So I dinged 85, what next?

•December 8, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Here’s what I did when I hit 85. Maybe it will help anybody else. First, I learned Life Grip (or Leap of Faith if you want the real name…). While I was at the trainer, I reset my holy tree (I leveled on my secondary spec as shadow… it was still painful :( ).

Here is what my current spec looks like. I’m planning to mess around a little bit until I find what works for me. So here’s the justification for that spec and what I chose or didn’t choose:

  • The entire first tier is obviously useful. Heal more, heal faster, and make one of the most versatile spells we have stronger. No brainer for me, really.
  • In the second tier, I picked up Inspiration, 10% reduced incoming damage is huge. Unfortunately, crit % is pretty low early on, so it’s not proccing often from what I’ve seen so far. Surge of Light is actually useful now. I can verify that if you’re not using heal as your primary spell in 5 mans, you will go oom quickly. Really. I lasted one trash pull before I changed my ways. I couldn’t Circle of Healing on cooldown because it wasn’t necessary and it wasn’t efficient. I picked up Desperate Prayer because while I personally don’t like the spell that much, it is useful in a pinch and I ended up needing the point.
  • I picked up all of tier 3 as well. The instant heal on renew doesn’t seem quite as useful in 5 mans, but it could become useful. Lightwell is proving itself very situationally useful in my opinion. The healing can get rather frantic from what I’ve done so far and people being able to keep themselves alive while you cast the 2+ second Heal is amazing.
  • In tier 4 I picked up Rapid Renewal for utility. I picked up Spirit of Redemption because I figure with new instances and raids and such, I will die. If me being “alive” for 15 extra seconds saves the day, it’s worth the 1 point. In ICC I thought it was a waste to plan on being dead because of the encounters themselves and the stage we were in progression-wise when 4.0 hit.
  • I did not pick up Serendipity. While I loved Serendipity in WotLK, I don’t plan on spamming Flash Heal or Binding Heal often enough to make it worthwhile. This may change after I play around some and especially after raiding starts.
  • In tier 5, I picked up Body and Soul, Chakra, and Relevations for obvious reasons, leaving the PvP talent alone.
  • Tier 6 I picked up Test of Faith which is infinitely more useful in Cata than WotLK since people actually dip below 50% often. In fact, it’s motivation to keep people hovering right at 50% if you’re triaging. I did not pick up State of Mind. Instead, I macro’ed Chakra into Heal for the time being. It was previously on Prayer of Mending, but 5 mans require very little aoe healing.
  • Circle of Healing and Guardian Spirit are no brainers.
  • In Shadow, I took 3 points in Darkness for the much-needed haste. My haste levels are ridiculously low in 85 starter gear.
  • In Discipline, I chose Twin Disciples for throughput and Mental Agility for efficiency. I decided that with 7 points to spend, Soul Warding was more useful than Inner Sanctum when combined with Body and Soul. I decided that extra efficiency that is useful all of the time was a better option for 1 talent point than a utility talent to benefit another utility talent that benefits a spell we don’t generally cast often as holy. >>

After respeccing, I visited the quartermasters for all of the zones I need rep with for gear and other options. I bought my tabards and starter gear. I also spent my justice points that I had capped before launch. I bought:

  • Blue quality shoulder enchant from Therazane in Deepholme (honored)
  • Ring from Ramkahen (honored)
  • Neck from Earthen Ring
  • Cloak from Guardians of Hyjal
  • Shoulders from Justice Point vendor (In case you didn’t know, the Justice point vendor is in Org on top of Garromosh Hold. It’s in a little room up there. It took me a good chunk of time to find it ><)
  • Chest from Justice Point vendor
  • Once I have more points, I plan to pick up the helm and gloves as well

There is a spirit trinket available in the Vortex Pinnacle. It has a very high drop rate off of trash (somebody quoted 8% for every mob). It is incredibly useful and if you don’t want to wait for it to drop, you can get it for relatively cheap on AH. (On my server they were about 100g.)

Then for the fun part. I ran some normal instances. They were my first instances of Cataclysm as I prefer to level on quests only. I can verify that if you’re not using heal as your primary spell in 5 mans, you will go oom quickly. Really. I lasted one trash pull before I changed my ways. I couldn’t Circle of Healing on cooldown because it wasn’t necessary and it wasn’t efficient.

Overall, I felt a little frantic in the instances until I really got a feel for what I needed to do. I definitely have more spells bound now and may change things as I see what I use more often. My one proud moment where I felt totally bad-ass was in Halls of Origination on Temple Guardian Anhuur. At one point in the fight, you have to run/jump downstairs to hit some levers to stop a big bad ability. The first time it happened, I was running around and noticed the boomkin in the group knew what he was doing. I had trouble running around keeping everybody in line of sight and healed and dealing with figuring out the staircases, etc. So the second time, I put a circle on the boomkin’s head (I have Skull Cross Triangle and Circle bound to F9 through F12 for easy marking… I like raid icons) and then when he was done gripped him up to the boss. I had line of sight and access to everybody who was running all over the place and he got to get back to dpsing faster. I know it’s not anything major, but I felt useful and I got to use the new ability.

Leap of Faith is pretty, your target gets blue wings.

And with that, I had to log off and pack. I’m heading to an interview and will be gone for a couple days. I don’t think they would understand, “I’m sorry, that date’s not convenient for me, I need to level my archaeology.”

Adventures in the Land of Video Cards

•December 3, 2010 • Leave a Comment

It is now nearly 5 a.m. and therefore it is officially my birthday. Happy birthday to me. This year, I was lucky enough to order my own presents from newegg c/o my boyfriend. I’m eternally grateful. They came in the mail this morning. I am the proud owner of a new video card and Windows 7. I am upgraded from an nvidia 7900 GT/GTO and Windows XP to an ati 5770. It’s a drastic upgrade. To give you an idea, my video settings in WoW used to be capped at Fair. I can now go through Ultra and still have 40 fps. Not shabby at all.

I ran into a few problems, though. First, I spent three hours trouble shooting Windows 7 not realizing I had a hard drive. This included but certainly was not limited to waking up a friend at 2am their time and talking my mother into downloading drivers and bringing them to my house. I would have picked them up, but my boyfriend’s car has a flat and now my car has a dead battery. Yay! Happy Birthday to me!

So after three hours of trouble shooting… I realize I accidentally unplugged my hard drive when I installed my video card. Oops. My mom won’t be happy to hear that.

Fast forward through some stupid installation type things… and my sound won’t work. So I download drivers for what I think my sound card is. They won’t work. So I figure based on my experience with my hard drive, I would make sure it’s plugged in. It looked plugged in, so I pulled it out and then re-installed it. Sure enough on boot it automatically installed drivers and works just fine ><.

In other news, they hotfixed the Ashenvale Quests achievement so now I have all of Kalimdor! Just Eastern Kingdoms to go which I have made NO progress on. But there's always this weekend! I likely won't do much today either because of my birthday kind of things, but we'll see.

Cataclysm Factions and Priests

•December 1, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I decided to look through the five new factions for Cata to decide how I’m going to approach levelling, dailies, dungeons, etc. So here’s a basic breakdown.

Guardians of Hyjal
This is where all casters will get their helm enchant. It requires Revered and gives 60 int and 35 crit. The only piece of gear that looks noteworthy there is the epic belt for healers that you can pick up at level 85 and exalted.

Therazane
Welcome to the new Sons of Hodir. This rep gives all of the shoulder enchants for the xpac. It requires you to do a chain to unlock six dailies. Blue quality shoulder enchants are available at honored, epic at exalted. The caster ring you can get is lower quality than any of the other rings they offer with a level requirement of 83 according to wowhead. This may be an oversight or maybe Blizz hates casters. Who knows. The one MAJOR difference between Therazane and Sons of Hodir—there IS a Tabard. You do NOT have to grind the rep on dailies alone, but they can help.

Ramkahen
This is the source of the agi-based dps helm enchant. It is also the only one of the dungeon factions to offer a mount. You can choose between the Brown and the Tan Riding Camel. To justify grinding this rep apart from the mount, there is a pair of caster dps boots and that’s it. There’s really no reason for a healing priest to grind it apart from the mount–which is a shame.

Dragonmaw Clan
Strength-based dps will get their helm enchant here. The only thing worth noting is a caster neck that has no spirit which you can get at exalted. I don’t plan to touch this rep until I’m ready to grind random reps.

The Earthen Ring
The tanking helm enchant is really the only positive to these guys. There’s a blue quality cloak available at revered with them, but it has no spirit on it. Overall, I’d pass on this faction until last (and then only grind it if you want it for an additional reputation).

Overall, because of the factions I plan to level in Mount Hyjal to get the GoH rep started. Then move on to Deepholm and unlock Therazane. After that I will hit Uldum to start in on Ramkahen rep. If I need any more zones to get to 85, I will finish up in Twilight Highlands. I will likely complete GoH first when it comes to dungeon grinding. After I get the two productive reps completed, I fully intend to get myself a camel!

This E’ko thing is Madness!

•December 1, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Tonight I finally completed Kalimdor barring the 7 quests I’m missing from Ashenvale. After scouring the forums and wowhead, I submitted a ticket a few days ago. They informed me that I needed to simply explore Orgrimmar more to get the Explore Orgrimmar achievement. Clearly that was helpful. I submitted another ticket and the GM said that the quests would not be available until Cataclysm at which point new quests would open up. So I guess we all get to wait to finish the entirety of Kalimdor. I’d be grumpy if I didn’t already have Loremaster, really.

The final two zones were not disappointing. I only ran into one major issue and that was that I reached a point where I was 58/60 in Winterspring and thought, “Oh no, not this again.” It turns out there’s a tiny hub with 2 quests just northeast of Everlook at Thistlefur Village. The two quick quests got me the achieve and no major issue. I did the E’ko Madness achieve along the way. It is entirely possible to do it while you’re questing, so I’d advise doing it that way rather than going back later. If you’re already killing all sorts of bears, you might as well get the e’ko while you’re killing them. I just had to kill a few extra of certain kinds of mobs every once in a while.

My only criticism of Winterspring is that it has a lot of “do one quest then go back then do one…” back and forth nonsense. It’s not a long run back and forth so it’s not too tedious, but I enjoy large loops of quests.

And finally, I have a list of daily quests to pick up and complete before cata release. You can turn them in as soon as you log in with the xpac and get full xp for them according to a blue post. I assume that the way things worked in BC & LK with regards to NORMAL quests, however, stands. Normal quests you picked up when the reward was gold and not xp have historically turned in after release with the reward you picked them up with. i.e. if you have 25 normal quests that you picked up when you were level 80 during LK and you turn them in at cata, you will get gold and no xp at all.

In case anybody is interested in a list of dailies, the following are all in Icecrown and turn in relatively close together. The one caveat is that they DO require you to have done a bunch of pre-quests and participated in the Argent Tournament.

Assault by Air
Assault by Ground
Blood of the Chosen
Drag and Drop
Leave Our Mark
Neutralizing the Plague
No Rest For The Wicked
Not a Bug
Retest Now
Shoot ‘Em Up
Slaves to Saronite
That’s Abominable!
Vile Like Fire!
Volatility
—-
Among the Champions Requires Champion status
Battle Before the Citadel
Drottinn Hrothgar (or equivalent)
Gormok Wants His Snobolds (or equivalent)
Taking Battle To The Enemy
The Fate of the Fallen (or equivalent)
The Light’s Mercy (or equivalent)
Threat from Above
You’ve Really Done It This Time, Kul

The Continuation of Kalimdor

•November 29, 2010 • Leave a Comment

The past few days I’ve been working on more quests. I’ve been a little slow because I’ve been watching movies and tv in between quests, but that’s okay. I managed to complete Dustwallow Marsh (ugh), Thousand Needles, Tanaris, Ungoro, Silithus, and am now working on Felwood.

Thousand Needles was definitely my favorite of the bunch, but Ungoro’s squire quest line was pretty hilarious. So here’s a brief opinion of each one:

Thousand Needles: To combat the fact that the entire zone is under water and not everybody is a priest, the first quest chain in the zone rewards you with a River Boat. You hop in the water, use what looks like a pirate hat, and you’re off. It’s quite speedy. My only complaint with the River Boat is that it kept zooming my camera way in and it bugs me. But that’s easily fixed. I found that I could get around faster in some cases by using levitate + body & soul, though. The quest chains are entertaining, the travel is unique, it’s definitely a fun zone.

Tanaris: Tanaris definitely wasn’t a bad zone, but it wasn’t particularly noteworthy in my book. I did enjoy the ogre quest chain. Very few of the quests seemed exactly the same as the old quests, but they had the same overall THEME if that makes sense. There were “go kill animals” there were pirates, there were ogres, there were trolls in front of ZF. While I was there, I did go into ZF to do the quests there. The quests inside essentially give you a reward for clearing the place. I made a ton of gold and if I were at level, it would have been a ton of xp. I think it’s particularly convenient that you can now get the quests all right inside the instance. It used to be a pain to go to UC for a quest in Kalimdor.

Un’goro: It had a handful of the same quests like raptor pheromones, killing gorillas, and volcanic ash. What it didn’t have were quests that sent you all over the place for a single objective. For example, A-Me no longer requires you to escort her or bring her a Mithril Casing. Instead, she has a coconut quest chain. And like I said earlier, the squire quest chain was hilarious–you save damsels, which is a really good time to start reading RP text, you kill “dragons” and when you’re all done, you kill the giant “dragon.” It’s definitely a lot of fun.

Silithus: I had 18/19 quests completed on log-in here. The new quest hub is down south by AQ. There were two quests I could pick up there that require you to go to all three of the hives. I chose the kill quest for insect brains and on my second hive got a drop quest off one of the bugs– a letter from Brann Bronzebeard sending me back to camp. I gave up on the brains and turned in the letter, all done. From what I’ve heard, Silithus is a yawn fest and you should avoid it. It was a pretty quick clear for me what with one quest needed.

I just began Felwood so I don’t know much about it, but it starts out in Emerald Sanctuary with a good number of quests that I haven’t seen before, so I’m optimistic.

Holy Quests Batman

•November 27, 2010 • 2 Comments

I’ve been on a roll today. I’ve been working toward my goal of completing the EK & Kalimdor zone quest achievements before Cataclysm. I’m really making a lot of progress and some zones have been easier than other. I just thought I’d share some of my overall observations as well as impressions of individual zones.

First, yes, almost all of the old quests I did before the Shattering were reset. I had Loremaster and I had Seeker. The zone that appears to have the most quests complete NOW is Silithus with 18/19 quests completed on log-in on patch day. That’s okay though because while there is some overlap and redoing quests, they link together to flow through the zone. I really don’t mind.

Next, I’m finding that I’m a little annoyed by the flight paths. There’s tons of flight paths everywhere which is amazing, but the old world flight path placement is a little inconvenient. I almost wish the assignment board in Org would let us go to any zone and start there. But I know that’s asking a little much. I’ll be happy to use it come release day, though. (If you weren’t aware, there is a Command Board in Orgrimmar. As you level, you can visit it and it will port you to the zones appropriate to your level.)

Finally, my last overall concern is that the zone achievements do not necessarily require you to complete the entire zone. Northern Barrens seemed like just about every quest. Ashenvale doesn’t have enough quests to complete it at this time. Azshara, Desolace, and Northern Barrens I had at least an entire quest hub left when I got the achievement. While it’s nice to not have to scour the zone for the leftover quests, I also would like the achievement to be nearly the entire zone. I want to experience the new zones, but I also don’t want to “waste” time by doing quests that really won’t get me anything. There’s no experience, no rewards other than a tiny amount of gold, and there’s no achievement.

My approach was to start on Kalimdor and work through the zones as you’d hit them levelling. So far I’ve done Northern Barrens, Ashenvale, Stonetalon Mountains, Azshara, Desolace, Southern Barrens, and now I’m working on Dustwallow Marsh. So here’s some comments on each of those…

Northern Barrens: Make sure you start out at the beginning, at the bridge coming in from Durotar. I’m confident that if you do that you can progress through the zone easily. I didn’t do that. I started at Crossroads and then had to backtrack when I was almost done with the zone. It was annoying. The zones are designed to let you flow through and will send you to the next hub–often with a ride there so you don’t have to run on foot. Start at the beginning and you’re golden.

Ashenvale: This zone was really annoying to me because I had about 20 quests completed on patch day and now I can’t finish it. It’s really frustrating to not be able to finish the zone. I haven’t been able to find any blue posts about it, but there are plenty of threads in both the Achievement forum and the Bug Report forums. Hopefully this will be fixed soon.

Stonetalon Mountains: I was really entertained by the overall “plot” of the zone. Essentially you’re working your way up the military ranks as you go. You have a buff on you to show your rank. You end by earning General. The last quest I did in the zone was the one after I got the achievement in which you “learn what it means to be horde.” At that point, Garrosh comes out and tells you, “Psh the army you’re a general for doesn’t exist anymore. Go try to be of use in the next zones.” That being said, you keep the General rank buff every time you enter the zone from then on. There were a number of individual quests that were a lot of fun.

Azshara: At first I was intimidated by the number of quests required to complete the zone. I worried that I would end up looking everywhere for the last few quests. Never fear, there is an abundance of quests. And in doing a number of the quests, you get achievements in addition! Joy Ride you get by riding the transportation system in the zone between the northern & southern ends. You easily get the Glutton for Shadowy, Fiery, and Icy Punishment doing the quests, but that was a lot of fun. The ONE criticism I have for the Glutton achievements is that you really get it by doing the quest properly. I wish you didn’t automatically get the quest. That being said, the Icy one was the hardest in my opinion. Body and Soul really helped me dodge the frost twirls.

Desolace: Again, this zone had more quests than required by the achievement. I really liked that the zone looks a lot less depressing/monochrome than it used to. I particularly enjoyed the Cenarion Wildlands hub. I didn’t actually have to do anything south or west of that. I entered the zone north of Thunder Axe Fortress and worked my way through. I really enjoyed the quest line in Sargeron, but was frustrated that the in-game quest helper does not track the reagents you have to collect to perform the rituals. Also, I had trouble when I did the Naga quest chain starting at Ethel Rethor. At one point you get transformed into a naga and get to do a variety of quests that utilize the various abilities it has. The last quest is to go dig up mounds of dirt to find ancient tablets. The quest helper put the zone for the quest in the wrong place and the mounds of dirt were particularly difficult for me to find. Somebody else might have been in the zone, but after the first two I found, it took me about 20 minutes to complete the quest.

Southern Barrens: Yet again there are faaaar more quests than you need to finish the achievement. I was really disappointed that the last quest I turned in for the achievement was to talk to Mankrik who wants us to avenge his wife’s death. I’m pleased that the parts of the Barrens that we all know and love have remained and been built upon. Southern Barrens was exceptionally quick and interesting. The Overgrowth supplied a ton of quests in a very concentrated area. The only quest that I found in the least bit annoying was to find Energized Adders. I didn’t realize that I was looking for little critter snakes on the ground. I don’t have nameplates on critters, so it took me a while to notice.

Dustwallow Marsh: I JUST started DWM, but I was taken aback by how many quests you pick up immediately. I did have a few quests (8) completed at patch, but I can’t imagine that I’d be able to pick up literally a dozen quests in Brackenwall Village just because of those eight. It’s looking like it will be a speedy zone. Many of the old quests seem to be here such as Swamp Eye, Onyxia-based quests, and the Black Shield chain.

Overall, I think I’ve made a good bit of progress since this afternoon and am optimistic for the rest of the zones. The storylines are obvious (I don’t read much quest text!) so you get a taste of lore without wasting time. The quests are quick and self-explanatory. And most importantly, the new layout of quest hubs to progress you through the zone make questing a lot less time-consuming. I’m surprised at how happy I am with these changes.

Update: Dustwallow Marsh is officially stupid. It’s bad. Don’t go there if you have a choice. It has none of the new features that zones are supposed to have. None of the conveniences, no new quest hubs. And most annoyingly, if the quests got reset merely so I could go kill a big spider queen, that’s ridiculous. Now I’m frustrated.

Happy Birthday/Christmas/Thanksgiving to me!

•November 25, 2010 • Leave a Comment

My birthday’s in a week (just before Cata release so clearly Blizz decided to give me an xpac for my birthday). I just finished ordering my birthday and Christmas presents from newegg. I’m really excited. I ordered Windows 7 because I’m currently playing on XP and I’m starting to have compatibility issues with programs. Also I really want a 64-bit OS. I also got an ATI 5770 video card. I’m currently using an Nvidia 7900 GT/GTO so this should be a giant upgrade. Next month I hope to increase my RAM from 4 gigs to 8 gigs, but that will have to happen after the first. I can’t wait to have more than 20 fps.

Last night I finished my ICC 25 drake finally. It’s nice to finish off the meta achievement before Cataclysm.

Also, I almost finished Ashenvale quests only to find out that many people are having the same problem that I am: I cannot find any more quests even by searching through Wowhead. I am at 73/80 quests and there are none to be found. If anybody has any insight into this, please let me know, but I’m not convinced anybody’s reading so whatever.

In the real world, I am unemployed. I graduated from college in December 2008 and have not had a relevant job since then. I had one job at a Sprint call center for 6 months but quit because boyfriend relocated due to the Navy. I have submitted resumes everywhere I can think of. Until last week, I got ONE interview. I didn’t get the job. Last week, though, Shell gave me a call and wanted a phone interview. I passed that and they want me to go to this “recruitment day” thing. The problem is, it’s in Houston. I think the job will also be in Houston. I’m not too ecstatic about moving to Texas, but whatever. The big issue is that there’s no Navy base in Houston that I can find. I’m not sure how easily boyfriend can get transferred there. So I’m having a bit of a dilemma. If I do well at this recruitment day and get a job offer, do I potentially pass up a lot of money and a job to get me in the door. Or do I potentially mess up a 4+ year relationship that is very important to me. How much sacrifice from my end is too much? I ultimately didn’t get into grad school because of the Navy and location. I feel like if I wait it out until I get a job that works geographically with boyfriend’s job, I could potentially pass up a career completely. I really don’t want to be a waste of a life.

And with that… Happy Thanksgiving! Hopefully if anybody reads this, yours is less lonely than mine :)

 
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