Thursday, October 29, 2009

Looking Forward to the Patch

Doing a random heroic dungeon instead of a daily heroic quest sounds awesome. Plus an extra 5-man to run. Given the fact that it is possible to run a 5-man a second time with the random instance feature even if you already ran the instance that day; no more, "Sorry, I am saved.", in guild chat. Better yet no more quests to forget picking up or turning in, aside from the new raid weeklies.

Just yesterday I went to run culling of stratholme which was both the daily regular and heroic and noticed I was missing the quests just before we started killing the regular daily quest mobs. After we downed the timed boss I took the log run of shame back out to get the quest shared and then back in again to the last boss. What a patient PUG. :)

More accessibility to triumph badges will be nice as well since there are only a couple things I want with conquest badges and quite a few I want to get with triumph badges. Will make me feel better about buying heirlooms with conquest badges. Not that I felt too bad about it anyway, an heirloom item for an alt is a huge upgrade in comparison to a handful of stats on an 80 and I do enjoy my alts.

One thing I was looking forward too, but turned out to get implemented differently was the disenchant roll option. For guild runs I was hoping that disenchant rolls would be trumped by greed rolls, so people who can use the item would roll need/greed and the disenchanter and/or people who couldn't use the item could roll the disenchant option. A third level of roll was not to be though; disenchant rolls and greed rolls are competing against each other. This means that disenchanters in the guild are still going to have to pass and hang back and wait for everyone to roll or roll greed with the rest and make sure no one else rolled before disenchanting. I'm not even an enchanter in any of my raids and I was a little bummed.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Tanking Low Level Content

Poor death knights are at a serious disadvantage when it comes to speed clearing low level content. There are only so many runes to go around. Logic dictates how hard can it be if you can solo the instance, but the reality is a little different.

First off by low level I mean like 60-70 content; easy, but you can still get hurt. Once you get to the DPS can one shot mobs level of easy tanking is irrelevant.

Death knights have a rhythm to them, patterns of abilities which anticipate which runes will become available. Speeding up pulls breaks that rhythm. Light bulb; I'll pull more at a time. Kills two birds with one stone, it's less boring and I get to keep my rotation more consistent with level appropriate content.

Oh, bad. Everyone pulled off me, guess I should of let people know what I was doing. I forgot when a mob moves that means a tank has it. Things worked out better once I shared what I was doing.

All in all I think I will stick with the bear for tanking low level content. A full rage bar is easy to maintain with all those dodges and there are no cooldowns limiting the spamming of swipe, a much more organic do what you want when you want style of tanking.

As for soloing old content, feral druids rule. I've been going back to old instances in Azeroth for the achievements lately. Kind of fun with the exception of Wailing Caverns so far. Two more to go then I will do the same in Outlands. I'm interested to find out if I can handle a heroic instance on my own, but am optimistic.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Best Kind of Writer's Block

Programmers don't have any concept of writer's block, when we can't think of anything else to write that is called a release. Ship it! (For personal projects anyway, commercial products ship way before that.) Programmers don't usually sit around and think, "What should I write for my next program?". There is a perceived need and if there isn't already a program to do it (reinventing the wheel is a no no) then a new project is born.

I take a similar approach with my blog. I feel the need to write something somewhere and poof there is a post. It is as much for me as for anyone else, probably more for me. For example I keep a list of add-ons I use in game here which I use to update my own add-ons. I also keep a list of the blogs I like to read, I bet there are tools or something to track blogs, but I just link them and use my own blog as a starting page of sorts.

So anyway, the best kind of writer's block I can think of is when you can't think of anything to write because the Big Bear Butt himself complimented you. That has to be like the druid blog Nobel prize. I'll be telling everyone I know for like the next month (at least the people who wouldn't look at me like I am crazy). The first person I told said, "holy cow, that's awesome!"

Haven't been nearly this excited since I saw the new druid forms and this is way better. It is probably druid heresy to say such things, but it's true.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

What to Expect from a , 1-20

Having leveled one of each class up to or very near to level 20 I think it would be helpful to others to learn from my experiences. When I first picked a class to play I just picked and went with it, I never went back to try others until I was fully vested in the classes I had chosen originally. Skip to the end if you want some quick advice.


I'll start where I started, my druid. Looking over a description of of each of the classes on the official website I went with a druid simply because they could theoretically do everything. Plus changing forms sounded really cool. Well druids are kind of a let down when you first start one with shifting forms in mind. You are a caster basically until level 20. You do get bear form at level 10, but it isn't really all that efficient compared to sticking with the caster mentality till 20. Complexity wise druids are pretty simplistic as to the number of abilities you get over time so no fear of being overwhelmed, but there is enough to keep you busy. Lots of downtime getting mana back until 20 where cat form with talent points in the feral tree has nearly no downtime from that point on. As a caster though you nuke things, root them in place if they get too close, back off and repeat till things die.


I left my druid at level twenty-something when I got BC and started a Draenei hunter. Compared to the Night Elf starting areas the Draenei starting areas had a much nicer flow and made for easier leveling. Draenei come out to Darkshore eventually like Night Elves, but they come out 10 or more levels higher and basically skip right to Ashenvale. A huge help in leveling in what is probably the hardest set of starting area of all the races. Hunters have a little downtime for mana as they get closer to level 10, but not nearly as bad as a caster. You get a pet at level 10 and it is smooth sailing from there on out. Enough abilities to keep it interesting, but nothing overly complicated. It stays that way through to the end game. Pet tanks, you shoot, things die.


So I had leveled my druid for a while by this point and decided that my druid's cat form and stealth was really cool. So of course I decided to try out a rogue. Pretty straightforward, easy to pick up. Level up that first aid and bring some munchies because there is going to be a lt of downtime getting health back. Every one or two mobs there is a healing break depending on what you are killing. Being a rogue is all about killing them before they can kill you (or escaping if you don't like the odds). It gets a better at higher levels when you have more tricks up your sleeve. A lot of sneaking around and picking fights where you have the advantage.


By this point I had forgotten how much I disliked being a caster on my druid and since I didn't have a caster I made a mage. Similar to a rogue in the kill them before they kill you, but with a ranged advantage. There is a severe downtime waiting for mana, even worse than a rogue since all mana is regained by eating, no bandages to make it go faster. On the bright side mages make their own food and drink so no worries about running out. A lot of slow, nuke, freeze, back off and repeat till things die. One of the more exciting classes ability wise since you get so much so soon. Nothing is more fun than freezing a whole group in place and blowing them all up with an AOE.


Bore to the ing ability wise. The most complex part of being a paladin is buffing yourself, and that isn't all that complicated. Killing stuff rotates around one or two abilities on relatively long cooldowns leaving you watching your toon auto attack most the time. There is a little downtime to regain mana from time to time, more if you need to heal often. Probably a good class to start with considering the simplicity and the ability to eventually DPS, tank or heal. I am up to level 30 now and not much has changed, from what I hear from other paladins that is also the case in the end game. If you like simple though a paladin might be the class for you.


Before dual specs I was in the market to try out a healer. I had my hunter as DPS and my druid as a tank for end game content, but no healer. I am into the nature type classes so I started up a shaman and decided to level her as a healer. Very little downtime since shamans are mainly melee oriented at lower levels and even at higher levels talented in the healing tree. Lots of neat abilities to play with. I'd recommend leveling enhancement if I did it all over again. I was resto until level 75 when dual specs came out. Not perceived to be a very popular class, but it would make a great first toon.


I've only gotten my priest to level 10 since I am planning on remaking it as a Worgen with the next expansion. From priests I know and my own limited experience there is a lot of downtime for getting mana. Plenty of abilities to keep you occupied though. I wouldn't recommend a priest for a first time player.

Death Knight

Muhahahaha... death knights are just fun. You start at level 55 and need to have a character with that level or higher to even make one. So not a contender for a first toon even though it would make a great one. They are unique and have a bit of a learning curve no matter previous experience. Absolutely no downtime at all and after the starting area they easily overpower everything all the way to the end game. Everyone should make one at some point just for fun, even if you only complete the starting zone.


Warlocks get very complicated very fast. I've only gotten to level 17 so far and I already have more abilities than I know what to do with. Unlike other classes knowing which spells to use at what time isn't as cut and dry. There is some downtime for mana, but not as much as other casters since having a pet allows for more flexibility in saving mana while letting your pet tank. Not my first choice for a class to start out with, but it is entertaining.


Not quite as boring as a paladin, but a close second. Also has a downtime similar to rogues for healing. Of all my toons I have spent the least time on my warrior, but I am planning on starting anew with a goblin when the next expansion comes out.

Long Story Short

So if your going to make your first character or convince someone to start playing with you I would recommend an armored hybrid class that can self heal: druid, paladin, shaman. My second picks would be: hunter, rogue, mage. Leave the rest for alts unless you really think you will like it.

For races/starting areas alliance side I would recommend Draenei, Humans, Dwarves/Gnomes, then Night Elves. Horde side I've only really done the Blood Elf and Tauren starting areas and found the Blood Elf area to be very nice much like the Draenei area, but the Tauren starting area was more along the lines of the dwarves and gnomes.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Worst/Best Part of Tanking

No one watches threat.

It is expected that DPS can go all out the instant something is pulled.

Why? Tanks got buffed out the wazoo (and no you best not look at my wazoo since swipe is now 360 degrees). Content in the end of BC and WotLK was an easy AOE fest; it wasn't until recently that DPS was capable of pulling of a tank exhibiting a base level of competence.

It's fun as hell though! DPS can be proud of their damage and tanks can be proud that they stayed in control.

I'm sure some tanks still prefer/expect the old ways of doing things where the onus was on the DPS to not pull anything, but not me. That was boring. Not as boring as early WotLK where threat was not an issue, but still pretty boring.

So that is the best part of tanking for me, "naughty" DPS.

What is the worst? Well the same thing. Sometimes boring is good.

While DPS can decide for themselves to take it easy when the mood strikes them, tanks and also healers cannot. Tanks and healers are at the mercy of the rest of the group.

So that is the current responsibility of DPS; not to watch threat on the mobs they are attacking, but to watch their threat level with the tank. Knowing just how much you can get away with on any given day.