Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Casual Player - A Guest Blog by The Samsaric Warrior

First off I would like to take a moment to thank Redhawks for giving me this opportunity to guest blog. With that said I would now like to talk on the subject of "The Casual Player". Now I know there seems to be mostly a love / hate relationship with casual players and I am sure there are others that couldn't care less. But playing for as long as some of us have we are bound to come across casual players and at that point most of us are going to pass some sort of judgment on them.

In defense of the CP (casual Player), I myself am one. A quick about me, I have been playing for almost 4 years now and have multiple 80's although my main focus has pretty much always been my paladin. Main or off tanking is what I prefer and I take my role and play my part well. I know my strengths and my weaknesses and I would never agree to tank something that I was not comfortable doing without making myself clear to all the group. Unfortunately that's not the case with a lot of CP's and I can see why a lot of raiders and raiding guilds don't want to associate with them. Let's face it, with the random dungeon system they have it isn't very hard to accumulate gear decent enough to get yourself into certain raids. But gear doesn't come with skill, and skill is acquired by practice and repetition. Something that a casual player is not going to have. Once again, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that CP's are bad by any means. What I am saying is that if your house is flooding with water are you going to call the local handyman or a plumber who has been in business for 20 years and knows the insides and outs of plumbing like the back of his hand and can react fast in emergency situations. A CP may know his toon well, very well even, but fast reactions come from constant play. Thinking under pressure, paying attention to all aspects of your surroundings and simply knowing the instances and raids inside and out are not the average attributes of a casual player. Can a CP run every raid? Absolutely. Can a CP do well in BG's and Arena? Absolutely. Can every casual player? No.
So Why? Because not all casual players know how to play the game. They don't understand attributes, they have poor gear selection, they don't use all their resources, they lack knowledge on raids and instances and are poorly prepared. The reason for this is Dedication. A casual player lacks the dedication it takes to be a progressive raider. They lack the dedication it takes to obtain and maintain a high Arena ranking. They lack the dedication it takes to understand all aspects of the game. The Economy, the crafting, the etiquette, the classes and how they work well with each other and which one you want there next to you to save your ass. Lacking dedication isn't a bad thing. I don't dedicate all my free time to the game because I also enjoy doing many other things. But I don't log on spamming to tank a raid I've never been in either. Some good friends of mine don't dedicate a lot of game time because of their work and family schedule, and you know what? That's completely fine too. The thing is though. We have grown to become casual players. There's a huge difference. Because there are many casual players out there that don't want to dedicate their time to learn these things because basically they just don't care. They just want to pay their monthly's and log on, chat with their friends and kill shit. They don't care about progression or rankings and probably have more vanity items than gold. Hey, I think it's kind of silly too, but it's their money not mine. Just don't group with one.

The thing is, you just have to know what type of gamer you are, and have the integrity to let other gamers aware of it when asked or invited into a group. I have no problem telling someone that I haven't downed the Lich King or even gotten close if asked or invited into a raid. If you are up front and honest then you will have a much more enjoyable gaming experience. Don't make yourself out to be something you are not and if you are unhappy at the realization of what type of gamer you are then change. As you dedicate your time and start progressively raiding and learning all the aspects of the game and all the classes and their roles, all the raids and boss fights, and the know-how to take full advantage of all your resources, you will start to understand why there is such a love / hate relationship for "The Casual Player".

Thanks for taking the time to read this.
Game On!

The Samsaric Warrior

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Starting Over, Building a New UI from Scratch - A Guest Blog Post from Natrii at Natriicraft

The User Interface or the UI as it is commonly known is the core of your player expense in World of Warcraft.  Most of us have come to know that our basic Blizzard UI is far under par for anything but questing, and even then it can be lacking. You may have noticed its faults (especially if you are a healer) and started plugging in various addons to make life a little easier.  Maybe you used something simple like Quest Helper, Omen, or Healbot. As you progress through content from quests to raids your view screen gets smaller and smaller as more and more interfaces are added onto your window. Then one day the screen begins to look more like the control panel from a spaceship than a video game’s screen. While I love graphs and numbers as much as the next guy, I wouldn’t mind at least seeing the Lich King as I spank him, and that leads us to this post. By the time you finish the steps I’ve listed below you’ll turn that cluttered mess of a screen into what it’s actually supposed to be: a functional, straight forward UI.

The First step: Gutting your UI

The first thing you will want to do is Disable ALL your addons. It doesn’t matter how much you love addon A or how you possibly cannot function without addon B, disable them. It may feel like you’re killing a dear friend, but think of this as addon therapy. You will enable them later, but for now we need a clean slate.

The Second Step:  Getting your Basics: Setting the groundwork.

Now that you have all your cluttered addons gone it is time to go to and pick up a few things. Curse is a free and simple site which is great for managing addons, as well as ensuring you’re getting virus free content. Download the client to manage all the addons a little more simply: it will inform you when they’ve been updated, and prevent you from having to constantly go back to the site to manage them. The second thing I highly recommend is an addon called Addon Control Panel or ACP: this light weight addon allows you to turn your addons on and off without exiting the game. And last, but certainly not least Mini Map Button Bag: This small addons condenses all your mini map clutter into one button. These addons really just help you manage the rest of your content easier, so while they’re not necessary I would highly recommend them.

The next step is to start by managing your unit frames(party/raid frames). I would recommend Xpeal, Pittbull, Shadowed UI, or Grid. All of these options are highly customizable to your needs and are quite straightforward. After you’ve decided on a unit frame it’s time to move to toolbars.  These will allow you more mobility with your toolbars, and thus give you more options in customization. You can never go wrong with Bartender 4 or Dominos. TO add a little spice to your UI try using Button Façade to add new skins. For background I use Sunn View Point Arts. It has 9 skin packs at the moment leaving plenty of options of customizations, including your own art. As for a map addon, Sexy map is the current favorite amongst players which will really just make your map look nicer.

After you have down loaded this set of addons, It is time to log in and set them up.  If you used Sunn all you will have to do is set your skin via interface addon menu. As for your unit frames and bars you will need to position them where you would like them. If you have opted to use an addon such as Button Façade, you merely need to select a skin for it in the same way you did for Sunn.
The Third Step: Function-Based Addons.
This is it, the fun step. The time where you get to download and enable all the addons that you feel you cannot live without.  This is where you make your UI shine; give it the true customization you want. These you must do by your own judgment, but if you are lost on what you need fear not for I do have a few recommendations.
Class Addons by Class:
Druid: Feral by Night(kitty dps), BadKitty(kitty dps), and Squawk and Awe(boomkin)
Hunter: Shot and Awe, Spell flash: Hunter
Mages:  Portal Box(all your portals in one place), Mage Feaver, and Scorchio 2(both to keep track of your Spells, procs, and CDs)
Paladins: Pally Power(seriously get it if you ever plan on raiding as a Paladin. Lets all pally buffs be set up by  1 person)
Priest: MF Clipper, Shadow Green light.(both addons for a shadow priest to maximize dps, in MF clipper’s case make you cry)
 Rogue: Rogue Focus Classic, Stun Watch
Shaman: Shock and Awe(elemental), Shaman Friend(kkeps track of things suck as your wind fury procs and shield status).
Warlock: Necrosis(warlock toolbox), Forte Exorcist(keeps track of about everything).
Warrior: Warrior proc Alert.
Addon by Functionalty:
Cool down addons:  Doom’s Cool down Pulse, Sexy Cool downs, Ora2.
Combat Text: Mik Scrolling Battle Text.
PVP: Gladius(arena Frames), Afflicted 3(keeps track of enemies CDs).
Healing Addons: Clique, Healbot, Vuhdo, Decursive, and Grid. Special note on healing Addons, These must be configured. See each Add-on’s guide for more info on configuring these addons.
RP:  Gryphon Heart item/rep and Battle Cry.
Addons all player should have:   Omen(threat meter), Recount(damage meter), Atlasloot(know your drops), Auctioneer(dominate the AH), and Deadly Boss Mods(must have for any raiders).
Addons that All player Have they should not have, but do anyways:  Gearscore(Epeen Meter, flawed system but still a must have for the pug raider to know where you stand)
My Most Recommended that I have not listed: Outfitter(save your armor set ups), Panda(generally helpful for professions.), Quartz (cast bar that monitors and calculates your latency).
The Final Step: Sweeping the Dust Away
Note I have not even scratched the surface on all the addons you can possibly have, but this will give anyone a starting point. What you put into your UI is your own choice, with that I leave you with a few parting tips. Your UI is not set in stone. Missing something? Add it. Don’t like an addon? Remove it. Make your UI your own. It is your portal to your character, make sure you like it. And finally, Read the guides for your addons. Some addons are more or less plug and play and move where you want, but other requires a massive amount of configuration. I cannot emphasize enough read about your addons, an addon is useless if you do not know how to use it.
To end this I would like to thank Redhawks for allowing me to do this post. And request that he does not LOLcat this to death, 1 at max please. Any other questions about UI setup or any of the addons here please check me out and or email me at

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Major Moonkin Problem - Moving

As my guild is getting into 25 man HMs, there seems to be one overriding fact that I'm getting in each of the fights. Movement. More specific, how to move and keep DPS high. This is somewhere moonkins do not shine. We can hit huge crits with our Starfire during a Lunar Eclipse, but if we move, we can not cast at all. Sure we have IS and MF, but we are not suppose to clip those unless we get an Omen of Clarity proc with 2T10 to get a stronger version of the DoT on the boss. We have Starfall, but since we use it on cooldown, it is likely on cooldown. Treants are another option, but again, long cooldown.

I have not solved this problem by any stretch and I'm hoping Cataclysm will be the full answer to how we deal with this. However, here are just a few things I have started trying to do.

1) Use Gift of the Wild to proc an Omen of Clarity - This helps me refresh my DoTs while I'm moving since it has a 15% higher critical strike chance thanks to the 2T10 moonkin bonus.  Of course, when your moving, your thinking about getting to your next spot and think less about using GotW so it is really easy to overlook.

2) If you can, move immediately after procing an Eclipse - Now this seems a little weird, but here is my thought about it.  Sometimes, you proc Eclipse immediately after finishing an Eclipse.  This is the perfect time to move to refresh your DoTs and be ready 2 seconds later to cast either Wrath or Starfire depending on which is needed.

3) Deliberate Minimized Movements - If you have to move, move to where you need to as quickly as you can and as minimally as you can.  This can be tough in some fights.  For example, the LK normal fight has it where you spread out and then move back in.  However, you also have to think about not dropping defiles in the middle of the valkyrie path when you are thinking about your minimized movements.

4) Fight Familiarity - One of the tough things about HMs is you are basically having to relearn these fights.  Some of the mechanics are the same and some are completely different.  This is the same as when you first face bosses.  As you continue to down the bosses and get more familiarity with the fights,  DPS will increase naturally.  You learn to move minimally and deliberately based on the fight mechanics.

5) Cooldown Management - If you know your Starfall is about to come up, that is a good time to move.  If you see your IS or MF about to drop off, that is a good time to move.  If your treants are up, it is a good time to move.  When your instant stuff is ready, you can move and cast those at the same time.

I would love to hear from some other moonkins and caster DPS about how they are keeping DPS high during fights with heavy movement.  As I said, this is the major problem for moonkins, but I think a lot of casters will face very similar situations.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Site News - New Domain, WoWCentric, and Thanks

I have just a few exciting announcements to tell you about the blog.

First, do you hate having to type out all those extra characters for Blogspot stuff to reach Redhawk's Gaze?  Well, now, you no longer have to.  I now have, the direct link to the site for you to use to make it easier to get here.

Second, the blog is going to be listed on WoW Centric, which is going to be an online collection of blogs, comics, and podcast that are all related to WoW.  I am also honored to be under the sections for Druids and Raiding, since I tend to talk about both of these topics regularly on this blog.  The site is currently in beta, but will be coming to you soon.

Third, I want to say a big thank you to everybody who comes and reads this blog.  So far in the month of June, we have had almost 300 unique visits and almost 600 page views and we still have a week to go.  I never would have imagined those statistics in my third month of doing this, so thank you.

Finally, I want to go ahead and let you know about some of the guest post we do have for next week.  The first guest blogger we will have next week is Natrii from Natriicraft, who will be doing a post on designing an effective UI for raiding.  The second guest blogger will be Variant Avatar, who will be discussing DK tanking and the different builds, etc. to be an efffective DK tank.  I am also working with a couple other people to try to have a couple more days of guest bloggers for next week while I'm on vacation and am enjoying the beach.

Sickness and WoW - When to Sign Out for the Night

Well, I took a couple days off from blogging and WoW because I got a cellulitis infection in my left leg.  So I had to keep it propped up in order to help heal.  I really don't get sick that often. (Although, I have had 2 post in 2 months where I have been sick.)  However, this did get me thinking about something and will allow me to do something with my blog that I haven't been able to do yet.

I am a clinical informatics pharmacist, which means I deal with sick people all the time.  Now, I deal mostly with older veterans who wouldn't play WoW.  However, being in the medical field, I have a little insight on when it would be good to sign out from a raid.  Here is my rules for signing out from a raid:

1) If you are on any medicine that affects ability to play  - Let me give an example.  If you injure your back and you are on pain medicine that makes you incredible drowsy or dizzy, don't play.  You will just be a hindrance to 9 or 24 other people.  Massive alcohol consumption and/or recreational drugs would be included in this. 

2) If your illness changes the way you usually play - An example of this would be if you have to keep your leg up and you sit in a chair when you play.  Or, if you arm is in a cast and it would affect pressing your buttons.

3) If your illness will constantly keep you from the game or AFK - Time to go disgusting.  If you are constantly vomiting, sign out.  If you have diarrhea, sign out.  Nothing like going bio AFK between every pull.

4) If your child is sick - This is a tough one to call.  Younger children tend to be more needy when they are sick.  Older children tend to take care of stuff themselves.  Or if they are sleeping, you may be able to play.  This is more of a judgment call, but if you feel you will be pulled out to take care of your child constantly then just sign out.

5) When multiple family members are sick - If you child is sick and your wife is sick, you should probably sign out for two reasons.  One, they are going to both need your attention.  Second, and the bigger reason, is you are most likely next on the list to get sick.

6) When animals are sick - I know some people are going to say this is the same as family members, which I agree with.  However, animals are very specific in that you have to constantly check on them.  They are not like kids who will cry or complain when they are sick.  They may howl or meow in pain or they could be doing it normally.

7) If you need rest or sleep - This would be especially true in a raiding guild.  My guild finishes raiding at 9 PST.  I live on the east coast, so that is midnight for me.  If I should be sleeping or resting, I'm gonna sign out.

8) If you feel you are not mentally able to play - This is where I get into the mental illnesses.  Sometimes, if you have depression or other mental illnesses, you just don't feel like playing.  Those are understandable.  The tough thing is when you are depressed and WoW helps take your mind off of it.  Just because it helps you doesn't necessarily mean it is the best thing for you.  Sometimes, you need a mental break from WoW.

9) If you are not needed - This is what kind of happened with my 10 man last night.  We have so many good players in my guild that I can skip a 10 man so that I can feel better.  If it is a choice between a 10 and 25 man, I will show up for a 25 man since we are trying to get people even if I'm only slightly sick.  If it is a 10 man and I am even mildly sick, I will sign out.

10) When it just isn't appropriate - If you have a family relative in the hospital with a serious illness, it is just not appropriate to play WoW during that time.  Your family relative needs you at their bedside.  Nobody will think any less of you if you sign out because your grandmother is dying.

Just a little FYI, I am still looking for a couple more guest blog spots for next week while I'm on vacation.  You can e-mail me at and just say guest blogger in the header and I will give details.  Also, since I threw it out there anyway, hit me up on RealID.  Stalkers welcome, as long as they are not dangerous and want to have sex with my dead body.  

Monday, June 21, 2010

Patch 3.3.5 and Other WoW News - A.K.A Catching Up

Last week, I had the inspiration for the emblem and gearing new 80s articles that I completely neglected a bunch of WoW news.  So, for the first post this week, I wanted to just go through some of the major news that came out last week including one breaking story from today.

1) Path of the Titans Gone - As someone who has max leveled cooking and first aid, I'm glad that it won't be an absolute requirement now to level archaeology.  I'm still gonna do it, but at least it is not going to determine raid ability.

2) Guild Talent Trees Gone - As much as I like my GM, I'm glad that he doesn't have to make the decision on where to put guild talent tree points.  I know when they announced it, they thought it would be something to bring guilds together.  What it actually would do is destroy guilds with arguments, fighting, etc.  I still like the fact that they are going to keep guild leveling for additional benefits though.

3) New Glyph Changes - I love both of the changes they have announced for glyphs.  One, they are creating a third tier of glyphs that are moderate glyphs, which sound incredible.  Second, and the one I'm more excited about, is that you only have to buy a glyph once.  After you buy it, you only have to change it out.  This makes glyphs what they should be, situational and able to change on the fly.  As a bear tank, I would love the ability to change out the Growl glyph and the Maul glyph at will without having to buy multiple glyphs.

4) Level 80 Heirloom Gear Stops at 80 - I had a feeling they would do this, but I'm okay with it.  It would be rough to change out my T10 bear gear for two pieces of heirloom gear.  But it will make my mage easy to level after I hit 85.  However, level 80 heirlooms will work for goblins and worgans, but not worgoblins.  (Dark Legacy Comic Joke)

5) Heroic Deadmines and Heroic Shadowfang Keep on Hold - Even so come quickly 4.1.  Please.  Pretty Please.

6) Caverns of Time Raid - As someone who has not gone back and did the Mount Hyjal raid, but has done all the other 5 mans in CoT, this excites me.  Every CoT instance has been incredible.  And I'm not even a lore nerd.

7) Garrosh Hellscream, New Warchief  - Old news since it was predicted a while ago.  Plus I'm alliance.  I do care, but not that much.

8) Raid Lockout Changes - This has been my favorite news of the past week.  You will be able to split 1 25 man raid into up to 3 separate 10 man raids.  That is incredible, especially if you think about the summer slump that a lot of guilds are going through right now.  You get a 25 man together on Tuesday, but you only have 20 on Thursday.  No problem.  Just split the raid.  While we kind of knew about this, the other news is the incredible news.  If you have downed up to a certain boss in a raid lockout, you will be able to join a raid that has killed the same boss but not beyond that boss.  In other words, let's say that you split the 25 man and all three groups kill one additional boss.  However, you only have enough to have one 10 man on Monday.  Since all three groups killed the one additional boss, you would be able to pull any of the 30 into the 10 man to raid.  The only thing they said is that you cannot combine 10 mans into a 25 man, which does make sense.

9) Cross Account Achievement - This will help out drastically.  As many people ask for links to achievements that you have done stuff, like VoA, this will help out so that you can show you have done it, even if it was on a different character.  And while I think the mounts, pets, and titles should remain player specific, you can at least shown that you have done it.

10) Patch 3.3.5 Tomorrow - Thank God.  I love ICC, but I am definitely ready for a change of scenery.  Even if we down him on the first day and go back to ICC, it will be something different.  However, the news has pointed to Ruby Sanctum not being available tomorrow, but maybe the week after.  This also means having to say goodbye to AVR, which is fine, because I stopped using it a couple weeks ago to get ready for this moment.  It is a crutch.  A very technically advanced and awesome crutch, but a crutch none the less.  This will also be the introduction of RealID.  I know some people are concerned about privacy, which could be an issue.  However, I'm gonna have to take Blizzard's word on this one and trust they know what they are doing.  Also, I believe we will see the buff increase to 25% this week for ICC, which should help our HM progression, considering how close we are on 25 man HM Blood Queen.  

So this is just a sampling of the WoW news from this past week.  There are other stories about what the news raids will be, but I will just wait for Cataclysm to talk about those.

Also, I'm glad to announce that I'm going to be working with, which is going to be a collection of WoW comics, bloggers, podcast, etc.  It is a very ambitious project and I'm glad to be working on it with a bunch of other bloggers.

Finally, I'm going to try to get some guest posters for next week since I'm going to be going on vacation to see if they would be willing to write some stuff, including some members of my own guild hopefully.  I will hope to have some news for everybody during this week.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Emblem Gear for the New Level 80 Part 3: The Bear Tank

We have arrived to part 3 of the series about gearing up a new level 80 with nothing but Emblems of Triumph or lower.  This time, I'm gonna focus on my offspec, which is a feral bear tank.  A few notes before I start listing my gear choices.  First, I'm gonna keep listing hit as a stat, but hit is less important for a bear tank.  If you can get hit capped, great.  If not, it is fine, because you are doing so many actions so quickly that you will hold aggro.  The other place where hit would be important is your Growl taunt.  However, you should have Growl glyphed to always hit, so it makes it even less important.  I'm not wild about the Maul glyph, but I will get to that in a later post.  Second, the stats I will be listing at the end will be armor, stamina, agility, dodge rating, critical strike, expertise, and hit.  So with no further ado, let's get started with the list.

Head:  Hood of Lethal Intent - 75 Emblems of Triumph
Neck:  Shard of the Crystal Forest - 19 Emblems of Conquest = 19 Emblems of Triumph
Shoulder: Duskstalker Shoulderpads - 45 Emblems of Triumph
Back:  Platinum Mesh Cloak - 25 Emblems of Valor = 25 Emblems of Triumph
Chest:  Malfurion's Raiment's of Conquest - 50 Emblems of Triumph
Wrist:  Wristwraps of the Cutthroat - 60 Emblems of Valor = 60 Emblems of Triumph
Hands:  Malfurion's Handgrips of Conquest - 30 Emblems of Triumph
Waist:  Belt of the Twilight Assassin - 28 Emblems of Conquest = 28 Emblems of Triumph
Legs:  Furious Gladiator's Dragonhide Legguards - 75 Emblems of Triumph
Feet:  Boots of Captain Ellis - 40 Emblems of Valor = 40 Emblems of Triumph
Ring 1:  Clutch of Fortification - 35 Emblems of Triumph
Ring 2:  Dexterous Brightstone Ring - 35 Emblems of Triumph
Trinket 1:  Glyph of Indomitability - 50 Emblems of Triumph
Trinket 2:  See Notes
Relic:  Idol of the Corruptor - 19 Emblems of Conquest = 19 Emblems of Triumph

A few notes on this list.  First, unlike the mage and moonkin, you noticed that I did not recommend the 4 piece tier 9 set.  Main reason is the 4 piece bonus, which is shortening the Barkskin cooldown by 12 seconds, does not do enough to pick it over the higher 245 items where available, mainly the head and shoulder slots.  Bear tanks look for 3 major stats, which are armor, stamina, and agility.  Having a smaller cooldown on something you use in emergency situations only is not entirely helpful.  Second, you will notice I went with the PvP legs.  They have the same gems and armor as the tier 9 legs, but they have +1 agility and + 18 stamina over the tier 9 legs.  Plus they have resilience, which although not as useful as it use to be for bear tanks, it still good.  Third, you noticed I left the second trinket out for a couple reasons.  One, there is no good second tanking trinket between 213 - 245 for emblems only for bears.  Second, and the bigger reason, is you should be farming regular ToC 5 man for The Black Heart, which is an absolutely incredible trinket and will likely only be replaced by either a Darkmoon Card: Greatness, a 10/25 man ToC tanking trinket, or an ICC tanking trinket.  Finally, you may have notice that I went with the 226 Idol of the Corruptor versus the 245 Idol of MutilationThe reason behind this choice is mostly thanks to Kalon at the Think Tank blog (see sidebar).  He ran the numbers between the two and determined that the Corruptor is actually better for tanking versus Mutilation and will only be replaced by the Tier 10 Idol, Idol of the Crying Moon.  

So what is the cost for all of these goodies. It is cheaper, at the cost of 586 Emblems of Triumph, than the mage or the moonkin.  What do you get for all this?  Here are  your base stats.  I tried to do the math to calculate how much armor you will have in dire bear form, but I will tell you I don't know how accurate I am.  So here is just the base stats of the gear.

Armor:  5954 (which by my terrible calculation and Excel skills comes up a little more than 28k armor in Dire Bear Form and appropriate talents and meta gems added in.)
Stamina:  1302
Agility: 738
Dodge Rating:  120
Critical Strike:  308
Expertise Rating:  57
Hit:  257
Resilience: 80

The tough thing in this list is the expertise.  The cap is 132 expertise rating if you are properly specced, but the ToC or lower gear does not have a lot of expertise rating.  Hopefully, you can find a staff with some expertise on it.  Until then, just be careful with threat generation.  Otherwise, you have a good amount of armor, good amount of stamina, and be almost hit capped with this gear without gems or enchants.  Also, remember the higher the critical strike rating, the higher change for Savage Defense to proc, which gives you more survivability.  Agility also helps with this rating as well as helping to increase  your dodge.

So we are done, we have reached the end of how to gear the new level 80 with emblem gear for three specs.  This series has been one of the tougher ones for me to write, but it has also been one of the most enjoyable.  Hopefully, you will get a chance this weekend to play with your alts and maybe get them closer to 80.  

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Emblem Gear for the New Level 80 Part 2: The Moonkin

It has been a while since I have had to think about starter moonkin gear for a new level 80.  However, sometimes, it is good to look back and see where you came from to where you are now as well as help newer players who are just hitting level 80 and wanting to go moonkin.   So with that in mind, I bring you part 2 in the series, with this part focusing on moonkins.

Head:  Hood of Fiery Aftermath - 75 Emblems of Triumph
Neck:  Evoker's Charm - 19 Emblems of Conquest = 19 Emblems of Triumph
Shoulder:  Malfurion's Mantle of Conquest - 30 Emblems of Triumph
Back:  Disguise of the Kumiho - 25 Emblems of Valor = 25 Emblems of Triumph
Chest:  Malfurion's Vestments of Conquest - 50 Emblems of Triumph
Wrist:  Wraps of the Astral Traveler - 60 Emblems of Valor = 60 Emblems of Triumph
Hands:  Malfurion's Gloves of Conquest - 30 Emblems of Triumph
Waist:  Belt of the Living Thicket - 28 Emblems of Conquest = 28 Emblems of Triumph
Legs:  Malfurion's Trousers of Conquest - 50 Emblems of Triumph
Feet:  Xintor's Expeditionary Boots - 40 Emblems of Valor = 40 Emblems of Triumph
Ring 1:  Band of the Invoker - 35 Emblems of Triumph
Ring 2:  Heartmender Circle - 35 Emblems of Triumph
Trinket 1:  Talisman of Resurgence - 50 Emblems of Triumph
Trinket 2: Shard of the Crystal Heart - 50 Emblems of Triumph
Relic:  Idol of Lunar Fury - 25 Emblems of Triumph

A few notes about the items chosen here.  First, I decided to link to Wowhead this time.  Second, the headpiece is still the same headpiece as for mages due to the itemization which is good for DPS casters in general.  Third, I only went with one leather off-tier piece, which was the Belt of the Living Thicket.  The main reason I chose this one was because of the need for druids to reach the soft haste cap of 408.  Also, since druids can wear leather, it opened up more choices for this slot than the mage.  Fourth, the rings and trinkets are not the most ideal, but when you limit yourself to 213+ emblem gear, you kind of are stuck on those.  Finally, this does not include a weapon. 

So how much does this cost?  It is actually the same price as the mage, at 602 Emblems of Triumph.  What do you get for this?

Intellect = 906
Spirit = 550
Spellpower = 1137
Critical Strike Rating = 166
Haste = 411
Hit = 353

In other words, you get hit capped, soft haste capped, full 4T9, and the second best moonkin relic with a good amount of spellpower before the first gem, enchant, or racial.  And since our spirit is converted into critical strike rating, it also gives you a healthy amount of spirit to start.

For tomorrow, I will be doing part 3 of this series on gearing up the new level 80 bear.  And I will tell you, get ready for some surprises there on what gear is chosen.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Emblem Gear for the New Level 80 Part 1: The Mage

With having a new level 80 mage, I presented myself an interesting challenge.  How many pieces of 213+ gear could I get with nothing but Emblems of Triumph or lower.  The answer is pretty much all of it.  Here is my list of gear to get with nothing but Emblems of Triumph.  I will try to do this with moonkins and bear tanks later, but you can follow a similar thought pattern in order to how to downgrade to get the gear you need.

One note with this.  This is just the base iLevel 200 5 mans dungeons.  You can get better gear in the 5 man ToC and the 5 man ICC dungeons.  This list is doing nothing but the original dungeons.  Also, this is assuming you have not stepped in a single raid yet.  Even a VoA can net you better gear than this list.  This is not a BiS list, this is a starter list for a new mage. 

Head: [Hood of Fiery Aftermath] - 75 Emblems of Triumph
Neck:  [Evoker's Charm] - 19 Emblems of Conquest = 19 Emblems of Triumph
Shoulders:  [Khadgar's Shoulderpads of Conquest] - 30 Emblems of Triumph
Back:  [Disguise of the Kumiho] - 25 Emblems of Valor = 25 Emblems of Triumph
Chest:  [Khadgar's Robe of Conquest] - 50 Emblems of Triumph
Wrist:  [Wraps of the Astral Traveler] - 60 Emblems of Valor = 60 Emblems of Triumph
Hands:  [Khadgar's Gauntlets of Conquest] - 30 Emblems of Triumph
Waist:  [Sash of Potent Incantations] - 28 Emblems of Conquest = 28 Emblems of Triumph
Legs:  [Khadgar's Leggings of Conquest] - 50 Emblems of Triumph
Feet: [Xintor's Expeditionary Boots] - 40 Emblems of Valor = 40 Emblems of Triumph 
Ring 1:  [Band of the Invoker] - 35 Emblems of Triumph
Ring 2: [Heartmender Circle] - 35 Emblems of Triumph
Trinket 1: [Shard of the Crystal Heart] - 50 Emblems of Triumph
Trinket 2: [Talisman of Resurgence] - 50 Emblems of Triumph
Wand:   [Brimstone Igniter] - 25 Emblems of Triumph

Just a few notes about this gear.  I chose the head as the off tier piece because the piece is simply incredible for casters.  When we get to the moonkin gear list, the head will likely still be the choice because of the stats and itemization.   Also, I know the Heartmender Circle is a healer ring with MP5, which is useless to mages.  However, you are not going to find a ring with better stats, even if you downsize your Triumph badges.  Also, I know the Shard of the Crystal Heart is not the most ideal trinket, but considering that the hit cap is higher for arcane mages than moonkins, it still will be preferred.  In addition, the lower trinkets are not as good.  Also, you will notice there is no weapons to buy with emblems.  There is an iLevel 200 offhand you could buy, but you could also get something from the dungeons that is comparable.

So for the low, low price of 602 emblems (which if you think about it, you ran dungeons leveling up so you probably have about 30 going in), you can get your mage to have at least 213 gear in every slot except for the weapon and offhand slots, full 4T9, and well on their way to raiding.  These are all the stats you would get from this gear alone:

938 Intellect
458 Spirit
1187 Spellpower
282 Critical Strike
327 Haste
365 Hit

And all of this is before enchants, gems, racials like 5% intellect bonus by gnomes, etc.  Also, because I am not a math theorycrafter, there is talents to convert the intellect and spirit into more spellpower, which will increase it even further.   This is also before stepping into raids, where even raids like VoA or ToC can get you better gear than this.  For example, with my mage, the first time I stepped into VoA, I got the 251 T10 legs.  In that case, I picked up the T9 head piece to get my set bonus until I can break it with my next piece of T10.  At that point, I will probably go and get the 245 helm.

This is the first part of a 3 part series.  Next post will be about the emblem gear for the new level 80 moonkin.  The third part will be about gearing a feral tank with nothing but Emblem gear.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

DPS versus Meaningful DPS - What is the Difference?

Last night was a highlight night for my guild, Conquest on the Ner'zhul server.  (GM would want me to tell you we are recruiting!! See link on sidebar.)  After many weeks of work, we finally downed LK on 25 man to much celebration.   So now that we have both 10 and 25 man LK kills, we can start working on hard modes for ICC and Ruby Sanctum, which may be out this week.

After going back through the fight, I noticed a couple of things.  First, it seems like my DPS was not as high as usual.  I don't know if it was the excitement of getting to the finale of that fight that I started messing up rotation or what, but it was lower than I'm use to.  Plus, there is a lot of movement which is never good for a moonkin.  I will have to go back and look at my World of Logs to see if that holds true since Recount can be a little messy. 

The second thing that I really noticed was I was using my cooldowns at better times.  After talking with my GM about squeezing every last bit of DPS out and using the cooldowns at better times, I changed several things up.  First, I tried to use a Starfall right at the beginning of the fight before he summons ghouls.  That way, the tanks wouldn't be upset about me using Starfall.  Second, when running in, I tried to use my Starfall to take care of any remaining orbs, the last Raging Spirit, and the LK at the same time.  Third, I tried to hit all the valks and LK with my Typhoon to get the snare effect and more damage on LK.  Fourth, I saved my Starfall for the second set of valks because the defile hits almost the same time as the valks.  (But honestly, after using it on the run in, it was pretty much ready for the second valk phase anyway.)  Finally, as the vile spirits were moving towards us in phase 3, I tried to Typhoon and Starfall if cooldowns were up.  Changing my cooldown schedule may have contributred to a lower DPS, but we got the kill.

This got me thinking about the difference between DPS and meaningful DPS.   Could I have used my cooldowns at will and not think twice about it?  Sure.  But would we have lost people on the second valk phase?  Ore would I have not been able to snare the vile spirits or the valks?   Did I give the healers enough time to heal somebody to save them in phase 3?  These are questions that will never be able to be answered. 

Could a lower DPS result in a boss kill?  I would make an argument to yes, it could.  However, for this to be true, it has to be meaningful DPS.  First, it has to be adding DPS to the part of the fight where the group has been struggling.  During the kill, it was the first time we made it through the phase 2 without losing anyone to a valk.  Just changing cooldowns to allow me to hit Starfall during the second set of valks may have saved us from losing people. 

Second, it has to be focused on the correct mobs.  I can get up to 10k DPS on a single valk, but if it is not against the one that is about to drop a player, it means nothing.  This means focus firing the right target and helping the raid group out as much as possible.

Third, it has to be the right raid focus.  This goes back to personality types I talked about a couple post ago.  The narcissistic asshole only cares about DPS, but does not think about meaningful DPS.  The goal of the game is to down bosses and make progression.  If you down the progression boss, nobody will care if you DPS is slightly lower than usual.  It is how you contributed to the raid group and that the group succeeded.  This is no more true than Blood Queen.  How many times has you group had a mind control because someone was focusing on DPS versus getting their next bite in?  I know it has happened several times in our raids.

The final thing that helps to bring DPS and meaningful DPS closer together is familiarity.  The more you do a boss, the more you get familiar with the mechanics.  I remember my first Rotface on 25 man where my DPS was around 4k.  With better gear and more familiarity with the fight, I am constantly getting about 10k DPS on that fight now.  I'm sure the more familiar I get with LK, it will improve.  Even in my second 10 man LK kill earlier this week, my DPS went up from about 7k on the first kill to about 8k.  As you get more comfortable with a fight, the meaningful DPS increases.

In the best players, DPS would always be both high and meaningful.  I'm nowhere near one of the best players and can freely admit that and is something that I'm working on myself.  When I can learn how to keep high DPS and move, it will be incredible.  However, until that time, I am willing to research, contribute, use what I know to the best of my ability, and continue to get kills.  Even if it means a little lower DPS than usual.

So, overall, it is important to look at every fight to not only maximize your DPS, but to maximize your meaningful DPS.  The more meaningful the DPS, the more you are contributing to the raid group.  This in turn will lead to more progression and more goals met.            

Monday, June 14, 2010

PvP Gear for PvEers - Can You? More Importantly, Should You?

We recently had a moonkin apply to our guild.  As our resident moonkin, I decided to look at his gear and saw several problems from not being enchanted and gemmed.  However, one of the things that I noticed was that he had two pieces of PvP gear.  I asked him a question about using PvP gear in the PvE environment.  One of my guild members thought this would be a great blog as to could you use PvP gear in a PvE setting.

First off, can you use PvP gear in PvE raids?  Yes, you can do it.  It makes your Gear Score look good and gets you into raids with a higher Gear Score for people who think that is important.  However, does it improve your output.  That is where I would like to look at what you get between pieces.  I'll start with two moonkin pieces and then also include an example of two pieces of mage gear.

Now, a note of warning.  I'm only talking about DPS and healers.  Some of the best tanking equipment is PvP because of the high stamina and high resilience.  I think the BiS tanking weapon for feral druids is the highest arena staff.  Since tanks need stamina and resilience, they may actually wants some PvP gear.

One thing that is always good to remember with gear is what I call the rule of addition/subtraction.  For Blizzard to put a certain stat on a piece of gear, they must take away other stats to balance the gear.  You will see that this holds true for both of the examples I'm going to be talking about.  It is also the explanation as to why you shouldn't take PvP gear into a PvE setting.

Let's start with the moonkin example.

Lasherweave Trousers vs Relentless Gladiator's Wyrmhide Legguards

Both of these pieces of gear are iLevel 251, so they are equivalent pieces of gear for both PvE and PvP.  Lets start with the base stats.  If you use the PvP gear, you have the following differences between the 251 T10 gear:

Resilience = + 96
Stamina = + 56
Intellect = - 36
Critical Strike Rating = - 16
Hit Rating = - 80

PvP gear is heavily reliant on resilience and stamina.  However, to add that to equivalent PvE gear, they have to take away three important stats from the gear, which is intellect, critical strike rating, and hit.  In addition, the big difference is you could be missing out on the set bonuses from the 251 PvE gear for two or four pieces.  You can see how much you are sacrificing if you use PvP gear instead of PvE gear.

Now that we have seen the moonkin, let us also look at the mage gear.  This is an example that I personally looked at because I have both pieces of this from lucky VoA drops.
Bloodmage Leggings vs Relentless Gladiator's Silk Trousers   

Looking at just the stats between the two pieces of gear, he is what you gain and lose using PvP gear over PvE gear.

Resilience = + 96
Stamina = + 56
Intellect = - 36
Critical Strike Rating = - 16

Hit Rating = - 80

First off, you may notice the gains/losses are the same as with the moonkin gear.  This shows that Blizzard follows a very similar pattern between balancing gear between PvP and PvE.  If you add stamina and resilience, you have to take away more important stats for PvE.

So, all this analysis means one thing.  You can use PvP gear in a PvE setting, but someone who has equivalent PvE gear will likely give greater DPS output then someone who is in the equivalent PvP gear.  And if your applying to a guild, you probably should try to get the best PvE gear you can.

I know a lot has come out this weekend about changes in Cataclysm and hopefully, I will be able to get those sooner rather than later.  I may even try to post a new blog this afternoon with those changes.

Friday, June 11, 2010

WoW Personalities and How to Deal With Them

In every aspect of your life, you have to deal and handle with several personality types.  At work, there are people I get along with great.  There are others that I could slap and not think twice about it and have no bad feelings about doing it.

However, some people think that since WoW is an online game about killing dragons and evil lich kings that everybody is a type A personality, with a push ahead attitude.  And while I think a lot of players have this mentality, there are some who don't.  Everybody plays this game for a different reason.  I wanted to take this post to kind of describe the different mentalities I have run across in WoW and how to deal with them when conflicts arise.  I'm gonna start with the most Type A personality and move down to the most Type B.
For definition purposes, Type A personalities are more of the aggressive while Type B tend to be more of a passive, subdued personality.

1) Narcissistic Asshole 

This is a player who knows he is incredible at this game and he makes sure you know how awesome he is and if you question it, he will be offended and tell you how much better he is than you.  I'm sure you have seen this in PUGs.  This is the guy who post damage meters after every single fight when he knows he is on top and he wants to drive home how great he is.  Making progress and killing bosses is secondary.  He could do it if he wasn't with all of these losers.  The best way to handle this type is to try to redirect his focus from himself to the task at hand.  He may not do it.  If he becomes disruptive, you can choose not to take him in your raids or never PUG with him again.

2) Focused Leader - This personality type is a person who plays the game well and has a focus on getting the job to be done.  He may appear to come across as an asshole at times, but he sees everything as an end to a goal.  He may put the goal above his own or your personal feelings.   These players are the players who make great raid leaders.  If you mess up, they will tell you that you messed up.  Sometimes, this can be very vocal.  This is not a terrible thing but some of the more type B personalities may see it as such.  If you are in conflict with this personality, the best thing to do is to try to take it at face value.  It is not that he really doesn't care about you, he is focused on the completion of a goal.

3) Caring Leader - This personality is still driven to a goal.  They play the game incredibly well and remains focused. However, they are also the ones who can also understand the type B personalities more.  Whereas the focused leader puts the goal above people, the caring leader puts the people equals with the goal.  This is the personality where you see most good GMs come in at.  They are the ones who you can always talk to about issues that you have.  To be honest, you will very rarely find yourself in conflict with this personality mainly because they realize that good people are needed to reach the goal and they want to try to build it as much as possible.

4) Consistent Player - This is where I think most WoW gamers fall.  They play the game well.  They know their class inside and out.  They are focused on a specific goal.  They work well with both the focused and caring leader.  They are not easily offended, they can take criticism, and they can give helpful criticism when necessary.  However, they also realize that at times, things are more important than the goal.   They understand the more type B personality and can even defend them when it seems the goal is being put ahead of the people.  This is also what makes them shy away from more leadership roles due the possibility of offending people.  They are happy showing up for raids and getting the job done.  The people who conflict most with this personality type is the very top and bottom.  The narcissistic asshole grind on them because of their annoyance.  The passive player annoys them because they make no attempt to become better.  They want the happy medium.

5) Sensitive Player - This is the player who can play their class well and understands the basics of the game.  However, when the focused leader puts the goal first over them, they tend to become offended.  These players are needed in every group.  You can't just have a group of focused leaders because the ones who aren't the actual leaders become the narcissistic assholes over time trying to prove themselves.  On the other hand, you can't have just sensitive players or you will get people who are not as motivated to reach a goal.  If you are in conflict with a sensitive player, you have to just be open to their point of view.  Don't belittle or mock their point of view.  Just accept it.  Tell them you understand where they are coming from but we need to head towards this goal.

6) Passive Player - This player plays with no intention of getting better.  They believe that they do what they do and you have to accept them for who they are or you are out of luck.  If you try to help them, they call you an elitist jerk.  They just want to play.  These can be almost as annoying as the narcissistic asshole, however, they come from two very different areas.  They say that if you don't take them for what they are, then you are cliquish, etc.  If you are in conflict with a passive player, you have to be corrective but be positive.  Don't tell them they suck and they will never get better.  It won't help them out at all.  Help them out by actually being positive.  With this type of player, tell them they are doing good, but we want to make you better.  If they won't accept the instruction, then be honest and tell them that they may not raid with you.

Most of the time, most people will fall into one of these molds.  Yes, you may have moments of being in one of the other areas.  I can't tell you how many AN I have been booted from after I warned people not to bug the second boss, they do it anyway, and we all die and then I start on a narcissistic assholian rant.  (I don't know if assholian is a word, but I'm creating it now.)  I would love to hear your thoughts on this as well as some of the other personalities you run across in WoW.   


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Cataclysm Druid Changes - My Possible Moonkin Build

MMO Champion has released the previews of the druid talents for Cataclysm.  Now, I am not a theorycrafter by any stretch, but I'm going to pretend I'm one today by taking a guess as to what the end game moonkin raiding spec will be.  I will try to do one tomorrow for feral tank druids and try to come up with options.  Here is what I'm looking at right now.

It is a 63/0/13 talent build right now.  Here is my rundown of the talents:

Balance Talents

Starlight Wrath (5/5) - Reduces the cast time of Wrath and Starfire.  I think this will be a necessary talent since casting those more quickly will allow us to build lunar or solar power.

Genesis (5/5) - Increases DoT damage by 5%, which is pretty substantial for our Moonfire, Insect Swarm, and Faerie Fire.

Nature's Majesty (2/2) - Increases the critical strike damage by 4% for Starfire, Wrath, and Starfall, which will be incredibly good and important to hit whatever the new Lunar Crit Cap will be.

Improved Moonfire (2/2) - Increases the direct damage of Moonfire by 10%.  Again, more damage for one of our bigger DoT spells.  Plus, the DoT is determined by the upfront damage of the Moonfire.

Nature's Grace (3/3) - Essentially, Wrath and Starfire crits increase spell casting speed.  Very helpful, especially if you are at the Lunar Crit Cap and every spell cast is a crit.

Solar Beam (1/1) - Our first new talent ability.  However, I think this is more of a PvP talent versus a PvE talent,  but, you will need this to get one of the talents further down the tree.

Nature's Reach (2/2) - Increases our max range, which is essential for PvE fights to stay at max range.

Nature's Splendor (1/1) - Increases our main DoTs length.

Brambles (3/3) - Main thing is it increases your treants damage dealt.  Stunning probably won't do much in a PvE enviroment but that ability is there.

Starsurge (1/1) - This is my current favorite description for a talent.  "It fuses the power of the sun and moon."  Yes, it does.  We are badass like that.  This is a direct damage spell which I'm thinking will become part of our rotation.  The "knocking down" sounds again like a more PvP part of the ability, but it will have some function in PvE as a ranged stun maybe.

Vengeance (5/5) - Increases the critical strike damage bonus by 100% for our most used spells.  In other words, big crits.

Dreamstate (3/3) - Now, normally, I would say not to take any mana saving abilities in a tree since 25 mans tend to not have issues with mana.  However, I would take this talent because of the ability it leads to further down the tree, which will be necessary.

Gale Winds (2/2)  - This is where some of the variable points start.  If you are mana starved in a raid, you could move these points to Moonglow.  However, this just increases your AoE damage done with hurricane.  Since Typhoon is not a major source of damage, increasing it a little might help, but not much.

Lunar Guidance (3/3) - This is why you took Solar Beam and Starsurge to begin with.  While increasing the range of the Solar Beam may not be much use in PvE, having the 15 additional lunar or solar power while casting Starsurge is huge.  This will help us hit our Eclipses quicker as well.

Balance of Power (2/2) - This is our conversion from spirit to hit that we needed in order to use resto gear as our main gear.  100% of our spirit will be converted into hit.

Moonkin Form (1/1) - Duh, this is our crit chicken, our boomkin, our form.  Take it.

Improved Moonkin Form (3/3) - Increase all party members haste by 5%.  Pretty handy since our DoTs will be determined by our haste and crit rating.

Euphoria (2/2) - This is how we will change from Lunar Eclipse to Solar Eclipse really quickly. Starfire crits will equal 8 solar power and Wrath  crits will equal 4 lunar energy.  This makes sense since our Wrath cast are traditionally quicker than our Starfire cast.  Also, when we hit an eclipse, we get 12% of our mana back.  That is huge.

Owlkin Frenzy (3/3) - Damage increased by 10% when damage is done to you.  Not to shabby.

Wrath of Cenarius (3/3) - Increases Moonfire's DoT damage by 8% and can stack while we are moving.  This will help us not to lose as much DPS as when we are on the move since we can refresh it and allow it to stack up to 3 times.

Improved Eclipse (3/3) - Another tool to help us get to Eclipses faster by increasing the amount of Lunar and Solar energy we gain by 30%.  Plus, if we are damaged with a critical hit, we gain Lunar or Solar Energy.

Typhoon (1/1) - Our good old Typhoon spell.  Of course, you should pick it up.

Force of Nature (1/1) - Also, our good old treants.  Pick these up as well.

Earth and Moon (3/3) - Since we cast Wrath and Starfire all the time, this equates to a 8% more damage increase on the mob and a 6% increase in our spell damage that we dish out.

Fungal Growth (2/2) - This was a tough call.  Most 25 man raids have hunters who can frost trap which is essentially the same as this.  This turns our treants and Wild Mushroom into basically hunter traps.  The difference is you get three traps with the treants and can lay Wild Mushroom down pretty regularly.  Again, if you are extremely mana starved, you could probably transfer these points to Moonglow.

Starfall (1/1) - Our face melting, world ending, 51 point talent.  Take it.  You'll love it.

Feral Talents

I don't see any feral talents worth taking as a moonkin.  Just skip this tree.

Restoration Talents

Blessing of the Grove (2/2) - Increases the direct damage of your Moonfire by 6%.  Remember, higher direct damage on Moonfire = higher DoT damage.

Furor (5/5) - Increases our intellect in moonkin form by 10%.  This will directly increase our spellpower due to the new mechanics of intellect.  Plus, we will get some more mana back from Dreamstate.

Natural Shapeshifter (3/3) - Reduces mana cost for shapeshifting and opens up the Master Shapeshifter talent, which is more important.

Omen of Clarity (1/1)  - Pretty much the same use as now.  Makes your next cast free.  You probably still will be able to proc this by casting Gift of the Wild.

Master Shapeshifter (2/2) - Increases spell damage by 4%.  More damage = higher DPS, which is always win.

So this is my idea of what the basic moonkin raiding spec will be.  What are you opinions on this spec?  Do you think some of the abilities will not be as needed?  Do you think that mana management will be more of an issue than before?  I can't wait to hear your thoughts on this.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

World of Warcraft Premium Subscription - An Idea for Blizzard

I don't know if this is more Blizzard or Activision, but it seems more and more services are becoming premium pay for services.  From the remote AH app to talk of paying for extra character slots, there seems to be a lot of things people are paying for.  Is there a market for it?  Most likely, yes.  When you have the number one MMORPG in the entire world, there is likely someone who will pay for this.  Just like paying $25 for a horse.  However, I would like to pitch and idea to Blizzard on how to make this and more services available that would encompass all of this and make people feel like they are getting a value.  I call it the World of Warcraft Premium Subscription.  Here is my idea of what it would include:

1) Remote Armory/AH App Service - $36 value per year
2) Additional Character Slots - $5 value per year
3) Free In Game Pet Once a Year from Blizzard Store (No Plushy) - $10 value per year
4) Free Rename/Look Change Once a Year - $10 value per year
5) Free WoW Magazine Subscription - $40 per year

You could charge an additional $10 per month to the current WoW subscription and nobody would argue about this and you would seem like you are not screwing the community to death with $3 here and $10 here and $5 here.  Plus, you still make about $20 profit per premium subscription.  You could even reduce the price to $9 per month and still make money per premium subscription.  If you made it $5 and ate some of the cost for the app, in game pet, and rename, that would be even better. 

Plus, you can do some cool things outside of the subscription for premium members, like an extra Blizzcon ticket sale just for premium members (how many people would you get signed up for that alone) or a meetup at Blizzcon for premium members where you get to meet the Blizzard developers.  It does not cost you any more money and lets you give some additional benefits to those who would support your game through a premium subscription fee. 

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Podcast and Gaming Music - What's on My Zune!

That's right.  I said it.  I have a Zune.  I have an iPad for my internet browsing and a Zune for my music listening.  I hold no alliances.

In a more serious blogging note, I am trying to find something until I can time to sit at my gaming computer and write the gear with Emblems of Triumph or  lower for mages, moonkins, and feral tanks for new level 80s.  However, until I have access for all of that, I decided to go through some of my favorite podcast as well as some of my gaming music while I'm raiding/playing WoW.  Let me start with podcasts.


Bind on Equip - This has become the first podcast I listen to as soon as it updates.  It is incredibly informative and is a lot of fun to listen to.  I also enjoy the spots where they put in cash sponsor's names into pre-made commercial slots.  They also do something that a lot of WoW podcast do not do and they bring what is going on in their actual lives, not just their WoW characters.

The Instance - This is one of the first WoW podcast that I have ever listened to.  I still enjoy it to this day.  I will say that their content has gotten a little blue as of late, which has made me enjoy it a little more.

Raid Warning - Fair warning:  Do not go to this show for WoW content.  Yes, they have some WoW content, but it is stuff you will hear elsewhere.  They have two great things going for them.  One, the class round tables are incredible to listen to.  Second, the hosts get drunk and some of the funniest stuff comes out of their mouths.  And sometimes, in to their mouths.  Also, this was started in the Totally Rad Guild, so I heard about this one before most people ever heard of it.

Outlandish - Funny podcast again.  The music parodies rival any of the best WoW parodies you probably have ever heard.  The add on commercials are awesome.  The 3.5 segments are incredible, even if they get absurd at times. 

Weekend Confirmed - This is my one non-WoW podcast that I listen to and this goes back to my love for 1UP Yours.   


Most of the time, I just turn my Zune Desktop Player to shuffle and let it keep going.  However, there are a few albums I will listen start to finish while I'm raiding.  Here is my list without any commentary because everybody is going to have different music taste.

The Platinum Collection by Queen
Greatest Hits by Survivor
The Very Best of Meat Loaf by Meat Loaf
The Wall by Pink Floyd
Greatest Hits by Boston
Greatest Hits by Guns N' Roses 

This is by no means a complete list of my favorite music, but these are some of the highlights.   What are some of your favorite music/podcast to listen to.  I'm a classic rock fan, so I tend to go that way, but I'm sure people have some of their favorites as well.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Updated Eclipse Mechanic - My Thoughts on Stuff Unknown

I usually don't do a lot of pure speculation post, but I'm gonna try on this one.  We know that the Eclipse mechanic is changing in Cataclysm to a bar that tells whether you are closer to the lunar eclipse or the solar eclipse.  If you cast nature spells, it moves you closer to the lunar eclipse.  If you cast arcane spells, you move closer to the solar eclipse.  Here is how I'm thinking some of this maybe useful, if it does work like I think it will work.

1) Loading Lunar Eclipse before a boss - I do not know if the bar will reset after each fight, but if it does not, this could make for an interesting mechanic.  On trash, you would have more incentive to use Wrath versus ever using Starfire.  Also, Hurricane is our most used trash mechanic, which is also a nature spell.  I could see where you use nature spells to get yourself into the lunar eclipse state so that you can have full lunar eclipse right at the start of the boss fight.  In other words, you are talking about increasing our burst DPS greatly at the start of a fight.  This in turn may lead to the second thing, which is...

2) Moonkins More of a Threat in PvP - As if Starfall wasn't enough, if you can front load your Lunar Eclipse and can bust out with 25k + crits of Starfire right at the beginning of PvP, you are talking huge up front burst damage.   Of course, they will break this for arenas by resetting your bar at the beginning of arena fights.

3) Moving Less of a DPS Loss - Nothing hurts me more than getting in a fight like Festergut and just as my Lunar Eclipse procs, I have to move to a spore.  I know because that means that at best, I will be able to reapply my Insect Swarm and my Moonfire, but no huge Starfire crits.  With this new mechanic, it moves it away from a strict timer to something that can be used over time.

4) Nature's Torrent Will Be Used When The Bar is in the Middle - From what they have said of this spell, it sounds like it is going to push the bar, one way or the other.  This is the thing that I hope will give us more variety.  If we can't front load our Lunar Eclipse, I could see where after we apply Faerie Fire and DoTs, our next spell will be Nature's Torrent.  This will move the bar one way or the other and tell us which to start casting.

5) Degradation Over Time - I can't imagine that they will let us stay at one state for any longer than about a minute.  I can imagine that after a minute, the bar will return to the middle if no action has taken place.  We can still front load Lunar Eclipse if we are fast, but it won't be forever.  The longer before it returns to the middle, the better for us moonkins.

6) Eclipse at Level 10 - This is honestly the most exciting thing for me.  While I'm sure moonkin form will still be down the talent tree, if somebody puts points into Balance at level 10, they get Eclipse immediately.  It will be interesting to see how the mastery system will affect Eclipse.  My guess is that higher mastery will give higher crit chances on Eclipse or increase your haste.

So what are you thoughts on the new Eclipse mechanic?  I am very optimistic for what Cataclysm will bring to the moonkins in the game.  And, Blizzard, please don't take away our owl form.  Don't do to us what you did to the trees. 

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Golf and WoW - Is It Possible?

Over this Memorial Day weekend, I actually got to go play two rounds of golf with my family, one on Friday and one on Saturday.  I am not an expert by any stretch.  In fact, I shot a 60......on the front 9.  If you know anything about golf, par for the entire course is 72 usually. 

However, I am very good at video game golf.  I have always loved the Hot Shots series as well as the Tiger Woods Golf Games.  So when I heard the news that the goblins are building a golf course in Azshara, it got me thinking on all the fun things that could be done with a World of Warcraft golf mini-game.  Think of all the possibilities.

1)  Gambling - Get a few friends together and place a bet of 100 gold per hole and make it like a skins game.  That would be an awesome way to have some legitimate gambling in WoW. 

2) Engineering - I could definitely see rocket powered golf balls that could drive the distance of a par 4.  Or a club that added extra power to your swing.  Or a parachute golf ball that will open at the height of the arc and travel down slowly.

3) Tournaments for Pets/Mounts - They could put on tournaments like the fishing tourney where the winner would get an incredible prize, like a pet or a mount. 

4) Ganking/World PvP - Wouldn't it be awesome if the golf course was a kind of world PvP where you had to gain control of the golf course and then you have 3 hours to play golf.  In addition, you would be open on the golf course.  Couldn't you see a rogue using a seven iron to fight off a ganker.  They could even make golf clubs as actual weapons.

5) Golf Cart Races - When I was younger, this is what would get me in trouble at the golf course.  My friends would race the golf carts around the course.  I could see the golf course having golf carts that come equipped with weapons, etc.

This is one of the best ideas I think that have come to the game in a while and if they implement World of Warcraft golf, it would be something fresh and new to do in the game.

Later this week, I'm going to be writing a blog on  how to get almost all your gear for mages and moonkins before you step foot into your first raid and I will be throwing up my recommended pre-raid, emblem only, gear.

Also, I mentioned this on my Twitter feed, but Redhawk's Gaze got a mention on Bind on Equip by Wemb.  I wanted to thank the show for talking about the blog.  I would highly recommend checking out that podcast.  It is one of the best podcast on the internet and one of the few podcast that I listen to about WoW.