Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Conqueror of Orgrimmar

One of my goals before the expansion was to see the end of Siege of Orgrimmar. I could have done this in LFR by now, but I’ve bene concentrating on the legendary quest line and by the time I ran the last two wings of Throne of Thunder and the first two wings of Siege my week was pretty much shot.

I got offered an invite to the guild’s raid team, but it was with the understanding that the Tank spots were taken. I would be joining as main spec DPS with a tank off spec. I looked around various places like the Official Forums, Wowhead, Tankspot, Maintankadin, MMO-Champ, etc. There didn’t seem to be many (any) guilds recruiting Tanks. I decided my best chance would be to get established in a team and hope to get a role as a fill-in tank and eventually get promoted from within to a dedicated tank role.

The night before the raid, I got myself gemmed, and enchanted and read over the fights as best I could. Since I had been concentrating on farming Titan Runestones, I had only been up through General Nazgrim on LFR. The guild would be running Siege of Orgrimmar on Heroic (which was the old Normal). Through a combination of LFR and the Blasted Lands quests, I had gotten my iLevel up to 511 but I was still pretty under geared compared to the rest of the raid.

I was invited as they started on Malkorok with the understanding that I may have to step out if my low DPS caused the raid to get stuck. We pulled and I died on the first Breath of Y’sharrj.

That wasn’t exactly the first impression I was hoping to make.

We moved onto Spoils of Pandaria which was a little weird in that it was a SWTOResque raid event rather than a Boss fight. I followed my assigned group, but something happened with the other group, and we got overwhelmed and wiped. We pulled again and got it down on the second attempt. Next up was Thok the Bloodthirsty. This was a fun fight, and I handled the Fixate fine, but ended up dying to other mechanics.



They kept me around despite the fact I was considering a name chage to SirIDieAlot. We headed up to Siegemaster Blackfuse and one of the tanks had to go. They debated asking me to fill in. This was exactly the scenario I had hoped for, but my iLevel was still pretty low and they decided to bring in one of their alts. I stayed away from belt duty as I didn’t want to wipe the raid, and somehow I actually managed to survive the encounter.

Paragons of Klaxxi were probably the coolest fight of the night. It was sad to have to fight my old ‘friends’ but Korvan did warn me they would fight for Y’sharrj if the time came. I guess Garrosh was close enough. We had some close calls with Hungry Kunchongs but we managed to kill them. Finally, we came to the big guy himself, Garrosh Hellscream. I got the instructions from the raid leader and went to town. The first phase went well, but then we got transported up to what looked like the Terrace of Endless Spring. We start running and then *boom* I’m dead. I watched the rest of the fight and it looked pretty cool. I was nervous they wouldn’t have the DPS to down him since I was tanking the floor, but I was luck in that they have a very well geared and very skilled Ret Paladin and Warlock who were putting up some great numbers. Garrosh went down. I was a “Conqueror of Orgrimmar”.

I had selected Ret as my loot specialization so I got the two-hander heirloom. Most of the raiders had all the gear they needed, but I still tried to limit what I rolled on (they were using a simple need/greed system). If any of their regulars mentioned any interest in a piece I would defer. I managed to snag two tier tokens, one for gloves and one for shoulders and a Heroic Warforged Helm off of Spoils.

I was torn about which piece to redeem the tokens for. The guild was clear that they have their designated tanks. I’m now main spec Ret with a Prot off spec. With the change to stats, Ret and Tank gear should be very similar although the SoO stuff won’t change the set bonuses like the Warlords gear will. With the huge iLevel jump, even the Ret tier gear should work for tanking if I’m called upon.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Invasion!

"A communications disruption can mean only one thing—invasion." ―Sio Bibble
You may have heard that WoW got a little patch last week. Once the patch hit, I threw some toys in the toy box and threw my reagents into the reagent bank. That freed up some much needed bag space. Then I threw a bunch of stuff in Void Storage. I can tell I’m going to fill that sucker up pretty quick. I’m paranoid that some green quest reward is going to be an amazing transmog option one day, but I can’t keep burning bag space with it. I know someone is already queuing up Elsa. “Let it go! Let it go!”

I had transmog my Ret gear into Tier 4 and my weapon into Hammer of the Naaru. Basically, I was what Maraad would look like if he was a sessy dwarf like me.



I like seeing the new and improved Khadgar.



I had stripped down my UI to just ElvUI and basically nothing else. I’m actually going to be doing a full UI makeover (and no it doesn’t have anything to do with the ElvUI backdoor that the Redditors found). I was inspired by my Tankadin Jedi Master, Dr. Theck. I really liked his UI and I’m going to see if I can’t incorporate into my own.

Even with my gear (iLevel 504), I was managing the quests in the Blasted Lands with no problems and the quest rewards (ring, neck, trinket) were all upgrades for me. I did regret not getting out to the Blasted Lands before the patch went live to say goodbye to the NPCs there as some/most of them didn’t survive the attack.

By the Light, they ran him through with his own sword. These Iron Horde are truly monsters.


I've heard it said in various places that Nethergarde is now 0 for 2 in guarding the Dark Portal. I would disagree, at least in the case of the Iron Horde. Nethergarde did exactly what it was supposed to. It slowed down the Iron Horde until reinforcements could arrive. Nethergarde is why we are fighting in the Blasted Lands and not at walls of Stormwind. Elywyn, Lakeshire and everywhere in between are glad it stood for as long as it did.

Player Agency


There was one quest in the chain that really bothered me and that was “Enohar's Revenge”. Enohar Thunderbrew is the sister of Keri Thunderbrew who provided potent potables to the brave men and women of Nethergarde Keep. But Keri was killed in the initial attack and Enohar was pissed. I’m all for meeting out justice, but Enohar asks you to poison the Ogre’s food supply. The poison is described in vivid detail as it will “slowly eat away at their insides… causing a prolonged and painful death”.



Yeah, umm....ewwww.

I can only imagine how this conversation would go. “Excuse me, yes, you, Paladin, the Paragon of the Light and Honor and Justice. I need you to poison the Ogre’s food supply so they die in most horrible and painful way because, hey, they didn't take up arms against an overwhelming force of well-prepared Orcs.”

I would have loved the option to say no, and get some alternative quest. Sure, I’ll bring the hammer down for justice, but poisoning a food supply is a coward’s act. Of course, I didn't have a choice. It was either do the quest or don’t continue the chain/story.

I treated it much like I did the quest in Borean Tundra “The Art of Persuasion”. In that quest, you had to torture one of the Imprisoned Sorcerer. Much like poisoning a food supply, I don’t believe my Paladin would resort to torture. I would really like to see Blizzard give us an option. In SWTOR, when I leveled my Agent through Balmora, there was a quest to rig areas with live grenades, but you were also told that kids often looted the areas for supplies. You got the option to go ahead and mine the area OR use defused grenades. This, of course, played into the Light Side/Dark Side mechanic in SWTOR, but it was still nice to have that choice.

But outside of that one quest, it was a fun little quest chain.

UPDATE: I did the Creepy Create quests and at one point you get a CHOICE!


I'd really like to see the Developers use this more often when our 'heroes' are asked to do 'questionable' things in the name of justice.

Friday, October 17, 2014

More Legendary Frustation, More Kindness Of Strangers

Wratharion gave me the Lightning Lance and told me to thrust it into Nalak and survive long enough to absorb his power.

I’m sure back when Isle of Thunder was current content, Nalak groups formed almost hourly. Now a days, the Isle is deserted. Well, the quest said to stick it into Nalak and survive long enough. I have a Bubble.

Would 12 seconds be long enough?

12 seconds was not long enough.

I was feeling pretty discouraged at this point. I had made it through the brick wall of Lion Roars, survived a pretty tough scenario, and now was faced with trying to put together a group to kill a world boss no one kills anymore. Again, it's my fault for taking a year off and now trying to get his done, but it stills feels frustrating.

I checked OpenRaid and there was a World Boss group set up for a couple of days away, but my gear wasn’t up to what they wanted. I would love to know how 530 is ‘easily obtainable’ when LFR only rewards 528. That means I would need to be fully LFR geared plus have something else above 530 to make up the difference.

When I zoned back in, I noticed three other people standing around: a Monk, a Mage, and a Druid. After a few moments we all figured out we were ALL on Spirit of the Storm Lord. The Monk said he knew a way to get the quest completed. I was ready to try just about anything at that point. What was the worst that could happen, another repair bill?

The monk led us under Nalak to the other side of the courtyard where there were some defensive emplacements and some Shado-Pan. He placed three markers on the ground. One was placed near the top of the stairs, the other a little ways beyond the bottom of the stairs, and the last one around the corner.


The Monk was going to pull Nalak. We were to thrust our Lances into him and then run from the first marker to the second marker and around to the third. The Monk, along with the Shado-Pan NPCs, would keep Nalak’s attention and by being around the corner, we had broken line of site on Nalak so his attacks didn’t hit us. The elemental spawned in the air and it was a relatively simple matter of kiting it around the courtyard. The quest completed with Nalak still very much alive.

The Monk and the Shado-Pan eventually died and Nalak despawned. Maybe he despawned because we weren’t on this threat table or we weren’t in line of site. I’m not sure. All I knew was that the quest was complete and I could move on to the next stage of the Legendary quest.

I talked to Wratharion and he gave me a Metagem and a quest to start collecting Titan Runestones. It was back to LFR with me. I ran Vale of Eternal Shadows to get the guarenteed drop from Sha and came away with my frist 3 Runestones. Then I ran Gates of Retribution. I didn't get a single Runestone drop but I did get gear from each boss. I have no idea if the two are related. I still had Lei Shein up so I ran Pinnacle. The week ended and I have 4 of my 12 Runestones. There are 14 potential bosses who can drop Runestones next week. I will need to go 8/14 (about 60%) if I am to complete the quest. Now that 6.0.0.2 is here, I have no idea what that will do to people's desire to run LFR and to complete it. I need to get this done.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

To Forge a Hero

I entered the week with 13 secrets and by the time I entered Pinnacle of Storms, I had 18. I knew Le Shien was guaranteed to drop one so as long as Iron Quon or the Twins gave one up, I was golden. Iron Quon cooperated, and I was thrilled when the Twins gave one up as well. I had my 20. I knew Le Shein was guaranteed drop for either Runestones or Secrets, but I didn’t have the quest for Runestones yet, so I dropped group so I could come back and get a Runestone off him this reset.

I headed back to my good buddy Wratharion and gave him my Secrets and he asked me to meet him on the Isle of Thunder. I found him and we entered into a solo scenario at the Thunder Forge. I had to fight some Mogu while Wratharion charged up the Forge. Some Shado-Pan guys showed up to help out. I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to go Prot or Ret. I know at some point, you get a role specific reward, which leads to a role specific cloak, but I’m not sure at what point you make that choice. The combat started before I got a chance to switch so I was Ret anyway. Like most scenarios there were places to heal that helped out.

Wratharion also spawned little balls of blue lightning which buffed my damage. Meanwhile, he just stood around and watched me fight. You know, Wratharion, I'm pretty sure you could one shot these guys. Think you could lend a brother a hand right? No? Okay, I got this.

I took out the Mogu and finally this big boss Mogu shows up. He wasn’t too hard and I slapped him down. Wratharion congratulates me and we head into the Forge itself. Wratharin makes some snide comment about dwarves and I’m standing there thinking, hello? Dwarf, right here! I know he was referring to Brann, but hey, nobody disses on my boy Brann.



He activates the Forge and a bunch of Sha show up along with two guys who look a bit like Algalon. They start working on the Forge and I start clearing out the Sha. It took me an attempt or two to figure out I needed to use the anvils to do massive AoE damage to the Sha. I used every cooldown I had and was on my last legs when Wratharion does this massive AoE and clears the place out. I thought about the scene at the end of Iron Man 2 when Iron Man does his big AoE at the end of the fight with the HammerBots and War Machine is all like "Hey, next time you want to open with that?" I was thinking the same thing, "Hey, Wrath, next time you want to open with that?"

But hey, at least the fight is over.

It wasn’t over.

This massive boss Sha shows up. It took a couple of attempts to realize I had to use the anvils to interrupt his big cast and run around like maniac during the meteor swarm (sort of like avoiding the big splash damage thing the rare Jinyu do).

It was really tough to get to anvils in time. I was specced into Pursuit of Justice which I traded out for Speed of Light to give me an on demand speed boost. I failed several times and I didn’t have a way to repair. I waited for all of my cooldowns to come back up. I switch Divine Purpose to Holy Avenger and blew all my cooldowns right at the start (Avenging Wrath, Guardian, Holy Avenger). It took every trick in my Paladin book. I needed a Bubble, a Lay on Hands, and more Eternal Flames that I can count. Execution Sentence got used offensively and defensive and Guardian of Ancient Kings was out on cooldown. I even cleansed the Blacksmith a couple of times.

Finally, the lance appeared and I ran over and channeled. At the same time, the Sha of Almagamation started a Meteor Storm. He died and the quest completed and then I died.



I rezzed one more time and hoped like hell that was really it.

It was.

I have heard people say you can semi-afk your way to the cloak. I am going to call hogwash on that. Maybe you can semi-afk your way through the LFR parts, but there ain’t no way you are semi-afkin and getting through that scenario successfully.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Not Your Typical LFR

Happy Patch Day! I'm assuming 6.0.2 will drop today.

While you wait for the servers to come up, let me tell you a story.

There were two bosses who were basically the bane of my existence when I left WoW: Tortos and Durumu. Tortos was because of the bats that he summoned. I was a 10 man raider for most of my WoW career. 25 is a lot more people and that’s a lot of bats to try to corral. I queued as Ret for that one. Then we have Durumu the Forgotten. This is another one that I like to queue as Ret for. It’s not fair to the other 24 poor saps that get in a group with me to have one of their tanks die every Eye Sore (maze) phase. I’m sure with more practice I would get it, but while I’m learning I’ll stick with Ret.

I needed Secrets so I found myself back facing off with Tortos and Durumu. The LFR I was in cleared the trash to Durumu, and started the encounter. The fight was going okay until the first Eye Sore. When it was over, only one tank, three healers and three DPS were left alive. Out of 25 people, 7 lived. I was not one of them. That was a wipe.

We pulled again with one stack of the Determination buff. But it was second verse, same as the first. Same seven people still up. Same HonorsHammer still dead. A couple of people left and more than a couple of the survivors voiced their concerns about our mental health and aptitude.

Here is where most LFRs fall apart. People leave, you wait in the queue, more people leave. Some declares the group fails at life (this just in: video game != life). I had no room to talk as I had died both time. I was doing the maze okay, but I had lost track of the eyebeam and got zapped.One time I actually walked INTO the eyebeam trying to get to the next patch of open ground. Oops.

At this point in the story, an unlikely hero arises. A DPS Warrior, Adarajin, he had been in the survivor group both times. He got assist from the nominal raid leaders and put a triangle symbol over his head. He told the raid that if they followed the triangle they would survive the Eye Sore and we would kill the boss. The group filled in and we pulled. I stuck to that triangle like bees to a honeypot. I wasn’t the only one. When Eye Sore came we followed. They eyebeam got ‘oh so close’ but he moved us just in time. After the Eye Sore, I looked up. Only 6 dead.

We continued to wail away at the beholder. The next Eye Sore came and again I stuck to my green lantern. 2 more died, but Durumu was down low. We finished him off and I scored another Secret.



Adarajin basically saved the raid. He didn’t have to help out. Clearly HE knew how to do the fight. He didn’t have any obligation to show the rest of us the way, but he did. I tried to trade him some gold to say thanks, but you can’t do that in an LFR and he lives on other server. Wherever you are Adarajin of Articulate Derision on Terrokor, I can’t thank you enough. If everyone in Articulate Derision is as nice as you, I’m sure it’s awesome place to be.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Honor's UPDATED Guide to the 6.0.2 Changes for Protection and Retribution Paladins

It's official. We will get Patch 6.0.2 Tuesday, October 13th. Mists of Panadaria is effectively over and we are in that weird time when we aren't in the new Expansion’s content yet, but under all its new systems and rules.

What follows is a cliff notes version of the changes coming for Retribution and Protection Paladins from a primarily PVE point of view.

10/14 UPDATE! I wake up this morning and found that Theck has also written a fantastic guide to Patch 6.0.2.

Tomorrow everything is going to change. The World (of Warcraft) will never again be what it is. All the stuff that is going away in 6.0.2 is going away. The Brawler’s Guild will be shut down when you log back in, and the Proving Grounds are closed. If you want to start on the Legendary Quest chain, you have to do it before you logged out Monday. If you are on the chain, you can keep going but you've only got a month to finish it.

Update Your Addons 


At some point, go to Curse or wherever you get your addons and update them.  Get the updates done early. As of this writing (Monday night) Curse didn't show any of my addons ready for an update. When you log into Tuesday for the first time, turn all your addons off. See what’s been added to the base interface and what addons you might not need anymore. The big one for me is Bagnon as most of that functionality looks like it was added to the base game.

The Toy Box will be in so go around to all your characters and find stuff you can put into the Toy Box. Also we get another tab of Void Storage (thank the maker!) so go fill it up.

Stats – Roll (3) 6-sided Dice 


Take a screenshot before you log out Monday (especially you sessy million health Death Knights). You are not likely that have that much health, mana, or attack power again for a long, long time. The Developer’s assure us that we will feel just as powerful since the monsters got squished just as much but it may take some getting used to.

Reforging is gone and your gear has reverted to his original pre-Reforged state. The Reforges kept all the gold and escaped into the Twisting Nether. Those )&(&!

Racial abilities got re-tuned. Draenai get a buff to primary stats which looks awfully tempting, but nothing can compare to the innate awesomeness of being a Dwarf.

There are some new stats: Versatility, Multistrike, and Bonus Armor. Versatility was originally going to be called “More Awesome at what you do awesome” but the devs opted for 'Versatility' since that was demonstrably shorter. From the Dev Watercooler :
Versatility is pretty simple: 1% Versatility grants a 1% increase to your damage, healing, and absorbs, and reduces the damage you take by 0.5%.
Bonus Armor is something that used to be in the game and went away, but now its back. It increases armor and for Prot it also increases attack power. Any Dodge and Parry on your current gear got changed into Bonus Armor. UPDATE! Rhidach has a great blog on Bonus Armor.

Multistrike
Grants a chance for spells and abilities to fire up to 2 additional times, at 30% effectiveness (both damage and healing).
For Prot, when a heal lands you on you, there’s a chance, equal to your multistrike that it will heal you again. I will leave it up to Dr. Theck and mathLab geniuses to work out the priority on the secondary stats for Prot. UPDATE! Oh look, they did!

Free Glyphs. There’s a bunch of Glyphs that you learn automatically now. (Harsh Words, Flash of Light, Alabaster Shield, Dazing Shield, Avenging Wrath, Templar's Verdict, Denounce, Divine Storm, Word of Glory, Light of Dawn, Final Wrath, Double Jeopardy) If you didn't have them before, you have them now. Congratulations, and feast on the tears of Scribes everywhere.

One Set of Gear 


In WoD, you will be able to use one set of gear for both Prot and Ret. Set Bonuses will switch based upon your spec so when you are Prot you get the Prot set bonus and when you are Ret you get the Ret set bonus. Most stats are useful to some degree to both specs. For all you wild and crazy Holy/Rets out there, ALL plate comes with equal amounts of Strength and Intellect. All Haste is just haste, all crit is just crit. There’s no more special spell crit versus melee crit. Hit and Expertise are gone as stats, and the Hit Cap and Expertise Cap are no more. You always hit and if you are Prot, you can’t get dodged or parried. As long as Ret is behind the boss, they won’t get dodged or parried either.

We will now attune to secondary stats which means we get 5% more of the stat our spec is supposed to attune to. Prot attunes to Haste which is pretty cool because Haste means more Holy Power to turn into Active Mitigation. Ret attunes to Mastery which is a straight up buff to damage. As we switch specs, the gear will morph to be better for that spec.

Example:

Your gear has 100 Haste and 100 Mastery. When you are Prot, you attune to Haste and the gear becomes 105 Haste, 100 Mastery. When you are Ret, the same gear attunes again and you have 100 Haste and, 105 Mastery. You will pretty much be able to get away with one set of gear. You’ll just need to have an offspec two-hander, or one-hander and shield.

Paladin Devotion Aura is a Holy only thing now. I liked having another raid cooldown as a Tank, but it’s no longer available.

Prot Specific 


Vengeance is GONE! The whole reason Vengeance was put in was to help tanks keep threat as DPS got better gear through a tier. Their gear helped them do more damage/threat. Our gear generally helped more with staying alive and less with threat. Vengeance help counter that, but it had some unintended side effects and now it’s being changed to Resolve. Resolve increases self-healing and absorption.

Prot lost Avenging Wrath. I’m gonna miss them wings!

Grand Crusader will proc from any avoidance so maybe it will proc more.

Ret Specific


Inquisition is GONE! Celebrate the end of the maintenance buff with me my brothas!

Ret lost Guardian of Ancient Kings. I loved that pet. Hand of Salvation is a Protection only thing which I guess makes sense since they are threat kings.

The rest of the changes are all PVE collateral damage from the PVP changes. Repentance now has a cast time in case you want to recast it in combat. Turn Evil has its cast time increased and Evil is Point of View is gone. We don’t have a fear anymore. Blinding Light is now a talent in the CC tier. You have to choose between Blinding Light, Repentance or Fist of Justice.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Finish What You Started

When the instances reset, the Glory group reformed with the expressed goal of finishing what we started. We went back to the Tolvir. I stared down Siamat and said “So, Siamat, at last we meet again for the first time for the last time.”

(Bonus Hammer points if you get reference)

Our Warlock devised a strategy that ensured we all got the achievement this time. He laid down a nice hard nuke (don’t ask me what it was, I know zero about Warlocks. It was all green and firey.) We marked each Servant and killed the Minions. Gru would be so mad! We blew up each Servant in order. Once the third one died, we verified we had three stacks and blew up Siamat.

Game. Set. Match. Glory of the Cataclysm Hero.



Volcanic Drake. Very nice.



As a bonus prize, that gave me my 50th mount and I got Leading the Calvary and the Albino Drake.

Brewmaster

My next goal was to work on Brewfest. I only needed two Achievements for my Brewmaster title: Down with Dark Iron and Brew of the Month. The first simply needed a bit of timing. I was fortunate that there were enough people hanging around Brewfest when the event started. Several of us gathered around a cask and chucked mugs at the attacking Dark Iron. Remind me to file a complaint with Moira!

This was the first year I really ‘got’ the Ram Riding down. I would make the two runs, one through IronForge and one through Kharanos to get some coins and then queue for Coren. It took about a week but soon enough I had the coins I needed to buy membership into the Brew of the Month club. That completed the meta and I’m now Brewmaster Honorshammer which is awesome for a dwarf and will also be cool if I ever level my baby Monk.



More Secrets 


I started back at the beginning with Throne of Thunder. I knew the first wing the best since that’s where I was when I left WoW. Beyond that, it was a learning experience. The fights came back to me a little bit at a time. I finished up Lei Shen with 7 more Secrets and queued for Siege. This would be my first time in Siege of Orgrimaar. I did the first ‘wing’ through Sha of Pride, and queued up for Gates, but the group fell apart and I had to call it quits. That week ended with 13 total Secrets. I was running about a 60% rate of getting a Secret from the Boss.