Tuesday, 2 March 2010

The one that took a while, didn't it?

Well… the reports of my death are highly exaggerated. Or rather, not so much, as I died a lot lately – but that is not what I meant and you know it.

I should probably fall in line with all the other bloggers out there and pretend that I am slowing down, going to do something different and stopped playing WoW – but what I actually did was start several new projects. New things that are quite fun doing (most of the time) and require more time than I first thought.

Part one, obviously, is still playing my main. Koch is going raiding and is still working on his 100 mounts. Except – I cannot be bothered to do the argent tournament dailies at the moment, even though that would only be 30 more days and it would finish off the 100 nicely. I do try and pop over to the Brunhildar village every day, hoping against hope to find a shiny polar bear in a little cloth bag, instead of a few snowballs, some rancid Jedi-cheese or some water.

There is also still Zul Gurub. A fine area in the north of Stranglethorn and part of the complimentary troll instance that is due every expansion (you know .. like Zul Gurub.in “vanilla” and Zul Aman in “The Burning Crusade” and Zul Frost in “Wrath of the Lich King”. Oh wait… I was not supposed to give out secrets about the expansion of patch Forget I said anything). In theory both the raptor boss and the tiger boss are the proud owners of a rare mount. If they had only learnt that handing it over would mean an end to the senseless murder of their friends and countrymen I would already have moved on. As it is… we are currently at a quote of 48 to none against me.

And there is raiding. We’re still playing Icecrown Citadel every Wednesday and it forms the highlight of my week. You know… I actually enjoy raiding on my little tanky-boi. Of course … I have to admit that I do not quite like ICC as much as I liked Ulduar – and I think I would like to go back one of these days and just trundle around in it and see what happens. Kill Yoggy one of these days? Yeah… I’d really like that.

Part two, not so obviously, was playing my second favourite tank – my little druid. She’s coming along nicely now, raiding in ICC every second week and we’ve finally managed to kill Saurfang on an “Alt Raid”. Which was good. Except – I got to raid as dps … and I can’t say I like it.

Now this requires a bit more explanation, I think. I can appreciate that every class is basically a dps class until you get to the endgame (several footnotes and explanations are in order, but bear with me and wait for Part four). Playing a druid as a dps class does not appeal to me very much – this is partly due to the rather complicated sequence of bleeds, the energy mechanic of rogues and kitty-cats that I don’t particularly enjoy and so on and so forth. There are always moments when this is just cool, though. I do run add-ons that notify me of new high scores for damaging attacks and blowing something up in two goes just has a certain satisfying crunch to it as well (wait for part three, if you could).

In the endgame I pretty much switched all my characters to a tanking main-spec and a dps off-spec at best. The bear has its own strengths and weaknesses (interrupting frostbolt on Lady Deathwhisper, says you? Ha, says I!) and of course so do the paladin and the deathknight and the warrior. Of the three, the dps off-spec of the cat is the most complicated for me, though. Several bleeds and self-buffs to juggle, a consistent energy regeneration struggle and no AoE abilities worth mentioning. If only the spec made up for this complexity by insane dps or super-high numbers on every third rotational pass. But sadly no … it’s just a steady ticking of damaging bleeds, slowly draining the life out of your enemy. I don’t like it very much.

Worse – when I got to raid ICC yesterday it was also quite horribly boring. On Marrowgar I had to move from fires on the ground and otherwise tried to optimize my “rotation” – picking up after each bonestorm. On Lady Deathwhisper I had the pleasure of staying on the boss, first bringing down the mana-shield, then beating up the boss herself. It is the best role for me – as continuous target changing would make my dps even less impressive, but it basically meant I stood still and tried to optimize my rotation. On the gunship battle I got to use a cannon – which still amuses me, but then sadly had the same annoyance on Saurfang again. Stand in one location, don’t bother switching targets to the blood beasts and generally try not to mess up my rotation. That’s it.

No juggling threat, no watching for debuffs on the off-tank, no pre-emptively using cooldowns when the healers had to deal with more trouble, no stunning bloodbeasts, no keeping an eye on the threat meter, no spamming heroic strike when rage is above a certain value, falling back to a more simple sequence of events below. It was just “meh” compared to the thrill of tanking.

I don’t know… I’ll try it again, of course, and maybe next time with a different class, to see if smashing hits with a big axe make everything more interesting – but dps-ing was not really for me.

Disclaimer: I had a lot of fun during the raid – but that came from chat and teamspeak, not the engaging game-design as such.

Part three has taken the most time out of my schedule lately. And I admit I started doing it all because of big numbers and DPS. Which ... err… does not sound all that clever after part two, but Booyaah! playing a mage is completely different.

See… I started a new alt. Had a bit of room still, so there is now a spacegoat mage-girl running around Azeroth, decked out in heirlooms with a mad glint in her eye and a pyroblast at the ready. And it’s fun!

I mean … if I don’t miss the pyroblast. I get to blow stuff up – with fire – and then with more fire! None of that wussy slowing and snaring and freezing and things – a hot girl has to use hot spells!

She is currently burning down the forest in Stranglethorn – an old favourite quest area of mine for the sheer killability of it all. Kill things, kill their daddies, kill their mommies and then their elder brothers who joined the army. With fire! It’s brilliant.

Now I admittedly am not very good at this “being a squishy in a sissy robe” yet, but I’m working on it – and enjoying it. And it seems I’m not alone. A lot of people seem to have abandoned their “mains” lately, going back to more relaxed playing times or more alts and such. The auction house is dealing in twink items again – a market that was almost dead for a while after ICC came out. There are frogs that need to be sold, and  patterned bronze bracers and blue pearls.

Well and then there was project four. I stumbled across Pugging Pally a while ago. At first I thought there was a masochist at work. Then I played on for a bit without giving it much thought. Then I still thought there was a masochist at work, but I considered giving it a go. And of course I ended up doing the exactly same thing – don’t tell me you expected anything else after the long-winded introduction.

So I rolled a healer. A paladin healer, in fact, because I think it is the most durable and aggressive healer class I can currently think of. I mean… you actually get to rush in and judge light on your groups target – and when you’re there you might as well plop down a consecration. And you get to wear plate – which is nice, because I have all those plate heirlooms already. Okay… they are useless heirlooms for a healer and I should buy the mail stuff, but I refuse. I will not be a dress-wearing paladin. Hmm. I actually did put on all those cloth items with intellect on and such, but the point still stands – I am a mighty paladin and I will not wear shoulders or chest armour that is not plate and gives +10% experience. Or rather… I would if I could afford the mail ones, but I can’t so I won’t.

There… that summed it up nicely.

So anyway… I had to level the poor little thing to level 15 traditionally – swinging a big enchanted hammer at everything that looked at me funny – in the name of healing and the light. Which worked fine.

Then I got to level 15 and got to join my first instance group. Not entirely surprisingly it turned out to be Ragefire Chasm – and it was with a great tank and decent dps and a pleasant cruise through the whole thing – except sometimes a tad nerve-wracking because I really have no idea how to heal and the tank pulled appropriately large groups to generate enough rage. Clever man orc – but boy that was scary. Almost nearly got all the way to level 16 as well. And I’m still going strong. I will learn how to heal. I seriously want to. It’s an entirely scary business (and I may possibly have tanked one or two mobs by pulling healing aggro and then just continuously healing myself instead of doing the sensible thing and run to the tank screaming) but I shall not be defeated!

Soon…. Soon I will be level 16 and then the good stuff starts. Err… or so I hope.

This healing addons (I downloaded healbot, because I could remember someone mentioning it – it’s not simple and I’m not sure I like it) are a weird business as well. But we shall see. It’s all under control. So far.

Beats grovelling at those blue girls for a bear anyway.

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