(I'm fighting a bit of a head cold, so we shall blame any lack of coherency in this post on that.)
I went ahead and finished up the rest of Dragonblight.
The next area I went to was the Dragonshrine for the Black Dragons. First of all, it was very weird working for the Black Dragons as they were mainly villains in Vanilla Wow (aka Level 60 cap). The Black Dragons are still what I would call evil, but are being kept in check by the large forces of Red Dragons in Northrend.
The Black Dragonshrine is dark and confusing and I can't tell you how many times I got lost trying to do various quests in there. It was suggested to me by a guildy that the area was a copy of the instance map for Ragefire Chasm which I had run on a my Horde characters but not in a very long time.
I hit a point questing where I needed to do a group quest called "Really Big Worm". As I was heading out of the cave, I saw a Level 77 Night Elf Rogue. I whispered her (the character was female, so we shall use female pronouns), and asked if she would give me a hand. She agreed to help me. We find out that she was on the quest right before "Really Big Worm" so we do the prequest and get her up to the same quest I was on. "Really Big Worm" is listed as G3 (Group, 3 people) quest, but we were able to duo it pretty easily.
The Rogue then asked if I had any other quests I needed help with. I told I had one but it was clear on the other side of the zone. She volunteered to help me anyway and flew clear across the zone to help me with "Plume of Alystros".
Sometimes you run into jerks like the Hunter I dealt with in Howling Fjord, and sometimes you run into super nice people who go out of their way to help others.
Keyana of Eragon Soldiers on Altar of Storms, you get the Honorshammer Seal of Approval as a really cool person.
With my questing in Dragonblight done, I headed the Charger up into Zul'drak. My initial impressions of Zul'drak were pretty negative. The entire area is very dark and it's very difficult to get around. Of course, it doesn't help much that there is a Level 80 Elite pathing around the main road.
Maybe it's because I'm a little under the weather, but I've found the quests have started to get a little more vague in their directions. I found quest after quest that would ask me to do something, but didn't tell me where to go, or told me to go to the wrong place. For instance, back in Dragonblight, I had a quest to kill 3 elite Magnataur. They were supposed to be near some torches. I found the torches, but no Magnataur. They were a couple hundred yards away.
Then in Zul'drak, I get a quest that sends me to the Reliquary of Pain, but never says where the Reliquary of Pain was. Then another quest to dilute plague cauldrons, again with no hint as to where to find these cauldrons. I don't remember having these kind of issues with quests in Howling Fjord or early in Dragonblight. My theory is that most Beta testers didn't get all that far in Beta (I know I didn't), and didn't provide feedback on how poorly these quest directions are.
I do love the fact that pretty much every mob you fight is undead.
My first mission in Zul'drak was to do the quest "Wanted: Ragemane's Flipper". I was after the Hammer of Quiet Mourning which would replace my venerable Sun Eater as my main tanking weapon. I got a group and after dealing with a bit of Horde interference, we got Ragemane down. The Hammer isn't much on looks, but you are talking to a guy who proudly wielded a cotton candy mace.
Shield of Righteousness
I was going to need the Hammer of Quiet Mourning because I had finally gotten to Level 75.
I hit 75 as I zoned into Zul'drak. I mean that quite literally as the experience from discovering the zone made me ding.
I hearthed to Dalaran (more on Dalaran in a future post), and took the portal to Ironforge. I trained my new skills including Shield of Righteousness, and respeced Honors back to full Protection. I'm using a modified version of Lore's DPS Spec. I put points into Retribution to get the cooldown reduction on Judgment so I can get into the habit of my 969 rotation.
I'm trying out three different gearsets as I solo as Protection: regular tank gear, Block Value set, and a my Ret set.
What I'm finding is that I get the biggest Shield of Righteousness hits in my Block Value gear, do the most DPS in my Ret set with a sword and board, but I have the best regen in my regular tank gear.
Mobs die a little bit slower than they did when I was Retribution. I'm not 3 shotting stuff anymore, but it's not a whole lot slower. The chief problem I'm running into is Mana regen. If I don't (or can't) pull 3 or more mobs, I just don't seem to get enough regen out of Blessing of Sanctuary and Judgement of Wisdom. If I can pull 3 or more, I can even switch to Judgement of Light and still have plenty of mana.
I really like Shield of Righteousness. Right now I'm getting normal hits in the 1700 range with crits upwards of 4000+ depending on if my Libram or Trinkets have proced. I modified the DPS macro so that it tries to activate my BV Trinket everytime I cast Judgment.
#showtooltip Judgment of Wisdom
/use Coren's Lucky Coin
/use Gnomeregan Auto-Blocker 600
/cast Judgment Of Wisdom
Keybindings have become an issue though. I now have four spells that I want in my main keybinds (1-4 on the keyboard). I call these my main keybinds because they are easiest for me to get to. Part of the problem is that I've been playing for so long that I've developed muscle memory. My brain thinks Judgment and my finger is already headed for the '4'. This is generally a good thing. However, after I got Shield of Righteousness, I put that on my '2' key. That key for the past 2 years has been my Seal Of ... key. So I kept hitting Shield of Righteousness when I wanted to Seal. I had to look all over my UI for where I had stuck my Seal button. It was annoying.
But this morning, I think I found an answer. Veneretio linked me to this thread on Wowhead where user ArgentSun had this macro he called Seal + Attacking Spell.
"Seal + Attacking spell
#showtooltip/cast [nocombat] [help] [player] [mod=shift] Seal of ...; Shield of Righteousness
This will cast whichever Seal you want if not in combat, or if in combat but targetting yourself/friendly unit, or if you hold Shift down. Will cast Shield of Righteousness if in combat and targetting an enemy. Can replace SoR with any spell (HotR, DS, CS, etc)."
Mal Katai versus Naxx
My guild, Mal Katai took it's first shot at Naxx. I listened in on vent while I was leveling up. I want to make sure I express myself properly here.
I would have loved to have been able to join them, but I need to get to the level cap first. I'm glad those guys got a shot at going so they can 'show me the ropes' when I finally hit level 80.
Hopefully, I'll be caught up to those guys before we start running Ulduar (released in a future content patch).
At first, they were really struggling. All the trash was giving them fits. They were trying to kite mobs because the tanks could hold multiples. They were especially struggling with the Gargoyles. It was like they just didn't have enough DPS to get the Gargoyle down before it regenerated.
Then someone realized they had it on Heroic. Yes, they were trying to do Naxx25 with 10 people (and actually managed to kill a couple of trash packs). Everyone had a good laugh on vent as they all zoned out and they restarted on Normal.
The Gargoyles went from 1 million hits point to 100,000, and went down in heaps and those trash packs that they were kiting on suddenly had less mobs in them.
They got 2, maybe 3 Bosses down. We were all really excited for them.