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Friday, November 26, 2010

Level Flow

I've just been looking at Zeror's level flow map on MMO-Champion.

 



It's definitely vastly improved over the original old-world, especially Horde-side which had a couple quests here and a couple quests there once you hit the twenties. Alliance was similar, the quests started to spread out unless you went the Southern EK route, which is still mostly intact today.

The new levelling flow seems to give a lot more options. It depends, though, how many quests are available. I have trouble imagining many Horde quests in Redridge or Duskwood, for example, even though they're marked in white on the map, and that would be a difficult route for a Horde player to take anyway.

Going through the direct routes indicated on the map, it seems that the Horde have two main levelling paths, one in Eastern Kingdoms and one in Kalimdor. Alliance, meanwhile, seem to have three, two in Eastern Kingdoms (Southern and Northern routes) and one in Kalimdor. This makes me think levelling up Horde alts may be in for a lot more crossover in quests than Alliance-side.

So, taking this knowledge it's helped me plan out my characters a bit better. My original plan was to level my four new healers, (a shaman and priest Alliance-side, a druid and priest Horde-side), to level 85, and a Worgen Hunter, a Goblin Mage, and my currently level 24 Warlock to level 60. However, I think I'm going to change my plan a bit so not to do much crossover before 60 since I hate repeating quests.

So, my plan is as follows.

My Dwarf Shaman: I'll keep him and continue to level him up the Northern Eastern-Kingdoms.

My Draenei Priest: I may race-change him to Worgen just for the racials, but whatever the case, I plan to level him up entirely in the dungeon finder.

My Worgen Hunter (?): I'm going to be taking him the Kalimdor route, with a detour to Winterspring at 50 instead of Un'Goro. May choose to make him a druid instead, not positive yet. As you know, I prefer healing, but I want to level at least one healer on my main Horde server so unless I decide to dual up on druids I'll probably stick with Hunter.

My Blood Elf Priest: Not on my primary Horde server, I play him to play with a friend of mine. Again, like my other priest, this will be levelled entirely in the Dungeon Finder. (I find priests too squishy to quest comfortably.)

My Troll Druid: I plan to take him entirely through Kalimdor, per the route on the map most likely.

My Goblin Mage: Yes, I'm doing mage despite my preference for healing. He'll probably entirely be PVP if I get him to max level since I don't like DPSing in dungeons much, but might give me a change of pace if I don't feel like stressing over keeping people alive. I'll be taking him through Azshara, then hopping continents to level him from Hillsbrad through EPL.

That will give me one Alliance levelling path to use for any alts I crave in the future, and I know I will. I'm an altoholic.

So, anybody else have any plans for levelling characters? Or are you less obsessive about avoiding repeating quests than I am? :) http://chum.ly/n/49598e

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Welcome to The Shattering!

Patch 4.0.3a is here! Azeroth is changed forever! Or, will be, whenever it is the servers come back up.

This is likely the biggest patch in history. If you're looking for a detailed list of changes to the world, MMO-Champion's your best bet. Today, I'm going to talk in more general terms, and hopefully provide a few useful links for the more useful tips about the changes.

First of all, how have things changed for the various races? (Warning, some spoilers for the novel The Shattering.)

Tauren find themselves with a new, barely-tested leader. Baine Bloodhoof is young but very much his father's son, giving a promising new beginning. At the same time, they have found a new way of spirituality, worshipping the spirit of the sun and bringing in the ways of the Light. For their plotting to bring down Cairne and take over Thunder Bluff, the Grimtotem have been expelled from Thunder Bluff and all allied Tauren settlements. What will they get up to in their exile? I'm looking forward to finding out.

The Orcs also find themselves with a new leader, Garrosh Hellscream, who recently became the new Warchief of the Horde. He may be a warmonger, but he is what his people need. Ogrimmar was seriously damaged during the Shattering and the events leading up to it, requiring massive portions of the city to be rebuilt. However, Orc resources were already stretched way too thin before the earthquakes started, and now are on the verge of disaster. Garrosh has led Ogrimmar to rebuild with metal to replace the dwindling wood supplies, and gives his people hope by promising glory and honour. We'll just have to see if he can deliver, or if he's leading them into further destruction.

The Trolls have returned to their home islands and have reclaimed their honour as well as those they left behind, the new druids of the Darkspear tribe, even as Vol'Jin finds himself losing faith in the Horde under Hellscream's leadership. Can Garrosh and Vol'jin find their common purpose?

The Forsaken, up until now they've been focused almost entirely on defeating Arthas, Now that that is accomplished, they find themselves a new purpose in destroying the Alliance who despise them, and have found new allies as well in the Val'kyr, allowing them to replenish their numbers. But how will this change their relationship with the Horde, and can they deal with the Worgen on their borders?

The Humans have hit troubled times, having lost many to the war with the Lich King and with a King that is filled with hatred for Orcs and the Horde in general. Like Ogrimmar, Stormwind struggles with dwindling resources as they attempt to rebuild from Deathwing's attack, and King Varian puts more and more resources into the war effort. How will his people react, and will he change his ways?

The Dwarves, meanwhile, have their own problem. After King Magni Bronzebeard died in an attempt to communicate with spirits of the Earth, his daughter Moira returns and lays claim to the throne, bringing those Dark Iron she controls with her. After being talked down from trying to remove her from the throne by his son, King Varian orders the Dwarves to form a new council, the Council of Three Hammers, holding a representative of each of the three Dwarven Clans, (Muradin representing the Bronzebeard, Falstad representing the Wildhammer, and Moira representing the Dark Iron), and now we must wait to see if they can hold the peace or whether they are destined for civil war.

The Gnomes have taken back the surface levels of their home city of Gnomeregan. While the city proper is still contaminated and full of enemies, the Gnomes adapt and now live mostly on the surface outside of the city itself. Meanwhile, after discovering in Northrend that they share a very similar history to that of the Dwarves, some Gnomes have taken to following the Dwarven way and worshipping the Light.

The Night Elves have recently been gifted with the return of Malfurian Stormrage from fighting the Emerald Nightmare, only to have lost many to the Shattering and Deathwing. Meanwhile, the Shen'dralar have rejoined their Night Elf brethren, bringing magic back to a people who, on the whole, despise it.

As for the Draenei and the Blood Elves? Absolutely nothing's changed.

Now, onto gameplay itself. For the healers, here's some useful links to help adjust to the new changes.

Paladins:  kurn.apotheosis-now.com/?p=1532
Shaman:  wow.joystiq.com/2010/11/23/totem-talk-bringing-you...clysm
Priests:  wow.joystiq.com/2010/11/14/spiritual-guidance-leve...t-bet
Druids: http://www.restokin.com/2010/11/cataclysmic-resto-talents-changes-for-4-0-3a/ (Thanks to Tarinae!)

Overall:  www.mmo-champion.com/content/2086-Patch-4.0.3a-on-...-week

http://chum.ly/n/486373

Saturday, November 20, 2010

My UI

As I mentioned previously, my UI is, in general, a mess. It's definitely improved today over just a couple weeks ago, but I still have a long way to go yet. Here's a screenshot:




 First of all, here's all the addons I have installed :

Ackis Recipe List (a very very useful addon for crafters)
Altoholic (since I am an altoholic)
ArkInventory (brand new, just installed last week but I'm loving it)
Atlas
AtlasLoot
Auctioneer (I seriously have trouble functioning without this one)
Bartender4 (Also recently installed, it's helped make my UI cleaner by itself)
BonusScanner Continued
CensusPlus
Deadly Boss Mods
Decursive
Enchantrix
Fishing Ace!
FlightMap
Gatherer
Informant
Junkster
LightHeaded (super valuable quest data)
LilSparky's Workshop (ties in with Auctioneer and gives cost vs. average sale price for each item in crafting, very useful)
Mapster
Mik's Scrolling Battle Text (Way, way more useful than the default SBT)
Omen3
OmniCC
Outfitter
Overachiever
Postal
Power Auras Classic (don't actually have anything setup anymore, not since 4.0.1, but have it in case I want to)
Quartz (not even sure I need OmniCC  and this, but I depend on this for the casting bar, might experiment with turning off OmniCC sometime and see)
RatingBuster
RecipeKnown
Recount
TomTom
VuhDo

As you can see, I'm an addon addict. However, there's only one where I won't logon the game if it's not working, and that's VuhDo. I depend on it when I'm healing. I'm sure I'm perfectly capable of healing using other means, but I'm not setup to do it and I would have to adapt. Much easier just to wait until that patches up.

I'm sure I have the tools to put my UI in order in a way that's both beautiful and functional, but for the moment I've just got functional. That, of course, is what matters most as far as I'm concerned.

I know I don't have that many readers yet, but any who are, do you have any suggestions?

http://chum.ly/n/473a28

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Posting Schedule and Elemental Invasion

First, I'd like to mention my posting schedule. I know for the first few days I was posing every day, but that's unmaintainable in general. If I posted every day, I'd be posting nonsense just to keep the topics flowing. So! For a regular schedule, I will attempt to make at the very minimum a post every Tuesday and Friday. However, I'll also make extra posts from time to time as I feel an idea of something to write about.

I had planned a post about my UI today... or, rather, my lack of a proper UI setup and the rather chaotic mess that my screen is, functional though it is. However, with limited playtime today I forgot to take screenshots in the chaos of holiday events.

So, instead, I'll talk about those events!

I'm probably one of the few who has actually enjoyed the lead-in quests before today. Primarily because they re-introduce the Twilight's Hammer and they tie well into the novel Shattering. I'm very much a lore nut, I fully admit. The quests themselves were quick and not very interesting if you ignore the story they try to tell, but I think that does the quests, any quests, a disservice. Questing is as much about the story as the actual quests themselves. That's not to say they shouldn't be fun to play, I hated the quests in the original old world because they were rather boring. However, an interesting enough story can hook me as much as any Plants vs. Zombies quest. (I am, I should note, very much looking forward to doing that quest anyway.)

And now, they've gotten even better, hitting the meat of the event. Elementals are invading major cities, and you have to help shore up the defences and then clean out the city and rescue civilians. This was a blast. Total chaos as half the server population flowed through Ironforge, but fun anyway. Advancing from that, new 5-man bosses open up in the dungeon finder, and I got to play two of them, the two from Ironforge, though I only beat one.

The fire boss, Grand Ambassador Flamelash, was relatively easy... or would have been if people didn't keep standing in the fires. We lost first our tank then the DK who took over as tank to the fires, but luckily the other two DPS managed to stay out of the fires, and didn't take more damage than I could heal.

The other boss I faced was Crown Princess Theredras, the earth boss. That may have been an easy fight as well, there was no fire to worry about there. However, the fight happens on a little island at the top of a waterfall that goes a long way down. I, unfortunately, failed to look around and from my camera angle it looked like the water went all the way around, so I didn't think much about the knockbacks from the rocks she throws.

Yep, I got knocked right back, over the waterfall and down, down, down into the water below. I had no clue how to get back up and after the group wiped I left group in frustration. Of course, that gave me the deserter debuff and I was thus unable to queue for it again or for the two Stormwind bosses. I'll have to try it Wednesday, assuming the potential patch tomorrow doesn't stop the event.

I do have good but unrelated news, though. I brought Jamiale on after all that and got her up to 15 and took her through her first dungeon-finder RFC run. (Unfortunately, I forgot to take screenshots of my UI then as well.) She's now almost level 16. My next goal: Get her to twenty and get a mount! http://chum.ly/n/459126

Saturday, November 13, 2010

My Second Priest

As I mentioned earlier, I'm currently levelling two priests. My first priest is level 24 and I will be levelling him holy when I start working on him again. (When he was my only priest, which was just last week, I was planning to take him disc. I got all of one dungeon run as disc before changing my mind, but I haven't respecced him yet.) When a friend of mine asked me to join him on a third server from the two I normally play on, I of course had to start a new character. So it was I created Jamiale, blood elf priest. Another friend of ours was already levelling a holy priest, so I decided to make her disc and have been levelling her as such.

I have limited playtime, and lately I've been spending most of it on Todan, my level 80 Dwarf Paladin. However, I've been popping in here and there to level her up, and managed to grab almost two levels from the pre-Cata quests the other day. When I logged on today planning to spend most of my playtime today levelling her, she was just barely level 10.

My first step today was a trip into Warsong Gulch, to see how the XP:time ratio was for that. Well, the XP wasn't all that great, (alright it was terrible), but I had a blast. I even helped contribute to the victory, though it was all luck that I was in the right position at the right time to do so. As with most WSG games most of the time was spent running back and forth, but I loved popping shields and renews as I ran to keep my teammates alive, and when I could stand still I could nuke the daylights out of people with Penance. We spent most of the match tied 1 to 1, but with about a minute to go we got the flag. The Alliance poured everything into killing that flagbearer, but by pure luck alone I was running back from the graveyard and managed to get ahead of him. As he ran by me I popped a shield on him with just a hairline of a health bar left, hit renew, then Penanced him back up before he was out of range again. That, along with a serious defence holding back all but a couple of the Alliance, was just enough to keep him alive long enough to capture the flag with just five seconds to spare before the match ended.

That's the kind of experience I hope to see more of with the introduction of rated battlegrounds.

In any case, after that my friend logged on and he brought a lowbie Paladin alt around to help me quest. I finished the entirety of Eversong with his help and went on to do a couple quests in Ghostlands (including having him bring his DK out to help me get Lurzon and Knuckle for the 2500 XP from that quest) before I had to call it a night. All told, I got up to just 3000 XP from level 15 and the unlocking of the dungeon finder, which is my true goal.

So, all in all I have to say today was a very productive and enjoyable day. http://chum.ly/n/44ba9f

Friday, November 12, 2010

My History of Healing

I've been an MMO player for a very long time, but I haven't spent a lot of that time healing. In EverQuest, I started out with a Magician because I thought it was cool. I eventually tried a low-level healer but never got very far with him, as by that time most players were max level and I had trouble grouping with anybody.

It was Dark Age of Camelot where I first tried a healer, playing a Bard. It was more of a mezzer than a pure healer, but it showed me that I enjoyed healing as I got to do that. Only my fear of PUGing kept me from carrying that Bard to maximum level, and I still got about half way.

I played a number of other games along the way, including Star Wars Galaxies for some time. In SWG one of my characters was a Doctor/Musician, and while I wasn't combat healing I skilled up the character by healing wounds. This too, I enjoyed quite a bit, and this character I took to maximum skill. Unfortunately, I only got to maximum shortly before the Combat Update, after which I left the game for a time, only to come back right before the NGE, which took things to a point where I gave up and changed him into a full-time Entertainer. (If you haven't heard about the NGE, it should be easy to find. The internet is full of rants about how it ruined Star Wars Galaxies.)

Finally the time came for World of Warcraft. I first tried it out during the stress test before launch, and during that I played a Dwarf Priest. When I could find people to group with I loved it, but I was dying a lot with it solo so when I finally got the game a couple months after launch, I went Hunter. And I played that Hunter for some time. I did some other classes, including levelling up a Paladin for a while as Ret, but it was my Hunter I took to maximum level first.

As time went by, however, I felt the itch. I'd tried healing before on other games and I loved it, so why wasn't I doing it in World of Warcraft? So when some friends asked me to join them on another server, I dug out that Paladin and started levelling him and healing in dungeons, first only with my new guild and then branching into PUGs when the dungeon finder was released. I realized that I'd never truly enjoyed the game like I did now. I took that Paladin from regular 5-mans, to Heroics, to raids. When I'd never gotten past early Naxx on my Hunter, I took my Paladin into ICC first as a tag-along on an alt run, and then on to a full alternate for the guild's main raiding team. I was even invited to join the team full-time, but my schedule just didn't allow it.

And that brings me to today. I've come to realize that there's nothing I enjoy in World of Warcraft, or MMOs in general, more than healing. This has made me decide to start levelling healing alts. I dug out an old Draenei Priest and started levelling him in the dungeon finder and started another priest on another server with a RL friend with the intention of doing the same. Once Cataclysm comes out I will level a Shaman and a Druid as well, to experience the new content. I've also decided to start this blog, as it allows me an outlet to discuss this so enjoyable element of gaming. http://chum.ly/n/445ace

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Welcome!

Welcome to Healing Casually! Please forgive me if things are still a little bumpy, I'm still fiddling with templates and design elements, and I will eventually be getting my own domain for this blog. For those following me at  chum.ly/bj of course, this won't be so much of an issue, so if you're not there feel free to follow me there if you prefer. (And join the community while you're at it! It's a great service with a great bunch of people using it.)

If it wasn't obvious, this blog will be a blog about healing in World of Warcraft. I make no claim to be an expert, there's many blogs out there that will be better help if you're looking for just the right gear or talent specs to be a top end raider or PVPer. Instead, I'll be discussing news as it relates to those of us who heal, and my personal, inexpert opinions on everything from patch notes to talent specs. Right now I have a max level Paladin healer and that will likely flavour a lot of my posts, but by the end of this expansion cycle I hope to have a healer of every available healing spec to max level, from the two priests I'm currently levelling to a Dwarf Shaman and a druid of a race I haven't decided on yet come Cataclysm. So, I'll also be making posts chronicling those characters as they level. I'll post about my experiences healing in raids those times I get called up, I'll talk about funny or interesting experiences in battlegrounds. I'm also sure I'll think of things to post about that aren't even occurring to me now!

In any case, I hope any who read this stick around. And please feel free to comment, on whatever it is I post! http://chum.ly/n/44132c