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During the past couple weeks I’ve spent all of my WoW time leveling up my new paladin tank, Fontasy, and things are still going pretty smoothly.  I’m not really in the mood to play my other 80 characters, so this is really working out well so far. As of early February he’s at level 47 and quickly climbing with about 2 days and 11 hours of play time logged. I should also note just for fun that most of this play time was spend while listening to Keith and the Girl.

I’m still leveling him exclusively via the LFD tool and so far it’s going good. I had an idea that I would never let him leave SW after level 15, but then I suppose I wouldn’t ever be able to buy any emblem gear at 80. I don’t usually take too well to the weird ideas people have about leveling their characters, but this one seemed a little intriguing to me. Oh wells. It won’t work.

After many hours of learning the ins and outs of tanking through trial and error, I’m starting to feel much more comfortable in my new role. The end game heroics still seem to be a little intimidating to me, but I’m sure I’ll cross that bridge when I get there. I’m also not too sure about how I’m going to go about gearing up for heroics, but I suppose I’ll figure that out later too. Having spent no time at all as a DPS paladin, I would be probably be just as unfit doing that as tanking undergeared.

Anyway, here’s a quick run-down of some of the instances that I ran last weekend. I didn’t take screenshots of the party chat arguments because it seems a little useless, but overall it was a good time.

Scarlet Monastery:

I got into a couple groups for SM, but for the most part I had out-leveled and out-geared it. I think I queued up for it once or twice for some quick and easy XP when I was about to hit 46, but other than that I didn’t bother with it too much. Most of the runs were pretty good with the exception of one in particular that was a damn nightmare. One of the DPS just jumped around the mobs while the druid healer didn’t even bother to throw the smallest of HOTs on me. Right as I was about to port out and find a new group, someone pulled before I could and we got a huge number of pissed off people attacking us. Luckily I survived, no thanks to the healer, and dropped group. The icing on the cake was the clothie who pulled instantly asked for a rez as soon as the fight was finished.

Maraudon: Orange Crystals

This instance, unfortunately, was my bowl of “just right” porridge for the better part of a day and it got old pretty quickly. Almost every other instance seemed to be too high or too low for me so I was stuck running this one over and over. As a result of the lack of concentrated mobs, it also made for extremely slow leveling. To make matters even worse, the LFD tool calls the instances over after the second boss, at which point of course everyone leaves with the quickness.

After killing the first two bosses about 10 times or so, I finally got a group who decided to continue on and clear out the rest of the instance which was great. I was able to chain pull for more XP and even picked up some great gear upgrades for when I hit 48, including a new shield. I was also pretty surprised to find that there are some pretty cool bosses deep in the instance. I’m not sure why people get their LFD loot after the first boss, but it seems like Blizzard would want people to go a little deeper in before calling it quits.

During the one bad run that I had here there was a mage who was using only a staff to do damage and her warrior friend who was wearing cloth armor and using some ridiculous weapon that I can’t remember. Unless it’s an intentional run by a guild to use, say, only fish as weapons or something along those lines to add a further challenge, I didn’t find it the least bit amusing and nor did anybody else in the group. The two stupids stuck together and tried to defend their asshattery, but in the end the entire group was forced to disband because they both couldn’t be kicked. I still can’t really wrap my head around what would make someone do such a thing. It seems like part of it is intentionally wasting people’s time, but I feel like a larger part of it is just sheer ignorance.

Zul’Farak

Zoning into ZF was a huge breath of fresh air after being stuck in the caves of Maraudon all day. I hadn’t been there since I was leveling my priest so it was really good to revisit. I’m not too sure why, but I’ve always had a soft spot for that place. Despite being mostly the same, the mobs are fun to kill and there the last hydra boss is also cool to down. Although there weren’t really any gear upgrades, I noticed that the XP gains were tremendous compared to what I had been doing before. I also managed to pick up a couple quests from other people in the group that netted me about an entire level’s worth of XP, albeit after traveling around the world for an hour to do the turn-ins.

The Near Future:

I feel like I may want to dust off the priest soon in order to get emblems to buy the leather chest for my up and coming druid. I kind of got tired of playing the druid a little bit, but the goal of getting another heirloom piece might be worth running some more heroics.

Although I think I’m still done playing my mage for most part, I thought for awhile today about trying to get one of the rare whelps pets on him as a change of pace. Aside from another pet, it would actually be a pretty beneficial thing to do since I could send the leather to my druid to level leatherworking and also send the greens out to Fontasy to disenchant.

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While almost all of my time in-game as of late has been spent tanking low level instances via the LFD tool, I noticed that I’ve picked up a few interesting habits recently that I never used to have. I find this interesting because for the most part I’ve always kind of chugged along and never thought too deeply about how I can improve my playing. Although I still won’t even stick my toes into the murky waters of theory crafting, I am doing a lot more to get a little more performance out of my gear.

Auction House Tanking Gear:

The first new habit I’ve picked up is to check the AH for gear upgrades for my tank after every ding. At this point gold isn’t really a problem and I figure if I can eek out just a little more armor here and there it’ll probably help out the group. While this may seem like a halfway normal practice for someone to do, it should be noted that in the past I never really cared too much for good gear while I leveled because, hey, I’m going to outgrow it as soon as possible if all goes well. As a tank now, it seems that I’m not just playing for myself now. I now have four other people to think about, especially the healer.

Dungeon Reruns:

The other habit that I think I’m going to stick to is running the easier and quicker instances until I almost out-level them, and there are two reasons for this. The first is that since I’m a relatively new tank, if I can power through the mobs a little bit faster it might be a little easier on the healers should things get a little crazy. The other reason is speed. Lately I’ve been running Stockades repeatedly and can now steamroll through the place in about twenty minutes or so. There are often times where I only have an hour or so to play before work, so the quicker instances are much better suited. On the downside, I don’t really need anything that drops from those places when I’m a good five levels or so above every mob there.

Although I am using the dungeon finder, I decided not to use the random dungeon tool too often. The main reason for this is that, as previously written, I can continue to run the same instance over and over without getting thrown into one that is too low or too high for my level. It also works out pretty good in regards to time limitations. Not only are some places longer than others, (Deadmines and Gnomergan) but it also seems that the longer instances are plagued with people constantly dropping group which holds up the group as we have to escort the newcomers to where we’re at. Without using the random dungeons feature I’m able to knock out a quick instance in about 20 minutes and then take of other things if I need to.

Gems and Enchants:

Gemming and enchanting my gear is something that I’ve become obsessed with lately on my two level 80s, the holy priest and fire mage. I find this to be interesting because when I played the mage during TBC I never understood or gave two thoughts about how to further improve my gear. I think this was partly because I didn’t have much gold to pay for them and also because I didn’t follow the many WoW related websites and blogs that I read today.

Now however, I find myself instantly heading for the auction house as soon as I pick up a new piece of gear worth keeping and spending hundreds and hundreds of gold to buy the top notch gems and enchants. I even spent about 45 emblems to instantly reach exalted with Sons Of Hodir just for the shoulder enchants and don’t regret any of it.

To supplement the effect of getting some new gear every level on my tank, I’m also enchanting my gear when possible which helps a bit. I’ve been a little too lazy to do it just yet, but I’ve also been meaning to send some leather armor kits to the tank as well.

As always, thanks for reading Thoughts of Warcraft. Stay tuned for next post.

Brad

http://thoughtsorwarcraft.wordpress.com

In a recent post I wrote about wanting to try my hand at tanking. Well, I did and it’s been a lot of fun so far.

I Tank Now:

The first thing I did ironically enough was delete my old level 22 human paladin. I hadn’t played him in over a year and I hated his name and look, so it’s wasn’t too difficult of a decision. Luckily I hadn’t bought too many bank slots so I didn’t sweat it too much. I then made a brand new dranei pally named Fontasy and loaded him up with four heirloom items, bags, and a bunch of gold. I plan on leveling him by only using the LFD tool. The name of course is from one of my favorite podcasts, The Best Show On WFMU, and it’s a reference to how they thought Gene Simmons would pronounce the word “fantasy.”

Because my top priority was to begin tanking instances as soon as possible, I instantly headed for Elwynn Forest because that’s where I’m most comfortable leveling quickly. Before I knew it I was level 10 and began putting talents into the prot spec. I leveled solely from quests until the very moment that I hit level 15 and then began my journey into the wonderful world of tanking. I decided that I wasn’t going to worry about any professions at first, but later decided to pick up enchanting just for the hell of it. The only bad thing about leveling up was that I had already had a paladin that was capable of tanking before creating Fontasy. Oh well. I know I’ll have more fun with this character than I ever would have on the old one.

The first instance I tried was Ragefire Chasm and I was surprisingly pretty nervous about it. I suppose I thought that tanking was some long lost secret that no one ever taught me. As you may know from previous posts, I tend to get that way until I get used to doing something, and this was no exception. I let everyone know that I’ve never tanked before and then pulled my first mob. At first I was very careful and only pulled one mob at a time to minimize my damage. Lucky for me, most of the mobs were very spread out which I thought was a nice introduction to learning how to tank. After a few RFC runs though I was charging right in and doing some chain pulls.

Huntards:

The Dinosaur Huntard

One thing that I found to be extremely surprising is that so many people pulled groups of mobs before I could, and effectively ruined my threat generation. I thought that it may have just been a low-level thing, but it turns out I saw it pretty consistently until I hit about level 25 or so. Make of it what you will, but the main culprit was always a hunter. And, for the record, you can’t rain Misdirection until you’re a level 70 hunter so they obviously weren’t trying to help me. What made things even stranger was that even after I and other members of the group warned them, they still continued pulling. The most extreme case of this was in Deadmines where the whole group decided to let the huntard tank a few mobs if that’s what they really wanted to do. They quickly died and ragequit and we continued on our merry way.

However, I can’t say that I’ve never done this before myself. There was a time during my first 5-man instance, Deadmines, where I pulled before the tank because I wanted to help out and didn’t understand threat mechanics. In my mind, I felt bad for letting the tank do all the work and simply wanted to help him out. At this point in time I had no concept whatsoever about what threat was. After getting yelled at a bit in chat I instantly fell back and played the role of a good DPS. What I’ve been seeing lately though just seems to be pure ignorance and unwillingness to cooperate.

Lazy Rogues:


Another one of my pet peeves as of late is rogues not doing anything in instances. It seems that every time I look over at the rogue as I’m in mid-fight, he’s just standing in the corner cloaked not attacking anything. In another case the rogue pulled groups of mobs before I could, which led to more of the problems that I mentioned before. I haven’t brought up recount yet to confirm their slacking, partly because I’m too busy and also because I wouldn’t really even know what good DPS at level 26 would look like. I will say however that it’s gotten pretty old already and gives new meaning to being carried through instances.

Well, thanks for reading the blog as always. I plan on running almost exclusively with this tank and I can’t wait to get him up to heroic level. I’m sure the learning process will be pretty interesting and should provide for some good stories, which I’ll of course relay here on Thoughts of Warcraft.

Until next time.

Brad

https://thoughtsofwarcraft.wordpress.com

Dotonbori in Osaka

It’s been a little while since the last update so here’s what’s been going on lately in WoW and life for me.

The Big Trip To West Japan:

Over the Christmas break I took a trip to west Japan just like I did last year. We bought something called the Seishun Juhachi Kippu which I highly recommend. Basically it’s a ticket to ride the slow local trains all you want for five non-consecutive days, and it’s only about $100 which is great. We went to Nagoya, Osaka, Kobe, and Kyoto and spent about a week traveling. It was great fun and certainly something that I’ll remember for the rest of my life, however if it didn’t pan out I think I would have been pretty happy just to sit at home and play WoW for a week and relax.

Some of the stories from the trip are a little too wild to blog about, but let’s just say that a good time was had by all. Some highlights include crazy times at karaoke, eating miso katsu in Nagoya, and being covered in pigeons in a park.

Now for WoW stuff.

My priest, Truckspank, is now geared to the teeth from emblems and although I enjoy healing heroics a ton, there is now little to no incentive to continue doing so. I even spent about 40 emblems or so to get exalted with the Sons of Hodir for the shoulder enchants. One thing I like about that is that the enchants are BOA so I bought two and sent one off to my mage, Chipdipson. I suppose I could try to keep doing one heroic a day for the emblems of frost seeing as I’m only about 6 days away from getting a new cloak. I suppose I just don’t really care too much about it.

I guess I could convert some emblems down and get more heirloom chest pieces. Maybe I’ll give that a shot. So far most of my heirloom pieces are only from the Wintergrasp shards that drop from the bosses occasionally.

Despite the long wait to queue for dungeons as DPS, I’ve managed to get my mage pretty well geared up which is nice. There is still a lot of room for gear improvement, but in the interest of time management I think I’m just gonna let him sit for awhile. Although he’s a lot of fun to play, I’d have to say that I prefer to plays priests now. It may sound a little strange, but sometimes I feel more pressure to pay attention when I play a DPS classes which may be the result of having an overgeared priest. Usually I can just throw a couple heals out and just chill.

As for WoW in general, one problem that’s happened to me a few times now is instant boredom and overall lack of interest once I feel that my character is “maxed out” with gear. Sure there’s always raiding to do, but I’ve never really had the time to devout to that even on a very casual level. So I decided to level up on my alts and put my two 80s on hold for a little bit until whenever I feel like playing them again.

Partydoctor?

Alts:

Lately I solely been playing my druid, Partydoctor, and getting him leveled up. He’s currently at about 38 and specced for healing so I can get into groups faster via the LFD tool. I had initially considered dual speccing him as DPS or a tank but I think I’m going to save the gold for later. I came to this conclusion for two reasons. The first being that queueing as DPS takes forever and the second being that it seems like leather tanking gear rarely drops. I’m also not too fond of the druid’s tanking mechanics. I’ve heard a lot of people complain about not being able to see your gear and the same animations and I think I’d agree with them.

So far healing as a druid is pretty fun, but vastly different from a priest. I think overall I still prefer the priest, but I have hope that druid healing will become more fun as I level up some new skills. I did however have to do a little bit of research to figure out how to maximize my spells. One mistake I made was I was trying to use Healing Touch (the really long cast heal) as a sort of flash heal when the tank was getting pretty low. The long cast time really makes this an almost useless spell so I glyphed for Regrowth and now use that as my spam healing spell. I’m also pretty excited about healing as a tree in level 80 PVP. It’s been quite a while since I’ve done any PVP so that should be fun.

I’ve also been thinking about tanking a lot lately and have decided to try it out on a paladin. I currently have a level 21 human paladin named Varlant that I hate for several reasons. The first reason is that I give all of my characters funny names that are inspired by podcasts. So far some of these include Chipdipson, Truckspank, Partydoctor, and Phillyboyroy. As you can see, the name Varlant really doesn’t mesh with the lighthearted vibe of my other characters. The second reason is the look of humans in game. For whatever reason I recently took a liking to draenai characters so I think I’m going to delete the level 21 and make a new draenai. The draenai racial healing buff can come in handy as well. With a bunch of heirloom gear to go around, I’m sure I can get a new character up to 21 in no time.

One problem however is that I really have no idea how to tank and it seems a little intimidating. I’m trying to read up on some basic strategies on blogs and hopefully it won’t be too bad. I figure that if I learned to heal pretty quickly, there shouldn’t be too much stopping me from learning how to be a badass tank. I’m mainly interested in tanking to get groups faster via LFD and to learn another aspect of the game.

Well that’s gonna do it for this post. Thanks for reading!
https://thoughtsofwarcraft.wordpress.com

Brad

I still haven’t chosen a favorite dungeon out of the new Ice Crown Citadel 5-mans, but Halls of Reflection certainly is interesting. So far I’ve found all of the instances to be quite a challenge as well as a good opportunity to snag some new loot. Out of the three times that I’ve actually been inside HoR, two of them were under some odd circumstances.

The first time I entered the instance it was during a glitch where no mobs spawned at all. Even though I certainly wouldn’t count this as an attempt, I was still able to walk around and get a feel for the last section. Once we realized the glitch, our group decided to see if the gunship was there to get some free loot but we were thoroughly disappointed. Of course we were stuck with the 15 minute debuff, but that’s about it for that story.

I later joined up for a random dungeon and found a group who downed everything up until the gauntlet section at the end. They had told me that they wiped about 10 times so far which didn’t bode well for me, but I figured that I would give it a shot just to see how hard it was. Not surprisingly, I found it to be pretty damn hard. This being my first time there, I later assumed that the entire instance was only the last gauntlet section.

We started the event and I pretty much knew what to do. Once the ice walls came down it was fairly obvious that all we needed to do was not die until it came down. It also wasn’t long before I had to go into what I’m now affectionately referring to as “The Zone.” Although I’ve found that I can really force myself to get in “The Zone,” it’s a pretty cool feeling when it does happen. It’s a feeling akin to being on autopilot, where every decision you make is pure instinct based on past experience. Perhaps it’s like the tale of the mother who found the strength to lift a car off of her child. I don’t remember exactly what I was doing, but it was the right thing.

I healed like this for wave after wave of scourge until I finally died at what was literally the very last moment. This being my first time in HoR, I didn’t know if it was finished and considered it a wipe until I was able to roll on loot. It was quite exhilarating and I was able to get some good epics out of the deal too.

That group and I continued to run about four more heroics until the tank started acting odd and doing dumb wipe-causing pulls and high-jumps from bridges. It was then that I thanked them and excused myself from the group and queued up again, only to instantly find myself back with the same group. We all had a pretty good laugh about it and I decided that it must have been fate so we finished the instance.

Finally I was able to get a full clear of Halls of Reflection and it was a lot of fun. I even got some compliments on my healing which is always a nice feeling. There were a few close calls on account of the fact that I started playing not long after I woke up, but overall it was pretty good. However, I did find it a bit weird that almost the whole group had to spend most of the first section staring at a wall. Kinda strange considering that there was so much cool stuff to look at.

As for the final gauntlet, this group had it together and there really weren’t any close calls in the least. It was so smooth in fact that it made me wonder as to whether or the first had any business being there at all.

Stay tuned for more posts. There’s tons to talk about after 3.3 dropped! Thanks for reading.

Brad

This past Sunday morning (6 p.m. server time) I joined up once again with the people from the Raiding 101 group and we headed in to Naxx 10 man. Even though it was only Naxx, I did my best throughout the week to gear up as much as I could via the new LFG system to get just a little more healing coming through. I also made a point to be sure that all my gear was gemmed and enchanted out. So far I’m really enjoying the vibe of the group. Although many of the people are different from week to week, I think it’s a pretty nice and valuable thing that the raid leaders are doing.

The group had already taken down a couple of the bosses earlier in the week, so we were able to get a little deeper into Naxx than last week. We began on Maexxnna and I think we had one wipe, but we were off to the Plague Quarter soon enough. Noth went down far easier than the week before. It was actually pretty shocking considering how hard it was to heal him before. Of course after that we headed off to Heigan the Unclean and the infamous “dance” of his. Everyone knew this is where the trouble would start, but then again it was called Raid 101 for a reason.

Up to this point I had only done Heigan as a DPS once and needless to say I died pretty early on. After about 3 wipes we were about to call the raid as it was nearing towards our three hour time limit for the raid. But, we decided to try one more time and that’s when I finally got the hang of the dance. My strategy, although a little flawed, was to just run straight through without stopping. This got me clipped a couple times, but with a preemptive shield and some HOTs I was able to make it through, although it was pretty close.

Luckily, as a holy priest I have a ton of instant cast spells which really saved the day. While running I was able to get off some Prayers of Mending and a few Circles of Healing. Not too bad. I think it took about three dances or so before downing him, but it was quite the thrill with people screaming into vent again. It was definitely a good feeling. My main thought while running was pretty much just “I’m doing it! I’m doing it!”

With spirits high, we decided to give Loatheb a try. Despite being past our three hour limit, everyone was still game for it. The main thing he does, from a healer’s perspective, is to only allow healing for three seconds at a time, every 20 seconds. I had the Deadly Boss Mobs add-on installed, but it was really confusing. One alert would pop up on the screen and then stay there, while another alert would pop up somewhere else. I pretty much had no idea when the window was so I just kept casting normally and hoped for the best. This strategy almost made me run out of mana, but we had a druid who stepped up to heal as well so we were ok.

I gave it my all and got an invite to join the group’s progressive raiding team which is pretty cool. Again, because of the crazy time difference I won’t be able to make it to too many raids, but it’s a pretty cool feeling to get recognized. It kinda make me feel like a “real” healer, although I still haven’t gotten used to that title 100%. So I’m gonna try and make the schedules match up as best I can and see what happens.

Considering that I played WoW as a mage for about a year and a half, I still question my abilities as a healer from time to time despite getting frequent compliments. In all fairness, I think I’m actually not too bad at healing and have taken to it quite well. Most heroics are incredibly smooth with little to no “Oh shit!” moments as I like to call them. However, I still find myself getting very nervous when trying out new content for the first time. A large part of this nervousness is probably due to the fact other players don’t want to, or don’t have time to explain strategies, especially in PUGs.

If I remember correctly, this is how the conversation went during my first time in heroic TOC:

Me: “I haven’t healed this yet so please let me know any tips, etc to heal better here”

Tank:
“easy”


To make matters worse, the first time I tried healing TOC it was on regular and it wasn’t long before I was kicked from the group for the usual “L2p n00b!” style stuff. That was a pretty crushing moment. For whatever reason, I become a far more sensitive player while healing. I should point out here that it’s not the offense of being called a “n00b” by some kid, but more so that it makes me question whether or not I’m a good healer. There seems to be a lot more personal responsibility on behalf of the healer as opposed to the kid only eeking out 700 DPS in the same instance.

So, needless to say I was damn near terrified to try out the heroic version when faced with it via the random dungeon finder. In fact, I was even a little afraid to hit the “Enter Dungeon” button each time for fear that I would end up healing H TOC. But I manned up and figured I had to learn it eventually so I put my game face on and did my best. This is where it gets pretty surprising to me.

Because I knew that TOC may be a problem for me I read up on the strategies a little bit so I would know what I was getting into. Basically what I took away from this was to turn your back when the one guy does the thing, some zombies blow up a lot, and that’s about it. As we dropped boss after boss I was astounded at just how it easy it was. Perhaps the other people I was grouped with were well geared and experienced. I’m not sure why, but it was absolutely no trouble at all to heal. Sure there were a couple tight moments, but even during the black knight boss I just kind of stared at my computer amazed at how little damage people were taking.

Right after the run I wanted to do it about 10 more times because of the great drops and my new found confidence. Hopefully I don’t get too confident, but now I feel much better about my skills as a healer and ready to tackle some more difficult content. I’m looking forward to healing the hell out of heroics this coming weekend with the LFG tool so I’ll be sure to post anything interesting that happens.

Thanks for reading Thoughts Of Warcraft! @ https://thoughtsofwarcraft.wordpress.com

Brad

At this point I’m sure you’ve heard all of the arguments both for and against the relative easiness of getting geared in full tier 9 simply by doing heroics. From what I’ve read, I don’t think I really fall into either camp. Here are some of the main reasons that I’m going after a full tier 9 set.

It’s A Goal: This one is pretty important for me and it’s part of the reason that I stopped playing Chipdipson. With Chip, I was close to gaining exalted reputation with Ebon Blade. Coincidentally enough, that was the last faction I was grinding. With no other real rewards from heroics, I quickly became disinterested. Also, without being in a solid raid group, the carrot on a stick of the T9 gear will more than keep me interested in heroics.

It Looks Cool: Pretty self-explanatory. Since I started playing the game, I’ve never had a full set of tier anything so now I just want to see how it looks on my characters. There’s something pretty special to me about just seeing it all match. I came pretty close to getting a full PVP set on my priest, but later got bored of the grind considering that there was so many heroics to learn. Basically, I’m not overly concerned about what set of tier gear it is, I just want a full set of something.

Raiding: This reason probably falls in line with some of the typical arguments, but perhaps my way of thinking about it is a bit different. From what I know, most people seem to want to get geared up in T9 so that they can jump straight to Ice Crown Citadel. As a healer, I’d rather keep running Naxx until I can comfortably heal anyone through it, and then progress to Ulduar or whatever. I haven’t had a chance to raid much at all since I began playing WoW, so I would hate to skip entire swaths of content just to get more epic gear.

Thanks for reading. Leave a comment and I should be back with another post soon.

Brad

Anybody who has read a little bit of the blog before knows that running 5-man dungeons is one of my favorite parts of the game, so it’s no secret that I’ve been chomping at the bit to try out the LFG tool that came with 3.3. So much so in fact that I’ve just been leveling some alts and mindlessly grinding rep just to kill time on my mains.

During this time I was able to level fishing and cooking quite a bit on my priest and get almost all eight other characters on my account to around the level 20 range so that they can start hitting instances. With one character of every class leveled pretty good, I’d say that the most intriguing one is Partydoctor, my druid. He’s a boomkin in the making now, but I’ll probably go dual spec at 40 as tank/heals.

Ok…down to business.

DPS:

As Truckspank, my priest, gradually became my new main, my trusty old mage and first character ever, Chipdipson, has been doing nothing but collecting dust and making the occasional bag for a long time. With the ease of finding groups now, I decided to get him some tier 9 badge gear and so far it’s a (fire) blast. Considering that there is vastly more DPS in the game than tanks and heals, I was really surprised at just how fast I was able to get into a heroic group. Chipdipson currently has a couple pieces of gear from Naxx, but for the most part it’s all just rep rewards and heroic loot. It is however pretty well enchanted and gemmed which seems to make a pretty big difference.

Within the first couple minutes of joining up with a group, I instantly remembered just how fun it is to blow stuff up. With my current frostfire spec, almost all of my damage comes from three spells: Scorch, Fire Blast, and Frostfire Bolt. The big damage comes in when hot streak procs and I get a free Pyroblast. Rinse and repeat. While this may sound simple, it’s surprisingly fun as hell to play. When buffed up enough, I can get some enormous crits going which is so much more invigorating than healing.

Healing:

Even though I had a ton of fun bombing through heroics with Chipdipson, my priest is still new main and as such is my main concern in terms of getting some nice tier 9 badge gear as soon as possible.

Although I’m pretty confident with my healing abilities at this point, there are still a couple heroics that I’m just not comfortable healing yet. These would have to be Halls Of Lightning, the Trial of the Champion 5-man version, and of course Oculus. It doesn’t help the situation any more when I think back to almost getting booted from a HOL group last year as DPS and some bad TOC experiences. I suppose there’s no way around it and I’m sure I’ll get the hang of it one way or another if it comes up as the random dungeon.

The first four groups or so that I joined up with were simply amazing. They were quite possibly the smoothest heroics that I’ve ever had the pleasure of doing. The two that really stick out in my mind were Nexus and Violet Hold. Of course these were fairly easy even while undergeared, but it was absolutely astounding at how quickly the bosses went down. As a healer, I only had time to throw out a renew and a flash heal or two before the boss was down and we moved on to the next one. It was a pretty nice welcoming to the future of LFG.

Thanks for reading. Stay tuned…the next post is about Easy Tier 9 Through Badges.

-Brad


While killing some time on an alt as I waited for patch 3.3 to drop, I found someone spamming trade chat about running Naxx for something called Raid 101. I sent a tell out to him and was surprised at his politeness and general good demeanor. At this point I’m a little overgeared for Naxx as a result of heroic badge gear, but I still have yet to heal many raids. As it turns out this is precisely what Raid 101 was about so I confirmed the run.

As the week went on I was found myself really looking forward to running, and more importantly healing, Naxx. I had DPSed it in the past with my mage and was aware of some of the basic fight mechanics, but on the whole I don’t really have time to learn boss fights. The scheduling difficulty raids only gets worse considering that I’m living in Japan now and I’m a good 14 hours ahead of EST. So, the more I thought about it, this was beginning to seem like it would be a lot of fun.

I woke up Sunday morning after a long night and really wanted nothing more than to go back to sleep. I had stayed up really late calling family in the States, and was awake for about a day. But, a promise is a promise so I dutifully headed out to Naxx and the raid began right on time at 11am. On heals it was me, a holy spec priest on raid/tank heals, and the raid leader who was a disc priest on main tank heals. The rest of the group was a mix of the raid leader’s guild and other random people who came to learn.

Since I was mostly unaware of what the bosses do, I spent a little bit of time reading up on the fights which seemed to help me out quite a bit. I’m more of a hands-on learner so nothing really compares to actually doing it, but a few things stuck with me that helped out a little bit. We started taking on bosses and knocking them out in no time at all. In the end we ended up dropping Noth the Plaugebringer as the last boss and called it there after three hours. I could have used a couple gear upgrades considering that I’m still using PVP shoulders, but I was there for the experience and that’s what I got.

The Noth fight was by far the most intense. I think when someone reposted the timer in raid chat it came out to be about 10 minutes long. 10 very long and stressful minutes, but some of the most fun that I’ve ever had in WoW so far. Because I wasn’t really looking at the boss’s health at all, it was a huge relief when he finally dropped and people were screaming on vent. It really reminded why I play this game.

As for the details of the Noth fight, I’ll try to write what I remember from that crazy experience. We wiped once because of how we layed out the fight, so we switched strategies up on the second attempt. Basically, my mind just went into full-on panic mode and instinct. I frantically kept an eye on my Circle of Healing cooldown and threw it on the tank almost every time it was up. I just glyphed for Guardian Spirit which resets the cooldown to one minute which I kept up on the off tank. I’m very glad that I did because the extra healing bonus saved us from some near wipe moments.

In addition to my “real” healing spells, I also kept Gift of the Naaru on constant cooldown for some extra help. While I use it quite often on the tank during heroics, I’m not sure if it’s really worth using a GCD for it during raids unless I cast it on myself. Aside from that, I kept my re-usable alchemist potions on CD for extra mana, as well as Lifebloom, and Shadowfiend. I think I had time to get a Hymn of Hope in for mana help, and I definitely popped an “Oh Shit!” moment Divine Hymn.

I’m running Naxx again with the same group of people this coming Sunday as well so it should be a nice break from all the 3.3 heroics I’ll be getting in provided that the servers remain stable.


What I learned:

Managing cooldowns: Pretty early on in the boss fights I learned that I should be casting something on somebody on almost every single global cool down. This is something that I’m not really used to since most of my experience comes from 5-man heroics. The closest thing that I think raid healing comes close to is battleground healing, just with a lot more pressure. Sure, there was a tiny bit of downtime here and there, but if nobody needs a heal I should probably do something else like cast Hymn of Hope.

Dealing with pressure: Even though there was another healer there to get my back, it was still very hectic and stressful knowing that 9 other people there counted on me not to suck. Even though I was on raid heals, I’d say the majority of my heals were spent trying to keep the tank up. Maybe it was because I was really tired, but eventually I was able to settle in a good groove and I stopped thinking and worrying and just kind of went off of instinct. In fact, it reminds of some Bruce Lee clips that I was watching last night.

Play nice: I’ve yet to run Naxx PUGs very often because even though the idea of 5-man PUGs is ok with me, somehow raid PUGs are bit scary. The reason for this is because I don’t know all of the fights that well and I wouldn’t want to waste someone else’s time with me trying to figure out what to do. The second reason is because I’m assuming that most other people don’t think like this and would probably waste my time without thinking twice about it. What made this Naxx run great I think is that from the get go we all agreed that we would be patient and polite in the case of a wipe.

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