Archive for the “Bearwall” Category
A post about perspective.
Or, to quote one of my favorite movies, “Spaced Invaders”, “Maybe you’d better step back and look at the big picture here.”
I’ve been playing for a while, and I believe most of you have been also. “A while” is subjective, but I’m using the term to mean “You’ve played long enough to get comfortable with how the game works, how your characters(s) are controlled, and you’ve got at least one character to the end game and have been sitting at end game since before patch 4.0.1.”
That’s a whole lot of meaning to dump on one poor, innocent little word, isn’t it?
Patch 4.0.1 came along and shook a lot of things up, but it’s starting to settle down a bit. We’ve all had a chance to play what we consider our “mains”, get Glyphed and specced and regemmed and move our stats around a bit if we’re into that sort of stuff.
I’ve seen some comments out there since the Patch came out, and it seems that responses are a bit mixed. As one example, Dechion, a long time devotee of the Hunter class, is so unhappy with the overall changes that he just can’t bring himself to play his Hunters anymore. He’s moved on to other classes.
The post I’m writing now is inspired by two things; Dechion’s post and his reasons for not liking the changes to Hunters, and my own personal experiences since Patch 4.0.1 went live.
You see, contrary to Dechion, I’ve had nothing but positive experiences in actually playing since 4.0.1 went great gonzo on the servers.
I’m obviously not talking about bugs or crashes or instability or the world server crashing because OOB got the Kael’thas Realm First 25 man Heroic ICC Lich King kill last night (grats, guys!).
I’m talking about having fun playing a class.
There is a reason for that, and it has to do with my forward planning. When Blizzard announced the intent of their changes in Cataclysm, and the scope of what they were going to do in revamping Talent Trees and abilities, I stopped making new alts… of classes I do not already know.
It’s been hard. I get tired of end game, and love making new alts. I love the travel, the exploring, the following of new paths, the road not taken the last time, choice ‘C’ in the Make Your Own Adventure book story, the trying on new pets or new specs, doing stuff that’s unfamiliar.
But I did it. I put my Warrior on a shelf, I didn’t make another Warlock, I canceled other alts, and really the only altage I was doing was a Death Knight on another server, and that was mostly so I had a gold maker should Cassie and I start playing somewhere with more character slots… she’s plumb run out.
With 4.0.1, I’ve played my maxed characters a bit, Druid, Hunter, Shaman, Paladin and Rogue. Playing those characters gave me one perspective on the changes. Settling in, getting used to how they feel, trying to work out the changes and develop a new flow.
Then I respecced my leveling Mage, dusted off my 43 Warrior, I started playing my level 73 Shadow Priest again for the first time in, literally, over a year (haven’t played her since hitting 73 a month after Wrath was released, just made her my Jewelcrafter bot), And even made a Warlock for just 4 levels, to kinda feel the class out. I played my leveling Death Knight a teeny tiny bit, since I was loving Blood before and Blood for DPS feels dead as a doornail.
Playing the characters I’m more unfamiliar with gave me a much different perspective.
You see, the characters I was really familiar with obviously feel like strangers now. Enough of the core rules have changed, but enough of the intent has stayed the same, that it’s not just that there was change. It’s that some things look like how they used to, spell names and Talents, and it leads me to expect them to work a certain way from past experience, but things are changed enough that once I get into a flow using abilities can feel jarring, unnatural.
But the characters I don’t have any pre-conceptions about come off as feeling fresh, smooth, and extremely well-designed. It’s the well-designed and well thought out aspects that make me look more closely at the classes I know.
I respecced my Warrior as Fury for now, after playing the new changes as Prot for a bit, because I wanted to see if it was just me. Leveling as a Protection Warrior with the new changes felt like being an evil little killing machine… so how much more powerful could an actual DPS spec feel?
Well, pretty crazy, actually. The new Fury is just nutso. I had two Heirloom swords, so I went dual-spec Fury, and it’s just zero down time. Stuff dies so fast I wish there was a Glyph that refreshed the cooldown of Charge when you kill a mob that grants honor or XP, like Death Grip does. ‘Cause I’m ALWAYS waiting on the Charge cooldown.
What about the changes to Frost Mages?
Well, I never use the Water Elemental because I’ve got my own pet tank (sorry, Cassie), but I love that you DO get it as a base ability of the class/spec at level 10, and while I miss a lot of the focus of the original Frost Talent Tree in being able to concentrate on pinning down monsters and raining a Blizzard on their heads, the new method of play with Fingers of Frost and Brain Freeze, and the instant Ice Lance and all of our other goodies is just hilariously awesome. As my crit increases I feel like I’m riding a wave of juggling procs that’s actually fun to manage based on the situations. It’s never really about following a set chain of triggers, it’s about knowing what to use at the moment out of what you’ve got available. Decisions and judgment, gotta love ‘em.
The Death Knight I switched to Frost and had a lot of fun on for a couple nights, picking out one-handers and dual wielding and messing about before the lure of the Mage called to me.
The Priest… ah, the Priest. I tried, I really did. It was fun, and I did blow through another level, but here’s the funny thing; the playstyle of Shadow actually doesn’t feel like it’s changed much at all, and so I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as the others. The whole “Pop some DoTs and Mind Flay to slow” thing was still in effect. Oh sure, stuff died so damn fast that it felt like I was casting too many DoTs and I pared it down… but it still felt too automatic. Not enough room to mess about with other things. Probably just me, but the class certainly wasn’t lacking in any power, just variety. But back when I was originally Shadow in BC, I loved the playstyle… so again, it’s not that the class is lacking, it’s probably my own perception of what I like now compared to then, and Shadow is still very good… so good they didn’t have to change it that much.
I did make a Paladin alt just to see about the differenec when you hit 10 as Ret, and I’ve watched Cassie as her Druid changed and got Mangle as one of her given moves while leveling. Both clearly rock the casbah.
It really does seem to me that the class changes, all of the class changes from level 10 on, have been extremely successful. They were all well thought out, from a “starting fresh with a new perspective” point of view.
Every new class that I play, or every new spec of a class that I play feels tight, smooth, fun and exciting.
The only real dissapointments I have are when I play classes or specs that I already knew very, very well, right?
So, I gotta ask, is it the design on a few of them, or is it just me? Because it sure seems as though it’s probably just me.
If I’d never played a Feral Druid before, would I be rocking the changes better than ever? I’m still loving it now, I soloed an instance just the other night to manage multi-mob threat, and it was lots and lots of fun.
With the AoE cooldown timers, it’s the return of multi-mob threat distribution, but I preferred that style over Swipe spam by a light year anyway. Only reason I and so many others started spamming Swipe was because DPS stopped giving us a second to grab all the mobs. These days I follow the apparent intent of Blizzard; mark some targets, dish your threat, use Swipe to stay above Healer threat, and if a DPS grabs from me on an unmarked mob before the marked ones are all dead, let his dumb ass die as a learning experience.
Oh, and my Druid is back on the Alliance side. I’m a Night Elf again. It’s only temporary, though, until Worgen get opened up for race changes. Just an FYI. Now I have a max level tanking character on both factions, which was my original intent.
It’s just funny. I don’t dislike any of my max level characters, I actually LIKE my Hunter’s changes quite a bit, the trap launcher and multiple trap types up at once and expanded stables and new pets… much like Mania, I can see Hunters have a BLAST in Cataclysm. I dislike feeling like Arcane Shot spam for Beastmasters is a viable technique, but I’m sure that’ll get nerfed.
But while I don’t dislike my max level characters, the changes to the characters I’m unfamiliar with, now that I’ve learned those abilities and integrated them into a playstyle just as if they were brand new characters all feel fresh, vital, and above all exciting.
The whole thing REALLY makes me look forward to making a brand new Troll Feral Druid when the expansion comes. Leveling from level 1 as a tank from the very beginning seems incredibly exciting. Having that chance to flush all of my preconceived ideas and experiences, to start over with a clean slate and work out what to do and how to do it, wow. I’m excited.
Plus, I get to be a Gummibear. How cool is that? Yes, yes, I know, I’m in the minority on the colors, it’s okay. I’m freaking wierd, it’s understandable that I’m a rare bird when it comes to liking rainbow bears.
But that’s going to be the big challenge for me in Cataclysm. To look at the old and familiar with new eyes.
I fully intend to level as a Troll Bear Tank for Cassie. I intend to make a second Hunter and level as BM, collecting new and exciting pets along the way. I intend to finally make that Warlock that never was, as a new Goblin. And I’d like to try a new Tauren Paladin from the ground up.
Mostly classes that I’ve played before, classes that I KNEW very well indeed. I know it’s going to be a challenge. Can I really set aside the years of “this is how it works” and see the classes for the way they really are now, and LIKE them on their own terms?
I think so. I think I can do it now at max level, but how much easier will it be when the characters are new and the world is changed and alive?
How about you? How have your experiences been going in the new Patch? Have you experienced any of this kind of dichotomy between the new and the familiar? Are you looking forward to the new expansion like I seem to be?
Or have the changes to your familiar characters clicked with you even better than the old way did, and far fro feeling wierd, they now feel ‘just right’?
Oh, and as far as my Warrior goes… he’s a Blacksmith. I managed to achieve one of my goals, and maxed out Blacksmithing as high as i can get, and am running around wearing personally crafted ‘Imperial Plate Armor.” Is it just me, or wouldn’t it be cool if we could choose what color to make the accents of the armors and weapons we made? ot the bse steel greys or blacks, but the accent colors. I find it cool that my badass Orc is tooling around desecrating the Imperial Plate armor, but I sure wish I could have made the accents and helmet plume colors Horde Red instead of Alliance Blue.
Have a great weekend folks.
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I have a few announcements for you, my friends.
First, I want to thank all of you who have read my writing here on the blog, whether it be just once or for months and even years. I may not have been the most consistent writer in terms of topic or mood, but I have always tried to be honest with myself and with you. Even in the most grumpy of my posts, I’ve always tried to be entertaining. Failing that, I’ve gone for distracting. Failing even that much, I’ll settle for irritating.
I’d especially like to thank everyone who has ever commented on the blog, or who has taken the time to email me with questions, or just to say hi. You may not understand how it feels unless you’re a blogger, but when someone takes the time to go out of their way to say “hi !”to you, it really does lift up your spirits and help you feel connected to the people on the other side of your writing. Talking into a vacuum becomes akin to talking to yourself… and I’m crazy enough already, thank you very much.
Verily, if your commenting here has helped me maintain what passes for stability, you’ve performed a valuable public service. Thank you.
Second, I want to let you know that the Big Bear Butt blog, written by me, the BBB, will continue. It’ll be right here. I ain’t going anywhere. I like you folks, and I love writing. I’ll keep writing posts, and they’ll go up here. Sometimes, if I pester her enough, Cassie will hopefully post as well. I don’t foresee there being many changes in the tempo, OR the length of my bearwalls. Just so you know.
Third… what KIND of posts I will write ARE changing. This is my big announcement.
If you come here to read the randomness that goes up, well and good, nothing will be really changing for you.
Storytime, trucking stuff, WoW stuff and life in general, RPG stuff, my Converging Forces story, whatever happens to be my enthusiasm that particular day, basically exactly what I’ve been doing here for the last year. That’s going to continue.
Here’s the deal. If you only have me in your feedreader because every once in a blue moon I put up something about World of Warcraft Druid Bear Tanking, if that is all you are interested in, if you’ve been getting tired of all these “offtopic” posts… now is the perfect time to take me off your feedreader.
Keeping me on your feedreader is just like trying to teach a bear to rappel down a mountain without tempting him with bacon first. All it does is irritate you, and if you get angry and demonstrative, piss off the bear. Nobody wins.
So if that’s what you’re here for, theorycrafting posts and the latest news about WoW Feral Druid Tanks, it’s been a wonderful run, but it’s time we said our farewells, and our courses began to diverge.
Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog, and I hope that you have, at least once or twice in the past, found my site useful for preparing to tank in general and as a Bear Druid in particular.
Why the sudden change. It’s pretty much a change that’s been coming for a long time.
I originally started writing guides and tips on Feral Druids in the beginning, years ago, because there was nothing whatsoever out there for Bears. I loved my Bear, everyone said you COULDN’T be an effective Bear, and I knew that was hooey. I loved it, and I felt that with some encouragement and a few tips, others would discover it was super fun awesome time too.
Sure, it was presumptive of me to assume that the advice I felt I had to offer would be either helpful or welcome, but what the heck. I didn’t really expect any audience except for my small circle of friends. So, no worries. I figured maybe 7 to 10 folks would see what i was writing, and we could chew the fat over this or that.
The biggest thing really was I wanted to have fun writing and I really did feel that I could fill that need, and help folks wanting to get started if someone somewhere had actually Googled “How the heck do I bear tank?”
It’s been a long time since those days.
Heck, it’s been a VERY long time since I was the lone Feral Druid voice in the blogosphere. A VERY long time. It’s been so long, that entire new MMOs have gone through beta, went live, and then hit the bug zapper since anything I wrote was fresh or relevant.
Nowadays, if you’d like some theorycrafting tips or advice on playing a Feral Druid, there are many people out there not only writing useful blogs, but who really want to be the person you can rely on for your Feral Druid knowledge. Sure, some of them are craving attention, desperate to be noticed and admired for their big brains, but others are genuinely nice people that are coming into their own voice and have new, fresh ideas and experiences to share. There are a lot of really valuable, wonderful writers out there that would love to help you.
All of them are out there, both the arrogant asshats and the super-considerate helpful writers, and more are beginning their blogging journies every day. I am now far from alone, and you no longer need my ancient experiences to guide you. As if you ever did.
You need a fresh perspective and a new vision.
If I’m going to be totally honest, I was never really cut out to be the “mentor” website person in the first place. I tried my best, but in time I did discover that a lot of people that read theorycrafting sites, and write theorycrafting sites, and comment on theorycrafting sites are driven by a desperate need. A need for what, I genuinely don’t know, but there is a lot of competitiveness in the theorycrafting arena, a lot of arguing for the sake of trying to score points, or be “right”, or whatever. A lot of ego on naked display.
It’s out there among bloggers, too. I’ve seen bloggers that never say anything unless it’s to comment about how someone else is wrong and start arguments and link back to themselves, and I’ve seen bloggers that comment in other’s blogs that if you want to read a “real” theorycrafting blog, go back and see them instead of this crap you’re looking at. No lie.
I’ve seen enough in dedicated theorycrafting sites to know I’ve seen too much. I have nothing personally to prove to anyone, no desire to be the big bear on campus, just a delight in writing and having fun.
Back when I saw the ever increasing rise of nastyness in the comments here and in the blogospere in general, I decided to let the theorycrafters and elitists go jerk themselves off and stopped writing those kinds of posts. I’ve never regretted it, not one single day. Many of the most offensive I simply blacklisted. The tone around here improved overnight. If you feel you have the right to piss in other people’s pools, don’t be surprised when they don’t invite you back for the next party.
I’ve never really thought of myself as being smarter or more knowledgeable than anyone else. I never considered myself a “theorycrafter”. I’ve always figured, if I could do it, anyone could, and wouldn’t it be nice if someone was there to offer some help and suggestions so they didn’t make the same stupid mistakes I did?
With that in mind, I always tried to write guides and tips and suggestions and lists aimed to help encourage people to be confident, to learn the fundamentals, to be brave enough to get out there and find their own path, and to understand how everything works together well enough on their own to make informed decisions, relying on no one, and certainly not on any website to tell them what to do.
I’ve never wanted to be the guy that does a guide that says “You must do what I say, follow this checklist, and come back here so I can tell you what to do next.” I’ve wanted to be the guy that says, “Here, these are the tools that will help you get started. Go, learn how to use them, and become a greater Bear Tank than I ever was. Discover your true potential, and be the best you can be. Now go forth, and rock the joint. And if you think of me… bounce.”
I’m looking around the blogosphere now, I’m reading Elitist Jerks, I check out the Druid column on WoW Insider (love you, Allison Robert!), I see the new posts going up daily on the Inconspicuous Bear and The Bear Flank and others too numerous to mention, and I can see that the function I was once covering is taken care of very well these days. I am an archaic heirloom of times gone past, and there are now plenty of non-asshat Feral Druid bloggers that write for normal people, not just to impress other elitists with how mathy and special they can be.
For me, the final decision to stop writing guides and Feral Druid rules posts came when I knew that I will not be raiding or even running instances come Cataclysm.
I do think that a person that is going to be assuming the mantle of authority for writing tips and strategies about performing your role in group events should actually be performing that role in a group in the latest content. The writer should speak from personal experience about what works, and what doesn’t work.
That ain’t me right now. And it won’t be me.
And so, to the wonderful people that have come here for Feral Druid guidance in the past, to you I truly do breathe a sigh of farewell. It’s been a wonderful journey together, but you have many more miles to go yet ahead of you, and many more adventures to share. Here by the fire is where my bones wish to lie, sleeping warm and snug while the cold of winter rages on outside, but you hear the wind howl, and feel not the cold, but a delicious excitement at the prospect of a new dawn, and a clear horizon.
Go you on your journeys, discover the adventures that yet lie in wait, and know that I begrudge you nothing, and I wish for you only the best in all that life and WoW has to offer. There is nothing more that I will have to give you, no guidance, no teachings, no wisdom. All that I have to offer you now are my well wishes and prayers that your journey will be a prosperous one, and as you do head out into the Cataclysm of tomorrow, know in your heart the truth that your journeys are yours and yours alone.
Thank you all, so VERY much for allowing me to feel that I have been of help to you in the past. My own journey with you has been fun, but there is bacon on the fire, and I’m so very tired…
When you find yourself in the front of the pack, charing into the enemy, if you happen to think of me, I only ask…
Do it on the Bounce!
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The new patch is supposed to drop Tuesday, the long awaited live release of 4.0.1.
With this patch comes the revamped Talent Trees. The modifications to existing abilities. Mastery at level 80 and beyond.
You know, all that jazz.
What doesn’t come out is new leveling, group or raid content.
Or new races.
What does this all mean for the excited Bear tank?
Talent Tree research for Bears
When you look at the new Talent Tree and try to figure out your spec, the very first thing to keep in mind is the Blizzard philosophy; nothing really matters until you reach the top level.
That was level 80. You used to be great. You coulda been a contenda. Not any more. Even though you can’t actually get to 85 yet… as far as the mechanics are concerned, that’s the new max level.
Right now, all you’re really concerned with is how to respec your Talent Tree so you can right back to tanking your group runs. Or soloing Karazhan. Or Onyxia, for that matter.
But the new Talent Tree is intended to be filled out with a moderately balanced spec after you reach 85. By the same token, you’re not expected to Bear tank group runs effectively without all your key abilities… and Thrash (the new AoE attack that adds a Bleed effect to your foes) isn’t even available until level 81. So, after December 7th. See you then?
Please, don’t get frustrated when there are Talents you’d really like that you just can’t reach. Yes, get frustrated that you can’t get Thrash until the expansion, but you still want to run ICC now. That’s just annoying. But it too will come in due time.
The point here is, you can’t get all the goodies in the Talent Tree… but with a new expansion THAT close, just over the next horizon, nobody is really going to care all that much. They’re going to be dreaming of end game raiding with new loots and challenges to overcome. As long as you’ve got the essentials, you’re going to be okay in current content. And with level 80, you CAN get the essentials.
One last word on Talent Tree concepts.
Even if you were at level 85, you still couldn’t get everything you’d really like for Bear tanking.
Thanks to Blizzard’s desire to give us tradeoffs and too many choices so there can’t be one single “cookie cutter” spec, what we’ve got is a Feral tree where, even if you’re passing on all the Kitty focused Talents, you’re still gonna have stuff you’d love but can’t afford. Deal with it as best you can.
With so many “sidegrades” in the Tree, your judgment is going to be even more important when it comes to choosing what to take.
So, it’s not about the math… it’s about knowing what you should be looking for.
This is the time to get back to basics. What do Bear tanks really want?
- Survivability – the ability to take multiple damaging blows over time.
- Avoidance – the ability to completely avoid being hit.
- Damage Mitigation – the ability to reduce the actual damage taken per hit by a little bit.
- Increased Threat – grabbing the attention of enemies so they don’t eat your friends. Even when your friends look really tasty.
- Rage Generation – the ability to build the resources needed to cast anything except Growl, Feral Faerie Fire and auto-attack.
It’s just that simple.
How did we get to the current “AoE it all down, and forget about skill” situation?
Gear has currently gotten to the point that, in 5 person runs that still give valuable Frost Emblems, Stamina, Agility, Armor value, Attack Power, Critical Strike and Hit Rating all went waaaaay beyond the Heroic balance point.
With a Tank in reasonably available gear levels, you can ignore Survivability, Avoidance, Damage Mitigation and (with Swipe and grabbing big groups of mobs) Rage Generation.
All that leaves you with is holding Threat… and boy, with all that AP and Hit and Crit, if we Swipe spam we could just about stay ahead of the DPS, who are all AoEing as well.
So, Tanks got used to charging in as fast as possible, grabbing big groups, spamming their AoEs and waiting for the DPS to burn everything down… and you walk away virtually unscathed.
Hold on tight buttercup, the road to Cataclysm is going to be a bumpy ride.
In Cataclysm, all those things you ignored in 5 mans become important again.
Raiders, especially raiders of hard mode challenges, will rejoice that skill will return to pre-eminent importance.
But… not just yet.
Not until the new content, new leveling, new raids.
For now… we will still be facing the same content, BUT… there will no longer be Defense Rating on Plate tanky gear.
We still have our own Talent that makes us uncrittable, it’s just changed it’s name from Survival of the Fittest to being rolled into Thick Hide. Thick Hide is now the first “big” core Bear tank Talent.
All the other tank classes now have their own version of that… and no longer need Defense Rating. In fact, all that Defense Rating will vanish, to be replaced with other stats.
But we’ll stay the same.
Think about that. We will effectively have the same gear as before, stat allocations should continue mostly unchanged for us. But all the other tank classes will suddenly have a Talent taking care of that Defense Rating… and their gear will have either more Stamina or more DPS grade stats which will add more Threat to their output.
Plus, we get a high rage cost Swipe with a 6 second cooldown, and no Thrash.
I am NOT saying it’s all doom and gloom. We’re still going to be OP and uber compared to current content.
What I’m doing is reinforcing my earlier point… we are no longer at the max level. We no longer will have our balanced end game abilities and talents. We MUST adapt and overcome.
When you look at your skills and Talents, try and flush your preconceived ideas of running in 5 mans or being OP as a tank. When the new content DOES come, you will be hit like a freight train wants your lunch money. You will not have insanely ridiculous AoE Threat generation on everything.
You must get back to the basics. Survivability, Avoidance, Damage Mitigation, Threat and Rage.
So. That is far and away enough preamble. The Talent Tree.
When we choose the Feral Tree, we gain Mangle at level 10 instantly rather than having to pay for it. So we get a nice instant cast attack that does reasonable single target threat, and also applies a debuff to the target that makes Bleeds do more damage… a debuff that now lasts 60 seconds.
Any player leveling a Bear tank under level 51 should be very happy with this development.
Plus, you can get a free, no Rage-cost Mangle sometimes when you Lacerate a target that has your Mangle’s Bleed debuff on it. Just saying, that’s kinda cool, right? Oh wait, Omen of Clarity go bye-bye for us. Well, so we keep the effect, sorta, while losing the Talent. Fine. We can work with it. :)
Second, at level 10 we will get Vengeance. Vengeance is the new Tank ability that gives you increased Attack Popwer based on the damage you take. Each whack you take gives you an individual AP buff that lasts 10 seconds… they do stack cumulatively, but after 10 seconds, the first whack a mole buff you got drops off. So, you get hit – hit – hit… you get buff – double buff – triple buff… and then first one drops after ten seconds and you go back down to double buff… and then the second one drops and you go down to just the third buff all by itself.
Get it? I knew you did. And it should be quite nice… for the first ten seconds of a fight, we’ll build up our AP bonus… then we’ll stay level until the fight is over, new damage adding buffs to replace the ones that drop off. Then it’ll all be gone 10 seconds after the fight’s over. Seems pretty reasonable to me… knowing, as I do, that in the new content it’s gonna take longer to complete each pull, so 10 second duration should be pretty well balanced.
Finally, you SHOULD have the ability to learn Mastery from the trainer at level 80, and get a 32% increase to the amount of damage absorbed by Savage Defense. We won’t have gear with Mastery (unless it comes with the stat overhaul), but it’s still very useful at it’s baseline. And it’s also another reason we will continue to love Critical Strikes.
Remember that list up above. Critical Strikes trigger Savage Defense (our one hit bubble shield), and the more Crits, the more bubbles. More bubbles means more mitigation, so go go Crit Bear!
Now, Savage Defense is seeing some big changes, too. It’s not a guaranteed 100% bubble on a crit. It’s down to 50% chance on a crit. But it DOES absorb more damage. A lot more. Lots and lots more!
The model for Cataclysm, in terms of tanking in general, is to have high health, lower than customary avoidance, and focus on Mitigation. Dealing with a steady stream of damage, rather than spiky hits. Healers will be dealing less with twitch reflexes on instant saves against two big spikes in a row, and more on managing mana over longer duration fights against steady streams of damage.
Mastery with Savage Defender isn’t just another ability, it’s a clue as to the overall change in the tanking paradigm; steady, not spiky.
Yes, we still want Agility, for both Dodge and Crits. The balance has definitely swung towards heavier weighting for Stamina Stacking, though.
Okay, so my recommendations and review of the Feral Talent Tree (for Bears).
The first Tier gives you three choices;
- Feral Swiftness (0/2)
- Furor (0/3)
- Predatory Strikes (0/2)
If you’re leveling, I’d personally suggest starting in Feral Swiftness for your first levels, go 2/2 and then fill out Furor. Predatory Strikes is a solid Kitty Talent, and of no use for us big ol’ Bears. Dodge and moving faster as a kitty are always in demand. :)
That brings us to level 17 already, and on to the second Tier.
Tier two has four Talents to choose from, and a hard decision.
- Infected Wounds (0/2)
- Fury Swipes (0/3)
- Primal Fury (0/2)
- Feral Aggression (0/2)
Now, Fury Swipes is awesome as a Kitty, and it’s also a reasonable Threat boost as a Bear as your Critical Strike values rise. Now, how is that possible when Maul replaces a normal auto-attack?
I’ll tell you how… because Maul no longer replaces an auto-attack! It’s now an instant cast attack costing 30 Rage with a 3 second cooldown! And it’s off the GCD too, but with a cost of 30 Rage, PLEASE don’t macro it… talk about Rage starved!
This isn’t my saying Fury Swipes is great, it’s just my way of saying that your abilities no longer replace auto-attacks, so this is a steady percentage of boosted auto-attacks unaffected by Maul in Bear form.
Primal Fury is a key Bear talent, providing Rage generation as you Crit. Definitely a must-have as you level.
Infected Wounds is a delicious ability for tanks to have, seeing as it’s core function is to keep fleeing enemies in your range longer, and to slow down the rate of their attacks that do damage to you. With two of your bread and butter attacks, Mangle and Maul both applying the debuff, and with Maul still getting Glyph of Maul (even if the second target does only take half damage now) it’s a very nice Talent to consider.
Feral Aggression is the real tease, though.
You see, Feral Faerie Fire is no longer a single cast spell. It’s still free, but it can now stack up to 3 times on a target… you get Feral Faerie Fire at level 24, and it does damage based on your attack power (remember that Vengeance thingie?) and also increased Threat in Bear form. It also has a 6 second cooldown.
Feral Aggression, damn them, when fully Talented applies all three stacks to the enemey target at once… leaving you free to use it on a second target on your very next cooldown, instead of wasting it on getting a second stack on the same target.
Don’t underestimate the effectiveness of this for low level Bear tanks needing more single target Threat generating attacks on multiple mobs. This with three stacks on one cast, plus Mangle and Maul will be very nice.
For leveling, I’m going to suggest you start with 1 point in Fury Swipes, switch to 2 points to fill out Primal Fury, and then have a very hard decision that you can only answer from personal experience; which is closer to being true – you feel like you’re taking too much damage, or you feel like you’re not generating enough Threat?
If you feel particularly squishy, take Infected Wounds 2/2, and if you feel like you need more single target Threat all up front, especially on your pulls, go with Feral Aggression 2/2. But only one or the other.
Me? I took Feral Aggression. But please, go with your gut on this one. Infected Wounds also rocks!
You’re now level 27, and the third Tier is open to you.
Tier 3 consists of;
- King of the Jungle (0/3)
- Feral Charge (0/1)
- Stampede (0/2)
- Thick Hide (0/3)
Now, at this point I have to say, if you’re Bear tanking, you fill in Thick Hide. It’s a core defining tank Talent, rolling increased armor multiplier benefit and uncrittable by targets three levels higher than you all into one.
King of the Jungle may seem confusing… is it good? Is the follow up good?
Allow me to help you make your decision, by telling you that the mechanic of Enrage has changed.
Enrage used to decrease your armor by 10%. It was a slight reduction in physical damage mitigation.
Not anymore. Now, when you activate Enrage, you take a 10% increase to all damage suffered for the duration of the effect. That’s 10% more damage suffered, to the tank. You. Not just physical, all damage. And you’re a long, long way away from spell damage mitigation, my friend.
With the changes to Enrage, it’s my recommendation that you only use it while in combat if fighting scrubs. Don’t use it on tough fights. And that means don’t ever use it on tough fights at end game in Cataclysm.
It’s best use is as a pre-planned, pre-fight manuever to stand there and build up Rage, and only Feral Charging or pulling with FFF after the Enrage 10% damage debuff wears mostly off.
And if you’re not popping Enrage in combat a lot… who cares if you’ve got a damage bonus while Enraged?
Your mileage may vary… 10% is NOT a big deal while leveling, unless you love grabbing lots of mobs at once. And with the Swipe cooldown changes, that’s gonna be iffy anyway.
My personal recommendation is for Bears to skip King of the Jungle (and the follow up, Primal Madness) entirely, and take 1/1 in Feral Charge, and then 1/2 in Stampede. Stampede 1/2 increases your Melee Haste by 15% for 8 seconds after you Feral Charge. I personally use Feral Charge all the time.
Why take Feral Charge if you’re going to be getting improved Skull Bash later, with Talents to reduce it’s cooldown to 10 seconds?
First, Skull Bash costs 15 Rage. Feral Charge (Bear) is free. Second, a 15% Melee Haste at the start of your fight is a good thing to bring faster Threat generation. Marginally. :)
Third, you do get Skull Bash at level 22, and Feral Charge is first possible at 35, but until level 43 you’re not going to be able to have that 10 second cooldown on SB. For hopping from mob to mob quick across the room to intercept wayward mobs, I do so love my Feral Charge.
If you would like to skip Feral Charge and Stampede in favor of going back and filling out either Fury Swipes or Infected Wounds… please, by all means. I will say that taking the Stampede melee haste, and going back later to fill in Fury Swipes for more auto-attacks in those initial 8 seconds might be a valid Threat boost.
But still. Tier 4.
- Leader of the Pack (0/1)
- Brutal Impact (0/2)
- Nurturing Instinct (0/2)
Please, dear lord, don’t take Nurturing Instinct. Just, don’t.
I feel that Leader of the Pack is just a must have for kitty OR Bear, and with the advent of Skull Bash and it’s charging across the room spell interrupt/school lockout, I am all in favor of 2/2 in Brutal Impact.
As an aside… Feral Charge no longer interrupts… it roots. Your spell caster interrupt/school lockout is Skull Bash. Period.
That leaves us with 2 more points to spend somewhere else to advance.
You could go 2 in Infected Wounds, 2 in Fury Swipes, 1 and 1 in Feral Charge and Stampede (depending on where you went earlier), or even 1 to fill out Stampede and 1 to boost Fury Swipes, making it more effective after a Feral Charge. It’s kinda up to you.
Me, I’m going to go with 1 in Stampede to fill it out, followed by 1 in Fury Swipes at this point. I’m anticipating more of a desire at earlier levels for greater Threat and damage generation than reduced damage, at least at these levels.
This unlocks Tier 5 for us, and we’ve got a real solid selection of Bear Talents.
Tier 5 includes;
- Primal Madness (0/2)
- Survival Instincts (0/1)
- Endless Carnage (0/2)
- Natural Reaction (0/2)
Natural Reaction, available at level 49, is another Bear defining Talent. Damage Reduction, Dodge increase AND Rage generation, all in one. It’s a must have, early and often. This brings you to level 52 once it’s filled out.
We didn’t take King of the Jungle, so Primal Madness is locked out. That leaves Survival Instincts and Endless Carnage.
Survival Instincts, at this level, should definitely get your next point. SI used to be your “oh shit” button to be used with Frenzied Regeneration. SI would increase your max health by 30%, and then Frenzied Regeneration would heal you for a percentage based off of that higher health pool.
Surprise! Frenzied Regeneration has been buffed to have the 30% health pool increase built right in! It’s a new all-in-one!
Sadly, the new version of Glyph of Frenzied Regeneration takes away the self-heal aspects of it, boosting healing done TO you by 30%. Of course, you can swap Glyphs in and out once you learn them, so you can change it for solo to group play.
Getting back to Survival instincts, if it ain’t a flat 30% health pool increase, what is it?
Why, it’s a 60% damage reduction spell with a 12 second duration. 60%! Wahoo!!!!
Oh, but it’s got a 5 minute cooldown. Awwwww….. :(
Now, about Endless Carnage.
Do you want it?
Do you want it right now if you’re leveling?
Endless Carnage is mostly a kitty Talent, except for it’s affect on the new Bear ability Pulverize in Tier 6, and now is a good time to talk about Tier 6, because Endless Carnage is a big part of it.
You can’t get Pulverize until level 65. It’s a very nice attack, plus when you use it after stacking Lacerate on your target, you get increased Crit chance for 10 seconds… 18 seconds if you took your two points in Endless Carnage.
Remember what we said about Crit? More Crit equals more Rage, plus more bubbles for damage reduction. Yay! Plus, you know… more Threat, too.
If you’re leveling, though, it doesn’t do you any good to take Endless Carnage now. In fact, I’d rather recommend you fill out Fury Swipes and Infected Wounds (if you haven’t already) and then Rend and Tear as you level, and respec out of those points just enough to take… 1 more in either Fury Swipes ( to finish it) or 1/2 in Infected Wounds before going 2/2 in Endless Carnage, 3/3 in Rend and Tear, and 1 in Pulverize once you finally DO reach 65.
Blood in the Water is, of course, all kitty, all the time. Pass!
This leaves us at our final point in the Feral tree… Berserk at level 69.
So… are we done here? ARE we?
I’m afraid we are, and there’s a good reason for it when the max level is 85.
In the Restoration tree is a 2nd Tier Talent we’re really going to want for end game Bear tanking… Perseverance (3/3). When fully specced it reduces all magic damage by 6%. That’s a whole lot of spell damage reduction to always be on. Barkskin is great for the 12 seconds it’s up, but 6% is 6%.
And that means, in order to get it, we need to go 3/3 in Heart of the Wild (which is awesome), and then spend two points somewhere. Like, Natural Shapeshifter. Boo.
Then you can put 3/3 in Perseverence, and decide what to do with your last ever Talent point. Do you go with 4% increased physical Bear damage from Master Shapeshifter, or do you go back to fill out that one more point you’re dying for in Feral?
It’s up to you. There are a lot of areas that are must haves, but there are also “but that would be good too” Talents.
EDIT: I’m sorry, I’m up late, I forgot to post my “But wait, the level cap is 80 right now” modification.
Since the current level cap is 80, Perseverance is not attainable. Instead of putting those last two points in Natural Shapeshifter, I suggest you spend them in filling out Infected Wounds and Stampede instead. So, my current recommendation for a level 80 Bear tank before Cataclysm raises the level limit to 85 is;
Link to Wowhead’s Talent Calculator showing a level 80 Bear tank spec
My apologies for the original omission. Your Blog Feed must have been confusing.
This, concludes my “Where should I start when they change my Tree” review for patch 4.0.1.
I hope you see it through in style!
For more information on exactly what has changed and how tanking works for Bears in Cataclysm, I’d like to direct your attention to Dustcart’s post in the tanking forum of the WoW forums, which is far more complete and succinct than I would be. It’s a great job, and should answer all of the rest of your questions. I haven’t seen anyone else say it better, so please give it the love it deserves.
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It’s been a funny weekend, all things considered. A weekend worth a rambling, stupid, tired Bearwall.
It started out with a rather unexpected bonus, and then kinda drifted from there.
I’ve been playing on lower level characters for weeks now, having fun on the Warrior here, the Paladin there, just messing about. It’s been fun.
Along the way, the Rogue that I was leveling hit 80, and the “hey, I’m 80, I should get gear” impulse kicked in, starting a frenzy of Heroics.
That started a cascade effect.
Running on the Rogue just reminded me of the good times on my Hunter, who had never quite finished getting geared from Heroics.
Running Heroics on my Hunter just reminded me of the good times on my Paladin, who REALLY had crap gear on his Ret spec. Most of his early emblems went to tanky stuff. Blech.
Once on my Paladin, I was reminded that, hey, I like my Druid too.
That began a weekend long process of flipping back and forth between the two in Heroics.
That brings us to this last Friday.
I hopped on my Druid to tank a quick one, and what should I get but Heroic Pit of Saron, immediately followed by the Battered Hilt dropping, and my winning the roll.
Hurm, as Rorshach might monotone.
What to do, what to do.
The Battered Hilt sells for around 7500g on my server at the moment, so it’s 7500g sitting there… but, I don’t care about gold. If I need it, I sell some of the tons of mats my various crafters collect. Never really had a problem with gold yet. Sure, I can’t just buy a Tundra Mammoth out of pocket, and I don’t have a motorcycle, but that’s okay. If I really wanted either THAT bad, I’d have gotten it already.
I was going to get a motorcycle for my Engineering Hunter, but she won the roll on a VOA Mammoth a long, long time ago, a nice three seater model, and after that, it kinda seemed like a moot point.
Back to the Battered Hilt… if I use it, who to use it on? And what spec?
This was an actual crunch time for me, because it caused me to really think about what I enjoy doing in the game, how I felt about playing the game, and who I wanted to invest in with a big ticket item for the long term.
I thought of my Druid first, of course, but I have the Orca Hunter’s Harpoon on him, and I really like the way it looks. From a pure graphics standpoint, it’s the awesmome. I don’t like what the weapons Feral Druids get from the Battered Hilt look like, despite how awesome all that Expertise is.
But, but… the weapon would have been better! Yeah, but this was the first realisation to come out of my thinking… I really, no I mean really, don’t care about stats beyond Heroics at this point. Faced with the guaranteed big time tasty weapon for someone, I decided against stats…
And went with looks.
My Ret Paladin has the big honking axe from Heroic Pit of Saron. It’s a good axe. Thing is… I don’t like the looks of the axe.
The Tyrannical Beheader is one bitchin’ looking weapon… but meh. My Paladin is SO over axes this season.
But do I really like my Paladin enough to replace a perfectly good, powerful two handed glowey axe with a two handed sword valued at 7500 gold, no matter how smokin’ hawt?
I thought about it a long time, and realized… yes, I guess I do. It’s only money, and screw stats.
Plus, hey, I’ve heard thats a real fun quest chain. That’s a bigger draw than whatever weapon I eventually get.
The second thing I internalized is, I like my Druid for Tanking and Healing. I like my Hunter for ranged DPS. And I like my Paladin for in-your-face melee DPS.
Any other character I play is, inevitably, going to end up being a good time leveling, before being dumped on the trash heap of MMO history.
Oh yeah, and being a Profession bot.
I did the entire Battered Hilt quest chain, and when I finished I had a massive two-handed Quel’Delar with Berserking enchanted on it courtesy of a rather melancholy player. :)
I was, initially, quite pleased.
I was so pleased, so heady with that ‘new gear’ smell, that I dropped the 8 Primordial Saronite I’d been stockpiling to someday craft my Druid a pair of pants to cover my big bear butt, and instead had a pair of stainless steel britches forged instead.
They chafe in places that I shall not mention.
It was quite nice to sit and enjoy the feeling of having significant gear upgrades on a character I used to like to play.
Alas, like any other toy, there’s only so much fun to be had looking at it sitting on the shelf.
I decided to take that new gear out on the road for a spin, see what it could do. Open it up, feel the wind through my fur… um, hair, and glory in ridiculously oversized male compensation, er, I mean brandish my big honking sword, a mighty weapon that requires two hands to lift, no, no, that’s not much better, perhaps I shall leave that line of descriptive narrative, hmmm?
It was at that moment in time when the weekend kinda went downhill. At least it started on a high note.
Now, I’m not going to let this just degenerate into pissing and moaning.
I did some runs using LFD, queuing mostly as melee DPS, and gee whiz, it took a while to get groups.
I’m sure you never expected that.
When I did get groups, there was a pretty even mix of groups that failed due to people way undergeared and not playing well, or people way overgeared and not playing well, and the asshattishness such things see as a result.
When there were no problems, when the runs would go smoothly, which I’d say realistically were about 40% of the time, the accompanying silence and curtness would remind me of playing Unreal Tournament Onslaught in bot mode. Fun group play, but you feel like you’re the only actual person in a field of automatons.
There were about a solid 10% of runs that had friendly people, people who met adversity in some way, rose above it, and became groups that were fun to be a part of, if for no other reason than it was nice to know that for once I was playing with people that seemed friendly and mature.
But the worst of the runs… they do stand out, don’t they? They stand out for what they tell us about ourselves, and what we choose to do.
I’ll grab one example out of the grab bag, because as a proponent of Feral Druid Tanks, this guy just pissed me off.
I happened to pop on my Druid to heal one, since I’ve mostly forgotten what healing is like.
I got a random Heroic Gundrak with a Feral Druid tank. The Feral Druid had over 6k GS, and by the time we were done with the snake boss and hitting the Elemental Boss trash, I had begun to realize that this tank, by my standards, just sucked. Bad.
Why? Because either from lack of skill or lack of give a shit, he wasn’t bothering to actually play as a tank.
First example? I spent most of the first boss with 4+ snakes on me because he went after the boss rather than clear the trash first.
Apparently, holding aggro is for lesser geared tanks that actually give a shit. I spent the entire short time healing myself and everyone else while the other DPS shot things off of me, bless them. The tank, of course, was busy being a 6k GS rockstar out front.
All the snake adds that came in after the boss aggroed? On me as well.
Really? Just, really?
So yeah, I’m thinking to myself, self, what are the chances that this guy just happened to get so many prime pieces of feral tanking loot in high end raids that he’s an (actually 6.1k GS) rockstar, but he doesn’t know how to tank his raid groups? What are the odds he’s really normally kitty DPS and just stupid at tanking?
Maybe 50/50, I guess.
Either way, he sucks, and it’s irritating.
But here is realization #3; the runs I have with people possessing a gearscore of over 4800 are far worse than those with people in 4000 to 4400. They are more painful, there are more deaths, there is a lot more bitchiness and general pissyness, and people display a complete and utter lack of skill at the most amazing times.
Cassie, having long ago decided the same thing, tells me that I need to start queueing with my weapons and shoulders unequipped, cutting down on my apparent gearscore, so I’ll have a better chance at running with lower ranked players.
Why is that? Because she thinks, and I’m starting to agree, that one of the biggest irritants we see is that people with high raiding gearscores are arrogant, think they are ‘the shit’, feel like they are too good for Heroics with ‘the scum’, and yet do it to get their two Frost emblems each day anyway.
So, they’re slumming, resentful of it, and phone it in, playing with their heads up their ass, and frankly sucking at it. Gear does not equal skill, and I have seen countless 4400 GS tanks do a mind-blowingly superior job tanking compared to the 5.5k GS idiots I see more often.
I agree with her… I’d rather play with people that are still cautious and trying to play with skill because they think their gear sucks and are trying their best so as to, ugh, not offend the high gearscores that are deigning to carry them.
You think I’m kidding?
Let me finish talking about that one Gundrak example.
We are just hitting the trash in the room outside boss numero two, the purple goo elemental that inhabits the stone statue, when our masterful Feral Druid tank decides, after a run of dead silence, that he has wisdom he’d like to share with the class.
Specifically, he starts talking shit about the Warlock in the group. Just, out of nowhere.
First, he announces, “Mr Warlock. Stop using Rain of Fire. It sucks. Only Seed of Corruption.”
Now, before anyone has a chance to respond to these words of Heroic Gundrak wisdom, while still sucking as a tank and I’m healing everyone frantically while the Death Knight is pulling one of the mobs the tank ignored off of me, he continues, with the flat announcement ”crap DPS pisses me off.”
What, crap DPS pisses him off? Well, eating mobs in my branches pisses me off, bad tanking pisses me off, bad FERAL DRUID tanking freaking enrages me, and I’m not pissing and moaning about it in group, now am I?
And then, right on the heels of that stunning bit of personal sharing, he announces that “I’m sick of playing with crap DPS.”
Now, I’m pretty confused. I hadn’t noticed anything wrong with the run so far except really crappy tanking, to be honest. Stuff is dying mighty fast, ain’t that what DPS is supposed to do? They’re even grabbing the mobs off me that the tank is ignoring, I’d rate them as a bunch of fine chaps, they’re all right in my book.
I glance at the DPS Meter, maybe there is someone that ain’t pulling their weight.
I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt on that one, since I had JUST been in a Heroic Halls of Reflection where a Warrior gleefully announced he was still leveling his weapon skill… he was at 320 at the time. During most of that HHoR run, the warrior averaged 352 DPS, so yeah… I could understand a little aggravation if we had another one of those types of situations.
Oh, that HHoR run? Nervous Tank with 4400 GS, Healer with about the same, my Paladin, a Mage and the aforementioned Warrior… it was one of the smoothest HHoR runs I’ve ever been on, thank you very much. Not a single 5k+ GS to be seen (except me), and yet us poor little peons managed to do JUST fine… unlike the runs in HHoR I had later in the weekend with the 5500 GS tank and healer combo that couldn’t make it past the first boss.
That’s not evidence of anything, by the way, unless you want to think of it as my experiences in reinforcing why I increasingly don’t want to play with strangers in Heroics with really high gear.
now, after that build up, where do you think that Warlock came out on the DPS meters?
He was indeed at the bottom, with a measly 3000 DPS.
You know and I know that 3000 DPS isn’t exactly rocking the ICC hard mode charts, right?
But this isn’t ICC. This is Heroic Gundrak. Heroic GUNDRAK.
It’s not even ToC, FoS, PoS or HoR. The four instances where gear over iLevel 200 drop.
It’s Heroic Gundrak.
I don’t care how you measure it, 3k DPS as the lowest on the chart doesn’t suck.
A couple of the other players, not even the Warlock, talk for the first time in the run, one saying that he wouldn’t exactly call 3000 DPS “crap”, and the other saying “asking a Warlock not to use Rain of Fire is like asking a Hunter not to use Volley, lol” which I thought was pretty damn funny.
I was initially busy, because you know… getting eaten and having to heal frantically and all.
But I find the manual dexterity to chime in with, “The only problem I’ve seen so far is you aren’t bothering to tank, unless I’m supposed to be tanking all these mobs as part of your master plan.”
The tank, without a further word, runs forward, pulls the boss, hits it once and drops group.
Well, that’s show us, won’t it! That certainly put us in our place.
Without a break in stride, the Death Knight went all out while the Warlock sicced his pet on the boss, we easily killed the thing, and there were no deaths, thank you very much.
Then we requeue for a tank, and laugh at his idiot fail butt. He couldn’t even handle a proper seeing to!
We wait for about 30 seconds before I say “I can switch to my tank spec”, at the same time as the Death Knight says HE can switch to tank… and we get a new tank anyway.
30 whole seconds.
We get a measly 5500 GS tank, who lols at us for wiping, and when we explain the tank abandoned us in mid pull, he kinda metaphorically shrugged his shoulders, hitched his suspenders and away we went.
The rest of the run went smooth as silk, and hey, nobody said anything the rest of the run. We even ran the extra boss, which is nearly unheard of.
That’s just one example of the kind of thing that’s been eating away at the back of my brain, making me nibble around the edges of realization #4.
It’s not yet a full blown realization, it’s still a burning question.
No, really, why do I continue to play this game?
I don’t like other people’s snotty little kids. I just don’t.
I don’t put up with that kind of bullshit in person, so why should I put up with it on the internet? Serious business? Oh, please. Cry more? Yeah, keep talking that brave internet talk.
I keep telling myself that the number of really nice, mature people that play the game are the silent majority, and the asshats just seem more prevalent because they make SURE they make their presence felt.
It’s always a comforting thought to hold dear. Sure, this guy may be an assclown, but most folks in the game are nice, pleasant, mature folks it’d be a pleasure to quaff Guinness with.
But, is that true?
Are most people in the game nice? Or pleasant? Or mature?
Over the weekend, I ran into two players in a run, both from a guild called something similar to “Sofa king reh todd edd”. That one stands out in my mind as almost demanding a bitchslap, but it’s certainly not an isolated incident.
Others I know told me of similar naming delights they experienced in their pugs, but fortunately my memory has blocked it out.
There is something I’ve long held to be true, and I’m starting to wonder how it applies in an MMO.
“You can’t depend on anyone else to make you happy. In a relationship, in life, in a game, whatever, only you can make you happy. Other people can try and bring you up or down, but whether or not you’re happy all comes down to you.”
I get cranky at times, and take a shot at an asshat or two, or wonder at the idiocy I see around me, but when it comes to having fun in the game, I’ve never had a problem finding the fun. If I’m not having fun at the moment… I move my butt until I’m back in the fun. I don’t expect the game to do it for me, to present me with a covered platter, under which there shall be found ‘teh fun’. Nope, if I ain’t having fun, I go looking for it.
I don’t expect other people in the game to make me happy, or be my good time. I expect to have to seek out things that I find fun, and my good mood has to come from my own point of view.
Realization #4 is that I really have to re-examine what I want out of the game, and how I spend my time… because more and more, max level activities with strangers, any strangers, are just NOT it.
And from that realization comes some corollaries.
For example, if I ain’t gonna play at max level anymore, why bother getting upgrades for level 80 play in the first place?
I have been riding that edge already, spending every Emblem on my toons to get Heirloom gear to make leveling new alts a smooth experience.
But aside from a kick ass weapon… do I really need Heirlooms? What’s the rush to get to 80? All I’ll be doing is putting another character on the shelf and starting another one.
I still really enjoy leveling new character classes, building new adventures around a new persona. That’s still a lot of fun, and nobody talks about how they raped someone else in PvP when you’re soloing in Barrens with all the chat channels turned off.
What I’m thinking, is maybe I should restart on another server entirely, much like Elystia did.
Just pull up stakes, start somewhere new, and if I want to help a poor low level alt out, I can make a Death Knight to go do some quests in Outlands, pull in a few gold.
Make a new character, go out without Heirlooms, and see the World of a different server.
And before I take that first step… shut off every global chat channel in the game. Make it the equivalent of the biggest single player game filled with random bots ever seen.
I’m getting burnt out. Burnt out on playing a game where the misfits are starting to outnumber the people I’d like to hoist a few with.
It’s too bad that Quel’Delar can’t be Bind on Account, and scale in power like an Heirloom.
In fact, it’s too bad all the Legendaries don’t do that. That would make them oh so glorious to have, a true joy to play with rqather than an epeen bragging right on your trophy room wall? If your Legendary scaled and was Bind on Account? That would be just too cool to see on a level 1 in the Exodar.
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A word or two about Spider-Man, if you’ll indulge me.
Okay, I’m kidding. It’s a bearwall.
This one is so offtopic it’s off the map. Or is that off the chain? I get those two confused, I’m old.
A recent Gutters comic (god I love that webcomic) captured how I felt about the entire Joe Quesada “Brand New Day” Spider-Man retcon… well, perfectly.
Look, I think Joe Quesada has done a lot of positive things for the Marvel line-up. I really do.
I love the entire Ultimates concept that he supported, for example.
And if we take a look at what actually happened to the mainstream Spider-Man comics, it wasn’t all bad ideas.
For one thing, there were just too damn many Spider-Man monthlies with similar titles, different numbering schemes, and crossover storylines that you had to hop from series to series to try and piece together.
Blech. It’s stupid. If you’re gonna tell a serialized story, put all the pieces of the story under one title, OR do it rarely and then clearly label those seperate issues that are part of the crossover.
I’m gonna have a very limited amount of patience with trying to decide if an issue is a tie in from another series in the middle of a story arc if you’re not gonna clue me in on the cover. And no, I’m not just going to buy everything you ever publish in the hopes that THAT way I’ll get the whole story. Umm, /facepalm.
Now, if you’re in the comics industry, and all you do is think about and follow the comics industry, then I bet you’ve got no trouble whatsoever keeping it all straight. After all, it’s what you do. You read everything done by everybody, and follow it all, and read the authors blogs, and developer diaries, and whatsis.
If the people who do that are your intended demographic… well, okay, then I should shut up ’cause I ain’t who you’re marketing for.
But if, by some chance, you do hope to catch the marketshare of the ‘people who like to read comics along with other stuff’, well, I gots better stuff to be doing with my time than keep track of your entire publication lineup. No, I don’t follow the trades catalog to see if you’ve got a special one shot coming up that will have a critical part of the story from your normal series that I’ll miss otherwise.
NO, I will not pick up a comic purchase story arc card from the comic shop so I can plan wwhich issues come out which month so i don’t miss them (are you f’ing kidding me with this? I’m looking at you, World War Hulk).
No, wait, I can’t let that go. Seriously, LOOK AT THE CHECKLIST THEY GAVE OUT!!!!
That’s just asinine. Joe, I want to bitchslap you so hard your ancestors will be put off sex, that’s what I want to do.
Anyway, Spider-Man and multiple series simultaneously.
Joe Quesada, perhaps bowing to sales figure reality, collapsed all the various Spidey titles under one umbrella… and then made it a triple a month release.
Hey, that should’ve been done years ago. One series to follow, and you bring it out more often per month to catch the sales interest in that character. Good job. Even *I* can follow one series. At least, until you do one story arc across a bazillion other titles.
No, I’m not going to even try to pretend that Joe Quesada is some kind of evil, smelly demon-man. Nah. He’s done a lot I can agree with.
I’ll bring up that Ultimates thing again. Umm, Joe, thanks for helping bring about the single greatest pleasure I have had in comics as an adult… seeing a brilliant re-invention of my favorite comics lines, from the ground up, done by adults.
I know the Ultimates brands are referred to as marketed to the teen audience, but I beg to differ. I prefer to think they were targeted, in terms of story, towards people that like tight stories.
Brian Michael Bendis’ Spider-Man run is my favorite, by far, but a real close second is the Fantastic Four relaunch. I really loved the entire Cosmic Cube storyline, from seeds planted early to eventual conclusion.
Yes, I know that a ton of pop culture is embedded in them… hey, that’s one of the things I like about them. I can identify and relate. Spider-Man interrupting a film being shot in New York about him? His fight action getting recorded and included in the film… and since he can’t reveal his identity, his not making a dime on it? Oh, that was hilarious.
I won’t pretend to like or enjoy the Ultimatum Wave ending, it felt pretty half-assed compared to other aspects of the overall Ultimates storylines, but hey… At least Ultimate Spider-Man is still continuing on.
But let me get back to that Gutters comic, and Joe Quesada’s continuity retcon.
I really liked J. Michael Straczinski’s run on Spider-Man. I did. He brought a ton of great concepts and built them very well.
And then, and pardon me if I still choke a little, Joe Quesada kicked all us fans right in the nutsack.
Peter Parker, after decades of us growing up right alongside the smartassed, wisecracking little nerd trying his best to fight the good fight, the kid with all heart and no quit, married the woman of his dreams. A real marriage, hard times, problems, stress, and working through it. He decided to try and do more with his life than swing around looking for muggings to interrupt; he got a job teaching a class in a school. Just a regular class, trying to make a difference, a difference we could relate to, a damn hard task for anyone, making a difference in the lives of some real kids who need a mentor and understanding teacher more than they do a guy in spandex.
I for one grew up reading Spider-Man comics.
I wasn’t some idiot who tried to be Spider-Man when he grew up, but I could definitely relate to the underdog aspect, the trying your damndest and never giving up aspect of it.
Okay, so i also loved that he was a smartass. To EVERYONE.
Who else do you know that will be a smartass to Galactus? Yeah, ahuh.
People talk about inspirations and examples for our formative years. The importance of having something to look up to, someone to admire.
And then, for the most part, we’re told to look at politicians and sports athletes and rock stars and movie stars to seek that inspiration.
Umm, no. Athletes pretty much equals a desire to take any perfomance enhancing drug if they think they can get away with it, drunken wild orgies on boats on lakes in Minnesota, driving over policewomen in downtown Minneapolis, and flying personal jets to training camp after the actual ‘training’ part is over, blowing off practice because you’re apparently too good to need any of that teamwork building crap, and making me applaud one brave announcer who proclaimed “The Ego Has Landed” when Farve touched down.
Wait, what was I saying?
And politicians? If you use a politician as your role model, well, jeez. Anyone aspiring to be a politician when they grow up might as well just be a bank robber – it’s a less dishonest way of making a living. At least you’re stealing it all at once without pretension to a higher calling of public service.
Rock Stars? Umm… okay, I’m not gonna go there. And movie stars? Man, give me a target that takes at least SOME effort.
But you open up a comic book, and what do you have?
You have an attempt to depict, for the most part, people trying to do the right thing… and exploring what that means. Whether they be aliens from another planet, or normal people overcoming great personal tragedy, or anything in between, one of the most prevalent recurring themes in comics is struggling to do the right thing… even struggling to understand what the right thing even is.
It goes way beyond “with great power comes great responsibility”. Many modern storylines take serious looks at what it might be like if someone with godlike power but flawed concepts of morality or ethics tried to impose their will on various cultures.
One of my favorites was the recent Black Summer by Warren Ellis, who writes some damn fine pieces of speculative fiction hiding behind pretty pictures.
Getting back to Joe Quasada’s gutting of Spider-Man.
The Spider-Man had it. His life was hard, it wasn’t glamorous, it wasn’t even fun most days. It was frequently bleak, long hours of dedicated back breaking work, trying to do the right thing.
But he had the most wonderful, vibrant marriage to the woman he loved above all else in his life. That, and knowing in his heart that he was doing his best to actually make a difference, in costume and in normal life. that, and the struggle, was enough.
And Joe Quesada not only broke up Pete’s marriage and dumped Peter back into the Daily Planet, but he also decided in his massive retcon that all of that grown up crap NEVER EVEN HAPPENED ANYMORE.
It didn’t exist. No marriage. He didn’t even get along on speaking terms with MJ. Just, slam! Didn’t like that, did ya Joe? It’s more fun to have a single, angsty, dating problems Spider-Man with crap tossed in his direction by old tired super-villains, and teaching? What, teaching kids in school? SPIDER-MAN? Hell, who can relate to THAT? Nah, make good old Peter a struggling kid out to make a buck taking photos, and hiding his secret from Aunty May.
That… that was a galactic level kick in the nuts.
Because, there are SO DAMN FEW GOOD EXAMPLES OF A NORMAL LIFE in the media!
I actually, mentally just did a Jesse Ventura “meee deee ahhh” there in my head. I knew I should have stopped for beer on the way home tonight.
Take a good, long look at comics, or television, or really any other form of media.
Just how many examples of a strong relationship that weathers any storm do you SEE out there?
Look, emotional turmoil makes for spicy drama, so I know, I KNOW that for a quick and cheap dramatic turn by a lazy writer, you build up a quicky relationship JUST so you have something to tear down later.
But it’s everywhere. That kind of writing, that relationship foundation is the norm out there. That is the most prevalent example you’ll ever see… nobody, but nobody has a stable relationship for long. They all fall apart eventually.
How many incidents of true love, true enduring ‘can’t touch this’ love can you name in comics or television media?
Relationships that lasted, and grew, and no matter what bullshit went on around them, just stayed strong because no matter what else, the two people loved each other and trusted each other, and no lazy writer came along and decided to shatter that trust by writing in a bullshit cheating or lying or deceiving moment?
Now… of those loves… how many were ended by the death of one or the other to provide some good old fashioned grief or revenge?
Don’t you think that such a relationship, depicted in fiction, and left alone to just keep going is a rare enough thing that it makes for an interesting story concept on it’s own?
Ahh, but it’s almost never done… so, for lazy writers, you’ve got to actually WORK to keep it interesting, don’t you? Nothing much to copy out there, is there?
But there was one. call it what you will, Peter and MJ finally had a strong, enduring relationship and marriage together.
And along came Joe Quesada, who saw nothing worth saving, nothing of value, in the enduring love of Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson. Just tear it down, that stuff doesn’t make for gripping drama.
Hey Joe? Yeah, for that, and that alone, kiss my ass.
You know what I thought when I read that issue? The One More Day/Brand New Day arc?
I thought of the death of one other enduring, unbreakable love that really pissed me off.
I would be talking about the Willow Rosenberg/Tara Maclay relationship from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Now, episode after episode, once it got going, that was true, unshakeable love. It was hard at times, there were issues, there was some shaky writing in there, and there were moments of real high drama. But the drama was in our expectations… the episode where Tara’s got a group of, umm, ‘people’ who come to try and bring her back to their, umm, ‘home’ with them, in particular, was one of the most intensely worrying ones, because it really looked like there was an intentional storyarc building to show that Tara’s love and trust was a deception after all. The drama from that one came from the way you just can’t trust a storywriter to NOT write in a bullshit twist to cause a TV relationship to fall apart.
But no, that was a romance and a relationship that made me cheer what I hoped was a new age in TV writing. Writers daring to show a strong, trusting relationship that didn’t get betrayed by one damn thing or another, or by some stupid misunderstanding that could have been worked through if there was actual trust between the two. Damnit, I would have loved to have seen those two get married on top of a sealed Hellmouth as the series ending.
I’m not going to belabor the way that relationship ended. Aside from noting that, and I am not exaggerating, that moment, that exact moment when the relationship died in the backyard of their house stands out as one of the few moments in my life where I was truly pissed off and livid at a television show.
I mean, ‘choke the living shit out of the writer if he was in front of me’ livid.
But, that’s where they took it, and I guess a lot of people agreed it was a good direction to take the story, so whatever.
I’ve got a big middle finger for how they did it because i wanted it to keep going… but then again, if they started by wanting to get to ‘Dark Willow”, and were trying to find a way to do it, I’d rather they did what they did than that they cause some form of deception or failure of trust or messy bullshit breakup be the reason.
IF they really wanted to get to Dark Willow and were looking for a way while still treating their relationship with repsect, that is. And that’s what I think happened there. They wanted to get to a Dark Willow story arc, and wanted to find a way to do it while treating Willow’s relationship with Tara with respect.
Joe Quesada, from what I saw while reading those comics, simply wanted to destroy the marriage. He didn’t treat it with any respect, he treated it as something to shitcan for expedience in the name of a series reboot and as an attempt to boost sales.
Seriously, I honestly think that if I want to see a long lasting, enduring romantic relationship that withstands the test of time, two people that never lose faith in each other come what may, I’m going to have to write it myself.
Ahem… one shot movies like the Princess Bride, and Romeo and Juliet, don’t count. And R & J [spoiler] both die at the end, which cuts down on the recurring episode market for that one.
You know, even the most powerful on-screen recurring relationship I can think of, Beauty and the Beast, couldn’t maintain it without destroying it eventually in the name of ratings.
You’d think they could, considering the structure of the show… and if you stop watching after season two, and DO NOT WATCH season three, you can retain your blissful ignorance of any eventual tragedy, and prefer to believe, like I do, that Catherine and Vincent remain forever in love, sharing their lives in the Tunnels Below with their family.
Ahh, I miss that show, damnit.
Anyway, in the name of shining examples of actual, enduring love and trust and mutual respect, Joe Quesada, this middle finger’s for you!
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