Moving Platform

Probably shouldn’t do this so soon after creating this weblog – but I’ve given WordPress a fair crack, and there’s nothing wrong with the platform at all – but I am on a free account with my blog hosted at the subdomain level. This is fine and dandy, but it comes with limitations. For example, I can choose the theme of the site, but that’s it. I can’t add anything extra to it.

I’ve swapped over to Blogger, and that allows a lot more flexibility and because of that flexibility, I’ve exported everything from this weblog and imported it over to Blogger and you can find everything in its entirety at this address:


And once more for luck….

So, go and bookmark this site, because no further updates will be posted here.

See you over there.


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Oh joy, it’s Noblegarden.

This whole event is complete shit.

Thank you.

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Oculus Kharmic-Chi Drake Thing

Last night I logged on late. Some of my guild were knocking stuff over in Icecrown Citadel, some others were doing daily quests. I wasn’t in the mood for a full round of dailies, so decided to do a select few. First I went to Dalaran and picked up the Jewelcrafter’s daily quest then put Stormshaper in the queue for the daily heroic. I nipped back to the Argent Tournament and picked up a few daily quests there. I’ve long since given up doing the boring jousting dailies, but picked up a few of the others. I went off, killed the cultist on the mountain plateau just outside the tournament grounds, then flew across to solo Chillmaw. Easy. Nipped down to Icecrown Citadel and killed the mobs to complete Battle Before The Citadel, and then, just as I’d started to make my way back to hand in, the random daily instance group formed. I zoned in and it was Oculus.

As usual, people zoned in, then zoned straight back out again. Yeah, thanks for doing that, I hope you enjoyed your 30 minute debuff.

Eventually, we got some replacements and went for it. It was hassle free.

Oculus is a piece of cake now, being nerfed down so much from its original format. Truth be told, it was always a pretty frustrating and very boring instance. The novelty was that you were riding a drake and battling. Except, well you’re not. The last battle you are mounted, sure, but the interim? Well, if you are unfortunate enough to pull some of the mobs then yeah, you need to be mounted to fight them off, but there are so few of them now, that you can easily fly from mob to mob without pulling anything.

So your Oculus experience consists of continually summoning a drake, flying it for seconds, dismounting, then having a short fight before repeating. It is a frustrating, stop/start instance which doesn’t really give you any sense of team play. Your playing style is constantly interrupted as you fly from ledge to ledge and smash down mobs before repeating.

A while ago, there was a report that the last boss in Oculus, Ley-Guardian Eregos was the most difficult boss to down in WoTLK. People basically avoided the instance because he was so tricky. Well – its not that he’s tricky, its just that people couldn’t go in there and force kill him as they can do in every other instance. As a DPS, you have to use the Temporal Rift debuff on him, and make sure you have 10 stacks on him before you use Shock Lance. So there’s no button spamming at all, its simply a two button fight. If you pull aggro from the tank (for shame) use evasive manouvres and hope that the tank can get the aggro back before you get wiped out. If he enrages, you can stop time to either get out of range, or get a free shot or two on him.

This was too much for most folks, because if you’re DPS, you blindingly mash all the buttons in a spam frenzy, which simply doesn’t work. So to tempt people back into the dungeon, Blizzard nerfed him down and nerfed him down. Still people avoided the instance. Stormshaper really struggled to complete this instance when she was grinding out heroics for gear, so Blizzard added an extra set of loot from the boss, in the guise of the Cache of the Ley Guardian.

I’ve actually seen people down the boss, roll on loot then zone straight out again before claiming their extra bag of spoils – you know – because they’re so busy getting to the next instance and the next and the next? Anyway, if you are smart enough, you simply open the box where the loot is, and pick up your bag, and in there, you will find two extra emblems of triumph, perhaps some gems, and if you’re lucky, and this is the whole point of this post, Stormshaper was very, very lucky, you will find the Reins of the Blue Drake. That’s what Stormshaper got last night for completing Oculus and I was delighted.

I’d like to think that because I didn’t roll on the black drage the other night, when we won our “Of The Nightfall” titles, this was some sort of Karmic payback. You see, I firmly believe that if you give nice, more often than not, you’ll get nice. Tonight, Stormshaper got nice.

Of course she already has a Reins of the Bronze Drake from Culling of Stratholme in her bank, so with two lovely drakes available to her, maybe its time I bought the fast flying skill. The only thing stopping me is that I’m convinced the price will drop significantly when Cataclysm comes out. I’ve heard nothing, or read nothing, but I’m just convinced that it will happen and I don’t want to spend 5000g if in a few months time, I can get the same skill for less.

But for now, I’m enjoying Stormshaper’s good luck, and wondering, now that I’ve got the drake from Oculus, should I do like so many others, and zone out as soon as I realise where the Random Dungeon Finder has put me?

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Armoury Update

Today, I went to the Armoury to look at my character, and I found this:

April Fool 2010

A few nice little in-game jokes in there – not only has my bizzarro Tuskaar shaman ninja’d everything, he/she/it has also vendored them off for profit. Are the Tuskaar the real brains behind the gold farming/account hacking plague? Enquiring minds need to know.


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Frostshock and You

I was looking on the Auction House on my bank character the other day, when I happened across something I’ve not seen for a good, long time. Someone had obviously been farming Dire Maul, because there were a few books for sale on the auction house, and among the pile was one for shamans called Frost Shock and You.

In the days when Dire Maul was popular (that’s going back a while), the place turned up a whole raft of these manuscripts. This specific item would have been horde-centric, because back then, only the horde had shamans.

So, I bought the book for a few gold off the auction house, and tomorrow, I’m going to run Stormshaper through Dire Maul to see if I can 1) actually find the fortitude to do the whole instance which will lead to some pretty nice achievements, 2) she will get her hands on the Crescent Key and 3) complete this quest. The reward for this quest is a trinket with the rather grand name of Royal Seal of Eldre’Thalas.

Back in the days of vanilla World of Warcraft, before the Dark Portal was opened, and the Draenei crash landed off the coast of Kalimdor, this trinket was hunted down for shamans who were going off to battle level 60 Onyxia. Those days are, of course, long since gone, but I am going to see if I can get it for completeness sake. Part of me is a bit sad that I’d forgotten this item was available in Dire Maul. I would have liked to have attempted to get it when Stormshaper could have used it, but no-one runs Dire Maul these days, and the sad truth is that she would have been in for a dreadfully long wait in order to find a group to run the instance continually in the hope that it dropped.

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Of The Nightfall….

As you probably know, Stormshaper was rolled with the intention of me going back to the start and enjoying the game over again. I had got bored with endgame raiding and the tedium of farming materials for fish feasts, analysing peformance logs, looking at gems and enchants and raid composition so that I could eek out the smallest DPS gain and get further into the Icecrown Citadel grind.

Very quickly, she went through the levels, out to Outlands, then on to Northrend. She hit 80, she farmed heroics, and now, she has done all that, and the 10 man raid content is open to her.

One of the most interesting, and still difficult challenges in 10 man raiding is the Obsidian Sanctum encounter with Sartharion, where you leave the three other drakes alive.

Okay, when I say difficult challenges, I know that leading edge raid teams did this stuff over a year ago in gear far inferior to the gear that drops now. Stormshaper is head to foot in tier 9 and people did this in tier 6 and 7. To those players, I say “Well done”. But this isn’t a leading edge player’s blog. I’m not IMBA in any way, shape or form, I just play the game for enjoyment. So for me, and the many other players who aren’t leading edge, don’t have state of the art systems, spend hours optimizing and tuning their PC and internet connection and can’t donate huge swathes of their time to hone their skills, OS10 with 3 drakes active is still a tricky thing to go for.

Well, last week, we went in there and we came close several times. But we just fell short. 300K short, 100K short, 90K short. Each time improving, each time getting closer. We knew that we’d do it this week, it was just a question of keeping our heads and focussing on the job.

In the week since Stormshaper first set foot in Obsidian Sanctum she’s improved her weapons and now has a Nighttime equipped in each hand. She also opened up the Sons of Hodir daily quests and has the entry level shoulder enchant, The Lesser Inscription of the Axe in place.

All these small changes have combined to give a significant boost to her base DPS. I’ve also been using Rawr to test her gemming requirements so some subtle re-gemming has taken place, which again, will improve her DPS. Reading that last sentence back, you can see that I’m falling into the same trap that I fell into with the Hunter and the Death Knight and the Warlock before her, but for some reason, whether its the class, or the play style, or the guild I’m in, I’m finding all these things to be less of a chore with Stormshaper.

Anyway, away from the theorycraft, tonight we went into OS10 and were determined to complete the challenge.

Our raid was made up of one warrior tank, one discipline priest healer and 8 DPS. Stormshaper the enhancement shaman, a hunter, four death knights, a warlock, and a paladin.

First run – wipe with 300K health left on the boss.
Second run – wipe with 110K health left on the boss.
Third run – wipe with 600K health left on the boss. The flame walls came and caused havoc and we died very, very quickly.

And so it continued. Close, closer, closer, but still not there. Until the 7th run of the evening, and then……SUCCESS! Lucky seven, and what an epic success it was.

Tenebron had been causing havoc when he flew down to assist Sartharion. He would zoom in and take out the healer pretty much instantly. With no healer and two bosses, the raid would collapse very quickly. To overcome this, one of the Death Knights decided that he would stand close enough to the healer when Tenebron came down, he would taunt it away from the healer as far as the tank, who would in turn Tenebron off the death knight and onto him. In effect this chain taunt would end with the tank having two bosses on him for a few seconds.

With the rest of the raid concentrating on Sartharion and never moving off him, the hope was that our DPS output would be enough to bring him down before Tenebron could kill our tank. On previous two attempts using this strategy, we came close, then it worked. Like clockwork. It was a strategy that was brilliantly executed by the death knight “bait” and our warrior tank.

My job was to bring Heroism, totems, spirit wolves and the flame elemental. Heroism went about 15 seconds into the fight, knowing that its 30 second buff would take us to approximately 45 seconds. All three drakes come down about 1 minute 30 seconds into the fight, so by 45 seconds we should have made a significant dent in Sartharion’s health as Tenebron, the first of the drakes arrives.

Stormshaper lasted until the boss had about 60K on him. Some other DPS fell by the wayside around this time too. A mix of the flame walls, and the flame elementals that spawn from that took care of them. But Sartharion’s health kept falling. 60K, 50K, 40K…..20K the healer died…..10K, 9K, 8K the tank fell…….come on, please, come on, a Paladin, swinging away, strikes the boss once, twice, the paladin falls, Sartharion falls first! Achievements filled the screen as the realisation hit home. We had achieved our “Of The Nightfall” titles.

It was marvellous.

Oh, and the reins of the black drake fell too.

As Stormshaper is an alt, I decided that it wouldn’t be fair to roll on the reins, so it was left to the mount collectors in the raid to roll for it, and poetically, the Paladin who’s last swing dealt the killing blow to Sartharion the boss won the roll and got the dragon. All in all, it was a great way to end a brilliant and very successful raid.

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Shamanistic Rage Power Aura

Looking through the WowWebStats logs, I could see a flaw in my play style, which was inhibiting Stormshaper’s mana regeneration. Shamans have a talent called ‘Shamanistic Rage’, and when its used, it reduces all damage taken by the shaman by 30%, and, importantly, it gives successful melee attacks a chance to regenerate mana equal to 15% of the shaman’s attack power. The spell lasts for 15 seconds, so that’s 15 seconds of substantial mana regeneration that I’ve been missing out for a good long while.

Ideally, Shamanistic Rage should be up, and kept up for pretty much the entire duration of any fight, and according to WowWebStats, this wasn’t happening because I was only triggering the talent once Stormshaper’s mana dropped to 20%.

To overcome this problem, I’ve written a Power Auras Classic aura which will trigger using the spell cooldown and put a line of text across my character saying “SHAMANISTIC RAGE READY!” any time the talent is available. The logic being as soon as the message appears, I hit my Shamanistic Rage keybind and the job is done.

The aura will only show if I am in combat, as there’s no point in having it showing when I’m out of combat as it would display pretty much all the time.

The Export for this Power Auras Classic string is here:

Version:st3.0.0E; gcd:bofalse; b:nu1; anim1:nu2; g:nu1; optunitn:bofalse; ignoremaj:botrue; stacksLower:nu0; target:bofalse; icon:stInterface\Icons\Spell_Nature_ShamanRage; size:nu0.75; torsion:nu1; r:nu1; y:nu-30; x:nu0; customname:st; groupany:botrue; isAlive:botrue; timerduration:nu0; unitn:st; bufftype:nu15; stacks:nu0; focus:bofalse; raid:bofalse; texture:nu29; alpha:nu0.75; aurastext:stShamanistic Rage Ready Now!; symetrie:nu0; owntex:bofalse; isResting:bofalse; duration:nu0; mine:bofalse; multiids:st; inVehicle:bofalse; speed:nu1; anim2:nu0; spec2:botrue; stacksOperator:st>=; realaura:nu1; InactiveDueToState:botrue; threshold:nu50; exact:bofalse; textaura:botrue; sound:nu0; wowtex:bofalse; groupOrSelf:bofalse; customsound:st; combat:botrue; id:nu13; inParty:nu0; HideRequest:bofalse; Active:bofalse; aurastextfont:nu1; buffname:stShamanistic Rage; inRaid:nu0; tooltipCheck:st; customtex:bofalse; stance:nu10; isSecondary:bofalse; thresholdinvert:bofalse; spec1:botrue; Debug:bofalse; beginSpin:bofalse; Showing:bofalse; UseOldAnimations:bofalse; begin:nu3; off:bofalse; party:bofalse; texmode:nu1; inverse:bofalse; ismounted:bofalse; targetfriend:bofalse; randomcolor:bofalse; finish:nu3; timer.InvertAuraBelow:nu0; timer.dual:botrue; timer.HideLeadingZeros:botrue; timer.h:nu1; timer.ShowOnAuraHide:botrue; timer.UpdatePing:botrue; timer.Texture:stDefault; timer.enabled:botrue; timer.Showing:bofalse; timer.y:nu0; timer.x:nu0; timer.HideRequest:botrue; timer.Transparent:botrue; timer.a:nu1; timer.CustomDuration:nu0;; timer.cents:botrue

The string can also be found on the Power Auras Wiki as well.

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