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?