Third 90 and more to come I suspect

My Druid ding’ed 90 in WoW last week, which makes a tally of three level ninety characters: a Death Knight, a Warrior, and a Druid.

Next will be my slowly leveling Shaman who is now level 71 (the toon in the top left if the image below) and a long time lost Shadow Priest who is level 82 (bottom left character).

In my character list I also have a handful of 85s and then each class smattered down to a lowbie Monk at level 13. I do not really want to repeat the 85-90 grind so many more times, but the leveling path in Pandaria is so fixed there is little choice. Perhaps I could level by only queuing in Dungeons and just farm my way through the Pandaria starting area for materials to sell. That will only be moderately dull as well but will ensure my lowbies have the ability to increase their professions.

The Wrath of the Lich King content on the baby Shaman is sensational by comparison to 4x more Pandaria zones and a Cataclysm story.

Mortigen, Raze, nagarj, Arkham, Aurac and Yeirah head shots

If I cannot raid regularly in 5.4 due to work & life, then I might as well start working on these alts. Getting through the levels is something I can do whilst also being interrupted, and it is not “hard” content to do. Continue reading


What do I know about other classes and specs?

With the change in classes in the patch today we have all sorts of new stuff to learn. As a PSA I offer the following advice on the spec and classes. A sly review of the classes might be (ahem) useful.

DKst – Essentially there are two types, those you need to listen to because they are Tanking and they help the Mages and Hunters decide who dies first; and the rest. The first are called Blood spec, the second are called whatever you like. When I play my non-tank DK he names used are: “stop tunneling”, “move”, and “deathgrip it you tard!”. Most Dks do not know what DK stands for, but would guess Death correctly because its a leet word. Probably means Death Killerz.

Druids – Too many types, and way too many on the server. Lets face it – everyone has a Druid, and generally only the good ones get taken to raid; that is ex-trees and bears. Cats are misguided Rogues, and Boomkins are Mages who ate too many fish feasts. Get at least one in your raid and make them change spec every 3-4 trash pulls, they love that. Why else play a hybrid?

Hunters – There is only one type, and thankfully they will have no excuse to roll for non-missile weapons after patch 5.0. Handy at times for traps, and hated for the same reason. They perform their best at range, and I find the best range is about 10 miles from the raid team. A quick review of the armory indicates that Int and mana are still issues for some Hunters, so take one to a raid at your own risk.

Mages – Apparently the hardest class in wow to play well in Warcraft. I asked them. There are three types and many sub-types, but all you need to remember is that they can supply a buff and food, although both are rare. Arguments about specs is what keeps the Mage community flowing, and if you want to distract one then either get the Hunter to MD the boss to them before the pull and blame them, or tell them that an alt spec is superior and they need to re-work their toon. Typically awesome dps, and the class colour (blue for the cheap seats) looks wonderful in screenshots which is really all we need to know.

Monks – sorry what? I killed heaps of these things in SM over the years, and yet they keep persisting. As a class they will be uber powerful at everything they try, and will become the new DKs for MoP. This means they will stay awesome through they first two tiers of raiding until we’re meant to get serious about it, then they’ll be nurfed harder than Paladins on patch day and all the Monks will consider rolling back to their paladins. As they are new just assume that every monk can do all things, and yell when they can’t read your mind…you know, like Druids.

Paladins – Almost the definitive hybrid class, as they wear plate so they are less girly than other hybrid classes, but still somehow wear dresses. And no, it’s a dress not a kilt. They are made up of confused Priests which heal, confused Warriors who tank, and confused DKs who stand behind the boss and whine about moving out of the bad. Take one of the first two types to your raid. With the update to buffs we’ll likely see some really cool transmog sets and “roleplaying” in the Deeprun Tram, but very little real Paladins in raids.

Priests – the best healing class in the game with Holy, and the best animation in Shadowform. Shadow pets, shadow powers, shadow spells; see a pattern? A Shadow Priest is just emo enough to compete well with a Warlock, but not enough to re-roll DK. Way too squishy, so smack them first if you have to kill one in a team. Their most irritating feature is that their class colour is white, which makes pasting class notes from websites a two step process (one more step than they deserve). I’m sure there is a petition out there somewhere to make the class colour charcoal, so the SPr will be happy. Oh and I didn’t mention Disc spec as if you do they don’t shut the hell up. Sheesh. Put them on mute.

Rogues – Until the release of the legendary item in late Cataclysm the Rogues had gone on strike and refused to attend raids, generally being replaced by Death Knights and confused Shamans in melee. Maybe they were stealthed? If you like being sneaky and standing behind people then you will like the Rogue class and are also probably a creepy little sod. Who likes that? Makes my skin crawl. They are known for very effective stuns in pvp and for bringing nothing to the raid; ever.

Shaman – Totems are still awesome, and very confusing to non-shamans. Just assume that whatever buff, effect, or spell you need can be supplied by a Shaman and tap them on the head until you get it. Take one along, at worst they have a self res so you can wipe faster the next time. Spec wise they have more choices that is fair given they were a novelty idea in the original beta which was taken too seriously by some horde and would not shut up. Sometimes confused for Mages in screenshots and damage meters; if you see a blue bar that is doing less dps its a Shaman.

Warlocks – Incredible lore and bloody incredible emo whiners. Now I wouldn’t mean to offend, but Warlocks are just so easy to pick on that it is a shame not to. Ask a Warlock what happened post TBC to the class then walk away from the phone. In MoP they have been tweaked and buffed, primarily by updating some animations and spell effects. Very important stuff. Also voted most likely to re-roll Mage when they realise that Warlock rotations are god-awful complex, and Mages have a UI with two buttons. Oh, and they get the succubus pet which has two roles: dps and fap-fap-fap.

Warriors – A Warrior Tank is a god amongst insects in the tanking community. First and last the Warrior will stand with you through every wipe and res, until finally they crack the absolute shits and tell everyone how to play. Often they are right too, as they’ve watched the mistakes so often. A tank’s role is to stand still or walk slowly backward, and the dps try to spin in circles and roll Need on every two handed weapon in the game. They are a simple class for a simpler time, before DKs, Monks, and all the other pixel based distractions which is not old school raids. A Warrior will always be able to complete the sentence, “back in my day…”.

So yes, essentially I am unburdened by too much class knowledge. Enjoy the patch today.

Druid stag dance reviled


When somebody asks why content seems missing in Mists, or a quest is a little rough, which I know somebody will as the community is a ravishing beast with an endless appetite; the Pokemon game and silly farmville phase will pale into insignificance compared with giving the Druid Stag Travel form it’s own dance. Seriously.

But hey – congrats Druids, you get an additional small feature.

Compelling talents, real choices, and diversity.

Stubborn at the Dead Good Tanking Guide posted a great response to the request for class feedback. What impressed me the most was the comment:

Compelling talent choices not on offer elsewhere, mobility other melee dream about and unique utility that can change the face of an encounter.

Oh hell, he said it so bloody well.

To me this mean keeping the play styles of the tanks different. Keep each tank type as different and we’ll see choices again. Those choices might might one class better than others for specific encounters, but overall we’ll have an interesting diversity. The same can be applied to Heals and Dps too. Choice empowers and supports class selection, where limiting controls prohibit it.

That does not mean that classes should not have some parity in abilities though. We do not want a scenario where a single Tank class is so much better (unless its the dks -joke!). Each tank class should have principally the same set of core controls, but the implementation of those controls can be different.

Think of it as the difference between a Requirement and and Solution. The Requirement is a statement of need, typically based upon on a set of broad goals. The solution is the specific method whereby that need will be satisfied.

In Stubborn’s example there is a goal to provide competitive dps, a requirement to allow Warriors to move through the battlefield efficiently, and a requirement to maintain the movement style of the Warrior class. The solution is to grant Warriors a set of abilities and talents that have them charge and leap amongst the melee. That is a key part of the feel of the Warrior way. Some other classes also have charge abilities, or leap abilities, but not all by a long way.

Paladins by example seem to call opponents to them. The Avengers Shield, Consecrate, and such play like a more stoic class. They might be “slower”, but that could also be seen as less “jittery” as well. Your mileage will vary.

Bears have a range of abilities that imitate many of the Warrior abilities, although they have a sub-set that is slightly better suited to AoE. Death Knights are again different, and that is excellent. I’d hate to see Warriors get a Death Grip style ability, and likewise it would not make sense.

Now that my third Tank is level 85 I’m seeing enforcement of my previous opinion that each is totally viable and very different. They all have taunts, AoE capacity, facing issues, movement considerations, cooldowns, resource shortages, and special tricks. Each is pretty darn good at a base level, yet diverse.

I’d like to see an expansion in the diversity, so that the choice of what to do and play remains (or returns to) a valid and powerful choice.

Happy gaming.

Alternate display of gear on Druid forms?

Seems a big ask, but I’d be keen to see what could be done to make the druid forms more mutable. The idea (which has been blundered around the forums for years) would be so that the armour and weapon selections that are made are somehow reflected on the models.

At the moment some of the models have small items of jewelry but nothing that would distinguish one cat from another. Could the models be altered to change to show a shoulder, helm, and cloak affect?

This would not have to mean adding a skullcap to a cat (because that could look darn silly), but instead we could see changes to the models to reflect the gear – akin to seeing a naked bear turning into an armoured war bear. Boomkin and Tree forms could still show cloaks, and maybe shoulders, and cats and bears could easily show different collars, etc.

It would have also been an alternate solution to the tree form being removed; if the tree would actually be somewhat customised.

Finally the Lich King falls

Finally last night I got the Lich King kill on a guild in ICC10 last night. Very happy to have done it, and very pleased that it was on my Death Knight.

I’d happily be next LK

We went through a slow steady change in strategy, which tweaked the raid composition for the successful attempt to include a Death Knight and Warrior tank, instead of Paladin and Warrior combination. We also had some folks who were newer to the fight that others, and while I didn’t rate myself as having no knowledge of how to execute the kill; there is nothing like success to solidify the feeling that we were getting it right.

A big thanks to the guild Insidious, the raid team members who fought tooth and nail to get it done first, and particular thanks to our gm for having so many darn useful toons that made switching roles easy.

Also to our resident shadow priest for doing such a great job on the spirits in phase 3. Ram and Nesty – first round is on me; in fact I’d happily buy a drink for the entire guild.

This marks the completion for me on all the normal 10 man content in the game; and as such it feels exactly as I expected. There is a feeling of a hard victory won, a sense of completion, and also a sense that there needs to be some follow-up achievements to reinforce that it was no fluke. The pull to do it again is very strong, so strong if fact that I would consider working very hard to have this achievement on a few characters, or at least get some good items from the LK on any character. The two handed mace that drops is very healthy for either my DK’s roles, the either staff is a very nice feral or caster option, and if I get lucky and can bring my boomkin into a successful run, then that would be excellent too.

Like our raid leader and a few other players, I have more than one character that I play regularly, and have no fear of switching them around to suit the composition of the raid. Often that meant I was playing as a Druid-boomkin recently, although for some reason (probably due to subtle pressure from me) I was able to keep my Death Knight in the group in last night’s run. I think I play the DK better overall, but am getting ok at the boomkin now too. The difference in dps output is related more to gear and the suitability of the class mechanics to the fight. Boomers are darn solid when aoe is needed, but lack flexibility for fights with single target dps that needs to switch often. I found a similar problem when playing an affliction warlock in TBC years ago. The ghost/spirits in phase 3 of the lich king fight would be very easy for a boomkin to kill, particularly due to Starfall, and the fact I always keep the knockback on Typhoon.

Enough joyous rambling for now – happy killing everyone. Ahem…woot.

Onyxia Dead (again)

Due to some nudging and lucky timing, and odd outcomes from rolls – I was able to complete the Onyxia head quest, and gain not only that quest, but a handy upgrade in gear.

The Onyxia lore is something that I have a deep respect for, and can not wait for a revival when the next expansion hits. It would make sense if she was undead though, as she’s been killed twice now.

Quendalon in front of Stormwind and Onyxia head

Onyxia never looked better, deep breath be damned.