Monday, 26 November 2007

Ding! 40!

I levelled Adanadel, my NE hunter, to 40 at the weekend, and so hit the mount cash crisis. Although I could have twinked him using my shaman's money via the neutral auction house I felt I should cross this first hurdle without that. So I auctioned or vendored everything I could, left my level 38 and 40 skills training until later, and just about scrapped together 90g. It's difficult being really skint - a couple of times I've done things like restock on arrows and then find I can't afford a griffon ride - but eventually I'll get over that. The next problem will be that having now got an epic land mount for my shaman (in order to get the flying mount) I don't think I'll be able to put off getting my hunter his epic mount until 70.

Things are working out pretty well at the moment, so I might even be able to stick to just the two characters going forward... It's really handy being able to scout things out using Eyes of the Beast and my prowling moonstalker, and traps and Feign Death are as useful as you'd expect.

Friday, 23 November 2007

Goals Revisited - part 3

I've noticed that my healing gear is starting to slip behind that of our other regular raid healers, so I need to address this to avoid being a weak link. I want to raid to see new content, for the guild first kills and that magic moment when a group syncs together and you finally "get" a boss fight. It's great when this happens - fights like Hakkar can become almost like a dance. I'm not interested in farming content for gear, but at the same time I need to upgrade.

Thanks to Draezele's rather excellent analysis of all the resto gear in the game I can see that I actually need to upgrade my main hand even more than my bracers. So, for my last goals list, I need (in order) upgrades to -

Main hand, Head, Wrists, Chest, Feet, Neck, Back

- ideally without relying on drops. So I'll be PvPing for a enough honour to be able to buy Gladiator's Salvation and doing Kara and ZA with the guild for badges. If I get any decent drops from the raids that will shortcut the process, which would be nice.

Meanwhile my NE hunter hit level 38 last night, and I've found myself what seems like a nice guild for him.

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Fix to water shield incoming

I see from WoW Insider that they're fixing water shield. That is good news and I hope it comes quickly. Having to recast the spell every 60 seconds got old really quickly - if you were doing something important like raid healing you tended to forget!

The question to be asked of course is whether anyone actually tests anything on the PTR...

Monday, 19 November 2007

Still the High King

My guild had our second attempt at knocking over High King High King Maulgar this weekend. A two hour wipe fest ensued, so he's still there...

Last time we got the pull down but didn't have a mage geared enough to tank Krosh Firehand, this time we had two mages with enough health but couldn't do the pull. We did learn some things, and killed Blindeye the Seer a couple of times, but generally weren't good or lucky enough.

Hopefully next time we'll have more than one hunter, which will help the pull a lot. In general we could have done with a better class balance, but until we get past the first stage of the fight that's not really the main issue. Our next attempt is in two weeks, we'll see how that goes.

On the alt front I put a level each on my druid and hunter.

My (balance) druid has a real problem with the lack of a spell interrupt, especially against healer mobs, and generally is a bit slow to kill things. I used to find feral (i.e. cat) levelling a bit monotonous, as they're like rogues without the useful bits (i.e. stuns). Perhaps it's worth giving that another go, now I'm a bit more comfortable with rogues, at least until level 43 (when I could have both Moonkin and maxed-out Dreamstate). On the other hand I quite like spending my time in caster form, so I might find Moonkin a step backwards at that point, and feral less fun now.

My hunter was as you'd expect - killed things easily, handled casters fine once every minute (thank you Intimidation), and ditto with adds (thanks to traps).

Right now I'm thinking I'll concentrate on just / mainly the hunter - I already have an end-game healing hybrid after all. I'd be happier knowing what WotLK will do in terms of character customisation though - I'd be totally happy with my hunter if I could give him the same colouring as my druid.

If I'd known then what I know now

I've mentioned before that I have an alt problem. I currently have 10 characters over level 10 in addition to Grulnak, my 70 orc shaman (70 troll priest, 60 undead warrior, 45 orc warlock, 35 NE hunter, 33 undead mage, 32 NE druid, 22 BE paladin, 22 orc rogue, 20 human mage and 11 orc warrior) and a bunch more that I've deleted (34 orc hunter, 28 orc rogue, 22 human rogue, 16 troll mage, 14 orc hunter).

In an ideal world (say, one where I could play WoW all day and still get paid) I'd have known the lessons this legion have taught me from day 1:

  • Pick one (or a small number of) character(s) and stick with him/them.
  • Undead may be human-like, but their stooped posture and shambling walk make them unappealing characters to have.
  • Trolls may be the tallest, but they never stand up straight. Their sitting posture is quite cool though.
  • Male trolls look silly in robes.
  • The troll accent will never grow on me, despite the voodoo priest feel it gives.
  • Tanking as a warrior can be fun / awesome / stressful / exhasperating.
  • Grinding as fury rocks, grinding as protection sucks.
  • Warlocks may be grinding gods, and very tough to kill, but my heart just isn't in it.
  • Mages can destroy things in cool ways, but you spend a lot of time drinking.
  • Male humans have a constipated run and odd faces.
  • Female humans have a very vacant "idle" animation.
  • Be very careful what face / skin / etc you chose - it will be with you forever.
  • One day shamans will be perfectly viable main healers - don't spend time levelling a priest.
  • "For the Alliance" is slightly patronising... "For the Horde!" is a rallying cry.
  • Kill gnomes on sight. But they'll never really understand why you're doing it.

Having learned all this, I'd hence have the following chars:

  • Orc shaman: I may be biased, since this is my original character, but my main is still the character I'm happiest with. Damage and healing are a great combination, and although you're a jack of all trades, master of none, there is a definite place for you. And orcs just have a great look.
  • Night elf druid: The one thing I miss on my shaman is being able to buff people. I also miss being able to tank, although tanking in humanoid form (i.e. warrior or paladin) is more appealing. One side of me thinks I should stay loyal to one faction, another side says I miss half of the game that way.
  • A rogue of some sort (dwarf? human? orc?): Stealth, pickpocketing and sap make this a great fun class, and stuns give you a huge amount of control over a fight. A difficult class to pick up, and very difficult to master, make it less than ideal as an alt though.
  • Night elf hunter (or perhaps an orc): A much derided cliche, and you might find it hard to form or join a group, but the class has great tactical possibilities and soloing potential.
  • Orc or dwarf warrior: For the ability to wear lots of armour and carry a big axe. Although my shaman fulfils this need to some extent.

Friday, 16 November 2007

Patch goodness

I've not had much time to play since the patch was released, but there's lots of goods stuff in there:

The addition of spell damage to healing gear is lovely. I've found that some of my healing gear is now as good or better than my elemental gear for damage. So not only do I get to free up some bag space, but I also keep the survivability of my resto gear while grinding.

Trainable two handed axes and maces. Purely for effect it's cool to be able to carry a big axe around.

Being able to track fishing nodes is also quite nice.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Goals Revisited - part 2

Having mostly finished my last set of goals, I've had a new set running for a while. These are my "complete this character, at least until WotLK" goals.

Max out fishing, cooking (stuck on 374!) and weapon skills (Axes, Maces, Staves, Unarmed)
Recipe: Fel Mana Potion
Complete the Hero of the Mag'har quest chain

Torn-heart Axe of Battle (every orc should have a big axe)
Attumen bracers. My bracers are my worst piece of healing gear at the moment
One piece of tier 4. Irritatingly I've got to Exhalted with the Violet Eye, and never once seen the Curator drop the shaman glove token. However, I do have Gloves of Centering so I don't really need the gloves.

Goals Revisited - part 1

It seems it's time I revised my goals from July. Especially since the first item on the list is pre-Kara healing gear...

Remaining items from the list -

Complete Tidefury set (for the looks): 1/5
Not so sure about this one now. I'd still like it, perhaps 4 pieces plus the head from the Big Bad Wolf. A set of some kind would still be nice. I've killed the bosses necessary enough times to have at least 1 more piece, but not farmed them in a properly dedicated way.

Netherdrake (to make the stepsons happy)
The big problem with this one is getting 5000g together to start the process. I recently spent 700g on Recipe: Elixir of Major Mageblood, otherwise I'd have 750g... Still nice to have.

Revered with Sporeggar (Transmute recipe): Honoured
I'm 1/4 of the way through Honoured still. Not really a priority at the moment, but it'd be nice to complete the set of elemental transmutes.

Revered with Keepers of Time (key): Friendly
Just one instance run short of revered. Once the patch comes out I won't actually need this anymore, but again it'd be nice to complete this goal.

Heroic Keys: Caverns of Time. See above

Get 355 Fishing skill (so I can catch Zangarian Sporefish).
I'm up to 312 fishing, so with my Horde-only fishing rod and some lures I generally fish pretty well

Done with Kara - for now

Last night was my last visit to Karazhan for a while. I've not got everything I need from there yet, so no doubt I'll be back, but real life is taking over for a while.

A frustrating night in some ways - we'd cleared the Curator on night 1, but night 2 had 3 wipes on Aran before we eventually downed him, so we only had 2 attempts on the Prince. It'd have been good to down him with Team 3 before Zul'Aman opened, but not to be.

Highlight of the night was our rogue (in good Arena gear) taking Aran's arcane explosion in the face and (just about) living to tell the tale. We'd lost all but 4 of the raid not by this stage, mostly lost between the pyroblast and the elementals, so there were 6 spectators in Vent telling him to run. He didn't, and we were pretty much resigned to another wipe as he flew through the air. Neither the explosion nor the landing killed him, and our paladin did an amazing job of keeping the rogue, himself and the other 2 survivers alive just long enough...

And I got the rather lovely Pendant of the Violet Eye

Friday, 9 November 2007

Do I feel endangered?


This post on The Endangered Shaman over at WoW Insider got me thinking - is there actually a problem, or is it just the usual whinging?

Although I don't PvP, I'm glad the diminishing returns on earth shock change has been reversed. It seems bad that you'd actually ruin things for your team mates by interrupting an enemy caster in an arena.

On the PvE side things seem just fine though - or at least the same as they ever were. Shaman are the least played class, but I'm assuming that is due in a large part to people prefering blood elves to alien blue space squid (as the other formerly-single-faction class, paladins are the second least played).

As some people point out on that WoW Insider thread, levelling a shaman can be slow at times. However I found a paladin at least as problematic. My (now deleted) dwarf paladin I found to be slow and unappealing to level. When I tried again with a blood elf more recently I found things easier, partly due to more experience with the game mechanics. However he's currently retired at level 22, having found the Boulderslide Ravine troggs to be just too much trouble. Shamans have both a ranged pull and a ranged interrupt from low levels - paladin's don't.

When it comes to the end game, a lot of shamans complain about there being only one wanted spec - Restoration. There are two shortcomings to this argument.

In a casual guild like mine it matters more who you are than what spec you have - our two Kara teams have one of each spec between them. On the other hand we're just finishing with Kara and moving on to Gruul.

In a progression guild however only restoration shamans will be wanted, with perhaps an outside chance of an enhancement shaman getting in to buff a melee dps group. This was always the case though, and is true for other classes too. Pre-BC if you wanted to raid as a shaman you'd better be resto, and in that spec were far less viable as a main-healer for a 5 man group or for PvP than is the case post-BC. As with for shamans, a progression guild will want a say how you spec for any other class - a maximum dps spec will be wanted for example, and even though this is less of an issue as you can still farm, your guild is still telling you how to spec.