World of Warcraft: What Mist of Pandaria Got Right/Wrong

Now, that patch 5.3 had some time to settle in and with certain talks about 5.4, I think we can say that the expansion probably is getting close to the finish line. Everyone expects the Garrosh raid to most likely be the finale for Mist of Pandaria in terms of content. If that’s the case, then we can use this time to look back at the expansion and see the positive/negative elements….from my point of view, of course.

Positive Points

  • Large continent with tons of quests, lore and flavor. You have to love the sheer size of the new continent. Some areas were done exceptionally well such as the Jade Forest and Valley of the Four Winds. The entire place adds a great deal of depth into the game and there’s lots of opportunities to explore and discover items, rares, treasures and whatnot.
  • A huge number of things to do once you hit level 90. Once you hit 90, you cannot say that you have nothing to do. There’s always something you can turn your attention to whether it’s dailies, LFR, scenarios, pet battles, farmville, rares, PVP, etc. Seriously, I doubt there’s ever been a time in World of Warcraft’s history where you had this many opportunities to accomplish something within the game.
  • Varieties of ways to obtain epic loot. The game has done a decent job of providing ways for people to get loot including Heroics, Scenarios, Heroic Scenarios, LFR, raids, honor/conquest points, dailies (from valor), defeating rare mobs, rerolls, world bosses and crafting. You really get to choose the path you want to take in terms of gearing yourself and can focus on your play style.
  • Lots of corrections to LFR, including the recent bad luck streak rolls, the improved loot chances for older raids and loot specialization. Most of all the got rid of the ninja looters.
  • Plenty of raid bosses, including (thus far) 4 new world raid bosses. If I’m not mistaken, there are currently 37 raid bosses, with one specifically targeting heroic raiders. If you just did LFR, you still could fight against 36 bosses total on just one toon. Not including normals and heroics, but that’s a lot of fights.
  • Pandaren cooking! I love how they revamped cooking into something incredibly useful. It’s great how they made leveling so much easier and gave cooking all these buffs so that it’s worth putting the effort into this profession.
  • Easier methods to level up professions in Pandaria (if you never bothered beforehand). They have done a lot to make leveling professions like blacksmithing, mining, herbalism, etc. less of a chore if you had focused exclusively on leveling. I think it’s great because hopefully it’ll encourage more people to take up professions and contribute to the economy.
  • Pet Battles – This possibly is one of the best features by far added into the game. It’s fun and simple with some cuteness added into the equation. Just today I started working it again and caught myself an undead squirrel. I just loved the animation on the poor little thing’s face! You could tell the people who made this part of the game enjoyed themselves. But that’s why I think it’s such a great addition.
  • Lootable pets from older raid bosses – Along with pet battles, you now have an extra incentive to do old raids since you can potentially find a mini pet from certain bosses.
  • More soloable older raids – Eliminating the raid party requirement and tuning down the older raids have given new life to older content. Add the incentive of transmog and you’re allowing people to experience older parts of the game on their own, sometimes even challenging themselves.
  • Voidbinders for upgrading items – Despite the high cost originally, the idea behind Voidbinders is great. Let’s say you found an awesome weapon that is the best you’ll probably get. Now, you can make it kick even more ass by adding a few more ilvls. It’s just another thing to help those with extra valor or those that need a small boost because they’ve had poor luck in finding a solid replacement for their current items.
  • Base resilience for everyone, thus narrowing the gap for new PVPers – I know certain members of this crowd will always moan over this aspect. But it’s something that was absolutely necessary. I think when Blizzard introduced PVP gear, they made a huge mistake in creating something that was completely off balance. I mean, I recall seeing this alliance Death Knight in Ogrimmar who just killed everyone near the auction house. She survived because she had top PVP gear. No one could scratch her, even when everyone ganged up. This scenario made absolutely no sense and illustrated the problem in having a ridiculous, arbitrary stat in the game. So this recent change gets my vote as a huge positive.
  • Numerous ways to earn gold – I heard originally gold in vanilla was a real commodity. The advent of dailies solved part of this issue. And with the number of dailies and no cap in this expansion, gold is pretty much easily obtainable. In fact, you could do a combination of dailies, LFR and what not and easily hit a few thousand gold every week, even if you don’t do everything all at once.
  • Farmville – A very interesting and cool aspect added to the game. And it’s not specific to your profession nor anything. You can just use your farm to grow anything, whether it’s hording all the materials for just one guy with a single profession or spreading it equally so that every toon with their own profession can get all the mats they need for the day.
  • The Brawlers Guild (haven’t done this yet). I will say that this probably is a positive since it offers hard core players to really challenge themselves. It’s not for everyone but I do think it has an audience.
  • Legendary quests for everyone – I think it’s great that they opened up the notion of legendaries so that everyone can obtain them. I haven’t gotten to the second half yet but I do enjoy the idea that you have that option.
  • Challenge mode heroics – Again like the Brawlers Guild, I haven’t done them. But again this is something that is good for hardcore players and a way for them to test their mettle. While not everything should be viewed one way, it’s good that you have this segment so that these people can demonstrate how uber they are.
  • Scenarios and recently heroic scenarios – Just new types of group content without the silly requirements of roles (although I heard healers are necessary for heroic scenarios). With faster queue times and reasonable rewards, scenarios offer just another way to get some quick loot while the heroic version once again offers hard core players the chance to push it to their limits.
  • Loot rerolls – Now this was a godsend! I have been extremely fortunate to get the various items on my toons through this mechanism. The fact that you can occasionally get two items in a roll is just awesome.
  • LFR Raid Style Progression – Patch 5.2 was a real test to see whether or not the LFR style raid progression would work. The problem was that traditionally raid progression had been particularly difficult for those who couldn’t keep up or started late. Fortunately, people still are using the pre-Throne of Thunder LFR raids to gear up and the queue times haven’t been as horrible. So there won’t be a necessity for a catch up style instance just to meet gear requirements.

Now, let me address the negative aspects.

Bad Points

  • Dailies. Or more specifically unending dailies. If there’s one consistent gripe about Mist of Pandaria it’s that the game entirely is made up of dailies. Too much has been locked up behind dailies, including reputation, gear and other dailies. When you run out lesser charms, you end up returning to the dailies, although they’ve added more methods such as mobs and pet battles to acquire those charms. Still the monotony, the work-to-reward ratio and sheer number really made this system a massive failure.
  • Talent tree removal – Of all the things done, this had to be one of the more anti-RPG moves done to the game. It made leveling seem even more meaningless. One nice thing about pre-Cataclysm leveling was looking forward to spending that one talent point you earned for that level. People complained about talent trees as either cookie cutter or far too restrictive. But it was a nice vehicle in giving the illusion that you were progressing somehow. And in some ways you were really customizing your character. The talent tree as it stands now only has a few uses and even today there are still cookie cutter builds. It felt like something cheap so that testing can be done in a far easier manner.
  • Time management – There’s just too many things to do. It’s quite overwhelming really when you look at all the various things you can accomplish on a single toon. All of it is optional but there’s a lot that requires a huge amount of time investment. I think one of the major oversights in this expansion is asking how much time should players be given to do a certain number of activities. It feels as though no one bothered really investigating this idea nor setting a standard. This is something that I liked in Cataclysm’s patch 4.3 with the Hour of Twilight instances. The developers described them as something you could do over lunch break. The game at that time was far more manageable than it is now. Hopefully, Blizzard learns that you can’t spend every second in the game and that sometimes people want to split their time up in certain activities.
  • Still no way to correct ninja pulling in LFR. They griefers continue! I doubt this will end but it’s something Blizzard drastically needs to address. It’s one of the main things poisoning LFR right now.
  • Funnel vision. The game designers think too linear in the way they view how players will handle things. This is an internal problem in Blizzard and they need to do even more to make the experience open and dynamic.
  • Leveling. This had been a huge issue in the funnel vision design. The fact that you would redo the path for each toon that you leveled really grated on many people. There wasn’t anyway to avoid the paths of questing and the quest themselves quickly became monotonous. I think they needed to do more to split up the quest hubs so that certain ones were optional. Most quests ended up being the same old same old without any real meaning. The average player will not take time to read the flavor texts so why inject that many useless quests into the game? Also, why create arbitrary walls in quests, especially those that can turn out buggy or just flat out lame? Sure, we have the 30% experience decrease for leveling at the moment, but that really doesn’t change the layout of the quests themselves.
  • Too much visual BS in raids. I don’t mind mechanics but I mind situations where I just can’t see things because of horrible design. I appreciate the fact that the fights are more dynamic and complex but certain ones just went overboard. Again, Blizzard needs to establish standards in these situations to prevent burn out. And quite honestly, it doesn’t matter how complex a fight is; eventually people will just get burnt out over time so it’ll be too easy or lame.
  • Effort-to-reward ratio is still skewed. It’s gotten better over time but I think people want to really see something for their effort. This is another aspect that Blizzard needs a standard formula.
  • No flying in Pandaria until 90. Not even BoA flying. And the removal of automatic flight paths. Just overall inconvenience that serves no purpose outside of “hey, we really want you to see this world we created!” Well, we saw it once now we’re bored as shit. Stop funneling us through this narrow Disneyland Small World Ride. It’s not fun. It’s just tedious. Eventually, it won’t matter anyway so why try to put a stop to this?

Overall, I would say my biggest gripe is just the time management issue. I felt that this expansion I put just far more effort without really feeling much gratification. Usually, I just feel really exhausted and mentally burnt out after playing. And it’s so time consuming too. Not in a positive nor productive way neither. Along side that, my motivations for logging in is simply to continue to keep up. That’s not really a positive reason. I want to log on because I want to do something fun or accomplish something. Not be part of a rat race. The game talks about “slowing down” and developers describe the experience as “enjoying a fine wine.” I feel neither. It’s more like try to get every little nibble you can from an exploding cake before it hits the floor. Savoring the experience would be allowing me to log in once a week, play for a few hours and then leaving with a sense of accomplishment. Then I can muse over what I would want to accomplish the following week. I shouldn’t have to think just about tomorrow or the next second. That’s not savoring. That’s just wasteful time consumption.

Diablo 3: Expansion Supposedly Announced and Thoughts

Supposedly, the Diablo 3 expansion had been announced. Part of the expansion will apparently mark the return of Jay Wilson since Blizzard’s Titan title will be delayed. Originally, I heard the rumor/announcement on Kripparian’s youtube channel and he offered some thoughts on what the game ought to be. The main thing he wanted was a reset.

At that point, I had to stop the video and find something else.

It’s clear that Kripparian’s view is that races are what make games great. But you have to understand something very carefully. Kripparian is someone who professes to have no life, dedicating his entire time to gaming. In fact, without these races, Kripparian practically wouldn’t exist at this moment as a streamer. But that’s what he implies by having the expansion essentially reset everyone’s work. Right now, he points the finger at those who pay real cash to get ahead. But those people are not the only ones who would be affected by the equivalent of a reset. What about those who had grinded for months since the start? Does that mean that their efforts suddenly would be devalued as well?

But that’s what a reset implies. Yet there’s a very nefarious scheme behind what Kripparian wants here. The idea is that Kripparian, since he abandoned Diablo 3 in favor of a game that he gets paid for (i.e. Path of Exile), he would be at the same level as everyone else once he steps back in. At that point, he could easily play catch up because everyone would be at his level. Then he could go and do whatever exploitations of the game he desires along with using his group of followers to push him ahead.

I found his video to be quite insulting in how he described Blizzard as catering to casuals. Isn’t the point of any game company to make a product that has a broad appeal? If a company dedicates their resources to cater to a very small group, then they wouldn’t have much of a product nor following. That’s just how it goes. But that’s the poison that these people who profess to be “hardcore” gamers want from game companies.

But that’s not exactly what gaming is about. Gaming is about having fun, not a dick race, which is what the industry apparently has turned into with all these streams and e-sports monikers. Yes, it is fascinating watching people play competitively. But that type of play should not be the focus in the design of a game.

Going back to the subject of a new Diablo 3 expansion, I addressed the subject a while back and want to talk about some points. The first is dealing with the problem about the game being far too gear centered. Blizzard had coded themselves into a wall by limiting the number of levels and making the game focused all around gearing. The problem is that with an expansion, what do you do about the people who spent tons of money to buy upgrades? Or what about the grinding that people had done to obtain the best gear?

World of Warcraft already has this issue and it’s something that I believe is a mental disease in Blizzard in creating the dangling carrot. The thing is that gear centered games face the same problem as technology. You easily surpass it after a certain point and everyone wants the best. However, after doing the rat race long enough, people gradually burn out once they realize that their efforts pretty much amount to bling at the end of the day. My guild master once summarized the problem in saying that he wanted to do pet battles because he recognized that his pets weren’t going away.

Then you have the whole paragon leveling issue. Should someone who has paragon 100 be as power as say someone who was level 70 (if the game added 10 more levels)? The thing is that ultimately the people who have stuck around and continued playing the game despite all the disasters should be rewarded for their efforts. Even if someone was a sucker in spending say a few thousand dollars on gear upgrades, why sh0uldn’t they seem some form of gratification? Perhaps that person works exceptionally hard at a job and spends money on gear because he wants to. I don’t see any issue with that. The only people who care are those who have an ego problem because they cannot be the best in terms of gear.

So the question is what should Blizzard do now that they’ve built their own prison? One thing that the new lead developers mentioned was reintegrating the skill system into the game. Something I thought of was to retain the benefits of Paragon levels and focus on a separate type of leveling system that would focus on the skill system. I’ve seen some games like Skyrim, Wasteland and Wizardry who implement skill leveling through usage. You could make such a system layer on top of the build system on place so it acts as an augmentation system. That would solve the leveling issue.

What about gearing? My biggest gripe about Diablo 3 and World of Warcraft is that your items essentially are like modern cars; they constantly depreciate in value over time. It would be nice to be able to continue to use them, especially if you’ve gotten lucky with a good find, deal on the AH, etc. But obviously you want better gear at the same time. My thought is that there needs to be other ways to enhance what you’ve earned. In World of Warcraft, they partly handled this through the upgrade system. But the upgrade system works only between one tier. Once the ilvl difference increases to a certain point, your items once again lose value and you’re forced to do another item hunt.

Take for instance the legendary gem and Sha Touched weapons. The second you find a Thunderforged weapon you’ll more than likely toss your hard earned Sha Touched weapon into Void Storage. So why even put in the effort in the first place, especially for something described as a “legendary quest?” (or do they mean legendary waste of time?)

So I hope that they have some mechanism to upgrade your items. Perhaps using existing items or a way to reforge your stats into something more meaningful. Either way, that type of mechanism needs to be in place so that items don’t go to waste. I think if Diablo 3 attempted to go the direction of World of Warcraft where all the new items far exceed everything, then it’ll cause a lot of people to lose even more faith in Blizzard. I mean, Diablo 3’s connection to real money and the grinding necessary to remain semi-competitive make the situation extremely sensitive to players. Now, Blizzard has to live with the consequences.

World of Warcraft: More Patch 5.4 Speculation with Potential Spoilers

Someone on the forums mentioned that he managed to get into some pre-PTR testing of the 5.4 patch. It was a fairly interesting read as he told it from the alliance side of things to come. The main issue wasn’t the storyline specifically surrounding the alliance but the actual raid on Ogrimmar.

Like anything, quite a few people doubted what the person stated but the write up sounded quite legitimate. For myself, I felt that the upcoming raid, if indeed this is what is being planned, sounds like a huge let down. For the most part, the new raid meets expectations from a very basic story plot. But it’s very one dimensional in how it ends and how the story evolves.

Obviously, the big thing is that both horde and alliance will be raiding Ogrimmar with Garrosh as the end boss. As I had speculated before, he is, indeed, possessed by a Sha and after beating Garrosh down, you end up facing another Sha creature. After defeating this creature and Garrosh, Green Jesus (Thrall in case you haven’t heard his updated name) makes his late-as-usual return to chastise a groveling/humiliated Garrosh, who is carried off to some unknown spot while the alliance back off from assaulting the horde.

This story is just….horrible. It’s horrible because it’s so basic and obvious with almost no depth. You can easily look to other famous movies or games to see similar parallels. One I noted was Ultima 5. But Ultima 5 had a lot of depth in developing the key villain, Lord Blackthorn. Lord Blackthorn, like Garrosh, had his mind manipulated by others (the Shadowlords) such that his sense of virtue was twisted, leading him to persecute people who didn’t follow his law to the letter. As you go through Ultima 5, you slowly grow to despise this replacement for Lord British as his oppressive regime forces you to hide or do things that may not be entirely virtuous. Possibly, the most dramatic moment in the story is where one of your companions can end up getting terminated permanently from the game if you get caught in his castle. It’s such a nefarious act that you savior the moment for the rescue of Lord British.

Garrosh started to have color too in Cataclysm. The best quest in the game as a horde player involved a near execution of an innocent tauren. At that moment, Garrosh comes in to defend the tauren, finding his orc subordinate as a blind blood thirsty zealot. After tossing the subordinate from the cliff in a rare moment of poetic justice, Garrosh cites Saurfang’s speech about honor back in the fight in the Icecrown Citadel. This moment made you respect the possibility that Garrosh had potential to lead the horde as a burgeoning chief.

Yet Mist of Pandaria and this particular raid just throws everything down the drain.

While the Sha aspect is something that was foreshadowed from the start of expansion when we saw General Nazgrim having a Sha creature expelled from him as well as the fight with the alliance captain who turned out to be a Sha, we never truly understand how this mechanic works. It feels as though Garrosh just out of nowhere become a bad guy. And he became a bad guy just because the people over at Blizzard stated just before the expansion that he was going to be the end villain.

My feeling at this point is pretty apathetic. I feel that there isn’t a point in this expansion as opposed to what was being questioned from the start (i.e. “Why do we fight?”) Garrosh is simply going to be demoted from a bad ass horde leader to a loot pinata. And it’s quite sad from a storyline perspective. This is just like how Gollum goes from a colorful, slightly complex persona in Peter Jackson’s Two Towers to a one dimensional bad guy in Return of the King. Samwise Gangee outward tells the audience (and Frodo) that Gollum is a villain. How blatantly terrible story writing does that have to be? Shouldn’t the audience have the option to decide for themselves if Gollum deserves the hatred rather than the de facto good guy imposing his will on everyone? And what happened to the more complex persona? It simply vanishes and we no longer have any sense of possible redemption for his character. And this is a significant thing too as the speech that Samwise Gangee gives at the end of The Two Towers shows Gollum seemingly empathizing with Sam. To me that means that Gollum still is a character with a great deal of internal conflict. But in Return of the King, he goes straight back to a one dimensional villain.

In the case of Garrosh, it’s the same deal. But that’s what makes it frustrating. You read on forums how horde members want to refuse to fight Garrosh but rather be given the option to side with him. And why not? At the end of the day, Garrosh still is a member of the horde. Perhaps, horde members enjoy this aggressive side. They might respect someone who has a Steve Jobs-like vision and strength when it comes to defining what the horde ought to be.

Yet the only reason we’re really given to fight Garrosh is that he’s a dickhead. In Cataclysm, he just wanted to run things efficiently. He wanted to polish the horde fighting machine. If you examine his actions, he was more like a robot attempting to stick to a certain policy. Also, he wanted to bring glory back to the horde in expanding the horde empire through aggressive tactics against the alliance. He might’ve been annoying but there hasn’t been a lot of reasons to really hate this guy outside of him having high blood pressure (well don’t all orcs have that issue?)

Now, we’re back to the whole “he’s out of control!” character model with his lust for power. And of course that’s due to him being infected supposedly by a Sha. Yet how did this all happen? More importantly when did this all happen? See, these are great questions that ought to be answered through a quest chain, scenario or dungeon.

Another thing that really baffles me is why does the horde for this upcoming encounter require the alliance once again to ally with? You had the Lich King and Deathwing who seemed more insurmountable with their armies. Those cases made me believe the two factions needed to join up. By suddenly the horde has gained so much power that it rivals the Lich King and Deathwing? You’re telling me that one section of a faction alone requires both factions to combine strength? Where the hell did all these warriors on the horde’s side appear? Did Garrosh suddenly offer a massive orc orgy for two decades to increase the population? On top of that he kicked everyone who wasn’t an orc out of Ogrimmar practically!

The thing that really irks me with this story is that it’s just so South Park-ish in that we have this new calamity out of nowhere that we must collectively face. But the calamity is just more of the same with a ton of loopholes that makes a craterous zit infested teen look like a new born baby. And it’s the same issue that is at the core of Blizzard and World of Warcraft: too much dependency on raiding!

All of this just feels so arbitrary. I don’t mind having Garrosh be an enemy. But the way they’re setting him up to be some epic foe isn’t coming off very well. Instead, it’s cheap and the lead up feels extremely cheap. It makes K-Mart look like Saks Fifth Avenue.

The worst part in the spoilers came when Garrosh pretty much had the Lord Blackthorn ending. So he’s a war criminal in some ways but Garrosh gets a pardon because he was possessed. In turn, he gets banished. So now we’re supposed to feel guilty for the poor bastard. What happens to him? He just disappears from reality after having a slow build up over three expansions?

The thing I hope is that they don’t just throw Garrosh into the trash. And if they do bring him back they have to make him interesting. Compare the Ultima 5 reference of Lord Blackthorn to his comeback in Ultima 9. There he’s just the Sheriff of Nottingham in terms of evil and his entire back story is tossed out and promptly forgotten. Spoony made a huge deal when he talked about reading in Ultima 7 one of the books that discussed Lord Blackthorn’s fate. And it was a good ending as the guy reached a new level of enlightenment and found peace after the crimes he committed.

I wouldn’t want to see Garrosh thrown into some correctional facility either. You could always do the redeemed hero but you don’t want to make him repeat the same mistakes nor path of his father. If that occurred then it’s far worse because Blizzard (or Chris Metzen) would just be reusing the stuff they’ve already written.

The thing you have to ask is why did the Sha possess him in the first place? Is it because they saw him as weak and easily manipulated or perhaps strong and capable of carrying out their will? What if he willingly wanted to be possessed because he wanted something greater? I think that aspect would make him far more interesting and slightly less predictable.

The other aspect I talked about in the discussion was the bosses leading up to Garrosh. I think many people (especially the alliance) want to have epic encounters with famous characters from the Horde. I mean, who doesn’t want to have a duke out with Saurfang? Or how about General Nazgrim? Why not a massive Lord of the Rings style charge against the army of orcs? And let’s not at all forget Gamon. If anything Hogger and Gamon should be bosses at part of the raid.

Outside of Garrosh, I didn’t see one boss that looked familiar. And that’s highly disappointing. This is going to be a cathartic moment for the alliance. They deserve it (and this is coming from a horde player) And why can’t the horde want to try their hand against some of these guys? I know everyone on the horde wants Gamon to be a boss. I mean, we’ve been punching him around for years, even his updated form.

The thing is that it would be nice to have some emotional investment in this upcoming raid. The raids from Mist of Pandaria were interesting but they really didn’t have much purpose overall and felt somewhat disjointed. Instead, they felt as though the developers were trying to create a purpose. Now, I would’ve preferred if they lacked any purpose outside of something interesting to kill. But they had this middle ground type of definition.

At any rate, I’m pretty disappointed that this expansion will end in Ogrimmar rather than Pandaria. It really is silly if you ask me. The thing is why build up this continent only to move away from it? I suppose the developers were looking towards Lord of the Rings in trying to create a “what I learned from my experience” type of deal in having the horde return to their capital and handle their home. But it’s so one sided. If you look at what Jaina Proudmoore is going through, wouldn’t it make sense to have a parallel raid with her as the end boss? Isn’t she acting a bit suspicious? Wouldn’t it make sense for both sides to experience Sha infected leaders so that they learn “why you fight?”

World of Warcraft: Pushing Forward on the Death Knight

I went through the pre-Throne of Thunder LFRs on my Death Knight since I really wanted to finish up the legendary gem quest and get a few extra pieces of gear. It started off as a somewhat weird day since I went from the easier ones to the harder ones, mostly focusing on blood spec gear then moving back to frost for a few encounters. But until I hit Terrace of Endless Spring, I had no coins to do any re-rolls.

So I tried doing Nalak to see if I could get anything or even a rare. Nope. In fact, just as I was about to take on Goda, I got summoned for the Nalak encounter. Afterwards, I eventually got into a Galleon group and once again received nothing. Somewhat disappointed I decided to return to the Isle of Thunder to see if I could spot any rares. Lo and behold Goda was there. I was fortunate enough to get a small group together and got a key to the treasure room. Then I went and picked up several Elder Charms and turned my attention back to Terrace of Endless Spring.

I had some really weird luck there in terms of loot. I got a few repeat drops, including some tanking bracers, the shoulder token, the DPS strength ring and the two handed axe. But I did manage to get my belt and a new tanking necklace so I was pretty happy there. After looting the Sha of Fear, I immediately hit Wrathion to pick up my gem. I did some reforging, got a belt buckle and crafted a few gems for my new belt. Afterwards, it was time to test this all out and see how much I could hit.

At first, I tried picking on some low level creatures in the Jade Forest since I needed to grab a few Jewelrycrafting recipes. But it turns out that I was doing far too much damage to really see how much I improved. Instead, I decided to hunt rares again. Found one guy in Krasarang Wilds (the guy in the little boat) and nuked him down. I think it was pure bliss when I saw a tasty 230k+ crit show up on screen from my Obliterate. Looking at Recount, I noticed I was doing a little under 90k. Considering I don’t have a lot of the newer Throne of Thunder pieces yet, I thought that my DPS was fairly respectable. In fact, all day long I was in the top DPS spots, if not first, most of the time.

Tomorrow (or rather later tonight), I hope to do some Throne of Thunder on my death knight to see what kind of DPS I can push out as well as hopefully acquire a few items. Good stuff.

World of Warcraft: Throne of Thunder LFR Part 2 Simple Tactics

Right now, I’ve started to farm part 1 and part 2 as I find them relatively easy compared to the rest of the raid. So I’d like to offer you my experience as a casual player for part 2 as a DPS class.

Tortos

The first fight will be Tortos. This is essentially the Super Mario Bros boss of the instance. As a DPS, you will be focusing on one of two aspects in this fight. If you are ranged, you handle the spinning turtles that shoot from Tortos. If you are melee, you will be AoEing down the bats once your tank grabs aggro. In both cases, you will attempt to avoid the falling rocks that are marked with blue circles and attempt to get out of the way of the spinning turtles whenever they come near you.

This fight seems a little chaotic mostly because of all the different elements that you must avoid and it can be a reasonably movement intensive fight. I feel that the fight is slightly easier on melee classes if you have a decent tank. The idea is that the tank will grab aggro of the bats and move them near the boss. Then you can use any AoE and/or cleave type of abilities to maximize your damage against the bats and the boss. Generally, you might want to pay some attention in case your tank does not end up pulling the bats towards the boss.

As a ranged class, you’ll be able to see more of the fight. But the tricky part is that the little spinning turtles will chaotically fly around. So along with dodging rocks, you’ll be forced to dodge the turtles as well. Melee will probably stick on the boss for the most part so they won’t get affected as much as a ranged or even healer.

The one mechanic that you may want to watch out for from Tortos himself is his breath attack. The way you avoid this attack is downing one turtle and then having someone kick the turtle back into the boss just before he uses his breath attack. By doing this, you interrupt the breath attack and save the healers some mana. Just think of that aspect as a mini football game. You’ll kick the turtle by using the extra action button that pops up for this fight. I suggest key binding this button (I use F9).

Megaera

This is actually a very simple fight overall if you’re a DPS. Most of the encounter at the LFR level is just making sure the tanks face the heads away from the raid and dealing with the Rampage mechanic. The healers are the ones that have to handle Rampage as this becomes the healing intensive aspect. In my case, I’ll try to help the healers out a little by blowing a defensive cooldown or use my own heals if necessary.

In general, this fight is a tank-n-spank type of fight. For the most part you will be switching between the green (far right) and red (far left) heads. As you down one head, you’ll switch to the other head, stack up so that the healers can do a raid do AoE healing. The only real issue that may come up is the Burning Cinders mechanic. Here, if you get it you pretty much just want to run far away from the group so that the healer can dispel it off of you. You do not want to stand around in the group since you’ll damage everyone and probably get kicked for being an ass (in fact, healers too have to be careful since I’ve seen situations where a healer dispelled the Burning Cinders too early and left the group in flames).

Ji-Kun

As a casual DPS, you can consider this fight primarily a tank-n-spank. You might hear about the DPS who go after the eggs. But assuming this is the first few times you dealt with this encounter, I would skip it until you get an overall feeling for this fight and want to try something different.

Most of the fight is just assaulting Ji-Kun, who is this big bird thing. The only thing you really need to avoid is the puddles of green goo on the ground. That isn’t too hard. The other thing you’ll be dealing with is the quills attack. Here, Ji-Kun will spin around and fire off a big AoE attack to the raid. Healers will be dealing with this mechanic, but again you can be helpful to them by using any quick heals if you’re low or a defensive cooldown.

Now, the main mechanic to watch out for in this fight is Downdraft. This is similar to Lei Shi’s pushback mechanic. However, Downdraft is FAR stronger and will require you to use some sort of movement booster. Something I found was making sure I aligned my guys near the long parts of the platform. That way if I had some difficulties keeping up, I could use the extra space before falling off. The good thing is that you won’t die from this mechanic, but if you fall off you essentially are timed out, leading to a DPS loss. This aspect might get tricky for ranged. With my hunter, even in using his Aspect, he still would be blown off because I put him too far from the boss, not giving him enough room to handle the wind.

Probably, the only other thing to really note in this instance is the snails. The large snails that come just before Ji-Kun are the bane to many people in LFR. They are capable of one shotting you if you stand in front of them. As a melee, this can get a little dangerous so the main thing to do is assault them from behind. I noticed that people tend to kite the snails to one side of the stairs or path, giving people space to attack from the side or move if necessary. The thing is that if you get fixated, it will start following you. So make sure you don’t do anything to drastic.

World of Warcraft: Throne of Thunder LFR Part 1 Simple Tactics for DPS

Right now, I feel quite comfortable in discussing simple tactics in handling the LFR version for Throne of Thunder’s part 1 wing. I’ve read tactics over on WoWHead but some of the write ups for the LFR strategies tend to feel out of date compared to what you may encounter in LFR at the moment. That’s why I wanted to write my own version to show my own experience and what has worked.

Jin’Rokh the Breaker

Fairly easy tank and spank fight. Mostly, you have to stand in the growing puddle to get a buff then get out just before the pool gets electrified. If you get a sparkling effect on your character (called Focused Lightning), you pretty much have to run off to a corner to drop it off. Make sure you don’t drop it off in the pool or people will get pretty pissed at you! Other than that, just pretty much stack up in the fight while moving through the four areas where the pool spawns.

Horridon

This is primarily an add fight. Most of what you’ll be doing is taking down the various adds that spawn through the arena doors while attempting to avoid the various things dropped on the ground or Horridon’s assault. The main two adds to worry about are certain casters and dinomancers. When you see a dinomancer, you need to nuke it down immediately so that you can close the arena door (the dinomancer will drop something that will close off the door). Interrupt what you can and avoid the pools that the casters end up dropping around you (like the poison pools).

Once you get past the add phase, you’ll face a mini boss who you’ll nuke down. Lastly, you’ll face Horridon who’ll pretty much grow in damage. But at this point, you’ll want to burn him down, blowing any cooldowns, maybe even hitting your bloodlust/timewarps/heroisms at this stage.

Also, whenever you do face Horridon, the primary thing to note is attack his sides rather than his rear and front. He constantly is doing a cleave type of assault so attacking his sides is the safest way to damage him. Also, once the dinomancer dies and someone closes the gate, he’ll ram himself into the gate. If you’ve managed to down most of the adds, you might want to get in a few extra shots before he starts up for the next door.

Council of Elders

This fight can be difficult or really simple. The tactics on WoWhead for LFR aren’t really what’s being used anymore. So I’m going to provide my own update of the experiences I’ve seen.

Most LFR groups will try to burn Sul the Sandcrawler first. I’ve heard that this strategy might be DPS dependent but it’s what I’ve seen recently. Melee goes on Sul while ranged go on the empowered (i.e. purple) boss. The one element that you need to look out for is the Blessed Loa Spirits which heal the weakest boss. I’ve seen most groups just CC the Blessed Loa Spirits, using frost traps, entangles, etc. then nuke it down.

The Frost King Malakk seems like the 2nd boss most people burn. It’s either him or High Priestess Mar’li. I’ve seen death knights group two of them up with Sul the Sandcrawler so players with cleave-like abilities can maximize their damage output. I would’ve thought Mar’li should be a higher priority due to her healing abilities but I suppose I’ll have to examine these fights closer to see what most groups do.

The last boss you should worry about is Kazra’jin. He’s mostly a nuisance that doesn’t do much damage and just tosses you into the air. You can easily avoid him by moving out of his path.

World of Warcraft: Re-using Legendaries from Mist of Pandaria

One of the most disappointing things at the moment is how the epic weapons and legendary gem that you spent months farming essentially turn out to be worthless the minute you acquire a better weapon from the Throne of Thunder. While it’s always exciting for new forms of loot to be found, I felt that the treatment of the Sha-Touched weapons and legendary gem pretty much made the whole experience not very epic nor legendary.

So one of my suggestions to Blizzard is that for the next major raid, they ought to allow your Sha-Touched weapons and gem to be upgradeable. No, I’m not talking about the Voidbinders having the ability to upgrade them further (although that would be logical). I’m talking about finding things in the raid or some quest line that allows you to re-use the Sha-Touched weapons and gem with enhanced stats.

With Garrosh being the supposed end boss for this expansion, one can only assume that he has some connection to the forces of the Sha. Perhaps, his existence can only be affected by the Sha-Touched weapons? Perhaps, the gems that you use have some sort of property that can cause him grief? Unfortunately, since the weapons will not be as effective as say the weapons you end up finding from Throne of Thunder, you still need ways to improve their effectiveness.

In turn, the only way to defeat him is through undergoing a quest line (more than likely some scenarios) that have the players acquire materials to improve and perhaps customize their weapons in preparation for defeating Garrosh. Doing this quest line would provide an entry point to allow players to enter the new raid. Either that or those who have acquired Thunderforged weapons would also have the opportunity to enter the raid since perhaps those items will have the capabilities to affect Garrosh and his minions.

I like this idea because it’s a different approach to how the game has been handled in terms of boss encounters. My problem in World of Warcraft when it comes to raiding is that the loot system ends up being ass backwards from a well told storyline viewpoint. That is, you’re blocked in getting the items needed to down a boss by another boss who acts as a wall. In my scenario, you’re given the tools necessary to down the boss.

Here’s another way to look at this situation. Think about Dungeons and Dragons and how certain creatures are immune to weapons unless they’re magically imbued. Take a Demilich as a prime example. A total asshole DM can insert a Demilich at any time but without weapons such as a +4/+5 weapon, vorpal sword, sword of sharpness, etc. the party pretty much will be wiped out in an instant. The only way around this is to allow the party to find the weapons or items necessary to defend themselves. There was a module that did something like this and it’s something that makes sense anytime you decide to put a foe that is practically unbeatable.

Usually, what I’ve found in encounters is that the weapons are the most significant aspect to the DPS of a group. Yet most weapons are barricaded behind the last boss. Well, that really isn’t fair. You could be farming for months for weapons like the ones you acquired from Heart of Fear or Terrace of Endless Spring but the effort becomes meaningless just because a new raid comes about. Then you’re behind once again until you coincidentally roll on a decent weapon. When you get into this situation, it’s quite frustrating because it’s a case of “what’s the point?”

My solution at least makes use of your previous effort and creates a better sense of overall continuity rather than relying on the cheap tricks Blizzard pulls when it comes to loot. I mean, think about it. Let’s say all the horde raid Ogrimmar, they’re home base and they’re getting gear that excels everything. So why didn’t the weaponsmiths in Ogrimmar simply provide epics for people to use against the Lich King, Deathwing, the Sha of Fear, Lei Shen, etc.? Wouldn’t you think that the people you’re trying to save, if they had the equipment to spare, would simply give out that gear to those trying to save them? Why would they just sell really shoddy equipment and buy back all your gray junk? What kind of fucked up economics is this?

At any rate, I like this idea a lot. It’s something that they slightly tried with the legendary gem quest. I would like them to expand on this idea even further.

World of Warcraft: Which Classes to Stay Away From as a New Player

In my previous blog, I wrote up a summary of why I felt ranged classes made for a good starting point for new players. Here, I wanted to contrast that idea with classes that you may want to stay away from as a new player. Generally speaking, I advise new players to avoid healing. Healing probably is one of the most stressful activities in the game and quite honestly is a role I’d really like Blizzard to take out eventually. The thing is that as a new player, you will probably end up questing most of the time or doing solo play, unless you’re with a group of friends. As a result, you will want a class that is more based on survival. While healing classes does have that survival component of keeping themselves alive, the general rule of thumb in solo play is that you want to down monsters as fast as possible. So you might find healing to be far too frustrating to start.

What about a tanking class like a protection paladin? Although I like survival based classes for solo play, I still feel that for a starting player, anything outside of a DPS/damaging class should be reserved for the future after you learn some of the basic mechanics. The thing about tanking classes is that their role really is defined in group oriented situations. They are essentially the leader and are the ones that the rest of the team must rely on in order to stay alive. So the tank role pretty much ought to know what they are doing before heading into group situations. Assuming that as a starting player you want to try out group play such as dungeons, raids and perhaps even scenarios, you probably should rely on someone else initially until you feel more confident about handling the responsibility of others.

The other thing is that gearing up can be difficult if you rely too much on the tanking aspect of play. Of course, now with the loot specialization, this has been mitigated to a degree. However, you might not have enough gear as a DPS to get into raids and such or you might end up spending precious valor points on tanking gear without any use. So taking up tanking is more of an exercise once you feel ready to reach that next level.

What about specific classes? I suggest focusing on classes with fairly simple rotations. Thus, feral druids (or maybe even druids in general) are not a great starting point. I like the druid class in what it originally was designed to be but it’s a complex class to master. In the case of the feral druid, it’s a great class to play solo. But the difficulty in the feral druid is learning the bleed strategy. Once you hit your upper levels, the class can be really easy to fuck up. Compared to the previous expansion, feral druids have definitely decreased in the learning curve but it does take a while to learn the rhythm of what to do.

I definitely do not recommend going balance even though it eventually becomes an easy class to use in a group setting. But as a solo class, balance can be rough, especially when you’re not geared and don’t yet grasp mechanics like multi-dotting. Also, I find balance to be pretty crummy as a DPSer. They are one of the worst DPS ranked classes at the moment. While they add a lot of utility to group settings, this is something you shouldn’t really consider until you’re more advanced with the game.

Warlocks are also not the best class to start with. Like the druid, warlocks have been simplified and even made fun compared to Cataclysm. Demonology is just a great solo class to play and can output nice damage in group settings. However, the problem with the class is the resource management aspect. Warlocks had the soul shard resource from the start but eventually each spec ended up having their own third resource. Yes, I did say three because as a warlock you’re managing your mana, your health and that third resource. While this aspect has simplified the play style overall, it still can be a bit clunky at times since you’re always trying to retain a sense of equilibrium between states to really maximize your damage output.

Another class I definitely would stay away from are priest. I tried leveling a priest back in Wrath of the Lich King and I absolutely hated the class. You constantly were out of mana and were pretty weak. I found myself dying all the time. But I gave the class anotherĀ  shot in Cataclysm. The difficulty of playing a priest dropped immensely but I still found the class to be struggling with mana, lacking a sufficient AoE ability (until higher levels) and almost no movement boosts. Pretty much you were fucked until you hit your mid 70s. Things might’ve changed even further since the talent system was redone, but leveling a priest can be a real chore. I feel that priest pretty much were intended to be healers but given a DPS spec just so that they could level. So if the class feels awkward to solo, then it’s probably for that reason.

The other classes themselves I feel are fine for the most part. So let’s talk about specs and leveling for a new player and which ones new players ought to avoid.

I mentioned that hunters are a great starting class these days because of their survivability. But there’s only one survival spec and it ironically is not the survival one. Your best spec while leveling is beast master. I’m a fan of this spec because of the way it originally was designed to convert your pet into a mini tank. Your pet would hold aggro while you nuked your enemies down and threw heals (mend pet) onto your guy. Also, beast master converts nicely once you’re into raiding since it does pretty decent DPS. Your AoE will never match a survival hunter but what matters here is your pet tanking and you not having to learn a new rotation from scratch.

I never talked much about the shaman in either post but I will say that you’re probably better off as enhancement rather than elemental. Now to be fair, I’ll admit never having played elemental. If I did it might’ve been for shits and giggles. But for solo play, I don’t remember once touching the spec. I’ve heard different stories but it reminds me a bit of the boomkin. The problem I have is the survivability aspect. My bias might be due to starting in Wrath where enhancement shamans were pretty much the de facto leveling spec. But back in the day you had to deal with mechanics like getting interrupted from taking damage. As an enhancement shaman, you never really had to deal with that aspect, since most of your spells were either from procs or instant casts. Also, enhancement shamans hardly had any mana issues since certain abilities allowed them never to go out of mana, except when casting a few heavy spells such as a non-proc’d healing spell. These days I never have to consider mana as an enhancement shaman but you might if you go elemental. So that’s just one more major issues you’ll end up dealing with.

How about rogues? Combat tended to be the solo spec people went with mostly due to survivability. I remember even in Cataclysm when I was playing my assassination rogue. Despite her damage being decent, she was quite squishy. Combat rogues would have some resource issues when it came to generating energy so your damage output might be lower, On the other hand, you have more flexibility in terms of weapons. I never tried subtlety but heard that it was more for PVP. Since the talent system changed, all of this might be in the past, but I still suspect that combat might win out as an all-around type of spec. So you might leave the other two alone for the time being.

Let’s talk about mages. Frost. That’s all you need to know. Oh and Ghostcrawler plays one, hence the huge bias towards frost mages. If you check out the DPS rankings, frost ends up coming out on top. That said arcane and fire really aren’t there. I tried arcane and it worked fine in Cataclysm…but only once I hit my mid-60s. The issue is that arcane pretty much was a one spell spec. That changed a bit along with getting some resource management toys (like all classes seemingly did in this expansion) but it’s a very burst oriented class. From what I’ve heard frost has great healing, a pet and is top of the damage rankings so it tends to get points. Not sure where fire is but it’s always been a really iffy spec.

Lastly, what about warriors and paladins? Generally, these classes work out pretty well. Both have become pretty efficient in terms of healing, having good armor and survivability. Also, they aren’t particularly tough classes to play. Maybe the paladin but I don’t think it’s nearly as bad as a feral druid nor complex as a warlock. I would argue that both are great starting classes, especially these days.

 

 

World of Warcraft: More Progress in Patch 5.3 for Me

The past week or so I’ve been really hitting LFR and certain daily hubs hard to boost my toons as much as possible. I started to farm Throne of Thunder parts 1 and 2 now that I’ve become quite comfortable with the fights. Part 3 I’ve only done twice and still find it a little awkward but slowly am getting comfortable. Unfortunately, for Part 4, I entered at Lei Shen and we wiped pretty quickly. Because it was late, I decided to leave and just try another day. Admittedly, I didn’t understand the fight in its entirety because the explanation on WoWHead was incomplete (at least one of the main explanations) as well as another video that did a pretty bad job showcasing the mechanics. So I ended up checking out another video (actually a healing guide) which did a great job of showing the full fight. Thus, the next time I give it a try, I should be in a far better position.

Ironically, it’s been my hunter who is now my top geared toon. He’s at ilvl 492 and suffers mostly due to still using the Ghost Iron Dragonling trinket. However, he still has two 2-tier bonuses from the tier 14 and 15 sets. So that part is pretty nice. Also, it’s nice that he has a Sha-Touched weapon (finally!) with the Crystallized Dread gem. My plan is to continue to perhaps find the 483 trinket off of Lei Shi (good luck!) or farm valor to get the trinket. It’ll be nice to see him doing better damage though and become epic eventually.

Also, my Death Knight has come quite a bit. I’m having a lot of fun learning the melee aspects on him. He’s still sitting at ilvl 488 but the good thing is that he’s completely epic in terms of gear. I did upgrade his axe, which is the Shin’ka, Execution of Dominion to a full 491. I expect that he might not find a 2-handed weapon for a while so I just went ahead and put some points into his weapon. I’ll continue running older LFRs just to continue to collect loot for his blood spec as well as attempt to get the last few sigils for the legendary gem. Besides his weapon though, the thing I really think is awesome about my death knight is that he has the full tier set. I think he’s the only one at this point in time who has the full set but it looks great!

Next, I’m also working on my shaman. I did something incredibly stupid and left his elemental loot specialization on during a Heart of Fear Part 2 run and ended up winning the weapon for his elemental side. I felt incredibly stupid since he really needs a better 2-hander. And it would be awesome to get a hold of the Sha-Touched weapons as he now has completed the quest and just needs to kill the Sha of Fear for the last part. I will say though that it was pretty painful all day today doing LFR since everyone just wasn’t on top of their game. Probably the holidays can be blamed for that.

Lastly, I’ve been pretty hard at work on my warlock. He’s really had a lot of ups and downs. For instance, he won his tier robe piece on Heart of Fear part 2 twice…but that, of course, was after I dropped 7k on a 496 robe piece. Talk about throwing lemon on an open wound! But he did manage to pick up his Sha-Touched sword and the off-hand on top of that and even got a necklace from Oondasta. After all the frustration of running Heart of Fear part 1, it was nice getting something. He still has a few crafted PVP pieces but I hope in finishing up the part 1 run (and maybe some Mogu’shan Vaults), he’ll get a few upgrades so I can take him into Throne of Thunder.

Going back to the Throne of Thunder, I will ask myself, “What are my impressions?” I wrote a piece the other day about raiding/LFR in general, but with regards to the specific Throne of Thunder raid in LFR, it’s a real mixed bag. Part 1 has gotten significantly easier since I started. Horridon is still a clusterfuck of a fight but at the LFR level it’s certainly not boring. Council also is so much easier than before but Horridon might be my favorite fight just because it keeps you on your toes at all times.

Part 2 isn’t that bad either. Magera is easier than what I imagined and Tortos is like Horridon in that it’s a big clusterfuck of a fight. But it’s pretty dynamic so it can be fun. Ji-Kun is more annoying than anything. If you have a movement boost then you’re good. But I found my paladin having some difficulty at times even using his Judgments to give him a boost. I can certainly see other classes having a rough time on that fight.

Part 3 had its moments. I kept hearing Durumu all the time as being the most frustrating fight. I think because I heard so much about it and the fact that they nerfed it into the ground, it ended up being not as bad as I originally had thought. The maze still is the worst part but it’s not as bad as I had thought. It’s still a terrible mechanic but you can get through it within reason. I actually thought Dark Animous was far more confusing than Durumu. I think the problem is just having all these adds running around and understanding the priority along with people dropping large puddles in the middle of the room and killing people without really knowing it. In that sense, Durumu is a better designed fight since you can designate someone who is familiar with the maze mechanic to lead everyone. Same with the eggs in the Ji-Kun fight.

Now, I haven’t completed all of part 4 and I really would like to sometime tomorrow. But from what I’ve seen about the Lei Shen fight, the one thing that I don’t care for is the group aspect in terms of the pillars. That part does require a bit of coordination and communication. Because of the low standards of people who do LFR, that aspect can become somewhat of a pain. Add all the other clusterfuck mechanics and it does appear to be a messy fight. But people do say it’s fun once you get the mechanics down so hopefully over time this fight will become less painful (hence why I’ve waited for so long)

The one bad thing I’ve noticed is that with all the waiting and working on alts, I haven’t had enough time to really pursue collecting lesser charms and capping on valor. Even having all this time off really doesn’t permit doing all the necessary activities to really maximize what your toons can do. That kinda blows since there’s just so much going on right now. Pretty much most of my time is spent waiting for LFRs, looking for world bosses, the occasional rare, maybe the treasure scenario and a few dailies here and there with professions and farming sprinkled about.

Lastly, I’ve been leveling my warrior. I decided to go slow with her mostly because I’m hoping to get my paladin, who is also my blacksmith, to get as many recipes as possible before my warrior hits 90. That way, I’ll be ready with a variety of crafted gear to boost her asap.

I will try doing LFR part 4 tomorrow. With the Tuesday reset (mine already did), I feel that the quality of people doing LFR will be higher so getting into a good group sometime tomorrow I think will help out tremendously in preparing me to starting farming Throne of Thunder on my remaining toons.

Beyond that I’m looking to getting my warrior to level 90 and then leveling my remaining 85s. I still have my monk but she’s such a low priority at this point that I’m not really that motivated in doing anything with her. I might actually end up deleting her and just re-rolling her on the horde side.

World of Warcraft: Best Starting Class/Role

World of Warcraft certainly has changed since I first started. The game has become a hundred times simpler in terms of all the different aspects you had to manage about your character. Also, questing and dealing with most mobs are no longer as problematic because of the clean up of old areas and making mobs more manageable overall. But if you’re a starting player, you might ask yourself, what is the best starting class?

Since Cataclysm, the answer (at least for me) is more about the role you want to fulfill. The game does present challenges but you’ll mostly see them towards the end of the expansion. Until then you have quite a bit of time to evaluate the style of play you enjoy. However, if you want a straight answer from me, I would suggest a ranged class like a mage or even a hunter.

As someone who started around Wrath of the Lich King, I had the opportunity to experience game play of the vanilla content. Originally, I chose a hunter since my friend played a paladin and I thought a ranged class would make a good compliment to him. Back then hunters were pretty difficult classes since you had to manage a pet and had quite a few abilities. If you asked me back then, I would said that a mage would’ve been a far smoother class to play.

Now, many of those issues have been removed and probably the only difficulty you’ll encounter with someone like a hunter (outside of understanding the concept of a damage rotation) is managing your pet’s aggro during a raid (meaning keep taunts off!) But using a hunter or mage for me feels far more straight forward at times compared to a melee class. You could attempt to pick up a spec like tanking or healing, but unless you’re with a group of friends, you might hold off for a while until you get an idea of how the game operates.

The main reason why I chose a ranged class in general is that once you start dealing with dungeons and bosses, I feel that a range class allows you to learn the mechanics of an encounter a little easier than melee. That’s not always true but melee fights can be incredibly confusing at times, especially when you’re facing numerous mobs and have a tough time seeing in an instance. When you’re a ranged class, you can see more compared to melee and for me that’s important since I want to first get a feeling for the mechanics in a fight.

One thing I would do is check out Noxxic.com and learn about the rotation of your class. If you’re starting out you won’t have to deal with the full rotation. But you can get an idea of how complex a class can be by looking at how lengthy a class’ rotation can be as a preview.