Latest Entries »

I got my paladins to 70. I’m now going to let them get rested XP so that I can spend as little time running Wrath of the Lich King dungeons as possible; I’ve done them to death and beyond. If I can do 3 levels a week on them, that would be 10 weeks before I get to Legion stuff. That’s a slog.

Butm at least I can switch off with my Demon Hunter group! As soon as I dinged 70 I got to work building that team. The starting area was surprisingly painless to multi-box. Everything was boxer friendly, all of the bosses were trivial with 5 tanks blowing them up, and I got through in about an hour, with much of that time spent tweaking things.

Getting their artifacts wasn’t bad – I had to take about 10 minutes per just quickly getting their glaives, since those are of course scenarios. I got quicker as I ran through it each time, figuring out what I could skip, how much I could tank, etc.

The real slog so far has been the Stormheim scenario and the Exodar stuff. I figured I might as well rip the bandaid off as quickly as possible, so I got all of my team through Stormheim and the Exodar back to back. Holy crap but those are annoying and take much too long. I won’t mind that my paladins will need 10 weeks or so before I get there because that’s about when I’ll be willing to run them again.

Fun thing with the DH team is that I made them all miners and herbalists, and it really is nice to be able to multi-tap nodes. I haven’t set anything fancy up to make mining and herbing easier, I’m just shifting from window to window and clicking on a node. At some point I’ll spend some time on that, but for right now it’s no big deal. Even that seems pleasant compared to that annoying Stormheim intro and having to once again find out that the Prophet Velen was a pretty crap dad and also not so good with the prophecy stuff.

But I will be.

Once I get my 5x Protection Paladin team to level 70, my plan is to let them gain rested XP while I level up a team of 5x Vengeance Demon Hunters (yes, I loves me some tanking). I figure I can switch between the two teams to keep things fresh.

Vengeance might be a bit tricky – there’s a fair amount of movement needed to play it well, and that’s always challenging for me. I’m not sure on professions yet – I might also make them gatherers, because gold is good, and they can feed my other characters who have crafting professions.

Huge good thing is also going to be that by the time I get that team started, 7.1.5 should be out, which means I’ll get 15 ranks worth of Artifact Knowledge, which should let me quickly get them up to snuff.

I’ve decided to dust off my multi-boxing skills and start tinkering about in Legion. Right now I’m leveling a team of Paladins, all Protection Spec, with full heirlooms.

So far the team is level 55, entirely through dungeons once I hit level 10, and it’s been smooth sailing through everything. Trash melts between Avenger’s Shield, Consecration and Blessed Hammer. The self healing from Light of the Protector is great, and Flash Heal can deal with spikes. Having 2 cooldowns to use to reduce incoming damage helps on some boss fights.

My set-up this time around is dead simple – I’m using ISBoxer for key broadcasting. I have a main attack sequence which is just alternating Blessed Hammer and Shield of the Righteous, and then I have all my other abilities being fired off as they come onto cooldown. The priority I’m using is Avenger’s Shield->Judgment->Consecration->Light of the Protector->Main Attack.

My plan with the team is to level exclusively through dungeons until I get to Legion, at which point I’ll mix dungeons with questing, since that’s essential for class progression. Also, at the point I get to Legion content, I’m going to make everyone a miner and herbalist, since you can multi-tap nodes now.

I’ve been extremely busy so haven’t updated much of anything.

Now that I’m back again, I am still trying to figure out how to get this stupid YouTube Feeder plugin to work, as well as a few other transitional issues that came up when I moved to this different hosting situation. Bleh!

I figure a Tuesday downtime is a good time to take a pause and throw out some feedback about Mists of Pandaria.

Now that I’ve had a bit of an opportunity to play around in Mists of Pandaria – questing, running dungeons, doing professions, starting some Monks – I can report back with a bit of experience about the game and how it’s changed for multi or dual-boxers, rather than just my speculation as before.

What is GOOD:

– Questing is, by and large, the same now for boxers as it is for single players. There were a few quests in the Pandaria zones that didn’t work properly for boxers (wouldn’t update everyone) but those seem to be getting fixed. The only quests that now aren’t easier for boxers are the gathering quests where you have to interact with a sparkly – those you have to do for each member. I consider that a small sacrifice, as every other kind of quest is super easy to do thanks to having a whole posse. Kill quests have gotten much harder for single players. Additionally, some quests require you to interact with an animal to gather them – there’s one for snagging dragonflies, for example, and if you target one and then have your whole team assist and then interact with target EVERYONE gets one.

– The instances are, so far, exactly as I thought – Blizzard learned their lesson from Cataclysm and have seriously toned down the difficulty of normal dungeons and heroics. Mechanically, there are not many “If you mess up this one mechanic you will absolutely die instantly and cause a wipe” things going on. The closest I can think of would be in the Temple of the Jade Serpent where the final boss throws a curse on you that will kill your party if you don’t dispel it within about 5-10 seconds or so. But it’s telegraphed and extremely easy to remove, so whatever. If you want a challenge, do challenge modes – for everyone else, normal and heroic modes are just fine.

– The professions! They’ve retrofitted the whole “get multiple skillups from one combine” mechanic into some of the older professions which has taken a bit of the grind out of them. Enchanting, Tailoring, Inscription and Alchemy were trivial to level and Cooking was basically just “go to Halfhill, get 535 cooking in no time.” Gathering is easy since there’s just SO MUCH STUFF and it respawns quickly.

– The zones! They’re GORGEOUS! The NPC’s are funny! The quest text is worth reading! The phasing isn’t nearly as bad as it was in previous expansions!

– The whole “multiple ways to level” thing has really come of age. My druid (solo boxer) character managed to get halfway through level 87 just by gathering herbs and ore and doing archaeology. My Horde team is leveling through questing and dungeons, while my Ally team will level, I think, entirely through dungeon runs. You could do this kind of thing previously, of course, but now it feels a lot more like either way is a completely valid choice, instead of one being clearly super fast with the other being a grind.

– Gearing up! My Alliance team was in crap gear but thanks to the vendors in various zones they are now at least not suicidally poorly geared. A good thing.

– Two Moons! A central city for each faction and there’s everything you can want – portals are back, there’s an engineer auction house just so I can feel superior, and so on. It’s also quite lovely.

– Most of the talent/spec system changes! Everything I want is baked right into my spec, and when it comes time to pick talents I have a choice. How awesome is that? Same for glyphs.

– AoE looting is the bomb diggity, as my goblin friends might say.

What is BAD:

– Questing! Overall it’s good, but there are some bad issues with glitches in quests that you’ll run across. It feels like these should have been handled in beta.

– Some professions! Ore is hellishly expensive since it gets used by 3 professions vs. herbs which only get used by 2 professions. Some professions have a super easy path to level up, but Blacksmithing, Engineering and Leatherworking seem to be a bit less easy to skill up. I’m calling these “bads” not because they are horribly grindy, but just because they are annoying compared to the easy professions.

What I’m on the fence about:

– No flying. I like flying because I like just going from point A to point B really fast when I know exactly where I want to be and I don’t want to stop on the way. On the other hand, I don’t mind not being able to fly that much (and I’ll be able to fly again at 90) when I’m constantly stopping to do quests, gather herbs and ore, etc.

– Some of the talent resets irk me. My paladin, for example, gets Heart of the Crusader so I’m faster than my team and now can’t be mounted and still drive from my tank. That bites. I hope they allow me to turn it off or share it again.

For the last week or so I’ve been getting a pile of Error #132 crashes when my team has gone into instances – from looking at the logs it seems like VuhDo is not working correctly, which started just recently. When I have VuhDo in, some of my team will crash every time I run a dungeon. When I have VuhDo out, no crashes.

I’m attempting to fix this now by modifying Pitbull and then adding Clique to let me mimic the functionality of VuhDo. While I’m at it I’ll be re-doing my UI entirely to take a lot of what I consider the clutter out and leaving me with a lot more of the pretty on-screen. A fun little project, and I’ll post screenshots as I make progress.

Here’s my first real video of the Wise Mari fight in Temple of the Jade Serpent. About 50% of the way through the fight ALL of my followers’ WoW crashed with Error 132, but I managed to finish the fight with just my tank running around in circles.

One of the things I wanted to be able to do with my streaming is save streamed sessions so that anyone who went to my stream could see them later on. Alas, Ustream doesn’t seem to do this, but Twitch TV does. So I made an account over at Twitch and now have the little widget on the right side of my screen that shows my live stream and links back to my Twitch page. Getting it set up was a bit of work, but I now have managed to get things set up and working the way I want them.

Even better, literally all of the software I am using to do both video capture and streaming is entirely free! While I am willing to pay for good tools, I see no reason to do that when I can get them, legally, for free.

You need a few different tools in order to stream:

1) Something to actually capture your desktop display. I am using something called VHScrCap, which is a free tool that essentially just makes your desktop look like a camera for any streaming video source. Do a google search for it – I think the software got bought by someone else and made not-free, but the version I have is old and I obtained it legally back in the day.

2) Something to take that video source and send it to a live stream site. I am using Adobe Flash Media Live Encoder 3.2, which is free from Adobe, though you do have to register with them.

3) A streaming service! As I mentioned, I’m using Twitch tv. They had instructions on how to get set up.

For my blog, the plugin I’m using to show the stream in the corner over there is the WP PHP Plugin, and it basically allows me to throw HTML, PHP, JavaScript or whatever into a little self-contained box. I just copied the embed code from Twitch and that worked fine. I had to re-size it a bit but it seems to work well.

The other thing I set up, as mentioned, was my video recording software – this is not a stream, but instead a live recording of my desktop that I can use to make movie files and then edit them later. My intention with this is to record boss fights and other things of that nature so that I can show the strategies and tactics I use in a helpful format. For this I am using the MSI Afterburner suite, which is available for free. It took a bit of work to configure as well – I had to make sure I was running WoW in 32 bit mode and had to configure a proper keybind to turn on recording etc., but it seems to work well. I’ll be recording another video today and publishing that to Youtube and also linking it here.

Finally, I’m trying to figure out how to have my YouTube channel show up in a widget along the side – I think I have a widget working for it, but I won’t know until I have my videos up for at least a day.

I’m now using a version of MSI Afterburner, which is a free application suite from MSI. It does a few things – overclock, let you control your fan, and do screen and video capture. The only thing I’m using it for is video capture, which it seems to handle well.
WoW is experiencing some kind of outage right now – I’m stuck at connecting – but once it’s back online I will give it a try on recording an entire boss fight. Exciting times!

This is just a first try at a video of a boss fight. It’s only 30 seconds (the limit for free FRAPS), but it shows where I position my team for the Wise Mari boss fight in order to burn it down and heal myself through the water blast.