First, I've been unable to sit much in front of a computer for medical reasons. Second, I've been busy with the World Event stuff recently. Which is the first thing I'd like to discuss.
The World Event MenaceI've got a bunch of characters, as you may have guessed by now. Of which I "invest" in five of them. One for each healer class, and a death knight. That does not mean I try to get every one of those top-geared. Just that those five are the "mains" I switch between. My usual pattern is a few weeks on one "main", then I switch to another for a while. Since I've rolled my DK, I've done the daily random heroic each time with him, but I've spent a lot time on various healers too. I like tanking, but I also enjoy healing.
Anyway. When Cataclysm arrives, stuff will change... again. Equipment gained today is useless tomorrow. Doesn't matter if I've gotten a full tier 10, it will be replaced within a month anyway. Thus, that's only a temporary investment. Very handy and necessary to get the job done, but not something I hoard for the sake of it itself.
Crafting materials will also be reduced to dust-collectors, with a few exceptions. Some special items will still be worth making, such as the item that grants an extra gem socket on a belt. Some special items will be worth making for others that doesn't have them already, such as the tailoring flying carpets, the engineering turbo-charged flying machine, non-combat pets... but it's mostly useless.
Gold in itself will still be valuable. However, it will suffer some amount of inflation. 5k gold in one year is most likely the same as 1-2k gold is today. Still, it's worth selling stuff that's still valuable to get gold for later.
Profession skills are somewhat useful. The actual recipes/patterns/design will most likely be less used, but the skill points make it easier to get to top-level again. However, the first skill points for each new expansion is ridicilously easy to get anyway, so it's only a minor help. Some recipes will still be worth selling, though, especially for levelling up. The exception is Inscription, many of the low-level recipes there will be useful forever.
For achievementcollectors, very few of those go away, and so they're useful in themselves. I care very little for achivements for the sake the achivement itself. I do care some for "internal" achievements. That is, goals and challenges I overcome and feel I've achieved something myself, not because of another 10 points on the achievements page. Successfully beating a hard mode boss you've spent time mastering would be such an achivement.
Vanity items, such as clothes, fireworks and all that junk that's filling a bag in your bank is worth exactly as much next expansion as today.
But... one thing will be useful... Oh so useful. 310% flying mounts. Getting quest done faster, spend less time travelling. Makes looking for metal nodes or herbs easier too.
However, since I'm not in any serious raid force, there are only two ways to get a 310% mount. First, a random drop from certain raid bosses. Second, the "What a strange, long trip it's been" meta-achivement for doing most world event achivements.
Trying to get one of those rare mounts from various bosses are practically a waste of time. In the first place, it has a 0.2% chance of dropping 25-man mode only, and then you've got to win the following raid roll. Even if you raid the same boss every week, you've still only got a 10% chance of seeing the mount actually dropping, and then you haven't even started the raid roll!
My own conclusion is that I've got to do the World Event stuff on all characters that I want to someday get the mount. Sadly, when WotLK launched, I didn't know about the reward and couldn't care less for the achivements themselves, so I got started kinda late.
My shaman just got her Violet Proto-Drake. She was my main at the time I first started doing these achievements, May last year. I started doing it with my druid as well when the Fire Festival event started, meaning she lacks only two world event meta-achivements now, Noblegarden and Children's Week. I started doing stuff with my death knight on the Hallow's End event, so he'll be done with the Brewfest this year. Finally, I just started doing the meta-achivements with my priest and paladin. Since neither is level 80, they couldn't get the Love is in the Air meta-achievement (requires you to enter Naxxramas which requires level 80), so they'll be done around this time next year.
Doing the achievements with all my characters is a huge time-sink. Fortunately, I've combined most of them with reading manga (History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi, an awesome manga on mangafox.com) while travelling, making it much less annoying to get it done.
I feel sort of forced to do this. Since I know myself, I know that I'll be switching back and forth between my characters a lot later too, that's why I "need" to get it done with all of them. There is no time when I feel more addicted to this game than this during these events. Bah. I'd rather want to skip it, yet I still do it. How important is that 10% flying mount speed increase worth, really?
Current status for each of my characters:
Kirba (shaman)Done with the entire world event stuff. Yay!
To get the achivement Charming, I've joined a lot of heroic dungeons as dps. I find Elemental a lot less stressful now. I believe it's the same with almost any dps spec, you'll get used to the "rotation" (or priority system) if you practice enough.
Healing 5-mans is just trival for shamans. Not that it's hard for any class, but Earth Shield + Healing Stream Totem will cover practically all damage taken by both the party and the raid. For ease of convinience, I've glyphed Healing Stream Totem. 500 health to each party member every 3 sec? That's 2.5k every 3 sec, or 833 health per second.
I've also started to see how powerful Chain Heal can be. The problem, though, is that it requires a good knowledge about the positioning of the raid. Hit a hunter at max range, and you'll get no bumping at all. Melee are almost always safe bets. Tanks in particular. I often cast it on myself during raid damage, both to heal myself up but mostly because I always know who is within range of myself by looking around.
It seems to me that Chain heal has higher throughput than most other forms of raid healing. I guess Prayer of Healing can outpace it, but since it only targets one group, chain heal have a higher probability of hitting targets that's in need of actual healing. Good organization of the groups or knowledge of who does what (in effect, a stable raid group) also helps. Well, rogues, death knights and warriors are always in melee, but any other class can be almost anywhere.
I found that it was much faster doing quests to get Charming. I could - barely - solo a 5-man quest in Icecrown as Elemental. Much easier as Restoration, but a bloody lot slower. Questing in itself is awfully painless as a 'mental shammy, though. No downtime, not much running (the mobs run to you once you hit them), lots of cooldowns to blow if you're feeling threatened or just bored.
Ayeba (druid)Done with this world event. To get Charming done with her I spent two instances dps'ing. However, I found that kitties aren't generally the killing-blow scorers. Bears are actually better at it. Kitties might be better if you're working hard on timing, but if you're working towards optimal dps they don't get too many killing blows.
So, I spent a lot of time tanking with my druid to get all the charming stuff and then all the elders of the dungeons. You know what? AoE threat for a druid is rather low. Even spamming swipe until my fingers bleeded (macroed with Maul so I get single-target threat too), dps would regularly pull aggro on one of the AoE targets. To get aggro on all, I had to tab through the crowd to get in mauls everywhere as well. Good thing I'm fast on my taunt-finger. Granted, many dps were better equipped than me, but still...
Like Kirba, I ended up soloing and questing to get Charming done. Not only because it's faster, but also because there were some quests in Icecrown I'd like to do just for the lore. I easily soloed the questline with the Scarlet Onslaught, including the end-boss. I think it was even easier than on my death knight. The 4% of your maximum health heals (Improved Leader of the Pack) every 6 sec just rocks too much combined with low incoming damage (relatively) and the higher health pool of druid tanks.
Vigan (death knight)On the topic of the world event thing, Vigan is the one I've done the least with. Not because I'm not interested, but because I can do that while waiting in LFR or for battlegrounds, something I don't do too much with the other characters. Yay for 20% speed increase from talents. Just lacking Azjol-Nerub of the dungeon elders, gotten the rest through random daily heroics.
I'm still enjoying tanking as a death knight. Will respec to Blood soon to test it again with the changes to the talents in 3.3.5. Two pieces of Tier 10 should help on AoE threat as well, especially if I throw in a glyph as well.
Regarding PVP, I've gotten kinda dis-hearted. Great survivability, but not enough pressure. Without a healing debuff we got lots of trouble in arenas against any team with a healer. Rather than go get a tank class with a MS debuff (warrior), I've shifted more towards being a healer. Than someone else can bring that debuff. Or I can go with a caster team or something.
Zuna (priest)Lacking Kalimdor, Utgarde Keep and all the high-level dungeons. She's level 77, so she can enter almost all of them now. After those are done, I won't play her more for a bit. The other characters of mine interests me more.
I've found I'm in need of a lot more practice before I can master the shadow rotation. Particularly on trash; How many mobs should there be before I ought to use Mind Sear over single-target dpsing the mobs? There's also something about the shadow stuff... it's just not as cool (in my mind) as throwing lava and lightning around.
Mirlei (paladin)Done with the season except for the high level dungeon elders. However, she can't access them yet because she's only level 74, so I got to level a lot if I want to get it done this year with her.
Though I played her to get some healing done, I ended up with a tank and a dps spec. It's just much easier to get groups as a tank, and much less annoyance involved when I control the fights. So many bad tanks out there... Interestingly enough, I pull 1.5-2k dps on trash groups. Granted, that's AoE, but unmatched by almost any other dps at that level. I'm sorely beaten (as I should be) on single-target boss fights, though. The curious thing is that I don't have a single heirloom item, enchant or gem with her, while many of the other dps are way better equipped than me.
I could spec tank and healer, but I'm on a PVP server and want to level painlessly. I even got drafted in as dps in a group once recently. That was quite the intresting experience. I'm learning the retribution stuff, but it seems to me the most effective is to use Crusader Strike every 3rd GCD and weave the other abilities in-between those. Perhaps every 4th GCD with decent amount of haste to push the GCD down to 1 sec. Further, Seal of Command seems to be the trash-clearing seal while Seal of Corruption (since I'm horde) is the preference for boss fights. When tanking I just go Seal of Corruption all the time for the ton of extra expertise I gain from the glyph. Can't beat that.
I've had some fun using my abilities in a high-level dungeon (for me). I joined Drak'Thron Keep as dps at level 73. We got three groups at the same time, and our healer wasn't exactly top-notch. So I tossed Hand of Sacrifice on the tank, blew Divine Sacrifice and healed like crazy, judging to get up mana and stunning and silencing to reduce incoming damage. A bit earlier I had tanked the raptor boss after the tank died, successfully. If Divine Sacrifice and Hand of Sacrifice actually stacks when used at the same time, that's a crazy amount of damage reduction.
Posts I want to write
- Shamanic healing
- Challenge of non-heroic dungeons at the appropriate levels
- Dee Pee Ace