Monday, September 29, 2008

BETA: Early Decisions

(This post contains information about Wrath of the Lich King)

Expansions are a great time for making changes: changing specs, changing classes, changing servers, etc.

first zone

One of the first decisions you'll face in Wrath of the Lich King is the starting zone. Blizzard has provided two zones from which you can choose : Borean Tundra and Howling Fjord.

Each zone provides content for toons level 68-71.

Alliance side, I expect most people will go to the Borean Tundra. It is the zone you are taken to from the new Stormwind Harbor. This was the pattern I followed initially. Go the Stormwind, check out the new harbor and board the boat for Northrend. It'll drop you off at Valiance Keep in the Borean Tundra.

But this weekend, I wanted to check out the Howling Fjord, and man, am I glad I did.

To get to Howling Fjord, you take a boat from Menethil Harbor. This is a little bit out of the way for most toons, and I suspect people will only go there if they already know about it.

First of all the boat ride in, is a little longer, but stop and take a look around, the scenery is really amazing.

If you are a Paladin, or you love Paladin lore, I strongly recommend you start in Howling Fjord, especially if you did Naxx at level 60 or are familiar with the lore. Some of the lore quests are absolutely amazing and I had a blast doing them.

The Howling Fjord quests are just as easy as the Borean Tundra ones, but they topography of the land makes getting to them a little bit harder.

I am really enjoying playing on a PVE server. I can relax and level and not have to worry about Horde at all. It takes some getting used to, and I still expect to be attacked every time I see a Hordie.

first toon

You will also have to decided which toon you are going to take first to Northrend.

Honorshammer has been my main through Classic and Burning Crusade. At the moment, I don’t see any reason he wouldn’t be my main in Wrath.

I enjoy the Hunter. I’m kind of been dismissive of him saying stuff like “oh, he’s just a farmer for Honorshammer.” Truth be told, he’s fun to play!

The new pets look like a ton of fun. I will definitely want to get a Rhino for him. I already know what I’m going to name my Rhino, Rocksteady! (again, bonus points for getting the reference, and no, it has nothing to do with The Whispers!).

I have my Warrior, he’s sitting at 56 right now. I created him to be able to continue my tanking career if Paladin tanks didn’t work out in the Expansion. Honestly though, I don't know if I could really switch over to my Warrior full time. I've got such a history with Honorshammer now. I definately see my Warrior spending some quality time in BGs as a Titan's Gripping death machine. (We will ignore for the benefit of my fantasy how bad TG is at the moment)

To be brutally honest, the verdict is still out on if Blizzard has succeeded in creating true parity amongst the four tank classes. No one will really know until we are actually into Wrath, anyway. Besides, I can still reroll later in Wrath if Paladins really look like they got the short end of the stick. I just can’t see rerolling out of a (at the moment) baseless fear that Paladins will be bad tanks in Wrath.

Even if we are not great choices for Tanks, I really love Retribution right now on Beta. I had given some thought to switching to Ret even in Burning Crusade, so that’s always an option.

I'm currently Retribution spec on the Beta for soloing. It is very enjoyable!

It helps that I'm not using a ton of mana to kill things. My Ret gear is good, but nothing that I would call amazing: S4 Gloves, S3 Helm, Chest, and Legs, S2 Mace, Blood Stained Pauldrons, Furious Shackles, Pendant of the Perilous, Bloodlust Brooch, and Warboots of Obliteration. Most mobs die in under 10 seconds, sometimes much faster depending on Crits. I drop an instant cast Flash of Light (from the new Art of War talent) and I'm off to the next mob.

death knights

Another decision is will you level your current 70, or will you roll a Death Knight. Again, this weekend solidified my decision for me.

Originally, I wasn't even going to try out a Death Knight, but then I read a blog of someone who basically said "I normally don't like playing evil characters, but I'm enjoying my Death Knight".

I don't like playing 'evil' characters myself. Of all the WoW classes, Warlock is the only one I have not leveled.

I rolled a Dwarf Death Knight (are you surprised?). The starting zone is haunting, and creepy and felt very much like Undercity.

No disrespect to any Death Knights, or wannabe Death Knights out there, but I hated it. I hated the look of the class, the animations, the starting area, everything. I felt my stomach turn as the first quest giver told me I would learn to master the power of the Unholy.

It wasn’t for me. It was similar to how I felt when I took my Tauren Druid to Undercity. Basically it’s feeling like “Get me out of here!” I do almost everything on my Druid in either Thunderbluff or Orgrimaar. (Don’t tell anyone, but I also have a Blood Knight – Horde Paladin as well, Level 24 or so).

I love the Paladin class: I love the animations, the mounts, the lore, and the class specific quests.

I actually like the Seal/Judgement system, and it’s much better in Wrath. I love playing a buffing class and landing a Kings on a Random Hunter as I’m out questing.

So the plan going into Wrath is Paladin first, then Hunter, then Warrior.

professions

You will also need to choose or reevaulate your profession choice.

As I mentioned in my earlier post, I'm going to stick with Engineering and Jewelcrafting. Once I get closer to level 80, the community at large will have a better grasp on how the various professions stack up and I can reevaluate it then.
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