Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Healing in a Shattered World: Patch 4.0.3a

Every so often, I get a heal craving. It's much like a chocolate craving - you feel like eating that moist gooey chocolate cake much in the same way you feel like throwing out some yummy heals. I had one of these heal cravings in the past week, but funny thing was instead of leaving me fat and happy at the end of it, I was left scratching my head over my heals. Was it just me or did Nourish not seem that awesome? Was it just me or did I actually see my mana bar move when I cast Rejuvenation? Should I have used *shudder* Healing Touch there instead?

And so I grabbed my chocolate cupcake, and settled down to take a good look at what our heal spells look like in the best way I know - reread those tooltips! Grab a cupcake and join me =)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Shattering: First Impressions

I was blown away. On maintenance day, I was mostly excited and a wee bit nostalgic, but really, mostly excited. When it finally happened and I logged on, I don't think anything could've prepared me for it. I was mostly in awe and at the same time, deeply saddened by what I saw... and not really because I missed the old quests particularly, but more because I saw the destruction of something that held so many memories. I expected this post to be about the changes brought to healing, to talents and glyphs and so on, but it soon became apparent that I was nowhere near ready to talk about it. We surprise ourselves sometimes.


The ruins of Auberdine are quite a sight. I am impressed with the amount of detail and effort Blizzard has put into revamping Azeroth - it is no easy feat, and I think they deserve a round of applause. My awe, however, is mixed with sadness as I learned not all of Auberdine's inhabitants survived - some of which I knew. In a chilling quest, I was asked to search for survivors and well, I came across some familiar corpses. Terenthis... I helped him combat the corruption of furblogs, and Barithras Moonshade... he sent me to gather cave mushrooms in that (formerly) naga-infested cave. The good news is that not all perished, other familiar elves such as Cerellean Whiteclaw and Volcan made it through.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Farewell Old World!

This is it. The Shattering is upon us. I had my final attempt at the mounts in Zul'Gurub the other day and well, it was fun! =) I'm incredibly excited to roll the new class/race combinations and can't wait to dive into the thousands of new quests which await! I sense a second Loremaster in the making. That said, I'm taking one last look at the familiar world with its obscure quests and expansive zones that I have come to love. The zones I shall miss the most are the ones I "grew up" in, which felt like home to me. So here's my farewell to you "old world" Azeroth...

Walking through the forests of Ashenvale one last time before the destruction begins.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

4.0.1 Analysis: Grid vs. Default UI

I have a confession to make. Shortly after Patch 4.0.1 was released, I uninstalled Grid and all the peripheral addons that went with it. As a healer, that's big - Grid (and its other addon equals) made heals possible in the past: the bringers of information in a smooth and easy interface where healers effortlessly swapped between numerous targets in raids. Healing a 10 or 25-man raid without Grid (or any equivalent raid frame addon) bordered on the ridiculous. Patch 4.0.1 however, revamped our options in the default user interface, and I returned to give the interface another chance. I was impressed with what I found.

I healed through battlegrounds, heroic dungeons and raids with my new Gridless setup, and compared it to my past experience. While I  was healing, I was constantly thinking about its utility: Does it give me the information I need as a healer? Is it limited in use or customisable? Where does it have an edge over Grid and where did Grid trump this setup?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Shattering: Whats your guess on 4.0.3a?

He's coming! And to be honest, he does look a bit scary.  It's anyone's guess as to when this monster will hit our beloved Azeroth and burn everything to ashes. With Patch 4.0.3a going live on the Public Test Realms, it seems as though the ominous time is closer than ever!

The looming question: is it going to be on the 23rd of November before Thanksgiving or on the 30th, after the feast?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Roleplaying Outfits: Sets and Tier Gear

There's a certain special element about wearing a fully co-ordinated set while roleplaying. While leafy outfits and creative kilts look great, sets and tier gear have a completely different effect. They're class specific and often named after great entities in lore, and they always have something unmistakably druidic about them. And they're particularly fitting to wear if you're on say scouting mission for Cenarion Circle, or representing the druids at an event etc.

On this fine morning of server maintenance, I will share the sets that I've collected as well as the sets I would've liked to get had I more bank space! (*hint *hint Blizzard!)

Cenarion Raiment

A set named after the demigod Cenarius himself! The highlights of this outfit are the leafy green shoulders and the unmistakable antler head-piece. I decided to get this set not just for roleplaying purposes, but also as my one complete set from vanilla WoW, as part of my pre-Cataclysm bucket list.

All the pieces can be found in Molten Core:

Cenarion Vestments: Golemagg 
Cenarion Spaulders: Baron Geddon
Cenarion Leggings: Magmadar
Cenarion Helm: Garr
Cenarion Boots: Lucifron
Cenarion Bracers: Trash Mobs (BoE)
Cenarion Belt: Trash Mobs (BoE)
Cenarion Gloves: Shazzrah

Monday, November 15, 2010

Cataclysm Launch Event: Elementals Incoming!

My previous snapshots barely got posted up before more chaos began to unfold. You know what they say...the calm before the storm? Well, my previous snapshots were definitely the calm...and this is definitely the storm! The elementals struck with great fury and power...they definitely want the city destroyed!

The sky went dark and it grew chilly. The attacks slowly began and amidst the chaos orders were given to evacuate the city. Frightened citizens screamed to be let out of the city.
The elemental attack in full force. This is but a fraction of the chaos that befell capital cities. 
Closing the rifts, securing each area of the city (all while freeing trapped citizens and preventing flooding) and pretty much successfully fending off the attacks gives rise to certain portals. WoWhead has an in-depth guide on the mechanics of this here. While those portals are active, one can queue for the special bosses via the Dungeon Finder. The Bosses are: Crown Princess Theredras, Grand Ambassador Flamelash, Kai'ju Gahz'rilla and Prince Sarsaun - all in all very fun to fight and drop some yummy ilvl251 loot. Time to polish your sword and defend your home city against the elementals!

Pre-Cataclysm Launch Quests: Prophecies of Doom

If you've been around any of the capital cities in Azeroth lately, you'll notice things have begun to change at a much faster pace. Not too long ago we saw mysterious devices around, a couple cultists here and there, and the beginning of a prophecy of doom by certain deranged folk. And heck, we even went into disguise to try to find out why these Doomsayers suddenly made their appearance. I have to admit, I found the the event then to be lacking in any urgency or real threat...but that seems to have changed now. The cultists are infiltrating Stormwind more fiercely, and are determined to carry out their evil plan. Worry and security have gone to another level! This time around, I found myself searching Stormwind Citizens, arresting Cultists, battling elements, and coming face to face with a Twilight Seeker on an obsidian dragon. Here are a few snapshots to capture these troubled times.

Citizens halted at the Stormwind Gate and searched for suspicious items.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The pre-Cataclysm Bucket List

Last night I spontaneously decided that I would farm out the Hyacinth Macaw. It was an absurd and ridiculous endeavour, but I did it anyway. The bird's pretty blue and purple wings had me under a spell. WarcraftPets warned me about the drop rate - a whopping 1 in 5,000 chance, but I paid no heed. I challenged the gods of probability and set off to Stranglethorn Vale filled with false confidence.

After three fruitless hours of farming, and heck, revered reputation with the entire Steamwheedle Cartel, reality set in and I think I realise why I avoided those statistics classes back in college. At some point, I couldn't bear to kill another Swashbuckler or Deckhand and questioned why I was there. I mean, I'm not even a pet collector! It was time to take a good long look at my to-do list before cataclysm. Some call it the "bucket list"...which I suppose works since Azeroth will be hitting the bucket pretty soon. I realise it's less than a month before the cataclysm hits, but better late than never! Here it is:
  • Complete the Loremaster Achievement: Check! This was a fun one but then I am sort of a questing geek. I even found a quest while farming the Bloodsail mobs - Cortello's Riddle. There's no escaping it. 
  • Acquire Reins of the Raven Lord: Check! It took about a month of daily dedicated farming for this one. Special thanks to my pocket-tank warrior, for this =)
  • Complete the Druid Epic Swift Flight Questline: Check! I actually completed all the steps to this one before the Wrath expansion, but the simply didnt want to go through heroic Setthekk at that level. I picked it up soon after completing my Guardian of Cenarius title - and I'm glad I did since they did away with the class-specific quests. 
  • Acquire Reins of the Winterspring Frostsaber: Incomplete. I love my ground mounts, and I particularly love sabers. I hope I will have the patience and perseverance for this, but farming Wintersaber reputation is just about the most tedious thing I can think of. The hardest part is constantly travelling to and from the quest-giver - literally traversing Winterspring in its entirety. Did I mention it's the same quest over and over again? Siiigh. But the saber is so pretty.
  • Acquire Swift Zulian Tiger: Incomplete. Ha! Sorry...I couldn't resist. =P Well the drop chance for this beauty is extremely low at a 0.8% from High Priest Thekal. I have been farming this quite consistently now but I might never see it drop. Infact, some argue its better to get the 100% guaranteed Wintersaber than the elusive Zulian Tiger. I say, get them both!
  • Acquire Feralheart Raiment: Check! A beautiful set to have although the questline really does test you. For information on the quests and tips, see my Feralheart Raiment post.
  • Acquire Cenarion Raiment: Incomplete. So close yet so far! I decided to get this set for roleplaying purposes as well as to have my one complete set from vanilla days. I have everything but the Cenarion Vestments. Oh Gods of Molten Core drops, please shine down upon me!
  • Acquire Hyacinth Macaw: Incomplete. Yes, I've decided it goes in here afterall. Granted I'm not a pet collector but that bird just looks so darn cool! The good news from WarcraftPets is that it will not disappear come Cataclysm...so there is still hope. In the meantime, I might take to farming the Auction House instead. =) 
  • Complete the Classic Dungeon Master achievement: Incomplete. I'm only missing one at the moment for this: Ragefire Chasm. Well, now I know what to do if I ever have sleepless night....sneak into Orgrimmar when all the hordies are asleep!
Now off I go to collect some incense and flowers for the Gods of Molten Core Drops and the Zulian Tiger Gods. 

Monday, November 1, 2010

Roleplaying Outfits: Kilts and Sarongs

If there was ever a niche in outfits, I'd say Kilts and Sarongs would be it for my druidic side. I love robes and I still swoon over tier sets...but the sheer creativity in putting together a perfect outfit from seemingly unrelated parts is a whole different canvas. I suppose it began on my numerous trips to Zul' Gurub - one of the most beautiful areas in the game. While my warrior partner in crime hoped for the Zulian Tiger mount among other things, I was starry eyed over the Bloodtinged Kilt and Will of Arlokk that we chanced upon. Days followed, and one bored evening I found myself in Shattrath browsing the vendors when it suddenly hit me that Justice points could now easily be used to buy some very cool looking kilts. Once I had a kilt, it was almost like solving a puzzle to find the perfect matching tunic and weapon. Do I sound obssessed yet? I should, for I began thinking about these while sipping coffee and writing my Kanji.

I've put together here a few of my favourite completed outfits. The sunny beaches of Stranglethorn Vale and the lush city of Zul' Gurub serve as my photographic inspiration for this project.

 An outfit marked by a deep green with touches of red and brown. The chest is Shroud of Nature's Harmony with matching Oakleaf-spun Handguards. The kilt is a northrend Giant-friend Kilt and requires revered reputation with Sons of Hodir. The weapon, Will of Arlokk, is from Zul'Gurub's High Priestess Arlokk. In particular, the detail of the vest ranks this outfit as one of my favourites

This is another variation of the same outfit. For a less rugged look, I skipped the gloves and added Sawbones Shirt. It added a dressed-up feel and brought out the red a bit more. Don't miss the temple in the background! =)

This one features the Grovewalker's Leggings, very earthy with a somewhat furry look, and looks the same as Clefthoof-hide Leggings. It is a very flexible kilt as you can match it a lot of tunics depending on the look you're going for, such as Ancestral Tunic or Tracker's Tunic. I went with the Archer's Jerkin, complemented by the brown and green of Staff of Trickery.

I also like to pair it up with the Ironfeather Breastplate occasionally. The Sylvan Vest also goes remarkably well with these leggings - unfortunately, I haven't found a tailor with the vanilla recipe yet. 

Here, I've matched up Forestwalker Kilt which is a recoloured version of the Feralheart Kilt. I'm wearing Green Whelp Armour to add a bit of texture and the staff is Scepter of Celebras, one of the many things I kept while pursuing Loremaster. I used the rod here in the interests of using what I already have and saving myself precious bank space. An alternative look-alike is the Battle Staff.

I wonder if I took this more for the temple than the actual outfit! Here I've swapped in Willow Vest for a simple look. Staff of Trickery makes yet another appearance.

Earthy colours are lovely and all, but sometimes a girl just feels like wearing some red. In those times, I would recommend Bloodtinged Kilt from Bloodlord Mandokir in Zul'Gurub. I usually wear it with the Battered Leather Harness, which is sold only by Horde vendors mind you, and a Black Swashbuckler's Shirt underneath. The weapon is actually a polearm, Terokk's Quill, another remnant of my Loremaster escapades. The headpiece is Tourmaline Crown - a fun piece with rocks swirling above your head. It made me laugh so it got in the outfit! =P

Another great option with Battered Leather Harness is the Mystic Sarong - easy to obtain and very pretty. Staff of the Redeemer lends its glowy awesomeness to this outfit. 

A very troll-esque outfit here, which I call the 'Hoodoo Set'. The matching pieces are Jinxed Hoodoo Kilt and Jinxed Hoodoo Skin which drop from Shadowpriest Sezz'ziz in Zul'Farrak. That staff is probably very familiar by now - thats right, Will of Arlokk strikes again!

This one's probably the only blue kilt I own thus far - Kilt of Deific Torment, a quest reward from completing Ursoc the Bear God. It is simply the bottom half of Moonshroud Robe, and goes well with the Glyphed Breastplate. My staff is Blood Boil Lancet, my regular PvE staff =) On other thoughts, I never noticed how larger-than-normal the flora in Zul'Gurub was until this screenshot!

Well, that was quite the list. I hope they provided some great viewing pleasure as well inspiration and ideas. There are many more kilts and sarongs out there that I'm still working on, so this is by no means an exhaustive list. Although, I have a feeling my next post might be on bank space management more than anything else! As always, thanks for reading!