Blog Lag!


Once again I have to beg indulgence, as the the thing that has been squeezed out of my timetable is writing here. So many good ideas, so little time to commit them to pseudo-paper.

Looking back at my last post, given all that has been going on, I’m surprised how much I got done. Admittedly it could be in part because I spent a week ill and mainly in bed.

I did get Morkhaeus up to level 80, and have been running all three 80s through randoms heroics in a desultory fashion, getting the two “lesser” 80s a bit more geared up. I’m not stressing about that though, as I expect by the time they hit 85 all three will have roughly equivalent gear.

Belmann got the Well Read achievement, with the help of various walk-throughs on the web. It’s a silly one, but one of the several that I feel will mean something later to me to have done with Vanilla content before it goes away. He also got a complete Tier 10 set, which is the first and only time any of my characters have had a complete Tier set of any kind. As he replaces gear, I will hold onto all that set, as a memento.

The other goals are in general terms still progressing, although the unstated goal of downing the Lich King remains unfulfilled. I’ve seen the fight a couple of times now, and am frustrated that others in the guild are getting him down, but I’ve never quite got him. So close, and yet so far. The committment needed by the guild to get individuals up to the fight is pretty strenuous, and it’s been exacerbated by the end-of-expansion malaise, and so I frequently applaud the individuals who are opting to spend their game time to help others in this. A strategy has evolved where they try to have rolling raids going on before the “main” raid night that have downed most of the bosses, meaning that those of us who are after the Lich King can pretty well get straight onto that fight, rather than spending most of the night just getting to him. Fingers crossed I will get this before the expansion drops, but I won’t be surprised if I don’t.

I realised, as I was consolidating what the other characters are doing, that a real meta-goal (and to some extent one that Blizzard supports and encourages, just not very vocally), is to get most of the professions maxed out across the various characters so that I can be pretty well self-sufficient. This is particularly true with Gems, and I’m keen to get Morkhaeus levelled up so that I stop spending a fortune on Gems for new gear. The only problem is that it’s turning out to be slow and expensive. Belmann did max out both enchanting and tailoring though, which means that when the expansion hits it should not be too much of a grind to build them up to whatever the new max level is.

As an aside, the changes to enchantment vellums finally make them useful, and make enchanting useful. This little-heralded change has finally made it possible for one character to enchant another high-level character’s gear, and there’s a nice little work flow in play where Macmorris can make the vellums, send them to Belmann for the relevant enchantment, who then sends them on to (for instance) Morkhaeus.

Unlike a lot of folk, I found the 4.x releases to be generally a Very Good Thing. The user interface changes in particular are welcome, and has reduced the number of addons I’m using. I’ve always preferred to have as few addons as possible, to reduce the load on the central game engine, and have found that really for most of my characters the only essential ones are Omen and Dominos, and in the case of Belmann, VuhDo. I might write up something about my addons and UI.

The simpler currency they introduced, reducing the number and variety of badges, is welcomed, but it’s spottily implemented. Various vanilla tokens and currencies are still being awarded, and some of the BC ones as well. While this doesn’t affect levelled characters, and may go away after the expansion, it does mean that leveling characters (or LoreMaster hunters like Belmann) still collect junk tokens as they progress.

In general all three 80s seem to be more effective after all the nerfing, de-nerfing, re-nerfing and anti-nerfing has been finished (for the time being, until a week after Cataclysm). I’m not running any sort of DPS meter on any of my toons (I rely on Omen instead to judge the important thing: am I pulling the mob off the tank) but in general solo play both the frost death knight and the fire mage seem to be knocking things over faster and more easily than they used to. Belmann’s heals are definitely up, at the cost of significantly more mana use, which I think is going to be one of the major challenges for healing as a holy priest in Cataclysm .

Morkhaeus manages to produce some satisfyingly big numbers for a barely-equipped fresh 80, but fire mages remain delicate little snowflakes. In 5-man dungeons, he can throw down quite satisfying damage (although it’s hard to get full rotations up and effective, as other players are generally so over-geared that trash and bosses are going down too fast), but in solo play the consequences of running out of mana, or letting too many mobs get too close, are dire. It’s particularly a problem since there is no longer a viable knock-back spell that can keep mobs away long enough to zap them, and the other escape spells are only really effective when there’s a tank to pick the mobs up again.

The Death Knight talent trees feel much better defined and differentiated, but again, MacMorris has trouble building up effective rotations of attacks and abilities because fights don’t go for long enough.

There are a lot of small, barely noticeable changes in the 4.x patch, many of which have gained little press attention. I’m thinking particularly of little UI changes like the pop-up buttons for teleports and portals, and summoning pets and minions. And merging the personal-buff and group-buff spells, and removing the reagent cost (no more buying 60 candles for a night of raiding)

And the water is pretty.

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