Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Balance Around 5 Mans?

It's clearly impossible for Blizzard to appropriately balance all of the classes around all of the various possible endgame activities. They struggle enough just with balancing things between arenas and raiding. My experience with my Death Knight over the last few weeks has made me wish that a little bit more attention might be paid to balancing the classes a little more evenly around the casual player that just likes to run the occasional 5 man instance.

Maybe the issue is that I just shouldn't be concerned with dps meters in 5 mans, as long as the dps is good enough and we're getting through everything, why should I care. But it bothers me.

I've been playing my warlock a long time. I would say I'm fairly skilled at playing a destruction warlock in a PvE environment. Even when the talent tree fairy moves things to the point where destruction is significantly behind affliction in theoretical output (as most would argue it is now) I'm still able to get significantly higher DPS out of my destruction spec than I am as affliction. There is a degree of muscle memory and inate understanding of the right things to do at certain times.

So I find it frustrating, that on my death knight - a character that I have played seriously in instances for about 2 weeks, I am not only able to eek out slightly higher dps than my warlock (who is better geared) - I'm able to embarrassingly crush the warlock. It isn't even close. On test dummies, in instances, while AFK in front of the auction house, my death knight is able to generate dps that is about 25% higher than my better geared warlock and massively more practiced.

As a caveat, I'm not talking about an enormous difference in gear levels here - it's about a 400 point different in GearScore and about a 4-5 point difference in average item level. The item level difference is less than you might think given the GearScore difference, but that's because I've still got one PvP item and one tanking item that I'm using on the death knight.

Not sure there is much that could be done about it since balancing things around 5 mans would then likely create offsetting imbalance at the raiding level. But it would sure help my poor warlocks self-esteem.

At least the death knight doesn't bring cookies and crowd control!





Monday, August 22, 2011

Some Serious Death Knight Love

So I've been running quite a few instances on my death knight lately. I finally gave up on the idea of trying to be an effective tank with him - it's just not in my genes or something. Instead, I managed to pick up a pair of cheap Gurubashi Punishers on the auction house and respeced to dual wield frost and it was off to the Chaos Orb collecting races.

I must say, I have really been enjoying it. I've been able to do really competitive dps with some pretty bad gear - starting off with 4 or 5 pieces of tank gear and 4 or 5 pieces of PvP gear. I've been able to replace about half of that it this point with Justice Point purchases and have enough orbs at this point to upgrade at least one of my weapons. Just waiting on my alchemist to finish up the Truegold for me. Unfortunately, I'm still way to cheap to just go buy the stuff on the auction house.

I managed to do 4 full troll heroics over the weekend without a single piece of gear dropping for me - although all I was really hoping for was the helm off the panther boss and the shoulders off of Daakara. I still need to grab the T11 chest piece for Justice Points and the Justice Point cloak (since I was brilliant enough to pick up the tanking cloak from the Thrall questline), but then should be in pretty good shape for rolling on the DK.

I also managed to grab the T12 chest piece on the warlock this past week as well. Just running for fun on the lock at this point. Might try a few instances as affliction and demonology. I've been playing destro so long, it just feels like it's likely to be more competitive for me because of the muscle memory.

So, with all that in place, I might work on running stuff on the priest next. I still need to unlock the Molten Front dailies on the priest - he's the last character that hasn't done the requisite quests in Hyjal. It would be good to at least get the necklace if not unlocking the rest of the vendors. He's already got an epic belt and boots and should be able to pick up a set of legs pretty cheap.

So that's been the story of the last week. I also managed to get the Alliance Death Knight to 71, but have been spending a lot more time than normal running instances on my Horde toons.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

On to Northrend!

My alliance death knight made it to Northrend during this past week. This is the first time I've worked on leveling an alliance toon through Northrend and the differences are pretty interesting. the alliance definitely seem much more upbeat about things once you hit the shores of Borean Tundra than the Horde were. Valiance Keep is also a much nicer place than Warsong Hold - although you definitely feel more like an attacking army at war over in Warsong Hold.

I've also been working through Molten Front dailies on most of my toons. I have now completed the Molten Front on two characters - my warlock and my hunter - and am very close to having them done on the death knight. I've also started to finish up the quests in Hyjal needed to unlock them on my shaman. Once that is done, it'll just be the priest that still needs to unlock them.

I've been debating running some dungeons as dps on my death knight just to collect some Chaos Orbs. He's my max blacksmith, and it's just become very apparent to me that I just don't enjoy tanking. I'm not a huge fan of melee dps either, but seems like that's an easier route to accumulating Orbs since it's apparent they're not going to become BoA or tradable anytime real soon.

So for now, I'm trying to balance working on Molten Front dailies with leveling my alliance death knight. So we'll see how that goes.




Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Early Levels Breeze By!

So I'm still cranking out my Molten Front dailies on my Horde toons, and still ran a ton of dungeons this past weekend on both my warlock and my druid. I also tried tanking for a bit on my son's fairly well geared Death Knight tank. Yep. Still don't really like tanking. Not sure why I bother even trying every so often. Just a waste of gold and time.

In any case, I've also been working on those alliance toons that I mentioned earlier. The early levels really fly by (duh) so even without heirlooms, I managed to get a ton of levels done last week without dedicating a whole lot of time.

Here is where we stand as of today:

Death Knight - level 65
Druid - level 10
Hunter - level 30
Mage - level 10
Paladin - level 7 (and probably up next!)
Priest - level 10
Rogue - level 13
Shaman - level 10
Warlock - level 13
Warrior - level 12

That's a total of 24 levels since last week. Granted, those are almost all the absolute easiest possible levels, so that's an almost completely meaningless number for a week. But I'll take it anyway.

I'm also very close to having the Molten Front dailies fully complete on a second toon - my Hunter. They're still under way on both the Death Knight, Paladin and Druid. I still need to do enough questing in Hyjal to unlock them on both the Shaman and Shadow Priest, and might just do those two next after I finish those last three. So we'll see. At some point, I'm likely to have had enough of Molten Front dailies and switch to leveling my alliance toons exclusively. We'll have to see.

But today, with maintenance underway, I'm off to play a little RIFT.




Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Back to Leveling?

So I'm very close to accomplishing most of the goals that I set out for myself after hitting 85 on character #10. At that point, I was mostly looking to finish leveling my remaining professions, work on getting my main to exalted with the guild, finish gearing a few more toons and work on making some gold.

The addition of the Molten Front dailies have added yet more for me to do, so at this point, I'm starting to lose interest in all of it. I could still potentially work on gearing the shammy, warrior and rogue a bit more, but I've gotten to the point that the frustrations of the groups that I get through the dungeon finder tool generally outweigh the time invested.

So I'm debating switching back into the leveling game and moving on from just having 10 characters at max level and try to go for 20 by the time the next expansion hits. The plan is that having done a Horde character of each class, I would then switch and try to do an Alliance character of each class.

I've already started to set this up as you may have noted from my sidebar. So here is where I stand on the Alliance front:

Gnome Death Knight - level 65
Night Elf Hunter - level 30
Worgen Warlock - level 13
Dwarf Warrior - level 12
Gnome Mage - level 8
Dwarf Paladin - level 7
Human Priest - level 7
Draenei Shaman - level 7
Night Elf Druid - level 6
Worgen Rogue - not yet started.

So that's the collection. That's 155 total levels with 850 to go, which would take 695 levels between now and the next expansion. If I generally average a level per day, that's probably not happening, but it might be interesting to try. If I guesstimate the next expansion at 12/15/2012, that's 501 days, so 1.4 levels per day.