Waking Up To 6.0

Patch 6.0 is now live and with it came many changes, but none more than the vast amount of visual ones.  Almost everyone I spoke to yesterday was headed straight for the Barber Shop to see what they had to work with.  Many weren’t keen on what they saw when they logged in, while others didn’t mind the initial look when things went live around 1:30 EST.  Personally, Tum was far more angry than I wanted.  To be honest, almost all of the dwarves are surly/angry looking.  Not that it doesn’t fit the race, because it most certainly does.  It’s just that it wouldn’t hurt to have one lighthearted option.  As you can see by this image, I did the best I could with what I had.

New Tum
Initial one on the left, new on the right.

I had to change Saintvache as well, as logging on to him I was blinded by an albino.  I just wish we had more hair options for the Tauren.  As for the rest of the team, I’ll check them in due time.

It wasn’t just character models that changed.  From what I saw last night and this morning, nothing sparkles anymore.  No quest items, no nodes. Nothing!  Instead, you’ll get a faint outline that gets stronger once you mouse over it.  Even characters gain an outline now (green for friendly, red for not) when targeted, though I’m sure there’s an option to turn it off.  Still, at a glance it took me a second to complete a couple of quests because I was looking for the shiny.

Action bars have obviously changed, with some spells removed and others simply changed.  But speaking of spells, they even look better visually.  The animations are fantastic, though I’ve only seen Paladin, Mage, and Warlock.  Once again, I’ll get to them in due time…or simply see them amidst my travels.

This isn’t even documenting some of the bigger changes that came with the patch either.  Things like the new level UBRS, the Iron Horde invasion (which I’ve started Horde side…so far so good), Garrisons, Premade Groups in the Dungeon Finder, all the class changes, etc.

With the game seeing an increase of over half a million players, this patch is well timed.  Many of the changes brought the game up to relatively modern standards and introduced a lot of things the players have been yearning for, for quite some time.  Will it translate to more than 7.4 million players and sustain them for a while this time?  Hard to say, but you can’t say the new expansion isn’t setting up to take a big swing at it.

30 Days (April) – Favourite Tier


When it comes down to Tier gear, I’m somewhat torn.  Quite frankly, the Tier 2 Paladin armor set is the most iconic set there is, as far as I’m concerned.  Whenever someone mentions the word “tier” it’s the first set I think of.  At the same time, I just love what the Priests got at Tier 5, the Avatar set.  So rather than just pick one, I’ll choose both.  And then funny enough, I’ll choose neither.

Don’t get me wrong, I like both sets of gear.  But the thing is, I’m just not a Tier gear kind of person.  I never have been.  Okay, I’ve wanted to complete some sets, but that’s more to feed my OCD and has nothing to do with how good or bad the outfit actually looks.  I was a campaigner for transmogrification before it had a name, and with good reason.  While Blizzard makes some nice sets, they also make some horrid ones.  Plus, just because the set looks nice doesn’t mean it looks good on my character or even fits that character.  These are among the many factors that see me making my own sets instead of using Tier gear.

It now occurs to me that this question may have been asking which set is/was the best in terms of skill.  Let’s face it, if that’s the question…I haven’t the foggiest idea and won’t pretend to.

30 Days (April) – First Class


I need to answer this one in two parts, because I consider myself to have two answers to it.  The first class I ever rolled was a Paladin, and he was Human.  Unfortunately, he hadn’t completed any quests before I got a message from the guys who got me to play in the first place; “Um, sorry.  The guild is Gnomes and Dwarves only.”  It took years for me to ever level a Paladin and I blame that moment.  I kid, of course…about the blame part anyway.

So having answered the question, it doesn’t really seem fair that a class I couldn’t even do a quest with would be my first.  That’s why I consider the class I rolled right after to really be my first.  My Priest.  I read up on the class (since my buddies needed a healer and I could at least take a shot based on my City of Villains experience), and WoWWiki said something to the effect of “if you can handle the blame for everything, then choose a healing priest.”  So I did.  He started Herbalism/Alchemy and took on all that the game had to offer.  He was Holy and had no trouble healing in the Deadmines, but got his butt kicked while wandering Ashenvale.

Prior to dual-specialization many people went Shadow and then at level cap flipped to Holy or Disc in order to heal.  My first class taught me what would be common for me in every character I made afterwards, and that is that there was no such thing as dual-spec or respeccing as far as I was concerned.  I took the spec I wanted out of the gate and I rode it to the finish.  In the case of what I consider to be my very first class, I’ve ridden 90 levels as Holy and spent a fair share of that time question.  But I’ve been in the dungeons, too.  Heck, Tum might’ve even healed you once or twice.

The Laid Back That Was

The Dirty Half-Dozen

Normally by now I’ve warmed you with the latest tale of the Laid Back Raid.  However, it’s been a mixed week and I’m only just getting to it.  But rest assured, the fun was had!

As you can tell by the photo above, we had six of us for Trial of the Champion.  I was a bit concerned until I saw what level 90’s can do.  Dear Illidan that’s disgusting.  Blizzard seriously needs to learn to scale gear and stats.  I’m just saying.

To put it in perspective, we downed the tournament with the greatest of ease.  You know it had to be easy if I was healing on Saintvache and didn’t have any trouble.  Actually, the nice thing on nights like this is actually starting to get a feel for how Paladin healing works.  Crazy talk, right?

So we zerged the place.  I mean seriously.  Anub didn’t even get his frost business off (to say nothing of the rest of the baddies).  We then decided to go hunting dragons: Sartharion and Malygos.  Sarth was 3D and Maly was his usual self.  All three raids were done in just under an hour.  That’s how a couple of 90’s can change the face of things.  Speaking of which, it took me until we were fighting Anub to notice LBR had it’s first Panda!  Draynee’s husband joined us and was sporting his Pandaren Warrior (of level 90).

Saintvache in a Draynee sandwich. Mr on the left, Mrs. on the right.

So we knocked off the raids by 9pm EST (and Draynee won the Black Drake by the way).  So Healblade and I headed Alliance side to do some guild stuff.  I saw we had our own 90 on in Grex, and that we had VoA!  So a few minutes later four Claws rocked our way through Archavon and his bodies.  It was nice to finally see the other two.  No one ever wants to go there, save for people on LBR and unfortunately it’s not a cross-server instance.

Now, I need to pause a moment to share a great bit of fun for my fellow Priests.  Right before one of the bosses I got this brilliant idea.  Keep in mind it’s only brilliant if you’re in a position where it’s not going to cause a tonne of grief…and the person you’re going to do it to has a sense of humour.  These are details of utmost importance.  In my case, it was VoA and a zerg…and, well, Magik.

He was on his Paladin tank in this particular scenario and it suddenly hit me.  I turned to Mrs. Amateur and said “watch this.”  The moment he went to run at the boss and start the fight, I Leap of Faith’d him and watching him go charging away from the party, the boss, and the room itself in utter confusion.  If there was ever a time I laughed so hard I nearly peed, this would be it.  I was in tears as my dear friend asked what the hell just happened.  I wish I could’ve screened it.  Heck, I wish I could stop laughing about it now…but I can still see that dwarf Paladin tearing off in confusion.  So in short, it’s hilarious.  Just make sure you do it to someone you know will also think so.

So, after my moment of amusement we finished up VoA and decided this group would now try for Obsidian Sanctum 3D as well.  We grabbed Killthryn and there were five of us and I was the only one who had the Black Drake already.  This meant good things for any one of the guildies who were along.  In the end, Healblade ended up getting the mount this time as we had zero difficulty taking down Sarth.

A Laid Back Raid night and a little guild laid back night.  Can’t really complain about that, now can I?  Good times were certainly had by all and we even saddled up a couple of new mounts for people.  This weekend will probably result in more transmog gear than anything as the Alliance side heads to Naxxramas.  I know there’s a slightly better set of shoulders for Tum’s current outfit so I would say it’s a safe bet who I plan to have in attendance.

Tides of War Cover Model

Yeah, I feel a lot like Jaina this week.  Not necessarily drowning, but definitely some pressure of a lot of things going on.  I did manage to get the patch installed on my main computer, turns out I just had to update my Windows Emulator (I run on Linux, you may recall) and then things went much more smoothly.  It was finding the right place to do that which lead to a bit of difficulty.  So at least I have piece of mind that fight is over.

I logged on for a few minutes yesterday and amid greetings folks were asking me my thoughts on the changes and while I would love to share them -I can’t.  I’ve posted some Glyphs and I chose my 5 talents for Tumunzahar.  That’s all the time I’ve had.  Well, not entirely true.  I logged on to most of my characters to combine my mounts and pets.  I do like the Mount UI by the way.  Oh, I’m also getting Glyph of Confession as soon as I have time.

I haven’t done anything else because I simply haven’t had the time.  This week was back to work and it’s prep for the kids as they return to school on Tuesday, so there’s a bit of running around.  I have dinner company coming tonight, and am still not done the bathroom or the bedroom. 

Then there’s Mogolympics.  I have to thank my fellow judges again, as the final three events are being shared by them for posting.  As I think the events I posted averaged out to about 8 hours of work each, I’m glad they’ve picked up the final ones.  Of course, the flipside of that is I have the closing ceremonies to do.  I had hoped to have that in much better shape than I do, but I digress there is only so much time in a day…or a week, as it were.  I’m hoping for a worst case scenario of getting that posted on Monday. 

Hope everyone else is delving into the new features, or maybe enjoying Guild Wars 2’s official release.  Either way, I look forward to both myself.  Just a few more hurdles to leap first.

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.

Twenty Days of World of Warcraft Day Fourteen: Healin’ Tankin’ or Nukin’

Thou Shall Not Die

If you’re keeping tabs, you know this one’s easy for me.  I love healing.   I remember back when I started playing WoW, I did a little bit of digging on the different roles.  To this day I recall a line about “having thick skin because it will inevitably be your fault.”  I laughed at the time, but it really is true.  I remain undaunted, however.

Whether it’s Heroics and endgame with Tumunzahar, or in the mid-levels with my Shaman Carrera, I love the challenge.  While there’s strategy to be had on most fights, there’s not a rotation like there is with other roles.  You can stay ahead of the curve, and react as best you can when needed to.  Some use macros, and others addons.  I’m a barebones healer.  Let me adjust my UI to include all my spells and I’m good to go.  I love telling that to raid groups after they compliment me. 

In Lich King, our role was somewhat reduced.  The tank rounded everything up and the dps just burned it all down.  With Cataclysm, however, things hit hard.  Also, the roundup doesn’t work anymore.  Of course that means if someone makes a mistake, it’s usually our workload that increases until the group gets things settled down again.  It can get frustrating, but often times there are few things better than defeating a boss after some near deaths that were avoided simply by some timely healing spells.