Chef Ard

The beginning of this year... I’d gotten my Paladin to level 80, I’d collected some mounts, done a bunch of Heroics and was generally looking for something to do. I thought obtaining the Chef title might be a fun thing to do. So I set about leveling my Fishing and Cooking (these two work well together) and started working on some of the Achievements.

One of the tougher Achievements is one to obtain and cook a big variety of Outland cooking recipes. Some of these are quite easy to come by, they can be bought from a vendor. I found a list of all the recipes and sources. I realized there were two very hard to obtain recipes: The Delicious Chocolate Cake and Stormchops. I was sure I hadn’t ever done the Daily Shattrath cooking quest before and so hadn’t obtained either of these. As the list of Outland recipes neared completion (by this time I’d already gotten all the other cooking achievements) I found it was the Cake and the Stormchops that were missing.

Occasionally I would look at my Cooking Achievements and the Outland recipe meta Achievement and the grayed out Cake and Chops. Then, a week or two later of repeatedly doing the daily Cooking quest I struck gold in the Dalaran spice bundle! I found the recipe for the Delicious Chocolate Cake! I quickly gathered the materials and baked the cake. Now all that stood between ‘Ard’ and ‘Chef Ard’ was the missing recipe for Stormchops.

Months went by, the statistics for number of daily Cooking quests done grew steadily. Doubt set in – did I get the recipe and sell it? Would it possible to get it again? How would I know? Finally yesterday, as the counter for number of Cooking dailies done increased to 177 I had to be sure. I opened a Tciket to a GM.

Late last night, after our ToC 25 raid I was invited to a conversation with a GM. Hi Ard, do you have a moment to talk about your ticket concerning the recipe. Sure I do. You appear to already know the recipe...

At this, my heart sank. I quickly opened my Cooking window, and searched for the Stormchops – and there it was. The GM couldn’t tell me when I had learned it, but I assume it was very near the beginning of my Cooking career I probably picked it up and learned it without giving any thought to the Achievement. And then later on assumed I did not have it because it can only come from a daily Cooking quest.

I built a fire and cooked 1 Stormchop. (Yes, I’d been carrying around the ingredients for a month or two). At last they flashed on my screen:

“Outland Gourmet”

I think the hat suits me quite well, thank you.


The opposite opinion.

I got Nerfed.
No, you were too powerful.

I can’t make money.
There’s a reason there’s a limit on the number of daily quests.

WoW Caters to casuals.
Yes, there are more casual than hardcore players so it’s catering to it’s audience. WoW does cater to Hardcores as well. Hardmodes anyone?

WoW is too easy.
Set harder goals.

It was a good weekend for me. My guild put together a few maniacs who wanted to try some hardmodes in Ulduar 10 and we did, with some success! We started by knocking Flame Leviathan out of the way. We started with an attempt at 4min Ignis. We struggled a bit with positioning and it was a lot of healing required so healing was a bit strained but we managed it.
We moved on to XT-002. This is a proper hardmode. First you need to kill the heart during the first heartphase, that’s the trigger, then you clear the fight, he has more Health, does more damage and the bombs have different effects. We managed it surprisingly well.
We also did the silly thing with the 25 dwarves being killed by Razorscales breath. Bit of muddle but we managed that as well.
Kologarn was next and we killed him with both arms up, no problem.
Lastly we tried Assembly on the hardest mode, Steelbreaker last. It was surprisingly easier than I had thought and we got pretty far – Steelbreaker down to about 5%. It was late by then and concentration was lowering. More next week!

I also obtained the middle T9 shoulders this weekend (see picture, above). Working a bit more on Retribution as my offspec is more important in the hardmodes, I need to be able to put out some decent DPS.


3.2.2 Changes

Well, 3.2 is still tingling and patch notes are already released for 3.2.2, including some changes for Paladin.

The changes.

Righteous Fury: The bonus threat from Holy spells caused by this talent has been reduced from 90% to 80%.

This was coming, just how was unknown. It seems harsh but it's 10% off a multiplier. Paladins had the most threat at the moment so this isn't unexpected.

Touched by the Light: This talent now provides 20/40/60% of the paladin’s strength as spell power instead of 10/20/30% of the paladin’s stamina.

This is a consequence of something that was happening in Arenas with Paladins: "Proly" meaning playing as Protection spec with healing gear. the buff to spellpower from the ton of stamina actually pushed this ahead of Arena healing with a Holy spec. Protection spec also gives some utility, like...

Judgements of the Just: The reduction in cooldown to Hammer of Justice provided by this talent has been reduced to 5/10 seconds instead of 10/20 seconds.

Again, Arena related, due to Proly being simply too strong. I had this anyway because I had only 1 point in Improved Hammer of Justice. I'll have to shuffle some points.

Seal of Command: This ability now chains to strike up to 2 additional targets when it is triggered by an attack.

Finally something good about Command! Personally I always thought they should've dumped Command altogether and made Blood/Martyr take the place of this talented Seal instead of getting rid of Blood/Martyr altogether. It's likely this will bring back Seal switching for single (Vengeance/Corruption) vs. Multiple (Command) targets.

3.2.2 will also include a level 80 revamp of Onyxia, to celebrate the 5th anniversary of World of Warcraft. I'm quite looking forward to that, should be fun! The fact that they'll also be releasing Level 80-stat version of the Tier 2 helmets has nothing to do with it. No sir, not me. Not at all. Promise! Ok, maybe a little!


Buffs and nerfs

Warcraft is not a static game. The rules change every few weeks/months. Some classes get stronger, some change, some get weaker. Recently Retribution Paladins got the nerf a bit. Before 3.2 a Retri opening would consist of Crusader Strike (lot of damage) Judgement (lot of damage) Divine Storm (lot of damage) - in PvP this meant that Paladins of this persuasion would literally blow people before they got a chance to do anything. Especially because all of those abilities are interspersed with auto-attack that also procced Seal damage.

It's changed now so that the Seal of choice needs a bit of time to get going and deliver a lot of damage. Crusader Strike now has a lower cooldown and also does less damage. In short the potential for huge bursts has been reduced, but overall the damage is still reasonable.
No matter what the changes are invariably people seem to dislike changes, or at least big changes like this. If something gets changed from 5% to 10% you don't hear anyone, but small tweaks like that are rare. Blizzard like big changes and a lot of them. So do I.

Lots of small changes that would slowly make everything creep towards something resembling balance is just not what Blizzard are after. They want you to have to deal with changing circumstances. Balance is not a realistic goal when some people wear cloth and others wear plate. Big kick-ass two-handers vs. wands.

I think almost every class has had one of those patches where people were declaring that Blizzard 'hated their class' and they were going to quit. Strangely Warcraft is still going strong and I can't think of any class at the moment that is really useless, unless played badly.

I've found that buffs and nerfs come in cycles, sometimes you're up, sometimes you're down. Blizzard seems to make decisions that make you grab your hair and want to pull it out in big clumps. I think their decisions are almost purposely made that way - again, they want you to deal with changes. The system must be unbalanced so new changes can be made.


Extending the lockout

So this week, thanks to 3.2, we'll be extending our lockout on Ulduar 25 for an extra week. So far we've cleared Flame Leviathan, Razorscale, Ignis, XT-002, Assembly of Iron, Kologarn, Auriaya and Thorim. Would have been more but on at least one night we had less people online at raid time then we had sign ups. So it goes.

With an extra week, we can clear the remaining Keepers and Vezax on one night and spend another learning and hopefully downing Yogg-saron. Then we reset for the next week. In general I think the option to extend is a very good one. without the option doing hardmodes was very diffcult for us. We had only one week to kill as many bosses as possible. Doing a hrd mode is having to learn the encounter again or some more so tends to require a bunch of wipes.
It meant we could clear a lot of content or do hardmodes. Now we can do (/at least try) both.

I've not been running heroics or the daily heroic quest as much as I had anticipated, looks like it will be a while before I start getting my T9.

I also just can't seem to get used to Exorcism having a cast time. Only realised now How often I used it. It was the perfect thing to cast if a mob got away or bounced you some distance, also very useful for pickups in case of mutliple mobs. The new mechanic for Hand of Reckoning seems ok, but it feels I've lost some threat compared to Pre-3.2. That or I'm getting less sleep.


Ard’s average day.

I get home from work around six, which gives me about two hours before raid start time to get some things done. Normally I end my night hearthstoning and logging out in the inn in Dalaran. I pick up the daily cooking quest there and complete that.

Then, I’m off to the Argent tournament. I fly over there and mine any Saronite (and, if very lucky, Titanium) on the way. I’ve not done the new quests a lot yet, but normally I’d go for Threat from Above first (I can solo Chillmaw) then head down, kill 15 scourge then head for the gate, then fly back to the tournament, joust the shizzle out of four Champions, turn in and head back to Dalaran.

I hop through the Shattrath portal and complete the Shattrath cooking daily. I take a Shattrath portal to Stormwind, empty out my inbox (lovely gold!) then check the AH for any bargains. I buy what materials I need to do some crafting, list whatever I need to list, buy reagents, food, flask, potions.

Usually I relog at that point to my Rogue, disenchant stuff, open boxes.

Then I take the boat to Borean Tundra, fly over to Dragonblight and do some fishing (if I need any food) then back up to Dalaran, where I pick up the daily fishing quest, I go and do that, then head over to Storm Peaks and do the daily there for the Blue Ladies (they have a name I’m sure) and hope to get a Polar bear (no luck so far).

Usually that takes me up to about 8 o’clock and it’s raid time! And there you were wondering why I was so quiet ;)


New patch, first impressions

It's always exciting when there's a new patch. Forums run over with excitement, blogs analyse and predict, words like nerf and buff take on whole new meanings. And then, on the first day of a new patch the excitement is palapable, it oozes out of the screen, people asking directions to new places, questions on how to complete new quests, vendors pimping their new and shiny wares. Early adopters showing off their freshly acquired goods.

So, what did I do? I obtained the new Paladin mount from the Argent Crusade. It's not as exciting as I had hoped. It's nice to have a new look but it's not very shiny. In fact it's a grimy, almost rusted version of the Paladins charger. What was I going to do, not get it?

I dumped all of my remaining Emblems of Heroism on 6 epic blue gems and got them cut for stamina, replacing all the current ones in my gear. I'll probably use the emblems I have on my Rogue to obtain some multicoloured ones to replace the others, or just buy them.

I ran the new 5man on normal and marvelled at how easy it was to obtain some epics (we had 4 plate-wearers and a clothie, of course all drops were leather and mail.) I had a go at the heroic version but the group was unable to deal with it so I didn't finish that one. From what I've seen it'll be very doable with a good (guild) group.

Then it was raid time. We'd planned to make 10man groups and have a go at the 10man version first and we were able to put 3 groups together. We manged to get past the first miniboss but were still being killed by the Jormungars when guildgroup 1 cleared the fight. It didn't look to good for us, there was some tension but determination is the stuff we're made of. We kept at it. We managed the fight with a few people dead. Then we went and pummeled Emalon and Archavon in the dust (I'm looking forward to the new boss in VoA as well, I realised he won't be patched in until week 2 to stop people picking up T9 in week 1 of the new patch.)

Our other group cleared VoA as well and we all teamed up for 25man normal. With a bit of experience under our belts it wasn't too much of an adjustement. we had a three tank rotation on the first miniboss, then pretty much an easy time on the Jormungars and a lot of fun on the big Yeti. In the end we only took two attempts to clear it. I got a new shield too :)

All in all it was a cool first day of the new patch. Looking forward to exploring some of the new questlines at the tournament and doing the new dailies. Only 15 champions seals to get a new flying mount!



Mounted combat in the form of jousting was introduced last patch but will become a lot more important in the next patch. The first boss in the new (raid) dungeon will use the jousting mechanic so I’d thought I’d put my technique down on paper. Using my method I can kill the four champions for the daily quest without healing my mount in between.

Jousting uses only 4 abilities in combat. On button 1. Melee attack. Can only be used in melee, does a small amount of damage. 2. Ranged attack. Can only be used at range, throws a spear at opponent, does a bit more damage and removes one shield. 3. Charge. Can only be used at range, makes you charge into your opponent for good damage. Also removes one shield. 4. Shield. Can be used anytime, has a long cooldown, stacks up to three shields on you.

For fighting the champions I do the following. First, stack up three shields. Then start the fight by speaking to them. While I’m talking to the new opponent I’m spamming 1 to get in an immediate Melee attack. Soon as that attack lands I start spamming 3 and Charge in at the earliest opportunity. Now Charge will take you up to and usually quite far past the opponent. That puts you at enough range to use a Ranged attack so use that. Then run back in close and use Melee attack. Run out a little so you can Ranged attack then immediately back in for a Melee attack. Do that a few times: run out, Ranged attack, run back in, Melee attack.

That sequence removes shields on the opponent but keeps yours up because most of the time you’re in melee. If you do lose a shield during this (sometimes opponents will get an occasional Ranged attack or Charge in) immediately get the shield back up to three (just stay in melee range and stack shields, Melee attack while your doing this) then go back to whittling down their shields. When the shields are gone run out and do a Charge, or wait for the opponent to try and get range then spam Charge. Always follow up a charge with a Melee attack.

In short: stay in melee rane as much as possible (opponents can’t take your shields in melee) and only go out to range just long enough to either do the Ranged attack or Charge right back in. When you Charge always follow with a Melee attack, then use the Ranged attack at the far end of the charge, run back in and use the Melee attack again.

As practice for the Argent coliseum there are dailies to do at the Argent Tournament that reward a good amount of gold or rep-tokens for the major cities (exalted with all major cities and champion for all major cities gives the Crusader title.) In addition it rewards champions seals which can be used for buying mounts, including the new Crusader-only Argent Paladin mount. Besides it’ll look good when the coliseum starts and you are an ace jouster!