Friday, January 9, 2009

IIIII'm Fifty!

Molly Shannon used to do this skit on SNL where she played a middle aged woman who would proclaim at various intervals "IIIII'm fifty!" while jumping around, doing splits, lunges and showing a lot of moose knuckle. Yeah, you probably tuned out that crazy amount of knuckle-age as did I, but a recent viewing of a Youtube clip made me do a deja vu shudder.


Anyways, this is post number fifty since I started the blog, and while fifty posts may not be anything phenomenal, seeing as though we have some hyper prolific writers out there with more posts in a single day than I'll generate in a week, to me, it seems like somewhat of a milestone. If only Blizzard gave out Proto Drakes for this literary Achievement...

I'd like to thank our readers for commenting on our posts, as they often give us more inspiration and insight to the various topics I post about. I've tried to keep the quality of writing up, and at the same time, tried to add a little bit of humor here and there. Hopefully, it's working, because I've enjoyed the challenge.

There have been some thoughts about trying harder to become a WoW blog for the masses, a la BRK or World of Matticus, and for a while I did try to get on people's blogrolls via commenting and such. At the same time there were also some thoughts about getting a co/guest writer to help broaden the scope of what I like to post about. However, I truly think that our style of writing is a bit different from the other mainstream WoW blogs out and that many of the people reading and posting commentary on those blogs wouldn't enjoy our content. I also like being in control of what's posted under our header, so for the forseeable future, its just you, me and my sultry words of bromance.

All that being said, thanks, again, for swinging by!

Chu has earned the Achievement [50 Posts]!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Fun PvP moment in AV

Everyone has those days in a BG or a raid/heroic where someone does something amazingly smart, silly, stupid or just plain awesome and that action evokes a response; a laugh, a chuckle, or tirades over vent about why only bad players run to the wrong polarity on Thaddius. Every now and then, there's a scene that combines all four that just makes you stop and reflect on what just happened. This is one such event, and while I can't do it justice with my storytelling, I'll certainly try my best.

Location: Alterac Valley
Alterac Valley (AV) for Horde is often a fruitless endeavor that rarely ever succeeds without some strong defense at Frostwolf Relief Hut due to the layout of the stronghold and the lack of a Bridge of Death or other similar defensible passages. One such passage where the Alliance often has their last stand, is the deep channel pathway right before Stormpike Graveyard that the Horde, in their collective mental retardation, love to pile into, only to get stymied long enough for the Alliance Offense to casually take all 4 Horde towers and kill Drek'thar.

One of the more interesting terrain points is found while running up the slope to Stormpike. One can veer left and find themselves standing on a cliff overlooking Stormpike Graveyard (SP GY). The cool thing about this place is that there's no easy way for the Alliance to get into melee range, if you are standing up there and they're standing by the GY flag. If you're a ranged dps class or healer, you can essentially free cast, drink, and free cast again. ad infinitum.

At least until someone figures out what you're up to and decides to try to stop you.

In this particular AV, the Horde were, once again, completely jock-blocked at SP. I was up on the cliff overlooking SP, working my way towards 1 million healing done in a BG when I spot a Warlock also on the cliff stacking dots on anything that got into range. The thing about where he was positioning himself was that he wasn't standing far back and hiding behind the terrain, but he was right up against the edge of the cliff aggressively dotting. This was helpful against Warriors as they would Charge/Intercept him and then fall off the cliff since he was right up to the edge. I think he was Haunt specced and he managed to keep himself alive pretty well, primarily though the various HP restoring spells and his use of Demonic Circle, which was placed away from the action. Several times, he would jump down, pop an instant Howl and then 'port back up.


I like playing with someone who understands using the terrain to their advantage.

I started focusing heals into this Lock and the Alliance began to notice that this particular agent of slow nasty death was burning through their defenses and not dying. Several Warriors and Rogues managed to get up to the cliff, where they were subsequently and unceremoniously Mind Controlled back down to ground level.

Then it happened. A little Gnome Frost Mage managed to get up on to the cliff and started working us over with snares and Shatters while an Arcane Mage pelted us with Barrages at the bottom of the cliff. After barely surviving back to back Improved Counterspells, I resolved to throw the offending midget off the cliff and into the ravenous masses of Horde. The moment my Mind Control hit, the Mind Controlled Gnome got Death Gripped by an Alliance Death Knight from max distance, creating this nice pretty flying Gnome effect. At the apex of his flight, fireworks appeared from the base of the cliff... in the form of Barrage + PoM Pyro, slamming into the flying Mage. Yep. The Alliance Arcane Mage that was working us over with mindless Barrage Spam, 2 shotted our little Frost assailant.

We /cheer'd him and he /cheer'd us, and naturally, as it usually goes with Horde, we went on to lose AV.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Gearing Up - a Pseudo Guide for new PvP Priests

For the release of LK, the only real sources for post leveling PvE gear were Heroics and Raids. For raiders and non PvPers, this was an ideal situation, as badge gear was readily attainable and the gear requirements for the entry raids were not prohibitive. As mentioned in a prior post, if you make it easy enough, people will consume the content, en masse.

Unfortunately, for PvPers, the PvE-speed-badge/easy-raid-grind PvP equivalent, aka “Welfare (PvP) Epic Honor Grind” didn’t happen. What was the Welfare Epic grind that was so prevalent in Season 3 and 4 of Burning Crusade? That grind was when new 70’s would dive into a weekly Kara for badges for their cloak and trinket and PvP like mad for S2 gear and still be fairly well off in terms of PvP viability.

So why didn’t it happen? Well, due to various factors, it wasn’t quite repeatable here at the start of LK. Sure, one could sit in BG’s for days grinding honor for the buyable honor gear set (Savage Gladiator), but people for the most part didn’t. Why? It sucks. Which part? All of it. Becaaaauuusseee:

1) The honor based PvP gear is both exceedingly expensive as an honor purchase and still semi equivalent to the (cheap) crafted PvP set.
2) The honor gear, for some classes, is terrible for starter PvP. Equivalent Heroic instance and raid drops are often better until acquisition of top end PvP gear is possible. Sometimes even Deadly gear is eschewed for high end raid gear.
3) The current honor cap is 75k. This means you can usually only buy 1 piece of gear at a time, because each piece now costs over 35k honor/piece.
3a) The off set pieces (neck, back, bracer, belt, boot, ring) for both the Hateful and Deadly PvP sets all require a great deal of Honor, and one doesn’t want to be caught in the situation where they have just purchased a piece of Savage gear only to be forced to grind honor for a few days when the reach a milestone rating and get the privilege to buy a piece of Deadly gear.

Those reasons were enough for many people to not grind for PvP gear. To reiterate point 2, for some of the classes out there, the attainable PvP gear out there is a strict downgrade as their survivability and arena function doesn’t change whether or not they have 200 or 400 resilience, due to the resilience cap being upwards of 1200.

However, the flip side of this is that for other classes, Resilience and Stamina is everything to their survival and function in the arena. Sadly, the Priest is one of those classes and just looking at the possible avenues to getting gearing up for PvP, one can definitely start feeling overwhelmed very quickly.

To that end, this is somewhat of a guide for those who want to gear up quickly for PvP and are playing a class that has limited survivability such as a Priest. Each point, while listed by number is equally important. Just following a couple points of the list, while ignoring other points will not get you very far. Let’s reiterate the key point: This is for classes that have limited survivability. Classes with outs such as Iceblock, Vanish, Divine Shield, should move along.

1. Honor grind. Recognize that some pieces of PvP gear will require you to spend massive amounts of honor to obtain them. These are the Hateful and Deadly offset pieces (neck, back, bracer, belt, boot, ring). If you know you can hit the rating requirements for Deadly, don’t buy the Hateful gear. Hateful would only be a waste of your time. The only caveat is the scenario where you need some Hateful gear to be able to reach the Deadly ratings. This is more likely to occur towards the end of the season. If you plan on wearing 2 resilience rings, grab the Hateful ring first.

2. Craft. Craft as much PvP gear as possible. While Brutal Gladiator gear is reasonable for pieces that aren’t craftable, it will often have less Stamina and less Resilience than the new craftables, not to mention the new stuff will likely have more spellpower/strength/agility, etc. More resilience will allow you to use a playstyle more coherent with your final gear later down the road.

3. Wintergrasp. Wintergrasp is not only a huge source of easy honor, (I think I’ve only ever seen 1 successful defense, so it’s guaranteed honor if you’re on Offense) but it’s also a good source of PvP gear. Besides the fact that Wintergrasp Marks will soon be able to be used for some reasonable helms and boots, control of the zone allows you access to another raid instance: the Vault of Archavon. Vault (as it’s known) is basically 4 trash pulls and then an absurdly easy boss. The boss has a chance to drop both PvE and PvP gear, of Glove, Leg and Chest variety; Vault 10 drops Hateful/Heroic gear, Vault 25 drops Deadly/Valorous gear. You definitely want to run both every week. No question about it. However, many people run it incorrectly and in turn, screw themselves out of gear.

To run it optimally, make a 10 man raid (grab friends if you can) that contain 1 of each class, regardless of spec. To fill the spots, just spam /2 chat in a major city with something that reads like this “LFM 10 man Vault 1 of each class” and I guarantee that you will have people whispering you for spots. Why? Because people are greedy… And because the boss doesn’t drop tokens for gear like every other raid. It drops the actual piece of gear that’s restricted to a specific class. For example, on one raid, the Heroic Mooncloth Gloves of Faith (Priest T7.10) may drop and if you don’t have a Priest on hand, you’ve just wasted a piece of gear. Conversely, since you’re also as greedy as the next guy and you’ve constructed the raid with just one of each class, if any of your class’ gear drops, its all you, baybee. Just remember: 1 MT, 1 OT (often a melee plate DPS, not necessarily tank specced), 2 healers and 6 DPS.

This raid composition strategy is possible for 25 mans, but a little less so due to the number of available people at any given point.

4. PvE. Bwuh? Yep. To PvP, you’ve GOT to PvE. This is probably one of the biggest gripes I have with the current environment, but easily accessible raid instances have some of the best weapons out there. Titansteel Guardian/Prison Manifest have nothing on the Staff of Restraint from OS 25. Yet, many of these raids take minutes to run. Minutes. Not hours. In addition, just by PvEing, you can load up on badges, Badges of Heroism (Heroic/10 man badges) and Badges of Valor (25 man). For the Beginner, Naxx 10 gives 6 badges for the two easy wings, OS 10 gives 4 badges per clear, Vault 10 gives 1 and the daily Heroic dungeon is at minimum 5 badges. The same is true for the 25 man badges, sans the daily Heroic dungeon. At the least you should be getting 11 badges a week of both types. The kicker is that these badges aren’t just to buy PvE gear. For 30 Badges of Heroism you can buy the Savage Gladiator shoulders or gloves. For 45 badges, you’re looking at the Helm, Chest or Legs. The same applies to Badges of Valor and Hateful Gladiator gear. However, consider weekly Vault drops prior to gear purchases.

There you go, that's how I've gotten to around 800 Resilience in a few weeks. It could have been faster, but, I imagine S5 will be long enough, so it shouldn't matter at all... Unless, of course, you're damn impatient, like me.