Lately, I’ve been enjoying seeking out aspects of the game that are new to me.
One of the things I’m doing is trying out different styles of alts.
I’ve tried every class in the game at one point or another, some of ’em I’ve loved, some of ’em left me feeling pretty bleh.
Specifically, the Human Warrior, Gnome and Human style Warlocks, Gnome Mages, and at least ten different races of Death Knight.
Each one I got to at least 20, in the case of my Warrior I’d gone to 40 in vanilla WoW, but in the end they just didn’t click.
What I recently decided was, maybe it’s not the class I have a problem with, but the class in combination with specific races.
Maybe it’s an aesthetics thing. Or even a spec thing.
What I’ve found in my researches is that the race of the class DOES make a difference to me.
While I didn’t care at all for the Gnome or Human Warlock, my Undead Warlock feels just right for the race/class combination. I played the character to level 20, and spent the last 4 levels in Looking for Dungeon random groups, and had a lot of fun.
I’ve also got a Human Mage alt that I’ve played as pure Frost spec all the way to 40, and that’s also a race/class combination I’ve really enjoyed. I love Frost. Having a skilled tank round ’em up, and then unleashing my Frost Nova/Blizzard/Cone of Cold on ’em never gets old. Screw the min/maxers, I’m Frost4Life!
My latest experiment, though, is a bit off the radar for me.
I created a Warrior.
An Orc Warrior.
I do not have a single Orc character. I started an Orc Rogue, an Orc Shaman, neither ever really grabbed me. I’d love a Tauren Rogue, but Blizzard doesn’t believe in sneaky cows.
What I’d do as a Tauren Rogue, of course, would be to sneak down to Westfall and go farmer tipping. Just sneak on up, get behind ’em, /tip and Vanish away! Revenge!
As far as Warriors go, as I said I’d played one as a dual wielding Fury spec Human back in vanilla, and I’d also made a few Tauren Warriors on other servers, but never got them up to beyond 12 or so. They were my “My home server is down, but those bastards are always up! Fine, I’ll make an alt there!” characters.
But no Orcs ever grabbed me for long.
That just doesn’t seem fair, that I’d discriminate against the Orcs. Sure I discriminate against the Gnomes, but, well, punting’s in the blood.
If punting a gnome is wrong, I don’t want to be right!
(Gnomes named Occulus or Larísa excluded)
How this particular Orc Warrior came about, was I played those LFD groups on my Warlock, and tried one on my 40 Mage, and what stood out was the lack of skilled tanks in the low level randoms. Just… wow.
Trained analysts puzzled over the problem, and then Cassie told me her conclusion was that plate wearing DPS were queuing as tanks for faster runs.
Well, that’s not right. A tank needs to be prepared to TANK.
But, if put in the exact same position, could I do any better?
Well now. That sounds to me like a challenge. If, given a low level character, could I do a better job as a tank than what I’d been seeing? Do the classes have the tools? Do other characters have too much burst DPS for a tank to handle?
I’ve got a max level Druid tank. I’ve got a max level Paladin tank. Death Knights start out too high for the purposes of the challenge.
But a Warrior.
I’ve never, ever tanked as a Warrior before. Such ignorance is unforgivable! And my ignorance makes the challenge all the sweeter!
What better way to solve both problems than by making a new Warrior and leveling as a tank running random instances?
My preparations for this were ridiculously easy.
I already had all the Heirlooms I could possibly want from leveling a Paladin alt as DPS/Tank.
A quick transfer of the Polished Spaulders of Valor, Polished Breastplate of Valor, Venerable Dal’Rend’s Sacred Charge (preloaded with Crusader) for tanking, Bloodied Arcanite Reaper (preloaded with Crusader) for DPS/early leveling, the Charmed Ancient Bone Bow for free stats off my ranged slot, twinned trinkets of Swift Hand of Justice, and I was all set.
Yeah, I had them all lying around.
What? Don’t look at me like that! So, I like Heirlooms. And alts. So what if stacking the deck in my favor with gloriously overpowered Heirlooms was, technically speaking, not fair.
There ain’t no such thing as a fair fight, and since the other people leveling characters are free to equip ’em if they’ve got ’em, hey.
I took Mining and Blacksmithing right off the bat, and as I ran around leveling as DPS I mined up, leveled BS up, and found out a Warrior Blacksmith can make very attractive armor quite easily.
Except for a shield. Grrr, 5 gold AH fees for a level 15 shield grrr….
I dinged level 16, trained up, sorted out my Defensive Stance button bars, equipped a few carefully chosen Glyphs (ie I asked Brokentree), and Cassie graciously enchanted all my crafted Blacksmithing gear and the Shield with Stamina enchants.
Trained and equipped, off I went on my quest to tank instances as a Warrior that didn’t suck.
Now, prior to level 16, I’d gone with the two handed axe, and I was, for all intents and purposes, a hug green buzz saw. With the Spell you get now that gives you an instant cast attack increased by attack power immediately after killing an opponent, I found it simplest to exterminate entire villages in the Barrens.
I’d enter a village area, Charge, Rend, Heroic Strike, and after that mob died I would just chainthe villagers one after another. Rend/Auto attack to soften, instant cast attack to bring low, Rend tick to finish, next! Charge when it’s up just to speed things along.
Keeping in mind that every single alt I play has every possible Heirloom item, I can honestly say that I have never experienced faster killing sprees than with the Warrior in Battle Stance with the Heirlooms and the two handed axe. And this is even with all my Talent points going into the Prot tree.
Big. Green. Buzzsaw.
It’s actually quite scary. Sure, on the Tauren Feral Druid I was used to things dying as fast as I could get to them, but there was something more brutal about the Warrior.
At level 16, I had my Defensive Stance button bar set up with Taunt, Thunder Clap (AoE) with it’s range enhanced through Glyph of Thunder Clap (+2 yards range), Sunder Armor next plus Glyph of Sunder Armor (affects +1 target just like Glyph of Maul), Revenge and Rend. Shield Block and Mocking Blow were also present, on the periphery.
My expectation was that in random instance runs, DPS would tend to pull instantly at range before the Warrior could get close. Most DPS, after all, don’t seem to engage the brain, or give a damn about anyone but their own DPS meter results. So what if they pull the mob, so long as they have the top DPS spot on Recount?
That being said, and later instances proving it out, I discarded the more reasonable concept of pulling with the bow as taking too damn long.
My intention going in would be to use Bloodrage to build up Rage, get into melee range if at all possible but be prepared to pop Taunt if a ranged DPS unloaded early. Once first mob was in range, engage with Sunder Armor. Assuming a body pull of additional mobs, unleash Thunder Clap once they get in range, keep Sunder Armor up, and toss in a Rend on my current target.
From that point, watch my health, apply Thunder Clap and Sunder Armor as needed, changing targets to spread Sunder Armor around evenly when fighting groups of 4 or more, be prepared to Taunt if anyone showed signs of getting balky, and if things got tight, Shield Block.
My Talents have been spent purely on Thunder Clap, followed by Shield Specialization. After that, I spent one on Dodge. I figure on filling out Parry and Dodge 5/5 before improving Bloodrage.
So, what were my results?
I started as level 16, ended as level 18 after a full clear of Ragefire Chasm and Deadmines.
Ragefire Chasm, I had a good group except for a Rogue that d/ced on us early in, but we cleared the whole thing, all the bosses, with 4 players. Everybody wanted to keep going, because it was going smooth.
The threat generation on the large groups? Zero issues. I regularly had 2k threat against next highest player at 200 threat on a mob.
The issue I had was, of course, Rage management. Bloodrage is on a reasonably long cooldown, and I just wasn’t getting enough Rage back when only fighting one or two mobs to start the next pull fully loaded.
At one point, I had the healer say he was bored because, between my 910 health at level 16, two Swift Hand of Justice trinkets and the Crusader enchant, I was self-sustaining.
At the end of Ragefire Chasm, the other members begged me to tank Deadmines. That’s pretty damn gratifying. But my focus wasn’t on damage output, but on keeping 100% threat on all mobs at all times. The other party members were appreciative.
Sadly, because the Rogue had AFKed early and never returned, we could not requeue as a group, and since the instance we were on had finished, we could not kick him. For some reason, you cannot kick someone after the official “instance is completed’ boss is dead… even if they are afk, and you’ve waited for them to leave for 15 minutes.
So, we decided to abandon group and instantly, individually requeue for Deadmines.
I got a whole new group.
I had a Shaman healer that seemed to be on auto-follow, a Hunter that had to fire at extreme range at every target and kept his pet on aggressive… and sent it out usually to the far side of rooms, and a Mage that was, frankly, a delight to play with.
I love Frost Nove, and so did he.
Then there was the Ret Paladin on DPS… just ugh. But all that would be found out later.
First, there was the sadness that I lost the good group of fine folks. Then, the initial pu…. hey! Damn, the Hunter pulled. Okay, grab the mobs and play ping pong until they get back on me… hey! Where’s that pet going? Did he just shoot that other group?
I asked, as usual in these situations, if folks would do my the favor of letting me get to the mobs and get a whack in before they opened up with the killing.
Deadmines was a different proposition than Ragefire. In Deadmines, I was level 17 and the mobs were mostly 18 elites, so it was a more even challenge. Misses could be more of a factor. Incoming damage was more significant to mitigate or avoid.
I found myself using Shield Block much more frequently, and also a couple pots in tight moments, but the Mocking Blow still sat untouched.
In Deadmines, Thunder Clap and Glyphed Sunder Armor continued to rule the threat charts, despite the Mage being level 19, the Ret Paladin being 20, and the hunter pulling things from beyond me.
If it came in my range, Thunder Clap had a very good chance of pulling aggro off the hunter’s DPS. Sunder Armor ALWAYS pulled mobs back on me if they ran by, and Taunt of course, is, well, a taunt.
The Rage management issues, the levels of the mbos and the way the party was more disinclined to work together made it even more of a challenge… but I never felt that I had no control over Threat. So long as I could Taunt or Sunder Armor, I could take aggro back and then hold it.
As I mentioned earlier, I ended the evening exhiliarated at proving that, yes, you can tank successfully and hold aggro at level 16 as a Warrior. Even against the DPS of a level 20.
At the same time, I wondered, with Bloodrage having such a long cooldown, if my best bet to increase Rage generation was to spend the 10 points to fully Talent the Dodge and Parry Talents. With Shield Specialization, every Block, Parry and Dodge returns 5 Rage. So, the more I Parry and Dodge, the more I get Rage.
I just don’t see anything else, besides taking and dealing damage, that directly returns Rage for Warriors coming out of Talents. So if I want more, then so be it.
The only thing I’d like at this point is to get high enough level to be able to have Tactical Mastery to keep some Rage between Stance shifts, so I could start a pull by Charging in Battle Stance right into the mobs (and staying ahead of pull crazy hunters), before switching to Defensive and laying down my Thunder Clap.
Warriors. Damn, they can be fun.
Huh, go figure.