Omen2 – Aggro for everybody

Omen2 thumbThe new version of Omen is out, and by golly its good. Not only has it got new eye candy affects which make silly folks like me drool, but it also makes it easier to watch what type of aggro you like; aoe, one target, etc. I use a threat meter even while soloing on my Warlock, as any pet user should. And Omen allows you to walk the aggro line when doing DPS and maximise your damage without potentially dying.

Take a look at the WoW Insider post about it – nice screenshots and details. Then if you don’t already use it hang your head in shame until you do. Continue reading

Great Boss Fights

OnyxiaI was asked the other day what boss fights I really enjoyed, and it was a hard job to come up with a top one or two picks. So many bosses have challenged my gameplay in WoW. I love the fact that the bosses get more complex and tougher as you progress through the levels.

Start in Deadmines (tank and spank), move to Scarlet Monestry where a strat will help (Herod spins = move out), and then into ZF, DM, UBRS, and finally MC and ZG.

Bosses I liked

So instead here are the fights I really enjoyed, or would have liked to try.

  • Gruul’s Lair as a Warlock in the High King Mulgar fight is fun. Being the the guy who “tanks” Olm the Summoner using his own felpuppies is awesome. Add to the mix that you should also be doing a curse of weakness on Mulgar, and possibly a curse of elements on Krosh. You’re kept pretty busy.
  • Karazhan as an affliction Warlock on Curator rocks my world, especially when he goes into “spank me, I’ve been bad” mode. A well timed maximised Curse of Doom is awesome. Huge crits! Just make sure your Soulshatter is available, or you’re in for a brief world of pain.
  • URBS – I’ve always wanted to try kiting Drakk as it looks like fun. Hunters and Mages usually got this job due to tehir ability to move out of melee but keep him aggro’ed. I’ve only dps’ed as a warlock and healed as a pally for UBRS; such a shame.
  • Shadow Labs – Grandmaster Vorpil is a good fight that I’m still learning the finer details of. Those voidwalkers need to be kited/avoided and he boss kited up and down, and then the teleport + aoe burst makes you keep awake throughout. All while moving!

Bosses I Dislike

If you’re a WoW boss that is dependent more on luck than skill or strategy, I don’t like you.

  • Shadow Labs – Blackheart the Inciter – is utter rubbish. “Time for Fun” it aint. I like the idea that he mind controls, but as a Tank its just a shit storm trying to get aggro back so many times, and if your DPS wait long enough for it to be safe, you’re not going to kill him fast enough. You’ll also find youreself comming out of mind control in stupid states, often with good abilities on cooldown. Grumble.
  • Karazhan – Prince, as placement of those Infernals is random and can make the fight nigh on impossible.

The jury is still out on

  • Karazhan – Shade of Aran. I can’t decide if I really like this fight, or if its plain irritating. Its certainly easier as melee dps as you can stay close and just whack away, and no threat table makes him a great fight for everyone involved except the healers.

As I healed for a huge proportion of the later 50-60 content, I didn’t often have to stress about the finer aspects f some strategies. Then I switched to a range DPS class, and almost just had to track the Skull for kill order. Now that tanking is the focus, all the fights are different – and its excellent.

All of them are now interesting, even just the “tank and spanks” as they often have little tweaks that you have to watch for.

Patch 2.4 is here! (/cheer)

Software patchLet the rejoicing and bitching begin in earnest, and now that WoW Patch 2.4 its real. This patch is more than enough for me to give pause and consider what affect the real list of changes will have, and also look longingly at the diverse range of new items and instances along with all the changes.

The information sources below are many and varied, and more than a few contain unofficial notes as well. If you’re a fan you already know of the 5 and 25 man instance content, might be stoked about the new daily quests, a few UI improvements, and (oh yessss) the badge gear. Continue reading

Long weekend update

Wine CountryI had a ball this long weekend, and that was due to one thing – flexibility in my social life (setting my highest priority as not having a list of priorities).

The girl returned from two weeks away and we celebrated her return by going to a few bbqs, a few dvds, and a wine trip spread over the long weekend. An absolute highlight was sitting on a small deck in the winery with a glass of wine and watching nothing happen. It was relaxing, and I took that bit of calm around with me for the rest of the weekend.

Second was the good bbqs. The first was in a groovy apartment complex just off greenhill road (plush, designed, and well presented), and the second was at a mate’s place in the north east suburbs (relaxed, nerdy, and very politically incorrect). It was like having two very different lives and stepping between them as mood permitted.

300vsDozerWarcraft was also great this weekend too. The guild’s Kara Group 2 was able to do a full clear of Karazhan, and my Tankadin was along for the ride as an Off-tank. The group 1 and group 2 thing is working out well, and I’m sure keen to see a few of the guildies get into something beyond a 10 man, and Gruul’s is the current target. We have the toon numbers, but not sure about the class mix.

I did hear that we’re still having teething problems with the Group 1 & 2 thing, but I have hope that we’ll find a happy place soon. Running two groups favours the guys who either are just new to Kara, or wish to take Alts through. Getting fully Kara geared is a good achievement, and certainly a pre-req for later stuff like Gruul. It also means a lot of hard work for a few guys who we have to get better geared, myself included. If only we could raid on weeknights rather than only on Fridays and sometimes Saturdays.

Of course I was stoked when I picked up a tanking Ring, Boots and Cloak in Kara; and also a Trinket and Shield for my Healing set. Healing gear is still way below what is useful (only +700-ish), but as time progresses it’ll improve. Tanking wise I’m getting much higher HP and my Def score is now 500. Thats plenty, so I can now start thinking about the +dam gear as well. I’ll also start to grab any plate dps gear that might go to DE as an off-set too. Got to think about the future grind, and hopefully there will be a way to level as Prot to 80, but if not having some Ret gear will be handy.

bulldozerImages are stolen – wine shot is San Francisco wine region (yum), and the tanking shot is from Something Awful’s “300 vs. Bulldozer”. Thats a great tank name by the way: Bulldozer – have to be a Warrior Tank. You could call a Druid Meatshield, and a pally Radioactive, because they pulse with light and damage.

Now I’m rambling.

Moving to Mac for WoW

macbook picIn my last post about moving from a PC to Mac I gave some general observations about the experience. Now a week later I know a stack more about Macs. I am still impressed and expected the teething problems to be worse.

What is interesting is that the overall experience of using a laptop at work and home for most stuff has not changed. Still surf, still download, and still way to easy to get distracted at night when I should be doing something else. Not surprising really. The only hitch I’ve had is email, which is still running in a Windows partition until we get all the new contacts, mail, etc sorted out.

What did surprise me was how easy it was to get going with the Powerbook on World of Warcraft. It was simple. Here is a quick summary of the migration process, and a few neat things I found out about along the way. Continue reading

Kara Class Requirements

kara art shotAfter a little discussion in guild, a list of stats required for entry to Karazhan is a handy thing. Here is a list of suggested requirements for each class, with specs noted. I’ve tried to keep the requirements low, assuming that you wouldn’t have a group where everyone is at the minimums.

Warning: This is from the Interwebs, and I am no expert!

Continue reading

Incredible Hulk Trailer

Hulk PicThere is a Hulk trailer out for the new movie, which stars Ed Norton. Excellent!

The last movie was a tad disappointing from a CGI perspective, and worse from a script perspective.

Hopefully the inclusion of Ed will see an improvement in the film’s quality. Can’t see Hulk as a huge series like Spiderman though, he’s a bit of a single story kinda guy to me (don’t bother spam me with hate, I won’t read it).

Linkage via Spike.

Moving to Mac

gauntletThe company I work for is moving a few of us from Windows PCs to Macs as our basic workhorse computer. For the most part I am very excited and stoked about the move. Expectations about the Mac’s interface and design have been built up for years, and since becoming an iPhone user (and fanboy), I can see a bright future for a Mac in my daily computing life. In fact this post is a test post of sorts to see how the beast will handle with my daily chores.

Things that have already impressed me

  • General presentation of the OS and the Macbook Laptops is excellent.
  • Application installation is not too hard, but the different behavior of some installation sets is frustrating. Certainly easier than Windows installs.
  • The tab sort, application switching, and finding a running application window is awesome.
  • The Minimise function is excellent.

Things that will improve with time or not sure

  • The laptop runs hot, to the point where its uncomfortable to rest your hand on.
  • The learning curve is very steep initially.
  • The keyboard surface and case is already marked, and appears to age quickly.
  • The new keyboard layout is skewed differently to a standard keyboard, which means I now peck to type.

Things that piss me off

  • Everything is a short-cut key combo. I don’t like using shortcut keys that much, especially when the  combo is a cryptic mess of alts+option+ctrl with a-z as the triggers.
  • The light sensitivity adjustment settings are rubbish. Every 1-3 minutes my keyboard backlight flashes on, then disappears. And I have already turned off the low-light adjustment of the LCDs brightness, which was fading for 1 second then returning to normal. I like the idea of a backlight, but the user should know how/where to set this up. Its caused by a few light sensors in the keyboard left and right side.
In the next part I’ll talk through an example of migrating a few applications – Warcraft in particular.

We All Missed Darkmoon

Captain America AvatarIt seems that the npcs of Darkmoon have taken March off; and I for one missed them. What ever the cause the game did not sync with the calendar in the last week or so, and there is much anger and spamming. Mine included. A good summary of the conversation here on Blue Tracker, and my post to ask some questions on the official forums.

What I dont get is that the Faire was planned for Elwynn forest. I was in Elwynn forest a few days before the 10th (scheduled start on the web) and it was not there.If it was a week early, then I’d have seen it. It appears it was not there at all due to some other issue.

I hope we can see a spawn after the reboot/maintenance on Tuesday. I am like many others, I have been waiting for a few weeks to turn in a deck for one of the trinkets; another month is really not good.

Also if there was a recognised issue of the calendar being wrong as the event happened early, why did they not update the calendar? Or announce it?

 For me that means another month of waiting to get the Vengence card, which is another month before I’ll have a jump in my stats for tanking. With a Kara raid planned for Friday, this is not good.

Update: The gist of the Blizzard Forum thread indicates that darkmoon will spawn after the shutdown on Tuesday. Yay! Thank you to Blizzard for understanding our frustration, and thank you to all the forum posters and bloggers for creating the buzz/hype/drama to get this done. It looks like Kisirani did most of the legwork on this one.

Transfering WoW Servers

Over the past few months the ambient population on Eonar has been steadily decreasing. Pugs are harder to get, and many players don’t seem to be on as much. This could be due to the natural process of folks getting bored, but it seems that there is a drain away from US servers toward Oceanic servers in my hours of play. And that makes sense as Aussies want to play with other Aussies.

Questing is fine and that can be done on any server, but Instances require coordinated players, and that means a good player base. The alternate is to just do daily quests and pvp; which for me is pretty boring. My play style (or lack of dedication to hardcore raiding) means that I need a large group too, as my slackness won’t impact them.

Looikng about at servers the Oceanic realms seem the way to go, and we’ve earmarked Nagrand as the destination realm. It has a high population, mature markets, and most importantly it seems to have a lot of toons online. Its also a PvE realm which is an absolute requirement for good play.

We’ll be leveling some toons (a mage, paladin, druid and warrior) as well as transferring some well geared 70s. Our high level toons are all Kara and Gruul geared; classes include a Warlock, Mage, dps Warrior, dps Pally, and then some who still need a bit of work like my Pally tank.