Getting Back Into The Swing Of Things

Just after Cataclysm came out I decided it was time to take a break from WoW. I had been playing since Vanilla and was just downright bored. After nearly two years away from the game I found myself curious about the new expansion. Pandas!? I mean, there are so many possibilities for Blizzard to turn into content, but I didn’t think it would be the Pandaren. Alas, it was, and I was finding myself itching to know more. I finally relented and bought the expansion and fired up my WoW account once again.

Some things hadn’t changed, others were incredibly different. For people who are coming back to the game, here are some things I learned either by accident or with the help of some friends that you might want to learn about too.

  1. Core Abilities Tab – This tab tells you about your most important spells, and when you should use them. Having been away for a while I found this tab to be awesome at refreshing my memory at how to play the various classes. You can find this under your profession/spell book page.
  2. What’s Changed Tab – There’s a tab that explains what recent changes have been made to your class. I’m one of those people that usually reads the patch notes in depth, but if I wanna get lazy about it I’m glad that this tab is there.
  3. Dungeon Journal – It’s like Atlas Loot, but also explains boss abilities, and information about a dungeon in addition to listing the possible loot. Extra bonus, it has filters to narrow down not only your class, but your spec, too! You can view this by pressing Shift+J.
  4. Pet/Mount Journal – There was a tab for this before, but now it’s got it’s own journal. In addition to simply being a place to access all your collections, it’s also the interface for pet battling. You can access this by pressing Shift+P.
  5. AOE Looting – This is one of those things I had to figure out. I was killing groups of mobs, but could only loot one. Gone are the days of looting every body, now it’s just one and done!
  6. Pet Battles – It’s like Pokemon, but in WoW! Remember all those vanity pets you collected up over the years? Now you get to battle other pets! You can even capture new pets in the wild. It even has a host of achievements to go along with it all.
  7. Daily Quests – Ok, daily quests aren’t new. In fact, they aren’t generally a favorite either, but the cap is now gone… and I have one friend who called this the “Expansion of Dailies” and I’d have to agree.
  8. Scenarios – It’s like a mini dungeon, but only requires 3 people, has a really short queue, and rewards you with gold and Valor points. These are great options for people who want to do something outside of the usual dungeon crawl.
  9. All the Usual Changes – All those things you expect to see in a new expansion such as new dungeons, gear, abilities, locations, profession changes, et all. I would love to list them all here, but that is something I’d like to expand upon more in another post.

For all that has changed, the game is still the same at heart. It’s a place to be social, have fun, and explore the lore that is Warcraft. I’m glad to be back and if you’re thinking about coming back, don’t forget about those Scrolls of Resurrection, if you qualify, you can automatically have a toon leveled to 80 for you. I’ll see you out in the World.

The Grind

My goodness, I’ve been busy. Since the merger, I’ve been working my butt off to catch up guildies in gear to get them into 25 man Naxx. For the past two weeks we’ve been running a 10 man EVERY SINGLE DAY. Sometimes for 4 or 5 hours a day. Why so much? Well, there are 66 80s in the guild, and a good half of them still needed gear. When we first started, we had a lot of 900-1300 DPS. There are two groups, one that runs Tues, Thurs and Sat, and the other runs Weds, Fri, and Sunday. Also on Tuesday’s day side raids, we’ve been grabbing OS 10, 25 and VoA 10 and 25. On Monday’s we’ve been conducting “checks” on the improvements by doing the 25 man Naxx. The first week we had quite a few wipes, but downed Noth, and Heigan, the entire Spider Wing, and made attempts at Four Horseman. The second week we cleared Spider, Cleared Plague and added Patchwerk to our list. This last Monday we really shined. We one shot the Spider Wing, the Plague Wing, had 3 shots to down Patch, and another 3 or so more to down Grobbulus. However, this time, ALL of the raid pulled over 2k DPS and a good chunk even pulled over 3k. I’m very proud of their achievements, and it goes to show that the grind work has paid off.

But we’re not done yet.

We have one more week of pouring ourselves into the 10 man Naxx. Starting next reset, we shall switch to a dedication to the 25 man version, and will still continue 1 ten man around it. Also, we are going to stand up 1 10 man Eye of Eternity group, and see how that goes, too. Once all that is said and done, we’ll then take a focus to leaving drakes up in the OS runs, and by then, we’ll hopefully be as ready as ever for Ulduar.

I believe we’ve come a long way in three short weeks.

There have been a few minor issues we have had to address in running two guilds as one. With four GMs and 3 Officers, there had been some clashing in personality, but I believe we’ve overcome the most of it, and we’re heading in pretty strong. We did lose a few that will be dearly missed in the process, but a few losses were expected.

So now we trudge forward, hopefully bringing down new bosses in our path.

In case you were wondering what I’ve been up to… when I am not running the raids I am generally working on rep achievements. I have become so obcessed with getting forty exalted factions lately.  I have 25 done now, with the newest being Sons of Hodir. All that is left now is the Knights of the Ebon Blade, and I will have all the reputations for WotLK that are currently available to have.

 

25 Exalted Factions

25 Exalted Factions

I also keep getting the itch to level my alts. Of course I do, being an Altoholic and all, but currently, the guild is my focus and I cannot take away from that. 

On a personal note, I’ll be having some minor oral surgery soon, and might be down and out for a few days. Also, we are STILL waiting for orders to know when and where we are moving, so it’s causing a bit of stress. Finally, it is nearing on my finals week for my courses, so I’m very busy there, as well. So that’s the news, and I’ll be back with more soon!

Basic Training

 

Heroic Nexus

Heroic Nexus

Thats what I’m going to call this. Yesterday was an exhusting day for me. I ended up running three heroics (Violet Hold, The Nexus, and Uteguard Keep) with Lady Jess at my side throwing the heals. (Two healers in a heroic?! You read right, we have the awesome tank and DPS to pull this off, and successfully did so with PuGs. This is a very good option for healers when getting to know how the heroics work.) I also ran three regular runs as well… making for six runs total. Poofnstab hit 73 yesterday as well, and my DK, Darkenedlust, is nearing very close to 64. In terms of WoW it was a very productive day… in terms of my real life? Well, I did get off the couch to have a smoke here and there.

 

So, all of these runs netted me Revered with the Kirin Tor. Why them first? Well… this little head enchant would be the reason. Now that I’ve netted myself that, I’ll move on to the next rep. Ideally, this would be the Argent Crusade, for this helm and this ring… but since I’ve not gotten their tabbard yet, I’ll work for the Wrymrest Accord. After Argent Crusade, the goal is to work on the Sons of Hodir (whom I also don’t have a tabbard for yet… bad Andrea…. bad bad Andrea.) for their lovely shoulder enchants.

Finally, after many many runs in various regular instances, I got my first upgrade from an instance run… these shoulders… which have now nearly pushed me over the 1700 number on my spell power. Its getting easier and easier to heal but there are some encounters that make me nervous. Hopefully that will fade soon. Until then I’m taking that stripper…. I mean LADY Jess, along for the ride.

Orange is the New Epic

I was chatting with Dechion yesterday about in game stuff, because even though we call each other and chat

Oranges

Oranges

 like normal people, we still always end up back at WoW. I was just venting over how badges have changed the world of epics, and they really are common now. I can remember when they weren’t, when seeing someone with ANY purple gear meant that they were hardcore and dedicated. Now anymore NOT having purple pixels is like an insult to the entire community and will make you subject to speculation in the infamous Trade Chat.

Personally, I aim to do the best I can OUTSIDE of raiding. I did the hardcore thing. I walked into TBC with a full set of tier two on my warlock. I was proud of her shiny outfit and made use of it all the way to 70. **I was too stubborn to take it off actually. NO WAY had I wasted two years of my life to have it replaced with greens at level 63, was NOT gonna happen**  But now I level new characters and discover new ways to get them gear without ever setting foot in an instance. I will post the priest’s gear guide that I used that the minute she hit 70, she had 1400 healing or something like that, unenchated, and ungemmed. Obviously the gear can get better from there, but I dinged 70 able to walk into a heroic or Kara and heal the crap out of it.

What I find humorous anymore is that people link Thunderfury in trade chat like its a joke. Old news, unimportant, and I beg to differ. Most the people I meet in game in recent days are “BC Babies” meaning they didn’t play the old world. These people cannot comprehend the amount of work it took to get 40 people to cooperate in a raid for six hours at a time. The loot that dropped was hard earned and it was not really possible to “farm” it. With 9 classes playable for each side, and a loot table that included one item for each class, that meant what you were gonna get was pretty darn random. No badges, no reward for the other 38 people who did not get an item off that boss…. just the sheer joy of knowing the lore.

The Thunderfury was not easy to come by. The ever so fortunate winner of the bindings still had a long journey ahead of them. It took help from guildmates, resources, and time. Lots of time. People link it now and laugh like its dismissible. Perhaps the stats are not that great, but I salute anyone who managed to get one, as I know all too well the work it takes to get there.

Every once in a while I see someone with the warglaives. Those ever so orange items that drop from Illidan. I would salute them too but it’s not quite the same. This person didn’t really have to put forth any effort of his own, just roll well or have enough DKP. Even Oranges aren’t that special anymore, just rarer.

But people wear them about, thinking that they are the Gods of WoW and I should somehow submit to thier whim, for they have been to black temple and have raided 3 days a week for four or five hours at a time. Personally, I am laughing at you, the modern day Hardcore player. All this work and you see, it does not earn you the same respect that it used to. You go in 25s, not 40s. You raid maybe 4 hours, not six… and you don’t even need to be attuned anymore.

The guilds that see the content and plow through it like a well oiled machine, that I can respect. Its a group of people that have learned about each other, who have worked together and can successfully navigate anything that comes there way. Maybe that guild is “Hardcore” or maybe it is “Casual” either way it doesn’t matter. Its the group of people that appeal to me, not thier progression.

WotLK

WotLK

Progression will always be updated, outdated, and eventually, obsolete. In the end the only thing that should remain constant through this ever evolving game would be your guildmates, your friends, and how you treat them is more important to me then epics that aren’t epic anymore. Come WotLK you will see what I mean. You will know what its like to “work so hard at this” to find it wasn’t for much. Do I sound pessimistic? Perhaps. It is the nature of the beast. You are no longer the best, get out there and fix that! And we’ll do it again in two more years.

Speaking of WotLK, it would seem my newfound guildmates have received a few beta keys. I personally did not sign up. I don’t feel keen on playing something for nothing. I shall wait for it’s full release and then come upon the land with an entire army of characters to choose from to go through the lands, exploring and loving finished content. I’m not much for testing. But nonetheless, congrats to Lady Jess, Dech, and Fimlys. I hope you enjoy your time in the land of the unknown.

We Will Not Forget

We Will Not Forget

I however have some warlocks that need tending to. Also, today is 9/11. Lets have a moment of silence for the fallen folk who died in a ruthless act of violence against the United States. We will never forget. Kiss a military person today as well. As pointless as you may feel the war may be, they are out there for us, trying their hardest to give us what we want. Agree or not they are still fighting, still dying, and still out there. Also a happy birthday shout to Gun Lovin Dwarf Chick, as it is her 1st anniversary for her blog. Congrats Bre!@

To Tank or Not to Tank?

Now that we’re past the introductions, I feel it is time to get down to business. My first topic of discussion? Paladins. So far played this class has been the most work. Why might you ask? Well not only are the spec’s so incredibly different from each other, but also, the amount of gear for each spec is limited, and really, a pain in the butt to come by.

So far in my experiences, Paladin prot gear mostly comes from badges. With the additon of the Sunwell Badge Vendor there were some neat and very much needed upgrades available to us. There really are not many options for the Paladin Tank. (Well, except for the Paladin Tanks who think they are Warriors. This infuriates me, and is another topic for another day). The average Paladin needs 102.6 percent avoidance (Including thier holy shield) To become uncrushable. Acheiving this number is not all that terribly difficult, unless you are like me and like to push the bar as far as you can.

In my prot set, I didn’t just hit the run of the mill uncrit/uncrush… I also managed to get 18k Hitpoints in buffs, and a nice 450 spell damage. This made tanking a breeze, but was quite the challenge to achieve. I of course took my badge gear like a good pally should, but I also squeezed in some spell damage where ever I could, and got trinkets that did nothing for my avoidance, only added to my stamina and gave a proc. The gems were all avoidance gems to make up for the stats I lost in not having avoidance trinkets, and when everything was said and done, I had a fancy purple pixel protection set, and tanking became a breeze.

However, now the tables have changed, and my guild is in need of a healer. Being a hybrid class I decided it was time for a change of pace and stepped up to the challenge. I shelved my hard earned tanking gear and set out to earn some new shiny purples in which to heal. My first thought was that after all that number crunching for tanking and badge farming, surely healing would be much easier. And technically it is. Healing has two spells (Well three, with my racial of Gift of the Naaru). Spam and go, for the most part. But the gear farm, is about the same. There are a couple of nice items out of Kara that I can easily farm out, and with the addition of Season 2 Arena Gear available to purchase, I might invest in a shield. At least, until I see the one out of ZA. But being a Paladin healer has begged a new sort of debate… Mp5 or Spell Crit?

I was discussing this with my guild today. Some say that if I do not stack Mp5 I would never survive some fights like Lady Vashj or Kael. However others say that with talents, if I stack spell crit I will recieve mana back, and be fine. So far I decided to try the road less traveled, and went with crit. the Spell Crit gear seems to be easier to find, though also a badge farm quite like the prot set was. So far the choice in gear has served me well in Kara, ZA, and one encounter in Mount Hyjal. But I assume more testing will be required to achieve an accurate opinion in all. I will have to find more places to read up on the spell crit vs. Mp5 idea, and share them here when I have more information.

As for Ret? Lawl. I haven’t a clue. So far Ive not really given it a try, and when I do, it will likely be in PvP as currently, the guild does not seem to use them much. Eventually I will piece together all of my knowledge on this wonderful hybrid class and post a guide. Until then, you advice is appreciated.