Gathering and the feral Druid

It’s been a bit since things have been implemented. Time to throw down my thoughts on the Gathering professions.

So, there are three Gathering professions; Herbalism, Mining and Skinning.

Each one, at each level of skill, grants one neat extra ability.

Mining grants a passive Health increase. (Toughness +300 at 375 skill)

Skinning grants a passive Critical Strike bonus. (Master of Anatomy +15 Critical Strike bonus at 375 skill)

Herbalism grants a self-cast Heal over Time spell that does not trigger the global cooldown, can be cast in forms, and costs no Mana. (Lifeblood 1200 health over 5 seconds at 375 Skill)

Now, my Druid is an Engineer/Herbalist.

No, please, don’t ask me to explain why this happened. I’m not sure I even know anymore.

The point is, I can farm Herbs, and also gather Motes with my Extractor. If anything, Engineering is a second gathering Profession for me that also let’s me make neat stuffs.

I have to say, looking at each Gathering profession, applying the results and looking at gear and stat levels in Wrath of the Lich King, that I think that the decision as to whether you take Mining or Herbalism as a feral Druid tank is going to be interesting.

On the one hand, the extra Health is always on, and providing a nice benefit. At level 450 skill, that will be +500 Health. If you raid a lot, it is likely you have multiple Healers watching your back. You might very well feel that the Health will be more beneficial in the long run, increasing the effect such things as Survival Instincts and Frenzied Regeneration have on you. It’s all trickle down, and the more Health you have, the more other things it affects in positive ways.

But I’m going to go against the common thought on this one. I’m going to throw my money behind Herbalism as being the one that is, long term, the best overall choice.

The Heal over Time effect, Lifeblood, is very powerful in a world where we can only use one Potion in a single fight, no matter the fight’s duration, and where Ghostcrawler has said that instead of challenging a Tanks’ ability to hold aggro, they are instead going to task the healers with long mana-draining fights.

Lifeblood restores 1200 Health over 5 seconds, and generates corresponding threat, at the current skill max of 375. In Wrath, with a max skill of 450, it’ll go up to 2000 Health over 5 seconds. It has a three minute cooldown.

It works in forms… it works in Stealth… it works while flying in our Flight Form. But it does not scale with +Healing/Spellpower.

In raids, like I said, I think it’s going to be tight. The extra Health from Toughness is a nice big chunk.

But if you 5 man tank or solo tank as much as or more than you raid tank, then I think Lifeblood is just better.

In a 5 man, having only one healer, if something happens to silence them or take them out early, having your own HoT on a 3 minute cooldown can be amazing. Sometimes, you just need to hold out for a minute or two until the Healer can be rezzed and regain some mana. Or run back in. 

If you’re soloing, well, it’s even more of a life saver, obviously.

Here, I’ll give you a pair of examples.

We ran a couple regular Magisters Terrace runs last week, with me as the main tank.

We didn’t really plan on using CC. We were going to have fun, and since on the first run we had two Hunters, and on the second I had another feral tank with me, I figured that if we want something kept busy we had two pets to throw at it (Sent em after the warlock every time, damn that warlock went down fast). On the second run, we had two tanks, what the heck do you need CC for?

Anyway, on the first run, we went to take down the first boss, and while pulling the first group of trash in the bosses’ chamber, clustered around the crystal, one of the pets ran wild, grabbing not only the second group, but then running into the middle and pulling the two trash there, plus the boss, all while we were still outside the chamber working through the first trash group.

The great big wall activated, locking us out from affecting the green crystals the boss drinks from when he runs out of mana, so yeah. Whoops!

An army of trash, and the boss.

I had the immediate thought, “Well, that’s a wipe”, but I figured, as long as we’re here, might as well kill as much trash as possible, right?

At this point, I’ve settled on a routine of using Lifeblood early and often, Barkskin whenever it is up, and Survival Instincts/Frenzied Regeneration only when things go belly up.

I also carry Health Potions and Charged Crystal Focus whenever I can.

So I pop Barkskin and Lifeblood, Demoralyzing Roar, Swipe and Mangle and Maul, most especially Maul since the new Glyph lets it hit two targets, and it does a LOT of buffed damage now. I get everyone on me as much as possible.

Pretty quickly, everyone died but me and Barrhona, the Paladin that was healing the run. Not much I can do to stop the boss chain-exploding at full mana over and over.

I used every trick in the book to keep aggro on me and whack stuff, and really focused on the trash and only tagged the boss to keep him off Barrhona. My attention was reducing the numbers of trash for as long as we lived.

Barrhona did some great healing, but I never saw him dip below 2000 mana. And although I did trigger Survival and Frenzied midway through the fight, the fact is that the trash was all dead, and the boss was down to around 10k health before I mildly inquired in vent to see if any of our other members ever planned on rejoining us, since you can zone back in and come all the way to where we were, on the far side of the door.

So we ate every one of the bosses full force explosions, because we had no way to interrupt him drinking. In the end, he was out of mana and forced to whack on me.

And I attribute our longevity to being able, during a long long fight, to pop Barkskin and Lifeblood every time the cooldown is up. Well, and to Barrhona’s healing.

“Ah!” I hear you say… “But you had a Paladin healing you! That just means the Pally kicked ass, not that Lifeblood was your savior!”

Yes, I’ll grant you that. But that brings me to example number two.

We were in the second run, with a Shadow Priest, a Shaman Healer, another feral Druid, a Mage, and me. Names are withheld to protect the guilty.

We were squared off against Priestess Delrissa, and her PvP cohorts.

I equipped my tanking gear, which is light on Hit but heavy on longevity. And we kicked it off.

Our first goal was to kill the Priestess and get rid of her heals, and then move down from there. We had the rogue, the mage, the warlock, and the saurian warrior adds.

We got the Priestess down, and were working on the second kill when party members started dying. We got the second one dead just as our last team member went down… except for me.

I was facing the Mage and the Rogue, and the Warlock had been sheeped off the pull but would break any second.

Since I’m a Druid, I fear no sheepage. The stunlock of the Rogue, though, that I fear. So I go stun the Rogue in bear and shift to banzai in cat form with Berserk and Mangle and finish the rogue off just as the warlock breaks sheep and joins the fun. I shifted back to bear and turned to the Warlock. 

The Mage has been pounding away, so his mana is getting low. I figure the Warlock is still full, and can fear me bad, so I’d rather take his ass down as fast as I can first.

I turn on the warlock, and it’s a pure health race to see if the two of them can beat me down before I can get it to one on one odds. And my health is hovering right at the 500 – 1500 mark, up and down, with Lifeblood and Improved Leader of the Pack making all the difference.

The Warlock goes down, all my abilities are on cooldown, I’m at less than 500 Health, I turn to the Mage, Feral Charge him, and he Ice Blocks.

He Ice Blocks!

Needless to say, I shifted and threw down all my heals on myself, and it was over. Sucker!

A longevity fight, against three opponents. If I had 300 extra Health, it wouldn’t have helped that much. I would have been toast.

Having Lifeblood every three minutes, however, makes a massive difference when the fight goes sour and you’re on your own, or the Healer is silenced and you just need to hold out another couple seconds to get your Berserk/Mangle x10 thrown in there.

There ya go, my opinion on Gathering Professions.

I would never recommend taking a profession just for the extra buff. But IF you have the characters to allow you to shuffle professions around, and the free time, and you’re interested in trying it, I can assure you it is pretty sweet. 

I understand Moonkin love it since they can cast it in forms without a mana cost, too!

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How about these Zombies, huh?

Let’s state the bloody obvious for a moment, shall we?

The Zombie event was a good idea. An exciting, neat, fun concept.

The key word in that sentence there is concept.

It is in the execution of that concept that it became a pain in the ass, rather than exciting entertainment.

I can see the thought behind the idea. “Hey, the Lich King is coming fast, Halloween is right around the corner, we have this big undead thing going on and everyone loves Zombies. Let’s have ourselves some awesome fun by letting the players turn into Zombies with special abilities and tear around Azeroth for a while!”

“And to make things even better, we’re going to ratchet up the tension to the breaking point! At the beginning, it’ll be isolated incidents, easily fought. No fear, just a little idle worry. But as time goes on, we’ll crank up the tension and fear by shortening the time from Infection to Zombie, and remove the Argent Healers! The plague will sweep Azeroth, and the players will fear it and feel that ramping terror, until we give them a plot chain to pursue, seeking a cure. It’ll be awesome! They’ll have to work together to save Azeroth!”

At the same time, of course, we have just one or two other things that might be going on to occupy our attention.

Like, oh… the invasions of World Zones, hunting down and fighting the Lich King’s forces in remote areas of Azeroth. If you haven’t taken part yet, it’s a ton of fun, and you can get some great Undead Slayer epics and neat items and Argent Dawn reputation. If you equip your Argent Dawn Commission trinket, you can even loot Invader Scourgestones for more Argent Dawn rep.

Or wait, what about the new boss, Prince Mirkblood in Karazhan? He’s up in there to fight, and a blue post says he is only there for a limited time, less than 10 days until he disappears again forever.

Or wait, how about… the whole Trick or Treat stuff? Or the Headless Horseman? Or leveling your alts and having fun playing the game?

Oh heck, do people still do that?

I mean, surely no one could possibly be trying to level to 70 prior to Lich King at this point, right?

No, no, let’s just unleash the Zombie hordes.

It was a great idea, and I love having so much to do. I think having all this to choose from is pretty kick ass, so long as you’re not faantically trying to do everything. If you just want to have a taste of different fun things here or there, then it’s pretty cool.

If you tried to do EVERYTHING, you’d be playing all the hours of the day, every day, all weekend.

Some of us are allowed to have fun, and still have a life, right? Just checking.

We had a week to play with specs, beat up the Headless Horseman, do a few raids, and explore Azeroth and Trick or Treat. Then, Zombie Attack!

I really only have one problem with the entire thing.

Blizzard, you gave the power to inititiate PvP and kill players and camp them, to the asshats. The Asshats! That is epic fail on your part.

I do not play on a PvP server. That is a conscious choice I made, because I have no tolerance for asshats. When I am playing the game, I have zero, I say again my last, ZERO interest in being a walking target for any room temperature IQ that gets off on ruining the fun of others.

As soon as I saw Phase two start, and saw that they were dropping the incubation period of the infection, I saw it coming.

And Blizzard should have seen it too. You DO read your own forums right?

Oh boy, do you mean to tell me that players will have the power to become a Zombie, infect an area with a cloud of gas, and anyone touching it or getting hit will become a Zombie, and then die?

Oh boy! Sign me up for victimhood!

And even better, they will get flagged PvP, and stay flagged even when they rez as a normal non-Zombie again?

YAHOO!!! Asshat paradise!

Geez, let’s see, where do YOU think the asshats were going to go to try their best to ruin the fun of others against their will on PvE servers?

How about, oh I dunno… every Flight Master, every chamber that people Teleport to, every Inn where people Hearth to, the Auction House, and the Bank.

You think?

Maybe?

Two things, just two things would have made this whole thing a non-issue, and left it as a totally fun, awesome event…

  • When you die from being a Zombie, you SHOULD NOT resurrect still flagged….
  • There should have been swarms of Guards and Argent Healers at those few key points I mentioned above, so you don’t log in blind or land, already infected by asshats, and if they do get you, you can choose to clear the infection fast.

Just from a Lore point of view, are you seriously telling me the plague and Zombie invasion is that hardcore that the cities aer overrun, and none of these guards will have their posts changed to protect the vital areas? Or maybe have reinforcements?

Seriously. I am all for the event. I think becoming a Zombie and chasing folks is a neat idea… so long as it is PARTICIPATORY.

You give the power of control to asshats, and the first thing they DO is go looking to see how many people they can hurt, you morons! That’s what they do! It’s all they know how to do!

Our Trade channel was quiet this weekend, except for people upset at getting ganked every time they set foot in those places listed above. Or Shattrath.

Why was it so quiet?

Because every time I entered one of those key areas, there were Zombies attacking them, Zombies with names made famous as being lame little hateful asshats in Trade, each of them frantically busy trying to hurt people. Finally, they had the kind of game they wanted. They no longer had to resort to using their limited, four-letter-word vocabularies to try and inflict pain, and could now just go after the players directly. Innocent victims that couldn’t fight back in any meaningful way to hurt them in return. Joy!

Yeah, as a problem, it ain’t that big a deal. But the idea is for people to have FUN. That is why we play the game. So when an event like this ruins the fun for a lot of people, because of a few small oversights, over an entire weekend, it’s worth talking about.

It’s fair to say I’m personally enjoying the game. There is a lot to do, and I’m having a lot of fun getting in there and killing the Scourge.

We went into Karazhan and beat up Prince Mirkblood, and that was neat to figure out on the fly, and of course nobody new what he’d drop at the time, so everyone getting to loot their very own Vampiric Batling was awesome!

But the fun I had was in spite of the Zombie invasion and the asshats, not because of it. And that makes me kind of sad.  

It was a great idea, but any time you give the power to asshats, they will abuse it.

C’mon Blizz, you KNOW that was poorly imlpemented.

Fortunately, I’m sure that it will all be over soon.

After all, I bet the complaining about being killed by asshats against your will on PvE servers has to have reached a fever pitch as this progressed, and somehow I don’t think Blizzard is laughing and rejoicing at the knowledge that they have actively pissed off their player base just to please a handful of ganking trolls.

Oh hey… on the plus side, my cat has spontaneously learned how not to Prowl! Just magically stopped auto-Prowling. Go figure.

“I played a Hunter” by Frances!

Breana‘s cousin is simply flat out amazing!

Frances is apparently getting married in a few weeks, and understandably she is under quite a bit of stress.

But she was still willing to find the time to sing this, and Breana sent it to me to share.

I understand that Chocolate Mousse may have had some influence on this happening.

Hey, who can hold someone to blame for anything they do while under the influence of chocolate?

Now, this is awesome. Incredibly awesome. What a beautiful singing voice.

However, understand that this is acapella. There ain’t no background music. So no crankiness! Just listen to that incredibly lovely voice!

We do have background music, but they didn’t have it available when she recorded this. Breana will ask her if she’ll do it again… which would kind of make this the unplugged version. 🙂

Anyway, you can download the song itself, this version, from FileFront from this link.

I Play A Hunter by Francis.mp3

And below is the player so you can hear it streaming right now!

http://www.esnips.com//escentral/images/widgets/flash/esnips_player.swf
Get this widget | Track details | eSnips Social DNA

Minipet searching? WarcraftPets is the place!

Since I’ve been actively seeking Minipets, aiming to nail 50 and get my cute little Stinky Wind skunk, I’ve been planning out which pets I have, which I can easily get, and which I plan on searching for the hard way.

I’m at 45 pets right now, and I think I might be able to get there without any serious grinding.

Regardless of what I’m doing, I bet I’m nowhere near alone in this. Bellwether said she had 48 pets, so I bet she’s gotta be getting frantic for number 50.

To help all of my fellow pet seekers out, and really just to make sure everyone has a chance to see this awesome website, I just wanted to mention the best place I’ve ever seen for all things non-combat pet related.

WarcraftPets!

Please, go visit Breanni’s website, and enjoy the beautiful design, the ease of finding things, teh fun writing and pet enthusiasm, and most especially, the great macros and addons for having fun with our pets, updated for the 3.0 patch!

That is all.

Wow, now that’s pretty desperate

I was talking with the Mannyac last night, just touching base and hearing the usual “Am I gonna get a turn this week? Huh?”, and I asked him what he was doing for fun lately.

The answer floored me.

“I went to the dark side.”

Huh? Whazzat?

“I’m playing a different MMO.”

Really? Wow, I thought you were pretty burnt out, dude. And what MMO could have possibly tempted you from WoW, when you’ve got a level 60 hunter and soon you could have your own Rhino, your personal totem animal, that you dearly love?

What is it? Warhammer? Age of Conan?

“No… um, actually it’s EQ.”

ROLF! Okay, you had me going there for a minute… that was a good one! Seriously, what have you been doing lately?

“No, no I’m serious… I’m playing EQ.”

Ummm. Do you mean Everquest TWO?

“Oh yeah, EQ II. I’ve been playing it the last four days. To be honest, it seems just about the same as WoW, really. Some things worse, some things better.”

He goes on to tell me about enjoying the Monk, and how he really likes the way they have a mentoring system for grouping with higher level players like City of Heroes has, that kind of thing.

I’m curious, though. If you’re going to play an MMO, why go to EQ II, when there are new MMOs out there, and if you wanted old school, you have a stagnant account with a level 60 character you could revive on WoW? What possibly drew you to EQ II NOW?

“Oh, well actually… a friend that I play RPGs with out here plays EQ II…”

Ah, there we go. That makes perfect sense. It’s how I suckered you into WoW in the first place, after all.

“Yep, but I couldn’t really resist. To get me to play EQ II, he bought the game for me, ordered the new expansion for me, and is paying my monthly fee.”

…..

“And he gave me a new computer.”

……..

Okay, whoa there pardner. WTF?

“Well, you know how the economy has been, and my old computer was a 1.2 Ghz with about 500meg of ram. He gave me a computer with 3.2 Ghz, 2 gig of ram and an ATI video card with about 256meg of ram in it. It screams.”

Wait, so he loaned you a decent computer to play EQ II on? That’s pretty amazing.

“Oh no, he gave it to me.”

……

So, wait, let me get this straight. Play Everquest 2, and we’ll throw a new computer in for FREE?

I have finally heard of a promotion that would get me to leave WoW.

🙂

Okay, moving on….

I hope you’re enjoying the EQ II, buddy. And I simply can’t help but marvel.

Talking about EQ 2 and WoW last night made me think back to when I first bought WoW.

It’s been a long time now.

When I first heard of MMOs, Cassie’s cousins all played it pretty hardcore, and I mean HARDCORE. So I finally caved in, and bought it.

Those were the days of Windows 95/98 and wierd graphics drivers, and in the end, my computer ate the many, many installation discs for EQ and still wouldn’t play it.

By then, I was into the idea of playing an MMO, and Dark Age of Camelot had come out, and I was immediately attracted to the idea of an MMO with three different mythos, one of which was based on the folktales and mythology of the Celts. So I grabbed that, and played one character to max level. (Oh wow, a Druid. What a surprise.).

I intensely disliked the game design, but I loved playing an MMO. Out of all the things about the game, I liked being able to dye the various pieces of my armor to a consistent color that kind of went together. The armor itself looked like crap, but at least it was color coordinated.

City of Heroes came along, and I abandoned DAoC to go join the spandex set.

And it was very, very great to make characters. I loved coming up with awesome names, costume designs, back stories, etc.

Then I’d play, and find out that I could last 20 or 30 levels before running out of interesting things to do, the quests got repetitious, and the utter lack of crafting really hurt it. I got bored easy, and there are only so many insanely awesome characters you can create and design, before you really start to wonder why the idea fof PLAYING them didn’t appeal that much.

There was the promise that, down the road, there would be evil heroes you could play, hero vs villain PvP, the ability to have your own, instanced super hero base that you could design personally, hang out in, and that the enemy players could actually assault and you could defend.

That all sounded insanely awesome. But I wanted to have fun NOW, not next year.

And then came the summer when the big two new MMOs were due to be released, almost head to head.

Both were going to be fantasy based. Both were going to have cutting edge (for the time) graphics.

Both were going to be huge.

One of them was the expected front runner. Proven pedigree, dedicated fanbase, lots of money in design and development, lots of experience in the area…

Yes, Everquest 2 was expected to be the winner in the competition.

But I read everything about both I could find, in every magazine and online source out there.

And while I read that the graphics of EQ 2 were considered to be better, more realistic or lifelike, I read that this unknown upstart, World of Warcraft, a fantasy MMO challenging Everquest with nothing other than RTS experience behind them, went with a more lighthearted, colorful graphics design.

At the time, the single biggest trend in comments was to ridicule the big, floating shoulders of WoW. I still laugh when I see our stupid shoulder designs, to be honest.

But there were two things that made it an absolute given that when they both came out, World of Warcraft would be the one I bought and played.

  1. The ability to play a class that can go out in the world, seek out rare animals, and tame them to be a pet that helps you in combat.
  2. The ability to play a class that can shape-shift into other animals like panthers and bears.

Those two, right there.

I didn’t know which one I was going to play to start, but I knew that the very idea that the game would let you do something that sounded so smooth, so fluid… I mean, shoot, I was so used to games where you damn near had to imagine all the actual FUN. Unchanging sprite animations, isometric views, static maps and angles. You were graetful to be allowed to see a character picture change in your portrait screen if you equipped a new piece of gear!

The idea that you could play a character in what was essentially a role playing, questing first person shooter was amazing, and have it’s appearance actually reflect your growth and power was amazing.

I mean, hell, at the time the height of role playing computer games was the Baldur’s Gate series!

Go for the eyes, Boo!

So yeah, the jump in technology, in fun, in immersion, from playing a static visual game like Baldur’s Gate, to a Druid in World of Warcraft?

Oh yeah. Yeah, you had me at “shapeshift to a panther.”

Just… I’ll be able to what? Are you kidding? How cool is that?

Looking back on it, it is so crazy to think, after years and years of playing this one single video game, that I still enjoy it. It is still fresh, alive. The graphics are still something I enjoy a great deal. Screenshots are still ‘oohed’ and ‘aaahed’ over, especially when I see the screenshots and images /Hug puts up. That Dwarf is a genius at visuals. Resto4Life is great too, but /Hug is just nuts.

I heard Manny say he was playing EQ 2 last night, and seriously, the first thought that came to mind?

“But that game has been out for years, couldn’t you choose something with graphics that aren’t so dated and old?”

Lol… I know why, too. I tried installing and playing Diablo II and Starcraft recently, and the graphics chased me out of it, despite the awesome gameplay.

But here I am, still playing a contemporary of EQ 2, and loving it, and my first thought is, “but that’s old, don’t the graphics suck?”

Funny how you can buy into the idea that you always have to see the newest, neatest graphics effects to enjoy a game, right?

Anyway… I hope you truly enjoy EQ 2, Manny.

And if the folks at Everquest 2 ever expand that promotion, you just let me know, okay? I wouldn’t turn down a new computer. 

Heck, give me a computer, I might just put your ad up on my website!

Well… probably not, no.

The Scout Report is back with a vengeance!

And the vengeance is really racking up fast.

File this under “News I meant to share, every day now, for the last week.”

Sorry.

Anyway, “The Scout Report“, the greatest source of entertainment since the invention of the outdoor bug zapper, is back on the air and coming fast and furious.

Perhaps, if I am fortunate, someday I will get a chance to interview the infamous Scout of Sacred Samophlange, and find out what adventures the future may have in store.

Or at least, how he’s been doing, and whether he (or she!) intends to keep the awesomeness on the air for a while.

Damn, I missed mah Scout!

In the meantime…

Rejoice, my friends, for the Scout has returned!

Doodle with “I played a Hunter”

Since it deserves a post all it’s own, I present to you Hots’ and Dot’s own Doodle, with his lyrics for “I played a Hunter”.

You freaking genius!

This was never the way I planned
Not my intention
I got so brave, bow in hand
Lost my discretion
It’s not what, I’m used to
Just wanna try it on
I’m curious for you
Caught my attention

I tamed a wolf and I liked it
The way he growls it sounds fantastic
I tamed a cat just to try it
I hope my druid don’t mind it
It felt so wrong
It felt so right
Does it mean I’m in a raid tonight
I tamed a crab and I liked it
I liked it

No, I don’t even know your main
It doesn’t matter,
You’re my experimental toon
Just draenei nature,
It’s not what,
Good warlocks do
Not how they should behave
My head gets so confused
Multi-shot? OKAY!

I rolled a hunter and I liked it
The sound of gunshots make me spastic
I rolled a draenei just to try it
I hope my gnome don’t mind it
It felt so wrong
It felt so right
Don’t mean I’m in Bloodmyst tonight
I rolled a goat and I liked it
I liked it,

Nelf girls, they are so magical
white skin, tatoos, so /dance-able
Hard to resist so /flirt-able
Too good to deny it
Ain’t no big deal, it’s innocent

I rolled a dwarf and I liked it
The braid spinning is so hypnotic
I tamed a bear just to try it
I hope Mr. Butt don’t mind it
It felt so wrong
It felt so right
Don’t mean I’m in a cave tonight
I rolled a hunter and I liked it
I liked it

Breana, you said if Pike wouldn’t sing it, you had a singer that would give it a shot.

Well, I am SO holding you to that!

If you need me to find a backing track, let me know, I MIGHT have some experience in that regard. 🙂

I’d still love to hear you or Pike sing it. 😦