Monday, September 26, 2011

Inquiring Minds Want To Know

Having done the Coren Direbrew event on several characters over the past few days, I've got a serious question.

What's up with bear tanks?

It seems like every bear tank I've had in the past few days has exhibited the characteristics of a kid with ADHD in a store full of teh shinies.  While I expect a tank to move a bit, these guys have bounced around the room like a superball.

One bear tank bounced from the front wall, to the center of the room, to the back wall, and then back again.  That was the most extreme case, but every other bear seemed to move juuuuuust far enough every 4-5 seconds to take Tal out of melee range, or drag Corn on top of Aeth, or just move because... well, I dunno.  They didn't like the view?

Seriously.  Is this a change in the tanking style/ability for bears, or have I just encountered a cluster of jittery caffeine addicts?

Friday, September 23, 2011

A Public Service Announcement

To those who may be interested in doing the Coren Direbrew event this Brewfest, here's a few things you should know.

First off - you can run the event more than once a day.  Really! Just use the dungeon finder, and keep queueing for the Coren Direbrew event.  In fact, if you just stay in your group after he's killed, there's a pretty good chance that whoever is the group leader will re-queue the entire group for another shot at Coren.

On Aeth last night, I helped kill Coren about 15 times in 15 minutes.  We'd queue, enter the instance, start the event, spend 30 seconds or so turning him into a rapidly cooling corpse, and then loot his body.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Poor guy.

The reason for this behavior is that Coren Direbrew is a loot piƱata.

You see, the first time a character kills him on any given day, they will receive a soulbound Keg-Shaped Treasure Chest.  This chest is a weird Dwarven goodie bag that may contain one of a number of rare and wonderful items.

Every time you kill Coren, though, he will drop a trinket.  Absolutely, positively, guar-an-teed.  These trinkets follow the usual dungeon finder loot roll rules: need before greed.  There's the added factor that the trinkets are unique, so if you already have one, you won't be able to roll on it if it drops again.

Following me so far?  Coren Direbrew is easy to kill, and every time you kill him, he will drop one of six trinkets.  So it's very, very easy in the space of a short time to see multiple drops of every possible trinket type.

Seriously.  During Brefest last year, Aeth saw enough Chromium Coasters that she could have started her own bar supply house.

Now, four of these trinkets are clearly intended for certain roles.  There's a caster DPS trinket, a melee DPS trinket, a healer's trinket, and a tanking trinket.

Common courtesy and decorum would indicate that you only roll "need" on these items if (a) you can actually use them, and (b) you will use them (i.e., the trinket is an upgrade for you).  If you don't meet these criteria - if you're just interested in vendoring the trinket for cash, or if you're collecting the set or something like that - you should be rolling "greed".

"But you said there were six trinkets," you say.  "Pray tell, what of these last two trinkets?  What spec are they intended for?"

I'm glad you asked that, as that's the whole point of this PSA.

The last two trinkets are perfectly suitable for any character.


Any.  Character.

Take a look at the two remaining trinkets - the Bitterer Balebrew Charm and the Bubblier Brightbrew Charm.  Do you see what the stats on them are?

Say it with me: "+510 stamina".

Whoo!  What character couldn't use a little more stamina?  Especially a melee DPS class!  Depending on your class and gear, just one of these trinkets could be a 5%-7% increase in your total health.  Nice! There's an on-use effect as well that results in a minor healing or DPS buff, depending on which trinket you're using.

So... you're a freshly dinged level 85 character.  You've got a green ilvl 320-somthing Useless Trinket Of Uselessness still equipped from that one quest in Uldum (you know, the one that had the cut scene in it).  You're looking at starting to run Molten Front and Tol Barad and the Twilight Highland PvP-ish dailies.

Look me in the eye and tell me that this trinket isn't an upgrade for you.

So, yeah.  If you can use the trinket, and you will use the trinket, you're entirely justified in rolling "need" on it.

Be warned, though.  There are certain unenlightened individuals in the game who may look at these trinkets, see that they're dripping with stamina, and think "Oh, these are special trinkets.  For the right type of people."

These individuals will tend to get into a high dudgeon if you actually roll "need" on one of these trinkets. If you do so, and are lucky enough to win said trinket, it is almost inevitable that a moment of silence will descend upon the group.  Eyes will turn towards you, and eventually, someone will speak...

"Why," the undead rogue will whine breathlessly, "did you roll need on a tanking trinket?"

At which point you may direct him to this PSA, that he may become enlightened.

His eyes opened, he may come to realize that there are situations when all classes and specs might enjoy a little more stamina.  Perhaps he may even be inclined to take the time to examine the tanking model in Cataclysm, wherein stacking stamina is not quite as important to a tank as it was in Wrath.  Or he may see that even if you did win the trinket, well, there's nothing preventing him from getting his own with just a modicum of extra effort.

Or, if you are like me, you can just boggle that anyone would be stupid enough to ask an enhancement shaman why they might want more stamina.

It boggles the mind, really.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


I can't believe that I've been wandering around a bit on Tal, looking at gearing options... only to just realize today that it's Brefest, and I haven't yet killed Coren Direbrew even once.

Bad cow!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Back From Vacation

... just in time for the latest news about patch 4.3.

Which looks like it's going to be freaking amazing.

Travelling through the Caverns of Time into the future to see what it will look like if Deathwing wins?

Fighting Deathwing on the fly over Azeroth, prying off his plate armor and trying to kill him before he destroys the world?


Here's a thought for ya, Blizzard: the chances of me being able to participate in a server first kill of Deathwing?  Zero.  The chances of me being able to participate in a world-first kill of Deathwing?  Even less than zero.

So... how about giving me a mechanic that lets me contribute, however indirectly?

Imagine this...

The flow of time.  It's a nebulous thing, isn't it?  We're going into the past, into the future, trying to foil Deathwing and save Azeroth.  All of us, together.  Bands of heroes from all walks of life, Alliance and Horde together, struggling to save the world.

One timeline at a time.

Give us 5-man people something to contribute, Blizz.  Make doing the 5-man dungeons in 4.3 have some effect on the fight with Deathwing.

Something like the opening of the Ahn'Qiraj gates.

Every successful 5-man run of a 5-man COT Deathwing dungeon on heroic mode, say, changes one timeline... and makes the defeat of Deathwing a little more certain.  One dungeon might give a slight damage buff.  Another might give a slight defensive buff.  Put a cap on the upper limit of the buffs (say, 10% or 15%), make them increase very slowly (there's a lot of timelines, after all), and make accepting and using the buffs optional for the Deathwing raids.

Every time I run a 5-man, then?  I'm making the defeat of Deathwing slightly more certain.  One more timeline brought into alignment with the Way Things Should Be.  One more chance for Deathwing to win snuffed out.  We still have to defeat him, but it's just slightly more certain, now...

Let me have a hand in saving the world this time, Blizz.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Eighty Five, Redux

Pushing through the Twilight Highlands last night, Tal finally hit level 85. If it seems like that took a while - well, it did. Real Life (TM) including kids starting school, some personal affairs and a new car, required enough attention that my playing time over the past few weeks has been limited.

What time I did spend in Azeroth was also spent leveling Tal's first crafting skill. Once he hit level 84, I took one last spin around Uldum to say goodbye to all the mining nodes, then dropped mining as a skill and took up alchemy. That leaves Tal as a pretty self-sufficient herbalist/alchemist.

Leveling alchemy to 525 took about 3 hours over a couple of days, and overall, ended up costing about 3,500 gold - more or less as expected. There were a couple of points during the leveling process where I had to take a break and visit areas to pick my own herbs, because they were either unavailable on the AH or only available in small quantities for grossly inflated prices.

I mean... I had to go out and run around Kalmidor looking for silverleaf. Silverleaf! One of the most basic herbs in the game, and there wasn't a hint of it on the AH - at least, not during the 3-4 days I was checking and trying to build up some stock for leveling alchemy. I found as much peacebloom as I needed (or could even carry) on the AH, but not a hint of silverleaf. Strange. Definitely put a crimp in my initial foray into alchemy, though!

Once I got past that hurdle, I eventually ran into a similar issue with goldthorn. Aside from that, though, I either had the herbs on hand, or readily available from the AH at a reasonable price. At that point, it was just a matter of making sure I had a few hundred crystal vials on hand and easy access to the alchemy trainer.

At the moment, Tal doesn't have any alchemy specialization - I'm considering going for Elixir Master, but we'll see. I'm just happy to be able to craft my own Flask of the Winds now. Having a bunch of +hit and other useful flasks/potions on hand is an extra bonus.

Now starts the task of preparing to run some dungeons. I've reforged Tal's primary gear set for hit and expertise, so he's at least starting to look prepared as an Enhancement shaman. It looks like I'm going to have to go back and redo his primary talent tree a bit as well, to dip further into the Elemental tree and pick up some of the hit- and damage- enhancing talents in the early tiers.

Once that's done, I'm going to have to spend some time looking at his Restoration spec as well - yes, I've been collecting a secondary gear set and the glyphs I would want to use if Tal's even called upon to heal. I'm not sure how well a Wrath-trained discipline priest player will do healing in Cataclysm on a shaman, but hey - I'm willing to give it a shot!