Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Twitterland Cross-Realm Raiding

Guess what? It's Tuesday and 4.3.2 has officially launched. For those of you who live under a rock, that means cross-realm raiding via the Real ID system is now live!

Would you like to raid with your Twitter or blogging buddies? Well, then you should head on over to the new Twitterland Raiding site. We have forums, calendar scheduling, and even a giant Twitter Mumble server! There are already several US-Alliance raids set up for this coming weekend, but there's plenty of room for EU and Horde folks to set up their own raids as well. It's open to anyone from the Twitterverse and blogosphere, don't be shy!

Please, come on in and join the fun!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Ask Saz - Enhancement Questions

Over the past week or so I've been asking the fine folks on Twitter for any and all enhancement shaman related questions. This idea came about partially because over the past few weeks I've been getting a several questions in game from a fellow shaman who were 85 and trying enhancement for the very first time (most were usually either restoration or elemental previously). So here is a general Q&A containing the questions I've received thus far. If you have a question that is not listed here, please feel free to either leave a comment or to toss me a tweet on Twitter @serenitysaz.

Q: Why enhancement instead of elemental?
A: Personal play style choice. I prefer the aggressive up-in-your-face chaos that is enhancement. Some folks prefer standing in the back and slinging chunks of lava at things. Elemental does have several advantages while leveling up and when you're first putting together gear sets at 85, such as being able to heal yourself more efficiently when you're soloing and sharing gear for say a restoration offspec (faster queues). I personally am a melee lover at heart though. Yes, I have bothered to build up a restoration gear set as offspec, and yes it was a touch more difficult to do as enhancement since none of my gear pieces can be used as cross-over pieces. However, I personally love the enhancement play style, hence why I don't roll as elemental.

Q: What totems should I be using?
A: The standard set up for solo play is Strength of Earth, Winfury, Healing Stream, and Searing Totem. You may need to adjust your earth and air totems for 5 mans or raids, depending on which buffs are already present and/or missing, but for the most part those four totems do the trick. To read up on which totems are similar to which buffs, please visit my totem guide.

Q: How should I execute my opener? My Searing Totem doesn't always attack my target, should I wait to drop my totems?
A: No, because your other totems will still buff your opening attacks. I personally like to run in, hit Unleash Elements, drop my totems, Stormstrike, Lava Lash, Flame Shock, then redrop my totems. Sometimes my Searing Totem will focus on my target because I had already attacked with UE, sometimes it will figure out it needs to attack my target when I hit Stormstrike, sometimes it sits there like a dodo bird. This example here is of course a very rough opener, since I did not include how I open up with wolves or pre-potting. Each fight is a little different, so my best advice is to know how each of your spells work together and how each pull will affect your opener.

Q: How do I level up as enhancement? Which rotations/glyphs should I be using?
A: I will be getting more in depth with this question as I work on my Enhanced Leveling series. Currently I'm leveling up a second enhancement shaman, Sazza, and I will be writing more on this topic as I get her up. The process may be a bit slow, but I'll get through everything eventually. I promise! If you need some serious specific help right now on your enhancement alt though, please feel free to pester me.

Q: AoE - How do I make the BIG numbers?
A: Optimizing our AoE can sometimes be tricky, especially in scenarios where mobs die quickly. The most important thing about AoE is timing our spells correctly. We're not like some classes that can simply spam one button, but we rely heavily on an AoE "rotation" that can take 3-4 GCDs to pump out the big numbers. Let's do a few scenarios to help get the idea of proper AoE down.

Yor'sahj the Unsleeping - The black ooze has been consumed by the boss and adds are about to come out. Lava Lash is an ability that has a 10 second cooldown, and the adds will be out in 6. What do you do? I personally switch from using my Searing Totem over to my Magma Totem (or perhaps even my Fire Elemental if I know it's going to be a double add phase) and only Stormstrike + refresh Flame Shock on my shock cooldown. I do not hit Lava Lash until at least half of the adds are surrounding the boss, I do not bother with Earth Shock until the add phase is over. So, as soon as those adds are out, as I said, I hit Lava Lash, Unleash Elements, and then Fire Nova. I continue to use Stormstrike on CD on the boss as well as continuously refresh Flame Shock on the boss.
Tip: Remember, any Flame Shocks that you spread to the adds will take the duration timer of the parent Flame Shock; if your Flame Shock that you spread has 3 seconds left on it, all of the duplicate Flame Shocks will likewise only have 3 seconds and counting left on their timers. Keep those timers as high as you can to prevent accidentally missing out on a Fire Nova! Chain Lightning is highly recommended to weave into your "AoE rotation" during this phase. Also remember to switch back to your Searing Totem as the add phase is ending.

Madness of Deathwing - Your team has just downed the big tentacle arm and switched back to the wing tentacle. Ol' DW is about to hemorrhage, which means big AoE time. There's 6 seconds left on the timer before he spews bloody blobs all over the place...what do you do? In this scenario I do not switch totems, but leave Mr. Derp Totem (aka Searing) to do his spitting fireballs thing at Deathwing's arm. I also do NOT use my shocks or Lava Lash if I know that the adds will be arriving soon. I instead simply Stormstrike and swing at the arm until the adds have spawned, run over to them, Flame Shock one as the add tank is rounding them up and dragging them over to the arm, and Lava Lash + Fire Nova ASAP. I then continue to Nova and Chain Lightning as much and as quickly as possible, for these adds usually die quickly.

Tip: If you manage to set up your AoE quickly and efficiently, your numbers will really shine on this encounter thanks to Spellweave. Unfortunately if you're unable to get your AoE out in a quick manor you may see your numbers plummet below those of other AoE classes. Be alert, be aware of your timers, and be aggressive.

Clear as mud? Good.

Q: What are some advanced tips and tricks for using totems?
A: My best advice is to be aware of the capability of the totems in your arsenal and any available glyphs that my enhance your totems.

- Knowing that using a glyph for Healing Stream totem can up your resistances to Frost, Fire, and Nature damage can help reduce healing needed in both your raid and you in soloing environments.

- Stoneskin Totem will give anyone within its aura range extra armor. This is useful for when you're soloing against a beasty that likes to use melee swings instead of magic damage. It'll help those dragon cleaves smart just a little bit less.

- Stoneclaw Totem can be useful for you healthwise so long as you have it glyphed. Sadly the shield that this totem/glyph combo places on you doesn't scale with gear, but in some situations an extra 16k or so absorb isn't anything to sneeze at. I definitely recommend it for certain fights when soloing, as well as for certain hardmodes (think Heroic Morchok and his stomps).

- Earth/Fire Elementals are sadly two totems that don't always get a ton of love from us enhancement shaman. They are however useful to use on a rare occasion. Big red (the fire guy) can do some heavy AoE damage and Rocky will make fun of everyone but a boss, effectively taunting any adds off of you. If you find yourself in an add heavy situation where you need to take some heat off of yourself or your healers (think Yor'sahj), it might be handy to pop these guys in order to buy a few seconds of time, as these dudes will attempt to take all the hate.

- Grounding Totem can be sometimes useful, as more often than not it will eat a spell for its user...though it does only take one hit for the team before dying and has a semi-longish cooldown (25 seconds). You can in some situations even glyph Grounding Totem to spell reflect (beware, it ups the CD on the totem to 35 seconds) and use it effectively, but generally there are better glyphs for an enhancer in soloing and raiding situations to use.

Tip: Be flexible with your totems. I personally keep several situational totems on my bars for those "just in case" moments. Things such as my elementals, Tremor Totem, and Stoneclaw Totem are all easily accessible even though they're not bound into any pre-made totem set up. Ingrain the uses of your arsenal of tools into your mind, and you shall do well with totem-twisting your way to victory in whatever you do.

I hope that this Q&A has helped to clear a few things up for those of you who may be a bit new to the world of enhancement. Until next time my fellow axe slingers, keep on swinging.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Badges of Nerdom

You have read that title correctly, this post is all about the nerd badges that we all, or in this case I should say I, tend to carry around with us to promote our nerdiness. This also happens to be this week's Shared Topic over at Blog Azeroth.

What exactly is a 'nerd badge' anyways? To me personally it can be anything ranging from a habit to a physical item. I'm fairly convinced that no matter what you tend to label yourself in life, be it computer geek or jock or music junkie or whatever, you will in some way sport your nerd love for that in which you obsess over. For the record, yes sports jerseys count in my book towards nerd paraphernalia.

Let's chat about my pile of nerdy items. Prior to my move into Azeroth I was a music geek. My free time was consumed by musical activities: marching band, pep band, concert band, pit orchestra (in high school), orchestra, music festivals, and I was a bass drummer in a pipe corps. I played all sorts of instruments, mostly those in the bass range. I played bass clarinet/Eb contra alto bass clarinet for concert band as well as for a few summers in the city band, played baritone sax for pit orchestra, usually played bass drum for marching band, did cello in orchestra my senior year of high school and studied double (upright) bass during college, played various percussive instruments in my percussion ensemble group and played electric bass for college pep band. Yes, my tiny little self could pretty much always be found hauling some sort of overly large instrument around. To this day my car still has a set of drum sticks tucked into the back of my driver's seat, and a set of mallets in the trunk along with a folder with bass drum music (hand transcribed by yours truly) and spare sheet music. I can't seem to open a box without finding something music related in it. The physical collection of my nerdom has outlived the years of my neglect to my once passion, and it's not something I think I'll be shaking anytime soon.

...I just looked down at my pants and realized that they're marching band sweat pants. /sigh

I do not think that our nerdiness is always a physical item though. On the first day of try-outs for college marching band I was meandering in circles, waiting for my turn to come. As I meandered, I was drumming on my belly. Typical drummer habit really. One of the guys came up to me and said "Hey! I noticed you're drumming on your stomach. Our drum instructor does that all the time too!" I of course internally rolled my eyes a bit, thinking to myself "How nerdy..." without realizing that I too was a huge nerd with huge nerd habits.

I do have a few physical tokens outside of music memorabilia (aka items I once used on a daily basis) that belts forth my epic amounts of dorkdom. My pile of keys that I tote around? Yeah, attached to my drum key is my WoW authenticator. Yes, it goes EVERYWHERE with me. There's also a mood ring that is nearly in a permanent state of brown, not quite sure what to make of that. I have yet to acquire a WoW shirt or hoodie, or really any other sort of real world physical WoW collectable item outside of a few booster packs of TCG cards, but I'm sure I'll get a few of those items in time.

Of course, my nerdiness doesn't like to stick to one genre. Many of you who follow me on Twitter, or have been in a guild with me in the past, or have any knowledge of my guild Battle of Serenity (now slightly defunct, but still epically awesome), may know that I have a mild obsession with the Firefly series and Serenity movie. Yes, I have a paladin named Kaelei (Kaylee and Kayleefrye are both taken on my realm), who happens to be an engineer/jewelcrafter. She doesn't have a firefly pet yet, but you can be assured that she will only be using that pet once they become account wide items.

Honestly, I'm just a huge nerd/geek/whatever, and I've learned to embrace this side of me as I've grown older. Once upon a time I probably would have scoffed at you and pushed you off of the couch (Inside joke - I once had a boyfriend who thought it was ludicrous that I didn't know who Boba Fett was. He proceeded to make fun of me for my lack of Star Wars knowledge - the one area of geek culture that I've never really gotten into - and he wouldn't cease his jabs. I pushed him off the damn couch for it.), but now I just say "Yeah, I'm a geek. What of it?"

So what about you, reader? Do you have some sort of nerd badge that you tote around in hopes of striking up a random conversation with a fellow geek? Or are you one of those more secretive nerdy types?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Hoarders: Azeroth Edition - To Honor One's Elders

Every year around this time of year (January 22 through February 12) the people of Azeroth honor their elders. We shouldn't need a specific period of time to honor our elders, for without them there wouldn't be an us, but it is rather nice to get out, see the world, and give respect to those who came before us.

Like most elders, these guys give you goodies in the form of coins for visiting them during the Lunar Festival. These coins can be turned in to certain vendors to get some rather fun items, items that I think any hoarder would love to have in their collection. I'll only be highlighting a few of the items that you can get during this holiday, s if you would like a complete guide on how to find all of the elders and the achievements that you can gain from this event, please visit Wowhead's guide.

That's right, this year the Lunar Festival comes with pets! Both Alliance and Horde lanterns are BoE and can be purchased for 50 Coins of Ancestry from Valador Starsong in Moonglade.

Lunar Lantern - Alliance
Festival Lantern - Horde

All of the clothes may be purchased for 5 Coins of Ancestry each from Valador Starsong in Moonglade.

Festive Green Dress
Festive Pink Dress
Festive Purple Dress
Festive Black Pant Suit
Festive Blue Pant Suit
Festive Teal Pant Suit

The following patterns can be purchased from Fariel Starsong in Moonglade for 5 Coins of Ancestry a piece.

Festival Dress
Festival Suit

Cluster Launcher
Firework Launcher

The following patterns are contained in packages. Each package contains three patterns and may be purchased from Fariel Starsong in Moonglade for 5 Coins of Ancestry a piece.

Small Rocket Recipes
Small Blue Rocket
Small Green Rocket
Small Red Rocket

Large Rocket Recipes
Large Blue Rocket
Large Green Rocket
Large Red Rocket

Cluster Rocket Recipes
Blue Rocket Cluster
Green Rocket Cluster
Red Rocket Cluster

Large Rocket Cluster Recipes
Large Blue Rocket Cluster
Large Green Rocket Cluster
Large Red Rocket Cluster

The following fireworks may be purchased from any of the main Lunar Festival vendors for a very small amount of copper or silver.

Small Red Rocket
Small Blue Rocket
Small Green Rocket
Red Rocket Cluster
Blue Rocket Cluster
Green Rocket Cluster
Festival Firecracker

Elune's Candle can be purchased from Valadar Starsong for 10 silver a piece in Moonglade.

There you have it folks, the super short list of things to collect during the Lunar Festival. As I said, if you'd like a list of achievements and how/where to find the various elders for this event, please visit Wowhead's guide. Now go forth and honor your elders my little hoarders!

Fortune Friday

They're quirky, they're fun, they're random Azerothian fortunes! Every Friday you will see a different fortune (either from our beloved Darkmoon Faire or the new fortune cards) featured here at World of Saz. Enjoy!

Fortune Card: When life gives you lemons, pay for repair costs.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Enhanced Leveling: Beginner to Level 10 (Cataclysm)

A lot has changed with leveling since I first stepped forth in Azeroth as a shaman. Talent trees have changed drastically, gone are the days of multiple spell ranks (running into a healer in the ICC 5 mans using a rank 1 healing spell without realizing it was always a great time), no more totem quests, and of course the whole process is much quicker than it was once upon a time. Without heirloom items and/or the guild leveling perk the process can still feel a bit slow, but the process is still leagues quicker than it used to be.

So what do you need to know while you're leveling up as an enhancement shaman? What talents should you use? What gear do you need to be on the look out for? What in the name of Elune is a totem? I shall try to answer these questions and more within this leveling series. I apologize in advance if I don't cover the levels you need help with right away, for I'm working on this guide as I level up my new shaman alt, Sazza (Nesingwary, Alliance - A big thank you to the guild FuBaR for adopting me!).

Rolling A Shaman:  Hurray, you've chosen to roll a shaman! It matters not which faction you choose, for you're already kick-ass for picking this class. Both factions have a few options as far as race is concerned, with each race having its own perks. If you're leveling a shaman just for kicks, it really doesn't matter which race you choose. If you're leveling a shaman with the intention of hardcore raiding at some point, chances are you're already aware of which racials are the best. At the end of the day which race you choose is completely up to you, but you should still be aware of the racials that you're gaining with the race of your choice, and use those special abilities to your advantage. Here's the list:

Draenei:Gift of the Naaru and Heroic Presence are the big ones. Gift is a nice heal over time spell (instant cast, super handy for us enhancement types) and Heroic Presence gives us a free 1% hit, which is incredibly handy to have no matter what level you're at.
Dwarf: Stoneform and Mace Specialization are two solid reasons to roll as a Dwarf. Stoneform will not only allow you to reduce your damage taken, but will remove certain damaging effects from you that you'd normally have to suffer/heal through. Having a free 3 expertise from using maces can also come in handy, so long as you can actually find maces to use. It's not uncommon for shamans to use fist weapons and axes, depending on the availability of weapons, so you may not always be able to use the Mace Specialization to your advantage.

Goblin: Goblins have a fairly large arsenal of useful racials, but the three that would be most handy for leveling (and potentially raiding) are Time is Money, Rocket Jump, and Rocket Barrage. Time is Money acts like a nice little haste buff, helping you to kill things quicker; use it in tight situations where you fear you may die (to kill the enemies quicker or to heal yourself faster) or on mobs with more health, such as elites and bosses. Rocket Jump is a great mobility tool, allowing you to get away from dangerous situations quickly, though if you have a priest or mage or plan on using a parachute anytime soon, best wait to use this ability since it will put those slowing effects on cooldown. Rocket Barrage is another spell for you to blast your foes with. Can be used as another ranged spell, no matter which direction you're facing!
Orc: Blood Fury, Axe Specialization, and Hardiness all make for one sexy green shaman. Use Blood Fury to kill things faster. Axe Specialization can come in handy to help you meet expertise caps at max level, though it has some restricted niches much like the Dwarven racial Mace Specialization, due to shamans not always getting to choose to use Axes. Hardiness doesn't have too many applicable uses in a Player vs Environment (PvE) setting, but can come in handy if you ever choose to PvP (Player vs Player).
Tauren: War Stomp is the only active ability for Tauren shaman, and can be quite useful in PvP scenarios since we do not have any sort of stun as enhancement, save for one that we get with our Spirit Wolves at higher levels.
Troll: Berserking is the main on-use talent for the trolls. This spell acts like a personal haste buff. While it's not necessarily the *best* buff currently for enhancement shaman, it can be handy when it comes to self heals and if you offspec as either restoration or elemental. Plus, trolls are just sexy as hell.

There are of course several other racials that come with each race that I have not listed here that can be quite handy to know about/have. If you wish to see those and to learn more about these races, please visit the links provided.

Stats: Agility/Stamina/Hit/Strength - At such a low level these stats will be hard to come by, unless you're lucky enough to have heirloom items. If you can get your hands on leather items/weapons with Agility on them, either through questing or from the Auction House for cheap, do it! A note about Strength items - items with Strength on them are not ideal, Agility is always better. However, there may be times where you run into items that have Agility and Strength, or even just Strength. As long as the item is a solid upgrade, Strength will be okay in a pinch. Do NOT ever roll need on a Strength item over a Strength user (warriors/paladins and later death knights) in instances though.

Gear: Leather/Mail - All shaman will begin with the same statless leather gear, a mace, and a shield. As we kill mobs and complete quests, we will gain more gear. Always choose leather gear when given the option between that and cloth (exception being a cloak, naturally), and when choosing weapons, stick to anything one-handed if possible (shield upgrades are great until level 10). In the rare event that you come across a green quality item, you want to grab an item that has Agility on it if possible. Leather will continue to be our gear type of choice until we're able to specialize in mail, which comes at level 40.

Heirloom Items: These items are not necessary, but they do help speed up the leveling process by a large margin. They require a high level or max capped (level 85) character to obtain on the same realm as the character you wish to send them to (as of patch 4.3). Here is a list of enhancement specific items; please visit the links given to learn how to obtain them.

Currently Purchasable
Helm: Tarnished Raging Berserker's Helm
Shoulders: Prized Beastmaster's Mantle (PvP) / Champion Herod's Shoulder (PvE)
Cloak: Inherited Cape of the Black Baron
Chest: Champion's Deathdealer Breastplate
Weapon(s): Venerable Mass of McGowan (preferably x2 if possible)
Trinket(s): Swift Hand of Justice (x2) - Not the best trinket choices of the lot, but are still rather handy to have.
Ring: Dread Pirate Ring

Items Not Yet in Game
Pants: Tarnished Leggings of Destruction
Ring: Ornate Band of Accuria

Note: All mail items will turn into leather items when you equip them onto your new shaman. They will turn back into mail items once your character has hit level 40 and has trained his or her ability to wear mail.

Spells: Every shaman, no matter which tree he or she wishes to specialize in, begins at the same place. We all start with a shield in hand and only one spell: Lightning Bolt. For the first several levels we get to play the elemental caster, until we learn Primal Strike. Even after we learn our first melee specific spell though, we continue to more or less play an elemental shaman until level 10. At some point during the race to level 10 we also pick up Earth Shock, our first totem Strength of Earth, Healing Wave, and Lightning Shield. Get very familiar with what each of these spells do, for most of these spells an enhancement shaman will use all the way up to their level cap. Spells gained at level 10 that I will talk about in the next guide: Flametongue Weapon and Searing Totem.

Tip: Read all of the tool tips for your spells. Knowing that Earth Shock can help reduce a mob's melee and ranged attack speed (which translates into less damage) on you is handy, as well as knowing which totem gives you which buff! 

Totems: Until level 10 we only have one totem, Strength of Earth. Up until this point I have not had much use for it since mobs die so quickly as it is. Since at level 10 I do not yet have Totemic Recall, using this totem could potentially be a hazard in an area with patrolling, hostile mobs, as they will attack it if they walk near it. Unless you pull more than one mob at once, or are having difficulty defeating a certain mob, don't bother with totems for now.

Rotation: Later on in your enhanced experience you will learn about our priority rotation system. For now, however, you have it quite easy. Your rotation at such a low level doesn't matter a great deal, so long as you're hitting mobs quicker and harder than they are hitting you. Spells help in this endeavor. As I've already stated, as a baby enhancement shaman you will feel more like a caster until about level 10 or so. So what does our "caster rotation" look like prior to level 10? Vaguely something like this (starting at range to help prevent some damage to yourself):

Lightning Bolt (x2), Earth Shock, (mobs are usually in range by this time) Primal Strike, Lightning Bolt, Earth Shock (should be dead by now)

You can use Earth Shock and Primal Strike on CD and choose to white swing at the mobs instead of filling the "down time" by spamming Lightning Bolt, but I found Lightning Bolt to kill things a bit quicker. Keep Lightning Shield up, for every time a mob hits you, they hurt themselves!

Tip: Pay attention to your racials (Berserking, Blood Fury, etc) and any perks you may get from the professions that you choose (trinkets, etc), and weave them into your "rotation."  Save any survivability cooldowns (Gift of the Naaru, Lifeblood, Stoneform etc) for when you feel you need them. Being aware of what tools you have will make leveling (and not dieing) much easier.

Talents: This isn't something you really need to worry about until you get our first specialty point at level 10. When you do finally hit level 10 in a bright flash of light and achievement, hit the letter N. See that nifty new thing that popped up that gives you the Elemental / Enhancement / Restoration trees? Click "Enhancement". Congrats! You are now officially on your way to be an enhancement shaman. With being enhancement you will gain the following abilities (scroll over each item listed to see the tool tip):

You will also gain the ability: Lava Lash. This spell is one of our core abilities at 85, so it's very important that you're aware of Lava Lash now. I will go over the usage of this ability more in the next guide.

Another great thing about hitting level 10 is getting your first talent point to spend! Where should you put it? Well, you only have three choices at first. I personally chose to put a point into Focused Strikes, since Primal Strike is fairly week at first, and the other two choices aren't overly strong. Improved Shields could be an okay choice, though Lightning Shield is easy to forget about at a low level, and the effectiveness of Elemental Weapons won't be as noticeable of a damage increase until later levels.

Glyphs: You don't need to worry about glyphs at this level. I will explain these little beasts when the time comes!

Professions: I will only cover this topic twice, now and at level cap (for raiding specifics). As always, professions are a matter of preference. Some professions are better than others for end game, some gathering professions offer better passive buffs for a shaman, learning any of them is a complete matter of choice. Most crafting professions don't matter much these days because of how quickly we level, but in the event that you try to keep your professions at level with your current level I shall mention the topic.

For my leveling project on Sazza I chose to go with Herbalism and Skinning. I am starting on a server where I have no high level alts to fund her, so I figured with double gathering professions I would be able to sell off my wares and be able to buy whatever I needed. I also picked up fishing and cooking for in the event that I feel the need for some more gold making flexibility. If your shaman is well funded though and the choice that you make doesn't really matter to you financially, here is a list what is available. When choosing a profession based on the stat perks it gives, remember that Agility > all, Critical Strike is okay, and Haste isn't terribly great but can be useful while leveling to get those self healing spells out quicker.

Alchemy - Make healing and + stat potions. Gives you the ability to craft trinkets at higher levels, including a 359 epic trinket at level 85. Best paired with Herbalism for leveling if you do not already have an herbalist or a large sum of gold.
Blacksmithing - Craft weapons, some mail gear (may or may not be useful for shaman, depending on the levels and stats involved), and yourself two extra gem sockets (wrist and gloves) at higher levels. Best paired with Mining for leveling if you do not have a miner already or a large sum of gold.
Enchanting - Allows you to put extra stats onto your gear. At higher levels will also allow you to add extra stats to your rings. Best paired with any other crafting profession, as long as you have a gatherer to feed the other crafting profession. I find tailoring to be the easiest to pair with Enchanting.
Engineering - A fun and weird profession (one of my personal favorites). Allows you to make situational items (such as bombs and pets), trinkets, and often helms. Allows you to craft an epic 359 helm at level 85. Best paired with mining for leveling if you do not already have a miner or a large sum of gold.
Inscription - Allows you to craft your own glyphs and will gives you shoulder enchant options at higher levels. Sadly learning most glyphs is heavily reliant on an RNG (random number generator) research system. Can potentially make a good sum of gold for those of you savvy with the Auction House. Best paired with Herbalism if you do not already have an herbalist or a large sum of gold.
Jewelcrafting - With this profession you will be able to make some trinkets, along with gaining the ability to cut your own gems. At higher level this profession will allow you to cut higher quality, jewelcrafter only gems. A pretty decent way to make gold, especially if you have a miner. Best paired with mining for leveling if you do not already have a miner, or a large sum of gold.
Leatherworking - You can craft your own gear as you level with this profession. Very handy to have, has a great bracer enchant for you to use at higher levels, plus super cheap leg enchants. Best when paired with Skinning if you do not have another skinner, unless you have a lot of gold to purchase materials with.
Tailoring - This profession allows you to make clothes for classes such as priests and warlocks. Also allows you to make leg enchants for caster-types (restoration, elemental), but in general is not a very useful profession for enhancement shaman. This is a self sufficient profession, provided you collect a lot of cloth or have a large sum of gold to buy cloth from the Auction House with.

Herbalism - Enables you to find and "pick" various plants. Great for gathering materials for Inscription and Alchemy and provides you with Lifeblood, an ability that gives you a heal over time spell and a small haste buff (useful for some situations).
Mining - Provides you with the ability to find and mine nodes. Used for gathering materials for Blacksmithing, Engineering, and Jewelcrafting, thus can be profitable. Gives the passive bonus of Toughness, which isn't necessarily the best passive boost for an enhancement shaman as it doesn't give any increase to our damage output.
Skinning - Allows you to skin most beasts. The skins collected can in turn be used for making gear in Leatherworking and in some other situations used in Engineering, Blacksmithing, ect. Gives the passive stat boost of Critical Strike through Master of Anantomy.

Note: All gathering profession perks scale with your skill level.

Archeology -  You can spend all of your free time digging for long lost artifacts! Digging will give you XP, a chance at rare items (blues, mostly useless but fun items), and a chance at epics (mounts, trinkets, gear, etc). Common and grey quality items can be sold for either small or large amounts of gold, depending on the item. Great time sink, but not terribly great at providing gold or easy epics thanks to the RNG element to this profession.
Cooking - Want to make your own buff food, or a quick bit of gold at max level? Now you can! Grab a cooking fire, some ingredients, and a skillet and get cooking!
First Aid - Allows you to make bandages, which can be used to heal yourself or an ally (is channeled, which can be interrupted by any damage). Not really all that necessary for us shamans, since we're quite capable of healing ourselves and others to a reasonable extent.
Fishing - Grab a pole and catch some fish. Most fish can be cooked into buff foods.

Whew, that's a lot to take in, isn't it? Things get a bit more simplistic once you've chosen your race and (if any) your professions and you familiarize yourself with what tools that they give you. Once you handle that, it's just a matter of remembering which spells do what and making sure that you don't wear spirit based cloth items. Blizzard has done a fairly good job at introducing new shaman to their massive tool kit, but I do realize that it's still a lot to take in and I'll do my best to break everything down as I come to it in depth. Try not to stress out about all this information, most of it will (or should) come naturally to you. Relax and have some fun bonking mobs over the head while electrocuting them!

If you have any questions about this article or enhancement in general, please feel free to either comment here, toss me a message on Twitter, drop a comment on Facebook, or email me.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Inventory Space, Void Storage, and What I Still Long For

It has been a long, long time since I've tried to finish up Saga's little 20 Days of challenge. I have two posts left, and this one just so happens to tie into something I have a bit of a problem with: inventory space. Since it isn't noted in the title of this post, this is technically day 19 of this project.

As you may notice, my personal bank is rather large and completely full to the brim. Likewise my personal bag space is still a bit limited despite its size, but it is no where near as full as it was prior to patch 4.3. Thanks to the implementation of the new interface feature called Void Storage I now have more than two to three slots available at any given time. (Please note that this is what my personal inventory looks like on a non-raid night; what you don't see in this image are the several stacks of food, flasks, and potions that are more or less a requirement for a raider seeking to push progression content that I typically tote around several nights of the week.)

You can see that in my personal bags are two sets of healing gear (one PvE set, one a now lackluster PvP set)  and various fun (no equip) trinkets, engineer items, and a legendary (Sulfuras). Anything that I feel I cannot part with because it's fun, actually useful, or is BoP and will not fit into my bank is kept on hand at all times.

In my bank you will find the items that I currently use for transmogrification, weapons that I didn't want to lose the enchantments on for visual preferences, various trinkets (most that need to be equipped to be used), and some tabards that I cannot buy from a vendor. There are also a few items that I used in Firelands in my bank, as well as a few random pieces that I may use in the future but have no use for at this moment. Mostly though it's just left over "pretty" gear that I cannot part with for (usually) sentimental reasons.

This is my Void Storage. It's absolutely bursting with more weapons, tier, and various other items that I can see myself using in the future to trangmogrify gear with. These are all items that I didn't care about losing old gems and enchants with, that I didn't see myself using for transmogrification anytime soon, or just felt I didn't have the space for in the usual bank for.

Please allow me to sing the praises of the Void Storage addition to the game. It gave me some storage breathing room which was sorely needed. This feature has allowed me to hear less of the vocal emotes "Inventory is full." and "I can't carry anymore!" which honestly, I was getting really fed up with. In Firelands I turned down most healing items simply because I did not have the space. I hardly had enough room to pick up main spec upgrades let alone items for my offset, unless of course they were an upgrade for me to use with my PvP set. Trying to do dailies or farm rep (while looting) was absolutely impossible. My Traveler's Tundra Mammoth was pretty much my only saving grace, for anytime I looted a mob in a raid I had to immediately vendor that grey item to make room for a potential upgrade that I may receive from that next mob. Void Storage has lessened that hassle immensely for me.

Despite the fact that this addition has been amazing in my book, I do wish it had a bit more. A bit more storage, perhaps something that visually sorted things. I'd love to see Void Storage get a few tabs, much like a guild bank. Tab one: Weapons. Tab two: Helms. Tab six: trinkets, and so on. I'm still also craving a tabard system that perhaps works like our pet/title systems (it's not Void Storage related necessarily, but it would free up some more space!). Don't get me wrong, I am exceptionally grateful for our current system, I really am. Without it I would have had to vendor/delete several items that I would rather not part with. I would however love to see Blizzard push this feature and add more to it in the future. Until the day that they decide to do such a thing though, I shall deal and be happy with what I've been given.

Vive le Hoarders!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Demise of the Raiding Scene

Dramatic title is dramatic, right? Please allow me to assure you that this isn't some far-fetched "ZOMG WoW is dead!" post, because I personally feel that World of Warcraft is far from dead. It might be a bit lethargic compared to some of the more booming periods that the game has had in its rather lengthy life span, but the numbers show that our beloved game is still far from calling 'closing time'. Let me assure you my Chicken Littles, the sky is not falling. While WoW may be far from ready to close its digital doors, there are some severe issues within the community, or more specifically within the sub communities that we have come to know as guilds.

Let us get something perfectly straight here, the raiding scene is not yet dead. It is in a serious state of decline, but it is not yet dead. May folks will be quick to point the finger at Blizzard and say "This raid is horrible, thanks for killing my guild!" While in some respects Blizzard is responsible for the vibe, the feel, the success or failure of a raid design, I do not believe that it is really anyone's fault but the player's own for the rise and fall of a guild, and in turn the game as a whole.

Think about it. A company can make a great product, put their heart and soul into it, but it is up to the community to play it. Back in the day, Blizzard put out a far from perfect product that we all know today as "Vanilla WoW". It was a grind-fest riddled with bugs and imperfections, but the players sucked it up, adapted, and dealt with it. Today we game in a much different world. Azeroth's major bugs are often sprayed down within a week or two of discovery. Travel to dungeons is instant, graphic quality is slowly improving, and long grinds are no longer really present. In a time where things couldn't be too much better, anything little thing that players do not care for, be it a bug that wasn't fixed on the spot, a raid experiment that flopped, Blizzard's attempts to include everyone in their game (which I think is pretty cool for the record, since inclusion seems to be a rare beast with whatever subject you may speak about), that new tier set or talent change for class x, or whatever other thing you can think of, is often complained about loud and clear. Wading into any sort of WoW forum often reminds me of walking into a store where a mother is trying to deal with a screaming, unwieldy child that isn't getting that lolly pop that he/she wants so damn bad.

What I'm trying to get at here folks is the fact that we, as a community, are suffering from a dual epidemic. Epidemic number one is the "spoiled gamer syndrome" or "entitlement syndrome", which is where many (but not all) players within WoW feel that they need everything and they want it now, everyone else's happiness and convenience be damned. The second epidemic is that of burnout.

Burnout is no stranger to anyone well versed in the Azerothian scene. It can happen to anyone at anytime. It's kind of like getting a new pair of shoes really. At first you slip your feet into them and go "Man, these feel awesome!" and they may continue to feel that way for quite a while. Eventually though they'll wear on your feet, causing blisters (drama) which can heal with time, or maybe they will cause your feet to swell which make that shoe an uncomfortable fit (finding yourself in a guild that you're not really into), or maybe the shoes just lose their appeal all together or give out on you (disinterest in the game, the loss of friends or your raid team which results in disinterest of the game). The best way to try and avoid any of these issues is to wear these shoes in moderation, but sometimes we end up enjoying the walk that we're on far too much to really notice the, metaphorically speaking, pain in our feet until it is too late. Some folks manage to grin and bear it, others will complain about it; eventually all will remove their shoes.

Right now my shoes are fitting pretty good. They fit pretty well, the colorful elements on them keep me entertained, but for some reason my damn shoelaces aren't quite staying tied. To get to the heart of it, my guild is currently struggling.

I haven't wrote about this yet, but about a month and a half ago I applied to a 25 man raiding guild and was accepted. I joined them the second week of Dragon Soul and I haven't looked back. My first raid with them was mind blowing; we had 7-10 people sitting at one point because the raiding roster was bursting, Deathwing was downed for the first time that week, banter was amazing. It was a complete culture shock to the usual low key, almost no one speaks in vent, 10 man raiding team that I was used to. I loved and am still loving it. The holidays hit. Nearly every holiday brings along a bit of an attendance slump, no big deal. Punch one. SW:ToR launches and naturally there's a good chunk of interest of that within the our nerdverse, again no big deal. Left hook, punch two. Progression slows because of a sparse raiding roster, tempers rise because regular modes are apparently "too easy" but we don't have enough of the right bodies for a proper raid composition to take down heroic modes, people finally notice their burnout and quite. Sucker punch, hit three. Throw all those factors together and you have one hurting guild. We're not dead by any means, but our raiding rosters have been looking mighty sickly as of late.

My guild is not alone.

Is this type of situation something that Blizzard can fix? Sure, if they had a magic wand that allowed them to make every single person happy forever. Sarcasm aside, Blizzard can only fix the mechanics of WoW. I personally think that they should stick to their guns a bit more with what they do, do what they think is right for the game, and stop this craziness where they try to cater to every single last gamer's whim. You can't please everyone. Should they take suggestions? Sure, but they don't have to try to tack on every single idea to the game itself. Sometimes less really is more, and right now it feels like Azeroth is one hell of a clutter closet.

What really needs to be fixed about WoW is the general mentality of the gaming community. We don't need the addition of shiny new graphics (though, I know I wouldn't turn them down), nor do we need some crazy new gimmick to pull us in. No, we need a serious revamp of the general attitude. If Blizzard is going to play parent to their public, they need to put on their mommy/daddy pants and learn to be a bit more stern and consistent with how they do things.

Until Blizzard does that though, the community itself needs to take charge in order to get the change that I think is desperately needed. Here's a few things that I think individuals could do that would help with that change.

- If you're tired of playing the game, then take a break. Don't put a time limit on this break; only come back when you want to. Be responsible with this, especially if you are a raider. Give your raid leader a week or two head's up so that they may begin to look for a replacement. Vanishing without a trace and leaving your raid/guild hanging is never a cool thing to do.
- Don't throw your unhappiness into the faces of your peers. If you dislike the game for x and y reason, that's fine, however reasons x and y do not give you a badge that entitles you to try and ruin the game for others.
- Don't flaunt the fact that you "quit" the game and don't run around screaming "OMG THE PANDAS ARE COMING! WOW IS DEAD!!!1!" because it's obnoxious and we're all tired of hearing it; hearing these things make the rest of us grouchy. We don't want to be grouchy, we want to enjoy the game that helps us get away from it all. Really though, we get it. You don't want Pokemon and Pandarans. Last time I checked everyone groaned about Death Knights, Worgen, Blood Elves, Draenei, and pretty much every other major implement to the game. Most seem fine with those additions now. It's okay to have new elements and lore come into play.
- Enjoy your time in Azeroth. If your guild weighs down on you and you find yourself not enjoying the company that you're in, make a change. Most people do not change, but changing the environment you reside in is always an option. There is no reason to be loyal to something that makes you miserable; it's unhealthy and misery tends to breed more misery.
- You know that old saying of "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all"? Embrace it. We all get snarky from time to time and it can be a riot to pick on that warlock in LFR who is doing 4k dps, but for as "fun" as these things can be, it's honestly all just unnecessary negativity. Differences of opinions happen, try to learn something from another person's viewpoint. That lock pulling 4k dps? Maybe it's their first 25 man raid since the middle of Wrath and they had no idea that they'd drop to 2fps during the Ultraxion encounter. If you don't know the situation, or even if you do, don't throw more negativity into the mix. It doesn't help or fix anything.
- Be a positive influence in your environment. Let me give an example. If a "noob" asks a question in General or Trade chat and is only met with trolling, reach out and give him/her a legit answer. If someone whispers you about how they can improve their character, give them some helpful advice, or if you honestly don't know perhaps point them in the direction that they can find the information that they seek. Be helpful, don't be a tool.

Do I ever see the community as a whole embracing even a few of my view points? Not really. I think at this point we are stuck in a really nasty cycle of negativity breeding negativity, and after dealing with it so long most folks are simply walking away because it's easier to do that than to fix the issues at hand. People are tired. They're tired of the same old dramas, they're tired of the stagnation that comes with (in my case a very old) server-based communities, they're tired because they've been playing the same game for 4/5/6/7+ years and may no longer hold the same charm for them that it once did. LFG/LFR is not killing the community and Blizz isn't actively trying to do harm to the community (it would be bad business on their part to do so; they really are trying to make it a better place for us all despite what certain experimental flops may look like). Simply put the community is wearing on the community. The best prevention that we have is to take care of ourselves, do better for ourselves and others, and hope that others follow suit. More positivity, more lending a helping hand, less crying and moaning about not getting our own way all the time. Burnout will happen to everyone at some point, and those folks will come back if they have a community that they actually want to return to. Perhaps if we all do our part, we can rekindle that community, that place where everyone wants to hangout, once again.

While the end of Azeroth isn't quite nigh, it will happen eventually. Raiding will not cease forever tomorrow, our friends will not disappear suddenly into the shadows of memory, but it will happen someday. In the end though that's okay, because every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Operation Overkill

I am, if you haven't figured this out by now, someone who likes her projects. Often these projects are me biting off far more than I can chew, and naturally this leads to many things being left unfinished, or left to be finished at a much later date than planned.

Currently I have two major projects left unfinished on my shaman: Loremaster and Insane in the Membrane. Unfortunately I'm stuck on Loremaster until I raise my goblin rep for the Insane, at least to the point where the goblins decide that I'm no long a 'kill on sight' target. While I hope to achieve both of these titles prior to Mists of Pandaria, I am once again dragging my heels and looking for ways to procrastinate. Which brings me to my next big distracting project: Operation - Pimp My Alt.

O-PMA is more or less what it sounds like. I currently have 7 85s and I'd like to raise that number to 10 before MoP releases. Not only do I want to raise that number, but I'd like to get all of my alts into 378 or better gear in at least their main specs, if not their alt specs as well. Why would I do this? Simply put, some aspects of me lean towards being a completionist and I absolutely hate that I have all of these incomplete alts.

I know that this plan seems pretty far fetched, especially when you factor in the fact that I still will be writing from time to time on both blogs, hope to remain at least semi active in certain forums (which I've been failing at lately), raid full time on at least my shaman, keep my druid up to par, and achieve both of the time consuming titles mentioned previously.

So how far do I have to go? Well, let's just say I have a LOT of work ahead of me, but let me lay out where I stand right now. Here's a fairly complete list of all the projects that I've put onto my plate, at least in game.


Saz - Raiding full time (2-3 days a week). Loremaster: Eastern Kingdoms/Outland Complete, a few zones in Kalimdor left to complete (mostly the areas involving goblins), most zones in Northrend 2/3 complete, Vashjir left to complete in Cataclysm. Insane: Goblin reps (most still hated after Bloodsail Admiral was obtained), Darkmoon Faire (revered), Ravenholt (honored).

Kelebek - 378 gearing complete, though I have been running LFR for filler pieces and heroics to cap her Valor Points.

Warlock - 378 gearing nearly complete. Just need helm, neck, shoulders, and a trinket. Number output needs tweaking.

Priest - 378 shadow gearing nearly complete. Just need shoulders, cloak, a trinket, and a ring. Disco is a bit up in the air. Dps number output needs some tweaking.

Hunter - 378 gearing complete. Still running some heroics and/or LFR so that she may buy Kelebek boots. Dps number output needs some tweaking.

Death Knight - 378 gearing is far from complete. Dps numbers are okay despite gear. Currently sporting a mix of dps and tank gear. Would like both sets for instances (dps) and soloing (tank).

Paladin - 378 gearing has hardly begun. Currently a mix of greens, blues, and easy to gain epics for her ret spec. Holy set is mostly questing items (greens) and a few 333s. Needs Magister's Terrace for her Orb of Sin'dorei (tradition for me). Must research proper use of CDs, but numbers are okay

Rogue - Level 70. Must level cap and gear while continuing to pick pocket so that my shaman may get her Insane title.

Warrior - Level 45. Must level cap and at least gear for arms or fury.

Mage - Level 40. Must level cap and gear up for at least arcane since I have no plans to ever raid her.


The plan for O-PMA is to go down my list of alts and dedicate a week (drop luck permitting of course) to their gearing and to the research/practice of my skills with their particular spec/class (more than likely dps only). I ultimately hope cut down on my impulsive "need" to run half a billion heroics while still trying to squeeze in LFRs, actual raiding, and real life shenanigans like eating and sleeping. If I finish an alt early in the week, the rest of my play time will be dedicated towards the various reputation grinds that my shaman still needs. With some luck I hope that this project will not only be successful, but a fun way to get to know the various classes in my arsenal.

I know that it sounds like I'll be playing 24/7, but rest assured that I will be trying to make sure that it isn't quite as hectic as it sounds and that I will be taking plenty of time away from the game to read my books and watch various TV shows on Netflix. I'll be doing my best to not burn myself out on the game, since I would like to continue to play it for a long time yet.

Outside of O-PMA and my various blogging projects, I plan on beginning a few soloing adventures on Saz, mainly Wrath of the Lich King content if possible. I'm not quite sure how far I'll get with this venture, but it should be interesting to see what I can down now as enhancement. If things go well, I hope to write up a few quick guides on soloing Wrath bosses, and maaaaybe videos of me completing such antics if I can find a damn editing program that will work for me. On top of that, I hope to write more enhancement based guides in general, though that's a bit of a different topic!


So what do you thing, am I absolutely insane? Do you have any crazy goals like this that you're hoping to pull off before the next expansion is upon us?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Fortune Friday

They're quirky, they're fun, they're random Azerothian fortunes! Every Friday you will see a different fortune (either from our beloved Darkmoon Faire or the new fortune cards) featured here at World of Saz. Enjoy!

Fortune Card: You will have a long, happy life with many resurrections along the way.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Heroic Morchok: Tips for the Enhancement Shaman

You've done it! Your guild has defeated Deathwing on regular mode and now you all want to jump back to a time when the Wyrmrest Temple was still crawling with baddies, though this time around you intend to make terrible jokes about the bosses' mothers in order to make your encounter with them more difficult. By this I mean that you and your guild are looking for a more challenging Dragon Soul raid, heroic style.

What can you do as an enhancement shaman to help your raid succeed with taking down Morchok and his evil twin, Kochrom? There are plenty of little things that you can do to help out your healers while still maintaining the pressure on the boss you're assigned to. Enhancement does very well with this fight, and thus far the only classes that have been beating me out on damage have been those buggery rogues that are able to cloak their way out of the Black Blood damage. If you play your cards right, you'll be well on your way to topping the charts as well.

This "guide" is done under the assumption that you are already aware of how the mechanics differ between normal and heroic modes. If you'd like a text guide to help you along, please visit the guide over on Icy-Veins. With that said, I shall now try to lay down some tips and tricks for you all that I've been using.

You (Optional Ideas)
~ Spec ~
No fancy changes need to be made to your spec for this encounter.

~ Glyphs ~
I suggest considering trading out Glyph of Windfury Weapon for Glyph of Feral Spirit for this encounter. The reason behind this is two fold. 1) In the rare event that wolves come off of cooldown just before a Black Blood phase, your wolves will have increased damage on the boss as you're running away. 2) The higher AP of your wolves will increase your self healing, giving your healers a nice little break in what is a very healing intensive encounter.

If you have other nature resist buffs present (Mark of the Wild and Blessing of Kings for example), you may consider switching out Glyph of Healing Stream for Glyph of Stoneclaw Totem and begin to practice some minor "totem twisting" (dropping Stoneclaw for a moment to gain the shield buff, then switching back to your earth totem of choice) to help alleviate some damage to yourself if your healers are struggling.

~ Totems ~
Fire - Good ole Searing Totem.

Water - Healing stream totem, unless you don't have a paladin giving Blessing of Might or a Warlock in your group rocking the Fel Hunter, giving your group Fel Intelligence. In the rare event that you don't have a mana generation buff, use Mana Stream Totem.

Air - Windfury Totem (your casters should hopefully have the haste buff from either the Wrath of Air Totem from another shaman or from a shadow priest or moonkin)

Earth - There are three choices for this totem, one of which is temporary. Strength of Earth is our default totem, but isn't needed so long as there is a hunter with a cat (Roar of Courage) in proximity to us, a death knight using Horn of Winter, or a warrior using their Battle Shout. If the strength/agility buff is present, but there isn't another shaman nearby dropping Stoneskin Totem or a paladin with the Devotion Aura up, use Stoneskin Totem to help reduce some of the physical damage from the stop that the bosses do via increased armor. The third choice would be to twist in Stoneclaw totem to put a damage bubble on ourselves, and then switching back to either our SoE or SS totem.

For more information on totems and the glyphs that modify them, please see my guide on totems and their uses, which can be found here.

~ Heroism/Blood Lust ~
Save this buff until the last 20% or so of the bosses' health bars. Pop it right after a Black Blood phase has ended and everyone is once again positioned (do not pop it just before a Black Blood phase, I don't care if he's right at 20%...much more beneficial to everyone to wait on it for both healing and dps purposes). If your wolves are not up right when the time comes to Hero/Lust and you have a mage or another (preferably dps, since a resto may be tight on mana at this point) shaman in your group, consider having them pop the buff so that you may use yours on your wolves later on.

**Please note that Hero/Warp/Lust will not likely reach both groups at the end of the encounter. Each group needs their own separate haste buff. 10 man groups will have to take this into consideration as they set up the two groups.**

The Pull
Pre-pot as usual.

Open up your rotation as usual, with possible one adjustment. If you're assigned to stay on Morchok, feel free to pop your wolves right away and continue to use them as they come off of cooldown. If you're assigned to Kochrom, save them until he arrives into his designated position (or at least until your Kochrom tank has sufficient threat on him).

The Encounter
There are only a few minor things that change between the normal and heroic mode. For the most part for us it is still very much a tank and spank fight with a minor "get out of the bad" phase mixed in. Here are a few tips on how to maximize your dps while lowering your damage intake.

1) Learn to max distance the boss. Us mail wearing types can NOT eat the double stomp damage. Leave that to your crafty rogue friends or the dudes in plate. Please note that this gets a bit tricky, for the boss WILL shrink as the encounter goes on. Just be aware of how far you are from the boss while still being able to hack into his butt and you should be fine.

2) Ghost Wolf form is your friend. Glyph it, bind it, use it, love it. It will get you away from the boss faster in the Black Blood phase, help you get back to the boss after the Black Blood Phase has ended, and in the event that you find yourself having to soak some Resonating Crystal, it allows you to sit on the boss a second longer, get to the crystal, go boom (stay on the front side towards the boss, it'll knock you in his direction), and get you back to doing what you do.

3) Shamanistic Rage is your friend. During stomps or during crystal damage (assuming that for some odd reason you're having to run out to eat crystal damage) is a prime time to bust out this ability. Use it a few ticks before Morchok/Kochram have their stompy fit and your healers will love you. You'll only be able to use this ability once out of the four times they stomp in between Black Blood phases, so try to time it for when healer/raid tank CDs feel the weakest.

4) Racials are your friend. Are you a Dwarf or Draenei? If you're a Dwarf, you have another damage reduction CD to weave in by the name of Stoneform. For example you may want to use SR on stomp two and Stoneform on stomp four. If you're a Draenei, perhaps use SR on one of the stomps and then use Gift of the Naaru after another has occurred. Sure GotN seems to do beans for healing, however every little bit helps, especially on a first kill. (Sorry Horde, I'm not terribly familiar with your racials. You're all smart folk though, you can figure it out!)

5) Black Blood Phase - There is NO reason for you to sit on the outside of the earth fragments like an awkward looking lawn ornament. While your boss is casting Earthen Vortex, you should be swiveling your camera around, looking for the best set up of earth fragments to hide behind. Be on the look out for two or more spikes that are near enough together to provide adequate coverage from the Black Blood while not completely line of sighting you from the boss. Aim yourself in the direction of your coverage target, shift into ghost wolf the second he drops the raid, and make for your safe spot like your ghostly tail is on fire. Once you've safely arrived at your intended destination, go into caster mode. Unleash your weapon, cast your shocks, throw Lava Bursts at him when it's off cooldown, and spam the hell out of Lightning Bolt. Is it ideal? Nope, being ideal would be us being able to completely mitigate the Black Blood damage all together like our rogue brothers and sisters. It does however continue to put damage up on the boss, which is vital to beating the enrage timer.

Once this phase has ended, shift back into your puppy form and make a run for the boss. You then may resume your usual tank and spank tom foolery.

6) Healing isn't something that we should be doing very often (ideally never, but things can and do happen), but if you're sporting any variation of the T13 that gives you a set bonus, your healing spells have increased effect (2pc) and if your puppies are out, you're popping Maelstrom stacks like candy anyhow (4pc). Missing out on a Lightning Bolt is more than acceptable if it helps your healers out in a pinch. Drop a Healing Rain on the melee group during a stomp (ranged will be chilling with you then anyhow), throw an emergency heal on a player, do what you gotta do to help prevent a wipe. Just don't be spamming your Jesus Beams at everyone and their brother every time you get a stack of Maelstrom just because you can.

The Home Stretch (sub 20%)
This is the point where both bosses get Furious. Hero/Lust/Warp is rolling, what more can you do? Well, assuming that you pre-potted properly, this is the ideal time to be using that second potion. Likewise, this is the portion of the fight where it is exceptionally important that you are rolling defensive cooldowns. More than likely your wolves will be up during this phase, and this is really where switching out that glyph comes in handy. Having more self heals rolling on yourself lets the healers focus their mana more on keeping those tanks up through the increased damage, as well as just making it easier for them to take care of the chaos that is the last bit of this fight.

If you do your job correctly as an enhancement shaman (and of course, provided that the other 9 or 24 people you are raiding with do their jobs as well), you should have yourself some heroic loot in no time!

Heroic Loots
So the boss is dead and some stuff dropped that has agility on it. What's good for us, and what should be passed on?

Seal of Primordial Shadow - A ring that has a chance to drop off of Morchok, Zon'ozz, Yor'sahj, Hagara, and Warmaster Blackhorn. Best in slot item.

Vial of Shadows - A trinket that has a chance to drop off of Morchok, Zon'ozz, Yor'sahj, Hagara, and Warmaster Blackhorn. Best in slot item.

Sporebeard Gauntlets - Glove that drop off of Morchok. Can be used as an offset piece, but is better itemized for hunters by far. BiS gloves for enhance would be our tier gloves. These could be a viable off piece until you manage to land your heroic tier gloves because of the double red sockets, but ultimately this item is meant for hunters due to the lack luster secondary stats. Pass in my opinion, unless they sim out to be better than what you have with your personal set up.

Final Tips
Clear out a bit more of the trash on both sides than you think you'll need to. It sucks something fierce to get sub 5% on the boss only to have a crystal spawn a bit too close to a pack of mobs, having the ranged accidentally pull said mobs, and wipe the raid. Always be on the safe side, or you will more than likely be sorry.

Separate the two Morchok and Kochram groups in Ventrilo/Mumble. Once Morchok is below 90% health, the fight is essentially two different fights. To prevent confusion between the use of healing and tank cooldowns of the two groups, separate channels is advised. During this fight only two things need to be coordinated between the two groups, Heroism/Blood Lust and the calling of a wipe. Both of those things can be done efficiently through raid warnings.


I hope that those of you who have read this post walk away with something that helps you in your journey to defeat the Heroic Morchok encounter. If you feel that any of the information in this post is incorrect, or you have something to add, please leave a comment!

Good luck and have fun!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Respect (Fanfic Doodles)

The dark skinned Draenei woman grabbed her young male companion by one of his facial tendrils, pulling him into a side ally way and threw him against a wall.

"That is NOT how a proper person acts, in public or in private."

"Who do you think you are? My father paid good coin to have me tutored by you, and yet you sit here lecturing me how to treat some low life on the street." The younger Draenei rubbed his bruising, pale tendril as he glared furiously at his female instructor.

"Your insolence to every being you come across is appalling, Valann." She squared her shoulders and looked her pupil in the eye. "You want to know why your father chose me? Then I shall tell you, for you apparently have neglected your history books."

With a dark hand she motioned for her student to follow her as they made their ways through the crowed market streets of Stormwind.

"I am a veteran warrior, hardened by years of fighting on fields and in citadels. With axes in hand and the elements at my call, with spirits to guide me and fellow fighters by my side, I have waged war against those who would cause harm to the helpless. Along side the Horde and Alliance alike I have battled the Old Gods, nightmares, the walking dead, and demons; I've seen patchwork monstrosities, fought creations made by the Titans, and laid to rest the restless souls of a thousand liches and banshees. I have seen horrors that not even your wildest nightmares can come up with, young one. I have heard the maddening whispers of the Old Gods. I have been driven mad, only to somehow find my way back again."

The youth rolled his eyes. His instructor pretended to not notice the slight.

"Truth be told Valann, most of the scars that you see upon my flesh are older than your father. The elements have been heading my call for far longer than you have been a twinkle in your devoted father's eye. While this fact may have never crossed your mind, I actually happen to know a thing or two about how things in this world - as well as a few other worlds - work."

"Yeah, I get it. You're some hot-shot shaman warrior."

With a quick flick of the wrist the shaman snatched the young Draenei's ear. "You apparently don't get it. Time and time again you show no respect towards those around you." She released him with a jerk. "In all my years as an ambassador, dealing with the bickering between the different races of Azeroth, I have hardly seen the sort of disrespect that you continue to show me and your fellow beings time and time again. At least if the Horde showed disrespect towards a member or group of the Alliance, they had a damn good reason behind it."

The pair had made it down to the Stormwind harbor. In silence they descended the ramps that lead down to the docks. With a straight back and an air of having been offended, the dark skinned Draenei led her charge to the end of the dock where a ship would arrive to take them to Northrend. Together they stood quietly while time passed them by.

"Father never said anything about you being an ambassador to the Horde."

"It isn't your father's job to tell or teach you everything. Open up your eyes and ears boy, and opening a book now and again wouldn't hurt you either."

Several long minutes passed the pair by.

"Tell me Ambassador...is the Lady Sylvanas...attractive?"

His instructor gave him a look that would have caused a earthen elemental to spontaneously burst into flames. "You are a vile, crass creature, Valann of the Exodar. It really is a wonder that the Naaru, for as forgiving with our people as they may be, have yet to smite you down." Despite wanting to remain stern with the youth and having a deep desire to further reprimand him, she smiled and gave a little laugh. "You really are a damnable beast. Perhaps we shouldn't even bother with this little journey, I doubt you'd bother to listen to half of what I say while we're there anyways." She made a gesture of defeat and turned to walk back towards the city. "I know a lost battle when I see one."

Valann's instructor made it about half way down the dock before he chased her down. "Wait! Forgive me, I was out of line."

The shaman turned to her pupil, eyeing him suspiciously. "Changed your mind about proper behavior, have you?"

"I'd like to go to Northrend with you," mumbled the youth.

"Hmm? What was that? I guess these old ears just are not as sharp as they used to be."

"I'd still like to go to Northrend with you, if that's okay." The young Draenei hung his head as he said this, cautiously looking up at his chaperone as he spoke.

A bell tolled off in the distance; their ship had arrived.

The instructor turned her dark face turned towards the ship, deep thought and consideration wrinkled her forehead. She turned her gaze back to her charge.

"Very well."

Together they walked the distance back to where the great ship was docked. The vessel was a massive, wooden beast with a gigantic water wheel attached to its stern. The central mast was huge, rope ladders created spider-like patterns on the deck, and the whole dock seemed to come alive as the deckhands moved goods to and from the port in preparation of the next voyage.

"Names and titles, if you please." stated a uniformed crew member.

"This is Valann of the Exodar, son of Diplomat Kalind the Exalted. I am Saz, diplomat of the Alliance and ambassador to the Horde. I am an explorer of Azeroth, a Professor and Loremaster in training. I am an Avenger of Hyjal; I am of the Nightfall. I am the Undying, the Patient, Champion of the Frozen Wastes as well as an Argent Champion. I am a Guardian of Cenarius, a matron, a merrymaker, a Kingslayer. I fancy myself to be a brewmaster as well as a chef. I am Saz the Noble, the Hallowed, Flame Warden, and the Exalted. Bloodsail Admiral, Crusader, the Destroyer's End. Some call me "Salty" while others long to call me "the Insane." I am an Elder and I wish to take my charge aboard this ship and sail to the frigid wastes of Northrend to teach him how the ways of frozen path of arrogance will end for him."

The look upon the official's face was one of awe; Valann's white face greyed and then turned a shameful shade of red.

"Welcome aboard Ambassador. I wish you a happy journey north."

Together the pair boarded their ship and without a word they waited in the galley for their boat to leave port and for dinner to be served; one sat in a quiet reverie while the other remained in silent understanding.

Saz allowed herself a little smirk as she watched her pupil quietly stare off into the abyss. In a way she almost felt bad for the youth. For as hard as an exterior he put on, she could easily see nervous jitters boiling within his blood. For once he wasn't off harassing someone, catching some poor soul unaware with his brash and cruel behaviors. She decided that perhaps he wasn't untrainable after all. Still, the tales and trials of Northrend would more than likely be enough to see if this boy had the soul and backbone capable of handling such things as government or battle.

The sun's light was hardly visible through the tiny port windows by the time Valann finally plucked up the courage to speak.

"Is...is Ysera as attractive in her human form as they say she is?"

The look that flashed across the shaman's face would have caused a fire elemental to wish it were stone.

Spirits, give me strength.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Fortune Friday

They're quirky, they're fun, they're random Azerothian fortunes! Every Friday you will see a different fortune (either from our beloved Darkmoon Faire or the new fortune cards) featured here at World of Saz. Enjoy!

Fortune Card: You have many hidden talents. You will gain more with experience.

Sunday, January 1, 2012


For the record, I am terrible with making resolutions. Long have I given up trying to make promises that I cannot keep. As it turns out I'm a pretty terrible liar, even to myself. So in general I strive to always keep one thing in mind, even in moments where it seems absolutely impossible to do so: stay positive. Doesn't always work, but I suppose that is why I chose the word 'strive' instead of the phase 'this is what I always do.' I guess it has something to do with being an imperfect human, or something.

Anyways, random story time. As I was streaming tonight a broadcast popped up in my chat box from Xfire. It wasn't a warning about behavior, nor was it a message about them having to do maintenance on anything. No, it was simply a sweet message from the Xfire team wishing its users a Happy New Year. I thought I'd share this message with you all since I couldn't have come up with better words myself for this occasion.

"Let this new year be better than all the others. Vow to do some of the things you have always wanted to do but could not find the time. Call up a forgotten friend. Drop an old grudge, and replace it with some pleasant memories. Vow not to make a promise you think you can not keep. Walk tall, and smile more. Do not be afraid to say, I love you. They are the sweetest words in the world. Happy New Year!"

I can't promise to do any of these things personally, for it could end up being a promise that I may unknowingly (or possibly knowingly) break, but I think everything in that message is something to strive for. There's never harm in trying to go after the positive things in life.

To new relationships, new friends, new guilds, new jobs and new beginnings. To better health and better luck. To new projects, new ambitions, and new adventures. May your well of inspiration and hope never run dry, and may this year rock harder than the last.