Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wailing Caver... huh?

Continued with the dungeon runs last night - hit the Wailing Caverns, coming in as a replacement tank just before the final boss. Quick xp, a bit of gold, and of course, another blue item (cloak, this time) to vendor.

Having done RFC and WC, I really wanted to take Aeven into the Deadmines. So I queued up again for that specific instance as a tank/dps, and waited... and waited... and waited. It was sheer agony! I was beginning to despair! It took me almost five whole minutes to get into a group!

Yah. Tanks are spoiled rotten.

Aside from an inadvertent pull of Captain Greenskin that caused a wipe, it was a nice run. At level 17, I was at least 3-4 levels junior to the next lowest level person in the party, and I still managed to hold aggro pretty decently. At least, when the 24th level rogue wasn't making with the stabbity stabbity too quickly.

As a result, I'm starting to rethink my decision to go retribution. As time goes on, I'm not sure that I'll be able to keep my dps up at a level that's competitive with similarly leveled characters. Running RFC, a whopping 26 dps isn't all that different from 30 dps. Continue the trend, though, and at some point I'll be doing 10% or even 20% less damage per second than my dungeon delving compadres. At that point, I think I'll have to switch over to tanking (or maybe healing) if I really want to continue running dungeons. If that's the case, I might as well start looking at it now.

I swear that the fact that tanks get near instant queue times has absolutely nothing to do with this decision. Really! And if you believe that, I have a bridge in Tanaris to sell you...

In completely unrelated news, I realize I missed out on a major point in Aeven's leveling: getting her first glyphs at level 15. Not a big deal, I thought. I hit the AH and picked up a Glyph of Judgement and a Glyph of Blessing of Might, then dropped two unspent talent points into Improved Blessing of Might. Popped back to Westfall to do a quest or two and... wow. Just wow.

The critters here were hardly challenging prior to those changes, but now they were falling over like... well, like things that had just had a quivering, snarling white hot ball of Dwarven terror smack them over the head with a heavy piece of metal attached to the end of a long lever arm. Quickly is the word that I think I'm looking for here. Yowza. It's interesting to see just how much effect talents and glyphs have - at least at this level, it seems like they're more signifiant than the minor bonuses from gear. Good news for me - let's see how long that will remain the case, though.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Ragefire Chasm, or How I Stopped Worrying And Learned To Love Aggro

So, I was interested in running Aeven through the Deadmines, if you recall. Before diving into the depths of the LFD tool, though, I wanted to make sure that she was up to the task.

Now, I figure that anyone hitting an entry-level dungeon is probably either going to have a couple of quest greens, or maybe some pieces of heirloom gear. However you slice it, they're going to have some stat bonuses that Aeven won't. Aside from trying to play as intelligently as possible, I decided that before Aeven stepped foot into her first dungeon, I'd make sure she had the best enchantments and potions she could get.

So, first task: enchantments. A few minutes work, and Aeven had a handful of scrolls sitting in her mailbox. Major Health (+100) for her chest piece, Resistance (+3) for her cloak, Superior Stamina (+9) on her bracers, and Greater Strength (+7) on her gloves. Oh, and Minor Stamina (+1) on her boots. No weapons enchantment yet, though I did include a couple of barrels of Minor Wizard Oil.

Next task: potions. I actually already had a bunch of low-level potions sitting in the bank from leveling alchemy, so this was just a matter of tossing whatever was there into the mail. That ended up including some Minor Rejuvenation potions, both Weak and Strong Troll's Blood Elixir, some Elixir of Lion's Strength, and a bunch of random mana and healing potions.

Woohoo! Geared up and ready for trouble. Well, I could queue up for Deadmines, but the LFD tool has worked well for my level 80 characters. Let's see what picking a random dungeon gets Aeven, then... especially since at this level, she can honestly queue as tank, healer and dps! And the RNG says...

Ragefire Chasm.

And Ragefire Chasm.

Oh, and Ragefire Chasm.

Followed by Ragefire chasm.

Topped off with Ragefire Chasm.

Yep. This is what came up from doing random dungeons. Five times in a row.

On the plus side, it really let me learn a bit about tanking, which I'm new to. Running the same dungeon repeatedly let me experiment a bit and figure out what the deal was with pulling, and taunting, and the like. I even got a little "Oh, snap, no you don't!" sort of rush the first time that a mob peeled off of me to head for the mage, and I taunted him back on to me. Skada says I managed to pull about 26 dps, which put me in a solid 3rd place, which is OK for a tank, right? Especially since I ended up soaking 75% of the damage from those runs. At least I was doing more damage than the shammy's searing totem.

Overall, it was a lot of fun - I pretty much managed to keep aggro, unless we pulled more than 3 mobs. Or the mage unloaded to early. Or the healer coughed. After the first two runs, I dinged 16, so I was able to haul myself off to the paladin trainer in Ironforge and pick up some new tricks. Retribution Aura, Righteous Defense, Righteous Fury and Hand of Reckoning made tanking so much easier. Once I had all those abilities in my toolbox, keeping aggro was a whole different story. Unless the healer coughed. Sigh...

Obviously, I need to work more on my aggro management. I do well enough if everything goes right, but if things start getting away from me, watch out. In the first run, there was one pull that went south, though the priest and I managed to stay standing and finish off the mobs... so redemptions and resurrections all around, and we were good to go again.

A couple of lessons learned from my tanking debut:
  • Overgeared rogues can effectively tank, and will if you let them.
  • Hunters that "helpfully" pull the next mob for you should themselves be shot.
  • Hunters that lay down traps for the mobs you're pulling? Priceless.
  • Mages that remember to sheep things? Twice as priceless.
  • Five RFC runs == enough XP for two levels. Joy!
Finally, gear - or refusal thereof. Refusing to equip a green pair of pants was one thing, but for doing the dungeon randoms, I got five pieces of blue mail, one from each of the Satchel of Helpful Goods given as part of the random dungeon rewards. I think I was 35th level or so on my first character before I even saw a blue item drop, let alone something I could actually use. The blues were all belts, variations on the Earthbound Girdle - of the Champion, of Strength, of Stamina, and two of the Soldier. Ended up being worth about half a gold all told when vendored.

Next up: Deadmines! Or not, depending on whether or not the RNG hates me that day :-/

All vendored, as were the two pairs of Crystalline Cuffs I won on a greed roll. The Staunch Hammer of Power went to the AH.

I hate it when someone else snarks better than I do

I actually started notes for a post about the inanity of some of the low-level quests this morning. I was going to comment about how much better the quest lines are in BC and WotLK, showing off how Blizzard's skill with their story telling tools has improved. But of course, Chastity over at Righteous Orbs hits the nail on the head and points out that while the mechanics of questing may be much improved, you can still run into quest lines that make you wonder, "What kind of medicinals did the game designers have to ingest to make that sound like a good idea?"

You sweat and you toil and you lead hapless NPCs to their death, and then you rock back to whichever idiot questgiver sent you out and they say “Well done, adventurer! Now Arthas is very slightly inconvenienced!”

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Pallies are OP

Whoa, yeah. Well, maybe not OP, but leveling has been a dream compared to bringing up my lil' mage and priest. Then again, maybe it has less to do with pallies being OP, and more to do with the fact that Aeven's primary defense against the crushing, slashing, bleeding, mauling attacks of enemies is something more resilient than linen and silk?

Nah, must be that pallies are OP :-)

Anyways. Did a few quests in Elwynn Forest, and in the process, managed to reach journeyman levels in skinning, mining, first aid, and cooking. Frankly, the first aid is nice, but hardly needed - I think I've bandaged twice, and then mostly out of a feeling of "Hmm, I have bandages, I guess I should use them." The buffs from cooking (+2 spirit and +2 stamina! Wooohoo!) are hardly fantastic at this level, but when you're eschewing anything with a stat bonus on it, every little bit helps.

Now, the skinning and mining... that's a definite win. At 75 skill in each, I've picked up Master of Anatomy and Toughness, both at rank 1, for a whopping +3 crit rating and +3 stamina. I could actually see my health bar change when I picked up Toughness, which was cool.

Just before I dinged level 12, though - before I got the Anatomy and Toughness buffs - I decided to head out and give Hogger a run for his money. I mean, he's level 11, and I'm level 11, right? I'm sure he'll turn me into some sort of pally pate that he'll serve up as part of his dinner party that evening, but hey, at least I'll get an idea about how hard taking him down will be, and then I can...

Oh, wait. Hogger fall down and goo boooooom.

So... yeah. Maybe pallies are OP :-) This is me complaining.

Downing Hogger led me to my first temptation: the quest reward. Those Stormwind Guard Leggings look nice. Very pretty. I mean, I think that they'd look good on Aeven, don't you? Stylish! Practical! Useful!

Sigh. Forbidden.

So I took the Balanced Fighting Stick instead, since that would vendor for almost three times as much (six silver!) Between vendoring or selling BoP greens that I've encountered, and selling leather scraps on the AH, I've managed to accumulate a handful of gold already. I'm hanging on to the copper and leather I accumulate for now, until I reach the point where I think I'll have enough resources for leveling engineering; then the excess will get tossed onto the AH as another source of income.

As of last night, Aeven's sitting happy at level 15, just hight enough level to use the LFD tool, all kitted out in her new set of chainmail. No attempt to find a group yet, though. I'd like to get her current equipment enchanted up a bit before heading off into the wilds of a random group. Deadmines first, because hey - it's the Deadmines. But I'm sure she'll hit RFC and Wailing Caverns before all is said and done, too.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Weekend Plans

It's been a busy week for me, but not for poor little Aeven. She's been sitting in Ironforge, waiting patiently for me to return to her so she can continue her adventures, while I spent the majority of my WoW time this week working on getting my main to Exalted with the Netherwing.

It's hard sometimes, being an alt. Fortunately, I have plans for the weekend.

Now, normally, young Dwarves would find themselves heading East through Dun Morogh, past the Gol'Bolar quarry and into Loch Modan. Normally.

By the way, did you realize that Dun Morogh is zone #1 according to wowhead? Just saying, you know. Just pointing out that there is empirical evidence - hard facts, that is - that show that Dwarves is, are, and always have been #1. Unlike, say, someplace like Teldrassil, that manages to come in at.. oh, my. Zone number #141.


Just sayin'.

Anyways, back on track - rather than heading off into Loch Modan (beautiful as it is there!), I think that Aeven's going to hitch a ride on the Deeprun Tram and head out into Elwynn forest first. There's low-level quests galore there, obviously. More than enough to let her pick up a few more levels, after which she can ride across the river and explore Westfall... that is, after she takes care of some minor business at the border.

How tough are pallies, really? Let's find out.

This weekend, Aeven will get to meet NPC #448. Otherwise known as known as... Hogger.

After her inevitable victory over the gnoll menace (ha!), she should be pretty close to being able to use LFD to queue up for the Deadmines. Woot! Bring it, Van Cleef!

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Did you know that there are no poor or common quality librams? Ouch! Likewise, no poor or common quality rings or amulets - at least, none that actually provide any benefit.

There are a few common quality trinkets... if you're an engineer. Bah. So it looks like I may end up leveling engineering after all.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Thinking about professions

Now that I've made it to Ironforge, it's time for a quick detour to Stormwind via the Deeprun tram, just to learn 1H and 2H sword. After that... picking professions.

Herbalism and alchemy are right out. They would actually be pretty useful, if I was leveling in isolation... but fortunately, I have a couple of 70+ characters, one of whom is an alchemist. So keeping Aeven stoked with level-appropriate potions shouldn't be a big problem. Plus, you know, paladin. If I need Lifeblood that badly, I'm doing something wrong.

I'm going to dismiss enchanting for the same reason - another character has 450 enchanting, and can provide Aeven with whatever enchantments she needs via scrolls. In the event that that's not a possibility for some reason, Aeven can have her more experienced sibling disenchant items for the materials to get someone else to do her enchantments for her.

While inscription is apparently a pretty good money-maker, I'm not all that interested in just accumulating cash. Jewlcrafting and tailoring are out, as well - there's pretty much nothing that you can make that isn't uncommon or better. Oh, sure, there's some white cloth items creatable by tailoring, but - ahem - she's already decked out in mail, so what's the use? There are some white gems, which even Aeven could use, but there aren't any white items with gem sockets on them.

Or... are there? Take a look at Blacksmithing. There's a number of white enhancement items that are craftable by a blacksmith, and which would be good for leveling. Plus, at 400 skill, blacksmiths can use Socket Gloves and Socket Bracer. So, while an Eternal Belt Buckle is right out, being a blue item, I could go with Blacksmithing and eventually have two gem sockets. There are only 13 white gems, but I suppose that if I ever really needed that +8 hit rating, this would be a way to get it. Something to consider, at least.

Leatherworking is out for much the same reason that tailoring is - there's really no use for it, especially while leveling, except as a money-making proposition. In fact, the only reason I can see to take it would be in conjunction with skinning, for the ability to combine lower quality leather to produce higher quality leather. Meh.

Engineering has the same attraction as blacksmithing - lots of nice juicy usable white items while leveling. Having tried leveling engineering once, though, my experience is that it's time-consuming and expensive.

Let's see... what haven't we looked at yet? Just mining and skinning. Mining, which can give you Toughness (up to a +60 stamina bonus), and skinning, which can give you a Master of Anatomy (up to a +40 crit bonus).

While it looks like blacksmithing might be interesting, I think I'll go with mining/skinning for now... and possibly drop skinning at a later date in exchange for blacksmithing. Those stamina and crit bonuses are just too tasty to pass up.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Well, a couple of dings, actually. Aeven just hit level 10, via an Elder Crag Boar just outside of Brewnall Village. Over they past few levels, she's managed to pick up first aid and fishing skill, a trio of Small Brown Pouches (not nearly as pretty as her Small Green Pouch, but serviceable), and... her first death, to a level 11 elite yeti. Almost had him, too... pallies are tough.

Gear has been upgraded quite a bit. Loose Chain Gloves, Loose Chain Boots, Warrior's Girdle, Mountaineer Chestpiece, Veteran Cloak, Ironwrought Bracers, Stone Buckler... about the only things I haven't upgraded are my pants and my weapon.

Stats at level 10, unbuffed: 564 armor, 82 attack power, and while I should be pulling 8 dps, Skada has me at 8.9 - probably because I've finally figured out how to use Judgment of Light properly.

Level 10 also brings something else... my first talent point! Where to put it? Holy? Hmm, maybe someday, but not yet. Even if I want to heal, I won't be able to for at least another 4-5 levels. How about Protection? Doesn't look to interesting right now... gee, 1% more healing? Pass. What else ya got?

Ahhhhhhh. Retribution.

OK, yes. None of the trees have anything amazingly whizz-bang in the first tier of talents. Given that caveat, you're left with nothing to really help you make your choice except for the name of the tree. While I could be Holy, while I could be Protection... remember, this is the Dwarven lass who kicked a bear in the teeth for what amounted to no good reason at all.

Retribution, all the way!

Off to Ironforge now!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Ah, Kahranos!

It's the big city for me, you betcha!

Aeven made it to level 6 on the way from Coldridge Valley to Kahranos. Along the way, to prepare herself for the dangers of the world, she picked up a few items: a Dwarven Kite Shield, an Anvilmar Hammer, and a Rustic Belt as quest rewards, and a few bits of tarnished mail to fill out her kit.

Oh, and a Small Green Pouch. Happy happy joy joy happy happy joy! That's an extra six slots for the price of zero, zilch, zip, nada! Oh, happy day! (Yeah. Just in case you have no idea why this fills me with unbridled joy, extra storage space - bags - are expensive in WoW. Finding one in the starting area is like finding a $100 bill on the way to work. Twice.)

I'm currently sporting 433 armor, 62 attack power, and should be doing a whopping 6.6 dps. Skada, in fact, says I'm pulling 6,.4 dps, so woo! Right on target there!

Enemies are falling, if not quickly, then at least consistently. My armor is good enough that I haven't had to stop and eat to restore health at all. I've only had to use Holy Light for healing once, when I left the road to go kick a bear in the teeth for looking at me funny. Aeven 1, Bears 0. Hey - I'm a Dwarven paladin. I'm rough, I'm tough, I'm holy. I also obviously lack common sense, which will no doubt serve me well in my adventuring career.

Now to rest a bit at a real inn, train up, and see what tomorrow holds.


So, yeah, yet another WoW blog.

Inspired (somewhat) by Gevlon's "Undergeared" project, I found myself wondering if it would be possible to not just do end-game content undergeared, but what it would be like to level a character undergeared.

So was born Aeven... the stout Dwarven paladin, devoted to the light, and honor bound to level to 80 wearing (and using!) nothing but common items.

No greens. No blues. No purples. No heirloom shoulders. No Tome of Cold Weather Flight. Just the best white gear money can buy! Or salvage off of a corpse somewhere. Whatever, she's not picky.

Here's my self-imposed rules: gray and white gear only. Enchantments are fine, so long as they themselves are white, and can be applied to white gear. Consumables are fine, so long as they themselves are white (so no Endless Healing Potions, for example). Buff scrolls are fine so long as... well, yeah, you guessed it. So long as they're white. Kits, cats, sacks... whatever, if it's no better than a common quality item, it's fair game.

She's level 4 now, and still hanging out in the starting area. Killing trogs, wolves and boars has proven to not be much of a challenge. We'll see how things go once she gets out into the real world...