Friday, December 21, 2007

My Favorite high level area.

When I was leveling my first 70 what I heard from everyone that had already hit 70 was “Go to Shadowmoon, go to Shadowmoon.” Of course they meant Shadowmoon Valley, a place where many of us grind our teeth at. However we all grind those teeth for different reasons, for me the reason is that I feel like I got spoiled with the lush scenery of Zangarmarsh, the Forest and Nagrad only for them to pull the run RIGHT from under me and throw me back into a hell looking environment. It’s not one of my favorites, can you tell?

While there are some great quests in SMV, I don’t like the look. In Nagrad, however, I feel completely at home. You know it might be that it’s because Nesingway is out there hunting wabbits…er I mean, hunting wildlife. (Why do we have to do all the dirty work) but I will say that’s the area that most reminds me of Azeroth in the manner that I remember it when I was working my way up to 60 and then 70.

It’s a bunch of kill quests. You have to love quests that you give you experience on top of experience for finishing the quest. (The only thing that was missing was a quest collecting pages) I have found that I love this area the most. Yes grinding can be a pain in the rear BUT think about it. If you’re a leatherworker, this is heaven. All the creatures that you kill either drop Knothide leather or scraps that you can turn into leather, you can get some feathers and other odds and ends that you can sell for a bit of profit (I can turn in 20 feathers for a little over a gold.). Add to that the ogres. Sure they’re ugly and hit hard BUT two things happen. Usually you’ll get a decent amount of silver and netherweave cloth. I have to healing classes and I still use the stuff.

I’ll even give you a little secret most people don’t even consider. If you sell a stack of cloth you’ll get about 2 gold. If you turn the stack into bandages you’ll get 6 gold from the vendors. (So instead of 4 gold for 2 stacks of 20, you get 6 gold for that same 2 stacks turned into bandages. Hey that’s an extra 2 gold!)

The other aspect of this place that I truly enjoy is the rep grind. You have to grind rep to even get all of the other quests available to you. Of course this is made easy with two starter quests that ask for some silly stuff. There are also three different ogre areas where you can kill them all and gain experience, rep, gold and cloth. It’s really the Wal-Mart of WoW.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Dailies and the Paladin

I started doing dailies the moment that I went and hit 70. To a lot of us this is nothing new. Obviously the dailies are supposed to keep us entertained until we do some end game runs or get a new expansion.

I went to Skyguard (Man, getting there is a bit of a pain isn’t it?) and started looking through the quartermasters gear and saw the pretty mounts and realized that they were epic mounts. (Not sure why I didn’t even know they were epic.) I had a moment of doubt because honestly, while I think that an epic mount is really sweet and everything, do I really want to spend over 5k just to be able to fly faster? It’s not very contusive when you can spend that money on other things, what those might be however is lost on me.

Then I took a look at the reward that was given at the completion of a daily, 11g 99s. Almost twelve gold to run around killing some eggs. Now I’m not a math wizard but I can tell you that you’re going to be getting A LOT of gold between neutral and exalted just to be doing this quest. I wonder, I wonder if the reason why the grind takes so long is to try and give the player the money that he needs not only for the mount, which is crumbs when compared to the training. Is it plausible that the rep grind is supposed to help pay off the entire purchase of both skill and mount?

It’s possible but I know that the costs of repairs when you hit 70 aren’t a laughing matter either. I’m going to try and save up the money that I get from these daily quests to see if perhaps that will cover the bill. I know that doing the Skyguard quests for a fancy mount are much easier than the Netherwing line. It’s just going to be a matter of wait and see I suppose.

As I told you last time I’m working on leveling McGregor, my Paladin, to make him a tank for my guild. I switched to Prot and I’m still working out the kinks. I noticed right away that fights take A LOT longer than they did when I was in the Retribution tree. I have to work on my mana regen as it seems to suffer the most. But I have been able to take on 2 high level mobs without ever really breaking a sweat. I just miss my totems.

The thing that I did notice that I’m going to enjoy is that I actually remember a lot of the quest lines that can be done between 65 and 70 so hopefully that will cut down on my leveling time.

Anyone that reads this have any advice for a Tankadin please be sure to let me know!

Our Shaman series will continue shortly.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Building a Better Shaman: Enhancement Spec Part 2

Alright so last time we did this I only worked on the first part of the Enhancement tree.

(Note: A reader let me know that what I called the ‘Grounding Totem’ is really the “Earthbind Totem”. Thank you for the correction, I forget that they have actual names and not just what I call them)

This time I’m going to try and finish up this tree so that I can make way for the other two builds. I’m going through the tree to give you an idea of what each talent is going to give you. I’m mostly familiar with Enhancement and Restoration; however I have some Elemental Shaman friends that have been willing to give their input on that build as well.

So we’re going down to the third section of the Enhancement tree, from left to right, the first one we’re going to talk about it Enhancing Totems. Keep in mind that several of the talents that you can find in this tree are Totem focused. This talent gives more effectiveness to your Strength of Earth and Grace of Air totems. Strength of Earth is another one that’s good for when you want to put more muscle behind your hits, this is especially good to put down for a tank if the need arises. Grace of Air is the love of a lot of dps classes out there. It grants an additional amount of agility to the party radius. When you look at these two totems they’re more suitable for when you’re in a five man group than when you are alone. These are built for battles that may last a while, like the 4 and 5 mob pulls from Shadow Labs.

The next Talent is Shamanistic Focus, a newer talent that was put in place of the two handed weapon specialty that had lived in this tree for so long before. This is an awesome talent to take up if you do a lot of melee, which you will if you’re enhancement; this is almost a free hit…almost. This spell is dependent on a Critical strike, so once you have a critical strike this will automatically appear on your shaman. The basis of the spell is that after a critical strike this will lower the price of a shock spell by 60% (so, Flame Shock, Earth Shock and Frost Shock). So it’s basically rewarding you for having a good strike in against your opponent by not forcing you to pay full price for an additional attack, very nice. I took this up the moment it became available after 2.3 and never once regretted it.

Anticipation is great for mitigating damage being dealt to you. It’s really just a fancy word for ‘better dodge’ and for someone who does a lot of melee it’s almost a must. At the end of you stacking five points it gives you an extra five percent to dodge. I know that some might giggle at this but keep in mind that most tanks have at least 10 percent dodge rating and you’ll realize that it’s something that you don’t have to go out looking for gear to try and get. You’re getting a good basis for dodging right there. I know that long ago Shaman were also used to tanking, that’s no longer the case, however this would be one of the reasons that they did back in the day. Five points into this talent without a second thought.

Flurry is another Critical Strike reward. This one works well with Windfury and basically stacks with Shamanistic Focus, so that they both go off during a critical strike. That gives you additional speed to your attacks (Up to 30% if you put in five points) and you get a low cost shock to cause more damage. This is a GREAT talent, it went off for me more than you realize. Be forewarned that you must have put in five points to Thundering Strikes before you’re able to take on this talent. They work in combination.

Toughness is good as it adds more armor to you without you having to do anything except exist. If you’re this far into the tree and don’t pick it up, you’re doing yourself a disservice.

The next three talents: Improved Weapon Totems, Spirit Weapons and Elemental Weapons are bigger buffs to the spells that you have to make your melee weapons better. It needs to be pointed out that you can do all three, just one or just two. It all depends on which spells and totems you rely on more in your game. As you’re reaching this you’ve put in twenty points, so you should be level thirty and have an idea which ones help you find your groove better. The two that are the start to a more advanced talent are Spirit Weapons and Elemental Weapons. So if you want a talent that’s connected to one of those, then you need to max these out first.

Mental Quickness is good to try and bring down the cost of an instant spell (Like a shock) and bring up the effectiveness of your other spells (Healing and otherwise). So if you’re keeping track, you can put a point in Shamanistic Focus, get it to produce (Bringing down your shock value by 60%) and max out this talent, that would make it a 66% reduction for a shock spell at any given time. That’s great mana conservation right there.

Weapon Master helps you deal more damage. Straight up, there’s nothing more to this. Max it out and you’ve got an additional 10% damage done with each strike that you land on a mob.

If you maxed out Spirit Weapons then congratulations, you now have the choice to Dual Wield. Some people laugh at the thought but it’s not a bad thing to have. There are a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, even if the off hand weapon doesn’t strike as often as you might like, most weapons come with great stats that would work nicely. Add to that the fact that you’re also going to be getting some great weapons from Outlands that are one handed and not main handed and you’ve got yourself some dual hand goodness.

Dual Wield Specialization tries to circumvent some of those off hand misses by giving you the ability to have a percentage of how well you can dual wield, leaving that solely on your shoulders.

Put points in Elemental Weapons? Stormstrike is your present. It’s a free strike at any given time (Please take the GCD into equation). This has no type of rule to it, so this free strike may be critical and set off all of the other talents that you’ve thrown points into.

I had all of these maxed out. It made for some great grinding.

The last two that you have are Unleashed Rage and Shamanistic Rage. The first is more for your group than for you. It’s a reason for them to keep you around, if the totem buffs weren’t enough that is. If you get a critical hit, this talent increases the percentage of the groups attack power, within twenty yards of your character. So if you look at this tree, many of the aspects and talents at your disposal are incumbent on you getting a Critical Strike, something that I did quiet often with this build.

Shamanistic Rage, in theory, sounds really good. It’s a spell that you initiate. It reduces all damage taken by 30% and also gives you the chance to generate mana back to you equal to 15% of your attack power. Honestly though, this talent pretty much sucks. How much attack power do you really think you’re going to have? If you have 300 attack power, that’s not much mana back if your pool is about 6k. The damage reduction is nice but it only lasts thirty seconds and then it’s on a two minute cool down so you can only really use it once every three or four mobs. It’s a point that could very well be used in someplace better like Restoration or Elemental with the points that you’re going to have left over. (Keep in mind that the trees were built for a character that would only reach sixty.)

So there you have it. The Enhancement tree in all of its glory: I will say this again, this is a melee tree. If you don’t like getting your hands dirty and would rather have ranged attacks, this really isn’t for you.

Questions? Comments? What was your favorite talent in this tree?

Next time we’ll go Elemental and peek at what that tree holds.

Luciel comes of age!

This weekend Luciel, my Alliance Shaman, came of age and hit 70 on Sunday Morning. He spent eleven hours on level 69 before getting the ding that ended his leveling until the next expansion.

I spent the last three levels bouncing from the three points of quests in Blade’s Edge Mountains and Shadow Moon Valley. I’ll tell you now that the Cipher of Damnation quest, was a HUGE chunk of not only time but also XP for me this time around. It helped that I had a group of guildies that were willing to do the Damnation chain with me. While most of the quests a player can do solo, there are two instances in which you need a group. One of them being Ruul and the other is the main event itself.

If you’re wondering how the event starts, you have to go to the Altar of Damnation in Shadow Moon, the first piece of the quests is the angry rock and fire essence captures, then water and then you are sent to the farm stead where the chain begins in earnest. I would say that the quest chain takes you about ¾ of the way through 69 if you do it alone. Yes, I’m serious.

While this blog will continue to focus on Shaman and anything to do with them, I’m now moving to leveling my Paladin. I respecced my Shaman for healing (Currently sitting at Plus 733 healing) and will make the Paladin a tank (Just respecced to Prot) so there will be a little on Paladins on here from time to time.

I haven’t forgotten about my Shaman series, I imagine I will have another post for that series tonight.

Happy Slaying!


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