Monthly Archives: March 2010

Druid 3.3.3 patch roundup

So, it’s patch time again. A time where all the bloggers rush to translate the patch notes into something actually useful. First, nothing changed with the resto talents or glyphs or anything.

For ALL druids–  They changed how Nature’s Grasp works, which is nice for PvP. There are changes to what you can buy with frozen orbs (yay frost lotus!), along with changes to the battlegrounds (yay!), and the random dungeon system (meh). You can see those changes on mmo-champion. I won’t go into detail about them here, but I may start doing the random daily battleground, and trading out the 12 frost orbs I have saved up for 12 frost lotus for a couple week flask supply.

For Moonkin – There are several major changes. First, starfall got a huge damage buff, which makes it more desirable both in pvp and pve. They also nerfed the glyph of focus to make it less desirable, since the starfall buff was so big. I did a write-up  a while ago on how this was effecting glyphs & our rotation. You can also find more info on Graylo’s 3.3.3 write-up for moonkin.

moonkin glyph & rotation summary: You will want to glyph for moonfire, starfire, & starfall. This means that moonfire should still be part of your rotation (and you should use Insect Swarm for the -3% hit debuff, anyway). People who are in lower tiers of gear (ie. not ICC gear) should be refreshing both DOTs on the target all the time. People decked out in ICC gear get to use a combination of Elitist Jerks threads, along with Murmur’s posts, and other resources, to really figure it out for yourself. The one thing I know for sure is that when to cast dots is complicated, and Eclipse RNG is going to have a bigger impact than mastering the perfect DOT rotation, except maybe at the absolute highest (ie. hard-mode ICC 25-man) gear levels. I really hope they buff our DOTs soon so that they will be a more obvious DPS increase for everyone. All the links I posted above should help you sort through it all.

Feral is for Yay mangle buffs! They changed mangle to have a much longer duration, so if you are just using it for the debuff that it applies to the target, you now only have to refresh it 1 time per minute (yay!). However, they also changed the glyph to be a 10% damage increase to mangle, which may lead some people to want to mangle more often. The mangle glyph is probably more desirable to bears as a threat generator, or for leveling kitties who don’t get to shred very much. Yes, leveling kitties really want the new mangle glyph after they get mangle, since leveling for a while can be a lot of lawl mangle spam. However, for dungeons and raids at all, particularly ICC fights, shred is still going to do more damage than a mangle-focused build & rotation. The fluid druid covered the feral changes in one of his posts. So, no mangle-focused end-game rotation.

Conclusions: It is a pretty minor patch, and the only major shake-up is what is happening to moonkin (which is a mix of poor gear scaling along with an unexpected buff to starfall).

Posted in Uncategorized

Upgrading houses in LOTRO

So, I finally got enough gold in LotRO to upgrade my house size from a standard to a deluxe. My original house was a cute (but really tiny) place in the hobbit area. So, I packed up most of my stuff (the rest of it was sent to Escrow, so it was pretty easy to retrieve from a vendor after abandoning the house). Then, I hit the “abandon” button and I was no longer the owner of the cute little hobbit house, but that was okay – because then I ran over to the Elven area and went house shopping. There wasn’t much selection in which house I could buy at the Deluxe level, so I settled on this neighborhood, where I found a house across from someone in my current guild on that server (howdy, neighbor!).

When upgrading houses, I decided that bigger hobbit holes were just not as attractive as the really graceful looking houses that were found in the Elven area. So, here’s what the outside of my house looks like now:

My new house has 4 rooms (instead of 2). However, 3 of the rooms are pretty tiny. It is a really great house, though. I spent some time getting it set up after last night’s WOW raid. So, most of the outside & inside is now furnished. This is what the main room looks like. It’s much more roomy than my tiny hobbit hole. However, I’m now back to being poor again, as the house basically cost all the money I had saved up.

Why I like player housing and wish that WOW had player housing:

  • You get to feel like you “own” a piece of the world. After all my hard work in WOW, I don’t have a place to call home at the end of a long day’s battle. Since gear is temporary, it’s not that meaningful of something that you can say “look what I’ve done!”, since everyone will just have better gear than that 6 months down the road. Achievements in WOW don’t really have the same meaning as a house would (since you can’t buy anything with the achievement points). Vanity pets & mounts function as a similar role for the WOW playerbase to collect things, but what if you could display Onyxia’s head over your fireplace? That would have so much more meaning. However, LOTRO makes the houses themselves pretty easy to attain (the standard house is only 1 gold to purchase).
  • Places for RP’ers to escape from the outside world. If RP could take place in people’s houses (you can set permissions to let other players in your house), or in guild halls, then the community environment for people who roleplay would be better. You can also have everyone buy up houses in the same neighborhood (if you want), so that the neighbors you see are your friends, guildmates, or whatever.
  • You can still pack up your things and move if you don’t like it in one of the neighborhoods. Since LotRO split housing into a bunch of mini instances (with 30 houses per neighborhood).
  • Big cities can still have their “big” feel. Since most of what I want to do, I don’t have access to in my neighborhood, I actually spend relatively little time in my house compared to the time that I spend in the major cities. My neighborhood gives me access to my personal bank and some vendors, but most of what I need isn’t there.
  • More tangible goals. One of WOW’s problems is with not giving people enough stuff to have long-term goals. All goals in WOW seem to be on a relatively short-term scale (or are really non-meaningful achievements). There is very little that differentiates one character from another (we all mostly have the same gear, same achievements, etc). When you have a good variety in types of houses & types of things you can display in your yard, you get a sense of feeling unique (while still not really being unique). In addition, all my characters can share the same house on a server, which is really nice. Housing in LOTRO gives me goals, because I always want bigger & more interesting things for my house (in addition to working a long time to get a bigger & more interesting house).
  • Drains money from the economy. In LOTRO, I pay rent. Since I don’t have high level characters, paying rent is something that drains money from me (in addition to the cost of the house & furnishings that I’ve payed for).
  • I play LOTRO on the side because I enjoy player housing so much, and it is something I can’t get in WOW. I really wish the WOW developers would change their minds and put in player housing.
Posted in Lord of the Rings Online

Communication is key in the wow community

So, Anea started a Blog Azeroth Shared topic about comments on blog posts, and whether comments make better (or worse) bloggers. Here is the question she proposed to the community:

One of the things that can make us happiest as bloggers is seeing e-mails notifying us of comments on our blogs. However, if we took that away – and the influence it may have over our writing – would we become better bloggers?

Would writing what it really is you want to write make you truer to the purpose that you started the blog for? To write exactly whatever is in your head, rather than worrying about whether or not anyone will find it “interesting” or “good enough” to comment on? For the joy of writing? Or are comments integral to your blogging experience and if you don’t have them, you don’t write?

Personally, I don’t write just for myself – I write for all of you (my readers). I don’t spend hours upon hours writing new guides & updating older guides just for my own reference. Instead, I do it because I enjoy being part of the larger WOW community, and blogging is what I do to be part of the community.

In any community, however, communication is key. To be able to write guides, I need to know who I’m writing them for, and whether or not my ideas are actually working out in practice. Feedback on what does & doesn’t work in my guides has helped to shape them into what they are today.

For the smaller posts, it’s still important to have feedback about what other people think on certain topics (whether you agree with me or not). If I didn’t have comments available, my writing would be worse. Commenters catch errors & typo in the writing, along with errors in the way that I was thinking about the topic. I like receiving feedback about the good or the bad in my guides & blogging. It’s the critical commentary that makes the writing better (though, of course, some encouragement also keeps me interested in continuing to provide the helpful services and guides that I do).

However, I also don’t tend to rant on all day about things in the game that bug me, and I don’t post about personal drama or guild drama or anything like that – so when I do post, it’s about something that I won’t need to self-censor for the sake of my readers. I just choose to avoid writing about the type of topics that would actually make this blog worse, rather than better.

Comments & community are an important part of the restokin blog. You guys are important to me, and I do my best to listen to what you have to say about the topics I post on. I also try to read & respond to all the e-mail that I receive, and to at least read every post on my two druid forum stickies (most of which I try to respond to if they have a question). Even if we sometimes disagree, I’d rather have constructive conversations about the topics, rather than never getting feedback at all. I like hearing from you guys, and I think that reading comments helps me to become a better blogger. Thanks guys!

Posted in Uncategorized

So, you want to play on an RP server?

Back when I first started playing WoW, I started a character on a server that a group of my friends told me to: Cenarion Circle. They had already been playing the game for a week or two before I got my account, and they wanted me to come play with them (or, rather, I was getting totally ignored because all of them were too busy to play the game).

So, I started playing my druid, and I really liked it. However, there was one drawback, because Cenarion Circle is a Roleplay Server. That means it has different rules than either a PvE or PvP server, and understanding those rules can be an important part of joining the larger server community. Being part of the server community mattered an awful lot back before the days of server transfers. I’ve since transferred off that server and ended up on a PvE server (Elune), however I had a lot of positive (and not so positive) experiences playing on an RP server. So, with a handful of bloggers starting to re-roll characters on Argent Dawn (an RP server), I wanted to pass along some advice and stories about what playing on an RP server was like for me. Also, for new players who are thinking of starting up on an RP server, you should think about whether or not it is the right kind of “fit” for you.

The fun of RP servers:

  • Not everyone on an RP server enjoys roleplaying. However, while I was there, I did participate in some RP events. I have see people in groups & raids that tried to do it all in-character (some with great success that made the run more fun). It was fun to be part of a world that (sometimes) felt more engaging in some ways.
  • Most RP tends to happen outside of instances & raids. We had an event where we were going to rescue a horde player who was trapped inside Gnomer (who was also in love with a gnome). A group of alliance players escorted some horde players (on foot, without communication tools other than emotes) as we went on a long journey to rescue him. While it sounds cheesy, it was really one of the favorite things that I did on the server in the entire time I was there. I didn’t role play on a daily basis, but I liked doing these kinds of events and interacting with people who were really good at role playing.
  • If someone had come and interrupted one of the server’s RP events, it would have made everyone who planned it really sad, and you need to keep in mind that your happiness shouldn’t come at the expense of other people’s happiness.
  • If you want to learn more about how to be good at RP, you should check out the Too Many Anna’s blog. She is usually pretty good at helping people get better at making RP servers a fun place to be part of.

So, below are Blizzard’s rules & guidelines that you should be aware of when playing on an RP server. Not all of them are well enforced, but you should still be aware that these rules CAN be enforced. The naming guideline tends to be the most often enforced RP-server rule. I actually did get mad at people who broke the naming guidelines on my RP server, and I miss not being able to report silly-sounding names on a PvE server.

  • The full list of RP server guidelines can be found in Blizzard’s support page.
  • The biggest difference on RP servers is the naming policy. You should read the RP naming policy before creating a character on an RP server. In addition to the normal naming rules, you also can’t create: “Any Non-Medieval or Non-Fantasy names (i.e. Slipnslide, Robotman, Technotron).” If you need help finding appropriate names for an RP server, you can try a Medieval Naming Guide that is available online.
  • The rules actually outline policies for how you aren’t supposed to say out of character things in /general, /say, /yell (ie. public channels). Now, general chat still tends to be like any PvE server. However, you can get reported based on what you say in public channels, so you should be aware of this rule, even if it isn’t commonly enforced. They don’t police your guild chat at all.
  • ((Out of character speech would be typed inside parentheses when talking to other people who are role playing)) – while not a rule, this is a handy convention to know.
  • They also take harassment of Role players very seriously (regardless of what kind of role play they are doing). So, harassing people who are partaking in RP sessions is against the rules.
  • If someone is partaking in a type of RP that you think breaks the other game rules, the correct solution is to report them using an in-game ticket (or the “report spam” feature if they are spamming a public channel). For example, any type of chat in /say or other general channels that is even a mildly inappropriate reference to “human anatomy or bodily functions” can be reported to a GM. The rest of the normal chat rules can be found here.
  • It’s better to ignore someone who is doing something you don’t like, rather than starting drama with them.
  • One misconception is that everyone there RP’s all the time. This isn’t true. Most of the people on RP servers don’t actually follow the RP rules of the server, and tend to make it difficult for people who DO enjoy the RP aspects of that server. SO, you can surround yourself with non-RP people and be perfectly fine on the server. However, you need to be respectful of the people who are there to be part of the RP environment. There are people who are GOOD at RP, who make those servers more magical, and who made my experiences on Cenarion Circle so much more fun.

Like any server, it’s better to treat all the fellow players with respect, and to /ignore people who you don’t like, and to report inappropriate behavior to a GM if you believe what they are doing is breaking the rules (whether they’re doing it in or out of character).

If you don’t like the RP server rule set, then your best option is to just not play on an RP server. However, it can be fun if you give it a chance. I personally miss playing on an RP server some days, though Elune is a better fit for my current play style, schedule, and group of  real life friends that I met after my move to grad school.

Also, don’t forget to have fun! This is a really great game, and you have lots of opportunities to enjoy playing on an RP server if that is something that feels right to you.

Posted in Leveling, Uncategorized


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