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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

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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

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

I Can Stop Anytime I Want To ….

27 Aug

With my pending return to the game, I’m faced with an interesting dilemma.  I want to play the game casually, since I’m not going to have tons of time to do so, but I enjoy reading blogs, and lurking/posting on various class-focussed forums.   Also, I have this annoying habit of getting sucked into this game, and I haven’t learned how to feign death or misdirect effectively yet when the agro is raining down on me.

There are a few casual bloggers out there that give me hope that I can achieve this goal of enjoying this game, and manage to see my family and the sun every once in awhile.

I hope I can stick to the casual playstyle, since I don’t have enough time online to devote to some of the more “hardcore” projects I would like to do. 

Raiding?  Forget it with my unpredictable schedule.  Also, with the amount of time I’ll likely have, I might be able to raid one night a week, but that would be it for my WoW time.  I like raiding, but I’m not sure that’s all I want to be doing while I’m in-game.  Besides, almost all of the pug raids I see forming demand the achievement for said raid. 

PvP?  Like raiding, I could probably get ok at this if I devoted all my game-time to this.  I’ve never been a huge fan of PvP, but I do enjoy it every once in a while.  I much prefer raiding, but like I said above, I just can’t commit to specific times during the week.

Achievements?  This has potential, but a lot the achievements that catch my attention are ones that involve a lot of playtime.  I’ll have to think about this one. 

T10 Gear?  Forget it, I’d still be farming frost emblems next summer, and not be there, due to not being able to raid.  That is, if burnout doesn’t strike again.

We’ll have to see how things pan out.  For now, the main project is get my druid to 80, and after that, who knows?

Shared Topic: Levelling 1-10

19 Apr

Some folks have been concerned about the newbie levelling experience. I can’t say I blame them with levels 1-10 being very bland, and you don’t really have many class-defining abilities yet. Hunters don’t get pets until level 10, Shamans get one or two totems, Paladins pretty much are just auto-attacking. Some things have changed though, I remember way back when, warlocks had to do a quest for their pets. And they were reasonably challenging at the time if you were unfamiliar with the game.

The worst experience that I am aware of is the 1-10 hunter.  You have no pet, so you resort to melee, after pulling with your ranged weapon.  It’s almost surprising that hunters are (were?) the most popular class, since the introductory levels have almost nothing in common with the accepted playstyle of the class.  I see that they are planning to change this in Cataclysm and have new hunters start with a pet at level 1.  I hope they have some sort of mechanic or quest where the hunter has to learn how to use his pet properly, or we’ll be in for a real treat once he starts running instances.

The other classes that I have played at least give you a glimpse of what is in store for you at later levels.  Shamans get totems, Paladins get blessings and auras, Warlocks get their imp, etc. 

Another factor is likely the layout of the starting zones, with the exception of the Dranei and Blood Elf zones, there is a lot of running back and forth to get quest objecives. 

Now having said this, when I joined the game from Everquest (1), WoW was a breath of fresh air.  There was no loading screens between zones, and quests you could actually figure out on your own.  Unfortunately, as far as I’m aware, there haven’t been any changes to the starting zones since launch.  We certainly need an update to the starting zones, so WoW has a chance of competing with the new MMOs that are coming out.  Sure WoW is the 8000 pound gorilla in the room, but they will lose people and market share if they don’t make changes to keep up.

I’ve heard that the starting zones are getting a revamp in Cataclysm.  Let’s hope we can keep getting some fresh blood between now and launch, since I’m sure a lot of veterans will be taking some time off before Cataclysm.

TL:DR
With no updates to the starting areas in 5+ years, they need to improve the original starting zones with better quest layout, and possibly rework when some classes get abilities, so you can have a better idea if this is a character you want to continue playing.  It seems like this is coming in Cataclysm, so I hope Blizzard pulls out the stops like they usually do, and revamp the levelling experience.

Falross

The Best Laid Plans

15 Apr

I know that World of Warcraft is a game, and I imagine that you’re playing for fun.  What defines fun is a different story, and you could likely have an entire blog, or even several dedicated to that.  I’d like to suggest that you have a plan or a general idea of what you want to accomplish when you log in.

Now I’m not saying you must have a detailed down-to-the-minute itinerary for your game time, but it seems like many of us are gaming on a very limited schedule.  Speaking for myself if I log in without some idea of what I want to do, I tend to wander around Dalaran trying to figure out what to do.  Inevitably I log off in about half an hour feeling frustrated that I wasted the time.

What I’ve found works the best for me is to have 3-4 possibilities in mind when you log in.  You can likely get by with less if you raid on a regular basis (I don’t, due to an erratic schedule).  But I inevitably get a string of bad groups when I log in with the intention of running heroics until my fingers fall off.  On those nights it seems like I’m out of sync with the queue, and have to wait for 20+ minutes for every group, and then get Oculus and have 3 or more tanks drop the group once they zone in.

If you have a backup plan, you can just go quest, fish,  pvp, or do achievements when it appears your chosen course is not going well.  As opposed to trying to make your planned pastime work for an hour or two, and then quitting in frustration.

Remember it’s a game, and some nights it’s just better to cut your losses, and log off once in awhile, even if you can’t play often.  Now let’s see if I can take my own advice the next time thing go South.

Falross

Dungeon Finder

12 Apr

I know this is an old topic, but the blog is new, so here goes.  First let me say that I think the dungeon finder system is probably the greatest thing that Blizzard has added to the game since it launched.  Unfortunately, it has also brought out some very nasty behavior in people.  Through the dungeon finder I have met some great people who are patient and willing to explain the fights to a relatively new 80.  On the other end of the spectrum, I’ve been told my gear or DPS are crap, and promptly quit the group.

With Gravesaur (then Kitinara), I ran a lot of dungeons once the dungeon finder was implemented in December.  When I hit 80, Grav was outfitted with mostly iLvl 175+ gear, and he had a few badges saved up.  This let me get a couple of pieces of badge gear fairly easily.  I was actually shocked how fast I went from needing items in heroics to just running them for badges.   ToC and the ICC instances are pretty much the only instances that can provide upgrades for me other than badge gear.  I still enjoy running the instances, but I am getting a little sick of Halls of Stone, since it seems to come up more frequently in the random dungeon than the others.

Ikotar seems to have geared up really fats, but that may be due to the fact that I spent a bunch of badges on heirlooms for Nycterenne :P.   It also felt easier to get into the groove for heroics with Ikotar probably because I had already seen the content on Gravesaur, and the community for hunters is great with a lot of different resources for figuring out spec and priority lists.

In Nycterenne’s case, it’s been a bit of a mixed bag.  After running Northrend dungeons for awhile, you forget how complicated and long the old-world dungeons were.  This has been reinforced constantly with running Maraudon and Blackrock Depths.  I really hope that Outlands proves to be different, but I’m unsure, since I didn’t do many groups in Burning Crusade, since I found getting into groups painful as a DPS prior to the Dungeon Finder.

I’m hoping that with Nycterenne I’ll be able to run some of the instances that I really enjoyed from the original game.  Lower and Upper Blackrock Spire, Live & Dead Stratholme, and Scholomance.  There are probably a couple I’m forgetting, but I would be happy to see those while I can get experience from them.

As my warlock and hunter, the dungeon finder has motivated me to clean up my spec and rotations substantially.  I’m probably not doing maximum DPS, but mobs are dying, and I’m not pulling aggro (much), so something must be going right.

Well, the dungeon finder may not be perfect for everyone, but it is a huge step in the right direction.

Falross