January 29, 2011

RL has been Exciting...

And also kicking my butt.

I landed a new, full time, salaried job last week and started this past Tuesday.  The day I was given the offer I called my old boss and told her I'd be leaving.  She adknowledged it and I figured all was good. She said she wanted me to work the full two weeks and since it was on the weekends I figured fine, I'll do that.

Then she schedules me for a 2 PM to midnight shift. Umm, what?  My new job is 8-5, I told you that. I get that fixed.

Then I go into work last night and in her infinite wisdom she scheduled me for 5-midnight on a Monday.  What.

EDIT:  Apparently she hired another Stephanie.  My new boss is also a Steph.  SO MANY STEPHIES.  I need a better nickname than what they gave me, though.

I left her a note and will be calling her this morning because Sunday is my LAST DAY and the completion of my two weeks and I am under no obligation to stay longer.  I was quite pissed last night but I was able to rant it out on the phone on the way to my car.

OH, and this weekend, tonight, I am working a 2-midnight shift, and then a 9 AM to 6 PM shift on Sunday.

So long story short, I LOVE my new job.

My nickname at work is 'Wow', since my boss and co-worker asked me about my hobbies.  Well, once they found that out, I had a new nickname, lol.  They are both awesome and my boss says she has no complaints at all for the first week. Score!  My co-worker is wonderful and has been training/explaining everything very well.  I will be making the department SoP binder as my training commences.

For now though, I need to go grocery shopping because my roommates are two hungry boys and tend to eat everything in sight if you don't lock it down!

January 20, 2011

A Lovely Sketch of the Pocket Healer

Isn't she cute!  I love my little draenei and I oh so wish I could draw hair as adorable as that.  For the summer I have a mind to just chop my hair off short!  Thank you so much Vidyala!

January 08, 2011

[Darkmoon Card: Tsunami] Acquired at the Last Minute

After deciding to undertake the task of procuring a card, I soon realized that farming herbs on Mushee, squishing herbs on Llani, and then having a guildie make cards was going to be a time consuming process.  I made about 7 cards before I decided to just splurge and purchase the cards with the 20K I had saved up.

The Ace, 8 and 5 came fairly easy -- I just bought them off the auction house for between 2500 and 3000.  One was 3500.  Yes, I paid a pretty penny to get this trinket finished before the faire expired.  I farmed materials for four more cards, but did not make any waves.  I went to sleep, woke up, and bought the 2, 4, and 6.  The 5 was given to my by a wonderful friend, Alexicon, which only left the 3.

Now, the 3 must be the elusive card of the waves set, because I checked both horde and alliance AH to no avail.  I farmed herbs for 2 more cards--nada.  Not a single wave card the entire process.  I'm getting frustrated.  All I'm trying to do at this point is gear up my healer with some nice items so that I can be the best I can be in my 10-man raid. 

Then, I see someone advertise that they are looking for a 2, 4, 6, and 8.  I realize that this means they have a 3.  I ask at first, and inquire if there is a chance I could offer them 5K for their three since it's the last card I need for my healing trinket. I'm promptly declined.  I go sit in the corner and mumble to a few friends about my predicament, depressed that a polite offer didn't get the job done.  I may not like the answer, but I don't push decisions.  If that didn't work, there was nothing else I could do but watch my work go to waste for four weeks until the faire returned.  I vent to a few friends with a few choice words but nothing can explain my frustration and disappointment at getting so close but failing.

Turns out I have two friends who know the person with the 3.  One of them, who must have wittier ways than I, manages to convince the 3-owner to part ways with it for me (still amazed by this).  A trade window pops up, and said friend has my precious 3.  He wouldn't take the money I wanted to give for it, so I am now sneaking to an alt to get a treasured item of mine (my Haunted Momento) to toss at him when he isn't looking. Hee hee.  I don't know how much he paid for it (if he did at all), and he'll never tell me.  Either way, I'm very grateful to him for being a sweetheart, knowing almost 99% of the people on the server, and somehow being able to convince people to part with items.  He is much wiser than moi.

In my excitement, I rush to Menethil, miss the boat, and while waiting for the next one, he whispers "What would you do if I said the faire was gone?"  And I almost start crying.  I check the calendar, and I begin to second guess the 11:59 PM time. Was it Friday at 11:59? No way.  When I tell him I will probably cry and laugh and then cry some more, he says, "(it's not gone)" and I shake my head.  Yes, I'm a very trusting person!

I make it to the fair, get my trinket, and proudly show it off.  Now we both have healing trinkets!  We spend a few minutes tossing leather balls around and I now feel like a huge load has been taken off my back.

As a thank you to the guy who parted with the three, and the put a " WTB 3 of Waves, =/ " in trade chat a few seconds later, I sent him a [Dizze's Whirling Robe] I had that was originally for my priesty.  Yeah, it's prolly overkill, but hopefully he'll understand.  My friend is getting a [Haunted Memento] shortly.  I believe in fair trades..and if someone parts with something dear to them, I part with something dear to me.

Overall, I feel frustrated. I wish I could have at least chosen what deck I wanted my cards to be from when I made my cards, instead of having the process create mostly useless Stones and Winds.  I did get a few Embers that are going to another friend/guildie who needs them.  My next goal for Llani is to finish her Archaeology and try to get [Tyrande's Favorite Doll] while I save up Valor points for her [Core of Ripeness].  If I get the Core before I get the doll, well, then I'll move over to the Tol'vir ring, [Ring of the Boy Emperor].

But, on the other hand, I feel like one big accomplishment is out of the way, much like when I got my [Elementium Stormshield] made.  So much work for one character...I don't think I will be putting a lot of major work into my priest anytime soon.  My druid is even further down the list...and just leveling my paladin is a success.

Once we get a few bosses in Blackwing Descent under our belt, I think I'll start taking Nelena to heroics.

/tucks her [Darkmoon Card: Tsunami] in her pocket and falls fast asleep!

January 07, 2011

How to Heal: Heroic Blackrock Caverns

Getting this instance down will reward you with a great healing mace off the first boss, so let's get crackin'!

My stats at the time of this dungeon, without totems, but with Earthliving Weapon:

Health:  104051
Mana:  84905
Spirit:  2425
Intellect:  4006
Haste:   1091 (+8.52%)
Crit:  1172 (+ 6.54%)
Mastery:  386 (+ 10.15 %)

Average ilvl: 347
Mostly 346 gear with a sprinkling of 359 (2 epics)

Blackrock Caverns is actually not as scary as it seems.  All the boss fights are about managing mechanics, not so much DPS.  Most of the trash pulls can be CC'd, either with sheep, hex, fear (please glyph it, warlocks!), or Bind Elemental, or Banish.  The last two are very important after you kill Karsh Steelbender.

Boss 1: Rom'ogg Bonecrusher
Healing Loot:
Torturer's Mercy - Om nom nom Spirit, need I say more?
Manacles of Pain - Mail, Healing Bracers

First off, make sure you clear ALL THE ADDS  to the left and to the right across the room.  You will need plenty of space to run away from Skullcracker.  Rom'ogg is just a big bully who likes to chain you down and not play fair.  There are four things to worry about in this fight: quake, chains, adds, and skullcrusher.  The quick and dirty, copy+paste version is:

1)  DPS and Heals, try to move out of quake as much as you can, so you won't take the 13K damage spike.
2)  DPS the chains!
3)  It is easiest to AOE down the adds and not worry about killing them with the skullcracker.
4)  Don't get hit by the skullcracker, or you WILL die.

Now, to elaborate on strategy!  Quake is a boss ability that will put rumbling ground beneath you.  You will most likely take TWO ticks of this no matter what, but if you move out fast enough, you can avoid the 13K damage spike and not have to heal your party up as much.  ADDS will spawn from these quake positions--the tank needs to pick these up, and any hunter/rogue needs to misdirect/tricks these to the tank.  The easiest thing is to kill these, but if you have a hunter, you can have them drop a trap right when the chains go out.  If your DPS is low, don't worry about it, just kill the adds.

After you kill the chains, RUN AWAY RUN AWAY RUN AWAY or you will die to the Skullcracker and your party will hate you for being lame.  Once that is done, rinse and repeat.  Move out of quake, don't take the damage spike, control the adds, AOE the adds, DPS the chains, run away from Skullcracker.  If anyone in your party is laggy, you may need to replace them for this fight. 

Best time for Heroism/Time Warp: Anytime

Boss 2:  Corla, Herald of Twilight
Healing Loot:
Armbands of Change -- DPS, but if you have nothing better...
That's all. Pitiful healing drops.

Corla is fairly straightforward.  You have three adds, three beams, and Corla.  You want your healer and ranged in the beams as  much as possible.  If you have 1 ranged, 1 healer, then have the healer take the left, the ranged take the right, and the melee in the middle.  Tank Corla next to the middle.  Quick and dirty:

1)  Have someone stand in each beam.  Let it stack on you to 80, then step out.  When your debuff falls off, IMMEDIATELY get back in the beam.
2)  Tank Corla near the middle beam so the melee member of your party can DPS her.
3)  INTERRUPT Dark Command.  This will fear a member of your party, and that is not good.  Shammies, drop Tremor Totem. Priests Fear Ward when you can.

Corla periodically casts Dark Command, which is her fear.  It has a 2 second cast and is interruptable.  Each beam can be soloed, so be sure to stack up to 80, hop out, then hop back in after your debuff wears off.  Don't let zealots evolve, or your tank will get trucked in the face and you will be whimpering in the corner, while firing off heals, forgetting to watch your debuff, and before you know it, your zealot will have evolved too and it's game over!  So, watch your stacks.

Best Time for Heroism/Time Warp:  Anytime.

Boss 3:  Karsh Steelbender
Healing Loot:
Quicksilver Amulet -- Yummy spirit necklace!
Heat Wave Leggings -- Mail, Shaman Spirit

Karsh is also a straightforward fight.  First, you pull his two adds separately, and burn the big flame elemental.  There is the inner area, and then the grate, and then the outer area.  Be sure to kill the troggs to the right and straight forward from the stairway so you have room to maneuver.  When you engage Karsh, you want him to be on the opposite side of the fire curtain as you.  Quick and dirty:

1)  Tank engages Karsh when he is on the far side of the curtain.  This ensures Karsh builds 1-2 stacks immediately and the DPS can begin working on him.
2)  Do not add more stacks until the debuff has about 3 seconds left, but do not let it fall off either, or you will get adds before you want to.
3)  At 5-6 stacks, let the debuff fall off.  DO NOT be standing on the grate, or you will die.
4)  Ranged/melee needs to make sure the adds die away from the boss/tank or the magma pools they spawn will reset his stacks.
5)  After the adds are dead, drag Karsh through the curtain again.

There are several ways to do Karsh, but this is the least healing intensive version that we did tonight.  The tank slowly stacks the debuffs up to 5 or 6 without letting them fall off.  Then, when you reach six, you DO let them fall off, and the DPS picks up the adds and kills them, on the OUTSIDE of the grate.  Do not be ON the grate or you will die/take massive damage.  Do not kill them near Krash as they will spawn a pool of magma that restart his stacks.  The key to this fight is maintaining control and a lot of the pressure is on your MT so go easy on him. 

Best Time for Heroism/Time Warp:  Right after you finish killing the first or second set of adds.  Pop it as soon as the boss has been freshly debuffed by the fire.

Boss 4 (optional):  Beauty
Healing Loot:
Kibble -- Spirit ring!
Beauty's Silken Ribbon -- DPS but if you have nothing better, go for it.

Beauty is optional, but if you are with guildies/have good CC, convince them to do her! 

1)  You need to CC as many adds as you can.  To help your DPS, you can also CC two of them, and kill the third ASAP.  Avoid Runty at all costs.  If you kill him, Beauty bezerks and you all die.
2)  Use Tremor Totem or fight her in the hallway. Be sure to kill all trash around her entrance.
3)  She will periodically do a knockback--there is not much you can do about this.  Have your tank fight her in the hallway and put his back to the wall.
4)  She periodically spawns 4 points of lava around a person -- don't worry, again, nothing you can do.
5) Don't stand in puddles of golden magma spit.

Beauty is all about CC.  Use hex, sheep, trap, hibernate, and warlock fear.  Keep them CC'd!  You can always burn one add in the beginning and have the other two focus on CC. That is what we did.  We had 2 warlocks for CC (a guild group) so we didn't even need my hex.  I didn't realize I could hex beasts until about five minutes ago. Way to go Nat...

Oh, and don't aggro Runty.

Best Time for Heroism/Time Warp:  Anytime.

Boss 5:  Ascendant Lord Obsidius
Healing Loot (he's loaded...):
Crepuscular Shield -- Yummy healing shield.
Kyrstel Mantle -- Cloth, healing
Willowy Crown -- Leather, DPS, but doubles as healing
Witching Hourglass -- DPS trinket, but if your trinkets stink...
Clutches of Dying Light -- Plate, healing gloves!

Obsidius is a pushover.

1)  Assign 1 dps to kite the adds around.  This dps should smack all the adds ASAP, and take off running, making sure the adds stay on him/her.  To help your kiter, drop earthbind totem, freezing traps, etc, but do NOT hit the mobs. 
2)  The adds chase whomever hit them last.  Do not let them aggro the tank or the tank will get a healing debuff - Crepuscular Veil, and your healer will be very angry.
3)  Obsidius changes places with an add at 66%  and 33%. Be ready to pick him up and have your kiter grab the new add.
4)  Dispell the Twilight Corruption off your party, esp. your kiter.

Other than that, there is not much to say!  We have used both a DK and a hunter on this fight, and both went well.  I used Earthbind totem, which slowed the mobs, and my kiter just ran around in a circle, happy as a clam, while the DPS burned down the boss (he doesn't have that much HP at all).  He hits like a pansy and the adds don't hit hard either.  Be sure to dispell both the Twilight Corruption and the Thunderclap off your add kiter.

Best Time for Heroism/Time Warp:  Anytime, once your tank and kiter are situated.

Overall, BRC is a great instance to learn some very important mechanics, mainly, don't get hit by boss abilities that one shot you, don't stand in pools of hurt, and learn how to watch your debuffs AND heal and DPS at the same time.  Good luck and have fun!

January 06, 2011

My Time Sink Peeves With Cataclysm

I have several peeves right now with the design of Cataclysm.  Most of them are glaringly obvious timesinks that were put in just to purposefully slow down the player.  Most people, I would guess, only allot about 3 hours to WoW playing a night, and that's being generous. 

Issue  #1:  Fishing.  Sharptooth and Murglesnout. Really?  One cooks into a mage-food equivalent food. Okay, fine, 1 fairly useless fish is acceptable.  But a trash fish that I catch 50% of the time when trying to catch my healing and caster fish?  Seriously?  AND you don't give the casters and healers a pool, but the tanks and melee do?  AND, WHERE is my strength fish?  Did you guys just forget to put one in?  Sorry melee, you have to go farm crocolisk tails.  I'm really sorry.

Remedy:  Turn Murglesnouth into the strength fish, stat.  

Issue #2:  Heroics.  I enjoy the difficulty, I really do.  But even with perfect CC, perfect pulls, and perfect bosses, I still have to sit in a dungeon for at least 45 minutes (Vortex Pinnacle) or an hour and a half (Grim Batol).  Most of the time, the dungeon isn't perfect.  45 minutes to an hour is about all the time I want to spend in a dungeon, especially when I'm not getting at least a CHANCE at a piece of epic gear at the end.

Remember BC heroics?  Yeah, that's the kind of effort/reward balance I wish Cataclysm had. In Cata, it was overshot.  I don't mind working hard, but at least make the last boss give a CHANCE at a special loot table. The effort/reward balance...I just don't see it right now.  I would like to get something that looks nice...at least once a week or every 1.5 weeksThat's at least 16 or 24 weeks to make my character look nice again, or about 2/3 the length of a content patch. Right now, it feels like the developers want us to flounder along until the VERY end of the tier..when we may complete our set, but now it's just useless again because the next tier comes out a week later.  You have little to no time to enjoy being "done" for a while.

Remedy:  Either add an epic drop to the end of each heroic boss, or a small chest with a flask inside for our class.  There doesn't need to be an item for every slot, but at least give us SOMEthing to look forward to.  Even a small chest with a flask inside off the end boss in each heroic would be greatly appreciated.

Issue #3:  Node Spawn Rates.  Northrend had 9 potential zones for herbs, ores, and skinning.  Cataclysm has 5.  I don't know about your server, but mine is a medium population and we have terrible competition for nodes and farming areas during prime time.  There is always at least 15-20 people per zone during the dead of day.  Prices are astronomical, mainly because of the limited supply.  In order to get anything done, you have to, yet again, devote weeks to farming if you cannot farm in large stretches.  I don't understand why the developers think that people sit and play every day for more than three hours a day.  Weekends, maybe.  I feel like I have to choose between farming flasks for myself and my raid team or making myself gold.  No matter what I do, it's either overfarmed or full of trash fish.

Remedy:  Just up the spawn rate so the prices will go down.  You know we need flasks for raiding content, so please stop being dicks and just up the spawn rates.

 These three issues really, really annoy me and feel like a glaringly obvious "we want to force you to slow down, you need to go through content at OUR pace that WE dictate for you."  My fishing for food for my raid is no longer efficient thanks to the worthless fish that drops 50% of the time.  Farming herbs and holding a job? Haha. Farming during the evening barely nets you any herbs or ore on a normal population server. Gold doesn't buy much of anything anymore.

The majority of my guild works and has about enough time for one heroic a night, with a little bit of farming (perhaps 1 hour).  All in all, say, 2.5 or 3 hours tops.  In the end, it feels like Blizzard is attempting to drag their content out because they don't have enough manpower to produce it at the previous rates.

January 02, 2011

How do I Justify my Hobby?

I like playing WoW for the following reasons:

It's cheap.  You know how much dinner and a movie costs for 2 people? About $40.  And that's for...4 hours of entertainment, tops.

It's fun.  There are things to DO in game. Quests, farming, flying around...

Socializing!  Friends from all around the country.  Families who play WoW.

So why do people who sit and watch television for three hours every night before bed feel the need to rain on my parade?  What is so perfect and wonderful about your hobbies that mine is not as good as yours?  Is it because all of mine is digital?  Intangible? 

I have intellectual hobbies and I have relaxing hobbies.  Writing, gardening, cooking, and reading are my intellectual hobbies, and WoW is my relaxing hobby. Bubble baths.  Hot showers.  Jogging, walking, hiking, visiting state parks (when I have money) and working out.

When I get home from work every day, all I want to do is shower and do what the F#$@ *I* want to do.

I'm single.  I have many friends. I visit these friends.

I'll probably be UNFORTUNATELY having to move to Houston to get a better job and stay with my *UGH* aunt. 

This aunt is superficial, too concerned with what other people thing about her, too worried about what people might say, too materialistic, a pessimist, a worry wart, a social butterfly, a drama queen, someone who blows things out of proportion, and will probably hold her tv watching, movie watching, money blowing (on dinners/alcohol) as a "better" hobby than mine. 

I like to work out in the morning.  She likes to work out in the evening. I get my shit done early.  If she forces me to go waste my time in the evening, time that *I* earned by working some shit office job, I will be thoroughly pissed.

On top of that, the internet in Houston is cable and B-L-O-Ws. 

I like my WoW hobby. When I get home from work, I get to do what *I* want to do, because I earned it all day.  Sure, I'll clean, but for the most part I'm a SMART person who washes dishes immediately after dinner.  Wednesday and Thursday evenings, I will be in my room, doing what I earned the time to do. 

And if anyone gives me any shit for it, I will immediately move back to to my old town.  Or home. 

On top of that, she basically insinuated that if I don't get back into University this summer (I will) to finish my last class (1 class left for my degree, and it's not required) that I'm going to be a loser working in an office, and that I'll have to be a "secretary" as if that's a terrible job.  It's a great job, to be honest.  To all the secretaries out there, keep on keepin' on. 

I'm pretty infuriated with my aunt right now, and I know if I move to Houston, I'll be stuck with some superficial obsessed crazy fifty year old who wants to micromanage every aspect of MY life.  I'm 25.  All I want is a place to sleep for 6 months where I can go to work, come home, and do MY shit until my university says yes.  Then I'll be in my old town.

I just have to make it until May. I hope I last that long.

And if they say no, well, fuck 'em, I'll just move to Michigan.

So, what do I say to my aunt IF I have to go to the shittastic, nasty, smoggy, people-crowded, ARMPIT of TEXAS called Houston?