Daily Thoughts: Alts

I love alts. My characters other than my main have for a long time been a driving force in keeping my interest in WoW. I keep a stable of max level alts to gear up or for crafting. I often won’t feel like running more than one heroic  dungeon on the same character per day, but a heroic on a resto shaman doesn’t feel like the same heroic on a ret paladin. One of the great things about WoW is the sheer variety of stuff to do.

Some days I feel like accomplishing, or working towards, an “end” character goal. This might be something like farming heroics in hopes for best-in-slot pre-raid drops or gear from points to rep farming for epics or actual raiding. This is gearing up my toon with equipment that should last it a while and help my end goal of a character – being raid worthy. Other days I just want to accomplish something. There’s really no guarantee to pick up a specific drop from a dungeon and sometimes you’re just too many randoms or quest away from having enough points or rep to buy something nice. On these days, I might take up one of my leveling toons. Especially at lower levels, but even closing on level cap, it’s only a matter of time to get a few levels. With each level comes new talents or spells and can feel like a little accomplishment for the day. This is especially great after a run of bad luck on a max level toon.

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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: 4.0.3a Feedback Pt.1 – PreLogin

As of this writing, servers are still down, and I’m not on a computer with WoW anyway, so I can’t see all the massively redesigned zones in Azeroth. I can’t make a tauren paladin or personally check out any of the changes happening today. What I can see though, are the patch notes for patch 4.0.3a, which contains a ton of class changes along with the shattering of the world.

Good news for those who wanted to try out their new race/class combos along with the option to race change existing characters to one of the new pairings, as soon as WoW is live you’ll be able to do both of these things. This does not include worgen/goblin toons which won’t be available until Dec 7th at cataclysm’s release. Also, I’m pretty excited about the 20% reduction in leveling experience required for the 70-80 leveling bracket. I might get around to finishing up my level 72 rogue before cata after all. Join me after the break for more, including some class specific thoughts.

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4.0.3a Official Patch Notes

It’s official! The world (…of warcraft) is in the process of being broken, revamped and/or nerfed (if you’re a warlock or warrior). I’m not sure why Deathwing hates Warlocks and Warriors, but he sure does. While destroying Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms, special time was taken to slap both of our W classes with nerf bats. And I don’t mean “nerf” like the old soft kids toys, it’s a larged spiked club that someone wrote “nerf” on in ironically cheerful colors. Check below for all the goodies. Also, check back to 15 Minutes later today because I should have some feedback on some of these changes.
 
World of Warcraft Client Patch 4.0.3a

The latest patch notes can always be found at http://www.wow-europe.com/en/patchnotes/

The latest test realm patch notes can always be found at http://www.wow-europe.com/en/info/un…testrealm.html

Daily Thoughts: Raid Healing

For those who haven’t read much of this blog so far, my main is and has always been a Paladin, raiding mostly as Holy. Also, my raiding experience is almost entirely limited to Wrath content. To summarize my credentials as a healer: Tank Heals. I’ve healed tanks through multiple pack trash pulls, bosses that could easily two shot the tank, and many other challenges. A Holy Paladin in wrath though, isn’t really expected to heal the raid. Of course as a good little healer, I help with raid healing when the tank isn’t in a high damage phase, particularly helpful when I had the Glyph of Holy Light that added a healing “splash” to nearby players. Last night I took my Shaman into VOA 25 and, as one of only 4 healers, discovered more toons than just tanks take a lot of damage.

Ok, so I was aware that there can be plenty of incoming raid damage, but as a Paladin it was never really my responsibility. I probably floundered a little on that first raid on my Shaman. Fortunately it was VOA and not really difficult for a raid with today’s gear and talents. As a first time raid healer, I had a little bit of trouble prioritizing the people to heal. I also spent a decent amount of time on the tanks since we didn’t really have healing assignments, not helping my overall certainty of what to do. Essentially I went with a priority healing target rotation of tanks > everyone with low health > everyone else. Since I’m sure the other 3 healers probably operated with a similar plan in mind, this caused a lot of overhealing. I suspect the healing assignments during a progression raid would limit a lot of those wasted heals. Even in a more organized 25 man raid though, there could easily be 3-4 raid healers. I usually don’t see specific group assignments so I wonder what limits that wasted overhealing?

Overall it was pretty fun. There’s really a lot more going on when I’m personally worried about 23 players as opposed to 1 or 2 of them. I especially enjoy not wasting globals on the guy who absolutely won’t move out of the fire, particularly when the boss is dead and the guy stands in the fire from 100% health to dead. I just stood there, watching. Is it that hard to get out of the fire?

Daily Thoughts: WoW Blogging

I’m really bad at making sure I get a Daily Thoughts out each day. I considered changing it to “Almost Daily Thoughts” but it doesn’t flow quite as well that way. I tend to get distracted with playing WoW that I forget to write about it or, equally as often, if I’m too busy on a given day to get much playing done then I don’t have many thoughts on that days play. Yesterday was another busy day without much WoWing done, so today I wanted to focus the post on blogs themselves. This should be a good read for people interested in WoW blogs, both for writers looking for resources or ideas and readers looking for something new to read about. Join me after the break for a handful of great blogs and blogging sites along with a tip or two for writing and finding new blogs. (more…)

Daily Thoughts: The Resto Shaman

If I were standing in front of a crowd of WoW players, instead of writing a blog, and posed the question, “Who here likes getting Halls of Reflection as a random queue with a pug?”, I’d probably hear crickets. Except maybe the one masochist of a player near the back whose cries of agreement would quickly be snuffed out by lamentations of those around him. I’ve heard of those who suffer from severe flash backs of wipes cause by people who physically are unable to understand “line of sight” or those who still believe if you just wait behind the Lich King, he’ll leave without killing you. Maybe I’m being a little over dramatic with the description, but most players, myself included, at least groan a little when they chance into one of the hardest and least pug friendly of WotLK instances.

Then here’s me. Fresh resto shaman rocking a mix of cloth/leather/mail instance drops (very few from ICC 5-mans) and a PVP shield. My gear sports sparkling green quality gems and is completely void of enchantments. Go ahead and cry ‘cheap’ all you want, but I’ll be upgrading every piece within a few hours of playing. You’d think perhaps the gods of WoW and RNG might have some pity on this noob shaman, but no. Halls of Reflection will be my very first test of healing…

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Daily Thoughts: Let’s Talk Leveling

I didn’t too much max level content last night with the exception of a couple of weekly quests for some Justice points. I do have some thoughts relating to that, but I’ll get to it at the end of this post.

Lowbies are OP

You read that right. Low level characters are crazy over powered right now. I’m going to extend this to all the ones I played with or encountered last night; warlocks, priests, warriors, rogues, shaman, and especially paladins. On my warlock I queued up with a priest healer friend of mine and we tore up 7-8 instances last night. As healer, the priest was completely bored the entire time for lack of anything to do. All the runs were fast paced chain pulls and he barely had to drop an occasional bubble or renew. As a lock, I could pull ahead of the tank and eat the aggro without worry because most mobs would die before they ever got to me. Keep in mind, we’re not overgeared, twinked or even using heirloom gear. At level 22 we have only 1 ring each, no trinkets, no shoulders, no head-piece, and I’m using a melee dagger cause I’ve gotten nothing better from our chain runs. I do 100 dps at level 20 in destro. My immolate DoT can crit for 150+ and the initial damage has hit for 250. I’ve seen over 300 damage hits from my Searing Pain spell (which I can make automatic crits with my soul shards ability).

So Define ‘Overpowered’

One of our runs had a pally tank in full heirloom gear. I say tank because of the role but he was running in ret gear/spec. At level 20 he was averaging between 200-250dps. His Templars verdict ability that uses his holy power never hit for under 700. I saw it hit over 1100, almost one shot an elite mob and easily enough to one shot anyone in the group. I think being able to do 50-100% of a potential PVP enemy’s health in one move is overpowered. Of course, the priest with me could do 50% of our best geared tanks health in one crit. The relatively geared rogues in our groups between levels 16-18 were already doing 100 dps and could do finishers for 250+, or half of their health. Each instance, be the characters geared in heirlooms or mixed questing greens, was a mad chain pull with no deaths or wipes or breaks needed.  We plain destroyed the content. Admittedly, it’s possible that every player in all the groups were total pro’s with 8 alts they’ve run through the content before, but that seems unlikely. More likely, is with the new level 10 talents and bonuses for picking a spec, lowbies are just OP compared to level appropriate content.

Outside of the instances, a level 1o shaman wearing heirloom gear that dueled me could do half of my level 18 health in 2 globals. Fortunately I didn’t lose, but a level 10 who can do 175 damage earth shocks is pretty intense.

Maybe it isn’t just low levels

Last night I joined a random group to do the weekly quest which was XT-002 The Deconstructor. This of course required us to do the vehicle boss fight vs Flame Leviathan. FL, as it has been for months, was terribly easy even with half of the players hardly doing anything. My issue comes up on our fight with XT. For those who don’t know the fight, there is periodically a phase where his “heart” is exposed and if you kill the heart during its timer, hardmode is triggered. Here we have a group that had enough gear to easily kill the heart, a feat which was considered a gear check at the time it was relevant because of the high dps required to do it, yet lacked the skill or experience to know they shouldn’t kill the heart. With gear inflation and boosts from talent points and scaling recently we’re able to hit harder and do more damage than our skill would otherwise represent. After the group killed the heart, even with at least one dps (myself) stopping and possibly another, the hardmode easily bested us as only two people there had any idea what the mechanics were at that point. Sounds like a case of “with great power comes great responsibility”. The characters are more powerful than the players know how to handle or when to slow down.

4.0.1 – A New Beginning

After my first full day to dive into the latest massive content patch of World of Warcraft, I must admit, I’m finding myself a bit underwhelmed. Admittedly, a fair portion of my general disposition to the patch is a result of the abundance of glitches, bugs, and other (hopefully) soon to be fixed issues.

My main toon, a Ret/Holy Paladin is lagging so bad I can’t get a legitimate test of his new skills and damage capabilities. On the other hand, the 7 frames per second cannot be the only culprit in dropping 70% of my damage. My ungodly lag seems to be character based, as without any different addons, my Paladin on the Thrall server and my Warrior on Vek’Nilash both lag horribly, yet my Druid and Shaman on Vek both play just fine. Of my 6 level 80 toons, my opinions of how the patch affected each is as follows:

Paladin:

Significant damage and minor overall healing nerf. Holy’s new abilities and talents look fun, while so far, Retribution’s talents and new abilities feel more clunky – possibly just from the lag though. Not impressed.

Death Knight:

It’s pretty hard for me to judge my Death Knight’s new talent trees and such because of the massive change. I was blood spec dps and frost spec tank, now I’m unable to play either since blood is tanking only and frost can no longer tank. Purely from a dummy test, 2-handed frost pretty fun and probably similar dps to what I could produce as blood. Probably alright.

Warrior:

The only spec I’ve played my warrior is fury. Fury has taken a decent damage nerf that I anticipate seeing fixed either soon or at cataclysm launch. The new abilities and procs are a little more engaging though. I’m looking forward to seeing him perform better. One of my good friends has gotten a chance to play test Arms spec and the dps is competitive now, which is nice for warriors to have another PVE option. A little excited.

Druid:

Balance druids hit HARD. All-in-all, I’d guess a 15-20% damage increase from what I was previously doing. The new eclipse system is a little easier to understand and plan out which could possibly make it more useful while questing or in dungeons. Feral cat damage plummeted comparatively and feral bear form lost armor. Although I haven’t tried tanking on bear yet, I’m hearing good things. Suspicious.

Shaman:

I must confess, I don’t like my enhancement shaman much. It doesn’t feel like it changed much from before 4.0.1, so if you liked the way they played, you’ll probably still enjoy them. As for me, I see myself switching to Elemental or Resto pretty soon. Damage output has stayed about the same as far as I can tell. Unenthusiastic.

Hunter:

I’m pretty nervous about taking my hunter into an instance. The new focus system isn’t as rogue-ish feeling as I had worried it might be but, it’s going to take a lot of getting used to. Damage looks good and many of the new abilities, such as the new call pet/stable, seem like pretty good quality of life buffs. Hopeful.

Well, that’s my 15 minutes for today. Tomorrow my alliance rogue will hit 70 and I’ll talk a little about PVP on him and how I’m making a killing on selling glyphs.