Today’s Pug: Brought To You By The Letter “P”

One of the neat features of having a WordPress blog is the ability to see what search engine terms people used to find you. I’ve enjoyed browsing them. Most of them are “pugging pally” or “puggingpally” or “pugging paladin,” coming from people who I assume read here once and wanted to find it again. (That’s very nice, thank you.) Others are a bit different though!

To the person who came here by searching “feral dps scarlet monastery,” I’m very sorry. All I can tell you is that I was in Scarlet Monastery, there have been feral druids, and they have been DPSing.

Similarly, to whoever was erroneously sent here looking for “shaman addon,” I really have no idea. Unless you wanted Vuhdo, which is technically named after a shaman.

Thirdly, and my favourite. My friend, who arrived here looking for “scarlet graveyard players just running off and doing their own thing.” You’ve come to the right place. Players in the Scarlet Graveyard will go off and do their own thing, I’m not sure why. It’s a fairly linear instance. It might be because some people like to barrel straight down the middle, rock down the stairs and finish the thing as quickly as possible. Others like to take a more leisurely, “Let’s kill all these ghosts” approach, and never the twain shall meet. I’ve previously referred to it as “pug diffusion” and it certainly applies here. Think of it as the tendency of five random strangers to repel each other in different directions, and try not to let it bother you. The bad news I have for you is that it’s not specific to Graveyard. Graveyard is only the beginning.

One of These Things Is Not Like The Other

I’ve done so much pugging the last few days. So very much. I’ve run Razorfen Downs three times, SM Armory twice, and SM Cathedral, also twice. The first RFD in the list was kind of funny for being a true Pally Power run. There were four of us…and a hunter. I’ll admit here that sometimes I’m fairly quiet in a pug. I’ll say hello, and if nobody feels like talking, Flash of Light bot will just run along behind for a while, throwing some Light around. Such was the first RFD. The RFD I ran after that one was remarkable because it contained the single nicest player I’ve met in my pugging adventures. I’ve decided there’s nothing wrong with naming a good player, so – Arcanelight from Malfurion, you are a credit to your class. (Mage, naturally.)

When I asked him to please not frost nova the packs unless he needed to stop a runner because it makes them switch targets, he agreed and apologized very politely. He decursed that stupid curse that slows casting time without being asked. And as we were heading up the Spiral Ramp of Undead he said, “Keep up the good work guys, we’re almost there!” He brought encouragement, consideration and teamwork. If more folks were like him, this wouldn’t be much of a blog, I’m afraid.

I was really excited to have SM Cathedral appear. Finishing this one instance gives me the Scarlet Monastery achievement (for a lousy ten achievement points… It feels like it should award me with fifty.) I had an exceedingly good tank for my first run. She pulled the tricky trash packs inside the Cathedral like a pro, quite unlike the tank I had for the second run, who actually just sprinted straight in and aggroed about four packs at once. Needless to say, my death-o-meter ticks over one more time. That tank actually dropped the group right after. He may have been embarassed, but he hadn’t said much anyway. I hope he wasn’t too crushed. They’re very tough pulls, especially with those big doors… Actually, can someone answer this for me – the doors. Do they close after a certain amount of time, or only when someone clicks them? Because they kept opening and closing, and I’m not sure if I have the right to be annoyed at someone for closing them all the time, or if they just do that.

A need for doorstops aside…I have to admit, I’m cheating a little bit. A guildie friend has a hunter who is almost the same level as Vid, and we paired up to run RFD and Cath today. So my pug was 1/5th less puggy. In the end it hardly mattered though, since the RFD group contained the world’s most annoying rogue. He was enough pug for anyone. And he was doing less than half the DPS that my hunter and other mage were doing.

“Four more bars until level!” he announced as he joined. We all made polite “well isn’t-that-nice” noises.

Five minutes later – “Three more bars until I level!”

The mage joked, “We should kick him so he has to go and quest to finish.”

He kept announcing what he was doing, and the state of his experience bar, right up until we went to start the escort quest and I beseeched the group, “Please do not start the escort until everyone has it, so that no one gets shafted.” You get three guesses what the rogue did next, and the first two do not count. Yes, I admit unabashedly, we did kick him. Fifteen minutes later the tank said, “Locked chest over here.”

“We just kicked the rogue,” observed my hunter friend.

“Oh,” the tank said, and then after a moment, “It was worth it.”

I’m inclined to agree.

Pay no attention to this woolly construct – of course it didn’t clank, you’re imagining things

There are a few major drawbacks to leveling exclusively with the LFD tool (apart from the obvious ones involving sanity, patience, etc.)

Gear – This would actually apply more to someone not completely twinked out with BoA epics, but I mention it here as a cautionary tale nonetheless. You may think that being in instances all the time will mean good gear, but it is not necessarily so. There will be other people, and they will want the same things, and if you’re like me, you won’t roll on anything lower than your armour class unless nobody else needs it, which means you’ll roll on very little. I did manage to score a pair of plate underwear today with better stats than what I had, as well as a new cloak, and a shield. A shield “of the Gorilla.” Yes, that means it has Strength and Intellect and I really don’t care. It was better than the crummy level 20 shield I had. But I get very few quest rewards and hence, very little guaranteed gear with no competition. This may prove particularly bad when I hit Northrend – because if it isn’t plate, I won’t be allowed to roll on it. I hope all those spellpower plate drops I’ve seen sharded for months will keep me in mind. But yes, don’t think your gear will be awesome unless you purchased it. And don’t assume the Satchel of Mockery will help you either, unless you are playing the more mainstream spec for your class. My hunter friend looked like he’d received a few useful things from it, so maybe it isn’t all bad.

Travel – At this point I’m only biding my time until I hit 40 so that I can go out and collect flight points with super speed. I may even wait until I have Crusader Aura to do this. Leveling the way I have has left me with nearly nothing in this department. I paid a mage to port me to Theramore so I could take a boat to Menethil and nab that flightpoint (I thought I was going to Southshore until I realized that the SM quest is a chain, and the chain begins in Desolace, and forget that.) In essence, you will be very hidebound unless you’re doing some combination of questing/instances. This works out fine for me – I hang around the city, train when I level, check things on the AH, and work on my professions sporadically. I have missed out on a few dungeon specific quests though, simply because they required me to travel and I don’t have the patience or means. Run to Ratchet? No, thanks.

Reputation – You’d think with all the monster killing I do for them, the Azerothian factions would be kissing my hooves! But they aren’t. In fact, I think many of them have barely heard of me. So they charge me more money for my beverages. And I can’t ride their mounts. Without questing, it’s just not easy to build up reputation since old world instances don’t award it.

Time – Even with my increased experience from BoA epics, this is taking much longer than it has to level other characters. I’m not sure what the /played time of a similar character leveled in a more ‘conventional’ way might be, but I am pretty sure it’s significantly less.

That’s not to say that LFD leveling is without its advantages, though!

Goods – I might not always get awesome gear drops, but my bank is bulging with cloth and other sorts of things. Positively stuffed! If I were a tailor I’d be laughing. I may actually use some of this cloth to alleviate the reputation issue from before. I have the same thing with enchanting mats; more shards, dust and essence than I actually need. It’s not always the exact type that I need, but I’ll be selling what I won’t use before too long.

Cash! – I haven’t been keeping an actual tally, but I make a goodly chunk of money just from loot and/or selling greens or mats that I accumulate. But just the money from the instances far outweighs any repair bills I might accrue (at least at this point).

Reputation – Right now, this is a disadvantage. As soon as I hit Outland and Northrend in turn, it will actually be a big advantage. I’ll get rep from doing the instances associated with each faction; in the case of the Hellfire instances that rep will actually contribute to a sizeable discount when it comes to my flying training! Later on, in Northrend, it should be reasonably easy to up my rep with all of the relevant factions just by wearing a tabard. This matters quite a bit less than it once did, since now head and shoulder enchants can be sent to Vid by my main character benefactors. But if I didn’t have that, it would still be a pretty great thing.

Convenience – Gone are the days of struggling along in a healing spec, boring mobs to death while questing, and suffering poor soloability simply because of wanting to play a role in instances. I’m leveling a character purely meant for healing, because I can, and yes I could have done it before using the LFG channel and existing tools, but this is so easy by comparison. I won’t say painless. But easy. And I’m grateful that I’m able to do it this way!

I’m making a last pugging push just to get to 40 – I’m so close! At 40, I think I’ll dual-spec…and I’m leaning heavily towards ret, but queue times will be obscene. I could try tanking, just in time to get groups hopelessly lost in Uldaman, Mauradon, etc. And then I’m going to set some time aside to work on my professions. My enchanting is lagging behind again. After some consideration, I made my second professions Engineering, and dropped Mining. I don’t go out in the world questing any way, and I don’t encounter ore. Engineering seems like one of those fun profs that none of my characters has had up until this point, and it’ll also be dead useful for instancing later on, what with the Jeeves and etc. At least, I hope so. In the meantime I get to occasionally propel a sheep at a mob and watch it go up in flames, and who wouldn’t like that?

So… What do you guys think?

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13 responses to “Today’s Pug: Brought To You By The Letter “P”

  1. The door in SM only closes if someone closes it. We pulled mobs from the inside and closed the door afterwards to prevent them from fleeing into the cathedral. I don’t think it worked as mobs can walk through doors but 4 years ago it looked like a smart idea. :-)

    I had spell power items on my DK in the “Satchel of Mockery”. I doubt that helped the “more mainstream spec of my class”. :-)

    The Reputation gain in Outland is limited to friendly or something for non-heroics besides the level 70 instances. And the level 70 instances are mostly skipped by most for UK/Nexus where you even get two EoT if you run them random.

    And in Northrend you get no reputation at all in all instances besides heroics and level 80 runs. But that won’t matter as they upped the rep gain from heroic mobs.

    If you would like to tank I would strongly consider retribution at your level. First, the parts of the prot tree you can reach at your level contain mainly avoidance and survival talents which you don’t need. There isn’t a difference if you have 4% or 9% dodge. Avoidance only gets good if you have a lot of it which you wont have in your leveling gear. And secondly, prot depends heavily on holy shield, avengers shield and hammer of wrath, the 31, 41 and 51 talent which you can’t reach until level 60. And the Shield of Righteousness is a level 75 spell. With retribution you’ll at least have something to attack with.

    Take a look at, of you like:
    http://blessingofkings.blogspot.com/2008/11/retribution-tanking.html

  2. Congrats on the leveling, sounds like you are doing fine despite the disadvantages. Also congrats on the engineering, that will serve you well. Sadly, the good stuff ™ only comes after level 65, when you get to the Northrend engineering bonuses.

    Some tips:
    Probably Gnomish engineering is best, since you will likely have more use from trinkets and doodads than bombs – a good invisibility generator can save your hide during a wipe, and you will find nice patterns for it in BRD as you level into your fifties.

    Do not forget to pick up the quest for the Mote Extractor in Zangarmarsh after level 60 – not exactly a lot of use immediately, but it gives a skill point to make one, and you can gather stuff while questing between instances.

    I won’t vote on what spec to take as your Dual spec, that is too much of a personal choice in my opinion – it is however a lot easier to find Ret gear than Prot, since all quests practically assume you are ret, and people who are main-specced tanks will want the goodies from dungeons before you get them.

    Prot however has the lovable trait of being practically unkillable when played “” okay” or better – my significant other levels a priest and heals me while I tank. The other day we had a mispull in ST and all the mobs before the prophet cam hurtling in. I barely managed to keep them all (had two ret paladins who also know how to play >.<) but my health hardly moved an inch.

    Part knowing how to stay alive, and part having a good healer by my side.

    In the end, holy/prot benefits greatly from engineering and enchanting, holy/ret less so. So if you want to get the most out of your professions, I'd say go holy/prot and install a good map addon for the dungeons. ^_^

  3. Just hit 37 last night on my pugging ret-paladin. My experiences in some areas have been a little different than yours – I’ve had good luck with equipment and loot. Probably 1/3 of my equipment is from the Satchel, and another 1/2 from boss drops, random BOEs, and quest reward turn-ins from dungeon quests. And I’ve got about 4 plate items waiting for when I hit 40 – stuff from RFD and the Satchel for completing it, mostly.
    Ran RFD 3 times in a row last night, ugh. Really hoping SM-Cath pops for me tonight. Most runs are good (the 3 pally run 2 nights ago was heaven), but all it takes is one of 2 things to ruin it for me:
    1) the tank who lost his aggro ability – seriously, dude, please a) round up the group of mobs (including dragging all the melee mobs close to the caster so our AoEs can hit them all), b) use your AoE aggro ability so I can Consecrate, and c) pay attention to the group so you know when to taunt the critters off your healer.
    2) That darn shaman mana spring totem. Argh! I even asked the shaman last night if they were going to use it, and they said no, so I said Great! I’ll buff with Wisdom then. Sure enough, at the most inopportune times, poof! They goes my Blessing of Wisdom. STOP IT! Either keep the mana spring up all the time, or don’t use it! It’s annoying. If I can keep Wisdom up all the time, then I usually never get below 50% mana. If I don’t get to use it, I am frequently down to 3-5% mana in long messy fights.
    5 RFD runs and no sign of Ragglesnout. Sigh. That X’Caliboar sword looks sweet for a ret pally, but I guess I’ll never see it.
    Tonight I think I’ll queue for SM-Cath and grind some quests out in STV to get to 40 faster.

    • Oh, and I finally figured out how to use Pally Power (at least solo – haven’t tried integrating it with other Pallys yet). Although it takes up a bit of screen real estate, it is handy. Glad I took the 5 minutes to figure it out.

  4. I’m leveling a warrior tank entirely through the LFG tool, and I’ve experienced these same problems. For gear, you really have to fill in the gaps with BoE gear purchased on the AH. Even just searching for greens will help a lot. I bought some epic plate tank boots for only 100g that should last me until Outlands. Most greens will only cost you around 10 gold, and are worth the investment, especially for you, as you can acquire cloth armor guilt-free.

    I’ve been doing almost all of the instance quests. They garner a ton of experience and (rarely) great gear. I’m not sure it is actually worth the time to wander around everywhere on the continents, picking up flight paths and so forth, but I wanted to try out the quests I’d never done before.

    In terms of time, it doesn’t seem too bad. I’ve been getting about one level per hour with the instant tank queues, though it has started to slow down as I travel through the 40s. Although I seem to recall this is a pretty awful level range for questing anyways.

    For professions, I’m doing Enchanting/Skinning. Amazingly, I’ve been able to keep skinning up purely through instances (aside from a tiny bit of grinding at the start in Westfall because I was initially a miner). Enchanting has required a bit of purchasing from the AH, but it wasn’t too bad.

    You should try tanking. Maraudon and Ulda aren’t too bad. I have a second computer up with a map of the instance, which helps a lot. For Marau, they chopped it up into 3 separate things in the queue, and at least the first 2 are very short and linear. The third looks longer, so we’ll see how bad that is.

    One important tip to maintaining sanity for me has been to frequently choose the particular instance I want, instead of doing the random all the time. You lose out on the reward bag, but as you’ve said it usually isn’t that helpful. I haven’t had any trouble tanking instances that are orange to me. I just pull less packs at once.

    In the end, efficiency isn’t really a goal for me. I’m just doing this to have some fun tanking in instances I haven’t done before, and it is satisfying that goal.

  5. Did you draw the illustrations of Vidyala that are on your blog? They’re really cute!

    On the subject of dual spec: Since you’re only levelling in dungeons anyway, I think you will be happier using Protection as your second spec, rather than Retribution. Your queues should be much shorter as Prot, and the difficulties a low-level tank has with questing won’t affect you. Retribution is a lot of fun, and you can sort-of tank at low levels, but I found tanking as ret very difficult with a group that wasn’t cooperative (and given some of your tales here, that sounds like a problem!)

    On the subject of time to level: I’m fairly sure that the fastest experience-per-unit-time will always come from questing. Even if you have the 20% boost from the Heirlooms and a headful of rested, I’m pretty sure that’s faster than dungeons. On the other hand, dungeons have that fun cooperative aspect you talked about before, and if you’re a tank or a healer, you can find one quickly without having to schlep around Azeroth on a land mount picking up flight points. :)

    Thank you so much for bringing up the point about Frost Nova! I wish more of our Mage-ly friends would learn this lesson.

    • I did draw the illustrations on the blog, thanks Lara! :) I masquerade as an artist when I’m not mincing around Azeroth healing or killing things.

      Alas, I’m since not following my own mage-ly advice with my Frost-specced alt. Her Fingers of Frost is always proccing and freezing packs to the ground in instances, I’m sure it’s really annoying, but I’m not yet willing to change specs because it is such a solid leveling spec! Hopefully it’s more forgivable than a deliberate Frost Nova, though.

      • I envy your artistic talent! I have to content myself with screen captures, although that’s more fun now with the poses available in the new Armory model viewer! :)

        I don’t mind the Fingers of Frost procs; those tend to affect mobs that are already near the tank, so while they might turn and pound on the melee, at least they won’t turn their attentions on the poor healer! As you said, the intentional Frost Nova is really the one that makes me cry sweet, salty druid tears.

        That, and warlocks or hunters who pull for the tank. But you’ve already had that discussion. :)

  6. Your poll is missing an option. :P I leveled my pally holy, then dual specced her ret as soon as I could… which was a mistake because I never used my ret spec. Ever. Ever. Ever. I just carried around a lot of junky ret gear that I didn’t really have room for. Wait till it matters more, would be my vote.

    Also, the doors in SM only close if you click them, but it can be extremely tricksy to loot near them without accidentally clicking them, as they seem to have an oddly large hit box. My own pugging alt found that out a few weeks ago. :)

  7. As an addition to the part about reputation, I thought of something:

    You only use the reputation of base cities when buying your mount (pally horse ho!)/mount training (at your own faction, usually at least honored/revered from starter quests) and Stormwind rep when buying your flying mount.

    So what you could do at level 58-60 is to do the starter quests in Westfall, Elwynn Forest and Darkshire to quickly get rep and lower the cost for it.

    Else, if you do not really care for the small discount, wait until 80 and use the rep items from the daily rewards at the Crusader’s Colliseum + cloth turnins to get Exalted (for instance, for the achievements or wanting to “finish off classic wow”).

  8. First off, I really didn’t want to poll – but it looked so pretty I had to do it. I think you should definitely try out both Ret and Prot in instances on your way.

    And the earlier the better!

    That said, if you intend to raid at level 80 I think you’re better off keeping 1 spec as DPS regardless of what class it is. There are lots of options to drop a healer for 1 fight in order to DPS, but it’s rare that you can drop a healer because you need a extra tank.

  9. It sounds like another experiment to me; Have ret as OS and queue for both, see if you ever get to come as ret?

    Logic suggests no, but I have a theory that the system skews odds in your favor if you’ve performed/can perform other roles. You’d think I never got to dps when queueing as tank and dps, on my druid, but that’s simply not the case.

  10. Pingback: The Odyssey « Pugging Pally

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