Monday, April 20, 2009

Views on 3.1

It's been a while again, since I last posted, Maybe someone's
watching, if so I apologize. Anyway, on to the goods.

3.1 has hit the airwaves, and pounded the servers like a Combat Mace
Rogue before the random stun nerf. I've been fortunate and had no
trouble yet trying to get online when I get the chance, and so far I
like what I see. Though I've not yet scratched the surface of this
massive patch. I've yet to hit Ulduar, or try to heal anything since
the Paladin changes; however, I have scurried my way into the Argent
Tournament, and had a taste of dual specs.

Argent Tournament
As a Holy Paladin, working my way through the Argent Tournament seemed
a no-brainer. A rallying "Pick up your sword and fight the......
scourge" kind of feeling is prevalent on the tournament grounds. But
there is also a generic, "here's something to waste your time" feeling
too. Not to say that it's not fun, but I'm not totally sure how this
is going to work into the lore of the game. Sure, they're obviously
building up a cathedral on Arthas's doorstep,

and preparing us wayward mercenaries to perform combat on horseback,
but it initially comes across as a festival... a bit too cheerful for
the trying times that the denizens of Azeroth are having.

Anyway, I became a slave to trends and dove into the quests.
Partially because I wanted to get exalted with all the Alliance
factions, but also because it was a new mechanic to the game, and was
implemented well. During the Argent Tournament, you are taught to
fight with lance and shield upon horseback. A few abilities are
provided once you mount the Quel'dorei Steed (a.k.a. Unicorn), these
include "Thrust", "Shield Breaker", "Charge", "Defense", and "Refresh
Mount". Each of these abilities are used on a cooldown, to aid you in
your attacks on fellow jousters, Aspirants, Valiants, and Champions,
as well as undead scourge later on. It is a bit of a balancing game,
as you will need to prepare yourself with "Defense", which stacks 3
times, and then use "Charge" or "Shield Breaker" in accordance with
each other to lower the defense of your target/enemy. Each challenger
you meet will compete in a different way, some with more defense,
others with less defense, but faster attacks, others still who would
rather stay back and pelt you with ranged attacks. As I mentioned, it
was implemented well, and I have yet to find any bugs with the
jousting mechanic.

As the days have gone past (and I've had only an hour or so to get
online), the quests and challenges I have completed, have gained me
the recognition as a Valiant of Stormwind (that means two flags on my
banner W00t!). This opens up new quests and further challenges
against fellow valiants to gain further tokens towards becoming a
Champion of Stormwind. This is where the fun comes in. Not only does
that open more dailies, however it also allows you to gain reputation
as a champion of any city within your home faction. I'll likely be
hitting Darnassus and Exodar, and then moving on to IF and Gnomeregan,
but it sure beats grinding LOW-level quests and runecloth. To top it
off, you can pick up some iLevel 200 weapons off of the vendors.
Though it's likely I'll pick up better once I start hitting Uldual,
the visual appeal of some of the weapons will surely tempt me to pick
some up.

Overall, I've had a ton of fun running around the Argent Tournament,
and it's accompanying scourge crunching quests.

Dual Specs
Oh what a beautiful flavor freedom has. After I first heard of the
possibility of dual specs, I was chomping at the bit. Even if it did
not come out, I was saving up the gold for when it did. As 3.1 hit, I
was a bit unprepared, and had not saved up the whomping 1000g to
purchase the ability, but that didn't slow me down. After some AH
action, some good 'ol dailies, and some help from my brother, I was
beyond the mark, and headed to my nearest trainer.

I slapped down the 1000g and said "GIMME ANOTHER TAB!!!", and poof,
there it was. An empty talent tab, just waiting for me to fill it
with Retribution goodness.

Over the last few months of Naxx 10-man runs, I had picked up a decent
amount of gear that was of the Physical DPS plate persuation. I had
expected to get a chance to use it, however did not want to waste the
40-50 gold to swap over and reassign my talents. When 3.1 hit, it
gave me that chance. Sure it was a much higher fee than the 50g, but
over time, it will be so worth it.

I picked out a 0/11/60 spec and equipped my pretty dps gear. It had
been a long time since I hit something in the face, and boy was it
fun. I've been reading up on some Ret pally blogs, and hopefully will
be halfway viable in any raid/instance if I decided to DPS (here's a
good one: I had
redone my Holy spec to nearly match my old one at 51/5/15, picking up
the new Divinity, and Aura Mastery. I've yet to try this out, however
I'm still making use of it, if not in strange ways.

No matter where I'm at, if I have to travel any distance with no
portal/hearthstone, then I'll activate my holy spec (even in my ret
gear), hit Crusader Aura, and tap "Aura Mastery" on every cooldown.
The reason for this, is that Aura Mastery, when activated, increases
the effect of your aura by 100%, this means that Crusader Aura goes
from a 20% increase to a 40% increase! Yes, it works, for now...
let's hope Blizzard says it is "working as intended". This should be
nice for the other auras as Concentration Aura becomes more potent,
and prevents silence effects... a very nice bonus. It would be the
same for Devotion Aura, and Retribution Aura (along with the resist
auras). I'm thinking about working a new talent spec that picks up
the Aura Mastery along with the Retribution Tree, but have yet to
figure that out without giving up too much. We'll have to see.

Needless to say, so far 3.1 has been pretty fun. New quests, new
toys, new abilities, and new instances. Now to just find some time to
see this Ulduar place. I've heard it's pretty.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Why so.... ugly?

Patch 3.1 is spilling it's test realm goodness all over the interwebs. Some pretty interesting information is coming out. Such as the introduction of the Argent Tournament (JOUST!), and new achievements showing up. Plus more pets, and unknown to some, I love collecting pets, though I'm still nine pets short on the "Shop Smart, Shop Pet... Smart!" achievement to get my Pepe, Le Pew.

Another change is some talent tree changes for us Pallies.

- Auras will now persist through death. (Not super important, though I have forgotten to put my Frost Resist back up during a Sapphiron fight)

- Blessing of Kings is now trainable at level 20. Removed from talent trees.

Yay, extra talent points, but is it the full 10%?

One change that I found interesting was the new "Divinity" talent at Tier 1 of the tree:

- *New Talent* Divinity: Tier 1 protection talent, increases healing done by and to you by 1/2/3/4/5%.

Yay, there went those extra talent points. I find this new talent interesting, in that 5% increased healing could make a big deal, but I'm not sure how they will calculate it. Is it based on your spellpower, or your average heal, or what? I guess it would be a decent increase for those Prot pally off tanks that have to pop out and heal something or someone, but an increase of 5% could be a decent chunk for us Holy Pallies. My current Spellpower unbuffed is at 1747, so 5% of that would be an extra 87 spell power... and that's unbuffed. It'll be interesting to see how this is calculated.

Next biggie is the introduction of Dual Specs. I'm going to love this, since I sometimes have the urge to swap to Ret to do some dailies. I had so much fun in the pre-nerf days of the Ret pally. I
tore through my Shattered Sun dailies in record time, and it was a nice change of pace. However, even after the nerf, I still had a lot of fun bashing things skulls in for once. Only downside.... saving another 1000g. That's not going to be fun, but hey, you gotta pay for convenience.

Lastly, the Paladin T8. I'm a stickler for esthetics. I like to have my paladin looking decent, since he'll be in the middle of my screen all the time. (Though right now, he's got skin tight capris with some dang goofy looking boots that just don't go high enough... guess it's the metro part of my that hides in the deep recesses of my mind that cares, but dang it, my Pally's gotta look good, haha.)

I've seen the Paladin concept art, and was excited. The chance of light and energy eminating from my gear, and a flash back to the good 'ol kilt of plate awesomeness that was the Tier 2 Judgement set. However, the latest screenshots have shown that there was no kilt, and
instead regular leggings... I did laugh at Megan from Out of Mana's post about the new look. Apparently the new leggings have been deemed the "Bulging Jock Strap of Truth", and the shoulders are now vessels for healing fluids like Robitussin. Well, like she mentioned. We'll
just have to see how it turns out. I'm looking forward to watching MMO-Champion's coverage, they've always got pretty screenshots.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Blizzard's Conspiracy against Paladins... sorta

Divine Plea. It was beautiful... and overpowered... I loved it so. However, per the tooltip, it used to cut your healing by 20%. Not too bad, workable, trinket and wings pop, and no problem. Well, with the introduction of Divine Plea, and it's mana returning goodness, came the urge for most paladins to gear more towards int, instead of the Crit and MP5 world of the Burning Crusade.

I bit that lure, and was hooked, line and sinker early on. At least until I got my first piece of Tier 7 gear. Once I looked at the stats, I was confused. T7, best at the moment for the tier level
gear, and it's got MP5?

That's when it began. I began to stockpile gear that had MP5, instead of the Int heavy gear that had been dropping, expecting some kind of conspiracy. It appeared that the developers at Blizzard knew that we would love us some int gear, and then, out of nowhere, slam us with the nerfbat, and deem us unworthy of the mana returning goodness of Divine Plea... without a price.

Suddenly there was 3.0.9, and the introduction of the 50% reduction to healing while Divine Plea was up. Basically a raid wide <a href=" Strike</a>, that we could not get rid of, unless we had MP5 coming from other sources.
Could it be? Could Blizzard have known that they would hit us with this, and just give us our day in the sun, only to block it out with a new patch?

Ok, maybe it's not that bad, but I did find it interesting. I fell for it at first. My first run through Naxx, I had Divine Plea cooking all the time. Maybe I was paranoid, and just didn't want to run out of mana and look bad, but it didn't hit my healing abilities that bad.... and I had an ocean of mana to swim in. But I was weary, and after comparing my gear to one of our best pally healers, I thought to myself.... my MP5 is really low, and his is at a decent level. Maybe he's being paranoid like me, but I'm always one to want to go for the best, and he was the best... well that I knew.

So, I started packing in the MP5. And lucky for me, was not affected by the Divine Plea nerf. Sure I still use it, but not very often. In fact I challenged myself to go for a full run in Naxx without using it once. Though it got a bit rough after a botch up during the Grobbulus
fight, and I had to hit it once, to gain what little bit of Mana back that I could, I was able to successfully complete 3 quarters (first night) without Divine Plea. (I will admit that I've been known to use it instead of water, in between pulls, but that just doesn't count, haha.)

What are your experiences with the new Divine Plea.

Friday, February 20, 2009

A bit more RP - Anna's Friday Five

I've been reading the blog "Too Many Annas" for a while now, and along the way been picking up on her "Friday Five". I found this kind of fun, since I had already thrown together a back story (nearly 17 chapters worth) for my paladin Khraden. So, here's the latest.

Friday Five (February 20, 2009)
Can your character read and write?
Yes. While Khraden was young, he would often accompany his father on trips to Southshore to meet with merchants and was once part of the town's city council. In addition, his father was once an officer of the Lordaeron Army, long before Lordaeron had it's "life" pulled from
it by Arthas. As once being an officer, Khraden's father, Rand Lionbringer, often met with heads of state, and was required to be able to facilitate meetings, and provide information to others, both verbally, and documented.

This was instilled in Khraden at a young age. In addition, during his training as a Paladin, it was required that he be able to read and recite the blessings of the Holy Light from ancient tomes, in order to protect those he was with.

Is he/she good with numbers and business-like things?
To some extent. As mentioned earlier, Khraden would accompany his father on trips to Southshore to converse with merchants and leaders of the town. Since Azeroth was in a tenuous peace at the time of Khraden's childhood, and early teen years, his father had began a small crop, not much larger than some gardens, to provide for their family. What was left was sold to the merchants in Southshore in return for supplies, or a few silver. This was picked up by Khraden
during their little excursions.

Does your character have a formal (schooled) education or an informal (apprenticed/learned by experience) education? Or both?
Initially, there was little schooling available to Khraden, as he helped his mother and father manage their home and crops. Though when the Scourge Invasion came to pass, Khraden was trained via the school of hard knocks. He learned the ways and values of a paladin early in
his military career, though it was learned on the battlefield alongside Commander Eligor Dawnbringer.

As the Sourge Invasion was fought back, Khraden was able to further hone his skills among the priesthood at the Cathedral of Light. It was here that he also met his future wife, of whom was training as well, but in the ways of a priest beneath Archbishop Benedictus.

Has he/she learned another language than the one they grew up speaking (in full or in part)?
Khraden is fluent in Common, however has picked up some Darnassian during his travels to Teldrassil. He also has become accustomed to some of the Draenei language, as many Paladins have come from their esteemed ranks.

What does your character's handwriting look like?
His handwriting is a bit rough, but easily readable. After so many years of battlefield experience, the skills of finer things such as writing are pushed aside a bit, but as he is constantly learning, that skill is still required.

Friday, October 24, 2008


Well, I just got my email from the folks at the National Write a Novel Month. I've actually been brainstorming a story before dealing with how my Paladin got to where he is today, and I'm not even on an RP server.

So, over the next few weeks, starting November, I'll start posting some parts of the story. Ya, it's a little nerve racking for anybody to be reading something I wrote, but it's not personal, so heck, why not throw it out to the wolves, and see how it tastes.

Let me know how it sound to you folks..... well, that's if anybody reads this, haha.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

A bit of RP (a bit off subject)

I was reading WoWInsider, and found this amazing audio file. It is a story of a draenei Shaman of the Earthen Ring named Inadra. She has done an increadible job in presenting the story of the Dreanei Exodus further into the marshes of Zangamarsh from their lands of Nagrand, and the separation of her family. All before the sundering of Dreanor. Beautiful music, and beautiful voice acting. I could see an amazing machinima made from this. Exellent work.

Inadra, Shaman of the Earthen Ring

Again, very much worth listening too.

Of the Light...

I'm back

I'm not even sure if anybody reads this blog or not, but if you do.... sorry. I've been out of the loop for a while now, started with Blogger getting blocked from my office PC, life, and then my son growing up.

A lot has changed since my last post, including some nice upgrades. I'm now sporting some T4, mixed with a bunch of badge gear and PvP mace goodness. I've reached the 2k +healing mark, and am now trying to mix it in with my mp5. Some of these changes, kind of make my earlier post about "Holy DPS Batman" kind of moot, since now a good bit of my Healing gear is used as my dps gear too. Kind of a semi-shockadin set (mostly since I don't want to change my talent build cause I'll forget what I had it like, lol).

Anyway, I also have a tank set that is 1 point of defense away from being uncrittable... and about 40% avoidance away from being uncrushable.... as holy. Lastly I got my sexy Shattered Sun tabard, so they're pretty much a nice place to farm gold now.

In RL, mah baby boy is about to turn 1 this month. So my WoW time has been cut down pretty good. But it's all worth it in the long run... eventually I'll have a little gnome DeathKnight to join up with /evil grin.

Finally, I've become a very active member of a new Healer Forum out there called Plus Heal. Turns out there's a little bit of troll in me cause at the moment I'm the highest poster out of about 460 members, lol. The forum was created by Matticus from World of Matticus, and he has done a great job of gathering the healing community into one location, plus it's a really nicely layed out site. Maybe he even comes here every once and a while... who knows.

Anyway, that's a bit of an update, I hope to update more often once I get used to posting from email. Especially with all the Wrath changes coming to head for the Paladin class. There's a lot to talk about.

Back from the nether...