Monday, November 30, 2009

week(end) update. . .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Enjoying the whole game. . .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 23, 2009

poof! I'm geared. . .

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 20, 2009

finding what feels right. . .

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Can I haz grp plz!?!?!?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 16, 2009

Weekend update. . .

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Some quality time with my shammy. . .

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

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

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

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

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

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

Btw WTFspaghetti has an excellent guide for starting shammies here

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tanking Meme. . .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 9, 2009

Weekend update. . .

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 6, 2009


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

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

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Gearing for the necessary roles. . .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

End Rambling

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

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

Monday, November 2, 2009

Healing meme: I was tagged. . .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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