Tuesday, March 17, 2009

You know you're playing too much WoW when...

You're writing a (long) work-related E-mail to a colleague and write 'DPS' instead of 'dpi'. Everywhere. /sigh

Friday, March 13, 2009

Meeting old friends

Although I'm still having a lot of fun with Cawti and her odd spec*, I was looking for something 'different' to do last night and I logged on to Dorni. Dorni, my dwarven warrior was my very first (and only) toon to make it to 60 before BC, who was abandoned when I stopped playing WoW.

Having stopped playing him (and WoW) a little after BC came out, he was sitting with 2 bubbles into level 60 in Honor Hold, waiting for me to take him out for a ride. So I logged on, and started trying to arrange things so I could actually play. Let's just say it was a bit of a shock to see how noobish I was back then.

First step was, of course, respeccing. There have been several talent point refunds since Dorni was left by the wayside, so I had to figure out how to spec into trees that by now I don't know at all. Dorni always was a Protection warrior**, so that's what I went with this time around as well. However, unlike before where I actually put all 51 talent points in Protection***, I have 5 points in Arms and 8 in Fury this time around.

So, with that done I went to the trainer to make sure there weren't any spells I'd have to learn, and started to mess around with my action bars. One button that was suspiciously missing from them was the First Aid button. A quick look at my skills pane showed the reason - I never trained it***. So, it was off to the AH to get cloth for bandages.

Next, I went to check up on my bank and while there were no surprises there, I had to open my character screen to equip a gun (don't ask me what it was doing in the bank instead of on me. I did have ammo in my bags, at least) and got a chance to look at what I was wearing. While most of the gear is OK (and I use that term very very loosely), there were some things that stood out***:
Well, at least if I'd considered a career change to be a pally, I already had some nice gear... /sigh

At that point I sort of called it a night, and I still haven't actually set my action bars properly. Good thing there's a weekend coming up.

* There may or may not be a post about it at some point. If it's that interesting you can go look at her armory page.

** Yes, I leveled a Protection warrior all the way to 60 back when they did slightly less DPS than non-combat pets. Guess I'm a glutton for punishment.

*** Noob, did I mention that?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Dual specs, hybrid classes, and everything in between

With all the recent hub-bub about the upcoming Dual Specs, one subject that obviously gets a lot of attention is gear. As if there isn't enough competition for gear as it is, with hybrids* wanting gear in case they respec, we will now have people rolling on gear for both their specs.

Now, the gear distribution issue is not that simple to solve - at least not in a way that everyone will be comfortable with. For example, let's say we have a Resto/Feral(DPS) Druid and a Rogue grouping together, and a DPS leather piece drops. The Rogue should obviously be able to roll for it, but what about the Druid? Where does he fit in the priority list? If the Druid gets the same priority, it would be unfair to the Rogue - the Rogue can only roll on DPS leather gear, and all of a sudden he now has to compete for the gear with a lot more people (who also get "first" priority rolling for a lot of other gear). If the Druid can't roll for it, it would be unfair to him - he, theoretically, spends half of his time as a Feral DPS and should be entitled to get upgrades for that spec. A compromise would probably be something along the lines of "roll according to the spec you're using for this run", although that has its downsides too. What happens if the Druid preferred to DPS, but was asked to heal instead? Not to mention that if things stay as they currently are, you could switch specs in the middle of the run. What happens when the Priest that has both Discipline and Holy healing specs, one for trash and one for bosses, joins the run? Practically all the gear upgrades would come from boss fights, so does that mean the Priest should only get first priority on gear for the boss healing spec?

See, with all the complaining that was going on pre-BC, at least you knew what every class was supposed to do and what they were supposed to roll for. Priests were healers, and therefor got a lower priority to roll for casting DPS gear than say Mages or Warlocks. But then the hybrids** started complaining - Priests and Warriors couldn't DPS competitively, Druids were considered jack-of-all-trades but masters of none, and so on. Some hybrids couldn't get raiding spots doing what they want, since the class wasn't good enough for that role, while other classes had a hard time getting a raid spot at all. That, obviously, wasn't an ideal situation - especially since, like it or not, raiding is one of the biggest aspects in WoW.

So Blizzard went and made hybrids "competitive". Priests and Warriors could DPS like a Rogue, Druids could do anything as well as any other class, as long as you were specced right. While this move obviously made hybrids happy, it slightly marginalized the pure-DPS classes. Why bring a Rogue, when a Feral DPS can do the same job and even fill in for the tank (or even the healer) if things goes south? The pure classes did still, for the most part, have better CC which still got them spots in groups. But then came 3.0, making "easymode" AoE tanking**  the standard and practically removing the need for CC from the game. I don't know about you, but the number of Rogues and Warlocks I've encountered since Wrath has gone down drastically.

Adn why wouldn't they? Why play a class that can "only" put out the same DPS as any other class, maybe even has very limited AoE options, and wears cloth or leather gear when you could roll a DK and have yourself a level 80 plate-wearing tin can that does excellent DPS (single target and AoE) and can tank, if you feel like it, in just a couple of weeks? When presented with the character creation screen, what reason would someone have to choose a pure DPS class over a hybrid, when the hybrid has so many more options (both in-fight and in choosing roles) and does the same DPS***? Why roll a Rogue, knowing that after putting all that time in to level it up, you'll only be able to DPS, no matter how bored you are with it?

What's the solution, then, you ask? I don't know... Giving "pure" classes will make hybrids complain again, keeping things as they are now (relatively speaking) will make pure classes practically disappear, and letting Rogues heal is plain ridiculous. Let's just say I don't envy Blizzard their work sometimes.

* For the sake of this post, a hybrid class is any class capable of healing or tanking. Since all classes can DPS, the only "pure" classes can be pure-DPS.

** I am not saying that AoE tanking is "easymode". I'm saying that tanking post-3.0 is "esaymode"

*** Well, OK, Hunters/Mages can still, usually, out-DPS other classes in single target/AoE situations, which is why they weren't affected so badly. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

WoW? What's that?

So, yeah... Been busy lately. No time for posts, hardly even time to log on. Don't you just hate it when things sneak up on you and get hectic all of a sudden?

Anyway, expect a real post today or tomorrow. If not, fire me.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Rogues are fun

Apparently, sometimes doing things that might be considered stupid can be really enjoyable (some might say, they are especially so). So despite having "decided" that my first order of business should be getting the heirloom shoulders for the XP bonus, I picked up Cawti (my rogue) and messed around Azeroth for a while. I did some questing, then got a group for Gnomer and BFD, dinged 30 so I could get my Pinto, and finished up with soloing some of the quests I had left in Gnomer. All in all, it was quite a lot of fun.

Funny thing is, I didn't enjoy the DPS part in the instance that much - it's pretty repetitive and uninteresting. What was, actually, great was the occcasional CC and playing a bodyguard for our healer. If the tank lost aggro on one of the mobs that, obviously, went after the healer, a quick Backstab (or 2) coupled with Evasion took the heat off her and gave the tank some time to re-establish aggro.

At some point, I think I also got PAlierah to 77 and flying again. Now I just need to sell all the enchanting mats I have so I could get her the epic flyer.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Ooh! Ooh! Dual specs! Gimme a break

Wow, 2 posts in the same day? What's that all about? Well, I'll make this short so it doesn't really count.

So yeah, we've all heard by now that Blizz are finally giving us dual-specs. Yay! We're all very happy. Really, me too. But really - pretty much all the interesting insights regarding this can be summed up in one paragraph:

Some people will have PvP/PvE combos, some will have solo/PvE (or solo/PvP) combos, and some will have PvE/PvE combos. For certain classes and combos, you'll have to have 2 different armor sets. And... That about does it.

But no, the people at WoW Insider* apparently found it worth their and their readers' time to write a whole article in each and every one of their class columns. Uhmm, really? Is there really such a big difference between the effect it will have on rogues or on mages? Is there really a point in starting to go over all the specs we all know for the class that work for different situation and spell out what combining them will achieve? (If you combine a Feral 0/256/39 tanking spec with a Resto -2/74/8 healing spec, you'll be able to tank and heal. Amazing, I bet no one would have thought of that).

Seriously, what a waste of bits...

* Which I like reading, don't get me wrong. I wouldn't have noticed this whole thing, otherwise.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Well, hello there. How've you been? Good, good, glad to hear. Me? I donno, let's see...

I leveled DKAlierah's JC to 420+, and now I mostly log on to her to do the JC dailies. I did get to run an instance with her (regular Gun'drak) which was nice, but other than that not too much going on here.

PAlierah has been healing instances all around Northrend, and finally got her Cold Weather Flying permit - although she still doesn't have an epic flyer, and the regular one feels really slow in comparison.

BUT. Why does there always have to be a 'but'? Can't I just sit back and enjoy the game? Guess not. I'm not sure I'd actually call it boredom, but I don't really feel like picking up DKAlierah and doing heroics, and I'm sort of getting sick with questing on PAlierah. Healing instances is nice, for now, but how long can I go just healing the same instances over and over? The only ones I haven't healed yet are Utgarde Pinnacle and the Oculus, but that'll probably change next weekend, and then what? Keep grinding instances until I get my gear high enough to heal heroics? I can't see myself doing that, really - I mean, I want some "fresh" content. Heroics, while harder than normal instances and having better loot, are still essentially the same instances I've been to countless times.

So what can I do? Well, I could look at PvP a little more seriously, I could try to start on BC content I haven't seen yet (pretty much all of the level 70 instances and raids), and even some vanilla WoW content, or I could start a new alt (or pick up an old one, question is which one). Honestly, I'm not really sure. I did hop on Lathiria (my 65 druid) for a while last week, speccing her Feral and trying to run around questing in Nagrand. Wasn't much fun... I tried some Wintersprings, but they were too hectic. So yeah, gotta figure some things out. In the meantime, I have a pretty busy week coming up, and I just got Guitar Hero: World Tour to keep me occupied the rest of the time until I make up my mind.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Big changes coming

WoW blogs have recently all been abuzz with news of the upcoming class changes in patch 3.1, but somehow I haven't seen any mention of the planned changes to mana regeneration. The gist of it is that they think healers have too much mana regeneration - DPS casters are basically always casting, meaning they only benefit from MP5, while healers often get high mana regeneration by staying outside the 5-second-rule and getting mana back from Spirit. The issue is further exacerbated by various clearcasting-style procs that allow you to cast a spell without using mana, thus still being considered "not casting". To fix it, they will probably make Spirit-based regeneration lower (while making talents like Meditation stronger to give roughly the same MP5).

Now, I don't know what's going on in heroics or raids, but in all the instances I've healed recently I think I only ran out of mana twice, while still having a potion, Inner Focus, Hymn of Hope and the racial Arcane Torrent. In fact, I usually finish most trash fights with full mana. So I can see where Blizz is coming from, and why they want to "fix" it.

However, I'm not at all sure that reducing non-casting regeneration is the solution. First, it would basically demote Spirit back to its old status of "that other stat no one cares about, but seems to be on a lot of caster items". No wonder they're making Divine Spirit a baseline spell for all priests - who'd pay a talent point for such a useless buff? Also, I don't know about other healers, but for me dancing with the 5-second-rule is one of the most enjoyable aspects of healing as a priest.

But, just criticizing without offering a solution of my own won't help, so let's see if I can't think of some other ways to solve the issue. Reading Blizzard's post, they mention 2 specific "problematic" areas: Clearcasting procs and HoTs.

Clearcasting procs let you heal while still benefitting from full mana regeneration, since they don't cost any mana. Blizzard is currently thinking about changing it so that they will return mana when proccing instead of giving clearcasting which, to be honest, makes it much more boring. Instead, they could change clearcasting to cost 1 mana. For all intents and purposes, it's a free cast, but it puts you in a "casting" state gimping your mana regen.

HoTs, especially the long ones, let the healer put up a relatively long heal and sit back and wait for the mana to come flowing in. Now, the only healers who can realistically stack enough HoTs for this sort of behavior are druids. No reason to punish all the priests, paladins and shamans for something that is not only specific to druids - it's the basic concept of druid healing. But let's play along and assume that HoTs are problematic. There's a very easy solution for this - give HoTs shorter durations, let's say, oh I donno, 5 seconds. That way in order to keep someone healed you don't get the chance to leave "casting" state.

Still not good enough? Change it to the 7-second-rule. That way, they still keep Spirit an important stat, while still being a little weaker. It will also require more skill to dance, although whether that's what Blizzard want or not, I don't know. Of course, they say that they don't want "sloppy players" but they also don't want to make things too difficult so they don't scare healers away...

So where does that leave us? Same place we were before this post - Blizzard isn't really going to listen to me on important things like mana regeneration.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Things to do in Azeroth when you're NOT tanking

After my recent "adventures", I decided to give tanking a break until I figure out what I want to do with AlierahDK next. While I'm thinking I had to find some distractions, so luckily we now have the Lunar Festival (and the accompanying achievements) to burn time on. So, I stripped down (don't want repair bills, do we?), packed my mining pick and went riding through Azeroth. I figured if I'm going to be running all around anyway, I might as well work on the exploration achievements as well, and since I don't want to let good ores/gems go to waste I also decided to drop herbalism and level up JC. So, no lack of things to do here...

Then on the weekend I logged on to AlierahP again, and went about my business questing and instancing. She's now 73, halfway through Dragonblight, and healed Utgarde Keep, Nexus, Azjol-Nerub and The Old Kingdom, getting some very nice quest rewards from them. It turns out I'm having a lot more fun healing with my priest than tanking with my DK*, so I'll probably be doing that for a while.

I've also been thinking about picking up and leveling another alt, although I'll probably wait on that a little. First, it seems silly to level all the way up from 1, when DKs get to start at 55. Not that I have any intention to level another DK. Second, and more important, I think I'll wait till I can get the heirloom items first for the bonus XP (plus, they have very nice stats). Then, it's open season on alts (at least on the realm I get the items in).

* Granted, that's because tanking heroics isn't working out so well right now, whereas healing is. Still, who cares 'why?' when the bottom line is that I'm having more fun?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Heroics... Finally

Wanna hear a secret? I've never done heroics before... Not in WotLK and not in BC. But that's now changed. Over the weekend I finished running all the Northrend regular instances, and between quest rewards, drops and a few rep items I managed to get AlierahDK is finally uncrittable in heroics.

So to celebrate, I tried getting a group for the daily heroic (Oculus), but instead got invited to HoS. Yeah, why not? Heroics are heroics, even if I don't get the 2 extra badges from the daily quest. So in we go, and it started pretty well - we downed Maiden and the big rock thingy boss, and cleared everything for the event. The event itself, however, we just couldn't finish - too many mobs for me to hold aggro on at the same time, and we just didn't burn them down fast enough. After 3 or 4 tries we gave it up and called it a day. Too bad...

After that, I managed to get into an Oculus run. The whole run was fairly smooth, until the last boss. In the last boss, you fight riding drakes. No matter how well geared you are, or how good you are with your class, the drakes always have the same stats and same skills. No matter how many times we tried, how we changed drakes around, what strategy we tried - he just wouldn't go down. At least I remembered to take off my armor before trying him, so my repair bill wasn't that bad.

So where does that leave me? 0/2 on my first day tanking heroics. Kinda sucks... I can make excuses for it - Eregos wasn't about how well I tanked, and in HoS we didn't burn the mobs fast enough. But it feels like making excuses.

There is one thing I would like to complain about - DPS in heroics. While tanks have to gear up, to at least be uncrittable and have enough health that they don't get 1-shotted by bosses, and healers have to have enough spell power and mana to manage to heal the tanks, it seems like most of the DPS classes ding 80 and head straight for heroics. I don't use Recount, or any other addon to check DPS, but from what I've seen on Omen I constantly had 3 times more threat than the top DPS. I'm not that good a tank, so the only explanation is that the DPS were underperforming. And no, it's not just the Omen info I'm basing it on - a lot of them had never been to these instances (regular or heroic). How, then, did they gear up without instancing? Without access to regular instance drops and quest rewards, that would leave them with crafted items and grinding reps, but somehow I doubt they actually made the effort to do that. So, I don't know... The whole thing is kind of disheartening - if that's what I have to look forward to in heroics, then I'm gonna be giving up on it and retiring my DK pretty soon. Let's hope this was just bad luck, and that things will go smoother this week.