Saturday, April 18, 2009

Shaking off the rust...

It's Laundry day.. Again... So this is my first real chance to sit down with "nothing to do" since Patch 3.1 came out. Here are my early impressions:

1) I'm really disappointed with the Argent Tournament. It seems to be a combination of the worst parts of The Oculus (mounted combat) and "just making sure you have an epic flying mount". It really is just a lot of flying around. Fly to Crystalsong Forest. Fly back. Fly to Crystalsong. Fly back. Fly to Crystalsong Forest and then fly to Howling Fjord and then... Wait for it.. Fly back. The early dailies aren't interesting or even challenging. At least when they came out with the Shattered Sun dailies you had a chance at getting a badge of justice every now and then. If nothing else, you got a lot of BoE greens that you could vendor, AH or disenchant. And while the Netherwing dailies seemed... "Grindy", there was a kickass reward at the end of the table. I suppose you could grind for a very long time and get a new flying mount but... Eh. I've got as many flying mounts as I need. I'm hoping it picks up in the future but so far, I'm not optimistic.

2) Mana regen and the lifebloom changes - I'm not loving the mana regen in 3.1. While _some_ people may have had so much regeneration they had seemingly endless mana pools, I did not. I find I run OOM a lot faster... And so does our other resto druid. When we went to Naxx with two resto druid healers who hadn't really done an instance yet, it took us a while to figure things out. It was pretty sloppy to start... And... Well... I'll get into that later. The cost of lifebloom doubling hurts but the number you have stacked on a target affecting the bloom is nice. I saw more than one three stack crit for over 14k. Sadly, you can't really time that when you need it. I found out about halfway through the run that the way to manage mana is to just let the lifebloom stacks bloom and put them up again. It helps but it's not quite enough. I guess next time we'll have to make sure that we have replenishment and a paladin for blessing of wisdom.

3) Dual specs - This is the game changer for me. I play a druid, a paladin and a death knight. I had one healer, one DPS and one tank. Now I have two of each and I can swap them around a little without having to leave the instance. It's not like I oculdn't afford to respec one toon for whatever was needed, but... I hate setting up the buttons all the time. This was 3k gold well spent. Now the druid is a tank and healer. The paladin is primarily a DPSer but can heal if needed. And the death knight can tank or DPS... Sort of...

4) I'm pretty sure they nerfed death knight DPS. Before the patch, I was doing about 1.7 dps with a tanking spec and dps gear. Post patch, I'm only getting up to 1.5k on the training dummies. Maybe that will go up on mobs but I'm not holding my breath.

5) I'm not a big fan of Savage Defense. That combined with the overall druid tanking nerfs has really hurt one of our main tanks. He used to run at about 29k health unbuffed but on Thursday it was around 26k. And he was a lot more fragile. He just didn't have the mitigation he used to. He would take huge spikes in damage... Not good when you have two druids rolling HoTs and not really watching for spikes. We will now...

With #5 in mind, I took Hiahotah out in his new bear spec (it's nice to be able to go out in public without worrying about being ganked by level 72 and 75 rogues working together while you're out fishing... Don't worry... The paladin made them pay for their transgressions...). Cat DPS is low but then again, nothing lssted long enough to really build up to anything. As for tanking, I use the level 81-82 elite Pustulent Horrors (I'll check the spelling later... Maybe) just inside Icecrown (there are 5 on the dam) to check migitation and damage. I went in and killed the first one witout taking more damage than Improved Leader of the Pack could return (so no more than 4% health every 4 second). I was pleased to find that I was on the quest to kill those guys so I did some more. The second and the third were the same story. So I pulled two at once. I took a little damage before the first one was down. But after I got down to just one, I got back to full health... OK... Time for something harder.

I'd planned to pull a pack of 8-10 melee, but I stumbled across the elites in the Bombardment. I pulled 3 level 80 elites. I got down to 15k health (from 29k to start) before the first two were down. I didn't use Berserk or Frenzied regeneration or anything, really. Just made sure I remembered where the swipe button was. So now I'm thinking that our other druids problems are gear related. Time will tell, I guess.

That was last night. This morning I tanked a heroic Violet Hold with a dk I know (from a previous PuG) who could sustain 3k dps. He was a challenge threat-wise because he has no patience and there's one spawn location where the mobs go different directions that is still problematic - particularly when I have no rage. But it worked out. Cleared the instance, nobody died. I'm calling it a win.

And it would seem that I have another 17 minutes before the first load comes out of the dryer... So...

On Thursday, we had 8 level 80's on, but only 1 person who had a tank and one person who had a healer who wouldn't be tanking. So we gathered up some of the newbies to do heroic Gundrak. About halfway there, two of our tanks logged on. OK... Impromptu Naxx... Which was fine because we hadn't gotten a chance to raid on Tuesday because the servers were down and then unstable. But I hadn't healed on my paladin yet, so I stuck with my druid. It was a little sloppy at first while people got used to new specs and subtle changes to old spells but we got rolling eventually. We one shot Razuvious, Anub'Rekhan, Faerline and Noth. Not bad with two first timers, a nerfed bear tank, no paladins, no voice chat (not sure what was wrong there... But we typed what we needed to. We did Karazhan that way towards the end... No biggie), and two nerfed resto druids. I didn't think we had the co-ordination for Maexxna so we opted for Patchwerk.

Patchwerk is both a gear check (even with that crew, we had the gear, thank you very much) and nightmare for resto druids. It goes against everything we're used to. We wiped twice because we couldn't keep the tanks up using "commone sense"... So we assigned tanks. That worked better but it was really, really tough and drained out mana. I think the other druid went OOM at the end because her tank dropped like a stone at 1% during the soft enrage. After the melee went down, our druid tank was eating the hateful strikes too so it was tough to keep him up. He hovered at 0% for what seemed like an eternity. But we downed him finally and had to call it a night. After Patchwerk, a lot of what's left is getting people to move at the right times. I think we can clear all of Naxx if we can just find the time. At least people are getting excited about it again.

Oh. Laundry's done. Gotta run.

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