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Tag Archives: Twink

MoP’ing up the Twinks

Today we’re going to take a look at the talent trees that are proposed for being in the Mists of Pandaria expansion, and how those talent trees might impact twink brackets. As we continue on, keep in mind the fact that this stuff was just announced at BlizzCon 2011 and this expansion isn’t scheduled to come out for who knows how long yet so any and all information here could potentially change.

I’m not going to look at every bracket in this post because there are just too many talents to smash them all into a single post. Instead I’m going to break in into two parts; one for the 10-14 bracket, and one for the 15-19 and 20-24 brackets as the impact on the two should be roughly the same.

I did not attend or in any way participate in this year’s BlizzCon, so I’m only going off of what the MoP Talent Calculator from Wowhead has to tell me, and what I heard people say on Twitter or on other blogs. If any of this information is incorrect, incomplete, or false please notify me of such in the comments so that I can get it updated with the correct information.

Right now we don’t know much of anything about the Monk class, so they won’t be included in this particular post. It is safe to say you better be careful around those pandas with their racial sleep attack though.
Turn the page to find out more…

 
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Posted by on October 25, 2011 in Druid, Hunter, Mage, Paladin, Priest, Rogue, Shaman, Warlock, Warrior

 

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Trial Account Twinking: Professions

[EDIT: There seems to be some confusion as to whether or not you’re forced into the exp-locked bracket when you hit level 20. Once we have a definitive answer on that I’ll update the post to reflect it.]

[EDIT: Alright, we’re fairly certain now that the 20’s actually are in the real twink bracket which means that you’re going to face off against other twinks up to level 24 who have access to better gear and better enchants that you. Do you have what it takes to face potentially superior opponents?]

[EDIT: Definitely twink bracket.]

The newest thing in low level Warcraft twinking right now is Trial Accounts. Meaning that you use a free account that is locked, by design, at level 20 in order to twink a character in the level 20-24 PvP bracket. These accounts have a great number of restrictions placed on them which makes it both harder and easier to gear your toon in the best gear available to them.

We’ll take a quick look at how the trial account works and then jump into professions.

Account Restrictions
There are a lot of restrictions on trial accounts that limit what you can do and how you can do it. Some of them work in our favor (like the cap of level 20) while others make twinking particularly hard (like limiting professions and trade restrictions). From the TwinkInfo Forums:

  • A level cap of 20.
  • A maximum of 10 gold.
  • Trade skills are capped at 100 ranks.
  • Unable to trade via the Auction House, mailbox, or player-to-player.
  • In-game access to public chat channels unavailable. Players are limited to communicating using only say, party, or whisper.
  • Characters will be unable to create or join guilds.
  • Characters are not able to send whispers to other characters unless they have been added to the characters’ friends lists or have received a whisper from a character first.
  • Characters will not be able to invite other players into a party.
  • Characters will not be able to join parties with other characters above level 20.
  • Voice chat disabled on Starter Edition accounts.
  • Realms experiencing login queues will prioritize players who have full, paid accounts.
  • Starter Edition accounts are not eligible for character transfers
  • RealID features are disabled on all Starter Edition Accounts.

The ones that are especially important are the ones in bold.

The Level Cap is the most important here because it defines what you’re doing. You’re capped at level 20 which means you’ll never go over that bracket, which also means you don’t have to turn your experience off in-game which will allow you to twink in the non-locked brackets with non-twinks which removes the biggest penalty you would have otherwise faced as a level 20 twink.

Trade Skills is a big hit, especially when combined with No Trading, which means if you want to take advantage of enchants (and every twink does) then you’ll have to make those enchants yourself, and you’ll have to do it with a restricted professions list. That list of available recipes is what this post is really aimed at, which I’ll get into momentarily.

Being restricted to No Guilds can be kind of tough, but it’s only real drawback in relation to twinking is that you will not have access to the BoA helms and cloaks (not that you could buy them anyway with the 10g cap on money), and that you don’t get any other guild perks such as increased honor gains which would make farming your gear a bit faster.

If you’d like to learn more about the trial account twinking in general, I’ll point you to Cynwise’s guide: A Guide to Trial Account Twinking.

Profession Offerings
Most of the professions offer you at least something, including the secondary trade skills. What they offer, and how important those offerings are, is what you’ll need to look at in order to determine whether or not they would be at all worth while on your free-to-play (F2P) twink.

Remember that with a F2P account you can only increase your professions to rank 100. If you have a racial bonus, those will allow you to go beyond the cap just like they do in the live version which does open up a few other options in some cases. The F2P accounts allow Burning Crusade races (Blood Elf and Draenei), but not the Cataclysm races (Goblin and Worgen), so not all of the racial bonuses to professions are available to you.

Alchemy
Alchemy offers a decent list of elixirs to increase your stats. Alchemy can take up a large quantity of materials, so you would want to either build up a very strong stash or keep it as one of your professions throughout your twinking career so that you could replenish your supply as needed.

Goblins have a racial bonus to Alchemy, but Trial Accounts don’t allow Goblins so 100 is the highest possible rank.

Swim Speed Potion: +100% swim speed for 20 seconds
Holy Protection Potion: Absorbs 300-500 Holy damage for 2 minutes
Elixir of Wisdom: +6 Intellect for 1 hour (Battle)
Elixir of Giant Growth: +8 Strength for 1 hour (Battle)
Swiftness Potion: +50% speed for 15 seconds
Rage Potion: Generates 20-40 Rage
Lesser Healing Potion: restore 140-180 health
Elixir of Minor Fortitude: +27 max health for 1 hour (Guardian)
Elixir of Minor Agility: +4 Agility for 1 hour (Battle)
Minor Rejuvenation Potion: Restores 90-150 health and mana
Minor Mana Potion: Restores 140-180 mana
Weak Troll’s Blood Elixir: Regen 2 health every 5 seconds for 1 hour (Guardian)
Elixir of Minor Defense: +27 Armor for 1 hour (Guardian)
Elixir of Lion’s Strength: +4 Strength for 1 hour (Battle)

Above is a list of all of the potions and elixirs that I would consider stocking up on for my own twinks. I might not actually craft the Swim Speed Potion given that you’ll receive one for nearly every fishing daily you ever do, but if you’ve got extra mats on hand then you might as well make them since you can’t sell them on a trial account anyway. I also wouldn’t make more than a handful or so of the Holy Protection potions unless you see a lot of Priests and Paladins in your matches.

The Swiftness Potion is probably hands-down the single best potion you can get your hands on for a twink. Being able to outrun your opponents is a fantastic benefit. Lesser Healing Potions are decent for keeping you alive, but with so little health return you’re probably better off just trying to outrun them instead.

Blacksmithing
Blacksmithing doesn’t offer a whole lot to F2P twinks, which is nothing new really as it’s always sucked.

None of the races has a bonus to Blacksmithing, so 100 is the maximum skill rank.

Thick Bronze Darts: thrown weapon, +2 Strength
Silver Rod: needed by enchanters
Coarse Weightstone: +3 weapon damage to a blunt weapon for 1 hour
Coarse Sharpening Stone: +3 weapon damage to a bladed weapon for 1 hour
Rough Weightstone: +2 weapon damage to a blunt weapon for 1 hour
Rough Sharpening Stone: +2 weapon damage to a bladed weapon for 1 hour

I haven’t done the research yet to find what the BiS items are for all levl 20 twinks, so I’ve included the Thick Bronze Darts because they’re a solid twinking weapon in the 19 bracket which means they’re likely at least decent for a level 20.

The Silver Rod deserves mentioning if you’re going to be a an Enchanter in order to enhance your gear (since you can’t buy anyone else’s enchants). This rod is only important if the twink you’re playing is going to enchant their own gear, and only if that character is also a Blood Elf since they’re the only race who can get high enough to use it on a F2P account. Even then, there’s only one enchant that will use it, but if you want that enchant then you better get this rod first.

The stones are all buff items that will be good for any non-Rogue. The difference in the types is very minimal, so if you’re going to play a melee character I suggest you at least get into Blacksmithing long enough to make a stack or two of the Rough stones needed for your chosen weapon, and then you can drop the profession right after if you’re not going for the other items.

Enchanting
Enchanting is normally the bread and butter of twinking, in many cases being even more important than the individual pieces of gear. On the F2P twinks though, that’s not the case at all. Enchants will definitely make your toon better, but you’re not necessarily going to be screwed just because you don’t bother taking the time to enchant your gear with the dinky little enchants available with the 100 skill rank limitation.

Blood Elves gain a +10 bonus to Enchanting, giving them access to two more enchants than other races.

Cloak – Minor Agility: +1 Agility [BLOOD ELF ONLY, Requires Silver Rod]
Cloak – Minor Protection: +10 Armor
Cloak – Minor Resistances: Resist All +1

Chest – Lesser Mana: +20 Mana
Chest – Lesser Health: +15 Health

Shield – Minor Stamina: +1 Stamina [BLOOD ELF ONLY]

2H Weapon – Minor Impact: +2 weapon damage to a two-hand
2H Weapon – Lesser Intellect: +3 Intellect to a two-hand
Weapon – Minor Striking: +1 weapon damage

Bracer – Minor Strength: +1 Strength
Bracer – Minor Agility: +1 Agility
Bracer – Minor Stamina: +1 Stamina
Bracer – Minor Deflection: +2 Dodge

Minor Wizard Oil: +7 Intellect to a weapon for 1 hour

The majority of these enchants provide so little benefit that you could honestly skip the profession all together and never look back. A couple of them are worth considering though. Bracer – Deflection is a great option because not only is 2 Dodge actually decent a this level, it also requires only skill rank 1 to cast it, so you could buy the mats from an Enchanting Supplies Vendor, apply this enchant, and then drop the profession straight away.

The strongest enchant is the Minor Wizard Oil which is only a temporary enchant, but it only requires skill rank 45 to make it and you can create a big stash of it and then drop the profession and continue to use the oil.

If you do decide to use Enchanting and then drop it, I suggest you get 2-5 spare copies of each enchant to put onto Vellums just in case you happen to find other gear that you want to try out or you find upgrades that you weren’t planning on.

Engineering
Engineering has always been a favored profession of twinks and PvP players in general. It’s not quite as cool as it would be without that 100 rank restriction, but it’s still a decent choice if you’re looking for a little more utility in the form of explosives. It also offers one of the easier-to-obtain head items that provides stats.

Gnomes receive a +15 racial bonus to Engineering, making a couple of good options available only to them.

Standard Scope: +2 weapon damage to a bow or gun [GNOME ONLY]
Large Copper Bomb: 43-57 Fire damage, 2 sec stun [GNOME ONLY]
Flying Tiger Goggles: cloth head armor, +4 Stamina, +4 Spirit
EZ-Thro Dynamite: 51-69 Fire damage…usually
Coarse Dynamite: 51-69 Fire damage
Crude Scope: +1 weapon damage to a bow or gun
Rough Copper Bomb: 22-28 Fire damage, 1 sec stun
Rough Dynamite: 26-34 Fire damage

The most important item here is the Flying Tiger Goggles which is your best head piece if you’re not going to fish and you MUST be an Engineer to use them. The scopes are good if you’re going to be a Hunter, but otherwise they probably aren’t worth being an Engineer for.

All of the explosives are good, or at least useful, but only the EZ-Thro can be used if you’re planning on dropping the profession. EZ-Thro can be used by non-engineers but it will occasionally blow up in your hand which deals a small amount of damage to you. If it does, then the cooldown is instantly reset and you can try throwing it again. Bombs are great for their stun effect, even if it is only a short one. Dynamite is good for the damage and that they can be used while moving, as well as finding pesky stealthers.

Herbalism
Herbalism’s only benefit is the Lifeblood spell that you get for leveling the profession. Lifeblood grants you 15 Haste for 20 seconds and also heals you over time.

Tauren receive a +15 bonus to Herbalism, but that bonus provides no benefit in this case. Tauren also pick herbs in 0.5 seconds instead of 1.5 seconds like every other race, so leveling the profession is quite a bit faster for them.

Inscription
Inscription does provide at least a little benefit to this range of twinks in the form of Scrolls and an off-hand for casters.

No race receives a bonus to Inscription, so 100 is the cap.

Scroll of Agi/Int/Str/Spir: +3 to the ability for 30 minutes (Battle)
Scroll of Stamina: +3 Stamina for 30 minutes (Guardian)
Scroll of Agi/Int/Str/Spir II: +5 to the ability for 30 minutes (Battle)
Scroll of Stamina II: +5 Stamina for 30 minutes (Guardian)
Mystic Tome: off-hand, +7 Intellect

Jewelcrafting
Jewelcrafting in and of itself doesn’t offer a whole lot as it’s perks are geared towards end game. There are a few items that can be very useful though, and some of the rings and necks could potentially be best in slot. Remember, you can’t buy/trade items from other players, so if JC items are best in slot for you then you’ll have to make them yourself. Again, I haven’t done the research for BiS gear for each class at 20 yet, so I can’t tell you if any of these are at this moment.

Draenei have a +10 racial bonus to JC, giving them access to a few items that are out of reach for other races.

Heavy Stone Statue: heals for 25 every 1 sec for 15 seconds (375 total healing) [DRAENEI ONLY]
Coarse Stone Statue: heals for 15 every 1 sec for 15 seconds (225 total healing)
Rough Stone Statue: heals for 8 every 1 second for 12 seconds (96 total healing)

These statues might not be the best source of healing in the game, but they are very useful when you need them and the channeled nature of the heal works similar to a HoT so you can drop it right before you take damage or just as it starts coming in to try to stay topped off. The great thing about these statues is that even though they require JC to make and they are soulbound, they do not require you to have the profession in order to use them.

So if you want to stock up on some good healing items, throw some stone into making these bad boys and then feel free to drop the profession to replace it with another without missing any of the benefits of this profession.

Leatherworking
Leatherworking offers very little to F2P twinks because almost all of the gear that you can make within the 100 skill rank cap is for low-mid teens. Even the majority of the gear that Leatherworkers can make that are or are close to being BiS gear for 19 Twinks cannot be made with only 100 LW.

None of the races receives a bonus to Leatherworking, making the 100 cap the same for all races.

Medium Armor Kit: +16 armor to chest, legs, hands, or feet
Light Armor Kit: +8 armor to chest, legs, hands, or feet

Additional Armor isn’t bad, it just isn’t great either. With the limited number of enchants available in to F2P twinks these armor kits are your only source of enchants for Legs, Hands, and Feet. You can probably get better enchants for your Chest slot from the actual Enchanting profession, but if you don’t feel like grinding the mats for it then LW is a decent second option.

Mining
Mining is a pretty common profession for normal twinks, but for F2P it’s pretty lackluster. As a gathering profession, Mining provides only this benefit.

None of the races in game right now have a bonus to Mining, leaving the cap at 100.

Toughness: +3 Stamina

I won’t really suggest Mining for a F2P twink. It’s not bad, we can always use another 30 health, but it’s also not great and doesn’t really measure up to some of the other professions. If your class gets no benefit from Haste, then I might consider Mining as one of them over Herbalism, but since Lifeblood also includes a heal effect I’d still prefer Herbalism myself.

Skinning
Skinning has been one of my favorite twinking professions ever since they gave it the bonus to crit. Burst damage has always been a critical part of PvP performance, which is why that bonus to crit at a low level is such an important thing.

The only race that receives a bonus to Skinning is the Worgen which are not available to F2P accounts, making the cap 100 for all races.

Master of Anatomy: +3 critical strike rating

Once you’ve gotten all of the items you want from your professions, Skinning is one of the best options for you to switch to and use for the rest of your twinking career. Extra crit will help any class perform better at this low level in PvP.

Tailoring
Besides giving you a source of bag space that you don’t have to pay for, Tailoring is nearly a complete and total waste for F2P accounts. It can give you some decent gear to get started with if you’re a caster, but none of that gear is likely to be BiS once you reach 20.

None of the races get a bonus to Tailoring, making 100 the cap for all.

I would not suggest you take Tailoring on a F2P character at all. Do yourself a favor and save that cloth for First Aid and any other crafting professions that might use it (Engineering and Blacksmithing especially).

Archeology
Archeology gives you no benefit at all for twinking F2P. I don’t think you can even get beyond collecting trash items with it with the 100 cap.

Dwarves can use Survey in 0.5 seconds instead of 1.5 seconds like all of the other races, but they receive no bonus to it. Not that it matters for F2P.

The only reason to consider using Archeology on a F2P account is to get the money you need to level your other professions. Since you can’t use the AH, Archeology is a decent way to gather gold. Unfortunately, the items you find are completely random and the time you put into it could likely be spent questing or farming mobs for drops that would result in more money in a shorter time span.

Cooking
Cooking is something I normally don’t bother with at all on my twinks because the best buff food they can use is purchased rather than made. But for F2P twinks you don’t have that option because you can’t access the vendor and you can’t buy/trade it from other players. That means that cooking is now much more important as it will provide you with the best Stamina buffs available.

There’s also a spell you get just for having the Cooking profession, which is the Basic Campfire. Most people simply ignore the existence of this spell these days, but it does provide a buff that some twinks actually find useful (+4 Spirit for 1 minute).

No races receive a bonus, so the cap for Cooking is 100 for all.

Seasoned Wolf Kabob: +6 Stamina and Spirit for 15 minutes
Crispy Lizard Tail: +6 Stamina and Spirit for 15 minutes
Redridge Goulash: +6 Stamina and Spirit for 15 minutes
Captain Rumsey’s Lager: +10 Fishing for 3 minutes
Murloc Fin Soup: +6 Stamina and Spirit for 15 minutes
Smoked Sagefish: restores 4 Mana every 5 seconds for 15 minutes
Thistle Tea: Restores 100 Energy

I mention the Lager only as another way to buff your Fishing skill for when you’re trying to get your hands on the Lucky Fishing Hat.

Any of the recipes that give stamina and spirit here will work, just pick the one that has the easiest mats for you to farm.

Thistle Tea is a fantastic Rogue brew. I’m seeing mixed replies on Wowhead as to whether or not this recipe is still available. It will only show up for a Rogue as of several patches ago, but I’m sure either way if this is available still or not. If it is, it’s a good item to have for your Rogues.

First Aid
First Aid has always been a twink essential, but like so many other things that’s not really the case with F2P. The great thing about bandages is that you can use high level versions than you can make, so a 19 Twink can use Heavy Runecloth Bandages even though they can’t make over regular Mageweave. For F2P though, you can’t make those higher versions to use, so you’re stuck with the small ones.

There are no bonuses to First Aid, leaving the cap at 100.

Wool Bandage: Heals 161 over 7 seconds
Anti-Venom: Cures one poison up to level 25
Heavy Linen Bandage: Heals 114 over 6 seconds
Linen Bandage: Heals 66 over 6 seconds

You definitely want to stock up on Wool Bandages. The healing value might suck, but it’s free healing that can save you in a pinch. They’re incredibly easy to make, so there’s no reason for you to skip them.

The Anti-Venom is something I almost never make or use on any of my toons at all. Being in the level 20-24 PvP bracket changes that up though, because now you’ve got some potentially serious poisons to worry about. In the 19 bracket the only poison is the Hunter’s Serpent Sting which really isn’t a threat unless you’re close to dying. In 20-24 though you have two Rogue poisons that might concern you.

A Rogue’s Crippling and Mind-Numbing Poisons can be a deciding factor in 20-24. If you’re a flag carrier (FC) or making a move to either assist your FC or bring down the Enemy FC (EFC) then that crippling poison might cost you the game. If you’re a caster, particularly a healer, then the Mind-Numbing can kill your ability to cast your spells. I’d rather you skip healing bandages than skip this anti-venom which could potentially decide your game.

Fishing
Fishing’s primary purpose for F2P twinking is to get your hands on the Lucky Fishing Hat (+15 Stamina) which is your BiS helm no matter what your class is. You can also get the less interesting Weather-Beaten Fishing Hat (+3 Stamina, +3 Spirit, +5 Fishing, Free fishing lures) from the fishing daily quests.

Once you’ve got your Lucky Fishing Hat, you can forget about this profession. There’s no racial bonus to fishing, and no reason for one either, so it’s capped at 100 as well.

Maximizing Professions
If you want to go all out, fully maximizing your F2P twink, then you’re going to have to dance around various professions to get all of the gear and buff items that you might need. That means you’re going to spend a lot of time gathering materials to level a profession only to turn right around and delete that profession to pick up yet another which you’ll also have to grind for.

[NOTE: This is by no means the only way to level your professions, this is simply my suggested path if you want to seriously min/max every profession out there.]

Non-Caster Classes
UPDATE: Unless you’re lucky enough to find Light Leather in chests or as drops, you’ll want to get Skinning long enough to get 6 Light Leather so that you can make your Engineer goggles, then drop it for Blacksmithing and carry on from Step 1 below..
Step 1: First Aid, Cooking, Fishing, Mining, Blacksmithing (Hunters can skip to Step 3a) [Mine/BS]
Step 2a: Blacksmiths make/stock Sharpening Stones and Weightstones as desired [Mine/BS]
Step 2b: If you’re a Blood Elf, be sure to make a Silver Rod before dropping Blacksmithing [Mine/BS]
Step 3a: Drop Blacksmithing, replace with Engineering [Mine/Eng]
Step 3b: Engineers stock bombs only if you’re staying Eng, otherwise get Googles and EZ-Thro [Mine/Eng]
Step 3c: Hunters stock Scopes as necessary for bow/gun upgrades [Mine/Eng]
Step 4: Drop Engineering, replace with Jewelcrafting [Mine/JC]
Step 5: Stock up on Statues, also craft any rings/necks that you need for BiS [Mine/JC]
Step 6: Drop Mining and Jewelcrafting, replace with Skinning and Enchanting [Skin/Ench]
Step 7: Use Enchanting on gear if you have BiS already, or on Vellums if you don’t [Skin/Ench]
Step 8: Drop Enchanting, replace with Leatherworking [Skin/LW]
Step 9: Stock up on Medium Armor Kits, Light will work if you don’t feel like grinding leather [Skin/LW]
Step 10: Drop Skinning and Leatherworking, replace with Herbalism and Inscription [Herb/Insc]
Step 11: Stock up on Scrolls (rank II) [Herb/Insc]
Step 12: Drop Inscription, replace with Alchemy [Herb/Alch]
Step 13: Stock up all potions/elixirs relative to your class. Stock Swiftness Potions. [Herb/Alch]
Step 14: Drop Alchemy, replace with Skinning [Herb/Skin]
Step 15: Profit.

I mentioned above that Hunters can skip Blacksmithing, that’s mostly because the stones/weights that BS can make apply only to melee weapons which you should almost never use. It doesn’t hurt for you to have them, but it’s kind of waste of time/mats for so very little return. Also note, that unless you’re going to use a gun or bow, there’s no reason to stock up Scopes.

Caster Classes
UPDATE: Unless you’re lucky enough to find Light Leather in chests or as drops, you’ll want to get Skinning long enough to get 6 Light Leather so that you can make your Engineer goggles, then drop it for Engineering and carry on from Step 1 below..
Step 1: First Aid, Cooking, Fishing, Mining, Engineering [Mine/Eng]
Step 2: Engineers stock bombs only if you’re staying Eng, otherwise get Googles and EZ-Thro [Mine/Eng]
Step 3: Drop Engineering, replace with Jewelcrafting [Mine/JC]
Step 4: Stock up on Statues, also craft any rings/necks that you need for BiS [Mine/JC]
Step 5: Drop Mining and Jewelcrafting, replace with Skinning and Enchanting [Skin/Ench]
Step 6a: Use Enchanting on gear if you have BiS already, or on Vellums if you don’t [Skin/Ench]
Step 6b: Stock up on Minor Wizard Oil, one of the single best buffs available to you [Skin/Ench]
Step 7: Drop Enchanting, replace with Leatherworking [Skin/LW]
Step 8: Stock up on Medium Armor Kits, Light will work if you don’t feel like grinding leather [Skin/LW]
Step 9: Drop Skinning and Leatherworking, replace with Herbalism and Inscription [Herb/Insc]
Step 10: Stock up on Scrolls (rank II) [Herb/Insc]
Step 11: Drop Inscription, replace with Alchemy [Herb/Alch]
Step 12: Stock up all potions/elixirs relative to your class. Stock Swiftness Potions. [Herb/Alch]
Step 13: Drop Alchemy, replace with Skinning [Herb/Skin]
Step 14: Something, something.
Step 15: Profit.

Casters can skip Blacksmithing all together because the sharp/weightstones will be replaced with Wizard Oil and you have no need for the Silver Rod since the only enchant it gives access to is Agility which you won’t be using anyway. If you decide you would rather have the Agility enchant, just grab steps 1-3 from the non-caster list and then continue on in this list.

Overall Overview
For those of you who don’t like using explosives and who do plan on using Fishing to get your hat, feel free to skip Engineering all together unless you’re a Hunter. Hunters will want those scopes to increase the damage of their primary weapon. I put Engineering early on for both progressions because it’s good to get those goggles in place early and wear them until they can be replaced with the fishing hat. I’ve been in that stupid fishing tourney dozens of times and I’ve never caught that stupid fish. Ever.

If you’re not good at remembering to use consumables in mid-combat, you probably want to skip Jewelcrafting unless you need some of the jewelry for your gear, as the only other benefit is the healing statues which will be most helpful during or right after combat when you might otherwise forget. You could macro your food and your statues to the same key if that would help you, though you might end up wasting a few statues if you forget. You could also macro it to other spells you might use in combat such as Herbalism’s Lifeblood spell or something like a Warlock’s Lifetap so that you have healing coming in. There are some ways to use it without focusing on it, but it can be a pain if you’re not used to such things.

If you’re not already aware, you want to pay special attention to the fact that Scrolls now count as Battle/Guardian Elixirs, meaning that you can’t stack them on top of potions. Some scrolls (like Stamina II) are stronger than potions, though so you’ll want to stock up on all the ones that you might need for your class/spec.

Maximizing Within Reason
If you don’t want to follow that crazy min/maxing plan from the previous section, here’s what you can do within reason to still get a lot of the buffs that professions allow without throwing away tons of time and gold that you spend leveling various professions.

If you’re going to dip into Blacksmithing, only make Rough Sharp/Weightstones unless you need that Silver Rod (Rogues and Hunters). Feel free to skip BS all together, regardless of your class.

If you’re going to dip into Engineering, the Flying Tiger Goggles are the most important item to get because of the random drop rate of the fish you need from the tournament for the Lucky Fishing Hat and the low(ish) chance of the Weather-Beaten Fishing Hat dropping from your sack of loot from the Fishing daily. If you’re a Hunter, the Scopes are a good investment since there are no other ranged enchants you can use, but 2 damage is only 2 damage so you can skip it as well. The EZ-Thro Dynamite is good, but the recipe is a drop so you might never be able to make them. Feel free to skip this profession all together as well.

Jewelcrafting is only a “must have” if you find that it’s the source for your BiS rings or necklace, otherwise it’s only good for the statues which are by no means critical. If you don’t have BiS gear to get from this, feel free to skip it.

Leatherworking only offers the armor kits, and they aren’t especially important for anyone either. You’re going to level Skinning anyway as it’s one of the best to end on, so I would suggest you at least get Skinning and LW together long enough to make a stack or so of the Light Armor Kits to put on your gear, and then feel free to drop it. If you want, you can skip it all together as you’re really not missing out on much even with Medium Armor Kits.

Enchanting is good, but even it isn’t critical as most of the options really kind of suck. It’s +1 of this or that and while those bonuses do add up over time, they’re not that big a deal either. The one exception I’d make to that is for casters. If you’re a caster, I would definitely take up Enchanting for the Minor Wizard Oil at the very least, and also the +3 Intellect enchant if your weapon is going to be a staff.

Inscription’s Scrolls and Alchemy’s Elixirs/Potions make them two of the strongest professions to dip your toes into. If you want to go with just one or the other, Alchemy is the definite winner. Inscription’s off-hand is great for casters, but if it’s not BiS for you then go ahead and skip Inscription.

Alchemy has just too many good buffs to too many different things to skip. If you don’t like buff potions or feel they’re wasted because the effects wear off on death, then just make restorative potions (health/mana) and Swiftness potions, and skip all the rest of it.

Mining isn’t bad, but it’s not great either.

Herbalism is one of the best professions you can pick for it’s healing and Haste buff, though not great if your class gets nothing from Haste.

Skinning is probably the most overall beneficial profession for every class as no matter what you’re doing you can benefit from increased Crit.

Cooking is great for it’s buff foods since other options are extremely difficult for you. I won’t suggest skipping this for F2P though I typically skip it for every other toon I roll.

First Aid is something I certainly suggest you take the time to level, for the Anti-Venom if nothing else. Yeah, the bandages do suck at this level, but you’re going to face a lot of Rogues in PvP and removing that crippling/mind-numbing poison can be a really big deal sometimes.

Fishing is the key to the best twink hat that money can’t buy. I urge any twink to try for this hat whenever you can, F2P or not. It might not have the best stats overall when compared to the BoA helms, but otherwise it’s the top dog and when it comes to F2P it’s definitely the best.

So to sum it all up, level those secondary skills and make sure you’re using professions that give you benefits that your class can use.

 
24 Comments

Posted by on July 26, 2011 in Player vs Player

 

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BoA Warrior Leveling: Prot DPS 1-29

If you’ve read my blog for a while, or especially if you follow me on Twitter, then you’ll know that I have a long standing hatred for this class. Why do I hate Warriors? Because I (used to) suck at playing Warriors. Of all the different resource mechanics in WoW, Rage is the one that I hate the most and I could never grasp how to use it.

I don’t like starting with nothing, building my way up, and then having it all bleed out of me again when I’m done. It’s like building a sandcastle on the beach even though you know that wave’s going to come in any second now and completely destroy everything you just built.

Those people are you, the Warrior. That shapeless mound of sand in front of you was your full Rage bar, but your Rage just got owned by the Wave of Inactivity. If you’re not either taking or receiving damage, then you don’t have Rage. You, the player, might have rage at your character’s lack of Rage, but that won’t get you anywhere.

How do you fight a wave? With a big, friggin’ axe and the light of the Crusaders flowing through your veins, that’s how.

By using BoA weapons and taking advantage of the Enchanting profession of my main character, I’ve turned a class that I hate playing into one of the most enjoyable leveling experiences I’ve had in a long time. Interestingly enough, I also did it by using the traditional tanking tree as a DPS tree because of the way that it plays.

What Is a BoA Warrior?
When I’m talking about a BoA Warrior, I’m talking about a PvE Twink; a character that has very powerful gear for their level so that they’re able to achieve more than a player with normal gear for their level and situation. BoA of course refers specifically to heirloom gear which is part of that powerful gear that we’re giving them. It’s not just the gear by itself though, we’re also going to enchant that gear with the best enchants we can find for it and we may even throw in some extra buffs via potions and scrolls if we’re feeling especially power hungry.

As I said, I don’t like leveling Warriors because I think Rage sucks and I hate having to deal with it. When you power your Warrior above and beyond his level though, Rage isn’t an issue. With a normal Warrior just getting the gear that drops for me or that I start with, I want to hoard my Rage and never let it go. With a PvE twinked Warrior though I can go from empty to full in about 5 seconds, so I don’t mind unloading on a single mob because I know the one standing just a few yards away will fill me back up.

I’m using the term “twink” here which typically makes people who aren’t PvP-friendly cringe a bit. I’m not talking about doing full PvP twinking here though where you’re farming the AH for rare blues and leveling engineering for goggles, because we’re not looking for very specific gear for every single slot. A PvE twink is going to level, not stick to a certain level cap like a PvP twink, so we’re only looking at getting the best gear for certain key areas.

Necessary Gear
If you’re going to roll a BoA Warrior, then you need to know which items you’ll need and which enchants you need to put on them. If you want to look at basic enchanting for BoA items in general, or ones that aren’t Warrior-specific, then I’ll point you to my Enchanting Heirlooms post for details. But for now, we’re talking about specifics for your BoA Warrior.

Weapons
Bloodied Arcanite Reaper: (two-hand) Strength, Stamina, Crit
Venerable Mass of McGowan: (one-hand) Agility, Stamina, Crit, Attack Power
Enchants: Crusader

Charmed Ancient Bone Bow: (ranged) Hit, Crit, Attack Power

The best way to generate a lot of rage is to deal a lot of damage. To do that, you’ll want a big weapon with which to bash mobs in the face. For this build and this play style, Crusader is the only enchant worth considering. Fiery Weapon may help you burn through mobs really fast in your first 10-15 levels, but Crusader not only procs for 200 Attack Power (100 Str), it also heals you. This build is going to be chain pulling mobs with a DPS spec from level 8 on, so that heal is extra helpful.

We don’t care about the enchant to our ranged weapon because we’re rarely (if ever) going to use the thing. We’re just interested in the stats that it gives us.

Armor
Polished Breastplate of Valor: Strength, Stamina, Crit, +10% Experience
Enchants: Greater Stats +4 All stats

Strengthened Stockade Pauldrons: Strength, Stamina, Resilience, +10% Experience
Enchants: Greater Inscription of the Gladiator 30 Stam, 15 Resil

Dread Pirate Ring: Stamina, Hit, Crit, +5% Experience
Enchants: Assault: +40 Attack Power

We do want health, but we’re not obsessed with it above all others. Because of that we want +4 Stats over +100 Health on our chest. In this case it’s better to get a decent amount of health and attack power from one enchant than just straight health.

The shoulder enchants aren’t super important because you’ll have to be at least level 70 before you can even benefit from them. I’m going to recommend the PvP enchant that costs 10,000 Honor because it’s easy to get, very helpful (once you can use it), and it’s the best option you’ve got until you hit level 80 or become an Inscriptionist.

If you have the ring, and you want to enchant it, then Assault is the one that you want. The ring is great if you have it, but don’t worry about it if you don’t. I don’t have one and I’m doing just fine.

Trinkets
Swift Hand of Justice: Haste, Heal per kill

There’s only one trinket worth considering here, and you want two of them if you can get them. The haste is great because we’re dealing with a big, slow weapon here. The faster we swing it, the more death and destruction we can leave behind. The real reason we’re using these though is the heal. Every time you kill something that rewards honor or experience you’ll heal yourself for 2% of your total health. If you’re using two of them, then you get 4% of your total health. Yes, the pair of these stack.

Extra Gear: Optional
There are some other gear options that you might want to consider and you might not. It’s gear that only someone like me would bother dealing with, and it’s what I call “Sparkley Whites”. Sparkley Whites are low level, white-quality items that you enchant to make your fresh toons more powerful. Since my main character is and always will be an enchanter, I have a full set of white gear to cover all non-BoA slots with the best enchants for each type of class.

You can either get ones with no level requirement at all, which can be purchased in the starting zone of each race for around 10 copper each, or you can get them with low level requirements for around 45-60 copper each. I personally go for the ones that require level 5 to use so those are the ones I’ll link you to below.

Mail Boots (70 Armor)
Light Chain Boots, Light Mail Boots
Enchant: Minor Run Speed Minor speed increase

These boots are found in your secondary towns, the ones you’ll go to right after your initial starting zones; places like Brill or Goldshire, or sometimes they’ll be found in racial capitals such as Silvermoon City or Stormwind.

I suggest the Minor Run Speed enchant over a +7 Stamina enchant because of that stupid sand castle I talked about at the beginning of this article. Losing Rage sucks, and the best way to not lose it is to not waste it between battles because you’re moving so slow. You can go with either of those two enchants, I just personally like the movement speed and use it as the enchant on every type of armor that I do this for.

Gloves (64 Armor)
Light Chain Gloves, Light Mail Gloves
Enchant: Greater Strength +7 Strength

If this were a PvP twink then I would be suggesting +15 Agility instead of +7 Strength for the enchant, but we’re not looking for constant crits so much as we are constant, solid damage increases. While the Agility enchant would also give us some survivability, we’ll get more benefit from the Strength.

Bracers (45 Armor)
Light Chain Bracers, Light Mail Bracers
Enchant: Superior Strength +9 Strength

Again we’re going to go with a solid increase to our damage output over survivability. The +9 Stamina enchant is a really big chunk of health that we’re passing up, but the 9 Strength = 18 Attack Power, and with this build we’re going to subscribe to the belief that “the best defense is a strong offense.”

Important Spells and Abilities
There are a lot of abilities that we’re going to use with this build. Some of them can only be used when we’re in certain stances and others can be used all the time. I’ll go over all of the abilities in this section, noting which circumstances are required for you to use them. Numbers and details for each spell are taken from their highest available rank as of level 29, and are not modified by talent points, attributes, gear, or any other variables.

For now just get yourself familiar with what these abilities do. I’ll tell you how to actually put them to use for mass slayage in the next section.

Stances
Battle Stance: A balanced combat stance that increases the armor penetration of all of your attacks by 10%.
Defensive Stance: A defensive combat stance. Decreases damage taken by 10% and damage caused by 5%. Increases threat generated.

General Abilities (No Stance, or Both Stances)
Thunder Clap: (20 Rage, Battle or Defensive, Instant cast, 6 sec cooldown) Blasts nearby enemies increasing the time between their attacks by 10% for 18 seconds and doing 55 damage to them. Damage increased by attack power. This ability causes additional threat.
Battle Shout: (10 Rage, Any stance, Instant) The warrior shouts, increasing attack power of all raid and party members within 30 yards by 55. Lasts 2 minutes.
Bloodrage: (No Rage, Any stance, Instant, 1 minute cooldown) Generates 20 rage at the cost of health, and then generates an additional 10 rage over 10 seconds.

Battle Stance Only
Charge: (No Rage, Battle Stance, Instant, 15 sec cooldown) Charge an enemy, generate 12 rage, and stun it for 1.5 seconds. Cannot be used in combat.
Victory Rush: (No Rage, Battle Stance, Instant) Instantly attack the target causing damage. Can only be used within 20 seconds after you kill an enemy that yields experience or honor. Damage based on your Attack Power.
Overpower: (5 Rage, Battle Stance, Instant, 5 second cooldown) Instantly overpower the enemy, causing weapon damage. Only usable after the target dodges. Overpower cannot be blocked, dodged or parried.
Retaliation: (No Rage, Battle Stance, Instant, 5 minute cooldown) Instantly counterattack any enemy that strikes you in melee for 12 seconds. Melee attacks made from behind cannot be counterattacked. A maximum of 20 attacks will cause retaliation.

Defensive Stance Only
Revenge: (5 Rage, Defensive Stance, Instant, 5 sec cooldown) Instantly counterattack an enemy for 145-177 damage. Revenge is only usable after the warrior blocks, dodges or parries an attack.

Leveling a BoA Warrior
Rotation: Charge, Heroic Strike, Thunder Clap, Victory Rush (spam), Thunder Clap, Victory Rush (spam)

You’ll also want to be sure your Battle Shout is on before rushing into combat if you can. If you don’t have any rage, and nothing to give you rage right away, then just charge in on the first mob and use the rage from the charge + auto-attack to cast it.

Your basic rotation is simple. Charge in to generate Rage, Heroic Strike to kill or seriously injure a mob to proc Victory Rush, Thunder Clap for AoE pull and damage, spam Victory Rush to kill all targets, Thunder Clap for additional AoE pulls or damage, spam Victory Rush and Thunder Clap until you’re done. If you use my macro suggestions down below you’ll also trigger your Overpower or Revenge abilities every time they become available as well.

When you’re doing solo questing, like clearing yeti caves and such, this simple rotation of TClap-Victory Rush kills almost everything straight away. When you get into instances things don’t die quite as easily, and since you’re not always going to get the killing blow your Victory Rush isn’t going to be available nearly as often. In cases like that, it’s best to build up as much rage as you can, and then unleash on single targets to try to get the killing blows. If you act like a PvP Rogue, killing off every target with low health, you can sometimes grab all of the killing blows from Victory Rushing the low targets one after another.

This is a Prot build, and you certainly can tank with this around level 20 even without a shield, but it’s also a DPS-focused build. If you’re not the tank, then you should cut back on your Thunderclaps so that you’re not the one with all the agro, but better you than one of the other DPS or the Healer.

Spec and Glyphs

Prot Spec Talents
Improved Thunder Clap 3/3: Reduces the cost of your Thunder Clap ability by 4 rage points and increases the damage by 30% and slowing effect by an additional 10%.
Improved Bloodrage 2/2: Increases the rage generated by your Bloodrage ability by 50%.
Incite 3/3: Increases the critical strike chance of your Heroic Strike, Thunder Clap, and Cleave abilities by 15%.
Anticipation 2/5: Increases your Dodge chance by 2%.
Improved Revenge 2/2: Increases damage of your Revenge ability by 60% and causes Revenge to strike an additional target.
Shield Mastery 2/2: Increases your block value by 30% and reduces the cooldown of your Shield Block ability by 20 seconds.
Shield Specialization 3/5: Increases your chance to block attacks with a shield by 3% and has a 60% chance to generate 5 rage when a block, dodge, or parry occurs.
Anticipation +3 (5/5): Increases your Dodge chance by 5%.

Major Glyph: Glyph of Resonating Power: Reduces the rage cost of your Thunder Clap ability by 5.
Minor Glyph: Glyph of Thunder Clap: Increases the radius of your Thunder Clap ability by 2 yards.

Thunder Clap is your bread and butter AoE ability from level 6 on. You’ll have other abilities that can hit multiple targets (such as Revenge via our talent points, or Cleave/Sunder if we use their glyphs), but those only hit a couple of mobs while this one is an AoE, so both of our glyphs are going to go towards improving Thunder Clap.

Our Major glyph reduces the rage cost which will allow us to use it more often, and our Minor glyph increases its radius which is actually used more as a means of pulling additional mobs from further distances than it is for the AoE aspect of it since most mobs will be within melee range of you anyway.

Cleaving, Revenge, and Victory Rush are all acceptable substitutes for your Major glyph slot and Charge, Battle, and Enduring Victory are all acceptable substitutes for the Minor glyph slot.

Suggested Macros
There are a lot of macros that we can use for this build to make it easier to play, and all of them are fairly easy to write, use, and understand.

Normally when I write a macro I like to name it something relating to what it actually does. For the warrior though, I instead set the macro name to the rage cost of the primary ability associated with that macro. When you put a macro on your action bars it shows the name of it, so in this case it shows me rage costs instead. After using a Warrior for a while you’ll know all of the rage costs without even paying attention anymore, but while you’re still learning I think it helps to see that visibly without having to mouse-over the ability. For abilities that have no rage cost, I just name them what they are.

Important Note: I have had people comment on my macros before, suggesting that you use the exclamation mark in front of some abilities that don’t fire off right away to prevent a second use of that macro from turning the ability off like this: “/cast !Heroic Strike”. I have personally never had this problem with my macros. It might be that I have an addon that fixes the issue that I’m just not aware of, or who knows. If you experience that problem then add the exclamation, if not then forget it and go with what I suggest here.

Charge:
#showtooltip
/startattack
/cast Charge
/cast Heroic Strike

The above macro will target an enemy (if you don’t already have an enemy targeted) and activate your auto-attack on that target. It will then use your Charge ability and activate Herioc Strike. What that’s going to do is cause you to charge and immediately follow with Heroic Strike instead of an auto-attack. If you are too close or too far away from your enemy for Charge to work, or if Charge is on cooldown, then it will simply activate Heroic Strike so that it’s used in place of your next auto-attack.

Since I don’t like wasting Rage on Heroic Strike when it’s not necessary, this is the only macro that I tie HS into and the only macro that I do not tie Revenge/Overpower into, so that I’m not accidentally throwing Rage away on HS when it could be put to better use on other abilities.

Victory Rush:
#showtooltip
/startattack
/cast Victory Rush
/cast Overpower
/cast Revenge

At low level, and high power thanks to our enchanted heirlooms, Victory Rush is insanely strong. Basically, if you use it then your target dies instantly. If you don’t have all of the gear and enchants that I suggested then you may have to actually hit them with a Thunder Clap or a normal attack as well, but generally speaking you can just consider them dead.

This is the button that I spam when I’m in a large group so that I’m not having to pay attention to when Overpower or Revenge procs, and my Victory rushes get used right away. When you’re in a large pack of mobs, it’s not always easy to see that you’ve got Victory Rush available, so I’ll often be spamming this macro during combat.

I personally like to use a variation of this macro for every attack that I put on my primary action bar, simply replacing Victory Rush with whatever attack ability I’m using. Thunderclap, Rend, Shield Bash, Sunder Armor, Mocking Blow – whatever it is, if it’s on your action bar then use it in this macro so that you don’t waste your procs.

Gearing Up Your Warrior
There are only a couple of stats that you care about with this build and this concept: Strength (Attack Power), and Stamina.

Warriors get 2 AP for every 1 Str, and since AP is fairly rare on low level items you’ll mostly be looking for Strength as your source. Stamina is your source of health, of course, and since you’ll be pulling more than normal with this type of character you will need that health now and then in order to survive.

Profession Suggestions
The purpose of this type of character is having fun, it’s not to rush to 80 and start raiding with it, so the professions I’m going to list here are the ones that will help you with this.

Herbalism provides you with the Lifebloom heal over time effect which can really be useful when you’re pulling very large groups of mobs and want to reduce your downtime while also increasing your survivability.

Skinning provides you with a bonus to your critical strike chance which is great since we’re basically playing a DPS version of a tanking spec. The more you crit, the harder you hit, and the harder you hit the more rage you get, and the more rage you get the faster things die.

Engineering provides a couple of benefits for us. First off being another form of AoE damage in the form of bombs and dynamite, and secondly by providing helms that will give you Stamina bonuses early on and eventually attack power bonuses as well once you get up around level 50. Starting off the big thing is the explosives as they can provide you both with the extra damage as well as a few seconds of AoE stun that you can use for a single healing tic from a bandage if you’re in serious trouble.

Mining is a decent benefit to you as well by providing a bonus to your Stamina. The extra health is good, though I wouldn’t consider it as good as any of the others listed above.

The other professions themselves aren’t particularly helpful for this, and the benefits they do provide come in the form of items that you can either purchase or make with an alt and then send them over. As far as those items go, potions or scrolls that provide Strength/Stamina/Agility are all good, as are any Armor bonuses you can find from consumables or armor kits made by leather workers.

 
5 Comments

Posted by on September 15, 2010 in Class, Guide, Leveling, Macro, Melee, Play Styles, Warrior

 

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Dealing with “Superstars” in Low Level LFG



We’re going to talk about some “Superstars” today in relation to low level random dungeons. Random dungeons are referred to in several different ways, including but not limited to: LFG (looking for group), LFD (looking for dungeon), PUG (pick up group), Randoms.

We’re not going to talk about specific individuals as I have in my Real Men of Failure posts, instead we’re talking about types of people and how to deal with them. In order to talk about these “Superstars” we first need to define what a “Superstar” actually is.

Superstar: [soo-per-stahr] –noun
1. a person, as a performer or athlete, who enjoys wide recognition, is esteemed for exceptional talent, and is eagerly sought after for his or her services.

Oh, my bad. That’s the definition of a Superstar. What we’re looking for is the definition of a “Superstar”.

“Superstar”: [uh-noi-ing puhngk] –noun
1. a player, as any class or role, who enjoys wide recognition, who believes themselves to be esteemed for exceptional talent, and who eagerly seeks to show off his or her (lack of) skills.

Roleless “Superstars”
The problem we see most often in the low level LFG is when one or more “Superstars” just throw their roles out the window and go crazy on everything expecting to live through it all.

They’re the level 15 Paladins who have no taunts, no AoE threat generation, and basically only a single ability to use in addition to their auto-attack and yet they still pull large groups of mobs and then wonder why the whole party wipes. They’re the Mages who think that they can go ahead and pull all of the mobs because they have Frostbolt and Frost Nova that will give the tank plenty of time to establish agro before anything bad happens. They’re the Hunters that leave Growl active on their pets and don’t bother calling their pet back when it chases a single mob through five other groups.



The most common offenders in this area are Hunters and Warriors, generally in that order. Hunters are a very strong class in lower levels because they deal high amounts of damage in a fairly short amount of time and their pets provide them with most of the security that they would otherwise need. It’s actually quite rare to end up in a pre-30’s LFG group where the hunter doesn’t try pulling the mobs at least once. (Un)Fortunately, Hunters are one of the few classes that can actually pull off soloing instances at level in the 15-25 bracket if they have some decent gear and know how to manage their pets. Because of that it’s often hard to get them to stop doing that and start working as a team.

Warriors are similar to Hunters in that they can do a lot of damage and spread it around nicely. The more damage they deal and the more damage they take, the more Rage they generate which allows them to be more active and more aggressive. For some odd reason a lot of Warriors take that to mean that if they have eight mobs bashing their face in, then they’ll be unstoppable. What they don’t seem to realize is that the damage they’re taking while doing that is usually way more than they can take without a solid healer who has the mana and the patience to put up with it. If the warrior is the tank, then the healer usually will put up with it, but if he’s DPS…

Where Hunter’s are classified as “Superstars” generally for pulling whenever and whatever they want to, Warriors are generally classified as “Superstars” for stealing threat from the tank or for using high threat generating abilities when they’re filling a DPS role instead of the tanking role.

GogoGoon “Superstars”
Another type of “Superstar” is one that feels that you’re going too slow or not doing good enough in your role and decide to take over. They’re the ones that are in a big rush to get through the dungeon and often try to talk the group into skipping bosses that aren’t required just to speed it up.

I’ve never seen the take-over happen to a DPS, and only twice have I seen it happen to a healer, but it happens to tanks a lot. This type of “Superstar” doesn’t have to be the one that actually takes your role, they can also be one that asks or tries to force another player to take over the role in question. Because of that they can also be of any class.

Sometimes the take-over is somewhat essential, like when I had a level 15 Paladin as my tank who was wearing a grey cloth robe with 45 Armor on it, was wielding a two handed grey kobold mining shovel, and had points in both the Prot and Ret trees. At that level the Paladin has no threat abilities, no taunts, nothing. The only thing he could do was auto-attack and Judgement. If the tank was simply doing it wrong, like pulling with his taunt or not using certain abilities or something, that’s one thing. But at his level he literally has no tanking abilities at all.

Another type of GogoGoon is one who has a completely wrong spec and/or wrong gear for the role that they signed up for, but insist that anyone and everyone but themselves are to blame for any problems that arise.

The single-most blatant offender in this area is the Ret Paladin. A lot of people don’t like leveling up as Prot, and they aren’t about to try leveling as Holy, so they’ll go with a Ret spec instead. But when it’s time to queue for random dungeons they’ll select the Tank role as well, hoping to get a faster queue time. To be fair, I have seen some Ret Pallies successfully tank lower level dungeons up through Scarlet Monastery: Library, but nothing beyond that. But just because something is possible, does not mean that it’s the way it should be done.

The Paladins aren’t the only ones doing this, they’re just the most common. You’ll see plenty of healers who actually have a DPS spec instead of healing, but they’re generally just fine doing that up through the mid-40’s or so. The most common class that does this and then fails at it is the Paladin, followed by the Shaman. Druids and Priests can both do pretty well as healers in the wrong spec because of how their heals work and how their class heals.



Dealing With “Superstars”
When you’re having to deal with people doing stupid crap, you only have so many options. You can try to help, you can insult them, you can hope they leave the group, you can try to vote kick them, you can leave the group yourself, you can /ignore them, you can just let them keep doing it, you can let them die (repeatedly), and maybe a few other things as well.

The best thing you can do is teach them, but teaching and learning is a two-way process. If they’re willing to listen and take some advice then you’ve found one of the rare few. More often than not, from my experience at least, you’ll end up either getting ignored or having them take offense. You’ll also frequently run into people that tell you not to worry about it, ignore it and go on, and so on. The two people that get frustrated with “Superstars” the most are the tanks and healers, but even they can be the ones telling you not to worry about the bad ones.

If they leave the group on their own or you kick them then maybe your run goes a bit better but the problem itself isn’t solved. If you take the time to tell them why you’re going to kick them out of the group, in a constructive manner rather than insulting, then they might learn and try to fix the problem on their own. If the guy’s a punk then he’s going to keep doing what he’s doing and there’s nothing you can do about it. Some people just can’t take a hint, and some have very thin skin and don’t take well to advice.

There’s another side to these “Superstars” though, so we’re going to keep on going.

Super-Duper-Stars!!!
Another type of “Superstar” is the Super-Duper-Star (SDS from here on), which is a “Superstar” that you come to find out is actually a real Superstar. They’re the ones that you initially get really frustrated with because they’re not doing what they’re supposed to do, but after watching them for just a minute you’re actually somewhat impressed and may even think it’s pretty cool that they’re doing that.

Your first impression is to get frustrated because you immediately see them as Roleless and just can’t wait to kick them out of the group. As I mentioned above though, sometimes they actually pull it off. A level 18 Rogue soloing Ragefire Chasm? Not a problem. Level 20 Mage soloing Deadmines? Not a problem. Level (anything) Hunter soloing (anything he can queue for)? Not a problem. So when a low level tank and healer are trying to go through and get into their roles and get used to working through dungeons with a group they find nothing but complete chaos.

With recent changes to the game like BoA gear being introduced and old world content being made easier after various patches, it’s not really that hard for some people and some classes to do things that they generally shouldn’t be able to do, like tanking instances as pure DPS classes or even soloing them at level. Most of these are twinks, whether they be simple BoA twinks with just a few pieces of “twink gear” or actual PvP twinks that have best-in-slot items in every slot.

There are two classes that particularly stand out as being SDS: Druids and Warriors. Druids are the single most versatile class in the game and even when they have the wrong spec and maybe even only a single gear set, they can still pull off a decent job by simply switching their form. A Resto Druid can easily switch to a DPS role and they can do a fair job of Bear tanking in a pinch. If they have a second set of gear that they’re carrying around then they can pull it off to great effect.

The Warrior is in a similar situation where they can simply switch their stance and step in to fill the role of tank/dps. If they switch to tanking then hopefully they have a shield and a one-hander in their bags that they can switch to, but the lower your level the less important that is. If your shield blocks are only stopping 4 damage per hit then it’s really not all that important that you have one.

Just because someone is using one spec but filling the role of another doesn’t mean they’re going to suck at it; especially at low level.



Super-Impostors
Sometimes you’re going to stumble across Super-Impostors. These guys are the ones that look like they’re being complete idiots, they aren’t following advice and they aren’t following their role. They frustrate the heck out of you, they steal your threat, they pull mobs when you’re not ready, and you want to just reach through the screen and choke the player on the other side. And yet – nobody is dying.

When you find yourself in this situation you need to step back for a second and think about the situation. You need to ask yourself if there is a real problem here or if you’re just frustrated. Take a second to really look at what all is going on.

The Bear tank is fighting five mobs with a Mage giving him some AoE backup, the Arms Warrior is fighting three mobs on the other side of the room, and the Hunter and his pet are fighting two other mobs on the path leading up to the next area. Meanwhile the Druid healer is /dancing in the center of the room with 85% mana and everyone is above 95% health.

You’ve got two DPS players being tanks while your actual tank has his hands full. In a level 80 heroic that means somebody’s about to die or you’re about to wipe, but in a level 18 RFC run that means that you need to calm down and realize that the situation is well under control. If the tank is alive, the healer has mana, and everyone is holding their own then it doesn’t matter whether the tank has threat on every mob or not. My level 17 Warrior who can two-shot everything in this instance except for the boss doesn’t really need the tank’s help with three mobs. Give me 5 seconds and the problem will be resolved; Trust me.

For most of us in the blogging community, whether we’re the authors or the readers, we have high level toons that are running heroics or raids or who have at least been there before. And since we tend to spend more time in those settings and we have to follow our roles in order to succeed, we take that mindset with us when we get on our low level alts as well. Level 18 is not level 80.

If you see somebody that you think is doing something stupid, then take a minute to inspect them. Gear is the first indication of whether or not a low level character is controlled by a high level player. Are they wearing trash gear or are they wearing BoA’s? Are they wearing quest rewards or crafted gear? Can you tell whether or not they have professions and are using them? Are they using their racial abilities?



 

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Druid Twinking: Hotstuffbaby

Well, I told you I wasn’t fully finished with twinking, so here’s some more proof for you. Sorry, I just can’t help but enjoy facing opponents with actual intelligence:

As with Killutiludie yesterday, she’s got some progressing left to do. But, she’s got most of her gear already set aside and just needs to level. There are three instances that I need to run for gear, but the three items I need are all the higher of the drop rates for the specific bosses. [Edit: Progression is done, gear is obtained, twink healing has begun. She’ll typically be seen in her caster gear on the armory, and there are a few pieces that can be upgraded via BoE blues I haven’t manage to get my hands on yet, but there she is. Herbalism should be maxed tonight or tomorrow. Just shy of 1600 hp in bear form, without sacrificing all other stats for stam.]

Hotstuffbaby isn’t mean to kill people, so where Killutiludie ends up with over 100 kills almost every battleground, Hotstuffbaby settles instead for healing more damage over the course of a battle than most of the dps put out. She actually finds herself at the top of the charts at the end more frequently than my hunter does at this point.

Leveling a Druid Twink Through Battlegrounds
Looking back on my previous post you’ll see that leveling in today’s game is pretty well the same for twink as it is for a non-twink. Most of Hot’s leveling since level 10 has come from battleground experience, which makes the process slow sometimes if my entire team feels the need to do solo fighting in midfield or everyone decides that a strong defense is the best offense (and then completely ignores the flag carriers). But when we’re good, we’re friggin’ GOOD! And that’s where the experience really comes rolling in.

Since I’m doing most of her leveling via BG’s there’s some special things to take note of. First off, if flags aren’t getting captured, then you aren’t getting experience in a WSG. You’ll get some when it’s all over regardless of win or lose, but the only way to get experience in WSG in the 19 bracket is from flags being captured. So if you want to level from this method, then do yourself a favor and do your job, which means being part of the team not trying to be superman.

Forget the fact that you’re there to level yourself and do what it takes to help your team succeed.

Gearing a Druid Twink
Gearing a druid depends on what you plan on doing with that druid. From my own personal experience, there are only two types of druid twinks that I have seen in the 19 bracket that actually perform well: healers and flag carriers. I have heard tale of some decent Balance twinks out there, but from what I see it’s always someone with Resto or Feral builds with Resto being significantly more common.

Gearing a Druid twink is a bit easier in some respects to other twinks, and also somewhat harder. The best setup you can have for the druid twink involves a high level rep grind for an offhand item known as the Furbolg Medicine Pouch. You have no chance of getting this item yourself at this level so it requires help from a higher level toon to kill things for you. You also earn that rep at a wonderfully slow 5 points per kill, though there are items you can turn in to get more. I haven’t gone after this item yet myself, though I do have the perfect setup for getting it. Right now I am trying to decide if I want to go with this item for extra hit points or if I would rather go with the Twisted Chanter’s Staff for the boost to Intellect instead.

Right now I’m not sure whether I will need the Stamina more or the Intellect, so only time will tell at this point.

A Druid is about 50/50 on their best in slot gear for twinks between world drops and dungeon loot, and some of their rare drops while being rare also have their highest drop rates located inside specific dungeons. For the druid, Blackfathom Deeps is the location of your best chest piece while Shadowfang Keep is the location for your best weapon if you decide to go for the Medicine Pouch.

Some of the green items you’ll need happen to be among some of the hardest to find though, so be prepared to watch that Auction House pretty close if you’re building a druid. The items themselves aren’t too hard to find, it’s the one with the specific random enchantments on them that you’ll be struggling with.

Playing a Druid Twink
Playing a twink is serious business.

Because of the versatile nature of the druid, there is really a lot that can be put into playing them. Having the ability to switch your role at the drop of a hat is a pretty big deal, even if you don’t necessarily have the best gear for your off-spec roles.

I primarily play Hots as a healer, with crowd control ending up as one of her biggest contributions to actually winning. Sometimes though I have to take on the role of the flag carrier and running around with my big bear butt waving around the screen and relying on someone else to do my healing for me. Right now all of the gear I’ve been building up is centered around healing, but I plan on getting a high Stamina set of gear for when I’m running the flag as well.

Utilizing your versatility is one of the cornerstones of being a Druid twink, so be sure to put that to use when the situation presents itself.

While versatility is your cornerstone, the keystone to your druid twinking is going to be your mobility.

A druid’s mobility is key to everything. You can heal on the move, you can dps (sort of) on the move, you can root (sort of) on the move, and you can move faster than most of the other classes that you’ll be facing as well. These things all combine into one big kick in the teeth for your opponents. Keep your distance when enemies are around and use what spells you can while you’re on the move.

Tactics
Defense: When you’re playing defense as a druid you have two primary contributions. First, Entangling Roots/Nature’s Grasp – these spells are going to stop people from being able to move. They can use trinkets or racials (humans and gnomes) to get out of it, but those things are limited and have cooldowns where your Entangling Roots does not. Second, you’re a healer. When you see someone engage one of your fellow defenders, it’s time to start throwing some heals. If they happen to be focused on you then take advantage of your healing there as well and try to heal through whatever they’ve got. If the enemy is focus on you or your teammates, then they aren’t focused on your flag, and that’s a good thing.

If they do manage to get your flag then your main focus should be rooting the flag carrier in place and throwing Moonfire on him when you can to help dps him down. And for the love of Sylvanas, please don’t forget to let people know where the flag carrier is taking the flag: “efc going tun/ramp/gy”.

If you’re trying to heal the flag carrier, then do your team a favor and forget that you have any damaging spells and save your mana for heals and roots.

Offense:
Crowd Control is one of your key traits here, especially if you’re a healer or a bear. You probably don’t have the mana or the spell power to be a true dps powerhouse, so the strongest offense you have to offer is crowd control and healing to help out the ones who do have the ability to pack a punch for you. If your hunter mate is getting his face bashed in by a warrior, then you should probably root the warrior and then throw some heals on that hunter while he repositions to finish up the job.

If you see a rogue running towards a teammate, then tag him with Moonfire and rob him of the ability to use stealth. If a shaman is dropping totems to slow down your team, then feel free to Moonfire his Earthbinding Totem (that one above all others). If someone’s low on health, then don’t hesitate to try to finish them off with Moonfire or Wrath, especially if it’s some form of caster.

A Beautiful Thing:
One last little bit that I’m going to leave with you is in relation to the Night Elf race in particular, though it does apply to the whole race instead of just the druids. Shadowmeld is your best friend. If a Hunter or Warlock sends his pet after you then this is how you get them to drop their agro. When you use Shadowmeld, the pets will lose agro on you and return to doing what their owner told them to. A lot of people aren’t used to actively controlling their pets, so I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve been able to use this to drop the pet agro and then finish the fight without the pet ever even trying to hit me again.

The best time to use this is right before you’re going to heal yourself, or when you’re camping the enemy’s flag spawn. If you pop Shadowmeld and immediately follow it up with your instant cast HoT then your enemy is less likely to notice that his pet isn’t hitting you anymore. It may also make the enemy player target someone else instead of you which allows you to drop back into a healing role.

While the reaction of the player is completely out of your control, it will always drop agro from a pet which might buy you the time you need to heal. There’s nothing stopping the enemy from immediately sending his pet right back to you, but a precious second is a precious second indeed if it means the difference between life and death or victory and defeat.

 
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Posted by on December 7, 2009 in Druid

 

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Hunter Twinking: Killutiludie

As you may have read in my post yesterday, I regret how much time I spent twinking on my previous server. But, that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop doing it, just that I’m not going to do it as much. Case in point:

He’s still a work in progress as he isn’t even leveled up all the way yet, but there’s a link to Killutiludie’s armory page that will continue to update itself as I progress with him. Most of his gear has been obtained, save for one piece from The Deadmines and three pieces from Wailing Caverns. All of the rare (blue) gear and enchants have been found, purchased, or produced by myself (at level 12, he’s not wearing any of those items yet).

I haven’t taken him into the twink BGs yet since he’s still leveling, so what he’s managed to do isn’t nearly as spectacular as it would be otherwise, but to give you an idea of how he’s doing so far he has ended every battleground so far with 35 – 131 honor kills, and has only been beneath top 5 in the battleground once, and generally places within the top three. Part of that is strictly due to the fact that I’m a hunter and the way that my class works, how much damage I can do, and how easily I can spread that damage out across several players spread throughout the battlefield.

Leveling a Twink
Leveling a twink is really no different than leveling any other character these days. Previously you had to be real careful to do only what was absolutely necessary so that you never went over the level 19 experience cap, but since you can turn off your experience these days that’s really a non-issue.

I prefer to level up my twinks today as I would any other character, doing quests and grouping for instances while accepting runs from guildmembers and such along the way as well. I also like to gain a few levels worth strictly from PVP.

But the challenge for a twink was never really in the process of leveling anyway. For a twink, it’s all about the gear.

Gearing a Twink
Gearing a twink is somewhat different than gearing other characters as the process involves getting the best that the game has to offer for your class and your chosen build. Some things remain static across the board, such as Stamina being a key stat for every class, while others change somewhat depending on how you spend your talent points or which direction you take your hybrid (Holy Paladin vs Retribution Paladin, etc).

An easy fix for some of the gearing up of a twink comes in the form of BoA items. These almost always include the shoulders and weapon(s), and often the chest piece as well. It’s not uncommon to find people with multiple BoA Trinkets these days either, though the tried and true trinkets often perform just as well or even better. For some reason I always end up rolling my twinks on servers that I don’t have an 80 on, so none of my characters end up with BoA gear.

One thing that you find universally across the twinking classes are rare drops, both BoE and BoP. You will find gear from either Wailing Caverns or Deadmines on pretty well every twink in the game, with many of them having gear that comes from both. Casters generally include the bracers found in Ragefire Chasm as well, though they are somewhat less common on Alliance than Horde since the instance just happens to be find right in the middle of Horde capital of Orgrimmar. Shadowfang Keep and Blackfathom Deeps also contain gear that is often used by twinks, but many of the drops from those two require level 20 or higher, so they aren’t as common.

The rarest of the twink gear is the BoE blue items which are primarily world drops with horrendously low drop rates. Some of those items you can “farm” by fighting mobs of a certain level or ones found in a specific location (looking at you here, SFK and BFD). Other’s have such a low drop rate, like 1 in every 478,395 mobs, that farming pretty well out of the question and you instead focus on camping the auction house instead.

Right now there are four items that I am camping the auction house for, though two of them I am also farming mobs for as I do know where their best drop rates are and the mobs that you grind for them have a chance to drop other items that either sell very well on the auction house, items I need for an alt’s professions, or that can be used for other twinks.

Playing a Twink
Playing a twink is serious business.

It can be as hard and stressful, or as careless and crazy as you want to be. There is a mindset that comes from serious twink players that relates closely to those who are serious raiders though. Some of them like to keep stress out so they’ll joke around when something goes wrong, and some will go absolutely crazy when someone makes the smallest mistake, even if their “mistake” wasn’t a mistake at all.

Twinking takes more conscious effort than most other aspects of the game because you aren’t fighting a programmed AI, you’re fighting against other people who are capable of making their own choices and who can completely throw you for a loop at any time. You can expect a hunter to shoot you in the face, but you never know whether he’s going to just run right up to do it, try to circle around to snipe you from behind, or if he’s going to throw you the odd curve ball and come bash you in the face with a melee weapon instead.

Doing the unexpected can give you a big advantage, or it can completely backfire and cost you the match. In the end, it’s important to remember that the old saying “it’s just a game” really is true, no matter how serious it seems. Every loss is a chance to find a way to improve what you are doing yourself, even if you don’t think the loss is directly related to your performance in any way. The same is true for victories too though, find out what everyone did right and try to expand on it.

Parting Tips
As I bring this article to a close, I’ll leave you with just a few tips to use for your low level battlegrounds, particularly Warsong Gulch in the level 19 bracket as it is by far my favorite bracket for twinking.

Etiquette
Team Mindset: Whether the other players on your side suck, or their the greatest group of players you’ve ever seen in your life, remember that they’re still part of your team. Don’t talk crap to your teammates. If someone’s screwing up, try to offer them some advice and preferably in whispers rather than open chat. If you know something they don’t, then chances are they’re going to listen and try to improve. If you’re wrong, then you might very well learn something yourself when they school you instead.

You’ll often find that the person who talks the most crap in chat is the one that’s doing the absolute least to help your team succeed.

Also remember that a good way to build trust and a sense of teamwork is to take the time to actually acknowledge the actions of others. Thank your healers, congratulate your flag carriers, and give the team some props as a whole as well. And yes, even take the time to tell that stupidly overpowered hunter that his sniping skills are unmatched. If it helps the team succeed, then it’s a good thing. If it brings people down or breaks the group apart, then it has no purpose in a battleground.

Emotes: One of the things you’ll get a lot of advice on is whether or not to use emotes to taunt your opponents. The best example is probably going to be /spit. Some will tell you to use it because it will infuriate your opponents and by so doing cause them to make stupid mistakes, and others will tell you to never do it at all. If you want to use them, then use them; if you don’t, then don’t. Personally, the only emote I ever use in a BG in relation to my opponents is /hug, and even then only to get the achievement.

If you feel that taunting the opponent is going to make them screw things up then that’s your call. I will say though, that when I see someone doing it excessively, or without any reasoning I lose respect for you whether you’re on my team or the opponent’s. I like to think that the twinks deserve a bit more respect for the time and effort that they are dedicating, so I shake my head every time I see someone doing it. If there’s one guy that’s just kicking the crap out of everyone and his first death comes after 20 minutes of failed attempts, then I can see someone doing something to express their emotion at finally overcoming him, but once is enough.

Tactics
Defense: When you’re playing the defensive role, take note of where your opponents are at, and be proactive in engaging them. If you know that you have someone coming up the tunnel, then meet them in the tunnel, not the flag room. If you kill him before he gets the flag then congratulations, you just did your job. If you end up being the one that dies though, then you at least have a chance of catching him again when you resurrect, before he can manage to make his getaway with your flag. The tactic is somewhat more useful as a rogue or hunter, but it’s applicable to anyone.

Take note of the fact that your enemy can use this against you though, especially if you see them running back out of the tunnel when they see you. If they pull you farther down the tunnel, then they may very well be leading you away while their buddy drops down from your roof and then takes off with the flag.

Offense: Kill the healers. Kill the flag carrier. If there aren’t any healers and nobody has your flag, then kill anything that has crowd control (warlock, mage) or big burst damage (hunter, rogue). And remember another old saying “there’s no ‘I’ in ‘team'”. You’re part of a team, so don’t try taking everyone on by yourself. You’ll have a better chance of winning if you fight in groups than if you go do everything by yourself.

Use your crowd control, and use it correctly. For instance, rooting a hunter or a caster doesn’t really help you much unless you do it while they are in pursuit of a flag carrier Unless you have the Glyph of Polymorph, then you probably shouldn’t be sheeping anyone when a Warlock is around unless you’re going to tell them what you’re doing. Druids in their animal forms are considered beasts, and as such can be put to sleep or scared by class abilities that only affect beasts.

 
9 Comments

Posted by on December 4, 2009 in Hunter

 

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