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. . .

Friday, October 9, 2009

Intro to Shamanism and loot drama. . .

Well, first of all, the intro to shamanism I'm talking about is not "walk with the earth mother" . . .maybe thats druid. . .I get the tauren confused, damn hippies, all look the same anyways. Anyways, I am talking about a fresh 60, have a chance to have a tree mostly filled out, and how things play out.

I hadnt planned on sticking with enhancement. I mean I like it, dual wielding is fun, but my goal was always dual spec Elemental/Resto at 80. I figured 60 was a good time to make the switch. And then I discovered the awesomeness that is spirit wolves. Now, my goal is still to stand back and hurl lightning in a raid setting, prolly heroics too, but for everything till then, I'm going enhancement all the way. I remember when leveling my warrior, I would get overwealmed very quickly. 2-3 mobs and it became a war of attrition I would lose. Now, I pop magma totem, earthbind totem (for those pesky runners), mana spring totem, and spirit wolves. I've taken down 7 mobs at once my level, and I don't think thats the upper limit. Hit shamanistic rage and it's like free mana and health all the time. In short, I just feel like enhancement has too many tools for leveling to give it up at this stage. That may change if I decide to try leveling by BG's as my friend Ruhtra suggested.

I am starting to think that the most complicated part of healing is learning the abilities and getting healbot set up how you want it. I will be honest, I'm not there yet. I think I got to the point with my druid that I knew what to do when, and it was just a question of gear. Shaman healing is. . .different. I don't even have a full set of resto gear yet (I'm 62, it will take some time), but I am pretty impressed so far. Earth shield and earthliving weapon are solid bonuses, and I seem to be able to do a decent job with riptide/lesser healing wave on the main tank. My biggest issue seems to be over casting (I'm too used to druids who cast lil HoTs constantly) and running out of mana. I think once I get used to it, I will love druid healing and my orc still looks like he could kick some ass in his resto gear, which is a bonus.

Loot drama:
Oh how I love loot drama. Wait, I don't. So my newly 60 shammy is running around hellfire, and I see someone in general looking for DPS for blood furnace. Now I despise that instance, but for clothies or shammies, its like required. ossum lewts in ther. Anyways, so our group consists of a warrior tank, a tauren deathtard, me, a shadow priest, and a resto druid healing. Now, I hate being in instances with tauren. They are too big, get in the way and I can't target around them. That having been said, we get to the first boss, and he drops the necklace. It has strength, stam, and agility on it. I'm still wearing a level 50 quest item, so I need on it, as does the deathtard. I win the roll, and proceed to equip the necklace. Then the warrior starts spouting off about how its a tanking necklace blah blah blah.

Begin rant: douchebag, they have not yet instituted the change where shammies do not benefit from strength for attack power. Furthermore, your deathtard buddy got a necklace from questing way better than what I was wearing. Also, while I don't get a huge benefit from strength, he gets about an equivalent benefit from agility. If it was a tanking necklace, it would have defense on it, and then I wouldn't have rolled. How about you try to know what the hell you're talking about before you say in party chat "learn how to gear your class". End Rant

I did pull somewhat of a n00b move in a different run. We were in ramps, and the hammer drops. Now I could have sworn that hammer was one handed so I needed on it. I'm sure it's been two handed the whole time so it is worthless to me, but no one else in our party could have used it, so I don't feel too bad. I did win a greed roll on the leather waist which got gemmed and will be my belt for my enhancement set :-)

So in summary, shammies are awesome, douchebags in pugs, and I'm semi oblivious.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Wow Economy and You. . .

Personally, I'm tired of articles about how to make gold in Wow. There are plenty of people who have sites dedicated to it, and plenty of people who see the gold on their account as their own personal mini-game. I look at gold in Wow like this: it is a resource to acquire things that you would want. If you have more gold than you need, you've wasted time. Now, far be it for me to tell people how to waste time in the game. I'm trying for 12-16 level 60+ characters, that might seem like an utter waste of time to some. Anyways, the point of this post is not to instruct you how to make money in the game, there are many people around who can do that way better than me. It is more to look at the Wow economy in comparison to the real world economy.

Now, the Wow economy is EXTREMELY basic. There are no loans, there is only one centralized currency, so it mostly gets rid of any Arbitrage. Arbitrage is a more advanced economic concept I don't really want to deal with but basically it is profitting due to a difference in two related markets. Doesn't exist in Wow, not an issue. Wow has boiled it's economy down to the most basic level, you make money by producing goods, providing a service, or engaging in commerce. Making money in Wow is so basic, it can be boiled down into two variables: risk and time.

Producing goods:
Gathering and crafting are the two ways that you can produce goods in Wow. Picking flowers, mining for ore, prospecting ore into gems, making potions, etc, all are producing goods. Enchantment has switched from a service only to a profession that can produce goods with the introduction of scribe produced scrolls that can hold enchantments.

Gathering professions are going to be pure profit, but come as somewhat of a pain. Lets be honest, the resources that you are attempting to gather are finite. In some cases, it is impossible to predict exactly where the resources in question will spawn, and there is a high degree of competition (I'm looking at you Titanium). With gathering professions there is no risk (you can't lose money when something is free to you), but they can be quite time intensive.

Crafting is another means to producing goods. This can either be done in the form of crafting from gathered components, which is pure profit, but limits the crafter to that which they can gather themselves, or through purchasing components, in which the crafter assumes the risk that the crafted item will be less profitable than the sum of the parts. Crafting can be quite risky, and there is also a considerable amount of time in leveling and producing goods.

Providing a service:
When the old guy with the question mark over his head says "go kill 10 rats", and you accept, you are providing a service. When a lower level character says "I will pay you 10g to run me through the stockades", you are providing a service. Enchanters selling enchants are generally providing a service, unless they are putting the enchantments on scrolls, then it is a good. Services, as with gathering only present a time sink. However, unlike gathering, the rate at which one makes gold this way is fairly stable, unless blizzard makes changes.

Engaging in commerce:
Commerce is the act of buying low and selling high. There are a variety of tools useful for this in Wow, one of the most well known being Auctioneer. Now, engaging in commerce can be quite a time sink and involve a large amount of risk. I have a friend who does a fair amount of posting on the auction house and says it takes him hours to get everything properly listed. Obviously if things don't sell, you're out the auction house deposit (which is a concern with anything you're listing on the auction house, in general).

I'm not attempting to say which way is best for making gold. As I work in the financial services industry, I'm not particularly interested in playing the auction house. Gathering is a necessary evil and something I can do while questing. Leveling is my main way of both advancing my characters and generating income, which I supplement with some Jewelcrafting done by my pally. I'm also not rich by any means in game terms. Sure, it would be nice to have 40-50k to get epic flyers for some alts and be able to buy mats to craft whatever I want. However, to me, it just isnt worth the time expenditure to get there.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Me, the doctor & P in real life. . .

So I promised I would post pics from my trip to St. Louis in the blog. Obviously, there were more than two pics taken, but after reviewing them, most of them probably shouldn't be shared in such a public forum. I had an awesome time, thedoctor & P were great hosts, and meeting them and their friends was the highlight of my trip.

One thing that I thought was hilarious, we texted before actually hanging out, and although we've left each other a lot of comments and have common interests, we didnt know too much about each other. If you were expecting a 50yo construction worker, sorry to disappoint. And no Ferraro issues here, its hard being really really really good looking, but we have learned to deal. . . lol

Anyways, here are the pics. . .

Thats the doctor and myself. He's pretty tall, and yes, I'm pretty short

There's P and the doctor. I promise the doctor was not the only one comsuming tasty adult beverages that night. . .

I have a lot more pics from that evening, anyone I met that night, feel free to contact me, I do have more pics up on one of the many social networking sites ;)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The grass is always greener & upcoming trip

So first thing I wanted to tackle is based on a comment I got from annonymous on one of my previous blog posts (as a side note, that guy must have multiple personalities, because I could swear they're more than one person). Basically it said the grass is always greener on the other side. I assume this to mean on PvE vs PvP servers. I have my own opinions on this, and admittedly, I am more wishy washy on this than anything else in the game.

My PvP server is Daggerspine. I started play there, I have the most time in there, I have the highest level characters there. My main, Leshif, is there. I am also a member of a guild there with a lot of people that I either know in real life, or have a good relationship with in the game. That is a major benefit for wanting to run things and in general having people to talk with in game. The downside of being on a PvP server is being killed/attacked. To be honest, it pisses me off. I don't like PvP, have no desire to participate in PvP, and it has led me to ask: "Why do I play on a PvP server?" The answer is "Because my friends do."

The PvE server I play on is Azuremyst. I have a full stable (10) of alts on there, my highest being a 74 pally. I love leveling on the PvE server. No one kills me, I can level wherever I want. Its very soothing. Its also very boring. There are a few isolated people I could/have talked to, but its not like the guild I'm in on Daggerspine. I've looked, I just can't find a similar situation.

My ideal situation would be to find a guild like MAS, but on a PvE server. Any PvE server. That being said, I have to balance which option annoys me less: Dying/being harassed or solitary play. That is really the issue that I am back and forth on. Now, with summer having ended, I believe most of the douchebag players will have less time (I believe most gankers to be bored kids, I have no data to support this, its is just a belief), so it may ease up. However, with the "new" content having been out for some time, it may leave existing players with 80's bored and there is a long tradition of lowbie hunting on PvP servers. So, the question really is: do I think things will be bearable on Daggerspine, or do I think I can find a similar guild elsewhere? If I had the answer, I wouldn't have to ask the question.

On a lighter note, this weekend I am going to St Louis on my trip. I will hopefully be hanging out with thedoctor and P from WTFSpaghetti & Lincoln Freed the Slaves. Alchohol will be consumed, pictures will be taken, and if they agree, I will post some on the blog. I'm ok with having my face out there, but I wouldn't want to post anyone else without their approval.

All in all, I've had a good week, looking forward to a fun weekend!