With Patch 5.2, I got rid of my rarely-used PvP off-spec and set up a questing/soloing SV spec, glyphed and talented for pet healing and a little bit more utility. With the Isle of Thunder containing clusters of mobs with higher health levels, quest “bosses,” rares, solo scenarios, and so on, I felt that it would make my life a little bit easier, and it definitely has.
Pet Growl is great in MoP – very effective in situations like this. Because I’m a lazy hunter, I usually just leave Growl on. Lots of other hunters do the same thing, which makes it kind of humorous when you’re fighting a rare with two hunters on it and the pets keep taunting off one another.
However, I’ve been learning (again) that, when hunters do this in certain situations, it’s not as funny on the other side of the ball.
While the knowledge has always been there, this was really brought home to me over the past week with my warrior tank. Stage 4 opened last week, bringing more “boss” quests per day, and more rares to kill. A couple of these bosses, including Itoka, Master of the Forge, and Metal Lord Mono-han, put a lot of bad on the ground in the form of energized metal, roaming electric sparks, electrified water, and so on. These things are obviously good to get out of, and likewise, kiting the boss out of or away from them is imperative.
As a prot warrior – and hence, on the other side of the ball with regard to the relationship with tanking pets in these situations – I’ve repeatedly been frustrated when hunters keep Growl on when it’s pretty obvious that I’m tanking the boss. It’s pretty annoying when, as a tank, you can’t kite the boss out of persistent bad because the pet is taunting him immediately after you do, every time.
With Itoka, the roaming sparks are a constant nuisance, and Metal Lord’s “Toss Energized Metal” is similar, although in his case the danger circles are static. In either case, constant re-positioning is fairly mandatory, and, as someone who enjoys tanking, I like moving the boss around to give everyone the best chance to do damage and to take a minimum of damage themselves. This is virtually impossible when the hunter either ignores this concept or is completely unaware that it’s a problem.
I do take solace from the fact that, on several occasions, hunter pets have died during these fights, and I’ve been able to resume controlling the boss’s position. But here’s the bottom line about hunter pets constantly taunting off the tank and standing stationary in bad stuff, regardless of whether hunters care about their pets dying:
IT TAKES LONGER TO KILL THE BOSS THAT WAY.
Potentially a lot longer.
When the pet has either of these bosses, and the hunter isn’t spending any time re-positioning it like a normal tank should, the original tank and any other melee DPS cannot do their normal damage to the mob. They could, theoretically – but that would involve taking boatloads of damage due to spending way too much time being hit by electrical charges of one form or another, and likely dying if they didn’t get out in time. The AoE damage on these fights is no joke; even as a decently geared tank, it’s virtually impossible to stand in one of these circles for the entire fight and survive. And even if there is no AoE around for the moment, a tank taking no damage is building up zero vengeance, so his/her damage for that time period is going to be pretty anemic.
And pets don’t have a vengeance mechanic, so there’s absolutely no “win” in pet tanking when there’s someone else there that wants to tank the boss for you.
There have been several occasions over the past week where a hunter pet has taken control of the boss, and I’ve been forced to stand outside the circle, telling the hunter to “please turn off Growl” (if the hunter is Alliance) and tossing Heroic Throw because I can’t otherwise reach the boss. I try to make it obvious, without resorting to being unpleasant, that I. can’t. do. anything. And neither can that ret pally or DK or rogue standing next to me. And the boss loses health at a much slower rate, and it’s just a huge pain in the ass, because nobody can do what they would normally be doing in that situation, other than the hunter.
So, a word to wise hunters: please keep the Growl button on your pet bar. Know when to turn it off – and if you don’t know when to turn it off, it’s any time you don’t need to be the tank on a rare or a quest “boss.” And use Glyph of Stampede, so that it turns off Growl on all of your stampeding pets as well. Because if you don’t, you’re needlessly making your own dailies – not to mention others’ – take a bit longer to complete. Which sucks, because dailies take enough time as it is. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot.
Bad pun intended.
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Thanks for reading this post by Mushan at Mushan, Etc. Comments are welcome!
(Writing this on Wednesday evening.)
This past week-plus has been spent not doing quite as much as I normally do over the course of a day or week in WoW, following my previously detailed realization that I am suffering burnout due to over-exposure to the Valor grind(s).
While I continue to cap my hunter, I’ve been purposely slacking on every other toon. I spent a good deal less time doing just about everything that I normally do last week, except for raiding, than I have in a long time, and that was good.
We skipped last week’s Friday night alt raid due to some absences, which was totally fine by me. The main group finally stepped back into Terrace and cleared that for the first time, which was nice. We downed Garalon. We’re planning on finishing up HoF this Friday if we can get enough people (Easter this weekend means, for good reason, that our weekend raid is cancelled). We can clear Jin’rokh every week, basically, so that’s good, because many of us need the gear he drops. But Horridon will wait until April, which is fine.
Isle of Thunder and The Thunder Forge
This raid lockout – while still “young” – has been kind of fun, since Stage 4 of the assault on the Isle of the Thunder Throne is now open. While doing my dailies on my hunter on Tues., I finally got to see The Thunder Forge, get my quest to learn how to make Lightning Steel Ingots, and start working on building up a store of such ingots to put toward creating some cool “reborn” weapons.
For some reason, I got all excited about this – perhaps it’s because I’ve been learning recipes for gear from making Magnificence of Leather and Imperial Silk since 5.2 Day One, so it’s nice that my two Blacksmiths (hunter and warrior) can finally start doing the same. Not sure why Blizzard made Blacksmithing this way, since the weapons that can be made after 29 days look like they will cap out at 489, which is hardly current raid levels. I imagine that this might be their reasoning – which I think is flawed, since there’s really no grounds for the penalty – but even if it’s not, I don’t have the interest or energy to hunt for an official answer. At any rate, I’m happy to be able to do those “transmutes” now, since I have a couple of toons that can use weapons of that level – appreciating that, at this point, my interest in gearing up alts via Raid Finder is at something of an absolute all-time low.
Shado-pan Assault rep and 5.2 Valor gear
Last week’s announcement that Patch 5.3 will see the Item Upgrade NPCs returning from their respective vacations was one that, at the time, merely sparked my interest. The reduced costs (500 VP for an 8-ilvl increase per item) mean that upgrades will be more flexible and user-friendly – more like putting a gem in a piece of gear (although not exactly like it) and less like buying an entire new item. Easier to commit to.
That kind of thing, I find interesting, whether it’s the old model or the new one.
However, things were thrown into a different light this evening as I neared the “Honored” threshold (of my ongoing quest to gain rep with the Shado-pan Assault) on Mushan.
When the Valor gear was initially revealed, I glanced at it. Wow, nice trinket. Lot of Hit, but nice proc. Other pieces… most of them upgrades. Nice. No helm or boots… but those can be crafted at a later date. That’s good. Etc.
I bought the neck immediately, and shortly thereafter I purchased the trinket, then the ring and the bracers. Everything was good there – my Hit Rating was a little high for a short while, but it’s under control at the moment.
In the meantime, however, I’ve had some decent luck with a couple of other slots. I got the Thunderforged legs (528) on our very first Jin’rokh kill. Our third kill resulted in the shoulders (522) on a bonus roll. I’ve gotten several pieces in Raid Finder, but the only piece I’m able to use right now is the cloak (502) from Ji-Kun. Nevertheless, I’ve got some decent gear going for me right now, which is helping me stay competitive and contributing to our team.
However, the combination of gear that I’ve acquired from Valor and drops means that I’ve suddenly run into a weird wall. Because of the fact that I still have the T14 2p bonus going on (helm and gloves), and the legs I got are so good, and there’s so much hit (or blue sockets) on the gear that is available to me, I’ve reached a point where my need for Valor Points is rapidly diminishing. Having just reached SPA-honored, I’m seeing a small upgrade with the cloak, which I’ll buy on Thursday. However, the legs are a direct downgrade from my 528s, while the gloves would break my set bonus. So for the next month or so, I really do not need much in the way of VP.
This looks to continue to be the case once I hit revered. At that point, the belt is totally sweet – and will be a must-buy – but the chest is loaded with Hit, Expertise, and two blue sockets with a +120 Agility socket bonus. For real, Blizzard? Beg pardon, but… are you shitting me?? So that’s a big kick in the sack – although it’s still a minor upgrade as things stand with my gear right now, believe it or not, because of the Agility bump. I’ll have to reevaluate when I get there, but I can see myself going “no thanks” when the time comes. And at exalted, the shoulders (with a 700g cost?) are a slight downgrade from Jin’rokh’s, so I’ll probably pass on those too.
All of that to say that my need for VP is likely to diminish rapidly, and is likely to stay that way until 5.3 arrives and upgrades return. I’ll be hitting those babies hard when the opportunity to use them finally arrives.
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A side-note about all of this – and, incidentally, the title-theme of this post – is that this could possibly go a long way toward momentarily easing my demand for VP on my hunter. With no demand for Valor – and I’m talking almost no demand for several weeks – I could possibly just forego questing on that toon for a while. This would open up more time to play other toons for fun, or to simply not play them much at all. Which wouldn’t be a bad thing at this point. I’ve got a strong desire to dig into that copy of Kingdoms of Amalur that’s been staring at me for a while from the shelf.
All I have to do is make sure that I have enough VP to buy the cloak, buy the belt, and be capped for upgrading purposes when 5.3 arrives, and I will be all set. Depending on when that happens, I could conceivably have that taken care of just from raiding, which would be nice. That’s my favorite end-game thing to do on my hunter anyway.
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Thanks for reading this post by Mushan at Mushan, Etc. Comments are welcome!
Early last week, I got a call from my mom, letting me know that my grandma was not doing well, and that she and my dad were driving across the state to see her later that day.
I hadn’t seen my grandma in so long, I’d be embarrassed to admit it here. So I won’t. The tough part was that it was Tuesday, the first of five scheduled work days in a row, because my boss was on vacation (so I was taking up some of that payroll). It really stressed me out, because when my grandfather died in 2008, I had never made it up to visit him in his last years.
Fortunately, I was able to find some schedule flexibility at the end of the week, and after a short shift on Friday morning I made the 315-mile trip to see her. She was, by that time, doing better, and we had a very nice time visiting and talking, watching a baseball game together, and so on. I left mid-afternoon on Saturday, blessed by the experience, and was home in time to raid at 9:30 pm.
It was a hectic week, all told.
This, of course, affected my weekly race to the Valor cap. Or, more than one Valor cap. See, not only have I maintaining a capped-pace on my hunter every week since I hit 90, but I’ve also been trying to cap on my warrior, who tanks for our new alt run on Friday nights.
With patch 5.2 having dropped, here is a short list of the stuff I “have” to do:
- Isle of Thunder dailies (etc.) on the hunter, warrior, and maybe another toon each day.
- Run Throne of Thunder (Raid Finder) on the hunter, at least.
- Run heroics / RF / scenarios and/or do dailies to cap on the hunter and warrior.
- Saturday and Sunday night raids with the main team (hunter).
- Friday night alt raid with the warrior.
- Tillers: 5 level 90s at 16 plots per, plus a level 88 toon with four plots, that I try to hit each day.
- Living Steel, cloth, Sha Crystal, and Magnificence of (—) daily cooldowns.
- Somewhat consistent AH activity, although that doesn’t take much time.
This does not include having fun with alts – and right now, that mostly means playing my DK in Outland from time to time.
At any rate, the above list represents a lot of grind. And grind equals time spent, and grind doesn’t always mean fun. And time spent neither making real money nor having fun can become time wasted.
So last Friday, for the first time since I took a trip to visit with family last October, I completely ignored all of those grinds. I didn’t log in at all, because I had to go to work and then drive for more than five hours afterward. Part of me felt a smidgen of “but I need to make time for that before work!” while the rational side of me dismissed that notion as completely ridiculous.
Because it was completely ridiculous.
This may be a relatively alt-unfriendly expansion, but I have six toons in Pandaria in spite of that. I farm 84 plots per day. The Isle of Thunder can be a time sink when you get quests that are negatively affected by long re-spawn timers – or are just dumb quests, like “squash 150 roaches for 5 VP and the chance to kill the final quest boss if you actually do it.” Plus, the rares are fun, but I can’t always afford to let time get away from me while waiting for them to spawn.
I’ve been religiously farming those plots. Religiously doing those dailies. Religiously hitting up Raid Finder. Religiously capping on the hunter, and sometimes the warrior. It has felt like a duty that I was always going to be glad that I completed when I did, each week and with each positive raid result.
However, as I began my drive north last Friday, I had to chuckle to myself. I was free! No dailies today! No raid tonight! It’s sad to say, but it was actually nice to have that time off from raiding, even though it was just one day and I’d only raided twice before on the warrior.
Since Saturday night, when I came back, I’ve slacked off on some of that grind, and I think I will be better for it.
Despite new content with the recent patch, I have been starting to grow… I don’t know… bored? tired? of the game. This is probably a sign that I’ve been playing it too much, for too long. While the content is new, the game is basically the same, the way that I have been playing it: lots of grinds.
However, whereas I’ve usually spent days off playing WoW all day when there was nothing else pressing to do, lately I’ve been finding something else to do with some of that time. This is definitely a good thing.
But the best thing is that I am letting go of some of the grinds. I am not going to bust my butt – and test my own patience in the process – by putting my warrior through the same paces that I put my hunter through each week, just to ensure that I can get that next piece of gear as soon as possible. I’m not going to concern myself with getting that sixth toon to 90 unless I feel like it, even if it will help me gather herbs more easily with flying, and will get me the Quintessential Quintet achievement (yes, yes… I have two level 90 hunters). I’m not going to go out of my way to make sure that I have enough mats to use each cooldown, every day, without exception. I’ll still use my cooldowns when I can, but I won’t fret if they go un-used for a day or two, or three. I won’t let myself be bothered if I list auctions each and every day, because I have plenty of gold.
I’ll still play my hunter like I do, getting those dailies done and running RF and raiding and so on. And I’ll still farm my plots most days. But I need to take a break from the job that keeping a well-rounded stable of max level alts has become. I want to spend more time enjoying other aspects of the game – like leveling my DK or other toons, and working on my low-level hunter soloing project some more (sadly, he’s still 19). I also have other games I want to play, and books to read, and guitars to play, and good weather to enjoy, and spring cleaning to do, and… so on.
I’m super glad that I made the time to see my beloved grandma last week. I’m also relieved to have been forced to abandon the game and the grind for a couple of days. I think that letting go of some of the job-like aspects of MoP will allow me to enjoy the game more when I do play, and will make me happier overall.
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Thanks for reading this post by Mushan at Mushan, Etc. Comments are welcome!
Disclaimer: this post is anecdotal only; there is no 5.2 gear info here, just me talking about me, which is what I do a lot on this blog. :)
I’ve been sick with the flu this week. I felt it coming on at work last Sunday, and it’s gotten progressively worse all week. One thing that something like the flu does is make me feel weak and achy – and I don’t feel like doing anything – and so I have not written one word in service to a post for this blog in that entire time. I haven’t done much in-game since Tuesday, either. I’ve played, but I just haven’t had the energy to chain-run dungeons or LFR, or to do a ton of quests, and so on.
I did have a good night last Sunday, in spite of a splitting headache. We had almost no issues at all in clearing Mogu’shan Vaults, collectively, in a timely manner. We worked a bit on Blade Lord, and I’m hoping we can get him down the weekend after next, which is likely to be the next time we try that one out (if I’m prognosticating correctly).
At any rate, I’ve taken it slow in-game this week. I’ve gotten some heroics in on my warrior Droignon, and am 93% to VP cap on Mushan going into the weekend, which is good. And… not much else.
However, I did take time out on Tuesday and Wednesday nights to work on getting a feel for some of the upgrades available in 5.2. I parked myself at wowdb.com – which I was liking more than Wowhead’s database at that moment, because some of the gear had a corresponding boss listed right in the tooltip – and made a pretty extensive list for the hunter. It was a long list, with possible upgrades from appropriate sources (excluding heroic modes, for instance). And when the list was done, I was already tired of it, and I set it down for the time being. I plan to do some serious math*, so I can begin to set goals and plan a path for spending VP and bonus rolls.
*Frostheim wrote a Scattered Shots article, posted to WoW Insider on Thursday, discussing the top pieces of 5.2 hunter gear for each slot except for trinkets, which he apparently plans to tackle next week, since various proc rates, ICDs, etc. were released this week as well. His gear articles are always something I check out, but they are less exhaustive than I would like to see. Appropriate for WI, but I like to dig a little deeper. And I also like to see more info on in-between gear – like LFR gear – rather than “Here are the best two or three, and this one is the best of those.” Nevertheless, check out his article if you’re interested!
Wednesday night, I was feeling very achy from the flu, and, hence, didn’t feel like playing much. So I dragged out my notebook again and made a similar list for my warrior.
This list is both less extensive (I likely won’t be tanking regular Throne of Thunder, so I didn’t include that gear) and more so. We’re hoping to start a second raid team to run on Friday nights, and unless there is some personnel miracle between now and then, I will likely have to tank. So Droignon is looking like my main alt in 5.2, supplanting my mage, whose fortunes are uncertain due to the less-than-pleasant changes mages are undergoing in 5.2 on the PTR.
Since we’re looking to start raiding in a few weeks, what’s old is new again, as far as gear. I included gear from MV and HoF normal modes on the warrior gear list, since he’s never set foot into either place.
While Droignon’s been a distant third on the priority list thus far in MoP, he’s moving up. I’m trying to tank stuff for people in my guild several times a week, in order to get a little bit more accustomed to using my defensive cooldowns. And he’s almost geared enough that he should be able to enter ToT LFR soon after it opens up. I think the gear games for each toon will be pretty interesting, and I’m looking forward to both journeys.
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Also this past week, Blizzard announced that Valor Points would convert to JP when the patch went live, so I began making plans to get some use out of mine before the conversion. Then, they reversed course and said that we could carry them over, which feels like a good move.
One thing that’s interesting is how that change, along with the new gear becoming available, shapes my thinking on the Item Upgrade system, which is going away. Since the new raid/VP gear is so much higher level than the current fare, maximizing the number of upgraded pieces has become a lower priority. Other than weapons, which aren’t necessarily something that we can count on replacing right away, there don’t seem to be cut-and-dry “must-haves” in that department. It looks like, rather than upgrading any more pieces, I’ll just try to take an amount very close to the cap into 5.2 on each of my toons, and go from there.
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I have to say, I’m both ready for 5.2 and not quite ready. There’s been discussion about the fact that 5.2 is coming too soon for people who want to finish off heroic modes, or regular modes, or whatever they’re working on. With 16 raid bosses, challenge modes, and everything else that there has been to do since the launch of Mists, it does indeed seem like the extreme opposite of the 8-boss finale to Cataclysm and the ensuing months of horrible boredom…
So it sucks to feel rushed when you’re enjoying chasing your goals. Personally, I’m in a different place. My guild has finished Mogu’shan Vaults-10. We’re knocking on the door to getting Blade Lord down. We likely wouldn’t get the tier completed if the patch dropped during the third week of April, in all honesty.
Part of me wants to wash my hands of this tier – I’m chomping at the bit to see ToT, and to start downing some bosses in this awesome new place – but part of me doesn’t like leaving the job unfinished before moving on. So the result is that I’m somewhat ambivalent on the subject of “too soon?” I think Jasyla is totally right in the article that I linked above, and if I were in her position, I would feel exactly the same way she does. However, since I’m not, I’m kind of ready for a fresh start, a clean slate.
I’m looking forward to looking more closely at the gear in the coming weeks, and otherwise prepping for 5.2.
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Thanks for reading this post by Mushan at Mushan, Etc. Comments are welcome!
One of the topics that seemed to come up a few times in my reading during the past several weeks has been the idea that Hit Rating and Expertise Rating are essentially redundant – which Matthew Rossi wrote about in October at WoW Insider – and that there may be changes in the future around those two stats.
Of course, any commentary by a developer will bring out all kinds of internet people suggesting drastic changes and issuing ultimatums (for example, “if you don’t ________ I’m going to unsub for good” is a grossly-overused classic). Regarding this topic, “Please remove reforging” is one such sledgehammer-to-the-game suggestion, lifted from a twitter exchange on December 6th between Ghostcrawler and @HunterSalty. I picked it up by reading MMO Champion’s blue tweet highlights on December 28th.*
*Not sure why this came up over three weeks later on MMO-C’s blue tracker, but I digress…
Here is @HunterSalty’s tweet:
@Ghostcrawler @Saraphite Amen. Please remove reforging. Also eliminates need to go to external sites to tell you how exactly to reforge.
For the full exchange, click the link above to see how ping-pongy a conversation can go on Twitter… or, here’s me paraphrasing it:
@Saraphite says: Gemming, reforging, enchanting, upgrading is too much stuff to do.
@Ghostcrawler says: We agree. Back in the day, you wore what you got.
@HunterSalty says: Amen. Remove reforging, etc. (see above)
@Ghostcrawler says: Actually we like reforging except for hit and expertise.
@CM_Zarhym says: Actually, I look forward to getting new gear and reforging between stats and hit/expertise.
@Zarasz says: Many people enjoy it. If it’s not fun for you, don’t do it.
@Ghostcrawler says: Can you explain how reforging is fun? Many players use a spreadsheet to make those decisions.
PING pong. ping PONG.
It’s a real conversation, and yet it’s all over the place. Yes, all of that is too much. No, reforging is fine except for hit/exp. Wait, how do you find it fun?
Wait, Greg Street. “Fun” is a broad term. An extremely broad term. I suppose my answer to your question would be that, on a process level, I like the challenge and process of using what parts and pieces I have available in order to come up with the best possible stat combination for me. And on a meta level, I like that the freedom to do so is available. Is that good enough? I’m not so enamored with mathematical challenges that I feel the same feeling – exhilaration, or whatever – that I feel after a new boss kill; nor am I so in love with the look and feel of Mr. Robot’s website that I just can’t wait to go see if I can use it again. So it’s not fun in that sense. It’s interesting, and it provides satisfaction, and it’s currently a (somewhat passive) part of the recipe for betterment, so I like it from those standpoints. But no, I don’t think to myself, “It’s a beautiful day, I think I’ll go on a reforging binge” or something like that, like pet battles or PvP weekends or chain-running heroics with friends on our alts on New Years Eve.
Yeah, that’s what I did on New Years Eve. It was most definitely a lot of fun.
Anyway… when I started this article on Dec. 28, the GC “fun” tweet hadn’t been made yet, and my thought was “Thank God Ghostcrawler is smart enough to take the ‘absolutes’ that people tell him on Twitter as what they are – individual perspectives.” Now, however, I don’t know what the hell to think. At any rate, I started writing this post, and I intend to finish it, keeping in mind the nature of Twitter conversations and their inherent limitations.
The error of a personal absolute
I find it both amusing and tiring when I see people, both in-game and on the World Wide Webinator, get all upset about reforging. I’ve been thinking about this a lot over the past several days, and for me, it boils down to this: if you play competitively – that is, whether you PvP or raid or Brawl or extreme solo, etc. – you’re min-maxing anyway, shuffling gems and weighing enchant options and deciding which side-grade has slightly better stats for you and whether last tier’s 4-piece is better than this tier’s 2-piece. Reforging further allows you to squeeze as much power as possible from your set of items by refining your available stat pool to knife-edge perfection. And if you’re not playing competitively, then it matters quite a bit less, and you’re probably not working to maximize your output, because it doesn’t matter as much for quests and so on.
This is a generalization, of course.
However, so is “get rid of reforging” – it suggests a thorough hammer-smash treatment for a game feature that someone doesn’t like, even though that feature is something that many people find fun (O.o, see “fun” part above), interesting, and challenging. Reforging has been part of the game for more than two years now, and is as big of a component as gemming and enchanting and gear selection, more or less, to varying degrees.
We wore what dropped
I remember back in Wrath, when (for instance) I would get a new piece of gear that had Crit and Haste on it, and I would have to make a decision about whether to use it in place of something that had Hit and/or Expertise on it. Deciding either way could at times mean that I sat down with a piece of paper and made a diagram of each slot and its secondary stats and sockets, and figured out whether I could swap in enough Hit or Exp gems without losing too much Armor Pen, or whatever, and still have the piece be a DPS upgrade. Now, I didn’t necessarily dislike this process; in fact, stat management has long been one aspect of WoW that I’ve enjoyed over the years.
However, with the advent of reforging in 4.0.1, things changed quickly. It was like the stat world opened up, and a whole new realm of possibilities with it. Instead of building something with only big blocks and small blocks like before, you now had big blocks and small blocks and blocks that you could cut into two pieces so they would fit better, making for better optimization and giving players more choices when it came to setting up their gear.
If we wore what dropped, today
If reforging didn’t exist today, but everything else remained unchanged, the following circumstances would be real and brutal in my own WoW life:
1. My hunter would be way over the Hit cap, and way, way under the Expertise cap. I would subsequently be missing (dodged) a lot and hitting with less power, less frequently, with less chance to crit, due to all of the stat budget wasted on excess Hit Rating.
2. My prot warrior wouldn’t have a chance in hell of even approaching the soft Expertise cap, making active mitigation much more difficult due to the dodges and parries of even quest mobs, and his passive mitigation/avoidance stats would be extremely unbalanced (not enough Mastery and Parry, too much Dodge).
3. My mage would likewise be way under the Hit cap. See above.
Therefore, it’s safe to say that a reversion to reforging being non-existent would require massive changes that would approach the scale of the gear changes that took place in 4.0.1 and Cataclysm.
Possible required changes
(A tip of the hat to my friend Squido, who reminded me of some key points on this issue when I was discussing this post with him last night.)
If reforging were removed from the game, there would have to be big changes to gear, and perhaps to classes, in order to make things work. It’s easy to imagine that – taking for granted that, for instance, most (if not all) DPS specs need to be at either 7.5% Hit/7.5% Exp (physical) or 15% combined Hit/Exp (spell) – stat itemization would have to be adjusted fairly radically in order to ensure that players had a fair chance of meeting caps. And for tanks, there would have to be appropriate amounts of avoidance stats on gear…
Which leads us to an even greater issue: that of class individuality as it relates to both gear and stats. For example, as many people know, different tank specs prioritize different stats. Regarding secondary stats, my warrior prioritizes Hit/Exp to caps > Mastery > twice as much Parry as Dodge, in general. On the other hand, Squido’s paladin looks at stats very differently, with Haste, which is virtually worthless to prot warriors, having some benefit for prot pallies.
In order to make a non-reforging world work as well as a reforging one does, some combination of these changes might have to happen:
1. They homogenize role specs to the point where they value the same stats. “All Agility classes value Crit over Haste,” etc… I can’t imagine how wrong and how utterly boring that would be. That would be a big step in the wrong direction, in my opinion.
2. They make a lot more pieces of gear available from each boss, as well as from Valor Points, etc. in order to cover all of the statistical bases if they don’t homogenize similar role specs. That way, there’s a chance, however minuscule, that the perfect piece will drop for you. Then again, that means every boss will be a loot pinata with a loot table approaching the size of Sha of Anger’s or Argaloth’s or Archavon’s. How many people will have super pissy-fits in that type of situation, due to the fact that, while their piece drops off this boss, it never drops because there are so many things that it could drop that the common drop chance is diluted? I know, right?
3. They put less passive stats and a lot more gem slots on gear, so that each piece has some level of customization, so that those players that don’t get “the perfect piece” (and there will be a lot of those) can still add stats to make up any shortfalls dealt them by RNG while still allowing them to raid competitively.
4. Absent these things, they make bosses “easier” since hardly anyone will have the opportunity to optimize their gear. Or…
5. Absent these things and keeping bosses at current difficulty levels, there is less progression, leading to less raiders, more frustration among the player base, and, eventually, lower subscriber numbers, due to a massive design downgrade.
Ghostcrawler obviously understands this, and so it’s likely that whatever solution he and his team working on won’t be a knee-jerk, hammer-smash change that certain people in the Internet think will be just jolly-good-fine. At least, I hope that’s the case…
As a side note…
Contrary to the beliefs of some, reforging does allow for choice, even if that choice can be stunted by the need to meet caps for Hit and Expertise.
Jasyla has written about how she doesn’t max out her Spirit on her resto druid, preferring to enjoy the mana management game and concentrate on throughput, whereas many healers I know of are loading up on Spirit like going-out-of-business Twinkies.
Tanks can choose to maximize Hit and Exp to smooth out their mitigation rotations, or they can take a walk on the wild side and max out their passive mitigation stats and ride the spike-damage coaster.
Certain DPS classes can prioritize Crit over Haste, or Haste over Crit, with little difference in results but a big difference in playstyle.
So there is choice, within limits, and it’s not quite as contingent on that next gear drop like it was before.
“Eliminates the need to go to external sites…”
Let’s do a little Q&A…
Q: How many classes have best-in-slot gear lists and rotation/priority advice written about them on blogs and forums for each patch?
A: Come on, really? All of them. In spades.
So yes, if reforging were removed, people wouldn’t have to go to the Internet to reforge, logically. I’ll give you that. But they’d been going to blogs and forums and sims and podcasts for several years before reforging was available. WoW is a game where many people spend a lot of time on the game outside of the game, and it’s been that way for a long time. So it won’t stop if reforging is removed.
In fact, with reforging removed, gear lists – both their sizes and their viewership – would likely go through the roof, along with gemming strategies and other related topics, because of #2 in the above section on Possible required changes. So if there’s a “problem” with people going outside the game for information – which is, by this point, a time-honored tradition – then getting rid of reforging will certainly not “fix” it.
I just don’t see how reforging is so bad that it needs to be removed. I don’t think that most of the progression raiding/PvP playerbase thinks that way, either. Maybe I’m completely wrong. If so, then I’ll just be wrong.
There may indeed be changes on the distant horizon with regard to Hit and Expertise, and when the time comes, I’m interested to see how they solve their perceived issues with it. But I don’t think reforging is the problem. Hit and Expertise are the problem. (Edited for poorly used quotes, etc.)
I see reforging as a very valuable tool that’s preferable to what came before, and I also think that it helps to smooth out some of the RNG issues that, while still frustrating, can be mitigated to a certain extent through “stat-swapping.” I was happy when it arrived, and I don’t want to go back to when it wasn’t.
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This morning, I read Big Bear Butt’s post from yesterday, about his decision to stop trying to force himself to be a bear tank. I won’t quote it or copy it, so go read it if you haven’t already. Basically, he is letting go of his guardian druid, and his hunter will be his raiding main. Sound familiar?
Anyone who has followed BBB for a while – like I have – knows that he has long been both a passionate advocate of bears and one of the foremost progenitors of furry-bottomed face-tanking, in-game and in the blogosphere. With experience comes wisdom, and he has much of both. I found it very interesting that many of his thoughts echo mine with regard to my own druid.
Once Mists of Pandaria launched, I leveled my hunter in about 30 hours. A week later, my druid hit 90 as well. I’m currently working, off and on, on my warrior, who hit 88 yesterday. The hunter was the most fun. There were very few situations that I had problems with, and it was undoubtedly the toon that I am capable of leveling the fastest.*
*This includes choices that I’ve made; I could have leveled my druid as a feral druid, and I could level my warrior as arms, but there’s no way I could have done so with the apparent recklessness and efficiency with which I approached many of the Week 1 situations I found myself in – not with either toon.
Leveling the druid was brutally slow. She’s a guardian, which was what I had planned. For those who remember my post a while back about leveling her to 90 with my Cataclysm gear, here’s the update on how that went: at roughly level 88 1/2, in Townlong Steppes, I gave up the idea. Item level 387 was not cutting it. Level 88 mobs took a minute to kill sometimes. The damage was punishing. I was missing too much, and reforging put my survivability in even more jeopardy. So I gave up the ghost, went back to Stormwind, rotated in what green/blue gear I had collected, reforged and slapped on cheap enchants (yay profession leveling!), and went back for a much, much more reasonable experience for the final 30-ish bars.
Once I hit 90 with her, I ran Direbrew to get the trinkets, and am currently wearing the Brawler’s Trophy. Her gear has stagnated a bit, though, as I’ve been working on the hunter (of course) as well as leveling the warrior.
Leveling the warrior has been interesting and fun. He’s protection, of course, and his gear experience began a little differently than the druid’s. When I was leveling Blacksmithing on my hunter, I procced no less than four very usable ilvl 415 plate blues that were immediately equippable. One or two of them had Crit or Haste on them, but the Strength and Stamina upgrades over my 378 gear were so nice that they were definite wins. When I got to Jade Forest, I was absolutely crushing stuff, which was fun. I’m still wearing a couple of the pieces, and things have evened out as I’ve leveled him, so the rate of kills has slowed down considerably, which isn’t surprising.
Druid tanking is a cousin of warrior tanking, although the warrior tends to have better movement as well as spell reflecting abilities, while the druid has more in-combat healing ability. When I’m on one, I tend to miss the advantages of the other from time to time.
However, one thing that has been on my mind lately is how different they can feel as classes. By feel, I don’t necessarily mean the differences in abilities, but rather the way that I connect with the characters when I’m playing.
As a druid, there was something inspiring about being there with Hamuul Runetotem and Malfurion Stormrage during the battle against Leyara. Hamuul, burned and broken, shapeshifts – in what must be a painful situation for him – and goes “all-for-the-cause” bear-apeshit on her until she’s dead. Come 5.0.4, we bears turned into guardians, like the Guardians of Hyjal. I felt, and feel, kinship with him to a point.
However, as a warrior, there is something so visceral about what is essentially the most physical class in WoW. It’s a humanoid with plate, shield, and sword/axe/mace, leaping into the fray and taking all comers. Listening to the sounds of combat on my warrior, it feels physical: the slamming of shields and swords, the boom of Dragon Roar, the crash of Thunder Clap. And the visuals are great too: the warrior balances on his toes, slices with his sword, slams his shield in his opponent’s face. It feels very personal.
As much as I try, I can’t make that personal connection with the druid.
As feral, I was a cat. I was a hunter pet with free will. As a moonkin, I was a fat chicken, which is a look I have never enjoyed. As a healer… well, that has never felt comfortable to me. And as a bear, things feel visceral to an extent, but not as much as on the warrior.
As a warrior, you have your gear and your colors. You look sharp and ready to go. When the battle begins, the warrior charges in and fights for his life and those of his friends. He proudly continues to display his colors and fights until victory is assured or until all is lost.
There’s something that feels definite and permanent about my warrior. Perhaps it’s because of the shape-shiftiness of the druid. It can be a bear, or a cat, or a chicken, or a stormcrow, or a stag, or an orca. It can heal or rip or call down nature’s elements for purposes either deadly or life-giving. At the end of the day, a druid can potentially be a lot of different things.
On the other hand, a warrior is a warrior. Mine has never fought or killed any enemy as any other spec but protection. He is a rock, covered in plate and flashing steel weapons. He is nothing more, nothing less.
Right now, all of that appeals to me. And the druid appeals to me much less.
I haven’t started a monk, in part, because I am so happy with my warrior.
And so this gets me to my point, which is that I, like BBB, am also thinking of letting go of the druid as a seriously played toon.
The plan for MoP was to raid on the hunter, maybe to tank on the druid if possible, and to enjoy my protection warrior in limited play. But lately I find myself thinking of making my warrior my main tanking character: gearing him, getting him set up with all of the factions, tanking dungeons, and bringing him along if we ever end up running an alt raid.
With warriors, there is no pussy-footing around. We smash. We survive. We do what we have to do. With my druid, I’ve been gearing as a guardian while also trying to heal BGs because I don’t want to PvP as a feral druid. Neither has been the most fun. The warrior has been enjoyable. And that’s what this is all about, after all.
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In closing… I will write an update as things progress. Right now, we aren’t yet raiding. After I finish this post, I’m going to hit up Raid Finder on Mushan.
I’m a little behind where I want to be gear-wise, in part because I took four days off to go visit with family during the second half of last week. I haven’t completed three of the heroics yet, due to issues such as having Scholomance completely reset on us (and disband the group) after killing the second boss the only time I’ve been in there, as well as a lack of luck with the dungeon finder. Thus, I’m not using any of the pre-raid BiS trinkets, but I am otherwise 463-plus in every slot. I have the Sha of Anger boots, the Valor neck, the crafted gloves and chest, the belt from Raid Finder, and Direbrew’s trinket. So I’m in decent shape, but hopefully I’ll be in better shape after this week’s reset is over.
I’m not sure when we’ll start raiding. Right now, from what I can tell, we have one tank, one healer, and some DPS returning from our Dragon Soul team, so we have some definite needs. I’m chomping at the bit to get at it, but we’re nowhere close to being ready, and as my girlfriend pointed out, the expansion is still new and we have plenty of time to get in there and kill all 16 bosses in this tier. I have to confess that I’m a little jealous of the people who are downing Mogu’shan bosses already – my girlfriend’s guild already has two down as of last week’s lockout – but I’ll just have to use the time to prepare myself as much as possible, and to be patient in the meantime.
I’ll write more when I have more!
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Thanks for reading this post by Mushan at Mushan, Etc. Comments are welcome!
Aka “I’m doing it wrong!” At least, by this topic’s premise. :)
Professions are fun for some and a necessary evil for others.
Some of us have farming professions. Some of us have crafting professions. Some of us have a little bit of everything! Professions are leveled because they fit our style of play, help us in raiding, allow us to outfit our alts, and make us money.
What professions do you have on your main? Do his/her professions fit their personality? Why did you choose them? If you chose professions based on your character and not on gaming needs, would that change some of their professions they use?
(This can include the secondary professions of archaeology, fishing, cooking, and first aid too!)
I have eight toons that are level 85. I won’t be talking about all of them, but several will come into the discussion, even though this BAST specifically asks for mains. Since I like to run my mouth (so to speak), I’ll take that liberty here – I just can’t help myself.
Mushan – hunter (main) – Leatherworking, Blacksmithing
Mushan is a max level LW/BS, and each secondary profession is also maxed with the exception of Archaeology, which I’ve only ever touched on my druid (who is max level in all of her profs).
The Blacksmithing portion of that line was something that came along later – in other words, he didn’t start off as a LW/BS. Rather, he was what I believe a hunter will generally be, and that is a Skinner and Leatherworker who is also skilled in Fishing (and should also be skilled in outdoor Cooking, although that distinction is not necessarily available to us in WoW).
After I had been 85 for a while, I leveled my mage, paladin, and then my warrior to 85. The warrior is a Blacksmith and Miner, and was my first toon to reach 525 with those professions. I tend to be someone who knows the merits of each profession for the most part, but I hadn’t necessarily made the jump to ‘min-maxing’ with professions on any one character before Cataclysm. While I certainly made sure the professions themselves were maxed on my most-played toons, and I applied their benefits properly (extra +Agi to wrists for LWs, for instance), every single character had a gathering profession, which made them all fairly self-reliant.
I made Mushan a LW, even though my druid is a LW as well, for a few reasons: 1) I’m one of the three people total who actually enjoy Leatherworking (which many people view as the worst prof); 2) I feel hunters naturally gravitate toward leatherworking as a skill that complements their main job (hunting and killing prey, and then putting every part of the animal to good use); and 3) I already understood the aforementioned benefits of being a LW from a +Agi perspective.
However, after I leveled Blacksmithing on Droignon, something happened that is completely typical of me: I fell in love with the extra sockets.
I’ve always loved sockets. So much fun to be able to add whatever you want to your gear! Of course, I’ve seen people do stupid stuff with their sockets (like the max-level hunter on my server who has had a Misty Chrysoprase (+5 Crit, +4 Spirit) in one of his/her yellow sockets since 4.1, at least). And of course, for min-max purposes, there are restrictions on what you should prioritize (like Agility for hunters). Still, there’s something about socketing a gem that pleases me a little too much.
Anyway, after re-awakening to the joy of even more sockets on my warrior, I decided that I needed those sockets on my hunter.
So my hunter is a Blacksmith now instead of a Skinner. And he has +100 Agility from that now, instead of the +80 Crit or whatever you get from Skinning. And I’m very, very happy with the way all those sockets look on his armory.
I know, crazy, right?
Silly, at least.
But it also means more DPS, and I love that. Even if the fact that my hunter is a Blacksmith doesn’t make as much sense as being a Skinner – although, to be fair, a smithing-hunter is not necessarily outside the realm of possibility, when one thinks about it.
Being a BS on my hunter is one of the few things that I don’t necessarily love about my hunter from a fantasy standpoint. But I do love those extra sockets, so I’m generally glad I changed it. I don’t know how I’ll feel about that when I have to level both crafting professions up to 600, without the benefits of self-gathering, but I suppose I’ll live – and I’ll like all the extra Agility in MoP!
Anacrusa – druid (main alt) – Leatherworking, Skinning
Anacrusa was my first 70, my first 80, my first 85. But she wasn’t my first 60. That was a hunter by the name of Bloodheim, which I abandoned before Wrath came out and deleted in 2009 at the tender age of 63. At this point, I generally sucked at everything in the game, and the hunter was no exception. I hated mana as a hunter resource, hated managing it, and just didn’t enjoy the toon after a while. I eventually got used to mana when I made Mushan, but I really enjoyed the switch to focus, and have never looked back.
Anyway, Bloodheim was a LW/SK. And when I gave him up for the druid back in mid-07, I chose to make Anacrusa a LW/SK also, since I could make some of my own gear, and since I enjoy LW, as I said before. But I don’t really feel that it fits best with my character from a fantasy or story standpoint.
If my druid fit my idea of what a druid is, she would be an Herbalist first. She would plant, nurse, and harvest herbs as part of the nature concept that is a large part of druidism. I wasn’t thinking about that when I made her, though, so now she’s a bloodthirsty killer who wields skinning knife with her bloody paw.
She would also be a healer (if I were actually good at that), and she would likely be…
I don’t know that I feel that Alchemy is necessarily a great fit for any class that isn’t a warlock, priest, mage or, maybe, death knight, but I can’t think of another profession that is really better. Maybe Inscription, which is tame – you write magical glyphs and tomes and so on. Eh. But yeah, while I think that Alchemy is a great fit story-wise for mages and warlocks in particular, it can be argued that it can be an acceptable fit for classes that can heal, so from that perspective, my druid – were I to make her again – might be an Alchemist/Herbalist. However, like I said, she is a bloodthirsty killer who uses her kills to make stuff out of.
Ah well. I enjoy it, and it’s made me a lot of gold. I enjoy skinning, too. It’s nice to be able to feel like I’m using everything I take off the beasts (and yetis) that I kill.
Droignon – warrior (alt) – Blacksmithing, Mining
Yeah. This one is – while not perfect – very nice both from the standpoint that he’s a tank (extra Stam, etc.) and because he can make his own gear and weapons and harvest his own materials. Additionally, he’s a big strong warrior, so he can carry all of those rocks around with him, no problem. Love it.
Theophilos – mage (alt) – Tailoring, Jewelcrafting
If I go with what I said earlier, I would say that Theophilos should be two of the following: Enchanter, Alchemist, Scribe, Jewelcrafter, Tailor, and maybe Herbalist – in order from most fitting to least.
In reality, he’s a JC because I wanted to have a JC among my stable of toons. He’s a Tailor because that’s an easy connection to make. But if I had to choose again, and didn’t need any professions for practical purposes, for story purposes I’d make him an Enchanter/Tailor, weaving spells into cloth and vellum to make magical items for himself and others.
But it’s not a toon I’m as dedicated to, in general, as I am to the first three on this list. So practical wins out.
Abenadari – paladin (alt) – Alchemy, Herbalism
So here we are, with my paladin, who I actually created before my druid, doing the jobs that I currently envision would be most appropriate for my druid. I wouldn’t think that a paladin, beacon of light that one is, would be getting all down with nature and chemicals. If I were to choose again, I would probably make her some kind of combination of Scribe, Blacksmith, Enchanter.
But she’s my max level Alchemist, and because of that she still exists. I don’t feel like leveling Alchemy again. If I do level another Alchemist, she may go, because I don’t love playing paladins, but I don’t anticipate that happening in the foreseeable future. Besides, I would have a tough time deleting her anyway, for Transmute cooldown reasons.
At any rate, that’s probably too much info about some of the characters I play the most, their professions, why I chose them, and how well I think their professions fit with the characters themselves.
Above all, I have professions because I use them, and sometimes they fit better with the toons than others. Between my eight 85s, I have every profession covered except for Engineering and Enchanting (and my girlfriend is an Enchanter, so that’s effectively covered, too). I’ll likely get to those eventually. I have some toons – like my other hunter Ghilleadh – who are simply gatherers, because that is easy and profitable, and I have less problems with resources than I used to simply because I play those toons and gather as I go.
The only toon where I have redundant crafting professions is Mushan – since I already have a LW and a BS, seperately – and that’s because he’s also the only toon that I’ve chosen professions for based primarily on min-maxing and DPS.
But yes, if I went into the game fresh, with the knowledge I have now, I might choose my profession-toon alignment differently, because I become immersed in my characters to varying levels, and professions are certainly a part of that.
Thanks for the great Shared Topic, Effraeti!
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Some thoughts about rage tanks and how making decisions based on early beta info can, at times, lead to undue worry and poorly-made choices…
Protection warriors (Guardian druids are also mentioned)
Matthew Rossi, warrior guru at WoW Insider, posted an update on the states of Protection and Fury warriors in beta last night. It gave me some hope for my warrior*, who is one of three toons that I have who can play a tank spec (I don’t have a DK…).
*My warrior, Droignon, is the only toon I’ve ever brought 100% to max level solely with a Protection spec, and I plan on continuing that trend with him in MoP. So while he’s an alt that I’ve never really raided with before, I’ve enjoyed playing protection immensely, and hope to do so in MoP. I may even use him as a real tank. So the warrior part of this post is pertinent, I assure you!
Early returns on MoP rage tanks have been that their damage was terrible, that they’ve been overly-gutted of rage-generating abilities – passive and active – and have been much more boring to play in beta than they are live. After I posted a while ago about possibly running as a straight PvP/PvE Balance druid for the first time ever in MoP, I played (for a while) with the idea of making Anacrusa a Guardian. However, a little bit of research left me feeling less than confident in the state of Guardians in MoP, and Prot warriors were looking similar. Not coincidentally, both specs use rage as a resource.
Rossi’s article from May 12th, however, gave me hope for both classes, despite the fact that he did not write about druids in his post. While he has serious concerns about Fury warriors on beta, he seems to be pretty satisfied with the updated state of beta Prot warriors. It looks like Prot damage is getting better, rage generation will be less of a problem than originally anticipated, defensive abilities – both old and new – seem to be working well, and the spec seems both interesting to play and very functional.
This is good news – a sigh of relief, actually. And it gives me hope that changes to Guardian / Feral druids in beta will also make that class more exciting to play.
I’m not in beta, so I’m not testing anything myself. I’ll have to do that when the pre-expansion patch drops. Therefore, I have to rely on the expertise of others in these types of cases, and that leads me to my next point.
Making premature judgments (a cautionary reminder – mainly for my benefit – for players of all classes)
Next week, the beta will celebrate its two-month birthday. Well, perhaps there won’t actually be any celebration; however, the date is notable because we’re likely approaching the halfway point of the beta itself, and while nothing is really finalized, we’re starting to get better pictures of how our classes will play. It’s exciting to see spec redesigns turn a corner and start to really come into their own – particularly when they started off looking awful – and it looks like the Protection warrior could be doing just that. I’m hoping that I’m proven wrong with druids, too – perhaps when 5.0.1 drops, we’ll find that Feral and Guardian specs are not just viable, but are also exciting and fun specs to play. Here’s to keeping fingers crossed…
This is a problem, though, in this day and age. I’m not referring to beta testing and player feedback – that stuff is priceless, and I think the games we play are much better, in general, for it. However, from a personal standpoint, I find myself latching onto certain “design priorities/goals” that the development team articulates or demonstrates (or both) in early beta. If it seems like a shitty idea to me, particularly with a spec like Feral druids (i.e. the developers’ constant desire, both spoken and test-built, to tone down special attacks in favor of white – or sustained – damage, which has been going on for years now), the history combined with that idea can make me inclined to abandon the spec, however premature that may prove to be. It’s a trap I’ve fallen into multiple times, although I think that it’s not entirely without merit that I do so. However, early betas are probably coloring my impressions of certain classes more than I should be letting them.
It’s something to think about.
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