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Big Blue Puddles Has Moved!!

12/09/2011

It’s moving day!

www.bigbluepuddles.net

Thanks for stopping by and see you at the new site!

Thoughts on the Hour of Twilight Patch

12/01/2011

We’re a few days into 4.3 now and I wanted to talk about my thoughts, and hopefully discuss your thoughts on the latest patch to WoW.

Firstly, I have to commend Blizzard on the job it did with the patch.  With Void Storage, Transmogrification, a revamped Darkmoon Faire, 3 new heroic instances, a new raid and Raid Finder; I think more than a few of us feared the patch would be a disaster.  (Sorry this instance is full..The Ice Stone has melted, the Ice Stone. Has. Melted.)  I fully expected to get home Tuesday night and not be able to even log in.  Where there some weird queue times?  Yes.  Does my profanity filter reset at weird times?  You betcha. (And then there’s at least one person in my random who is kind enough to #@!$&*! point out that it’s on.)  But most of the anomalies got fixed relatively in short order and everything was playable.  Kudos to Blizzard on deploying a huge patch almost flawlessly!  Unfortunately I had a wonderful bout with insomnia Monday night and by the time I got logged in I was all but done.   Then Wednesday morning came, and I woke up all bright-eyed and tauren-tailed ready to roll.

In this patch there is pretty much something for everyone.  Transmogrification is a really neat feature, but for me I like to display what current gear I’ve gathered.  If I’m lucky enough to collect the Tier 13 set, yes I will be displaying that all the time but for now, I’m good.  Void Storage is a novel concept, and if it was across all servers I’d readily buy into it. I’ve repressed my pack rat ways and long since deleted lots of the pieces that I would have liked to kept.  Will it be more useful in the future?  Even if it’s just extended to all characters on your particular realm I would then be happy to pay the premium of getting it.  The Darkmoon Faire, even though we haven’t seen it on live realms yet has  a fresh new look.  It even appears that it’s going to hold value with players with by adding companion pets, games, shiny new replica armors for transmog,  heirlooms being available for purchase and things to explore on the new island I have a feeling that things will be very crowded come Faire time.

 

For me, the value of this patch is the new instances and the new raid.  I intentionally went into the instances dark – not having read any strategies as I hoped it would be more entertaining.  I am very glad that I did this, as there were  a few surprises in store for me.  I’ve now completed all 3 of the instances and for the first time in a long time I can say that there isn’t one that bothers me in the least bit.  The lore intertwined in each instance is great,  the voice acting is amazing ( Ok, so Tyrande isn’t exactly amazing.. But, I digress..) and the fights are fun and engaging.  For me, and please indulge my inner geek here, this entire patch – if not the expansion was made while in the Hour of Twilight instance where Thrall shifts into ghost wolf.  For a few fleeting moments, I was running in a pack with Thrall, who is no doubt one of our greatest shamans ever.  Each of the instances is challenging with being completely overwhelming.  Things like that are completely making this expansion look better and better.  Has it all been ponies and moose?  Not at all, but like the rest we’ll be left of our memories of how things ended.  WotLK wasn’t my most favorite instance, but the way it ended was fantastic.  Will Oculus always haunt me?  Probably, but there were some great moments with the Forge of Souls, Pit of Saron, and Halls of Reflection that left me with an overall favorable impression of the expansion and the end cinematic tied the expansion up nicely.

 

I haven’t the opportunity to try the Raid Finder yet, but I plan to do so this weekend.  Granted if I can get with some similarly geared people, it would be an easy fight but I’d like to see how it works and how much fun it is.

 

So, how about you?  Whats your take on the patch?  Love it?  Hate it?  Share your thoughts here!

4.3 Valor Point and 5 Man Loot for the Resto Shaman:

11/29/2011

As we are right on the edge of 4.3 being released, I wanted to take a moment to look at our options for loot via the Valor Points and new 5 Man Dungeons that will be available to us later today.  I’ll try to look at raid drops later in the week, but for now I will be omitting those pieces.

(If you haven’t seen the trailer, go and watch.. We’ll wait here…)    Hour of Twilight Trailer

All done?  Good, lets proceed then!

Helms:

Wolfdream Circlet
Echoing Headguard

Both helms contain a Meta and a Red slot for gems, the Wolfdream Circlet has 80 more Intellect, and 54 more Spirit available on the stats as well as a +30 Intellect for socket bonuses.  The Circlet also has a bonus to haste, whereas Echoing Headguard has a bonus to crit.  Personally, even Echoing Headguard is a huge improvement over what I currently have.

Neck:

Threadlinked Chain

If you are like me and currently have the Firemind Pendant equipped, this is another huge upgrade.  Having 44 more intellect, and 52 spirit than what is currently considered  one item down from BiS.

Shoulders:

Pauldrons of Midnight Whispers

Currently our only option for shoulders are held by Archbishop Benedictus in the Hour of Twilight 5 Man Heroic. Compared to the Craterflame Spaulders I currently have equipped, these are increase spirit by 136, lower intellect by 1 but come with a red socket versus a yellow socket. The Pauldrons of Midnight Whispers also have a +10 Spirit socket bonus, compared to a +10 Intellect bonus on the Casterflame Spaulders. Another thing to consider are the bonuses on these, the Pauldrons boost crit strike by 134, where the Spaulders boost both crit and haste. In my opinion, for the spirit alone these would be considered an upgrade unless if you currently have the Tier piece dropped by Staghelm. If you are currently equipping the Tier shoulders, I would hesitate to switch.

Back:

Woundlicker Cover

Most shamans are currently equipping the Flowing Flamewrath Cape and this will be an upgrade offering +24 Int, +24 Spirit a red socket with a +10 socket bonus to Int. We finally get a haste buff in the form of + 148.

Chest:

Ghostworld Chestguard

If you are currently equipping Erupting Volcanic Tunic like most shamans, this is again another solid upgrade for you. Increasing Intellect by 78 and Spirit by 11 this also adds two red sockets versus one red and one yellow socket. Again, our trade-off is in the form of bonus stats where we gain a bonus to crit versus a bonus to haste and crit.  That being said, this will overall be an increase for most shamans, as long as you are willing to break your Tier bonus which I’ll get into at the end of the post.

Wrist:

Bracers of the Spectral Wolf

Currently, the BiS item for Resto Shamans are the Lava Line Wristbands and you will be looking at a +44 Int and +34 Spirit upgrade. Our tradeoff again is losing haste in favor of crit.

Hands:

Gloves of Ghostly Dreams

Compared to Erupting Volcanic Handwraps the Gloves are a +59 boost to Int and a + 49 bump to Spirit. Both have red sockets and a +10 socket bonus to Int. We gain a + 207 haste rating with the gloves compared to a bonus to crit on the Handwraps.

Waist:

Chain of the Demon Hunter

Girdle of Shamanic Fury

Putting it up against an undisputed BiS item, with no tier consideration almost all will be upgrading from Firemend Cinch we are getting a + 39 bump to Int and a +203 bump to Spirit. We also gain a red socket in addition to the same blue socket that was there, but with the belt buckle we are gaining another slot to add a gem of our choice. The bonus also is increased to + 20 int from + 10 int.

Chain of the Demon Hunter was an unexpected bonus to the end of The Path to the Dragon Soul quest in the Well of Eternity. It’s a very solid upgrade from Firemend Cinch as well, adding a good bit of spirit and a bonus to haste.

Legs:

Unless I’m missing it, we have no options via either VP or 5 Man for legs.

Feet:

Sabatons of the Graceful Spirit

Comparing this with Treads of Implicit Obedience we see an increase in both Int and Spirit to the tune of + 39 to each. Where the Treads had just one red socket, the Sabatons have a red and a yellow socket and again the socket bonus increased to + 20 Int from +10 Int. We again gain a hefty amount of haste in the form of +226 versus a boost to crit. This will be another very solid upgrade that will made without regard to tier bonuses.

Weapon:

Scepter of Azshara

Might be an upgrade for some Shamans, if you are lucky enough to wield either Eye of Purification or Ko’gun, Hammer of the Firelord this is not an upgrade, with Amani Scepter of Rites equipped however, this would be a very solid upgrade.

Ring:

Band of Reconstruction

Is a solid choice when paired against Soothing Brimstone Circle boasting a 24 point increase to Int and a 15 point increase to spirit. Also sporting a lovely yellow socket with a +10 increase to Int for a socket bonus. We trade crit for mastery on this one. Against the BiS
Signet of the Twilight Prophet we see a small bump to Int and Spirit, but trade mastery for haste on the Signet. Likely this will replace your other ring if you have the rep with the Twilight Avengers.

I’m going to leave trinkets alone for now, until I can properly contemplate Lightning Spirit in a Bottle

Comparing all the items for a casual raider, that has yet to down Raggy this is a very exciting patch. We’ll be doing a lot of reforging to swap stats around to get us back to our recommended breakpoints.

The T12 bonus is one that has bugged me, on the surface I get around 250 mana from a proc of it. Just based on raw numbers, I think I will be breaking the set bonus eventually as we should see more of a return from Int and Spirit Regen.

I’ll also be morgging my items to my current T12, until we start on the T13 content or I try raid finder out.

I’d love to see some counterpoints from folks!

(If I made any omissions, it wasn’t intentional.. ‘Tis the price of waking up at 2:00 AM!)

-EDITS-
11/29 – Cleaned up some formatting at the end.
11/30 Added Chain of the Demon Hunter to Waist items

The Importance of Others

11/10/2011

I think I mentioned somewhere along the line that I’ve been playing WoW for what seems like eons now, and the one thing I can contribute the length of my stay on Azeroth more than anything else is a good group of folks to share this with. I had debated for a long time on what my true first post should be.  I’m aiming this blog at the casuals out there who are like me.  We have a limited time to enjoy our hobby (I consider WoW to be a hobby and perhaps it’s me just rationalizing that I may play a bit too much at times..)  While this post may smack of “duh” to some, it’s something that I’ve struggled with over the years:  the need to balance raiding with enjoying the game and finding a group of people to do that with.

 

I’m going to take you on a journey back to the start of my raiding career to see if I can illustrate why a good guild can make this so much more enjoyable.

 

In truth, I don’t even remember the name of my very first guild on Kirin Tor when I started. It was a Role Playing guild and they were quite good at doing just that.  For the most part, they were just like me.  New to the game, having no idea what it was truly about but they enjoyed what they did.  At some point along the way to 60 I met a couple during a run of Dire Maul, and we hit it off well.  My wife had just gotten her own account instead of stealing all the time on mine and we were thrilled to have met someone else who was married and played.  As it turned out he was the GM of the guild he was in and we were offered an invite and readily accepted it. <Stars of Glory> was an amazing guild, there were some very vibrant personalities there, guild chat exploded when someone logged in and hummed along with everyone talking between themselves. It felt more of a family that just a gaming guild.  We hadn’t started raiding yet, mainly we were there just hanging out and running instances together.  The guild had a ton of couples who played together and both myself and my wife (Who I’m going to refer to as Gwynn from now on.) were in heaven.  Then Burning Crusade dropped, and our focus changed a bit in the guild as we became interested in raiding after we hit the level cap at that time of 70.  We did very well, content to hit Karazhan every week and work our way slowly to other content.  Our GM was also the raid leader and he was very good at both.  He also knew how to leverage people in the guild to make his job(s) easier.  Eventually two of the very influential officers left the guild for greener pastures, and that opened a void that needed filling.  Both Gwynn I were asked to be officers in the guild and wanting to help out we took the positions.  That is when I had my first change with WoW, resent creeped in from other members who thought they would have been a better choice.  Our fantastic GM also took the departure of the two officers as a personal failing that he wasn’t able to hold them around.  Things changed in our relationship, and eventually we stopped talking to each other – both of us holding onto the idea that the other was wrong in the way they were doing things.  It became evident that we would have to leave as well, and we did.  In the end, myself and the GM were a lot alike.  We were both stubborn as mules, both played hunters and were both convinced we were right.  Our wives were probably standing there shaking their heads as we beat on our chests in Alpha fashion.  Being an officer killed my enjoyment of the game, and it was time to start enjoying it again.  We applied and were accepted to a raiding guild on KT, but it just wasn’t the same.. In the end, both Gwynn and I transferred our characters to Steamwheedle Cartel, and joined <Hidden Legends>.

 

Hidden Legends was another fantastic guild, run again by a wife and husband combo (Though the husband was not an officer) and had a ton of great people there.  We met, and are still friends with certain players from that guild.  We continued through content in TBC.  I discovered an important rule in Hidden Legends: There must always be a Canadian officer in the guild. (Seriously folks it’s the hallmark of a great guild! I’m convinced of it!)  Eventually the focus in Hidden Legends went to a more progression oriented guild, and while Gwynn and I were able to keep up and continue raiding, it was becoming a chore.  Then a strange thing happened, I got a whisper from a level 11 Paladin,who had a similar name to my old GM on Kirin Tor.  Turns out he was just that, and we talked for a long while each apologizing for our actions that led to our departure.  Had there been a /brohug emote it probably would have been used way to much during that conversation.  But, I was impressed that he had taken the time to seek us out and had made the effort, eventually his wife rolled a character and we all started down that road to friendship.  Eventually the GM of Hidden Legends left, handed the reigns over to another officer and the guild became a true progression raiding guild.  These prompted our exit from the guild, and as you have probably already surmised… Our return to Kirin Tor and the Stars of Glory.

 

This was around the time just prior to Wrath of the Lich King being released, and a new couple had become officers in Stars of Glory which was great – we had no aspirations of going that route again.  We were still attacking Karazhan, Gruul’s Liar and attempting other raids with a fury.  Then, we started to notice a change in our GM – he had handed over the reins of Raid Leader to one of the new officers and the GM began to show up half smashed to raids and be completely smashed by the end.  It was funny in the beginning; he was a complete character when he drank.  There were memorable moments there, and things said over vent that had both myself and Gwynn crying with laughter.  It was fun again, as we were home.  WotLK dropped, things returned to normal with the race to endgame and raiding Naxxarammas.  That unfortunately started a power struggle within the guild.  We were progressing too slowly for some and just fine for others.  This caused a relapse in the GM and Stars ended up blowing up in rather spectacular fashion.  As with any other guild, we split into two different guilds, one that the hardcore raiders gravitated to and one that the casuals went to.  Us, we went to the latter.  I once again became an officer and eventually when the Guild Leader and Raid Leader quit, stepped up to try and run the raids and the guild.  I discovered that I’m a horrible raid leader, and probably an even worse GM/Co-GM.  And then it happened.  We quit WoW.

 

We eventually made our return just before Cataclysm but after the talents had been revamped.  I was completely lost on my hunter..  Gwynn was overwhelmed on her lock.. Nothing was the same, everything was confusing now.  I drowned myself in alts; Gwynn left the game after snagging a sweet part time job as an instructor at a Community College. (In addition to her full time job.. Still amazed she has the energy for both.) I drifted from guild to guild, never really finding one that fit.  People had stopped talking in randoms and guild chats were dead save for the deluge of “Grats!!” when someone did something.  The social aspect of the game for me had completely died, and it didn’t appear to be coming back anytime soon.

 

Flash forward to present day.  I’ve already detailed out the realm change, so I’ll not re-hash that again.  I’ve found a unique group of individuals in <Esoterica>.  They are funny, engaging and don’t require you to be in vent to have a conversation.  Guild chat is always moving by at a good clip, we’ve got several members from over the pond.  And our Co-Raid Leader and one of the officers is a Cannuck.  We raid once a week, for three hours in a 10 man environment.  We hardly ever go past raid time, and everything is done in a nice efficient manner.  As a shaman I’m tasked with actually tank healing, which while being a little strange at times I really enjoy.  I know what to expect out of Handredor and Follo.  I know when to spread heals around the raid to try and help out Solinel or Danya may need a little help with Follo.  And they do the same for me.   Life is good in Azeroth now.

And it’s because of others.   So, thank you <Esoterica> you’ve made this game alot of fun again!

And with that.. Lets dive into some actual Shaman Resto posts, shall we?

First! (Or, dear gods I hope this doesn’t suck!)

11/09/2011

I had a conversation yesterday with a few folks (I’m looking at you @psynister, @wowcynwise and @JustAlethiar!!) and was reminded that sometimes you just have to put yourself out there and do it.  So, after much trepidation, here will be my attempt to do just that…

The purpose of this blog will  be to help answer questions that I had (or possibly amuse the heck out of some folks trying to do so) when I was starting out in the world of raiding on a Resto Shaman.  However, if you get something out of it, by all means please take away what you can.  There will in all likelihood be some rants about work, life in general and a few other things as we ll.  So with that being said, a little about me:

I started playing an enhancement Shaman a few months back after a break from WoW.  I had always played a hunter when I raided and until late into Wrath of the Lich King I had enjoyed it immensely.  Then the talent revamps came out, and I hated what hunters became.  Even though I had stepped away from WoW, I missed it terribly.  So I began to look at the stable of alts I had amassed over six years of playing which mainly contained on Steamwheedle Cartel – Alliance.   At that time, I had just my hunter to 85 and my priest, paladin and warrior to various states of working their way to 85.

And my Draenei Shaman, sitting there all lonely like at level 61.  I always had enjoyed playing her (She started out being Karalexya) and race changes had just become available to dwarves, so I thought I’d switch from a Draenei to a Dwarf and keep her female. (Stormcaller Myrla has by far been my favorite NPC in this expansion.)  After the race change, I quickly leveled Kara to 85 and sought to make her my main. I absolutely loved Resto and was moderately enjoying Elemental, but the guild I was in was dissolving quickly.  Rather than look for (yet) another alliance guild I set to check a few Horde guilds, and quickly found one I was interested in. I paid for a faction transfer and made Kara a Tauren Male named Somnar.  Unfortunately, that guild wasn’t really honest about their raiding but I had found Enhancement again and gathered some good gear from ZA and ZG during that time.  Shortly thereafter I found my current guild, <Esoterica> (More on them later!) and after a few heroic runs as Enhancement, I had found myself a raid spot.. They we’re just starting back to raiding, and in need of a healer.  Our RL, having an alt Shaman had no problem accepting a new Resto Shaman as that healer.

Thus began my journey into Restoration as a Shaman.

I found some great resources well after we had started into Firelands and hopefully this blog will serve to point folks in the right direction that are in the same boat that I, and so many others find ourselves in.   I’m not going to delve much into theorycrafting (I’ll leave that to the experts!) and will probably rehash some things that had been said before.  But in the end, I hope to serve as a reference for the folks out there who are looking for current information on playing a restoration Shaman and not on the cutting edge of raiding.

As for <Esoterica>, we’re currently 5 of 7 in the Firelands, and progressing rather well for our one night a week.

I’ve been talking with folks and other bloggers on Twitter for about a month now, and finally found the courage to hit the publish button.  I’m by no means a professional writer and this is my first attempt at a blog.  Hopefully we’ll find something great here!

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