There are, of course, more “productive” things I could be doing with my WoW-time.
- I could be making sure I do my firelands dailies every day.
- I could be doing those dailies on one of my level 85 alts, preferably one with a useful crafting profession (vs Ano’s leatherworking/skinning combo).
- I could be making sure I hit the VP cap
- I could be running heroics/trolltroics: with Tremble to replace his pair of <333 tanking trinkets, with Grammy to replace the various bits of PVP gear she’s still wearing, with Cent to replace her remaining blues
- I could be attempting to earn cash and stockpile materials for a new weapon, or at least remembering to make use of Grammy’s transmute cooldowns more profitably.
I really struggle with doing things I “ought” to be doing, unless they’re things I’d do anyway because I like to. I’ve actually VP capped a couple of times already, not because I feel I should do but because I like running dungeons and find bad pugs a) generally rare, and b) easily dealt with or ignored. Anyway, that aside, I’m not really doing any of these things. Instead, I’ve been playing with my baby bear and pugging a few T11 raids.
Pugging tier 11
Blizzard did say that part of the reason for the huge nerfs to T11 was to encourage and enable pug raids, and this seems to have worked. Entertainingly, now pug raiding is common (as it was at the end of Wrath) a familiar annoyance has resurfaced: gearscore. Well, not “gearscore” per se, but looking in trade I see an awful lot of “LFM BoT, must have ilvl 361+, /w spec and chiev” which puts us straight back into “can a bunch of overgeared players please carry me? kthx” territory. I even found myself forced to intervene in one conversation in trade1, in which a person whose average ilevel was 350 was told that wasn’t enough for t11, and that he should run more trollroics to gear up. *wail*
I’ve now joined a couple of different PuG T11 runs. Firstly, Centrella the mage was reunited with an RP guild she accompanied on a few ICC runs towards the end of Wrath. While definitely not cutting-edge raiders even by my standards, they’re a friendly and fun bunch, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Another guildie joined us on her DK and we were able to amble through the first four bosses, in what turned out to be the first visit to Cataclysm raid content for a number of people in the group. Sadly, the run offered fairly conclusive proof that Centrella’s RNG-defying streak of luck is definitely over :'(.
I also joined two guildies to form an all-Enthusiast healing team for a group with Atramades and Nefarian left to kill. It was interesting to note the people who hadn’t really processed the nerfs to T11 content, with a vocal segment (including the raid lead) insisting that if we didn’t get Nef down to 65% or less during the pillar phase, it would be a wipe. That might have been the case before 4.2, but most certainly isn’t now. In any case, after a couple of false starts we got it together. Still no bloody loot, though :(.
Angry baby bear
The other thing I’ve been doing is chainrunning low-level instances on my little druid, who’s journeyed from ~30 to ~50 exclusively via dungeons and dungeon quests. It’s been a mixed bag.
The good: I just like being a bear. It’s nice that my in-game avatar is hairier than me and has a fatter arse, for example. Also, the snarling sounds are great, as are the angry ghost bear effects for some of the abilities. It’s pretty simple to play (at this level) so I should, in theory, be able to concentrate on awareness/positioning rather than mastering ability usage. Being able to switch to kittyform and sprint is handy for all sorts of out-of-combat things. The cat dance is great, the bear dance is awesome. Bears have the most brilliant “sit”.
The not-so-good: Bears (and presumably warriors) with no rage are sad, pitiful creatures. It seems that, in the lower-level dungeons, this is a common occurrence with trigger happy or just plain asshole DPS present. Heirlooms and enchants notwithstanding, there’s only so much a bear can do if someone else pulls at the wrong time. The most extreme case I’ve encountered so far was a run with three hunters, two of whom would open with multishot on every pull, and took the appearance of a skull over the head of a target as their personal green light. Cue desperate taunting and praying for rage, and a decent amount of cursing on the human side of the screen. After 5 minutes of this, I said in chat “Just so you know, if you open every pull with multishot when I’m not yet in melee range, I’m not going to bother chasing them down.” The current “easy” state of low-level dungeons relative to your typical lowbie dungeoneer (often an alt fully loaded with heirlooms) meant this didn’t have quite the “behave or you’ll die” severity I might like, but they did ease back a little so it wasn’t a complete waste of time.
Also, I’m sure there’s more to play with later, but right now I have what feels like an odd mix of abilities. I’ve got loads of charges, stuns, debuffs and taunts, but only three abilities that do damage. It seems rather odd — for pretty much every low-level bossfight, once the pull is underway and I’ve applied my debuffs, I can just drum the 1, 2 & 3 keys like I’m tapping my fingers on the table until the boss falls over or I do. I have no survival cooldowns yet (potions are all I’ve got) and from the bosses I remember, there’s only been the occasional knockback to interrupt me, easily dealt with by feral charge or skull bash.
Perhaps this is because I’m supposed to learning the mechanics of the pull rather than the mechanics of a rotation/priority system, and I understand that Blizzard have said that they want tanks to have less-complex threat rotations to allow more time/focus for the other parts of their job, but right now it’s a bit… plain.
Actually, since this was first drafted, I have done one “productive” thing. Last night we ventured into the Firelands2. After a couple of calibration attempts, where I got the measure of the Shannox tank’s incoming damage, we killed him. On the fourth pull. This slightly confounded all of us, as we’d made no real plans for the evening beyond “try to kill Shannox”, expecting that we’d kill him in a ok-last-pull-of-the-night-guys-concentrate moment. When he was dead shortly after 9pm with another 90 minutes remaining before end-of-raid, we were completely flummoxed.
Sensible folks that we are, we elected to do some exploring before heading to Baradin Hold, and found an interesting miniboss (whose name I don’t remember) who pelted us with fireballs and meeeleons of little adds on the way up to him, to the delight of our warrior tank whose name was glued to the top of the recount list. We also had an amusing death: while considering a proposal put forth by a guildie that we should be pulling and interrupting some little fellas who were channelling a spell at a nearby portal, a *giant* flame elemental appeared and smooshed us all.
“Perhaps so,” we concluded. Fun times.--