Life in the Slow Lane

Warp Speed Plz WE NEED TO GO TO PLAID

Warp Speed Plz
WE NEED TO GO TO PLAID

Okay.  Now that Bombelina’s been at 100 for a bit, I’ve gotten the Silver proving grounds requirement done for her DPS spec and I’ve had a chance to run a few dungeons, some normal and some heroic.  The proving grounds weren’t bad once I remembered which waves were what mobs, as NOT GETTING STUNNED helped with polishing a wave off with time to spare, which in turn let me prepare for the next by dropping my Capacitator Combustostunulator Totem, refreshing my Searing Totem and throwing out an Earthquake for the extra damage.

Dungeons?  Well …

We've Earned It So much wiping.  So much.

We’ve Earned It
So much wiping. So much.

Grimrail Depot: Bleh.  Can we talk camera angles?  I can’t see sheeyit, which is an issue, as I’ve accidentally pulled things more than once – I’ll think that I’ve tab-targeted THAT orc right in front of the tank, but it turns out to be that OTHER orc over THERE that I couldn’t see because of some crap hanging from the ceiling.  Also, my camera zooms in and out like it’s drunk.

Should Probably Shut Up Now But what if there are WATERLANDS too!?

Should Probably Shut Up Now
But what if there are WATERLANDS too!?

Shadowmoon Burial Grounds: Oooh, this one is purple, and that’s my favorite color!  But dear Gawd in heaven above, Ner’zhul is killer on dungeon groups who can’t coordinate worth crap.

The Birdhouse Skyreach: I don’t know why, but I seem to be super-challenged by narrow path wind mazes.  That one priest who tried to Life Grip me out had good intentions, but he probably wasn’t predicting that the wind on the stairs would blow me off said stairs to my death.  There’s also lag there, since my computer is old and reacts to the dramatic view distance by freaking the hell out.

Everbloom: What’s going on?  Where are we?  What the hell is with all these stupid golden flowers everywhere?

BOOMERANG ROCKS Who knew rocks could return to whoever threw 'em?

BOOMERANG ROCKS
Who knew rocks could return to whoever threw ‘em?

Bloodmaul Slag Mines: Who let ogres have fire?  And who put a boss fight on a narrow bridge with giant stunning boulders of fiery death going back and forth?  Seriously, the only way they could’ve made that more painful for me was by placing the fight on some bridge made of STAIRS.  If I’m not getting my casts interrupted by dodging, I’m getting run over and stunned, and if it’s not either of those, then sorry, I can’t reincarnate right now, because I fell off the bridge and am in the lava.

No Invisible Wall Here Trust me, I tested.

No Invisible Wall Here
Trust me, I tested.

UBRS: Man, I so don’t remember Zaela having a batsheeyit crazyass voice prior to this expac … other than that, WE’RE ALL ON FIRE AND CAN WE KILL THOSE DRAKES OR SOMETHING BECAUSE FIRE NEVER MIND WE WIPED.

Dungeons have also made me reconsider which character I “main,” in the sense that I prioritize some alts over others.

In Cataclysm, I was so bad at shaman healing and so indifferent with elemental, I deleted my never-maxed shaman alt.  Then, I loved shaman in Mists.  Most importantly, the casting speeds were quick enough to work with my button mashing tendencies, while 300k mana meant that said button mashing didn’t cripple me when I got a little excited and went overboard – I could get my groove on with the rotation, if you know what I mean.  The rotation wasn’t too damn complex and it wasn’t overly reliant on procs that I couldn’t depend on (I HATE YOU FROST MAGE), while having just enough shiny button procs to keep things interesting.  The automatic double cast with Echo of the Elements made me feel like a default badass BECAUSE MORE CASTING.  Basically, Echo of the Elements made it like HAHAHAHAHA OMFG LAVA AND LIGHTNING EVERYWHERE HAHAHAHA.  I could use Lightning Bolt while moving, I loved my lightning elemental buddy from the SoO tier gear, and Ghost Wolf was like my next favorite thing ever. Bored while waiting for a pull, you say?  Ghost wolf and /dance!  I could DPS!  I could switch and heal!  I was versatile before Versatility existed!

Of course, the Powers That Be decreed this state of affairs wasn’t challenging enough.

I Miss Mine More Than You Miss Yours Uh, on second thought, since we died because of yours ...

I Miss Mine More Than You Miss Yours
Uh, on second thought, since we died because of yours …

Now, it feels like I am SO FREAKISHLY SLOW unless I get lucky with procs.  If we’re fighting mobs with minor amounts of HP (think the tiny trash spiders in Shadowmoon Burial Grounds), I may not even get a single cast off (depending on the competence of melee).  I’ve also noticed that my DPS has gone down the tubes to a degree that’s beyond “no longer wearing tier gear.”  Not only am I slow – I’m wimpy.  (In those cases where I am the top DPS in a dungeon, which has happened, we are totally slow and sometimes just effed, i.e., Ner’zhul.)  Is it because I don’t get as many spells off?  Is it because I hate the global cooldown triggered by Unleash Weapon when it feels like every freaking second counts if I want to get one damned cast in, and not using Unleash Weapon All The Time reduces your overall output by a crapton?  I’m not looking to be top DPS – I know that I don’t have the gear I used to.  It’s just that Shaman used to be a thing where I didn’t have to be some sort of freaking master gamer to land at #2 or #3 in terms of damage – I just had to pay attention and prioritize.  Now, even when I try hard, I’m still left way far behind.

The slow casting makes my button mashing tendencies worse because I get frustrated.  It’s a good thing that the red “that spell isn’t ready yet” messages disappear off the screen after about three of ‘em or so – otherwise my screen would be covered.  I feel frustrated when a mob is already mostly dead and I still haven’t finished my first cast yet, which causes me to hit the buttons JUST BECAUSE CAST ALREADY DAMMIT.  Sometimes, my low DPS makes me irritated because it’s somehow not worth all the time I spent casting.  I also get annoyed when tanks pull two mobs instead of three, because I want the maximum number of charges on Earthquake for Gawd’s sake, HELP ME OUT HERE.

And I miss casting while moving, a lot.  I had one freaking spell I could use like that.  But nooooOOOOooooo that was TOO EASY, or something.  So now, not only can we NOT cast while moving in general (yes yes, I know, Spiritwalker’s Grace, which I use in tandem with Ascendance because OMFG does it PISS ME OFF when I use Ascendance and then have to interrupt my casts in order to move), we got a bunch of dungeon encounters where you have to move or DIE (OMFG NER’ZHUL), which means I get interrupted more often than not because I have to skedaddle.  Since I feel like my casts are slow right now, it starts to seem like getting a spell off AT ALL is something akin to a miracle.  All in the name of “challenge,” right?  Well, I call that sorta situation a PITA.

Not As Advertised Supposed to stop Fear, Charm, etc.  FAILS.

Not As Advertised
Supposed to stop Fear, Charm, etc. FAILS.

Also, dude, WTF, my tremor totem used to be, you know, USEFUL.  Now it doesn’t do a damned thing for Fear effects in dungeons, even though it says it should.  I am filled with small-time hate over that.

I know Blizzard can’t make everybody happy, and part of my problem is hanging onto the idea of the shaman as my main even when it’s obvious things have changed in a way my playstyle is not compatible with.  So my other two Horde options are Thermalix (ye old hunter), and Ignitine (goblin warlock with bad ideas).  From what I’ve seen through Dungeon Finder, neither class is derping quite as much as shaman is right now.  On the one hand, I wouldn’t have to worry about cast times or moving while casting on Thermalix.  On the other, Ignitine gets less crap simply by virtue of not being a hunter, and warlocks still have a lot of oomph.

Tangent: Can I just say I’m terrified of healing right now?  I’ve only done the Bronze proving grounds and haven’t even tried healing a real group, mostly because I’ve been watching the HP in these dungeons, and it seems clear that weaker healers struggle with the current setup.  (This goes for almost every single holy paladin I’ve met so far …)  It’s almost like the game design thought process is, “make mobs hit hard and make healing spells weaker, because keeping somebody at max health isn’t exciting or challenging!”  In practice, when one’s competence is determined by “keeping people alive” and that is most effectively done by keeping their HP as far away from death as possible, not having the same oomph sucks.  “This will limit healing to people who really want to do it,” you say.  “Only the people who are decent at it will do it!”  I guess so.  But putting the annoyance factor so high stops people from healing on the side, trying out a new spec or helping guildies/friends by healing a dungeon for ‘em – and that seems like an overall loss.

Spires of Awesome

Bombelina Hits 100

Bombelina Hits 100

After doggedly questing my way through Frostwall, Gorgrond and pretty much everything I could find in Talador, I ended up hitting level 100 while derping about in the Spires of Arak.  Quite a few folks have gushed over the WoD’s quests to me, but from my point of view, quests are quests are quests.  Kill x of that, y of that, and z of that, while simultaneously stopping at these three objective points to either pick something up or find a particular mob, and for efficiency’s sake, avoid the one big mob over there with the giant ! on the portrait, because you know you’re going to need to kill that later.

It’s not that it’s a bad thing to know the song and dance routine by now (it can be very efficient).  It’s just that the Draenor quests aren’t amazingly better than the Pandaland quests for me, because structurally, they’re more of the same thing.  I’m not saying that’s bad – I liked them – I just didn’t find ‘em revolutionary.  And while I found the bonus objectives to be more of the traditional kill kill kill, I liked them anyway because HOORAY, A MECHANIC THAT VALIDATES MY DESIRE TO RUN TO THAT WEIRD LOOKING CORNER OF THE MAP!

Other thought fragments:

  • I wasn’t hugely enthralled with pandas, but guess I preferred the ambiguity of the Sha concept over EVIL ORCS.  (“When I kill something, it STAYS DEAD.”  ORLY, Kargath?)
  • I think I like Yrel?  Maybe?  Not sure yet?
  • I felt like Shattrath was largely just tossed in, like, oh hey, plot point yo.  I swear I spent at least twice as much time with a bunch of fur-clad orcs as I did charging through what I thought was a super-important city.

Right now, I am currently derping around doing one of four or five things:

1.) I swear to Gawd I am going to finish all these quests, even if it kills me.
JUST YOU WATCH.

2.) KILL THEM ALL
By now, I’ve been trained by the game to react when I see that tantalizing skull symbol on my map.  My brain lights up with good thoughts – RARE!  IT MAY HAVE A TOY!  MAYBE IT HAS A PET!  I MUST KILL IT! – and off I sprint, tossing out a Flame Shock the moment my target is within range.

Admittedly, the rares started getting a hair tougher the further I got into Spires, since my getup got comparatively weaker, but I was still able to defeat them on my own.  Then it got a little easier because I’d finally figured out how to take a bodyguard along with me!  As an elemental shaman, I traditionally use my good ol’ Earth Elemental as a temporary tank/make-aggro-go-haywire-er, but bodyguard Aeda Brightdawn turns out to be much better at grabbing and keeping aggro off me than Rocky is.  I’m cool with another body between me and danger.

Then, last week, I discovered that all this see-rare-kill-rare conditioning had been … not a lie, exactly, but kind of a trap.

I’d found a big blue hydra rare named Echidna.  Aeda is a freaking tiny blood elf, so I couldn’t see her through the foggy crap Echidna was spewing out – but then I noticed that little “I’m a diva and I’m going to punish you for letting me die by taking an hour to resurrect” icon appear.  Basically, Echidna had gone and ripped Aeda’s head off.  Based on the couple seconds it all took, I concluded THAT’S BAD AND I MUST LEAVE.

I tried to run, but, as the very first comment on Wowhead states (I kid you not), Echidna “hits like a mack Truck.”

Yeah, that comment was pretty accurate.

3.) Silver Proving Grounds
I am not the person this requirement was created to satisfy.  I don’t think it will put an end to the people queueing as tanks or heals and wondering what to do next, or DPS pulling crap when they shouldn’t.  I don’t think it will stop the stupid, because stupid is more certain than death or taxes.  I can borrow another standardized line to describe it: Stupidity is forever.

Get Ready ... To fail by one second

Get Ready …
To fail by one second

I do find it irritating that I have to do the Silver for each spec and then at least once for each alt.  Let’s be real here – I don’t expect to be bored enough to complete it on all my alts any time in the near future!

Bronze was easy-peasy.  As far as silver goes, DPS is OK, I just have to practice enough to shave a couple seconds off so I don’t run out of time on the last round.  Healing?  HAHAHAHAHA I RUN OUT OF MANA BY ROUND SIX OGOD WHY DOES THIS HURT SO BAD WHY ARE MY HEALS SO WEAK WE’RE INTERRUPTING CRAP I SWEAR

4.) Garrison of Grief
Bombelina expects quality, and like any good goblin, she’s not above working people to the bone to get it.  Her poor little green followers will level regardless of their feelings on the matter.  Her wee little level 90 recruits will get slammed into the hardest missions they can manage.  There will be no mercy.

5.) Getting additional alts through the starting zone and resting comfortably in their bare-bones Barracks.
Thermalix, Ignitine, Esplodine, Mechalis, Nioma, Ailabeth, Alexalis, Betheki
Daschela, Niremere, Yynsia

Basically, I do the starting zone about two quests at a time.  Stop the Dark Portal, then stop.  Free some people in cages and set huts on fire, then stop.  Kill some orb things, then stop.  Etc. etc. etc.  Tedious, but it works … eventually.

Garrisons

This Will Never Do Needs more lights, obviously.

This Will Never Do
Needs more lights, obviously.

The Dream
You know what I want?  I want a goblin-themed Garrison.

Should Look More like Sassy's Place in Stranglethorn Just ignore that it's raining, and admit that it's awesome.

Should Look More like Sassy’s Place in Stranglethorn
Just ignore that it’s raining, and admit that it’s awesome.

So what if I’m in the Frostwolf area, surrounded by orcs and playing through a plotline filled with even more orcs ?  I’m the freaking commander of this joint, and I demand some STYLE in my accommodations.  Screw the orcs and their decorative spikes and limited color schemes!  I want LIGHTS!  I want A BARBEQUE GRILL BY MY TOWN HALL!  I want ACCIDENTAL EXPLOSIONS to keep things interesting!  I want a party to be going down in the Barracks!  I wanna dump that fetid, half-frozen pond at the back of my garrison and put in a heated swimming pool with pool ponies instead!  I want FANCY WALLPAPER with PENGUINS and BANANAS, and most of all, NO FREAKING SPIKES.  We got TECHNOLOGY to defend ourselves with, like explosive rocket chickens and murderous mecha-bunnies.  I don’t need to worry about Goren in the mines or crazed rylaks flying overhead if I got Shredders with flamethrowers, now do I?  NO, I DO NOT.

In other words, my ideal Garrison would be a CLASSY ESTABLISHMENT.

A Grill is an Important Creature Comfort I don't know how we're supposed to live in Draenor without one.

A Grill is an Important Creature Comfort
I don’t know how we’re supposed to live in Draenor without one.

The Reality
The reality looks like we took Orgrimmar and transplanted it into a snowy wasteland, minus my belovedly trashy and super-convenient former home, the Goblin Slums.  Mother truckers!  Also, the damn place was designed for tall people, even though we’ve got a goblin architect.

In Order to Begin Commanding I need some assistance seeing what's on this table.

In Order to Begin Commanding
I need some assistance seeing what’s on this table.

Lumber Mill vs. Frostwall Inn
But let’s talk practical for a second here.  I originally intended to build the Frostwall Inn because I want more followers* (not that I’m trying to create an army or anything).  I ended up bowing to collective wisdom, however, and went with the lumber mill instead.  “Resources are good,” people would say, and I can agree with that.

There was a problem with this plan, though.  Namely, there weren’t any damned trees anywhere.

The lumber mill NPC told me Gorgrond was GREAT for trees, but it took a damn long while before I found the two required to complete the initial work order.  It turns out that we’re all competing for the same trees, and like real trees, they respawn rather slowly.  This meant that Gorgrond was clear-cut for all intents and purposes long before I got there, and it also meant that other people were HIGHLY COMPETITIVE when it came to what trees did exist.  Quite often I would arrive at a suitable piece of timber, only to find it being chopped down before my very eyes!  To add salt to the wound, I soon started finding large trees that I couldn’t do a thing with because of my dinky level one lumber mill.  The level three trees remained standing, both irritating me and making me feel somewhat relieved because apparently, nobody else could do a dang thing with them either.

At the end of the night, I basically said eff this sheeyit, and I built the dang Inn on top of of the lumber mill.

Goblins Everywhere!
Given enough time, I’m going to turn this into a goblin stronghold regardless of its style.  I’ve written down every goblin follower there is.

Penny Clobberbottom A goblin after my own heart.

Penny Clobberbottom
A goblin after my own heart.

 

* Can I just say WTF RNG when it comes to followers?  Nioma’s first follower, Olin Umberhide, went all epically purple for no reason at all, and she got a slew of epic and rare followers thereafter.  And then there’s poor Bombelina, with a Garrison full of average green followers …

Nioma's First Four Followers I am not sheeyitting you, they were all rare/epic.  Poor Bombelina's people are practically all green.

Nioma’s First Four Followers
I am not sheeyitting you, they were all rare/epic. Poor Bombelina’s people are practically all green.

I’m About to Give In

I am about two steps shy of going OMFG I NEED A SERVER TRANSFER STAT.

Logically, I know that all issues will be resolved in due time.  Emotionally, it’s more like, OMFG AT THIS RATE I WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO PLAY MY MAIN AGAIN.  The longer I wait, the longer the queue gets.  IT’S LIKE BLACK MAGIC.

I’ve only been able to log in without waiting in a huge queue when it’s like, 3 a.m. in the morning.  THIS IS NOT A SUSTAINABLE HOUR FOR ME.

RAGE and FRUSTRATION and STUFF ALL THE BAD FEELINGS, I HAVE THEM

RAGE and FRUSTRATION and STUFF
ALL THE BAD FEELINGS, I HAVE THEM

[Edit: Tried to do a server transfer.  Got “Error: You have a character online for this account. Please make sure all characters are offline.”  I HAVEN’T EVEN BEEN ABLE TO LOG IN YET]

/flails

Hello Lag, My Old Friend

Also entitled, “Ermagerd Warlerds.”  Comes with spoilers, sort of.

Being a little too eager to see the new content, I woke up early to send Bombelina through the Dark Portal.  I felt puzzled by Thrall’s premature baldness.  How had I not noticed it before?  Had his thick and luxuriant braids, their source hidden beneath a hood, convinced me that he had a full head of manly orc-hair?  As he and that random draenei dude barged through the portal like a couple of ninnies (look, I know you two are buff, but the Iron Horde’s got sheer numeric advantage on their side), I felt slightly betrayed by that whole adulthood thing.  I had to go to work at this critical moment.  “Just five more minutes …” I wanted to say.

Continue reading

Tier Mix 02: Celestial Gale Set

"Celestial Gale" Set

“Celestial Gale” Set

“Celestial Gale” Set

Class: Shaman

H: Headpiece of Celestial Harmony (Heroic) | S: Shoulderwraps of Celestial Harmony (Heroic) | Cl: Not shown
Ch: Relentless Gladiator’s Mail Armor | Wa: Girdle of the Gale Storm | L: Not shown
G:
Relentless Gladiator’s Ringmail Gauntlets | Wr: Not shown | B: Skom Greaves

Dagger: Lhakaz’s Missing Ribspreader
Shield: Cannonball-Dented Shield

Thoughts: Technically, the helm and shoulders aren’t mogged yet, since she’s actually still wearing them, but that’s just between you and me.  I feel like the getup looks a little weird without the red cloak I had in mind, but I can’t mog the legendary cape, so that’ll just have to wait as well.  This set is one of two outfits I have planned for Bombelina to wear while blasting her way through WoD.

I’m tempted to ditch the Cannonball-Dented Shield and go for my old standby favorite, Gizlock’s Hypertech Buckler (it’s one of the gear-like shields that moves but doesn’t require engineering).

On another note, I am now regretting not getting and/or destroying some of those toys to save on space …

Pow! Bam! Smack! Wham!

The simple act of punching some poor mob in the face has a long and storied history in Azeroth, starting way back when in the dark ages known as Vanilla.  People of that era felt compelled to level up their skill in unarmed combat.  It seems strange to us now, but life in those days was rough, and you never knew when you might have to smash in someone’s schnozz.  More recently, this “punch the @#$%er in the face!” fighting technique has resurfaced for those who vastly outlevel the quest content they happen to be doing.  Why, my buddy Kash was in that very situation the other night!  Her character was buff beyond belief in comparison to the zone’s monsters, so in order to finish up the quest chain for a transmog item she wanted, she had to remove her weapon and strip all her gear.

LFR was being unusually docile* that evening, which left me with some extra time on my hands.  I had an idea.  It was not just a plain old idea, oh no – it was a freaking brilliant idea, and I lost no time sharing it.  “Let’s go punch our way through all the old raids ever,” I saidKash agreed that this was a genius time-wasting concept, so I set about creating a raid group devoted to naked fisticuffs with old school bosses.  I spent ages cajoling, demanding and insisting with virtually everybody on my friends list, but weirdly, nobody else wanted to come.  (Seriously, guys, where are your priorities!?)

Punchathon in Tempest Keep I just don't know why there are so few of us willing to do this kinda sheeyit out there.

Punchathon in Tempest Keep
I just don’t know why there are so few of us willing to do this kinda sheeyit out there.

So in the end, it was just Kash and me.  We had ambitious plans when we first started, which included taking on everything BC, battering all things Lich King, and ultimately ending up KO’ing Deathwing, all with our puny fists.  As you’ve probably guessed, we badly underestimated the amount of time it takes for two people to punch trash and raid bosses to death.

Punchathon in Tempest Keep Don't need no stinkin' pants.

Punchathon in Tempest Keep
Don’t need no stinkin’ pants.

We decided on a “no skills whatsoever” rule, so I brought Alexalis, assuming that as a Mistweaver monk, her punchy-healy goodness would keep our tiny party alive without anybody actually having to use healing abilities.  Kash was smart, and brought a tabard with her.  I didn’t think that far ahead, but I did have a shirt on by accident!  (I forgot Alexalis even had one …)

Punchathon in Tempest Keep Come at me!

Punchathon in Tempest Keep
Come at me!

We started off with Tempest Keep.  All seemed well at first, and we made it through the trash easily (if slowly) just by swinging our fists.  But then we started down the slippery slope of skill usage with Al’ar, who kept flying away.  Movement abilities were okay, we decreed, just not fighty-fighty abilities.  Unfortunately for us, old content still has berserk timers, and we went way past that limit.  Unfortunately for Al’ar, he couldn’t put much of a dent in us, even when he was berserked.  Still, it took so damn long, we concluded that fighty-fighty abilities were okay, as long as you weren’t using a weapon.

Punchathon in Tempest Keep I mean seriously, can't he just stay over here and get punched to death like a respectable raid boss?

Punchathon in Tempest Keep
I mean seriously, can’t he just stay over here and get punched to death like a respectable raid boss?

Goa then made the mistake of logging in, and in short order I dragged him into the Keep in time to face off against the Void Reaver.

Punchathon in Tempest Keep Void Reaver's warranty has been voided.  EL OH EL OH okay, shutting up now.

Punchathon in Tempest Keep
Void Reaver’s warranty has been voided. EL OH EL OH okay, shutting up now.

We’d forgotten that Goa, being a warrior, couldn’t use any skills whatsoever without weapons, and that just didn’t seem fair somehow.  We let him use his weapons after that, mostly so he could press some buttons, but also because it sped things up a good deal.  It’s not that we couldn’t punch everything to death, but more that the punching-only rule was sucking up more time than we had to waste – dinnertime was coming upon us fast.  We skipped Solarian or whatever her name is, and went directly to the top, getting into a fist (and dual mace) fight with Kael’thas.  We eventually managed to take him out – and promptly forgot to take a good picture.

Punchathon in Tempest Keep It turns out that if you run in circles around Kael-ol-buddy here, he'll shuffle around so fast he knocks himself out.  (Sorta.)

Punchathon in Tempest Keep
It turns out that if you run in circles around Kael-ol-buddy here, he’ll shuffle around so fast he knocks himself out. (Sorta.)

 

 

 

 

 

*So we came to the Spoils fight, and as usual, people started talking to the damned box and starting the fight even though groups hadn’t been split up yet.  Irritated, I told ‘em, “don’t start it up yet, ya derps,” and they stopped.  Weirder yet, nobody objected to being called a “derp.”  Even stranger still, nobody insulted me, my momma and my DPS for telling them what to do.