Tag Archives: Raiding

Shadowlands: Balance Druid

Shadowlands: Balance Druid

The Shadowlands version of the Balance Druid is both very fun and incredibly powerful. As more people are giving the spec a try, many have asked questions about how to play one. In this guide, I’ll give an overview of how the class is played, what tools they have at their disposal, and teach you how to make your laser-chicken go BOOM!

This is not really a return to me actually blogging about WoW, but since I’ve been asked to write guides on how to play this spec in particular, I decided I might as well put it on the blog instead of just writing it up in Discord. 

Side Note: I threw this together in a few hours, because a couple of guildies had asked about it. I haven’t bothered proof-reading it, and I didn’t do much in the way of research to make sure I had all of my numbers right, so there may be a few minor mistakes of that variety floating around. 

Turn the page to find out more…

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Double BAST: Cancelled Raids and Newbs

It’s time to fire up the old Blog Azeroth shared topic again. This time though I’m going to cover two topics in one because I missed getting in on the previous one but lucky for me the current one ties back into it for me so I’m going to combine the two of them.

This Week, On Blog Azeroth…
Our current topic is What do you do when a raid gets canceled?

This one depends on my mood, to be honest. Sometimes we might break down into heroic groups and run a few, sometimes someone needs an alt ran through a dungeon or needs help with a certain quest or something, and sometimes we decide to go kill some Horde players instead. But those are answers of what my guild does when a raid is cancelled, not necessarily what I.

Personally I jump at those opportunities to go level one of my alts or play one of my twink characters. I had taken a break from twinking for a few months until just the last couple of weeks so I’ve been focusing on alts instead. I’ve been struggling with decisiveness when doing it though, I’m not quite sure what I want to level and what I don’t. Should I level a toon that’s already sitting there waiting to be leveled further, or should I reroll a new one and start over fresh?

Because of that indecisiveness I’ve been rolling a lot of brand new alts of various classes. I even tried my hated duo, Priest and Warrior. The priest actually made it to level 11 which is a bit surprising, but he’s already been deleted. The hunter made it up to 14 before I went to play another character, but I actually intend to get back to him before too long, possibly turning him into a twink.

I’ve also rolled a Shaman, Druid, Death Knight, Paladin, and Mage. The Shaman I’m looking to get back to leveling this week(end), the Druid is a 19 Twink that I plan to keep around for a while, the Paladin I’m not so sure about right now but I want to get him at least up to 20 before I delete him, and the Mage is melting faces left and right with a great deal of satisfaction as she does so.

So most of what I do when a raid gets cancelled is go and level alts. They might be alts that I’ve had for a long time or they may be brand new, they may be on my main server or on another, they could even be on a completely new (to me) server that I’ve never seen before.

Previously, On Blog Azeroth…
Our previous top was on Leveling from 1-10. Apparently 70% of subscribers quit playing the game before they ever make it to level 10. At first glance that’s really sort of a mind blowing number if you think about it. Especially if someone has spent the money to get all of the expansions and everything before they even log in for the first time. That’s a lot of money to throw away on just an hour or so of “entertainment” that’s probably not at all entertaining if you’re giving it up before level 10.

As I thought about that number again though I remembered a guy that I go to church with who had his wife buy him a copy of the original game for Christmas and his daughter bought him Wrath to go with it. Upon finding out that he couldn’t use Wrath without first having Burning Crusade he went out and bought it too. On top of that he had no idea that there was a monthly fee involved. I got him lined out on all of those details after he let me know what was going on, and he then asked me to come over and show him the basics of playing the game, which I did.

After helping him get through the first six quests or so he felt he had the hang of it so I left him to it. I asked him the following week how far he had gotten and he told me he had somehow died and couldn’t figure out how to bring himself back to life, so I offered to drop by and help him again. I found that his level 3 Paladin had left Northshire and his corpse was sitting in the Eastvale Logging Camp on the far eastern side of the map. I have no idea how in the world he managed to get himself that lost, but sure enough he did it.

I helped him learn a few more ways to move and some of the basics of gameplay that he thought he knew or could figure out and then after watching him for a time I left him to it. A couple of weeks later I asked him how he was doing and he said he hadn’t tried playing it again since then. Here we are almost into May and he still hasn’t touched it. So there’s a real life example of someone who spent a lot of money on little more than frustration and then gave up before ever reaching level 10 (or even 5 in his case).

So how do you make it beyond level 10 on your first character?

That Takes Class
Choosing a good class is probably the single most important decision for a brand new player to make. Most people are going to pick the class that either sounds the coolest or appeals to them the most for whatever personal reason they might have. I tend to pick spell casters first and knights second. In WoW that means the Mage is most appealing to me followed by the Paladin as far as reading class descriptions goes.

Why do I like spell casters? I don’t know, probably the whole doing things that I can’t do in real life thing. I can be a warrior, I am already a hunter, but I can’t be a wizard. Why does the paladin/knight appeal to me? Because as a person I’m strongly drawn to the concept of an honorable brotherhood, and as someone who holds the priesthood being able to combine my knightly desires with my real world style of beliefs allows me to really get into the character.

Now if you actually take those two classes and give them to a brand new player they’re going to find out a few things pretty quick. Mages are sort of squishy and casting spells kind of sucks when something is hitting you. Paladins are really sturdy and can heal themselves, but they’re boring because all they ever do is attack. Someone with my taste could easily be pushed away from this game based on those reasons alone. Mages don’t get any less squishy up to level 10 (or 40), and Paladins don’t get any less boring up to level 10 (or 40) either.

So let’s look at what the play experience is for each of the classes that WoW has to offer a new player, from my perspective when I first started playing.

Druid: Spellcaster. Not really thrilled about throwing green balls of nature’s wrath around, but sort of cool to see/hear the Moonfire spell even though it takes a lot of mana and doesn’t do much damage.. Good healer, but bad guys don’t hit very hard so it seems wasted. Kind of boring.

Hunter: Archer. Shooting things with the bow is really cool, but once a bad guy gets close and starts hitting you, you have to use a sword/axe instead which isn’t nearly as cool.

Mage: Spellcaster. Fire! Getting hit by bad guys makes spells take longer to cast which makes it a little hard. Bad guys die after two or three spells, but standing there while you cast is kind of boring and doesn’t seem very safe since we don’t have good armor.

Paladin: Fighter. A strong fighter with a heal spell seems cool, but you never really do anything except attack with your sword. Judgement is a cool attack, but I can’t use it very often. It lets me heal myself when I hit things, but I already have a healing spell. Seems a little redundant.

Priest: Healer. A healer that can attack with holy spells too. Squishy like the mage, but you can heal to make up for it. Same problem as the mage with spells taking longer when bad guys hit you, but at least you can heal.

Rogue: Sneaky Fighter. Rogues get to stab things really fast with their daggers. They can steal things when they are sneaking and can do a lot of damage when bad guys can’t see them. The energy thing is a little annoying because you can’t use your special attacks as often, but it fills back up really fast.

Shaman: Spellcaster. Sort of like the druid, but uses lightning instead. Shock spells do a lot of damage and you cast them right away so getting attacked doesn’t bother you. Casts odd little totem things that I don’t know how to use though.

Warlock: Spellcaster. Kind of like a mage, but with spells that hurt over time instead of right away. Same problem with being squishy and spells being longer when fighting. Cool that we get a little demon to cast spells for us too though.

Warrior: Fighter. Fighting is really weird. You can’t do anything special until things already start hitting you, or you start hitting them, and then the rage stuff you get from fighting fades away. It’s like a rogue but backwards.

You can see when you look at it from a new player’s perspective that some of the things that we as veteran players see the new players cannot. We know that druids get to shapeshift and are incredibly versatile, but a new player either has no idea or doesn’t know when it will happen and gives up. We know that a good Hunter never gets stuck in melee combat. We know that Paladins are far and away the most mind-numbingly boring class in the game to level up to 20 because they literally have nothing but auto-attack and judgement, but after other abilities do come you’re unstoppable.

Which Class To Take?
If you want to just get into the game and find out what it has to offer, then you may need to take a class other than the one that immediately appeals to you unless you know that you’re the type of person who will suffer through it just to find success.

So here’s a list of what I personally feel the classes line up as far as the leveling experience goes.

The Good
Warlock, Rogue, Hunter, Shaman, Mage, Druid, Priest

The Bad

The Ugly

While some people feel the Hunter is a bad class for the first 10 levels because they don’t have a pet yet, if you take the damage that your bow does into consideration and compare yourself to other classes from that point, you’ll find that the hunter is still one of the fastest and easiest classes to level. It just gets ridiculously easy once the pet does come around. I’m sure giving Hunters pets at level 1 in Cataclysm is going to be pushing “disgusting” on how easy they are to level.

Some classes in the Good category probably wouldn’t have been there a couple of patches ago, primarily the casters, but with the recent buffs to life/mana regeneration during levels 1-15 that concern has been nullified. When I can cast 40 Fireballs with a level 3 Mage before I run out of mana, it’s really not a problem anymore.

The Warrior’s Rage mechanic is a hard thing for people to pick up on starting out. It’s a resource that runs itself dry when you’re not using it, runs out even faster when you are using it, and makes you want to always rush into battle so you don’t waste it. Warriors are bad for new players. Rogues used to fall into the Bad category as well, but with dual wielding at level 1 now they’re actually a whole lot easier to level.

The Paladin’s complete lack of interesting actions to take during combat make them the worst class a brand new player could possibly choose. Getting them leveled up is a challenge, and if you want to get sucked right into the fun part of playing the game then the Paladin is definitely not the road you want to take to get there.

Other Sources
You may also want to read about the basics of gameplay itself, which a fellow blogger, Deeba, covers over at Fresh Azeroth.

You can also reference the original BAST articles here and here to find articles from other bloggers on these subjects.

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Posted by on April 30, 2010 in Class, Leveling


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