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Getting Started As A Healer

Posted by Malevica on May - 9 - 2011

I was listening to the My Epic Heals podcast recently, and in Episode 3 Fox, Eade and Wolf were answering an email question asking about how to break into healing for the first time. Inspired, I thought I’d add my take on that question. I’ll probably repeat a few of the things they said, for the sake of completeness.

Before You Begin

Heard about all the sweet Call To Arms rewards and want to get in on the action? Have a strange green box fetish you just have to indulge? Conscientious objector who just can’t bear the thought of harming another soul? Whatever your reason, you’ve decided you want to find out for yourself what this “healing” thing is all about.

The first thing to say is: great! Welcome to the club!

The second thing to do is answer the question which inevitably comes next: Which class should I pick?

Oh boy. This one comes up a lot, and it’s probably the hardest one to answer properly. The thing is, each class has its own style, its own strengths and weaknesses, and which you should play is going to depend mostly on your own personal preference.

Druids tend to rely a lot on instant-casts and heal-over-time (HoT) spells. The plus side is that you can be very mobile and can put out a ton of healing on multiple people at once, but you might find it a bit stressful if you can’t handle bars being half-empty and only slowly filling up. You do get a cool shapeshift though, albeit on a long cooldown.

Paladins are great if you like to really focus on a task, since most of the heals they cast are still single-target focused and they have a lot of mechanics to watch out for and react to (Holy Power and the Daybreak proc, for example). One downside of levelling a Paladin healer is that Holy gear is very different from Retribution and Protection gear, meaning that if you want to heal your way up you’ll either have to level Holy or maintain an entirely separate gear set.

Shaman are very versatile healers, and can fill both tank- and raid-healing roles at end-game pretty smoothly, which is a strong factor in their favour. Restoration can also share gear with Elemental so you can have a DPS spec while questing. Finally, Shaman can also provide a huge range of buffs to their party using their totems, so you can be an asset to any team you join.

Priests are also extremely versatile healers, to the point where they have two entire talent trees dedicated to different styles of healing. Priests can also fill any role in a raid at end-game, and have a huge range of abilities at their fingertips. The flipside of this is that you may find that a Priest has too many options, particularly if you’re not a grizzled veteran player.

Ultimately the choice is yours. The only way to tell is to jump in and level one, preferably to level 30 or above, and see how you like it. Please don’t try and pick the “best” class, or the one that’s most in demand, or the one that’s top of the healing meters on WoL or try and force yourself to play a class if you’re just not feeling it; you’ll just burn out quicker and won’t enjoy your game. All the healing classes can play a valuable role in any team, so play the one you get along with the best.

Low Levels

When to Heal?

Once you’ve picked your healing class, I’d recommend you start healing as soon as possible so that you can find out if the class works for you, if you like healing after all, and so you can begin to get to grips with your healing interface. The Dungeon Finder unlocks at level 15, so you can get going pretty quickly once you’re out of your starter zones.

If you can find friends then obviously group with them because they’ll be more understanding if you need to take things slow while you learn, but at low levels people won’t expect too much so you can safely PuG if that works better for you.

I’d also recommend that you talent for healing right off the blocks. This isn’t strictly necessary at low levels but it will help you out, especially now in the Cataclysm world where you’ll get a special signature ability at level 10, just for picking a healing tree to specialise in. Those abilities are Earth Shield for a Shaman, Swiftmend for a Druid, Holy Shock for a Paladin and Penance and Holy Word: Chastise for Discipline and Holy Priests respectively. Holy Priests need to be level 51 to get healing benefits from HW:Chastise, but the other classes get a healing spell with their talent trees.

Questing as a healer at low levels, up to 30 or so, isn’t significantly slower than levelling as a DPS, although as the levels get higher the difference becomes more pronounced. However even late in the game, while questing as a healer is undoubtedly slower and more arduous than questing as a DPS, it’s really not the impossible task it used to be. But bear in mind that you’ll probably want to spend a bit more time instancing and stay in zones with yellow quests rather than orange.

How to Heal

If I tried to give specific healing strategy for every class here then I’d end up making this guide a lot longer than it needs to be, but there are some things in common.

In general, by the time you reach level 20 you’ll have access to at least two heals: one will be quick and expensive, while the other will be a bit slower but more mana-efficient. You’ll need to use your judgement as to which is most appropriate: is your target about to die? Use the fast one. Are you running out of mana a lot? Lean on the slower one a bit more. As you level up you’ll add more abilities to your toolkit, and you’ll need to figure out where they’re best used and how many you can afford to cast. You may well make mistakes and get things wrong, but developing that judgement is a key part of learning to be a good healer.

The other thing you’ll need to learn is triage. Sometimes, usually when something’s gone a bit awry with the fight, there’ll be simply too much damage for you to heal through. At this point, rather than panicking you’ll need to learn to prioritise where your limited healing goes, and sometimes that will mean letting someone else die. Triage is as much an art than a science, and is something that you’ll eventually learn to do instinctively.

The basic priority for healing is:

You —> Tank —> DPS

The reasoning is that if you die then the tank will probably die soon afterwards and the fight will probably end messily very shortly; If you’re ok, then you need to keep the tank alive rather than a DPS, because you can survive without one DPS player, but you won’t survive long with a dead tank.
Obviously there are exceptions, and you’ll figure them out in time, but to begin with focus on keeping yourself and the tank alive.

User Interface

I’d recommend that you install and get used to using a few addons as early as possible, to make life easier and because low levels is the best time to learn to work with your UI. You might already have a UI that you love, but there are some healer-specific pointers that will help:

  1. Look into custom party- or raid-frames such as VuhDo, Grid+Clique or Healbot. Healing involves a lot of muscle memory and click-casting or using mouseover macros on raid-frames is the way it’s generally done at end-game, so you might as well get used to it now. While you’re learning is also the best time to figure out what you need your raid frames to show you and where you want to look for it, so you can constantly tweak the configuration of your addons as you go.
    I’d suggest starting with VuhDo because it’s quite useful out of the box and easy to set up. There’s also an excellent setup guide on the author’s website and really phenomenal support provided by the author and others at in a dedicated forum at PlusHeal (hi zohar101!).
    Gina at Healbot.net (not related to the addon!) wrote up a great guide to raid-frames recently, so go there for more help deciding.
  2. Consider addons to alert you prominently to events and procs so you don’t miss a vital opportunity. Blizzard has included some funky graphics for some abilities but not all. If you want to get complicated then you can’t beat Power Auras Classic, but there are other solutions such as TellMeWhen for just about everything or OmniCC for ability cooldowns.
    Also remember that you can include sound notifications with most of these sorts of addons. This is an often overlooked aspect of UI design, but can be really helpful for giving you information without requiring you to move your eyes elsewhere on the screen.
  3. When building your UI, think about the layout carefully. You will need to be able to see around your character’s feet so you don’t stand in fire, but you also want to keep all the information you want to use as close together as possible, to minimise eye movement all over the screen.
    Finally, remember the golden rule: your UI should show you all the information you need, no more, and no less.

[I've got a full UI post in the works, so look for that soon!]

Psychology

As you get into healing, you’ll begin to come across some of the social or psychological aspects of healing that are common to all levels.

Most notably: people will die, and it might well be your fault. That’s ok! Maybe you picked the wrong target or the wrong spell, or you burned through your mana quicker than expected, or you completely forgot which combination of buttons and keys controls Chain Heal; those are things that everyone does while learning (and even when you should definitely know better!) so pick yourself up, apologise to your group and move on. That’s one of the best reasons for starting early, especially if this is your first healer.

You’ll also learn to spot when these problems aren’t your fault. If you have three people in your random dungeons who all seem to be tanking one creature each, you’re probably going to find yourself struggling to keep them all alive; that’s why we have tanks, after all, they take less damage. Firstly, you can use your new-found triage skills to let the idiot DK unfortunate damage-dealer die to save the tank. Then you can communicate with your group, explain your difficulty, and hopefully they’ll adapt and make your life easier.

Or they might vote kick you, in which case you were better off without them. Just hop back in the queue and you’ll almost certainly get a better group the next time around.

Switching At Eighty-Five

But what if you’ve got your Paladin, Priest, Druid or Shaman to 85 and really fancy taking up healing?

The first thing to do is to go back to the paragraphs above, if you skipped them, and check the sections on “How to Heal”, “User Interface” and “Psychology”. They’re probably still relevant to you too. You’ll still need a basic grasp of triage, a UI with the right information on it, and to have some idea about what healing might entail.
Assuming that’s all in place, there’s a few extra things to bear in mind when switching role at end-game.

The big difference is that the level 85 world is a lot less forgiving than the level 25 world. People have an expectation, reasonable or otherwise, that you know what you’re doing by the time you get to max level. Therefore a bit more preparation is required.

Spells and Abilities

At 85 you’ll suddenly be presented with a full toolkit of spells and abilities to use, and unlike at low levels where you’ll have a few levels between each new one to learn how it works, you’ll be expected to know what they’re all for right away.

There are a number of ways you can gain this knowledge. The first ones that gets mentioned are Elitist Jerks or PlusHeal. EJ tends to have a single discussion thread per spec, which can get quite long, but these threads usually begin with a huge mega-post with the current best practice in (usually titled “Compendium” or similar). PlusHeal tends to be more discussion-based, with threads discussing questions about stat priority, spell usage, and so on. You usually can’t go far wrong with a trip to your EJ thread for an overview of what spells are good for a given situation.
As a caveat though, EJ is explicitly raid-focused, so you may need to be a little careful about their recommendations if you’re doing 5-man normals, but the general thrust of the advice will be sound.

You could also have a look at the many excellent blogs out there, and see what they’re recommending. There are plenty of guides to 4.1.0 for every class.

There are other alternatives to just reading what to do. You could browse World of Logs for other guilds, on your server or beyond, and look for other people in similar content to you. You can then have a look at what they’re doing and compare their spell usage to your own. This again tends to be raid-focused, but if you look for people doing entry-level raiding it’ll be a useful pointer.

And let’s not forget that you can always ask other people for advice. Don’t ask Trade, you probably won’t get many useful responses, but if you have a friendly healer in your guild or someone with an alt of your class, try whispering them when they’re not busy or posting on your guild’s forums and asking for some tips. Often people will be quite willing to spend time talking about how they play with someone taking an interest.

Gearing

If you’re a Balance Druid, Elemental Shaman or Shadow Priest, you have an easier time of gearing up than a Feral Druid, an Enhancement Shaman or a Protection or Retribution Paladin because you’ll already have gear with Intellect on it, and you might have a fair amount of Spirit as well.

For your starter gear set, you’re looking to get anything you can with Spirit and Intellect on it. As you gear up then you might consider the secondary stats, but initially just make sure you have spirit on everything, reforging if you have to, so that you can last the fights before running out of mana. Sometimes people recommend picking up crafted blue-quality PvP gear to replace your worst pieces. This can be a good route to getting some higher itemlevel healing gear, but avoid filling too many slots this way because most of the PvP gear doesn’t have Spirit on it, and you can’t reforge the Resilience into Spirit, so you’ll end up a lot weaker than your itemlevel might suggest, and you might be allowed into heroics before you’re really equipped for them.

When you get into enchanting and gemming your gear is a bit of a personal preference, depending on your circumstances. If you have the cash to spare I’d encourage you always to go in fully enchanted and with blue-quality gems all over, to give yourself the best advantage you can. Likewise, consider popping a flask if you’re going to be running a lot of dungeons in a row; flasks are a massive stat boost, and persist through death.

Practising – Battlegrounds

Something I’ve used in the past, and something the Epic Heals guys mentioned too, is taking your new spec and UI into the battlegrounds. This is a great opportunity to check if your UI actually works for healing (you’d be amazed!) and to get used to the mechanics of healing in a less pressured environment. I’d suggest something bigger like Alterac Valley or Isle of Conquest rather than Warsong Gulch, just so you don’t have too much of an impact on your team if things don’t go smoothly.

The thing with the battlegrounds is that there’s almost always someone taking hurt that you can heal, and there’ll be dangers for you to survive while you’re doing it. At the same time, people expect to be dying a lot and so you probably won’t get yelled at when they do. And there’s often a lack of healers in battlegrounds, so anything you can do is better than nothing.

Your First Run

When you enter a dungeon for the first time hopefully you”re as prepared as possible and you’ll do fine. But it’s still important to communicate to your group. I strongly recommend mentioning to them upfront that you’re a fairly new healer, and politely ask them to take it slow or to be gentle with you. Most groups will accommodate you, since wiping is slower than just taking their time, but if they don’t, or they’re abusive, just wish them well and drop group. You’ll get another group soon enough, and you won’t learn much if the group isn’t going to work with you.



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Categories: Advice and Strategy

Problems With The 4.1.0 PW:S Change

Posted by Malevica on May - 8 - 2011

When I wrote my guide to 4.1.0, I commented that most Priests wouldn’t really notice the change because we weren’t blanketing the raid before. This is true as far as end-game raiding in concerned, but as I’ve been levelling my new Priest through the 80s I’ve found myself becoming very aware of the change.
Here we have a classic example of a change to end-game balance having enormous knock-on effects elsewhere in the game.

Solo Shielding

On the positive side, in most of the levelling content game you can bubble yourself and be all but invulnerable against modest-sized groups of mobs; they just can’t break through your bubble. The downside of that is that while previously they had 30s to achieve this, and usually got there eventually, now they only have 15s and quite often they don’t. Every PW:S you cast on yourself costs a ton of mana, and there’s no Rapture to recoup some of that very high cost.

You can of course pull larger groups, but if you do then you run the risk that they will break the bubble and then make short work of you before you can recast it, since by definition if the bubble breaks early then you’re still afflicted by Weakened Soul and can’t re-shield yourself. The balance here can be quite delicate.

So that’s problem number one, shielding while solo is extremely mana-inefficient, and no one likes drinking!

Dungeon Shielding

The next problem comes when you join a dungeon group. There’s two problems here.

First, you have the issue of mobs not having time to break the shield before it fades as described above, which means that most packs are just not capable of giving you any Rapture returns. This makes shielding tanks in instances, especially those before the mid-80s, extremely inefficient and expensive, and you end up having to avoid it.
I have no problem with changing and adapting your healing style as you level in principle, but I’m usually thinking about adding in new spells as you learn them; this is training people out of using a bread and butter spell that’s a standard part of healing at 85, and that just feels wrong to me.

The other problem arises when you try and pre-shield your tank for a pull. You want to do this because it’s a great way of protecting him from the big up-front hit when the mobs all notice him, and stops you getting aggro immediately when your first heal or shield lands in combat. However 15s, while it sounds like a large window, is very easy for a tank to squander; 30s is a lot more reasonable. A shield expiring a few seconds after the tank pulls is a waste of mana, certainly isn’t going to proc Rapture, and when you recast you’re back where you started in terms of threat.

Solutions?

Let’s be clear, I agree with the change in raids at 85, and I accept that that’s where Blizzard have to focus their efforts to balance things. I do think this is one of many really good examples of unintended consequences, where a perfectly reasonable change to one area of the game causes problems elsewhere. (For more, see PvP!)

Unfortunately I don’t have a simple solution. You could attack the problem in multiple ways, but none will solve things completely.

You could make mobs deal more damage, but then you’d need to change every other class’s damage and healing numbers to compensate, either to boost self-healing or to allow them to kill the mob quicker.

A better approach might be to change the spell: You could have a longer duration for most of the game, and then shorten it progressively as you approach 85; Or you could come at it from the other side and weaken the bubble at lower levels, scaling it up to full strength as you get to 85.
You’d have a huge backlash in the community though, whichever option you chose, and you still have the problem of a spell which changes form dramatically as you level up. Perhaps that’s acceptable as long as the usage remains consistent, but I think there’s a risk of confusing players with a mechanic like this.

Really I’m out of ideas at the moment. I’d be interested in what people think could be a solution to this little issue.



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State of the Cataclysm

Posted by Malevica on February - 2 - 2011

Well there’s nothing like leading a 25-man guild through a new expansion to suck up all of your free time, and nothing like writing up a thesis to suppress your love of writing as a hobby!

Anyway, what pearls of wisdom can I share?

Levelling

I’ve got my Priest and Paladin to 85 so far, and my Shaman is close behind at 83. I levelled Malevica as Discipline and had a blast. It wasn’t as quick as it could have been as Shadow, but I usually find that the time I spend reorganising all my bars and learning how to Shadow just isn’t recouped in time savings while levelling; that’s not to say that’s universal though.

On the other hand, I really regret trying to level my Paladin as Holy. Levels 80-83 were OK, but Uldum and Twilight Highlands were just pretty awful. And the problem was easy to fix: Exorcism just costs too much damn mana. I could keep Inquisition up fine but my main nuke is Exorcism. Exorcism does plenty of damage but just can’t be cast for long enough to kill more than one mob before needing to drink again. Give me a glyph, or even a talent, to reduce its mana cost by half and the problem is solved. It has no impact at end-game because DPS specs shouldn’t be mana-starved now.
But, I hear you cry, you’re doing it wrong! Why not just go Ret like everyone else? Well, I chose to go Holy because I was instancing a fair bit and trying to maintain two completely separate gear sets on an alt felt like just too much work. Plus, don’t forget, I’d just finished levelling a Priest as a healing spec with no problems.

And don’t even get me started on quest mobs with 150,000 HP for no very good reason. If a mob is in no danger of killing me (and in Cataclysm there’s no single quest mob which poses any risk to the player unless you’re AFK) then all you achieve by giving it twice the HP of a typical mob is making me press Nuke No.1 twice as many times. Which is boring, especially when I’m already killing mobs slowly.
Let me be clear, I’m in favour of big scary mobs at the end of quest chains, but what makes them big and scary should be more complicated mechanics to deal with and a real sense that they come close to killing me, not just more hit points.

On the subject of linear questing, I love the story-telling and how the heavy use of phasing keeps the zones feeling less crowded, and since my focus is getting to 85 so I can run heroics or raids the ease of finding quest hubs is a bonus. But I will admit that levelling my third character is feeling a bit less exciting when I know I’ve done every quest before.

Heroics

At the start of the expansion, Blizzard seemed to have achieved their goal of making heroics hard, even taking into account the huge numbers of people carrying around PvP gear or Shadow Priests with plate gear just to game the itemlevel restriction.

What they did well from my perspective is make the encounters problematic if your group tries to nuke ignore the mechanics, while making them fairly manageable if your group avoids the bad, interrupts the Spell-of-Death and kills the adds.

Which leads me to the biggest realisation I had while adjusting to the new expansion, and the best piece of advice I’d give to any new healer:

If the thought going through your mind constantly is “I can’t heal through this!!!”, there’s a very good chance your group is doing it wrong.

Of course, maybe you are just undergeared or not adapting to the new expansion at all, but bear in mind that it’s probably not your fault.
Case in point, my first (guild) run in Lost City was a nightmare. Especially High Prophet Barim (didn’t he use to sell reagents?) and Siamat. Why? We weren’t killing the Soul Fragments in time on the former and we were killing the adds too near to the group on the latter. And no one had the gear to compensate for it.

In WoW, people like to talk about Skill > Gear. Really it’s more like Potential ~ Gear x Skill. If you need a certain level of performance to defeat a boss, you can make it possible by raising your gear or your skill/execution/tactics, or both. Right now, as February dawns, the general levels of gear in the playing community are rising which makes heroics a bit more manageable for the average pickup group, yet they’re still defeating groups regularly if they ignore mechanics, which I count as a success.

Raiding

My guild is committed to 25-man raiding, and we’re 9/12 at the moment (Cho’gall is so dead this week!), making us the 3rd Horde guild for 25-man raiding (the other two are 10/12, curse them!)

I’ve loved the pace of the raids so far. We’ve generally spent at least a couple of hours on each boss before downing them, so there’s not been a Naxx moment where an entire wing drops in a night. Trash is well-designed, often demonstrating the principles of the fights (Ascendant Council is a great example) and making you think, while not taking hours to plough through.

My favourite encounters are probably Chimaeron, for daring healers not to heal and then challenging them to switch gears in a second, and the Conclave of Wind for the incredible scenery as well as the coordination needed of the whole raid.

25-man raids do seem to be in dire straits at the moment though. On my server a lot of the big Horde 25-man guilds either broke up into 10-man guilds around the expansion or have subsequently dropped to 10s. We have no plans to change the format of our guild, but if I were looking to set up a new guild I certainly wouldn’t be trying to start a 25-man guild.
I’m not predicting the death of 25-man raiding though, just a consolidation into a smaller number of guilds dedicated to the format.

Shameless plug

Mental is currently looking for a few more good applicants to top up our roster, particularly a couple of reliable healers. If you’re an EU player looking for 3 nights a week 25-man raiding, you could do a lot worse than Mental!

The Blog

I’m still here and I do intend to post more, especially as the guild/raid leadership demands begin to lower a bit, but I also have a lot going on and honestly TH4H is dropping quite a way down the list.

I will be updating the raid strategies by the weekend though, I know some of them are way out of date. I’ve got up-to-date versions on my guild’s forums that just need converting.



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Cataclys-meme

Posted by Malevica on December - 9 - 2010

Ah, why not. I like the idea of a “time capsule”, and I love looking back a year later and marvelling at just how wrong everyone was, myself included!
This was suggested by Janyaa at Muradin’s Musings, and I heard about it from Enlynn at Bubblespec.
 

  1. Disk or Download?
    Disk. Like Tobold, I’m baffled that it’s significantly cheaper to buy the box retail than to buy direct from Blizzard. I’d accept a couple of pounds more for the convenience, but a 40% higher cost for the direct download is a big difference.
  2.  

  3. Did you experience any difficulties? IE: Login servers crashing, late delivery, etc?
    My box arrived on the Tuesday morning, so I was able to log in and play on the day of release. It’s actually been a very smooth release for me.
  4.  

  5. What are you doing first? IE: Speed leveling to 85, rolling a new race, completely avoiding the new content, etc?
    Levelling to 85 so I can gear up for heroics and raids. I’m also tinkering with Archaeology, which is strangely addictive.
  6.  

  7. Mt. Hyjal or Vash’jir?
    Mt Hyjal – I hate 3D in WoW because I find it impossible to work out where I am or where mobs are relative to me. I can only stand so much “The target must be in front of you” before running off and sobbing in a corner.
    Plus, I love how solid and earthy Hyjal is, compared to the winter wonderland of Northrend and the wierdness of Outland. And flying into the sun from Orgrimmar to Nordrassil and seeing the shadow and flare effects are gorgeous.
  8.  

  9. Worgen or Goblin?
    Neither yet. When I do, it’ll be Worgen because they’re more interesting than Goblins. Although the “British” accent grated on beta -why is it so hard for American companies to just hire a Brit to do the voiceovers? I’ll do it, and I won’t even demand a fee!
  10.  

  11. Questing, dungeons or both?
    Questing. I prefer to level quietly and solo, so I don’t have to deal with the rushing and competition. Although I’ll be doing some dungeons with the guild, and I’ll need them to relearn how to heal.
  12.  

  13. What was the first piece of gear you replaced and with what?
    I had to look this up, but my first upgrade was replacing my T10 legs with Kilt of Reborn Future
  14.  

  15. Did you take any time off from work or school?
    Nope. I’ve just come back from 3 weeks abroad, so it would have been a bit cheeky to take more time off work for WoW!
  16.  

  17. Will you be keeping the same spec and main, or changing to a different toon?
    I fear change! I’ll be sticking with the same toon, and probably with Discipline as my spec too, until such time as it proved to be entirely unviable.
  18.  

  19. What’s been your favorite aspect of Cataclysm so far?
    The upgraded graphics and tightened up zones, I think. There’s so much to explore, and it really makes it feel like a new game.


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Categories: Anecdotes

Venturing Forth into the Cataclysm

Posted by Malevica on December - 9 - 2010

I noticed after posting that this week’s Blog Azeroth Shared Topic is “Initial Thoughts on Cataclysm” (suggested by Jaedia of Jaedia’s Menagerie. So if you’re looking for a range of opinions and views from across the blogosphere, you could do a lot worse than to look there.


First, in case you’ve not noticed, and in case you’re interested, I’ve got very rough strategies for most of the new raids hammered out now (I don’t have Blackwing Descent finished, or a Sinestra strat yet).
You can find them in the menu above, or they have their own index page. I’ll update them, but I’d appreciate feedback from anyone who experiences the content on Live before me. Leave a comment on the strategy page!

First impressions

My early experience of Cataclysm is a good one. I played through each of the zones on the beta but bugs prevented me from really experiencing the flow of the new zones, so it’s been really nice to see how well the quests link up to tell you a story as you progress through a zone. The variable respawn rate on quest mobs seems to have been refined pretty well, so there’s not many bottlenecks to overcome either.

People, though, are a constant source of frustration. I’m absolutely not a competitive person by nature, so spamming a target/SW:P macro to try and be the first to tag a slowly respawning mob isn’t fun for me; but I can only be so patient before I start getting annoyed at the people who don’t seem to understand that if someone’s at a spawn point before you you should a) try and group with them, and b) let them go first. Special mention goes out to the people who try and ninja a quest mob spawned using a quest item you get given

Levelling

The pace of levelling seems about right to me. I logged in briefly at Tuesday lunchtime to find that we already had a handful of level 85 players and a Realm First tailor who had started at midnight and not slept, but since I’ll be levelling in the evenings only it’ll probably take me until the weekend to ding 85. I made 83 last night in Deepholm after about 9 hours of play time.

I’m levelling as Discipline, which is working out quite nicely. The healing from Atonement means I have to try really hard to get killed, and the DPS isn’t too bad either. I’ve always levelled as a healing spec, and I just accept that it’ll take a bit longer to kill things. Since I intend to use my second spec for Holy once I’m 85, I really don’t want to reconfigure all my bars for Shadow only to have to put them all back again in a few days’ time.

Instances

I haven’t run many instances yet on Live, partly because of a shortage of tanks and surplus of healers in my guild, and partly because I just prefer to level solo, always have.

But my guild will be running guild 5-mans on our regular raid nights for the next couple of weeks, so that’s what I’ll be doing this evening, and of course I’ll share my thoughts.

Early priorities

Well clearly I’m aiming to get to 85. Preferably on Saturday so I can spend some time at 85 on Sunday and maybe run a few heroics.

I’m also keen to get my Guardians of Hyjal and Therazane reps up fairly quickly so I can get access to the Arcanum of Hyjal and Greater Inscription of Charged Lodestone head and shoulder enchants.

Then comes the rest of the gearing for starting to raid. I’ve been glancing at gear lists on other blogs, so my priority after getting my Guardians of Hyjal rep to Exalted for the Cord of Raven Queen will be the Earthen Ring, to fill in a few more gear slots.

I’m not levelling my professions especially aggressively yet though. I’m not selling off my mats for obscene amounts of gold, but I’m also not buying materials either. I doubt I’ll have Alchemy maxed for a while, since I’m one of the huge number of double-crafters lulled into a false sense of security by the low material prices of WotLK. I’ll get there when I break out my alts.

I’m doing the cooking and fishing dailies religiously though, and making a nice stash of cooking mats in my bank for when I have enough tokens for the new recipes.

What I am slightly obsessed with is Archaeology. I’m having to fight the urge to run around the world digging up artefacts rather than questing. Getting XP for every find I make means it’s not actually too bad, but it’s not getting me gear, and at this stage of the expansion my focus is on getting into those first raids.



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Categories: Anecdotes