BETA: Weaving the Mist – healing from a Monk’s perspective (lv 11 to 45)

First of all, I’m not going to cover levels 1 through 10 because Tzufit has already done  a great job of doing that, which can be found here. Secondly this is going to concentrate a bit more on PvPish things because well, I’m a ganker at heart.

So you rolled a Monk, reached lv 10 and picked Mistweaver, well congratulations!

From picking up your specialisation, you get access to your first heal, Soothing Mists. From levels 10 to through to dinging 18 this is it, the extent of your healing toolbox.

It is a great spell for a couple of reasons, first of all, the mana cost is not upfront. You only pay for what you use. Over the course of eight seconds, you can potentially (if you choose not to interrupt it) get with my meagre haste levels, nine ticks of Soothing Mists. However I find myself rarely going full channel with this. In PvP related activities, grabbing the first two ticks and then moving is great as a way of keeping health pumping in but making it hard for your opponent to interrupt you.

Secondly, each pulse without overhealing counts as a possible generation of chi (it seems bugged in the current Beta build providing a 100 percent chance).  This combined with point 1, means that you can cast a tick or two on the tank, stopping when they reach full health, wait a bit for them to take a hit or six and then recast it again, ensuring you maximise both your mana usage and your chances of gaining chi. This is not, in my opinion a spell you want to have overheal on because it’s just not necessary.

At lv 18, we get Chi Wave.

This is a quite a contentious spell and whilst I agree it does have a few negatives, I like it. Yes, it’s targeting could definitely do with being a bit smarter, less critters and mobs on the other side of walls please. That said, I’ve had a lot of fun with it and because it will go you -> the thing you’re fighting -> you etc etc, I find it to be a great PvP and grinding tool plus it’s definitely contributed to my success in 1 v 1s.

In my dungeon experience , especially those that Mr Harpy and I two manned, it worked really well (apart from the odd bounce through solid walls). I could build chi either through the careful use of Soothing Mists or through clobbering stuff (in Serpent Stance or switching to Tiger if I thought mana would be an issue at some point) and fire this off every 8 seconds. I love having two resource systems for healing, in the same vein as Paladins with Holy Power but would like to see more Chi based abilities at low levels to help people get in the habit of using it earlier on.

Our next heal pops up at lv 26. Now this isn’t Mistweaver specific but I decided to include it here because it’s still useful in both PvE and PvP environments.

Because it’s available to all Monks, there is of course an energy version which differs slightly to this one (40 energy cost/heals you for 313 and causes 120 percent of the amount healed as damage). I see it as a mini version of Desperate Prayer with a really short cooldown which also provides a smack in the face to whatever is currently trying to kill you. It does suffer from a similar issue to Chi Wave, in that it’s choice of targets isn’t exactly smart. Make sure there aren’t any critters between you and the boss …. but I’ve found in the vast majority of dungeons I’ve run so far, this is enough to keep myself alive. Again, overhealing doesn’t translate into damage so make sure you’re aware of your own health before using it.

Now we hit a bit of a healing drought, having to wait until level 34 for our next heal.

I believe there is talk of making this require a target rather than it functioning as a smart heal and I think that’s probably the right line for Blizzard to take. Right now it’s awesome and certainly from a random battleground perspective, it would increase your chances of being healed by monks with zero situational awareness but I feel that since it fits into the “flash heal” type category and can already become instant cast whilst providing chi that leaving it the option to remain as a smart heal is a step too far.

That said though, I tend to only use it whilst channelling Soothing Mists so that I can double dip into my chances of getting chi so wouldn’t miss that utility. As a PvP tool, the fact that when you’re channelling Soothing Mists, the only impediment to it’s instant castiness is your reaction time means that it’s wonderful. Burst healing and instant casts are king in the PvP world and as Monks all our abilities seem to be based around that principle.

The last heal we gain in the this bracket is my all time favourite.

An infectious renew which lasts for almost double it’s cooldown meaning that you could technically have them spread over quite a few people in a battleground or a dungeon even at this level and without Uplift.

Going from left to right, 3 and 4 are the timers relating to Renewing Mists. 4 is the duration of the mists itself and 3 shows the number of potential jumps remaining plus a timer in which those jumps must be made.

So far, I love our toolbox. That fact that everything is either instant cast (renewing mists, expel harm and chi wave) or can be instant cast depending on how you use it (soothing mists and surging mists), means that we’re really well set in PvP for quick and effective healing on the move. So that’s the healing abilities covered, now lets look at utility and what that brings to the table.

At level 18 we gain Resurrection. This isn’t particularly exciting just a necessary part of levelling a healer these days.

I do find the PvP implications of the second half interesting though, Night Elf monks shadowmelding to drop combat behind well-placed pillars and then pulling off sub 5 second resses perhaps.

Level 20 brings Detox, another staple of playing a healer.


Apart from the Bleed effects, this is a fairly standard spell. The bleeds do make it a bit more interesting though and I’m interested in seeing if it allows Monks to “cheese” spells like Grievous Wound and Grievous Whirl. It also means that not only will we be stealing Feral Druid gear for our offspecs but that we can pretty much negate them in PvP too.

At 28, we get our very own hamstring.

I found that this plus roll provided some rather satisfying results against melee classes, especially since we can remove poisons and bleeds into the bargain.

The Monk kick requires either Tiger Stance or Ox stance but I feel it’s worth including here because any decent Mistweaver who PvPs is going to have to get into the habit of switching stance to use it, just as Resto Druids currently have to go catform to interrupt spellcasting.

We get it at lv 32 and regardless of whether you intend playing a Monk or not, you might want to play close attention to the tooltip.

In short, when you’re playing a Monk, make sure you’re facing them when you interrupt for added insult to injury. When you’re not playing a Monk but you’ve got one in your face, try and keep your back to them when you feel you have to use cast times. I must admit as a healing Priest, it’s spells like this that make me sad that all my cast time shadow spells have been taken away because if they catch me casting, I’m still going to take a five second silence regardless of whether I’m dpsing or healing.

Finally, there is Paralysis.

In PvP, the duration is eight seconds from behind and four from the front.

We learn this at lv 44 and again it’s baseline for the class. Unfortunately you can’t win, don’t turn your back on a Monk and you risk being locked out of all your spells for five seconds, turn your back and you could find yourself incapacitated longer.

In PvP at any rate, given that most of our useful utility requires melee range, I think it’s going to be an interesting game of chase (at lower levels anyway). Allowing pesky melee to catch you every so often just you can get the most of your incapacitates and disables whilst chasing down other healers and casters yourself to interrupt them, all the while punctuating your utility moves with as much instant or near to instant healing as possible. I don’t know about you, but I love to dance….

There are a few things I’d like to see improved/changed, perhaps most importantly another way of spending Chi that isn’t just doing melee dps (by lv 44, we still only have Chi Wave as a healing spell which relies on it). That said, I think I definitely do more than decent dps in both a PvP and PvE environment (testing PvP is a little hard at the moment since Battlegrounds haven’t worked since a patch or two ago) by generating chi through healing/clobber and spending it on mostly melee dps.

I’d like the “smart” aspect of Chi Wave and of Expel Harm to get a lot smarter. Please prioritise stuff we’re already in combat with and don’t go for yellow mobs/critters over red ones.

All in all though, I haven’t lost a duel yet at any level, even against the other two specs of Monk. This is mostly because of Expel Harm and Chi Wave with the odd melee hit thrown in for good measure. I’ve also managed to 2 man a lot of the lower level dungeons, including Razorfen Kraul which was far too easy for two Monks (healing and tank) to saunter through randomly pulling stuff through walls and not stopping runners. The cynic in me expects things to change quite a bit between now and live but the naughty little Gnome with an eye on MoP PvP secretly hopes they won’t.

I would definitely recommend if you have the time and the Beta access, levelling a Monk from scratch rather than just grabbing a premade. It’s a bit like building a house of cards, starting from the bottom is always best. Learning each ability as you get it and figuring out how best to interlace it with others makes getting to grips with a new class easier than trying to sort out forty abilities all at once. This is particularly true of the Monk class as quite a few abilities do work best when used in tandem with others (as an example see Soothing Mists and Surging Mists).

Right now, I think Blizzard are sending mixed signals with the Monk class. Are we meant to be in melee hitting stuff between casting just like my Paladin used to have to in the old judgement days? or are we meant to be pure healers just standing around at the back? I know that even at this point, we have two clear ways of generating chi, one to potentially appeal to both groups but the most effective way seems to be a combination of those methods. Personally I enjoy being in melee range using spare chi to dps but I know it’s a play style not to everyone’s tastes but also groups don’t always seem to like it either.

Finally, I’ll leave you with a screenshot of one of the battlegrounds I did manage to do on the Beta. Eighteen Monks in Warsong Gulch was a fairly hilarious experience (there was a Mage and a Warlock making up the numbers).

BETA: The Tillers

This is part idle speculation and part extrapolation from the datamined information from WoWhead.

What we do know is that as you build reputation with the Tillers, helping Farmer Yoon repair his old family farm, you will eventually take it over. First however, we have to help Farmer Yoon get the farm back on it’s feet and then gain the respect of the Tiller’s Union by doing favours for various people as well as some manual labour and of course a spot of Virmen slaying.

Quest Chains

Our first faltering footsteps into the farming world.

The Family Farm – This is the quest which first introduces you to Farmer Yoon.

A helping Hand – Given the unyielding rocks in the screenshot below, it would make sense that this is one of the first quests Farmer Yoon offers you. After all, you can’t plant crops in a field full of stones.

Learn and Grow 1: Seeds – Once the fields are empty of stones, then you need to buy or otherwise acquire seeds. This quest sends you in search of Merchant Greenfield at the nearby market to purchase cabbage seeds.

Learn and Grow 2: Tilling and Planting.

Learn and Grow 3: Tending Crops

Learn and Grow 4: Harvesting

Halfhill Market

———-

Becoming respected members of the community.

Getting Votes from the Tiller’s Union. These all follow a similar pattern, you go and see the Farmers, they say something dismissive about you and Farmer Yoon whilst revealing that they currently have some sort of problem they’re struggling to fix.

Vote 1 Mung Mung which leads to Rotten to the Core (“rescuing” half eaten carrots).

Vote 2 Farmer Fung which leads to On the Loose (catch runaway horses).

Vote 3 Gina Mudclaw which leads to Tummy Trouble

Vote 4 Haohan Mudclaw which leads onto The Real Culprits which in turn I think leads to The Melon Felon. Next is Pure Poison and then finally Chief Yip Yip

———-

Improving and building up the farm

Growing the Farm 1 – weed removal (leads to A Little Problem).

Growing the Farm 2 – the removal of the the broken up wagon which leads to Knock on Wood (pick up wood from the bottom of this lake).

Growing the Farm 3 – getting rid a large rock somewhere on the farm. There are a couple of possible candidates.

Dailies

Whilst playing around on the Beta taking screenshots for this post, I noticed that you could earn reputation with individual members of the Tiller’s faction. A quick flick around on WoWhead confirmed this as intended. Given that it’s highly unlikely Blizzard are taking a leaf out of Bioware’s book and letting you become friends with these farmers, I wonder if this is how we earn the seeds and animals for our farm.

Each of the people we can do dailies for could potentially offer a different item for our farms. Here are a couple of examples:

  • Fish keeps pigs down by the lake and could on reaching a certain reputation offer us a couple of piglets.
  • Old Hillpaw has prizewinning chickens.
  • Chee Chee is surrounded by sheep.
  • Farmer Fung: From the quest “Farmer Fung’s Vote”, we know this gentleman has the biggest vegetables in the Valley.

It looks as if there are three types of dailies. One set which are always picked up from the same person and offer just Tillers rep and then another set in which you gain rep with the individual Tillers. I’ll go into the last set later on.

Tiller Rep:

I’m going to gamble slightly here and say the general Tiller dailies are offered by our new friend Farmer Yoon.

Rep with Individuals:

Given that there are two quests for Haohan Mudclaw, I imagine this list will get longer as we get closer to live.

Besides this list, there is also another list of quests for each of the Tillers, like this one for Old Hillpaw. What I love the most about this is that each of the Tillers has a favourite dish. We need to bring Braised Wolf to Old Hillpaw and Shrimp Dumplings to Ella. Given that all the dishes required for “A Dish for …..” seem to be cooking recipes, it’s possible that we’ll see more use for our professions in helping us farm rep this expansion.

This set of dailies seems a bit of a departure from the daily questing norm, as it appears that you collect or make an item and then can choose which person to give it to. In another twist, it seems that each Tiller likes certain things, for example you could give the Jade Cat to either Chee Chee netting you 540 rep or to Ella which would reward you with 900.

The cursor marks the spot (in this case not buried treasure but our future farm).

Rewards

This farm.

The view from the front steps. There is Farmer Yoon working away at the large rocks which litter the property. You can also see the broken up wagon which will be removed in one of the quests.

More rocks plus a small pen for keeping animals.

There is a pond for growing waterlilies or lotuses. The house is a little one storey affair but since location is all, we’ll be well placed right next to the Halfhill market (which you can see in the above screenshot).  Bear in mind though, that given the amount of tidying up we’re going to be doing through the quest chains, the removal of all the rocks, plus the weeding and the getting rid of the rubbish, it’s going to look completely different as a fully functional farm.

I also found myself wondering if we get a farm dog. This might be more wishful thinking on my part but this quest definitely suggest the presence of a dog somewhere.

Despite the fact that I didn’t particularly enjoy questing through the Valley of the Four Winds, this is one set of dailies I am looking forward to doing. That is unless they decide to add tilting at windmills or jousting with carrots sometime between now and live.

I’m also curious as to just how much of my speculation is correct so roll on the next Beta patch please.

The Worst Warlock

To celebrate her second anniversary, Saga over at Spellbound is hosting a “worst dressed Warlock” competition.

So let’s turn it around. Let’s find the worst possible Warlock outfit available in the game. Something that would make other Warlocks shun you and not let you near them. Something that would make your demon take one look at you and return back to the Twisting Nether laughing all the way.

Naturally I couldn’t resist joining in.

I’ve always thought of Warlocks as the “Fords” of WoW, wearing any colour as long as it’s black. Spikes, bleeding hearts and skulls being optional extras, the more glitz you can pack on an outfit, the better you look and everyone knows Warlocks are all about style, sex and stealing souls.

So if that’s fashion 101 for a Warlock, what would a self respecting demon summoner never been seen in? Floral prints, fluffy sweaters with kittens on them, Mage gear?

Unfortunately WoW doesn’t offer us the “fluffy sweater with kittens on” option, so I had to settle for the fresh flowers and Mage gear. Everything in the first two outfits is suitable for transmogrification, unfortunately the final option is purely for hanging out in the city of your choice scaring impressionable Imps.

Outfit 1.

I call this “hug a Tree of Life today!”

She is barefoot on purpose, all the better for feeling the grass wriggle under her feet.

Outfit 2.

“The I really wanted to be a Mage but wandered into the wrong classroom whilst distracted by a fluffy bunny hopping by” look. By the time she realised her mistake, they’d already got her signature in blood and handed out an annoying imp. Once you’ve got the demons and the scythe, there’s no way out, not even dying!

Outfit 3.

Finally, I got a bit obsessed with fluffy jumpers, the sort that my Great Aunts would produce every Christmas which led to this brain wave. We might not have sweaters with kittens on, but we do have a suitably tasteless one to play with. This is Snowdrop, my baby lock  modelling the latest in Winter Veil carolling gear. Just the thing for the discerning Warlock to run a mile from (even more so when she starts to sing!).

So Happy Anniversary Saga, I hope I’ve conjured up three horrific ensembles, the likes of which could make your Voidwalker sacrifice himself and your Succubus turn her whip on you. I know that in order to convince my Warlocks to model them, I had to send their demons away and promise them that no one would ever see the pictures…. (whoops!).

Also no Warlocks or demons were seriously hurt in the making of these transmogrifications, other than an Imp who almost died of laughter when he sneaked back from the Twisting Nether to have a closer look.

In which I attempt to get organized!

Inspired by the amazingly organised Godmother, I’m attempting to prepare as best I can for MoP whilst I have some free time. I realise this post itself could be seen as a form of procrastination but I do work better from lists (honest!).

Dulcamara

1. Reach lv 75 so I can have a Shivarra.

2. Level Jewelcrafting

Ellora

1. Finish the Loremaster of Eastern Kingdoms

2. Finish the Loremaster of Kalimdor

3. Level Inscriptions

4. Finish levelling Enchanting

Erinys

1. Collect the last few pets she needs to hit 125. It’s possible that the individual pet achievements will be disappearing come MoP and I’d like to have the Brilliant Kaliri to go with my Arrokoa disguise. I think that the Celestial Dragon is a bit too far out of reach though unless I raid the Blizzard Pet Shop.

  • Horde Balloon
  • Elementium Geode
  • De-Weaponized Mechanical Companion
  • Legs (from Children’s Week)
  • Enchanted Lantern
  • Mechanical Chicken
  • Mr Grubbs
  • Scooter the Snail (from Children’s Week)
  • Singing Sunflower
  • Tranquil Mechanical Yeti
  • Winterspring Cub
  • Panther Cub
  • Curious Wolvar Pup (from Children’s Week)
  • Gold Mini Jouster

These are all options to get me from 117 to 125. I’ll probably go for the Balloon, the Sunflower, the three children’s week pets, the Panther cub and the Winterspring cub, leaving the last one to chance and whatever happens to be on the AH at the time.

2. Finish up the last 10k I need for exalted with the Netherwing.

3. Read “Sunwell – The Fall of Quel’Thalas”, “The Last Guardian” and “The Lich King Triumphant”, the last three books I need for the “Well Read” achievement.

4. Complete Silverpine and the Southern Barrens quest chains from the Horde perspective again.

5. Get an Oracle egg every three days until one of them hatches a mount.

Lylobean

1. Finish up all the Argent Tournament achievements.

2. Get the Darkmoon Bear mount.

3. Level Cooking and Fishing to the cap.

Sproutling

1. Level Archaeology to the cap.

2. Level Cooking and Fishing to the cap.

3. Pick up the Nesingwary Brush Burner wand for future transmogrification fun.

4. Get the last pet that I’m missing from the Darkmoon Faire (the tonk).

Sprouts

This character was created with one aim in mind, reaching a high enough level to save Spot before the bombs start to fall on Theramore.

1. Save Spot! Given that the Theramore guards are guaranteed to not like a Goblin sneaking in and stealing their dog, I’m not 100 percent what level I’ll need to be. I’ll start trying around the 45 mark.

2. Grab a diseased hawk.

Teasel

1. Finish up all the Fireland Dailies/quest chains

2. Get exalted with the Timbermaw

3. Get the Darkmoon Faire strider mount.

Twiceshy

1. Hit a high enough level to tame Chromaggus.

2. Pick up a Brain Bug too. Either the one with the brain showing or this one.

3. Find and tame Zaricotl.

4. Get exalted with the Thorium Brotherhood (10 k rep to go)

5. Level Blacksmithing

Snowflower

I also want to get ready for my Monk who I’ll be levelling along side since Mr Harpy since he wants to be a fotm reroller! Although I must admit levelling my beta monk has been a lot of fun so far.

1. Double check I’ve got all the heirlooms I could possibly need for both dps and healing specs.

2. 4 big bags for my inventory plus a couple of the bank.

3. Decide on professions and get any mats to level them lined up.

4. Decide on race, Panda versus Gnome versus Nightelf.

General non-character specific stuff.

1. Think of names for all my non combat pets. So far on the Beta I’ve named the following which leaves me with quite a few to go.

  • Orange Tabby =  Boris (after an old book of Peter and the Wolf I found. In it the cat was both orange and called Boris).
  • Feline Familiar = Pyewacket
  • Wind Rider Cub = George
  • Sinister Squashling = Ichabod (for obvious reasons).
  • Darkmoon Faire Balloon = Cecy (after Ray Bradbury’s short story “the April Witch”).

That only leaves me with 140 names to come up with between now and MoP.

2. Fill the bank with as much gold as possible.

3. Run Karazhan every reset on as many characters as possible until Attuman gets stick of seeing me and hands over his horse.

4. Make sure every character has the largest bags possible.

That turned out to be a bigger list then I expected. Hopefully this will work out better than my Pre-Cataclysm to do list where I managed to tick off a grand total of three things.

BETA: Spectral Guise

I want to like this ability, I really do but I’m struggling to find anything positive at all to say about it. Regardless of whether you consider it in the light of PvP or PvE it has several obvious flaws.

White hits count towards the three hits. Thus fast hitting classes like rogues break you out far too fast.

You can’t cast anything whilst invisible nor can you interact with anything, including your lightwell.

You might as well announce your disappearing act with a fanfare of trumpets, some fireworks and a troop of cheerleaders. Subtle it isn’t. Not only is there an audible “whoosh”, you also fade to black before vanishing then there is a slight delay in which the enemy de-targets you before the “clone” appears. Which brings me to my next point.

This is my Gnome in all her awesome lv 87 glory:

This is my Spectral Guise:

Feel free to play spot the differences. I would imagine that by the time we’re one month into the expansion, everyone who isn’t a bot will recognise exactly what you’re doing and how to counter it. Also regardless of the health you’re at when you cast Spectral Guise, the clone spawns with a 100 percent which is another give away.

At the moment, any damage you (the real you, not the pale imitation) takes breaks the illusion. So you need to be careful about when you use it. Any dots on you before hand and it’s a no no even if said dots are absorbed by your shield. If you get caught by any AoE effects whilst trying to sneak off, same deal.

As Spectral Guise does break on damage to you and doesn’t clear snares, my biggest headache whilst duelling was the preparation I needed to get the most out of it.

cc -> dispel -> racial (if the snares weren’t magic) -> Spectral Guise

As the most I gained was 30 yards and since everyone else has at least one way of getting back to you, it barely bought me any time at all. I would have been arguably better just using fear and then spam healing myself.

In mass PvP, I can imagine myself using it pro-actively, for example sneaking into an enemy group using it and then fearing to break them up. Other than that, the best use I can think of is using it to cancel spells enemy casters/bosses are using on you.

So what about PvE, if I’m in a dungeon with a bad tank, I already have fade (which I can talent to remove snares) as well as either void tendrils or glyphable fear.

One other possible use (besides using it to cancel one spell cast on you every 30 seconds), would be on encounters like the new Huntsman in the Scarlet Monastery. The kind of fights where you get an arrow over your head and a pack of animals which can’t be taunted set on you for a set duration. If the arrow copies to your “clone” that is. I still need to test this as when I tried the Scarlet Monastery earlier, the boss insisted on targeting my party member rather than me. Of course if Mists brings us another Faction Champions type encounter, then yes, this spell will have a niche but until then, it’s rather lacklustre.

As an lv 87 Priest who has quested through both new zones as well as run the new dungeon as Holy, I can’t think of a single occasion where I “needed” Spectral Guise or even one where it would have been my go to solution. Given that it’s our only new non-talented ability this expansion, I feel that’s rather sad.

I would like to see a couple of quick fixes implemented to make it more desirable.

  1. Make it require only yellow hits to break or make it last for a percentage of your health pool.
  2.  Have it work a bit like vanish in that any damage the real you incurs whilst it’s active doesn’t break the effect. That way AoE and dots wouldn’t be so much of an issue. Either that or fix it to work with absorbs so that any absorbed damage doesn’t make you reappear.
  3. I’d also like it to copy my character, exact same health/mana and health percentage please.
Edit: On top of all this, Darkener left a great comment about his/her idea for a Spectral Guise glyph.
Glyph of Spectral Guise:Your Spectral Guise spell can be cast while stunned, immobilized, polymorphed, feared, charmed, disoriented, Sapped or mind controlled (under the effect of any CC).”

I have to say I love this idea. Of course it would rely on Blizzard fixing Spectral Guise so that the “sneaky” you doesn’t take damage whilst invisible but it would make a big difference in PvP. Since most of the glyphs these days are trade offs, perhaps a small increase to the cooldown would be required but I could live with that if I got a decent “Save me!” spell out of it.

Finally I have one last issue with it. As it’s not true stealth, mini-pets stick by your side and give the game away. In an expansion based around mini-pet battles, this is bad. I want to have my new companions out in PvP.

BETA Screenshots – A Farmer’s Life for Me

When Blizzard first mentioned player farms, I have to admit I wasn’t that sold (until they tacked on farmhouses at any rate). However now that the Valley of the Four Winds is open for questing and exploring, my opinion is definitely changing.

When I was a student, I did more than my fair share of hard labour on a friend’s farm but I don’t remember her farm looking anywhere near as gorgeous as this. No smells either which is a good thing, being in a shed full of chickens with a hangover is an experience I don’t care to repeat.

Vegetables which are bigger than my Priest are a little cause for concern though. I mean what are the Tillers feeding them (and can I have some please?)

All I want for my own little farm is a tattie-bogle (a scarecrow to the rest of you), preferably one with a kite attached and a little house like this:

The entire zone is has a peaceful and pastoral feel to it, although everyone’s favourite big game hunter stalks the valleys proving that even here, “Et in Pandaria ego“, the balance must be preserved.

I was also glad to spot this young lady. Although “spot” isn’t totally accurate as I had my interface hidden and my back to her taking screenshots when she snuck up on me.

These were my favourite mobs in AQ20/40, although I did hate the Battleguard Sartura fight for reasons I can’t quite remember and they’ve been underused ever since.

Visually this is world’s apart from the vivid colours of the Jade Forest but I think of the two, the Valley is my favourite (so far).

I also had a quick peak into the Krasarang Wilds (mind vision =  best beta spell ever!),

and spotted this. Now it took me a few minutes to figure out what this zone reminded me of but I got there in the end (so need caffeine right now).

This is one of our photos, taken as we walked around Palenque. I know there aren’t any ruins in the picture but there are plenty lurking just out of shot. So we have the same kind of vegetation, the same sort of water and broken down bits of carvings. So already, that’s a zone I’m excited about being able to explore in the next few weeks.

Transmogrification Picks – Wands

With wands moving to the main-hand slot in Mists, there is no time like the present to start collecting the best looking ones.

I have to admit I’m excited about this change because so many of the wands have amazing graphics and are far better than the one-handed maces/daggers/swords we cloth wearing casters have access to at the moment. These are a few of my personal favourites.

Crescent Wand

Just thing to complement a Priestess of Elune look (outfit details can be found here).

Writhing Wand

For your tentacle fix. Would team up rather well with the Priest talent Void Tendrils. (The outfit is my Gnome’s gardening gear).

Zulian Voodoo Stick/Harrison’s Climbing Hook/Carved Witch Doctor’s Stick.

The first two share the same colour scheme as shown in the picture above. The latter has creamy/yellow feathers instead of blue. The blue version could be teamed with Fetish of the Primal Gods and the Witch Doctor’s Stick would go nicely with the Voodoo Shaker.

Rod of Imprisoned Souls

This is Alliance only but I love it’s Egyptian theme. It reminds me of a carving or painting of the Goddess Maat I saw somewhere and since she was responsible for the weighing of souls, that seems appropriate.

Torchlight Wand

As this is an Olympic year, including this seemed natural.

Scepter of Lost Souls/Nurturing Touch/Quartz Crystal Wand

There are colour differences between the three as per usual. The purple version is my favourite and is the Scepter of Lost Souls.

Wand of Sseratus

More creepy skull shaped shenanigans.

Whelping-Skull Zapper

This comes in green as shown above or red (Impsy’s Wand).

Torch of Austen

Could be teamed with Grayson’s Torch for some dual wielding flame stick action.

Arcane Wand of Sylvanaar

Best teamed with the identical off-hand because two wands are better than one. It comes in a variety of colours including orange, yellow and purple. A complete list can be found here.

Nightmare Ender

Another creepy wand. I’m attracted to the spikes.

Finger of Zon’ozz

Comes in three flavours, blue, green and orange. Who doesn’t want to be wielding the bottom half of a dead fish?

Touch of Discord

For giving your opponents an extra finger. Should be required PvP gear.

Wand of the Forgotten Star

You can’t go wrong with pink!

Touch of Horror/Gwyneth’s Runed Dragonwand/Nesingwary Brush Burner/

These have to be my altogether favourite models in-game. I love the colours, the spikes and the fact that it’s a fire breathing dragon.

Whilst right now, I think my wand of choice will be an angry dragon, I can’t wait to see what new models the Mists of Pandaria will bring us.

Burning Anger and Broken Hearts or why I learned to pity Staghelm

Throughout Classic WoW I was always firmly in the “Staghelm is a jerk” camp. A combination of his attitude, standing up a tree bare-chested being rude to passers-by, the obsession with morrowgrain and his whining about Tyrande meant that  I watched at least one Horde raid group slaughter him without lifting a finger to help. This morning I completed the Smoke-Stained Locket chain and now I find myself feeling sorry for him.

He couldn’t prevent the death of his wife in childbirth, he couldn’t prevent the death of his only son during the Qiraji war and his behaviour as a direct result of those losses meant that he wasn’t in a position to protect his grand-daughter. Yes, a large portion of his problems are self inflicted but still he seems a tragic figure. Just like Aristotle’s idea of the Tragic Hero, Staghelm starts out as a good man (not necessarily a nice one), one who is respected by his peers and given positions of command (both in war and peace). Then circumstances start to spiral out of his control. I know that according to the book “Stormrage“,

“the archdruid had not been responsible for Valstann’s demise” (pg 70)

but as his son’s commander, he must have felt partly to blame. Add to that being forced to witness Valstann’s death and I imagine his guilt would be almost overpowering. The quest “Tragedy and Family” eludes to this when Staghelm says “Time passes, yet the sting of his death will not fade”.

Again his downfall is textbook Aristotle. His major character flaw is hubris (with a side order of jealousy), he puts his own desires (for his son) and his own beliefs (in the superiority of Nightelves) before all else. The fact that he was one of the main architects of Teldressil against the wishes of at least one of the Aspects reinforces that sense of hubris. It’s sort of the Azerothian equivalent of thumbing your nose at the Gods. His choices were steered by this need to save his son but can we blame him for that? It’s an all too understandable flaw, the response to protect those we love, whatever the price. With Xavius playing the part of the fake medium, offering hope when in reality there was none, Staghelm was doomed from the outset. Although it’s hard to believe that on one level or another, he didn’t see the truth behind his actions. That he couldn’t see the madness in his chosen path.

“Valstann will know just what! My son will have the answer” (pg 255)

However it seems that his clear need to believe must have superseded everything else. His arrogance is also shown in the end-game he and his nightmare child are planning.

“Valstann and I will show our people the way and they will be the better for it! Teldressil will be the instrument of a new, glorious Azeroth!” (pg 262)

 No doubt that’s a brave new world with himself at the head regardless of the wishes of any of Azeroth’s people.

This also highlights the differences between Staghelm and Tyrande/Malfurion. The latter two are portrayed as selfless leaders of their people. Staghelm is the polar opposite, everything he has done is driven by his selfish desire to undo his son’s death all those years before and of course, by his own quest for power.

When it comes to the punishment, I find myself defending him like Antigone defends the actions of her traitorous brother, Polynices. What Staghelm did was wrong, corrupting the World Tree surely goes against everything a Druid should stand for. Attempting to keep Malfurion trapped through the use of Morrowgrain also counts as treason I would imagine but what price did he pay? To lose your child once must be terrible but to lose that same child twice must be mind destroying, even if the second time around was merely smoke and mirrors. Add to that fact, that when his granddaughter (all that was left of his son) needed him the most, he was a broken man, locked up in prison and unable to save her must have ripped away what little sanity he had left.

No doubt it was inevitable that his jealousy and dislike of Malfurion and Tyrande would spill over into a desire for revenge once he was rescued from his prison cell and restored to some semblance of sanity. Yet, he still goes looking for his daughter-in-law. A convenient response would be that he’s just recruiting allies into his new order but I find myself wondering if that’s the sole truth. Most of what he’s done has been motivated by family and Leyara is all that is left of that family. I know that tragic heroes are meant to learn something during their fall but I’m struggling to see what the moral of this story is other than the dead tend to stay dead (only in Azeroth that really isn’t true) regardless of what we wish for. Going back to Antigone, this seems so appropriate:

Blest, they are truly blest who all their lives have never tasted devastation. For others, once the gods have rocked a house to its foundations the ruin will never cease, cresting on and on from one generation on throughout the race— like a great mounting tide driven on by savage northern gales,

Which in turn brings to me back to Leyara.

Perhaps it’s just me, but I don’t particularly like Malfurion’s tone. Did he do anything to stop Leyara’s rage consuming her? It appears not. No one seemed to do anything to stop Staghelm staggering down the path of disaster either and Malfurion’s words could equally describe Fandral as much as Leyara.

“the bonds of family are often stronger than  the power of reason,”

I am glad we get to keep the locket because part of me thinks that the bonds of blood should be more powerful that reason. Leyara and Staghelm are not much different from ourselves, but grief and anger allowed them to become twisted. In Leyara’s case targeting her rage not the Horde who were ultimately responsible for her daughter’s death, not at Staghelm for managing to get himself locked up when his family needed him the most but at the outside world. In the ex-Archdruid’s case becoming a monster like those he started out by fighting against, by letting hatred and jealousy rule.

It serves a reminder that but for the grace of Elune, there go I.

BETA: A few of my favourite places (Jade Forest)

Mind Vision is awesome <3

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