Friday, June 22, 2018

I KNEW this would happen

Hours after my Decision Point post went live, a major new build of the Beta/PTR went up.
Because, of course it did.

Shaman is improved


What I read from the Shaman Discord is many of the mechanical issues with Shaman were addressed. Stormstrike got a big damage buff, as did Crash Lightning. AoE should be better and Stormstrike should feel more rewarding. Elemental Spirits got changed so all three outcomes are similar. Shamans are no longer a bit of a mess and I've opened the door a crack for the Shaman to make a last minute push to take over as my BfA main mostly because...

Mongoose is back


Mongoose Bite got buffed and looks to be competitive. This will delight many current Survival Hunters, but it brings back the Mongoose Fury damage window. I hated the Judgement/Colossus Smash damage window on Ret and Arms. Mongoose Fury is a little different than those so I decided to try it out on Beta/PTR. I don't play Survival today, so its not a mechanic I understand well. At first, it was frustrating, but after a while I started to get it. Still, its not as much fun as the Tip of the Spear build I had been playing. With that build, you want to hit Raptor Strike after a Kill Command. Mongoose Bite puts pressure on you to decide if you want to start a Mongoose chain or not. Once you start the chain, you're on a timer to get Mongoose buffed to five and then get as many Bites as you can before it falls and you have to start all over. From a design perspective, those decision are probably better, but I have concerns about my own ability (or lack thereof) to pull it off. Survival Hunter is a Pure DPS class. If I can't pull off the numbers, I'm not much use to the group.

It's not as much of a problem out in the world where nothing lives all that long. I fought a mob with a knock back and once again fell in love with Aspect of the Eagle. I keep seeing places in Legion Mythics where it'd be super helpful. Add on Curator in a puddle? No problem, pop Eagle and finish him off. Flame Wreath getting ready to go off and worried about overlapping with the other melee? No problem. Disengage out and pop Eagle. I hope Mongoose doesn't become the go to talent on that row, though its certainly looking that way.

Finding Groups


I got the part of the Balance of Power chain where you need to run several Mythic dungeons. You have to do the regular, no keystone, Mythics. It's boggling to me you can't complete these quests in Mythic plus. There were only two groups in group finder, both with two DPS a piece and not a single healer or tank. If its this hard to get groups for Balance of Power while Legion is still current, it's going to be harder when everyone is busy with the new expansion, although, I guess like many other transmogs, soloing it at level 120 would be doable. It's always been so easy for me to get groups as a tank. I do think I'd like the option to get easy groups as a healer.

Viability


The changes have me rethinking my decision. I do love playing both so my passion isn't a problem like it was with the Monk. I still can't tell you why Windwalker didn't click with me.

Raid and Mythic+ viability for either Enhancement or Survival are still unknowns at this point. Numbers and final tuning will determine how each class performs and ranks against each other. Windwalker still looks the strongest of the three, but I can't choose something I don't find fun. I wish I had gotten more enjoyment out of playing the class.

The needs of the many


Our team had our big BfA prep meeting to see what we need to recruit. As I suspected, we've got two other players in our ten to twelve man team planning on playing Beast Mastery Hunter. Someone else was hoping to play Hunter, but has already said he'll pick something else since we're at three Hunter including myself. We're pretty casual (definition: we'd like to clear Heroic raids in BfA), and we don't want to tell anyone what to play. At the same time, there are concerns about how viable our makeup will be, especially with BfA going back to 'bring the class, not the player'. My people-pleaser gene kicked in, and I wondered if I need to switch to something else, too.

Moving


Our team is scattered on many different servers and we organize everything through Discord. Some think we would do better recruiting if we were a traditional guild, all on the same server. Blizzard just announced a sale on Character Transfers this weekend. If we're going to move, now would be the time to do it.

It also means my timetable for making a final decision got pushed way up. As much as I'd prefer wait and see what everyone else does and how the final tuning numbers shape up, I need to figure out what toon to pay to move. This patch has made me a little less excited about the Hunter, a little more excited about the Shaman. But is it enough to make a decision? As a range off-spec, I still prefer BM to Elemental, Its a guess if I'll like Resto healing if we need it.

Check back on Monday and I'll let you know what I did.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Decision Point

We're three weeks from prepatch and less than 60 days from Battle for Azeroth's launch. It's time to stop waffling and make a decision. I have the new main narrowed down to three: Hunter, Monk, or Shaman. I've debated the pros and cons, watched videos, and streams, and played each on Beta.

First out

I need to eliminate one and that's going to be the Shaman. Both DPS specs for Shaman are a bit of a mess right now. The developers did call out both specs as known trouble spots for them so there's hope the situation could improve. This is good news for the Shaman community, but I have to go on the information I have available today. I don't love playing the Shaman enough to make him my main in the hopes Enhancement and Elemental get addressed before launch, nor do I love him enough to put up with a subpar 8.0 experience in the hopes of better days in 8.1. Now, maybe the developers blow me away with the next build, and I can always change my mind later, but as of today, Shaman is out.

Healing

My personality type (ISFJ) fits with playing a healer. I enjoyed healing in other games like Overwatch, but I've never gotten into it in WoW. I always resented playing Holy because healing got forced on me in Vanilla and Burning Crusade. I've done some healing leveling up on the Druid, Monk and Shaman, but I doubt the experience is anything like healing a raid or a high Mythic plus key. It's nice to be needed, and Fistweaving looks like fun. It might be a healing style I enjoy.

Head versus Heart

The more I thought about my decision, the more it felt like a head versus heart problem. All the logical reasons point to Monk. Monk has role flexibility and looks to be the stronger choice in Mythic plus. Monk has strong utility with Mystic Touch that no other class nor consumable can bring. Currently, we don't have anyone on the team planning on playing a Monk.

I've leveled my Monk into the mid 60s. While I was killing Vyrkul in the Howling Fjord, I got on Discord and talked to my raid leader. We talked about the Monk and the Hunter. I said many of the things I've written about in these blogs, but what was different was hearing myself. There was a passion, an excitement, a joy in my voice when I talked about the Hunter and my experiences playing Survival in Beta that was absent when I talked about the Monk. Through all my time leveling, I still haven't had that moment where I find unbridled joy in playing Monk.

You ever heard the line "if money were no object, what would you do for a career/job?" I always found this a bit strange since money is VERY real object in this world, but it goes to asking the person where their heart is. To translate this into WoW, I have my Monk, and Hunter on the same server. If I just start up WoW, which one am I most excited to log into? Monk or Hunter?


When I first logged into Beta, I was still Beast Mastery. I loved Haiti so I took the Animal Companion talent and called out my Devilsaur, Grimlock. By happenstance, the first pet in my stable was my Scalehide, Snarl. Seeing the two them, side by side with my Hunter brought a smile to face.

The Monk is probably what I should play. It's the logical choice, but it feels like someone playing Prot Paladin because their guild needs a tank. We play World of Warcraft for hours upon hours. Only passion can keep you in the chair. Only passion will get you to log in when there isn't a scrap of gear you need anywhere in the game.

The answer had been staring me in the face all along. I've made this decision so much harder than it needed to be.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Shaman Pros and Cons

This week, I'm going to do a post on what I see as the pros and cons of each class I'm currently considering as my new main. Under some points, you'll see a counterpoint to that pro or con.

Here's your chance to make the case that I should join your class family. Tweet at me @honorshammer or leave a comment.

I'm going in alphabetical order. Today, the Shaman.



Shamans Pros
  • I love all the aesthetics. I love the lightning for DPS, the water for heals, and even a little fire thrown in for flavor. The new elemental models are beautiful.
  • Shaman sort of kind of gets a pet with every spec having Earth Elemental.
  • Shaman can shapeshift into a Raptor with a glyph to Ghost Wolf.
  • I don't think anyone else is planing on playing a Shaman in our group.
    • This shouldn't matter.
  • Shaman NPCs are awesome. There's a guy in the Exodar scenario with the fist weapons from the Hyjal raid who looks wicked cool and I've loved Myrla Stormcaller since Cataclysm.
    • The fist weapons are rare drops I might never see.
  • Shaman brings Bloodlust/Hero.
    • But Drums exists.
Shaman Cons
  • Neither Elemental nor Enhancement are looking great on Beta.
    • Beta's not over, "numbers" pass hasn't happened yet
  • Enhancement Shamans have to talent their gap closer (Feral Lunge).
  • I would need to transfer him from Tanaris to Blade's Edge.
  • Shamans require a different flask to go from melee spec to Ranged spec. 
    • How often would I really have to do that?
  • I'm not excited about Elemental's "turret" playstyle 
    • How often would I be Elemental?

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Monk Pros and Cons

This week, I'm going to do a post on what I see as the pros and cons of each class I'm currently considering as my new main. Under some points, I've included a counterpoint to that pro or con.

Here's you chance to make the case that I should join your class family. Tweet at me @honorshammer or leave a comment.

I'm going in alphabetical order. Today, the Monk.


Monk Pros

  • Monks have a cool aesthetic. I like all the combat animations.
  • Monk is the only option I'm considering that can tank.
    • I'm looking to take a break from tanking.
    • If I need my tanking fix in BfA, I can tank on my Horde Druid
  • Windwalker Monks are great in M+ in Legion.. Method currently has Windwalker as a Top 5 DPS for M+.
    • Will this carry over to BfA?
  • The new Rising Mists talent for Mistweavers looks fun.
    • I probably won't heal often.
  • My Monk is an alchemist which should bring in good gold income

Monk Cons
  • I would need to level up from 52 or use a boost. I would rather not use a boost since boosted characters don't count towards number of max level toons achievements like Quintessential Quintet. After just finishing leveling up the Shaman and Warrior to 110, I'm a bit burnout on leveling and could use a break. 
  • Monk is the only option without a Ranged spec.
  • Monk would be another Leather wearer with my Druid.
    • Why does this matter?
  • I think our Main Tank is going Monk, maybe one of the healers.  
    • Monk is the least played class. Maybe that changes in BfA, Regardless, I should play what I want. If there's too many Monks, someone else can switch.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Hunter Pros and Cons

This week, I'm going to do a post on what I see as the pros and cons of each class I'm currently considering as my new main. Under some points, you'll see a counterpoint to that pro or con.

Here's your chance to make the case that I should join your class family. Tweet at me @honorshammer or leave a comment.

I'm going in alphabetical order. Today, the Hunter.



Hunter Pros

  • I have actually played Beast Mastery Hunter in all end game PVE content. I've done well and enjoyed it.
    • I did do low DPS when I tried to PuG Antorus and got kicked after dying to Ruiner. 
  • Pets are fun. You never feel you're alone in the world. I love my dinosaur pets.
  • The new BfA Survival looks wicked cool. 
    • BfASurvival is looking like more of a single target spec, and not strong for M+. 
  • New Survival gets to throw bombs!!
    • WildFire Bomb/Wildfire Infusion is not looking like the strongest build.
  • I enjoyed Charge on my Warrior. Harpoon is the closest to Charge of any of the classes I'm considering. Shaman's Feral Lunge is talented. Monk's Roll is not targeted and hard to control.
  • There's always Beast Mastery if Survival doesn't work out.
  • All Hunters get Stealth in BfA (Camouflage).
  • Survival Hunter is the closest I'm going to get to playing a Tinker in WoW.
  • Hunter brings Bloodlust/Heroism.
    • Drums exists


Hunter Cons

  • I might get bored with playing a Pure DPS class.
    • If I get bored that just gives me more time to play my Horde Druid.
  • Hunters have no role flexibility.
    • Other guys on the team will have multiple toons with flexibility.
  • My Hunter is my Engineer. He will always be broke.
  • Hunter is a popular class. There are going to be at least two other Hunter mains in the raid team.
    • I should play what I want. If there's too many Hunters, someone else can switch. If the groups are full on DPS, I can play my Horde Druid.
  • Long queues as Pure DPS.
    • When was the last time I queued for anything? 
    • There's lots of role agnostic content in BfA.
  • Pets are slow to follow you after you Harpoon to a target which delays Focus generation from Kill Command.
    • Every class is going to have some issues.
  • I don't like Marksmanship. A Hunter without a pet is a mail wearing mage.
    • Marksmanship can use pets in BfA. If a fight is punishing on melee, I can always go Beast Mastery. For the fights that have been tested, Survival's Aspect of the Eagle has been sufficient.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Quintessential Quintet

As planned, I finished the Warrior and got the Quintessential Quintet achievement.




The first was my Paladin.

Then my Hunter.

Next came the Druid.

Then the Shaman.

And finally, the Warrior.


You might notice a pattern in my characters.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Picking my Battle for Azeroth Main

Twelve contenders enter the battle royal. Only one can emerge victorious. Only one will claim the title of "Main".

First three out


Demon Hunters, Warlocks, and Death Knights all have an aesthetic and core fantasy I don't enjoy. The only one of these I've even gotten out of the starting zone was a Death Knight and that was only to get a bank toon with big bags. If you love one of these classes, awesome. Have a blast. Me? I'd rather play another game than play one of them.

The Demon Hunter, Warlock and Death Knight fall. Nine remain in the ring.

Aren't you a Paladin?


I'm ready to put down the shield for a bit. I've loved tanking, but after tanking through Warlords of Draenor and Legion, I'm showing myself all the tell tale signs of tank burnout. Honor's has been a Protection Paladin so long, it feels weird for him to be anything else.

In addition to that, Battle for Azeroth is unlike any previous World of Warcraft expansion. There is no world ending threat looming this time. What drew me to the Paladin was the concept of the holy warrior of the Light defending the innocent. Now, I'm being asked to be a grunt for a morally gray Alliance. After working with Aponi and Lady Liadrin for the entirety of Legion, I can't see my Paladin being okay with taking up arms against them.

I need a fresh start. A new classes, may be even a new Allied Race.

The Paladin lays down his shield and retires from battle. Eight remain.

For the Horde


Play what you want is advice often given to people seeking a new main. If I truly did that, I'd be a Horde Druid so that one day in the not so distant future, I'd be a Zandalari Dinosaur druid. I don't care about performance, raid utility or anything else. I'm shape-shifting into dinosaurs.

As I've stated before, the guild is staying Alliance, relegating my Druid to alt status. I've tried playing both Druids toward the end of Legion and I didn't like it.

The Druid rips off his Alliance tabard, revealing the blood red tabard of the Horde, shape shifts in a Pterodactyl and flies away. 

Seven remain.

Solo bombs


I saw Solo: A Star Wars story over Memorial Day weekend. I liked it. It suffered from all the usual problems with origin stories, but it handled all the key moments well and even managed to throw in a few surprises.

I have a boosted Mage and I've leveled a Warrior to cap (109 - he'll cap this wekeend). Both of these classes have struggled when I'm playing solo. Every combat becomes a kill or be killed race with few options for self healing or pet tanking. I don't look forward to leveling either to 120. Even though group PVE is my favorite activity, I still solo often at max level for World Quests.

Both the Mage and Warrior get isolated away on their own and go down.

Five remain.

From the Shadows


Rogues and Priest's Shadow spec falls a little too close to the Warlock/Death Knight vibe for my tastes. It's not a fantasy I enjoy. Both also lack options. Rogue is melee DPS only and Priest is healer only if I don't want to play Shadow. This just in, I don't want to play Shadow. Sorry, Mitch. I know I could level as Discipline, but for random queues or LFR, it's going to be tough to be a Disc DPS player.

The Priest goes Shadowform and falls. The Rogue, unable to adapt to the changing battlefield, is eliminated.

Three remain.

Hunter, Monk, Shaman,

I have two of these at max level. I've played my Hunter a ton in Legion, and I've always had fun with him. At times, he's been better geared than my Paladin. I got the Shaman to max level but I haven't done anything more with him. The Monk is only Level 45 and is a bit of a unknown.

The Hunter, Monk and Shaman battle for dominance. 

(to be continued)