Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Ding 70

I thought reaching level 70 would be somewhat anti-climactic, but I was wrong. I managed to do it in Blade's Edge Mountains, leaving several unexplored zones ahead of me. Plus, my log is still half-full of skipped Outland instance quests. I'm starting to get the feeling like there's a whole new game opening up to me because...


With some frugality and discipline I managed to save enough to buy my regular flyer straight away, so the first thing I did was run over to Wildhammer Keep and pick up a badass Ebon Griffon. It even has that new griffon smell. Err, ok maybe not. A quick edit to BaudMount (auto-equipping Riding Crop FTW) and after setting up a new hotkey (Shift-F), I was airborne. Weeeee!

Monday, January 28, 2008

So Close

Once I dinged 69 I was happy to find I had a full bar of blue XP left. Most of you probably know this means I'll be earning double XP for every mob I down. Then it dawned on me, I was almost done. :(

Now, I know there's a ton left to do post-70: PvP, raiding, helping guildees, more raiding, saving for teh epix mount, but I'm still feeling weird about it.

Time to roll another alt!

UPDATE: six bubbles to go!


In general I like the idea of a clean, mostly-default UI, but there have been a few mods I've adopted because they make life in the World (of Warcraft) easier.

Yet Another Totem Addon (YATA) - a great mod that incorporates a configurable totem launcher with totem timers. My buttons bars were a mess prior to this.

Omen - the bane of every DPS class, threat. Omen lets you keep an eye on your own threat relative to everyone else in the party.

Quartz - replaces default cast bar and incorporates server lag. Allows you to get spells off a smidge quicker, and every second counts!

Clique - lets you click character portraits to cast spells without losing your current focus. I shift-left-click as Lesser Healing Wave and shift-right-click as Healing Wave. Also control-left and control-right for Cure Poison and Disease, respectively.

Baudmount - equips our shiny new Riding Crop onmount and re-equips DPS-boosting trinkets on dismount. Laziness FTW.

AutoprofitX - sells all gray vendor trash in one click. Handy.

Wowecon - a price database that relies on actual sales rather than scanning the AH for list prices. The only downside is that data is only collected from Wowecon users, so it can be a limited sampling.


In my rush to level Exelus, I missed out on a bunch of instances, so when a plea went up in guild chat to help clear the end of Mara yesterday, I was happy to oblige. (The carebear in me likes to visit lower level instances and show the lowbies what Shaman tanking is all about...) Kidding, we shouldn't tank. Evar. We have a lovely Earth Elemental to do that for us.

Anywho, seeing the inside of Maraudon was neat, but are you kidding me that place is fricken huge! Who's got 2 hours to sludge through that place with all level 40-somethings? Can you imagine the corpse run if your group wiped? Ugh.

Blizzard: LF shorter instances plskthx.

On the upside, I gots 1.5 gold and 1,005 XP by accepting that quest at the end, turning in at Remulos in Moonglade. Lawl.


It's generally accepted that Enhancement is the spec of choice for solo'ing and leveling, so that's what I went with for Exelus. There were admittedly slow spots here and there, but after 40 things changed. That's when dual-wielding came into play, and mobs started dropping like flies. I'm a rogue without all the sneaky-peaky! I'm a fury warrior without all the "need more rage!" Brilliant.

My current spec is (headed towards) 0/44/17, which is pretty standard given that there's much synergy between Enhancement and lower-tiered Resto talents. First lets look at some key Enhancement talents:

Shamanistic Focus - don't shock without it being up, since our limited mana pool drains fast without it. Mental Quickness, prior to patch 2.3 was kind of meh, but now comes with a nice 30%-of-your-attack-power increase to healing and damage spells. Huge buff. And of course the top talent, Shamanistic Rage gives us 30% damage mitigation plus returned mana. My only mistake is not using this all the time, every time the cooldown is up. Notice a pattern here? Knowing when and how to use our limited mana pool is paramount.

Next let's look at those supportive Resto talents:

Nature's Guidance and Totemic Mastery are the main reasons for reaching into Resto. NG gives us an additional 3% to hit, which helps mitigate our misses since all "special attacks" (like dual wield) comes with a huge miss penalty. It's also important at end-game, when you're facing bosses several levels higher than you and you need all the "to hit" you can get. Totemic Mastery is great for soloing, as well as group utility since it gives you a noticeable increase in totem range. Along the way I picked up Totemic Focus, with a 25% reduced mana cost, which becomes more important and you start to group more in the upper levels.

So while I'm totally happy with Enhancement's dual-fisted pew pew playstyle, my alt-itis is urging me to start an Elemental/Resto Shaman to try out that side of things. (If only to take advantage of all the great Elemental/Resto Outland gear) When I do, I'll report on the leveling progress and compare/contrast with Enhancement.


It's not like the World (of Warcraft) needs another freakin' blogger, but having been inspired by the likes of Big Red Kitty, it seemed to me that starting a Shaman-focused blog may not be such a bad idea. So here goes...

First a bit about my main, an Enhancement Shaman named Exelus on Eonar US (with a shout-out to my guild, Chivalry!). He's currently level 69.5, and is the first character I've been able to stick with past the 40s. My stable of alts looks like Imelda Marcos' shoe collection. But I digress... why has Exelus held my interest the longest? Most of you know that Shaman are all about utility, and that utility gives us a myriad of playstyle and tactical choices while exploring the World (of Warcraft). Slinging a lightning bolt, swinging an axe, throwing a heal - all in the same battle. Pure win.

Now on to my first article, the Enhancement spec.