The Cranky Sysadmin A world of technology, fun, and ignorant rants.

July 29, 2008

New shoes. New beat stick.

Filed under: World of Warcraft — Cranky Sysadmin @ 8:07 am

I got enough badges to upgrade my boots from the venerable Netherfury Boots to Treads of Life Path. I also gained enough honor to pick up the distinctive looking Merciless Gladiator’s Salvation. These are huge upgrades for me. My sister transferred to the same server as me recently. Last night we ran regular Magister’s Terrace. This was the first time since I left Velen that my sister tanked anything and she did a good job, considering we didn’t give her much notice to do any studying. We’ll be doing some heroics in the future I hope.

July 20, 2008

More PvP on a Resto Shaman

Filed under: World of Warcraft — Cranky Sysadmin @ 6:43 pm

I’ve saved up about 21k honor in BG’s. Soon, I will have my new mace. I’m still a serious noob at the PvP gig, but I am noticing some things tactically. I’ll go through the BG’s one at a time. I’m sure most of these observations are not new.

General BG tactics:

  • If a hunter is after you, keep Earth Shield up and close with him as fast as possible. Once you’re in melee range, be sure to keep frost shock up, and keep frostbrand on your weapon to slow the hunter down. Use only lesser healing wave to keep your health up. The big heals will allow the hunter to get too far away.
  • When you use chain heal, expect the enemy to connect the lines and come find you. I still use it because it’s so effective, but I know what to expect.
  • magma totem only gives you about a second or 2 of warning that a rogue is near by. It’s not enough for me to act, but others will be forewarned before the rogue caps or takes the flag.
  • Healing makes a huge difference, especially in AB. If I’m the highest on healing and second is way behind, then I’m looking at a horde win scorecard. Don’t do anything but heal and purge if someone near you needs a heal. If you’re doing damage as a resto shaman and someone needs a heal, you’re being ineffective.
  • As a healer, don’t be by yourself unless you’re headed to a large group. I also seem to be pretty good at keeping several horde from capping in AB or EOTS, but that is eventually a losing battle and I try to avoid the temptation to be a spoiler. No alliance ever shows up to help.

Now on to the specific BG strategies that I’ve seen work. Keep in mind that I’m a noob, and there are probably better strategies, and things will probably change from battle group to battle group.

  • WarSong Gultch is probably my least favorite BG. We lose about 75% of them in my experience. If no one takes the lead and states a strategy, we lose, and that’s most of the time. I usually ask who the flagman is. I glom onto whoever speaks up. WSG can last a very long time, and if it does, it’s usually an alliance loss. I’ll have to read up on WSG strategies for alliance. I’m sure there are winning ones.
  • Arathi Basin requires a lot of movement. Alliance wins when they try to keep the horde off balance. The winning strategy that I’ve seen is when a large group of alliance wander from mostly empty node to mostly empty node killing and capping. Maybe a few folks hit guarded nodes as a decoy, but there are no massive assaults. If alliance gets into big battles at a node, horde usually caps some unguarded nodes and slowly wins while alliance assaults well defended nodes.
  • Alterec Valley. These days, it seems to be important to have a small group of people re-capping nodes as the horde advances. If this doesn’t happen, horde usually wins. Skipping Galv makes things harder, but sometimes it’s necessary if horde is camping him. Thankfully, AV is always fast these days. Turtling is rare. Sadly, the queues are pretty long in my battle group, so it makes more sense to hit other BG’s to get honor.
  • Eye of the Storm is a combination of WSG flag capping and AB node capping. I’m sure the strategy is the same for both sides, but if Alliance can either cap 3 nodes, or cap 2 and control the middle, then the game is won. If 3 nodes are capped, I wouldn’t bother with the flag. If horde either caps 3 or gains the middle, the first priority should be to capture a little guarded node. Similar to AB, if Alliance gets involved in epic battles at a node, we usually lose.

That’s it. As I learn more, I’ll post. Don’t blame me if these strategies and tactics don’t work for you. I’m a noob to this PvP thing.

Epic Flight

Filed under: World of Warcraft — Cranky Sysadmin @ 5:45 pm

After dutifully doing my dailies and not buying anything but essentials for about 4 weeks, I now have my epic mount. Nothing fancy, just a red griffon. If you’re just turning 70, I suggest going for epic flight to the exclusion of everything else. It makes farming much easier, and I don’t have to watch that troll (or whatever) on an epic mount come in and scoop that herb which I was 10 feet away from. I think I’ll try out not using the flight points anymore in outland. While I move from place to place, I’ll probably farm. I’m told that the mount is almost as fast as the taxi considering that the taxi always takes a scenic route.

July 12, 2008

Decisions, Decisions.

Filed under: World of Warcraft — Cranky Sysadmin @ 9:50 pm

I did a huge pile of Eye of the Storm PvP today, and finished getting my 40 marks needed for the pvp healing shield and mace. Even though the win ratio was something a bit better then one in three, EotS is pretty grueling. I probably won’t go back in there for a while. Arathi Basin is also pretty long winded, so I’ll probably stay out of there unless I go for the PvP healing chestpiece which requires 30 AB marks. It’s a big upgrade over my Void Slayer’s Tunic, so I may if some other chest piece doesn’t drop or become affordable.

So now I need about 32k more honor to get both the weapon and shield. That’s probably a lot of AV and dailies for me.

July 11, 2008

Shaman Extreme Sports

Filed under: World of Warcraft — Cranky Sysadmin @ 8:36 am

I was looking around for information on shaman tactics in World of Warcraft when I came across this. The response this post elicited was surprising. Many folks had a similar reaction to me, “Neato. I’d try that”. Other folks, and many shaman were positively vitriolic about the post. I was amazed that some folks would react that way to a novel idea. Digging further I found a WoWInsider article which described a successful attempt by a shaman to tank the whole Karazhan instance. I was especially impressed with the tanking of prince.

Most shaman who tank use some elemental/enhance spec, but I’ve read about a few folks who use a resto/enhance or resto/elemental spec. Enhanced has what some folks consider the last vestiges of tanking talents for shaman; shield specialization, anticipation, and toughness. The elemental tree seems to be the best tree to lay down the agro with the better shocks and faster lightning. I’ve wondered if the resto tree would be adequate for agro generation. Even with threat reduction talents, I can usually pull agro away from tanks at a similar gear level if I try. If a tank is less geared then me, then I have to be really careful. If I were crazy enough to try a resto tank build, I might try either this build going into the enhance tree for more survivability, or this one in elemental to build more agro. If I were to try to gear up for shaman tanking, I would consider a lot of the PVP gear for the high stamina and resilience.

I don’t expect that a shaman with current itemization could tank anything past Karazhan except in special cases, but it might be fun to try. Maybe I’ll have to do more pvp and get a “tanking” set.

July 9, 2008

A BrownCow Alt

Filed under: World of Warcraft — Cranky Sysadmin @ 8:12 am

I’ve started a tauren shaman on Perenolde and I’m progressing through the starting area. I had forgotten how much I love the Tauren back story and how much they resemble Native American culture. I think Bliz is making a statement by placing them in the Horde. The only problem with Mulgore is that travel times between quests can be really long. It’s a huge starting area that resembles the great plains.

For leveling from 1 to around 30, I will probably stick to using the QuestHelper and LightHeaded addons. QuestHelper does a good job of planning your route, but it doesn’t tell you about new quests that might be in the area. LightHeaded includes most comments on quests from WoWhead in-game. This can help you decide whether that that group quest is worth attempting solo without using alt-tab. By the time I get to 30, they should have applied the patch which allows mounts at level 30. This is going to speed up the 30-40 leveling a lot.

I have other stuff to do Horde-side. I need to make a bank alt. I need to pick up herbalism as my second gathering skill (I have skinning). I should also find a guild at some point.

July 8, 2008

Taking matters into my own hands.

Filed under: World of Warcraft — Cranky Sysadmin @ 9:39 pm

I’ve been patiently waiting for a shield to replace my venerable Crystal Pulse Shield. Chess hasn’t dropped one. The dragonhawk in ZA hasn’t dropped one. Well, I’ve decided to take matters into my own hands and go lose some Eye of the Storm a bunch of times and get an acceptable shield. A funny thing is happening though. I’m beginning to get more accurate about predicting when we’re going to win and when we’re going to lose. I stick it out either way, but at least I can prepare myself for an honorable defeat.

On a very tactical level, I seem to do best when I’m harassing the enemy by interrupting heals, frost shocking, dropping various totems, and healing. I do more poorly when I try to kill things. My lesson here, even though it’s hard is, leave killing to specs that can actually kill.

On a more strategic level, alliance seems to do better when one big knot of alliance characters goes around and knocks off towers. Just be sure to leave a couple of scouts behind to tell the big knot when trouble is coming. I usually hang with the largest group of alliance and harass. If there is no big knot, I can guess that a loss is coming. I’m beginning to do ok at defense. I get incapacitated a lot, but earth shield and uninterrupted heals help keep me up. I use a lot of frost shock and earthbind to keep the enemy at a distance. A couple of times, I’ve managed to hold a position until enough help arrived to drive off the horde. It’s fun, but not as much fun as traveling with the big knot of people.

Back to shields. Merciless Gladiator’s Redoubt costs 20 EOS marks, and 15k honor. At the rate I’m collecting honor, I should have one within 2 weeks. If one of the other shields drops in Kara or ZA, I’ll save up for Merciless Gladiator’s Salvation. It costs 20 EOS marks and 25,200 honor. I’d have to do about 3 or 4 weeks of PvP to get that. Maybe I’ll shoot for both. The mace I drool over costs 150 badges, so maybe Salvation is the way to go for now. It’s a huge upgrade over my Ancient Scepter.

Once I get my 40 EOS marks, I think I’ll probably do a lot of AV. It’s more fun, and the win/lose ratio seems to be more alliance tipped.

July 1, 2008

Resto Shaman Macros

Filed under: World of Warcraft — Cranky Sysadmin @ 10:58 am

Most of my healing is done with grid and clique. I do have a few macros setup for when I have tank healing duty (heroics or raid). Some of these macros assume that you have placed focus on the tank (focus is different then target. See wowwiki for a description).

Earth Shield with trinkets (assuming you have +healing on use trinkets) on focus:

/use 13
/use 14
/cast [ target=focus ] Earth Shield

Nature’s swiftness healing wave with trinkets for use when the tank is about to die:

/stopcasting
/use 13
/use 14
/cast Nature’s Swiftness
/cast [ target=focus ] Healing Wave

Trinketed healing stream totem:

/use 13
/use 14
/cast Healing Stream Totem

A Quiet WoW Summer

Filed under: World of Warcraft — Cranky Sysadmin @ 10:41 am

Our guild has been pretty quiet due to summer vacations. I’ve been doing a lot of work related stuff, so my WoW time has been less copious. When I’m on I’ve been healing heroics, doing battlegrounds, and completing all of those shadowmoon valley quests that I never got to. I’m hoping to farm enough gold in a few weeks to finally buy an epic mount. I’m at 3000 gold now and I’m not spending coin on anything except the essentials.

Wednesday, we’re planning a kara raid. We’re short healers, so another shaman is going to respec to restoration and roll on all my loot… I mean, we’re going to dual heal kara. It ought to be interesting since shaman aren’t known as the best tank healers. There will be a forest of totems, and lots of earth shielding.

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