Tuesday, 23 September 2008

[Insert clever title here]

If I take a look at the blogs I follow (half a dozen or so), it pretty quickly becomes obvious that in terms of most-recently-updated there is one conspicuously at the bottom of the list. Mine. /facepalm. That being said it's been an eventful week for me:

1) My laptop (one of those cute white Asus Eee things) has died. Something about memory errors and not being able to save stuff or access external data storage (so no backing up files). Fail. This means I’ve lost access to a bunch of stuff (like the internet from any point in the house), and also links to stuff I’ve recently viewed, and a couple of drafts of (let's be honest) drafts of articles.

2) I procrastinated on a 3000 word essay on Euclid's Elements of Geometry. I thought it was due on Thursday, in reality it was due on Monday. I got an extension to Thursday (/win). Today is Thursday and I still haven't finished it... errr, started it (/golfclap).

3) I borrowed 2,200 gold from the guild bank and got myself Epic flying. And it's pretty damn epic, being able to cross any Outlands zone in 2 minutes. My reasoning for borrowing the gold, rather than earning it first: if I borrow the gold I have motive to pay it back, whereas if I save up the gold I'll keep thinking "meh, expansion soon, can't be bothered farming gold if I can't fly in Northrend anyway and the price might come down", and also doing the Outlands dailies is much faster when you can fly... faster. Also if I die today (e.g. suicide/homocide because of unfinished essays) I will have FLOWN (really, flown, that 60% stuff doesn't cut it). And now I can earn gold from the Swift Flight Form questline, to pay the guild back.

4) I spent $100 (NZ) on a pair of headphones. This was a big deal since previously I tended to spend about $10-$15 on headphones, barring my computer headset ($45). Will spending that much more make the 3.5mm headphone jack last longer (or rather, the bit of cable directly above the jack, which always seems to get damaged over time)? Probably not. Does anyone really care about my buying headphones? Probably not. But the Sennheiser PX100s fit very nicely into a case that the cable wraps around - meaning it doesn't magically get tangled in storage in a way that makes quantum-entanglement look like crochet - and THIS IS A GOOD THING (although I don't really get the analogy... quantum entanglement, crochet, wtf am I thinking?).

5) My credit card seems a bit messed up. After buying a bunch of things and making a large payment onto it all within the last week, my account shows zero activity since the 8th of September, which worries me slightly.

6) My Hunter got the S3 Chestpiece, which put him at 11k health until I came to my sense and swapped in some blue DPS rings. In terms of set gear he has 3x S2, 1x S4 and 1x S3. And a bunch of other S1-S3 gear in most of the remaining slots. Which isn't a big deal to most arena players, but it means I'm generally one of the best geared in BGs and is quite satisfying. And now I get to try to obtain all of that again on the druid, in the space of about 2 weeks (or whenever the content patch comes out and messes with the status quo).

7) I suffered through 2v2 again. By 'suffered' I mean that we played 10 games, going 4-1 for the first 5 and reaching a record rating of ... 1465 (/golfclap2) and then went 1-4 for the second lot of 5 (seemingly having jumped a bracket), so gained a total of about 3 rating points (/facepalm2). It appears that my druid (who has the grand sum of 7k hp, buffed, 8k if I swap in some tanking gear) and his Elemental Shaman partner are actually doing better than the significantly better-geared and much more viable hunter/druid combo. And while I play a mean drain game, we lose to enhancement shamans, a lot, like 80% of the time (on the plus side we win around 75%+ of our drain matchups, people in this bracket haven't heard of Scorpid Poison or Star's Tears). One memorable match we played Hunter/Druid (and by that I mean we played against it). My pet was killed twice, while the opposing Raptor remained untouched, but we still won - something about me resurrecting my pet twice, and managing to drink half a mana bar.

8) With the knowledge that Honour (yes, this is how you spell it, no matter what Blogger, Blizzard or anyone else thinks, 'honor' is for the uneducated :P), Marks and Arena Points will be wiped in the expansion, I cashed in all my marks on the druid and got the Guardians Kodohide Belt at about 2:30am this morning (yay for 4.5 hours sleep), which was a minor upgrade over my level 65 int/spirit/healing green. Now I just need to replace the level 66 green boots (I was using Heavy Clefthoof Boots socketed for 8 Resil, 12 Stam from my tanking set, but they've mysteriously disappeared from my inventory, and they're not in my bank either).

9) I think the current Brewfest is pretty cool. I have downed Coren Direbrew 18 times, with 7 Direbrew Hops, 5 Coins, 4 Stam trinkets, and 2 AP trinkets. And my Hunter has the Remote (slightly faster than flying to Kargath and riding to Blackrock Mountain and then winding our way to BRD... ever so slightly). These trinkets are stupidly easy to get (barring the really weird droprates) considering how good they are, and eventually everyone will end up with a full set long before they have their festive mount. Given the other stuff I have to do (farming honor, and gold) I'm not going to be participating in any of the other Brewfest stuff, especially since I spent way too much time on it last year (and got my faux-engineering goggles, I mean, how could I not? They're hunter loot, right?).

10) Hunters in Wrath are going to be awesome. Hunter pets in Wrath are going to be awesome. I've said this before? Well, repeating it doesn't make it any less true ^_^.
BRK has shown that a Gorilla is an awesome AOE tank with Thunderstomp, if you haven’t seen his latest movie, check it out here. Note that the cooldown on Volley has been removed, AND that you can use Autoshot while channelling it (…wow…, and also wtf?). Combined with Explosive Trap this should allow Hunters to push out some mean AOE DPS, and with a Gorilla all you need is a healer (or a nice T5 set bonus). Awesome, or awesome? I haven’t yet decided.
Given the Guard Dog talents, you no longer need to find your Gorilla Fungus to eat, and apparently they can now also eat bread (possibly even Manna Biscuits, but I’m not sure on that). And whereas before, you had to go out and tame a new pet to learn higher ranks of pet skills, they now learn them automatically.
Given the very high damage that Thunderstomp deals at the moment, I expect a nerf to be forthcoming, but it should still be the best AOE tanking skill. The other good AOE tanking pets are the Bear with Swipe and the Crocolisk with Bad Attitude (which has been changed to have quite a long cooldown). All of these should be able to hold threat through Mend Pet aggro, and probably any other incoming heals – at least at melee range.
And although you’d be missing out on Blood of the Rhino and Spirit Bond plus the various other BM-based pet improvements, you can get any of these pets as Marksman or Survival (Explosive Shot, anyone?). But how do these compare to the Exotic Tenacity pets, which should, strictly speaking, be better than their non-exotic equivalents (otherwise Beast Mastery becomes a 51 point vanity talent)? And the reality is that neither the Rhino nor the Worm are particularly dominating in terms of AOE threat (and if they don’t do AOE threat, then heals will draw aggro on any additional mobs, not fun when soloing and definitely not fun in a party where you pet is tanking). Stampede does some AOE threat (through damage), but not a lot and it has a very long cooldown (for the purposes of tanking) – although it’s still a cool talent in PvP, I can’t wait to use it in Alterac Valley on the Stormpike Bridge, or in Iceblood Tower *evil grin*. Acid Spit is probably the highest threat single-target pet skill there is, but unless you macro it to hit adds (and the cooldown is a bit long to rely on it) it won’t hold threat through heals. I really think that the Exotic tenacity pets should not be outclassed in their main roles (i.e. tanks) by apes from the southern jungles of the Old World. Someone please mention this to the devs.
Overall, however, pet (and Hunter) changes in Wrath of the Lich King are nuts (oh right, repeating myself again). Expect people to QQ when we solo every 2 man quest Northrend has to throw at us (and possibly a lot of the 3 mans as well, and some of the easier bosses in Kara). We might even be able to take on Hogger in Nightmare difficulty (although chances are that a Lightning Enchanted Multishot Hogger will blow up Gorillas pretty fast). On that note, what happened to Diablo 3 and Starcraft 2?

11) This one goes up to 11. And it's almost 11 now and this as-yet unwritten essay is due at 5. /Facepalm.

PS: I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information or links on this page, so if anything is wrong, please let me know.

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