Oct 302009

Hello there, chiiiiildren! Welcome to “The Feed”, live and a-live, comin’ at you like a meteor to the face from that Hubble Bubble in the sky, the Ceremonial Orbiting Anvil! Okay, wrong blog, but I can’t help but get pumped when I’m typing directly from my chair on the COA. What the Fel am I talking about? Well, MBTY used to be hosted on WordPress, and now it’s been moved and parked right here on my very own little corner of the blog-o-sphere. Spheres don’t have corners, Skip. Touché. So, welcome all to More Bars Than You, the Feral Druid Adventure, now hosted by me, the SC.

Oct 292009

I don’t typically park my sites on other servers.  MBTY is my only current site with the “.wordpress.com” tail on it, and I mostly did it because I wasn’t sure I would actually continue writing to it.  My fancy is fragile, and so there’s no promising it’ll stay active into the sunset.  But, having hosted my own sites, there’s a certain level of freedom one grows accustomed to.  I’m very quickly feeling the squeeze of giving those freedoms up.

There are benefits to being “on the grid” with WordPress.  I’m sure there are plug-ins that offer the same level of social integration, though I’ve never taken the effort to look for it.  Big Bear Butt uses CommentLuv, which I’ve recently joined and of which am considering making further use.

The kicker came when I discovered I could use WoWHead (where I link most of my talents and such anyways) to add hover text to my links, which I think is just an amazing tool for readers to get a quick understanding of what you’re talking about when it comes to items and talents, without having to bounce between pages.  WP hosted sites cannot use JavaScript in any capacity, which is required to make use of this functionality.  It was the last Jenga block in a tipsy tower setup by your drunken uncle who should never be allowed near anything resembling a construction tool after two drinks, even if it’s just half of a plastic box.  Reminders that I cannot edit my own themes or write my own plug-ins, which I do to an unhealthy degree, came down on me like a cascade of wooden blocks on the table of my patience.  I’m about at my wit’s end with it.

I don’t suspect I have the drive to buy yet another domain name, but since I do own skipcocoa.net, and I write here under the Skip Cocoa alias, it may be fair to compromise and host MBTY at morebarsthanyou.skipcocoa.net.  I’ve yet to make a formal decision, but it’s beginning to lean that way.  The world waits with bated breath, I know.

Oct 292009

What be this that doth grace my eyes? It cannot be. A random PUG system? Yes it is.

If it isn’t obvious by now, I am a perpetual lowbie. 80 sounds nice and all, but it’s so very far away, and I haven’t even the minutest amount of patience to get there if I’m not enjoying the journey. Soloing gets old. Soloing gets old fast, especially when I have shelves of games to occupy my alone time just fine. I like to run instances more than I like doing quests. I don’t like to “be run through” instances. Not in that “it causes me pain” way, but in such a way that I’d rather be actually playing the game. I appreciate the effort made by my stronger friends to aid me, I really do. I just gain very little personally from being run through an instance. Only my character benefits. No, what I really want is four other equally clueless lowbies crammed together by necessity, fumbling through a challenging task to the best of our laughably limited ability. And the problem is that at low levels, good luck ever seeing a group. Inevitably, a PUG always collapses into someone bringing their high-level friend along to get it done faster and easier. Le sigh.

Maybe, just maybe, the new 3.3 patch has just what I want. You know how you hit that “I wanna BG dangnabit” button and sooner than later a box pops up to swing you off to BG land where you face off with several people from several different servers? Word on the PTR is we’re getting that in dungeon instance form. Craziness, I know! Push the button, choose a dungeon (or random), and soon you could be swooshed off to tackle the likes of Edwin VanCleef with four strangers from anywhere in your Battlegroup.

Gear requirements are being tagged onto the harder dungeons, to make sure super-n00bsaucers don’t crash your party for a free ride. Vote Kicking is available for removing problem members, or general d-baggery. Losing/kicking/”gtg gf wants xxx” teammates lets you choose to go back into the queue for a replacement, so you could find yourself popped in mid-run, which may or may not suit some. Gear rolling in these settings gets a tweak. The melee-only classes can’t roll on obviously-caster gear. You can only roll on your “dominant armor type (ex. paladins for plate)”, which I’m skeptical about. It’s not uncommon for Shaman and Druid casters to roll on squishier armor due to a significantly larger selection of caster gear amongst the clothier sorts at low levels. I’ve heard of Boomkins in cloth bits as late as their 60s. And caster mail in the 40s? Forget about it. Here’s hoping the system is lenient enough to only restrict the most obvious ninja-looting needs. Greeds, however, are unrestricted, and there’s apparently an automated disenchant rolling system for unclaimed gear as well.

Skepticism aside, I’m excited. Maybe I’ll finally be able to enjoy true grouping on my slow sight-seeing journey to that crowded end-game. I’m pretty well sick of the level-cap-or-nothing attitude that unwaveringly mocks me for not taking the soul-crushing time to put work ahead of play in a game and force myself to play catch-up. I’ll get there when I get there, and if little ideas like this make getting there more fun, it may just start happening a little faster. Now if we could only look into something about these level gaps separating me from my friends. Time to introduce you to a little thing called “side-kicking“. No? Okay, one step at a time then.

Oct 292009

It’s come to my attention that I may change servers in days to come, for stalker-type reasons. You play where your friends are, right? A little extra leveling comes with the territory, but it’s also a period of opportunity. In the face of potentially starting over, I’ve been playing about with other classes on my back-up server of Suramar. It’s the experimental do-it-all in me that loves Druids so much, so it only stands to reason I’d constantly be dabbling in other classes. I don’t exactly relish the thought of pushing another druid to 20 (life without Critty Kitty is sad), though I expect that’ll be my ultimate course of action. My first test class of choice was Rogue, with which I’ve been hitting the instances a bit on and off.

I picked Rogue because:

  • I like my Cat Form, and Rogue is apparently everything Critty Kitty is and more.
  • Rogue is one of the two classes I’ve never managed to level to 20, and I generally consider 20 what it takes to get a realistic feel for a class. (The other is Priest. I just can’t level a Priest.)

Last time I tried to level a Rogue, I went Combat spec. Everyone told me to go Combat spec. It apparently makes leveling easy, but at level 19, all I did was die. Even when I lived, it was boring beyond belief. Find an enemy alone, pull it, spam Sinister Strike, Eviscerate, rinse and repeat. Yawn. So this time, I went Subtlety, and now I’m a hatchet-wielding James Bond Orc from hell! Slow leveling, but good times. No, I don’t use daggers. I’m the Hatchet Ninja.

In my short time as a Rogue, I’ve had an in into the Rogue community, and it is something different, I have to say. Much like the class lore might imply, Rogue players seem to have a close-knit yet competitive relationship. They’re quick to offer advice and quicker to try and top you on the damage charts. This seemed to be the case with just about any other Rogue I grouped with. Things began with advice on what I was doing wrong with specs, gear and attacks, and ended with the recount stats, almost like clockwork. I do question some of the advice I was given, though.

In my more recent instance runs, I’ve deviated from my usual hatchet ninja death dealing since the Meteor Shard and Stinging Viper that dropped for me are far superior to any axes I’ve been able to come across. Still, I don’t typically use daggers, and so I’ve not started making use of attacks like Ambush and Backstab. Until I get Cheap Shot, my preferred opener is Garrote. It does reasonable damage, and doesn’t have the aggro spike of attacks like Ambush. Still, most Rogues suggest I favor Ambush, and in the easier dungeons I’m on, trash goes down so fast that Garrote really doesn’t ever see its full damage potential, so maybe they’re right. I just don’t want to get used to it, when I know I’m ditching the dagger as soon as something better comes up.

The one suggestion I keep getting that I don’t really understand is to put the Meteor Shard in my off-hand and the Stinging Viper in my main hand. The reasoning is that rogues should have their fast weapon in their off-hand and slow weapon in their main, and this makes them “attack faster”. The problem is I don’t understand the logic at all. I use the Meteor Shard in my main hand, because it is the higher damage per second weapon. It just happens to be faster by chance. It is the weapon that gets used with my instant attacks, all of which are normalized to only consider the average DPS of the weapon, so slower weapons don’t benefit at all. The off-hand takes a damage penalty, so I figure I want my weaker weapon there to minimize the loss. In fact, the only reason I can find at all to have a fast off-hand is because of Combat Potency, a 5 point, tier 8 Combat talent that gives the off-hand a flat 20% of generating energy every hit. Since I have absolutely no interest in taking 40 points in Combat, it’s not ever going to be relevant to me, and certainly not in my 20s.

Has years of weaponless cat clawing really put me so off base that I’m getting this entirely wrong? I do tend to bottom the damage charts, but I’m just not aggressive like the other Rogues. I don’t come out of stealth until the tank has established some aggro, and favor DoTs over spikes. If someone gets lost or falls behind, I go back for them and lead them to the rest of the group while the others keep pressing on ahead. I figure I’m the best to go back, as my stealth will keep me alive if I cross patrols while solo and I’m not as vital to the main group as the tank or healer. (Of course, the whole group going back is ideal, but I almost never see this happen.) I think, maybe, I just don’t have the mentality for a Rogue. I enjoy playing with abilities like Stealth, Sap and Pick Pocket, and its a shame Critty Kitty doesn’t have the stealth game of a Rogue, because it’s actually a lot of fun.

Next is Priest… maybe… ugh… Ick. Blue bars…

Oct 242009

Bear and Critty Kitty have been leveling in Outlands at the speed of wtf. Despite my desperate attempts to do other things like fish and cook and level my Enchanting, I keep accidentally gaining levels. And as I did, Bear finally had nothing better to do and took Mangle.

It should be noted that I have been avoiding taking Mangle. The reason for this is that everyone has been telling me how important it is to all Feral existence, and as such, I dug my heels in and refused. “Eat your Mangle,” mom would say, “it’s good for you. There are starving gold farmers in China who would gladly take your Mangle.” And I threw myself on the floor, kicked madly in a ferocious tantrum, and took more Resto talents instead. But Resto talents are for dessert and soon my teeth rotted out and the collective WoW community got to say “I told you so.”

So, Bear took Mangle, posed as Critty Kitty, and promptly began slapping around all in his path with impunity. We’ve already discussed that Bear is a studly beast in his own right, but when he begins being a better cat than Critty, I realize I have to eat my pride and slink back to the respec button.

Moral: Take Mangle. Replace Claw. Don’t look back.