Working in Harmony – Contributing to the raid effort

Mists of Pandaria is almost upon us.  Perhaps you’ve already noticed more names reappearing in your friends list?  Or smiled at masses gathered around the training dummies in the capital cities.  It’s that wonderful time, right before an expansion.  Guilds are once again recruiting and everyone is reading up on the coming expansion.  When the gates to Pandaria open on the 25th, we’ll be leveling up with guild mates, looking to get new loot and ultimately get ready for a new tier of raiding.  Our guild crafters have the additional responsibility to level their crafting professions and get crafting new enchants, glyphs,  feasts and flasks for upcoming raids.

This expansion, non-crafters finally have an easy way to help contribute to guild supplies, in a time when materials will be scarce and expensive on the auction house.  Spirit of Harmony tokens, are gained from combining 10 Motes of Harmony, which are in turn gained from killing any mob in Pandaria.  You average 1 mote every 10 mobs and so 1 Spirit of Harmony from 100 mobs.  Spirit of Harmony tokens can be exchanged for trade goods likes Golden Lotuses (used for flasks), Ironpaw tokens (used in exchange for vendor only materials for feasts) and many other items.  By the time you have hit 90 and have access to the vendor in the Shrines in Vale of Eternal Blossoms, you will have a least 8 – 12 tokens.  Using these could help your guild get the materials needed to maximize stats for raiding, leading to quicker progression.


Catch-22 : The unanswered problems with the proposed LFR Loot System

Ghostcrawler just posted a Dev Watercooler Blog addressing the proposed LFR Loot system for Mists of Pandaria.  A system that was not clearly articulated in the press interviews when it was revealed during the MoP Press event and a subject that has caused much heated discussion in the official forums and other fansites.  While the article does clear up a few questions, in my opinon, the bigger and more troubling questions remain unanswered.

Perhaps Blizzard is not prepared to answer these questions as its still in the design stage and cannot be fulled answered but at the same time, they are answers that need to be answered before the end of beta.  Let’s look at the Loot system more closely after the break.

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Pimp My UI – AVR/AVR Encounters (No Longer Street Legal)

AVR Addon

AVR Encounters

Pimp My UI is a column about WoW addons.  Personalize and upgrade your user interface with the addons reviewed here.

This is certainly a strange one, its a memorium rather than a review.  I have been working on a review for AVR when a blue post confirmed they are breaking it for 3.3.5 patch.  I guess it toed past that line of acceptability like mods like maphack and several of the “spike” hacks did for Diablo 2 and Counterstrike respectively.  Drawing mods like this are not new, but AVRs impact on raiding and ease of use is probably what got Blizzard’s attention and forced them to address matters.  However it still deserves a review and my review of the addon after the break still stands.

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Antagonist – The Cycle of Waiting, aka Hope Springs Eternal

With Tier 10 being the last tier of gear for WOTLK, it is for most classes and specializations, itemized very well.  So much so that for classes like the Retribution Paladin (which Antagonist is) all 5 pieces are viable with none containing sub optimal stats.  With that in mind, and especially with how good the two-piece and four piece bonuses are, i have been working since patch 3.3.3 to get enough frost badges to buy all the pieces.  I got to the two piece bonus fairly quickly picking up a nice upgrade with the cheap emblem piece the shoulders and getting the Helm next as well.  My strategy was to hold out on swaping pieces until I could be the two-piece bonus at once so i would go from having the four piece T9 bonus to the two piece T10 and still retain the two piece T9 bonus.  Using RAWR, I simmed out my upgrades and found that it would only be a DPS upgrade to go from the two piece bonus of T9 and T10 to the four piece T10.  This means I should wait to get enough badges to get the last two T10 pieces before upgrading.  What I did (or didn’t) after the break.

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/Trade Chat –

/Trade Chat is a column that reviews and discusses WoW blogs and fan sites.

When raiding, its good to come prepared.  That means having your gear enchanted and repaired. installing the latest version of Deadly Boss Mods and having any raid consumables you need. But most of all, knowing what to expect.  No video or stategy guide can truely prepare you for an encounter but, it helps to have a general idea.  While many players swear by Tankspot and its videos, I am a big fan of  Its site layout is basic but there are links to WoW news and links to all their video guides on the left sidebar.  The videos are what really make the site shine.  There is a summary for each boss encounter as well as a transcript of the video.

The video itself covers all the spell effects and often a few different strategies for the bosses.  debuffs and spell effects to watch for are clearly explained and correspond to the action in the video.  The latter point is what makes these videos superior to the Tankspot ones.  Narration is often humorous as well and I admit that the accent takes some getting used to.  The production values may not be the most polished but use of freeze frames, zooms and overlaid graphics to explain mechanics show this was not just a frappsed fight with a voice over commentary.  The videos keep decent pace with new content and include non-boss guides like, how-to guides for addons.

A solid resource for the avid raider that should be on your bookmarks.

The Blues – Cataclysm Badge and PvP Point Changes

The Blues is a column with personal commentary on the “blue” posts from the World of Warcraft official forums.

Another piece of the puzzle falls into place.  Blizzard follows up the post on raiding changes with an overview of badge and PVP point changes in Cataclysm.  They are finally simplifying the various tokens, reducing them to one for easier content, Hero points and Valor points, for harder content, comparable to Truimph and Frost badges in current 3.3.3.  the biggest change, and one that I am very happy about is the decision to limit the amount of the harder tokens obtainable weekly.  This will mean that items can be better balanced against the total number of tokens obtainable and at the same time, you don’t have to feel like you are grinding for tokens in heroics so you don’t waste any “token” opportunities.  For example, the maximium number of tokens could be set at, say 14 a week.  You could get them by doing the VOA equivalent (2 Valor pts) and also doing two of the smaller raids with 5 bosses where the last boss would give 3 instead of 2 badges for a total of 14 badges that week.  Or if your raid is unable to down the last two bosses, you could make up those badges by running three daily heroics.  Alternatively for a more casual player, he might choose to just run the daily heroics for the 14 badges.

This change will also address two of the current complaints in WOTLK.  Hardcore raiders will no longer have the need to run daily heroics to be competitive and heroics will be in a better place when the players running it actually want to experience the dungeon and get the loot from it.  its hard to get a full dungeon run in as a new player when the experienced players are just skipping as many bosses as possible for the daily frost badges.  Secondly, with alternative ways to get the weekly limit of badges, raiders will be more content to do progression content, rather than always going for the easy bosses first, to get the most badges.

More thoughts and the full post from the official forums, after the break.

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The Blues – Cataclysm Raid Progression Refinements

The Blues is a column with personal commentary on the “blue” posts from the World of Warcraft official forums.

Its Monday and if you heard a loud boom, you weren’t imagining things cause Blizzard is dropping more Cataclysmic news in the official forums today.  The big new is how they plan to change raiding in Cataclysm.  In a surprising move, 10 man and 25 man raids will be on the same lockout and drop the same loot, tuned to similar difficulties.  Stunned?  Take a minute to think about what this means.  Small progression guilds will no longer feel the pressure to pug more people to do 25 mans for better loot.  10-man raids will be just as hard as 25 man raids, not only because of similar tuning but because you can’t “twink” the harder encounters using 25-man loot that is superior.  More thoughts on the good and bad, after the break.

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Phryne – Down to the Wire

3:00AM Server time.  Its Tuesday with the usual maintenance scheduled.  Its 3am server time so there is two hours to reset, I finished my daily heroics on my alts an hour or so ago and decided to do a few of the fishing dailies to try for the fishing hat or one of the fancy fishing poles.  As I pick up and Ghostfish Daily, I see “LFM ICC 10 Last min run before reset” in trade chat.  So tempting…  I look over my list of unsaved alts and decide on my Rogue, who is ironically more geared from ICC 25s through a regular ICC 25 PUG group than ICC 10s.  But she has the worse luck, like my warrior (but thats another story) with weapons and is still using Quel’Delar, Cunning of the Shadows and the Liar’s Tongue.  I figured that in the worse case scenario we might only get to a few bosses and at least my Rogue could use the Bone Warden’s Splitter from Marrowgar if we only downed the first boss.  I got into the group and there was another rogue; but hey, at this late hour, beggars can’t be choosy.

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