Daily Thoughts: After the Break

Fear not, dear readers, I haven’t forsaken you. I mean that in the original context of the word, not that I might have raised you from the dead with the Vyr’kul, in case you were wondering. Like so many these days, I’ve been a little bogged down with the holiday rush, family get-togethers, and, well….the Cataclsym! Oh the wonders if the end of the world.

So far, my paladin has reached 85, my warrior is gaining more rested XP at level 84, and my shaman is starting to feel neglected at 81. The rest of my toons have barely seen me do more than log in to start the rested XP process. Yes, in case you have alts at the previous level cap, you have to log into them once before they’ll start accruing rested experience. I suppose my death knight has seen a little love, but only because I need some enchants. There’s a fair chance he’ll end up being my 3rd or 4th 85 due to the need of having max enchanting and inscription.

Toons

Although my paladin is still fun, and will likely remain my main (though ret spec instead of holy as primary), my warrior is just blowing through the quests. At 84, even with stat deflation caused by leveling and very few regular dungeons under his belt, the warrior can still break 10k dps without too much trouble. Victory rush, which heals 25% of my hp after getting a killing blow, helps me keep on keeping on as if I had a pocket healer following me around *insert any cataclysm zone here*. Ret paladins damage just feels a little gimped in comparison, not really bad mind you, just mediocre. Ghostcrawler (lead systems designer for WoW) did put a blog post which, among many other things, comments that ret paladins dps might be low and could be buffed, along with a re-imagining of our mastery. To read about that and a great deal of future balance changes to come check it out. Other highlights include, shockingly, survival hunter damage nerf. Despair hunters, despair!

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Daily Thoughts: The Cataclysm Paladin

I’ve spent a lot of posts recently talking about zones (and yes I’m still going to do that Twilight Highlands review at some point), factions, and other such things and not much time on the actual playing my class. The big changes specifically to Paladins in cataclysm (if you don’t count Holy Power from 4.0.3) are the new spells:

Inquisition is our new self buff. It increases all holy damage by 30%. Retribution gets a talent that extends the duration of this buff to 10 seconds per Holy Power used to trigger it. This is meant to be kept up as much as possible similar to Slice and Dice for combat rogues and is a pretty significant DPS loss if not used.. Holy Radiance is pretty much making us a moving healing stream totem, and does an AOE heal to nearby targets. I haven’t got much play testing with this spell, as I’m running ret main now, but I really haven’t heard anything too exciting about from those doing Holy main spec. Finally, Guardian of Ancient Kings is amazing. This buff has a long (5m) cooldown, but skyrockets a ret paladins DPS when used. From what I hear from the other specs, it seems it’s a better friend to ret than the other uses. Each spec gets a specific purpose, one for taking, extra heals for holy and more damage for ret. Follow me after the break for some more…

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Daily Thoughts: Busy

Unfortunately today I did not have time to finish the rep guide I mentioned in yesterdays Daily Thoughts, nor did I really get much time on WoW either. Real life, trumping gaming, well… trumped gaming for the day. I did have a chance to do my deepholm and twilight highlands dailies though, which is productive. I’m also doing a little AH playing while I write this up. Gotta keep the gold flowing. Farming ore and/or selling the prospected gems are making a killing now for those not too worried about leveling their professions. Selling greens was doing pretty well the first few days of cata but has now settled down into more reasonable amounts. I probably sold 2 dozen + random cata greens for 200 gold each in the first 3 days. Since that, I’m still averaging 1k gold per day profit on the AH just from the ore I am able to mine while doing daily quests and in between dungeon queues. It’s a good day to sell.

Daily Thoughts: Work in Progress

So, today’s Daily Thoughts is going to be a bit shorter than normal. I’m in the process of working out a Cataclysm faction rep guide with wowhead links, their epic loot, and the status of the daily quests. It should be up tomorrow and maybe a day or so after will be my thoughts on the Twilight Highlands. I haven’t quite finished the quest chains there as I hit 85 in the middle of one that I think is phased and didn’t pick up the rest of the quests.

I was thinking though, I have a lot of things that are a work in progress: My rep/faction guide, gearing up for raids, finishing the new cataclysm zones, getting jewelcrafting maxed out. At work, in real life, I have a ton of jobs in progress. It will be quite nice to wrap up a few of them, both in real life and WoW. Of course, as I complete projects at work I’ll get more, or else I’d be out of a job. And the same, after I finish jewelcrafting or getting the Paladin raid ready I’ll have more toons to level and gear, their professions to max and gear to craft. But that’s also the goal that Blizzard set out with WoW, to make sure there is always something to do. If there’s ever nothing more to do in WoW, Blizzard is out of a job, or at least out of income from this game. I wonder how long the game will continue. WoW in 3d? WoW in virtual reality? Oh the possibilities.

Daily Thoughts: Uldum Thoughts and Screen Shots

Uldum – The new desert zone located in the southern coast of Kalimdor. It is designed for players between 83-84 and is probably where you’re going after deepholm. It is probably my 3rd favorite (out of 3 so far) zone from Cataclsym. Before I get into this one, check out my thoughts on Hyjal and Deepholm. There will be a bit of spoilers regarding quests and story of the zone, so continue after the cut to see the rest.

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Daily Thoughts: Deepholm Impressions and Screen Shots

Awesomeness. That’s my “if you had to describe deepholm in one word” word. This zone, like Hyjal, has a very fluid quest process. Blizzard has really stepped up their game with cataclysm. Now the questing has more of the feel of a traditional RPG, where your actions and quest results have a very real effect on the world around you. They again made a lot of use of the phasing mechanics in order to show the progression of the zone and the NPCs involved as you do things which help save the world. The zone is gorgeous and has now become my favorite cataclysm zone. Of course, I’ve only played Hyjal and Deepholm so far.

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Daily Thoughts: Hyjal

I must say: Hyjal was a blast. Counting all the horrible groups of people killing and collecting everything for the quests, completing the zone took me between 4-5 hours and got me to level 82. I really enjoy how the zone played out, with few exceptions I’ll get back to later. For the most part, the quests lead you in a circular direction around the zone with very few quests sending you very far. The zone makes heavy use of little mini-instances. You take portals to underground areas and complete small quest chains inside, then return to the main zone to continue. Everything looks great, though (unsurprisingly) they reused a lot of old models for the mobs. I only have one major complaint with the flow and feel of the zone as a whole. Occasionally, there was no quests to do. Sometimes it seemed to not give you any directional quests to the next place and you sort of have to fly around for a little while to find a quest giver.

There aren’t really any difficult quests to complete. This could be due to it being the “entry-level” cataclysm zone or because my Paladin was sporting pretty nice ICC25 quality gear. After doing what I believe was all the quests in the zone, I had only two upgrades to my current gear, though some pieces were close. As a result my person damage dropped a little. As you level the ratings required to gain a % of haste/crit/hit/expertise all become much more substantial. With only 2 upgrades, my haste and crit are both 50% or so lower after 2 levels gained and both hit and expertise, which used to be capped, are now well under cap. Fortunately, I feel that Deepholm holds more upgrades. Shortly after leaving Hyjal I did the Stonecore instance and got Sword of the Bottomless Pit, a substantial upgrade over even my Shadow’s Edge. The damage per second of the weapon is 33% higher. I digress, back to Hyjal.

Another thing I noticed, though honestly not until I was writing this, there wasn’t any group quests in Hyjal. On several occasions I ended up grouped with people so we could share the kill of a quest mob, but it was out of convenience of not waiting for 4 other people to kill it first, not from difficulty of the mob. I am hoping for more difficult future zones and quests. Alas, I must wrap this up, my 35 minute wait to log on is about over and I want to get back to questing.

More from the Cataclysm soon, Deepholm next!

Hyjal leveling guide – I admittedly didn’t use this, but I wanted to provide a resource for those looking for one.

Happy Cataclysm Eve!

Whether you’re excited or nervous about the coming Cataclysm (the expansion that is, since Azeroth is already shattered), tonight it finally arrives. One of the most anticipated game releases — ever — is upon us at 12:00am December 7th, Tuesday morning. Some people will be in a mad rush looking for server firsts for leveling (though I hear that might not have an achievement this time) or professions. Personally, I’m going to take my sweet time with it. I have no desire to blow through the new content. I’m going to relish every moment I don’t have to farm Utgarde Keep or the Oculus. I’m sure I’ll miss my hunters 55% unbuffed crit and my Paladins ability to spam heals without caution once I reach 85, but I can’t lie; I’m pretty damn excited.

Even though I work tomorrow morning (the 7th) at 8am, I’m going to be at midnight release at my local GameStop and will be installing and playing (cross fingers/knock on wood/pray) tonight, likely far too late into the morning. So today, I read. I’m hoping to finish the Shattering novel and I’ve been reading almost all the guides that WoW Insider has up regarding the new content, professions, etc.

Speaking of that, you really should go here, to WoW Insider Cataclysm topic search. The have some good recent posts about the guild perks from guild leveling, some dungeon guides, class guides, and profession information. They also are running some great contests like THIS ONE for a 100$ Jinx coupon. I think they all end between tonight and tomorrow, so go check them out.

…and that’s all for today folks. Now I’m off to finish the book, maybe get my rogue to 80, and wait for the big release.

Hmm, that sounded worse than I meant it.