Thursday, January 29, 2009

why PvP ruins the game for me. . .

Every time something like this happens, I consider leaving daggerspine behind. Once it even made me quit the game. The addition of the death knight actually makes this more likely as I wouldn't have to "start completely over", even though with character transfers, I could be back up and running on a new server with minimal effort. Thats not what this post is about.

PvP ruins Wow for me. I love my guildies, I love playing different characters. I desperately despise people basically determining what I can and cannot do in the game by sheer assholishness. This morning, I was attempting to do dailies on Quel'danas. I never did them before WotLK precisely for this reason, I would see a ton of red names, know they were going to gank the shit out of me and decide it wasn't worth the bother. By that decision alone, PvP or really the threat of PvP has controlled my actions.

Some might say "get better at PvP then". Its not that simple. First, there will always be someone bigger better faster. No amount of skill can prevent being ganked. My class probably plays a roll in it. I enjoy paladins, a LOT. Not retribution either, I like protection. Great in PvE, great tanks, great for AoE grinding. 90% of the time, worthless in PvP. No range, no ability to close. Lastly, I am playing Wow on a 5 year old computer that has had no extra work besides a RAM upgrade. I'm sure my amazing hardware doesn't help.

Basically, there are only 3 solutions to avoid this situation. Option A, only quest with a "buddy". Not particularly viable, everyone I play with has their own agendas. Option B, quest only in "friendly" zones. Well, that only works up until about level 20. Option C, leave and set up shop on a PvE server.

I love my guildies, I don't want to leave, but it is starting to look like the only viable option.

Monday, January 26, 2009

What I learned from "Why should I play this class"

Obviously my main intent with the posts was to give general information on the various classes for people who have no experience with them at all. I ran around on servers that I haven't been on in months and specced some of my alts in ways that I had never done before. Writing the posts, I had to re-think how I thought of a lot of the classes in the game. It was an incredible learning experience.

Another thing that was a great learning experience was the comments people left over my sometimes mis-information. I had no idea the hunter dead zone went away because I haven't leveled my hunter on the PvP server since they lowered the experience requirements in vanilla Wow (its been a while).

The end result? I have a respect for rogues that I didn't previously, I may even roll up a new one (the one I actually leveled was a human on another server, so can't really play him now). I also realized I need to do more with my Shammy. Again, I leveled a draenei version, I've had an orc I'm using as a bank alt, I actually began playing him again, mostly because of the post I wrote about shammies (or shamen?? another good question posed in a comment, what is the plural form of shaman?)

Challenging previously established thoughts is how we learn. Being open to new ideas and ways of thinking allows us to get the most out of anything. I really feel that the biggest thing I have gotten from blogging is an improvement in how I think about the game. Through my own developement and people challenging my previous ideas, I feel like I have evolved into a better player. So I will keep on writing, and if you see something you disagree with, TELL ME!!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Why should I play this class. . .Rogue??

I saved this for last (or second to last depending on if I do a post like this for death knights, I havent decided whether or not to do that yet) because I have a few issues with rogues. First of all, personally, I don't see any reason to play them. I tried, I leveled a couple, they just don't interest me. I see them as "the bad guys" and "those assholes that gank me" and unlike warlocks, they don't have anything to draw me to them. They can't self heal, they don't wear heavy armor, they can't really AoE. The most difficult thing is to look at an arguement from the other side, and I am going to try my best to do that. So, without further procrastination, here is why you should play a rogue.

Rogues are the premier melee DPS class in the game. They are the only melee class with reliable crowd control and as such can be the most reliable melee DPS in instance and raid situations. Played correctly they can have very high survivability having excellent abilities to reduce/eliminate threat and selectively deal with mobs. They are also unique in that all three of their trees are capable of producing respectable DPS, it is more a matter of how the player wishes to get there.


Strengths: First of all, stealth is one thing that sets the rogue apart from other classes(cat form druids being the exception). The rogue has the ability to choose when combat will occur and put themselves in the best position to succeed. They have very high burst damage, especially when attacking from stealth. They also posess a very powerful, long lasting CC (sap) and abilities to return to stealth once the fight has started. They also have strong "stun-lock" abilities, virtually negating a mob's ability to hit them back.

Weaknesses: Multiple mobs are the biggest weakness. Rogues will have to work hard to control pulls because they have comparatively weak armor and most of their abilities focus on single target DPS. They are the "squishiest" of the melee DPS classes so they must avoid multiple pulls and "wars of attrition".


Strengths: Great damage and CC. They are incredibly useful in instance settings, being able to eliminate one mob per pull till the group is ready for it. Once fighting has started they can put out a high level of burst damage on par with or better than any other melee DPS class.

Weaknesses: none to speak of. Range can be a bit of an issue for certain fights as they have to be in melee range to do damage. Other than that, rogues do two major functions in groups and do both of those extremely well.


Strengths: Stealth and stun-lock. You probably won't see them coming and you may not get a chance to do any return shots once they hit you. Rogues seem almost designed to PvP. Add in their ability to vanish and flee combat if things go against them and you see why they are considered a very strong PvP class.

Weaknesses: Low armor and health are the two biggest ones, however taking advantage of those can be problematic. The other weakness has to do with other players. Most players who have the chance (me included) will mercilessly kill any rogue of any level they can. If another player can see through the rogue's stealth and hit from range, you're in serious trouble.


Assasination: This is mostly a crit heavy spec for the rogue. This spec focuses more on burst damage than the others. a lot of enhancements to "stun-locking" come from the assasination tree.

Combat: This is the toe to toe melee tree. A lot of people see combat (swords) as the most efficient leveling build for rogues. This tree has a good balance between offensive and defensive abilities.

Subtlety: This tree focuses on stealth and abilities around that. It boast an ability to increase a rogue's movement speed in stealth among other improvements.

Personally, rogues just aren't for me. Been there, done that. I can't justify leveling a character just to be able to open locks for free (thats why you level blacksmithing or engineering). However, they do have a number of strong abilities and should not be ruled out for someone looking for specific qualities. If you want to use stealth and sap abilities to manage multiple mob pulls, the rogue is the way to go. If you are someone who like world PvP and enjoys ganking defenseless players, you have lost any amount of respect I have for you, but you may consider the rogue as a means to ruin other players' experiences.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Why should I play this class. . .Hunter?

Before I get to the "meat" of the post, allow me to vent. Apparently there is a slight glitch in Wow preventing some people from creating death knights on servers where they don't have a 55+ level character. I am a person affected by this problem. Recently I have noticed daggerspine has been queuing up, so I decided to start some lowbies on Borean Tundra just for fun (I am a compulsive alt maker, what can I say?). I figured starting with a DK would be a great way to go, but alas, I continued to get the error "You must have a level 55 character on any realm to create a death knight." Um blizz, I have like 6 or 7, where have you been? Also, I wake up on my day off, feed the cats (who have been head-butting be for about a half hour, they get demanding when they want food) and see realms will be down to get arenas fixed. Arenas!?!?! Seriously!?!? I was HOPING to get some gank free leveling done while the kiddies were in school, oh well. So onto one of the two classes I don't like in Wow.

My personal goal for this post is to use the term "easy-mode" as little as possible. I mentioned I don't like hunters and it pretty much boils down to one thing: they bore me. Its not that I don't have experience with them, I have created 3 or 4. If you want fast, pain free leveling, its a good way to go, but to me, they're just not fun.

Strengths: Blizz makes it very hard to die if you play your hunter correctly. After level 10 when you get your pet, the pet does a lot of the work, you pick them off from a distance with gun or bow, it only gets easier from there. Hunters have a number of abilities for aggro reduction, ranged damage, and can put out a decent amount of AOE.

Weaknesses: They um. . .melee. . .um they're boring? Honestly, with the "nerfing" of warlocks, hunters are the premier solo class in Wow. They can do more, and die less often than other classes.

Strengths: Hunters actually have tools to be successful in groups. Freeze trap is a GREAT CC ability. They also do respectable DPS and as one of the few mail wearers in the game, you're most likely not going to be fighting them for drops (sorry enhancement shammies, you will).

Weaknesses: They are so easy to level by button mashing, 90% (or more) hunters (Huntards, there I said it, had to get that out there once) really have no idea how to play their characters so they will be ineffective as anything other than a partially effective damage dealer.

Strengths: Marksmanship hunters can be tough opponents in PvP, they have numerous tools to do more damage at range and some kiting abilities to slow opponents. Even for survival and beastmastery hunters, they have a pet to attack you and will be constantly running away shooting you. It is no fun fighting hunters in PvP. . .until you run up and smash them in the face with a crit and they die. . .sorry, we were discussing strengths. . .

Weaknesses: First and foremost there is the dreaded "hunter dead zone". You're not in melee, you're too close to be shot. If you also happen to be say a druid, and hibernate their pet, well, they are a one legged man in an ass kicking contest. Also, hunters are comparatively weak in melee so any rooting or kiting abilities allowing a melee character to close distance will hurt them.


BM hunters focus on buffing their pets, a stronger pet is a stronger hunter. This is the most often used spec for solo and group hunters. It is a very well rounded tree with a lot of useful abilities.

MM hunters are primarily PvP although the line has PvE utility as well. Marksmanship takes what the hunter already does better than anyone else (ranged weapon attacks) and makes them better at it, increasing range, damage, crit chance, everything.

Survival is kind of the red headed stepchild of the hunter class. A lot of their abilities are used in melee which really isnt where a hunter should be. Still, this spec does have a number of abilties that will increase a hunter's survivability.

I'm not about to say hunters aren't a viable class for any facent of the game. I have seen good hunters who really know how to play their class and can trap, PvP and do excellent DPS in group settings. However, Blizz has made this class so. . (ARG!!) un-challenging to play, leveling really is just a rinse and repeat affair. I personally am looking forward to deleting mine (he is alchemy and LW and I havent gotten alts up to his levels yet). If you're looking to speed level a guy for whatever reason, I guess hunter is the easiest class to do it with. . .

Thursday, January 22, 2009

1000 views, YAY!

So I checked my blog last night and saw I had passed 1000 views, I felt a sense of achievement. When I got started blogging, it was really just something to pass the time at work, on a subject that I have a high degree of interest in. I knew I had "made it" when I got a comment from Larisa, whose blog I read daily.

I've enjoyed my blogging and the blog community. I love it when I post and people challenge my ideas. The only way to grow is to question your established beliefs and see which of them do and do not stand up to the scrutiny.

Thanks to all my regular commenters:
Larisa, Gnomeaggedon, Krizzlybear (now at wordpress), the crew at WTFspaghetti, and my esteemed guildmaster/coworker Ruhtra

PS - Yes, I am procrastinating on the "why should I play" series for hunters and rogues. I am trying to gather unbiased information on both and trying to limit the use of "easy-mode" in the hunter post and "ganking" in the rogue post. Death knights I am considering whether to make a post for at all because if you have a level 55 character, why wouldn't you roll one?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Why should I play this class. . .Shaman?

First of all belated Martin Luther King day to everyone. I enjoyed our national diversity holiday out running errands but sore from hockey. I realized on sunday why I despise playing goalie in inline hockey. On ice, you can move laterally, in inline, not so much. Anyways, on to the meat of the post, why would anyone want to play a shammy?

In original (old school, vanilla, whatever you want to call it) Wow, shammies were basically the Horde version of the paladin. Not exactly the same and with a different skill set, they are a powerful hybrid class. Each of the specs is viable at all levels although as with most classes, the melee DPS version allows the easiest leveling. Much like the paladin, the shaman is an excellent choice for versitility.

Strengths: The one thing that shamans have going for them better than any other class is a variety of abilities ranged, melee, and healing. They also at the higher levels gain access to elemental pets which can be a huge asset if things get tough.

Weaknesses: Depends on spec. The shamans spec very much determines what they will be weaker in. Enhancement shammies will have a smaller mana pool so casting will lead to a little more down time. Elemental shammies will be weaker in melee so a little more healing necessary once mobs get to them. Resto shammies will not have the same level of DPS at range or in melee. The only difference that is large in relation is the drop in DPS for resto shamans which is in line with blizzard's unspoken policy that it will pretty much suck to level a healer.

Strengths: Shamans are a boon to any group regardless of spec. If they are resto, they are filling the necessary role of healer. If they are DPS, they have a variety of group buffs and have a totem that increases mana regen that any caster class will benefit from. Also, they have a variety of useful utility abilities including CC and fear prevention.

Weaknesses: They really are a good class to bring in a group setting and don't have much in the way of weaknesses per se. One thing to be aware of, since they have the ability to fill multiple roles with a re-spec, it is entirely possible to see a "resto" shammy with no healing experience. Again, this is not a weakness of the class, but something that may cause problems in a group setting.

Strengths: Shammies can do impressive damage and their totems are an asset in PvP. They do lack the "cheap" abilities of other classes (stun-lock, fear-dot, bubble, etc), but they are solid damage dealers or in the case of resto shammies, healers.

Weaknesses: They do lack the "cheap" moves other classes enjoy. There aren't really any overt weaknesses to speak of besides resto being comparatively weak on DPS.

Elemental: This is the caster DPS class for the shaman. They focus on improving the damage and efficiency of the shaman's spellcasting arsenal. This is a very strong spell casting spec with more durability and survivability than other caster classes. The main weakness is a lack of AoE damage comparitively.

Enhancement: Enhancement has come a long way since the inception of the shaman. In their current incarnation, enhancement shammies are impressive damage dealers, although not quite on par with rogues and death knights. One thing to note with enhancement, although they have access to the usual caster abilities, their mana pool will be comparatively low, so spells will be more for emergency use/pulling rather than a staple.

Restoration: This is the healing spec for shamans. Resto shamans are very similar in other abilities to druids: they have access to all of the "base" abilities of their class, just at a lesser level than a character specced into that path. While it is possible to level in a resto spec, it is advisable to level as enhancement or elemental and re-spec to heal in instances at the desired level (60, 70, 80, whatever).

The shaman is very similar to the other hybrid classes: they are able to fulfill a number of roles depending on their spec. Like the other hybrid classes, spec selection is going to come down to two things: what is most fun for you and what role do you want to fulfill (caster DPS, melee DPS or heals). Assuming the "flavor" of the shaman is to your liking (totem based melee caster/healer), they are a very strong choice with few weaknesses.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Why should I play this class. . .Priest?

For most people (I will admit, me included) the first word you think of when the word Priest is mentioned is heals. Since the beginning of Wow, priests have been the premium healing class in the game. That will always be what they are known for, but blizzard has done a good job evolving them into more solo-friendly characters.

Depends on spec. Priests obviously have solid self-healing abilities and with shield and inner fire (do yourself a favor if you're soloing, macro a self-only shield), they have a decent amount of durability relative to other casters. If specced into shadow, they can deal impressive single target damage with little downtime. Shadow priests function very similarly to affliction warlocks.

Weaknesses: Multiple mobs are a major problem. Priests lack any real AOE damage and they don't have the variety of DoTs to handle groups like warlocks. Also, like all casters, they are inherently squishy and since most priests will stack +int, +spirit and +spellpower, this weakness is magnified.

Depends on spec. Priests generally are either caster DPS or Healing. Shadow priests bring a lot to groups from a mana regeneration standpoint. If specc'd into Holy they offer extemely solid single target and group heals.

Weaknesses: While priests in both shadow and Discipline are capadble of healing, a lot of players (myself included) refuse to run with "off spec" healers. This is not as much from a mechanical lack of healing ability (unless they're a total n00b and try to heal in shadowform), but more an experience standpoint. Generally, players without experience healing lack skill in it, so having abilities to heal with no skill in their use is almost as bad as not having abilities. This is not to say shadow priests are incapable of healing, but from an armory check, how can someone know?

Strengths: Depends on their spec. Holy and Discpline priests should avoid doing anything other than healing in PvP. Shadow priests can be difficult for casters and melee alike due to solid single target DPS and mana drain abilities. Also priests have both mind control and fear which can be useful tools in PvP.

Weaknesses: See above. Shadow priests have tools for PvP, other specs really don't.

Holy: If you want to heal instances, holy is the way to go. It is what it says it is, heavy on PvE healing, not so great at anything else. Although priests do get a number of cool Holy damage spells, this line doesn't do much for them so it will be harder to level with than the other 2.

Discipline: Discipline is a good middle ground between Holy and Shadow. It gives a good balance between soloing and healing. Discipline mainly focuses on increasing stats and efficiency. This is also a very commong secondary spec for remaining talent points.

Shadow: Shadow is the main choice for soloing and caster DPS focusing priests. As I said previously, shadow is very similar to affliction warlocks. Shadow gives access to more powerful DoTs and mana and health draining along the tree. It is capable of very respectable single target DPS, however it lacks the AOE abilities of the other caster classes.

Most people think of priests as walking healbots, which isnt necessarily the case. All priests can heal to an extent, and if that's your goal, priest is a good class choice. If you are looking for a DPS class with some utility and off-healing abilities, it is harder to find better than shadow priest. However, if you mainly want to DPS, there are other classes that offer a better mix of abilities.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Why should I play this class. . .Mohawk??

Maybe Mr. T hacked the game and created his own Mohawk class, did that thought occur to you Mr. Condescending director?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Why should I play this class. . .Mage?

Swords and armor not for you? Rather blast your opponents from afar or maybe make them look ridiculous by turning them into cutesie little critters? Look no further, the mage is for you. Mages have the best overall selection of AOE damage in the game and also benefit from a selection of unrivaled utility. They are a solid choice for PvE, PvP, and public transit.

Strengths: Damage. Mages have a large variety of damage effects, preferrence will depend on spec. Mages also have a wide variety of kiting abilities, giving the mage time to put some distance between themselves and mobs. Also, mages are one of the strongest AOE grinding classes in the game. One other solo benefit of the mage is the ability to quickly travel anywhere a teleport has been learned. This makes travel between areas extremely fast and convenient and is something no other class can do.

Weaknesses: Durability and down time. Mages have two resources that are of pretty limited supply: health and mana. Unfortunately, they are highly dependant on casting so the mana will be used up fairly quickly. Also, since they are incapable of wearing any but the weakest armor, although talents later in the game can help with absorption, any damage they take will eat into their health pool fairly quickly. This causes them to have a lot of downtime between mobs, normally eating and drinking.

Strengths: Damage and utility. Sheep (or penguin if you picked up the glyph) is one of the best CC abilities in the game and is welcome in any group setting. Mages are also one of the few classes that can remove curses. And everyone loves being ported out of an instance instead of having to burn their hearthstone. Oh, and it goes without saying they have powerful single target and AOE damage.

Weaknesses: Mana dependancy. Although there are talents to make them more efficient, it is a constant balancing act for the mage to keep up the most efficient damage for the situation.

Strengths: Kiting and burst damage. There are multiple PvP mage builds which basically boil down to almost instant death. If a mage sees you at range before you see them, there's a very good chance you're dead before you realize it. Also, mages have many tools to keep melee classes from getting to them through their many kiting abilities.

Weaknesses: Durability. The counter point to a mge being able to one shot most other classes is that they themselves are one of the easiest classes to one shot kill in the game due to low armor and a general lower priority on stamina stacking. One you have gotten into melee range mages really have little defense to a melee assault.

Arcane: This tree focuses on efficiency and adds some powerful utility to the mage's arsenal. It is a very good choice as a primary spec or secondary. Most casters will at least try to get the ability to clearcast as there is no spell as efficient as a free spell. CriticalQQ has recently run a blog about Arcane as a powerful PvP spec, I will bow to his superior theorycrafting abilities for specifics on that one.

Fire: If you ever played the original Warcraft (I'm talking orcs and humans, not vanilla Wow), the dwarf said "I love blowing things up!" Well, switch the dwarf to a gnome, put him in some robes and thats the fire mage. Nukes, both single target and AOE are what this spec is about. If you are getting one shotted, it was probably a fire mage, or someone at least specced into fire.

Frost: If fire is all about damage, frost is all about effects. Extra kiting, freezing opponents in place, adding critical strike chance to frozen opponents, faster cooldowns on kiting abilities, thats what the frost tree specializes in. If you are planning on soloing at all, frost is a very solid choice.

The mage class is not without faults. If you don't know what you're doing it is very easy to get overwhelmed, die a lot, and give up on the class. It is not a class for the novice warcraft player. Still, for those who can level one, they posess almost un-rivaled utility and power. Mages have some truly unique abilities and a good mage can always find a spot in an instance run or raid group. And, if all that doesnt appeal to you, you can always be a Wow travel agent and open portals for people for a fee.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Why should I play this class. . .Warrior?

I have a love/hate relationship with the warrior class. On one hand, they are capable of decent damage, can take punishment and are generally fun to play. On the other hand, more than any other class they are incredibly gear and consumable dependant be it bandages, potions or food. Can a class be both frustrating and rewarding at the same time?


Strengths: Warriors have a number of abilities for dealing damage (duh, they're warriors, right?), and they can use any weapon under the sun one-handed or two handed. Specced correctly they are capable of respectable melee damage and their plate armor gives them strong defense. They also have unique abilities to close distance and finish fights quickly.

Weaknesses: Consumable dependant. It is very easy to get overwealmed because although warriors can deal damage effectively to multiple mobs, they can't self heal so it becomes a battle of attrition. A poorly prepared warrior will eventually lose, repeatedly. Potions, bandages and food are must haves. Another facet of this is downtime. Warriors have a period after fights where they have to eat, bandage, etc and this leads to frequent, substantial downtime.


Strengths: Depends on spec. They are premium tanks with many varied abilities, strong aggro management perfectly suited for main or off-tanking.

Weaknesses: DPS warriors are not a strong choice for groups being inferior to deathknights and rogues in the melee DPS category. They lack crowd control abilties in general, although they have some abilities to stop fleeing mobs and casters, they are comparatively weak in this area. In summary, if you have a non-tank warrior in the group, they're a weakness. Protection warriors suffer from the sole weakness of having to build up rage to generate threat, so fights have to open slightly slower to allowe them to build up threat.


Strengths: Depends on spec. DPS warriors can generate excellent burst damage. They also have good intercepts and abilities to break fear. They have tools at their disposal to counter casters and melee opponents, they are a strong PvP class.

Weaknesses: Although they do have good abilities to close distance, their abilities lack range as a whole and their damage dealing is melee based so they are generally ineffective at range. Also, although they have great capabilities for burst damage, much of this relies on rage which is not generally available immediately. Protection warriors, although tough to kill, are a PvE spec and should not be used in PvP.


Protection: This is the tanking tree. It is one of the most useful and well rounded tanking trees in the game. It offers solid mitigation, a multitude of options for pulling aggro, and due to recent patches, usefulness in AOE situations. Protections warriors are extremely useful as either main or off tanks due to their mechanics.

Fury: This warrior tree revolves around critical strikes, both giving and receiving. It has abilities to regain health and increase damage. This is also mainly the tree which specializes in dual wielding. The ending talent in this tree allows the use of a two handed weapon in each hand.

Arms: This tree has numerous abilites generally involving the use of a single two-handed weapon. It allows easier and more efficient use of some of the warriors' main countering abilities and is good against solo or group mobs.

Warriors are really a mixed bag. It is possible to get solid DPS from them at the expense of downtime, although the DPS they put out is generally not as solid as the caster classes, and since they're taking damage generally, they are requiring more down time. I can't reccomend a warrior for leveling unless you want to tank. DPS warriors are frustrating to level and even more frustrating to try to find groups with. Bottom line, they make some of the best tanks in the game, always have since Wow was released. They are a passable option in PvP. If you are looking for more than that, look elsewhere.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Why should I play this class. . .Druid?

I don't normally blog on the weekends, it is something I generally do to pass the time at work. However, I was debating which class to do for the next installment, and the idea just sort of came upon me.

The druid. I actually have rolled more druids than any other class. Some would think the phrase "jack of all trades, master of none" would be appropriate to describe the druid. It isn't. While they lack the stun and sap capabilities of the rogue, the mitigation of the paladin or warrior, and the raw sustained damage of a mage or warlock, druids are just as effective in any role as the classes that on the surface may seem more suitable.


Strengths: Versitility. No matter which talent tree a player goes down (I personally prefer feral for leveling, at least to 40), there are multiple tools to get the job done. No other class can stealth one minute, switch to a tank form the next, then root enemies, back away and heal themselves. When played correctly, druids are extremely efficient and level quickly with very little down time. Another boon to druid solo play is free flight form. Not only free, but 2 levels before anyone else has access.

Weaknesses: Complexity. Druids cannot be played effectively by someone who does not understand the game. They offer so many different options, selecting the correct one for a given task can be difficult. The dynamic of utilizing the druids different forms can be frustrating and lead to quite a few trips from the graveyard.

Strengths: There is no role a druid cannot fill in a group. Tank, caster DPS, melee DPS, healer, the druid can fill all of these roles. The druid also brings powerful buffs to the group, all druids will boost attributes and can give an ability that damages on hit. In their moonkin form, druids also increase the critical chance of party members.

Weaknesses: Further into the game, druids pretty much have to follow their talent tree. Feral druids will be unsuitable for healing duties and a restoration druid should be the group's tanking option. However, in their chosen roles, they don't suffer from any real weaknesses in group play.

Strengths: Depends on their spec. Balance druids are a nightmare for multiple classes due to strong root abilities, the ability to shape shift out of polymorph, and being much tougher than any other caster class. Feral druids have increased stealth and damage from stealth and can do well against casters.

Weaknesses: Feral druids don't have the armor or additional abilities to keep up with melee characters (paladin, warrior, rogue, enhancement shammy). Once they leave stealth, they are toast. Hunters can fear them, and track them when in beast form. Other druids can hibernate them in beast form. Balance druids suffer from mana dependance, a trait they share with other casters.

Feral: The predominant leveling spec before level 40 (when moonkin form becomes avaialable), feral has been continually streamlined and improved and is a very good choice for solo players. Cat form offers high DPS and an almost instant switch to bear form and dire bear form gives high survivability. Druid tanks are now a solid option as instance main tanks and have very high health and armor allowing them to take a large amount of punishment.

Balance: The balance tree speciliazes in caster DPS. With minimal talents selected from the restoration tree, it becomes more mana efficient. Although it may not be able to do quite as much damage as a Mage or Warlock, balance is a very strong choice for players who want a caster with a little more overall utility.

Restoration: Not generally used for leveling, restoration is a strong build for endgame healing. It is what it is, tree form druids get strong, efficient heals, both over time and straight casts that allow them to heal any content in the game if properly geared.

Hybrid: Although all classes are capable of "Hybrid" specs (i.e. not an overwelming amount of talent points spent in one tree), it is very common to see druid hybrids due to their inherent utility. Really, any combination of Balance, Resto, and Feral is possible, with "Restokin" (Balance up to moonkin with a heavy expenditure in restoration) being the most common hybrid. Hybrid druids are generally designed to do something specific, and do that job extremely well. The Restokin as an example is a very good balance between DPS and healing.

If I had to pick one character to play and I wasn't allowed to play any alts, I would pick a druid and be happy. They are more than capable in any role a person could desire to play, which role is chosen is matter of personal preferrence. Isnt that how it should be?

Friday, January 9, 2009

Why should I play this class. . .Warlock?

The Warlock. Probably one of the most hotly contested classes since the inception of Warcraft, for the majority of the time the game has been in existance, they have been called overpowered. They are. They are one of the few classes in Warcraft with few weaknesses, although unlike the Paladin, they are restricted to one role only. And they also benefit from a free mount.

Strengths: The Warlock has a number of strengths. First of all, they are one of only three classes to employ a pet, which if used correctly allows the user plenty of time to get prepared while the pet takes damage. They offer a number of abilities which reduce downtime being able to drain both health and mana, and can convert their own health into mana. They have multiple fear abilities if situations get too difficult. Lastly they have the ability to store their souls and basically get a free resurrection. The Warlock is undoubtedly one of the most powerful classes in the game in solo play.

Weaknesses: Looking for solo weaknesses in the warlock is like looking for blemishes on a supermodel. They're there, but they're hard to find. They can't AOE as well as a mage and multiple mob pulls could become a problem. They are casters so are restricted to cloth armor and although they normally have the highest stamina of any caster, are squishy compared to the non caster classes.

Strengths: Soul stone is great for making sure the caster can rez if the group gets killed. They have strong sustained damage and AOE abilities. They also have very strong CC abilities, depending on the mobs being faced and the pet the Warlock is employing.

Weaknesses: Again, few to speak of. Fear if used at inappropriate times can be a nightmare for groups. Can pull aggro if it is not managed effectively. CC may not be usable at all times, depending on mob types.

Strengths: DoT, DoT, DoT, DoT, Fear, repeat. It sucks, its cheap, anyone who's ever pvp'd has been hit by it, but it is effective. Oh, and the succubus can charm you. And they have an instant fear that ALSO drains life. Yeah, they're still overpowered in pvp.

Weaknesses: Depending on spec, they lack burst damage. They also are cloth wearers and a few good hits will take them out. If you can resist their fear effects, you can lay the hurt on them.

Affliction: This is the main PvP spec for Warlocks. It increases abilities to apply DoTs on targets and drain health. This gives affliction buids very little downtime as they can convert health to mana, then drain the health from mobs (this is what is commonly referred to as "drain tanking"). This build also offers buffs to the already powerful seed of corruption, one of the more powerful AOE spells in the game if used correctly.

Demonology: Strong pets = strong warlock. This spec increases the effectiveness of the warlock's pets. It also offers a unique summon: the felguard. The felguard is like having a DPS warrior duoing with the warlock, except it is under control of the warlock and never rolls for loot. The only drawback of this line is the 51 point talent. Although turning into a demon is cool in concept, the power has a lot of weaknesses and another summon (*cough* Doomguard *cough*) would have been more appropriate.

Destruction: sometimes, you just want to blow sh*t up. For those times, spec destro! Destro locks produce excellent DPS, being slightly more bursty than the other warlock varieties. It is what it is, pure destructive spell damage. Its the "if brute force doesnt work, you're just not using enough" theory of casting. The drawback of this line is that it suffers from slightly more down time than the other two lines.

If you ever thought "I really have no desire to heal or tank, I just want to level and PvP" the warlock is a very solid choice. They are the most durable casters in the game, produce solid DPS in any spec and offer very solid utility in solo PvE, group PvE, and PvP.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Why should I play this class. . .Paladin??

A class that is near and dear to my heart, the first class I ever played in world of Warcraft, and the class that I have the most alts of: the Paladin. Paladins are the melee/healer class of Wow. They can wear the heaviest armor in the game and have considerable talents for both healing and melee burst damage. They are also one the classes in Wow that receive a free mount (the others being warlock, death knight, and somewhat the druid).

Strengths: The paladin's biggest strength is survivability. Between plate armor and their ability to heal, paladins have arguably the most survivability of any class in the game. They also offer a "bubble" which makes them immune to damage for a period of time and only serves to increase their already considerable survivability. Specced correctly (there are a variety of ways to do this), they are also one of the most effective AOE grinding classes in tha game. This can be a very fast and efficient way to either get drops (marks, motes, whatever) or experience.

Weaknesses: the paladin has two major weaknesses: range and speed of killing. The paladin has very limited capability to pull from range or attack ranged mobs. Also, the speed and efficiency killing single mobs is severely lacking. AOE grinding improves this as generally three mobs can be killed in approximately the same time it takes to kill one. Still, single mobs will be frustrating, and/or inefficient compared to other classes.

Strengths: Paladins can be among the most valuable members in any group depending on their spec. They are the best multi-mob tank in the game, providing solid aggro generation to multiple mobs with solid mitigation. They can also be powerful single target healers with splash healing to other group members via talents and/or inscriptions. Specced for DPS they are capable of solid burst damage. They also have a wide variety of buffs to distribute which are helpful to everyone in the group

Weaknesses: Specced as holy their AOE healing is lacking. They lack mana regeneration to general aggro if they are not being directly attacked (for an off-tank role). They must be in melee range to DPS effectively. They are also relatively weak in crowd control abilities (they have a stun ability, but it is on a cooldown and may not be available when necessary).

Strengths: Again, survivability. Given their heavy armor, healing and mitigation abilities, paladins can be a very frustrating kill. They also can have strong damage reflection abilities if protection specc'd so warriors will have a tough time taking them down.

Weaknesses: Very weak against ranged damage. No ranged attack abilities to speak of, no ability to slow down or stop fleeing opponents apart from stun. Very weak against fear and CC abilities. Unfortunately for most classes in the game, paladins are a big target and although frustrating, an easy kill. The lone exception is full retribution whose burst damage makes them dangerous.

Protection: This is the Paladin tanking spec. It offers considerable buffs to stamina and armor. It also allows the paladin to be aomng the best AOE grinders in the game. From a solo or group PvE standpoint this is a very strong choice whose only weaknesses are in PvP and lack of burst damage.

Holy: This is a powerful single target healing spec. This spec also allows for some burst damage at the cost of efficiency and AOE grinding although not as effectively as protection. This is a very good spec for group PvE, given the current state of Wow, healers are in extremely high demand. Also fairly weak in PvP outside of Arena.

Retribution: Powerful burst DPS, this spec removes the slow killing weakness of the other paladin specs at the cost of true healing and tanking ability. This spec also inscreases the classes already present stun ability. While this class is capable of generating considerable aggro to fill a tanking role in an emergency, it is not a good selection as either a tank or healer.

The paladin is one of the true hybrid classes in Wow able to fill tank, healer, or DPS roles capably. If you are looking for a class to play that can contribute to a group or solo grind, this is a great class. Beware PvP servers though as the main weakness of this class is in PvP.

Why should I play this class?

So I decided to do something a little different in the upcoming few days, something called "why should I play this class?" I'm going to go over relative strengths and weaknesses of the various classes/specs in Wow, in general. Some classes I have personal experience playing every spec and have multiple mid-level alts (Paladin, Warlock), and some I will have to rely on research and input from other sources (Rogue, Shaman). This information is designed for someone who is either trying to decide which class to play for the first time, or someone thinking about rolling an alt and not sure what to go with.

It is not an in depth thoerycrafting discussion of which class fill raid spots best or how to play each class. I am not really a raider, nor would I even begin to feel qualified to discuss that. I also am not going to go into profession discussions with the classes. Although I do spend a large amount of time planning, researching, and gathering for crafting, how and what you pick as professions is very much a matter of personal preferrence.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

We interrupt our normal Wow content to bring you. . .The Force Unleashed!

I am probably not the only person playing Wow who is a fan of Star Wars. I own the movies, I read the books, I have the animated series recording on my DVR at home. Like a lot of people, money is a little tight at the moment, so I couldn't justify buying the game, but I figured it was worth a rental. In short, if you are a fan of Star Wars and havent played this game yet, DO SO! The only thing even remotely negative I have to say about it is that I wish it had more content, its that good.

In brief, you play the role of Starkiller, Darth Vader's secret apprentice. Although he is frequently referred to as Starkiller in materials, I don't recall them ever referring to him as that in game. Basically as part of the purge, Darth Vader came to Kashyk (however it's spelled), killed Starkiller's father, found Starkiller, killed everyone who knew about him and took him as a secret apprentice. I won't spoil any other plot details but its a great game. Although the plot is pretty predictable, there are a few surprises.

From a gameplay standpoint I have only a few gripes, force grip could be a little easier and more responsive and it is a little hard with all the things you can use it on to actually grip what you want, and then getting it to go in the direction you want is slightly challenging. I also think too many enemies are resistant either to lightsaber or force attacks. Those are the only real negatives from my standpoint.

On the positive side, the game has almost too many to list, but there are a few that stand out for me. First of all, although grip is a little unwieldy, it is absolutely AMAZING. I never get tired of gripping stormtroopers and throwing them into things. Another feature I liked was Starkiller's lightsaber style. He uses a reverse grip on the lightsaber which gives him a much different fighting style from anything we've seen. I don't know that I care much for some of the combos' use of force lightning (the guy uses it with EVERYTHING), but it is visually appealing. The last thing that makes the game stand out are the cinematic finishes. Basically at key moments (usually boss fights and larger baddies) you hit certain buttons in sequence to finish them. Anything I would write couldn't do it justice, it is that cool. As an example, one move shows you shocking an AT-ST (the two-legged walkers from return of the jedi), then you jump through the air and literally cut it in half. The boss finishes are even cooler than that.

In summary, if you are a fan of Star Wars and you haven't already BUY OR RENT THIS GAME!!! Yes, it's short, and yes it has it's technical glitches, but it is worth it.

Friday, January 2, 2009

New years resolutions. . .Warcraft style. . .

So like most everyone else, I brought in the new years with some champagne, a kiss from my fiance, and a new years resolution. I figured if I can have a new years resolution, my characters can have one too, right? I'm only listing them for active characters (I'm sure my alliance pally is thinking "my new years resolution is to leave the inn at honor hold", or maybe he's a lush and would rather sit around drinking than fight evil, who knows. . .).

Leshif - New years resolution is to master enchanting and jewelcrafting. I am the ONLY high level jewel crafter in our guild and while I enjoy crafting quite a bit, a lack of gatherers in northrend makes leveling this skill prohibitively expensive.

Dreadfish - Hit level 80. My orc deathknight has become my favorite character to play and will be my gatherer in Northrend. I dunno if I will do any raiding with him, it kind of depends on what's going on at the time.

Magefish - Hit level 70, learn seed of corruption. I want to see how warlocks AOE. This will be the biggest influence on whether to play my warlock, mage, or shadow priest as caster DPS.

Bullfish - Hit level 71, pick up free epic flying. I love druids, they are one of my favorite classes to play. I don't care for Tauren, they just aren't visually appealing for me. However, druids are only available on the Horde side to Tauren, so Bullfish was born. Feral, Boomkin, or Tree will be decided later, for now the goal is free epic flying!

Warfish - Master blacksmithing. My biggest Wow regret was dropping blacksmithing from my paladin. I think things worked out better in the longrun that way, and I wasnt through the thorium levels when I did it (leveling through there is going to SUCK!!). Even though there are other high leveled blacksmiths in our guild, I want one myself, and as only level 60 is required to master it, my Orc Warrior fits the bill.

Fish - I, the player have a few Wow related new years resolutions for 2009. First of all, no raids organized by questionably qualified individuals. A level 71 rogue named "Outtylol" kicked out of a guild he can't remember the name of would be a good example. The only thing epic about that run will be the FAIL. (OK, I may have broken that one early in the year, but this is moving forward). My other goal is to hit the level cap with at least one character. I didn't hit 70 till about a month before expansion, but that's more a function of realm hopping and indecisiveness.

On a related note, I was added to the twisted nether blog list! That's pretty exciting, I tried to add their logo but it didn't work, so I will try again in the future, but I'm super excited.