Sunday, December 5, 2010


Just tried to log into to look at the new moonkin pets and got this message (and a much higher number, took me a minute to remember how to screenshot it):

Guess I shoulda guessed it would be like this.


The Times They Are a-Changin'

The Times They Are a-Changin'.  Actually quite an appropriate quote from a song writer many of us know of and love.  Work's been busy.  Off time has been busy.  Half-way through holiday season now and everything conspires against me putting in more entries into the blog.  Before Cata hits I thought I'd throw one last entry onboard as things will be hectic for a while.

Firstly.  Cata hits Monday night at midnight.  I'll be one standing in line at one of the local Walmarts, hoping to get a Collector's edition (wasn't bright enough to pre-order one through the local Gamestop).  Although I may break down and just do a digital download during the day on Monday.  I've got two boys who play and they'll be wanting their copies too. 

I'm growing to love the changes they've been making to druid healing but the model that came out in 4.0.3a is less than thrilling.  I find the thing I forget most is that I can change to tree.  When I do remember it's getting late in the fight and mana is becoming an issue.  As many have found out, changing to tree really just provides a way to burn through massive amounts of mana in a short time.  I keep finding myself getting near OOM during our guild raids so I need to work on overhealing less.  Adapting a Monty Python song: "Every mana is sacred, every mana is great, for every mana that gets wasted, God gets quite irate."  I'm going to have to learn, and raid/dungeon people are going to have to get used to, having my party/raid members running at less than 100% health for longer stretches of time thatn we're generally accustomed to doing.  i.e. Must be smarter at healing.  The mechanics and reasonings for this have been hashed out by people far smarter than I on other boards.

I really like our "little" guild.  It's been relatively stable for the two years I've been in it so far.  Guild drama is a rarity.  We're reaching one of those growth points though and the strain has been building underneath the surface.  We're historically a leveling guild, and by all accounts still accommodate leveling toons with enthusiasm.  But, in practice, we've really grown into a casual raiding guild.  Raid style looting vs dungeon style need/greed looting has become an issue.  I think we've settled on a toon being able to roll on an item if that toon can use it at all (in either of that toon's specs).  This will further the 'leveling' custom, as we're working to let a toon advance itsself, not just advancing the current spec a toon happens to be participating in.  In retrospect, all of this will be moot shortly, at least for a while.  We'll all suddenly not be upper and lower level 80's but equivalent 81's, working our way to 85.  We'll readdress how we handle the issue when we have different "levels" of 85's.

With luck the new dungeons / raids will provide some stimulus for more entries as we dive into Cata.  Have fun out there.  Enjoy seeing old things in new ways.  Stop to look at the new scenery.  Happy hunting!

Living life one GCD at a time,

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The death of Level 80 Heroics.

Every once in a while something just walks up behind me that I should have noticed, and smacks me upside the head with a 2x4.

Reading Keeva's blog earlier today just such an event happened.  Keeva had a great little compilation of short topics that got all put together into one post, Quickies for Maintenance Day.  An off comment while talking about mount/pet changes hit me, which I've paraphrased such that no one will be trying to do level 80 heroics anymore.  I felt like this needed a little more discussion.

Level 80 Heroics have been around for a source of daily runs in order to produce a source of Frost emblems, now changed to Justice Points.  Since the change to 4.0.1 they actually produce more in the way of rewards as all of the runs give Justice Points when earlier only the first run of the day produced Frosts.  Now there's a mad rush to do chain heroics, in order to get your toon's banks of Justice Points topped off so that you can buy higher level'd gear as soon as it's available from Cataclysm.  

Wowwiki has a great rundown on the topic of Justice Points.  Per wowwiki, "outgrowing content by out-leveling it will result in the listed objectives no longer rewarding Justice Points."

Whoa!  You can only do level 80 heroics (for Justice point rewards) at, duh, level 80!  Once you hit level 81, you can do the heroics, but you will not get Justice point rewards for them.  There will no longer be lines of people queued up waiting for a level 80 Heroic.  Of course we'll have Cata's dungeons to do, but you know what I mean.  Aside from the short time you're a level 80 toon, you'll have very little incentive to even deal with the level 80 heroics.

Soon there will be ONLY ONE REASON to do these heroics: to get the Achieves associated with their completion.  In the near future, if you have a toon you've got leveled up finally to 80 and above you'll be looking to your guildies.  Guilds will have "fun days", where they do the level 80 heroics in chain fashion. Doing so over a period of time in order to get the achieves for all their leveling alts.  As monotonous as some of them were, a small part of me will miss them.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

VuhDo review.

Several weeks ago a fellow guild-mate wanted me to show how I'd set up my Grid for my healing needs.  It just happened that I ran across VuhDo a few days later and have been sold on it ever since.

First, my old Grid layout looked something like this.  It was clean and well thought out.  I had my HoT's in different corners, and they'd give a yellow then red warning when they were getting ready to expire.  I prefer dark backgrounds with health that is shown decreasing, from the right (an inverse color setup).  So health is essentially a dark bar that shrinks from the right.  The reason I like this is that I can focus more easily on who needs heals.  More color showing means it moves up in my priority list.  In the grid example to the right, the bottom frame shows someone at approx 75% health.  The green number "4.4" on my tank, Irinbells, shows me I have three stacks of LifeBlooms (hence green) which will bloom in 4.4 secs.  One problem I had with grid was my need to be the instance leader, or for the tank to be the instance leader.  Grid automatically places me at the top, and then places the instance lead as the second frame down.  Although if I have lead, it automatically places the tank in the second slot, which is where I want him.  Nothing irked me more than having the tank stuck in the third or forth slot, and having to mouse carefully back and forth between us as I went along.  This left me constantly asking at beginning of instances to have the lead changed over to the tank so that my grid layout would be easier to use.  This request was generally heeded about 90% of the time.  Dispells were done with Clique, which I had setup to fire on left and right mouse buttons if I held down the shift key as 'Remove Curse' and 'Abolish Poison', respectively.

Next are a set of pics from my VuhDo setup.  These are taken actually very close in time to each other but show a few different things taking place.  
First thing you'll notice is that my tank is set off to the left from the main group, VuhDo can be set up to do this automatically.   The red surrounding the toon's frame shows he has aggro.  You can see in the second pic that 'Star' has just picked up aggro as well, which lets me know to consider throwing a Rejuv their way in case they take some damage.  The top left of the frame shows the character's "Rejuv" status. The number within the purple colored square counts down the last 9 seconds of the Rejuv in case I need to watch for who'll need to get replenished.  The red circle next to the Rejuv square shows that these toons are capable of receiving a Swiftmend if needed.  Once used, the circle will disappear on all frames but will return once Swiftmend's cooldown is up.  WildGrowth is the green square in the bottom left corner of each frame and also shows a countdown till it's done.  Mana bars are set in the bottom of each frame.  Once again, I mimicked my health preference with an inverse colored bar, filling from the right.  More color means more attention.  "Thab" in the first pic has his health bar with a darkened part.  VuhDo is showing me that it expects him to have received that much heal from the current Rejuv by the time it expires.  In the second pic a poison has dropped onto me with 5 secs left until it expires.  VuhDo contains it's own built-in version of Clique, which I have set up to operate exactly like I did with Grid.  Not shown here is that I have it set to show a small version of a marker icon right over the player's name.

A bonus feature I found with VuhDo (in Louisiana we call these a "Lagniappe", meaning a little something extra) is that I can have other frames within my UI hidden.  I've decided what works best for me is to hide the "party members" so they don't take up the visual space on the left side of my screen.  I've left my toon and my target's toon.  The reason I left these two is to make it easier to access the menues WoW gives you when you click on these frames.  i.e. Leave Group, or to mark with an Icon.  Below is a typical, though small, version of my basic UI in action.  As you can see, I have VuhDo taking up a very small area of my screen, yet it is my area of greatest focus.  The size frames I am using lend themselves very well to 10 and 25 man raids as well.  On 25 mans, I'll unlock the frame and move it over to the left just a little before locking it back down.

What I did not do is try to show you the exact steps to set this up.  There is copious information linked from VuhDo's creator as to how to go about setting it up to your liking.  The major thing to do is dive in and play till you start seeing what you have in mind for your needs.  There is a certain point at which a lightbulb goes off in your head and the setup process makes sense.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Five finished where none of us had started.

Jumped on to do a quick random for my two frosts last night after work.  What transpired ended up being somewhat amusing so I thought I'd recount some of it.

I queued up for my random as my usual healer self and got dumped into Halls of Stone.  Only, it wasn't at the entrance.  We were right at the entrance to Krystallus.  Several were finishing their run back to the spot, they were in a post-wipe phase and had somehow lost their healer.  After appropriate buffs were passed around and before running in, I said "ok, please remember to stay away from each other after his blowback."  On the very first blowback, the mage near me got thrown further away (my back was to a nearby wall) and ran right past me as we turned to stone.  Boom, I'm dead, great.  I thanked him for my 6 gold repair bill and released to run back.  I got back just as the DK tank had finished kiting Krystallus back out of his room.  All the DPS had died in the process.  A few touchup heals and Krystallus fell over dead.  Before I could rez anyone, all three DPS released and left the instance.  I guess from their point of view they'd taken two wipes and were calling it quits.

I let the tank know I'd stick it out (hah, a tree pun) and we re-queued.  As you'd imagine we had three fresh new DPS in short order and off we went.  Maiden of Grief was easy as always.  Duh, don't stand in black stuff.  Just as Brann started his thing in the Tribunal of Ages the tank says he's gotta go.  He'd stay around till this sequence with Brann was finished, but his guild was starting ICC and he had to head out quick.  Tank gone.  We cleared the one last group of roving mobs that's always left over outside the last boss and right on the spot a new tank showed up.  He was ecstatic that we only had the last boss to go.  Two minutes later we had opened the door, charged in, and downed the boss.  The usual thanks for group got passed around, and it hit me.  No one that finished this instance were present when it had started.  I've never before been a part of a complete group swap-out.

On a side note.  VuhDo rocks.  I'm now one week into using it for all of my healing needs.  Next week I'll get some screenshots ready and start working on a quick demo of how I've got mine set up.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Life happens...

Nope, I've not disappeared off the face of the earth.  Life happens.  For us it's the summertime scramble.  We had two kids in AllStars, vacation to the beach right after that, then work work work to pay da bills.

Since my last post I've had time to do quite a bit.  RebirthII is doing some casual raiding with it's upper levels now.  Tunin's gear is getting good enough that I can finally be helpful for many of the raids our guild can pull off.  I seem to keep missing the times for the raids as they like to go a little early for me so I have been PUG'ing several of the weeklies.  Football season is upon us so my Tuesday nights on my non-work weeks are now taken up to go see the kids play.

I'd been asked by one of my guild mates to put something up about my Grid setup.  I'd actually collected up quite a few screeenshots of my Grid during an ICC rep run and was ready to write some in depth verbiage about them but...  Last night I discovered VuhDo.  It got me excited enough that I got up early this morning to install it.  I wanted to get started setting it up to my liking before the 7am maintenance took us offline.  I therefore will be withholding my Grid setup details pending my VuhDo experience.  Hopefully it won't take me as long to post about it as it's been since my last blog post in here.

As always, Happy Hunting!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

They're a little weird ... but they're good at what they do.

I think it's funny sometimes how things come in waves.  I had an experience a couple nights ago that I was going to write about.  I then just happened over to Keredria's blog Tree of Life and noticed she'd just blogged recently on a similar topic with this article.

Our guild, RebirthII, decided to have an Ulduar 10 man day.  As I showed up it became apparent I'd missed out on the weekly raid quest, which was to kill XT-002 Deconstructor.  Nearly everyone else had done it in the guild group.  Not being much of a raider due to time constraints I'd missed out.  One of our main tanks, Irinbells, hadn't done it either, but knew a group that was getting ready to run.  I had him check, and they were up for some druid heals to go with the group they had together already.  So off I went.  Irin had one cautionary point to make though, "they're a little weird, and kinda young, but they're good at what they do."

As I joined, their leader Iceshaman sent the usual Vent settings over. "Is anyone here a lesbian?" is the first thing I hear as I join, spoken by some anonymous toon on their chat.  Irin whispers "see what I mean?"  The second thing I noticed is that the average age, gauged by sound of their voices, was about 15.  And I think that's because Irin and I significantly averaged their age upwards by being present.  Their leader Ice ran a tight ship otherwise though.  Once he found out I was new to the instance, he said I was with him.  Prior to every fight Ice gave a very to the point and clear message to each person what he expected them to be working on.  These were probably some of the best pre-fight summaries I've heard.  For the fight with XT-002 we ran like clockwork.  We were lined up one one column of the floor, and if you got a 'light bomb' dropped on you you were to run four squares to the right before it detonated, then come back to the middle.  If you got the 'gravity bomb' you were to go left.  I really didn't even need DBM as he called out instructions anyway as we went along.  "Tunin, light, head right", and so-forth.  

Yep, they were a little weird.  They were definitely young.  But like Irinbells had meantioned, they were good at what they did.  It was refreshing to run with a different group and have fun.   In retrospect, it was the natural born leadership of Iceshaman that made it a good time.