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Reputation: Cenarion Expedition

If you’ve taken any time in the last week or so to see the Hand Me Down posts that I put out there you’ve probably seen me mention the change to the Enchant Cloak – Stealth enchant. As someone who likes to make twinks for PvP and who uses gear like those I mention in the HMD posts, this change was significant enough to send me out for a reputation grind.

The faction in question is the Cenarion Expedition, located primarily in Zangarmarsh. The first thing I did was check with both of my enchanters to see if either of them had any reputation to go off of because I knew I would end up doing it on both of them (one of each faction), and I wanted to do it on the closer one first. After that I took a stroll around the internet to find out what I could, and then I asked for advice on Twitter.

I managed to hit Exalted with my Human Mage last night and hope to get my Blood Elf Paladin through it before Cataclysm launches.

General Tips
There are a few things you should look at doing before you start on this rep grind. The first is that there are four items that you can turn in with repeatable quests for reputation. The first can only be used until you’re Honored, and the other three can be used up to Exalted.

There are two things you can do early on to help maximize your reputation gain. First, don’t do any quests for the faction until you’re at least honored. There are some quests you get from the small camp in western Hellfire Peninsula as well as some in northern Terrokar Forrest (there are green moths around there), and a small few in other zones in Outlands as well. There are also a few quests in mid-eastern Borean Tundra in Northrend.

If you’ve already done some, or even all of those quests then it’s not too big of a deal, you just can’t maximize your rep gains.

The second thing you can do to maximize your reputation is to farm, or buy, the Unidentified Plant Parts before you get started. This is the first repeatable reputation item; the one that can only be used until Honored.

If you’re building your rep with a high level character then it’s likely easier for you to just buy all that you need from the AH so that you can skip farming the lowest of the Coilfang Reservoir instances. If you can’t buy enough, or farm enough via Herbalism or killing mobs around Zangarmarsh, then you probably want to go ahead and farm the Underbog and Slave Pens instances both for the reputation from killing the mobs inside as well as their chance to drop the Unidentified Plant parts.

But the more plant parts you can turn in, the more chances you have for another repeatable rep turning that’s only available from tuning in those parts. Once you get to Honored you can’t turn them in anymore so you’ll loose the opportunity to find them.

Another thing you can do to prepare before hand is to keep an eye out on the Auction House for Coilfang Armaments. These are used in a repeatable quest that gives 75 Rep for each turn in. You’ll find roughly 15-20 of them on a full clear of the Steamvault instance, and it’s one of the easier ways to get to Exalted. I found them on the AH from 8g-22g, with most of them being around 15g (until people noticed I was buying them and then tripled the cost).

Neutral to Honored
If you’re going for the fast route, then turning in your Unidentified Plant Parts is the first order of business. The initial quest, Plants of Zangarmarsh, requires 10 of the plant parts in order to make it repeatable, so go ahead and do it for 250 Rep. You can then turn in 10 more plant parts at a time with the repeatable version of the quest, Identify Plant Parts, which also rewards 250 Rep each time and rewards you with a Package of Identified Plants.

The Package of Identified Plants is where you can find the Uncatalogued Species. It’s a rare drop from the package, but it also starts a repeatable quest chain that lets you turn in Uncatalogued Species for 500 Rep each. These can be used all the way to Exalted, so you want to hang onto them until you’re at least Honored. You’ll also get plenty of trash items from the package as well as a few that act like regular food and some that are buff foods. They aren’t bad if you’re doing it at level, but otherwise it’s all just vendor trash.

If you want to farm the Unidentified Plant Parts then you can either do so farming the Underbog and Slave Pens instances to get them from mob drops while also increasing your rep from killing the Nagas inside, or if you’re an Herbalist you can farm the Bog Lords (and other mobs that look just like them) in south-west and north-east Zangarmarsh or in the cave in south-east Zangarmarsh which will allow you to farm their corpses for additional chances for the plant parts while also giving you reputation with Sporeggar (not all of the mobs like this give Sporeggar rep, but the majority of them do).

I recently started a Death Knight on the server that I started with first and leveled him with Herbalism and Inscription. While making my rounds in Zangarmarsh farming herbs I also killed the Bog Lords and similar mobs so that I could farm the corpses for additional herbs. The actual herbs I milled for his inks, but the Unidentified Plant Parts were sent to my Paladin for his rep and the trash of course was vendored making it both worthwhile and profitable all at the same time.

If you’re out of plant parts and still haven’t reached Honored then you can either farm Slave Pens and Underbog, killing the Nagas for reputation, or you can go ahead and do some of the quests that you haven’t done yet.

Honored to Revered
Once you reach honored most of the mobs in Slave Pens and Underbog no longer give any reputation and you can no longer turn in the Unidentified Plant Parts. From here on it’s all quests, the three remaining repeatable item turn-ins, and the Steamvault instance.

I did the Outlands quests and Steamvault runs to get from Honored to revered and saved my Northrend quests for the next stretch. It doesn’t matter which order you do them in though as all of the remaining options are available from Honored to Exalted.

If you managed to find some of the Uncatalogued Species from turning in your plant parts then this is where you turn them in. They give 500 Rep a piece, which is the single-highest boost you’ll see from here on. Turn them all in and then start your quests and dungeon runs.

The most efficient rep grind from here on is to run the Steamvault instance which requires level 67+ to enter. It’s not a raid, but it does have a heroic version if you choose to run it over the normal. The normal version of the instance gives about 1500 Rep for a full clear. The Naga mobs inside also have a chance to drop Coilfang Armaments and an item that starts a quest called
Orders from Lady Vashj. The quest sends you back to the camp in Zangarmarsh where you’re rewarded with 500 Rep for turning it in, and doing so opens up the repeatable quest to turn in the Coilfang Armaments for 75 Rep each.

From here on the most efficient method of getting the rep is to run Steamvault to get rep from the kills and then turning in all of the armaments that you find as well. You can continue on with the normal version all the way to Exalted, which is what I suggest if you’re doing this solo. If you have a few friends that are doing it with you then you can also purchase the Reservoir Key once you’ve reached Honored which will allow you to run the heroic version. You get more rep per kill on heroic, but you’ll most likely get more rep per hour just running the normal version over and over.

There’s one other repeatable quest I haven’t mentioned yet, and it’s called Can’t Get Ear-nough…. It requires you to turn in 15 Nesingwary Lackey Ears which you’ll find in Borean Tundra. There are several other quests you can pick up from the same spot that also reward you with reputation so be sure you’ve done all of those as well.

There are two places in particular that I found especially good for farming the ears. First is a little ways north and slightly west of where you pick up the quest; there’s a quest mob called the Minion of Kaw. These little suckers have a near-instant respawn time and they’re all located very close to each other. They don’t have the best drop rate, but their respawn makes them a very nice target to farm the ears.

The other mob I suggest is found directly south of the quest giver, across the plains where the stealthed guys are attacking the elks, there’s a little coastal area full of Northsea Thugs. These mobs have a similar respawn rate to the Minions of Kaw, but are a little more spread out. However, both the north and south end of their spawning zone have triggers to spawn more mobs once you’ve killed all of the mobs in the area. So the more you kill them, the more you force them to spawn. If you find that all of them are dead where you’re at, just go to the other end and you’ll find more of them. In many cases you’ll kill one and cause three more to spawn right where you’re at and killing those will spawn yet more of them.

Revered to Exalted
Once you’ve reached Revered it’s time to pull out all of the stops and finish up everything you can. If you have any quests left that you haven’t done yet you want to make sure you do those now. You’ll also want to continue trading in Coilfang Armaments and chain Steamvaults runs when you have the time. Basically you’re going to keep on doing what you’ve been doing, just make sure you finish up any quests that you’ve skipped along the way.

Once all of the quests are done it’s time to chain Steamvault runs until the very end. If you finish a run and have just a small amount of rep left to get then you can either return to the camp to turn in your Armaments to finish it off, or you can do what I did and just queue for another run and then sell all of your armaments on the AH to get back some of the gold you might have spent buying them yourself.

My Thoughts
Having completed it on one of the two toons that I’ve doing it on, I have to say that this rep grind really wasn’t all that bad. It wasn’t especially hard and it really didn’t take me that long overall, either. I did purchase quite a few armaments along the way which probably saved me about a dozen runs through Steamvaults.

The toon I’ve completed it with had skipped almost all of the CE quests during his leveling, so being able to do his quests after he hit Revered really helped that final stretch fly by quickly. The toon that’s still working on it had done almost all of his quests while he was leveling, so the Northrend quests are all he has left to help him along. He’s spent almost twice as much gold on Armaments and he’s still 9 runs away from being Exalted (not counting the armaments he gets during those runs).

I don’t think I’ll have any trouble getting the second toon to Exalted before Cataclysm comes out next week, though it is does take quite a bit longer to run Steamvault on my green-geared Ret Paladin than it did my ICC-geared Frost Mage. Of course, the Frost Mage can do 70-80k damage in 3 seconds where the Paladin takes about 5 minutes to do that.

So I now have my Cloak – Stealth enchant on one of the two servers that I spend the most time on and am closing in fast on the second. There are also several other recipes that you can get for other professions. I went ahead and bought all of the Alchemy recipes since my Mage also happens to be an alchemist, but I seriously doubt that I’ll ever make a single item from them. They’re available and I’ve got the gold, so I might as well add them to my collection, right?

There’s also a hippogryph mount that you can get when you become exalted. It costs 2,000g if you’re neutral, and 1,600g if you’re Exalted, but you can’t buy the thing until you’re exalted anyway so it costs 1,600g. I don’t like the look of the mount so I haven’t bought it yet and don’t really plan to either. I’m still considering it to a very small degree, but chances are very slim.

I’ve got hundreds of spears, and dozens of strings of ears. But of the druids I steer clear, for my ears can’t stand to hear, the millions of exultant cheers.

 
4 Comments

Posted by on December 2, 2010 in Guide, Professions, Reputation, World of Warcraft

 

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AoE Grinding: Frost Death Knight Edition

I have covered the greatness of Paladin AoE Guides. I have revealed unto you the incredible power of Frost Mage AoE Grinding. And now I must bring forth, Frost Knight AoE Grinding!

You can't see my sparklies very well in that picture, but that's 12 mobs piled up there.



You can use the general information from this post in conjunction with the Death Knight Tanking Guides for AoE rotations I use for questing. I use pretty well the same exact concepts and rotations when doing AoE Tanking on my Death Knight when the situation calls for me to focus on AoE to grab and maintain agro in an instant so that I can then settle into a tanking rotation.

For the purposes of this article when you see any form of “(BFU)” it is an expression of the ability’s Rune Cost, where “(##)” will show the amount of Runic Power that is required for abilities with RP costs rather than Rune costs. When using our Death Runes they will be noted as “(DD)”.

This guide also contains only information up to level 70, so spells obtained only at higher levels will not appear in this guide.

Death Knight Specs: Quick Overview
Any Death Knight spec can do AoE grinding to at least some degree. Frost and Unholy are much better off than Blood is in the AoE category (though perhaps not so much in the survivability area), but any spec can technically do it. Some just need to branch out a little bit more than others.

All DK’s have access to Death and Decay which is a solid AoE ability though it does come with a heavy Rune cost.

Spending 11 points in the Unholy tree grants you access to Corpse Explosion which serves as a Runic Power version of AoE damage to be used when you are in a Rune Blackout (all runes used and on cooldown). Corpse Explosion does require a non-elemental, non-mechanical corpse in order to be used, but it is another option for AoE damage once you’ve laid down the hate and started piling up the corpses. But any corpse will do, including a fallen comrade.

With 8 points in the Blood tree you can have Scent of Blood 3/3 which gives you a 15% chance after a dodge or parry to have each of your next three auto-attacks generate 10 Runic Power which could be taken in addition to Corpse Explosion to help fuel its repeated use. I don’t know that it’s a great option, but there it is if you happen to be a CE freak (like me).

You can spend 14 points in the Blood tree to get both Rune Tap (B) which will restore 10% of your health when used, as well as Death Rune Mastery which will cause the runes used for Obliterate and Death Strike to regenerate as Death Runes. Having both Death Rune Mastery and Blood of the North maxed will give you four different attacks that will grant Death Runes to help fuel whatever ability you might want to use.

Since I’m focusing on Frost here, I will point out that I suggest you get all the way through the Frost tree (level 60 minimum) before you branch off into the other trees. As for the rest of the spec, I suggest you follow the guide I offer in my DK Tanking: Frost Edition guides.

Frost AoE: General Information
You can use either a single disease or a double disease method for this, though my personal suggestion is that you go with a double disease, dual wielding Frost build.

Howling Blast (FU) is your largest source of AoE damage, and using things like your Killing Machine procs and your Deathchill ability to maximize your damage by providing auto-crits go a long way towards burning down the largest group of mobs in the shortest amount of time. Rime procs will give you free uses of Howling Blast as well as resetting its cooldown, so keep a keen eye out for those as well. You may want to consider using an addon such as PowerAuras Classic to help you keep track of your procs if you have trouble with them.

With Frost you are going to make frequent use of Howling Blast for AoE damage and applying the Frost Fever disease, Obliterate (FU) to generate Rime procs for free Howling Blasts, Blood Boil (B) for DK-centered AoE damage, Pestilence (B) for disease spreading, and potentially Death & Decay (BFU) as well. If you branched out into Unholy for Corpse Explosion (40) then you have a Runic Power AoE as well, which is centered on the corpse that it’s used on.

Pulling



As a Death Knight you have several tools to use for pulling mobs. The most obvious of these is Scorpion’s famous move, Death Grip, which will pull the targeted mob to you and “force” them to attack you for three seconds. Some mobs are immune to the physical pull, but they will still agro you and chase you down after you use it. Death Grip has a pretty big cooldown all things considered, but it does not require any runes or runic power to use.

You also have two sources of ranged AoE pulling, in the form of Howling Blast (FU) and Death and Decay (BFU), which can both be used to pull a group of mobs instead of just one. Howling Blast is a bit better if you are pulling the group and moving on to pull others as well, where Death and Decay is probably better off cast as you near the end of your pull so that you can make use of its DoT (Damage of Time) AoE effect.

You also have two forms of single-target ranged pulls in Icy Touch (F) and Death Coil (40). Death Coil requires RP to cast, so it’s not the greatest spell for pulling, but when you find yourself high on RP and nothing else to spend it on just yet you might as well get some use out of it.

If you don’t have much, or any, Runic Power built up during a pull, feel free to use your melee abilities rather than simply body pulling. Primarily you want to use Plague Strike (B) for this in order to establish a disease, or Blood Strike (B) to get your Blood Runes converted to Death Runes for use in the next round.

There is one other spell I want to mention here for pulling, but it will actually be more useful after the next step happens to help get stray casters to come to your centralized area. The spell is called Strangulate (B) which is a single target, 30 yard ranged Silence spell that lasts for 5 seconds. When you use that on a caster they will rush towards melee range as long as they are silenced, and 5 seconds should be more than enough for you to get them within range of your AoE spells.

And of course you do still have the old fashioned, tried and true body pull which can be done either mounted or on foot, which simply requires that you get within agro range of the mobs. Some locations allow for or maybe even require that you use Line of Sight (LoS) techniques to agro the mobs and then move to a location that they cannot attack you from so that they must run around it to engage you; running to the other side of a wall is a perfect example of this as they will run around the wall as well and then stand there clustered together to help with your AoE.

Centralize
In my other AoE Grinding guides I mentioned a step here that I called “Corral”, which is basically just gathering all the mobs up into a central area so that you can AoE them down from there. You want to do that with a Frost DK as well, but it’s not quite so big a deal as it is with a Mage; instead it’s more like grinding with a Paladin where as long as they are within your AoE range you really don’t care how close they are to one another.

To be technical on the subject, you do want the mobs to be within 10 yard of each other so that you are able to hit them all, but with the exception of casters they should all be ganged up around you to begin with. Again, using the various spells mentioned in the Pulling section above and things like LoS are key to getting the mobs centralized and ready to burn them down.

Reposition
Where a mage wants to put some distance between himself and the mobs, a Death Knight just wants everyone to look straight into his scourgefire eye sockets and see their own deaths rushing forth to meet them. As a DK you need to embrace your tanking habits and be sure to get as many mobs as you possibly can to be in front of you so that you can make use of all of your avoidance on them. You do this by repositioning yourself which usually consists of just backing up while facing them so that they get in front of you.

Some mobs just move in odd patterns and constantly seem to move behind you no matter what you do. In those cases you can either plant your back against a wall, or just ignore that one mob until you’ve taken out the others. Another option that is open to you is to use your Hungering Cold (F) ability to freeze everything in place, reposition yourself where you want to be (with all the mobs in front of you), and then either wait for the spell to wear off or hit them with a ranged AoE like Howling Blast to break them all out again.

Strategic use of Hungering Cold can make the difference between a successful AoE grinder and an exceptional AoE grinder. Use it to freeze the mobs in place, use Pestilence to spread your diseases (which does not break the ice), and then use a bandage on yourself if needed to restore your health and also allow your other runes the time they need to cooldown. Once you’re ready (or the 10 second timer is up) spread your diseases again with Pestilence and then go back into your rotation. If you do not have the Glyph of Disease to refresh your diseases for you then you will need to reapply them via Icy Touch > Plague Strike > Pestilence. If you do have the glyph then as long as the diseases are still on your current target it will refresh them and spread them around once again.

Important Note: Because our survival talent from the Blood tree, Blade Barrier, doesn’t come into effect until our Blood Runes are on cooldown, I suggest you go ahead and use up any remaining Blood Runes during this step. If you haven’t spread your diseases yet or you did spread them but they’re wearing off, then use Pestilence, otherwise go for Blood Boil if there are two or mobs near you or Blood Strike if there is only one.

Death to the Living!
Once you’ve gathered up the mobs and got them in place it’s time to burn those suckers down. Each DK has their own personal play style, so if you have another way you prefer to do this then by all means go with your own if you prefer, and of course feel free to leave any comments, suggestions, or criticisms you might have.

Rotation
1st Rune Set: Icy Touch (F), Plague Strike (U), Pestilence (B), Blood Boil (B), Howling Blast (FU), RP Dump
2nd Rune Set: Obliterate (FU), [Howling Blast (Free)], Howling Blast (DD), Obliterate (FU), [Howling Blast (Free)], RP Dump

Technically our first rune set will actually be a sporadic mishmash of whatever you happened to use to pull all of the mobs to you, but we’re talking about the rotation here.

The first rune set establishes your diseases, spreads them around, and then hits with two AoE spells. Your Runic Power Dump for the first set is probably going to be Frost Strike (40). If you have enough points in Unholy then it can be used for Corpse Explosion (40) instead if you want more AoE.

Frost Strike hits hard and it’s great for chopping down your groups faster which will lead to better survivability overall, but CE will help bring down the group as a whole so use whichever serves best in your situation. If you’re taking quite a bit of damage then it’s better to increase your single target DPS with FS to kill some of them off, unless the mobs are already low enough on health that CE might finish one or more of them off for you. If you’re doing fine on your health then stick to AoE spells as much as you can so that you get the most damage on the most targets for the resources you spend.

In the second rune set we focus more on AoE damage to bring down the mobs as one. With the initial Obliterate we are hoping for a Rime proc to use Howling Blast, but if we don’t get one then we’re moving right along to a regular Howling Blast and getting those Blood Runes (Death Runes in this case) back on cooldown to proc our Parry buff again. Whenever Rime procs go ahead and use your Howling Blast; if that screws up your rotation because HB is on cooldown then simply replace the HB with Obliterate instead and try for another Rime proc.

Remember though that we aren’t trying to tank an instance with this, so we aren’t so much worried about maintaining threat as we are simply killing everything around us. If Howling Blast is available and you still have multiple mobs on you it’s perfectly acceptable to use HB instead of Obliterate for the AoE damage. Rime is more likely to proc when using two weapons instead of one, so it’s especially acceptable for a 2H build to use HB over Obliterate since the chance to proc Rime is lower.

I’M GONNA DIIIIEEEEE!!!
Settle down now, you’re a DK…you’re already dead. Before we get on into the next section, let us take a break and talk about what to do when things go wrong and suddenly you’re in trouble.

The first choice you have is something I already mentioned up above, which is using Hungering Cold to freeze everything within 10 yards of you for 10 seconds. This gives you time to either use a bandage or put your running shoes on and get the heck out of there (only a coward runs from combat, but only a “moron” throws his gold away on unnecessary repair bills).

Another option that we have open to us is Death Pact (40 RP, requires level 66) which requires you to sacrifice your ghoul in exchange for 40% of your health to instantly be healed. It’s a big heal and it comes in very handy. For this reason I save my ghoul for when I need heals rather than using him for extra dps, pulling, or whatever. The one thing you need to watch out for is the runic cost of Death Pact. If you are taking a beating, be sure to build up your RP but try not to use it unless you have more than 30-40% so that you can DP when needed.

You also have the use of Icebound Fortitude (20) after level 62 which will give you 12 seconds of damage reduction to lessen those blows.

You can also make an adjustment to your attack rotations, replacing Obliterates and/or Howling Blasts with Death Strike (FU) instead, to heal yourself for 5% of your maximum health for each disease you have on the target.

If things are really getting hot, you’ve already used everything available to you that we’ve talked about here, then the only other option you have left to you (besides potions and such which you should already be well aware of) is to make an emergency switch over to Blood Presence (B) which increases your damage by 15% and heals you for 4% of the damage you deal. By default you should be grinding in Frost Presence (F) which increases your Stamina by 6%, your armor from gear by 60% and reduces damage you take by 8%. Losing Frost Presence can be a very dangerous thing when you’re already getting beat on hard enough to be worried, but if you can dish out enough damage in a short enough amount of time then Blood Presence can potentially save your life by switching to it, landing a big attack for the heal (Death Strike is optimal for this), and then switching back to Frost Presence for your damage reduction.

All Your Sparklies Are Belong To Me
And now that they’re all dead it’s just a matter of collecting loot and moving right along to the next group. A lot of your damage is going to be dealt over time rather than in bursts. So when you do get procs like Rime and Killing Machine, it’s a good idea to move right into your next pull to take advantage of those if you aren’t in need of healing. Timing your Rime/KM procs so that they’re used together is an excellent way to bring down a lot of mobs in a short amount of time.

What Spells Do I Use Again?

Howling Blast Blood Boil
Corpse Explosion Death and Decay
 
7 Comments

Posted by on March 3, 2010 in Death Knight, Guide, Leveling

 

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Roleplaying Alt: You Decide

For a few months now I have contemplated giving Roleplaying a shot. I am an avid roleplayer in every type of game that I play. I was introduced to D&D when I was four years old, though I didn’t actually start playing the game until I was nine. I love roleplaying, and I love World of Warcraft. I used to really get into the story of the games that I played and I liked knowing a lot about the world I was in and how things related to one another and so forth.

A lot of that changed though when I went to college. I no longer had time to play as much as I did before but I still liked playing the games. What ended up happening though was I began to ignore story for the sake of playing the game instead. I really like to beat games quickly the first time I play and then go back for a fully indepth experience during the second play through. Since my time was short, it was easier to just jump online for a quick walkthrough and then play the game while ignoring most of the story.

That was a bad habbit I developed and it’s one that has made WoW a bit less enjoyable than it could be. I really love playing the game and all the things we can do within the world and such, but I can only give you a summarized version of what any of the story is througout any of the game.

That’s where you guys come in. I need help.

The Plan
I want to roll a character that I can really get into from a roleplaying perspective. I don’t care what faction he’s in, what class he is, what professions he takes, or what gear he wears.

The server I roll the toon on doesn’t particularly matter to me, nor does the type of server that it is. I don’t mind turning off all of my chat logs so that I see nothing that any other players say. It can be a RP server, Normal, or PvP – it doesn’t matter to me. I can reroll on a fresh new server, or I can roll on one that I already have.

What I want to do though is start a brand new toon and take the time to really get into the story of the game. I want to talk to those of you who have actually played this game and paid attention a bit to some of what’s going on around us so that I can get the most out of this experience.

I need help.

Race
While I prefer to play the game as Horde, this time I need to keep the doors wide open. I want your opinion on what race(s) I should play strictly from a story standpoint. If you think that gnomes have the best, richest story in the game then tell me to roll a gnome and I will do so (yes, @Arrens you can come kill me and eat me for saying that if you must).

I know there aren’t really any race-specific quests in the game, but if there are some quests that you know enrich a particular race enough that you would suggest I play that race just to experience it, then let me know.

I have played all of the Warcraft games, but I don’t remember a lot of the old story, and I certainly haven’t made any particular effort to go back and learn it. I’m not so much interested in becoming a master of Warcraft Lore, but I do want to learn from this experience.

Class
Taking class quests, play style, and ability to solo content all into account here – what class(es) would you suggest that I play?

If a certain class’s class quests really helps you to get into the story, then I want to know. If you feel that the best way to experience what this game has to offer is by sneaking around as a stealthed rogue, then I want to know. If you think the best way to really get into this game is to be a warrior who rushes into combat to face the enemy, then so be it; let me know.

The point here is to play the best combination of race/class to get the most out of the game. With this toon I plan on reading all of the quest text and even talking to random NPC’s that I come across simply to see what they have to say. If going after Shaman totems makes this game tick for you, then let me know. If rogue quests expand the story too much to be missed, throw it out there.

Tell me which class(es) you feel would give me the richest roleplaying experience.

Death Knights: I want this to span across the whole leveling process, so this is going to be a level 1 toon. Death Knights are out. No exceptions.

Professions
Some race/class combinations make for good professions, some seem a bit odd, and so on and so forth. I don’t care so much about what I’m getting out of the professions as I am how it fits in with the overall concept of the character.

If you think a Gnome Warlock Herbalism/Blacksmith is (honestly) the way to go, then that’s what I will make. Well, alright, so I wouldn’t grab two professions that abosolutely do not work together at all, but still. The point is, if you think any of them will strengthen the experience at all, then I want to know about it.

Questing
There are a LOT of zones that I have never even been to, much less quested in. I have a set of quests that I like to do from a leveling perspective, so there are far more zones that I have never quested in even than the ones that I haven’t been in.

Along with that, I don’t play Alliance characters, so I have no idea what any alliance quests are like beyond level 20, and even then all I know is the Night Elf area. My highest alliance character is a 20 NElf Hunter.

I don’t have to have just a single idea on this one, I want to know what quests or quest chains you think really give this game some flair. If I need to travel to some remote zone in the world to do some quest that gives me a whopping 3 silver as my reward, then so be it. If you think the Gnome starting area is supreme, but questing around Stormwind is the next best, and then heading over to Bloodmyst Isle is the way to go from there, then let me know.

While low level will obviously be where I start, I’m looking for all of your specific suggestions on questing. If you think I should be sure to experience every quest in Howling Fjord, should do all quests related to Ragefire Chasm, and should get the achievement for all of Hemmit’s quests, then let me know.

Any quests that you consider top of the line that should never be missed are what I want to see. Or if there’s a chain of quests that absolutely suck and you always skip them, but they really help you get into the story, then let me know about those as well.

How to Help
I am looking for whatever suggestions you might have to offer here. It can be a mixture of Horde/Alliance-only or it can be something general like “I think Alliance quests are better than Horde” then go ahead and let me know. I want to know what your opinions are so that I can come up with the best way for me to really get into this game.

I have already tried every race and every class in this game. So telling me to “just play whatever you want, whatever you think you’ll have the most fun with” isn’t going to do anything for me because what I want is what you have to suggest for me.

If you don’t know much about the quests but feel a specific race or class is best suited for getting into the game’s story, then let me know. I am looking for whatever information you would like to share here.

 
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Posted by on August 13, 2009 in Roleplaying

 

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Druid Leveling: 21-30 (Feral)

Leveling a druid through the 20′s is going to be either extremely easy where you finally catch a break, or it’s going to break you and cause you to give up on the character.

Druid Form Names
Since I know at least some of you will not be familiar with all of the druid lingo around the web, I’m going to take just a second to talk about the name of some of the various forms. I am talking about commonly used names here, not every single thing people will ever call you in your various forms.

Caster Form (Level 1) This is the easiest one to get confused if you are a new druid. When I first started seeing this I thought it was just another name for a Moonkin. Resto druids were always called trees as far as I knew, so surely Moonkin would be the form called “caster” right? Wrong. Caster form is your regular form, whatever your base race is. Caster form is Tauren/Night Elf form. Another way of saying it is that Caster Form is the lack or absence of a form, which is to say using no special druid forms at all.

Bear Form (Level 10) While there are actually two bear forms, Bear and Dire Bear, they are both referred to as simply Bear Form. In battlegrounds you might hear it called Tank Form in some battlegroups, but the vast majority call it Bear. Bear Form has its own special attacks and a separate action bar for those attacks as well. This form is best for tanking and in mid-later levels it can be used for melee-ranged AoE grinding.

Aquatic Form (Level 16) I don’t really hear this one called anything other than what it is. Sure, you hear nicknames for it from time to time while you play and such, but when people are talking about it in forums or blogs it is either Swim Form or Aquatic Form. This form is used only for travel, and only while swimming. You are able to attack in this form, but cannot cast spells, and this form has no special attacks nor its own action bar.

Travel Form (Level 16) This is another one called most often by its actual name. I have heard it referred to as “run form” in battlegrounds a couple of times, as well as “cheetah form”, but primarily this is Travel Form. As with Aquatic Form, this one is used for travel (land-based) and while you can attack in this form you cannot cast spells and it does not have a dedicated action bar either.

Cat Form (Level 20) Cat form is known as cat form; pretty simple. I have seen it called by different names from time to time, but none of them stick and are usually made in jest anyway. This form is used for melee dps. Back in the day it used to be used as a bit of a mini-mount as you can spend talent points to get +30% speed while using the form. Now that travel form shows up at level 16 instead of level 30 though, it’s not used so much for that. But, that speed increase can still be used and since you can be in Cat form while indoors it’s still great for moving around quickly when you are otherwise unable to mount.

Important Spells
Here we have the most important icons for you to familiarize yourself with while leveling your druid through his 20′s as a feral cat.

From top to bottom, left to right:

Cat Form is how you will spend all of your time in the 20′s except when you have to take a break for a few seconds to heal yourself. Nature’s Grasp will be your primary source of Crowd Controll (CC) since you will not be in caster form very often. Faerie Fire (Feral) reduces your target’s armor making them easier to kill.

Rake is how you will start most of your rotations. Claw is your primary attack in cat form and the ability you will spam more than any other. Rip is your finishing move and how you spend your combo points; not used very often in early leveling as most mobs will be dead before Rip would be useful.

Prowl is the druid’s version of the Rogue’s Stealth ability, allowing you to sneak up on your targets. Tiger’s Fury boosts your damage for 6 seconds, and Shred is your biggest attack but has to be used from behind the target.

These abilities will be discussed in more detail in the sections below.

Leveling 20-25: Secondary Zone

Rotation Option 1: Claw, Claw, Claw, Auto-Attack
Rotation Option 2: Prowl, Shred, Claw, Claw, Auto-Attack
Explanation: When you’re first starting off as Feral, you can kill most things just by spamming Claw. Using your finishing move is a waste at this level, but you’re free to use it if you wish. Most mobs will die to three claws and whatever damage you deal with your regular attacks in between; assuming of course that they don’t die before then. If mobs are lasting notably longer than that, then you may want to look at getting some better gear with more +Agility on it.

Now, I’m not sure that all secondary zones can extend to level 25 or higher, but I would imagine they probably do. Regardless of where you go, just make sure the mobs are close to your level. For my druid, this area is the Barrens. I’ve been hanging out here since level 12 and loving it. Quests are everywhere here, and mats for all professions are easy to find here.

When you use Claw your auto-attack will kick in all on its own, so there’s no need to activate that yourself or via a macro like I suggested during your Teens. Whether or not you use stealth is up to you. Sometimes I use it and sometimes I don’t, it just depends on what is going on at the time and how fast you want to move.

If you want to get into the stealthy side of the cat form, then go ahead and pull up Rotation 2 and give it a shot. Shred uses a lot more energy than everything else you have right now, but it does some high damage. Sometimes I stealth and then just start off attacking with Claw instead of Shred to save the energy for more Claws. At this point, do what you feel works best for you.

Where the Barrens is normally dull and boring for me I actually had quite a bit of fun there with the druid. Maybe it was because I could be a cat and sort of ‘fit in’ with the place. I don’t know why I enjoyed it so much this time where I have not enjoyed it previously, but I had a blast. I liked it so much that I actually stayed in the Barrens until level 27 with this druid, though I did gain a few levels from running instances.

Leveling 25-30: Pick a Map, Any (level appropriate) Map

Rotation Option 1: Rake, Claw, Claw, Claw, Rip (if needed), Auto-Attack
Rotation Option 2: Prowl (stealth), Shred, Rake, Claw, Rip, Auto-Attack
Explanation: Mobs at this level are going to start running away from you more often, and at higher speed, than the lower level areas you have been in up to this point. Using Bleed effects like Rake and Rip on them help you to maintain control of these running mobs without having to worry so much about overpulling. Make use of Tiger’s Fury and Faerie Fire as needed to help with the mobs you face.

There are two spells I pointed out at the top of this post that I have not mentioned yet: Tiger’s Fury and Faerie Fire. These two spells are utility spells to be used whenever you feel it might help or may be necessary.

Tiger’s Fury gives you a slight boost to your damage dealt. It’s not huge, but it does help. I tend to use this a lot more when I am using the Prowl/Shred method of attack, and pop Tiger’s Fury while still stealthed, right before I attack with Shred. You can use it whenever you want, and with a fairly small cooldown time you might as well pop it whenever it’s not on cooldown.

Faerie Fire lowers your target’s armor, making them easier to hit. A lot of the mobs at this point are not going to have a great deal of armor anyway, but it never hurts to lower your chance of missing. I don’t cast this nearly as often as I do other spells, but it can be a great help. In PvP, I slap this on every Rogue that I ever see because it also prevents the target from being able to use stealth.

Personally, I like to take just about every character I ever level into Hillsbrad Foothills to quest during my mid-20s and early 30s. Sometimes I will take Stonetalon, Ashenvale, or Thousand Needles instead, but I like Hillsbrad enough that I go there more than all of the others combined.

This is about the time that mobs you face are going to have more hit points so that just spamming claw will not quite do the job. This is where I change up my rotation to include Rake first and actually put some use into the Rip finishing move. Rake is a bleed effect, meening that it takes away hit points over time. It also deals a bit of damage to get you started off and awards you a combo point. Follow that up with a couple of Claw attacks to build further combo points and dish out some respectable damage as well, and then finish off with Rip.

There are two reasons why I use both of the bleed effects at this level, and that is because of the high population of humanoids. Humanoids love to run away like a bunch of sissies when they get low on hit points, and I hate having to chase down a mob only to find that they’ve agroed another mobs or six, and then having to go crazy fighting them all off while also trying to stay alive myself. But using Rake and Rip to put bleed effects on the targets, I have a chance of killing them after they run so that I don’t end up facing off against too many mobs for me to handle.

If you go to Hillsbrad before level 25 then you will likely find yourself running out of low level quests to do around level 27 or so. Hillsbrad is a bit of an oddity in that it gives you a lot of quests in your low-mid 20′s and then hits you with quests in your low-mid 30′s and skips over the high-20′s all together. A lot of people find that hard to play through thinking that they have to go find somewhere else to quest.

If you are are going to quest in Hillsbrad like I do, then wait to go there until level 25 and then you should have enough quests to get you up to level 30 before moving into the next zone. I also like to do a lot of grinding in Hillsbrad as there are mobs all over the place as well as nodes for various professions. I love grinding the mobs in the Yeti cave in particular once I get around level 27 or so, and early on I focus on the farmers and peasants in the small farm areas.

A lot of quests in this area send you into areas that are thick with mobs. You have two options here as a Cat Druid. First, you can go right in and just own everything with your claws grinding mobs in the area for experience along with your questings. Secondly, you can take advantage of Prowl to stealth through most of those areas and only fight where you have to.

If you choose to grind mobs while questing here then you are like me and will find a pretty fast and steady source of experience. If you prefer to use Prowl, then you may actually level up faster from being able to do so many quests in so short a time. While you do lose time in walk/run speed during prowling, you also aren’t spending that time fighting trash mobs.

If you find yourself out of quests in the upper 20s, go ahead and jump on over to Arathi Highlands. Some of the quests here are going to be higher level for you, but there are at least some quests to do. Arathi is my location of choice for leveling through my 30′s anyway, so I always end up bringing my characters here.

Macro Suggestion
I don’t have any particular macro suggestions for use as a Feral druid in the 20-29 bracket. Most of what you do is fairly simple and easily done and doesn’t require a lot of extra effort for anything.

Where I use the macro to start attacking while also casting Wrath for the balance build, your opening attacks with feral will always start attacking for you by default.

Talent Points and Glyphs: Level 21-30

Photobucket

Glyphs
Glyph of Rip This glyph extends the duration of the bleed effect on Rip, which in turn increases your overall damage.

Glyph of Thorns No change here over last time. This glyph increases the duration of Thorns from 10 minutes to 1 hour. It saves you some downtime but that’s about it. It’s a solid minor glyph and one that will serve you for many levels.

Glyph of Aquatic Form
This glyph will be included for just shy of forever, and I still prefer it to Thorns myself. I still find it useful in 3.2 even though Travel Form which is also received at level 16 will move faster out of water. This glyph is not as useful as it once was, but it is still a great glyph and I have no intention at this time of replacing it even with Thorns. There is no doubt that this glyph went from epic to decent in a single patch though.

Gearing Up for Feral

As I mentioned previously, the key to Cat DPS is always Agility. The two best sources for Agility for starting out in your 20s are the “of the Fang” set as I mentioned last time, and the gear made by the Leatherworking profession. You get more Attack Power from Strength, but Agility gives you Attack Power, Dodge, and Crit all in one stat.

I have a level 21 Hunter who has his Leatherworking maxed for his level at 225, which allows me to make gear for up to level 33 characters. The gear that you make for around level 20 is not all that heavy in materials and you can probably farm it pretty easily if you have Skinning yourself, or it should be fairly cheap on the Auction House if you’re not one for farming.

You can look for “X of the Fang” set in Wailing Caverns, or call up a Leatherworker and have them make you some solid starting gear. Grab a weapon that either adds to your Agility or has a solid “Chance on Hit: ” proc on it and go to town. As a Cat Druid you either want bonus stats or you want procs because the damage of the weapon itself means absolutely nothing. A weapon that has its own proc along with an enchant that can proc, such as Black Malice with the Fiery Weapon enchant is an excellent example of a dual-proc weapon that can increase your dps greatly.

If you don’t have the luck, or the gold, to get a weapon like that then don’t worry. A weapon with bonus Agility on it will still serve you well. If you can find one with both Strength and Agility on it, then even better. Weapons that add straight Attack Power are alright as well, but I will take raw stats over AP any day so long as they are fairly close in value.

I have confirmed that proc-based enchants work in druid form as well, so if you’re able to twink to any degree than you can use both Fiery Weapon and Crusader on low level druid weapons and claw much face. If you don’t have access to these enchants, or prefer to save your money for other things then feel free to do so. I personally like to feel overpowered for my level, so I don’t mind blowing gold on enchants or gear I may very well replace in 2 levels. It just doesn’t bother me in the least.

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2009 in Druid, Guide, Leveling

 

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Shaman Leveling: 14-30

Previous Post: Shaman Leveling: 1-13

Where To Level
After getting my Fire Totem right before hitting level 13, I went ahead and pushed forward into the Barrens. There are a ton of quests to do in the Barrens, and while they do stretch across the whole map, most of the ones for a given level are bundled together in a fairly small area making it easier to level.

When I level a character in the barrens, I basically grab every quest I can find and just do them all. There is a troll standing in front of a hut right across from the orc blacksmithing area, and I never take the quests that he has to offer. Otherwise, if I see a quest I take it.

A lot of the mobs in the Barrens like to run away from you, which bugs me to no end. I found the Earthbind totem to be particularly useful for that. I also started saving my Earthshock for when I might be able to score a killing blow on a runner, or I would just throw a lightning bolt at them instead if they were headed off in a direction with no other mobs in it.

If you don’t like the Barrens, or you are even more tired of running characters through there than I am, then feel free to go somewhere else. I gave a lot of thought to questing in the Ghostlands over by the Blood Elf city instead, and the only reason I did not was because there is no Shaman trainer in Silvermoon City.

All of the quests in the Barrens can take you right up to level 30. I usually quest here until about level 25-28 and then move on to another location. I prefer Tarren Mill as my next stop, personally. The bad thing about Tarren Mill is that the nearest major city, Undercity, does not have a Shaman trainer in it either. The good thing about UC though, is that there’s a zeplin right outside waiting to take you to Orgrimar where you can train.

I still love Tarren Mill and the quests in that area, so almost every character I ever make ends up questing there for those levels.

Gear Upgrades
Weapons:
The axe that I had was still doing an excellent job over here, though I did have a few mobs that actually lived long enough to require a second or third attack. At level 15 I had the chance to pick up an excellent axe called Boahn’s Fang that falls off of a rare spawn named Boahn that can be found every 8 hours outside the entrance of the Wailing Caverns instance. You do have to go inside the cave, but he’s found in the cavern right outside the portal to the instance itself. Since my main character is also an enchanter, I had him enchant the axe to add another 7 damage to it just to beef it up a little bit more.

I bought it on the AH with my main character for 15g. Now, not every shaman is going to be able to buy this axe. Either because they don’t have the gold, or because it’s simply not available to them. The axe is not required to level a shaman, it just happened to make it easier for me personally.

Once I started using Boahn’s Fang I went right back to killing everything with a Lightning Bolt, Earth Shock, Attack combination. The axe was insanely brutal in my orc’s powerful hands, and he chewed right through his quests.

When I hit level 22, I did end up replacing the axe with Living Root which dropped off of one of the bosses in Wailing Caverns. I tested it out and found that it dealt more damage on a consistent basis than Boahn’s Fang did. The axe crit more often, but the staff’s crits dealt more damage, so I went ahead and switched. Boahn’s Fang did last me for 7 levels, and easily could have lasted longer as well.

Armor:
After a few levels of questing I started running through Wailing Caverns and was able to collect almost the entire Embrace of the Viper Set, which is all “of the Fang”. The belt was the only thing I missed out on. From the set pieces that I did manage to grab I gain +18 Strength, +21 Agility, +18 Stamina, and 289 Armor. Since I have 4 of the 5 pieces in the set, I also gain 7 Nature Spell Power, 4 Expertise, and 6 Spell Power, and I am missing out on +10 Intellect for having the belt as well.

If you can find the Fang Set, then I suggest you go ahead and pick it up because the Strength and Agility bonuses that it gives to you provides a solid boost to your attack power and crit chance. The Gloves are the only piece that are not Bind on Pickup, so you will have to get all of the rest of the pieces yourself. Even though the gloves can be bought on the AH, I would suggest trying to run the instance to find them for yourself as the AH price is usually pretty high since twinks still use them.

My shaman, Belgawrath (Level 28 Orc), is still using the Living Branch for his weapon and the Fang set for most of his armor. The weapon is not as strong now as it was when I first switched over to it, but I have another axe ready for him to pick up at level 31 that should fix that problem. The armor will still be good for a few more levels still, and I am able to deal enough damage right now that I can kill most mobs before it becomes an issue.

The Glory of Ghost Wolf
Ghost Wolf is a wonderful addition to your skills when you hit level 20, granting you +40% run speed. You can also spend talent points to reduce the casting time from 2 seconds down to an instant cast, which is what I suggest. Some guides will tell you to save the points in Improved Ghost Wolf until about level 22 or so. Personally, I love moving faster, so I put the 2 points it takes at levels 18 and 19, so that I can take advantage of it just as I get it.

Ghost Wolf is one of your most useful spells, especially if you spend those talent points to make it an instant cast. Besides the obvious benefit of being able to move faster at level 20, you can also put it to good use in combat. If you are fighting mobs that flee when their health is low, then you can pop Ghost Wolf and chase them down if needed. If you cast a spell while GW is active, then it will cancel the GW spell. But, you can still attack while in GW form, so you don’t have to turn it off in order to attack. Ghost Wolf is also great for kiting enemies around, as well as for making quick escapes by throwing down Earthbind or Stoneclaw totems when you pull too many mobs and then casting GW to run away.

Totem Usage
Most of the time I did not bother using my totems in this area, generally speaking. When I was able to fight mobs one on one, then I would throw down an occasional Strength of the Earth totem to make my attacks stronger.

When I happened to pull multiple mobs, or I when I pulled mobs that have pets, I would use the Stoneclaw Totem to draw agro to it while I attacked a single target. If I pulled more than two mobs, I used Stoneclaw first and tried to kill one of them. If the totem did not last long enough, or for some reason I could not kill the mob fast enough, I instead dropped an Earthbind totem and just ran away until I lost agro.

Luckily, most of the mobs in this area do not hit very hard unless they are 3-4 levels higher than you. So if you do find yourself facing more than one mob, you do also have the option of just relying on your attacks for your damage and spending your mana on healing spells for yourself instead of attack spells. I was quite successful with this when fighting mobs that were closer to my level.

After you get Water Shield, you can use your totems more freely and more often. I don’t suggest you use them constantly, or that you throw down all the totems available to you at every fight, but you don’t have to worry so much about running out of mana as you used to. If you find yourself low on mana, try to pull over a low level mob and let them beat on you a few times while your Water Shield is up so that you can restore some of your mana.

Survival Tips
Shamans have the lowest hit point totals in the game. They might have better armor than mages, but mages have more hit points. Don’t hesitate to drop either a Stoneclaw or Earthbind totem and then run away for the sake of staying alive. Your low health pool doesn’t last very long against a multiple sources of damage.

Enhancement Shamans rely heavily on their mana to be able to do anything other than regular attacks. While your attacks can be very powerful, you also tend to have to use a slow weapon in exchange for that power. There are two things that I want to suggest to help you conserve mana:

    Keep Water Shield active unless Lightning Shield is needed

    Use Bandages and/or Potions whenever possible

    Don’t overuse your totems

Water Shield: Water Shield works just like Lightning shield, but instead of dealing damage to enemies that hit you, Water Shield restores 10 mana every 15 seconds and it also restores 40+ mana each time you get hit. So while you are in combat your mana is constantly being refreshed. Even with the mana get regain by using WS, the following points are still important.

Bandages and Potions: This is free healing. Sure, they can’t be used when you’re in the thick of melee, but they can used right after you finish. You can also use them right after you drop a Stoneclaw Totem and it grabs agro from the mobs around you. You can also use one when you drop an Earthbind totem and then run away faster than the mobs can chase you down.

If you can’t get away, or your totems don’t buy you enough time, then potions are your next best option if you need to conserve your mana. If you don’t have any potions, or your health is too low for the potion to be of any real use, then by all means cast your healing spells instead. If you have to use mana to survive, then go ahead and do it. But if you don’t have to, then don’t waste the mana.

Overusing Totems: A totem is basically a buff that you cast on an area instead of on individuals. That’s a great thing, because a single spell buffs your whole party (if they’re in range). The bad thing is, that area you cast it in never changes. So if you want the buff after you move, you have to recast your totems. Don’t feel like you always have to have your totem “buffs” on you. They certainly help, but they aren’t required.

When I am leveling solo, I prefer to only drop totems if I know that there are plenty of mobs around me that I can pull over to within the totem’s range. I drop my totems, pull the first mob, and then focus on him until he’s down. I then pull the second right back to the very same place, and continue this cycle until I have killed all of the mobs nearby. You get the most out of your totems when you are not forced to move out of their range and can take advantage of their duration.

Fire totems are a huge drain to your mana. If you need a fire totem, then go ahead and drop one. But the first couple of fire totems you get don’t really provide enough benefit or for a long enough amount of time for them to be worth their mana cost. Now, I have gotten some serious help from throwing down a Fire Nova totem while questing in the Barrens, and it has saved my life more than once. I’m not trying to tell you not to use them at all, I just want you to know that there is no reason to feel like you have to to throw them down every chance you get. If you don’t need your totems, then don’t bother casting them. They are there to help you and your party, but they are not required.

 
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Posted by on June 11, 2009 in Guide, Leveling, Shaman

 

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Paladin AoE Grinding: Glyph Edition

It was brought to my attention by one of my Twitter friends, thechristianguy, that I never bothered putting any information about glyphs on the blog.

DOH! Definitely an epic failure on my part! I think it’s time to fix that!

So, here I list the glyphs that I would personally recommend for your AoE Grinding needs.

Major Glyphs
Judgement: Increases the damage dealt by your Judgements by 10%. [Required Lv: 15]

Consecrate: Increases the duration of Consecrate by 2 seconds, but also increases it’s cooldown by 2 seconds. [Required Lv: 20]

Divinity: Doubles the amount of mana restored to the target when you use Lay On Hands, and restores an equal amount of mana to you. [Required Lv: 15]

Exorcism: Your Exorcism spell deals an additional 20% damage. [Required Lv: 20]

Hammer of the Righteous: Your Hammer of the Righteous hits an additional target. [Required Lv: 60]

Glyph of Judgement: I started off using this glyph, because I wanted a boost to my damage at level 15, and that was the only place I could find one. I checked my armory link and found out that I’m actually still using this glyph at level 70, which I will certainly fix tonight when I get home. Judgement is a good place to start if you want to get some more damage in to help you through your lower levels, but it doesn’t do a whole lot in the overall scheme of AoE grinding. I might recommend this as your starting glyph to help you get through the mobs a bit faster, but I would most likely replace with Glyph of Divinity as soon as your second Major glyph slot opens up to be used alongside Glyph of Consecration.

Glyph of Divinity: This glyph is very useful for getting back your mana, especially prior to reaching level 40. It doubles the mana that it restores to the target, and also gives you that same amount of mana. If you are AoE Grinding, and you’re doing it solo, then most likely you are using this spell on yourself. I have this glyph sitting in my bank, fully intending to replace Judgement for the last 40 levels or so, and completely forgot to switch them out. From the research I’ve done on the glyph, using it on yourself will effectively restore 4x the normal amount of mana when you cast it on yourself. The only stumbling block you ever come across when AoE grinding is running out of mana, and this goes a long way towards fixing that. Until you find yourself no longer having any mana issues at all, I suggest you continue using this glyph.

Glyph of Consecrate: At level 20 I suggest dropping Glyph of Judgement for this one. While this glyph completely throws off the 96969 rotation of end game tanking, it works great for AoE grinding. The reason why you use this glyph is for its extended duration. Since Consecrate is your main mana-sink, it helps to have to cast it a fewer number of times. This glyph gives you an extra two “ticks” worth of damage for the same amount of mana it would normally take, so in the long run you save yourself some mana. As long as you are AoE grinding, I see no reason to replace this glyph with another.

Glyph of Exorcism: This glyph is really only taken for the increased damage that it deals. I mention it because it is helpful, especially in areas where there are a lot of caster mobs that you need to get down fast. There also happens to be a very high population of undead mobs throughout the game, and dealing that extra damage from an already high-damage spell can be rather brutal. I would not take this glyph over the others unless you find that you do not need the benefit that the others have to offer. Overall, it’s a good glyph, just not quite as good as the others.

Glyph of Hammer of the Righteous: This is a glyph that I plan to get, just as soon as I can find an Inscriptionist/Scribe/WhateverNameYouUse that can make it. The server I am on right now has a surprisingly low number of inscriptionists on it so finding glyphs can be hard. As I mentioned in Part II: Paladin AoE Grinding Rotation, HotR is the key to you aggressively taking down large amounts of mobs instead of relying almost entirely on defensive and reflective damage. The spell by itself targets three mobs, and the glyph lets you add another one to the mix meaning you take down more mobs in a shorter amount of time.

Minor Glyphs
Lay On Hands: Reduces the cooldown of Lay on Hands by 5 minutes. [Required Lv: 15]

Blessing of Wisdom: Increases the duration of Blessing of Wisdom by 20 minutes. [Required Lv: 15]

Blessing of Might: Increases the duration of Blessing of Might by 20 minutes. [Required Lv: 15]

Sense Undead: Increases the damage you deal to Undead targets by 1% while your Sense Undead ability is activated. [Required Lv: 20]

Paladins, like a few of the other classes, have a rather sad list of minor glyphs to choose from. Overall, these are the best of what we have been offered – and that is not saying a whole lot.

Glyph of Lay On Hands: This is really the only minor glyph that I would urge you to take, where all of the others are merely suggestions. Being able to fully heal yourself more frequently is always nice, especially if you love to overpull and solo elites like I do. All in all it’s really just a matter of helping you to minimize your downtime. When coupled with the Glyph of Divinity up above, you end up having an excellent setup for keeping your health and mana as high as possible at all times. Get this one at 15, and leave it there.

Glyph of Blessing of Might/Wisdom: These are mentioned simply because they are better than the other options we have for minor glyphs. If you find yourself casting one of them more frequently than the other, you might as well pick it up to save yourself some time. Neither of these really serves any purpose in helping with your grinding, there just isn’t anything else to choose.

Glyph of Sense Undead: This glyph is the only one that offers you any real boost to your grinding speed, but even then only if you happen to be fighting undead. In all honesty, I think I have only ever turned on Sense Undead one time in both of my paladin’s careers combined. If you happen to be grinding undead mobs though, then you might as well dish out some more damage to them. Again, this glyph is not required, and its usefulness is limited to a single type of mob.

 
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Posted by on May 18, 2009 in Guide, Leveling, Paladin

 

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Part II: Paladin AoE Grinding Rotation

As I continue to watch what brings readers to my blog, I see that my first post on Paladin AoE Grinding Rotation still brings in more traffic than anything else. But that post only covered you up to level 40. This time, I am going to take you all the way up to level 70 and get you started off on the right foot for AoE grinding in Northrend. Since my paladin is sitting at level 70 himself, the third part of this series will cover levels 71-80 (after I reach that point myself).

While some people have voiced their disagreement that AoE Grinding is an effective method of leveling once you hit Northrend, I can testify both from my own experience, as well as my wife’s, that AoE Grinding still works just fine in the great Frozen North. I am just getting my feet wet in Northrend, having used my AoE grinding methods in both Howling Fjord and Borean Tundra. My wife has been level 80 for a few weeks now and achieved that by gaining all of her levels through the use of AoE Grinding to help her speed through her quests. I don’t support this method simply because I think it’s cool, I support it because I know for a fact that it works.

One thing that I want to specifically point out in relation to the statement above, is that AoE Grinding is not the only means by which you should gain experience. The fastest way to level your paladin is to use AoE Grinding in conjunction with questing and farming. If you have quests that involve mobs in any way (basically everything except the “go talk to this guy” quests), then you have reason to AoE the mobs to take them out faster, thus gaining more experience in a shorter amount of time than you would by another means. If you have mats to gather for your professions, or your secondary skills (particularly cooking), or you need to gather mats for someone else to use to enchant your gear, then you will be able to do so faster if you AoE the mobs to get them. While it is certainly possible to do nothing but kill mobs constantly to gain your levels, it is definitely not the fastest way to do it.

Spending Talent Points
When leveling a paladin focused on AoE grinding as of 3.1, this is how I spend my talent points from 40-70:

  • Lv 41-42: Spiritual Attunement 2/2 – Passive ability; when you are healed, you restore 10% of the healed amount as mana.
  • Level 43: +1 Reckoning (4/5) – 8% chance after being hit with an attack, that your next 4 weapon swings will generate an extra attack
  • Level 44: Divinity 1/1 – Healing you do, and healing that you receive are increased by 1%
  • Lv 45-47: Redoubt 3/3 – +30% Block Value, also gives you a 10% chance when hit to get +30% chance to block
  • Lv 48-49: Combat Expertise 2/3 – +4 Expertise, +4% Stamina and +4% crit chance
  • Lv 50: Avenger’s Shield 1/1 – Hurl your shield at the target dealing holy damage, and dazing them for 10 seconds. The shield jumps to hit up to 2 additional nearby enemies as well.
  • Lv 51-53: Touched By the Light 3/3 -Bonus Spell Power equal to 30% of your Stamina, also adds 30% bonus healing to your critical heals
  • Level 54: Guarded By the Light 1/2 – Reduces Spell Damage taken by 3%, also impacts Divine Plea which you don’t have yet
  • Lv 55-57: Shield of the Templar 3/3 – Damage taken reduced by 3%, Avenger’s Shield gains a 100% chance to silence for 3 seconds when it hits
  • Lv 58-59: Judgements of the Just 2/2 – Judgements reduce the target’s attack speed by 20%, reduces cooldown of Hammer of Justice by 20 seconds
  • Level 60: Hammer of the Righteous 1/1 – Hits the target and up to 2 additional nearby targets for 4x your weapon damage as Holy damage
  • Level 61: +1 Guarded By the Light (2/2) – Reduces Spell Damage taken by 6%
  • Level 62: +1 Combat Expertise (3/3) – +6 Expertise, +6% Stamina and +6% crit chance
  • Lv 63-67: Deflection 5/5 – [Ret Tree] Increases your Parry chance by 5%
  • Level 68: Improved Judgements 1/2 – Reduces the cooldown of your Judgements by 1 second
  • Lv 69-70: Heart of the Crusader 2/3 – Judgements give you +2% crit chance against the target

Spiritual Attunement: The points in this talent can be moved if you desire to do so. Some people like it, some people hate it. Personally, I like it.

Divinity: The point I put in here can also be moved. This is one that a lot of people go crazy over and feel should be 5/5, but personally I don’t find it necessary. You can take it away, or you can add more to it. Do as you please.

Judgements of the Just: This is another one that can have it’s points shifted if you desire. I took it for a couple of reasons. First, because I like to solo elite mobs that are higher level than me and slowing down their attack speed helps me do that. Second, reducing the cooldown of HoJ is a nice bonus because of its use in interrupting spells.

Improved Judgements: There is a lot of discussion about whether you should put 1 point here or 2. Personally, I put 2 just because I like to have it available to me more often. For the 96969 rotation you only need 1 point in it, but other people feel that 2 is better. Decide for yourself. You can get by with 1, but it doesn’t hurt to have 2. I find it useful when running low level characters through instances to be able to throw my judgements more often.

AoE Grinding Rotation: General
As I mentioned in the previous post, there really is no set rotation for AoE grinding, so I will once again stick to a general rotation for you here. If you find something that works better for where you are and what you are doing, then by all means feel free to use your own.

The most basic steps to AoE grinding are these: [Pull], Holy Shield, Judgement, Consecrate, Hammer of the Righteous, “Other Stuff”

Pull:
Pulling includes each of the following: Exorcism, Avenger’s Shield, Hand of Reckoning

If you have other mobs near where you are fighting your current group, and you aren’t being overwhelmed, then feel free to pull them into the group as well. If there are not any stray mobs in the area to pull, then feel free to use your pull spell on one of the mobs you are currently fighting to help bring it to a close sooner. For this, I only suggest using Exorcism and Avenger’s Shield since the damage from Hand of Reckoning is rarely enough to do anything other than kill critters.

You can look at my notes in the previous post about Pulling as part of your rotation for details as to why it is in my rotation as opposed to simply being part of AoE Grinding.

Holy Shield
Holy Shield always takes priority over Consecrate. It was true at level 40 when you got it, and it’s still true at level 80. Holy Shield reduces the damage you take by increasing your Block, and it also deals significant damage to enemies when you block their attacks. Since Consecration only deals damage, and it costs nearly twice as much mana to cast, it is better to cast Holy Shield if your mana is low or the mobs you are fighting are all close to death.

Judgements
Which Judgement you use is entirely up to you. By default I use Judgement of Light until level 60 because I have both Blessing of Sanctuary and Seal of Wisdom providing me with the mana that I need. Once I hit level 60 though my health starts to become less of a problem than my mana as I get more and more spells that help me grind down the mobs faster. At that point my default changes to Judgement of Wisdom instead.

Which Judgement you use is going to depend on your situation and may change from fight to fight even against two groups of the exact same mobs. The only time I use Judgement of Justice is when I am fighting humanoid mobs inside an instance and there are either caster mobs in the area, or I know that my healer could not handle me pulling more groups due to lack of mana or similar circumstance. I do not believe that I have used Judgement of Justice even once since I reached the Outlands.

Consecration
Consecration is still, and always will be, the bread and butter of your run as a Prot Paladin. This is easily going to cover 40% of the damage that you do. I haven’t kept a close eye on the percentages here lately, but up until I got my achievement for completing 90 quests in Hellfire Peninsula Consecrate averaged out to about 42% of my overall damage dealt.

This is best way to ensure that you continually deal damage to the mobs around you, and also helps you to maintain threat on all of them. With Righteous Fury both reducing the damage you deal and also increasing the threat you generate by 90%, pulling agro away from you is not easily done.

Hammer of the Righteous
This spell is an amazing contribution to how fast you are able to grind. Once you reach level 60 and pick this bad boy up you can finally start to move to a much more aggressive form of AoE Grinding. With already impressive amounts of damage coming from Consecrate and your reflective damage from items and Retribution Aura, the Hammer of the Righteous spell lays a powerful weapon-based beat down on the targeted enemy as well as two other mobs standing next to them.

With only a 6 second cooldown this spell gets fired off frequently, and with impressive results. Unless I have a very large group of mobs around me, or for some other reason feel that I might be forced to bubble or LoH, then I will use this spell in priority even before Holy Shield. I would not suggest that you do the same unless you are comfortable with your grinding and know the actions of the mobs you face. Otherwise, putting a higher priority on using this spell means that you grind through the mobs faster, which means more experience and more loot in shorter amounts of time.

“Other Stuff”
The “Other Stuff” that I have up there is where you throw in anything else that you might want to use. This includes Hammer of Justice, Hammer of Wrath, Exorcism, Arcane Torrent (Blood Elf only), item or trinket use, healing spells, potions, etc.

As you continue to get higher in levels, and you become practiced in pulling more and more mobs, you find that the “Other Stuff” tends to get left out quite a bit. The other spells mentioned in the rotation are the bread and butter of what you are doing, and they should be what you focus on if you are tanking a group of mobs. Once the numbers start to dwindle down as the fight progresses, then it’s alright to throw the other things in there, but when you are fighting a group of high level mobs, it’s better to spread your butter.

Healing: Special Note
If you need to heal, do not be afraid to go ahead and do it. It’s alright to throw off your whole rotation for the sake of saving your own life. Be aware that spells that have a casting time (like Holy Light and Flash of Light) are going turn off your avoidance while you are casting them, so prepare to be hit more often and for a bit more damage while you are healing.

While you are still in your 40′s and 50′s you can probably manage to cast Holy Light without activating your bubble, so long as you are fighting a small group of mobs (around 5 or so) and you have enough health to take their hits throughout the cast time of the spell. If you are fighting a large group, then I suggest you resort to healing while bubbled, or by use of your Lay On Hands spell for a full heal.

After level 60, I no longer cast Holy Light without using my bubble first, and generally resort to Lay On Hands for my healing, or Bubble + Holy Light x2 if LoH is on cooldown. I also make use of bandages at this time to top my health off while I wait for my bubble duration to expire.

If you do use a bubble, then you have two primary options for healing. You can either cast Holy Light on yourself 1-3 times, depending on your total hit points, or you can cast Holy Light once and then use a bandage if you have kept up on your First Aid skill. Using bandages saves you the mana it would cost to cast a healing spell on yourself, and since you are bubbled you will not have its use interrupted. The higher level you are, the smaller percentage of healing you receive from a bandage, simply because they don’t scale all that well. I still use them, but most often I stick with Holy Light.

AoE Grinding Rotation: Specific

At level 50 you finally start to be able to take mobs down at an increased speed with the addition of Avenger’s Shield. It’s a great tool for pulling mobs, but with Exorcism being able to target all enemies now as well as Hand of Reckoning, I very rarely actually use Avenger’s Shield for pulling during my Solo Grinding. I will use it when I am in a group for the sake of establishing agro, but when I am going solo it is merely a tool for dealing massive damage to multiple mobs.

The general methods of gathering mobs that I mentioned in the last post still apply here, and will throughout. Find a method of pulling mobs that suits you and stick with it. If you are in a group then be sure to communicate with everyone else about how you intend to pull and when they should move into action. You don’t want to be in the middle of a large body-pull and have your healer throw a small heal on you that grabs all the agro because you did nothing to establish it. Communication is key in anything you do.

In the list below [OS/P] indicates the use of “Other Stuff” and Pull spells. Use whichever you feel better fits the situation you are currently in.

The following examples assume that you are Solo AoE Grinding, and have already gathered the mobs you intend to grind via your preferred pulling methods:

Level 41-59, AoE Grinding on multiple mobs
1) Cast Holy Shield – it’s better to start off with this to make sure your defense starts out high, than to worry about dealing damage with Consecrate. You increase your block, and those blocks do significant additional damage.

2) Cast Judgement of Light – restore your health while you attack your target. If you are high on health, go ahead and switch over to Judgement of Wisdom instead.

3) Cast Consecrate and reposition yourself if necessary to get all mobs in front of you – establish your primary source of damage and agro

4) Cast Avenger’s Shield [OS/P] – “burst” damage to three targets. Though this is a ranged attack, you can use it in the middle of melee. If Avenger’s Shield is on cooldown, choose one of the other OS/P spells. I almost always use Avenger’s Shield as my first spell in the OS/P category.

5) Cast Arcane Torrent (if available) – restore 6% of your base mana, and a chance to silence nearby casters

6) “Other Stuff” – other attack spells such as Exorcism, or healing yourself if necessary

7) Repeat steps 1-6 as needed until the fight is over

Where the 96969 build optimizes it’s cool downs, you really only have the 9′s of that equation right now, so a lot of your cool downs are going to overlap.

At this stage in the game you need to set a priority for your spells. For me, I set my priority as Holy Shield > Judgement >< Consecrate. The reason why I do this is because HS provides more protection than either of the other two, it deals damage to multiple mobs (assuming you block their attacks), and it has a fairly low mana cost. Judgement and Consecrate are swappable in the priority list, depending on the situation. If you have a lot of mobs around you, then Consecrate is higher priority to take them all down. If you have only a few mobs around you, then Judgement is the higher priority to help you end with as much health and mana as possible when the fight is over.

Level 60+, AoE Grinding on multiple mobs
1) Cast Holy Shield – raise your block, and deal some damage while you do it

2) Hammer of the Righteous and Reposition to be in front of mobs – deal 4x weapon damage as Holy damage to 3 mobs within melee range.

3) Cast Judgement of Light – restore your health while you attack your target. If you are high on health, go ahead and switch over to Judgement of Wisdom instead.

4a) Cast Consecrate – If you want to get more into the rhythm of 96969, then go ahead and use OS/P here instead, and push Consecrate to the next step

4b) Cast Avenger’s Shield [OS/P] – If you already used Consecrate, then throw the Avenger’s Shield here, or one of the other OS/P spells if AvShield is on cooldown. I almost always use Avenger’s Shield as my first spell in the OS/P category.

5) Cast Arcane Torrent (if available) – to restore mana and a chance to silence enemies.

6) Hammer of the Righteous – The 6 second cooldown of this amazing ability means it pops up multiple times in rotation.

7) Repeat steps 1-6 as needed until the fight is over

At level 60 you finally manage to get one of the 96969 components that fall under the “6″ category, which is Hammer of the Righteous. This allows you to fall into the general rotation, using HotR as one of the 6′s, and then the OS/P spells to fill the others.

Hammer of the Righteous is also the key to you becoming truly aggressive in your AoE Grinding instead of the defensive stance we’ve had to take for so many levels. Instead of having to rely so heavily on Consecrate and reflective damage, you can now deal a significant amount with HotR to help blow through the mobs more quickly. By no means does that justify no longer using Consecrate and the like, it simply means that you are not more aggressive than you have been up to this point.

I have found in getting closer to level 70 that I often times only manage to cast Consecrate once before my fights are over. If I manage to pull other mobs in during my rotations, then there will be additional castings as well, but I have been pulling for so long now that I rarely miss gathering all of the mobs I want from my initial pull unless I get dismounted very early in the pull. Even then, I have taken more to kiting the mobs around to gather more of them than I previously did now that I know I can get through the mobs faster with HotR.

Wrap Up
And there you have the rotations that I use from levels 40 through 70. As I mentioned before, when you are not fighting solo, there really is no such thing as a specific rotation because you have to be aware of everything that’s going on around you, and you need to be able to react to the situation rather than trying to feel comfortable in a rotation. When grinding solo though, there’s no reason not to have a rotation because you don’t have to worry about other party members or anyone’s actions other than your own.

As always, I appreciate any comments you care to share, and welcome any questions you might have.

 
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Posted by on May 18, 2009 in Guide, Leveling, Paladin

 

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