Tag Archives: Shaman

World of Warcraft – Agreeing with Servitob


You may have noticed that the blog has been unusually quiet over the past few weeks. This is primarily down to a rather unusual set of circumstances which have resulted in the coming into the world of the very first ZombiePirate mk2. My wife and I are now enjoying a 3 hour sleep/feed cycle and understandably between hospital visits and being at home with a newborn little time has been left to really indulge in my normal activities.

That being said, I am now back at work following paternity leave and, with things settling down, am finding time to once again grab a few moments to myself when not needed elsewhere.

As hinted at in the title of this post I am beginning to come around to be of the same opinions as Servitob. My quiet time is generally composed of some time in Azeroth at the moment. I’ve been enjoying my Shaman a lot. Not doing anything specifically but enjoying my time and running Tol Barad in the main. However, my main issues right now are with the LFD system that Servitob mentioned in his post about taking a break.

While I had the good fortune to run a few dungeons with him before he upped and left I am now bereft of that partner for my own dungeons. However, LFD is becoming a constant source of failure and annoyance. I tend to get thrown in as a healer using my resto spec, I do not mind this at all, healers provide a vital service in a group and as I can, I will and have done so with some success, however, in the past week I cannot remember having completed a single random Heroic through the LFD system!

This kind of rate of failure warrants some kind of investigation, after all, there must be some reason as to why this keeps happening and let’s face it, perhaps me as the Healer could be the cause, I’m not going to rule myself out as something that can be improved upon. Now, primarily my Shaman has been Elemental and the DPS I do is pretty decent, I was doing 10.8k in Baradin Hold last time I was there which netted me 3rd on the Damage Meter and I was very happy with that. My gear is actually ideal for healing Heroics and my achievements attest to the fact that it is possible, I’ve had some really wonderful groups after all, but through all this there is one glaring problem when these groups fail! A lack of DPS.

Now, simply stating that the DPS is poor doesn’t really help anybody out so I think I need to go a little further in my explanation rather than just flagging the DPS as poor. Having a primary spec that is DPS and having done DPS I think I qualify as someone who knows what they are talking about and am qualified to offer advice. Heroics are not a walk in the park these days, nor should they be, you have to use the tools at your disposal to overcome the challenge, this is a bit of a throwback to the Burning Crusade and I rreally enjoyed running those with my real life friends in the guild we ran together. Yet, if everyone pulls their weight and knows what to do these challenges are pretty easily overcome yet the mentality in LFD is that you load in and should ROFLstomp your way to victory with no effort.

Due to my being an Elemental Shaman really I have the DPS mods on my UI, I have Recount and Omen so can measure damage and threat easily enough so I am watching what is going on. Last night I was healing Heroic Throne of Tides and the very first pull consisting of two Spiritmenders and two big melee chaps, normally you nail the healers first before taking anything else out. Our group didn’t, in fact the Guardians were dropping before the Spiritmenders, this fight took around 10 minutes to complete due to all the healing the mobs were doing. I knew from this point (and going virtually OOM on the first pull) that this group was not going to do well. It was composed of a Pally tank, Kitty Druid, DPS Warrior, a Warlock and me healing. I’ve finished this place on Heroic more than once so I know how the place works. That first pull was a true /facepalm but I persevered. I told them to drop the healers first.

The next few pulls didn’t go much better, melee DPS standing still in puddles of poison (I will not heal people through it, you need to learn to move!) and things were very slow. I left before the first boss due to an average of 6.5k DPS and trash fights wiping people as the mobs were killed in poor orders and not even attempted to be crowd controlled.

To be honest this was the icing on the LFD cake for me a true travesty of a group that I knew had no chance of making it past the first boss let alone to the end of the instance. The DPS warrior was doing a massive 5.8k dps too, way too low for Cataclysm heroics and his lack of movement away from danger areas meant he died twice on pretty simple trash pulls.

I switched over to¬† my DK tank and thought I’d try a normal, we went into Blackrock Caverns, I got us through to the third boss with no problems, I’ve been wiped on those elemental pulls a lot when Cata first dropped so getting through that was nice. However this was my first time tanking the boss, I knew the mechanics but would be doing this for the first time and it is a gimmicky fight so we wiped pretty quick on the first try, second try went better but still wiped. When one of the DPS asked if I was retarded I left the group. I’m not here to deal with that kind of abuse, I was the second tank in that group after joining before the second boss so who knows what they did to the first guy. It pretty much put me off tanking now as I don’t want to spend my time in gimmicky fights like that. I’ll stick to my DPS or healing ways where I know what I am doing.

Running dungeons is becoming a real strain and I am noticing myself having an increasinly belligerent attitude to those people in there. In general it seems to be the melee DPS classes that cause the most issues in terms of underperforming, whether this is a class issue or player issue I think we can gloss over for now. The only real fun I’ve been having is in running Tol Barad, both the dailies and the PvP scenario as well as a couple of other PvP battles.

I know that the answer to many of these issues could be a “run dungeons with your guild” but that too presents issues. We have almost 200 people in our guild, at most we have maybe 10 online at a time and only a handful of those will be 85 and most of the time off doing their own thing. We don’t have the numbers online to run pure guild dungeons and even when we have tried this some of them must have been running it in their RP gear or something because again subpar DPS meant fights were taking far too long stretching my mana reserves and making fights harder.

I really believe that in many instances (pun not intended) the problem with DPS is that they are expecting everyone else to do the work, that they can waltz in, do their mediocre DPS and get carried through to get Epics and that just isn’t the case anymore. Yes it might have worked in Wrath but now we’re almost ignorning that content and going back to when you had to learn fights and control those mobs. If you can do this you can win but few people seem to be aware of this and I am running out of patience to try and help. Sure I could go and find another guild, one that allows me to run those dungeons with an all guild group, but I don’t really want to do that as I’ve made a big contribution to the current guild and don’t want to just abandon them as they are good guys and gals.

However, just like Servitob WoW is becoming a chore rather than a place of rest, while I may still be on here and there to do the PvP I do enjoy at the end of the day I am a PvE person. I missed raiding in vanilla, TBC and Wrath and I wanted to see it with Cata but more and more I am thinking that when my current subscription expires I may not renew, at least for a little while.

Perhaps a change of game will help, I get paid on Tuesday and I’ve been watching Rift quite closely and I did enjoy it in beta.

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ZombiePirate – Feel Like Starting a White Tickbird Hatchling Nursery


Good morning Interwebs. Cataclysm has been live for around a week and a half now which means, of course, that about 11 out of the 12 million reported Warcraft players are level 85 by now. Not so with yours truly. In a rare example of restraint (or perhaps the fact me and Vashj’ir don’t see eye to eye) I find myself sitting around 20% off level 83. I’m getting there but in my own time.

So, what have I been doing in the meantime? Well, this week has been pretty good actually and I’m happy with the progress I’ve been making. I’ve done some mining, not a lot really but selling a few stacks here and there to keep some money coming in, although all the quest rewards and unusable loot has been going for sale too. I finally finished the grind for my Mag’har rep! I’d done the quests and then found the place with the fastest Ogre respawn and they also dropped Obsidian beads for the hand ins with regularity. This netted me all the Talbuks and also took me over 50 mounts so I can now fly around on the Albino Drake. The only difference between my old main my Priest and my Shaman now is a few reputation rewards which I’m really not all that bothered about. I also jumped into a PUG Sunwell Plateau raid which was interesting, it was one of the many TBC raids that I missed out on and isn’t a walkover even with a group of 80+ characters.

I joined in with some of my guild to bag some achievements to help level us up, we did Zul’Farrak and then tried Caverns of Time (which doesn’t have a guild achievement for it apparently) and then went off to do Ahn’Qiraj we cleared the lower of the two raids and then tried to three man the 40 man version, that didn’t go so well and I imagine we’ll go back with a bigger party for retribution. I did get a Yellow and a Blue Tank though to help me on my way towards those 50 mounts.

Then, last night I actually went through a whole Blackrock Caverns instance with a mostly guild group. I got a few upgrades along the way and had been doing some questing alongside. I’ve now finished the Naga Battlemaiden quest chain in Vashj’ir and am trying to get the zone finished so I can move onto somewhere else and give that a try.

Overall my Shaman doesn’t really have much Wrath gear left, most of it is now quest/dungeon blues and greens. This has added around 1000 spellpower to my stats and given me heading towards 50k health and over 30k mana. I am noticing swift and meaty increases in my DPS as well and I didn’t consider my DPS as low in the first place.

Glyph prices are high at the moment so I still haven’t glyphed the resto spec that I have purchased recently. I’ll be doing that as our guild raid team may be short of healers and I’ve been asked if I want to take part when I hit 85, which of course I do. This expansion is one I want to participate in and with only 5 levels to go up it should be easier. I am collecting rested and have more than enough to hit 83, I’m just hoping the next zone is a little more fun, I may go to Deepholm as that looks pretty nice from when I warped in there last night.

While there are still those who argue that WoW is getting dumbed down that is not something I am feeling from the dungeons with greater emphasis placed on tactics for the fights it makes people think and work together otherwise things don’t get done. I also think people are getting more used to wipes although a DPS Warrior in our group last night insisted that our Druid (my Guild Leader) ninja’d a piece of loot! What happened was that when the boss died people needed on it and the Druid won, the DPS Warrior did a /roll after the loot had been given out by the system and proceeded to whine that he had won it and needed to be given it or he would submit a report to Blizzard… He then needed on a pure Agility trinket over the Hunter in our group and said he’d give that to the Hunter when the Druid gave him the other loot, shockingly no one was going to be held to ransom and he got booted from the group. If you play on Argent Dawn beware of groups with an Orc Warrior called Rhadish, I’m not sure what server he was from but certainly a special snowflake!

Still, I’m having fun even if I am going slower than the rest of the server, I can tell you that the Cataclysm starter zones are a lot less crowded now, which is a good thing!

Oh and two more Oracles Eggs still haven’t produced that Proto-Drake….

Cataclysm – “I Know How to Queue, I’m British”


Another day, another post about Cataclysm as the blogosphere erupts now a new expansion has descended upon the gaming fraternity (and sorority if you believe that there are actually women on the Internet).

Last night was a night spent at home, I’d therefore be able to spend some time doing whatever and with Cataclysm out it’s more likely I’m going to be diving into Warcraft than sitting at my table painting. Although I do need to do some more of that!

The greatest problem to that at the moment is that every man and his dog that has ever had a character on Argent Dawn now seems to want to get in on the action, there are queues of between 1400 and 2000 people at most times since the midnight launch of Cataclysm. After dinner last night I fired up the PC and logged in, around 1900 people in the queue so I went to do the washing up, I figured that would kill some time and reduce the waiting time.

When I did actually get to the PC there were still 1400 odd people queueing so I had time to kill with an estimated one hour till I’d get to the front and be able to log in. I’d started WoW at 8pm and the household chores took me up till around 8.30 pm. Rather than sitting and watching the numbers tick down (or up as they managed to do from time to time) I thought I’d take the opportunity to play some Lord of the Rings Online. It’s now Free to Play and I had downloaded the client the previous week. I’d already created an Elven Hunter with one of my two character slots but fancied trying something a little different so I fired the game up and created Vayl, an Elven Lore-keeper. I went through the tutorial again and started the quests around the ruins of Endhelion (sp?).

I got up to level 6 before WoW was less a minute from letting me in and it was nice to take a break from an MMO I’ve got a lot of experience with. Free to Play means I can dive in and out at will and I did enjoy the more story-based aspect of the questing, it felt like I was actually doing something rather than picking up arbitrary jobs for random people too lazy to do it themselves. If long queues persist then I can see me spending more time exploring the LOTRO world.

When WoW did finally let me in I fired up Phake who was in Dalaran, checked my Oracles Egg that had hatched into yet another White Tickbird Hatchling (I could start my own breeding business with the amount of them that have popped for me) and flew off to Warsong Hold (grabbing another Egg on the way of course). I took the blimp to Orgrimmar, got the auto-quest for Cataclysm, grabbed my Azeroth flying license and sailed off into the sunset.

Vash’jir is quite an interesting diversion from the normal quest zones, being underwater and having to watch x, y and z axes is a new experience for MMO play. Sure you’re still killing X of this and collecting Y of that but the environment is certainly pretty, it’s just a shame that it is so overcrowded with at least 10-15 people doing the same quests as you are. I also saw my first level 85 in the flesh.. I almost felt sorry for them! I didn’t have a huge amount of time so quit the game having gotten around 20% towards 81, it’s going by pretty quickly with the small amount of rested XP I’d built up from logging off Monday night. I look forward to getting to spend longer than the hour before getting to bed trying things out.

For the last ten minutes of my play time I created a new Worgen Hunter, I played through the first part of the starting zone and have to say that it was absolutely fantastic! I don’t want to spoil it for those people who haven’t seen it yet but if you have the spare character slots I’d roll a Worgen and go sample it. Sure it plays off some Victorian era horror stereotypes but I love it. While I’m taking my Shaman to 85 I might be levelling another Alliance character… I want to stick with Horde but the Worgen are cool and I do need to try the new levelling experience and all my money is on Alliance side.

So far then Cataclysm is looking good, the new zones I need more time with as I am evidently one of the few people on Argent Dawn who have a full-time job and go to bed at a reasonable hour while also spending time right back as being a noob with one of the 3 new characters I have created using the new race/class combinations.

ZombiePirate Awaits the Cataclysm


Despite taking time out to administer a kicking to Gribblin’s effeminate migrants last week I’ve been spending more time recently in Azeroth as a kind of break from everything really. While I certainly haven’t been full-time I’ve taken some opportunities to relax and enjoy myself before cracking open more blister packs and boxsets to get on with what I need to do to reinforce my War of the Ring force and make a start on all that Dark Eldar goodness.

It is a widely held belief that the patch that deals with the breaking of Azeroth will arrive tomorrow, I’ve done some of the quests involved in the Cataclysm event but haven’t really taken much time out to participate in the city defence parts. Instead I’ve been chilling out on my Troll Shaman, Phake, doing stuff I want to do. This has seen me running around various places just grabbing some fun achievements as well as ducking inside Heroics through the LFD system. Phake now has a raw gearscore of 4.4k not accounting my gems and enchants (not fully gemmed and enchanted yet hence GS won’t take all things into account). I’m certainly enjoying playing my Shaman again and am now kitted out with three Tier 9 pieces, only the legs and chest to go!

My latest achievements are pretty cool as far as I am concerned, I’ve been in some dungeon groups that have been just awesome as well as the ones you hear about more frequently that suck ass. Last night I finished off my Ambassador achievement for getting Exalted with all five Horde cities. I just need to do some Kodo shopping now to possess all the mounts. I wanted to get this finished before Cataclysm as I am not sure what is going to happen considering there will be new cities and the world is going to change dramatically. I’ll also have to admit that it is also kind of cheat for me. Phake was originally Lekktra, a Draenei Shaman and was Exalted with Stormwind and Darnassus before switching across to the Horde when she was 80. This gave me a leg up in terms of finishing off the rest of the cities, Thunderbluff was the longest and hardest, I did all the newbie quests in Mulgore, some dungeon quests, cleared out Thousand Needles and still needed some from Ferelas before hitting the target. I have a shiny new title and no need to bother worrying about reputation anymore.

I also achieved my Northrend Dungeon Hero. Considering I have played Wrath on and off since it was released it was only last night I came across the Bog Lord type boss in Ahn’kahet…. I seriously didn’t know this guy existed as I have never ever seen anybody actually do it. When I got ported in there last night I asked the PUG if anyone minded doing all the bosses as it was the last place I needed to go for that Achievement. They kindly agreed. So we went through even doing the achievement for the first boss of not killing any guardians. We rocked through the place but after killing the final boss the Healer quit but the rest of the group wanted to help me grab my achievement, I was stunned to find a group of players willing to go out of their way to help me. It was a shame though that none of them were from my own server! (I don’t think anyone on Argent Dawn runs Heroics anymore, or that’s the way it seems). I was tasked with healing, despite being a single spec Elemental Shaman. So, I switched some totems around, popped Earthliving on my weapon and fired Water Shield up. We then proceeded to 4 man a boss I’d never seen before and had no idea of tactics, no-one even died!

I went and got my T9 helmet with all the Justice Points I’d earnt (taking me up to 3 pieces) gemmed all my stuff up now I am at the hit cap and logged off early for the night happy with my progress. I’ve achieved what I wanted to do before Azeroth changes (Ambassador Phake woot!) and even though in a few weeks the gear landscape is going to change I like progressing my Shaman back to a half decent level. While friends and I might well be making a reunion for Cataclysm (Blood Elf warrior maybe) I’ll probably still want to get Phake up to 85 when I can.

Tonight I think I’ll be back onto the modelling to give me a break from the computer, I have to do something with some Easterlings!

Trolling World of Warcraft


Since the in-laws dropped in on our family a few weeks ago the painting gear has been tidied away in its little box. This has meant no further models have been painted in my War of the Ring force although the collection has grown by several miniatures since then! I, of course, need to correct this and am thinking my unit of Morgul Knights should be the quickest and easiest to get painted before I try finishing off the Easterlings.

Over the weekend I also gave myself properly to the Truekin, having read the new Dark Eldar Codex from cover to cover and planning out my 1500pts army list. I started off by putting down all the units I’d like to include and to my surprise came in 254pts short after putting those in. I then went to town on expanding some units and increasing the number of others. I even made my first few purchases on Saturday to start things off, looks like my un-retirement is now confirmed. The Orks are still destined for the sale bins though, they’ve been a lot of fun and have done me proud, however, it is time for me to return to my first love.

Speaking of first love, the gaps in my schedule that would usually be used for painting have been taken up with other hobbies. For me that is gaming on my PC. I’ve been pottering around in WoW getting myself ready for the Cataclysm with various alts. In January of this year I went through the drastic act of selling off all my characters gear and deleting them. I then stopped playing for around 6 months and was very happy. I was happy to come back too and got my character restored, however, their gear was of course all gone. I was back playing Alliance with friends so what money I did have was on a level 1 alt, I got my two 80’s restored and shipped my Priest back to the Alliance with a good chunk of moolah. My on-again, off-again nature with WoW has meant that I’ve missed out on a lot of the end game content for this expansion, the same as what happened with Burning Crusade. I was talking with Servitob the other night about perhaps trying to regear one of my 80s. The only gear I had on my Shaman was the T8 chest and gloves, a necklace, two trinkets and a ring, that was it. Therefore I knew there was no-way I’d be allowed to run Heroics, I’d get kicked out of the group for sure. So, I hatched a plot about wearing the Darkspear Warrior disguise from the Echo Isles liberation questline as that would hide all the gear I am missing! It was so devious it might actually work too…

I went to Orgrimmar and sat opposite the Heroic Target Dummy to see what I could do, I dropped my totems and managed just over 1000 dps. I then signed up for some normal 80 dungeons. I ended up running a couple of the Tournament 5 mans which got me some shoulders and a main weapon, I’d pulled a shield from my bank and grabbed a few items from quest rewards in Icecrown and rep items (cloak and belt) to round me out. Yesterday evening, after having spent a few hours in the afternoon running normal dungeons, I decided to chance an Heroic. It popped me into that same Tournament 5 man as I’d been doing on normal earlier. We walked it! Not only that but I was holding my own DPS wise against guys who were obviously way more geared than I was. I also ended up doing Heroic Utgarde Keep, Timed Culling of Strat, TotC, Azjol-Nerub, Forge of Souls and the Oculus. This got me my Northrend Dungeon Master achievement and a hell of a lot more gear! I got a load of Justice Points and grabbed myself a new belt which was a huge upgrade. In fact, the only item I am now missing are boots and most of my gear slots are once again filled with Epics. In around 3 or 4 hours I went from a well undergeared and virtually naked character to having a gearscore of 3600. Sure, that’s not a huge number but when I was hovering around 1k at the start of the day it’s amazing what a few dungeons have done and I’m very glad I did it.

Not only was it a hell of a lot of fun but I feel like I have a viable level character to do things with in the few weeks up till Cataclysm. Getting used to the way an Elemental Shaman plays after 4.0.1 has been interesting and I am liking it a lot. This was my favourite character to play in the past and is just as much fun now. I look forward to getting those boots I’m missing and going through some things I had missed out on when I quit. My Horde characters have next to no money, something I can correct having earnt 400g just from the dungeons I did. The fact that I can hold my own and feel like I am contributing to the group is very fulfilling when I thought I’d be dragging them down and making people work harder. It does almost seem too easy but I am happy to be back at the top-level again, I might not be kitted out in full tier 10 or whatever but I now have more options about things I can do.

Phake the Troll is back setting stuff on fire and then shooting lightning up its ass! Times are good.