Attempting ZG on the PTR

I would like to say that I’ve only completed the original once so I don’t know what the fights were like before. I did the “tiger” and “raptor” boss a few times but I wouldn’t say that I’m at all familiar with them.

I got up today and logged into the PTR to check out the new ZG as I am seemingly finished with the new quest line. I turned in my last quest to the goblin in Booty Bay and nothing happened but a buff on me called “PH Booty Bay Event”. I lost Mwemba sometime during my flight there so I don’t know if she’s supposed to be gone or bugged out. (She did reappear once inside the Inn but she got stuck on the entryway doorway – nothing I did got her unstuck. Maybe the event starts there?)

While I was in Booty Bay I ran over to Landro Longshot because he’s apparently bugged and giving us a free mount and pet with out the TCG loot codes. He will give you an Amani Dragonhawlk and the Nightsaber Cub.

Here’s the mount:

And here’s the Nightsaber Cub:

I HAVE TO HAVE THAT PET!!!! SQUEE!!!!!!!!!

Anyways… running ZG in a PUG group has been a challenge to say the absolute least. These PUGs suffer from the same “no patience” syndrome and drop group after one wipe. Guys, we are testing new content that isn’t even complete yet so of course we are going to wipe a lot of times. I guess since it’s the PTR I thought that people would be more willing to “test” stuff out but I was wrong.

ZG is a difficult instance for healers. I’ve seen various areas of it but not the whole thing yet. There are pathways of poison with adds stuck in the middle of it that you simply have to run through and hope the tank picks up the adds before you get heal aggro. You cannot stand on bridges for more than a few seconds because evil fish will eat you. There are still packs of trash you can ride around if you’re careful. Some people aren’t careful and you’re easily overwhelmed.

The problem is compounded by the fact that if you die, you might not make it back into the instance. Half of my last group made it into the dungeon whereas I was stuck running around the ZG questing zone, which has an entirely different layout. There was no instance portal for me – not even a summon stone. I dropped group and took the Res sickness (over 100g in repairs). I flew around the entire area thinking there might be another entrance somewhere, maybe a backdoor that I could go through. But I found nothing. No entrance or summon stone to be seen anywhere.

I only got one boss down and there was no loot dropped so I can’t say what it looks like yet. I hope to see pretty much all of it soon.

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PTR Patch 4.1 Preview

I logged on to the new PTR today. As soon as I logged, a quest popped up. I was to meet a Troll in SW Harbor. An odd thing to be sure.

Mwemba will become the Bane of your Existance

I went out to the harbor to meet Mwemba – a rep from the Zandalari tribe. She’s lost her man and snakes have taken over STV. So begins the quest line for the new Zul’Gurub that will take you across the STV zone from Fort Livingston to the Rebel Camp and beyond.

Mwemba will stalk your ass the whole time

There’s some pretty interesting quests along the way. Most of them are labeled “PH” for Place Holder so anything could happen to them in the future – they certainty have their share of bugs. Some people in the zone couldn’t get Mwemba to do what they wanted and some lost her completely.

Some other things of interest:

There are 2 teirs of heroics now. We have the first tier which is the dungeons that Cata launched with (Stonecore, Throne of Tides, etc) and the second tier is ZG and ZA. Completing a random second tier will give you 140 Valor. I don’t know if this will stack on the 70 you get from the first tier.

New LFD screen

I can Q for ZG but not ZA since I need an ilvl of 500. I’m pretty sure they are still working on it and it won’t actually be ilvl 500 to get into it.

Notice 500 ilvl for ZA

Also, a SQUEE!

OMG OMG OMG WANT!

My Guide to Dealing with Rude People

The other night I was in Heroic Vortex Pinancle with Dij. We had a really awesome Paladin tank from another server that was an absolute wrecking ball through the dungeon. We had some CC but we didn’t use it since we all out geared the dungeon. Everyone DPS was doing over 11K and the tank was pulling nearly 7K DPS. It was a really fun run except we had an impatient Boomkin.

This Boomkin was constantly pulling off our amazing tank and I healed him because I wasn’t too stressed out. The tank wanted to range pull one of the dragons in the green healing rune so he threw his Avenger Shield and waited for the dragon to come over to him. Both Dij and the Mage waited but not the Boomkin. He unloaded on the dragon before the Paladin’s mace even made contact with the dragon’s face. The dragon turned right around and two-shotted that Boomkin. I tried to heal him through it but feathers aren’t as effective as mitigating damage as plate is and he ate pavement in short order. Of course, he blames the tank for not holding aggro not himself for being impatient. He said “the tank engaged so did I”. The Mage lit into him about being patient and letting the tank establish aggro before unleashing all hell on something.

And that brings me to my first point in Dealing with Rude People (in no particular order):

1) If they are doing something that is clearly wrong and blaming other people for it, call them on it. Don’t enable them by keeping silent. I’m not saying that you should sink to their level but nicely tell them what they did and why they are responsible for what happened. The Mage was in the right by calling out Mr. Impatient Boomkin and did he learn his lesson? He sure did and even apologized at the end of run.

2) I’ve been in a few runs where people use inappropriate language like racial slurs. I tell people I’m not going to stand by and take that kind of language and they need to check themselves. Racism is not cool and should not be tolerated in any situation, be it on or offline. I cannot fathom why some people think it’s perfectly OK to use slurs like the “N” word or “faggot” in casual conversation with complete strangers. If they continue, vote kick them or leave the dungeon if it fails. Do not stand for negativity and most certainly put in a ticket to report them.

3)  Remain calm. I know it’s difficult and I have been known to get emotional over things people say but it’s much better to remain calm and not give into their rage. If everyone is yelling at each other, nothing will get solved and whatever you are doing will grind to a halt. Battlegrounds are perfect examples of this. Everyone has been in a BG where there is one or two people nerd raging at each other over something stupid like not defending Farm or not protecting the flag carrier. Does it matter? Not really.

4) Don’t let whatever they say affect you too personally. They know nothing about you and are just shooting off at the mouth because they can. The phrase “don’t feed the trolls” comes to mind.

5) If all else fails, the ignore list is your friend. If you are taking abuse you can either stick them on your ignore list and keep going or you can drop group. Do not stay in a negative environment if you can help it. I know it’s hard with the length of DPS Qs but waiting another hour for a better group of people is far better than staying in a negative group that will probably dissolve anyway.

In closing, don’t take any shit from anyone. Once I figured out that I was meant to be fat and would never be thin, I stopped having “loose weight” as my New Year’s Resolution and instead had the more obtainable goal of “take no shit”. I’m much happier for it. I don’t stress out on counting calories or even worry about what my classmates will think of me at my 10 year reunion this year. I am what I am and I don’t take shit from anyone. I’ll be nice about handling it but I’m certainly not going to put up with it.

Further Rift Impressions

I went home and started playing Rift again. This time I chose a Guardian and part of the Cleric healing class instead of a Defiant Mage. The starting zone was incredibly boring with lackluster quests. My toon is a Druid who is about as far away from the nature loving Night Elves of WoW as you can possibly get. She’s human and has a goofy looking fairy for a pet. She walks softly and melees things with a very big two handed “mace” that is more along the lines of a staff. It looks completely ridiculous to me.

After the first day I honestly thought I would buy this game to keep me busy for when WoW gets boring. Truth be told, I honestly enjoy my time in Minecraft way more than I do in Rift. I’m not saying that some people won’t enjoy Rift immensely but I’m pretty burned out on RPG MMOs right now. I’ve been playing WoW for very nearly 2 years straight and I’m just plain tired of all the grinding and questing.

Rift does get some stuff right:

* Public raid groups is an amazing idea. WoW only has an event that would need a public raid once in a blue moon like the Elemental Invasions of the capital cities before Cataclysm. Having an automatic public raid during these events would make a lot of people’s lives easier and trade chat wouldn’t be constant spam of PST for invite SW Invasion.

* The map system is really nice and pleasant to look at.

* The “clothing” looks more like what someone would actually wear. I’ve only found one example of a female character that was clothed like a typical MMO female – showing more flesh than practical or even comfortable looking. No metal bikinis in sight here.

* The females have reasonable body types and reasonable sized breasts. They look like “real” people, well as real as an “elf” could possibly look. The NPCs aren’t all cookie cutter models of player characters – there are some that are fat and some that are skinny just like real people. WoW has the problem of every NPC looking like they just walked out of Victoria’s Secret or GQ. (With the noted exception of Therazane.)

And the stuff they didn’t get quite right:

* The starting zones are polar opposites. The Defiant zone is much more intense and story driven then the Guardian one. When I was a Defiant, I felt as if I was a valued member of a team that was out to change the world. As a Guardian, not so much – I was given menial tasks. A Guardian was supposed to be chosen by the gods for some great purpose but here I am killing 8 mobs and praying – meh!

* The Rift event itself was fun the first 2 or so times it happened. Then it kept happening and happening and happening – all right on top of the quest mobs that I was already competing heavily for. This got to be so annoying that I actually logged out for the night after the 7th or 8th one spawned because I got so frustrated.

* While absorbing different souls with different abilities is very cool it makes the talent trees too cumbersome. I have a few points that I have been granted that I can’t even spend until I make another level when I’ll be granted even more talent points. This makes for too much of a good thing.

* The races are far too limited. It appears you have 6 races to choose from when in actuality it’s more like 4 because you have a human and elf Defiants and you have human and elf Guardians with very similar racial abilities.

* On each side of the conflict you have the “Ascended” or player characters. Both sides have come up with the amazing idea of bringing people back from the dead to solve their conflicts. It’s lazy storytelling to say the least. I could understand the scrappy Defiants using this method of warfare but it doesn’t seem like something the more pure Guardians would do.

* The way the characters move is clunky. While WoW does have an extremely dated graphics engine, the characters and everything in it move smoothly. The mounts of Rift suffer this worst of all. It’s like the animals are missing the muscle structure to make their legs move in a proper motion instead preferring to hop-skip their way everywhere.

In closing, I am glad I didn’t pre-order that really nice collector’s edition of Rift because I don’t think I have the patience to play it in the long term. I am much more happy in my purchase of Minecraft – the real WoW Killer.

Dear Blizzard,

I woke up today in a good mood – I finally got some good sleep that wasn’t plagued by dreams of Minecraft. My good mood was quickly vanquished when I saw this:

http://wow.joystiq.com/2011/02/16/upcoming-healer-changes/

Priests

The cost of Power Word: Shield is being increased by 33%. While we wanted Discipline priests to be able to utilize this spell more often and with better results, we also did not want it to be the main spell (and often the only spell) used while in groups. We don’t find this to be a particularly compelling playstyle and have found that it encourages players to avoid using other spells such as Penance. We believe that using a shield in a tight moment is totally appropriate, but we don’t want it to be incredibly efficient to do so with more frequency than that.

We realize that by making Power Word: Shield slightly more expensive for Discipline priests to cast that it might cause Holy priests to avoid using it. To that end, we are adding mana savings into the Body and Soul talent. The tooltip will not reflect this change until a future patch, however. Ideally, Holy priests should not notice much of a change to the Power Word: Shield costs.

I am a Disc Priest. The whole point of a Disc Priest is their bubbles. You take away my bubble and what do you have? You have a subpar, lame duck healer with no discernable reason to be included in a raid group or even in a PvP environment. Ask anyone what is the signature spell for Disc Priests. The answer will almost always be PW:S. Penance is pretty awesome but our main role is to mitigate incoming damage. Our 31st talent is a giant bubble, after all.  

Blizzard says they don’t want us to use PW:S as our main spell but they have designed our entire spec around it. We have talents out the ass that enhance it – we even have it as part of our mana return mechanic with Rapture. What other class in WoW has been told to not use their signature spell? None that I can tell.

Has Blizzard said, hey BM hunters – don’t use Kill Command. It’s your signature shot and your highest DPS ability but steer clear of it because we don’t want you to spam it.

Or how about Mages: Stop using Arcane Missiles. Spam is only good when it’s fried and served on toast!

Should Paladins stop using Judgment? Fuck and No. There would be such a revolt from Paladins.

How about Resto Druids, stop using Swiftmend! Green circles of healing are for spammers! You’re doing it wrong!

So why, have we been told to not use our signature spell as our signature spell?

Also, of course Holy Priests stay away from PW:S because that’s the Disc-enhanced spell. It’s not at all efficient for them and has subpar absorbs compared to us. It’s almost useless for them to cast. Speaking of Holy Priests, why do they have a PW:S proc included in the talent Body and Soul? (When you cast PW:S or Leap of Faith, you increase the target’s movement speed by 30% for 4 seconds…) That portion of Body and Soul should be in the Disc tree, make it a PvP talent and attach it to Reflective Shield.

Who are these shield spamming Disc Priests that Blizz is so worried about? It’s not me, for sure. There was a marked difference in my mana efficiency before and after 4.0.6 dropped. I really felt that 33% cost increase and I only shield the tanks and people who are actively taking damage in raids. My raid spec has actually dropped the Soul Warding (aka shield spam) talent so I can pick up Surge of Light in the Holy tree. I really love Surge of Light and it helps me out way more than having a PW:S available in one GCD after another. (I’m totally going to write a whole post on that talent because it’s so awesome with Smite/Atonement.)

Honestly, the only time I spam shields is in PvP when I know I won’t out live my mana pool. Bubbles for everyone because I might as well burn through my whole mana pool before dying. The awesome thing about PvP is that you can come back 30 seconds or less with your whole mana pool intact and not have to worry about mana conservation like you do in PvE.

The raw numbers:

As it sits right now, it costs me 3867 mana to cast PW:S – and that’s with Inner Will up. I get ~6K back from Rature procs. The amount varies with raid buffs and various enchant/trinket procs but around 6K is where it’s at. If you add 33% to 3867 it will cost 5145 mana for each bubble. I’ll still be making around ~1K mana back so it’s better than nothing.

Blizzard has a track record of over-nerfs and over-buffs to classes. A good example is BM Hunters who were doing crazy damage in the Cata Beta so Blizz nerfed them into the ground so that when Cata hit their damage was way too low. They recently got a bit of a buff but it’s not enough. The next patch may see them with another buff that will get nerfed again soon after.

I’m sure Priests will be the same way. We’ll have a week or two of the 33% increase and then they will decide it was too harsh and buff it a bit. They do this all the time. What I am concerned about is why they are telling us to move away from our signature spell. They haven’t told any other class/spec to do this. Why are we being singled out?

What do you want from us, Blizzard? You make our healing low because of our mitigation and then tell us if we want the mitigation our class is designed around; we have to pay dearly for it. We cannot have it both ways. Something will have to give. We’ve already suffered through the Great Penance nerf of 2010 and now we have the Great PW:S nerf of 2011. My only hope is that other like minded Priests will make their feelings know like I have and perhaps Blizzard will see how Schizophrenic they have made our supposed “play style”.

Rift

  I got my open beta invite for Rift the other day. I had to call and cuss out my Internet provider to get my damn Net working again before I could download the 8 Gigs I needed to play. Once that happened, I got it all ready to go in anticipation of today, 15 Feb, when I could log in.

I woke up late today because stupid me just had to watch “Earth Girls Are Easy” on Netflix last night. I went from “OMG I haven’t seen this in years!” to “I totally have to watch all of it because Jeff Goldblum is freaking hot!” Needless to say, I didn’t get to sleep until about 5 AM and couldn’t get my tired ass out of bed until after Noon. It worked out because it was after the beta opened at 10 AM PST.

I opened up the program and had to download some more before I could do anything else. With that done, I was sure I would be able to play. Think again. It turns out my DirectX isn’t up to date. The Rift installer tried to help me out but all I got were failure messages. I couldn’t even get past the log in screen so off I went to the Microsoft website to get a new version. It wouldn’t let me. I kept getting error messages after error messages. I restarted my computer – still the same thing happened. I went on the Rift forums and other people are having the same issues I am. Someone posts this long script to “fix” the issue but I’m not a computer nerd at all so I don’t try it – I don’t want to compromise my system because I don’t what I’m doing. I finally get the in browser DirectX to install it but only after getting to the site in Internet Explorer because it just would not work with Firefox.

Ok, here we go. I got my DirectX updated and NOW I can finally play Rift! I log in… and wait… My damn video drivers are out of date now! FFS! I am really about to give up at this point. I’ve been fiddling with it for about an hour and I could have gotten my TB dailies done with WoW by now.

Fine. Drivers are updated and here we go, for reals this time. I log in and wait. The game finally works for me! After over an hour of nerd raging at my stupid Windows Vista machine, I can finally get into this “next gen” MMO.

I pick my race/class combo and get to the character customization screen. My jaw literally hits the floor when I see all of the things I get to play with on my character. I can change just about everything about her. I can make her tall or short. She can have hundreds of hair colors with equally hundreds of highlights. She can have whatever eye color I can imagine and I can change the way her make up looks. I can have a round face or a skinny face. I could have a huge upturned nose or a small, barely there nose. I can have Angelina Jolie lips if I want them. And the list goes on and on. I could have spent hours just at this screen but I didn’t have the time since I had to come to work today. /cry

I watch the little cut scene and off I go into a world that is familiar but different at the same time. Familiar because all of the key bindings are the same as WoW and the questing system is about the same, just “spruced up”.

I’m still only level 5 but there are a few things I really like about it:

The quest rewards are all something I can use, at least at level 5. I don’t get the option of gear for other classes. In WoW you typically have 4 “rewards” and sometimes you can use one. I have a really nice, comfortable looking cloth set going on from just a few quests. And I don’t look like some street walker, either.

The graphics are amazing. I cannot begin to describe how beautifully everything is rendered. I can see individual stitches in the clothing I’m wearing. Yes, I said “clothing” and not “gear”. I can imagine a seamstress hand stitching the robe I’m wearing and it makes the world feel more “lived in” than WoW. The way everything looks is almost photo-real so the immersion is so much more prevalent. I wouldn’t say Rift makes WoW look like Minecraft but the obvious leaps and bounds between WoW’s graphic engine and Rift’s is astounding. Even with in WoW you can tell the difference between a Cataclysm model and an older model. For example, take the rare spawn lion Sambas next to a Nelf hunter – the difference is staggering and it breaks continuity and immersion for me.

I really like the map. You can have the map up and it takes up most of your screen but as you start running, the map goes opaque – allowing you to see where you’re headed and what you’re running into. And there are light gold circles of where your quest mobs are instead of those big numbers in WoW that block that part of the map.

Even at such a low level, I feel like I’m a valuable member of the resistance force. I haven’t been asked to pick up poop yet or go kill 100 boars just to collect 8 livers. WoW NPCs go on and on about how your character is a “hero” in one breath and then in the next you’re off to pick through Talbuk poop or induce defecation in wolves.

You can talk to quest givers a little more than you can in WoW. Once they give you a quest you can ask them about their appearance or more about the area you’re in.

Things I don’t like (right now, anyways):

The talent trees are massive. They may even have “too much” customization. I’m level 5 and already have 10-odd points to spend. The thing where you can absorb 3 souls with different abilities is really, really super cool but it may end up bogging down a play with so many choices.

I don’t have a little pet running around with me. I’m so used to a little critter following me around, I feel lonely especially in a guildless environment where I don’t know anyone. Rift has a few little pets but they are mostly rewards for pre-ordering the game or getting the collector’s edition. So, no pet for me.

Pretty soon I’m sure we will be seeing Jinx shirts saying “I survived low level Rift chat”. If you guys think Trade chat can get downright terrible, try out the low level Rift chat. Mostly it’s the people who are saying “It’s a WoW clone!” and the people who will be happy when the beta runs out so the WoW people leave. Can’t say I really blame them because some of the vilest people I’ve ever encountered have been in WoW.

All in all, I really like it. I’ll play it more when I get home tonight and maybe find another late 80’s-early 90’s era Jeff Goldblum movie to watch. ID4 or Jurassic Park sounds really good right about now.

Near Final 4.0.6 Patch Notes for Priests

I don’t want to say “final” yet since the patch hasn’t already hit but it’s expected to be on live servers tomorrow. WoW Insider has all the patch notes up at:

http://wow.joystiq.com/2011/02/07/patch-4-0-6-pre-release-patch-notes/

Here’s what’s relevant to us Priests:

Priests

  • The duration of Levitate has been increased to 10 minutes, up from 2.
  • The mana cost of Power Word: Fortitude has been reduced by approximately 68%, making it roughly equal to the cost of Mark of the Wild.
  • The mana cost of Power Word: Shield has been increased by approximately 31%, but its effect has been increased by 208%.
  • The mana cost of Renew has been reduced by 24%.
  • The mana cost of Shadow Protection has been reduced by approximately 65%, making it roughly equal to the cost of Mark of the Wild.
  • Mind Blast now does 18% more damage than Mind Spike.
  • Mind Control now has a PvP duration of 8 seconds.
  • Mind Sear can now be channeled on friendly targets in addition to enemy targets. In addition, Mind Sear’s damage has been increased by roughly 15%.
  • Prayer of Healing effectiveness has been reduced by 15%.
  • Talent Specializations
    • Discipline
      • Divine Aegis: Critical effects from Prayer of Healing now award a bonus amount in addition to the default, always-proc Divine Aegis effect.
      • Grace is no longer limited to one target at a time.
      • Focused Will now procs when the priest is critically hit, in addition to its current effect.
      • Pain Suppression is no longer dispellable.
      • Penance mana cost has been increased by 7%, but healing has been increased by 20%.
      • Strength of Soul now occurs when the priest casts Inner Focus on oneself, rather than Power Word: Shield. In addition, Strength of Soul now also causes the priest to become immune to silence, interrupt, and dispel effects for 2/4 seconds after using Inner Focus.
    • Holy
      • Blessed Resilience will now proc when the priest is critically hit, in addition to its current effect.
      • Chakra
        • Chakra states now last 1 minute, up from 30 seconds.
        • Binding Heal and Holy Word: Serenity now refresh the duration of Renew on the target, in addition to the other direct heals.
        • Binding Heal, Flash Heal, Greater Heal can now trigger Chakra: Serenity.
        • Mind Spike can now trigger Chakra: Chastise.
      • Circle of Healing effectiveness has been increased by 30%.
      • Desperate Prayer now heals the priest for 30% of their total health, up from a very subpar value.
      • Guardian Spirit: The absorb/heal from this ability can now never exceed 200% of the maximum health of the target.
      • Holy Concentration now increases the amount of mana regeneration from Spirit while in combat by an additional 15/30%, down from 20/40%.
      • Holy Word: Chastise now has a 30-second cooldown, up from 25. In addition, it properly breaks from damage.
      • Lightwell’s health has been increased by 50% (for PvP purposes).
      • Serendipity now has Spell Alert and Floating Combat Text feedback support.
      • Surge of Light can now also proc from Flash Heal and Greater Heal, and can now also critically hit.
    • Shadow
      • Shadow Orbs benefit from mastery has been increased by approximately 16%.
      • Vampiric Embrace now lasts until canceled.
  • Glyphs
    • Glyph of Mind Flay no longer requires Shadow Word: Pain to be on the target.
    • Glyph of Pain Suppression has been renamed Glyph of Desperation and now allows Guardian Spirit to be cast while stunned, in addition to Pain Suppression.
    • Glyph of Psychic Horror now reduces the cooldown of Psychic Horror by 30 seconds, down from 60.
    • Glyph of Spirit of Redemption has been converted into Glyph of Prayer of Mending, which increases the healing done by the first charge of Prayer of Mending by 60%.

 

All in all – we are getting some really nice buffs and a slight nerf to Prayer of Healing due to the extra Divine Aegis proc we’ll be getting as Disc. I think the extra Divine Aegis on a crit proc from Prayer of Healing will be huge. When PoH is coupled with Inner Focus, it’s critical strike chance is increased by 25%. We automatically get a set amount of DA from PoH and now get bonus DA from a crit – what’s not to love?

The buff to the mana cost of Renew makes me a very happy Priest! I don’t want to hear any more grief about using it. Renew for everyone!

Shadow damage was in need of a buff, especially to Mind Blast and Mind Sear. I was getting 27K crits from Mind Spike and then only about 10k Mind Blasts afterward. I thought Mind Blast > Mind Spike and now Blizz is fixing it to the way they had designed it to be.

I was fairly certain that I saw a Blue Post that had reversed the PW:S decision but now it appears to have made it back. I was on the PTR last week and was getting 22-24K shields on a normal bubble and 25-27K shields once my Mastery trinket proc’d. I’m still a little leery of saying Mastery is better than another stat like Haste but it is nice. I would still much rather have Haste for the extra Renew tick than a slightly bigger bubble. I am going to try running more Mastery in my PvP set, though. I think it will be interesting to see if it will be more beneficial in that setting than in a raid setting.

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