The 2011 Character Review

I’m probably a few days late on this post, but I thought I’d do a summary of how my characters performed and how their journey was in 2011.  As Cataclysm was released just before 2011, it was interesting to see how they adapted to the changes and how they did.  So without further ado…

Rossini
Rossini hit level 85 a week or two into 2011.  As a member of a successful raiding group in late LK, Rossini was a priority so that I could hit raiding in Cataclysm.  However, it was evident that it wasn’t going to happen.  I was severely lagging behind everyone else and hadn’t done any heroics.  It was clear Rossini was not going to be an early Cataclysm raider.  Also, pushing hard to level is not my style, and soon after 85, Rossini was burned out.  He maxed out professions pretty quickly, but heroics and dungeons burned him out and unfortunately I would soon avoid logging in on him.  Warlock isn’t my ideal class anyways.  He did however sub in for raiding and got Nefarian, Cho’gall, and Al’akir killed.  This was about where his play time ended.  Other than holidays and disenchanting things, Rossini’s highlights ended around the time Firelands was released.

Elgar
With the addition of archaeology and a desire to avoid leveling zones shortly after expansions, Elgar leveled to 85 using archaeology XP.  This was bad as he didn’t have any gear, but through questing he got to the point where he was “up to speed”.  Keeping disc as a primary spec, he eventually tried his hand at healing.  The first dungeon was a disaster and depressed and scared Elgar then relied on shadow for nearly all activities after that.  I dislike shadow, but wasn’t left with much choice.  Elgar leveled his professions, but then too, was shelved due to general dislike of the condition of priests.  With Firelands, gear was a little easier to obtain, and Elgar went to a non-smite spec.  This changed everything, healing was feasible for him again and soon heroics were no challenge.  As a result, Elgar ended 2011 as a confident healer and with the highest gear score of any of my toons!  Elgar also is rocking his transmogrified priest T5.  He’s again a favorite toon.  I will always have a place for the priest class.

Troutwort and Schubert
These two had about the same story, leveling up, geared enough to do heroics, struggled with crafting professions (Trout is still not max level) and didn’t see much play time.  They still have a long way to go, but nothing bad about either one.  Trout is better for DPS than Schubert because I keep Schubert as frost…and though I love that little gnome, I know my refusal to make him “spec of the patch” will keep me limited.  Nothing special for either one in 2011.

Sousa
Sousa had the biggest changes, though Elgar was spooked away from healing, Sousa thought to give it a shot.  Leveling as enhancement, his “primary” spec, I collected healing gear as it became available from quests and from extras in dungeons.  After collecting enough gear, I started to heal normals to get a feel for it.  I still remember having a heal crit for 52k in my crappy gear and just about falling over dead.  Elgar couldn’t pull off numbers like that!  Then 76k heals from Sousa and I had found my healer.  Sousa quickly became the toon I felt most confident on.  Sousa had a good run, heroics, keeping up with both resto and enhance gear, I grew to really love the shaman.  I did 6/7 in Firelands with Sousa thanks to the great guild group, and had some good luck on mounts with him.  Only once Elgar got more confidence did Sousa lose his place as the favorite/most geared toon.

Sibelius
The druid is a similar story to Troutwort and Schubert, though his professions struggled even more, as I had a max level enchanter, making it to max for enchanting hasn’t been a priority.  Boomkin spec was okay, but for DPS casting, I like the mage better, and though he regained a healing spec, I still don’t care for the HoT-style healing of the druid.  It’s not my style.  Though he hit level 85, Sibelius cannot do heroics and is least accomplished of the level 85s.

Floy
The little gnome DK was a project to push to 85 once I realized all we were missing for the Classy Gnome achievement is a gnome DK.  However, after hitting level 80, Grom hit level 85 on his gnome DK and so she stopped being a project.  She did get her blacksmithing up to 450 which puts her ready to tackle Cataclysm.

Haydn
The dwarf rogue made a push with Cataclysm.  As a way to see lower level zones, Haydn spent much time pushing through zones.  Hitting 2011 around level 35 or so, he ended 2011 at level 70.  He’s a fun diversion from the normal and I found that I did enjoy the rogue more than I thought I would.  New quests probably really helped.  Now that they have nerfed XP required for levels 70 to 80 he might get a little play time, I don’t care for Northrend much anymore, so it’s harder for me to level there than in Outlands…I know, I’m the only one that feels this way.

Mouret
2011 was a HUGE year for the worgen warrior Mouret, mostly because he didn’t exist in 2010.  Ha!  Another class that I always struggled to get into, the new leveling experience and having a hunter friend to level with made the warrior far more tolerable and he wins for most levels earned in 2011, going from level 1 to level 53.  Only slowed by waiting to play with my friend, he’s been a huge success and a good experience to see other things.  In 2012, he’ll try some tanking.

Kalinnikov
Last and least: the dwarf paladin.  The last play time in 2011, less than low level alts on another account I have.  Kalinnikov gained 0 levels in 2011.  Still stuck at level 80, he hasn’t seen any of the new zones.  I should run some of the quests and then get him into some dungeons and learn to tank again, but it hasn’t happened.  I have my toons organized by what level they are…I fear that poor Kalinnikov will one day, be last on the list.  I’m sorry Repgrind, I do not have the enthusiasm to level paladins like you do.

So that’s the summary!  It was a busy year and yet, I feel like 2011 in WoW didn’t accomplish much.  Since patch 4.3 my play time has increased and again I feel interested in WoW.  I’m looking forward to MoP and feel that for me, now, it’s just a matter of getting everyone ready for that point.  The guild changed a bit in 2011 too and though we hit Level 25 pretty close to as soon as we could, we lost some good people, that I will miss, to groups that raided more.  However, the spirit of Crits and Giggles has not changed, we picked up some awesome new players and I look forward to experiencing more and more of the game with them.

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The 4.1

Okay, so today is probably the patch, I am limited to what I can view from work, so I just assume it is going to happen and/or is happening.

I am not going to comment on every little update, but I thought I’d comment on some of the changes that will most directly impact me. 

Elgar – Priest
Elgar is interested in a few things this patch, and number 1 is the additions to Archaeology.  Seven new rare items have been added to the game and there is also less of a chance of getting a dig site for a race you already have all the rares for.  Which means no more endlessly digging up fossils for nothing.  Though they added more fossil rares, so still…fossils.  He he.

None of the changes to the priest class are all that glorious for disc priests, they made it so that you can only remove magic from yourself, but absolution that both disc and holy get make it operate as normal again, so it really only affects shadow priests ability to cleanse others.  Holy Fire now works with Evangelism (yay), nothing big there.  Durations of PW:Shield was reduced to 15 seconds, but Divine Aegis goes up to 15 seconds.  I’m not sure how I feel about this.  There have been times where PW:Shield did last more than 15 seconds, but they are really making it somewhat of an “Oh shit!” button to absorb rather than before where I really felt it was preventative.  We’ll see how this works out…less chaining of shields that is for sure…so I’m not REALLY thrilled about it.

Rossini – Warlock
Dark Intent kinda gets a nerf when placed on other damage dealers but still has the same effect on healers…but really you should have been putting it on your Resto druids anyways.  Seed of Corruption and Rain of Fire have more damage, which is on par with most AOE getting a buff. 

The big change is that Soulstone is a battle rez now, which has pros and cons.  The pro is I don’t have to worry about if it just fell off during a boss fight, but the con is that I have to remember I have a battle rez now if someone drops during combat.  Also we can’t count on it for quick wipe recovery.  I will have to see how this works, I’m not sure I fully understand it.

No real changes to demonology.

Schubert – Mage
Schubert is frost spec primarily, though he has a fire spec too.  So Frostbolt, which is his main spell, getting a 10% damage increase is awesome.  AOE damage from Blizzard is also increased which will be nice too since it basically does like no damage now.  Ha!  Ice lance is getting a nice buff too when used with Fingers of Frost which happens quite a bit if Deep Freeze is on cooldown.

Frost Armor is redesigned and is kinda interesting at least for PvP, it has a slowing effect for attack speed and now works on ranged attacks, I assume this means hunters.  So that must be to counter hunters, who I think already hate frost mages, in PvP.  It will also grant mana regen if glyphed, so for long fights switching armor types during movement phases will help regen mana too.  Good times!

Haydn – Rogue
I only use Haydn occasionally as he’s level 61 and working through Outlands, but he’s spec’d subtlety and so being in stealth is critical.  So the changes to stealth in this patch seem awesome.  First, the cooldown of stealth was reduced from 10 to 4 seconds.  This means when you’re out questing there is no downtime between mobs.  I know it seems like there shouldn’t be, but most combat times take about 4 seconds with a subtlety rogue.  Secondly, the cooldown is reduced by the subtlety tree even further, so there is NO cooldown on stealth. 

Now you see me, now you don’t!

Also, the talent that reduces the cooldown on stealth also increases the stealth movement speed.  I will actually walk/run faster when stealthed, than normal!  CRAZY, but awesome.  I’m excited about that.

And lastly…

Troutwort – Hunter
A few big changes for all hunters:

1)  Tamed pets now match your level – yay!
2)  Happiness system is gone, no more feeding pets – double yay!
3)  Glyph of Mend Pet (that used to give happiness) now makes your pet bigger smaller – okay, not so excited, but I get it.  I will have to get rid of this, I like big pets.

So those things are just kinda novelty things, but makes pet management and taming a little bit nicer for all of those that like to have a variety of pets. 

And that is my little summary.  I guess there’s some new dungeons or something, but meh.  Account bound items are now battle.net bound which is fun for alts on different servers and such.  Yay!  Also there is a new guild recruiting system, I’ll have to set that up tonight too.  We have a pretty attractive guild (I mean good-looking) so naturally people want to join us.  😉

Happy Tuesday!

Alternative Weekend

It was as usual a busy weekend for me out of game, birthday parties, community band concerts, and taxes.  Ha! 

But I did get some play time in, but wasn’t feeling up to level 85 shenanigans so I played around on a bunch of lower level alts.  The way that you gain levels these days is pretty inspiring for those low-level toons, there’s still excitement when you might learn a new spell the next level! 

So I played on the dwarf warlock that I rolled a while back in hope that one day he might be the dwarf warlock we need for the Classy Dwarves achievement.  But at this rate…  Anyways, he was level 11 or so and so I did some more dungeons and then was alerted that BGs are now in groups of 5 instead of 10.  Hmm… what the heck, I’ll do some level 14 PvP.  So I took my felguard and away we went.  It was crazy fun.  My group was pretty horrible compared to the level 14s on the other side, we had mostly 10 and 11.  Grrr…but I got some achievements and did mucho damage and got quite a few honor points and killing blows.  After I realized we had no chance in hell to win WSG I just starting running around DoTing everything for the HKs.  Yes friends, I was the dude in the middle just causing trouble.  Isn’t that what dwarves are for?

So I think that was Friday night?  Or did I play on the Rogue?  I can’t remember.  But at some point too I played on the rogue and got him to level 60…I’m not even sure if that was this weekend.  So he’s sitting in Outlands now ready to level up.  I finished up Blasted Lands and dinged 60 before even heading out there.  I had intended to do some PvP with him too, but now it’s 60-64 so I’ll wait a few levels.

Saturday I did a dungeon on the mage (normal) and the queue was only 6 minutes for DPS Saturday morning.  That is one thing I have noticed is that the queue times for normal dungeons are far less than heroic, which seems odd but maybe not?  Either way, a quick run and done.  Schubert is best at single target as AOE on frost pretty much doesn’t exist.  I should I suppose use his fire spec for trash and then switch to frost for bosses, but I don’t think the tanks would wait for me.

Sometime over the last couple days too I rolled a Tauren priest.  I have a few horde toons, none of them over level 33 that I mostly use just to harass people with.  I named him Alfalfa which I was surprised was not taken!  I’m going to maybe level him as holy to try that.  But again, probably won’t get much play.

I also played on my DK a lot this weekend.  Several dungeons and many quests in attempt to get to 75 because then I could train her blacksmithing.  It is odd that she is my only female toon (created by the kid I mentor) but her big pink pigtails are sorta fun.  She does okay though I am pretty sure I am doing DK all wrong.  At least I realized with Festering Strike I don’t need to reapply disease.  I’ll figure it out one day.  I have also bene collecting tank gear and now that she’s 75 might get a blood spec and try tanking.  I had tanked the LK dungeons on the paladin starting around 74 so it might be worth a shot.  Besides, Floy was blood DPS before they made it the tank tree.

Also, the best part of the weekend was when the guild hit level 25!!  I am so proud of everyone who worked so hard and the last few levels really owe a big thanks to the raiders who contributed so much XP.  It was pretty awesome to see that achievement and then hear of those having a lion parade!  I could not join as I, though the GM, have no toons exalted with my own guild.  Such is the life of the crazed altoholic.  I think that my warlock might be revered, but that’s it.  I guess I should work on that.  I think logging in earlier in the evening instead of my 8 or 9pm usual log in would really help get me some guild groups!  Ha!

Anyways, my guess it I’ll be focusing on the alts again this week, there are too many of them…but each time I choose a new one it’s sort of like playing a new game, even if the quests are the same.

CONGRATS again to the guild as a whole for Level 25!!  I am so amazed at what we’ve accomplished and feel lucky to have such an awesome group of people!

Drain Life

Sometimes all you need is a warlock.  Sometimes you need more.

I had this awesome post written about The Balance of Nature and how WoW sometimes bugs me because the laws of nature aren’t really being followed, the biologist in me is sometimes really bothered by these things when I play the game.  But I’ll post on that later, WordPress ate most of my awesome post.

Anyways, back to the real quick story about how sometimes you only need a warlock!  I’ve been doing heroics on my Warlock and it’s been going okay, I’m still mostly in the same gear, I think I got maybe 2 upgrades–no cloth ever.  But that’s okay, the points are worth it.  So last night it was Throne of Tides.  Good, I’ve been there, no trouble, we’ll be fine.  And it was pretty smooth, adds were CC’d appropriately, DPS was fine, good times.  But we get to the final battle and we’re in phase 2 killing the suppressors and there are blood beast things and for whatever reason the tank dies, then the healer, and we down the last suppressor going into final burn phase with just me and the hunter.  I pop demon form and immolation aura to burn the final blood beasts and they die quickly, then pew pew on the boss.  The hunter dies because we have no healer, so I DoT and drain life on our way to victory.  It was awesome.  Someone said that Neptulon was going to die, maybe he did, but we still completed the instance, got our prizes and left.  Now granted, that’s the slow way to do it and I’ve never used drain life so much before, but it was awesome.

And that was my fun adventure for the evening!  I also dinged out two more levels on the rogue who has been questing in Blasted Lands and is now 57.  I might finish out the zone before heading to Outlands, we’ll see.  I might also do some PvP once I hit 58 and get Cloak of Shadows.  Now I just have to figure out how to stunlock people like those sneaky-sneaks always did to me!

Happy Wednesday!

Moar Moonfire and WPL

After a couple Kalu’ak dailies with Elgar (I know, he should have done them ages ago), I logged into the Rogue again to see more of the refurbished zones.  I was back in WPL after some quick PvP, hitting level 40, and picking up fast riding. 

Okay, more spoilers…so I continue on my way, more phasing in Andorhal as I help Thassarian (close enough) deal with the remaining scourge and the Forsaken in the area.  Then a short video cut away?!?!  Awesome!  Oh no!  Val’kyr?!?  In WPL?!?!  I slay some and am on my way!  It was pretty awesome!  But I was more excited to get back to my little friend, the troll druid Zen’Kiki.  So Zen and I are supposed to go shoot down some diseased hawks.  He pulls them out of the sky, and then I chop them up.  In between pulls, he’s up to more of his usual antics of moonfire spamming himself or turning himself into aquatic form.  We continue on to save some bears and disrupt some cultists.  He’s a little more helpful, but still cracking me up.  He told me he was gonna learn how to heal if we did a good job. 

After finishing up that round of quests, I headed up to the lumber mill.  I few more Argent quests up there involving taking out some gnolls and rabid fox!  It’s the first time I saw the fox in the game and they are pretty cute, but they had a 20% dodge buff which made them annoying to kill…for a melee anyways.  There was a quest that I picked up and didn’t really read that showed on my quest log as 0/25 spiders…  so I go kill one, and it doesn’t show up as 1/25.  I look closer, oh, 0/25 spiders frightened.  So I hop on a horse which proceeds to scare all the little spiders away, easy enough.  The next quest is to scare 10 spiders back to the mill so that they can be killed by the guards.  Okay, this is the ONLY quest I didn’t like in WPL.  It was clunky, because you basically had to do one spider at a time.  I tried doing a couple, but they didn’t scatter in the same direction, so it made it a little more challenging.  It was okay, but really was the slowest part of the whole zone.  I’ve never been a fan of vehicle quests anyways. 

Finished up the quests there and then off to Hearthglen.  The area is dramatically changed and instead of being full of elites, it’s now taken over by the Argent Crusade and our good old friend Highlord Tirion is up there.  So I run around doing some quests for them, taking out some gnolls and such, and before I know it, I’m Friendly with the Argent Crusade!  That seems really weird to me.  But I’m not going to complain about it.  I continued to do some quests for them and there’s one Cauldron quest left at Gahrrons Withering or however you spell it, and there I picked up an old painting and a book as memorabilia for Gahrron himself who is now part of the Argent Crusade.  That was kinda cool.  Then I basically had the quests to carry me into EPL and was already halfway through level 42. 

The whole questing experience is far more awesome now.  I don’t feel like oh, well I’m out of quests here, I guess I’ll fly down to another zone and finish up there.  They have done a nice job of making smooth flow between the quests and zones.  Again I applaud Blizz.  With WPL done and loving that whole zone, I will DEFINITELY repeat that, I will head over to EPL and see what things they have to offer me.  I’m curious to see if the Argent Dawn is out there or not.  It appears they are still a faction, but since WPL was all Argent Crusade rep, I’m not sure what to expect in EPL.  We’ll find out tonight with more adventures in Rogue and hopefully some special troll druids to help me out there too.  I would love to see Zen’Kiki appear somewhere else later in the game.

Rogue and Special Druid

First off, I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving.  I headed further north to the even colder land we call Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Brr.  As I trekked north, snow started to appear by the sides of the road and it went from looking like Borean Tundra to Dragonblight.  But good times were had with the family and many, many hours LAN party with the brothers playing Warcraft III.  It was a good time and we found that diversity between our races gave everyone the bests buffs we could.  Also the strategy was basically make the most of our resources while forcing the Computer players out of gold.  That strategy seemed to work.  We could not defeat a Computer (Insane) however.  They just are too efficient at multitasking to make up for our slowness.

When I finally got home Sunday, I was able to fire up WoW for a little bit before bed.  I did a few dailies and the transmute on my priest, then decided to see some new zones and logged over to the Rogue.  He originally was the guild bank toon, but I gave him a name change and now does pretty well.  Besides, who doesn’t love a dwarf rogue?  His “Call to Arms” from Stormwind suggested that he head over to Western Plaguelands.  So I hopped a flight to Arathi, ran through the new cave to Hinterlands, grabbed a FP, then headed through the more clearly marked mountain pass to WPL. 

POTENTIAL SPOILERS:  The new zone looks amazing!  I quickly got to work on some quests which started me off and as I was doing some quests, I noted there was use of phasing in the zone as I helped Thassurassianssianurian (I can’t remember his name, all I could think the whole time was “Larisa!”) beat back some Scourge remaining in Andorhal, defeating both Rattlegore and oh crap, the big Lich dude (wow, I apologize for not knowing the names of people).  Soon I was sent over to the Cenariun Circle little camp.  This part was my favorite.  I got a few quests to get some parts of animals and help a druid in training kill them.  This troll druid is….special.  Like short bus special, but it was hilarious!!  He’d turn himself into aquatic form on land and flail around asking for help.  Then he’s turn into a cat and pounce around saying things like “Pounce!” and “Leap!” while his turquoise furred body leap around all crazy.  The best though, is when he would turn into a boomkin and moonfire spam…on himself.  He’d yell out about using the power of the moon and then say help it burns like the moon and would just keep doing it.  I was laughing at him.  It was awesome.  I love silly NPCs, this guys antics reminded me of the guys out in Sholazar. 

At that point I needed to call it a night despite an offer from a guild member to run me through the new Scholomance to hopes of getting some of the new low level dungeon set, which actually looked awesome!  It was time for bed though, maybe tonight.  Though I’m trying to stay out of dungeons so that I can see more quests. 

I’ll finish up the rest of those quests tonight and see more of the zone, including more quests with the “special” druid.  He cracks me up.  I’ll probably easily break into the 40s then.  He started out at level 36 last night and ended up at 39!  It almost went too fast!  More plagueland spoilers tomorrow, but if you haven’t experienced it yet, I do again recommend this zone!  Though I have a feeling that basically any zone I’d play right now would get a recommendation.