A good night for the guild

Last night we did a little more instancing than usual - 3 in one night. We did the daily Culling of Stratholme, Gundrak and Drak'tharon Keep. Gundrak was just because we had never done it and Drak'Tharon because a number of us still had quest to complete there even though we have run it before. I think we had a total of 1 death across all the runs, and only a couple drops didn't end up sharded.

I healed CoS and did let our DK leader die when he pulled a little more aggro than he wanted. I didn't LET him die, I just couldn't stop it. We had a newer member of the guild tanking it for us and he did great, just a little more damage than I'm used to healing, but every tank is different.

For the second and third runs I got to DPS! Mishandala, who normally runs as a Moonkin is trying out a new Restokin build and wanted to try it out. So he healed and I got to unleash some Elemental Fury. He did great on the heals and I was able to crank out about 1200 DPS. So now I'll have to see how he feels about the runs and what he wants to do in the future as we get close to being able to field a raid team. But that isn't the cool part...

The cool part was that almost everyone in our little guild was running an instance together. We had 10 players on, which is on the high side for us - especially lately. 5 were running the higher instances and 3 more were in Nexus with a pugged healer and DPS and another came in to relieve a DPS who had to leave after Gundrak. The only poor soul who wasn't running an instance was Outs - he's only level 50 but he has potential and I know he'll be a great addition when he gets leveled up.

We may be a small - some would say tiny - guild, but we are solid and I will run anything with this group of players. I am really happy with the guild right now.


Rise of the Druid

The time has come for me to begin the grind a second time. I have begun leveling Bumwaller, the druid, in Northrend. The good part is that all the quests seem familiar and I kinda know where things are and what I'm supposed to do, the bad part is...all the quests seem familiar and I kinda know where things are and what I'm supposed to do. In the past I had a significant period of time in between leveling characters and it didn't fel like deja vu. It does this time, but I'm trying to push through it - it just doesn't feel...fun?

I'm using a Restokin build to level the old boy, currently a 40/0/21 moving to a 40/0/31 at 80. I know a lot of people like to level using a feral build, but I never really got into that play style. I prefer the caster style and the ability to heal myself and others. I am having trouble remembering to shift into Moonkin to optimize my damage, but I'm sure I'll get the hang of it again.


DING 80!



the race restrictions on mounts is being removed! This is great news for herd of Tauren. I really like the raptors and really hate Warsong Gulch. It will also make it much easier to get the mount collecting achievements.

I will definitely be buying the extra mounts and rigging up a macro that randomly pick one for me ride. I can hardly wait. Really - this is cool.

In other news - for $15 you can change everything about your toon except the race and class. I guess that is a good thing for people who really don't like some aspect of their character.


Going Ape!

I was running CoT: Culling of Stratholme the other night and got this Super Simian Sphere - ya, that's right, a Super Monkey Ball!

I can't wait to try this thing out, it requires level 80 and I'm still only 79. Also, in winning the roll on that thing I achieved Greedy!, rolling a 100 on a greed roll. I rolled a second 100 greed on a drop from Chrono-Lord Epoch. I was just lucky that night I guess.


Macros and Me - part 1

I have been revisiting all my macros lately. I use a number of them to help out when I am playing, mostly to make sure I use my trinkets and to do mouseover healing while in party and raids. That was the first macro I used, cribbed from Resto4Life. I love it and have tried to get any healers I know to use it. Basically it heals the friendly character that you have you mouse on, either in play or frames, if no one is moused over it heals your targeted friendly player, and if no one is targeted - it heals you. After some modifications, to turn off error text and sound an use my trinkets, it look like this:

#show Healing Wave
/console Sound_EnableSFX 0
/use 13
/use 14
/script UIErrorsFrame:Clear()
/console Sound_EnableSFX 1
/cast [target=mouseover,help][target=target,help][target=player] Healing Wave

I have this macro, modified for the appropriate spells, on all of my toons that can heal. It makes healing so much easy than having to click on the person you want to heal. I usually keep the tank targeted and mouseover whoever needs a heal and hit the button - no clicking, use the hotkey. My curing spells are done the same way - I don't even use decursive.

For the most part I have done my offensive spells the same way - but they have been one spell per macro. Now I'm beginning to look into using /castsequence to fire off my offensive abilities in a predefined sequence to be even more efficient than doing it manually.

Stay tuned for part 2 - if I can make it work.


That was EPIC!

I finally got around to doing the Wrathgate event and seeing the cinematic in game. I had seen it previously as a spoiler, but it was even better in context. I actually kinda teared up a bit when I had to return the armor of the fallen Saurfang the Younger to his father. That sucked. I can only imagine how RPers are digging these storylines. The battle for Undercity was pretty cool too, but there was only me and one other player so it kinda lost the scale of a large assault, but it was cool anyway.

I dinged 79 shortly after that and now I'm in the homestretch to 80. We have run a couple other dungeons and I really liked the ending of Drak'Tharon Keep. It is awesome to keep encountering the Lich King as you move through the world - building to a showdown. The story telling in the expansion is really good and keeps me involved in what is going on and I feel part of it.


I believe I can fly!

I recently dinged 77 and spent my cash for the Cold Weather Flying. It feels good to fly again, of course the first thing I did was head to the Icecrown Citadel. I flew around the horseshoe approaching from the north. Holy Carp! - I got goosebumps flying up to The Conflagration. It is that damn epic. The look is a little bit of a ripoff of the Lord of the Rings movies, but it is still freaking cool. It really feels like we are in for something huge as the patches come in and add more and more content until we get to face Arthas himself.

I'm not one to geek out on the lore normally, but I am really enjoying the story and progression of the quests. The Old Gods, the Titans, all the dragons in their "human" forms - I'm digging all of it.


Catching Up

Well, it's been a week or so since the Wrath install and I have no posted anything about what I've been doing, so it's time to catch up.

Okole - Level 74. The Shaman has been my main so far in Wrath and is now at level 74 and making good steady progress. I'm not beating any speed records in leveling, but that is the way I play. I've done all of Howling Fjord, a beautiful place to level. I'm about half way the way through Borean Tundra, focusing on the Coldarra quests.

I have run Utgarde Keep a number of times and The Nexus only once. Both instances were pretty fun, not too much trash and the boss fights had some challenges, but not insanely difficult. I still have not upgraded a lot of gear, a few sidegrades here and there but nothing major. Some of the crew I usually run with have started to replace gear and I hope to soon - I really like the look of the Northrend armor.

I have been healing most of the runs, I have come up with a hybrid build that still allows me to do decent solo damage to quest and be viable in the instances - currently 40/0/25, working to 41/0/30 - this seems to be working okay for me and I will tweak as necessary. I really hope they deliver on the dual spec idea so I can go a little deeper in Resto for heroics and raids at 80.

Bumwaller - Level 70. Parked in Warsong Hold gathering rest. I should get him going so I can get Alchemy/Herb up and make some potions and elixirs for the guild.

Namenivob - Level 60. Parked in Shattrath. Just not having a lot of fun playing him right now.

Badhoof - Level 55 Death Knight. Parked in Ebon Hold gathering rest. Ya, I made one. I haven't done anything with it, but I might if I get bored.


The day has come!

So, it's just pat midnight and I am installing the Lich King expansion. There were quite a number of people standing around in the rain at our local GameStop, but we were all in good spirits and talking the talk that always happens when a bunch of WoW addicts get together. It's always interesting to see the different people that show up for these releases. Kids, adults, geeks, nerds, profesionals, you name it.

The GameStop had pizza and soda that they were giving away to all the people waiting in line and had a few drawings for gift cards, which was pretty cool.

YAY! Install is done...see ya in Northrend.


Servers are borked

The servers have not come back up yet from the scheduled Tuesday maintenance. It's 7:50 pm EST and they have been down since about 8:00 am. Apparently there is some problem with the mail. I hope this all gets resolved soon - tomorrow is a big day!

As someone who works in IT in my real life and has a responsibility for communications servers, I definitely do not envy them. It's bad enough when you miss an expected maintenance period and have 400 users - I can't imagine having 11 million wanting to know when the server will be up.

Good Luck guys!


Just killing time...and Onyxia

What else is there to do as we wait out the last few days until Wrath? Narandia and I headed off to Blackrock Depths to get the Shadowforge key, BRD Achievement, and Molten Core attunement. We duoed they whole place and got the achievement and attunement for Narandia - I already had them.

Then we got a couple of guildies together and killed the Broodmother of the Black Dragonflight to gain the achievement. The Onyxia fight was fun, but I kinda wish I could have seen when it was still a big deal. As it is now, I turned in the head to Overlord Runthak about 10 seconds after another group turned in theirs. Still, it was fun and a first for me and most of the others.


That was kinda fun

So yesterday we decided to take a break from farming rep and doing low level achievements to run some level appropriate instances.

We ran Shattered Halls with a gorillidan (where did that word come from?) as the main tank. Claz brought his trusty Marv to do the aggro job and it went pretty well actually. There were a few wipes, but overall it was pretty darn smooth and Claz and Marv did an absolutley great job.

Then we decided to do Magisters Terrace. That place is tough for me for some reason. We did not use Marv for that one - instead Greatjohn was bear tanking the place. We had a lot of wipes while figuring out the pulls and fights and which mob to sheep/mind contol/etc and trying some different stategies. We made it through, dropped Kael'thas Jr. and I even got...a Phoenix Hatchling.

I was disappointed with the number of wipes and my number of deaths, but it wasn't horrible healing coming from an Elemental Shaman - I have to occasionaly remind myself that I'm not Resto. I really hope they come along with the dual-spec idea.


I'm having an identity crisis

When I started playing the game, during my trial period, I had a rogue and only got to level 20 or so on whatever realm I got assigned to. Then the people who introduced me to Warcraft told me what realm they played on and I rolled a hunter there. That was my "main" for quite a while until we needed an additional healer in the guild and I decided to try a druid. I fell in love with the playstyle of the balance tree and my "main" became the druid and I leveled him to 70. At some point I got bored and rolled a shaman to level as an alt. I leveled him to 70 as well. So, now I find myself logging into the shaman far more often that the druid. With the shaman, I can still heal when we go into dungeons and I can DPS when needed. I seem to be enjoying playing the shaman more, but I still like the druid.

The question then arises...who is my "main"? I'm starting to feel that it has become Okole, the shaman. Not by choice, but in practice, it just kind of happened. I am feeling a bit of guilt over this, like I'm having an affair. Have any of you ever felt this way?


The plague

When you see a floating necropolis from the Lower Rise at Thunder Bluff, there must be something big going on. Sure enough, it looks like world events are starting in preparation of the Wrath of the Lich King expansion. There are plagued ghouls and zombies all over the major cities and wandering the landscape of Azeroth. There are also Necrotic Shards, that are spawning at various locations and spawning undead that need to be dispatched and are dropping Necrotic Runes that can be used as currency to buy various items from the Argent Dawn Quartermaster. I picked up a Tabard of the Argent Dawn and nabbed a Feat of Strength achievement and added another tabard to my collection, it looks good too.

It appears that the initial plague is over, a cure has been found by the Royal Apocathery Society and the zombies attack has been stopped. I have my doubts that this is over though. 16 days until we can get to Northrend!


Achievements make you do strange things...

They sure do. That is the picture of Ariki, Mishandala and Okole fishing in Ironforge. We didn't really set out to fish in Ironforge, we strated by clearing Gnomeregan for that achievement and the get the Workshop Key, and just kinda decided...why not?

We only had one poor hunter try to challenge us and we dispatched him easily. After our adventure fishing with the dwarves, we decided to take the tram to Stormwind. Mish got on okay, I missed the tram and met a nice hunter and his core hound who promptly killed me...Ariki ran down the tram tunnel all the way to Stormwind. I rezzed in Elwynn forest - crap. So I took the 25% penalty and spirit rezzed and headed to Stormwind. We got our Fishing Diplomat acievements and they logged out.

I, however, ran into another guildie and we decided to run through Deadmines to kill Van Cleef and get that acievement. I did this with a level 29 set of Bloody Brass Knuckles from an earlier SM run. I kinda like the achievements, it gives us something to do and tends to be a social gathering time.


Horseman and Zombies...oh my!

Alright, finally got most of the addons working and starting having some fun with the guildies. We have been plowing through the Headless Horseman and working on the Hallow's End achievement. I am just needing the Sinister Squashling and I will have everything I need for the "the Hallowed" title. I have seen it drop, but haven't managed to win the roll yet...yet.

And now it seems the long rumored world event has begun, the zombie invasion. Some players are going out of their way to become infected and turn to zombies so they can run around and infect others, this seems to be fun for them. Well, I enjoy healing and when I see someone afflicted with a disease - I need to cure them! This has gotten me some very rude comments and suggestions on fornicating with myself. But, we all have fun in our own ways. LOL


Almost back to normal...almost

After a few days of updating addons and getting my UI layout just he way I want it, I'm back to actually playing the game. There are aspects of it that make it seem like a whole new game and that is the way I have been trying to approach it.

There is so much complaining out there on changes that have been made are are still to be made. So far I haven't seen anything that drastically affecting how I play the game. Having said that, I'm not a min-max hardcore raider that would even notice a losss of 5% DPS on a DoT or whatever. I have specced my Shaman into Elemental again and I'm having a blast killing things very quickly. My Druid is back to mostly Resto with some points in Balance to help out with the damage. My builds are probably not the MOST effective they can be, but they match my style.

Which brings me to another point - why do people give others such grief over they way they spend their points. Certainly there are some choices that are questionable, but the player MUST have had a reason for selecting the build that they did. If it doesn't work, they can change it. I have a lot of respect for the people that build a spec that works for them and not just for the T6 wearing raider that saw the build on Elistist Jerks.


Addon Hell

As was to be expected...many of my addons are not working. SO, I am spending some time digging around looking for the updated versions. WoWMatrix is helping, but some are just outright new versions, so the updating process does not help all that much. Bartender3 is now Bartender4, for example.

I am impressed by what I have seen visually so far - I'll report in later on game play, hopefully.


The servers are still down - it's almost 7:00pm Eastern Time and I want to get in there and see what is new...but I can't.

Oh, I know I'm not the only one and I am feeling for everyone who cannot get in yet, and for the Blizzard employees who are trying to get the servers up and answering all the calls form the really impatient ones who I am sure are calling already. I'm doing my best to stay calm, updating addons, reading forums, that sort of thing. But I sure hope they come up soon.



I've got epic flight, exalted rep with Aldor and SSO, 1000 Gold and primary professions maxed out on both toons that will be heading into Northrend. All that is left of the goals is fishing with the Shaman (316) currently.

So - in the words of guildmate Claz/Greatjohn/Narandia - "I sooo can't wait for the new patch".

I have been doing some BG to get honor points and maybe pick up the Merciless shoulders for my Shaman, they look nice and that is the reason I'm getting them. Minor increase in stats, but the looks are what is drawing me in. What can I say, vanity is a curse.


new laptop is running WoW like a champ

I ordered a new laptop recently and it arrived yesterday and I got it all loaded up and copied my Warcraft folder over and spent some time tweaking it out. The resolution is much higher, so I had to redo my carefully crafted layout to get everything where I wanted it. This is an obsession with me...I have some OCD tendencies and I have an addon - Align - that makes a nice grid on the screen that helps me get everything lined up just the way I like it.

So after spending a bit of time on that, I decide to embark on the dailies. I usually avoided the Isle because the amount of players and movement made my frame rate drop to 4 or 5 - I never really got a framerate better than 15 while playing ANYWHERE. So, off to the bombing and a solid 60 fps and 1 pass and all objectives complete. Nice.

I removed the Vertical Sync option and the framerate shot up to over 200! The downside of that is the fans went into overdrive and they do get a little loud. 60 is great, so I turned the vertical sync back on and I'm a happy camper at a solid 60 fps.

All of this is at 1440x900 with all the options turned up to max and man was I missing alot of detail before. Little things - but really cool llittle thnings. I have so much detail on now that I occasionally get lost because things no longer look the same as they did and I miss "my" landmarks.

I am very happy that I got this before the patch and expansion - now bring on Northrend!


Progress on goals

1. Max out professions - only cooking (374) and fishing (302) left on Okole
2. Get to Exalted with Shattered Sun and Aldor - Okole only needs to get SSO, cranking the dailies out every day.
3. 500G per character - should still be set on this.
4. Get all gear enchanted/gemmed - Hopefully, after the patch these will all still make sense, but may need to change a bit.
5. Bank some quests for quick XP when the expansion is released - going for Gold instead
6. Epic Flight - putting the money together for Okole - 600G to go and I'll be content to spend the 5K.
7. Brewfest mounts and bosses - got both caster trinkets for both toons, no mounts though.
8. Hallow's End events and bosses - still awaiting this one.


The end is near...

Blizzard has made an announcement that is leading many people to believe that the new content patch will be released on October 14th. What they actually said was that Arena Season 4 will end with patch 3.0.2 and then later stated that Season 4 will end on October 14. So the quick deduction is that patch 3.0.2 = October 14.

So be it. Slightly less than 2 weeks and we get some new stuff and changes to old stuff. A just a few days after that they are likely going to be sending all of us to Scarlet Monastery to fight some Headless Horseman.

Yeah - Scarlet Monastery is in Tirisfal Glades and just west of the Plaguelands. Not a bad place for the scourge to begin a second assault against the fine folks of Azeroth is it? So could this be the beginnings of a world event scenario? Probably not directly, but they could easily plant seeds during the event that will lead to something in the time between the end of Hallow's end and the 13th of November that will make us want to go kick some Lich King ass.


Instance day for the alts

I went ahead and respecced my Shaman to Resto and joined Greatjohn (Bear Tank) and Magnu (Ice Mage) - the alts of Claz and Ariki, I've mentioned them before - and Mishandala (Moonkin) and Kariki (Rogue) on their 70s for the daily instance, Arcatraz.

Now, my resto gear wasn't all the great and I was specced Elemental. So, I spent an hour or so grabbing some gear, enchanting it as much as I could, getting some elixirs and potions and visiting the trainer to get myself ready to go. Arcatraz gave us some issues and we wiped a bunch of times while I learned the Shaman style of healing and some of the others honed their characters. We pushed through, clearing out the instance with the exception of Zereketh the Unbound. We just couldn't seek to get that one down, not really sure why.

We jumped over to Botanica to down the first boss, Commander Sarannis, for a quest objective that some had. We were still feeling okay about ourselves and decided that Mechanar looked like a good place to go next. So, after a quick break, in we went to get the key from Pathaleon. And after some issues we did just that. Again, we just couldn't get Nethermance Sepethrea to die and give up her loot.

It was a lot of fun to be running instances with my guildmates and friends again. It wasn't super smooth, but many of us were learning new class playstyles and upgrading our gear for future runs. The rustiness was evident in the early part of the day and got better as we went along. I got a number of good drops that are upgrades for both my Elemental and Restoration sets. So, I am back to healing again - I actually do enjoy it.


We had one of "those" PuGs

Yeah - you know the one. It was for the Brewfest Boss, Coren Direbrew, and the hope of some trinkets and kodo, (kodos, kodoes - what is the plural of kodo?).

A little background on our setup is in order. I took my Druid. Even though I was currently specced as feral for tanking, I put on my healing set which still gave me 1675 healing or so. I have healed this fight with this spec and gear a number of times already so I knew it would be fine. Ariki and Claz decided to take their alts along to get them some goodies and I though everything would be okay with that - it should have been.

Ariki is our main tank Prot warrior - he brought his 70 Ice Mage. This mage is decent, a few instance runs along the way, not geared to the teeth but passable.

Claz is our main Hunter - he brough his feral tank Druid. This toon has been a 70 for only a few days and he's still gearing it up, but has the Clefthoof set, Staff of Slumber and some other pieces and I thought I could heal him okay.

We PuGged in a fire mage and a rogue of some flavor. The mage said he had done the fight before but the rogue had not. No big deal, the rest of us had done it and I felt good about it. Let's get some loot!

No so fast. We start the event - I don't remember who - and the Bear goes in and starts to grab aggro. Before he can establish a solid threat lead the rogue unloads and pulls aggro from our bear and is promptly dead. Crap. The fire mage decides to start hitting the non elite spawns and they came after him and...dead. These guys went down quick. Okay - just the Limited Warranty guys left, and I tried to keep Greatjohn going but we were behind the 8-ball and wiped.

We try again. Almost a carbon copy of the first time with the same results.

So we decide to swap in Ariki and Claz and I do a little inspecting while we wait for them to get the mains. The fire mage is wering mostly Merciless gear that has no gems in the sockets...really? I asked him why and he said he didn't have any to put in there. Wow. I mentioned this in guild chat and got the response of "eBay?". I laughed.

Meanwhile the rogue is berating me and asking why I'm not in Tree of Life. So I explain that I'm feral specced for tanking and wearing my healing gear. Suddenly I become the reason for the wipes - "Our healer is DPS spec, no wonder we are wiping". What should I expect from a rogue name Eviscarape? So next attempt I clear Recount to have a good picture of what is happening. One again the rogue is down within a minute and we do wipe, but It's a much better attempt. I post the Recount showing DPS and the rogue drops group.

We brought in a raiding geared 'lock and kicked his Coren's ass on all following attempts. Of course, the trinkets that dropped were useless to the people there or they already had them - no mounts. I did get the Dark Brewmaiden though to go with my Direbrew Hops and Smoking Pipe from the previous attempts.

I rellay would like the guys to get their alts in to get some goodies, but it wasn't to be on that night.


Things to do before Wrath

Lately it seems that everyone is posting something along these lines and I think I'll follow their lead. There are a few things I'd still like to do before Wrath, some are to help me out in the new content, some are achievements and some are just for fun. So these are the things I want to do with my Northrend bound cows. Namenivob will be staying behind for now.

1. Max out professions - Bumwaller is maxed, Okole needs a little bit of work in leatherworking, cooking and fishing.
2. Get to Exalted with Shattered Sun and Aldor - Done on Bum, Okole is working on it.
3. 500G per character - got that easily covered right now.
4. Get all gear enchanted/gemmed - This is all set for my primary specs, but I want to get the off spec sets finished up and ready for early instance runs.
5. Bank some quests for quick XP when the expansion is released - still debating on this, but it could be a nice jump toward 71.
6. Epic Flight - Bum has is, Okole doesn't. It won't be available for use in Northrend until 77, but I'm thinking I want to spend the money now while I have it and not have to worry about it later.
7. Brewfest mounts and bosses - might as well get the trinkets and mounts that are available during the holiday season. Also, acheivements to obtain.
8. Hallow's End events and bosses - more loot and possible acheivements.

That's all I can think of right now - but there is probably more.


WoW - just wow!

A number of usually reliable sources are reporting (with huge graphical ads on the front page) that the release date for Lich King will be November 13, 2008. WoWHead and Thottbot both are showing the ad as the basis for their homepages. EDIT - This has been confirmed by Blizzard at their site.

I am shocked at the announcement, not because of the date which we all seemed to think would be around that time, but because I expected this announcement at Blizzcon. So now what is the big thing at Blizzcon? An announcement about something new maybe?

I guess now will be the time for me to grind out some rep and collect recipes and finish leveling up my tradeskills. I don't see the point in trying to collect gear that will probably be replaced by questing, and I don't raid much so I don't worry about the tier tokens.

We should also get a big content patch in before Wrath, so probably early to mid October, that will revamp our talent trees and refund all talent points. That will take so trial and error to get a spec that I want to go into Wrath with on two different toons. We have discussed maybe doing some Shadow Labs or Magisters Terrace runs with new specs to see how things are looking and where we might need to make changes. That should give us someting to do to fill our idle hours.

I'm still torn over whether to try to get the epic flyer for the Shaman or wait until I can use it in Northrend. We'll see how much I want to fly fast as I do dailies over the next 2 months.


I got a beta key!

Yes - you read that right. I got an invite to the Lich King beta in my email this morning and I'm on my way to downloading the client and all the patches. I'll report back when I actually get it installed. Now if only that new laptop would get here...


playing as Feral

I did some grinding on Elemental Plateau to try to get my kitty DPS rotations in line. It was pretty interesting to see the big DPS crits and my gear isn't even all that great. The only downfall is that elementals are immune to bleed effects, so Mangle was not nearly as effective as it could have been.

I also tanked Vanndar in a recent Alterac Valley match, that was a lot of fun. Kinda hard to keep him focused on me though with all the other DPS going crazy around me. I also tanked two of the NPCs a the aid station while they were burned down by the DPS. We won the battleground and it was exciting, definately a different than when I heal the group.

I just downloaded Rawr and I'm going to try that out and see what it does for me. I've heard a lot of people saying good things about. If I can make it work and it seems pretty decent, I'll try to write a bit about it in the future.


OPERATION: Feral Respec

Still very much a work in progress, but I'm going to try my hand at tanking 5-man content.

I've skipped most of the feral rewards as I leveled, so gearing up is proving to be a bit of a challenge. I made the Heavy Clefthoof set with my Shaman, so that cover chest, legs and feet. I picked up the Merciless Gladiator Spaulders and Gladiator gloves - only to discover the different sets don't combine the way s1, s2, s3 and s4 do (so I lost the 35 resilience bonus). I will be hitting the battlegrounds to upgrade those gloves to get the bonus. Got a Braxis Staffof Slumber, which is pretty nice. Dug out some old trinkets that have feral friendly stats.

I paid my gold, assigned talent points, equipped everything and saw the highest armor number I have ever had. It was over 15K - holy carp! and that is with no gems and no enchants, and still wearing a load of resto gear. Wow. I will work on this some more tomorrow and then...time to take it on the chin and see if I can actually lead a group through a dungeon.


Green with envy

I have to admit it, I am jealous. One of my co-workers received a Lich King beta key invite this morning in the latest round of invites.

The good news is that I will be able to see the beta very soon. He is still in the process of downloading all the required patches. I'll try to give an impression of what I am able to glimpse over his shoulder.

Lucky bastard....


damn - I suck

I always hear about how Resto Druids are OP in Arenas. Well, not this Resto - I suck, I really do. Now granted, I don't spend a lot of time PvPing and I don't really like the Arenas as much as I like the Battlegrounds. I don't spend hours min-maxing my spec and gear and I only have some Season 2 and BG reward pieces. Maybe my senses are dulled and I just don't react fast enough. I really don't know but I'm not very good at it.

The good part is that, for the most part, my team doesn't seem to care all that much. It does get frustrating when we lose 7 or 8 out of 10 every week, but we don't yell at each other about it. We get the gear we can buy and we keep trying. And it makes our wins that much more exciting.

That's positive thinking at work right there!


Now what?

I did it, I got Okole to level 70. This is my second 70 and it went a lot faster than the first time around. I'm guessing partly because I knew what the quests held and because I had another toon to raise money with to get the things I needed. Oh yeah - and I followed a leveling guide. I have noticed a lot of people using Quest Helper lately, but I haven't tried it myself yet.

I'm wondering what to do now. I am scoring the wikis and various gear sites to find out where the upgrades to my Elemental set are and where to get some decent Resto pieces for when I am needed to heal. I'm also looking very closely at putting together a Feral tanking set for Bumwaller and learning how to tank. Then I, the real me, should be able to fill any spot the guild needs with those 2 characters. 2 Healer, 1 Tank, 1 DPS and numerous hybrid build to choose from.

But, the first thing I'm gonna do is go get a flying mount, off to Shaowmoon Valley.


A final push for the Shaman

Okay - so I've been pounding away with my Shaman to make sure I can get him to 70 before the Lich King shows up and forces me to level some more. I have been using Jame's Leveling Guides to help my optimize my play time and I am now only 50% of a level away from dinging the big Seven-Oh.

I am really digging the Elemental spec. I played my Druid as Moonkin when he was DPS so I guess that is defines my play style. Nuke 'em at range and melee/instant cast when they get close. It is pretty easy for me to switch to healing when needed to patch myself up or for group quests. I am going to try to keep the Shaman as DPS, but I am collecting some healing pieces in case I need to main heal.

Trying to gather all the mats I can to level my leatherworking and get the Netherstrike and Netherfury sets for the move into Northrend and maybe to make a Clefthoof set for the Druid to try some tanking - just for fun and to let our tanks run instances with their alts.


WoW - Big news!

So - it looks like Wrath of the Lich King might be closer than we think. I say might because with Blizzard it's hard to tell what they are up to as far as fixed dates. But we got this post in the official Warcraft forums from Eyonix:

With the release of Wrath of the Lich King approaching, we wanted to provide you with some important information. In preparation for the expansion, we will be issuing a new content patch in the coming weeks. Much like the patch made available shortly before The Burning Crusade's release, this content patch is designed to bridge current game content with that of the expansion and will contain some exciting changes and additions.

We have outlined some of the larger features scheduled to release with the patch below:

New class spells and talents
Stormwind Harbor
Barbershops in capital cities
Zeppelin towers outside of Orgrimmar and Tirisfal Glades
Two brand-new Arenas featuring challenging new layouts, terrain hazards, and moving obstacles
Guild calendar
Hunter pet skill revamp
New profession: Inscription

As mentioned above, this is not a comprehensive list, just some of the major highlights. We’ll post the full patch notes as soon as they’re available. Regarding Inscription, please note that all Burning Crusade players will be able to select Inscription as one of their two professions and level up to a skill level of 375 with it. Upon the release of Wrath of the Lich King, players who purchase and install the expansion will be able to continue leveling in Inscription and the other professions beyond 375.

That is pretty freaking cool - but what can we learn from that? Let's look at what's going on in the coming weeks.

  • Sept 8-13 - Harvest Festival
  • Sept 18 - Warhammer online release
  • Sept 20-Oct 4 - Brewfest
  • Oct 10-11 - Blizzcon
  • Oct 18-Nov1 - Hallow's End
In the past the Harvest festival and Brewfest content were in the same download patch. That could be a very convenient place to put the download for the new stuff. This could be a really slick marketing move by Blizzard to keep wandering eyes from looking at Warhammer too much. I will admit I was thinking of trying the beta, but now...not so sure. This also gives those players who are getting a little bored something to do in the way of "fluff" content. Two special events with associated trinkets and goodies and some of the new content to experiment with.

That takes us to Blizzcon which is just foaming at the mouth for a major announcement. A release date maybe? Or an upcoming world event that has been speculated upon? If it's the world event leading to Lich King, Hallow's End could be a good time to unleash the Scourge on Azeroth. Or at least the content could but stuck into the Hallow's End patch, ready and waiting for the big event.

It is an exciting time and it looks like the boredom may be coming to an end. The Lich King is approaching!



gah - nothing interesting to post about.

I am trying to finish leveling my Shaman to 70.

I haven't logged into my resto Druid in over 2 weeks, but probably should to do a couple dailies.

Having a little bit of fun with my noob Warrior, but am not leveling terribly quickly and I'm falling behind in the "leveling contest". The contest is essentially me getting my ass kicked by the guild's co-leader who levels faster than anyone I personally know.

And that is about it - I haven't been keeping up with all the beta news, but I think I'll try to wade through my RSS reader and see if there is anything that jumps out at me.

I'm so bored, I'm thinking of PUGging some instances just to do something different. Maybe a respec?

Our guild is dead quiet - I hope people come back to playing now that Summer is ending and the expansion is on the horizon.

But maybe that is the problem, too much information about the expansion. People are just not wanting to do much of anything as far as instance runs or even Kara raiding. Maybe they don't want to work on gear that is just going to get replaced, but damn I'm starting to feel a bit rusty at the skills I will need to run things in the future. I like some of the new talents and skills that I am seeing and I want to try them out, but that time is not here yet. Hopefully this will all get better in a couple months when I can hang out in Northrend. I sure hope so, because this kinda sucks right now.


Some Shaman changes in Wrath

I'm not a terribly experienced Shaman, but here is my take on the new changes that are in the latest Beta build.

Eye of the Storm (Rank 3) Gives you a 70% chance to avoid interruption caused by damage while casting Lightning Bolt, Chain Lightning, Lava Burst and Hex spells. Finally a pushback defense for Lightning Bolt, this should make a lot of people very happy. It's the one thing that I notice most when switching from my Druid to the Shaman.

There are also really awesome glyphs - Here are the ones that really caught my eye, but there are more out there.

Glyph - Healing Wave 01 (Shaman) (Class: Shaman) - Your Healing Wave also heals you for 20% of the healing effect when you heal someone else. A nice side effect heal for PvP or group questing. Maybe not as useful in instances, but still pretty cool.

Glyph - Chain Lightning 01 (Shaman) (Class: Shaman) - Your Chain Lightning strikes 1 additional target. An extra target hit is a good thing, sometimes it's a very good thing

Glyph - Chain Heal 01 (Shaman) (Class: Shaman) - Your Chain Heal heals 1 additional target. Even better, this one will be awesome for raiding Restos.

Glyph - Water Shield 01 (Shaman) (Class: Shaman) - Your Water Shield has 3 additional charges. As an Elemental I have this up all the time, more charges means less refreshing.

I am really intrigued by the glyphs that we have seen so far. I don't know if it's enough to make me pick it up as a profession, but it looks pretty darn cool.


Olympics time

Now this is pretty cool, an in-game Olympic themed tabard and pet. According to reports:

To get the new tabard, you only have to play one battleground. Winning or losing doesn't matter, if you stay for the duration of the battle you will be mailed a Competitor's Tabard.

To get the new pet, you must defeat your rivals in any of the Battlegrounds. With every victory, there is a chance that a Gold Medallion will be mailed to you.

I'm thinking I will be going after these on all my characters that are able to enter a battleground. Looks like the Gold Medallion can be used to summon a Chinese dragon pet. Definitely worth a shot at getting a free pet, and chances are this will be a pretty limited release, or at least only every 2 years at Olympics time - and the pet will be different if they do it again.


To have a little bit of fun I am putting together a leveling contest over at Limited Warranty. I hope to keep people interested and retain some guild continuity while maybe filling some gaps that we currently have in the guild. I have encouraged people to pick classes that they normally do not play so hopefully we'll end up with some options for healers and tanks in the end.

It's gonna be a race from 20 to 60 with rewards at every 10 level increment. At that point maybe the person will want to keep going to 70 and we will have them as an option in Wrath.

Out recruiting efforts seem to be going nowhere, which is depressing. Ultimately I want 12-15 players that have a mix of toons that can fill multiple roles. That should allow us to do instances and 10-man raiding and keep the small unit dynamic going. Maybe I am hoping for too much, but that is my vision.


Spell power and "hybridness*"

*Hybridness - (adjective) - source: Alex Ziebart, apparently this a measure of the quality of being a hybrid.

The post I linked to discusses the use of spell power as a gear stat in the Lich King beta. Basically the Spellpower stat combines and replaces the separate Spell Damage and Healing statistics that we currently have. This is of great interest to me since the two classes I play the most are Druid and Shaman, 2 0f the 3 hybrid classes in the game. It appears that the coefficients of the spells have been changed so that the damage or healing output stays approximately the same as they were with the 2 sets of stats, and possibly even a little higher although the increase may be based on changes to talents and not on the coefficients. Unfortunately, I do not have a beta key so I just have to rely on the information of others.

What this all really means is that a number of players and classes can increase their "hybridness*" without having multiple sets of gear to do so. I currently have a spell damage set and a healing set for my toons and the need for those may go away. I say may because I'm not sure it really will as far as raiding gear goes, but it will certainly make questing and grinding easier without changing gear. My concern is other stats on the gear and enchants that you apply to the pieces. The enchants may be changed to reflect this as well, but I'm thinking of Golden and Runic Spellthread as I write this. You might even find yourself with two of the same piece of equipment and just enchant them differently based on the intended use.

This will probably increase the competition for drops in raids between the specs, but it also might decrease the amount of gear that gets sharded in a run. My other hope is that it increases the amount of gear that is available for my toons - Leather and Mail with Spellpower. The bad part is that we all might start looking like carbon copies of each other, unless there is so much gear with similar stats that it allows us to customize our looks.

Ding 67!

Okole managed to ding 67 while questing in Terrokar Forest, much earlier than I did with Bumwaller. I'm not sure if it's because I've done these quests before or what, but the leveling has seemed pretty easy from 65 on. I got a little discouraged between 60 and 65, maybe because of the the accelerated leveling from 20 to 60 ending and the XP requirements going up, but that seems to have passed now.

My gear is still not great, I really haven't run any dungeons for upgrades lately due to our lack of tanks and the guild shrinkage. I've got some ideas on how to improve this that I'm mulling over in my head and I just haven't put them into action yet. I need to dwell on them for a few more days to make sure it really is what I want to do and then I'll give it a shot.


Doing a little Shammy healing

I have been working on putting together some pieces for Okole's healing set. These have been mostly quest rewards or drops that I get while questing. I've been doing some spot healing in the battlegrounds and while running groups quests, but haven't tried an instance yet. I'd like to get a bit more gear before I try that - unless it's with guildies that will cut me a little slack if things don't go well.

I do miss the HoT of the Druid style of healing, the Shaman heals are bigger but seem a bit more wasteful if you are trying to keep a tank topped off. Maybe it's just me and I'm not used to it yet, but it seems I have more options at my disposal with the Druid style of healing. I'm not giving up on it yet and will continue to do the Ele-Resto build for a while. I'm trying to keep my eyes and opinion open and watch the upcoming changes in Wrath for both of the specs.


Glyphs for Druids

Most people have heard by now that we will be able to add glyphs to a character to make some changes to abilities we already have. Here are the glyphs that have been discovered so far that affect the Druids. Looks like a lot of really nice stuff and a number of changes that will be beneficial to a each of the specs.


  • Glyph of Natural Force (Class: Druid) - Empowers a Greater Glyph to avoid interruption caused by damage while casting your Wrath spells by 50%.
  • Glyph of Moonfire (Class: Druid) - Empowers a Lesser Glyph to reduce the rage cost of your Demoralizing Roar by 20.
  • Glyph of Thorns (Class: Druid) - Empowers a Minor Glyph to reduce the mana cost of your Thorns spells by %s1%.
  • Glyph of Wild Endurance (Class: Druid) - Empowers a Minor Glyph to increase the duration of your Mark of the Wild and Gift of the Wild spells by 30 min.
  • Glyph of the White Bear - Changes the appearance of your bear and dire bear forms to that of a polar bear.- This one will be very popular.
  • Glyph of Frenzied Regeneration - While Frenzied Regeration is active, healing effects on you are 20% more powerful.
  • Glyph of Growl - Increases the chance for your Growl ability to work successfully by 8%.
  • Glyph of Mangle - Increases the duration of Mangle by 6 sec.
  • Glyph of Swipe - Your Swipe ability now hits 1 additional target.
  • Glyph of Shred - Increases the damage dealt by Shred to stunned and incapacitated targets by 20%.
  • Glyph of Rip - Increases the duration of your Rip ability by 3 sec.
  • Glyph of Rake - Your Rake ability prevents targets from fleeing.
  • Glyph of Swiftmend - Your Swiftmend ability no longer consumes a Rejuvenation or Regrowth effect from the target.
  • Glyph of Innervate - Your innervate ability now has an additional 20% strength mana regeneration effect on you in addition to the effect on your primary target.
  • Glyph of Rebirth - Increases the amount of health on a character brought back to life via Rebirth by 100%.
  • Glyph of Regrowth - Increases the amount of your initial Regrowth heal by 50% if your Regrowth effect is still active on the target.
  • Glyph of Rejuvenation- While your rejuvenation targets are below 50% health you will heal them for an additional 50% health.
  • Glyph of Healing Touch - Decreases the cast time of Healing Touch by 1.5 sec., the mana cost by -25% and the amount healed by -50%.
  • Glyph of Lifebloom - Increases the duration of Lifebloom by 1 sec.- This one I like alot too
  • Glyph of Starfire - Your Starfall ability increases the duration of your Moonfire effect on the target by 3 sec.
  • Glyph of Insect Swarm - Increases the damage of your Insect Swarm ability by 30% but it no longer affects your victim's chance to hit.
  • Glyph of Hurricane - Your Hurricane ability now also slows the movement speed of its victims by -20%.
  • Glyph of Starfall- Increases the duration of Starfall by 2 sec.
  • Glyph of Wrath - Increases the chance you'll resist spell interruption when casting your Wrath spell by 50%.
  • Glyph of Moonfire - Increases the periodic damage of your Moonfire ability by 75% but initial damage is decreased by -90%.
  • Glyph of Entangling Roots - Increases the damage your Entangling Roots victims can take before the Entangling Roots automatically breaks by 20%.


#$%&*! gankers

Maybe I'm just cranky today...more that usual, but I am so pissed at these freaking Alliance gankers lately. Now, I'm sure some Horde do it too and those that do are on my poop list too.

This is the scenario - I am questing/grinding/farming/whatever, and my health is dropping. Then I see my Combat Text pop up with Kidney Shot or Pounce and sure enough there is a Druid or Rogue attacking me from behind. Lately it seems that this happens when I am engaged with more than 1 mob to begin with. This is what makes the difference between world PvP and ganking. PvP has some measure of an honorable fight - ganking does not.

I rolled on a PvP server, which at the time I really didn't know what that meant, because some friends that recruited me to the game were already there. I have no problems with true world PvP, seeing an Alliance and facing off against him even if there is an element of surprise. It is not the reason I play the game and I prefer PvE objectives over PvP, but it's a PvP server and that is the way it it. What I dislike is the ganking - which is not PvP.

Ganking is PvEvP. Yep, Player vs. Environment vs. Player. Yeah, I just made that up. If it means so much to you to get the HK by attacking and killing me with the help of 2 other mobs, I feel kinda bad for you as a person. What do you brag about to your friends? "I killed this guy that was 2 levels higher than me while he was at half health and fighting two other mobs." Wow, you're awesome. At least wait until I kill the mobs I'm engaged with with and then pounce or kidney shot...or does that make it too fair for you?


Beta changes for Druids and Shaman

Some class changes are coming in beta - we should expect to see a lot more of this as this is the purpose of a beta testing phase. Spells, talents and abilities will continue to be changed and tweaked. Her are the ones that are affecting the classes I have been playing. (source - MMO-Champion)


  • Moonkin Form mana cost has been changed from 22% base mana to 538 mana.
  • Typhoon mana cost has been increased from 475 to 645 and the range changed from 20 to 24 Yards.
  • Force of Nature mana cost has been changed from 12% base mana to 284 mana. Cooldown has been reduced from 3 to 2 minutes.
  • Starfall mana cost has been increased from 655 to 866. Range increased from 30 to 36 yards. Damage seems to be changed as well but it looks like the version displayed in the talent calculator isn't the first rank of the spell.

  • Faerie Fire range has been increased from 30 to 36 yards.
  • Primal Tenacity now increases your chance to resist Stun and Fear mechanics by 5/10/15% (Old version : Reduces the duration of Fear effects by 5/10/15% and reduces all damage taken while stunned by 5/10/15%)
  • Improved Mangle now reduces the cooldown of your Mangle (Bear) ability by 7% (instead of 0.5 sec) and reduces the energy cost of your Mangle (Cat) ability by 2.

  • Tree of Life mana cost reduced from 28% base mana to 978 mana.
  • Flourish mana cost decreased from 585 to 450. Amount of healing decreased (Rank 1 now heals 672 HP instead of 1610).

  • Convection (Tier 1) is now a 3 points talent, reducing the mana cost of Shock, Lightning Bolt, Chain Lightning, Thunder and Lava Burst spells by 4%/8%/12% (Old version : 5 points and 2/4/6/8/10%)
  • Concussion doesn't affect Lava Burst and Thunderstorm anymore.
  • Storm Reach now also increases the radius of your Thunderstorm spell by 10% along with the range improvement on Lightning Bolt / Chain Lightning.
  • Elemental precision increases your chance to hit with Fire, Frost, and Nature spells by 2/4/6% and reduces the threat caused by these spells by 4/7/10% (Old version : 1/2/3% hit and 10/20/30% threat)
  • Astral Shift now has a 33/66/100% chance to shift into the Astral Plane reducing all damage taken by 30% (Old version : 100% chance to reduce all damage taken by 10%/20%/30%)
  • Thunderstorm range increased from 10 to 12 yards, damage increased from 595-679 to 640-729, knockback stays 20 yards.

  • Improved shields now increases the amount of Mana Shield orbs by 10% instead of 5%, improvements to Lightning Shield and Earth Shield stay the same.
  • Shamanistic Rage now gives your successful melee attacks a chance to regenerate mana equal to 15% of your attack power. (Old version : mana regeneration equal to 30% of your attack power)
  • Maelstrom Weapon now reduces the casting time of any spell by 4/8/12/16/20% when you critically hit with a melee weapon. (Old version : was only affecting Lightning Bolt, Chain Lightning, and Lava Burst)
  • Feral Spirit now lasts 45 seconds instead of 30 seconds.

  • Nature's Guardian cooldown has been changed from 8 to 5 seconds.
  • Spirit Link now also breaks if a shared damage would reduce a target's health below 20%.


Having some fun...

Lately it seems that the Guild had kinda stalled out and people really weren't doing too much together. I have been leveling the Shaman and doing some dailies to keep the gold supply up and that seemed to be what most of the others were doing too. Leveling alts or trying to get their mains up to 70. Mostly we seemed to be playing the game in 'single player mode'.

I'm not sure if it is the news of the Wrath beta or just the winding down of Summer - seems weird to say that - or just that some of them needed a break. Whatever it was seems to be lifting a little bit and we have tried to get some instance runs in to shake off the rust and boost our faction rep to get additional recipes or rewards.

After out latest run through Shattered Halls, I was reminded how much fun I have running instances with my friends. I just so happens that of the 5 of us in the run, I work with 3 of them and the 4th is the wife of one of those. It makes the run a lot of fun. I know that even if one of us screws up or causes a wipe there will only be good-natured kidding and no real drama. Our main tank Warrior, Rogue and Druid healer(me) were all level 70 Kara geared. We had our returning prodigal Boomkin, who should have been in Kara gear but sharded it all when he 'quit playing', and a 67 Shadow Priest who tried to keep their DPS up as best they could. Ya, we wiped a few times and had some problems with the final boss - but I had a blast and it was well worth the repair cost to run with my friends.

I wish we could find another group of players who are also real life friends that we could recruit or join up with and get 2 groups going that can combine for 10 man raids in Wrath. That is my greatest hope, a small tight knit guild that I can do 10 man raids with. I am sure that the draw of a 350 person mega-guild is a good fit for some people, but I just am not that guy. I guess I will have to try to start recruiting now to try to accomplish that goal by the release of WotLK, which I estimate to be between Thanksgiving and Christmas.



We have been called to action in the ongoing "situation" between BRKWWA, (a Hunter), and BBBB, (an honorable Druid). We cannot let this aggression stand unchecked and we are compelled to add the voice of the Herd to the conflict, so without further ado -

FO'SHIZZLE or FOSHIZZLE, whichever it may be.

Let's hope BRK soon sees the error of his ways and recants his previous statement advocating the enslavement of Ferals as hunter pets and who knows what he had planned for us trees.

Okole goes 'mental...Elemental

I have always had a hard time playing my characters as melee DPS, but I tried by going Enhancement with Okole until I hit level 64. So, when I visited the trainer to get my new skills - I decided it was time to respec and try out the Elemental tree for a while. Hybrid casters seem a much more natural fit for my playstyle, and although I do like to smack things with a heavy club, it is easier to kill them if they have already been softened up with a few lightning bolts.

My first impression is that it's a lot like playing my Druid as Moonkin, which I always liked. I have to pay attention to cooldowns on my shocks more now than I did on the Drood, but so far I am liking it. I do need to learn where I put all the new skills on my toolbars though, that is the worst part of a respec for me. I am still in the process of converting my gear over from the Strength and Attack Power focus to Intelligence and Spell Damage. I did manage to acquire some gear along the way from drops and quest rewards that I held onto for just this situation.

I have not gotten into any instances with this spec yet, but I am going to try to run Hellfire Ramparts and Blood Furnace soon to see how it works out in a dungeon setting. I will be augmenting Elemental with Restoration to provide some healing in a pinch.

The thing I miss most so far is...Improved Ghost Wolf, no more instant cast escape ability. I just can't see a way to justify spending the points in the Enhancement tree to pick it up.


Wrath Beta news

That's right folks...looks like the Wrath Beta is very near. Rumor has it that some European players are already getting beta invites. Hmm - this is very interesting news. Check out MMO-Champion's info and also some info from WoWInsider.

Looks some patch notes are included with these and I like what I am seeing for the classes I play the most - Druid and Shaman. Take a look and see what the beta might have in store for you.


So...what have you done?

This just in from Blizzard -

World of Warcraft’s achievements system will launch with more than 500 individual achievements covering every aspect of gameplay, including world exploration, PvE, PvP, professions, and character development; from the purely whimsical to the truly epic, there will be something for everyone. Some achievements come with in-game rewards such as tabards, vanity pets, and titles. All of these rewards are purely cosmetic and just for fun, but you’ll certainly stand out when you proudly display them.

And don’t fret about running out of achievements anytime soon. The list is easily expandable, so you can expect additional achievements with each new World of Warcraft content update.

Some of the different types of achievements available are:
  • Player-vs.-Player: This includes arena, battlegrounds, and world player-vs.-player objectives. A few examples:
    • Hot Streak: Win 10 ranked arena matches in a row.
    • Alterac Valley All-Star: Capture graveyards, towers, and kill the enemy leader all in one game.
    • City Defender: Kill 50 enemy players in your faction’s capital cities.
  • Dungeons and Raids: Every end boss of every raid and dungeon in the game grants its own achievement. Future achievements in this category may include ones for completing a run without any player deaths, with fewer than the maximum number of players, or within a certain time limit.
  • Professions: Advancing to each tier of mastery in a profession earns you an achievement, and there are specific achievements for secondary skills (with major professions to follow).
  • Quests: Quest-based achievements include completing a certain number of quests and completing specific quest lines. This category contains zone-specific subcategories.
  • Events: Seasonal events such as the Midsummer Festival, the Lunar Festival, and Hallows’ End have specific achievements of their own.
  • World Exploration: You’ll earn achievements by exploring each zone in the game -- and get meta-achievements when you fully explore a continent.
  • Reputations: This set of achievements includes attaining exalted reputation with each faction in the game.
  • General: These achievements tend toward the whimsical, including getting a shave and haircut (a new feature of Wrath of the Lich King), obtaining a certain number of tabards and vanity pets, falling from a great height, and more.
This looks like it could be a lot of fun and give players something else to shoot for. It is something that can keep casuals playing and developing their own from of progression. I like the idea of tracking bosses that you have personally downed. A lot of players say things like - "I'm in the top guild on the server" or "We downed Illidan" but you can never really prove it. Now your participation in the raid or boss kill will actually be able to be tracked.

I expect these achievements to be questioned and requested when applying to a progression focused guild. No matter what, this adds an interesting mini-game aspect to our endless grinding and questing as we level up to 80.


Blizzard Authenticator

Yep, got it Friday and set it up Friday night. The setup process took about 2 minutes...that's it. You go to the Blizzard website, login to Account Management, click the link for the Blizzard Authenticator, enter the number on the back of your particular authenticator and you're done.

Now when you login with username and password, a second screen pops up, you push the button on the authenticator and enter the 6 digit code that is shown on the authenticator screen and you are in. It adds 10-15 seconds to the login process.

This seems like a success and the only downside so far is that the Blizzard store keeps selling out of the fobs.

What amazes me about the whole thing is that this game may be deploying the most secure access to a public resource that has ever been done at this scale. Now the companies providing secure for "real" assets need to start asking how they can match up with a video game's protection of "virtual" assests. I would certainly opt-in to something like this if it was offered by my bank for secure online account access...so why don't they offer it?


Lich King beta opt-in

Head on over to Wrath of the Lich King Beta Opt-In program and let them know if you are interested in being a beta-tester. They are saying that the beta testers will be a random selection from all those who opt-in. I signed up on the account management page and when I ordered my Authenticator there was also an option to opt-in for beta testing. I am hopeful that we will see the game on shelves by Christmas break.

State of the Herd address for July

I ordered one of the Blizzard Authenticators this week, before they sold out, and am anxiously awaiting delivery. Obviously I am not the only one who is looking for a little more account security and I am in no way surprised by the quick sell out of this product.

On to the toons -

Bumwaller - finished the attunement process for Onyxia's Lair and Blackwing Lair. Just something we were doing to pass the time and give us something to do other than PUGging and battlegrounds. Also been doing a few dailies and picking herbs for the potions and elixirs for the leveling alts and mana pots always sell pretty good at auction.

Okole - almost level 62, should hit that this weekend if I have the time. I have been leveling in the "old world" so far, hoping that the more levels I get there will mean more time questing at 70 in Outlands., and that means more gold for a flyer. I am liking the enhancement spec, lot of burst damage and being able to heal myself on the fly is great to keep the fight going. I don't die very often and usually there is enough time in between deaths that my reincarnation is available when it happens.

Namenivob - doing the AH thing, making a few bags for friends and profit.


Noteable Info from WWI

Some of the information coming out of the World Wide Invitational in Paris (as reported by WoWInsider and MMO-Champion) -

There is a lot of information being posted at the sites listed above, they have people at the Invitational that are getting the information to the masses. I'm not going to list all of it, just make comment on the stuff that I see as most interesting to me. Visit those sites to get all the info for your self.

  • There is a plan to give player access to two talent specs to switch between them without having to respec all the time. More details in the future.
  • Raiding armor sets and PvP rewards sets will look different and won't share the same model anymore in Wrath of the Lich King

The first one here - great news if this comes to pass. Being able to switch between two specs, if you don't have to visit the trainer to do it, is wonderful. Then you could have a grinding spec and a raid spec, or a PvE spec and PvP spec, or tanking spec and DPS spec. Man, that would be really nice. Coupled with the proposed spell power change, you could easily switch from DPS spec to a healing spec without changing gear - holy crap. Could you imaging Druids going from Tree of Life to Boomkin in the span of a few seconds...it makes me giddy just thinking of it.

Second - a cosmetic thing to be sure, but I like it. Now you'll easily be able to see whether a player is focusing their time and energy in PvP or raiding. At the present time you have to inspect someone to see if that gear as Tier 6 or Season 3 reward.

Shaman Info from WWI

Some of the information coming out of the World Wide Invitational in Paris (as reported by WoWInsider and MMO-Champion) -

  • Totems are being "condensed" into a smaller amount of totems, for exemple Strength of Earth and Grace of Air totems will be merged into the same totem
  • A new weapon enchantment will be available "Earthliving Weapon". It will increase the healing power of the Shaman.
  • Flametongue will give spell damage bonus to the Shaman.
  • Totems are being moved to physical school, you can't counterspell anymore.
  • Totems will also affect raid members, not just the local party.
  • Shamans are getting "Hex", a polymorph-like spell on a medium cooldown allowing them to turn an enemy into a frog. The enemy cannot cast or attack but is still in control of his character.
  • Windfury won't be a weapon enchant anymore and will be changed to a buff. You will be able to use it in bear form or with poison.

If I understand this correctly, more people are going to be asking us Shaman to buff them - this will be more requested than Mark of the Wild for the melee DPS folks. It also means that we can add another temporary enchant to our weapon and still keep Windfury up. Wow. That could be awesome, can you imagine having Frostbrand on your main-hand, Flametongue on the off-hand and Windfury going as well (potentially affecting both)?

Hex will be fun to use - and give us a little bit of CC utility, only last 8-10 seconds, but better than nothing and can help when you need to stop a healer or caster for a bit to let your DPS get ahead on a mob or boss.

Druid Info from WWI

Some of the information coming out of the World Wide Invitational in Paris (as reported by WoWInsider and MMO-Champion) -

  • Entangling roots will be useable indoor.
  • Nourish will be a new healing spell, healing for more hit points for each HoT effect on the target.
  • There isn't any plan to change cyclone
  • There will be a new model for the Druid's Dire Bear form and the Dire Cat form will be introduced.

Not a huge amount of detail and changes here. But the ones that are here are pretty cool.

First - Indoor roots - this is awesome. Not as good as some CC abilities, casters and reanged DPS can still do their thing while rooted, but does some damage and when talented can be a bit more than trivial. Along withe the rumored Alpha change to make it tick every second, this could be very helpful, especially against melee class and physical DPS.

Second - Dire Bear model change, that's pretty cool. But, the one all the Feral folks will be loving is Dire Cat form. Not many details on it yet, as with most of these announcements.


How much is your account security worth?

Is it worth $6.50 to make your account almost uncrackable? Are you ready to stop worrying about a keylogger getting your account information?

Well - check this out, the Blizzard Authenticator, "an optional tool that offers World of Warcraft players an additional layer of security to help prevent unauthorized account access. The Authenticator itself is a physical “token” device that fits easily on a keyring."

That's right two-factor authentication is coming to World of Warcraft and that is great news for anyone concerned with account security. As a technology geek, I am impressed that they have taken the security of the game so seriously.

Now let's hope these come in multiple designs, or at least a separate one for Alliance and one For the Horde!


Big news of the week

We have patch notes for the 2.4.3 patch that is up on the PTR - you can find them here. One of the most interesting changes is "Mounts at 30?! Yes, it's true: Apprentice Riding and mounts are now available at level 30. Training costs 35 gold."

Also there is an undocumented find - the Brewfest Kodo! As a Tauren, I'll have to get one of those - it's my tribal duty.

"Time Management features have been implemented! These features include an alarm clock, stopwatch, and viewing your computer’s local time." That might be nice to set alarms to remind me to go to bed at a decent time, or when raid time starts.


What's been happening...

Druid - Working on the Onyxia attunement with the guild's main tank, and a few others coming along for different stages, for the fun of it. We ran with a 65 shadow priest through the first part of UBRS and then he had to leave. So a Resto Druid and Prot Warrior cleared the rest of the instance. We couldn't quite down the final boss, but we got one more stage of the attunement quest done. Then fly all over the dang place and got sent right back into UBRS. We'll do that again soon.

Shaman - I hit 55 on the Shaman, finally can use all the potions and elixirs I can make with the Druid. I'm still specced as Enhancement, but that may change. We still don't have a lot of healers in the guild, and I enjoy the healing role, so I might spec to Resto. We will be getting back into raiding with WotLK so I'll assess the situation further later on.

Hunter - this guy is my level 60 bank alt lately. Making some money with enchanting/disenchanting and tailoring. Not much else to say.


Attunement? Yes, attunement.

It seems like a lot of people are in a holding pattern lately in game. I'm not really sure why, but it is a common theme in a lot of blogs I read. My guess would be that many folks are just going into a lame duck mode waiting for Wrath of the Lich King to be released or trying out Age of Conan, or just busy with family and friends now that Summer has arrived.

In addition to a lot of the guild leveling their alts, a few of us have decided to pick up some old world attunements just for the nuts of it. We are working on the Onyxia quests now, I don't know if we will ever try to down her or not, but it gives us something to do. We will probably be working on Molten Core and Naxxramas as well just to round out the major attunements in the game. Along the way we will end up with Upper Blackrock Spire and Blackwing Lair attunement and we are thinking of running out to get the Scholomance and Stratholme keys as well.

Sometimes I think it's more fun to 3 man those high end old world instances with your friends, when you are bored and looking for something to do, than it is to try to PuG Karazhan or fill a raid spot for Mag or Gruul.


Level 49 Battlegrounds = suck

I though I would start the battleground mark grind a little earlier on the Shaman than I had on the Druid. With Bumwaller I really didn't do any BGs unit I has 70 and then I did the honor grind for marks for the mount raptor mount and the Vindicator set. I never have done it with Namenivob, I'm just not a PvP guy unless I see the goal of it...gear usually, and I like the Black War Raptor for my Tauren herd.

I went in to Warsong Gulch at 49 with Okole, figuring I was the top of the bracket and it shouldn't be too bad. Ha. I got pounded by all the 49 twinks in there, which surprised me a bit. I thought, wrongly, that the twinking stopped at 19 and 29. I was wrong.

Apparently these 49 twinks are toons that people got tired of leveling so they twink them out. level 49 is high enough to get a formidable PvP spec and completely "pwn" the casual PvP player looking for honor.

I will be leveling and doing the grind later, or at least movig to Arathi Basin or Alterac Valley to see if they are better.


Deadmines - I wanna be a pirate

I was bored the other night and decided I would run Deadmines and try to get Defias Rapier for my "pirate" around town outfit. I ran all the instance all the way to the end, just to do it and disenchanted all the boss drops. There are only 2 mobs in Deadmines that drop that rapier and they are adds to the 1st boss. I reset the instance went in again, killed them and the rapier did not drop. I kept doing this until it wouldn't let me back in due to too many instances in the allotted time frame.

Still no drops.

Bit I did get Blackwater Cutlass, 2 of them, and I actually think they are slightly more pirate-y. I put a Minor Beastslayer enchant on to give them a slight red glow. Oh yeah - I got a Green Wing Macaw drop too.


The ban hammer...or is it a frontal cleave?

There is an interesting discussion going on with many of the bloggers that gave me my "inspiration" to start blogging. It all starts here "Shenannigans are afoot" written by TJ.

Basically what has happened is a member of their guild has been hit by the latest wave of mass bans for, what appears to be, nothing more than having the software for the Logitech G15 keyboard installed. I do not know the player in question and cannot vouch for him or his actions, but many people are shocked by his banning.

The big problem that seems to be surfacing is that he is getting no response from Blizzard customer service. If the ban has hit people for using a certain keyboard, and that is the only reason for the ban, I would think it would be pretty easy to figure out who was affected by that and review those cases for possible reinstatement, or at least shoot them an email to let them know they are being reviewed. The lack of customer service response is damaging to a company like Blizzard that relies on an active user base for revenue.

The second issue that has come up is whether the various blogs should be used to help this matter get attention. I this I will say, why not? We blog for all kinds of reasons and to bring this issue to light is a legitimate use, I think. I will not proclaim guilt or innocence of this particular user and really don't want to get into the debate, TJ's site is the place for that. But blogs have become a powerful way to check the pulse of the community, and right now there certainly is some unrest in the community regarding the Blizzard customer support.


Leaked Wrath of the Lich King?

A lot of information is floating around the web and blogosphere lately in regards to the new expansion. This includes new talents, spells, abilities and even screenshots of what appears to be in game footage of toons using the new abilities in the new zones.

What this means is either -
A) Some "friends and family" are not following the NDA that we have been told they are required to sign
- or -
B) this is a calculated move on the part of Blizzard to keep people interested and build hype for WotLK with Age of Conan coming out this week.

I'll leave it up to you to decide for yourselves how much of this information is accurate or whether you believe it is an elaborate hoax. There does seem to be some very interesting talents and changes that address a lot of concerns that certain classes have had in the past. Looking at it from a resto Druid perspective, I like what I see so far. There is no Shaman information in the leaks yet, but I'm sure we will see it eventually (unless Blizzard sends the lawyers after the sites that are still posting this information).

Keep in mind though, even if it is a legitimate leak, a lot can change between an alpha and what we actually get at release.


Did this get easier?

Maybe I got better at playing, maybe the Shaman is just that OP or maybe these quests got easier. I have noticed, as I go along leveling the Shaman, that the quests seem easier. Especially the ones that used to be a pain in my arse, now seem to be a breeze. I really don't know why. I'm not complaining mind you, just observing.

In particular are the last stage of Bloodsail Buccaneers (killing the 3 captians on the ships) and Bloodscalp Clan Heads (killing the Trolls in the large ruins). I remember doing these as a group before and either having lots of trouble or abandoning them in frustration. This time - no troubles, no deaths, easy as can be. The biggest shock to me was Stranglethorn Fever, that one got much easier and now you only have 3 gorillas TOTAL to kill, not the waves of 3-4 that it used to be. Also only needs 1 Fang to start the quest, used to be 10 and it was tough to finish even with a friend. I hated that quest in the past, but now...barely even lost HP or mana.


A little fun in Ramparts

The guild's level 70 rogue, and Bumwaller, my 70 Druid, ran two guildies through Ramparts last night and had a blast. One was the main of our resident altoholic, finally getting his first toon to 60 and the other was the 60 Mage alt of our main tank. We only had one death, which was mostly my fault on a late heal. Overall though I had a blast, I knew there would be no gear for me and I didn't care. There was so much less stress than healing the raids lately.

I finally got a bit of fun in again. I kind of poorly tanked, healed and finished 2nd in DPS behind our rogue. But, I did get a stack or two of Runecloth for my bank alt tailor and a couple greens to disenchant.


Shaman - Windfury freaking rocks

I have been leveling the Shaman lately and let me tell you - I love Windfury. I haven't played melee classes much and that in itself is pretty different, but when Windfury procs on mainhand AND offhand strikes - awesome!

My plan is to level to 60-65 with the enhancement spec and then see what I want to do when I get more serious about instances and maybe raiding with this toon. I already have Bumwaller to handle the heals and usually take him raiding. Fewer groups seem to want the melee DPS lately though, so maybe I will go Elemental with Okole. Either way, I'll probably drop some points into resto so I can fill in as an off healer when needed. I guess I'll wait and see when the time comes and what the guild status is at that point.


Thoughts on Lich King info

By now most people have seen, or heard from friends, a lot of the details that are circulating about the upcoming expansion. There is something for everyone to get excited about among all that information, I'm sure.

So, what am I most geeked about seeing? It would have to be the 10-man raid versions for all raids in the game. I prefer a small tight knit guild and part of the reason our guild has faltered of late is the 25-man progression. I think a lot of smaller "social guilds" will welcome this change more than many others - and there are a LOT of changes.

There have been concerns that this change defeats some of the accomplishment of downing a boss with 25 players when you can down the same boss with 10 players. It has been stated that the loot tables will be separate between the versions, so for those that want the best gear the 25s will still be the target.

From a business standpoint, I think this is a great move on the part of Blizzard. I personally know of many players who have quit the game because they felt phased out of the game. These are the players that run 5 mans, heroics and 10 man raids - but can't dedicate the time required by most 25 man raiding guilds.


Some WotLK info is making the rounds

Raids & Dungeons

  • All raid dungeons in Wrath of the Lich King will have both 10-person and 25-person versions. So at level 80, every major encounter and every big boss fight can be experienced with a group of 10. (Gamespy.com)
  • 25-person raiding progression is not dependent on 10-person raiding progression. (Gamespy.com)
  • There will be no attunements or keys to obtain, and you won't be locked out of a 25-person instance if you decide to attempt the 10-person version, and vice-versa. (Gamespy.com)
  • 25-person raids will earn more, higher-level rewards, in what should be the equivalent of one "tier" of loot quality. (Gamespy.com)
  • A new instance focused on the different dragonflights "The Chamber of Aspects" might be added to the game, but this isn't confirmed yet. (Gamespy.com)
  • Zero raid bosses have been designed at this point. (Gamespy.com)

  • Players will unlock their flying mount at level 77. (Gamespy.com)
  • You can use your Outland flying mount, and new flying mounts will be available. (Gamespy.co


State of the Guild

The transition to "social" status is going pretty good so far. We have had a few more folks leave with their main toons but have left their alts. I think the shakeout is about done and the stress is already lessened, I hope everyone is happy in whatever choice the make.

I have also had some invites to help out with the healing in the progression guilds that the players have moved on to, so that is nice when I am in the mood for raiding. It seems there is always a desire for that extra healer.

I've been playing with the Hunter and Shaman a lot more lately too, and that is keeping enough variety to prevent me from completely burning out.


Transition to a "Social" Guild

As I have noted previously, the attempts to get the guild back into 10 man content were unsuccessful. I have decided, with support of the co-leaders, to transition the guild to a more social atmosphere. We may do some instances and fill in raid spots when needed, but I will not be planning any additional raids until the Fall.

Today, 3 of my class leaders pulled their mains from the guild to join an up and coming raiding guild. I wish them luck, I really do. I have gotten to know them as individuals and I will miss them. They have decided to leave the alts in "our" guild and will be playing, leveling and chatting as before and using the mains to raid.

"Limited Warranty" is the name of the guild and it is living up to it's name. And you know what - after a period of soul searching - I'm okay with that.


Orcs are terrible parents

Once again Children's Week is upon us, and have you noticed it only seems that Orcs have produced the orphans. The noble Tauren do not have this problem with abandoned children that need to be shown around the lands of Azeroth by kind adventurers. They say it takes a village to raise a child, and sometimes it takes the whole Clan.

It is a fun event and can get you a non-combat pet if you like that type of thing or some Gold if you like that kind of thing better. You also get some easy rep with all the major factions of the Horde, so it's definitely worth doing.


Well, that sucked...

So the attempt to get the guild back on track was a fantastic failure.

When I logged in to start the raid invites, I saw a number of people in battlegrounds and a couple in Gruul's Lair. Okay, I can see the draw of Gruul, but the guild run was posted on the website (which most are too freaking lazy to look at) and in the guild message of the day. After 35 minutes of trying to get the run together I called it off out of frustration. The raid makeup was not good for Karazhan anyway, and only 1 healer (me) so it was probably better that way.

I logged off in frustration and went to eat ice cream.

I don't know what the next step is. All I really do know is that I am unhappy with the current state of the guild and the loyalty, or lack thereof, of some of the members.


Shaman at 40

I stayed up WAY too late Saturday night into Sunday morning to get my Shaman to level 40.

A lot of awesome things at level 40 for Shaman:

  1. Mail Armor - This greatly increases my armor choices, not I just need to find some with the right attributes. I am thinking the "...of the Gorilla" stuff will be good for now, Strength and Intellect. Maybe I can get some cheap Stamina enchants from leveling enchanters to help out as well.
  2. Dual Wield - I can't wait to try this out on some mobs. With Windfury on both weapons, I should have deadly potential.
  3. Chain Heal - I want to try this out and see if it really is as great as everyone says. I've been in raids with my Resto Druid and have seen Resto Shaman using it, looks pretty interesting. I'll just have to find a group that is willing to let an Enhancement Shaman heal them, maybe a grinding group.
  4. Kodo - I get the mount on this toon too. Ghost Wolf is nice, but a Tauren belongs on a Kodo.
Time for some sleep.



Q: How do you tell if a Tree of Life Druid is male or female?
A: Check it for nuts.

Getting the guild back on track

So, lately my guild has been really unfocused and I'm trying to get everyone back on track and working as a team again.

Limited Warranty is a smaller guild and we originally formed as a break off of a couple other guilds that had turned into social and leveling guilds. Those guilds weren't even running 5 mans anymore and I was frustrated, so I ponied up the gold and started a guild with my real life friends to run 5 mans, gear up to heroics and, in our wildest dreams, get into 10 man raiding. We got some really good people in the "defection" and added some more soon after. It was great to be in dungeons again and we progressed along nicely. We got into Karazhan a couple months ago and made it to Shade of Aran...then it happened.

It was harder to get people to get to the raid on time, repaired, with consumables for the first night of the "easy" bosses and trash. But, we worked our way through it and did okay getting upgrades for a lot of our team. Then we seemed to lose steam and people stopped showing up. Then the new Sunwell stuff came along and everyone started doing the dailies and Magister's Terrace - but not as a guild.

I need to get everyone back on track, whatever that is going to be. So, I've scheduled a couple nights of Kara to hopefully get everyone back into the raiding spirit and regain some unity in the guild. I hope it goes well...


An introduction...

This is the time when I post who I am, what I am doing in Warcraft and my motivation behind the blog?

Okay, here goes.

I play Horde, currently on the Vashj (PvP, US) server, and I have all Tauren characters - hence the "For the Herd". I have one of every playable class that a Tauren can choose. My main is a level 70 restoration Druid. I also have a level 57 Hunter, level 38 Shaman and a lowly level 6 Warrior.

I am in the process of leveling the Shaman as enhancement now and use the Druid for guild instances and raid healing. The hunter is pretty much my bank alt, but I do get out and help guildies and grind occasionally. I want to level the warrior some more, but the hybrids have so much more appeal for me that I find it difficult to play the warrior. I will attempt to give it more attention in the future, but I just don't see that one getting to 70.