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.