Saturday, November 27, 2010

Goblin versus Gnome Engineering in Cataclysm

I’ve made some changes based on the comments, and may continue to do so.
As I worked up my Hunter’s Engineering, I got to the point of choosing between Goblin and Gnome Engineering. I’m doing this with an eye towards Cataclysm. I found very little help in several web searches, so I thought I would use my own reasoning as a guide to others who might be facing this choice.
There was some talk about removing specializations from professions which would remove the choice entirely. I actually hoped this was route the developers would take. The profession specializations have been removed from Leatherworking, Tailoring, and  Blacksmithing. They have NOT been removed from Engineering or Alchemy. Jewelcrafting, Inscription, and Enchanting never had specializations to begin with.
As of this writing (11.27.2010) Goblin and Gnome Engineering are still in play. However, there are no known Goblin or Gnome specialization recipes for 80 to 85, and if you base it on the materials needed the last Goblin recipe is from Burning Crusade and Gnome has only one recipe from Wrath.
There is always the option of not taking either choice, but I believe this is a poor choice. You give up the Level 85 benefits, and the specialization changing process is far less difficult in Cataclysm than before. You simply need to read a book and do the quest for the other specialization. Previously, you had to relearn the entire profession, but that is no longer the case.
Let’s now examine the Level 85 benefits and how I am going to make my decision. If you look at the Level 85 benefits, it really boils down to the teleports. The only two items that aren’t a teleport that I’d consider at Level 85 are both Goblin. The Goblin Mining Helm gives you +5 Mining which could be very useful during the initial leveling stages as you could mine higher level ores, but once you max out mining, its usefulness would be gone. The other item is the Goblin Sapper Charge which can do siege damage. This means it can damage walls in places like Strands of the Ancients, Wintergrasp, Isle of Conquest, and Tol Borad.
But this decision should really be about the Teleporters. Goblins get teleports to Everlook in Winterspring, and Area 52 in Outland. Gnome gets teleports to Gadgetzan in Tanaris, and Toshley Station in Outland.
The two Outland teleports are so close as to be a draw. What really matters at that point is you are in Outland, not exactly where you are.
So this whole discussion comes down to which zone, Winterspring, or Tanaris, would be more convenient for you to port to. For my Alliance friends, either portal provides access to Kalimdor, and most will have their hearthstones set in Eastern Kingdoms in either Stormwind or Ironforge. Most Horde players will have their hearth set to Ogrimmar which is about equidistant between Winterspring and Tanaris.
Winterspring is very close to Hyjal, the Level 80-82 zone. Tanaris is very close to Uldum, a level 83-84 zone. I think this is what tilts the scales pretty heavily to Gnome Engineering with the Tanaris portal. In Wrath of the Lich King, even after the advent of LFD, I’ve needed to get to the upper level zones (Storm Peaks, IceCrown, Shoalazar) far more often than I’ve needed to get to the lower level zones (Howling Fjord, Borean Tundra). Furthermore, Uldum is home to one of the Raid instances where Hyjal is not right now. According to my buddy, @FiesttheRogue, in 4.1, Hyjal will get a major raid zone.
On top of that, the Tol’vir are a friendly faction the players need to raise their reputation with. They are the ‘Sons of Hodir’ of Cataclsym and hold the shoulder enchants. There will probably be daily quests to raise your rep with them like Sons. They are located, you guessed it, in Uldum.
The one fly in the ointment is that apparently the Caverns of Time portals are still working in Dalaran, which means that if you have easy access to Dalaran, as nearly every Engineer will, Tanaris is just a portal away. Blizzard could always remove those portals, but I believe in making the best decisions based on information today. If I can get to Tanaris easily, Goblin and their portal to Winterspring might make more sense.
What do you think? Agree, disagree? Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

It’s Tuesday Morning, Do You Know Where Your Main Is?

Just a quick post this morning. I was thinking about where to log my characters out and I started thinking that with the changes to Ogrimmar, Stormwind and the other capitals, I could log my guys out somewhere that would be inside a wall, or under water when the Shattering happens.
When you Faction transfer, your toon is placed in an inn of his home city. So when I changed from Dwarf to Blood Elf, when I logged in that first time as a Blood Elf I was in Silvermoon. What if that is the plan the Developers have for all our toons tomorrow. When we log in, my Orcs will be Ogrimmar while my Taurens will be Thunderbluff.
By the way, this is just speculation on my part, but I’m curious to see what they will do with toons that logged out in inaccessible locations in the new world.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Saying Goodbye to Vanilla

I took a break from NaNoing on Saturday night to play some WoW. My first goal was to start grinding up Engineering on Jyger. While I was working on it, I saw someone asking in guild for a Molten Core run. He is working on Hydraxis Warlords reputation and wanted to know if anyone wanted to come along. He was looking for a healer and a tank, and when I saw a Discipline Priest offer her services, I offered to go to figuring my Pet could do some tanking.
Having not played Jyger during Vanilla, he wasn’t attuned to Molten Core. We took care of that with a quick run through BRD, although we jumped at the wrong spot and ended up dying once to lava.
Once attuned, we started working on the Core. The first thing I did was tamed a Core Hound. I’m not crazy about the white or green skins, I like the red one. I named him TheBeast. If you ran UBRS much, you know The Beast well. I figured, if wasn’t going to ever give me my Paladin shoulders, I might as well tame him. The first two Bosses dropped Warrior tier and I started kicking myself for not bringing my Warrior. That would have been a mistake.
Hunter tier started raining down from Boss after Boss, and I finished the night with a 6/8 set of Giantstalker armor. Giantstalker The only two pieces I’m missing are the belt and the legs. The Belt is BoE, so I could find it on the Auction house. We finished Molten Core and Ragnaros dropped the Petrified Leaf, which begins a Hunter quest for the epic bow, Rhok’dalar. That bow was the badge of a really good hunter back in Vanilla. The Disc Priest in the group had done the Benediction quests and I decided it might be fun to try the Rhok’dal’ar quests. In doing a quick bit of research I learned that the quests are being removed in 4.03a. I had until Monday night to finish it before it would be gone forever. This was a tight deadline for me because my playtime is very limited on Sunday and Monday nights. I didn’t get on at all on Sunday.
So with haste I made my way out to Felwood to turn in the leaf. A group of special mobs spawn there for the holder of the quest. They look like ghostly Ancients of War. three ancients The first one gave me a quest to track down and fight 4 demons disguised as normal people.
This was a classic Vanilla quest. The Demons were all over the world: one in Winterspring, Un’Goro, Tanaris, and Burning Steeps. They each had a wide patrol path, and you had to hunt them down. I wasn’t sure if they would track as Demons or Humaniod so I turned on both kinds of tracking. (I LOVE this feature). Being in Felwood, I decided to go to Winterspring first.
The requirement was that you had to fight these demons alone. Not being the sharpest arrow in the quiver, I assumed alone meant me and my pet. As the first demon would teach me, alone meant alone, as in just me, no pet allowed. I had to wait a half hour for that guy to respawn.
Back at Level 60, I’m sure these guys were very challenging. In fact, each has extensive write ups on various WoW sites detailing how to defeat them. I found it simplest to change into my Survivalist spec and load them up with a Black Arrow, and Explosive Shot. That generally killed them before they ever got near me. Had I not been under such a tight deadline, I would have liked to have fought them in all that Giantstalker gear I got just to get a feel for what it must have been like ‘back in the day’.
After Winterspring, I went down to Un’Goro and Tanaris before heading back over to Burning Steeps. Burning Steeps is really annoying to get to as a Horde player. The closest place to fly from is Grom Gol in Strangethorn Vale and that’s still about half a continent away.
With all four demons defeated, I had to go back to Felwood. This entailed flying from Burning Steeps to Grom’Gol catching the Zepplin to Orgrimmar and then flying from Orgrimmar to Felwood and hoping that the Elemental Invasion wasn’t going on. The Orgrimmar Flight Master runs to the hills when that happens.
Once I got back to Felwood I turned in the quest and the Ancient gave me a the shaft for the bow.
Another Ancient then gave me the quest for the string. I needed a Mature Black Dragon Sinew. My understanding is that this used to be a drop off Onyxia, but the developers changed it to drop off any Black Dragon…in the Burning Steeps. Again, had I not been under a time constraint, I would have tried to get it off Onyxia (the level 80 version apparently also drops it).
So it was back to the Steeps. Fly to Org, Zepplin to Grom’gol, fly  to Burning Steeps. I found a Black Dragon. I asked it about its 401k to ensure it was suitably mature, and I was in luck, it was. I pretty much one shotted her and grabbed the Sinew.
Then it was fly back to Grom’Gol, Zepplin to Orgrimmar, and fly to Felwood. The Ancient took the Sinew, and gave me back Enchanted Sinew. At this point, the quests ended. Had I done something wrong? Were the quests for Rhok’delar already out of the game and I had done all this running around for nothing. I assessed the situation. I had the shaft. I had the string. None of the Ancients would talk to me. I decided to ‘use’ the staff (right click) and voila, Jyger started casting a spell.
When the spell was complete, he stood there with Rhok’delar in nearly full Tier 1 Giantstalker armor.RhokI felt like this was a good and fitting way to say good bye to Vanilla WoW, and I might have been one of the last Hunters to ever finish the Rhok’del’ar quest line.

Quick Shattering Question for you

I put a poll up in the blog. If you get this via a reader, please go to the site and answer the poll.

I don't want to be the bearer of ill tidings this week of Thanksgiving, but the portals to the capitals in Shattrah and Dalaran are being removed during tomorrow's maintenance. So, with the removal of portals from Shat and Dalaran, where will you set your hearth and why?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Cataclysm Engineer

My first attempt at looking at Engineering was not all I had hoped it to be. As the comments from my last post showed, my methodology was… well lets just say it was “questionable”. I thought this might be the case, which is why I was questioning it so much at the end of the last post.

Scaling Issue

I did want to take exception to one point that came up in several of the excellent comments I received. That point was that the Tazik Shocker does not scale and therefore will be best in the first tier of Cataclysm and worse in future tiers.
I will disagree with the premise that the Glove enchant does not scale at least for Survival Hunters. I direct your attention to the Survival Mastery Bonus. Mastery: “Essence of the Viper”: elemental damage increased by 8%. Each point of Mastery increases elemental damage by an additional 1%
The gloves do Nature Damage which I believe is covered by the Elemental damage portion of the Mastery. So as the Survival Hunter gets more Mastery, the Gloves hit harder. That is, by definition, they scale.

Another Experiment

While Level 85 may well understood right now, Level 80 is. I employed the noted Hunter simulation site, femaledwarf.com. I loaded my current character and buffed him with Kings, Might, and Horn of Winter. My theoretical DPS was 7495.
I then made the following changes. I switched Skinning to Engineering, and enabled ‘Use Saronite Bombs’. There was no option to change the Glove enchant to the Hand Mounted Pyro Launcher. Then I reran my DPS. The new DPS was 7482.
The next test I did was change from Engineering to Blacksmithing and added the extra gem slot to my Bracer and Gloves, and put a  +20 AGI gem in each new slot. Now the DPS was 7556. That’s about a 75 DPS increase over the Engineering sim, and about 60 more than my current setup.
These are simulation numbers and I don’t think we can draw any definitive conclusions from these tests. But what we do see is at most about a 1% difference in DPS between best case (Blacksmithing) and worst case (Engineering).
I think what is key to keep in mind, is that my goal was never to show that Engineering was better than a ‘regular’ profession. That was unintended side effect of my first test. I drew a faulty conclusion, and my readers helped me to see that.
My goal in doing this research was to discover that Engineering was not a negligent choice. By negligent I mean careless, inattentive, neglectful, or willfully blind. I’m willing to take a small DPS hit to be an Engineer, but I’m not willing to take a significant one. I don’t consider 1% to be significant. My DPS will vary fight to fight by much more than 1% based on the dynamics of the fight and by how well I’m hitting an optimum rotation.

Cataclysm Engineering

I think we can agree that Engineering requires some theoretical DPS loss over other Professions. While it is difficult to quantify the exact DPS loss at this time, I think we can agree it is there. To a certain extent, I think I would agree with the premise that it has to be there. Don't look at it from merely the viewpoint of an Engineer. Look at it from the side of the Jewelcrafter, Blacksmith, Enchanter, etc. If Engineering got the same +80 STAT that they get, and then all the cool extras as well, how could that be 'fair and balanced' to them. But as it stands right now, it's going to be questionable choice for physical DPS (Hunters, Rogues, Ferals, Enhance Shamans, and Warriors)
I believe that there is a very quick and easy fix to bring Engineering up to a where it will not be considered a 'sub-optimal' Profession by high end PVE raiding guilds. The Glove Enchants right now are Armor 12 seconds every minute, or Intellect 12 seconds every minute or Nature Damage (once every two minutes), or get more mana from mana pots or more health from health pots. Let's ignore the Potions for a moment. The real issue here is the DPS enchant. Casters and Tanks are covered well, but Physical DPS is left a little wanting. If they simply changed the Nature Damage enchant to a AGI/STR or even AP 12 second every minute I think most would see Engineering as a more viable choice.
Count the Cost
So we, as Engineers, pay a price for the pets, mounts, and cool toys and gadgets. The question then becomes what do we get for this DPS loss. Now allow me to insert the standard blah, blah, Beta, blah, blah, can change blah, blah, blah stuff. I'm using cata.wowhead (Wowhead's Cataclysm Database), so any errors or omissions, I'm blaming them. ;-)
Pre-Cataclysm items still relevant in Cataclysm
  • Rocket Boots
  • Parachute Cloak
  • Repair Bots
  • Portable Mailbox
  • Jumper Cables (Out of Combat, Rez, sometimes works)
  • Teleporters (dubious)
  • Non Combat Pets
  • Profession Flying Mount (Alchemy and Tailoring also get Flying Mounts)
Cataclysm
  • BoE:
    • Hit Rating Scope (Not only Hunters, but Rogues and Warriors might also find this desirable)
    • Ranged Haste Rating Scope (probably only desirable by Hunters)
    • an AP Proc scope (again maybe interesting to Tanks/Rogues as well as Hunters),
    • a 36 slot Fishing Bag (I'm not sure who would buy this)
  • Engineer Only
    • An expensive interrupt (it uses a reagent which is made from ore you could have otherwise sold)
    • Ability to open locked doors and chests
    • non Combat Pets (Enchanting also gets Non Combat pets)
    • A Combat Pet
    • Loot from Range (take THAT melee!)
    • iLevel 333 Blue Gun/Bow
    • iLevel 346 Blue Gun
    • Item that makes Fish Feasts
    • Fishing Lures
  • Belt Enchants:
    • A combat Pet (separate from the first one)
    • a big absorb shield
    • Stealth
  • Gloves Enchants (stack with normal enchants)
    • Armor 12 seconds every minute,
    • Intellect 12 seconds every minute
    • Nature Damage (once every two minutes)
    • get more mana from mana pots
    • more health from health pots
  • iLevel 359 Epic Helm with Meta and two 'engineer only' sockets to be filled with engineer only gems. Engineer only gems only come in 'secondary stats' like hit, crit, mastery, etc.
  • iLevel 346 Epic Gun (or Bow I can't tell)
At this point, I think the only thing that would stop me from rolling an Engineer at this point is if my Raid Leader (coincidentally also an Engineer) told me I couldn't get a raid spot with a Mining/Engineering combo. Since I'm quite certain that won't happen (Devolve just isn't that kind of guild), I'm pretty happy about my 'sub-optimal' choice.

History Lesson

I have a rather strange history with Engineering. I dropped Engineering about a week after 3.1 hit and I had been working on leveling up Mining on Honorshammer. This was the second time I’d dropped the profession.
When I leveled Honorshammer during Vanilla WoW, Engineering was fantastic. It provided my Paladin with the one thing he truly lacked, a ranged pull. None of this Avenger’s Shield at Level 10, or Exorcism or a huge range on Judgment. As a Paladin in those days, you got very familiar with how to body pull. Judgment was 8 freaking yards.
Once I hit the level cap at 60, I found less and less uses for Engineering. When Burning Crusade announced the new profession of Jewel crafting, my GM at the time put out a call for people who would be willing to switch. Frustrated with how little I was actually using the profession, I agreed to switch to Jewel crafting.
Then during Burning Crusade, the Developers massively buffed Engineering to provide Helms that were on par with the Tier 5 helms. At the time, I was still in late to mid Tier 4 content, with little prospect of being able to do Tier 5 anytime soon. They also brought out a way cool Flying Mount. So I dropped Mining and picked Engineering back up.
Then Wrath came. The motorcycle mount which was very cool, was also very expensive, and Honors could still have/use one even though he had dropped the profession. The goggles were not nearly as good as they had been in Burning Crusade. Mote Farming was much less lucrative as well. Then an instance that should have been a treasure trove of new schematics (Ulduar) rendered zero, zip, nada.
So frustrated once again with Engineering, I dropped it. 
The plan at the time was to learn it on my Hunter, but that never materialized. Now it will.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Cataclysm Profession Bonuses

I mentioned towards the end of my last post that I would be switching my Hunter from Skinning to Engineering. Well the little caveat I made about not gimping myself turned out to be pretty important. I had a brief Twitter conversation with Fiest the Rogue. If you care about high end PVE raiding, you need to be following @FiesttheRogue. He is a tremendous resource and very helpful. He gave me a link to an EJ article and explained to me that for melee DPS and Hunters Engineering is not competitive with what is provided by the other professions. Its fantastic for casters apparently, but I'm not a caster.
Other classes can get equal STR or INT to the AGI you see here. Tanks have the option for Stamina.
Alchemy - mixology (longer, better flasks), Alchemist Stone (special trinket - Mastery), and Flask of Enhancement (special flask +80 AGI)
Blacksmithing - socket bracers, gloves (2 extra gems ~=+80 AGI)
Enchanting - Ring Enchants (AGI to two rings ~= 80 AGI)
Inscription - Special Shoulder Enchants (+80 AGI over the reputation enchant)
Jewelcrafting - JC only gem (+27 AGI over a regular gem, use 3 = 81 AGI)
Leatherworking - Bracer enchant (+130 AGI)
Tailoring - Cloak enchant proc 800 AP for 15 seconds
Herbalism - 480 Haste (2 minute cooldown)
Mining (120 Stam)
Skinning - 80 Crit
Engineering - i359 Epic Helm (equal stats to a Raid Drop), Engineering only gems (provide secondary stats like Mastery, hit, Crit) - only go into Engy heads, Absorb shield belt enchant, Armor to Gloves, Healing potion on gloves (may or may not activate the potion cooldown), INT to gloves (12 sec dur, 1 min cd), Nature damage to gloves (2 min cooldown), increase effect of mana pots to gloves, Loot-A-Rang (loot at a distance), Goblin Barbeque (puts out the equivelent of a Cataclysm fish feast).
The profession bonus for Cataclysm looks to be around 80 agility for Hunters. This is what Alchemy, Blacksmithing, Enchanting, Inscription, and Jewelcrafting give you. (Let's not quibble over 1 additional AGI that Jewelcrafting gets).
With my current crop of 80s I have Jewelcrafting(Paladin), Enchanting (Warrior), and Leatherworking (Druid) covered. I can also mine (Warrior/Paladin) and Skin (Druid). Both of my Hunters professions (Skin/Mine) are well covered. I'm not looking to create an industry, so doubling up on a profession I already have isn't the worse thing I could do.
Ranking the gathering professions for Hunters for best to worse it would go Herbalism, Skinning, and Mining, but none are good.  I do like all my toons to have at least one gathering profession to be self supporting. I just don't have the playtime, especially early in an expansion to have the farmer run out and try to gather mats for the producer. I tried it in Wrath when Honors was still Engineering/Jewelcrafting and I used my Hunter to mine for him. I think it was part of what slowed down Honors so much from getting to the cap.This is a trade off I'm wiling to make.
I would really like to have Engineering on my Hunter, so I want to see what the difference really is. If we take the DPS Glove enchant, Tazik Shocker, we see it can do 4320 to 5280 Nature damage on a 2 minute cooldown. If we used nothing else, and take the low number of 4320 damage (ignoring that it could be buffed by spell damage taken debuffs), it would give us a DPS of 36dps. The high number gives us 44 DPS. Yeah, not impressed.
But how much DPS do we really get out of 80 AGI?
Well, I decided to do a little experiment. I’ve discovered if you want some ‘alone time’ with the dummies, you go to Silvermoon, so off to Silvermoon I went. I got au natural and fired away with just autoshots for five minutes (easily timed with the Rapid Fire cooldown). Then I put on the Webspinner Boots of Agility (+78 AGI). The next step was to bang away again for five more minutes.
First up is my Naked DPS, and the breakdown.
nakednaked brekdown
Now I equipped the boots. webspinner     
And I did the next round of tests. I was Survival for both tests.
bootsdpsbootsbreakdown
The DPS went up by about 8DPS, and that is with 2 less misses. The average shot went up by 20 damage. Remember we get 36 to 44DPS from the Engineering glove enchant.
From this I can conclude that Engineering is actually a DPS increase over the other professions. This result was very surprising to me. Can you see anything I did wrong in the experiment? Is there another explanation for what is going on here? What do you think?
I think I’m rerolling Engineer.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Honorshammer, The Undecided

What I would like for my readers to understand is that in my last blog post I was in that 'hated it' stage that nearly every one of the commenter's acknowledged going through. It was the first significant playtime I had put into my Paladin since the patch, and it didn't go well. Another contributing factor was that my UI didn't support Holy Power, a problem I've since rectified with KAHoly Power.
I'm confident that if I were keeping Honorshammer my main, I would have played him enough to have regained my proficiency by now. I hope I would have come to love the new system as much as the rest of my readers. In time, I'll get up to speed and figure out how to play my Paladin again. If I was staying main spec Tank, it would be a much harder decision. Tanking on the Paladin is actually more enjoyable than tanking on the Warrior
What I miss most from my Warrior when I'm on my Paladin is the mobility, interrupt, and fear break. I had hoped the developers would have addressed these issues in Cataclysm, but they were too busy redesigning the Paladin class. Now, from all accounts, they did a fantastic job, but it left little time to take care of these niggling issues that have been around for a long time.
What I miss most from my Paladin when I'm tanking on my Warrior is the ease of debuff application, and the multiple taunts. There was also the not insignificant factor of the greater experience I had as a Paladin tank, which led to me feeling more confident. It just feels more natural to me, or at least it did. That's the biggest change since 4.0.1, I've lost some confidence in playing my tank.
When you flip the script to DPS, I personally find the Fury Warrior to be more entertaining to play over the Ret Paladin. As crazy as it sounds, I really enjoy Victory Rush, and dual wielding big old two handers.
My original plan for Cataclysm was to be main spec DPS and backup tank for our group. We've got a fantastic player who will be playing a Feral Tank taking my old spot alongside our Death Knight main tank.The plan is to be a little more casual in Cataclysm than I was in either Wrath or Burning Crusade, and I've found the DPS role to be more conducive to that in comparison to the Tank role.
The issue I ran into is that I did a a little tanking on my Warrior and I really struggled. It was a simple VoA run but I had constant trouble with losing threat. I was so frustrated that I went over and pulled my Hunter out. I hadn't played him at all since 4.0.1. Hunters scare me to death looking forward to Cataclysm. As essentially a new class, I foresee them going through a roller coaster of buffs and nerfs throughout Cataclysm. I got my Hunter glyphed and reforged and went out to the target dummy. I set him up with a Survival spec and a Beast Mastery spec.
I love the pet and stable changes made to Hunters with 4.0.1. One of reasons I got a Beast Mastery spec was to be able to tame some exotics, and put them in my stable. On the advice of one of our other hunters, I went and tamed a Wind Serpent, a nice black and white skin from Zul'Drak.  Their spell damage taken debuff synergizes well with the heavy spell damage of the SV spec. I really like the way pets work now to replace a needed buff in your group. I'm sure some enterprising add-on author will come up with an add-on that recommends a pet based on your group make up.
After getting my Hunter all squared away, I spent some time with the Training dummies. Now, I have no idea if the numbers I was getting on the dummy were good or not, but the main goal was just learning focus. The biggest change I noticed in the move to focus was that I really had to do some resource management. It wasn't just blast out a rotation, and hit every proc that lit up. I had to really focus (/rimshot) and watch my focus bar. I had to decide if I wanted to fire that shot or regen some to be able fire off a different shot. It's a theme that I've seen in all three of my eighties.
In BC and Wrath, I could get probably 90% plus of my performance out of out-of-game resources and study and just worry about fairly simple execution. The Cataclysm design looks to be more like 25% out of game resources and 75% in game reactions. This is worrisome to me because i know my in game reactions have slowed as I have continue to age towards the 'over traditional age' bracket. The truth is that I've long made my 'skilled' player reputation on my outside of game study rather than my in game reactions. I'm getting to the point where I prefer Strategy to First Person Shooters and tactical choices over split second reactions.
While I was working on the dummy, I saw someone advertising for a VoA run. I volunteered and snagged and invite. I was no where near the top of the meters, but i did snag my 264 pants. The run reminded me how I really enjoyed the Hunter. At one point I was convinced he would be my new main to the point that I ended up giving him the Chopper I bought. Of course, when I was convinced the Warrior would be my main, I bought him epic flying (and I wonder why I'm always broke).
I've also learned that the two people in our raid group who were going to be Hunters for our group are now leaning Mage, meaning we could have no Hunters at all. I'm really torn at the moment between the Hunter and the Warrior, and I'm quickly running out of time to figure out what I'm going to do. I’m not alone, as our whole group seems to be waffling between their multiple eighties. I suggested to our Guild Leader to rename the Guild either “The Undecided” or (borrowing a name from a frequent commenter) “What’s My Main, Again?”.
The Hunter still scares me to death, but I really like all the pet stuff, and being a buff Swiss army knife for my group. I realize I could level both to 85, but one needs to be my 'main' Raid toon.
One thing I have decided is that I'm going to change the Hunter from Skinning/Mining to Mining/Engineering. The plan had always been to drop one of those farming skills at the level cap and I never did. I loved being an Engineer on Honorshammer, and I would really like to have it again. I just need to make sure it is completive with the other profession bonuses so I don't gimp myself. So I've been motoring around the Barrens collecting materials to power level it. I've heard skill ups are easier in Cataclysm, so I'm wondering if I should wait to retrain him. But I don't want to lose any leveling time skilling up a profession.
Decisions, decisions.

Monday, November 8, 2010

No Longer Fluent

The bad news is I'm not going to 'win' NaNoWriMo. 50,000 words this month just isn't going to happen and now that I'm in the throes of it, I'm not really sure why I thought it would. Check that, I know why I thought it would. I was under the delusion that 50,000 words would be easy. I had the story pretty much written out in my head, and I figured it wouldn't be too hard to just bang it out. But along the way I found that I grossly overestimated the amount of words I've done in a writing session. Just for fun, why don't you guess how many words are in this blog post and I'll put the answer at the bottom.
The good news is that I'm not going to let the fact that I'm not going to 'win' NaNoWriMo stop me. I'm going to keep writing and we will just see how far I get. I have a littany of excuses, and explanations for why I'm not going to win, but I'm not even going to mention those. I'm tired of being an excuse and explanation guy. The choices I make this month will determine if 50k is going to happen or not.
I decided to log into WoW while taking a break from writing. I was just knocking out a couple of dailies when I saw a message from a guild mate asking for help with the Outland Heoric achievement. This was the same guild mate who had traveled all the way from Desolace to Dalaran to help me with the Hallow's End achievement. I jumped at the opportunity to help out. I fancy myself a pretty helpful guy, but I really like to help people who themselves go out of their way to help people.
I asked her which heroics she needed and she listed them off. It was at that point I remembered you used to need to be keyed for Outland Heroics. That requirement hasn't been removed, only lowered from Revered to Honored. I opened up Abir's reputation pane. All the reps required for the Heroics she needed were in the Neutral or Friendly. This wasn't going to fly. Of course, I had Honors. He ran all these Heroics back at level 70. He would have the achievement for running them all if achievements had existed back then. I offered to run Honors and my guild mate accepted, even offering to help Abir grind the rep necessary afterwards.
I had already rebuilt Honors Protection spec and Ret spec. He was respecd and Glyphed and ready to roll. We decided to start with Shadow Labs.
This was the first time, aside from a couple of dailies that I had used Honors since 4.0.1. We cleared the first couple of rooms with no problem and moved into the room with the large patrolling demons and the casters channeling. I pulled the first group, and got feared into a second group. Suddenly, we had a ton of mobs on us. As the situation grew hairy, I started going into emergency buttons. Divine Protection was a shadow of its former self, and I had forgotten to key bind Ardent Defender because I never needed to hit it before. I kept misclicking Shield of Righteousness with only one Holy Power. Consecrates cool down was longer than a speech from a pompous politicians trying to filibuster. We got feared into a third group and that was lights out.
We rezzed, pulled a bit more carefully, and finished the instance, but I was frustrated. Before 4.0.1, playing my Paladin was fun. I was proficient with all his moves, and I played by instinct and muscle memory. Now it was like I was a brand new player. All those hours learning to play my Paladin beyond his specified limitations were blown away. I logged off that night happy that I had switched mains to my Warrior. Sure, its annoying to not have reps like the ones needed for Outlands, or to not have the impressive trophies like Honors collection of Raid shields going all the way back to the Impenetrable Shield of Darkness. But the toon that got those reps and those shields doesn't exist anymore. I've been given something called a Paladin in its place but one that is mechanically different. It was like I walked out my house to go to work and my Saturn was still there. Only when I got into the car, I found the brake and the gas pedal had been reversed and the wind shield wipers now turned on the lights, and the lights honked the horn, but only after you hit them three times.
I'm sure someone brand new to the calls will find the new Paladin fun and well designed. Its not that I missed for the old mechanics of the Paladin class. What I missed most acutely was my feeling of profiency and fluency in playing the class.
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827 words. How close were you?