Monday, October 17, 2022

Preservation Evoker

Finally found the time/patience to hang out in a 30+ minute beta dungeon queue to try out healing on an evoker, and it was great.  I doubt I was great it being the first time I'd healed on that class and the first time I was in any Dragonflight dungeon, but we made it and by the end I had a much better feeling for how the class worked.  It definitely wasn't everyone's first dungeon, or experience with an evoker healing; I could tell as soon as I cast my first dream breath and saw all the DPS run into it.

I suspect the long queues and lack of enthusiasm from tanks, and non-evoker DPS, might be directly related by everyone wanting to try out an evoker.  If it is more likely that not going to be one of the healers first attempts at a dungeon I could see how that could be off-putting.  Shame there isn't an evoker tank spec as that would almost certainly decrease queue times, and give me one more reason to main an evoker.

That said I'm definitely going to main an evoker in Dragonflight, confirming I enjoyed the healing spec and running a couple dungeons was all I needed to finally make a decision.  I'm still slightly torn on my second main/primary alt, but leaning toward my demon hunter.  There is a nice symmetry of having "ranged" DPS/healing on one toon and melee DPS/tanking on another, plus I really enjoy demon hunter DPS, much moreso than druid DPS.  I do prefer druid tanking to demon hunter tanking, but enjoy the overall demon hunter experience more; I have tanked a bunch on my demon hunter and the only bad thing I have to say about it is that I don't feel I have as many oh shit buttons as on my druid.  I'll miss travel form and stealth, but with limited playtime some sacrifices for the greater fun are necessary.

Back to the preservation evoker, so my first dungeon (something with gnolls, freeing tortollian and corruption) I managed to completely forget about spiritbloom despite it being exactly in the right spot/hotkey.  I had tried all the healing spells out in town about a week earlier, but it's hard to get a feel for healing without actually healing a real group.  I feel that with DPS and tanking you get a better feel for how to use your abilities just doing world/solo content.  In hindsight I could have tried to find out where to queue for one of those solo instance things for medaling in a certain role, I remember those from Pandaria/Warlords, but I'm not sure if they are still relevant.  Lack of preparation aside it went well, no wipes, I never died nor did the tank, but I did lose a few DPS here and there.  Most if not all those deaths were at least partially my fault, but people just released and ran back without comment.  I didn't end up using a rez until the last trash packs before the last boss.  I didn't know it was the last boss until we'd killed it and stopped as I was focused on other things.

After my first dungeon I tweaked my healing bars a little based on what I'd learned and requeued expecting to heal again, but I was assigned DPS instead.  I suppose it makes sense there would be a lot of healer given the new class to try out.  DPS I was used to by this point and it gave me the opportunity to look around a bit more and try out some of my utility abilities.  It felt really awesome to scoop that lumbering bear up from the back and plop them in the front with the other Dracthyr running between trash mobs.  I also enjoyed helping out the evoker healer by using my own healing abilities when things got hairy.  Mostly it just felt incredibly liberating to not have to constantly hover away from and/or knock back mobs while killing them.  I could just hang out and concentrate on maximizing damage and get a feel for an actual rotation rather than constant improv.  I didn't have any add-ons/meters installed, but it felt like I was doing well.  The dungeon was some sort of blue dragonflight tower with lots of teleporters.

I tried my luck one more time after that and did end up getting into another dungeon as a healer, but the tank went afk right before the first boss and the group dissolved after we couldn't get another tank for more than a half hour.  The only reason I stuck around that long was that I was playing with transmog.

So now I just have to wait until evokers become available in pre-patch so I can level up to 60 and get everything set up for launch.  That will mostly be leveling up engineering in a couple previous expansions to get all the important gizmos like a loot-a-rang, MOLL-E and a Jeeves.  Probably an invisibility tinker to sneak past the odd mob or two and maybe a Reaves as well.  I'll also probably want to gather up some gear from the pre-launch event to catch up my evoker and get some transmog appearances on alts.

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Devastation Evoker

Got access to the Dragonflight beta about a week ago and jumped right in creating a new Dracthyr evoker. Luckily I had already played with my character customization in Wowhead's dressing room, so i was able to quickly transcribe those selections and jump right into playing.

Reading other posts about evokers I had a rudimentary knowledge of which abilities were available to me, but there is no substitute for first hand play experience.  Especially when considering if I want to main and evoker in a few weeks or stick with my tried and true druid.

I was hoping with the reduced range that the evoker would feel a little more melee than your normal 40+ yard caster, but I realized no matter the range a caster is a caster, and prefers not to be smacked in the face.  Luckily evokers have a lot of mobility/utility tools to help keep a distance between them and their targets.  Maintaining distance is something melee classes don’t have to worry about, unless things are going poorly and it’s time to run away.

So the added task of social distancing in one downside of maining an evoker over a melee class, and the other is perhaps less of a con and more of an opportunity to better myself.  With all the mobility evokers have it is extremely important to keep tabs on your surroundings.  It’s pretty easy out leveling in the world, or in any PVE content for that matter, to deep breath or hover too close to another mob/group and quickly bite off more than you can chew.

On that note I’m not sure if the tuning is quite right yet for leveling content, but I was getting my tail handed to me by gorloc shamans in the second leveling zone.  Their lightning attack does a ton of damage and I was trying to focus on interrupting their mud shield instead to kill them faster.  So even at ranged evokers can still feel a bit squishy, but having not been there on any other character I’ve nothing to compare it to.

One of the questions I had prior to playing an evoker was, in the context of the current classes, what does playing one feel like?  And the answer was mostly that it didn’t.  I think it sort of feels closest to a demon hunter, but more utility, maybe a little more single target oriented (but that could just be because they are squishier and I’m pretty new at them) and there are a couple (non channeled) spells with cast times.  If I overgeared and/or outleveled content and could just eat melee attacks the evoker would feel much more like a demon hunter, but social distancing is key.

I made one mistake in beta, after leaving my evoker a bit and getting my first dragon riding mount I loaded the account info from my live account which overwrote all my mounts rather than combining them.  So I had to quick run though the first few quests on my druid to relearn that mount so I could complete the dragonriding questline.  All for a yak so I could transmog my gear.  Worth it!

So I have a couple more months to decide between team druid and team dragon.  The evoker is really fun, but so are demon hunters and that wasn’t enough to deter me from my druid.  I currently prefer druid for tanking and do enjoy kitty DPS as well, prefer demon hunter for DPS, and shaman for healing.  I’ve yet to try out healing on the evoker and am planning to try that out next time I play.  I’ve not really been into healing at max level since Cataclysm, just tinkering around in leveling dungeons for the shorter queues.

I’m really excited about my dragon and the new expansion, and am planning to level my evoker first even if I do end up raiding primarily on my druid.  I went that route with my demon hunter in Legion.  It just fun to change things up and get a break from a couple years using the same abilities.  It’s possible my evoker will only be another alt in the end, but that won’t diminish the enjoyment of experiencing the new content as a dragon.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

GetRandomArgument Removed or Renamed

 I have a new found respect for those who develop and more specifically maintain add-ons when things can break without warning each patch/expansion. I had a couple macros making use of the GetRandomArgument function to randomize emotes expressed when putting up a pull timer or marking a priority kill target, and only discovered they were broken on raid night. Luckily I was at least prepared class change wise, and more importantly barber shop wise, so I had a bit of time to fiddle while others were figuring out other gameplay changes.

I plan to do a little more looking into the LUA code to see if there is still an equivalent function somewhere, but in the meantime my workaround was just to create an array of values and index into that with a random number (luckily that function still works). Maybe I'll get lucky and someone else will find a more elegant solution while I procrastinate. The array workaround eats up an extra 3-4 characters depending on whether or not you like to keep optional spaces in for readability, so it would be nice to have those characters available for other things given that macros can only be 255 characters total. Now that everyone is thoroughly confused, here is an example:

My original macro:
/run SetRaidTargetIcon("target",SecureCmdOptionParse('[btn:2][mod]7;8'))
/stopmacro [nocombat][btn:2][mod]
/run DoEmote(GetRandomArgument("helpme","attackmytarget","openfire"))
/s Please assist me in killing %t {rt8}!
/rw Please kill %t {rt8}!

My edited macro:
/run SetRaidTargetIcon("target",SecureCmdOptionParse('[btn:2][mod]7;8'))
/stopmacro [nocombat][btn:2][mod]
/run local e={"helpme","attackmytarget","openfire"} DoEmote(e[random(3)])
/s Please assist me in killing %t {rt8}!
/rw Please kill %t {rt8}!

Pretty trivial change, and probably more future proof in the long run. In case anyone is interest this macro just marks the target with an X and stops when the right mouse button is used, otherwise it marks the target with a skull. Additionally when in combat it emotes, asks for help in chat, and pops up a raid warning, because out of combat that would get a little annoying.

Hopefully this get caught by search engines so the next person to search for GetRandomArgument not working gets here instead of a useless bunch of outdated pages.

Friday, September 6, 2019

My First Add-On

I've been playing Warcraft Classic for a few days now when I have time, and I've finally sought out an add-on, a mana bar that shows when my druid is shape-shifted. I'm pretty sure this was also the first add-on I installed when I first started playing Warcraft. If I was asked what my first add-on was prior to Warcraft Classic I don't think I would have been able to answer. Such a silly little thing that eventually got baked into the standard UI and the add-on forgotten, but at the same time such important information to have.

Now I've only gone so far as to find and download the add-on so far, DruidBarClassic. I still need to install it and make sure it works next time I play, but I'm pretty optimistic.

We'll see if this leads to another cascade of ever increasing numbers of add-ons, or if my current minimalist outlook on add-ons will prevail.  A lot of that may be up to add-on developers since the availability of add-ons is pretty limited as compared to when I started playing near the beginning of the Burning Crusade.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Level Scaling Caps are a Mixed Blessing

In the past few months, or I support over the past year is more accurate, I've been working towards loremaster achievements with alts.  Particularly with the new allied races and the "new" level scaling changes.

I've run into a couple of annoyances: group quests for old content than cannot be soloed, and outleveling zone before finishing the content.  Both can be worked around, but both also sort of defeat the purpose of level scaling.  I can wait and come back when I outlevel the content in the case of group quests, and I can just keep completing gray quests and killing green mobs when I want to stick it out and finish a zone.

Ideally the group quests would be nerfed and/or made to be single player, and the level scaling scale to a higher level, just another 1-2 levels would be fine.

If they really wanted to get fancy they should dynamically change the level scaling cap based on what content you've played.  You could level up to the point of the current content (the character boost level) in whatever old content you wanted, but killing mobs or completing quests in the next content tier would snap the scaling for the previous content tier down.  For example you could quest to level 83 in vanilla content, but as soon as you started questing in Outland or Northrend the level camp for vanilla content would snap back to 60.

The whole point of the level scaling is to be able to quest along happily in whatever content you are working on without feeling you need to leave for greener pastures to actually progress, and right now that is broken along the boundaries between content tiers.

Some sort of compromise could be an NPC in Stormwind to toggle level scaling caps on or off.  That seems to be the go to solution for similar things.

Friday, February 1, 2019


I really like the paladin sound effects, and the visuals are pretty good too.  I'm not sure when they changed, but it was sometime after I abandoned my paladin in Cataclysm, and before I picked it back up in Legion just to see the class hall.

Maybe I've just been playing a druid so long that the growls and roars don't do it for me anymore.  I noticed they changed, but they don't excite me in the way the paladin sounds do.

I've been devoting pretty much all my unscheduled play time (aka non raid time) to leveling up a new Dark Iron paladin.  Something about the race/class fantasy of cleansing holy fire does it for me.  So far I've made it up to level 80 and I am really excited to get into Warlord of Draenor content to make use of some Blackrock style transmog gear, Blackhand's hammer in particular.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Resto Shaman to the Rescue!

With very limited time to sit down and play I've had a lot more time to think about what alt I might like to play with in addition to my druid than time to actually try it.  I finally settled on a shaman since I really like resto and also enjoy enhancement.  For some reason druid healing never really clicked for me; I suspect it is the proactive nature of healing over time spells, I prefer the direct approach.  Also I really like the shaman cooldowns like moving while casting and pulling out a big earth elemental.  Oh and I also like the resto DPS rotation.

So I started mucking about with my existing 110 Draenei shaman who I hadn't played, other than leveling, since I raided as resto in Cataclysm.  I wasn't feeling the Draenei for some reason so I played around in the character creation screens for quite some time weighing my options and thinking of cool names.  I finally settled on a Pandaren after working through the starting zone just to make sure.  I really like the race, but other than my monk which I never really got into, I hadn't made any others until now.  Finally got to use that 110 character boost I had been saving for a rainy day, and now I won't be tempted to boost my allied race alts and miss out on that racial transmog armor.

Which brings me to what was my next very important decision, what should my transmog set look like?  Sadly my molten offhand doesn't show correctly on the armory.  I wanted to show off that panda belly (I blame it on expecting a baby in the spring), but didn't want to go all chainmail bikini, so the options were limited.  I also really like greens and earth tones, which suits both druids and shamans well.  And lastly there are those golden accents on Pandaren around the tail and feet, so I wanted to incorporate that somehow so that it didn't look out of place.  Luckily I found some gloves and bracers that when combined both match the rest of the ensemble and poke out just enough of a gold band to add a subtle accent.  I had everything except the gloves and legs and had to spend a half hour or so questing in old content to get those.

On to leveling.  For some reason I must really like Stormsong Valley because I chose that as my first leveling zone again.  I was tempted to start in Drustvar since that is the one zone I haven't completed yet, but I really like the green hills over creepy forest.  After hitting 111, which seemed important to distance myself from my old shaman, I was ready to try healing a dungeon.  I set up my bars, added a few macros (mainly to combine some healing and DPS abilities based on target).

Uh oh, where's my healing weapon?  After all that I just realized the level boost had only left me with a pair of agility fist weapons, which was great and all for melee DPS, but not so great for healing.  It would be nice if the level boost process left you with some starter gear for other specs as well.  I wasn't feeling adventurous enough to just dive in and heal with a single fist weapon (since dual wield isn't a resto option), so I ported back to legion content to quick grab the resto artifact weapon figuring it would be a sure thing and have a decent enough item level.  Pretty quick and painless, and less annoying than waiting for a weapon loot reward to come up again and remembering to flip specs to try for an intellect version.

Finally ready to try for a normal random dungeon.  The queue was around 6 minutes so I went to visit the blood trolls while I waited.  Dungeon was ready mid mini-boss so I quick mopped that up accepted and flipped specs.  Pesky that I start with zero mana, but I wasn't mana limited at all so it wasn't a problem.  Lucky that since a couple of DPS in the group had already pulled.  The tank put the brakes on after that pull so I could drink up, which was good since I wasn't sure how fast I'd eat through mana at the time.

All and all things went pretty well, healing wise.  Our tank dropped group shortly after the first boss since the DPS were pulling half the dungeon and I know that can be frustrating for a tank.  Speaking of the first boss (we were in the Stormsong Valley dungeon), I felt like a hero when the tank got punted off the platform and I whipped out my earth elemental to save the day and we downed the boss minus one tank.  I had done the exact same thing the first time I tanked that one and was also saved by the healer, so I sort of passed it on in a sense.

A new tank popped up pretty quick, the DPS had just continued on with trash sans tank.  I didn't really feel the pain until we got to all the trash with ground effects, pulled way too many, and stood in everything.  I did loose a couple DPS here and there, but I don't feel too bad about not being able to heal through stupid.  We did wipe once on the trash leading up to the last boss, we got the whole bridge and I was getting stunned pretty often.  There weren't any complaints or anything and the second round went a lot better.

We wiped once on the last boss since all our DPS ended up mind controlled, and then me too since there weren't enough orbs up to break myself out.  After a quick strategy refresher we got it pretty easily.

It was a nice break from running the treadmill that is gearing and rep grinding the main.