Head of the Class

I few weeks back I noticed something when I was doing some low level dungeons.  I was playing this mid 20s level hunter that a friend created to break up the monotony of the level 85s.  I did several dungeons with all different class make-ups.  I was consistently topping the damage meters but didn’t think much of it because people are different levels and things aren’t terribly balanced at low levels. 

But I think we were in Blackfathom Depths when I noticed something different.  I don’t remember the classes of the others in there, but I remember there was another hunter.  I didn’t check what spec he was, but I quickly turned on the damage meters and watched as we played.  I soon found myself paying pretty close attention to the damage meters, which I have sworn to hate so many times before, to make sure that I was doing more damage than the other hunter.  I was, by a lot.  But on every fight, trash or not, I wanted to make sure that, if I beat no one else, I beat that hunter. 

I didn’t have this sense of competition with other DPS, just other hunters.  There was something inside me that wanted to prove my value.  So I tried harder when there were other hunters around.  After thinking about it for a bit, I recalled feeling the same for healing.  When I would heal more raids (back in BC, sometimes LK) I would push myself to do more effective healing than the other healers.  This validated me and my ability to heal.  The challenge was against me…can I push myself further for the group and for me?  I remember being told I couldn’t tank heal because I wasn’t good enough geared for Mag’s Lair.  I was determined to prove them wrong!!  I popped potions, watched 5 second rule, I played my little heart out and healed like there was no tomorrow.  In the end, the tank healer went down and I stepped up and outlasted other priests better geared than me who had since started tanking the floor.  That was a great moment for me because even without bragging about it to the raid, I knew that it was my playing that helped us succeed, the raid leads probably didn’t notice, but I knew I had made a significant difference and probably because I was out to prove them wrong.   

I think a lot of this happens subconsciously.  There will be some sort of challenge and my natural competitiveness takes over without even thinking about it.  And I try harder than ever.  I wonder if others feel this way?

Coming soon:  Exploring the idea of in-game goals and motivations!

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I’m Doing It Wrong!

As previously mentioned, I’m going on my first Cata raid tonight.  Since I found this out on Tuesday or Wednesday, I have been working to get the warlock prepared.  Doing more dungeons than I might normally, making sure my gear is best it can be, ensuring I have everything I’ll need, finishing up TB, I’ll hit exalted tonight before the raid and get my Stump of Time.  I should also get enough VP to get my T11 pants–just in time.  I’m cutting it close!

I also took some time to read up on Demonology a little further just to make sure everything I knew is still current.  It is not!

I’ve been doing it wrong!!

Okay, so I always thought I should bring the Felguard, they give it to you, only demonology locks have it, it seems like a no brainer!  But this is not true!  The Felguard is amazing for AOE situations, but if you’re looking at single target it turns out the Felhunter is better.  I try it out–wut is dis?  The Felhunter crit for 38k??  Okay, so single target means Felhunter.  This means lots more pet swapping.  I did a dungeon and posted better numbers than usual.  Okay, so now I got the pet thing figured out.  Shaatom is going to be sad, but Thoofun has never been happier.  Though Thoofun doesn’t roll of the tongue like Shaatom. 

I looked at stat priority.  Intellect is the primary stat.  For the secondary, hit trumps all to 17%, then I always thought haste = crit = mastery.  But I guess there’s a preference for haste > mastery > crit.  This is because since demonology doesn’t have any “signature” spells, we spend lots of time on castable filler spells, like Incinerate or Shadowbolt.  Haste is good for these spells.  I reforged what seemed like a lot of crit into haste and brought my haste up about 3% and dropped my crit less than 2%.  That seemed like a fair trade. 

Finally I looked at spell rotation for demonology.  It seems it was pretty much the same as I thought it was.  Curse of Elements, Bane of Doom, Immolate, Hand of Gul’dan, Corruption, Shadowflame and then filler Incinerate or Shadowbolt.  I had always been filling with Shadowbolts.  But after looking at my recount a bit I noticed that they hit and crit for roughly the same amount of damage.  But Incinerate has a cast time of 1.98 seconds and Shadowbolt has a cast time of 2.26 seconds.  I head over to the target dummy and try it out.  Basically keeping the DoTs the same, I do a minute of testing using only Incinerate and a minute doing only Shadowbolt for filler (except for molten core procs).  It turns out that the Incinerate does 200 to 300 more DPS if I just use that.  Interesting.  I do some more testing and confirm that for me, Incinerate is doing more damage.  Shadowbolt therefore gets dumped to a lower priority–basically, no priority.  I’ll double-check the talents I have tonight, but I’m pretty sure there isn’t anything that is specifically for Shadowbolt.  The 5% spell crit debuff is applied with either Incinerate or Shadowbolt, so that doesn’t matter.  I did both rotations without Shadowflame.  Shadowflame is the cone AOE DoT that warlocks have, you need to be in melee range for it to really be effective.  It is very powerful if you’re in melee.  However, since many fights you are not, it really doesn’t become part of the rotation.  Though if possible, it is advantageous for a Demonology warlock to stand in melee–so you can use Shadowflame as well as Immolation Aura from Metamorphosis. 

Anyways, I learned a lot and hopefully this will improve some of my numbers.  The changes weren’t really all that big:  change of pet for single target, and use Incinerate instead of Shadowbolt.  Not really all that critical, but hopefully these little tweeks will help me pull more of my share tonight when we kill Nefarian.

Edit:  I shouldn’t say Incinerate always takes priority over Shadowbolt.  As Incinerate only does damage equal to Shadowbolt only if Immolate is on the target, Shadowbolt would be used for targets where they will die quickly enough to not put up Immolate as well – rare, but it might happen.

Sousa, The Thunderer

In the spirit of the 4th of July, and the great American composer, John Philip Sousa, I will celebrate this week by playing WoW almost exclusively as Sousa, while listening to his marches (maybe).  Besides, the Thunderer march seems totally appropriate for shaman.  It just happened to work out that way.  Just like how Haydn’s Surprise Symphony was ironically appropriate for the rogue.  Had I planned more appropriately, Elgar should have been a hunter for his work called Nimrod–part of the Enigma Variations.  But I digress…as usual.

So Sousa the shaman has been and continues to get much attention lately.  I don’t see this changing in the future.  I have raved about how much I have been enjoying him.  Last night I did another HoO…this place is the Cataclysm equivalent of the HoL to me.  I hate it.  Hate it.  I don’t know what it is, I just don’t like HoO…and yet it is the dungeon I get the most!  WTF?!?  What did I do to deserve this?!?!  So Sousa is in another HoO and getting no upgrades as usual.  Finally a ring drops.  He replaced his 288 ring with this 333 and bam, he’s heroic ready!  Pulling about 11k DPS I do feel confident to hold my own in a heroic.  So I’ll start doing some of those.

I’m hoping to score some Resto gear that no one wants as well.  I haven’t tried healing anything just yet as his set is pretty week, but hopefully I’ll get some scraps from heroics to beef up his set so I can try healing some normals.  I will say this, I do feel really excited about playing the shaman and improving his gear, something that I haven’t felt in a long time.  I still won’t say I have a main, but I will say I have a class I am enjoying the most.

Posted in DPS, Shaman. 4 Comments »

Tearing It Up!

Sousa the shaman has hit 85!  Yay!  That makes #4, with two others at 83.

Playing the shaman is great fun, it’s really a class I can get into because it has everything I like in one of the three specs.  Though I have been doing enhancement for a long time now.  Enhancement is great fun and, as I previously posted, has such versatility that I feel unstoppable…well except for that quest in Uldum, where I forgot to use my cloaking device and the elites killed me.

Anyways, I finished up questing and did a few dungeons along the way.  My DPS was very solid in the 8-9k range however on some boss fights I could get it up to 11 or 12, which isn’t too bad for a level 84 with crappy weapons.  I felt completely confident in Stonecore and Vortex Pinnacle to solo and lock out casters which were “lose”.  Interrupting the major spells and using the wolves to keep myself healed, I would toss everything I had at them to keep them off the healer and still able to maintain my own heals so as to not have the healer feel they needed to heal 2 tanks.  I still have to figure out Stonecore on that one boss with the reflect…I don’t get it as melee. 

But everything else was awesome.  And I would top the meters in most my dungeons and in one did 38% of all the damage for the instance, which impressed me since I sometimes feel like I’m just mashing buttons, but apparently, I’m doing something right!

So now that he’s 85, I would like to focus on him some more, getting gear and such, I’m really having fun with him, so I had been collecting all sorts of gear from questing along the way and got myself a healing spec.  I sorta set up my cast bars and hope it works out, the spells seem really great and hopefully I’ll be able to get the hang of it.  It doesn’t seem too bad actually.  And it looks like maybe I picked up the correct talents when compared to other shaman around Stormwind…I noticed one inconsistency, but I’m not sure how critical it is.  But I might try my hand at healing now and then to get some better queues.  I’ll probably try to finish up some reputation grinds before that though.  We’ll have to see how this plays out.  I’ve heard both good and bad things about shaman healers, so we’ll see.  I figure it can’t be any worse than Disc priest!

Hopefully I’ll get a chance to try one out before this weekend.  I’m heading fishing again this weekend so sorry WoW, I’ll be back Sunday evening!

Oh!  One last thing, Troutwort finally got his Green Proto Drake from his Oracle egg.  I’ve been diligently hatching an egg since Cataclysm on Trout so it’s about time.  That makes 5 Green Proto Drakes now.  Sibelius and Kalinnikov were the only level 80s never to get one, Sib went Frenzyheart since he has druid flight form, and I just don’t even know about Kalinnikov.  Ha!

We’ve Got Spirit!

Despite taking the afternoon off yesterday, I didn’t do much WoW until later at night.  And I hopped on to check my Oracle Egg and then hopped over to Schubert to do some more questing and a dungeon.  He’s less than 20% left to 85 and finishing up his Deepholm quests.

I get in a dungeon and it’s Vortex Pinnacle.  I think, awesome, easy, quick, good times.  The group is pally tank and holy priest and then hunter, mage, and DK for DPS.  Which I actually thought was a really good combo, spells, ranged physical, melee.  Awesome.  We do the first pull and the hunter is AFK.  It seems to take forever to kill these things.  And someone says “Ghost, are you here?”  Yes he responds, I assume it’s the hunter, but as it turns out, it’s the DK.  I don’t really think anything of it until the next pull, the DK is doing 1.2k DPS.  Yes, you saw that correctly. 

Someone asks what spec he is while I quickly inspect his gear.  I mouse over the relic first and there I see it…Incription relic, with intellect.  I quickly glance at the rest of his gear: plate with intellect, plate with spirit…uh oh.  Oh, he’s also spec’d Blood also. 

Now, most groups probably would have just booted this noob and that would have been the end of it.  Someone asked how long he’s been playing, he replies “Since January, so I’m sorta new.”  SINCE JANUARY.  Now the guy is really nice, polite, isn’t cocky and when we ask to make some suggestions he’s more than willing.  Amazingly he’s already dual-specc’d so we tell him it’s better to do Unholy for DPS, he switches and immediately goes up to 4.8k DPS.  Much better.  But still could have been better yet with gear that was more appropriate. 

So I felt really bad for him, and the group was really nice to him.  I felt bad because obviously he was just going off whatever he could, he didn’t know what was best for him and why, maybe no one explained to him, maybe because he could keep surviving and leveling it never was an issue.  Maybe no one in his guild ever helped him.  So the group was great, we all offered some suggestions on what to look for, a DPS strength neck piece dropped from one of the bosses, we told him to take it and put it on replacing his intellect/spirit gear.  He was grateful and I was really proud of this PUG.  Here we were, 5 people, all different servers, none of us knew each other, and regardless that we had someone who knew little about their class, we all offered to help instead of criticizing. 

I wondered how it was for this guy.  Was he kicked out of his LFG groups by elitist jerks?  Did people say mean things to him all the time, laughing at him for being such a noob?  We might have been the best PUG he ever had because instead of making fun of his bad, we helped him.  It felt good.  The whole group felt good, because regardless of how anyone was performing, we really helped this guy out AND we still got the dungeon accomplished without deaths and some smart CC.  And noob DK really seemed to appreciate it too rather than being resistant or ignorant. 

So that’s my warm and fuzzy story for the day.  It was one of those reminders that there are still good people out there, even when faced with complete anonymity.

Pugging

Pugging isn’t for everyone.  I don’t seem to mind it and have only have two PUGs where I left group.  Two out of all those isn’t bad.  There is trouble with pugging though…lack of tanks, lack of healers, is the DPS going to be strong enough?  As a healer I’m subjected to usually many questions as people are nervous about bringing an undergeared healer.  A healer who out-gears the instance can make up for poor play by the others. 

Lately, I haven’t been terribly scrutinized based on my gear.  The trouble that I usually have with pugging is finding a tank.  If I can find a tank, we’re all set.  I have many tanks on my friends list, in fact, they are almost all tanks.  But the other night I was looking for our daily UK and couldn’t seem to find a willing tank. 

LFG

As you can see, there was plenty of DPS (although again, with the mucho melee?!?) but shortage of tanks and healers.  Eventually I usually get around to finding a group, it’s usually though after I’ve been running around doing dailies and such.  We have some coming up in the guild who enjoy tanking and hopefully locating the tank won’t be so difficult soon.

Oh, how do you like Elgar’s 1970s style porn mustache?  Good no?  😀

If I See One More Naga…

Elgar managed to knock out several more achievements the other night.  Some expected, some not.  I did work on the Sporeggar as I was already revered and so did the repeatable kill the nagas quest until I was ready to kill myself.  It’s very fast however, it’s just well…repetitive.  The reward was a double bonus though!  After gaining the Exalted achievement I ran over to buy the tabard and the pet and then earned the 50 non-combat pet achievement and my own little stinker.

Pet Achieve

One thing that I noticed hilariously was that while killing nagas, I decided to drink my Pygmy Oil and after 10 applications or so, you turn into a tiny female gnome pygmy.  I knew this would happen what I didn’t know was that it changed my gender!  Note the screenshot below, where I lose my Patron title and gain Matron!  I found it funny that my title would change because of the oil.  Now that I know this, it seems it will be handy for future fun times.

Gender

The last screenshot I have to share is just one of bragging rights.  I got invited to a group with a tank that I normally heal heroics for.  We all get in and then somebody notices two priests, me and another.  Well we don’t need two healers.  She’s holy, I’m disc.  I offer to bow out and let Troutwort tag along, but they say stay, and just holy DPS.  I’ve always read about Holy DPS theory-crafting, but I was not specced appropriately.  But I give it a shot.  My DPS was running about 1100-1200.  Not too bad for no hit gear.  LOL.  But still bad enough to suck.  The rest of the group was overpowered enough that roic UK didn’t stand a chance.  On Ingvar I go all out and look what happens! 

Boss Kill

That’s right, boss kill for Elgar.  I guess I timed it just right?  Ha ha.  Either way, made me laugh.  Smite FTW.