Thunder Bluff is a Pain to Grind Rep For

Between a really big questline in Mulgore that ended up being available to Tauren-only, and a further long questline in Winterspring that used to give Thunder Bluff rep but no longer does because it was opened up to both factions, this one was a toughy and I resorted to buying about 40 stacks of Runecloth to slog through the final stretch.

But at long last, my inner RP geek is satisfied on yet another character!

AlthalorKodo

I keep thinking “So, about that ‘of Thunder Bluff’ title that I can get at the Argent Tournament,” and then chastising myself with “WHOA THERE PIKE, one level at a time.”

Oh Pike, How Dost Thou Level?

Veeeeerrrry slowly.

Ahem. Sorry. That wasn’t the point of the post. >.> Although it is quite true.

Any-whotsit, I get a frequent amount of e-mail or comments asking about how one should go about leveling a hunter, and with my latest TreePost I’m also getting some questions on how one levels a Tree. So I figured I’d give it a quick rundown!

Hunter:
Hunter is something I’ve leveled a bajillion times by now and I can toss up a leveling talent spec in my sleep. It typically goes something like this: dump 5 points in Lethal Shots (because I’m a Crit Monster), and then head down a “modified” version of “Beast Master Raid”. By modified, I mean 5/5 Endurance Training (instead of 5/5 Improved Aspect of the Hawk), and 3/3 Thick Hide. I used to also do 2/2 Spirit Bond but at this point I think Animal Handler is the stronger talent, even when leveling, and with Endurance Training and Thick Hide, most things would be hard-pressed to kill your pet anyway, especially if you choose to go all out and nab a Glyph of Mending.

My current casual hunter project is a level 55 hunter named Althalor; here is his talent spec thus far. (Gosh it’s nostalgic to see 41 points in Beast Mastery.)

Now remember, you really can’t go too wrong with a leveling spec. It’s not like Elitist Jerks is sitting around theorycrafting the most efficient ways to kill ten kobolds. Although that would amuse me.

Beast Mastery is obviously not your only option here. Tawyn leveled to 58ish as Marksmanship. Leveling Survival seems to be super in vogue now from inspecting the lowbies I see running around; I worry about potential pet-threat issues once you get Explosive, but hey, it’d make a great challenge I’m sure!

“I’m a level one hunter and have no idea where to start! Help me Pikey-wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope!” is another similar question/plea I’ve been on the receiving end of a lot. My answer here would be to direct you to my 12-part “So You Want to Play a Hunter” series, which will walk you step by step through playing a hunter from levels 1 – 70.

Caveats About Said Guide: This was written pre-WotLK, so a.) it only takes you up to 70, and b.) Some of the stuff regarding things like Auto/Steady shot weaving, certain levels at which you learn things, and a few abilities are not present or are significantly different. Still, most of the lowbie stuff is relatively accurate, and it’s the best I can offer until someone ties me to my desk and kicks me into rewriting the thing for WotLK.


Resto Druid
:
Most people will tell you to either level Feral and tote around a healing set for instances, or level Balance. Pike will tell you that there is nothing that will teach you to heal the way leveling full blown Resto and living in LFG and healing instances will. This is why if I plan on being a healer at end game, I level as a healer. The experience is invaluable.

Anyways.

I do make a few tweaks here, although it depends rather on your style of how-you-will-(slowly)-kill-things-between-healing-dungeons.

If your style is to nuke things to death as a mini-moonkin, then you may want to stick to your standard resto spec, albeit maybe getting your Balance points out of the way first, or tweaking Balance a bit so you have the shortened cast time on Wrath/Starfire. Completely acceptable.

If you tend to do as I do and play as a RestoKitty, I’ll fill out 5/5 Naturalist and sometimes Furor as well. Neither of these talents are ones you will have at as a level 80 tree, however, they make leveling go considerably smoother. Some RestoKitties have even gone one or two tiers into Feral as well, though I’ve yet to try this myself.

As a RestoKitty, it may be to your benefit to keep some of the Rogue-ish gear you will no doubt acquire in your questing and travels and toss it on when you have to do a quest. When you combine that with a RestoKitty-ish spec, your solo’ing and questing– while it won’t be blazing fast– also won’t be as gimpy as people tend to assume it is, at least in my experience.

A word of warning, however: RestoKitty does become more difficult to pull off as you get higher in levels, so it may be worth your while to switch to the spellcasting method of solo’ing once you hit 60 or 70, or look into dual-specs.

Other options: RestoKin/Dreamstate typically involves going deep enough into Balance for Moonkin Form and then dumping the rest of your talent points into Restoration; something akin to this. This makes you a versatile, Red Mage-styled, jack of all trades who can heal pretty dang well and still kill things relatively quickly. I couldn’t do this myself, partially because I’m too in love with Tree Form and partially because I’m also in love with Wild Growth, however, I’ve heard that it’s very effective and might be something you want to look into.

RestoFeral is considerably rarer, and from what I can tell involves things like Nurturing Instinct and going about half deep in each tree. The lack of overlap between gear and talents would, I think, make this more unwieldy than RestoKin, but some people have done it, and it might be worth a shot if you really like RestoKitty.

Hokays! I hope that helped a bit and/or was able to clear some things up. Lemme know if I made some dire mistake (like saying Naxx boots dropped from Karazhan, not like I’ve uh, ever done that before of course >_>;;), in the meantime, I’m off to go read more Jules Verne <3

This is the Greatest and Best Raid in the World… Tribute

KanyeWestUlduar

Long-time readers can probably guess what this post is gonna be about. Newer readers, let me introduce you to a little raid called Karazhan:

Karazhan

Let’s start from the beginning: entering this place. Let’s see if I can properly do this justice.

You hit 70. You do a bunch of regular instances. You get all your rep up to Honored (or, for a little while, Revered) by doing said normal instances. You try a heroic but it kicks your butt so you do more regular instances for a while. Then you finally start doing heroics.

And then you start to think about Karazhan.

The questline for the Karazhan key– which at one point, everyone in the raid needed to have to get in– sent you flying all over the place, solving puzzles and mysteries about this mystical tower.

Then you have to do an instance. Shadow Labs. Not a huge deal, everyone is doing this instance.

Then you have to do a second instance. Steamvaults. A slightly more irritating instance (for me anyway), but still not bad.

Then you have to do a third instance, called Arcatraz. The catch is that you have to be keyed for Arcatraz, and to do so, you have to complete two other instances: Botanica and the Mechanar.

Done yet? Oh no. Then you get to go do Black Morass. Meaning you get to go back in time and help Medivh do bad things, like let the orcs into Azeroth.

Then, and only then, do you get the key.

WoW_KaraKey

Oh, and what an adventure awaits you then, and what further quests, because that’s right, the quests don’t stop with the key. They send you into the tower, and then they send you in again, and again, and again. They’re there to help you get keyed for the later dungeons and get you your Violet Eye rep ring, but in my mind, they were fantastically interesting in their own right.

Everything about this place is magical. Not only are the aesthetics and design beautiful, but the bosses are, as well. An undead horseman. A castellan entertaining his dinner guests, just a bit miffed that you barged in unannounced. An opera, featuring three completely boss fights of which one was chosen at random each time you did it. A chess game wherein you took control of the pieces. The ghost of Medivh’s own father, mad with grief and guilt. A giant arcane guardian, reminding you in painful fashion that you are not where you should be. And these are just a few.

And the fight mechanics themselves were, in my mind, unparalleled. I hadn’t seen any of this stuff before, and most of it I haven’t seen since. Moroes involved an ungodly amount of crowd control; priests shackling and hunters trapping, gloriously trapping.

Curator, a gear check if there ever was one, and the source of more in-jokes with my longtime WoW friends than pretty much anything else in the game.

No, really:

MedievalCurator1

Shade of Aran was, without question, my favorite boss in the instance. Explaining it to somebody who had never done it before was always hilarious, because it took so freaking long and you knew the new person probably wasn’t going to live anyway. Flame Wreath jokes abounded, and the ceremonial “Playing of the Chant over Ventrilo” before the fight was held sacrosanct.

Prince Malchezaar, that infuriating fight that liked to drop infernals on your head, and quite arguably one of the most difficult raid bosses I’ve ever bumped up against for an appropriately geared group. Oh gosh. I remember the first time my guild downed him. At the end of the fight one person was still alive: the tank. We had a priest in Spirit of Redemption form, and the tank. That was it.

Sadly this promptly turned into massive quantities of loot drama and QQ regarding the T4 helm, but we won’t speak of that.

Have I mentioned though that Prince is still fiendishly difficult at 80 sometimes? Sheesh.

And chess, good ol’ chess, the one fight that actually gets harder as time goes on because you tend to bring fewer people into Kara these days so you have fewer people controlling the pieces. Chess, which once pooped me out into Curator’s room after the piece I was controlling died, and since I was the loot master and didn’t get back in time we couldn’t loot the chest. Everyone had their loot a few days of GM tag later, including a new pair of boots for me.

And the best part is that somehow, the magic of that place hasn’t disappeared. Oh supposedly Medivh sucked it all up at the end of “The Last Guardian” and all that’s left are specters of the past and some other bizarre creatures. I call shenanigans on this. Because somehow after all this time I go in there and Karazhan is just as magical as it was the first time. The mere music makes me teary-eyed.

A few of my sisters, who have actually played WoW for longer than I have, but considerably more casually, recently transferred servers to Silver Hand; one of the things that I think enticed them over the most was my promise of “I’LL TAKE YOU TO KARAZHAN. I WILL SO TAKE YOU TO KARAZHAN.” because they had never been. And the other day I did just that; took one of my sisters (the other isn’t quite a high enough level yet) through the entire place with the help of some buddies. She made out like a loot bandit, since she’s sitting at level 70 but WotLK-less, but even better, she got to go on a tour of My WoW Happy Place. (And no, Attumen didn’t drop it.)

WoWScrnShot_102309_220120

(Yes, she’s in a guild called < Tawyn's Pet >. No, it was not my idea. I swear. Why are you looking at me like that??)

And after all this time, even when I am in my temporarly Tree disguise rather than my hunter one, I still stand by my man:

WoWScrnShot_102309_221946

WoWScrnShot_102309_222007

My oldest group of friends in WoW is about five- or six- people strong and we all met in some random Zul’farrak run a long time ago when we were all level 40ish. Burning Crusade was our fifteen minutes in the sun and Karazhan was our peak. Some of us have stopped playing WoW, or play it much less, but we all keep in touch outside of the game, and the near-mythical status that one raid– just one raid– has reached within our little group is undeniable. Scarcely a group AIM chat goes by where someone doesn’t bring it up, and one of my friends has started posting a weekly Karazhan “comic” (more like a graphic novel, really) starring our characters on a forum that we frequent; it’s quite amazing so far and has me awaiting each Friday the way a kid would await getting his comic books in the mail.

There are other really good raids.

But there is only one Karazhan.

Karazhan_Graphic

P.S. What was your personal “ZOMGAWESOME” raid or instance? Comment about it here or post about it on your own blog– I’d love to hear! ^_^

An Adventure of Atomic Proportions

“Celebrated annually on October 23 from 6:02 a.m. to 6:02 p.m., Mole Day commemorates Avogadro’s Number (6.02 x 10^23), which is a basic measuring unit in chemistry.”

Close-up_of_mole2

If this blog has an official holiday, it’s Mole Day. I know I’ve announced it on this blog at least once before, and I’ve been annually announcing it on my LiveJournal for years.

However, rather than simply announce it this year and then move on, I’ve decided to actually go into a little depth on why I take note of this day every year, since I know the vast majority of you have your head tilted and are scratching your scalp. Get ready to enter the bizarre little world of Pike…

DISCLAIMER: This is a non-WoW post. If you are here for the WoW, it won’t hurt my feelings if you skip it.

Ahem.

A long time ago, in a galaxy not so far away, I was about ohhh, four or five years old. My mom was in pre-med school, and she was taking a biochemistry class. And at some point she realized that I could be her little study buddy. So she sat me down with some paper and told me about this magical world that was so tiny that nobody could see it, and it was made up of atoms and molecules. Then she started telling me about them and drawing little diagrams on the paper. About how “H” was hydrogen and had one bond, and “C” was carbon and had four bonds, and “O” was oxygen and had two bonds, and so long as I remembered those rules, I throw a whole bunch of letters onto the paper and connect them with lines and make my very own molecule!

So I did. And my mom looked at it and told me what molecule it was. I was in awe. I drew a new one, and she did the same thing. I’m pretty sure this was my mom’s clever method for studying for a test or something, but what she didn’t know was what she had unleashed in her little girl’s brain. See, I found this molecule world to be absolutely fascinating. For days after that I would fill up spiral-bound notebooks with giant sprawling molecules that I had “invented”. One day I found out that since “H” had only one bond, it could bond to itself, like so: H – H . I showed this to my mom, proud of what I’d discovered, and she informed me that that was how Hydrogen worked in its natural state. I was just floored by this all. It was the coolest thing ever. My mom even milked my new little obsession by getting me chemistry kits and letting me leaf through her huge textbooks. I soaked it all up.

So flash forward several years to high school when you could choose to take either physics or chemistry and I, of course, chose chemistry (unlike pretty much the rest of the high school.) I vacuumed everything up; it was all just amazing to me. Combining chemical elements to make new substances? It was so magical to me.

The next year I went even further and took Advanced Placement Chemistry. Now, those were the days. We had a lab class once a week and a lecture class on the other days and I just poured myself into that class. Balancing chemical equations was my favorite thing in the world. It was like my version of Sudoku or something. I also took about a hundred index cards and made “Reaction Prediction Flashcards”– Various chemical substances are mixed together under a certain circumstance, what happens?– and I memorized those things the way a kid would memorize his Pokemon cards (or the way I memorized my Pokemon cards, for that matter… /cough) My excuse was that it was “practice” for the big scary AP Chem test at the end of the year, but really I just loved doing it.

It was also about this time that I first read the book “Uncle Tungsten“, a collection of memoirs written by the famed neurologist Oliver Sacks, about his childhood love affair with chemistry, and I identified poignantly with it. I was sure that this was what I wanted to do. I wanted to play with molecules and chemicals and make things.

…but there was something else competing for my geekish heart.

I have long told people that I am too sciencey to be an artist, but too artsy to be a scientist, and that would rear its head several times throughout my journeys in chemistry. As much as I loved the technical side of everything, I also found myself taking an unusual position in science: seeing the art in it all.

In the margins of my notebooks I would sketch up anthropomorphic caricatures of each of the chemical elements. Carbon was represented by a diamond, and Mercury was a crafty shapeshifter. Helium was a large red balloon who was rather self-conscious about being a noble gas despite having only two valence electrons. I wondered about their lives and their stories. Did the noble gases, I wonder, feel terribly lonely that they couldn’t naturally bond with any other element? Did the halogens go through their life filled with a longing and aching to be filled with that missing electron? I didn’t think they felt this way for real, of course, but all I could think of was how great of a story it would make.

I wrote up dorky chemical love poems.

I’ll be sodium if you can be chlorine
And together we’ll form a
Binary ionic pair;
On second thought, you tend to be
More positive than I so
You can be sodium there.

And made dorky chemical jokes.

“What’s another name for a ring of steel? A Ferrous Wheel!

I marveled at how beautiful the Periodic Table of the Elements was. Everything all aligned and in its place. It was a tool, but to me, it was also a work of art.

And thus it was that at some point I decided that instead of making things, I wanted to tell their stories, and so that other love of my heart– my love of art and fiction and stories and little film reels in my head– finally carried me away. I hung up my lab coat and my goggles (I really did own both of those, and loved wearing them,) and went to college and majored in Media & Theatre Arts. Originally I wanted to double-major in chemistry as well, but there is literally no overlap between the classes in those two completely different majors, so it would have been expensive and time-consuming, and so other than one chemistry class freshman year (that I didn’t have to take but I took anyway because I wanted to), thus ended my formal training in science.

In the years that have passed since then, I sometimes wonder if I made the right choice. Sometimes I want nothing more than to dig out my lab coat and goggles and run away and become a scientist, the way other “freaks” would join the circus. Alas, life is a little more complicated than that, and going back to school is expensive, so I sit here and I dream. I dream about chemical elements with emotions and feelings who live and play in a gigantic laboratory, and the adventures they have.

And I carry a Periodic Table of the Elements in my wallet. Because it’s beautiful. And quite loveworn with use. (And cause you’ll never know when you’ll want to work out exactly how many sodium atoms are in the bag of chips you’re eating on break.)

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So Happy National Mole Day.

…and yes. I’m the biggest geek of all time. We don’t have to beat around the bush here…

Tree Hugger: Pike's Basic Primer for Resto Druids

Let me begin by saying that this is a post that’s been rolling around in my head for some time now, but I am just now summoning up the courage to actually write it up. There were two reasons why this was. The first was that, as I’ve mentioned before, I try not to post too much non-hunter stuff on this blog, just out of the name of organization. Then it occurred to me that even though I personally care about that sort of thing, most of you probably don’t, so I stopped trying to let it bother me.

The second and larger reason was that I felt terribly unqualified to write about resto druids. When you grow up in a blogosphere that includes Phaelia, Bell, Leafshine, Sylly, and dozens of other druids who have been doing the Tree thing FOREVER, you sort of feel like you could never do a resto druid post justice since they’ve already covered everything and they probably know more than you do– not to mention you worry you’d be impinging on their territory.

But then as I was contemplating all of this on Twitter the other day, I made an offhanded comment about how I’d just finished two-healing ToC10 and found the last fight pretty intense, at which point someone replied with a comment like “Wait, you’re healing ToC10 but you don’t feel qualified to make a post on resto druid basics?”

At which point I realized he’s probably right, and I am just being overly humble as I am prone to do x_x

So here ya go, Pike Talks Trees:

TreeBubble

INTRODUCTION:

What is tree healing? Probably the best I can do to describe it is to say that it’s an extremely versatile healing style that focuses largely on HoTs, or Heal-over-Time spells. Note the “extremely versatile” bit though: there are many different personal takes and styles regarding Tree Healing, and it’s one of the more interesting things about it I think that differentiates it from hunters or probably most DPS classes in general, which is much more “Here’s your spec, here’s your glyphs, here’s your rotation”-based.

Tree Healing is very mobile: a good percentage of the spells you will be using are instant cast so you can use them while jumping up and down or running around. No excuses here for standing in the fire!

Tree Healing is– with my personal style anyway– focused on damage prevention and “pre-healing”. When raid healing, you’ll work nicely with a healer who compliments that by filling in the gaps, so to speak. One of the more neat healing experiences I’ve had was healing Patchwerk; it was just me and a holy paladin and I was keeping the tanks stuffed up with HoTs while the paladin filled in the gaps. It worked quite awesomely.

TreeTime

SPEC:
Sort of like the vast number of healing styles available to you, there is definitely room for flexibility in your basic healing druid spec. A very rough framework would probably look something like this. You’ll also notice you have nine points leftover to play with, which you can use to tailor your spec to your own healing style. For example, if you find yourself using Nourish a lot, Empowered Touch and Nature’s Grace might be to your liking. If in addition to using Nourish a lot, you find yourself having mana issues, you’ll probably want to fill out Tranquil Spirit as well. Living Seed has its fans and detractors, personally I’m a fan myself, probably because I lean toward being a Regrowth fiend at times.

But yeah, the point is: you’ve got options!

GLYPHS:
Going along with the trend, we’ve got options as well when it comes to glyphs. Rejuvenation and Healing Touch (if you find yourself wanting a pre-Nourish flash heal) are great options for leveling, I’ve found. Once you hit 80, the Nourish glyph is extremely powerful, and the Swiftmend one is pretty nice as well. If you find yourself doing a lot of raid healing, Wild Growth is a great glyph. Innervate has its uses and fans, and if you use Regrowth a lot, the Regrowth glyph is delicious. Again, this all comes down to your personal style!

I wanna be like you when I grow up!
I wanna be like you when I grow up!

SPELLS:
Ah yes, the meat (or bark?) of being a restoration druid. Let’s take a look at the spells you’ll have, and when to use them:

Healing Touch: This is the first healing spell you’ll learn and it’s… hmm. Let’s just say you’re probably never going to use it again except in conjunction with Nature’s Swiftness as an emergency heal, or more accurately, one of your “OH CRAP” buttons. I have Nature’s Swiftness + Healing Touch tied to a macro, and it’s basically an instant cast flash heal on 3 minute cooldown. I use it when someone’s health is dropping surprisingly quickly and I need to give them a buffer before I can start stuffing them full of proper HoTs.

Rejuvenation: This is a spell that most resto druids hold near and dear to their leafy heart, and rightly so. It’s very powerful and versatile. A DPS took some damage? Rejuv. You took some damage? Rejuv. Tank needs more HoTs? Rejuv.

You will probably notice yourself using this spell the most when you’re raid healing. Fights like Razorscale or Twin Valks are essentially just using Rejuvenation at every. Global. Cooldown. and Wild Growth every six seconds.

No, seriously.

Learn to love it.

Regrowth: Assuming you’re crazy like me and leveling resto, once you’ve got your holy duo of Rejuvenation and Regrowth, that will become your healing style up until you hit the Outlands levels. Stick a Rejuvenation on the tank and use Regrowth to fill in the gaps. It’s very whack-a-mole-ish, but there ya go.

Your use of this spell at higher levels is going to be situational and depend largely on your own personal taste. I tend to use it as a flash heal more often than I use Nourish, simply because it also tacks on a HoT at the end that lasts for a whopping 27 seconds if talented correctly. So if you’re in a fight where there’s lots of AoE damage going around, you may as well use it and give yourself that extra HoT buffer, ya know?

A typical strategy that I would do for someone that needs a lot of flash healing, though, would be An “OHCRAP button” if needed, then Regrowth once, followed by as many Nourishes as you need to prop that person back up to near full.

That’s just me, though– as I said, Regrowth is kind of one of those “You’ve gotta come up with your own style for it” spells.

Nature’s Swiftness: Useful in conjunction with Regrowth at lower levels; once you hit the higher ones it exists primarily to be used in a macro with Healing Touch as an OHCRAP Button (see Healing Touch above).

Tranquility: A Massive AoE heal that is helpful for when AoE damage somehow goes haywire and gets out of your control, or useful as a one final attempt to salvage a potential wipe. I don’t use it very often though it can be handy on stuff like Gluth’s decimate. Also drives your opponents insane when you do it in the middle of a bridge turtle in Alterac Valley. >_>

Swiftmend: One of your OHCRAP Buttons, Swiftmend is essentially a flash heal on a reasonable cooldown. It’s unusual in that it heals for the amount that your HoT would heal for, but all at one time. Last I checked it picks Rejuvenation first if you have multiple HoTs on your target. Do remember that it won’t work unless you do have a HoT on your target first!

Wild Growth: Awesome AoE heal that you will quickly become addicted to. Very useful to use on the melee DPS/tank area since they tend to soak up the most damage; also handy for when a poison cloud or ring of fire pops up underneath an unsuspecting group of ranged.

I like to use it on pets if they need it, because I’m nice and because it gives a boost to the melee anyway.

I also like to jump into the middle of the action while using it on myself, because it makes me feel heroic. But then, I’m odd.

Lifebloom: Oh gosh. If I had to pick one resto druid ability with a long and windy history, I’d pick Lifebloom. Anyways, this sort of falls into the Regrowth category of “You’ve got to play around with it and find your own style” at this point.

It’s an unusual heal in that it stacks up to three times on a single target, and you can either “refresh” your stack by using another Lifebloom before it “falls off”, OR you can let it “bloom” for a decent little flash heal and get some of your mana back. Way back in the day all druids ever did was refresh Lifebloom, but these days that’s rather mana inefficient so you see more people letting it bloom.

I tend to use Lifebloom for the following situations: Heavy tank damage where an extra HoT is needed (Patchwerk, various enrages, etc.), an extra AoE heal if needed (in conjunction with Rejuvenation and Wild Growth), and situations where you can time when someone will need a heal (Loken in Halls of Lightning, Loatheb, etc.) I.E., if you time it just right, you can get the bloom to bloom right when someone will need it.

Once you get a decent set of gear it’s also pretty much the only spell you’ll ever need to use in heroics. Stick three on your tank, let ‘er bloom, rinse, repeat. Wild Growth and Rejuv for your occasional AoE damage and you’re good to go.

Some very good druids I’ve talked to never use this spell, others use it quite frequently. Experiment and figure out what’s best for you!

Nourish: Your token flash heal and the subject of Nourish vs. Regrowth debates everywhere! This is another one of those spells where some druids use it a lot, others not so much.

As for me, I tend to treat it sort of like a minor OHCRAP Button. That is to say, once my Nature’s Swiftness + Healing Touch macro and Swiftmend are gone, and I know HoTs aren’t gonna cut it, it often turns into a Nourish spam race. This works very nicely in conjunction with Nature’s Grace, which is the specific reason why I roll with that talent.

Druids who use this spell a lot tend to use it to “fill in” their HoTs, similar to what you’d do with Regrowth while leveling. Me, I often find this to be too whack-a-moley, so I tend to stick with HoTs. Your HoTs will do just fine in most heroics or five-mans and in raids you’ve probably got another healer (or two, or three, or…) taking the “place” of your Nourish for you.

Again though, mess around and see what you like!

WHAT’S IT LOOK LIKE?
:

Now if you are newer to Tree’ing, you might be feeling like your head is reeling a bit at this point. All these heals? All these “situational uses”? But what about in practice?

Take a look at my tree’s healing output for a recent fight; in this case, Anub’arak at the end of ToC10:

TamarynHealsAnubarak

You will notice that Rejuvenation was a good bulk of my heals, followed by Lifebloom. I’m assuming this is because what with the little bugs running around and that sort of thing, this was a fight where a lot of people were taking random bits of damage, so it was turning into a “Let’s toss a HoT on everyone” fest– which, you will discover, is prone to happen in raids a lot.

Here’s my overall data, for that entire ToC10 run:

TamarynHealsToC10

Remember earlier when I said that I tend towards using Regrowth more than Nourish? Yeah. That thing heals like a truck. …erm. Maybe not the best analogy. But you know. (“heals like an emergency room”… “heals like Dr. House”…?)

Anyways, though, you’ll notice in this example that most of what you see here falls in line with what I was saying in my post. The addictive nature of Wild Growth (I used it 1319 times, apparently), the frequent use of Rejuvenation, with Regrowth and Lifebloom to back them up, and then Swiftmend, Healing Touch, and (to an extent) Nourish as the “OHCRAPS”.

Now, is this necessarily what your healing output would look like? Maybe, maybe not. The main thing about resto druids is that there are so many ways to heal and the best advice I can give to you is to practice. Healing is all about instinct and gut feelings and having to react and make decisions on the fly. There is no “rotation” because you don’t know what’s going to happen next. It’s very, very different from DPSing, and if you haven’t tried it, I’d suggest doing so! It’s like a whole different game.

Well, there you have it. How I do it when Pike iz 4 healz. I hope that this perhaps answered any questions or gave basic advice to any newer or up’n’coming trees, and hey, if this goes over well there might be more tree stuff in the future– at this point my druid has seen almost as much content as my hunter has, and you know what, I like it that way. Variety is awesome.

/treewave

Not Everyone Is An Alt

If you are anything like me, if you see a low level character running around, you instantly assume it’s an alt. Oh, now there are heirloom items that are a dead giveaway, but even the characters without said items still convince me. They don’t have to say anything. They just instantly register in my head as “alt”.

You can’t blame me, really. And I’ll bet a large portion of you do the exact same thing. And there’s nothing wrong with that– you just sort of get into that mindset.

Back in the day when I was leveling Tawyn, my first character, people assumed I was an alt as well. I’d get people telling me about what they were doing in Eastern Plaguelands, sprinkled with phrases like “as you know…” and I’d nod my head and smile even though I’d never stepped foot in Eastern Plaguelands because I was level 40. It amused me that people assumed this about me, but it never bothered me, because I felt terribly new to the game.

Things first started to change when I did have a max level character, and my alt, the druid Tamaryn, was level 50ish and healing BRD. This was about, oh, a year ago. I was in a group for BRD and it didn’t take long before the truth came out that not only was I was the only person there who had been in the instance before, but I was the only alt. All four other people were people’s first characters, discovering WoW for the first time and seeing this amazing, sprawling dungeon that is Blackrock Depths for the first time. Suddenly I felt very… old.

Things would, of course, continue to change as Wrath of the Lich King came out not long after that. Months went by and as they did, I found myself more and more in that position I’d been in when I was healing BRD. Suddenly, people didn’t understand when I said “This fight is like Romulo and Julianne” or “This fight is like Gruul”. Suddenly, people didn’t laugh at my “HOLY FIRE ON TAWYN” jokes anymore when we got to the chick that looks like Maiden in Halls of Stone. Because suddenly I wasn’t the token WoW newbie anymore. Suddenly I was a veteran who had done raids “back n’ the day” that other people hadn’t.

I’ve had people on Twitter were tell me they’d never tried Beast Mastery before because it had never been raid viable in the time that they’ve played the game. Now, Beast Mastery didn’t stop being “viable” (quotes because I could go off on a giant tangent on this, but I won’t) until a good chunk of time after people were clearing Naxx. There are people who started playing after that? I mean, it’s obvious when you put it like that and think about it– of course there are new players– but this absolutely blew my mind.

You may be wondering where I’m going with this little ramble. I suppose where I’m going is a sort of– ponder that has been on my mind for a while. I don’t like to think it’s a rant or a QQ, just a ponder.

Namely, I can’t help but think that where the game is at this point, WoW newbies are being rushed into content too fast. And I’m not talking about a “skill” thing here, so much as I’m talking about a “skipped content” thing.

We have all this shiny new badge gear and shiny new heroics that drop stuff that has completely obsoleted Naxx, OS, Malygos, and a good chunk of Ulduar. Now I don’t know, maybe this is just the servers I play on, but nobody runs Naxx anymore. Ever. Remember back in Burning Crusade, those of you who were there– people were running Karazhan up until the night before Wrath of the Lich King launched. And yet Naxx is already dead. I’ve tried putting characters in LFG for Naxx and there’s nothing. People aren’t even doing badge farms of it, because everyone has all the Conquest badge gear by now. There are nights where I’ll do a /who Naxxramas just to doublecheck and make sure I’m not crazy, but I’m not– “0 players found.”

And so I find myself wondering– in Blizz’s bold attempt to get “everyone to see content” in this expansion, did they forget about the people who are just hitting 80?

Or the people like me who were late in the “join a raiding guild” game, and who are now toting around level 232 and 245 gear and yet have never cleared Naxx25?

No, I’m serious. I’ve never cleared more than two wings of Naxx25. And at this rate, I don’t know if I ever will. And I love Naxx.

The badge gear and the stepping stool into higher content is great for those of us who will finally get to “see it all” or for our alts, but not everyone is an alt, and not everyone got to 80 the same time that everyone else did. And I worry that those people are missing some really great content because as soon as they hit 80, it’s “get the badge gear and get into ToC”. You know?

The impending “weekly raid quests” are a step in the right direction, but think about it, how many people are going to stick around for a Naxx full clear after killing Anub’rekhan or Patchwerk? Yeah.

Aaaaanyways, I guess that is just what’s been on my mind lately. As I was saying, this isn’t a rant or a QQ or anything. This isn’t something I’m particularly angry or emo about, nor is it something that would make me ragequit. No, this is just food for thought. Something that’s been on my mind that I’d like to toss out there into the “thinking ring”. I’d love to hear your thoughts as well (or hear that your servers are awesomer than mine and are still doing Naxx >_>)… I’d especially love to hear from you newer people; do you feel rushed into endgame, or am I just completely nuts? (It’s okay if I’m completely nuts; it wouldn’t surprise me =P)

But even if you disagree with me or come to a different conclusion, what I suppose I ultimately want you to take away from this is to look around and realize that some of those newbies running around actually aren’t alts. Feels weird, doesn’t it…?

The Worst Boss In the History of Video Games…

…isn’t Ragnaros, and it isn’t C’thun, and it isn’t Algalon, and it isn’t Illidan, and it isn’t Hogger.

It isn’t Ganondorf.

It isn’t Psycho Mantis.

It isn’t Sephiroth or Kefka.

It isn’t the Elite Four.

It isn’t Bowser, or Dr. Robotnik, or Dr. Wily.

It isn’t the Z-shaped block in Tetris.

It isn’t Donkey Kong.

It isn’t the ghosts in Pac-Man.

MineBoss

It’s THAT STUPID MINE BOSS.

/blames Deathwing

Shall We Chat?

I have been invited to participate in a special chatroom session at the Hunter’s Mark Chatroom. Lassirra of that site will of course be there as well, as will Mania of Mania’s Arcania, editor of Petopia!

If you want to chat it up with the three of us you are welcome to attend; it is tonight at 9:00pm Eastern Standard Time (or 7:00pm Pike Standard Time). The chatroom is located here. Now let’s just hope this isn’t one of those things that my browser randomly decides to mess up…