Thursday, 4 June 2009

It Looks Like We Made it to the End

That was brilliant.
We ran Halls of Stone, normal. As planned: the party summoned, I got the XP for exploration, I dinged. Awesome.

The party was Astrantia (Druid Healer), Spore (Druid Tank), Otoritakeo (Hunter DPS), Hunterette (Hunter DPS) and - of course - me. All Elunatics (thanks guild :).

The first run took around 45 minutes, and was pretty straightforward with no surprises or wipes.
At the end, recount was showing a dps of 657.

I went away, specced and glyphed for the first time - which felt good - and then returned to HoS. At this point - literally at the entrance to the instance - the server went down. A few frantic minutes of desperately trying to reconnect later, we're all back and ready to roll. Phew.
I specced Survival. For the record, I played Survival before it was cool :)
I like the traps. I reckon there's been a lapse in trapping since the changes in WotLK - I'm going to make them the focus of my spec (I didn't at the time). Let's see - I'll need Entrapment so it'll be worth getting the Frost Trap glyph, and the talent for extra crit against trapped beasties.
Bernard chose Ferocity spec, mainly because he hasn't worked out how to transform into another type of pet. Bernard is now fast, like a good wasp should be :)

The second run took about the same as the first. Again, for the record - there were no gear changes, no differences other than speccing and glyphs (all 'Major' - when they say minor they really mean it, don't they?).
At the end, recount tells me I did 1113 dps.

I make that a 70% increase in dps, not even having any experience at mashing the keys for Survival - and there are so many more keys. I really need to sort out my action bars! My 'rotation' just got 10 times more complex.

A few Talent-specific comments:
- I haven't had a chance to see what difference Black Arrow actually makes, and I hate that it shares CD with the traps - it seems so wrong!
- Is there any point having Arcane Shot on my bar when I've got Explosive Shot? I'll have to investigate. Aside from fire resistant mobs it seems like ES would be better every time.
- I don't remember Aimed Shot coming up as often as it is. Did that change?
- I know it must have been proccing quite a bit, but I never once managed to catch Lock and Load in time to fire off the extra shots! I remember it being more obvious before. I need one of the addons that kicks me when it procs.

After the second run was complete, I went Dual-spec. After over half a year Untalented, I felt the 1000g to have two sets was well worth it :)

Partly, I wanted to try Beast Mastery, which I've never used before. I didn't get much chance to test it out, but so far it seems a bit hands off for my style - I like to get more involved. I'm told BM is great for soloing, so I guess I can pull it out when the going gets tough. Given that having talents meant the going just got 70% easier, I'm thinking that might be limited to soloing lower-level instances. We'll see - I haven't written it off just yet. Though if I'm going to have Beast Mastery, I think it's time to get an exotic pet to go with it :)
I really like the caterpillar-looking worms in the Tundra, so I'm hoping there's a level 80 version of those to save training.

Whatever else happens, it feels great to have finally made it - to be able to bring something to raids rather than just filling a space; to take down mobs in almost half the time; to need less downtime between mobs; to easily chain trap; to not need to hold my traps in reserve in case of respawns (I can now take the first mob down before I handle the respawn, without dying in-between); to see Bernard get to the mob when I send him, not some time later.

It's all good.

Level: 80
Location: Halls of Stone
Theme: The Prodigy - Breathe
dps/ap/crit/hit: 1113/2041/15.35%/199

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

The End is Nigh

I haven't reported for a few levels, and yes, they were important levels. I haven't felt like there was anything much to say as regards any of it - well, anything that I haven't already said before. Different locations, same hard slog.
More than anything it's become a hard slog to the end, more a test of my endurance and will-power than anything else. At around 10 hours a level (more in many cases, and oddly only 8 and 6(!) in the cases of 78-79 and 79-80) 70-80 alone has been around 100 hours.

After over half a year of this, I'm literally at the finish line - I haven't crossed it, I'm saving that for tomorrow night.
I'm both savouring the anticipation and putting off the end.
The plan is this: I will ding, I will run an instance, I will finally (and for the first time) use my Talent Points, I will rerun the instance with the same party.
Then, with all pomp and majesty (what a bizarre phrase) I'll report back, here.
And it will all be over, completed.
I know it's just a game, but I have to admit to having mixed feelings about finishing; I feel elated at reaching the zenith of this task, achieving the final goal; I feel a little sad at reaching journey's end.
On the whole though I feel good about it. Lith will finally get to play with all the 80s that are forever having fun running instances; she'll be able to get reputation (and a mount that fits through doors); she'll be able to put out actual dps, rather than appearing just above the healers (actually there have been dps below her, but for their sake we'll pretend she was last).
I haven't decided what I'll do with the blog - I'll no longer be untalented (I heard that laughing, you, go and sit in the corner, now face the wall) so I don't know if it would make sense to continue with any more posts. I suppose there will still be opportunities to show progress and talk about differences between untalented and, well, talented, from the point of view of someone that really knows the hard way. So it's not quite over yet, just the hard part.

I'd like to thank those in the Elunatics that have been a major source of support throughout, particularly Astrantia, Otoritakeo, Hamek and Emmit, plus Ameliorata and Gwynce on the US servers (I hope they don't mind the mention :)
I'm hoping the first four (Astrantia et al) will be able to help me on both my final and inaugural run tomorrow :)
(final as untalented, then first as talented).
For those wanting to know, I'm going survival. I can't believe how much it's changed since I was playing my other hunter with talents. It's going to be fun relearning :)
For the record, Astrantia, no healer comes close, and Oto, no hunter either, you know your stuff.
Ham and Emm, you're just funny, but you can kind of play too :)
Am and Gwynce; thanks for everything, it's a shame it's not possible to transfer between US and European servers :)

Level: 79.9999999999 recurring (seriously, one kill and I ding).
Location: Dalaran
Theme: I think I've used it before, but - Life on Mars - it's the best track ever written.
dps etc.: tomorrow, for comparison before and after.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Or Down You Fall

That was a pretty good level. I've now got the quest-completion achievements for both the Fjord and the Tundra (130 quests in each). I have to admit I'm pretty pleased with that as I normally wouldn't get those achievements - but then I don't normally struggle so much with the following areas and have to come back and finish up :)

Last night I got the Foldragon Hold cut-scene and, hey, that's pretty good - okay so the graphics are basically better rendered versions of the in-game ones, but the camera work, story and audio made it.
I had no idea there was a scene there so it took me by surprise when my screen went blank at the beginning!
Also, the Undercity run with Wrynn was entertaining once I got used to being basically invincible :) The only issue I had with it was the bit where he runs off and Jaina doesn't - I stayed with her - thinking I was making some kind of choice - only to find nothing happening and almost missing the action I should have been following.

On a more untalented note, I'm finding the gap between what I would be and what I am to be growing rapidly - more so than at any other point during the game.

To explain:

For every level you gain, you get a certain amount of improvement from inherent addition to your stats (Agi, Mana etc.), and then on top of that you get a TP (Talent Point) which you'll generally use to add a couple of percent to some stat either on yourself, your equipment, your pet or your skills. Glyphs seem more designed to change play style by shifting stats around (reduce something here, add it there) or increasing something inconsequential (area covered by frost trap, for example) - so I won't worry about those. Pet TPs also make a difference, so that's another couple of percent here and there that I'm losing out on.

Obviously when I was level 10, it was a tiny difference. 1 TP. Something like 1% difference in one stat. Now - 66 TPs later - I'm missing out on at least 66% (to say that's a rough estimate is a misunderestimation, it's practically made up). But I think now that the value of each TP is greater than at lower levels. One of them there spreadsheets for calculating these things might be in order, so I can experiment and see how much 'real world' difference they make numerically.

Level: 75
Location: Dragonblight
Theme: KT Tunstall - Hold On
hit/crit/dps/ap: 104/14.09%/~800/1649 (dps includes damage from riding a dragon around dragonblight, so somewhat meaningless).

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Pet slaying!

Thanks to my guild I got to run SSC for the first time. It was fun :)
Anyway, while I was there I noticed that Quest Helper was recommending that I slay someone's pet wolf for the Fibrous Worg Meat (0/10). Personally, I think it's hilarious!
The wolf next to it wasn't the right type, no drops from that one!
For the record, I'm off the bottom of the recount window. Being level 74 with no talent does not good DPS make :)

Oh, and Bernard (my wasp) is currently 71. I can't wait for him to catch me up!

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

The Levellers

I got Blacksting, ain't it pretty? :)

Sadly though I was getting Blacksting with the expectation of being able to bust Archie out of the stables while out and about, then I eventually discover that "Call Stabled Pet" is a level 80 skill. Bah.

I've been levelling Bernard up, he's still 3 levels below me and I'm not far from 75 myself.

This has been a much more entertaining level. As levelling was proving incredibly slow I headed back to the Fjord to complete more quests there. This was a very good idea, and made levelling both more rapid and more enjoyable - I think to some extent it was Bernard being level 68 when I tamed him that did it.

After struggling with 'level appropriate' content, I had a few Fjord and Borean Tundra group quests which of course involved killing Elites. I thought I'd struggle with them, especially as Bernard was still 69 or 70 at the time. First there was Jonah Sterling (70 Elite), he wasn't too bad, then Hozzer (71 Elite), more difficult but got a bit low on mana towards the end. I was pleased I managed to solo them.
Heading across to the Tundra there's Ned, the Lord of Rhinos, a level 72 Elite on a non-elite 71 Rhino called Lunchbox. Having googled I now know I'm not alone in this, but seconds after killing Lunchbox and Ned jumping down to fight, Ned respawns right on top of me with another Ned on his back. Both confusing and alarming. We killed Ned 1, then we ran. If I had vast reserves of mana I may have been able to take him again, but I was down to very little.
Then, Harold Lane, also 72 Elite, we took him out and were home in time for tea.

So I feel quite chuffed at that.

Thanks to Trenn for helping out on most of the Gjalerbron quests, particularly Glacion - that was one 71 Elite I didn't have much chance with, though I was lower level at the time and so was Bernard.

Tonight we (The Elunatics) ran Maggy and Gruuls, so I got those achievements and died a lot. I really need to practice instances :)
It was a good night, everyone had fun, and there was much loot.

Level: 74
Location: Air-borne between Dalaran and Nexus (Dalaran corrupted my sound and I had to log out).
Theme: It's impossible to tell, Dalaran killed my sound!
ap/crit/hit/dps: 1746/14.87%/89/600+ (dps from raid, so doesn't really count)

Thursday, 16 April 2009

There's Something About Northrend

Well I made 73, got Kill Shot, and it's all good.
I'm currently installing the patch and want to test out 3.1 - but mostly vicariously as most of the interesting changes are end-game content or talent changes :)
That said, I am considering testing out 'call pet', so I may yet head to Zangar to fetch Blacksting :)

It's been a bit of an uneventful level, right now I'm really really looking forward to 80!
I do like some of the things they've done with Northrend, riding on the back of the horse, the silly harpoon surfing and the like - I'm just finding it a lot slower than 60-70 pre-wrath.

This level I spent a lot of time levelling my cooking skill, I figure it'll be useful when I get to 80 to be able to make buff foods. Mmm, food.

Short entry this time. I'll let you know if I grab Blacksting :)

Level: 73
Location: Northrend
Theme: Theme from annoying kids TV programme.
ap/dps/crit: This patch is taking a very long time, I'll check when I get the chance.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

The Trouble with Travel

The 3.1.0 patch is downloading, release can't be far away!
I think dual-spec is the most eagerly awaited change in it, though I'm finding it hard to justify 1000 gold for dual-spec untalented. Still, it'd be funny - well it'd amuse me, so ner.

I've finally gone to Dalaran, made it my home and got the flight point. This follows having to travel from the middle of Northrend to the Ring of Blood to help Hammydin out. I may have been low on the dps chart, but I'd like to think that the 20 minute wait while I travelled was worth it, and that they couldn't have done it without me ;)

Level 71-72 was still not quick - around 10 hours - but it certainly felt a lot quicker :)
I'm now expecting the rest up to 80 to be on the order of 10 hours each, getting longer towards 80.

I need to go to the hunter trainer as I keep forgetting again. I should have already had Kill Shot at 71. I'm looking forward to getting it - as it has the "only useable under 20% health" clause it's more than just another shot for the rotation so it should help make kills a bit more interesting (and hopefully faster!).

In other news, I've been on a Nexus run with my guild (The Elunatics, and thanks!) and you can see how much difference that made to my stats above. I replaced 4 items on just one run and significantly upped all of my stats! Curiously, Armour and Intellect gained most.

Level: 72
Location: Dalaran
Theme: Carl Douglas - Kung Fu Fighting
dps/hit/crit/ap: 365/44/17.35%/1525