Tag Archives: cataclysm

Battlechicken Vlog #2: Let Me Make a Macro

Battlechicken Vlog #2! I told Navi earlier this week that I wasn’t sure I’d ever find something as awesome to vlog about as Navispam. I still haven’t, but you get this anyway!

I like to make made-up albums for my guild with song titles specific to our raid and members. I’ll show you the cover of the “album” from which this song comes, but the songs themselves are guild-related and will stay on our forums.

However, “Let Me Make a Macro” has been stewing in my head for a few months. Our raid leader/GM Boomslang says this phrase at least once every new fight. I felt like it needed to be written, so I wrote it. And that’s what vlog numero dos is: “Let Me Make a Macro.”

If it gets someone to smile tonight, I’m good with that. :-D

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World of Warcraft Isn’t Real, And My Name Isn’t Ambermist

Heads up, this one’s long, personal, and maybe sort of pointless, but it’s been swimming around in my head for a long time, and since I did just ask everyone to tell me about themselves, it seems relevant.

This post has been in my head for months–as a matter of fact, I started writing it there the day I came back to this blog, but I kept coming up with reasons not to flesh it out and post it.  When I came up with the July Challenge, it was on my mind, and then I read this post at Tree Heals Go Woosh (which is, by the way, the best blog name ever). It got me thinking about all of that stuff again since the end of Wrath/beginning of Cataclysm brought a lot of this to the forefront for me.

Over the course of Wrath, I learned so much about WoW. I’d been playing half-blind for a couple of years, I realized, and with the leap into blogging, I suddenly had a world of information and experiences at my fingertips. As an expansion, Wrath encouraged that exploration, and I honed a lot of my skills there.

See, I knew my stuff. >.>

I had a lot going on in my life during that expansion, too; a lot of change: my father-in-law passed away from cancer, my brother-in-law had a heart attack and a stroke, my daughter started kindergarten, and my son was diagnosed with autism. I was stressed out, at my highest weight ever, dealing with my own issues on top of everything else, and profoundly insecure.

I started using WoW and its many, many things to do as an escape, but more than that, I started to find my identity there. Continue reading

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The Expansion is Ending?

In Trade yesterday, someone mentioned that the expansion is ending. Someone replied, “what do you mean, ‘the expansion is ending?'”

Mists of Pandaria is around the virtual corner. Some guesses put it as soon as June, some as late as September, but regardless of when it comes, we’re wrapping up Cataclysm. We’re in the last tier of content, we’ve killed the Big Boss, and Blizzard has repeatedly confirmed there will not be a filler raid between now and MoP. Further, beta started this week. The door is closing.

I don’t do postmortem breakdowns. There are plenty of MUCH more qualified people doing that (specifically, Blizzard itself). I’d feel remiss, though; if I didn’t go back and ruminate a bit on what Cataclysm was for me and figure out how to wrap it up in proper style.

Story

I’m going to be honest, even if it’s a bit fangirl-ish: content-wise, I loved Cataclysm. My introduction to World of Warcraft lore took place in three parts, or more correctly, one story in the parts: War of the Ancients. Knowing that I would get to team up with and face off against the characters and dragons I’d read about put me on the edge of my seat for the expansion.

I enjoyed every raid. Really. Okay, I didn’t love Throne of the Four Winds, but I adored Blackwing Descent. It was everything I wanted the first raid to be. The fights were fun (okay, maybe being a moonkin on Atramedes when Lunar Shower still rocked made it a little more fun, but still) and everything felt fresh again. I needed fresh after months and months of Icecrown.

Although I took a several month break from the game and missed the introduction of Firelands, I’m glad I got the chance to see it. I never got to see Ragnaros in Molten Core, at least not when he was the Big Boss. I liked the environment and the fights, even if the instance and I had our disagreements. Plus:

I mean, even I can’t argue with that.

I grinned all the way through the 4.3 heroics, despite the fact that I don’t like the Tyrande’s voice acting (not because the acting was bad, but because I don’t feel like it fit the character). While seeing Deathwing meet his “end” was a little anticlimactic since I fought him in LFR before we ever got to him as a guild,  I still liked the encounters and the story.

My Raiding Experience

I started out on a great foot when the expansion began. I knew that I knew my class, and I proved it over and over again. Even when things got rocky and the guild I was in switched to 10-mans, I did pretty well in every role I was asked to fill (which often ended up being healing).

The only thing I wasn’t completely comfortable with was tanking, but this is where I have to give a shoutout to the awesome people of Ephemera who encouraged me to try and gave me  ample opportunity to practice. They were persistent and non-judgemental, and I love them for it.

After my several month break, I returned, ready to raid again. Things had been in a bit of an upheaval, and I ended up returning to my guild Chi Cerca Trova while I got my feet wet in Firelands. What a culture shock. I’d never taken a lengthy break from raiding like that, and it took me a while to get my bearings straight.

Even now, I don’t feel like I’m back to where I was. I struggle to see the numbers I want to see. I get irritated with myself for not performing the level I feel is acceptable. Right now I sit in a place of deep frustration, and if I can’t find a way out of it, Mists might see me taking on a new role or even a new class. Tastes Like Death…Knight? Tastes Like Holy Priest?

I intend to moonkin to the best of my ability until this expansion officially ends. Time (and beta) will determine where I go after that.

What to Do Now?

We’ve got 3-6 months before we’re standing in line at Gamestop to pick up our copies of Mists of Pandaria. It sounds like a long time, but in Warcraft time, it’s not really. What are you doing to pass the time until we’re rolling our monks?

These are the things I’m doing:

What are you doing to say goodbye to this expansion, and are you ready to step into Pandaria?

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I Told You So: The Decay of the 25-man, Part 2

Yesterday I explained the reasons I believe 25-mans are harder than 10s. To quickly recap:

  1. It’s harder to get 25 people together in the same place at the same time.
  2. 25 raiders means there are more opportunities for someone to fail.
  3. It takes longer to get 25 people on the same page (this was stated in the comments much more clearly than I said it in my post; thank you Emmalise, for describing the collective aha! moment!)

Some of the more aggressive people on either side of the 10- and 25-man issue would use this either to attack: “25’s don’t take any additional skill; it’s just people-wrangling;” or defend: “25-mans are harder for lots of reasons, and you’re just trying to make excuses why you can’t do it.”  (Yes, I actually have heard both of those come from real players). The point I’m making is that yes, 25-mans are harder, and yes, largely because there is some “people-wrangling” involved, but that doesn’t make that aspect of it wrong or right–it’s still just a matter of preference. [Insert diatribe about learning to respectfully disagree here.]

So if it’s not an issue of right and wrong, and it’s all about preference, shouldn’t the ability to choose between 10- and 25-man raids without being penalized for picking 10-mans be awesome? In theory, yes. I think raiders should absolutely be able to choose between 10- and 25-man raids based on what suits their motivation for raiding. Unfortunately, theories tend to be difficult to pull off in practice, and the problem with pulling this one off is, as I said at the end of my last post, that choosing to do a 25-man raid is becoming more and more difficult.

Previously, if you wanted to be taken seriously in overall progression, you were expected to do 25-mans. 10-mans were in their own sort of bracket, which actually would be perfect IF there wasn’t such a stigma attached, and in Wrath, there absolutely was a feeling of 10-mans being “lesser progression” in guilds that were unable to successfully complete 25-mans, although I hardly thing that should be the case.

Those who wanted to be taken seriously in progression raided in 25-mans, and even though they hated waiting for the people who were slower to learn or just bad performers to step up and execute boss fights correctly, they accepted that if they wanted the shiny(er) epics and they wanted to be able to boast about their raiding progression, they would have to put up with it. If not handled well by a guild’s leadership, this could lead to some serious burnout. This was the problem of Wrath: this dynamic coupled with months and months (and months) of the same content caused widespread burnout among raiders.

Enter Cataclysm, and we run into a new problem: the slow decline of 25-mans. I’m not sure how true this next statement is, but it seems reasonable that this decline has started mostly on servers not well-known for their progression because the pool of competitive raiders is smaller, and the raiders in the above scenario, who do everything right and want to progress and are tired of waiting for the stragglers suddenly have a new option: 10-man progression.

With the achievements and the gear being identical regardless of which type of raid you run, there’s much less stigma attached to 10-man guilds, and running with a smaller roster means you have very detailed control over who’s in and who isn’t. You don’t have to put up with players who don’t perform up to your standards if you really don’t want to. You don’t have to take anyone just to fill up your raid; if you want to be picky, there’s room to do that, whereas a 25-man raid on a server with fewer committed raiders often finds itself taking people who either aren’t as good or aren’t as committed just to have enough people to raid.

Understandably, the people who suffered from burn out last time either went straight into 10-mans this time or have found themselves having much less patience as their 25-man raids start hitting the wall.

As those in this second group realize that the 10-man option is available, this leaves them in a place to take one of two steps: either they can leave their guild and find a 10-man raid group, or they can try to push their guild to either improve or move to a 10-man format. When you go to your guild master or raid leader, who is no doubt as frustrated as you are, and say, “I’m sick of this. Why am I trying so hard when these people aren’t? We really need to do something about this, or I’m going to have to go somewhere else and raid,” you put your leadership in a tough predicament.

Maybe they’ll try first to help the poor players improve, but you can only do so much–part of raiding is individual accountability. When that doesn’t work well enough, perhaps they’ll try to recruit and phase out the people who still aren’t performing. This might actually work, but if you’re on a server with a low raider base and an even lower rate of raider transfers, it might be difficult if not downright impossible to find raiders who fit what you’re looking for.

The next step is to consider 10-man progression, but then there’s a whole host of questions that come with that: one 10-man, or two? If we opt for one, what will the people who aren’t invited to the 10-man do? If we opt for two, will we end up with an A-team/B-team dynamic, and do we want that?  (From where I sit as a raider, two 10-mans will always lead to an A/B team type situation, so you might as well be upfront about it). If your guild decides to stay 25-man and try to cover for the weaker players, those people who originally came to your raid leader and said they were sick of it will leave, and often; these people are some of your best performers. If your guild goes 10-man, there are going to be people who are left out and feel that distinctly enough to leave. This is not a good situation for a guild to be in, but it is one that’s appearing more and more often.

Once a guild chooses to go to a 10-man format and chooses its raiders, those who either aren’t interested in 10-mans or have been left out of the groups are going to move on, especially the good ones who just couldn’t be fit into the roster for one reason or another. And if these people leave, there’s likely to be a transfer to a server where 25-mans are running more consistently, depleting the original server’s raider pool even more.

According to WoWProgress.com, there are now only 7 guilds on my server who have stepped into 25-mans at all, and one of them (my guild) just became a 10-man guild. Of those 7, only two have progressed beyond 6 boss kills. The 10-man progression list, on the other hand, has 17 guilds who are at 6 boss kills or above.

I don’t know what the solution to this is, but even if there is one, it’s probably too late to implement it, at least for this raiding tier. And perhaps there just aren’t enough people out there who think a solution is necessary to warrant figuring one out. I don’t really know what’s coming next for me in my guild situation, either; the next month or so will determine that. What I do know is that the WoW raiding scene is changing, and I feel like I’ve lost my place in it. A lot of us saw this coming when the announcements were made; we just weren’t sure what form it would take.

25-mans, at least on some servers, are dying; and I don’t think there’s any shame in saying: “we told you so.”

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Noobkin to Boomkin: Cataclysm

This post was re-written for patch 4.3 on 2/13/2012. 

Important Note: Noobkin to Boomkin is a quickstart resource for moonkin raiding compiled from my favorite sites and theorycrafters. You’ll find links to all of these sites at the bottom of this page. If you really want to be a competitive moonkin raider, you need to read them.

Speccing

If you want a straight spec to get started with, this will serve you decently:

Functional Raiding Spec:

Balance

Nature’s Grace – 3/3
Starlight Wrath – 3/3
Nature’s Majesty – 2/2
Genesis – 3/3
Balance of Power – 2/2
Euphoria – 2/2
Moonkin Form – 1/1
Typhoon – 1/1
Shooting Stars – 2/2
Owlkin Frenzy – 2/3
Gale Winds – 2/2
Solar Beam – 1/1
Dreamstate – 2/2
Force of Nature – 1/1
Sunfire – 1/1
Earth and Moon – 1/1
Fungal Growth – 2/2
Starfall – 1/1

Resto

Natural Shapeshifter – 2/2
Heart of the Wild – 3/3
Perseverance – 3/3
Master Shapeshifter – 1/1

Some talents are going to be situational, and some are going to cater to your playstyle more than others. If you would like to get the barebones spec and customize it, these are the most highly recommended talents:

Balance

Nature’s Grace
Starlight Wrath
Nature’s Majesty
Genesis
Balance of Power
Euphoria
Moonkin form
Typhoon
Shooting Stars
Dreamstate
Force of Nature
Sunfire
Earth and Moon
Starfall

Resto

Natural Shapeshifter
Heart of the Wild
Master Shapeshifter

When following our normal single-target rotation, mana shouldn’t be much of an issue. If you find yourself having mana problems, though, hop over to the Feral tree and pick up Furor.

Glyphs

Prime Glyphs

Glyph of Moonfire

Glyph of Insect Swarm

Glyph of Wrath

Glyph of Starsurge is useful but  situational. Read up on it before you decide to choose it over Wrath.

Major Glyphs

Glyph of Rebirth

Glyph of Starfall

There are only two mandatory ones, so you’re going to pick one of the following. Personally, I think you should choose from either Glyph of Focus or Glyph of Solar Beam to start out with.

Glyph of Thorns has a specific use, so if you’re interested you’ll need to read about it first. You probably won’t be innervating other people often since you’ll prefer to innervate yourself for Dreamstate, so Glyph of Innervate isn’t that appealing.

Minor Glyphs

Glyph of Unburdened Rebirth

The minor glyphs are completely a matter of preference, but Unburdened Rebirth is the most useful. After that, choose two of the following: Glyph of Typhoon, Glyph of Dash, Glyph of Mark of the Wild.

Rotation

I can’t stress enough that if you want to be truly competitive, you need to read, read, read and learn to maximize Eclipse. It is the single largest source of our DPS. Love it or hate it, we have to use it. Understanding Eclipse, managing it, and playing to it is priority 1.

That said, this will get you started.

Quick Start Single-Target Rotation

1. Open with Insect Swarm and Moonfire
2. Cast Starsurge
3. Cast Starfire until Solar Eclipse
4. Cast Wrath until Lunar Eclipse

If you’re just learning how to moonkin, focus on re-applying Insect Swarm and Moonfire/Sunfire when they fall off the target.

Cast Starsurge every time it comes off cooldown or when Shooting Stars procs, which removes its cooldown and makes it instant cast.

Use Starfall and Force of Nature when their cooldowns end.

Note on Force of Nature: Treants are buffed by Heroism/Bloodlust, but if you can get them out two or more times during the fight, don’t wait for it.

If you’re ready to start playing with Eclipse, here’s what changes:

–DoT Management

Instead of re-applying DoTs just every time they fall off, you should try to re-apply while you’re in an Eclipse state. You need a timer for this, there’s no getting around it. See Add-Ons at the bottom for suggestions.

If your DoTs are going to fall off during an Eclipse, perfect. Re-apply them. If they are going to fall off between Eclipses, you’ll need to re-apply just before you leave the Eclipse you’re currently in, even if they have time left on them.

This will require you having a familiarity with how long it takes you to get from one Eclipse to the next so that you’re not re-applying unnecessarily. You can calculate cast times, but your best bet is to go out there and practice with it until you can reasonably predict it 90% of the time.

–Starsurge & Starfall Planning

You don’t have to (and shouldn’t) wait for an Eclipse to cast Starsurge. However, if you’re just a cast away from entering an Eclipse when Shooting Stars procs or Starsurge comes off cooldown, go ahead and cast Wrath/Starfire, hit the Eclipse, and then cast Starsurge.

Similarly with Starfall, if you can get Starfall casts to fall in line with Lunar Eclipse, do, but don’t hold off casting it for a long time just to get it into the Eclipse.

Multi-Dotting

If you have more than one boss, or multiple mobs during a boss fight, apply Moonfire/Sunfire and Insect Swarm to all of them, preferably Eclipsed. A perfect example is the Blackhorn fight in Dragon Soul, where you can follow your normal rotation while you fight the dragons but also keep DoTs on the melee and sappers.

Pretty much if it moves and you’re allowed to DoT it, do.

AoE Rotation

 Our best AoE Rotation is a combination of AoE and multi-dotting.

1. Start in Solar Eclipse (or get to it as quickly as possible).
2. Wild Mushrooms
3. Sunfire…everything.
4. Repeat 2 & 3 until all you see are corpses.

Note: You can cast single-target and maintain Solar Eclipse by casting Starfire. Because Starfire only moves the bar towards Solar, it will allow you to sit there indefinitely. You don’t want to do this for too long, though; as casting Starfire on a single target during the wrong Eclipse is a dps loss.

Stat Priority

Intellect > Spirit/Hit to 17% > Haste > Mastery > Crit

Very simply, Intellect is our best stat. I see these as three categories: Intellect is in a class by itself. It’s the best. Spirit/Hit is also in a class by itself, because its value is necessary until you hit the cap, and then it’s useless.

Haste, Mastery, and Crit are your secondary stats, and Haste always comes above the other two, with Mastery coming in above Crit after that.

Gems, Enchants, & Reforging

I prefer to use WrathCalcs (Rawr is also useful) to determine how to gem, enchant, and reforge before I lay down a bunch of gold or mats, but these can be used as general guidelines.

Note: Remember to check your professions and make sure that you don’t have a better gem option (JC’s) or enchanting option (Enchanters, Leatherworkers, etc.) for your items.

Gems

Note: Don’t forget to put an Ebonsteel Belt Buckle on your belt before gemming.

Meta: Burning Shadowspirit Diamond

Red: Brilliant Inferno Ruby (or Queen’s Garnet, if you have it)

Yellow: If the socket bonus is less than +20 Intellect, Brilliant Inferno. If socket bonus is +20, Reckless Ember Topaz (or Lava Coral)

Blue: If the socket bonus is less than +20 Intellect, Brilliant Inferno. If the socket bonus is +20 or greater, Purified Demonseye.

Prismatic: Brilliant Inferno

Reforging

WrathCalcs/Rawr is seriously helpful in getting this exactly where you want it, but here are some guidelines:

  • If you need hit, reforge Crit to Spirit/Hit first. If you still need hit, reforge some Mastery to Spirit/Hit until you reach the hit cap.
  • If you’re above the hit cap, reforge Spirit/Hit to Haste. If the piece already has Haste, reforge Spirit/Hit to Mastery. If the piece has Haste and Mastery—well, honestly, move on to a different piece.
  • If your hit is balanced, you can tweak with this: if a piece has Crit but not Haste, reforge Crit to Haste. If a piece has Crit and Haste, reforge Crit to Mastery.

Enchants

Head: Arcanum of Hyjal
Shoulders: Greater Inscription of Charged Lodestone
Chest: Peerless Stats
Back: Greater Intellect
Bracers: Mighty Intellect
Gloves: Haste
Legs: Powerful Ghostly Spellthread
Boots: Lavawalker
Offhand: SuperiorIntellect

Don’t forget that if you’re an Enchanter, you can enchant your rings.

Add-Ons

Add-ons are a matter of personal preference, but to make the most of your moonkin, you need some version of the following:

  • A DoT timer
  • A way to monitor Eclipse

Right now, I use NeedtoKnow to manage DoTs and cooldowns and Balance Power Tracker to monitor Eclipse, but poke around for what works best for you. Squawk and Awe, DoTimer, SexyCooldown, and Power Auras are all useful options.

Resources

As I said in the beginning, this is a collection of information designed to be quick start reference, not an end-all guide to raiding as a moonkin. If you want to learn advanced rotations, min/maxing, playstyles, and boss-specific strats, you need to check out these sites:

Elitist Jerks > Druids > [Balance] Cataclysm 4.3
WoW Insider: Shifting Perspectives
Gray Matter
The Moonkin Repository

For itemizing, consider using one of these:

Rawr
WrathCalcs

Good luck and great dancing to you all. :-)

 

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When Heroics Really Are Heroic

I hope you enjoyed (or are enjoying!) your trip to level 85 so far. I loved every second of it, but from what I understand, I was lucky. My cutscenes all worked beautifully and I never had a bugged quest. Still, the stories in the new Cataclysm zones are awesome, and I hope you get to experience all of them.

I hit 85 on Thursday. On Saturday afternoon, I finished my first heroic (Stonecore) with a group of friends. These are players I know are extremely competent in their classes and roles, and yet we wiped several times–Ozruk alone got us about 5 or 6 times. Was it bad luck? Were my friends drunk? (trust me, it’s a valid question).

Nope. Heroics once again require practice and skill. Yes, we were running at the bare minimum gear requirement, but that actually had very little to do with it. While some of the encounters would certainly have been faster were we doing 12k dps instead of 6-8k, the mechanics of the fights themselves will keep these bosses from being trivial for quite some time.

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Azeroth: Before & After

As a sequel to my last post, I went through the world again and tried to take screenshots in some of the same places. These are side-by-side comparisons of some of the screenshots that I took.

To get started, click on the picture below, and then click “Next” to see subsequent pictures.

Auberdine - Before & After

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Ambermist & Ultraking’s Farewell Tour of Azeroth

Last night as we planned for the impending doom of Azeroth as we know it, my husband and I mounted up and went on a farewell tour, and these are the highlights. They aren’t earthshattering pieces of art (that pun was unintended but I’m leaving it), nor did we base them off of which zones would be getting the most change. For us, this was about years of memories.

Start by clicking on the picture below and then click “Next” to see subsequent pictures in the album.

Ishnu-alah, friends.

Teldrassil

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…And Keep Moving On

The art of war is simple enough. Find out where your enemy is. Get at him as soon as you can. Strike him as hard as you can, and keep moving on.
–Ulysses S. Grant

The real hero is always a hero by mistake; Continue reading

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Noobkin to Boomkin: Pre-Cataclysm

>>>This guide has been updated for level 85! Please see Noobkin to Boomkin: Cataclysm!<<<

 

This guide is now outdated. Please refer to Noobkin to Boomkin: Cataclysm for information pertaining to level 85 raiding.

Patch 4.0.1 is the topic across almost every blog this month, and for good reason–this patch is going to dramatically change our specs, stats, glyphs, gems, and rotations.

Note: Sometimes you just want the basics. “What can I do to walk into this raid tonight prepared on my boomkin alt?” or “I don’t really know the class well yet, what can I do to survive until I have more experience?” That’s what I’m all about here. If you’re looking for the straight facts–what spec, what enchants, what gems–you’ll find that information in the blue text.

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