Deathknights and You

This isn’t going to be a post with prospective specs, play information or even any useful gear recommendations. We all know that Malfean handles the technical side of things and I’m more “color commentary” anyway. No, this is about why everyone should have a Death Knight, even if you don’t want to have one.

I had no real intention of playing a Death Knight. After dabbling with them on the beta, I knew they were fun and all, but I had no interest in having one of my own. Truth be told, I really still don’t. However, since Malfean intends to main-switch, I made a Death Knight to run around Outland with him until he hits 68, at which point I am going to switch over to my main, a rogue, and continue on into Northrend. I’ll keep the character around, though, because I’ve had so much fun that I’m thinking I might actually want to finish leveling her at some point. So here are a few reasons why, even if you don’t think you want to play a Death Knight, you really do:

1. Appearance. Ok, I’m a girl, but holy freakin’ tauren, the new Death Knight skins are wicked. Baleful blue glares and hollowed out cheeks, grey-bluish skin and sickly blue hair…they look half dead and all evil, which is how I likes it. It also seems that blue is a big theme with Death Knights. Half of what they wear gear-wise has a blue cast to it, at least until you start trading it for Outland clown-gear.

2. The Starting Area. Now, all of the new content has some new quest types that are interesting and fun. Yes, there are a lot of the standard “Go get me fifteen snake gonads and I’ll give you a whistle that makes you dance” quests, but there are also new siege engine quests and phased quests and the like that will keep you interested. The Death Knight starting area has all of the best of the new quest innovations rolled into one fast-paced and highly entertaining spot. You want to fly on a Frost Wyrm and set fire to mobs below you and explode things? Check. You want to experience the sensation of your actions actually having a dynamic impact on the landscape around you? Check. You want to experience the exhiliration of being part of an epic battle with death, destruction and dying screams that looks like something out of “Lord of the Rings”? You can do this! Roll up your Death Knight now.

3. AOE the World. Have you, much like me, never had one of those classes that people constantly scream about being OP? Have you always missed the brief window of insane DPS before the soul-crushing nerfs? Then now is the time to make a Death Knight. I knew that the Death Knights seemed overpowered in their starting area, but I had no idea what it would be like beyond that, as I hadn’t taken one any further on beta. When Malfean and I ventured into Outland, I was stunned. Mobs go down faster than anything I’ve ever seen before. We routinely pull giant groups of mobs and throw around the Pestilence, Death and Decay and Blood Boil Death Knight AoEs and everything just falls before us. Whole islands of Naga, elites we used to have to get guildmates to help with, group quests for 3 or more…all no problem for a couple of piddly little Death Knights. I can’t help but think that this stuff is going to get nerfed, especially since even I, the one who never PvPs, can see the PvP potential in all of this. Casters wouldn’t have a chance.  Get yours before they nerf them into the ground.

4. Lore. Admittedly this is an area where Malfean has more interest and knowledge than I do. I tend to be the kind of person that flips past game intros and skips reading quest “color” text just to get to the heart of what I’m supposed to do. Lets get on with it! However, when you watch Arthas and Tirion Fordring’s scene at the end of the last quest in the Death Knight starting area, it’s hard not to be enthralled. Even me. It’s hard not to get swept up by the epic scope of it all.

In short, even if you never wanted a Death Knight, even if you aren’t interested in them at all, make one just for a little while. Enjoy this new, truly Heroic class that Blizz has given us. It’s one of the few things in the game that actually feels like you hoped the game would feel when you looked at your first World of Warcraft box and thought “Wow…I want to go there.”.

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Kaboomkin

So, I was doing dailies tonight, running around the Isle as a Crit Chicken of Death, and I guess it hadn’t really occurred to me just how insane Boomkin damage has become. Is this going on with all of the other classes, as well? I’ve primarily been playing my resto shaman since the patch, and doing dailies on my druid was crazy fun. Almost nothing that did the melee thing was able to hit…no roots needed. Starfire, starfire, moonfire, dead. And that’s when the first starfire didn’t crit. I actually one-shotted a Blood Knight with a starfire crit. It was pretty insane.

Bring it, Ret Pallies. Just don’t hit me in the face.

P.S. As an aside, flipping through the wow blogosphere, at first I thought some of the QQ I was seeing about pally nerfs was ridiculous. I saw at least a couple posts that were pure whining about Ret being nerfed, and this was when Ret was obviously and retardedly overpowered. However, that said, the Ret pally(and pally in general) nerfs have gotten out of hand, and I really hope that things get turned around, and soon. Ret pallies were stupid when 3.0.2 first came out. Now, they seem to be getting closer and closer to becoming retardins again, and that’s not cool.

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DKing It Up

So, I have decided what I will be doing when Wrath launches. That’s right, I’m going to be main-switching to a Death Knight, and grinding towards 80. Over the next few days, I hope to get some posts up regarding my EJ research on Death Knights, and my general impressions of the class. Until then, an idea of what my prospective Unholy leveling builds look like.

58 http://wotlk.wowhead.com/?talent=jZZfMMfxfkxcq0c0bL

63 http://wotlk.wowhead.com/?talent=jZZfMMfxfkxcq0cchx

I’m not 100% on leveling as Unholy, I may actually level as Blood. I need to play around with it a bit more, and see how Unholy solos(there’s been a lot of builds since I played around with Unholy, and I’m much more familiar with Blood soloing).

Also, I’m a tad late for my first post of NaBloPoMo, but I’m gonna count it anyway, since I haven’t been to bed yet. It totally counts!

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On Warhammer and Distractions…

So, it’s been quite a while since I last posted, and there have been a couple major contributing factors to this.

One, I gave Warhammer a whirl. It was pretty cool for PvP, and having read over the highlights from Blizzcon, I’m happy to see that Blizz will be incorporating some of the features into WoW, notably queueing for battlegrounds anywhere. Unfortunately, Warhammer’s PvE was sorely lacking, and a game whose only major merits are PvP-based can’t hold my attention for very long.

Two, must…level…alts. Trying desperately to get alts up to 70 before the xpack hits. I should easily have my shaman up to 70 by the time xpack hits, and my mage should be well along the way. This makes me happy. Options are always a good thing, although I very likely will be rolling a Death Knight on launch day. I’m about 90% on that. Which leads me to thing the third…

Beta! Got into the beta a while back, and really enjoyed messing around with stuff. Actually spent very little time on my druid(never even hit 71), however I did tank a bit of Naxx on a premade druid, and that was fun. Most of what I did, however, was play around with DKs. I wanted to get a good feel for how the class plays, and decide whether or not I would play one, and where in the roster it would go. I am sorely tempted to make my Death Knight my new main, and make it the first thing I do on launch day. They’re extremely fun, with quite a few cool abilities.

So, the main reason I’m making this post is to break the radio silence. I plan on posting in the next day or so regarding Death Knights, so if you’re interested but don’t have access yet, I’ll be breaking down some of the cooler/more fun abilities and aspects of being a former servant of the Lich King.

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XXXP

So, I had been going to write a brief post about how playing a shaman was really, really fun, but it got me to thinking about one of the best benefits of the whole triple XP deal. Yes, it enables leveling alts really, really fast(dinged 40 tonight with 28 hours played), and being able to grant levels is cool, and the summon thing is great for handling going to train and such.

Where it really shines, however, is in letting you get a feel for how a class that you’re unfamiliar with actually plays. All classes take some time to develop into their own. Enhancement shaman really blossom at level 30, same goes for warriors. Hunters completely change their playstyle at 10, and blossom at 20ish. The whole triple xp deal lets you get there really fast, and get a solid idea of whether or not you want to continue leveling the character without putting in a solid amount of time getting over the hump, so to speak. And, in my opinion, that’s just full of win.

Now for the shameless self-promotion of how awesome the leveling is going. As I said, dinged 40 tonight and picked up Dual Wield. Oh. My. God. I am a critting, dpsing, whirlwinding beast, and I love it. It’s extraordinarily fun, even moreso, I would say, than a DW warrior. Obligatory screenshots!

/played at 30

This is a quick screenshot of my /played right after hitting level 30 in Thousand Needles

And here's us showing of our newly purchased raptors. Sharon picked violet because it matches her hair.

And here's us showing of our newly purchased raptors. Sharon picked violet because it matches her hair.

And here we have the screenshot of my /played a little bit after hitting 40. Also, you can see my awesome dual wielding bad assedness. It's a word now.

And here we have the screenshot of my /played a little bit after hitting 40. Also, you can see my awesome dual wielding bad assedness. It's a word now.

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Triple Size Me

So, as Sharon mentioned yesterday, we went ahead and got a third account to take advantage of the crazy triple xp bonus, among other things. We’ve played around with it a few days now(did it the day it came out, Wednesday), so I figured I would talk about what I think about it, so far.

It’s somewhat hard to tell who this incentive program is aimed at. I find it a little hard to believe that it is actually aimed at bringing in new players. There are some interesting issues that occur when leveling that fast that I think could actually cause some problems for brand new players to the game. As has been mentioned elsewhere, hunters who are gaining the triple xp bonus do not pass on triple xp to their pets, so keeping a pet leveled up with you would be nigh on impossible, and about the only recourse for this would be to abandon and tame a new pet every few levels.

Also, you outlevel gear extremely fast, and with the crazy leveling pace, at least so far, you actually end up skipping a lot of quests, missing out on gear upgrades. So far, my shaman and her warrior are now level 23, at around 11 hours played, and that includes a bit of screwing around with tradeskills. We hit level 8 before leaving the Valley of Trials, and did all of Sen’jin village and two, maybe three quests in Razor Hill before leaving Durotar. A handful of quests in the Barrens, perhaps 10, and we’ve now moved on to Hillsbrad Fields. Did a couple of quests in Hillsbrad, and that’s where we really noticed how badly our gear had fallen behind. Her warrior was not even remotely able to hold aggro with me using any kind of weapon buff, even without shocks, and my flametongue weapon buff was hitting damn near as hard as my weapon was. We actually came really close to dying a bunch of times, and she did die once(I got mind controlled by one of the jailors and started healing him). So, right before logging, we actually hit the AH and bought up a bunch of greens to kit ourselves out in. Played aorund with them for about ten minutes, and it really did make a big difference.

The problem with this scenario is that a brand new player isn’t going to have the cash to set themselves up in AH greens every 10-15 levels or so, especially if they’re blazing through the levels and not getting as many drops or as much cash from quests/kills. In theory, the Recruiter will be able to hook them up to some extent, but depending on the server economy and just how much cash the recruiter has kicking around, that could get pretty damn expensive, especially when characters make the jump to plate/mail. This is one of the main reasons it seems to me like it is aimed at multi-boxers and people in the market for a second account. That’s actually what happened to us, I was considering getting another account to have more room for alts and bankers, and the new incentive program sold me on it.

Another issue I see with the incentive program being directed at brand new players is, part of the leveling process is learning how to play your toon. You get time to learn how abilities work and what they do, before you are forced to dive in with 4/9/24 other people and show them how well(or how little) you know your class. Now, it is true that things change significantly from 60 to 70, and that you do a large amount of learning how to play your character at 70. However, you learn the basics from 1-60, and the faster you burn through those levels, the less you learn, and this is especially true when you are new to the game and not only have to learn the basics of your class, but also the basics of the game mechanics.

The tools you get are pretty cool, and fun. It makes it much easier for me to be able to level my shaman in Eastern Kingdoms, since I can just hearth over to Orgrimmar, train, and then have her summon me back, as long as I don’t need to go back and trian again within an hour(believe it or not, this could actually be an issue, at least until 30). Also, being able to grant free levels is just awesome. She has a low level pally kicking around, and the plan is for me to grant levels to it to give it a pretty solid boost, then she can start with a really nice headstart in getting it up to 70. Plus, Sharon is pretty stoked about getting a Zhevra. I would have liked to have been able to get one, but it just worked out better for us to have the secondary account going into my name and having me play it(what with me being 100% out of alt spots).

So, all in all I would say that this incentive program is great for existing players who want to expand to a second/third/thirtieth account that have a partner they could play with, and people who are looking to multi-box that have not gotten set up with it yet, however for new players, while making the leveling process quite a lot faster, I don’t think that it creates a good atmosphere in which to learn how to play the game, and creates issues such as the gearing and pet issues that could be potentially very frustrating.

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We Bought the Hype

Have you seen it yet? Simply Recruit-A-Friend and you get all sorts of lovely bonuses. A free new mount! Triple XP! Free levels! Come on, you know you want to. The siren’s song of triple experience is too seductive to pass up. It’s obviously Blizzard’s attempt to encourage people to, if not do exactly what we did, then get anyone and everyone involved in WoW before their big expansion. Mmm, that $15 a month must be like mother’s milk, dripping in from all over the world.

I consider myself WoW-addicted, but I wasn’t sure how badly until I saw that advertisement and actually woke Malfean up to pester him to start a third account so that we could take advantage of the deal. It also doesn’t hurt that we’ve lost a few tanks and heals from the guild lately, so it just seems like a great way to quickly level up both. Plus, I get to try my hand at tanking while Malfean heals!

If the levels go fast enough, we likely will do another pair with him tanking and me healing so that we have one of each on my account and the spare account. Honestly, the levels are going so quickly that it feels like cheating. We actually dinged our first level off of the very first “go see” quest and made 16 levels in four hours yesterday. It’s crazy. Crazy awesome.

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