A cat on the ramparts

As a distraction from my regular wow activity I’ve started to play a Druid through the 60+ content. Leveling another toon through BC solo will be fine, but this time I’m keen to do a lot more instance runs than I did on my Warlock and Paladin.

Last night I ran my first instance as a Druid where I wasn’t being carried by several high level characters. The team was a 70 Tank Warrior wearing DPS gear and wielding two nasty looking swords, a 60 Warrior Tank, a 60 Warrior DPS, a 61 Paladin on heals, and me on a 61 DPS Druid.

OK, there was still a 70 in there, but as a team for Ramps it seemed to work, and each of us had to pull some of the weight. Almost all the pulls had 2 toons acting in a tank role, and because the rest of us could just hammer the mobs I think it was still a little like cheating.

A few observations from the run were:

I expected to get my arse kicked

As a 61 doing a BC instance I expected that the mobs would hit hard, and that I’d have some issues keeping my head cool. Basically I have no experience actually doing DPS as a cat druid, and had to look really carefully to find the abilities like Cower to make the run a bit better. I know I can hurt mobs while solo’ing, but I thought instances would be different. Somehow that didn’t occur, and the run went smoothly. Pulling aggro by mistake did happen, but then as a Cat I found the mobs hit very softly, and when I got too hurt I pop’ed out to heal, then pop’ed into bear form. It was surprisingly easy to stay alive.

We died once when the end dragon was facing the group for the entire fight, and we got flamed to a quick and toasty death (I wonder what Crispy Cat Pieces would taste like?).

It seems that the actions that you take as a Cat in the wild are very similar to those of Cats while doing instances. You can even get by not using the pounce and shred abilities and still output a good amount of damage. I managed to do 29% of the overall damage, which was 2nd behind the level 70 toon who did 35%. I can only imagine that once I learn a better sequence to use the “instance abilities” then that’ll be better again.

Experience running Ramparts on my other toons also really helped, but then Ramps is also a pretty ordinary run in terms of boss strategies, and the trash pulls are harder than the bosses. As a young 70 tank trying Ramps on Heroic mode I got squished by the first few pulls, and this group ate them up, mainly due to the 70 acting as a 2nd tank for the hard hitters. Yes it might not be a fair comparison (H-mode vs 60s run), but the “oh shit” factor was not present at all.

What’s my weapon of choice?

The abilities that I used to dish out good damage against a mob while solo grinding can work, but are not ideal for instance runs. When I switched to using the instance abilities I found myself pulling aggro and really dishing out the damage. This made me start re-thinking the items on my action bar, and also re-thinking how I move.

I’m a keyboard mover (wasd), and also don”t use a lot of keyboard combos. This means that the mouse is really only used  to trigger the powers that are not on the 1-9 keys, and to switch the targets. Now for Warlocks that was cool, as I didn’t move much, and the pally-tank tends to move a little, but spin the camera a lot. The choice of so many different abilities, and some of them being contextual on where we are, and what we’re doing is really appealing.

Cats need to watch the battle a lot more, and as melee dps I have to react to the actions of the tank, rather than being the guy who chooses the actions. If the Tank moves the target 13 feet to the left, we have to move too, and keep scratching. Yay, a new challenge – a new set of tricks to learn!

Rewards for questing are great, and being lucky helps.

The drops on our run were almost exclusively leather drops for melee types, which was great as everyone else was a plate wearer. I felt a bit horrid taking so many items, but really any of the others could not use them, and they were clear upgrades.

With the quest hand-ins I replaced four items as the product of one run. It also reminded me of the Druid I knew years ago who said that everything is Druid gear – and on that run he was right.

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