Monday, July 28, 2008

Bear Mount!

The weekend is raid time for the Drunken Badgers. Our T6 raid is on Saturday morning (I'm going by Aussie time here) and goes for 5 hours and then on Sunday we make a visit to ZA to do a 'mount run'. We like to call it 'Extreeeeeeeeem ZA' in the sign ups and it generally goes anywhere between 1.5 to 2 hours.

We've been doing the mount run for probably about 6 weeks now and each week there have been a couple of silly avoidable mistakes that have seen us miss out on the 4th timer by mere minutes, sometimes even seconds. This week we were all super focused and as we zoomed through the first bosses I think we could all feel that this could be the week. Well it was! It all came together, everyone brought their A game and wooohoooo hello bear mount. The lucky recipient was our pally tank Cliffton. Fittingly as he was the person who started the mount run in the first place. Grats Cliff! Now we just need to replicate that feat enough times that everyone else on the run can get the mount.

In other news the Badgers went to Black Temple for the second time this weekend. One shotted Naj, had a little trouble with Supremus but got him on the third attempt, one shotted Akama and then it was time to go say hi to Mr Gorefiend for the first time. I'd done my reading and I'd tried the flash game where you practice killing constructs but was unsuccessful. The flash game set up is totally different from my normal playstyle - you have to click to target and move with your mousekeys whereas in game I tab target and move with the mouse. So I was feeling very nervous. Guess who was the first to have to take on constructs on our first attempt? Yup. Failed miserably. Em took them on on a subsequent attempt and succeeded handily so I talked to him about what he did and will be changing things up a little the next time I have to perform that duty. Part of me hopes that will not be for a long time but on the other hand I need to learn how to beat them so that I'm not a liability to the raid. At least I wasn't the only person who failed heh. That said we had several attempts on Teron with our best being 3% so beating him is totally within our grasp if we can can do so well on the first time going up against him. As it is the plan is to go back to MtH until we down Archi. Hopefully this will be next week! Heh. So all in all a good weekend of raiding for the Badgers and I picked up the Ring of Deceitful Intent courtesy of Akama.

I'm so proud of our crew, according to WoWjutsu we're 21st for progression on Feathermoon and 3631 US. Pretty awesome for a group that only raids once a week in my opinion!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

So much to do, so little time

Before Wrath hits. At least it's beginning to feel like the arrival of the new xpac is that much closer with it now in beta. Pike over at Aspect of the Hare recently blogged about not really worrying about all the new Lich King info flooding the internether since she has lots of current goals to work towards. I feel the same and have been ruminating on my game goals recently. Back in February I wrote a post listing my goals and looking back over them I've done pretty well - I've got my epic birdy for Jez, levelled Seph to 70, achieved exalted with Aldor and got together a reasonable PvP set (although that's an ongoing work in progress). The only goal from that list that I haven't achieved is my Netherdrake mount and quite honestly it's because I haven't been trying. Patch 2.4 came along and I started doing the SSO dailies and haven't been back out to the Ridge since. Bad Jez!

So what are my goals now? Well I have plenty! These are all things I'd like to achieve before WotLK but I doubt I'll manage them all, which is fine, I like to have a list of things to aim for so that if I get bored with one I can work on another.

  1. Netherdrake mount - if I can get motivated to do the dailies again

  2. Crocolisk pet

  3. ZA bear mount

  4. See Sunwell - the Badgers are 4/5 in Hyjal and 3/9 in BT now so there's hope

  5. Level Katiya my mage to 70 - she's currently 45

  6. Improve my PVP skills on Seph and Jez

  7. Get a Mojo pet

  8. Level Seph's leatherworking to 375

  9. Attain my Champion of the Naaru title on Jez - just need to do heroic SL and Mags

  10. Kill Kael and get my Hand of A'dal title for Jez

  11. Attain the Vindicator PVP title on Jez

I could probably think of more but that's plenty to keep me busy - as well as farming for consumables for raiding including mats for some shadow resist gear for Mother in BT!

Are you hungering for Rash of the Itch King to arrive or do you have plenty to keep you happy and occupied in game right now?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Standing up for Druidic rights

*whispers* Hey everyone, it's me Sephi. I have to be really really quiet because I don't want to wake Miss Jez up but I heard about all the como...coma.. all the stuff going on and I think it's just really important to support my brother and sister druids out there. We can't let the big meanie corporate types oppress us! I'm just a bit worried that Miss Jez wouldn't understand, I mean, she's well, she's one of them. But I can't be quiet. I have to be brave and stand up for druids everywhere. So... *looks around carefully and takes a deep breath*


Uh oh. I think that was a bit loud *gulp*

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

What's your favourite class to kill in PVP?

Inspired by a recent post from Euripedes at CriticalQQ and some idle chatter in the BA chatroom I bring you this important question.

Thinking about it I have a hard time choosing a particular class that I like to kill the most. I pretty much enjoy squishing anyone on the opposing team but if forced to give particulars I would say:

After many many many occasions of being ganked by rogues there is something really satisfying about escaping their stun and unleashing a little DPS hell on them.

*Aimed shot* heal through that bizatch! Paladins are fun because they are so full of plate so it takes a while to wear them down. Oooh how bought a serve of viper sting with that? Admittedly I do better against pallys when they are occupied with healing their team mates.

Say hello to my 'IWinLOL' button. Gotta take these guys down fast and hope they aren't specced affliction and so can't load up a bunch of instant dots with the result that your victory dance over their corpse is cut short by your own death.

Damn warriors and their damn charge and their damn mortal strike. Combinations of frost traps, concuss, intimidation and a lot of pewpew and kiting can take these guys out with some effort. I think I have more fun cycloning them on Seph though.

There is a definite thrill in going up against your own class and seeing who comes out best. I am always amused by hunters that neglect to feign death to dislodge the pet gnawing on their kneecaps, or of course throwing down a freezing trap to take the pet out of action.

There are also situational kills that I particularly enjoy that don't relate to a specific class, such as for example, killing the flag carrier in Warsong Gulch and returning the flag, that's a good buzz. Or killing someone trying to cap a node in Arathi Basin or a tower in Alterac Valley. Hmmm my good time kills definitely seem to be defense related.

And oh oh oh!!!! In a big time first for Jezrael I actually successfully capped the flag in WSG the other day. That was super thrilling - particularly because I generally play defense in PVP and in WSG in particular am usually all about controlling mid and/or chasing the FC down and retrieving the flag. On this particular occasion I'd just finished a flag retrieval all the way to the horde flag room and unfortunately the horde flag also got returned around the same time. There were no horde in the room when the flag spawned so I figured 'carpe diem' and grabbed the flag. Heading down tunnel and hoping boots were up I encountered a couple of alliance players (a shaman and druid if I recall correctly) who helped me escort the flag back to our base. By then our flag had been picked up again so I headed to the roof. It was a funny feeling laying traps and flares to protect myself. There were a couple of horde in the flag room itself but when our flag was returned and the call went out to cap I was able to jump down almost right on top of the flag and Wooohooo! Definitely a game highlight for me :)

So spill the beans, who do you enjoy killing the most?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Hunter Raiding Consumables

I thought that maybe this might be useful information for someone out there: a list of all the consumables I take to a raid.

Our weekly raid goes for 5 hours so I make sure I have enough to last me that long. Although embarrassingly I ran out of arrows on our first Mt Hyjal visit! *blush* That NEVER happens. I had a full 24 slot quiver too! I'm packing extra these days, yay for even less bag space *grumble*

I'm not going to talk about any of the extra gear I might carry with me as this will vary from instance to instance. So, here's my list of huntery raid consumables:

  • Full 24 slot quiver of arrows plus 2 extra stacks
    I can't wait to get enough rep with Scales of the Sands to use the next level of arrows. I'm currently using the Kara rep ones.

  • 2 stacks of stat food
    I favour Grilled Mudfish because I can fish for them but Warp Burgers are yummy too nomnomnom. I also carry a stack of mp5 food in case I feel I need a little extra boost with mana but I rarely use these - more so for farming so I can keep impAotH up and not stop for mana.

  • 3 stacks of pet food
    As I fish I generally have Blackened Trout or Feltail Delight. If I've been lazy it's the old Clefthoof Ribs.

  • 2 flasks
    I use the Flask of Relentless Assault but your mileage may vary. Sad panda that I won't be able to decrease my costs via the Marks of the Illidari that drop in T5 content and can be handed in for flasks if you have the requisite reputation (exalted with Sha'tar, Cenarion Expedition and Aldor/Scryer).

  • 10 battle elixirs
    I use the Elixir of Major Agility. I take the elixirs with me because the raid is 5 hours and thus will have 1 hour when my flasks are gone.

  • 10 guardian elixirs
    I use the Elixir of Major Mageblood but am thinking of moving to Elixir of Major Fortitude or possibly Elixir of Draenic Wisdom. Depends on cost and the type of fight. I might just grab 5 of each.

  • 2 stacks of Heavy Netherweave Bandages
    If your pot/cookie healthstone cooldown is up or your damage is not that severe taking the time to bandage yourself can alleviate the work for the healers. As hunters we should be doing our best to be self sufficient so that the healers can work on keeping the tanks and those aggro pulling squishies alive *wink*

  • 2 Superior Mana Oils
    Every little bit of mana can help! Although admittedly these are not highest on my list of must have consumables I try and make sure I have at least 2 on me.

  • 10-15 Super Healing Potions
    Because bandages aren't enough sometimes and cookies run out.

  • 10-15 Super Mana Potions/Fel Mana Potions
    I generally prefer the Fel Mana pots since as a hunter I don't experience the debuff but they can sometimes be tough to get hold of (at least on my realm when I'm looking) and so will sometimes just grab normal mana potions. Now some hunters chug these on every cool down. I don't like to have to do that. Maybe I'm cheap or weird or something but I generally try to keep it to only use one of these per fight. It really depends on the nature of the fight. If I need to use them I will, after all that's why I carry them!
Well that's it. I don't think I've forgotten anything.

Edit! I did forget one other important item, thanks to Gilthoniel for bringing it to my attention:

*images courtesy of Wowhead

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Raidus interruptus

I was so pumped about our first visit to Black Temple this weekend. I mean this is the once in a not so distant past end game instance. Big bad Illy waiting to be gibbed. So now we have Sunwell, but hey it's now the penultimate end game instance and that's still pretty d@mn hot. It wasn't so long ago that BT seemed like a dream goal, something that only the uber raids saw.

I did my homework and read up on the fights, watched boss kills vids and got myself organised with plenty of flasks and pots and bandages and all the accoutrements of raiding.

My but it was exciting stepping inside the instance for the first time. The raid was in high spirits and we proceeded in our usual manner: oh look we should kill these guys *face pull* oh these ones have nasty poisonous little buggers that spawn *pewpewpew* owwwwies *multiple people go splat* ok let's consecrate and AoE them down next time. *Repull and mobs go splat* Next!

I love the fact that our raid does awesomely on bosses by regularly gets roflstomped by trash. It makes us all giggle schoolgirl like in vent. Probably because we get our game on after that rather than wiping repeatedly. It might be a different story otherwise.

One of the things that is awesome about our group is that we have people who are quick learners. Something happens, we learn from it, adjust, and success follows. We had our first attempt at High Lord Naj'entus and got him down to about 36% before wiping. We discussed what wasn't working - which was basically our raid positioning and then fired up the encounter again and BOOM boss down.

We gleefully tripped over to Supremus clearing trash on the way and then had our first shot at the big ugly 'warlocks wish they had him as demon-form' dude. Of note for hunters on this fight is having an MD rotation set up to swing the boss back to the main tank at the end of each phase 2. We wiped a couple of times and decided to get our druid tank to main tank with our normal warrior MT soaking the hurtful strikes. On the third shot BOOM another boss down. Similiar to Naj'entus the key was the raid movement - it's important to kite Supremus around the edges of the main tanking area during phase 2 so that there will be no volcanoes on the middle interfering with melee during the tank and spank and phase 1.

Legionkiller dropped which once would have been a 'WOOT' moment for the hunters, but in these days of 2.4 badge loot it was more a 'meh'. The choco-bow is actually better for BM hunters (which all four of the hunters in the raid are). It went to open roll and I won it - it'll actually be good for PVP with that stamina so I'm looking forward to trying it out - and general wootiness for my first T6 level loot even if it's not an upgrade :P

So two bosses down and we're on our way to Akama when *Emergency claxon: WHOOP WHOOP WHOOP* the phone rings, the answering machine picks up and it's Em's sister leaving a message asking where the *bleep* we are since it's her and his dad's birthday lunch and we're an hour late and they are all waiting for us. OH *BLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP*!!!! So we quickly explain to the raid what has happened, apologise and bail so we can get down to Em's sisters place. Man! Family > Warcraft always but D@MN we were in BT man, on our way to (hopefully) down a third boss on our first visit there. Raid first's are exciting and we had to bail >.<

Emelin is completely to blame for getting the dates mixed up. Still we made it down there and had a fun afternoon eating good food, drinking good wine and surreptitiously discussing our wonderings on how the raid was doing in our absence *grin*

I can report that Akama was downed too so that puts the Badger raid at 2/5 Mount Hyjal and 3/9 Black Temple after one visit to each. Sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Raiding at the right time?

So just for the record the post title is a play on Paul Simon's song 'Born at the right time' not 'Bjorn at the right time' which is a travesty of nature. Ok Euridipes? :P

Down amongst the mobs
A drunken guild is found
Their eyes are red and bleary
For there are beers being downed

Never been hardcore
Never been leet
Never had to face burn out fear
Nothing demanded
Of the player who tries
The raid warning chimes
And the whole group whispering
Raiding at the right time

Me and my guildies we are relaxed people
We like to raid when we want
See all the content
All the way from Kara to the temple
I see them in Shattrath
Getting those enchants
They ask me for gem cuts
Their Jewelcrafting friend

Never been hardcore
Never been leet
Never had to face burn out fear
Nothing demanded
Of the player who tries
The raid warning chimes
And the whole group whispering
Raiding at the right time

Too many people on the pre-lich king down
Too many raiders say they can't find the time
The Outlands groan
Every time another raider gives up

But down amongst the mobs
A drunken guild is found
Their eyes are red and bleary
For there are beers being downed

Never been hardcore
Never been leet
Never had to face burn out fear
Nothing demanded
Of the player who tries
The raid warning chimes
And the whole group whispering
Raiding at the right time

Ok so that's, I'm pretty confident, a fairly sucktacular parody of the song. Oh well, you can all tell me how lame it is in the comments and I'll have a good giggle *grin*

But amid the lameness there is a topic I want to address. I've read in my many locations recently of guilds with recruiting woes, of people feeling burnt out with lich king looming and current content staring to pall, of leadership problems within people's existing raids and people who want to raid but can't seem to find their niche. I feel for the people experiencing these issues but I can't say I'm one of them. So I ask myself why?

Right now recruitment has never been better for the Drunken Badger raid. We have plenty of people applying to raid with us and a pretty solid regular roster. Why is this? I think it boils down to a couple of things:

Word of mouth
We've been successful (some might say very successful) in T5 and the word has got out. We went to Mt Hyjal for the first time this week and although we had quite a few undergeared subs due to the fourth of July holiday we downed both Rage Winterchill and Anetheron and came within decent distance of Kaz'rogal.

I could be ungracious and say that the Sunwell/T6 raiders are now seeing us as a good group to 'slum' with and do some raiding on their alts who aren't committed to more hard core raids. But there is actually at least one T6 experienced raider I know who has joined us in preference over their previous raid. Why?

Relaxed Attitude
Don't get me wrong - we take our raiding seriously. We're prepared, we address performance issues and we do our research, but we also enjoy a drink or two while we raid and have a good time, bringing our sense of humour to the raid as well as our consumables and etc. There has never ever been a situation where the raid leader has bawled anyone out on vent. We don't roll that way. If we wipe we assess the situation and tweak our strategy. We don't play the blame game and we don't call people out in a negative way in public channels. It's the whole group too, we don't tolerate total asshats no matter how well they're geared - everyone brings their A attitude with their A game. Which is not to say that I'm not sometimes gnashing my teeth by the end of the raid because we're all getting tired - but there is a strong level of mutual respect and maturity amongst the group so no-one freaks out. Well, really freaks out in a long-term bad affect on everyone kind of way hehe.

Raid scheduling
From what I can tell we are one of the few raiding guilds at the T5/T6 (we've just started T6 last week) level who only raid this content once a week. We have other Kara/ZA runs during the week and might throw together a random Gruuls/Mags but just the one T6 25 man raid. This makes it easier for a lot of people who can't commit to heavier schedules, which from what I read of the woes of those people who want to raid this content but are time poor, makes us a pretty attractive proposition.

I've been reading Chick GM and Lume the Mad lately - two excellent blogs written by guild leaders, and their ruminations on leadership have got me thinking about the leadership within the Drunken Badgers. We don't precisely have an extremely structured hierarchy. We have 4 to 5 people who have been willing to take on leadership roles and they coordinate loot, raid strategies, performance issues and recruitment. But from where I'm sitting I feel that the guild, and the raid are run on reasonably democratic lines. We generally come up with a plan and then raise it with the guild/raiders where it affects them for discussion (although at the end of the day the leadership team will make a final call if required). An example of this approach is the way we moved to T6 content. It was stated that once 17/25 regular raiders voted to move to T6 then we'd do T5 for 2 more weeks and then move to T6. A thread was maintained in the forums and people who didn't post were polled in game. Once the requisite number was reached we moved. I believe this is a successful approach because people feel empowered - they are part of the decision making, there's no arbitrary ruling handed down from on high, the process is quite transparent. However - there are structures put in place by the leadership to facilitate this.

So I find myself in a good spot. I'm not feeling disillusioned with the pre-expansion blues because I'm working at and achieving things I want to within the game - seeing new content. I'm hoping to get a bear mount before the expansion simply because it's a goal to aim for. I think this comes down to being part of a group that's doing things successfully right now. I remember that pre-TBC I was subbing every week with a group doing MC/ZG/AQ-20 and that was kinda cool - but I was just a sub. I spent most of my time doing BG's because there didn't seem any point doing anything else. I think that's perhaps where a lot of people are at now. To be honest I kind of feel the amount of hype and overload of information about the expansion is partly to blame for people's growing feelings of ennui. I tend to ignore the flood of information out there, nothing is completely certain yet and I'm busy enjoying the here and now, the future will take care of itself.

Lassira over at The Hunter's Mark has made a couple of posts recently about being casual by circumstance and in the most recent post talks about leaving a guild if it's not going in the direction you want to be. I couldn't agree more. When TBC came out I was a member of a small guild of RL friends, we barely had enough toons to run instances let alone raid. I knew that I wanted to raid and the whole 'reset' of TBC was a good chance to start putting the wheels in motion to achieve that goal. A chunk of the guild had disappeared horde side and weren't interested in raiding really anyway so I convinced Emelin that we should leave, and leave we did, joining up with the Badgers who at the time had a grand total of 5 toons in their guild but had the same goals we did. It was the right choice to make. Be proactive in attaining your goals - you can make it happen I promise.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Random musings

I always think of some many topics to blog about during the day and try to remember to make notes of them so I can eventually get around to writing said posts. I also think of specific snippets which don't really make a whole post. Hence random musing time!

Shout out to the Twisted Nether Blogcast guys Fim and Bre! I had no idea you talked about my recent post about raiding laziness on episode 5, whee! If you haven't checked this blogcast out I urge you to do so - it's chock full of goodness. It was interesting to hear Fim and Bre's views on the whole laziness issue, they had a slightly different take on it from me - talking about the differences between alts going through farm content as opposed to new raiders but not really touching on the issue of people who have been in the guild for some time and raiding for some time but who still make no real effort to gem or enchant - except to say that if people aren't pulling their weight they have no compunctions about telling them to lift their game. I want to hear Bre's firm voice *grin*.

I am finding it even more difficult to keep up with my blog feeds these days. So many good blogs and so little time to read, comment and also actually write some decent content myself. I like to comment but am finding that I'm so intent on reading so many feeds that I'm spending less time commenting. This must be addressed!

In a non wow related note - I would like to take traditional advertising agencies out the back and beat them with lead piping in the shape of comic sans font for the monstrosities of website design they visit on their hapless clients

Hanging out in the BA chat room with a bunch of great fellow bloggers has been awesome fun - although I have to make sure I don't spend too much time chatting since I'm at work at the time. It's cool to get to talk directly to many of the bloggers I read. I've also added a whole bunch of new blogs to my feed (hence my issue above heh) and I'm getting inspired to write some posts on my view of several topics floating around in the nether.

That's it for my random musings, thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

PVP as a feral druid, stop laughing!

It took me some time to work out how to pvp on Jezrael, what abilities to bring into play, how to perform a role appropriate to the abilities of the hunter class. I'm pretty confident when I pvp now on my huntress although I'm by no means uber. With Sephiroh I'm experiencing that learning curve once again. A combination of sucktastic gear (for pvp anyway) and uncertainty about what I can best bring to the fray leaves me feeling pretty much next to useless a lot of the time.

After some fairly intensive bouts in various BGs I'm starting to get it together though and tonight I was able to pick up my first piece of PVP gear: the Merciless Gladiator's Kodohide Legguards.

But wait, you're thinking, you're feral aren't you? Yes, yes I am and I'm going to confess that I don't respec for bgs and hope and pray that Megan doesn't appear and smite me for bad form.

What I have discovered so far is that feral and BGs are not a grand love affair - unless of course tanking Drek or Galv in AV is on the cards. Therefore whilst in PVE land I'm having good times tanking or off tanking around the place I am getting my healy kicks in BGs. After playing a hunter for so long I get a kick out of buffing everyone as well as keeping people alive. Even though I'm feral I'm also in possession of a pretty decent healy set and am sitting at just under 14k healing with around 10k mana. I guess that's one good side of druids being such a gear dependent class - I can be feral and still push out some decent heals. The most annoying thing currently is that I'm just too squishy in mostly PVE gear - but that will change as I get more honour and thus more gear. Naturally the first thing I grabbed was my trinket with the 2min cd.

I've found different BGs require different behaviours but consistent to all of them is me running around healing people, entangling warriors and rogues and throwing cyclones on casters and especially healers. One thing that I'm needing to finesse is making sure I don't throw a cyclone on a player who is actually just about to get smacked down and instead making sure I am taking care of the ones who aren't receiving any special *love* from my colleagues.

I've found WSG to be the hardest BG for me by far to date. I'm not confident (or geared) enough to run the flag and am finding it challenging to work out what I'm most useful doing.

Some of my favourite moments in BGs on Seph so far:

In AV jumping from healer to tanky gear and tanking Drek, love that flexibility. Also healing a rogue consistently as we pushed the RH and having him be very grateful and trading me a stack of mage food as thanks.

In WSG, keeping the flag carrier alive so that we could cap and on the other hand being a sneaky kitty and keeping a horde FC pounced and maimed long enough for back up to arrive. Lucky it arrived quickly cos stun locking ain't a kitty ability.

In AB: sneaky node capping and also keeping the melee alive defending nodes.

All said and done in BGs the flexibity of the druid class really gets to shine. As I get better gear and am harder to kill I look forward to being more and more useful. Maybe I'll even give arena a shot. Maybe.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Radio Silence

So it's been pretty quiet on the western front of late. The reason for this is that I've unfortunately been pretty ill with a nasty nasty strain of gastro. It was so bad that I couldn't even face gaming for days. Yep, you know you've gotta be pretty sick when you're a gamer and the idea of even logging in makes you turn pale. Thankfully I'm now feeling much better and raring to go, which means back to work and also time to start researching ready for the DB raids first visit to Mt. Hyjal this weekend. Well assuming we get enough people signed up since it's the fourth of July weekend for those crazy Americans. I'm just glad to be feeling human again and enthused about going back to work and getting back into gaming!