Wednesday, September 30, 2009

MBTI: 730 Playstyle Breakdown

This is a followup to yesterday's 640-response analysis. There are now 730 in the data pool (it keeps growing, too, which is awesome! I will continue to add the new data to future charts.)

Breakdown on Playstyle:

Playstyle is a mix of schedule (Casual vs Hardcore in time raiding) and strictness (the more traditional casual vs hardcore). Non-raiders (those who focus on questing and just run instances or pvp or roleplay for fun) and the Hardcore PvPers were also included as options.

C/C = Casual Schedule, Casual Play
C/H = Casual Schedule, Hardcore Play
H/C = Hardcore Schedule, Casual Play
H/H = Hardcore Schedule, Hardcore Play

Slightly fewer extroverts are seen among the traditional non-raiders than among any of the other choices. It would seem that most of the non-raider extroverts instead choose to spend their time as "hardcore PvP!"

There are slightly more Sensors than Intuitives who put lots of time into raiding each week: sensors work at a steady pace using instructions and guides, while intuitives tend to work in bursts of energy. I suspect that the higher number of casual-schedule intuitives allows these players to spend time outside of raiding to figure out how to overcome something before returning to it in an instance. However, it is noticeable that sensors are just as likely to be non-raiders as they are to raid 4+ nights a week; sensors just seem to be in fewer numbers when it comes to raiding only a couple nights each week, likely again due to wanting to work on their projects (be it raiding or otherwise) at a steady pace. The other personality traits don't seem to have much impact on whether a person raids 3 nights or 6 nights a week!

There are noticeable, though small, bumps in the charts regarding Casual vs Hardcore raiders. Casual raiding is preferred a bit more by extroverts (and the socialization that would entail), sensors (steady pace, follow others' instructions, literal), feelers (emotional, keeping the peace and harmony by not being mean to that rogue who keeps dpsing from the front of the mob), and perceivers (dislike rules, get bored with repitition).

Those who have higher expectations of skill among their fellow raiders tend to be the introverts, intuitives (rely on instinct, like to figure things out, theoretical), thinkers (rational arguements, analytical), and judgers (organized, prompt to raids, decisive): the popular INTJ embodies this. Of course, not all INTJs are hardcore in their expectations of play skill, but most of them are.

Hardcore PvP:
There were relatively few of these in the overall survey (15 total out of 730), but among them, they were heavily EN's, and many of them also Feelers (more personal and emotional) rather than Thinkers (rational, achievement-driven). These hardcore pvpers tend to act before they think, and rely on reflex, creativity, and instinct to guide them. Knowing that each of their enemies and allies is controlled by another person is likely a strong source of why there are so many extroverts in this field.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

MBTI: 640 Responses

I finally got around to tallying up the responses that have come in since the time of my last analysis. For an overview of the survey and what it's about, you can check my initial post here (and take the survey if you'd like), and you can check out some of the results and thoughts on them here (223 responses), here (Nertok's), and here (Elnia's).

I added the question of gender somewhat late, so it doesn't have as much data, so I won't be looking at that too closely in this analysis. I'll leave it for another time :)

Raw Numbers:

The top chart is the number of personalities that people responded with. Below it is a chart of the world population average.

As you can see, adding another 400 responses to the survey has left the IN crowd--a minority overall in world population--heavily represented within WoW (at least among those who would be following blogs and feel the urge to submit their data :) ). Elnia explained why in his response, MBTI and WoW, at the Pink Pigtail Inn: "That this activity (WoW) takes place in an imagined space is part of what we mean by intuition (N). That this activity takes place in a space of limited extroverted interaction is part of what is meant by introversion (I)." As he predicted, INTJs are now the most-represented personality type in this 640-response study (INTPs were in the 223 response study), in spite of a relatively low population in the world.

Raid Roles and Class: Numerical

Below is the breakdown of responses in terms of preferred raid role and favorite classes. Some players do, of course, enjoy multiple raid roles. I'd like to look more in-depth later at which personalities were more likely to enjoy multiple raid roles, per person, rather than only one role; it will likely match those who have hybrids among the most popular classes, but that's just my guess :)

Raid Roles and Class: Percentage

The same data as above, but averaged out into percentages per personality type. It would seem that ESTPs, though a minority in the study, really like to tank as warriors and druids! ES's overall seemed to shy away from magical dps classes.

Guild Roles and Play Style

For this, I wanted to look at percentages rather than raw numbers.

C/C = Casual Schedule, Casual Play
C/H = Casual Schedule, Hardcore Play
H/C = Hardcore Schedule, Casual Play
H/H = Hardcore Schedule, Hardcore Play

Play Style:
The vast majority of respondents play on a casual schedule, attending raids only 3 nights or less each week. Of course, they may use other nights for pugs, alts, 5-man runs, pvp, and all the other non-raidly things that can be done. The ESFP percentages (heavy H/C) I take with a grain of salt, as they were overall under-represented as a population in WoW, but perhaps that is just their way: valueing time spent with friends in a casual atmosphere of a raid.

Contrary to Elnia's expectations, however, a large number of the ENFJs claim that they are hardcore players: the percentages don't look very different from the INTJs. I'd like to break the schedule and raiding style down further in a future post, and see how time (limiting other activities) and social aspects of each personality may play into raiding style and time commitment.

Guild Roles:
As my direction on the survey asked for those that a person was drawn to, whether voluntarily or not, I am a bit wary of how to proceed with this data. Some people are good at roles, though they'd rather not have to do them; others are pushed into them and do poorly at them, because no one else would step up. Other people *think* they may do a good job at a role, and carry it out, but it may or may not truly be the case. As such, I'd like to eventually look at the correlation between roles, personalities, and raiding style.

For now, suffice to say that each personality type has its own leaders, and has times where their particular personality helped to put out/deal with a drama-fire. We can look into these roles more closely below, however, in the next section...

Further Breakdown on Guild Roles:

Dominated by Intuitive (big-picture/inventive), Thinker (objective, rational decision making), Judger (schedules, rules) types of players. While there are certainly other personalities who have lead a guild, they may have felt far less comfortable with it: Feelers tend to take more diplomatic routes, trying to keep harmony in the guild, which may result in more casual raiding styles; Perceivers would likely rely heavily on their officer core to make decisions for them, and be more spontaneous and flexible with their guild.

Raid Leaders:
Similar situation as with GMs, though they do not necessarily have to enforce guild policy, so the break between Judgers and Perceivers (and their relative adaptability/organization) is mostly even.

Class Leaders:
These seem to come from all types relatively evenly, across the board.

Slightly dominated by Intuitive Judgers (organized yet inventive). Just as there are different kinds of blogs, so too there are different personalities of bloggers!

Web Admins:
More of the Judger variety, perhaps due to their ability to finish projects and organizational skills. Perceivers are more likely to get distracted midway through, or spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to do something new and exciting that isn't necessarily conventional and thus is time-consuming (like building an entire design from scratch and learning css and php along the way... *coughs*).

As I mentioned earlier, all of the personalities seem to have times where their particular personality helped to put out or deal with a drama-fire. The intuitives (looking at the big-picture and relying on instinct rather than past experiences) have a slightly larger showing, but not by any ridiculous amount.

This role tends to be taken on mostly by guild masters and raid leaders, since they should be the ones who know what they want and need and to progress. As such, the same personality types of Thinkers and Judgers tends to dominate, though Sensors (detail-oriented people) are not as left out as they are in the GM/Rl roles. Sensors are a reasonable help for guild recruitment, as they will carefully inspect gear, enchants, specs, and trial-run capabilities.

Further Breakdown on Class:

The class types have fairly evened out in terms of extro/intro, and sense/intuition: INs tend to dominate across the board. The most obvious differences between classes comes down to Judgers (conventional, decisive) vs Perceivers (adaptable) .

The largest split comes down to two casters: Warlocks seem to be preferred more by Judgers and Mages seem to be preferred more by Perceivers. Since I've never had as much interest in playing a magical DPS myself, I'm curious what causes this split. What do you think?

AoC: Gold Seller NPC

I stumbled over this screenshot in my album from the summer before last, when I was playing AoC for a WoW-break:

You can't escape them! And it's an NPC!!! AHHH!

....he gives you a quest to go find his "farmer," hehee.

The few things I miss about AoC: the soundtrack (the vocals for cimmeria were huanting and beautiful), and being able to build a guild city. Things I do not miss: the severe lag, the broken quests (especially when it came to group-questing!), and the non-instanced long-respawn dungeon bosses. The combat system of directional swing combos was fun in the early levels, but as you got higher level and had to do 4-5+ swings to pull off a combo, the novelty wore off fast, and I even used G15 macros to do a lot of them.

Oh well. *giggle at gold seller*

Friday, September 25, 2009

How a Girl Gamer was Made

Female gamers are viewed as a rarer breed, especially among the raiding ranks. While this may in part be due to the fact that most female gamers tend to cluster together (my own guild is nearly half female, even in among the raiders), there is some truth to video gaming culture being only recently marketed as "okay" for girls--and most people, regardless of gender, will avoid things that their society views as gender-specific, because they don't want to be outcasts. According to tradition, boys play with trucks and computers and toy army men, girls play with dollhouses and tea sets and glittery crafts.

So, what led a girl such as myself to be a druid, officer, in a relatively hardcore raiding guild? Nevermind that I broke the mold in that I actually like tanking and melee dps (it was my primary role as alliance in TBC), and only heal in WotLK because it's what the guild needed and they insist I'm somewhat decent at it (when most female gamers are stereotyped as healers, a support role).

My First Games

I was always a bit of a tomboy. I have a little brother, and my cousins matching my own age were all boys as well; my parents took me camping and never discouraged me of getting dirty and romping about in normal play. I had my share of baby dolls, but my favorite toys were stuffed animals, and I've always felt more interested in animals than in "human" relations. I had a dollhouse, with a few posable plastic people, but I preferred using the Mapletown dolls, who were, in essence, furries. When I got a bit older, I began amassing a collection of tiny porcelain animals, and the human dolls were set aside in favor of the dollhouse being ruled by pets and wildlife (my favorites were a fox family, a husky, and a german shephard).

My Dad had a motorcycle when I was really young, and he took my brother and I on a couple spins around the neighborhood, but as we reached schoolage, he sold it in favor of a Nintendo and a computer. We played Duckhunt and the original Mario, and I had fun shooting the discs out of the air, though I felt a bit odd killing ducks. My Mom didn't complain, however, and it was fun time spent with my Dad and my little brother: a positive first experience for a young girl into the world of video gaming.

When we got a computer--the kind with DOS--my Dad got a few games for it. We played the original Duke Nukem, Wolfenstein 3D, etc. Yes, I was shooting Nazis at about 7 years old, and my Dad would laugh so hard when something in the game would surprise me and I'd nearly jump out of the seat.

Growing into my Own Gaming

I never thought it odd for a girl such as myself to be playing video games through grade school. A couple close friends I made in elementary school were similar; with brothers and gamer dads, they too enjoyed playing games on the computer or on Sega or Nintendo. At the same time, we had no problem going out into the backyard and building forts in the bushes, climbing trees, or just chatting on the swingsets about the various imaginary worlds we played in.

Though we had an SNES, I bugged my parents for a Sega, and quickly was immersed into Sonic the Hedgehog. I played through the whole series, though beginning with Tails' introduction in Sonic 2, I often played with a friend, cooperatively. On the computer, my brother was playing things like Reader Rabbit (which I'd help him out with sometimes), while we both played Commander Keen and Duke Nukem 3D (jetpacks and rocket launchers! Whee!).

My Dad had some work convincing me to try it, but I also grew to love X-Wing, my first flight simulator game. From there, I also had fun with Terminal Velocity, another sci-fi flight game.

I also ended up getting my own Gameboy Color (crazy technology!) with hard-earned allowance money, and played games like Dragon Warrior Monsters, Tetris, and Pokémon: Pokémon became a favorite game when the Sonic series died down (Sonic 3D was very disappointing). I also did a fair amount of reading around all the gaming, growing into the Star Wars lore, and first began writing by trying my hand at some fanfiction.

Whoa, Interwebs!

As the schools were getting semi-decent computer labs (upper middle to high school for me), came the time of dial-up AOL at home. A friend pulled me into some Star Wars RPG chatrooms among other types of roleplay (including Pokémon and animé), and we had fun goofing off as jedi or x-wing pilots or pokémon trainers or, in my case, pokémon themselves. Given the newness of the internet and my young age, I did have a few scary chatroom run-ins that made me more careful, though there was never anything serious.

I picked up some of the strategy games for my own time, continueing with Pokémon on the Gameboy but playing things like Civilization, Star Wars: Rebellion, SimCity, and Star Wars: Jedi Knight on the computer. My brother found more interest in the FPS war games, which I suppose makes it not too surprising that he earned Expert Marksman in his high school Marine RotC program.

I played a bit of Monster Rancher, Final Fantasy, Zelda, Mario Kart, and GoldenEye through my friends' console games. I didn't play any real MMOs, however. I eyed Everquest a bit, but the monthly fee tied with the slowness of the internet at the time (and my parents' dial-up) kept me away from it. The idea of having to pay monthly for the game on top of internet costs seemed ridiculous to me, so I stayed away from MMOs.

In high-school, I also had my first introduction to tabletop RPGs, joining a D&D group. I've been playing in D&D type games ever since :) I also didn't loose my love of nature: I enjoyed backpacking and canoeing and water-tubing, still climbed trees, still played on rope swings, tried my hand at repelling/rock climbing, and spent a lot of time along bayside beaches finding shark's teeth and building sand castles.


Going from dialup to campus ethernet was like being dumped in the deep-end. While I had to put aside my Sega and Gameboy and most computer games in favor of getting used to the study load and self-sufficiency of having complete control of my time, I was also more thoroughly introduced to animé, and picked up new hobbies such as archery and SCA fencing.

I was also introduced to a LAN gamer group on-campus, and played Unreal Tournament with them: a group mostly male, though I was not the only girl. I met my now-husband through this group; we laugh that it was love through a sniper scope. Through him, I also discovered Morrowind and the Baldur's Gate/Neverwinter Nights series and, eventually, was convinced to try out my first MMO: City of Heroes. I overcame my dislike of the monthly subscription fee and agreed to try it out; I had a lot of fun playing a purely support class, a Mind-Control Bubbler, who had nearly zero offensive abilities. I enjoyed it because it was a challenge, and I had little reason to solo in the game.

Would I have tried an MMO without my boyfriend's pressure?

Yes. It simply would've taken the pressure of a female friend to overcome that same dislike of the monthly subscription fee; most of my female Everquest-playing friends had just put their gaming aside for college, however, so I had no one within my friend group to do such pressuring.

Of course, once I began playing and saw the extent of the customer support and ever-evolving game design, I understood the subscription fee, and stopped complaining about it. :)

My Types of Games

As you can see through the above rambling, I have played a lot of different kinds of games all through my childhood. I enjoy an FPS, and I enjoy an involved RPG. I have played the sniper as well as taken out people up-close with a frag gun. I have lead civilizations and fleets, and raised a team of cute cuddly creatures to beat up other cute cuddly creatures (but not kill... they just faint!). I have spent much time with Sims-people and building them both homes, lives, and entire cities; I have raced through the stars fighting for the Rebellion or, even, the Empire in TIE Fighter.

I enjoy variety in my games. It's part of what so appeals to me in my druid: the hybrid allows me to try my paws at many roles, and if I get truly bored or dislike one, I can respec without having to level a whole new character. I heal, I buff, I protect, I tank, I rip into things, I stealth about, I build, I destroy. I fawn over mini-pets and cuddly dragon and wolf mounts, I lay claws into a gnome's back, I parry swords with my bear-face, I turn into a tree and spread healing support over my friends. I've played a fairy who could wield a handgun as readily as devastating magic, I've played a wolf monk, I've played a booky mage, I've played a dual-wielding hack-and-slash warrior on a mission to avenge her father, I've played a grad student who could turn the ground into jello and was haunted by a little girl who could turn into a dragon, I've played a drow werewolf (bleach-white fur, ha).

I have fun.

~~ How about you? What was your first experience with gaming, and with an MMO? Who introduced you to the hobby? ~~

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Irony, thy name is Achievement

Lunchtime. I log in, pick up 43 brewfest tokens, and rush to the vendor with my 350 in hand. I get completely smashed. I throw a bunch of mugs at dwarves, go on two raging whirlwinds of tankard-throwing, brawling doom, and get sick no less than three times.

A goblin rents me a dress, slippers, and a funny little hat; I hearth to The Filthy Animal tavern wearing them, and promptly burst into dance in the doorway, doing a smashed rendition of the electric slide. I trip myself out of the tavern and all but fall back through the portal to Orgrimmar (did the Sunreaver guards push me?), clamber aboard my trusty worg mount, and careen back to the goblin to return the rental.

Bemused, the goblin gives me a pink elephant and a membership card for the Brew of the Month. My worg warily paces through Orgrimmar once more, carrying me back to the lake as I grip the reins with unsteady hands and nearly slip off a few times, and finally reach the troll's lodge to turn in the card for Brew Club membership.

...ding ding ding. What's all that?

I have mail. From the Queen of the Dragons, no less. Once I've tumbled back down the side of the canyon into the trade district to reach the bank, I take my time unfurling the crisp scroll of parchment from my mailbox, squinting down in my intoxication at the elegant script dancing across the page--truly dancing, in my dizziness.

With the Drums of War pounding in the distance, it is easy for the denizens of Azeroth to forget all that life has to offer.

You, on the other hand, have maintained the dignity of the good races of Azeroth...

I stop there, unable to contain my merth. I read it aloud in guild chat: "You, on the other hand, have maintained the dignity of the good racesh of Azeroth! HAHAHA! ...hic!"

My worg turns his great furry head to stare back at me, then shakes himself with a sigh, even as my guildmates laugh at my slurred rendition. Still giggling to myself, I finish reading the letter,

...with your ability to remember what we fight for. To not celebrate our victories is another form of defeat. Remember that well, reveler.

May others be inspired by your good cheer,
Alexstraza, the Life-Binder.

Grinning to myself, I attempt to reroll the scroll, tearing a corner in the process. My worg rolls his eyes at me, feeling my unsteady hands pull on the reins as I nearly fall off his back reaching to stick the letter back in my mailbox for storage. Dignity, yes, that is precisely the word for this moment.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


A short little story of 2 new drums (that are NOT leatherworker-only), 2 old drums, and their usefulness.

As the servers opened their patch-day doors, little leatherworkers rushed to their trainers' stores. "A new pattern! A new pattern!" they cheered and cried, but then the druids suddenly rolled their eyes:
  • 8x Heavy Borean Leather + 8x Icy Dragonscale = 50 charges of MotW
  • 50x Wild Spineleaf = 50 charges of MotW
  • 50x Wild Spineleaf in the hands of a druid who, like almost all of them, specced into IMotW = 50 charges of a better MotW

Don't use drums to buff MotW unless you're out of druids. Or, somehow, your druid didn't spec iMotW. Which is nearly never. These drums will be useful only in instances/raids that are lacking a druid.

"Ah!" but the leatherworkers said, "We learned this new pattern, too! See these drums here, look what they can do!" Peering at these drums, the druids now did ooo and ahh, for this was something new: a stat buff increase of 8%! A feral nearly wet his shoes. But along came a paladin, who leaned in close, then he sat back and laughed:

Don't use drums to buff Kings unless you're out of paladins who are free to cast Kings. This may be useful in 5-man heroics, or in rare raids that are pally-less, or in cases where your pallies may be needed to buff other things (ie might/wis) and you want Kings along with it!

As the leatherworkers sat on the stoop and did cry, along came an elder druid, battle-worn, but with pride. "Have no fear, fellow crafters," she now did say, "There is still yet a drum with some use; and you can learn it this very day! Go to the dragons who watch the sands of time, and earn their favor quickly with all the quests of the line. Once you have gained honor in their golden eyes, you will have a Drum of Panic as your musical prize! These unearthly beats may be 10 levels old, but even at 80, your foes will flee, should you strike bold!"

...okay, I'm done attempting to rhyhm now. Drums of Panic (Edit: and Drums of Speed!) from TBC were not nerfed like the other TBC drums, and are useable in level 80 content and PvP. They are, however, only useable by leatherworkers. They save my tail in heroic faction champs in ToC. :)

Oh, and wtb drums of bloodlust.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

232-245 10-Strict Gear

I am having something of a conundrum regarding gear. My current gear, as a 10-man strict raider, is a mash-up of 219 through 232 U10 hardmode gear and Badge of Conquest vendor gear: 4 pc T8 with 226 hardmode gloves out of U10. I am, of course, rocking the rings and idol from Triumph badges, but beyond that, I have been contemplating on how to move forward with my T9/232/245 pickups and purchases.

Point A)
The T8 4-pc bonus completely rules. It's being nerfed today with 3.2.2, but I think even a 800-1k insta heal tick is quite nice!

Point B)
The T9 2-pc and T8 2-pc do not make up for T8 4-pc (prior to 3.2.2). I'm not entirely sure how the nerfs will alter this: will my use of swiftmend and nourish (which is higher on new content than on farmed) be worthwhile alongside the stat boost of 232 gear, over the 1k-ish insta rejuv ticks?

Point C)
The T9 4-pc bonus is verrah niiice. It lets my rejuv ticks have a chance to crit. Downside to this over the T8 rejuv tick is that I won't have control over when the extra healing occurs, and we all know how druid hots have a habit of being heavy overheal!

Point D)
The only T9 I can purchase directly is i232. The 245 version requires a possible drop from the cache in heroic mode, which is a ways out, and is a one-a-week-maybe kind of thing that will require sharing across the guild... and I can get legs and gloves out of VoA 10 or 25. So it's inconceivable(!) to assume I will get 4-pc 245 T9 before the next content patch (T10) comes out, let alone in any time frame to make a direct jump from the T8 and 226 hardmode gear to the 245 T9.

Point E)
I have access to non-set pieces that are 245, and thus better than the 232 T9.

Point Fail)
Among the non-set slots, I can pick up a heroic version of the belt, but I'm pretty much screwed on boots and wrists unless I have the wrists crafted (a jump from 219 to 245) and pick up the cloth boots. All ring, neck, and weapon drops in ToC are lacking any spirit, as well.

Thus the conundrum: the T9 4-pc is only achievable with a significant amount of 232 gear rather than 245, while the 245 gear is substantially better stat-wise yet carries pretty much the same price tag. I get the feeling I will be giving up T9 in favor of non-set pieces, which saddens me for the sake of the set bonuses.

Koralon drops gloves and legs with iLevel 232 on 10-man, and 245 on 25-man. The PvP stuff from 25-man is i251, which is useful for Flame Leviathon but not much else, if you're a purely PvE raider. Ony25 and ToC25, while possibly puggable, are out of my reach as a strict 10-man raider (indeed, many strict-10 guilds have been falling off the strict charts from joining pugs, even in getting 25-man sarth +1Drake, etc! I can't say as I agree with this fault in the guildox strict-listing system; I'm hoping such easily puggable old content achievements will be removed from the 25 progression rankings, or else the number of progression achievements required to count as a 25-man guild be increased, as I don't think it fair to those who are 10strict but happen to pug Naxx and Sarth 213 content. But I digress, and these parenthesis have rambled on for way longer than I had anticipated).

Since I can't sit around in T8 forever when there is iLevel 245 gear out, I have to consider moving forward. I think I would rather gear out in full 245 gear as opposed to 232 T9, and hope for lucky VoA drops along with the eventual cache tokens to push me up to a mostly 245 T9 kit.

What I'm looking at picking up (Heroic 245 versions):

Mesa/Grotto Hat (crit) - Eydis or Vendor Hat (haste) - 75 Badges
Currently equipped: 226 T8

Binding Elements Neck - Jaraxxus
Currently equipped: 226 badge.

Glacial Winds Shoulders (haste) - Icehowl or Vendor Shoulders (spirit) - 50 badges
Currently equipped: 219 T8

Shawl of the Devout - Insanity Chest, 50 attempts remaining on heroic. Mmm hm. Or, Fluttering Saphh Drape (no spirit, resistances) - Ony10. Below that, is killing Algalon and turning in his code for the 226 Summerglimmer Drape. Of these, the Ony10 cloak is the most easily obtainable, overall.
Currently equipped: 213.

Chest: either to use a rare token drop, or make the crafted 245 chest with 8 orbs (on limited orb supply). I will probably make this my priority on token drop. If any of my readers are horde on Turalyon: I do have this pattern!
Currently equipped: 226 T8; can purchase 232 with badges if necessary.

Crafted wrists (60 badges for orbs, + materials) - these are the only wrists available. Healing priests have the same problem. If any of my readers are horde on Turalyon: I do have this pattern!
Currently equipped: the crafted wrists. :) Yay!

Gloves: The i245 option is either to luck out in VoA25, or use a rare token drop. I will hope for VoA.
Currently equipped: 226 hardmode; can purchase 232 with badges if necessary.

Bloodhoof/Solstice Belt - Jaraxxus
Currently equipped: 232 version, this will be a simple upgrade.

Demonic Messenger Legs - Jaraxxus (cloth) or a lucky VoA25 Koralon Drop
Currently equipped: 219 T8.

Boots/Sandals of the Grieving Soul - Heroic Eydis (cloth); no leather caster options.
Currently equipped: 219. There are 226 leather crafted available, but the cloth 245 is better.

Band of the Invoker + Heartmender Circle - 70 badges total, or Polished Dragonslayer's Signet from the Onyxia head
Currently equipped: both badge rings

Cached Disciple's Blade or Cached Mace or Anubarak Mace or Sharpened Fang of the Mystics (Ony) + Antique Cornerstone Grimoire (Ony)
...else Eydis' Staff from heroic (no Spirit either, though :( ).
Currently equipped: 232 Icecore

Idol of Flaring Growth is a no-brainer.

I still need time to consider. The Binding Stone is decent mp5 and the Talisman of Resurgence has a ton of Int, but a click-use is undesirable in the face of so many straight equip trinkets; I have the 232 version of the Binding Stone for use on mana-intensive fights. Currently running SoH and IoDS. Would probably like to just pick up Sif's Rememberance and use that over the Binding Stone.

There are also the pair of trinkets from Onyxia that have a set bonus of 222 SP and chance to cause "cauterizing heal" on your heal targets; unsure if this will proc off of HoTs.

So, what are your thoughts? Any of you that raid 10-strict have any further ideas on gearing?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Brewfest Notes and Tips

Ram-Racing route guides are at the bottom.

Cool Notes:

  • Talk to Glodrak Huntsniper (H) or Goldark Snipehunter (A) to pick up a pair of Synthebrew goggles. These will save you some coins and allow you to instantly cure yourself of the tipsy-turvy driving granted by the more conventional means of getting "smashed."
  • Coren in BRD drops: the mount, copies of the heroism-badge trinkets, 170-stamina mug trinkets, and the remote that will port you and your party to the grim guzzler (of particular use to horde, who have no nearby cities!).
  • Sound just commented to recommend that you save up to 350 tokens and then purchase your brewfest clothing; you can then get your achievement and return the clothing to the vendor (within the 2 hours), getting all of your tokens back. Afterwards, you can use those tokens to purchase your Brew Club membership and other things!
  • HORDE: when attempting to purchase troll drinks in Durotar, go *inside* the tent. The vendor is bugged and will not sell to anyone who is outside of the tent. It is possible that he wishes to check your ID.


Barking - 15
Dark Iron Cog - 10
Ram-riding every 12/18 hours - 20-30 tokens each (more details on this at the bottom)

x 14 days?

On top of the one-time turn-in quest tokens, you should be able to get 750ish tokens or more, allowing you to purchase both the elekk pet and the items needed for your achievement :) However, this will require daily attendance to the riding-of-the-rams and the more annoying barking-through-the-city quests.

Needed for Holiday Achievements:

1x Fresh Brewfest Hops (2)
1x Hat (50)
1x dress or shirt (200)
1x shoes (100)
Brew Club Membership (200)
= 552 tokens total,
though you can return the clothing after use within 2 hours of purchase to make it only 350 tokens needed!

Additionally, the Pink Elekk pet will require 100 tokens, if you're a pet collector. The Wolpertinger druid-bunny-vampire is free through the quests, if you did not pick that up in the previous years!


For maximum tokens, this should be done at full-speed. Make sure you walk the path first to familiarize yourself with the locations of the barrel-pickup, drop-off, and all 4 apple bins: this will save you time and sanity. In both cases, I recommend keeping a very close eye on your ram's fatigue, as an apple bin may not trigger as you run past, or the barrel-people may not throw or catch your barrels. Either way, keep cracking that whip, and get along top-speed!

I recommend using the two apple crates found along the left-hand side of the road (as you're going to Kharanos). You can thread across the snow and through the trees to make as straight of a line between the barrels and the pickup/dropoff points, which will mean you're off-road for the majority of the time. You do not need to go straight up to the dwarves to pick up or drop off your barrels; as soon as you see it enter your inventory, spin about and head straight back to the apple barrel. Ignore the apple barrels found at either of the end points; these are unnecessary. I am usually able to get in 14-15 barrels per run of this, for a total of 28-30 tokens.

(pics in development)

The goblins seem a bit slower and buggier about tossing barrels to people than the dwarves do on alliance. I recommend using the first and third barrels found: the one behind the starting tent out back by the kodo, and the one right behind a small hill at the start of the canyon. Just cut straight across the desert between the two, ignoring the apple bins at the pick-up in the canyon and at the flag-post along the road, unless absolutely necessary. I am usually able to get in 10-11 barrels per run of this, for a total of 20-22 tokens. I did attempt to only rely on the middle two barrels like I do on alliance, but lag on the drop-off tended to force me and others that I watched) to an exhausted ram if only these middle two apple bins were used.

View on the return trip:

When turning in the barrel back at the starting point, simply cut through the tent to circle over to the apple bin, then leap over the fence to start a new trip.

Hope this helps!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Comic: How To Yogg-Saron

As promised: the basic guide to Yogg-Saron (+4 Keepers).

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Community Highlights

There have been some excellent discussions and posts recently, and I wanted to give a pointer over to them!

For my own part, let's just say I'm doing a rehash of my recent Yogg strat to go over the basics for non-hardmode, and it involves a rather upset tree. You'll see it up hopefully over the weekend.


Edit: I also updated a couple macros, including this one, specifically for focus-targeting CC in the ToC faction champions fight.

Cat Shred, Ravage, Mangle toggle with Tiger's Fury (plus Cyclone and Moonfire):
I bound this to my middle mouse button in all forms but bear.

/cast [mod:alt] Tiger's Fury
/cast [mod:shift,form:3] Shred; [nostealth,form:3] Mangle (Cat)(); [stealth] Ravage; [mod:shift] Moonfire; [harm] [target=focus,harm] [] Cyclone
/startattack [nostealth,harm]

Cat form:
  • If in stealth, it will cast Ravage.
  • Otherwise, on a normal click, it will cast Mangle. If you do not know Mangle (Cat)(), replace it with Claw.
  • If shift-clicked, it will cast Shred.
  • If alt-clicked, it will cast Tiger's Fury in combination with any of the above (stealthed will be Tiger's Fury + Ravage, nostealth would be Tiger's Fury + Shred).
Non-cat form:
  • If shift-clicked, it will cast Moonfire: a great way to kill totems or other small things.
  • Normally clicked, it will cast Cyclone first on your enemy focus target, else on your target.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Misc Questions

Miscellaneous questions that I have seen, and the answers for those that seek them :)
Three sections: Druid Resurrection, Other Druid Spells, and Raiding.


  • "Can druids revive themselves?"

No, druids' Revive spell is a simple out-of-combat resurrection spell. The only way a player can resurrect themselves upon death is by having a Soulstone from a warlock, being battle-ressed by a *living* druid, or by being a shaman who has their ankh available (1 hour cooldown, 40 minutes talented).

  • "When do I use rebirth over revive?"
Rebirth is a "battle res" that can be cast while you are in combat, an ability unique to druids (though as mentioned above warlocks can soulstone a target prior to their death which will let them resurrect themselves, and shaman can ankh to bring themselves back to life when they die). Revive, on the other hand, is only useable out of combat. So, if you're out of combat, just use revive! Save your rebirth for when you're in combat and really need to bring someone back to life.

As for when to use Rebirth, I recommend that it be according to the following conditions:

a) that you have the time and mana to cast it without letting others who are currently preventing a wipe to die themselves (from lack of healing or tanking),

b) that the raid is not going to wipe anyway before your target is able to jump in and help (and thus they will just die again),

c) that your target will actually be of assistance in continuing the fight and they are needed for its completion, and

d) the dead person won't immediately die again due to environmental AoE or other damage.

In a raid, I highly suggest letting the raid leaders decide when to use your battle-res, as they should have a better idea of who is most needed and whether or not it should be saved for someone more critical within its 20-minute cooldown.

  • "When do druids learn revive?"
Level 12 :) Rebirth is level 20.

Other Druid Spells:

  • "Can you nature's swiftness a Starfire?"
No. The only spells that Nature's Swiftness will work with are Nature spells such as Healing Touch, Regrowth, Cyclone, Wrath, and Entangling Roots; Starfire is an Arcane spell, so it is unaffected by Nature's Swiftness.

  • "Does nature's grace proc on heals?"
Yes, as long as the heal can crit. Nature's Grace will proc off of any casted spell crit. Nourish, HT, and regrowth will all proc Nature's Grace. The current exception is any T9 set bonuses which cause a DoT or HoT tick to crit (ie moonfire and rejuvenation ticks from T9): current (August 09) research on the PTR has shown that these tick crits from the set bonuses will not proc Nature's Grace (nor Living Seed). Lifebloom's final bloom will also not proc Nature's Grace (nor will it proc Living Seed).

  • "Can you make a Force of Nature macro without clicking?"
Assuming you mean to make a macro that will summon your treants without first selecting *where* to spawn them, then no, there is no such macro. Macro conditionals cannot decide in what space of pixels an "aoe on location" type spell will occur; it is the same way with hurricane. What I prefer to do is simply keybind the spell (be it FoN or Hurricane) so that I can have my mouse already over the location I want the spell to occur when I press the button, so that I can quickly left-click and cast it.

  • "Does the color of Flight Form change depending on your hair/skin color?"
Hehe, not at the moment :) It has been said that the designers intend to make new skins for the travel forms, though I assume they will be focusing on the older cheetah and seal skins; it is certainly possible that they may decide to add flight form skin colors in the future.

  • "Is there a macro to target a mob who has a specific raid icon?"
Unfortunately, no, there is no way for a macro to select a target based on its raid icon (at least not that I'm aware of!). Such things need to be done manually, or you can assist another person who you know is really good at targeting the right mob (sometimes these players are set as a Main Assist).

  • "Should you use Soothe Animal on Razorscale?"
Considering Razorscale won't engage until you talk to the dwarves to start the assault, I don't think there's any need to be casting Soothe Animal on the dragon :) She'll aggro when you talk to the NPC dwarves to start the event.

  • "How do you enable hard mode Razorscale?"
Razorscale does not really have a hard-mode, except for your raid to dps the Guardian mobs down to about 20% and then stand them in front of Razorscale when she's grounded, so that she'll kill them with her flame breath attack when she stops being stunned. There's no big red button to push, certainly!

Monday, September 14, 2009

U10: Yogg+1

This guide, focusing on the Yogg +1 hardmode, will assume that your guild knows the basics of killing Yogg with all four keepers up. If you don't know those basics, I have a lovely little comic about them: here!

This achievement is earned by only sending down one of the four available Keepers; the lack of buffs from the remaining three makes the fight quite a bit more difficult. It is required for the Glory of the Ulduar Raider achievement and, subsequently, the Rusted Protodrake (Russet Potatodrake?). The one Keeper you have is entirely your choice, but there are pros and cons to each:

  • Freya provides a way to restore sanity (as well as a buff).
  • Thorim is the only way you can kill adds in P3 (as well as a buff).
  • Mimiron debuffs the crusher and corrupter tentacles, making them slower to cast and attack (as well as a buff)
  • Hodir will ice-block players to save them from something that would otherwise have killed them (as well as a buff)
Vortex chose to go with Thorim, allowing us to run with only 1 tank and thus maximize our dps, as well as cut down on tank deaths and the confusion of possibly having too many adds up at once and having difficulty targeting among them. This means we gave up the buffs and raid-saving abilities of the other 3 Keepers: there was no saving grace of ice blocks, crushers/corrupters were going haywire, and sanity was a very, very precious thing!

Raid Makeup

On our first Yogg+1 kill, Vortex used:
  • Prot Pally
  • Fury Warrior
  • Kitty Druid
  • DK (frost dualwield)
  • Affliction Warlock
  • Fire Mage
  • Elemental Shaman
  • Survival Hunter
  • Holy Priest
  • Resto Druid
You will note a slightly different color scheme than I use for my other guides, because I am splitting the DPS according to their P2 assignments: the purple (mostly melee) were our Brain Team, while the pink (ranged) were the Topside Team along with the healers and the tank. There are only 4 portals available in the ten-man version of Yogg, so your brain team can only be a maximum of 4 players.

For totem and group-heal effectiveness, cluster your Brain Team members together in one party (perhaps with the tank as well), and your Topside Team in another party. This is especially important if you have a shaman, as their cleansing totem will only cleanse members of their party.

Make sure your raid has someone available to cleanse each type of debuff: poison (druids, shaman, pallies), curse (druids/mages/restoshaman), magic (priests/pallies/felhunters), and disease (priests/pallies/shaman).


Due to the length, it had to be cut into two parts on Youtube.

Phase 2 Transition @ 2:55
Dragon-room Portal @ 4:01
Square-room Portal @ 5:32

Phase 1: Frogger Doom

As with normal mode, don't touch the clouds (video of cloud movement pattern). This is pretty simple and repetitive and gets downright boring after a long night of wipes, but a simple mistake or bad luck can still wipe you in this phase!

Lacking Mimiron's 20% movement speed buff, your raid will have to be more pro-active in dodging clouds. The ranged DPS and healers should try to stick together, as the dots do stack and are boosted by Sara's Fervor. Healers should add the Debuffs to your raid frames (Grid directions can be found here) of Sara's Blessing and Sara's Anger; boss mods such as DBM and Bigwigs will call out the third debuff Sara's Fervor over raid chat.

Resto Druids: toss out a rejuv and a regrowth on those afflicted by DoTs to help buffer them against the damage. I recommend keeping rejuvs up on the entire melee team as well, and using Wild Growth to heal them up after explosions.

Melee and the tank should stay in the middle of the green puddle around Sara, shifting as necessary to avoid the clouds. The tank will need to taunt the adds as they spawn to keep them off of healers, who will assuredly pick up first aggro. Melee DPS should have the HP to survive the explosion each time an add dies, though the melee should join the ranged players when they get Sara's Fervor placed upon them, as the damage boost will assuredly spell their death on an explosion (many wipes may be caused by a very unlucky timing of an explosion right as a melee gets marked by fervor!). The tank should be able to easily survive an explosion when marked by Fervor, though will of course be taking heavier damage.

Assign a specific player to also have the job of interrupting the adds' casts of Dark Volley. This needs to be a very vocal person who is not afraid to call out for help if they think they will miss an interrupt. If it is a melee player, make sure someone else takes over the interrupts whenever they must leave melee because of the Fervor debuff.

Once Sara has been angered by the constant explosions on her, toss her a kiss if you haven't before and move to "Clean Up:" if there are any other adds up, the tank should move them out of the center of the circle where Yogg is about to spawn, and ranged should group up nearby and continue killing the add. All ranged need to pay attention to where they are in relation to the add to make sure they don't kill themselves when it explodes!

Phase 2: The Hard Part

You know the tentacles: Crushers to be tanked by the tank (and everyone else to stay away from), Constrictors to be DPSed immediately to rescue whoever's being Squeezed, and the Corrupters that keep debuffing the raid. Designate a leader for the Brain Team and a leader for the Topside Team (that is not the tank): these are the players their team will follow when there's any doubt of where to go. The tank, meanwhile, makes it a priority to get to the Crusher tentacle ASAP. Since the tank could leave Topside team behind due to constrictor tentacles, another distinguishable player should be the one the Topside team will group up on and follow. We found it easiest to say "follow the tree." The leader then just makes an effort to reach the tank and crusher as quickly as possible while calling out for constrictors, as necessary. Boss mods will likely wipe any raid icons you attempt to use.

If you have opted for Thorim over Freya, Sanity becomes a commodity that must be protected. If there is anyone near you that is feared, move away from them, because the fear and resulting sanity loss will jump from them to you when their fear ends! Avoid these chain fears as much as possible.

-- Topside team priority:
  1. Avoid Green Beams
  2. Keep the Mind-Links "happy"
  3. Move away from any raid member who is feared
  4. Kill Constrictors
  5. Kill Crushers
  6. Kill Corrupters
Healers have the messy job of keeping them all cleansed and healed; any shaman in this team should keep a cleansing totem down with the group and move it around as necessary. Healers should also add the Squeeze debuff to their raid frames so that they have a quick and easy way to tell who in their party is taking that damage.

The tank will chase after Crushers, possibly leaving the rest behind as they deal with Constrictors, which is why a non-tank leader should be set in this group, to prevent the team from splitting up and going around opposite sides of Yogg to meet at the tank (which runs a high risk of loosing a member to a constrictor when they're far away from the rest of the team). The group needs to keep a careful balance of sticking together (cleanses, constrictor rescue, heals, mind links) and spreading out (watching for green beams, not chaining fears/Malady).

Whenever Yogg is about to finish casting Induce Madness (and thus the Brain Team will be evacuating), the Topside team leader should call out their location in the room relative to Yogg's Mouth, in order to facilitate the Brain Team regrouping with the Topside team for heals, cleanses, and mind links.

-- Brain team priority:
  1. Not Going Insane
  2. Avoid Green Beams
  3. Reaching Portals
  4. Move away from feared/maladied raid members
  5. Keeping Mind-Links "Happy" (these will break when reaching Portals)
  6. Killing the Illusions
  7. DPSing the mind
  8. Killing Constrictors
  9. Killing Corrupters
These raiders have the toughest job in this fight, and failing their number 1 priority is what will often spell the doom of the raid. It will be useful to have cleansers/an off-healer in this team, such as a ret pally, enhancement shaman, or feral druid, who can cleanse and heal their team members within the Mind when they're near death. You will want to avoid having more than 3 brain phases, so these will need to be strong DPSers, and your entire brain team needs to be very vocal with each other when coordinating portal assignments and killing illusions.

When getting to a portal, if any of the Brain Team is affected by a Mind Link or Constrictor or other effect that may hold them back, they need to call out that they "Need a Near Portal" to let the others of their team know to leave them a portal up that they can reach quickly when they are free. It can help for these players to also be assigned to a specific portal, that they will station themselves near when the portals are about to spawn; just be ready to switch portals if a member is unable to get into position due to fears or links or constrictors. Mind Links will break when entering a portal.

Once in the portal, any of 3 room layouts may spawn. There are some good pics at this link :)

Your Brain Team will need to pre-arrange which direction each member will go to kill illusions. If any member is having difficulty with low health or low sanity and cannot finish clearing their side of the room, they will need to call out for assistance to ensure that the whole team can quickly clear the room and reach the brain.

Once all of the illusions are destroyed, the tentacles on the topside will freeze, allowing your topside team to more easily dispatch them while the Brain Team works on Yogg himself. At 30%, Yogg will transition to phase 3, however the Brain Team will need to portal out of the Mind before he finishes casting Induce Madness. Any who are caught in the mind when this is finished casting will immediately go insane and must be killed by the other raid members.

If you go insane, call it out quickly and ask to be destroyed, or else you may wipe the raid.

Insane players will still be insane if they res after dieing, including Soulstones, Ankhs, and Battle Resses. If you went insane and got killed, just stay down!

The topside leader should be calling out where the topside team is when the Brain team exits; the Brain team should make their way quickly to regroup with the team in order to get any needed heals or cleanses, and to ensure bad things don't happen with mind links; however, if a member of their group is constricted, they will need to break him out quickly and not leave him behind! Once regrouped and healed, the Brain Team will take out any lingering corrupters while waiting for the next portals to spawn, and should stick together to rescue each other from constrictors.

Phase 3: More Adds

When the Brain Team is about to transition Yogg to Phase 3 (at 30%), they will need to call out a warning, and possibly hold off DPS until the Topside team has killed all crushers and have corrupters under control (use your best judgment, raid leaders!). Try to avoid going for more than 3 rounds in the brain room, however; the Brain Team may be forced to push past 30% before Induce Madness finishes casting, even if a Crusher is still up.

When Yogg transitions, the tank should immediately begin picking up the adds as they spawn, because they can and will one-shot healers. These are not the fluffy C'thulu bunnies of phase 1. All DPS assigned to Yogg will need to move to destroying any remaining tentacles, while those assigned to DPS adds need to reach the tank and begin DPS immediately. The healers should work their way towards the door to the room while the tank moves to place herself between Yogg and the healers, in order to provide as much time as possible to pick up the adds before the reach and one-shot a healer.

At this point, your raid's sanity will be very bumpy, with some members nearing insanity if you chose to not have Freya and her Sanity Wells as your Keeper (like we did). Healers can permanently face themselves away from Yogg, though the DPS and tank will need to be monitoring the cooldown and casting of Lunatic Gaze. I recommend having one person constantly watching the cooldown and calling out when the raid needs to turn its backs; provided you are no where near Yogg's enrage timer, it is preferable to loose some DPS time on Yogg over having a raider go insane.

Add DPS: if you are low on sanity, it is possible to situate yourself so that your back is permanently to Yogg and his skulls, allowing you to continue dpsing on the adds throughout the Lunatic Gaze. This has the downside of placing yourself where the adds spawn as opposed to behind the safteyline of the tank, but it has the bonus of being able to ignore the dps-halt of turning away from Yogg. Your goal is to dps down the adds as quickly as possible WITHOUT pulling threat off of the tank, and interrupt the Drain Life! Thorim himself will kill the adds with a hammer when they are down to 1%, if you have kept Thorim as your Keeper. We had the following players on adds:
  • Prot Pally Tank
  • DK (frost dualwield)
  • Mage
  • Fury Warrior
  • Ele Shaman

Yogg DPS: after ensuring that all remaining tentacles are dead, your only concern is to kill Yogg as fast as possible without going insane, and to turn away from Yogg every time he casts Lunatic Gaze. If you are dpsing from the backside of Yogg, you will not be in range of the healers, so be ready to move to the front of Yogg if you are in need of healing. We had the following players on Yogg:
  • Kitty Druid
  • Warlock
  • Hunter

Your two healers should be capable of keeping up the tank without too many mana concerns, provided your add DPS is able to balance their threat with their damage and not pull aggro nor let the tank take too many heavy hits. Healers can rotate their cameras to watch when adds are coming in, so that they can time larger heals to coincide with the tank picking up a fresh add who is at high health (and thus will be hitting hard). The healers will be the primary aggro on the adds as they spawn if HoTs are kept running and heals are pouring out constantly, which is why they place themselves up near the door where the adds will take longer to reach them.

Walk it down and avoid going insane from the Lunatic Gaze, and you've got yourself an achievement with a single Light in the Darkness :)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Protos and Titles!

I have had a remarkably productive weekend, as far as achievements go. I have long been working towards getting a proto-drake mount as well as Loremaster...

I picked up Loremaster on Friday, along with several other achievements including Deadliest Catch and The Argent Champion. Sunday I turned around and finished off Glory of the Hero for my first ever Proto-drake mount (yay!), so I spent the afternoon circling Northrend on him while fishing.

Unexpectedly but quite happily, we also downed Yogg+1 for the final achievement needed for Glory of the Ulduar Raider, bagging me two protodrakes in one day! Yay! Vortex is quite proud of this achievement, as it is one that very few strict ten-man guilds have :) 3 of us spent about 10 minutes just circling Krasus' Landing in joy. And, yes, a guide as well as our warlock's video is in the works! Astonishingly, we managed it without anyone going insane, though I did have to battle-res the mage after she got SQUISHED by an unlucky add spawn in P3.

A very interesting thing I did note while playing with my protos is this:

The flying minipets from the oracles' eggs can fly in the air with you while you are mounted.

This is something none of the other flying pets can do, as far as I have noticed. Now, they don't seem to chase after you until you stop and wait for them to catch up, but it's certainly a change from the poor dragonhawks and owls and such which can't seem to get more than a few feet off of the ground!

Anyway, I'm quite content, and hoping to see Algalon dead in the next couple weeks as well, now that our focus has shifted off of Yogg+1. :)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Doodle: Worgen Hunter

Arrows, pew pew. Does anyone else find it odd that worgen don't have tails?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

MBTI Results: Nertok's Analysis

Nertok/Arael has been helping pass the survey on beyond my blog in places like the wowhead forums, and he's compiled his data with mine and made up some more charts :) He had an extra question on his survey asking about favorite race, and I will say that was interesting to look at in comparison to the personalities!!

You can check out his results here:

Thanks again for the help, Nertok :D

Faction Champions and You: PvE "PvP"

Faction Champions are a wild swing in another direction for most raids, and given their similarities to an arena match, it can be confusing as to what the raid needs to do to get them down.

-- Common MYTHS: --
  • "Wear Resilience!" Resilience does not protect you against the faction champion enemies.
  • "Kill healers first!" While this strat may work for some guilds or combinations, other raids (such as my ten-mans) will find it easier to CC, interrupt, or otherwise ignore enemy healers in favor of taking out the high-damage dps enemies first. This can vary due to your raid makeup (such as banishes on the tree druid) and the number of players in a 10-man available to CC targets in comparison to the 25-man raid. Don't take this statement as law!
  • "AoE to damage them all and split their heals!" AoE, including cleaves and glyphed mauls, will break your valuable CC. A lot of guilds may not remember the importance of CC ("Crowd Control") from back in vanilla and TBC, but suffice to say that CC is very important and due to diminishing returns that will make them immune to the CC, breaking said CC is a Very Bad Thing.
  • "You, keep that one sheeped the whole time, all by yourself!" etc. There are diminishing returns (DR) on CC against the faction champions, where the 4th cast will have no effect on the target. AOE that breaks the CC will still count against your DR: each time you cast a CC against a target, it will have less affect on the target than previous casts. As such, a single CCer can't chain-CC a target by themselves.
  • "DR resets 15 seconds after last cast!" In regards to a CC spell, the DR will reset 15 seconds after the last CC effect of that category wore off of the target... not 15 seconds from the time it was cast upon them.
  • "Tank them!" Your tanks in this fight should either swap to a non-tanking offspec, or they are going to be purely CC/utility during your faction champions fight. Taunts *will* work to briefly fixate their target away from a squishy dps or healer, but as with other CC, taunts are subject to DR and don't last long.

-- The enemies: --

You will face 6 enemy champions in the 10-man, and 10 in the 25-man.

These can and will focus heals on your dps targets. CC, interrupt, and stun-lock as available.
  • Tree (Toughest of the healers; banishable, purge/dispel the HoTs)
  • Holy Pally (uses hand of freedom, bubbles around 25%, dispel)
  • Resto Shaman (dispel the earth shields, cleanse hexes off of raid members)
  • Holy Priest (dispel the renew and PW:Shield)

Ranged DPS

These tend to be squishier, but also less dangerous than the melee dps from a burst-damage-omg-wipe perspective. The greatest danger from these is the silence and spell-interrupts they will use on your own casters.
  • Moonkin
  • Mage (will counterspell, blink, and ice block; CC this one as available)
  • Shadow Priest
  • Warlock + Pet (pet will silence, and will stay up after lock is killed; has a habit of hellfiring.)
  • Hunter + Pet

Melee DPS

These are your heavy hitters, but can be controlled through use of slowing effects, roots, and snares. Use mortal strike/wound poison to cut through armor and heals.
  • Ret Pally
  • Rogue
  • Shaman (destroy the totems!)
  • Warrior
  • Deathknight

-- Survival --

The enemy dps can and will focus-fire on one or another of your raid members, and their target selection is NOT dependent upon threat! While resilience gear will not help, extra stamina and a PvP trinket for popping out of a long stun (hand of justice, etc) will be very useful. Whenever you have a melee dps on you, you need to use all available tactics to escape.

As a resto druid, it is helpful to remember these abilities:

Options when Melee is hitting you:
  • PvP trinket to break long stuns
  • Barkskin
  • Nature's Grasp
  • Cat + Sprint (especially during a whirlwind-chase from the warrior)
  • Warstomp/Shadowmeld
  • NS + HT
  • Swiftmend
  • Health Potion/Healthstone
  • If all else fails, bearform: bash, frenzied regen
Options when a Melee is further away and you have cast-time available:
  • Entangling Roots
  • Cyclone
  • Hibernate the hunter's pet
  • Keep moving
Options against ranged DPS:
  • Cyclone
  • Warstomp to interrupt casts

-- Resto Druids and the Faction Champions Fight --

Around survival (which is priority one!), a resto druid's other duties can include:
  • keeping rejuvs and wild growth up on the raid as much as possible,
  • using swiftmend and NS+HT to quickly save the life of another player,
  • cleansing hexes and poisons, and
  • using cyclone and entangling roots as often as possible on any loose targets.
  • using moonfire to destroy enemy totems
  • hibernating the hunter's pet

As such, you probably won't spend much time in tree form. However, don't forget that you can shift into tree, cat, or bear to break out of a sheep!

Do not cast cyclone on the current dps target unless you really absolutely have no choice--which should only happen if you are completely out of CC options and are about to die because you can't get away from it, and the rest of your raid didn't help CC the mob off of you with their own slows and roots and taunts. Cyclone will prevent any attacks against the target, wasting valuable cooldowns and time the dps needs when focus-firing its targets.

Use your cyclone against any loose targets that are causing trouble. Your cyclone will be primarily useful against enemy casters, including healers and the mage. The warlock pet can also be cycloned to prevent it from silencing you and other casters. The melee dps can be rooted to control their damage, which means your cyclone is best put to use on the casters who will keep on casting in spite of your roots.

~~Have some further suggestions for the faction champions fight? I would love to hear about them!~~

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Jaraxxus Hard: Mistress' Kiss

This is a very important spell debuff to be aware of for hard-mode Trial of the Champion.

When Lord Jaraxxus spawns his Mistresses, they will cast Mistress' Kiss upon two people (on 10-man) at once (it will reach one person, and then a second or two later another person will get the debuff as well). This is a DEBUFF that will last for 15 seconds and is really harmless... until you cast something with a cast time ;) At that point, it'll interrupt your spell and lock you out of all spells of that school of magic for 8 seconds!

You can add this debuff to your Grid frames, and watch for it. Target the demon when she spawns so you'll know when she casts the debuff, or have your OT call it out; it cannot be interrupted, but it's good to know when it's going off. When it goes off, the raid needs to be alerted to hold off on spell casts (timed ones) until both of the debuffs have been assigned. Once the two kisses have been applied--it can and will hit ret, prot, and feral pallies and druids--the untouched players of the raid can continue casting as normal.

The best options are to either:
  • Use a timed spell of a school you don't normally use (such as starfire for a resto druid) to trigger it, or
  • Wait it out for the 15 seconds while using only insta-cast spells.
  • This pretty much screws over holy pallies; holy pallies might as well trigger the debuff and wait the 8 seconds for the spell lock to be over rather than wait the 15 seconds for the debuff to wear off!

We used 3 healers for killing heroic Jaraxxus on 10-man (holy priest, resto shaman, resto druid), for those curious. We used 2 for the Beasts, because we needed the extra dps.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Flying in Azeroth

Possible perks to being able to fly in "old-world" Azeroth:
  • Oops, did you just miss that boat? Hop on your trusty griffon and try to catch up before it speeds away and zones!
  • Out-of-the-way quest hubs stuck up on the top of a hill with a tiny, out-of-the-way access route. Like Thorium Point.
  • Most of the flight paths take the "scenic (overly long) route." You don't have to.
  • Big Cliffs o'Doom, and their related Elevators o'Death, can be easily circumvented. Just mount up and those elevators are a thing of the laggy falling death past.
  • Big Cliffs that just simply serve as barriers to make you walk/run really far will also be a thing of the past. See: Stonetalon Mountains, Hinterlands, EPL, Feralas, Dustwallow Marsh, the Wetlands/Dun Morogh border, and the Un'Goro/Tanaris border.
  • More quickly get backup on PvP servers. Downside: hit-and-run gankings will likely increase, and be harder to see coming.
  • Faster travel from CoT (and its portal from Dalaran) to Gadgetzan and its x-faction AH.
  • We can all laugh at the Greymane Wall's inability to keep us out of Gilneas, no matter if the door's also been broken down by the time we can fly over it.
  • Possible spectral gryphons on death... or else it will create some very horrible places to gank someone and force them to spirit res, ala TBC (glad I'm on a PvE server now!)
  • Herbing/Mining "old-world" stuff will be sooo much easier.
  • Aerial visits to enemy cities will make pvp raids quite entertaining.
  • Horde have less of a hassle questing in WPL and its complete lack of a flight path.
  • Special atmospheric easter eggs hidden in locations only accessible by flight, akin to the mysterious daycare/orphanage north of Shattrath.
So, I'm certainly looking forward to Cataclysm's addition of flight in EK/Kalimdor. :)

Friday, September 4, 2009

Worgen, Goblins

I am quite disappointed. I wanted my cow to be a worgen. I wanted to play a horde worgen. I can't have that. I get troll-druids and little green men.

Oh well. I'll live. I promise this post isn't *that* much of a whine fest :)

My current plan is to leave both of my druids the way they are. In the stress of work and life recently, I caved and gave up on moonkin in favor of kitty-spec for my resto main's secondary spec, which didn't hurt my raids because we've had shaman totems making up for my transient moonkin aura. As for my alliance druid, I like my night elf as she is and don't see a reason to move her to horde if she can't be a worgen on horde (another cow after the possibility of being a worgen? nty)... and if she's on alliance, I have no reason to race-switch her to worgen either since I won't be playing her with my friends. She'll remain an elf. Kaelynn will be a moocow as always. Status quo.

I will certainly be leveling a worgen alt, of course; probably as a hunter. The hunter class has been fun for me, and I have two hunter alts already (my first, level 64, was named Wolfpaws), they were just left behind on old servers. I'm sure many of my guild will be goofing off on worgen alts as well, and it'll be easier to chat across factions with the RealID chat being added in, so it won't be so lonely! I'm really looking forward to creating that new character. I just want to jump in and create her and play her now. I'm watching Huzzah's Dude, Where's my Worgen? blog for all the tantalizing scraps of worgeny info, and building up a character backstory for her already--something I don't often do with alts:

She paused there in her landing crouch, for she could hear a soft chuckling. Looking about, she grew frustrated as she could not locate the source, and let out a low growl. "Who's there?" she whispered hoarsely, a feral edge to her young voice.

"I suppose you are not used to looking to the trees, little one," came the musical voice of an elf. "Undead have rarely made use of such tactics."

As for goblins
, I will say this: as little interest as I have in them, I cannot deny that some players love the idea and are excited that they'll be able to level one and, eventually, race-swap their mains to one. I certainly did a double-take when they told me this, but considering the other races they've been playing for so long (orcs, undead?) the idea of little green wrinkled goblins isn't that bad a thing for them.

Worgen are WAY cooler, imo, and I will embrace all my new druid worgen buddies warmly. The trolls, too. As long as they don't try to shrink my head. Bearform butts are big enough already without a tiny head compounding the issue.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Creating Graphics for use in WoW

Many mods allow for custom graphics, including LunarSphere, eePanels, and KGpanels. World of Warcraft will not support all types of graphics, however: if you drop a .jpeg or .gif (for example) into your addon folder and expect it to work, you will be disappointed.

World of Warcraft will only support the following file formats:
  • .tga
    A Targa, or Truevision Advanced Raster Graphics Adapter, is an image file extension that supports "alpha" channels: that is to say, transparency. It is used by a lot of video games since it's easy to implement and isn't bogged down by patent restrictions. It is an older and lower-quality file type, however.

  • .blp
    The .BLP extension is Blizzard's own image extension. World of Warcraft uses the BLP2 version of the extension. Like the .tga, it supports alpha channels, but most image-editing programs do not recognize the .tga format. Converters exist to change an image to a .blp, and vice-versa.
Some image programs, such as Photoshop, can work directly with .tga images. I prefer to work in Photoshop with .png format since it is higher quality and easier to work with, and then use a converter program to turn them into .blp files. Most browsers also support .png files, so I use them regularly.

NOTE: some addons will only support one of the two available formats, simply due to the way the addon's developer decided to code for the addon to look for graphics. Check your addon's instruction files to see if it will limit you in what formats you can use.

Dimension restrictions:

World of Warcraft will only support tga/blp images with pixel dimensions that are a power of 2, though the width and height do not need to be the same. You may use these numbers as your image's overall pixel height or width:
  • 2 (totally tiny!)
  • 4
  • 8
  • 16
  • 32
  • 64 (standard for Lunarsphere graphics)
  • 128
  • 256
  • 512 (would fit in the width of this post)
  • 1024 (a common monitor resolution pixel height)
  • 2056 (really big)
  • etc.
Going beyond 512 will result in huge graphics, so most dimensions will be below that, aside those used for very large UI images. Lunarsphere sphere graphics are 64 x 64 pixels, for example. Your height and width do not have to be equal, but both must be a multiple of 2! 256 by 512 is permissible, for example.


Personally, I use Photoshop for the majority of my image editing. It is an expensive program, however, so if you're looking for a free download, I recommend checking out GIMP: GNU Image Manipulation Program.

The key to creating graphics for use in-game is the transparency settings for the image: parts of the image that don't have any color and let whatever is behind the image to show through, ie they're "invisible." If you import a flat image without a transparency layer that the game can understand, the image's background will show up white, rather than showing the game going on behind it! This transparency layer is also called an Alpha Channel.

For the following demonstration, I will be creating a graphic for Lunarsphere's central sphere.


  1. Create a New file (ctrl-n). Set its height and width to a pair of the restricted dimension sizes listed above; for this example, I am creating a 64 by 64 pixel image. Background fill should be transparent.

  2. Paste in or create an image you wish to use for the graphic. Resize, color, sharpen, and otherwise edit the image as needed.
  3. I like to delete any part of the image that I want to be transparent. For a circular selection such as for a Lunarsphere image, I use the Elliptical Marquee tool to select a round circle of space. I suggest starting just within the border of one corner of the image, and dragging down to the same distance from the border in the opposite corner, to ensure that the edges aren't cropped. Then, select INVERSE (shift + ctrl + I) and delete the selection, which will remove everything that isn't within the circle.

  4. Create an Alpha Channel by going to the Channels tab and creating a new layer. This will overlay your visible image with a pink hue to show you what parts of the image WILL BE TRANSPARENT when you save the image! The pink does not show as a color when the image is saved, it is merely to denote transparency. If the other RGB (color) channels hide themselves, you can turn them back on by clicking on the little "eye" boxes along the left side of the list.

  5. Delete the pink from all areas where you want the image to be visible. A quick way of doing this is to go back to the Layers tab and ctrl-(left)click on the layer to load a selection of it, assuming you've deleted everything that you want to be transparent, and then deleting your loaded selection from the Alpha 1 layer in the Channels tab. This will remove the pink from the deleted area of the image, showing what parts *will* show when the image is imported into the game. Everything that is pink will be transparent. (Ignore the other layers shown in the screenshot's list, they are not visible and are just from me playing around!)

    Note: If you fade out the pink by deleting only part of it, such as with a partly-transparent selection or with a half-opacity eraser brush, then that area will show up partly transparent in the game, rather than fully transparent or fully opaque.
  6. Save the image with the Alpha Channel's pink layer visible as a .png file (I select "None" for the interlacing question that will pop up). Below is the image that I created.

  7. Use a file converter to change the .png into a .blp file. I personally use the BLP2PNG converter, which can be downloaded here. Simply drag the image file's icon from the folder it is saved in and drop it on the BLP2PNG.exe file icon, and it will automatically generate a .blp copy of your .png file in the same folder as your .png image.

  8. Place your newly created .blp file into the appropriate folder for your image import mod. For Lunarsphere, this is the LunarSphere Imports folder. Some mods may tell you to just type in the path location of the file; create a folder in your addons for your images, name it something like "MyImages," and save your .blp there.
  9. Start up WoW and use your mod's instructions on how to import the image. For Lunarsphere, sphere images are imported from the Skin tab in the Settings menu; hit the Import Art button, type in the file name (in this case mine is "howlmoon"), and hit "import." If all went well, you will have a new image to use for your mod!

The above screen shot shows the demo "howlmoon" image uploaded into LunarSphere. I also created a background image that I imported using kgpanels that serves as a border for my Lunarsphere as well as my minimap:


In progress :) I have had less practice with this program. It is far better than MS Paint, but many of its tools are not as powerful as Photoshop. It's taking this Photoshop user quite some time to acclimate to. I will post the GIMP walk-through as a new post later, when I feel more comfortable with the program, though I can tell you this, now: it does have the same "layers" and "channels" tab, and the "alpha" channel is included in ever image by default. You will just need to paint on the alpha channel to add areas of transparency to your image.