Piloting, from hercs to mechs.

Piloting, from hercs to mechs.
A running recap of what I'm doing for fun, between active duty flying, technology, gadgets, and some of my favorite games.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Flying IRL, flying not IRL, achievs, and race change

OK, it was a slow week for gaming, fast week for flying.
Almost done with another air medal (20 combat missions flown).

But in my off-time I had the chance to do a few cool things.  I was invited to help clear SoO on normal difficulty, which is one step harder than Flex.  We did great!  I was present for the first 7 bosses, and was ranked well in healing, usually near the top if absorbs are counted.  A big shout out to the folks at Genetically Superior for offering to give me a shot.

I got a 553 ilvl staff off Galakras, which is a level of loot I never even expected to have.  After 2 upgrades, that's a 561 weapon!  I have a few new good lessons learned about healing on this network, which is notorious for hopping routers without warning, therefore disconnecting all connectivity.  This almost always occurs in the middle of a boss fight.

A note about networks...

This is what you want to see if you're using a wireless adapter.  

This shows you how many routers I can pick up at one time, however.

The network we use here is configured, perhaps inadvertently, to swap your router to a "stronger" connection upon any background scan, which Windows insists on doing no matter how much I try to avoid it.  So, when that happens and my primary "good" router has a lapse, I get reconnected to a "lesser" router that effectively kills the internet.  Everybody has this problem here, and it's common for folks to complain about skype cutting out at interval or for facebook to simply stop loading.  That's because, in the background, their wifi connection is going to something like this:
My only solution so far is simply to initiate the background scan on my own and choose my primary router, forcing the connection to the good one.  How long it will stay on that router is anybody's guess...I would say I get about 15 minutes before it hops, if I'm lucky.  It's not unusual for me to literally reconnect to my router in the middle of a raid boss fight, so for a period of 10 seconds or even more, my guy is standing there uncommanded.  Fortunately, I'm usually so quick that the game doesn't even boot me off.  I have tried programs such as WLAN Optimizer to cancel the background check, but it seems to have no effect whatsoever.  That tells me that the mil routers themselves may be the culprits.  One way or another, we'll be at a different base in a few weeks, so perhaps their internet will be structured differently.

In other news, I transferred my pandaren toon over to blood elf, primarily for raiding and transmog reasons.  I like the pandaren character model in theory, but in reality it looks awkward on most mounts, terrible in most good transmog sets, and the area consumed by the player in the middle of the screen is less than ideal for healing.  My first 7 years, I played an undead character model when healing, and never had to deal with large character types crowding out my monitor before.

Oh, and I finally got the achievement in ICC10 I've been working on for 3 weeks.  Check out the new look of Smooge.  Notice the subtle glowing skeleton death dragon mount:

Friday, December 6, 2013

Still here in Afghanistan...transmogs and leveling

That about sums up how we feel about deployments!

OK, I'm really enjoying the transmog thing.
Running Flex raids with this set is just cool to watch.

Also, I have two new toons joining the fight at 90.  My first tank ever, and a hunter.  I am enjoying the druid tanking style, and even tanked my first level 90 raid successfully with no wipes!

The hunter seems to be a little lackluster in dps, but he's only 480-ish itemlevel.  The queues are considerably longer for dps than for tanks, of course.  My druid will pass my hunter with help from Timeless Isle and quick raid queues.  However, leveling a druid as guardian was a total pain in the rear.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Tier 5 transmog, a quick trip for a great set

OK, so for those of you who missed the tier 5 raids, you'll be pleased to learn that they are each soloable at level 90, although the final bosses in Serpentshrine and The Eye will each require more strategy than the lesser bosses.  I now have 4/5 pieces of the tier 5 transmog set, after just 1 run in each of those instances.  I did die once on Kael'thas, the final boss in The Eye.
Also, it's worth noting that Kael'thas also has a small chance to drop a coveted phoenix mount.

Here are some shots from recent boss kills, and I have to add that it was a lot of fun, and quite lucrative, to run these level 70 instances.

Tier 5 gloves!
Fathom-Lord stuns a LOT.
Lady Vashj was here!  Tier 5 helm!
Void Reaver silences a LOT.
Kael'thas was a proper challenge!  Tier 5 chest!
A disc priest can solo serpentshrine cavern, lady vashj, tempest keep, and Kael'thas at level 90!  It is definitely possible to get your tier 5 transmog set in 1 week.  The belt, Belt of the Long Road, must be crafted by a tailor who has the BOP pattern, so you may need to spam org chat.  A very nice player crafted mine for free when I provided the mats, which I bought on the AH.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Tier 1 and 2 level 60 instances all soloed as a disc priest

Any vanilla players will remember this scene...Ragnaros down once again.  He drops the Tier 2 legs, btw.
Well, this went remarkably faster than I expected!  In a short amount of time, I cleared all of BWL, Onyxia, and Molten Core.  That means I have proven that it is possible to solo all of the bosses that drop the 8 pieces of Tier 2 Transcendence gear.  Since killing the bosses goes quite quickly, and since you can only do those instances once per week, I have decided to also work on Tier 5.  My favorite priest tier set, tier 3, is no longer available in the game, unfortunately.  However, Tiers 2 and 5 are each remarkably distinct sets that look fantastic on a priest.

Here are clips of my Tier 2 solo tour:
I got the boots off Broodlord Lashlayer!

The 5 bosses following Razorgore were not hard.  Vaelstraza, the second boss will cause you to die after you beat her, because of a debuff.  At 90, DPS was not a problem at all.
Use the sand and dispel or you will get MC'd, he heals to 100%, and you have to wait 5 minutes.  Trust me.
 Chromaggus took a little longer, because I forgot about his mind control, but I got the shoulders!!!  These Shoulders took me months to earn when I used to raid with a DKP system.  How ironic I should pick them up on my first day of trying.
Nefarian turned out to be just as easy as the lesser bosses.
Onyxia was easy to find and simple to kill.  Divine Star helps with the adds.  She drops the Tier 2 helm, btw.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Regaining the original tier 2...old school loot

I have decided that I am going to restore my priest to the original set that I had at the the end of vanilla WoW, all those years ago.
Some people may not know that the old tier sets, as well as the bosses that yield them, still exist.  On my original priest that was long since traded away or deleted or both, I had EVERY single piece of Transcendence gear, and I got that gear at a time when resilience did not yet exist and there were no higher instances in the game than Blackwing Lair.  I was literally the best geared priest on my original server, Smolderthorn, for quite some time.
Unfortunately, that character was deleted from WoW years ago, and my new priest, of the same name, has fine gear but not the legacy pieces that once stayed in my bank.

HOWEVER, you can still get this stuff!  I am now going through the process of clearing Blackwing Lair ALONE!  Despite many naysayers online, I successfully destroyed the first boss, Razorgore, using Discipline.
Details, in case anybody wants to try this: I MC him on the orb, start destroying eggs on the far side, and as the timer comes close, I bring him back to me, shield him, then use divine star to thin out the adds and build up aggro.  The shield heals and protects him, but you can only use an instant cast spell because casting breaks your hold on the orb.
I got about 60% of the eggs on the first MC, and he was still above 80% health.  It took 3 MCs total, and he had about 40% health left at the last egg.  He is, of course, simple to kill at that point.  The only trick is not getting him killed during the egg hatching, but the adds seemed to favor me, for whatever reason.

Good luck all you priests!  And stay tuned as I continue in BWL on my quest for the lost tier 2 gear.  Btw, nothing dropped from Razorgore, so I'll have to try him again next week.  Also btw, I had to get attuned to BWL, which was a simple process that involved soloing upper Blackrock Spire (UBRS), which was a lot of fun to see again as a level 90.  All in all, it took 5 attempts to learn his fight, but it took almost just as long to find the entrance to BWL.  When was the last time you entered Burning Steppes anyways?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


It is finished!
As the server rolled over into a new week, I happened to be here.  In one quick raid, three bosses yielded my final two Titan Runestones.  I then completed my healing challenge (the Crane) despite 1000ms lag.  And after flying all over Pandarea, I found myself on Timeless Isle facing down the four Celestials.  I simply joined in on three of the fights and lucked out on oQueue to be invited to a 40 man raid on the Ox.  I already had a few timeless coins saved up, fortunately.
And now, BAM!  Legendary, for the first time since I began playing 9 years ago.  9 years!!!  Does anybody else feel like that is an unbelievably long time to be playing the same game?  And to still enjoy it!  Unprecedented, to be sure.

I chose Jina-Kang, Kindness of Chi-Ji.  The Legendary cloak automatically as 2/2 upgrade levels when you get it.  The equip bonus is: "Your helpful spells have a chance to grant you Spirit of Chi-Ji, increasing all healing done by 5% and causing all overhealing on players to be redistributed to up to 5 nearby injured friends, for 10 sec."  This item, along with some recent flex loot, pulled my itemlevel up to 540!

I am pumped to try out the new loot in raids.  To quote South Park, "now I can finally play the game."

Monday, November 18, 2013

Flying high again!

So, I am back in the flying rotation, and I've got to say...it feels good!  
Me (left) and my crew - Nov '13

And, while we're tearing it up over the friendly skies of Afghanistan, I've had a few moments here and there to continue my raid healing experience.

I finished collecting the top tier transmog set:

And, while I was lucky to loot a Flex 540 item level staff off Galakras, I think the new look compliments the aviary look of the tier set:
I have 548 level shoulders, but I am currently equipping a 528 set piece from LFR so that I can experience the 2 piece set bonus: 10% extra crit whenever I use archangel.  This is HUGE as a disc priest, since I generally use archangel on cooldown while atonement healing.  That means more shields on raid members!  Still running around 300-800ms latency in-game, but I've now completed much of ToT (Throne of Thunder) on 10-man and most of the first two zones in SoO (Siege of Orgrimmar) on Flex.  Bottom line: I'm not slumming it in LFRs, and when I do LookingForRaid zones, I usually end up on the top of the meters.

I am countering the lag with prevention, and stats that compliment server-side heal decisions.  Crit, which automatically converts to shielding, is very effective when paired with atonement heals.  Cascade is proving to be valuable as a raid heal, which I often use on cooldown.  Oh, and mindbender is considerably better for me than solace.  Power Word: Solace requires me to use it on cooldown to receive the mana benefits.  Since my latency is high, that global cooldown can be a lot more expensive, and I don't always get the PW:Solace on cooldown.  Mindbender is available every minute and returns a considerable amount of mana with a single button push.  And of course, I am using spirit shell, paired with archangel and inner focus, to prevent damage.

Oh, and I am now a mere 2 Titan Runestones away from my legendary cloak, which has me very excited indeed.  I set a goal to achieve that by the end of the month, and it looks like I will exceed that goal handily.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Disc healing Afghanistan...Priest and Pilot is back, better than Iraq.

Priest and Pilot is back.

I'm about to pick up a full time crew and step out of the job I've been doing for nearly two months.  Up to this point, my Afghanistan experience has been 6 days a week in the "mission planning cell," or tactics shop, supporting our daily theater tactical airlift missions as the deputy chief of tactics.  All that means is that I am responsible at night for the development of the products our crews fly with, and occasionally I get to fly.
How does that relate to the common theme of this blog?
Well, I have had a consistent schedule, and I've made some time to play a game here and there in between my work shifts.  In contrast to Balad, Iraq, where I spent my first two deployments, this place has "high speed" internet in the rooms.
This time around, I set up the small form factor desktop and I use the same USB adapter as before, the AWUS036H that I used in Iraq.  Since the routers are close to the room, I ran the simple omni-directional antenna outside the door to my pod and mounted it using a magnetic base.  (I will create a separate entry for the LAN work I've been doing here to optimize my connection.)

So, the end result is that I have a decent connection which allows me to game online, to varying degrees.  Since arriving, I have taken my priest from itemlevel 485 to 530.  I've managed to complete every raid via LFR, with the exception of the final boss in Siege of Orgrimmar.  The 400ms-1200ms connection makes effective healing a challenge for sure, but I have even completed the Legendary questline through the metagem.  Now, I am patiently gathering the final pieces to earn the Legendary cloak, which will be the first orange item I have ever earned in WoW.

One important lesson I learned early on was that I could not compete as a reactionary healer.  With limited bandwidth and “red” latency, you need to fill a role that either prevents damage or automatically selects heal targets at the server level.  If that isn’t possible, you need to be able to direct heals as quickly as humanly possible.  These parameters drove me to atonement healing as a discipline priest, and forged the way I heal raids technically.
Atonement priests deal a portion of their healing via Smite, Power Word: Solace, and offensive Penance.  The damage is directly (and automatically) duplicated to the raid according to who needs the healing.  The value is great; it maximizes effective healing, reduces overhealing, and removes the time required for choosing healing targets.  When your latency is high, a player may be already healed by the time you select them and cast your direct heal, but atonement healing allows you to be just as effective as the nerd spamming chain heal.  Now, add Halo, Cascade, Spirit Shell, and Power Word: Shield to atonement, and you have a viable healing platform with moderate to high latency.
Addon-wise, some important things had to happen as I ventured into LFR (and later in flex raids through oQueue).  I researched macros for smite, shield, and my direct heals.  I am only in the rookie phase of macro use, and I combine that with a clean UI called "LUI."  These macros all include a mouseover function, which blends nicely with any raid frames.  I happened to settle on Grid2, primarily because of the simplicity and minimalist nature.  Thus, when I place my cursor over the tank’s “square” and hit the key for my PW: Shield, it will shield him even if I’m targeted on an enemy, another raid player, or myself.  Likewise, if I select the tank as my target and cast smite, it will cast against the tank’s target.  Built-in logic allows me to quickly select heals without having to spend valuable time searching for a target.  How a healer would ever succeed at high levels without these tools, I have no idea, but I met a disc priest today in Flex that uses more macros, no mouseover, and focuses on higher atonement dps and healing.  I should also mention that yesterday I ran a Flex 10-man Siege of Orgrimmar (SoO) and was the top healer of 3 healers, and my latency was consistently higher than 850ms the entire time.
And so begins the technical discussion on atonement healing in current raids, both 25-man Looking For Raid (LFR) and 10-man+ Flex raids.  What sets some disc priests apart in the raid setting in Throne of Thunder (ToT) and SoO?  It all comes down to two elements: HPS (healing per second) and damage prevention.  The former includes a proper management of your available mana, appropriate stats on your gear, and simply keeping people from reaching zero.  The latter requires a knowledge of the fight, situational awareness, and appropriate use of preventative spells, such as Spirit Shell.  I’ll be talking a lot about those elements of healing over the next few months while I’m out here.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

On the road again, but managing to stay connected

I am on the road again, and although I am sad to be away from my wife, I'm trying to make the most of my travels.  I explored some new areas, worked in a military capacity, and had a few hours to play WoW and Hearthstone.

On the Hearthstone front, I can tell that it will continue to be a fun game to play, especially when the connection will not support higher level LFR groups in WoW.  There is only so much WoW daily quest grinding you can tolerate, after all.  Hearthstone is a great deal of fun, although it requires uninterrupted time to play each game.  It is also a game that will require you to lose a lot before you have a decent deck, from what I can tell.  I have probably opened 5 or 6 bonus packs of cards so far, using gold that I obtained from daily quests and victories.  I am becoming quite familiar with the feeling of losing to other players, and even the NPC practice opponents destroy me quite often.  Even with a deck that includes blue and purple cards, it seems to be a very luck-dependent game.  An addicting and fun luck-dependent game which will probably consume some of my actual income for new card packs.

On the WoW front, I reached ilvl 488 by completing the Golden Lotus revered grind and running quite a few LFR groups.  I finished Throne of Thunder today, concluding the list of available LFR instances, although I observed 75% of the Lei Shen fight as a corpse.  I still have no idea what killed me.  But I have put epic pieces in ever slot except trinkets...those simply elude me, and I anticipate more rep grinds to obtain those.  I do not expect to have a good enough connection to continue running LFR groups, so my priest will likely remain my best geared character for quite a while.  

I am bringing directional wifi antennae, and multiple wireless cards and connection points in hopes of developing a reasonable and reliable connection with which I can skype my wife and play an online game when I have time.  Remembering my last two deployments, I am bridling my optimism so that I am not sorely disappointed when the internet sucks.

So, I'm preparing to shift to alt leveling and rep/heroic gearing.  I have a goal to level some classes that I have not ever played so far, such as lock, pally, shammy, and monk.  And, I am completely unfamiliar with my DK, druid, and hunter, which are all sitting patiently at 85.  Smoogestab, my rogue, is now at 86.  Icy veins seems to be the new go-to place for leveling and gear questions, and I have adopted their combat rogue leveling strategy, paired with a good leveling addon.

As far as UI stuff goes, I have experimented with quite a few addons recently.  So far, I have settled on Dominos, Recount, Dugi, Atlas Loot, and a leveling addon.  I am still looking for a good unit frame and cooldown addon for both my priest and all of my alts.  I am tolerating Healbot and TellMeWhen, and I dislike the xPerl unit frames I currently have installed.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

A fun reprieve...Blizzard's Hearthstone BETA

Well, I got my BETA invite today for Blizzard's newest game "Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft."  Since I have played some Ascension on the iPhone and iPad, this game already had some limited appeal.

It is fun!

Building decks is much more fun than I thought it would be...and the practice play is a fun way to kill hours and hours.  Since I am staying with some family this weekend and I didn't want to be slaved to a mouse and keyboard (WoW), this game naturally caught my attention.

It is very well done, and the unpacking new packs feature is really a blast...you never know what cool new cards you can get.  Once you unlock or unpack cards, you can build a deck with them and try them out.

I began with a hunter deck based on beast minions...I have had solid luck with that.  I also got a silver Edwin VanCleef from a pack I got!

So, if the internet isn't very good over in the deployed location, this is another option that will not require much bandwidth at all.  Perfect timing Blizzard, for once.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

A quick update on the new system burn-in.

Idle temps (my office stays about 78 F)

I'm using WoW to burn in the CPU and GPU, and so far I am very pleased with what I've seen.  The GPU temps seem to steady out around 63C, while the motherboard and CPU temps stay in the mid- to upper-40s.  Given how much stuff is crammed in that case, I am not disappointed with these temps.  I may try to increase the top fan speed, seeing as it currently stays at 1900rpm.  The "CPU fan" is actually the watercooling pump, which I set to receive full voltage.

WoW performs well and the system is running even better than before.  I used Arctic Silver 5 for the CPU, and that seems to be worth the small investment.  Also, for inquiring minds, I used the line method as recommended by Arctic.
Line method for thermal paste
The ultimate victory for this system was that I turned on the computer and booted straight to windows.  I installed new motherboard drivers and was running full speed without having to reinstall windows at all.

Now, for WoW-related updates:
I began exploring dailies, as well as the Pandaren questline, in an effort to raise my item level beyond 463.  I am happy to report that I had success.  I got revered with Klaxxi and Tillers, which allowed me to get a decent neck using valor.  I ran a handful of 5-man random heroics, and got my average item level to about 455.  A guildie, out of the goodness of his own heart, crafted me two ilvl 483 cloth pieces, which I am particularly grateful for.  The Pandaren questline that begins at the top of Mogu Palace yielded a decent epic pair of shoes.  I bought a decent epic offhand from the AH for 1000 gold, which is relatively cheap.  And all that allowed me to queue for raids.  I now have a composite item level of 472, which qualifies me for the 460 and 470 LFR instances.

I successfully completed my first LFR yesterday.  I don't even know which one it was...there was a mantid that had a challenging tornado alley dynamic.  I got 2 sets of boots and a new helm!  I also got my first ingot, so I am on my way to completing the legendary quest that gives me a legendary gem.

I got exalted with Tillers, and now I am taking jobs to raise rep with others.  Hopefully this is worth the time.  The most time-consuming thing I'm doing on my priest right now is Sunreaver dailies on the Isle of Thunder.  These take a while, although the gear rewards are pretty good.

I think the big ticket is going to be LFR, "looking for raid," since the gear in those instances is almost 500 item level.  I still need to research the items that allow me to roll for extra gear on bosses.  I like the instant queue quality of a healer, but I am not thrilled with the inadequate grinding power of a shadow priest during dailies.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

A powerful Mini ITX build for my deployment

Great success!  After a lot of research, form reading, and a little budgeting...I purchased all the needed components for the smallest computer I have ever built.
I chose the Sugo SG08 because it fits inside my Zuca bag, which will be my method of transporting the computer with me when I deploy.  Why was this important?  Because the Zuca bag comes with a steel frame that will protect the actual computer from getting crushed.  If you ever see the military palletize bags, you will understand why I was concerned about it.  I had a rolling gorilla chest last time for my electronic stuff, but it was unwieldy and awful to drag around, which we end up doing a lot.

Now, the parts I had to order for the new build:
Case: Silverstone Sugo SG08 with the provided 600W PSU
Motherboard: Asus P8Z77-I mini ITX
CPU cooling: Corsair H60 watercooling unit
Optical drive: Toshiba (TSST) slimline DVD writer SN-208

New Toys!

The stuff I brought from my existing full ATX tower:
CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K (LGA1155)
RAM: G.Skill 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 2133
Graphics card: EVGA GeForce GTX560 titanium
Drives: Corsair Force GT 120GB SSD and a WD 2TB green

The total package...more than a few minutes later
I will continue this thread with a picture by picture explanation of the build...but so far I want to report that I have had great success.  I didn't have to reinstall windows, only drivers for the new mobo.  CPU temps seem idle at 36C!  The only noise is coming from the Corsair fan at the top.  I am quite pleased.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Computer in a Bag...My Newest Project for my Deployment

I have embarked on a new project.

To build a mini ITX computer that will literally fit inside my Zuca bag, so that I can tote it along with me to my next deployment.

Components are purchased...stand by for updates!

Also, still have to figure out what to do about getting a monitor over there.  Pelican case?

Saturday, July 13, 2013

So, today I begin the process of really learning how to play my favorite MMO again.  That is, I am beginning to study the game with the intent of playing at an above average level.  My end goal is to be a competent, competitive player when I do log on, even though that will be less frequently than the 19 year old college student with infinite time to play games.

I might never raid properly, on a schedule and at the higher levels, but I do intend to gear up and have fun with PVE instance play.

If anybody has returned to Warcraft after a long leave of absence, they would immediately be struck by the sheer amount of options that exist the moment they log in.  Here are some of the questions that I had right away:
Where am I?
How do I get back to Org?
How do I get to the panda island?
How should I set up my UI?
What addons are good now?
What is the best healer in the game now?
How should I level, and which character should I level first?
Should I run through the extensive quest line?
Should I run instances before I hit 90 (level cap)?
How should I spec my priest?
What spec should I use for questing?
As I approach 90, what do I do now?
What factions are out there and what do they offer?
Where do I find the daily quests, and which ones should I do?
Where do I start getting better gear?
What stats do I want on my gear?
How do I make gold now?
What professions should I work on first?
Is farmville useful or a pure waste of time?

So, that is what my first few hours of gameplay were like, although I managed to grind through a few mini quest lines on my shadow priest/disc priest.  I started doing some google searches and found some decent forum answers:
I just hit level 90! Now what? : wow
Level 90... Now what? - Forums - World of Warcraft

Here are some good things I've learned so far:

  • Disc priests are still quite viable in MoP, which is the acronym for the newest expansion.  They are good in instances because they can DPS while they heal.  Other priest specific resources indicate that spirit is important for mana, and intellect is now only tied to spell power.  Good to know.
  • At level 90, buy the flying ability for the panda area at the Shrine of 7 Stars.  It's called "Wisdom of the 4 Winds"
  • Some of the factions in MoP include: Klaxxi, Golden Lotus, Shado-Pan, August Celestials, Angler, Tiller, Cloud Serpent, Shadow Pan Assault, and Kirin Tor Offensive.
  • Valor points are used to buy pretty good gear.  You can only get 1000 Valor points each week.  If nothing else, make sure to get those 1000 Valor points every week.  You get them from heroics and dailies.
  • Dailies yield reputation and Lesser charms of fortune.  Those are turned in at the Shrine for Mogu runes of fate.  Those allow you to roll an extra time in LFR and raids, helping you get better gear.
  • Klaxxi have an item level (iLvl) 522 Epic neck at honored for 1250 Valor points.  This should take about 1 day of dailies after I have done the Dread Wastes quests.  Mobs yield amber shards.  Turn those in for "Lesser runes."
  • Each faction has a badge at revered that gives 100% increase to rep gains for all characters on the account.
  • Tiller dailies are all about planting and farming things.  They provide extra mats and stuff for my character or professions.
  • Three primary options exist for PVE groups.  Random scenarios, 5 man heroics, and LFR (Looking for Raid).  LFR requires an average ilvl of 460 for the first set of bosses.
  • Random scenarios queue quickly and have less people in the party; they are supposedly much faster.  Scenarios offer 450 and 463 blues, and sometimes 476 epics.  They give 40 Valor points for the first one done each day.

Right now I'm 89, about 2/3 the way to 90, on my priest.  Apparently, the real game starts at 90.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

2013 Recap and Summer in Abilene

2013 has been an exciting time, with a lot of travel, Air Force trips, and good career development.  Limited gaming time, and very little computer work though.

I now serve as an Aircraft Commander in the C-130J, a primary scheduler for my squadron, and a deployer-to-be once again.  Later this year, in true herc pilot fashion, I'll be saying adios to the U.S.A. once again for a while to do what we do where we do it.
I spent 2 months in Montgomery, AL, where I knocked out three classes towards my Theology masters degree, completed a leadership course, and played a good deal of Starcraft II.  The internet connection was so shoddy that I could not play Mechwarrior Online, which was a real shame for me.  In that time, I drifted so far back in the MWO scene that I am hesitant to pick it back up seriously.  And, while I have a lot to say about SCII, my playtime on that game has been 0.000 since returning to Abilene.

Now, as I begin to anticipate a long stint in another deployed location, I've started looking for some good hobbies I can bring with me to help me pass the time.  I have not upgraded my Macbook Pro since the last deployment, so that is somewhat restrictive if I want to get into something released recently.  After what seems like endless google searches for good MMOs that do not hinge on fast-twitch latency, I have decided that there is simply nothing out there that topples my old staple.  That being said, tonight I began downloading the client for WoW and, coincidentally, I resurrected this old blog.  I will also be posting randomly to the Born to Waddle blog as I aim to improve in the area of running and core fitness this summer and while deployed.

This blog was conceived as a catch-all for hobbies, leadership lessons, and career accomplishments.  So, I fully intend to capture the things I am learning as I fly, as I fire up an MMO once again, and as I practice leadership concepts in the best laboratory ever created (the military).

Here are my simple precepts:
  1. God, family, others and me - those are my priorities in order
  2. Fly safe, operate professionally, and always improve as a pilot, officer, and husband
  3. Work hard and play hard, in that order
  4. Play efficiently, work smarter not harder in games, and capture lessons learned
  5. Be duplicatable in everything, whether it be dealing with airmen or leveling a character
Stay tuned for more updates on leveling my first character to cap in Mists, lessons learned as I try to improve processes in scheduling airlift operations, and trips and fun during my precious few months left at home.

July is already completely scheduled out, with a brief TDY to MS, some good family travel, a checkride, and a lot of deployment preparation.  One of my personal goals, with respect to the deployment and connectivity, is to consolidate all the equipment that I want to bring with me when we ship out.  I'll be thinking about routers, LAN equipment, wireless equipment, carrying cases, power options for 240V infrastructure, and good ideas for software that I'll want to have with me.  I'll be trying to set the laptop up for easy use and limited download requirements once I'm over there.  I'll be looking into good video communication options to use so I can talk to my wife.  It's certainly going to be an interesting time once again.

Thanks for reading the revived Priest and Pilot blog.