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One capturable pet left. Just one.

Oh seasonal pets, how I despise you

Oh seasonal pets, how I despise you

Upon starting the Zookeeper achievement, I set forth with high spirits to capture blue versions of every pet. That is, until discovering that one f the pets could only be caught during Summer. Around that point I more or less decided “eh, fsck it” and caught whatever specimen was the first to pop up in my beady sights.

Lately, with our raid schedule in flux and le wifelet less interested in playing, I’ve taken to hunting down rares again. Also been doing the Pandaria trainer dailies, which give an average return of 1-2 stones per day. That’s allowed the upgrade of most of my tradeable army as well, barring the beasts and flyers.

It seems sadly ironic that I complained about unusual types’ stones likely rarity via battling. As it turns out, there are far fewer exotic types which need upgrading, but a veritable army of more mundane family pets. If the stone drops for battling those mundane families were more common, that’d be great… but after countless battles, it seems that the drop rate is in fact exceedingly low, even from the highest level pets.

Of course, none of this is news to regular pet battlers. It turns out that some enterprising souls even offer to upgrade tradeable pets, and beast, critter, flying and mechanical stones command a premium above the other types. C’est la vie.

In other news, as a consequence of said schedule flux, I’ve spent a significant portion of the last week gearing my alliance paladin. She’s a little rough around the edges, but at least has some Timeless Isle gear and a coin-bought weapon. Oh, and a classic plate bikini from BC, but that’s neither here nor there.

Apparently I don't love her enough to take screenshots. Whoops!

Apparently I don’t love her enough to take ingame screenshots. Whoops!

Something shocking as a horde player was doing the Underhold and Downfall LFR instances, and finding that much of the more annoying trash – ie. the orc armies with their shredders and turrets et al – were simply skipped by the alliance. This happens in both instances, and was particularly headache-inducing in Downfall – the first two rooms have thus far been responsible for more wipes and group-drops than any of the bosses that I’ve seen, including Garrosh. Yet the alliance get to simply breeze through? I get that they wanted a moment of coolness, but… really? For the difference to be this stark?

That first trash pull sets the tone for the rest of the instance. Horde Downfall runs see players – especially tanks – leaving the instant anything goes wrong, or even looks as though it might. Entire groups will disband rather than face that trash, and this after an hour’s wait for DPS players. Even upon success, the players are taciturn and judgmental to an unusual degree. The overall experience is exceedingly negative.

By contrast alliance queue times are quicker, the players less likely to drop out, and overall are more relaxed. Sure, there are blowhards and elitists and even trolls, but it’s nothing like the horde experience. And the really sad thing is that alliance players probably don’t even know how good they have it.

I’ve maintained for some time now that, despite their continual whining about story focus, alliance players get it way easier in gameplay terms. Seeing that spill over into raids is infuriating to the point of actual sickening rage.

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We’ve made solid progress over the past two weeks. Norushen and Pride last week, followed by a repeat this week and downing of Galakras, Juggernaut, Shaman, Nazgrim and Malkorok. Oh, and a couple of decent pulls at Spoils.

Norushen stomping all over the Amalgam

Norushen stomping all over the Amalgam

Vintage last week. Picked a pic with Norushen included, despite the fact that he doesn’t bother to take part in the encounter that’s named for him. Well, unless he’s the one spawning those golden spheres, but that sounds a bit proactive.

"Draw me like one of your French girls!"

“Draw me like one of your French girls!”

Pride’s been a pretty simple kill. Wish we’d had the option of choosing between Pride and Norushen. Thought SoO was meant to have branching options, but apparently that went out of the window sometime in development.

There was going to be a pic of our Galakras kill here, but I’m totes lame and awful, so just imagine it. Or flash back to the end of your most recent LFR Galakras, after half of the raid’s left because they only wanted loot off the first boss. Derp.

Juggernaut fall down, go boom.

Juggernaut fall down, go boom.

Biggest problem for Juggernaut was raid members assuming that they could soak bombs as though this were Flex. Kids, do not try this at home. Leave it to trained professionals, like tanks.

Only one of the pair. Like socks through the tumbledryer, so are the Days of our Shammies.

Only one of the pair. Like socks through the tumbledryer, so are the Days of our Shammies.

Our strategy for downing Dark Shaman actually involved three tanks tanking them separately – two at the top with Dottsy McTankSwap, one at the bottom with the DPS and Oozetastica the Poisonlicious. Works really well – you get deathwalls at the sparsely-populated top where they’re less likely to cause huge issues, and oozes and ashfalls at the bottom where there’s plenty of room to maneuver.

One poor decision too far.

One poor decision too far.

A lot of people seem to be attached to Nazgrim. I don’t get it. Since Cataclysm we’ve been following this tool who spouts off about how the Horde is all too magnificent, and who then tends to go right ahead and fuck already-bad situations up even worse. he tried hard, he was loyal, and he was way out of his goddamned depth. Maybe it’s because of that – the fact that he wasn’t some unstoppable Marty Stu – but his self-righteous jingoistic prattle got on my nerves.

I swiped his mace from the DK tank, purely on the basis that it’s a hefty base damage upgrade and mastery’s a pretty good stat for AoE-heavy encounters like around 80% of Siege. This also means that the warrior and I won’t be competing when something heavy on crit drops. We were both at the top of the SK list… I don’t know if Siege just has poor item placement for plate DPS, or if we’re just really unlucky.

The club can't handle us.

The club can’t handle us.

Malkorok really came out of nowhere. I get that he was important in the books, and he was some sort of kitten-stomping baby-eating Bad Guy in the backstory, but seriously… it would have been nice to have some insight into what his deal was within the game. Also, this encounter makes no bloody sense at all.

Downing the boss wasn’t the hard part – the hard part was getting everyone online at the same time to do so. At one point the raid leader’s machine crashed and completely lost all of his addon settings. Given that he was a healer, that was rather inconvenient. In the end we did manage the kill.

And now for some arbitrary nonsense.

Behold the holy bug-zapper!

Behold the holy bug-zapper!

Our main tank got his Tabard of the Lightbringer this week, something that he’s been working towards for quite some time now. Quite nifty.

If you recognise the room, yes it is indeed Garrosh’s secret underground no-cooties clubhouse. We were running it in Flex. If you recognise the second tank, I’ll be a little surprised. That’s Drythorn, making his return behind the board after a long period of smitey smiting. We didn’t get Garrosh down in the end… not enough DPS, and the tanks kept exploding violently due to adds and Warsong. Tips appreciated, since we don’t actually know how to prevent mobs getting the buff and stomping us obscenely.

Ended up tanking most of Flex and some of 10N with Dry this week. One of our tanks has come over all unreliable, so we’re making do with anything that can equip a shield, and in the case of a certain bear, the shield’s optional. Raid tanking beats the hell out of PuG tanking, at least.

"Hey, where do you think you're putting that thing?"

“Hey, where do you think you’re putting that thing?”

Ah, pet battles. Such light-hearted family fun.

It awaits you under your bed

It awaits you under your bed

And finally, in case you ever wondered why anyone would ever play an orc as a clothie: this. This is why.

That’s pretty much it for the week. Still no image editor, so the screenshots look a little like they came from the inside of a Soviet mining gulag, which I suppose is actually fairly accurate. Deepholm flashbacks ahoy.

Looking forward to getting a shot at further and better bosses this week. I’m pretty happy with the raid as a whole… particularly in the second half, it certainly feels more dynamic than Throne of Thunder, while moving far away from Throne’s tendency to determine encounters on the strength of random people executing cheap gimmicks.

Go Team Siege.

Yowza.

Yowza.

After a few weeks of running Galakras LFR exclusively, the Evil Eye is mine. Cackle, cackle, cauldrons and spackle, etc.

A couple of Public Service Announcements with regard to this trinket:

  • When mousing over your abilities to check the reduced cooldown, bear in mind that 1.43 minutes is not the same thing as 1 minute 43 seconds. This point may only apply if you’re prone to hot and cold running derp. No, the shiny new statblob did not just shave a whole 17 seconds off of Avenging Wrath.
  • I’m not convinced that the math on this thing is entirely straightforward. A 31% reduction on a 2 minute ability should math out at 2 – (0.31 * 2) = 1.38, but it’s somehow showing as 1.43.

On to the paladin-specific issues. Yes, you knew there were going to be issues, you’er reading my blog after all. Don’t act all innocent and wounded, we both knew where this relationship post was headed.

Okay, so this may be less paladin-specific than one would think – I wouldn’t be surprised if other classes have similar issues, but I don’t know the classes as well and, more importantly, I don’t have this trink on any of them.

The Eye messes with our talent choices. Not by reducing CDs on our active talents – that’d actually be pretty cool. No, the messing about is more subtle. With the advent of Mists, we received a tree that was supposed to give us some freedom in picking and choosing our abilities, with no real wrong choices. Unfortunately, if you want to choose anything other than Sanctified Wrath now, you’re wrong.

See, with a lower CD on wings, the benefit of SW is also active more often. Meanwhile, Holy Avenger is unaffected by the change, and Divine Purpose – being a passive effect – is just as static. But at least neither of those abilities actually breaks the CD reduction – unlike Clemency. See, Clemency gives us two charges on our Hand abilities. Unfortunately, a couple of those Hands are in the list of abilities modified by the Eye, but if you have Clemency, the CD reduction completely fails to apply. I can sort of see their point – we’d be able to throw more hands around than a squid in a rubber glove factory – but it still feels broken, since it means that we don’t get a benefit from 2 of our 6 reduced abilities.

So, what to take instead? Unbreakable Spirit, which modifies another ability covered by the Eye? Yeah, we’ve seen how that works out. How about Hand of Purity? See, despite being a good candidate for the most situational talent in the tree, HoP is actually the one and only talent to which the Eye grants its benevolent glance.

So much for “major abilities”, huh? This is a DoT-reduction talent, which states in the tooltip “less for some creature attacks”. That makes it a talent only useful for cheesing some boss mechanics, but which is nerfed not to actually be able to cheese said mechanics. And rather than give us a reduction on something genuinely good – like our 90 talents, for instance – they decided to try and buff what is, in the end, a lackluster also-ran. *sigh*

Regardless, as a CD-driven class I’m looking forward to letting rip with the Eye in my corner. Just wish that it felt a little less… limiting.

After the last post’s semi-guildrun-thing, we actually got a proper guild group together and cleared Terrace. Go us!

Some folks may be missing because they wouldn't stand still in frame...

Some folks may be missing because they wouldn’t stand still in frame…

What else to do, though? Well, in between about a million interviews and some crushing self-doubt, I’ve been levelling toons on a PvP server again. Got a little warrior as a tank, since I never got the hang of warrior-tanking in Cata and I figured it’d be better now.

Well, it’s… different now.

Not actually relevant, but this quest is hilariously bugged at the moment. "I could have sworn the Banshee Queen was a goth chick... NOPE, HORSE"

Not actually relevant, but this quest is hilariously bugged at the moment. “I could have sworn the Banshee Queen was a goth chick… NOPE, HORSE”

One of the issues with rage tanks is that if you miss your rage-generating attacks then you’re completely hosed. Guess how much hit and expertise there is on low level gear? If you guessed “bugger all”, then full points.

nodamage

OMG OP nerf nao

Warriors still have very little by way of options when pulling from range, and they don’t really have AoE early on. Hell, they don’t have any attacks early on. Up until 26 your only option for a semi-spammable attack is Sunder Armor, which does exactly zero damage. Somehow manages to keep threat, though.

Started a paladin (there’s a surprise) shortly after the warrior, specced it out as tank, and the contrast is unbelievable. Just being able to deal damage from range and having a reliable self-heal makes a massive difference, and having an attack that’s up every few seconds from lvl 7 is so much better. Mobility or not, I can navigate a dungeon so much faster on a paladin.

A lot of the difference comes down to Avenger’s Shield – being able to grab threat from range and keep it, plus the interrupt/silence effect. Makes Heroic (hah!) Throw look like the joke it is. On the plus side, once you hit 30 and get Revenge, nothing will ever out-aggro you again, provided that you can keep stuff in range.

Also been slowly levelling a monk. One of the nice things about monks is that “slowly” is a relative term. There’s a daily class quest at your handy Acherus analogue that grants a buff that increases any xp you gain by 50% for an hour. Stacks up to 3 hours. Each of these quests requires the defeat of a master, but what got me was the comments that the masters use when you challenge them.

This guy, for instance, spends too much time on the PvP forums.

This guy, for instance, spends too much time on the PvP forums.

They seem to be not-so-subtle jabs at some of the playerbase. It’s brilliant. There are also two Master Chengs… a pandaren male and a belf female. That’s… kind of freaky.

Lastly there’s the Brawler’s Guild. At some point, after watching guildies struggle with GG Engineering, I basically plowed my way through the first 6 ranks or so by sheer skill and overgearing like a boss. Rank 7 was kind of fun, with gear not making such a great difference and fewer “haha you’re melee FUCK YOU” fights. Then I hit rank 8. Which meant Hexos.

Allow me to illustrate Hexos with the involuntary help of some random ‘lock who was trying it as well. (since there’s no way in hell I can take screenies while trying the fight…)

WoWScrnShot_071413_223124

This ain’t so bad, I don’t see the big… uh…

 

...deal... whoa...

…deal… whoa…

 

...ohshiii wtf...

…ohshiii wtf…

 

...GG lol.

…GG lol.

The fight is literally playing this game while running your rotation well enough to manage 100k DPS. It’s… insane. Oh, and tends to bug out for pet classes if Hexos goes for your pet first, so there’s that. For those who don’t want to click the link, here’s the breakdown: if you’re facing any of those pink bits when they get to you, it’s over. Instant death. If nothing else, this serves as a warning of how much worse Durumu’s floor maze could have been.

So yeah, not sure when or if I’ll ever make that one. Ah well.

dressup

That moment when you realise you didn’t remember to get a screenshot, so your UI is showing

‘Net line’s done its typical African thing over the past couple of weeks, so WoW has basically been reduced to Dressup Barbie Retribution edition. Well, that and I finally switched my paladin from miner to blacksmith. I’m sure the extra 600 or so haste is totally worth it!

Actually been wanting to switch away from mining for a while now. Not the most useful, exciting or flexible perks. Considered engineering, then remembered the guy I healed in Dragon Soul whose boot enchants occasionally managed to deal somewhere in the millions worth of damage to him over the course of Madness. So yeah, BS.

Meanwhile, back in dressup barbie land, green is apparently the colour of the day. Tillers have a very attractive tabard, and green’s unusual enough (unless you’re a warlock) that it makes for a reasonably distinctive outfit.

This particular effort is based around the Landfall Warboots, which I’ve been wanting to lever into a ‘mog since I first got them as a quest reward in the early Pandaria quests. Alliance have a pair with the same name, but theirs look completely different, following the traditional blue and gold colours. Nice for a set with the dungeon plate from BC normals, but that’s off topic.

The shoulders are pretty much instantly recognisable as Pauldrons of the Wardancer, since they’re the only shoulders with this model that aren’t limited to warriors. Source ’em from Hydross, first boss in Serpentshrine. He’s pretty much dead easy. I kind of like the yellow foglights that shine out of the tops, but they caught me by surprise the first time I saw them.

Belt and chest are from the Fel Iron plate set, made while levelling blacksmithing. So if nothing else, it’s given me that. (transmog: the REAL profession perk! omg) The gloves and legs are my perennial favourites from the Vicious Pyrium cataclysm PvP crafted set (blugh what a mouthful). Both sets should be pretty cheap and/or easy to twist a guildie’s arm for.

The weapon may be a sticking point – it’s the Ruthless Gladiator’s Decapitator, earned back during Cata. Wowhead says it’s still buyable, but a lot of the PvP gear from that era disappeared magically at end of season. Either way, it’s a tremendously attractive axe with some winsome hilights that complement the other pieces rather nicely.

I’d like a chest with a higher neckline, maybe, and the belt looks much more garish in the image than I remember it being ingame. A couple of iterations might clear up those niggles. Overall, though, it’s a good low-maintenance look with plenty to recommend it.

Real life descended on us in an apocalyptic series of ‘net failures and assorted issues last night. Progress was made even in the face of such adversity… we did establish that we’re probably going to need either a convoluted nest team system or to monitor our wing buffs much better. Most of our DPS have some experience on the nests now, and that can only pay off. Tanks are coming up with Special Tricks™ to deal with the swipes. Everyone’s getting comfortable with the flow of the fight. Even with continuous mishaps, every pull we make goes to below 50%. We’ll get it.

It’s been a fairly good week, all told. I got vaguely disturbing shoulders off Tortos and bought myself a chestpiece, plus an LFR tier helm in which to slot my shiny new legendary meta. All of which puts me in contention for “best in guild” spot for overall gear. Can’t wait for 5.3, if only for the return of item upgrades.

See, there’s a little bit of an issue with DPS valour gear from the ToT vendors, and that issue is +Hit. There’s a simply obscene amount of hit floating around, to the point where I’m grossly overcapped on two characters and very slightly overcapped on my main. Oh, and no haste anywhere to be found.

I’m gemming for haste + stam in the overwhelming number of blue slots in the ToT gear, mildly jumpy at the thought of someone inspecting me and calling out my maxed mining and stam gems. Gonna hafta start hidin’ on the roof of the shrine, keepin’ a sharp eye in case the Gem Police show up to shame me into sharding dem purples. “You didn’t earn those, nub” they’ll say, their  Ray-Bans reflecting the abject shame on my face. “Y’all got carried! Get disenchantin’, and be happy we don’t just drop yo’ prettyboy ass in Goldshire”.

"What do you say, Garrosh?" "You brought the Warchief in for this?" "No, Jack, we named the monkey Garrosh."

“What do you say, Garrosh?”
“You brought the Warchief in on this?”
“Oh no, Jack, we named the monkey Garrosh.”

Ahem. Honestly, though, there’s nothing much left at the valour vendors that won’t waste a ton of budget on pointless anti-avoidance. Being able to upgrade the pieces that aren’t slathered in it will be a welcome relief.

Meanwhile it’s a new week, a new lockout, and that treadmill ain’t gonna spin itself.

Always thought that was a rockfall, but no - it's the boss

Always thought that was a rockfall, but no – it’s the boss

Goat is down.

Admittedly we used Special Tricks™ – our method for gathering up the bats was “suicidal Holy paladin switches Righteous Fury on just before bats spawn, heals like a mofo and prays the actual tank can steal aggro before said pala becomes a pink smear”. Go ahead and try this one at home, folks, it’s hi-larious.

Trick to getting the bats down in time turned out to be just kicking a turtle at them every now and then. Even so, we had a few moments where I’m not entirely sure how the healers kept the add tank up through Quake Stomp.

Still – we managed four(!) bosses on our first raid night of the week, leaving us sunday and tuesday for Megaera. Plenty of time! Which we didn’t actually need.

Not pictured: an overambitious multisnake

Not pictured: an overambitious multisnake

Megaera took a grand total of four pulls before she rolled over and… well, straight-up disappeared. Word to the wise if you’re planning on getting a screenshot for your kill: the corpse is already fading as her death animation plays. Which pretty much leaves a picture of a big box unless you’re a lot quicker on the draw than I was. Half expecting a “Forgotten Depths was merely a setback!” style not-really-dead-ism.

The actual fights was… a lot like LFR, actually, but with more damage and actual incentives for not standing in the green explodey stuff. For instance, it’ll one-shot you. We even used the good ol’ LFR tactic – green/red/repeat ad nauseam/win. Having three paladins meant three devotion auras, and with the sheer amount of magical damage in the fight – especially toward the end – that helps a lot. Three-healing made Rampage less dangerous than Acid Rain explosions, and Devo was probably used more often to deal with those than for the heavy healing phases.

That left us with most of the evening to spend on Ji-kun. We weren’t particularly well-prepared.

If you look up in the corner you can see someone still alive! THIS IS WHAT WINNING LOOKS LIKE.

If you look up in the corner you can see someone still alive! THIS IS WHAT WINNING LOOKS LIKE.

That’s one prog boss per raid night so far this week, and we’ve got tuesday night to go before the reset. Current plans on what to do with the nests seem a bit sketchy – started out with us bouncing back to the platform between nests, but that results in running out of wing charges. Another plot was to have two nest groups so as to stagger people with the Feed buff on the boss, but it seems a little overcomplicated. The derp was strong with me, though. Maybe it just looked worse than it is.

We’ll come up with something, no doubt. Just wing it?