Tuesday, October 26, 2010

[4.0.1] BlizzCon 2010 - Desired Improvements With the RayV Feed

Please Improve the RayV Feed

I hate it when people lie, whether that lie is big or small.  And when I pay for a show, I expect not to see advertising.  And yet, when I clicked to watch the Cataclysm cinematics discussion, the first thing I saw was an ad for DirectTV (a generic one, not a BlizzCon-themed one), and within a minute or so, the stereotypical gritty voiceover tells me it's "completely commercial free".

You know, I expect to see gratuitous self-promotion of BlizzCon, and tedious replays and restatements of BlizzCon events past, present, and future.  But I don't expect to see general advertising.

Improvement #1: I would like to keep the paid BlizzCon feed free from ads.

Second, it's not very hard to edit video timing.  In spite of that, I have generally been unable to click on a show and end up right at the start of that show.  When I chose the WoW Cinematics discussion, it was a good 8-10 minutes before it actually started.

Improvement #2: I would like to be able to go right to the start of the segment I choose.

And, you know what?  I am logged in and they are feeding me the content.  So, why not have a big fat "Resume" button somewhere that will crank up the feed right where I left off, if I close my browser, shut off my PC, etc.?

Improvement #3: I would like a "resume" option to resume viewing at the last spot I was being fed, if my feed is interrupted in any way.

This may sound odd, but there are lots of little discussions between the panels that often involve various folks I want to hear.  But there is no place on the schedule for them.  To watch them, you need to pick some episode/feed, and click up and down the time bar.

Improvement #4: Include the filler blocks in the schedule, along with some tiny description, e.g., "Filler - Joe Blow".

The second-most annoying problem I have had so far is that I cannot reliably recover from pausing the feed.  For me, it usually does not work. I am using the latest version of Internet Explorer, so I would hope that they are designing for it.  Most of the time that I paused, when I tried to resume, it simply stayed frozen and I had to reload or restart, then try to click back to approximately the right place in the time bar, which, of course, I sort of had to estimate.

Improvement #5:  Make pause work reliably.

The most annoying thing was when I tried to go back and watch WoW Class Q&A and it simply would not work.  But that's just the beginning.  I clicked on the support chat to inquire if there was a workaround and to get an estimate of when it would be fixed.  After a long time, someone finally answered and we had this a disappointing discussion, in terms of time wasted.

Improvement #6:  Provide workarounds for your content, e.g., a failover site or another streaming technology alternative.

Maybe it's all a clever ruse to convince me to get DirectTV...oh well, here's hoping it is better next year.

Monday, October 25, 2010

[4.0.1] BlizzCon 2010 Notes, Day 2

Cataclysm Cinematics
This was pretty cool.  It might be a bit too detailed of a discussion for some, but I liked it.  The Worgen cut scene makes me sad and happy.  I was pretty disappointed to see FREAKING WEREWOLVES ending up as an Alliance race when I first heard about it, but I consoled myself that they weren't *that* cool, the Goblins had a lot of flavor, and they came close to letting me play something somewhat close to a Gnome without having to play Alliance.  The concept of the noble, misunderstood, unjustly villified being is pretty much Horde defined.  But, as long as Worgen weren't too cool, I could deal with it.

The Worgen cutscene spoke very concisely and effectively to a concept of noble redemption.  So I was happy with the movie, but sad once again that Worgen are an Alliance race.  Really, really sad.

I love their cinematics.  I wish Blizz would fund them to make more.  Great stuff.

Class Q&A Panel

Ghostcrawler: "I'm a Libra...I like long walks on the beach, gin, and nerfing Paladins"

[We'll ignore the Hunter guy that confused the Q&A with "Have An Argument With The Devs" event.  Moving on...]

Their answer to the "homogenization of classes" question was interesting.  They feel they are maintaining class distinctiveness due to their differing resource mechanics.  That's an interesting notion; I had, like many, focused on the spells and their effects.

I was intrigued by Ghostcrawler's answer about Achievements on characters.  I would LOVE to see Achievements be account-specific and not character-specific.  Something like that would probably send me off chasing more Achievements.  For example, I care about lore/RP enough that I can't justify chasing the Insane title with my Druid; it's just too evil to kill my Goblin friends.  My DK, however, has less qualms, as does my Rogue...

They will be adding a minor Glyph to let Trees turn into the old "Grandma Tree" form (devs' words, not mine).  Probably good news for female Trees, since the new forms with the Soul Patch look a tad masculine...

Open Q&A

WoW Insider has a Liveblog transcript.  I will be quoting bits I found interesting.  Thanks to Allison Robert for typing it up.

Draenei Are Scourge!

First and foremost, I have to enlighten you that Draenei are Scourge.  You heard it here first folks!  Check out this quote from the transcript:
1:50 pm "Has anyone ever given any thought to changing death knight eye glows from blue to red to green depending on what spec they are?"
(audience claps)

A: No, we haven't. It might get a little too Christmas tree-y. When you see the blue eyes, it means death knight -- death. But Chris - anything to add here?
A: Don't want to blur the lines on colors, they have different meanings in the game.
A: Red means demonic -- an easy distinction. Blue -- Scourge influence.

Blue means Scourge.  Draenei are blue.  Therefore, Draenei must be Scourge. Q.E.D.

Other stuff
  • A few words were mentioned about the prospect of seeing the Emerald Dream in future content; I am holding out hope for it being something big, perhaps an entire expansion.
  • Alchemists getting a potion that will turn them into a dragon that can carry a passenger(s?); my wife is an's hoping every jackass isn't trying to click on her if she uses the potion.
  • No commitment to make Achievements account bound :(
  • Possible keyring-like closet for clothes in the future
  • More player slots on a realm - "it's been discussed"
  • Sidekick/mentoring system so high level and low level players can play with a similar level of challenge together
  • Dance studio still in development; animators work on additions when they have spare time; will ship when it reaches critical mass
And that's all of my notes from Day 2. :)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

[4.0.1] BlizzCon 2010 Notes - Day 1

I was not lucky enough to get tickets for BlizzCon, but I did fork out the cash for the Virtual tickets.  Thankfully, RayV enables me to check out the BlizzCon events when I have the, perhaps a little belatedly, here come my notes on the first day of BlizzCon.

Disclaimer: I am only going to highlight the stuff that resonated with me.

The Virtual Ticket Kinda Sucks

Buffering and freezes were pretty commonplace, far too commonplace.  This was even worse, given that we have absurd fiber optic access here.

And pausing was a crap shoot.  There was a pretty good chance that if you paused it, it would never unpause.

It was also hard to watch what I wanted when I wanted.  I was going to watch the WoW Tournament, and all I saw was a screen showing what match-ups were next.

For the price and having to squat at my PC for hours to watch it...the level of service quality makes me a sad panda.

Moonkin Hatchling Pet

So, if you took a Moonkin and made it cute, would you get the following?

Hmm, maybe that's more freaky than cute.  What will no doubt be cute is the Moonkin Hatchling that was announced as a future pet.  It was announced in the same breath as the Panderan Monk pet, so my assumption is that it will be purchasable like the Panderan Monk was.  I wonder if it will have a charitable component too.

Dungeons & Raids

Some notes from Dungeons and raids.
  • Dungeons
    • Quests for dungeons right at the entrance
    • Shadowfang Keep and Deadmines made into climactic ends for their zones
    • Breaking old dungeons into wings
    • Trimming Sunken Temple to make it a lot more navigable and digestible
    • Trimming some of the excessive dead space in the Wailing Caverns
  • Raids
    • More raid zones
    • Funky new mechanics, e.g., sneaking past a monster
    • More bite-sized chunks
    • "Content for everyone" (more casual vs. more hardcore)
    • More flexible raiding (flexible raid locks)
    • Normal raid difficulty progress is saved on your character (you can only defeat each boss once a week)
    • Heroic raid difficulty works just like Lich King, locked to a specific lockout
  • 4.1.0 preview
    • Firelands Raid - Elemental plane of fire; Ragnaros' home; 7 bosses
    • Abyssal Maw Dungeon - Elemental plane of water
      • Adding mechanic so that when underwater and you touch the floor, you stick to the ground and walk along it (as opposed to swimming)
    • Enhanced Maps (could not finish for Cataclysm release)
      • Gone back and done 2D maps for every game in the dungeon
      • Detailed information on the boss - lore, loot, abilities
      • 3D animated portraits (for the bosses)
      • Works in both dungeons and raids
  • Q & A
    • Looting? More stringent on class constraints.
    • Old legendary fragment drops rate change?  With reduced lockouts, can they increase the rate?  Going to look into it.
    • BRD changes?  It's very tricky to break it up, so we put in some teleporters.
    • Side note: Graveyards are super close, none farther than 30 seconds away, most near the instance portal
    • Spectator mode to let extra players be able to watch the raid even though they can't attend the raid (e.g., raiders #26-31 can watch from someone's perspective)? Sounds cool.
    • Any plans for guild-bound Legendaries?  Thus far, our view is that the cost outweighs the benefits.
    • We get the same number of loot 10 (2) vs. 25 (5), what about the "more lucrative" claim? You get more Justice points.
That last one raises a point of interest.  So, more lucrative means more justice points.  As a fan of rewarding 25s, I am a little disappointed.  Here's hoping that those extra Justice points are actually significant.


Watching this made me long for playing in the arena. /pine

It's not surprising, but it is still amusing to see every team's certainty that they will win.  I only watched the first match because it was already late (I was not able to watch everything live, so I was behind the curve).

The match up was MLS (they kept calling them "the Korean MLS" team, so I guess there is another one named that) vs. *aAa*.  MLS MLS team (Mage 'Lock Shaman).  *aAa* ("Against All Authority) was a Druid(Resto)/Shaman(Elem)/Warlock team.  Both Warlocks were Soul Link builds with Fel Domination (big surprise, huh?).  The Mage was Frost (another big surprise, huh?).

The lag out on the first match was...amusing, but I also felt bad for the players, as the match was well underway.  The first match (that counted) was exciting to watch.  It was in Dalaran sewers and both teams did a lot of good work, but *aAa* eventually pulled out the win.

By contrast, the second match was maddeningly long.  After a while, I just wanted someone to die so the game would end.  Very close to the time for a draw, *aAa* managed to get a kill.

So, the entire time, one of the commentators kept suggesting the best strategy for MLS over and over and over and over and...seriously man.  Well, in the third match, they pretty much seemed to do what he had said.  That said, their strategy may simply have been "wait until Barkskin is on cooldown and push the Druid really hard."

Then match 4 started...and lagged...and started again.   It was pretty long.  It was Nagrand, both teams played very defensively, and were very good at it.  There was so much pillar humping that I think some sort of sexual crime was committed.  But eventually, *aAa* focused the Mage when he didn't have Ice Block available, taking the match and the overall win.

Of course, this all has me wondering if I will be happy PvPing in Cata.  It seems that Feral should be better at PvP now.  I hope that perception is correct.

Well, that's the last show I am watching tonight (early morning*, whatever), so...good night. :)

* - my business trip this week really hosed my sleep cycle.

Friday, October 22, 2010

[4.0.1] Addendum to "Clickable Items Causing Lock-ups & Disconnects?!"

Just a quick addendum/follow-up to [4.0.1] Clickable Items Causing Lock-ups & Disconnects?!  Thanks to helpful comments, we have a link that suggests it is a tooltip issue and offers some scripts and an add-on to solve it (well, it's more accurate to call it a workaround).  Check out the [Workaround] Cog of DOOM (HH Event, BGs) post in the WoW forums.

There you should fine two scripts, one to disable tooltips, one to enable them.  There are numerous claims in that thread of solving the problem this way.  Please post if this does not solve the problem, but take note that there are other things that can causes these issues.  I am mostly focused on being locked-up or disconnected due to mouseovers on clickable items.

Note: I tried cramming both into one macro and just using modifiers to determine which script was executed, but it did not work.   Bad news if you have zero extra macro slots like a certain someone (/whisper I am talking about me).

Of course, disabled tooltips means you won't see any tooltips, do here's hoping the problem gets completely resolved soon.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

[4.0.1] Not Your Dad's Soothe Animal...

So, there I was, running through Sethekk Halls for, oh I don't know, the 120th time?  I was hitting that first stair, where I usually pop out of Prowl (Cat version of Stealth) and look for that Cobalt Serpent that always wanders up there.  And, as usual, I cast Soothe Animal on him, and just like the last time I was here, he attacks me instead of ignoring me.

This gets me thinking, something along the lines of "WTF? Did I actually get close enough?  Did I accidentally Moonfire him?!"  Now, if you actually moused over the Soothe Animal link above, you probably have a hint.  It doesn't exist anymore.  In fact, it's now just Soothe.  You see, it's changed...

So, we have gone from a spell that reduces the aggro range on Beasts to a spell that removes Enrage effects.

The first important lesson here is don't be dumb like me and cast Soothe, and expect the Cobalt Serpent to ignore you. The second, and more important, lesson is that Druids can now help us deal with Enraged critters.  Good news for helping out with Shambling Horrors.  No, not the Level 8 ones in Tirisfal Glades, but the ones in the Lich King fight with their oh, so annoying Enrage.

Good news for the raid leader, bad news for Feral Druids (psst, that's me) since it's a Nature spell.   That means that unless you are a Moonkin (Balance spec Druid), you are going to be shifted back to your default humanoid form to cast it.

As a Tank, I will likely not be called upon to use it.  Cats, beware...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

[4.0.1] Clickable Items Causing Lock-ups & Disconnects?!

EDIT: We now have a tentative solution.  See the end of the post.

Unexpected lock-ups and disconnects make me a sad panda.  Myself and many others are experiencing it.  One of my fellow guildies suggested turning off sticky targeting, as that was perceived to be a solution in Beta.  however, I still had an issue with WoW locking up during the Headless Horseman event.

Yes, that's right, we have a bug that locks up your game or disconnects you when you click on something, and the current world event involves clicking on something to start an event at least daily.  While some might find it joyous to wipe because half the party is frantically trying to shut down WoW and log back in...most people don't.

If that's not fun enough, this also includes Soul Wells, Summoning Stones, Fish Feasts, etc.  It makes for a very frustrating raid start. :(

NOTE: this can happen solely from mouseovers on clickable objects.

In the meantime, caution your party and perhaps mouseover the clickable item first to see if you can safely click it.  When you identify who can click it safely, and that everyone else is still there, fire away!

As if I was not sad enough, when I submitted a ticket to Blizzard, I got the infamous panacea response:
"...please try moving or deleting your WTF, CACHE, and INTERFACE folders"

I guess I'll give that a try when I have more time...

Do you know how to fix it?  If so, please share!

EDIT: Thanks to helpful comments, we have a link that suggests it is a tooltip issue and offers some scripts and an add-on to solve it.  Check out the [Workaround] Cog of DOOM (HH Event, BGs) post in the WoW forums.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

[4.0.1] Feral Druid - Gems

Re-gemming edition!

Disclaimer: I composed this on the weekend.  If the mechanics change significantly between now and when this posts on Tuesday, my apologies.

For Bears, it's good news, in that you can pretty much keep on trucking with your gem choices.

For Cats, not so much.  If you were hitting the end content and gemmed properly, you likely had more than a few Armor Penetration gems.  Those all were converted to Critical Hit gems when 4.0.1 hit.  Blah.  So, what's a Cat to do?

First, you need to insure you are capped for Hit and Expertise.  Remember, we lost Primal Precision from our Talents, which raised our Expertise quite a lot.  What numbers do we need?  The same numbers we need every night, Pinky...
  • 8% melee Hit, which is now 246 Hit Rating
  • 6.5% Dodge reduction, which is now 200 Expertise Rating
You not only have gems to accomplish this, but also Reforging, and with the combination, you can achieve some unusual values that might allow you to very efficiently reach the above numbers almost exactly.  I was lucky enough to be able to hit Expertise 200 precisely.

After that, stack Agility until further notice.

Are slot bonuses worth not taking a Delicate cut?  Reply hazy, ask again later.

My biggest problem is my stupid yellow slots.  I am not sure I like any Yellow gem enough and there are a lot of yellow slots in my DPS gear.

Well, that's all I got.  If you know more, please share. :)

Monday, October 18, 2010

[4.0.1] Anzu Self-Service?

[Thank goodness for scheduled publishing.  As this post automagically goes live, I will be neck deep in a mountain of work.  Enjoy!]

Have you ever wished you were able to spend day after day farming for the Reins of the Raven Lord, but you are not a Druid?  Well, you are in luck!  Anzu is now a regular boss in Heroic Sethekk Halls.  You no longer need to summon him, which means you no longer need a Druid that has finished the Swift Flight Form quest line.

While some may complain, especially folks that want to have special access to stuff, I am happy to see the change.  If other people want to farm this bastard, more power to them.  For Druids, there is still good news.
  • No summon = no waiting for the absurdly long summon to finish
  • The trash from Anzu's room and between Anzu's and Ikiss's room are also gone, so once you get to Anzu, it's pretty quick and clean
The fight still seems the same and comments on WoW Head indicate that he is still dropping the reins in 4.0.1.

Good luck to all of you new "Raven mount" farmers!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

[4.0.1] Thrall's Speech to Garrosh, Eitrigg, and Vol'Jin (w/ Transcript)

With patch 4.0.1, we have a bit of an RP event in Thrall's Chamber now.  It appears to start fairly randomly.  This is in the current game content, but if you want to see it first yourself, don't continue reading and do not click on the link that follows.  After standing there for 20 minutes (I am the sexy Tauren in the picture), I broke down and found someone that had filmed the exchange and put it on YouTube


I was going to point you to a transcript, but I could not readily find one.  So, I'll make one for you.
Thrall: OK, let's do this.   So, um, Elementals are pissed and stuff, and I gotta go check it out; oh and there is other stuff to deal with.  Garrosh is in charge until I get back.
Garrosh: You can count on me, bro.
Thrall: Cool.
Vol'jin: Cool.
Eitrigg: Cool.
Garrosh: Cool.
 OK, maybe that's a paraphrase, here we go:
Thrall: Let us begin.
Garrosh: Are we not going to have more witnesses?
Thrall: I do not wish to make an event of this.  Such frivolities are expensive and merely serve our vanity.  But if you wish to have a celebration...
Garrosh: No Warchief, this is enough.
Thrall: You know that these are troubling times for the Horde.  Our supplies dwindle.  Our lands are barren.  These are tasks that must be addressed for the good of the Horde.
Vol'jjn: Da people be happy with our success in Northrend.
Garrosh: "Our" success?  Troll, you played no part in the Horde's victories in Northrend.  While I led our warriors against the Lich King, you merely took back a few scattered islands.
Vol'jjn: Watch yourself, young one. You don't-
Eitrigg: Garrosh!  Vol'Jin!  Hold your tongues.  There are larger issues at stake.
Vol'jin: Forgive my outburst, Warchief.  Please continue.
Thrall: Despite our success in Northrend, we face serious problems that cannot be solved simply by axe and sword.  Eathrquakes shake every region.  Elementals ravage the countryside.  I can hear our land Azeroth, cry out in pain.
Garrosh:  These are the reasons that you must leave.
Thrall: Yes, I leave for Nagrand to learn from the elements there.  They have suffered and seen many of these same symptoms.
Vol'jin: How long you gonna be gone?
Thrall: It may take time to learn what I must.  I trust I will not be gone too long, but it could be weeks - even months.
Thrall: In my absence, I am instructing you, Garrosh Hellscream, to lead the Horde.  You have the strength and courage that our people need to survive in these trying times.
Garrosh: I am honored, Warchief.  But I feel unprepared for the life of a ruler.
Thrall: You will not be alone.  You will have advisors: Cairne, Eitrigg, Vol'jin.  They will help guide you.
Thrall: And though I am leaving soon, I can also instruct you.
Vol'jin: A good first test may be dealin' with dese cultists.  Da people be scared.  Dey aren't sure what's goin' on.
Garrosh: But even we are not sure of all that is happening.  Should we capture these cultists and force their silence?  But that may anger the rest of the people...  Still, we cannot allow the cult to spread fear and lies...
Eitrigg: Now you are thinking like a ruler, Garrosh.  You must look at all sides of a problem.  Consult with your advisors and act with confidence.
Thrall: They will help you Garrosh.  And I will help you.  I will find the answers that we need to assuage the fears of the people and soothe the elements.
Garrosh:  I will not fail you, Warchief.  I will lead as well as I can, and I will consult with the advisors you suggest.  I know what a tremendous honor you do me, and I will strive to be worthy of it.
Thrall: Then it is done.
Thrall: Let everything you do be done for the Horde.
Vol'jin: For da Horde!
Eitrigg: For the Horde!
Garrosh: For the Horde!
And there ya go! Interestingly, he did not declare him Warchief directly.  Will Thrall still be Warchief?

And did Garrosh get a publicist and get off the juice?  When did he get polite, humble, and less roid-ragey?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

[4.0.1] Feral Druid - Glyphs for Bear Tanks and Cat Melee DPS

With the advent of 4.0.1, Feral Druids are back in the situation of having plenty of slots for the Glyphs they want.  Or, if you are a "half cup full" guy, we don't have enough awesome Glyphs to use up our slots, so we have to fill them out with some less useful ones.

Quick Overview of the New Glyph System

You probably already know this, but we now have 3 echelons of Glyph - Prime, Major, and Minor; and 3 Glyphs in each echelon, for a total of 9 Glyphs.  This is a good thing, as there were far too many times that I found myself thinking a given Glyph really did not seem important enough to take up one of my precious Major slots.

The other major thing is that you know learn a Glyph only once.  That puts the Glyph into a spell book of sorts that you can access forever.  When you want to swap a Glyph, you use a single dose of Vanishing Powder (1 per Glyph changed).

Finally, all Glyphs now require 3 ink, which is an increase, but hey, you only need to make it once now (for a given character).

Bear Glyphs

Here is what I am currently using..huh, it looks like the Armory is not properly showing the Glyphs...and it only shows 6 Glyphs slots still.
  • Prime
    • Glyph of Mangle
    • Glyph of Lacerate
    • Glyph of Berserk
  •  Major
    • Glyph of Faerie Fire
    • Glyph of Feral Charge*
    • Glyph of Frenzied Regeneration*
    • Glyph of Rebirth*
  • Minor
    • Glyph of Dash
    • Glyph of Aquatic Form
    • Glyph of Unburdened Rebirth
* - For Tanking, Glyph of Faerie Fire is very good.  The others are a matter of taste, IMO.  I have come to really like Glyph of Rebirth (yes, you can still get off some Rebirths even when you are an MT)

My minors have not changed since Glyphs were introduced, and they are not changing now.  I like them too much.

The Primes were easy, as there were only 3 that actually affected Bear abilities.

The Majors are not so easy.  Glyph of Faerie Fire is pretty safe and allows you pull farther targets; that is good.  Reducing your charge cooldown is cool, but the amount is so small that it's questionable; and yet, is there a better choice?

Glyph of Frenzied Regeneration sounds cool, but the cost of losing your self-heal is painful.  I have used that to stay alive many times.  Glyph of Maul is a favorite for some, but I like being able to surgically Tank exactly one mob and not accidentally tag others when I do not want that.  Glyph of Rebirth should be silly and pointless for a Tank, but it may be situationally useful and at least it does no harm, whereas Frenzied Regeneration and Maul both could cause problems.

So, for now I have slotted Glyph of Feral Charge and Glyph of Frenzied Regeneration.

Cat Glyphs

Here are my Cat Glyphs:
* - Most of the Major Glyphs are cute effects.  The utility of these Glyphs depends upon your role and usual raid mix.  You will likely have many opportunities to cast Rebirth, making this very valuable.  That said, some may prefer the FF Glyph for ease of getting it up earlier and/or tagging targets from farther away when questing, leveling, and in PvP.

** - If you never plan to PvP, this is probably a bad choice. If you plan to PvP, this is a great choice.

The Primes are the same main actors we have seen in the past.  For the Majors, nothing seems really essential.  Alaron, at the Fluid Druid blog feels that Glyph of Faerie Fire is an essential Major Glyph, but all of the Majors seem to be a matter of taste; he interestingly feels the Glyph of Ferocious Bite could actually be detrimental, depending upon your technique.

So, I went with Rake for questing and Barkskin for PvP.

Hope this helps!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

[4.0.1] Patch Day Impressions and Lessons

Well, patch day came and went, and things worked pretty well for me.  I hope you fared as well.  I have not been avidly following Beta discussions, so some of this may be old hat for you folks, but here are my impressions and lessons from Patch Day.

The New Guild Panel Rocks!

You simply need to play around with it to appreciate it, but if you do nothing else, then do this:
  1. Open up the guild panel (the little tabard icon or the "j" key)
  2. Look at "Views" and choose "Professions"
  3. You will see a listing of all guildies online with a given profession and everything they can make!
Sweet, huh?

Filling Out Your Glyphs

As you probably know, there will be no more repeat application of Glyphs.  Once you learn it, it's in your Glyph panel forever.  Those Glyphs are universal across talent guilds for a character, so you don't need twice as many if you have two specs.

I spent about an hour milling herbs and making Glyphs for just 5 characters last night.  If, like me, you are smashing up herbs, then I have some information for you.

Each Glyph now takes 3 ink.  For a full set of Glyphs, you will need around 100 ink (e.g., the full set of Priest Glyphs for my wife took 99 ink).  Most people will have some Glyphs already, so you should need around 80 ink to fill out their Glyphs.

You should be able to take care of one character's entire Glyph needs with about 10 stacks of herbs.

The new mechanic for changing Glyphs is that you change them one at a time, and each individual Glyph swap requires Vanishing Powder.  You can buy this at the Inscription Supplies merchant, but it only works on level 80 or below.  For those that try to profit from Inscription, I hope they make the higher level Vanishing Powder a crafted only item.

You Might Have a Glyph to Research...

My Inscriber is an alt, but long ago I maxed out the Glyphs he knew.  In spit of that, last night, when I pushed Northrend Inscription Research, something popped out, a Glyph of Living Bomb.  The cooldown has been shortened to ~3.5 hours, though, so later than night I logged back in and tried again to find that I had nothing else to research.  Strange...

Changing Out Gems

If you are like me, you probably have some gems to swap around and you did not get around to amassing a stockpile.  Well, no fear.  You don't have to let opportunistic twerps gouge you.  You can find affordable gems at the PvP vendor, where you can buy them for very reasonable amounts of honor.  The highlights of the gem changes are:

  • Hit is now blue.
  • Mastery and Dodge are now yellow.
  • Intellect is now red.
  • MP5 (blue) became Spirit (blue)
  • Attack Power (red) became Agility (red)
  • Spell Power (red) is converted to Intellect (now red)
  • Defense (yellow) became Dodge (yellow) or Parry (red)
  • Armor Penetration (red) became Critical Hit (yellow)
That last one is pretty annoying, especially for Cats.  Not only did you lose Armor Penetration and are probably reeling from the DPS loss, you were given a so-so replacement with a different color that probably broke many, if not most, of your bonuses from red gem placement.

The New Raid Panel and Marking Tools Are Cool

You just have to check them out.  Features added:
  • New raid panel like grid, but better in many ways - I wonder if we will see development of the grid helper addons for this raid panel; WTB incoming heal warnings for Blizzard Raid Panel
  • New role check - a great tool for PUGs, instead of, "If you are a Healer, please type out 1"
  • Free smoke flares - this is sweet, you can put down flares of all 5 colors, as many as you like and only your raid can see them, so annoying twits can't fill Dalaran with smoke flares (well, not cheaply nor easily)
No More Taunt-Related Glyphs

I was worried initially about losing this, as it was crucial for Tanking some fights well.  I dug around a bit and I found random comments here and there that suggest that Taunt is either unable to miss or moving to melee Hit chances.  I am hoping for the former.

Here's hoping I see more cool new stuff...time to download more addon updates...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

[4.0.1] Feral Druid - Tank Talent Build/Spec Mk.1

OK, you probably just want a good build, so here is a link to the build pictured above (you can click the picture instead if you like).  My chain of thought:

Tier 1: Feral Swiftness 2/2 and Furor 3/3 are the only Tank-specific Talents in Tier 1, easy choice.

Tier 2: Pick up Infected Wounds 2/2 for survival and Primal Fury 2/2 for more Rage generation.  Now you have to make a choice for a filler point - Fury Swipes for more Threat/damage or Feral Aggression for more rapid stacking of Feral Faerie Fire*; choose what you like.  Ultimately, I ended up buying everything here for fillers or leftover points; once I hit 85, I might try to push farther into Restoration for Perseverance.

* - Feral Faerie Fire now stacks up to 3, but we still have a 6-second cooldown.  This means that it will take at least 12 seconds to get up to the maximum armor debuff.  FFF and Sunders will be not stack with each other though, so if you have a reliable source of Sunders, this may be a waste.

Tier 3: Pick up Feral Charge 1/1 and Thick Hide 3/3.  I can't imagine giving up my charge and Thick Hide give you your crit immunity.  You will need one filler point to get to Tier 4; you can either put some more into Fury Swipes or Feral Aggression in Tier 2 (recommended) or put points into Stampede, but the value of Stampede ability is uncertain right now.  Enrage has become a suicidal ability (take +10% from ALL damage), best saved for pulls, when you can let the debuff go away, so King of the Jungle is going to be a real waste of points the vast majority of the time.

Tier 4: Pick up Leader of the Pack 1/1 and Brutal Impact 2/2.  Leader of the Pack is a no-brainer and in Cataclysm, it gives you the old Improved benefits too, although it appears that only you get healed now.  Brutal Impact is what gives you a practical interrupt in the form of Skullbash with a 10-second cooldown.  Pretty hard to argue with either of those choices, IMO, but I have yearned for a practical spell interrupt since I started playing a Druid.

Tier 5: Pick up Survival Instincts 1/1 for another "oh crap!" button, Endless Carnage 2/2 for more Threat, and Natural Reactions 2/2 for more avoidance and more Rage.

Tier 6: You need Pulverize, so you have to pick up Rend & Tear and Pulverize, which both pump up your Threat generation.

Tier 7: Pick up Berserk.  Not only does it have the old stuff, it also gives a passive benefit of possibly refreshing Mangle!

Head over to Restoration and pick up Heart of the Wild 3/3.  Ten percent more Stamina?  Yes, please!

By now, you should have 2 points left, and you ended up getting everything in Tier 2 with filler points.  In my opinion, the best place for those last two points is Stampede.  At least it will help give you a Threat pulse at the start to reduce the likelihood of aggro pulls by DPS at the start of a fight.

Voila!  Go forth and conquer, or tankquer, or whatever.

Some resources to help you form your opinion:

[4.0.1] Patch Incoming! Ahhh! - Patch 4.0.1 Resources

As you probably already know:
Extended maintenance will begin tonight at midnight, Tuesday, October 12 for the release of patch 4.0.1. Maintenance will begin at 12:01 AM PDT and conclude at approximately 12:01 PM PDT. During this time all realms and many web services will be unavailable.
Due to the size of the patch we highly recommend you enable your background downloader. If you need assistance doing so please visit

Don't panic, the interwebs have you covered.  Lissanna did a wonderful job of collating some resources in her post titled, Druid Resource List for 4.0.1.

Graylo, of course, continues to hit it out of the park with his Moonkin Guide to Patch 4.0.1.

WoW Insider is also helpful in providing us with the following:

And yes, those things are all going into effect today, so be ready!   Read up while you wait.  And why not fire up a talent calculator too?

And just because I like her work, my Paladin friends should check out Blessing of Kings and her Holy Paladin Spec and Glyphs in 4.0.1 post.

I don't know about you, but I am psyched about the new content.  Here's hoping we get online fast!

Am I going to give you sage advice on 4.0.1?  Sure, here it is:
  • Pay attention to the fact that the raid-wide Hit buffs are going away
  • Have your Talent spec ready to go before you sign back on
  • Don't panic!
I have not been blessed by the Blizzard gods with a Beta key, so I'll be learning on the job, like most of you.  If I learn anything useful, you know where I'll post it. :)

Monday, October 11, 2010

[3.3.5] /cast Revive

My wife and I finally started down the path to becoming regular guild members last week. We have been planning for months, lamenting over how many officers to recruit, who to recruit, how to maintain our culture through a major leadership change, etc

Last week, we finally made it official and stepped down from being the guild leaders to officers. Around the time of the Cataclysm release, we will step down to regular member status, thus ending over four years of being part of the guild leadership.

To provide adequate transition, we recruited a full officer corps (not including ourselves). As they assume responsibilities, which they are going wonderfully, we are finding our responsibilities waning and the flexibility of our schedule increasing.

Among many changes, this means I will be firing up the blog once more.

Lessons Learned

Although I will now have more time to write, I have not forgotten how time-consuming this blog can be, especially if I get carried away writing a thesis. And so I will make this painfully punful commitment - I am going to do my best to take smaller bites, which is hard to do for a Feral Druid, so bear with me.

My blog directly aids my gaming in a few primary ways:

  • Saves me time when I focus it on topics that I would end up having to research repeatedly.
  • Improves my quality of life by helping me work out thoughts to make them more coherent.
  • I am happy when others benefit from those same posts.
I will try to avoid my primary mistake of the past - letting a post get out of control and consume too much time. I will also try to make the content a little more relevant to my gaming experience and what I am doing, which may mean an even greater focus on Druids and Tanks when I get into the nitty gritty of game mechanics.

Let's see what happens...let the experiment commence.

(See? That was pretty quick. I'm already doing better.)