Thanks All!

Note: I actually wrote this yesterday and it stayed in draft for some reason (even though I clicked publish), so we really didn’t skip posting for the day.  Ugh!

I wanted to take a minute to thank everyone that responded to my “switching guilds” post! You guys gave some great advice and lots of words of wisdom for me to think about!  I still haven’t made a final decision, but I’m pretty sure that I’ll end up joining the guild at some point. I think I’ve always known I would, but it’s just a matter of feeling that the timing is right for it to happen.

Also, a quick heads up that BBB won’t be putting up a video today 😦  He’s out of video footage right now (since he’s been playing his priest a lot instead of raiding this past week), but they are supposed to do Gruul’s tonight, so he may get something to post later this weekend. 

He’ll also be doing the WoW Insider Show on WoW Radio on Saturday so you can check that out at 3:30 p.m. eastern if you’ve got some time to listen.  But I’m sure BBB will post the link once they’ve got it available for download if you can’t hear it live.

Thanks again and have a great weekend!

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Karazhan attunement to be removed

 Yes, that’s right ladies and gentlemen, on the current PTR build, and confirmed by Forum Blue poster Eyonix, the attunement process for Karazhan will no longer be required for every player.

 Instead, only one person in the raid will need the complete attunement in order to open the door for everyone else.

 My spin on this is, overall, it will be a good thing.

 Why?

 First, let’s talk about the number one response I expect to hear, everywhere.

“Omigod now all the undergeared n00bs with no skillz will be trying to run Karazhan naked! Oh Noees!”

 In this case, I agree with something that Nightravyn said in a chat, that nothing has stopped n00bs from getting attuned previous to this.

 Skill has not really been required to complete attunement before. In fact, the only thing attunement really proves is that the person has, at least 5 times in their life, been inside of an instance… and has seen the end of Shadow Laboratory.

 Now, one hopes and prays that someone that is attuned did each isntance as part of a team, learned valuable lessons on teamwork and cooperation, and is ready to face the first challenges of playing in the ten man leagues.

 But let’s be honest… the people that you are worrying about the most are the ones MOST likely to try to find a group of 4 galactically over-powered, top geared folks to carry their lame ass through the runs.

 The people that, in fact, are the hardest hit in terms of attunement are exactly the same folks that I have mentioned in a previous post this week… people that want to play the game the ‘straight’ way, facing challenges themselves, in the company of friends, learning as they go and trying to get better every day.

 People that might be in different time zones or working hours than the rest of their friends or guild, and have a real hard time getting everyone together for a single run.

 People that play the game with friends, and don’t want to PUG because of too many bad experiences with immature players. (Asshats, to use the common vernacular).

 People that enjoy playing all of the elements of the game as a shared experience, rather than something to hurry through with strangers to get to the raiding.

 So do I think that Karazhan ‘PUGs’ are going to suffer from a sudden flood of undergeared, inexperienced asshats? 

Absolutely.

 But for most folks I know, especially my friends, this is going to be nothing but good news. Finally, if they happen to be online particularly early for the first time in 6 months, and a Karazhan run is forming and looking for more people, we’ll be able to say, “Hey Daak… feel like coming along on the run? We could use your help.”

And not have to hear “Sorry man, but I still need an Old Hillsbrad run.”

“But… Daak… we did Old Hillsbrad like 5 times.”

“Yes, but we were doing it for fun when I was able to be on more, I haven’t been able to get a group together now that I’m on that part of the quest chain.”

Make of it what you will. I for one am not saddened by the news.

A stroll down memory lane – raccoon edition

Every once in a while, I get in the mood to tell a long, long, long story. I think it comes from spending hours bored out of my mind around one too many campfires, where everyone passed the time telling stories. And today I’m just in that mood. Sorry.

Now, this here is a real no shitter. A real true story of the early life of the Big Bear Butt.

Continue reading

Switching Guilds

BBB has been after me to write this since last weekend (mostly because he was busy playing his priest and didn’t want to take time out to write a post). He says it’s because it’s something that other people can relate to and would love to see a post about (I say not true and refer to the real reason I stated above). But anyways, I finally caved, so here’s the post (well there’s some background I have to share first, so try to bear with me for a few minutes).

Back in September when I had a very weak moment and said, “want to set me up with a trial account so I can try out that “damn game?” (that’s how it was referred to in our house for the two years BBB was playing prior to my playing). But as I said, it was a weak moment, mostly in which I was trying to escape the reality of my family dealing with losing my dad last summer and I thought I’d try the game out for a few weeks and be distracted a bit from thinking.

BBB set me up, roughly explained the character types and then left me to do my thing with the creation screen. I made a priest (because I figured I’d be horrible at fighting and could at least heal myself). A day later at level 8, that character got abandoned because even though I was ok at healing myself, fighting as a low-level priest (who had never played an RPG before), well…sucked. I had made it to Goldshire and had started quests there and decided it just wasn’t fun and if I was going to play the “damned game,” it was at least going to be fun! Secretly I made a rogue and started playing before BBB came upstairs and caught me. That rogue is now 85% toward level 68.

In those first few days, BBB invited me to join the guild that his alts were a part of and the chat channel that he had with a few close friends, mostly so I could “talk” to him when I was playing on my computer upstairs and he was playing on his downstairs. He also thought I’d enjoy chatting with his best friends, and he was right. Ina, Mark, and Andy quickly became good friends (even if to this day, they don’t know my real name – hehe). I left James off that list because I knew him in RL before BBB and actually introduced them to each other, but it’s been fun to be able to talk to him and interact in situations other than RL too. There was a fifth member of that small chatting group (but he now remains nameless after having defected from all of us and hurting a lot of feelings in the process (was discussed in past BBB posts)).

Now a few months before I had even started playing, BBB used to talk about Kemangi, Tikky, Daak (and their eight billion alts – seriously, not much of an exaggeration there – they all have serious altitis). I used to nag him that if he was part of a small group of supposed good friends, he could at least know their real names and not refer to them by their character names when telling me about their group adventures. Happily, by the time, I joined the group, they actually all knew each others names and to this day, usually use them (except mine – hahaha- (oops, I’m going to be in trouble when they read this).

Anyways, moving on from my rambling (I swear there is a point coming up here soon). I’ve continued in this small “alt guild” and enjoyed talking with everyone and occasionally getting the chance for us to get together and do a minor instance or help each other with quests. Since everyone, except me, has a level 70, they’ve given me lots of advice and help over time and I’m now at a level where I can be the powerful one swooping in to protect their helpless alts. But generally when I have a bunch of quests that require more than just me, BBB comes over on Windshadow or Windstar and gives me a hand (mostly because Ina, Mark and Andy live in Singapore and the time difference makes it hard to get together except on weekends).

However, I’m now at the point of needing more instance runs and assistance with quest chains that go beyond what BBB and I can do as a twosome and he’s had to get his main guild (Legatum Ignavis) buddies to come help us. We’ve done some instances in HP, Zangermarsh, and most recently the Ring of Blood in Nagrand. Now everyone that has helped has been more than willing to come along and usually finds it fun to revisit things that they are so far beyond that we just breeze through things as they decimate all the bad guys in their path with the click of a couple of buttons (while I try to pretend that I’m being somewhat helpful, but know that usually it’s easier if I just stay out of their way and try not to get myself killed).

Again, they have fun, I get my quest rewards and occasionally some cool loot. But….I usually end up feeling bad because I’ve involved other people and taken them away from what they could be doing AND they can’t even say they were helping a guildie because I’m not one. BBB is, but it’s not the same. So I end up walking away saying to BBB, “ugh, I’m going to have to join your guild if we keep bugging your friends to help.”

As I said this most recently over the past weekend, he said “yep, type /gquit and I’ll invite you to join” (note this response was uttered about a million times by him followed up by “did you quit yet? Did you do it yet?” to which I would replay “ugh, no.”

Now what’s the problem…why can’t I just type that one phrase and suddenly have a whole new group of people to get to know?

Well, first, I like having just a few close friends to chat with (I’m very much an introvert) and although, everyone I’ve met from BBB’s guild has been great, offered advice and even sent me presents when I’ve leveled or cut gems for me for free – thanks Nawat! – it still feels like a big step to take. To suddenly have guild chat with hundreds of people (ok, in reality, they rarely have more than 25-30 people on at a time, but still the potential is there) and honestly, some of the guild chat I’ve seen while sitting next to BBB while he’s playing, says that there are some ridiculously obnoxious people that feel the need to share their opinions about everything and anything with the guild (and I’d have to be mature and not respond back telling them how completely dumb they are being). And then there’s the potential for drama (which you all know happens fairly regularly since BBB runs here to share it right away). I still have to hear about that as BBB rants, but beyond that, it doesn’t really affect me now because I’m not in the guild.

But on the other hand, there’s the reasons BBB offers -more people to play with and get to know, better guild bank, chance to eventually raid (yeah right, by the time I’ll be ready for Kara, there will have been like 5 new expansions and no one will remember Kara at all). Now some of those reasons do sound good and the reality is that everyone in our small guild is also in Legatum so I wouldn’t be losing them, just gaining new people. But I still can’t seem to make myself type that one little phrase.

So this is where all of you come in (assuming you’re still reading at this point and haven’t declared that I’m a nut and you’re busy writing BBB begging him to remove my admin posting permissions)….I’d like to hear experiences from people who may have started out in a smaller, “family” guild and then moved into a larger, more serious one. What did you like or not like? Were you happy with your choice in the end? Or for those that haven’t switched, why have you stayed with your smaller guild?

Quick note – Contact form now works

But that means that, for a while there, maybe the whole first week, my contact form was live but not actually sending me your messages.

If you sent me a message, and you have not heard back from me, please send me another one. If you didn’t hear from, me it’s not cause I don’t like you. Honest!

I’m sorry for the pain in the big butt this may cause. 😦

Upgrading Your Toon; Equipment Point Costs

This post is going to be the first in a short series on how to choose upgrades for your character. Hopefully, it will be helpful to players of all classes. Your class may change, but the basics are consistent.

Let’s talk briefly about upgrading.

The goal of gear upgrading is to increase the effectiveness of your character in your chosen role.

Therefore, the first step is to define what your focus is. You decide this yourself as soon as you start putting points into a Talent Tree. You are making a choice as to what aspect of your character you are going to focus on.

As an example, if I am leveling my Priest character, choosing to put my Talent points into Holy will yield vastly different results than in Shadow. One shows a focus on my part to improve my ability to Heal, the other shows a focus on my ability to inflict ranged DPS. And different gear stats are important, depending on what Talent tree, what focus, I am going to concentrate on.

Because of the way World of Warcraft gear itemization works, your choice of Talent Specialization, your ‘Spec’, will determine what stats you want on your gear. You will want to choose gear that maximizes the stats or abilities that directly affect your Spec, without having points ‘wasted’ on items that do not help you. 

Gear itemization and Item Level are the phrases we use when we are talking about the ‘point value’ of equipment, and how those points are distributed among ability modifiers.

The fact is, each point of Armor value, each point of Agility, Stamina, Intellect, and Spell Damage or Hit Rating comes from a set amount of potential points that can be distributed on a piece of equipment. How many points are available to ‘spend’ are based on;

  • Item Level of the gear
  • Rarity
  • Minimum level needed to equip it

Also, it has been determined that the amount of points spent on pure ability bonuses {Stamina, Agility, Intellect, Strength, and Spirit} are more beneficial when split up amongst more than one stat.

An example of what I mean in regards to split up stat points; the Splintering Greatstaff. It is Item Level 117, equippable at level 69, and is Green rarity. It comes with it’s points distributed in one of five configurations;

  • …of Stamina (+82 Stamina)
  • …of Strength (+55 Strength)
  • …of the Bear (+55 Stamina, +36 Strength)
  • …of the Beast (+28 Strength, +28 Agility, +43 Stamina)
  • …of the Tiger (+36 Agility, +36 Strength)

You can see that, if it has only +Strength, it is +55. But if the points are spread among two stats, such as Agility and Strength, then Strength is lowered by 19, but you get +36 Agility. You get more bang for your buck on items with the points distributed amongst more abilities.

You can also see that Stamina is considered less valuable, points-wise, than Strength or Agility, so you get more of it. My math says that 1 point of Strength or Agility is being treated, roughly, as being equal to 1.5 points of Stamina.  

Note: the Item Level of a piece of gear is not the same as what level you need to reach to be able to equip it. You can find the Item Level listed in most database sites such as Wowhead.

Let’s compare some close examples. Each is Rare (Blue), Item Level 115, equippable at 70, and a Drop instead of a quest reward.

Dreamer’s Dragonstaff 

Greatstaff of the Leviathon

Draenic Wildstaff

You can see that each one is base 63 DPS, and has the same amount of points spent in Attack Power for shifted forms. When comparing them to the Green rarity Splintering Greatstaff above, they are actually 2 Item Levels lower, but because of their increased Rarity, they have more points to spend on higher base DPS and Attack Power in shifted forms.

The differences between each lie in where the rest of the points are spent. The Dreamers Dragonstaff has straight +Strength, +Agility and +Stamina. The Draenic Wildstaff sacrifices Strength to boost Agility and add + Hit Rating. The Greatstaff of the Leviathan eliminates Agility entirely to add Armor (which is multiplied in Dire Bear form, of course).

Initial impressions to me say that, instead of the random splitting of point distribution found in the different varieties of Splintered Greatstaff, these have intelligent design behind them. Each one makes you choose from what you want the most, but none give you everything you might want.

You have to make a personal judgment; Do I want to use it for tanking or DPS? Is the armor buff worth losing the Agility for Dodge? Is an increased Strength more important to my build than Hit Rating?

You have to be able to make an informed decision, based entirely on your Talent Spec and what abilties are most important for you. If you don’t know what Strength, Agility, or Hit Rating do exactly, you aren’t likely to choose exactly what’s right for you.

Let’s build on our previous examples by looking at another Druid staff that is also Item Level 115, equippable at level 70 and a drop. The only difference? It is an Epic Purple instead of a Blue.

Terestian’s Stranglestaff 

As you can see, even though it is the same Item Level as the other staves, the Purple has a higher base DPS, much higher Attack Power increase in shifted forms, and when we compare it to it’s closest match, the Draenic Wildstaff, it has higher bonuses in every stat.

The lesson here? There are two of them.

First, Rarity has a direct impact on the potential amount of points that can be distributed amongst the abilties of an item. Even if they are the same Item Level, a Green has a higher potential than a White, a Blue higher than a Green, and a Purple higher than the rest.

Second, there are only so many points that can be potentially distributed amongst the item stats. If the item has points in a stat you do not need to achieve your character goals, than those points are wasted. You are advised to search for a piece of gear that most closely matches your real in game needs.

Knowing this, you can see where I’m going to go with this series. You need to know exactly what stats do for your Spec, so you can choose wisely. We’ll talk about that more next time.

Also, If you are at the level cap, and you intend to change your Spec when your goals change, then your gear needs to change too. Most Druids are already familiar with the concept. If you’re Feral, and you both cat DPS and tank Bear seriously, then you need one set of gear that optimizes your melee DPS damage output, and one set of gear that maximizes your Survivability and Damage Mitigation.

Likewise, if you like to respec to Balance, Resto, or a hybrid for PvP, and you are serious about it, you should build a set of gear that boosts your new spec.

I’m curious; how many raiding Feral Druids carry with them not only a full set of Bear Tank and Cat DPS gear, but also a set of Resto gear in their bags for fights where they might be expected to offheal/spotheal?

A happy jarhead belated Christmas

This video is not safe for work, especially with the sound on.

(Edit: Cassie forced me to bold that. She said she didn’t want me responsible for you getting fired.)

Actually, nothing in the visual image is unsuitable. If you are wearing headphones at home, your little tykes shall see nothing ofensive on your screen.

 But the audio… ahh, that blessed, blessed audio.

 Oh, yeah, this is offtopic, btw. I’m posting this here cause I CAN.

My blog, my rules.