Tuesday, September 29, 2009

+hit, and Style vs Substance. . .

First of all, thanks to everyone who left comments on my recent Shammy vs Druid post. Your comments and insights were extremely helpful and helped me reach a decision.

I have decided I really dislike the hit cap. I decided this when trying to gear my paladin for retribution, and thinking about having a caster DPS has re-inforced this even more. The hit cap seems like the defense cap for tanks: you must have this level to play. It wouldn't be that horrible except that there seems to be so few ways to accumulate it outside of raids and sporadic heroic drops. Can I use emblems to get +hit mail? Ok well surely there is some crafted gear that has it. . .oh, its cloth. No jewelcrafting necklaces (that I saw, I might be mistaken) or rings. Sure, I could socket a bunch of epic gems, but how many pieces have sockets anymore? Not many. I hate to say it, but the more I think about it, the more I am in favor of simplifying gear as blizz said they were going to do in Cataclysm. Hit, crit, haste, spellpower, DPS wants drastically different gear from healers, even if they're the same class. Its enough to give a guy a headache.

Now, having said all that, and firmly considered, I have come to a conclusion. Before I come out and say it, I have done a lot of considering about what is important to me in the game. I think most decisions (apart from faction) come down to a question of style vs substance. Sometimes, certain questions are answered for us (you want to be a druid, you are Tauren or Night Elf. . .for now). Sometimes it comes down to a choice (Horde side, you want a warrior, you can be any race except blood elf). How you make that choice determines what is important for you. Some people like the look of Tauren, I don't. That is why my highest level warrior is an Orc. I think orcs look bad ass. Likewise, my horde shaman is an orc. I like the look of them. I made a conscious decision of style over substance. Would my warrior benefit from extra health? Hell yes! But I have to spend hours looking at him and quite frankly, I want him to look cool. That is also why I prefer human paladins and pretty much humans in general.

Which brings me to my point. I have heard Druids can put up respectable numbers. Both healing and DPS, they are powerful. However, although I don't mind tree, I can't STAND moonkin. Can't do it. I can't look at an owlbeast's ass for hours at a time. What's the point of collecting cool looking gear if you never see it? Call me stupid, call me old fashioned, I am playing a video game because I want to see my avatar do cool stuff. The end effect is not as important to me as how you get there. Also, let's be honest. I am not super hardcore raider guy looking to top the DPS or healing charts on every run. When I heal, I want to do enough so the group doesnt wipe. If a few DPS die, well. . .it happens. As a DPS, I want to do enough damage so the tank doesn't get overwelmed and die. I want to achieve pulling my weight level, not elite level.

I will save the PvP vs PvE discussion for a later post, I have far too much to say to go on about that here. . .

Monday, September 28, 2009

Shammy vs Druid

Well in talking to my friend/trusty GM Rhutra, be brought up a valid point. "What are you going to do when you get to 80?" I really dont enjoy raiding with my Paladin. I think the key words there are "with my paladin". I could see how raiding wouldnt be that bad if I was a caster DPS. Don't stand in the fire, don't pull aggro, goodness. I just hate having to run around, check facing, avoid things, its just not fun. And tanking a raid seems way too stressful, I can barely manage heroics.

So, in thinking about it, I see two viable options for "endgame": Druid and Shammy. The reason I say two viable options more comes down to utility than anything else. First of all, I want a class that can heal. That rules out most classes right there. Healing can be a great way to go through heroics and pick up DPS gear no one wants/needs. Secondly, I want a class capable of ranged DPS. Yes, I kind of just want to stand there and nuke. Now, that does leave one other option: Priest. However at this time I am not totally sold on Shadow Priest, obviously Holy priests are good healers (I'll leave best healer arguments for others). But I've always said feel and enjoyment is more important to me than raw numbers. As of right now, Shadow Priest isn't as fun. I might adjust that thought down the road (it has been known to happen), but as of right now, its Shammy vs Druid.

This one seems like a no brainer to me. Although my buddies from WTFSpaghetti might disagree, Druid is the big daddy healer in Wow. I really enjoy druid healing mechanics and I rarely feel overwelmed healing normal content. I like "maintenance healing" throwing dots on everyone, trying to make sure everyone is in a nice middle zone. I have never healed on a shammy, so I don't really know how it works. I know most of the tools that are there, but most of my shammy research has been DPS related.

On this side it's the Druid I have no idea about. Shammies are fun. I love chain lightning. I love throwing lightning bolts and shocks. I think Elemental is like an awesome armored mage. I don't much care for the totem mechanic, but they help more than get in the way, and they're good for groups, and don't require buffing individual people like pally buffs (ok, gift of the wild is even easier, but this wasn't a debate about best group buffs). I also think shammies LOOK really cool. Yes I can be bought with cool appearance. Now, I know the spells a druid gets, some of them are quite cool. My main issue with the druid is appearance related. Why does Moonkin have to look so dumb? Everytime I see one, I think back to azuremyst seeing the moonkin waddling around. I can almost be ok with the broccoli, but seriously?

This is where I ask for help from you my readers. Balance druid, how good are they? Right now I give a slight edge to the Shammy because they can heal and I just like them. Maybe thats enough. But having a druid at 71, its kind of a shame to waste him.

Friday, September 25, 2009

My new favoritest class: The Shaman

I was reading something over at Righteous Orbs about the awesomeness of Shamans, and it got me to thinking: I really like Shamans, they're really cool.

Like most people who play Wow, it was not my first RPG. In addition to many table top games, I played a few of the final fantasies (I loved 7, 8 and tactics, hated 10), all of the elder scrolls games, diablo, etc. Normally I like melee fighters who can wear heavy armor and self heal. That made the Paladin a natural choice in Wow. I still like Paladins. My two highest level characters are both paladins. However, I have decided I just like the shaman more, for a variety of reasons.

Reason 1: The best hybrid
There are three hybrid classes in Wow (I don't count shadow priests): Paladin, Shaman, and Druid. When I say best I mean most able to use a variety of abilities. Paladins are incredibly durable, even in DPS spec and powerful in melee. I still prefer a prot paladin for AoE grinding over any other class for their durability. However, this durability comes at the expense of range, a paladin basically has to be on top of a mob to do anything. Druids have to choose between caster DPS or melee DPS by shapeshifting. Shamans can use their caster abilities even in their melee DPS spec, and can melee in their caster spec. While it is true that the Druid and Paladin can fill more group roles than a Shaman, Shamans have the best all around use of abilities regardless of spec.

Reason 2: Cures the caster problem
This could be said about balance druids as well, but lets be honest, moonkin form looks dumb. I love mages, and I like locks and shadow priests. They are fun. However, without some type of mitigation, they get chewed up pretty quickly. Shamans don't have to worry about that. They wear mail, and can pull out instant cast pain. Also, even caster Shamans can use windfury weapon. Shaman are far from soft squishy targets.

Reason 3: They look cool
Let's be honest, a large motivation in the game is looking cool. I love druids, but they miss this completely. Moonkins look ridiculous, Dire bear looks the same at 40 as it does at 80, and cat looks the same at 80 as it does at 20. Shaman gear looks cool, they can dual wield, and their abilities just have a lot of flair. Chain lightning is probably one of my favorite looking abilities in Wow.

Basically, I like casters, I like beating on things, I want to look cool and be able to heal myself a lil bit. I probably should have been playing a Shaman all along. . .

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

RAF 1-60 and notes from vacation. . .

Well for the past week I've been on "vacation". I say vacation because I wasn't at work. I didn't go anywhere because well, I'm cheap and I have the st louis trip coming up that I'm saving up for. A couple things happened during the course of my vacation. A) I have given up on playing on a PvP server and B) I was pretty much able to go 1-60 all the way through with recruit a friend (I got to 50's, but I have ungoro and winterspring untouched, and most of felwood left).

I have been back and forth about leaving Daggerspine for a while now. If I didn't have a group of real life friends there, I would have left a long time ago. I don't have the mindset for PvP, I don't enjoy it, and dying just frustrates and pisses me off. I am delaying a permanent decision until my RAF time is done, but I am considering paying the $50 and making Leshif Human and moving him to Azuremyst.

On the Recruit a friend path, I have found what works best/most efficiently for me and thought I'd share. First of all, in general, instance power leveling is not the best way to go. The triple XP you get from mob kills and quest turn ins trumps power leveling in the traditional sense. There is one exception: dungeon quests. Certain dungeons have a ton of easily obtainable quests associated with them. Get them, do them, you will get a level or more out of them. Zul'Farak is a great example. Most of the quests you get directly from Gadgetzan and depending on when you run it, will get you a level to a level and a half. Another thing is to be careful with the gathering quests you take. Generally if you're looking for mob drops, I get the quest on my main account and not the buddy, since the buddy is getting dungeon quest XP, it evens out. I went through zones in this order:

Azuremyst/Bloodmyst 1-24 (yeah, I hit 24, didnt even do all the quests)
Wetlands/Duskwood 24-32 (you switch back and forth with these, they both have mid and higher level quests to do)
Thousand Needles* (Just the racetrack. I didn't go here, but it's a free level, and usually do it on horde)
Stranglethorn Vale 32-38 (Just the kill quests, green hills and basilisk collection)
Dustwallow Marsh 38-45 (both theramore and ratchet give a TON of XP)
Tanaris 45-50 (Do yourself a favor, don't collect pirate hats on the buddy)
Zul'Farak 49 (I ran this on buddy to pop him 49-50)
Feralas* (I didn't go here, but wish I would have in the 45 range, to get an additional ZF quest and some more XP)
Searing Gorge 50-52 (not here for long, just to kill a bunch of stuff and give you an advantage in Felwood)
Felwood 52* (Felwood is good for about 3-4 levels, depending on how much you do, I left after 1 to do Ungoro)
Ungoro 53-56 (Planned, I havent gotten this far)
Winterspring 56-58 (same as above)
Hellfire Peninsula 58-60 (this will be your fastest 2 levels since 20, the quests can get you 60k apiece with the RAF bonus)

Badlands and Uldaman would have fit in there between Dustwallow and Tanaris, but its a lil out of the way and to get the Platinum disks quest (the real XP bonus of Uldaman) you need 3 players, so you cant just power level through it.

I did that Shammy & Priest. My next time through will probably be Hunter/Druid. I might also try a Priest/lock combo.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

When the digital world turns into the real world. . .

I had a blog post all ready to go about how there are different types of bloggers, two who are of interest to me: "super stars" and "blog friends". Super stars are people who have a large following, almost star status in the blog world. Blog friends are those people that you just like. You seem to have common interests, leave comments on each others' blogs, but you don't know them in real life.

Well, it looks like some of my blog friends are about to transition into real friends. Apparently the people who bring you WTFspaghetti and yours truly are going to embark on a mission to consume our fair shair of the adult beverage surplus in the St Louis area. Funny thing is, that of all my frequent blog commenters, they are among the ones I would actually like to meet in the "real world". Who knows, maybe we'll post some pics of our exploits. Not Ferraro style, I assure you, in real life I am male, and about as average looking as they come.

I was already excited about my trip, now I am more so.

On an actual wow related note, I am blowing through content with recruit a friend. I did get PvP'd last night, and by the time I could get my druid to stranglethorn vale, the perpetrators were gone. I still managed to hit 40 on my buddy priest and 38 on my "main" priest. I am switching to priest following shammy in the next day or so. I'd like to get them to around 50 this way, boost the priest through some instance quests, and grant the last 10 levels to get my shammy to 60 and see where we're at. Then I'll just need 20ish levels for the priest and my optional hunter leveling which I may put on hold. Do I really need a hunter? No, but it might be nice to have while I'm at it.

RAF on my alliance server will be a lot easier. no PvP to slow me down, and I've gotten the technique down. However, numerically, it will be a bigger task as I think I'll need 3 60's to spread around enough levels to get all my toons to 60. However, with RAF you level up so fast, it really isnt a chore at all. To me, its just more excitement.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Fish is going to St Louis!

This is more of a real life post, but it's Wow related, so if you lose interest midway through, you have my permission to bail, I won't think less of you (or know come to think of it).

I have been a table-top gamer for most of my life. I started with Dungeons and Dragons around age 11, and the interest sort of blossomed from there. Between the start of high school, and about middle of college, if it was out, I'd probably played it. Another thing I started doing earlier in my life was attending gaming conventions. My first was Marcon in Columbus where I met one of my closest friends who is a contributor to Hex games. I really only attend one convention with any regularity, that is Archon in St. Louis, and well, its that time of year.

The convention runs from October 2-4, you can find more info here.

I'm going to be running three different games at the convention using Hex's rpg rules called QUAGS (Quick Ass Gaming System). I'm running one game, probably saturday night called Wrasslin. Basically it is what it sounds like, smackdown the video game, just in tabletop RPG format. I'm running a game as a sequel to the southpark episode "make love not warcraft" involving some warcraft archetypes and characters from the commercials (Yes, Mr T will be there, and he is a night elf mohawk, who am I to argue if there is not traditionally a mohawk class?). The last game I'll be running is a survival horror game. Think Saw meets resident evil. There will be traps and zombies.

I'm getting pretty excited about it. They normally have multiple kegs at the convention and as there won't be room parties, it semi forces everyone to associate on the convention grounds. Or maybe we'll cab it and takeover a bar somewhere. Who knows?

MAS: The guild that blogs. . .

I must preface this statement by saying I have been a little out of the loop on guild matters. I've mostly been playing in the mornings when people arent online (both to avoid other players, and because that time happens to be most convenient for me). I've been having great fun with recruit a friend of late, I have a buddy character at 34, leveled my priest up to 33 tagging along, I have a new orc hunter at 22 and another buddy at the same level. My goal is still 3 to 40, then get one buddy to 60, and grant all 3 level 60. Then I'm going to rinse and repeat on my alliance server (although it might require more than one 60, I have a ton of mid level toons there, but none capped and only a couple above 60). I like the old world, but I'd just like to get past it at a greater rate of speed than is usually required. It will leave me with only one class that I won't have at 60: Rogue. I have no desire to play a rogue, my druids can stealth, I prefer fighting like a warrior and they can neither cast spells, nor self heal, so a rogue really isnt the class for me.

Anyways, what I really wanted to post about was another entrant in the MAS blogging family. Abbaddon, our resident PvP Death Knight, has started up a blog. I have limited experience and knowledge with PvP, it's a realm of the game I have no interest in, but I can see that he is skilled at it, and knows his stuff.

As I've been out of touch with the guild given my recent re-discovery of interest in the 1-60 game, it's good to be able to read blogs and get some kind of interaction with my guildies. Everyone who has a blog brings something different to the table, and MAS is no exception. I will never forget a post that Larisa wrote about blogging in general, it is part of why I started this blog in the first place. The biggest thing any blogger can do is impart their personality in what they write. In real life, I am a little random and all over the place, I'm sure no one who reads my blog would ever guess that (that's what we call sarcasm boys and girls!). While Matt is not one of the guildies I have met in person, I have interacted with him enough in game to know that I will enjoy his blog, and I'll definately add it to my blogroll. I will make the not too subtle suggestion that anyone into either Death Knights or PvP do the same.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

More recruit a friend goodness. . .

I have more observations/unanticipated goodness regarding recruit a friend, after my long weekend of experimentation.

First of all, triple experience is off the charts awesome. My first full fledged buddy character left ghostlands around level 24 and didn't even complete all the quests. He is currently in the middle of a 2 priest team and I think I'm going to level them a bit the old fashioned way. My other priest is 27, so when they hit 30, I'll run through some 1000 needles and STV kill quests, then we"ll take them through scarlet monastery.

I have decided the sweet spot for leveling is around level 40. Two 60's on the buddy account can level 3 40's on the main account to 60. Conveniently on my horde account I have a priest, shaman and hunter awaiting leveling goodness. I wasn't going to bother with a hunter, but why not? Plus hunter makes an ideal main to have a buddy character in tow and I think 2 characters and a pet just might make people think twice about ganking him.

I have also figured out an unanticipated benefit for the RAF summoning. Want to get someplace and not worry about the hassle of a run or lengthy flight? I have a mage on my main account bound to shatt. He can get anywhere and summon a buddy character. Another alternative is to do that, and then have one of the buddy characters summon someone from the main account. Instant travel, no fuss. I have been using that method to bypass a lot of painful travel (i.e. thunder bluff, the coast of ashenvale, and I'm sure I'll use it to pick up the flight point in gadgetzan). I also used it to get my Orc hunter and Tauren druid into the blood elf territory for leveling.

This recruit a friend is so addictive, I pretty much havent even been playing my higher level characters. I am sure I will pick them back up, my pally needs a few shards, badges and some rep for me to get 2-3 pieces of BoA gear, but since I only have a 90 day window to get a bunch of 60's (I need them horde and alliance, just in case, no reason not to get both servers up to speed), I want to make the best use of time that I can. I actually think it will be more fun on alliance because I can do more questing and less instancing. Although I know running through instances is time efficient, it is hella boring, so questing breaks up the monotony.