(Yet another) Change in Focus

19 Nov

I just wanted to let both of my subscribers know that due to WoW causing tension on the home front, I will be taking a break from WoW for the time being. I’ll be back to WoW at some point in the future, but I won’t be around for the chaos that will abound when Cataclysm launches. For the time being, I’m going to be spending some time in EVE Online. Not sure if I’ll be blogging about it, but we’ll see.

So I attended my first raid in …. Awhile

5 Nov

It’s funny how you think you know what you want to do in-game.  For me raiding has always been this mysterious thing that everyone (bloggers, my coworkers) seems to be doing, but I can’t for one reason or another, like an erratic schedule, lack of full T10 and Kingslayer title, you know, the small stuff. 

This mentality of having to be amazing as a DPS to get into pug raids was a prime issue with me rolling a healer (Nycterenne).  It seemed that all these raids were getting hung up on two things, tanks and healers.  Now from talking to a coworker of mine who had recently started healing, he turned me on to healbot (Great addon), and said that healing with this is dead easy.  I installed the addon, and jumped into the queue for Scarlet Monastery (I know I was in the 30s as the time, but it was a long time ago), and got a group almost instantly.  Suffice to say, healing hooked me, and shows no signs of letting go.

I healed my way up to 80 using the dungeon finder.  Some days this seemed to be a better plan than others.  Fortunately, for the last few levels, I’ve been lucky enough to avoid all the idiot queue-jumpers out there who have no intention to tank, but will queue as one because of the instant queues.

Now that I’m 80, I’ve been running heroics, and I’m mildly disappointed that I’ve been able to heal ToC and FoS pretty much right when I hit 80 without too much trouble.  I was expecting healing heroics to be a bit challenging until I geared up.  Maybe this was different in 3.3.X, but posed me no trouble whatsoever in 4.0.1.

One of the things I was looking forward to was getting into a few PuG raids to see if raiding is something I want to do.  On my DPS characters, I saw PuGs trolling for healers for what seemed like forever.  Unfortunately, since we are so close to Cataclysm, PuG raiding seems to have disappeared on my server. 

The other day, I was lucky enough to get into a 10-man weekly pug who was going after Marrowgar.  Unsurprisingly, we spent a lot of time waiting around to find some tanks, but we finally got into ICC, and got rolling.  I was amazed at the difference in the raid healing to the heroics I’d done previously.  The adrenaline got flowing, and it was exciting, but it was so chaotic, I’m not sure how well I actually did.  I came close to running out of mana, but I kept myself and the tanks (my assignment) alive, so I guess it was a success.

I was amazed that I ran out of mana as fast as I did.  Since I’ve hit 80, it seems like I don’t fall below 90% mana for more than a few seconds during heroics, so it was a bit of a shock to see the low mana warning flash up during the Marrowgar fight.

Well, we’ll keep an eye out to see if some stuff comes up to get my feet wet.  I’ll definitely need to do more raids to see if this is for me.  But I can definitely see how this can be fun with your guildies, and not 9 random strangers from Dalaran.

Falross

ADD (Alt Domination Disorder) Strikes Again

29 Oct

In true form, Nycterenne has hit 72, and I am out of control with lowbie alts, in the same way that happened when Ikotar and Gravesaur got to the last 10 levels in the current expansion (vanilla, and TBC respectively).  I have no idea why this happens.  I suspect that at heart, I’m one of those people who enjoys levelling, and likes seeing how each class works.  I think I’m headed to eventually having a character of each class at the level cap. 

If, that is, I can stay settled on one server.

In the case of Ikotar, it was crushing to level to 60, and then find out I had no place in groups or raids, since Hunters were not thought well of in those days.  I struck out constantly in trade chat when people were asking for DPS (except hunters of course), and I lacked the schedule to allow me to raid 4-5 nights a week that was expected back then.  I think this lingers somewhere in the back of my mind even these days, and I still see it as odd when I see people trolling trade chat for hunters for this group or that raid.  I’m still slightly amazed that I’m not kicked from groups when I get into an instance from the dungeon finder.  I hope this passes, since I’ve always enjoyed my hunter, and I like where Cataclysm is taking the class.

Falross was my next character to the level cap (60 at the time).  I rerolled alliance to play with a friend of mine who picked up the game about a year after it came out.  He was level 35ish when I started, and I wanted to get caught up to him as fast as possible.  After trolling general and trade chat in Ironforge for suggestions on classes, I settled on a rogue.  I tore through the levels, and had a blast doing it, unfortunately, I hit the same glass ceiling that I found with Ikotar once I hit 60.  Everyone and their dog has a rogue, so once again I was in solo purgatory.

After hitting the wall of despair with Falross, I was determined to learn from my mistakes, and roll a needed class.  Now this was late vanilla, and I didn’t have the confidence to try healing or tanking, so I was going with another DPS class.  After having a good chat with a few guildies, I decided to try a warlock.  Thus Kimbelmi was born.  Now the basis for choosing a warlock was not the greatest, seeing that my guildies suggested it because they didn’t see many warlocks around.  This didn’t really bother me at the time, since I was growing on the idea that I could play a character who used evil forces to do good.  I levelled fairly quickly, and once I got to 60, I actually started raiding!  My guild at the time was starting out in MC, and we needed everyone we could get, since we had to ally with 2 other small guilds to field a raid.  That was a ton of fun, and let me tell you, there is no better feeling than dropping Ragnaros for the first time as a guild.  I think I did some real damage to my ears with all the yelling and cheering that erupted over Vent when Rag dropped.  Unfortunately, our guild took a bit of a split, with the hardcore raiders wanting to see how far they could go, and the casual raiders (I fall into this category) just wanting to see content, but not having the fortitude to attend every raid, or get too upset when we spend a night or two wiping on a particular boss.

I have to point out that I rolled Kimbelmi on a PvP server, and I HATE PvP, or at least what passes for world PvP these days (people ganking characters half their level).  The only reason I was on this server was because of a RL friend that had started on there, and the amazing guild that I found there as well.  However, after coming back from an extended break I found myself guildless, and couldn’t find my old guild.  I was very frustrated being stuck on a PvP server with little interest in PvP.  However, around this time, server transfers were becoming available.  I then hopped over to Dalaran where some co-workers are located, and haven’t looked back.  Later, I took the plunge, and server and faction changed Ikotar over as well.

I happily played Gravesaur for quite some time, alternating back and forth with Ikotar (on separate servers at the time), pushing to get both of them to 80  (I took most of BC off, so Gravesaur got to 70 about 2 weeks before Wrath came out.).  Things were going quite slowly, since I’m not the most efficient leveler out there.  The Dungeon Finder was a godsend, speeding up my levelling substantially.  Until then, I had the worst luck getting into groups, since most of the RL friends I have playing the game are in their own guilds, and busy doing endgame stuff, since they level a LOT faster than I do. 

Shortly after hitting 80 on Gravesaur, one of my RL friends who had a priest alt told me that there are a variety of healing addons that make healing sooo much easier.  He was speaking of Healbot.  This news gave me the confidence to try healing on Nycterenne, and I was off, since I hated waiting for groups as DPS at 80 on Gravesaur. 

Then it started to happen.

I started getting compliments on my healing.

Queue times were much reduced.

I was having fun.

It was startling to me how much I enjoyed healing.  It also seemed so much more intuitive to me than DPS.  When I was levelling Nyct I would get a new spell, and could see where it would fit in my healing toolbox.  As DPS, I tended to focus on 3-4 abilities, and either forgot about the rest, or didn’t see how they could fit into my playstyle.   I love the decision-making that goes into healing a party that is taking heavy damage, and I remember a spell that I got several levels ago, but never used. 

I thought I was set, and had found my main at last. 

Then Alt ADD hit at 75. 

Hard. 

Of course, this wasn’t helped by the fact that at that time, I was reading the Cata changes, and resto mastery was absolute crap (boosting HoTs when the target is below 25% Huh?).  At that point, I had almost sworn off my druid all together, since I made her with the intention of healing.  Also, a guildie was fishing for some other guildies to create a 5-man team to level to 60 or higher by Cata, and he had a specific group makeup he wanted.  He was looking for a shaman healer.  I was looking to make a healer, and it sounded like shaman (shamen?) were in a good spot.  I told him I’d be into it.  Got the shaman to 20, then found out that druids were going to be getting a better mastery (the one we have now).  The druid was back on.  After a few weeks of pushing hard (for me anyways), I finally got to 80.  It’s funny, hitting 80 still feels great the third time.  Maybe the feeling will change if I get a few more characters to the level cap.

Maybe, but I doubt it.  It’ll still be like Christmas morning for me.

Falross

Thank You Blizzard!

1 Oct

I was on the PTR the other day, looking over all the coming changes, and I have to say, I am very impressed.  With Wrath, and all the complexity of stats, talents, and priorities, I have been feeling somewhat inadequate as a DPS. 

First off, I would like to commend Blizzard for making the talent trees smaller, so you can only put in about 35 talent points into a tree.  To me, this looks like it will be harder to screw up talent builds, and PvP talents look like they’re fairly easy to pick out now, compared to how they are on live right now.  I’m sure we’ve all seen the 71-point talent specs, and how these poor folks think they have it right, since they have all of their talents in the “proper” tree.  One downside to the smaller trees is that I can see some people getting upset that they can’t have their own unique, special build that does exactly what they want.  There’s nothing wrong with choice, but if you’re doing any content at max level, you don’t really have much of a choice as it is.  Following that, I almost wonder if we should just do away with talent specs all together, if we have to take virtually all the talents in one tree, should we just have a “spec select” button, and then all the abilities and bonuses are included.  Maybe we’ll see something like this in the next expansion after Cataclysm.

I’m also looking forward to the simplification of stats that’s supposed to be coming.  On live right now, it feels like I need a doctorate in advanced math to figure out what I need to be gemming, enchanting, and speccing.  I hope Blizzard is serious with wanting to simplify things for most of us out there.  I’m sorry if you’re one of  those people who enjoys theorycrafting out the wazoo, but I believe you’re in the minority.

In short, I’m excited for Cataclysm, and can’t wait for it to come out.  Two major changes that have me especially pumped are the hunters going to focus, and warlocks getting a new soul-shard system.  Healing seems to be very back and forth on whether it’s going to be great or horrible, but I’m sure it’ll land somewhere in the middle.

What are your thoughts on the new talent trees?  What are you looking forward to, or dreading?

Falross

Spec Attachment

17 Sep

I just recently changed Nycterenne from a feral off-spec to balance, and it seems to be working out much better.  I’m reminded of the situation where I picked up dual-spec for Ikotar, and specced Survival, and haven’t looked back.  This has me thinking about why I pick certain specs for my characters, and what I might be missing from merely reading about specs vs. trying them out myself.

Ncyterenne I was intending to keep as feral for an off-spec, since with Ikotar and gravesaur, I have range DPS covered.  However, I’m doing abyssmal DPS as a cat.  I’ll defiantely be revisiting the spec when I get to later levels.  It might be a case of not having all the usefull abilites yet, since my gear is decent for the level I’m at (by no means best-in-slot, but not 15 levels behind either).  This will also simplify my gear choices, and allay any guilt I might have at rolling for off-spec pieces that I may outgrow before I have much of a chance to use.  So far, LFD queues are pretty fast, so I don’t have to quest unless I want to.

With Ikotar, until relatively recently I was specced Beast Mastery with no intentions of rolling any other spec.  However, since I read a few blogs and forums, I couldn’t help but wonder if I was missing out by rolling BM.  For quite awhile I resisted what I was reading, happy with Big Red Pet, and Exotic Pets.  Then came the heroics.  I was usually #3 or 4 most runs, and I started to evaluate what I was doing.  Sure I was going to miss Big Red Pet, but I was rolling a wolf or cat, which I could keep if I went SV or MM.  After a bit of research, it became apparent that Survival is the way to go for lesser-geared hunters, and off I went to the trainer to purchase dual-spec (after all, this was only a test, right?).  I was surprised how much I enjoy Survival, and I’m pretty much SV full-time these days, even for questing and farming.  Now that I was doing better DPS, this change of spec has breathed new life into Ikotar.

I have had a really tough time trying to justify dual-spec for Gravesaur, since I’m attached to Demonology, and I shudder at the thought of questing without my Felguard.  This has some interesting parallels with my situation with Ikotar, even though the irrational part of my brain insists it’s different.  I’ll likely go Destruction, since burst and AoE seem to be the ticket for heroics in Wrath.  We’ll see how things shake out for Cataclysm, but I suspect the Felguard will be back for the grind to 85.

Well I gave Destruction a try, and I did more DPS on the target dummy, but it didn’t translate well to instances.  I ran 4-5 instances as destro, and was doing 5-10% less with a more complex rotation.  Maybe the situation changes in the 10- or 25-man raiding environment, but there doesn’t seem to be any benefit to destruction in heroics with my play style. 

I’ll have to test Affliction to see how that pans out.  I’m curious about this one, since I levelled and raided some as Affliction in vanilla WoW, and enjoyed it.

Musings

3 Sep

I’ve noticed that when I hit a milestone or try to decide which of my alts or mains to play, I have a couple good experiences, and then decide this is how it’s going to be going forward.  Then, a short time later, the RNG swings the other way, and I wonder if Fate has it out for me.

In the latest iteration of this, I had decided that I want to push to get my druid up to 80, since insta-queues are the way to go after praying for handouts as an unconnected DPS trolling trade chat and LFD.  Once I hit 58 I made my way to Outlands, and jumped into the queue for random BC dungeons.  Now before this, I found that I was spending up to 15 mins in the queue for old-world dungeons as a healer, and even sometimes getting into groups as DPS.  I was expecting this trend to continue more or less until Northrend.  However, once I was in the BC random queue, I got the window telling me that my group was ready almost instantly.  “Now that’s more like it”  I thought to myself as I zoned into Hellfire Ramparts for the first time in a while (most of my alts haven’t made it to Outlands yet).  I was blessed with a great group, good tank, sensible DPS, and I wasn’t overwhelmed keeping everyone alive.  We breezed through in 15 minutes or so, and ran it again right after.  After that I had to log  off.

I wish I had the schedule that allowed me to keep playing when things are going well, so I don’t feel as though I have to play when things aren’t going well.

Now, after the first few great groups, the pendulum has swung hard the other way.  I can deal with 1 clueless person in a group, but lately, it seems to be 2-3 morons in a group who are either trying to annoy the rest of us, don’t realize what they are doing, or just don’t care.

I strongly suspect this has a lot to do with the fact Death Knights start at 55, and are 58ish by the time they join the rest of us in Azeroth.  Coupled with the fact that they can (at later levels anyways) tank, and that queue times are non-existent for tanks, you get a lot of people queueing as tanks who either don’t intend to tank, or expect to learn as they go in Outlands.  I suspect a lot of these people are just avoiding queues, since from what I’ve read, you don’t get many of your tanking abilities until the mid-60s. 

Then again, I have seen warriors and paladins who queue as a tank, and have no clue what they’re doing.  Maybe it’s just queue-jumping.  I’m surprised at how many healers and tanks don’t seem to care about their reputation in-game.  Sure, with LFD you have a much larger pool of people to draw from, so eventually you’ll piss off enough people so you won’t be enjoying that instant queue that probably made you roll a tank or healer in the first place.  Good luck finding a guild at that point as well.

Well, I suppose that’s enough of a rant for now.

Falross

How did that happen?

2 Sep

I just hit 66 on Nyct last night, and I realized that in less than 2 levels, I’ll be off to Northrend. It’s really amazing how fast you can level with heirlooms and the LFD.

Hmm, with this speed, I wondor if I can get another alt to 80 before Cata drops …..

Falross

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