Healing Torghast

There is a lot of talk and opinion both ways. If we want our legendary gear, we’ll need the Soul Ash. There are three different versions; 1,2,3, so far with 3 being pretty hard. Naturally, I know a hunter who solos level 3 and I could only sniff and shake my head.

And, I can solo version 1 and 2 and almost 3. But, it is more fun with friends if you have them and the mutual time boxes to play: not easy. So, if I wanted I could get my legendary and simply get it slower and that would be fine with me.

Last week, I did 3 with two other players and we were all dps. Yesterday I did level 3 with three dps and a tank so I went heals. This is what I do, it felt great.

They all told me that they needed the heals and that without it would have taken twice as long.

But, here is the deal. You only need to heal when it is all going to rot. There will be pulls with mystery mobs and everyone is caught off guard, then you are really tested and then it is mostly about how ready you are to react. It can be easy to get lulled into adding your own dps with pull after pull; after all, this is a one hour experience.

In all, the engagements are very much about toolkit. Having an interrupt rotation is probably the most important. Notice that the power-ups are never about adding an interrupt: the power-ups have a ton of flavor and when they do address the toolkit it is more class driven like buffing entangling roots or the new shapeshift spell.

I have two interrupts; mighty bash which needs proximity and typhoon which is a much-hated knock back. Cyclone can pin a mob down but almost never the bossy kind. And I am the healer, my team mates don’t expect much from me until I insert myself and I’d suggest that you do the same.

As Resto-Druid, I choose the balance affinity. It gives mighty bash and you can shape-shift to moonkin(ish) and do some damage. Finding those power-ups that encourage shifting shape with a short buff is very important and based on luck.

In all, given the choice; I’d go this way every time. Some of the power-ups had players laughing out loud at the results. That makes the whole thing worth your time. Do it. Go heals.

Shadowlands: Week One

I hesitate at writing the blog today because it will reveal just how little I understand what the hell is going in in this goofy game! The best news is that it was a busy week of game play and that I really did want to log on.

Check this out: Friday at 7am, first cup of coffee and squinting at the screen and I get this, “Dude, hop on Discord with us!” Pretty awesome to visit with some friends again, it really is.

Remember in Antman when Michael Douglas says, “We need to amplify the quantum-motivator so that the quantum-switch will spread the quantum-field” (or some such) and Paul Rudd asks, “Are you just putting that word in front of every word?”, well that is how I feel about anima. We have anima everything in this version, anima-cores and more.

We need anima to upgrade our renown guy and we need anima to make the mission table and the mushroom portals but it seems to be a different kind of anima and I’m not sure where I get what. Yet, I am renown 3 and have the mission table and the mushroom portals, so I am doing it but I’m not sure how! I’ll figure it out.

Torghast. Word on the street is that you can get 810 soul ash to max the potential. I’m at 670 or close to that. My first try, I was shocked that it took so long; almost an hour. After that, I expected it and enjoyed all the power-ups and breaking the clay pots and clearing every landing. I’ve yet to die but that is because I have treants that pull aggro and I’m still using the trinket from Mechagon that delivers a whopping 6000 damage in two seconds. They’ve got to nerf that sucker.

The Maw. It’s okay, I guess. I’m weak and have to use treants, typhoon, bash, roots, shadowmeld, cyclone: the whole tool-kit just to survive. I prowl a lot. Mostly I hate it when I can’t see, the river of souls is rough.

I lost my temper and sent a strongly-worded note in the Suggestion Box (new interface). Dying is a miserable experience, especially in the gothic zone. When I can’t get back to my body because I fell over the edge and have to take Rezz Sickness; it feels shameful as it is supposed to. Some jerk of a designer decided to make it “meaningful”. Oh, after that happened several times, I would have kicked the cat (if I had a cat).

The Dragon Plume toy that gives slow fall doesn’t share a cool-down with the goblin glider! Very good news. There are so many cul-de-sacs that I often just go high and try to float to where I want to go.

Finally, my power-ups in the conduits will all be healing choices. This is because I’ll be raiding. I’ll never have the ultra-strong spells as everyone else when doing WQs or the Maw or Torghast. Really sad design that the power tree doesn’t flip with spec; hard on the healer classes.

Reset is tomorrow!

Edit: I just got pwned on the fifth floor of the torghast soulforge. That was some very hard stuff.

Shadowlands Fishing: Early Thoughts

I say “early thoughts” but mostly likely these will be my last thoughts.

Quick recap: I am at level 56 and in the third zone. I’ve maxed fishing and my cooking is at 70/75 and needing the piranha from the final zone.

Why fish now?

I’m old! I get tired of hunching over my computer while questing and adventuring for hours. I don’t want to leave, I have friends to talk with. So, some fishing.

  1. Don’t buy the fishing pole from the vendor. It gives +15 fishing and you can get bait. All too soon you will have enough bait to support ten hours of fishing.
  2. Use your Underlight Angler. It gives you +15 and you can walk right out onto the water. Once you ding 200 fishing and earn Shadowlands Fisherman, you won’t need any fishing pole.
  3. Buy the bait from the vendor to fish the specific fish that you want. It lasts 30 minutes and if you log out at 18, when you log back in it is still 18 minutes.
  4. The first flight point in the third zone, Tirna Vaal, you can fish in a rested area if that is a concern.
  5. In the second zone, the first flight point (arena?), there is a pool right there with two NPCs fishing. You can’t miss it. There is water in the rest of the zone but it is shallow and not worth the hike.
  6. I’m a-betting that fish will sell. I won’t, I’ll cook my foods and be done.
  7. I’m still learning the fish names but they make sense. The pickled bone fish is in the second zone so of course it would be bonefish and the iridescent fish is in the third zone. It makes sense.

This is a nice design. The fishing leveling is like Vanilla, early on you get points for each cast but will probably get a rusty chain or an old boot. Up in the 170s, for example, you need several casts for a point but no more boots.

The cooking recipes have no ranks and the materials seem to be much less than BFA, so you can get your week’s needs done easily. And, like I said above, you can level cooking up to 70 with just fishing; so you can then focus on the high end buff food that you want which might need the farmed meats and haunches.

Compared to BFA, this is much simpler, cleaner and is not a giant time sink for the professions. Even the special fish for the feasts have a bait and you can catch all you want for a month in about 30 minutes of fishing.

Well done, Blizzard.

Shadowlands: The Audition Tour

As I type this at 8:43am my time, I can’t get past the loading screen to play WoW. It happened last night after dinner and I tried and re-tried and finally stopped for half-an-hour and then got in. Even before the expansion dropped, I could not port from Boralus to Stormwind (I ported to Dalaran and worked around that way).

I accept it even though I probably shouldn’t. I should be outraged! But I am not, calm acceptance for me this time around.

So far, I am 52 and in Bastion. It’s fun! The opening quests and the campaign have been doable and amusing and tell a fine story. On one quest there was a dude that would literally point the way (over there, my friend). It made me laugh because I’m always lost.

It seems to be that these questlines in the four zones, without having seen them all, are audition tours. Do I want to be like the people in these zones with the problems that they have? And, again “so far”, I do not want to be like the people in Bastion. The little guys are chicken-shits and the top dogs are smug.

So, that is that. I hope that I can log in soon. I’d like to see the choices for the next three zones that will define my character and my play style.

For Azeroth!

Wowhead’s Interview with Ion

I always try to read up when Ion gives an interview. I appreciate it and am glad when he steps up to speak. Of course, he is an ex-lawyer and when he responded lawyer-like with a very long answer: Wowhead summed it up with a single line! Do you think that they were being sarcastic?

My take-away comes from his answer to why scrolls are gone and our drums will be nerfed:

A lot of it is underscoring class utility and class diversity within groups. Many of those consumables were used to cover up for stacking many of a certain class. Ideally, whether you’re in a dungeon group, whatever context you’re in, you should want as many different classes represented as possible and players should be happy that, “Oh cool we have a priest with us today, that means that we’re all gonna have a bit of extra health. Some of these things that are otherwise borderline one shots in this high key, we have a bit of an extra cushion against”. Same for each of the other buffs that are available. That’s something that has been part of WoW for a long long time and that we’d like to return to. It’s class identity. At the end of the day skill is essential, play with your friends, we don’t want these differences to be large enough to feel like you can’t do that. But all else being equal, if you’re a pug leader trying to fill out a group, a mix of classes should be better than bringing multiples of the same one.

Long answer, right? What stands out to me in his response is that it is purely from a mythic plus point-of-view. Or that he lives in a world with lots of players on stand by. So something. Something that is not like my gaming lifestyle. Ion, the scrolls are gone for everybody in every situation.

I do appreciate class identity. And, I understand how important it is to WoW and it’s success to have high-end mythic dungeon running as part of the “must watch” stuff. But, sometimes I feel like not much thought is going into what I do which is mostly casual raiding and with a set team. Really, really. About twelve to sixteen of us for years now, we wanted the scrolls!

Can I add without being too snarky, the Druid Mark of the Wild was part of the class identity too: for a long long time.

And, if the scrolls are gone; then they are gone. Ho-hum. Some designer had the idea of making pseudo-buffs (maybe) because it is unfair to all of the classes that only mages, warriors and priests can give a buff to the team. I like that guy, I wonder if he still works there.

So, bravo to Ion for doing the interview. I’m glad that he did it and that I could read it. Even if it was a whole lot of tap dancing.

WoW: Pre-Patch Follies

Day Two and it is all routine.

Day One was pretty fun. I was proud to have my Argent Tournament Tabard to jump me straight to the action after the opening quests. And I even had a shot at the bag drop (no luck).

I found Nathanos on the map and went and got my weapon, no upgrade, but I was excited to play it out on my Alts and get them weapons.

In the evening I logged in to do the rare route but really to talk to some friends on Discord since we’ve not met up in a long time. They were talking about the Nathanos cutscene and wondering if Tyrande is the strongest on the planet now.

What cut scene? I’d done this four times!

By golly, there is a quest to go kill Nathanos! I’d missed it because of the large crowds in SW and the giver was too short to make the ! high enough to see.

Back to SW, back to the Eastern Plaguelands, and finally to see a good cut scene. It makes me wonder what else I missed.

In all, I can’t wait to see what next week brings.

WoW: Raiding in the Pre-Patch

Tonight will be Election Night in these United States. I can’t bear it. I have the television on a Hallmark Christmas movie with the sound turned off.

Many years ago, I worked the Super Bowl. It was the Denver Broncos vs the Green Bay Packers. It was great, I had a pass that let me have the run of the stadium and my job was to be on the 50 yard line at the end of the game.

The game was close and ultimately the Denver Broncos won and since I had to be on their sideline I was caught up in the energy of the victory. I wanted to cheer! But as I looked up into the stands, I could see the Green Bay fans and they were hurting; tears, emotionally bruised.

At the time, for me, it felt like that if I ran around cheering that I’d be gloating and that isn’t right. So, I kept it on the inside.

No matter who wins in this election, I’ll keep my quietness because I know that the losers will be hurting hard.

I tried to kill some time by doing the new Purple Murloc quest in the Grizzly Hills but when I arrived there were about twenty players camped, waiting for a spawn. Egads, I logged out right there.

Our raid team met after the pre-patch. Our DK tank is now a rogue! We had a re-shuffle of our team for the new expansion and it was a composition check as much as anything else.

And I was bored. Zounds; Wrathion, the Prophet, Maut, the dog boss, the soccer boss and so on; been down that road before. The rest of the raid team must’ve felt the same way because while I was gleefully using “cyclone” on the trash mobs, the rogue was using “tricks of the trade” to send aggro to the hunter and the hunter was using “misdirection” on the rogue.

We will all gather again in two weeks, right before the expansion and those who are gearing are expected to have at least the pre-patch zombie event gear on and ready. Mostly I don’t pay too much attention, if our raid leader says to be there, I will be. But I have appreciation for his planning and timing and efforts to keep us together as a team over the long pauses in game play.


WoW: Dying in the Pre-Patch

I expected to be weaker with the corruption gone. And I was a little jealous of my Legion end game when I walked like a god. And now I was ready to die.

Mr. Fixthis killed me. I’d solo’d that bum before and had felt pretty cocky about it. I accept that I’m weaker now and not at max level. I had him to maybe 80% before I bit the bullet, I fell pretty hard. My AoE starfall took too long to ramp up and so on. I even tried again, cocky as ever. Shamed again!

And that is okay. I’d be happy enough to wait until other players winged in and I’d step into the fray with my new comrades. But, everyone avoids this boss. At this stage of the game, there are not enough players playing.

I can feel the pre-patch. Camping assault rares once took little time at all when using the LFG. There was a tidy courtesy about it with “ty for listing” and “gl all”. But the players who do that either have gotten the goods or they have given up. A one-hour spawn rare with a very-low-drop rate is hard on the soul.

What surprised me was dying in the Throne of Thunder! I wasn’t expecting it. If you are doing the toy/pet/mount run, you stop at the Anima guy. He’s the last one on the list to have a drop. And that dude killed me! I was shocked because one rolls through these old raids. Wotcha do is hit the Anima boss real hard and when he dies all those many mobs die too. But, if you take too long, if your DoTs don’t pack a punch and you are hoping for a starsurge, well, you just might be over-whelmed. I got him the second time though, lol. I sat up and paid attention!

Not-So-Confusing Pre-Patch

The pre-patch finally arrived. I was curious about all of the changes and had a decent mental check list for when I logged in.

I am using WowUp now for an addon manager. Twitch is going away or something like that, so my 45 addons are being updated a bunch.

Picking up three spells for my BM hunter; Tranq, Kill and Arcane shot means finding space on my action bars which are pretty full. We have been through this before, Blizzard, hunters end up using over ten spells on a typical fight. A bit much.

My Resto-Druid who runs as Balance when questing (I skipped all the hyphens, you are welcome) will be missing Typhoon. Typhoon was an AoE Knockback spell and was great for an interrupt. Instead we have a 5-minute cooldown spell called Heart of the Wild which uses our affinity spells – I mean, it looks great on paper, like a gift even, but that is a narrow skinny corridor of use.

The best part of the evening was the Barbershop. And that is because I was joined by three other druids on Discord and, boy howdy, did we have a lot to say. Why they could choose fire kitty with out earning the toy feels a little unfair given the volume of Firelands runs on two druids; but it is all good.

The mount, toy and pet tabs have pre-loaded the stuff that we can get from Shadowlands and we all oooohed and aaaaahed at the pets and mounts that we want to get. The Adventurer’s Guide is not updated with our future raids and dungeons so no peeking at the gear yet.

We all practiced using the pins on the map and posting our pin links in chat. It might be possible to lose Tom Tom now and that would be a very good thing, Blizzard’s solution is legit.

Everything feels smoother. My druid flight form feels smooth and easy to navigate and more responsive.

I had spent a bunch of prismatic pearls to gear-to-vendor for 72 gold before the patch but there is no price change. The Paragon Cache still gives the same amount of gold. I do think that gold making will drop though.

My to-do list still includes a run through the new beginner’s zone, Exile’s Something. I read today about the long lines to kill a quest boss, so I’ll wait until the interest wanes a bit.

But, in all, so far: so good!

Shadowlands: Pre-Patch Notes

The notes are all over the place and I can’t seem to make a link to it in this cheese block of a WordPress Blog. So, go find them.

Now, this is what patch notes are supposed to look like! Extensive and detailed, it is a huge list of changes coming in the pre-patch. I spent some time looking for professions but, doh, the professions will come with the actual expansion. And, I assume, we’ll get a whole new set of patch notes then too.

Have they ever listed the mounts possible to find in the Black Market Auction House? Or break down the changes in pet battles? Seriously impressive notes if you ask me.

I feel like a newcomer, I don’t understand “Area target spells can now be cast at the player’s position using self-cast modifier keys.” I mean, I know what the words mean but it is gamer-speak, I think.

“Water now regenerates mana slower in the first seconds you begin drinking, increasing to a rapid return as you drink continuously.” This is a nerf intended to slow … you … down. Healers will hate this, in fact I already do.

“Reduced the amount of value that Critical Strike, Haste, Mastery, and Versatility secondary stats provide when reaching high thresholds.” Stacking stats won’t have the same payoff and I think that it will flatten our experience, all of those wonderful crit spikes that we’d cheer about in chat will be a memory of the past.

Do I count FIFTEEN changes to the UI? This is wonderful! Real improvements like a countdown timer and pins on the mini-map. I used the suggestion box to ask that the ! color for quests be different for campaign and side quests but they solved it a better way, “Campaign quests now have separate headers in the Quest Tracker.”.

Go find the pre-patch notes and spend about an hour sifting through them. Shadow Priest has a massive list of changes and so does Enhancement Shamans. I am book marking it so when the patch arrives and I look for and check out the changes, especially the UI.