Wednesday, December 24, 2008

'Tis the season...

Winter's Veil has arrived again, and half of Azeroth is searching for Metzen the reindeer. Meanwhile, in the real world, Christmas is closing in fast as well. It's a busy time for the retail sector, coincidentally the sector I'm working in, and it's overtime galore.

This hasn't stopped me from playing though, and I managed to get some nice upgrades in the ast few days. I got to make the Vengeance Bindings and Spiked Titansteel Helm, gathered enough rep and emblems for the boots and neck I wanted, and even got the legs from heroic Utgarde Keep a few days ago. I tried Oculus and Halls of Lightning as well, got the cape from Volkhan in HoL, but wasn't able to down the final boss in both heroics unfortunately. I'll try again later, as I really need their drops. That, and it's just fun to do.

I'm halfway into honored with Sons of Hodir as well, and it's going quite fast. I have 5 dailies now, giving a total of about 1600 rep a day I believe. Not too bad, especially since they're fun to do as well (killing the wyrm, anyone?).

Having said that, I might take a break from writing until the holiday season is over. I'm completely packed with work and other plans the next two weeks, so I wonder if I even have the time to play. This time is about being around your loved ones anyway, so it's not too strange to spend some extra time with them. WoW will still be there when I return.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Thirteen in a dozen

I mentioned this a few times in guild chat, and the trend seems to continue all the way into heroics: gear that looks the same.

While leveling up, you come across a lot of quests that give you new gear (as usual), and while the stats may be very different, that's pretty much where the differences end. I've noticed in my travels that there are about three different plate shoulder models, and about three different color schemes with each model. And that's about it. The result is that every plate wearer will look about the same, especially since Paladins share gear with Warriors and now also Death Knights.

That's only part of the problem though. At the moment the guilds arsenal of lvl 80s isn't too high yet, so you end up with a lot of the same groups for heroics. On several occasions I've been in the "2-warrior, 3-paladin" setup, which makes loot all the more interesting. Pretty much all the gear I want is also high on the list of the other DPS in the group. I did heroic Utgarde Keep today, for instance, and all three of us wanted the plate legs that the final boss drops. Same goes for Ebon Blade rep grinding (boots), Halls of Lightning heroic (axe) and so on.

This got me thinking, and worrying: will all the plate melee DPS end up looking the same? We're all aiming for the same gear since it's obviously the best. There is less customization than there was in Burning Crusade, as I feel it. And even if you do stray to another piece of gear, you'll still look the same anyway. I, for one, know I won't feel unique if there's 6 others running around in exactly the same gear as me in a 25 man. And let's face it, we all want to be unique.

Apart from that, it also annoys me that there's so many people rolling for the same stuff. It may be a tad selfish, but it takes the fun out if you're competing with all the other DPS for the same gear. I can't say "hey, look at this item" since 4 others will say "got that 2 weeks ago, man you're late", and again, I don't want people to be exactly like me (or me exactly like them). This "thirteen in a dozen" thing isn't really fun.

Although I guess you won't notice it at some point when there's more people ready for heroics. At least then there will be a good balance between melee and ranged dps again.

Anyway, here's the list I promised. The things I'm going for:

Head: Spiked Titansteel Helm
Neck: Pendant of the Outcast Hero
Shoulders: Spaulders of the Giant Lords (ideally, but will probably settle with Mantle of Volkan)
Chest: Breastplate of Undeath
Back: Cloak of Bloodied Waters (or Shroud of Reverberation)
Waist: Flame-Bathed Steel Girdle
Hands: Gauntlets of Dragon Wrath (quite hard, but no alternative found yet)
Wrist: Vengeance Bindings
Legs: Staggering Legplates
Feet: Death-Inured Sabatons
Rings: Hemorrhaging Circle + Mobius Band
Trinkets: Mirror of Truth + Sphere of Red Dragon's Blood
Weapon: Colossal Skull-Clad Cleaver
Libram: Venture Co. Libram of Retribution + Libram of Divine Judgement (depending on situation)

These are all relatively easy items to get, in my opinion. A few heroics for both gear and emblems, some blacksmithing, a bit of rep grinding and you're set. Of course there's better out there, but the question is: is it worth it? At some point you'll go into Naxxramas and replace all that gear. It's not worth it to spend a few thousand gold on that one cape which you will replace in 10-man Naxx anyway.

On another note, Utgarde Pinnacle is pure evil on heroic. I've tried to clear it with a good geared group on several occasions, and even though we slaughter the first two bosses, that Skadi crushes us every time with his gauntlet. It could be me, but I'm not supposed to die after 1 hit from a trash mob + 1 tick from his ice breath, that's just rediculous. It doesn't help that the trash traps you in nets either. We Paladins may have Hand of Freedom, but that's not quick enough to get out of the ice breath in time. I don't care how much our tank wants that sword from King Ymiron, I'm not going there anymore...

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Going heroic

Wih the level cap hit again, it's back to the gearing up to get better. I've been using Atlasloot to list all the DPS plate gear and then compare them through Wowhead to make up a "wanted" list. So far I've hardly replaced any gear, and I'm wondering why. I think I still have to change my mindset a bit when it comes to stats. I feel I'm losing out on too much other stats like agility and intellect, even though I know that intellect will be gone anyway. The lack of agility still bugs me, nothing on the Tier armor even. And it does have haste rating, which is now unimportant.

Anyway, I did some heroics to get some gear together, but no luck as of yet. I did get better legs and a better weapon, but not the things I wanted. I'll use them, but it's all in-between armor, really. Maybe it's lucky I didn't get anything yet, I checked MaxDPS today and changed a few items on my list already. Turns out I forgot crafted items, mainly the helmet and bracers. Time to go mining and get that blacksmithing up! I'm going for Spiked Titansteel Helm and Vengeance Bindings, and quite honestly it's rediculous how cheap the mats are for such quality items. The frozen orb is the hardest part, and that's only a lucky roll in a heroic away (or a few badges, if you're really unlucky).

While I didn't get any items from heroics, at least I got some rep. I've been wearing the Ebon Blade tabard for a while now, and I'm halfway into revered. Only 8k rep to go until I can get those epic boots! Combined with the 1500 rep you can get each day from the Ebon Blade dailys it shouldn't take too long for me to get them. And as soon as I've got that helm made, I can buy their head enchant and not worry about that slot for a long time.

On another note: I finally got my epic flyer! I had to save up from Zul'Drak all the way through Icecrown to Storm Peaks, but I finally got the 5k together for the skill, and even a few hundred gold for the flyer itself. I was left with 9g afterwards, but I'm already up to 1k again, so I can pay repair bills again.

The guild as a whole is leveling quite nicely. I was one of the first to hit 80, but now there's more people getting up there, making it easier to do heroics too. All the lvl 80's are eager to do heroics, and I only have to ask to get a few positive reponses already. The healers and tanks have the busiest jobs at the moment, since we don't have as many of those at higher levels yet. It's fun to see the tug-o-war between two teams needing a healer, and I bet they like the attention themselves as well.

I'll post the gear list here later. I'm interested to see what people think of the list, and if they possibly have other ideas.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Making it to the top!

The past week has been really busy. Apart from work I've also had a few other real life obligations, cutting my WoW time short. Nevertheless, I've done quite a lot and really enjoyed myself as usual.
Since my last post I finished up Grizzly Hills and got the Grizzly Hills quest achievement. After that I went for Zul'Drak and did a lot there. I made first contact with the Knights of the Ebon Blade there and have been questing for them ever since. The quest chain where you have to infiltrate a flying stronghold was really cool, leading to a satisfying end which is lore-heavy once again. After doing the major quests in Zul'Drak I hit lvl 77 and decided to head to other grounds. With my newly acquired cold weather flying I was ready to hit the big stuff! I took a flight to Icecrown and soon got reunited with the Ebon Blade once again. After a lot of questing I unlocked a few dailys for the Ebon Blade, and I'm doing those every day now. There's some sweet boots at exalted so I want to get the rep as fast as possible.

I ended up at lvl 79 last thursday, and today I had the chance to finish up that last level. I said my goodbyes to Icecrown for now and headed to Storm Peaks. The first few quests weren't too interesting, until I had to deal with a tribe of Nordic Amazon warriors. I ended up infiltrating into their tribe and questing for them (disguised of course), and it's been a blast ever since. I blasted through the quests with great pleasure, and the experience bar positively flew up. I ended my day neutral with the Sons of Hodin which hated me earlier today ("You have gained 22000 reputation with Sons of Hodin") and more importantly: at level 80! Yep, I made it to level 80. Not nearly as fast as some others, but still at quite a pace. It never felt like a rush though, and I've enjoyed myself a lot. I know there's still a lot to see, so now I'm going to finish up as much quests as I can to get some nice gear and gold. I'm still 1500g away from my epic flying mount, but I'm determined to get it this time around. I might finish up Nothrend exploration while I'm at it, so I can get the Explorer tabard and title, just for fun. Level 80 has opened up a lot of options, so I'll see what the game shoots my way.

As a finisher, here's me dinging to 80:

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Halfway there

I've been questing along nice 'n easy for the last week or so, and things are going nicely. I managed to hit 75 earlier today, marking the halfway point. So far I've seen all of Borean Tundra, Howling Fjord, Dragonblight and Grizzly Hills, although I haven't done all quests in any of those places. I'm currently questing in Grizzly Hills, going through some nice quest chains. I even had the pleasure of being reacquainted with my favorite dungeon boss: Arugal! Gotta love him and his Worgen.

I've seen Dalaran and set my hearthstone there. Honestly, that place is amazing. Shattrath was pretty nice as well, but it had its negative sides. Dalaran just has it all and looks nice to boot. All the profession trainers in their own little quarter, Horde and Alliance quarters complete with inns, portals to all major cities (including Shattrath) and a spiffy new Battleground Chamber, and of course the sewers. The Dalaran Arena is situated there (quite appropriately), and also a Black Market, giving the sewers a real "underworld" feeling. And for a miner/blacksmith the Forge of Fate is just awesome. It's a normal forge, but smithing in it really feels good. Not some third-rate anvil in some small village, this baby's a class A forge. I expect there will be some items you can only craft at the Forge of Fate, so I'm merrily skilling up until that day comes.

The only setbacks to Dalaran I've found so far are the size (I can't imagine how crowded it'll be when the realm has leveled enough to maximize capacity) and the fact that you can't access it legally until 74. Shattrath was nice in the fact that you could get there as soon as you hit Outland, Dalaran takes a bit more work, and it feels more like a restriction than an achievement for hitting 74.

Money has always been an issue for me, which is mainly the reason why I don't have my epic flyer yet. However, I'm up to 3k gold at the moment, halfway there to both epic flyer and cold weather flying. Cold weather flying will be top priority (only 2 more levels!), epic flyer after that. I also want that brown bear mount, partly because it really fits with the environment. I'm riding on my trusted Hawkstrider now (as always), which feels a bit out of place at times. I'd much rather have an epic flyer though, so the bear will have to wait for now. The gold income is going fast enough anyway. The quest money is nice, and so is the income from quest rewards. Lots of gear that I don't really need, so off to the vendor. I haven't replaced a single item yet, although it's bound to happen sooner or later. So far I can solo a 2 or 3 man group quest every now and then, so I think I'm fine for now.

I got the idea from Firelight to screenshot all my level ups, but I won't show them all. As usual I'm really bad at making pictures (both in-game and in real life), so I don't have much apart from those. Here's me dinging to 75 though, I'll leave it at that:















See you in Northrend!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Happy Birthday Samsara!

Exactly one year ago, a group of people from the guild Mutinymamas split off from the rest and formed a new guild. Seven Voices were appointed to keep the balance, and they called themselves Samsara. Over the months many people joined and the guild got larger and larger. And at some point, the Council of Elderly joined forces with Samsara and together they strode on under the Samsaran banner. It is there where I got in.

We tackled Karazhan, we tackled Gruul. Magtheridon was slain by Samsaran spells and blades, and even the Serpentshrine Cavern wasn't safe. And now we're battling Scourge in Northrend, preparing for that final battle with the Lich King himself.

But not just that, we also had a lot of fun. Birthday parties, dodgeball games, and the usual good times in guild chat. A lot has happened, and we've had a lot of fun so far.

And today marks the first anniversary of all that. Today is the first birthday of Samsara as a guild! Whoo us! I would like to thank all the people in the guild for all the good times I've had, all the laughs and the serious business. It's been a blast so far, and let it be so for another year to come!

For Samsara!

Friday, November 14, 2008

The first day of Northrend...

WARNING: Contains spoilers (obviously). If you do not want to know what's going on in Northrend and with Death Knights, I suggest you stop reading here.


An e-mail last night confirmed it: my copy of Wrath of the Lich King has been shipped and should arrive in the mail today. And being the good postal service as they are, I got it today indeed! After about an hour of installing, upgrading and patching, it was time to enjoy the wonders of Northrend. It was my day off from work today, so I had all day to explore, quest and level!

First up was creating my Death Knight. I had a female troll already made, so with a quick delete and remake, I had Ryll the Death Knight. A beautiful female Troll, truly a woman not to take lightly. No time to start the Death Knight though, it would be crowded anyway and I wanted to see Northrend.

I hurried onto Vaadren, and my first thought was "holy crap, an exp bar"! It's not like I forgot what it looked like, since I'm still leveling Myczil, but it takes getting used to seeing it on your main. After taking a look at the Atlas maps I decided to start in Howling Fjord because it was greener there, and I like green. I took a portal to Orgrimmar, and found out that I could only go to Borean Tundra from Org. Oh well, off to the Tundra then! I ended up in Warsong Hold, a relatively small stronghold but with a boatload of trainers, vendors and other things. Compared to Warsong Hold, Thrallmar bites the dust as a "first town in a new area", this place has it all! After upgrading all my professions and getting some new consumables I went questing. It was quite hard sometimes, with 6 people going for the same mob, but not as bad as I expected. I positively blasted through the quests, taking on 3 or 4 at a time. Riding the new vehicles is fun, with the new interfaces. I wonder if they only did that for the new ones, or if the existing ones have been overhauled as well. Chess Event in Kara, anyone?

I took a small break from my (highly enjoyable and ass-kicking!) Paladin, and went exploring with Ryll. The Death Knight quests are very well set up, with the starting area changing with the events you're currently experiencing. In the same spot you were killing farmers 10 minutes ago, everything is now ablaze and you're killing hordes of soldiers! Buildings that are under enemy control at first, and suddenly burning and overrun with Scourge when you visit it for another quest further down the line. It's amazing how they managed to do it, and I can't figure out for the life of me how they pull it off. Are they phasing me into a different dimension every time I complete a special quest? I guess that's the closest I can get. Kudos to Blizzard for that anyway. Apart from that it's just very enjoyable to follow the path from serving the Lich King to breaking free and going back to the Horde. Very lore-heavy, which is a real treat for a lore junkie like me. The class itself works like a charm, the runic power and runes you have at your disposal allow for a lot of flexibility and fun. I decided to take the Blood tree since I felt it fit my style most, and it plays great. If I ever get Ryll close to 80 I'll make her tank probably, but for now I'm enjoying the DPS, still my favorite role in WoW. I ended Ryll at lvl 58, now a Knight of the Ebon Blade (Death Knights free from the Lich King) and parked in Shattrath. We'll see how much time I'll spend on her. I've had my taste of the Death Knight, so I'm happy for now. Quite frankly, Vaadren is my #1 priority, so I want to get him to 80 before even considering another project. Even Myczil will have to take a step back for a bit.

Back to Vaadren, and back to questing. I spent an hour exploring because I wanted to go to Dalaran, but we can't get in yet unfortunately. Instead I went collecting flight paths, and now I have about 8 of them already. One or two more and I can go from the Tundra to Howling Fjord, but that's not too important. Since friday is always a non-WoW day for me, I was determined to reach lvl 71 at least, and it proved quite a struggle. Was leveling always this hard? I must have done most of Borean Tundra already. The Taunka still have a few things for me, but apart from that.... I don't know. I did reach 71 in the end though, and I'll probably visit Howling Fjord after I'm completely done with the Tundra. It should give me enough exp to get to 72 at least. No planning far ahead for me, I'm taking it one level at a time. A madman's race to lvl 80 isn't really my thing, and luckily we can still all play the game as we want to. Of course I'll try to keep up with the rest of the guild so we can do instances together and get ready for raiding again, but I'm certainly not going to rush.

I may play tomorrow, not sure yet. It kinda depends on how the day goes. But if not, I'll have the entire weekend anyway. Plenty of time!

I hope everyone is enjoying themselves in Northrend. See you there!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Northrend in sight! And PvP madness?

Achievements have changed a lot in World of Warcraft, as you all have noticed probably. Suddenly everyone is fishing, doing low level instances and jumping from high places. It's interesting how such a (mostly) non-profitable concept can make such an impact.

It has change world PvP as well. Lightbringer's best guild, Carpe Noctem, has already downed Tyrande and Velen, and will be going for Stormwind and Ironforge at some point in the near future. A few days ago a raid group of the best guilds on Alliance side downed the Silvermoon boss (and a well deserved congratulations to them), but overestimated their abilities by going for Sylvanas next. Me and a few guildmates teamed up to try and stop them, but the Horde counterforce was too small, so we decided against it in the end. Defending your home is one thing, but stepping into the fight with those odds is just asking to be nuked down.

We went PvPing instead, something I had never done before. We started off in Warsong Gulch, and I just followed a guildie to get the hang of things. Soon enough I was killing players left and right, and quite enjoyed it as well! We did an Arathi Basin as well, which was enjoyable but not as much as the Gulch. I've been trying out Alterac Valley and Eye of the Storm as well the last few days, and some more Warsong Gulch and Arathi Basin. It's more enjoyable in a group, but still quite enjoyable solo. I like Warsong Gulch and Eye of the Storm the most, Alterac Valley the least so far, and Arathi Basin somewhere in between. I've never been against PvP, but never cared for it either. However, I think I'll be doing some more of it in the future, especially with that Strand of the Ancients battleground coming up. It could turn out to be completely evil, but just the name sounds so cool already! The mounts will be my PvP goal, a bit of work but I accept the challenge. It'll at least give me something to strive for.

PvP is only one of the things I've started doing. These last few days before Lich King have made me do more quest lines (the Greatmother chain in Nagrand atm, I'm aiming for lore-filled quest chains), and grinding rep for various random factions. I never paid attention to the Sha'tari Skyguard, but now I find myself killing Skettis for them. And I still don't know why, but I am. And it's not stopping me either. Odd.

So yeah, only a few more days. I already pre-ordered my copy, but somehow I doubt it'll arrive on thursday. Friday probably, but my fridays are always filled with work and friends, so it'll probably be saturday before Vaadren will set foot on the snowy fields of Northrend. I'll immediately make my Death Knight so I have her ready to play in a few weeks, when the initial madness has died a little. I already reserved a name for her. Ryll the Female Troll Death Knight. I always wanted a female Troll Warrior, but Warriors are a pain to level in my opinion, so I never made one. The Death Knight should provide me with the armored, ass-kicking blademistress I envisioned long ago. I'm already looking forward to the entire experience called Wrath of the Lich King!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The good, the bad and the shiny

It was a good day today in most respects, slightly less in another. First up, the bad news:

As the (now-infamous) Ghostcrawler has informed in this thread on the Beta forums:

We are looking at some way of making Avenging Wrath and Divine Shield mutually exclusive. This may be through Forbearance, if we can reduce the Forbearance duration through a hotfix. The bubble is intended as a defensive measure. Yet bubble+wings currently is used a lot in BGs and Arenas and helps contribute to the feeling of being destroyed by a Retribution paladin while you are unable to respond.

In summary, this comes down to Avenging Wrath being tied to Forbearance again, and Forbearance having been cut back to 2 minutes. This is basically a step back from TBC even, since the "Wings" gave a higher percentage of damage boost then, and Forbearance was only 1 minute. I've already had a few ffs-moments with that, and it's amazing why Blizzard did this of all things, with numerous better solutions flying around on the beta forums.

Oh well, we'll see how it turns out. On to the better news.

I started today with a heroic Magister's Terrace, in hope of the Netherforce Breastplate. It didn't drop unfortunately, but I did get the Shard of Contempt, so I'm a happy camper. I initially decided to swap out my Darkmoon Card: Crusade in favor of Bloodlust Brooch, but after tweaking and trying each combination out, I found that the Brooch was the one needing to go.

Lots of loafing around later, and I got asked for a ZA guild run (another DPS backed out or something). No real loot from there, I got some mail healing shoulders that are nice, but not overly special. No one else needed them anyway, so it's not like it mattered. Shortly after the run a guildie asked around for a few people for a Gruul & Maggy PuG. I happily went along with a few other guildmates, and ended up at Magtheridon's doorstep first. He went down easily, and I managed to get a whopping 1400 DPS off him, topping the charts! He dropped one pally T4 token, and with a bit of luck I rolled 91 and won. Whoohoo, a new chestpiece! Time to get rid of that mail ZA chest I was wearing.

Off to Gruul next, and with a bit of a sloppy start of the Maulgar pull, we managed to get them down one by one. No one cared too much, as it was all fun and games in Vent, which made it a very good PuG, especially for a raid. Maulgar wasn't so kind as to drop the long-wanted wristbands I so crave, but he did drop two pally shoulders. I rolled 13 for the first, the second highest number. I silently hoped they'd just go for first and second places, but they treated them individually. I rolled a mediocre 51 on the second one, which surprisingly didn't get topped. Then, another person rolled a 54 and I thought I had lost again. However, the person rolling was a warlock who had no use for the token (and most likely was a tad disoriented), so the shoulders went my way anyway. Off to Gruul himself, and time to smack him around. It went very fast, getting im down during hit 5th growth. Only two shatters were executed, and I lived through both easily.

A very enjoyable raid with people from several highly respected guilds of our server. I got to know a few, and they were all nice people. True good players, not just achievement freaks but enjoyable people who enjoy a laugh. Good times.

After the raid I went to get my new gear, waved my mail chestpiece and Ragesteel Shoulders goodbye, and put on my new shiny stuff! I'm sporting full T4 now, and it looks awesome. Let's see about those things getting enchanted tomorrow!

In other news, I've been trying out my DPS on the training dummies, and managed to get a solid 1250-1300 when going all out. Very respectable, don't you think? Also, somehow I'm not going OOM in 4 minutes anymore when going all out. I tried it before when Blizzard announced the JotW nerf, and I believe it happened then. Now, not anymore. Well, you don't hear me complaining!

So everyone, remember your Forbearance when you want to use your Wings or Bubble. Apart from that, enjoy the last few weeks before Wrath of the Lich King comes out. I know I will!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Another one for the Holy Light.... sorta

My love for underdogs or anti-heroes is getting apparent now, as well my knack of picking classes that have several roles, the major role being the one I don't intend to play.

You may have seen him on the right side of my blog, but it's time for a formal introduction: Myczil the Forsaken Shadow Priest. At lvl 40 at the moment of this blogpost, he is my highest alt and current focal point of my WoW time. He's taken up Tailoring and Enchanting as his professions, and with a little monetary aid of Vaadren every now and then, he's happily skilling up. In the meantime he's also running around in Dustwallow Marsh, questing away in his just acquired Shadowform.

Why introduce a second character? Have I lost interest in my Paladin, like so many others with recent changes/nerfs/uncertainty regarding the class? No, not at all. Despite the hard times as a Retribution Paladin (finding groups, being laughed at, you know), I've always loved Vaadren a lot. And I will certainly continue playing him, going on adventures with him and writing about him here. But quite honestly, I don't do much with him at the moment instead of some raiding and the occasional heroic (and lately enjoying the Scourge invasion and grinding some rep). And since I've always wanted an alt, I decided to invest some time in one.

So while you can still expect your frequent Paladin news from Vaadren, expect some Priestly talk about Myczil every now and then as well.

Vaadren as my Crusader of the Light, and Myczil as Shadowweaver.

I say the opposites make for a good balance.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

For the Light!

With all the negative news lately, I should mention that I'm still enjoying the game a lot. Sure, things might not look good, but all the more reason to have fun now. So.....


For the last few days, there have been people infected by the Scourge and turning into Ghouls. Unfortunately, those people could not be saved and thus had to be exorcised. After the first few incidents, it remained relatively peaceful and everyone thought it was over.

Guess again!

Necropoli have appeared all over Azeroth, sending down devastating unholy bolts and spawning more ghouls than you can imagine. Even Shattrath City is littered with corpses, showing that the Lich Kings reach is very far indeed. The Argent Dawn has appeared everywhere, trying to battle the Scourge and asking for your aid. And as the Paladin that I am, I answered that call.


In normal terms, Phase 2 of the pre-Wrath event kicked off last night. Infection timers have been reduced from 10 minutes to 2 minutes, and it takes about 10 Cleanses to dispel it. It's getting really hard to combat the Scourge now! I've been doing some of the quests, and having a blast so far. I started playing last year, so I never experienced the pre-Burning Crusade event. I'm very excited to be a part of this now. Killing undead is my specialty even, so I'm enjoying my complete arsenal of spells to its fullest.

Stand strong, fellow Crusaders of the Light. Consecrate the earth around you, keep your holy-imbued blade at the ready, and strike with unparalleled vengeance. For the Light!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Clipped wings in 3.0.3

It's time to talk about the hot topic again, time to jump on the bandwagon. The hot topic? Why, the "overpoweredness" of Retribution Paladins. Or just Paladins in general, I'm not sure anymore.

Anger, sadness and disappointment galore in Paladin land (not to mention total confusion) with the latest Wrath Beta Build, number [9138] this time. The changes for Paladins, not just Retribution:

Skills
Holy

- Seal of Wisdom now deal [ 16% of AP + 25% of Spell Power + 1 ] holy damage when unleashed. (Down from [ 20% of AP + 32% of Spell Power + 1 ] Holy damage)
- Seal of Light now has a chance to heal for [ 15% of AP + 15% of Spell Power ]. (Down from [ 28% of AP + 28% of Spell Power ])
- Seal of Light now deals [ 16% of AP + 25% of Spell Power + 1 ] (down from [ 20% of AP + 32% of Spell Power + 1 ]) holy damage when unleashed.
- Seal of Righteousness now grants each melee attack [ 2.2% of Melee Weapon Speed * AP + 4.4% of Melee Weapon Speed * Spell Power ] additional Holy damage. (Down from [ 2.8% of Melee Weapon Speed * AP + 5.5% of Melee Weapon Speed * Spell Power ])

Protection

- Seal of Justice now deals [ 16% of AP + 25% of Spell Power + 1 ] holy damage when unleashed. (Down from [ 20% of AP + 32% of Spell Power + 1 ])

Retribution

- Judgement of Command Holy damage reduced from 56% to 45%.
- Blessing of Might (Rank 8 ) and Greater Blessing of Might (Rank 3) now increase AP by 306. (Up from 305)
- Seal of Corruption now deals [ 15% of AP + 8.8% of Spell Power ]
additional holy damage over 15 seconds. (Down from [ 19.2% of AP + 9.6% of Spell Power ])
- Seal of Corruption now deals [ 14% of AP + 22% of Spell Power + 1 ] Holy damage. (Down from [ 17.5% of AP + 28% of Spell Power + 1 ])
- Seal of the Martyr now make all your melee attacks deal [ 22% of mw ] to [ 22% of MW ]. (Down from [ 28% of mw ] to [ 28% of MW ])
- Seal of the Martyr now deals [ 16% of AP + 25% of Spell Power + 36% of mw ] to [ 16% of AP + 25% of Spell Power + 36% of MW ] Holy Damage when unleashed. (Old: [ 20% of AP + 32% of Spell Power + 25% of mw ] to [ 20% of AP + 32% of Spell Power + 25% of MW ] Holy damage)
- Seal of Blood now make all your melee attacks deal [ 22% of mw ] to [ 22% of MW ]. (Down from [ 28% of mw ] to [ 28% of MW ])
- Seal of Blood now deals [ 16% of AP + 25% of Spell Power + 36% of mw ] to [ 16% of AP + 25% of Spell Power + 36% of MW ] Holy Damage when unleashed. (Old: [ 20% of AP + 32% of Spell Power + 25% of mw ] to [ 20% of AP + 32% of Spell Power + 25% of MW ] Holy damage)
- Seal of Vengeance now deals [ 15% of AP + 8.8% of Spell Power ] additional Holy damage over 15 sec. (Down from [ 19.2% of AP + 9.6% of Spell Power ])
- Seal of Vengeance now deals [ 14% of AP + 22% of Spell Power + 1 ] Holy damage. (Down from [ 17.5% of AP + 28% of Spell Power + 1 ])
- Judgement of Wisdom now restores 1% of the attacker's maximum mana. (Down from 2%)
- Judgement of Light now has a chance to heal the attacker for [ 10% of AP + 10% of Spell Power ]. (Down from [ 18% of AP + 18% of Spell Power ])
- Hammer of Wrath can now only be used when the target is below 20% (was 35%)

Talents
Retribution

- Divine Storm doesn't deal Holy damage anymore. Now heals up to 3 party or raid members for 25% of the damage caused. (Up from 20%)
- Righteous Vengeance changed to - When your Judgement and Divine Storm spells deal a critical strike, your target will take 8/16/24/32/40% additional damage over 8 sec.
- The Art of War now increases the damage of Judgement, Crusader Strike and Divine Storm by 5/10%. (Old: Increased critical strike damage only, by 10/20%)
- Judgement of the Wise now grants the paladin 15% of his base mana. (Down from 33%)
- Seal of Command now deals [ 16% of AP + 25% of Spell Power + 24% of mw ] to [ 16% of AP + 25% of Spell Power + 24% of MW ] Holy damage. (Down from [ 20% of AP + 32% of Spell Power + 30% of mw ] to [ 20% of AP + 32% of Spell Power + 30% of MW ])

(Source: MMO Champion)

Suicidal Zebra has made a good post about it, as well as Rohan at Blessing of Kings. Be sure to read those if you're interested in theorycrafting, as well as participate in some serious discussions.

Lots of these changes are nerfs, of course, and not understandable at all. Where we once had raid viability, good DPS and were actually an addition to the group, we pretty much lost it all with this Beta patch. We're reduced to the level we were during all of TBC, making us unfavorable once again.

Thank god Samsara sees my added value in raids, otherwise I wouldn't ever see the inside of any WotLK raid environment.

Let's hope this will change before it hits live. I fear the return of "lolret" already.

/shudder

Friday, October 24, 2008

Goodbye to a challenge

Raiding has gone to the backburner a bit, unfortunately because of the, in my eyes unnecessary, nerf of raid environments. Only the bosses, you say? Nay, I've noticed a change in the trash mobs as well.

The guild was supposed to go into SSC last saturday, but with some technical difficulties haunting our raid leader, and a lack of sufficient interest, it was called off. Instead, ten of us formed a group and headed for Zul'Aman. I've never been there before, since I always considered myself not strong enough yet, but with the recent changes I decided to give it a go anyway. And we blasted through Zul'Aman like no tomorrow. Bear boss, Lynx boss, Dragonhawk boss, they all went down extremely fast. Samsara "only" managed to get 4 our of 6 bosses down before the patch. We cleared it all without wipes, and quite easily I have to say. I did get killed once, but that was my fault for aggroing a group of whelplings during the Dragonhawk(?) boss. We got three chests out of the timed event, not bad at all apparently. Next time I want to do it at a slower pace. We literally rushed through it, and that seriously lowered the fun factor for me, being a first-timer. Hardly any boss strategies were given, leaving me to whack the boss and see what happened. Half of the time I was just going with the flow, following the kill order on the trash and pumping out maximum DPS and rotation efficiency during bosses. Downing Zul'Jin was gratifying though, as well as the festive jungle music that preceded it. All in all still a good time, and I got myself the 20 slot bag.

We got a guild group together on sunday to venture into the new Karazhan. We had one or two people going offspec (our best Resto Shaman went Enhancement), and we had two rogues who had never seen the insides of Karazhan before. It's safe to say that Karazhan is in EZ-Mode now. We kept chain pulling the trash, and boss after boss went down like nothing. We started getting lax, overconfident. Our raid leader accidentally pulled Maiden on his lock, and we still got her down easily (and the Warlock survived). We accidentally pulled Curator, and even though it took 10 seconds for us to decide to kill him anyway in favor of running, we got him down during his first evocate. For the first time in my Karazhan career (and mind you, I'm already fully exalted with the Violet Eye) we got Romulo and Julianne during the Opera event, which only proved a minor nuisance when they kept respawning because Julianne managed to get in a heal JUST before she was supposed to die. One Demon Chain on Illhoof, then downed. Aran went down faster than you can say "Flame Wreath, don't move!", he's reduced to a Shade of Shade o Aran now. Nightbane one-shotted. For the first time I was main pickup for the blue beam at Netherspite instead of backup and one-shotted. Prince went down after three enfeebles (the rogues died here cause they got enfeebled and didn't move out of the blast wave, but forgivable since Prince is a fight you must learn), I never even saw an infernal during the fight. Chess was the most enjoyable event, me taking a priest instead of the usual wolf. It was refreshing to play a new piece on the board. After everyone else had left for the night, four of us even cleared the animal boss for fun.

We managed to get the rogues geared up quite a lot, but apart from that it wasn't really a useful run. Being so immensely powerful was fun for a bit, but it lost its charm quickly. I know I won't sign up for many Karazhan runs anymore, mainly because it's so dead easy now. Wiping repeatedly on a boss can be annoying, but then the sense of achievement is much greater when you actually get him down. I'll still go to Gruul for the T4 shoulders and some bracers I need from Maulgar, SSC from there. But very little Karazhan.

Goodbye, my dearest Karazhan. It has been a pleasure to raid in your environment, but I fear must move on. Love, Vaadren.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Echoes of Doom..... or are they?

Patch 3.0.2 has hit the live servers, and with a day off I've had the opportunity to fully explore the new features. Of course I already saw a lot of it on the PTR, but that's never the same, especially because you have a guild to share everything with on Live.

I came home late on wednesday, already eager to start. Patching went very easy, and my download speed went through the roof when hauling in the 1.6 Gigabyte file, almost encouraging me to play in a way. I got online, admired the new splash screens, and started enjoying. First up, the talent tree. I can make a perfect build for lvl 80, but 70 requires a sacrifice or two. In the end I went for a 0/5/56 build, leaving Kings for someone else, as I could use the 5 talent points better somewhere else. After clearing my bags of any mounts and vanity pets, I was ready to go do some achievements, mainly exploration. While I was running around in Azeroth, it rained achievements in guild chat, including the 65 yard drop, /hugging a dead enemy and even "Leeeeeeeeroy!" I finished Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor that night, and signed off for the night.

Today I went for Outlands exploration, and completed that soon enough. After that I decided to go for the Classic instances. I already did a lot of them, but still had a few to go. I did Wailing Caverns, Blackfathom Deeps and Maraudon. Maraudon is extremely annoying (never been in there before tonight), and at the same time amazingly beautiful. The place is a huge maze, and finding the way towards Princess Theradras was a pain. In the end I finally made it, and as a true anticlimax, the "Princess" turned out to be a toad, so to speak. It looked like a Boulderfist Ogre and Undead Abomination (the UC guards) mated, and this was the result. I decided to make the world a better place and killed her in a few fell swipes.

One of my guildmates is a sucker for new professions, so she already got Inscription up to 350 by this afternoon! She's been making free glyphs for guildies all day, so I got a major glyph of Judgment from her, and the minor glyph for Blessing of Might. Judgment is pretty much a no-brainer (10% more damage off judgments, and spamming judgments is still our job), and with Kings gone, BoM is something I'll use a lot. It's certainly not bad as a minor glyph. Crusader Strike and Spiritual Attunement look nice as well, but apparently the CS glyph is being changed, and I've yet to see if I actually NEED the extra few % of the Spiritual Attunement glyph, with the new mana regen I have.

Tonight was Kara night as well, but I passed cause I wasn't feeling too well, caused by a headache that crept up during the evening. The group that went was tearing the place down to its foundations, according to the latest update just before I logged for the night. I'm looking forward to a raid myself, or a heroic. I'm eager to try out my new skills in a challenging environment.

Overall I'm in a really good mood. Not only because Retribution got improved (which is what most people assume is the source of my happiness), but because of all the changes. From achievements to the group calendar. From the new BG (which I might even try out, it's really cool apparently) to the barber shop. And most of all, because it brought a fresh breeze into the game. There's lots of excitement in guild chat, there's so much new things to do. People are sharing new stuff, more than ever. Samsara has always been a good community to me, the guild chats were always full of laughter and good times, and grouping was always a blast. But now I have something extra. Instead of just laughing at the jokes in chat, I now have a content smile when I hear people talking excitedly over something. Now, more than ever.

It's funny that the patch carries the name "Echoes of Doom". I see a lot of people complaining about trivial things that came, went or changed in the patch, voicing those echoes in a way. But for me, I don't hear any Echoes of Doom. Quite the opposite.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Getting ready for 3.0.2

Patch day is swiftly approaching, bringing along the overhauled Paladin fighting mechanics. Now, it's not that hard to find a nice playing style, but it will take some getting used to. And with some significant changes in each talent tree, you might get a "wtf"-moment or two while getting acquainted with your class again.

Luckily, instead of just posting the extremely long list of patch notes, here's something else. A video explaining all the new mechanics and going a bit in-depth into the improved talent trees, thus preparing you, at least slightly, for the changes about to come.

Thanks go to Suicidal Zebra for bringing this to my attention.


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Score!

Last week has been painstaking. Heroics that can't be finished due to time issues or server crashes, a Karazhan run that managed to wipe on one trash mob, and all that while only needing a few more badges.

It took a while, but last night I finally got down to needing only 5 badges. And today, after a round of Shattered Halls, I managed to get the remaining 5.

Which means that I finally got my 150 badges together! After the heroic I immediately went to the Shattered Sun vendor, and got myself that beautiful Blade of Harbingers that's been lurking at me for weeks now. I managed to find an enchanter within a minute of my purchase, and 2 minutes later I had it enhanced with a Mongoose. Whoo!

Time to test this baby out. Magtheridon is scheduled for tonight, and I'll be there. Magtheridon, you will die by my Blade, here or there!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Another one bites the dust

Last night was a good night for Samsara. Maulgar and Gruul were already in the bag, but they've had to scoot over a bit to make room for Magtheridon. Yes folks, last night Samsara killed Magtheridon for the first time! Kel'idan the Breaker, who was standing on his platform above Maggy's Lair (also known as the Blood Furnace), saw it all happening, and was reported crying after the Pit Lord was slain.

I wasn't there to participate in the killing, due to other obligations that evening. However, Thrashalot, a guildie who was in the raid, wrote a post about it. Be sure to read it if you want to know how the night went!


I'll definately be attending next weeks run. I found out I have the time, and the officers had no objections to promising me a spot, given the circumstances. I think it was my turn in the raid rotation anyway.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Diary of an Undead Horse Rider

"Dear Diary, it's me again, Attumen.

Today was horrible. I wiped on Samsara yet again, 14 times tonight! Midnight will have to wait for his Epic Felsteed Armor yet another week until Samsara is reset.
I'm starting to think I'm still undergeared, even though all the guides say otherwise. Did I get nerfed overnight? That would suck. Moroes and Aran keep laughing at me for wiping so often, but tonight they were bested as well. That should keep them quiet for a while.

Better luck next week."

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Gettin' There

First time I fully cleared Karazhan last night! In every Kara run I went to, we always skipped Illhoof (and sometimes Maiden as well), but not last night. We got them all, and we got them good.

Illhoof is an easy enough fight, but you have to flip that mental switch as a Paladin to keep spamming Consecration, which is annoying to put into your spell rotation if you ask me (not to mention a mana drainer). With no warlock present and 4 Paladins, mass Consecration was the way to deal with the imps. It worked though, and Illhoof coughed up a few badges before he knew what hit him.

Problem with 4 Paladins in the raid group is that as a DPS you get little to no chances at nice loot. Gorehowl didn't drop again, but I don't care anymore. I already have Garona's Signet Ring, Ironstriders of Urgency and both T4 tokens, which pretty much leaves me to collecting offspec gear. And with 2 Paladin healers (one still gearing up), and a Paladin tank (also gearing up) all the loot passes to them. Needless to say, I'm looking forward to Gruul's Lair again, who at least has some bracers for me, and the T4 shoulders. As soon as I have those, I'll feel like a balanced Paladin again. So far I've felt like a loose cannon, doing either a lot of damage and having to hold back, or doing subpar DPS.

I won't be able to attend the Gruul run scheduled for this saturday though. Every saturday for the next few weeks is already scheduled full, with a possible exception next week, I'll have to look into that. If so, I'll ask if I can get some kind of preference above other applicants because I won't be able to attend other dates, leaving a space for others. It sounds reasonable.

I'm also slowly getting my badges together. Last night got me 11 more, putting my total at 98 now. It's going slower than I'd hoped, but there's nothing to do about that. I'm doing my best. If I get into the next two Karazhan groups I'll be only a few short, and in that time I'll undoubtedly do a heroic or two.

Fingers crossed!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Rampaging through Outlands like a Divine Storm

It took a while, but Vaadren has been copied to the PTR realm. Of course I went straight to it and started checking out all the new stuff. New talent trees, new spells, new mechanics, it's all there and looking good! I know I was sceptical before (and honestly, looking at the notes it was hard not to), but I've made a 180 here. Like I said in an earlier post, Firelight was pretty psyched about how Retribution worked now. And after trying it myself, I have to fully agree with him.

The talent tree looks really nice, for starters. It's too bad that the WotLK trees are different (unless the WoW Europe site hasn't updated their talent trees yet), because I see some really good things in there. I wasn't sure about Sheath of Light at first (you get spell power to a certain percentage of your AP, and crit heals regenerate health for 12 secs to the target) because of the return of spell power, but it's more to give some spells a bit of a holy damage bonus, and to increase healing power (good for soloing and in case you need to throw in an emergency heal in a raid), so I welcome that talent now. The disappearance of Sanctity Aura is apparent, it being replaced by Retribution Aura now I think. There's some talents in the tree to increase Ret Aura damage, and add raid wide haste rating (from weapons to spells, from melee to ranged) to the Aura effect. We'll see how that goes. Judgements of the Wise is possibly the best talent Retribution could have gotten, with a raid wide mana regen AND instant mana reimbursement (20% of max mana) upon judging!! We used to have problems with mana, seeing as our mana pool is usually quite low and we spam our seals and Crusader Strike. With JotW we have gotten a mana regen when doing what we're supposed to do in raids (spamming seals) without our DPS output having to suffer. After several intense fights, giving it all I had, I still had a significant amount of mana left, making me wonder how the hell I can get rid of it! Ladies and Gentlemen, I think we've just become mana batteries. Raid viability, here we come!

The new mechanics take some getting used to, but overall it's really nice. The one Judgement spell has made way for three varieties: Light, Wisdom and Justice. These Judgements do exactly what their corresponding seals already did (health regen, mana regen and a "flee-lock"), but now upon judging. The corresponding seals still exist with their seal abilities, but instead of their "old" judge abilities, they now deal holy damage instead. Active seals on an opponent (Light, Wisdom, Justice, Crusader) aren't possible anymore, but I'm not too sad about that. Overall the system has a lot of flexibility, enabling you to deal damage plus gain mana / gain health / slightly incapacitate your target with each judgement, whichever you need most at the time. And that's without Crusader Strike and Divine Storm, which allow you to customize your battle routine even more.

The spell departement has recieved both good and bad changes. A few spells have been removed, including Blessing of Light + its Greater version, and also Greater Blessing of Salvation has gone. I never used Light anyway, only when there were enough other Paladins available to cover the other Blessings. Salvation is a typical choice though, seeing as it's a popular Blessing and widely used in raids. Divine Protection has had its effect changed. It now provides 50% damage absorption at a cost of 50% slower attack speed. It's like half a Divine Shield, quite strange. The main additions have to be the Judgements: Light, Wisdom and Justice like I mentioned earlier. And then there's the spell buried deep within the Retribution Tree: Divine Storm. Divine Storm has to be the coolest addition to the Paladin's arsenal. It hits up to 4 targets in a 8 yard radius, damaging them with holy damage and healing 20% of that damage done to up to 10 party/raid members. With the new JotW it's pretty hard to run out of mana, so mana cost isn't even an issue anymore. Spam away with your new Divine Storm, and enjoy your melee AoE spell, useable every 10 seconds.

It'll still take a while before the patch hits the live servers, but if the end product is anything like it is now, I'll be a happy Paladin!

The Blues speak!

More Paladin news on the Beta forums, including some nice comments from the Developers (aka Blues). In this post, written by Suicidal Zebra, he wraps up all the information and feeds it to you in bitesize chunks. There's a lot of good stuff to be read there, so make sure you do!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Patch Notes & PTR

The patch notes for the Public Test Realm (PTR) came out, and I have mixed feelings about them. There's some better scaling for certain spells, some spells have been buffed, which is all good. However, also a lot about Retribution has been overhauled, including some (in my eyes) serious nerfs. Have a look yourself at https://www.wow-europe.com/en/info/underdev/testrealm.html and tell me what you think.

Things I like:
  • All Auras now affect all party and raid members within the area of effect. (Naturally)
  • Divine Intervention cooldown reduced to 20 minutes. (Useable more often than once or twice in raids/heroics)
  • Divine Strength (Holy) moved to tier 1 in the Protection tree. (Easier delving into prot tree for BoK)

Things I dislike:

  • Forbearance duration increased to 3 minutes. (Not THAT bad, but still)
  • Precision has been removed. (The worst thing Blizzard could do, with itemization as it is for Retribution. Getting hit capped while maintaining decent power will be hell)
  • Sanctity Aura (Retribution) removed. (Our main aura is gone. We'll have to put up retribution aura + 5 different ret aura buff talents to get the same effect...)
  • Vengeance (Retribution) now stacks up to 2 times, reduced from 3. (Weren't we putting out mediocre DPS as it was? Don't take away 5% of our damage then...)

So far I'm not too happy, but we'll see how it turns out. I downloaded the PTR and took a peek at what has been added. There's a huge queue for character copying, so I'll have to wait a bit till I can transfer Vaadren over and can fully explore the talent trees and such. Firelight at http://retribution-paladin.blogspot.com is pretty enthusiastic about how Ret turned out, so I hope I'm wrong and I'll still be able to play my class decently.

On the flipside, I did check out the barber shop, which is considered godlike I think. Everyone speaks highly of it, even though it's just a minor visual tweak to your char. The calendar is pretty nice as well, with all the in-game events already in there. It's easy to make any kind of event, and it looks good. I'll have to explore that a bit further with Vaadren.

Finally, the Achievements. I'm not too sure why they put that in, but I'm very excited about that. With achievements in every category you can think of (professions, reputation, PvP, questing) you will always have something to strive for. Bored of heroic grinding? Go do some PvP achievements to change the scenery. I know I'll be going for the Exploration Achievements, I've always loved exploring! (I used to be the Guild Cartographer in my old guild before everyone got the Cartographer addon)

That's it for now. I'll be dividing my attention between WoW and the PTR for a bit, so be sure to expect some more about both in the future!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Teatime at the Castle

Just a short post today, after last nights follow-up Kara run. Aran's been bugging us this week for no apparent reason, but we finally got revenge tonight. Chess went easy as usual, I can't remember a single time we lost there. Is it even possible without leaving your computer? I got some healy pants from Chess, the start of collecting a healy set (I already have full tank set, holy seems obvious now). It's quite low priority though, so I won't go to great lengths just to get an item, like I'd do for Ret.

Prince went really well tonight. Usually we have trouble with the infernals, or rather bad luck. The first few drop quite far away, one a bit closer on a spot where you don't really want it but still okay, and then one right on top of you and the tank! This time was no different, but it went very smoothly. Prince went down like sugar in a teacup, and soon he was down on the ground. No Gorehowl again unfortunately, that axe has been eluding me for a long time now. I did get the T4 helmet though, so now I can replace that aweful Crusaders Scaled Helm with resilience on it for a nice Justicar Crown. It does push back my HR to below the cap again, which keeps aggravating me. Especially since I only need like 3 or 4 HR.

After Prince we got Nightbane down, by my request. After Gruul on saturday, I only needed Nightbane to finish the Cudgel of Kar'desh quest in Slave Pens (SSC attunement I believe), so I definately didn't want to miss out on that beasty. We got him down nice and easy, earning another batch of badges. We finished there with an early night, giving people the opportunity to go to sleep or just muck around until the server check started at 3 AM.

The badges are a blessing these days, as I made up my mind about my new weapon. The Blade of Harbingers is my choice, for a whopping 150 badges. Get a Mongoose enchant on that one and I won't be swapping weapons anytime soon. I've got around 90 to go, so I should really get working!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Big 'n Ugly

Gruul's Lair was on the schedule tonight. Samsara is doing really well in Karazhan, you could almost say we've got it on farm, so it was time to take it up a notch. And so we ended up on Gruul's doorstep, 25 Samsarans strong.

Man, what a night! After buffing everyone up (PallyPower makes it so much easier with 25 people to buff, and 4 pallies to divide the blessings amongst) we headed for the trash mobs. Surprisingly, the trash mobs went down without any problems, and we were already glad about that. Maulgar and his gang next. After going over the tactics, we spread out and initiated the fight. We got Blindeye the Seer down surprisingly fast, and soon Olm the Summoner went down as well. At that point we lost a tank though, cutting a mob loose (don't know which one, it was kinda hectic) and going rampage. Wipe 1. We went in again for the second and third tries, but someone pulled Maulgar too soon both times, ensuing utter chaos. The fourth try started smoothly again, and again the Blindeye went down fast, closely followed by Olm again. We were onto High King Maulgar himself in no time, and before the raid leader could say "Phase 2 coming up" the High King was dead on the ground! Two pally shoulder tokens dropped, nothing else interesting for paladins. With 4 paladins in the raid, plus a few shamans and a rogue, my chances were quite small to get one of the tokens. And indeed, I rolled 37 against a 87 and 72. Too bad!

After a quick break we went on to the big man himself. The trash up to Gruul was taken care of in sheer elegance. Perfect teamwork there. And then Gruul! After going over the tactics again, we ran in for the showdown. Here goes nothing! It was quite hectic, people running all over the place, trying to stay out of range of others as much as possible. Around 60% I got one-shotted by a Shatter (at full health!), and I was lying dead on the floor. A mage fell soon after, and I told the healers to battle rez the mage instead of me. Slowly but surely Gruul's health bar went down, and a few more people fell. And then it happened: with around 20 people still standing, Gruul bit the dust! A one-shotter!! We couldn't believe it, and the Vent channel went berserk with cheers. After a rez I got a look at the loot. Yet two more pally tokens, legs this time. It sure was a paladin friendly night! The people who got T4 shoulder tokens at Maulgar couldn't roll again for the legs, making the odds a bit more favorable. A well placed roll of 68 made me the highest roller for one of the tokens, our other Ret paladin got the other one. Justicar Greaves for me, baby! Whoohooo!

It was Samsara's first night EVER in Gruul's Lair. Most of us had never even seen it from the inside yet, let alone kill its inhabitants. And here we are now. After our first night, we cleared Gruul's Lair, one-shotting its master in the process. I'm not saying that we've put Gruul's Lair on farm after our first night, but it certainly looks promising!

Maggy, you've been warned. You're next!

Friday, September 5, 2008

I want!

Gear upgrades. It never seems to stop, does it? Last week I finally got my T4 gloves (Justicar Gauntlets), which I immediately enchanted of course. Compared to the Ragesteel Gloves I had before them, the stat increase is quite nice. The strength increase is quite minimal. +3 Str or so, good for +7 AP. Not much, but extra AP is extra AP. The stamina and intelligence buffs are really nice, something I can always use. I've been focusing mainly on strength on gear, and my intelligence (and mana pool!) has been suffering cause of that. Time for a little love in that direction. I'm also looking forward to the 2 set bonus of the Justicar set. A 15% damage increase for JotC is always nice. After all, it's judged on mobs 90% of the time.

There's a major catch to the Justicar Gauntlets though. With the Ragesteel Gloves I had the Ragesteel Set hit rating bonus, something I really need. Without the gloves I'm suddenly down 20 HR, and that hurts. Luckily I was slightly overcapped already, so that softened the blow, but I'm still 11 HR short of capping it, and I really want it too. I don't want to be the one that misses a blow when everyone else is dead and Gruul at 1%. No use if you can crit for 3-4k if the blow won't land.

And so, in the quest for more HR, I started looking for gear upgrades. I still have some blues which I want desperately replaced (Crusader's Scaled Chestpiece and Helm, resilience yuck!), but haven't gotten around to yet. I decided I need to replace 6 things: helm, chest, shoulders, bracers, weapon and libram. Since itemization is quite a pain, it was hard finding suitable items for some slots, but in the end I made my shopping list.

I really need to get rid of that Crusader's Scaled Helm. It's not bad, but the resilience is such a waste. Prince should help me off that with a T4 helm drop.

Same goes for the Crusader's Scaled Chestpiece. I'll need to spam some MgT Heroic (gotta do normal first as well....can't get in otherwise) for the Netherforce Breastplate from Kael'Thas. I think that'll be my main objective for now, since it's the one I've been wanting to replace for a while.

Ragesteel Shoulders are nice for now, but without the set bonus not too special. T4 shoulders from High King Maulgar? We'll see, Gruul is just around the corner for the guild.

Bracers next. Sha'tari Wrought Armguards? With defense rating on it? The other stats aren't too bad, but there are better bracers around, and the defense raiting is just a waste. I was looking at the Eternium Rage-Shackles from the BoJ vendor, which are an improvement, but I'd rather have the "Ignore 150 of opponent's armor" stat in another form, like crit rating or AP. The other choice is Bladespire Warbands from HKM, but the chance of that dropping on the first time ever we're in Gruul's Lair, I'd say it's quite low. The crit rating is a nice feature of the Warbands, but all other stats are lower. Significantly. I'm not sure yet what to do, I might pose the dilemma to the guild and see what they think.

On to the weapon then. Prince has yet another drop for me, this time in the form of Grom Hellscream's axe Gorehowl. With my BS at 365, I probably should level it up to 375 and craft Stormherald, but I'm having doubts about the benefits of it in the end. I think Gorehowl will do just fine.

Lastly, the libram. I really think I'm using a crap libram now, and there's only one way to fix that: farm The Maker in heroic Blood Furnace. Libram of Avengement is THE libram, no questions asked.

It'll be hard probably, but I'll just go for it and see how it goes. Gruul's Lair on saturday evening, our first ever guild run. Really looking forward to that one!

Maulgar, Gruul, you'd better watch out. Samsarans are coming!

Opening Sequence

So here we go, my first post on my first blog. It's all kinda new to me, so I guess I'll just have to see how it goes. I've been following some blogs about Retribution Paladins for a bit, and decided I wanted to go the same way, if nothing else than to promote Retribution. I'll be sure to link them pretty soon so you can check those out as well, they're pretty nice. Anyway, on to business!

Since this is a blog about a Retribution Paladin, let me introduce myself and the paladin in question:

My name is Martijn, with my Ret Paladin Vaadren. He's on the Lightbringer EU server, and in the casual raiding guild Samsara, Horde side (yup, I play a Blood Elf!). PvP is something I never got into (except the occasional Xroads skirmish for fun), I'm a pure PvE junkie.

Samsara's progress is mainly Karazhan oriented right now, with a small path into Zul'Aman and Gruul's Lair pretty soon. There's two Karazhan runs a week (two teams who each have their own starting day and follow up day), and one ZA run a week for the well-geared people.

As for an Armory link: http://eu.wowarmory.com/character-sheet.xml?r=Lightbringer&n=Vaadren

I think that about sums up the first post. Stay posted for any blogposts about my WoW experiences in the future. Raid experiences, gear upgrades, paladin news or whatever I feel like putting in here.

As a final note, feel free to make any comments or suggestions regarding my blogposts or Vaadren (talents, gear, etc). I'll take all criticisms and suggestions!