Server Choice

The other day at lunch I was having a discussion with one Addoe, Adoe, Ado, Adorand…whatever his name is now, and I was talking about how I was ready to transfer some of my toons on my second account over to Horde and server/account transfer them so that I can only be paying for one account every month.  Since he and his wife play on Drak’Tharon and I have a few low-level toons over there, it was assumed that I’d move over there…I know many people over there.  But said that I was going to transfer to Kargath instead.

Why?

I said, well Kargath is PvE and Drak is PvP.  I don’t want play on a PvP server.  They gave many solid arguments saying that you don’t really run into many people and that people don’t really jump you.  And Addoe pointed out that it’s fun to get into sparring matches and said how they were outside a raid and he got into it with a Death Knight.  I on the other hand pointed out the constant anxiety I would have while leveling or doing anything if I could get jumped at anytime, and that I didn’t find beating each other up outside a raid while trying to get it organized very fun.

It was funny though, because on that same day that we agreed to disagree about how fun PvP servers could be, I went home and got to experience exactly what I was talking about.  First was just minor, a friend who transferred over to a PvP server recently was saying how he died 12 times in Mt. Hyjal while trying to level up.  12 times in one hour.  He wanted to be on a PvP server, so he didn’t mind too much, but said 12 times is a bit ridiculous.  And there’s not much a level 80 can do against a level 85.

The second experience was my own.  I’ve been pushing Elgar to 150 pets.  I think he’s at 141 and there are a few that I could get fairly easy, like the Tol Barad seagull.  Elgar skipped TB stuff initially.  So I headed over to do some dailies.  I have only ever done the dailies in the PvE part of the zone.  So there I am, killing ghosts at Largo’s Overlook.  There was a bit of competition that day, 3 or 4 others there at the same time, so I decided I would dot up several and then use Mind Sear to AOE them down.  So I’m doing just that, 3 ghosts all with DoTs and me in a bubble doing Mind Sear.  People are running around and I see someone running toward me, I assume they are going to run past me to get more ghosts.  And right before they reach me, they turn yellow, like PvP yellow.  And then instantly red.  Because now, my Mind Sear had hit them.  And I hear the “you are now in PvP” noise.  Awesome.  Since I’m focused on keeping Elgar alive and killing the ghosts, I’m really caught off guard and the guy seems to just run past me, then I see a flagged Draenei Shaman trying to kill this Tauren Death Knight.  I kill my ghosts and decide it’s do or die at this point, and jump into the fray hoping that I can help the Shaman enough.  But I’m at 50% health and the Shaman is less than that, the DK however, is 90%+.  Our efforts seem futile.  Then, a Blood Elf Rogue shows up and makes quick work of the Shaman, the moment I see the rogue, I decide it’s time to flee.  I make a run for it.  And I make it pretty far timing my dispersion so they couldn’t slow me down.  But it’s not long and I’m eating dirt.

I will be the first to say I suck at PvP whether I have a good start or not.  I’m just not that fast and usually people who are partaking in it are pretty well experienced.  Now if someone else in full crappy PvE gear and a poor spec who never wants to do PvP wants to challenge me, I’ll take them up on it.  😉

I found it ironic that on the same day that I’m talking about PvP and people jumping me when I’m just trying to do things and how I don’t like that, that someone flags me and then kills me which is exactly the thing I was talking about hating.  And of course that Adoe was trying to say it hardly ever happens and yet here on my peaceful PvE server, I got a little taste of the frustration.

I just wanted my Tol Barad badges so I could get a seagull and instead, I got dead.

To be fair, part of the reason I don’t like PvP servers is because I tend to play WoW as though it’s a single player game.  I’m off doing things by myself most the time and I pretty much want to be able to play as I like without other people getting in my way.  I don’t need WoW to be an MMO for me to have a good time.  Yes, it’s great that I’ve met some awesome people and have a wonderful guild, but I’m as happy as a clam just doing my own weird things by myself, without the constant worry that some idiot who thinks he’s god’s gift to whatever class he is playing is going to gank and then teabag me.  There’s plenty of douchiness in the real world, I don’t need it in my video game too.

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The End?

Though it may appear that I stopped playing WoW, or switched to something else, or died.  None of those things are the case.

I have been playing WoW and Minecraft lately, same as usual.  However, the place where I work blocked WordPress and all things WordPress related.  So I can no longer post, read, or comment on blogs at work.  I suppose that’s fair, they aren’t paying me to read the internet.  But it’s why I have all but vanished.  I’ll be honest, while at home, I hardly ever use the internet.  If I’m on a computer it’s for a game.

So though technically this isn’t a “good-bye, I’ll miss you all” post, it is one of those classic posts where someone says “I’m just too busy to blog. ”  I’m very excited about my new career and the opportunities that come with it.  But being on the road will cut into my gaming time and like I mentioned, blogging outside of work just hasn’t really happened.

So I want to thank the community for letting me be part of it while I could.  This has happened before, so who knows…maybe I’ll be back one day.  Until then, keep leveling, learning, and most importantly, sharing your ideas and experiences!

Troutwort

Petless Pet Classes

I can’t remember where I read it, but I seemed to recall that the warlock talent tree was bringing back Sacrifice Demon. Those of us that have been around long enough remember a time in BC when there was a spell with such a name that would grant the warlock a power buff in lieu of having a demon. I remember using this on my warlock (Kittykat) during raids since it seemed the pets would die far too often. It was a nice change of pace. I could play my spell caster without the worry of pet positioning and management. It was nice.

If in Mists of Pandaria this ability is brought back and I can go without a demon pet, I’m guessing that there will be a spec that I pick up that allows me to do so. Demonology for when I want a pet and affliction or destruction for when I don’t. This adds a new element to game play for those warlocks that never want a pet.

Naturally this train of thought led me to the petless hunter concept…basically an archer. I’ll be the first to say that pets are great for having during leveling and running around in Azeroth, but when it comes to dungeons, I’d just as soon sacrifice my pet and play the role of the archer pew pewing from the back. Allowing survival and marksman hunters to drop the pet for a buff doesn’t seem game breaking if you’re going to do it for warlocks.

Now there will be the argument that the pet is what makes the hunter class. But this would introduce a new flavor to the hunter that isn’t available without making a Ranger or Archer class. Also it wouldn’t have to be a “Sacrifice Pet” like the warlock, but perhaps an Aspect of the Pet. Make it an aspect where your souls bind and you gain characteristics from your chosen pet. This would allow you to turn it on quickly like when a warlock sacrifices, but would also allow you to turn it back on by changing aspects and calling your pet again. Since the hunters have the system of aspects in place, it would be a nice way to weave this into the game. It could even be a buff simply by pet type not pet family; like a cunning, ferocity, and tenacity buff rather than a bear, wolf, or kitty buff. That way they don’t have to balance out so many buffs.

I know this is not going to happen in MoP, but given how we see Warlocks work without pets, I’d like to see them expand this to hunters too. I love some of my pets, but when it comes to a dungeon, I still feel pretty forced to certain pet families for buffs instead of the pets that I want (I heard this will be different in MoP too) but if I could just Aspect of the Pet with my ferocity pet and not worry about using the pet I should rather than the pet I want or for taking crap for using the pet I want rather than the pet I should, it would greatly improve the quality of my huntering.

The Right Class

About 10 hours of play and we’re up to level 45 on Smetana and her leveling companion Nychaareht.  Yes, that’s right, my friend named his toon after an anti-smoking gum.  Awesome.  I guess not everyone has such classy tastes in names as me.  😉

We’re flying along though!  I’ve done recruit a friend 3 times now?  4 times?  I can’t even remember.  But I had forgotten how quickly you level and as a result how horrible your gear is.  When I hit level 31 I was still using both weapons I got in the start zone.  Yeah, I was rocking two maces…one did 6 and the other 9 DPS.  AMAZING!! 

Admittedly I looked up quests where I could get new axes since I’m leveling as enhancement again.  And so I might have been favoring myself a little, but heck, he’s playing a paladin, they don’t need any help with all their awesomeness, he pretty much kills things with exorcism and avengers shield before they reach him anyways. 

Things seem to be going pretty smoothly, and I think class choice has made a difference for him.  Whenever I introduce new players to the game, I always try to encourage them to try out different classes.  Sometimes the description of a class isn’t how you imagine it.  So instead I try to focus on what the classes can do.  Are they ranged, magical, melee?  Do they tank, DPS, or heal…or all three?  After they try a new class I try to pay attention to what it is they have trouble with or succeed at.  For my friend that I’m playing with now, he had tried the game as a hunter previously.  It was…difficult.  He seems to have trouble with depth perception in the game so was ending up with mobs up in his grill, which is bad for a hunter.  He also struggled with shot rotation and would burn focus by spamming serpent sting, either failing to understand how it worked or just feeling like if he was hitting special shots, it must do more damage.  He started with a hunter again this time around, but instead we tried beast mastery, that seemed to work much better for him!  But still I wasn’t convinced hunter or even a ranged or DoT class was right for him.

I suggested that since he sometimes has trouble with depth perception and how close he is to monsters that if he played a melee toon there would be less threat when one is really close to him.  Melee like that, they need it, so it seemed like a good fit for him.  After reviewing the melee classes he went with paladin.  I was a little worried because there are lots of “weird” things with paladins – holy power, seals, hands, blessings…it’s enough to make your head spin.  But then I thought about my paladin…I use one seal, one blessing, and the last time I used a hand was…well before they were called hands.  I could be a bad paladin, but I can get things done for the most part and sometimes even tank dungeons!  

By far the hardest part to teach about this game is gear.  I swear that every person I have introduced to this game gets hung up on one stat.  Armor.  Yes, armor.  If I had a quarter for every time I heard “Do I want to equip this?  It has 30 more armor.”  Seriously, Blizzard, please just remove the ‘stat’ armor from the game.  Just make it hidden and passive or something.  It’s very hard to convince people that armor is ignorable (for most classes) especially when it’s the first stat on an item.  This is not the first person I’ve had to explain this to.  I remind them that there are three main stats in the game:  Intellect, Agility, and Strength.  All the others are minor stats and will ‘naturally’ come with the gear.  For leveling purposes, choosing the item with the greater amount of your classes primary stat is the safest way to go when choosing gear.  Second stats are considered if that stat has a tie. 

The paladin is working out very well for him, aside from remembering to refresh the stupid seals and blessings he’s doing well and can hold his own.  He’s better at figuring out when to use heals on himself, but holy power still is a mystery.  There is only one ability that consumes holy power until past level 40+ and that is a healing spell.  So it’s hard to know the purpose of holy power if you’re not healing.  For a prot pally, they really should give that shield bash thing at a much lower level so that a paladin understands the purpose of holy power a bit earlier in the game.

Still, he’s doing well.  There are quests that we’ve done where I say “you know, you died doing that on your hunter” and this time he did it perfectly.  I know that it’s partly the experience he’s gained and the skill set with the game, but I think a lot of it has to do with class.  Finding the right class for your play style is important to your success.  This is why all my spell casters make it to max level before any of my melee.  For me, it’s a better fit. 

Long post is long, but as a chronic altoholic with now two accounts and 20 characters on the same server, I do recommend that people try different classes and specs.  It may take some time to find the one that is just for you.  Or…maybe you never do and you have 20 characters on one server.  😉

The Color Purple

There are some of us that have been around long enough to remember when the color of the text of your loot meant something.  But at max level, pretty much everything you get after the first patch of the expansion is a purple.  They don’t introduce a new level of greens or blues.  So the idea of something being purple being special is…lost.

The color of the text stemmed such popular use of the phrase EPIC, but when everything is epic, can anything really be epic?  Before patch 3.2, when item level became visible on gear, there were add-ons that would calculate this mystery number called “gear score” that would tell you, but mostly other people, how good you were.  It was based off some formulas that weighed the values of your items and came up with an arbitrary number, so that people could judge you and decide if you were geared enough to take to ToC.  

Now however, since item levels are available, the game calculates your average iLevel and the game itself uses this average to determine if you are geared enough to be tackling certain content.  The idea that players could out perform those of higher gear level by using skill and knowledge of the game all but disappeared.  People can get awesome gear scores and still be terrible.  We all know this, we’ve seen it. 

So this gets me back to my original thought, the value of that purple text, the “epic” status of the item.  Since everything has an iLevel, there really is no value in the text color.  It used to be a visual indication of item rarity when iLevels were not available through the game, but now you can just look at the iLevel and determine which epic piece is best—this is what most players do.  Higher iLevel must be better and it’s pretty much true. 

So why when there are new patches in an Xpac, aren’t there new iLevel greens and blues?  Why aren’t there new blue items that drop from DS that have the same iLevel as say…something from T11?  Or even so, why do ANY of the items even have special colored font anymore since it doesn’t matter because usually a higher iLevel is better.  At end game level 85 requirement items are pretty much all purple.  So I basically ask then…is there a need for green, blue, and purple anymore??  Does the purple color still excite you on a boss or is it just expected?  It’s a purely visible and cosmetic thing…I’m not sure I’d notice if they ever decided to remove item text colors.

Fate of Theramore

I am slow getting the news sometimes.  I don’t read the big WoW news sites like I used to, they are blocked at work and at home, I’d rather spend that time playing the game.

So though it’s been in the news for some time now, I just found out that in MoP the Alliance city of Theramore will be captured by the Horde which will fuel the Horde vs. Alliance war again.  Apparently, the appearance of Deathwing was too much of a distraction for the Alliance leaders to be aware that they lost Southshore to the Horde in that expansion.

The loss of Theramore however, seems far more detrimental to me.  The only Alliance city you can portal to that isn’t on an island in Northern Kalimdor, Theramore was a nice waypoint for the Alliance to get to and from Kalimdor easily, the boat there was nice too.  This was good for those that aren’t level 85 and can’t port to Mt. Hyjal or Uldum.  Blizzard’s decision to have the Horde capture Theramore is a bold move.  My gut reaction is…”What is the Alliance going to capture?”  I was kinda pissed that though there’s supposed to be this war that will be triggered, where are my toons?  Why isn’t Elgar running off to help save Theramore??

Then the idea hit me… instead of just Blizzard deciding the fate of Theramore, it would be awesome if the players could decide the fate.  After patch 5.0 rolls out, Theramore should be a daily quest hub, that month before MoP is released should be the time of final decision of the fate of Theramore.  Make it a daily quest hub for Alliance and Horde players where the Horde are on the assault and the Alliance on the defense…make PvP quests as well.  Basically, make it feel like the setting of the war and make the outcome variable.

If through the number of daily quests completed the Horde and Alliance could shift the battle, right up to release date, that would really give a feel of war.  Which ever faction completed the most daily quests (or some other point system) by the time the release for MoP would happen they would gain or keep Theramore in the expansion.  This would be a per server outcome.  Either way, the war would escalate feelings leaving into MoP and the difference per server would be if Theramore belonged to Horde or Alliance.

I know people will say well if the population leans heavy one way or the other that will be the outcome, well, so be it.  There will be some that easily keep or gain Theramore and there will be servers where it is very close.  This type of event helps build server community as well.  There could even be a special event boss to kill a commander on the other side, they would drop loot that would be big upgrades easy in the last month (think of the elemental invasions).  This would really give the server a feel of battle.  In the end, Blizzard ends up with two different maps for Dustwallow Marsh that are implemented on a per server basis, but it would give a really awesome feeling when you went there, knowing you earned to keep/gain that city!

This also helps with one of the issues that WoW struggles, and that is a dynamic world that you feel part of.  There haven’t really been world events like this that seemed to change the world.  Even when we didn’t defeat the elementals in say IF during the elemental invasion, there really wasn’t much of a consequence.  Something like this changes the game, but not on such a large-scale that it disrupts too much game play.

I know Blizzard doesn’t have a plan for such an event, but to me, it would feel far more real if I at least had a chance to try to defend Theramore before it’s just lost overnight to the Horde.

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.