Pug Like a Pirate Day

Puggles all dressed up in her pirate outfit. Arrrrrrr

I hope you didn’t miss out on Pirate Day festivities in WoW. But my guildie @glyneth perhaps more fittingly dubbed it Pug Like a Pirate day after encountering me and my beloved pug battle pet, Puggles, above.

I took the Pirate Day festivities a wee step further, thanks to the Dread Pirate costume I bought Puggles on the Isle yesterday afternoon. You see, this gentleman named Whizzig, Merchant of Time, turned up on his giant snail and had them available for a few timeless coins. And I simply could not resist.


P.S. Even the Dark Lady thought she was adorable:



How the Mists of Pandaria BETA Renewed my Interest in WoW


I’ve been on a World of Warcraft hiatus this year. No one was surprised to see it coming, including me, given my responses to my own 2011Year in WoW review. But I kept an eye out for BETA information of interest, and still read BETA related posts that came across my twitter feed. At about the time pet battles were implemented into the BETA, my interest in the changes, and the new content, reached a fever pitch and I happily was given a BETA key (thank you again @Krizhek!) with which to play and see if my love for WoW would be rekindled. And it was.

Of course, my love for my shadow priest Anexxia confounds the empirical evidence on this mind you. She’s my favorite MMO character of all time. And I missed her. So she does give me somewhat purple-tinted glasses for the expansion.

That said, however, poking around and exploring all the new areas, and fishing up the many fish that reside there, learning Pandaren cooking, and even getting started with my own Tiller’s kitchen garden got me really revved up about playing WoW again. So much so that I reactivated my live account to start looking around for some new active guilds in which to play. Because I want to be ready to go when the pre-expansion activities hit.

I think the key to what grabbed me in the expansion, in addition to missing playing my shadow priest, is how so many of the little things I enjoyed doing (fishing, cooking, collecting mini pets) now are such a bigger part to the game (or better integrated with each other in the case of the cooking/fishing/gardening.) I am not sure that I will even roll a monk at all, but I will definitely have a blast making my way through all of the new scenery in Pandaria.

What about you– are you planning to play once the expansion hits?

Shadow Priest FAQs V.2

Big DPS comes in small shadowy packages.

Q: Which is better, spirit or crit? And should I choose haste over mastery?

A: I go with the stat weightings provided by Shadowpriest.com:

  • Int = 1.00 (always normalized to 1)
  • SP = 0.79
  • Haste = 0.50
  • Crit = 0.42
  • Mastery = 0.42
  • Hit = 0.00* (see notes on hit)
  • Spi = 0.00* (see notes on spirit/hit)

Hit and spirit are given a 0 because after you hit your hit cap, it is entirely worthless to have additional hit. Your hands down most valuable stat is Intellect. Crit is still tasty, and Mastery has been improved, but haste is still the primary stat you will be looking for after Intellect.

Q: How much hit should I have?

A: That depends on your comfort level. The previous wisdom was you wanted to be hit capped, at 17%, for raid bosses. But since 4.0 dropped, hit cap has seemed a lot less important for shadow priests than our other stats. I personally run with 12.5-13.5% hit.

Q: What should I be reforging? Should I aim towards straight hit or spirit that gives mana regen and hit? Is there a plus to just doing hit?

A: My two most reforged stats are hit and mastery. I will also reforge off spirit when I feel I have enough hit. Whenever it is an option to do so, I reforge an undesirable stat into haste. My gear is a mix of hit pieces and spirit pieces. The only value to picking hit pieces of spirit pieces is to not have pouty PUG healer harangue you about “stealing” a spirit piece from them when you can’t possibly use spirit (when in fact you both have equal claim to it.)

Q: What is our best rotation?

A: If you are running in on a boss such as on Magmaw, you’ll want to toss out your instant casts on your way in, then hit your Vampiric Touch, and start on your mind flays. If you are stationary, start with the Vampiric touch then put up your other DoTs, then Mindflay. After Mindflay activates your archangel, pop it, then mindflay again twice to get your 5 stacks of Dark Evangelism which then buffs your periodic damage spells. Mindblast whenever it is up (in my experience I always have an orb or two up), and Shadow Word: Death only when your target is under 25% or when you start to get low on mana. And use that shadowfiend whenever he’s available.

Q: What about Mind Sear?

A: It’s horribly low DPS currently, but will be doubled in damage after patch 4.1 at which point we’ll see if it beats tagging adds with VT and single targeting them down.

Q: What are the must-have addons for raiding and heroics?

A: I keep it simple: Quartz Castbar to see when I should start queuing up my next spell, and Need to Know which allows me to track my DoTs. Omen and DBM for raiding. There are some shadow priest specific mods out there, but I’ve never used them.

Send in more questions via the comments and we’ll get to a V.3 yet!

Cataclysm: Factions to Grind

When it comes to prioritizing which reputations I focus on working up to Exalted status, my priorities are based upon: profession recipes they unlock, pets or mounts that are available, and otherwise hard to obtain entry-level 80 gear for that character. This is why few of my characters attempt to work through all of the reputations each new expansion brings. This guide aims to help you prioritize where to spend your Cataclysm reputation faction grinding time.

NOTE: Until I can see how the rare level items from crafting and heroics shake out, not including the purchasable rare items here. In prior expansions, most of the rare reputation blues were not typically worth grinding out rep for on their own merits.

Neutral Factions

Horde Factions

Alliance Factions

Guardians of Hyjal

Exalted rep will land you the ability to purchase an epic plate DPS belt, cloth spirit belt, melee DPS mail boots (Malorne gear not for druids? Oh the humanity!), or a tanking cloak. Spellcasters will want to grind at least to revered to grab the Arcanum of Hyjal helm enchant.


These guys are on my epic faction grind list so I can obtain a tan riding camel or a brown riding camel. Other epic purchasable items include dps spellcaster cloth boots, a melee DPS necklace, plate tanking wrists, or a plate healing waist. Melee DPS will want to grind to revered for the Arcanum of the Ramkahen helm enchant.

The Earthen Ring

Epic gear purchasable at exalted includes mail spellcaster boots, cloth spellcaster gloves, a melee DPS ring, and plate healing gloves. Tanks will want to grind to revered to purchase the Arcanum of the Earthen Ring helm enchant.


Therazane's big draw is shoulder enchants. Rare shoulder enhancements available at Honored: Lesser Inscription of Charged Lodestone, Lesser Inscription of Jagged Stone, Lesser Inscription of Shattered Crystal, and Lesser Inscription of Unbreakable Quartz. Epic shoulder enhancements available at Exalted: Greater Inscription of Unbreakable Quartz, Greater Inscription of Shattered Crystal, Greater Inscription of Jagged Stone, and Greater Inscription of Charged Lodestone.

Dragonmaw Clan (H)

 Melee DPS will want to grind out revered for the Arcanum of the Dragonmaw. Epic gear purchasable at exalted includes plate tanking boots, leather melee gloves, a spellcaster leather belt, and a spellcaster necklace.

Hellscream's Reach (H)

Clearly, I am going to be working on this rep, for a number of good reasons. Primarily: Hellscream's Reach Tabard (Use: Teleports the caster to Hellscream's Grasp  on Tol Barad) and the Rustberg Gull vanity pet, both available at Honored reputation. At Exalted reputation, they have trinkets for everyone: Impatience of Youth, Mandala of Stirring Patterns, Mirror of Broken Images, Stump of Time, and Unsolvable Riddle. And they also have two mounts available at Exalted reputation: the Reins of the Drake of the West Wind and the Reins of the Spectral Wolf.

Baradin's Wardens (A)

Alliance folks will br grinding this rep for Baradin's Wardens Tabard (Use: Teleports the caster to Baradin Base Camp on Tol Barad) and the Rustberg Gull vanity pet. Like Hellscream's Reach, they have mounts available at Exalted reputation: Reins of the Drake of the West Wind and Reins of the Spectral Steed. And At Exalted reputation, they have trinkets for everyone: Impatience of Youth, Mandala of Stirring Patterns, Mirror of Broken Images, Stump of Time, and Unsolvable Riddle.

Wildhammer Clan (A)

 Melee DPS will want to grind out revered for the Arcanum of the Wildhammer. Epic gear purchasable at exalted includes plate tanking boots, leather melee gloves, a spellcaster leather belt, and a spellcaster necklace.

Leveling my Mage 58-68 in the Post-patch 3.2 World


In two weeks of moderate playing, that also included a significant amount of raiding and Conquest badge farming on my main, my baby mage sped from 58 through the Dark Portal to Outlands, and up to 68 and into Northrend this weekend. This is thanks primarily to the many alt leveling changes that dropped in Patch 3.2.

Despite my long-standing dislike of Hellfire Peninsula, I forced the mage to start there, knowing it would quickly provide her with significant staff, hat, and boot upgrades. I did not need the chestpiece since she is rocking the new badge heirloom chest in addition to the shoulders. Together, these pieces provide a 20% XP increase from both questing and killing monsters. This is on top of any rested increases she had from time-to-time.

As soon as she dinged 60, she purchased her flying mount, now available at Thrallmar. This was the final key component to her zooming through the next 8 levels.

I cherry-picked my way through my favorite quests in Hellfire, Zangermarsh, Terrokar Forest, and Nagrand, hitting all the key quests with gear upgrades. I made sure to stop over in Mok’Nathal for the cooking recipe quests, and in Netherstorm for the cool pink goggles. I fully explored the map in each zone, grabbing the flight paths too. Each uncovered zone netted 1200 or so XP on average; in my final day in Outland as I finished up and got the Outland exploration achievement, I earned a solid 6 bars from exploring alone.

Some reminders for mages in this leveling phase:

  • Be sure to go back to Ashzara any time after 60 to quest for your polymorph pig spell
  • You can learn your Shattrath teleport at 60, then the portal at 65
  • Especially if you have the boost from badge gear, keep up your mage armor at most times; the extra mana regen can keep you going from evocation cooldown to evocation cooldown, instead of having to drink every few pulls

I have not yet started any Northrend questing, but I did go through a few essential ready steps:

  • My 80 sent her the heirloom tome of cold weather flight(costs $1,000 g from the cold weather flying trainer in Dalaran) so she could immediately start flying at 68
  • I flew from Vengeance landing to Moa’ki Harbor, then up to Dalaran, grabbing flight paths as I went
  • Once in Dalaran, I set my hearth there (can train for the teleport at 71)
  • Got started on the cooking dailies

It will be interesting to see if her leveling velocity stays the course now that she is in Northrend, or if it is slowed down by virtue of having more folks out there jockeying for quest mobs, etc.