Raiding Potions – Altered States

“This is your copy of Advanced Potion-Making, is it, Potter?”

Altered States

And you thought I was going to write about getting high. Maybe next blog.

Altered states is about the few items above the norm that give is a push or burst to our spells. Namely Heroism and Potions.

Typically when raiding, we have our raid buffs, buff foods, flasks and runes to … well … buff our spells. They are solid and consistent through out the fight.

Heroism or Bloodlust, Ancient Hysteria, Time Warp gives a massive buff to the entire raid. It is a whopping 30% haste buff for 40 seconds.

21.5% of base mana
5 min cooldown

Requires Shaman
Requires level 70

Increases haste by 30% for all party and raid members within 100 yards. Lasts 40 sec.

Allies receiving this effect will become Exhausted and be unable to benefit from Heroism or Time Warp again for 10 min.

Hero is a big boy and typically it’s use is discussed with the raid so everyone can align their big boy spells (called cooldowns) to get maximum benefit. The five minute cooldown on the Hero can contrast the ten minute exhaustion if someone were to die and be rezzed.

Potions are used by individuals for a boost to their primary stat. A potion lasts 25 seconds and adds 1000 to your main stat (agility, for example). These can only be used once in a fight, they are that powerful. I’ll type it again: 25 seconds!

A common strategy is to have the main tank give a count down on the pull (called a Pull Timer) so that just before the pull, the raiders can pre-pot and have the benefit of a potion and still have another one in their back pocket for later in the boss fight. Clever stuff.

Now: when we cast Hero has an impact on when we use our pots. If it is on the Pull, then we pre-pot leaving one pot in our back pocket. This is about 50% of the fights. Other fights, we’ll time Hero for a certain hard segment of the fight to push through a phase. Those other fights, we save our potions for that time when Hero is cast — the decision is made for us by the boss mechanic.

When we pre-pot and pull with Hero, then we have as individuals when we will use our second potion and, for me, this is when I can be weak as a raider. I don’t think ahead and find myself lamely using it near the end because I have not used it yet.

The ideal time to use the free potion is when our cooldowns line up, there is a raid buff or a second nasty time in the raid.

Let’s look at some examples in Hell Fire Citadel.

Hellfire Assault (first boss) — there is no peak or valley beyond the additional rolling siege engines, so one would wait until their long cooldown comes available again after the pull. Say, the six minute cooldown on Stampede. Toss a pot first, then cast Stampede! If I don’t have Stampede, I’d align it with a three minute cooldown and a two minute cooldown — Direbeast and Rapid Fire for a hunter. The big key here is to do it as soon as you can: about mid-fight and get the full burst in for full advantage.

Iron Reaver (second boss) — the same rules apply but don’t get stuck in a lift-off! Save your bad boy spells to burst when Iron Reaver is on the ground, preferably after Blitz so you have three Barrages to run your full cycle for 25 seconds of your potion.

Kormrok (third boss) — the same rules apply (all three bosses get Hero on the pull). Get after him!

Council (first boss, wing two). Hero is popped when the Big Guy gets to 30%, so your decision is made for you. Use your powerful 25 second potion and line up your cooldowns, you know it’s coming.

Kilrogg (second boss, wing two). Now we finally have an interesting situation! We pop Hero on the pull, so we have a “free” second potion. We get a huge buff if we are in the Visions of Time group. Can we align our cooldowns, say the second time we go in, with the Visions buff and our cooldowns and our potion? With all the crap that is flying around Kilrogg, it would be easy to forget (and so I sit here writing this).

Gorefiend (third boss, wing two). There are no decisions on this boss. Hero on Feast of Souls about one-third of the way into the fight; pop everything. The second Feast of Souls, hang on for dear life; have a cooldown ready. You can do it!

Our potions are pretty powerful. Using them with a little advance planning can really push your contribution to the team in a raid fight.


Legion — First Take

It is strange that the years teach us patience; that the shorter our time, the greater our capacity for waiting.
Elizabeth Taylor

Legion — First Take

The news is out. Like every blogger, I have to chime in with my two cents. The announcement was at Gamescom with two follow-up Q&A’s. A lot of live streaming; this can be exciting but the amount of actual information is less.

Blizzard continues to build upon it’s roots. The story of the Burning Legion, Sargeras the ultimate bad guy demon, Illidian, Azhara will be the strong influences of the storyline. I didn’t play Wow2, but I think most of it is from that video game.

I like it! It is a story that I kind of know. Illidian (you are not prepared) is known to me though how he is alive (demons don’t die, they go back to the Twisted Nether) is rough. So, that part will be a lot of fun.

Demon Hunter is the new class. Yay, a new class always brings excitement. I look forward to exploring the new starter zone and playing and learning about the new class. I won’t PLAY the new class as it is melee and tank. My first impression is play-style will be like a melee rogue or the busy monk tank: emphasis on agility, movement, speed. They look to be as bright and flashy as the Death Knight was dark and brooding. This is the second “hero” class in the game after the Death Knight.

Class Halls — ho hum. Maybe a shared training dummy with a dps leaderboard, I don’t know, but something to make it fun to visit and not a chore for Champion Follower resets.

In MoP, we got our legendary cloaks; in WoD, we got our rings. This expansion’s spin is on our weapon with it’s own talent tree and we start with it at the beginning. Each spec does it’s own weapon and it will be some artifact from the past: cool!

If (lets make this a big IF) they can design a healer spec artifact that does not involve playing a damage dealer and is not some lame proving grounds; but is fun, exciting and rewarding — I’ll send love letters to the designers. Leveling my healer outside of dungeons and raids is such a fucking drag, I just know that there has to be a better way.

Dalaran is the new hub; both factions. My very first blog post was about a common meeting place and that the Garrisons were lonely. My solution was to make a mini-area just outside the Garrison since everyone (I mean everyone) could just step outside and meet up, show off and get things done. Where is Jaina? I think I heard that Dalaran will still be floating over Northrend … why wouldn’t the mages of the Kirin Tor float the city over to the new zone?

Flying will happen. We start our requirements on Day One of the expansion but it will take a long time. Loremaster, Explore, Rep grinds all timed and spaced to allow flying way late in the expansion. I begin to think that it is the carrot for us to willingly chase, far beyond any faction rep or legendary reward.


In all, it will be a full fun expansion. It is the first news, Blizzcon in October will have a lot more news and likely the Public Test Realms will open then. We’ll watch and wait.

In the mean-time, WoD is not over: I still have to kill Archimonde, the final boss.

5.6 in 6.2 on 8/7

Julietta the Cigar Girl: Would you like to check my figures?
James Bond: Oh, I’m sure they’re perfectly rounded.

5.6 in 6.2 on 8/7

The news that WoW subscribers had dropped down to 5.6 million was a shock to me. I, of course, began to read some of the other bloggers (like the pointy Grumpy Dwarf) to see what their takes were on the latest numbers.

Several bloggers were calling it the death knell of WoW. Others were a bit smug, claiming that they saw it coming all along. And, finally, there was a bit of alarm. Could this be the last expansion?

Call me Mr. Ray of Sunshine. The blogging community can be terribly naive. They see the WoW universe as an on-going episodic experience; one where the designers can paint themselves into a corner and can’t rebound.

The WoW game is more like a franchise, compare it to the James Bond movies.

James Bond movies are not all great, nor is Warlords of Draenor. Even though this expansion we got Timothy Dalton, there is still a ton of great stuff that we love and can enjoy. The next expansion may be the dishy Daniel Craig. One thing for sure, the franchise is strong enough that opening weekend will be strong.

During Mists of Pandaria, the subscriptions had settled to around 7 million. The opening of Warlords saw an enormous spike up to 10 million, crashing servers and catching everyone with surprise. We can look at 5.6 as a 5 million drop or a 2 million drop. It is a drop, for sure. Still, the fans are out there; ready to come and play. This seems obvious to me.

Looking at 5.6 (WoW is still the top dog of MMOs) million can be startling, especially since we have months to go in this expansion. I have to rely on my own experience and know that I’m enjoying my play time.

Frankly, Warlords of Draenor had to do what it did. They had to contrast the cartoony Panda bear experience. They had to reshape our understanding of our dangerous world and it’s legion of enemies.

Will 6.2 be the last patch? They had the announcement for the NEXT expansion at Gamescom yesterday; the traffic almost shut down Bizzard Watch, Wowhead and MMO Champions. The interest was so high that the live stream on YouTube was buffering with 230,000 viewers. I watched it myself and I rarely ride that hype train for anything.

The next expansion is at least six months away if not more. Let’s hope not a year. Let’s hope that the designers, wanting to make faster expansions, have learned how to dole out content liberally.

Understanding that the World of Warcraft is a franchise like James Bond and each expansion stands on it’s own rather than the Hunger Games which has an ending is the key to our enlightenment.

Come on Daniel Craig!

Pet Peeves in Wow: 6.2 Edition

“Information may travel at light speed, but meaning spreads at the speed of dark.”
― Richard Powers

Pet Peeves in WoW

In general, I don’t have many peeves in WoW. I like to discover the game as designed and get to know the various experiences as imagined by the developers and designers.

My Pet Peeve is when they specifically step forward to make an announcement with the purpose to inform the player base of upcoming changes … and they botch it. Eff it up. They look bad (at least to me) and fail at their task.

We have Hotfixes for August 4th announced. Yay! They are doing their job by fine-tuning our content or amending their poor choices from before.

Here is an example of a pretty darn good hotfix: it informs and improves the player experience.

Kilrogg Deadeye
Health of adds for the encounter have been reduced by roughly 20% for raid groups with 10 players on Normal and Heroic difficulty. This should help with the difficulty experienced by smaller raid groups losing their DPS when sending players down into the death phase. The health of adds scales back up and should be remain roughly unchanged from before as raid group size increases.

Okay! I have been in those ten man raids. I changed my spec to Marksman, I re-gemmed and rerolled my stats because it was too hard for our raid team. They at least admit it was bad. It cost me and our team hours of fruitless game-play. I’m glad they fixed it, wish it had been done weeks ago.

Here is an example of my Pet Peeve:

Reduced the chance to obtain bonus Felblight.

What does that mean? I went to the forums tonight. Players are asking, “what does that mean?” No one understands. Off Kazzak? From skinning? I farm Felblight, I don’t want it to be less!

Sure, the developers were not hired to be writers; I understand that. But this … this … is infuriating. It makes no sense. When did we ever get bonus Felblight? Who defined it as a bonus? Who used the word “bonus” ever before in any of the game literature?

The job was to inform the players of upcoming and incoming changes. They not only failed but left us confused and lost.

A Diary from Draenor

A Diary from Draenor

My hunter now has an ilevel of 700. All the gear is from this new patch. Certainly being “geared” when it started helped my head-long rush through the new content with such a goal.

Keeping one’s eyes on the prize, for me, is the trick. I have two “mains” and will not noodle about on my Alts: their job is to support my mains. If I want to try a new class; that would be different but for now: two mains. Full stop.

Here is the very quick macro I made for my skinner/fisher/miner. A hunter with a water strider pet is a speedy hunter. The exclamation point in front of the Aspect will keep the macro from toggling it off and on. Every time I click I get water-walking and speed.

/cast Surface Trot
/cast !Aspect of the Cheetah

Jeremey Feasel on his twitter asked “we have three tents that are Under Construction at the Darkmoon Faire. What games would you like to see?” I think I might have to finally get a twitter account!

I couldn’t sleep a few days ago and got up about 2am. Restless, I decided to flip through my alts and reset the garrison missions. I was astounded to see six players in our guild playing! I’d call them crazy but there I was as well.

Not being able to sleep, I began posting the Perchance to Dream lines in the guild chat. One player said, “Hamlet, right?” We have a nice wide range of players to interact with in our guild; I love it.


My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But, ah, my foes, and, oh, my friends –
it gives a lovely light.

– Edna St. Vincent Millay “First Fig”

Guild Progression

“Progress isn’t made by early risers. It’s made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something.”
― Robert A. Heinlein
Guild Progression.
Sorry, that’s a bit of a play on words. Raid Progression in WoW normally means a group of players methodically work through boss after boss as a team. As they learn each fight, they gear up and the assumption is that the next time they face a prior boss that it will be easy as they know the strategy. Eventually, the content will be on “farm”; meaning the group can routinely roll through the content, maybe with a newer player, and farm the gear. And for satisfaction, of course!
By the way, welcome to Windows 10. All my stuff seems to be hidden in new places. My programs all look different. And I couldn’t find my blog for a while!
Guild Progression can mean many things. In this case, I am referring to the increasing numbers of our guild players who are crafting gear and taking advantage of the Baleful upgrades to 695. On top of this, this weekend is Mythic Dungeons with a reward of a whopping Heroic Hellfire Citadel piece of gear.
It is easy to fall on old pathways. In the past, you got your gear from boss drops in a raid. This expansion gives us such a head start that we might not NEED an upgrade from the bosses for a long time to come. If, of course, our guild prepares by having good gear. You can see our weakness on Kilrogg. Strong tanks, strong heals, strong melee and weak ranged — and we need strong ranged. One strong ranged is not enough and our others often seem befuddled on what to do; sure enough they’ve been carried but now the onus is on them.
The other cool part and facet of Guild Progression is the infusion of new players joining our guild. We need leaders; not raid leaders, simply leaders. We have people who want to do stuff and clamor for opportunity but would never put themselves out there to lead. That’s not a negative, players may not play to have a leadership role: in fact, many leaders in “real life” would not want to lead at all when kicking back and playing a game.
Our Guild Progression is pretty great. The weekend activities are mostly a lot of fun from old school dungeons to current mythic dungeons to PvP. Blizzard has made some amazing design additions that should be acknowledged as they keep players active and with goals.
Raid Progression is for the stubborn and those who like a challenge. I appreciate the players who hold back as well, waiting for us to pave the way through the content. With Gamescom, the announcement for the next expansion will be August 6th. We’ll start looking ahead even though I feel we’ve barely tapped the current raid.

Flying in Draenor

You haven’t seen a tree until you’ve seen its shadow from the sky.
— Amelia Earhart

Flying is coming to Draenor.

I hope and trust it will be Tuesday on Reset Day. Not only will my main, with the Pathfinding Achievement be able to fly but it will be unlocked for all my littlebees in Draenor. Along with this treat come some serious decisions!

Which mount to ride?
Will it be my newest Apexis Crystal mount or the very first gryphon that I bought in Hellfire Penninsula during Burning Crusade — or will I go all Druid on Draenor and go storm crow? This is a very serious decision.

Taking a tour!
I imagine I’ll spend about an hour or two simply flying. Let’s look at Nagrand. Let’s find a hard-to-get treasure placed on top of a giant mushroom. Remember wisely: the Ins and Del keys will make you loop-de-loop. How many players don’t know all that you can do?

The Little Bee and the FP
Gotta pick up all the Flight Points on my lower guys. They’ve been huddled mercilessly in my garrison, grinding gold, for way too long. Let them go get the Miner’s Pick, for example. Log them out over a rare mount spawn, perhaps.

Tom Tom to the Rescue
This addon with its wacky waypoint taxi arrow will lead me to places I’ve needed to see. The Num Key on my numbers pad will let me travel on straight with no button to push. Sip a coffee and let set sail.

A Requiem for Aviana’s Feather
The terrific toys; from the feather to the skull, will all be missed. They may migrate to my bank tabs and it’s a shame in a way. To rocket uncontrolled across the universe was a thrill and a delight, amen.

I’ll be thinking and plotting with my friends in the guild to what advantage flying will give to us. Which pieces that were once a threatened thrilling experience on our most powerful characters will be flown in for a ninja grab? Is Hellbane worth it to the littlebees to park, camp and reap rewards?

I’m excited.

Writer(s): Paul Mccartney, John Lennon

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise.

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these sunken eyes and learn to see
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to be free.

Blackbird fly Blackbird fly
Into the light of the dark black night.