Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Soloing Throne of Thunder as Enhancement

Throne of Thunder is an instance that's been mostly soloable by Enhancement since 6.1, depending on the amount of gear one had and how nicely RNG on Jin'rokh wanted to play. 6.2 has brought some nice quality of life changes to the soloing scene, mainly with Jin'rokh himself, making this instance a little less of a hassle to solo.

In this post I've included all of my ToT soloing videos, up through Ji-Kun. At this time Durumu does far too much damage to allow non-tanks such as ourselves to survive, but thankfully us mount hunters only really need up to Ji-kun anyways. So unless you're someone who's missing a raid drop pet from one of the later bosses or are looking to get your mits on some transmog that drops from a later boss, you're in luck.

What are the benefits of soloing ToT?
- Transmog! As long as you're not after an item off of the Council of Elders (loot drops currently do not exist for some reason - bug), this place has some pretty nifty items that have a troll vibe to them.
- Mounts! There are two rather neat looking mounts to gain from this instance.
Spawn of Horridon - 1.7% chance and drops from Horridon.
Clutch of Ji-Kun - 1.8% chance and drops from Ji-Kun.
- Pets! There are several pets that can be collected in this instance.
Living Sandling - 4% drop chance and comes from the trash between Horridon and Council of Elders.
Ji-Kun Hatchling - .94% drop chance and comes from Ji-Kun herself.
Son of Animus - 1.13% drop chance and comes from Dark Animus. While you're currently unable to solo your way through Durumu and Dark Animus, it's worth a mention since it will be possible someday. For now, bring a (tank and possibly healer) friend!
- Toys! Okay, there's only one toy that drops from this instance, but it's a fun and incredibly rare one.
Gastropod Shell - .69% chance to drop and comes off of the Gastropods (aka Gary!) between Megaera and Ji-Kun. His name is Jerry.
- Achievements! There are numerous achievements in this instance, which when all completed award Glory of the Thundering Raider. At the time of this post *most* of the achievements are not soloable, or at least not easily soloable. Cage Match, One-Up, and Head Case are your best bets for now. Heroics modes are out, and several other achievements will require at least 1-2 other people.

How do I do the thing?
Take a gander at the following videos. I've put how to tips on the videos themselves (it's text, not VO, sorry!) that should lead you in the right direction. As always, I'm happy to answer any and all questions either on this post, on the videos themselves, or on Twitter.



Council of Elders





Please note that the thumbnails are broken for Horridon and Council of Elders. I assure you, the videos themselves do work!

Good luck, have fun, and may drop luck be on your side!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Shaman WeakAuras (2)

Back in March I had put together a little post of the WeakAuras I had been playing around with. Since then I've come across several incredibly useful auras that other players have put together, customizing them to my taste in certain cases, and I've even made a few shaman-specific auras myself.

The image above show all of the auras I'm currently using. Looks a little noisy, but keep in mind most of these will not be displayed at the same time. I've divided these auras into four sections: Defensive and Healing, DPS, Procs, and Interrupts.

These auras come in the Defensive and Healing pack.
Upper Left - Glyph of Lightning Shield is activated, applying the 10% damage reduction.
Upper Right - Shamanistic Rage is active, displays remaining duration.
Bottom Row - Spec dependent. Shown is Nature's Guardian activation, duration, and cooldown. The "?" will display the shield value of Stone Bulwark Totem, SBT's duration will be an icon placed under where Shamanistic Rage is shown. Astral Shift will likewise appear underneath Shamanistic Rage's aura.

Here we have miscellaneous auras split between the Defensive and Healing pack and the DPS pack.
1 - Fire Totem tracker (DPS). Will display an image of either your Fire Elemental, Searing Totem, or Magma Totem (depending on which you're using at the time) when you have 10 seconds remaining on the totem's duration. Incredibly useful for when you're specced into Liquid Magma.
2 - Elemental Mastery duration (DPS). Pretty self explanatory. Will only be displayed while the talent is actively being used.
3 - Elemental Fusion tracker (DPS). Will display one icon for one stack of EF, two icons for two stacks of EF. Very necessary for getting the most out of that talent.
4 - Ancestral Guidance tracker (D&H). Will display anytime any shaman in the raid activates AG. Also displays remaining duration of the current AG being used.
5 - Unleashed Flame tracker (DPS). Displays if you have an unused Unleashed Flame buff.
6 - Feral Spirits tracker (DPS). Only displays while wolves/raptors are active and displays remaining duration.
7 - Liquid Magma tracker (DPS) - Displays when LM is activated and displays remaining duration.
8 - Healing Rain duration (D&H) - Displays the remaining duration on your current Healing Rain. Timer is accurate when using the talent Conductivity, though the visual bar may be a little funny at times.

In this image we see a bunch of trinket, ring, and weapon procs, along with a duration timer for your potion. This series of auras (aka the Procs pack) is from a much larger pack someone else put together, which you can find here. Since I'm still using it, I've also included an aura for Scales of Doom. The larger pack includes ALL trinkets from Blackrock Foundry, as well as all weapon enchant procs. Ring procs may also be found within, though I've included both versions in the smaller pack as well.

Last up we have the interrupt aura. Stumbled upon this little gem in one of the WoW subreddits and found it somewhat useful, especially if not all of your interrupters run with some sort of announcing addon. The word 'Interrupts' will be replaced by the name of anyone who successfully interrupts a spell, bosses included. I've brought down the opacity of this aura just because of personal preferences.

I'm still very much getting used to WeakAuras, both in utilizing them visually in a raid setting and on the creation side of things. If anything seems off/doesn't work quite right, please drop me a line so I can go about fixing it!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Shaman WeakAuras

I've been slowly getting more into using WeakAuras, as you can display a lot of useful information with this addon that otherwise may be hidden or not easily referenced in the middle of an encounter.

Currently I'm only using four different strings of auras, with plans on expanding upon them once I return to the game. My focus has been on managing Liquid Magma optimally and tracking my defensive uptimes. These auras originate from pre-existing strings put together by other players, modified slightly to suit my specific needs and to fit the theme of my layout.

Shamanistic Rage Activation/Duration
Icon shows up when Shamanistic Rage is activated, bar to the left counts down the remaining duration of the ability.
Tier 15 Defensive Activation/Duration
Talent specific icon shows up when any of the abilities are active. Each variation shows the duration of the ability. To the left of the SBT icon, the current shield strength will be displayed. NG portion still needs tweaks, but should show activation and I believe the ICD.
Fire Totem Expiration Warning
Pops up when your current fire totem has 10 seconds left on its duration. Icon adjusts to match your current fire totem. A must have for anyone running the Liquid Magma talent.
Liquid Magma Duration
Displays the duration of the Liquid Magma talent to help prevent premature clipping when refreshing fire totems.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Them Dummies Did It Again!

For those of you who don't follow me on Twitter/Facebook or have missed the announcement, those two guys who run The Training Dummies had me back once again as a guest on their podcast! Apparently I'm their first threepeat guest and theirs is certainly the first podcast that I've had the pleasure of being a repeat guest on. We spoke a little bit about the changes in Enhancement, how to up your game, transmog, and a whole pile of other things I've forgotten about, since they just let me ramble on for hours. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Seven Commandments for the Everyday Shaman

Dost thou wish to ascend into the mighty ranks of shaman? Dost thou wish to be the sultan of swinging wind, a mighty wielder of lightning, and/or a commander of the tides?  To acquire this wisdom, thou must first learn and abide the following commandments:

If thou dost not know when to Lust, thy shalt never be a Hero.
- Translation: If you're not sure when to hit your Bloodlust or Heroism button, ask. If you're someone who is prone to hitting said button at awkward times by accident, move the button elsewhere. Nothing is more sad, or aggravating when certain mechanics are involved, than to experience a raid-wide cooldown being used incorrectly.

This also goes for you mages with your wibbly wobbly timey wimey...stuff, you hunters and your hysterical dogs, and those of you who decide that playing your bongo drums on trash is a good idea, so you all best be paying attention.

Thou shalt use Stormlash Totem as oft as possible, except for when thy shaman brother or sister hast used it first.
- Translation: Stormlash Totem is a rather potent raid cooldown that is often ignored by unpracticed shaman, or is commonly overlapped, causing waste. (Don't worry, Stormlash will be a thing of the past come patch 6.0!) Watch your buffs!

Thou shalt not override a thy brethren's Earth Shield.
- Translation: This is one thing that drives me absolutely nuts in LFRs - some other restoration shaman comes toddling along, overriding the Earth Shield on whichever tank you have it on. Don't be that guy! If you see a tank with an Earth Shield on already, put it on the other tank. More than two resto shaman in the raid and Earth Shields are already covered? Toss it on that noob taking damage over there! (Thankfully, another thing of the past come patch 6.0)

Thou shalt not use Thunderstorm inappropriately.
- Translation: Dude, seriously. You probably know who you are, but really. Don't be that guy/gal who runs up into the middle of a pack of mobs that a tank is dealing with and Thunderstorm them all over Diablo's creation. Nothing will tick off your tank and melee dps faster. I get it, it's an AoE ability. If you want to use it as such, glyph it.

It's completely acceptable to Thunderstorm people off of the side of cliffs in PvP though. Fair game, boomchickens! Or any druid really, now that Typhoon is accessible by all four specs.

If it spinnith, thou shalt not winnith.
- Translation: This mostly applies to my enhancement brothers and sisters, but can also apply to the unaware restoration/elemental shaman as well: If something, be it a weapon or mob, is spinning...run the hell away. Just, run.

All circles on the ground are not created equal.
- Translation: If it's blue and wet (or green and leafy/gold and sparkly), stand in it! Almost anything else, apply the logic of the previous commandment.

If thou uses thine healing abilities while thine raid is healthy, ye shall perish.
- Translation: This applies to both the healing and damage dealing shaman of the world. One of the larger rookie moves I see made by many a shaman is a) to use Healing Tide Totem on cooldown, regardless of raid health b) macro Ancestral Guidance into Ascendance (there are rare times when this can be useful, but as a general rule it often ends up being a complete waste of AG)  or c) completely forget that any of these abilities exist.

Repeat after me:
+ Healing Tide Totem is not a rotational ability.
+ Healing Tide Totem is for raid-wide healing. Drop it a second before raid-wide damage goes out if the raid isn't completely stabilized, or drop it immediately after raid wide damage goes out to stabilize/heal the raid.
+ Ancestral Guidance is not a rotational ability.
+ Ancestral Guidance is for raid-wide healing. Pop it a second before raid-wide damage goes out if the raid isn't completely stabilized, or pop it immediately after raid wide damage goes out to stabilize/heal the raid. Best when used when you're able to use AoE abilities or paired with Ascendance, if raid strategy allows (highest burst healing yield), however should not be used exclusively when those situations arise, as the raid may not need that healing at that moment.
+ Healing Stream Totem is friend. He's just a little guy, but he likes to help heal people often. Call on him often, especially when there are people he can help heal. This goes especially for restoration shaman, but he should not be forgotten by enhancement or elemental shaman.
+ Mana Tide Totem is healer friend. MTT should be used early and often, but not on the pull early. Unless your tank(s) was awful and pulled while the healer(s) had little to no mana. (Soon to be a thing of the past, come 6.0)
+ When in doubt of knowing exactly when to pop your healing cooldowns, ask! Bug your raid leader or bug your healers. Go in with a plan, come out with loot!

Go forth and be awesome, so sayeth the Saz.

Writer's Note: While this article has been written as a comedy piece, there is a good bit of truthrage behind these words. As a veteran shaman, raider, as a well seasoned raid leader, all of the above are things that I notice on a regular basis. The commandments listed above are the things that truly drive me bonkers. I hope that I've not only provided you all with bit of a laugh, but also with some helpful insight on how to better improve your shamanistic skills. /salute

Writer's Note 2: I'm fully aware that I probably slaughtered the usage of Early Modern English. Linguist/literary folks, I apologize. Mostly. Kind of. I might only be marginally sorry.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

WoD Alpha: Keybind Interface

When it arrives, Warlords of Draenor will come packed with several quality of life changes. Some of these changes will go unnoticed by many (especially addon using) players, but some of them will certainly make things a bit easier for everyone else. What change am I talking about this time around? The keybind interface. Here are some previews.

(Click images to enlarge)

As you can see, the layout is much more clearly defined than it is on the live servers. No more scrolling through a massive list trying to figure out where to configure that one bar. Everything is beautifully labeled and easily accessible. For those who prefer to use the standard UI bars, or those of us who are on a rare occasion forced to use the standard UI bars instead of our favorite mods, this is a most welcome change.

Friday, June 20, 2014

WoD Alpha: Toy Box and Mounts Interface

Hoarders, rejoice! For the time of the Toy Box is nearly upon us. For those of you who are interested in getting a sneak peak at what the interface will look like, have a screenshot of it!

As you can see, our Toy Box will have a pretty snazzy search and filtering system, one that's nearly identical to what we have currently for our non-combat pets. Finding your favorite item should be pretty easy once this system is in place. I know that I'm definitely looking forward to this feature, as my shaman has been crying about inventory space since Wrath of the Lich King.

One thing to note about the toybox: it currently doesn't automatically add the items into the toy spellbook. You'll have to click on the item (current new Beta interface will actually indicate this), and it'll be placed in your spellbook, thus being removed from your inventory.

It appears that our mount page will get a similar treatment as far as sorting is concerned (hooray!), though it doesn't seem like all of the sorting functions are implemented at this time. My assumption/hope is that they'll break it down further into achievements, instance drops, crafted, and vendors as well.

Edit: Looks like they have a bit more filtering added in now!

I'm really looking forward to both of these quality of life implementations, small as they may seem. Personally I don't think they can get here soon enough!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

WoD Alpha: New Ghost Wolf and Feral Spirit Models

Those of you who happen to follow me on Twitter and Facebook may already know that I'm one of the lucky ones who have managed to snag an invite onto the Warlords of Draenor alpha test servers. Over the next few weeks I hope to write about my thoughts on the changes to Enhancement and shamans in general. For now though, I shall answer one of our most pressing questions: With all of the new model revamps coming in WoD, will we get a new wolf form?

The answer is apparently: Yes!

As you can see in the above images, we're most definitely getting an updated version for our ghost wolf forms. Both are rather transparent, much along the lines of our current unglyphed wolf form on live, and are nearly invisible when seen against light backgrounds, such as snow. Unlike the Glyph of the Spectral Wolf on live, the spectral version of our wolf is the same size as our unglyphed version.

But what about our Feral Spirits? Well, we're definitelly getting new versions of those too!

New Feral Spirits

As you can see, they're much larger than our ghost wolf forms. Currently on live servers, if we have Glyph of the Spectral Wolf activated, we're roughly the same size as our puppy pals. Since both glyphed and unglyphed versions of our ghost wolf are the same size, our new wolves will always seem large in comparison.

How about raptors? Well, at this moment in time our Spirit Raptors (if you use Glyph of Spirit Raptors) do not have new models. Perhaps we'll see those in future builds, but I have my doubts on those being terribly high on the priority list right now.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Behind the Avatar Podcast

Last weekend yet another brave soul allowed me to babble on about Warcraft related topics on their podcast. This time around it was the lovely Leeta from Behind the Avatar. Leeta got personal with me, digging into the hows and whys of my WoW experience. Of course rambling and ridiculous stories were told, and as usual, I manage to lose my ability to words now and again.


Monday, March 3, 2014

Training Dummies Podcast

This past week I once again had the pleasure of joining Rob and Hend on The Training Dummies podcast. The last time I was a part of their show, we spoke about soloing and all that fun jazz. This time around they had me ramble excessively about Enhancement Shaman and I ended up using very technical terms such as "thingies." If you missed the live show and would like to hear me yammer on for over two hours, have a link!

The Training Dummies ep 63