Unit frame mods

Unlike Bartender 4, which is my One True bar mod, I don’t have a One True unit frame mod. None of the ones I’ve tried have jumped out at me and said “Me! Choose me! I’m the one you’ll never leave, the one who’ll be there for you come patch and expansion!” I’ve tried a few, the ones I can remember are Pitbull, XPerl and I’ve just started messing with Shadowed Unit Frames.

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Abedabun’s Menagerie

I have a lot of pets and mounts. I can only have one of each visible at a time in game, so I thought they’d appreciate being let out to play here too.

Abedabun has many pets and mounts – at the last count 81 pets and 69 mounts. So if I blog about one of them each week, it will keep this blog up and running for 3 years! However, some of the pets and mounts are really the same just in different colours. And some weeks (like this one) I might cheat and talk about pets on my others characters.

The first pet I ever bought was on my first character, Annuvir the night elf druid. I’d seen people with pets that could attack things and wanted to find out if I could have one too. So I went to the owl trainer in Darnassus, with my hard-earned 50 silver, and bought a Great Horned Owl. I quickly discovered that I couldn’t do anything with it other than admire it, as I wasn’t a hunter. Still, it was cool and it followed me around until level 30ish when I discovered the Horde.

My first main character was Chanshu the tauren hunter. You can see I obviously wanted that hunter pet! Chanshu was a tauren who wanted to be a troll pirate, because it was cooler than being a traditionalist boring tauren. So his non-combat pet was a Senegal parrot. This was in the days when pets took up bag slots, so the parrot was my constant companion, along with Shen the wolf.

It’s sad, but I can’t remember Abedabun’s first pet. Just like she doesn’t have a favourite; she treats them all the same. Hippy druid that she is.

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Omnowho?

Saturday evening saw us head back into Blackwing Descent. We’d had our practice run – this was now the real deal. Oh yes. A few tactics were modified, as they were throughout the evening. Most of it finally ‘clicked’ for me on the fight that our main tank, Torgaddon’s, WoW crashed. It’s a horrible feeling when your computer or your internet connection decides that you won’t be participating in this attempt. It’s happened to me before – you have a sinking feeling as you know that nine other people have been doomed by your hardware. And then there’s the other sinking feeling – what if they’re doing ok without me?! Torgaddon had the advantage of having another raid member in the same room, so the rest of the raid knew what was going on. The healers kept him alive until the next boss activated, but then there wasn’t much point as without a tank to keep aggro and position it we were doomed. We’re used to the wipe routine now at least 🙂

The main problem with this fight is the randomness of tactics. On one attempt, the first two bosses to activate were the ones with AoE attacks. As raid healer, my mana did not last long trying to keep the raid up during these.  Being a druid healer is an advantage in the fight. Lots of movement means not much time to stand still and cast non-instant spells. With druid HOTs and instant casts though it’s not so bad. I might respec back into Nature’s Swiftness though (I kept forgetting to use it so use my talent points elsewhere) for an extra big heal on the move.

I won’t keep you in suspense any longer – we did manage this fight. On the final, successful attempt, I think we had Toxitron up first, but I wouldn’t bet anything on it. He shoots green clouds occasionally, which are bad to stand in. He also summons slimes to chase three people with disastrous results if they catch up. One of the DPS died, and seeing that we had the fight currently in control, I combat-ressed him (I’m still getting used to the ‘only one res per attempt’ rule). Just as I started casting Rebirth, Toxitron farted one of his green poison clouds at me. I decided I had time to finish casting before running out of it, so I did. Then I remembered that Goretag would be ressed directly into the bad stuff, with not much health! (Note to self – get the rebirth glyph that helps with health and mana). Hooray for voice comms and quick reactions. Back to healing the raid, paying attention to where I’m standing, and trying to conserve mana. Then everyone stopped and I wondered what had gone wrong. Oh – we’ve killed them! Hooray!

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Blackwing Descent

I wasn’t planning on being in the ‘hardcore’ raid team, so I logged on fairly late in the evening. One of the healers in the raid was suffering from severe lag so I was asked to step in. My item level was 343 (346 being the recommended minimum for raiding) so I was a bit nervous, but our guild is generally a relaxed bunch, and would rather try something and fail than just give up.

My first problem was that I hadn’t a clue where the raid was. I knew it was somewhere around Blackrock Mountain, but that didn’t help, as BR Mountain sits between two map zones, and therefore doesn’t have an in-game map. The inside of the mountain is the home of three (four?) instances from ‘vanilla’ WoW, and it’s on at least three vertical levels. Just to make matters even more confusing, I was summoned using a meeting stone not directly outside the instance, because of Alliance gankers. I ended up flying around the inside of the mountain for a good five minutes, as the other people tried to explain how to get to the raid entrance. It turns out that ‘go through the door to the outside’ actually means ‘go out of the mountain, you numbskull’. Oh – it’s on the outside!

I was distinctly nervous now. I hadn’t watched the tactics videos, didn’t know anything about the fight and I’d just reasserted my position as the one with no sense of direction (no, seriously – in WoW dungeons I always get lost). The rest of the raid team have already been wiping for an hour or so. I was expecting to be thrown in more-or-less at the deep end – a lot of ‘first bosses’ in raids tend to be a gear-check rather than a skill check, so it should be fine.

But no. Torgaddon, our raid leader, very patiently repeated all his tactics macros for my benefit. We were doing the Omnotron Defense System which  is the tactics equivalent of patting your head and rubbing your belly. With your feet. Whilst drunk. And upside-down.

No – it’s simple really. Let me explain. There are four bosses, that are activated in a random order. Each of them have three different abilities, which require different positioning, different amounts of healing and the dps to do different things. Oh, and the bosses come up two at a time, so you have a random combination of these abilities. Simples!

By the end of the evening of wipes, I was much more practised at the fight. I am pleased to say that I then watched the video, which didn’t really tell me anything new that Torgaddon hadn’t already covered. Great leading, Torg!

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Back to raiding

I haven’t raided for about a year – more or less. I raided Naxx quite regularly, and the first half of Ulduar, but then got a bit bored of WoW and my raiding tailed off. It’s tricky to get back into raiding after a break if you have my kind of mindset of doing everything ‘in order’. Because I hadn’t gone through Ulduar completely, I didn’t feel like getting stuck into Icecrown Citadel. However, my lovely guild, Prosapia, were recently in Icecrown for heroic modes and achievements, and I was lucky enough to be around when they needed a healer. We managed every boss, some on heroic, so I now have my Kingslayer title (talk about being carried through content – I certainly was!)

My WoW enthusiasm perked up when Cata came out (well, the patch just before it, if I’m honest). It didn’t take me long to get Abedabun up to 85. And the tauren paladin I started at patch 4 is now 84. I have a couple of other new alts that I want to do the new level 1-60 quests with. But if that was it – I’d probably tire of WoW again quite quickly. So I’m happy that Prosapia is starting to raid Cata content. And I’m doubly happy that I’ve managed (just about) to gear up in time to join the ‘first team’. Actually – that’s a bit of an exaggeration, because I’m only first team until Shadowreach gets a new computer. And that suits me fine – I’m not sure how long I will last committing to raiding twice a week!

This was going to lead into a write-up of our first forays into Blackwing Descent, but I think this post is long enough already! At least I have a subject for next time 🙂

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Essential addons

I use many, many addons. I like playing around with them and trying out new things. There aren’t many addons, however, that I would class as ‘essential’ for my UI.

One which is, is Bartender. Actually – a bar mod is essential, it just so happens that Bartender was the first I tried and I haven’t had any problems with it.

The reason I find it essential is because I find it difficult to set up my bars for druid forms, plus lots of key modifiers, with the standard UI. I want a bar that is the same for all forms, which I access with <ctrl>. My <alt> bar is similar on all forms, but slightly different. My <nomod> bar is obviously different for different forms.

This tracks onto how I arrange my bars for my alts. I tend to use buttons 1-4 for ‘standard rotation’ abilities, 5-7 for less used longer cooldowns or panic buttons, and the <alt> bar for CC and abilities I tend to only use for pulling. My pally also has more panic buttons there because OMG they have so many.

I like being able to play my alts without trying to remember what their key damage abilities are. However, I don’t tend to play DPS characters much so I’m not sure I’d be able to fit all of the warlock abilities, for example, into the same system.

Another essential addon (well, set of addons), is a click-casting mod plus raid frames. I’m currently using VuhDu and Clique (Clique is slightly redundant in this setup, but I sometimes click-cast on unit frames), but I tend to swing between VuhDu and Grid. I didn’t like Healbot much when I tried it – I think it wasn’t configurable enough for me.

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