Thisalee (my latest druid!) has been leveling madly, and flinging herself into LFD with gleeful abandon at every opportunity. She’s level 50 now, only ten levels from being able to fly, and I am excited! She’s the first character I’ve leveled since The Shattering, and the difference has been profound and enjoyable.
Familiar, Yet Different
I have loved every new zone I’ve been to so far. I mentioned how I liked the changes to Darkshore and Teldrassil. I’ve also been through parts of Ashenvale and Desolace, and most of Eastern Plaguelands and Badlands. The quests are engaging and interesting, with just enough variety to keep them from getting monotonous. Having not done much research into the changes, I keep running into new zones and going, “Wow! Look at THIS thing that has changed!” It also leads to things like me plummeting into a ravine between the Badlands and Loch Modan, but we’re not talking about that. No, we’re not.
All of the zones have many more resources, which for a dual gathering character is frankly ridiculous. You want to talk about someone being “led down the garden path,” that’s basically this character’s life.
“Ooh, yellow dot! Ooh, another one there! And another! What was I doing again? Oh, I have to kill Lord Whosits. But he’s all the way on the other side of the zone… Wait, I’m all the way on the other side of the zone.”
I think of this as the “Mildred Phenomenon,” in honour of the Forsaken I was leveling with Voss. She was just an herbalist, but she’d follow a path of herbs into a pack of mobs and then I’d yelp and try to run away and Voss would yell (in this awesome Archie Bunker voice) “MILLLLDREEEEEDDDD!”
But Thisalee is a lone reed, and so there’s nobody to be annoyed by my constant forays into gathering. The gathering XP really adds up, too! Paired with my heirlooms and guild XP bonus, I expect she’ll be leveled in no time flat. LFD is actually less lucrative XP-wise, but I’ve been doing it to see how the instances are, and just to break things up a bit.
What Big Teeth You Have
Someone said the tool should be called “Looking for Worgen,” and that’s pretty much true Alliance-side. There are many, many worgen – but actually, I’ve noticed a strong majority of dwarven shaman as well. Almost every healer I’ve had is a dwarf shaman! The ones that aren’t dwarf shaman are often gnome priests. Still, apparently Gilneas was just flooded with unfortunate souls and they want to rip up dungeons in retribution.
I am a big fan of the changes to the dungeons in general. Some of them have had their level ranges changed, and the dry spell that was Scarlet Monastery – Graveyard hell in the thirties has been greatly alleviated. Thisalee has run the following instances:
I only ended up running Graveyard and Cathedral during the course of my pugging. They are the same as they always were, except that many of the troublesome trash packs are now fighting each other and so can be skipped! I’ve noticed this happening in other zones and quests as well, and I think it’s a great design move. You achieve a feeling of an epic battle occurring, without having to fight an hour’s worth of trash. You also get to skip the private hell of pulling wayyy more than you intended to pull and dying a horrible death.
One of the tanks I had in a Cathedral run was having a rough time, mostly because the hunter insisted on pulling for him. This hunter was my polar opposite; My DPS tends to be pretty low in this instance because I’m overcautious. I don’t want to be the one wiping the group or causing a Scarlet mess everywhere. I’ll always remember a Cathedral run where someone ticked off pretty much all of the Scarlets in the Cathedral and then ran out…and shut the door.
This seems very Scooby Doo-esque to me. “Maybe they won’t know we’re here, guys! Look, there’s an exit behind the bookcase.”
I might be thinking of Culling of Stratholme here, though, to be fair.
This instance is still very Hogwarts in flavour. My group for this was pretty fun. I’m finding that the dungeon quests tend to lend themselves to greater group cohesion. People all have the quests and so they want to finish them – and they’ll stick it through ’till the end to do it. Moving this instance to the early forties was a good choice – it’s one that I really enjoy and it was a shame for it to get passed over in the late sixties in favour of Outland instances.
We did have a bit of an incident at the end where the tank let a stray mob eat the healer’s face – and then ass-pulled Darkmaster Gandling. I dropped moonkin form to heal him and DPS throughout both of these fights, even though my mana was running on fumes, we managed to pull through. It’s some kind of paladin phenomenon that (sorry, paladin friends) the pally tanks I meet think they really ARE all that and a shield too.
“No worries, I’ll just self-heal, lol,” the paladin said, preening and strutting when we managed to kill the last boss without the healer.
What, those heals I was casting on you? The ones that kept you from eating dirt? Those ones don’t count because I have a sword symbol next to my portrait. It was all you, paladin. No, really!
My experiences blundering around here proved useful when nobody in the group started the silly imp running at the beginning. (My bad, too, I completely forgot he was on the left hand side). I tried my hardest to make them wait at the spot where he runs while I teleported out to cat-run along with him.
I’ll give my pug group some credit – they managed to stand still a whole forty-five seconds before pug diffusion claimed them and they started heading towards the next boss.
“Just hang tight, guys,” I urged them. “The imp will be there in two minutes.”
I had the last laugh, though, as the imp ran PAST them on their way to the next boss and they had to double back to reach him. We finished all the quests in the instance. I actually like Dire Maul, although I only ended up queuing for the first part of it. It seems to have been broken up into manageable chunks. You are meant to head down into the gardens at the end, though – something that wasn’t immediately apparent to anyone in the group. Not exactly intuitive, but we managed!
I enjoyed this instance as much as I ever did (which is to say actually quite a bit, because I’m one of Zul’Farrak’s biggest fans!) There are many quests, as usual. I swear they’ve made these bugs bigger, don’t you think? They’re bigger than my moonkin.
I think it’s Zum’rah’s Vexing Cane that makes me like the instance the best. I always want it just as a flavour item, so that I can hit people with it and just be generally vexing.
This was the first time I’d ever run this instance at level, and my pug was hilarious. It started out with the tank saying that the healer was just grabbing coffee.
Me: “Sure, no problem.”
Tank: “Now he’s going to pee.”
Me: “TMI, TMI!”
Tank: “Well, I told him to grab a bottle, if he had we wouldn’t be having this convo…”
I had no words.
Now that the quests are all grouped nicely at the beginning, I was able to grab those as we went along. About halfway through, I started to get annoyed that I didn’t have any Stratholme holy water. So I did what anyone doing this quest would do – started opening crates.
There was an outpouring of rats, bugs, you name it. No one had really noticed what I was doing (we moonkin are so stealthy) and so periodically they’d just get a bunch of bugs biting their ankles. Eventually, our ret paladin said, “WTF?”
Tank: “It’s because I have this [Fine Aged Cheddar], the rats want it.”
I ‘fessed up. “The rats may or may not have been coming from the crates I’ve been opening… But they have holy water!”
The tank said, “Haha! Only the sparkly ones have holy water. The other crates are evil crates.”
I told him (and I still maintain) that what’s the point of having evil and good crates if you can tell which are which just by looking at them? I swear that’s new, but I could be wrong. In any case, I kept my moonkin hands off crates after that, until I found a sparkly one. We joked around about my baby moonkin – he tries to fly, something I can never aspire to as a moonkin. We discussed whether Ragnaros can be used as a cooking fire or not (outcome not clear). I pulled an entire pack of mobs with my moonkin ass (I warned them it has a large aggro radius).
We finished Stratholme to much acclaim and decided to move on to another instance, which ended up being Blackrock Depths.
Even with a map, this place still confuses me utterly. It didn’t help that I was lower level than most of our folks, so they had quests that I didn’t have. I never did end up completing one of the quests I had at the very beginning of the instance. We spent more time going around attacking bosses that were red to me. I did manage to squeak out level fifty in this instance though, so it’s not that I’m complaining exactly. I still had fun, I was just thinking of all the herbs there are out there waiting to be picked, and ore to be mined.
A mole machine and a repair goblin at the beginning of the instance are a nice addition and make the place more manageable overall. I freely admit that with this character I am DPSing because I want to avoid responsibility. When I’m healing, I have a particular soundtrack. It goes something like, “Oh my– what the heck was — you’ve got to be kidding me,” and occasionally, in tones of great disbelief, “SERIOUSLY?”
When I’m being a crit chicken, sometimes I literally sprawl in my chair and just spam two for awhile (assist macro is a great boon here). I may have also been starting a hurricane cast and then reading Twitter or other blogs. It’s a luxury I enjoy. I also have a theory that you get better groups if you are not pugging as a tank or a healer. Feel free to tell me I am full of it, but here’s why I think this.
Most people that want to level characters together opt for a tank and healer team. Nine times out of ten, when two people are from the same guild, one is tanking and one is healing. I’ve done it myself! It’s a solid strategy. You don’t hear a buddy saying, “OK, we want to make sure this run goes smoothly, so you DPS and I’ll DPS.” No. They say, “Okay, I’m going to tank, you heal me, and it doesn’t really matter who the three DPS are.” Consequently, I have pugged into some very stable and friendly groups. Tonight’s was especially fun – talkative and jokey (I have no idea how a tank can talk like this tank did while tanking, but whatever works for him). So cheers to <Free Beer and Chicken> from Mannoroth, you guys were a blast. Like I said, next time I expect the beer. I’ll bring the chicken again, with a side of moonfire.
Queues have also been very reasonable – all of the worgen and new classes being leveled are populating LFD quite heavily. I haven’t had to wait more than twenty minutes at the most, and often the wait is between five and ten minutes. For the opportunity to relax and really enjoy the instances, I think it’s a fair trade – all that herbing and mining takes time, anyhow. Lowbie LFD is currently very fun and efficient, something that really isn’t the case for end-game LFD, so I am going to enjoy it while it lasts!