Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Dark Ranger Rises

I started WoW wanting to be a WC3 dark ranger. With Lone Wolf, it's probably the closest I'll ever get.

I do miss my animal companion and try to raid as BM whenever it isn't a hindrance to the raid (here's to you, Tectus!), but Survival is supposedly better DPS, so I figured the switch between "hunter" and "ranger" deserved a new outfit.

Having had to attempt to raid as MM in the first couple of weeks in Highmaul due to the unbelievable discrepancy in DPS between MM and SV/BM (and believe me, I tried all 3 in an attempt to avoid MM - standing still for 3sec may not seem like a big deal to most people, but it is when you've played WoW for 10 years like you're standing on hot sand at the beach), I was extremely glad for the recent round of SV/BM buffs.

I mean, sure, in theory I don't particularly care whether I'm the worst or the best player, but when your mistakes wipe the raid the guilt does tend to kick in. Luckily, my performance this past week has improved a lot from the previous weeks, so I think once everybody's iLvl starts to even out, I'll be OK.

On a related note, my new guild has finally settled on a raiding pace after some rather high expectations that we would be raiding Mythic as soon as it released. Even though it hasn't been quite as fast as our raid leader had wished for, we've cleared Normal, Heroic and the first boss of Mythic already, which to me is still a pretty cracking pace.

As expected, 4 nights a week is a little trying for me - I still haven't finished questing, levelling my secondary professions, exploring all the zones, collecting all the minipets or working out how to use followers in my garrison - but I have to admit that it's a remarkably efficient way of raiding!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

T Minus 1 Day

This time tomorrow, NCP will have completed our first raid of WoD.

As with everyone else, I haven't had time to do a blog post because I've been too busy levelling and gearing up for it.

Luckily, even my relatively laid back approach to levelling hasn't been affected too much by the new guild's requirements; I finished levelling to 100 in just over 1 week and managed to pick up enough gear from heroics and one challenge mode dungeon to get a 634 ilvl.

I would have preferred an extra couple of weeks just so that I could do what I would normally do at the start of an expansion - max out my professions, finish every single quest (and associated achievements) and explore every single zone on the map - but I'm relatively comfortable with the timing, considering I haven't really played any more than what I usually would.

Things to note on my early expansion experience:

  1. Using alts to access alternative buildings in the Garrison seems to almost be a necessity to be completely independent of the AH; I may need to level my alts a little earlier than I usually would.
  2. The CM dungeon I did, Auchindoun, was about the same difficulty as the level 90 CM dungeons were, and only the last boss gave us a lot of trouble. I would imagine after working out how to maximise gearing and after Blizzard balances all the class abilities, it should be fine.
  3. The Proving Grounds were no trouble at all - I hit these as soon as I dinged 100, knowing that I'd need to run at least Silver DPS to get into heroics. As it turned out, I did Gold DPS and Bronze Tank with only a few wipes and almost all Mythic level 90 SoO gear. Would be interesting to see how Silver Tank and Endless DPS run now that I've shed all the 90 gear, but I have other things higher on my priority list...
  4. Run the level 100 MC with guildies and friends, preferably those who you raided with in Vanilla. It is an absolute SLOG to get through for not much reward (unless you collect pets and mounts), so nostalgia is the only thing that would make it more palatable. Luckily I got what I wanted out of the one run I did - I'm certainly not bothering to go back!
  5. The Southshore vs Tarren Mill BG is quite fun, for a FFA Arena. Not interesting enough to keep as a permanent BG, but I wouldn't mind running it again in the future (if Blizzard decide to bring it back at subsequent anniversaries). I could see how it might be frustrating for melee, however.
  6. I am a hunter. New pet skins/families are frickin' awesome. Carry on. :)

Monday, November 17, 2014

Queue Queue

Once again, the fresh expansion enthusiasm means that queue times on Proudmoore on the weekend were horrendous. I did, however, use the queue time wisely: it's the best time to read up on what I need to know for the levelling/gearing process.

First stop? Petopia, naturally.

There are some pretty awesome new skins out and since all of the pet abilities have been shuffled around, I no longer need certain pets purely for utility. I think there's only a few pet skins that I would never get rid of due to emotional attachment over looks; my original cat Shadow that I've had since WoW beta and Loque'nahak being the main two.

Apart from that, making sure I have at least one pet for each pet ability and one exotic pet from each family (for the extra ability) is a lot easier this time around - 4 birds of prey and 4 stags? No problem - especially as Mythic raids are now 20man and I'm not likely to need to bring any particular pet :)

I still don't have enough room for all the pets that I want, of course... but I'm pretty happy with my list. There are at least 10 switches and I'm sorry to see the other pets go, but it's always exciting to do a stables change-up!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Warlords of Earth

I meant to do a blog post last week when work eased off for the month, but there were just too many things happening around town due to a small gathering of Earth's Warlords for me to be home much.

Since the actual event will be happening this weekend, I'm quite happy that I have Friday off to get started on WoD. Even more so, since my new guild's raid leader has declared that we will officially start raiding in 3 weeks.

Even though I'm keen to raid, I refuse to rush to cap just for the sake of being able to start with everyone else. I'm not entirely sure I'll make the deadline, considering my levelling rate in previous expansions has been something along the lines of double that time. I also - as per my usual routine - haven't really looked at anything I'll need to gear up or level my garrison etc, so will probably take even longer.

Basically, I'll be doing my best to keep up with this crew... just not compromising my usual enjoyment of the levelling process. Besides, hunters level fairly quickly anyway!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Five Bye Five

It's the eve of Patch 6.0 and as we bid farewell to MoP, it's been a slightly more disappointing than exciting couple of weeks for me.

Firstly, I had hoped that merging with the new guild would allow me to completely clear an expansion at the appropriate time for the first time in my WoW career, but unfortunately they were only taking 1-2 people through heroic Garrosh a week and didn't get around to taking me. Yes, I realise the expansion isn't quite over yet (and we are planning to continue raiding as a new 20man team), but it still feels wrong not to do it with the old MoP abilities.

Secondly, although I did manage to get to wave 18 of Endless DPS Proving Grounds as BM, I didn't manage to get further. I'm confident I could have made Wave 20, but making a single mistake means pretty much starting from scratch and unfortunately these days I have less time to play outside of raids. Plus, I'm not sure I would have had the patience to re-learn cooldown usage as Survival (pretty much every hunter guide I've come across has used Surv to get through Proving Grounds).

Thirdly, I didn't manage to get all the drops required for the Deck Your Collection Achievement of Brawler's Guild - random drops are annoying :(

On the upside, I did manage to finish the Gold Challenge Modes and I am excited about the new hunter changes (hooray for keybind space and new pets... although boo to losing Scatter), so maybe the shiny new UBRS will help to swing the mood. Or maybe not - I was rather disappointed to read that there wasn't an updated version of General Drakk to kite down the hallway!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Teething Issues

Our first foray into heroic 25m raiding was... interesting.

Most of the fights seem a lot easier than the 10m version, although I missed the first 4 bosses.

Blackfuse was slightly tougher on the belt end - we started with 4 hunters and if one person made a mistake, it was over. For some reason, the 3 hunters left couldn't quite cover for the missing person (or perhaps we weren't on the ball about it like I would usually be if I know Ane is down), unlike 1 person covering for the other in 10m... possibly due to the unfamiliarity with each other more than a DPS issue.

Between connection issues, pressure from the rest of the team and the higher likelihood that 1 of the 5 of us would make a mistake (compared to 1 of 2 in 10m), we ended up using 5 hunters to get it done. Definitely not ideal, considering it's a rare occasion when you would have 5 hunter mains available at the same time.

Paragons was a wipefest. Since only 3 of us in Zero Yard Range had managed to get in on a Non Combat Pet guild kill, there was a bit of a learning curve for the rest of our old group... Although it wasn't always the uninitiated making mistakes either.

By the end of the night there was frustration all around - people complaining about the mistakes, people complaining about other people blaming them for the mistakes or bad DPS... not really the greatest environment for fun times.

All I can say is: hooray for custom chat channels - chatting with people you enjoy playing with makes all the difference to your mood when you're wiping constantly. Hopefully we can get to know our new guildmates fairly quickly so it doesn't feel like so much of a guild vs guild atmosphere (whether imagined or not - NCP outwardly have been quite welcoming to most of us!).

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Elitist Jerk?

I am happy to announce that Zero Yard Range has now officially merged with our new guild, Non Combat Pet; Raid Team Dropbears.

NCP is the type of guild I never imagined being in: -
  1. A competitive guild (realm first heroic Garrosh for their US raid team; realm first Oceanic kill for Dropbears)
  2. A large guild (3 raid teams over different time slots, plus associated family and friends)
  3. A progression-focussed guild (up to 4 raid nights a week with flexible finish times to down bosses)
  4. A guild with a skill cutoff (DPS too low? Sorry, you might have to sit this one...)

   5. A guild with potentially low tolerance for anything other than near-perfection

How the hell did I end up here? A year ago, fairly content with breezing through casual raids whilst doing two or three other things at the same time, I would have scoffed at anyone suggesting I join an "elitist" guild. Too lazy, too time-poor, not enough motivation to raid the hours or make the effort to research and min/max my class. Oh yes, of course - and nowhere near skilled enough.

And yet, here I am. Here I stay may be another story - I *am* more time-poor than ever and I'm not sure if I have enough of the "elitist" mindset it will take to continue raiding with this crew, but with options for Mythic raiding next to zero without this merge, the choice between the extremes of elite NCP raiding or dropping back to casual/PuG raiding is going to be tough either way.

However, I'm happy to at least give it a shot... especially since they're giving me a shot (I apparently passed their skills test for hunters; namely heroic Blackfuse belt duty and decent DPS, although I wasn't perfect). Whether I stay or not might depend on the people as well - nothing worse than spending several hours a week with people you don't like!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Carry Me Away

Well, my freak out about doing heroic Paragons for the first time was completely unnecessary. The merge guild's team were totally in control the whole time and since everybody except me knew what to do, it was easy.

I would have to say my heroic Blackfuse freak out was probably warranted, but I didn't do too badly at all - died on the first go (after someone else on the floor did, so they couldn't rez me), wiped on the second (slow getting up on the pipe and couldn't DPS wave #6 in time) and killed it the third, although I died right at the end when we were DPSing the boss instead of being on the belt (I had no idea what was going on on the floor, since up until this point I'd been pretty much permanently on the belt).

I'm pretty happy overall with my performance - the other hunter died once in the third Blackfuse attempt, so I felt better about falling off the pipe once in that fight. Plus, I managed to scrape top DPS on Thok (I realise that fight is totally built for hunters, but considering their strat involves 1 tank, 2 heal and burst DPS to get Thok down as the third door opens, I feel like I made a significant contribution...).

Unfortunately I didn't get to do Garrosh - they were taking another newbie through and didn't want a second - but at least I had fun raiding with them. Plus, there was the added bonus of having the entire rest of the week off from raiding - so efficient!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Ahhh... Freak Out

Le Freak, c'est Chic!

So it's maintenance night and I'm freaking out. Why? Because tomorrow night I'm going to be representing Zero Yard Range in our potential merge guild's raid and I've just watched the strat videos for heroic Paragons and Garrosh (having not done them before).

Even before watching these, I'd been freaking out because (as a hunter, naturally) I'm going to have to do the belt for heroic Blackfuse and my guild has only had 2 nights of wipes to wave 6 so far, which is only just halfway through. That's not even counting the fact that it's so easy to fall off the pipes!

On the other hand, I'm also freaking out because these fights look absolutely awesome (or at least Paragons does... for some reason the Garrosh fight looks simpler and more straightforward that Paragons apart from a high DPS requirement).

In any case, our potential merge guild usually makes it to Paragons on the first night, so I'll have one less thing to worry about on Sunday if they let me do Garrosh (which they might not; apparently they still wipe fairly regularly on that fight).

Fingers crossed I don't wipe the raid more than once! :P

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Raiding on Eggshells

With Mythic raiding going to 20m in WoD, we have been in talks with another guild (withholding the name in case it all falls through) about merging our 10m teams.

I've always been amused by merger dynamics - everyone always tries to impress everyone else and tiptoe around each other; people are worried that they won't fit in and vice versa... it's pretty exciting and nerve wracking for everybody.

I would have to say that I'm more excited/wary than nervous, myself. The guild we are thinking of merging with is higher on progression than we are, but I'm fairly confident in my ability to at least be adequate, if not brilliant. Pretty far cry from half a year ago when I was about to join a heroic guild after a) being rusty on skills and b) leaving the guild I had been in for the past 8 years.

Since this is the 3rd new guild I would have encountered this year, I suppose you could say I'm even used to the process... never thought I'd be in a situation where I'm one of those heroic raiders that jump guilds to stay ahead - and I certainly don't feel like one - but from the outside it probably looks that way! :P

At least this time I won't be doing it alone; most, if not all, of Zero Yard Range are looking forward to Mythic raiding in WoD and barring any serious personality clashes I can't imagine why the merge wouldn't work. Interesting times! :)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

"Raid Break"

Well, it's counted as a break to *me*... when else does one have time to do old achieves but in raid breaks?! :P

(Incidentally, it's crazy how much my gear affects old raid soloing. Doing Firelands with my Heroic SoO gear vs my fresh 90 gear, which would have been the last time I did it, makes me feel absolutely invincible!)

Sunday, August 10, 2014

An Apology...

Yes, I'm still alive.

I've been incredibly busy this year and haven't prioritised time for blog posts... sorry about that! Anyway, I've finally decided to stop putting off a catch-up post, since my hunter exploits have certainly not been neglected in that time. Plus, we're on a raiding break so there's a few extra hours this week :P

Here's the recap:

1. Raiding. My last post made reference to downing heroic Iron Juggernaut. Well... we've gone a little further than that now - Dark Shaman, Nazgrim, Malkorok, Spoils and Thok have all fallen, making our guild 11/14 heroic in Siege. Exciting? Hell yes! Haven't ever been in a position to potentially clear any final heroic raid boss at level, let alone the final boss of an expansion.

2. Challenge Mode dungeons. I managed to get a regular group going for CMs. They're almost as bad as heroic raids in terms of difficulty (and sometimes even more so depending on the dungeon), so it was extremely satisfying to get those Golds done.

3. Proving Grounds. The DPS challenge naturally didn't give me too much trouble, although I haven't managed to get the Endless version done yet; mainly because the AoE phase annoys me (I might have to actually use a flask to get it done; it's terrible! Also, I refuse to switch to Surv to make the AoE easier...). Because I am who I am, I of course had to get You're Doing it Wrong (seriously, it's like Blizzard made that achievement for me... I'd wear it as a title if I could; it sums me up in a nutshell :)).

I tried both tank and healer, and just found tank a lot easier. The tank in the healer challenge tends to taunt a lot more than my pet can keep up with... but if I have time I'm definitely going to try and get at least Bronze healer on hunter. My achievement pane says Gold healer only because I did it on my druid (yeah, the rare occurrence where I actually did something on an alt and not my hunter! I can only think of a handful of things where that's the case and I think this is the only non-horde specific achievement where it would be).

4. Old Achievements and Random Stuff

a) I managed to solo Halion 25 on heroic, which was a bit of a pain to get through. Can't think of any particular tips apart from drop traps and wait to DPS until he gets pushed into your phase, then blow your cooldowns.

b) I also got my last achievement (Stay Chill) for Glory of the Cataclysm Raider, which means the only non-MoP dungeon/raid achievements I have left are Ragnar'Os, heroic Spine and heroic Madness - all of which I expect to knock off in this raiding break. I expect I'll have to bite the bullet at some point and start working on some of the other "farming" (hi2u, fishing and archaeology) and PvP achievements that I've been neglecting.

c) Last but not least, I have a shiny new heroic warforged bow - once again, first time I've ever had the absolute best bow you can get in an expansion. Rhok on! :)

Phew, epic wall-o-text. I'm going to try and post here regularly again so that I don't get so far behind in updates - there will be plenty of LOL-worthy moments in pipe-jumping for heroic Siegecrafter that I'll want to post about, I'm sure. Plus, I've probably missed posting about so many things, just because I can't remember what happened between now and February. Half a year is way too long!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Hit Me with your Longbow Stick

After getting the heroic crossbow a couple of weeks ago and ending up way over the hit cap, I am extremely happy to replace it with something that has no +hit at all - Dagryn's Discarded Longbow.

...Yeah, I'm still over the hit cap. But hey, at least it's only 8.7% now instead of 10.9%! It was nice of the other hunter, Ane, to immediately pass on the roll for me as well since his gear wasn't as terribly itemised as mine was.

As an added bonus for tonight's raid, the guild managed to kill heroic Iron Juggernaut and get some extremely decent attempts in on heroic Dark Shaman, so I'm looking forward to trying them again next week.

Or perhaps I should say that the bow was the bonus - I always feel better about raid progression rather than getting loot. Hopefully my DPS will get a bit of a boost from the stat shuffle to help with the Shaman - we're down a DPS to use a 3-tank strat for the fight, after all... every little bit counts!

And as a final note, speaking of DPS - going BM on Iron Juggernaut and keeping my pet DPSing in the tar phase (including Kill Command on cooldown) while the raid is turtling out of range of the boss seems to have paid off. Usually, Surv beats BM on single target fights with my gear level, but this time I managed to do more DPS than Ane (who generally stays in Surv for every fight). Good to know the hunter spec balancing is working out reasonably well!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Do You Dig It?

I've been neglecting the secondary professions this expansion; fishing and archaeology aren't exactly the most riveting way to spend WoW time.

However, since I started to do pet battle rounds to get the 4 minipet pandas from the Beasts of Fable chains, I noticed some improvements to archaeology... or at least, the Mantid sites seem to require less movement than other sites. Could possibly also be the density of mobs in those sites, but /shrug.... either way, I'm liking it!

Of course, I'm not sure how long my enthusiasm will last since I got the last panda yesterday... although getting 75 pets to lvl 25 is going to need some roaming around as well.

With any luck, by the time the next expansion rolls around I'll have caught up somewhat on the Achievement front, although I may leave BG farming until then. Don't particularly feel like being the PvE-geared glass cannon at end game right now! :P

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

I Want a Refund

So apparently, you can't bonus roll heirlooms from Garrosh:

All those wasted coins!

....Well, OK, only 3 coins for me since we moved fairly quickly to Heroics instead of clearing to Garrosh... but still! :P

Friday, January 24, 2014

Hit Me, Baby, One More Time

The good news: New heroic Crossbow!

The bad news: Now at 10.9% Hit after reforging. Seriously, where is all the non-hit gear? :(

Oh, well, upgrades are upgrades. We're running close to the enrage timer for heroic Sha, so I suppose one can't complain!

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Changing Friends List

I hadn't thought much about it until recently, but I've realised that the people on my friends list has changed significantly over the years.

When I was in my first raiding guild, I was often PuGging content with strangers... and because PuGging was so difficult, I always added good PuG raid leaders and reliable PuGgers to my list so that I would know who to ask if I ever wanted a group for old raids or achievements.

As people have left the game and WoW has changed to be more casual-friendly with LFR and Flex modes making an entrance, my friends list has become less a way of keeping track of random good players and more about keeping track of ex-guildies.

Is this a bad thing? Possibly. I can't remember the last time I met anybody new in WoW outside of the guild. Then again, I suppose the last time I PuGged anything outside the guild was around then, too. RIP Trade Chat PuGging :(

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Holiday Hunting II

Yet another holiday task I set myself was to hunt down the treasures scattered around the continent.

Particularly for the latter group, I would recommend searching for the items that only spawn in one place rather than one that spawns in an area. The items aren't exactly large, so it's quite easy to miss them.

Luckily, it seems most people are focussed on farming on the Timeless Isle, so I haven't had too much competition.

I also recommend you take the time to look around while you're doing it. You might find some rather amusing sights on your way, like this poor dude...

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Holiday Hunting

Happy New Year, everyone!

I may have been extremely lax in blogging over the Christmas break, but I certainly haven't been lax in WoW.

Since my guild hasn't been raiding much over the holidays, I've put some time into a couple of solo endeavours... one of which I really should have done a whole lot earlier, being a BM hunter:

Yep, that's almost every single wild minipet tamed. A lot more fun than fishing or archaeology, but still a good opportunity to watch the Brisbane International tennis or read a book :P

I still have a few of those achievements to go - mostly the Pandaria ones - but I feel like I've made decent headway into what initially looked like an incredibly daunting minigame.

Plus, tentacle. Who doesn't want a pet tentacle?!