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My cleric so far..

March 14, 2011

Meet Callista. She is a Defiant Cleric in Trion’s new MMO, Rift. She Heals, she DPS’s and she Tanks. Yes, she even tanks.

Callista

I love how the class system works in Rift. So fluid and customizable, a person can seriously play this game any way they choose and still do amazingly well. My Cleric wears chain armor and can AOE down a pack of mobs while walking backwards. It’s the stuff of dreams to finally be able to quest, heal or tank in a well designed MMO on a character that doesn’t makes you suspect that investing serious game play into them will end up as a giant waste of time. Much like my druid from Wow, I am in love with this class and its potential for varied game play. Much UNLIKE my druid from WoW, I can actually PVP, quest, raid or tank in the same gear, with the simple switch of my Soul Tree spec.

So far I have built her skills around the Inquisitor tree’s Vex spell mainly because I can keep moving and healing while questing. It seems to be the fastest way to level and keep up with my Chloromancer/Warlock/Necromancer friend, Utu =)

Here is my Cleric’s spec at the scrubby level of 25:

She is a level 25 Inquisitor 22 / Warden 5 / Sentinel 5

I specifically built her around the Vex spell and chose talents that support this spell to maximize uptime while questing and reduce travel to pick up loot, etc.

First, lets look at Vex:

Rank 1 Vex is a simple instant dot that costs 8 Mana and “Torments the enemy, dealing 38 Death damage over 15 seconds”.

Not so earth shattering in and of itself. But I found that coupled with the warden talent Destructive Tide (which increases the damage of your instant cast spells by a certain % up to five pts) makes it a very powerful dot.

It takes ten points in the inquisitor tree to get the talent Contempt (heals you for 45% / 90%), but once you get that high, you can dot up several mobs and the damage it does (when amped up with Destructive tide) heals you for quite a bit. Meanwhile, you immediately get a 0 pt spell with Warden called Water Jet that is an instant cast spell that at lower levels allows you to pretty much run around killing and looting non-stop.

As I progressed a little higher, I centered my skills around enhancing my spell power with Watchful Gaze in the Sentinel tree and other talents/spells that give me more crit or more healing to help support the fast leveling play style my build supports.

Finally, I reached the higher levels of the Inquisitor tree where I could grab Mental Resilience for the extra 10% / 20% / 30% / 40% / 50% damage it gives and the Vex spell really starts shining as I am able to literally hold my own against powerful rift mobs and rampant Guardian invasions. It also helps that the 0 talent heal Healing Breath in the Sentinel tree is full of win. With only an 8 second cd, its my go-to heal every time.

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Rift!!

March 11, 2011

Well friends, the launch of Cataclysm came and went. Over the ensuing months since November’s release, I spent many long hours grinding heroics with my end-game toons; a feral/resto Druid named Lionesse, and a shadow/holy priest called Hyacinthe. It took me a bit of time to get them to a point I felt they were raid ready, but by Mid-February I had a feeling I was there. Unfortunately, I also felt burned out and bored – right back to where I was in Wrath just months before.

There are many reasons I was bored, some of it was the badly implemented cross-server Dungeon Finder Tool and the over-abuse of the Vote-to-Kick function that made each gear run such a grinding horror. As well, some of it was the lack of viable raiding spots in my new casual guild on Proudmoore that would support my commitment to reduce my online gaming time to a responsible level and still give me enough time to live a meaningful life outside of virtual reality. And finally, it was also due in part to the simple fact that I had been there, done that, with the same classes, and the same mechanics, and the same story telling methods, time and time again. Seven years of World of Warcraft is a long time folks.

So to alleviate the boredom I decided that I was going to play a game I spent some time last Fall alpha testing. That game is called Rift. Although I have beta tested quite a few MMO expansions and even had a chance to beta review one before it launched, I have never had the honor of participating in an Alpha test. It was a pretty cool experience and my thanks goes out to the folks over at Angry Guild Leader for the MMO testing opportunities they bring me over and over again.

As of this week, I have a level 23 Cleric called Callista and a level 17 warrior called, you guess it, Hyacinthe. I dont know yet if I will stop playing World of Warcraft, or go back after a few weeks, all I know at this point is that I just dont feel like logging in to my characters on WoW. Not at all – not even to say hello to friends, not even to run dungeons with my son. I guess I am just too burned out to care about WoW right now.

Stay tuned for further adventures and minor blogging as I explore a new MMO for the first time in over a year.

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Drooooood Lewwwwwwt (aka Druid Halion Loot)

July 14, 2010

Focusing on kitteh and tree stuff, as those are my two specs =D
10-man gear

Changeling Gloves N and Changeling Gloves H
Resto Gloves =) Has both haste and crit. What’s not to love? Plus they let you save your Frosties for tier as they are a little better for resto druids than the frost badge option but remember, T10 gloves are still better in the long run.

Abduction’s Cover N and Abduction’s Cover H
Resto cloak is the same as the Greatcloak of the Turned Champion off Deathbringer Saurfang. Which, through some sort of idiotic reasoning by the ever so fickle Fates, it has been determined that it shall never drop for my druid, but always will been seen on runs with my priest. grr.

Gloaming Sark N and Gloaming Sark H
RAWR kitteh! Better than the 251 tier chest.

25-man gear

Sharpened Twilight Scale N and Sharpened Twilight Scale H
Kitteh trinket. Be prepared to arm wrestle the other misguided and obviously non-cat-respecting melee for this. Its one of the best kitteh trinkets in the game.

Signet of Twilight N and Signet of Twilight H
Kittehs wear rings and this is one you will want. Most people can’t see these beauties gracing our paws under all the gorgeous fur and the deadly sharp claws.

Umbrage Armbands N and Umbrage Armbands H
Never seen a Toskk’s Maximized Wristguards drop for your precious cat? Me either. This should help even the odds a bit for my suffering brethren in fur.

Phaseshifter’s Bracers N and Phaseshifter’s Bracers H
Dead sexy. All i gotta say. Trees everywhere bloomed and made fruit the day Blizzard decided to gift Azeroth with these pretties.

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Fail Druid misses ICC Alt run

July 9, 2010

Very unhappy with my guild tonight. The “alt run” started recruiting 45 mins early and took in pugs over guildies =( At least 6 guildies logged in at the normal time just to be told, “…..” ya. silence. the person running it was an ex-officer, and i was less than impressed with the maturity of the response. sigh. Keeping my fingers crossed that something positive comes out of this greedy violation of the guild’s trust in getting a place in Risen raids.

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Halion Loot and strategy items to note

June 29, 2010

Welcome to Kalecgos 2.0 with your very own colorful fire to stand in. Tankspot strategy guide (although i think the accent on the guy at Horde review is nicer 😉

Spells of note:

Fiery Combustion
Unlimited range
Instant

Engulfs an enemy target in flame, dealing 4000 Fire damage every 2 sec. Every time Fiery Combustion deals damage, it generates a Mark of Combustion charge on the target. When Combustion fades or is dispelled, it unleashes a patch of fire proportional in size to the number of charges present at the time. Either curse or magic removal may cleanse this affliction.

Soul Consumption
Unlimited range
Instant

Engulfs an enemy target in dark energy, dealing 4000 Shadow damage every 2 sec. Every time Soul Consumption deals damage, it generates a Mark of Consumption charge on the target. When Consumption fades or is dispelled, it unleashes a dark explosion proportional to the number of charges present at the time. Either curse or magic removal may cleanse this affliction.

Lewt Lewt Lewt, joyous lewt!!

why i am even bothering to look up the new Halion Heroic loot, i don’t know. With my guild at 11/12 in heroic ICC, and the fairest DKP loot distribution method I have ever experienced, I have more BIS stuff than a girl could wish for now. but nonetheless, i will post.

A nice cloak…

Cloak of Burning Dusk

compared to BIS

Frostbinder’s Shredded Cape
Cloak of Burning Dusk
Heroic
Binds when picked up
Back
189 Armor
+83 Stamina
+83 Intellect

Red Socket
Requires Level 80
Item Level 284

Equip: Improves critical strike rating by 65.
Equip: Improves haste rating by 73.
Equip: Increases spell power by 118.
Sell Price: 7 93 15

Frostbinder’s Shredded Cape
Heroic
Binds when picked up
Back
185 Armor
+78 Stamina
+78 Intellect
Yellow Socket

Socket Bonus: +5 Spell Power
Requires Level 80
Item Level 277

Equip: Improves critical strike rating by 68 (1.48% @ L80).
Equip: Improves haste rating by 60 (1.83% @ L80).
Equip: Increases spell power by 110.
Sell Price: 8 12 16

Some Bracers….

Bracers of Fiery Night compared to BIS

( i am stuck with the icky icy spirit ones)

Death Surgeon’s Sleeves
Bracers of Fiery Night
Heroic
Binds when picked up
Wrist Cloth
165 Armor
+83 Stamina
+83 Intellect

Red Socket
Durability 35 / 35
Requires Level 80
Item Level 284

Equip: Improves critical strike rating by 65.
Equip: Improves haste rating by 73.
Equip: Increases spell power by 118.
Sell Price: 5 67 6

Death Surgeon’s Sleeves
Heroic
Binds when picked up
Wrist Cloth
162 Armor
+78 Stamina
+78 Intellect
+68 Spirit

Blue Socket
Socket Bonus: +5 Spell Power
Durability 35 / 35
Requires Level 80
Item Level 277

Equip: Improves critical strike rating by 60 (1.31% @ L80).
Equip: Increases spell power by 110.
Sell Price: 5 51 49

a good ring….

Ring of Phased Regeneration compared to BIS ring Ring of Rapid Ascent
Ring of Phased Regeneration
Heroic
Binds when picked up
Unique-Equipped
Finger
+83 Stamina
+83 Intellect

Red Socket
Requires Level 80
Item Level 284

Equip: Improves haste rating by 65.
Equip: Restores 36 mana per 5 sec.
Equip: Increases spell power by 118.
Sell Price: 7 56 23

Ring of Rapid Ascent
Heroic
Binds when picked up
Unique-Equipped
Finger
+78 Stamina
+78 Intellect

Blue Socket
Socket Bonus: +5 Spell Power
Requires Level 80
Item Level 277

Equip: Improves critical strike rating by 68 (1.48% @ L80).
Equip: Improves haste rating by 60 (1.83% @ L80).
Equip: Increases spell power by 110.
Sell Price: 7 56 23

Trinket Palooza….

Glowing Twilight Scale compared to current BIS trink Althor’s Abacus
Glowing Twilight Scale
Heroic
Binds when picked up
Unique
Trinket
Requires Level 80
Item Level 284

Equip: Increases spell power by 215.
Use: For the next 15 sec, each time your direct healing spells heal a target you cause the target of your heal to heal themselves and friends within 10 yards for 402 each sec for 6 sec.
Sell Price: 11 39 40

Althor’s Abacus
Heroic
Binds when picked up
Unique
Trinket
Requires Level 80
Item Level 277

Equip: Increases spell power by 201.
Equip: Each time your spells heal a target you have a chance to cause another nearby friendly target to be instantly healed for 6280 to 7298.
Sell Price: 11 39 40

the leather stuff:

Phaseshifter’s Bracers compared to BIS Bracers of Eternal Dreaming
Phaseshifter’s Bracers
Heroic
Binds when picked up
Wrist Leather
311 Armor
+83 Stamina
+83 Intellect

Yellow Socket
Durability 40 / 40
Requires Level 80
Item Level 284

Equip: Improves critical strike rating by 73.
Equip: Improves haste rating by 65.
Equip: Increases spell power by 118.
Sell Price: 6 63 49

Bracers of Eternal Dreaming
Heroic
Binds when picked up
Wrist Leather
304 Armor
+78 Stamina
+78 Intellect
+68 Spirit
Blue Socket
Socket Bonus: +5 Spell Power
Durability 40 / 40
Requires Level 80
Item Level 277
Equip: Improves critical strike rating by 60 (1.31% @ L80).
Equip: Increases spell power by 110.
Sell Price: 6 99 46

On a VERY interesting note:

Charred Twilight Scale
Heroic
Binds when picked up
Unique
Trinket
Requires Level 80
Item Level 284

Equip: Improves haste rating by 184.

Equip: Your damaging spells have a chance to grant 861 spell power for 15 sec.
Sell Price: 11 39 40

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When The Going Gets Tough, Real Hardcore Raiders Dont Get Squishie

May 5, 2010

Larisa over at The Pink Pigtail Inn wrote a great blog on which qualities make a guild truly Hardcore. In her article, ‘A Hardcore Guild in its True Sense‘ she states:

It’s in those moments that your guild will reveal its true nature. How does it look beneath the surface – are you solid when you’re put at trial? Are you a hardcore guild in its true sense – meaning that you have a core that will endure and find ways to overcome the challenges? Or are there squishies among you, players who get cranky, bitter, blaming others, not taking responsibility or just hiding away from the problems when the success doesn’t come easily?

And it got me thinking. I mean.. my guildies, while they are great people and fun to be around, don’t always fit into the mold of a true hardcore guild. I often wonder if we got more professional about how we react to things, if we wouldn’t be even FURTHER along than we already are. I think its undeniable that if most guilds were mature in their dealings with frustration and constructive criticism they wouldn’t have recruitment problems. Look around at the forums, in this pre-catalyst expansion era, with raid leaders blogging that they can’t fill slots, guilds with a solid positive atmosphere aren’t hurting for the best of the best recruits.

But I can’t complain, most of the time it’s all good. People get along well enough, and the few personalities that are habitually bitter seem to be aware that they tend to implode and usually hold back. But it only takes one night of setbacks, and the same few people who always get flustered when things aren’t a face roll, start in with gripes and complaints and the usual passive-aggressive comments.

Last night the fuss started up over dispelling Lady Deathspeaker’s Curse of Torpor. One person was upset over who does it and who doesn’t. Unfortunately they lost their composure and made passive aggressive comments in vent and in raid chat instead of politely approaching the other dispel people directly. The negative feelings spread to a few others; folks chiming in, posting recounts, and questioning class responsibilities and what not, and before you knew it, people were walking on eggshells desperately trying to not set off the more intolerant volatile personalities. I kept wanting to pipe up with advice and remind them that it doesn’t MATTER how many dispels they or another person had done, as long as it gets done. But I knew from past experience that trying to help defuse things would only further ignite the griping to an all-out attack if they realized they had an audience.

Maybe its just me being a grumpy 42 year-old mom, but I think if people are responsibly mature and genuinely “hardcore” they won’t behave like real life “squishies”. Instead they will focus on getting the job done and be a pleasure to have around when things get tough. If the officers wont guide us, it lands on the shoulders of the guild members to be proactive and amicably take the initiative to work out simple raid duties like dispels.

It’s a comfort reading other blogs and seeing the guild recruitment posts. They all point out that I am not alone in being dismayed over having to spend my evening around folks who display such poor coping skills. Most guilds are trying to flush out gamers who display inadequate conflict resolution. As the average gaming population ages, and WoW becomes more mainstream, things are slowly getting better. But things are still far from perfect. Even the best guilds have a few entrenched people who act like spoiled children when things get rough. Those of us that enjoy progression nights and work hard to stay focused and effective, end up dragging the grumps through the content. I figure that those kind of gamers, while undeniably talented and a seeming asset to the raid team (until you realize just how many people their griping have driven out of the guild), stubbornly stick it out on hard nights soley for the glory and the loot. It clearly doesn’t seem like they are enjoying themselves.

But I don’t want to be all doom and gloom. Plus, I recognize that everyone goes through this learning curve at some stage in their life – it takes a bit of time for humans to grow up and decide to be a positive force rather than dependent on others for their happiness and prosperity. Being professional and truly “hardcore” takes practice, and sometimes, a little advice. Here are some tips you can share with your guild when people get discouraged or angry over lack of progression:

1) Don’t add to the Din: if you are getting mad at someone or notice they are struggling with the same content – no matter how angry they make you – step back and try to decide if adding your voice to the advice they are getting will affect things positively. Sometimes too much advice or too many people coming at someone trying to help only makes things worse. Its called performance anxiety and the spotlight on another player not only magnifies any faults they may have, the extra attention can also cause more problems from the added stress.

2) The guild really isn’t as scrubby as it appears right now: If your fellow guildie is making mistakes or the raid isn’t moving though content at a normal pace that night, refrain from commenting about it in vent or raid chat during the raid. While it may seem that everyone around you is a screw-up, the fact that your guild is advanced to this stage of progression means your fellow guildies actually do have skills to do things right. Remembering that the people behind the avatars, and the voices in vent, are skilled gamers who want to kill the boss just as much as you do, helps you keep your perspective when you are frustrated.

3) Composure = respectability: If it gets bad, and you are only seeing red or can’t stop the negative thoughts, just log out. Do it politely and exit gracefully. Any good officer will understand and support you in this – especially if they see you making progress in your reactions towards others. You do yourself and the guild a HUGE favor by stopping the chain of negativity – not allowing your mind to dwell on negative things and preventing negative behavior towards others. Remember, only YOU can choose how you spend your evenings. You decide if you want to spend the night arguing and fussing and being upset, or if you wish to spend your night smiling, laughing, and having a good time being around good friends.

4) They make the big bucks, let them do the hard work: If you have a tendency to let your aggravation over the situation come through in your advice, sometimes asking an officer to intervene with constructive criticism is the best choice. In fact, that is why they are officers – they get to wear the asbestos panties. People usually don’t resent an officer pointing out their faults and helping them with their performance – but you can bet that most players don’t like it when other players attempt to do the same, no matter how good the intentions.

I hope this helps someone out there. I know I have seen many people in this game grow up emotionally over the five plus years I have been raiding. Its always a delight and a joy to be in a raid or a guild with well-behaved gamers that put effort into maintaining a positive hardcore progression environment. As in any sport or competitive hobby, expecting the best and getting excellent results doesn’t mean you gotta act like spoiled children towards each other. In fact, that sort of mature behavior is what is considered the standard for labeling people “pro’s”.

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another facepalm moment – Healing heroics as a Fresh 80

May 4, 2010

A new article over on WoW.com recommends that fresh new level 80 priests jump straight into healing heroic dungeons after leveling.

“Don’t waste your time toiling in normal dungeons, trying to find one upgrade at a time while getting no badges.”

They urge you go to the Auction House and “Just buy one or two pieces and then trying queuing for a heroic dungeon. If you still get an error message telling you that your gear isn’t good enough, buy another piece and repeat the process until you can queue.”

This kind of stuff makes me scared. I mean, if you got a guild who is willing to mentor you or whatever, with a little patience and understanding, and some help, it would certainly work out. But new level 80 healers that, due to the nature of leveling gear, struggle for mana and are still learning how to heal and work the buttons need a bit more prepping than this if they are gonna roll in the unforgiving world of the Dungeon Finder tool.

It was one of Blizzard’s stated goals, back in the days they were leaking design news about Wrath, to have people run regular dungeons a little (not a lot, I realize this, but certainly a little) before they could jump straight into heroics. Most of us leveled in guilds and had friends who carried us a bit on our first heroic or two when we hit 80. In fact, I remember my fresh drood Alt failing to heal Utguard Pinnacle on a boss, and needing the DPS shammie to lend a hand. I can only imagine what kind of unhappy trauma would happen to a fresh 80 priest using the cross-realm Dungeon Finder if they hopped in there looking to heal a heroic right off the get go.

For the most part, my experience has shown me that a fresh 80 priest will have a MUCH easier time and learn the ropes faster (with less trauma) if they simply pug a 25man raid like VOA or one of the lower tier dungeon runs. More often than not, people in a lower tier 25man raid are there for badges or the weekly raid quest and dont mind a new healer that is trying to gear up. We’ve all been there with a new alt, and most people understand how it is at that level. Plus, in a 25-man, there are enough other healers to provide a cushion for the new 80 to fall back on when things get tight.

Telling fresh to level 80 healers to jump into heroics with their leveling greens/blues and only enough items to squeeze past the gear level verification mechanics in the Dungeon Finder Tool is irresponsible and thoughtless. The four other people in that heroic depending on that  poor new level-80 healbot aren’t going to appreciate it either.

WoW.com… you CAN do better than this. =(

edit… actually, they HAVE done better than this. An earlier article on WoW.com reads: Heroics as a fresh 80: Don’t be that guy. Anyone have any ideas why their policy changed?