Thursday, December 10, 2009

Dragon Age: Origins. . .

Well, I have been pretty good about my Wow exile, have to say I'm not really missing it. I have been playing a lot of Dragon Age: Origins, and I have some thoughts on the game, a few which apply to the mmo genre.

First of all, one of the major selling points of the game are the 6 different "origins" you get when creating a character. Some of them are VERY good, some of them are meh. Having played through all of them, I have to say my absolute favorite is the City Elf, its amazing. Common Dwarf and Human Noble were also very good. Dhalish elf and Noble Dwarf had their high marks, but didn't give me the same general sense of purpose. The mage origin was a complete disappointment. It just wasnt fun and involved a lot of running around. I was expecting equal amounts of action in all of them damn it!

As far as classes go, Dragon Age Origins has a very interesting but fun system. There are only three classes in the game: Warrior, Rogue, and Mage. However, each class has access to various ability subsets. For example, both warriors and rogues have access to Archery and Dual wield trees. Mage is just a generic magic user, they can access both elemental and healing trees. Another interesting aspect of the classes are the unlockable "prestige classes" these unlock new special abilities. I really think this gives Dragon Age a high degree of customization and replay value. My main character is a tank warrior with the shield specialization abilities. Having played through the early parts of the game with other class/specs, things just seem to go smoother with me being the focus of enemy damage.

The stats in the game are also very simplistic and intuitive. Strength is your melee damage and ability to use heavy weapons and armor. Dexterity is your ability to dual wield, hit with missile weapons, and avoid being hit by enemies. Willpower determines the pool and regeneration of your resource bar. Magic is your ability to cast spells. Constitution (I think thats the name of it) determines health and regeneration. Lastly Cunning is a social stat, which impacts your interactions and also for rogues, your ability at picking locks and disarming traps. Its a straightforward system that works. I would have liked to see constitution as a little more impactful, but other than that, I have no complaints.

Presentation-wise, I have only a couple complaints. First of all, there is no way to skip certain cut-scenes. If you're making a new character, you have to sit through the opening cinematic. Its very well done, but the 8th time you see it, it loses some appeal. Also, the weapons seem elongated. One handed swords look to be two handed weapons size-wise, daggers are shortsword sized, and two handed weapons are just ridiculously long.

One feature I think is awesome, and one that has potential for mmo's is the ability to set tactics for your NPC's. Rather than just rely on AI to control them, you can specificy tasks for them to accomplish as well as cycle through and give them individual instructions. I will admit, I'm not very good at initiating a turn based type combat, I will have to look into doing that. Guild wars had something where you could hire mercenaries to do group content, and I think this is a feature mmo's should definately look into. I don't like groups or grouping, I would LOVE to hire NPC's to run group content. It could also be an effective gold sink if done correctly.

Hope everyone is enjoying 3.3 and is having a happy happy holiday season. Also, to any of my Jewish readers, Happy Hannukah!

Monday, December 7, 2009

done with Wow. . .

I made a pretty significant decision on friday: I decided to quit World of Warcraft. Now, I have attempted to quit before, only to come back, my reasons are a little different now.

They say one of the signs of addiction is when it starts interfering with your life. Now, I'm not saying I'm necessarily addicted to Wow, but there are a lot of parallels. I work 10 hour shifts at my job, and have around a 45 minute commute. Normally my days consist of go to work, come home, play wow, go to bed. I don't necessarily have a problem including video games in the routine, but as we all know, there is no "sit down for 45 mins and play" with Wow. For me, it's more sit down, and next thing you know it's 12:30am and you have to leave the house at 7:10 to be at work on time. Another factor in the decision is my difficulty in juggling Wow and the gym. I will admit, I don't enjoy working out. I have alwats done it because either I had to, or it was a means to an end.

Do I believe it is possible to juggle Wow and still have a healthy well rounded life? Definately. I have just come to the conclusion that thats not something I can manage. I havent necessarily decided to completely flee the MMO genre, but for now, I need to cut Wow out of my life to focus on the rest of it.

I may still blog from time to time about other things, I think Dragon Age: Origins is an AMAZING game, but the Wow chapter in my life is closed.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Alts, gear grinding, and the use for Rawr. . .

Gnomeageddon posted a really great post about Rawr, much better than anything I would write. Unfortunately, I can't link it. My work has blocked his blog *tear* I read it on my blackberry, not my preferred method of reading blogs, but occasionally necessary. Anyways, I had previously downloaded rawr because after a point, I had no idea what would actually constitute an upgrade, and what was the most bang for my buck.

I've been doing a lot of thinking about gearing lately. What is the best/fastest/cheapest/most efficient way to gear alts vs mains. Do I use emblems on BoA gear? Do I use emblems for main spec or off spec? I just wanted to shed some light on my decision making process, as someone with a ton of alts, who didnt previously run much, and tries to solo as much as possible.

First of all, crafted gear is your friend. Blacksmithing, Jewelcrafting, Leatherworking and Tailoring can give you great starter gear at 80, most of which you will be keeping for some time. My shammy is still using ebonweave gloves with precision on them, even after getting almost all the drops I can use from heroic ToC, as well as the Revenant's Breastplate. Jewelcrafting has been another SERIOUS help because the crafted purples (rings especially) are really good and have a lot of value. My shammy is still wearing the spellshock ring (socketed with runed cardinal ruby) and pally is still wearing the crafted tanking ring and necklace. Druids can gear up for raid tanking pretty much with crafted gear alone.

What do you do with emblems, seals, runes, marks, shards, etc? Well, this is a big decision. First of all, this is a bigger decision for those characters who can fill multiple roles. Paladins, Death Knights, Priests, Warriors, Druids, and Shammies are probably going to have multiple sets of gear to fill. This is my take on it: fill the gear for the rarer role first. Tanking or healing will always be in demand and groups want the best geared characters they can find in that role. Tank have 25k health? Unacceptable. Also, if you are tanking or healing, most higher geared DPS won't need/want a lot of the gear that drops and have no problem with a tank or healer occasionally needing on some items that just aren't upgrades for them, but are huge upgrades for the tank/healer. Stonekeeper's shards I use entirely for BoA gear. I don't PvP, have no use for it, so I have no need for PvP gear. In general, I would say use emblems to upgrade your character, however, if you level a lot of alts, the chest pieces become good values. Stick to caster cloth and DPS leather. Why? Well, all caster and DPS classes can wear those pieces, and the armor difference from 1-2 pieces will have a negligable effect on mitigation. As an example, I had my shammy wearing the cloth caster chest. The difference vs a mail chest? Around 1% more damage taken. 10% more exp is more than worth it and my warlock, mage, and priest can all use that chest when leveling. I have already used the leather shoulders for warrior, DK, shammy and druid (I leveled shammy enhancement). Forty emblems is a lot, but one piece of gear that four alts can use is probably a worthwhile investment, provided you like leveling alts. As always, your mileage will vary.

One very interesting piece of currency is the Champion's seal. I find these to be mostly worthless. Why is that? Well first of all, what can you buy with them? Blue armor and a few purple weapons. Well, while the weapons are a good investment if you can use them (my pally is using the greatsword of the sindorei in my ret set), once you've bought that, they just sort of accumulate. I was working on the "crusader" title, but that takes FOREVER. Considering it takes what? 5-10 hours total to get 40 emblems vs WEEKS of dailies and jousting to get crusader, it just isn't worth it. Get your chestpiece with emblems, ignore the Champion's seals. If you love the jousting and are good at it, go ahead and grind. There will always be groups doing threat from above and foot of the citadel. I personally hate the jousting, I had to cheat to beat the valiant, the thought of doing that 2-3 more times just for a BoA chest is more than I can handle.

A few last thoughts on Rawr. I loaded up my pally in rawr, and the results were similar to my shammy in the DPS spec. The numbers it gave me for expected DPS were roughly half what I actually did, even on encounters where you just stand there and DPS (my pally does less than 2k DPS, yes I suck at doing damage, I think it's mostly horrible gearing). The thing that I find most useful about Rawr is that it shows what items might be upgrades for you from what you're wearing. For my pally that means more Savage Saronite gear, mix in some mail here and there, and fix my gemming. I will probably learn the Dragon eye cut for pure strength. Its a good tool, just not a be all, end all.

Monday, November 30, 2009

week(end) update. . .

Well, I had a pretty interesting week(end). Have to put the end in parenthesis because I ended up working like 2 days last week. I did get a solid amount of Wow in though, so I was a lil anxious to get back to the blog and share.

First of all, I have come to really love shammy healing. I think I have a pretty firm grasp of my abilities, and I can keep most people up when things get really hairy. We ran Naxx 10 with 3 healers, cleared 3 wings with no wipes till Heigan (I hate him, I don't care what people say, that is NOT fun). I thought it kind of funny, there really aren't any upgrades for me in there. I mostly ran it for the experience. I LOOOOOVE healing stream totem. It took me a while to warm up to, but a semi permanent 300 health a tick is usually good enough to heal the DPS and it's super efficient. I ran recount on the run and while my overall heals were fairly close to the druid, my overhealing was about 1/3. I credit WTFspaghetti's guide which basically said "use these glyphs" lol.

Either I desperately suck at DPS, Rawr is completely wrong, or some combination of the 2. I had never had recount before, don't really care for meters or tracking, but I figured my DPS must be ok, I mean my lava burst crits for like 8-10k. Yeah, apparently not. Standing still, spamming the stock Lava burst, flameshock, lightning bolt or chain lightning till lava burst is off cooldown, repeat, I was able to hit 3500 DPS on pre-Onyxia trash. On Onyxia herself, it dropped to about 2300. Part of that is due to my computer not being able to handle that encounter. I was probably down to 3 frames per second. Rawr says I should be doing 4-5k with the gear I have currently equipped. I don't get it.

I don't like tanking. At all. It bothers me, is a pain in the ass, and is not, in general, fun for me. Even running things I massively overgear is more tedious and a chore. I ran H UP on both Shammy and Paladin yesterday. While on the shammy it was more pew pew (our DPS were 3 elemental shammies lol), on paladin it was fight like hell to keep aggro while the DPS AoE's everything under the sun. Hey blizz, you want to know why there are no tanks? IT SUCKS AND ISNT FUN. When I have problems with multi-target aggro on a paladin, I can only guess how druids must feel (I have tanked a lil on my druid, but never with a group that just AoE's everything).

I ran a couple alts through the thanksgiving day cooking stuff. I picked up the Turkinator achievement on both of them. My Shammy leveled cooking the old fashioned (painful, sucky, expensive) way, so I didn't feel like needlessly chasing turkeys for no reason on him. I shelled out some $$ and got my death knight cold weather flying and a basic flying mount. I figure I will level him. Having a dedicated gatherer and another titansteel cooldown will be useful. I probably won't do much with him, definately no dual spec or tanking, but DK's are pretty fun to level.

I ran a BUNCH of instances and a couple raids over the week as well, almost entirely on Shammy. I really like healing. Its decent, intuitive, and as long as the whole group doesnt wipe, I rez the straggler and we move on. DPS is ok, but it seems like 90% of people are more concerned with "where do I rank on the meters?" than why they're there in the first place. Case in point, got invited to run regular Nexus on my DK. A deathtard wiped the group by pulling half the frozen room going for the book in the middle, then was bragging about being top of the charts on DPS. Guess what, when you wipe the group by pulling a room, doesn't matter how much DPS you do.

I am looking forward to some more messing around this week, and another toon to level makes me happy. I hope everyone else's weekend went well as well!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Enjoying the whole game. . .

Everwrath left a comment on my blog from yesterday, basically saying it sounds like I'm enjoying the game again. This got me to thinking. He's right. I am enjoying the game now, and I wasn't before. I think before the game was more of a chore to pass the time, now it is fun.

There are a lot of things that contributed to my previous situation. I think the first was my chosen role of tanking. Tanking is a stressful, difficult, thankless job. Lower level instances don't drop tanking gear, but you are required to run them to learn them, because you can't tank content you aren't at least familiar with. Every group needs a tank, but it is the most difficult, tedious role to gear up for, and unlike DPS, there is no running with insufficient gear. Basically, tanking sucks. Blizz has tried to do things to make it less of a pain, made tanks do more DPS, easier to level, made lots of craftable tank gear, but in the end, tanking is the roughest role to fill in the game. However, this is not a post about past experiences.

If your only experience of the "endgame" was lousy, your overall opinion of that content would be that it sucks and is not fun. In the real world, jobs that are more difficult and stressful get rewarded (they make more money). In Wow, rewards are generally random or equal no matter the role. Mr 800 DPS in heroics gets the same amount of emblems as the tank or healer. I will honestly say that my experiences as a tank colored my experience of the game. Going back to TBC, gearing for tanking was ridiculous and then you had to know every fight and have control of every situation. I was burnt out. I needed something else.

I turned to alts. My love of many of the classes in Wow is well documented. I've also written many posts about how leveling and instancing are completely different. Finally, it all fell into place for me. I got my Shaman to 80, picked up Elemental/Restoration and started getting geared. I will admit, I had a much easier go of it than I would have. I pretty much skipped the rep grind (I wanted exalted with Wyrmrest Accord and Ebon Blade for their mail items) by running trial of the Champion. However, unlike the Paladin whose DPS spec I didn't care for and felt somewhat unnatural, the shaman DPS spec is FUN. I can blast multiple mobs with chain lightning, I can hit lava burst crits for 9k.

I wrote yesterday that before I knew it, I was geared. They say time flies when you're having fun, they're right. I've been running a ton of stuff on my shammy, both as DPS and as heals, and it is a ton of fun. For example, last night, I healed a timed CoS run, we did the run, I won the drake. The run itself was a TON of fun (even though the cat druid and retardadin kept attacking whatever and taking tons of damage), the drake was just icing (I dont even have 300 riding yet to ride it, working on the gold to buy that, damn dual specs). For the first time in the game, I feel like consistantly at the end game, I'm pulling my own weight.

Another interesting facet of playing the shammy, when I log into the game, and I think about who I want to play, shammy wins. I log into my pally to do my jewelcrafting daily (sooo many patterns left to buy), but I don't really have the urge to play one of my alts. Even my warlock who needs one level to get to 65 (so he can learn northrend enchanting) and my priest (who is dual specced discipline and shadow) don't hold the appeal they did while I was leveling. I want to log into my shammy and do dailies while I wait in LFG. Really, if I could do CoS, VH, and maybe UP/UK every day, I would be fine with that and have a ton of badges. I passed on the heroic daily yesterday, I think it was Old Kingdom, I am not a fan of that instance. In a perfect world, the daily will be something like VH, that I want to run anyways, and just gives me some free triumph badges.

I also decided that with the addition of some enchants and gems, my DPS set is more than adequate. I have never wanted to top charts, as long as my DPS is "adequate" I'm happy. However, I was talking with my buddy Ruhtra yesterday and he brough up the fact that being the most effective healer I can will make me more likely to participate in raid content. This had never really been a consideration for me before because I can't/won't raid tank on my pally and I consider him scrub DPS. I don't even care if he gets DPS drops, he's just there to fill space. Not so with my shammy. So I've been taking a deeper look into how to use my badges to help my healing. I definately need the totem first of all. After last night, I have almost enough emblems for it. I think after that, I will buy the shield. I may head down to Venture bay and check and see if we hold it one of these days because I have more than enough coins for an Elemental totem from there that will be an upgrade (I'm using the level 60 one that increase SP by 33 for lightning spells, blech).

I think tommorow if I'm feeling adventurous I will link my shammy. I would love to get feedback on what gear I should be looking for as far as upgrades.

Monday, November 23, 2009

poof! I'm geared. . .

I don't know how much of it was patch changes, I don't know how much ToC contributed (ok, a LOT), and cloth makes up a large part of my gear, but I am now pretty much what I would consider "geared". I have two things to replace, my shield (crafted epics blizz? seems like a waste downgrading conquest badges just to get an upgrade), and totem (which is my first priority, 19 badges each for resto and elemental). I also really want the mail shoulders you get with badges of triumph, but I really only get those from the daily heroic, so it will be a while.

What I think is kind of strange/funny is the speed and ease of gearing up my shammy as opposed to the pally. First of all, I figured I would have to rep grind and get purples that way. Not so much. I am just about revered with Ebon Blade and Wyrmrest Accord and the purples from exalted are no longer upgrades. I ran a BUNCH of ToC over the weekend as well as the dailies (cept CoS, get to that later), and the drops were good to me. I got the +Hit trinket from heroic violet hold, as well as the robe, which it turns out I no longer need. I got the Abyssal Rune from ToC to upgrade my other slot. I got the mail pants from the black knight on heroic, in addition to the cloth head and cloth boots. Basically the only gear I have left from dinging 80 (I made the titansteel guardian a lil later) is my totem, shield, Revenant's breastplate, shoulders and my 2 capes (I am using the Ebon Blade rep one for elemental, and a BoE spellpower one for resto).

I am not all enchanted up or gemmed completely (I wasn't quite prepared to get geared this fast), but with some easy gemming/enchanting I got some pretty ridiculous numbers. I downloaded Rawr a while ago because it seems like the best way to compare gear and see where I'd be at. Rawr does seem to heavily favor crit, which I guess I could see based on what I've read on Elitist Jerks, but I've been reading shadow priest stuff too, so it's easy to get paths crossed. Anyways, my gear on dinging 80 Rawr said would give me DPS of around 2500 (I think they use a patchwerk type boss for example). Now with my upgrades I will be hit capped, and Rawr showed my DPS to be around 5k. I still really don't know what "acceptable" DPS is, but I would think 5k would be acceptable for 10 man content. I also don't think that number takes Chain lightning or my ability to drink my unlimited mana potions (yay free mana!). Their rotation was Flame Shock, Lava Burst, 5x lightning bolt, repeat. Mine normally ends up being FS, LB, chain lightning, LBx2, repeat. While it does put a slight drain on mana, my pots are plenty without even factoring in replenishment to keep me up.

I am also really close to 450 alchemy on the shammy. I still cant do the master of transmute quest, I need to farm some primal airs for that. While extra pots is semi good, potentially getting 2 for 1 epic gems is just too good to pass up. I still keep doing the JC daily every day on pally because there are always more cuts I need. I am working on the skyflare one for crit (Rawr said its BIS for me, I don't really have a basis for comparison on that, but as crit triggers my water shields so I guess it will work for both). After that its the epic luminous cut and maybe the epic royal cut. I am trying to get as many double duty cuts as I can. Hit really is entirely a DPS stat. I have the epic yellow +hit, and I have a couple melee epic cuts, now it's time to work on caster cuts.

I almost forgot about my Culling of Stratholme "drama". Now, I have recently been pugging heroics, generally with no problems. I usually end up healing, which is fine, I have a full resto set and I think I now have a decent grasp of when to use my abilities (I also have had zero probs with threat, so I'm gonna switch some points around in my resto build into improved healing wave). I got through both daily heroics from the weekend with no wipes (although admittedly with hugely over-geared pally tanks). So I got into a group for H CoS, and they dropped me 2 mins in. I whispered the leader with a WTF? (I hearthed in the middle of dailies to switch gear) and he said "sorry, we're trying for drake". WTF!?!? In other instance difficulties, we had a pretty big problem with a guild run in H VH. There were other problems, but I had major issues keeping the tank up. He was really actually well geared, but I've never healed a DK tank before. I dunno if it was his dual wield build or generally lower health than I'm used to (he had 27k during the run) or just some weakness with DKs, but he seemed to be taking a lot of spiky damage. I don't know if its a lack of SP on my part, or my build, or something I can fix. I do need to get my emergency macro together so I can do instant healing wave. I want to have it hit my focus target and just focus on tank but apart from that, I dunno what else I could do.

I didn't really play on my alts at all this weekend. I can tell I'm really enjoying the shammy because I havent really had the desire to play my alts. I will def try to get my warlock up to 65 to level his enchanting, and I still want to try a shadow priest, but shammy is just so much fun! Hope everyone else's weekend went as well as mine. . .

Friday, November 20, 2009

finding what feels right. . .

Wow is one of those games that gives players LOTS of choices. Although there are nine classes in the game, talent tree decisions can make that number seem much higher (I wouldn't quite say 27 because some classes play similarly regardless of spec). How can someone find the "right" class to play with so many choices? You just have to experiment and play what feels right.

Another thing that makes the whole thing murky is the concept of the endgame. Blizz has set the first 79 levels (soon to be 84) up as this time of continuous improvement and advancement, mostly done solo. You are more powerful than most of the mobs you'll fight one on one, and you can usually take down multiples at once, sometimes with a short time to rest and refresh afterwards. Then you get to the level cap and everything changes.

I have found a couple things in my leveling of multiple characters in the game. In solo content melee characters generally have an easier time of it. Three to four mobs on a paladin, death knight or enhancement shammy are nothing. Three to four mobs get up to a priest and I'm freaking out, dotting them up, dispersing, and praying they die before I do. However, this has no bearing at how things will play at 80 apart from dailies.

I have found "the game" at 80 to be an application of fast AoE on trash, and sustained single target damage on "bosses". I prefer accomplishing this at range for easier targeting and safety. For me, caster DPS is the way to go with additional points given for utility. This is what feels right for me, your feel for the game may be completely different. Rogues, who lack utility and can only melee DPS are useless to me. Hunters who have solid ranged DPS but no other utility are equally so. Warlocks and mages have some measure of additional utility, but fall short of the druid, priest and shammy's abilities to heal. That is a HUGE benefit to me, in addition to any other buffs they provide groups.

The last thing to consider is how the class makes you feel. I have not leveled up a priest all the way to have an accurate comparison. However, in playing my shammy elemental, I just get a little giddy inside. 7.5k crits from lava burst, sometimes I literally say "BOOM!!! You're dead!" Shammy is just enjoyable. Priest might be just as enjoyable, I don't have a point of comparison yet.

What feels right to you? Try to step outside the box and give other classes a chance, you might find one you really like.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Can I haz grp plz!?!?!?

So I have to say, I am really looking forward to cross server PuG's and the new dungeon finder. I am hoping it allows a better mix of what you're looking to queue for. As things stand right now, I've noticed two types of groups: those destined to fail, and none whatsoever.

Speaking of destined to failure, I have a new target of my wrath: ToC. I despise this instance for numerous reasons. First of all, jousting. I despise the jousting mechanic, don't like it, isn't fun, and has nothing to do with how my character plays at other times. Secondly, the instance itself plays nothing like other instances. Its short, just successive "challenges", and the bosses don't just focus on the tank. It also allows people to re-enter after dying (which is almost guaranteed to happen). This re-entry causes a lot of confusion in people who havent run the instance before. Lastly, because the rewards it gives out are over-powered in relation to similar level content, it attracts a lot of people looking for "easy gear" who arent necessarily up to the level of the instance. Case in point, the most recent time I ran this, the DPS, on dying, failed to come back to their bodies to keep fighting. I kept the tank up for around a minute with no DPS.

Besides my hatred of ToC, other instances don't seem to go much better. My shammy is geared almost entirely in blues/purples. I have both pieces of Revenants mail, the titansteel guardian, and titanium spellshock ring. In my elemental gear, while I'm not hit capped for raiding, I have around 10% spell hit which, with elemental precision, should be fine. While I havent run too many heroics, I know that I have the numbers to heal them or at the very least DPS. However, when I was on pally, couldn't seem to find heals. Its frustrating. CAN I HAZ GRP PLZ!?!?!?

I just want to farm some badges and get some rep with Wyrmrest Accord. Once I hit exalted with them, I will have purple gloves, and I will get purple pants (um kilt?) from Ebon Blade from dailies, so I will be almost entirely in purples. I would think that would be enough to farm heroics?

Oh well. In other Wow news, I am about 100k from hitting 65 on my Warlock so I can learn grandmaster Enchanting. That will give me every profession at Northrend level besides Engineering, which I've gone on record as saying I have no use for. My shammy hit 423 alchemy yesterday which is frustrating because everything is green except transmutes, which are on a cooldown. Oh well, another couple days then I can learn meta gem transmutes and then start making flasks.

Still trying to decide who to level next. Priest, Druid, Death Knight, Warrior? Anyone have any feedback?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I can't believe I'm saying this: I agree with the Goblin. . .

I just read Tobold's blog and he had an especially interesting post today. I have to say this upfront, I am kind of a massive fan. His was one of the first blogs that I followed (along with Blessing of Kings). So, the long and short of it was Markco from Just my two coppers allegedly approached him about linking or bannering something about his gold guide. Apparently he's charging more than two coppers for it and was looking for some advertisement. Then he mentioned that Gevlon the Greedy Goblin similarly rebuffed Markco, in a post here.

I don't ordinarily agree with the Goblin. I almost never do. I rarely read his blog unless led to it for some particular reason. I think his brand of anti-social for it's own sake is tiresome and just a means to get attention. In this instance, I agree with him 100%.

I think bloggers are one of the things that make Wow so enjoyable. My main is a Prot Paladin, and I am an ok tank at best. I am middling geared, and have a good aggro rotation, but I just cant seem to remember 27 bajillion fights. However, most of what I do know about paladining (I don't think that's a word, but it should be), I learned online. Most of what I know about playing a shammy, priest, warlock, mage, and druid, I learned online. Death knight I pretty much just hit a bunch of buttons, thats how you're supposed to play them, right? lol I look at gold making as just another facet of the game. Could I make a ton of gold? Probably, but I prefer to grind things and do dailies because that's fun for me, making gold is more like work.

I guess when it comes down to it, I look at blogs as this awesome free resource for people who want information. Trying to use one as a scam to make real life money just seems wrong. As a result, I will no longer be supporting: Just my two coppers, and have removed it from my blogroll.

In a completely unrelated note, something I probably don't say enough. I really genuinely enjoy all the blogs on my blogroll and read them as regularly as I can. However, my job has filters on posting to certain things, so as such, I can't always comment. My job has also blocked some of the blogs in my blogroll (I miss reading Gnomeageddon), but we do what we can. Keep blogging people, its a great mental exercise and it gives me something to do while I should be working.

Ding 80 (again), more shammy thoughts. . .

Well, normally I wouldn't be blogging at 7:30am, but I'm home sick. I don't think it's swine flu (I've heard when you get that, you're freaking miserable), but I have something, so I def want to to get to the dr (hopefully while they're doing maintenance, I'm not an addict, I can quit whenever I want to).

So, I've been working on my Shammy for quite some time, and last night, while doing my dailies, I dinged 80 (and got the 50 dailies achievement, and the achievement for cooking lol). I promptly went and learned all my talents and re-specced from enhancement to elemental, and changed around my resto build. My resto build is pretty cookie cutter 0/13/58 with healing grace instead of elemental weapons. I have been convinced by people who say the benefit from elemental weapons is marginal at best and doesn't scale. As I will probably be running heroics with some inexperienced tanks, threat reduction on heals is prolly more beneficial.

The resto change was pretty minor, I've had a resto dual spec for a while and done some instance healing with it. While I like resto, I really wanted a caster DPS, so the change I was most looking forward to was switching enhancement to elemental. Again, I am using a pretty cookie cutter 57/14/00 build, with my main PvE omission being reverberation. I just don't see that as being very beneficial for the points, and I think the anti-puchback and mana regen talents are more useful.

Another thing I've been doing to prepare for the change is collecting some gear. I got cloth belt and bracers from reg ToC with +hit as well as Revenant's boots and chest. I have some other assorted blues to fill in, and I've been working rep with dailies. I am going to start doing the Wyrmrest dailies every day in addition to the 5-6 Ebon Blade dailies (the intelligence docs one is frustrating, I have a ton of keys, but finding chests kind blows and 35 copper after killing a bunch of mobs kinda sucks). Tonight when my titansteel cooldown refreshes, I will be able to make a titansteel guardian. I also sent 2 jewelcrafting rings, the spellshock ring, and ring of northern tears. I'm socketing the spellshock ring with a runed cardinal ruby since I don't think I'll be replacing it ever, and it can do work in my ele and resto sets.

I took it out to icecrown to test out on some mobs and OMFG!!!! I thought I killed things quick as enhancement, this is a whole other level. Lightning bolt for 2k, flameshock, then a lava burst for 5-7k, dead.

I have to give major shoutouts to WTFspaghetti, plusheal, and drug. As I'm not really an expert on any class, the majority of ideas I have come from other sources. Wow wiki has great talent builds, but the blogs and discussion boards really go more in depth.

Now I have to decide who's next: Priest (Shadow/Disc), Druid (Feral/Resto) or other. . .

Monday, November 16, 2009

Weekend update. . .

Well, I had one of the best weekends in a long time this weekend, for a variety of reasons. I got some good sports in, spent time with the gf, and made a lot of progress on the Wow front.

First of all, in non-wow related activities, my Cincinnati Bearcats beat West Virginia in a pretty good game on Friday night. I am a graduate of Cincinnati and I have to say the worst beat down I ever witnessed in person came at the hands of West Virginia. Good to see UC still undefeated. I also went out with my gf on saturday night. I have to say, I love the smaller non-chain mexican places. We had some food and we both had margaritas and boy were they strong! Sunday the Bengals beat the Steelers to take the lead in the AFC north.

With all that other stuff, I was actually able to get some Wow time in between. I think the coolest thing I did was download Rawr. It is a great app that lets you load up your talents and gear and give a rough idea of how it will perform and which items are more beneficial. I've been using it to see how my shammy will perform at 80, and I have to say it is encouraging. With the gear I've accumulated, some easy enchants, and a basic Elemental shammy rotation (flame shock, lava burst, lightning till lava burst is off cooldown), they say I will do around 2500 DPS. Now, that is roughly equivalent to what my pally does, but I am a firm believer it's not what you're doing, but how you're doing it, and I want to be doing it as a caster.

I wasn't able to quite get to 80 though. I ran through Culling of Stratholme, Utgarde Pinnacle, and with some major guildie help, managed to get through Trial of the Crusader on regular. In what seemed wrong, backwards and in all other ways ridiculous, we started with my buddy Ruhtra tanking and me healing. Unfortunately the priest chick with the dragon put an end to that, I just couldnt keep up with her smites. Eus stepped in to heal, I switched to enhancement and we downed her and the black knight, and I got some sweet gear for my Elemental set. I shouldn't have a problem reaching the hit cap, although I should be more than good to go for heroics out of the box.

I am about 400k XP from 80, so I should be able to hit that tonight with minimal effort. I think I made the right choice as far as caster DPS/heals goes. I really like shammy healing and looking at the numbers from Rawr, I think I'm gonna love elemental a lot too (8k crit on lava burst, YES PLEASE!). I somewhat worry about losing spirit wolves in doing dailies, but I know elemental has other tools, so I'm not too super concerned. I'm also looking forward to maybe doing some BGs and seeing how that goes. I know I don't like melee, maybe a caster will make things easier.

I hope everyone elses weekend was as enjoyable and productive as mine!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Some quality time with my shammy. . .

Well, in my job I don't work on wednesdays. This gives me an opportunity to put in some quality time during the day when the kiddies (thats code for douchebags who look for lowbies to gank) aren't on, and I can do some leveling.

I started the day at 76 and figured if I made a pretty good go of it, I would be able to hit 78. I managed to do that JUST BARELY. It gave me a lot of time to think about things and strategize for 80 (which I now think I will hit this weekend, YAY!).

First of all, I wonder why I am skinning. I have a leatherworker, but he's not my shammy so I won't be learning new patterns, and I bought both the revenants pieces on the AH (about 155g between them, yes I am a jew IRL). I kind of wanted the spellshock belt for my resto set, but there's a cloth belt from Wyrmrest Accord rep that is just as good, albeit cloth. I actually have a pretty good starter set at 80 ready to go, might do a writeup on it later, the only real piece missing that I would want is the titansteel guardian. Six titansteel bars is a bear (36 titanium ore, blizz you're killin me!). I made the saronite mace you can use at 77, I will prolly try to run some heroic nexus to see if the mace from there drops.

I am definately switching to alchemy ASAP given skinning is next to useless to me. I have epic gem cuts, why not transmute some epic gems? I also need to start running dailies like ASAP. Most of the gear I want is a rep reward from someone (looks like I will wear the tabard for wyrmrest till revered, then switch to Kirin Tor, and get ebon blade rep from quests and dailies), and I also want to get cracking on the cooking dailies (worg tartar is a key part of my hit cap calculations, why not take a free 20 points?).

How do I feel about my Shammy's performance? Well I healed DTK last night, and although our group was overpowered for the instance OMFG! Healing with the shammy is everything I want in 5 mans. I earthshield the tank (making sure to refresh it when necessary) put riptide on him and either toss him a lesser healing wave every now and then or chain heal if the melee DPS are taking damage. I'm rocking about 1000 SP right now which should almost double at 80 (I will go from greens/blues to blues/purples) and I'm not having problems with mana. I think my casting efficientcy has improved although I'm still working on a few things.

Elemental I am a lil nervous about. Well, not nervous as much as not sure how often I'll use it. The major barriers to groups are not having a tank or healer. Obviously I won't be tanking on the shammy, and I'm just not excited about leveling another tank, so it's caster DPS or heals. I wonder: are groups even going to want/let me DPS? Really as much as shammy healing is cool, I wouldn't want to do it all the time. Sometimes, I just want to blast stuff.

Btw WTFspaghetti has an excellent guide for starting shammies here

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tanking Meme. . .

Well, I'm not really a tank. I mean my "main" is a prot paladin in tank gear. I have around 30k HP self buffed. But as one of my guildies Nymeros pointed out, I spend more time goofing around on my alts then actually tanking anything. If someone needs something and I'm not in the midst of a leveling session, I will hop on, tank a heroic and let them collect their loots. Last time I did this, I ran some guildies and a PuG DPS warrior through H UP. I almost had a bout of nerd rage when the red sword dropped leaving our DK and the PuG warrior to roll for it (I had to win it tanking that thing 8 bazillion times. . .maybe not that many, but it was a lot!). Anyways, even though I'm not really a tank, I've done more of it than any other role, so I figured I would participate in the tanking meme posted by Chastity on Righteous Orbs.

What is your primary tanking environment? (i.e. raids, pvp, 5 mans)
Five mans. I don't really have any desire to tank in a raid. Too much learning of fights, too much responsibility. I can tell I would not enjoy it.

What is your favorite tanking spell for your class and why?
Consecration. It is the mark of pally tanking. Everything else is nice and all, but it has been my most used spell since vanilla.

What tanking spell do you use least for your class and why?
Lay on hands. I used to not even have it on my action bar. I have been using it more frequently of late (as necessary of course, not because my healers have been sucking)

What do you feel is the biggest strength of your tanking class and why?
AoE. Either grinding or holding threat on multiple mobs, no other class has it like pallies.

What do you feel is the biggest weakness of your tanking class and why?
Dependance on mana. Any boss that has a silence is like a death blow. It's not even worth bringing a pally tank at that point.

In a 25 man raiding environment, what do you feel, in general, is the best tanking assignment for you?
Leveling an alt on the outside. Seriously, don't bring me to a raid.

What tanking class do you enjoy tanking with most and why?
Paladin. My main is a paladin, my first 70 was paladin, my first 80 was paladin. I wouldn't say I "enjoy" tanking. But I am only confident doing it on paladin.

What tanking class do you enjoy tanking with least and why?
Thats hard to say. Other classes are most definately NOT pallies. DK's have an ability like consecration but not the mitigation. Druids have awesome health but not the AoE threat. Warriors are the closest to pallies but rage is a pain to manage. All the other classes are about even, I wouldn't want to tank with any of them lol.

What is your worst habit as a tank?
I will call this a tie between trying to go too fast (sometimes resulting in over pulls, healer freak out, etc), and forgetting to turn on all my tank abilities (I have forgotten to use righteous fury, devotion aura, etc). I solo so much and rarely ever tank, its a mental exercise to remember to do everything.

What is your biggest pet peeve in a group environment while tanking?
Bad DPS. I don't just mean DPS who don't do much damage, they are annoying too. DPS who pull, they suck. I am the tank, I can take them beating on me, you can't, don't pull. DPS who don't watch aggro. I put out a pretty decent threat. I know my rotations for single target or multi mobs (I like the shield slam on single mobs). If you pull aggro, I'm letting you die. There was a warlock in a recent H UP run who kept constantly pulling aggro. Consequently, he had some repair bills, I'm sure. We had zero group wipes, he died about 4-5 times. If you pull aggro and you're not the healer, you might get a taunt, if you keep aggro, you're dead.

Do you feel that your class/spec is well balanced with other tanks?
I think so. There are a lot of factors blizz is trying to balance with very different tanking styles.

What tools do you use to evaluate your own performance as a tank?
I'm pretty compulsive about omen. I like to keep track of my threat generation to make sure I'm doing what I'm supposed to.

What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about your class?
I think other paladins honestly have the biggest misconception about prot. I have leveled prot from about level 40 on. Prot is a mindset, not just a set of abilities. You can't level to 80 as retribution and then expect to be an effective tank (I think this is why most DK tanks suck).

What do you feel is the most difficult thing for new tanks of your class to learn?
See above. Also, I have come to the conclusion the biggest thing about tanking is knowing all the fights. Even though my pally is geared to tank about anything, what I can tank is severely limited because I don't know the majority of instances in the game.

Effective Health or Avoidance and why?
You can't really seperate the two, although with the new icecrown debuff, I think blizz is moving towards the Effective Health model. Avoidance is tricky because I think it leads to spike damage. Mitigating a little damage at a time is better because it keeps from excessive use of the "OH SHIT" buttons. Some avoidance is probably good, but I think moving towards more of a mitigation model is better. There is a reason why Rogues don't tank.

What tanking class do you feel you understand least?
DK's. I have a level 70 death knight that I don't play because he's not that interesting and I have never tanked on him. I know I don't care for melee DPS in instances, so why level another one?

What add-ons or macros do you use, if any, to aid you in tanking?
Before we got a taunt, I had a macro for that. I use Omen and Deadly boss mods as well. Thats about it though.

Do you strive primarily for balance between your tanking stats, or do you stack some much higher than others, and why?
Once I got to the defense cap, I just stacked as much stamina as I could. However, I don't really look for stats, and if something is an upgrade, I can work around it. My gear really isnt to the point there I'm turning down tanking gear (maybe blues).

In other news, got priest to 64 last night, Shammy ran VH and actually hit 76. Four more levels to go, then I switch to Ele/Resto and see about getting in on some raids.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Weekend update. . .

Well, I didnt get any Wow time in until sunday for a few reasons. Friday night and sat was spent with my gf. Her son has an obsession with trains that defies explanation. Anyways, saturday night was Cincinnati vs UConn. My little brother is a student there (I'm an alum) so I got to sit in the student section. I am pretty sure I was on TV a few times, we were in the 2nd row, corner of the endzone. Also, being a 30yo dude in the student section is weird. Younger drunken girls in body paint, generally cute. Younger drunken girls in body paint puking and causing drama, not cute.

Sunday I actually got to sit down and have some quality time with Wow. I pretty much wanted to spend the whole day leveling, which I did. I got my shammy almost to 76. I tried to pug into Violet Hold, but the group broke up due to no tank. I thought DK's were supposed to fix the tank problem. Instead it just gave us another DPS class who refuses to tank. Ugh. I think of DK's even worse because THEY HAVE TO HAVE A MID LEVEL ALT TO MAKE ONE!!! The only comparable I can think of is a warrior, and honestly, if it's your first character, ok, tanking is prolly not a solid choice. But seriously, if you want to instance on your DK, you should at least be ABLE to tank. And yes, I practice what I preach, all of my characters capable of a dual role have dual specs (my mage and lock don't and my warrior probably isn't going to be leveled past 67 like ever).

Anyways, speaking of dual spec, thats the OTHER thing I did this weekend was buy dual spec for my priest. I was originally going to go Holy, I figured that's "the healing tree" for priests. Thanks to Miss Medecina for clarifying things. I read her beginner's guide to both Discipline and Holy, and decided to go discipline. I really like the thought of a powerful shield and penance, and then being able to throw renew around on the DPS. I havent really done any instance healing on my priest (I healed a ramps run once as shadow), so I'm interested to see how it works. I also discovered I can access Plusheal at work, so that will be some goodness.

I have been thinking about gearing my Shammy and when I am going to switch things around. I made some glyphs for my switch to Elemental (I just "discovered" Lava, which seems really good for elemental), and bid on some gear in the AH. I have been skinning with him, but my Druid is actually the leatherworker. I have gotten enough arctic fur to buy both the patterns for the Revenants gear, although I bid on the boots in the AH as a cheaper short term fix. I think I might be able to use the boots for Elemental and resto, I dunno if there is a straight spellpower boot enchant so icewalker shouldn't be a huge issue there. I'm thinking I will drop skinning for alchemy around 78-79 and drop Enhancement for Elemental at 80. As much as elemental seems awesome for instancing, I just can't see leveling without Spirit Wolves. It has become my favorite "OH SHIT" button in the game. I can't quite solo elites as well as on the pally, but in general things die much faster, so it's smooth leveling.

I would LOVE to hit 80 on the shammy before 3.3 drops, although I dunno how possible that is. Maybe 77 on weds, 79 by next sunday I will be a lil short. Then once Shammy hits 80, it's the gear grind. Oh how I love you. . .not.

Friday, November 6, 2009


So I was going to post something about DPS, then Darraxus posted a blog about e-peen, and all I could think of was the youtube video "My new haircut". For those of you who havent seen it, watch it here.

Well that got me to thinking "Is there a wow version?" There is. I laughed so hard I cried and couldnt breath.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Gearing for the necessary roles. . .

Lately I've been doing a lot of thinking around gearing a healer/DPS hybrid. Obviously the gear won't be completely the same due to the hit cap requirement on the caster DPS gear. Now, I've been trying to read all I can about healing and get some practice in instances, but as many have pointed out, the game at 80 is not the same as the game while leveling.

This brings about my question of the day: Why does Blizzard make it more difficult gearing for the "necessary" roles (tank and healer)?

Now both face challenges in gearing and they are similar but different. Tanks have to deal with the defense cap. Currently only druids are not required to collect gear with enough rating to make them un-crittable by bosses. A tank without the necessary defense rating just isnt a tank. The catch is that it is very difficult to amass enough defense gear to tank heroics without actually running heroics. Doesn't make much sense does it?

Healers have a similar but different problem. There is no standard spellpower rating, no hit cap, nothing that says "you must have X number". How does a healer know they're ready to heal heroics? I can't really figure out any way other than run heroics, and if you kept the group up, you obviously were ready.

One of my guildies Nymeros, has an alt who is a shammy and just hit 80 the other day. Apparently he has had a number of difficulties getting into PuGs as a healer. Now, I will be upfront in saying I respect "quality" DPS. However, most players in the game are not quality DPS. They want to be carried through content despite their performance and collect as many purples as possible. I think it sucks he got booted from groups looking for an easy ride from a geared healer.

My main is a tank, I'm not a great one, I'm ok. However, I understand holding aggro and how to gear a tank, and I crafted most of my tanking gear or got it as rep rewards. I'm not a great healer, I'm ok. For the three classes I heal with, I generally understand what to do at what time, and how to gear and talent them to keep people up. I'm learning, but with groups of approximately my skill level, I'd make it through level appropriate content. The problem is that most DPS don't want to go through level appropriate content. They want to do ToC heroic or Ulduar when they're geared for entry level heroics.

Unfortunately, there really isn't a cure for this. I PuG as little as possible. The reason for this is I just don't care for the majority of Wow players. As a consequence, my characters aren't that geared. I don't really care. I will never tank a raid, I have no interest in the stress, the responsibility or the requirement to know every fight. I am content with just running the occasional heroic with people I know, trust and like, and getting what drops my way.

End Rambling

On a leveling note, the rabbi (my shadow priest) is almost up to 63. I still can't quite afford dual spec for him (I have the gold, but it would just about bankupt me, so I'm gonna pass), but I figure it's not a big deal because I don't run instances in TBC. I definately want to get him dual spec and cold weather flying which will run me about 2k gold and bring my number of chars with that to 4 (Pally, Druid, Shammy, and Priest). My Shammy hit 74 yesterday, I am hoping to hit 75 sunday and keep a modest pace of 2 levels per week. I really can't do more than that because of general non-wow pursuits (gf, college football games with lil brother, etc), still Shammy should hit 80 before 3.3. It will be interesting to see what impact that has on instance groups.

Hope everyone has had a good week, GO BEARCATS!!! (I am a graduate of the University of Cincinnati)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Healing meme: I was tagged. . .

First of all, HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!! I hope everyone had a good weekend. I had an interesting weekend to say the least. Earlier this year, I was engaged and my current gf and ex fiancee were at the party I was at. Yeah, luckily it ended up not as uncomfortable as it could have been. I also got a pic of my gf and her friend with guitar hero controllers rocking out. I might post it from home (just don't tell my gf I posted pics of her on teh inter-webz . . . or that I have a blog about World of Warcraft lol).

I got tagged by my buddy Ruhtra to join in a lil meme about healing. Now much like almost every other class/role in the game, I don't have an 80 healer, but I've played all the healing classes, and healed instances with all of them.

1. What is the name, class, and spec of your primary healer?
Well, this is hard to answer, I have 3 healers, 2 70+ and one on the way, none of them 80, so I havent made a decision yet about which one will be my "primary" healer. The leader in the clubhouse right now is Lefish my 73 Orc Shammy.

2. What is your primary group healing environment? (ie raids, 5 man, PVP)
Primary being only, I've only healed 5 mans, although I've done so with every healing class in the game (ok, you got me, no bandage spec rogue healing)

3. What is your favorite healing spell for your class and why?
Each one is different, although I am horrible with names, I generally just know effects and icon. With Druid I love the AoE HoT. With Shammy I love Chain Heal. With the Priest, don't ask me why, but I love Renew.

4. What healing spell do you use least for your class and why?
Again, depends on class. With Priest I almost never use "big" heals. Its either Flash heal, renew, binding heal, or Prayer of Healing. With Druid I use most everything. With Shammy I use healing wave less, mostly because I'm chain healing a lot, and unless I pop nature's swiftness to get a big instant heal, there's not much reason to use it.

5. What do you feel is the biggest strength of your healing class and why?
With Druid, it's the HoTs, totally. With the priest it's the variety of healing tools, they can seriously do a little bit of everything. Shammy I would have a hard time nailing a "biggest" strength. Totems are awesome and something no other class has access to, but Chain Heal is a very unique ability (heals like a big heal with some AoE functionality) so I'm copping out and saying those two.

6. In a 25 man raiding environment, what do you feel is the best healing assignment (in general) for you?
I doubt I will ever heal a 25 man raid, I really have no desire to go over 10.

7. What healing class do you enjoy healing with the most and why?
As I only run 5 mans (at the moment) I've never healed "with" anyone.

8. What healing class do you least enjoy (hate) healing with and why?
See above

9. What is your worst habit as a healer?
I cast too much with leaves me with low mana and major over heals. I got used to healing with a druid, which is constant "maintenance healing", and the mana regen is pretty sick. Shammies and Priests can't heal like that (at least to this point). I am trying to get better with it, but that is my struggle. It used to be not healing DPS, although I've gotten better about that.

10. What is your biggest peeve in a group environment when healing?
DPS who pull aggro and then want to know why I let them die. I didn't let you die, your dumb ass shouldn't be taking damage in the first place. My other biggest pet peeve is under geared/leveled tanks who try to tank things they're not prepared for and want to complain. My main is a tank, you get no sympathy here.

11. Do you feel that your class/spec is well balanced with other healers for PVE healing?
I think of the healers that I play, they are balanced and it is player skill/gear that determines how good a player is. Obviously there are talent choices, but blizz has made the PvE healing spec pretty obvious

12. What tools do you use to evaluate your own performance as a healer?
I look at 2 things: Are we wiping and how often am I drinking? Wipes that are my fault (yeah, there have been a few), I try to figure out what I could have done differently. Sometimes I have gone into content under-geared and it showed. More often than not though, I go OOM and its because I cast too much.

13. What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about your healing class?
I dont think anyone who doesnt play a healer really understands healing (this includes players of classes able to heal who choose not to). Healing is it's own classification for a reason, and it takes a lot of know-how to do effectively. Since getting into it, I think I like it more than tanking, it is both easier and harder at the same time.

14. What do you think is the most difficult thing for new healers of your class to learn?
There is an easy thing for new healers to learn? Breaking into healing is to completely change the way that you think and function at other times in the game. You do no damage (generally) and your sole responsibility is to support the group. Your gear choices are different, your use of abilities is different. There is just a lot to learn about healing. As I alluded to previously, learning to heal is as hard or harder than learning to tank.

15. If someone were to evaluate your performance as a healer (via recount), what sort of pattern would they see (ie lots of overhealing, low healing output, ect)?
Generally I overheal a lot, but my healing output is pretty good. I dont think I will ever get away from over healing, but I do need to work on being more efficient with my heals.

16. Haste or Crit and why?
It depends. I used to go for crit with the mindset that a very small benefit all the time (haste) has less of an impact than very low potential for a major benefit (crit). However, in thinking about it, I have almost come back to haste because in thinking about it, crit seems like it would just lead to more over-healing. Now, the major exception to this is with HoTs because while they can crit, you generally arent using them to keep people from dying, more to keep their health at managable levels, so crit makes it easier. [edit - Yeah, I found out HoTs can't crit. WTF!?!?! Makes no sense since DoTs can crit. . .] Honestly, blizz has a tendency to pick what's what on gear and I've never been in a position to be overly choosy with drops, so I get what I get.

17. What add-ons or macros (if any) do you use to aid you in healing?
I use healbot.

18. Do you strive primarily for balance between your healing stats or do you stack some much higher than others?
Again, it depends. On the Druid and priest it is as much SP and Spirit as I can get and everything else just comes on gear. On shammy I have been shooting for SP and Int (shammy gear generally has a lot of MP5, and I have seen a lot of blue sockets which lead me to SP/MP5). SP seems to be the gold standard and stacking any other stats just seems pointless. Haste seems nice, but because you need so much of it to get any real bonus, it isn't worth stacking for (to me).

Friday, October 30, 2009

Another piece of BoA and healing as Shadow. . .

Well, last night was another excercise in interestingness. I try to read all I can, and I have played as just about every class/role in the game at this point (besides hunters and rogues, but we've been down that road before). The last class that I have yet to heal anything with is a priest. I changed that last night.

I got home and didnt really feel like hopping on the shammy, and I had a full bank of rested XP, so I thought "why not run around hellfire and take the priest for a spin?" I learned a few things about shadow, namely, those DoTs are powerful! I somewhat multi-dot'd on my warlock, but with the felguard and rain of fire, it wasn't exactly just the dots dropping the mobs. With a shadow priest, thats about all you've got. It was a surprise to be running around and just see mobs dropping. I still don't like taking more than one at a time, but it's nice to know they're not as helpless as I'd thought (I'd still me more comfortable if you got mind sear at 65 instead of 75). However, I knew that shadow was a good DPS leveling build. What I had my doubts about was how well I would be able to heal.

Now, I will admit, I leveled my priest with free levels from recruit a friend, so his gear was lacking. I had picked up a couple outlands pieces, I had the BoA chest and I had a few pieces of green invoker gear saved up. My spellpower going into ramps was about 241. Not great, but not super horrible I guess. Anyways, I was able to heal the instance with a few wipes. Huntards, I am addressing this to you: A) the tank is the only one who should be pulling unless he specifically tells you otherwise. Any ability you have to tank on your main does not transfer to other charaters. B) If you absolutely cannot resist the urge to pull, don't do it when the healer is at less than 50% mana. Two of our wipes were a direct result of the hunter pulling when I was all but out of mana. I have to say, I like priest healing, prayer of healing is a great ability in spots and I absolutely love renew. I've read a lot of raid healers don't spec fully into improved renew, I guess that will be a choice at 80, but for 5 mans, I really like it. Prayer of healing seems a lil overkill when only 1-2 DPS are taking damage. Shield + Renew + greater heal were generally enough to keep the tank up, even on boss fights. I also figured out good times to use dispersion to get my mana back so I wasn't constantly drinking. Obviously I would prefer a holy dual spec, but after 3 dual specs and 3 northrend flying purchases, I'm a lil tapped for cash at the moment. I have around 1200 on my account. It will be a little while before the rabbi has a holy spec, which is ok because I normally don't instance in outlands except for ramps and BF.

I finally got my 200 stonekeeper shards, but I had to go to bed before wintergrasp was over so I couldn't buy my shoulders. I am buying the cloth PvP shoulders for easier leveling for my Priest, Mage, and Lock. I think my next BoA purchase might be a mail melee DPS chest, although I doubt I will level my warrior or DK so I might just buy the purple tanking belt I've been putting off for months (I don't NEED it, I just kind of want it, and I keep hoping Skadi's belt will drop in H UP, I've never even seen it. It will probably drop when I'm on my priest or shammy). We ran H ToC which I had never actually completed, a couple DPS pieces dropped both of which I lost rolls on (I was in my ret spec at the time. I'm not comfortable tanking things I've never run unless they're like straightforward tank and spank). It doesnt really bother me losing DPS rolls, I don't much care for melee DPS after leveling. I had even contemplated dropping Ret for a holy off spec, but I don't much care for paladin healing. No real Hot, no AoE heals, no thank you. Ruhtra is pretty darn good at it, but I think he would have been good at any healing class or even tanking if thats what he'd wanted to do.

Anyways, I have to say in handicapping my "who will be my preferred 80 DPS/heals?" race, the shammy is still definitively ahead. Having not healed as holy though, it really isnt a fair comparison as my shammy has a full resto build and gear set. However, I really like earth shield and chain heal, and having a big instant emergency heal is pretty awesome. I wonder if healbot can run macros?

Speaking of addons, in general, I love Dominos. I pretty much can't play with blizzard's stock UI. With that having been said, I got the weirdest error last night when playing my priest. Normally, I use bar 1 as my main bar so I can hit number keys to activate abilities. I have this on other characters whose bars can change: Warrior and Druid. What somehow happened was that my bar 6 icons showed up in bar 1, which went away and wouldnt show my shadowform icons whether I was in shadowform or not. I don't really know how to fix it or get it right, I just put a different number bar in place of bar 6 (I have about 4 bars I don't need, which is still 6 bars I'm using). Anyone else have this issue? I am gonna probably play around with it some more after work to see if I can find a better fix.

On a non-Wow related note, did anyone notice Dragula is available for Rock Band? Besides a lack of Living Dead Girl, can you think of a better halloween song? (seriously, how could they have missed that one, I'm not a big fan of superbeast or the other one in the pack and I bought more human than human when it came out earlier).

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Fail-Tanking, un-retirement and my inability to avoid holiday content. . .

Well, I had a semi eventful day off of work. My original intention was to hit level 73 on the shammy, that didn't happen. I got about 1/3 of the way through 72 though, so it wasnt a wasted day on that front. I did, however, get a lot accomplished so the day wasn't a loss (in Wow terms anyways).

My reason for the stall in shammy leveling was a direct result of a poor PuG decision. Now, I know solo questing can be the absolute fastest way to get experience. One of the utilities on Titan Panel (one of my favorite addons EVER btw, I can't live without it), tracks your XP per hour. While my buddy Ruhtra swears by instances/AV, for me, that was gaining about 200k/hr at level 70. Questing if I don't get ganked I can get between 350-400. I'm sure higher numbers are possible, I don't have epic flying and I am a bit sloppy with my questing. However, just running around questing is monotonous, and instances drop sexy blues, so when I saw a guy looking for a DPS for Nexus, I jumped on it. Now, I have already completed the quests for Nexus. I skipped them on pally because I thought the area would be crawling with alliance, but it ended up being not bad at all. However, having done them already (and I believe healed Nexus, although I may have been DPSing there too), I was just there to get a quick run in, and maybe some drops. Well, it was NOT a quick run. The tank was a level 70 warrior who could not hold aggro to save his life (literally). Now, I understand people need to learn unfamiliar roles in the lower level stuff, but this guy was struggling with the trash mobs, even the one at a time ones. I dunno if he was trying to tank in fury spec or what. Anyways, after we wiped in the area with the frozen people, I decided it wasnt worth the aggravation and left the group. I didnt even run back in, I just rezzed and hearthed, I will come back to shammy w/o rez sickness later.

This left me with a good amount of free time, which I spent picking various flowers and sewing on my priest (yeah, combined with the fact that he was a blood elf, it wasn't a very manly day off). Even trying to tell myself that he was sewing with the powers of darkness didn't help much. Oh well. If/when I level him, I want another tailor to crank out ebonweave and give me herbs.

In the evening, one of my guildies was asking for a tank for H UP. Now, in spite of my trials and tribulations getting the tanking sword, I actually don't mind running it. It's easy, I know it, I'm geared for it, and it doesnt take very long. We also were holding wintergrasp, and I need some shards (as a side note, thanks for the tip about the WG quests, I didn't have a chance to do them, but I will!). The group we had was a pally healer, 2 DKs, me, and a lock. That lock died soooo many times. I wanted to whisper him and say "Do you have omen? If you throw chaos bolt before my shield hits, you will have aggro, I won't be getting it back till you die, which you will, fairly quickly due to lack of armor." He also died on Skadi when he was DPSing while skadi was spinning around. My general principle on that is I generally stay away from the spinny boss, it normally hurts when they hit you, and strangely when they're done spinning, they come right back. Well, except when the lock pulls aggro, then they kill him and come back. Oh well, it's his repair bill. No group wipes at all, and I got a few shards (although not as many as I needed).

Later in the evening, some guildies were looking for a tank for headless horseman. I had never run it, and I usually avoid holiday content, but I do love helping guildies, so I tanked it. It wasn't all that hard keeping aggro on the horseman, it was easy and quick, and I know at least one of my guildies got an achievement out of it. I got some purple gear for my ret set, not that I use it that much, but I really just enjoy helping out.

I hope everyone had a good time as well, I am looking forward to halloween. More on that tommorow. . . and maybe monday. . .

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Gathering vs crafting and more on altaholism. . .

I spend a lot of my in game and out of game time thinking about/planning crafting. While I would agree with those who say Wow's crafting system isn't that fun, I look at my characters as somewhat of a community in an of themselves and I love being able to support my various alts with minimal assistance. I grind all my own mats, very rarely purchasing things on the AH. I look at it this way: everything is a time sink one way or another, grinding my own mats gives me a feeling of accomplishment. The exception to this is fishing. Can't stand it in real life (too long and boring) and the Wow equivalent isn't any more fun. If it was like any other gathering profession (click the node, see what you got) I'd be fine with it, but it's not.

Anyways, with the exception of engineering (just can't do it, I was going to level it on hunter, but it doesn't make sense for any of my other alts), I have every profession covered, sometimes multiple times. My lock is at 340 enchanting, going to need to gain those last 2 levels to get him to 65 so I can get into northrend enchanting. His other profession is alchemy, which I decided would be more beneficial on Shammy. I am thinking of keeping it, and just having one of them transmute specc'd and the other elixir. My warrior is a blacksmith and he's either maxed out or close enough that it doesnt matter. He has become basically epic gear provider to my friends and alts. I like having blacksmithing on him, makes him invaluable because lets face it, I never want to level blacksmithing again. He is also a flower picker, which I kept for the HoT, although switching to alchemy to get the never-ending healing potion would be a solid option too. My pally is of course my most advanced trade skill character, 450 jewelcrafting and I have a few of the more choice epic gem cuts (can anyone say epic +hit gems for my casters?). I leveled Leatherworking on my druid, when I intended to get him to 80. I will be missing out on the big mining bag, although thats not a huge loss because if I recall correctly, they're not that expensive. Also, there really isn't any crafted leatherworking gear that is helpful to my shammy past mid 70's (dark nerubian/frostscale pants and thats it, sad). My shammy is a straight gatherer at the moment, skinning and herbalism. I am definately switching out skinning for alchemy once I'm past the point where northrend leather helps. My big question is elixir spec or transmute. I've heard there is a good amount of money in elixir, but transmute will be useful too. I also am going to need to be transmuting titanium as much as possible (saronite is all over the place, but I can't seem to find titanium after 6am). Darn you titansteel weapons! I def want the titansteel mace for my shammy. I can make up +hit in other ways so it will be great double duty for a healing set and a caster DPS set. I also just recently switched my priest to tailoring (with herbalism) so I can have 2 tailors (my mage is one too). Again, I want to be able to crank out ebonweave, although my mage will need some assistance to do so since it's a mid 70's zone where you make it and he's 65. Lastly, speaking of the mage, he is my scribe. I think I hit 400 inscription last night, I have a book waiting, he needs to hurry up and discover glyph of Shadow for my priest. I actually have a pretty good selection of glyphs, although I have no desire to try to enter the glyph market for massive wads of cash. I think blizz caused all this by making the vendor price of glyphs too cheap. That means they're ridiculously cheap to post/repost so it leads to massive inflation. I would rather go without and wait to be able to make a glyph myself than pay 30g for something that takes no effort to produce.

Overall, in terms of enjoyment, I have to say inscription is my favorite. Even low level herbs are useful (have to do your minor inscription research every day), and it provides a lot of varied benefits. I love being able to make scrolls so I'm not just wasting enchants. I used to keep random pieces of gear around and just overwrite enchants over and over. Jewelcrafting is a close second. I love being able to customize gear and being able to make useful amulets and rings is such a godsend for my characters (I will prolly do another JC daily tommorow to get the ring of northern tears recipe for my casters). I also cant see how I would have been able to tank anything without the tanking trinket and JC only gems. I think that profession single handedly boosted me to tanking able.

Anyways, I guess that just goes to show that professions are a major part of my in-game time expenditure. I really like being able to make usable items for all my alts and I love how every alt fits into the equation somehow. I also love that some of my alts may not have traditional layout of professions, but much like in real life, thats just how they ended up.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The depth of my altaholism. . . .

I'm not asking for an intervention, this isnt a habit I'm looking to quit, but in looking at my character list last night, I realized something: I have a LOT of mid-level characters. The semi astounding thing, I only added 2 active ones from recruit a friend.

I am only including horde characters in this, I am considering my Alliance server dormant. It's not that I don't like it and have fun playing there, but I just have too many friends on good old Daggerspine. I have my 80 pally, 71 druid, almost 72 shammy (I'm like 90k away, just didnt have a chance to level yesterday), 70 DK (but who doesnt have one of those?), 67 warrior, 65 mage, 63 lock, and 60 priest. I also have a couple hunters, but one is a bank alt, and the other I got to level 20 before deciding hunters just don't interest me, I'd rather focus on one of my other characters.

I wonder if anyone else feels like this, but if I focus on any one character for too long, I start to look at the others and go "I really want to do _____, that would be really cool". It can be anything from get to 65 for northrend crafting to dual wielding crystalforged axes to learning seed of corruption. I really have a limitless amount of things I want to do on my alts. I think it's the potential that gets me the most. I know how my palladin is at 80. Its like vanilla ice cream. You never really get sick of vanilla, but sometimes you want to try other things. Vanilla is always a solid choice, but rarely someone's absolute favorite. I will always like my pally, I just don't have much of anything for him to do (cept JC dailies and make stuff).

I am still contemplating getting my priest to 80. My latest idea is getting him at least to 65 so he can pick up tailoring as well and I can pound out ebonweave. I didn't really have a problem with titansteel because I had some guild help, but now that I can pre-plan and produce well before I need it, I think that is the most prudent course. And ebonweave is not reliant on random spawns (I hate trying to find titanium, its only there at like 5am).

So yeah, working on the shammy, raising various crafting skills, thinking about my priest. Still 21 stonekeeper's shards from BoA cloth shoulders (we never seem to have WG when I run on pally).

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Spell Hit and You: how to be capped on dinging 80. . .

I have read a lot of posts and guides out there on how to reach the spell hit cap. They are written by a lot of people that are very knowledgable and I'm sure have more raiding experience than me. The problem is that a lot of them include heroic drops, tier gear, and things that are not generally obtainable on dinging 80. My goal here was to present a different option, something for players who just dinged 80, and want to be at the hit cap immediately. Now, I assumed a needed hit rating of 370, which is what my shammy will need (3% added hit rating from elemental precision). This also appears to be the lowest bonus number a dedicated DPS caster will have.

I am not going to go over spell hit, anything you could possibly need to know can be found here.

Now, a lot of web sites give options, thats great. However, I am just going to lay down a shopping list. This requires no epic gems, no heroic drops, and the only purple items are crafted. OK, onto the list:

So we are shooting for 370 hit rating. We're gonna start with the easy stuff.
Eat some Worg Tartar. 40 hit 330 to go
Enchant your boots with Icewalker. 12 hit 318 to go
Buy or make a Ring of the Northern Tears, socket with Lambent Forest Emerald 43 hit 275 to go
Buy or make Ebonweave gloves, enchant with Precision 71 hit 204 to go
Buy or make Ebonweave robe 68 hit 136 to go
Equip The Rune of Infinite Power (its a quest drop) 55 hit 81 to go
Buy or make a Hat of Wintry Doom, socket with a Veiled Monarch Topaz 52 hit 29 to go
Buy or make Titansteel Spellblade 30 hit, we're there!

Now, obviously, this isn't the only way to go and those of you with Draenei will have an easier go of it. I personally probably won't follow this list fully, but if you do, your freshly dinged 80 will be ready for raiding (ok, maybe not ready, but you won't miss lol)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Gearing interestingness and my "retired" character. . .

I have been mostly running with my Shammy these days. I managed to get RIGHT UP to 71, but not quite ding, I'm off work tommorow, so setting a modest goal of 72. I've been looking at gear and figured it would make a pretty good topic for the blog: caster DPS gear vs Healer gear.

The main source of this came when looking into what all I can craft to help me "catch up" at 80. I also think it's funny that the crafted mace has almost as much spellpower as my character right now. Anyways, while there is an epic tanking shield, the last shield with spellpower is 73, and while the mace has impressive spellpower, it is obviously for healing due to lack of it. I did notice a purple dagger with slightly less spellpower and hit rating but between the titansteel bars and frozen orbs, that is a pretty major expenditure. Unfortunately, I know with the hit cap being what it is, you need every point you can get. The one saving grace I remember when gearing my pally was the availability of a few decent pieces of crafted gear to get to the defense cap (shield, gloves, belt, trinket, neck, and rings) most of which I'm still wearing. My options on the shammy aren't looking quite as good. Oh well, such is the way of a newly dinged 80 I guess, I have a few levels before it's an issue.

In other news, had a pretty interesting run through H CoS, although my buddy Rhutra tells the story so much better than me. I just don't tank that often and I made a few mistakes in the run, probably somewhat costing us the timed run, although I never run anything for achievements or loot anymore on that character (apart from the 21 stonekeeper's shards I need for some BoA shoulders). Now, Rhutra wrote about the FAIL of the run (the mage ditching after we were saved to it was puzzling), but I choose to look at it from the other side of the coin. We 4 manned a heroic. We did this with no wipes after our initial hiccup. Yes, CoS is one of the easier heroics, but still, we took it down with 4 and very minimal complications. I only had to use lay on hands once I believe (my pally oh shit button lol), and I think the run went pretty smooth and was decent practice. I am just so out of practice tanking from never doing it, but I will always pick up the sword and shield to help a friend.

I think what I do really enjoy about tanking is being really useful. I think thats what drew me to healing, the concept of being an necessary part in any group (that and the fact that we have multiple tanks, but very few healers). Yes, I want to stand back and blow stuff up (I <3 chain lightning), but I have always felt that if you play a class that CAN heal, you will be much more useful and able to find groups if you are prepared to heal. Then if the group already has a healer you can blow stuff up at will.

I don't really have too much else going on. I'm leveling gank free, its SOOOO nice to have the kiddies back in school. I'm also spending more time with my girlfriend and less on Wow (although if I do ever try to bring her over the the dark side, I will follow Darraxus' advice).

Sunday, October 18, 2009

WORST PRIEST EVER and leveling the Shammy. . .

I will be the first to say I am not an expert at playing every class. I know a little bit about each one, and I could probably do ok in any given role with any given class (cept rogues and hunters, no interest there). With that having been said, over the weekend, I witnessed the most pathetic display of ineptitude from a rather surprising source.

Now, I have a number of thoughts on shadow priest healing. I used to be very down on tanking for them in TBC. They don't generally have the tools of a pure healing build. However, having leveled a priest (both holy and shadow, thanks RAF), I have dispelled some misconceptions I had. First of all, while the holy tree makes priests better at their job, the main abilities it adds are increased spell power, efficiency and more AoE heals. Because there is no longer +healing, the spellpower stacking that a shadow priest will be doing already will give them sufficiently strong heals. All priests, regardless of spec, will have access to flash heal, greater heal, renew and holy nova. That should be enough tools to keep a group up in a normal instance setting. This is important to note because of the epic fail of the priest in our group.

I have been leveling my shammy with the intention of getting him to 80 and having a strong caster DPS/healer hybrid option. I also considered a shadow priest for this, and to a degree still do, but in all honesty, I like the shammy more. Not that I think the shammy will be any more or less effective, I just enjoy him more. Anyways, one of my guildies (Nymeros, my pally tanking big brother from Ours is the fury), wanted to knock out TBC heroics for the achievement, and thought bringing me along for gear would be helpful for me.

Now, I leveled up to 68 on friday which left me a couple hours till I needed to leave to go see the gf. I let Nym know that I hit the level and he asked if anyone else wanted to go to join in the fun. One of our hunters wanted to go, our GM wanted to bring one of his many alts, and the hunter wanted to bring one of his friends, the subject of this post. So initially, we set to tackle some heroics with a group consisting of my 68 shammy specced resto (I do have a resto set, its ok relative to my level/area), an 80 pally tank (raid geared, 32k HP), a 70 rogue, an 80 hunter, and an 80 shadow priest.

Now, druid healing has gotten me in some bad habits for shammy healing that I have to work on. Constantly spamming lesser healing wave runs me out of mana pretty quick. With my druid, I was constantly casting something on just about everyone, and I had the mana regen to do it. With my shammy, my heals are bigger, and riptide/earth shield is generally good till multi-pulls. With that having been said, TBC heroics were a monster in their time and the damage was just too much for me to keep up with.

Now, our DPS should have been enough to just burn through things with minimal damage. Two 80 DPS characters, both capable of AoE should have been burning things down left and right. Except the priest seemed to be just sitting there. We got her on a damage meter for one fight doing 741 DPS. I don't think I saw her mind sear once. So since I was being overwelmed trying to heal the group, we asked if she could throw out some heals. Her reply: "I don't heal, I am DPS". Not only did she refuse to heal, she was making the pally tank rez me when I was killed between pulls. Um, you are a PRIEST. The difference between you and a warlock or mage is they CAN'T heal, you are just worthless and don't want to. Long story short, Art brought his raid healing, skull pounding pally Ruhtra, we kicked her ass to the curb and powered through shattered halls, blood furnace, and ramps on heroic. I died a bunch, but that's what level 68's do in heroics.

Speaking of the shammy, I have to admit, they are a hell of a lot of fun. Spirit wolves are like the best leveling ability ever. I managed to hit 69 last night, and the combo of rested XP and two pieces of BoA gear make leveling not so bad. I did make a choice I semi regretted. In doing the intro quests in Borean Tundra I passed on a mace with int, MP5 and SP for the melee DPS mace. My thoughts were that I spend more time leveling than instancing, so the melee DPS one helps more. Turns out its the only quest reward mace with those stats. Not a huge deal I guess in the scheme of things. Once I get to level 70ish, I'd like to take a look at where my SP sits in my resto set and see how well I can do in UK. Maybe Nexus as well as I recall their being a good amount of quest rewards for there.

My current plan (which is always subject to change): level as enhancement with resto for instances (or if they're looking for DPS, stay enhancement). My current professions are skinning and herbalism. Now, my mage almost has enough mats to get into northrend levels of inscription and if I recall correctly, the useful crafted mail runs out around mid 70's. My intention is to switch my skinning to alchemy around mid 70's and level alchemy and potentially have two alchemists. I think the never ending health and mana potions are just too good a boon to pass up both for leveling and instances, not to mention trinkets, flasks and transmutes. From a class standpoint at 80 I am switching from enhancement to elemental. For a while, until I get +hit pieces, my resto and elemental gear will probably be almost the same. I have gone the melee DPS route and I honestly just don't like it. Let me qualify that statement: love it for leveling, hate it in instances. I so much prefer just standing in the back blasting away.

Anyways, I'm posting on sunday because I'm working on sunday which sucks, but I had a pretty good weekend, and hope everyone else did as well. . .

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A guild is a relationship . . .

My buddy Rhutra wrote a post about our guild. In short, we've been having people leave over the past few months. I havent yet figured out who the people actually were who left, I've been too busy leveling my shammy (level 66, woot!!!). However, his post got me to thinking. I think a guild really is like a relationship.

Follow me on this. There are many different types of relationships. You have casual relationships where you just go on dates and engage in various extra curricular activities. You have relationships where both parties are focused on marriage. You have the guy/girl who goes out with you a couple times and drops off the face of the planet, etc. I'm not here to categorize (ok, maybe my slight OCD tendencies make me do it a lil).

I think a guild is like a relationship in every functional way. Both require work. Maybe its work you enjoy (helping people out, doing the dishes, cutting gems for guildies, whatever), but its still work. Both require an expenditure of time (raid attendance, dates, watching America's next top model even though you'd rather be watching UFC unleashed). Even if you enjoy the expenditure of time, you're still putting forth effort. However, like relationships, ideally, you get out of it what you put into it.

I'm a lucky guy. My guildies understand that I don't like PvP and have a ton of alts, and I've never been pressured to hit level cap with any character. I know we could use healers, and I think I might enjoy caster DPS in a raid environment so I'm leveling one. They don't comment when I occasionally take PvE vacations on my alliance server. They make room for me in raids even though my 2500 DPS (on a good day) is near the bottom of the charts. Some of them are real life friends and some of them I've never met, but I love them for it. I would do anything for my guildies, but my abilities normally only extend to cutting gems and running alts through stuff, maybe tanking the occasional heroic.

An ideal guild is like the ideal relationship. You need them and they need you. Your goals are the same. It makes you feel good to be a part of it. Yes, it might have times where you are frustrated, but in general, you just feel like it's worth it. I feel like I am in a guild like this. I've looked around on other servers to try to find something similar without the PvP. I havent been able to. Its like in my real life. I'm dating a girl who lives in Indiana roughly two hours away from me. It sucks and is inconvenient, but shes so good for me in the ways that matter that it is worth a little inconvenience to be able to spend time with her. Does it piss me off when there is construction and I'm at a dead stop at 9pm waiting to get to her house? Yes. Does it piss me off when some punk ass bored little kid thinks it's funny to kill my character because he can? Yes. But much like in my personal life, sometimes you don't always appreciate that ideal relationship, but when it's there, there is no substitute. Hence my repeatedly coming back to a PvP server despite loathing PvP.

There are a lot of douchebags and mercenaries out there, and not everyone gets to find "the one". Don't stop looking and don't give up. Those of you who have: grats!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

If you were a Wow character, what class would you be?

I've always wondered this. If I was in Wow, which class would I be? Not which class would I like to be. Which class would I actually be?

Although I have an army of cats, they're more companions, and strangely, they don't listen to me when I ask them to attack people (go figure) although the little one will tear the hell out of some paper towels. Also, my marksmanship is suspect, I was one of the few in our ROTC class who did not get the marksmanship badge. At the renaissance festival, I actually managed to shoot an arrow backwards (don't ask). Bottom line: I would not be a hunter.

I'm just not very religious. I don't normally bring this up, because from a blogging standpoint it is completely irrelevant, but I am jewish. . .kind of. I am not very religious at all, and I find spending large amounts of time in synogogue kind of a pointless waste of time. I don't keep kosher, or even really go on high holidays (although, happy Rosh Hashannah to any of my jewish readers). This kind of rules out Priest and Paladin.

I'm not undead. Rules out Death knight.

I'm not very sneeky. I usually find a way to step on the creaky board. I don't know how to pick locks or really have any interest in it. Although I think the idea of being able to Solid Snake people is cool, I'm not really a throat slitter. No Rogue for me.

Although I think powers of inflicting cruelty could be interesting, and I like the idea of minions, if any demonic being could actually grant me powers, I would rather keep my soul intact. Also, siphoning the soul of others, slightly creepy. That pretty much rules out Warlock.

I am not a hippy. I don't think about nature, look at the trees, run around in a forest for no apparent reason or any other BS like that. I really have no interest in the "spirit world" or anything of the sort. Shaman and Druid are out.

I do wear armor on a semi regular basis, it's pretty heavy (I'm an ice hockey goalie). I know how to use a variety of weapons and I'm pretty proficient at a few martial arts. Blood doesnt especially bother me and I have a pretty high pain thresh-hold. I could be a warrior.

I also work in a job that is extremely technical and involves a good degree of "book knowledge". I like the idea of my mind being a dangerous weapon. I can memorize necessary stuff when I need to. I could potentially be a mage.

I'm not saying concretely either way I'd be a mage or a warrior, but its kind of fun to think about. Well, maybe just fun for me.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Leveling vs End game and general thoughts. . .

So I have been doing a lot of thinking about endgame content, specifically my newfound desire to participate in it. This got me to thinking in general about the leveling process vs the end game. They are almost like two completely different games. My biggest problem, and one I think is rather prevalent in Wow is that your play style will be drastically different and what works while leveling doesnt tend to be the best way to go in endgame.

A personal example. I love leveling with melee damage dealers that can self heal. I loved my prot pally and I love my enhancement shammy. I can pull multiple mobs and bring major pain, leaving corpses at my feet and me with full health and mana. Then you get to end game. . . The elites hit hard, and one is enough to crush you. There's facing problems, bosses that cleave and cause instant death to anything around you, the hit cap, its just a mess. In short, for me, it's not fun. So while melee is the DPS of choice while leveling, for me caster is the only way to go at 80. With casters you just have to have something in an arc, and you can blast them. Also those pesky cleaves arent an issue because you're not in melee range. Yes there is still the hit cap, but that seems to be the DPS cross to bear.

It isn't just the best way to do things that seems to change either. Look at talent choices leveling vs end game. Paladins use almost a completely different spec tanking vs grinding (you want extra attacks to proc vs mobs, not bosses), the leveling staple of shadow priests (spirit tap) becomes just this side of worthless (I am contemplating a shadow priest as well, and spent a few days on reading discussion on whether or not it's worth including in an 8o spec), frost spec mage goes from awesome with a ton of tools to press the 1 key till dead. Why are things so drastically different once you reach the level cap?

I just like asking questions, obviously I don't have the answers.

I've also semi determined what I should already know: to me, the journey is more important than the end result. First, I wanted to learn about tanking. I have a couple prot pallies, I have a mid level warrior, a druid and a DK. I've tanked instances with all but the DK. I like comparing and constrasting the differences with each class. Now I'm starting to do it with healing. I pally healed about a year ago, hated it. I started recently healing on my druid, loved it, but with dual spec, I want a solid DPS spec in addition to healing ability. With that in mind I am leveling a shammy and have a priest in the wings. I have recently gotten really interested in healing mechanics, what to use when, how to talent, which stats are important. I have found a level of sophistication well beyond tanking and I like it. I don't know if I will make a great healer or even a passable one, but I like making the attempt. And even if he might not be technically as effective, my shammy looks way cooler than my druid.

I also finally got my second piece of heirloom gear this weekend. Although my shammy looks cool, he is definately rocking some interesting gear. I picked up the cloth PvE chest, I had a few reasons for doing that. I had already bought the leather melee DPS shoulders which I send to my druid, shammy, and warrior (yes, they lack a lil in armor, but the stats are good). I actually looked at the difference, and shammy loses like 1% damage mitigation by not having mail (thats on the cloth chest). I figured that will more than be made up for with other gear, and having something that most of my favorite leveling characters can use more than makes up for a little armor loss. My next purchase will be the cloth PvP shoulders because I'm sitting at 179 shards. Then I can level my lil priest as well and decide who I like best for caster DPS/healing. I can also get my lock to 65 so I can have a northrend enchanter.

I also decided I am basically done with recruit a friend. I liked it, it was fun, I don't need a level 60 hunter. No offense to any hunters out there, it's just not my thing. I also decided as much as I like the character models for alliance, and I would love to level without being molested, my friends (mostly) play horde, and playing with them outweighs the negatives. And I think my orc shammy looks really awesome, so there is that too. . .