The WoW Year in Review

A bit belated after being tagged by Jaedia but I got round to it in the end! Not a big fan of these questionaire type things but I figure what the hell.

What did you do in the World of Warcraft in 2009 that you’d never done before?

I played Wrath of the Lich King when it first came out in November 08, but I never had the attention span to reach 80 at the time. This year I’ve gotten a priest, druid and warrior up to 80, and if I’m lucky, my 70s paladin and hunter will get there soonish too.

What was your favorite new place that you visited?

Ulduar was definitely an amazing instance to come from Blizzard, although thankfully I never had to wait the godawful amount of months for it. They really outdid themselves on the whole Titan Vault theme that Uldaman started. I also love the fights and how the hard modes required you to actively do something to trigger them – I don’t like how they made it a UI trigger for ICC.

What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?

I’d like to develop a niche and direction to take Lucky Lurky towards. It initially was to become an economic blog but I soon got bored of making gold and steered it towards shadow priests. It still remains a shadow priest blog but I’d like to focus more and have things such as level guides, etc. Basically add more things outside of my current raiding orientated spectrum.

Don’t really have major goals ingame, I’d like to get achievements, reputations and such but I don’t particularly have the patience to do them all.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Managing to get Crusader I think, because no way can I be motivated to do dailies constantly like that anymore. Especially that annoying one which makes you ride across the length and breadth of Northrend. Also getting Chef’s Hat meaning I could stop doing the cooking one too although it wasn’t as much as a pain in the ass to do. I also got Salty this year, but drawback is that it has kinda burnt me out on fishing altogether.

What was your biggest failure?

Not being able to separate my detachment from my warrior. It was an older character than my priest and had been through all the old Vanilla content, and when I reached 70 with my Horde hunter I decided to put him in stasis and level my warrior. The result is with my OCD for completion I do all the seasonal achievements for my priest and then my warrior after, although I do get to see both factions point of view in the process.

What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Blizzcon was amazing and well worth the wait. Even with all the good stuff being leaked the few days before the event it still didn’t beat seeing the things live. It was still great to be able to watch the panels live on internet stream, you really got a pretty good sense of the atmosphere. Blizzcon also did wonders showing the devs as human beings who just loved their work, and all the presentations were cool to watch.

And patch 3.3 really changed the game for the better, that was a bit of a wait after seeing the wonders of the new dungeons and stuff during the PTR.

What do you wish you’d done less of?

Been less indecisive over my gearing. So many pointless gems and enchants gone into things I barely used, but I guess Blizzard’s itemisation has some fault for designing so many similar gear as well. We’ve been raiding with other casters recently so maybe I won’t get the chance to hog all the loot during ICC!

What was your favorite WoW blog or podcast?

I don’t really have favourites but there are some that deserve a mention. Greedy Goblin kinda inspired me to blog and it’s pretty fresh to see him take his blog to a different direction, into underdogging instances. I like it! Dusk Noir keeps up with shadowpriest changes and offers insightful analysis into any new changes, don’t really know of other priest blogs that offer that kind of outlook so it’s unique in that area.

Tell us a valuable WoW lesson you learned in 2009.

If you want something done right, do it yourself. That’s why I rolled a class that could tank, and a class that could heal.

The Case for Cheaper Dual Specialisation

The new Dungeon Finder was as amazing as it was when I joined on the PTR, and the community as a whole has embraced the idea and there isn’t a negative word to be heard anywhere. But where can we advance from this? If we’re removing the stigma of finding groups, we can also remove stigmas that still affect the game, such as finding tanks and healers.

I start with dual specialisation; currently available at lvl 40 for 1000g. It’s a goldsink for a game that lacks decent end game goldsinks, but with DF embracing the idea of alts levelling through dungeons we should offer more people to dual spec into hybrids. After all, the game lets you join groups as hybrid, so why do we still limit people into choosing to perform as tank/healer at their best at the cost of their soloing capability?

I realise it’s not mandatory to be specced as such for low level classes of course, but in such cases it usually requires them to be knowledgable about the game to perform a job not tailored to their spec. At the very least it will prepare people to learn the spec early on so that by endgame we will see more confident tank and healers.

Patch 3.1 debuted dual specs, and it is so prevalent these days at endgame, it’s strange that Blizzard hasn’t introduced changes so more people can have it. 3.2 introduced cheap mounts – epic land mount and training for 60g, a drop in the water compared to the 1000g of vanilla. So these discounts aren’t innovative nor game breaking. But it will encourage people to use it, and a game with hybrids being truly hybrid – even during levelling – is one we can all enjoy.

3.3 Shadow Priest Glyphs

Amongst many other delightful shadow priest changes coming with 3.3, we now have a slightly more varied glyph selection to choose from. Here are the 3.3 changes concerning shadow priest glyphs:

Glyph of Mind Flay
Old Effect: Increases the range of your Mind Flay spell by 10 yards.
New Effect: Increases the damage done by your Mind Flay spell by 10% when your target is afflicted with Shadow Word: Pain.

Glyph of Shadow
Old Effect: While in Shadowform, your non-periodic spell critical strikes increase your spell power by 10% of your Spirit for 10 sec.
New Effect: While in Shadowform, your non-periodic spell critical strikes increase your spell power by 30% of your Spirit for 10 sec.

Glyph of Shadow Word: Pain
Old Effect: Increases the damage done by your Mind Flay spell by 10% when your target is afflicted with Shadow Word: Pain.
New Effect: The periodic damage ticks of your Shadow Word: Pain spell restore 1% of your base mana.

Glyph of Mind Flay and Glyph of Shadow remain the mandatory glyphs for a raiding priest. Glyph of Shadow Word: Pain is optional now, and if you don’t want to spend gold changing it around then there isn’t a massive reason for doing so. Just remember that Haste not affecting Shadow Word: Pain means there is no scaling, just base mana over base tick. I will be swapping it for Glyph of Dispersion. The attractiveness of a 1 minute 15 second cooldown on greater mana regen and damage reduction appeals to me, despite the con of a 6 second silence. Just make sure you have this macro for the last one:

#showtooltip Dispersion
/cancelaura Dispersion
/cast Dispersion

So you can double tap Dispersion to control over how much mana you want to regen. or just to quickly get out of roots when you’re too lazy to fade..

Lastly there is Glyph of Shadow Word: Death – Very situational, but it is the only other glyph option that directly boosts damage. I already seldom use SW:D as it is, so it wouldn’t be worth my while glyphing this for now, but if the results are significant then I could see this moving up to a mandatory spot. But for now I’ll worry about not being gibbed in Icecrown with my Dispersion glyph!

Oh so close..

The news sites have given their predictions – it’s coming!

For those of us who have followed patch 3.3′s development, we know all to well about the upcoming release of the Icecrown Citadel dungeons and raids that will come with it. You will also have heard of the Dungeon Finder and will know that it’ll be an absolute godsend those of us levelling alts or trying to gear up for raiding. However there is a change that hasn’t been quite touched on as much, but still is pretty important. Reputation!

For the reputations that deal with flying mounts and the head and shoulder enchants are all being “sped up by roughly 30%”. Along with that, you can now trade in Emblems of Triumph for the 250 rep Commendation Badges – This comes as a result of the removal of the daily dungeons quests. As if that weren’t enough, these enchants are now Bind-on-Account. It seems Blizzard is really pulling out all the stops so that people have no excuse to not be prepared for raiding with fully enchanted gear.

PTR 3.3: Reflectin’ on the Halls of Reflection [Spoilers]

Halls of Reflection is finally out! It has been delayed on the PTR for weeks now, and only just came out during Thursday’s early morning update. I went on shortly afterwards and used the Dungeon Finder tool to join for Pit of Saron, and happened to join for Heroic. Some of us were first timers and we wiped a few times, but eventually made it. At the end an event occurs and you follow Jaina (or Sylvanas if you’re Horde) through a portal to Halls of Reflection. Here comes the nitty gritty of the dungeon experience, and how to handle it as a holy priest – spoilers abound!

You step into the instance, into a corridor looking directly at Frostmourne. If your group happens to have the Quel’dalar quest, then the blade with have a reaction to Frostmourne and will attack the group. Once it’s been subdued, Uther appears and tells you to take it to the Sunwell. Otherwise, the instance starts with Jaina/Sylvanas attempting to communicate with the blade, which causes Uther to appear as an apparition and starts a minor cutscene that lasts several minutes. At the end the Lich King appears and takes his blade back, summoning his two commanders, Falric and Marwyn, as the first encounter of the instance.

There are ten wave of adds during the fight, and they can end up very nasty. In addition to the traditional Priest (Fear and SW:P dispels!) and Warrior adds, you also get Mages who can single target frost nova and multiply themselves, Rogues which do stacking poison damage and Hunters who will set Frost Traps, slowing down the tank and making his job harder than it is already. They spawn around the Frostmourne chamber, so the party should probably fight in the corridors which are easy to line-of-sight the ranged. The adds are shackable.

I found it pretty challenging to heal the trash waves since our tank was inexperienced and the whole party seemed to be taking a large chunk of damage at times as well. There was also little time to recover inbetween, with adds spawning as soon as the last of the prior was finished. Blizzard seems to be wanting more CC rather than ‘WotLKing’ (AoE zerging) the new heroics. I suspect priests and paladin groups will be popular for this encounter, Shackle Undead, Turn Evil and Holy Wrath will all be extremely useful to control the trash. We wiped a few times, once on the boss itself. The trash waves only stop after the boss dies, so if you wipe on the boss, be prepared to do those five waves all over again!

Falric will fight as soon as the last of the fifth wave is down, and Marwyn after the tenth. Falric was pretty easy, with only the tough part being Defiling Horror, which did damage during an undispellable fear (Every Man for Himself worked). You get a short break after killing him before the sixth wave appears. Marwyn randomly gives a party member a debuff which does 40,000 damage over time unless dispelled. Dispelling it splits the damage amongst the party, so group heals should be prepared.

After that you fight a lone Frostsworn General who isn’t tough to take down, he also has reflections of your party to help him. I assume they are CCable but they all went down easily so it wasn’t worth bothering to check. Then its up the ramp to see a low hp Jaina/Sylvanas battling the almost untouched Lich King. He is then disabled and you speak to the heroine to start a chase sequence.

During the chase sequence, the Lich King brings down walls of ice to temporarily stall the party, summoning waves of ghouls, Ymirjar Witch Doctors and Abominations. Abominations were immune to shackles, so should probably be brought down first, whereas Shackle Undead could be used to stall the Witch Doctor’s AoE casts. You have to break through around four ice walls with one wave of undead each time, although their numbers steadily ramp up. The Lich King during this sequence will slowly approach the party, with an aura that does damage over time, and if in range, he will oneshot you! In my experience, when he reached the wall he killed only killed one person in my party, but I suspect it was a bug and you are supposed to wipe.

Once the last wall breaks you reach a dead end and the Lich King strangulating the last breaths of your faction’s heroine… only to find your factions airship arrive in the nick of time, blasting away at the rock tunnels and trapping the Lich King. The rocks quickly disappear with the Lich King nowhere to be found, and you ascend the steps to the airship and find the loot in a chest at the end.

Overall it’s a short and fun event filled instance, similar to ones such as those in Caverns of Time, notably Old Hillsbrad. But it doesn’t really give total closure for people who don’t raid, since you never really do anything to Lich King other than run away. Unfortunately it seems to get your real chance for retribution at Arthas, you will have to do one of Icecrown Citadel raids. The three 5-man instances altogether have been a great treat though, the music and speeches provide a great atmosphere to them all.

My first and only time in the instance so far has been in heroic mode, which offers the higher end geared raiders a decent challenge. It did seem a little too difficult for the ilvl 232 rewards it gives, although I’m underestimating how the new Dungeon Finder will shower you in T9. Maybe it was the premade tank with no experience, maybe the lack of CC we used, we ended up wiping half a dozen times. Nonetheless, with the trash in there dropping Quel’delar Hilt amongst other random BoP epics, it will end up rewarding for most. During the initial release, at least!

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