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Wandering

If you have read even a few posts on this blog, you know I am an unrepentant altoholic. So it should come as no surprise that this post is about yet another new character of mine.

A little while back, I got the inexplicable urge to create a new warrior character, and because I somehow only recently noticed how awesome male Pandaren combat animations are, that is what I made him. His name is Bearbuns, and I’m not even remotely sorry.

I always thought the Wandering Isle was gorgeous. All the little details, all the little tidbits of Pandaren life, all the beautifully colorful scenery. I took some screenshots because I don’t think people slow down enough anymore to notice some of the cool stuff, and I wanted to take the time to explore and enjoy myself rather than blasting through the quests as fast as possible. I always feel a sense of loss when I’m forced to choose a side and leave the Isle forever, even though I know I can always roll a new character if I want to go back and explore.

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Post-Blizzcon Reactions

A few days ago I made a prediction post. I then bought myself a virtual ticket (worth the money, in my honest opinion), hooked the laptop up to our flatscreen, and geeked out for a few days.

First off, I would love to attend Blizzcon in person some day. I don’t live all that far from Anaheim, but the cost of the physical tickets is a limiting factor for me. Add on cost of gas, cost of lodging and food and it gets a little out of my price range…by several hundred bucks. Some day. Some day.

Even watching the online feed, I was enamored of the entire event. So many people wandering around that had the same interests that I did. So many excited folks who loved the game I loved. Costumes! Such amazing cosplayers. Did you catch the costume contest the first day? The guy dressed as the practice dummy got my vote for the grand prize, but everyone had such wonderful costumes it was hard to pick!

The vibe of the whole event was just so infectious. Everyone there loved Blizzard games. No one (I hope) would pay that much for a ticket just to go there and hate everything they saw. So it was a gathering of super passionate gamers all excited for new announcements. It’s the kind of atmosphere I sorely miss around the internet, where so many people are critical and negative and sometimes downright nasty little trolls. It’s sometimes hard to stay positive about a game when so many people are screaming negativity all around you. Blizzcon was just stuffed full of happy, smiling, excited people who cheered every little announcement and laughed at every silly joke and I loved it. It was refreshing.

Watching Blizzcon got me super pumped for the next expansion, even if it is still a long ways off. And seeing all of these announcements with my own eyes helped me make my own opinions about them, rather than reading about them second-hand from a fan site and picking up the author or columnist’s opinions. No matter how hard we try, we infuse everything we write with our own feelings, and I wanted to see these new features without having someone else’s opinion taint my own. The result? I’m psyched.

But moving on. I made some predictions. Let’s see how I did.

A New Race
Nope. Not in this expansion, apparently. I’m sort of surprised, and sort of not. We are going to Draenor and their two major races are already playable. But wouldn’t it be cool to see arakkoa or another indigenous race made playable? Then again, these aren’t the arakkoa we knew in Outland…regardless, I’m sad that we will see neither a new race nor a new class this expansion, because I love the possibilities they bring to the game play.

Ten New Levels
Spot on! Though we can all agree that was pretty obvious. I’m happy to see ten levels instead of five, maybe just for the nostalgia of Wrath and Burning Crusade eras.

A New Planet
Called it! So super excited to see Draenor in it’s prime before it was shattered. The art for the new zones looked incredible and I cannot wait to see them in person.

A Return to Old Lore
I wanted to see some of Azeroth’s already established names come back into play and I got it. So many orcs. Blackhand, Durotan, omg. So excited. I love orcs, no matter how many of them we keep running in to. The only orc I don’t like is Garrosh.

A New Profession
Nothing here. It was wishful thinking anyway. Then again, much of the expansion has yet to be announced. Maybe we will see a new secondary profession, or major overhauls to old ones?

Mobile Pet Battles
With everything that has been introduced with Warlord’s of Draenor, I have to admit what I was most looking forward to was something about a mobile version of our pet battle system. I was disappointed that there wasn’t an exclusively pet battles panel (and very much aware of why that wouldn’t happen) but somewhere towards the end of the second day, a fan asked a question that mirrored my own heart: what about mobile pet battles? And Cory Stockton, my favoritest person ever, gave the best answer he possibly could: we think it would be awesome, we want to do it and we’re looking in to it, but it’s not in the works yet. Rest assured that if this ever makes it off the drawing board and to an iPad near you, I will be the happiest person alive.

An Updated Transmog System
Another fan asked this question, and while I can’t find it right now for a quote the answer was basically that they’re looking for better ways to do the transmog system in WoW, and they almost announced it at Blizzcon but didn’t want another Dance Studio debacle should they be forced to scrap those plans. I am begging on bended knee for a system like the upcoming Diablo 3 system.

New Character Models
There really was no chance this wasn’t going to be announced. It’s a major draw for many people. One of my friends who quit WoW back in Cata saw the new models and announced she wanted to play again (for reasons more numerous than that, but it was a factor). I watched the art panel with my jaw on the floor. The new art for the character models is astonishing, folks. If you haven’t seen it for yourself yet, Google it. Now. Only a few races got the full preview at Blizzcon but the art panel revealed a bit of artwork for several other races. Undead males look terrifyingly awesome and male tauren, always one of my favorites, just look incredible. I’m hopeful that male night elves will blow me away as well, because after so many years playing a blobby, muscle-bound mutant with Christmas hams for thighs and hips like a prepubescent boy, I’d love a change.

The Return of the Legion
Doesn’t look like they’re involved in this expansion, but that’s alright. Orc clans make me just as happy.

Stuff I Didn’t Predict
Player housing was one of those features I didn’t think we’d ever see. The farm at Halfhill was a step in the right direction but seemed to be so lacking I figured it would be a long time before we ever saw anything close to real housing. And I was wrong. Garrisons look like the most intriguing feature so far in this new expansion and I can’t wait to get my hands on them and start building, tinkering, and generally spending far too much time improving my own little plot of land. I’m also excited to poke at the pet battle portion of the garrison, which was touched on briefly during the panels. Breeding my own battle pets? Alright, I’ll bite. That could be fun.

As we learn more about Warlords of Draenor over the coming months, I’m certain this excitement won’t wane. But I feel it is important to remember that we’re still playing Mists of Pandaria, and we ought to be enjoying what is in front of us just as much. So I’m gonna hop back in to the beautiful world we have to play in right now and get started on all the things I want to get done before Warlords launches. See you guys in Azeroth!

PS: I yelled obscenities at the TV screen when they announced that Garrosh would escape before his trial and flee to Draenor. I’m not ashamed of it. That fucker should have been beheaded, end of story.

A Guide to the Timeless Isle Pets

I’ve been enjoying this latest patch and it’s brand new island, mostly because I enjoy content that I can experience by myself and at my own pace. So far I have done nothing but run around in circles killing things, and while that probably sounds like a recipe for boredom, I actually quite enjoy it. The island is beautiful, there’s always a rare spawn up to kill, and I enjoy hanging out with my server’s community. I might come to regret it later, but for now I like hanging out on an island with the folks who call Bloodhoof home.

One thing I’m not too keen on is the pet situation. I love all the new pets, and I love that many of them are fairly unique, and I adore the fact that every patch comes with buckets of new pets…but I don’t care for the drop rates on these pets, and I don’t enjoy running frantically all over the island trying to tag a rare spawn before it’s five second lifespan is up. I’ve done a bit of research and testing since the patch launched in order to maximize my own pet collecting efficiency, so I thought I would post it here so other people might benefit.

Let’s start with a simple overview of the island. You must be level 90 to access the Timeless Isle, and you can do so either by flying there all on your own or by talking to Chromie, who now sits atop Mogu’Shan Palace. She’ll give you a quest and a teleport to the island. Once there, you’ll be given a few quests to orientate yourself with the island, but there are no major storyline or quest chains here. The zone isn’t on rails, it isn’t unlocked piece by piece and it isn’t phased in any way. Nothing is stopping you from ignoring the quests and running amok all on your own.

The island is covered in elite mobs, most of which are easy to solo if you aren’t a complete dunce. There are also numerous treasure chests to open, all of which are specific to you. No fighting with other people over chest spawns! There are also a ton of rare spawns to kill, events to participate in, and five world bosses to poke. The fifth, Ordos, is only accessible if you have the legendary cape from Wrathion, but he doesn’t drop a pet so who cares.

Take some time to orient yourself on the island. It feels a bit overwhelming at first because almost everything drops a pet. But instead of drowning in the sea of rare spawns, I recommend going about it one pet at a time. Focus on one, and when you get it, go to the next. Mods like TomTom and NPCscan can be invaluable when you’re camping things. New with this patch is a skull icon on your minimap whenever a rare is nearby. No more target macro spamming, no more guessing. If a rare is up, it will appear on your minimap as plain as day.

I’ve had success with the following camping style: park yourself somewhere close to a rare spawn location. Add the rare spawn to NPC’s database so that when it spawns, NPC scan will yell at you. Wait. When the rare spawns, kill it, then set a timer for 30 minutes. You can now log out, switch to an alt, go make dinner, whatever. When the timer goes off, make sure you’re back at your camping spot. You will want to clear your cache between spawns, too.

Armed with a good camping strategy, a few good addons, and a lot of patience, you’re probably ready to tackle the Timeless Isle. So let’s look at what pets it has for us.

First off, here’s a map I made on which I have marked every rare spawn that drops a pet.

I am a bad cartographer.

I am a bad cartographer.

While the Timeless Isle brings with it 21 new pets, only 8 of them are dropped by rare spawns. The map I made above shows the spawn locations of each rare spawn visually, and I will also provide coordinates for those who use them. All rares on the island are unable to be tapped, meaning that no matter who hits them first, everyone who participated gets loot. Now then, a list of the rares with as much info as I can provide.

Monstrous Spineclaw: This rare crab drops a [Spineclaw Crab] pet. Unlike other rares which have a set spawn timer, this rare has a chance to spawn in the place of any elite crab on the island. In order to see it spawn, you will need to kill the crabs. As such, its spawn location varies and is difficult to camp.

Imperial Python: This snake drops a [Death Adder Hatchling]. Like the Spineclaw crab above, the python spawns in place of one of the many Death Adders on the island. Killing the adders has a chance to spawn the Python. He’s up fairly often, and more than one python can be alive at one time. He hits extremely hard and must be killed quickly, so wait for backup.

Zhu’Gon the Sour: This alemental spawns at 37, 77 right in the middle of Old Pi’jiu. An event must be completed before the rare will spawn. When the event begins, alementals will swarm the village. Killing ten will force Zhu-Gon to appear. He drops a [Skunky Alemental]. He has a 30-60 minute respawn timer.

Gu’chi the Swarmbringer: This is a rare grub the size of a small whale and he drops the [Swarmling of Gu’chi]. He is on a spawn timer of approximately 30-60 minutes and spawns at 41, 80, or just south east of Old Pijiu. He will patrol in a north-easterly direction if not killed, but nine times out of ten he is slaughtered seconds after spawning.

Bufo: This frog looks only slightly different than the other frogs hopping about in the Croaking Hollow on the south east side of the island. He has multiple spawn points within a few yards of each other but does not need to spawn in place of a regular frog. His respawn timer is 30-60 minutes. Like the frogs, he deals a stacking debuff which causes instant death at 10 stacks, so be sure you can burn him quickly or else wait for reinforcements to arrive. He drops a [Gulp Froglet].

Leafmender: Hiding among his fellow sprites, he drops an [Ashleaf Spriteling] when killed. He spawns at 67, 44, along the northern part of the Blazing Way. His respawn, like all rares on the Isle, is 30-60 minutes.

Garnia: This Pandaren elemental spawns way up at Ruby Lake, at 64, 27. The only way to get to her is to hitch a ride on one of the island’s albatrosses. The best place to catch one is around 33, 54 at the stairs of the Celestial Court. Tag an albatross by hitting it once with a ranged attack as they swoop through the court. It will pick you up and carry you around the island (slowly) in a set path. After several minutes you will pass over Ruby Lake. Attack the albatross again to force it to stop midair over the lake, and kill it. You will fall into the lake. It is recommended that you park an alt here at the lake and check frequently rather than making the trip up several times a day. Garnia hits very hard and her primary attack must be interrupted. She drops a [Ruby Droplet] when killed.

Spirit of Jadefire: Another Pandaren elemental, the Spirit drops a [Jadefire Spirit]. It can be found deep in the Cavern of Lost Spirits, the entrance of which is at 43, 40. Like Garnia, interrupts will greatly reduce the damage taken when fighting the Spirit.

So that covers the pets that you must obtain by killing a rare spawn. Keep in mind that the drop rates for these pets are fairly low, so you will need to kill them repeatedly. My best advice to any would-be pet collectors is not to run all over the island chasing the latest announcement in general chat. Park your butt firmly in one place (I prefer hanging out at Pi’jiu since multiple rares spawn very close by) and wait. Watch TV, listen to music, annoy your friends in guild chat. But camping one spot will ensure you get a kill, rather than forcing you to race around the island and always end up being two seconds too late for that rare you really wanted. Finally, these rares die fast. Like, really fast. So pay attention and get your tag in as soon as possible. Tabbing out for even a minute might cause you to miss the spawn and the kill entirely.

Now that we’ve looked at rare spawn pets, lets look at the pets the isle offers that can be picked up by other means.

More wonderful map making.

More wonderful map making.

The map above shows you the relative locations of all pets on the isle which do not drop from a rare spawn. However, it excludes wild battle pets and pets given as a reward from the Celestial Tournament. We’ll cover those further down. As you can see, there are a ton of pets available on the island that don’t require you to camp for weeks on end.

[Dandelion Frolicker]: This pet drops from an event which takes place around 45, 72. At this location there is a large tree surrounded by friendly little sprites. About once every 15 minutes or so, a large pink crystal will spawn nearby. Click the crystal, and these sprites will attack you. Murder them in droves and a Scary Sprite will spawn (at a rate of about 1 every 10ish seconds if you’re killing sprites fairly fast). Kill the Scary Sprites and they have a chance to drop the Frolicker. This event is a “solo” event, as whoever clicks the crystal is the only person who can attack the sprites. However, if you are in a group everyone can loot the Scary Sprites and you can receive healing while you go on a rampage.

[Azure Crane Chick]: This pet drops from the numerous birds’ nests found on the ground all over the island. The yellows dots on the map represent only a tiny handful of total nest spawn places. Anywhere you see cranes hanging out, there will be a nest. Looting the nest usually awards only a small amount of coins, and will always aggro nearby cranes. But sometimes you’ll get a pet out of it, too.

[Bonkers]: This pet drops from treasure chests in a cave located at 57, 42. Speak to the hozen inside and purchase a key from him for 500 coins. Use the key to open a chest – any chest, it doesn’t matter which. The usual reward is a number of coins, usually several hundred. You can also receive epic BoA armor items, Burdens of Eternity, and, more rarely, a pet. You can buy as many keys as you want, so go nuts.

[Sky Lantern]: Finally a pet that doesn’t require any funny business to obtain. If you have 7500 Timeless Coins, you can purchase this peaceful lantern from Ku-mo at approximately 40, 63, on the southern edge of the Celestial Court. This lantern cannot participate in pet battles, but it’s pretty all the same.

[Ominous Flame]: This pet has a small chance to drop off the elite Foreboding Flames inside the Cavern of Lost Spirits at 43, 40. These flames die quickly if you’re all roided out with Timeless Isle buffs, but you will still want to make a habit of interrupting their primary spell attack. Click on the fires inside the cave for added defense against their attacks.

[Jademist Dancer]: Like the Ominous Flame, this pet drops off of the elite elemental spirits flitting around on the beach at about 25, 29, on the very northern coast of the island. These, too, should be interrupted as often as possible to minimize the damage you sustain in combat.

If you’re looking for easy pets to add to your collection, these require no camping, no headaches when you miss a spawn, and no pulling your hair out because other people killed a rare faster than you could whip out a Moonfire. Most of them simply require a little patience and a little coin.

The next pets the island has to offer are wild battle pets, which you must fight and capture. While adding three more moths to your collection may sound boring, these three moths are worthwhile additions to any team. They each have a unique set of moves which makes them unlike any moth we’ve had before. Two of them can be captured on the ground but the third must be sought high above it, on the windy peaks accessible only by albatross ferry.

More MS Paint!

More MS Paint!

The above map shows the approximate spawn locations of the three wild moths on the isle. The Flamering and Ashwing Moths can be fought and captured all over the island. Both will appear as primary pets (those places marked on the map) and a secondary battle pets to other moths. The Skywisp Moth only spawns high up on mountain tops, where it must be reached by albatross. I was able to catch a ride on a friendly bird (which I then murdered by way of saying thanks) to a slope high above the Blazing Way at about 74, 34 (not marked on map, my bad) where a group of 4 or 5 moths were hanging out. The birds can be tricky because if you stop DPS they will continue to fly, so more than once I missed my mark and had to wait for the bird to come around over another mountain top before it was safe to kill the bird and drop down. The Skywisp moth does in fact appear as a secondary pet when you battle other moths, so it is possible to catch without every bothering with the slow as molasses bird taxi.

You can also reach these peaks by swimming out into the water until you can mount on a flying mount, then flying up as high as you can over the place you want to end up (such as over the lake where Garnia spawns). Then dismount and use a glider or a slow fall mechanism in order to pilot yourself to your destination. I gave it a shot and died spectacularly, so use at your own risk. Gliders can be purchased from Ku-mo, the same little Pandaren boy who sells the lantern pet.

Finally, the last pets you can obtain on the island are those you can purchase from the Celestial Tournament. I haven’t managed to win the tournament yet, so this guide will not feature walk-throughs or helpful tips on how to beat it. Sorry. If at some point I manage to get it down, I will write about it so others can do it too. But I haven’t, so I won’t. The gist of the Tournament is this: you enter a solo scenario where the Celestial Court is full of pet trainers instead of standing empty. You fight three initial trainers who each have a team of three legendary pets. I managed to defeat these just fine, actually. But then you must defeat all four of the Celestials in battle, and they are hard. Win the tournament and you will receive currency used to purchase one of four new pets modeled after the celestials: [Xu-Fu, Cub of Xuen], [Yu’la, Broodling of Yu’lon], [Zao, Calfling of Niuzao], and [Chi-Chi, Hatchling of Chi-Ji].

Patch 5.4 introduced a lot of new pets, and most of them can be obtained right here on the isle. Hopefully this guide and the maps I painstakingly slopped together in Paint will help you figure out what’s what and where it is so you can gather pets to your heart’s content.

Happy collecting!

Battle Pet Spotlight: Flamering Moth

Hi guys. Long time no see. Let’s talk about one of the pets that came in with 5.4

I was kind of disappointed when I saw that all the new wild pets in this latest patch were moths. Really? More moths? We already have, like, twenty. But fine, if you insist. I’ll catch three more friggin’ moths. This was my attitude until today, when I pulled out my Flamering Moth to do a little leveling in the Valley of the Four Winds. The aquatic pets there were chewing through my Bat and Crow within a few battles and I needed a temporary alternative while my heal was on cooldown. The second I brought the moth into combat, I knew I had to write a BPS about it.

He’s a strong little moth, and moths tend to be strong pets in general. But moths, at least all pre-5.4 moths, share the exact same move set. If you have one moth, you pretty much have them all. But the 5.4 moths break that mold and I think the Flamering moth is the best of the three. It’s one of the few flying pets with a strong self heal, making it a great choice for chewing your way through aquatic pets.

If you get your hands on this pretty little firestarter, keep a few tips in mind for optimal performance. First, try to use your heal after you take a big hit. The moth’s heal (Healing Flame) heals for a base amount and then an extra amount based off of the damage you just took, so don’t waste it after you just got hit for 100 damage. Save it for after large hits, such as from a geyser or dive attack, and it will heal for a lot more. Second, keeping your health above 50% guarantees that you get the speed boost from the pet’s flying-type passive ability. Being the faster pet means the moth will hit harder with Alpha Strike and will be able to squeak off heals at more opportune moments.

Breed ID: Being a flying pet, the Flamering moth doesn’t benefit from extra speed, and all breeds have nearly equal speed anyway. A moth with a higher attack, such as breeds 8 and 18, will hit harder and heal its self for more. Keep your health above 50% and you will always have the faster pet and thus will do more damage. .

Where to find it: The Flamering moth was introduced as one of 3 new wild pets on the Timeless Isle. Any level 90 character can visit the isle either by flying out there (it’s off the south-eastern coast of the Jade Forest) or by speaking to Chromie at Mogu’shan Palace in the Vale for a quick teleport. They generally appear along the eastern half of the island, and can appear as both primary and secondary battle pets.

Pets with similar skill sets: Like I stated before, all moths except the three introduced in 5.4 have the exact same set of abilities. But no other moth has a self heal.

Pair it with: For extra healing oomph, pair this moth with a pet who can turn the weather into Moonlight (25% bonus healing). Abilities that cause Moonlight are Moonfire and Starfall and can be found on a number of different pets. The moth’s move, Nimbus, is handy if you pair it with pets who have moves with sub-par hit chances. Cast Nimbus, swap in a pet with a low-hit-chance nuke, and have fun.

Pro Tip: I used the moth to great effect today while farming pets in the Valley. The moth’s self heal made it a real monster against the legions of aquatic pets in the area. I paired it with a Darkmoon Cub and used his Devour ability to self heal. The moth is strong against aquatics and the cub is strong against critters, and there’s virtually no other kind of pet you’ll encounter in the Valley. I was able to go long periods of time without stopping to heal or revive my pets outside of battle, and it really made things more efficient on my end. Many other beast type pets have Devour, and since that is the key here you can use one of them instead of the cub. Happy farming!

How to Defeat Dos-Ryga and Other Legendary Pets

With the advent of patch 5.3, Blizzard did a little bit of tweaking on the legendary pet battles. Most notably, all legendary pets required for the Beasts of Fable dailies now reduce all incoming damage by 50% and it seems to have increased their damage output, too.

Presumably these changes are in response to those who felt that the so-called “legendary” beasts were…well, not very legendary. Personally, I don’t really want “difficulty” in my pet battles. A little bit of a challenge is all in good fun, but I always felt that pet battles were a fun side-quest. They should be kept fun and simple, otherwise they get to be a hassle and a chore and I have enough of that with other aspects of the game.

But, that is my personal opinion. Many folks seemed to think the legendary beasts of fable were too easy and Blizzard has answered. Now it seems the pendulum has swung too far in the opposite direction: folks are now complaining that these battles are too difficult. My opinion falls somewhere in between. I find them challenging but overall surmountable. In fact, I don’t see too much of a difference between pre and post patch battles.

However, if you’re struggling, then I have a few tips for you.

First of all, there are a lot of good “universal” pet teams out there that folks claim can take on every legendary pet without the need to swap pets or change up your team. These are great, but it’s always been too much work for me to put together one team that has enough synergy and firepower to take out many vastly different opponents.

My strategy had always been to up my team with 3 pets that are strong against the legendary. If the legendary is aquatic, 3 flying pets, and so on. If that proves to be a mistake, then I will swap pets around as needed. However, after killing these legendaries a few times I have it down as to which pets work the best. After a while, I got it down. I don’t think the legendaries are too hard.

HOWEVER. Dos-Rgya for some god-forsaken reason has been over-tuned to the point of ridiculousness. Even a full team of my best fliers couldn’t make a dent in him with his 50% damage reduction and his ability to heal to full health every few turns. His attacks simply hit too hard for any pet to survive without healing, but if you sacrifice a turn to healing you can’t put out enough damage to win the fight. It’s awful. After struggling with him for a solid hour, I finally hit the internet to do some digging. Here’s what I found.

If you’re having trouble with Dos, or any of the legendary pets, there is a team that can take them out in one hit. Yeah, one. Your team should look like this:

1 cockroach or beetle. Must have Survival and Apocalypse. Does not have to be level 25, but must be high enough not to die in one hit. High speed pets are useful here.

2 water strider pets. Must have Healing Rain and Soothe. Should be level 25.

The strat:

Send in the roach/beetle. Use Apocalypse.

Dos-Ryga will use Whirlpool. You may keep your roach in combat for this turn. Swap him before Whirlpool hits.

Send in a strider. Use Soothe.

Do not attack Dos-Ryga. Heal yourself as needed. Keep using Soothe to send him back to sleep. Pass on your turn if you can do nothing but attack. The point here is to stall and buy time, not do damage. Switch to the second strider when the first dies.

Important: after some testing it appears to me that Apocalypse WILL NOT hit if the roach is not out. You must swap to the roach in order for this attack to hit. Switch him in when Apocalypse has 2 rounds left. Use Survival immediately to be sure your roach doesn’t die from Dos-Ryga’s attacks prematurely.

Wait for Apocalypse to hit. It has a 100% chance to hit.

Win!

Notes:

This strategy relies heavily on your ability to bullshit for 15 rounds. Always use a heal on cooldown. Pets with high amounts of speed are a saving grace in this set up. The ability to get in a heal before Dos attacks is priceless. Use Soothe on cooldown as well. You must not attack him for this strategy to work. This includes DoT attacks. Apocalypse is a one-hit kill, so the point of your striders is simply to last long enough for Apocalypse to kill him.

This strategy should work for any legendary pet that you’re struggling with but I have only tested it on Dos. It took a few tries to get it right, but it works like a charm. Hopefully this gives you some hope if you’re struggling and getting downtrodden. Pet battles are supposed to be fun!

 

Dinosaurs!

I have been woefully absent from the game lately. I got sucked into Skyrim; my bad!

But I did get a chance to check out the new patch content. I finished grinding to exalted with my remaining Pandaria factions (August Celestials, Shieldwall, and Shado-Pan), which earned me the Pandaren kite mount and the 55 exalted reputations achievement. That felt good. I really do dislike the emphasis on daily quests so far in this expansion, but I thought the way Shieldwall and Dominance Offensive handled daily progression was well done. I hope this becomes the norm, with dailies giving way to storyline quests at certain reputation intervals.

I also liked the changes to reputation gains this patch. The work orders at the farm and the reputation gains for daily dungeons and scenarios was a welcomed change from simply doing a truckload of dailies every day. I wish I could just slap on a tabard and run dungeons to my heart’s content (the lack of rep gains has been a primary factor in my lack of interest in dungeon running this expansion) but this is a step in the right direction.

I ran a bunch of scenarios on Saturday with the ret paladin and got the Scenaturday achievement. We ran really close to running out of time, but we squeaked by and now we have an awkward title to show for it. Speaking of titles, I earned “the Relic Hunter” a week or two ago for finding 20 rare treasures in Pandaria. That was a lot of fun. It netted me a lot of BoA weapons to ferry between my alts, too, so that is a bonus. Next title on the list is “the Seeker of Knowledge”…whenever I get back into archaeology. I’m about half way through the achievement.

I made my first trip to the Isle of Giants this morning. I went on my hunter, who is poorly geared, because while my druid is decently geared he has no real damage output and I anticipated it would make killing elite dinosaurs a long, tedious pain in the ass. Even on my hunter, who does acceptable damage for her ilevel, killing a dinosaur is a matter of popping every cool down twice, spamming mend pet, and praying. Also some swearing.

I will have to find a group later, I think, and take the island by storm. Doing it alone is slow and not very exciting, and given my timidity I haven’t seen anything beyond the beaches of the island. I heard that the drop rate of the little raptor pets was very high, but it was hotfixed and I have no idea how hard they nerfed it. I killed maybe 10 dinosaurs and saw nothing but bones. No pets, no eggs. Sadness.

I tried running around on the Isle of Thunder killing rares for pets, but had no luck there either. In fact, thanks to a wonderful bug, I was unable to loot all but two rares I killed out of a total of, again, around 10. How a bug like that got past the PTR and onto live realms amazes me. Sometimes I wonder if quality control is a concept at Blizzard. It’s been fixed though (a week later…) so I may go back and resume my rampage. Running amok with fifty other people swarming rares is pretty fun. Not having to deal with CRZ is also a nice change, since I find the island crowded enough as it is with just my server to contend with.

For now, I think I will take a break from Azeroth and go outside. It’s a beautiful sunny day and there’s no excuse for wasting it. Enjoy the patch folks 🙂

A Post in Which I Gab About Skyrim and Reminisce About Stuff

I bought Skyrim on Steam for 50% off a while back during the winter sale, at the urging of a friend who has sworn by the game for some time. I heard great things about the game, and having some free time now I figured, why not?

My first impression was “hey, the graphics are nice” which then turned in to “I don’t like the movement system” which was followed by “ok, I get how to move, but where are all the dragons?” and quickly succeeded by “This sucks.” I promptly returned to WoW and left it alone for a few days.

Convinced I wasn’t giving the game a fair shake, said friend encouraged me to try again. So I logged back in and gave it my best shot. I died about a hundred times (pro tip: don’t murder people in their houses, it doesn’t turn out well), forgot to save even more, and eventually declared I didn’t enjoy it and, once again, returned to WoW.

It’s taken me a while to realize that the problem isn’t Skyrim. The game isn’t too hard or too complex or too demanding. The problem is me. I’ve forgotten what it was like, 7.5 years ago when I decided to try out my very first computer game of the genre.

I’ve spent last better part of a decade becoming more than mildly proficient in WoW. I take a bit of pride in knowing everything that I do, in being able to play as well as I do, in being able to accomplish the things I have. But I’ve utterly forgotten what it took to get to this point where everything comes easily. I had forgotten what it was like to start fresh in a world you knew nothing about, in a game genre you’d never played before. I forgot what it was like to know literally nothing and to learn everything by trial and error. Lots of error.

I had forgotten that when I rolled my first forsaken, I didn’t understand at all about armor proficiencies. I kept trying to equip leather and mail armor on a mage and grew increasingly irate when I was told by the game that I couldn’t do that. I had forgotten what it was like to know nothing about spells or talent trees. When my druid was a wee level 18, I had talent points in every tree, and had equipped my armor to my action bar. I didn’t understand why I kept dying to simple Darkshore mobs until a friend (the same friend as above, in fact) kindly pointed out over my shoulder one day that I should equip my armor to my character, and put all talent points in the same tree for the best possible outcome. Ooooh…

I had forgotten that my very first character ever, a tauren hunter named Shaunii, died repeatedly in the level 1 starting area because I couldn’t figure out how to attack things that were attacking me. I remember when I thought rolling greed on an item meant you were greedy and rolling need on everything was better because at least then you weren’t greedy.

Now I look back at my first failed attempts at Skyrim and I remember. I remember that I’m brand new to the game, which is a hell of a departure from WoW’s mechanics. I remember that you always have to start at the bottom, and learn as you go. I remember that I died tens of thousands of times while leveling my various characters as I tried to navigate the world and the various perils of being a new low level player. I remind myself to shelve my WoW-ego and to accept that this game is brand new and I’m not going to master it inside of a few hours, or a few days. I remind myself that I can’t play my level 7 Skyrim elf the same way I play my level 90 Warcraft elf. It’s not the same game. Slow your roll, girl. This game is entirely new.

I realize now how much I miss that feeling. Once upon a time WoW was completely new. I had never seen it before, never experienced it before. Every new thing I encountered was incredible. Every new zone was awe-inspiring and every new class and race was so profoundly interesting. I remember I used to look at this game and my eyes got as big as saucers when I saw something I hadn’t seen before. Now I only get that feeling when a new expansion hits and, to a lesser extent, when a new content patch launches, but it isn’t the same. I will never feel that way again. I will never see WoW through the eyes of a new player again.

So I think the solution is to stop complaining that I die too often in Skyrim, stop whining because the mobs are too hard or I can’t figure out what to do, and just take it all in. Because after I’ve played for a year or so, it won’t be new anymore. I think it’s good sometimes to take a step back and feel like an incompetent boob, because it reminds us that even if we think we’re big bad somebodies in a game, we all started out as fumbling, bumbling clods who couldn’t put one foot in front of the other without keeling over dead.

I think once my second druid hits 90, I’m going to log back in to Skyrim and see if I can’t put my newfound philosophy into action. See you in Tamriel or Azeroth, folks.

Minor Glyph Madness!

I don’t see a lot of real information on the web about minor glyphs. Most of what you tend to find is some variant of “use what you think is fun” and that isn’t very helpful to someone who is unfamiliar with their class or their class’ glyphs. And since my main character is a scribe I find it my business to know about glyphs. Especially druid ones. So here is a run down of minor druid glyphs and what I think of them, to better inform people so they can choose the ones they think will best benefit them.

Minor Glyphs:

All minor glyphs are cosmetic now. That isn’t new, but it’s new to this expansion. Minor glyphs used to give you some sort of combat benefit, like removing reagents for spells, but now all they do is change cosmetic things on your character. They’re useless. You can do just fine without ever learning a cosmetic glyph. They aren’t required to raid or to do well in the game. But they’re fun and who doesn’t like a little character customization? This list will be in order from least useful to most useful, starting with number 10. This is all subjective, of course. In the end, you really do have to pick minor glyphs based on what seems cool to you, but hopefully this gives some guidance.

10. Glyph of the Cheetah — Why? Why does this even exist? Who in their right mind wants to go back to looking like a congenitally deformed sausage cat? It gives you no benefit at all. Unless you seriously loathe the new stag travel form and are pining to return to the cheetah-print days of yore, skip this glyph.

9. Glyph of Charm Woodland Creature — This is so useless it’s almost funny. With the advent of pet battles and being able to catch literally any pet available in the wild, why do you need a glyph that does the same thing, but for one hour only? If you find a wee beastie out there that you simply cannot live without, catch it. Don’t waste a spot with this glyph.

8. Glyph of the Treant — Another glyph that really does nothing at all. If you’re one of those who laments the loss of permanent tree form for restoration druids, this glyph will make your day. But if you don’t heal or you didn’t like Rotten Broccoli Form, then skip it.

7. Glyph of the Orca — If you’re sick to death of the fugly sea lion aquatic form, then look no further. Cruise the waters in style as a Northrend-style orca instead!

6. Glyph of Aquatic Form — This glyph sees very limited usefulness, especially since you don’t spend a whole lot of time underwater. Ever. But 100% speed boost while in aquatic form (that’s 50% baseline and then an extra 50% from the glyph) is still nice on the ultra-rare occasion you need it.

5. Glyph of the Chameleon — The real benefit of this glyph is for people like me who adore all the colors of the druid rainbow, and pout when they are confined to only one. I love being a different color every time I shift. It means I can keep my druid’s hair color how I want it (dark blue; absolutely always dark blue) but still see more than the dark blue bear butt I am so used to.

4. Glyph of Stars — One of the more visually interesting glyphs, this is great for those who dislike moonkin form or who simply like their regular form better. Some of the races have neat casting and combat animations that are fun to actually watch, or you might have a great transmog set you despise hiding under your feathers. I just wish the visual effect was more…starry. A faint shroud of mist and a few cascading stars was not what I had in mind when I first saw this glyph.

3. Glyph of the predator — This glyph would rank higher if only it was useful to more than one spec. You can only use track humanoids as a cat, so only Feral druids will see the full benefit of this glyph. However, all druids can shift to cat if need be, so you can still benefit from this if you don’t mind skulking around as a cat. I have never honestly had need to track things that often, but I know others who very much prefer to see potential targets on their minimap. It’s a playstyle thing. It can be useful to locate a hidden quest mob, or to search for rare spawns, or in PvP to keep an eye out on your enemies.

2. Glyph of Grace — This is the only glyph that actually has in-combat applications. In cat form you take reduced fall damage. With this glyph that benefit transfers to any other form. It’s something you don’t think much about until a boss has flung you high in the air, or you accidentally run off the edge of a mountain. This is of no use to Feral druids, of course, but for those of us who don’t see cat form much it’s very nice to have, kind of like an ace up your sleeve.

1. Glyph of the Stag — This glyph ranks as number one purely because it embodies the true essence of druidism: shapeshifting. This isn’t a glyph to give you an extra form. No, it’s to make the travel form you already have actually useful. Druid are all about having a form for every occasion, and this glyph means your travel form now benefits one lucky friend too. It came in first place because I find it absolutely hilarious and wonderful to cart my guild members around on my back. Hi ho silver, away!

So there you go. An actual analysis of minor glyphs. I am using Orca, Stag and Chameleon glyphs on my main. It’s all cosmetic, yeah, but that’s the whole point. Obviously some of these glyphs only benefit one spec, such as Stars. If you’re a Feral druid using Stars, you’re doing it a bit wrong. If you’re a balance druid using Chameleon, you won’t get any effect. Other than some of that, these glyphs are really just a matter of “what do you like?” and “how do you play?” I think Grace and Predator are especially useful in PvP, while Stag is a good all-around glyph for every spec and playstyle. Grace may also be useful in raiding, for those bosses that like to hurl you high into the air. Remember that once you learn a glyph, you know it forever, so don’t be shy about swapping glyphs to fit your current situation.

Battle Pet Spotlight: Bat

I picked up a rare bat back when I was leveling my team through Eastern Plaguelands. As it was both rare and one of my highest level pets at the time, I swapped it into my team…and it’s been there ever since.

The bat has a lot going for it early on: it’s a flying pet which means it will be effective against the masses of aquatics you encounter leveling up. It’s also a very fast pet due to it’s passive feature, which guarantees you go first in battle even against the toughest trainers. That alone makes it valuable. And in case you get knocked down below 50% health and lose the speed buff, it’s Screech attack will solve that issue for you. Reckless Strike paired with Hawk Eye can one shot aquatic pets even in tamer battles. I like fast, hard hitting pets and the bat delivers. Leech Life can help you recover some from being hit and doubly so if you pair the bat with a spider for the Webbed effect.

The bat is my go-to powerhouse for aquatic pets. He’s on every team that faces a trainer with aquatics, and he’s part of my old stand-by team for hunting rare pets in Pandaria. When I get down to power-leveling pets in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms, the bat carries my lowbies to victory by demolishing the striders and toads in the area. He can go a lot of rounds without needing a heal, especially if he one-shots his enemies.

Breed ID: I’m not the best person to ask this, since I don’t pay much attention to breeds overall. But because a bat is a flying pet, it gets a massive speed boost as a passive trait. This means that as long as you don’t fall under 50% health you will always be the faster pet. Look for a breed ID that has higher attack and health, since high attack will also make Leech Life heal for more, and the faster you kill things the less damage they can do to you. Breeds 4/14 have the highest attack while breeds 7/17 have the highest health and a more balanced attack to speed ratio. It’s your call. Mine is a breed 4.

Where to find it: You can pick up just a plain ol’ Bat in Eastern Plaguelands, Mount Hyjal, or Tirisfal glades. They occur as primaries and secondaries and are quite common.

Pets with similar skill-sets: Only the Tirisfal Batling has an identical set of abilities, while the Vampiric Batling has the same moves in different slots. The first is purchasable from the Argent Tournament (Horde-side) for 40 seals and must be upgraded via stone to rare. The second was only available during a special event back in the Burning Crusade, so is no longer obtainable. The Bat is probably easier to get for that reason. Another pet with the Reckless Strike/Hawkeye combination is the Quiraji Guardling, which is not a flying pet.

Pair it with: a spider is a good mate here for the Bat. Use the spider to web your opponent and then switch to the bat to increase its healing power. This is useful if the opponent tends to hit hard, as the bat is not suitable for soaking damage. It’s a little better than a glass cannon, but not much, so making the most of Leech Life may save your skin.

**If you know of another exemplary battle pet that deserves its moment in the spotlight, leave a comment.**

A Random Mish-Mash of Stuff

I keep telling myself I need to update more often with interesting things. The problem with that is two-fold: I don’t have anything to write about and I am not very interesting. Moving on.

The following is just some stuff I have been collecting in my brain for future posts but have come to realize aren’t long/interesting enough to warrant their own article.

A New Blog!

Trees-Per-Second is in need of a makeover! Since I am no longer a tree druid and will most likely not be a tree druid again for some time, I have decided to shift the focus of the blog to a tank-centric atmosphere, complete with a new blog name! Bearly A Tank will launch with the Mists of Pandaria beta, along with new posts on all things bear related. On that note, I am looking for an artist to design the new page header. If you’re artistically inclined and are willing to do some pro-bono work for an aspiring blogger, get in touch with me.

Musings About RP Servers!

It occurred to me the other day after running myself ragged in random dungeon groups that I have never met a person from an RP server who wasnt at the very least polite. It’s entirely possible that I simply ran in to polite players who just so happened to be from an RP realm, but it got me thinking as to other causes of this (admittedly rare) phenomenon. Could it be that roleplayers in general are nicer folks? Doubt it. Might it have something to do with a roleplaying mentality, where you don’t drop character even for random dungeon groups? Maybe. It occurred to me that maybe these players are still “in character” even if they aren’t on their home realm for the time being. Their character isn’t a dick, so they don’t act like one. Or, maybe it is due to the fact that they have some sort of perceived “reputation” they don’t wish to tarnish. If they act like a rotten little prick then people will assume all roleplayers have bad attitudes, or that their behavior will reflect poorly on their guild or their server. Regardless, I wish more people acted nicer in random groups. It would make the whole process of leveling via the dungeon finder a lot less painful.

Iron Man Challenge?

I keep hearing about this thing and it keeps nagging at me. I want to try it. Part of me says go for it! The other part of me says I’m insane. Either way, if I decide to give it a shot I will post here about my adventures. They are destined to be brief and anger-filled.