World of Warcraft: Priest Hits 90 and Starts LFR Runs Almost Immediately

So my plan for leveling and gearing my priest up mostly worked. The leveling process in the end was a pretty big headache. It felt like it took far too long and I ended up doing more quests than on my rogue. Not sure if there’s an experience discrepancy between the two classes, but I had to do more quests. Of course, my rogue received some help in killing a bunch of rares so that might’ve contributed a few million experience points but the numbers felt way off for my priest for some reason. Regardless, I ended up doing 75% of Townlong Steppes rather than my usual 25-50% and finished up in Dread Waste.

Of course, upon hitting 90, I immediately went back to town to do some gear prepping. I ended up at the 459 ilvl mark with crafted goods and managed to grab the cloak from Ahune to give me the magical 460. That was a nice ticket into Mogu’shan Vaults. Of course, I grabbed some coins from the treasure room scenario but ended up getting all gold from my first run. Kinda frustrating considering that there’s quite a bit of good drops for a priest in the first half.

So what are my feelings now upon seeing her at 90? Outside of some talent rearrangements, I think she suffers from just bad gear. It’ll take some time to build up that gear but hopefully I can get enough in the next day or two so she can output better damage. I’m fortunate that priests are easier to gear than other cloth and leather based classes and the fact that I already had a good Inscription weapon ready. But pushing into the next raid group is going to be a challenge unless the drops start falling out faster.

Either way, I’m pretty happy that I now have 10 level 90s. It’s been a lot of work and I don’t think I’ll bother leveling my monk. If my monk was level 85, I might consider it but it’ll take a few weeks of solid, non-stop leveling before she can catch up. I really don’t want to put that level of effort and prefer to concentrate on taking my current toons to the next level with regards to LFR, gearing, their farms and work on elements like Pet Battles. I think it’ll be interesting with all the different toons that I have available and I can start making assessments in styles and DPS (since that’s what I do).

The other thing is that I can relax a bit. I was worried that I would miss the Ahune/Summer event and struggle paying a hefty price on the Auction House once again in trying to gear my priest up. Fortunately, everything fell into place and I can sit back and start focusing on each character, bringing them up and really putting my plan of industrializing their farms to work.

I’m somewhat excited for these opportunities as I’m a bit ahead in terms of the expansion of where my guys need to be. I used patch 5.3 exactly for what it’s worth, which is mostly leveling and playing catch up. So if they decide to announce the next expansion for Christmas (which I doubt), I’ll still be ready, having a good 5 months of preparation time to do more with my toons compared to Cataclysm.

On a side note, one little trick that I started to do with my priest (and my rogue to a degree) is that I would use my Death Knight, who is reasonably geared, to clear out mob heavy zones. It’s not entirely like power leveling but I found this technique to be really useful. One of the things I would find frustrating is an area with just too many mobs that would overwhelm and kill my toons. Although I might need certain mobs for quests, having too many would frustrate me to no end. So I would have my death knight fly above a zone, clear it out if things became too cramped, then switch back and forth until I felt comfortable again. It’s a nice, simple technique if you’re not fortunate enough to have friends or guild members helping you out.

World of Warcraft: DPS Class/Spec Review for Patch 5.3

Mike Preach has come up with some interesting videos discussing whether you should roll a certain class or not. I felt inspired by a lot of his commentary and wanted to throw my two cents into the mix by examining the DPS roles of classes and specs I’ve played in this expansion so far.

Retribution Paladin

A while back Mike Preach described the Retribution Paladin somewhat clunky. I think part of the problem goes back to when classes like the paladin started to get their own resource management system. In the paladin’s case, they received Holy Power. Back in Cataclysm, generating Holy Power was pretty frustrating for the most part until you received your tier set, which allowed Judgments to generate Holy Power. Until then you had a long cooldown in the form of Crusader Strike, which you could bring up only slightly by pushing your haste up.

I think they figured out that the Holy Power generation was poorly handled, which caused them to permanently have more abilities like Exercism and Judgment to further generate Holy Power, especially when you’re forced to keep Inquisition up as your highest priority. The thing is that things still are silly in the way this setup works. First, you have Boundless Conviction, which allows you to store 2 additional points of Holy Power up. Unfortunately, the way the UI is setup, you have to either remember how many points of Holy Power you have total or depend on an add on to tell you. But the way things work is that people say that it’s better to store up all 5 Holy Power points rather than use Templar’s Verdict at 3 points. That way you can generate one more Holy Power for a quick, near double Templar’s Verdict shot.

However, this situation can be frustrating since you still have to deal with Inquisition. What if you have 5 Holy Power stored up and your Inquisition is about to fall off? A lot of the issue involves this horrible system of juggling these things around, which makes the class feel awkward at times as you have to use your better judgment (no pun intended).

Even more frustrating is the AoE aspect of a Retribution Paladin. Gone is our friend Consecration, now left only to Protection Paladins. Instead, we too get Hammer of the Righteousness along with Divine Storm. While that’s a nifty little AoE ability, the real problem occurs in deciding when to switch your Seal of Truth to Seal of Righteousness. There is an “optimal” manner for deciding each situation all based on the number of mobs. But you’re also supposed to keep Inquisition up too. So as you can see, the situation is not very straight forward and boils down to three different scenarios in the least.

Beyond that there’s the issue of cooldowns. I think they’re slowly attempting to make cooldowns line up in a more sensible manner. Before, Avenging Wrath, one of your big cooldowns, was gear dependent. Now, it’s baseline and in the future patch your Guardian of the Ancient Kings will also decrease in terms of its cooldown.

That all said, the Retribution paladin can be a fun class. I don’t really find it holding as much utility as say a shaman or druid, but the key thing I’ve found is that Retribution Paladins have a knack for survival. They share a fair number of really good defensive cooldowns, which allows you to prepare for emergency situations. You can off tank on occasion with your heavy armor, threat generation abilities and defensive capabilities. But they also do pretty good burst DPS. Unfortunately, you’re still pretty gear dependent and most abilities just feel slow and plodding as you wait for things to come off of cooldown.

Beast Master Hunter

I typically go Beast Master whenever I solo things. In fact, Beast Master for the most part has been the de facto solo spec for hunters throughout the history of the class. Most people who solo things end up using a Tenacity pet, which acts as a mini tank with its ability to hold aggro and have some AoE abilities and a fair amount of health. However, I think since Cataclysm, the Tenacity pet has lost a significant amount of its aggro holding abilities and I’ve on numerous occasions found myself running around while my pet would try it’s hardest to grab aggro back.

The thing about the Beast Master hunter is that it can either be a lot of fun to play or just a downright pain. And a pain not just because of something you might do but in cases where another player inadvertently or underhandedly attempts to cause grief in group situations. From a group oriented point of view, I find that the Beast Master really isn’t all that great of a spec. The only possible distinction between themselves and the other two specs is that ability to use exotic pets, which allows you to use a core hound and there by add another bloodlust option utility to a raid group.

From a DPS point of view, the Beast Master works pretty well when you’re in a single target mode. But the AoE for a Beast Master all depends on using multishot, which triggers your pet to hop around and bite everything in site. Compared to the survival hunter, AoE for the Beast Master sucks ass. In addition, the moment your pet dies, you must spend an action reviving him. While you do have a cooldown that instantly rivives your pet, you still lose a second of DPS. In some fights, your pet will die multiple times, really hindering your DPS. In some solo quests, you will not have the option of utilizing your pet, which goes to show just how bad this spec can perform in anything beyond a simple solo scenario.

Of course, there is one situation where Beast Masters can trump the other two specs and that is in soloing certain mobs, including the possibility of bosses. A good Beast Master Hunter can kite for long periods and manage to keep his pet up. Your CC and slow tools are immense so this is a very special area that few classes and specs can perform easily.

Survival Hunter

Once I heard that Survival was the king spec for DPS, I decided to permanently switch my main spec back over to Survival. Survival is a great raid/group spec and is pretty easy to play. Since you are not tied to your pet, you can still do a fair amount of damage if your pet inadvertently dies during a fight. The thing I like about survival is that it’s straight forward and clean. During Cataclysm I switched from Survival to Marksmen because the Explosive Shot proc never really worked. You would get the proc, but the ability would be on cooldown from what I remember and not really give you the chance to use it. I think they cleaned that aspect up and it smoothed a lot of the play out.

Another aspect that makes Survival an easy favor over Beast Master in group situations is that their AoE damage is awesome. Your multishots instigate serpent sting on your targets as well, so you get dots everywhere. Add your explosive trap and how multishot has a more fluid cooldown compared to the other hunter specs and you can see how Survival can rocket up the damage tree quite quickly. Not to mention the rotation makes sense.

The only aspect that you have to worry about is your pet. While your pet dying won’t cause the same level of hindrance as a Beast Master hunter, the situation still knocks a fair amount of DPS from you. You still have tools to help prevent this from happening so it ends up being more of an annoyance than a make-it-or-break-it situation.

Marksman Hunter

I haven’t played Marksman since Cataclysm so I’ll comment based on what I’ve seen back then. My primary reason for choosing Marksman back in the day was hearing how it was a top DPS spec. Survival had that one issue with Explosive Shot that I pointed out but there was another thing that I did not care for in Survival: the lack of self-healing. You could take the Spirit Bond talent but it felt low and again forced you to depend on your pet. Not to mention it wasn’t a good talent choice for Survival Hunters.

Marksman though had a self heal built into their rotation with their Chimera Shot so to me that had some appeal. The thing is that it felt more like a mediocre spec. There’s always been this confusion about PVE end game raid specs when it came down to Marksman vs Survival. Beast Master would only be thrown in once people complained that they wanted to play the spec in raids. However, Marksman and Survival seemed to trade between PVE and PVP.

However, I think both specs are redundant of one another. Mist of Pandaria essentially made both specs almost non-distinguishable from one another since Survival at one time had a melee component. I think the original designers for Survival had the image of Legolas in mind since Hunters, back in the day, could wield and even dual wield melee weapons. That allowed Marksman to be the sole breadwinner as the supreme archer spec and giving it a sense of RP identity.

At the moment, neither really stand out from each other. One seems to focus more on burst while the other is dot based. One works with traps and proc’ing off those traps while the other depends on cooldowns and spamming certain abilities to trigger the big ability. Yet in reality you don’t really feel the difference that much since Survival tends to work off of Black Arrow for the “trap” and the other has a slightly more confusing two scenario rotation.

For myself I prefer the cleaned up Survival spec over all. However, in the upcoming 5.4 patch, the one aspect that will make Marksman stand out once again is the return of Silencing Shot as a spec only ability. Quite frankly, they really need to look over both specs and overhaul them rather than giving one spec a utility ability just to make that class stand out in very specific situations.

Overall, between hunters I find the class to be a real mixed bag. I like the massive utility you get such as stripping away spell buffs from the enemy, your CCs and slows. But it’s a class that you can easily fuck up in so many ways because it still is an awkward class to really master. That’s probably why hunters will always be known as “huntards.” But I feel that like most problems in the game, it’s primarily a UI issue.

Balance Druid

When I finished Cataclysm on my Druid, I geared her for the Balance spec. Feral druids had a notoriously over complex rotation that involved managing numerous bleeds and positioning for maximizing your DPS. On the other hand, Balance druids were all about either managing dots or dealing with your solar and lunar energy. Towards the end for me, my Balance Druid ended up being a lot of fun because of the sheer utility she brought in group situations. Person died in combat? Battle rez. Need AoE heals? Tranquility. Missing a healer because asshole pulled early? Drop a quick HoT on yourself or the tank. Need to GTFO from a spot? Switch to cat form and run.

Unfortunately, all this time I feel that Balance Druids have suffered immensely in the DPS department. Eventually, your DPS will improve once you have good gear but compared to say an Arcane mage, you will find yourself constantly struggling, especially in single target situations. And while the main single target Balance rotation is easy to master, it feels cumbersome. Here, you face four issues: 1) moving back and forth between solar and lunar power; 2) dealing with the horribly slow Starfire casting time; 3) having a nonsensical AoE (Starfall) included in your AoE rotation; 4) dealing with high movement encounters where instants matter.

Your rotation in tank and spank fights is very straight forward, especially when your target doesn’t move. However, as we’re seeing far and more high movement fights, you can really suffer since you’ll probably be relegated in reapplying your dots just to get a few points of damage out (but again that’s the problem about the design of those fights). The real problems I’ve found is in solo encounters.

In solo encounters, more than likely you’ll add Typhoon into your mix as you’ll want to maximize the distance between you and your enemy while you cast your slow ass spells. Typhoon is one of these mega retarded spells that can either be real fun or a horrible pain in the ass. Here, it becomes like an erectile dysfunction in situations where other mobs are around. Add your stupid Starfall into the mix and you’ll more than likely pull a ton of mobs around you and die a Darwinian death. The thing is that you have two options in these cases: 1) pull everything and die; 2) do terrible DPS while watching a mob hammer your face in. In short, you cannot win. As a result, Boomkins for soloing most encounters simply sucks ass.

Boomkins do rock in AoE encounters. Their hurricane channeled AoE is possibly one of the best AoE abilities around. I would argue that their simple AoE rotation is highly attractive with the only drawback being that you utilize a tremendous amount of mana each time you cast a hurricane. But the real sweet deal for Boomkins are when you see between 3-6 mobs so you can use your DoTs. This is where a Boomkin can really shine as you will gain tons of proc’s for your Starsurge ability, thus seeing some serious, high damaging free bursts of nukes.

Still, that won’t make up for the overall cumbersome feeling of playing a boomkin. Once patch 5.4 hits though, boomkins practically will dissolve into nothing. You’ll see an increase in damage since your moonkin form no longer will reduce damage by 15% (although I read that their armor will increase; not sure how this all will play out), some of your abilities will increase in mana cost (again not sure how this will play out at lower levels, although you will generate more solar/lunar energy in return). But the main thing for me is that I don’t see anything that really boosts the boomkin’s damage. In PVE without top gear, they really are garbage. Sure you have certain utility aspects like HoTs but I just find the spec to be something I’m shelving for a while.

Feral Druid

I made the mistake of not gearing up as Feral once I hit 90. It was such a stupid mistake in Mist of Pandaria because I figured that I would be doing more LFR than anything. And the last expansion made Ferals pretty much worthless in group situations. Boy was I wrong!

Right now, I feel that melee classes have it a lot better overall than ranged classes, definitely with a lot of the Throne of Thunder fights. With regards to the Feral Druid though, I just feel it’s in a far better situation than the boomkin. That’s why I ended up switching back to my Feral and I’m already seeing good results despite the fact that my Feral Druid isn’t as geared as my Boomkin. That’s just saying how bad Boomkins are imo.

Although I hate dealing with the energy resource, Feral Druids feel a hell of a lot easier to play these days. You still have to manage your bleeds but with a good add on that becomes a non-issue. Also, the positioning problem pretty much has been negated since Mangle and Shred have closed the gaps. Your AoE rotation won’t ever be as good as your boomkin counterpart but those situations tend to focus more on trash mobs. For solo play, your Thrash and Swipe tend to take things down pretty fast.

The only time I ever have problems with my Feral Druid is when I accidentally screw up my rotation and do something stupid like cast a non-instant heal, which will revert me to my normal form, or perhaps hit the wrong finisher (because of how many abilities you end up having to manage).

Lastly, you still have some utility like battle resurrection, better interrupts, a very cool symbiosis table and some CC ability. Your heals, outside of performing them on yourself, won’t be as good but you’re more focused on survival. And that sometimes outweighs things in the scheme of things.

Frost Death Knight

Just how yummy is a Frost Death Knight? It’s like having an ice cream Popsicle in terms of deliciousness with their top notch DPS, simple rotation, interrupts, etc. This is one class Mike Preach mentioned that he felt is in line with a smooth play style and for the most part I agree. You have three main things to worry about in your rotation: 1) keeping your diseases up; 2) managing your runes; 3) runic power.  Keeping your diseases up is pretty straight forward as one of your abilities will cast an AoE of putting Frost Fever up on your enemies. So in essence, you mostly have to manage one disease, which tends to go on for a fair amount of time.

The real issue is just figuring out when and where to use your two core DPS abilities in Frost Strike and Obliterate. Obliterate is your main nuker and where you will see those huge 200k+ crits once your Killing Spree is proc’d. However, spamming it alone isn’t necessarily the priority and can cause you to mismanage your runic power easily, thus leading to a DPS loss as opposed to the trickery of just seeing big numbers show up on screen.

Beyond that is your AoE abilities. The two you probably will use the most are Death and Decay and Howling Blast. For people into really maximizing things, you can use your pestilence to spread your plague onto others in a group as well and perhaps throw in a Blood Boil here and there as well. But for the most part Death Knights have a pretty straight forward AoE rotation that does splendid damage.

Yet to sweeten the pot, you get a fair amount of raid utility thrown into the mix. With a non-tank Death Knight, you have the responsibility of getting your tanks and healers back up (if anyone outside of your #1 DPS ever begs you to battle rez them, DON’T! This is an absolute strategic error in PUG situations). You have some CC and good interrupts to boot as well as a nice group defensive cooldown in Anti Magic Shell. For the really savvy Death Knights out there, you can function as an off tank in the situation where your main tank goes down and you need someone to pick up aggro and go on the defensive really quick. You do this by moving into Blood Presence, using your taunts and switching to Death Strike to keep yourself up and perhaps sacrificing a minion in the heat of a moment. Lastly, you can help everyone walk on water with your Path of Frost.

Either way, as you can see, playing a Death Knight can be loads of fun and the best Death Knights out there will know how to get every inch out of their toon. Finally, the Death Knight just is ridiculous when it comes to DPS. I suspect that the simple rotation and the burst DPS you get allows your Death Knight to just nuke everything when you’re starting out. Once you get geared, you will constantly find yourself near the top of the damage charts. Overall, this is generally a great DPS spec to play.

Enhancement Shaman

I’ve always been about the Enhancement Shaman. At first, the class felt awkward for me because I was struggling back in Wrath of the Lich King. When Cataclysm rolled up, I created a new Enhancement Shaman with the BoAs on my current server and never looked back. The first thing I noticed was just how awesome the burst damage was. Gone were the days of having to deal with managing your mana. Then you started being able to use Stormstrike and dual wield rather than wait until level 40 or so to get those abilities. The reworked spec was leaps and bounds better.

However, I started really noticing how awesome the Enhancement Shaman was during patch 4.3 with the Hour of Twilight and Death Wing LFR. I felt as if the End Time last boss was made just for the enhancement shaman. It was such a fun fight to do since you would be managing the group’s lust, throwing out chain heals and healing rain if your group got low (or if you healer died during the fight), you could turn into your ghostwolf form and quickly run up to the boss, blow your cooldowns along with blood lust and just own the whole encounter. Or if the guy managing the hourglass forgot to hit it at the right moment or died, you could transform, run over and reset everything.

With Pandaria, you lost some aspects like many of your totems but you still have tremendous utility. I don’t know how people can hate an enhancement shaman because of how much potential he can bring to your group. Right now too you’ll see that enhancement shamans are pretty up there in terms of damage. And here’s the thing that I’ve found: even if you toss out healing rains or chain heals, you still can be doing top notch DPS.

If I had one major complaint about the enhancement shaman it’s that their AoE rotation really blows. The main thing outside of tossing down your Magma Totem, is that you are required to have your Flame Shock up on a target on all times. If you have a bunch of enemies that go down quickly, you more will have trouble getting your Lava Lash up, which is the next step before hitting your Fire Nova. Forget chain lightning unless you have your Maelstrom Weapon proc up. But the thing is that I’ve found the management of this rotation to hardly work in many cases. You really are required to have a target with a lot of health surrounded by enough smaller targets to make this rotation worth anything.

Outside of that the remaining complaint I have regards gear, namely their weapons. Getting two weapons of any kind is a real nightmare. So imagine trying to get the same weapon twice. What’s more frustrating is that the range of decent weapons for an enhancement shaman is smaller than you can imagine. Most of us look for fist weapons, one handed maces and axes but daggers can qualify too as something we can use. However, they are not ideal because we’re supposed to use slow weapons to get the really heavy hits in.

So sometimes to compensate we’ll have to look towards the crafting route. Here, crafting weapons really do not exist for enhancement shamans. It’s a notorious matter that other enhancement shamans on the forums complain about all the time. You’ll see an insulting agility one handed sword but no hammers, fist weapons, maces nor axes. Some people will ask, “Hey, why not just give Enhancement Shamans axes?” Why indeed? I mean, the other day my mage received the Sha Touched intellect one handed sword. Since when do mages wield anything beyond a dagger, wand or staff? It’s one of those things that make you believe that Blizzard secretly hates Shamans, despite the fact that Thrall is the greatest Shaman around. Go figure.

Before going on, I will say that I have yet to play an elemental shaman. Right now, I’m gearing up his elemental side in the hope of one day just giving it a shot. Some people have remarked that elemental is pretty up there right now. It’s something that I’ve always wanted to try, ever since I found a video showing how a tauren elemental shaman would knock people from their mounts using their Thunderstorm ability. Even without that, I still would like to try one out so I can write a commentary on my experience.

Demonology Warlock

The Demonology Warlock spec was one of the most overhauled specs around. I think for the most part they did an excellent job in trying to make sense of a spec that probably was far too complex than intended. This spec to me is your solo Warlock spec and extremely powerful in my experience when it comes to solo’ing creatures as well as doing pretty decent raid DPS. On top of that it’s pretty fun to boot and visually a very unique spec and style to play.

Gone for Warlocks are the universal Soul Shard resource. In the case of the Demonology Warlock you have Demonic Fury as one of your primary resources along with Mana. Most of the time you will be managing Demonic Fury through both the accumulation and expenditure of this resource, going in and out of your demon form during this process.

While this class does have a dot component, it doesn’t feel the same way as say a boomkin, where the dot application feels smoother. Part of the thing is that you constantly are moving in and out of your demonic form and handling two separate action bars. If anything I find this constant change to be a little on the awkward side. In some ways, you feel like a boomkin because you’re balancing a resource.

But unlike the boomkin, the way you manage it is not automatic. Once you have the optimal amount of fury, you can exceed or even waste additional fury by not changing over. And knowing when to change is the whole key to optimizing your DPS. The main thing is that your demonic form causes you to do a lot more damage with your Soul Fire and that your Shadowbolts become instant cast Touch of Chaos. Just hitting maximum Demonic Fury then switching to Demon form isn’t really the optimal way to go, unlike a boomkin who simply changes from Wrath or Starfire and vice versa. Part of managing your Demonic Fury and switching is in applying your dots and maintaining them. That’s where all the real hidden complexity in this class comes in and where you might end up suffering on the DPS end.

That said, even if you have difficulties managing the fine details of your rotation, you can get away with just hitting maximum Demonic Fury and switching to Demon form, etc. and do reasonable DPS. I wouldn’t encourage this option but for lazy people or those just starting out, it’s an easy way to just get used to some of the basic concepts.

The Demonology Warlock also plays like a hunter since you do have a pet who does some serious damage. However, just like a huntard, a Demonology Warlock n00b can completely screw up and do something like leaving their pet’s taunts on and screwing up a raid encounter. Hey, everyone is guilty of doing something silly but you should definitely learn your pet’s abilities and focus on managing them.

While your pet can occasionally screw up do things like taunt mobs off a tank or grab additional mobs by accident since it does possess some AoE abilities, the thing is that your pet will do a pretty good job of holding aggro. Honestly, I find that the Felguard does a better job at times than my hunter pets.

One thing I do like about the Demonology Warlock is their AoE. Immolation Aura is just a really nice and simple AoE with some good perks. Once your pet locks a group of mobs down, just saunter over and destroy them with your Immolation Aura. It’s far simpler than the weirder or more awkward multishot (and something that has pissed me off ever since they removed Volley from Hunters).

Destruction Warlock

One consistent thing you’ll see in raids are more Destruction Warlocks. Why? Awesome DPS! Warlocks are one of those classes like Hunters who have their flavor of the month spec. Right now, it’s Destruction. Once I found out that the top DPS were Destruction Warlocks who had similar or even lesser gear than my own, I decided to make the switch and dedicate group situations to Destruction. And the results have definitely been great.

I think Mike Preach doesn’t really care for the Destruction Warlock and he had a few pretty valid complaints about it. The main thing for me though is that it’s just an easy spec to produce good, solid numbers. Of course, this wasn’t always the case. Prior to Mist of Pandaria, I would argue that Destruction Warlocks along with Feral Druids and Demonology Warlocks were some of the most complex classes to really maximize, having a ridiculous number of things to include into their rotations.

Right now, it feels that Destruction Warlocks have roughly 5-6 things to deal with in a single target encounter. It’s really not a dot class and I heard the comment that Destruction Warlocks “are like fire mages.” Because I haven’t played a fire mage thus far, I cannot reply to that idea. But I will say that the play style is pretty straight forward, just burn things up, get Burning Embers and have a few big burst moments. It might seem pretty boring, which is why some people probably prefer Affliction of Demonology because of their more complex methods. But as a result oriented person, Destruction suits me fine.

That said, I want to talk about their single and AoE rotations. While most of the single target rotation is fine, the thing that burns me up (yes pun intended this time) is the inclusion of Rain of Fire. I don’t get it. You’re focusing on a single target. Why are you spamming an AoE spell? This is just a bad idea much like the inclusion of Starfall in the boomkin’s rotation. For me, it just makes no sense. And it’s really awkward at times because of how you’re forced to place the Rain of Fire. Let’s say that you’re in a boss fight where there’s a ton of junk on the ground and you cannot easily spot the placement market. You will spend a needless amount of time trying to place the market on the right spot just to do a few points of damage. They consider it a buff but I consider it a pain in the ass.

AoE rotation is equally pointless. Here is where I completely agree with Mike Preach. The idea is that you need to do three other things prior to launching your Rain of Fire. In some ways, it’s like a Shaman’s AoE rotation where you need to do something prior in order to proceed. In this case, you’re not as limited because you can just launch a Rain of Fire without starting an Immolate. But it just seems so stupidly useless and pointless at the same time.

When it comes to the overall feeling of Destruction, the thing is that you can get a lot of it for almost nothing. You can fudge a bit on your rotation without dire consequences and there is a bit of room for margin of error. Most of the problems I’ve seen involve managing your Burning Embers, which isn’t hard to build up, and deciding when to throw your Chaos Bolts out. Since I use an add on to help manage my rotation, I still occasionally discover situations where it feels Chaos Bolt is a better choice than Incinerate. But some of that also is the result of the poor UI queues in the normal system. Unlike say Frostfire bolt, Chaos Bolt isn’t one of those instant proc type of abilities so it’s a matter of judgment.

At any rate, Destruction spec to me is just something to get me by for the moment. It’s okay to play just like boomkins back in patch 4.3. It’s not something I feel all that passionate about.

Affliction Warlock

I think this is the spec that most people think about when you hear the word Warlock. It is the premier dot class and the class that probably defined the whole idea of dots more than any other in the game. For myself, I ended up switching away from Affliction to Demonology and Destruction. I played it towards the end of Cataclysm, finding the simpler rotation to be easier to breeze through the end game instances and LFR.

However, I think that it still wasn’t a class that really suited my play style. At that time, I didn’t master the dot strategy. Affliction Warlocks enable you with a ton of control over situations and the classic dot strategy that most people preferred as Affliction was dot and fearing mobs. At this point, I probably could do that a lot better but I don’t see many situations where I really want to do that. It feels like too much micromanagement involved and it’s just not the play style that I enjoy.

Even now, there’s little incentive for me to play Affliction because it’s not really at the top when it comes to DPS. It feels like it’s a better PVP spec. I prefer the other two specs for soloing and group content. Without a purpose then, this spec really doesn’t do much for me at the moment, especially since the other two specs are far more straight forward than ever to play.

Fury Warrior

Warriors can be some of the most fun classes you’ll ever play. The two movement boosts in Heroic Leap and Charge and the self heals are elements that bring a lot of life to the warrior class. Fury Warriors add to the interesting aspect because of their two handed dual wielding capability. Visually, you get some real menacing fury warrior, especially Tauren having imposing armor and bearing some of heaviest weapons around.

What about DPS? A friend of mine described the Fury Warrior as being brutal for leveling during Mist of Pandaria because of the expertise and hit issues in Dual Wielding. Traditionally, warriors have been gear dependent and I can easily still see this trend going on. It’s not as hard as before when it comes to getting the basic two stats of expertise and hit capped since they lowered the numbers to a flat 7.5% respectively. Yet the thing that hurts the most is obtaining good weapons. That part is probably the most frustrating aspect as a fury warrior and at times made me consider moving to Arms.

The thing about the Fury Warrior is that your damage is far too gear dependent. After that a lot of problems I’ve encountered is mostly through managing your rage properly. While you have a priority rather than a rotation, most of the time you’re focused on waiting on cooldowns and having enough rage. The worst feeling in the world is having no ability on cooldown nor having any rage while being low on health. And there are quite a few situations where you’ll see yourself in this condition.

One of the positives I’ve discovered about Fury Warriors is that you will be able to macro a lot of abilities together. I really like how their cooldowns line up nicely. So you can easily create a pair of macros to handle both sets of cooldowns. That will eliminate a lot of useless hot keys and make things far more manageable. Of course, people like Swifty have created things like one shot macros but I haven’t given that aspect a try.

That being said, I would like to try Arms out some day. Arms is something I looked at once but couldn’t figure out and ended up switching to protection and Fury. My main goal in trying Arms will be to figure out how it feels compared to Fury.

Frost Mage

Here’s a class that probably has a lot of bias due to one of the lead designers supposedly having a main as a Frost Mage. For myself, Frost Mages supposedly have been the solo class. Now, I believe they are at the top of the DPS, or at least compete with Arcane in that spot. What makes a Frost Mage good at soloing?

The main aspect of a Frost Mage is CC’ing and slowing opponents. You have a few pretty decent abilities to slow single or multiple opponents while you focus on nuking them from a distance. Once you have your opponent snared, you can get various proc’s depending on if you used your pet’s CC and/or if you use Frost Orb. These proc’s give you some nice nukes. If your opponent gets too close, you also have the option of Blinking out of site. And if things get really hairy you can just invoke your Invisibility to escape. Combine that with your Blink ability and you should be able to escape harms way while mobs reset.

That said I honestly hate the Frost Mage spec to death. And the main reason is that I hate the stupid elemental pet. I really don’t see a great use for him in solo conditions. He doesn’t have any aggro holding abilities and the main thing you use him for is snaring opponents so you can either Deep Freeze them or firing off a proc’d Ice Lance. Doesn’t sound bad? Well, the Water Elemental is pretty much retarded and I’ve found myself attracting more mobs because the little fucker (like The Shining Danny Little Fucker) just stands around useless firing off bolts while mobs wander right into him. It would be nice if the elemental did something useful in solo situations, I don’t know maybe actually taking mobs off of me for once so I can nuke them. It’s just a really useless pet for the most part.

To aggravate you even more is the fact that you probably will take the Ice Lance glyph to boost your damage. In raid situations, this is great. In solo situations, there’s a good chance that you will do something idiotic and end up causing far more mobs to assault you than you’d like. While having the occasional free cleave is nice, I’d like it to be under more controlled circumstances.

In raid situations, the elemental is again pretty useless. Your ability to freeze opponents is negated thus rendering your free Ice Lance proc into bean fart. That means you’re forced to depend on Freezing Orb for your procs. Of course, you probably don’t have to worry as much about threat so you can just focus on Frostbolting your enemies to death, but the free proc’s still feel like a huge DPS loss in theory.

Lastly, there’s the whole AoE debacle. What is with AoE these days? I really feel Blizzard is dropping the ball on this aspect by making it far too complex and in many cases fucking insane. And not in the good colloquial usage. What can I say about the Frost mage other than BLIZZARD IS NO LONGER PART OF THE CORE ROTATION. WTF!?!?! How can the defining AoE ability, the thing that made you want to bring a mage along not be considered part of the fucking frost mage rotation for AoE? Instead, we use arcane and fire, but not a cold based spell? Does this make any fucking sense whatsoever? Should Arcane Explosion just go to the Arcane Mage while Flamestrike belong to the Fire Mage? Why are these part of the core AoE rotation but not Blizzard?

This is where you really want to take the designers for these specs/classes, put them on a spread eagle type of torture device then repeatedly punch their nutsack in until they develop a natural vagina. The premise of having to do something in order to do something really wears on my patience. It feels as if people try to overthink these things when in fact it’s just meaningless business work at the end of the day.

Either way, I really hate playing this spec. I feel like I’m forced to at the moment because the other choices really aren’t much better.

Arcane Mage

Be careful what you ask for because you just might get it. That’s what became of the Arcane Mage. In Cataclysm, there was a nice elegance to the Arcane Mage where the rotation was pretty simple, focused and what I think more classes should eventually move towards. Pretty much you spammed a single button and used a few cooldowns or filler spells to bring your mana back up. I think the fact that most people got bored supposedly just pushing their number 1 key is why the Arcane Mage got so much flack.

Considering the direction of where Blizzard has been taking these encounters, I’m wondering if the same people would continue to complain. The thing is that Blizzard, once again in their obsession for this idiotic notion of resource management in a fucking RPG, decided to add a little more complexity to the Arcane spec. So now Arcane forces you to do a little more than before.

But the real retardation part comes in with the idea of Rune of Power. Here’s where Mike Preach and I are completely on the same page. Rune of Power is completely retarded “talent.” It’s not even a talent per se, more like an insult to one’s sexual preference because this will make you believe that the world is gay for forcing you to take this idiotic talent (and I’m not really bashing gay people either; just mis-appropriating the terminology for my demonic schemes). The thing is that the fights force you move around a lot these days. So you’re constantly casting and re-casting this stupid ability. For say a Frost Mage, this isn’t too big of a deal because your mana doesn’t get depleted so badly by comparison.

Yet for an Arcane Mage I can see how this can be a ludicrous and completely unnecessary thing. Arcane Mages suffer intensely because of how mana dependent they are in order to do big damage. You get two mana regenerative abilities in the form of the aforementioned Rune of Power and your Mana Gem. Your Mana Gem will be on a cooldown while your Rune of Power is not but does require you to be positioned correctly as well as having an irritating cast time and positioning element.

Arcane Mages are best for immobile encounters because as people are describing it more or less turrets. Once an Arcane Mage is forced to move, they pretty much are fucked since their main spell, which is Arcane Blast, has a nasty casting time. I have read a few complaint threads about how a few encounters essentially screwed over Arcane Mages because of the way their abilities work.

With all that said, it seems that for the moment, you really are better off sticking with a Frost Mage all around. If you do want to switch, the main penalty is that you’ll have to reforge and gem your gear again. So you might as well just go with one spec.

I would talk about Fire Mages but like Arms warriors and Elemental Shamans, I just never had the chance to play one. The one thing I will say is that they seem to be lacking in the DPS charts. As Mike Preach mentioned that they are gear dependent and face RNG consequences as a result of the variability from critical hit chance, I really would advise avoiding them unless you just enjoy playing them.

As for rogues, shadow priests and monks, I’m going to skip them as I still have to finish level my remaining guys up. I have worked on my rogue just a little bit, focusing on Combat as my spec. Thus far, my only comment is that I really like playing rogues for leveling since they can avoid a lot of unnecessary encounters.  Stealth will always remain one of my all time favorite abilities and Vanish on Rogues are the ultimate get away move. Once I finish those two up (and maybe a monk some day), I hope to publish my remaining thoughts on those classes/specs.

 

World of Warcraft: Pre-Throne of Thunder Raids Loot System Broken After Patch 5.3?

I noticed something once patch 5.3 came in: the loot drop rate feels like they’re back before patch 5.2. I don’t know if Blizzard has bothered testing whether or not the loot drop rate is still at the new level but it’s pretty bad again. Hopefully, enough players will complain to Blizzard because I’m seeing very poor results. Either that or Blizzard bate and switched most of us after the first week or so when the drop rate fix was in place. Since there’s no way of seeing how the rolls are handled, it’s impossible to accuse Blizzard of cheating (which is what I feel is going on to get more people to play).

That said, I still advocate some sort of icon to indicate the bad luck streak buff. At least it would indicate to us our increased chances. Right now, there’s no way of seeing how bad we’re performing. Having that icon would help a great deal and put a little more faith into this mysteriously bad loot system.

World of Warcraft: Finally Finished Throne of Thunder (LFR)

I had been procrastinating on doing the last leg of Throne of Thunder for a while now. But it wasn’t as bad as I had imagined. The Lei Shen fight was more annoying and a clusterfuck but I could see that it was definitely doable. Main thing is just making sure people were marked, communication is relayed to people who don’t understand the fight and in general just having a good group. My group downed it in one shot, which was great. In fact, the only thing done before the fight was marking a few people. Beyond that, everyone pretty much knew their roles. Probably, the only thing that was really annoying was the pushback effect on the last phase. But it wasn’t impossible.

Now, that I have that out of the way, I might start running it on the rest of my guys. Usually, once I run something like that 2-3 times, I’ll start seeing the basic patterns of the fight and most of it ends up becoming quite easy. Sure, it can still be annoying but the fights are just a matter of positioning and doing things at the right moment.

For the other two fights in Part 4, they weren’t really that bad, but again just annoying. Like Iron Qon for the most part is pretty easy. The difficult aspect is just watching out for the stuff on the ground and the phase where you have to move around to strike him with all the shields. Maybe the other aspect that can make a fight like that difficult is the damage output, but that’s more of an issue with the healers than something a DPS guy like myself has to handle.

The Twin Consorts weren’t bad either. Just tank and spank and again most of the encounter’s difficulty was avoiding things on the floor. Heck, I even managed to win the helmet token for my death knight on the reroll (which looks nasty and not in a good way). Sure, there are other mechanics that you need to be aware of but at least they are not enforced on you compared to say Amber Shaper Un-Sok encounter.

In having seen the overall LFR for Throne of Thunder now, I will say that most of it isn’t terrible. My main complaint is just that there’s just too much crap everywhere. When I was on Durumu a few nights ago, I lagged out so badly and I suspect that it’s because of the number of effects and elements that were going on simultaneously. The thing about these encounters is that the mechanics themselves are not difficult to understand but the UI is just so poor in communicating what’s going on to the players that it all meshes together in an incomprehensible manner. I realize that at times these encounters are designed to be distracting but visually it’s really overwhelming for no good reason outside of adding more shit that you can’t really appreciate.

Going back to the Lei Shen encounter, I get the feeling that Blizzard wanted to make the encounter feel really epic. Instead, I feel like I was on a Disneyland ride, even more poorly done than Dragon Soul in some ways. It feels very melodramatic in how Lei Shen constantly would proclaim himself as the “Thunder King” but all these things end up getting lost on me since I’m too focused on the encounter to really take in the experience. Everything is just so rushed that you can’t appreciate anything.

I know Hobbs hates LFR partly because of this issue. In this case, I really can’t blame him. You’re pretty much in a race the moment you enter just to get to the loot. Now, I have to admit to being a bit of a loot whore. But I enjoy gearing up. I don’t enjoy the constant farming. To me these encounters are really just loot pinadas. The encounters themselves aren’t challenging because of the mechanics; they’re more like endurance runs where they try your patience in having to do the same thing for a long time while periodically having the occasional curve ball tossed in.

I will admit that many of the newer encounters feel more dynamic. For instance, I really like the Horridon encounter. At first, I thought it was going to be impossible. But at the end, the fight is pretty exciting since you have the opportunity to fight all types of adds and must make quick decisions to tackle one add or another.

At any rate, I’m glad I’m done now in doing each wing and boss. I’ll definitely start farming these LFRs more often on my alts, especially with my other guys getting leveled to 90 and gearing up.

On another note, is it me or does it feel as though patch 5.3 rolled back the increased drops for stuff in pre-Throne of Thunder LFRs? I spent a great deal of time trying to gear my warrior for the past two weeks and just had an awful time getting anything, even on reroll. It’s really frustrating since I’m just one point off from being able to enter Heart of Fear. I did cheese a lot of her gear to boost it up, including retaining some tanking items in her bags. I suppose I could just do a bunch of dailies, get some rep and pick up an older piece of gear for the extra point. But it’s just so painful and I really don’t enjoy doing dailies at the moment.

I would like to get my mage up to 90 soon as well. Right now, she’s sitting at level 88 and I’m about to ignore the remainder of the Valley of Four Winds and take her straight to Kun-Lai Summit. I thought about just doing Krasarang Wilds to mix things up but that place is just so dreary. The good thing is that as a cloth wearer, I was able to craft most of her gear, which is mostly 415s. So there’s no real point in doing Krasarang Wilds just for gear. Even when I hit Townlonge Steppes, I should have enough gear to get me to 90. Can’t wait for that as I’ve got a lot of recipes ready for her.

After that, I just have to level my rogue and priest. Then I’ll focus my attention on high end content and probably pet battles. Looking forward to finishing all of that. Hope it won’t take that much more time.

World of Warcraft: Warrior at Level 90 Next Eyeballing Mage

I managed to hit 90 on my warrior last night. Overall, I would say that the entire process probably took roughly 4-5 nights altogether. Ultimately, my path consisted of doing the Jade Forest in its entirety (85-87), half of Valley of the Four Winds (87-88), Kun-Lai Summit (88-89) and finishing off with probably around a quarter complete in Townlonge Steppes (89-90). Along the way, I leveled mining from 525-600, which probably contributed to a reasonable amount of experience and found occasional treasures and rares for a few extra experience. All things considered, if I didn’t have mining, I’d probably still complete about a little more than half of Townlonge Steppes and get to level 90 with the experience reduction.

Right after that, I immediately tried to craft and buy as much gear for my warrior as possible. As of now, she uses the fury spec but I’ve been considered switching her to arms since it can be pretty difficult locating a second two handed weapon. I managed to get her enough gear to put her into Mogu’shan Vaults but sadly even with the coin re-rolls, I ended up getting nothing. I considered re-doing both sections but I might just wait for another week.

It did feel pretty odd to get nothing, especially after the drop increase and unlucky streak bonus. For that aspect, I really wish that Blizzard incorporates some sort of visual cue similar to the Determination buff just to indicate that the system recognizes your unlucky streak.

In the meantime, I might try to get into a Sha of Anger and Galleon raid. I did give Oondasta a try, but my server is extremely lame after Monday/Tuesday when it comes to that boss. So hopefully, at the very minimal, I’ll get into those two groups and a Nalak group.

I did give the Scenario for entering the Isle of Thunder a try. It’s definitely rough as an undergeared fury warrior and I ended up dying to the colossus troll, who just had way too many hit points. I think my warrior needs quite a bit more gear before tackling that section but it makes me realize that the Isle is pretty nasty and should probably set some sort of gear prerequisite, at least to do the scenarios. I’ll return to ranting on the Isle of Thunder in a bit but I will say that the single person scenarios in general suck shit except for the treasure room.

At any rate, outside of finally getting Engineering to max level, I was somewhat disappointed for the first week as a fury warrior. I might just hold off on doing more with her until I can get her better gear. Instead, I plan to turn my attention to my mage. The nice thing about my mage is that I had been crafting quite a bit of blues beforehand. So she had a fair amount of hand-me-downs from my Shaman. Then when I discovered I had an excess of Windwool Cloth, I sent it to her to raise her tailoring skill. It didn’t take long to max that out, especially in crafting more blues.

So now, I feel she’s more or less ready to be leveled. In general, after focusing on working on my warrior for the past two weeks, I feel that it’s just a great time to level to 90. This patch really doesn’t offer a lot overall in terms of new content so it’s a good time (especially if you’re an alt-a-holic) to play catch up before the next patch.

Going back to my mage, I started exploring specs to try out. I was using arcane but don’t know if that’s going to be the best leveling spec. It seems frost is near the top of the DPS meters right now and traditionally, it had been the best leveling spec. However, as I started examining the rotation, one thing caught me offguard: why isn’t Blizzard in the AoE rotation anymore?

Ever since I started playing a Destruction warlock, I kept in the back of my mind how AoE had changed somewhat for warlocks as well and the types of things Blizzard attempted to incorporate into the play style. But this change got me really wondering where the hell the developers in Blizzard are taking this game. I mean, a lot of classes are experiencing changes in their fundamental design and not all are really created equal. But this just goes to show how far off the game is going from the original ideas set within. It feels as if the developers are overcomplicating a lot of the game unnecessarily and just tossing shit against the wall to see if it sticks rather than looking at how traditional RPGs setup a lot of things like AoE.

So in some ways, I’m looking forward to playing my mage and in other cases, I really am not all that happy. I like playing different classes to experience the different styles. But slowly it doesn’t feel that way. Although I started that each class is not created equal, what I mean by that is that they are not created equal in a good way. In fact, the differences really aren’t fun differences but more like just figuring out how one class/ability translates into another. It doesn’t really make classes feel special, more like a key re-mapping.

But I think the thing that’s bothering me more and more is the general direction of the game. I really hated patch 5.2. I felt that the content shifted in the wrong direction and the intent especially felt malicious. Certain fights are okay in the end once you get used to them as in the case of raids, but the patch overall felt constrained in some way. For instance, the tunnel vision funneling experience in the Isle of Thunder where they really made the zone a pain in the ass with high density mobs, more dailies, tons of useless elites (I’m not talking about rares) and slow as molasses being shit from your asshole movement around the island without flying. I’m not saying everything was bad but it’s just drudgery. Maybe the developers want you to feel miserable from an atmospheric point of view but it’s just not fun.

Then there’s just more and more emphasis on mechanics for everything. I think the problem is that once you do it once or twice, it’s fine. But after a while, it’s just a horribly painful experience you have to endure over and over again. And once again this goes into my complaint about how classes are not created equal. Some excel quite well for certain situations. Like hey there’s an AoE encounter, great so my DK or Balance druid is going to slaughter things mindlessly. Put an enhancement shaman on it, and oh look you already killed that mob with the flame shock, so you can’t use lava lash to ignite everything else and can’t really hit your AoE spell. I mean, do the developers really test these things out with every single spec and gear type just to make sure you can do it? Yes, I know you have these little healing potions all over the place, but what if you didn’t know that? Also, why scenarios to unlock aspects? Worse yet, why single player scenarios? What’s the point? It’s just more isolated encounters that really don’t make a lot of sense (again the treasure room one is the only place I currently enjoy)

Specifically, when it comes to these scenarios, I know it’s a gear issue because I’ve done them on 5 of my other toons just fine. But again I just don’t understand why there isn’t something to at least alert you or prevent you from entering if you don’t meet a certain level of expectation. I mean they already impose such restrictions on heroic scenarios, heroics and LFR. I have heard other people handling these things just fine with undergeared toons but it just feels really sloppy and you can tell that it really becomes conditional. Take the air battle fight for instance. If you’re a beastmaster hunter, you’re fucked because you pretty much depend on your pet to be out to do anything. So why put a stupid encounter like that up in the first place?

Ultimately, I think my real point in this rant is the whole notion of “bringing the player not the class” idea. I’m fine with this notion but in RPGs you have classes that can handle different situations and are designed for that purpose. The “bring the player not the class” idea feels as though they’re essentially trying to eliminate class mechanics to equalize everything to a level playing field. Yet they’re failing miserably because these ideas really aren’t well tested on each class/spec. There’s too much of an underlying assumption that the player will intuitively just be able to switch specs right in the middle of a situation just to handle a single encounter. I really hate this idea for a variety of reasons. One is that you may be too tied to your gear in your spec. In that troll situation, I wanted to go protection spec but couldn’t because I lacked the gear. In another case, what if you were forced to switch to a spec you weren’t familiar with on the spot because you really didn’t have a choice.

But that’s why I feel the game is becoming a big mess. I think a while back specs actually had a purpose. Take as an example, the hunter class. Traditionally, you had BM as the leveling/solo spec, survival for raiding then marksman for PVP (and sometimes the two swapped). While you could switch them a bit, there generally was a pretty clear distinction in purpose when you employed a spec. Right now, it’s just flavor of the month and people choose whichever spec gets buffed for a particular patch.

At any rate, this wasn’t encouraging at all. Very frustrating but we’ll see.

World of Warcraft: My Experience With the 30% Experience Reduction in Patch 5.3

I started working on my warrior again the other night, finishing up the Jade Forest and moving into Valley of the Four Winds. When I completed most of the Jade Forest, I managed to hit level 87. Mind you, my warrior also has mining that I work on simultaneously whenever I find nodes, which provides some additional experience. With the Valley of the Four Winds, I managed to hit level 88 right around doing quest for Halfhill. Since you’re able to receive the quest to visit the Temple of the White Tiger, which opens up your faction’s city in Pandaria, I decided to skip everything and head straight to that quest and proceed into the city as a level 88 and have paused at the moment.

The thing is that I can go back and finish Valley of the Four Winds then do my usual route and head to the Krasarang Wilds. However, my belief is that with the 30% experience reduction, you’re essentially wasting time fiddling around in the Wilds. Instead, I’m going to level within Kun-Lai Summit since the area is aimed for level 88-89. Around this point, you’ll start finding better green gear overall. My warrior up until this point mostly had reasonably high end gear from Cataclysm, roughly around the 384-399 mark. Most have been upgraded to a minimum of 399 from the quests in Valley of the Four Winds so the Krasarang Wilds would not really provide me anything better overall.

Another thing is that the experience in Kun-Lai Summit will exceed both Valley of the Four Winds and Krasarang Wilds so it’s just better overall to skip the remaining areas and try to hammer out level 89 in Kun-Lai Summit and move towards Townlonge Steppes once this region is complete.

For me everything feels a bit off at the moment since I’m so used to moving in such a sequential fashion between Mist of Pandaria zones. I’m certain if I continued working through my normal routine, I would more than likely end up hitting level 90 within Kun-Lai Summit and just skipping Townlonge Steppes altogether. It’s a little awkward in some ways because I feel a bit undergeared still and will be missing out on a lot of gold. Prior to patch 5.3, leveling to 90 would net me maybe around 4k worth of gold with a good chunk of that eventually going for Pandaria flight. While I can afford the flight right now, missing out on such a huge chunk of money makes me feel a little empty.

Another thing that’s bothering me a little is the feeling that I might be missing out in opening up higher level quests later on. For instance, if you don’t complete the Dread Wastes at all, you pretty much won’t have access to the Klaxxi faction dailies. I’m not sure by skipping a zone like Krasarang Wilds if I’ll be missing a critical element later. This might end up hindering a new level 90 toon looking to maximize their daily content.

Overall, the experience reduction is pretty big and I can feel and see the effects. If anything, I’ll save a bit on time and possibly can avoid certain painful questing spots. One other thing is that I’m avoiding using dungeons for experience grinding. I know there are some gamers who found techniques to quickly level their characters, but I think that those techniques in the long term and even instance grinding end up hurting you. You really miss out on the gold, professions and materials you gather while questing. I think instances here would be more effective if you’re on the edge and just want a quick level and be able to obtain some higher level gear.

 

World of Warcraft: Pet Battles and Lesser Charms of Fortune

Recently, I decided to level up some pets using the pet battle system. One of the nice benefits I learned was that you can occasionally acquire Lesser Charms of Fortune. I think this is a great method that you can use, especially if you’re incredibly burnt out on doing dailies and want to avoid grinding out killing mobs.

What makes this somewhat fun is that you can earn these charms on any level of pets. So let’s say you have a toon who is behind on charms, you’re a bit undergeared for a lot of dailies and you find yourself dying on occasion because you’re undergeared. Yet you still want to keep up on the charms somehow so that you can continue to accumulate Mogu Runes. Well, just go out in some starting zones and take some of your level 1 pets and do a few pet battles.

I like this method because it’s pretty low stress, there’s a nice little benefit and you can multitask somewhat through this method. For instance, let’s say you’re waiting in queue for LFR and you see 30-50+ minutes. Rather than quitting, just plow through a bunch of pet battles and get a few charms here and there. This method also offers the side advantage of just changing the pace a bit.

World of Warcraft: The Dangers of Loot Specialization

While the loot specialization has it’s obvious perks, it also has its downside if you’re not careful. One of the things that can happen to you is forgetting to switch back to your original spec. This already happened to me a few times, even earning me gear that I wish could’ve gone towards my main spec. I did manage to find one loot spec add on called Auto Loot Spec but it’s still in beta.

Either way, it’s a somewhat poor UI decision in that you could easily accidentally waste tokens or roles on things you really don’t need at the moment. Of course, single role classes like mages and the warlock won’t ever have this type of issue. But on classes like a death knight or paladin, it’s easy to forget about the role you’ve selected.

Honestly, I wish that rather than making the loot selection come from the character’s portrait, you could simply select the loot role when a piece of gear is being rolled on. It might not necessarily be a huge gripe overall but it’s something that does need a little revision for those of us who are getting somewhat senile.

World of Warcraft: How to Gear Up Fast in Patch 5.3

Gearing up in the current patch has never been easier. There’s so many ways to do the catch up whether it’s running Heroics, doing Scenarios, buying loot, etc. But the thing is that you can really push through and get close to meeting the minimal requirements for the Throne of Thunder raid with some short cuts. Some of the ideas here are time dependent as well as server dependent.

  • First, upon hitting 90, buy as many ilvl 458 items as you can. I believe there are around 8. You might be able to skip a few such as boots. Also, if you have the gold, you can push that number higher if you decide to go after trinkets, weapons or some other crafted epics. But the PVP ilvl 458 gear should push your ilvl up close to the 460 mark.
  • Try to pick up the 450 necklace and rings. If you’re a spell caster, you can cheese it a bit through getting a spirit ring, even if you’re not really a spirit based caster. If you’re a strength based fighter, you can also cheese it by buying a tanking ring.
  • Now, here’s the big thing: try to find a rare on the Isle of Thunder and get a bunch of friends to help you kill it. It may not drop the key to the treasure room but keep trying if you don’t find it on the first try.
  • Once you get the key, hand it in so that you can do the treasure room scenario. Your goal here is not to complete it, but obtaining as many Elder Charms as possible. Hopefully, by the end you can get around 10 at the minimal.
  • Try to Sha of Anger. You will get boots and you probably should use your Elder Charm here to try and obtain a 496 tier leggings or hands piece (if not both for incredibly lucky people).
  • Get into a Galleon raid. Again, use your charm here. You can get 496 gear. Both this and the Sha of Anger world bosses are best done earlier in the week as they tend to taper off towards the end of the week.
  • Try to push out 50 lesser charms through doing as many dailies as you can as soon as possible. Turn in the quest to get 3 Mogu Runes.
  • Now, try to get into a Nalak and/or Oondasta group. Roll on both if you manage to defeat either and hopefully, you can get some 522 pieces.
  • If you’re still below the 460 mark, do whatever you can to obtain gold and/or valor to make some key purchases. With all the dailies open now, you should be able to pump out over 1k gold/day and a fair amount of valor.
  • Once you hit 460, hit Mogu’shan Vaults and make sure you roll only on things you absolutely need. Your next go is ilvl 470 to hit Heart of Fear and Terrace of Endless Spring.
  • Also, if you’re up for the challenge, try doing the scenarios on the Isle of Thunder. I believe that ought to get you to friendly at the end with your respective faction’s group on the Isle. The important thing is that there’s an ilvl 476 belt that you can purchase with gold. It’s one of those “anything can help” situations.

Again, the main emphasis in this route is getting that key to the treasury. Without it, you’ll find yourself struggling a bit when it comes to the rolls. I highly suggest before doing any world boss and the pre-Throne of Thunder raids that you do the treasure room and pick up as many Elder Charms as you can. The idea is that you want to make sure you can stack the bad luck roll protection buff.

Another thing is that if you’re a tank or healing class, I highly suggest that if you’re undergeared, you switch to a DPS spec and gear that out first, unless you absolutely know what you’re doing. I’ve seen too many people enter LFR horribly undergeared even now. Since you have loot specialization, you should really take advantage of that rather than wasting other people’s time. People will appreciate you in the long run, especially if you are unsure how the fights operate.

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.