It’s been a long time coming

In the dark and distant past, 

In the mist shrouded time of legend called by some Vanilla WoW, 

A new player started. 

He came with a vision of being someone who could handle anything that the world threw at him. 

A McGuyver amongst the sea of single role players, 

A veritable Swiss Army character. 

He rolled a Druid. 

One that only ever saw the inside of Wailing Caverns before life reared it’s rather ugly head and that character was left to fend for himself, the player moving to a different server. 

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The player found a guide to leveling quickly, something he wanted to do in order to play with friends who were already visiting places like Blackwing Lair and the Molten Core. 

The guide said to roll a Hunter, so he did. 

The first in a series of Hunters that would do their bloody work in places from Zul’Gerub to Blackwing Lair,  Karazhan to the Black Temple, and from Naxxaramas all the way to the Icecrown Citadel itself. 

From time to time though his thoughts would drift back to that first character. 

One day, almost in jest, he decided to create a new Druid. 

One to tinker with, to scratch that itch of the unfinished first character. 

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Thats the day I met Giligan, the baby Druid. 

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Giligan the Resto Druid

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As of last night he is a Baby no longer. 

A flash of golden light illuminated the room deep in the bowels of Uldaman, changing his world forever. 

He had reached his 40th season. 

After a quick visit to his trainer, and a slightly longer visit to his bank, he pulled out the carefully hoarded items that only a Feral Druid might have an interest in. 

Then he pulled a wardrobe change. 

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Giligan the Feral Druid

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It’s been a long time coming, but the Swiss Army character is finally here. 

With but the touch of a button or two he can go from the healer, to the damage dealer. 

And from the damage dealer to the bear. 

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Looks hungry don't he?

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It feels like coming home. 

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Contrary to popular belief, the sky is not falling

I logged into the wonderful electronic time sink that is the internet this morning and what did I find?

Changes.

Blizzard has announced changes to both the way that ten and twenty-five player raid lockouts will be working in Cataclysm and the new “points” system that will replace the current emblem system.

Here is the TL:DR version of both, in my words, just hitting a few points I wanted to discuss.

  • Ten and Twenty-five player versions of each raid instance will share a lockout. No more running both versions of the same instance in the same week.
  • There will be more raid instances, with fewer bosses in each. A given example was instead of a single eleven boss raid that there could be one with five and one with six.
  • Both sizes of raid will drop the same gear, with the twenty-fives dropping more of it as incentive to go.
  • There will be four types of “points”. Top tier Pve and Pvp points for the best gear, and lower tier Pvp and Pve points for last seasons/last tier gear.
  • Lower tier points can be traded from one type to the other at a loss, no details of how bad the tax will be yet.
  • Likely more I am glossing over since it’s early and my office is out of coffee.
  • Seriously…. HOW THE HELL CAN I BE EXPECTED TO FUNCTION WITH OUT CAFFINE!

Wow, Apparently I got a little distracted there…

Emengency trip to the vending machine for some before sunrise Mountain Dew and I am functional again.

Anyhow, before I give my opinion on these changes I figured I would scan the blogosphere and see what others were saying. I saw a lot of bitchin, apparently no one hates change more than a veteran WoW player.

I heard a few Pvp players that were bitchin because now they would have to run Pve for points to spend on their Pvp gear. Apparently these folks did not learn to read in school. Who knows, maybe they spent too much time playing Halo or Counterstrike. No one is going to force anyone to do anything.

In fact, not knowing the points tax it would likely be faster to gear up through rated battlegrounds, and likely more fun for the avid PvP player.

Quit bitchin and play how you like, Blizz has designed it so that the gear will come.

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There is post after post from those that raid progression in twenty-fives calling this a deathblow to their playstyle. The arguments seem to be centered around the concept that given equal difficulty and only slightly higher rewards that people, when forced to choose, would rather raid ten mans.

There were even a couple that  screamed to the heavens (or in this case Blizzard I suppose) that since Blizz is going to cater to the facerolling window licking casuals that can’t run anything more than ten mans and heroics that now the real live progression raiders  that run twenty-fives were not going to be able to field a group.

My comment on that?

Well, no one is forcing anyone to run anything. You want to run twenty-fives? Go for it! Hell, I love running them too. It’s great fun. The only thing I see this doing is eliminating the need to raid the same content twice a week for the extra emblems, or in this case Valor Points.

As to fielding a group of twenty-five, There are approximately eleven million people who play WoW. If for some reason you can’t find twenty-four that want to group with you when Blizzard is not bribing them with better loot, perhaps the problem is not with the game.

Once again, run what you want. I think they will be even more fun since it will truly be a choice to be there. If you truly run twenty-fives because you love them and prefer that challenge then this may well be your golden age.  

Unless you’re an asshat, but that kinda goes without saying.

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I saw raiders that primarily run ten player content saying in essence  “Finally, we get recognized as legitimate raiders! Finally, we get a shot at the same gear! No more pugging 25′s to try to keep up with the Joneses! Break out the champagne it’s time to celebrate!”

Now while I can see several of the points in here, actually I can see all of them, the one that strikes me most is that raiding with ten will actually be a viable alternative to twenty-fives. No more gear disparity, no more having to do the same raid twice just in the hopes for better gear to help out your raid.

Actually, while I disagree with most of what is said about these changes I agree with these folks more I suppose. At least people will be on an equal footing, both in difficulty and rewards. They will get to choose what they will have more fun doing instead of what will give them the most shinies.

One thing I think they are forgetting in all this is how much easier tens can be when you are sporting gear from twenty-fives. No longer will people be able to go farm up gear that makes current progression easier. They wanted equal? Well, they got it. In difficulty as well as loot.

When the dust settles there may well be a few that are less pleased than they think they will be.

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The biggest point I take from all of this is that Blizzard is learning from mistakes they have made in the past. In Wrath they gave us the chance to run both tens and twenty-fives. The saw what happened, they looked at the results, and they are acting on that knowledge.

To me it looks like they are trying to find as many different paths to a fun and rewarding experience as they can and engineer them into the game. They are doing it in such a way that everyone will have one they can follow, without feeling the need to follow two or three to be more powerful faster.

They are not making any one path out to be the best, they are putting them all on the table and letting people choose based on what they find fun.

The main thing to take away from this is that it is, in fact, a game.

A game is something people play to have fun.

The moment it stops being fun but I feel compelled to do it anyway I will nuke it from my hard drive and walk away.

You should do the same.

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Play how you like, and have fun doing it.

Thats what you’ll find me doing.

Then again, I always have.

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A little help from my friends.

Most of the time I sit down at the keyboard I simply feel chatty. That kinda goes without saying, otherwise I would simply shut the hell up and leave you fine folks in peace.

Sometimes I like to rant and rave, and I could really come up with a few good ones for today.

For instance I could go off the deep end on the spellpower and strength having cunning pet on aggressive using (till he got yelled at) dual dagger wielding melee huntard that infected a group I tried to heal on my Druid this weekend.

The simple fact that at level 39 (one level from upgrading to mail) he was need rolling on Int and Spellpower leather over the Resto Druid should have me in a frothing rage.

Actually it did, but I have more important things to talk about today than giving that window licking moron his 15 minutes of fame. I hit him with my “Here is a website you should read in your quest to learn to hunter without sucking” macro and called it a day. (Yes Pike, I am still sending them your way.)

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Anyhow, back to why I am here.

Today I am going to ask you fine folks for a favor.

One right along the lines of the advice I gave the melee Hunter this weekend.

It’s my Druid you see. The one that is so sticky.

Soon, probably tonight, he will hit level 40.

Epic riding skill, Dire bear form, and dual specs all become a reality.

I have leveled to this point exclusively Resto, and after trying to quest resto I simply stuck with the LFD.

Now I am planning on picking up a second spec as Balance, and I am kinda hoping you good folks can offer some advice on the subject.

Here is what I am planning at this point:

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5/5  Starlight Wrath – Decreased casting time seems like a good thing.

 3/3  Moonglow– A bit of mana efficiency to go with the MP-5 from my gear should be nice.

2/2 Nature’s Majesty – I learned to love crit on my Hunter… maybe I am wrong wanting it here?

3/3  Nature’s Grace – Hmm, haste after a crit. Well, I like to crit so this seems shiny as well.

2/2 Nature’s Reach – Extra range means longer for things to run before the get to me, that’s a good thing. Also lowering my threat in groups is nice since I plan to do a lot of LFD work.

5/5  Vengeance – Ooo! more reason to like crit! More damage is always a nice thing.

1/1  Insect Swarm – Not really sure about this, but it looks like it might be interesting enough to justify one point.

3/3  Celestial Focus – Hm, a little pushback protection is nice. The bit of haste can’t hurt either.

3/3  Lunar Guidance – I have a decent amount of Int, and have even more available by swapping out my weapon. More damage based on that would be nice.

3/3 Moonfury – More damage from my three most commonly used spells, seems like a no-brainer.

1/1 Moonkin – And at the top of the list comes *drumroll* Lazerchicken form! Since this was kinda the whole point of going down this road I can’t see not taking it.

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Picking talents for leveling is not quite as easy as hitting up the blogosphere and looking for end game builds. Most of the few that I find that reference leveling go into great detail such as saying “Level Feral and check back when you get to 80.”

So how about it?

Is this the obvious work of someone looking at the talent trees and going “Oh! Shiny! I’ll take this one!”?

Lend my your experience dear readers. Tell me where I went wrong, and more importantly why.

The comments are open and I’m all ears.

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My Druid is Sticky.

Of late I have been doing a lot of thinking. 

Thinking about the game, about my friends that also play it, and about my place in the World of Warcraft. 

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Raiding is simply not in the cards for me due to scheduling issues. Battlegrounds are something I do only rarely, and I despise the Arena. (Props to those that enjoy it, I simply am not one of them.) 

This leaves me with running heroics and questing as ways to spend my time. 

Quite frankly I have been bored out of my skull. 

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I have run Heroics on both my Hunter and Priest until there was little if anything left for them there. They both hover just under a 5,000 Gearscore. (I despise it, but that’s the epeen scale currently in use.) Suffice it to say that they are more than geared for the coming expansion. 

Keep in mind that the 81-85 instances, at least the normal modes, will be tuned for players in quest gear. These guys are well beyond that. I can (and might) instance them all the way to 85, likely never seeing an upgrade till I get to heroics. 

With all that in mind, and after reading the class previews, I decided to change main for the coming expansion. 

I had been planning on a Worgen Druid since… about 17 seconds after they were revealed at Blizzcon last year. 

I went ahead and started playing him, the character that will one day be a Worgen is for now a Night Elf. 

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Giligan has changed a bit since this screenshot, but like many dads I don't take pictures often enough.

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Giligan is sitting at level 35 now, having done the last 20 levels as a healer in LFD randoms. I am actually having a good time again, so much so that I hardly log into my 80′s anymore. 

A friend made a comment about how I seem to be shaking everything up, trying to find the fun in the game once again. He’s more right than he knew. 

He referred to it as “throwing everything up and keeping what sticks.” 

Something to do with just finding what makes you happy and sticking with it, That each individual is responsible for their own fun, and no one elses. 

So far the Druid has stuck. 

I hope it stays that way. 

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Now it I could just get that friend of mine to heed his own advice… 

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The queue is how long?

Everywhere I am reading about this the queue is a monster.

Hours upon hours of standing in a virtual line waiting your turn to spend real money on a virtual mount. They are waiting for the Celestial Steed, or as some like to call it, the Sparkle Pony.

Dalaran was over run with the hideous things. Hell, am pretty sure I was the only one there still flying about on a vendor bought Swift Gryphon.

Plain, cheap, and gets the job done. Kinda like me.

Now, I am not going to go into one of my famous rants about how I think the whole RMT thing is an evolution of a long term business plan. I don’t need to, I covered it already a while back.

My only comment on the matter goes out to those that bought one of these things.

I understand the functionality of never purchasing another mount for another alt ever. Granted that you still have to buy the training at a whopping 5,654G (assuming no faction discount, cold weather flight not included). On the plus side you would save 161G by not having to buy a mount at any level.

Honestly folks, you are going to spend 4 -5 hours in line for the privilege of dropping $25 so that you don’t have to spend 161G?

On something that looks like it escaped from a 1982 my little pony cartoon?

Original idea, or found at a garage sale.... you be the judge.

Personally I avoid standing behing them. I keep expecting them to fart rainbows at me or something.

Oh well, At least I can confidently predict what Blizz will sell next. If they do people will line up for hours to buy one.

Stealing from the ’70s this time I predict….

You know there would be 80 bajillion of them in Dalaran the day they went live...

The pet rock!

Congratulations Blizzard, you are marketing geniuses.

Thoughts on Cataclysm’s class changes

It’s been an interesting week, thats for sure.

The posts on the proposed changes to every class other than the Paladin are up now. I have had a chance to read over them and start thinking about where the ones that effect me are headed.

You see, I don’t really need the specifics of a given class to see where they are going. Thats what these previews are for. They are a teaser, not an in-depth analysis.

I am not just talking about something so simple as Warlocks no longer having to go shard farming before a raid night.

Nor am I going to go into Hunters no longer consuming ammo or getting pets at level one.

Heaven forbid I start in on the complete gutting and rebuilding of the combat resource systems for Hunters and Death Knights.

I am not going to go raging off the deep end about the proposed changes to Resto Druids.

I am using these in much the same way I use a thirty second movie trailer to decide what I want to come back and see.  I am using these previews to see the general direction that the different classes are heading in Cataclysm, mostly to decide which alts need leveling and which will be left in limbo.

Like a lot of people I am excited about the changes, and yet apprehensive at the same time. 

Not only are my favorite classes going to play completely differently, every class and spec will.

The Cataclysm will come, whether we are ready or not.

Once again everyone, regardless of class, spec, or level, will all be in the same boat.

We will all be learning to play all over again.

I for one can’t wait.

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