Thursday, April 30, 2009

Arbor Day Submissions!

Better late than never, right folks?

Basically I had gathered everyone's submissions together (I have over 30 pictures!) and just had to create thumbs, upload, and post them all up - but we had somewhat of a guild "hiccup" last week that threw everything up in the air. Our guild MT and raid leader transferred to another server. To make matters worse, when members of the guild expressed their anger at his sudden disappearance, he removed our forums and guild website. Whee.

Luckily I grabbed a backup of the forums in anticipation of such a thing happening, secured my own corner of the internets, and with the help of some friends, they were back up within a day. I'm still working on the guild website, which is a fairly hefty job. On the bright side, I'm getting a handle on using WordPress, so if I ever decide to put TBJ onto its own web plot, it won't be so daunting.

Bringing things back up has taken up quite a bit of my time, plus I've had to jump into damage-control mode, so I've been absolutely flat-strap as we Aussies say... and I do apologise.

But enough of that ghastly business - bring on the trees!



1. Averna from Nerf this Druid says, "This is me keeping watch over the Argent Tournament with the guard on the hippogryph. I mean, *someone's* gotta do it, and the poor guy must get lonely up there sometimes. So I decided to pay him a visit =D"



And here she is getting around in style:



2. Here's Lissanna from Restokin relaxing with her treant buddies in the jungles of Northrend:



3. Jurik on Kel'Thuzad US enjoys dinner with friends, long walks on the beach, and base jumping:



... and hanging out with the local fauna in The Underbelly. Personally I'm not a big fan of being stung in the face by wasps, but to each their own!



4. Lanatha of Icecrown US says, "Since Lana's not used to the whole tree thing, she figured it'd be perfectly fine to hang around by the mushrooms growing by the moonwell in Zangarmarsh. (They kinda look like trees, right?)"



5. Moojoos from Caelestrasz (yay!) with is PG entry:



6. Naavi on Skullcrusher likes living on the edge and sleeps over an open fire, eep.



7. Ekzee from my own guild has a few snaps to share:

Even trees "gotta go" sometime! Where did you think they went? Behind a tree? UGH!



NO EKZEE! DON'T DO IT!





and the sneaky thing took this picture of me in Mimiron's room:



8. Kagrra of Cenarius-US and blogger of The Druid Team sent these multicoloured trees:



9. Blakro (pronounced Blackcrow) of Durotan US says: "Here's my beloved Resto druid main BEAR jumping (which stands for Building, Earth, Antenna, RAWRBomb) without a [Parachute Cloak] near one of the big crystal trees in Crystalsong Forest. Taking this picture was easier than "falling off (as) a log" and I didn't "bite it" thanks to Swift Flight Form. In the immortal words of my teecher Alamo, "when tree durid is FALL do not ask for HEEL and NINIRVATE!"



10. My buddy Camel getting a little big for his britches!



11. This is Homunkuhlus from EU Aman'Thul:



12. Adeanna of Lanakila on the Proudmoore (US) shows us the classic cranky-tree-casting. I'm not sure why we always look so mad when we're healing..



13. Gadfium from Emerald Dream EU shows us how to fall "with style!"



and here he is about to solo Kologarn (nerf)



14. Keredria US Drenden wishes everyone a happy Azeroth Arbor Day! The dispirited ent and angry oak spirit aren't quite so enthusiastic..





15. Aertimus from Darkspear US and blogger of HoTs Tree sent this - which was really weird because I was thinking of doing the same thing!



16. Stompalina from www.rawrcast.com has a sandbox tiger. I love it!



17. Maiara, Hartigen and Aidia of Evil Eye on Bloodscalp EU say there's no better way for a Tree to pass its free time than waterskiing in the waterfalls of Sholazar Basin. "Our roots make for excellent rudders and the leaves catch the wind perfectly!"



18. Podog from Aggramar takes it easy in Dalaran with a couple of friends.



19. Sylly from Rolling Hots says that this screenshot depicts the natural reaction of all other creatures upon encountering a tree, which is to immediately feel humbled by it and to need to pay it proper respect. "We got the shot by me eating a giant feast, and my guildies all eating a small feast and kneeling down around me while I was up on a little platform in Naxx."



20. Thedoctorr - Dark Iron US sent this one, I think it is gorgeous (it appeals to the photographer in me!)



21. Livith sent in these great moonwell pics:





22. Beruthiel from Falling Leaves & Wings asks, "Are you my Mother?"

"That is what I wanted to know, as I followed this tree =) Perhaps she is the one who dropped the acorn that spouted me!"





Goodness, I'm exhausted now.. what a marathon!

Thank you to everyone for your wonderful entries - please let me know if I have accidentally missed you - I had so many that even searching through my emails carefully I still kept finding extras that I had missed. I do apologise if I haven't included yours - just let me know and I will put it up.

Happy Azeroth Day - hooray for trees!



Saturday, April 25, 2009

Thanks!

Thank you all for your great Arbor Day submissions. They're all great.

I'll work on getting them up in the next few days - I have quite a few to sort through, and I'm still pretty flat-out going for Yogg-Saron at the moment!

Once he bites the dust I'll have more time to blog again :)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Arbor Day - not much time left!

There's not much time left to submit your screenshots for Azeroth Arbor Day.


I've received some really great entries, but only a few so far. You need to get yours in by Wednesday 22 April in time for Arbor Day on Friday.

Info and instructions can be found here.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

GridStatusHots fix

If you're having trouble with seeing other druids' HoTs on Grid, here is the fix - thanks Quast of Shu'halo:

1. Make sure you have the latest version.

2. Open the gridstatushots.lua file in your interface/addons/gridstatushots folder with notepad.

3. Search for the following line:

local bname,brank,btexture,bcount,btype, bdur, bexptime, bismine = UnitBuff(unitid, i)

4. On the line directly underneath it paste:

if bismine == "player" then
bismine = true
else
bismine = false
end


Tested just now in Ulduar - other druids HoTs are no longer showing on my Grid.

PHEW!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Too soon, Executus

Just a super quick note to say that 3.1 caught me by surprise (I was counting on it being next week), so I may not be posting much for a little while.

We're a hardcore raiding guild with a #1 spot to defend, so my priority in the coming weeks will be raiding and server firsts.

The final Healbot writeup IS coming, I just haven't had time to polish it lately. No doubt I will also post my thoughts on Ulduar, our nerfs and changes, and whatnot in the near future. I also expect to have much more to post about from now on, that we have some new content and challenges. I actually created this blog to have something to do while we waited for WotLK, but Naxx etc didn't really present much of a challenge (plus everyone had the strats already). While I enjoyed doing up a Sarth MT healing guide etc, but there hasn't really been much to write about, really. I miss creating diagrams and strategies, walkthroughs, etc. So I'm hoping Ulduar and beyond will give me more to sink my teeth into - both in raiding and blogging.

I have big hopes for 3.1 - for myself, my guild, and for this blog.

Hopefully by the time I get home from work the servers will be stable and I can jump into Ulduar and get started!

:)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Raider preparation for 3.1

I've been feeling a little fidgety about 3.1. On one hand, I'm a hardcore farmer at heart. I love nothing more than seeing a bank full of potions, food, and consumables, all ready to go. On the other, I know there are changes coming in 3.1 that will mean I shouldn't pile up entire bank tabs of flasks. So I haven't.

But I feel like I should be doing more. That I haven't prepared properly. It's making me antsy. I don't like it! So, I sat down and thought about all the things that raiders would need to sort out before 3.1 is released. I thought I would share, in case others might get some use out of it.

You can grab a printable shopping list style version here. Yeah, I'm weird :P




1. Stock up, but don't go nuts

Food

Have a stack or two of normal food/water just in case you're without a mage.

Will you be using Feasts? Who will be carrying those? (they are BoP) Even if you are using Feasts in your raid, take a stack of your chosen food as a backup.

Have enough food in your bags for the first raid; plus enough in the bank for a couple of days. AH prices could be brutal at first, and supply could dry up temporarily - don't get stuck without any!


Flasks, elixirs, potions and scrolls

Again, have enough in your bags for one raid, and enough in your bank for the first few. Don't be caught short.

Don't go crazy stocking up on flasks & elixirs - in 3.1 herb nodes will drop more herbs meaning they will be cheaper and more plentiful. Have some saved, but not a whole bank tab full.

Remember that changes to mana regen plus the fact that you will be learning fights may mean you will use more mana pots than usual. Consider taking more than you normally would. You may also prefer to take some regen consumables (eg mp5 flasks) to begin with. While learning Naxx I used mp5 flasks, but once I got used to the instance and could manage my mana better, I swapped to spellpower. It might be good to have some options in your bags.

If you're a 10 man raider, you may not have access to full raid buffs, so you might like to take a stack or two of scrolls just in case. Fort can make a big difference.

Money

Make sure you have enough money on your character to pay for a few nights of wiping!

You may not get much time to farm or do dailies, and you don't want to be stuck with no cash, or have to borrow. Now's the time to do a few days' worth of dailies, or sell off some old bank items to pad your wallet a little.

Glyphs

Have you considered the glyphs you'll be using in 3.1? Buy or get a friend to craft you the ones you'll need. Take a couple of each just in case you decide to swap a couple of times. For example, I might use Innervate at first, but decide that I'm doing ok without it, and swap to something else. Or I might struggle for mana and think "boy I wish I had an Innervate glyph right now!"

Not sure which combo to use? Here's some help:

World of Matticus
Restokin
Nerf this Druid
Armor and weapon enhancements

Take these with you into the raid, so that as soon as you get an upgrade, you can immediately enchant and gem the item without having to port/hearth and come back to the raid. This saves time and frustration, nobody likes waiting around for people to enchant their gear!

Consider the items you might need - enchant scrolls/mats, leg armor, spell threads, cut/uncut gems. Buy them now while they are cheap! The prices are sure to peak at release, if only temporarily.
Bring a spare meta gem in case a new headpiece drops for you.

Go to Sons of Hodir & Wyrmrest and purchase a spare shoulder/head enchant to keep in your bags.


2. Mods, UI, macros

Mods & UI

Which of your mods are stable for 3.1? Which ones will need to be replaced? Do it now, don't wait until 3.1, you could end up with a mess.

Check Curse and WoWInterface to see if your essential mods have been updated for 3.1. If you update your mods now, you'll have time to tweak them, instead of wasting time later.

Is your UI what you want it to be? Now's the time to jump in and fix it up - when Ulduar comes out you may not have time. You want to jump in with a UI that is functional and won't cause you frustration while you're trying to learn fights. Check out No Stock UI for ideas on how to streamline your screen real estate.

Macros

Do you have all of your macros in place? This is something else that you need to get into place before 3.1 so that you don't have to mess with it on the day.

Useful pages to help with macros:

World of Matticus - A Guide to Mouseover Macros
Wowwiki - Useful macros for druids
The Druid Wiki - Macros and Addons


3. Talent point wipe and Dual Spec

Your primary spec

Do you know how you intend to spec in 3.1? Plan it now, so you don't have to fumble with it when you log in on the day.

Which glyphs will you need for this spec?

Your secondary spec

Make sure you have 1000g put aside for dual spec.

Plan your second spec - balance or feral? Another healing spec? Hybrid? Tanking or kitty dps? Raiding or just for fun?

If your dual spec will be for raiding:
  • Caps - hit, defense, etc. Does your offspec set measure up?

  • What holes are in your gear? What do you still need?

  • Examine gear lists and mark down your wishlist items.

  • If you don't get your preferred item in the next couple of weeks, is there a heroic or badge item you could get as a backup?

  • Gem and enchant everything in advance.

  • If the consumables required for your second spec are different, make sure you pack them!

  • Create an offspec outfit in Outfitter/Closet Gnome/Item Rack (etc) so that you can swap to that gear quickly during the raid.

  • Which glyphs will you need? Take some extras just in case you want to juggle different ones.

  • Do you know your rotations? Go test them on the capital city target dummies.

  • Set up your macros etc in advance, and practice them.

  • Ask people for some tips and advice on playing that spec.


4. Delicious epics

Loot wishlist

Look over the loot lists (eg on MMO Champion) and identify possible upgrades as well as noting the items that you're not interested in. Make a wishlist. Consider set bonuses and whether or not you want to keep them, or how you would juggle items around.

Get RatingBuster so that you can judge items on the fly. Looting is what takes the most time in raids - if you know what you're looking for beforehand, and have RatingBuster loaded, it will save a lot of time.

Load up on high ilvl gear (duh)

It kinda goes without saying that everyone wants the highest level gear they can get their hands on - but I'm talking about the first boss in Ulduar, Flame Leviathan, who is fought almost entirely from vehicles. The vehicles' hp scale with the ilvl of your gear, irrespective of whether it is the right gear for your spec. For example, I would be better off wearing a level 226 feral ring than a level 213 resto ring, because it will give my vehicle more health.

So grab as much high level stuff as you can to fill up your gear slots. Work out what your Leviathan set is, and make an Outfitter/Closet Gnome/Item Rack outfit for it so that you can change quickly for that fight.

DON'T throw out your 213/226 gear if you want 10 man achievements!

If you are primarily a 10 man raider or you're interested in completing the 10 man achievements, make sure you don't throw away your ilvl 213 and 226 gear as you pick up upgrades. The achievement "Herald of the Titans" requires that you not wear any items higher than 226:
Defeat Algalon the Observer on Normal Difficulty without anyone in the raid wearing any equipment with an item level higher than 226.
Keep this in mind when you pick up your new equipment.


5. Strats
Strats

Read over the basic strats to see if there is anything you will need to pay particular attention to and what that will mean to you.

Will there be heavy tank damage? Heavy raid damage? AOE dodging? Silences? Poisons and curses? Crowd control? Will you have a special role in the fight?

Strat sites that you may find helpful:

Strat Fu
Wowwiki
MMO Champion

For a druid specific article, read WoWInsider's Shifting Perspectives' preview of Ulduar.


6. For officers and raid leaders

Items to make your raids run smoothly

Consider bringing some extra materials or reagents for items that your raid members may need. For example, I often get asked to make pots but the person doesn't have any vials.Consider those frequently-made items and if you can spare the bag space, perhaps bring some along to ensure people don't waste time hearthing to gem or enchant their gear, or make consumables. Most people should bring these items to be prepared, but there's always someone who gets caught short, and if you can help them out, it will speed up your raid.

For example:

- raw blue gems
- enchant mats
- leg armor
- thread + a few eternals
- vials
(note: thread and vials are available from mammoth mounts also)

One person can be assigned to be the pack mule (I like this job), and ensure that they have a few stacks of gems, enchant mats, vials, spare flasks and pots, feasts, flares, essential reagents, repair bots, etc. This may be unnecessary 99% of the time but I like to be prepared.

An officer or two should also be assigned to carry abyss crystals. Make sure you state the policy on these too - are they free for all? Paid? DKP? Only for BiS items? Only for particular ranks in the guild? Arguments will slow you down.

Loot

Do you have your loot system sorted? If you use DKP, have you set/adjusted your prices? Are you resetting before 3.1?

Are there any contentious items that may cause problems - items that may need to be exclusions or exceptions to the DKP system?

Have you discussed how to handle offspec loot now that dual specs will mean people can make better use of that gear to help the raid progress? What are the priorities?

If a fragment of the legendary mace drops, do you know how to handle it? It's very hard to decide who should get it at the moment, since we don't know the stats or other possible procs, but as the fragments can drop from even the first boss, you should at least have a vague idea of how you'll handle it. MMO Champion's page on the mace can be found here.

Achievements

What's your raid's focus? Killing stuff ASAP? Trying the hard modes straight up? Doing some of the achievements straight away, or ignoring them? Work this out beforehand. If you intend to do some of the achievements in the first week, make a list of them and their requirements so you don't have to spend time looking up the possible achievements. Mark the ones you intend to go for and the ones you intend to ignore or come back for later.

Communicate to the raid team which achievements you will and will not be attempting, so that nobody gets upset because they thought you'd be doing them all in the first week. Set your priorities and goals, communicate them clearly, and stick to them.




Are there particular steps you are taking to prepare for patch 3.1?

Naxx relics to be purchased with Valor tokens

Blizzard have confirmed that they do not intend for Emblems of Valor to be used to purchased Ulduar gear.

However, relic items from Naxx have been added to the Valor quartermasters:

Sigil of Awareness
Idol of Awakening
Libram of Resurgence
Totem of Hex
(etc)

So if you haven't managed to pick up your Idol of Awakening yet - don't fret, you'll be able to purchase one with valor badges soon.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

New WoW resource: Wowraid

A guildie put me onto Wowraid - a new site similar to MMO Champion, with daily updates on what's happening around the World of Warcraft universe, including a roundup of Blizzard posts, upcoming changes, etc.


The really nifty thing about the site though is its recruitment area. Guild leaders enter the classes and specs that they are looking for, and players can search using various filters to see who might be seeking them! The information is updated weekly (by forcing guilds to renew or update their listings), so you can be sure it is up to date.

When searching for a guild, you can filter by:

- Region (US, Oceanic, English, German, Spanish, Russian, French)
- Faction
- Realm name
- Realm type (PvP, PvE, RP, RP-PvP)
- Timezone (Oceanic, Pacific, Mountain, Central, Eastern)
- Guild name
- Classes needed (optional: spec needed)
- Main raid size (10 or 25)

Plus progress in each instance - which is either in the form of "have killed boss X", cleared the entire instance, or the big achievements like Undying/Immortanl, Sarth3D, 6min Malygos etc.

So for example, let's see who's looking for a resto druid.

In the picture below, I have said that I am looking for a US guild, 25man raid team, horde, seeking a resto druid, and I'm only interested in guilds that have cleared Sartharion with 3 drakes (you could enter Immortal and/or 6 minute Malygos too, if you wanted - or no achievements at all if this isn't important to you).


The site is still growing, so these lists should be longer as time goes on. For now, the results show that there are currently six 25man Sarth3D horde guilds seeking resto druids. From the symbols on the right, I can also see which of them have completed Immortal and 6 minute Malygos (for interest).

Nifty, huh?

Here's what my guild's page looks like: http://wowraid.com/recruitment/id365/Inexorable-US-Caelestrasz (although I need to find out our exact needs, I know we need DPS but I'm not certain which classes/specs).

While you're there, check out the real-life Warcraft scenery - photographs from around the world that match the different zones in Azeroth, Outland and Northrend.



Azeroth Arbor Day 2009

Arbor Day is coming!
I spoke with Phaelia and she has given me the all-clear to run with Azeroth Arbor Day this year.

What is Arbor Day?
Arbor Day is a holiday to celebrate our wonderful trees. It is recognised in many countries around the world. Here in Australia Arbor day is at the end of July, but since the majority of readers are probably from the US, we'll go with the US date - the last Friday in April (that's the 24th).

What is Azeroth Arbor Day?
Azeroth Arbor Day was created by Phaelia of Resto4Life. It is a celebration of Tree of Life druids - both elf and Tauren.

Sadly, we all still look the same as trees - Phae didn't get her wish for diversity this year. Personally I think it would be logical to have the current "brown" tree to be the Tauren form, and the purple version to be the Night Elf form. The skins are already in the game, seems logical to me! No matter, maybe later in the year we'll hear more about some improvements to our forms.

To quote Blizzard recently:
Druid forms are not coming in 3.1, but (big but) we are working on them. I have to say that when these do go live, it will have been worth the wait.
Exciting!

How can I celebrate?
Send in your Tree of Life pictures!



Need inspiration? Check out last year's submissions.

*** Please submit your entries no later than Wednesday 22 April. ***
This will give me a couple of days to compile everything and publish on the weekend following Arbor day.


Things to remember
  • You can submit as many pictures as you like (but I may need to pick your best ones if I get a lot of submissions).

  • Please include your name & server (optional) so that I can credit you properly. Also please let me know if you have a blog so that I can link back to that.

  • Make sure your druid is in tree form, of course!

  • Your druid can be alone or with more tree friends. The more the merrier!

  • Remember that the theme is the celebration of trees - be creative with your backgrounds.

  • Turn off all UI elements before taking your screenshot (press Alt+Z to do this) so that your picture isn't cluttered with bars and bags etc.

  • If there is a story behind your picture, please include that also.


Other submissions
All other tree-related submissions are encouraged! Artwork, comics - anything you like - it's all welcome. If you have something to celebrate the Tree of Life druid, please send it in!

Advertising Azeroth Arbor Day
If you would like to advertise Arbor Day in your own blog, Phae has given permission to use the badges made by Valenna at parrydodgespin.com:


In fact I encourage people to advertise it, since my blog has nowhere near the readership that Phae's did - and fewer people will see it this year if we don't spread the word!


Last year's submissions were fantastic! I know that this year's pictures will be even better though, with some of the amazing new landscapes in Northrend.

Go forth and photograph! I can't wait to see what everyone comes up with. :)