On The Raid Finder

image_34Two weeks of Dragon Soul runs since returning to WoW after a two month Skyrim/whatever break and I manage to snag 5/5 pieces of Tier 13. Nice. This almost makes up for 6 years of bad rolls. Also, if you were in that one run with me where I broke the one item per run rule and won two of the armor tokens, I’m sorry :(, trigger happy.

I like the raid finder; It’s simple to use and gets people who wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to raid (or like myself, don’t have the time to participate in a regular schedule and don’t want to sit in LFG all night), into the new content with minimal hassle and server drama.

WoW Update: Week in Review 1/23/11

Well actually, the past two weeks in review. With pictures even! Here’s a quick summary of what I’ve been up to in WoW lately. Apparently my official Magmar duty is to ride the giant worm. We’ve started raiding again by the way. Fun times in Blackwing Descent.

My equipped gear average is about 347 for my Retribution set and 343 for my offset, possibly a bit higher since the last time I have checked. I finally respec’d my offset to protection the rebuilt, gemmed and enchanted most of my tanking set, which is actually pretty decent at the moment. I reforged to meet the hit and expertise cap but, was I supposed to do that? That won’t make me too squishy will it? I mean, a bit of Dodge and Parry was sacrificed. The only thing that I really need to do now is to tank a couple of things and gather feedback. But really, I just wanted to have a viable offspec to fill in any tank shortages.

Yay Skeletal Raptor mount! By the way, is there some sort of goat or player that I can sacrifice in order to make the epic troll sword proc on my archaeology screen? Just about everything else that I have wanted has already popped up. I can’t quite decide which profession is less interesting, archaeology or fishing and I feel compelled to do both.

I didn’t realize this but, there’s a fun mounting bug in the Throne of Tides.

WoW Hodgepodge: Defias, Deathwing & Top Hats

Hahahaha I found this gem off of WoWit today and thought that it was pretty funny. Garrosh may be a dick but Varian Wrynn kind of is one too. It is pretty interesting though how the front of Stormwind had been on fire for a good two months. Those construction workers sure don’t look like they are doing a whole. But on the other hand, it’s not as if Varian is going to pay them. Oh those silly Defias. I guess you shouldn’t stiff the bill We can’t judge him too harshy. I mean he is a single parent raising the one and only teenage character in the game lol.

Oh, I finally got that stupid Standing in the Fire achievement. Deathwing literally flew over me while I was doing the Ramkahen dailies in Uldum.

I have been running heroics regularly for a while with marginal drop success. My luck has been somewhat better this week though: I finally managed to replace my cape as well as both of my trinkets. The axe that I wanted dropped off of the cache in heroic Throne of Tides but the DK tank won it. Bah, next time. The only plate items that seem to drop are for tanks and healers. QQ.

I started leveling my Worgen Druid. The Worgen starting area is quite nice, I was almost sad to have to move on. Looking forward to checking out the 1 through 60 zones and how they have changed. 60 to 80 will be a pain in the ass but by then I will have hopefully accumulated some of the guild heirlooms (close to guild level 10 at the moment). How can you not love a wolf with a top hat? So dapper.

Oh: Leveling blacksmithing sucks.

Cataclysm and DX11


So finally, after about a year of waffling back and forth between various upgrades, I bought a new video card last week. I was going to go all out, I didn’t really have a budget per se, but I settled on a 1GB Radeon HD 6870 (upgrade from a 512 8800GT), which didn’t actually cost that much. WoW runs at a consistently smooth rate, in combat, instancing, flying, etc. The only performance drop that I have noticed is while navigating through the Stormwind Trade District or really any area with a huge concentration of players. Other than lowering the shading options, I don’t think there’s a whole lot I can do about that.

Heat, noise level and of course, performance were the main upgrade factors. My old card could run WoW at almost maxed out settings, but it would chug and heat the card up to around 77 °C at 80% fan speed (85 °C at 100% speed during the summer). That’s fine, it’s within operating range of the card but whenever the fan ramps up to 60% speed+ it makes an awful whirring sound (tiny ass single slot cooler fan).

The stock fan on the new card is almost completely silent so long as it stays below 50% speed. Luckily, I haven’t seen it go much over 30%, even after stress testing it at 100% GPU usage in Futuremark several times. It stays relatively cool too: 62 °C while playing WoW, low 70’s at 100% usage. I probably care more about the noise level of my computer than I should, but it’s a pet peeve. I specifically built this machine keeping that factor in mind. It was irritating that the one and only part that made any sort of noise was my video card.

I know that there was a small graphical difference between DirectX 9 and DirectX 11 in the Cataclysm beta, but I don’t think there is now. Aside from a small performance boost, everything else looks the same at max settings. I took quite a few comparison screenshots over the weekend, specifically focusing on water and lighting. I was going to post them, but since I really couldn’t see a difference I don’t see a point. However, here are a couple of screenshots of WoW with maxed out settings. It’s worth noting that I run the game at 1920×1080 windowed with vsync enabled.

Cataclysm & Cloaks

Hey, the cloaks in Cataclysm are pretty sylin’. Anyone else notice this or is it just me? I have gotten into the habit of just auto hiding cloaks since all but a handful of WoW cloaks have traditionally been pretty bland or butt-ugly. These are actually nice looking; I like how the melee cloaks look like melee cloaks with plate, chain etc. I guess if you are going to stare at a character’s backside for hours on end it may as well have a pleasant looking cape dangling off of it.


Ding! Level 85!


Oh wow I sure didn’t bother blogging much this time around. Oh well, too busy playing. Anyway, ding. I hit level 85 on Keiya Sunday afternoon. I could have taken more time leveling, but it was fun going into full on obsession mode for a bit, especially after effectively not playing for more than an hour a week for the last month or so. Besides, everyone was already at level 85 and having fun doing level 85 things without me!

I will go over more zone sin detail if I get around to it and as I complete more of them. I did: Half of hyjal, half of Vashj’ir, all of Deepholm and most of Twilight Highlands before hitting level 85. I am currently working on finishing up Twilight Highlands. I’ll probably move over to Uldum next before finishing up the zones that I half completed.


Of the two starting zones, I am going to go with Vashj’ir over Hyjal. Hyjal is a very well done zone, I love the quests and storyline but Vashj’ir is absolutely gorgeous. The environment and everything is so rich. Also, the swimming mechanic isn’t really as annoying as I had originally anticipated. I do run into depth issues because I like to play with my camera way zoomed out, but it’s not really that bad.

Deepholm was nice but it is effectively a giant cave. A giant grindly cave. I wanted to make sure that I played that zone to completion so that I could unlock the Therazune daily quests and maximize the easy quest reputation for the shoulder enchants and rewards (Keiya is a good raid farmer!). Speaking of which, guess who forgot to do her dailies today? Task.


The dungeons that I have ran are well designed and the bosses fun. We wanted to start queuing up for heroics, but folks were about 1 gear average point shy of the 329 iLevel threshold (a tank wasn’t available, had to use the dungeon finder). So we ran Halls of Origination, spend some justice points, swapped a few crap pieces out and ran about half of Heroic Deadmines before running out of time.

The heroics are hard again by the way. See, that’s one thing that I missed when WotLK hit. We started farming entry level heroic instances as fresh level 80s with little to no preparation. I recall trying that in Heroic Coilfang after hitting level 70 in the Burning Crusade and getting curb stomped by a giant spore thingy. Having to rethink encounters and approach mobs with more caution, versus just AoEing down everything is a welcome challenge.

Cataclysm: Day 1


Well 20+ minutes isn’t too bad; I was expecting it to be at around an hour. On the other hand, it took about 20 minutes for the authentication servers to get to this point. And as I write this, the queue keeps jumping up…boo. At least the WotLK login dragon is gone! As daunting of a character Deathwing is, we are fortunate that he does not roar every couple of seconds or so while you are waiting patiently in queue. I am one of the fortunate or unfortunate people, depending on your opinion, who did not bother taking the day off of work to play. So while you all were having fun playing during the low population times of the day, I was staring longingly at WoW Insider news feeds on my phone. QQ.


By the way, zone spoilers below. I leveled in Hyjal instead of Vash’jr in favor of trees and greenery over swimming. Also, as someone pointed out, meleeing mobs underwater sucks pretty hard. For me at least because I fail at depth perception or whatever life skill is needed not to suck at that. A few of our old friends from the Molten Core are chillin’ in Hyjal. There is a giant corpse pile next to Barron Geddon. I figured that it was there because people were being retarded and screwing around. Found out later that was not so and added my own body to the pile. We are clearly not as smart as Galrond, the NPC who repeatedly warned people NOT TO STAND IN THE FIRE.


I didn’t do any instancing, just straight up questing. I will try out some of the new dungeons either tomorrow or Thursday. Hopefully tomorrow but, we will see. Boo real life. Is there an inn in Hyjal? I swear that I couldn’t find one. Oh and for the first time ever in six entire years, I bound my hearthstone to Darnassus. I made the mistake of hearthing to Stormwind and having to get back to Hyjal (to fly to STV to pick up my loot card goodie, which was the [item]Sandbox Tiger[/item]). The boats from SW harbor run just about as often as the trains here do, almost never. Man, I have been using the Dalaran and Exodar portals for so long that I have almost forgotten how to get around in the old world. I really really really want to level my Worgen but I really want to hit level 85 first.

Anyway, I am obviously having fun with the expansion pack. So much so that I am just going to cut this post short and publish it so that I can go to bed because it is late. I did though finally make it to level 81 before logging off for the evening. Folks are already at level 85. Jesus. Apologies if this post made little to no sense. It is late and I wanted to post something before I went to bed.


Cataclysm: Day 0


Protip: Now is not a good time to train flying. I am weak against Collector’s Editions. If it weren’t for me wanting to complete my collection of WoW collector’s edition boxes, I would have probably just ordered Cataclysm digitally for the sake of being able to stay up with half of the guild for half of the evening fawning over my new love. I kind of sorta wish that I had taken tomorrow off. I will be sitting in an office all tomorrow longing to play! Oh it’s not fair (/whine), guild members already have their game ready to go and here I am sitting here with my nose pressed against the glass. T_T.


>Anyway, a couple of quick updates since I haven’t bothered posting about WoW in a couple of months. This post probably officially ends my short WoW hiatus. In lieu of the guild leveling system (and the benefits of being in a large active guild) and steady player attrition within Paradigm, most of us have merged into another guild on Proudmoore. Given our number of active players, it would have been very hard to recruit that many people and honestly, I’m not sure I have time to do all that anymore. It is really odd migrating over to another guild after four years, but online home is where your online friends are <3. New faces!

I am probably going to level in Vashj’ir tomorrow. Not really sure, it depends on who is leveling where at what time. Because I have intentionally not kept up with the Cataclysm previews and news, I really don’t know where to go to do anything. It’s more fun figuring everything out (turning off all questing mods). I spec’d my paladin back into Retribution with a *gasp* Holy offspec. I really want to roll my Worgen druid right away, but I really do not enjoy spawn competing with a thousand other players. In theory the starting zones should calm down a bit after hitting level 85.

…I also promised a couple of coworkers that I would eventually roll a Goblin something on their server. I really want to play through the horde quests at some point.