Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Long Distance Relationships Stink.

My story isn't new. It's so old, it will drive you from my blog looking for fresher posts. I just have to write about it. Why? Because it's bothering me, and this is my outlet, my place to work things out, my escape. So here goes.

I live on the west coast. 95% of my guild lives in the middle of the country and on the east coast. So, it makes sense that raid times and events are centered around them and not me. Raids fall right when I am frantically plating up dinner for the kids and hubby. If I decide to raid with them, I have to serve dinner by 4:45, so that I have 5 minutes to repair and send myself consumables and purge my bags of the garbage I've collected the day before. This doesn't work, and I have demonstrated how well this doesn't work on a few occasions to my guild, by showing up late, with a fish as an offhand and a fishing hat on, and not changing either out for the entire raid. So, because it isn't fair for them to expect me to be on time and prepared when I clearly can't, I don't sign up for raids. Now, it's also not fair to my family to get a half fast attempt at dinner out of me, just to watch me drag my plate to my desk so I can grab bites between boss fights. So, I have also started logging in later at night, closer to my eight in the evening then theirs. This has me logging in when they are well into their raid, sometimes after they have even finished. There are sometimes other people online for me to chit chat with, but more often, it's the raid group, me, and a few off in their own PvP world. When guild chat is quiet, I often type a "shhh" to try and get some response, but even that has lately been ignored. It's not their fault. It's not my fault either. We just live in different time zones. But I have been feeling less and less a part of my guild that I have been in since before hubby and I were married and playing Star Wars Galaxies. I even thought, for about a nanosecond, about finding another server with people that lived closer to me. Then I shook myself, slapped myself for thinking such horrible thoughts, and went on with whatever inanity I was doing in game that day.

So, it's almost April Fools Day, and my joke is set to be sprung on my somewhat oblivious audience. I know it will be seen. I look forward to the mayhem it should cause. For a while I will feel useful and like I'm a part of things. Then, April 3rd will show itself, and the site will go back to somewhat normality, and I will slowly get back into my funk. I just wish I had some idea of what to do about it.

There's a chocolate muffin calling to me from the kitchen. It's telling me I need to take it and a glass of milk and log in Rowena and check my auctions. I may just do some of that. Rowena will be disappointed. I think I'll just grab a book instead. Any good ones out there on long distance relationships?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Slacker. That's Me!

I've been not playing much. I've been addicted to that silly Stumble Upon button. My tabs on my browser are full of recipes for things I may never make. Here, I'll even share them with you!

From Blogchef.net, we have General Tso's Chicken. It looks just as yummy as the dish I had recently at a local fancy schmancy chinese restaurant. Thinking about trying to make it myself, of course, but will the kids eat it?

From Hungry-girl.com, a couple of pages on how to make lighter and still yummy versions of Starbucks favorites. Cafe Vanilla Frapuccino and Tazo Green Tea Frapuccino. There was another page open on what ingredients to buy to make about any flavor frapuccino your little heart desired, but I have since closed it. Try looking around that site. There are all sorts of calorie saving stuff to om-nom-nom on! Bonus, this gal has a cook book out, of sorts. Heard her on the Bill Handel show on KFI, so this isn't a stumble so much as it was a fact finding search.

From SmittenKitchen.com, a recipe for some really delicious looking orange peel treats. Chocolate and orange go so well together. And this way, I can eat the orange while I wait. Yeah, like I need one of those before I pack on all the pounds from that candy. I should really stop stumbling when I am hungry!

I was just thinking the other day that I have changed the way I shop for groceries. I used to be so careful about keeping a coupon file and finding the absolute best deals I could. I had stockpiles of shampoo, deodorant, and soap, all got for free or nearly free with double coupons. I guess I just gave up once stores stopped doubling. I stumbled upon A Full Cup a few days ago and I'm sure I'll be getting back to my old habits soon. I cannot afford, and neither can you, to pass up saving money on things we use every day.

Do your friends stop by to watch sports regularly? Or do you have hungry teenagers? I have the latter, as sports was never on the television when I was growing up, and I married a guy who enjoys the same kind of sports I do (the "e" kind). These pizza bites look easy to make and the writer at Chaos in the Kitchen says they freeze well.

Cookies. These won the Pillsbury Million Dollar Bake Off. The Noble Pig posts and in depth how to on just how to make these yummy looking double peanut butter cookies. All they need some Ice Cold Milk!

This isn't a yummy looking cake. In fact, I would say if someone put this on my table, it would go directly in the garbage bin. My guild is full of cat lovers, and when I stumbled on this one, I had to share it. Maybe this one will end up on one of my kids birthday party tables. Grave Addiction has my thanks for putting up a definitely different cake.

Well, it's the first day of Spring Break for me, and it seems my day has been planned out for me. Off I go to clean the living room, feed the toddler, and assemble something that is sitting in a large box on my porch. If it adjusts short enough, I may get another set to assemble, whatever it is. I'm such a lucky girl!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Shadow Priest Kindergarten - Cast Sequence

Hello again, class. Today we will be looking at our spells and deciding what sequence to cast them in. First, I will try to explain why I have chosen to cast spells in the order I do, then I will take you on a field trip of sorts, linking to other websites that have crunched numbers and melted training dummies working out what they think is the ultimate cast sequence.

As a shadow priest, not only am I looking to put out some decent damage, but to help the rest of the mana users in my group or raid with their mana regeneration. At least, that is how I look at things. If you regularly run with a group with a retribution paladin, a frost mage, or a survival hunter, maybe you don't need to worry about it so much,and can concentrate on damage alone. Here is my idea on what order spells should be cast. I present to you, Delgada's cast bar.

I use my cast bar to prioritize my casting sequence, mostly because it is easy to see, and if I have to hand my keys over to a kid, it is easy to give directions like, "Just push the buttons from left to right as they light up!" as I am extracting the toddler from the top of my linen cabinet. When I use the bar, I start at Vampiric Touch. I use Inner Focus only during boss fights, and keep it as next in line to Mind Blast because, well, no mana and more critical is good for this spell. If my health bar is not having problems, I use Shadow Word: Death as often as it is up, because the damage is minimal compared to the damage it does. I then cast Devouring Plague and Shadow Word: Pain. By then, Vampiric Touch needs a refresh, and Mind Blast is back up, as well as Shadow Word: Death. So the idea is, if while you are moving down the line, one of your items that has a cooldown becomes available, you go back to it. That doesn't mean I never get to Mind Flay. I do get to Mind Flay quite regularly, because I am talented for it to refresh Shadow Word: Pain, so that is effectively removed from my rotation after the first cast, so long as I don't fool around.

When soloing, the rotation is a bit different. I start out with a Mind Blast, Shadow Word: Pain, Mind Flay until it is almost dead, then Shadow Word: Death. Since I have noone to speak to except myself for mana or health, there is almost no need for the other spells. I'll pull out the fiend for some mana regen, and out of combat I'll toss myself a Flash Heal or Renew and move right along.

Buttons 8 and beyond are not in my rotation, but they are there for other reasons. Mind Sear is an Area of Effect spell, and I use it while clearing trash. If my tank has a good lead on aggro, I will use Vampiric Embrace to help with healing. Dispersion is there in case I get in a rough spot and have the time for it to help me out. Fade I do use quite a bit, as the last two times I raided I found I was riding the tanks tail in aggro. Shadowform just needed a spot to put it in. My Shadow Fiend(though you don't see a button for it, I use AutoBar) I use whenever it is available for the teensy bit of dps it provides, and the mana it helps me regenerate.

So, there you have it. My spell rotation, if you can call it that. I did a search for spell rotations on the internet, and, I guess I have the right idea. Seems everyone is saying it is a priority sort of thing, and not necessarily a rotation. Go ahead, test me, do a search. I dare you. :)

Congratulations! You have finished with kindergarten. I'll leave you to go to other, more experienced shadow priests for the nitty gritty down and dirty of being a raiding 0r pvp shadow priest. I'm going to lay out a mat and take a nap!

Monday, March 23, 2009


Just a note to say I haven't fallen off the face of Azeroth. I have been selected to sit on a jury for the rest of this week, so I probably won't be posting too much. Hubby is still poking fun at me. Last year I got chosen but the case was settled before it was heard in court. The year before that I was an alternate. It seems I have all the luck!

Speaking of not posting, my daughter is walking up the driveway, so that means it's time to load up everyone else and head for Home Depot for more gardening supplies. Yay.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

New Pastime

I don't have cable. I don't have an antenna. I haven't bought the converter box with those vouchers that are still sitting in my husband's wallet. So when a new show starts, it takes us a while to discover it. No TV, no newspaper, no entertainment guide, so, no clue. Yep, that's me, clueless.

I walked into the house today and my husband says,"I got something for you." He opens up a file, makes it bigger than a 3x5 card so I can see, and gestures for me to watch. So I watch. Not too long after the beginning, which is of a nice sit down dinner party, books all over the place, I see Nathan Fillion. I'm hooked.

Yeah, I have been a big fan of the Firefly series, and the movie that came out of it, Serenity. When it ended, as soon as the dvd version was available, we had it. Same with the movie. When Summer Glau started in the Sarah Conner Chronicles, we watched that. When we found Adam Baldwin in Chuck, we started watching that. We were already big fans of the Stargate shows, so finding Morena Baccarin and Jewel Staite playing in them was another treat. But Nathan, aside from that Dr. Horrible stint(which, by the way, was awesome!), hasn't been doing much, at least that I knew about. Remember, I'm clueless. :)

I'm so excited! One more thing to keep me from World of Warcraft. If you haven't seen it yet, I highly suggest you look for Castle, whether you watch your shows on TV, or on the internet. So far it looks great!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wearin' O' The Green: In Color!

The Captain's Set.

The Forest Set, with the Green Brewfest Hat.

The Green Iron Set, sans helm. It would muss her hair!

Batter up, it's the Shimmering Set! Sorry, there weren't any ball caps. Blizzard, we must have one!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Wearin' O' The Green

Thought I would dredge through the many items available to wear and pick some green colored, though not necessarily uncommon in nature, items to wear today as you down a few ales in Ironforge or wish you had a good ale elsewhere.

These items almost everyone should be able to find. The stats are non-existant, but the colors are fabulous! During the Elder Festival, did you pick up the Festive Green Dress? If you didn't, don't cry into your beer, because chances are it's already been watered down. Instead, pick up Green Wedding Hanbok or Dark Green Wedding Hanbok. They're not green all over, but they will keep them from pinching you, unless they are too short to see that high. Speaking of beer, if you were clever with your coin at Brewfest, you bought a Green Brewfest Hat. Now, it doesn't necessarily match the last three items, but as I noticed in the lunch line today, when it comes to wearing the green, the more outlandish and mismatched, the better! Another fun option, for you engineers out there, are the level nineteen twink item, Green Tinted Goggles. If you have a tailor friend, the Green Holiday Shirt can be made after a short trip into Scarlet Monastery. Well, make that about 5 of those, the silk drops in there like leaves in the fall! If you have some Frostweave and you don't care, Green Lumberjack Shirt could be yours. Make sure you get a Lumberjack Axe to heft over your shoulder, to complete the look.

Now for some gear that you can use! For you plate wearers out there, I bring you the Emerald Set. Looted from mobs in the 55-60 zones of old Azeroth, these items are randomly enchanted. You might be lucky to find a whole set, who knows? For lower level plate wearers, the Jade Set is looted from level 42-51 zones. For you leather wearers, the Jadefire Set is very fashionable, and available in the 46-55 areas of old Azeroth. This set even has a cloak, which might go nicely with the plate set as well. A lower level leather set, the Forest Set, would be great for the 24 and under crowd.

Cloth wearers, to start, I give you the Beaded Set. The shirt is alright, but that robe is the eye-catcher. Another nice robe with green on it is the Spider Web Robe. The Beastwalker Robe is a lucky drop off Nefaru, a rare worgen in Duskwood. The Conjurer's Set is a lovely dark green, my favorite color, and gives the option of a shirt or a robe. The Greenweave Set is very rustic and raggedy, for that slept-in-my-clothes-after-a-bar-brawl look. The Ivycloth Set is a great leprechaun-like set, except for the robe. I'd stay with the tunic. The Pressed Felt Robe is also a great looking choice. The Shimmering Set, without using the robe, looks like you are ready to play ball! The Willow Set is also a great looking set.

For mail wearers, the Brackwater Set is the earliest green set. Set up your warrior or paladin bank alt with this set for some holiday fun! The Soldier's Set has some nice green accents, for those who don't want an all green outfit. If you have a friend that is a blacksmith and you are at least 34, the Green Iron Set is a real eye catcher! For enough gold to make a leprechaun drool, and enough green to keep you from pinches, try the Captain's Set. This set is a crowd-stopper, especially on the female toon of your choice.

I'm sure there are more options out there, as I didn't touch Outland or Northrend, much. Remember to gather some friends, drink some ale, and put the dwarves to shame this holiday!

This would have kept me from getting pinched so much at school today! Some real world green for Saint Patty's Day! Have fun out there tonight, whether it's in Azeroth or in the real world. Designate a blimp operator, cyclist, or driver. You know the one to pick...the one standing in the corner with the obviously non-alcoholic beverage. Stay safe, and I hope you visit my corner of the internet again soon!

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Obligatory Ding Post

There she is, Miss Aaaazeroth! Carlotta is 80 now. That means I only have 7 more characters to go. Go ahead, laugh. I know I'm nuts.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Shadow Priest Kindergarten - The Look

Good Afternoon, class! Welcome back to Shadow Priest Kindergarten. Today we will be exploring the fun and fabulous world of Shadow Priest Fashion. We all wear cloth, but we don't always wear the same cloth as our healing other half.

As we are leveling, we shouldn't be too concerned about how we are dressed. Quest rewards and the odd lucky drop should carry us through. I do recommend picking up some Outland gear at level 58 to help protect and enhance until you are receiving the Outlandish gear that the quest givers reward. (Outlandish is a nice way to explain the look you get when combining the different quest rewards. It would be more accurate to say that it turns the female character into a Vegas showgirl with a cowboy hat. Thank goodness for our all outfit enhancing shadow form!)

In a few posts not long ago, I had lined up a guide to finding as much gear that provides Hit Rating as possible. As a shadow priest, we don't need to amass as much as a holy priest would, so pick and choose your favorite items to hit that magic rating of 290. This is for starters. When you feel comfortable in what you have, follow this link to Shadowpriest.com's ultimate shopping list. Just keep in mind as you shop, that if you replace an item that has hit with one that does not, you will have to make up that lost stat elsewhere. If you don't want to find gear that has it, follow this link to my guides on gemming, enchanting, and consumables to add hit rating.

Since the work here is already done, I will leave you to your shopping. Next class will be on spell priority. Since I am letting you out early today, please make good use of your time and visit some other priest-centric blogs, such as World of Snarkcraft, World of Matticus, The Egotistical Priest, Misery and the Pugnacious Priest. There may be a test later....

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Lookit! Delgada Has Wings!

They invited me over to play with Loatheb tonight, and they even let me roll! Heroes' Mantle of Faith and Handbook of Obscure Remedies are my upgrades for tonight. How exciting! I even hit second place on our final attempt in damage done. No screen shot, sorry everyone, my UI is skunky and I don't wanna share it!

Shadow Priest Kindergarten - Talents

If you read the last two posts, you have a rough idea of what a priest is and what stats they use. Today, I'm going to dig into the Shadow tree and parts of the Discipline tree, and give you my opinion on how points should be spent as a shadow priest is leveling. At the end I will post a final spec for a PvE shadow priest. I may even get ambitious and pretend I know something about PvP, and post my interpretation of a PvP shadow build. Don't take my word on this as law. I know a few things, but I'll bet that if you are reading this, you are also quite intelligent and can reason your way into spending your own points!

I will be basing this on the new talent trees going live with patch 3.1. I wanted this post to be relevent for more than a week, so hop into the future with me, if you dare!

So, you've hit level 10 and you have a whole talent point to spend. Congratulations! When I spent my first point, I spent it on Spirit Tap . I spent my next two points on that, too. Anything to keep your mana up will reduce down time, which leads to faster leveling. Level 13, and we have a new point to spend. If you want to hit Shadow Form by 40, we need to continue spending points in that tree. So our next talent to fill will be Darkness. At levels 18 and 19 we're going to want Improved Shadow Word: Pain filled, so we can get Mind Flay at level 20. At 21, until the talent is filled, I like to fill in Improved Mind Blast. At this level, you only have 4 shadow spells. The more you can use one, the better! The order you spend the next 4 points in is a matter of taste. I prefer filling in Shadow Reach before I touch Shadow Weaving for 2 points, because I like to keep mobs as far away as possible. Did you notice I only put 2 points in Shadow Weaving? That's all it takes to open up Vampiric Embrace , which needs to be open in order to get down to Shadow Form, but is also useful if you are taking on more than one mob at a time. While you are killing one mob, keep one with a dot or two on it and Vampiric Embrace to get a bit of health regen while it is slowly dying. Now, at level 32, we can finish off Shadow Weaving and spend our next points in Focused Mind, because less mana spent means more to deal damage with. The next 5 points are really a no brainer, because at this tier, there are only 5 points to spend. Improved Devouring Plague, at its top rank, says it increases the periodic damage of the spell by 15%, and deals 15% of the total periodic damage when cast(this could change, as 3.1 hasn't been set in stone yet). After those three points, or before, Mind Melt will add to your critical chance.

Now, we are level 40, and we get Shadowform! We have gained the effect that not only shouts out to all of Azeroth that we are shadow priests, but it sure disguises ugly armor. At level 40, the way you spend your points is all a matter of taste. If you are grouping a lot without another priest as healer, you might want to go a few points into the Discipline tree first. Start with Twin Disciplines for extra damage, then Improved Power Word: Fortitude for a little better buff. For now, that is probably all you will need to spend there. I might even suggest going back to Tier 2 of the shadow tree and grabbing Shadow Affinity for the extra threat reduction. From there, I would choose Shadow Power, then one point in Misery at level 56 would let us get Vampiric Touch at 57. Level 58 and 59 I would finish out Misery, so at 60 I could start filling in Pain and Suffering. By the time that is filled, if we were diligent about training, it would benefit our newly gained spell, Shadow Word: Death.

At 62, I like to hop back to the Discipline tree. Here is where you need to think a little. Do you want to spend 3 points in Silent Resolve or Improved Inner Fire, or spend 2 points in Martyrdom and stick a single point in Improved Inner Fire? Your choice. I'm not sure there is a perfect answer. If you find yourself healing in pinch, you might go with the first. If you are on a PvP server, the last might be your answer. Inner Fire is not a great spell, but if you must choose something, I'm sure not many will criticize you for choosing to improve it. The whole goal here is to get down to Meditation and Inner Focus. Once you have filled these, you will be at the ripe old age of 69, and getting ready to hit Northrend!

At 70, our next talent to fill will be Twisted Faith. Again, damage is your friend, and the more friends/damage, the better! At 75, you can pick up the ultimate talent in your shadow tree, Dispersion. This is a great talent for both PvP and PvE, and shouldn't be passed up (in my opinion, anyhow). Why would anyone pass up the chance to be a floating purple mass of shadow?
For our last 5 points, we will skip back to Shadow Focus and fill it, then even further back to Improved Spirit Tap. By this time, we will want the added hit bonus, and the added mana regeneration.

All that work, and we are now level 80! Here is our finished talent tree. Right here, my attempt at a PvP talent specialty. Now we can start getting together our gear. Next class will be about Shadow Priest Fashion for the new level 80. The bell is ringing...Recess Time!

At 80, if you find that you are needing more mana and threat reduction than range, a quick respec to add Veiled Shadows and lose Shadow Reach might be in order. Your results will vary! :)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Shadow Priest Kindergarten - Stats

Alright, class, our subject for today will be stats. What are they? What do they do? Which stats should we, as shadow priests, look for first?

Here we have our baby priest. She can't be shadow yet, because all she has are holy spells. That's ok, it still gives is some insight into what stats to start for from day one.

Our baby has 20 of everything it seems, with a small bonus to Intellect and Spirit. Intellect gives a priest 15 mana per point, and a small amount of critical spell bonus. Spirit gives a small amount of health and mana regeneration. Stamina gives 10 health points per point. Agility and Strength are melee stats, and generally not useful to a priest. After reading that little bit, I have determined that, for now, I will want to pick up gear with Intellect, Stamina, and Spirit, with the emphasis on importance being in that order, to start. As you get higher in level, it pays to stack Intellect and Spirit as evenly as possible, and add the Stamina when it doesn't interfere too much.

As we level, some other stats will show up on our gear choices. Spell Power grants a bonus to damage and healing spells. Critical Strike Rating will increase our chance to get a critical hit. Haste will speed up our spell casting. The first of those three is easy to understand. An item with +20 spell power will give us 20 more damage and healing. Critical Strike Rating is a little different. All the bonus points your armor gives to critical strike do not just add in. Take that number, divide by 45.91(at level 80), and that will tell you what percent of crit rating your gear gives you, before figuring in the bonus from Intellect. As for Haste Rating, 32.79 points of haste give you 1% faster casting. For what fun this is causing with my global cooldown, I would rather go for crit rating instead. So, of the three stats, spell power, then crit rating, then haste, in that order. If your spell power is pretty high, you can reverse the first two, and work toward a better crit rating.

One stat I forgot to mention is Hit Rating. Hit Rating starts to be important around level 70. This helps you keep from missing with spells when attacking mobs from 3 levels below you to 3 levels above you. You will normally have 4% chance to miss a spell cast at a mob your level. In order to get rid of that 4% miss rate, a level 70 would need about 52 hit rating. But that only works for mobs at the same level. Most raid bosses are 3 levels above the cap of that zone (for example, Netherspite in Karazhan is a level 73 mob). In order to ensure that you would not miss on a level 73 mob, you would need 215 points of hit rating. At 80, the number, before talents, to shoot for is 446.

There you have them. Stats, and how they affect a priest. Next article will be on talent trees, and how to best spend your points. This will be, in part, an opinion piece, as I am sure how I spend my points may not be how most would spend their points. Stay tuned!

Thanks to WoWWiki and Shadowpriest.com for their insight into what stat is worth what. For a little help in game, try the add-on Rating Buster!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Shadow Priest Kindergarten - Prologue

What stats do I need, and what do they do?

What talents should I choose?

What glyphs are best for me?

What sites can I visit to find gear shopping lists and more in depth studies to improve my performance in raids?

These are questions I've been asking myself recently. My guild has too many healers for the one ten man group they are running, but not enough tanks available to make another group. When people advertise for a heroic, there are usually 3 healers vying for 2 spots. I find myself switching to an alt rather than having someone else miss out. Lately, however, the problem has been, not only too many healers, but not enough damage dealers. So, I went to my bank, picked up all the hit gear I had been saving, and headed for the Undercity to change my talent specialty.

Delgada was a raiding shadow priest during Burning Crusade, going holy only in the expectant few months before the Wrath expansion release. This allowed others to gear up alts, as many of our regular healers had taken a break to play other games, gear up alts, or had left to join guilds more progressed than ours. I know shadow, or rather, knew shadow. Things have changed since the Burning Crusade. Rotations are different, some spells work differently, some stats have gained a new popularity while others have become not quite as crucial as before. What worked back then doesn't work now! I found that out my first heroic dungeon in my blues and pieces pressed into use from my healing set, with my damage output right around 1050 per second. Dead last on my Recount meter. Back to square one. This "like new" level 80 that acts like she bought her character on E-bay. Ugh. I don't like that too much. So now is the time to educate myself, and help others as I do so!

The next post will be about what stats are desired by a shadow priest. It will tell you what each stat does for you, and what priority you should place on getting each stat. From there, I will direct you to a shopping list or two that I am finding useful.

Until then!