Friday 30 April 2010

Reader Roundup: April 30

It's time for another look at what's going on around the blogosphere.  This week it was all about the announced Cataclysm raid changes, but I think we've talked about that to death now, and we'll just have to wait and see how it turns out, for good or bad.

There has been plenty of other good stuff going on though!

Firstly, I'd like to wish Gazimoff of The Mana Obscura and his wife-to-be congratulations, and the very best of luck for their wedding this weekend!

Now to the links:
  • For all you budding (geddit?) Resto Druids out there, Keeva has created a Resto PvE guide. More information for the win!

  • Kae at Dreambound pointed us to the Paragon forums to a post about healing in cooperation with other healers.  Very interesting read... I've added PW:S to my grid indicators and I'm trying to be more aware of the order I heal people in raids this week.

  • Children's Week starts on Sunday May 2nd and runs until the 8th!  There's a few days to get your nose into some battlegrounds to scout out how to complete School of Hard Knocks, and Cynwise has all the advice you need. I forsee many deaths (my own, mainly) and copious swearing.

  • Windsoar wrote this very informative article about the healing addon, Injector. I've been meaning to try Injector out after Windsoar's recommendation but haven't got around to it yet - I don't really have any problems using Grid at the moment but it's always nice to try new things just in case you discover that you really love it.

  • Ambrosine had a bit of a trying time in a pug the other day.  Treepunches ftw!  Honestly, there's no point arguing with some people.

  • Sylly at Rolling Hots has listed the 10 sure signs that Arthas is definately a man, in response to her guild's disparaging remarks about how to tell Sindragosa is a female.

  • Wulfy at Barrens Chat posted all about Sentry Totems and their uses, in an attempt to convince Blizz not to remove them from the game!

  •'s Around Azeroth column has some great images, but this one just made me giggle.

  • And finally, I'll leave you with a song.  Well, Stop at The Stoppable Force will leave us with a song - Raiding in a Yellow Submarine
Happy Reading!

Thursday 29 April 2010

BA Shared Topic: Raid's Canceled!

This week's Blog Azeroth Shared Topic was suggested by Deyndor (who, incidentally, is celebrating his first blogaversary!):
So I was talking with Eda on twitter tonight and she mentioned that she's had 4 raids in the last 2 weeks get canceled. And that got me wondering, what do people do when their raid is canceled?

I'm sure there will be the mundane like farming stuff or running heroics, but I'm sure there are a lot of people with some really interesting and fun things too. Maybe you invade an enemy capital by yourself. Maybe you go play an alt. Whatever it is, share it!
Since I found myself in the position last night of my ICC-10 raid having been canceled, I thought it was a perfect time to write about this.

I'm in a casual 10-man guild. Even though we do have about 14 or 15 raiding members we do find ourselves short on raiders from time to time. Rather than run a bunch of heroics like I probably should do (badge-gathering on my scrub mage is still ongoing), I like to use these opportunities to do something different, and get things done from my list of goals.

In this post back in January I made these plans:
  1. Get Leesah to 80, into a raiding guild and get into ICC before a pre-expansion nerf (if one occurs).
  2. Get a second character to 80.  Just have to decide which of several lowbies to work on first...
  3. Get epic flying for at least Leesah.
  4. Save up at least 10k gold before the Cataclysm.  I am terrible at saving gold so this one might be a real challenge!
Well I've taken care of 1 and 2, and I'm almost there with number 3.  Number 4 could take some time since there are always plenty of things to spend gold on.

Since that time I've added a few goals to the list:
  1. Level up fishing and cooking (I've done part of this at least!) 
  2. Get the Karazhan key and run it to get Attumen's mount and the Mongoose enchant, but mostly for old time's sake. 
  3. Get the Explorer achievement for Aefa and add to my screenshot library (like I need more screenies) 
  4. Make Aefa a flying carpet. (just a few more levels of tailoring...) 
  5. Get Balindah (my shaman) to level 80.

So, to last night. We decided to form a VOA-10, pugging the missing spots. Once that was done and I had taken care of a random on each 80 for the frosties, I dragged Mengfu (my husband's shaman) into the Black Morass to finish off the Karazhan Key chain.

Karazhan, in case you are a Wrath baby, was the entry-level raid in Burning Crusade times, but it was still hard enough that you had to be pretty well-geared from heroics or crafted stuff to be able to pull your weight. I believe that to begin with, everyone had to have done the key quest chain as an attunement - the key was required for entry to the tower. This requirement was later removed, but someone with a key still has to be there to open the door for anyone without it.

The quest chain starts outside the Tower itself, in Deadwind Pass, and involves travel to places all over Azeroth and Outland including the dungeons Shadow Labyrinth, Steam Vaults, Arcatraz, Old Hillsbrad and Black Morass. If you don't have the keys for ShadowLabs or Arcatraz, there are additional chains that take you to Sethekk Halls (for ShadowLabs) and the Botanica and Mechanar (for the Arca key).  Fortunately, you only need to run the normal versions of each of these dungeons so I was able to solo all of them as Moonkin except for Mechanar - the gauntlet at the end was a bit much for my squishy feathers.  I also brought help to the Black Morass because if something goes wrong on a boss and you fail (or the second boss bugs on you and goes back to full health like it did the first time for me!!), you have to do the whole thing again. With two level 80s it was laughably easy.

So, I ended up with The Master's Key. Hooray!

Attumen the Huntsman drops Fiery Warhorse's Reins and Moroes drops the pattern for Mongoose, and those two bosses went down very easily as Moonkin with Mengfu healing.  I doubt I'd be able to solo them as Moonkin - they still hit pretty hard. No sign of the horsie this time but Moroes and his gang were nice enough to drop Mongoose right away! It was so nice to be back there again after such a long time - the music reminded us of good times, and I'll look forward to going in each week (or each time we remember) to see if we can get a horsie.

How about you?  What do you do when your raid is canceled?

Wednesday 28 April 2010


While we were all waxing lyrical about the raid changes in Cata, we seem to have left the fun behind a little bit.

Here's something different - I'm going to start off a story. If you know what should happen next, leave a comment with a sentence or two, or a whole load of sentences, but leave it hanging for the next person to add the next part.

Here goes:

One sunny afternoon, a Mage and a Druid were wandering around Dalaran.  They had just finished a random heroic, which was...

Go :)

Tuesday 27 April 2010

Information released about Raiding in Cataclysm

(Blood Princes down!)

I'm a little late to the party here, and no doubt you've already seen the commentary around the place.  There have been a couple of major announcements today about raiding and the award system in Cataclysm, but first, some Tree Druid news.

They're considering extending the cooldown on Wild Growth again (blue post on MMO-Champion's blue tracker). I'm still not sure as to why - but if they consider it overpowered and want to nerf it, they usually try to balance some other way.  Maybe this is the price we'll pay for getting some awesome buffs with the new Tree of Doom?

Changes to Raid Groups
Firstly, and more controversially, this blue post. I'm not going to go copy and paste the whole thing since a lot of others already have, but here's the summary from MMO-Champion:
  • 10-Man and 25-Man raids will share the same lockout.
  • 10-Man and 25-Man raids difficulty will be as close as possible to each other.
  • 10-Man and 25-Man raids will drop the exact same loot, but 25-man will drop a higher quantity of items.
  • Normal versus Heroic mode will be chosen on a per-boss basis in Cataclysm raids, the same way it works in Icecrown Citadel
  • For the first few raid tiers, our plan is to provide multiple smaller raids. Instead of one raid with eleven bosses, you might have a five-boss raid as well as a six-boss raid.
There have been a wide variety of reactions to this news from the "YIPPEEEEE!!1" to the "ZOMG RAIDING IS OVER DOOM GLOOM!".  At the end of the day, Blizzard is a company who wants to make money, and to do that they are aiming to make the game accessible and playable by the largest number of people possible.  It may be unfortunate, it may mean the death of hard-core raid guilds (although I doubt they will disappear entirely), but at the end of the day, Blizz Wants Your Monies (and mine, and that guy's over there, and his mum's).

I've read loads of blog posts about this today but I think the two that really summed it up well were Avalonna and Larísa. Avalonna makes a great point (among plenty of others) that the change in difficulty may well be in the upward direction (although on past performance I'd be surprised), and Larísa argues that having even rewards for both 10 and 25-mans isn't fair to the people who have to go to all the trouble of organising and leading 25-mans. There's a reason the world firsts are usually done on 10-man.

Do I like the idea of having to choose 10 or 25 mode?  I'm not sure about that yet. The leadership of my guild are super-happy over this change, though.  We currently raid 10-man because they don't want the stress of having to manage 25 raiders (or at least I gather that's the reason). I think they also fairly frequently lose players to 25-man guilds, because as much as people say that they're not in it for the loot, there are plently of players who like to be on the top of their game and the 25-man loot is the best.  At least with this planned change small guilds won't necessarily lose people to larger ones purely for gearing reasons. 

This is the quote that I found I really liked in the new proposed system: 
Overall, our goal is that you make the decision between whether to raid with 10 players or 25 players based on what you find fun and not because of the reward structure.
I for one love raiding with 24 others.  It just feels more epic somehow.  I love 10-mans too, don't get me wrong, but I have been missing 25-mans.  There don't seem to be any casual 25-man guilds on my server, though, and the group I am with now are awesome, so I'll stay put. We'll keep beating through having fun and get to Fatboy Arthas sooner or later. 

Are you happy to stay in the group size you're raiding in now?  Do you think 25-mans should still have the advantage, reward-wise? I'm hoping there will still be mounts or titles available for the different group sizes.

Changes to Reward System
The Reward system (or badge/emblem system) for Cataclysm has been announced in this blue post. There's going to be points this time instead of emblems or badgers.

From the blue post:
  • Hero Points -- Low-tier, easier-to-get PVE points. (most like the current Emblem of Triumph)
  • Valor Points -- High-tier, harder-to-get PvE points.  (most like the current Emblem of Frost)

  • Honor Points -- Low-tier, easier-to-get PVP points.
  • Conquest Points -- High-tier, harder-to-get PvP points. (currently called Arena Points)
They will also be downgraded and a new rank introduced above when a new tier of content is added, like how it happened in Wrath. 

Saturday 24 April 2010

Small Distractions

I'm going to be slightly distracted from WoW for a short time, for two small reasons...

Er, if you don't like pictures of cute things, look away now :)


and Bluey

They were rescue kittens, and their names came with them.
Why's he called Bluey when he's a Ginger? It's Aussie slang for a redhead. See here.

Minnie's original name was Minerva, but that reminded me too much of Harry Potter so she's Minnie now.

How exactly does one raid with kittens on the keyboard?

Friday 23 April 2010

Then there were Two

Aefa reached the 80th level on Tuesday evening just before maintenance. She had been slaving away to try to reconcile the problems between the Sons of Hodir and the God Thorim - a lofty goal but one she is almost there with.

Since that time she has mostly been launching offensives at various places around Northrend with her guildies and sometimes other random strangers, and has slightly better armour than she did on this night in the Temple of Storms.

In other news, I have installed Disqus on the blog after Zelmaru's success with it, because I was unhappy with the default Blogger comment system.  Please do add a comment so I can see how it's working!

Thursday 22 April 2010

Earth Day: Recycle a Post Today

I owe thanks to Zelmaru for reminding us that today (April 22) is Earth Day. To help remind you to take out the recycling, I'd like to recycle a post today.

I wrote this post back in January as An Ode to my Kodo. I wanted to recycle it because I had a lot of fun writing it! Enjoy :)


From the desk of Leesah...

Just before I reach level 60 and start flying about the place, I wanted to mention how awesome my [Great White Kodo] has been.

O Kodo, you carried me here and there, and there and here, and back again.  You are only slightly more graceful than a rubber duck sailing on the Maelstrom and you make me slightly ill to ride for a long time, but you make up for it in cuddliness.

Your amazing velcro feet allowed us to travel to places we never would have seen to admire the wild places of Azeroth.

You fit so conveniently in my pack until I just throw you out there like a pop-up tent and you're ready to run at a moment's notice.  If only all friends were so!
(click to embiggen)

I will miss you during my time in Outland but I look forward to wobbling about in the Great Frozen North with you soon.

<3 Leesah

PS: Think it's interesting the way Tauren ladies keep their Kodos folded up inside their handbags like pop-up tents?  Well, I have it on good authority that the men of the Dranei race keep their Elekks inside jars.  Someone call D.E.H.T.A.!

Wednesday 21 April 2010

Valley of Strength

Click the image for a 1600 by 900px wallpaper image. 

Orgrimmar, Valley of Strength, following the events at the Wrath Gate.

Want to see more pretty pictures? Visit R&R's Gallery Page.

Tuesday 20 April 2010

Going Down?

Recently Leesah got the Going Down achievement. I assure you it was completely by accident, and it didn't involve flight form.

Y'see, I like to fly into Dalaran from multiple directions and get close to where I'm going before I get kicked out of flight form. I have done this for as long as I've been visiting Dalaran, and I still can't tell where I am in the city until I fly over the walls and into the city zone.

The other night, I flew in, and realised I was over the Violet Hold. I turned and headed roughly bank-wards, except I was booted out of flight form before I cleared the edge of the Violet Hold roof. There's a fence around the edge of the roof, which means you can't jump down inside the city, and because I was inside the city zone, I couldn't go back into flight form to fly over the fence.

There was only one thing for it. I was going to have to jump off the edge of Dalaran. As a druid that is not as scary as it sounds - one of our perks is that we can shift in mid-air, so all I had to do is wait until I fell out of the city zone and shift.  So I jumped - not off the dome of the roof but off the grey ledge below it.

... and landed on the ledge that runs around the outside of the city, and didn't die, and got the achievement.

Tonight I tried to repeat it on my mage, but I died and couldn't get back to my corpse and had to cop the res sickness.  Good luck trying!
How did you get your Going Down? Keep it clean now people ;)

Monday 19 April 2010

Blizzard's ToL Plans Revealed!

Don't worry, there aren't any spoilers here!
This morning as I looked through my feedreader I saw that Sunfyre had shared a picture of some chocolate called "Naga Bar".

In related news, I was at the fruit shop this weekend and saw this muesli, the name of which caught my eye.

So Blizzard, your plans for what to do with the obsolete Tree of Life model have been uncovered!  Save a tree from the evil fate of being turned into muesli - adopt an abandoned Tree of Life today!

Unfortunately, as posh mueslis tend to be, it was ridiculously expensive. I guess making cereal out of imaginary computer game pixels has pretty high production costs.

Ps. Isn't muesli a strange word?

Saturday 17 April 2010

Druid Catclysm Answers from Twitter

Time for another Twitter Dev chat with Blizzard. This time there were all sorts of answers about changes planned in Cataclysm. I'm going to go through some of the answers mentioning Resto and Balance Druids.  If you don't want to hear about the changes, stop reading now :)

Original source is on the WoW Forums.
Q. Is every healer supposed to be able to tank-heal efficiently, or will we still see specs excel in it more than others?
A. Each healer is intended to have a different niche and different strengths, such as Restoration druids with HoTs, or paladins at direct healing, Discipline priests at absorption/prevention, etc. That said, each healer should be able to keep up a tank and have some deeper “tank healing gameplay” as they do now. 
This sounds kind of interesting considering they aren't giving us anything new to play with... we'll have to wait for more information to see how they're planning on improving Druids' tank healing abilities.
Q: Will relics and wands be getting any new attention in Cataclysm?
A: With relics, the plan is to make them class agnostic. In other words, there might be a +strength relic that a death knight or paladin might want to equip. We think that will let us add more of them to the game without them being so specialized. They will feel more like wands.

How to make wands and relics a bigger part of gameplay is something we’ve had many, many discussions on. Ultimately though we’d rather see warlocks, mages and priests casting their spells, not zapping someone with a wand. In Cataclysm we don’t expect to see much wanding, even at lower level. 

Q: When you say you're going to make relics class agnostic, does it include druids' idols as well?
A: Druid, shaman, paladin and death knight. It’s possible we will still keep some that are very specific to certain classes and specs. Overall though we’re not happy with the current design where an ability procs a buff on you. If it’s an ability you don’t use often, then the item is terrible, so they end up feeling really passive already. At the same time, the fact that we have to offer so many prevents us from ever giving you the choice of which one to use. So we make the Resto druid or Enhance shaman version every new tier. It would be a more interesting decision if there was a crit + Intellect relic and a haste + Intellect relic, and you can choose which one to use. 

Eeenteresting. "Agnostic" relics obviously won't work for current relics - they all involve class-specific spells at the moment, such as Steamcaller's Totem and Idol of the Black Willow. Assuming they will be changing the proc effects to things like an increase in intellect (since spellpower is going away on everything except weapons), this makes relics just like an extra proc-based trinket slot, and we lose some of our special class-specific items.  I guess it's good that we won't have to disenchant the Libram that dropped for the 50th time when there's no Paladin in the group, but I'm still not sure I like the idea.
Q. Why are Restoration druids the only spec in the game not receiving a new spell?
A. Restoration druids are actually getting a fair bit. For one, Tree of Life is getting a whole new model (think Ancients of War) and will also “morph” some of your spells to do crazy things while in the form, such as cause Regrowth to be instant, or Lifebloom to apply two applications at once. Tranquility will be raid-wide. We’re also touching nearly every Restoration druid spell to make sure each has a niche and feels good. In general, playing a Restoration druid should feel a lot different (better!) in Cataclysm than it does today. 
Ancients of War, eh?  Those things are huge?! (see image at the top) This is the first we've heard about the new cooldown-based Tree of Life - and that our existing spells are getting tweaked.  Suddenly I'm not so sure our healing style will stay the same as it is now. Having spells do crazy things sounds good though, as long as they are controllable crazy things!
Q. What change are you most excited about?
A. Some of the new Balance talents for druids, like Solar Beam, which works like Freya’s spell where it instantly silences a target and they have to move out of the beam to get rid of the debuff. 
What's this? Were we already told about this Solar Beam thing? If so, how did I miss it?!  Sounds interesting, but very PvP... sounds a little overpowered to be applicable in PvE, unless they make the mana cost through the roof so that it's very difficult to use a lot.
Q: How will haste affect channeled spells. Will it be similar to DoTs and HoTs?
A: They will channel faster but their duration will remain unchanged. You will get more ticks on the same cast.
More lightning bolts for the price of a normal storm?  Awesome! So they're changing the way this works - at the moment the ticks are faster, but there are the same number of ticks, so the duration is shorter.  They're saying the duration will stay the same length but there will be more ticks. An interesting change, but I wonder why they made it. It means casters of channeled spells will be more mana-efficient since we won't be casting so many times. I'm wondering if this is the same with HoTs - at the moment Rejuvenation falls off faster than normal because of the Rapid glyph.  With the new change rejuvenation will be the same length but heal more ticks?  Yes please!

We're gradually being drip-fed more information - I think the Beta will be coming very soon.  As I said at the top, I've only covered Resto and Balance Druid stuff - there's way more interesting info if you read through all the answers in the forum post.

Friday 16 April 2010

On Fishing

If there's one thing this game has taught me it's that I have a short attention span. It's also possible that is caused by playing the game as well.

In any case, if there's a solo activity that is boring me, I won't do it for long. I'll do boring stuff in a group to help others, but my own grinding activities tend to happen in short spurts.

For this reason, I have never had a character with max level fishing. The few times I tried to fish, I was struck down with boredom almost immediately.

Enter WotLK. I leveled my cooking to the new cap and provided my own buff food for raids, but then people started bringing Fish Feast. The fisherpeople in the guild were suddenly spreading feasts all over, and I felt guilty as hell.  I was determined when I started Leesah that I would make a fisherwoman out of her.  It must be the closet "provider" type in me.

I'll share something with you that I only found out recently:

You can level your fishing in any pool. 

You can fish in the pond in Mulgore or in the Stormwind canals or wherever and level your fishing to 450 if you want to. 

If you fish in an area that requires fishing higher than your current fishing level, you won't catch any fish.  You'll catch weeds, tattered cloth and other random junk, but you will still get skill-ups in fishing.

If you fish in areas lower than your current fishing skill (when added to any bait you have used such as Nightcrawlers or Shiny Bauble), you will (most of the time) catch fish, and that is where it really comes in handy for leveling up your cooking at the same time. There are different fish habitats and schools all over Azeroth, and if you fish in the right place, you'll catch fish you can level cooking with.

Sometimes if you're really lucky, you can fish up treasure, or even pets!

I used this guide at Almost Gaming - Fishing & Cooking Guide. It tells you where to catch fish and where to get the recipes to cook them. While leveling my cooking I had a generous stock of different meats in my bank (jeez it was whiffy in there by the time I got around to it), so my cooking got ahead of the guide a bit, but I was able to fish the areas where I needed to catch fish to level cooking.

Once I reached 300 cooking I stopped fishing for a while because after leveling two characters through Outland and Northrend I had all the meat I needed to get up to 400 cooking. 

I thought that getting to a high enough level of fishing to be able to fish in Northrend would take hours of pain, but for some reason now with only 250 fishing, I am able to catch fish in Wintergrasp with the Sharpened Fish Hook. I'm not sure why that is, because according to Cromulent I shouldn't be able to fish there until level 430 and even with the hook and Nat Pagle's, that only puts me up to 370. Did they recently drop the requirements for Northrend or something?  Not that I'm complaining!

I've started doing the fishing dailies both in Outland and in Dalaran now.  It will be a long grind up to 450 but I'll get there on the dailies.  Plus I can fish in Wintergrasp  and that's where the ingredients for Fish Feast are found. Now to get my cooking up to 450...
I'm almost a provider again!

Thursday 15 April 2010

What You're Looking For

So this blog thing, it's going pretty well so far. I've been going for about four months or so, and I'm having a great time writing, finding my voice and commenting around the Bloggy community.  Twitter became my /g chat before I had one and continues to be an inspiration and also a distraction!

I'm in a good place with traffic at the moment - there are enough of you to mean there are a few commenters and lovely people who link me and put me on their blogrolls - Thanks so much!  Also I have few enough readers to stay under the radar which seems to be a good thing considering the crazy things I hear it does to others' blogs.

The pages on R&R most found through searches are the Resto and Balance gear lists and cheat sheets, and also the Power Auras pages. I don't get much feedback about them but a few people have told me they are useful so that makes me happy.

There are an interesting range of other questions that bring people to R&R.  Here is a selection:

lunar eclipse robes good for moonkin? and lunar eclipse robes for resto druid 
Yes, Lunar Eclipse Robes are great for both specs if you can afford to have them made, although for Moonkin you may prefer Merlin's Robe (cloth) for haste over Spirit. The Tier 10 chests and the Vestments of Spruce and Fir are better though, if you have access to 95 Frosts.

Meh, it's okay, but if you can get your hands on the Spectral Kris from H-ToC or Surgeon's Needle from H-PoS with an offhand, you'll be better off.

coords for pit of saron
The entrance to all three ICC 5-mans is about halfway up the side of the Citadel, at  52.5, 89.3. From the graveyard, face the citadel then head to the right side of it.

elitist jerks flaring growth
Does it itch? You can probably get some ointment for that.

fastest way to rejuvenate legs
Well I should start by sitting down and putting your feet up. My resto gear post was probably not what this person was looking for.

fresh 80 shaman omming
Er... this is not that kind of blog... just so you know. Just because my husband has a fresh 80 shaman does not mean you can ask personal questions!

how to effectively heal heroics as fresh 80 resto druid
I think the real trick to getting through your first heroics as a healer is by going with an experienced tank. Go with your guildies, or if you haven't got any like I didn't, close your eyes and pray for a good tank. After that, it's really just about keeping your Rejuvenation up on the tank and any dps that like to attract damage, spot heal with Nourish or Regrowth and Wild Growth the splash damage. The more practice you have, the more confident you'll become and the easier it will be.

level 80 1h healing
Well, you can probably heal with one hand if you're really keen, but what is the other hand doing?  Actually... don't answer that.

Yeah yeah, I see y'all cheating on the egg hunt *peer* I hope that wasn't any of the winners!

should i go to pick flowers?
Why yes, most places around the world have flowers out this time of year!

wow macro for nature of the magic to other one
Um... no idea what nature of the magic is, or the other one. Good luck with that!

Tuesday 13 April 2010

A Tale of Two Addons

I am forever on the hunt for different addons to improve the feed of information to my brain while playing.

When I reinstalled WoW on a new computer, I decided to try out Mik's Scrolling Battle Text, to see if I liked it.  I did, and all was well.  But recently, I realised that I was missing certain facets of the previous combat text addon I used - Scrolling Combat Text (SCT, and Scrolling Combat Damage Text, SCDT).

Today I have been playing around with each of them, to see if I could make either of them do exactly what I wanted, and here I'll present to you my findings.

What both addons do
These addons are for displaying information on your screen relating to the damage, buffs and healing that your toon deals or receives. They can both be configured so that the information can appear in different locations on your screen and in different fonts, show icons, sounds, and so on. To different extents, you can also limit the spells or types of spell shown. Both addons allow events to be moved between frames.

Scrolling Combat Text (and SCDT)
The image at the top of the post is my original setup of SCT. SCT adds damage events to your screen, and contains all of the animations and event stuff.  The SCDT component is specifically for your own outgoing damage.  I'm not quite sure why there are two seperate addons for it, but without SCDT you can't see your own damage.

SCT is extremely configurable - in fact I'm sure I haven't ever used most of the stuff it can do. I can change the shape the text follows, I can make it appear over nameplates, I can change the size and font and colours, and a whole load of other things. I found the default font in SCT clearer and easier to see, and I really liked the curving and alternating animation because it didn't clutter up the screen too much.

SCT shows an alert when certain spells becomes available. For example, when playing my mage, if the target becomes frozen, I can cast Deep Freeze. With Mik's I had to set up a Power Aura to let me know when it was available, but SCT pops up with "Deep Freeze Available!"

SCT only uses two frames plus a "Message" frame for buff and debuff messages - one frame shows healing and the other shows damage, but you can move any events to either frame.

Mik's Scrolling Battle Text

Mik's uses slightly more memory than SCT, but one of the main drawcards with Mik's is that it has spam-reduction built in. When firing off AOE effects or multiple HoTs, messages from the same spell within a certain time are combined into one message, reducing the amount of text on the screen. In the image below, the 4117 number refers to the total damage done by the 3 hits.

The other thing Mik's does is that it tells you what you have just looted, along with a sum of how many of those items are already in your bag, which is invaluable for quests or general gathering when you only need a certain number of something. For example, as I gathered eggs for Noblegarden I knew exactly how far I had to go to get to 100 eggs without having to open my bags and locate my chocolate stash - Mik's told me how many I had as soon as I looted an egg and received the chocolate. In the image below, I looted a Worg Haunch, and that made a total of 3 in my bags.

To try to make the damage numbers stand out more, I changed the master font to be slightly larger and to have a thin outline. I turned off incoming damage completely because I don't think I really need to see that, although I'll monitor that in the next raid to see if my brain uses it subconciously to tell me I'm standing in something.

Mik's allows you to create new frames for messages to appear in - I made an extra frame for all healing events to go into so I could move them off to the left side.

I can't use my preferred animation of curved and alternating text with Mik's.  I will also miss the spell availability messages, but I can make power auras for those so it's not too much of a problem.

The image below shows my final altered setup of Mik's. If I had been healing, the green numbers would have shown to the lower left side, moving downwards.

I'm still not completely happy with it - I might try moving the messages somewhere else since they are quite spammy in the same area as the damage text at times. If this fight had been using SCT, there would be a mess of numbers all over the place.

In Conclusion,
I've decided to stick with Mik's for now. I should mention that this is mainly for DPS - while healing I don't really have time to look at pretty numbers so Mik's was ahead to start with due to the spam-reduction.
The differences are small and not game-breaking, but I think I've tweaked it now to my liking. Still, I'd like to hear your opinions. Which combat text mod do you use?  One of these or something different? Are you an expert in Mik's or SCT and can help me with the limitations of either?

Monday 12 April 2010

Progress Post: Bumbling Along

I haven't done one of these for a while so I thought I'd catch up a bit with my toons.

Leesah is having a great time, healing in randoms and mostly Moonkin in guild things, since we seem to have a healer surplus. I don't mind going along as dps, except when healer gear drops, because then I feel guilty about rolling on it. We're running ICC-10 twice a week and I'm usually the third healer, so I'm dps most of the time then I heal on the harder boss fights. We've got both Festergut and Rotface down now so tonight it's all new - either Blood Princes or Putricide (or both?!?!).

We do the weekly raid on Thursdays so my Frosties have been adding up a little bit - in fact I just purchased my first T-10 piece, the gloves. I'm wearing them at the moment but I might go back to 4-tier-9 until I get enough for a second tier-10 piece.  

What do fellow restos think?  Is the crit bonus on Rejuvenation significant enough to keep the 4-T-9 bonus until a second piece of T-10 comes along?

I'm finding now that I've been running 10-mans again that I'm missing 25-mans a bit. I healed a pug 25-man ICC last weekend and it was fairly disastrous, not to mention that they gave the Abacus to a druid who had come along as Moonkin (/facepalm).  The group fell apart on Saurfang after we hit the enrage timer a couple of times. I'd much rather stick with guild groups but my guild just doesn't have the numbers for 25. I'm not ready to move just yet either and the people in this guild are lovely, so we'll see how the pugging goes for a little while.

You might notice in Leesah's achievement feed -> that she's been getting a few Outland dungeons done.  This is because my latest project is to get the Karazhan key. There's just Black Morass left now! I've managed to solo most of them, but I broke last night on the Mechanar gauntlet.  I'm also going to bring help for Black Morass because if something goes wrong, you have to start the whole thing again, and I just cba with that :)

Oh and she's now Leesah the Noble. And may I just say that Chocoholic is one of the most satisfying achievements I've done.

Aefa collected just enough eggs to get the Polymorph: Rabbit spell. I didn't bother with the rest for her because there is really only so long one can hunt eggs for before mush-brain occurs.

She's been working hard for the Horde in Northrend the last couple of weeks.  After the events of Wrathgate she headed out to Grizzly Hills for some rest and recuperation as Leesah did, and is close to 76, helping out some old troll called Drakuru. I'm quite looking forward to having two level 80s again just for a bit of choice and a fresh project.

My poor baby Shaman Balindah is sitting in Swamp of Sorrows at level 41.  I kind of abandoned her there after our Refer-a-Friend finished - I hope she's not minding the mosquitoes too much. /guilt

And apart from WoW? I've been working on another project - rewriting my travel blog a year later. If you're interested in reading about a journey overland from London to Beijing, check out  Shameless self-promotion ahoy :)

Saturday 10 April 2010

Cataclysm Druid Preview - the Blues Respond

Here's a collection of Ghostcrawler's responses on the Druid class changes post

Once again, if you'd rather not know, don't click to read more :)

Cataclysm Druid Preview

Blizzard has posted their plans for Druids in Cataclysm. I'll list the ones affecting Resto and Balance druids and give my initial reactions after the break, so if you don't like spoilers, you can stop reading here. There's diagrams and things though.. :)

BIG DISCLAIMER:  These changes are initial in-development plans.  They are in no way final!  In fact, many of them may not make it past the first Beta version!  Read with a pinch, in fact a whole handful of salt!

Friday 9 April 2010

Reader Roundup April 9

It's time for another Reader Roundup! I'm sure I don't need to point you towards anything to do with the Cataclysm preview announcements, as it's really a bit hard to avoid them.  The Druid changes aren't coming until tomorrow my time and I'll go over them when they appear, but until then, here's some other stuff to read.

Firstly, there's still a couple of days until Noblegarden ends - how are you going with the achievements? Apart from all the business I was up to with the Noblegarden Egg Hunt, there were some very busy people in game!
  • Anea started a new character and managed to get The Noble at level 6! I was seriously impressed with that, then I was further impressed when I saw this:
  • Birdfall interviewed a player who had convinced her to help him get The Noble on a level 1 bank alt!
An update on April Fool's Jokes:
  • Remember EPEEN? Well someone has actually developed it as an Addon
  • Play a tree healer and need help figuring out Death knights?  Psynister teaches us how. Since I missed this one in my April Fool's wrap up I thought I'd link it here, because his diagrams are super cute :)
Need strategy?
  • Matticus posted this very useful guide to Sindragosa 10. I haven't seen this fight yet myself, but the mechanics sound complicated and I found this guide was quite easy to understand.
  • Kae of Dreambound Druid drew an uber-cute comic to explain the Lich King encounter. This is part 1 showing phase 1 and the first transition.  There's more to come...
In the world of prose this week there were two items of complete Awesome.
  • Over at Righteous Orbs there was a heartrending tale of one Kobold's struggle against oppression - I Gerald. Read, laugh, cry, hope.
  • Kiss My Alas came up with the new and completely brilliant genre of Jane Austen Warcraft. If you haven't read it yet, you must.  The first chapter is here and the second and third can be found here. More please!
And finally, a very welcome back to Zelmaru of Murloc Parliament, who you may know as the Cranky Healer of yore.

PS. The image at the top is from the BBC series, the Definitive version.  That is all.

Thursday 8 April 2010

Dwarven Fire

Click the image for a 1600 by 900px wallpaper image.

Blackrock Depths, from an opening in the wall near the Ring of Law.

Want to see more pretty pictures? Visit R&R's Gallery Page.

Wednesday 7 April 2010

The Great Blog Noblegarden Egg Hunt is Complete!

Time's up! The eggs have been found, and I can now reveal that the two winners are:
  • Rades - who sent in his answers first after every update to the list, and even tweeted about the final egg being confirmed before I did!  If I wasn't so impressed with his egg-finding I'd accuse him of hacking my email :P
  • Poneria - was the second to send a complete and correct list (in a spreadsheet no less) 
Congratulations and well done! I'll put you both in contact with Mason to arrange your prizes.
It was a very tight race, and special mention has to go to Heather, Jaedia, Anea, Iaaiv and Tarinae - you all did so well and thanks for your entries! I'm sorry I couldn't offer more prizes.

Some of the eggs were hidden so well, I have no idea how people managed to find them. Some of the most difficult included Pugging Pally, who stumped a few people by the sounds of it, and WoW Philosophised who linked his Creative Commons License to a Sprite Darter Egg - well done to all who managed to find that one! Which one had you stumped?

Thanks are due to all the bloggers out there who joined in and hid an egg - I recommend you drop by the blogs in the list and maybe add a few to your feedreader - they are the real treasure in this hunt after all!

Also thanks are due to all the WoW Twitterati who re-tweeted the #wowegghunt tweets for me. You're awesome! Also Blog Azeroth and the Twisted Nether Blogcast for helping me gather bloggers :)

I'm interested in hearing your feedback if you decided not to enter the competition - was there too many blogs to look through? Were the eggs too well-hidden? I realise a lot of people may have been away or too busy over the long weekend, but the list is still here so stop by a few blogs and check out the eggs :)

Here's the full list of all the egg locations. I've borrowed Poneria's spreadsheet:

Page w/ Egg Notes about the Egg's location Sidebar: in the Single Abstract Noun, I mean, Single Abstract Egg, button The El Pollo Grande link leads to an egg. =P At the bottom of the page At the bottom, egg image At the bottom of the page, kinda pinky Sidebar: between 10-man bloggers & other random sites image on the pages bar (Home, Resources, About Me, Contact Ice, )  Looks like somebody scratched out some background to reveal a golden egg. Just before the tilde (~~~~) break, "Now to test my most >>egg< under "Side Effects" there's a link using the word "Egg" 2nd paragraph from the bottom: "Nope, no >>egg< at the bottom of the page, made out like it's a character in the SAN guild. in the flowchart, in the line above the HURRRRRRRRRRRRR The image is epic: it's Trollaggedon launching a firey egg.  Clicking the image reveals that I've found the egg. at the bottom, says "easter egg" in binary Strayegg's blogroll link has been hijacked! :) next to the Noblegarden title before the NG pictures (after Lunar Festival & Love is in the Air) At bottom, firey & with wings Under Edainne the level 80 Draenei Priest The Egg of Mortal Essence Sidebar: blue egg under currently playing Upper righthand corner, it's a link to "Twegger" Pets & Mounts page, at the bottom, Almost can't see the bugger!  Below the meta, in the background, there's a dark egg shape.  I've found it on two pages, though Sidebar: next to the RSS & Twitter buttons The icon next to Oracle Egg at the bottom of the post Rades's comment has a purple & gold laughing Draenei egg in the chart, top right ("Is that a crappy egg I see?") horde egg at Caste's feet --> clicking the image leads me to a confirmation page that it's not actually the armory Between Muffin's feet Sidebar: it's in the Horde symbol of the SAN image button at the bottom: that evil looking orc egg Sidebar: under the "powered by Wowhead" widget thingy sidebar: rainbow egg under all the feed stats buttons Well, I guess being fish-people, murlocs would, in fact, lay eggs. the lion in front of the druid tree on the right side has it at the very bottom, it's a purple egg with a druid tree in it. :) The Dungeon For Two etc. post --> link from his name --> this site linked --> sidebar: under picture of Puck the dog, it's Porter wearing bunny ears and holding an Easter basket Sidebar: down near the "featured"; it's magenta, cyan, green, striped, speckled at the bottom, kinda obvious the Happy Easter! Link confirms it wayyyyyyy at the bottom, below the copyright, pink/red & green wavy stripes on it 5th picture down, it's in the lower lefthand corner of the pictured car dashboard sidebar: next to the TNWiki button, if you hover over the Creative Commons license button, you get the Sprite Darter Egg tooltip from Wowhead at the bottom: it has feet!

And now, I shall rest.