Why did I not see this before?

 A thought came to mind last night as a group of guildies and I were finishing up heroic ToC. We had two DK’s with us and were remarking on how much easier The Black Knight phase two was with two armies plus our two ghouls fighting the adds.

We even wondered at the possibility of speccing five DK’s into tanking builds that generated a lot of self-healing and trying to run instances with only that. It was only speculation mind you, but it got me to thinking about the differences between the pure Dps classes and the hybrids.

There has been a lot of going back and forth about just how equal hybrid classes should be Dps wise to pure Dps classes. Now, before anyone gets their panties in a wad and starts telling me I have no idea what the hell I am talking about keep in mind a few things.

  1. I am not taking sides in this, merely making observations about the game as a whole.
  2. My three primary characters are a Hunter (pure Dps), a Priest (Holy/Shadow hybrid), and a Death Knight (Dps currently, gathering a tanking set). I see this from all three sides.
  3. I am curious where things will go with this, not angry.

Ok, we all know that there are three roles in any instance, Tanking, Healing, and Dpsing. Those are a given.

Once upon a time there were five things to consider when building a group. You needed a tank, you needed heals, and you needed three Dps just like now. Then again, this was before the great homogenizing of 3.0 and Wrath.

Back before these times we live in now there were two other things that one looked at when building a group.

Class Specific Buffs.

Players were selected for the buffs they brought. They made classes special. You want Fort? Bring a priest. You want Mark of the Wild? Bring a Druid. You get the idea. This was not restricted to any one class, everyone had something to bring to the party.

Kind of like when everyone shows up at the beach party and pours a bottle of something alcoholic into the cooler full of  Hawaiian Punch. You never really know what you’re going to end up with, but it will certainly get the job done.

With the advent of spread the buffs around to every class that is no longer the case. 

Ok, there a re a few exceptions like Heroisim/Bloodlust from Shaman and the Druids battle rez. For the most part though the buffs are spread out well.

Buffs are only part of what once made the pure Dps stand out. Think of one thing that the four of them (Warlock, Mage, Hunter, and Rogue) have in common. Something that the hybrid classes either lack or are not nearly as good at.

Go ahead, name a few things.

I’ll tell you what pops to mind for me.

Crowd Control. 

Once upon a time pure Dps brought the four most versatile types of crowd control to the table. Yes, I know Priests can shackle undead. I think that was actually useful back in Karazhan, for some horses and one boss fight.

Now the buffs spread out and the Dps output from most Dps specs (hybrid or pure) is roughly equal. The only thing I see that could make a pure Dps’r stand out is how great they are at crowd control.

Oh, wait. There is no such thing any more.

Crowd control is now called AOE tanking.

There is nothing left for a pure Dps’r to do, no skill to develop beyond “Don’t stand in the fire, hit your spells as they come off cooldown.”

I guess after writing this I do have a opinion after all. I truly hope things change in Cataclysm, but if I had to suggest a class to someone who is just starting…

I’d tell them to roll a Hybrid, probably a Druid.

Why bring a single tool when you can have the whole toolbox for the same price?

Now me on the other hand, I this weekend the latest addition to Team Dechion made level 15. I am having a blast on my behbe Rogue.

I never claimed to be the sharpest tool in the box, but most would agree that I can be a tool.

Oh, and back to the five DK instance. Can you imagine the mayhem on a boss fight when we pulled out five armies of the dead at the same time?

That would be a sight to see.

Chores

This morning I was doing some thinking…

You can stop laughing any time, honest.

As I was saying, I was doing a bit of thinking today about this wonderful game we all play.

Be advised, this post is largely the ramblings of a tired and somewhat cranky individual. Feel free to mark as read and move along.

I, along with many others from what I have been reading, am suffering from a bit of a funk within the game. As I sat here this morning thinking about the book I am attempting to write for NaNoWriMo something hit me.

A similarity between the two.

This month I took something I love to do for fun, writing, and by placing goals and check points on it essentially turned it into a job. I am discovering a lot about myself by doing the project, and that is the real goal. However, I am paying very close attention to my attitude towards writing.

If I get to the point where I don’t want to sit down and create anymore, if it starts to feel more like taking out the trash than a relaxing thing I do for fun, I am pulling the plug.

How is that in any way similar to Wow you ask?

Simple.

I have limited playtime, so what I have been doing is basically a priority list.

  1. Check my banker / AH toons to see if it’s time to scan or craft more glyphs. If it is,  then scan, craft, and post.
  2. Check cooldowns on Inscription reasearch and Alchemy transmutes, use if they are up.
  3. Do the Jewelcrafting daily if not done yet.
  4. Farm Mageweave. (EDIT: It occured to me that some might take this the wrong way. I am farming Mageweave, and later Netherweave, to level tailoring on my priest once 3.3 goes live. The Mageweave I have farmed up for the Raid for the Cure event is completely seperate from this.)
  5. Check time on Wintergrasp, do it for the stonekeeper shards once a week per level 80. (for the gearing of my upcoming Worgen Druid with BOA’s, should be done in 2-3 more weeks)
  6. Run a heroic if I have the time (and a group just happens to be forming)
  7. Stand in Dalaran and chat with guildies.
  8. If all else fails level fishing/cooking on yet another character.

It used to be that I would simply hop on an alt and happily level it up. Now I find myself playing a waiting game.

Waiting for Blizz to put forth the features they mentioned.

The new LFG tool will be excellent for those times I have just enough time to run something but there is not a group forming at the moment. I am looking forward to that.

As soon as they announced the future ability to send BOA’s cross faction I immediately lost all interest in leveling my Horde side Hunter until I can send him a Tome of Cold Weather Flight. There he sits in Dalaran patiently letting the Auction House pay him to level Inscription. After all, he will sit there for a while I think.

Alliance side I am down to one alt that needs some more leveling before getting parked until Cataclysm. My level 19 Shaman will get to 20, and then wait for the rest of the group. Myself, my mother in law, and two of my kids, are going to level a group solo to 20. We will then level up those alts only through instances, and only with each other.

I already have my Priest, Hunter, and Death Knight to 80. They are done gearing up outside of instances.

My Shaman, as I said, is waiting for the rest to catch up. Since at least two of them will be rolling Worgen that plan is on hold.

With one character simply holding a name for my upcoming Druid and three others being Banker or AH toons I have no plans to level any of them.

It boils down to this:  Wow, at least for me, is in a holding pattern.

What does that have to do with writing you ask?

Simple. 

Logging in to Wow is starting to feel more and more like taking out the trash. More a list of chores to do than something I log in and do for the fun of it. 

Lately I have been more about preparing for the future and less about having fun now.

I do have one character slot still open, perhaps it’s time to lose myself in an alt for a while.

I would have to start a new one.

I wonder what I should roll.

I’d love to, if I only had the time

I have read a few posts this morning while catching up on my feed reader. Well over a hundred just from this weekend actually. In there were quite a few gems, I am going to talk about a pair of them now.

Euripides over at Critical QQ wrote a rather interesting post about his lack of enthusiasm about the lore while raiding. He goes so far as to say that the boss does not really even need graphics or fancy named abilities, and could in fact be a featureless blue cube named “boss”.

Both Larisa and Elina at the Pink Pigtail Inn chimed in with their thoughts as well about reconciling the story behind the game to the mechanics of it.

They are both good reads, go check them out.

Seriously, go read… I need to go make a fresh pot of coffee anyhow.

Back? Good.

 

Here, very briefly is my take on the story behind the game and how it relates to the actual playing of it.

I love the stories behind the game, I really and truly do. In fact I think Blizz has done a good job of bringing the stories to life. They have lots of interweaving plotlines, some spanning several zones and levels.

The stories as I see it fall into two categories. Tales told while leveling and tales from endgame. Sometimes they tie together, such as the Shadowmoon Valley quests leading to Black Temple. Sometimes they kind of drop the ball (we are in TOC for what reason again? I must have missed it since I hate jousting.)

The problem with the lore while leveling is the speed at which we now do it. Seriously, Diashan, my Death Knight, did parts of Hellfire, Negrand, and Terrorkar before hitting 68 and shipping out to Northrend. I use to hit 70 somewhere in Netherstorm.

Where I used to run out of quests in a zone and have to go find another my Shaman (at 18 i think) is having quests go green or grey. She is leaving zones half complete simply because she has outleveled the content.

Am I bitching? No. I chose to put the shoulders on her, I bought the breastplate, I choose to only level her rested. I am just making a point. Those with refer-an-alt will outlevel it even faster.

I think that one of the things I am most looking forward to in Cataclysm is the whole reworked leveling experience. I look forward to working my way through and actually finishing a questline before it goes grey on me. I have actually put off leveling a couple of alts for now, just because I want to see what’s in store for me.

Hell, I am almost tempted to put all my affairs in order and take a break till the expansion. I won’t since I have so much fun running with the Sidhe Devils, but I will definitely be backing off a bit.

Now lore in raids and instances is another story. The stories are grand, the characters are well developed, and the artwork is phenomenal.

At least thats what I see on videos.

You see, in an instance I am far to busy watching health bars, cooldown timers, aggro meters, deadly boss mods warnings, and staring at my fet to make sure I am not standing in green goo/fire/void zone/spilled kool-aide or whatever the random “kills you if you don’t move” crap is for that particular fight.

If I want to see what the boss looks like I go to youtube or tankspot or any number of other places to see it. When I am engaged in the fight itself I simply don’t have the time, especially if I am on my Priest. I glance away from the green bars… hell, I blink at the wrong time… and we all die.

It’s not that I don’t want to look around, it’s that I simply can’t spare the concentration. I wonder if they still put sound effects in the raids? Myself, I can’t afford that distraction either. I haven’t raided with the sound on since Karazhan. If it’s not on vent, I simply don’t hear it.

Want to solve the lack of healers problem Blizz? Make it less like playing whack-a-mole while trying not to blink.

I’ll try to answer the question simply. Yes I would love to get involved in the lore, I hope to get far more involved once Cataclysm comes. While I am raiding though, I  just can’t do it.

I’d love to, I simply don’t have the time.

Grats! now L2Tank

It’s been an interesting few days in Dech’s world.

Most of the reasons I haven’t posted have nothing to do with Wow, and as such won’t be included here. One thing that has been occupying a good chunk of my time lately though is all about Wow.

More specifically about one of my characters.

 

Drupadi the Death Knugget had spent months doing a whole lot of nothing. Well, nothing but her daily jewelcrafting quest and crafting glyphs to help team Dechion with its overarching goal of owning more gold than they need. Somehow she dosen’t think she’ll ever see that though, Dechion simply is not ruthless enough.

Silly priest, always seeing the good in people, always trying to help others.

That way lies madness.

Oh well, at least he keeps the bar tab paid.

Months she sat in Dalaran, content to enjoy her 74’th season. Nearly retired, she even had thoughts of shipping off to Ironforge and taking up a new career as a banker. If it werent for the voices she would have found a nice tavern there to move into, hanging up her sword forever.

Then, rumors started to surface. Rumors coming out of the area near Icecrown.

Travelers through the tavern in Dalaran told of a flaw in Icecrown’s defenses. A small thing, not enough for an army, but for just a few perhaps.  One grizzled old Dwarf particularly deep in the cups even talked about putting together a strike team. A group slated to go deep in the bowels of the citadel and kill Arthas where he would least expect it.

Where he lives.

Diashan got up from her table, tossed a heavy pouch to the barkeep, and headed out the door.

The voices had been particularly nasty of late, she needed to tell someone to shut the hell up.

She had let herself get into miserable shape. Her gear was a random hodgpodge of things she had found on the bodies of those that had fallen to her blade. She had even cleaned most of their blood off before taking it as her own. She needed some exercise, and a new suit of armor.

After all, one does not simply walk into Icecrown.

Two weeks later…

Now as she has been training she began putting a few odds and ends into the bank towards the day she might be called upon  to do some tanking duties. A bit of armor here and a mace there, the occasional trinket or gem. All towards eventually heading into Icecrown and telling Arthas to shut the hell up to his face.

She will likely just get killed for her efforts, then again it’s not like it would be the first time.

The same, except completely different

There was a time, not so very long ago, that a young Draeni named Drupadi crawled from the wreckage of the Exodar. She was a cheerful young thing for the most part. She was excited and eager to go leave her mark upon the world.

Through the twisted wreckage of Bloodmyst isle, through the steaming jungles of Stranglethorn, through the burning sands of Tenaris and the frozen wastelands of the north she has fought long and hard to make a name for herself.

She was hoping for something more along the lines of “hero”, but I guess Brewmaster will serve while she works on it.

Besides, it sounds like a good way to have some fun with friends after a hard days adventuring.

After all, why else would one go to the tavern but to hoist a few and laugh with friends?

 

Then there was another.  Diashan, twisted by Arthas, was made into something both more and less than human. Every day she fights her own battles with the voices in her head. The same voices she has heard since her reawakening. 

Some say the Ebon Blade wants to hunt down Arthas to avenge what has happened to them. For some that may even be true.

Diashan just wants him the shut the hell up.

She has only found one way to do that so far. It may not make the voices go away, but they become muffled and indistinct. So do the memories of what she has done.

You can find her at one of the back tables of the Booty Bay inn, drinking alone. On a good night no one will get hurt.

She considers her title more a mark of her weakness than a thing to be celebrated.

It would do you well not to remind her that she has earned it, or why. 

 

And now for something completely different

I was talking with a good friend yesterday about things to do while we wait for the expansion to arrive. One thing she has mentioned more than a few times is broadening my horizons a bit. Trying different character classes on for size so to speak. I figured it couldn’t hurt to go play around a bit. If nothing else I would have a better handle on how the other classes worked when grouping with them.

My first character ever was a rogue. I managed to make it to level 6 or 8 before getting really frustrated with the combo points system. I remade a druid, making it to the mid 30’s (and not liking cat form much) before we moved servers. At this point I rolled my first hunter, he made it as far as Shade of Aran before my next reroll. Later we went alliance where I rolled and leveled both a priest and another hunter to 70. When I started leveling yet another hunter, she suggested I take a look at things from a different perspective.

So thinking back on my various failed and abandoned alts (they prefer to be called “higher level bank toons”) I realised the one class I had never tried to play was the warrior. I think I was simply worried that I would get forced into a tanking role if I did level the character, and I am not sure I would like that. Well, I was worried about getting pigeon holed as a healer with my priest too, but that another story. A stared at the character screen for a while, fussed with it, and then A shiny new warrior alt was born.

First impressions are good, I managed to make it to level 7 with no deaths, clearing the starter zone in a little under an hour. I then remembered the character my daughter was leveling on our linked accounts. At level 12 she had 5 free levels she could dump on me before I was to high for them to work. A quick friend summons to Darnassas later I was level 12, trained the new skills, picked up a pair of professions (Mining and Jewelcrafting) and headed back over to do me some questing in the area around bloodmyst isle.

I promptly realised that taking on equal level mobs while using gear meant for half my level led to several trips to the graveyard. I also found that if I got in over my head it was much harder to disengage than it was with either the hunter or the priest. Where I rarely used health pots on either of them, I found myself going through quite a few now. I find myself glad that I have Gift of the Naaru to put a HoT on myself when I pull more than one or two.

I suppose a trip to the auction house for some level 11 – 13 “of the bear” or “of the monkey” mail might be in order. I also just realised I have 3 talent points sitting there unspent, after I figure out where to put them those might help out as well. (leveling spec advice appreciated)

All in all I found that by doing something new without doing endless research first went a long way towards a fun evening. I ran around discovering new things without knowing what I was doing. It was an absolute riot, I spent my evening laughing at myself and shaking my head, looking once again through the eyes of a noob.

I wonder…

Why, oh why, do I keep doing this to myself.

I know that my playtime is limited. I know that time is short before the expansion.

Assuming I spend the majority of my time leveling and perhaps take one night out of the week to raid it will take me in the neighborhood of 4 months to level a new character to 70. That translates into roughly 9 1/2 days played. I know it is possible to do it faster, much faster in fact. I simply take a while.

My oldest main is Dekado, the 70 troll hunter. I leveled him in the blazing time of 25 days played. I had lots of fun with him but the group I run with decided to reroll Alliance.

Enter Morham (once Dechion) my Human priest. leveled in a bit over 13 days played he became (and still is) my raiding main. I enjoy healing, but I don’t really care for running him solo. I missed the soloing with my hunter so instead of going back Horde side I rolled another.

And then there was Drupadi. Draeni huntress and my most recent 70. Leveling her took almost 10 days played. Better by far then earlier but still a serious time commitment. She hit the level cap and finished up getting her epic flyer (a first on any of my toons) about 2 weeks before Dechion was mysteriously drawn to another server, being renamed Morham in the process. You see there was already a Dechion there…

So now I am working on yet another hunter. Yet again a Dreani, this time male. I am sitting at about 1day played and level 26 right now. Why not just ship over Drupadi you ask? Well you see my daughter played on my old server and I want to keep a toon there to help her out from time to time. So it looks like I am back in the leveling saddle again.

I wonder if Dechion will make the finish line before Wrath hits. I also wonder how many level 80’s I’ll end up when its all said and done.