Cherry

I can’t help but laugh that 2 months have come to pass since I last updated this blog. Not a whole lot has changed in my personal realm, IADT has proven to not be all that great as a school (5 week classes are far too accelerated) and everything else is pretty much normal. Still work for Iron Mountain and with the “economy” in the “condition” that it is “currently in,” I more than likely will not risk a profession change until things “rebound” and I can feel secure in an industry without the same security in my current field.

But considering the lack of personal life updates to blog about, let’s get to the meat of this post. Holy crap has Wrath of the Lich King proven to be incredible, mind-blowing, immersive, and sometimes annoying. I took 7 days off from work with the intention of getting my rogue to 80 and getting a substantial “head-start” on obtaining pvp equipment.


Iron Dwarf Nevik, lol.

I figured a couple of focused days of hardcore questing and I’d be done leveling. That was until I discovered that 70 to 71 would require 1.4 mil xp, and each level thereafter would slowly increase that. So the original plan of getting my rogue to 80 and working on my death knight and mage on my sis’ server only occured when Cenarius was experiencing 1.5-2 hour queues.


Phasing at its best: Battle for Undercity

It took 8 days to get my rogue to 80 and I ended up being either the 5th or 6th level 80 in Awry. Some of you may think that pushing like that would diminish my enjoyment of the process, but I mightily enjoyed the grind to 80, (but definitely not looking to do it on my alts until the xp reqs are nerfed =). I was able to experience just about every new instance before hitting 80 and had a blast with some of the quests.


Culmination of the Drakuru questline.

I really have to give Blizzard credit as they finally woke up and realized that they needed to treat our toons as actual participants in the lore and not as spectators. Prior to WotLK there were few lore-immersing quests in WoW, and those that did exist, were mainly reserved for the elite eschelon of raiders. The new phasing technology employed in WotLK is absolutely brilliant allowing us to feel like we are actually affecting the world around us. From the battle of Undercity to the reclaiming of regions in Icecrowne, phasing technology is incredible.


The defeat of *cough*asshole*cough* Loken on heroic difficulty.

Another kudo Blizz deserves is their new implimentation of heroic dungeons. Eliminating the rep-grind and keys to unlock the heroics makes gearing up alts (should you choose to do so) a lot less painful. While the hardcore may feel that the new end-game content is far too easy, there are plenty of challenges awaiting them from the heroic achievements. I also applaud the related decision to expand the exposure of content to a larger community. I could care less about the elitist raiders that abhor this decision, especially since the harder content is on the way. You shouldn’t have to treat WoW as a 2nd job to fully experience it.


Anub’Rehkan down, Naxxramas(10)

With that being said, I made a monumental step last night with my first progression raid experience with Naxxramas (10). Awry was able to field 2 10-man raids with less than diserable class balance, but the 10-man I was apart of was able to clear the Arachnid quarter (2-shotting most of the bosses) but then proceeded to wipe at Heigan numerous times and then on Patchwork when we decided an hour of failing at Heigan wasn’t fun anymore.

Our issues with Heigan were mainly from not being able identify the safe zones accurately enough. Either our tank would stand far too close to the edge and half the melee would get hit, or people would run too far into zones 1 & 4 and not make back to zones 2 & 3 during phase 2. At one point one of our shamans noticed a safe spot with slime splashing up all around him without getting hit. We tried stacking the raid on the spot, but it appears to have a very small spot to stand on; some got hit, some didn’t.

Our last few attempts were really promising, but again phase 2 proved to be our raid killer. Lag really ramps up the issues with this encounter, but that should be easily overcome by everyone being able to remember exactly how large and where those safe zones are and not rely on anyone else. I appeared to get phase 2 down on our last few attempts, but without the tank staying up, I can’t tank Heigan as a rogue, lol.

After an hour of wiping on Heigan, we decided to try out Patchwork. We employed a strategy that in hindsight seems to have undone what we were trying to accomplish, but I think we also had issues with gearing on our OT for the encounter (ie. not enough HP). To ensure that the OT would always be soaking the hateful strikes, we had our melee dps dip themselves in the slime to keep our HP down. Unfortunately this also halves all stats, so our DPS took a HUGE hit and we were rapidly falling behind on the required DPS to bring Patchwork down before our healers went OOM.

I knew that tactic seemed a little weird as I’ve read that Patchwork is a benchmark DPS encounter; ie. no threat to worry aboutso DPS gets to stay 100% on Patchwork. Dipping in the slime was never mentioned, so obviously we were doing it wrong. Instead we need to make sure that the 2 highest HP members have enough HP so that a hateful strike can be healed through and not temporarily make a melee DPS the soaker.

All in all it was a great experience and I’m looking forward to more progression raids with my guild. (Are my PVP days over?!)

Overdue

No matter how much I intend to update this journal, I always seem to allow laspes … of the large kind. So let’s see if I can’t get everyone caught up with my going-ons …

Seems Blizzard will be releasing WotLK November 13th despite indications from the beta that it won’t be completely ready. But what ever is? When I worked at Namco games would routinely ship with bugs in them; sometimes even game-crashing bugs. Then when you think about the constantly evolving nature of a MMO, it only makes sense that they’d push it out sooner than polish it to a spit-shine.

Unfortunately 11/13 falls smack dab in the middle of this school term which will limit my game time. If I were not taking vacation time (Nov. 13,14,17-21) I’d barely be able to spend time in Northrend. Taking some time off from work will allow me to split my focus between school and WotLK while maintaining a happy household.

Being a month out from the expansion has led to changes in plans, mainly that I’ll be getting my rogue to 80 pretty much before anything else. With the changes that have come to the combat tree, I may just return to a combat build for leveling, (and maybe even for PVP given the mobility nerf to lolstep). I’ll toy with a mutilate build once 3.0.2 hits next week, but I’ll have to toss mongoose on the daggers I have: [Direbrew’s Shanker] & [Retainer’s Blade].

Part of the reason for the decision to focus solely on my rogue come expansion time is to get in on the ground floor of level 80 arena. My current 3v3 partners and I will be reforming a 3v3 team for season 5 and we’re determined to not allow gear dictate our ratings as much.

Last week we went a disappointing 4-6 dropping us to the low 1400s which killed our morale and drive. Yet we gathered again and went 7-3 this week pushing our ratings back to scratching at that ellusive 1500+ rating … le sigh. At this point in the game we keep running into teams with s3 weapons and/or s4 gear, even in the sub-1500 bracket.

Granted there isn’t a /huge/ difference between our s2/3 gear and s3/4 gear we’ve been facing, but folks that have acquired said s3/4 gear are far more experienced in the arena scene and have strategic advantages. Fortunately the arena scene will be almost completely different in the 80s and we’ll be learning along with the rest of the scene. So we’re confident that we’ll fare much much better in WotLK.

As for other WotLK plans, my mage on Whisperwind is easily going to be level 55 by the launch (she’s currently @ lv52)and I’ll probably put more focus on my DK on Whisperwind than I will on Cenarius (my main server). I don’t really need another alt on Cenarius to neglect, but having a DK on Whisperwind will give me more reason to spend time over there. Besides, I’m sure the alliance in the Rampage battlegroup could use a good/decent PVPer.

While my DK on Whisperwind will likely become my main, I’m determined to get my mage to 80 to PVP with her. Well, her and my DK of course. Seems that I live for PVP in WoW despite how inherently flawed it is. *smirk*

And now for some random screenshots …



Water elementals + Frost Spec = Paaaaaiiiiin


Brewfest Concert Event in BRD


Thunder Bluff is so beautiful

And now for some random thoughts …

  • I feel completely lost watching season 3 of Heroes (haven’t seen seasons 1 & 2)
  • I really like the new Filter album that was ninja released back in March (just discovered it last week)
  • My front yard is a complete loss; completely infested with crab grass
  • My sister picked out a stuffed Cactaur for her birthday present
  • I really need an iPhone 3G so I can listen to the Woody Show while not in Live 105’s broadcast area
  • When will the Niners get a good QB again? J.T O’Sullivan is NOT the future of the Niners
  • It’s October already?!
  • I’m sick of politicians and wish someone decent would actually run for office (hate both Obama and McCain)

Anniversary

It wasn’t until I had visited http://www.mmo-champion.com that I realized that the Burning Crusade came out exactly one year ago. Damn, that means one year ago I was giddy as a schoolboy after getting my CE-copy shortly after midnight. If I recall correctly, I stayed up til 2am or so, then when in to work around 8am.

Fond memories I suppose, but it has been a couple of months now since I last truly played WoW. Between school and finally having a 360 I just haven’t had the time nor the motivation to play. While I anticipate that at some point I’ll return, that day is not in the immediate future. Perhaps WotLK will spur my interest enough to play for a couple of months.

As a sidenote, you can still find TBC-CE at the Fry’s Electronics here in the Sacramento area.

Enthusiasm

Another expansion is on the horizon and yet again Blizz has made me excited, disappointed, angry at the same time. Sure it’ll be quite some time before it is released, but just knowing that progression now will mean less with another 10 levels to grind makes it far less exciting to grind out rep so I can gear up in heroics. I personally think Blizz should re-evaluate the 80 cap and bring it down to 75 and then give us alternative advancement through hero class specializations.

Don’t get me wrong, the death knight sounds cool, but it just seems weird that it’ll be similar to unlocking jedis in SWG. There’s a ton of questions that hopefully Blizz will address over the next couple months; Will a DK trivialize tanks? Will he be capable of solo’ng a lv70+ 5 man? The play mechanics sound refreshing, but again … what will it do to the existing game?

Overall I can sum up my take on the new expansion with this question: “Where the hell is Diablo 3?” Then again, if they did make D3, I’d hope they wouldn’t take a page from the current WoW dev team. I don’t want a rep-grind diablo, I want something heavy on action, heavy on fun, but most importantly … Diablo.

Now onto random thoughts regarding the new expansion …

Dalaran is floating over Northrend?
Where the hell is capentry as a profession?
Will Azeroth be reworked to allow for flying mounts … eventually?
Will 1-58 be reworked to be more rewarding/quicker?
Will Frostmourne be required to unlock a death knight?