So, I’ve had some webspace for some time, and I finally decided to get around to installing WordPress, and moving the blog over there. So, this will be the last post here. For those of you trying who want to listen to my nonsense, point your browswer to http://www.thegrumpymage.com
Archive for the ‘World of Warcraft’ Category
So, I finished the weekend just dinging level 69 on Lirys. Last night, I decided to watch House M.D., so I only got a few battlegrounds in. I ended up doing two more this morning, before work, and hitting level 70. The rest of my “pre-work” time was spent flying out to Tanaris to talk to the Legacy Arena vendors, and getting outfitted in my Brutal Gladiator’s set. This evening, I’ll be doing enchants, gemming, etc., before I set out on the next leg of the my climb to 85.
The weekend was pretty frustrating at times. More and more, I found myself wanting to do what I despise, and go off on teammates because of just plain lack of common sense. If there’s one thing worse than someone who hasn’t a clue what to do in a battleground, and refuses to spend a half hour reading any one of the hundreds of posts on the subject, it’s someone who obviously has read those posts, and then turns off their brain.
So, in a reply to my last post, Repgrind mentioned that she now has four 85s, and some nights runs a heroic on each, and that pretty much kills the entire night. It reminded me of a thought the other day that I had. How does she do it, and not get burnt out???
I played Lajos (now Layjos) for a couple years straight, almost exclusively. Some drama hit, and about August or so of last year, I found my enthusiasm for WoW completely gone. I decided to take a break, and wait for Cataclysm to come out. So Cataclysm hit, I ended up doing a server transfer, and I’m still finding my enthusiasm for the mage to be lagging. I’ve got 50+ mounts, 75+ pets, and a ton of titles. Lots and lots of work into that toon, and I’ve decided I’m pretty much done for now. If our guild starts raiding, I’ll be available, and Caraway and I have discussed arena, but my “minute to minute” motivation isn’t centered around the mage.
Enter my gnomie-lock. I’ve been having a ball, as I’ve expressed in my last couple posts. So obviously, my WoW-mojo isn’t gone. So I have to come to the conclusion that I’m just burnt out on the mage. Which leads me back to Repgrind’s remark. She has choices, options, and apparently, that helps buffer the burn-out. Pretty obvious, actually.
So, I indicated before that I thought affliction was over my head at the moment, and besides, I was enjoying the boom factor of destruction. But, in doing research, I came across some things that really resonated with me, and last night, I decided to flip back over to affliction. I saw one statement in particular, that really resonated to me: You should be pulling targets to you, not running to them. And yes, I’ve remarked on it before, my biggest problem in battlegrounds is I get so gung-ho team-wise that I charge in, find my teammates dead, and find myself facing multiple opponents, and that doesn’t usually go well. That simple statement – and yes, a lot of hours in the battlegrounds – brought it into focus for me.
Probably my biggest “BOO-YA!” moment last night was in EotS. We grabbed Mage Tower, and Draenei Ruins off the bat, and set about going after the flag. I used my handy dandy telescope to zoom in on Fel Reiver, and saw all the Hordies there bail, and head towards the flag. So, I mounted up, and headed out, and did a solo capture. Yeah, I knew there had to be a rogue around somewhere, and sure enough, he opened on me. I trinketed, jumped, Death Coiled him to get some space, tossed Curse of Exhaustion on him, and dotted him up, and finished him off. He came back less than a minute later, and died again. Then he brought a friend. By that time, I’d used my Healthstone, and my cooldowns weren’t cleared yet. I died, but by that time, some teammates were arriving on the scene, and cleaned up my mess.
Moments like these are a joy. It isn’t about an arena rating, or how good I am, or how good the opponent was or wasn’t, it’s about the realization setting in “I can do this!” At this point in time, every time I beat an opponent, I tend to shrug it off as “he must not have been very good”. It’s going to take awhile for me to be comfortable saying “Yeah, I pwned him that time.” But it’s coming.
Blame in on Repgrind. She led me into temptation, and pointed me to The Dark Side.
Last spring, she asked me to play a warlock in the Arena Tournament, to fill out a 3s team with her and Fiak. At that point, I had played a little lock (no pun intended), but I was primarily focused on mage. I decided, what the hey, why not? We got in our 50 matches, got our pets, it wasn’t pretty, but it worked.
While I was boning up on lock, I started playing Liris, on Winterhoof. One of the things I discovered, in passing, was how much fun battlegrounds are with a warlock. So, after working my disc priest up into the 50s, and finding myself lost trying to heal in battlegrounds, I decided I wanted to play my little gnomie-lock again. “Liris” was taken, so she became Lirys Only now, the battleground brackets are 5 levels wide, and start at level 10. I didn’t start at 10, as I was on a questing roll, but soon thereafter, and from that point, probably 80% of her experience has come from battlegrounds. She rolled into this weekend at 51 or 52, and last night, I finished up at 62, pretty much all of it in battlegrounds. Over this last week, I did some of the holiday quests, turned in a few charm bracelets, and had Nick run me through Stratholme, in search of a couple nice gear items (what is with the plate and mail drops???), but other than that, it’s pretty much been all battlegrounds, all the time. By the time I hit 60, I had over 5000 honorable kills, and enough honor to buy the Field Marshal’s Threads, my second set of Dryad’s Wrist Bindings, after having bought most of the useful PvP gear up to that point, and still have a couple thousand honor left over. I snagged a Felheart Belt off the Auction House, and the Grand Marshal’s Mageblade and the Grand Marshal’s Tome of Power as well, and jumped into the new bracket, with almost double the health.
After a few battlegrounds, I’m contemplating dropping back to my Grand Staff of Jordan for the extra resilience. There was a hunter on my team talking about his 8K crits, and I was getting outright owned by rogues, so I need to look at more damage mitigation.
Somewhere along the way, I got the idea of leveling completely through the battlegrounds. Blizzard has made this a viable option, for the most part. With my two BoA pieces, plus the 5% bonus from our guild, a winning Alterac Valley would yield over 50k experience around level 50. Even dropping those two pieces, a losing AB or EotS is giving me 9k experience. The best part? Instead of spending my time doing quest chains – some of which, I hasten to add, are simply awesome – I can spend my time at the auction house, leveling professions, or reading, all while queued for a random battleground. So while not necessarily being the fastest or most efficient way to level, it may be more efficient overall.
The biggest problem, of course, is gear disparity. There are relatively few PvP pieces available on the way up, and they fall in level increments of 10. Of course, at lower levels, resilience isn’t as critical as it is at higher levels. I just stacked lots of stamina, and had Layjos make a trip out to Old Hillsbrad once in awhile to fill up a couple bags with Rumsey Rum Black Label every so often, and all in all, I generally do pretty good. Once DKs entered the picture at the 55-59 bracket, things got tricker, as a leveling lock has very few escape mechanisms. Essentially, I’ve got a 5 minute trinket, and a 3 minute escape with Death Coil. Fear? Too long a cast time when a rogue is carving you up, or a DK/pally/warrior is chopping you into kindling. Howl of Terror, likewise, unless you spec it to insta-cast via Affliction.
I struggled with Affliction, though. For Affliction to really rock, you have to DoT everything in sight. I’ve always had a problem with tab-targeting in general, and the Soul-Swap Inhale/Exhale mechanic isn’t going to really shine if you’re not using it. Additionally, on the way up, not all the spells were there yet. I decided at 30 to try Destro, and liked it. My off-spec is still Affliction, though, so I’ll be playing it occasionally.
Back to gear. At level 85, you can buy a full set of PvP gear with honor, before going for the Arena sets. On the way up, however, you have very few choices, as far as outright PvP gear goes. Almost invariably, you’re going to have to run instances or do quests for gear. Which takes time away from the battlegrounds and other stuff. Here’s the rub… Lirys is 62 right now. Just doing BGs in the evening, I’m pretty confident I can get her to 65 in a night or two. On the other hand, if I spend that time doing LFG, I may get a couple nice pieces of gear (or I may get drops that aren’t any good to me), I may get a couple of levels, I may… you get the picture. Oh, and I may catch a ration of shit from the other people in the random who see PvP gear, and automatically assume you’re going to . Yes, what she’s wearing are PvP pieces. However, if I go out on Wowhead, and do a find upgrade for any of those set pieces, most of what I’m seeing is “drops in Ruins of Ahn Qiraj” or “Drops in Blood Furnace”. Here and there, I see “quests – Zangarmarsh”, but those are a minority. And don’t forget, that’s with the PvE stat weighting. Just out of curiosity, I’ve done a few comparisons with other warlocks of similar level off of WoWHead, making sure on the Wowarmory that they’re still active. Lirys Health, Mana, and Spellpower, in general, compare favorably to locks at least a couple levels greater.
In the short term, I have an easy choice. I can go out to Hellfire in the mornings, and do the world PvP quest to get Honor Hold Marks of Honor, and get the Circlet of the Victor and the Band of the Victor. I could go for the Seal of the Exorcist, however, it costs 50 Spirit Shards. Which can only be gained from running Auchindoin instances, and then only when the 5 towers are in Alliance Hands. Um, no thanks. Not good bang for the buck. By the time I get 50 Spirit Shards, I’ll be knocking on level 70. So, it looks like I’m going to be spending time in Hellfire. Assuming, of course, there’s anyone on the Horde side capturing the towers back.
Long term, it gets harder, and I can only think that this is going to be the norm from here on out. Get to the “zero” level (i.e. 60,70,80) and get the new set, then augment with off-set pieces from the auction house, or specific quests that I can knock out quickly.
I’ve been giving thought to professions, as well. Initially, I took engineering, for the “gadget” factor. However, when it gets right down to it, I’ve been a bit disappointed with it for PvP. I have yet to notice a real effect from bombs in a battleground. The engineering headpieces are great, if you’re twinking, but for a profession that is damnably expensive to level, it hasn’t been really helpful. Nitro-boosts/rocket boots are awesome for getting away – if you have a chance to pop them in time, and you can’t carry a flag with them, and you can’t use them in an Arena. To be honest, it may be me. In the heat of combat, bombs, etc. are just one more thing that my mental “what do I do next” sub-routine has to do. I’m going to make a point to think ahead, and fling more bombs over the next few evenings, and see if maybe I’ve just been doing it wrong.
Alchemy, on the other hand, has served me well. Something as cheap and simple as a Swiftness Potion, for example. I can’t wait until I can make and use elixirs that last through death. Bang for the buck. And best of all, with the exception of something like Swiftness, you have time to consciously think about what you’re doing.
Given the way I’m playing this toon, I’m thinking taking up herbalism would make more sense. It’s relatively quick and cheap to level, and I can do it while I’m waiting for the queue to pop. I can make money off of it, and support my alchemy. Not to mention Lifeblood has become very interesting, with a combination Heal/Haste buff.
Gear concerns aside, though, I’m simply having a blast.
It’s a fair statement to say that for the most part, Cataclysm so far has been about PvP for me. Yes, I’ve done a fair amount of questing, and I’m very impressed with the new areas. Yes, I’ve run some instances, and what I’ve seen has been great. But until our guild has the class distribution to regularly run a full guild-manned 5-man, I’m not really that concerned with the PvE side.
I dabbled a bit in Frost, but with all I’m trying to take in with the game in general, there’s a lot going on with Frost, so I’ve so far pretty much stuck with Arcane. This week has been a challenge, since my main computer decided on Monday to fry after a power outage. For the balance of the week, I’ve been on a laptop, and dealing with framerates sometimes in single digits. Not good for PvP, but finally by lowering all the settings, I’ve gotten it at least playable.
Lately I’ve been splitting time between my leveling warlock, Lirys, and Layjos. Layjos got his PvP robe last night, and pushed his resilience up significantly, so he’s a bit less fragile. Despite fighting framerates, and trying to stay alive, I’ve actually noticed a couple clear times when the shatter aspect of my arcane spec has proven itself out. Last night in Tol Barad, I froze an opponent (and it happened so fast that I didn’t even notice the class. I believe it was a blood elf) and hit a PoM+Arcane Blast that one shotted them. To put that in context, I don’t know how much health they had, what class they were, etcetera, so that’s not particularly impressive. It was just more a proof of concept.
The biggest problem of my new Arcane Shatter spec is that it lacks the mobility of the earlier spec, and I’m not sure where I got the “triple damage crit” idea in my head. In the old days, so to speak, you could use Rank 1 Frost Bolt, which is no longer an option. The slowing effect of Nether Vortex is nice, but you still have to get Arcane Blast off, which with a 2+ second cast time, can be problematic.
Part of the issue, of course, is that I need to get better at fake casting. Last night, in particular, I was being interrupted constantly, often by a mage I barely saw in the melee. Annoying, but a necessary lesson. Frost Bolt is still an option, but unless I seriously stack haste, foregoing mastery, I don’t think it’s a significant difference.
PoM + Arcane Blast is still an option, but the cooldown on PoM prohibits relying on it. Frankly, I think I’m better served using it with Polymorph to set up opponents.
My ‘lock, on the other hand, has been a blast. Last weekend, during the Warsong Gulch Call to Arms, I went from level 23, to level 34, with 90% of it being in the battlegrounds. She’s taken a beating at the lower levels of the brackets, of course, but there was till the consolation, after being war-stomped and then two-shotted by some Tauren, of seing “Killing Blow ” and some opponents name float up my screen. Once the honor started flowing in, and I was able to start stacking some stamina, things improved. And let’s face it, I’ve just gotten better, getting back into the swing of things after a long layoff. There are still some similar challenges – Fear’s long cast time, for one, and relative squishiness, for another – but I’ve also not been utilizing a lot of mechanics as much as I should. Soulburn, for instance.
Time to revisit my macros, revisit my mechanics, and revisit my tactics. But that’s part of the fun.
What a concept!
We had an interesting discussion in guild chat last night. Caraway, our GM, is a pally tank, and was raging about pugs wanting to rush through the content, and wanting the tank to know every fight going in. One of the other members chimed in, and noted that this is pretty much how WoW is played. Before you tackle content, you read up on it, make sure you’re geared, gemmed, enchanted appropriately, etc.
Caraway made a couple very good points last night. One sounded very familiar. Blizzard worked on Cataclysm for over two years. Why does everyone try to finish it as fast as possible? Hmmm…. I’m fairly certain I heard similar rumblings from a mage that shall remain nameless, during Wrath.
The other, and more telling, point Caraway made, was that somewhere, sometime, someone went through this content without the benefit of guides, advice, perfectly tuned gear and specs, etc. Does that somehow mean that they’re better, smarter, or more capable than we? I really doubt most of us would say “well, yeah! They’re WoW gods!” The fact of the matter is, they were lucky enough to get into beta, and have a crack at it. Or, on the Live realms, chances are their guild had a commitment to be the first, and they tackled it blind.
One of our other members chimed in with some valid points. It’s very hard to find people who are willing to tackle content that way. Most people are caught up in the “NEED MOAR GEER!” mindset. And further, they look upon anyone who doesn’t know the fights as a noob.
Um, no. All it means is they don’t know the fight. They may know how to play their class perfectly well. Which Caraway proved in a pug last night by turning off chat bubbles, switching to the combat log, and tanking Blackrock Caverns, successfully, without any prior prep.
Caraway and I work together, and we started talking about last night’s chat, and he came up with an idea that I quickly band-wagoned on. Moonlight Requiem is the most casual of guilds. Basically, you have people to talk to on guild-chat, and we try help each other as we can, but no one really makes a point of helping someone level, or whatever. When one of our members was getting ganked in Hyjal, I dropped what I was doing and went to help. those of us that know each other outside the game will run together somewhat. Things are pretty loose, though. Which, given my own distaste for pugs, has been a bit of a drag.
However, that may be about to change. Caraway announced to me this morning that we’re forming our own Explorer’s League, within the guild. He’s completely committed to people doing their own thing, and keeping things casual, but last night reinforced the problem with the prevailing view in WoW, and this is how we hope to resolve it in our little corner of Azeroth.
The Explorer’s League is going to be for those players who don’t want to rush through content as fast as possible, as painlessly as possible. We’re not excluding anyone; they’re welcome to run with us. Just don’t tell us how to play. Our devil’s advocate made a good point last night: “So, what if I know the fight? What, am I supposed to pretend I don’t?” Nope. Play your toon. Just don’t spoil it for the rest of us.
See, what get’s lost in the heat of discussion is a simple fact of human evolution. If someone constantly solves your problems for you, you never learn to solve problems yourself. As a parent, I’ve spent my last fifteen-plus years letting my kids go through unpleasant experiences that I might have spared them. It’s hard, especially as a parent. But that’s the only way they really learn. You can tell someone not to stand in the fire. But until they stand in it for themselves, and die, sometimes it just doesn’t sink in.
It’s an experiment. I’m optimistic that it will be a productive one.
So, it was a busy weekend. My wife was throwing a birthday party for her niece, and we had family in town as early as Thursday night. I had Friday off, as a result of holiday work schedules, and was expecting to get bogged down entertaining, but bless my wife’s heart, she arranged it so I had most of Friday to myself.
So, been fighting off the last dregs of a cold, and ended up waking at about 6:30 Friday morning, and after getting a pot of coffee going, jumped on WoW, and resumed my grind to finish off Hyjal, and then was off to Deepholm, where I eventually found myself in the good graces of the mother of the hottest babe ever to hit Wow. I think it says a lot for my determination, charm, suaveness, and the lack of sweating petty details by the WoW design team, that Therazane conveniently ignored the fact that Layjos has killed her lovely daughter at least twice. Oh, wait, that was when he was Lajos. Of course! It was the name change! Doh!!!
On a serious note, I repeat again, Blizzard does it right! I’ve taken a break from leveling alts now that Layjos is on the scene, but what I’ve seen of the revamping of the Old World quests has been very pleasing. The quest-lines make sense, they move along, with very few of the “kill endlessly until you get X number of items” type of quests. Even those tend to be fairly quick. The copious side quests don’t detract from the momentum of the main questline, and some of the questlines are downright entertaining. The John J. Keeshan lines in Redridge and Burning Steppes inspired me to grab First Blood for my son Nick to see, and he has declared it his current favorite movie.
When I finally decided to scratch the mage itch, and move Lajos/Layjos, I breezed through Hyjal, and Deepholm, with no real feeling of “grind”. About the only time I did a conscious “grind” was when I saw my experience bar close to the next level. I always make it a habit, if possible, to grind out those last few points on mobs, so the quest turn-ins launch me well into the next level. So, having gotten the Coming Down the Mountain and Deep into Deepholm achievements, I returned to Vash’jir to pick up there. Unfortunately, I’m not getting the big quest experience points, since I’m a bit above level, but the quests are still entertaining. Yesterday, after family left, I jumped back on, and decided to see how I fared in the battlegrounds.
Oh, incidentally, I gave Fire a try during all that. Not bad. The ability to cast Scorch while moving is interesting. Unfortunately, leveling the way I am, I haven’t been able to muster enough crit rating to really make it effective. I’ve been gradually replacing my Wrath epics, but even with abilities, I wasn’t finding Hot Streak proccing enough for my comfort in PvP, so I decided to return to Arcane.
Overall, battlegrounds went well. I killed more than I died, and even with very little resilience on my gear, didn’t find myself getting killed to fast when I got focused. I identified a few areas I need to macro, and shift my keybinds, but all in all, it went quite well. I didn’t dominate, but I didn’t suck, either. When I had a group that worked as a team, things went well. When I had a group that thought Eye of The Storm is all about capturing the flag, things didn’t go well. One Warsong went really well, with me leading in HKs, and in the top four in killing blows. We had a good team, and I spent my time picking engaged targets, and hitting them with Arcane Blast, and destroying their health bar, while staying out of close up mismatches. Looking back at it today, that was probably my best battleground, and it highlights what I need to do – get myself in a good position, avoid short range mass crowds of melee, and focus on staying alive. In later battlegrounds, I forgot those principles, and while I didn’t do terribly, I was letting myself get focused, and not escaping effectively enough. It’s something I noted before. I tend to go for the goals, and dive into things, counting on my teammates to be there to back me. When they are, I rock. When they aren’t, I die. It all goes by fast, but I can clearly remember several fights yesterday where I had a healer backing me, or a couple melee-types keeping me from getting smothered. I felt comfortable, in control, and Horde were dying. I can also remember several times that I rushed in too fast, and then, when I went to escape, was still trying to do damage, instead of getting away, and I invariably died.
Arcane has some great control and escape features. Insta-Invis, PoM + Polymorph, and a 3 second speed burst after blinking. I used all of them Sunday, but not as effectively as I should have. Using PoM effectively is going to be a key skill in this spec. The two biggest uses are going to be Insta-Sheep, and Insta-Nuke. In the past, playing the old Arcane Shatter spec, I used Frostfire Bolt as my Insta-Nuke, since it was buffed by the Frost tree, and had the benefit of slowing the target down. Now, with Nether Vortex, Arcane Blast slows the target, and applies the buff, so it’s going to become my nuke of choice, with Presence of Mind making it instant when I need it. More on that later.
I ended up getting about a third of a level in the battlegrounds (gotta love that!) and made level 84 shortly after logging on this morning. I’m going to finish up Vash’jir, then head out to Uldum. I’m guessing level 85 by no later than Wednesday.
And I’ll be respeccing this evening as well. I’ve already foregone Arcane Tactics, since I don’t plan to be doing much raiding early on. I’m going to drop Focus Magic, and putting that point in Shatter. My level 85 point will go in Shatter as well. “Lol-wut?!?” you say.
Arcane Tactics is a 3% damage buff on the raid. In a raid, over the course of a boss encounter, 3% is significant. In PvP, particularly when you’re not packing a buttload of spellpower, it’s not crucial. Likewise, with Focus Magic, a once-in-awhile 3% crit buff is significant, on a raid where you can make sure it stays on your partner. In PvP, it’s nice, but again, not particularly crucial.
However, being able to selectively apply a triple-damage crit in PvP is very significant, and very useful, especially when that allows you to tie it in with Arcane Potency and Arcane Power. PoM triggers the former, and Arcane Power just adds more goodness. If they’ve been pounding on my Mana Shield or Mage Ward, so much the better, as Incantor’s Absorption is going to be buffing my damage. Get an interrupt on a caster? Woo-hoo, he’s silenced for 4 seconds, AND Invocation kicks in. Quick freeze, AP, POM, and nuke well.
Then of course, there’s Frost Ring, which has a significant range, which opens up all sorts of interesting possibilities, especially when you note that all the arcane tree goodies are worded “all damage”, “your damage”, “spell damage”, etc. Are Frostbolt and Frostfire Bolt going to hit as hard as Arcane Blast? Of course not. But they’re not going to start the mana ramp-up either, and against a frozen target, Frostbolt is going to get a 20% buff in addition to all the other spell buffs Arcane gets, including the mastery buffs. Not to mention, it has a shorter cast time, and also very importantly, if I get interrupted, I’ve only got Frost spells locked out, and I have most of my main guns still available.
Is it gonna pwn like the old Arcane Shatter spec? Probably not, and I suspect it will play significantly different, but we shall see.
So, we moved Nick’s DK over yesterday. By the time I got home from work, he’d already headed out to Hyjal, and was over it because of the constant ganking. So we tried the Vash’jir heroes call, which started okay, but then was cut short because the first quest refused to complete for Nick. (He found out this morning how to fix it, yay!). We went back out to Hyjal, started questing, and immediately, a level 85 Horde pally named Arvalon, or something like that, started displaying his douche-bag-ness. We’re in the middle of a bunch of mobs, and he jumps in. With a level difference of 5, Nick couldn’t even hit him, and frankly, Nick’s a PvE tank, not an arena player. I fared a bit better, and I can testify that Improved Blink is the shiznit in PvP, but I also haven’t mage PvPed in about 5 or 6 months. We hurt him, and finally got him to drop an AoE, and got some guards on him. We died about 5 times to his 1, but I still count it a minor victory. He camped the questgiver, and laughed at me. I laughed right back at him, and even gave him a mock-salute. I find it amusing that someone can misses the stupidity of making fun of someone they’ve killed who can’t really even hit them back, and let’s face it, that sort of person gets their nut on thinking they’ve pissed someone else off. No worries, it’s a big world, I can go elsewhere to level, and yeah, fucker, what goes around comes around, and the day will come when I’m what comes around. My son hasn’t really had that sink in yet, I’m hoping he can be taught.
Caraway and I were talking at work, and he was marveling at the survivability of paladin’s in general, particularly prot. I was regaling him with tales of Hartbane‘s battle-healer spec in the good ol’ days, and as I told him, you don’t so much kill paladin’s so much as you dismantle them. Sort of like peeling an onion, and far more painful and full of tears. But hey, a Blood Elf pally died last night, so at least one new angel has a set of wings, and the day was a success.
My first experiments with Arcane PvP were interesting, though. I complete forgot to use things like Arcane Power (need to get that macro-ed in, dammit), but that really wasn’t a factor. As I said, Improved Blink rocks. I haven’t had time to evaluate the Glyph of Arcane Power (I’ve heard some discussion on how it’s supposed to work, but doesn’t). The biggest thing that jumped out at me was the lack of a really spam-able Arcane spell. Arcane Blast just isn’t suitable for quick use in combat. My initial cast with haste adjustmetns, is still like 1.9 seconds. In a battleground, with distractions, that’s probably doable, however, 1 on 1, or in Arena, that’s an eternity. Of course, there’s always Scorch or Ice Lance, but those really aren’t optimal for Arcane. I sort of have visions of running along a freeway, throwing pebbles at trucks. Then again, Shatter is available on the first tier of Frost, for double/triple crit chance… and Arcane Blast has a 40 yard range, AND slows the target with Nether Vortex.
I’m having this vision of stacking AB a couple times at long range, then jumping in with a Frost Nova, and cutting loose with a PoM + AB that crits for what Christian Belt describes as “ also doing damage to his posterity down through seven generations, causing his children’s children’s great-great-grandchildren to speak in hushed tones about the time many generations past when a mage blew up his forefather”. Granted, Layjos is only level 80, and doesn’t have that kind of spellpower yet, but the principle is there, and yeah, I find it exciting. More research required.
All that said, I’m going to experiment with Fire and Frost as well, I think.
So, yeah, much as I hated bailing on Crits, I had too much time and effort invested in Lajos to let him sit, and the reality was, I’d never play him. So, last night, I popped on Winterhoof, sent the heirloom items from my other toons to Lajos, and a few other key items. The old guild bank had been ransacked by the last member of the old group, who had stayed with the guild. That surprised me, though on reflection, it shouldn’t have, since I haven’t really been on in about 3 months. It would have been nice to have my share of the titansteel we’d been pooling for choppers, but I’m not going to lose sleep over it. For all I know, Booters sent it to me, and it timed out and returned.
So, now I have to learn how to play a mage all over again. Whee, good times. Actually, I think it’s going to be pretty interesting, since there isn’t a whole lot out there for Arcane Mage PvP in Cataclysm. Yup, you read that right. Arcane.
Sure, I know, Frost is a no brainer for PvP. So, I’m guessing that there are going to be a LOT of Frost mages in the battlegrounds. Fire has been improved, and likewise, I expect to see a lot of Fire mages there as well. So, since I’m having to relearn anyway, I figured I’d stick with what’s realtively familiar. Everything I’m reading seems to indicate that Arcane rules when it comes to burst damage, and PvP is very much oriented around burst damage. We shall see. Should be exciting.
Oh, and incidentally, I had to rename him, so now he’s named Layjos. Meh.
So, yesterday, sitting at work, I was going through some old WoWInsider articles, and came across one from last June, an Art of Warcraft column talking about dealing with PUG battlegrounds. Most of it dealt with how to enjoy the experience, and not rage at it, and overall, was some really good advice. Most of it was redundant for me, things I’d sort of subconsciously realized and adapted to during the time where I was building my first PvP set, as it was the only way I could get any higher level gear, and that meant PUGS. It’s different in a battleground tho’, as there isn’t the rigid “this is how you handle this boss” attitude, and things are happening so fast, weaknesses of players (i.e., my own suck-age) are a lot less glaring, and so less likely to be commented on.
Looking back to then, I realized I’m in sort of the same situation. Back then, I was guild leader of a very small, tight guild, and raiding, even heroics, were beyond us. We were very PUG shy, when it came to instances, and my only real alternative was to do BGs, to get any sort of decent gear. Eventually, I ran into Repgrind, and found a high comfort level, and started getting into some higher level content. Eventually, my own guild fell apart, and I went to Crits, but left vs. right coast scheduling proved to make it extremely difficult to progress with them. Not long after, I decided to just take a break.
Now, I’m just a guild member, of a very casual guild, Moonlight Requiem, headed by one of the guys I work with. The guild is really just getting off the ground, but Caraway, the GM, is very good at getting people in. Most of the people I’ve met through the guild seem pretty cool, but I’m still finding myself soloing a lot. A big factor in that is the holidays. People have a lot of time off to play, and they’ve leveled at an insane rate. On the flipside, a lot of my play time has been sporadic, due to family aggro. It will be interesting to see now how it levels off, and what happens.
Doing a bit of introspection, I’m realizing that if I want company, I need to be more outgoing. LOL… not really my forte’, but hey, I’ll work on it. Looking at the big picture, Caraway has assembled what seem to be a really cool bunch of people, so in essence I have a “pre-screened” group.
Anyway, to get back to where I was originally going, I was musing on how far I’ve come. I started, unintentionally, on a PvP server, and used to gnash my teeth at the ganking. I moved to a PvE server, and once there, grew to really like PvP. Now I’m back on a PvP server, and while I still despise the random griefing, it’s more of a roll my eyes thing now, rather than real rage. And, full-circle, I’m back to taking refuge in the battlegrounds, this time for leveling as well as gear.
Originally, I’d planned on leaving Lajos over on Winterhoof, in Crits, but I’m starting to rethink that. I’ve got a perfectly good level 80 mage, well geared, sitting, doing nothing, and realistically, I’m not going to be spending much time over there. If I do, it’s not like I’m going to be in a position to run content. Basically, I’m just “keeping a presence”, and I’m debating whether it’s worth it. If I do a character move, I can bring money, heirloom items, etc. over that will make life a lot more productive on my current server, including leveling our guild.
And of course, I’ve got a guild bank over on Winterhoof, full of stuff that would be really useful. My DK sits as guildmaster, and the stuff languishes in an upper tab. Those people who stuck with the guild after the melt-down have given up and bailed, and I can’t say as I blame them. I just really lost my enthusiasm for WoW after the events of last summer. Now that I’ve rediscovered some of that enthusiasm, it’d be nice to profit from some of my labor.