Wherein I am Cynical: MoP Beta and Annual Pass

I was reading Matticus’ post on the subject and started to type out a response, when I realized that I was typing enough to form a post in my own right.  I have read a number of opinions over the last few days… some people upset, some trying to be pragmatic about it and I think you’ll find mine is a slightly different take on it.

See, I was in the Cataclysm Beta…  I got in pretty early on and I remember my fighting with that Beta.  It took the hubby and I days and hours of time to even install the Beta.  The download we got was broken and he had to get the beta launcher from a friend of ours so that we could even access the program.  That in and of itself took several days to troubleshoot.  Then when I finally finally brought it up to login, the terms of service covered the login and couldn’t be scrolled down or gotten out of.  Hubby had to go in and alter a text file to troubleshoot that so that it didn’t cover the login.

In the Beta, things were broken to heck…  whole zones unfinished, or at least not yet put on the beta [even near the close of the beta], boats and teleportation were completely broken.  The forums were awash with people who kept losing toons to glitches and were unable to delete or get them back.  There were no GMs troubleshooting the servers or responding to issues… and they said as much on the forums… we were on our own.

And then, shortly after I began providing feedback, they broke the feedback/report bug function… for a month and a half to two months.  Following that, Ghostcrawler came on the forums and lambasted us for not providing quality feedback.

See upon being told of beta access, I had a number of bloggers and friends come tell me how lucky I was and that I would be held responsible for the quality of the next expansion.  I washed my hands of that notion as quickly as possible and sure enough, every bug I can recall reporting made it into the live release.  I WAS in the Cataclysm beta… but was not valued as a consumer/customer or Beta participant.  The beta was a pacifier to quiet the raging masses for a few months so they could do nothing but ignore us and hope we’d be happy.

I know, I sound like a horrible person in these paragraphs above… but the BETA experience truly opened my eyes and honestly not in a good way.  In the live game, I’d actually been able to hang onto the notion that I was a valued person in terms of the game… and we still play World of Warcraft and enjoy it quite a bit!  We have a fabulous circle of friends and guildies and our raid team is doing so well… I’m so proud of them.  But as my friend Kanrad even commented last night, the beta is a bit of a shock to the system for people like us.

Yes, I know that especially early on there are going to be problems – many problems.  But see, my hubby is in the computer industry… and I’d quizzed him beforehand on how I could be as big an asset to the beta as possible… what does his company need for betas in their software?  And if I was shocked about the quality of the Beta, you should have seen hubby’s face…  He termed the Cataclysm beta as barely meeting the qualifications of being ready for Alpha testing.

Anyway, so that’s what I experienced and came from.  It was not a positive experience.  But I did purchase the annual pass… we both did and we made that decision excluding the MoP beta perk from the equation.  It was not a viable selling point to us and therefore we decided on the deal on its other merits – mainly the Diablo 3 access.

Am I a bit disappointed to not be in the Beta yet?  Yeah… I can’t deny it… just a bit.  We all like information and we all like to be on the spot where everything’s happening… so yeah, just a little bit.  But we will get access eventually and while I do hope Blizz will surprise me this time, I full expect to be disappointed.  Perhaps because of that, it won’t be the truely bitter experience of last time.

That said, I have better things to do this time around than spend those days upon days fighting to install and/or play a beta of a game. Maybe the SWTOR beta experience spoiled me there 😛

The Old Becomes New Again…

One plus about this point of an expansion is that while I may exhaust options on my main, I also usually end up rediscovering toons I enjoyed in the past once again.  And thus is my current project…


Aulao – my gnome mage, currently fire.  I pulled her out and dusted her off and did a few HoT randoms and got enough gear to hit LFR quite quickly.  I wasn’t top of the meter by any stretch of the imagination but I was middle of the pack.  Typically, since BC I have not enjoyed playing caster dps toons.  I love healers, but not big on caster dps, so I was surprised to find myself enjoying it very quickly.  She still needs a bit of gear [she’s sitting there in transmogged Tier 1 from Molten Core].

So now, I’m wondering what toon I might discover I enjoy once again.  Will it be one of my forlorn forgotten disc priests?  Or rediscover that feral kitty is teh awesome?  Or will I finish leveling my druid healer and give that a whirl?  Or head back to Star Wars and ding another level in the forties on my Jedi Knight?  We shall see.  I’ll go where my notions take meh.

Burn it Up! Burn it Up!

Last night, our 10 man finally managed to down Magmaw.  That’s going from a wipe a few seconds in to a downing in a few weeks – probably as much effort and time as we put into a Lich King kill back in WotLK.  We tried a number of strategies [and still were trying a couple new ones last night] – but as usual an off-the-wall one worked best for us.

My hubby [pally tank] tanked the boss.  When he got picked up in Magmaw’s mouth, our feral druid popped bear form and stood in melee range to keep the raid wipe ability from going off while our ret pally and enhancement shaman jumped on the bosses’ head and brought it to the floor.  One of our healers stood with the melee and the other two stood in the “ranged group” with the hunter, mage and myself.  I went frost spec with tank gear and blood presence and kited the adds [having respecced for chillbrains].  Our hunter helped kill/kite the adds but focuses on the boss during the times when his head was spiked.

We had discovered in previous attempts that having all the ranged on the adds was taking about 30k dps off of him and making it impossible to kill him within the enrage timer.  Freeing the hunter off kiting duty as well as having our shaman go back enhancement [his true BFF] boosted our raid dps from 60k overall to 90k.  We did have a 4% wipe right after implementing this strategy and it took some strategic use of cooldowns on part of everyone… but it got done!

Wrecking Crew – every single one of you guys did an amazing job!


Why Guildies Kick People And Bring in Guildies

Yesterday I was sitting and leveling my shaman and on vent hanging out with guildies.  They were doing a regular random and got Grim Batol [2 enh shaman and a holy priest] with 2 pugs – a boomkin and a dk tank from different servers.

The dk tank was doing the now normal run into a pack and expect it to A. magically stay on you and B. that the dps know the order to kill stuff and C. No CC.  The holy priest, a guildie of mine related asking the tank repeatedly to use CC because it was rough going for him.  It didn’t help that the tank was a bit squishy.  Even the boomkin was asking for CC.  The tank flat refused and just kept dashing ahead headfirst into groups.  At the second boss, he rushes a group of adds as the boss is patting back and dies.

It was painful enough at that point that they elected to kick him and asked if hubby or I would bring a tank to come help them finish the run.  I hopped over to Askevar as hubby was finishing some dailies and they kicked the dk and invited me.  We kill the second boss, and move quickly through, using CC.  I probably could’ve taken most groups without it, but they needed the chance to practice their CCs and there’s no need to stress a healer and hey, I don’t mind a relaxed pace myself!

We get to the group right before the third boss and the boomchicken runs ahead and face pulls.  I drop a DND and round up what I can.  One of my guildies died because I literally couldn’t see what was hitting them but fine recovery.  Now to the boss fight.  I pull the boss.  Boomchicken gets an add and goes and stands on top of a dps and explodes.  He does the same to a second dps and then the healer.  I mean, seriously?  After the first explosion they’re screaming at him to move away from the people with the add.  I watch him specifically get on top of the healer and BOOM.

By this point, all the kicks allowed to a group have been used [they’d gone through a drunk dps  and a dps tank before this I think they said].  Well, a couple of us dropped group [one of our people was the lead] and he refused to requeue until the boomchicken left – and left immediately.  We were invited back, picked up hubby on his offspec and breezed through the rest of the instance.

It took us NO time to finish the rest of the instance, especially with a heroic geared tank and a group of people who are working together well.  Why in the world would you go out of your way to wipe the group and give up your chance at a quick, relatively painless finish?  Especially after having been in the instance a bit?

When Things Blow Over…

Our Friday ten man took it’s first look at the Throne of the Four Winds last night.  After a couple of deaths from being blown off the platforms the wrong way [ahem… a couple perhaps on purpose? :P], we actually started the first boss fight – Conclave of Wind.

The fight itself is remniscent of both Twin Emperors and Blood Princes.  It has three mini bosses, or djinns that have to die within 90 seconds of each other or they are reborn.  They are all on separate platforms that you have to jump to and from via the wind “port” [for lack of a better term].  When they reach 90 energy, they cast an ultimate ability that’s pretty nasty.  And should no one be on the platform to tank it, they do a raid wipe ability.

Tank swapping is a bit messy [the AMS debuff drop seems to be more random than certain] and the adds were getting down just in time but it seemed to be going really well!  Our druid healer/boomchicken was doing a marvelous job handling Rohash since he has to be ranged tanked and the entire group was getting the hang of the platform swapping [which is just a pain!] and our healers always do a great job.

All in all, quite an interesting fight.  We got them down to 23% overall, much better than our 70% on Magmaw the week before.  If we can amp our dps a bit and get the dance down a little cleaner, we’d have it.  In fact, we were quite close on our last attempt.  If we could have lasted one more “ultimate” phase we’d have been able to get the first of the djinns down and probably a second as well.

After that, we called it and did something fun – hit Ulduar and blew through it to get several people a Yogg-Saron kill.  We were tempted to try and hard mode, but were running short on time.

Anyway, grats all on the achieves Wrecking Crew!

Raiding in Burning Crusade

The hubby and I didn’t raid in Vanilla WoW… we didn’t hit level 60 till shortly after Burning Crusade hit in fact.  Our raiding started in Burning Crusade [and so did our raid leading – late in the xpac].  I remember what that time was like.  The guild was younger, had more hot heads and a lot more drama.  Some of it was good, some of it wasn’t.  Some of it I’d do again and some I wouldn’t.

I remember when the best of everything got to go to the 25 man raids.  10 mans were accessible to most, though they required some effort to actually be kept in one.  Raiding, however, wasn’t for everyone.  Skill mattered a lot.

I remember being sat because players better than I were online and as frustrating as it could be, realizing that they paved the way for me to get gear later.

I remember being sat with Hubby because they only had room for one of us… Playing as a couple meant that sometimes you would get sat out as a couple.

I remember raid composition exactly mattering – having to balance melee versus ranged and to take more of certain classes and less of others.

If you didn’t listen or didn’t follow directions, you would either be removed from the raid, be asked to leave, or not invited back the next week.  Phoning it in had real consequences.  The ten man teams stayed in constant flux with usually only your tanks and healers as set in stone [and sometimes not even then].

There were expectations set for all the roles.  Tanks were expected to have a moderate amount of health, and be able to act as stuff happened, or before.  DPS were to manage their threat, be good at whatever crowd control they had and do good dps on top of that.  Healers were always in short supply but were expected to have decent mana pools and be able to do their best at maximizing the mana they had.  Everyone was to have flasks and raid food, required addons and have proper stats.

The Raid Leaders then were very militaristic in style.  You obeyed the chain of command – no question.  If you goofed, expect to be called out on vent to correct the mistake.

We had it good in Lich King.  Many of these things were able to be cheesed or the rules able to be bent.  Only in rare fights could one person truly wipe a raid.  Now, things are different again.  Current raids are going to require a minimum of 10k dps from each dps in the raid.  Some guilds are requiring 17k dps per for the higher content.  You have to be able to dance.

As a raid leader, some of this presents some frustrations.  It’s hard benching people – but in the new content, it’s probably going to have to be done.  Because it’s going to either be that… or take 10/25 people through a series of avoidable, unnecessary wipes – at least until the content is on farm.  And while it might seem like a very matter of fact, necessary decision – I know many people do not understand this.  Instead of using it as a reason to improve, it’s a reason to be upset and hurt.


Here’s some links to posts that I feel are particularly important or interesting 🙂

Raiding in Cataclysm:
Personal Responsibility and the Decision to Raid – Murloc Parliament [complete with flow chart].
Best Practices for Raid Priority – Mind Spike
Why We Need to Learn How to Fail in WoW – Lowered Expectations
Conclave of Wind – Healer Perspective on the Throne of the Four Winds [must read for all though]
Why Guilds Will Struggle with Al’Akir – Navigating the Z axis can be a challenge for some

Heroics in Cataclysm:
It Came From the Pug – Lodur [on World of Matticus] – Kindness in LFG DOES pay off.
What’s Expected of You? – Confessions of a Girl Gamer
Dual Unto Others – Making use of dual spec – the right way.

Tanking in Cataclysm:
Tank Club – You DO Talk about Tank Club – Darraxus the Warrior
Crowd Control Marking Made Easy [Addon Spotlight] – Tankless Job
Cataclysm Dungeon Cheat Sheets for tanks – Scroll down the blog to find all 4 parts
Heroic SFK – Bear Edition – by Jacemora

Rep Gear for Plate DPS – Herc the Merc

Hotfixes of Note

Hotfixes were applied this morning, but I wanted to note a few specific ones.

No More Vashjir Dig Sites!
“Vashj’ir dig sites no longer unlock for players. They felt too punishing without additional benefits compared to low-level sites, and were much more difficult to obtain artifacts in due to the way Vashj’ir navigation works.”

I can imagine that was quite a pain in the butt and a couple of guildies commented on it.


Inscription Supplies No Longer Limited!
“The following reagents no longer have limits and are now available from Una Kobuna and Casandra Downs in unlimited quantities: Deathwing Scale Fragment, Scavenged Dragon Horn, Bleached Jawbone, Silver Charm Bracelet, and Preserved Ogre Eye. ”

I was quite pleased about that because getting hold of the mats was near impossible at times unless you were willing to fork out a fortune on the Auction House.


New Ramkahen Daily
“Players are now granted 250 Ramkahen reputation after completing the daily quest “Fire From the Sky”.

Wish I’d had this on my main to help grind that rep!  Before now we’ve only had the pygmy daily and the tabard of course.


Groupers Fixed
“The Luxscale Grouper’s Grouper Bite debuff now has a 5-second duration and will no longer sometimes get stuck on characters.”

This actually killed my main because the debuff got applied and would not go away – no matter what.  So I had my tank pool health sucked away.  Most annoying and one of the many reasons I vowed not to quest through that zone again.

T10 Set Bonuses Mean Nothing at 85.

I’ve seen so many people lately hanging onto all their ICC gear… even the 251 4 set because “I don’t want to give up my set bonus”.

Drop them.  What you’d be sacrificing to keep the set bonus is far too much in the way of stats.

Seriously, I started replacing most of my main’s gear at level 83 in Deepholm, replace more in Uldum and pretty much the rest of it, save the Ashen Verdict ring in Twilight Highlands.  The couple of alts I’ve taken through the first 15-20 Hyjal quests have replaced 3-4 pieces of their gear IN THE FIRST ZONE.

I know it’s a hard thing to realize, especially if you haven’t been through a gear reset before [and each reset is also slightly different – in Wrath upper end BC epics would take you into the first raid], but refusing to replace gear simply for an old tier set bonus only gimps you and consequently your heroic groups/raids.

A tank keeping their t10 4 piece bonus doesn’t have the health or the mitigation to take the beatings of instances.

A healer keeping their t10 4 set doesn’t have the mana or the mana regen to do their job.

a dps keeping their 4 set doesn’t have the dps to do their job.

I’m not saying to upgrade to whatever piece – but compare stats and upgrade accordingly.  Don’t worry too overly much about perfectly balancing stats till 85 [hit/expertise/agility/crit] – just make sure you have enough to do your job – aka don’t run around with zero hit rating.  If you keep an old piece, choose to do it and know why you are.  For example, for my hubby’s ret offspec, he’s still using the 245 hit trinket simply because most of the offspec gear he’s managed to get his hands on is devoid of hit rating and he hasn’t managed a current hit trinket yet.  He knows it needs to be replaced and is just waiting on the right trinket to drop.

Does it feel wrong to replace epics with greens?  Yeah, a bit… but it won’t be too long till we’re replacing those greens with blues and epics.  Isn’t it better to have a stat jump than shiny purples?