Archive for September, 2011

I thought I would post my response to the Druid Class Feedback thread here, since I suspect my response might have been slightly drowned out amidst 76 pages of people complaining about their form, lack of form, and whatever else happens to irk our little druid souls. I’ve modified my response a little here, since I was trying to be fairly concise on the forums, and possibly failed entirely.

Coming soon after this….my ret pally feedback. It is far more ranty.

What type of content do you focus on? 
PvE (Resto with feral off spec)

If PvE, what type of PvE? 
10m raiding

If PvP, what type of PvP?

What are your biggest quality-of-life issues? For instance, no longer requiring ammo could be considered a quality-of-life improvement for hunters.
I’m actually very happy with where resto is at the moment. I….don’t even miss being a tree all the time, and I thought having to stare at a big tauren butt would ruin the class for me. 😉

Lifebloom switching can be a little scary when I’m tank healing, especially if there are some moments of overlapping damage on the tanks. The ramp up time to get lifebloom stacked is an issue for me on fights with tank swaps.

It’s not an issue for me anymore, but I HATED not getting to play with fun shapeshifting toys when I was in ToL form, and I think it sucks that the other specs don’t generally get to, especially with the shorter duration ones like Orb of the Sin’dorei. The fact that I can run around looking like a flame druid using Leyara’s Locket but still be in kitty form is pretty much the most awesome thing ever. I would like to see this applied to more transformation effects.

The cooldown on Rebirth is kind of irritating. Since it can only be cast once per fight, I really do wish the cooldown were either shorter, or not there at all. I’m the only person in my raid group that has a battle rez, and it’s so frustrating to not have it available for every attempt during the learning process.

What makes playing your class more fun?
HoTs on the run. I love the resto toolkit, and I think our major cooldowns are awesome.

I love the versatility of druids in general. I love that I can play my healer as a melee dps as well, and that I can easily pop over to bear form to save myself when I make the mistake of pulling a few too many mobs when soloing. I love being able to sneak around in prowl and I love flight form.

What makes playing your class less fun?
HoTs getting sniped by other healers, resulting in a gigantic waste of mana. At times feeling powerless when there is major single target damage incoming and despite having full hots up on the target and spamming healing touch, still watching them die. Fights like Baleroc also make me feel incredibly weak. Nourish could have a slightly shorter cast time and I wouldn’t complain.

I don’t play my kitty spec in groups often (it’s mostly for me to do dailies and solo things) but when I do, I really can’t believe how unforgiving the positioning for Shred is. I greatly prefer playing melee dps (in fact, all of my dps toons are melee) but I think that would drive me absolutely nuts in a raid setting.

How do you feel about your “rotation”? (Rotation is the accepted order in which abilities are used to maximum efficiency.)
Not really much of a rotation here, except being sure to keep up lifebloom and harmony, which I like. I do think the duration of harmony could be a tiny bit longer, because it can fall off when I’m dealing with heavy raid damage or recovering from a disaster.

What’s on your wish list for your class?
I’ll speak for the Boomkins here and say that I hope they see a graphic upgrade soon. I know that I personally could never get into playing balance because I hated looking at the model. Gender variations between the rest of the forms. I love playing as kitty, just wish I didn’t look like a guy when I did so. Wish there were a more feminine looking graphic for ToL as well. I just use glyph of the treant as it is.

Some way to switch lifebloom easier between tanks. Possibly also a damage mitigation cooldown, but NOT at the cost of potency of our current tools.

More tier helms that don’t look utterly ridiculous on a tauren.

What spells do you use the least?
In my resto toolkit, I use mostly everything, with the exception maybe of nature’s swiftness which I tend to forget about. Would love to see a shorter CD on that. Also, nourish has become almost useless for me in a raid setting.

Can’t remember the last time I casted soothe.

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So I’m going to try to get involved with Blog Azeroth’s whole Shared Topic thing.  This week’s Shared Topic over at Blog Azeroth was suggested by Saga.

The WoW in-game music is awesome, but there are times (at least for me) when I’m listening to my own music instead. Are there any specific songs that you connect with WoW? Whether it’s tied to your own characters in some way or simply because it reminds you of WoW. Please share!

Music is very important to me and always has been, so this is a topic rather close to my heart. I tend to have a very eccelctic playlist, but there are definite trends and themes that tend to permeate all of my musical choices.


For a long time, I would always listen the in game music during raids. I loved the atmosphere of Naxx and Ulduar, and the the music only added to them. During ICC there were many moments when I would call attention to a particularly awesome part of the music (Hey guys! Listen! They’re using a variation on the blood elf starting zone music! Oh my gosh did you hear that little phrase from “Invincible” during the start up speech to fight LK? GUNSHIP MUSIC IS WIN!!!)

For whatever reason, I stopped doing this during Cataclysm raiding, and I think the reason for that is that the music in raids is, for the most part….Not that great or noticeable. For all the time I spent in BWD, I couldn’t tell you a single stand out moment in the music. I listened to the Firelands music for the first couple of weeks, and then got bored and turned it off. The only raid I can think of with really distinct music is TotFW, and my rants about the wasted opportunities of that raid are best left for another day. 😉

But I need music to function, so instead of listening to the in game stuff, I generally turn to my old friend Pandora to get me through my raids. Pandora and I have a long history of me creating playlists and then screaming at it when it thinks that just because I wanted to listen to Metric, that I will also like Phoenix. No really Pandora. Thumbs down. I hate that band. Stop playing them.

For raiding, I tend to go back to my punk roots, and I have a playlist based off of one of my favorite songs ever, “Generator” by Bad Religion.

I chose that song to create a playlist from because it generally makes me feel like I can go out and take on the world. After some tweaking, I got Pandora to understand the kind of punk I wanted to listen to, and now I’m happily healing my way through Firelands with Bad Religion, Social Distortion, the Descendants, Rise Against, Dropkick Murpheys, Fugazi, and many more. And then I get wonderful moments when I mention what I happen to be listening to and one of the younger kids in my raid goes, “Who’s that?” and I can reply “Well, they’re this really great band that’s been around for….oh dear God, 30 YEARS I’M OLD.”

Character Concept and Music

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m and RPer along with being a raider. I love coming up with character concepts and personalities for all of the toons I play. Every one of my toons has some sort of backstory worked out for them, and even if I don’t RP on that toon in particular, I know their story and who they are. Toons that don’t have a personality I can’t get into playing, which is probably why my shaman is stuck at level 55, throwing me furious looks as I ignore her in favor of leveling my night elf.

Since both music and character concept are so important to me, it’s probably no surprise that most of my characters have a theme song that works along with their concept. When I first started playing my pally, I was having a real problem with her. I’ve never liked playing the religious lawful good type in any RP game, but my guild was doing some fun Blood Knight RP that I really wanted to be involved in. So I did a little research and realized that Blood Knights were likely the one brand of pally I could actually manage to play, and Kora was born.

My original concept for Kora was actually based off of an ex of mine. He was a total punk and very much a “eff you authority” type, and yet…he was in the army. Those two things were just so totally at odds with each other. How could someone who really believed all of the anti-authority stuff that spawned punk music have ever thought to enlist? His answer was simple. He was living in New York when 9/11 occurred, and it changed his outlook on a lot of things. And so, applying real life reactions to the fantasy WoW world, I decided I could also have a character who was very much anti-authority but after tragedy felt the need to grow up and change. Silvermoon’s complete destruction by the Scourge seems like a powerful motivator in any Blood Elves life, so I took the idea and ran with it.

Today, Kora is my most developed character and the one I love the most, even if she’s not my main. She is my survivor, and even though she may be a Blood Knight now, she’s still very anti-authority and hates a lot of what goes on in Silvermoon. While writing about her one day, I had my playlist on random, and a song came on that fit her so perfectly that it’s been her theme song ever since. Whenever I’m feeling a little lost with her character, I go back and listen to this song and it gets me back on track.

The hunt for rare pets

My rare pet hunting continues (141/150!) and I have spent A LOT of time killing stuff in Winterspring and Wetlands, searching for the Azure and Crimson Whelplings. I wasn’t entirely convinced those actually exist until I saw the Azure Whelpling show up on the Alliance AH for 999,000g. Seriously are people on drugs? Anyway, I will obviously not be spending that much for a stupid non-combat pet.

But that means my sanity is wearing thin as I reach upward of 4000 kills in Winterspring for an adorable blue dragon. At first I was listening to all sorts of music while I did this, but even that wasn’t working when I got yet another inert elemental piece rather than the damn pet. So I’ve turned to Audible instead.

Audiobooks can be insanely expensive, and Audible takes the sting out of buying them by signing you up for a monthly fee membership. Rather than spending $40 for a new audio book, you spend $15 a month and get one credit each month to download whatever you like. There are all sorts of other benefits to it, but the main one is preserving your sanity during horrible, soul sucking grinds in WoW. It also works well for hellish drives from New York to Pennsylvania when it takes upwards of three hours to go 30 miles to get out of the NY area.

Right now I’m listening to the Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson. I was originally introduced to this series through the podcast Writing Excuses, which Sanderson is on. I’ve always highly respected what he had to say about writing but never quite got around to reading his books. Audible gave me that chance. If you’re at all interested in reading epic fantasy and you haven’t yet checked out this series, I encourage you to give it a read or listen. The magic system that he uses is highly inventive, and it managed to suck me in pretty quickly. Plus, hearing stories told about an amazing fantasy world makes killing yet another elemental guy much more bearable.

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I love tanking classes. Of my 5 85s, 4 are capable of tanking. I have one of each tank class, and the next closest toon I have to max level is a second paladin. My most played toons are a druid and a paladin, and my DK and warrior are pretty much tied for third.

But I don’t play tanks.

It’s not that I don’t want to. In fact, I’ve said for at least two years that I want to try tanking. But not on my druid, because she’s my healer. And….not on my pally, because she’s my DPS toon. I had high hopes for my DK, but I had so much fun with blood dps that I didn’t want to switch to a tank spec. And my warrior, well. Warrior tanking just seemed too complicated, and besides, there’s nothing more badass than a forsaken chick running around with two gigantic 2h swords doing front flips.

Then there’s my second pally. He was  actually leveled as prot, and so I understand how to play a prot pally somewhat. But I still don’t know how to tank because…I just don’t tank.

Considering my love of melee dps, and plate wearers in general, me not having a tank has become more and more glaringly obvious. I heal on my druid, priest, and occasionally pally, and I’m bringing a resto shaman up through the dungeon finder. Healing comes naturally to me. Melee dps comes naturally to me. I like playing support classes and having responsibility. So why can’t I tank?

Enter Ayame. She is my one alliance toon on my home server that has a function beyond standing at the neutral and Alliance AHs. I have a soft spot in my heart for night elves since my first toon was a night elf druid, and I particularly like their starting area. Sometimes when I’m stressed or just want to take in the pretty world, I’ll switch over to my nelf, away from my guild and chatter and from the grinds that I feel compelled to do. Ayame is freedom, and I usually feel like I’m playing a completely different game when I’m on her. The quests are all different, the feel of the zones of the different….Even the AH is different because there’s a ton of stuff on it!

But I can’t play a toon without giving them a backstory, and Ayame is no different in this regard. I’ve always liked the idea that the night elf women are the warriors and protectors for the race, and so I decided to make Ayame one, figuring she could be a sentinel of some sort. A friend of mine rolled up a night elf druid around the same time, and after kicking around a few ideas, we decided they were traveling together so she could protect him while he learned the finer nuances of being a druid. Since I so recently leveled a warrior as fury, I decided to spec Ayame as prot.

Yesterday, as I got irritated over still not having found that damn azure whelpling on my main, I switched over to Ayame and  did a couple of quests, then stared at her tanking heirlooms for a while. There was really no reason I couldn’t tank a low level dungeon. They’re not that terribly hard. So I tried to boil down what exactly it was about tanking that scared me.

  • I get lost easily, especially in older dungeons
  • Having leveled a healer through the dungeon finder, I know that the DPS problem of letting the tank pull is no better there
  • I don’t like getting yelled at by random strangers on the internet
  • I also don’t like embarrassing myself in front of my friends
  • I also don’t like the idea of playing badly and being a bad example of what my guild is capable of
  • The idea of trash pulls scares me more than an actual boss fight

Looking over the list, I realized most of my issues with tanking are pretty much about me not having confidence in my abilities, not about tanking itself. The only one that isn’t really about me is wanting to represent my guild well, and since Ayame isn’t in a guild and she’s on the opposite faction from the people  I normally hang out with, that really wasn’t an excuse.  I decided that I needed to get over it.

So, I opened the random dungeon finder, clicked on the tank button, and then queued specifically for Ragefire Chasm. I know my way through that one, and I know what to do in there as well. It’s not like Wailing Caverns, which I know I would just get hopelessly lost in. Predictably the queue popped seconds later, and then, there I was, standing in the front of the dungeon with a bunch of weird looking Alliance toons. Where was the comforting hulking presence of the orcs, trolls, and tauren? Where were the spinny jumps of the blood elves? And where were the hunched forsaken with their wicked laughs? Where were my friends?! Oh that’s right. They were right outside that dungeon portal, hanging around in Orgrimmar. And….they would kill me if they saw me because I was a night elf! A tanking night elf!

After a few moments I realized that, oh shit, I’m supposed to be leading this group. Because I’m the tank! So I quickly typed into /p that this was my first time tanking and that I might mess up a bit. And then….I pulled.

First couple of pulls went okay. I didn’t really feel confident. That’s an understatement. My hands were shaking horribly, and I forgot about important things like, warriors need rage to start hitting stuff. Then the first boss fight began and I managed to lose threat on an add somehow. Fortunately, my tidy plates made it COMPLETELY OBVIOUS that was happening, and so I calmly switched targets and hit taunt. Nothing happened. Hit taunt again. Nothing. Swore. Taunt is broken! The add is eating the druid! OH GOD I SUCK AT THIS!

Then realized, no, I’m just not in defensive stance. Silly me! I quickly switched stances and then realized that I’d never actually set up my bars for defensive stance. I’m a smart one.

Fortunately no one died, and I quickly set up my bars so that there were actual attacks in it. And then….I proceeded to tank my way through the dungeon. I wish I could say that I did a good job with it or that I handled  things flawlessly, but honestly it was pretty rough. No one died, but that’s because it was RFC. I managed to lose control of mobs during trash pulls, and I’m not sure if that was my fault or DPS hitting something before I even got a chance to thunderclap it. Fortunately, my taunt button did actually work after I was in the proper stance (imagine that!) so I was able to mostly get things under control. It was probably a slower run than people were used to, but no one complained and no one made fun of me, so that was a good thing. I decided to make a new list of things to think about for the next time I attempt tanking

  • Turn on defensive stance. Really! In fact, set up a Power Aura for this.
  • Get better about turning groups of mobs around. As a primarily melee DPSer, I very much appreciate tanks who do that.
  • Set up my unit frames so that the healer’s mana bar is easily visible. As a healer, I appreciate tanks who are aware of that
  • Set up a macro that says “Hi! I’m a new tank, please be patient with me! If I’m doing something really wrong, please feel free to let me know.”
  • Install threat plates
  • Set up some start attack macros so that I’m hitting things even if I have no rage

I probably won’t use the dungeon finder that much as I’m leveling, because the whole point of this toon is that I get a new story to level through, and running RFD yet again really isn’t going to give me that. But I think I can do it occasionally, especially if I specifically queue for places I know I won’t get lost in. And more importantly, I did it. I finally got over that fear of hitting the tank button and going in to lead the group. My second pally is really excited about this prospect, and so I am because….man I really don’t want to level through Uldum again!

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