A Solid Lock Out

“Henceforth I ask not good fortune. I myself am good fortune.”
Walt Whitman


A Solid Lock Out

Our raid team has not killed N’zoth yet on normal. It is coming soon enough. The truth is that, in part, we have not had many chances at it. So, this week, our raid leader built a weekly lock-out so that we are sure to get some hits on the final boss.


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The above is what we’ll go into tonight and, Elune have mercy, we’ll down this guy and move to heroic. We are surely sick and tired of this raid on normal, we blow through it. But, even so, it takes hours of trash and boss and travel to get through it all. So, a lock-out is the way to go.

It is two wing final bosses who drop loot that raiders need and then the final wing.


Now that we don’t have war- and titan-forged items, we are needing corrupted gear to get stronger. My problem is that I do not have the pieces that I want!

Looking at the math, if I do get a piece of gear at all; then I want it to be corrupted. Then there are eighteen different corruption spells, then there are three possible ranks and then there are eight possible slots. The odds of me ever getting close to what I want are astronomical.

I’m guessing that the odds are 1 in 18 x 3 x 8 (432). Titan-forging was a better bet, by far.


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When you are running corruption pieces, you have to do the math on how high that you are willing to go: the risk vs reward. This means that you keep back-ups of all your gear and all of the corruption pieces in case you do get a piece that you want and have to shift everything around. It is a juggling act!


Honestly, I don’t always know what is going on. With trinkets, azerite and corruption pieces popping off at random times; there is no way that I can follow it when I’m playing.


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That is a screen shot of my buff bar at about medium proc. I don’t know what half of them are. But, better corruption pieces will make me stronger, I need that.

Now ask me if I’m having fun. You bet I am!

Vexed in the LFR

“The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.”
Theodore Roosevelt


Vexed in the LFR

I blame Ronald Reagan, of course.

Here I am obsessing on the news of the destructive spread of Covid-19 and I can’t get a straight answer. President Reagan dissolved the Fairness Doctrine. He said that the news isn’t a service to the world; it should be a business, an entertainment. Why he didn’t get impeached and go to jail for the Iran/Contra affair is beyond me.

So, everyone on television has been hired first for their political leaning and then for their ability to look nice and deliver a speech. And the news that is being delivered is not straight and honest. Terrifying, right? I’ve been following the John Hopkins map but that is only that which has been reported, my imagination says that India must be hit hard and they are not reporting.

But, I am isolating. Human interaction is at a minimum; grocery store and pharmacy, once every two weeks with luck. I took a drive today in my car to make sure the battery gets charged. I have no idea what is needed to do that, so I drove for half an hour and came home.

My state is the fifth largest in these here United of States. It is 49th in education, 47th in economy, 47th in stability and 49th in crime. So, I’m not sure where the hope is but it must be in there somewhere. The view is great.

Which brings us always back to WoW. The big 100% xp buff is up and everyone is leveling. I am told that it is great fun. I asked my raid team (we raided last night!) why one would level up and they told me that I didn’t get it. That is okay.

But, where would you go with these alts? Blizzard says “get your cloak, go kill N’zoth”. My experience is not great in the LFR. This week I queued the first and third wing and got the last boss when I entered. The second wing ….


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After a 45 minute wait in the queue, we killed the first boss and then went to Vexiona. We wiped with the tanks pulling the dragon up and down the street, I have no idea why. Then they quit. We waited for about 20 minutes and got another set of tanks, one who quit during the fight. And then, I kid you not, we waited a full hour for another tank to join us.

An hour sitting in a raid is a long time. We were down to four players. I didn’t want to leave and sit through another forty-five minute raid spawn but felt that this must happen at any second, we must be some kind of priority to the algorithm.

I asked the raiders, while waiting, if it is too hard to tank or are the bosses too hard to handle for a tank. They said a kitten could tank this fight. So, where are the tanks? This is a big problem and a major time problem and I can’t imagine leveling up an alt to go through this experience. Is this acceptable game play?

As ever, I’m going my own way. I’m still after the 100 exalted rep achievement. I don’t think that the 100% XP buff includes reputation gains. I dunno, its a long month, maybe I’ll try a something. Maybe a shaman, they have totems!

Alt Exalted

“Never measure the height of a mountain until you have reached the top. Then you will see how low it was.”
Dag Hammarskjold


Alt Exalted

It is not quite a lull but WoW life is in a routine. So, I am taking a look at advancing my hunter to at least be prepared for the next expansion.

As you can see, this character is 92/100 on exalted reputations.


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So, just the regular stuff will get me there to 100 and the big achievement. Mostly I am only doing the daily emissary. And a little bit of the Uldum and Vale but not too heavy.


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So, it is funny to me to get Kul Tiran Fishing and Cooking this late in the game. Leveling up Engineering is a total drag! With revered in Nazjatar, I think I’ll learn some of the newer recipes beyond the basics first provided at the top of the expansion.


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I am not sick, yet, but I am isolating like the rest of America. Everyone is trying to take a few weeks off and let the curve flatten out. So, a little extra WoW time!

Happy Hunting!

Failing N’Zoth

“I can live for two months on a good compliment.”
Mark Twain


Failing N’Zoth

I want to be clear that I am not complaining.

We had a grand time last night. It was a three hour wipe-fest on the final boss of the expansion on Normal. It should be hard. And it was and is hard. This is a fight where everyone has to learn all the little bits in each different phase, so you try over and over. It is also a fight with random things, so on the fifth try it might be your turn to get the thing to do the thing. Everyone has to be patient with you when you finally get your turn.

Historically in WoW, I’d be optimistic and think that next week that we’ll be stronger. Over the years we’ve had titan-forging or tokens to upgrade our optimal pieces, things like that. But now we are all in 445 gear or higher thanks to Darkshore or the weekly with a few of the pieces.

The new Corruption Game is kind of cool. The variations are endless. I have one piece with Void Ritual which is a nice piece (a 445 mace). My other piece gives me a Crit percentage which is only okay (a pair of 420 boots). My ideal would be three pieces of Void Ritual or three with the Haste percentage.

As Cinder says in Cinder Says, we have four layers of RNG to get the piece that we want. It is RNG whether a piece will drop at all. It is RNG if it will have corruption on it. It is RNG if the corruption will be the spell you want. It is RNG if that spell will have the ranking that you want.

So, I am not close to the set that I’d like. My anti-corruption cloak is gated. I have a bunch of pieces that are either corrupted or non-corrupted so I can change things around if I get anything. And I am hoping for a 4 x RNG drop from anything, anywhere, please.

But, here is the deal. From this healer’s point of view, the real change from titan-forging to corruption-based design is that we are not getting any more stamina. Our survivability is not improving beyond slight upgrades via the neck piece. Sure, I have a ring with Avoidance on it; but no one would swap for that and drop a buff in their role.

Stamina is the difference maker. Period. You can load us up with secondary stat buffs all that you want and we can feel like gods. But when that big blast comes down, it has to be survived. Meaning the ability to survive a mistake is smaller than ever before.

I have seen it time and again. Raid bosses that are a nightmare can become trivial when you gear up to survive the blasts. But, we really are not gearing up. We showed up to this raid in mostly 445 gear. Our stamina is not going up much. Sure some, but not much.

It is possible, and we’ve done this before, that we’ll drop to the first bosses on Heroic and then our second night of raiding we save a lock-out for the final boss on Normal. It sucks to play this way because it isn’t linear and you feel like you are “gaming” it some. But it is a time-honored strategy in raiding.

Wish me luck!

Ding Neck 81

“Having the critics praise you is like having the hangman say you’ve got a pretty neck.”
Eli Wallach


Ding Neck 81

There is no hint that the Corona Virus has hit my region. But, it is surely possible soon. So I did a half-hearted attempt at stockpiling some mats thinking that some official might come to my door and say “don’t leave your home for thirty days”.

Now a thirty day quarantine would mean a LOT of WoW time.

I bought an extra tube of oatmeal and some bags of pinto beans and coffee. I also bought some salted butter to freeze along with some bags of frozen fruit. I’m set on paper goods. Along with the stuff already in my place, I could get by okay I guess. Assuming that we’d still have electricity and running water, of course. The infrastructure in America is so vulnerable and neglected, I hope it doesn’t come down to that!


Our little raid team made it to N’zoth on Normal last night! We didn’t fight him, there was no time. But, I’d guess that it will become routine soon.


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My neckpiece dinged 81 without me trying at all. I did screen shots so you could see the stat difference. It is a small jump but I think it will be helpful in the long run to add some AP to your neck now and then.

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Delighted am I to finally have all my healing essences at rank three. I know it is psychological but I feel strong and ready to go.

Ra-den drops a two-part trinket and I got the first half last night. This stuff offers a haste buff to me on proc but also gives a smaller haste buff to the raid team. I’ve always liked it when Blizzard designs things that are directly helpful to the dungeon or raid team as a whole.


I played on my hunter alt some. Leveling the cloak at the beginning of the talent tree is darned hard. I could very much feel the difference on my main. Tempted am I to collect a whole bunch of momentos and build the tree and save the vial keys up and then do all the cloak runs. Crazy stupid but it is a thought!


Happy Hunting! And may all your hits … be crits.

Ding 80

“I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.”
Groucho Marx


Ding 80

I dinged my neck piece today! Yep, I’ve reached the finish line. Done with that AP grind and race. But, my AP bar didn’t go away.

This has left me confused!


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Our raid team cleared another wing. These fights are hard. We are running at 2/3/8 when we are lucky. Typically we start that way and people begin to drop if we start wiping. But, we do still try, mostly.

The third hour of raiding is always tough. Everyone is tired. Still in the final hour, we did clear a new wing and that feels great. I’m guessing 2/3/6 at this point. And yes, we see the same mechanics as the big raids, we don’t get fewer tentacles or bashes.


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Blizz cracks me up sometimes.

On Feb. 20th, they did a hotfix:

  • Fixed a rare issue where more than 2 Torn Page of “Fear and Flesh” could drop in a Horrific Vision. ‘

And on Feb 25th, they are letting us, maybe, get more than 2 pages:

  • to 4 Torn Pages of “Fear and Flesh” quest items can now drop in Horrific Visions from objectives on the rank 7-11 Legendary cloak upgrade quests (was a max of 2).
    You’ll need to clear more than two sides areas in one run to get more than two pages. The rank 13-15 quests will still drop a max of 2 pages, only from Lost Area objectives.

And finally, Resto Druids are getting a buff. This is after the 9% nerf to our Mastery in the beginning of patch 8.3. I am really glad to see them still working on balancing the specs.

Restoration
Rejuvenation now costs 10% base mana (from 10.5%).
Efflorescence now costs 17% base mana (from 21.6%).
Tranquility direct healing increased 11%.

Developers’ notes: These changes should improve Restoration Druid’s raid healing output, without much impact to their already strong capabilities in dungeons and Arenas.


It is Monday, so it is the end of the week. I have two more HV runs today to get all of the needed pages to upgrade my cloak.

My HV buddy has abandoned me! He plays in Warmode and has leapt ahead and I was slowing him down! So, no regrets or sad feelings. I can solo an HV and clear two zones but; with my buddy – 6 minutes, without my buddy – 20 minutes.

Sometimes I call them Horrible Visions. As a player I am oh-so-very-slow.


One last note. For our raid team, the toughest boss so far was the one with the dragon who flies up in the air. Once again, Druid for the win — Mass Entanglement makes all of the difference when the group of adds show up. I can root and the tank can use that big powerful beam on them and they wilt.

Satisfaction.

The Week Ends on Monday

“The moment one gives close attention to any thing, even a blade of grass it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.”
Henry Miller


The Week Ends on Monday

The other day I got up early, it was dark outside like the whole world was still asleep. Logging into WoW and farming keeps me entertained while I think of what to do for the day and other lofty thoughts.

After farming, let’s decide to take a boat ride even though I had all of the jump-about cooldowns ready to go. The time spent on the artwork and animation in WoW is under-appreciated by me. They do good work, I tell ya.


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Dailies in Uldum find me smashing bugs in flight form. Did our weapons used to show or not? They do now and look cool.


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The toy from Killsaw is still the best toy ever. I have it macro’d to my hearthstone so that it is up a lot but not all of the time. Someone turned me into a turkey!

And that toy still shines.

A screen shot cannot do it justice, those blades are spinning and sparks are flying!


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It is no spoiler that the bug mount quest line is over. I finished today, just like everyone else. It meets expectations.


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The /mountspecial command has the flying bug land and skitter about on the ground in several directions and then returning to hovering above the ground.


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All in all, a good week. Collecting Momentos is the hurdle to the point where I’ll stay in the vision daily after the mission is complete to kill the named mobs for extra momentos, even one coin at a time.

Our raid last night hit a bad patch. We only had two healers and after trying and failing on the one where the dragon flies over-head, we then tried Ra-Den and failed. We need more manpower and my raid leader simply called it.

Gone are the days when we’d throw ourselves at a boss until the raid knew every nuance of the mechanics and we’d eek by. He just called it a night hoping that we’ll have more players next week. We were 2/2/8 and I think that we should have been able to do if it were tuned for small groups but Blizz don’t do that no more.