Tuesday, March 27, 2007

A rogue's adventure in the Ramparts

Yesterday I decided to explore the new instances in TBC. While I did like the instances of old the whole process of finding a group, going there and actually running the instance took forever.

Now it was as simple as opening the LFG tool, check the instances and wait. It took me about 5 minutes to end up in a group that filled up... just missing a tank. After 15 minutes of waiting and shouting in general/lfg I got a whisper from another group. "We need a DPS"... Without any remorse I switched group and entered the instance.

Our setup was warrior, priest, shaman, paladin and me as a rogue.

The Ramparts was fast and very linear. Actually I had lots of fun but when I think back on the layout it felt much as a long corridor lined with trash to the end. I had loads of fun shadostepping in for a quick sap. I was busy the whole time. Our tank took the role of leader and did an excellent job of marking targets and when needed giving sound tactics.

During two of the boss fights, I had the chance to play hero in taking over the tanking after our warrior died at the very end of the fight. I can tell you that preparation + evasion does allow for superhuman feats for almost a minute. At least it was enough for us to down the nasty dragon. The paladin in our group was retribution specced but more importantly did not show any sign of being capable of holding aggro or even using a shield.

Oh.. I almost forgot.. I did manage to do a few noobish mistakes. I am certainly I caused one wipe with a really bad pull. Halfway into the instance I got cocky and decided to pull what I thought was a solo mob to speed up our progress. I ended up pulling too much for us to chew. The leader was real good though, instead of giving me a public scoulding he whispered "What the hell was that"... After a few embarassing "I am sorry, won't happen again" we continued.

Also I learned that while shadowstepping + sap sounds really effective, it isn't when stealth sniffing dogs are involved. It is much safer to distract and then use sprint to run up to the target... shadow stepping has its disadvantage that 1) you sometimes don't end up where you thought and 2) there seem to be a slight delay before you can use an ability right after a shadow step...

Rewards... well I replaced my old Nightslayer boots and also managed to grab a nice blue sword.

The whole instance run took about an hour...

Zangaramarsh PVP
After the very fun adventure into the ramparts, I returned to Zangarmarsh for a little more questing. I did encounter a few horde that needed to be taken care of. One was a L63 warrior armed with dual swords. I've always had a problem with warriors so in order to learn I waited until he was healed and not in combat.. and attacked. The warrior fell so fast it wasn't even funny. I looked him up on the Armory and discovered that he had some extremely strange equipment... most of the stuff was green plate with additional intellect and mana regen... and his equipped trinkets was The Eye of Shadow and the Argent Dawn trinket... now what kind of player has this gear? My final guess is someone using a powerlevelling service...

Hello Zangarmarsh

So I've finally left Hellfire Penisula behind me and entered Zangarmarsh. I love this zone! It looks amazingly beautiful, a vast improvment over Swamp of Sorrows which it reminds me of. Another zone I really liked.

There are quests a plenty from the Cenarion Expedition outpost, the Dranei town and the odd but cute Sporregars.

For once I found myself stop doing quests and actually really enjoying grinding faction rep by killing giants and nagas. It took me very little time to get to honored with Cenarion Expedition and friendly with Sporregar.

I've met almost no horde while running about in Zangarmarsh... compared to Hellfire this zone feels almost deserted. Also after discovering the PVP rewards available at the Scout Outpost I am doomed to go back to Hellfire to grind away Honor Marks by capturing the outposts.

I've updated my gear with a Fist of Reckoning and it works wonderfully with my hemo specc.

I haven't set foot into any of the instances yet - but I do plan to try to find a PUG for the Ramparts. I need to get started trying those out as everyone says they are much faster than the WOW 1.0 instances. Fear the PUG though... usually the group starts killing without declaring tank, tactics or other vital things and when I bring it up I am usually ignored or laughed at.

Hexapuma Rogue Challenge
So how did my rogue challenge turn out? I did find one poor shaman to kill but after moving over to Zangarmarsh I haven't encountered any horde at all with the exception of the odd rogue or priest. So for the next week I have to continue with shaman-hunting.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

New gear for the hemo rogue

I've been shouting for joy over shadowstep previously. Well while going deep into the subtletly tree you might as well pick up hemo for its energy-saving qualities. Actually I probably have a wierd talent build at this point, but I'll cover that in a later post. I've picked up a nice and slow mainhand fist weapon just for big hemo numbers and I've made some gear arrangements and started to pick up on the AP. Judging by numerous post on the official rogue forums you need at least 1000 AP for hemo to be worthwhile.


You can do fine with less. However it is good to have a goal and room for improvement. Most of the posters on the official forums are trying to be top of the crop.. and it doesn't matter what spec you go with it is going to have high gear requirements.

Hexapuma rogue challenge
In order to improve my pvp skills I've decided to give myself a challenge every week. This week's Hexapuma Rogue Challenge will be to:

* defeat 3 different shamans of equal or higher level in a non-battleground or duel environment.

Update - One down, two to go. Bagged a shaman of one level higher. By looking at the armory the shaman was enchantment specced and enjoyed dual wielding. Well doesn't seem to be the best pvp build.. or?
This challenge is only for me to learn better how to fight as a subtletly rogue.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

The joys of shadowstep

I've been enjoying the 41 point talent shadowstep immensly. In PVE it allows you to almost soar around when grinding mobs and I've found that most quests on the Hellfire Penisula either requires mobs to be killed or areas with gates/siege equipment etc to be cleared. Shadowstepping around reminds me of playing a warrior with a stealthy charge.

PVP the skill is also super nice. Stealth/vanish and a moment later you are already behind your enemy ready to plunge that dagger into his/her back.

Not hours ago I was jumped by a mage while I was engaged in turning a Hellboar into a steak. Granted the mage wasn't really that hot but even so I can imagine that he was mighty surprised when I vanished right before he landed his sheep and ended up behind him... *splat*

In other news.. I've been away from WOW a couple of weeks as I've been visiting US.. actually I attended Game Developers Conference 2007 in San Fransisco. The conference was alright but more importantly San Fransisco is a wonderful city... not the horrible spawl I find LA but really nice. I could get used to live there... and who knows what the future holds.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

How to AOE grind with a paladin

Recently with the new talents of TBC and the enormous flood of new Blood Elf paladins a new way to level with the paladin has emerged. It is the AOE paladin, capable of going toe-to-toe with a whole party of mobs. The more the merrier. For a full guide on the subject of AOE grinding with a paladin I suggest you check out Iloveari's guide. I'll explain the very basics...

AOE grinding builds on the idea that you reflect damage back to the attackers using the Retribution aura and shield spikes. As your Protection paladin levels up you add more reflective damage through Blessing of Sanctuary and Holy Shield. During the battle the paladin keeps Seal of Light/Wisdom both judged and as active seal to keep the mana and life up. For increased pacing - pop Concecration once or twice. A very important talent is Reckoning which allows the paladin to do some decent damage at his current target but even more importantly speed up the mana/health regeneration through the SoL/SoW.

AOE grinding can be pretty fun - seeing all the numbers explode around you as 6-7 mobs are beating on your poor paladin is pretty fun.

A few hints on AOE Grinding:
* Make sure you always face all the mobs, or you won't block/parry the mobs
* Use a fast 1-hander to ensure that your mana and health stays up. Remember its not the damage from your 1-hander that matters. Its all the reflects and block damage that does the trick.
* Find a good grindspot with lots of melee mobs that are easy to round up. At level 50 Sorrow Hill is an excellent place.
* Stay away from casters - your tough armor and shield won't do shit against fireballs ^^
* Check out Iloveari's suggested talent build.