Tag Archives: ding

ding^5, diablo 3 v2.0

It’s no secret that Diablo III is finally the sort of game Blizzard should have shipped on day one. I don’t want to get into details yet (that can wait for the expansion to drop in a few weeks). In the mean time, I have to share the screenshot of my having “won” the game last night.

diablo-ding-60x5

Yup, the game is finally fun enough that I’ve been motivated to reach lvl 60 in every class, having previously only dinged max level with a single witchdoctor.

three weeks of wrath

So… I’ve had some time to goof around with WoW’s second expansion (goof being the operative word). I officially have four lvl 70+ characters now:

  • Allaryin – 70 dwarf hunter (52/8/1)
  • Chokuretsu – 71 gnome warlock (0/54/8)
  • Kikichikki – 70 draenei priest (0/61/0)
  • Juvu – 70 orc death knight (55/0/5)

Most of the reason I don’t have anyone in the mid-high 70’s yet is because of time spent getting Choku and Juvu up to speed.

Choku was 67 when the expansion came out, so after a very bad Utgarde Keep attempt, I took her back to Netherstorm until 68, when I moved to Borean Tundra – which is completely soloable in crummy outland greens. Choku is planned to be my main in Wrath (just as Kiki was my main for most of BC, and Al was my main in classic). I dropped tailoring for inscription and am slowly leveling that up, just buying flowers whenever I feel the urge. I won’t obsess about inscription until Choku’s approaching 80.

Juvu is my big experiment in death knights… and in high level horde content… and in playing on a different server without my normal support structure (created on Terenas and then payed-transfered to Malfurion to join coworkers). On the road from 55 to 70, he’s respecced 5 times now, and I’ve got some very strong opinions on what works for “low” level solo grinding as a DK. /played from rolling char to dinging 70 = 32 hours (spread out over 14 days RL time, so mostly unrested).

Kiki hasn’t done anything since the expansion landed. I’m waiting for dual specs to start leveling her – It’s been a while since I’ve engaged in any serious face melting 😉

Al… has gone fishing, and exploring, and pet collecting. The only quests I’ve done with him so far have been the gem perfection quest, Dalaran cooking dailies and stuff for Kalu’ak rep. I think this is Al’s new calling in life. I’ve become so rusty at grouping with a hunter that I’m pretty much resigned to the fact that he’ll never really group again.

The remainder of the reason why I haven’t done any Dragonblight quests yet is because I’m doing the recruit-a-friend thing with a new account for my wife. At the end of our first 1-hour play session, we were level 8. After our second, we were lvl 12. If she retains sufficient interest to play a few hours a week for the duration of the bonus xp period, I fully expect that I’ll finally have lvl 60’s in every class as a result 😛

The reason I’ve not written anything in over a month should be fairly obvious. Mind, it wasn’t all WoW. Leading up to Wrath’s release, I passed the time by playing a good bit of EVE (and have since canceled my account again).

I’m planning on writing some reviews of the viability of the new hunter pets in a pve solo environment as well as a few posts on death knight specs and spell rotations. I’ve also got a big technical (very unrelated) post in the works that might be out this weekend, we’ll see.

ding (smite ftw)

Well, it took me twelve years, but I finally did it. As of about noon-thirty yesterday, I have a max level healing character in an MMORPG. Kikichikki‘s fourth major incarnation is now a level 70 draenei priest in Warcraft.

Kiki Kaboom

I did it right this time. Kiki spent the vast majority of her post-newbie levels as a holy/discipline hybrid build and eventually ended up at 28/33/0. Smite and mana efficiency FTW.

I also planned ahead. Not only did I have 5 pieces of lvl 70 eq waiting for me (including the Primal Mooncloth set). Not only did I have enough money saved up to buy my flying mount, but I actually “camped the chicken spawn”. I hit level 70 less than 30 yards from the riding trainer in Wildhammer, bought my chicken, and flew away. 😉

Kiki currently has 6741 hp, 9266 mana, just shy of 1250 bonus healing and 154 mp5 while casting (354 while not casting). She has over 400 int and spirit. Her /played is just over 10 days.

boring history

(Seriously, I’m about to ramble for a few hours… Hey, I said this took 12 years…)

I’ve always enjoyed healing in RPG’s, and I like to think that I’ve gotten fairly good at it over the years. I play clerics and druids in pen and paper RPG’s. I cried like a baby when Aeris died – and not just because I was emotionally involved in the story (which I was), but also because she was my healer. My first MUD character became a priest on September 10th, 1996.

I’m not sure what exactly it is about healing in games that I enjoy so much, but I like it more than summoning (a close second – playing healers who can summon makes me giddy). I’m pretty sure my original obsession with clerics was strictly the result of numberchasing munchkinitis. In AD&D, clerics felt like the most flexible class to me. They could heal, they could smite, they could summon at very low levels, they had good hp and could wear heavy armour and hit things with big hammers. My online handle “Allaryin” comes from my first successful D&D character, a chaotic good dwarven cleric of Tempus – the Forgotten Realms god of war.

However, in subsequent games, I recanted this position. Somewhere along the line, the idea of being able to do anything and everything at any time started losing its appeal. I became less interested in whacking things with hammers and calling down fire to consume my enemies whole… and more interested in passively altering events. Why wield the hammer yourself when the fighter can do a better job at it – especially with my help keeping him alive?

Future incarnations of Allaryin stopped following warrior gods like Tempus and started following Lathander the god of light and creation… and eventually evolved into followers of Ilmater the martyr’s god. I became obsessed with keeping my party members standing, even if it meant they had to find another priest to raise me when I fell. 😛

When ’96 rolled around and I was introduced to muds, it was a happy coincidence that the guys who kickstarted the addiction were a knight and a priest. I quickly gravitated toward the priest’s guild and when the time came, chose to play as a priest of Morike, the game world’s goddess of healing. Though I eventually played almost every other class in the game, I always came back to Morike. If I logged into the mud right now, Allaryin would still be there, a very dusty and unplayed but still very fervent follower of the light.

Fast forward to March of 2004, FFXI hit my PS2 and I was all ready to reinvent Allaryin again as a Tarutaru white mage, but the game’s user interface had other plans. I was unable to figure out how to choose a name of my own, and after several attempts finally gave up and decided to use the random generator. Kikichikki was born.

Kiki was also doomed to failure by a game that made solo play absolutely impossible, especially for the entirely defensive white mage class. I don’t think I ever hit level 21, but I hit level 20 about 50 times… having not quite mastered the fine art of controlling aggro in order to avoid getting killed in groups.

Kiki saw a brief reincarnation as an Agatean Pishite on the Discworld mud that lasted a few months before real life conspired to prevent me from playing. When I returned, the character had been wiped for inactivity 🙁

In early 2006, Kiki’s next stop was City of Heroes. I rolled the character four or five times but never really got into it – however, when City of Villains came out, I rolled Columns, a Necromancy/Poison mastermind who spent most of his time keeping people alive (or reanimating them as the case may be).

When World of Warcraft launched, I was unimpressed with my options for healers. During the open beta, I determined that paladins, druids, and shamans were too confusing and priests were too squishy. Summoning was where it was at, and a few months later when I was finally bullied into opening an account, I rolled Allaryin as a dwarven hunter.

In the intervening years, I have tried leveling healers several times, but the closest I ever got was a 40 paladin (who isn’t even healer spec any more). Priests were always squishy, I hit level 15-20 with several attempts but always gave up at my inability to solo with the class – but I had always tried to level as a shadow priest since that’s what common convention states is the best build for soloing.

shadow is overrated

Kiki Mooncloth

I repeat. Shadow is overrated.

I originally (like 2 months ago when the topic was fresher on my mind) meant for this to be a separate rant, but as I never wrote it I may as well go into the subject briefly here.

Again, this time with feeling. Shadow is overrated.

Maybe I’m just complete noobsauce, but I just couldn’t make a shadow priest work. I’ve got a level 50 warlock, which you’d think would be comparable. But it isn’t. In World of Warcraft, playing a low level shadow priest is more like playing a melee hunter. Just because the game lets you spec for stupid doesn’t mean it actually works.

I’m not saying that the shadow talent tree is worthless. I’m not saying that high level shadow priests aren’t amazing and viable in groups. Nor am I saying that shadow priests can’t be obnoxiously effective in PvP, and I am certainly not suggesting anyone try to solo to 70 w/o picking up any offensive talents.

I am saying that shadow priests are pointless in low level (<50 or so) PvE solo content. I am saying that the holy and discipline talent trees have much better options for solo players at lower levels. When Kiki was in her early 40's, I figured I'd give shadow another chance. I had been a holy smite build until this point and had intentionally waited to respec shadow until I could buy enough talents to make it worthwhile. I advanced two levels as a shadow priest before giving up in disgust. What is wrong with shadow priests? Let me count the ways. At level 10, a priest is highly squishy. They're going to be healing themselves a lot - their fights take longer since they do less damage and they've got less defense (not getting the first rank of their personal armour spell until level 12). Going immediately into either of the available shadow talents means delaying or neglecting Healing Focus (2 points for 70% resistance to interruption while healing). Time wasted trying to heal through interruptions means a corpse run. Waiting until level 12 to take your first shadow talent point means you can't get Mind Flay (the first really useful shadow talent) until 22. Everyone talks up Spirit Tap (increased mana regen for 15s after a kill) but water really is very cheap and low level priests really shouldn't be using mana to kill things anyway. Wand DPS is much more reliable and even outperforms smite at low levels. Lowbie priests should never run out of mana since they've offloaded their spells to before the mob closed into melee and are spending the rest of their time in combat wanding and regenning for the next fight. Blackout is even more useless at low level. 10% chance to stun the target for 3 seconds with your shadow spells? There is only one direct damage shadow spell before Mind Flay, and it’s on an 8 second cooldown.

For the same five talent points that would have been wasted in regen you don’t need or stuns that you can’t depend on… you could have 70% resistance to interruption while healing AND one of:

  • +15% wand dps (up to 25% after 2 more points).
  • +15% healing over time from your renew spell (which should be your most commonly cast spell at this level).
  • +3% crit from your holy spells (up to +5% after 2 more points, this includes heals and nukes).

Shadow damage can be mitigated. There is no such thing as holy resistance. Smite always works. And it’s not on a cooldown, so you can actually spam it.

Shadow priests’ damage output is highly equipment-dependent. To truly be worth the pain of playing a shadow priest, you need gobs of +shadow damage equipment. The soonest a character can be effectively loaded up with +shadow gear is level 40.

Shadowform requires level 40 at the absolute minimum. That’s if you completely ignore the other two talent trees…

Can’t cast holy spells while in shadowform. Since you still have access to discipline spells, this isn’t a huge nerf (unlike a druid’s specialized caster forms which pretty much limit you to nuking or healing)… but it is still inconvenient. If for whatever reason you do need to cast a holy spell while soloing in shadowform, switching back costs a huge amount of mana.

DoT’s don’t crit.

Shadow priests blow through mana like nothing I’ve ever seen before. With one’s primary sources of damage being a DoT and a channeled DoT, you waste a lot of mana. Shadow Word: Pain suffers from the same problem that all DoT’s have – it rarely has a chance to tick to conclusion. Likewise, with Mind Flay, any hit you take while channeling will reduce the damage/mana ratio of the spell dramatically.

When hunting trolls as a shadow priest in Arathi, Kiki had to stop and drink after every other kill, even with Spirit Tap. As a smite priest, both her dps and her mana efficiency were higher. She could take 3 or 4 mobs before resting.

After the failed adventures in shadowform, Kiki gave a heavy discipline build a whirl. It too was disappointingly less effective than the heavy holy build had been – but, while she did less damage and her heals were weaker… at least she was sturdier and had more mana to cast the weaker spells with.

So, I guess what I’m trying to say is that from a purely munchkin standpoint, shadow spec is not a good idea for solo PvE before level 50, and is just… well, unplayable before 40.

If you want to play a shadow priest, do yourself a favor and either always party or level a hybrid build of some sort or another and respec to shadow when you get to Outland.

Let the flames commence.

Oh wait, that’s right. You can’t do that in shadowform 😛

(Yes, I know the pun was horrendous. I’m sorry. Kind of.)

chickenrider

I am the chickenrider!

chickenrider-cropped.jpg

I would like to take this moment to thank everyone who made this possible. Danny for farming about 2/3 of the runecloth necessary… Alterac Valley for giving me incidental gnome rep along the way… Patch 2.0.1 for finally upping the amount of rep per turnin… And all of the people who decided to sell their stacks of cloth below market value 😉

I couldn’t have done it without you.

Ok, well, I could have, but it’d have taken me another 3 months 😛

Now I only have to scrape together about 800g and I can swap my wimpy mounts out for my Stormpike goat and a riding chicken +1 🙂

update

Tony has just rubbed my face gently in the fact that patch 2.x changes to the honor system mean I could have gotten a mecha chicken w/o the rep grind. But… shrug.

I now get to scrape together 800g AND a handful more BG tokens and I’ll be able to swap out between three epic mounts 😛

update

Whelp, phase one of the epic chickenage is complete.

Chickenrider 2.0

Now to find the stomach to go back into BG’s. A quick check of my bags shows that I have 6 AB tokens, 4 AV tokens, and zero WSG tokens on hand. The black chicken requires I should scrounge up 30 of each…

antlered toucan

Chris and I split the purchase of a box of the new WoW TCG cards. He picked them up from the local comic shop last night and took his half of the packs, leaving the rest on my desk.

This morning I came in and started opening packs between bugs. Some pretty cool stuff in there, the game looks interesting. We’ll probably play a few rounds on Monday if we can find the time.

In addition to the normal cards, there are three ultra-rare cards that have serial numbers on them that can be used to get a few cool little in-game toys. Apparently the odds of getting one of these cards are something like 1 in every 3 or 4 boxes of 24 packs.

I got the baby hippogryph pet. It’s ADORABLE, like a baby Toucan Sam with antlers. I’ve not scratched the card off yet, am still debating what to do with it. The cards are listing for $75-150 on ebay right now and there are a veritable ton of them for sale. I somehow doubt that mine’d sell if I posted it. And I’m not entirely sure I’d want to sell it for $100. But there’s also no way on earth that I’d pay $100 for it. So, dillema.

Also, unlike CoH/CoV’s in-game account ugprade type rewards, this reward (and all of WoW’s, actually) is a one time serial. You use it on one character and that’s it.

So, while I do have the little side-hobby of collecting mini-pets in the game, I rarely use them. I mean, I’ve probably broken out my worg puppy less than 10 times since I got him. I’ve not used my mechanical chicken in months, etc… So, who knows?

Baby Hippo Pet

tetris in the morning

Whee. Apparently, if you hit “enter” after typing in your post title on b2evolution… it is perfectly willing to create and publish an empty entry 😛

Anyhow.

A few days ago, I reactivated my CoH account and started playing around again. My new video card makes an enormous difference. Pocket D is just amazing with the effects and sewer maps have a lot more to them than I remembered.

Today the Good vs Evil bonuses went live for online purchase, and I acquired them ($10 for permanent upgrade to all chars – new and old – on the account). The Pocket D teleport ability is cool (just one more way to get around town) and the jumpjet is ok. I imagine it’ll be awesome on chars w/o a travel power (or those with super speed who have problems gaining altitude). Unfortunately, it also has a relatively long cooldown and a 30 sec duration before running out so is only good for one big jump or something.

I’ve not played with the new costume options yet, I don’t want to lose my current one.

The big news is that for the first time in AGES, I’ve earned a level (19) with Tetris. And it was a doozy.

See, last I’d played him, he contracted himself a case of the zombie plague. No actual turning into a zombie, that’d have potentially been cool. Nope. Disease gives you swarming flies around your body and a nasty permanent debuff to both your maximum health and endurance (and endurance regen).

Well, Tetris is a controller, specifically an illusionist. He uses high amounts of end to get his job done. In order to succeed in missions, he relies on invisibility and mind control and stuff. This costs lots of juice. When you have no juice… things suddenly become downright impossible.

So, it took me about an hour and 2 deaths to finally get cured of the disease.

Then the final mission in the story line has you putting an end to Dr. Vahlizok’s latest version of the plague by glowy hunting (something that invisible chars can – surprise – do with zero danger). I think the high level glowy hunt was my true reward for the nightmare that was the diseased portion of the mission.

The final glowy to be hunted (infected body to be incinerated) was in this enormous Frankensteinesque workshop. I tried to snap a picture but apparently it didn’t take. Also, when I turned in the mission to my contact, she said something about actually coming face to face with Dr Vahz. This thing, I did not notice. I’m kind of bummed, because I could have taken him. Zombies are notoriously weak vs invisibility and stuff. Oh well.