Thursday, May 29, 2008

The farming is finally over.

Finished farming and crafting the last piece of my Windhawk Armor for Jandrae.

I never want to farm another Wind Scale again.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Raiding 101: Moonkin (part 1)

The primary focus of this post is to prepare new Moonkin to the entry level 10-man raiding experiance of Karazhan. Part 2 will focus more on higher level 25-man content once I get to experiance it first hand.

So you've hit 70 and are ready to climb the raiding ladder, eh? Here are 6 pieces of advice that will help prepare you for your Kara experiance.

1 - "Don't be afraid to wear cloth!" & other gear to look out for.

Most of the epic leather gear for Moonkin comes from badge rewards rather than drops in Kara. Outside of the Bracers of the White Stag from Attumen, there are NO other leather drops for you side from off-spec pieces. There are trinkets, weapons, rings, capes and necks to look out for but you'll be collecting badges to get your leather gear in the long run.

Starting off in pre-Kara gear, don't be afraid to wear a lot of cloth. You'll get a lot more spell hit, spell damage and base stats from cloth than most leather gear you'll find out there at this point in the game. Pay attention to cloth pieces that focus on +Int, +Spell Damage and +Spell Hit and snatch them up. A few pieces of the Warlock's Oblivion set has a few good spell hit pieces and the Robe of the Crimson Order (+30 spell hit) usually goes for cheap on the AH.

If you are a Tribal LW, feel free to craft the 3-piece Windhawk Armor set as it should last you quite awhile.

When it comes to gemming gear, it's time to step away from the Potent Flame Spessarites and putting some +spell hit gems in. If you have epics that you think you'll have for a bit, feel free to splurge on the blue quality Veiled Noble Topaz. If the set bonus isn't appealing, feel free to avoid it by packing in Veiled Nobles instead of wasting the slot. Most slot bonuses are blue sockets. For that, I'd just recommend the +stam/+spell damage gems but ONLY if the socket bonus works for you.

When it comes down to accessories, there are a few options for everything except trinkets. If you are Scryer, I would farm rep until Revered for the Scryer's Bloodgem trinket. There is a ton of spell hit on it as well as a push-to-use +spell damage bonus. Hopefully you took the Vengeance of the Illidari trinket from the "Overlord!" quest in Hellfire because it's still valueable at this point in the game. If you're ok with spending money, the Storms deck is pretty nice for Moonkin with it's stacking +spell crit buff but crit isn't your top priority. The Nexus Horn from Skyriss in Arcatraz is really nice with a decent crit rating as is Xi'ri's Gift which is available with revered reputation with Sha'tar.

For everything else just try to get as much +spell hit and +spell damage as possible.

2 - Spell Hit is your best friend.

I can't stress this enough. Yes Moonkin and Elemental Shaman thrive on spell crit.. in PVP. PVE is a different ball game. Later on down the line once you've maxed out your spell hit THEN you can focus on crit, but for now +spell hit is your priority until you have a 16% chance to hit.

Take talents in to consideration. You get +4% chance to hit from the Balance of Power talent and if you spend the 3 points in Improved Faerie Fire thats an additional +3% as long as you keep it up.

Take your group in to consideration. If you run in a set group each and every week you might be lucky. If you have an Elemental Shaman with Totem of Wrath, thats another +3%. That Shaman is also a Draenei which gives off a +1% spell hit aura as part of their racials. With the two above mentioned talents and an Elemental Shaman thats +11% spell hit WITHOUT taking gear in to consideration. This means you only have to gear for +5% spell hit and the rest of your gear and gems can focus on +spell damage and +spell crit. Woot!

The simple rule of thumb is "you can't crit what you can't hit."

3 - Spell rotations.

Spell rotations are very important but differ from trash mobs to raid bosses. The purpose of a spell rotation is to maximize your DPS but certain situations require you to keep an eye on your mana pool. Long fights (i.e. Netherspite, Nightbane, Illhoof) are not our strong points.

The most effective spell rotation for raid bosses is-

Insect Swarm -> Moonfire -> Starfire x3, repeat.

If you have push-to-use spell damage trinkets, you want to use them BEFORE you put up your two DoTs. If you took Improved Faerie Fire you'll want to start with that and refresh it when it falls. If you took Force of Nature, it's best to blow it early so it doesn't disrupt your cast rotations but be smart about it. Don't drop them during heavy mob-AoE encounters (thankfully there aren't a lot of those in Kara) or you'll just be wasting your mana.

For trash pulls, it's probably best just to spam Starfire and use Wrath when thier health drops low enough.

It's best to avoid using Wrath if at all possible. It's way to mana intensive for the amount of damage it puts out. I usually save it until the end when the mob is about to die and I know I don't have 3 seconds to get off another Starfire.

4 - Consumables.

You will go through mana.. a lot. Bring tons of mana pots. Also, during boss fights, use them early on so the cooldown is available when you need it the most - in the end. If you're in a new Kara group and you think you'll be wiping a lot, I advise using flasks over pots and elixirs for spell damage buffs since they persist through death. Flask of Blinding Light is what you want to aim for. The mats can be pricey if you don't have an herbalist but 50g (the average price) is worth 2 hours of a spell damage boost.

Bring a few charges or Wizard and Mana oil. I'd say both because, for some of the fights, mana regeneration is more important than extra spell damage. Nightbane is a good example. He has no enrage timer and a few aggro dumps so there is never a need to go balls to the walls with him. Shade of Aran has no aggro table and needs to drop as fast as possible - this is a good time for Wizard Oil.

I recommend bringing stamina and spell damage buff foods. You'll mostly use the spell damage foods unless you feel that survivability is a must. If you notice yourself dying often or the fight is not a dps race (i.e. Nightbane) I'd go for stamina over damage. Food buffs are very easy to farm for and there is never an excuse to NOT have them on you.

5 - Addons.

Most addons are common sense. Get some sort of Deadly Boss Mods and a Threat meter. For Moonkin, I'd recommend grabbing a DoT timer as well to help you keep track of your Insect Swarm and Moonfire ticks and trinket cooldowns. The rest is just person preference.

6 - Common mistakes. Oops.

Unless you have points in the Resto talent Subtlety, you're going to have to keep a close eye on your aggro. If a Pally is present, request Blessing of Salvation over anything. If a 2nd Pally is available, Blessing of Wisdom is the next best thing, follow by Blessing of Kings.

Give the tank time to gain threat. You aren't a noob and this isn't new information but don't start off with something that can crit (i.e. Starfire, Wrath, Moonfire). Start slow and then lay in to them or just wait a few seconds before spamming Starfire.

Do not Cyclone targets that are not marked for CC unless they're going for a healer. Resto and Balance Druids are notorious for overusing Cyclone. Don't be that guy. Unless the raid leader asks you to back-up someones CC that died, refrain from using Cyclone at all.

Check with other Druids in your party and see if any of them have Improved Mark of the Wild and/or let them know if you do. Those Druids should be buffing the group. Also let the group know if you took the Brambles talent so you can rebuff Thorns on the tank.

Get in the habits of using push-to-use trinkets every cooldown, even on trash. This is an increase in your DPS. You are a DPS class. Make sense?

Hope this helps make Kara a little easier. Once I do more 25-man raids I'll see how different it is and, I'm sure, will post about it.

Ding 70.. again.

So Jandrae is finally 70 after being abandoned at 34 and again at 63 to play other alts. I don't mean to come off so negative but this being my 4th 70, it's safe to say it's lost its luster. I did, however, enjoy every moment of leveling her (even the 2 or 3 levels I was Feral) and had little to no problems leveling as Balance for a huge majority of the experiance.

I had about 2k XP left until I dinged when a former guildy asked if I would like to DPS for their Kara run. 5 minutes later, I was trained, gemmed, got +40 spell damage on my Bringer of Death and was in Karazhan. Who gets to be that lucky? I didn't look a gift horse in the mouth, thats for sure!

We did a full clear with no wipes but I had a bit of a problem with threat in the beginning. This was due to a few things - The first being that I was still in my leveling spec with no points in Subtlety for threat reduction. The second being that we had no Paladin for Blessing of Salvation. The third being my attempt to hang with the "big boys" in epics in DPS.

I was top DPS until the trash on the way to Maiden. The only AoE was a Hunter, another Moonkin and myself. 2 Hurricanes and a Volley is pretty sad. The healers didn't get the AoE group topped off and due to my lack of epic gear with stats, I dropped like a rock as soon as I pulled aggro. Even with Barkskin up, my 7500 health went down in seconds. There were points though where I would be sitting at 50% for 5 or 6 seconds with no heals going off. Ah well, stuff happens.

We only had 1 tank which was a Warrior. He was marking a kill order/CC but would attack something in the middle of the order instead of getting threat on skull first. This led to lots of healer aggro early on and me "turkey tanking" a few mobs thanks to DoTs and some unwanted Starfire crits. We're all pros in Kara unless we're on alts lol. Then anything goes.

Maiden was the last of my few deaths and we had no wipes for the rest of the raid. We did a full clear in a little over 3 hours and I was pretty lucky with drops. I replaced my green quest reward trinket with the Pendant of the Violet Eye from the Shade of Aran and left with both my T4 gloves and helm. My wife's Shadow Priest is on the same T4 token as I am but she didn't need the helm thanks to her being an engineer with the overpowered epic goggles hehe. She wants the gloves from Attumen or Kael in Heroic Magisters instead of her T4 as well so she passed on them for me. I passed on the ring from Attumen and the cape from Moroes for her as well. Sharing gear is nice. Awwwww. *cough*

I dropped 600g on mats because I have money to burn and no desire to farm, but finally got my Leatherworking up to 375. I picked up the training for the Windhawk set and started to farm Wind Scales (*shudder*). I have enough to make the bracers but I need to farm the Primal Air and 1 Primal Might first. I'm in no hurry really but it gives me something to do. I also threw in 3 AV matches to get 1k+ honor to save up for the S2 staff once S4 starts.

I used 20 badges and picked up the epic Idol which procs, I'd say, every other Moonfire. It only lasts for 10 seconds so I usually spam Wrath until it stops and then go back to my normal rotation. 5 Wraths appear to do more damage than 2 Starfires with the buff up.

Did all of this and STILL had time to blow through a few more levels in Super Mario Galaxy and get some packing done for our move on June 15th. Multitasking ftw!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

So close.

I'm trying to rush Jandrae to 70 as fast as possible so I can get back to Super Mario Galaxy. Blasphemy, I know, but the game is addicting. Not so much as WoW obviously but the last 2 days have been pretty enjoyable online.

I'll go on record to say this has been the most fun I've had leveling an alt and have had great luck on gear drops so far. Jandrae is 3 bubbles in to 69 and I should hit 70 sometime tonight unless Mutoh is abducted for someones Kara run.

Last night I ran a few instances and got the Mantle of Three Terrors and Moonglade Pants from BM, the moonkin boots and Sethekk Oracle Cloak from Seth Halls, Moonglade Gloves & Oblivion Robe from Labs and the Incanters Shoulders and moonkin belt from Steamvaults. All in all it was a good night.

At least I'll have some decent gear at 70.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Wii be needin' a WoW break.

I'm getting really burnt out on the game at the moment and FINALLY picked up a Nintendo Wii over the weekend.

The blog won't be updated much, if at all, over the next few days/weeks while I enjoy the goodness that is Nintendo.

..not like anyone reads this anyway.

On a semi-update note, Jandrae is 67. I hate to give up so close to 70 but there really isn't anything else to look forward to. I've cleared Kara numerous times on 2 different toons and outside of farming heroics and dailies (more of the same) the only new thing coming out before WOTLK is Arena Season 4.. yay.. I don't PVP.

This just seems like the best time for me to back out.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Ding! 65

Clearing all of the mastery quests in one sitting? Check

Hit 65? Check

Getting the Moonkin Gloves and the healing idol from the quest chain? Check

Jandrae is well on her way to being a 70 Moonkin. Hopefully I can hit 66 sometime this weekend, finish up Nagrand and head over to Blades Edge Mountains.

Not much of an update but thats the jest of it. Sorry folks =\

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Leveling 101: Shaman

There is no wrong way to eat a Reese's, right? With the Shaman being a hybrid class, there is no wrong spec for them. There are, however, two wrong specs to level as. If you take a look at the loot itemization early on in the game, you'll notice there isn't a lot of caster leather pre-40, nor caster mail post-40 until the late 50's or Outlands. This eliminates Restoration and Elemental as faster specs.

The key to getting your Shammy to 70 as fast as possible is to level Enhancement. I cannot stress this enough. There is a ton of Rogue gear to roll on until you hit mail at 40. At that point, the pieces in Scarlet Monestary will last you until Outlands.. yes.. that long. If you have a main with a few high level enchanting mats, it's worth it to throw on some +STR or +AP enchants to that gear.

The first thing is to not get discouraged early on in the game. You'll be using a 1h + shield until level 20 when you can finally equip a 2h so those are going to be the slowest levels for you. At 20 you want to focus on getting the best 2h Axe or Mace possible and keeping Flametongue weapon on it at all times. The most depressing news is that you do not get Windfury for quite some time so you'll be using Flametongue in it's place until then.

At 40, Dual Weilding becomes available and makes life much easier for you. Pop Windfury on both and go to town.

Before we get a bit more in-depth, lets discuss the races available for Shaman.

Your choice is simple if you plan on rolling Alliance since the Draenei are the only option. Their Gift of the Naaru racial is nice when you're out of mana or in a pinch. It also comes in handy to toss on yourself before pulling multiple mobs.

As a Hordie, you can pick from the Orcs, Trolls and Tauren. The Tauren have War Stomp which is great when you need to pop a quick heal or stop another player from casting in PVP. The Trolls Berserking works great, especially as an Elemental Shaman. The Orc's Bloodrage is a bit too situational for me but still comes in handy. My choice? Troll.

How about professions?

This really depends on how you want to spec your Shaman at 70. If you're in to making your own gear, you can't go wrong with Blacksmithing or Leatherworking (Dragonscale). If you're planning to level and stay Enhancement, Blacksmithing can provide some amazing weapons to deal out DPS. Shaman cannot use swords so going Swordsmithing is out of the question but there are some great 1h maces (i.e. Dragonstrike) that are Black Temple quality. Leatherworking will provide you with some great gear later on and you'll want to go with the Dragonscale specialization. This allows you to create mail gear that fits Elemental and Enhancement pretty well but not so much Restoration. If you're going Restoration I might suggest something like Engineering or Alchemy instead. As always, First Aid is important regardless of class.

Lets look at gear priority.

Since you'll be leveling as Enhancement, you'll want to focus on +STR and +STA gear. STR gives us +AP and scales better than raw +AP gear. STA is important since you'll be soloing as a melee class because you'll be taking a beating. AGI is more a Rogue stat. The common misconception is that Shaman need AGI for the crit % but that only helps our "white damage" crits. Unlike a Rogue or Fury Warrior, white damage is only about 30-40% of our DPS. The rest comes from Windfury and Shock damage which aren't effected by our crit rating.

While you're stuck with a 2h weapon from 20-40 you'll want to aim for about a 3.0 speed. Anything faster is going to lower your DPS but anything higher is for Warriors and Ret Paladins. They have attacks that work off of weapon damage where Shaman do not. 3.0 is the perfect speed because it'll do a decent amount of DPS and you'll have your Flametongue Weapon effect proccing each hit. Once you get Windfury, it has a 3 second internal cooldown so anything faster than 3.0 lowers you chance to proc per swing.

Once you start to dual-weild, stay away from fast weapons. You want both weapons to be at 2.6 speed or slower. This doesn't blow the Windfury internal cooldown as often and deals more damage with Windfury when it procs. Some people use Flametongue on the off-hand since off-hand has a higher miss rate and deals less damage than the main-hand by default. The reasoning behind this is to not waste a Windfury cooldown on a weaker off-hand hit. If you have a faster off-hand weapon than 2.6, I'd always use Flametongue Weapon over Windfury on that weapon to make up for lost DPS. If both weapons are 2.6 or slower, having Windfury on both will increase your DPS.

Shock it to me?

As you level, you'll eventually learn Earth Shock, Flame Shock and Frost Shock. Each serves it's own purpose and should be used in your combat rotation.

Earth Shock - ES deals burst damage and interrupts spell casting. Since it is nature damage, the damage is increased if the Stormstrike debuff is on the target. My advice is to have Rank 1 and your max rank on your bar. If you just need to interrupt a spell cast, Rank 1 does the same thing that the max rank does. Only use the max rank for DPS purposes.

Flame Shock - Flame Shock works like a Warlock's Immolate spell where it deals intial burst damage followed by damage over time. This is the highest DPS shock for a Shaman and is very underestimated. I also recommend having Rank 1 on your bar if you PVP. Hitting a Rogue with a Rank 1 shock will remove their ability to Vanish.

Frost Shock - Frost Shock deals burst damage and adds a slowing effect to the target. The downfall of this shock is that it also deals additional threat, so avoid using anything over Rank 1 in dungeons or you'll wind up tanking the mob. At first, this will deal more damage than Earth Shock but in the end (at 70) Earth Shock will beat it at.

Your shock rotation should be Flame Shock -> Earth Shock when cooldown is over, repeat. Always start with Flame Shock to let it's DoT deal it's damage while piling on Earth Shock as well.

How bout dem totemz?

At first, totems will become a bit overwhelming. You'll get a ton of them very early and I recommend downloading a totem mod to keep track of them for you. I prefer YATA but some people prefer Chaman. Totems are broken down in to 4 categories - Earth, Air, Fire and Water. Only one totem from each element can be dropped at a time. Any totems dropped afterwards will replace the previous one of the same element.

For example - If you drop Strength of Earth and then drop a Tremor Totem, the Tremor Totem will replace the Strength of Earth since both are "earth totems".

Honestly, you'll waste a lot of mana dropping one of each totem. Most are better set for group settings but for soloing I'd only use Strength of Earth and Grace of Air totems. You won't get Grace of Air until after 30 I believe. It's also a good idea to set yourself in the middle of the mobs you'll be killing, dropping your totems and then pulling the mobs to you. If this is the case, feel free to drop a Mana Spring totem as well. If you're going to be killing and moving, Mana Spring will cost more mana than you'll receive in return and will be a waste.


The first 5 points don't give you many options. Shield Spec is useless so go 5/5 Ancestral Knowledge for +5% mana. The next 5 should go in to Thundering Strikes to increase your melee crit chance by 5%. Both of these are very self explainitory.

The next point goes in to the new Ancestral Focus which gives you a mana reduction on your next shock whenever you land a critical melee attack. Since shocks are a huge part of your DPS, this is a great idea. Toss the next 2 points in to Enhancing Totems for a 16% boost to Strength of Earth and the drop the final 2 points up in to Improved Ghost Wolf making it an instant cast. Some people laugh at this but it's a great GTFO button and gets you from point A to point B faster.

Tier 4 should have 5/5 Flurry to boost attack speed by 30% whenever you land a melee crit. This is huge when you're stuck using a 2h weapon.

When you reach the Tier 5 level, put the first point in to Spirit Weapons. This is the only way to get Dual Weilding. This is also the only way for Shaman to learn "parry" and it's threat reduction helps a lot in dungeons. Pop 3 points in to Elemental Weapons to increase the damage bonus to your Flametongue and Windfury effect. This is also the only way to learn Stormstrike which will be a great addition to your combat rotation. Now you're stuck with 1 point to throw somewhere to hit Tier 6. My advice is just to throw it in to Improved Lightning Shield to help kill a bit faster or to put a point in Anticipation for +1% to dodge.

Put all 5 points in to Weapon Mastery to increase your overall melee dps. Tier 6 is pretty self explainitory.

Once you ding 40 you have a choice to make. Dual Weilding or Storm Strike first? Personally, I'd go for dual-weilding and pick up Stormstrike at 41. Stormstrike attacks with both weapons dealing their exact weapon damage and applies a debuff which increases the amount of nature damage the target receives by the next 2 sources. This is the reason you want 2.6 speed 1h weapons. Drop the last 3 points in to Dual Weild Specialization for a quick +6% chance to hit in melee.

5/5 Unleashed Rage for Tier 8 and 1/1 Shamanistic Rage for Tier 9 is what you're aiming for.

There is really nothing more to spend points on with Enhancement so you'll want to move over to the Restoration tree from here on out. Rather than give you an order to pick from, here are the talents to place points in and you can decide which are more important to you. Personally, i'd get down to Healing Focus as fast as possible and put 5 points in that. That and 3/3 Natures Guidance are the only reasons to really be in Restoration.

5/5 Improved Healing Wave
2/2 Improved Reincarnation
4/5 Totemic Focus
1/1 Totemic Mastery
5/5 Healing Focus
3/3 Natures Guidance

Thats pretty much the jest of it. One you get in to Resto it's just icing on the cake. You have all the tools you need from Enhance to breeze your way to 70. Just keep Lightning Shield up, drop Strength of Earth & Grace of Air totems, keep Windfury on your weapon and unleash the Shamanistic Fury.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Leveling 101: Warlock

The general rule of thumb while leveling your new Warlock is "stay away from Destruction". While a great instance and end-game raiding spec, it's far from being a quick and efficient solo choice.

Before we get in to specs, lets discuss low level gear. Stamina, stamina, stamina. There. Done. Thats it. Why stamina? Easy.. Lifetap. Our health IS our mana. Stacking Intellect increases your spell crit % but who cares? We aren't Mages and DoTs do NOT crit. Stay away from Spirit as well since mana regeneration is pointless for us. Again, I go back to Lifetap. That is our mana regen. You will not see a lot of +spell damage gear until the late 40's-early 50's so survivablity is priority over anything else.

Now, lets discuss races.

If you're going the Alliance route, you can choose a Gnome or Human. Gnomes get a boost to Intellect while Humans get a boost to Spirit. Both of which are equally useless to us. Consider their other racials. If you'll be focusing on PVP more than PVE, the Gnome has Escape Artist to get out of roots/snares. If you'll be going for PVE the Humans Diplomacy racial will help a ton in Outlands when it comes time to grind rep. My choice? Human.

If you want to roll a Hordie, you can pick from an Undead, Orc or a Blood Elf. The Undead get an amazing racial that works very well with Lifetap in Cannibalize. Kill, eat & repeat will take you a long way as long as you're grinding on Undead or Humanoid mobs. Orcs get Command which increases pet damage by 5% which is a great idea if you plan on going Demonology. Blood Elf racials gear more toward PVP as a Warlock. Mana Tap and Arcane Torrent don't got a long way since Lifetap returns a substantial amount of mana which makes AT nothing more than an AOE silence. My choice? Undead.

How about professions?

Personally, I tend to avoid professions until 35 when you can cap it out at 300 before Outlands BUT they are MUCH easier to level as you go along. If you're dead set on picking something, I'd go for Tailoring EVEN if you have another Tailor. The Shadoweave set is very easy to farm for and will last you a very long time. Just to give you an idea, I have 2 70 Warlocks. One that is at Kara level and the other at BT/Hyjal level. The Kara level Warlock still uses all 3 pieces while the raiding one still uses the Robe. I'd go for a gathering profession as your second choice to help offset the money you'll spend on gear, enchants, spells and pet grimoires. On my server, Mining is the most profitable followed by Herbalism and finally Skinning. The difference is very minimal but I have a 375 level in all 3 and my ore/bars/gems sell faster than my skins and herbs that I might end up having to relist.

Are secondary professions important?

First Aid is mandatory, in my opinion. Unless you are rolling an Undead Warlock, you'll need bandages to offset your Lifetap and minimize downtime. Fishing and Cooking really can be left behind unless you're wanting another toon to do their assigned dailies.

So we've chosen our race and our professions. Lets take a look at the pets you'll be using on your journey to 70.

At level 1 you can pick up your quest to get your Imp. 10 is your Voidwalker, 20 the Succubus, 30 the Felhunter and at 50 the Felguard if you choose Demonology.

The Imp is your pet of choice if you are grouped up for questing or an instance for it's boost to the groups Stamina. It's also ideal to keep his Phase Shift activated and avoid using him for DPS. The Imp is a frail creature and even the slightest AOE damage or Cleave from a mob can send him packing.

The Voidwalker is your solo pet until level 50. At low levels, he provides a competent off-tank in dungeons or for group quests but he's primarily a solo pet. His DPS is bad but his Suffering and Torment taunt spells are his bread and butter. He's not there to kill things for you. He's there to keep things from killing you while your DoTs and wand wear the mobs down.

The Succubus is your crowd control and PVP pet. Early on, you won't be doing any CC with your Succubus but if you choose to PVP after level 26 her Seduce spell makes PVP much easier. Her DPS is decent and if you're grouped in a dungeon with another Warlock using an Imp, this is your second best pet choice.

The Felhunter is your anti-caster PVP pet. You'll rarely, if at all, use your puppy in PVE but in PVP he makes other casters cry. His ability to devour buffs and debuffs and interrupt casting makes him the ideal pet for PVP.

The Felguard is available at level 50 if you decide to spec in to the Demonology tree. He is basically your pocket Arms Warrior with a Taunt, Intercept and Cleave ability but he also gets two passive abilities in Avoidence and Demonic Frenzy. Avoidance reduces the chance he'll be hit by AoE damage by 50% while Demonic Frenzy is a stacking +AP buff every time he lands a hit. At 50, this is the ideal solo pet and if you're group isn't in need of the extra stamina, he can be a great DPS addition and off tank in dungeons.

So what about specs?

My advice is to level as Affliction from 10-50 and then switching over to Demonology from 50-70. At 70, feel free to stick with Demonology or go off in to Affliction or Destruction but this post isn't about 70 specs.

Your first 5 points should go in to Improved Corruption. This reduces the cast time and makes it an instant cast spell. After Imp Corruption, I would put the next 2 in Improved Life Tap since it will become a staple spell. Follow this up with your next point in Improved Drain Soul and the last 2 of the second teir in Soul Siphon. You only want 1 point in Improved Drain Soul for the mix of 5% threat reduction and 7% mana return whenever you make a Soul Shard while soloing.

With your next 5 points going in to Fel Concentration you can now do what we like to refer to as "drain tanking". This refers to DoT'ing up 3 or 4 mobs, AoE fearing them with Howl of Terror and spamming Drain Life until they all die. This ability can also be used to solo heavy hitting mobs that happen to be immune to Fear since you'll have an increased healing effect from Drain Life and a 70% chance to avoid interruption while channeling it. This makes your life much easier.

Pop your next 2 in to Nightfall to get a small chance at an instant cast Shadowbolt every time your Corruption and Drain Life deal damage. The overall % looks low at first but again, you'll be DoT'ing up 3, 4 or 5 mobs at a time so the chance for an instant Shadowbolt increases. Follow this up with 2 points in Grim Reach to increase your casting range. The further you can cast Drain Life, the better. Avoid Empowered Corruption and put your last point up in to Suppression. Why go back to Tier 1? Simple. You're going to start questing in higher zones to get more XP for your quests and a 2% chance to hit is gold.

Your next 5 points are going to look a bit weird but put 1 point in to Siphon Life which will help a TON with drain tanking, and 1 point in to Shadow Embrace. You will not put more than 1 point in to this talent. It's entire purpose is to work with Soul Siphon as an "affliction effect" and increase the effect of Drain Life by an additional 5%. Put 2 in Improved Curse of Agony and your final point in to Suppression giving you 2/5. Why not go for Imp CoA earlier? It's generally not worth it that early as the 10% bonus will give you about an additional 100 damage. Even now it's not THAT big of an upgrade but it's better than wasting points anywhere else.

With your Tier 6 points, all 5 will go in to Shadow Mastery to increase the damage of your shadow spells by 10%. Pretty self explainitory.

Your first Tier 7 point should go in to Dark Pact while will eliminate a lot of your downtime. This works like a Lifetap for your pets but it drains your pets mana and gives it back to you. It also works off of +shadow damage gear just like Life Tap. Put your next 4 in to Contagion to round of this set of points.

2 of your Tier 8 points go in to Improved Howl of Terror to make it an instant cast. Use 1 point to cap out Contagion and the last 2 back up top in Suppression to give you 4/5.

At this point you should be hitting level 50 and this is where you'll want to respec Demonology to get your Felguard.

I recommend putting points in the following -

2/2 Improved Healthstone
1/3 Improved Imp
5/5 Demonic Embrace
3/3 Fel Intellect
2/2 Improved Health Funnel
1/1 Fel Domination
2/2 Master Summoner
3/3 Fel Stamina
5/5 Unholy Power
1/1 Demonic Sacrifice
5/5 Master Demonologist
3/3 Mana Feed
3/3 Demonic Resilience
1/1 Soul Link
3/3 Demonic Knowledge
1/1 Summon Felguard

Now that you've done that, I'll explain why we did this and why we did and did not take certain things.

1/3 Improved Imp - This is a filler point to reach a lower teir of talents without wasting it. Not all groups will want you to use your Felguard so you might as well grab something semi-helpful, right?

2/2 Improved Health Funnel - Most people laugh at this until they spec Felguard. Health Funnel already scales with +shadow damage gear and this increases the amount he'll be healed by an additional 20%. This lets him take a pretty good beating.

0/3 Demonic Aegis - Why no Demonic Aegis? You don't get Fel Armor until after 60 so that's when you'll start putting points in to it. Remember, this is a leveling spec guide, not a level 70 guide.

The rest of the talents are pretty self explainitory in their importance to a Demonology spec. The key things is to make sure Soul Link is always active on your Felguard as well as his Cleave and Anguish ability. Leave his Intercept ability off so you can manually use it to interrupt spell casting and save mana. Mana Feed will help keep his Cleave going off every cooldown and you'll see why you took it after only a few kills. He goes through mana pretty fast.

51-55 put your 5 points in to Demonic Tactics for a 5% chance to crit and that'll finish off Demonology for the moment. The next 5 points should go in to Improved Shadowbolt followed by 5/5 Bane and finish up 66-70 with 5/5 Improved Corruption.

Demonic Aegis is a VERY tempting place to spend 3 points but in all honesty, unless you are going Affliction with Demonology being used as a support portion, you're only getting +30 spell damage from it with a Felguard at 70. It does help your Drain Life but as Demo your spell is going to be a bit weak and has a 100% chance to get interrupted so you won't be using it often.

2 tips that also come in handy - Using Rank 1 Drain Soul is your best bet. It's 55 mana and still returns a soul shard. Since you wont be using this spell for DPS, chances are you'll only use it at the end before the mob dies so why waste mana on max rank? Rank 1 Curse of Recklessness is also the only rank of that curse you'll want to use for now. It's only there for you to pop on humanoid mobs that will eventually run away at low health. This prevents that altogether. No need to waste mana on max rank when Rank 1 provides the same function.

Hopefully this guide helped as I'll be making leveling guides for Moonkin, Shaman and Warriors in the same fashion eventually.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Hello Nagrand! + Wrath Info reaction.

Just to get the small part of my post out of the way, I totally skipped Terrokar Forest on Jandrae and headed straight for Nagrand at 64. I haven't started the "mastery" quest chains yet but managed to hit up the Jump-o-tron chain for the caster cape. It's a good start!

Blizz released some new info on Wrath which 98% of WoW players already read about. I was a little excited about Wrath before (not as much as I was about TBC) but after reading the info I'm fully excited about the new content. What I am mostly anticipating is -

*Northrend is BIGGER than Outlands and has multiple starting zones from you to pick from. This will eliminate what happened with TBC with thousands of players crammed in to Hellfire Penninsula. Great move on their part.

*All instances will continue to have multiple wings, much like TBC instances did, but will also include heroic versions, 10 -AND- 25 man raids. Not only this but the normal and heroic versions will have seperate loot tables (unlike the level 70 instances in TBC where the only difference was a possible epic gem drop and the epics from the final bosses). All major raid bosses will also appear in both the 10 and 25 man versions of the raid & all raids will be on seperate timers. This allows guilds to run the 10 man version and 25 man version on the same day. End game guilds will have way more to do this time around instead of having 2 choices before progressing.

*Arugal & the worgen return! Arugal was one of my favorite bosses early on in the game and I bet he's going to be brutal now. I'm sure he'll just be some boss in one of the instance wings but it's nice to see returning faces. The little that I heard about it, apparently he was ressurected to lead the Sons of Arugal somehow.

*Lore focuses on Arthas, the Corrupted Ashbringer and the Scourge which is right up my alley. I wasn't to fond of the Burning Legion lore at first so TBC was just a grind to 70, getting a flying mount and raiding. WOTLK is going to be a more enjoyable ride to 80 and should keep me interested the entire way, instead of just blowing through quests.

*New flying mounts at 77 as well as new instance & quest specific mounts. I'm glad they won't make us wait until 80 for a new mounts. I also like the idea of the new quest Mammoth having it's own combat bar. Apparently you'll be able to do cool things like drop ladders dowm from your flyer to rescue NPC's being attacked by Scourge. In instances you'll be able to access specific flying mounts to reach certain areas of the dungeon that would otherwise be unreachable.

*Death Knights. The new info released made the DK class a bit more appealing to me. At first I couldn't care less about completing a quest chain to start ANOTHER alt that I'd have to level alongside thousands of other players doing the same thing. There was an ongoing joke in our Horde guild that went something like "DK LFG!.. LF1M for Kara.. NO DKS!.. Tanking DK, DPS DK LF3M for Labs!".. you get the point.

-Blizzard confirmed that the DPS version of a DK will not be able to out-dps a pure DPS class as they'll be more of a utility as well.

-They have the ability to ressurect fallen players and mobs as a "ghoul" to fight alongside them. If they control a player, the player has the option to take control of the ghoul version and fight manually.

-They tank with a 2h and are forced to rely on a huge Parry rating. I, personally, expect to see a huge increase in the +Armor stat to 2h weapons. They can also dual weild.

-Rather than respeccing, they only have to use specific runes and Pally-like Aura's to fullfil their tanking or dps roles.

-No more quest chains are needed to start a DK. A player only needs a toon of 55+ to be able to create one. They start at level 55 in EPL on a floating Necropolis similar to Naxx.

-Will be very easy to pick up and play, apparently, and will start with a summonable level 40 speed mount. At 60 they will have a quest chain similar to a Warlock or Paladin to receive their faster epic mount. Most players should be able to get from 55 to 58 in a day and then 58 to 60 in a few hours in Hellfire so I expect to see epic DK mounts in the first 2 days. Maybe even 1 in the first day depending on how fast they level.

I'm sure every WoW-blog on the net right now has something about WOTLK going on but I'll try to refrain from just posting direct info about the expansion and just focus on what I think is important and interesting to seperate my posts from others.

Tonight starts the "mastery" chain for Jandrae and hopefully I'll squeeze in an Underbog and Mana Tombs run before I pass out. Other than that, it's lots of music and beast genocide in Nagrand. Thank Jeebus I'm a skinner!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Ding 64 x 2.

Got Adiar and Jandrae to 64 over the weekend after finishing up Zangarmarsh and a few UB runs. Jandrae got a healing cloak for an offset but I'm really after the moonkin gloves from the first boss. He won't stop dropping the friggin totem!

I've been stuck healing with Jandrae on the last few pugs. Not that i've had trouble getting in to groups as a moonkin but the groups just always seem to need a healer. Lifebloom makes healing 100x easier and less mana intensive. Once I get a good healing set together I won't mind healing as much but for now it still kinda sucks. I've gotten compliments on my healing despite being Balance specced, so I guess I'm doing OK.

I respecced Adiar to a Fury/Arms hybrid build with DW spec down to Precision and then went Arms for Deep Wounds, Impale and working down to get a few points in Sword Spec. So far I seem to be killing faster while in combat but there is a little more downtime without Bloodcraze's healing effect.

My wife wants to run UB and MT tonight so I just need to decide who to take. I think I'm going to take Jandrae until the last boss and then swap her out for Adiar for a shot at the shoulders. We'll see.

A bit more guild drama over the weekend as well which actually led to my wife logging out in the middle of the raid in frustration but I'll refrain from going in to details because things are still up in the air at this point. Run-on sentence of the year!

I got my little Hunter alt, Serpentina, to 10 and made the long, multi-death run from Darkshore to Orgrimmar to tame a level 9 Venemous Scorpid. Sure, I could have waited but I really wanted a Scorpid since everyone and their mother has a Ravager. I named him Pepper ^_^. The whole run took about 25 minutes and lasted me about 4 deaths. It should have taken a shorter amount of time had I figured out that rezzing at a spirit rezzer at level 10 wouldnt give me rez sickness and I could have graveyard hopped the entire way there. DOH! Ah well.. I earned Pepper the hard way.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Guild Drama 3: in 3D!

When I joined GTK as a raider, Veresitha was fire-specced Destruction and had no problems keeping up with (and sometimes beating) the top DPS spots. I was made fun of, laughed at and basically told that I had to spec Shadow Destruction to raid. No matter how good my dps was I was asked to respec and, for the good of the guild, I did.

Now I know that with my being fire and my wife's mage, Natallia, being fire that we built each others DPS. She was also asked to respec Arcane along with ALL of the guilds mages.

At the time, this made sense because Curse of Shadows was being used and that helps all of our Shadow Priests, Warlocks and Arcane Mages.

Arcane Mages don't need a lot of hit.. so for the last few months of raiding they were not rolling on +hit gear and focused on damage and crit. Our guild lets people roll on off-spec gear that no one wants for their main spec by paying a void crystal instead of EPGP but the raid leader and officers refused to let arcane mages roll on +hit gear for void crystals claiming fire or frost was not an "off spec" yet our Warlock guild leader was able to get the Voidstar Talisman with a void crystal because, according to him, Demonology is an off-spec.

How is Demonology an off-spec but Fire and Frost are not? Easy! The guild leader is not a Mage.

So yesterday my wife tells me that after their SSC raid, the guild leader had spoken to her and said that he wanted all of the Mages to go Fire as two of our 3 Warlocks would be going Fire. Wait.. so I was laughed at and basically spit on for being fire but now that the guild leader is falling behind in DPS he wants to respec 5 or 6 of our casters for HIS dps?

My wife told him that she brought it to his attention before that Mages should have been given off-spec gear for crystals incase this day would come when they needed to respec but the GL was against the idea. The GL said that if it's an issue than JUST ONE of the Mages will respec fire so HE could get the Improved Scorch debuff to up HIS dps. What a douchebag.

He needs to know that a Warlock is not meant to be a top-dps spot class since we provide more to the party than just our dps. He NEEDS to be the top in his raid group and in order to do that he'll bring down 5 other people for his own gain. We've had issues before with him stacking his party in the raid with an Elemental Shaman and a Moonkin so he could get the crit/hit/spell damage buffs and he has the other Warlocks handle Curse of Shadow/Element duty and banish duty to pad his own DPS.

Going back to the Imp Scorch debuff, this same Warlock guild leader refused to put up Curse of Elements for our Fire Mage, which is an instant cast mind you.. yet he wants one Mage to keep up 5 Imp Scorch debuffs on every single mob so HE can get a boost to HIS dps. Selfish people kill me and this is why I'm glad I don't raid anymore.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Name Change pt. 2

I had previously made a post explaining the name change and new direction of my blog but Blogger was kind enough to give me an error message when I hit the "publish" button. Normally it saves it as a draft but I had lost everything.

The short version of this is that recently I've been blogging about all 4 of my toons and wanted to steer away from a Moonkin-only blog and layout. The title of the blog is a play on "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" considering my toons are a Warlock (Lock), Shaman (Shock) with 2 female Nelf toons being a Warrior and Druid (two smokin' night elves).

Here is a little info on the 4 toons in this blog-

Veresitha - My 70 female Human Warlock. Raided with her in SSC, TK, Kara, Gruuls and 4/6 in ZA before putting her on hold. I put the most work in to her but GTK's raiding schedule doesn't match my work schedule so I discontinued raiding for the moment. She's 375 Shadoweave Tailor as well as 375 Enchanting and is currently Demonology raid specced 5-46-10.

Mutoh - My 70 male Draenei Shaman named after The Great Muta, Keiji Mutoh. Raided Kara and Gruuls but nothing more. I played him as Resto but hated healing 5-mans as a Shaman so I respecced Enhancement. Stayed Enhance for awhile but went back to Elemental which I leveled as and currently love it and refuse to respec out of it. I had a blast running heroics and Kara getting badges for gear but once our alt-Kara runs stopped I didn't have much to do with him so much like Veresitha he's on hold for the moment. Mutoh is my farmbot at 375 Herbalism and 375 Mining.

Adiar - At the time of this post, she is my level 63 female Night Elf Warrior and my primary focus in WoW. Once she hit's 70, she'll be my main toon and focus when WOTLK is released. Currently leveling as DW Fury, I love tanking and will be Prot specced at 70. She is a Blacksmith/Engineer but very low at the moment. I'll focus more on these at 70.

Jandrae - Currently sitting at 63, she is my female Night Elf Druid Moonkin. I play her along side my wife's Shadowpriest, Catalis. She's currently playing her Hunter, Darbley, so Jandrae is on hold until Catalis gets the dust knocked off her. I leveled her Balance and love the spec but I don't want to play her without Catalis. She is a 375 Skinner and 330-ish Tribal Leatherworker & I have full intentions on getting her to 70 before WOTLK.

I'm also going to put more effort in to the presentation of my blog with images and links. The lack of this is due to the fact that 100% of my posts are done at work where certain websites I need to link are blocked behind a firewall. I'm also going to work on tagging posts that deal with specific toons, raid/boss, professions, etc., to make it easier to navigate.

At the moment I don't get a lot of readers but I'd rather have it look nice to attract new readers. Lets see how things turn out!