Tuesday, August 31, 2010

End Game Raiding At The End of An Expansion - A Study In Risk Versus Benefit

My guild, for the time being anyway, has decided that we are going to halt our 25 man ICC hard mode progress at 11/12.  The main reason they have decided this is because with the time left in the expansion and the amount that we raid, we could use that time to get some other achievements completed.  If we complete the other achievements, we may come back to 25 man HM LK but for now, we are holding off.

Being in the guild for our original 25 man LK attempts, I can see why this path was chosen.  We had such guild turnover while attempting the LK normal encounter that we ended up with some nights with not enough people to raid and we had to do 10 mans.  If it was this bad for normal, how much worse would it be for hardmode? 

I attempted guild leading at one time, but it only lasted for about a week.  However, I can see how decisions, especially at the end of the expansion, need to be formulated.  The progression side of all of our raiders I'm sure is thinking that we need to push ahead and take down 25 man HM LK.  However, the logic side of the raid leaders is probably also saying that doing HM LK this close to the end of the expansion may not occur and it may turn to having people leave the guild.  Preservation of the guild and our current group of raiders we have is more important than finishing the progression content.

Now, we are still going to be attempting progress.  We want to take down Algalon.  We want to take down HM Anub in TotGC.  We want to get the Immortal in 25 man Naxx.  We want to take down Halion HM.  We want to take down Yogg + 0.  But at the end of an expansion, these goals are more likely than downing HM LK 25 man with what little time we have left.

Everything in life and in this game is a study of risk versus benefit.  I personally believe that my guild is good enough and we can take down 25 man HM LK.  However, what will the cost be?  Will we burnout some good raiders out who will not return in Cataclysm?  Will we split the guild and cause arguments that cause people to leave the guild?  How many wipes will it take before people get too frustrated to even show up on raid night?  I personally would be there until he is tasting the floor, but I enjoy raiding and it motivates me.  Not everybody is like that.

In addition, people could be wasting gold that they need for the expansion in unnecessary repairs or doing other stuff that will actually make it harder for them in the expansion.  Sometimes, it is better to just hold off and wait.  Sure, we can become guild whatever number to down HM LK in 25 man ICC.  However, it would be better to just wait and get our resources together so that when Cataclysm rolls around so that we can be server first to finish content.

So I'm definitely interested in what other guilds are doing right now to close out the expansion.  Are they pushing forward in ICC or have they decided to try other stuff until then?  In our case, preservation of our current raiders and preparation are more important than downing HM LK.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Moonkin Gemming - Within the Caps

I got a question from a friend of mine last night who is looking to gem his moonkin.  Thinking back on it, this is one of the few topics that I have never discussed on this blog.  How to gem as a moonkin.

Starting off, there are only a few gems you should be gemming with anyway.  As a general rule, you should be using epic gems except for your meta.  They help your gear the most and shows that you care about your gemming.  Plus, at this point, epic gems are not that expensive.  Here are the gems you should be using (if you are not a jewelcrafter):

Chaotic Skyfire Diamond - Meta Gem for your headpiece
Runed Cardinal Ruby - Goes in all red slots 99.99% of the time.
Purified Dreadstone -  Need two of these for your meta gem.
Veiled Ametrine - If your need hit.
Reckless Ametrine - If you need haste.
Potent Ametrine - If you need critical strike rating.

There are blue quality gem equivalents, but they are not really worth getting.  So now that you have your gem list, what to do with them.  Remember my saying about the 3 caps.  Your first priority is hit cap.  Now you probably notice that I did not include a straight hit gem.  The reason why is most of the time, you will get more benefit from using two of the Veiled Ametrines than you will get for using a Rune Cardinal Ruby and a pure hit gem.  The Runed Cardinal Ruby is + 23 spellpower.  The pure hit gem is + 20 hit rating.  The Veiled Ametrine is + 12 spellpower and + 10 hit.  Just looking at the pure numbers, you will get 1 additional spellpower using two Veiled Ametrines over straight spellpower and straight hit.

This is true for the Reckless Ametrine as well.  If you are not at the soft haste cap, it will be better to use two Reckless Ametrine to get to cap versus straight spellpower and haste.  And they can go in red or yellow sockets to meet your gear bonuses.

However, this rule does not hold true for Potent Ametrine.  Since the Lunar Crit Cap is at a high critical strike rating, you will get more bang for your buck just putting Potent Ametrine in yellow sockets to hit your socket bonuses versus changing out a red to get one additional spellpower.  In time, you will be able to hit the Lunar Crit Cap without gems.  At this point, you just go back to Reckless in yellow sockets only.

Speaking of gear bonuses, there are a few rules about what to go for in terms of socket bonuses.  In general, moonkins look for these stats in this order.

Hit > Spellpower > Haste > Critical Strike Rating

This is the reason why the first rule of socket bonuses is only gem socket bonuses if they are spellpower.  If they are hit or haste or critical strike rating, don't gem to get those bonuses.  Second, even in spellpower bonuses, there is a limit.  Elitist Jerks says gem for anything above + 5 spellpower.  I tend to disagree with this.  I say gem for anything about + 7 spellpower because the loss of using a yellow gem versus a red gem is not as great if the spellpower bonus is above + 7.  In addition, always remember you have to have two blue gems socketed at any time.  Ideally, you would want to find blue gem slots to put these in, but if you don't have two, you can either use the eternal socket on your belt (since it does not affect the belt's socket bonus) or just substitute a red gem for it.

The final thing about gemming is don't be quick to regem all your yellow sockets.  Once you are above the haste cap, you may be tempted to change everything over to the Potent Ametrine.  First, look at how much haste you are taking out.  If it puts you below the haste cap, don't take it out.  If you are above the Lunar Crit Cap, you may be tempted to go straight haste with the Reckless Ametrine in your yellow sockets.  Use the equation I mentioned before and find out what your cap is, then you can replace what will keep you above the cap.  Also, think about your meta, especially when you get new gear to replace gear that has a blue gem in it to make sure you do not lost the meta gem socket bonus. 

So hopefully, this little guide will help you when gemming your gear for moonkin.  It is not difficult, but it does take a careful eye when gemming.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Expansion Planning - Why You Should Be Thinking About It Now

On our guild website (which is on the side and yes, we are recruiting), one of the members asked a question that is something to really be considering about this time in the game.  What are your plans for the expansion?  It was a question that I kind of took for granted, but the more I thought about it, I still had a lot of planning to do.  Here is a list of things to think about with the expansion coming up:

1) Leveling - This seems like the most obvious but is one of the things to think about, especially with multiple characters.  I'm happy with the changes they are making to druids and mages, so I'm going to be leveling them first.  I have heard a lot of people who play hunters are not happy with the changes and are considering going to a different alt since they don't like the focus system.  These are all things to consider.  Some people may even consider starting over and playing a worgen or a goblin which means you may be further behind the raiding curve.

2) Professions - I originally thought that I was going to just keep my professions the way there were for the time being.  Now, I'm considering changing my main's professions from skinning and mining to leatherworking and jewelcrafting.  If I'm going to change them, the best time to change them is at the end of the expansion.  The base mats are going to be cheaper at the end of the expansion and you will have a head start on the next expansion by being able to collect the stuff along the way to level in the expansion.

3)  Raiding versus PvP - Is your character's focus going to continue being raiding or will you change focus to being more PvP?  What you are going to focus on in the expansion becomes important now because you will want to start gearing your character that way?  Will you need the best resilience gear to level through battlegrounds?  Will you want to build a tank spec to get to level 85 quickly?  All those should be answered now to get yourself ready for what you are going to be doing.  And it is not just not thing about what you are doing, but what will your role be.  Currently, I'm moonkin with a tanking offspec.  Considering how gear will be working in Cataclysm, I'm considering putting my hatred for healing aside and learning how to heal so I only need one set of gear in Cataclysm.

4) Gold - How much gold are you going to need to make it easy to level and get you ready for the next raiding or PvP areas?  This is counting repairs, gems, reforging, enchants, leveling professions, etc.  As Isaid, my goal is to get about 5 - 10k gold on my main and about 5k gold on my alt.  My alt may be easier since he is making enchants all the time.  My main is selling primordial saronite, which is making about 500g per piece.

5) Guild - If you know that something is going to come up that will take you away from your current guild, it may be time to consider guild changing.  And you will want to be with your new guild at the start of Cataclysm to help with guild leveling, rep, etc.  Also, with the changes with 10 and 25 mans being on the same lockout, you have to think about whether you want to stay with a 10 or 25 man guild since guilds will not be able to run both.  I'm currently going to be staying with my guild and doing 25 mans since I get the most enjoyment out of that in game right now.

I'm sure there are a bunch more that I cannot even think of right now but are all things we have to think about going towards the expansion.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Duelboxing and RAF: Part 5 - Making RAF Do Your Dirty Work

RAF has a lot of features that are incredible and that is not even counting the two person flying mount, the triple XP, or the free month of game time.  There are a few things in the RAF system that you can use to your advantage.

1) Summon Friend -  This has come in so handy, especially with a pally and a shaman.  Both of these classes have a few class quest.  Now the shaman can come on the pally quest, but since I only bought original WoW on the second account, the pally cannot go on the shaman quest since they all happen in the Exodar, which is BC content.  The summon friend feature is great for summoning the shaman back to the pally.  The other thing I have used this for is summoning the rogue, but we will get to him in a second.

2) 90 Day Limit - If you can level characters quickly with the triple XP, you can get more than 2 characters to level 60.  My goal for this RAF is to get 5 characters to level 60.  I have my pally/shaman combo at level 30 in less than a week.  My next combo will be a warrior/shadow priest combo.  So where does the rogue I talked about come into play?

3) Granting Levels - One of the most forgotten features of the RAF is the second account can grant levels to a character on the main account.  You can grant a level for every 2 levels you gain.  What this means is if you can get your second account character to 60, you can grant 30 levels to another character. If you get two characters on the second account to 60, you can grant 60 levels to another character.  This is what I plan to do with the little gnome rogue I have.  Once I get both combos to level 60 through LFD, I will grant 60 levels to my rogue.  Yes, he will be a level 60 rogue in level 1 clothes, but it is another character.  Plus, I can buy greens to catch him up at level 60.

4)  After RAF - Remember in part 1 where I said to use the same address as your Battle.net account.  There was a reasoning behind this.  In order to transfer characters between accounts, you have to be on the same Battle.net account.  Since you did this in part 1, you can transfer your level 60 characters to your main account and cancel your RAF account after the 90 days are up.  Yes, it is $25 per character, but that is a total of little more than 2 months of having two accounts open when you only need one.

So I would encourage you to take all this information and try duelboxing.  It will be a fun challenge if you have tried to just level characters normally and can be very beneficial to you.  Especially considering they are going to lower the leveling curve again soon, you could get a bunch of level 85s come Cataclysm very quickly.

Although the series is over, it doesn't mean it is completely over.  You can add me as a RealID friend at bigdog1862@yahoo.com and you can see the progress of the characters.  (And I have tested this with one of my RealID friends, you can see both characters at the same time.) You can also check out the screenshots section for photos of the duelboxing in action.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Duelboxing And RAF: Part 4 - Is LFD for You?

It is a challenge to play two characters at once.  However, the biggest challenge with duelboxing is being two parts of a 5 man.  We all know that there are three components of every 5 man dungeon which are the tank, the healer, and the DPS.  Looking at these three roles, there are four possible combinations for running two characters in 5 mans.  Each comes with their own challenges.  There are 3 combinations that I could recommend and 1 that I could never recommend.

Combination 1:  DPS/DPS - Of the 4 combinations, this is probably the easiest to play.  You have someone else tank and another person heal and you just DPS.  The advantage to this is if played correctly, it is easy to play.  The disadvantages are you increase the risk of one of your DPS pulling something extra.  This is where having the /assist macro setup will come in handy.  The other disadvantage is you will have the longest LFD que times.  But this could be a good thing as well if you are trying to get some quest under your belt.  Also, with this combination, one of the DPS will likely be behind the other.  How you set up your macros and keys will play a huge role in this.  If you are able to get that combination right, your DPS won't suffer too much.

Combination 2:  Tank/DPS - This is probably the second easiest to play, but even playing as a tank, your difficulty level steps up tremendously at this point.  You should have the tank as your primary screen character with your DPS as your secondary.  Again, your DPS will be slightly below other DPS, but you can correct for this with proper macros and ability placement.  The major advantage to this combination is almost instant ques in LFD which will yield the greatest XP gain for you and your duelboxing DPS.  The disadvantage is you are watching a lot more stuff.  Besides the tanking, you have to make sure your DPS character is hitting the right mob, using the right abilities, etc.  Plus, you have to put up with the idiot DPS more.  I can't tell you how many hunters think their pet can tank as good as a tank and will let their bear pull mobs.  It is incredible.

Combination 3:  Healer/DPS - This is not an easy composition to play.  It is possible, but it is tough.  Remember that healers are not only responsible for the tank, but all the other players.  In addition,  you have to watch your key combinations with your DPS.  If you put a healing spell on a button you are spamming as DPS, you could eat through mana as a healer and people will die.  You also have to keep an eye out for the other party member's health, pet's health, dispells, etc.  The advantage to this combination is you still get pretty quick LFD que times as a healer but it also allows you to do some questing.   

Combination 4:  Tank/Healer - I would never ever ever recommend using this combination in LFD duelboxing.  It may be easy if you are questing, but there is no way that you can focus on tanking and healing at the same time in a 5 man and keep the tank up and the other DPS up.  That is entirely too much for one person to do in 5 mans.  In later levels, it may be possible,  (5 Shaman PvP Says Hi!) but in early levels, you will want to focus on one of those two jobs and not both.

So what are the other things you need for duelboxing LFD.  You will need lots of food and water.  Groups don't like to wait around and so you need to get your mana or health back as quickly as possible.  I like to put the food and water on the same button so that both my characters can drink/eat at the same time.  The other thing is when it comes to gearing.  Do not forget about one character when trying to gear the other in LFD.  For example, I'm currently looking for tank gear for my pally since I'm running a tank/DPS combination.  When that blue item drops, it is easy to know whether or not my tank needs it.  However, it is also easy to forget if it is an upgrade for my shaman.  Remember to think about both characters when running LFD.  Heck, if you get really tricky about it, it gives you two chances to roll greed on an item or one chance to roll need and one chance to roll greed. 

For the last part of the series, I want to walk you through the final things you will need to know about RAF that you can use to your advantage when duelboxing.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Duelboxing and RAF: Part 3 - 3 Essential Macro Starters

Now that you have signed up for the RAF and picked your combo and got your addons and a keycloning software, the next thing you will need are macros.  Macros are going to be specific depending on what your character's names, classes, and level.  Earlier levels will require less macros.  As you move up towards level 60, macros will become more important.   However, there are 3 macro starters you will need for all your duelboxing macros.

/follow - You will need two follow macros.  One for each of the characters to follow the other.  For my example, I have one macro on Reddove that is /follow Redvulture.  The other macro is on Redvulture that is /follow Reddove.  You will also want to put them on two different numbers on your keybar.  That way, you only have to press one of those two buttons to get one to follow the other.

/assist - Nothing is worse than your character is attacking one mob and your other character is targeted on something else and pulls it.  The /assist will allow your one character to target what the primary character at that moment is attacking.  Since Redvulture, my pally, is tanking the mobs right now, Reddove has a /assist Redvulture to make sure he is on the same mob as I am.

/castsequence  -  The first two macro starters are necessary in all the levels.  As you get more abilities, your primary bar space starts to run out.  This is where /castsequence comes into play.   Starting a macro with /castsequence will allow you to cast spells in succession with each button press.  The current example I'm using is with my shammy, Reddove.  I need him to drop totems and I use /castsequence with each totem I need behind it separated by commas.  So I press that button twice and he will drop each totem in succession.

These three macros are the starting points for your macros.  From here, you have to find the best layout for your abilities to maximize what your abilities are and using them. 

Next blog post, I will talk about using LFG and the successes and challenges of duelboxing in LFD.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Duelboxing and RAF: Part 2 - Necessary Addons and Tools

Last post, I mentioned on what is needed to get started to do duelboxing and RAF.  Next things you will need are the tools you need to duelbox.  I feel there are three componants you need to be a successful duelboxer.  This is macros, addons, and something to transmit keys across screens, which is called key cloning.  Macros are going to be covered in the next post while addons and key cloning will be covered in this post.

First, you are going to need some basic addons.  Questhelper is a necessity when doing RAF since you will need the quickest way to quest.  This is another reason you will need to turn your graphic settings down since Questhelper is massive in terms of memory needed. In addition, you will need some sort of action bar handler.  Mine is incorporated in my TukUI, but you may need to get something like Bartender.  Also, I would recommend some way to handle your bags, like Bagnone. 

The final addon I need to recommend is an addon called Jamba.  Jamba is a specific duelboxing addon.  It is available from Curse and it does take some extensive setting up, but it is a necessity.  With this single addon, you can set up quest sharing between characters, quest turn in, looting system, etc.  If you are duelboxing, this addon is the greatest addon you will use.

When it comes to key cloning, there are two major recommendations.  Both of these pieces of software will run behind your two WoW clients and will allow keys to cross.  For example, if you have an attack ability on the number 1 key,  key cloning will allow you to press the 1 key once and it will happen on both screens.  Now for those who are concerned about going against the EULA, GMs in game have said that key cloning is allowed as long as  a user and not a bot is pressing the key.   Mouse click cloning is a little more tricky and I wouldn't recommend that. 

For the software, there is a free option and a pay option.  The pay option is better, but some people will not want to pay the price for that program.  However, the free option is also more complicated to set up than the pay option.  Here are the choices:

Free:  HotKeyNet is a free program that allows key cloning between multiple screens.  It also offers picture in picture setup as well.  Tihe catch with this is you will have to get scripts from the website to load into the program to get all the keys to cross.  You just load up all the scripts you want in one notepad file and then load it into the program. 

Pay Option:  KeyClone is the pay option for key cloning and if you can spend the money, it is well worth it.  It allows you to run up to 5 WoW programs on a single screen and it allows you to easily set up multiple screens on a single screen.  It also allows you to switch between the screen easily.  It cost $19.99 per computer but the license can be transferred between computers.

I will be putting up screens in game in the screenshots section to show you how some of the programs look, etc.  Next time, I will talk about setting up macros to make it even easier to use when duelboxing.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Duelboxing And RAF: Part 1 - Preperation

The Recruit a Friend program in WoW has been incredible in getting new players to start playing WoW and getting old players to level new alts.  However, the people who have benefited the most from RAF are duelboxers.  If you are able to duelbox, you can get a lot of 60+ characters quickly.  The first time I duelboxed, I got 4 total.  I got my mage, who is now 80; my warlock; my hunter; and my DK all above 60.  This is the first part in a new series where I'm going to layout what you need to do duelboxing successfully.  I have decided this time to try and take on a new challenge.  I'm going to be duelboxing a paladin and a shaman up to level 60.  This is the first in a 5 part series in showing how to duelbox in WoW.

First things first.  Duelboxing is a confusing term.  It sounds like you need two computers to be able to do it.  That is not true at all.  What you will be doing is running two WoW clients at the same time.  Windows players have it easy.  You just have to start up the game twice.  Mac players, it gets a little more hairy.  I will refer you to WoWWiki to see how to duelbox on a Mac as they have a good explanation. 

Next, you will need to look at your graphical settings.  Now you may be able to raid on Ultra settings but with running two game clients at the same time, you probably won't be able to.  You will have to turn down your graphical settings some.  When you actually start duelboxing, you can play around with it some to find the right settings.  

Now, you can't duelbox on the same account, so you will need a second WoW account.  This is where the RAF comes into play.  Go to the WoW main site and sign up for the RAF but send the e-mail to your same Battle.net e-mail address.  You can run two accounts on one Battle.net e-mail though.  Having it on the same Battle.net account will also make it easy when you want to transfer your duelboxed characters to the same account.

Finally, the last thing you have to think about in preperation is what classes you want to play.  I would not duelbox until you have at least gotten one character to 80 because when you start duelboxing, you will have to think about advanced macros, addons, etc.  and the more experience you have in game, the better off you will be.  The list I like to look at for combinations is at the Sleepy Priest, who goes through an excellent list looking at every combination of possible duelboxing combinations.

Next post, I will get into the essential addons you will need as well as the importance of a little program called KeyClone.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Rookie Druid: Part 5: Druid versus Priest - A Guest Blog Post by Viktory

Welcome to the final part of this week long series by my guild mate, Viktory.  Today, he talks about the contrast between his main and his alt and why his alt may be his main sooner rather than later.

Last time I talked about how people should research and learn the details of their class. After all, that bear form icon does not mean someone who has always played Boomkin can say they know how to tank by default.

Now here I am debating whether I want to push my druid up as my new main in Cataclysm. So beyond learning the class and the tactics, I have to decide which I like more; my (now level 58) druid, or the disc priest I used through all of Wrath.

Step One of any good research is compare and contrast.

So I made a quick list:

Druid vs Priest
X Tank Healing  X
X Raid Healing   X
X Smart Heal     X
X Ranged DPS  X
X Raid Buffs      X
X Melee DPS     -
X Cool Dances   -
- Sexy in Armor X

So, after everything is tallied up, it comes down to whether you want to play a kitty and have cool dances, or if you would rather look super sexy in your armor and have everyone else in your raid envious of how good you look. Sort of a Jackie O./Marilyn dichotomy if you will.

But wait, what about.... BATTLE-REZ!?!

Holy crap, way to keep an ace in the hole, druids.

No doubt, if I was looking from a purely raid-utility standpoint, the druid would win, hands down. Plus, with Hit Rating becoming a factor of Spirit, Boomkin/Resto gearing will be even easier than Shadow/Disc gearing is today.

So now it looks like it’s time to push this character to 80 and get some raids in while the gettin’ is good. No better way to decide than to try it out, right?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Rookie Druid: Part 4: Bear to Boom - A Guest Blog Post by Viktory

Welcome to part 4 of the week long series on a rookie druid, written by my guild mate Viktory.  Today, he discusses moving from tanking to lazer chicken.

As I detailed above, my RAF partner and I had agreed to spec as tank and healer so that we could always get rapid queues in the LFD system, owing to a third friend’s endorsement that RAF + LFD = fast levels without questing.

Only problem was.... well, there were lots of problems. The most basic of which was, as we got higher in level, I became more reliant on the the pug dps to do their jobs right and work together. At the same time, I swear that my threat generation did not scale up at the same rate as their dps. I had found myself in a system where despite getting fast queues, instances were taking 2-3x longer than they should because careless people were causing wipes.

I fully admit that I am picky/arrogant/impatient/you-name-it, and that this is amplified when I am the tank. I’m not sure what causes this, because as a healer (especially one who raids with Matticus) we’re always taught that we MUST heal the stupid.

Perhaps the issue is that when I’m tanking, I figure I have everything under control, very much “here’s some mobs, come whack them with your weapons and let’s move on in an orderly fashion”. Any deviation from this causes me to /facepalm.

I think the final step was when I kept getting orange-side Marudon runs with those damn plants that reset aggro and stun everyone. Hooray! Such a great mob design! Actually, it probably was a good mob design when 1-60 was supposed to be a hard journey, but nowadays everyone wants to zoom, and this run was agonizing, again and again.

So right about the time I hit level 50, I went to Moonglade and just told my partner that I was making the switch, I was going to try life on the feathery side.

Let me tell you, the difference was exactly what I needed. After 50 levels of tanking, here I was rejuvenated (druid pun intended)

I was destroying quest mobs that before I just sorta held in place and growled at.

I didn’t mind the wait time between queues, I was typically able to squeeze in a quest or two between each BRD run (...and boy was I glad not to be tanking in BRD. That place needs a transit system)

And the topper; blowing things up is FUN. So fun, in fact that while the first 50 levels took 89 days to level up, on the last day I was able to crank out 8 levels in only a couple hours and had a blast (druid pun not intended) doing it.

I know the other day I sort of bemoaned people who try to play their different specs badly, but you know who’s worse? People who never try the other specs at all. You’re a hybrid for a reason. If you only ever wanted to be ranged DPS, you’d have been better off rolling a Warlock (we all know Blizzard loves THEM). But you shouldn’t be just a boomkin or a cat or a tree. You can get dual-spec at 40 now for a reason. Go out, have some fun. Screw up in some random lowbie dungeons where everyone else is “teh suck” as well.

I did it, and I liked it, and that’s probably what saved this toon from languishing away, incomplete.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Rookie Druid: Part 3 - Class Versus Player - A Guest Blog Post by Viktory

This is Part 3 in the series by my guild mate, Viktory.  Today, he looks at the hybrid conundrum, flexibility and why some people lack it.

I raid on a Priest.

I know that this is a Druid blog, so I’ll pause for a few minutes to allow you to list off the ways that Priests drool and Druids rule.

About done?
Okay, so here’s my take.

Three specs covering all four roles you’ll find in a raid offer great opportunity to be flexible and a solid role player for your guild, but also opens the door to great amounts of FAIL.

Just as with every class, I’ve raided with some really good druids, and some fairly crappy ones. I think that druids (and to a less extent the other hybrid classes) are plagued by both the opportunity to play multiple roles, and players who just don’t quite get it.

These days, I raid on both my healing and DPS specs on the same character, switching based on the fight and raid composition. (Meaning I get abused to fill whichever spot we have the least of) I applied to the guild as a disc priest understanding it would be a part-time spot, and when an opening came up for a shadow priest, I figured raiding was better than sitting on the bench.

In doing so, however, I accepted that I was responsible for putting up solid numbers in both specs.

What I sadly see happen more often with druids, though, is when I come across an applicant, pug or social who thinks their druid can play all three specs equally well with a minimal amount of adjustment. And they FAIL at it.

Yes, the great advantage of the class is that a druid CAN play any role. Unfortunately, not every player can play every role, and those ones who don’t hold up their end make a lot of hybrids look bad.

Clearly, though, I shouldn’t form my opinion of the class just based on the quality of player I have grouped with. I have faith that as I learn to play my rookie druid, I can figure out how to contribute in each spec, and while I may not like playing feral DPS, I’m sure that I’d put in the same level of research before trying to raid as one.

...and that research is exactly what spawned this post. Why don’t more people try to play multiple specs very well?

Do people really like playing resto/balance/feral to the exclusion of the other specs, and to the point that they are willing to be benched for someone who’s more flexible?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Rookie Druid: Part 2 - Cheap Labor (LFG Adventures) - A Guest Blog Post by Viktory

This is part 2 in a week long series by Viktory, a guild mate of mine in Conquest, about leveling his new druid.  Also, after part 1, he said he wanted to see some Lolcats, so here it goes.

Now I had a RAF partner and a plan, but I still had to learn how to play the class, and, oh yeah, level up the toon.  To that end, we decided that instead of power-leveling on our mains and hitting 60 in 19 hours, as I did on my priest pre-3.0, we would actually play the low levels.  Further, I would go feral and he would go resto, so we could exploit the insta-queues in LFD as we leveled.

Let me tell you, this worked pretty good about 1/2 the time. 
The rest of the time, here's what I ran into:

        That one dps that blizzards/consecrates/volleys before I even got to the pull
        The dps who really wants to tank extra pulls while we're still on the main group; I’m looking at YOU retadins.
        A healer who fell asleep/watched tv (hey, wait... my RAF-partner was healing me, why did I have to use cool-downs on trash?)
        Party members who don't pay attention and drag in extra pulls, then run the mob AWAY from the tank...../facepalm
        Instances I had never run on any toon (hello Mauradon, why are you the worst place to run back to after a wipe?)
        DPS that want full clears instead of just the assigned run

On that last point, I've come to realize that this is because while I had insta-queues, and thus turned a HIGH profit on the LFD bonus multiplied by RAF, these dps were waiting 15-45 minutes for a run that yielded 1/3 the xp I was getting.  A regrettable difference, but not something that I was often swayed to deviate from.  Hey, gotta get THIS alt up, not everyone else's alt.

Stay tuned for the end of the bear and the birth of Kaboom!

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Rookie Druid: Part 1 - Background and RAF Start - A Guest Post by Viktory

Welcome to the first in a week long series of post by a guild mate of mine, Viktory.  He is an incredible priest in our guild.  This week, he is going to be discussing the process of leveling his druid and I hope you enjoy it.  

When I unpacked WoW and created my first character (link:http://www.wowarmory.com/character-sheet.xml?r=Greymane&cn=Toronus), was a druid.  I figured "hey, here's a class that can do damage and heal and looks like I have few options how I want to play it"

I went along happily leveling this character as balance-spec, spending copious amounts of time in Warsong Gulch and Arathi Basin, right up until Patch 1.8 was released.  Yes, I quit playing balance when Boomkins (known as "oomkins" in those days) came out. ::Queue the booing::  Not that I didn't like the class changes, but leveling was going too slow and my hunter alt became more appealing.

Fast-forward 4 years to this summer, I’m raiding ICC-25 HM on my priest, have 80 hunter and warrior alts, and yet as I read the first class changes from Cataclysm, I realized that I wanted a druid again.  Having fond memories of PvP, I tried playing my original toon, but couldn't pick up the mechanics as easily as I'd hoped, and, in truth, I'd geared him pretty awkwardly back then, and was disgusted with myself for it.

To solve these problems I got myself a RAF (recruit-a-friend) partner and convinced him that between raiding, work and social-life, we should level a pair of druids.  Sounded like a great idea:

        Flexible gearing as we leveled (oh wow, every piece of gear that comes out of those blue bags is useful for one of my three specs?  Shoot, that's awful!)
        Hate tanking? Go Boom!  / Bored healing? Go Boom! / Don't like Boom? What's wrong with you?  Meh, go play a kitty and eat your cheezburger.
        I'd always wanted to pull off a squadron of boomkins for world pvp. 

C'mon, flight-form in, multiple burst dps, flight back out; tell me that's not totally bad-ass.

Friday, August 6, 2010

My Raiding UI - What You See and What You Don't See

When you are a raider, one of the most important aspects of raiding is your UI.  Natrii from Natriicraft did a great article about a month ago on how to clean up your UI.  What I want to talk about is how my specific UI helps me while I'm raiding and hopefully, it will give some help to you too.  
My raiding UI.  (Click for Larger View)
Let's start with the basics.  You notice I have Grid for raid frames, recount for damage meters, and Forte Exorcist for my cooldown timers.  I know a lot of moonkins prefer Squawk and Awe for cooldown timers.  I like the fact that I can see not only my cooldowns, but my fellow raid member's as well.  For example, if I see the bear tank has cast Faerie Fire or the shadow priest has cast Misery on the pull, I will know I don't need to cast Faerie Fire unless it drops off.  I can also look at how much time is left in Heroism.  While it doesn't help moonkins, it can help my mage if I'm about to cast an evocate at the end of heroism.  I also like the bar that shows cooldowns that are  under the nameplates in a graphic fashion.  I can see when the Lunar Eclipse cooldown is over if I have not procced a Solar Eclipse for some reason and can switch back to Wraths to get another Lunar Eclipse.  I can also see when my Eclipses proc in the first place if I miss the big ball over my head.  The basics UI is what I do to try to make my raid UI something that I can use for either of my classes.  I even use the basics for my DK tank or warlock that I'm leveling. (Technically, Forte Exorcist is a warlock cooldown timer.)  You will also notice that I'm using Tukui for my UI shell.  It is clean and I like the info it gives without having to go with something like Titan Panels or FuBar.  In addition, it includes add on functionality like Bagnone, Mr. Plow, and Omen automatically.  You also will notice that I'm running DBM and oRA3, which is standard for our guild raids, and Altoholic so that I can see what my alts may have.  It also helps to see how much money my alts have if I need to transfer money anywhere.
Now, digging in a little deeper, there are some increased functionality of my UI, but you have to understand my keyboard.  My keyboard is a Logitech G15 keyboard.
One of the things that I recommend all druids do is to keybind your forms.  In my case, I keybind my forms to the far left keys.  Having a single key to be able to hit to change forms is incredible.  It helps in fights like Sindragosa when I change to travel form and run out from the AOE attack after the pull in.  It also helps to change to bear or cat form if I pull aggro by accident.  My favorite use of it is to fly to the top of the game world, get out of flight form, and then recast flight form right before I hit the ground.

The second great thing about this keyboard is the number pad to the side.  I set up the 1, 2, 3, and 4 keys on the number pad to correspond to button 6, 7, 8, and 9 on the Tukui bars, which is the lower bar in the middle.  Up above the first bar, you will notice the second bottom bar on top.  The second row are buttons that I need to hit in an emergency or buttons that I can move into my 6, 7, 8, or 9 button positions.  Typically on my moonkin my number 6 is Starfall, my number 7 is Typhoon, my number 8 is Hurricane, and my number is 9 is Treants.  Since the number pad 1, 2, 3, and 4 correspond to those numbers, all I have to do is press the corresponding number on the number pad on the side and can hit my Starfall quickly.  However, lets say it is a fight like Faction Champs in TotGC and I have been put on Cyclone duty.  I can move one of my 6, 7, 8, or 9 actions to the top row and still within reach and place Cyclone on any of those keys which moves their functionality to the keypad.  From there, I just make a couple macros for who I'm targeting with Cyclone and the job is done.  For my mage, I use the 6, 7, 8, and 9 keys for AoE spells and my Mirror Image.  I also have a macro on one of my keys that blows my load that I usually press with Mirror Image.

Speaking of macros, there is one major macro that I use for my moonkin raiding and I have discussed it before.  I macro my DoTs together in a way that it will allow me to cast Insect Swarm first then Moonfire.  If it is done correctly on the first part, Insect Swarm will be the next DoT to hit when I press the button again.  Of course, I can get trigger happy and get the alternation off a little.  I also had a macro that combined my Starfire with a Potion of Speed, but with 1120 haste, I'm just using Starfire now.  If I'm tanking, I have a lot more macros since I macro every ability with Maul for threat generation and I have my Oh Crap button in case I need to throw up Barkskin, Frenzied Regenration, etc.  I also have different macros for my DK and my warlock.  And when I decide to level my hunter, I heard that is going to be Macroland.
One of the other things you don't see is what is not running in my UI at this moment.  I'm not running Auctioneer.  I'm not running Questhelper.  I'm not running GearScore.  All of those are memory drains and affect 25 man performance.  What I do have running is an addon called Addon Control Panel.  This allows me to set up different addon configurations based on what I need them for.  I have a raiding set of addons that minimize memory needed.  I also have a set just for questing when Cataclysm comes out.  I also have another set for auction house use.   It is a great addon and I would recommend getting it.

Beyond that, the only other addons I have running are fight specific addons.  For example, I am using Unbound which helps tell you who has Unbound Plague in the HM Professor Putricide fight and how much time left they have to hold it.  It also tells you if someone has held it for longer than 10 seconds.

So I hope you like my UI.  I know it is not perfect by any means and any recommendations would be great, but I enjoy it for what I use it for.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Recommendations for Cataclysm Guild Reputation (Blog Azeroth Shared Topic)

In Cataclysm, there will be two major changes coming for guilds.   The first is the guild perks, which look incredible.  Whether it is faster leveling for alts or a mass resurrection, all of them sound incredible.  The second major change that is directly related to this is guild reputation.  I'm sure to get the full benefit of the guild perks, you need to get exalted with your guild.  This could be incredible or incredibly bad.  Let me give some recommendations on how to make it awesome.

1)  GM Should NOT Be Giving Out Guild Rep - This would just seem cheap on every level.  You could get your raid team to exalted immediately.  And then you would have people changing to guilds where they get full perks immediately.  I have a feeling Blizzard wouldn't do this anyway.

2) Guild Tabard Gives Rep In Guild Raids - Just like the tabards in 5 mans in Wrath gives you rep with different factions, the guild tabard should give you guild reputation in raids.  Preferably, this would be in guild raids, but I don't know if there is a way to tell if the raid makeup is X% of your guild so it may just be any raid.

3) Major Achievements Equal Major Guild Rep - Having got Glory of the Icecrown Raider on my main, I could see where achievements could be linked to guild reputation.  But not puny achievements like catch 50 fish.  They have to be major achievements.  This could include raid achievements, Loremaster achievements, PvP achievements, and profession achievements.  Wouldn't it be great to get guild reputation when you max out your cooking and can bring fish feast or whatever the equivalent will be in Cataclysm.  The harder the achievement, the more reputation it should give too.  For example, clearing a raid in heroic mode should give more guild rep than normal mode.

4) Different Guild Ranks Get Different Rates of Reputation - This would encourage guilds to tighten up their ranks.  Put their core raiders in a certain rank if they are a raiding guild or major PvPers in different ranks.  This would also allow demotion of people who miss a few raids and have to earn their way back into getting full reputation for raids.  And, yes, officers should get more guild reputation because they have to devote time outside of just raiding to the guild in getting raids setup, etc.  And yes, the GM should get more guild rep. (Though I could argue they should start exalted, but that is just my opinion.)

5) Heroic 5 Mans Could Give Small Amounts of Rep - I would put a major stipulation on this one though.  All 5 members must be in the same guild.  With the LFD tool, that is easy to figure out since it will be on the same server and they can see who is partied up when they start then look at the guild name.

6) Giving Money/Supplies To The Guild Bank Should NOT Give Rep - That is just not fair for people who don't have the money or supplies to donate to the bank.

7) Guild Rep Should Spread Across the Account - This would be for only alt characters in that same guild.  This would encourage people to bring their alts into their mains guild and give more to their guild to make it stronger.  If a person is a member of two guilds, then their alts would get rep in either guild but it would not cross over to the other guild.

8) Dinging Max Level Should Bring You to Friendly - Once you ding 85, you should get Friendly status with your guild to encourage you to start getting into raiding and get more benefits and rep.  Of course with the expansion after Cataclysm, people will carry their exalted reputation if they stay with the same guild.  Of course, if you change guilds, you start at Neutral with the new guild.

9)  Leveling Does Not Give Guild Rep - While you are leveling, you are probably not giving much to a guild at that point in terms of benefits so you should not get guild rep.  The exception would be if you are leveling an alt in your main guild where it would go across your account.

10)  Only Negative Rep Should Be Leaving the Guild - You can move bad players to a rank where they won't get rep, but you should only lose rep by leaving the guild where you will have to start over.   

I'm hoping Blizzard will take some of these recommendations into account when they are building the guild reputation system.   I love the idea, but I hope they make it so it encourages people to strengthen their guild and make it better.  

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

ICC Hard Modes - Moonkin Style

Moonkins and hardmodes in ICC go together like bread and butter or peanut butter and jelly.  However, the strats you use in regular ICC do not necessarily translate over to hardmodes.  Let me give you a rundown of a moonkins strategies in hardmode ICC based on every fight except LK, since we are still working on it in 10 man and have not touched it in 25 man.

Lord Marrowgar - The biggest new mechanic is that he still Bone Spikes during Bone Storm.  This is great for moonkins since this means we can Starfall on cooldown and we are going to hit 2 mobs all the time, whether the boss or spikes.  In 10 versus 25 man, the strat changes slightly.  In 10 man, all of the DPS and healers group up on one side with the tanks on the other to allow for the Bone Storm to go between them.  In 25 man, we split the DPS and healers in two groups to go to the two sides while the tanks are against the wall.  Little hint:  Tanks cannot be Bone Spiked.  Beyond that, normal stuff including avoid fire, DPS during Bone Storm, etc.

Lady Deathwhisper - Moonkins have a very important role in this fight and, unfortunately, it is not DPS usually.  In 10 man, you may have a mage who can sheep the mind controls leaving you free to DPS.  However, in 25 man, you do not have an option since there are 3 mind controls.  The ability for you to Cyclone mind controlled players is more important than your DPS.  Beyond that, DPS the fanatics, Starfall after mind controls but not right before the bosses mana shield breaks as this will make you get aggro and there is no taunting in 25 man hard mode, and avoid ghost since they one shot you.

Lootship - Don't change anything.  Not that hard. 

Deathbringer Saurfang -  The biggest change I have noticed between normal and hardmode is that you don't Typhoon.  Now, it seems weird to say that, but it is true.  In 10 man hardmode, you will likely have the melee killing one blood beast while it is stunned and the ranged killing the other.  In 25 man hardmode, you will have melee killing one blood beast while it is stunned and the ranged split between the other 4 blood beast.   Since melee is killing blood beast in hardmodes, the last thing you want to do is Typhoon unless a blood beast gets near you.  Beyond that Starfall normally and DPS normally.  Realize that Marks do come out a lot quicker in hard modes and hit harder so be ready to use Barkskin if you are a Mark to give your healers a little break.

Rotface -   Remember the Vile Gas from Festergut.  Well, Professor Putricide throws it out during the Rotface encounter.  This means like Festergut, you will need ranged spread outside of the room.  The big thing this also means is you have to put up with the slime filling the room.  However, let me give you a little secret.   At no point in the encounter is slime filling both sides of the room.  What I mean by this is if you are on the right side of the room, it will not fill up both the back and front areas on the right side of the room at the same time.  This means if it is on your left, just move right.  If you see it coming on your right, start heading left.    Beyond that, it is normal mechanics including move out for slime explosion, etc.

Festergut - Remember Malleable Goo from Professor Putricide.  Well, now you have to put up with it in Festergut.  The easiest way I have noticed to take care of it is to angle your camera at what would be about a 45 degree angle behind your character where you could see the floor.  If you see green area under you, move.  The tough part is when you are grouped up for spores and you see a green area below you.  At this point, you have to communicate to everybody on the spore to move to avoid the Malleable Goo.  Also, if by chance you only get two spores (which you shouldn't do on hard modes since you really need all 3), you can throw up Barkskin to maybe save yourself with some heals.  Beyond that, DPS normally.

Professor Putricide - We have downed him on 10 man but not on 25 man, but most of the mechanics are the same.  This is a communication fight especially with the Unbound Plague.  6 raid members need to hold it for 10 seconds each.  Also, once a raid member has held it for 10 seconds, they cannot hold it for another 60 seconds.  The best way we have had to go through this was to have a rotation with clean ranged people in the middle of the room who could take the plague while those on cooldown were on the outside of the room to avoid giving it to the same person since you take more damage if you take it again and reset the timer.  Also, we line up on the right side of the room where the green slime comes out to help group on who it is targeting.  Also, the transition phases do not involve tear gas, but something much more sinister.  You get both an orange and a green slime at the same time.   In 10 man, you can DPS both.  Yes, Starfall does work great for this.  On 25 man, you get a debuff that says whether you can attack the green or the orange.  Starfall is still pretty good, especially if you can get near Putricide and hit him with the Starfall as well.  Also, transitions are important because if you tip him at the wrong time, you could end up with 3 slimes, which is almost certainly a wipe.  Beyond this, DPS normally and avoid stupid stuff like Malleable Goo and the orange bottle he throws down.

Blood Princes - A hard mode that encourages you not to move.  (What is better for ranged?)  Every movement you make gives you a stacking debuff called Shadow Prison, which increases shadow damage.  So the first thing is do not move unless necessary.  Also, kinetic bombs become a huge problem in hard mode and it becomes the responsibility of every range to hit them if possible.  Especially on 10 man where you may only have 2 ranged.  However, moonkins have a great trick for dealing with kinetic bombs.  Starfall is direct damage to the bombs and will send them back up.  So not only use Starfall on cooldown, but use it near kinetics to drive them back up so you can keep DPSing.

Blood Queen - In terms of mechanics, there is not a whole lot different.  The major mechanic difference is she hits harder the more vampires there are.  However, you will likely still use the same bite order and will have to do the same things to survive the air phase.  So really, there is not a lot different than normal besides more damage.

Valethria Dreamwalker - For ranged DPS, the mechanics are not really that different.  The major difference is it will be your job to take down the zombies since melee will get killed by the explosion.  This also means you may have to get aggro and kite them a little bit.  If need be, typhoon them too.  Beyond that, DPS normally.

Sindragosa - We have not touched Sindy on 25 man, but I can give you our 10 man hard mode strategy.  There are two major differences.  One, Unchained Magic causes an AOE effect when it goes off and causes more damage around you the higher the debuff gets.  This means during the first two alternating phases, you will just move out from the middle with the ranged and healers if you get Unchained Magic.  During Phase 3, you just don't DPS if you have Unchained Magic because you will still need to shake your stacks of Magic Buffet and you don't want AOE behind the blocks.  The other mechanic is that the frostbolts during the air phase will one shot anybody.  Now on 10 man, there is still only 2 blocks and they go down easily.  We just maneuvered behind the blocks while doing some minimal damage and then destroyed them after the fourth frostbolt.  On 25 man, I can tell you already that this will not be an option so it will deal more with how we arrange the ice blocks during the air phase.

So,  hopefully, this information will get you started on your way to taking down the hardmodes in ICC.  As we get our strategy for 25 man HM Sindragosa and HM LK down, I'm sure there will be some updates to this.


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Lunar Crit Cap - The Third Big Cap

I have mentioned this several times before, but for moonkins, there are 3 important caps.  The first is the hit cap, which is 263 hit unless you have a dranaei in your party.  The second cap is the soft haste cap, also known as the Solar Haste Cap, which is 408 haste.  This brings  your Wrath spell to be equal to the global cooldown of approximately 1 second.  The third cap is the most difficult to understand and does not really become an issue until you get in the highest gear possible.  This cap is the soft crit cap, also known as the Lunar Crit Cap.

The Lunar Crit Cap is the one cap that is not a fixed number as it is a variable based on your intellect.  The Lunar Crit cap is the point that while fully raid buffed and during a Lunar Eclipse, you will crit with your Starfire every single time.  That alone should make you want to get to the Lunar Crit Cap.  Unfortunately, it is not necessarily that easy.

First thing you will need to hit the Lunar Crit Cap is the T10 idol, Idol of the Lunar Eclipse.  This adds 220 critical strike rating.  You could possibly hit it otherwise, but you will really have to be stacking critical strike to get it.  Getting this idol will be the first step in getting to the Lunar Crit Cap.

Second, you have to figure out what your critical strike rating has to be to be at the Lunar Crit Cap.  The first piece of information you will need is your unbuffed intellect number.  The best way to get it is just to go to the armory and pull the intellect number from your character sheet.  This is the best number to get.  Do not get it during a raid from your character screen.  The reason for this is some of the buffs you will need to get to the Lunar Crit Cap will already be on you and you can't count them twice.

The next piece of information you will need is the Lunar Crit Cap equation.  Now, you can stick it into programs, like WrathCalcs.  However, I prefer the quick and dirty equation.    Here is the equation to determine your Lunar Crit Cap critical strike rating.

1575 - (Intellect/3) = Critical Strike Rating Needed
As any math teacher will tell you, solve the parentheses first.  I love my old math teacher.

Let me use myself as an example here.  My current intellect is 1457 according to the WoW Armory character sheet.  Putting it in the equation, I need a critical strike rating of  1089 to be at the Lunar Crit Cap.  Now, my current critical strike rating is 873, so it appears that I am not at the cap.  However, this is where having the T10 idol is important.  From the 1089, I can subtract out 220 critical strike rating.  This puts my requirement to be at 869, which means that I am above the Lunar Crit Cap with 873.

A couple things you may notice about the equation.  First, the more intellect you get, the smaller your critical strike rating needed.  This means that the better your gear gets, the less critical strike rating you actually need.  Second, without the T10 idol, it is almost impossible to hit the Lunar Crit Cap.  You need to have it.  This means when you are gearing up a moonkin, you may not be at the crit cap until you get all of your T10 first, which would be my first purchases with Emblems of Frost.

A lot of moonkin gear has critical strike rating, however, you should also notice that some trinkets have the potential to put your easily over the crit cap.  Those two trinkets are Muradin's Spyglass and Phylactary of the Nameless Lich.  Both of these trinkets have high amounts of critical strike rating.  Of course, the Spyglass is the easier to get of the two since it is from Lootship.  The reason I bring this up is the recent situation I have run into.  

I got both the heroic version of Dislodged Foreign Object and the normal version of the Charred Twilight Scale.  Both of these trinkets have huge amounts of haste but no critical strike rating.  Once I got both, I was about 100 critical strike rating from the Lunar Crit Cap.  I had to look at my gemming choices again and decided to put yellow critical strike gems in my yellow slots that could be changed.  As I get more 277 gear, I will be able to change those back to the spellpower plus critical strike gems or even spellpower plus haste gems.  (Although looking at Moonkin Repository, I may be up against the hard haste cap now.  But that is another discussion for another day.)

So when gearing up your moonkin, look at your gear and get to the first two caps of hit and the soft haste cap.  Then start aiming for the third.  When you hit the Lunar Crit Cap, watch your DPS explode.

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Walls (of WoW)

This weekend, when I wasn't spending time with my wonderful girlfriend, I spent time trying to finish leveling up my tailoring and enchanting.  However, I found out a dirty little secret about leveling both at the same time. You run into a wall.  The wall is tailoring level 420.

Now, you are probably wondering why I said tailoring level 420 is a wall for both tailoring and enchanting.  The main reason why is that you have to make some decisions at that point.  Yes, you can make the gray gear and then disenchant it.  However, what do you do with the infinite dust you get?  You could either make more enchants and get your enchanting higher.  However, you can also make bolts of imbued frostweave and make frostweave bags, which sell for a very nice price on the AH and raise your tailoring skill.  So it seems like at this point that I have to choose which I want to finish off first.  I can finish leveling tailoring and make money to help finish leveling enchanting or I can finish leveling enchanting and then level tailoring up to 450.  I'm leaning towards tailoring first to make the money with the bags and then finish enchanting after that.

This goes back to another post I wrote about extra Emblems of Frost.  You get to a point where you literally cannot buy anything else but primordial saronite or PvP gear with your Emblems of Frost to help your character.  I cannot buy gear for my mage with my druid's Emblems of Frost.    

I'm sure some people get this way with raiding.  Even Paragon this past weekend defeated HM LK 25 man with no ICC buff.  What do you do after that?   I bet there are a lot of canceled Paragon subscriptions this morning because they have literally done everything the game has to offer.  No ICC buff HM LK 25 man kill is their wall.

So how do you deal with the walls of WoW?  Here are just a few of my suggestions:

1) Make a List - I did this myself to see what I have left to accomplish in this expansion.  Even if you have killed HM LK 10 or 25 man, there is more you can do.  Have you got your Ulduar drakes?  Have you got your Sarth + 3 drakes red drake?  Have you got Tribute to Insanity in TotGC?  Even when you think you have done everything, you can find something. 

2) Look Elsewhere for Goals - Sure, you may have done everything on your main, but how about leveling an alt.  I am going to try to get my DK and warlock up to level 80 before Cataclysm hits.  If you haven't done the DK starting area, I would at least go do that even if you have no intention of leveling it up to 80 just for how awesome it really is.  This game is so expansive.  I would even consider going after Loremaster if I didn't have a list of stuff to already do.

3) Spread the Love - Consider using your main to help some other guilds make some progress where they are struggling.  Just like Pink Floyd's "The Wall" warns against isolation of yourself from the world, I'm recommending not to isolate yourself to your hardcore guild.  Sure, you may have to save yourself for your guild's 25 mans, but you can lend your support to help another guild with their 10 mans to help them get further and see more content.  Plus, it will give a better name to the hardcore versus "elitist jerks".

4) PvP - Have you tried to hone your skills in arenas?  Have you tried to run in some premade BGs?  These are all options.  Plus, I'm sure your honor points will hang over into Cataclysm just like they did into Wrath so you will be able to get some PvP gear up front in Cataclysm.

5) Prepare for Cataclysm - You know what your profession or guild will need going into Cataclysm.  This is the biggest thing I could recommend.  Even if you yourself are set, there is stuff your guild will need.  Help get them ready.  Even if you are happy with your gear, continue raiding to help those who aren't as geared.  Because the easier it is for them to level, the easier it will be to start raiding at level 85.

I'm sure there are a bunch of things that I cannot even think of in game right now to do, but every player knows what needs to be done.  So I would recommend, look for yourself and see what you can do in the final months of the expansion.


Site News Update - Guest Bloggers, Contest, and Appreciation

I just want to give a quick update today before I start writing an actual blog for the day.

First off, the Christmas in July contest is closed at this time.  Thank you to everybody who entered.  Now, we just have to wait until Blizzard starts making some announcements to figure out who is going to be our grand prize winner.   Overall, I have to say this has been a very successful contest for a first one and thank you to everybody who entered to win.

Second, next week, I am hopefully going to be having a guest blogger for the entire week who is going to be doing an interesting series of blog posts about his experience leveling a druid in the game right now.  I have read the first article already and it is going to be highly informative and entertaining. 

Third, I want to thank everybody who made the month of July so successful for this blog.  From June to July, we have easily doubled the number of visits, page views, and absolute unique visitors.  And this is given one day of no analytics and a half day of analytics due to the redesign of the site.  We had over 1200 visits, over 2000 pageviews, and about 950 absolute unique visitors.  So again, thank you, thank you, and thank you again.  Whether you found this site through my Twitter, Google, or WoWCentric, I appreciate it.  And I do haz a happy.