Transmog By Race Part I: Dwarves

Tired of getting beaten to the punch on various transmogrification ideas I’ve had (I keep my sanity by arguing great minds think alike), I present to you the first in a series of posts where I suit up each race based on their classes and the role I envision them playing.  To kick things off I went with the race I likely have the most familiarity with in terms of “fantasy:” Dwarves.

Dwarves have access to every class now except for Druids and quite frankly they shouldn’t ever get it.  For the most part, I argue against Rogues as well but that’s a whole other story (and for this purpose, I’ve made it work).  Also, aside from the Forsaken I will refrain from using the Death Knight class (I’m treating it as their quasi-Antipaladin equivalent).

The Dwarven Kingdom is heavily stacked with Priests.  Now since this is my view, I don’t see Dwarven Shadow Priests (sorry, Dark Iron casters fall under Warlocks).  That means you you’re walking in the light where either Holy or Discipline suits the race just fine.  The outfit I built for Tumunzahar really feels like a Dwarven Priest for me, so I just tweaked him a little bit.

As I said a moment ago, I’ve had issue with Dwarf Rogues since my introduction to the game.  Especially since back then there were no Dwarven Mages and to have Rogues first completely baffled me.  In compiling this list, though, I came up with a role that a Dwarven Rogue would play, and that would be someone of a Dungeoneer or Siege Sabatoeur.  In both cases, I see them as Engineer infused, though the Dungeoneer may do more with Gnomes and the Siege Sabatoeur would be more Goblin/demolitions.

When it comes to Dwarven Hunters, they fall into one of two rolls as a hero.  The first, is a Game Hunter type.  Not to Hemet Nesingwary lengths, but a game seeker just the same.   So, I started with the wolf shoulders and built from there.  I like that the pants look leather crafted as well, adding to the trapper idea.  I could’ve gone further with it, but was happy with how it turned out.

On the flipside, a Hunter could also fit the role of a Dungeoneer.  Where a Rogue would disable traps and what have you, the Hunter would get by using his tracking skills to navigate the dangerous mobs that lurk behind every turn.  So with this outfit I went with a crossbow instead of a gun, but focused on including some elements of chain (specifically links) in the armor with the idea that it would come from the dungeons he’d explored.

I see Warlocks being a Dark Iron only class.  In the modern Dwarven hierarchy that’s mostly fine as they’ve been loosely accepted into the mountain, albeit under a mighty watchful eye.  I based this outfit loosely on the shades seen in BRD, as that’s where I would picture these guys prior to old Moira moving the clan into the Forge.

One of the defining race and class combinations in the game, there’s no shortage of Dwarven Paladins  in Azeroth (or fantasy lore period).  Whether it’s as Champion of the Light or the Mountain, one can easily see them standing at the forefront.  So I built a pretty straightforward outfit, with a heavy gold/light influence.

Clerics are as prominent as Priests when it comes to Dwarves, and since they can wear armor it left me wanting to use the Paladin, as one could simply spec into Holy to properly represent them.  While I used a piece of the “definitive” Paladin gear in the game (Judgement), I was really happy with how unique and good this turned out.

Now Dwarves are wise and scholarly (to a stubborn fault), and it only stands to reason they count Mages among their ranks.  I debated on drawing on the element of Frost when putting the outfit together, but then reconsidered that for something more transcending.  I like the green offset in the design which very much veered away from some of the more traditional Dwarven colors.  Mages can get away with it.

The Dark Iron Dwarves brought Warlocks, and Wildhammer Dwarves brought us Shamans.  In designing the Dwarven Shaman outfit I wanted something that relied on earth tones for the Dwarves, but also to be sure to include a node to the Wildhammer heritage.  Unfortunately, players can’t select any tattoos for the clan (hoping that changes in Mists).  What I’m most happy about with this outfit is how I managed to line up the three components around the waist perfectly(which is waist, legs, and even the chest).  I’m thinking Elemental, with lots of casting so weapon choice may vary.

I saved the best for last when it comes to Dwarves, as there is no shortage of them who like a good fight.  Said fisticuff is usually after a few good pints.  Despite the many options and roles for their Warriors, I picked two -the Defender and the Berserker.  The Defender is a fair bit on the cliched side, but still I was happy with what I came up with.

For the Berserker I wanted something a bit unique, and it needed to be a culmination where I could see the Warrior charging from a ledge and leaping out, axe in hand, to embed in a target.  It took a number of tries, but I ended up with a look I was happy with.

Hope you enjoyed my take on the Dwarf options in the game and will check back in to see what I do with the other races.  In part two, I’ll be flipping factions to tackle my favourite race in the game.

Cataclysm Report Card: Classes

I bounced around a few blogs before I came across the subject of Tree Heals Go Woosh asking a few questions about the changes to their character(s) from pre-4.0 to now.  In the spirit of Saz, I’m going to look at it from the two characters I’ve maxed and considered my main toons for quite some time (and also pick and choose the questions I’m answering).

Do you feel that your class is better (in that it is more fun to play, more effective, etc.) now than it was at the end of Wrath?  Do you feel that your class is better now than it was at the beginning of Cataclysm?

Rogue: As a whole, I think it’s definitely better than it was.  The one beef I still have regarding the class is that when we were doing great dps in Burning Crusade people cried foul and instead of pulling the class back a bit, they jacked everyone else.  Still, I am not confident taking my Rogue into anything other than regular 5-mans.  I can harass a bit in PvP, but otherwise I just feel out of my element in a team environment.  I’m confident in my CC abilities, but hitting the high dps marks, I don’t know.

Priests: I think it’s on par in terms of fun compared to pre-4.0 (I’m talking Holy by the way).  Is it easier than when Cataclysm launched?  Absolutely!  No one could understand how Chakras worked and many people (self included) didn’t realize how nerfed Flash Heal became.  Once we as players got it sorted out and Blizzard made the appropriate adjustments, Holy Priesting life was good again.  I do still miss mp5 to some degree though.

Did you switch mains during Cataclysm?  If so, why did you make that choice?

No, I’ve treated my toons the same.  My Rogue was always for hammering away the new quest content, and then I rock & roll healing instances with my Priest.  I love healing…I hate questing as a healer and refuse to dual spec.  If anything, though, I’ve learned to tank in Cataclysm (no end game yet) and find I do enjoy it.  That Tauren Paladin is climbing the ranks of character love insanely fast.

What were your class’/spec’s strengths throughout Cataclysm?  What were its weaknesses?

Combat: The spec continues to be aces for leveling.  I think in terms of PvP and endgame, the other specs offer better alternatives for success.  To me that’s quite alright as that means each spec offers something for someone and that’s a huge success.  What I consider a “weakness” of the spec is the amount of CC I can perform with the role.  In an era where people still measure ability by the dps charts, the role has a number of interrupts and stuns that can make fights easier but at the loss of some damage.

Holy: Weakness?  It’s hard for me to say because I don’t have any other type of healer at an endgame to compare to.  But I find I’m not as deep mana wise as I used to be, though I’ve worked on better management of that.  Strengths?  The two healing Chakras are great, Leap of Faith occasionally teaches lazy dps to move, and Blizzard made us Lightwell healers popular again.

How, if at all, did Cataclysm’s revamp of the talent trees affect your class?  Did you feel that these were changes for the better or for worse?

Rogue: When Cataclysm launched, I immediately dual-specced for the first time on Siori.  I kept Combat because I was familiar with it, but I quickly realized Assassination looked much more appealing for damage output.  The removal of weapon specialization hurt the overall combat talent tree in my opinion as each offered a unique way to play the class.

Priest: Once again, Holy just took getting used to.  As I said, Chakra’s made a huge difference, and creating a Lightwell friendly environment was a boon.  I used it pre-Cata but many players weren’t used to it unless they ran with me with something resembling regularity.

Did your class experience any significant changes or additions to its lore during this expansion?  If so, how did you feel about those changes?

Rogue: The big thing people are going to talk about post-Cataclysm for Rogues was our Fangs of the Father.  The class specific legendary is still a “want” for me.  The only other major thing was Mathias Shaw’s heavy leadership in a portion of Twilight Highlands.  I liked it, to be honest.  It beat him just sitting in Stormwind not really doing anything.

Priest: Lore wise?  Well, two of the original races became Priests: Tauren and Gnomes.  One makes sense to me, the other not so much.  In that order.  I’m sure there’s something involving Priests that I’m brainfarting on in terms of lore, but there was nothing really stand-outish for me this expansion.  Let’s face it, the expansion was incredibly Shaman and Druid heavy and I’m quite fine with that.  Burning Crusade felt like a darkness vs. light battle to me and Lich King was all about Death Knights and Paladins (for proper reasons).  Every class gets/will get their turn in the main spotlight and there’s enough lesser light sprinkled throughout that I’m ok with it.

Is your class easier or harder for a fresh 85 to learn now than it was at the end of Wrath?  Is this a good or a bad thing?

Rogue: Honestly, I think Rogues are one of the harder classes to get good at.  You can get by easy enough, but to be really good at it takes practice.  I’ve seen some hit 85 that look natural.  I’ve seen some at 85 that make me think another class might’ve suited that player better.  If a character tries to learn Subtlety at 85, I feel for them.  That’s a curve, but a rewarding curve.

Priest: If you level as a healer, you’ll have no problem as a healer.  I find it’s the people who level dps and then switch at 85 who have the most difficult with the class at that level.  There’s so many options Priests have in terms of healing and debuffs and the Chakras and bubbles that you need to learn what works and you also have to mana manage well to be successful.

Overall, do you enjoy the playstyle of your class more now, at the end of Cataclysm, than you did prior to patch 4.0 at the end of Wrath?  Why or why not?

Rogue: Again, I still enjoy playing the class as much as I did at the end of Wrath, I just don’t have the confidence to be a raid dps with it.  I’d have to do a lot of research and put in a tonne of practice before I felt “good” about that role again.

Priest: Healing in general is just plain fun.  When the success or fail of a raid can depend on the one role that doesn’t really have a rotation (at least certainly not compared to dps and “build aggro” of a tank), I love it.  The Priest remains my favourite class and I don’t think Cataclysm swayed me in a less or more direction.

Races And Praise

Oddly enough, a week later and I’m writing another “thanks” post.  Right off the hop, special thanks to Kuroma for her guest post yesterday.  Seriously, I’d be ticked if that happened to me. I can sort of see how it would go down (group continues after someone leaves and then that split second where they start the fight and your queue window pops up)…but still.

Thank you Blizzard.  I love Transmogrification, and as I said on Tuesday I’m actually excited about a great many things Patch 4.3 has brought us.  I imagine it will take me most of the month just to get a real feel for all of it.

Thank you to all of you who’ve started following the Amateur!  Based on site stats, many of you have come from either a Transmogrification Search or one of my fellow bloggers.  I hope you like what you see and continue to follow the site.  I’ll do my best to maintain the qualities that make me worth your time.

Speaking of doing my best, I was incredibly pleased with my entry into the Thanksgiving Event last week -though I wish I could’ve made the video.  Having said that, never in my wildest dreams did I think it would get the response that it did.  All the kind words were very humbling, to say nothing of being awarded second place by the judges!  Words cannot describe how all of that feels.

Speaking of that event, I thanked her on her own website but for some reason I didn’t see it make it through the cracks of the internet and appear online.  As such, I’m going to formally thank Amerence for her brilliant idea.  It was such a wonderful thing to be part of, to say nothing of her generosity of prizing the event.  I was introduced to so many new blogs, and as I mentioned a moment ago many new bloggers were introduced to me.  So, very much a humble thank you Amerence.

Now, the Thanksgiving Event was the shared topic on Blog Azeroth last week.  This week an interesting one was posed by Mia and I’d like to tackle that now.  What would I make as a playable race? 

The Quilboar are simple enough that I don’t have to get fancy or creative, and because I’m not on the WoW development team I don’t even have to look at it from a logistics standpoint (though safe bet they’d never join the Horde).

So, first question is what would the racials be?  I’d give them two; a 10% armor boost (Thick Skinned), and Gore (a melee attack with their tusks, creating a bleed effect for 10 seconds…would have a cooldown similar to Tauren Stomp).

The classes would be pretty easy actually, since we’ve seen them in action enough to have an idea of what they’re capable of.  So I’d go with Hunter, Mage, Shaman, Warlock, and Warrior.  While I might not have to worry about logistics, the other classes just don’t make sense.  Priest might be the only one, but I’d say the Shaman fits them better.

I thought a brilliant start zone would be a phased version of one of the Razorfen instances…the one without the Lich at the end (sorry, I’m notorius for confusing them). As a Quilboar Hero you’d do your thing early on, and then reach a point where your questgiver sends you to one of two NPC’s.  Depending on which one you chose, you’d head off to defend the place from an attacking party…one NPC would result in a Horde party attacking, and the other an Alliance party.  After you succeeded, they’d praise you something fierce and you’d get your “Get Out Of Phased Zone Free” card.

Again, I can’t really see how a Neutral race would work in World of Warcraft in this day and age as there is an immense emphasis on conflict (perhaps 2-3 races would be implemented together?) between the Horde and Alliance, but if it happened I could see the Quilboar getting involved and becoming playable in a logistical manner.  What do you think?

Pandas No, Fu Yes

So, the question was asked this week over at WoWInsider whether people would be playing the new Monk class when Mists of Pandaria arrive.  To my understanding, this is going to be a base class and thus will not require actually purchasing the expansion (unlike Death Knights, which require Wrath of the Lich King).  If that is the case, then I am in the “will play” category.

No, I’m not reserving the name Omi (no matter how tempted a bald Gnome Monk would be), but I do think the class will be fun.  A class without an auto-attack is a nice change, though I’m notorious for removing it from my action bar and then while waiting for my appropriate non-mana bar to recharge in PvP I get screwed.  Apparently Monks are so focused on their attacks that each is done with careful purpose.  I can buy that. 

The Monk will be a healer/tank/dps class, and at this stage I’m not certain which role I would choose with mine.  It will probably depend on how each plays.  I love healing, but I picture the Monk more as a melee class “throwing down” and being able to withstand spells (and dodging/blocking) more than the type that heal.  This could also be based on my Dungeons & Dragons experience.  Then again, not wanting to heal as a Monk might be based on too much Kung Fu: The Legend Continues growing up.

When I stop to really think about the class, I get the angel and devil on my shoulders (not BoA).  The angel tells me to hold off on playing the class, as with its introduction you can expect constant hotfixes and changes to the abilities to get it in line with the other classes.  The devil on my shoulder points to the same thing, but instead just screams “FACEROLL EM ALL!!!!” 

Whether I wait or not, I will definitely try the class out.  Not sure what race, though.  Honestly, I just don’t see myself as a Tauren or Draenei Monk.  The Tauren just don’t strike me as the type, while the Draenei certainly have the devoutness to pull it off.  Come to think of it, a Forsaken could be fun.  I just picture them doing a kick and from their shin down soars across my screen (and yes, I can somehow ignore the logistics of an Undead Monk).  Better yet, a Gnome Monk named Karma.  Yeah, that one definitely works.

Mists Of Pandaria – Thorough Thoughts

As I had suggested yesterday, I was going to take some time to read up on Mists of Pandaria to try and get a better feel for what the World of Warcraft expansion would be bringing down the pipeline.  I gave my trailer reaction yesterday and I can comment today with more knowledge in the barrel, so to speak.

First off is the Pandaren themselves.  Having a race that is neutral for ten levels and then makes you choose Horde or Alliance is a nice touch.  It’s unique, and I think it will work out well for the most part.  How it effects PvP is a question I would love to ask.  I suppose only the “evil” Pandas will be targetable. 

The Monk class, as I said, is a class that makes sense.  We’ve faced them in the Scarlet Monastery and seen Monk-like classes elsewhere in the game.  That the class does not have an auto-attack is as unique as the Pandaren themselves are.  They do have what sounds like a combo-like attack system.  While I’m not sure about Street Fighter gameplay in WoW, I approve in concept and it will be interesting to see if this becomes a standard class or if you can only roll one if you buy the expansion (like a Death Knight requires WotLK).

When I read about the pet combat system, quite frankly the last thing I thought of was non-combat pets.  The short of it is Blizzard is turning your pets into Pokemon.  The crazy part is that you can build up their awesomeness in level and skill points and then sell them on the auction house.   I’ll elaborate more on this in a future Monday Money Making column but the day the expansion hits the pet portion of the auction house is going to go crazy.  But at least now the pets will apparently be account bound.  So all your toons will have access to the same pets you’ve acquired and levelled…so long as someone has the pet.

Speaking of account bound, raid achievements are apparently going to be account bound as well.  So, your fresh level capped Death Knight can get into raids that you’ve cleared with your Mage without people questioning whether you’ve been there.  That’s a feature I definitely approve of.

Weapons.  For starters, Hunter folk are losing their melee weapons.  The good news to go with that is that there will no longer be a range minimum on your crossbow/bow/gun.  All a Hunter will have is their range weapon.  This is a feature the class should have had from the get go (and I’ve actually got a Dwarf Hunter I play that way anyway).  To tie-in with that, the other classes are losing their ranged weapons, or relic slots.  Oh, and Wands are becoming Main Hand.  Honestly not sure what I think about that.  Hopefully caster stats boost their effectiveness.

PvE scenarios.  The example they gave was basically a reminder of the old days of Alterac Valley, where it was more than just zerg everything.  You’ll instance with a few other players (but not require healer/tank/dps) and have goals to accomplish.  In the one described, you’d take out a certain number of enemy soldiers before moving on to some of their artillery and then eventually having to take down the general himself. 

PvP specific gear will be no more.  Resilience will be an innate ability and will increase as your character levels.  I have mixed opinions on this.  I really liked the idea that PvP folk had their own armor sets and that the environment required a different set of stats, but at the same time this royally nerfs the people who would acquire PvP gear just to meet a raid’s ilevel requirement and then be utterly useless in said raid.

Challenge Mode Dungeons is something people are going to like, or hate.  I’m in the latter because as I have stated before I am not keen on this “run through everything as fast as we can” way of combat.  The unique gear skins that sound like they are the reward for succeeding in certain time frames is a solid idea, but likely won’t be enough for me to want to do it.  Time may change that once I see the actual mechanic, as sometimes I can’t get the concept past my brain.

There’s more than what I’ve mentioned here and it will be interesting to see what comes of the opening news for the expansion.  But what I think will be the biggest impact on players, is talents.  How can I put this simply…ah, yes.  The trees are gone.    That’s the plain and simple of it.  Under Mists, characters will gain a new talent every 15 levels, for a total of six.  Each level you’ll pick from three possible talents.  For example, the first one for Paladins is Speed of Light, Long Arm of the Law, and Pursuit of Justice.  Not sure what each one does, but again you’ll pick one and continue doing so every 15 levels.  This is…I will really need to see this “in effect” to have an accurate opinion but I’m really not sure initially.

If I could sum up reaction on the internet, it seems to be a great deal of “is it April 1st or something?  No, really, is it?”  I’m not sure if I fall into that category entirely, but I am somewhat underwhelmed and dumbfounded at the same time.  Based on everything I’ve seen and read, Mists may or may not be the end for me.  There are some things I like (Hunter changes, Monk class, more account-wide variables), there are a few things that don’t impact me (Pandaren, Poke-WoW), but the biggest concern I have is the gameplay.  The changes they’re talking about are intriguing but concerning as well.  As it stands I probably won’t buy the expansion.  That’s still my thoughts after getting more info than the trailer.  But my other thoughts are more concerns about some of the changes I’ve outlined.  The talents would be the biggest one, and it might not be concerns as much as a fear of the unknown.  I’ll most certainly give things a thorough chance when the time comes and I’ll do so with an open mind, but after reviewing all the news from yesterday I do think this will be a turning point for World of Warcraft one way or another for me, and many other players too.

Mists of Pandaria – A Knee Jerk Post

So there it is, the next expansion for the World of Warcraft.  My first thought?  “Oh God, the rumour was true.”   Much like those that came before, the trailer is great with much love in the first minute of the video.  It makes you feel a great deal of pride.  But then comes what’s new. 

  • Pandaria: the continent delivers visually, no questions asked.  I like pretty much everything I see. 
  • New Race -Pandaren: Ugh.  I know people right now love this.  I’m not knocking them for that, I just did not want to see the Pandaren as a playable race. 
  • New Class -Monk: I’ve always felt if the game was going to add another class, this would be it.  This has potential as a cloth tank/heals/dps class.
  • Level Cap 90: This one’s a no-brainer really.  If you thought otherwise, for shame.
  • Challenge Mode Dungeons: Cataclysm Heroic Dungeons have not been popular, I can only imagine what people might think of this in name alone.
  • PvE Scenarios: No idea what this is, or how it could work but it does intrigue me. 
  • Pet Battle System: Not really sure how this one’s going to work either. 
  • New Talent System: I expected this regardless of expansion news.  Blizzard wasn’t necessarily disappointed with the current state of talents, but they’ve been very vocal about wanting it to be better.

In a nutshell, my first reaction isn’t a negative necessarily.  Simply that if the game came out tomorrow, and the trailer is all that I had seen, I would not be getting it.  It simply is not for me based on what I see here.  In fact, with Star Wars two months away and the rest of the industry seemingly making ground on the mountain of Azeroth, I admittedly expected more. 

I won’t be screaming this is the end of World of Warcraft or anything like that (yes, I’ve already seen it said) because that would just be blind ignorance, but I have to think I’m not the only one who found the news a bit flat.  Remember, though, I’m basing this just on the trailer.  I don’t have access to the details that were announced (though I did catch your Pandaren could be a part of either faction), but I plan to feast on as much as I can between now and tomorrow when I will follow up to these knee jerk thoughts.

Both Sides Of The Noob

If you play any MMO for any length of time, odds suggest you’re going to get good at it.  Eventually, you might even forget the early days where you might have been the player people shake their head at for a myriad of reasons.  The problem is, those players still exist.   Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not ripping on new players or players who aren’t familiar with how things work ideally.  Instead I want to look at what comes with that player.

This subject stems from my Zul’Farrak venture with a Rogue on Wednesday.  I watched him need on a lockbox and a Leather chest piece that was stacked for casting.  When I asked him why he needed on the Vest (he never did answer the Lockbox question), he said because it helps his spells.

Stop for a second and realize how you reacted to what I just wrote.

Personally, I was dumbfounded for a moment.  I didn’t say anything mean or rude and after a moment realized he presumed all his action bars were “spells” regardless of class.  To make things more apparen, as a Rogue, he was dps’ing in front of the target.  There’s a reason the slogan is “Rogues do it from behind.”  So, as someone with an 85 Rogue that isn’t l33t by any means, I tried helping him out.  Mentioned attacking from behind and that INT/SPR/STR (all of which he had scattered across his gear) are useless stats for the class and that he needed to be looking at Agility/Hit/Crit.  I didn’t do much, but I tried to help him.  I think that’s the problem many of us have when we encounter a “noob” is that we forget what it’s like.  We often laugh and mock instead of help.

Having said that, there’s the flip side of things and that is “being the noob.”  If you’re playing a new class or a new spec and you’re playing it improperly so to speak, be receptive to comments or criticism.  Yes, quite often (and even more so since Cataclysm launched, I’ve found) the comments are going to be rude and from folks who consider themselves elitist but you are also going to get people doing what I did, and that’s trying to help.  Don’t get your back up, and at the very least try what they suggest.  The ones who are helpful are trying to help you be a better player as well.