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I’m level 90, now what?

So, the questing experience was pretty nice, except for the last few bars trying to hit 90 this weekend. However, once I hit 90, I was totally overwhelmed with all the things I needed to do! So, today, as I went on my journey of discovery, anguish, and frustration… I took notes! Now, I’m sharing these notes with you.

Here’s the general plan of what to do when you hit 90:

But I need to raid sooner than I can rep grind:

The reputation grinds are great for long-term gains, but not so great in their rewards over the short-term (if you need to be raid ready by the end of this week). So, if you really need to quickly get caught up with your raiding guild, then I would recommend not spending time on the reputation grinds. Instead, get your ilevel boosted high enough through PvP gear you can buy on the AH and whatever quest items you can to start running the heroics ASAP. NOTE: The JP vendors now no longer require reputation grinds first, so you can buy JP ilevel 450 gear now! If you are running by yourself, then you can do quests (daily quests or dread wastes for items) while you wait in queue.

Conclusions:

If you are in a raiding guild that is planning on starting either this week or next week, your window for being raid-ready is pretty small, unless you were able to take time off work/school/responsibilities to get ahead at the launch of Mists. I was so overwhelmed that I had a total emotional breakdown this afternoon because I just didn’t feel like I could do all the daily quests, run instances, and make sure I was geared up in a reasonable amount of time. Since there is an overwhelming amount of things you can do when you first hit level 90, if you plan on raiding, it helps to have a clear plan for what your priorities are once you ding 90! While the race to 90 is important, it is equally important to know what to do once you ding!

 

Posted in Mists of Pandaria, Patch 5.0, Patches, Written By Lissanna

How to use Symbiosis in Mists

Symbiosis is a new spell we get at level 87. When you cast it on another player, you gain one of their spells, and they gain one of yours. This duplicates the spell, so that both players keep their existing tools. The person you cast it on will need to drag the new symbiosis spell button to their spell bar.

Symbiosis addon management tools:

I haven’t tested any of the symbiosis addons, but here are some options of things that may be helpful to you.

Here are copies of the tables of symbiosis spells. They can also be found at Sunfyre’s Nest with mouse-over text.

What you gain from other classes when you cast Symbiosis:

ClassBalanceguardianferalrestoration
Death KnightAnti-magic shellBone ShieldDeath CoilIcebound Fortitude
HunterMisdirectionIce TrapPlay DeadDeterrence
MageMirror ImageMage WardFrost NovaIce Block
MonkGrapple WeaponElusive BrewClashFortifying Brew
PaladinHammer of Justice Consecration Divine shieldCleanse
PriestMass DispelFear WardDispersionLeap of Faith
RogueCloak of ShadowsFeintRedirectEvasion
ShamanPurgeLightning ShieldFeral SpiritSpiritwalker Grace
WarlockUnending ResolveLife TapSoul SwapDemonic Circle: Teleport
WarriorInterveneSpell ReflectionShattering BlowIntimidating Roar

 

What you give to other classes:

ClassSpec ASpec B
Death KnightTank: Might of UrsocDPS: Mushrooms
HunterAll specs:
Dash
MageAll specs:
Healing Touch
MonkTank: Survival InstinctsHealer: Entangling roots
DPS: Bear Hug
PaladinTank: BarkskinHealer: Rebirth
DPS: Wrath
PriestHealer: CycloneDPS: Tranquility
RogueAll specs: Growl
(taunt w/survivability bonus)
ShamanHealer: prowlDPS: Solar Beam
WarlockAll specs:
Rejuvenation
WarriorTanks: Savage DefenseDPS: Stampeding shout

Who should you cast it on?

They nerfed what tanks get, so at this point, it doesn’t much matter who you cast it on. When running PUGs with players you don’t know, assume that the other player won’t use it and just cast it on whoever gives you the best benefit. (I’ll usually go for iceblock if a mage is available). With the changes, this is mostly a PvP ability with limited PvE use overall.

See more for resto druids in the updated healing guide.

 

Posted in Druid - General, Mists of Pandaria, Patch 5.0, Written By Lissanna

Riding the tides of change: Mists of Pandaria

Mists of Pandaria is now just 10 days away! At this point, I thought I would reflect on what I am looking forward to in Mists of Pandaria, what outstanding problems I still have with the expansion, and some information about my plans for Mists and how it effects this blog.

What I’m looking forward to:

  • Gotta catch ‘em all! I really enjoy the Pet Battle system. More fun content to do outside of raiding will be really helpful for keeping the game fresh and interesting between raid releases. One of the biggest problems is that most days, I log in and fly in circles around <insert major city of the expansion> because I have very little to do on non-raid days. Mists tries to  give us more non-raiding activities to fill our time.
  • Alternative progression paths: The three person skirmish instances allow DPS classes more flexibility in queue times by giving small group content that can be completed without the traditional trinity (tank/heal/DPS). The expansion of the Looking for Raid system in Mists gives more casual players a chance to see the raid content, and the changes to the loot system for raid finder cuts down on amount of time spent fighting over loot.
  • Harder content for hardcore players: In addition to the softballs thrown for more casual players, Mists has a lot in store for people who enjoy doing things the hard way. The Challenge Mode dungeons place an item level restriction on you that keeps the content difficult because you can’t out-gear it.  For people looking to find a way to stand out from the crowd, these timed speed runs should be a test of your endurance and skill.
  • Some Moonkin & resto design successes: Ironbark for resto druids provide a much needed tank damage reduction cooldown. The introduction of Astral Storm balances out moonkin’s AOE damage toolset a little better, providing some type of AOE (besides moonfire spam) that benefits from lunar Ecliipse. Moonkin also got more burst damage cooldowns and have been provided with tools that give us a little more control over our damage.

Outstanding problems for Mists:

  • Failure to support 25-man guilds: My guild is currently still a 25-man guild (now 8/8 heroic in the last few weeks before the expansion). While we have a mostly full roster for starting out raids in MOP, I still have some concerns about the longevity of 25-man guilds in Mists. It’s not really a surprise to me that most guilds who used to run 25-mans no longer raid 25-man content, and very few guilds are bothering to try to recruit in enough people to run 25’s. So, one really big outstanding problem is that Blizzard hasn’t made the steps necessary to allow 25-man guilds to really be a viable alternative for people who are starting a new guild. It may actually be organizationally easier to run two to three 10-man raids in a guild than to try and run a consistent 25-man raid. Blizzard hasn’t really provided any incentives for officers to lead 25-man guilds, and when you kill a 25-man encounter, you don’t get any record on your armory. Thus, tracking sites like World of Logs and WoW Progress are actually likely to award your first kills (and subsequent repeated kills) as 10-mans instead of 25-mans, meaning that you actually even have to fight the record keeping sites to get credit for your accomplishments. Blizzard needs to figure out how to save 25-mans before they go extinct.
  • Moonkin design problems: The Wrath spell doesn’t do enough DPS, so the time between when you proc a Solar Eclipse and when you enter a Lunar phase, you’ve fallen behind a noticeable amount of DPS and then you have to struggle to bring your numbers back up again during the Lunar phase so you can survive the next meter nose-dive. The DOT and Eclipse mechanic really make moonkin’s rotation clunky at lower gear levels due to the need for clipping DOTs as you leave Eclipse at level 90. In addition, while the minor glyphs provide a lot of neat cosmetic bonuses, moonkin have no interesting major glyph choices at all (other than the glyph to be able to heal in  moonkin form), to the point where I’d be happier with six minor glyph slots.
  • Failure of the healing shroom design: The wild mushroom: Bloom design isn’t working because they don’t provide the type of burst healing that druids needed. Instead, each shroom heals hes for less than HALF a tick of one of our HOTs on each person (rejuv ticks for 14034 per tick, WM:Bloom heals for around 7325 each shroom at level 90 – Meaning that shrooms heal me for a total of 22K out of my 369K hit points). Healing Shrooms need to hit harder when they are hitting a small number of people, and then have diminishing returns or a cap on the number of people healed like ALL other AOE heals have. Healing Shrooms shouldn’t be something we cast every 10 seconds, but there are ways to prevent us from constantly spamming them (such as increasing the cooldown to make them more situational based on amount of time rather than just being a horrible spell that isn’t worth casting). To my druid community: I’m sorry that healing shrooms were designed terribly bad, and I’m hoping that they get fixed in a future content release so that they can have a better place in our toolset. Until then, you should only cast them on stackup points when you have absolutely nothing better to do – and make sure you complain often on the forums about how you wished that healing shrooms didn’t fail at math.

Looking into the future:

  • With recently hitting 8/8 heroic on 25-man (when we started out in WOTLK not even being able to kill normal-mode Arthas), my guild is veering a little more towards hardcore progression while staying on a short time schedule (keeping the 6 hours of 25-man raiding each week). Thus, I will still be raiding. However, since my guild has two really awesome resto druids right now (Juvenate and Hestiah), along with a plethora of other healers, I won’t be healing in Mists. In fact, I haven’t been a main healer for my guild at all in Dragon Soul (only healing when others were absent or when the fight required more healers than normal).
  • At this point, I’m somewhat burnt out on playing my druid, even as a moonkin. I have over 330 days of /played time on this character since I started playing at the beginning of Vanilla, I’ve decided to stop raiding progression content on my druid for at least the first tier of Mists.
  • I will still, however, be maintaining my guides (both the leveling & healing guides, as well as providing as much moonkin advice as I can). I will still be blogging about druids, but I will also sometimes be blogging about mages or other classes, or other random things that I feel like writing about.I talked  more about my decision to stop raiding on my druid on the Team Waffle Podcast last night.
  • I will be raiding primarily on my frost mage. So,  I will be working on a short intro post to playing frost in PvE at some point in the future. I will be race changing my gnome mage to pandaren to take advantage of the racial bonuses (Epicurean is nice for raiding). I really enjoy the frost mage rotation for PVE, and frost is looking like it will be viable for raiding. Since I have a higher damage output potential on my mage, it makes really good sense for me to be playing a class that I can enjoy and that will benefit my raid more than my druid would.

In conclusion, I really do think that Mists is going to be a great expansion and I have no intentions of leaving the community any time soon. I appreciate all of you, my readers, for sticking with me as I settle into a new expansion. I beta tested druids to the point where I feel pretty confident in my advice-giving (and I plan to keep asking Juvenate to fact-check my healing guide revisions as time goes on). In general, I’m also open to the idea of having additional druid writers on Restokin to bring more druid content.

Posted in Mists of Pandaria, Patch 5.0, Patches, Written By Lissanna

Resources for making a MOP-ready computer

This weekend, several of my guildies (including myself) decided to stop procrastinating and finally get our computers ready for Mists! With a new expansion comes new demands on our computer systems. Since our guild finally reached 8/8 hard-mode in our 25-man raids, we have even more reason to need computers that don’t cap out at 10 frames a second on boss fights.

My current computer is an old Dell machine that is about 3 years old (and was kindof a mediocre build at that point due to a lot of reasons), though I’ve updated the graphics as best I could with how non-customizable the machine is. Now that I’m no longer a “poor starving college student”, I can finally afford something better (though not the top-of-the line machine, either). I’m not a computer hardware expert, so I have to rely on other sources (including friends, guild members, and twitter) for figuring out what to do. In this case, I had to start from scratch, with my absolute maximum computer budget being about $1,000. My current build for my new computer looks like this, though I haven’t purchased it yet, since I’m still tinkering a bit and waiting for a few more people to sign off on the build. So, if any of you have strong objections/feedback, feel free to post in comments.

Below is some help getting to resources for making good choices about your computer purchases that I’ve been able to find along with some general pointers for thinking about computer upgrades. Since I spent all day playing with computers instead of writing actual WOW-related content, I thought I’d share my research with you.

So, what resources are available to you in building a new computer?

  • MMO-champion has recommended guides for choosing PC computer parts that come out every few months.
  • Kalganized maintains a post on the Wow games, gaming & hardware forum. This is helpful for looking at PC desktops & some help on PC laptops. Kalganized also has some advice for upgrading your current desktop if you don’t need all the parts.
  • I also found a post talking about cases on Squidoo. I’m  still not quite sure which case I want to use. It seems to be the piece that really comes down to personal preference in terms of aesthetics once you meet the minimum requirements you need for functionality.
  • PC Part Picker - A site that you can use to organize your pieces when building your own computer, and it will help you find the best price deals. If starting from scratch on that site seems too overwhelming, you can start with my current build and change out individual parts from there to ones you like better at your own particular price range.
  • If you absolutely can’t build your own machine, one inexpensive way of getting pre-built computers is to search for gaming computers in your price range on newegg or other websites.

Mac Computer advice:

  • For mac laptops and desktops, you are better off going with the most expensive versions of the builds that you can afford.  In general, I prefer desktops over laptops for gaming purposes. Apple doesn’t give you a lot of graphic card options, but I prefer to have a computer with a separate video card instead of just the stock build in graphics whenever possible.

General computer advice:

  • When running WOW on any laptop, keep in mind that you may want a separate cooling pad with fans to keep the temperature down. This goes for both mac & PC laptops. My first laptop that I played WOW on burned through 3 video cards due to running too hot and my lack of using a cooling pad.
  • The bulk of guides recommend going for an i5 processor over an i7 due to the value based on price differences vs performance differences.
  • I would also recommend at least 8 gigs of ram. While my build linked earlier had more, most of the guides say 8 is fine for playing WOW (so only go up to 16 if you can find the right price deals).
  • Your video card matters an awful lot. For video cards around the $200 range, the Radeon 7850 is decent. A better buy for around $300 is the  GeForce GTX 660 Ti. Make sure that your power supply can support the card (see Kalganized’s video card post for more info). Ranico, my guild leader, has been pushing the 660 Ti, but it’s not in my current price range. Also keep in mind that if you can’t afford to buy a whole new computer, getting a new video card often gives you the biggest bang for your buck, especially in pre-built machines where you may not have the flexibility to replace some of the other parts.
  • In machines where you have the ability to easily replace the CPU, some of the thread comments suggest that could be a better place to upgrade to improve performance.
  • When buying SSD cards, make sure that they come with brackets to fit in a desktop machine if you have a 2.5″ card instead of a 3.5″ card (sometimes, they sell them without the desktop brackets and PC part picker wasn’t good at telling me which ones would or wouldn’t work with my setup). My original choice didn’t, and MVP Crepe pointed out the error of my plan. :)
  • Building your own is almost always more cost-effective than buying something pre-built for gaming in particular and you have a lot more control over the quality of parts. Bulding your own also makes it easier to upgrade individual parts over time instead of having to throw out the whole kit and buy a new one in a few years. You can always try having a more tech-savy friend put it together if you aren’t comfortable doing it yourself. For some budgets, pre-built machines may be perfectly fine for WOW.
Posted in Mists of Pandaria, Written By Lissanna

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