A WoW topic near and dear to my heart

I have an article going live, probably in about 2 minutes (Noon Eastern time on Tuesday) on WoW Insider that concerns something I feel fairly strongly about.

Correction: Someone apparently moved it to 2 PM Eastern time. Don’t ask me why.

Correction to my correction: because Noon is WoW Moviewatch time. I knew that. 

I’d originally written most of it for the blog last week, and then realized it was going to be a loooong topic, with many parts, so I should try and do it more in depth… and geez, where have I been posting big things lately?

So it’s on WoW Insider.

The subject comes down to how we think about preparing to move from five man content, soloing and questing, and into early raiding.

All of us know how much fun it is to play solo through quest chains, most of us have enjoyed getting together with four other people and playing in an instance (at whatever level), and we know how widely our specs, gear and playstyle can vary from others during that kind of play.

There is very little pressure to have certain specs, or knowledge, or unique class skills or gear levels for most of the game.

Once you reach the last few levels, whether it be 68-70 like now, or 78-80 in the future, expectations change… but sometimes it seems the players don’t realize it, especially for their first level 70 character.

And if you are relatively new to the game, why would you be expected to know any of this?

Let me be specific.

As a druid, if I had purchased this game just 4 months ago, had started playing and leveled and had fun, once I reached level 65+ I would know certain things about how I have played while soloing.

If I was adventurous, it’s reasonable to assume that I’d found some people in LFG or the trade channel to join me in occasional instance runs.

But for the most part, the majority of people currently playing the game have been playing for a year or more, even if they started after Burning Crusade was released.

And there are certain assumptions that are made about what people know now, because ‘everyone knows that, duh’.

Can you imagine the fun I’d have trying to join a guild full of know-it-alls now?

It’s as if we are all expected to know everything when we ding 70, and it’s just not true. new players pick up the game all the time, but compared to when I started playing, lower level zones are a wasteland, barren of players except those powerleveling yet another alt to rush to 70.

Yes, there are exceptions, but for the most part, the game now belongs to the 70s, and those trying to hurry up and get there.

And people see this, and, excited to join other people and finally play with the community, they get up to 68+ and look to join an active guild that does lots of neat stuff.

And the people in that guild, having been there for a while, have certain expectations of how you can play your own class that you just might not be aware of.

Like how to manage aggro. Or what neat little abilites your class has that you haven’t needed to use (like me and Mind Control on my priest), Or what you should do to prepare yourself before expecting to go on raids with your guild. 

Or how to be part of a team, and let everyone have a chance to use their abilites to help everything run smoothly, rather than be a hot dog wonderboy.

I’ve had quite a few new feral druids email me various questions, and I make a note of the things people are curious about.

Questions from people that are eager to get in and play a feral Druid in Karazhan, but are afraid of making a mistake, or don’t understand how to be a useful part of a team if they don’t have great gear yet, or simply wonder how they are to get into a Kara group as a feral druid if the party already has a good tank.

And once they’re in there, what should they do?

I’m hoping to answer a lot of these kind of questions, by writing a series of articles dealing specifically with tips and advice I would have to give a newly rising feral druid that wants to be ready to go into Karazhan, and wants to know what different things he has to offer the group besides just tank and spank once in there.

I hope you enjoy the first part, which covers everything prior to going in, and I invite your suggestions for your own tips and tricks for specific bosses and trash mobs, in the hopes that the final articles will be as complete as I can make them.

17 thoughts on “A WoW topic near and dear to my heart

  1. I am slowly working my way to 70, and I know that once I hit it, I will be making many newbish mistakes. But everyone has to make them at some point or another. However I try to read about end-game as much as possible, and even if it only stops me from making one or two mistakes, it was worth it.


  2. I too only started playing recently and and have experienced the game exactly as you described. I’ve also been completed amazed and more than a little overwhelmed by the sheer amount of research this game requires in order to meet people’s expectation once you reach 70. I never worked this hard in my job nor school (long time ago). I think that I’ve done WoW 101, and 201 but I’m still not done learning.

    Sometimes I wonder why exactly I am working this hard and if it makes sense to expend all this energy on a game. I also long for the easy days of leveling where my greatest gear worry was that thing didn’t match.

    WoW is really two (3 if you considering pvp) very different games, and I think that Wow 101 ill prepares you for Wow 102. This was probably unavoidable as designers tweaked the end game for a user base that was getting increasingly better at “winning” their planned encounters


  3. Yeah, your Kitty DPS guide has been beneficial as well.

    Go ahead and give “How I WoW” a listen if you have time. People seem to like it, which still surprises me. 🙂 If we can get the timing figured out Turpster will be our next guest.


  4. My first toon to 70 – a warlock – was leveled largely outside instances. My second toon to 70 was a druid, and I had a completely different mindset – doing research, using BBB’s pre-Kara gear list etc – and I’ve had a lot of fun before burning out on failed heroics attempts (Kara is easy in comparison in my experience). This one I leveled outside of instances too, with the mindset that “it begins at 70”.

    My third toon on its way to 70 is a priest (currently lvl 62), been leveling as holy and more or less constantly in instances (healed everything from RFC to Auchenai Crypts – personal best was healing Slave Pens at 59, ye gods I was sweating bullets…). My theory is that leveling a holy priest this way lets me learn to be a better healer gradually, playing to the strenghts of the class in a piecemeal way and incorporating new skills / spells along the way. This way of leveling also made the whole experience more interesting and easier: constant instance running gives good gear 🙂


  5. This is tangential, but when I step back and look at the bigger picture, I am deeply concerned with the “game starts at 70” mindset. It does not bode well for the long-term viability of the game, especially as it relates to this sort of problem. If the game gets ever more noob-unfriendly, and actually changes substantially at the “endgame”, it’s not going to be something people stick with, or even bother with in the first place.


  6. The Barkskin/Hurricane pull is one of the reasons I’m glad I stacked lots of Agi in my tank gear. With so much dodge, in AoE pulls like the skeletons in Shadow Labyrinth or the gnomes in Steamvaults, I can hurricane for as long as the barkskin lasts. I do have to make sure the healer knows what I’m planning, though.

    Who needs Consecrate when you have Hurricane?


  7. Is very good that yer writing these articles, I’d say. When I reached 70 on me dwarfish spriest self, I at least knew some of the basics of aggro from previous tanking experience. But I’d been haulling arse to get to 70, and had pretty much skipped the 5-man learning process, and knew little about proper gear or spell rotation or any of that. Yet within 24 hours I were in Kara, and in 3 weeks I was in SSC. I were lucky enough ta have guildies what was patient & helpful & willing to give constructive criticism while I learned me job. But not everybody’s gonna be so lucky, so is good to see articles aimed at thems.

    Keeps it up, BBBBBBB.


  8. What really bothers me is that the solo line doesn’t teach anything about the two most important aspects of raiding – tanking and healing. While the DPS is very, very different in group than solo chances are you’ll be passably familiar with the abilities. But when soloing do you ever learn to taunt? When do you end up healing anyone other than yourself? You have to go do instances, and instances aren’t much friendlier.


  9. I’m one of those players that picked up the game a few months ago – my wife and I were at a place in our lives where we had time to play, and our college-age daughter plays some, so here we are. I’m a Warlock, but I expect that I”ll learn a bunch from your series – an introduction to the mindset of Kara raiding, if nothing else.

    We are also having problems with the whole l2play thing. My wife is a warrior tank and we had a really bad experience with a PUG of Zul’Farrak, where two of the other players refused to honor her targetting, caused some wipes, and rode off shouting “learn to tank” as soon as they got the drops they needed. Leaving us unable to do Ghazrilla – they had the gong hammer. Fortunately, the other player, a Druid (foshizzle) came back as his lvl 70 tier 4 equipped mage and we got our Ghazrilla kill and the Carrot on a Stick. He also threw in a port to Shattrath.

    So many of the players out there are leveling alts that they forget that the lvl 48 they PUG with might be a n00b. Fortunately, our guild has some lvl 70s that have been helping us with runs in Outland and we’re trying to get geared in the best greens and blues by the time WotLK comes out. (I’m probably the only person in the game that would prefer a January launch. I’m gonna be working 60 hour weeks from late September until Thanksgiving.)


  10. Well Shawn, I don’t expect you’ll be needing me to help you learn to play….

    but hopefully there will be some tips and suggestions that will show you not only how you can provide the most assistance in one boss encounter or trash pull or other, but also see how those ideas can be applied to other content further down the road.

    I wrote a Kitty DPS guide a long time ago, and I still get emails from people that stumble across it and say thanks, simply because Kitty DPS is a pain in the butt to relearn at 70, when you are used to tearing through easy mobs solo. It’s nice to challenge what you’re used to, and even if you try something different and fail, hey, it’s sometimes just as much fun to fail brilliantly as to succeed.

    I still remember the first time I, as a feral druid, looked at the trash AOE pulls outside Moroes’ dining hall, and announced, “I’ll help by casting Barkskin and Hurricane”… and proceeded to find out, in caster form drawing a TON of aggro… I am squishy.

    Now I have the paladin tank pull the mob and lay down a consecrate, and then I throw down. And If I’m main tanking without a pally, I’ll pull in bear with Moonfire and Swipte a few times on different mobs before shifting and barkskin/Hurricane, with the healers knowing I’ll need health, and ready to pop Bear when things look their worst (if they do).

    But that first pull…. “YAY I can has AOE! Oh, whoops!”

    I have to agree with Felkan, the learning curve for any class can be steep, especially if, as I imagine, most folks making characters now are trying to go into guilds that are established and are already raiding content. They know what your class CAN do, and have certain expectations…

    All you can do in most cases is hope they are good people that will see you want to do your best, and will help you.

    Hmm… just realized I haven’t listened to the “How I WoW” podcast before… oh good, another podcast on iTunes! Cool!


  11. I’m looking forward to these articles a lot. I’ve been playing for several years, wow podcasting for almost as long, but due to major altaholism and server switching didn’t hit 70 until several months ago.

    But somewhere around level 67 I came across your gear guide for entry level kara feral tanks. I followed it pretty closely and when I hit 70 my guildies were impressed with my gear for just hitting 70. Since then I’ve had a busy summer but have OT’d part of Kara once and Gruul twice (downed High King but not Gruul), and I’ve realized how much I don’t know about raiding.

    Luckily, I am in an awesome guild (alea iacta est on Earthen Ring) with many groups doing heorics, Kara, Gruul, and beyond, so there are plenty of learning opportunities. So I eagerly await your articles to continue to help me l2play.


  12. This is one of my biggest complaints about WoW. Nothing in-game helps you learn how to be “the best” (or heck, even “good”) in your class. Blizzard seems to expect players to spend as much time browsing online resources to “figure” it all out as they do playing the game.

    I’m not taking about those that want to tweak their toons for max effectiveness, but just to get in the ballpark requires a stupid amount of research. Next time you are walking around the city inspect a player or two from a class you are familiar with. The number of stupid specs, bad gear choices, etc. will amaze you. Is it the player’s fault? Or Blizzard’s?


  13. As you said, the article’s not up yet, so I can’t see what you’ve already written about. That said, my number one piece of advice for a new feral is to actively read the druid forums on the official wow site. They are a godsend of information on just about everything druid, with LOTS of feral info. 95% of what I know about my class/spec I obtained from reading that forum.

    From my experience of reading through the different class forums for all my alts, the druid community seems to be the most tight-knit and most willing to answer constructively, vice “l2playN00b.”

    Not to say that other sources aren’t good, the wow main site is just a good place to start.

    Specific advice to new ferals druid:

    1) Two sets of gear, if not three. If you going as an off-tank, there will be several fights that only need one tank, and a lot of trash. And for those fights, you should have a respectable set of dps gear. For Maiden and Prince, it’s not a bad idea to have a healing set with you as well. I’ve never done it, but it might be something you’ll have to do depending on your 10-man make up.

    2) Don’t be afraid to shift. Our biggest assest as druids is our amazing utility.

    DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME AS YOU MIGHT GET KICKED FROM THE RAID: I’ve barkskinned, popped by “druid shield wall”, shifted to caster, tossed an innervate on a healer and shifted back to bear…all while tanking Nightbane. Was it smart? Heck no. Was I lucky? Heck yes. I’m not bragging (ok..maybe a little cuz that was one heckuva rush!) it’s just an illustration of our utility. Don’t be afraid to use it. We have all sorts of cool little tricks up our paws and some can/will be the difference between winning and losing.

    3) Try to find someone that will mentor you in the ways of feraldom. If not in your guild, maybe someone in your guild knows someone that would be willing to help.

    That’s all I have for now BBB. I’m looking forward to reading your series!


  14. yeah i think its changed a lot since the original days of wow when everyone was new to it and trying to lvl to 60 and do the instances and raids of that time.

    i spotted a lvl 70 in trade yesterday asking ‘where do i get the key from for UBRS’ !

    took me back a bit and got me thinking why he wanted it ?

    i had to check in the bank cos it was obvious that i did not have a ‘key’ to open that particular door despite me spying my scarlet key, key to the city, deathforge key etc etc !

    then looking in the bank i saw it….a ring ! a ring that opened the door and i sorta remembered it needed gems to activate/be created via some quest.

    so i /w him and he was happy to go off and dig some more.


  15. I think this is a great idea! I remember back when BC came out, my paladin was maybe level 54 and I was having trouble doing the quests in Eastern Plaguelands. You know why? Because I was holy spec’d, running with gear that had a mix of just about every stat available…intellect, agility, spirit…I was just playing for the hell of it, didn’t look into class strat. much, and thus was sucking at the game. Luckily for me I leveled my paladin to 70 while most people were still learning about BC and how it changed the game, so my ignorance was generally accepted, and I learned quickly.

    I can’t imagine what it’s like now, as a newish player trying to break into the end-game. I have done my best any time someone asks me a “stupid” question to explain it to them first, and help them as best I can to understand the dynamics. But I would hazard a guess that 80% of the people on my server are not quite as understanding as I am.

    Being a WoW news junky should not be a requirement to play the game well, but it seems that is has become so anyway, because how else do you learn about the game and the class you are playing? If the majority of the people on the server won’t help you, you have no choice but to go elsewhere to get your information, and some people just aren’t into that, and it’s not fair, especially since the information out there is scattered across the whole wide internets. I think you writing these columns will help people by centralizing the information necessary, so that people can just read that and get a general understanding of what to do. The next, and more important step though, is that people need to remember what it’s like to be a new player in this game, and to HELP, instead of chastise players for asking questions we all feel are “common sense”, when they really aren’t.

    /off soapbox


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