First things first. The latest WotLK Beta and Warriors. Yah, I OMG'd for a couple of hours. Arms obviously isn't done, but goodness. WoW! Of course, the Fury changes are even better. I know, I know. Most of that won't make it to the live realms. But... After Wrath goes live, there will be apporoximately 18 billion updates to balance things out and fix stuffs. Then we'll get to Week 2. So, a lot of this "gee that sounds crazy" stuff is going to be kept on the back shelf. And if it's needed, they can pull it out again later in some form or another. And if it's not, no harm. Just makes me drool for a beta key even more so I can play with some of it before it gets nerfed. :)
Just messing with the new talent calculator for fun produced this neat 66/5, almost all Arms, Overpower/MS/Bleed build. May or may not work, but it sure looks spiffy!
I'm not gonna run down the Beta changes because I have plenty of other stuff to write about. The temptation is there because Google says anytime I use Wrath of the Lich King Beta in a post my page views shoot through the roof. This post should get a good hit rate, but that's not the point of this blog. I also have WAY too much other stuff to write about, all of it in the, you know, game we're playing now.
Mathew Rossi does an excellent write up on the new patch notes for Warriors and the implications of the changes at WoW Insider. Read that, cause it's way better than anything I could come up with. The one thing I'll say about Arms and Fury is that it just got a LOT more complicated. If even half these changes stay to release, spec'ing out an Arms Warrior is going to be a lot of fun with plenty of great choices. With luck, it'll be awhile before the generic "best" specs show up again. I read one poster complaining that we're going back to World of Warriorcraft.
Hell yah! :)
Anyhoo . . .
I've been diligently keeping a list of "things to do before Wrath." That's a whole other post, but one of them is leveling up Fishing and Cooking. I started out strong on these two way back when. They fell to the wayside when dungeon runs, helping friends, gearing, rep grinding, and all that other stuff demanded more of my WoW time. Bag space was a part of it, as well. Yah, I need those extra slots that the pole and fishing gear take up! And running back to a fireplace to cook (or carrying Flint and Simple Wood... two more bag slots!) or back to the bank to get your cooking and fishing stuff is a pain.
So, when I'm sick of grinding rep or playing Battlegrounds, and I just can't stand the idea of another PuG, I'm fiding these other fun things to do. If you really make an effort at these two skills, you'll get to see a lot of Azeroth you might not have seen in awhile (or ever) and have some fun while you're at it.
Making it less of pain is easy enough. Just set aside the time to do it when there's nothing else to do. Initially, I tried the as-you-go appoach, but that became a PITA. Now when I set off to fish it's an expedition and I prepare for it the same way I'd prepare to run a dungeon or fight in the BGs. I get my fishing pole (get this, it's an easy quest from the little boy, Seth, in Shat's Lower City), my lures, my outfit (+Fishing Skill gear and my Drinking Hat), grab the daily and head on out.
I plan out my route and, if necessary, research where I need to go and what I need to do. I also pack my armor, because some fishing spots are a little dangerous, and one weapon. You won't need more than one weapon, really, because you're not going to be doing anything more than grinding for cooking mats and clearing out a quiet spot to fish. If you break a sword and have to repair in the middle of a fishing/cooking expedition, you're doing it wrong. ;)
Everything else I pretty much leave in the bank. You'll want plenty of bag space, particularly if you have a gathering profession. Many of locales you'll fish for mats will be low level. It's an excellent opportunity to grab some of those low level herbs, leathers and ores you usually just run to the AH and buy. If you don't use 'em, stick 'em in the Guild Bank for those lower level characters to use in leveling up their skills. (Or save them to become a multi-billionaire when everyone switches to Inscription in Wrath!) You'll also need space for big fat piles of fish, of course, and the various other mats you'll need for cooking. You won't need pots, extra ammo, scrolls, vanity pets (although I always carry one for company... right now the Clockwork Rocket Bot), bandages, piles of food and water, etc. Go light because the point of these expeditions is usually to load up.
I can't stress enough that making it an expedition is a big part of it for me. It's not just another grind. There's a definate goal when I set out and I keep my eye out for little mini-adventures (yet another post). That's why this method works, for me, better than the "oh, I'm waiting for the boat again so might as well grab a couple of fishing points" method. Or just picking some random spot and grinding out skill points. It's also a great time to catch up on guild chatter, chat with friends, and just kick back and enjoy WoW for WoW. There's always adventures along the way if you look for them.
Last night I finally achieved Artisan Fishing. I know, no big deal in the grand scheme of things, but for me it was awesome. Alliance players get the quest from good old Nat Pagel in Dustwallow Marsh. He's the fishing guy on an island out in Tide Fury Cove off the western coast of Theramore. He doesn't even like fishing. He just does it cause he gets to sit on his butt all day and drink (a playful poke at in-game anglers that get very serious about it). When you're in your 30s, he's also the psycho that covers you in stinky bait and has you test it out by swiming out and fighting Jaws. Crazy, bastard.
For the quest, Nat has you running all over old Azeroth. In one part you trot on over to Desolace, which is an area I've never really spent much time in. I had the southern part of the coast, but had never been to the northern sections. On the way to the fishing spot I filled is the rest of the map (another step toward the upcoming World Explorer Achievment!) and had to fend off some elite giants unexpectedly. Try fighting those dressed in shorts, a pirate T-shirt, and a fishing pole! There's also a run out to the coast of the Swamp of Sorrows. I didn't even know it HAD a coast. Ha! Never really thought to run out there. We only went to SoS to get to ST. Of course, I came in from Netherguard Keep, hung a quick right once I got to the Swamp and, not paying attention, aggro'd half the Horde base there as I rode through. Oopsie. :)
Of course, there's dangers along the way, often in unexpected places. Particularly if you're a dimwitted twit like me. :) At one point I had to get a particular fish to level cooking and pick up the Cooking book I need for the next level range. It's sold from a vendor in Ashenvale at Silverwing Refuge. (There's three Silverwing somethings in that area of southern Ashenvale, so ya gotta find the right one.) So I land in Astranaar and head that way. On the road I pass a couple of Horde 50-somethings harrassing anyone and anything they can. But I'm not really in the mood for PvP, which is kind of the point of the whole Fishing/Cooking thing, so I keep going.
I get the book and get to fishing and make great progress when the "Astranaar is under Attack!" message starts scrolling. I ignore it. It's nice and peaceful at this little lake and I'm enjoying myself. After I catch what I need I head back to Astranaar. Well, now these Hordies have actually made it into town and, instead of just harassing the guards, they are following low levels around and killing the quest givers and vendors when they try to use them. And they killed the vendor I needed! Grrrrr.
So of course, they're jumping around me and taunting and such. Gee, I've never seen that before guys. Such clever fellows. One's a Belf Pally and other's a Troll Hunter. Unfortunately, they kept getting right on top of me. Now, I rarely make this mistake anymore with griefers. The trick they'll use is to either stand directly on top of you or your target, so that when you right click to interact/attack something you click them instead. Which of course, sets off auto-attack and automatically flags you. So I mouse down to open my bags for my gear (yes, SHIFT-B would have been smarter, I know) and accidently click the Hunter's pet. Oops. Hee hee.
So I'm flagged with my shorts and T-shirt on, I'm holding a fishing poll, and my button bar is set to crafting/skills, not combat. I kinda just stand there shaking my head for a few seconds while they get up to speed pounding on me. I was dead meat, so for grins I beat the hell out of the Hunter's pet with my fishing pole. :)
By that time they had me down to about half health. For some reason I was in Defensive Stance, which is probably why I had time to wail on the pet the slow hard way. I take a moment to get my button bar back and switch out to the two-hander. Here's a great PvP lesson that reinforces the previous post. These guys weren't completely stupid. (Jerks, but not unaware of PvP princples.) The hunter imediately got range and kept me between him and the Pally. I wasn't going to be able to just turn around in a circle and smack both of them. I get a nice swing on the Pally and take a big chunk of his health before he goes all bubble-boy. While he heals up, I start trudging over to the Hunter. Again smart, he stayed inside Intercept range... or the wall behind him just facilitated it and he got lucky. Whichever. The Pally was on the ball, though, and instead of healing himself all the way up, he unloads his Seal on me while the Hunter goes all out DPS. And down I go.
PvP-Lesson-In-A-Fishing-Post #2. I'm just like anyone else. The first inclination in this situation is to rez and kick the crap out of the little buttholes. But being that I'd already screwed up once, I certainly wasn't giving the little twits another free HK. Limit one per customer, please. Ya have to remember that, while you're dead, if you can see them, they can see you as soon as you rez. And they're camping your body, so when it decomposes, they know you've rez'd and will find you very quickly. You can't rez at the GY cause then you're useless for ten minutes (-75% on everything). After running around I couldn't find a spot where I could rez and stay out of combat long enough to gear up and heal (you come back at only 25%, lets not forget). In this case, take the five minutes and unflag. On a PvP realm your options are even more limited, of course. If you can't fight 'em, you pretty much just have to stay dead until they get bored and go away, or wait for help to arrive.
I finally rez, get the armor out, bandage up and am ready to hurt something. By this time, though, the Pally had unflagged. Which was smart. The Hunter unassed the area as soon as he saw me coming. The Pally went and stood on the little dock out over the lake while I stood there waiting for the hunter to come back. He did, unflagged, and they both just stood there for awhile. I wish I could have tuned into their chat. :D I hate a staring contest and wasting time, so I flagged (bring it boys) and then made a campfire and started cooking my fish. Might as well do something useful. Made a ton of bandages also. I guess once I was in proper fighting shape they lost their nerve. After about another 10 minutes, the guards started popping and they both hearthed. I won't call that a win, but as I've said before, you take a moral victory where you can get one. At least the quest givers and vendors were back and everyone could get on with playing again. :)
The point is, as you run around doing these fishing and cooking things, there's also plenty of other adventures you'll stumble into. It doesn't have to be a horrible boring grind to get to the good stuff. I'll finish up this meandering post with some practical, focused thoughts. Why Fishing and Cooking are good skills to have for a Warrior (or any class for that matter):
First, the fun factor. For the daily fishing quests, the rewards aren't always terribly useful. But they're great anyways! I'd leveled my Fishing skill and aquired enough gear that I was able to do one of the Shat fishing dailies last night. When I was done, a grand total of 15 minutes, I got a little bag of goodies. It contained about 6 gold, two Motes of Water (I love motes!) and two Elixirs of Water Walking. What? I can honestly say I have no idea what I'd ever use those for, but being able to walk on water for 10 minutes like a Priest is one of the silly fun things that makes WoW great. :)
Second, money. Some of those rare and seasonal fish are worth a ton of gold. Even if you just stockpile them and sell them off occasionally, it's a nice little income boost.
Third, Cooking can provide some of the best buffs in the game. I've only skilled up enough to get some of the mid-range ones, but already can cook up a meal that gives a nice AP buff! From what I've read, some raids require certain Well Fed buffs from Cooking, so it's worth learning. I don't know what else is available and I'm not peeking yet. Discovering a new uber-buff is part of the fun.
Finally, it's relaxing. IRL, most of us need a little down time, and WoW is how we do it. But is it really down time if you're stressing the whole time? Warrior is a pivotal role in most aspects. Whether you're DPS or Tank, you've gotta be in top form and on your toes constantly. It's fun, but it's not really "down time." Doing something like fishing, or cooking, is a great way to get some in game. In fact, I'd say the game needs MORE things like this. Stuff that's fun and rewarding, but doesn't require top gear and flawless attention.
If you're loath to try fishing or cooking because you think it'll be boring, give it a shot. Fun and Adventure in Azeroth is all over the place. These two skills are a great way to find it!
For a great guild and reference to fishing try Els' Extreme Anglin' site. Great stuff!
DND - GONE FISHIN'