Alliance monk is now mid-60s

I have been leveling a second monk, Alliance-side this time, to pair with my blood elf monk. The belf is my most-progressed best-geared character, so he has become my MoP main. The second character I leveled was Praetorian, my trusty BC-era belf paladin. I decided I’d have to do an Alliance-side toon next, to balance things out.

So I have now seen CRZ in action on both factions through a big chunk of the game’s total content. And I have this to say about that:

  • Spawn-camped rare battle pet spawns are not fun.
  • Waiting for ten minutes for a quest target mob’s body to despawn and the mob itself respawn is not fun.
  • Questing with PVP-flagged opposite-faction characters jumping up and down in your face & making rude gestures at you is not fun.
  • Watching max-level druids in flight form sweep through and snag resources faster than you can even approach them is not fun.

I grouped with other lowbies to kill quest mobs twice, both times in the first week of the expansion in the blood elf Ghostlands zone. (To kill the elite quest targets pathing around, remember those guys?) For the rest of the time, the best CRZ has done for me is make the zones look busy. Guess what! The zones are busy. They’re busy supporting loads of player counts several times greater than what they were designed to support even back in the heyday of slow leveling.

This is especially true once you hit BC zones. I quested through Zangarmarsh last night, thoroughly enough to get the zone quest achievement, and about half the time when I had a named quest target to kill, I sat there waiting for it to respawn because it was dead on arrival. On one occasion, as I approached a named naga leader, another player zoomed in past me and tagged it. Probably somebody who didn’t want to have to wait.

Waiting isn’t fun.

The monk class? Awesome. The quests themselves? Awesome. The speed of leveling? Awesome. CRZ? Not awesome.

I realize that Blizzard is not going to undo it, so I am left pondering other solutions. Maybe just make the target population per zone lower? Another solution might be going through and re-tuning all the spawn rates to fit the new higher desired populations. That would help the resource side of the problem. The social side of the problem can’t be helped, because the social pressures aspect of the game is dead dead dead and has been since the moment the dungeon finder was introduced.

CRZ is awesome!

CRZ is awesome!

In which I level another monk.

I have a level 37 or something like that Night Elf monk now. I like the monk class a lot and was thinking I need a tank/dps specced monk to pair with my healer/dps specced monk. Everything I like about rogues and druids all blended into one! Sort of. As it turns out, I’ve gone healing/dps on this toon for leveling. I was healing first and found it surprisingly effective at questing until I got dual-spec at 30. Nothing could kill me, that’s for sure, even if I took a little while to kill them

Tank-questing is better, though. You can collect a pile of mobs and slowly lick them to death.

Anyway. Monk healing is just plain weird at low levels. I had one healing spell for the first few dungeon runs: Soothing Mist. Then I had two: Soothing Mist & the talent Chi Wave. Then three: SM, CW, and Enveloping Mist. I could generate extra combo points by using Expel Harm every so often, but mostly fights were a matter of “point the laser beam at the tank & wait”. If more people than the tank were injured, Chi Wave. If the tank was holding aggro (wonder of wonders) Enveloping Mists on him/her. I could not run out of mana because SM is mana-neutral at that level and there was literally nothing else to spend it on. I couldn’t heal much, either. I had to hope the damage came in at a rate my swiveling laser beam could cope with.

Healing from doing melee dps was never, ever enough. I did a lot of experimenting with it.

It totally couldn’t cope with a bad tank. I had a miserable Scarlet Monastery run with a bear tank who had no idea how to pull other than to run into an area and blunder around. We wiped three times due to him pulling vast areas and then standing in Flamestrikes. He pulled the end boss of the Monastery without bothering to clear the room, so of course the mobs all came. Nothing quite like being stunned for the rez incident while a mob is beating on me… I popped all my few cooldowns when I came out and lived, but he never did peel the mob off me. One of the dps did that.

Some people just shouldn’t tank.

In the middle of the cathedral in a pull gone horrible, I dinged and got whatever the monk costs-mana casted-heal is, Something-something Mist. Surging Mist, that’s it. This saved the pull because I could suddenly spend mana and heal people. And this generates combo points, which I could also spend. Man, it was miserable until I got that spell.

Speaking of Scarlet Monastery: ugh. Ugh ugh ugh. Blizzard screwed that one up good. The Deadmines update was okay: the layout unchanged, the story moved forward. This revision killed the essence of the Scarlet Monastery for me. I am very sad. I wish I’d known this was coming so I could have done a last loving clear through while recording a vid. But sadly I was not playing wow for the last four months of Cata and paid no attention to news. Another vanilla staple dead.

If they screw with BRD I’ll get grumpy. I’ll write a stern letter to the editor.

The 5 people in my friends & family guild take out Patchwerk 25. No healer, but two of us did go tanky.

The 5 people in my friends & family guild take out Patchwerk 25. No healer, but two of us did go tanky.

Some things don’t change, even after 8 years.

Zenn Foulhoof does get some followup in the post-Cata Darkshore, though.

Er, yes, that would be my second monk, this time Alliance-side. I might be a little bit in love with the class.

Some things don’t change, even after 8 years.

Zenn Foulhoof does get some followup in the post-Cata Darkshore, though.

Er, yes, that would be my second monk, this time Alliance-side. I might be a little bit in love with the class.

World Pet Mauler: win a pet battle in 60 zones. This one is the Jade Forest.

I’m back. I’m playing WOW again. I have two level 90s already with two more in progress. I am, however, not raiding. Some time in May I took a new job at a startup in San Francisco and raiding is, shall we say, not compatible with that work lifestyle. But pet battles are!

Level 90s:
blood elf monk, Tialivan
blood elf paladin, Praetorian (my BC-era main, still one of my favorites)

In progress:
poor Leafie the druid
blood elf warrior Aegidius, shown above

World Pet Mauler: win a pet battle in 60 zones. This one is the Jade Forest.

I’m back. I’m playing WOW again. I have two level 90s already with two more in progress. I am, however, not raiding. Some time in May I took a new job at a startup in San Francisco and raiding is, shall we say, not compatible with that work lifestyle. But pet battles are!

Level 90s:
blood elf monk, Tialivan
blood elf paladin, Praetorian (my BC-era main, still one of my favorites)

In progress:
poor Leafie the druid
blood elf warrior Aegidius, shown above

Not that Leafie has been idle: her new title is Guardian of Cenarius, which every druid should have.

She finished off Cenarion Circle reputation by questing in Desolace & Silithus, incidentally earning the zone achievements along the way. Cataclysm certainly makes the rep grinds easier, doesn’t it?

Less than 100 points to go to 10,000 achievement points total. I only just now passed the total of my departed guild leader. And just think: she quit the game when Cata landed, so she has zero Cataclysm achievements. Oh my.

Not that Leafie has been idle: her new title is Guardian of Cenarius, which every druid should have.

She finished off Cenarion Circle reputation by questing in Desolace & Silithus, incidentally earning the zone achievements along the way. Cataclysm certainly makes the rep grinds easier, doesn’t it?

Less than 100 points to go to 10,000 achievement points total. I only just now passed the total of my departed guild leader. And just think: she quit the game when Cata landed, so she has zero Cataclysm achievements. Oh my.

Fleetfoot, my nelf warrior alt, in her transmog set. This is full Overlord’s plate plus a Gothic Shield. I am thinking she needs the Shield of Impenetrable Darkness plus the Tabard of the Shattered Sun. No idea what to do about the weapon. Is there an out of game previewing tool that does something like what MogIt does in-game?

It took me this long to get into transmogging for real. I was too burned out when this patch landed to care about anything that wasn’t killing raid bosses.

Leafie is rather tediously transmogged into full heroic T12 gear. She’s very purple. I chose that set not because I like purple, but because I like leather sets that are not Yet Another Giant Robe.

Fleetfoot, my nelf warrior alt, in her transmog set. This is full Overlord’s plate plus a Gothic Shield. I am thinking she needs the Shield of Impenetrable Darkness plus the Tabard of the Shattered Sun. No idea what to do about the weapon. Is there an out of game previewing tool that does something like what MogIt does in-game?

It took me this long to get into transmogging for real. I was too burned out when this patch landed to care about anything that wasn’t killing raid bosses.

Leafie is rather tediously transmogged into full heroic T12 gear. She’s very purple. I chose that set not because I like purple, but because I like leather sets that are not Yet Another Giant Robe.

A guild update

Storm of Medivh-US is 3/8 in Dragon Soul heroics. We went 7/8 normal modes the first week but didn’t quite eek out that Madness of Deathwing kill. We got it immediately the second week. The week after that we brought a fourth healer like everybody else does and got our first heroic kill easily. We then stayed at 1/8 heroics for a while. Then we finally got the big idea of trying Ultraxion; killed him the second night we worked on him. We had to class-stack to get heroic Yor’sahj. Next: Hagara.

From this you may deduce what everybody has: that normal modes were far too easy and the difficulty ramp-up for the heroic modes was huge. Blizzard is, I fear, trading on that difficulty to stretch out the content until Panda-Mode lands on us. It’ll be as Bilbo said, though, butter scraped over too much bread. We are already bored of Dragon Soul and at the same time frustrated by the difficulties.

The ramping ICC-style buff will be nice in that it’ll eventually let us clear the whole place and then… well, switch to guild survival mode until December and the likely arrival of pandas. We’ll have to go back & get Sinestra.

Two years between expansions but Blizzard doesn’t seem to be able to pace its mid-expansion content properly. Ah well.

The guild is doing well otherwise. We can’t seem to keep ranged DPS to save ourselves, though. Either they flake out and vanish or they suddenly acquire lives and can’t raid any more. We’ve gone through a succession of perfectly nice warlocks this way. Our most recent victim was a hunter who moved & lost reliable Internet. Melee dps? Awesome. We have a ret pally who could probably slot himself into any top 100 guild he felt like joining, if he felt like going hardcore. Fortunately for us he doesn’t. We have a solid tanking crew and I adore my fellow full-time healer so that part of raiding is happy.

The only fly in the ointment is content. In this I suppose we’re completely typical of guilds at this point in the expansion.

Our first Yor’sahj heroic kill, from February 16. Much cleaner than the Ultraxion kill, though it wasn’t perfect. Two important things we did for this kill: brought our DK tank & had our pally tank bring his raid-finder-geared arms warrior. The arms warrior did terrifying DPS even though his average ilvl was 16 points below everybody else (384-ish). It also helped that our shadow priest swapped to his elemental shaman for some emergency healing rains; this was a useful cushion during red/yellow/black phases.

It’s definitely a bring the class not the player fight for us right now.

Our first heroic Ultraxion kill, from Jan 25. Definitely one of those “stumbling over the finish line” wipes in progress kind of kills. Our second kill was much cleaner.

Oh hai there. I still seem to be GM of a 10-person raiding guild. More on this topic soon.

This.

On the video shown at the Blizzcon closing ceremonies. The final line of this essay is the keeper.