March 21 2009

WotLK Newbs: 80’s to the left, thier alts to the right, and me in the middle as a newb…

Ok so my blog has been pretty, well, squishy so far. Lately though I’ve noticed that there’s a real lack of content for a whole set of folks playing WoW, the Post WotLK Newbs. Why should I write for these folks? I mean is being a newb now really any different than it was to be a newb in BC or in Vanilla WoW? Actually yeah.. it is.

So in Vanilla WoW, life was different for Newbs. I didn’t get a chance to play WoW during the vanilla WoW days, but I know a lot of folks who have. I’ve listened to their stories and I’ve gotta say that the game was a lot different for folks just starting out back in those days than it is now. There was only one ‘world’, there were only 60 levels to the level cap, there were more folks to group with at lower levels, and Auction House prices were a little more reasonable (for the most part).

Now fast forward to the Burning Crusade expansion. Everyone runs for level 70. The Burning Crusade adds two new elements to the game Dailies and Heroics. These are two great new features that give players something to do aside from raiding and PvP once they get up to 70. There’s also a lot of gold to be had in them there Outlands! With shiny new gear and all this new content, folks pretty much abandoned the old world for the Outlands and never looked back. Sure they’d level an alt once in a while, but why go through all that grind when you can just hang out in Shattrah City and show off all your awesome new gear and yep a flying mount!! For folks that started the game post Burning Crusade, you now had 70 levels to catch up on, an inflated server economy because people would rather spend gold than have their main set foot in the old world, and aside from Barrens Chat, the Old World seemed bleak and empty.

This is where I entered WoW. I spent a lot of time questing solo and since I was solo leveling a Priest, I’m really surprised that I didn’t quit the game all together. I did make friends when I first started out. In fact my first 5 minutes in the game I made my first WoW friend ever who invited me over to the Horde side. Once on the Horde side I found another friend that I ran with for a few months. Once my real life friend found out I was playing she let me know which server she was on and I re-rolled a priest to compliment her hubby’s Warrior and her Mage. My buddy followed me over and rolled a warrior, but these two classes were just so annoying to level that we just eventually gave up. I quit the game for a while and he went back to his old server. When I got back to the game I got back to leveling that Priest, this time solo of course. It wasn’t fast leveling that’s for sure and it took a lot of strategy to complete quests without spending most of my playtime in the graveyard. My friend and her hubby helped me out and chatted with me when they were online, but they were almost to 70 so I didn’t see them very often since they were leveling in the Outlands. There was also only one way to get in and out of the Outlands making it a bit of a hassle for higher level folks to get back into the old world. Since there was so much to do at level 70, there weren’t a whole lot of folks rolling alts and since I started between expansions, there also weren’t a whole lot of folks starting up the game for the first time, so the old world was pretty lonely. Actually once I even made it up to the Outlands, they were pretty empty as well.

In rolls WotLK. So many sweet new features, more accessible end game content, new dailies, new flying mounts, achievements, it’s almost a whole new game. Now all of the folks who were 70 rushed up the 10 levels to get to 80. They whined a bit, but once they got there they were gearing up for end game content, doing more dailies, leveling trade skills, whining about being bored in the new Shattrah, Dalaran. Blizz did make it a little easier to get in and out of Northrend, but there’s so much to do out there, why go back to the Outlands, and so many of those folks spent so much time on the old world content that they aren’t going back, well unless they need to hit the auction house of course.

I’m feeling for folks who are starting to play WoW now, or started playing around the time the expansion hit. Now it seems like things are even more expensive since there seems to be even more gold in the new continent. Leveling has been toned down so it’s faster to get to 80, but there’s two problems with that. First off trade skills are problematic because chances are you’ll level out of a zone before you gather enough materials to get your trade skills high enough for the next zone. Less quests are required to get to the next level while that means dealing with fewer of the ‘get 50 ears for Zul’tan’ style quests, it also means less coin. This can make it a lot harder to pay for class training, travel, and mounts (training and the mount). It also makes it easier to skip group quests. If you can get the xp elsewhere and it’s too much of a pain to get a group together, why bother finishing those quests? Problem is that grouping for dungeons is a great way to learn how the skills of one class work with the other classes to take down the bosses. Without this experience there’s a ton of people that are getting up into the end game content and basically doing all the same things they’d do while they were running solo. That just doesn’t work and ends up leading to a string of wipes and a lot of wasted time (ok granted there’s probably also a lot of folks that just didn’t have the patience to get ready for and raid in the BC expansion that are now running amok in WotLK and making us all look bad).

So safe to say WoW is slowly becoming a game that’s really unfriendly to new players. Yeah the recruit a friend program is really helpful, in that it gets you to the level cap faster, but think of all the content that’s getting passed up on the way to 80.

December 14 2008

One More For the Road

Since I'm blogging from a different computer tonight I don't really have a picture to add to the blog. It's a sin I know but hey I'm blogging from bed so… Hmmm probably shouldn't have shared that part. Well anywho I actually tried to get through Utguard Keep today with a group of friends. Safe to say I actually had fun. I need to work on my tanking though, and probably go blood instead of Unholy. The pet's kind of nice, but I can see how it's a pain to heal and I feel really sorry for the Priest we had with us (who did an awesome job by the way). I also hit 72 finally after clearing the second room. Yippee 8 more levels to go.  /sigh

I did however finally pick up that Axe I'd been drooling over the Edge of the Tuskarr. I also hit the Auction House to see if I could upgrade a piece or two of my armor. Really the only way I'm going to get any experience tanking will be to, yeah Tank. So I probably ought to get out there and get to business. The sad part is that pretty much ever other message in the general channels includes requests for healers and tanks. Hey if nothing else I should start answering those just to push up my experience bar.  

I think though, if I changed out for a Blood tanking build, I'd drop Dual Wielding. Then again I could just stick with Dual Wielding for now, but just go for a Frost tanking build. The only reason I'm leaning toward a Blood build is that it's easier on healers. After being a healer I like the idea of making their jobs easier. Although I haven't tried an all Blood build yet, so perhaps I should give it a shot and just see what I think. I was not a big fan of running Frost. The burst damage is kind of nice, but the rest of the time there's not a lot going on. Also until Unbreakable Armor, the shielding DK talent is buffed a bit, the Unholy equivalent, Bone Shield is really very helpful.

Then again, since I run solo a lot, I'm wondering if sticking with Unholy isn't such a bad thing. That little pet ghoul can be pretty helpful. Then again that's only if I remember to set him to docile before making a pull and then setting him to defensive once the mob is in range. Otherwise I end up aggroing half the mobs in the area as the idiot goul goes chasing after whatever it is I'm trying to pull one mob in. Oh well, AOE for the win right? 

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December 10 2008

A Little More Dual Wielding and a Great Big Axe

OK so last night by the time I logged off I ended up hitting 70 as mentioned, and I’d run around collecting some new gear. So right now I’m up to the Mightstone Helm, the Pugnacious Collar, the Ramshorn Inlaid Shoulders, Mightstone Breastplate, Mightstone Legplates, the Scout’s Signet Ring, and the Rigid Tuskring.  After picking up the Rigid Tusk Ring I threw my swords back on again (if nothing else just to keep my skills up) and WOW, what a difference that extra expertise makes! I had dropped the two swords in exchange for 2 handed quest rewards to get a little extra damage in as my Dual Wielding became a little hampered by my lack of +hit and boosted expertise. I enjoyed being a whirling instrument of destruction again for a bit.

The evening also became a little more interesting after the General Channel erupted into non-stop madness when a player asked for the location of a quest and received the response ‘crossroads’. Of course the player posing the question had to point out that the Crossroads is in the Barrens. Somehow I guess he/she never considered that there could be more than one place in the game where roads crossed and hence formed crossroads. But that’s neither here nor there. Next thing you know there’s a dude claiming Mankrick’s wife is at his house, another dude asking if Mankrick knows, and three other people asking if this is all part of the standard fee or if we’re paying extra for this nonsense. I did notice hosever a severe lack of Chuck Norris jokes which tend to be a staple in Barrens chat asshattery. The worst part is that I’m not sure whether I should feel that I dodged a mental blow by missing out, or if I should feel cheated. Either way I’m puzzled by my reaction.

It saddens me to say though that as swiftly as the general channel cleared of all intelligent life forms, I too dropped Dual Wielding again, well at least for now. Last night I also completed Hellscream’s Champion for which I was rewarded the Axe of Frozen Death. Finally a blue item to drop in the slots. I rushed back to Acherus to slap the Rune of Cinderglacier on it and made my way back to Northrend. While it isn’t the main hand Axe I’m waiting on, it does look pretty intimidating.

I’ve got to admit, I like the gear in Northrend a lot more than the gear from the Outlands. It’s kind of nice to put on matching quest rewards armor. Ah there’s nothing quite like trying to head out to cause terror only to look as though you’ve dressed yourself in the dark. There were times in the old world where I was just waiting for some humanoid mobs to say ‘look it’s bad enough that you’ve come trouncing into my home, but seriously, you’re not going to kill me while wearing that are you’? Don’t get me wrong, I’m much more concerned with the stats of an item over the look of it, but there are sometimes where I wish I could hide more than just my helmet and cape if you know what I mean. The Northrend gear I’ve collected so far however, is pretty easy on the eyes (at least for folks who like black, which I do). I’m almost looking forward to leveling Strategeist here once Geistig has hit 80. For the most part I always loved Shadow form because it not only has a great sound associated with casting it, the armor kept Strategeist alive a little bit longer, and it covered up the 64 color landscape that’s usually associated with armor that isn’t crafted or part of a Tier set. Ah one day, I might even have one of those! Meh, if I can get home from work earlier. Oh yeah, work. Well gotta go, enjoy Thursday everyone!


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December 10 2008

Ahem… RAWR Level 70!

OK OK, while I’m finishing up dinner I figured I’d pause and announce that Geistig hit 70. I know it doesn’t mean what it used to, but I’m still totally stoked! This is after all The Burning Crusade level cap so I’m pretty stoked to have hit it. Now just about 10 more grueling levels and I’ll make it all the way to 80. Joy of joys right?

But seriously, I didn’t play WOW before the release of the Burning Crusade expansion, but I still think that the level caps are pretty important and not just for the ‘Hey I can buy a new mount now’ sort of important. At least I started playing well before Wrath of the Lich King was introduced so at least don’t I feel like I’m starting from square one while everyone else has set off for Northrend. It did take me a little longer to get here, but I’m enjoying my stay so far. I’m picking up some keen gear, I’m skinning like crazy and leveling away. Now if only I could get a little more time online to, oh I dont’t know, level a little faster, that would rock. For now though I take solace in knowing that I have at least hit this milestone and getting ready to move onwards and hopefully upwards.

I would however like to throw a question out into the void. The debate rages on whether or not one should shell out coin for the Winged Steed of the Ebon Blade or just go for the standard flying mounts. I’m really not even going to worry about the training and etc. for flying mounts until 74 due to the flight restrictions in Northrend. I am just planning ahead though. Thanks again to folks reading and cheering me on, it really helps to have that in the back of my mind when I read another quest to kill oh 30 somethings for someone.

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December 9 2008

Dual Wielding Pause

Sorry for the pause but I’ve kind of been fuming for the last couple of days. I’ve got to put a pause Dual Wielding for a bit until I can get my hands on that axe. It’s complicated and I’ll explain it later on for folks that are interested. The short of it is that the main hand I have right now is a little too weak to help my spells layeth the smacketh down. That means I’m rocking a honking two hander for now. It’s not remotely as elegant but hey it’s really hard for me to log in and do less damage just because I prefer the ‘look’ of something else. Yeah it grates me the wrong way though because now I look like every other single weapon Death Knight roaming Northrend. Oy I think I got a karmic slap by pointing out “hey there’s not a lot of level 80 DK’s on my server.” So then the fates that be decided to say (in a Yoda like voice none the less) “Oh there will be, there will be.”

So yeah, that’s what I get for trying to be different. I get gimpy weapons and surrounded by folks playing the same class. I can just imagine how Paladins felt just before 3.0 was released (shivers to think of all the Paladins folks were rolling because they wanted to be on the OP train).
First they were cursed with nerfs, then blessed with OP status. This of course opened the floodgates of the pwn thirsty.

While there is a whole lot of “don’t tank Dual Wield” ranting and raving going on (with a lot of good facts behind it) I have to say that with a good slow main hand weapon it’s not so bad. WITHOUT a good slow one main hand weapon it’s an exercise in futility. There’s enough futility in life so I like to leave it alone whenever I possibly can. Safe to say though I am kind of glad that I’m switching over even if temporarily because I’m skilling up my 2 handed axes and 2 handed swords. Of all the gear I’ve traded out, I miss my axes the most. (sigh)

Why do I miss my axes? Well in the Outlands they did a crap load of damage, they had a slow swing rate and they had +hit. But why are these things important? Well it all relates to how Death Knights actually do damage. Death Knights want each swing to be associated with a rune (spell) because the rune adds damage (sort of like ‘insult to injury’). So slower weapons like the humungous 2 handers are nice and slow and give the rune cool downs a chance to wear off and rune power a chance to build up so that you can add a rune to as many swings as possible. More runes means more damage, more damage means less time spent hacking at the mobs and more quests completed for me. Woot

Also the amount of damage that the weapon can do also adds to the amount of damage that the runes will do. A weapon with a greater damage quotient is going to have a bigger rune impact behind it. Keep in mind too that when Dual Wielding only the main hand actually adds that runic bite so the off-hand is basically just there for parry and weapon only damage. So this means that Dual Wielding Death Knights not only want a slow swinging weapon but also a heavy hitter.

Finally the +hit helps by removing the off-hand miss rate. Evidently when you’re Dual Wielding there’s a 9% chance that you’re going to miss with that off hand. I know, great, but by adding +hit or by boosting experience you can lower that down and actually do some damage with the off-hand as well as the main hand. This means that while you’re not hitting as hard at least you’re hitting more often to compensate.

Skeleton Jack did however post this handy tidbit tonight so I figured I’d cross post it:

Dual Wield (DW) versus Two Handed (2H) Tanking

The main reason everyone screams why DW tanks are bad is because of parry haste.  Long story short, if a boss parries your attack his next attack is hasted.  So if he parried enough attacks, you could potentially take a spike of hasted burst damage that your healers can’t keep you alive through.

If you Expertise cap as a Death Knight then the boss will not parry.

The Expertise cap is 15 as Blood and 21 as Frost/Unholy.  If you’re at this range, then that argument is null and void.  So the next one that comes in is TPS.  Basically the way Dual Wield is designed for Death Knights is that it is very gear, haste, and proc dependent.  Something which tank specs tend to have very little of.  Also most of the DK abilities strongly favor the use of 2H weapons for instant cast strikes.

The flip side however is that there are multiple 1H weapons with tanking stats.  If you wish to DW then you need a slow MH and a fast OH weapon.  You should focus on weapons that are heavy on tanking stats, and you should also Expertise cap.  This will reduce your total TPS and DPS as a tank spec, for only a minor tanking avoidance/mitigation gain.  I cannot find any numbers to truly suggest this is a real increase.  However if you have no dps players who are ever threat capped and you’d like to find a way to increase your survivability this would be an alternative option.”

I wanted to add this bit mostly because I’m still trying to get my head around the additional boss parries that basically blow out the tank. This also applies to folks that melee DPS by standing next to the mob as opposed to standing behind it because mobs can’t block or parry attacks from behind, but if you’re standing next to them they can and they’ll usually do it to the

With this info and everything I’ve been picking up from the Elitist Jerks forum and WoWWiki, I’m pretty sure that if I wanted to tank as a Dual Wield I could, but I might as well keep up my weapons skills on my 2 handers just in case I end up having to run with “Duel Wielders can’t tank noob” sort
of folks. I’m sure that I will eventually.

For the most part however I’m still just working on actually leveling and since I’m online either really late or only on the weekends I don’t worry too much about finding groups for instances. So for me as long as I follow the slow heavy main and the swift biting off-hand I should be able to work through the mobs at least fast enough to get through to 80. Hopefully I’ll also be able to pick up some leather for the auction house while I’m at it.

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December 7 2008

One More Level and Some More Dual Wield Observations

Northrend finally! Yeah I should have headed out once I hit 68. Instead I swapped out professions Skinning for Mining and spent a little extra time in the Outlands building up my Skinning skill before rushing to Northrend. Well that and collecting a little more quest turn in gold. Geistig is still Dual Wielding but I’ve got to do some more tweaking to build up her damage output. She’s currently rocking a Stoneblade Slicer and a Coldstone Cutlass. While I like the stats on the Stoneblade Slicer, I have to admit the dual swords just don’t seem to have the same kind of menacing aesthetic that I enjoyed with my Grunt’s Waraxes. Honestly though that’s just a style thing and well I’m willing to forgo style for stats to be a killing machine. I am however looking forward to picking up this guy though the Edge of the Tuskarr which is a quest reward from The Tides Turn. [more]

I am not enjoying the fact that I’ve got to build up my skill in one handed swords, but at least it’s better than my skill in one handed maces (whew it’s embarrassing, I’ll have to equip a mace and go bash some stuff one of these days). I did however work pretty hard for the Stoneblade Slicer, *cough cough* yeah I failed the quest (Trial of Fire) a few times before finally running the crazy apothecary out of danger. This quest brings the “I hate Escort quests, it’s like trying to rescue one of Jerry’s kids” into a whole new realm of yeah there’s a reason why you got captured, but why am I crazy enough to try and rescue your bony butt.  Arguably I’m not a huge fan of these new weapons though, rocking a pair of, well, rocks, with pointy ends just bugs me. When Strategeist hit the Outlands honestly I wasn’t too worried about upgrading my gear. I did however miss upgrading from a staff I’d obtained in Black Rock, but since I hadn’t been a raider in any sense of the word, it’s not as though I had epic gear that I was exchanging for greens. I did start to know the feeling though with Geistig since I’ve had to replace some of those awesome starter blues with greens and now with the uglies. Except for my weapons though I’m a big fan of Northrend and I’m looking forward to questing there, seeing the sights, and of course, killing the natives.

So I still have doubts about the spec I’m working with currently and I may have to make some changes here and there. I’m glad that I hadn’t already posted specifics as I’ve already had to go through and remove the 2-handed weapon specialization. OK I don’t know what I was thinking when I added that to a Dual Wield talent tree. Arguably, reading comprehension is pretty rarely at it’s best after working all day and then piecing together Death Knight research a little at a time in the evenings.

I’ll be happy when the Death Knight class is well documented and the class tweaking and tuning is complete. In the meantime though, I am kind of enjoying being a part of a class that’s still evolving. I haven’t played WOW for years and years, so for me it’s like being right there at the beginning of things. I really like that.

I’m not sure what the future will hold in Northrend for Geistig. Hopefully some new and fantastic weapon choices. So far I like the fact that there’s defense ratings added to single handed weapons and I’m hoping that I can get my hand on some of those. If I can’t use a shield, I’m curious if using a second weapon with some defensive stats will help augment the Death Knight shielding abilities. Guess we’ll have to see how things roll out over time.

As you can imagine, I’m pretty exhausted and ready to get some sleep in before starting a new week. Here’s to Northrend!

December 5 2008

Two AM and Halfway to 68

Here’s Geistig my Death Knight. I’m totally stoked that I finally finished the Ring of Blood quest chain thanks to an awesome group of fellow Death Knights. While it would have been nice to have had a healer, we still managed to take down the whole set of them pretty quickly. I’m also fairly pleased with my latest talent tree set up. This evening I went through and did some reading up on Death Knight tanking. Based on what I read and based on some other ideas I’m formulating I’m working my way up to a Dual Wield tanking Death Knight. Yeah it sounds kind of crazy when I look at it in type, but it seems to be working so far. Not only did I solo the two out of three of the Nagrand ‘Nestingway’ quests (I was getting a bit too tired by the end to find the last one), I completed the ‘Ring of Blood’ quest chain, and I knocked a few other quests out of the log. I found that with my latest revision to Geistig’s talent tree I suffered a lot less damage than I had previously, but I was still able to take down mobs pretty swiftly. [more]

Basically this new set of talents draws on hitting as many ‘tanking’ talents as possible while also snagging talents that help out with Dual Wielding. My plan at this point is to max out the Unholy Death Knight Talent tree just enough to get some good tanking skills out of this tree. This build also runs up the Blood and Frost Death Knight Talent trees just far enough to pick up a few more tanking talents. There’s also a few talents hit that boost damage done by Dual Wielding weapons and getting a little extra parry to help keep the damage down.

So far, I’m feeling a lot better running with this build than with my earlier and undocumented experiments (trust me, you don’t want to know). I also really enjoyed grouping with other Death Knights. I still want to get some tanking practice in so that I’ll be able to test this build more thoroughly once I get Geistig to the level cap. I’m also kind of starting to like the tanking role over the DPS role. Well I’ll have to get more details in after I get some sleep, otherwise I’m going to end up with qwerty on my forehead.

December 5 2008

Sticking with my Death Knight

Hicks of Hudson’s Hideout posted his own debate over leveling his Death Knight to 80 now, or re-rolling a healer instead to help fill the healer shortage and spend some more time in groups. I know the feeling. While I like questing solo, I’ve noticed that I get more quests done a lot quicker when I’m in a group or just have a leveling partner. It really helps keep me on track when there’s another person there who has similar goals. I have tendency to drift off task, off topic, away from my desk, yeah the list goes on. When I’m leveling with someone or at least around other guild members, I tend to stay focused and quest more efficiently. I also tend to take more screen shots and have better material for my blog posts (insert giggles here).

A bit a go I posted that I’m a little disheartened about leveling my Death Knight. For the most part I really felt as though I spend most of my time leveling solo. Hicks pointed out in his post that he ‘s also
had a hard time getting into groups. This made me feel a little less like a social leper.

I’ve been reading the adventures of Hudson’s Priest (same blog as Hicks) and found them entertaining and inspiring. Hicks noticed that Hudson was able to get into instance groups and actually seemed to be doing it
pretty regularly. Hicks also noticed a lot of ‘looking for heals’ requests and wondered if rolling a healing class would make it easier for him to group. At posting, Hicks was running as a Death Knight in the Outlands.

Recently I had the same doubts about staying on course to 80 as Geistig my Undead Death Knight. After experiencing all the Death Knight drama I could handle, seeing a bunch of requests for heals in the general channel, and reading Hudson’s adventures I was considering going Holy with Strategeist and taking a break from the Death Knight grind. I had gone over to Holy before the WOTLK release. I enjoyed healing groups (for the most part) so I did have some experience running Holy. I’d switched back after the WOTLK release to try out the Priest Shadow tree talent Dispersion. Playing the part of the happy fool I logged in to Strategeist and listened to the general chat in the Outlands a bit. Since Strategeist is 68 I didn’t see a lot of requests in the general channel for healers in the Outlands. I thought that must mean the majority of folks had made their way for Northrend and that I should go there too. I zipped back to Orgrimmar, specced out for holy, sifted through the Auction House for a few helpful upgrades and ran for the zeppelin. Hopping of
the zeppelin with high hopes of groups and heals I kept my eye on the general channel as I ran out to pick up my first quests.

Insert the sound of crickets chirping right about… here.

It was pretty cool to have Howling Fjord all to myself. I didn’t have to compete with anyone to complete the quests. I did have to compete with my mana bar, but that’s a tirade in and of its self. Grinding away
as a Holy/Disc Priest I kept my eye on the chat window but to no avail. The only request for heals that came through was a bit too big for my healing britches. Safe to say I once again felt like I’d missed the call for recess and was stuck in the class room beating chalk dust out of erasers.

Recently while lurking in the official WOW Death Knight forums I did some reading on the ‘healer shortage’. The posts there seemed to be a back and forth on whether there actually was a shortage of healing classes. One person posting stating that there was not a lot of level 80 Death Knights and another poster mentioned that they’d noticed that a lot of folks still haven’t leveled their Death Knights out of the Outlands. (OK the WOW official forums aren’t really a place I’d recommend going for sound information, but they’re sort of like the bad magazines at the grocery store checkout, they’re a quick funny read while wasting the last 5 minutes of a lunch break.)

This got me thinking and a theory popped into mind. I began to wonder if there was just a glutton of Death Knights in the Outlands making it hard for Death Knights to group. I also wondered if the number of players across the classes kind of levels out a bit more in Northrend (which would mean less demand for heals from Strategeist but hopefully a little more demand for Geistig).

I went over to to get some numbers. I wanted to compare how many Death Knights there were in both the Outlands and Northrend. I also wanted to know how many healers there were in same places. Warcraft Realms really only tells you how many players have rolled each class and doesn’t
specify whether they’re specced for healing, but I figured even lumping together all of the healing classes I’d still have at least some rough numbers to test my theory. The Warcraft Realms data also doesn’t tell me which characters are actually in what zones. I compensate for this by grouping together levels 58 to 67 and levels 68 to 80. The minimum starting level for the Outlands is level 58 and the minimum starting level for Northrend is 68. The level 58 to 67 group is my Outlands group and the level 68 to 80 consists of my orthrend group. While the data isn’t solid enough for a genuine study, and is subject to controversy because it is all user submitted, it is essentually all I need to get a general idea of healers vs Death Knights in the Outlands and in Northrend. These are also only numbers for the server Strategeist and Geistig are harbored (Uldum).

I looked up Uldum, set a level range for 58 to 67 and jotted down the numbers for all of the healing classes and the number of Death Knights. I also set the level range for 68 to 80 and jotted down the numbers for all of the healing classes and the number of Death Knights. I popped all of the numbers into a spreadsheet, did some calculations and walla, a graph!

In my signature creepy colors you can see that these base numbers back up my theory. In the Outlands (levels 58 to 67) there’s something like 1 healer for every 4 Death Knights. According to Warcraft Realms Death Knights made up 67% of the classes between 58 and 67 on Uldum. In Northrend (levels 68 to 70) there’s a total reversal. There’s something like 4 healers for every 1 Death Knight. According to Warcraft Realms Death Knights only make up about 8% of the classes between 68 and 80.

After doing this little analysis I don’t feel so bad about suggesting that Hicks just continue to play his Death Knight. It also inspires me to continue leveling my Death Knight. While there’s a ton of them out there,
it would be kind of cool to be one of the few that actually makes it to the level cap. I also want to get to 80 and do some Dual Wield testing, which is just more incentive. I did log on to Geistig a bit last night and made it one level closer hitting level 67. So now I’ve got one more level until Northrend and then on to level 80.

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November 24 2008

Death Knight – the New Hunter

I can remember when I first started playing WOW, and how everyone gave Hunters a very very hard time. I’ve pugged with several Hunters over the course of my WOW adventures and I can say that there are some really good Hunters out there. These Hunters take the time to understand the mechanics of their class, they work well with their pets, and they’re fun people to run with. Then there’s the ‘other’ Hunters.

While I hope that those reading this have not grouped with players that aren’t as meticulous in the study of their class, I alas have. There’ve also been situations where I’ve been that player much to my chagrin. Those experiences have taught me that if I’m going to play a class I need to take the time to understand how the spells and abilities affect the class, what kind of gear is required to get the most out of the class, and that I should only experiment with play style hypothesis outside of instances. I try to take these to heart at all times if for no other reason than the fact that playing my class to the best of my ability not only helps me, but those who group with me. It takes some reading and some experimenting, but it’s worth it in the end.

There’s a lot of folks rolling Death Knights. I’m guilty of this as well. My own innate curiosity lead me to try it out as soon as I could. The Death Knight class can be a very engaging class to play. It’s not strictly a grab and slash class. It’s important to know which abilities heal as they cause damage, it’s important to know which abilities consume the most runic power and when to use those in spell rotation, it’s important to know which talents woudl serve you best for your play style, and it’s also important to know what role the Death Knight plays when grouped. The Death Knight can DPS and the Death Knight can Tank. The trouble is knowing which role you want to be geared for and making sure that you know how to play that role.

Currently Geistig is set up as more of a DPS Death Knight. From what I’ve experienced under my current talents and gear, Dual Wielding keeps Geistig but it does not  generate sufficient threat through weapon damage alone and I’d have to work out an AOE Tanking routine. Since I’ve had a whole lot of zero experience tanking in a group situation I figure I’ll stick with DPS for now. Then take into consideration the fact that until running as a Shaman, I played a ranged caster/healer. While this means I understand healing threat, I’m still new at melee DPS in a group situation. When running around on a quest it’s easy enough to run up to something and hack it to bits. I enjoy this thoroughly (and the Death Knight Dual Wield animations are entertaining). In a group situation though, melee DPS has a specific role. As melee DPS you want to make sure that the Tank has the mob’s attention, and that you hit the mob from behind. This keeps the mob from parrying you’re attack and hitting the Tank harder than it would have otherwise and it keeps you out of the range of any magic and or fire blast that the mob would be able to spew at those standing in front of it.

Currently though there’s a lot of players that are still growing into the Death Knight class. There’s also a lot of misinformation being spread about general chat that folks are taking as the solid truth. In reality if a lot of these folks were willing to take the time to test out some of the theories they might see things differently. It still blows my mind that folks are willing to ask the general channel about their spec and take the word of a player that doesn’t play the class over going to a few forums and READING. I mean come on folks, chat is text too.

Now there are a lot of Death Knights, and while some are a credit to their class (and some like myself are trying to learn and become a credit to the class), there are other players who are turning the new Hero class into the class clown. It saddens me in that there is so much potential for this class. The play style is unique and challenging. The animations are amusing. Even the voices are fun. Then you think about how much fun it is to /spat on for playing a Death Knight. You think about all the players who don’t take the time to research this complex class sufficiently to play it well. You think about the players who haven’t quite got the hang of learning how to Tank or Melee DPS. You think about these things and it almost makes you want to quit playing the class.

But then you also think that for every player that is legitimately complaining about how poorly the class performs when it isn’t played well, there’s a peanut gallery behind them. In this peanut gallery you have those that tried to play a Death Knight but lost interest and went back to their main and you have those who just like to make fun of any class that they aren’t playing. So I’ll accept constructive criticism when I find it and ignore the school yard bullies.

November 22 2008

Walking on Water

The weekend is finally here! I’m pretty excited about that, it means that I get some time to do all of the things that I can’t do during the week because of the whole ‘go to job’ thing. Meh, it pays for WOW. Here’s a fun shot of Geistig using Path of Frost. This spell allows Death Knights and party members close enough to the Death Knight the ability to walk on water (via freezing it as the walk over it). Of course my first thought on this spell was “EPIC FISHING”. Yes, I am a fish’a’holic. Geistig unfortunately hasn’t been trained in Fishing yet, but I plan on rectifying that this weekend.

I was running with Azmim when I decided to try out Path of Frost. Though Geistig wasn’t able to test the fishing theory, Azmim almost instinctive hauled out her fishing pole to test it out. SUCCESS! I’ve included a screen shot.

Category: Death Knight, World of Warcraft, WOTLK | Comments Off on Walking on Water