So due to a mixup with raiding schedules yesterday, my hunter ended up getting locked out of the Naxx run that she was supposed to attend on Sunday evening. Which was kinda stinky because I’d really hoped to get her a pair of shoulders from that run, but left the door open for another DPS to enter the picture. Another DPS which I happened to have in the form of a newly dinged balance druid. Now, I’d planned to let her cool her fluffy little heels and start gearing slowly, but with a deadline to be performing 2K+ DPS unbuffed by Sunday afternoon, that got thrown out the window pretty fast.
Auction houses were scoured. Quests were completed. Friends with professions were hit up. And although the Azerothian fashion police might cringe at the resulting ensemble, an 1.85K and rising DPS dummy test says she will definitely be up to par by Sunday. What’s she wearing, exactly? Glad you asked…
Gotta say, that Hat of Wintry Doom is really cracking me up. It’s one of the best 80 blues for casters, true, but the real appeal lies in its utter pimptasticness.
The lumpy-looking Purehorn Spaulders aren’t visually appealing, but they had very decent druid stats and were one of the few things her leatherworking was good for.
A very druidy-green Ymirjar Physician’s Robe was available late last night for a steal, so I snapped it up. It’s rare enough to find a leather robe, and the only other options were boss drops or the expensive tailoring BoE robes, which I do plan to get, but not until I can afford them.
Some Wristguards of Verdant Recovery to stop the gap until something drops from heroics or quests.
The not-so-matchy Deep Frozen Cord, yet another auction house purchase. Along with a pair of Black Duskweave Leggings made by an obliging guildy. Once again, it seems that tailoring items are being given much better caster stats than their leather counterparts, making boomkins dress like mage clones whether we want to or not.
And of course, the Chilly Slobberknocker — the staff that looks like a mace — from the Champion of Anguish questline.
She’s going with a Moonfire-Starfire-Innervate glyph combo that seems to be pretty popular with the raiders. Minor glyphs are staying resto-ish (Thorns, Rebirth, Mark of the Wild) since that we can’t always rely on having a tree around for their buffs. Now, to work out some macros…
My druid hit 80 yesterday, making her my second toon to hit the level cap. I’m feeling especially accomplished with her because she went through her Northrend leveling with no flying ability whatsoever, a self-imposed restriction due to low funds and a desire to prove that flight is a luxury, not a necessity. There was something terribly funny about a giant flightless laser chicken waddling her way through the snowy wastes and giving the middle feather to all the mocking flight-form ravens that whizzed by her.
We last saw Anoela at level 74, still in a mishmash of Outland purples that approximated DPS stats but were not even close to being as fine-tuned as her healing set was. She had just switched over to Balance the night before. Three levels later, she started to get some decent quest rewards to switch things out. She also put her hair up as a concession to the more down-and-dirty job of DPSing.
Two levels later, she’s finally started leveling her leatherworking and made herself some nice utilitarian blues in the standard drab Northrend style. This is the first time she’s worn pants since the mid-60s, and it actually is a weirdly exposed feeling after seeing her in long robes for so long. She looks almost like a rogue, except for that staff. Finally, the newly-minted 80 outfit. She only has one level-appropriate piece so far, the Reanimator’s Cloak that I horded from a previously instance on my hunter. It’s definitely time to max out her leatherworking so she can make a nice beginner epic set to venture into heroics with. Stats are in desperate need of tweaking. With 40 hit rating currently, she’ll be lucky if she hits the broad side of a kodo. Still, 80 is 80 and I’m very happy to have her there
I’ve been leveling my druid recently, to help combat the healer shortage that our guild (and most guilds, I’d wager) is feeling right now. Of course, leveling a druid as resto would still be annoying even with the new spell power changes, so she was respecced to balance the minute she landed on Northrend. Which was sad, since she’d worked so hard on her healing gear, but also cool in that it’s been ages since I’ve been able to play around with all the toys that boomkins get.
Of course, leaving resto behind meant putting on some stuff that I’d rather not think about. Thank goodness we can turn helms off, because there are some things that you just don’t want to turn around and see when you’re in a crowded room. Like that ugly-as-sin ZA caster helm there. *facepalm* And she didn’t even get another upgrade until the middle of level 74, when I finally remembered to pillage the guild bank for a pretty caster robe. She’ll be going to Dragonblight and some of the mid-level zones soon, though, so fingers crossed for a major wardrobe change in the near future.
Spell hit caps. We’re looking at 342 with just talents, and 263 if Improved Faerie Fire is in effect.
Gear and Where to Get It
Wasn’t it just a week ago I did one of these? Wow, leveling goes fast.
My pally has learned how to wear plate armor! How one can “learn” this is something I still question, but any opportunity to shop is a good one, I always say. So my mains dutifully forwarded her a generous wardrobe fund so she could be outfitted in the most current gaudily-colored greens available. The result, I must say, is rather disappointing. Maybe it’s to differentiate plate from mail, but those pants definitely make her look very heavy around the thighs. Most distressing. Luckily, when she becomes holy at 70, she will probably be wearing a robe to cover those up. That cloak is awful nice, though — reminds me of one that my hunter was using in her early level 70 career. The blue boots completely destroy the muted-tone theme, so hopefully those will be replaced soon by some nice quest drop. I can always dream.
If my druid didn’t totally scream “healer” before, she most certainly does now! That rather colorful dress is a ZA priest robe, and the bigass mace is a drop from Maiden. This means that after approximately a month of raiding, my resto druid has only one blue item left. Her bonus healing is currently at 1761 unbuffed and rising. I’m still boggling over this.
Last but not least, my hunter has finally switched out her trusty Khorium Champion, the warrior sword with insanely good hit rating that she’d been wearing for half a year. A great fist weapon dropped in ZA which she simply couldn’t resist, so she’s gone back to dual-wielding after all this time. She’s currently using the Aldor rep sword until something better comes along. I’m still debating whether or not to put a shirt on her, since the tabard pretty much covers up the belly most of the time.
Yet another of my “stand back and boggle at their wardrobe” posts
Can’t say that the last five levels have been kind to my poor pally. I had a hint of this back when I saw the horrid things my boy’s warrior was constantly finding himself in, but it’s still a shock when you have to see it on your own toon. Sigh. The stats are great, but that hauberk is probably the single biggest motivator for level 30s to get a tabard. Even if they don’t belong to a guild. But at least it covers up her chest and actually *looks* like armor, rather than something from the Vicky’s Secret swimsuit edition for blacksmiths. The crown is kind of cute and matches the leggings. All in all, it could be worse. Doesn’t mean I won’t be happy to get her into some plate, but this look could grow on me for a while. Kind of like a benevolent fungus.
Three cheers for No More Dead Bird Head! Given, it has been replaced by T4 antlers which are probably just as likely to upset animal welfare organizations, but what’s a druid to do? She’s still wearing an awful lot of cloth, which explains the colorful blue and purple scheme. Apparently, Blizzard decided that priests liked their clothing to be as bright and noticeable as possible, so they could be easily targeted in large groups. Or maybe it’s just that they figured robes would be covering them anyway, so they could go wild on the pants. Kind of like men who wear boxer shorts with cartoon animals on them. Either way, I’ll be trying to exchange this getup for a more subdued and druid-appropriate getup as it becomes available. Still, she’s only got 4 or 5 non-epic items left after a couple weeks in Kara, which is really rather impressive. Her gearing curve is definitely proving to be way faster than my poor hunter’s.
And speaking of my hunter… yeah, she’s pretty much done. Character auditors are pegging her as geared to the middle of Black Temple and that’s fine by me, since I don’t think she’s going to be visiting Illy before the expansion. Everything matches pretty well — a nice, subtle dark-grey-and-gold color scheme with a splash of red on her cloak edging for flavor. I had a bit of mental turmoil over using those PvP shoulders, since it seems like every hunter and their mother is running around in them these days, but practicality won out in the end. They’re not as ugly as the previous season’s green monstrosities, at least. Those I just refused to touch with a ten foot pole, period. So yes, my hunter is the first of my toons to be all-epics, as of this past weekend. Now semi-retired to farming and badge raids, until the expansion. I feel so accomplished, yay!
Just another one of my keeping-track-of-alts posts. This one is in honor of my little draenei paladin hitting 30 and getting her warhorse mount. She went on a self-congratulatory shopping spree as a result, picking up several new pieces of gear and a friendly elekk mount as well. Hey, the chunky critters were going for less than 9 gold, how could I say no?
And yeah, I’ve started taking off their tabards for these photos because it’s just hard to get an idea of what they’re really wearing otherwise. Which, in some cases, is a good thing. Hello, clown clothes of level-dom.
Poor child. She went from the soberly-matched ensemble of her 20s to this little bit of mis-matched belly-dancing 30s costumery. She’s like a well-armed Britney Spears back-up dancer! And really, showing that much tummy makes the modesty of the cowl rather useless, doesn’t it? But maybe draenei are more concerned about hiding their head tentacles than their belly buttons? Maybe… (And, btw, Verigan’s Fist yay!)
The earlier one on the left has the helm view turned off because I was getting annoyed with looking at the dead bird on my poor druid’s head. Then, to be more honest, I turned it back on for the latest one on the right. She has started Kara prematurely (she was drafted unwittingly on a particularly healerless day, despite having a less-than-optimal bonus healing score), but has only gotten a new set of cloth shoulders and a necklace since we last checked. Those neon blue Tron healer pants *have* to go, man. All in good time.
And finally, my hunter! She’s seen quite a few changes, actually, owing to her running several heroics and raids. Her engineering was finally high enough to make her some nifty purple goggles. The picture on the left should show her in the burgundy Beast Lord helm that matches the shoulders, but I took it off for the same reason I had the druid’s bird head toggled — I like her hair! So the goggles are doubly welcome in that respect. She switched out her Beast Lord shoulders and chest for Beastmaw Pauldrons (which look exactly alike) and a Tunic of the Ranger Lord (which is just a recolor, from what I can see). I think those are new gloves — yes, from Heroic Mech — that are more PvE-friendly than the BG ones she was wearing before. The boots are arena Vindicator’s set. I believe the only blues left on her are a belt and a trinket. Go, hunter!
Success! After a week of grinding dailies on both my 70s, assembling a large and obscenely expensive pile of mats, and worrying all the while if I wasn’t making the wrong choice by not going for the Primal Mooncloth set instead, my restoration druid made herself a shiny new Windhawk armor set. Pure epic leather happiness! Unfortunately, the server just went down for a prolonged maintenance period so no screenshots yet. However, it’s on her and now it’s just a matter of getting some good gems in those slots and enchanting the heck out of everything, then she’s ready to rock her way through heroics! Whee!
I started my WoW account in August of 2007. This July makes it exactly 1 year that I’ve been subscribed. As of last night, I have taken two characters all the way to level 70. While I’ve heard of the hard-core gamers that can turn out a 70 every couple of weeks, I’m still mighty proud of my hunter and druid. The only thing I would change, perhaps, is my initial racial selection. They’re both night elves, which meant that I had to repeat the same set of Teldrassil quests twice. A bit of variety there might have been nice. I guess that’s what alts are for!
My restoration druid. She’s working on getting geared still so that outfit is definitely not gonna stay. I’m finding it interesting to take screenshots for the sake of chronicling their changes, though, so let’s label this as her beginning 70 outfit.
My beastmaster hunter. I don’t have a shot of her when she started, and am quite sad about that. She can make it about halfway through Kara now, so let’s call this her mid-70 outfit.
And finally my next project, a holy paladin. She’s leveling as retribution right now because I don’t believe in voluntarily making my life miserable. Didn’t get a shot of her from the beginning, so she’s 21 now with a full set of matching mail from the auction house. Because my mains are spoiling her rotten. I’ll be curious to look back on this in 20 levels when she’s got her mount, though.
Despite having a hunter as my current main, my love has always been casting. In fact, the first toon I rolled was a caster (see below) and I’m proud to announce that my resto druid is now almost level 68 and ready for flight form. She got put on the back burner when my hunter’s leveling took off like a shot, but after the magical 2.3 patch, she’s been making up for lost time.
Thing is, she started life as a balance druid and remained one right up until level 60, when it became clear that my boyfriend’s tank really needed to have a dependable healer on call if we were to get any proper instancing done. So yeah, resto it was. I still have fond memories of my moonkin, though, so this post is dedicated to my buddies, Kala and Rits, who are still makin’ it happen. Laser chickens. Owlbeasts. Poultry of doom. Rock on, my feathered friends.
The balance tree offers lots of nice goodies, though some of them are relatively useless when it comes to raiding. Entangling Roots, Brambles and Nature’s Grasp simply have no place in most dungeons, thanks to the no-indoors rule. This is going to change in the upcoming expansion so we finally get some decent CC, but by then we’ll have 10 more talent points to work with as well. Meanwhile, it’s best to free up some points pertaining to that and chuck them into the Resto tree to get the one talent that every aggro-magnet DPS needs: Subtlety. Grabbing Intensity is a good idea while you’re at it, because there’s no such thing as being too mana-efficient, especially in moonkin form.
A favorite raiding moonkin spec of many (including my own balance druid) is:
It’s efficient, mana-regen-heavy, and gives you almost all the extra bells & whistles that come with the balance tree. A lot of the other builds ask you to sacrifice Force of Nature, but I’ve always found that to be one of the most visually enjoyable balance spells and can really help out when you need an emergency distraction. So yeah, take that build out for a spin one if you haven’t already.
On a side note, a few of you know I’m obsessed with the panzerkin, but that requires a lot of intricate gearing and strategy so should not be considered until you’ve already taken basic balance to its limits and feel like playing with people’s minds. ;-D
WOW Insider’s druid column, Shifting Perspectives, just did an awesome overview of balance gear for raiding moonkins. It lists specific items, minimum stats, recommended jewels and enchants, and how to get them. The comments are very helpful as well. Be sure to check out their spell hit rating recommendations, they explain it better than many other articles. Rather than reiterate, I point you there:
Note on the spell hit rating conundrum — if it’s low, feel free to stack hit rating gems even if they’re not the right color for the slots. Very often, the bonus that you’d get from it isn’t worth as much as getting that extra hit rating. As you upgrade, you can switch out those gems if you’d like, but for the moment, the most important thing is just to reach the hit cap.
Go to http://be.imba.hu/ and set up your account. Then log in and do a search on yourself. When your page comes up, look at the bottom bar, which shows a bunch of icons, representing raid progression, and two colored bars, representing how you stand in that context. We want to get your blue and red bars into the middle of Kara to start. We’ll do this by following a lot of the advice in the text above that bar.
Click on the “…” after each item to drop down the menu and see what suggestions it gives you. Enchant the unenchanted. Re-enchant the misenchanted. Invest in some good gems. See about upgrading the low level stuff. They’re all little tweaks that will add up to big improvements. For the upgrades, look on the gear list above or consult Armory as to what would be the easiest-obtainable for you. It’s always easier to get groups together when you know specifically what drop you’re shooting for. Audit other toons that you know or see wandering around, if you want to know their standings and what you can get to reach their level. You’ll be surprised at how little difference there is between you guys sometimes.
Addons and User Interface
Omen. Every DPS should be using this to watch their aggro as compared to the tank. Space out your casting so that your first few spells are low aggro (faerie fire, insect swarm) while the tank is building his threat. Then unleash your big zaps when the tank is good and ready (ask them for what numbers you should look for before nuking).
If you do see your aggro building fast, the one aggro dump available to druids is to go to cat form and cower. Might be a good idea to hotkey that for safety.
Heck, while you’re at it, be sure to hotkey Abolish Curse and Cure Poison. Priests can only take care of magic and diseases, so remember that curses and poisons are going to be yours to deal with unless there’s a resto druid in your group as well.
Also, hotkey your consumables so you’re not looking in your bag for them when emergencies come up. If you’re running out of hotkeys, make sure you have all your menus enabled. I keep all my consumables in clickable buttons along the right-hand vertical menu which you have to enable in the interface settings of the game.
Right here: http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/
Spell damage, MP5, Intellect, Spirit are the biggies. Keep the pantry stocked so you just have to grab them from the bank when needed. Buy from AH on weekday mornings if possible, when prices are the lowest. You’ll pay through the nose if you try to get anything in the evenings, from Thursday through Sunday. Gack.
Being a research buff, there are tons of links I want to put here. But for the sake of not inundating you guys with random info, I’ll stick to those that are most helpful to the moonkin-minded.