ask.  It can't hurt to ask to clarify something.   

Monday, May 24, 2010

A Multi-Boxer's Plea to Blizzard

I was looking at MMO Champion and I saw a blue post comment that kind of ticked me off just a little bit.  Here is the quote:

There's no support for multi-boxing on our end. We tolerate it. For now.

Wait, so Blizzard is saying they don't want people to pay for multiple subscriptions at a time.  I understand not putting anything in the UI themselves that would help multi-boxers, but saying that you "tolerate" it, for "now".  In a company that is okay with people spending $25 for a horse or paying $3 per month for an AH app (which I will talk about this more in a later post, but it is awesome), they are not okay with people paying $30 or more per month for multiple accounts.  Yes, I can see some of the disadvantages.  (The person on the Bloodlust battlegroup who multi-boxes 5 shaman in Alterac Valley, I hate you with a passion.)  But I see a lot more advantages than disadvantages.

When leveling my mage and my hunter, I used RAF and multi-boxed my way to level 60.  Did it hurt anybody?  No.  Did I break the game in any way whatsoever?  No.  I currently do not have multiple accounts myself currently, but that is not saying that I will not want to level a paladin/shaman combo soon through RAF for the rocket.

I'm not a person who says I will leave the game for a certain reason.  It would take something terrible for me to say I quit this game. (Like buying weapons or armor with real money)  However, I have a feeling you are going to see the number of subscribers drop if Blizzard outlaws multi-boxing.  Not that they would actually lose players, but how many players have multiple accounts from multi-boxing.  I think it happens more than you think.  And I think it happens more than Blizzard thinks too.

So I'm begging Blizzard, please do not outlaw multi-boxing in WoW.  It is not something that breaks the game and it is more money for you.  Multi-boxing is a win-win.  Plus, you can take that money and make the AH app cheaper per month.

Dungeons and Cataclysm - Return to Awesomeness

This past weekend, I was running Stratholme on my mage solo to try and farm Runecloth for tailoring.  It was the first time I had run it on my mage, which even at level 80 was difficult.  While most other dungeons, I could arcane explosion my way through the instance, Stratholme was different.  It actually presented a challenge for my little under geared gnome mage.  I'm sure I could come back on my druid tank and wreck some stuff in there and clear very quickly, but it took some actual strategy on my mage.  It was also fun to see the differences between Culling of Stratholme and the actual Stratholme instance.  Thinking back to how it was once a vibrant city a lot like Stormwind and now it is a wreck.

It was also fun having a lot of bosses in a 5 man.  This goes to what we have heard about the Halls of Origination in Cataclysm.  It is a seven boss 5 man dungeon.  Originally, I was not very wild about that idea of having that big of a 5 man.  However, going back and running Zul'farak and Stratholme while farming cloth made me realize that those dungeons are just awesome.  Are the bosses hard?  No, not really.  It is mostly tank and spank fights.  However, I don't think people run 5 mans for the incredible strategy behind the boss fights.  That is what raiding is for.  Yes, there are some creative ones, like the guy who tosses boulders in Pit of Saron or Eadric the Pure in Trial of the Champion where you have to turn around.  However, having a fight where you just have to hold off hordes of trolls with some prisoners only to have the prisoners turn on you after all is said and done is kind of awesome.

Even in Burning Crusade, you had to think about every single pull.  Remember Magister's Terrace.  If you do what you do now in 5 mans in Magister's Terrace, you were dead.  By the end of Stratholme, I was thinking about every arcane blast I was shooting and not using arcane explosion at all.  Especially during the gauntlet.  I remember the times I have run the Zangarmarsh 5 mans on my druid and pulled when a patrol was coming.  That usually meant a wipe in that instance.

Please don't think I'm degrading current 5 mans.  There are a lot of fun stuff in the current 5 mans.  I appreciate the lack of trash in the current 5 mans.  I appreciate that the bosses have a little more complexity than in past 5 mans.  Overall, it seems the bosses became a little more complicated and trash became a little less complicated.

In Cataclysm, I hope they keep the bosses about where they are now and make the trash a little harder.  While I like AOEing trash, I would like to get back to some of that strategy that was involved in 5 mans where you had to think about kill order, CCing, etc.

What are some of the things you are hoping for 5 mans from Cataclysm?  Do you think they should get back to some of the complication from the original and BC?  Do you think they should keep the Wrath model of 5 mans?   

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Recommendations for the New WoW Player

Everybody remembers that first time they logged on to WoW.  Not knowing what to expect and what would happen next.  All you know is that somebody is standing in front of you with a giant yellow exclamation mark over their head.  You're not even certain how to talk to them, but you know you have to.  It is the first steps, but it is very important first steps.

So when you have a new WoW player, what are some of the things they should know about it going in?  Here is a short list of things that I would recommend.

1)  Questhelper - I know a lot of people will disagree here, but it is easy to get lost in the beginning.  I would recommend getting Questhelper right up front or some equivalent.  Even use the in game questing guide.  I don't prefer it over Questhelper, but it works.  It will help guide them where to go.  And they can still read the quest text and get the story that is occurring at each part.

2) Run Instances as Soon as Possible - With the LFG tool, you can start running instances as low as level 13.  Instances and raids are part of the fun of the game for me, so I would recommend a player to try it.  I would also tell them to only join as DPS until they get a hang of instances.  There are enough people running alts that will want to join as tanks and heals.  Plus it allows you to learn the mechanics of instances as well.

3) Play Your First Race/Class Up to Level 20 - By level 20, you are starting to get an idea of what your class can do.  It is not at its full potential, but you have a general idea.  And if you don't like it, it is not like 20 levels is difficult to get back to so you can reroll a new class.  I would actually play any character up to level 20 to at least to get a hang of it.  I played a priest with a recruit a friend account with a friend of mine and tried to play as holy.  I didn't enjoy it and ended up canceling my recruit a friend account.  Of course, that goes back to my aversion to healing.

4) Start Professions Early - When you are on your 3rd alt you are working on, it tends to become a little easier to power level professions so it can be avoided.  However, with a player that is first starting off, I would tell them to start early with professions.  That way, they can use the mats they have along the way.  And with tailoring, blacksmithing, and leatherworking, they can actually make usable gear early.

5) Try Different Areas - Even staying in one area for a long time can make it where you start getting more difficult quest than your level.  Always try different areas.  Just because Westfall quest have become more difficult, it doesn't mean you can't go somewhere else to quest.

6) Try PvPing - The way I look at the game, there are two major sides.  One side enjoys the raiding/instancing/questing side of WoW.  The other side enjoys the competition of PvP.  If you are getting in the late teens and finding the instances and questing aren't doing it for you, try PvP and see if you like just killing other players.

I'm sure there are some other things, including doing your class quest, get to a major city, play around with the AH, etc.  but these would be some of my starter recommendations on what to do in WoW.  I'm sure there are a lot of others that you could come up with as well.  Any other recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Hit and Gear for Moonkins - Tit for Tat

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I always try to have my gear list in front of me for whatever role I'm playing.  Now that I have an IPad, this is even easier.  I like to give props to the gear list that I currently use and really like.  For moonkins, I recommend Grey Matter's list, which can be found here.  When tanking, I really like Think Tank's list, which can be found here.  Yes, I do also use programs like Rawr to look at my particular situation, but I am also not a math person so I appreciate the fact that some people can look at the gear and say what is better.  I'm still looking for a good arcane mage gear list, so if you have any recommendations, feel free to post them in the comments.

Now, with tanking, it is incredibly easy to be hit capped.  Not that it is really needed since we do a lot of actions very quickly, but since bears use rouge gear for tanking, it tends to have a lot of hit on it.  It also helps with threat generation.  However, with moonkins and mages, hit becomes a bigger issue.  It is their number one stat that must always be maintained and a requirement to be capped.  The difference in DPS between a hit capped and a non-hit capped moonkin is drastic. 

Some of the recommendations that I see from both moonkins and mages say they depend on other people to be hit capped.  While I'm not saying this is necessarily wrong, it doesn't feel right for me.  Sure, I have a Draenai and a shadow priest in my 25 mans that would make it very easy to be hit capped, but what about 10 mans or even 5 mans.  I want to know that I'm not dependent on another person for my damage to matter.  Plus, I don't want to be the person to say that I have to have a Draenai in my group for me to be able to DPS. And yes, I know I get buffs from other classes that increase spellpower, crit, or haste.  But I want to know that I could do the damage needed without them.  Those help to improve it.

This is where the value of gear list and what I value come into contrast.  Let me give an example with my moonkin.  I had the Crushing Coldwraith Belt on my moonkin gear and I was using the Shard of the Crystal Heart as one of my trinkets, since it has hit.  However, I had a decision to make with hit.  I could definitely get a better trinket than Shard of the Crystal Heart in ICC 25, however, this means that I would not be hit capped.  I tried to use the Maghia's Misguided Quill, but when I used it, I found that my DPS was not getting better.  So this lead to a decision.  I decided to not use the Crushing Coldwraith Belt anymore, get the T10 legs plus the Belt of Omission so that when a better trinket, like Dislodged Foreign Object dropped, I could trade the Shard of the Crystal Heart for it and be hit capped without gems or enchants.  Is the Belt of Omission the best in slot for moonkins? Not even close.  Is it the best for me?  Yes, because I can use a better trinket than a 245 haste/hit trinket.

This is why it is important to look at your situation.  I was looking at a mage list of just the best in slot gear.  It ended up with a hit rating in the 220s, not even close to being hit capped.  They argued that with other buffs from other classes, you would be hit capped.  I would much rather trade a BiS piece for a lesser piece if it means that I'm not dependent on another person for damage output.

I would love your thoughts on gearing for your class.  Is my fear of being dependent on other people for my hit rating completely insane or do you feel it is well founded?  I would love your opinion on this.  

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Blizzcon 2010 - The Argument in My Head

I was kind of struggling to find what to write about today on my blog, then Blizzard dropped this nicely wrapped package in my lap.  Blizzcon 2010 tickets will be sold on June 2nd and 5th.  I'm really struggling on whether to go or not.  I went in 2008 and enjoyed it immensely.  However, this year, I'm really torn.  Here is the argument in my head.

Pro Blizzcon Trip

1)  Diablo 3 Announcements - It is my firmly held belief that we will get the release date of Diablo 3 this year at Blizzcon.  Starcraft II would have already come out.  It is also my belief that Cataclysm will come out in September before Blizzcon.  This means that the major announcement will either have to be Diablo 3 or the new MMORPG they are working on.

2) Seeing and Meeting In Game Friends - I  know several people from both my current and past guilds will be coming to Blizzcon and it is always fun to hang out with them. 

3) Time Off from Work - I was originally going to go to PAX - East this year, but canceled due to other stuff going on IRL.  By October, I should definitely be able to go to Blizzcon.

Con Blizzcon Trip

1) Lack of Announcements There could be no interesting announcements at Blizzcon.  Since I do believe that Cataclysm will be out before Blizzcon and Starcraft will definitely be out before Blizzcon, there is the possibility that nothing will occur.  In that case, it will be a bunch of playing Diablo 3 since I will have no reason to play Starcraft or Cataclysm at Blizzcon.

2) Money - It is expensive going from SC to San Diego.  Flight, hotel, plus $150 for a ticket.  It is not that money is really too much of an issue, but it is an issue.

So I'm not certain right now on whether or not to go.  I'm thinking yes right now if I can get a ticket, but stuff may change between now and June 2nd.   I would love the opinion of others who may or may not be going.

Monday, May 17, 2010

How to Handle Sickness - Level A Mage. How to Get Sick Again - Level Enchanting.

Well, it has been over a week since my last blog post.  This has mainly been because I have been fighting a stomach bacteria, probably from undercooked hamburger.  (Thanks Applebee's)  However, while being sick and feeling on the verge of vomiting is not fun, I did get to level my mage with the time from being sick.  In a few short days, I went from level 73 to 80.    Now, I join the ranks of people who have two level 80s.  How did I do it?   Well, since DPS has a queue in the LFG, I quested while sitting in LFG.  Heirloom items did not hurt either.  So I am now running heroics trying to get my 5 piece T9 at the very least and then get the trinkets, etc.   Also, you geared people who run heroics need to try harder.  I know it is nothing for you at this point, but a mage in blues and greens should not be able to double your DPS by putting up 3k DPS on tank and spank boss fights.  That is just lazy.  Also, I'm still trying to figure out how to handle trash.  Blizzard does more damage but alternating rank 9 and 8 Flamestrike is more mana efficient.  My main spec is arcane for raiding/5 mans and my secondary spec is frostfire for soloing.  Now, I have to decide who I will level next.  I have a DK tank who I can get heirloom gear for or a warlock who I can give my mage's heirloom gear to.  Both are in the 60s.

I did raid on my moonkin this week, including clearing 25 man ToC for only the second time ever.  I was hoping for a better trinket than Shard of the Crystal Heart to drop, but unfortunately, it did not.  I did not do 10 mans however due to my illness.  Hopefully, tonight we will clear up to LK tonight on 25 mans and maybe get a kill if we extend this week.  We only have Blood Queen, Dreamwalker, Sindragosa, and then LK.

With my new level 80 mage, I picked my professions to level.  I chose enchanting and tailoring.  I decided to level enchanting first.  After a weekend of working on it, I'm currently at 351 with the mats to at least get it to 375.  Enchanting is really expensive.  I had 1700 gold on my mage after leveling.  I burned all of that plus a 1000 gold from my main to get to this point.  Thankfully, I have someone in my guild willing to give me the vellums needed to start making some money on enchanting so hopefully leveling the rest of the way won't hurt me too much.  It is expensive enchanting the same bracer, chest piece, or boot over and over again and not being able to sell it.  Also, one of the weird things I have figured out is that WotLK blues can be disenchanted with 325 enchanting but some of the greens cannot be disenchanting until 350.  I'm thinking with tailoring that I'm going to arcane nova my way through Deadmines and farm some cloth from there.  Then, I will probably take my bear tank and go through some of the higher instances and farm the other cloth up to 350 and then probably just run heroics and get frostweave.  Hopefully, leveling tailoring won't be as bad because every time I went to the AH to get arcane dust over the weekend, I could feel my stomach getting upset again.

Now that I'm back this week, I should be putting blog post out again at a more consistent rate.  So until next time, please send your enchanting mats or greens to Redheady on the Ner'zhul server. (J/K.  Kind of.)  Thanks.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Boomkin 4T9 versus 2T10

I'm kind of excited because I got a question through @redhawksgaze on Twitter.  The question I got was this...

i have 4xT9 and 1xT10 and 95 frosties. Is it time to break that sweet T9x4 bonus?

The short answer is absolutely yes.  And thanks to the 140 character limit on twitter, that is about the extent of the answer that I gave.  However, I did want to delve a little further into this situation on a full post.  

Now, when I gave this answer, I made one huge assumption.  I'm assuming you do not have full TotGC heroic T9 and are fully stocked on 231/245 T9.  The only reason I'm thinking this is because if you were in full TotGC heroic T9, you would have already replaced it with at least 264 T10 and maybe even getting 25 man HMs down.  And even then, it is kind of a tough call on whether to replace it or not.

Now, I currently see two major arguments to going for T10 gear and why you should even be thinking replacing heroic T9 with this gear..
1)  Itemization - The T10 for moonkins is almost perfect.  The head, hands, and shoulders are all red gems which lets us gem for spellpower and get the bonus of more spellpower.  The hands and legs have hit, which is necessary.  No spirit on any of this gear leaves more room for haste and crit.  Also, with the way the tokens are working for 25 man ICC and both heroic ICCs, these items will only get better.  Even if you have heroic T9, you should still at least get the T10 for when it is your turn to get the token piece in 25 mans.  And if you are going to get it, you might as well wear it.

2) Set Bonus - The 4T9 set bonus for moonkins was great.  Here is the comparison of the 4T9 and the 2T10 bonuses.

4T9 -   Increases the damage done by your Starfire and Wrath spells by 4%.

2T10 - When you gain Clearcasting from your Omen of Clarity talent, you deal 15% additional Nature and Arcane damage for 6 sec.

Now looking just at the set bonuses, it would appear that the 4T9 bonus is superior to the 2T10 bonus.  However, there are a couple things that should be noticed.  First, Wrath is a Nature damage spell and Starfire is an Arcane damage spell.  This means that you are increasing from 4% damage to 15% damage albeit for a shorter amount of time.  The second thing is the proc rate of Omen of Clarity.  It procs a lot especially if you are just standing still and casting.  In addition, you can use Gift of the Wild to proc Omen of Clarity when you are about to stop moving to help increase your damage.  I now carry about 5 stacks of Wild Quillvine just so I can proc it on the move.  This is why overall, the 2T10 bonus is superior to the 4T9 bonus.   However, the biggest reason you want to get 2T10 is you are halfway to the 4T10 bonus, which is even better.

4T10 - Your critical strikes from Starfire and Wrath cause the target languish for an additional 5% of your spell's damage over 4 seconds. 

This bonus is huge.  Hitting 25k Starfire crits means that you will get 1250 more damage as a DoT and this is refreshed with every crit.  Since during Lunar Eclipses, you can get multiple 20k+ crits in a row if you are Lunar Crit Capped, you are talking about a fair amount of damage. 

So, as I mentioned, the answer is an emphatic yes if you have 231/245 T9.  While heroic T9 becomes more of a question, I still feel that the T10 is superior to the heroic T9.  I would love to hear some thoughts from other moonkins out there on this.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Cities, Sites, and Cataclysms

I'm not a RPer at all. (With the exception of jumping off of Dalaran yelling "GOODBYE CRUEL WORLD" every so often.  I don't even know if that is considered RPing.)  I know people love to RP and create an incredible backstory to your character.  However, at the end of the day, I do tend to find myself in a few places in WoW.  These are some of my favorite places to Log Off.

1) Dalaran South Bank - At the end of the night of raiding, I love to place myself in there.  That way, when I sign on tomorrow, I can grab my flask and potions of speed for the raid and keep moving.

2) Bar Right By the Silver Enclave in Dalaran - This is where my hearthstone is set.  I can't think of the name of it, but I may log out there if I hearth out from somewhere.  It is right by the portals, badge vendors, and Wintergrasp portal.

3) Ironforge - This may just be my overall laziness in the game, but the distance between where the Dalaran portal is to the AH makes it my preferred location.  Plus I love the target dummies there so I can practice my rotation while hitting Starfall and hitting multiple targets.

4) The Park in Stormwind - My druid trainer.  I have gone to respec so many times trying out feral, moonkin, resto, etc. that I have visited my trainer several times.   Which brings me to the second part of this post...what is happening to The Park in Stormwind.

In Cataclysm, Stormwind, like all the old world is going to get shaken up.  However, one of the pictures of Stormwind has me sort of upset about one of my favorite places.  The Park in Stormwind is just going to get obliterated.  No more druid trainer there.  Now one of three things I see that could happen with this:

1) Druid Trainer Moves to (Most Likely) the Mage Quarter - This would be the one I'm hoping for most so I can still go to Stormwind to train without the next two alternatives.

2) Darnassus - Excuse me one moment, I have to catch a little vomit in my mouth.  I hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate Darnassus.  I'm hoping the Cataclysm sinks both them and the Exodar into the ocean and we never have to see them again.  Thankfully, there is a third option.

3) Moonglade - The center for all things druid.  While I still prefer Stormwind, I could see them saying that all the druid trainers headed back to Moonglade and put our trainers out there.

So where are some of your favorite places to rest at the end of the day?  I'm sure some people like going down to Booty Bay or Tanaris.  On my Horde characters, I love Orgrimmar.  Especially as a mage, I can just slow fall down from up top down to the AH.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

My Issues With WoW Holidays

Currently, we are in the middle of Children's Week in WoW.  I like to call it the one week where you can offer a kid candy and take them and put them in a battlefield without Chris Hansen showing up.  (You told your orphan that you wanted to show them your 264 staff with 300 resilience.  Do you think that was appropriate?)

While I joke about Children's Week, this brings me to a bigger issue in WoW.  I know a lot of people love the holidays in WoW.  It gives them a chance to break away from the normal raiding, PvPing, etc.  to do something else.  I just can't bring myself to care about holidays.  Yes, I know there is a 310% mount at the end of doing the holidays.  Yes, I will occasionally run the Headless Horsemen or the Brewfest boss with a group that needs some people.  It is all the extra stuff that comes with it.

I currently raid between 12 - 15 hours per week as it is.   I also spend probably about 4 hours on the weekend working on alts or farming for money, gems, etc.  I also have the other activities outside of WoW that I like to do as well.  This is where holidays comes into play.  I'm doing so many other things in and outside of WoW that farming eggs for Noblegarden or taking a little brat around that has to see me kill somebody (We call that a psychopath, fyi) is just outside of the time of stuff that I want to do in WoW. 

If I was a mount person or a pet person, I would definitely go for it.  And don't let my purchase of a Celestial Steed make you think otherwise.  I only have about 5 mounts and about 10 pets.  However, my focus is downing raid bosses and hard modes.  That is what brings me satisfaction in the game and keeps me coming back.  I'm sure there are people who enjoy riding around a ram drunk and I say great for those people.  I just can't break myself away to do those holiday things.  Does it make me a WoW Scrooge?  I don't think so.  If it does though, I say "Bah! Humbug!" and will keep my raiding.

What are your thoughts on holidays?  Do you have any favorite holidays that you like to do stuff?  While I don't like holidays, I will say that I like doing the fire tossing during the summer fire festival. 

Just a little note here:  I know a lot of Cataclysm spoilers have come out and I will address those when I can get to somewhere I can actually see the screen shots, etc. There may be two blog post today.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Raid Prep - Creating a Perfect Raiding Environment

My GM last night after my raid suggested that I take a shot of liquor before coming to raid.  It may not be a bad idea.  This may go back to my days when I was tanking, but I tend to be very reactionary.  Sometimes too much so.  A few post ago, I talked about how I battle rezzed somebody during LK 10 man fight that immediately dropped off when the floor fell out during the transition phase.  Last night, on 25 man LK, I was the one picked for defile during phase 2.  I was in a great spot with nobody around me.  However, I just stood there for a few seconds just to make sure it stayed and I was nowhere near anybody.  As soon as I saw the defile under my feet, I should of moved.  I thought I was being reactionary to the situation to make sure I did not get near anybody and in the end, got a couple extra ticks of defile in.  Did it wipe the raid?  No.  Not even close.  But it goes back to my being reactionary.  I was so concerned about it being in the right place and not near anybody that I let it hit me for more.

But this goes into this post about raid prep.  While a lot of people think raid prep is about having gear enchanted and gemmed, having flask, potions of speed, proper addons, etc., I'm more talking about personal preparation for raiding.  Your character should be ready to raid, but so should you.  Here are a few of the personal things that I try to do before a raid.

1) Use the Bathroom Before the Raid - Just to prevent any emergency AFKs for bio. 

2) Make a Drink - This can be your personal choice.  (Just to clarify, 21 and older please.  I'm not promoting underage drinking)  I personally prefer a diet soda or a lemonade packet that you mix in water.  This may be changing to a beer of some sort.  Something that relaxes you and gets you ready for raid.  I should also add into this to not get drunk to the point of passing out during raid.  In one of my prior guilds when we running 10 man Ulduar, we were ready to pull the Cat Lady and we heard a loud noise over Ventrilo.  We then started doing ready checks and one person was never clicking anything.  Turns out, we found out that he passed out drunk during the raid.  While funny in a casual guild, this would be looked down upon in a raiding guild.

3) Comfortable Chair/Couch  - Working a (mostly) desk job, I can't stress how important this is.  If you are not comfortable, you will not perform to your best.  I personally play WoW on a 42 inch LCD TV with my computer hooked up to it via HDMI and sitting on my couch about 10 feet away from the screen. And while this may cause my blindness later in life, I'm sitting on a couch with my keyboard and mouse in front of me.  It is very comfortable for me.

4) Music  - I always try to have some music playing in the background.  I'm usually listening to my collection of classic rock music on my computer from my Zune.  (I know. I'm in the minority, but I do have an IPad to make up for it.)  Nothing gets me more pumped up for the raid then to hear "Princes of the Universe" by Queen.  (Yes, it is the Highlander theme.)

Princes of the Universe by Queen

5) No Food Rule - As a general rule, I try not to eat during raids.  I'm using both hands on my keyboard and the worst thing in the world is to have chip grease on a keyboard.  Some people may need food during their raids.  I try to eat beforehand so I'm not messing up my keyboard.

6) Comfortable Clothes - If you play WoW naked, more power to you.  I'm sure I have seen you on Chatroulette.  (Please Stop Jerking Off)  I can't do it.  But I definitely don't mind putting on some shorts and a T-shirt and relaxing when I sit down to raid. 

So what other things do you do to get ready for raids or some other suggestions on things to do to get ready for raids?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

How to Maximize Solar and Lunar Eclipses

Since Eclipses are the bread and butter of a moonkin's rotation, I thought I would take a little bit of time to discuss how I have tried to maximize the amount of damage you get from your eclipses.  With the druid changes in Cataclysm, this will likely change drastically.

1) Spellpower Maximization - You should try to get all the spellpower you can.  Whether it is through intellect, spirit,  enchants, gems, etc., spellpower will be your number one stat overall.  The more spellpower you get, the harder your eclipses will hit.

2) Soft (Solar) Haste Cap - I mentioned this in an earlier post, but the soft haste cap is 408.  This is also known as the Solar Haste Cap.  Since you be will casting Wrath during your Solar Eclipse, you want to get the cast time on your Wrath down to as low as possible.  When it is at the haste cap, your Wrath cast time is around 1.2 seconds.

3) Lunar Eclipse Macro - While the 408 will really reduce the cast time of Wrath, it will barely touch the cast time of Starfire.  There are a few ways to decrease the cast time on Starfire.  One, Heroism/Bloodlust will increase your haste and really decrease the Starfire cast time.   This will be cast during the fight and you have little say in it.  Second, you can have a trinket that will increase haste and decrease Starfire's cast time.  Although their are some better trinkets I'm trying to get from ICC, I'm currently using Shard of the Crystal Heart while waiting for another trinket.  Third, you can use a Potion of Speed.  I'm sure my GM is wondering why I'm grabbing a stack of 20 Potions of Speed before every raid.  This is the reason why.  Well, I can't do anything about Heroism/Bloodlust.  However, I can do something about trinkets and potions.  I have a little home brewed macro that takes care of both of these issues.

/use Potion of Speed
/use Shard of the Crystal Heart
/cast Starfire()

This does several things, first, I can use this at the beginning of the fight so I will benefit from Heroism later without going over the haste cap.  Second, you can only use one potion during a boss fight so it uses it at the beginning.  Third, my trinket will be used on cool down when it is ready.  I don't need that trinket during Solar Eclipse, because I'm already Solar Haste capped so I would just hook it to my Lunar Eclipse Starfires

4) Switching Wrath and Starfire Efficiently - I mentioned in a prior post about this, but the key to Eclipses is to switch to the proper spell as quickly and efficiently as possible.  It takes a little bit of quick movements and a little coordination, but the quicker you can get to the proper spell, the more damage you are going to do.

5) Lunar Crit Cap - This gets into some max/min stuff, but hopefully, you can follow me.  First, I would recommend you look here.  This is the updated Elitist Jerks thread about PvE moonkins.  In there, you will find an equation that tells you what crit cap you have to be at to be at the Lunar Eclipse cap based on your Intellect.  This is based on the fact that Lunar Eclipse adds 40% crit to your Starfire during a Lunar Eclipse.  Add that to the crit you get from Faerie Fire, Moonkin form, etc.  and you can hit 100% critical strikes during a Lunar Eclipse.  This is the point where you can start to switch priority from critical strike to haste to help lower the cast time on Starfire to allow you to get more Starfires during a Lunar Eclipse.

6) Keep DoTs up - Besides Faerie Fire giving a general 3% critical strike percentage, both Insect Swarm and Moonfire have beneficial effects depending on what is cast.  For example, if you are glyphed for Starfire and Moonfire, as you should be, you extend the time of your DoT when you can Starfire and the Moonfire DoT does double.  Also, Improved Insect Swarm increases the damage of your Wrath spells and increases the critical strike of your Starfire.

7) Check Your Spec - Look at recommended specs to try and maximize  your DPS.  Experiment some yourself to try and find that perfect spec for you.

This is some of the ways that I try to maximize my DPS during Eclipses.  I'm sure there are many others and would love to hear some of your thoughts on that.

Monday, May 3, 2010

10 Man ICC Hard Modes are.....Well, You Know

This weekend, one of our 10 man groups ran Hard Mode ICC for the first time.  We were able to down HM Marrowgar and HM Gunship.  Here are a few things we did for our strat for these fights as well as some of my other thoughts..

HM Marrowgar

Point 1:  When getting ready to pull for the first time, do not mix up Typhoon and Treants buttons.  We were almost ready to pull and I was going to place my treants in place to get ready to pull.  Instead, I accidentally hit the button for Typhoon.  I saw the wave moving towards the boss and just thinking, it may not hit him, please don't hit him, OH GOD, IT IS GOING TO HIT HIM.  It hit him.  This isn't our strat, but just a funny, embarrassing situation at the start of HM 10 mans.

Point 2:  Tanks do not get hit by Bone Spikes, ever.  Once we figured this out, the fight became easy.  During Bone Storm, we had all DPS and healers move over near the door where you come in and tanks moved to the opposite side of the room.  That way, Marrowgar traveled back and forth and give our DPS time to break out Bone Spikes without having to worry about Bone Storm as well.  Tanks really only have to dodge fire at that point.

Point 3:  I forgot how much fun tanking is.  We had our main bear tank leave the group on Saturday because she had to be somewhere else and I got to tank HM Marrowgar.  Tanking was my first love in WoW.  Moonkin was my second.  Now I feel like I'm in a three way with tanking and moonkin and want to enjoy it all.

HM Gunship

Point 1:  Not really that hard at all.  Axes hurt more and axe throwers should be taken out by range and gunners if it can be spared.  The fight last longer, especially if you are short on range, but it is not really difficult.

Point 2:  What is more awesome than one rocket bear?  Two rocket bears, that's what.  We ended up having two druids tanking HM Gunship, myself and a non-guild bear. 

We attempted HM Rotface one time.  I hate that vile gas.  Especially as the slime kiter.  (Nothing worse then a bear vomiting)  Of course, this was the first time I have kited those slimes, so it made it a little tough.  As a feral tank, you can hit the slime with a mangle and that will usually be sufficient to keep aggro until unstable ooze explosion and give you time to get away from the slime to start kiting.  I also got to be the abomination for Professor Putricide which was tougher than I thought it would be.  It took me a couple wipes to get a hang of the abomination mechanic but once I did, we got to phase 3.  Unfortunately, we ran out of room during phase 3 and called the raid due to people having other obligations.  However, we are resetting this week, so we will get more attempts at HMs.  And hopefully next time, I can give some advice from a moonkin perspective since the normal crew should be back.  Anybody have any advice on strats for other hardmodes that they use?