Get Ready to Grind or Get Left Behind – Preparations for 4.2

After talking with some of my guildies in the last week, I sorta concluded that I should do a “Get Ready for 4.2” post.  Which is this.

1. What you read, what you hear – could change.  Even the things I say here could no longer be applicable tomorrow.  Take it all with a grain of salt.

2. Manage your expectations.  I know it’s fun to get excited about new content but if you get too excited you’ll end up disappointed because it won’t ever be as good as you imagine it.

3. Finish up questing in Mt Hyjal.  As it stands now, you will not have access to the new dailies unless you have completed the Hyjal questline – up to and including the battle with Ragnaros.  I’d recommend going ahead and finishing that now rather than competing with the flood of people that day trying to finish.  We’re already going to have to compete for the new dailies.  Why make it that much harder?  It’s more gold in your pocket anyway.  The Hyjal dailies will gradually open up more and more dailies [reportedly 20 tokens – 5 days of dailies to get to the second set and 150 tokens or so to go to the next segment – time will tell what exactly the numbers end up being].  The reward from all this will end up being some 365 epic pieces that should prove quite useful in raiding.

4. In addition to that, I would recommend finishing questing in all the Cataclysm zones – at least on your main.  That way, you won’t have to do it later should they add any questlines/dailies later that require another zone be complete.  Again, it’s more money in your pocket and most of the content is easy at level 85.

5. Go ahead and finish any other grinds that you’ve been putting off.  Not got your Baradin trinket?  Still need that last pesky rep maxed?  Been putting off maxing your fishing or any other profession?  Go forth and do it.  Now is a great time for that.

Preparing for The Shattering and Cataclysm

First of all, I’m going to apologize for being quite absent on the blog for a couple weeks… had a lot of family stuff going on that I may explain in another post.  I have quite a few posts on the brain but at the moment it’s a matter of getting the thoughts out in some coherent form :).  Anywho, here are my recommendations for preparing for the Shattering and Cataclysm.

The Shattering is about to be upon us [this coming Tuesday if rumor is right] and we only have a few weeks till Cataclysm.  What should you do to prepare?

1. On Monday evening this week, I highly recommend resetting your toon’s hearths to appropriate locations.  Stormwind will have portals to new areas in the expansion – so you might consider there or IF [easy flying distance and connected by the tram].  On the PTR, the portals in Dalaran and Stormwind are disappearing – to be replaced by class trainers.  Note, Azeroth flying will not be in until Cataclysm itself – so please bear that in mind.

2. Cap out your justice points and honor points if possible before Cataclysm hits – even what you can manage on your alts.  Given history, you might be able to use JPs on alts to purchase necessities for crafting or buying recipes [ie the new primordial saronite] and possibly jump start your main.  If not, you’ll at least have plenty of them to get alts a couple new pieces.

3. Decide on your main.  Soon.  I realize that many of you, like me, will be leveling multiple alts at once [ie whatever you feel like working on… or who has rested XP :P].  However, know who your main is… and give them priority.  If you play many toons poorly it doesn’t benefit anyone at all.  Get one well-geared in the xpac, then worry about gearing any others.  Some people might be able to juggle two toons and keep them fairly equally geared and played… however, that’s a minority that doesn’t include me.  I play my alts well but not nearly as well as my main.

Again, if you are planning on swapping mains – talk to all your raid leaders – don’t assume that they’ll automatically be room for your new toon and show up one day expecting to get them in.  Some guilds may have too many healers, tanks, or that particular class [hunters, mages] or they could be SORELY lacking.  Also, be prepared to develop your offspec if needed.

4. Spring Cleaning:

Clean out your banks on every toon.  Vendor whatever you can stand to get rid of, bank what you want to keep.  If you have a personal guild/vault – clean that out as well.  Even if you keep old mats, knowing what items are where can maximize your efficiency or ability to sell them in the early days of the expansion.

Clean up your bags.  Give yourself a clean slate to begin questing again…  Dump that gray that got mixed in with your gear, restock food and any reagents needed [mostly mage I believe?].

If you’re planning on creating new toons – get the mats together for any bags you want to give them or even have the bags made and ready to mail up front.

Go ahead and delete any toons you’re going to want to [presuming they aren’t name savers].  Psynister has a great guide on how to delete a level 80 but many of the steps can apply to low level toons as well.

5. Don’t count on taking December 7th off work to play on live servers…  Given the bugs in the last patches and the company’s history with releases – I have exactly zero confidence the servers will be playable at midnight on the 7th as they’re currently promoting.  If you’ve been here for an xpac change you should remember… and the bugginess has gotten worse with each patch.  [Given that bugs exist in the PTR “release” version for the Shattering patch, expect them to be in live as well since 4.0.3 had bugs reported on the PTR that were pretty much all still there].

6. You’re going to be bent out of shape and antsy to play Cataclysm.  Instead of growling at the computer, do chores or set up an activity or look at experiencing one of the free 2 play mmos.  Many of them have some nice things to offer.  I’ve really enjoyed playing LotRO with my sister in law a couple times a week and there are others out there [I have no doubt that Kanrad will list a few below ;)].  You’ll be sucked into the new world soon enough.

Many Random Things…

Had a few interesting things go on this week.

First off, we got the Lich King down to 30%.  We’re making progress every week and we can all taste it so badly it’s not funny.  Right now the second transition phase throws us off balance.  And whoever gets taken into the sword seems to just die.  It can be frustrating wiping for a few hours but it’s also exciting… because we’re working on the end boss of an expansion for the first time!  We have been scheduling a second night when we can manage but it’s dependent on everyone showing [I’m not going to replace someone and cheat them out of a LK kill].

The change to the raid ids seemingly killed our 25 man but several people are showing interest in doing an alt version.  Hubby and I don’t have time [or more likely energy] to wrangle a whole new set of toons together, but we’ll see how it turns out.  Worst case, we may have enough alts to do another temporary ten man on Saturdays.

I have been leveling a lowbie disc priest again.  [Wow is anything not OP at low levels right now?].  It’s been fun and mostly drama-free.  It did become a little frustrating hitting SM- Graveyard because the tank never seems to be willing to leave combat… and that can be rough on the mana regen.  In fact, one group wiped because I simply ran completely out of mana, despite me saying OOM a couple times.  Naturally, it was my fault.

The only other drama I had was in SM-Library – a boe tanking shield dropped.  The tank, naturally, needed on it – as did the druid and lock in the party.  I took a notion/chance and needed on it myself, won it and then traded it to the tank – which wasn’t a popular move with most of the party, but the tank appreciated it and equipped that thing immediately.

At the beginning of Hallow’s End, I had 5 toons that needed either the squashling, the helm or both to complete their violet protodrake.  Thanks to some lucky trick or treating [none was completed via the HH daily], I have finished four of the five of them now.  Only my pally remains incomplete… so I shall be working to get that for her.  I will be helping hubby as well.  One of his toons is short by toothpicks of all things…  And a couple more need the helm.  So I’ll be hitting those to trick or treat some during the day for him.

My shaman and Askevar2 have both gotten the horseman’s mount.  My mage has snagged it as well – twice.

Tanking on my DK is feeling better and better – probably as I get more practice :P.  Rune regeneration isn’t a problem any longer [annoyance if that].  I am probably going to swap my paladin’s main spec to ret and her offspec to prot…  I no longer enjoy pally tanking.  If anyone thought DK rune regeneration was bad… go try pally tanking…  Sitting there and WAITING forever for abilities to come up so you can have something to do and praying you hold aggro is annoying.  I have yet to really test druid or warrior tanking.

is bad mkay?  See this and a few other most recent posts on treebarkjacket.

BBB has a great post musing on the expectations we had for the quality of 4.01.  Though he got a troll or two [what blogger doesn’t occasionally?] the discussions and concerns raised in the post and the comments are worth reading.

Don’t miss Bee Pit Bingo over at Murloc Parliament.  Given that I’ve got a lowbie toon again, I might have to make more bee pit jokes…

NoMoreNoob has the work around macro for the Horseman DC issue.

For those still working on their candy buckets, Revive and Rejuvenate did a candy bucket tour post for the alliance for Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor.

And this post is a couple weeks old, but it doesn’t get old “How Leading a Raid is Like Coaching Little League” over at Forever a Noob.

Priest With a Cause created a worksheet where you can tell just how fail your Halls of Lightning Pug is…

I also wanted to put forth Looking for More’s suggestion for November activities if you’re bored with WoW.  Nanowrimo is definitely fun and worthwhile!  I’ve participated in it several years myself and it’s fun.

Preparing for “THE PATCH”

**This post contains some spoilers – be warned**

I see a lot of talk about the next patch going live Tuesday, so I wanted to offer a few words of wisdom given that I’ve been here before…  Some are general and some are quite specific.

1. Don’t be heartbroken if the patch doesn’t drop.  I’ve seen “the date” of patches come and go without them dropping before.  People get all up in the air and make plans and then are devastated when it doesn’t drop.  If it drops, it drops.  If they hold off another week or two – they’ll do that.

2. After the patch, plan to have to relearn to play your character[s].  Don’t expect they’ll be the same.  Some of them will be broken, some will be OP, some will be less than they were before though not broken entirely.  Don’t compare yourself to “Mr. IHappentobeOP now”.  Focus on yourself and get help from your guildies and fellows of the class.

3. From the time this patch drops until at least 2 months after Cataclysm [whenever it hits – I know Dec 7 is “the date” but well… it’s been postponed before], expect chaos.  You will have people changing mains, changing roles, changing teams, even changing guilds.  Even the most stable guilds will have some shake ups – you may lose tanks or healers, gain them, and dps may move abouts.  It’s going to take some adjustment for people to figure out if they like the “new” them – whatever class they happen to be.

4. Expect your Guild and Raid leaders to be under some frustration/stress.  If you still have raids going as we do, it may make previously easy content undoable/harder.  It could make everything easier.  Either way, there is going to be some stress placed upon your leaders.  Support them, ask questions, offer help where you can.  Don’t be surprised if the patch kills raiding for a week or two.  Don’t be surprised if it propels it forward 😛

5. Anything can happen.  Servers could be down extra… I still remember the rolling crashes every time WG finished and the ensuing downtime.  Could it all be smooth?  Yup!  It totally could, or it could be completely insane.

6. If you decide to swap mains at this chaotic time, go to the proper raid leader to discuss it with them.  Swapping toons/roles may require some team swapping and may not happen immediately.  There may also not be room for more of the role you want [currently our guild is way full on tanks] so you may have to work on a different spec on that toon.  Or there may be a shortage of what you’re currently playing, or group make up may not allow for you to swap [ie – not enough ranged dps/heals/etc].  Work WITH your raid leaders on this.  Saying “I’m going to be [insertwhateverhere] on this toon now or else” isn’t productive for anyone.  The reality is that raids need certain roles filled adequately or the raid can’t run.  If your raid leaders know you’re interested in swapping, however, they can match you with someone swapping the opposite way – or at the least work in that direction [actually declaring this intent to swap mains is important – otherwise, raid leaders can only formulate guesses].  It’s also entirely possible that the role you’re interested in filling is one the raid leaders need and they’ll ask you to swap immediately 😛  Trust me, both happen.

My recommendations in preparing for the next patch:

1. Buy Heirlooms now.  They have raised the price to match level 85 levels [which, since these heirlooms don’t scale past 80, boggles my mind just a bit].  Instead of being 450 ish like the t10 gear, they are now going to be in the neighborhood of 2700ish.

2. If you are looking to buy gems from the honor QM, do it now.  He will no longer sell the gems in the next patch.  However, word is they are removing the Alchemy CD.

3. Sell that stuff you’ve been hoarding soon.  A lot of it will dip in value come Cataclysm.  Some of it may  increase but when Cataclysm hits, there’s going to be less call for a lot of the extensive mats for gear and for the gear itself.  That said, if you’re gearing up an alt – be watching for some sweet deals.

4. Go do Northrend Loremaster and make some gold.  😛  Just a suggestion, mind you.  But Northrend won’t be changing with this patch and it’s something perfect to do in the interim.

5. Be ready for anything.

Operation Gnomeregan Bug

Since no one in game can be bothered to listen to directions or prevent Mekkatorque from bugging, here’s a basic explanation here so you don’t make the mistake.

When Mekkatorque gets to the front entrance of Gnomer, stay with him or behind him… Let the bad evil troggs and such come hit him.  If you go in the tunnel and zerg them down without letting mobs get out and to him, he will bug and not finish the event.

If you bug him, you’ll have to wait for him to reset [aka the time for finishing the event] and then wait the 6 minutes to start the next round of it.

Every alt I’ve run through tonight has had to do it twice simply because no one can be bothered to listen or understand.  When I’ve tried to explain to stay with the king so he doesn’t bug, I get a “QQ more, idc, I’ll just do it again” reply.  Most of my alts are going to end up waiting till tomorrow morning to finish it.

When he yells “Sweet baby titans!  That’s got to be the biggest trogg I’ve ever seen!  Keep firing… take it down!” you should be good and past the point of concern.

And guess what?  This bug was known in the beta.  And it’s in the release.

Inspires confidence doesn’t it?

And for those who like to pop up mammoths and stand on questgivers?  I have tickets with your name on them. ;).  I know perfectly well how to get around what you’re doing but there’s still no excuse.  I think Shepherd Book in Firefly said it best…  something about a “special hell”.

Pugging fun…

I did several pugs today on my many alts.  I first pugged as a healer because I thought I’d get in quick and I did…  to an Old Kingdom group with a hunter in charge who felt that because he was the disenchanter, he was entitled to all enchanting mats.  He made snarky stupid comments the whole instance and got on my case constantly.

Second dungeon was on my druid – kitty – the group fell apart after the first boss in HoL because the tank just randomly left.  I got into another group and we pwned it easily.

Hopped on my mage and that group owned Nexus in short short order

Hopped on my hunter and quick run through AN

Shaman – idiot group with a DK tank who thought that because he had 30k health, he was invincible and could do HUGE pulls and not follow standard target kill order in OK [spellflingers first PLEASE!].  They jumped on the disc priest and as a result, I left as well.  Got into an AN run right after and we knocked it out.

3.2.2 is Upon us! What does that mean for a Frost DK tank?

We’re getting some buffs!!!

* Threat of Thassarian now also causes Rune Strike to use both weapons when dual-wielding.
* Unbreakable Armor: Cooldown reduced to 1 minute and changed back to granting 25% additional armor while active instead of flat damage reduction based on armor. The amount of strength granted has been reduced to 10%.

[Frost Presence]: The damage reduction granted by this ability has been increased from 5% to 8%.

Ultimately, we’re going to be hardier and it appears dual wield tanking will be made viable!  I’m very excited about this!  There is also a nerf to pally threat, which while it will make our job as MT or OT easier in some regards, it’ll have a larger impact on the raid.  Your best geared, highest level dpsers who can already touch explosive tank’s threat will have to watch their burst damage and threat even more closely and perhaps hold back even more.