Monday, October 29, 2012

First Heroics Foray

Thanks to everyone who suggested the Ghost Iron Dragonling. I had one of our engineers make me one.

The plan was to spend the evening banging away on normal modes and Klaxxi rep, but between the trinket and some quest reward 437 boots, I noticed I was just 2 points shy of what I needed to start running heroics. We had a group forming in guild chat with 3 DPS: a Warlock, a Hunter, and a Feral Druid.

My Warlock friend suggested I buy some PvP gear to get over the hump so I could tank for them. I only needed to have the gear in my bags, I didn't even need to equip it. I usually hate ‘gaming’ the system in this way. I feel like I should only go if I legitimately have the gear needed. I don’t want to be selfish and risk everyone else’s time and repair bills just because I want to run Heroics before I’m ready.

All three of my guildmates assured me that Heroics were pretty easy and they were willing to risk it. I bought the chest which put me over the hump. I figured that if I just blew up on the first couple of pulls, I would apologize to the healer and bow out. We also had the Hunter’s turtle and the Warlock’s Voidwalker to take a couple of hits if things got dicey. The Feral could go bear.

We got the Gate of the Setting Sun. I had never been there before, but it was bugs, lots and lots of bugs.

I took a deep breath, powered up my Avenger’s shield and let forth with my battle cry.

IT’S HAMMER TIME!

The first pull went fine. The healer had no problem keeping me alive. We ran all the way up to the first boss. There was more fire on the ground than I’ve seen since we did Firefighter in Ulduar, but I lived.

We continued on through the rest of place. The bosses were fun, but it was a lot of picking up adds. I once again mourned for the loss of my beloved Righteous Defense. Have the devs ever said why they took it away?

Finishing the dungeon was my first disappointment of the night. I’m barely geared for Heroics, scratch that, I’m wasn’t even fully geared for Heroics, yet we blew this dungeon with ease. If we are AoEing and mowing through ‘Heroics’ in blues and greens what are these places going to look like in full epics? How about in the next tier or the one after that. Are ‘Heroics’ really supposed to be ‘press button, get gear’?

It made sense why the guild mates were insistent we should go ahead and run them.

I was the boat anchor, a position I don't enjoy. I was the only one in our group who isn't ready for raiding. It was time to start chain running these things for gear.

The next one we got was Siege of Niuzao Temple. We had a little more trouble this time out.

My favorite fight of the whole night was also the most difficult. The boss is Commander Vo’jack. The DPS throw bombs on the adds that come up the steps. The dialog from Pa’valak is pretty funny. I wasn’t sure if just the Feral Druid needed to move out of whirlwind or if I needed to as well. After tanking the floor, I decided that I should run out, too. The Warlock resurrected me. That still sounds weird. I taunted and died again after a few moments, but we got him down, and I got an achievement called “Where’s my Air Support?”

The last fight was really odd. The boss creates this wind barrier. You have to silence him or interrupt him somehow. Avenger’s Shield works, thank goodness.

It was getting late, but we ended up doing one more. We got Temple of the Jade Serpent. I've run this a couple of times on Normal so I knew the fights, and there wasn't anything too surprising in the Heroic version.

Once we were done, I had my second disappointment of the night. Despite running three heroics, not a single piece of plate dropped. Talk about your dry spell. I did bank some Justice Points and some Valor Points.

I flew out to Townlong and found the Justice vendor. To my surprise he had the chest, which I thought was a reputation reward from the Klaxxi, but instead it was on this vendor for 2200 Justice Points. So despite not getting any drops,  I still managed to snag an upgrade.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Push For Heroics

Now that I'm 90 I'm completely overwhelmed by the amount of stuff you can do. There are so many different reputations to start, not to mention I have two entire zones I haven't even started.

My primary goal is getting the gear needed so I can help the guild out by tanking heroic dungeons and eventually be available to tank raids.

First thing I did when I logged in was to spec my Level 90. Thank you, Matticus! I went with Execution Sentence for my Level 90 talent. The next order of business was to head to the Vale of Eternal Blossoms since I had already done the quest to unlock it, and buy flying.

Yeah, flying!

My current iLevel is 421. I need 435 for Heroics. My lowest pieces are my neck (399), one trinket (399) - the other is the Brewfest one (470!), chest (414), sword (414), and shield (414).  

I didn't have a ton of Justice Points saved up from Cataclysm because I was burning them trying to get up to LFR before Mists so I could see the Deathwing raid, which I did.

The first thing I did was use my Jewelcrafting to craft a ring (Heart of Earth 450) and a neck (Reflection of the Sea 450).

Then I queued up for the Arena of Annihilation scenario and got a weapon, Maki’s Mashing Mace (450). I went to transmog it, but Maki’s Mashing Mace is a One-Hand weapon and what I wanted to transmog it to, the Hammer of Judgment is a Main hand. I think it’s a little silly you can’t transmog a main hand onto a One Hand. I think just about everything in the game now is One hand. Do they even make Main Hand weapons anymore? I really wanted to run around with my Hammer of Judgement.

In short order I had upgraded my neck, one of my rings and my weapon.

I had been to the Shrine of Two Moons during questing, but now that I was 90 the place lit up like a Christmas tree with quest givers. Basically any reputation I wanted to start working I could get started on right there. I noticed one exclamation point was a different color. It was orange instead of yellow or blue.

I went and talked to the guy and I got a quest to go to the Veiled Stair and meet the Black Prince. It turned out to be Wratharion. I remember doing the quest in the Badlands to save his egg. I loved that quest. He talked to me about terrible things coming to Azeroth and asked me to prove myself by raising my reputation with various factions.

I looked up places to upgrade my chest and found Chestplate of the Stone Lion. It’s a hit and mastery piece which should work well. I’m way short of both the hit and expertise caps. It’s available from the Klaxxi at Honored. There were two options for shields. One was a drop in Shado-Pan Monestary (Normal) and the other was a quest reward from the Klaxxi.

I queued up for Shado-Pan and grabbed a kite to the Dread Wastes. The run through Shado-Pan was fairly uneventual, but whoever at Blizzard thought that removing AoE taunts from tanks needs to take a long walk off a short pier. Actually I could probably handle no AoE taunt, but what I really missed was Righteous Defense. I used to be able to glance at the party frames and see if anyone was taking damage. If they were, I would target them, and hit Righteous Defense, which would taunt the mob attacking them. Man, did I miss that skill.

The shield didn't drop, but I did get some new boots. They were haste/mastery but no one seemed to complain (especially the Fury Warrior). I was a good tank and didn’t roll on the 2 hander that dropped at the end boss.

I hadn’t done a single quest in the Dread Wastes, so I headed over there and began questing. As I started to kill Mantids I noticed I was getting not Klaxxi reputation but Black Prince reputation. I got Klaxxi reputation when I turned them in . So now I was working on two reputations at the same time. Score!

The Klaxxi have a chest at Honored By the end of the night I was friendly with both the Klaxxi and the The Black Prince.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

And Now He's 90!


Last night I finally made it to level 90. I was busy finishing up the quests in Kun-Lai Summit when I saw someone in the guild asking for a sub 90 dungeon run. Most everyone in the guild is already level 90 and they are busy grinding away on Heroics. There is some quirk to the LFG system where if you have someone in your group who has a much higher iLevel than the rest of the group, it won't let you queue. I knew I was close to 90, but I offered the services of my shield.

The group was Paladin Tank (me!), A Boomkin, a Warlock, a Shaman and a Tree. 

We got the Shado-Pan Monastery.

I was a bit nervous. I had tried to tank Shado-Pan Monastery back when I was 87, and it didn't go well. That was a pure PuG and immediately the DPS Death Knight and Priest healer were concerned about my health pool.

I've been playing WoW a long time. I had a really hard time getting my head around the concept that having over 200k hit points was considered being low for a tank. After a couple of wipes where I went splat, we let the DK switch to Blood and I switched to Ret and we finished the place.

This time I had over 300k hit points and it was full guild run. Granted, these were all new people to me, but we are all from the same guild.

The run went pretty smooth. Only a couple of times did my health get low and apparently I was standing in some sort of Sha fire. Oops. Those guys love to leave some sort of painful zone on the ground when they die.

It was really special for me to ding in my Prot spec. Honors started out as a healer in Molten Core and Zul'gurub, but as soon as Burning Crusade hit, he was a tank and he's been that way ever since.

I managed to pick up some new tanking gloves and a new tanking belt from the dungeon. After we finished the run, I did the final quests in Kun Lai, got the achievement for the zone and went to bed.


This was when I hit max level in Cataclysm. I was playing the Hunter as my main then and for some reason didn't get a screenshot of Honorshammer hitting 85. It's obvious he did as you really can't hit level 90 without at some point hitting 85.


This was level 80 in Wrath. I hit on Christmas day. I love having a blog.

Finally this is me out in Nagrand in Burning Crusade. One of my favorite things to do back then was solo elites so I thought it would be supre cool to solo an elite to ding. Then this 'helpful' Warrior came by.





Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Tank Once More, If Only For a Night

I finished up the Jade Forest last night, and I have to say I really like the way Blizzard worked the story lines into the zone. The end of the zone was excellent and set up the Jade Temple dungeon well. I loved the cut scene at the end, and how we deal with the aftermath.

I saw some guild mates asking to run a regular dungeon and I volunteered to go along. I was fine with going as Retribution, but they figured I wanted  to tank. For the first time since coming back to WoW, I was going strap on my shield and tank.

I quickly read the Basic Training thread on MainTankadin so I would have a clue as to what I was doing and off we went. This was my first time in the Jade Temple dungeon and my guild mates talked me through the fights. We had a very good Death Knight with us, and I struggled to maintain threat, especially in AoE situations. I really missed not having Righteous Defense.

Note to self, Sha puddles HURT. Yowza! I was tanking the floor for the rest of that pull.

I like that we use Consecration again, even on single targets. It hearkens back to the 'Round them up and Consecrate' early days of Paladin tanking.

Holy Power generation feels much less fluid as Protection than it does as Retribution. I felt like I was constantly starved for Holy Power. Most of the time I dumped it into Shield of the Righteous. Only occasionally did I use Word of Glory.

We did the water boss first (sorry for not remembering the names). Our Death Knight death gripped the elemental over, I taunted and our dps burned it down. Then we ran around the boss, and burned him down.

We went to the library next and got the fight with the two mobs. We weren't great at switching DPS and the buff these guys get stacked pretty high. My health yoyoed around like it hasn't since Ice Crown Citadel. To survive I made liberal use of all my cooldowns: Ardent Defender, Guardian of Ancient Kings, Bastioned up Word of Glory. I even quaffed a pot or two.

After defeating those two we went back to the front and fought the Jade Serpent. I'm not really sure why. She was nice to me while I was questing, but now she wanted to make me a dragon chew toy and barbecue me. That lead to the final boss, the Sha of Doubt. Everything was going great until he called in our doppelgangers, then it got a little crazy. I survived those, and I think the incredible DPS our team was pulling down helped a lot.

We decided to queue up again after the dungeon was cleared and got the Brewery. This was a crazy place. Lots of adds everywhere and lots and lots and lots of beer. The first boss I've dubbed the Donkey Kong boss in my mind for all the barrels flying around. They hurt when they hit you though. We had lots of fun with the rabbit boss and the hammers the vermin dropped. The giant rabbit did a spray attack almost exactly like the Jinyu boss in the Jade Temple. Somebody on the dungeons design team really liked the Lurker Below fight. The final boss was a bit rough, and the Death Knight did almost as much tanking as I did. We had to get into these bubbles and fly around, a little like the Magister's Terrace fight.

It was a good night. Despite being really rusty and having a bunch of Cataclysm level greens I managed to survive both dungeons. I finished the night just a couple bars shy of 87.

Guild

I enjoyed being back in the tanking saddle again, but I'm not sure if I'll be able to get back to tanking once I get to raiding. I still really don't know what's going on with the guild.

My friend Blue, who gifted me the scroll of resurrection came to this guild after I left for Star Wars. These guys raided all through Cataclysm and did pretty well. Toward the end of Cataclysm, several of my former guild mates came back tot he game and we all sort of congregated in this guild. I don't know if we will be trying to raid with the guild or if we will be forming our own team.

I'm leveling way slower than just about anyone else. I think some people will have an alt at 90 before I get there on my main. Once I do get to 90, I'll need to prioritize one role to get geared enough to raid.I just don't have a clue what role that will be.

Lowbies

I ended up making a Panda Monk, but I also made a Blood Elf mage. I've wanted to try a mage as my next class and a Blood Elf just seem to make more sense. Let's face it, male or female, they look great in the dresses and robes mages wear.

I've got a couple friend who stopped playing early in Burning Crusade and have never had a toon over Level 25. We are going to sort of go through the game together. As soon as they get their Monk and Shaman off of the Wandering Isles, I'll take the orb from Silvermoon to Undercity and catch the Zeppelin to Orgrimaar.

It's going to be wild seeing all these old sites through new eyes.



So are you raiding yet? How are you enjoying MoP so far?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Slow Boat to Pandaria

I'm working my way through the Jade Forest on Honorshammer leveling with all the speed of a rush hour commute. Most of my guild mates have already hit level 90. Me? I'm Level 86 (and a half!).

The questing in MoP has been very good so far. The stories are good, not great, but they move along well and leave the focus on questing. In SWTOR, I felt like I was constantly trying to get to that next bit of Class Story. With WoW, it's all just one story. The arcs aren't as separate. It's not told with the same intensity or panache, but I enjoy it.

I did enjoy the one quest where the scouting party comes back and you relive their tale by taking control of them at different points. Very nice use of phasing and voice acting.

I do have to question the Hozen. They talk funny, and seem to be put in for a bit of comic relief. I think I liked it better when I was killing them by the bucketload early on in Mists. To me, the Hozen seem to be WoW's Gungans.


Retribution

I'm leveling as Retribution, though I have ambitions to be a tank once I hit 90. 


I have to say that playing the Ret Paladin feels a little weird to me. I started playing my Paladin in Patch 1.9. In those days of yore, Paladins learned to body pull or stock up on EZ Throw Dynamite. Now being able to expend 2 GCDs from 30 meters (Judgment and Exorcism) feels just a little odd. I'm adjusting though.

I've transmoged (is that even a word?) my sword into an Untamed Blade replacing the mace I had transmoged into Verigan's Fist. I know that mogging has been around a while, but I'm just discovering it, and its been a great addition to the game. I can totally see myself going back to the older raids once I'm geared up at 90.


Lowbie

I'm also getting ready to roll my Panda. A friend from work has decided to roll his Panda on my server. He's making a monk, so I was thinking about what I should make.

I have three former max level (85) toons: my Paladin, my Warrior and my Hunter. I have a couple of others that are close. My shaman topped out at 83, and my Druid at 80. I've taken a Death Knight out of the starter zone, but never any further. My highest mage is level 36. I've never rolled a Warlock, and never got a Rogue out of the starter area. 


Pandas can't be Rogues or Warlocks, and my friend is already a Monk. I tried making a mage, but they just look silly in the mage robes on the starter screen. I guess it wouldn't matter much if both me and my friend were monks.

Now I really wish there was some way to send the full set of hierlooms I have over on Arygos to my Panda on Nessingwary.