Tag Archives: BRD

Queen of the Depths

I found some time to do a fair bit of pugging early last weekend. I queued for a random instance, keeping in mind that I’d really like to get the Classic Dungeonmaster achievement – which feat will require me sneaking into Orgrimmar to do Ragefire Chasm… I failed to queue early enough when I was still “allowed” to go there. It turns out that random instances at my level range are not so random. Do you like lava, things that are underground, and Dark Iron dwarves? Because you’re going to be seeing a lot of them if you’re randomly queuing around level 50 and up. I know that three BRD runs doesn’t sound like that much but it actually is if you consider that each of those runs took an hour, minium, but closer to an hour and a half or even more. I stopped watching the clock at some point.

The good news is that I completely finished the whole thing, twice, meaning we killed the final boss. Of the three times I ran it randomly, I only received a Satchel one time – which is a bit of a “duh?” oversight, in my opinion. Maybe I’m missing something obvious, but I don’t think there’s any way to tell which portion of the instance you’ve been queued for until you actually finish it. There’s BRD – Prison, and BRD – Upper City, but because the instance is so vast and sprawling, people tend to just head off in the direction they’re familiar with. If you don’t know much about BRD (join my club) – the place is vast. The wowwiki page says it takes 4-6 hours to clear it completely (I doubt this is the case, anymore) . In a place with so many bosses, the odds are pretty good that you just won’t be killing whichever boss it considers the “end” of the portion you’re queued for, except when that boss happens to be Thaurissian himself.

BRD – I
This first run I was healing. It’s actually interesting to note that sometimes, being queued as DPS gets me an instant group while being a healer does not.  It makes for a nice change, anyway. I’d say I still heal about 80% of the time but that extra 20% of light-based-here-please-eat-my-axe keeps me happy.

For some reason, the tank in this run was incredibly hard to heal. He was wearing heirlooms, and assorted other instance-reward blue gear. His HP was 4076 (at level 54). I don’t think he was pulling with any more zeal than other tanks I’ve run with. He was a paladin. I don’t know if he just wasn’t using his cooldowns much, maybe? His HP seemed comparable to the tanks from my other two runs (I checked afterwards). I didn’t quite have the gumption to mention it or ask him, thinking it might be some defect with me. I have been playing as ret somewhat, have I forgotten how to heal?

Anyway, we did end up wiping on this run due to pulling more or less the entire room of bar patrons onto us. I think it was consecrate that did it. It wasn’t the only hairy “OMG what is this I don’t even…” moment, either. The tank said, “Been tanking for 20 levels and never lost two people on one pull before!” Well, me neither, but your inability to hold aggro versus this DPS meant that I couldn’t quite keep them alive. I hear that healing two tanks is something a paladin can do easily while balancing on their nose and doing flippy-tricks with their weapon, but three, when two are wearing dresses? Probably not.

I find that after having played other healing classes (the one I play most commonly is a druid) my inability to keep up with heavy AoE damage frustrates me quite a bit. OK, it’s not even heavy AoE damage so much as it is “whenever three people are taking damage simultaneously.” Holy Light is quite a bit faster than it was but it’s still not super fast, and with this tank I definitely needed the “oomph” to keep him alive. But the time needed to throw FoLs and Holy Shocks around would see him nearly dying again. I’m really hoping that having Beacon will help to alleviate this. It’s nice to stave off an encounter that started to feel like Certain Doom and have everyone ooh and ah over your healing, it’s not so nice to hyperventilate and feel as if no matter how fast you’re clicking, there’s nothing more you could have done, even with using all of your protective and special cooldowns.

Although the scenery in BRD was amazing, all you get is this picture of my shield.

BRD – II

My second BRD queue saw me with a bear tank, and I wasn’t healing (we had a tree), I was retribution! I got these neat plate legs at the end for my troubles. I like them, they are flashy and red.

I haven’t had a chance to enthuse about this to anyone besides my guild yet, so I will say it here. I absolutely love playing retribution so far. I don’t care if people tease me about being a two-button wonder. It’s really fun. I may have mentioned this in my previous entry (Art of WAAAAARRR) but it bears repeating. Playing melee DPS is an incredibly different experience from all of my ranged characters, and I never really played Fury with my warrior so maybe the experience is similar. It’s just really satisfying to hear a clanging sound and see a monster’s health go down and say to yourself, “Yes, I hit that.” It’s also nice to be able to take a few hits if an angry mob isn’t impressed when I poked him with a battle axe.

I’ll confess, I sometimes zone out a bit during these instance runs. Especially BRD which lends itself to a hypnotic feeling. More Dark Iron dwarves. More tunnels/passageways/whatever. Look, lava! So it took me awhile during this run to notice something.

That’s funny, I thought, who is the other melee DPS? It’s not a rogue – wait, is she hitting things with a staff? I looked at her name, and then I looked over at Recount to see the greeness of it. She was a hunter. For posterity, let it be known, that a hunter meleeing with their weapon (sans pet) in BRD can achieve an average of 80 damage per second. Most other DPS in that run and others average around 500.

Please understand I don’t want to rant on about this person in an “oh what a terribad I’m so awesome at WoW” kind of way, I actually want opinions, suggestions, whatever… What would you have done? Would you message her and try to gently come around to the point – “So are you new to WoW etc.”? Would you take a more direct approach – “You would probably do better DPS if you used your ranged weapon and brought your pet out.” The first one feels condescending to me, and the second, interfering. I remembered someone saying in a blog – some people just don’t care about this game as much to research it, and they are just having fun. So who cares if they aren’t pulling a billion DPS? We’re not in a raid. It’s a 5-man. Our heirlooms can carry a few people easily. We finished the instance, after all. Maybe it was a bit slower, but I had time.

So I took option three. I did and said nothing, and the melee hunter continued to melee her way through BRD happily, I can only presume, with Zum’rah’s Vexing Cane. Let’s just say that I’ve always enjoyed this staff, but its name took on new meaning in this context. What would you have done?

Modeling shiny new leggings that will soon be replaced by Outland greens. But for now they say, "I went to BRD and I stole Dagran's pants, too."

BRD – III

For the third run, I was healing again. There were a pair of mages here from the same guild, clearly leveling together with their hefty heirloom gear, and I was quite happy to have them, mostly because they knew their way around. In our previous run, nobody had the key to proceed to the later levels. (In my defense, why didn’t I have the key myself – I did pick up the quest when we wiped, but I’m already at the point of the instance where killing the required bosses would’ve caused us to go out of our way.) But these two mages both had the key, and so BRD was our oyster. The kind of oyster that takes you two full hours to pry open.

These three runs have more or less merged in my recollection. It’s all a dark blur to me.. I know that I went to BRD, and I know that things were killed. The most notable person in all the runs was the hunter, and I’m still conflicted about that. All of the groups were pleasant. This last group did press on all the way to Thaurissian where the previous one hadn’t, and yet again I scored loot from him. It was one of those random enchantment type-rings that usually end up being questionable, but this one made me so happy I gasped audibly when it dropped. It was an Emperor’s Seal…of intellect. 16 delicious points of it. I was very happy to roll on it, and very happy to win it (sorry, mages, you weren’t running OOM anyway, give me a break. Besides, it has no spellpower, shame on you.)

So after all of that, what do I think of BRD? I’m astounded to report that I don’t think we really got lost. One of the groups hung a bit when we weren’t quite sure how to open a particular door. But overall it was quite smooth. I don’t have many more deaths to add to my total. I am content. I could have been more efficient had I picked up or done pre-quests for this instance, because I think there are a ton and they’re worth a good deal of XP. I’ve even done more pugging since – my first trip to Dire Maul, and a short-lived Lower Black Rock Spire run. Vid is level 58 now. (Yes, so many hours in BRD will do that to you). I took her to Outland and trained Master enchanting as well as the next level of Engineering. It looks as if the materials to craft a flying machine have been adjusted? In any case, I have all the mats lined up and ready to go and I’m very excited. Pugging pally will soon be terrorizing the skies, but not until I’ve finished Dire Maul, Scholomance, and Stratholme, hopefully. I did the quest chain to get the key to Scholo (I know it’s not required any more, but I like having it) and I have the key to the rest of Dire Maul as well so hopefully that should smooth over runs into the other wings. It’s hard to restrain myself from leaping headlong into Outlands, but a guildie mentioned to me that once you are level 60 – you can’t queue for level 60 instances any more, or at least not randomly. I may be queuing specifically for each wing of Dire Maul as I need it, and likewise for Scholo and Strat. Yes, I don’t want to go back to BRD. I conquered it already, see?

Conveniently, it's not just Dwarven sized.

Also, to add – on the topic of gently approaching someone clearly and utterly failing at their given task… When I rolled Vidyala the Second and put her into Single Abstract Noun, I was happily running around Azuremyst assailing moths and other wildlife with my clumsy bludgeon when I received a whisper. “Are you new to WoW?” this person asked. I checked who it was. A level 80 paladin, currently at the Exodar. It only took me a split second to realize – he’d seen the [Lousy Cloth Robe of Greyness] I was wearing. You know how the starting zone just drops…whatever? And if you’re lucky, it drops crappy mail stuff, but sometimes it doesn’t. It hadn’t. My reasoning was…hey, it’s better than nothing.

I said, “Are you asking because you saw me wearing a dress?”
Him: “Well, I was hearthing out and I just caught a glimpse…”

I explained that it wasn’t my first character, but that it was an alt and I had no other characters on this server – plus it had been the only thing to drop. He asked me about the guild, I told him it was a guild of bloggers and blog readers, and he fled away a million miles after politely murmuring “Ohisn’tthatnice.” So, I’m very sorry, SAN, for inadvertently giving us all a reputation for harbouring the worst kind of Failadins and noobs ever.

Even my alternative alternative paladin fails at dressing like a paladin.

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It’s still pugging if you met in an instance.

Today I had the chance to play my not-so-wee-anymore paladin. I’ll be honest with you, I wasn’t exactly looking forward to it. In fact, after a tumultuous couple of weeks in the wow-verse, I’ve been avoiding my paladin altogether. Long story extremely short: I inherited our guild. I’ve been recruiting for said guild, and doing all those guild-ish things, and it hasn’t left a lot of time for pugging when I do get a chance to play. I even made an alt in Single Abstract Noun, and haven’t had a chance to login there since. I really like the idea of hanging out with all of the awesome blogging folks, and it was a blast when I was able to do it, but I don’t know how often I’ll be able to do so. No, it isn’t a “look at me I’m so busy and important” so much as it is “I can only devote so much time to this game and keeping a guild going and raiding take a lot of the time available to me.” I love reading about what other SAN folks have been up to, though.

But more than all of those things, I’ve been avoiding Vid because I just haven’t been in a healing mood. Logging in and staring at her in her heirlooms wasn’t changing that fact, either. I thought about it. My patience (low) and energy (ditto) just couldn’t handle a frustrating pug experience. I was in the mood to hit some things in the face.

It was time to drop my prot spec and make it a ret spec.

A quick google search yielded this thread on the official WoW forums: Paladin Leveling Guide 3.3. There was a ret spec fully mapped out there, level by level. I followed it blindly. I hopped on my unicorn and did a few laps around Stormwind. My horse suddenly has more horsepower! Then I bought ret glyphs, and queued exclusively as a DPS and hopped a flight to Chillwind where I had a paladin quest to drop off. Surprisingly enough, the instance announcement appeared while I was somewhere over Arathi.

An unfamiliar loading screen later and I found myself at the entrance to BRD. This is definitely one of the instances they’ve chopped into tiny, digestible pieces, apparently – because when we reached the end of the run we all sort of looked around going, “Is that it?” It seriously took… it felt like about ten minutes. Maybe fifteen, I wasn’t timing it.

At that point, the tank whispered me and said, “If you want to queue for the next part, drop group and we can queue for it.” I thought he was just yanking my chain, since you can’t form a group with people from other servers; until I actually looked at his name. He wasn’t from another server, he was from my server. But when we formed up again, we couldn’t queue for the next part because I was lower level than he was and it wouldn’t let us. I suggest that we could queue up again for just a random, and he agreed. Sunken Temple came up instantly, and I was quite pleased because knowing the tank, I knew I could get him to come and do my quest to kill Hakkar. Taking Cass’ most excellent advice, I made sure to look up a map beforehand so I knew exactly where it was and could easily say, “It’s just right here, guys! The boss drops good loot!”

Fortunately the group was patient despite what actually is a bit of a gong show of a quest. “Yes, we’re going to get locked in this room. Uh-huh, waves of adds are going to come out and start attacking everyone willy-nilly. If you get blood from this one you have to extinguish the flame here. No, not there. Here. Over here. Right. Here!” So I finished the quest finally, we wrapped up the instance with no problems – the tank was really very good. A tank that makes me happy is one managing the mobs into neat groups. A tank who even does a line of sight pull on the trolls before Jamma’lan! It was great. I even got a proper healing shield! (I know, I was DPSing, nobody else wanted it anyhow.)

When we were done the instance, my new-found tank friend and I talked in party a little bit. Did I have a tanking off-spec, he wondered? Because he would like to DPS an instance. I said that no, I didn’t, but I could queue as a healer and that should get us in fairly quickly.

Twenty minutes elapsed with the pair of us queued as healer and DPS.

“How about we quest while we wait?” he said.

I considered possible answers.

“Yes, I’d love that. Waiting for queues has been so frustrating.”

“Oh no, I couldn’t do that, because I’m not questing, you see. It’s for my blog.”

“Ummm brb, dog aggro.”

You can surmise what my answer was when I tell you that Vid is now level 54. When I logged in to pug yesterday, she was still 49. It sure wasn’t pugs that helped her gain nearly five whole levels, although they did play a role. I quested together with the warrior for a goodly long while, and we were unstoppable. Mobs fell down before us. He would gather entire packs and I would be there cutting them in half with my gigantic two-hander and it was so fast. Pugging has been incredibly fun, particularly in the lower levels when I don’t enjoy the zones as much, it was a refreshing change from the lowbie grind I’ve done so many times. But watching other people level alts at light-speed and pass me by (at present count, no less than four alts in my guild have been rolled and subsequently reached eighty or near to eighty while I languished in my forties, crawling my way slowly forward.)

So with the longer queue times, I’ve still been putting myself out there to pug, but also questing in-between. I went back and finished off much of Felwood last night while waiting in a queue that eventually appeared and dropped me in BRD into an “instance in progress.” I was greeted by groans and general exclamations and complaints against Blizzard. Apparently, the instance I’d joined had just finished, they’d killed the last boss and were completely done. I guess when one member left their group it automatically queued for a replacement? I’m not quite sure. In any case, I had another fifteen minutes to wait until I could queue once more, but another group never did appear, although I was queuing as either heals or DPS. I can only imagine what havoc the new “wait time debuff” will play with my pugging scheme in the case of technical errors like this. It’s not like I joined a pug to be a jerk and then just left. I guess I should be cautious about accepting “in-progress” groups from now on. With a wait time of about twenty minutes to get into a group, and then a fifteen minute debuff if the group falls apart for some reason – it could conceivably be half hour or more before I even get into a viable pug, let alone finish one. So it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that I am going to keep doing some questing to get to level sixty.

Does this mean the end of the Pugging Pally? My husband tells me that “The Questing Pally” doesn’t really have the same ring to it. Of course I’m going to keep pugging, I may even pug more exclusively once more as I head into Outlands where there might be more demand to run the instances, and certainly Northrend will be the same way once I’m there. I just don’t see the point in punishing myself for the sake of my “experiment,” or pure cussed stubbornness. If the experiment was to see whether one could level to 80 entirely using the LFD tool – absolutely, once you hit 15 and are eligible for queues, I have no doubt you could get to 80 entirely that way. Especially if you’re inclined to be a tank, or in the case of many crazy people of my acquaintance,a tank/healer dual-specced, or leveling as a tank with a healer friend, etc. But I don’t necessarily think it’s the most expedient way. Even for a tank with instance queue times, I believe that XP per hour gained is much greater from quests and a judicious combination of instances. I’ve also learned that it’s a little bit boring being confined to the capital city, just waiting for your next pug. I’ve been running around gathering flight points, and doing quest chains, and that’s part of what I enjoy about the game. I like quests. Why did I ever decide I would do no quests?

I wanted to put myself out of my comfort zone and meet people and I’m going to continue to do that. Heck, I quested for hours with someone I had pugged with yesterday, which is technically a quest pick-up-group. And I had a blast! That’s really more the spirit of the endeavor anyhow – level a character a bit differently and have a good time. If my own restrictions have begun to impede that for no good reason, then it’s time to change the rules. I made them, after all.

That said, here are some fun things:

This is the face of someone who's been wearing weenie-roasting forks on her shoulders for 50 levels.

I love the look of plate armour. It’s really nice to wear plate armour. I have nothing against the mail that’s been serving me so well, but as I’ve complained before – it just doesn’t feel very paladin-esque. I suppose neither does the giant battle-axe with the skull on it, but use your imagination, right? The skull is being used in service of the Light.

Have I mentioned how much I really enjoy retribution since I’ve tried it? I’ve set up my Power Auras to let me know when things proc, and Miksscrollingbattletext does the same. I may or may not have been gleefully yelling, “Art of WAAAAARRR” when my art of war procs. You have no proof.

My other favourite thing from around here – search engine terms! These are the ones that made me laugh out loud, along with a sizable number of “Maraudon – Pristine Waters” searches. I’m sorry, I really don’t know as much about it as I should know, having been there a number of times. I wasn’t even spelling it correctly until recently.

tanks rushing looking for dungeaon – They do that. You can ask them politely to slow down so you don’t have water splashing past your face as you try to drink and run simultaneously. They might call you a whiner and be jerks, or they might apologize and say they didn’t realize you hadn’t had a moment to catch your breath. Or they might simply ignore you and continue on regardless, but you won’t know if you don’t try, right?

you’ve got mail sfk – In this romantic comedy gone wrong, Archmage “Wolf” Arugal enters into a correspondence with Sylvanas Windrunner. Unknown to them both, it is in fact Arugal’s crazed worgen who are terrorizing Silverpine Forest and messing with Sylvanas’ people in the region. When they set up a coffee date, he sees her and realizes that she is cute, but dead, and she freaks out when he stands her up and a wolf makes off with her quiver. Eventually circumstances bring her to realize his true identity, and she orders the Forsaken to slaughter him and all of his worgen minions, proving in the end that love does not conquer all. “W-O-L-F.”

my paladin swings so slowly – Maybe he needs coffee? The fast and dirty ret guide I found yesterday said that slow, hard-hitting weapons are actually what a ret pally wants. Correct me if I’m wrong, those who are more knowledgeable in the ways of swinging the Light. And an edit here, thanks to Kring in the comments, I know that a slower weapon isn’t actally bad for a pally tank either! You can read more about that here. This is why I have people who know things!

why didnt i get my achievement for scarlet – Did you do the whole thing? Really, the whole entire thing? Every wing, from Graveyard, Armory, Library, and Cathedral? Because if you don’t complete all of them, you won’t get the achievement, it’s tied to all of the bosses together.

anything good for paladin drop in zul’fa – Yes, and then your tank will drop group after he gets it.

“lfd leveling” mage build
– Now this one isn’t funny so much as I think it’s interesting. I’d personally go Frost all the way – in fact, hang on, I’m leveling a mage right now, and I did go frost all the way! Frost is great for soloing in addition to instancing (for while you’re waiting for that mystical queue to appear) and it’s incredibly mana efficient. Plus, it’s really fun. Don’t glyph Frostbolt either – the slow effect helps a ton while you’re out killing things, and even sometimes in instances. For leveling as a frost mage, I’d use something like this build. Go deep down the frost tree and then pick up arcane after, on your way to 80. It isn’t necessarily an ideal DPS build but should be very mana efficient and control oriented. I put two points in Arctic Reach because I like being able to hit things from as far back as possible, but if you find yourself using Cone of Cold fairly often it’d be worth putting points in the talent to buff that, or in something like Frost Warding if you are doing a lot of soloing or would like to try your hand at PvP as you level up. I didn’t put points in Imp. Blizzard because combined with your freezing/chill effects it will do that thing where it locks all the mobs to the ground, causing them to turn to the nearest melee and try to eat them, regardless of how much threat the tank might have. It’s nice for AoE grinding mobs if you’re out soloing, but kind of annoying in an instance, so take a point there at your own discretion.

Alternatively, I suppose a strong argument could be made for a fire build going through LFD – it’ll give you a lot of damage, but you won’t be quite so survivable if you (whoops) pull aggro from a tank. If you wanted to be fire, I’d go with a spec like this one (I only did it until level 60). Actually, I realized in doing this that I’m out of mage touch (sniffle) and it saddens me. Any magier folks want to take a stab at what they’d recommend for an LFD fire mage? Don’t put yourself out, though, because I imagine the person who googled it originally will never actually see it.