Friday, May 9, 2008

Thoughts on a Friday

Hydross HowTo: BRK has a new video out of HowTo the Hydross the Unstable fight in SSC. Still deciding if I'll devote the time to another transcription. BRK is actually hard to transcribe. He's got some voice quirks and sayings and speaks very rapidly. Makes for a lot of typing. I probably will, but it'll have to be a rainy day project. Too much yard work -- and Mother's Day -- staring me in the face.

Mother's Day: Speaking of which... who the "F" schedules a raid for Mother's Day. Come on. Really? Our guild alliance has done just such a thing. I guess for some (many?) it's not that big a deal. It is in the evening, so many of the festivities will be over. For me, I'm cooking a meal (dinner) for my wife, sister, and mother and all the kids. 12 people. Not a huge crowd, but considering I cook about 10 times a year -- if that -- it's a bit of a task. :)

Wrath Preview: GameSpy has a ginormous preview of Wrath of the Lich King out. There are two fairly amazing new pieces of news.
Blizzard announced that the raid dungeons in Wrath of the Lich King would all have 10-man and 25-man versions, with substantially better gear available to anyone who could organize the 25-man.
...all the five-man heroic dungeons will be itemized completely separately from the lower-level experience.
That's some really good news. While I've had the chance to do a lot more 25-man stuff (Gruul, Magtheridon, and Serpentshrine Caverns) lately, it's not something that I can devote a ton of time to and I'm unlikely to be able to see the higher tiered raids before the expansion. Knowing that I'll be able to see *all* the fights in the expansion -- even in 10-man form -- is really welcome news.

Making the loot tables for 5-man heroics completely separate from the 5-man normal will breath some life into them, as well. Nothing sucks worse than going into a heroic only to see the same stuff drop. Makes the trip seem pointless and at the rate that badges are gained from 5-mans, that's not really enough incentive to do them regularly for me. I'd rather get 10-15 in one night of Karazhan than spend 3 nights doing heroics.

They also mentioned that most 5-mans would be tuned to allow completion in about an hour. That's pretty quick and welcome for those of us more "casual" types.

There's also more information in the link above including intervies, new videos, new screenshots and more specific and detailed information on things like the Death Knight, flying mounts in Northrend (level 77 to get the ability back), flying in the "old world" (short answer: no), and some other tidbits. Nothing else world-shattering, but a bit more information about most of the things we already knew from Blizzcon and past previews.

Oh yeah... TGIFF.

Friday, May 2, 2008

BRK "Stardom"

So down in my ToDo list in the previous post, I mentioned BRK. For those not familiar, BRK is BigRedKitty, a bit of a hunter guru. He's a well-spoken, big-time proponent of hunters, particularly those of the Beastmaster persuasion. He throws people off sometimes with his "we"-speak (BRK is the team of hunter and pet). He also throws people off with what some consider arrogance. I don't read it that way and enjoy his posts. He's not always right, but then again neither is any blogger. Or *anyone* for that matter.

A few weeks ago, I signed up for an open Serpentshrine Caverns raid being run by a guild on my server who my guild has had a really great allegiance with over the years. It was my first run in the place, and during my preparation for the night, I read up on the fights, watched a few videos, and then read up some more.

One of the best resources I found, was BRK's movie on The Lurker Below fight. While reading the comments for his blog post related to the movie, I noticed a reader towards the end had mentioned being hearing impaired, and while enjoying the movie, didn't get much out of it since she (I think it was a she) couldn't hear it. The movie is a hunter's guide to the fight, complete with where to set your pet on "Stay", what to attack, when to attack it, how to help on the adds, and lot of other good stuff.

I went about my raid and thought that I had performed great for my first time. I was in the top-5 (usually) on damage during the run, didn't pull agro or get anyone killed, and basically did my job. I also was able to snag the Ranger General's Chestguard. I was so happy with how things went, particularly with the Lurker fight and being able to use my pet throughout, that I wanted to say "Thanks" to BRK. I wasn't sure what. Then it dawned on me. Instead of just a "Thank you" e-mail or blog comment, I'd create something that would hopefully be of use to others. I decided to transcribe the video into text for that one person that couldn't get all they wanted out of it just by watching.

So... that's my 15-seconds of fame on BRK's website story. If you're interested, you can find the transcript here. It was just a text file. I thought he might convert it or blogify it, but he posted it as is. It's fine, but had I known it was going to go up directly, I might have sent it in HTML. It looks like hell in Firefox and the text doesn't wrap properly. Hopefully that one person who needed it found it, but if not, it's the thought that counts.

If you're heading into SSC or the Lurker fight for the first time, do yourself a favor and check out BRK's movie. You'll be glad you did.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Shall we try this again?

OK... so I'm sure I've by now lost the whopping two people who were regularly reading and commenting on this blog, but I need to write again. Instead of inflicting myself on my guild's forums, I'll start blabbering here. If anyone finds it again and finds it useful / insightful / mildly entertaining so much the better. I need to write. I like to write. I write good. ;)

Where was I? When was my last post? Yer kiddin'?

Here's a quick rundown of what's happened since I last updated this thing:

1. My guild has Karazhan pretty much completely on farm. I've really stopped going on most of the runs unless I'm needed/wanted. There are pretty much no upgrades in there for me and others need the loot / badges more than I do. Plus... I'm sick to death of Kara. There's only so many times in life you can slog through Moroes trash before you slowly go insane. I'm at that point. I'll go on the first night if they need me and pull my Warlock through there for drops once in a while, but my Hunter is my main and probably always will be. That's that.

2. My server is awesome. We've got some really good guilds with some really great open raiding policies. My guild has taken to co-hosting Gruul and Magtheridon runs on an every-third-week rotation with two other guilds. A fourth guild lends "fire support" in the form of some well-geared (T5-ish) players and we smack around some ogres, gronn, and the occasional pit lord every week. I've managed to get 4/5 on my T4 set. The bonuses are still aweful, but it's cool to have a mostly consistent look to your character and the incremental boosts to stats from Kara-level gear is great.

3. Have I mentioned my server is awesome? That "fourth guild" mentioned above also holds open runs for the Tier 5 instances (Serpentshrine Caverns and The Eye). I haven't actually been to The Eye yet, but I've managed three or four runs into SSC and *really* enjoy that place. The trash is a bit repetitive, but the boss fights have some interesting mechanics that I don't think I've ever seen elsewhere. Hydross' form-switching and Leotheras' "inner demon" spring immediately to mind. I never did 40-man stuff pre-Burning Crusade, so maybe these are re-used mechanics, but they're new to me and I'm enjoying the fights. Again... this guild is pretty well geared up so they bring along new people to introduce them to 25-mans. As such, they like to see gear used instead of turned into the guild's 200th void crystal in the bank. I've managed to pickup an upgrade or new item in almost all of the runs I've been on. It's greatly appreciated. I won't ever be able to be in a big-time raiding guild, but these guys (and gals) seem to have found a nice balance between progression (25-man) and casual-ness... is that a word?

4. At least one "major" patch has been released since December. The 2.4 patch introduced the new island of Quel'Danas, the new Shattered Sun faction, a new 5-man and 25-man, a slew of daily quests with wondrous gold rewards, and a new vendor selling T5 and T6-quality gear for Badges of Justice. The badge gear is among the best available in-game. Pissed of the "hardcore" pretty well, but who cares. Oh... they do. What everyone seemed to forget is that 100-150 badges for *ONE ITEM* is a lot of badges. Doing Kara and the occasional daily heroic might yield you 30 badges or so a week. That's over a month just to get one item. I dare say raiders running multiple instances a week are pulling more than one T5/T6 item per character from SSC/Eye/BT/MtH. Anyway... I got my spiffy new "Frozen Parrot on a Stick" and that pretty much exhausted my badge supply. The addition of badges for all 25-man bosses has helped get that pile back up around 50, but I'm still not sure what to buy or how long to hoard the badges.

5. Just this week, my guild took out the 2nd boss in Zul'Aman (pic above). We haven't been doing ZA much because we've had so much else on the schedule. Two Karazhan nights for badges / gear / alts. One night in SSC. One night in Gruul's and Magtheridon's Lairs. Doesn't leave much time. But... with our better gear from those 25-mans, we were able to take out that stupid Eagle avatar and finally see him eat floor. 'Bout time. We *almost* had the bear during the timer, but a free-running bear on the last trash pull did us in. Next time.

Anyway... I have a bunch of topics I'd like to talk about in more detail, including some of the above mentioned stuff, but I'm going to save those for more posts and hopefully more regularly update this thing. It's almost time to start talking about the new expansion, too. Here's a list of upcoming topics. This is more for my benefit -- since I'm thinking about them -- than yours.

- 2nd Account
- Playing with your family
- Moving from 10-man to 25-man raiding
- Guild Alliances
- New gear
- The expansion
- Blitzing
- BRK "stardom"

OK... that's enough for now.