Alt-a-palooza

July 30, 2009 at 10:08 am (Navel-Gazing, Running Guilds Into the Ground, WoW General)

So, building the new raiding guild is a slow, steady process.  We’re just about to the point where, if everybody shows up, we may have to shuffle people around a bit (i.e. I may need to hop on my tank alt, another DPSer on a healing alt, etc.), but we can actually put together a 10-man.  That “if everybody shows up” is the key, though, as we’re not a hardcore guild, so we’re probably going to need to overrecruit a bit.  While we did down our first raid boss the other night, it was three of us screwing around in UBRS and then taking out Onyxia, so I don’t think it really counts.

Meanwhile, I’ve been giving a chance to some under-loved alts, namely my hunter and rogue.  My warrior and shaman have been kicking around at level 24 or so for what seems like forever, but even that was good compared to my hunter and rogue, which (until the last day or two) never cracked the big two-zero.  Why these four classes are stuck where they are, and why a surprising class may be the one of the four to jump ahead, is a question I’m not sure I know the answer to.

Shamans, my problem, I think, is the same one that bedeviled me as a mage until I cracked it – I’m not sure I’m specced to the playstyle I prefer.  With my mage, I was going a cookie-cutter fire/arcane hybrid I’d heard on a forum was good for leveling.  I had heard wrong.  Once I specced Frost, though, I completely fell in love with the mage.  It’s a little RNG (will I freeze the mob?), but the feeling of control it gives me over the mob is a lot of fun.  I had heard enhancement for leveling was the way to go, but I’m just not feeling it.  I feel like my work is in tossing down the totems before pulling, and occasionally throwing a shock in.  Otherwise, it’s auto-attack.  Not very exciting.  I may have to regear her and go elemental (I’d go resto, but boring the mobs to death doesn’t sound like that much fun).

Warriors, my problem comes down to a problem very similar to what killed Lord of the Rings Online for me – I despise “on next swing” combat mechanics.  I prefer more responsiveness, or I find combat frustrating, like trying to run through waist-deep water.  Also, I probably should have given my warrior another fantasy-type RP-appropriate name (like all my other  toons) instead of indulging in a little tribute to one of my favorite kickass blonde female warriors of fiction.  Particularly since “Buffy” was already taken as a name, and deliberately misspelled versions of names just don’t have the same cachet.

Nevertheless, I still got both classes over the Level 20 hump.  The two classes I would have happily called my least favorite classes in the game were not so fortunate until the last week or so, and I’ve found that, having done so, I enjoy both of them more than my shaman and warrior.

Hunters bored me.  Send pet.  Hunter mark.  Toss in a serpent sting and an arcane shot, and then autoattack until death.  Incredibly powerful soloers, but absolutely no elegance.  Until level 20.  For starters, I dropped that silly beast mastery thing and went marksmanship.  Here’s a case of making it harder for myself making the game more interesting – I can now pull aggro off my pet accidentally.  Keeps me on my toes.  Second, I got two more pets, so now there’s some strategy in terms of when to pull a given pet out (I have a cat, a bear, and a spider).   But finally, my abilities seem to have hit a critical mass – Disengage with concussive shot is just fun when a mob closes the gap on me, and Freezing Trap is tons of fun, though I wish it lasted longer.  My number of aspects jumped from two (which I didn’t generally switch between) to four (which I’m constantly juggling, based on whether I’m in combat or traveling, or whether I’m flush on mana or out).  So, the class got considerably more complicated, and I find I’m really enjoying it (though I can see how it doesn’t need to become more complicated if you don’t want it to, and thus why the legend of the Huntard who leveled from 1 to level cap without using anything other than “send pet” and “autoshot” was born).

Finally, the rogue, bane of all things warlock-y.  Not that I PvP, but it’s sort of an ancestral memory thing – all the warlocks before you that have died at the hands of rogues, well, it leaves a mark.   What always puzzled me was how anybody managed to level a rogue in the first place.  It seemed like the worst aspects of mail-wearing classes (charge right in and start beating on the enemy!) with the worst aspects of casters (we’ll give you tissue paper for armor!).   Stealth seemed to break if you looked at a mob cross-eyed.  Everybody always said “level combat swords!”, but the only way I could stay alive, or (at best) not trade half my health to kill a single same-level mob (two would kill me, most assuredly) was to stealth and backstab, or gouge and backstab.  Which required daggers.

Well.

Yesterday, my rogue joined a Deadmines group (first half – utter failpug featuring a tankadin who didn’t think he needed a shield (he did) or Righteous Fury (he did – I ended up tanking more mobs than he did), second half was fine once the idiot had to go and we replaced him with a competent warrior).  I entered Deadmines at level 19, and was 21 by the time I finished turning in all the quests related to the instance.  I got the Blackened Defias chest, and two nice swords (one blue, one green).  Then I went and got poisons (I didn’t need to do the quest, but I did, and it was much fun).  And I don’t know whether it’s the gear, the poisons, the new abilities (though I’m not really using new abilities much), or what, but for some reason, suddenly my rogue feels powerful.  I lose a little health when I fight, but not enough that it can’t regenerate by the time I pull the next mob.

So, now, I have four toons (on my main server) more or less tied for last place, progression wise (I go through phases – before my hunter-rogue fixation, I was All Mage All The Time).  One of them is inevitably going to be my next Power-Level-My-Way-Through-The-Next-Ten-Levels-Until-Something-Shinier-Catches-My-Eye toon.  And right now, I’m thinking that toon is going to be on the sneaky and stabby side of things.

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13 Comments

  1. Maldorel said,

    Thus my current fixation with my rogue…It assaults me somewhere deep in the back of my head, but seeing 700-800 crits at level 50 (which i never remembered alot of before with other classes) makes me smile. Oh and i love ganking someone in pvp rather that being the one ganked finally.

    • Kahleena said,

      Yes, Mal, because your ret pally was so terribly underpowered in PvP. 🙂

  2. Shayzani said,

    Until 3.2 don’t bother with totems while leveling as Enhance. Its just not worth doing 9 times out of 10.

    • Kahleena said,

      So, doesn’t that mean either (a) using the lightening bolt to pull, shocks when they’re up, then autoattacking (in which case, wouldn’t I be better as elemental?), or (b) just autoattacking (in which case, wouldn’t I be better off reading a book?) Clearly I need to research shamans more – I assume enhance gets better abilites at some point.

      • Shayzani said,

        I absolutely struggled leveling as Enhance for a long time. It was just plain rough. Once they made water shield available earlier it became significantly easier and then after being able to pick up Shamanistic Rage it was amazing.

        Maelstrom weapon is what makes the spec though. Even one point in it kinda blows your mind. Getting ghost wolves means you’ve finally gotten to a point where you’re immortal.

        Enhance gets really really fun but it may be a bit of an uphill climb for a while.

  3. pewpewlazerz said,

    The problem with enhancement is that pretty much all of the core mechanics of the spec are based around stormstrike and dual wield. And you get dual wield at lvl 40.

    Doh!

    In other words, not really a levelling spec until you’re halfway through levelling. Your alternative is elemental, but you can count the number of elemental loot drops on the fingers of one head until you get to lvl 58 and into Outland. So you’re pretty much stuck with enhancement and watching that autoattack swing timer for the next 20 levels.

  4. Tamarind said,

    I feel pretty much the same about the classes as you do to be honest (your turn with the group brain, I guess).

    My shaman has foundered because that moment of power never seems to come. Everything you get seems to improve something you haven’t got yet, it’s really really badly designed. And having to stand on your totems all the time is a right pain, it just makes playing the game feel static instead of fluid.

    I’ve never really been into hunters either but I’m totally converted since founding the DGC – they do seem like they’re very very powerful solo-characters but actually the appeal for me is my ever-increasing collection of weirdly named pigs.

    As for mage leveling, I know it’s stupid and frost is absolutely the way to go – but I am crazy about a great balls o’fire.

    I’ve done a little bit of rogue-ing but it’s actually quite a subtle and complex art, and I’m rubbish at it 🙂

    Glad to hear things with Latinus Erroneous are going well!

    • Kahleena said,

      Bingo. I think every class (and most specs) have that moment (perhaps based on a talent, or a spell) where it all comes together, and suddenly you’re powerful. For my rogue, it was level 20ish. I don’t remember exactly what the talent tree looked like back when I was leveling my affliction lock, but for her, that moment came when she could first drain-tank a mob (so, I think, 3-4 points in what was then a five-point Fel Concentration talent). For my paladin, it was patch 3.0. 🙂

    • Kahleena said,

      And also, you point out something important, I think – everybody (now) says “level Frost!”, but what matters is that you’re specced to the playstyle (and aesthetic, which wannabe-hardcore players tend to discount, but which is important to some, including me) that you prefer. Otherwise, leveling an alt feels like a slog. So enhancement may be “the leveling spec”, as Frost is, but just as Frost Magery isn’t your cup of tea, Enhancement Shamanism does not appear to be mine. Plenty of people think Demonology is the best leveling spec for a warlock. Those people are wrong, of course :-). But even if it were, I don’t like the playstyle. And 80 levels is a looooooong trip if you’re not enjoying playing the character.

  5. Temitope said,

    Ah the Shaman.

    I have an amazingly cute Girl-Orc called Grokina (it’s the feminine form of Grok, obviously) who is languishing in the mid-thirties for all the reasons you specify.

    I actually deliberately levelled Enhancement because I like the idea of this berzerk little orc hacking at things with two axes, but damn it if the reliance on auto-attack for the first *forty levels* isn’t infuriating.

  6. pewpewlazerz said,

    There’s definitely a moment for each class where it stops being a grind and the whole levelling process suddenly becomes.. not just easier… but more like the way you expected it be. Levelling solo as a priest is incredibly frustrating until you get spirit tap and mind flay at level 20. I found my warlock all but unplayable until he got his Voidy. Rogues are a nightmare until you get stealth and poisons and a cakewalk once you get Mutilate. Druids are awful, just AWFUL until they reach level 10 and get Bear form. Then they’re tolerable until they reach level 20 and get Rawr Kitty form. Mages are a bit odd. You can go Frost all the way but it doesn’t really come into its own as a spec until around 40 when you finally have enough talent points to get all the good stuff. There’s a LOT of bloat in the Frost tree. A lot of people just throw fireballs at stuff and hope it dies before it reaches them, which is a perfectly valid way of levelling if you don’t mind sitting down for 30 seconds to drink every minute.

    Enhancement shammies definitely have longer to go before they hit that satisfaction spot, though. Poor buggers. You pretty much have to just hit autoattack and pray for windfury procs and level 40 to arrive faster. luckily, these days it does.

  7. TotC: the disco « Righteous Orbs said,

    […] posts from the Feldeeds archive: on Enchanting (and why it sucks), on PVP, on sexism, on boosting, on alting. And finally because it cannot be overlinked, the infamous ‘Seperated at Birth’ series […]

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