Complacency is a killer

We’re still early days into the expansion, and I’ve learned a very valuable lesson.

I was lucky enough to be in the beta, and I spent most of my time on the Horde side, because I didn’t want to spoil the Alliance storyline.

This morning was hilarious. And frustrating!

On the Alliance side, I’ve been taking the completist approach. I’m poking my nose in all the nooks and crannies, looking for quests, rares, ore and timber for my Lumber Mill, neat caves, whatever I might find.

I know I need to get to max level so I can begin preparing for the first raid to be on track with my team. At the same time, this is my main, and I want to get ALL the things in the world. So many quest chains result in Followers that I really do have the perfect incentive to do everything there is to do. If there will be a mount, toy, pet or Follower at the end of it, I will be there, and grateful for the experience.

What is it about the Pets, Followers and Mounts that are so much different from normal quest rewards? Is it that those items are good and fun forever, regardless of your level or zone? Cloth shoulders may come and weapon upgrades may go, but having a cute whelpling follow you around can last a lifetime.

This weekend my family is celebrating Thanksgiving a few weeks earlier than usual, so today was going to be a short start. I had enough time to do what will certainly become our new game routine; log in, collect Work Order Shipments, set new work orders in action, collect missions and send my Followers out, collect ore from the mine, find those damn buried slippers, gather up the accumulated Garrison Resources from the crates, and then check my stock on materials. A little low on Timber? Time to head out on a mining, timber and rare run!

I wandered out of the Garrison and started riding around some of the areas I’ve found small Timber to be growing in the past, getting Timber stockpiled so I’m not always worried about it while questing in the world. You can have up to 250 so might as well stock up, right?

My travels running around enjoying the morning took me eventually to a place just to the southeast of the Burial Fields, over near the river.

There, I spotted a skull on my minimap meaning there was a rare I hadn’t yet killed.

Sounds like fun!

Now, this was within minutes of the servers coming back up, and they came up hours before the stated time, so gamer populations were scarce. Comparatively, anyway.

I had this guy all to myself.

His name?

Yggdrel, a big ass ancient tree dude.


Looked pretty cool, had him all to myself, and it’s a lovely morning. Let’s get some Timber!

I ran in, and a few seconds later I was dead.

Wait, what the bloody heck was that what?

How the?

Okay, that was surprising. Oh, right, I bet I had no food, no buffs, no pet, I bet I even let the Grimoire of Sacrifice buff fall off, tooling around like I was invincible and stuff.

Well, see, that’s because I’ve felt just that. Throughout Shadowmoon Valley questing and rares, I’ve felt invincible. Unstoppable. What’s that? A wanted poster in the Draakorium, go kill some cute beastie, recommended three people or you get your ass stomped?

Lolright. I got this. No sweat.

I’m fully raid geared. This is my main, I’m iLevel 586 and I’m used to smoking those poor mounties that get in my way. Rawr Bear! Sure, ALL of my alts are gonna be having a challenging time of it when it’s their turn to come this way, but this is MY MAIN.

When you see me coming, just fall down and show your belly, boy. The Alpha is in town.

All right. So I died. It was just a fluke.

Summon my pet, kill him to enhance my calm (and boost those numbers, right?), eat some food, cast a buff. All right, let’s do this.

Wham, wham, there he wait, entangling what? WHAT? The FARM TENTACLES?!?! NOOOOOOO!!!!!!


Okay, that’s just embarrassing.

Shit just got really real. Monstre hears about this, I’ll never live it down. Fucking tree takes my ass out? Like hell.

Resurrect, buff, tank pet OUT and upgraded, flasks, food, um… right.

Okay, let’s kick this pig.

Okay, pets in, looking good, tentacle cast and grabs me, send the pet at it and burn it down, good, taking a lot of damage but I can do this, I can do this, pop DPS cooldowns, pop 10 minute demonspawn, get in there and WTF HE CHAIN CASTS THE TENTACLE WTF OVER.

I fought my way through 3 tentacles before dying again.

Okay, this is getting silly. I’m better than this. Right? Hmmm.

I better be better than this, or I’m in trouble.

Hmm… Soulstones are a thing, right? Yeah. I coulda done soulstones.

Okay, this time I’m awake. All those other times I wasn’t really freaking AWAKE, you know? But this shit, this is going down. I am not just wandering off with a branch shoved up my ass crying that the big bad tree did mean things to me. Oh, HELL no.

We’re going all in.

Buff, food, flasks, the goddamn Soulstone, and you know what?


I’m calling in close fire support. I’m breaking out the Alliance Garrison peeps that are supposed to give me a hand.

I haven’t ever used them before, but I made a Barracks and they gave me this nifty Alliance banner button and told me, when you get in a pinch, who you gonna call? GARRISON BUSTERS.

Fine, I’m gonna pop mah peeps on him, too. Who knows, maybe they will do that extra 5% damage I needed to kill this sucker.

That’s it, all out, going in, pet take that aggro and you hold it, you hear me you best be holding that aggro or I’m gonna summon you and kill you over and over until you think this is Edge of Tomorrow level shit.

All righty. Got it good and stuck in? Entangling Vine cast going out?


And do you know, damned if that tentacle didn’t go after one of the Alliance guys instead of me?

Isn’t that just amazing? Using the Alliance garrison puppies in battle meant there were other targets to get grabbed.

Well, that felt like cheesing the damn fight. Tree fall down go boom.

I’ll tell you something, THAT kind of fight will sure enough wake you up in the morning, just holy crap.

Damn, was that fun! Was it?

HELL YES it was fun, that was just what I needed to cap my enjoyment of the entire zone before moving my thoughts on to taking on the new challenges of Gorgrond.

And as with all rares, there was a reward.

This one was extra cute, because it gave me a new Toy.

The Ancient’s Bloom!


Rawr look at me I’m a tree!

Now I can be a tree whenever I like… as long as I don’t want to walk around anywhere.

Whatever else anyone may have to say about the expansion or the release, it really all comes down to, will it be fun to play.

For me, the answer is a yes, it’s everything I could have wanted in an expansion.

Shadowmoon Valley is my kind of beautiful fantasy zone, and I’m delighted that my long term vacation home is right there in the middle of it.

I know the Vale was supposed to be the pretty ‘look at this place’ thing, but I’m not a creature of sun-drenched fields and sun-dappled hills.

I’m all about the purples and the greens, the shadows and the calm of twilight settling through the clouds. Shadowmoon is the place I want to be.

I know things with the game launch have been very difficult and frustrating for a lot of people, and that sucks. It’s the opposite of what a new game should be, a celebration of all that we love in WoW.

But please, remember, this too shall pass, and in less time than it would take to farm a new mount with 100 Champion’s Seals in the Argent Tournament, all this crazy will be behind us and fading from our memory as we dig deeper into a great new expansion.

Doesn’t help any when you’re the one pissed off, but it WILL get better. And once the technical issues fall away, the prize is well worth the effort.

I think you’re going to like it here.

Just… watch out for those fucking trees.

Confessions of an Inveterate Bouncer

Once upon a time in a magical, far off land there was a bear.

The bear liked to growl and dance, and talk, and eat heaping piles of bacon.

But above all else, the bear liked to bounce.

From dragons and dungeons to instances and invasions, his big brown butt could be seen happily bouncing to the beat of nations.

Times change, talents were added, tweaked, moved and were lost, but the bounce went on.

Damage was mitigated, reduced, dodged and avoided, but the bounce went on.

Finally there came a day when mitigation became active, and something had to give. The bear could either be bouncy or be beat on, but not both at once.

With sadness, the big brown bear realized that if he gave himself over to being the most active, properly defensive bear he should be, he would have nothing left over to bounce with.

The bear felt his world turning quite gray and cold. Bearing on the bounce was what prevented feeling old.

“A bear without bounce, that just will not do! Oh bother,” the bear thought, “bouncing has gotten too hard to do! Perhaps it’s time to leave tanking for the fast-fingered crew.”

The bear settled down and his days turned quite slow, for he had no more oomph and no particular place to go. He rested in his tree and ate bacon all day, and wondered through the hours what new games he should play.

“I loved being a bear and bouncing all day, and swiping my paws in the enemies’ face. I wonder what’s out there, what else I could do to bring the good times bouncing back with a good swipe or two.”

The bear looked around, and read through the lists, of character creation and leveling kits. Monks and Pandaren, Priests and Paladins too, so many options to choose from but none that ring true!

But wait, what am I thinking, the choice is quite clear! It’s a pandaren hunter that can bounce it’s butt near. I’ll grab a big gun and have a funky dance, and when it comes to bouncing just watch that groovy ass!

Off the bear went, and felt his soul on the mend as he hunted Isle mogu with his dinosaur friend. Growls and stomping, leaps and chomping and a fat feast of feathers flew, the feral spirit was returning with a bear bouncing through.

The hunter tried raiding while shaking his fluff, and bouncing around goofily soloing stuff. The Island of Thunder got smacked with a bow and a gun shoved quite rudely where no gun should go.

It just wasn’t the same, some essential something was missed. Did he make the wrong choice in the character class list? The bear felt himself sitting in front of the screen, wondering “Should I keep logging on in, or start shopping on Steam?”

He didn’t know what to do, was his time over in WoW? If there was no more joy, stick a fork in it now.

He finally decided to make no sudden rash moves. “My father procrastinated, I’m going to too! Why act right away to decide what to do? I’ll putter and potter and mutter and ramble, and mess with some alts while I chat and I scramble. In time I’ll find out if the magic’s all gone, or if theres still some fat spark lurking deep in the wand.”

The bear played with his Pally, his Warrior and Priest, but though they were okay none of them bounced like a beast. The paladin felt clunky, the warrior lacked range, and the priest looked all awesome but couldn’t move worth a damn.

Then he tried something new, something he’d always abhored; he rolled a slimy warlock (but at least it wasn’t a Horde).

The Warlock seemed crappy, it had pets without style, everyone summoned the same with random names from a file. If you’re going to have pets, at the very little least you could let us enslave them for a variety of treats!

Why isn’t this Warlock the same as the Hunter I know, but with red and green fire and a staff not a bow? I want it all different, but also the same, because I want it new but still different, yes I’m completely insane.

Why not give it a chance, why not try out the specs, see what demonology is like, I hear it’s a tank with a pet.

I tried all the specs out, and was flabbergasted to see that the more that I played it, the more it was ME!

The warlock could leap and could bounce and could hop, all while spitting red fire and sending pets out to chomp.

Demonology meant you could leap forward quite far, be tough as a tank and chew bad guys like sharks. You grew giant bat wings and great honking horns, and the ground at your feet swirled with purple arcane forms.

Affliction meant you were a poisonous beast, and it was everything I hated in my original priest. I didn’t want to drop DoTs on a bunch of bad guys, and sit watching as they took forever to die.

Then someone suggested I give destruction a try if I wanted to bounce and tear around on the fly. “You get to rain fire and dance all about, lords a leaping and chasing and shooting green dragons up the snout.”

I gave it a try, it all seemed pretty cool, but I’m a bear in my heart and this warlock felt crude. I’m not about evil cackles and eating your soul, a chomp on some bacon’s as far as I’ll go.

I know it’s all fun and I’m having a blast, but do I really want to play some evil asshole in a mask?

Turns out yes I do, I just pretend I’m not evil, the fire is quite nice and doesn’t REALLY burn people. I’m a sleek deadly warlock that destroys all evil in sight, I like long walks on the beach, provided there is a warbringer to fight.

Yes, I know it’s not proper that a bear turns to fire, but the DESTRUCTION LETS ME BOUNCE WHILE I SET THING ALIGHT!

I can fire and torch baddies from morning til noon, and all the while bounce like a big fricken loon.

The pet thing turned out to be fine in the end, there is something reassuring about a dedicated tank friend. When my blueberry is out I know right away that it’s tanking he’s doing, I don’t have to respec a thing. If I want to shoot fire I whip out the imp, and when it’s time to turn freaky I bring out the whip.

The more I wanted to hate it the more my love grew, this Warlock all bouncing and in sweet evil clothes.

Now I spend all my time in the game like I should, bouncing around having fun like a happy bear could.

I may be purple and green and throw red fire about, I have a blueberry for a pet and scare things when I shout, but I can solo warbringers and kill DeGei with a portal and I can bounce all I want while I rain fire upon you.

I know it’s not proper for a bouncing bear butt to say, but in the heart of a warlock I found a reason to stay.

Some Things Defy Description

This ain’t one of those things.

I’ve mentioned briefly that my son loves his Worgen Warlock, Wooffie.

Perhaps I should say that he loves the appearance and the idea of Wooffie. Wooffie looks amazing. Big old evil Worgen Warlock.

I’ve been playing Wooffie a lot, lately.

What can I tell you? I loved my Warlock so much that once I’d taken her as far as I could possibly go, I wanted more Warlock goodness. So, I stole his and leveled and now I’m gearing.

The big shock to me is how much difference Haste makes to fun. Nothing says fun quite like massive loads of haste in your Incinerate casts. Flipping from my Warlock to my sons and back again in combat drives me to consider throwing all weighting models out the window in favor of stacking haste. Screw DPS results, I want to click buttons faster.

But I digress.

If someone ever writes the story of my life and where it went so laughably wrong, they should call it “But I Digress”.

Who am I kidding. It would be called Bearwall. And now that I consider it, that shall be the name of my next fantasy novel. Make it so.

So, Wooffie, Worgen and Warlocks.

He has two transmogs he loves, the Voidheart and the Corrupter Tier set from SSC. They mostly come out of SSC. Mostly.

I like that red set too, which is why I sport it exclusively on my own Warlock. But Wooffie has taken it a step beyond, and then some.

As I’ve been gearing, the Cub logs in to check it out, test things and see how he plays. One of his favorite things is to mount up and see what the red Fire and Brimstone effect does to various mounts.

The other thing he does is test what the items he’s getting look like un-transmogged.

Imagine my surprise when I log in and see that he has removed the transmog on a couple of pieces of new gear, leaving an appearance that blew me away.

My friends, I present to you the new Playable Race for World of Warcraft, the Sha-touched.




He removed the transmog from the Tier 14 Sha-Skin Regalia normal helm and LFR gloves, and left all the rest of his set alone. With the beastly Worgen stance, he looks like some Sha-touched creature dressed like a Warlock, as if some spell into the nether went horribly wrong.

God, I love this look. I don’t even know if swapping for the normal gloves or the LFR helm would improve it, somehow the reddish helm with the blue gloves just work, even though they’re from different difficulty sets.

I don’t know if you’ve seen this helm, but it has living effects, the jaws open and close, breath comes out, twitches. It’s just like having a different head on your body.

This is the kind of thing that makes me finally look at transmog as something other than a way to have your character wear a full set as Blizzard intended.

I have to ask, what kinds of mixed sets do you have that you love? Is there a special blend of mountain-grown Warlock stuffs that you just adore? Is there something that works better for your race than anything else?

Oh, and by the way… here are a few pics of his favorite Fire and Brimstone mounts.

First, the Heart of the Aspects.


And then, because Alex wanted to make sure you knew that if you were riding the Heart of the Aspects underwater it turned into a sea serpent;


Then the Sandstone Drake… or, as Alex put it, the Bloodstone Drake;


And finally…. the one Alex was most adamant I take a screenshot of. The Abyssal Seahorse. Blood in the Water? Yikes!


I Can’t Do It All!

I’m back from vacation with a burning desire to do ALL the things, and there just aren’t enough hours in the day!

This latest patch had so much awesome in it for Hunters and Warlocks, it’s hard to pick who to do what with.

Yeah, you know me. I’m trying to do it all with both. Ain’t gonna happen.

My Hunter Beartrap is a very happy Dinolord, running around with his buddy Barry. Such a joy to play. I really want to just hug him and squeeze him and kill things with him all night long.

Then there is my Warlock, who… well, I have a limerick to describe where my Warlock is at.

There once was a Warlock called Buttflame
whose gases were the source of his name.
Chilis that made him perspire
let him cut loose with red fire.
The thought of GREEN made him fear insane pain!

I think anything worth saying is worth turning into horrible doggerel.

I bought a jar of special jalapeno salsa in honor of my Warlock and the quest for green fire. Every day that passes that my Warlock doesn’t get the Sealed Tome, I have to eat some chips and green salsa.

This better not take too long or there’s gonna be more than one Buttflame running around here.

In other news, the Sealed Tome can only be looted by Warlocks from the rares on the Isle of Thunder… but they’re not BoP. A Warlock who already has one can loot another, and then give it to a friend… or put it up on the Auction House.  There were two up on my servers’ Alliance AH last night for 40k buyouts each. If I had mad money, I woulda bought one.

Remember the true formula of worth is money = time. You can always spend time to farm something yourself, but at some point you’ll find that your time is worth a certain amount of gold… and you’d rather spend the gold than spend the time.

I ain’t there yet.

If I had to get the tag on a rare, it would be a different story.

The rares on the Isle of Thunder are awesome. You don’t have to be grouped with someone who tagged it, you don’t have to be the same faction as the person that tagged it. As long as you join in and go for it trying to kill the boss, when it dies you can loot it.

Now, I know this still isn’t perfect. Every additional person that tags a rare causes it to increase it’s total health pool by 50%. So, some griefing is still going on with people running up, hitting a rare once to make it increase health, and then standing back and /popcorning. Dicks.

But it does mean that if you run up and you really want to kill it and loot it, by God it doesn’t matter what the composition of forces or if it’s Horde or Alliance, just wade in and fight.

And try to watch for more people who are flagging PvP so AoEs flag you and make you a target. Again, dicks.

I’ve killed a lot of rares on my Warlock this last weekend, at least 15 kills, and it’s been fun. I’m not even sad that I didn’t get a Sealed Tome drop, I’m probably not skilled enough to finish the warlock chain if I got one anyway, lol. It was fun just to run up and let loose on the Haywire Construct or Mumta. Mum-Ra? Whatever. And each rare kill, every single one, gives you a Tome drop that is worth an instant 15 valor points. Tasty. :)

Anyway, circling back around, there are just an amazing list of things that can be done this patch, and I want to do them all, on two characters. No way. Uh uh, not happening.

What I’ve decided I can do is to run the Throne of Thunder LFR on both characters each week. Then I can run Terrace on my Warlock. And I can try to do dailies on both each day.

Yeah, that’s about it. That’s probably too much, really. I know that I alternated doing dailies this last weekend, one day for my Warlock, the other for my hunter. It’s not that there are LOTS of dailies, it’s just that I’m having fun instead of blitzing ’em.

Oh yeah, and I was fortunate enough to get one of those Loot Run Scenario keys on both characters. First run, disaster. I watched a few videos, but I underestimated the power of the trash mobs in the second room.

The second run I did, I focused on scouring the perimeter of the first room from the ledge, and looking into all the nooks and crannies and walked away with four big boxes, two keys and 14 Elder Charms. Since my Warlock didn’t have any Elder Charms to start, that was very welcome for the Terrace run that followed.

So I know what I’ll be doing, but what won’t I be doing that I’d like to?

I’d love to kill Oondasta on my server. I helped a friend kill him on another server, and it was a white carpet skeleton ride. It would be great to do it for real, where I could get loot. Why won’t it happen? Well, I have too much stuff to do to park on Isle of Giants and hope to be there when it spawns. I’ve got stuff to do in the playtime I have, I can’t just sit there.

I’d love to go look for the new rares in Pandaria that can drop a dino mount, but I don’t really NEED a dino mount, and other people really want them, so I don’t want to compete with them and steal their potential kills. It’s enough for me to know I will get a Golden Dino for sure once I’m exalted with my Kirin Tor Offense faction.

Hell, I’d love to just spend more time exploring the Isle of Giants, but with all the action being on the Isle of Thunder, I can’t find the time to get out there. Definitely something I’ll be trying to get to, once the Thunder dailies are all maxed and the stages are complete.

It’s amazing, even daunting to think how much stuff there is to do right now, and then consider that we haven’t even unlocked all of the Throne of Thunder on LFR, or all of the stages of the island. There are still world bosses we have yet to see.

Simply amazing.

I know I feel overwhelmed, but I’ve got my goals down to a bite-sized piece of Pandaria, so it’s not too bad. I just have to hope something else new and shiny doesn’t get released before I’m caught up with the core fun stuff, right?

Oh, and lets not talk about the new Legendary pet battles. Time, time… ask me for anything but time!

So, now that I’m back, please tell me… what have you been enjoying the most since the patch hit? What are your priorities?

It’s a Rental

The big news this week is that I managed to qualify for and run all of heart of Fear and Terrace LFR on Monday, before the reset, thereby getting a bonus chance.

How that happened? Ah, therein lies a tale.

When my Warlock reached level 90, it didn’t take long to get iLevel 460, which grants access to the first range of LFR; Mogushan Vaults.

That was great, and I even got a belt upgrade on my first full run, but it’s a long road from there to 470, the threshold for Heart of Fear and Terrace of the Endless Spring… you know, where the GOOD shit is.

I spent much of my play time for the week running heroics and doing Operation: Shieldwall dailies, but when Monday night rolled around I was still a few iLevels shy of that blessed 470.

A bunch of great guildies were willing to do some Heart of Fear LFR with me that night, if I could just get over the hump… so I pulled the trigger and bought an iLevel 489 Valor Point cloak.

That did the trick, and off we went.

So, what do you think dropped during the run through Heart of Fear?

That’s right, of course… a cloak. An iLevel 483 cloak, and good lord, what are the odds. Right? Well, there went some good Valor Points, used at full face value instead of after the half-priced sale, pissed right down the drain. Should have bought a ring instead. Oh damn, I could have bought an Operation: Shieldwall 496 ring, the Shieldwall stuff didn’t show up on the universal Valor point vendor list at the Ox Temple so it didn’t even occur to me. Ugh, what a dumbass!

But wait… is it possible?

Maybe, just maybe, I has me an idea.

When you buy items from the Valor Point vendors, the items come with a built in timer, telling you that if you were to sell back the item to a vendor within 2 hours of the time of purchase, you’ll get yourself a full refund.

That run was about an hour long… but I used it hard in that raid. You don’t think…

I approached the vendor, and I imagine the conversation went something like this.

“Hey, how’s it going? Remember me?”

“Yes, I do. You were the one with the large purple horns and glowing circle under your feet reminiscent of the most foul of sha energies. How could I possibly forget.”

“Um, yeah, right… right. Hey, you remember that cloak you sold me? The one you said I could return within two hours if I wasn’t completely satisfied? Yeah, I’d like to return that.”

“I see. Do you mind if I ask what was wrong with the cloak? Was the fit a tad off? Were the spells not up to snuff?”

“Oh, no… no. Nothing like that. Perfectly fine cloak, nice thread count, good stuff. I just found something I liked a little better, that’s all, more in line with, um. You know, my budget sort of thing.”

“Ah. Of course, I understand. Looking at your current attire, I should have known. Let me just take that off your… wait. What is that? Is that a stain?”

“What?!? Oh no, it couldn’t be…”

“It is, isn’t it! And that’s blood! And those are black sha energies dripping from the fabric, do you have any idea how hard those are to get out? You have to Martinize. You fought Empress Shek’zeer wearing this cloak, didn’t you?”

“No, of course not. I’d never wear something once and then return it, not me!”

“Uf course, of course. And what do you call this, then?” [holds up a corner of the cloak, from which dangles a broken off mandible, piercing the hem and dripping green gore].

Accessories. Haven’t you heard of swatches? It’s foreign. Ups the value, very trendy. Straight edge all the way.”

“Sigh. Very well. Take your Valor Points and go, and don’t let your shade darken my door anytime soon.”

“Hey, thanks, you’re swell!”

“See you next patch!”


Shut Up About Warlocks Already!

I know, I know. I’m accused of having a crush on Warlocks.

It’s what I’m doing most right now. I’d talk about my Hunter, but aside from raid night on Friday, where we entered Terrace of the Endless Spring normal for the first time and successfully downed the first boss fight, I haven’t been on my Hunter much.

Until 5.2 comes out, I’m pretty cool on my Hunter. That’s what’s giving me the freedom to do other weird shit.

So, a new Warlock update.

I have apparently gushed enough that now Cassie is trying one as well. She’s up to level 32, Demonology with Dark Apotheosis. The hardest part for her? Trying to find someplace to level that she’s not sick of.

I don’t care how great a game is, there is an upper limit on how many times we can play the same stuff. Azeroth, even with the revamp, well… I think we’ve milked that tauren dry. And Outlands lies like a big turd right in the middle of questing progression.

‘Nuff said about that.

I was Valor capped on my Warlock by Friday. Then I ran heroics and did dailies all weekend anyway. I ran heroics even though I wasn’t getting anymore Valor Points at all. Yeah, I know.

It feels really strange to be running dailies and heroics just because, hey, it’s fun. It feels wrong. I’m supposed to have to be bribed to do stuffs with strangers.

I know I’ve been sidetracked by Destruction and chain running heroics, but what did I say my whole point with the Warlock was going to be?

Oh yeah… soloing old raids!

I fired up that Demonology spec, trained the Mannoroth Talent for +500% AoE range, and went into Molten Core.

Molten Core was cleared ridiculously easy. The hounds especially, I ran through all the packs and popped Hellfire for a complete burn. All packs dead, none bursting back to life.

I didn’t get a single piece of Warlock tier on the run, but I did get two of the pets to cage and send to Cassie. Which I just realized I haven’t done yet, I was distracted at the mailbox by a heroic queue popping.

Um. Right, note to self, remember to cage new pets before queuing tonight.

After Molten Core, and I was in the area anyway… why not go do Blackwing Lair?

Really, why not? What’s the worst that can happen? So I fail to get past the first boss, Razorgore the Untamed, that would be nothing new.

I spent about four hours on it one night about a month back, on both my Druid and on my Hunter trying to get past the first boss. I wasn’t able to swing it. I just couldn’t get all the eggs destroyed before the adds killed my mind-controlled Dragonkin.

I tried timing it, 30 seconds controlling, 20 seconds add clearing, controlling again…

I got close a few times, but just couldn’t close escrow on the bastard.

I felt like a failure, to tell the truth. Other people seem to have no problems soloing the first boss in Blackwing Lair, it’s ‘just tricky’.

Well, I wasn’t getting the trick. I could kill the adds easy enough, I just couldn’t kill the adds AND keep the boss alive until all the eggs were destroyed.

I even tried Spirit Beast healing the boss on my Hunter. Couldn’t get that to work right either.

I felt pretty dispirited about the whole thing at the time, I’d like to farm pets in there to give to Cassie and Alex. And gear from there looks so, so sweet.

So, enter the Warlock.

After getting my UBRS attunement so I could get into Blackwing Lair via the Orb whenever I wanted, I stood there, hands on hips, and made sure I was prepared.

Mannoroth Talent all trained for maximum AoE range? Check.

Demonology aspect up? Check.

Dark Apotheosis on for maximum survivability while being pounded on by adds? Check.

Improved Drain Life tier 1 Talent? Check. :)

Glyph of Sacrifice for more personal AoE DPS? Oh, heck yes. Check.

Soulstone? No, I did not have a Soulstone, I’m a moron. I started it without one.

All right, let’s kick this pig.

Cassie walked up when I was about 30 seconds into the pull, and she mocked me for trying it on my Warlock solo. She knows how bad I sucked at this the first time around on my Druid and Hunter. And my Warlock, while fun, has nowhere near the gear my Hunter does.

She started out laughing at my impending doom, but her chuckles fell into silence as the fight went on.

Here is how it went.

The Warlock in Dark Apotheosis puts out enhanced threat. Hellfire with the Mannoroth talent puts out an insane ring of AoE fire, and the meteors spawned by Hand of Gul’dan are pretty impressive, too.

I took control of Razorgore, and the mechanic let me stay in Dark Apotheosis form. Sometimes, some mechanics kick you out of forms, this mind control did not.

As adds came in, they would take one or two shots at my mind controlled Razorgore, but then they’d lose interest and come running to my character on the platform. The increased threat was working.

I worked my way down one side of the room, destroying eggs, until Razorgore was close to the far platform, then dropped mind control and popped Hellfire and a few meteors.

All the adds died instantly, and I went back to controlling.

It was just that simple. Easy, no muss, no fuss, I finished the encounter with Razorgore never dropping below half health the entire fight, and the adds for the most part ignored Razorgore in favor of eating my Warlock.

How did my Warlock stand up to the pounding of all those adds?

My health bar barely twitched. I could have stood there forever, if all we were worried about was health. The spell and physical damage reductions of Dark Apotheosis, plus the high health levels really make a difference.

Victory on my very first try! And the pet dropped, WOOT!

Cassie just shook her head in sadness. I think she said something like “that’s just wrong” before she left the room.

What? If killing all the things with fire is wrong, I don’t wanna be right!

I then proceeded directly to Vaelastrasz the Corrupt, who killed my ass stone dead.

Wait, what?

Oh, Burning Adrenaline kills suckers dead as roadkill in a cookpot. Percentage based, not flat health value. Whoops! Better deeps harder.

Dead again. Aha! I has a Soulstone! Whoops, dead times three! Soulstone means die faster!

Okay, maybe I need my pet out.

Dead again.

Umm… maybe in a more boomy spec?

Destruction spec activated, captain… ah NOW Vaelastrasz is dead… quick, loot the body! And then dead again.

Sigh. Okay, I’m an engineer… Jeeves up!

Okay, next boss… oh shit, those pillars of stupid slowing.

Oooh… Demonic Leap, a Demonology ability, WORKS! Leapfrogging through the slows, mua ha ha ha… and AoE ALL the whelps!

Hah ha ha, screw you guys! Revenge!

Okay, now to the room where I can get some Elementium Ore off the Blackwing Technicians if I’m lucky… I’m even a Miner, I can learn to smelt Elementium. Just because.

Wow, this Blackwing Spellbinder is kicking my ass. What is he, he’s just some add, wtf… huh, he’s still at full health.

Wow, he just won’t go down, what the unholy fuck… wait, is this guy immune to ALL MAGIC?

Shit, what have I got that ain’t magic…

Well, I guess let’s try smacking him in the face with my staff.

Oh my god, he IS immune to magic. I have to smack him in the face with a stick. I wish I had a fishing pole to equip, if I’m going to derp it up this bad, I should really do it up right.

Wait… what the hell is wrong with me, I have PETS, damnit. I’m a Demonology Warlock, I can haz Felguard and AoE bladestorm.

Ahhh…. THERE we go. Punk ass Spellbinder.

Just in time to pull my head out of my butt, the next room is full of Spellbinders, and yay. Felguard for the win! If I would have had to auto-attack with my staff to kill them all, I would have pulled the cord on my router.

Okay, time to kill Chromaggus… oooh, no problem at all. I wonder why I remember it as being important to have that dust of time stuff? I don’t have any bronze debuff… oh shit, I have 10 minute long WHAT debuffs? Oops.

Well, shoot. Now I’m taking fire damage, losing mana, have healing reduced by half and slowed casting time for the next ten minutes.

Screw it, pull Nefarion anyway, I’ve got some friends that are willing to chain run some heroics, I don’t have time for this. How bad could it be?

Yes, I said “How bad could it be”.

The answer? I was punished appropriately.

The kill itself was easy as hell, even with all the debuffs. No problems at all.

Then I chain ran heroics with friends for a few hours and didn’t get a single usable drop. Giggity.

Blackwing Lair, done. And of course, me being me, the one boss I expected to be a problem was easy, it was everything else that kept killing me.

Lessons learned. Next step, me and my Felguard soloing AQ 40.

What’s that, Twin Emperors? Did I hear you say one immune to magic, the other immune to physical? I have you covered THIS time.

Oh, and by all means, bring the adds. I like adds. I eat ’em like candy.

And, you know… I’m durable. You gots to be durable. Most ain’t.

‘Locking It Up, Feeling The Burn

My head is still filled with little starbursts of amazement from last night.

I played my ‘Lock, and the experience was completely different. AGAIN!

The Warlock is proving to be the class that is teaching me how many different ways you can do the same thing.

It’s one class, and the foundation is a Warlock channeling fel powers and communing/summoning demons.

Just how different can it be?

Completely different, one Warlock is three different character playstyles all sharing one overall theme.

It’s tripping me out. I mean, Hunters, we got three DPS specs, but still a pet, bang bang, same core shots and shared Focus mechanic, just a little variation in some spells between ’em.

Not Warlocks though, oh no. No, Warlocks have three different DPS specs, each are viable, and each are way different from the others, right down to the core mechanic.

The resources each uses, Burning Embers versus Demonic Fury versus Soul Shards, it’s as different as Mana versus Rage.

But they all do DPS, damnit!

It’s freaking cool. Still blows my mind.

Here’s where I’m at.

I leveled and loved Demonology. The spec uses Demonic Fury, it’s very much like having a Rage mechanic, except unlike the screwed over tanks, Demonology Warlocks have a base minimum Demonic Fury that they get to start with, it refills when they’re out of combat. It would be similar to if Bear Druids always started a fight with 30 Rage in the bar, ready to go.

I know. I KNOW! How bullshit is that? How many years did we ask for something to let Bear tanks get some burst aggro off the bounce on groups, begging for maybe a minimum Rage when out of combat or get some Rage generated by our Feral Charge. Oh, hell no, but Warlocks? Nothing is too good for Warlocks. Troubled by a lack of burst out of the gate? Awww, poor little guy, let’s give you a minimum Demonic Fury level so you don’t get Fury starved. All better? And here’s a lollipop for being such a good boy! Oh yes you were! ‘rubs spiky jaws’.

Still, lovin’ Demonology. Tons of fun, great for questing, lots of toys and survivability and easy to use AoE. At level 90 with the Mannoroth talent that extends the range of your AoE abilities by 500%, it’s ridiculous for blowing through old raids.

I had that talent on for last weeks run through Karazhan, and the ball room right before Moroes was hilarious! Shit, the AoE of my Hellfire, channeled while running around, was damn near as big as the room.

Note to self from questing in the cave for Operation: Shieldwall the next day – bring Tomes of the Clear Mind and take that shit off of there before going into cramped places filled with level 90 mobs next time, dumbass. That goes double for the upgraded Life Drain talent from Tier 1. Holy crap. Talk about a mistake that’ll wake your ass up, light off Hellfire and watch as the entire cave complex fills with flames. SHIT! Try to get a Life Drain going to top off and watch as two different groups of slaves come from both sides.

At which point, your only recourse is to bear down and Deeps Harder. Oh, and wonder why you’re given a Soulstone ability you never freaking use. Is it so you can die and feel like an idiot, both at the same time?

Okay, that’s great. But I did some instance and scenario work, and while I like the Demonology for Scenarios, the DPS output is a little low when in tanking form the whole time, and in instances or raiding I didn’t really LIKE having the Metamorphosis form and Demonic Fury as my resource.

Demonology was doable certainly, and had good points, but at the heart of it it felt like I was playing a Cat Form Druid style that only let me use my cool form in between bouts of normal form casting.

It’s not bad, it’s a feel thing. When I’m kitty Druid DPS, I’m a kitty. Switching in and out of forms is something I stopped liking to do as a kitty a long time ago. I wouldn’t want to have to stand in Night Elf caster form to cast spells to build up Energy, then switch to the fun Kitty part and tear up the boss until I ran out of Energy, and then flip back to caster to build up some more. Not when you’re in caster form more than kitty. And that’s what you do as a Demonology/Metamorphosis Warlock.

So, I asked you folks for suggestions, and was told to try Affliction. “It’s got the best DPS of the three in raids right now.”

A word about that.

I play a Beastmaster Hunter as my main… and it’s supposed to be the best single target Hunter DPS right now.

But I was BM before Pandaria. And before Cataclysm. And before Wrath.

I haven’t changed specs to go with the higher numbers because that’s not why I play a spec or class. I play what I feel to be fun. Right now my chosen playstyle happens to be in phase with the moon, and shining amongst the stars ascendant. Supposedly. The times will change, things will swing, and I’ll still be BM regardless.

Now, I know that there will always be specs that theorycrafting show to have the potential to have higher output than the others.

The question I think we should ask ourselves if we’re going for DPS isn’t “which spec has the highest theorycrafted DPS”, the question should be, “Which spec do *I* perform the best on?”

The answer to that comes not from theorycrafting number-crunching spreadsheets but from actual testing, you on your character on training dummies and on actual bosses, trying to do your best.

If you find the flow of one spec fits your abilities or interests or comfort level better than another, you WILL see a difference in the results. The thing you should look at is not potential, it’s the reality of your results.

Also, maybe when you try to play the ‘flavor’ spec, you’re not doing it quite right, and your actual results won’t match what you’ve been told to expect. You have to try it yourself.

Coming back to Affliction.

I did some reading, set up a second spec, got it all gemmed and reforged and did LFR.

Not just once, but twice.

The results weren’t bad, and I thought there was quite a bit of fun involved. It was interesting to see the effects of quickly putting a passel o’ dots on multiple targets, getting Seeds going all over and generally trying to manage DoT timers when on adds, then switching up the management on single targets.

But it didn’t gel with me. And I didn’t even know it at first. My feelings were clouded with that new class smell.

How I figured it out was when I sat in front of my monitor, knowing I needed lots of gear from Scenarios and Heroics, and I didn’t want to queue. I dreaded queuing. I didn’t want to do it.

I found myself wondering if I could just stay Demonology and get enough valor and drops from Scenarios in tank mode to make up for not queuing in Heroics.

That made me take a mental step back. Why am I dreading Heroics? If I don’t want to run in a Heroic, why run in a raid? It’s the same group thing, just with more peeps and better loots. If Heroics sound sucky and unfun, then what does that mean for raiding?

I evaluated my feelings about this. I’ve done LFR MSV twice now, both halves, and I did a few heroics, and what it comes down to is,  I don’t like the management of adds. Single targets were fine, but not FUN. The DoT management isn’t something that was blowing my skirt up. So, Heroics felt like a chore as Affliction, and I didn’t want to go.

Last night, after reading some more comments left by you fine folks, I decided to try Destruction, see what the other spec looked like. Yes, it’s supposed to be less DPS potential, but how does it feel? What’s it like to play?

Turns out, Destruction lights my fire, baby.

In fact, it lit a fire under my butt so I was having way too much fun, and when Alex saw what I was doing over my shoulder, he insisted I dual spec HIS 82 Warlock and trick it out the same way, with the spells on the bars and stuff, and I left him happily blowing up Training Dummies with flaming green dragon heads from Chaos Bolt.

Last thing he was doing before going to bed, he was in Deepholm questing as Destruction, and all buzzing with glee over blowing stuffs up with fire and showing me the latest neat Destruction thing.

Me, I had a similar experience.

I ran a Scenario as Destruction while queued for a Heroic.

Then I ran a Scenario/Heroic duo again. And again.

I had trouble pulling myself away. I kept doing the same thing, queue for a Heroic then queue for a Scenario to fill the time waiting, and shit, that was the most fun I’ve had playing in months.

I didn’t want to stop running heroics in PuGs. ME. *I* am saying that I didn’t want to stop chain running in Pug Heroics.

I only stopped because it was late, my eyes were pits of burning pain, and I had to get up early to go to the gym before work, we were expecting a snow storm so I had to budget enough time to snowblow the driveway first so we could escape.

What am I looking forward to tonight?

More damn Heroics, hopefully squeezed in before I have to stop and do a boring old raid. What once I looked forward to on my Hunter, now is something standing between me and Destruction Warlock Pug goodness.

I love it. I can’t express quite why, though. Have I gone insane?

There is something about being able to use a Burning Ember to activate a ‘your next attack with be shared among all enemies within 15 yards for x% of the damage’, then drop a Rain of Fire on them, then start lighting something up with instant cast or super-fast cast attacks, and just keep on rolling, rolling on.

It feels fast right out of the gate, no waiting, no warning, I’m blowing shit up off the pull. And after I get cooking, CHAOS BOLT!

Now, sure I know it is supposed to have worse DPS than Affliction, and I’m sure that’s true.

But here are my results, based on my comfort level.

Same exact gear, reforged appropriately for the weighting for each spec, and as Affliction I was sometimes hitting 34k on a single target, more often around 24k – 28k sustained.

As Destruction, I was pulling down 41k reliably, and cackling like a witch one step from the gingerbread house and the oven with the lockable door.

The stress involved in trying to do my best as Affliction was replaced with my delight at blowing shit up, and then seeing good results afterwards.

There is the key difference.

As Affliction, I felt stressed to manage everything properly in order to do my best, but I was doing it to be rewarded with strong performance. I wasn’t doing it for the fun of it. The abilities did not naturally lend themselves to the way I flow, or some shit.

As Destruction, I felt delighted and gleeful at roasting poor fools in heroics, and then I was handed good performance just for showing up and having fun.

So, um. Yeah.

For those who love Affliction, I appreciate your skills, I acknowledge your awesomeness, but you lost me at glowing green dragon heads of doom.

I’ve said it before, and clearly I hold the lesson close to my heart.

There are few problems so large that they can’t be solved by the use of more explosive.