Armor my furry butt!

Armor my big furry bear butt, that is.

Oh, wait, I’m missing half the sentence….

“They’re letting me keep all the lovely armor on my big furry bear butt.”

Ghostcrawler posted an update providing more details on the Armor changes in the pipeline. A very specific, incredible update.

I mean, seriously… he sets down what they’re doing, how they’re changing things to compensate for it, what effect on our gameplay they expect it to have, and when we can expect to see it go live.

That’s like, the definition of how to provide me a happy-happy update.

Enough of my babble, here’s what GC said;

This is an update to my previous post on Feral armor changes.

ARMOR

As previously announced, we are changing the way bear armor works so that bonus armor on items does not receive the bear armor multiplier. Specifically this means that weapons, trinkets, rings, necks and cloaks with bonus armor will not be multiplied by the bear bonus.

Only cloth and leather will benefit from the Bear and Dire Bear multiplier.

We are compensating Ferals for this armor loss by improving the Survival of the Fittest talent. In addition to its current effects (stats and crit prevention), it will now also increase armor contribution from cloth and leather items by 22/33/66%. That should be very close to your current armor bonus.

This makes Survival of the Fittest rather over-budget by talent standards, but we figured it was one talent we can be pretty certain most tank-oriented druids will have (and to be honest nearly all Ferals).

FERAL ATTACK POWER

We are no longer going to have weapons in the game which improve feral attack power. Instead, your attack power will scale based on the dps of the item. Practically speaking this means almost no change for any gear you currently use — you should not see your dps change.

What it does mean is that we can create the occasional dps staff that could be used by druids or hunters (or very undergeared warriors), and that Ferals may occasionaly use two-handed dps maces.

We are going to convert all existing Feral staves over to this new system (but again, you should not notice any change to your dps).

We are also adjusting the UI so that when druids look at these weapons, you will see what the improvement will be to your damage in forms. This does not mean we are no longer going to create bear and cat weapons, just that those weapons will be slightly less niche than they are now.

These changes will be in place in the next patch. This patch will ship sometime before the 3.1 major content patch featuring the Ulduar raid.

So… are there any questions?

Effective Armor and DPS will remain close to current levels, after the changes. So what is this doing for us? Or to us?

Well… as has been said, while having an item like the Badge of Tenacity with it’s equipped armor will still be nice and useful… without an applied multiplier, it’s going to be perfectly viable, when faced with the choice of another Trinket with stats that boost our tanking in some other way, to be able to look for an armor upgrade elsewhere that is massively affected by the multiplier to make up for that lost armor.

Hey, let’s look at this seriously, before starting to moan about the ‘good old days’ of Bear armor.

Yes, our bear armor has been awesome. I, personally, have always loved being a big furry tank.

But our itemization has come with a cost. And one of those costs was the pain of choosing between a massive armor upgrade from an item… or an item that provided Hit Rating, Expertise, Haste Rating or DPS boosts that would improve our ability to generate and maintain constant reliable threat.

We have long been in a position where we could ‘no brain’ it for gear choices. Did it have tons of armor affected by the multiplier, plus Agi (Or Dodge/Defense) and Stamina?

Then you take it and shut the heck up.

And we would work up our Mitigation/Survival gear lists, and fine tune them, and at the end of the day, the question we would get most often is, “But what do we do about our Misses? Our high rate of Parried attacks? Our occasional Growl getting resisted? Our low Spell Resistances?”

So… I’m optimistic. I am. I like where we are at now, I really, really do.

Our Mitigation against Spell Damage alone is worth the price of admission to 3.0.1, not to mention the crazy Threat generation.

Hey, who could have imagined before the big patch that we would never even notice Salvation being removed?

It’s things like this, however, that I’d like you to bear in mind, when you email me asking when I’m going to release a bear tanking gear guide for Wrath…

My answer?

“When we have a reasonable expectation that the way things are now will last more than a week.”

Look, use the best stuff you get now, and if it has Armor, Stamina, Agility, Hit Rating, Expertise, Defense Rating, Dodge Rating, Haste and Crit, don’t throw it out if you’re undecided. Hold on to it. We’ll work it out later.

For example… there are two Trinkets that you get from two different quests in the same area, the First Mate’s Pocketwatch from The Jig is Up, and the Fury of the Encroaching Storm from Return to Atuik.

Both are clearly awesome DPS trinkets… but the Haste Rating makes them both pretty darn nice for Bear Tanking threat and DPS generation, if your other stats allow you to use them.

Would I choose them to tank with over Hit or Expertise? Well, no… but I just wanted to highlight how awesome those two trinkets are, to be honest.

Okay, there are other nice Trinkets… Foresight’s Anticipation in Dragonblight, which really is pretty darn nice, the Crusader’s Locket, Fezzik’s Pocketwatch… ahh, the fun!

Okay, those technically aren’t Bear Tanking trinkets…

The Trinket I want right now for Bear tanking drops in Heroic Azjol-Nerub from Hadronox… the Essence of Gossamer.

Notice how it doesn’t have armor on it? But I am going to be all over that sucker.

Okay, this started as “Ghostcrawler is awesome”, and ended up as “Trinkets I am drooling over”… where did this post go wrong?

So, I’ll end it with the greatest Trinket in all of creation….

The Super Simian Sphere.

Man, having played Super Monkey Ball a LOT, that’s just… that’s just hilarious. And Epic!

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Feral Druid level 80 Hit, Expertise and Dodge

It’s that time again.

Level 80 brings with it revised ability and combat statistics. And now that there are folks nearing (or at) level 80, it’s time to lay down the new law.

I’m going to do my damndest to make this as clear as possible.

Level 80 Hit

At level 70; 15.76923275 Hit Rating = +1% Hit.
At level 80; 32.78998947 Hit Rating = +1% Hit.

Druids are, always, at maximum Weapon Skill in forms. At level 80; Weapon Skill = 400. NPC mobs are always at max Defense Skill per level. This means that, unlike other classes, we do not have to account for varying levels of Weapon Skill at level.

The base chance to miss a target when both attacker and defender are the same level is 5%. (400 Weapon Skill vs 400 Defense Skill)

If the defender is 3 levels higher (such as a level 83 raid boss with 415 Defense Skill) the base chance for us to miss increases to 8%.

At level 70, we needed 141.921 (effectively 142) Hit Rating to overcome that 8% chance to miss.

At level 80, we NOW need 262.32 (effectively 263) Hit Rating to overcome a 8% chance to miss.

Cut to the chase: New level 80 Feral Druid Hit Rating Cap: 263

Level 80 Expertise

I have found a correction to my original Expertise Parry information here at Elitist Jerks, which I will incorporate into my edit.

At level 80, a level 83 raid boss has a 6.5% chance to Dodge attacks from all directions, and a 16% chance to Parry attacks from a 180° arc to the bosses’ front.

10 Expertise = -2.5% to enemy chance to Parry and Dodge, regardless of level.
4 Expertise = -1%.

The Talent Primal Precision (2/2) grants 10 Expertise/ -2.5% to enemy Parry / Dodge.

Gear does not have Expertise. Gear has Expertise Rating.

At level 70; 15.76923275 Expertise Rating = 4 Expertise / -1% Parry / Dodge.
At level 80; 32.78998947 Expertise Rating = 4 Expertise / -1% Parry / Dodge.

With Primal Precision (2/2), we need to overcome 4% enemy chance to Parry / Dodge.

At level 80, with Primal Precision (2/2), we now need 131.15995788 (132 effective) Expertise Rating to eliminate enemy Dodge.
At level 80, with Primal Precision (2/2), tanking Bears can now use up to 442.664857845 (443 effective) Expertise Rating to eliminate enemy Parry.

Cut to the chase: New Feral Druid Expertise Rating Cap: 132 Kitties, 443 Bear Tanks.

**Level 80 Dodge**

The big one for Feral Druids that intend to tank; Dodge.

A lot of factors are involved in determining our actual chance to Dodge.

I will briefly describe each factor that is involved, before getting into how to apply them all for a total result.

Base Dodge is different for each class. It is the base chance a character has, standing naked without consideration for Talents or Racial abilities,  to Dodge an incoming attack.

Since Patch 3.0.1, level 80 Druids have a Base Dodge of 4.951.

Agility to Dodge ratio. How many points of pure Agility it takes to achieve 1% Dodge.

At level 70; 14.7059 Agility = 1% Dodge.
At level 80; 41.6667 Agility = 1% Dodge.

Dodge Rating to Dodge ratio. How many points of Dodge Rating it takes to achieve 1% Dodge.

At level 70; 18.92307854 Dodge Rating = 1% Dodge.
At level 80; 39.34798813 Dodge Rating = 1% Dodge.

Defense Rating to Dodge ratio. How many points of Defense Rating it takes to achieve 1% Dodge.

Some brief background. Defense Rating adds to Defense Skill. The following data assumes that you are at level 80, and have maxed your Defense Skill to 400. Defense Rating adds to your chance to Dodge, Block, Parry and avoid being struck by Critical Blows. Bear tanks cannot Block or Parry. With Survival of the Fittest (3/3) Bear Tanks cannot be struck by Critical Blows from a level 83 raid boss. We therefore will ONLY discuss the benefits of Defense Rating in terms of bonus to Dodge.

25 Defense Skill provides +1% Dodge.
1 Defense Skill provides +0.04% Dodge.

At level 70; 2.365385056 Defense Rating = 1 Defense Skill.
At level 80; 4.918498039 Defense Rating = 1 Defense Skill.

At level 80, it therefore takes 122.962450975 (123 effective) Defense Rating to achieve +1% Dodge.

Warning! Only whole values of Defense Skill are applied. The value of Defense Rating is NOT rounded up to the next whole Defense Skill.

An example;
You have 19 Defense Rating. 19 Defense Rating / 4.918498039 = 3.862 Defense Skill = 3 Defense Skill. 3 Defense Skill = 0.12% chance to Dodge.

You have 20 Defense Rating. 20 Defense Rating / 4.918498039 = 4.066 Defense Skill = 4 Defense Skill. 4 Defense Skill = 0.16% chance to Dodge.

Talents. Feral Druids have two Talents that directly increase Dodge.

Feral Swiftness (2/2) increases chance to Dodge +4%.
Natural Reaction (3/3) increases chance to Dodge +6%.

Racials. Night Elf Druids no longer get a 1% chance to Dodge from Swiftness. The Night Elf Racial was changed to instead give +2% chance to be missed.

When computing your Dodge%, please take this into account. Note that Night Elves get +2% Miss, but do not factor it into your Dodge.

This is a buff, with some consequences. Lemme sum up;

It has gone from +1% Dodge to +2% Miss, and 1% Miss has the same mitigation effect as 1% Dodge. So this is a nice increase. The significance of the change from Dodge to Miss is that Warrior effects that proc from the opponent Dodging, like Overpower, are not procced by misses. Likewise, the enemy Swing Timer is reset by Dodges… not by Misses. This means that a Night Elf gains 2% increased chance to miss over a Tauren, without incurring a corresponding increased Swing Timer reset chance. But it also means the +2% Miss does not help Druid Rage generation from Natural Reaction. So again, when you’re analyzing your Dodge%, and seeing how it therefore applies to Swing Timers and Rage generation, make a mental note that Quickness is good, but has limited effects.

Opponent Level Modifier. There is a Dodge difference due to Defense Skill vs Weapon Skill, when fighting higher level opponents. When a level 80 Druid fights a level 83 raid boss, you suffer a -.2% Dodge Penalty per level you are lower, due to your reduced base Defense Skill in comparison to the higher level Weapon Skill. So with your Defense of 400 vs Raid Boss Weapon Skill of 415, you suffer a total of -.6% Dodge due to the difference in levels.

How to apply all this to determine Total Dodge.

I have been asked to apply the Diminishing Returns rules to this, so that the final result you get will in fact be your correct Total Dodge. This is going to be miserable, but I’ll try to simplify this as much as I can.

Your Total Dodge consists of two different categories: Those stats affected by Diminishing Returns, and those that aren’t.

At this time, Base Dodge and Talents are unaffected by Diminishing Returns. Agility, Dodge Rating and Defense Rating ARE affected.  

So we have to split things up into two sections; Base, and Pre-DR.

Add up the Base stats; 

Base Dodge = 4.951
Feral Swiftness (2/2) = 4
Natural Reaction (3/3) = 6
Level difference from 83 raid boss = -.6

The total, 14.351, is our Feral Bear Dodge unaffected by Diminishing Returns.

Next, add up the Pre-DR stats.

Dodge from Agility = Your Agility from gear divided by 41.6667
Dodge from Dodge Rating = Your Dodge Rating divided by 39.34799
Dodge from Defense Rating = Your Defense Rating divided by 4.918498039, rounded down to the nearest whole number, and then the result multiplied by 0.04

We will call the total Pre-DR Dodge.

We will now work with your Pre-DR Dodge total to determine what the final value after Diminishing Returns will be.

The formula that Whitetooth derived that we will use is as follows;

Dodge (After DR) = 1 / (0.008555 + (0.9720 / Pre-DR Dodge))

Your final Total Dodge after Diminishing Returns is;

14.351Dodge (After DR)

I so, so, so did not want to get into Diminishing Returns in this post. Sigh. I apologise for the pain. I really hope that it came across clearly.

I’m going to give you one example.
For the purpose of this example, I’m going to pretend that you do not have ANY Dodge Rating or Defense Rating. Only Agility added from equipped gear.

We start with 200 Agility. Our Pre-DR Dodge would be 4.799996%.
Dodge (After DR) = 1 / (0.008555 + (0.9720 / 4.799996))
Dodge (After DR) = 1 / (0.008555 + 0.202500)
Dodge (After DR) = 1 / 0.211055
Dodge (After DR) = 4.738101%

200 Agility before DR, 4.799996% Dodge.
200 Agility after DR, 4.738101% Dodge.

We now increase it to 400 Agility. Our Pre-DR Dodge would be 9.599972%.
Dodge (After DR) = 1 / (0.008555 + (0.9720 / 9.599972))
Dodge (After DR) = 1 / (0.008555 + 0.101253)
Dodge (After DR) = 1 / 0.109808
Dodge (After DR) = 9.106804%

400 Agility before DR, 9.599972% Dodge.
400 Agility after DR, 9.106804% Dodge.

Remember, after obtaining the Dodge (After DR) value, you still need to add 14.351 to it.

I’d like to thank the hard work of Whitetooth, creator of the RatingBuster addon who posted so much core data analysis at the Elitist Jerks website, the historical data at Wowwiki, and the insanely awesome folks at MMO Champion and Wowhead for giving me the tools for putting this post together.

Facepalm moments in the Wrath rush

I wanted to take a moment to share a story, and ask for stories, just because we had a new expansion, and a huge push to level and do crazy new stuff.

Things are now starting to settle down, but for a few days there, when everything was shiny and new, a LOT of people’s true personalities rose to the top. The hidden face was revealed.

For both good and bad.

Now, I could mention a lot of glowing, shining moments of happiness. Really, I can.

Like, Sunday, when I was mining on Windstar in Howling Fjord, doing my personally-developed route that has served me very well, and saw a node. Right on the edge. Right in front of me. Nobody around.

I moved forward to get it, still mounted… and as I stopped, my fingers fumbled, and my mount moved just a few feet farther forward… off the edge.

To drop about 3 feet onto a lower landing.

And as I stood there, still mounted, and turned to run back up… another Hunter rode up to it and instantly started mining it, right in front of me.

Happens all the time, right? At least, having others try to gank nodes that you are on top of seems to be a long standing tradition.

In this case, I was frustrated with myself for losing the node by my own clumsiness, and I whispered him… just a frustrated “Oh, come on… “. No swearing or anything lame like that, just a recognition that, yes, thanks buddy. Appreciate it. Glad the ore is worth it.

But the Hunter stopped, paused, and then came close to me, where I was at the lower level within touching distance already, and I swear to you, he opened trade and tried to give me the ore he just mined.

No, I’m not kidding!

Well, I refused of course, apologised for whining since maybe he didn’t see me (okay, I was standing 1 foot away from the node, facing it and him… just 3 feet lower. How did he not see me? Nevermind, not important.), thanked him for his generosity but told him that he mined it, he earned it, but thank you very much for making my day by being so nice. Someone going to hadn over ore to someone else? Are you serious? That’s like… that’s like something I’ve done before, but I’ve never seen anyone else do that, ever.

Nice story, right? Heartwarming?

Of course, the story doesn’t end there. Oh, how I wish it did.

See, he then, for some reason, decided to descend to the ledge I was on… just as I realized this particular ledge had no way back up. I could have reached the ore to mine, but I couldn’t run up there. I had to do the fall/drop down to the beach, and run around to a lift.

And now, so did he.

No good deed goes unpunished, right?

/sigh

Anyway… I encountered lots of nice people in the two days immediately after Wrath hit.

But I also got the ones that were such incredible idiots, I had to just blink in astonishment.

I would like to share one such  story with you.

It was the very first afternoon after Wrath was released, and Cassie and I were leveling together in Howling Fjord.

We had done the starter stuff, and had then taken the explorer plane across the water to where some brave soul wanted us to train a hunting hawk to feed… by sending it after Turkeys.

So there we were… Cassie and I. Brave, bold, badass level 70s. With Hawks to feed, and rock grubs scavenged from under stones to get them in the mood. Oh yes, we are leet.

And we stroll on over to the West, where the Turkeys are supposed to be… to find a hundred blown apart Turkey carcases… and a single Mage named Msfrost standing in the middle of the area. As soon as a Turkey spawned, this Mage blew it up. Anywhere.

Now, you might think that Cassie and I were a bit irritated at having some moron blowing up the quest items. First day in the starter zone, and this is what you are doing with your free time?

But, well, it’s not like there aren’t more Turkeys somewhere else.

Cassie and I ran around, and worked the zone, and of course we found enough Turkeys after a bit. It was a pain, that Mage was mounting up and running around trying to scarf them up, but we got ’em, and went on to do the next step of the chain.

So we got the next one, going after the Falcons on the rocks, and that was pretty fun. Finding birds on rocks, timing our swoops so we would each grab one bird… hunting them in the air itself for mid-flight snatches… it was pretty fun.

But finding the twin bird spawns did take a while, what with the natural competition. Not Mage competition, just others doing the quest.

Still, with the time involved, it was over 30 minutes later before we were running back to turn in the falcon quest.

And Msfrost is STILL blowing up Turkeys.

Really! I can’t make this crap up!

So I whisper her, and ask, “Why are you blowing up all the Turkey quest items in the area?”

And I get a response…

Oh, this is priceless…

“I’m killing them for a quest, stupid… DURRRRRR………….”

Just made me stop dead.

Is there a follow up quest we don’t have yet? I thought we did the complete chain.

Well, come to find out much later… no, there is no quest to icebolt Turkeys. You unleash a Hawk on them. You certainly don’t have a quest requiring you to shoot them yourself. And not for over 30 minutes.

I mean… okay, so Msfrost is… disadvantaged.

Either they are too stupid to comprehend the quest instructions, and honestly thought it was just the worst drop rate on the planet grinding Turkeys for 30 minutes, plus however long they were at it before or since we were there… 

OR, and this was Cassie’s thought.. maybe they were trying for the “Kill 15 Turkeys” Achievement…

Now, Msfrost said they she was killing them for a quest. An Achievement is not a quest. But, okay, I’ll give you that one. If you’re not that bright, quest, achievement, I guess they could be considered the same thing. Minus the drops and XP, of course.

But come on. If you’ve been trying to get the Achievement for over 30 minutes in a heavy Turkey area (and that area is considered one of the absolute best for Turkey camping for the Achievement), and you’re a Mage, then I’m sorry. You need to learn to play. I don’t care how heavily camped the area is by quest people (those damn people with their quests, interfering with my girnding an achievement! arrghh!). 

You’ve got 3 minutes to kill 15 Turkeys for the Achievement. There are a LOT of Turkeys in the area. Rhey respawn, even then, damn fast.

Of course, we won’t go into how polite it is of you to camp the Turkey spawn area during prime playing time when everyone else is trying to do the quest on day one. 

But if you’re not trying for the Achievement… if you’re just committing massive fail on understanding a simple quest to feed your Hawk? For over half an hour?

I don’t care, either way, no matter how you slice it… everything about the situation was a normal day questing in WoW, except for one thing… answering a simple question on why they are blowing up the quest items (as opposed to nabbing them with a hawk) with a nice big fat “DURRRRRR” all in caps.

I can’t remember the last time, outside of high school in the mid ’80s, that I heard someone say “Durrrrr”. And here somebody TYPED it to me? In all caps?

OMigod, I had to share that with Cassie. That right there… that was priceless.

Bloggers, here is my challenge to you!

Share with us on your blog your favorite moment of asshatery commited against you in these first few days of the expansion. It must have some funny twist that raises it out of the norm.

OR…

Share with us your “WoW, people can be awesome out of nowhere” moment.

I’d invite my readers to comment and do the same, but… eh, I was told by the folks at the meet and greet that trying to force a community response is lame.

Undecided about Professions?

So am I.

Yeah, I know, sorry. You saw the title of the post, and thought maybe I could guide you in what to take for your Druid.

I honestly don’t know, anymore.

I personally think that the Professions don’t feel complete.

Some Professions feel like they have been looked at carefully, the Gathering Professions for example each have their main use, plus one neat bonus.

We can discuss which bonuses we think are more valuable, Crit from Skinning, a passive

Health bonus from Mining or a proactive HoT (Lifebloom) from Herbalism… but still, each Gathering Profession has some fun.

But the others… it just feels strange.

Okay, take Cooking. In Dalaran, there is a repeatable daily quest you can do that will give you a Dalaran Cooking Award. These Awards are currency, get entered into your Currency tab, and it costs 3 Awards to buy Cooking Recipes, available from the Dalaran vendor. Recipes like Tracker Snacks. These recipes are also drops, but if you are missing a particularly desired recipe, you have a way to get it.

Likewise, Enchanters have a vendor they can visit in Dalaran, Vanessa Sellers, who will sell new Recipes in exchange for Dream Shards. Not an item from a daily quest, Dream Shards are the new Large Prismatic Shards, obtained from Disenchanting higher end blues. Pretty nice enchants, too. So there are Trained recipes, and Enchanters can also D/E stuff and buy recipes.

And what about Inscription? Again, there is a method, other than the Trainer, that Inscription can use to get new recipes, such as Northrend Inscription Research.

Leatherworkers can make a lot of awesome stuff, such as the Durable Nerubhide Cape, Trollwoven Spaulders and the entire 8 piece Eviscerator set…

Do you know how you get a lot of those awesome recipes?

A vendor in Dalaran, Braeg Stoutbeard, sells them in exchange for Leatherworking items such as Arctic Fur and Heavy Borean Leather.

So you’ve got Trainer recipes, and then you have a selection of recipes you can acquire by Skinning. 

Oh, and did you see those items? Bind on Equip. The Bind on Pickup for LW seems to be Leg Armor like the Frosthide Leg Armor. Nice? Absolutely. No question. (Sorry, Riverwish pointed out the Leg Armor is sellable as well, it just makes your item soulbound… just like using a new scope does. Now Leatherworking confuses me more than ever.) So Druids, Hunters, Shamans and Rogues will all be able to fill out items by pestering a Leatherworker. Not bad, right?

Do you see a trend here? It seems pretty consistent, right? 

I mean, Alchemists get Northrend Alchemy Research… Jewelcrafters have a LOT of recipes they buy from Tiffany Cartier using Dalaran Jewelcrafter’s Tokens from daily quests… they all seem pretty consistent to me.

You get some recipes up front from a Trainer, and then later on, as you USE your profession, you can pick and choose other recipes from a vendor to target your needs first, and fill in the gaps later.

It is a smart, multi-tiered approach. I like it. 

But then let’s look at Engineering…

WTF?!?

In the new expansion, there are a selection of self-only enchants… quite a lot of gear that requires Engineering skill to use… the new Goggles of course… you can make Scopes and Ammo to share, and there are Epic Guns eventually you can sell, and boy those Overcharged Capacitors are in high demand…

But every single recipe is available directly from the Trainer, except for the Motorcycles (which are Rep based). 

What you get from the Trainer as you level, is what you get. 

The Motorcycle, the Tanking gun and the DPS gun, the Mana and Healing Injectors, the Scopes and new Ammo machines… these are all going to sell. No question.

But, in comparison, it seems very strange. Engineers are totally up front from the Trainer, and what you see when you browse his inventory is it. No questing or drops or seeking more stuff elsewhere.

It’s an awesome profession, especially for Hunters. The Mark “S” Boomstick is Bind on Pickup, equippable at level 73 and is a teensy bit better than the 150 Badge Crossbow… the Goggles are pretty awesome… you still get to farm Gas Clouds… it’s not a bad profession at ALL.

But it still seems damned strange.

And then there is Tailoring… again, neat, but what you see from the Trainer seems to be it. Very strange.

Blacksmiths can create Sockets in their own gear… adding a couple sockets is pretty amazing for customization, if you’re min/maxing your stats it might be considered the most flexible raiding choice at the moment. But again, everything they learn seems to come straight from the vendor, and most of the rest of it is BoE…  

It’s just so strange. Why do some professions seem to have been given more consideration than others?

Is it because some have more desirable BoP powers than others? Are the Blacksmith sockets, Engineer Goggles and Mote Extracting, and Tailoring Cloak embroidery considered that OP?

Ah well….

What to do? What to take?

I have no idea. The BoP leg armors of Leatherworking are a nice addition, certainly…  but so are the BoP Trinkets of Jewelcrafters, the BoP self-enchants of Enchanters, the Self-only Trinkets of Alchemists, the self-only Goggles of Engineers, the sockets of Blacksmiths.

For now, I just can’t analyze which might be the most fun, AND the most advantageous for my Feral Druid. Not yet. I need more time to see how things shake out.

So what am I doing?

Well, my Priest is still a Jewelcrafter/Tailor at the moment… BUT, with the expansion, my Jewelcrafter is now not necessarily important. After all, those recipes I have right now are all worthless compared to even the lowliest Northrend green. So I could drop it if I wanted something like Enchanting. Maybe I will, now that enchants can be shared with Inscription… and being able to D/E all the stuff you get questing from 70 – 80 would be sweet.

My Hunter? Engineering / Mining. Now and forever. The profession is awesome fun for the one that has it. The trinket teleports, the mote farming, the guns and scopes and ammo and goggles and motorcycle and self-enchants…

My Hunter is played for FUN first and foremost… and Engineering is fun.

But my Druid…

I was an Herbalist / Engineer. I took a long, hard look, and decided that while I love Lifeblood too much to abandon it… I could NOT decide what else I wanted. And I did not want to try and level two Engineers.

So I dumped Engineering Sunday evening… and spent the last two nights leveling Mining on Windshadow.

Last night, I dinged 300 Mining in Silithis, and logged out in Hellfire, ready to fly/farm my Mining the rest of the way.

Dual-Gatherer.

No matter what direction I go, I’ll at least make some money leveling, and feed Cassie’s Herbalism and Windstar’s Engineering… and when the time comes at 80, I’ll figure out where to go then.

I am so sad… I love making stuff… I just have no idea what to take on Windshadow.

I’ll figure it out. I just hope I don’t decide at 80 that I should have taken Enchanting.

I know I’ll be asked…. how did I go to 300 mining in two nights?

Easy, really… Darkshore routes for Copper and Tin, smelting for the points, then in the middle of Tin moving to Barrens… then from there, getting Tin and Silver and smelting Bronze for skillups, move directly to Badlands for circuits of Iron and eventually Mithril. Once Mithril gets near 200, moving to Searing Gorge for more Mithril, and grind up to Dark Iron Ore. Get a ton of Dark Iron Ore, from farming BRD and the AH, and then go into BRD to learn Dark Iron smelting, and smelt it all. (I got 25 points that way, it stays Orange to 300). Once dinging 275 from Small Thorium and Dark Iron, I pop out to Silithis and farm the Hive Mounds for the Ooze-covered Thorium Ore.

Sigh.

I am grateful that most stuff is BoE now, so a Leatherworking set isn’t make or break.

But it does make choosing a profession that much harder, when you have multiple toons and are undecided.

Gahhh!!!!

How to get to Dalaran.. and maybe some more

Now, I saw a recent comment by a poster named Captain the First, who has a blog named Noob Ding.

I had to go check that out. That name is too funny.

Imagine my amusement to see that his most recent post is about the easiest way to get to Dalaran without following quests.

Why?

Because that was the next post  was already planning on doing today.

Now, his method is correct. It is exactly what Cassie and I did yesterday.

Except that I started on Windstar, and an awesome Shaman volunteered to help group up and BG me… and Windstar is level 70. So you do not have to be level 71 for the BG method Captain the First describes..

So go, check out Noobding’s post if you are interested in getting to Dalaran quick and easy.

Then come back here.

Okay, all set? Read it, understand how to get to Dalaran as a 70?

Cool.

It may occur to you to wonder, what now?

See, there is a Flight Point in Dalaran… but it does not connect directly to the Flight Points at Howling Fjorde or Borean Tundra.

There is a portal trainer in Dalaran, standing in front of a teleport crystal, that will give you a quest, even at level 70, that sends you down to the surface in Crystalsong and back up again so you can portal whenever you want… but there is no Flight Point at the surface where you arrive.

So… okay, you’ve been to Dalaran and you can get down to Crystalsong. What next?

Well, Cassie and Para and Sinnas and I worked it out if you are Alliance in Howling Fjord. I hope that, for those of you with other perspectives, you could help out in the comments. Please?

Let me start by linking the official World of Warcraft interactive Northrend Map, so you can follow along.

What we found was, if you start in Howling Fjord, then if you grab Valgarde FP and then run across and grab the Westgarde Keep Flight Point, you are good at that end for Flight Points. You do not need the one at the Walrus Den, OR the one in Moa’ki Harbor in the Dragonblight zone . (Hehe, I love calling Kamagua the Walrus Den).

So in the natural course of questing, it is quite easy to get from Valgarde, the Howling Fjord starting area, to Westgarde Keep.

Now, you’ve got Westgarde Keep FP. There IS a quest chain in Westgarde Keep that will eventually send you directly to Wintergarde Keep in Dragonblight. If you are patient, then you can easily reach Wintergarde Keep in Dragonblight just by making sure you do all the quests in Westgarde Keep in Howling Fjord. No running around. It’s not all you need, but it’s the biggest pain in the process. You do NOT have to do that quest chain, but it will get you to Wintergarde Keep the easiest possible way.

Why is this important?

I’ll get to it.

So you’ve got Westgarde Keep FP in Howling Fjord.

Once you get to Dalaran, you will need to take the portal down to the surface in Crystalsong.

Head overland directly to the East, and you should very quickly encounter a small road heading south towards Dragonblight. Run down and through the ice tunnel and come out the other side into Dragonblight (trying not to get eaten by the few bad guys in the tunnel here, I had zero problem on my toons), and just stay on the road heading South in Dragonblight until you reach Wyrmrest Temple, about midway into the zone.

At Wyrmrest Temple, the path heads down between two rising ice walls, below the natural surface of the plains. You need to actually go up the left hand side onto the plain (the East side of the road), and continue that teeny little way on to the upper area of Wyrmrest, where a Flight Point is. Grab that one, and guess what?

If you already got Wintergarde Keep, you are now connected by Flight to Dalaran all the way to Valgarde!

If not, you will need to travel overland directly East from Wyrmrest, until you enter the mountains and encounter a road that heads North. You will follow that road North until you seem to be getting close to Wintergarde Keep, and you will find your way blocked by a massive town filled with an army of Undead.

Don’t panic!

Just stop, look to your West for the mountain wall, and follow it around and to the North, bypassing the Undead, and you’ll enter Wintergarde Keep with no trouble.

Grab the Flight Point, and bask in the afterglow.

You, like Windstar, will be level 70 and have the ability to fly from Valgarde directly to Dalaran whenever you’d like. No more damn boat rides.

Have fun!

I ask that those of you that did this from the Borean Tundra, or anyone that plays Horde and has insight into their areas, if you know a link to where it’s all spelled out, or want to share your method, please do so!

I think it would be very welcome help.

We are SO not a raiding guild

Good morning!

First off, congratulations to BRK and NASA for a successful shuttle launch. Nice going, guys.

I hope that the weekend has seen all of you enjoying the expansion, each in your own way. Whatever that may be.

The last two days, I’ve been watching a new feature of the Achievement system; the global /mock.

I discovered Blizzard implemented this new feature when the first global announcement came rolling through that we had our first level 80, our first level 80 Night Elf, and our first level 80 Druid on the server… all at once.

This announcement was then followed with the global /mock, as General and Trade channel opened fire. Much QQing about lives and the lack thereof was had.

This trend continued as the first Level 80 Troll was announced, the first 450 Blacksmith, the first 450 Engineer….

You get the idea.

I’ll admit, I spent a little time wondering why someone would rush through content so fast that they dinged 80 in a mere two days. No more than a moment or two though, since chances are good the person had already taken their time leveling in the Beta, and probably didn’t feel like they were missing anything by flying through the second time.

To be honest, if you think about it, blowing through as fast as you can to get access to your flying mount before everyone else makes brilliant financial sense… the money to be made by having a solid lock on the hard to reach Herbs and Ore is fantastic, and as more people level, it will not last. Those Mammoths aren’t going to buy themselves, you know.

For myself, thanks to the advice of a guildie, I used my Hunter’s Engineering to craft a bunch of Overcharged Capacitors and put them up on the AH for between 55g and 75g each. I sold enough to get about 500g for leveling funds, without competition, before others figured it out. I was leveling in Howling Fjord… I had no idea Overcharged Capacitors were a quest item.

Thanks Blizzard! 

Now, I was reading Matticus the other day, and a post by Sydera caught my eye.

In it, a reader asked how to break into raiding for Wrath. Syderas’ #1 Tip for the reader? Level Fast.

Now, I think I’ve talked about this before. Maybe not.

But Sydera is right… at this moment, the balance is reset. Everyone at 70 when the expansion was released had a level playing field.  Sure, some had much better gear than otehrs, but by 80 that will mostly even out.

So the criteria a lot of raiding guilds will have NOW is, “Who will be the first level 80s in our guild? I want to raid as soon as possible… to raid we need level 80s… so the first ones to be “dedicated” enough to get to 80 and have starter gear will be the first ones that we take in.

And those first level 80s will be the ones that experience the encounters first… that earn DKP… and learn how each fight goes, and what to do.

Valuable experience, certainly. And I think it’s clear to see the advantage someone may expect to have if they are at the front of the pack. Whether you were 70 for a year, or just a day before the expansion came out, who cares? Will the guild leader take someone that just dinged 80 over you, if you’ve been there and kicked ass for three weeks since the first guild Naxx run started?

And that is why one of the first things I did before the expansion came out, was to make a post on our Sidhe Devils guild forums letting folks know that, whether people level fast or not, we are not going to raid as a guild until a good number of folks are all at 80. If folks want to level one character, 2 characters at the same time, play a new Death Knight, focus on crafting, or hold Stormwind Dance Parties, it won’t affect raiding opportunities. We are NOT, as a guild, rushing to 80, first come first served, so dsad too bad you’re out.

Nope, not happening. Take your time, have fun. The raids will still be there… I promise.  

It’s all about what your guild is about, of course. From the outside, I’d imagine our guild would look like a chaotic mess. Most folks are still 70 or 71, we have a couple ‘hard charging’ players that are the lofty height of level 73 (Grats Paracelsus and Sinnas), we seem to have half our guild roster on Death Knights at any given time, and as I said, some folks don’t have the expansion yet, or are simply choosing not go out to Northrend until some of the crazy has died down.

And yet, I think the folks in our guild are having a lot of fun. I haven’t heard anyone mention any worries about raiding, or the future. We are all just enjoying the tons of things available to do NOW. 

Actually, we are looking at raiding soon. In fact, we are raiding tomorrow night.

We’ve got a Zul’Aman run on the calendar. 🙂

Rushing to level, to me, seems like a sensible move if the raiding experience is where your fun is at. And, of course, if that is the kind of guild you’re in. I’m certainly not going to denigrate it.

But if a raiding guild is working on getting as many members as possible to 80 to start raiding, then Sidhe Devils is not… SO not a raiding guild.

——————————— 

Okay, now, a completely different section of the post, just about having fun as a Bear tank…

I’ve been doing a LOT of different things, a bit at a time. 

I’m enjoying Engineering and Mining a ton on Windstar, no questing, just professions and running around zones mining. I am currently at 408 Engineering and 442 Mining.

I’ve only been playing Windshadow with Cassieann, questing together and enjoying experiencing the new zones together. We play for a bit, doing quest areas and leveling, and then place those characters at the inn for rested XP while we do alt stuff. We both dinged 71, and are about 30% towards 72. No, we’re not setting any world records on fire.

And I played a Death Knight to 58, and now that character is kind of done for a long time… and my poor Priest and Shaman are on the shelf for a bit too.

Things for me are kind of settling down. I’m getting into a routine, where Windshadow gets played with Cassie, and then Windstar gets played solo.

But you knew I had to mess around on my Druid. After I dinged 71 on Windshadow, I did something I’d never had call to do before, for any reason; I went into Hellfire Ramparts without a party.

A friend of mine has a lower level alt that had some Hellfire Peninsula instance quests, and wanted to get them cleared out.

They’re not a healing class, and they asked if we should get a group.

I said, “Folks are busy with the expansion, and I’m a badass tank… let me see if I can get you through it without a healer.”

Now, to be honest… I expected it to be fairly easy. Come on, I’m 71, it’s a level 58-60 instance.

I just didn’t expect it to be THAT easy.

I expected, for example, to have to pause after every 4 pull to eat or cast self-heals, at least.

Instead, with the power of Barkskin, Lifeblood, and Improved Leader of the Pack, I almost never cast a self heal, or had any downtime at all. Shoot, I never used Trinkets, I almost never popped Frenzied Regeneration… but I used Berserk a TON. Groups of three die FAST when all three are eating chained Mangles.

We just blew through the entire Hellfire Ramparts.

I was kind of shocked. Soloing an Outlands instance just never occured to me as something to do. Why? Well, I’ve got plenty of guildies, and usually if you’re going into an instance, someone somewhere has an alt that could use it. But, of course, that was before said guildies got busy having lots of fun doing other stuff, and I decided to get an instance done without bothering them.

So I figured, what the heck… Ramps was easymode, let’s do Blood Furnace and get that done too.

Same thing… except there are lots more trash. So I ended up casting a few self-heals along the way.

And when I came up against the Technicians and their damn proximity mines, I found out that those suckas still hurt. I mean, really hurt. Some pulls have three Technicians in them, and I actually got down to around 4000 health on a few of those pulls before they were all dead.

Hey, who said you could hurt the Bear! Oh, hell no.

So I kind of made it my mission to cause the Technicians a lot of pain. With prejudice. Dang it, those mines made me lose Rage to cast heals!

It kind of makes me wonder… what IS the limit of soloing an instance without a healer for a Bear tank?

I mean, sure, lots of folks two man instances… but shoot, there is usually a healer along. Bandages don’t quite cut it. You have to be able to live on one Potion and self-heal through any fight you encounter to solo it.

I’m level 71, and it was fun to take that stuff down. Honestly, in thinking about the Coilfang instances, I don’t really see them as being that much more difficult.

When Protector of the Pack gets the party restrictions removed, and we get some more levels, and get the Herbalism 450 rank Lifeblood… and even more Stamina and Dodge on our gear…

What can’t we do?

Well, what CAN’T we do?

I think it’ll be fun to find out.

Meeting and greeting the awesomest people!

Is awesomest a real word?

And if it was created in the ’80s, am I still allowed to use it?

It’s time to poke my head out of the Bear cave, and begin to admit that, yes, there is a world outside of WoW.

I pretty much cut myself off from the digital world since Wrath got into my grubby little meathooks (to use my Mom’s favorite expression), and it’s been family time and WoW ever since.

But now, now I need to rejoin the land of the blogging. Because if I wait until tomorrow to write, you’ll all figure I only blog when I’m bored at work. And to quote another fine lady, Granny Weatherwax, “I can’t be havin’ with that!”

What seems like an eternity ago, but was really all of last Wednesday, I met a lot of great people at Buffalo Wild Wings in Maplewood, MN.

I was stunned by how many folks showed up at BWW.

I was expecting maybe one or two people to show up, and instead, eleven foolhardy souls braved the late evening chill to stare at the tame Bear.

And wonder of wonders, every single one of them was cool and fun to meet and speak with. Every. Single. One.

I really liked talking with all of you, so it’s not really fair to single a few of the folks I met out, since everyone was really nice, and smart, and funny and a joy to talk to. But, as I knew a few of them from the internet before the event, and you might recognise them also, I think it’s fair to mention them by name.

First, of course, is Xathras, who was the first person to specifically tell me in the comments that, no, I wasn’t gonna be sitting in a bar all alone if I held a meet and greet. Which is funny, since he plays a Hunter as his main.

And for the other pair you may have seen before, I had two internet celebrities stop by and visit; Jive the Resto Druid, and her partner and pet Prot Warrior tank of the blog Bringin’ The Wood, came by for a visit. And they are just as nice in person as they are on their blog. Well, her blog, since Jive is the only one that writes there. 

We all talked, shared stories, and generally had a blast. The night flew by, and before I knew it, it was already 11:00 PM, and hey! Wasn’t I supposed to go to this big shindig at a Gamestop or something? Aww… but this is fun!

I told some insider behind-the-scenes blog stuff to the folks there that no one else knows, and during the course of the rambling conversation that followed, I mentioned how much I enjoyed a certain Paladin song that a friend in the guild had started singing in vent one fine day…

And lo! This being the technology age, someone at the table whipped out their iPhone, did a web query, and found the bloody song within 1 minute. I shall reproduce it here, as I promised I would;

The Song of the Paladin
“I’m a little Paladin, short and stout,
Here is my hammer, here is my mount,
When a fight breaks out, I scream and shout,
Pop my bubble and hearth me out.” 

Ahhh, that was hilarious to hear coming across vent. I believe it was Garolan the Pally that sang it for me, I’m pretty sure. It’s been a long time.

The meet at BWW was actually a little, teeny bit fail on my part. It was tons of fun, but I was unprepared for people to actually show up, so I was sitting in the middle of this long table… and people of course sat at both sides of me. So this Bear tank had poor positioning on the mobs, and if I taunted or swiped at one side, the other side was being ignored. Silly old bear.

I’m afraid, even though I tried to talk to everyone, that there were still some folks that came that I didn’t take the time to talk with as much a I would have liked to. I know that if I had traveled across a city to see some dude, I’d hope to be able to chat with him for a few minutes. One lady in particular, at the far end of the table to my right, I swear I turned to specifically talk to her since I hadn’t done so yet, and she was gone. Poof. I felt horrible, because there I was chatting with folks, and maybe she got tired of watching someone else have a conversation, got bored and left.

I’ll relate a story about this… I’m a big fan of Henry Rollins, Spoken Word performer, former lead of Black Flag, Rollins Band, and general intense guy. I love his writing, his “the First Five” are pretty insane, and I admire him for his ability to be so outspoken about himself and his feelings. He just let’s it all hang out.

I went to see him a few years back, when he appeared at the U of M for a Spoken Word show. He did a thing that I have, ever since, been completely astonished at. During the show, up there on stage, he mentioned that, after the show was over, anyone that wanted to meet him, have something signed, or just say “Hi!” were welcome to stay behind and come visit him in the back of the stage. And, I swear, he said “I’ll be hear as long as some of you are still waiting to see me.”

Now that’s class. I was just amazed… here was a guy that was, seriously, a famous man, done a ton of things, and yet he was willing to put himself out there, because, as he said.. “If you are willing to spend some of your valuable time just to meet me… I am awed, and I’ll certainly be here to see you.”

It just seemed surprisingly, insanely nice for any famous person to make themselves accessible to fans like that, and maybe that says more about how self-centered I expect famous people to be than anything else.

Now, I’m not anywhere near as famous, and I’m sure I never will be, not even remotely… but I totally feel the same way, if someone is willing to go to the trouble to come out and say “Hi”, then I want to say hello back, darnit!

Oh, and yes, I stayed behind afterwards, and I just… ahem… “happened” to have a copy of “The First Five” with me, and just MAYBE I had Henry sign it. Could have happened. **shiftyeyes**

Anyway, it was a lot of fun to meet everyone, and when it was 11:00 and we broke up so some could go home, some could go to other stores for their copies, and we could shuffle out in the cold to get in line.. well, I bumped into another reader just outside BWW, who had pre-ordered at the other Gamestop.

Whoops.

See, in the first post, I mentioned there were two Gamestops, and stressed the importance of going to the right one… but I didn’t keep doing that for the subsequent posts. Damnit. So, to my one reader who came to see me, and got to say Hi for, like, 2 minutes before going back to the other store… “Damnit! Sorry, man.”

Okay, now, you know there is gonna be at least a little crankiness, right? At the Gamestop… this big pre-release party thing?

Yeah…. ummm, not so much. Unless your idea of a party is standing in a line. In the cold. No music, food, tent, nothing. A line. Waiting. In the cold. No costumes. Nada. A line.

Now, credit where credit is due. That was the smoothest, most orderly, well organized and well-prepared event I’ve seen for a midnight release. Everyone paid and settled in advance, inside the store, and then got in line outside. When midnight hit, they shuffled you in, handed over receipts, and got handed a game (or 3), and out you went. Within minutes after midnight, everyone was gone. DIS-perse!

So they let everyone get their trade-ins, credit card hassles, returns and other drama out of the way BEFORE it was time to hand over the games. Bravo.

But… come on, that was not how it was represented to me. It was a line in the cold to get a game. There was no event.

And I wouldn’t care, really, since I was grateful to have had the main meet and greet in Buffalo Wild Wings in the warm, where I could quaff a Guinness in peace.

But when I went in the store to get my receipt for the pre-order?

I handed over my pre-paid proof of pre-order, and as the cashier handled the transaction, he gave me a well-rehearsed spiel… “Would you like to buy a guide to the game? If you buy now they are 10% off cover price. And while you’re here, why not place your pre-order for Left 4 Dead, for when you take a break from Warcraft?”

Seriously. I’m standing in line to get the expansion at midnight, instead of waiting for the next day… and instead of a celebration of Warcraft, an enthusiasm for Warcraft, or even a “faking it” for Warcraft…which is what I was expecting, I get asked to drop money right that second, before I even get my hands on the expansion, on a pre-order for some zombie game I’ve never even heard of before?

WTF?

Now if they were asking if I wanted to drop money for a pre-order of Starcraft 2, well, hell… that would have been fine with me. Commendable, even.

But Left 4 Dead? The damn game has a number in place of a word! That alone screams crap to me! Geez, people, have some class.

Anyway, I want to say, for everyone that came out to see me, thank you very much for making it such a fun time. I enjoyed meeting you all, and I hope you email me, if only to say hello.

For those of you locally that wanted to come out, but pre-ordered somewhere else, or simply can’t go gallivanting around late at night in the middle of the week… I missed you guys.

What I want to do, assuming there is any interest, since that was sooo much fun, is to have another meeting, just for fun and to say hello and hang out. Perhaps not in a bar, next time, for those that do not care for alcohol. And certainly not late at night in the middle of the week. Not immediately, since, well… you all got an expansion to play. My bet is, nobody is reading blogs over the weekend unless you’re at work, so I won’t get feedback until tomorrow. But I would like to know if the choice of a BWW is the wrong venue, if it made anyone uncomfortable, or if that kind of thing is fine.

But if there is interest, then yeah, I’d like to do that again soon. You folks are wonderful. I was expecting… I dunno, WoW Insider commenters, or something, and instead I got a tableful of folks I’d love to hang out with anytime. Anytime at all.

Thank you everyone, and I hope you are having a lot of fun in the game. I know I am!