Archive for World of Warcraft

When Small Things Matter

With Stormshaper becoming less dependent on 5 man heroics for her gear, she is slowly and unwillingly (on my part) moving toward end-game raiding. Inevitably when you hit the end-game raiding field small things start to matter.

Once, not such a long time ago, I was in a casual raiding guild with my hunter, and it was a lot of fun. We went to Naxxramas. We went to Ulduar. We wiped often, but it was fun because no-one went crazy if/when a wipe occurred. It was relaxed, and you’d logon and there were friendly people ready to talk and chat and it was everything a guild should be.

Then, one day, it wasn’t fun any more. The focus of the guild changed, literally overnight. We had two raid teams and team 1 was seen as the “progression” team. We left Ulduar (still not completed) and we went to Trial of the Crusader and we did that fro start to finish on our second attempt. This was the point when the whole ethos of the guild changed. All of a sudden, our guild master saw us not as a social guild with reasonably skilled, mature players, but a bleeding edge raiding guild.

Squeezing every last piece of DPS from your character became all consuming. Talent trees were analysed, combat logs were poured over. Inevitably you’d see comments like “If I remove a point from talent ‘x’ and put the point in talent ‘y’ and then you move the Draenei into group 1, I’ll gain z% DPS”. In my raid team, we had a Draenei mage who was told to buy a racial change to gnome, because the racial intellect buff from gnomes will offer a DPS increase.

So, here I am, three months later and Stormshaper is in good form and ready for 10 man/end game raiding. Of course, being a shaman, she won’t need to go through a racial change for a DPS increase. Not that I would do that anyway. But there are things I need to do to make sure that her performance meets the minimum required for 10 man raiding.

We know that there are gear improvements available to her. Yesterday’s post shows what she needs and where she can improve on that score. The next thing to look at is my raid UI and what I want and need from it so that it can help me with Stormshaper’s performance.

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Random Dungeon Finder?

Stormshaper is now level 46. As well as tying up loose quest chains (Southshore, Arathi Highlands, Duskwallow Marsh), she is now questing in Searing Gorge.

In between questing, I’m using the Random Dungeon Finder, which isn’t quite as random as it seems. Five times on the bounce yesterday I was plunged into a pool inside Maraudon. Five times we killed Princess Theradras, and five times we killed the giant crocodile. Oh, and as a reward, I received five pairs of mail boots via the satchel of helpful goods!

Today, I’m hoping the random number generator is a bit kinder and throws me into Zul’Farrak, or even another part of the Maraudon complex. Just not the same place continually, over, and over, and over.

In terms of performance, I was in there with a level 48 mage and a level 48 hunter at various times, and the DPS Stormshaper threw out was significantly better than their DPS. I thought it might have been down to the BoA gear which does give a boost, but then I noticed the mage had BoA robes, shoulders, staff and a trinket. The hunter came with a BoA bow and chest piece, so I’m not too sure why I should be significantly higher DPS than players two levels above me.

I picked up a couple of items from Princess Theradras via high rolls. One is okay, the other is not optimal for a Shaman; Gemshard Heart can be used I suppose, but with the spirit on it, it makes it more a healer/shadow priest item rather than shaman specific. The Blackstone Ring is decent though. A nice attack power boost, stamina increase and significant (at this level) hit rating too.

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Welcome

Okay, my name is Stormshaper, and I am a Draenei Shaman who plays on the Darkmoon Faire (EU) server. I started this weblog because I wanted to document the process of playing a class up to end game raiding.

I’ve been playing World of Warcraft for a few years now, and have a number of “main” characters who are currently raiding end game instances. My hunter is currently trying to take down Algalon on 10-man in Ulduar. If this comes off, it will be a server first. Yay! Go team! Go Hunter!

I also have a Death Knight, who’s cleared Naxxramas, and is currently clearing Ulduar, but is on a hiatus. Basically, Death Knights are a lot of fun to play, really a lot of fun to play, but they’re played (badly) by some of the biggest idiots in the game, and so their reputation is in the toilet. They have, to a large extent, superceded the Hunter as the class to hate. No doubt this will change when Cataclysm is released and I’m guessing Worgen Rogue and Goblin <anything> will take that mantle.

So, with a Hunter and a Death Knight at maximum level, I thought it would make a change to play a class that people actually want in their raids.

To that end, I rolled a Warlock, bought him some Bind on Account gear and facerolled my way through Azeroth and Outlands, all the way to Northrend. Now, the Warlock is a decent class to play and it brings a few nice buffs to your raid. When you’re soloing content, you get your own tank to take all the aggro, shield yourself and DoT the enemies down. Nice and simple.

The Warlock also hit 80 soon enough, but he’s not end-game raiding, and to be honest, I don’t think he ever will. I simply don’t have the dedication to the class to optimize him because I don’t get enough enjoyment out of it. The class has too many things in common with hunters for my liking.  For example, you get a pet who holds your mob up and you destroy it from ranged distance. The hunter needs ammo, the warlock needs soul shards. The hunter can change aspect into Viper and regen mana. The warlock can use his own life force to increase his mana.

Away from the esthetics, there’s not enough difference between the classes (for me).

The Death Knight is a completely different animal.

A plate-wearing, melee spellcaster. What’s not to like? I had a total buzz playing the Death Knight. I was one of the lucky ones who rolled a Death Knight on the first night WoTLK was released, and I facerolled my way across Outlands and Northrend in no time at all thanks to the amazing overpoweredness of the class when it was first released.

Playing the Death Knight was a complete revelation. Mobs that posed enormous difficulty to my Hunter simply got smashed to pieces by the Death Knight. I think I died four, maybe five times going from 55 to 80. Seriously. Self healing as I killed, able to take allkinds of damage and mitigate thanks to the plate I was wearing and talents such as Anti-Magic Shield. Disease-based DoTs and an ability to spread disease as I melee’d mobs, the Death Knight was so much fun for such a long time.

However, as with most things in World of Warcraft, the popularity of the Death Knight quickly became its downfall. All you needed to do was level a character to 55 and then you could start a Death Knight. It was conceivable that you could actually level a Death Knight to 80 without actually doing any kind of raiding at all. You could solo so much content, level so fast that you could be in Northrend and ready to step into Utgarde Keep in just a few days.

With such a temptation on offer, many players did just that. Which is why so many Death Knights simply have no clue about raiding at all. As soon as they leave their starter zone they’re facerolling the Hellfire Ramparts instances, honing all their bad habits and racing towards Northrend.

I enjoyed the Death Knight so much, I thought I’d try the nearest class to the Death Knight that I could find, and as a result, I chose the Shaman, and this is where this weblog starts.

There are Shaman weblogs out there. Just as there are weblogs out there for every other class. However, I purposely steered clear of all these resources because I wanted to find out about the Shaman from scratch, just as I did with my Hunter. I wanted to study the talents to see what they gave me as I progressed. I wanted to look at the different specs available and see what I fancied.
So that’s what I did.

The only concession I made was to buy my shaman some Bind on Account gear for her. Once I rolled her and completed the starter zone quests, I mailed her the BoA gear and then proceeded to do as many quests as I could in Azuremist Isle and Bloodmist Isle. I stuck at the quests, followed the quest line to its conclusion and surprisingly earned myself a Tabard of the Hand for my endevours.

Now, after two weeks of playing my Shaman off and on (while holding down a job, a family and of course doing my end-game raiding) I find that she’s level 40 and this is where my story starts.

Anyone can level a shaman from 1-40. It doesn’t take much really. I did it pretty much part-time. All you need to do is follow quest chains to their logical conclusion and do all the quests you can find in a zone before moving to the next one and eventually you will hit the 40 mark.

The path my Shaman took to level 40 was as follows:

  • Draenei Starter Zone
  • Azurmist Isle
  • Bloodmist Isle
  • Darkshore
  • Redridge Mountains
  • Darkshire
  • Wetlands/Arathi Basin
  • Southshore
  • Menethil Harbour
  • Theramore Isle
  • Dustwallow Marsh

Right now, I’m finishing up some quests in Dustwallow Marsh and some more in Southshore. When they are done, I should be around level 42-43 and ready to step into the Hinterlands and/or Swamp of Sorrows and Blasted Lands, where she’ll stay until she’s ready to step through the Dark Portal and into Outlands. I don’t want this character to head back to Kalimdor, however, if she gets a chance to run Maraudon in the Random Dungeon Finder, I’ll of course take her there, although she’ll have no quests to complete in there. It will be a run for completeness more than anything else.

So, why start a blog at 40?

Well, in the new World of Warcraft, level 40 is the new level 60, so to speak.

At level 40, I have the ability to buy a fast ground mount which gives me the chance to cover a lot of ground quickly and of course level faster. No more running around until level 30 then buying a slow mount with all your savings as it used to be. At level 40 I’ve also run through 40 levels to familiarise myself with the basic mechanics of my class. Right now, I’m “okay” at playing a Shaman. I’m at the midpoint of the levelling process and there are some interesting quests ahead of me.

So that’s the first post on this weblog. Over and out.

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