Category Archives: Druid

Situational Changes Only, Please

There are two major sides to World of Warcraft. Player versus player, or PvP, and player versus environment, or PvE. PvP is battlegrounds, arenas, world confrontation on a PvP server. PvE is dungeons, raids, world bosses that are around in Azeroth. They are two separate parts of the game, but all integrated into that same game as a whole.

However, the key is that these are separate. They are similar, yet very different to each other and have different goals, even within each area. One battleground might have you try to kill the opposing NPC leader, as in Alterac Valley, and another could have you capture the flag three times, as in Warsong Gulch. One dungeon encounter might have you kill a boss, whereas another might have you protect a NPC from waves of hostiles. Same game, different objectives and different rules.

This is the part that frustrates me at times: changes made to the game because of one of these parts that affects the game as a whole. We’ve seen it many times: abilities have been buffed or nerfed because they were overpowered in either PvP or PvE, and the inevitable forum screams because of it. There are times it’s justified, and other times that it’s not.

As a feral DPS druid, this is very near and dear to my heart for the coming patch 4.0.6, as two major abilities are being nerfed because of how they were overpowered in PvP. It has been a staple since WoW was released that a Druid shapeshifting would break all forms of root and slow effects, and the 31 point feral talent of Berserk would remove all fear effects (on a 3 minute cooldown). There can be no reason at all that these were nerfed because of PvE, since it would only help the druid survive longer. I realize that many other classes don’t have any escape ability from roots, but I just don’t see any reason for these particular nerfs to happen. Especially because they target feral druids only, and not balance or resto – both specs still are able to break roots with their shapeshifts, and it doesn’t take a key part out of their 31 point talent.

All complaining aside, this is just a good example for the point behind this all. What is so hard about making changes to PvP without it affecting PvE as well? We have seen Blizzard make changes to affect certain areas only like arenas, which are not able to use certain abilities. If it’s possible to disable abilities altogether, there should be a way to disable certain parts of it as well.

I don’t know which part of the game is used by more people, but I don’t think that it matters. Each side should be equally balanced within its own realm. As a feral druid, I am a sitting duck if I’m rooted – especially in PvP. I find it very funny that the other specs are allowed to break roots on shifts, since they can either do ranged DPS or are able to heal themselves effectively. I can cast heals on myself or attack at range for whopping hundreds of heals or damage.

In a perfect world, the game would be perfectly balanced. We wouldn’t have forums full of people complaining, blog posts with people complaining (such as this one), and so on. It’s not a perfect world, so we let Blizzard know what we think should happen. Constructive criticism is a wonderful thing.

Dear Blizzard: please don’t nerf or buff abililities across the board because it’s overpowered or underpowered in PvP or PvE. If it needs to be fixed in one of the areas, fix it in that area only and don’t hurt people who it doesn’t affect.

Altaholic-ness, Redux

A while back, I mentioned how much I enjoy leveling alts. To this day the trend continues, and unfortunately Cataclysm has made it even easier to enjoy this hobby. The addition of new races, new race/class combinations, and the complete redesign of the level 1-60 leveling process was just a bit of encouragement. Then I go and splurge on all three heirloom cloaks from guild rep, making it that much easier.

My habit has continued, and it has flourished.

One big thing that I’m a bit surprised about is that two classes that I enjoyed quite a bit before have not interested me as much now. The Warlock, my very first class that I got to the level cap with on the Horde side in Vanilla, has no presence on my character list at all. I tried rolling one a few times, but it’s just not doing it for me right now. Perhaps later. The Death Knight, a class that I thoroughly enjoyed back in WotLK, is now my bank alt. I have one that I’m trying to level through Outland right now, but I think it might be more of that continent’s fault than the DK class itself.

My Shaman just recently hit 65 after simmering on the backburner for a while. I wanted to get geared up and ready for heroics and raids before I focused too much on any alt for a little bit. Now that I’m raiding again (woot!), I’ve been slowly working him through Outland. As I mentioned before, it really is a chore to get through the BC content. I remember trying to rush as fast as possible to 58 so we could get away from the junk of Vanilla content – oh, how times have changed.

There’s the hunter who’s in the late thirties. I was going pretty steady with it for a while, but I’ve lost interest in it for the moment. These phases come and go quite quickly with various classes and how I feel with it. On our old server, I was leveling a rogue with my wife and was having a blast. I tried rolling a rogue a few times already, and it’s just not doing anything for me right now. More than likely, it’s too close to the cat druid that I work on mostly right now.

One character that I was looking forward to rolling at Cataclysm was my goblin priest, and she’s been quite a bit of fun. Checking out the talent trees previously, Discipline looked like a great spec to try out for leveling as it had a good mixture of damage and healing abilities. So far I’ve leveled exclusively through the dungeon finder from level 15 on, just to work on my skills so when I hit a higher level I’m not completely out of it. I’m only level 29, so it’s not really too big of a challenge, but it’s been a good experience so far.

Lastly, I have lowbies of the rest of them: paladin, mage, and warrior. I’ve played a paladin and mage to level cap previously and enjoyed it, and the highest I’ve ever gotten a warrior was to the mid twenties. Some of the higher levels that I have right now are going to be DPS and healing, so I’m thinking a tanking warrior would be fun. Heirloom shield please?

I enjoy the different experiences that I have on each character when I play them. Each has their own different feel, their own nuances that I have to figure out – it’s nice to have such flexibility within the game. Plus, this is all on the Horde side. If I wanted something completely new, I’d work on my Alliance characters… maybe.

Dungeon Finder and YOU!

There are numerous stories that could be told about the Random Dungeon Finder.  The good ol’ LFD/LFG/looking for PAIN tool is a wonderful and horrible invention that can be used for good or for evil.  Unfortunately, there are many people who seem happier to use it for the latter.

I have a lowbie Priest who is currently level 23, and has leveled purely through the dungeon finder so far.  Through that I have come across many great players who have been willing to help out others who aren’t as good, as well as many players who have no clue what they are doing and don’t want to accept any suggestions at all.  Of course, this doesn’t go just for the lowbie instances – my Druid main has come across many different types of people through the dungeon finder for regular and heroic dungeons at level 85 as well.

After all my experiences, I think that the most important thing to remember when with any group (LFD or not) is to have good communication.  It doesn’t matter if it’s all guild members, one pug, or if it’s all completely random – if there’s a communication breakdown, failure is sure to come knocking at your door quite soon.

A good example would be a Wailing Caverns run that I did the other day on my priest.  I don’t remember the exact makeup, but the tank was a paladin who didn’t like to listen and who liked to do his own thing.  After killing the first boss, Lady Anacondra, 4 of the 5 of us drop down and proceed to the west side to start the trek to the second boss, Lord Cobrahn.  The tank proceeds to continue around the top side towards where the Naralex event eventually happens at the end.  In chat, we asked multiple times what he was doing and if he was going to come back to where the group was, and he never said anything.  In hindsight, this would have been a good time to initiate a vote-kick.

The group was fine, since we had a hunter with us and the pet tanked just as good as the paladin was, and fortunately I was able to keep everyone alive.  We put up with the tank’s eccentricities like randomly running ahead and getting new packs of mobs before we were done the previous ones, or randomly going afk for 5 minutes without saying anything.   Once again, I’m thankful that we had the hunter’s pet to be a better tank than the one who was in the group.

Don’t be “that guy”.  Don’t be the one that people write blog posts about, or laugh about with their guilds, or complain about to their wives.  As a sidenote, I’m glad that my wife enjoys listening to my dungeon finder stories.  It makes those brutal groups much easier to bear.

Try to help others who are having difficulties.  Don’t post damage meters, because nobody cares (on that note, if you’re trying to see how you’re doing compared to others, you don’t need to announce it to the rest of the party).  If you don’t know your way around, ask.  If someone doesn’t know the way, help point them in the right direction.

It’s really not that difficult.  If everyone puts in a little bit of kindness, it’ll go a long way.  Maybe the idiot from the last group will pick something up from you, and next run will be a little bit less of an idiot.  If during that run, someone gives him a few more pointers, he’ll be even less of an idiot.  Hopefully the idiocy will flush itself out, but that’s just me being hopeful.

Remember Wheaton’s law: “Don’t be a dick.”

Druid New Year’s Resolutions

The new year is finally upon us, and it’s at this time that many people look behind at what was and look forward to what will come.  I’ve done a lengthy series of retrospectives, so I think that can count as my looking behind part.  That being said, I’d like to set myself some goals for my main character, my Druid.

  1. Don’t suck.  I know that should be standard and not necessary to put on this list, but I think it’s important to include here.  There are many ways to suck at WoW, and I don’t want to be one of “those guys” who can’t play his class well.  I may not be the top performer, but I want to do my job properly.  Not only do I have to play my class properly, but I also have to play where I am properly – know the dungeon or raid I’m in, and react accordingly, for example.
  2. Know my role.  Right now my main spec is feral DPS in cat form, which has been my main spec for a few years now.  Thankfully there hasn’t been much change to how things operate and only minor tweaks, so that’s not too much of a big deal.  My secondary spec is restoration, which is quite a bit different for me.  I’ve played a healing class before, and even had it as my main spec on my Paladin back in Burning Crusade – but the playstyle of a Holy Paladin versus a Resto Druid is completely different.  I’m not playing healing whack-a-mole anymore, but learning how to anticipate what is going to happen and be ready for it.
  3. Don’t get frustrated.  Too many times, I see myself get frustrated with some aspect of the game.  I was in a random group on my lowbie priest the other day, and I was getting mad at the tank because he wasn’t holding aggro – but it was his first time tanking, and druid tanks aren’t the best at low levels – and everyone needs to learn.  I’m going to be in this same position when I work up the courage to do a random group as a healer, and I’m pretty sure it won’t be pretty.  (This is one benefit of having a guild – guinea pigs for my starting attempts)
  4. Have fun.  After everything is said and done, this is still a game.  A lot of people seem to forget that, and from time to time I’ve been equally as guilty.  When things get too bad: take a breather, go watch TV, read a book, talk to your spouse, do something to get away from the computer.  Find your happy place, go there, and relax.  Instances, PvP, guild politics, you name it – they can all wait.  This is a game, and treat it as such.  (World of Warcraft is serious business, right?)

I want to get better at the game.  I look forward to our raids, and I’m disappointed if I’m not near the top for my performance.  At the same time, I am glad when I’m not the one that gets blamed for wipes or (even worse) is the actual cause for the wipes.  Enjoyable time in the game is what brings people back, and I think that’s really the core of what I want to accomplish.

Melee state of mind

For the longest time, I was always the same type of character when I played any game. If there was a magic-dealing ranged class, that was me. I was your typical “mage”-class player, for my gaming career up until about three years ago. It was then that I seem to have had a bit of a shift in my mindset of what I enjoy, and I learned to love melee classes.

My very first MMO was a game called Nexus: The Kingdom of the Winds (which is pretty much dead by all accounts now). It’s a standard 2.5D top-down RPG where you do the normal stuff: you level up, you kill stuff, you quest, you gain levels, you grow in power. My very first character was a healer, and when I got bored of that, my main character ended up being a mage. I got fairly powerful (by standards of the day), but never near the top of the power listings. I enjoyed being able to blow things up from afar, trying to stay away from those who would tear me apart.

When I started World of Warcraft, my first character was a Druid. I had no clue how to properly play the game at the time, and somehow ended up speccing into the Balance tree. This was back in Vanilla, while the trees were still very broken, and I stopped playing for a while. When I came back, I re-rolled as a Mage, and once again was loving it. I could shoot stuff from my hands, blow things up, and still be far enough away that I (hopefully) shouldn’t die. When we re-rolled to Vek’nilash, my first Horde character was an Orc Warlock, and the time of bliss continued.

It was when Burning Crusade released that things started to change. I had decided to re-roll as a Paladin to help the guild out with class balance, and through the process of leveling up I found out that being a melee class wasn’t so bad after all. I may get hit more often, but there were ways to accomodate that. Once I had hit level 70, I did my time as a healer, so I returned to the back of the raid with my healy hands.

I forget when exactly through Burning Crusade that my wife started to play, but it was at that time that I rolled a Druid to level up with her new Shaman. I specced into Feral, since I read that it was the best one for leveling, and thus began my time as full-time melee. We did quite well while leveling, as long as one of us reminded the other when our health or mana was low. All in all, the process to get to level 70 was quite fun and easy.

I tore things up as a cat, and I got hit in the face as a bear. Through Wrath, I’ve been able to be near or at the top of the charts for DPS, while mastering a very complicated rotation (JFM, anyone?). It gives me a great deal of satisfaction that I can do something well, while still having fun. Going from 70 to 80 was a breeze, and I rarely had to get help for group quests or elite mobs.

To this day, I still have my Feral Druid as my main character, and I plan on keeping it that way for a while. Until the class isn’t fun anymore, I finally found something that I can enjoy and stay competetive in a raid environment.

It’s amazing what happens when you give something a try, isn’t it?

A new frontier

About a month or two back now, our guild decided to move servers.  We come from a medium-low population one, Vek’nilash – the raid scene isn’t the best, recruitment wasn’t very good.  The server we decided to move to was Thrall, which is a high population server.  At first I wasn’t too sure about it, but the longer I think about it, the more I think I’ll enjoy this move.

Part of it is the masochist in me, since I get to level all new alts (as I’ve posted before, I really enjoy doing this).  Yet with Cataclysm, I’m looking forward to this even moreso, with all the changes in the world.  Listening to the WoW Insider podcast and hearing them talk about all the amazing new environments and experiences that they have, I’m eager to re-explore the whole world.

Something else that’s new is that I’m sticking with the same main character for the second expansion in a row.  I originally started the game as a Druid, and became a Mage on the Alliance side.  I then became a Warlock when we rerolled Horde, switched to a Paladin in Burning Crusade, then switched to a Druid later on in BC.  So for Wrath and Cataclysm, I’ll actually be the same character.  Weird.

The guild itself is made, people are starting to work on new alts as well as transfer over others.  Even though I have three 80s, I’ll be sticking with my main for now since I can’t justify spending that much cash on moving servers when it’s hard to make ends meet.  My Druid and my wife’s Paladin will make the journey to begin with.

At the moment, the plan is that I’ll be making a Goblin Priest as my main alt.  I’ve always wanted to level a Priest, but have never been able to get one past level 30, so I’m hoping this time that I’ll be able to.  I enjoyed my time healing in BC as a Holy Paladin, and Discipline looks like lots of fun – something more than just playing healing whack-a-mole.

The move for the guild is set for October 19th, and I can’t wait.

Altaholic-ness

I am a true altaholic in the true sense of the word: I love to level my alts, and my main(s) suffer because of it.  There are many times when I should be farming for something, questing, making money, or things like that – but I’m working on an alt instead.

Right now I have a main and a main alt: my feral druid and my holy paladin.  My druid is geared in some ICC25, some ICC10, and one piece of T10, with other upgrades needed from frost and triumph badges.  My paladin needs a whole bunch more work than that, as  he only has one piece of T9 and is still rocking a fair amount of non-epics.  In order to fix this problem, I need to do random dungeons – and lots of them.

Part of the problem is making sure that I have the time to do the randoms.  Having a small child doesn’t really make it easy at times, since there’s the chance that I’ll have to leave at a moment’s notice.  Since I’ve been queueing as a tank on my druid and healer on the paladin, it’s that much more vital that I pay attention to the run.

I think that part of my love of alts comes from this.  I can hop on one of them, quest around for a bit and not have to worry if my son decides to do something that requires me.  World of Warcraft is very kind to me this way.  All I have to do is get on my flying mount and get about fifty feet in the air, and I’m set.

Yet, over the years I’ve realized that I love to raid and do dungeons.  I wasn’t really sure at first, but once I got with a group of people who had fun doing it, life was much better.  Since my son was born, I’ve been limited to only going once a week, which also makes me a bit antsy to do other things when I’m online.  If I could, I’d love to make both nights of the 25-man, the main and alt nights for the 10-man, and do a bunch of randoms so I can finish gearing up.

Right now I’ve been going back and forth between my level 71 hunter and level 75 warlock.  With playing melee classes for a while, it’s nice to do the ranged ones again.  Yet, I also have a level 80 resto/elemental shaman that has been sitting in Dalaran for the last 3-5 months collecting dust that I could probably put to good use.  Along with them, I have a level 70 death knight, and then all the way down to a level 26 warrior.  My last three consist of a level 10 rogue, being my bank and auction house go-to guy in Orgrimmar, and a priest and mage who are waiting to be deleted and re-made into goblins as soon as Cataclysm comes out.

At least when Cataclysm does come out, I will most definitely not be the only altaholic around.

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