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Updates Before Pandaria

September 15, 2012

Hi, my name is Moonstarria and I’m sorry I haven’t written in 3 and a half months. It’s been a long summer, which is now over, and a long expansion. My raid groups have had exoduses and reconfiguration and quite a lot of fluxus. I’ve gone from heroic progression to wondering if we will kill Spine on regular tonight with 3 healers. I’ve questioned the LFR system and the monotonous nature of regular, stack and heal Dragon Soul. But finally, in the last month, my raid group has come together again. We have a few old people, and a few new people. We shockingly found some diamonds in the rough on my tiny server, and finally, finally.I am 8/8 Heroic in Dragon Soul.

And I won the mount on the first kill.

And account-wide mounts and titles are awesome.


OMG It Works! ….Diablo 3 Impressions

May 29, 2012

So, I’m late as always and I do apologize for being absent for a few months but things have been going on that I’m not going to talk about at the moment. But anyways, Diablo 3 has arrived.

OMG It Works….

I didn’t play at first because I had pretty much accepted that it wasn’t going to work on my computer. I play on a Mac that’s a few years old, along with an outdated (and un-updatable) video card, as well as limited memory and RAM. But after a few days of seeing people on Real ID in D3, jealousy set in & I decided to try and get it to install.

This was not without issue, I had to put in a few tickets because after downloading the installer, the installer would occur an “unexpected error” and just quit. I finally found a solution on the forums (turning off my Filevault) and it installed. Well, 2 hours later it installed.

So, I had the game loaded and logged in for the first time. Shamefully, since I didn’t think I was going to be able to play it, I hadn’t done much research on D3, even though I had played D2 a little back in the day. So, when I got to the character screen I picked the class that I didn’t find scary looking, which was the wizard.

I finally started playing and moving was a challenge to say the least. I think I was halfway through the second act before I found out that if I clicked and held my mouse button down I would move in a fluid motion, rather than click to move, click to move, click to move. It also took me several days to discover that in your game options you can set it so that you can have multiple abilities from the same category of spells on your bar.

A week and half later, my wizard is 54 and about halfway through Act 2 on Hell Mode. I did find that going with someone else is a lot easier than just running with my sometimes useless Templar. Unfortunately when I run with someone else I am way more likely to lag. I call it “running at my own pace,” since that’s what it looks like to me. I also feel that trying to do Hell Mode without another real life person may be impossible, at least for a wizard. I’m not saying I’m a rockstar at D3, but kiting every set of mobs all the way to the entrance of the dungeon at times can be annoying. Plus, when you do that your “Templar Tank” just runs with you instead of tanking or dpsing, leaving only my faithful little Hydra to keep the mobs at bay.

I’ve also tried a few other classes. My monk is halfway through Act 2 and I have a Witch Hunter at the very end of Act 1, both on regular mode.

That said, here are my lists of…

Things I Like About Diablo 3…

  • It’s a new game, with new lore, new cinematics, new areas and more quests and achievements for me to obsess over and spend too much time on.
  • Sometimes its nice to just kill and smash shit.
  • I really do love the cinematics, the animation really makes the game.
  • New classes to learn with new abilities for each.
  • When you die and run back and the mobs were half dead, they are still have dead when you run back.
  • It’s possible to play in complete solitaire mode (at least on normal and nightmare mode), without the distractions of trade, guild, lfr or the random dungeon finder.

What I don’t Like About Diablo 3…

  • The interface….Although I’ve gotten used to it, I still want to go at least go backwards and strife with my keyboard. I guess I just don’t understand why I can’t do both. In the end I will always steer with my mouse when I can, but I think I should be able to do some movements with my keyboard.
    And, again I’ve gotten used to it, I really want to be able to change my camera angle. Also, I have a few friends (especially wow “clicker” types) who are having a lot more difficulty with the interface, almost to the point where they don’t want to play.
  • You can only use 6 abilities…I know that is part of the challenge of the game, choosing the right “build” for you character, even changing it from situation to situation. But I feel very limited. I can’t survive without Diamond Skin or Teleport on the Wizard, and my Hydra is also practically required, so I only have 3 other buttons to assign. And whenever I try to change my “build” I feel like it makes things worse and I go back to what I was running with before.
  • If you DC, it resets your game… I discovered this the hard way. I actually quit the game to reset it because I started lagging, so I figured, I’ll just restart it… Unfortunately I had cleared about 3/4s of my dungeon, and well, when I came back in, the map was cleared out and I was back at the beginning.
  • I lag in groups… Not sure if this just a Mac thing or my old video card etc. It comes and goes, its worse in certain areas (I curse you Oasis), and fine in others. It definitely is the death of me at times. (And I do have Peer to Peer and my background downloader turned off).
  • The solitary nature of the game at times…. As much of a perk as I find this it is also a downside. I like the random dungeon finder in Wow and although many of the people in it are not so great, they at least make the game interesting. I also miss having a guild (unless I have somehow missed this feature in D3). And I’m very particular about the people I have on Real ID, so adding more people from Wow so I can see them in D3 is unnerving. I know there is the “public feature” of the game, but as previously stated, I lag in groups and the one time I did the Public Game, I was just running to catch up the whole time.
  • The biased nature of some of the fights…It is ridiculously easy to do some fights on certain classes and ridiculously hard to do them on others. I don’t appreciate being picked up and stunned in fire on a ranged class, spamming my health pot for 5 seconds and dying, whereas a melee class can just eat it. On the flip side, end game is supposedly way easier as a ranged class than melee. I wish Blizzard would do something to equal this out. But I’m still waiting for them to nerf Paladins in Wow.
  • There are no healers….I know that’s the nature of the game, but I am a healer at heart and other than some weak heals from a Monk, some similar abilities, and the red balls of life, there are no players exclusively devoted to keeping you alive.
  • I wish the NPCs were more useful. I usually run with the Templar for his heals and theoretic tanking, but as I said before, when I kite or even when I teleport away he often just runs besides me. And if I’m shooting things off screen, aka a safe distance, there’s Templar, just twiddling his thumbs next to me, throwing out one liners, like “dude, go, tank…or at least fight!”
  • *********Spoiler Alert**********…Now that I know how things turn out, I feel bad for Leah whenever I see her. I know its just a game, but still feel bad (I don’t want to say anymore in case you don’t know).
  • Not Sure What End Game’s Supposed To Be...I may just be nubbing this out, but is there an End Game? Other than Inferno Level. I know that there’s a PvP/Arena aspect that they haven’t yet released, but is there ever going to be any kind of raiding or it just not intended to be that kind of game?

I know my list of what I don’t like is longer than my list of likes, but I really do like the game. It’s very addicting. It’s a nice change of pace from Wow but I can’t see it ever replacing Wow, even with the randomly generating maps, it will eventually get too repetitive to do every day. One thing is for sure though, Wow is a ghost town these days, especially since SO many people got D3 for free with the Annual Pass (like me). My raid last week only had 5 show up (and we generally have at least 9 these days). But, eventually, things will go back to normal, especially once Panda comes out.

Tips for Starting on a New Server

March 21, 2012

I recently hit 85 with my 8th character. And although this isn’t too amazing into and of itself, it was the first max level toon that I leveled on a different server.

When you get to a certain point in your wow life, you may feel like its time to play on a different server. Maybe you’d like to try a different faction, or a PvP server vs PvE. Maybe you’ve reached your max of toons on your “home” server (like me). Maybe you have a friend on a different server and want to start a toon over there to hang out with them. Or, maybe you’re just sick of the raiding, PvE, PvP or drama etc. on your home server and you don’t want to pay to transfer a toon just yet, just try somewhere new.

Whatever the reason, “starting over” can be very hard. For starters, you have no BoAs, so it takes longer to level and you won’t be quite as “unstoppable” while leveling or PvPing as you’ve become accustomed to. Also, you have no army of alts with professions to twink yourself out, either at level 15 or level 85. And to further that, depending on your circumstances, you may be lacking a supportive guild or friends to help you out. And, you’re broke and starting from scratch.

Whereas I can’t help you get BoAs (at least til Blizz lets us send them cross server), I can offer a few tips to make your life a little easier.

  • Take the Ninja Guild Invite… When you start on a new server and yuo are guildless and alone, you will start to get what I call “ninja guild invites,” or blind invites by people who rarely bother talking to you first. As soon as a level 25 (or at least level 20) guild invites you, take it. Utilize those guild perks. The extra XP and increased mounted speed alone are worth it. That said, most of the guilds that do the ninja invites are very large leveling guilds and mostly invite people to milk your quest money contributions. Also, if you’re offline for a few weeks (because you get bored and go back to your home server or whatever), they will often kick you. So if you want to /gquit for any reason, don’t feel guilty for doing so.
  • Grab a Tabard….One of the first things I do when I start a new character is mail them some gold and some bags. On a new server you won’t have either, especially at first. So, grab a tabard from your faction Quartermaster (Stormwind, Origimar etc.), equip it, and if you’re doing any dungeons in the dungeon finder, you’ll have enough rep to get a 16 slot bag from the Quartermaster soon enough. You also may find they sell a couple pieces of worthwhile gear for you class. You can only get one bag per Quartermaster, so once you get the rep you need, switch to another tabard (E.g. Stormwind then Ironforge).
  • Pick Up 2 Gathering Professions… First of all, you get XP now for picking herbs and mining. But not only are mining, herbing & skinning virtually free to level, they are great money makers on the AH. Especially once you get to the 100+ skill level markers. True, the other perks to the professions (extra stam, crit or a haste/heal spell) aren’t great for end game raiding, but you don’t have to keep these professions forever! This is just to help you start your new empire.
  • Utilize the Auction House… All those herbs, skins, ore & bars you’ve collected, it’s time to cash in on the AH. The more money you have, the easier playing on a new server becomes. Also, sell all of your BoE greens that you’re not equipping, as well as white items, like boar & crawler meat. Even just getting a little bit more than you would get from the standard vendor is worth it. 3 gold is hell of a lot more than 20 silver, especially when you’re broke at level 15. To further increase your sales, download Auctionator or a similar addon to help you out.
  • If you picked this server to play with a friend, borrow gold from them and offer to pay them back on your home server… If they also started a toon on a your “home server” to play with you, this is beneficial to you both.
  • Sell Guild Signatures… I know this contradicts my first tip, but if you haven’t found a guild yet, this is a great way to make some quick cash when you first start out. If you’re already “guilded,  you can always start another alt and just jog your level 1 Human or Troll into Stormwind or Orgimar.
  • Quest… Not everyone likes to do it, but questing is still a great way to get gold, moderate gear and a ton of XP.
  • Don’t PvP… As a general rule, PvP is a horrible way to make gold. And with the exception of Call to Arms and Alterac Valley, not a great source of XP. If you don’t care about gold or XP, and want to rape some horde anyway, go for it. Also, since you’re BoA-less, you may want to check your at-level honor vendors. The Warsong Gulch vendor, for example, sell epic level bracers at level 30 for about 50 honor. (The alliance vendor is in Southeast Ashenvale in Silverwing Grove.)

Hopefully these tips are helpful and you have a great time playing on your new server!

Heroic Ultraxion is Dead

March 13, 2012

This past week my raiding group became 2/8 heroic in Dragon Soul, killing Heroic Ultraxion. I wish I could give some tips, but even though it took us many attempts, its pretty straightforward.

Straightforward in Theory….

Assuming you know the fight on regular…in Heroic 3 people get Fading Light instead of 2, which also seems to happen more often. And the major difference is that 2 people have to stay in for Hour of Twilight, instead of just a tank. How you handle this really depends on your raid makeup and what cooldowns you have available. Oh, and you get a debuff when you take Hour of Twilight, so the same people can’t stay out twice in a row.

Our “kill group” was made up of 2 tanks (bear & prot pally), 6 dps (shadow priest, warlock, enhance shammy, hunter, fire mage and a feral druid (myself)), and 2 healers (disc priest and holy paladin). Our various mitagation cds were dispersion, deterrence, iceblock and cauterize, survival instincts, the holy pally’s bubble, and various tank cds. We set up an order of two people per Hour of Twilight ahead of time and stuck to it. The warlock, enhance shammy and disc priest never stayed out. The fight was actually very simple in theory once you get your order down. We originally tried 3 healing it, with the disc priest smiting most of the fight, me healing, and the holy pally spamming exorcism for a while, but we just didn’t have enough dps, even with the 10% nerf. So we switched to 2 heals.

The major problems we had were people missing their button for fading light or getting confused when it was “their turn” to stay out for Hour of Twilight, particularly when we got deeper into the fight for the first times. Oh, and by the way, the cast time for Hour of Twilight is A LOT faster on heroic than regular and also the countdown timer for the Fading Light debuff seemed to vary. Sometimes it was as short as 3 seconds, sometimes 5 and sometimes as high as 8. If you have an updated version of DBM, the “DBM lady” will speak and give you a countdown for Fading Light (and Hour of Twilight), but I still always looked at my actual debuff to know when to hit my button (and the actual castbar for Hour of Twilight, setting focus to the boss helps with this too). Though, you don’t get a 5 sec cooldown after you hit you’re “button” on heroic. I guess they decided that was too hard and too much RNG.

I think I Need a New Computer…

My own personal struggles with this fight, (other than going back and forth from heals to dps, which is annoying) were based on lag. In LFR, which is 25man, for whatever reason, I lag really bad on this fight on my druid, regardless of whether I’m heals or dps. It doesn’t happen on my other toons, or not nearly as much, but on my druid, with my regular amount of addons on, my frame rate starts to crash at 50% on Ultrax, and pretty much hits zero at 30% (thank god you can’t die from Hour of Twilight in LFR).

On 10man regular, my lag is okay, until the fight hits about 10%, but the fight is so on farm on regular that even if I died it wouldn’t really matter. On heroic, however, every little bit counts. Every amount of dps, and forsuredly every time you have to hit that damn button. And I quickly realized on the attempts where we got deeper into the fight, that it was going to be an issue. Through some experimenting, I had to turn off almost every addon off, including Vuhdu, which made me cry a little inside.

I still lagged pretty bad during the last 10%, but with the total not being able to Shred on Ultrax ever anyway, and having my 2 piece bonus (which lets Ferocious Bite extend my rip) my rotation is pretty simple for feral. (Spam mangle, Rip occasionally, use FB as my finisher, and when I used Tiger’s Fury I used my 4 Piece bonus free Ravage to keep Savage Roar up). So, my main concern was my button and OMG please don’t miss a Fading Light or HoT. Of course, that said, about my dps rotation, I had to turn recount off, so I have no idea how I did. But my gear is considerably worse than the “pure dpsers” in my raid group anyway.


Since we ultimately 2 healed it and I was dpsing, I can’t give much insight into this. I know they had the disc priest take red and the pally took the other 2 crystals, though I heard most groups have the holy pally take red and blue and the 2nd healer takes green. Though the green crystal is pretty worthless to most healers except shaman. I know the tank the feral tank used his 4 piece bonus as a raid cooldown liberally and the prot pally’s Divine Guardian was also always on CD.

Having not being able to run recount, I can’t tell you about the healing or dps meters. I can’t tell you what numbers we did to make this fight possible. I think you need an average of 212k dps to be able to beat the enrage, including tank dps and whatever smiting you may be doing, but don’t quote me on that. And this is Tuesday as I write this (we killed him last Thursday), and I don’t know if the fight got nerfed another 5% today or not. I do know however that when we were 2 healing, the disc priest was not in his smite spec.

Next time….

I’m not sure which fight we’re supposed to do next. We had a few attempts on both Hagara and Yor’shaj, so it’ll likely be one of those two. I see Hagara as more doable only because our attempts on Yor’shaj were pretty brutal and not every one in group seems to do their homework on heroics.

Trying Not to Go a Full Month Without a Post

February 23, 2012

Stares at blank page…..

I honestly don’t know how I go as long as I do without writing. Sometimes its because of lack of inspiration to write, or motivation, or really big need to rant. Even though I do usually have some reason or another to rant. Attendance has been plaguing my raid group once again and I wonder why “changes in raid groups” is such an overused tag on my blog. After finally getting Deathwing down, we didn’t attempt any heroics for 2 weeks because the immediate week after his fall, someone was missing. Probably two or three someones. Though an easy re-clear and a two shot on an end boss is always uplifting.

The second week after Deathwing’s demise, we killed Heroic Morchok without too much trouble. It was basically a two shot (since I’m not counting that first pull where a couple people ran in the wrong direction and we wiped right after the split), with our first real attempt getting him to 10% and the 2nd attempt was his death. We then just cleared the rest of the instance because most of the group hadn’t watched any videos on any other heroics.

The third week, again we had attendance issues. We had two pugs, one who was replacing our raid leader, and then wiped on Heroic Morchok for over an hour (I don’t even know why he was so hard, but no one was even trying to grasp the concept of the soaks) before switching him to reg and clearing the whole place for the rest of the night.

This week, our first night we had everyone! We one shot Heroic Morchok. We then worked on Yor’shaj for an hour or so. I can’t even say we made any progress. It was just a heal-y mess of debuffs, damage, adds and death. We then worked on Heroic Hagara for the rest of the night (about 45 minutes). We seemed to make a little progress on that and it seemed way more doable than Yor’shaj. So it was then decided that we would stop for the night and work on him some more the next night, and try Ultraxion.

The next night the raid leader doesn’t show up. Sigh. So we just canceled. I blame Star Wars.

It’s just frustrating because when everyone shows and actually wants to raid, my group is really really good. But this lack of dedication is incredibly irritating. 

Deathwing has Finally Fallen

January 31, 2012

This past Sunday night, on the infamous last pull of the night, through a week or two (or possibly a month or two) of attendence issues, role and member changes, and other unnecessary drama Deathwing has finally fallen.


Maddness of Deathwing Kill

Regrouping, Restructuring and the Mana Dance

January 19, 2012

So this past week or so of raiding was a nice surprise. After a busy, afk-filled holiday season and what seemed like a resto druid post-patch apocalypse at times, not to mention some restructuring, my raid group was all there. We cut back our raiding from 5 nights a week (ugh, who even thought of that) to 3 nights a week (thank fkn god!!). I think this is great for a lot of reasons. (1) Way Less Burnout, especially since we’re stuck with Dragon Soul till Kung Fu Panda (yes, I said it) comes out. (2) Some of us just don’t have time for 5 nights a week, myself included & (3) I think people will take it more seriously since each night will really count. Plus some people will have more time to play Star Wars. (Which I totally would be if it ran on Macs.)

We also had some restructuring. We lost 2 people (see Burnout), but the two that replaced them are great and we even have a rogue now for the legendary quest. And with this new group’s first week, we took down the first 5 on the first night, got the boat down the next night with a few pulls the Spine before ending early. We then killed Spine on the 3rd night, leaving almost 2 full hours for the Uber Villain of Cataclysm himself, Deathwing.

So that night I finally had a night of real attempts on Deathwing on regular difficulty (vs. Looking For Retards). And we got him to 8%.

And then last night after the reset, we cleared 7/8, with time for a few more attempts on DW and got him to 7%.

But, even more importantly, DW gave me the medium to test out my new spec and reforging. And finally, my hps was looking sexy again. I was strongly beating the Holy Radiance spammer (though I did make sure I popped Tranquility on the first platform while I had my healing buff). And the Shaman in his healing offspec and his health increase talent for suredly helped the overhealing on my Rejuv Spam. I still have to work my ass off, but it was nice to own the meters again, because the Post 4.3 Resto Druid depression was really starting to get to me.

The Mana Dance

Since Deathwing is such a long & intensive fight, the key to my throughput seems to be playing the mana dance. How much can I spam heals without going oom? With my new spec, I only have 1 point in Moonglow (gasp) and 1 point in Furor. I also reforged out of a lot of spirit and into mastery or haste depending on the piece. And with the nerf to Wild Growth’s burst AoE healing, I spam the oomage threat Rejuv like crazy now, and a whole hell of a lot more Regrowth than I ever used to as well. I rely heavily on my Innervator2 addon, and I try my hardest to only innervate during a Power Torrent proc or a Hymn of Hope. I’m also still using two mana regen trinkets (the Darkmoon Card and Jaws of Defeat, which I have macroed into my tree form but I also will pop Jaws without tree.) If I could get the trinket off of Spine it would be a nice upgrade to the Darkmoon Card, but alas, maybe next week. I also pop tree early and often to get the most out its mana savings as well as its cooldown usage.

So, my first real night Healing Deathwing I had a mana tide totem from the shaman. And that seemed to work really well. Last night, our disc priest was back and the shammy was dpsing, Which means we have a potential 4 Hymn of Hopes (since we also have a shadow priest), but Hymning can sticky at times because it needs to be channeled and it can be difficult to find the “best time.” And yeah, I don’t know if I’m gonna have enough mana for the end.

And I do know that it’s progression and an end boss and its supposed to be hard and playing the “mana dance” is gonna be part of it. And also with progression comes more mistakes as we learn, so we heal more because of the mistakes and we also heal more just in case, to prepare for those mistakes.  But still…

So amidst my mini-freakout of mana concerns, I was considering respeccing (again), for at least just Deathwing and finding another point to put back into Moonglow. And my only 2 choices are Blessing of the Grove (which I think is better than it used to be because I spam so much Rejuv now) or Nature’s Bounty, but I really like my extra crit on my Regrowth that I’m also spamming like a fiend at times, and the shorter Nourish cast comes in handy too when I’m spamming all that Rejuv.

My solution? (Err, potential solution, I’ll let you know how it goes). I got the tier helm token last night, which is one of the only 2 pieces of tier with haste on it. And my previous headpiece was my off set piece from Beth in Firelands, so I upgraded that immediately (I even used an epic red). And for the mana regen only, I sacrificed my 4 piece tier 12 bonus {(4) Set: Your Swiftmend also heals an injured target within 15 yards for the same amount.}, and upgraded my 391 tier 12 pants to the 397 tier 13 to get the 2 piece Tier 13 bonus. So now I have dual 2 piece mana regen bonuses {Tier 12: Your periodic healing from Lifebloom has a 40% chance to restore 1% of your base mana each time it heals a target.; Tier 13: After using Innervate, the mana cost of your healing spells is reduced by 25% for 15 sec.}. In theory, the 25% less mana cost on spells after innervate is better than the added 2% to the Moonglow talent. Hopefully anyway. I will miss my “Firebloom” proc though.

And what about the 4 Piece Tier 13? Well, I can’t get that until I get the chest token (the other piece of tier with haste on it). And hopefully, by then, the bigger mana pool that I’ll have from gear upgrades will make up for the loss of the 2 piece T-12 mana bonus and the risky throughput spec that I’ve got going on. And maybe I’ll have that trinket of Spine.

So, here’s hoping.