Sunday, November 30

Arms to Prot for A Week

I decided. I'm gonna try Protection. Everyone seems to be having so much fun with it, I figured it was worth a shot. So, yesterday I finally went back to Stormwind for a quick update and respec'd while I was there.

And honestly... Prot is...

Freakin' awesome.

It's nice to be pretty much invincible for a change. :)

Oh, and Blizz lowered the cost to respec to 35g, thankyouverymuch. I did have to get new armor, which is nice cause I like getting new armor. I'll be trying Protection for a week before switching back to Arms, but I suspect I'll also be switching back to Prot frequently to tank instances. Why?

Well, perception to be honest. And it's kinda annoying.

I tried at least half-dozen times now just to get into a PUG for Utgarde Keep. And I've gotten tons of invites to instances. Each one starts with "Are you Protection?" and ends with "No. But I'm Arms and I can tank or DPS, whichever ya like." "Thanks anyway." Poof.

The reason Arms Warriors get that kinda response is the stinkin' Bruning Crusade dungeons where any Warrior that wasn't a Prot was considered worthless. That mindset is still VERY much preveliant.

Don't believe it? Read the guides to TBC dungeons. Not once will you find "For this Dungeon, the recommended party is a Prot Palladin, a Shadow Priest, a Warlock, A Mage... and an Arms Warrior." Not once.

That way of thinking is still very much instilled in most players for Wrath. Which is silly because Arms is such a strong tree now, specially for running 5-mans. In fact, I bet you could run entire Wrath instances with just a healer and four Warriors!

That's not QQ, mind you. It's just an observation. Arms Warriors are gonna have to get out there and make a reputation for themselves. Yah, with your resiliance, you're just an uncritable as a Prot with max'd out DEF. Yah, you can hold aggro through almost anything. And yah, you can still put the hurt on a boss AND tank at the same time. We're all just gonna have to get out there an prove it.

So why give in and spec Prot? Well...

Like I said, first of all it's a lot of fun and I wanna experience it. Prot can now stun like a freakin' rogue, interrupt, AoE and still put out some nice DPS. Still feels a little slow to me for solo'ing, but then again when you can solo a good portion of the quest bosses, who cares? :)

It's also good practice. Lets face it, we Arms Warriors have been PvP specialists for awhile now. We need to get back into being the whole package tree for Warriors. Versatility was originally the way Arms was suppose to work and now we've come full circle and we're that way again. But killing multiple mobs with melee AoE... and Tanking... is gonna take practice to get really good at it. In fact, we're gonna have to get really good at PvP, DPSing multiple targets, and tanking really fast if we're going to change that "specialist" perception most players have. Spec'ing prot occasionally is great tanking practice.

And finally... I need to get the hang of Prot and at least a feel for it before I finish up the "So You Wanna Be A Warrior?" (new title) series. :)

Yah, I still say Arms is way better for questing and solo'ing AND it's more fun. But only a lil' bit more. If you haven't gone Prot yet, give it a try. And get your tank set up to speed. You're gonna need it either way!


Thursday, November 27

WoW I'm Thankful

I'm thankful for my family, and kids, and friends, and so much more. And I'm thankful for WoW, too, of course.

Blizz should add a one-day holiday for Thanksgiving. Even if it's generic thankful day. Why not? A whole day where PvP, for example, is turned off and players from both factions can walk among the opposing faction's cities with open chat.

I know, is *War*craft, but even in war there's breaks in the fighting. A small ceasefire on a special day would be interesting.

Blizzard Entertainment

I'm thankful for Blizz. Sure, I'll jump up and QQ if they do something I think is boneheaded. This wonderful game/experience they've given us, though, is genius. There's been so many great moments I've had in WoW that I truly think it's made some people's lives better, as far as some of the entertainment options we have available to us goes. Thanks Blizz.


I'm thankful for my online friends. Sure I have IRL friends. They're the best. But there's plenty of people I would consider very dear friends, people I've know for years, been through joy and sorrow, experienced part of their lives... and had amazing adventures... that I've never even met FTF before. And probably never will. I'm thankful for them, as well.


I'm thankful for my guild. Dark Clan is made of, oh, 5 active members? 12 or so total that check in on occasion (most of the rest are playing different servers or Horde now-a-days). It's mostly adults who have careers or school or families... you know, real life stuff... and most nights it's just nice to have the guild chat up and have some company. We can't raid, we can't do pre-mades, and we can barely, on occasion, get a 5-man together. But my tiny little guild makes sure playing WoW isn't a lonley experience. Would we take more people in? Sure. Do we actively recruit? No. Are we a pretty quiet and content lot? Yup. And I love it for that. Thank you guildies.


After all this time, they still make me laugh. Thanks guys. :)

Hope you and yours have a Happy Thanksgiving and joyous holiday!


Sunday, November 23

Lazy Days in Dalaran

Everyone's talking about the bear. The cute white bear. The cute white adorable WoW 4th Anniversary bear. Best pet so far, I think. :D

What a great present from Blizz! TY!

Course, ya gotta get to Dalaran to outfit him. Head over to the pet shop, wash and feed your bear cub so he's nice and shiny and happy. Grab a leash to walk around town with him, on account you don't want a shiny, happy bear cub nibbling on Nelfs. Bad form. And to a bear cub, some of the more diminutive toons are gonna look a lot like tasty gnome snacks. While at the pet shop, be sure to grab some fetch balls. Toooooo fun!

Dalaran is the best city they've done since Stormwind. Seriously. It's a great place to relax and have some fun. I've always wondered why Blizz didn't add more diversions to the cities. Mini-games, arcades, marketplaces, spas... more focused gathering areas. Dalaran is a small, but good, step in that direction. No reason they couldn't add a little more with each patch for fun. And I haven't even found my way down into the sewers yet! I hear they're a blast for fishing. :D

Oh, how'd I get to Dalaran at Level 71? Well... it's pretty easy, actually. An old trick, but it works. You just get one of your Level 72 mage friends to pull you there. Group with your friend and have them go to the Dalaran battle master. Queue up a battleground (any will do) and enter when it pops. Then take the fraidy-cat debuff and leave the battleground. You'll end up in Dalaran. Set your hearth to one of the inns (I'm staying at the lovely A Hero's Welcome at the moment cause it's roughly half way between the bank and the portals). Easy.

Anyhow, Dalaran is gorgeous, of course. And Blizz has done a little to make it more fun. There's a clothier with new shirts. No pants or dresses yet. :( But the shirts are nice. I've been wearing the black pirate shirt or the red one that drops from Cleefy for years. Finally there's an acceptable alternative for casual under-armor garments. Yea! More please. And yah we're really gonna need that wardrobe feature for non-stat items now.

There's a mount vendor. You've probably seen everyone grabbing the brown bear mount, of course. At 750g it was a bit steep for me right now (I hit Northrend with about 1000g ... lol). And there's plenty of people that are fascinated/disgusted with the Tundra Mammoth mount that can carry three players, and has vendors attached to it. I love that idea, but at 20000g I don't love it that much. If I ever come into that much g I'll grab one, but I'm not grinding it out. More fun is that the Snowy Griffin is now available in fast mount form!!! 2000g, but a nice change from the brown griffins with different colored reins. I hope that the Ebon Griffin will be added soon.

I'm sure a lot of the fun stuff is aimed at role-players, but they shouldn't get to have all the fun. Now Blizz needs to add more stores like this, more fun items (at outrageous prices, of course). Add them to the other cities, as well. It'd be fun if each major city had, say, a toy store with different toys in each. Pain to collect 'em all? Probably, but anything Blizz can add to get players to spread out a bit isn't a bad thing. The lag in Dalaran isn't nearly as bad as it was in Shatt at the beginning... but it's bad. I hate turning down the graphics, so to get the pretty views I have to enjoy it as a slide show. Blah.

Some warrior bits...

I'm gonna redo the What Kinda Warrior Guides, of course. They really need to be more generic cause the original idea was NOT to do another How To guide. It's s'pose to me more of a "What It's Like" guide. That's why I didn't to the Prot one yet. It was outdated before it even got finished. So, that's coming up... eventually.

Being a warrior is so much fun right now, it's hard to get into any sort of "optimizing." I have absolutely no rotation, at the moment. It's all "Gee, lets try that cause it seems like a good idea" right now. Just kick back and enjoy it for awhile. No, we're not as powered up as most classes. Yes, Blizz seems to have taken a somewhat meh attitude towards warriors being a "lead" role, opting instead to hand out warrior roles to every other class.

That's actually a good thing, though. Mainly because warriors are now so versatile. And when they finally get dual specs put in the game, it'll be even better. I'll be doing Arms/Prot. For now, though, while many other classes can fill traditional warrior roles, YOU can now fill those other roles much better. Still no effective cc, but wicked dps and multi-mob abilities with built in toughness make a warrior handy in any situation. Try out something new!


Sunday, November 16

An Arms Warrior's First Few Days in Northrend

I kinda miss having big shoulders. But I s'pose those will come in time. :D

As I wrote before, I hit Northrend with every intention of stripping off the old and embracing the new. Spec, gear, weapons... hair. So I did. Okay, haven't settled on the hair, but that's okay. I haven't replaced everything yet, either. But I've only spent a few hours in Northrend so far. More will come.

Being a noob again, though, is so much fun!

I did roll up the Deathknight, of course. Wicked story line, but probably be awhile before I go back to it. It was hysterical to see, literally, dozens upon dozens of DKs running around. Lots of fun, too.

My "Wrath Strategy" was to hit Northrend a little behind the crowd, but stay ahead of the horde of DKs that'll be power leveling through Outland. So far, so good. I haven't had any problem at all with quests, lag, over crowding, disconnects, queues, or anything like that. In fact, the whole of the expansion has been completely smooth and seamless. Awesome job to Blizz!

And Northrend?

Completely in love with it. It's gorgeous, dangerous, and full of wonders. Maybe not quite dangerous enough, but I'm sure that'll come as zone progression continues. Some of the quests in Howling Fjord, where I started, are brilliant. The ROFLplane is a favorite. And riding the flaming spear across the bay is truly a Great WoW Moment. Oh and penguins. I love penguins.

The lore and the quest progression, so far, feels smoother and more connected than Outland did (at least to me), as well.

And the place was built for Warriors. :)

So how's the Arms Warrior thang working out? Brilliant.

First off, your TBC-gear is gonna be way over powered for the first two zones. For most Warriors that'll be just fine. But if you really wanna get a feel for the experience, you'll want to switch to q-rewards and drops as soon as possible. And even with out stacked up hit, crit, Attack Power, resiliance, and your fancy gems and enchants, you'll still be way over powered. Which is a good thing because there's several times the mobs come at you back to back and super fast.

All of which is a lot of fun for a multi-mob killing machine like an Arms Warrior. You really are going to be using your abilities in a more situational mode. Now again, what follows is not theorycraft, or any of that nonsense. This is very much from the "push the button and see what happens" school, at this point. It's not efficient, it's just what's worked and what's fun.

Hold Aggro!

To which most Arms Warriors, being the calm and practical types they are, will responsd, "Well, don't pull aggro, dumbass." Prots are usually too polite/proud to say anything when someone pulls aggro off them, but Arms types aren't particularly inclined that way. Mostly we follow the "You Spank It You Tank It" school of tanking. We can spank and tank, after all. :)

The good news is, that's not really a problem any more. You can tank. Very well, actually. Pop on your shield, switch to Def, and do that tanky thang. Bash 'em with the shield, Thunderclap, and start your Sunder/Revenge rotation. If you get in a tight spot, pop Shield Block or Shield Wall. You're good to go. Granted, it's TBC tanking and you don't have any of the fancy threat moves Prots have. And you also aren't go to hold as well as a Prot, particularly if your friends are really geared and buffed up. You might have to ask 'em to dial it down a notch or two. But it's nowhere near as bad as it was in TBC.

So tank it up. :)

All the Moves

Okay, that's nice. But what about the good stuff, right? K.

You can now kill everything. At the same time. Fast.

Is that good enough. :)

Three mobs are easy. Four mobs is... well, easy. Five, though, that's... still easy. Try some different combinations in different situations. Some that I like so far:

Sweeping Strike - Not a combo, but hot key this one right away if you haven't already. You're gonna use it a lot. I missed this ability and having it back just makes an Arms Warrior right again.

Sweeping Strikes > Whirlwind - Does this really work? It looks like it does. Try it and watch the damage go scrolling by. It's neat.

Recklessness > Sweeping Strikes - Just mean. Not for use when focused, but that goes for Recklessness in general.

Recklessness > Bladestorm - Yah if you have any aggro at all you're gonna be hurting. But everything will be dead... so...

Rend - With any bleed effect boosters is a win. Nuff said, 'cept Welcome Back Rend.

Execute - You'll just mash this pretty much constantly when it procs.

Thunderclap > Bladestorm - Melee AOE. Throw in Recklessness before hand (assuming you can pull off the rage) and it's pure evil.

And I actually popped Retaliation several times over the last few days. Ha!

I'm also catching myself using Cleave a lot more than Heroic Strike, particularly in the mob packed areas of Northrend. Hitting multiple targets at once is just pure joy for an Arms Warrior.

You're Still The Same

What's best is Arms really hasn't lost much for it's PvP toughness. And we can pop a lot more consistent damage that works well in both PvP and PvE. Your top end damage is still there. You still have Heroic Strike and Mortal Strike you'll use all the time. Throw in Execute for a bit more juice. You'll still pop Whirlwind when you can. You're still easy to heal if you're wearing your Resiliance gear. The damage spikes, both taking and giving have leveled out a lot more. Damage dealing is higher and more consistent. Taking damage is still stable (healable) since you're almost impossible to crit.

I don't just Slam at all, but never used it much anyhow. It DOES still give nice damage, but it feels more like a, "Gee I have a lot of Rage and everything is on cool down so I might as well use... um... ah! Slam!" Meh. Maybe in time we'll see a new Slammer build.

If you're like me and giving up your Resilience while starting out in Northrend, don't worry too much. The Stamina on gear is insane. It's wicked. It's in the Very Good category. And that's just the greens. ;)

Basically, Arms is just a lot of fun right now. Again, cheers to Blizz for doing what they said and making it more fun to play, not just more efficient to kill stuff. I hope they never loose sight of that.

Now... how am I going to get a Dual Wield Bladestorm build to work.... hmmmm.... :D


Sunday, November 2

Two Weeks of Whoa!

I didn't post on the Zombie Invasion and Hallow's End cause I was busy. Hallow's End is my favorite Azoroth holiday, of course. So, I jumped into that with vigor. And ya know what... it just wasn't AS fun as it has been. Maybe I've just seen it too much, but it needs a few more upgrades than just some quest changes and a few extra drops. Why isn't there a massive quest chain to hunt down or fight the Dark Riders in Deadwind/Dustwood during this time? I mean come 'on. That place IS Hallow's End. I also couldn't get to the Headless Horseman this year, due to circumstance, which kinda sucks.

The Stink Bomb event in Southshore/Tarren Mill was fun, but a little whacked. The PvP was enjoyable, but not really up to the good ol' days for that area. Alliance's side of the quest was to make a scounting run on the Wickerman Festival. That involved riding all the way up to Lordaeron (no, it's not "Undercity" sheesh!), ridding up to the Wickerman, getting flagged, and then riding back to Southshore. Woopee. The Horde, on the other hand, had to run into the middle of Southshore, get flagged, drop a stink bomb, and try to get out.

So, the Horde side was actually interesting and fun. The Alliance quest sucked. Yah, I know there was an Alliance side quest for the stink bombs, but it wasn't nearly as fun. Still, there were some nice fights as the Hordies tried to complete thier quest. It would have been so much better if both sides had the same quest. Horde dropping stink bombs on Southshore, Alliance dropping... air freshner? on Tarren Mill. THEN you'd see some fights! Maybe next year...

Not to say anything bad about Hallow's End. It was great fun while it lasted. But my interest seemed to be a bit lower this year. Of course, it got upstaged mid-way through by Arthas, so that might have had something to do with it. And here it comes...

I loved the Zombie/Scourge Invasion. There. I said it. :P

I spent a great deal of last weekend fighting Zombies and griefers in Stormwind and elsewhere. It was a blast and half! Blizz created a social experiment that pretty much turned the whole of WoW on it's head for several days. And good job to them!

Yah, I tried the Zombie thing. It was fun for, oh, about 15 minutes? I was out hunting Horde around Goldshire. Finally ran them down just outside of Eastvale Lumber Camp. A small group of Alliance showed up about the same time and we all went at it. Course, the Horde gang was there to turn the Camp into Zombies and I got infected.

When I turned, I could suddenly talk to the Brutal Tauren warrior that was kicking the crap out of me 30 seconds before. Turns out he was a nice guy, and (I'd forgotten) we'd dueled awhile back outside of BRD during Brewfest. (And yah, he kicked my arse then, as well.) So we ran around trying to infect the rest of the Horde and Alliance players that were fighting. It was in an isolated area, no lowbies around, and all great fun.

I get the idea of opposing factions trying to infect each other's cities. I also agree that the starter areas should have had some form of safety catch. What I didn't get was people of the same faction infecting their own cities. Either way, it made for some spectacular fights around Stormwind and Iron Forge. I'd heard Darnassus and the Exador on my server were almost completely wiped out.

I also get what a pain in the ass it was for lower level characters trying to quest or conduct business. Neveron (my Priest) spent two hours trying to unload stuff in the Auction House, a task that should have taken 15 minutes. Every few minutes, some griefer would come Zombie charging into the AH and detonate. So I'd spend the next few minutes debuffing everyone and everything like mad. That's the one mistake I think Blizz made...

Suicide bombers? Bad form. Bad Blizz. That was unnecessary and in poor taste.

Other than that, though, it was interesting to see the two sides go at it. By two sides I mean griefers and those trying to slow them down. And I do mean slow them down, not stop. Blizzard gave the idiots that find fun in making things not fun for others the tools they needed to get the job done. For a few days, the balance shifted from the dumb asses being a nuisance to being in control.

What surprised me a little, on Fenris anyhow, was how many players stood vigil in Stormwind through most of it, doing their best to turn back the tide. Over the course of the invasion, I saw the same people over and over again fighting the zombies everywhere they could. We grouped a lot, we had to fall back a lot, we got infected a lot, and we died a WHOLE lot. But, at least in Stormwind and Iron Forge, there were long periods where the cities were safe. I'm calling that a job well done.

As a social experiment, it was kinda of horribly interesting. Those that wanted to quit in frustration. Those that were going to fight no matter what. And those that wanted to screw things up as much as they could. It really brought out the best and worst in players of WoW.

I know there those that doubt, but I think it worked exactly the way Blizz intended. It created a sense of hopelessness, frustration and horror that would come from an invasion of this sort. I saw a lot of buttheads during the invasion. And made sure to note who they were so that I don't end up in a PuG with 'em. I saw a lot of QQ. And I saw a whole lot of Heroes.

I think it also set the stage for Wrath brilliantly (and yah, there's more to come). Stormwind is bleak and you can feel the pressure building and the darkness decending. The King is back (yea!) and the call to arms will go out soon. Things are changing.

Granted, I'm into the whole fighting the Scourge thing. It's my favorite story line in WoW. Yah, even after getting everything (except the damn plate chest... drop damn you!) from the invasion points, I still go out there and kill 'em when I'm in the neighborhood. I'm loading up now on those Argent Dawn sharpening stones. I think they'll be handy in Northrend. Killing the Scourge Invaders, btw, is a great way to get Scourge Stones for Argent Dawn rep, if you're inclined and sick to death of grinding Scholo and Strath. Just be sure to wear your Insignia of the Dawn.

Yah, I wear my Argent Dawn tabard with pride. :)

Wrath is 12 days away... I can't wait to see what happens next.