Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Cataclysm!

Well dear readers, here we are in 2010. I will spare you the usual new year wishes because let's face it, all of us who play WoW live in a fantasy world and Real Life doesn't have a place in it. Instead, my wishes to you are of an even better WoW in the form of the upcoming expansion, Cataclysm. May we all have a wonderful Cataclysm! In WoW, not in Real Life.

As one year ends and another begins, I'm trying to evaluate what I have accomplished in WoW during the past year. A lot, it turns out.

First of all, I've started this blog, back in February, and it has had a lot more success than I had ever hoped for. Apparently there are more solo players than most people imagine. Nothing wrong with that.

And then of course, we've had the great Wrath of the Lich King expansion. During this time I brought 4 characters to 80 and another very close. I have mastered a lot of professions and made a lot of gold in the process. I started the year at around 10K gold and I ended it at 180K. I earned a lot of achievements on my main.

One of the best features of WoW also forever changed the way I will approach the game from now on as a solo player. I'm talking, of course, about the new LFG tool, which has made dungeons easy, quick and (mostly) painless for people like me. Thanks to it, I have experienced almost all of the 5-man dungeons in WotLK, on heroic nonetheless. This has also allowed my Hunter to gear up more than I had hoped and it has made me a better player in the process.

At this point no one outside of Blizzard knows when the next expansion, Cataclysm, will be launched. People are hoping it's gonna be some time around the middle of 2010. Personally I'm not in a great hurry, although I'm highly anticipating it. You see, up until now I've always been behind the curve, in terms of character leveling, gearing, professions, gold and general goals. For the first time since I've started playing WoW back during its first incarnation, I'm finally almost up to date with all my goals. Here's some of the stuff that I still need to wrap up before Cataclysm.

First of all, I want to finish leveling my Rogue to 80. Currently he's 75 and it's slow going. I have given up trying to learn any new professions on him because I had a free profession slot on my Death Knight and I used it to learn Blacksmithing. On the other hand it's a good idea to have a level 80 character with 2 free profession slots (well, he has Mining and Skinning now) and also a level 400 lockpicker.

Then, I want to keep running heroics with my Hunter and gear him up with emblems, as much as I can. To what end? Since I don't raid and I don't see myself doing it in the future, you might ask yourselves why the hell do I need all that gear. For one thing, I want my performance in heroics to be top-notch. That won't happen if I neglect my gear, regardless of how good a player I am. For another, the more powerful gear will allow me to level faster in Cataclysm. I'm certain that ilvl 232 or above items won't get replaced until level 85. Perhaps even some ilvl 200 items will be keepers.

For now I'm done with professions. Recently I've mastered Jewelcrafting and Blacksmithing on two of my characters but I'm still missing Alchemy. Unfortunately Alchemy will have to wait until Cataclysm when I plan to level a Worgen Mage. He will be my Alchemist, with Herbalism, of course.

Once I get tired of running heroics with my Hunter I was considering a change of pace and strategy. Instead of DPS-ing, which is by comparison easy, I should try my hand at some tanking. Next to my Hunter, my Paladin is the best equipped and he has a Prot spec. Although I tailored the spec mostly for solo play, I just need to make small adjustments to it for group play. The much bigger hurdle will be to actually learn how to tank in a group setting. There are ample resources on the web though and I won't step inside an instance without at least a solid theoretical understanding of how tanking works. It should be a very interesting development and thanks to the tank shortage I shouldn't have any wait times with the LFG tool. Of course, at the beginning I will start slowly, with normal dungeons and later move to heroics if things are moving well.

Apart from that, there isn't much else that needs urgent attention. The usual gold-making process remains and since I've already got more gold than I can spend, I'm taking it easy, keeping my earnings at around 1000 gold a day.

So there you have it. A very satisfying, but busy, year. All I can wish for, and this goes to all you WoW fans, is for a Cataclysm that will knock our socks of. This is gonna be the best year ever, at least in WoW terms.


Anonymous said...


Trust me. You avoided 5man for months, now you know how much fun they are. Well, 10 and 25 man are even more fun. Trust me, I'm a solo non-guilded player and I already started pugging Icecrown 10man.

Worth it. Heroics become boring and too easy in a breeze.

Anonymous said...

Heroics are fun as long as you actually need something (drops, achievements, pets, mounts, ...). Trust me: when you are 213+ geared (being 226-232 is easy nowadays) well... heroics become boring as hell.

It's like gathering 5 random people who just grind their way to the end without speaking a word (cross-realm pugs) and disband. Good if you need to level or find a specific item, stupid and boring if you just farm the daily emblems and you're already overgeared.

I don't know you but for me (full almost full 245 geared, even if I'm a solo player like you, mostly) running heroics is like playing in cheat mode. Go there, uber-DPS anything, finish.

Darth Solo said...

Well, I always enjoyed being OP :)
I'll see at some point if I can get into raids. Right now it's not the first thing on my priority list but I won't say no. It's definitely a possibility.

Anonymous said...

Being OP is fine until it makes gameplay stupidly easy. Trust me, you will hate heroics as soon as your gear will be over 200.

Bowcephus said...

I'm in almost exactly the same position, except that I've only been playing the game for a year and only have one 80. I'm turning my badges into heirloom gear for my alts. That worgen mage you're going to roll? Make sure you have enough badges for the heirloom shoulders, chest, and staff (there might even be an heirloom trinket). It speeds up the leveling a bit, and you don't have to worry about upgrading gear as you level. Most of the pieces are 40 emblems, which you can probably do in an evening.

Raids are cool; the fight mechanics are much more interesting than the 5 man stuff, and with all the extra buffs you get you are much more powerful (I did a 25 man Trial of the Crusader and couldn't figure out why I never ran out of mana; it's because there were like 9 people in the raid all providing some sort of replenishment). That said, pugging your way into raids is a huge pain.

I'm going to go against the flow here and tell you not to raid. You said you have 4 level 80 toons, why not run randoms on all of them until they're all in tier 9? Why not learn how to tank? Do you have a healer? Learn how to heal in 5 mans. Be the guy who actually knows how to play his Death Knight (those are in short supply).

As your blog has always shown all of us, there is so much more to WoW than progression raiding. Keep doing what you're doing.

Oh one disclaimer - before 3.4 drops we all should definitely get into ICC at least once so we can see Arthas defeated. :)

Darth Solo said...

@Anon my gear is waay over 200, i.e. my lousiest pieces are 200, with the best being 245 or over. Heroics are easy only if the entire group is good, unfortunately one man can't make up for a shitty group. What's more, I often find myself out-DPS-ed by others and it shames me.

@Bowcephus I've already bought cloth and leather shoulders and chest heirlooms for two of my alts. The cloth pieces will also go to a priest alt that I have started, and of course to my future mage. The leather pieces are in use by my rogue currently but could go to a potential feral druid if I ever start one. I still have enough Champion's Seals to buy heirloom mail chest and shoulders and a weapon or two for, say, a dwarf shaman. So I'm well covered in that area.

I know that raids are cool. Sometimes I miss the old 40-man Molten Core or AQ raids. The concept of 40 people in a raid was crazy and it's a good thing that it went the way of the dodo, but no one can deny that it felt awesome to be part of such a huge group.

I'll probably pass on raids this time because I'm an altoholic of sorts and, like you said, I would like to try my hand at some tanking with my paladin. I was even considering healing with the dude. I also have a level 15 priest that could probably try some Deadmines or something, but I'm not worrying about him.

And yes, everyone should try their hand at killing Arthas. I'd love to see that encounter.

Anonymous said...

Stumbled on your blog today. Great reading, keep up the good work!

Darth Solo said...

@Anonymous thanks man!

Davinfelth - Perenolde said...

I started tanking on my pali this summer. I never thought I would tank, but now Im bored if Im not tanking. I love the Pali class in general, and for Heroics I think they really shine because the AOE threat generation. I don't write for any of these, but Ive enjoyed Rightoues Defense blog, Maintankadin and Paladin Schmaladin for information and guides. Opens a whole new world of fun, especially for a solo player. Plus the 30 sec lfg wait time isn't bad either. Im excited to see the changes that will come to the class in Cataclysm too.

Darth Solo said...

I'm counting on the low wait time too. Perhaps I can chain run instances with my pally tank.

Jerry said...

Darth... Thanks for keeping up this blog. I've been an avid reader and have enjoyed your perspective on things.

Bowcephus mentioned in the comments above you can get 40 emblems in one night. How is that possible? I'm leveling up a priest right now and can only get 2 Emblems of Triumph per day.

Anyway, I look forward to reading your blog in the upcoming year.

Darth Solo said...

@Jerry thanks for the appreciation!

It is certainly possible to get so many Emblems of Triumph in a night. Maybe you're thinking about Frost Emblems of which you can only get 2 per day using the random dungeon tool. Triumph are much easier to get. A heroic will give you 3-4 of them and if you keep using the random dungeon tool you will get an additional 2 so if you can run 5-6 randoms a night, you can get 40 or even more, depending.

As a tank or healer I think it's easy to chain-run heroics but as a DPS there's a 15 minute wait for each run so it's not worth it.

Bowcephus said...

Sorry I'm a little late to the party with my response:
@Jerry - you can only get 2 Emblems of Triumph each day while you are leveling and running normal instances. Once you get to 80 and switch to heroics, the heroic bosses drop Emblems of Triumph as well as the 2 you get for completing the dungeon. So it's not hard to get 5 or 6 in a single dungeon. Since the typical overgeared heroic run these days is about 20 minutes, if you get in a good group that wants to stay together, you can easily run 6 or 8 heroics in a 3 hour period. Ergo 40 emblems.

On a side note; how cool is it that you get Emblems of Triumph as you level?!?!? If you diligently run a random dungeon every day from 70 to 79, the day you ding 80 you can go buy a full set of Tier 9 Armor! I can't wait to get my druid to level 70 so I can start that process.

Darth Solo said...

@Bowcephus it's really cool that you can get emblems while leveling. I thought I would do that on my rogue but I couldn't survive the second pull in the instance I was in so I gave it up. I suck at rogues.