Tackling the To-Do List

September 13, 2014

I’ve had a very productive weekend. I crossed off the Crackling Jade Serpent mount from my list (still need to get one for my sister). I also managed to cross off Shadow Priest and Holy Paladin from the Proving Grounds Project’s gold list, making it 10/11 classes complete now.

It’s looking like I managed to find a group for challenge modes this weekend (and/or next weekend). I offered to heal them, and with Askevar agreeing to tank, along with her husband and their raid’s top dps  joining my sister as dps. I’m really excited to take some first cracks at it. I want them mounts. :)

My only problem now is choosing which toon to bring along. I’m thinking either my druid or my shammy. I’m pretty good healing with both, and, having been tackling proving grounds with them, both are pretty well geared for challenge modes (with sockets and reforges for scaling). I’m leaning towards the druid, since he seemed to handle the scaling better in proving grounds, but with so many group CDs, it’s hard to overlook the shammy. I’m not sure what Venoym is bringing, either, probably a paladin(?). I think any way we slice it, we’ll have a pretty good composition. The mage and hunter alone bring all sorts of burst and CC to the table.


Salvaging Progress from Frustration

September 4, 2014

About a week ago, I was excited to have a new self-built computer. The classic downside to building it yourself? No store to take defective parts to. I’m now a week without a desktop while waiting on tech support to answer my tickets so I can be sure it actually is a defective part and return it. I’m estimating another week or two without it while the the defective parts travel to NewEgg and back. It’s been an endlessly frustrating experience. This isn’t what dropping $750 on a new PC is supposed to feel like. :(

 

On the bright side, I am able to use my sister’s laptop to take some of the edge off my insanity. While it’s not powerful enough to run raids or dungeons (or even proving grounds), I can at least level alts and work on pet battles. I’ve gotten my monk up to 82 and he needs to build up rested again. I’m wanting to get him to 85 so he can learn the guild mount I bought. Meanwhile, this should give me a chance to get back to work on my sister’s toon, so she can get the mount, too.

 

It’s hard to make plans for such things when you don’t have a computer and don’t know when you’ll get one, but I would very much like to form a Challenge Mode group to get the mounts (get any 1 of them and you’ll have all 4 account-wide come 6.0). I also want to get my hands on the normal-mode Garrosh mount, but with the average PUG group wanting you to be fully heroic-geared before doing normal mode, that won’t be an option.


Still More Proving Grounds Progress

August 26, 2014

Also, alt updates!

I’ve gotten my monk up to 74 and am letting him build up rested/monk xp bonus buff. In the meantime, I’ve been leveling an alt in Askevar’s guild for my sister. That toon is currently sitting at 25 and rising. Things are picking up now that I have bags (thanks, Askevar) and a mount.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I had been hitting the DPS endless version of proving grounds pretty heavily in my quest for the Proven Assailant title. After taking a bit of break on alts, I went for another round. My new high is wave 23 (score 2398), which means I picked up the [Proving Yourself: Endless Damage Wave 20] achievement along the way. I’m somewhat heartened that I’m making progress despite the fact that my biggest problem today was playing rather poorly. There were a few distractions here and there, but mostly I just kept forgetting stuff. I think I didn’t get enough sleep last night because I was playing like crap. Misusing CDs, missing mobs (as in I didn’t even see them), standing around not casting; you name it, I screwed it up today. Ugh.


More Proving Grounds Progress

August 20, 2014

Been hitting the DPS endless version of proving grounds pretty heavily, going after the Proven Assailant title. While I haven’t gotten there yet, I did manage to get to Wave 18, and picked up the [Proving Yourself: Endless Damage Wave 10] achievement along the way.

At the risk of jinxing myself, it doesn’t seem like this is going to give me nearly as much trouble as the healer mode did.  I’m pretty well settled into a strategy that works for each wave, and now it’s just a matter of executing the plan. You know, the old “just a little more polish” routine. However, having gotten to 18 so quickly, I’m encouraged. Especially since the reason I failed at that point, and the reason I abandoned today’s attempts altogether, was horrific lag.

Sadly, I can usually only get in good attempts when everyone else is either gone or asleep, because whenever somebody tries to watch videos or play Facebook games (or generally just any other bandwidth-hogging activity), it chokes out the connection and gives me horrific latency.


More Proving Grounds Success

August 19, 2014

Whew! That one was tough. Really tough. I did finally manage to get Proving Grounds Gold: Tank on my prot warrior, though.  That gold completion marks the third and final role completed, and 08/11 classes completed. Huzzah!

I’m not too sure what percentage of the player-base has managed Gold or better on all 3 roles, but I’m guessing it’s not high. Either way, I feel good for having managed it, regardless of how many others have done so.

Combined with my recent [You're Doing it Wrong] achievement (on my Holy Priest), and my [Proven Healer] title (on my Resto Druid), I’m really starting to knock things off of my list. I’ve made steps towards completing the Holy Paladin Gold, and though I’ve gotten to wave 10 several times, I haven’t quite cracked it yet.

I’m a bit concerned about the DPS modes, especially for my DK and Warrior. I have somewhat-geared toons of those classes on Horde-side, but my alliance ones are poorly geared. The problem is that most of my supply network on that side was drained when I made the big faction switch, so I don’t have a ready supply of flasks, food, and gold (for repairs) on that server. I haven’t quite decided whether it would be easier to re-kickstart the production line on that server or to just gear up some alts on this one. Decisions, decisions.

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Proving Grounds Sucess!!!

August 13, 2014

Woot! After much practice and refinement, I have gotten the Endless (Wave 30) achievement and the Proven Healer title that comes with it. My new high score is 3526 and I think I’ll let that stand for the time being. I want to work towards the Endless Damage mode (which I haven’t attempted yet) and also try to finish off some Gold modes that I haven’t cracked yet.

 

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Proving Grounds Progress

August 11, 2014

I put together some really great runs towards the endless healing waves last night. My original high score was 846 before I shifted around the talents and glyphs. That pushed me to 1548 and then 1646 before I plateaued again. And then… well, last night I was kind of “in the zone.” My high jumped to 2546, which gave me the Endless Healer (Wave 20) achievement. So huzzah to that.

I am now getting above wave 20 pretty regularly. I got to 25 twice, but unfortunately both attempts were derailed by lag spikes (as were several attempts that hadn’t gotten that high). I eventually just gave up when the occasional lag spikes faded into yellow or red latency, but all in all it was a productive night, despite all that. I had another attempt that fizzled at 24 because I OOMed when the party didn’t kill the mobs in time for me to drink between 20 and 21 (pretty sad when even the 15-second grace period doesn’t give you enough time to drop combat before the next wave spawns in).

Blizz really needs to do something about the group’s dps or else tweak the mobs’ health on the last wave. It’s endlessly frustrating when (even with the healer dpsing) the group can’t down a 1:00 wave in less than 1:10. Even having the drink key on the action bar and spamming the key as the final mob dies, you’ll get pretty close to missing the window. What I’ve taken to doing is positioning my mushroom/puddle on the spot where Wave 1 spawns in just before the final mob dies and then drinking through most of Wave 1. As long as you get started in the 2-3 second space between dropping combat and the new wave spawning you should be able to keep drinking (as long as you aren’t interrupted by moving or being attacked or something like that). My efflorescence puddle is usually enough to keep everyone healthy enough that I can recover my full mana bar and then top everyone off with basic heals towards the end of the round.

At any rate, I don’t mean to come off so negative about what was essentially a very good night. I got some nice attempts in and I feel like I’ve turned a corner. Just a little more polish ought to get me past that last hump. I’m cautiously optimistic that I’ll crack the last few rounds and get my title soon. After that, I wish to attempt the same thing on my shaman. Yes, I know the title is account wide, but I want to try to “achieve” it on all of the healers. Now that the shaman has his legendary cloak and some Siege gear, he’s actually looking at some extraordinarily good gear for the challenge (huge numbers of sockets and the legendary has extra stats even though the proc is inactive in PG). In fact, I’m tempted to grab a few pieces of Siege gear for my druid, since he still has lots of weak slots. A few extra gems wouldn’t hurt and replacing all of my single-stat Timeless Isle gear with complete gear would also add a little oomph.

I’ll end with a few tips I’ve learned. Hopefully they will be of use to somebody else. Even if not, writing it out helps me organize my thoughts. So, here goes:

  • Casting and maintaining a DoT on each mob adds up over the long term. It is often more effective (both in terms of mana and damage) than trying to dps with hard-cast spells. Just be mindful to do it early and refresh as needed.
  • Waves 5 and 9 are the toughest waves by far.If you have limited raid CDs, those are the waves you want to use them on.
  • Because of the CD on Tranquility, I can usually use it early on Wave 2, late in Wave 5, and then as needed on Wave 9. Any 3-minute healing CD (Healing Tide Totem/Divine Hymn/etc.) should time out the same way.
  • Waves 1, 7, and 10 are easy waves that let you recover mana.
  • Waves 2, 5, and 9 are tougher waves that will make your burn through mana.
  • Waves 3, 4, 6, and 8 are medium-difficulty waves, so you can maintain or maybe even recover mana as long as you stay on top of things.
  • Handling Chomp and Aqua Bomb quickly and efficiently is the key to make or break those waves and by consequence your whole run.
  • In the wave with two Aqua Bombs, your priority is generally as follows: Oto, Ki, Kavan, Sooli, You. Oto and Ki will always hit the melee group. Kavan will often hit the melee group (because she runs to melee range to spam Arcane Explosion). Sooli is almost always alone at range. You can run away from the group. Additionally, you can use a damage reduction CD to minimize damage and then stand in your healing puddle to recover the damage done.
  • The key to handling Chomp is two-fold: 1) keep everyone as close to topped off as possible *before* Chomp is applied, and 2) use a bursty heal to push them above the 90% threshold as quickly as possible. If you don’t have any better tools available, even your basic fast/expensive heal (Flash Heal/Healing Surge/etc.) works out to be cheaper than letting Chomp continue to tick.
  • Damage Reduction CDs will help you catch up if you get behind on a Chomp, assuming you have one available. This is particularly useful on Oto, since his constant stream of tank damage can make it difficult to get him above 90% long enough for Chomp to clear (it can take a second or two for the game to recognize your health and remove the debuff).
  • If Chomp goes on you, your Soulstone is amazing for taking it off (instantly heals 20% of your health). Unless you have an absolute emergency, save it for this purpose.
  • DON’T PANIC!!! Keep your head and stick to your game plan. The party’s health bars are going to dip. Quite often, they will be below 100% health. Don’t freak out and start spamming your fast heal for every little fireball.
  • You’ll get a ton of mileage out of your ground effects (if you have one). If yours is cheaply/easily movable (like a druid’s) then keep up with the group and move it when they do. If it’s a little more expensive and/or has a lengthier CD (like a shaman’s), try to wait a second or two and make sure he group is settled in before placing your puddle. Either way, place the puddle carefully, covering as much of the group as possible. The mage often moves to melee so try to include her if you can and don’t forget to stand in it yourself.
  • The group may still move out of your puddle despite these precautions. Try not to murder your computer’s monitor in your frustration about this.
  • Proving Grounds Endless Healer mode tests not only your reflexes, but also your decisions. This is the hardest part of the challenge. Learn the difference between a true emergency and just a low health bar.  Train yourself to recognize damage patterns: it usually comes in spikes and lulls. There’s no need to rush to two or three fast heals when only one (or none at all) are needed. If there will be no more damage for 5-6 seconds, a couple efficient heals will work just fine. Likewise, know when you need to use a fast heal or a CD to get a health bar back up quickly because more damage is incoming shortly.

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