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Ways to Suck Less

One of my gaming New Year’s Resolutions was to suck less. Unfortunately, this resolution hasn’t been something that I’ve been the best at keeping. Fortunately I’m not failing completely, but I’m still in the process of learning my new role as a boomkin, so there is still that curve to adjust to. I was giving some thought to ways that I can improve, and I came up with the following three points:

1. Use cooldowns appropriately

Abilities have cooldowns for a reason – a decision has to be made as to when the most they will be the most beneficial. Don’t just use a cooldown when it’s up, make sure that it is put to the best use possible. Using Starfall in conjunction with Lunar Eclipse is an example of a small thing that can help boost damage without needing to do too much extra work. Along the same line, using Treants during the air phase of a dragon encounter isn’t really the best timing.

2. Many abilities, handle them!

I’m guilty of forgetting to use certain abilities, but at the same time I use certain others that my raid leader has looked at the combat log and said – “… and you threw in a few random typhoons, I see?” Basically, don’t forget what is available. My personal problem is forgetting to use Wild Mushroom, as I started out as feral and always thought it wasn’t a very good ability to use. The damage was low, the mana cost was high, it was useless. Then Magmaw came around, and I was told in no uncertain terms that I could have used them to help with the adds.

3. Be situationally aware

Again, with my switch from melee to ranged damage, this is a big key for me. Know what is going on around you at all times, and what could happen to you. Good practice for this is the first boss in Deadmines, which gives the achievement “Ready for Raiding” for a reason: if you avoid all the junk that he deals, it’s a good indication that raiding is on the way for you.

These three simple things will help anyone raid better, and hopefully I’ll be able to remember these things as well. Any class can benefit from these tips, once I have more experience under my belt I’ll try to make one that’s more boomkin-specific.

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?

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