Pugging in Cataclysm

Tam and Shintar talked about it, maybe others, but I don’t have much time to read blogs these days sadly. It seems they had quite good experiences with pugs and LFD tool.

As of today, I got my hunter and my shaman to 85. I usually don’t pug with the hunter. When levelling and gearing the hunter, there was always a bunch of guildies to go with, maybe with one pugged dps, but more often, we had two groups running at the same time. The run was either careful with crowd controls, delicate pulls, or just a wotlk-like run once everyone was geared and the mobs weren’t too tricky. We usually finish our heroics in 35 minutes, even the longest ones.

I don’t pug with the hunter because I do heroic for either loot or badges. I can live without both of them and if I can’t find a guild group to do my daily, it’s not a problem for me. I don’t like unknown tanks with my hunter because I don’t know if the aggro will be ok or if I will be able to CC correctly without the big loaf in plate aoe-ing around like an idiot… And, as a dps, I find it more tiring, because you have to be active all the time, like the tank. I don’t feel like that when healing.

I levelled my shaman as elemental for questing, but did dungeons as a healer. I levelled nearly on my own because not many guildies had levelling toons, and only my boyfriend sometimes came with me to tank. I noticed people said it when they didn’t know the dungeon and generally, people take time to explain the strategies. But when I reached the level 84-85 dungeons, things became to get odd.

I noticed a lot of 85’s around, most of them quite geared, because they were literally mana sponges. When a mage and a tank feel like they have the same amount of HP to the healer, there is a problem. I have a theory. There is several reasons why 85’s are in normal dungeons. first, their ilvl isn’t high enough to get to heroics. This is easily solved, I didn’t need that much time to reach my 329 cap, with quest items, honored reps and a few drops.

Another reason is that they grind rep. I hate that because healing overgeared people compared to you is stressful. Spend half a mana bar to top off a rogue is disgusting really… I actually don’t top off anyone except myself and the tank, the rest is supposed to have food, or cooldowns.

The last reason is that nobody want them in their heroic… This is my own opinion. People are pretty touchy around the vote-kick feature in heroics. It’s very understandable : heroics are fun and well balanced, but an idiot not knowing anything about crowd controls or doing two miserable thousands dps is one fucking dead weight. In normal, it’s alright, the healer will just have to drink after every single pull but who cares… In heroics, people wipe and get pissed, and kick.

I remember my first Vortex Pinnacle with the shaman. My BF was tanking with his DK. He sets up marks, and ask the hunter to trap the blue square, while I would control another elemental. We asked him to pull. We waited. Waited. Waited. And then we got bored and pulled, only cc-ing one mob, while healing through. We had to wait for him at every pack, his dps was abysmal, he was always afk. I don’t know why we didn’t vote kick him. He was clearly leeching xp on our back. It served us as a lesson.

I also ran a normal Grim Batol with all puggies, they were nice, didn’t know the fight, didn’t play exactly well, but we got through it without too much wipes (and spent 2 hours there…). They broke controls, they didn’t switch targets on adds (you know, the elemental Drahga summons ? Yeah that one… Healed through… Or not…), stayed in aoe in general, but they were nice and chatty, and willing to learn. It felt like babysitting a little but I liked it. They were very happy to kill the last boss and thanked me a lot about guiding them through pulls, assist order and bosses. It wasn’t very productive (I don’t remember if I got any loot or whatever), seeing the time I spent there, but I had great time.

About the spirit gear debate, I don’t have any special opinion. For me, LFD is the jungle. If I need something, for main spec, I need, for offspec, I will generally check if a caster needed it too and leave it because I’m a carebear. I understand some people trying to get inappropriate gear (like mages and warlocks with spirit) just to pass the 329 ilvl threshold. I won’t approve it if you roll against a real Spirit user, and would probably vote-kick you. There is plenty of ways to pass that threshold without ninjaing.

I tried a few LFD heroics, but so far, I didn’t stay. Maybe it’s my battlegroup, but heroic pugs seem pretty shitty. In the guild, we never go LFD if out numbered, 3 Quichons is the minimum, preferably with a guild tank. It looks like most people in LFD think Cata heroics are facerollable. We are pretty quick at kicking a pugee : when you are a dps breaking cc and barely doing 5k dps when everyone is at 8k, including our rerolls, or a healer not able to hold our geared tanks under cooldowns during a pull with at least 2 CC, you’re out.

I’m getting used to healing in Cataclysm. It’s fun. I’m not panicking when everyone is low HP, because it’s not actually as low as we might think : health pools are quite high now and if your frame is showing 10% hp, it’s still around 10k hp left. I’m having a lot of fun with the shaman new tools. I used to quick healing wave everyone at the end of WotLK, but in Cataclysm, I needed to adapt and I’m enjoying it so far.

I really like the synergy between the new shaman spell (unleash elements) and the other spells. I’m now quite well geared, well enough to relax in heroics. I find healing very relaxing now, you have some time to think it over a bit : which spell, who to heal, in which order, will they take more damage soon ? I would never heal dps between packs of trash, they will either regen automatically (out of combat regen is very high) or they should have food. And anyway, they don’t need to be full life. They won’t be killed. I would top off before bosses when I have time to drink.

I noticed though that melee dpsers tend to die a lot in my dungeons. The thing is that I don’t know why they take so much damages. Are they staying in shit or is it a fight mechanic I can’t see ? At the beginning of the run, I would check if the melee player takes a lot of damage, if this damage isn’t too tedious to heal (big health pool = mana sponge) and where he is on the damage meter. You have to put pretty high numbers here to climb my healing priority ladder. If you enter the category « useless mana sponge », your repair bill will be high, because I will only save your butt when I have extra mana and time, which never happens except when someone goes afk, or when I need to keep you alive if I don’t want to lose more time and mana rezzing you.

I also don’t heal dpsers staying in fire. When you have something bad under your feet, you will get the heal you would need if you run out of it immediately. If you screw up, you die. It’s not that I’m angry at you, even if I am actually because you drive my attention to you when I need to watch out for the rest of the team. It’s because if I try to save your butt, I’ll need heavy healing spells, costing an arm and a leg in mana, I might lost my tank or someone else and might not have enough mana to finish the fight. Letting you die means the fight will be longer, but I should have enough mana.

There is no more debate between the officers in my guild about « should I change main toon between my hunter and my shaman ? ». At first, we needed me in raid, on the hunter or the shaman, whatever, and the shaman wasn’t ready : so we decided i would focus on my hunter, what I did. So I geared the hunter at best, I bought a Darkmoon Fair Card, it cost me half of my savings, I put rare gems and enchants, got exalted to both reps giving me epics, I did a lot of heroics to get every Justice points item that was an upgrade. Then, we recruited a healer. And now, I got quite a few loots this week in raids : I have an up-to-date ranged weapon and TWO trinkets, something that never happened to me before so close after the release of new content…

So, changing mains isn’t an option any more. We need my dps (which is insane… seriously, SV hunters will be nerfed), all that gear I got mustn’t go to waste. I feel odd, because I love raiding as a hunter, but I’m currently dying out of curiosity to see what it’s like to heal in raid now. I didn’t changed many things as a hunter, I watch my health as much as before, I do as much dps as possible while helping to control/dispell/whatever. Nothing new except the new fights. Healing changed a lot. And I’d love to see it.

My very own guide to BRD

I used to get lost in Blackrock Depths. A lot. These days, I’m levelling my two shamans and both of them got dragged randomly around that instance without anyone knowing what to do.

This place is huge. Even the entrance to the dungeon is hard to find. As someone subject to vertigo, I would never have had the idea to walk on these huge chains to get to the centre of the crater, I needed someone to show me. I remember very well the first time I’d been there. A guildie, a tanking paladin, asked me while I was questing in Burning Steppes if I wanted a boost through BRD. I didn’t know BRD, I nearly even didn’t know what a boost was. For me, it was a nice guildie bringing me along to her daily clean of the dungeon.

She knew every corner of it. I just followed. It was a blur.

Now, this player has stopped playing. She deleted her toons. She was an awesome tanking paladin and healing priest. I missed her.

Each time I enter BRD, I remember that player.

And got angry. Because people don’t seem to know were they’re going, they just kill things and that’s all. So last week-end, I decided to find stuff on the web about the dungeon. A map, a guide, anything.

If you want some infos, you can go there : http://www.wowwiki.com/Blackrock_Depths or there http://www.wow-pro.com/node/591 Jame’s guide being quite interesting for the explanations of the quests.

And this picture is my very own guide to BRD.

My guide to BRD

My guide to BRD

I printed the wow-wiki flowchart and made annotations.

Yeah, the writing is mostly in French, and yes this is my writing… That’s the reason why I never write for others. I use emails or type it and print it, because no one can read what I write, sometimes not even me… Sometimes, I even write very fast and stylised on purpose, so no one else can read.

With this, I asked if some SANners (from Single Abstract Noun) who have toons around 55 would be interested in testing my guide and do a full clean of BRD. Yesterday night, we got a nice little group : Tamarind tanking, Chastity healing, Issy, Catena and me melting faces.

It was a great night. We began with running around the detention block and killing the pug boss here. I then decided to die heroically to get my quest for the Shadowforge key from the ghost npc outside of the instance.

After that heroic move, the group called the vendetta on the dwarves, I got rezzed and we went on slaughtering dwarves, not noticing Catena was afk and laying behind… Of course, she got eaten by a patrol and we mourned her. Tam flagellated himself for letting someone under his protection die, especially such an awesome troll lady (troll ladies are the sexiest ladies ever, we all agreed…). After this incident, we stuck together.

Once in Shadowforge city, we felt like visiting the bank, and like Dany Ocean and his Angels, we emptied the vaults.

Tamocean's 5s...

Tamocean's 5s...

The run went on. Tam and I got our key to the private sections.

Dark Hallway

Dark Hallway

A secret corridor

A secret corridor

The Manufactory (I think...)

The Manufactory (I think...)

We finished the run, killed the Emperor (and the Princess, less dwarves is always better anyway…) and took his throne. We declared Tamarind emperor and he got a full council of sexy Horde ladies.

Tam and his harem...

Tam and his harem...

We are of course going to rule over Azeroth as nothing can resist so much awesomeness…

You can find all the draft pictures on my galery : http://picasaweb.google.fr/nefernet.krasus/SAN

It was a great run a we had some very fun times. We got shiny loot, like this picture can show you :

My Caesar's helmet and Tam's soldier's one

My Caesar's helmet and Tam's soldier's one

My hat was definitely more authoritative than Tam’s : much have been the brush, matching my hair…

Someone also said that I could have clean the floor if I’d been walking on my arms…

And Tam did NOT fall into the lava. So you know…

MOAR levelling…

/hit LFD

*Wait*

*Enters Sunken Temple*

Again !!! WTF !

So well. I’m levelling. My baby shaman is 58 at last, those 40’ies have been a pain, 50+ were much quicker but the dungeons available are not very exciting. Sunken Temple – BRD – BRD – Sunken Temple and ooooh look ! Moar Sunken Temple… BRD is fun except that people only kill the Inquisitor in the Prison and quit…

I did the shaman questline. You know the one sending you in the middle of nowhere in Eastern Kingdom when you are at last gone questing in Kalimdor after all those cats/trolls/goblins killing in Stranglethorn Vale…

I like questing in Feralas. Yeah, I know… I mean, there isn’t anywhere in Kalimdor farther than Feathermoon Stronghold, except Silithus. The nearest boat is 10 minutes of griffon away, when Alliance, you have to cross enemy territory to go there, using one of the two only paths leading there. The boat to the island is so slow to go *around* the island that it’s quicker to swim across the sea… But I like the scenery. And Sprite Darters… I was so disappointed not to be able to do this quest with my troll…

Whatever. When, after spending 10 minutes flying, getting your class quest at the Exodar, and realize that you have to cross 2 continents and the whole sea to find an old troll. It’s not fun to mechanically hit Astral Recall to Feathermoon Stronghold… That’s why you go on with your questing in Kalimdor, finishing Felwood and realising that you still have *that* quest in your log. Ok, let’s do it.

You fly to Theramore, take the boat, take another griffon and land in Southshore, ride to the old troll not far from the Badlands,  not forgetting to snatch the elements needed for the quest from the auction house with another toon. You turn in the quest, get the follow-up asking you to kill bears and spiders in the Badland. Alright let’s go ! Don’t forget to take the flypath in Badlands. Come back and give in the quest, take the follow-up : gather feathers from those six troll bosses in Atal’Hakkar Temple…

Right. Hopefully, this is a post-3.3.3 pug horror story and it’s softer than it used to be before LFD tool, when you had to ride all across the realms to get in that remote temple surrounded by orcs, crocodiles and dragonkins. So now, you basically choose Sunken Temple from LFD and hit it. And wait. Wait. Wait. Come on people ! Sunken Temple is fun ! Even if you’ve been doing it at least 8 times a day if using random LFD with excess.  Even if, every time you go there, the tank has no clue where to go and keep running into packs at random, taking two extras when the healer is low mana. Moar fun ! Even if for some reason your group/tank didn’t want to clean all the trashmobs down there, you know, those nightmare dragonkins. And it’s no use to warn them. They will just get everyone wiped out saying « WTF !1!!! » at the end boss fight when every single mob we let alive come to their master’s call together for a yanking party. *Told you so… read chat…*

So ok, so after 1 hour (no kidding) of waiting, you’re in ! Sunken Temple ! Great ! Let’s do this. Kill bosses an loot feathers. One, two, three, four, five, … Wait what ? Did I forget to loot one of the feathers ? Noooooo. Ok let’s finish this nightmare ! Kill last 2 bosses. Thanks everyone. Queue again. Wait another hour. Kill trolls and green dragons, loot the missing feather. Ok done !!!

And of course during those hours waiting, you were not having a nice chat with the old troll ’cause you know, he’s an NPC and don’t have much conversation. Quiet type of guy you know… So you went on questing. And now you are there, with your feathers, miles away from your favourite troll (yeah this kind of adventure sort of create bonds…). So, after hours of efforts, you will, one day, go back to him. He will give you a nice trinket that would have been great 5 levels earlier, but seeing that you are now 58, you will head up to Outland and you were just flying around good old Kalimdor turning-out old quests and saying goodbye…

So, yes, Meesha is heading to Outland, and its freshly arrived DK tanks, its easily followable questlines, and it’s monochromatic lanscapes…

Levelling…

Hey ! I’m still here !

Since I’ve been forced to retire from hardcore raiding, I’m levelling. My baby Ally shaman is 30+ and my SAN shaman is 50+. And that means : LFD tool = Scarlet Monastery or BRD… While SM is quite easy, BRD can be really a maze. If you know of any good guide, I’d be very pleased to see it. Or could try to write it myself…

It’s very relaxing to level. No schedule, no stress. Heirlooms make healing lowbie dungeons much easier, my poor troll on Argent Dawn is quite neglected. I’ll try to do some raids for badges and get some heirlooms to transfer from Elune. I’m not playing my 80’s so much. The hunter is retired until my group of friend go to Arthas HM and I’m raiding with my tree once or twice a week. It’s fun to heal ! I’m really wondering if I will not change main with Cataclysm. I just love my hunter too much for my own good maybe…

I also think I’ll level my DK. As a tank. Guildies are rerolling a lot and having a pocket tank for dungeons is great. I see many advantages to that :

- No queue in LFD.

- Running beside someone who’s main is a DK tank is good to get advices.

- Running with my crazy guildies makes sure my reflexes will be good. They are crazy… True story. I think that after levelling beside our crazy SPriest on his hunter, no horror pug story will keep me awake in the dark…

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