Category Archives: Update

The Trials of Being a Hunter

As you probably know if you read my blog at all, I recently main switched from my Resto Druid to my Hunter. I’m the GM of my guild, but our main-switching rules apply to me too. I had to go through a 9-raid initiate period, complete with pitfalls of being on trial – last in priority for loot, get sat for a lot of progression kills.  I had an Initiate thread where people could comment on my hunter skills, though mine was different from most – I’m the guild forum admin, so the thread couldn’t be kept secret from me like it is for most people. Not too many people left comments in there, whether it was because they had nothing to say or because they were afraid to leave comments that I could see I can only speculate.

Thursday was my 9th raid, and on Sunday I officially passed my trial so Jasy is up to full raider status, and I made her the GM of Apotheosis. Yay!

It was a bit tough going at the start. I wasn’t really doing anything wrong (other than insisting on playing Survival in my first raid), but the gear gap between me and the rest of the raiders made such a huge difference. I think I was around ilvl 520 when I started my trial, with no legendary cloak or meta-gem, and a weapon from Terrace. My gear didn’t get a whole lot better in the first half of my trial. I won a few pieces of loot that no one else wanted in the first week – a helm, gloves I couldn’t wear because it would break my 2-piece bonus. I did get my legendary meta-gem quickly though, which helped a little. In the 2nd week I won a really shitty trinket (Female Dwarf tells me it’s better than the LFR Rentaki’s I was wearing, but it’s still not good). The first two weeks on my hunter were a bit demoralizing.

Finally, in my 7th raid, I hit bonus roll paydirt and coined a Warforged bow. Equipping it increased my top end damage by something ridiculous like 60% and my output skyrocketed. I wasn’t last anymore! My gear only improved from there, as I was able to get my legendary cloak in time for my 8th raid. In my 9th raid I coined a Warforged trinket of awesome and won some nice heroic thunderforged pants off Norushen. In 9 raids I went from terribly undergeared, to the 8th best geared dps in the raid. I really need to remember this next time I start whining about loot rolls, without them I’d still be using that Terrace weapon and have no good trinkets.

Jasy's first Malkorok kill - September 19th

Jasy’s first Malkorok kill – September 19th

 

Jasy's third Malkorok kill - October 17th

Jasy’s third Malkorok kill – October 17th

So I’m feeling much better about being a hunter now. My gear is good, and once I get my 4-set bonus and a 2nd, not terrible, trinket I’m pretty certain I’ll be able to beat the rest of the dps (gauntlet thrown).

Since I’ve passed my trial and have the gear to not be a liability I’m going to do some experimenting with the other specs on farm content. I’d really like to be anything other than Beast Master. I’m feeling good with my performance on single target fights and AoE fights. The only fights I have a bit of an issue with are fights like General Nazgrim – mostly single target, but often with 3 spread out mobs up at a time. I think I could be doing better on those. If anyone has tips for fights like that I’d love to hear them.

Nerves

Tonight is my first main raid on my hunter, and I’m super excited! I’m also kind of nervous though. I’ve been playing my hunter in my guild’s alt raid for a bit and I’ve been doing pretty well there, but it’s a bit different than joining our main raiders who outgear me by 25 ilvls. I just don’t want to be bad!

I know my Druid like the back of my hand and I’m very confident (maybe even arrogant) about my abilities. Don’t get too many gear upgrades? Wearing the ‘wrong’ non-tier piece? Forget to switch to the optimal talent before a fight? Whatevs, my healing still be awesome.

DPS doesn’t work like that though, it’s a whole different mindset. Gear can most definitely hold me back as a hunter. Even if I play perfectly, I’m still not going to be able to touch the other dps until my gear catches up a bit more. I’m going to need to worry about optimal talents and the best spec for each fight. Also, the fact that it looks like BM is parsing above the other specs is upsetting. I haven’t liked that spec since… well, ever. Anything but Beast Master! Currently I personally do better as Survival, so I guess that means I need to practice as BM some more. I also have almost 100k less health than everyone else right now, meaning I’ll have to be extra proactive about damage mitigation. That’s something I’m pretty good at, but the more I use Deterrence, the worse my damage, so that’s something to think about too.

Anyway, I’m excited for tonight! Let’s hope I don’t carry my weapon (or should I say no weapon) curse into raid with me. I’m also open to any hunter tips for Siege. Wish me luck.

The Seven Year Itch

I started playing World of Warcraft on June 18, 2006. That very first day of playing I created Jasyla, the Night Elf Druid. For over 7 years, she’s been my main – the character I most relate and am attached to. She’s healed in everything from Zul’Gurub to heroic Lei Shen and everything in between.  I always said I would quit the game before I ever changed this.

But I guess I was wrong.

In 5.4 I’m going to be switching to playing my Hunter in raids. I’ve raided on my hunter before, as an alt, in tiers 4-6, and 8-10. I’ve found myself less and less interested in healing on my Druid recently and decided it was time for a change to reinvigorate the game for me. Unfortunately, our healing roster isn’t quite set for me to change today, but I should be officially making the switch in time for next week’s raid. On the bright side, I finally got a bow upgrade last night (I had been using one from Terrace forever) so I my dps shouldn’t be that of a total scrub when I start raiding.

There are a few reasons I’ve lost interest in healing. My biggest issue with healing is smart heals. Healing used to be something I found challenging and engaging, but with 7000 smart heals flying around all the time, being a smart healer matters a whole lot less and I don’t like it.  So it’s time for a change. I’m going to leave the healing to my excellent team of Apotheosis medics and join the ranks of the dps. I do really miss competing for ranks and seeing big numbers. 

What does this mean for the blog?

I’ll probably play my Druid in my guild’s alt run, but since I won’t be putting a ton of effort into the class anymore, I won’t be writing a lot of Druid related posts or guides.  I’ll probably start writing about hunters again though, and I’m looking forward to that.

Good hunting.

Timing is Everything

Today we got the news that patch 5.2 will be dropping in the last week of February. Usually, I’m not too critical of decisions made by Blizzard. In fact, I usually am on the verge of being a Blizzard apologist. This game has kept me interested and entertained for 7 years, there’s not much else I can say that about. But I have to say, sometimes their timing just sucks.

I think Tier 15 being released after less than 5 months is too soon. Much too soon. I would like some more time to work on T14 heroics, I feel like my raid can progress more before we run into a brick wall and are itching for the new tier to come out. And I don’t think we’re alone.

WoWProgress has tracked the progress of ~39,000 guilds. Of those, 29.5% have completed all normal modes and 1% have completed all heroic modes. This isn’t a lot. I think many guilds out there would benefit from a little more time in the current tier.

I had this exchange on Twitter once I learned about 5.2′s release date:

5.2 release date from Bashiok
Releasing a new raid tier every 5 months is an admirable goal, but all raid tiers are not created equal. The quantity and quality of the content available need to be taken into consideration when deciding when to push out the next tier.

Let’s take Tiers 8 & 9 as an example. They were current content for roughly the same amount of time, but they shouldn’t have been. Ulduar was a beautifully designed, lore-rich raid instance with great boss fights and clever ways of accessing heroic modes. TotC was a single room with no trash mobs and only 5 unique fights. Three and a half months in Ulduar did not feel nearly long enough.  Four months in TotC was enough to make me never want to step foot in that raid again.

Having only 5 months in the particular case of Tier 14 is problematic for three main reasons:

  1. The tier is HUGE! 16 normal + 16 heroic encounters is a lot of bosses to work through, the most bosses we’ve ever had at one time. Five months isn’t enough.
  2. Aside from the raids, players have had a ton of content to work on since the launch of Mists – gearing, rep grinds, dailies, lesser charms, dungeons, scenarios, challenge modes, new BGs, arenas, brawler’s guild, pet battles. Of course I can’t speak for everyone, but I feel like it’s only recently that I’ve had time to take a breath and spend more time doing non-raid related things or working on alts. There’s still a lot I’d like to do before jumping into the gear/valor grind to prepare myself for a new tier of content.
  3. It means we’re going to be subjected to front-loaded raid content for the 3rd expansion in a row.

There has been a very obvious pattern for the release of raid content over the last 3 expansions:

  • The first tier of the expansion features a large number of unique raid bosses, spread out through multiple raid instances.
  • The middle tier(s) feature less raid bosses in less raid instances and are current for a shorter amount of time.
  • The last tier is a single raid instance and is current for a very long time before the next expansion is released.

Unless some major changes in priorities and allocation of resources has taken place in Mists, I’m anticipating these trends will continue and we’ll again be in the final tier for much longer than anybody wants to be.

When thinking about the ideal amount of time to spend in one raid tier before the next is introduced, we really need to consider how many encounters are in that tier. Let’s take a look at the amount of time each tier lasted and compare the length of time to the number of encounters available:

Tier 7  (5 months, 18 encounters – 3.6 encounters/month)
Tier 8  (3.5 months, 23 encounters 6.6 encounters/month)
Tier 9  (4 months, 11 encounters – 2.75 encounters/month)
Tier 10 (1 year, 26 encounters – 2.2 encounters/month) 
Tier 11 (6.5 months, 25 encounters – 3.8 encounters/month)
Tier 12 (5 months, 14 encounters – 2.8 encounters/month)
Tier 13 (10 months, 16 encounters – 1.6 encounters/month)
Tier 14 (4.75 months, 32 encounters – 6.7 encounters/month)

*I’m counting heroic versions of bosses as their own encounters, and have not included world bosses or the bosses in VoA/TB*

I think that everyone can agree that 1 year in ICC and 10 months in Dragon Soul was way too long. By comparison, Ulduar and Tier 14 were current for far too short a time. I think a good ratio for boss fights to months spent in a tier is around 4:1. That’s about 1 encounter per week. The raid tiers that are around this ratio (Tiers 7 and 11) are the ones that made me feel neither rushed, nor like I was sitting around waiting for new content for an inordinate amount of time.

Raid tier release timing could be much better. Just because PTR testing is complete, doesn’t mean you need to release the next raid content patch immediately. You can hold something back. Slow down the release of the first couple tiers (but keep working on the next!) so we don’t have to spend a year in the last one. Just imagine how much more enjoyable raiding in Wrath could have been if the release schedule had been just a little bit different. Spending 6 months in Naxx, 6 months in Ulduar and only 9 months in ICC certainly would have made my raid time in Wrath more fulfilling and resulted in much less burnout at the end.

Putting an end to Tier 14 so soon is a bad idea.

Three Years

It’s that time again. With the holidays comes yet another blogging anniversary. I’ve now been at this for 3 years. I usually take this time to talk a bit about how many posts I’ve written and comments I’ve received throughout the year. This year, WordPress has done it for me (isn’t that nice?).

I certainly got a lot more visits than I did in previous years, though my rate of posting was a little slow this year with only 51 new posts. You’d think since I was unemployed for 10 months I’d have all the time in the world to write blog posts, but with a great amount of spare time came a great lack of motivation.

Judging by my most visited posts this year and the search terms people find me with most often, Druids really like their gear lists! To be completely honest, gear is my least favourite thing to write about, but I’m happy people find those posts useful.

Next year I hope to pick up my posting pace a little and try to write at least a post a week. I want to update my World of Logs guides for healers early in the new year (maybe if I say that out loud I’ll be more likely to do it). I’m also hoping to broaden my horizons a little bit and write about topics not confined to Druids.

In game, I’ve had a good year. There are two things I’m particularly proud of. First, I think Apotheosis (we’re recruiting!) has done really well so far this expansion. Our raid team leveled quickly, even getting some realm firsts along the way, and aside from a couple bosses that gave us more problems than they should have, I think we’ve been progressing at a good pace. On November 29th we completed all normal mode raid content and since then have killed 3 heroic modes. I’m very proud of my guild. Good job team :)

Apotheosis and Sha of Fear
I’m also really pleased that my challenge mode team was able to get Golds in all of the Challenge Modes, which got me my one and only server first Feat of Strength, a cool mount and the best transmog armor ever. They were also a lot of fun to do.

Challenge Mode Conquerors

Thank you to everyone who has read my blog, left me a comment, shared a post or talked about Druids with me on Twitter. That’s a big part of why I’ve been doing this for as long as I have.

Here’s to a great 2013, with more boss kills, more blog posts and less unemployment.

Resto Druid Roundtable

Hello everyone. My blog has been quiet lately. Not sure why I haven’t written much, as there’s certainly a lot going on. Apotheosis is still clearing heroic DS every week, we’re still doing RBGs and I’ve been making a run for PVP achievements and playing a lot on the beta. We’re preparing for Mists and I’m trying to wrap my head around the fact that I’m going to be GM when Kurn leaves – maybe I’ll write about that soon. (P.S. Apotheosis is recruiting!)

Team WaffleIn the meantime, I’ve been invited to participate in the Resto Druid Roundtable on the Team Waffle Podcast. It will be recording on Friday, August 10th at 10pm EST. The show will be hosted by Arielle and the other participants are Beruthiel, Lissanna and Starship. I’d love to see you there, there will be a Q & A period at the end of the show.

Thursday Tidings

The last week or two in WoW have been fairly eventful for me, even with so many people distracted by Diablo 3. I haven’t put a ton of time into WoW, but I feel like the time I have spent has been productive and rewarding.

Podcast

Team WaffleFirst of all, I was on the Team Waffle Podcast on Friday night. We talked about the latest changes to Druids in the beta, the new talent trees and how I feel about Heroic resto raiding in Cataclysm. The podcast is now available on the Team Waffle site, or on iTunes. (I’ve also added a new page to my blog under About, with links to all the podcasts I’ve done – Jasyla Speaks.)

Raiding

Glory of the Dragon Soul Raider

After killing Heroic Madness of Deathwing 2 weeks ago, Apotheosis spent the last 2 weeks doing all the meta achievements for Glory of the Dragon Soul Raider. Now all of our raiders have shiny new Twilight Harbingers (though some of our Initiates still have an achievement or two left to get). Getting the meta achievements was a lot of fun. My favourite part was doing the red-green ooze combination on Heroic Yor’sahj – I could practically feel all the healers holding their breath as the oozes hit and our ranged dps started taking 150k Searing Blood hits. We lost a few people, but got through it without too much problem. The worst achievement, without a doubt, was Holding Hands on Hagara. We attempted this a number of times on 25 and it is just so, so buggy. Kurn meticulously placed every raider around the room so the lightning would chain properly, everyone stood where they were supposed to, and then the lightning just wouldn’t chain. It would hop from person to person and then at some point, it would just stop and refuse to hop again. We ended up doing the achievement on 10-man mode which was much easier, but it was annoying that we had to do that.

Next week we’re back to clearing heroics to get everyone all the gear they want and get as many Lifebinder’s Handmaiden and Blazing Drake mounts as we can. I really, really want a mount that looks like Alezstrasza. :)

Apotheosis is still recruiting, so if you are an excellent player (especially a warlock or a shadow priest) and would like to come clear Dragon Soul with us and have a great place to raid in Mists, come apply.

Twilight Harbinger

PVP

I’ve been doing a lot of PVP over the last few weeks. I’ve been doing the arena pass with a Rogue and shadow Priest. We were mostly doing it for the pet and title and last night we finished our 100th game. We ended the tournament with a rating of 1640 which puts us in the top 500 on the arena ladder. I’m happy with that, though 3s always make me feel a little underpowered as a Druid. Looking through the comps of all the teams in the tournament is very telling. Out of the top 2000 teams, the healer class breakdowns look like this:

  • 511 teams have a Priest healer
  • 456 teams have a Shaman healer
  • 341 teams have a Pally healer
  • 100 teams have a Druid healer

What makes it even worse is that 80% of the teams with a Resto Druid have a rating of less than 1500 (while only about 60% of the teams with any other healer are below 1500). The only thing that makes me feel good about being a Druid in the tournament is that my mana bar seems to go on forever while the other healers go oom much more quickly – 95% of the time I give my Innervate to the shadow Priest. But other than that, I feel like being a Druid is a bit of a handicap. Here’s hoping that resto PVP is in a much better place in Mists.

In other PVP news, last night I reached 1800 rating in RBGs. I’m really excited about this one. Knight-Captain Jasyla has a nice ring to it. Now I just need 24 more wins to get my Spiky Pony – I love that mount.

Knight-Captain Jasyla

More Achievements!

Lastly, after months (or years) of spending time roaming around Northrend looking for rare spawns, I finally found Vyragosa and King Krush to give me the Frostbitten achievement.

Frostbitten

Now I don’t know what I’ll do with myself when I’m waiting on arena/BG queues. Maybe fish for a sea turtle?

All the achievements from the last few weeks have put me up to 13380. I’m hoping I can get up to 13500 at least before Mists.

What have you been up to?