Category Archives: General

Internet Communication – How my brain doesn’t work with it

I wanted to discuss something that applies not only to WoW, but business communication as well as all forms of personal communication over the internet.

Internet Communication, to me, is about taking your own personal real life communication habits and transferring/molding them to a medium that doesn’t follow the same rules, pacing, and social etiquette. My brain you see, it does not handle this well at ALL and it causes me a lot of issues.

In real life, when you talk with someone there are a lot of markers and clues that you need to pick up on to determine the level of interest of your communication partner as well as their mood, level of ease/comfort, and diplomacy level towards you. This is generally vital for proper speech and many rely much more on these markers than others.

For me, even as a *cough* slightly older gamer, I’m still learning how to master social graces. If someone shifts uncomfortably I will tend to notice, if their tone is off I will notice, if they seem hesitant and keep their distance I absolutely notice and respect that. These markers are different for everyone and will vary greatly whether you’re trying to find a potential romantic interest, discuss business with a colleague or contact, or talk with friends and family. Reading these signals wrong, or reacting to them incorrectly can completely steer the course of your conversation in the wrong direction or, in the worst case, make you look like a creep/idiot/jerk. You might not intend to but it sure can go that route if you aren’t careful.

I am fairly verbose…and sometimes long winded. In real life I can be fairly eloquent when dealing with potential customers, which I think is the reason I do so well interfacing with them. I write long well crafted e-mails when necessary to customers and co-workers alike detailing everything that is pertinent to the situation. I have learned over the years to reign it in some as walls of text are often off-putting to those who sift through lots of e-mails daily.

How does this have anything to do with the internet and WoW you ask

Ever since I was young I have chatted on the internet. From the days of AOL chat rooms, to AIM/ICQ, to IRC and mIRC, message boards etc. I have become extremely comfortable at putting my emotions down into writing for people to see. Not everyone is like that I have come to realize. It isn’t that they have any less interest in communicating with me (or you). It is simply that not everyone communicates in the same form online, especially when it is asynchronous dialogue.

Without the context of hand gestures, body language, tone of voice, etc. it is extremely difficult for me to have any idea how the other person (be in chat or work e-mail) is feeling when they write back. My brain goes into analysis and worry mode and I try to root out just what was meant by their communique. This can be very dangerous.

When you write as much as I do, and am as wordy as I am, one of the worst things I can get back in a work e-mail is a sentence fragment response. The first thought in my head is “yeesh, no need to be snippy about it”. This is of course completely the wrong way to think about it.

In WoW and in the mediums surrounding it you will deal with asynchronous communication all of the time:

-Whispers/Tells in WoW are hardly always answered immediately as people are often fairly busy

-Message board topics can often go for a little while before someone responds to you

-Forum direct messages may for for hours or a day before getting read

-That application you put in on a guild’s website is going to take days for review and feedback

Understanding why there are gaps in communication and convincing your brain…well lets be honest my brain…that it isn’t because they are mad or disapprove of what you said is an incredibly difficult task.

…except when it IS because they are mad or disapprove of what you said.

There’s the rub. There’s really no way to read it easily enough because in real life you’d get that immediate feedback from the person in real time. Online you don’t have that luxury and must rely purely on your gut reaction about the matter at hand. If you are a worrier, like I am, this can be really frustrating. It has led to me not being as social or clique-y in guilds that I have been in because I struggle to communicate and settle into a comfortable zone with the people around me. I do consider it a bit of a handicap for me in terms of internet communication.

So what have I learned

1.) I will piss people off. It’s natural that you are not going to be all unicorns and rainbows with people and you will rub people the wrong way JUST BY BEING YOU. That’s it. There’s nothing you can do to help it, some people will just hate your personality. Trying to fix it with rationalization and logic will never solve anything.

2a.) Patience is critical. Learn to not assume someone is agitated with you if they don’t respond immediately. While in real life this is true, asynchronous communication means that they won’t always have immediate access (or the time) to respond to you.

2b.) If they do respond, and it is short and to the point, do not assume they are irritated with you. If someone is irritated, and too passive aggressive to let you know, then it isn’t your fault. You just keep on trying to be yourself and be honest with your dialogue.

Note: If you fail and 2a or 2b and follow up your communication with multiple additional forms of communication because you are worried, you will often immediately trigger actual irritation with you that might not have occurred natural. I am guilty of this I will admit.

3.) Understand that not everyone writes at the same level as you. This isn’t a knock on education or vocabulary. Some people hate typing or writing anything of length. They may also just be really really busy. Keeping this in mind, maybe we should try to keep what we say to a minimum. For me, at work, I tailor the length of my e-mails based on the person I am interacting with and their likelihood of finishing the entire document.

4.) Don’t wear your heart on a sleeve. While the internet is a wonderful place to bear your emotions, you should know your target audience. Putting to much emotion or personal flair into something can have two negative side effects. The first is that it can be offputting to your recipient if the communication should have been more business like. The second is that the recipient might not share your sentiment or might think it is outright foolish. This can lead to your feelings being hurt.

5.) Don’t nag.

Conclusion

I am not particularly good at communicating on the internet, however these are some things am working on doing to improve my own efforts. You’ll still see “Worry Wort Jarre” out there asking if he’s done something to offend you but understand it comes from a good place! I know I will continue to work on it and I hope that everyone else is as well.

 

 

Current pets used for Tournament and Pandaria Trainers

Just wanted to post a current list of pets used for Pandaria trainers using a carry pet, and for the Celestial tournament. This is less a guide and more just what I personally do.

Trainers: (some of my teams have been taken from various guides published though there exist many possible options for each)

Pet List:

Pandaren Trainers (13):

Rabbit, Untamed Hatchling, Emerald Proto Whelp, Darkmoon Tonk, Anubisath Idol, Snarly, Yellow Moth, Spirit Crab, Zandalari Kneebiter, Bat, Darkmoon Zeppelin, Aqua Strider

Beasts of Fable (5):  haven’t done these in a while, think they still work

Unborn Val’kyr, Chrominius, and Pandaren Water Spirit (all but No-no), Bat, Yellow Moth, Gilnean Raven (No-no)

Celestial Tournament – Celestials (10):

Unborn Val’kyr, Chrominius, Pandaren Water Spirit, Clock’em, Clock’em, Tranquil Mechanical Yeti, Cogblade Raptor, Menagerie Custodian, Blighted Squirrel, Darkmoon Tonk

Celestial Tournament – Trainers (21):

Rapana Whelk, Kun’Lai Runt, Kun’Lai Runt, Pandaren Fire Spirit, Pandaren Fire Spirit, Gilnean Raven, Onyxian Whelp, Biletoad, Harbinger of Flame, Son of Animus, Flayer Youngling, Emperor Crab, Devouring Maggot, Landro’s Lichling, Blighthawk, Disgusting Oozling, Anubisath Idol, Mechanical Pandaren Dragonling, Stinker, Magical Crawdad, Emerald Whelp,

Trainer Teams

Thundering Pandaren Spirit

Rabbit (speed 301+), Untamed Hatchling, <Carry Pet>

Notes: Scratch, Burrow, Dodge, Scratch etc. till first pet kill; swap to Untamed Hatchling, Tail Sweep till second pet kill. Swap to carry pet on death and immediately to your Rabbit. If Burrow and Stonerush are on CD he’ll always opt for his Burrow. To take no damage use dodge whenever he is underground, and use burrow whenever Stonerush is up and Burrow is not. The exception being immediately after using dodge to stop his burrow since the buff lasts through the next round stopping two attacks.

Courageous Yon

Emerald Proto Whelp, <Carry Pet>, Darkmoon Tonk

Notes: Bite, Shield, Bite till first pet kill; Bite, Proto-Strike, Bite till second pet kill. Ten do the usual carry pet swap to Darkmoon Tonk for the finish.

Burning Pandaren Spirit

Anubisath Idol, Snarly (or other crocolisk), <Carry Pet>

Notes: Crush, Stoneskin, Crush till first pet kill; Deflection, swap to Snarly, Rip, Blood in the Water, Surge kills second pet. On Snarly’s death swap to carry pet then Idol. Stoneskin nullifies the glowfly’s damage.

Seeker Zushi

Snarly, <Carry Pet>, Yellow Moth

Notes: Rip, Blood in the Water, Surge till first pet kill; Rip, Surge on second pet though the dive will kill you. Swap to carry pet then swap to the moth. Cocoon strike can stop the drowsy effect and just take him down with Moth Dust and Alpha Strike.

Aki the Chosen

Spirit Crab, <Carry Pet>, Yellow Moth

Notes: Always keep shell up, Snap until first pet kill; Keep shell up as needed, Drop Whirlpool, and Snap until second pet kill. Don’t refresh shield on third pet, swap to carry pet on death then finish up with the moth.

Wastewalker Shu

Zandalari Kneebiter (high power), Chrominius, <Carry Pet>

Notes: Black Claw, Hunting Party kills first pet. Swap to Chrominius (whirlpool still active on your team). Howl, Bite, Surge of Power kills second pet. Once Chrominius dies, put i your carry pet and then swap back to the Kneebiter. Black Claw and Hunting party finishes off the last pet.

Flowing Pandaren Spirit

Bat, <Carry Pet with decent HP>, Emerald Proto Whelp

Notes: Reckless Strike, Bite, Hawk Eye, Bite kills first pet; Reckless Strike/Bite until Bat dies then put in Carry Pet. Swap to Emerald Proto Whelp and Bite until third pet. Bite until the round when Whirlpool and Geyser are set to go off. Proto Strike to avoid them and Bite until the kill.

Mo’ruk

Darkmoon Zeppelin, Chrominius, <Carry Pet>

Notes: Missle, Decoy, Missle until first pet kill; swap to Chrominius. Howl then Surge of Power to kill the second pet. Do whatever you can to the third and swap to Zeppelin upon death. Missle/Decoy until enemy pet is low and Self Destruct to kill it. Only remaining pet will be your carry pet.

Farmer Nishi

<Carry Pet>, Aqua Strider, Darkmoon Tonk

Notes: Attack one round then swap to Strider (if your pet is higher level let him take one of the sunflowers big hits first). First change the weather then just destroy him with your water attacks. When the turnip submerges spend two rounds healing and charging up. Kill the turnip and simply swap to the tonk when the strider dies. Shock and Awe + Ion Cannon will do it.

Hyuna of the Shrines

Emerald Proto Whelp, <Carry Pet>, Yellow Moth

Notes: Emerald Bite kills the first pet. Bite, Proto-Strike, Bite till whelp dies. Swap to carry pet then your moth. Alpha Strike/Moth Dust as needed using Cocoon strike to dodge headbutt.

Whispering Pandaren Spirit

Anubisath Idol, <Carry Pet>, Chrominius

Notes: Repeat the pattern Deflection, Sandstorm, Punch, Punch, Deflection, Punch, Punch, Punch until the moth dies. Punch until death then swap to carry pet then Chrominius. Once the second pet dies, Howl, Bite, Surge of Power to kill the third.

 

Lastly, there are some other alternative strategies for these fights. Some of them may work much more reliably than the ones I’ve been conditioned to do. You can take a peak at them over here http://www.warcraftpets.com/community/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=7023 This guide does tend to assume you have a decent selection of pets of the appropriate breeds however. I solidified my trainer killer teams fairly early on when I didn’t have as many pets and I needed to power level new ones.

Celestial Tournament Guide – Work in Progress

I wanted to post a Celestial Guide that would be a growing work in progress that people can use to help them in their travels. As someone who doesn’t have a rather extensive supply of diverse pets (though I do have roughly 97 of them at 25) I feel that I could potentially offer aid to those who don’t have the tougher to farm pets since a large number of the pets I have I don’t use in tricky battles. I have a couple rarer ones but I think everyone has a few of those.

I will start with the Celestials themselves because I personally think they are the easiest part of the Tournament however intentional or unintentional that may be. Because my strategies for the Celestials are fixed (much like the Beasts of Fable) the pets I use for them are earmarked and cannot be used for trainers. I will edit and fill out the trainer list as I learn more and create more rock solid teams.

My current pets: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/character/eredar/Jarre/pet#status=is-collected&page=1

PRO TIPS

Healing – While on a lot of fights during the tournament you expect some of your pets to get knocked out, the last pet used in a fight will live and will usually be hurt. If you have a limited menagerie and you have a last pet that you absolutely need in another fight you can heal during the tournament (depending on trainer combinations)

When fighting Wrathion, Wise Mari, and Yu’La the first pet you encounter will not harm you during the first round of combat. Because of this you can lead with a self heal ability or, better yet, a full team heal ability and then immediately surrender the battle. This can be repeated as many times as possible.

Ideally you don’t want to have to do this as it slows you down however if it helps you succeed then take advantage of it.

CELESTIALS

Chi-Chi (Flying) 

Pets Used: (BoF Team) Unborn Val’kyr or Ghostly Skull, Pandaren Water Spirit, Chrominius

Strategy - With your Ascension undead pet do whatever you’d like for 5 rounds and if you have the Val’kyr cast Doom on the 5th round. On round 6 which should be your immune round cast Ascension. With your Water Spirit, come in and cast Geyser then Whirlpool. Fight as long as you can but the spirit won’t live very long. Lastly bring in Chrominius for the ol’ Howl/Bite/Surge combo will do it. The Bite should be evaded which is why it is needed. If you have the Val’kyr and get some solid hits in + doom, you might be able to have Chrominius simply lead with Surge of Power and end it his first turn.

Alternate Submitted Strat 1: 3x Snails with Ooze Touch, 25% damage debuff, and Dive. Hammer away and dive (when available) on the ethereal dodge round as it is always used on cooldown.

Alternate Submitted Strat 2: If you do not posses an Unborn Val’kyr or a max level Pandaren Water Spirit, you can opt for another team. This backup team also works should something go wrong and you fail to kill Chi-chi or not get her low enough for Chrominius to take her out. This sometimes happens if Unholy Ascension glitches out. Ghostly Skull is still a great option to lead off and an acceptable backup for the Val’kyr. Follow up with Nexus Whelping who can seriously put a dent with Arcane Storm and Mana Surge. I closed it out with Chrominius howl/surge of power.

If for some reason your first pass fails using the original strat and Chrominius lives, spend some time on Yu’la and heal Chrominius back up and use strat #2 unless you have spare Valks/Water Spirits.

Xu-Fu, (Beast)

Pets Used: Tranquil Mechanical Yeti, Cogblade Raptor, <Any strong Mechanical>

Strategy - Have your Yeti lead with Call Lightning. This has the benefit of removing his weather buff and enhancing all of your team’s attacks. Follow with metal fist and then Ion Cannon. Once your raptor is in, spam Batter to make use of your weather buff. The raptor will often finish the tiger off all by himself but you may need a clean-up mechanical as your 3rd pet.

Alternate Submitted Strat 1: Any call lightning pet with Lil’Bling. Apparently with the lightning weather effect active Lil’Bling can make short work of Xu’Fu or Zao. You can heal him up using Yu’La as needed. He is a fairly rare pet however.

Yu’la (Dragon)

Pets Used: Clock’em x2

Clock’em can actually, if things go well for him, solo the dragon all by himself. Since he is an easily purchased battle pet though, I leveled two of them just in case and I’ve found this is a great thing to have (Gregarious Grell is also amazing should you have it) just in case.

Strategy – Since clock-em is faster his evasion ability becomes amazing. Simply smack him with your punch unless he begins the turn in the air, in that case simply dodge. Just repeat this process until it is dead. You may or may not dip into your second Clock’em.

Alternate Submitted Strat 1: Peddlefeet and 2x sacrificial pets. Charge up during the stuns and swap in chump pets to eat the dives.

Zao (Beast)

Pets Used: Blighted Squirrel, Darkmoon Tonk/Menagerie Custodian

Strategy - Crouch then spam stampede. Because the squirrel gets an extra round of stampede in during his immune round he packs in a decent chunk of damage and leaves the boss with a very convenient 2 round increased damage debuff. Once your mechanical pet comes in simply Shock and Awe then Ion Cannon and he’s dead (both at +100% damage).

Alternate Submitted Strat 1: Any call lightning pet with Lil’Bling. Apparently with the lightning weather effect active Lil’Bling can make short work of Xu’Fu or Zao. You can heal him up using Yu’La as needed. He is a fairly rare pet however.

CHAMPIONS

(This is VERY much a work in progress because I’m still locking down foolproof teams for each. I will update them as I get some addition practice)

The links, courtesy of Perculia from Wowhead, show each Champion’s team. The order is not necessarily exact and you can check that simply by engaging the trainer and then aborting the fight before the first attack.

My strats are listed here though they certainly are far from the only ones:

BLINGTRON http://www.wowhead.com/pet-team#Av0EHcj-BB3I_wQdyA

Pets Used: Rapana Whelk or any good critter with a Dive attack, Kun-Lai Runt, Elemental pet with Immolate/Conflagrate

Strategy - If you are running a slow snail you can dive immediately on turn one which lets you dodge the first Goldrush. Play the long game and your critter should win out. I might recommend Blingtron be your first trainer just in case your first dive misses (damn 80% hit chance). Kun-Lai Runt will run all over Banks who doesn’t have much offense to speak of. Any strong Elemental with Immolate/Conflagrate will easily polish off Lil’B. I initially used Phoenix Hatchling however after leveling a second Pandaren Fire Elemental I think he’d be stronger.

UPDATE: I’ve swapped my team to Fast Rabbit, Kun’Lai Runt, Pandaren Fire Spirit.  It’ a little RNG though. From what I’ve seen Spawn G’nathus is a much better first pet option and I’ll be attempting to pick it up soon. If the fight goes poorly for you, or you miss a bunch, then Lil’ B will outlast your last elemental pet especially with his resurrection racial.

WISE MARI http://www.wowhead.com/pet-team#AhEFHcgQBR3IEgUdyA

Pets Used: Crow, Mechanical Pandaren Dragon, Strong Aquatic

Strategy - The crows are some of the best aquatic killers in the game however there are other options. Simply crush Carpe Diem with your flier and do whatever damage to Spirus that you can. Having a S/S Crow helps keep your Alpha Strike damage high. When your mechanical enters the fray kill off Spirus using your breath. When River submerges it is a perfect opportunity to drop decoy. Once the whelp dies your strong aquatic pet will easily finish off River.

If things go well for you, I’ve been able to save the mechanical dragon’s decoy until River and use it to block both his submerge AND whirlpool.

SHADEMASTER http://www.wowhead.com/pet-team#AgYFHcgHBR3ICAUdyA

Pets Used: Harbinger of Flame, Pandaren Fire Spirit, Son of Animus/Sunreaver Micro-Sentry

Strategy - Open with the strong Immolate/Conflagrate combo and continue to pummel Nairn into the ground. Pandaren Fire Spirit’s Magma Wave sweeps the turret away and can use the same Immolate/Conflagrate combo to take out Stormoen. Lastly finish off with a sturdy mechanical pet. Son of Animus is an excellent choice though you could use the Sunreaver Micro Sentry. I’m not sure how the trainers can be shuffled, however Son of Animus is quite useful for Dr. Ion Goldblum

CHEN STORMSTOUT http://www.wowhead.com/pet-team#AgIFHcgABR3IAQUdyA

Pets Used: Darkmoon Tonk/Menagerie Custodian, Kun-Lai runt/Flayer Youngling/Fox Kit, Strong aquatic with whirlpool and surge (Sea Pony, Aqua Strider) or Crab

Strategy - Shock and Awe + Ion Cannon will kill Tonsa off the bat. Chirp can be taken out using a conventional critter killer. Finish the fight out with your strong aquatic pet. Drop whirlpool and smash his face in.

TARAN ZHU http://www.wowhead.com/pet-team#AgwFHcgPBR3IDQUdyA

Pets Used: Devouring Maggot, Landro’s Lichling/Raven, Blighthawk

Strategy - I absolutely despised this fight. I decided to open with Devouring Maggot because of its ability to burrow and dodge Blackout Kick and Sticky Goo to prevent Feign Death. It’s a slow fight but the life gain allows the Maggot to easily kill Yen. The Lichling was simply a solid Undead option to beat down the next Monk however an anti healing Raven or Crow could work just fine. I ended the fight using Blighthawk because it has a strong Infected Claw and the ability to consume corpses to recover.

Alternate Submitted Strat 1: It was suggested to utilize a Val’kyr using Siphon Life and Unholy Ascension followed for Fossilized Hatchling with Ancient Blessing and BONESTORM. They used Lesser Voidcaller but I’d assume any potent undead pet can clean up the last monk. Since Ghostly Skull can interchange with the Val’kyr in my Chi-Chi strat I may use my Valk here and try it out.

LOREWALKER CHO http://www.wowhead.com/pet-team#AgUFHcgEBR3IAwUdyA

Pets Used: Disgusting Oozling, Mechanical Pandaren Dragonling, Strong Humanoid pet

Strategy - This is a fairly straight forward fight. The Oozling’s attacks run all over Wisdom with little difficulty. Do as much damage to Patience as you can with your Oozling before bringing in the mechanical pet. Patience is weak to the dragon breath and has no strong attacks (and one weak one) against your pet. You’ll get some damage in on Knowledge and a tough humanoid can seal the deal. Anubisath Idol is always a good candidate.

WRATHION http://www.wowhead.com/pet-team#AhUFHcgUBR3IEwUdyA

Pets Used: Rabbit, 2x Humanoid Dragon Killers (Flayer Youngling can kill two by himself, Kun-Lai runt can be a good backup)

Strategy - Your rabbit is a solid undead killer and it can mitigate a lot of damage using dodge and burrow to kill Cindy. Flayer Youngling (kick and deflection) is a perfect dragon killer and can possibly take out both of the remaining pets on his own however you can certainly pull in a second Youngling or Runt to finish it off.

Alternate Submitted Strat 1: Skunk with perk up and Stench, Anubisath Idol, Kun-Lai runt. If you don’t have a Flayer Youngling that’s fast enough, or have trouble getting one at all, this team is easier to put together.

SULLY http://www.wowhead.com/pet-team#AgkFHcgKBR3ICwUdyA

Pets Used: Magical Crawdad or Durable Crab, Kun-Lai Runt, Raven/Crow or strong flier

Strategy - Your first fight against Socks is one of attrition. Use damage reduction and self healing to wear down Socks and force him to use his Unholy Ascension. The Crawdad can actually do some damage to the rabbit before dying. Your Kun-Lai runt should be able to kill Monte fairly quickly. Your Raven (or other flying aquatic killer of choice) will finish off Rikki in no time.

Updated Strategy: High HP Spirit Crab with Shield and Whirlpool can kill both the first pet and almost kill the second pet. This seems to work much better

DR. ION GOLDBLOOM http://www.wowhead.com/pet-team#AvcEHcj0BB3I9QQdyA

Pets Used: Emerald Whelp, Son of Animus, <whatever you need to do the remaining damage>

Strategy - Lead with tranquility and follow up with moonfire then emerald bite. The next round Screamer is going to feign death so take the opportunity to get in a free tranquility before switching to Son of Animus.

Now I know not everyone has this pet so you can easily use another solid mechanical option. Son of Animus can solo the whole remaining team if things go well for him. If you are using Son of Animus simply keep your plating up and Siphon Anima to stay alive.

If you don’t have Son of Animus, you might want to consider swapping pets during the feign death round as opposed to using tranquility. This makes sure your mechanical pet doesn’t take any more damage than it needs to.

Team Waffle Podcast – Waffle Bites edition

So I recently had the opportunity to do a Waffle Bites mini-podcast with Arielle the usual host of the show though if you follow my blog you probably already know all about him through the community by now. The goal was to have a small discussion on resto specific changes coming in patch 5.4.

On the whole I think it went really well and I hope that you can take a listen if you’d like to hear my thoughts. I especially hope that this is helpful for those who are newer to healing on their druid and want to know what’s going on.

The audio can be found here: http://teamwafflecast.com/2013/waffle-bites-jarre-and-pve-resto-in-5-4/Before you listen though I have one final thing for you, a section of this post I call:

UM…ACTUALLY…

So I get a little nervous on podcasts though I hope to get better and made a few flubs that I should lay out.

The first is commenting that the Amplification trinkets are a huge throughput bonus. While they are still very good, I had put them on when I had nearly 12K mastery hence them providing such a massive benefit (looking at my raw numbers). Given that we may be swapping to heavy haste, it will still be good and useful just not necessarily a boost you’ll see to your character sheet numbers. I also am hesitant to suggest taking two amplification trinkets unless absolutely necessary to reach the BP and if weaving in DoT’s is possibly an option.

The second is a break point correction. I believe I say eleven hundred instead of eleven thousand. I’m pretty sure you would know what I meant without this correction but its worth putting in.

Lastly I flub some spell names at the end. Just smile, nod, listen, and enjoy and try not to think about it :)

Lunchtime Musings – Battle Pets a go-go

So it was fairly recently that I decided to crawl down the rabbit hole that is World of Warcraft – Battle Pets. Having never played any of the Pokemon (or similar) types of games before I was curious if the rock-paper-scissors mechanics would appeal to me.

After asking some questions on twitter it was suggested to me to work with some fairly robust starter battle pets in order to level them up to 25 and then power level any new pets I might get along the way. Taking their advice I quickly slotted my Murky, Lil’XT and took a quick trip to AQ40 to grab the Anubisath Idol (thankfully on my first try looking for it).  We quickly worked through the low level quests and zones becoming acclimated to the interface and pet abilities/classes. I grew to understand why the Idol and a strong mechanical pet worked well against the multitude of critter/beast wild pets out there. I’ve never been a huge fan of leveling, even alts for that matter, but I found pet battles to be pleasant and low key enough that I could tolerate it well enough. I suppose it helps that I’m watching TV on my computer while I do this in windowed mode. It wasn’t long before I had a team of three level 25 battle pets (with Murky being swapped out for an Emerald Proto Whelp P/P).

Now that I wanted to cultivate a larger roster of leveled pets and take on the Pandaren Spirit Trainers and ultimately Beasts of Fable it was time to get my safari hat! Having 39 out of 40 trainers and having missed the Darkmoon Raven I opted to create an Alliance Worgen character and play it through the starting area. Having never done this before I thought it would be a good idea to experience it for the first time while picking up a Gilnean Raven and battling my last trainer alliance side for the hat. It took a few hours but I was rewarded with everything that I wanted and a new found appreciation for the worgen starting experience!

I decided that I would farm the Pandaren and Spirit Trainers for a short while to get a couple of stones (and VP) before giving the Beasts of Fable a go. After doing a little bit of Pet Collecting here is my battle menagerie currently:

Level 25 combat ready rare quality pets:

Anubisath Idol           Bat

Chrominius           Darkmoon Tonk

Emerald Proto Whelp           Emerald Turtle

Feline Familiar        Gilnean Raven

Kun-Lai Runt         Lil’ XT

Mini Mindslayer          Pandaren Water Spirit

Rabbit         Rapana Whelk

Yellow Moth

Pets in progress towards level 25

Flayer Youngling          Nether Faerie Dragon

Mojo         Mechanical Pandaren Dragonling

Spirit Crab         Disgusting Oozling

Snarly         Sunreaver Micro-Sentry

Zandalari Anklerender      Murky

*Bold pets are my priorities for leveling

With the pets that I do have leveled to 25 I decided it was time to take on the Beasts of Fable. While I know there are people out there that are already farming these guys regularly and I’m MONTHS behind the curve I was still really excited to be able to take them out.

And take them out I did. On my first serious attempt to clear them all, though there were wipes along the way, I managed to get them all done which was really exciting for me. Since i’m not using any extremely rare or hard to find pet I tried to stick to some of the basics for the fights and utilize whatever tricks that I could (such as Life Exchange on a few of them).

While I am no where near ready for PvP Pet Battles, I am still having lots of fun with the system and really must commend Blizzard for implementing such an amusing mini game. If something like this can get someone who logs in almost exclusively for raids such as myself to spend more time in game for a fun alternate method for VP acquisition then I consider that a victory. While it is old hat for many I might create a list of the pets I used for each encounter on here so people might be able to use it as a reference.

On the whole I must say that Pet Battles are indeed fun and inspire us all to be collectors. I will never expect it to be anything more than an amusing mini game but it is rewarding enough to feel like time well spent. This, in my book, is a success.

 

Short Musing – 5.4 Healer Trinkets

I have questions regarding the cooldown-reduction (CDR) trinkets having taken a closer look at them.

If the healer trinket reduces all 3 minute major raid cooldowns by 27 seconds bringing them to roughly 2.5 minutes (2:33), is that something the design team thinks about when working on encounters and balancing them around abilities the raid has at its disposal? I only wonder this because the trinket is clearly powerful but potentially very situational and I wonder if it is similar to how heroic DS boss design had to take into account all tanks having their 4 piece set bonuses.

Right now the Amplify trinket appears to be a clear winner for one of our slots. Raw % throughput (greater than that from an int trinket in the same slot) with a significant secondary stat boost is always welcome. All of this coupled with the intellect proc is amazing for sure and borderline overpowered requiring some tuning. Given the raw power of the amplify ability I can only assume the int proc must be treated as a secondary bonus.

Looking at the next slot the question then becomes: will this 27 second cooldown reduction from the CDR trinket allow me to squeeze one more meaningful tranquility in on this fight or am I slotted into a rotation I must save it for. If an additional tranquility can’t be added, the reduction on Nature’s Swiftness/Ironbark may not be enough to warrant using the trinket unless the trigger intellect has enough uptime to make it a strong primary draw. Without the potential to add a raid saving tranquility to the fight (assuming the fight warrants it) then this trinket concerns me.

That being said, the int proc is still there on both of these trinkets and isn’t something to scoff at

I haven’t seen any quick math on the ICD and uptime on this 11,761 intellect as of yet and I hope someone might have that information handy or if I have missed it earlier somewhere please direct me there. I need to know how spiky/reliable it is. If it has a relatively reasonable uptime then it could compete directly with the static int trinket (which would then only be good as a mana regen option). If the uptime is lower then I think this proc might prove FAR too spiky for healers or at the very least my own preference.

I like the idea of the CDR trinkets and they are certainly more interesting than +intellect as a primary bonus for sure; I just have concerns over how critical the bonus is for throughput and how it is being factored in, if at all, for boss design. I also wonder just how they are weighting this intellect proc as well.

This is my brain droppings for Sunday evening. If you have any thought on my ramblings or have some technical information to clear up any confusion or assumptions on my part please share them with me.

A beautiful conclusion – 13/13H Throne of Thunder /w Ra-Den Video

This tier is finally over for us killing Ra-den tonight with plenty of attempts left for the week. It’s a little anticlimactic I will admit but it is gimmicky enough as a special optional boss that it proves interesting enough as a footnote. I’ll probably be writing a Tier 15 retrospective soon as I’ll have a little bit more free time with a lighter raid week.

From the folks at Capital Vices happy hunting and we’ll see you on the flipside :)

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Our kill video has been uploaded…complete with amazing drunken moonkin singing! (note website in video splash is outdated)

Ramblings – Saving Throw Vs. Death in MMO’s

It’s been no secret that I have been playing quite a lot of The Secret World lately especially if you’ve been monitoring my twitter feed. It is a game I have grown to appreciate despite that fact that it is decidedly less robust than WoW in terms of content and non-endgame group content available to players. I like the game because I enjoy the flavor and enjoy the combat.

The combat is TSW is extremely customizable and is both complex and not complex at the same time. Mush like playing a CCG you are tasked with building a ‘deck’. Your deck consists of assigning 7 active and 7 passive abilities to your character. The complexity lies in making sure these abilities all synergize well between actives and passives as well as the stats you’ve assigned to your gear (since most gear is entirely customizable for a price). Once assigned though, playing your build is much simpler. Good play however is entirely on you and your ability to stay alive.

What makes the grouping in TSW interesting, and slightly different than wow are the responsibilities:

Tank: Hate, Survivability, Interrupts, Avoid-or-die

DPS: Hate-management, Damage, Self and Group Cleansing, Avoid-or-die

Healer: Hate-management, Healing, Self-Cleansing, Avoid-or-die

Secret World has embraced a rather interesting take on MMO combat. This is a world where people have guns and monsters wield some fairly frightening magic. As such it is almost always going to kill you if you get hit with ANYTHING. You are tasked with avoiding every single aspect of a nightmare encounter that can be dodged in order to stay alive and continue doing your role. DPS are responsible for a bulk of the cleansing and there are a host of abilities tanks must interrupt or they can (or will) kill someone. I like this!

I understand however that this is incredibly daunting to a new player. Secret World tries its best to help you through them by adding ground warning effects for EVERY AoE attack in the game. You will always see where an attack is going to land before it happens if you are expected to avoid it. That part isn’t so bad I don’t think. The mechanics where a tank must impair (their version of interrupt) or DPS must cleanse themselves by way of Sleight of Hand is nebulous at best. Here are three examples of non-raid level nightmare capstone bosses.

Polaris – entry level Nightmare Dungeon

Final Boss – The Ur-Draug

-Cleave – will kill anyone but the tank in a frontal cone

-Ground Slam – warning shown for the cone affected – tank must avoid

-Submerge – when the boss submerges bubbles will appear around the party in the ‘safe’ zone completely immobilizing you. The only way to get out is use a spell to remove the hinder effect or use a ‘jump’ type skill. Failure to do so leads to death

-Blue phase – Boss shifts dimensions and wanders looking for you, part must play hide and seek behind rocks while dealing with adds. If you are seen by the boss you will be killed

-Pillar Explosion – when the boss drops to very low health he shatters all the large rocks in the zone originally hid behind, kills anyone near them other than a tank

That’s 4 ways you can instantly die instantly as a dps or healer on this encounter

 

Hell Raised – entry level Nightmare Dungeon

Final Boss – Machine Tyrant

-Anima Overcharge – boss puts up a shield after a timer has wound down that persists until dragged over a anima well. Will kill any DPS that hit him with the shield up

-Cleave – will kill anyone but the tank in a frontal cone

-Knockback – will kill or severely damage any melee who do not avoid the warning circle

-Firmament Barrage – moving crosshairs chase players dropping bombs periodically. Will kill anyone they hit

-Wave of Immolation – moves to the center of the room and creates a very large spiral of runes around him that will kill anyone caught in one

There’s 4 ways you can die instantly as a dps or healer on this encounter

 

 Hell Eternal – Tier 2 Nightmare Dungeon 

Final Boss – Eblis

Solar Collapse – huge crosshairs of doom and bombs or destruction. Run like hell or die

Drink Deep – tank interrupt or likely someone is killed

Occluding Lense – reflective shield DPS can easily blow themselves up on using finishers

Consummation – reduces a party member to 1 HP (can do tanks). Particularly deadly with the above Occluding Lens

Cast Out – pulls the party into a barred off area with:

-moving death circles on the ground

-Painwheel Overdive – tank must interrupt or we all die

-Vanquish – line attack to the boss’s left and right in the way he’s facing when casting it initially. Kills you

Chains – movement hinder ability that kills you when it expires. Remove it or die.

There are 8 ways a player can instantly die on this fight: 8 of which as a tank, 7 as a dps, and 5 as a healer.

 

I might be a little bit of a hard-ass but I honestly like this kind of punishing encounter. This might also be a reason why TSW isn’t really doing amazingly because the encounters are extremely difficult if you are not acutely aware of your surroundings and the fight itself. Couple that with it being a heinous gear grind once all story plot has been completed and you have a fairly tough sell.

As a healer in WoW I find it frustrating that some avoidable mechanics are not necessarily death related but simply painful. You will primarily see this in normal and LFR Difficulty as well as 5 man content. I think there needs to be a strong push for players, not just DPS, to be much more self sufficient when it comes to their safety. Having the security blanket of the healers is always a dangerous notion especially when you’re trying harder content and cutting back on the healers present. For our progression group we tend to rarely run more than 5 healers unless we absolutely have to for the encounter to function.

Secret World trains you hard from the very first moment you step into the game. Every mob from the most basic to elite and boss level all telegraph their moves to give you an option to avoid them. You are also given a quick directional dodge ability with a cooldown you can always use to move from place to place quickly. On top of that mobs are fairly lethal in general. Unless you give yourself self-healing or damage mitigation you’ll find yourself getting low just by taking on two or three of them and you might even get yourself killed easily enough if too aggressive. In a game with an extremely harsh environment I think it breeds a level of awareness players need to survive at the endgame level.

Because so much pressure is on players to avoid and dodge mechanic during fights I’ve found almost all players, except for tanks, shed ALL excess +hitpoint stats from their gear and streamline their damage and healing output. When a fight comes around where there is heavy periodic damage that cannot be avoided it is expected the player knows enough to swap in a health item to bring up their max hp. Failure to do so often leads to death.

I’m a weird individual though. When it comes to games like MMO’s I like punishing (but not unfairly so) environments because I think it makes better players. At the same time though I almost refuse to go back and play old retro console games without a save state function. I think for me the line that can’t be crossed is when challenge becomes frustration. A Heroic fight in WoW is challenging. The speeder bike level in Battletoads is frustrating. I think game developers need to be aware that creating a fight with immense amounts of luck required or hidden knowledge it can easily cross into the realm of frustrating. WoW heroic encounters as of late, and most of what I’ve seen in Secret World, are very learnable fights that require people to iterate on previous attempts in a logical manner. Having Save or Die mechanics in your fight are perfectly fair and do not in and of themselves make a fight a poor design.

There are my ramblings for today complete with some mild stream of consciousness in there as well. I hope I’ve at least given you a little something to think about

Preliminary Patch 5.4 Resto Druid Changes

So there’s datamined patch information that has a rather hefty list of changes for you as a restoration druid. Let’s just dig right in and go through them as well as what the ramifications will be.

1.) Nature’s Swiftness has become baseline. You no longer have to give up a talent option to take this iconic, and mandatory, talent. In place of Nature’s Swiftness there is a new passive ability that bears looking at: Ysera’s Gift. Now here are your two options for 5.4:

-Ysera’s Gift – passive – heals you for 5% of your maximum hp every 5 seconds. If you are at maximum health, it is smart healed to an ally. Assuming early 5.4 gear you’ll probably have in the low 600′s K for health meaning this will be ticking for roughly 30,000 every 5 seconds. Assuming the raid is not entirely full on health, this will always produce worthwhile healing adding up to 5K hp/s in this case. Is this worthwhile healing? At the rate at which it ticks i’d argue that it would more often than not end up as meter fluffing and never really save anyone except yourself. Your mileage may vary.

-Cenario Ward – 30s CD – Protective barrier that triggers upon taking damage healing for a large amount over 6 seconds. At ~40K spellpower this heals for roughly 54,000 every 2 seconds or 162,000 total over 6 s. This is not an overwhelming amount of healing and will usually not be enough to save the tank from imminent demise. It can however soften damage from blows that would generally not outright kill the tank anyway to lighten the healing load. It’s about 5K hp/s at that gear level as well.

I think this will be a case of pick your flavor. If the fight requires more direct tank healing you can opt for Ward. If the fight has consistent raid damage that needs addressing, then Ysera’s Gift provides it with absolutely no thought required.

2.) Soul of the Forest was buffed to 100% spell haste bonus. Didn’t really think it was necessary but perhaps their internal math felt it wasn’t pulling its weight on a throughput level (not factoring in mana savings). All this will really do is force us to create a new haste break point spreadsheet :)

3.) Tier 6, Level 90 talents, received a revamp.

Update: NV is actually quite amazing in practice with the smart healing component and currently is looking to be a clear cut winner for level 90 talents. Further discussion pending additional feedback.

Dream of Cenarius is no longer the terrible shell of a talent for us that it used to be. It now grants you the ability to attonement heal. Every wrath you cast hits for 20% more and heals a raid member for 100% of the damage done. Note that wrath has had its mana cost increase by roughly 50%.

Nature’s Vigil now also allows all direct heals cast while active to heal additional raid members for 25% of the amount healed. The rest of the talent remains the same. Update: It is unclear at this time if it is direct heals or all single target healing spells which would include lifebloom and rejuvenation. 

Heart of the Wild, when activated, also increases your healing done by some percentage. It seems to be them justifying the talent for restoration since many people i’d wager never activate it. Update: Buff is 25% to healing done! Fairly significant even if it is only once or sometimes twice an encounter if they run long.

I think this is a choice that remains simple yet complicated. Personally I think it comes down to Heart of the Wild and Dream of Cenarius on a fight to fight basis. I don’t particularly enjoy parking and casting however I am willing to admit that for some encounters with tight DPS checks and phases with minimal damage it can be an option. Heart of the Wild plays more to your strengths overall however it obviously doesn’t allow for the flexibility DoC does in that while DPS’ing with the CD (should you do it) you can’t heal at the same time without shifting gears. I will still probably default to Heart of the Wild as it still benefits our HoT centric style of play, especially with the new addition of Genesis.

I stand by Nature’s Vigil being the most lackluster of the bunch according to my taste. A 10% throughput boost, while very good, is not significant enough to really feel like a bonus from my point of view and the trigger activating only on direct heals seems counter intuitive. Depending on HotW’s throughput bonus, once we know more, we’ll be able to math out ultimately which will provide the most consistent benefit. Stay tuned to this one. Preferences for these talents change at the drop of a hat. 

4.) Genesis – activated ability with no cooldown listed as of yet. This spell will quickly activate all of your remaining rejuvenations making them heal and expire at 400% the normal rate. If you cast 6 rejuvenations for example and then immediately used Genesis you would have the first one expire in a little over a second, and the last expire in just over two and a half seconds. Each would produce healing equivalent to however much is left on them.

This spell, provided that it doesn’t play havoc with haste break points and allow for additional ticks that were otherwise unobtainable, is a slight mana loss (the cost of genesis) for a break even in the amount healed and a significant increase in your burst. Since there is set up required for genesis in the form of multiple rejuvenations, it does not need a cooldown. Much like Wild Mushroom: Bloom you are responsible for how aggressive you wish to be with it. You can use it a little or a lot provided your rejuvenations haven’t come close to expiring before hitting the button.

Expect to see this ability as a staple in your healing rotation/toolkit come 5.4. There will more than likely be multiple raid wide damage events that can be predicted in much the same way priests use their absorbs. Prehot the number of people you feel reasonable (3,4,5 perhaps) and let it rip once the damage goes out. Just make sure if you plan to use Swiftmend that you keep the last rejuvenation target as your fuel as they will disappear fast.

Genesis can also be used to TURBO charge your wild mushrooms if you deem it absolutely necessary. Since the window for genesis is small, limited by the time remaining on the heals, storing it up in the mushroom for imminent use gives you a slightly large window if absolutely need be.

5.) Wild Mushroom Bloom received a massive fix. The mushroom’s base healing was significantly increased because now you can only plant one of them. It accrues overhealing at 2/3 the rate they do now but holds the same maximum amount. The plus side though is that it is completely transplantable. You can pick it up and move it without losing the stored bonus healing. While not a perfect spell you can always guarantee you have it active and ready for raid damage with this new change.

Update:

  • Wild Mushroom: Bloom is no longer capable of critical strikes, and accumulates overhealing done by Rejuvenation by 100%, down from 150%. Overhealing bonus no longer benefits from Naturalist or Mastery: Harmony.

Make no mistake, this is still a great buff. Wild Mushroom is already potent and you can easily work around the drawbacks that come with this change. Between this and Genesis you are now armed with some really nice Burst options for healing. Keep this in mind when you’re looking at heroic encounters in 5.4. Having a fully charged mushroom you can literally transplant and bloom immediately as needed has far reaching applications. Sure this new found versatility is offset by the overheal the spell is likely to do but that is factored into the spell’s throughput by Blizzard I would imagine.

6.) Innervate finally scales with our stats! It is truly a miracle. We have been stuck compared to other healers unable to really benefit from spirit as much as other classes for a long while. This break has left some druids eschewing spirit for mastery when possible and some (of which I am one admittedly) going up into the 12K spirit range for heroic encounters. The new innervate model grants us 50% of our spirit as mana per second for 10 seconds.

Presently Innervate gives 60,000 mana every three minutes. A total of 1,667 mp/5. A number that was probably more impressive doing Tier 14 normals. Comparing that to Mistweavers Brew, Shaman specific MTT benefits, and Rapture is fairly lackluster with current gear.

The new innervate, provided that you have at least 12,000 spirit will give the same amount of mana in return. This seems to be initiated to balance what it provides using a ToT Normal gear level as a pivot point. Every 1 point of spirit you add beyond 12,000 provides 1 mp/5 more than what you would have with the current version on top of its usual benefit. I’ll probably do some gear related math once we know more in order to show just how much regen you’ll really be getting when deciding what spirit soft cap to settle down with.

Glyph of Innervate introduces the innervate swap trick we used to do between two druids. If you have another restoration druid in your raid, however unlikely this might be especially if you are doing heroic content, you could each take this glyph and swap with each other for a 20% boost to each players gained mana. This assumes of course you are both at roughly the same amount of spirit. Personally I am not convinced this is enough of a gain to make it worth it especially with the coordination involved.

7.) Tier 16 set bonuses are poop.

8.) New Glyph: Glyph of Efflorescence increases the healing done by Swiftmend by 20%, causes the Efflorescence healing effect to be triggered by Wild Mushroom instead of Swiftmend, and lasts as long as the Wild Mushroom is active. This glyph is actually fairly significant. It transforms Wild mushroom into a constant effloressence field along with boosting Swiftmend as a direct emergency heal. This could very well become a staple for us moving forward given its implications. Being able to constantly move and replace mushrooms seamlessly can translate to a large amount of bonus healing through the Efflo field.

I may be leaving some things out and I’m rather tired at the moment so my analysis is probably full of holes but please read and enjoy.

Legendary Meta Gem – Napkin Math Edition

The Legendary quest line meta gem is incredibly powerful we all know that. I thought though that I would just lay out some quick numbers for those curious about what you’re really getting. This is all basic napkin math though so don’t expect a riveting expose.

Looking at the logs from my guildmate (as I just got my meta last night) you are going to average somewhere in the ballpark of 12% uptime ± 1% depending on the intensity of the encounter. This is pretty significant. During the 4 second window you will more than likely cast either three rejuvenations or 2 rejuvenations and 1 wild growth. There will technically be situations where you may need or want to cast a regrowth and that could certainly squeeze in in place of a rejuv.

Using a 12% uptime, you are looking at approximately 1.8 procs per minute. During one proc of the meta, given intense healing, you will save 26,100 mana casting three rejuvenations and 31,140 mana with 2 rejuvenations and 1 wild growth. Multiplying that out you average 46,980 to 56,052 mana per minute. This equates to 3915 to 4671 mp/5.

Given statistical variation and fight diversity the mp/5 of the trinket will vary ± 380 mp/5 on average but its value can sometimes fluctuate much more than that. There are two things that may affect your benefit:

-The first is that its uptime can get oddly high on some fights. I have seen uptimes as high as 19% in some logs which could push it as high as 7,785 mp/5. It can also drop down to only 8-10% uptime if luck isn’t on your side. Either way you’re getting a sizeable bonus just not one that fits the expected average.

-The second issue is that this isn’t actual mana gained which is something I’d like to take into account but it isn’t really possible. If a proc happens during a moment in the fight you are distracted, or there is down time, a lull, or any other reason why you might not have needed to throw out the free heals you threw out you aren’t actually saving any mana. With wild mushrooms working the way they do though, free rejuvenations can still serve to grow them making the free heals not entirely wasted. I would safely wager that heroic encounters with more difficult damage patterns will allow for greater benefit.

Conclusion:

While this isn’t telling us anything we didn’t already know it does shed some light on potential gearing adjustments down the line. Once you get this meta gem and get a chance to trial run it through some of the more grueling encounters you are currently progressing on, you may find yourself tweaking the amount of spirit you plan on running. Something to keep in the back of your mind.