Friday, November 22, 2013

Going Back to Cali: BlizzCon Edition

It's hard to believe it's already been two weeks since we were all gearing up for the excitement that is BlizzCon. I was wiling the hours away at work, checking the Meeting Stone forums and official site for something - anything! - to distract me from what I was doing. Now I'm grasping at straws for a way to get back to that feeling of shared happiness and belonging that I felt in Anaheim. I think that's the best thing about BlizzCon, it's unlike any other convention because everyone who came to this event is passionate about Blizzard games. You can have conversations with complete strangers about WoW/SC/Diablo and not get a confused look back. There were so many people to talk to and meet that when you come back there's this sort of... recovery time or recharge period, because suddenly you're at home not surrounded by thousands and thousands of people. Now that I've decompressed, I wanted to record my experiences and share them with all of you!

Our trip began on Wednesday. I took the day off so that I could pack and get things sorted out with the people who were going to babysit my kitties. I picked up my friend Sara (@SerrinneWoW) in the afternoon and she and I waited for my boyfriend Brian (@Chronis_) to be finished at work before we left. We drove out and picked up another guildmate, Andy (@Slout_ET) before we really started the drive to Buffalo. Let me tell you, if you need to get across the border quickly bring Chronis. I don't know if it's that Cape Bretoner charm or what but he didn't have his passport signed and we still got through the border in under two minutes.

It was so dark so we didn't see much of the scenery (although, it's Buffalo so we probably didn't miss much), but we got to our hotel safely and decided to get some dinner. We ate at this hot dog place called Ted's Hot Dogs because a) DONGERS and b) they have gluten free buns! They even changed gloves while handling my food so that was a welcome relief.

With our bellies full and the realization that we were so close, we all hit the hay and dreamed BlizzCon dreams.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

To Live and Die in LA - Sara's First Blizzcon

To be honest, my brain is sort of a blur about what specifically happened at Blizzcon!  This post will mainly be about who I met (the most important and best part of the con) and then some game impressions.

Your Power Word: What?! bloggers ready to fly!

What is nice to know is that relationships in life aren't different on the game or twitter - those ARE our relationships.  I am going to try and restrain myself from going into detail about the anticipation, excitement, and happiness I felt meeting someone I've sort of fallen for over the last few months, but I will say that meeting everyone was really just awesome.  I certainly won't be able to list everyone here, I seriously met like 9847509 people (and I didn't even get a chance to see everyone I wanted to see.)

Meeting the guild was of course totally great.  Many of us have hung out before (Toronto, and visitors to Toronto) but meeting Sheepeater, Srs, Jack, Shawnelle, Sturm, Kristin, and the rest was great! We were pretty much just like we are in game - tease Sara mercilessly and party hard!  I actually felt really proud seeing us all in the shirts that Kal and Chronis made for us.  It was awesome to have a crew there to watch panels with and sit around with and joke with.  It was nice to be able to relax and not worry about guild stuff or officer stuff or raiding.

Our extremely good looking guild.

The sensation of normalcy was really vivid for me -I think I've talked to some people about how I really like day to day minutiae, routines, and the like.  There was a moment where I was in my hotel room with Sheepeater and Grumdy getting ready to go to a panel or something, and they were just sitting around talking about games and I was standing in front of the mirror putting on make up and chatting with them and it just felt so NORMAL, it really made me smile.

Me and Mr. Jack Lalanne

Meeting almost all of the <Something Wicked> attendees was also a highlight - I have spent a lot of time in game with these folks, in mumble, on twitter, etc. I talk to Esoth just about every day, and he has become one of my very best friends so meeting up (finally, it feels like!) was great - we were the dorks we always are.  He even brought me home brewed mead!

Meeting some EJ folks like Dysmorphia, my swole sister, seeing Hamlet and Perculia again (every moment away from them is hell, have I mentioned that? they are best kind) and other Twitter folks like Kerriodos and Theck, my bun brother, and Antigen and Rhidach and Tass was just so great - putting a face to the names, it was just wonderful to feel like totally not out of place, and nothing was different.  It was time to talk about bunnies and tanking and games and all manner of thing - just like it always is.  BUT getting to hug people like Arielle (and a few other Inc Bears) was obviously better than a retweet!  Freaking out when I spied Vidyala and Voss at the Hilton, squeeing at Jen and Baj at the CTR party (regret not yelling GET SHIT ON though), being too shy to say hi to Absallom and Ataxus (my achievement point idol!), comparing ink with Hestiah, it was all really really good.


Blizzcon was really a great social setting - I actually didn't feel overwhelmed by having to socialize and meet a million people, I LIKED it!  No one asked me about being sick or unemployed, they asked for a hug and put out a hand and exchanged drinks and wanted to talk about games.  I also feel like I had a nice balance between time spent socializing at large, with my guildies, with my boyfriend, at panels, and at parties.  Although I certainly paid for it - I have never been this tired in my life, I feel like I've been at a rugby tourney, not a gaming convention!

Arielle, myself, and Hamlet - I think this is my favourite picture!
Photo credit to @kristin

So speaking of GAMES, I'm also excited to post about my impressions of the gaming news and events at Blizzcon 2013.

What can I say about Warlords of Draenor?  All my toons are goats.  I'm excited about Black-Temple-Goat-Town.  I'm excited about Draenei NPCs and maybe even some storylines.  I'm excited that I'll maybe get to hang out with Korgath Bladefist and Ner'zhul.  The setting totally does it for me, even though I'm a total lore noob.  I did the Horde starting area and loved it - I can't wait for Beta so I can do a "Sara and her Beta friends" series like I did with MOP - I already met a Frostboar and oh man was he a qtpi.  Really looking forward to exploring vast zones and the new character models!  I would love if Serrinne could narrow her eyes snarkily even more than she does now.

The addition of tertiary stats (and removal of hit/exp/dodge) is interesting for sure - as a healer I never really had this issue so to me, this is just an entire mega bonus (although I suspect we will be seeing changes with Spirit soon.)  I have been dying for run speed in WoW ever since I started playing D3.  I am so thrilled this is being added to the game - I want to be the fastest goat in the west!  I  have always said that sprints/engineering boots/etc are always a raid saver and better than any few points of any other stat you can grab.  So basically this was my idea, right guys?  I am excited to figure out this new system, especially since I think it will make healing (more) exciting.

Thoughts on Mythic raiding?  I think it will shake out just fine - and that's my rational side talking.  I love raiding with as many specs as possible (which is why I raid 25 instead of 10 at the moment) so obviously that'll be sad losing some spots, but all in all I think it won't be bad.  Obviously so little info out at the moment about administration and logistics, so I'll just leave it at my initial impression.

The quality of life changes (like heirloom page!) and Garrisons will obviously be something I love when they go live (I was someone who liked dailies, so Garrison maintenance excites me.)  The "Trial of the Gladiator" arena change absolutely thrilled me - I will get to arena on alts! This is so incredible, and (yes, I know this is horrible) will allow me to play the flavour of the month comps for pvp.  This rocks!

As for the level 100 Priest talents, I think they probably won't go live as they are (at least the healy bits.)

Divine Clarity is akin to the original iteration of Spirit Shell, although I'd be hard pressed to see why I should take this and use it when I already have Power Word: Shield - I suppose we'll have to see how the cost comparisons shake out on live.  This talent seems super sexy for Holy priests - when was the last time you cast Greater Heal, seriously.  The shadow version of this seems odd since we're getting a Cleave stat - I would take this talent if I wasn't that into multidotting (and without snapshots, this might be a good choice.)

Power of the Void seems incredibly fun (to me, at least - I <3 void shift!) but it completely devalues your stat choices since it's based on health percentages.  In my head, I read that talent and thought COULD I STACK STAM AND VOID SHIFT ALL DAY ERR DAY?  Let's hope not - that is just silly.  Shadow version is another dot - unsure about how this would compete with DP as an orb spender, but nice to have an alternative I suppose.

Spiritual Guidance is a very interesting mechanic in terms of introducing a penalty as part of the spell - it is reminiscent of the mana cost increase per arcane blast for mages.  This will be a fun balancing act for figuring out how often you can cast this without crippling your other heals.  Only complaint is that, again, it totally devalues your stat choices since it's based on % max HP.  Shadow version seems awesome, especially since we can bank 5 orbs now (WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!)

And now onto something I may even be more excited for than the WoW expansion:

DIABLO 3 IS GOING TO BE AMAZING SOON!  And that's coming from someone who has played dilligently since release.  Loot 2.0 and the Crusader (both of which I experienced at Blizzcon) are going to be awesome.  Crusader is super shiny and looks great, with some awesome animations.  The new act is totally fantastic, especially if you liked A1 - similar atmosphere with + ghosties.  I also got to try Adventure Mode and I did the "endless" thing where you just kill monsters until you spawn a rift boss guy - exactly what I love about Diablo.  Farmy farm farm time!  I also got to watch Mike play it on PS4 for a bit, which looked absolutely beautiful at that resolution.  Pretty excited for him - he is salivating over that version already.

Overall Blizzcon was an absolutely perfect weeekend, I'm looking forward to many more in my future!

I'll end this off with some thank yous: Kal and Chronis, I wouldn't have been at Blizzcon without you.  Thanks for bearing with my travel woes - I'm not a good traveler!  Thanks to Perculia for all her hard work on the Wowhead Blizzcon coverage - without her I wouldn't have known what I had missed!  Thanks also to Hamlet for organizing a lovely dinner, and for some downtime chats.  And thanks of course to Mike for everything.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Para-gong Show - Tanking Paragons of the Klaxxi

Kalbeari the Prime has a nice ring to it... I think I'll keep it!

Now that Siege of Orgrimmar is finally completely open to the masses with the last LFR wing opening today, there are more folks coming up against the later bosses in the instance. After many boss fights that come down to simple tank swaps, Paragons of the Klaxxi - with its NINE mobs who each have different abilities - can intimidate the best of us. I'm here to help you break this fight down into a manageable order and to walk you through everything a tank will need to worry about.

At any given time, three Klaxxi will be active during the fight (until the end when no more can jump down). That's three mobs that need to be tanked and all three of them do something different. Some Klaxxi can't be tanked after you've tanked their partner while others require tank swaps or massive healer cooldowns.

The order in which the Klaxxi join the fight is static. At first, you will have Rik'kal, Skeer and Hisek. Next to spawn are; Ka'roz, Korven, Iyyokuk, Xaril, Kaz'tik and Kil'ruk.

The kill order Apotheosis uses is this; Rik'kal, Skeer, Hisek, Korven, Iyyokuk, Xaril, Kaz'tik, Kil'ruk and Ka'roz.

Please do keep in mind this is meant as a guide primarily for tanks. If you're looking for a basic how-to, Evrelia Gaming has an overall guide. If you want to know how to heal this fight (and an even more in-depth look at the fight), check out the excellent post by Healiocentric. It is also worth noting that each guide has a different kill order than the one my guild uses.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Looking back at Throne of Thunder

With the release of the new Siege of Orgrimmar trailer and an official release date for the patch, we're steadily moving towards new content. I thought that we'd take a look back at Throne of Thunder and talk about what we liked and didn't like about Heroic fights in the instance.

Everybody walk the dinosaur!
I asked two of my guildmates - Sara, our discipline priest and Slout, our elemental shaman - to help me weigh in on our general impressions of each boss. Look for tanking thoughts in this colour, healing thoughts in this colour and ranged DPS thoughts in this colour!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

And the winner is...

Congratulations to... Hamlet! I'll be sending the code along to you shortly - look for it in your DMs on Twitter.

 Thank you to everyone who left a comment, I love hearing about what people are excited out with BlizzCon coming up. I hope to see some of you there, and if you aren't attending let me know what you're interested in the most and I'll try to take some pictures/tweet about it!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

BlizzCon Excitement!

Image from BlizzCon 2013 website

Ah, BlizzCon.

This year, my boyfriend and I were determined to go - as soon as we found out what our tax returns would be. We (or I) nervously waited to hear back and Friday night before the second batch of tickets went out, we knew we would be able to make it.

Saturday, the excitement grew and grew on Twitter. We checked and double checked (and checked again) to make sure our information was correct, that we had a payment method ready and we downloaded Google Chrome for the faster reload time on the website - Thanks Rhidach!

The time counted down, we had all the pages open and ready. 3 minutes to 1pm I started refreshing the ticket page. There were a few times where it seemed like the website had to pick up its socks and handle the influx of hopeful gamers. Otherwise, the reload time was much faster than my go-to browser.

Suddenly, BOOM! The checkout box! In the wrong place! Argh! We clicked through and found ourselves at a respectable 1740 and 1860 - clearly Chronis is faster at clicking than I am, but I blame the checkout box being moved.

We breathed a sigh of relief, but watching the stock tick down so fast was disconcerting. We communicated with another couple to see if they we getting their tickets at the time too. Then, as we waited we debated picking up an extra ticket. We ended up grabbing three total (the other couple did as well) and now there's two more people from our guild who can make it. The excitement of the whole process was new for us but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I wish we could have grabbed more tickets for people but even one extra was stretching the limit.

Just a snippet of the excitement on Twitter

We haven't booked hotels or flights yet, but we're looking at the same place we stayed two years ago and this time we'll probably drive into Buffalo for way cheaper flights. Seriously, flight prices to California from Ontario are just ridiculous.

I'm really looking forward to meeting up with my guildmates, there's at least 10 of us going and last time we had a blast hanging out and drinking by the pool (bar) together. I'm looking forward to the opening ceremony, seeing all the cosplay, and sitting in on more panels. There's been some talk of ALL THE TANKS getting together so that will probably consist of all the awesome tanks I follow/read blogs of and then me in the corner being shellshocked.

I missed the costume contest last year, so I'm going to make it my mission to get there and see it this year. I'm looking forward to all the meetups and I'm planning on finding all the druids (and former druids) I can. I also want to meet as many people from Twitter as possible. There are people I want to meet that I've met via Twitter and I'm so glad so many of us can make it. Ceraphus put together this huge Twitter list of all the attendees that we know of . Go check it out!

Topping off this post, I have a code for a Lil XT that was given to me (last August, for shame) by Opheron on Twitter. If you're going to BlizzCon, watching via the Virtual Ticket or waiting to hear what the news is, leave a comment here about what you're looking forward to this year at BlizzCon! If you don't want the pet, but still want to leave a comment that's ok! Just let me know in your comment. I'll announce the winner via my blog and on Twitter May 14th.

Are you waiting for news about Titan? Looking for new costumes to drool over? Anticipating WoW news? Excited to meet anyone in particular? Hoping to catch Ghostcrawler at breakfast? Hoping to hear about something I missed?

 Let me know and you'll have a chance to win a Lil XT - I hear he's a great battle pet to have!

** I won't be accepting any more entries after May 12th at 12:00pm. One entry per person, even if you comment multiple times. I'll choose the winner via a random draw. 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Tranquil, Undaunted and Still Alive!

Hi everyone!

Boy, it's been a while and a lot has happened since the last couple posts. When I wrote my Guardian gear guide, I had just found a job and started working in earnest. Now that my boyfriend and I have moved and settled in, I find I have a little extra time to write.

In game we've been fairly busy, I've been tanking as one of three main tanks for Apotheosis and we are now 7/16H! We snagged a heroic server first kill along the way, and are currently dancing with Qin-xi and Jan-xi until we beat them into the floor. (And we're recruiting, come check us out!)

I got my green dragon,
Other than raiding I've been mostly puttering around on alts, I leveled my priest to 90 and my new monk tank to 85. I still haven't done many dailies, or grinded up the rep for many factions. I'm sadly sitting around honoured or revered for most of them. I did make it a priority to finish up the Order of the Cloud Serpent, and got the rep for gear I would need to get into raids but I haven't pushed through for Golden Lotus, or the August Celestials.

I tried out Brawler's Guild and was horrifically embarrassed when I got pecked to death over and over by Dippy. I think I've been scarred for life. I don't want to go moonkin on my druid and many of the fights favour ranged over melee. I may need to get my priest some shadow gear and try that.

And I washed my yak.

The thing that's held my interest for some time has been Challenge Modes. I recently got my Challenge Conqueror: Silver on my druid and got to pick my pretty phoenix! The really awesome thing about Challenge Modes is that as a guild, we've been rotating groups and people through to try and get everyone at least Silvers so we can all get phoenixes. We had one group get Realm First Challenge Conqueror Gold, and that spurred a lot more people to get involved.

Pretty biiiird, pretty biiiird.

I've tanked every CM on my druid and healed some of them on my priest. It's my intent to heal all of them on Kaleri and I have a group interested in Golds so we're shooting for that. I've thought about tanking Gold CMs, but you really need a set group and swapping folks in and out (the way I got my silvers) isn't ideal.

I'd like to blog a little more about Challenge Modes in a future post, not guides but more what they were like and how I felt tanking as a druid and healing on my priest. Stay tuned!

Flying off into the sunset