Last night saw we went head to head with General Vezax for
the third time. The first night we had some time on him we
had just killed Freya and Hodir so concentration was low,
but we got to see some of the things he does.

Then last sunday we were ready for some serious attempts.
Our raid was a bit unbalanced, we had three mages, a
warlock, two druids. It left us with many people at range
and it was hard to get it down pat. Our best attempt then
was 28%. Not bad, but not a kill.

Last night we went at it again. We built the raid: I was
tanking (Pally Power!) We had a druid, discipline priest
and a shaman healing. Two mages, a warlock, hunter and a
druid at range and a death knight interrupting. Our first
attempt failed at 70% but it all looked so much smoother,
second attempt was a lolwipe at 90%, people standing in
bad places as ranged tried out its (eventually) succesful

We felt it was going to happen. Another attempt saw us hit
the enrage timer as a few times Vezax was healed up (he
was at 15% or so). Now we knew we could do it. Our final
attempt went off excellently, vapors were conveniently
placed, cooldowns for surges went off very well and dps
got their strategy in the sweetspot. Another guild first
kill! 12/14 now in Ulduar 10.

We got a look at yogg-saron but struggled on the first
phase already, so decided to attempt medium-mode Assembly,
but had to settle for a normal kill. We might try for some
more time on yogg-Saron tonight, but we may also leave it
for the next reset.


Zen and teh phat lewt.

In order to achieve enlightenment we must free ourselves of all desire. Sounds a bit buddhism, applies to Warcraft. I got into a conversation with a few people about some of the changes coming up in the 3.2 content patch, the mount changes and the emblem changes especially.

People get really upset about them! I sort of understand when you've gone through a lot of trouble for something (like walking all the way to level 40 back in old Warcraft) and now people get their mount for a fraction of the price at level 20. In the end though... what does it matter? Same with the emblem changes, yeah some people are going to get their hands on gear they would normally not be able to get near. But I don't begrudge them this opportunity. I was there for the longest time, struggling away in non-raiding guilds, /inspecting people and wondering what it must be like to have really end-game gear when it was just new.

So I was wasting some time on my rogue this weekend when I noticed a group for Naxx 25 forming in the LFG channel, Thaddius, Sapphiron and KT left to do. Sounds like fun, I've not done these fights before on my rogue. I hook up, we kill Thaddius with some trouble (I didn't do well, got killed in the +/- phase) and move onto Sapphiron (I don't do well and die to a blizzard I think) and lastly KT. I know I'm going to have to interrupt here and still want to make sure I'm not killing the tank by being in range and still do max damage (GRRRR I don't do well and die to a void zone ... the shame). KT drops Calamity's Grasp... and I'm the only rogue. Nice.

We also had a night of throwing ourselves at General Vezax in Ulduar 10 now that we can get to him but were unable to kill him, more tonight.


Mimiron down!

A short one today. Just wanted to tell the world (the two friends of mine who are reading this) that we managed to finally kill Mimiron on the 10-man version of Ulduar last night. Tonight we carry on this raid, so we should kill Hodir and Freya without too much trouble and move on to General Vezax, the first new boss we've seen in a while.

Keepers of Ulduar down, we begin the Descent of Madness.


3.2 Emblem changes.

A few days ago the (test-realm) patch notes for 3.2 became available. One of the major things that are going to change is the emblem system. At the moment Emblems of Heroism can be obtained by doing 5-man Heroics, and 10-man raids. Emblems of valor from 25-man raids. There are also conquest badges which drop from 25-man Emalon (in VoA) and 25-man Ulduar.
In the next patch Heroism and Valor emblems will disappear and where they dropped there will now be Conquest emblems. A new type of emblem will be introduced called Triumph that will drop in the heroic version of the new dungeon (and, I'm assuming here, the 25-man version of the new boss that will be added to VoA.) In addition the Daily-normal and Daily heroic dungeon quests will be changed to drop 1 and 2 Triumph badges respectively.

Effectively you'll be able to get the badge gear from heroics that was only available to 25-man Ulduar raiders. A lot of people don't like this change. It sort of devalues the efforts made by 25 man groups, because at least a part of the rewards that were theirs exclusively get will now be available to everyone, and by doing easier dungeons than they had to do.

Personally I like it. It'll make it easier to obtain nicer loot, which will enable me to do my job as tank better. (or at least give me a bit more choice in which items to wear).

On the whole, what's available for badges is limited, the majority of the top-end items are only available from doing the raids. This is true for such vital item slots as weapons and trinkets. On top of that raiders will get more of the new Triumph badges (anyone who really wants this new emblem-loot will be doing the dungeon -and- the daily quests for them) and the loot from the new dungeon itself will still only be available to the people running it.



Last thursday I participated in an event that gave me some food for thought. A friend whispered me and asked if I had already done the Vault of Archavon 25 for that week. I hadn't and they were looking for a tank so I got an invite. The organiser and leader of this run was a paladin from a notorious guild on my server. I'll spare you the details on how they became notorious but their name is usualy spat instead of spoken. They are also one of the top guilds, always amongst the first to clear new dungeons.

It was made clear from the start that 'anyone who does less damage than the tank won't get to roll on loot.' - Now that is elitism. It's saying: 'if you're not as good as I expect I get to decide over you'. This does not sit well with people, generally. Some left, but most stayed. We killed the boss no problem.

I find it a bit hard to feel one way or another about this. On one hand, we're all paying, we're all playing, who is anyone to tell anyone else what they should be doing. On the other hand, in a dungeon like the Vault you need to be able to rely on the capability of others to complete the task at hand. Though the ability to do a certain amount of damage is not a great measure, it is -a- measure of someones capability.

It's down to expectation that is only measured compared to what you yourself are doing. I play many hours per week, I research gear, talents, abilties and strategy. When another player is benefitting from that, shouldn't they at least be doing the same?

Well, that leads me to saturday evening. A cobbled together group running Naxx 25. One person is clearly underperforming. Yet, because of the collective effort involved no-one seems to mind. Sure he could do more damage, but a few people at the top end are effectively carrying him. Somehow this seems a lot nicer. It wasn't entirely smooth but we did clear the dungeon in the end. then, last night, he was asking for advice on how to improve his DPS, trying to find better talents.

If results are all you're after, being elitist works. If you want to have more fun and encourage people, you can't afford to. In a guild, you strike a balance.


[For Ard.] Farewell Paladins

Look at this, This can't be right. First they nerf the poor paladins already, then they nerf the instant heals, now they nerf their intellect and they their regen!

I wish you all the best Paladins. I'm sort of happy I dont have to witness this. Good luck guys!

PaladinBlessing of Sanctuary: This blessing now also increases stamina by 10%. This effect is not cumulative with Blessing of Kings.
Charger: Can now be learned at level 40.
Exorcism: Now has a 1.5 second cast time, but can once again be used on players.
Hand of Reckoning: Redesigned. Now does damage only when target does not currently have the caster targeted, but damage done increased to 50% of attack power, occurring after the taunt effect is applied.
Judgement of Light: Now heals for 2% of the attacker's maximum health instead of a variable amount based on the spell power and attack power of the judging paladin.
Lay on Hands: The buff from this ability now reduces the physical damage taken by the target by 10/20% instead of increasing the target's armor.
Righteous Fury: No longer has a duration or mana cost, remaining until cancelled or death. Also cancelled when a Paladin activates a different talent specialization.
Sacred Shield: When a paladin casts Flash of Light on a target with this buff, they also now place a heal over time effect on the target, healing that target for 100% of the Flash of Light amount over 12 seconds.
Seal of Blood: This ability has been removed.
Seal of the Martyr: This ability has been removed.
Seal of Vengeance and Seal of Corruption: These seals have been redesigned to deal substantially more damage. Now, once a paladin has 5 copies of the debuff from these seals on his or her target, on each swing the paladin will deal 33% weapon damage as Holy, with critical strikes dealing double damage.
Shield of Righteousness: Now deals 100% of shield block value as damage instead of 130%.
Warhorse: Can now be learned at level 20.

Talents Holy
Beacon of Light: The healing amount on the Beacon of Light target is now based on the total healing done (including over-healing) instead of the effective healing done. Radius increased to 60 yards. Multiple Paladins can now have this active on the same target. Buff indicating a player is within range of the Beacon target is no longer displayed.
Divine Intellect: This talent now gives 2/4/6/8/10% increased intellect instead of 3/6/9/12/15%.
Illumination: This talent now returns 30% of the mana cost of the spell instead of 60%.
Ardent Defender: Redesigned. Currently, any damage taken by the paladin while at 35% health or below is reduced. Instead, any attack that would reduce the paladin to 35% health or below has its damage reduced. In addition, once every 2 minutes an attack that would have killed the paladin will fail to kill, and instead set the paladin's health to 10/20/30% of maximum.
Art of War: Now only applies to melee critical hits, but will make your next Flash of Light or Exorcism instant.
Crusader Strike: Damage reduced to 75% weapon damage to match the new 4 second cooldown.
Seal of Command: Redesigned. This seal now deals 36% weapon damage on every swing, and deals substantially less judgement damage.
Vindication: Redesigned. Now lowers target attack power, is consistent and does not stack with Demoralizing Shout.


Got some gold for a 'niner?

the 49ers were people left without any means after the goldrush hit America in the century before last. They failed to find gold and were left in the west with nothing.

Here's an interesting bit of info from Blizzard about the next patch. In patch 3.2 epic gems will be introduced. these can be bought with emblems (just like the current 'blue' gems) and they can be prospected from titanium ore by jewelcrafters. Titanium nodes are extremely rare. It's not uncommon on a mining run to come back with 3-4 stacks of saronite ore, a handful of different eternals and only 3-6 titanium ore.

Furthermore, titanium is already in high demand. it's used to make titansteel, a key ingredient to almost all high-end craftable items. Titansteel rings, various items of plate armor and highly desirable titansteel starter weapons for many different classes (most notably the titansteel destroyer which is probably the most respectable entry-level twohanded weapon ever.

Result: on tuesday titanium ore cost maybe 5 gold. Now its more like 25 gold. People will be hogging titanium and selling it off slowly to keep the price high. Time to join the goldrush! there's titanium in them there mountains! I have tomorrow'off and I know that i'll be spending a serious amount of time mining. Also, if you have blue gems stacked up, now is the time to sell them off as the price will drop dramatically when the next patch hits.

Final thought. 3.2 won't actually be released until the end of the current Arena season. I'm guessing 2 months at least. Either way, there's gold to be made, let's get to it.


Real life Vs. WoW

I joined a (casual) raiding guild recently. Now the word
casual, in this context, implies we sorta raid when we've
got some people on and if we're up for it. Actually, if
you were to ask someone who doesn't play wow what they
think casual means they might say 'a few hours per week?'

Reality is we have 4 raidnights per week (wednesday,
thursday, sunday and monday) where we aim to start at
20.00 and play till 23.30. Though our progress has been
good, we've not completed any hard mode fights in Ulduar
yet. In the 10-man version we've still not bested Mimiron
(we got very close last night), and thus also not General
Vazex or Yogg-saron. I'm not going to talk about Algalon
;) On the 25 man version we've cleared Kologarn and
Auriaya and so can (and will this wek) start on the guardians.

Call it what you want, that's a heavy dedication of time
and it's taking it's toll. because I have to get up for
work quite early (half past six-ish) I'm pretty sleepy on
monday, tuesday, thursday and friday. So after next reset
I'm going to take a weeks break from raiding to at least a
week of normal amounts of sleep.

I'll still be playing WoW, of course. Making some extra
gold (really trying to build up a big reserve) on my main
character, crafting stuff and selling it on the AH. I'll
do some pick-up stuff with my rogue. I'll also carry on
levelling my shaman and continue to increase her Herbalism
and Alchemy skills.

In case you're curious, the rogue I started for a few
reasons, at the time I was playing a my paladin as a holy/prot
healer, mostly arena. In PvE however damage dealing is a
lot of fun and, in my opinion a rogue is one of the best
ways to deliver damage. The shaman I started for two
reasons. I've wanted to have a herbalism/alchemy alt for a
long time, provide my own potions. Also I've wanted to
play with a caster-character for a while, however mage or
warlock don't really appeal to me. So I'm playing the only
caster who doesn't wear cloth.


Ard's guide to being better!

Tank Harder, Heal Better, DPS More.

This is a little guide I put together and posted on a forum somewhere. It's a little summary of things I think everyone should do. If you've done everything on this list, you're likely in the top half/top quarter of your guild. It surprises me how little effort it is and how few people make that effort.

First of all. If you haven't already while you were levelling your character, level Cooking and Fishing. Also level First Aid if you have no healing abilities. Food gives great buffs at maximum level (40 stamina + a stat you want). It's essentially free. Fishing makes it easier to level Cooking as most fish you catch can be cooked, whereas meat has to be farmed with (some) risk to yourself.

Look up stuff about your class. Look up stuff about your spec. For every possible spec there are guides out there that tend to cover Talents, Glyphs, abilities (and their use), stat priority, enchants and gems to choose etc. You may learn something, it may tell you to try something you never even thought of. It may just show what that ability is for you thought was useless. Even if you learn nothing, it's a good thing to hear someone elses view on what you want to be doing. Guides also tend to suggest what Professions might be useful to you.

Get some professions. Most professions nowadays have exclusive buffs. Leatherworkers get wrist enchants that are much better than what's normally available. Enchanters get ring enchants. You may even be able to make yourself some starter-epics, that will help get you raid ready.

Gear up. A guide usually tells you what the desirable pieces are and where to get them. If in doubt, look at www.wow-loot.com, it has very comprehensive lists of what equipment drops where and who it's useful for. Each class/spec (far as I've seen) has 4-5 epics to get from Northrend Heroics, some pieces from a profession, the rest of the epics come from raiding. It might be different on your server, but on mine, LFG works. Use it.

Read up on tactics. theres are some excellent sites out there with info on how to tackle most fights. www.wowhead.com, www.wowwiki.com and many more. Knowledge = Power.

Lastly, be prepared. Carry food/drinks, ammo, bandages, potions, elixirs, switch-out gear and reagents if any of your spells need any. Repair your gear before you go anywhere.

I feel a little better already! Have fun.


There was a plan to continue our 25-man run last night but we just didn't have the numbers, so we decided to split the raid into two 10-man groups.

I was in the saved group that had already killed Leviathan, Razorscale, Ignis, XT-002, Kologarn, Auriaya and Thorim. We decided to go for the Assembly of Iron first. Assembly consists of three bosses. Steelbreaker, steel giant, does an attack called Fusion Punch, hits for a lot and leaves a nasty debuff that must be dispelled. Molgeim, leaves runes of power that buff the other bosses or the raids damage output (you really don't want Steelbreaker to be standing in one when he does fusion punch as it one-shots a tank). Lastly, Brundir, casts chain lightning on random raid member and does a Nova (you don't want him standing in runes either, but he's a caster so sometimes tricky to move.)

I was the tank with more health so I was assigned to tank Steelbreaker, with another paladin picking up the other two. This did not go well, I wasn't able to generate a lot of threat (breaking rotation to dispell the debuff myself) and the attacks from the other two kept killing off one-two raidmembers, inlcuding healers. After a handful of wipes we decided it was best to move on to Hodir.

Hodir started off badly but we downed him in the end. It's a question of dispelling, standing in the right place and making as little mistakes as possible.

We decided to have another go at Assembly, this time switching the tanks, I was taking Molgeim and Brundir. On the first attempt we downed Steelbreaker pretty painlessly so it waslooking good, an unfortunate rune managed to still kill us. I think the key here was using an interrupt on Brundir as a rune of power was cast on him (seeing as I can only do that with Avenger's Shield a Warrior would be better suited). We downed them in the end.

I also won my first piece of tier 8 (10 man legs). all in all we wiped a lot (100+ gold repair costs total for me) but we kept going, kept spirits up and downed them.


The Weekend

Typical monday-morning recap. Levelled my Shaman to 27, so far completed the Draenei starting islands and Darkshore. I had planned to go to Ashenvale but a quest led me to Wetlands where I decided to carry on.

I gained champion status with the Night-elf faction of the Argent Tournament which completed the 5 and now I'm Crusader Ard! I bought myself the Turbostrider for 5 Champions's Seals and some gold to celebrate.

Lastly we ran a 25-man Ulduar last night that went exceedingly well. We killed Ignis on the first try (I was main tanking). Then proceeded to Kologarn, which took us a couple of tries (including where 2 of our 3 kologarn switch tanks got grabbed by the hand, leaving me tanking him alone, got two debuffs and got smashed). We downed the Assembly of Iron in a few attempts (our first 25-man kill) and we downed Auriaya.

Hodir is on for tonight, with Thorim, Freya and the dreaded Mimiron still up.

Last note (sort of to self): don't join a Naxx 10 pickup at twenty past two at night.


Not so good.

We didn't do so well last night. I can't really pin down what it was that went wrong, but sometimes it just won't work.

Our plan was to do OS25 + 3 however the DK that was supposed to tank it wasn't online so we decided to do Malygos. Further inspection showed we didn't even have 25 people so we decided to go for 'Poke in the Eye' and do it with 20. Didn't work very well, I was main tanking it and kept dying to the breath. There were long breaks in between attempts which I think led to a loss of concentration.

More people came online so we changed tack to a 25man attempt, which also failed. Moral was down so we moved along to something we figured we could handle a bit more easily. Wintergrasp was not under Alliance control so we settled on OS25 + 2. We tried, but failed, and again, but failed.

We lowered it to +1 and failed, tried again, and failed. And then we got Os25 + 1 after a whole nights raiding.

Sometimes, it just doesn't work. Ulduar 10 tonight, and the celebration of the 1 year anniversary of my previous guild. hope I have better news next time.


The Times...

They ain't a-changing.
I raid 4 nights a week. Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. That means I play until about 23:30 and get to bed about midnight. I get up at 6 so I'm suffering from lack of sleep most days.

My gear has been improving since moving to my new guild. Didn't get to do much 25man raids until I joined my current guild and the difference is noticable. Going into 25mans with 10man gear got me killed... a lot. Now I tend to survive the big double hits. (Kologarns melee + overhead smash comes to mind) It's nice to have 40k+ health as an Ulduar tank.

Coming back to something I've written about before, the block cap. I've got it unbuffed now (not counting holy shield as a buff). However it's divided as 23something% Dodge, 18% parry and 23something% block. Block is good, but not as good as avoidance. On something like Emalon's adds, block is awesome. they hit for about 3000 and blocking more than half of that is obviously a big reduction in damage taken. However when something hits me for 20k, blocking 1.5k isn't making enough of a difference. When I have some time I'm going to dig through my other gear and see if I can't rebalance my avoidance to block ratio while maintaining high stamina and the blockcap.

I've also started a Shaman which I intend to play as elemental. I must say I really like the Bind-On-Account items that are available for Emblems of Heroism. I bought the shoulders (which are mail, but neatly change to leather for my below-40 shaman.) Also the staff and both trinkets. Doing the quest that involves killing a level 20 elite dragon was a bit of a joke being so overpowered.