For the Horde! (again)

Much to my surprise, I’m now the proud “owner” of a level 100 Troll Druid.

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Although I think I’ve reached saturation point with Demons, can’t say I’d be saddened if I never saw another. We’ve gone from level 30 all the way to 100 almost entirely by slaughtering them. I’ve made 2000 gold from the lock boxes and have an army of felbats hibernating in my bags. Even more surprising, it turns out I can actually dps…

Moonkin Marmite

The Druid forms seem to have the same effect on people as marmite, you either love them or hate them.

Mentzelia had only just hit level 25 and purchased her first glyph when she was /spat on for choosing to glyph out of Moonkin form. Now I don’t deny this was a deliberate choice made for a couple of reasons. Firstly Moonkin form is too big and ungainly for me. I hate getting stuck in doorways and in pvp in particular, being a massive feathery chicken means you’ve got a 10 foot target painted over your head which I’m sure works for some people but personally I prefer the sneaky sneaky approach. I also dislike the fact that Moonkin form at say level 15 and Moonkin form at level 90 are exactly the same, there is no ability to customise or change your look. Every Worgen Moonkin regardless of level, of whether they are playing a male Worgen or a female one looks exactly the same and in a game which has given us transmogrification not to mention so many choices of gear to play with, that’s just annoying.

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I’m fine with cat* and bear form but have never bonded with either Moonkin or Treeform. I suspect that’s because when I first rolled a Druid neither existed and I was used to seeing myself as caster whenever I popped up to heal or to root.

I also really dislike the new stag form as a travel form, mostly because due to it’s size, it feels like I’m running in slow motion. It’s just a shame that the cheetah can’t give rides because having people leap on your back whilst escaping conflict in PvP can be both useful and amusing.

Anyway, I’m curious. What do the rest of you Druids think? Is glyphing glittery stars to hide your chicken a crime? Should I be embracing my inner glyph of the Treant?

* I was actually really sorry to see the original Tauren cat form bite the dust. There was something about it’s awkwardness which just made it cute.

And the Wolf wore Red

I’ve been faffing around attempting to find a reason to level my baby Worgen Druid who despite having a back story I’m happy with is hindered by the small issue of her Worgenness.

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Jstmel is holding a colour themed transmogrification contest and February comes in as the red month, all rosy cheeks and warm scarlet mittens.  Now red and wolves go hand in hand, everyone who has read Little Red Riding Hood can attest to that so I thought that perhaps I could combine the two and that item farming would give me a reason to inch her towards 90. Playing around until I found an outfit worth leveling for didn’t actually take long at all but I’m pretty sure this won’t be my entry as it’s not particularly red.

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I hadn’t noticed blossoming rain poppies on the staff until they bloomed under my nose in MogIt. From that point forward I was sold, this staff was a massive definite.

Mentzelia my little Moonflower will be 90 before we all go sauntering back into the past and that’s a promise.

Proving your Worth: Why Class quests had value

Cymre put up an interesting post a while back about the old AQ Gates quest chain which got me thinking about a couple of my favourite and now removed quest chains. Then when I was attempting to clear out my drafts folder I came across this. A post I started in November 2009 but never got around to finishing or publishing (before now) plus it is Druid week and thus ever so slightly relevant (at least the first paragraph is).

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I’m currently re-running the Swift Flight form quest on my second druid. The experience has left me  feeling a little saddened and humbled. Why aren’t there more of these awesome quests scattered through the game. Why don’t all classes have the opportunity to discover more lore about their class? I had to use virtually all my spell book, from hibernate to cat form, to remove curse to moonfire. I visited places I’d never seen before, like the pink frosting masquerading as water outside the Barrow Dens and the river border of Azshara and Ashenvale. I came out of Sethekk Halls feeling like a proper grown up Druid.

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Back in Vanilla, I had the pleasure of doing the Benediction chain and I watched the Gnomeling do his Rhok’ledar (I was there for moral support and to kill any Horde who looked at him funny). Both were amazing chains but when you compare the Priest/Hunter epic chains to the Druid model, there are a couple of crucial differences. The Druid one doesn’t rely on RNG. I got lucky, my Eye dropped from our very first Majordomo “kill”. However I knew Priests who had to wait months for that chest to stop yielding leaves, conversely, my guild got Eye after Eye and so our Hunters were epic bowless. Putting the two parts that both Hunters/Priests needed on two different raid bosses meant that in order to experience your epic class quest you had to raid. For Priests especially, getting the Eye of Shadow on my server was hard. One guild (mine) tended to get 95 percent of all the Lord Kazzak kills and when you factored in the fact that we had something like 12 raiding priests and numerous priest alts, it took a while for them to filter onto the Auction House. Yes, you could farm it from those horrible demons in Winterspring but doing so as a Priest solo was hard and the drop rate sucked. That’s actually how I got mine, farming with three other holy priests and a resto druid until 4am – roots, smite, smite, smite, smite, wrath, roots, smite, smite, smite, smite, roots, wrath, wrath, wrath and so on. Painful doesn’t even begin to describe the experience. To be fair we started out with a bunch of dpsers but they all went to bed early. Not sure if that was because they were bored or because they had to get up early in the morning and we healers soldiered on.

So if any future class quests were added, I think that Blizzard should follow the Druid model and make the chain easily available to anyone regardless of how they choose to spend their time in-game. Availability obviously has to impact on the reward, but the rewards could be cosmetic or fun or even powerful at the start of the expansion but wilt over time. If something is easily obtained by say all warriors willing to spend a few hours running quests and probably doing a dungeon or two, I can’t think of any reason why it couldn’t be comparable with the first tier of raid weapons. It would provide a different gearing path and help factor out RNG for people trying to get their first set of gear together. As for dealing with the different specs, Benediction/Anathema was an awesome way of doing that and it would be nice to see Blizzard implement that on other stuff.

Which then got me thinking, Blizzard originally added quite a few class based zones. Think Ravenholdt hidden away in the hills, compete with its poison garden and staffed by persons of a dubious nature. Or Fray Island, the fight club of WoW where warriors would brawl to prove their worth and receive Berserker Stance. Then there is the Moonglade itself, the tranquil valley in which druids of both factions can meet, watched over by the Cenarion Circle. When Cataclysm rips a path through the world as we know it, WoW’s very own disaster movie, I really hope that areas like those get a bit more love.

Also WTB a Priest hideout where Erinys can sip honeymint tea and debate the finer points of religion with other Priestly types. Although I suspect we might as well just rent a battleground or a graveyard because given the diversity of our faiths, someone is bound to end up dead.

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Returning back to 2013, clearly my crystal ball was a bit out of tune. When Blizzard added the latest class quest (the epic Rogue one), they made it require a raid boss and so much for embellishing those class areas…

What I loved about all three of these quests was the fact that they made you think about what it meant to play that specific class. Not only in terms of playstyle although all three required you to explore your spell book, perhaps the Druid and Hunter more so than the Priest, although plenty of people I knew did take Holy Nova especially for the quest but also from an RP perspective if you wished to indulge it.

With the Priest quest, you had to merge the dual nature of the class by acquiring both the eye of shadow and the eye of divinity before striking a balance between them.

You have come for redemption, yet you yourself do not realize this… Do you?

From a roleplay perspective, when I look back on all the terrible things my Priest(s) have done since that day in EPL, I remember this:

I never stated that you were here to redeem yourself, priest/priestess. You are here to redeem me and the innocents murdered while trying to escape Stratholme. My spirit and the spirit of those lost are bound here, cursed to endlessly relive our own tragic deaths.

and consider the slate wiped clean. I really would love to see the quest chain added back into the game, possibly with the Eyes being available through the Black Market.

I also loved the fact that you had to do it by yourself otherwise the “Cleaner” would come and squish you underfoot.

Be warned, you must complete this task alone. It is recommended that your allies remain at a distance. Interference by outside agents will result in a most severe punishment.

Although that plus the fact that Eris Havenfire would yell, alerting the entire zone Horde and Alliance alike that some brave Priest was attempting the quest did make it easier for the opposing side to grief.

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Therefore it probably doesn’t come as a huge surprise that the main aspect of the next patch which I’m really looking forward to is the “Proving Grounds”. Yes I’d rather have the storytelling and romance of class quests but given that Blizzard understandably wishes to design for the masses not a percentage, I’ll happily settle for that.


The Darkmoon Dolly

My fascination for the Darkmoon Faire is well known and documented. Even though I don’t particularly need anything from it’s stalls any more, I still venture there every month to wander around soaking up the creepiness. One of my favourite items has to be these dolls and if Blizzard ever added one as a mini pet which levitated around after you my happiness would be complete. As I’m not convinced that will ever happen, I thought I’d have a go at making a version of my own.

One quick doodle later, I was ready to go.

I was a little concerned as to how I would manage to make her bonnet look three dimensional but so far so good.

She then had a brief stint as a hand puppet. Oh the indignity!

Before finally finding her hat:

There is a spring lurking underneath her but it’s rather hard to make out in the picture. Should I make her a sister at some point there are a few things I would do differently, mostly to do with her face shape but all in all I’m rather happy with the way she’s turned out. I’m going to call her Olimpia as a reference to one of those horrible tales which helped frame my childhood. There is definitely something of the uncanny about this particular doll.

Next on the creative list is to finally get around to making a cushion sized version of this:

So whenever a Druid annoys me, I can jump up and down a cuddly representation of one.

On the subject of crafting things, you should also check out Veroicone’s WoW charms. I particularly love the boomkins.

Choices

The more I play and read about the beta, I find myself struggling with an unexpected dilemma. Do I keep playing my Priest even though I’m not 100 percent happy with some of the changes or do I switch to my Druid?

Whilst I do want to get back into raiding at some point during the next expansion, given the fact that I’m about to start a new job in a new city a month before MoP is released, plus we’re going to be moving house in the next couple of months, raiding other than LFR is out of the question probably for the first tier. So it’s not the PvE side of things which bothers me, after all I was healing heroics at the start of Cataclysm despite the “Oh, it’s a priest…. this is going to suck” comments from my party members. In the words of the song, “I can get by“, grumpily sure but I’d manage.

My problem is PvP which brings with it a whole new set of issues and problems. The thought of losing to certain people, the ones that my current Disc Priest can happily beat in one v ones at the moment despite the fact that they’re similarly geared and dps specced is enough is to make Sprout curl up into a ball and cry (I know I probably have that effect on them but that’s totally different okay!). We’re losing so many of the tools I use on a day to day basis and getting little in return.

  • No more shadow cast time spells. Ignoring the kick/interrupt aspect especially when fighting melee because you can get around that, smite just doesn’t have same oomph as “mind blast” or “mind spike” in terms of the imagery it conjures up.
  • Mind control being a talent with a 30 second cooldown. This is perhaps my biggest issue because  I use it a lot in PvP. It’s won me arena games, it’s allowed me to hold nodes solo in maps like AB and of course throwing people off cliffs is priceless.
  • Losing our damage reduction talents. Resilience will probably fix it but you never can tell.
  • No more holy nova unless you glyph for it but you can’t afford the glyph slot because you need a whole bunch of other glyphs to get back the stuff which has become optional but isn’t really for PvP. Now I know mind sear works just as well for killing snakes and stopping people from tagging flags but when you’re solo, it doesn’t help you find the rogue that you know is sneaking up waiting for his moment.
  • Mana being a bit of an issue. Although not sure this is a real issue, at least in random battlegrounds because drinking is always an option if you’re careful.
  • The cooldown on dispels helping create an issue with mobility, something Priests have always had a bit of an issue with.

Which brings me to my Druid. A class that like the Priest I’ve played since vanilla and just like the Priest I have multiple Druids scattered across servers. I lost interest in the class when Tree of Life was introduced because it went against everything I loved about mine. I didn’t want to be stuck in one form, which all things considered was a bit odd since I’d spend hours chatting away to people sprawled in catform next to a brazier in Ironforge, purring at passer bys. I kept trying but I couldn’t bond with mine any more. The final straw was feral charge being moved out reach of Resto and my Druids, disillusioned and angry became feral and balance. I went back to Resto last season because playing the underdog is always interesting if not always fun. Tree form as a cool down, not a permanent form definitely helped too. I like being able to blend in, not being the healer instantly recognisable by anyone because they look like a slightly past its sell by day stick of broccoli.

In terms of off-spec, I’d much rather be Balance or kitty cat than Shadow which is a plus for the Druid. Also who doesn’t love pouncing people. But then am I looking back with rose tinted spectacles. The days of being able to tank 5 mans as Resto merely by changing your gear are long gone. As are the days of perhaps my Druid’s greatest triumph, holding the Blacksmith solo versus five or six well geared Horde through feral charge, cheetah and lots of healing whilst reinforcements rode in.

Perhaps it’s time to play something else entirely. After all, having healed for over seven years maybe it’s time to just dps and let someone else take care of the healing. Both the Druids and Priests have some fundamental flaws at their core, healing mushrooms and chakras for example. I’m not also hugely in tune with Blizzard’s movement towards pushing healers into dpsing because to me it’s for the wrong reasons. You should be dpsing to dps, not to gain mana or boost your healing. I suppose that’s partly why I’ve grown to prefer PvP healing than raid healing even though I still miss the buzz of downing bosses with people I generally like. In raids it becomes routine, you learn what the boss does and figure out the optimal strategy to counter that but in PvP that’s not possible because there are too many variables to consider.  Of course there is a rough order to your spell choice/the abilities you choose to counter the enemies choices but it pushes you to find uses for all your spell book. Whilst both are dances, in pvp especially encounters outside rated/arenas it’s like comparing “Strip the Willow” (PvE – formulaic unless someone screws up) done properly to a wedding disco where everyone is dancing to a totally different beat (random battlegrounds). Arena should be more like ballet but often ends up resembling the disco too. I suspect the over all theme here is that most people can’t dance. I actually got knocked unconscious once doing Strip the Willow because my partner had two left feet and far too much muscle. The fact that we were both drunk at the time was purely accidental.

Of course, the eventual end-game will be to level them all my characters but which one will come first, right now I’m really not sure and that is a source of great frustration.

Mog Madness – Round Two (Wild at Heart)

I got a pleasant surprise on Sunday, when I discovered I’d made it through into round two of Mog Madness. The small print however gave me cause for concern. An outfit for either a Hunter or a Druid incorporating the Glaive of the Pit or Marrowstrike (same skin). My worst fears were confirmed once I checked out the Glaive on Wowhead. After much bouncing around trying first my Hunter and then my Druid,  I finally settled on this.

I decided to use the Glaive because of it’s added orange glow (the only difference between the two weapons). That allowed me a slight flexibility in my colour choices, being able to play around with orange as well as bronze and blue.

As you can see from my screenshots, I decided to use bronze as my main focal point, with just the odd hint of blue (in the shoulders, bracers and chest) and of course the orange skirt as a bit of a statement.