Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Toon Update: 12/31/2008

My last post of the year. To be honest, I haven't played a whole lot in the 3 weeks since my last Toon Update. I was out of town for 9 days and wasn't able to play during that time. Plus as any raider should know. The holidays is a very bad time for raiding. However, I did do some fun things before I left and have played a little bit in the few days I've been back.

There hasn't been much progress here. I leveled Grayfel a little bit and have gotten him about 6 or 7 bars into level 70, but that isn't anything to really be excited about. I hope to get him some more time soon. I want to use as much of his rested XP as I can since I have the MLK holiday coming. I have the day off from work but my wife does not and my son still has school. That means a full day of wow for me. So I would like to burn some of my rested XP quickly so that I can accumulate it back up before the holiday. Other then that, all I've done is level Graypal's professions a little bit.

My 10 man group has now cleared Malygos for a realm 3rd or 4th. It was a skin of our teeth kill but satisfying none the less. We ended up killing him 10 or 15 seconds after he enraged, but got him down with two people still standing. I really like this fight.

Naxx 10 is pretty much a joke now. I don't think there is any gear in there that is of interest to me for my moonkin set, but I can start building a Feral and Resto set. Other then that the only really reason I have to go in there is for emblems and for achievements. Hopefully we can get the Undying soon.

The really challenge for my 10 man group is Sartharion with 2 Drakes. We put a lot of attempts in on this before I left but we have yet to succeed. It's really just a DPS race with a lot of stuff flying at you, but our DPS hasn't been high enough yet. We can kill the first drake but not before the second one spawns and the two debuff together with two sets of void zones are a little to much for us to survive right now.

We think part of the problem is group make up. Lately we have been going in there with 2 tanks and a DK to double as tank and DPS, 3 healers, 2 physical DPSers, and 2 caster DPS. Its not a bad group but it doesn't maximize synergies. For instance the two caster DPSers are a lock and me. So only two of 3 of our DPSers benefit from my aura, and we don't have a mage to provide the 10% crit. On the flip side we don't have a feral druid for the physical DPS or an enhancement shaman.

The idea that is being passed around right now is that we need to stack the group. A group that had 2 hunters, a feral druid, DK, and enhancement shaman would probably be successful. By the same token a group with a moonkin, mage, Spriest and 2 locks would probably do well also. I don't know what is going to happen, and it will suck if I'm not there for the first kill but I understand. I would rather the guild get the kill without me then not with me.

From a 25 man perspective raiding is very well also. We killed Malygos for a realm 6th kill. The guild killed Sartharion with 1 drake up while I was on vacation and we are starting to work on the achievements in Naxx. Naxx is going so well that we cleared it in just over 3 hours last night. I think we are going to get to a point very quickly that we can kill Naxx and Malygos very quickly and have a day and a half to 2 days to work on Sartharion with drakes. Hopefully by the end of January we will be working on Sartharion with 3 drakes if not killing it.

Over all I am very proud of my guilds progress. We are ranked 6th on the server, but raid much less then most of the guilds ranked above us. We have made all of this progress and raid only 9 hours a week. Most of the guilds above us raid at least 4 nights a week for at least 4 hours. It will be interesting to see how we do when the next raiding tier is released.

As you can see from my lack of progress on my alts, Graylo is still my main focus even outside of raids. There are still several goals that I am working on but have yet to complete.

First and foremost is running Heroic Drak'tharon Keep, to complete the Champion of the Frozen Waste's achievement. I have tried running it several times but I've had very bad luck with pugs and such. The really sad part is that I actually ran it and completed it last night, but did not get credit for the last boss. I died right before the end and it bugged out for some reason. I contacted a GM and they said that this is not something they can fix. So, I am still looking for the kill.

My second goal for Graylo is getting exalted with the Sons of Hodir for the new shoulder enchants. I haven't been as dedicated to it as I should be but I am finally feeling like I have the time to dedicate to this each week. I am currently about 4000 into Honored. I should be able to make it to Exalted in about 2 weeks if I focus on it.

My third goal is to do all of the quests in Icecrown. I don't really care about the loremaster achievements but I do want to complete all of the phasing, and Icecrown as a lot of it. You never know what will happen there in the future and I don't want to miss out on a piece of content because I hadn't finished all of the quests there. Though I am dreading doing this on my alts a little bit.

Anyway, that is where I am at. Happy New Year everyone.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Moonkin Consumables

Eggbert34 over on the Moonkin Repository asked a very good question. What are the best consumables to bring to raid? In this post I will look at the different types of consumables and which ones I recommend for a raiding moonkin.

Flasks and Elixirs:
[Flask of the Frost Worm]
- 5 [Icethorn], 5 [Lichbloom], 1 [Frost Lotus] - For a progression raid there is no better consumable. It increases your DPS more then any combination of Elixirs and it persists through death. The mats may be expensive but it will save you money in the long run and help you kill the new boss quicker.

[Spellpower Elixir] - 1 [Goldclover], 1 [Tiger Lily] - If it is a farm night or you just don't have access to flasks then you may want to go with an elixir combination. This is the best battle elixir. It is even better then the [Elixir of Accuracy] even if your not hit capped. The reason is that the Spellpower Elixer gives you 58 spell power. The Elixir of Accuracy on the other had only gives you 45 hit rating. That means that for the hit elixir to be worth it Hit rating would have to be worth 30% more then spell power point for point. That is definitely possible at higher levels of gear, but you should already hit capped by then. If your not hit capped then chances are hit rating is not worth 30% more then spell power. These are the other relevant battle elixirs available if you can't get the Spell power Elixir for some reason: [Elixir of Deadly Strikes], [Elixir of Lightning Speed], [Guru's Elixir].

[Elixir of Mighty Thoughts] - 2 [Deadnettle], 1 [Talandra's Rose] - The guardian elixirs aren't so clear cut. However this is probably the best one for Moonkin DPS since intelligence is our best base stat. However, If your looking for more health or mana regen then one of the other elixirs may be more appropriate. These are the other guardian elixirs that are available: [Elixir of Mighty Fortitude], [Elixir of Mighty Mageblood], [Elixir of Spirit].

I want to say a quick thing about cooking. In my opinion it is important to have cooking leveled up on at least one player. In BC we could get a way with farming the meat and having a guildie cook it but that is going to get more difficult in WotLK. All of the best buffs require that you use northern spices in the recipe. There is currently only one way to farm get the Northern Spices and that is by doing the cooking daily quest. Doing this quest will give you some of the spice and give you a Dalaran Cooking Award that can be used to purchase the spice. Therefore, I recommend that if you don't have cooking leveled up to at least 400, I recommend you doing so soon.

[Tender Shoveltusk Steak] - 2 [Shoveltusk Flank], 1 [Northern Spice] - In BC meat farming was rediculously easy for DPS casters. There were tons of Basilisk right outside of shatt and I could get stack of meat in just 15 - 20 minutes. I WotLK it isn't quite as easy but I think casters still lucked out to some degree. The Shoveltusk Steaks will be the go to food of choice for most casters and the Shoveltusk flank is fairly easy to farm. To farm the meat I like to fly to Westguard Keep and then go down the western coast. Along the way you will find several packs of shoveltusks in groups of 5 or more. I generally run among the group and AoE them down quickly. It works out great. If your looking for a cheaper spell power meat you can go for [Shoveltusk Steak].

[Snapper Extreme] - 3 [Bonescale Snapper], 1 [Northern Spice] - If your significantly below the hit cap the using Hit food instead of spell power food might be a good idea. I will warn you that this stuff may be expensive on the AH since it requires fishing to get the meat. I do not know of any other hit food.

These are the only two foods I would recommend because they are the best by far. However, If you are looking to pick up a little more Crit, Haste, or Mp5 then food buffs is a good way to do. Do a search on wowhead to find the relevant recipes.

The use of potions in raid has diminished greatly in raids due to potion sickness. However, it is very important to have a few potions on you in case there is a need.

[Runic Mana Potion] - 2 [Lichbloom], 1 [Goldclover] - I don't have many mana issues in 25 mans, but I think it is extremely important to have a stack of these on you. You never know when your going to have mana problems and being able to pop a mana pot really helps.

[Potion of Speed] - 2 [Adder's Tongue], 1 [Pygmy Oil] - If your looking for a boost to your DPS from a potion then this is your best choice most of the time. It is best for a couple of reasons. First, 500 haste is a lot better then 180 spell power and 60 crit. The comparison isn't even close. The second reason is that your casting speed is determined at the beginning of a cast, but your damage is calculated when the spell hits. So, if you have just 1 second left on your buff, you can cast another spell and get the 500 haste, but you wouldn't get the damage bonus of a [Potion of Wild Magic].

[Runic Healing Potion] - 2 [Icethorn], 1 [Goldclover] - To be honest I don't like using health pots in raid. I would rather save my pot for Mana or DPS since we have a lot of other ways to heal our selves. If you really need to heal yourself I would use a cookie or bandage first. At the very least you can pop out of moonkin form and heal your self.

Scrolls and Oils:
You shouldn't need either of these items. Oils will only work on weapons of level 70 or below, so they won't be needed. Scrolls don't stack with the stat buffs like Arcane Intellect, so you won't need scrolls unless you know your not going to have a buff for the night.

Happy Holidays:
I want to wish everyone Happy Holidays. For the next week I will be away and have limited Internet access so I won't be answering e-mails very promptly and probably won't post much if at all.

Monday, December 15, 2008

My Christmas Wish List

As I was making the gear guides I wondered what would be the best possible set of gear. I had thought about this before during BC but with so many raids available it was difficult to get a grasp on it. However, as we all know WotLK raiding currently consists of 3 instances. Two of which have a single boss. So here my stab at it.

1. I didn't use any sophisticated math to come of up with the list. I used my general knowledge of the stats to pick which one would be the best for DPS. In that effort I fell back on the general value equation of Hit > Spell Power > Haste > Crit. For this reason you will find a lot more haste items in the list then crit items.

2. I used a Hit cap of 262 to focus my hit gatherings. This assumes you have a shadow priest or are using Imp FF. Alliance Moonkin can take this down to 236, because I assume that they have a Draenei in raid.

3. DPS was the primary factor in ranking items. Mana regen and other considerations were only thought about when two items had very similar levels of DPS stats. This is why you see very little Spirit and Mp5 in the list.

Disclaimer: I am in no way suggesting that this is the ideal set of gear that everyone should shoot for. We all have different priorities and different raiding situations. Plus, this set has over 20% haste from gear alone. I don't know if this level of haste is sustainable with this level of mana regen. I also don't think there are enough weeks between now and when the next content patch drops to realistically have a change to get everything. This list does give me a goal but in reality is probably more of a fantasy.

[Valorous Dreamwalker Cover] - Kel'Thuzad - Naxx 25 - This is Best in Slot (BIS in future) by far. This is not that surprising since it is a tier piece and tier pieces should be itemized for us almost perfectly.

[Valorous Dreamwalker Mantle] - Loatheb - Naxx 25 - The comment for the helm fits perfectly here also.

[Valorous Dreamwalker Vestments] - Four Horsemen - Naxx 25 - If your below the hit cap and don't consider the set bonuses there are a couple of chests that are better. However, the set bonuses are great and I have found many other fine ways to get to the hit cap. Therefore I consider this to be BIS.

[Valorous Dreamwalker Gloves] - Sartharion - Obsidian Sanctum 25 - The chest explanation explains this one perfectly as well, and it completes our 4 piece set bonus.

[Leggings of the Wanton Spellcaster] - Malygos - Eye of Eternity 25 - This is the only deviation from the set bonus and it is so for good reason. It is an item level above most of the Naxx gear and has a ton of Spell Power and Hit on it. Even if you exclude the Hit this item is better then the tier pants. These pants are simply awesome. However, be prepared for a fight to get them. Malygos is not an easy boss like much of Naxx is so you probably won't get as many shots at them as you might for other items. Second, every mage, warlock, and shadow priest in your raid will want these pants. Don't be surprised if you catch some grief for rolling on these, because they are cloth. They are that good.

[Wyrmrest Necklace of Power] - Quest Reward - Heroic Judgment at the Eye of Eternity - While this is technically a quest reward it will not be easy to obtain. First you will have to get [Heroic Key to the Focusing Iris] off of 25 Sapphiron. It starts a quest and is the key to the Eye of Eternity. Most guilds will give this to tanks and guild leaders first to ensure they have access to the zone. After that it will probably be a /roll since it is not an actual piece of loot. After you get the Key you will get the Heroic Judgment at the Eye of Eternity quest. For this quest you will have to kill Malygos. Again this is not easy. This neck is very nice and is BIS even if you exclude the Hit. You can get a slightly worse version of this neck by completing a similar process on the 10 man level.

[Pennant Cloak] - Sartharion + 2 drakes - Obsidian Sanctum 25 - This is probably the best caster cloak in the game. You will be competing with not just DPS for this cloak since plenty of healers will want it also. Also, it is not something you will get a ton of shots at since Sartharion with two drakes up is very tough.

[Bindings of the Expansive Mind] - Instructor Razuvious - Naxx 25 - These are very nice wrists with Hit, Crit and Spell Power. These are the best option for Tauren Druids but Night Elf Druids may want to look at [Unsullied Cuffs]. These don't have any hit or crit, but have more spell power and some haste. However, they will also be difficult to get since they drop off of Sartharion with two drakes up.

Ring 1:
[Signet of Manifested Pain] - Kel'Thuzad - Naxx 25 - This is an extremely well rounded ring with a bunch of Spell Power, Haste and Crit. This is by far the best ring available.

Ring 2:
[Band of Channeled Magic] - 25 Emblems of Valor - Most of the rings available aren't very DPS focused. A lot of them have spirit or Mp5. So that is how this ring got up here. I was actually pretty surprised when it turned out to me my number two ring. However, If your looking for hit check out [Signet of the Malevolent]. The shear quantity of Hit on this ring will make it desirable for most casters. Don't be surprised if you hear that clothies consider this to be one of their top two rings period. Since it is a Naxx10 drop off of Gothik the Harvester it shouldn't be to hard to get.

[Leash of Heedless Magic] - Malygos - Eye of Eternity 25 - It has a ton of Spell Power and Haste, which make it awesome. Expect to compete with all the clothies for this item.

[Footsteps of Malygos] - Malygos - Eye of Eternity 10 - The great thing about these boots is that you should have very little competition for them. Resto Druids should pass to you since they don't have any spirit and they don't need a lot of Crit or Haste. Since they are Leather, only Moonkin and Elemental shaman should have any interest in them. Anyway, they are a well rounded boot and are perfectly itemized for a moonkin.

Trinket 1:
[Embrace of the Spider] - Maexxna - Naxx10 - There aren't a whole lot of Spell Power trinkets in the game and this is the only one that has a proc based ability that is good for DPS. However, there are some good trinkets that supply the other DPS stats. If your looking for Crit, Hit, or Haste, you can find better options for this slot.

Trinket 2:
[Illustration of the Dragon Soul] - Sartharion - Obsidian Sanctum 25 - This trinket is just like the old Darkmoon Faire trinket except that it only works for casters. It won't be as good on fights like Gothek that have a lot of down time, but on more constant DPS fights you can maintain a 260 Spell Power buff. Only a weapon can give you more Spell Power from a single slot.

Main Hand:
[Torch of Holy Fire] - Kel'Thuzad - Naxx25 - It is not perfectly itemized for a moonkin. In fact I think it is a little better suited for Pally or Priest healer, but the fact that it has 520 spell power makes it the best in slot. I would live to trade in the Mp5 for some DPS stats so that it looked more like [Wraith Strike] or [Hammer of the Astral Plane], but you can't get around the fact that it has 59 more spell power then the next best weapon available.

Off Hand:
[Surplus Limb] - Patchwerk - Naxx25 - There aren't a whole lot of good off hands currently available in the game. A lot of them are really focused on mana regen with Mp5 and Spirit. This item on the other hand is just very well itemized for a moonkin with a lot of Hit, Haste and Spell Power. Plus, you get to carry an arm around with you where ever you go.

[Idol of the Shooting Star] - Instructor Razuvious - Naxx25 - Not hard to guess given that there are very few balance focused Idols currently in WotLK. I picked this idol because Starfire is still my main spell even though I am playing around with Eclipse, and the SF idol helps Starfire a little more then the Wrath Idol helps wrath. What I would really like for blizzard to make an updated version of the [Idol of the Raven Goddess]. I'm still not completely sure that this isn't the best raid idol currently available.

Anyway, that is my WoW Christmas wish list. Most of these items are on top because they are an Item level above most of what you find in Naxx and such, and I have almost no shot of getting all of this but it is something nice to shoot for.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Patch Notes: 3.0.8

There is nothing really major here for moonkin but there are some interesting things in the patch currently on the PTR. If you would like the full patch notes and a list of undocumented changes I recommend looking at here at MMO Champion.

Talent/Spell Changes:
Genesis: Now works with Tranquility and Hurricane. - This effectively does nothing for moonkin. This talent still sucks. If I want to buff hurricane I will pick up Gail winds.

Nature's Grace - Now also effects Revive. - A half second off my 10 second out of combat rez? Whoopie!!!!!!

Starfall - Will now be cancelled by any shapeshifting. - Is this really necessary? Is it really a bad thing that I can shift out and heal while Starfall continues to tick? I just don't see the point of this one.

Remove Curse and Abolish Poison can now be used in Moonkin form. - This is really nice. I am currently the only raiding druid in my guild. We usually have shaman to clear up the poisons, but there have been times when I've had to do it on 10-mans or heroics. It will make my life easier.

Glyph Changes:
Glyph of Focus - Increases the damage done by Starfall by 20%, but decreases its radius by 50%. - The general design idea behind glyphs has been that you gain something at a cost. In my opinion this glyph is pure win. I have actually been fairly frustraited with Starfall. It is our new "dumb" spell, because I have little control over who it targets. I can't use it much on Malygos because it will kill the sparks to early. I have the same problem on Loatheb. I can't use it on trash at all because it is likely that I would pull a pat. This glyph doesn't cure those issues but makes them easier. In reality though, none of this matters. Moonkin already have 4 very good major glyphs available to us. I don't see my self giving up the MF, SF or IS glyphs for a glyph to improve Starfall.

Glyph of Typhoon - Reduces the cost of your Typhoon spell by 8%, but it no longer knocks enemies back. - This glyph does improve Typhoon from a PvE perspective, but the spell is still pretty bad, therefore there is no real use for this glyph.

* Tapping: All player spells which cause a creature to become aggressive to you will now also immediately cause the creature to be tapped. - This is an awesome change. It won't mean much for Graylo since Moonfire is the best mob tagging spell around, but my two main alts are a shadow priest and an affliction warlock. The mad leveling rush is over, but this should make their lives easier when content is released in the future.

The run speed in spirit form has been increased by 50%. Night Elves in Wisp form will now move at 75% speed. - WOOT!!! Faster corpse runs. The also added 60 grave yards to vanilla WoW.

* Alchemy - All flasks no longer require an alchemy lab to create. - Not a surprise, but I wish this had happened a little sooner. You don't need a lab for the new flasks already, but if you read my last post you know that I am not able to make any of the new flasks yet. So, I have opted to use the old flasks for the time being since Fel Lotus is very cheap right now and it still persists through death. It would be nice to not have to go to shattrath anymore but I am sure that I will be using the new flasks by the time this patch goes live.

Whats Not in the Patch:
In general, I'm pretty happy with how Moonkin look and with Wrath of the Lich King in general. Most of the things I would like changed aren't huge, but I have come across one issue recently that I can't for the life of me understand why it has not been fixed.

Where did all of the gem crafting patterns go? I was trying to gets someone to cut a [Purified Twilight Opal] for me and I come to find out that it is impossible. Its not that the gem isn't in the game, because it is in the game files. Its just impossible to learn. Really, how hard is it to put all of the gems in the game? I realize that the blizzard employees are busy people but this is just ridiculous.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Toon Update: 12/10/2008

Finally something other than a guide. I like the guides because they are helpful and they attract people to the blog, but they require a lot of research and can be very draining when you do a really long one like the gear guide. Plus, A lot has happened over the past few weeks and I feel like I haven't gotten a chance to talk about it yet. And I'll be honest. One of the reasons I started this blog was to talk about my self and my game play. So let the self centeredness begin.

I'll start with the alts since they are easy. As you can probably guess not much has happened with them. When log into Graypal he gives me a nasty look and says I only call when I need something DEed,Grayfel is giving me the silent treatment in the fuming warlocky sort of way, Grayvik sent me a mail the other day asking me not to forget the little people. I have played Grayfel a little bit that I was really looking for mining nodes to hopefully get some free gems. I really want to level him fairly soon, because I think his professions are particularly useful. However, I don't see him getting any serious attention until January. Graypal and Grayvik are just going to have to wait. The good news for Grayvik though is that by the time I level him again I will have a ton of Emblems and he will get some nice BoA gear.

LoE is having their first "official" raid tonight but we were have done informal 25 man raids for the past week and started 10man raids a couple of weeks before that. Our progress has been good.

On the 10man level we have cleared Naxx and Sartharion with one drake up, and have put some solid attempts in on Malagos. Sartharion is simple with no drakes, but got a little tougher with a drake up. My view on naxx may be a little misleading. When I cleared Naxx10, I had already cleared 3 wings of Naxx25. Most of my group had cleared Naxx on the 10man level, and some of them had experience with it on the 40man level preBC. So this wasn't a group that walked in fresh. Naxx10 may be tougher for people with less raiding experience, but from my perspective it was fairly easy. We cleared all 4 wings of Naxx10 and killed Sapphiron with out a single person dying during a boss fight. We were very close to getting the Undying achievement, but ended up 3 shotting Kel'thuzad. Really, I think even fairly casual guilds could master this instance fairly quickly if they had a good consistent group that had decent raid experience.

The really fun part of my 10man raiding experience is Malagos. He is much tougher then Naxx, but still very doable. None of the phases none of the phases are really hard, but we haven't mastered them yet because we are running up on the enrage timer. With a little tweeking of our strategy I think we can get him down fairly soon

On the 25 man level we have cleared Naxx, but have yet to attempt Sartharion or Malagos. Naxx25 was better tuned then Naxx10 in my opinion. A lot of the fights are fairly easy, but there are some that test your skill or are tuned just right for a beginning group.

The best example of this is Thaddius. His fight mechanics aren't hard but are a little unforgiving to errors. For those of you that don't know he is a lot like the first boss in Mech. He will randomly put Positive and Negative charges on people periodically through out the fight. If people with opposite charges are near each other they damage each other. If all of the like charges are grouped up together then you get a 10% damage buff for each person with your charge. On top of that he has a very short enrage timer so these buffs are very important. Also, the way you get to the boss is to jump from one platform to another. If you miss the platform then you fall in the water and have to run back around. By the time you get a chance to jump again the charges will have been applied, and you will have to wait until your charge matches your side's charge. You will lose at least a minute of DPS time doing this. So this is a personal accountability fight and a DPS race. If several people don't make the jump then the raid wipes. If you don't pay attention to your charge you will kill your self and probably several of your raid members.

On our kill we had about 15 - 30 seconds to spare but only one death during the fight. So, the fight is a little tight. Given that we had fairly entry level gear I think this is perfect. I'm sure we could kill him with just 20 people a month or two from now after everyone has fully geared, but I like how he is tuned for now.

I do want to make a comment about raid difficulty. Much has been said about how Ensidia (the former Nihilum and SK Gaming super guild) cleared all raid content in under 48 hours after release. I personally don't think that this means that the game is to easy. Most of the people that are beating the game now are fairly serious raiders that have a lot of experience and are a little better trained to react to the unexpected. Many of them raided during the beta and/or raided Naxx back during Vanilla WoW. So it is no wonder that these people are going to have a leg up and be able to clear the content quickly. That doesn't mean that your more average player isn't going to find this content challenging, and his is the entry level content. Its not meant to be a Sunwell type difficulty, and all of the QQing ignores the achievements. Has anyone cleared Naxx 25 without anyone dying? Has anyone killed the 4 horsemen with in 15 seconds of each other? There are several achievements that you can go for to make the fights harder and I doubt that many people have completed them yet.

I have done all the heroics except Halls of Lightning and Drak'tharon Keep. In fact I haven't cleared Drak'tharon Keep on Normal either. I hope to get those over the weekend so that when I kill Malagos I can get the champion of the frozen wastes title. Overall I like the heroics, but think they are a little uneven. Some are very tough or have very tough fights. I would consider the HoS event and the last boss in Old Kingdom very tough. Then there are other instances like the Nexus, UK, CoT: Stratholme that I would consider fairly easy.

I don't really have a favorite yet, but there are some that I think are a lot of fun. Utgarde Pinnacle had a lot of nice variation to its bosses that I liked. The Oculus was interesting because of its unique design and the Drake fight was fun. Violet Hold is like the new mech in that it seems to be the one that everyone farms, but at the same time it has some nice variations since you never know what the first two bosses will be.

Even though I am level 80 I am still questing. The Zygor guide worked out great for me. It had a few bugs here and there, but for the most part it made leveling fairly simple however, it stopped about a quarter of the way into Storm Peaks and with no progress in Icecrown. This isn't horrible but it left me a little flustered at the start. I feel that it is important for me to complete the quests in these zone's to prepare for the future patches. They have a lot of heavy phasing that I may miss things that I will need for future raiding. On top of that these are going to be heavy farming areas for Herbs, Eternals and other things, so I need to know the area. As of now I have completed the Storm Peaks but haven't started Icecrown yet. I don't have a lot of time to quest in between raiding and heroics.

One last thing, I'm not really happy with how we have to level Alchemy. I've been stuck at 410 to 415 for a while now and there isn't a good way to get it higher. The problem is the availability of recipes. Once you get to about 410 the recipes you get from the trainer don't level you much anymore. The only recipes that allow you to level up to about 430 or so are discoveries you can make from Northrend Research. The problem with this is that Northrend research has a 7 day cooldown, and you have no control over what you discover. So far I have discovered [Elixir of Mighty Mageblood], [Elixir of Mighty Defense], and [Potion of Wild Magic]. These items aren't bad but none of them are anything I would use right now, and I am not much of a craft to sell type of alchemist, but I need to use these three to get to 430. Once there I will have to start transmuting Diamonds daily to get the next 5 points, which won't be cheap. Once I get to 435 it will be smooth sailing, because I will be able to craft [Flask of the Frost Wyrm] all the way to 450. Really there is no reason to push for 450 now. There aren't any recipes that require that amount of skill currently in game. I'm sure they will introduce something in the future but by that point I will have probably crafted enough flasks to be max skill.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Pre Naxx Moonkin Gear Guide: Part 4

In part 4 of the gear guide I will look at Boots, Belts, Legs and Trinkets. All of the other slots are covered in Parts 1, 2, & 3. Click on the numbers to find those guides.

Boots (search)
1. [Sandals of Crimson Fury] - Exalted Rep Reward - Wyrmrest - Getting to exalted with Wyrmrest is going to take a while, but these are by far the best boots available pre raid. I've listed them first because I also think these are better then anything you will find in Naxx 10. I would start building this rep as soon as you get to revered with Kirin Tor.

2. [Stone-Worn Footwraps] - Heroic Krik'thir - Azjol Narub - These drop of the first boss in heroic AN so they shouldn't be hard to get. They have a good amount of spell power and crit and will serve you well while your grinding rep.

3. [Silky Iceshard Boots]
- BoE Crafted - Tailoring - I think the mats are a little expensive, but they have a good amount of DPS stats.

Legs (search)
1. [Woven Bracae Leggings] - Heroic Loken - Halls of Lightning - These are very good legs all around. They have high Spell Power and Crit. If you would like a haste version of these legs take a look at [Leggings of the Winged Serpent]. They drop from the last boss in heroic Drak'tharon Keep.

2. [Giant-Friend Kilt] - Revered Rep Reward - Sons of Hodir - You should be building rep with this faction already for the shoulder enchants. These are some nice legs you can pick up on the way. There are a couple of better blue options from heroics but the difference isn't huge.

3. [Black Duskweave Leggings] - BoE Crafted - Tailoring - The mats are cheap so these will be easy to get. There are better options out there but these are a good place to start.

Other notable legs: [Crenelation Leggings], [Sorrowgrave's Breeches],
[Kilt of Sewn Flesh]

Belt (search)

1. [Girdle of Bane] - Heroic King Ymiron - Utgarde Pinnacle - This is a fun instance with a nice belt at the end. If your looking for hit this belt is the way to go. The last boss also dorps a very nice tanking sword so you shouldn't have to much trouble finding a tank for this instance.

2. [Sash of Blood Removal] - Heroic Gal'darah - Gundrak - It is a haste belt, but it is the best belt available if you don't need the hit. Gundrak has always gone pretty quick for me also so it shouldn't be a big time commitment.

3. [Belt of Dark Mending] - Exalted Rep Reward - Knights of the Ebon Blade - Normally I would list a rep reward higher but I believe Kirin Tor and Wyrmrest have better reward then this. Not a bad belt, but the belts above are better.

4. [Sash of the Wizened Wyrm] - Honored Rep Reward - Wyrmrest - Getting to honored with Wyrmrest is very easy, and this belt has a good amount of hit on it.

Trinkets (search)
Note: There are not a lot of good trinkets in WotLK. I used a couple of my BC trinkets up until the very end, but here are a few you may want to look at.

[Mark of the War Prisoner] - Heroic Cyanigosa - Violet Hold - Which trinkets you pick have more to do with which stats you need since they generally provide you with just one stat. This trinket provides you with a 25% of the hit your going to need to get to the soft hit cap. I was lucky and this dropped on my first run, but I would have farmed VH for a while to get it. This trinket gives you a lot of flexibility in your other gear.

2. [Tome of Arcane Phenomena] - Normal Eregos - Oculus - I would prefer if the on use ability wasn't haste, but it is the best Spell Power trinket available before raiding.

3. [Pendulum of Telluric Currents] - Heroic Mage-Lord Urom - Oculus - If you want haste this is your trinket. The on equip ability isn't bad also. According to WoWhead it has a 15% proc chance and a 45 second internal cooldown. Its a nice ability because you don't have to think about it, but it won't increase your DPS much.

4. [Flame Ember] - Heroic Sjonnir - Hall of Stone - You may have a tough time getting a group for this because Sjonnir is after the event and the event is tough. However, if you get a good group this isn't a bad trinket.

5. [Mercurial Alchemist Stone] - BoP Crafted - Alchemy - I don't like listing BoP crafted things in this guide but this is a really nice trinket if your an Alchemist already. DO NOT change to Alchemy to pick up this trinket it is not worth that, but it is more well rounded then any other trinket you will find. I also don't have any problem with the mats as I picked up every thing I needed as I leveled.

Well that is it for the guide and I am glad it is finally done. Sorry it took a while. I've got quite a few ideas of what to do now. I need to go back and look at the old versus posts and update them for WotLK. I also want to look at the mana regen talents, and possible do a guide on naxx gear.

To be honest though I am looking forward to writing a little fluff. As I'm sure you can imagine a lot has happened. My guild so far has 10 bosses down in Naxx25. I've cleared Naxx10 and killed Sartharion with one drake up on 10man, and we also got some attempts in on normal Malagos, but more on that later.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Pre Naxx Moonkin Gear Guide: Part 3

In part one I went over the weapons and off hands. In part two I looked at Heads, Shoulders, Necks, and Backs. In part three I will be looking at Chests, Wrists, Hands, and Rings.

Gloves (search)
1. [Traditionally Dyed Handguards] - Heroic General Bjarngrim - Halls of Lightning - I list this particular glove because it is the best in Heroic Halls of Lightning, but in reality they are only slightly better then two other pairs of gloves that drop in the same instance. [Awakened Handguards] are a BoE drop that you can also find on the AH, and [Giant-Hair Woven Gloves] are a nice set of crit gloves that drop off of Volkhan. To make a long story short, If your looking for gloves, run Heroic HoL as much as you can.

2. [Gloves of Glistening Runes] - Heroic Keristrasza - The Nexus - These are very nice gloves that compare well to the gloves available from early raiding 10 man. They can be replaced fairly quickly but the upgrade is small. If your guild uses DKP, these gloves may allow you to save some while you wait for the "price" to come down.

3. [Lava Burn Gloves] - Normal Lavanthor - Violet Hold - Given the structure of VH these might be a little hard to farm, and the other gloves I've listed are all clearly better. However, If you can run VH a couple of times while leveling you may get lucky and pick these up with little effort. The won't last long, but they are a decent place to start.

Note: I want to make a quick note regarding the [Ebonweave Gloves] and the [Spellweave Gloves]. Both are decent gloves, but not really worth the effort in my opinion. These require at least 4 Eternals to craft, and can be replaced by most of the gloves found in early raiding, including the T7 gloves which can be easily farmed even with a pug.

Chest (search)
1. [Black Duskweave Robe] - BoE Crafted - Tailoring - This item is listed first completely due to the ease with which you can obtain it. With 80 SP and 70 Haste it is fairly close to heroic gear in terms of DPS. This is a decent item to start with. If you looking for something with Hit check out [Robes of Lightning]. Since it is a quest reward it should be fairly easy to get also.

2. [Water-Drenched Robe] - Heroic Ichoron - Violet Hold - It may be a little difficult to obtain due to it dropping off a random boss. However it is the best chest from heroics assuming your not hit capped.

3. [Insect Vestments] - Heroic Anub'arak - Azjol Nerub - This is the best leather chest I've seen pre raid, but feel free to ignore the socket bonus if you like.

4. [Ebonweave Robe] - BoE Crafted - Tailoring - This is the best chest pre raid, but once again I recommend against it. I know I sound like a broken record but here is why. This chest is only slightly better then the #2 item listed above and it requires quite a few expensive mats to craft. It's just not worth the expense.

Bracers (search)
1. [Black Duskweave Wristwraps] - BoE Crafted - Tailoring - Once again these are listed first because of the ease with which they can be obtained.

2. [Azure Cloth Bindings] - Heroic Cyanigosa - Violet Hold - I've done Heroic VH several times now. Some were guild runs and some were pure pugs from guilds with no reputation. I haven't had any trouble clearing this instance on heroic. So, trying to farm these shouldn't be to bad. They have a good amount of spell power and haste and are much better then almost other items pre naxx.

3. [Plague-Infected Bracers] - Heroic Mal'ganis - CoT: Stratholme - I currently wear these. They were better then my T6 bracers from Sunwell. I didn't find this instance to difficult on heroic either. I would prefer the Azure Cloth Bindings but these are a very close second.

Rings (search)
Note: There are a lot of very good rings out there of similar quality. So you will find some very nice rings that are not listed here.

1. [Band of Guile] - Heroic Mal'Ganis - CoT: Stratholme - This is a very good ring with a lot of spell power and haste. This is the best ring you will find in an instance. [Annhylde's Ring] is virtually identical to it and can be found in Heroic UK.

2. [Ring of Northern Tears] - BoE Crafted - Jewelcrafting - The mats on this might be a little expensive for some. The Eternal Water and Northsea Pearl can be farmed fairly easily but the titanium may be a little difficult if you don't have a minor. It does lack base stats, but over all this is a good DPS ring with decent spell power, crit, and a ton of hit, but I would ignore the socket bonus.

3. [Ring of the Traitor King] - Heroic Anub'arak - Azjol Nerub - If the haste on the epic rings scares you then this is a very good crit ring. It also has a twin. [Globule Signet] can be found in heroic VH.

4. [Ring of the Frenzied Wolvar] - Heroic Gortok Palehoof - Utgarde Pinnacle - This is another Heroic Haste ring that may be a little easier to get. It's twin is [Solitaire of Reflecting Beams] and can be found in Heroic VH.

5. [Signet of the Kirin Tor] - 8500 gold - Harold Winston - This is by far the best ring pre raid and is extremely easy to obtain IF you have 8500g. That is a big if. This ring is comparable to a lot of what you will find in Naxx10, and my guess is that by the time you get enough gold to buy it you will have been able to pick up a couple of rings from raiding. So, what you are really buying is the port to Dalaran.If an extra hearth is worth 8500g to you then go ahead and get it. Otherwise I would pass it buy.

Other notable rings: [Signet of Hopeful Light], [Titanium Spellshock Ring], [Signet of Ranulf], [Voodoo Signet]

That's it for part 3. Part 4 will cover Belts, Legs, Boots, and Trinkets.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Pre Naxx Moonkin Gear Guide: Part 2

In Part one I looked at the various weapons, that were available. In this post we will start to look at the armor that is available. Please look back at part one for my biases and how I build the list.

1. [Hat of Wintry Doom] - BoE Crafted - This is not the best head possible but I have listed it number 1 for a couple of reasons. First is that it is relatively cheap and easy to obtain since it is a BoE crafted item. Second is that it has a ton of spell hit and and an meta gem socket. Assuming that you use a [Chaotic Skyflare Diamond], this socket is worth around 30 - 40 Spell Power for beginning raiders.

2. [Battlemap Hide Helm] - Heroic Prince Keleseth - Utgarde Keep - This is a very nice helm and is fairly easy to obtain since it drops of the first boss in heroic UK. I picked up this helm because of the large amount of SP, Crit, and the Meta socket. This helm will last you into Naxx easily if you can get it to drop.

3. [Horned Helm of Varos] - Normal Varos Cloudstrider - The Oculus - This is not the best item, but it isn't a bad place to start and it shouldn't be to hard to get. It has a good amount of Spell Power and Haste and a yellow socket.

4. [Greensight Gogs] - BoE Crafted - Engineering - I strongly recommend against this head. I only mention it because I assume someone would ask about it. Even though this is an epic item it is not as good as the Battlemap Hide Helm I listed above and is much more expensive to craft.

1. [Emeline's Locket] - Quest Reward - The Admiral Revealed - This is definitely not the best neck available but it is a very good one that should be simple for most people to get. It also provides a significant amount of Hit Rating if your short of the cap. This neck won't last you a long time, but it is a great place to start.

2. [Necklace of Taldaram] - Heroic Prince Taldaram - Old Kingdom - This neck is a little more DPS and a little harder to obtain than the first neck listed. This neck also has quite a bit of Hit Rating.

3. [Amulet of the Spell Flinger] - Heroic Amanitar - Old Kingdom - If your close to the hit cap then this neck provides a good amount of Crit Rating. It may be a little difficult to obtain because this not an easy boss, but then again, I didn't know anything about him when I killed him.

4. [Encircling Burnished Gold Chains] - 25 Emblem of Heroism - There are pluses and minuses to this neck. At only 25 emblem's it shouldn't be to hard to obtain, and it has a good amount of Spell Power and Hit rating on it. The down side is that it has Spirit also, and there are several better necks in 10-man raiding. However, if you have the badges there is really no reason not to spend them. In my opinion there are currently only 3 items that a moonkin would want from emblems, and in total they only cost 90 emblems. (In case your wondering the other two items are the off hand I mentioned in part one and [Plush Sash of Guzbah])

1. [Purehorn Spaulders] - BoE Crafted - Leatherworking - I am not a leather worker or skinner but the mats for these shoulders appears to be pretty easy. These shoulders require only 30
[Nerubian Chitin] to craft. On top of that they provide 67 Spell Power and 37 haste. Those are great stats for a relatively cheap item.

2. [Dark Runic Mantle] - BoE Heroic Drop - Hall of Stone - Farming these might be a pain because they are a random mob drop, and the HoS event is quite difficult. However, If you can find them on the AH for a decent price they are the way to go, since they have the most potential Spell Power pre-raid.

3. [Spaulders of Krystallus] - Heroic Krystallus - Hall of Stone - This boss is pre-event in HoS, but you may still have a hard time finding a group. However, If you can get a shot at these shoulders these are very nice compared to a lot of what is out there.

1. [Dark Soldier Cape] - Rep Reward - Honored Knights of the Ebon Blade - This one follows my theme. It has a good amount of Spell Power and Hit Rating, and is extremely easy to get. There isn't much else I can say.

2. [Ancient Dragon Spirit Cape] - Heroic Eregos - The Oculus - I have not run this instance yet, but I can tell you this. Some of my guildies are not fans, so you may have a tough time finding a group. However, this is the best back you can get pre-raid that won't cost you a ton of gold.

3. [Deathchill Cloak] - BoE crafted - Tailoring - In pure DPS terms this is one of the best cloaks currently available in game. There are only one or two better from raiding. However, it has two down sides. The first is the lack of base stats. Generally this isn't a huge deal, but you may end up missing them, because having enough HP and Mana are bigger issues in early raiding. Second is the cost. This pattern requires 10 Eternals, a [Siren's Tear], and a [Frozen Orb] to craft, and that doesn't include the cloth and dust needed. If you have the time or gold to get this made then go for it, but I wouldn't blame anyone for holding off on it for a little bit.

That's it for Part 2. I should have part 3 our in the next few days, and it will go over Chest, Wrists, Hands, and Rings.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Pre Naxx Moonkin Gear Guide: Part 1

The pre Kara gear guide I wrote 8 months ago was one of the most viewed posts I have written. Now that the expansion is hear I have received a couple of requests to do the same for Naxx. Since my original guide was so well received I am happy to help.

I want to warn you that writting this guide is a little tougher then the last one. When I wrote the Kara guide BC had been out for over a year and I had a lot of experiance with the expansion. I new which instances were easy and which faction reps were difficult to level. That is not the case with this guide. At the time that this guide was written I had only just dinged level 80. I have not run many WotLK heroics and haven't worked on the rep for any of the factions. Therefore I want you to understand a couple of things about the list before you jump to far in to it.

1. This list is not meant to be all inclusive. I have picked 3 or 4 options that I consider to be the best based on a variety of criteria. I will exclude some items because I have included an item that is obtained in a very similar way already. If you would like a complete list of all the items available I suggest you go to and do a search. That how I built this list.

2. I have selected these times based on three criteria: DPS, Obtainability, and Cost. I want this list to be accessable to all users. While DPS is the primary characteristic I rate the items on, do down rank a lot of them based upon where the drop from and how much they cost to craft. On top of that I admit that I have biases that influansted the list. I will try and expose those biases below.

3. I have excluded PvP gear almost entirely from this list. This is done for a couple of reasons. First, PvP gear is not itemized well for PvE content for the most part. Second, I personally hate BG grinding to obtain the items, and that is the way most people obain PvP gear. None of this is to say that PvP gear might not be better then the gear you currently have equipped, If you have PvP gear that out gears your current level of PvE content then feel free to use it.

4. In terms of pure DPS the stat equation is Hit > Spell Power > Haste > Crit, but I am currently a little biased against haste. That is because I am a little worried about mana currently. Until I am completely certain that I won't have mana issues I am going to give up a little bit if DPS for little more mana security. Therefore I tend to favor items with Crit over items with Haste if they are in relatively similar quantities.

5. I am also a little biased in favor of Hit Rating. The soft hit cap is 262.3 in WotLK, and looking at my own gear from BC I realize I am well short of that, so I expect most of you are also.

6. In building the list I haven't focused on the base stats much. Stam, Int and Spirit are important but not as important as the primary DPS stats. For the most part they are unavoidable and will come naturally. The one possible exception to this is Spirit. I have generally avoided it in an indirect manner. Items without Spirit tend to have higher DPS stats and are picked more often.

All that said, feel free to offer other suggestions in the comments. I do not have a monopoly on insightfulness and my have missed something. Now, on with the guide.

One Handed Weapons:
Note: I want to note it for the record that main hand / off hand combinations are almost always better then a two handed weapon assuming that all of the items are fairly similar in item level.

1. [Flameheart Spell Scalpel] - Rep Reward - Kirin Tor Revered - This one was easy. This is by far one of the best balanced items I've seen in the expansion, and is relatively easy to get since it is a rep reward. It has a ton of Spell Power with a good amount of Hit and Crit, plus a few base stats. You better have a pretty good reason if you walk into Naxx without this weapon.

2. [Titansteel Guardian] - BoE crafted - With 490 Spell Power it is obvious that this is a very nice weapon, and it is obtainable by anyone with gold. However, it has two issues that make me a little reluctant to run out and get it. First is the cost. Expect to pay a high price for this item. It requites 18 Eternals and 2 Frozen Orbs to craft along with several bars of Saronite and Titanium. The second issue I have with it is that it has no Intelligence on it. I know I say a lot about not worrying about base stats, but your usually deciding between an item with 20 Int or 30 int. Not 4o Int or none. It's just a little jaring.

3. [Beguiling Scepter] - Normal Mal'Ganis - CoT: Stratholme - Nothing really special here but this is a very nice weapon that shouldn't be to difficult to obtain.

Caster Off Hand
1. [Ward of the Violet Citadel] - 25 Badges of Heroism - I really hate that I am listing this time first, but I do so because of a simple truth. There are not many good Caster off hands available from instances and if your going to run heroics to get one you might as well go for this one since it is only 25 badges. It is head and shoulders above anything you can get out side a raid.
2. [Telestra's Journal] - Heroic Grand Magus Telestra - The Nexus - The 39 Hit Rating is what makes this off hand attractive, since we will need 262 Hit rating just to reach the soft cap. This is not a bad option to go for while you accumulate badges.

3. [Tome of Salramm] - Normal Salramm - CoT: Stratholme - Again, this is nothing special but it is a nice well rounded item with a good balance of stats.

Two Handed Weapons:
Note: I've said it once above and I will now say it again. I don't recommend using a two handed weapon. A Main Hand / Off Hand combo is almost always better. The reason is that Staves tend to be very heavy on base stats like Stam, Int and Spirit, and you can usually get more DPS stats with Main Hands and Off Hands. However, if you insist on using a staff here are a few options.

1. [Savage Gladiator's Focus Staff] - PvP Reward - Weapons are the one area where PvP items tend to be ok for PvP. They still waste itemization points on Resilience and extra Stam but they also tend to have good stats like Hit Rating. If your going to use a staff then this is a good one. To be completely honest I'm not sure how you can obtain this item. I think you may be able to purchase it with [Stone Keeper's Shards], but I'm not sure. If anyone knows let me know.

2. [Staff of Sinister Claws] - Heroic Herold Volazj - Old Kingdom - This is probably the best PvE staff pre-raid, but I have heard that Heroic Old Kingdom is really hard.

That is it for now. I will publish the next installment as soon as I can but it may take a little while with the holidays coming up.

Monday, November 17, 2008

WotLK: My First Impressions

Like everyone else I have been trying to play as much as I can over the past 4 days or so. Graylo is now a couple bars into level 75 and running through mobs like a mack truck. My alts are obviously resting except when I need them to DE something or check the AH. Overall my experience has been good, but I would like to go over some of my first impressions.

My Build:
As you know I listed my planned leveling build in a post a couple of days ago. On Wednesday I raided right up until I went to get my copy and in my excitement to get to Northrend I forgot to respec before I got on the boat. This turned out well because I noticed two things. I wasn't casting Starfire or Insect Swarm much. This makes Improved Insect Swarm pretty much useless. So I put those three points in Dreamstate instead.

The only other change I made while leveling was putting 2 points in Gale Winds. I did so for two reasons. First, I did a couple of instances with guildies and we did a lot of AoEing. Second, after a few bad pools I realized a little extra DPS from AoE would be nice. I'm not AoE grinding anything, but I find that it is helpful in a few specific situations, and Furor isn't much of a loss at this point.

The Look:
I think the Northrend art looks great. I can't be completely sure of my opinion because I recently got a new video card. So I don't know what the improvements have more to do with, my card or the expansion. Anyway, I think the game looks great. The detail in the instances and such is awesome.

Zygor's Leveling Guide:
I know I haven't taken it all the way to 80 yet, but I love what I've seen so far. It provides step by step details on how to get things done and where to go. All the while I've had the TomTom arrow to show me the way. I don't have much to compare it to since I haven't seen the Brian Kopp ingame guide but I don't think it could be much better.

The big difference is that Zygor's guide takes all of the administrative stuff out of the game. I don't have to worry about where to go when. I don't have to tab out to check wowhead or look at a guide and figure out the coordinates. All I have to think about is how to complete the quest.

I realize that some people look at leveling guides as cheating or taking the fun out of the game, so I realize that this product is not for everyone. However, if your interested in a guide and don't mind spending 50 dollars I highly recommend Zygor's guide.

(Just for the record, I am not affiliated with Zygor guide in any way other than user. I have not received any money or freebies from them. This post is purely my experience so far.)

Some of you may have heard the tanking joke "Paladin: When you need to tank absolutely everything in the room." Well, the new joke should be "Starfall: When you need to pull absolutely everything in the room." Don't get me wrong, I like it, but this ability has gotten me into trouble several times. I didn't realize just how big it's radius is, and in a couple of cases it has made a bad situation worse.

To be specific, I've had a couple of situations were I pulled a couple extra mobs and I popped Starfall to help get them down. Next thing I know I have 5 more mobs headed my way. This is a big reason why I put two points in Gale Winds. AoE is just the best way to go when you have 8 mobs beating on you. In most cases I've gotten out of it ok by popping all of my cooldowns, but I suggest that everyone be careful about when you uses Starfall.

So far I've run The Nexus, Utgarde Keep, Azjol-Nerub, & Ahn'kahet: The Old Kingdom. I can't help but compare these four instances to the first 4 instances of BC. I think the WotLK instances are a big improvement over the BC instances so far. While some instances are still the long hallway that plagued BC, there was a lot of variety in the bosses. Virtually ever boss in Ramps, BF, SP, & UB was a tank and spank. Very few of the bosses I fought so far have been tank and spanks. So, I'm happy.

My favorite boss so far has been Herald Volazj in The Old Kingdom. I have a feeling that many will consider him to be the new Blackheart the Inciter from Shadow Labs, but I love having to DPS all of the adds down and then helping out my group members. I thought it was a lot of fun.

Most of the quests are the type of quests that we have grown to expect from Blizzard. Kill 20 of this, Collect 10 of that, use this item on those mobs. Nothing really special, but that is to be expected in my opinion.

On the positive side we have gotten all of the new "vehicle" quests (for lack of a better term). For the most part I have enjoyed those quite a bit. Especially the quest where you ride the dragon around Wyrmrest Temple. I can't wait to try the instance where the whole party is on dragons.

On a negative note I do think Blizzard designed some of their quests quite poorly, and I'm not talking about spawn rates.

The first quest I absolutely hated was The Clutches of Evil. I'm sure it doesn't help that I did it at peak play time and I am sure it will get better after the crowds die down but it is an absolute nightmare now. The 15 eggs were easy, but the 15 whelps were like pulling teeth. For those of you that don't know the Proto-Whelps spawn from the fire of the Proto-Drakes that are flying above, and they generally don't spawn until the end of a breath. So you have a ton of people running around following the breaths looking for a spawn. I was in a full group to try and make it easier, but there were a ton of people all trying to get the same spawn. Luckily I am very fast with my moonfire and didn't miss many but it was rough. To make matters worse there was a follow up quest that asked you to kill the Proto-Drakes that caused the whelps to spawn. So there were times when there were no drakes in the air. All around just a poor design.

The second quest I hated was A Righteous Sermon. In this quest you have to go down to the dungeon of Wintergarde Keep and here a sermon delivered to an undead. Its not hard, you just have to watch a cut seen. The problem is that the cut seen takes about a minute and you can't group to complete it. As you can imagine in these busy times there were several people that all wanted the quest at once. I would have been fine taking turns to do it, but it was clear that no one else was interested in that, so It took me several attempts to get the quest done. This is probably the worst example of this that I have seen but it is not the only example. Blizzard needs to do a better job of avoiding these type of back ups in the future.

As I said before I am happy with the expansion so far. It has been a little annoying waiting on respawns and I think we have all seen our share of asshats but those are to be expected.

I am looking forward to getting to level 77 so I can use my flying mount. I'm tired of having to run up and down all of these cliffs.

I want to say congrats to Erbodi. He is the first member of my guild to hit level 80, and he was the first Dwarf on my server to hit level 80. He said that his chat box was full of whispers after he got the achievement.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

OP Acheivements: The Last Straw

OMG Nerf the President of United States Achievement.

Its not fair that only one person gets to have it every 4 years and some people can get it twice. Not all of us have the time and money to work 16 hours a day for 22 months to get an achievement.

All Blizzard does is design content for end game raiders and the most hardcore of players that don't have real lives. Why does Blizzard habitually ignore more casual players? If blizzard doesn't remove this achievement and title or nerf it so that it is available for every one I am going to cancel my subscription and quit the game.

(Sorry, guys. I had to do it)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Kil'Jaeden = DEAD!!!!!!!!!!!!

You know it's funny. We attempted KJ on 3 different nights before Monday. The first night we consistently got him down to 40% but realized there was a problem with our positioning and where the Shields were being cast. The second night we spent another 3 hours and almost killed him. Several attempts were below 10%, the best of which was 4%. We just needed to iron out a few kinks. Our third night was just an hour this past Sunday. We didn't expect to kill him that night because we didn't have a full raid and just wanted to practice collapsing. All of this lead up to Monday night that is clearly one of my highlights now.

One Shot. One Kill. One Bow.

It just goes to show what preparation can do. A big congratulations go out to Salty who picked up [Thori'dal, the Stars' Fury].

Now, I know this kill doesn't mean as much as the kills before patch 3.0.2. I also know that we probably wouldn't be able to kill the prepatch version right now. However, it still feels good. With this kill I got the Achievement of Outland Raider, which is one of the few Achievements that means anything to me right now.

The fact that we one shotted him would be really funny if you had heard our vent comments or read our forum posts over the past week. Most everyone had committed to staying in raid until he was down. So, to be standing there at 8:30 with everyone asking what we should do now cracks me up a little.

We did end up going on on to BT and killing IC and Illidan left over from our Tuesday raid. This was particularly nice for me since I was able to pick up the [Cowl of the Illidari High Lord]. It is ugly as sin, but it is an awesome helm and I finally get to use the [Chaotic Skyfire Diamond] that has been in my bank for six months because I expected to get a helm off of Vashj.

We also, bought a Hyjal ID that had just the last to bosses on it and killed them both. All in all it was a very good night. We have just one more regular raid night before the expansion is release and we are hoping that we can go 6/6 in SWP to get one more kill on KJ. Wish us luck.

(P.S. I noobed it up and didn't get any good screenshots from the kill or the bow. These pictures were taken from our Guild Website and I assume Sevrenwinter took them. Thanks for the help.)

Friday, November 7, 2008

A Look back at the Burning Crusade

I don't know about you guys, but with the expansion coming out in less then a week I am starting to feel a little nostalgic. Now that the game is about to move on to a new chapter it is hard not to look back at the 2 years we played the Burning Crusade and think about both the highlights and the hard times. Here are some of my highlights and lowlights from the BC era of WoW.

Favorite 5-man Instance:
Shadow Labyrinth - The reason I like Shadow Labs is the variety of bosses. There were all fairly different and definitely presented a challenge before I would fully raid geared. I know a lot of people hated the ogre boss but everyone remembers him hand it was definitely a unique fight. Overall, Shadow Labs has an epic feel to it that was missing from a lot of the other 5 mans. It was one of the few instances I didn't mind running multiple times.

Least Favorite 5-man Instance:
This one is tough. I think I'm going to have to give two answers.

Auchenai Crypts - I leveled 3 toons to 70 in BC and never ran AC once on any of them, on either mode. I can't really say that it is my least favorite if I never ran it, but there has to be a reason for missing it. I would have assumed that some one would have pulled me in for a daily or a heroic or something if it was decent. However, it sounds like I wasn't missing much according to most of the people I've talked to.

Mana Tombs - This one is probably due to lack of experience also. I didn't run MT much also, but I don't remember anything particularly fun about this instance anyway.

Favorite 25-man Raid Boss:
Kael'thas Sunstrider - I have only killed him once but I really liked this fight. It has great variety and complexity. While it was fun downing bosses on the first or second day of trying them, it ultimately felt kind of hollow. Nothing was really accomplished. The Kael fight is much more involved. In my opinion it is more fun to learn the little complexities of the fights and feel the sense of accomplishment when you down him. Plus everyone gets to play around with Legendary items if for only a few minutes. Ultimately Kael was one of the few fights that had a truly epic feel to it. My only regret is that I couldn't get a guild first kill on him.

Least Favorite 25-man Raid Boss:
Void Reaver - I hate the orbs. It is that simple. VR was the fight I performed worst on consistently. I know it isn't ranged friendly, but I think it is particularly bad for moonkin since we have one of the longest cast Nukes in the game.

Favorite 10-man Raid Boss:
This is actually a tie.

Shade of Aran - This one is a little funny because I hated this fight early on because it is fairly hard and my computer always lagged out on it. However, after I got a better computer I started to appreciate it. It has a nice level of randomness and complexity that wasn't seen from a lot of the early bosses. It wasn't predictable but the randomness alone wouldn't wipe your raid like it would on Prince.

Jan'alai (Dragonhawk) - I really like the mini game. It provided a little tension but was beat able. Plus the trash leading up to him provided a little niche for moonkin. Yes, there are other ways to control the scouts but moonkin were probably best at it.

Least Favorite 10-man Raid Boss:
Netherspite - This one is a little funny because I thought it would be one of my favorite bosses after reading the strat. However, I think I have run it to many poor players or with very little organization. It seems like someone dies every single time. When I've run kara with my alts recently I'm just trying to get the fight over with.

Worst Moment in the Burning Crusade:
This one won't come as a surprise to anyone who knows me or has read this blog for a while. My worst moment in BC is clearly when Wandering Alliance broke up in January of 08. I lost some friends in that split and seriously considered quiting the game at that point. To be completely honest, I don't think I've had as much fun with a guild as I did with old WA since then. Don't get me wrong. I think LoE is great, and after I progress with them in WotLK and get to know some of the people better I will probably feel differently, but old WA was something special. Raids were focused but you could joke around a little. When not raiding you could hang out in vent and talk with people about different stuff. I guess I just felt closer to old WA then I have with any of my guilds since.

Most Shocking Moment in the Burning Crusade:
Logging into wow for raid and finding out that my guild no longer existed was very shocking. It wasn't really bad because I was kind of looking for a good way out, but shocking none the less. What made it so shocking was that it was completely unexpected. When most guilds fall apart you can see the cracks for a long time but the guild leaders hang on for dear life. In this situation there was drama leading up to it but none of it seemed to be a guild killer. Really the guild could have been saved, but there were a few straws that broke the camel's back and the GM decided to throw in the towel.

Best Moment in the Burning Crusade:
Killing Vashj was by far my best moment in BC. After my worst moment above a lot of people said that we wouldn't be able to rebuild into a guild that could clear SSC, but we did. On top of that she is such a tough fight, and is the toughest guild first kill I've had with a guild. Killing her felt like we had accomplished something as a team. I just wish she had dropped a druid token just once.

That's it for me right now. If there is something else I remember I will added it. What are some of our highlights of BC? Post them in the comments if you would like to share.

Toon Update:
Graylo - Lots and Lots of Sunwell. We have downed the Eredar Twins but it proved to be harder then I expected. Little things prevent us from killing them for a while. People would fall off the ledge or conflag the raid. It was very frustrating but it proves that even with the nerf you can't just walk into SWP and kill bosses. We eventually did pull it all together and down Twins with a little more then an hour left in raid.

With that we headed to Muru. In contrast, Muru wasn't nearly as difficult. It's not that complex of a fight. Its mainly a personal DPS race that has been mage much easier by the patch and the new WotLK talents. We were able to down him after only a few attempts and got the guild first kill the same night that we killed Twins.

Since then we have been working on Kil'jaeden. This is a great fight, but we haven't killed him yet. On the first night of attempts we were reliably getting him down to about 40% but couldn't go much farther. Our positioning was a little to spread out and we were a little to far away from the orbs when the spawned. We changed our positioning a little bit and the next night we tried him things went better. On our best attempt we got him down to 4% but were a little frustrated that we couldn't get him down. Our biggest problem now seems to be people not surviving long enough. I think we just need to just get a little more experience with the fight's mechanics and he will go down. The good news is that we have all tonight to get it done, and there is a general consensus that we will continue to raid until he is down since we are running out of time. Wish us luck.

Graypal - He is just waiting for the expansion and DEing stuff. I'm still thinking about turning him Holy at 80.

Grayfel - I've been running as many raids with him as I can to get gear. He has been through ZA and Kara a couple of times but the real luck came when I got into a guild TK pug. A couple of guildies wanted to see if we could short hand VR and I got my lock into the raid. It went remarkably well. We ended up 15 manning VR and I got the T5 shoulders. We then decided to go on to Solarion and 10 manned her, and I got the caster legs that drop off of her. All in All it was a good night for my lock. I also now have over 150 badges and will spend them soon to replace some of my remaining holes in my gear.

Grayvik - The little mage is coming along nicely. He is just short of 30 and doing pretty well. I'm starting to get an hand of how to survive with him, and I am enjoying his progress. I doubt he will progress much over the next few weeks/months, but I am looking forward to getting him to max level.

Leveling Guides:
For those of you that don't know, I am a big fan of leveling guides. I leveled Graylo from 30 - 60 using Jamie's guides at I then used Brian Kopps Alliance guide to get Graylo from 60 - 70. I also used it to get Graypal and Grayfel from 1 - 70, and have used it for my mage also. For the most part I think it is a great guide, but I am considering using a different one after the expansion for a couple of reasons.

First, he is charging for the WotLK upgrade. This gives me a good reason to look around at my other options. Second, he hasn't said anything about if his guide will be available on Thursday when the game is released. This has made me a little nervious since I don't want to try and pick up a guide in the middle.

So, I'm wondering if any of my readers have experience with any of the other guides available. I am leaning towards trying the Zygor Leveling guides. The addon they have created to display the guide looks really nice and they say it is ready for Thursday. Have any of you tried the Zygor guides or some other Leveling guide I should look at? If so, please post in the comments what you thing about them.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Moonkin Builds: Leveling to 80

Wrath of the Lich King is being released in just over a week, and I think a lot of us are starting to think about how we are going to level. With that in mind I have come up with a little guide talent guide for moonkin looking to level from 70 to 80.

It is important to remember that leveling is different then raiding. Both play styles are technically PvE, but the nature of the fights are fundamentally different.

Raid builds are created for maximizing personal DPS over the long hall and buffing raid members to increase raid wide DPS. Survivability is important but predictable. As long as you have enough Health to withstand the fight mechanics, you can survive the fight with a little self awareness.

Fights are much shorter while leveling, and damage can be fairly unpredictable with unexpected adds. Leveling builds should focus more on short term DPS and survivability. You want talents that can give you a controlled burst of DPS and help you run away if needed.

On top of that I think there are two distinct leveling styles that dictate some of your talent choices.

The first style I call the "Root and Nuke" style. A person that uses this style likes to stand at max range, root the mob, cast starfire, and repeat. They try and control the mob as much as possible and take as little damage as possible. This style favors some one that has a relatively low level of gear and can't take many hits. This style also fits someone that instances a lot while they level.

The second style is the "Tanking" style. This is the style I think I will prefer in WotLK. The primary goal of this style is to kill the mob as quick as possible. Since you will take some hits using this style, it favors some one with a high level of gear for the extra DPS and Stamina. Using this style you're a little more prone to getting yourself into bad situations. Therefore, survival talents are a little more important.

Core Talents (link)
This is what I consider to be the core of the talents of a moonkin leveling build and I expect most moonkin would pick all of these up without any help. Most of these are self explanatory, but lets take a look at a few of them.

Balance of Power - Obviously this is a core talent for a raiding build, but some may argue that it isn't needed for a leveling build. It will be less useful for experienced raiders with quite a bit of Hit from gear, but Hit is useful while leveling. You still have a 5% base chance to miss a target of the same level as you. Higher level mobs will have an even grater miss chance.

Owlkin Frenzy - This one depends a little on how you level. Someone that is very good about using Roots to keep the mob away from them and avoiding adds will have less use for this talent. This is how I leveled to 70, but I think my path to 80 will be different. My gear level allows me to kill mobs quickly, and don't have the patience for rooting anymore. Using this "tanking" strategy for leveling makes Owlkin Frenzy a very valuable talent.

My Expected Build (Link)
This is the build I plan to use for leveling when Northrend opens up. I will go over the talents I picked and the talents I skipped, but the general theme to my choices is DPS and killing things mobs quickly.

What I picked up:
Brambles - This talent goes very well with my Tanking style. The primary benefit here is the 75% increase to thorns in my opinion. Since the thorns damage now scales with Spell Power, Thorns packs a punch that hasn't been seen before. On top of that the possible stun with Barkskin makes this a great survival talent to help get you out of those sticky situations. Root and Nuke players may like this talent also for the extra damage to their roots.

Typhoon - I have been very critical of this talent in the past, and I'm still not a big fan of it to be honest. I'm picking it purely as an Oh S#*t button. If I get to many mobs on me I hope to be able to use the knock back to get a little space and run away.

Force of Nature - I've picked this talent for a burst of DPS after a bad pull or when trying to solo an Elite. You can also use them to tank a mob temporarily. They won't change the way you play but the give you a couple of options.

Starfall - This talent is particularly good for bad pulls. It gives you a little extra damage and has a chance to stun the mobs. Again, it won't change the way you play, but does give you more options.

Nature's Focus - This is an all around good survival talent. If you use the Tanking style it allows you to get Wrath off with very little push back. It also helps you get off emergency heals or CC when things are going poorly.

What I skipped:
First off, I skipped pretty much all mana regen talents. I'm not having many mana issues as a raider, so I don't expect to have big issues while leveling. Really the only thing mana regen does for you is allow you to drink less while leveling.

Eclipse - Its just to random for leveling. It can and will give you a DPS boost, but a lot of the buffs will be wasted on down time.

Nature's Splendor - In most cases the mob shouldn't be alive long enough to take the extra tick of your DoTs. It just won't increase your DPS in most situations.

Genesis - Plain and simple, it is a horrible talent for DPS. Investing 5 points increase DPS by just 1%.

Gale Winds- Since Hurricane is a channelled spell and Typhoon doesn't do a whole lot of damage, there just no point in picking it up. Moonkin aren't able to AoE grind mobs that are the same level as the us. (Did not find picture.)

Talent Points from 71 - 80
Really these points won't have a huge impact on your leveling. I've already picked up all of the main talents that increase your DPS, and there is nothing else that significantly increase your survivability. For a rough guideline, I would put the first five points in Furor. This will give you a little extra DPS, a little extra mana, and little more regen from mana on crit. After that I would probably put the next three in Dreamstate, just to reduce the amount of drinking needed. Finally, I would probably put 70th point in Eclipse for potential extra DPS, and respec at 80 to a raid build.

Again, none of these have a big impact on your performance but you have to put the points some where.

Other Points of View
Phaelia over at Resto4Life wrote a post a while back on the choices Resto's face when picking a leveling build. She provided several different options from pure Moonkin Pew Pew to pure Tree form.

I disagree with some of the choices Phae made in her Moonkin builds, but if your think about healing part of the way to 70 she has presented some good options. You can find the post here.