Tuesday, November 30, 2010

20 Days of World of Warcraft - Day 4

15 minutes before midnight! STILL COUNTS! >.>

What is your favorite emote and the best situation to use it in?

There's several i've found good uses for. Living on a PvP server I think my favorite one, recently, has become /golfclap. You clap for [target], clearly unimpressed. What does that have to do with being on a PvP server? Well, quite simply there's a fair amount of lowbie ganking going on. I always take time to /sigh at high levels who attack me. And if they fail to kill me in just one shot, then I /golfclap at them, because they're apparently doing SUCH a spectacular job. They're completely pro at PvP... can't you tell?

That's one I do a lot IRL. I'm not entirely sure if it's a real emote in-game, but it should be.

There's a lot of IRL flailing going on.

Monday, November 29, 2010

20 Days of World of Warcraft - Day 3

Man.. I should REALLY set an alarm for myself to remember to do this.. Anyway Day 3's question is...

Who is your favorite NPC?

Urgh.. Y'know.. this is a really difficult question for me to answer. There are so many cool characters in WoW's history that have great stories in the lore and what not... but picking just one? Ugh, I dunno.

After thinking about it for a while, I have decided on Algalon the Observer... the FINAL final boss in Ulduar. Why? Several reasons: One, the fight is BAD ASS. Just... simply amazing. Two, his in-game model is stellar. One of the best in my opinion. Three, his speech after defeating him, included below...

"I've seen worlds bathed in The Makers flames. Their denizens fading without so much as whimper. Entire planetary systems born and raised in the time it takes your mortal hearts to beat once. Yet all throughout, my own heart, devoid of emotion of empathy, I have felt.... NOTHING. A million, million lives wasted. Had they all held within them your tenacity, had they all loved life as you do..."

Holy shit... I know that the speech may not seem like much just reading it, but hearing the vocalizations is just stunning. Especially at the "I have felt... NOTHING" part. It's just chilling. Also, think about Algalon's story. He is simply a tool of the creators. He has been running around the cosmos for untold countless millenia doing everything the Makers' have asked without questioning his purpose, or the absolute wisdom of the creator's decisions... until now. Until 10 (or 25) lowly humans injure him to the point of actually making him think he could be beaten... make him second guess everything. How would you feel in his situation?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

20 Days of Warcraft - Day 2

This had totally slipped my mind... I guess it's a good thing I tend to write my blog posts REALLY early in the morning, eh? Oh well.. Day 2!

What is your favorite race and why?
This is another one I kinda struggled with for a while. First inclination was to say Draenei, but then... no. I just hate the way their male model looks. Their female models look awesome, and the lore behind their class is so great. I really just love their backstory and the interaction with the Legion and all of that.

Overall I kind of settled on a 3-way tie for first though. I just can't decide!

Orc, Troll, Dwarf. I know, seems like an odd combination, but hear me out. The lore behind all three of these races is just amazing. Especially with all the political intrigue going on in Ironforge at the moment, that just makes things a LOT more interesting. The heated arguments between Vol'jin and Garrosh are fucking epic. I started a baby troll last night and brought him through the Echo Isles, and while i'm not going to spoil the quest line.. HOLY SHIT! Anyway... Then the orcs. They've always had a cool story line, and I admit I am a sucker for anything with the Burning Legion so heavily tied in. I flew my baby troll into Orgrimmar last night and HOLY SHIT. I even had a spazz attack over twitter about it. I mean, I had seen screenshots, and heard about it all, but NOTHING prepares you for the real thing like taking that wind rider in from Razor Hill, and zooming your camera all the way in.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The 20 Days of World of Warcraft Challenge - Day 1

So... i've seen a couple fellow bloggers doing this, at varying stages, over the last few days, and it sounded like fun so I figured I would give it a shot. First off, thanks Jaedia for the link to Specced For Drama where YOU originally found this challenge. And also thanks to SpellboundSaga for being the first person I saw actually posting this :) Anyway! On to day 1's question.

What is your favorite class, and why?
This is a tough question. As you may or may not have gathered from reading this blog, I am quite an altaholic. I've considered 4 or 5 different toons my "main" over the last couple of years, so it's a really difficult question to answer. The more I think about it though, I have to think that my favorite class is Paladin.

"But Fuzz," you might say... "your CURRENT main is a druid. Why isn't he your favorite class, at least for the moment?"
Well... My first inclination was indeed to say a druid, if for no other reason than yes he IS my current main, and I really do love playing him. There has always been something about paladins for me though. I have levelled 2 of them to 80, and I am currently about to start my 3rd one into Outlands (see the screenshots I included in my last post... they're all from my pally's questing experience). Paladins are amazing to level, they're quite fun at 80, and they do quite well at all 3 roles... even though I am not now, nor will I ever be any semblance of a knowledgeable paladin healer. In fact, a paladin is the first class i've ever actually TRIED to tank or heal on. So if it wasn't for me having so much fun on my very first Paladin (Thank you Jadithyn of Wyrmrest Accord) I wouldn't be the tanky motherfucker that I am now, and I wouldn't have a REAL appreciation for how healing is until I found out how exceedingly spastic I am at it... even in 5 mans... no thanks.

My point is, the paladin class has done a lot for me. It has taken up a lot of my time, even if I haven't mained one seriously in forever. It has given me insight into what I feel like my *real* calling is in the game (tanking), and given me a SERIOUS insight into the world of which I may have otherwise underappreciated. Plus, I just think they're fun as hell.

Say hello to Cayadrin of the Lothar. My 2nd paladin to make it to 80, my ONLY horde toon to do so, and the toon that TRULY reaffirmed my love of the paladin class. Shame that he is now wasting away on a server I never play on anymore, but thems the breaks, i'm afraid.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Screenshotted awesomeness

So... far be it for me to follow the blogging trend and talking about the same shit EVERYONE is talking about, but damn if the Shattering didn't give EVERYONE SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT.

And rationally so.. a LOT of shit happened, and much of it is COMPLETE AWESOME WIN.

I think this post is going to be a lot of screenshots today. I'll give explanation where explanation is due.
Epic quest text struck me as hilarious at the time. No real reason, but the underlined part just made me laugh when put into context of the rest of the quest text.

Yeah.... that's an ogre... riding a spider in Searing Gorge.. What a fucking hilarious sight. I laughed for quite some time over that. Apparently this ogre is a pacifist and is good at finding ways to get what you need from creatures WITHOUT killing them. This one? He was helping me get venom from the spider.... I don't wanna know how.

The ogre returns.. this time? He's helping me get items from dark iron dwarves. How? By putting them to sleep... Yeah... he's sitting on them until they go unconscious.... I... I just don't...

In the midst of doing the quest to put the Dark Iron Dwarves "to sleep" I was extremely disturbed to find one of them yelled this out... and then I think my spleen ruptured from laughing so hard.

The goblin model looks *amazing* now. This is a character named Rhea. I won't spoil her story, but the quest chain is in the Badlands and is fucking amazing as well as sad... Definitely something you should look for.

Sighhhh.... More setbacks? Really? Well, at least Blizzard knows how to make fun of themselves.

Hey, by the way.. Did you know that Dual Talent Specializations can be bought at level 30 now? For *10* fucking gold? No? Me neither, but here's proof. Did it on my own priest here.

If you never played The Lost Vikings for the Super Nintendo or Sega then shame on you. Epic game was absolutely amazing. PLUS, these three apparently finally made it out of Uldaman (Which I had no idea they were in to begin with, but meh). But wait, it gets better! There's a quest in the Badlands where you get to CONTROL THEM! How fucking sweet! They all have 2 abilities that go on a pet bar of yours. So much win.

So.. What should you take out of this? As much as I was (And still am) looking forward to Cataclysm, Blizzard fucking knocked a home run with the old world revamp. I'm exceedingly impressed. Bravo guys... Bra-fucking-vo. Also, it was a brilliant move for you to release the new quests 2 weeks before Cataclysm. Why? Because now we can get some of this "OOH SHINY SHIT!" syndrome out of our system for a couple weeks, and be ready to settle back into our mains to trek into Hyjal/Vashj'ir when Cata finally drops.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Form of - a BEAR!

Well, i've done a ton of rambling and ranting posts. I've talked about my guild and how we've raided, or about my titles and achievements... I've tooted my own horn quite a bit, and I figure now it's time to finally put something *useful* on this blog. What can I talk about that's useful? Hmm... that's a tough one. OH! Druids! I'm quite a good druid tank!

Well! Obviously the first thing to look at is how to spec your druid for maximum... tanking... awesomness! So for level 80, there are basically two different talent trees you can go with.

This is the spec I run with. It is pure tank, no kitty-ing about. Pretty straight forward. Glyphs are all but a no-brainer because they're really the only ones that will have ANY effect on our tanking. I actually just switched to this spec from a VERY slight (2 point) differential, and I'll explain why after the 2nd screenshot.

So the only difference between these two specs are the points I moved out of Feral Aggression and into Primal Madness... currently I am running with the points in Primal Madness. Initially I liked the idea of having a 1-time three stack of Faerie Fire for the DPS increase... I still do like that, to be quite honest, but the reason I moved to Primal Madness is for trash packs and 5-mans. The extra rage generated by our Enrage ability makes it so we can almost swipe as soon as we pull a pack. It also makes it so we can start our rotation more quickly on boss encounters.

I've been questioned a few times on my choice of the points in Brutal Impact. I suppose you could make the arguement that the extra interrupts are situational but DAMMIT if I don't like having them, because i've spent so much time tanking WITHOUT having worthwhile interrupts... and no, an interrupt with a stun DOES not count, because you can't pull mobs towards you when they're effing stunned. The other thing you may ask about is why I only put 2 points in Fury Swipes... Druid threat isn't in a place that's hurting in any way right now on single targets. 2 points procs plenty enough, and our threat is insane after the first 5-10 seconds on a mob.

So, assuming all of these things (and assuming Brutal Impact, if you're like me) then let's move forward into tanking at level 85. Not a lot is going to change from your level 80 spec. No real need to change specs unless you want to test weird things out, so I came up with basically 2 different level 85 specs.

This first one you'll see that I have a spare talent point available. The reason for this is I figure it's kind of your "do whatever the fuck you want with it." If you want to go with max TPS For that point, put it in it should probably go into Stampede. Honestly, though, the TPS generated by 2 points in Stamepede, let alone 1, is hardly worth the poinst from a pure tanking point of view. A point in Feral Aggression could be handy to 2-stack FFF instead of 1-stack. One point in Perseverance (in the resto tree) for a bit of extra spell damage reduction, but that's properly a bit situational... which brings me to my second tree below.

This tree doesn't have any spare points, and honestly I wish it had just one more talent point to finish out Perseverance in resto... but as I mentioned earlier, this could be a very situational setup to have. It really just depends on how many bosses in Cataclysm deal random magic damage, and whether 4% will really make that much of a difference.

Now.. With all of this stuff I want anyone reading this to realize a couple things.
First - I am not in the beta. My lvl 85 druid builds are purely hypothetical based on my experience with druid tanking post 4.0, and with what I know about how the theorycrafting works behind it.
Second - I am no 100% expert. I could very well be proven wrong about some of my ideas. They're not set in stone by any means, and I am not proclaiming them as such.
Thirdly - I am not responsible for your fuckups. I *can* help if you'd like, but if you tell me that my spec sucks and you can't get shit to work with it, then well.... your mileage may vary. I'd be more than happy to compare notes with you as long as you're not a shit-stain about how you approach it.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Titles and Finishing Up Wrath

So, with 2 1/2 weeks left in Wrath, my guild has been doing a little bit less "serious" raiding and more finishing up our "bucket lists" before things go away... A few people are attempting to get "Undying" from Naxx (nobody dies to a boss within a single lockout), and others, myself included (unknowingly) are still trying for "Champion of Ulduar", which includes defeating every boss with no one dying... and unlike Undying in Naxx, you can't reset that by wiping the boss. It has to be a one-shot clean kill.

As I mentioned in my last post, i've done a lot of things in this expansion that I never even expected to have the opportunity to do. I am two fights away from having my Ulduar 10m drake (Vezax HM and Yogg+1)... a couple more of my guildies got theirs last night, or will tonight I believe. I've seen literally *every* boss in this expansion fall before me (and now that I think about it, almost all of them were in heroic mode. A total of 6 bosses' hard modes escape me, now that I think on it... huh)

So, I don't exactly know what got me pondering it this morning, but I started thinking about titles... I started thinking about the titles that my main (Vaerron) has, and the little dilemma I had with myself over using either Kingslayer or Starcaller... So I posed the question to my twitter-base as to which title they felt was cooler. I actually had quite a response - with both titles getting about an equal nod. I personally went with Starcaller, because I've been Kingslayer on my druid since July, and it felt like time for a change. Besides, my hunter is still Kingslayer at the moment. Also, as several people have pointed out, Starcaller is a much more exclusive title. It seems like a majority of the people rampaging around Dalaran have Kingslayer titles, but not as many have Starcaller, so that kinda makes me feel pretty awesome... not that I am better than your average Dalaran wander-jockey. ;D

So, after the huge response I got to my "Kingslayer or Starcaller" question, I decided to pose another question to my followers... "Which title does (any of) your toons possess that you're the most proud of?"... Man... my twitter-feed was *not* prepared. I am still getting some replies even as I write this on my break during class!

I've recieved quite a large variety of replies. Some people saying Kingslayer or Starcaller predictably. Some of them saying much more exclusive ones like "Hand of A'dal" or "Champion of the Naaru", both of which are no longer obtainable. Several people mentioned the PvP titles that were given from back in the day, whereas others mentioned some VERY grind-accomplished titles like Salty, Loremaster, Bloodsail Admiral and Seeker. I think Cynwise won the "Holy fucking shit" achievement when he proclaimed his proudest title (with proof on his blog) that he had a level 19 Ambassador... holy shit.. I've got a metric TON of 80s, and only one of them has Ambassador. You can see how he did it here... Absolute insanity, if you ask me, but I digress.

So, if you're not on my twitter feed, feel free to follow me @Achloryn and see what all the insanity is about.. There is a *wonderful* WoW community on twitter, and a very large part of them are bloggers/podcasters as well. I'm really quite glad I stumbled my way across them. They've found me a guild, helped me improve my WoW game, allowed me to help others, helped me find new friends, and just been all-around fucking awesome... Now, before this post gets too sappy, i'm gonna close it out by saying just one thing.

I'm on a Chocobo!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Chronicles of an expansion

Welp... It's official..I've officially killed every boss Wrath of the Lich King has to offer... Now don't misunderstand me. I'm not 12/12 25m Heroic ICC or anything like that... but every boss fight i've thrown myself at has, eventually, fallen before my sword/spell/face/claws. Maybe a little backstory is necessary.

At the beginning of Wrath, I was a mage... The big draenei guy you see as my avatar for blogspot? Yeah that's him... still in his ABSOLUTELY HIDEOUS T8 tunic... Hey Blizz? Clothies are for robes, not tunics. Fuck off with that leg-showing cloth shit, mmkay? Anyway...

I raided in BC as a mage, and that was how I started Wrath... Clusterfucking my way through Naxx with pugs and the occasional guild run (we weren't a raiding guild, btw)... I succumbed to the bug and left my casual/social guild shortly after Ulduar was released, and joined a burgeoning raiding guild. These guys were... struggling to say the least. (I won't name any guild names, or even server names, lest they somehow manage to stumble upon this blog and think i'm speaking ill of them.)... The guild was moderately well managed by the officers. The GM wasn't a raider, which I thought was odd, but whatever right? But in Ulduar we just... couldn't manage to get it together really. We made............. a little progress. Only killing (oh god lemme count... ) 8 bosses out of 13 or 14 if you count Algalon. We only ever downed 1 keeper as a guild, Hodir. We threw ourselves at Freya and Thorim a few times with nothing even resembling success, and we weren't even dumb enough to look towards Mimiron's room... and of course not having been able to kill all of the keepers, we couldn't even attempt Vezax or Yogg, even if we wanted to.

The frustration of going 8 bosses in (in a 4 hour raid duration, mind you) and then going brain dead and barely even giving half-hearted attempts at anything else REALLY got to me, and shortly after ToC was released I retired myself from raiding and rolled a brand new toon on Wyrmrest Accord... an RP server. Why an RP server? Cause I knew someone IRL who was on that server, and WoW lore had *always* fascinated me, especially since I used to play the ORIGINAL Warcraft game wayyyyyyyyyyy back in the day... but I digress.

I spent about a year on Wyrmrest Accord... made friends, RP'ed, dungeoned a bit, leveled a SHIT TON of new alts, and just had a general relaxing time... ToC came and went with little more than a notice from me, and then Icecrown Citadel was patched in... and there was a little tickle in the back of my head. Along with this little tickle came with a toon I had had more fun on than i'd had in who-knows how long...

My hunter... God looking at my UI back then makes me *cringe*. Anyway... I've kinda taken to a lot of toons in my WoW career, but I absolutely fell in LOVE with the hunter.. From levelling him to dungeoning with him. So much so that I ground heroics like I had never done before, and soon had him a full t9 set of gear, and found myself going back to wowhead and find out how to properly spec... learn my rotation, etc etc.

I loved my hunter so much that I did something I hadn't done in over a year.

Trade Chat:"Starting a brand new ICC10 group. Looking for DPS. PST class/spec/experience"

Me: "Marksman hunter... No ICC experience, but i've read up on several of the fights, and I know my rotation well... no idiot, I know how to raid."

Yep... I pugged into an ICC 10... and holy fuck was it fun. After about 3 hours of raiding, I found myself with a 6-boss kill experience, and that little tickle in the back of my head had suddenly turned into a full fledged roaring desire to return back to raiding. I also had a standing invite from the raid leader to join their guild and raid with them... something I was very hesitant to do because I really liked my tiny little RP guild... but the thirst just would not be denied. I talked to my GM and asked around, listened to a few podcasts, and finally transferred my hunter over to Shadowsong-US... a very large guild called "The Illuminati Order", associated with the "Warcraft Outsiders" podcast. I really dived in headfirst into raiding with this guild. In fact, my first week in the guild I got to see 10 "Fall of the Lich King (10 player)" achievements spammed. This guild had gotten their first LK kill, and I joined them just in time to see it... and no I wasn't involved LOL.

Along with my hunter, I transferred one other toon to Shadowsong. A baby little fuzzball of a druid named Vaerron.

Man, that's still one of my all time favorite screenshots... ANYWAY. I levelled Vaerron up to be a tank. I became quickly enthralled with it from the first time I successfully tanked a dungeon (Gundrak) at level 78 with the full Eviscerator's leatherworking crafted set... but I ran into one problem. "Illuminati Order" was an *immense* guild compared to what I was used to (6-700 toons), and they really had no need for raiding tanks. Well, by this point in time I had already started blogging and started networking over twitter, so I put out a call for a relatively casual/progression-ish guild who was willing to recruit an untested tank.

Thus, in July of 2010, I met Amber and Orithea of Brotherhood of Oblivion, on Azgalor... Well, I have already been exceedingly verbose in this post, so I'll try to cut it short here, but I found my new home on Azgalor... Brotherhood of Oblivion splintered a week after my joining, and Stands In Bad was formed. The rest, as they say, is history. I've transferred my original mage to Azgalor, as well as my hunter, and started a few other toons as well. I've earned myself a couple kingslayer titles, helped several others earn theirs, became an officer, became a raid leader, and managed to not kill anyone in the process... go figure eh?

Sorry if I have glazed over the last few months of history, but a lot of what has happened since my leaving Illuminati Order has been chronicled on this blog, so I don't feel like repeating myself too much. A lot of people have had bad things to say about this expansion, but I think they're absolutely out of their mind. Were there bad parts? Sure... I couldn't imagine going into ToC as top-end content every week, although I do secretly enjoy the raid to a point. I've gone back and finished the bosses i'd never killed in Ulduar, and even done all of their hard modes, all the way up to 7/12 in ICC10 HM. That's pretty impressive, in my opinion, for someone who had "retired from raiding" at one point in time.

Thus Wrath of the Lich King comes to an end. I'm ready for it to end, but I can look back over the last 24 months rather fondly. Friendships made and ended. Raids killed me, and fell before me. Frustrations were had, money was spent on server transfers, disillusionment was emerged from, and all-in-all... I don't think I would change one bit of it.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Lucky day!

Aww yeah, that's right... I got my Anzu
mount... It's about damn time!

So, I still don't really have a lot to say. There's a lot of changes happening to people's stats over the next month or so, but i'm really not that phased by most of it. Druid tanks are getting nerfed? Well sure.. we're overpowered as shit right now. Our self healing is absurd, our mastery is outrageous, and our health pools are obscene. All 3 of them are getting nerfed...
meh, such is life.

My guild has also been teetering on the edge of taking the break from official raids until Cataclysm... Not entirely unexpected really, but it's happening in a bizarre way. People are cancelling at the last minute, people are getting frustrated for one reason or another, and it just seems like we're losing focus easily... I understand that things happen, but being a raid leader it's really frustrating trying to hold the raid together in spite of all of this. I do what I can but man sometimes I just wanna smack people... hahaha.. BUT.. In spite of that, we got several people something really cool with a project raid on fridays...

Yep.. That was the last achievement a couple people needed to get their Ruste
d Proto-Drakes... the mount given from the "Glory of the Ulduar Raider (10-man)" achievement

Awesome looking mount isn't it? I wants one for my own (photo courtesy of Wowhead).

With our project raid FINALLY downing Yogg+1 (which was a nightmare of a fight, by the way), we moved on to the only boss none of us have never killed in this expansion...

Algalon, the goddamn, observer.. Widely heralded as the most difficult boss encounter in this expansion short of Lich King hard mode... and rightly so. The man hits fast, hard, and has a LOT of goddamn aoe damage. When I ended up having to leave for work tonight, we had about 20 minutes left on his timer and had already wiped on him around 5-6 times... Not a fight to take lightly, even as much as you might outgear it. To give you a hint? My crew which is comprised of 10 man, kingslayers and ALL of us with average item levels over 251... and we could barely get past the first Big Bang (that's only 90 seconds into the fight) on our best attempt.

Algalon is no... fucking... joke... yarrrgghh. /flail