Monday, November 15, 2010

Honorshammer, The Undecided

What I would like for my readers to understand is that in my last blog post I was in that 'hated it' stage that nearly every one of the commenter's acknowledged going through. It was the first significant playtime I had put into my Paladin since the patch, and it didn't go well. Another contributing factor was that my UI didn't support Holy Power, a problem I've since rectified with KAHoly Power.
I'm confident that if I were keeping Honorshammer my main, I would have played him enough to have regained my proficiency by now. I hope I would have come to love the new system as much as the rest of my readers. In time, I'll get up to speed and figure out how to play my Paladin again. If I was staying main spec Tank, it would be a much harder decision. Tanking on the Paladin is actually more enjoyable than tanking on the Warrior
What I miss most from my Warrior when I'm on my Paladin is the mobility, interrupt, and fear break. I had hoped the developers would have addressed these issues in Cataclysm, but they were too busy redesigning the Paladin class. Now, from all accounts, they did a fantastic job, but it left little time to take care of these niggling issues that have been around for a long time.
What I miss most from my Paladin when I'm tanking on my Warrior is the ease of debuff application, and the multiple taunts. There was also the not insignificant factor of the greater experience I had as a Paladin tank, which led to me feeling more confident. It just feels more natural to me, or at least it did. That's the biggest change since 4.0.1, I've lost some confidence in playing my tank.
When you flip the script to DPS, I personally find the Fury Warrior to be more entertaining to play over the Ret Paladin. As crazy as it sounds, I really enjoy Victory Rush, and dual wielding big old two handers.
My original plan for Cataclysm was to be main spec DPS and backup tank for our group. We've got a fantastic player who will be playing a Feral Tank taking my old spot alongside our Death Knight main tank.The plan is to be a little more casual in Cataclysm than I was in either Wrath or Burning Crusade, and I've found the DPS role to be more conducive to that in comparison to the Tank role.
The issue I ran into is that I did a a little tanking on my Warrior and I really struggled. It was a simple VoA run but I had constant trouble with losing threat. I was so frustrated that I went over and pulled my Hunter out. I hadn't played him at all since 4.0.1. Hunters scare me to death looking forward to Cataclysm. As essentially a new class, I foresee them going through a roller coaster of buffs and nerfs throughout Cataclysm. I got my Hunter glyphed and reforged and went out to the target dummy. I set him up with a Survival spec and a Beast Mastery spec.
I love the pet and stable changes made to Hunters with 4.0.1. One of reasons I got a Beast Mastery spec was to be able to tame some exotics, and put them in my stable. On the advice of one of our other hunters, I went and tamed a Wind Serpent, a nice black and white skin from Zul'Drak.  Their spell damage taken debuff synergizes well with the heavy spell damage of the SV spec. I really like the way pets work now to replace a needed buff in your group. I'm sure some enterprising add-on author will come up with an add-on that recommends a pet based on your group make up.
After getting my Hunter all squared away, I spent some time with the Training dummies. Now, I have no idea if the numbers I was getting on the dummy were good or not, but the main goal was just learning focus. The biggest change I noticed in the move to focus was that I really had to do some resource management. It wasn't just blast out a rotation, and hit every proc that lit up. I had to really focus (/rimshot) and watch my focus bar. I had to decide if I wanted to fire that shot or regen some to be able fire off a different shot. It's a theme that I've seen in all three of my eighties.
In BC and Wrath, I could get probably 90% plus of my performance out of out-of-game resources and study and just worry about fairly simple execution. The Cataclysm design looks to be more like 25% out of game resources and 75% in game reactions. This is worrisome to me because i know my in game reactions have slowed as I have continue to age towards the 'over traditional age' bracket. The truth is that I've long made my 'skilled' player reputation on my outside of game study rather than my in game reactions. I'm getting to the point where I prefer Strategy to First Person Shooters and tactical choices over split second reactions.
While I was working on the dummy, I saw someone advertising for a VoA run. I volunteered and snagged and invite. I was no where near the top of the meters, but i did snag my 264 pants. The run reminded me how I really enjoyed the Hunter. At one point I was convinced he would be my new main to the point that I ended up giving him the Chopper I bought. Of course, when I was convinced the Warrior would be my main, I bought him epic flying (and I wonder why I'm always broke).
I've also learned that the two people in our raid group who were going to be Hunters for our group are now leaning Mage, meaning we could have no Hunters at all. I'm really torn at the moment between the Hunter and the Warrior, and I'm quickly running out of time to figure out what I'm going to do. I’m not alone, as our whole group seems to be waffling between their multiple eighties. I suggested to our Guild Leader to rename the Guild either “The Undecided” or (borrowing a name from a frequent commenter) “What’s My Main, Again?”.
The Hunter still scares me to death, but I really like all the pet stuff, and being a buff Swiss army knife for my group. I realize I could level both to 85, but one needs to be my 'main' Raid toon.
One thing I have decided is that I'm going to change the Hunter from Skinning/Mining to Mining/Engineering. The plan had always been to drop one of those farming skills at the level cap and I never did. I loved being an Engineer on Honorshammer, and I would really like to have it again. I just need to make sure it is completive with the other profession bonuses so I don't gimp myself. So I've been motoring around the Barrens collecting materials to power level it. I've heard skill ups are easier in Cataclysm, so I'm wondering if I should wait to retrain him. But I don't want to lose any leveling time skilling up a profession.
Decisions, decisions.


Mite said...

"In time, I'll get up to speed and figure out how to play my Paladin again". And that's good enough for us (for the moment).
I think that most of us right now are in a similar position. I really feel like quoting Archangel again because what he wrote is exactly how I felt at the moment; not only with my paladin but with every other class that I've played so far. Every single class has been given something unique to play with, gameplay has become (as you stated) a lot less rigid and I'm loving it.
"This is worrisome to me because i know my in game reactions have slowed as I have continue to age towards the 'over traditional age' bracket"
It only gets better every new level =P

gameldar said...

You are not alone! I commented before that I was switching to my warrior, but I'm in doubt again. I've spent some money and time gearing him up, but I still haven't finally decided - in some respects I'm trying to gauge what the rest of the guild is doing and will make that decision to fit in with them. Me suggesting switching away from my paladin has brought out some negative reactions - largely due to the offspec heals I have had!

In terms of tanking it an interesting decision for me. I've probably tanked more on my warrior than I have on my paladin, but my warrior was retired with Naxx (well early Ulduar) and up until 4.0 dropped I had exclusively tanked on my Paladin. I like both forms of tanking - but I probably prefer warrior tanking - I like being able to zip around, and actually enjoy tab targeting and keeping things going. But I also enjoy the control from Paladins and the clutch abilities that can save you or the raid (BoP etc or just soloing things - I remember one epic H HoR where I ended up soloing Marwynn from about 80% using seal of light and some heals).

However looking at it from a practical perspective I've realised - I am probably the better tank as a paladin. Largely because, as you talked about, the game reactions factor. The warrior "rotation" is a lot more about responding to procs (sword and board, revenge) and even with equivalent gear I'd be hard pressed to maintain the threat/dps that I get on my paladin. Even with the changes to paladin tanking it still isn't proc based (at least currently you should ignore the avenger shield procs). Given that I'm not a twitch player - and combine that with a everyday lag that comes from playing in Australia I don't react as efficiently as required for being the best warrior.

In terms of pally tanking post 4.0 - I have only tanked one heroic since 4.0 dropped (but I have tanked a bit more on beta - prior to the crusader strike change) but I've done a bit of soloing and testing on target dummies and I'm quite used to it now. I couldn't have learnt it without my power auras setup however - which I think is part of the failing of the new thing (and I said as much on the beta forums) - that with the default UI - you have to be looking to three corners of the screen - and then actually be away of what is going on!

However I got thrown in the deep end... LFD dropped me into H HoR. Remarkably it was actually the best run of H HoR I have ever done - thanks to it being nerfed (they are smaller groups now), some great dpsers and healer and I didn't feel gimped by the paladin changes. I need to do more tanking (just hasn't been a priority because my pally is my best prepared for Cataclysm - being the best geared) but I'm starting to feel a lot more comfortable and confident with it.

But I'm still in two minds and offspecs are playing into it too.

Gameldar, The Undecided

Helion said...

I started playing during BC and eventually reached 80 after WotLK came out. So I missed out on all the end-game stuff from BC, such as Naxxramas. Heck, I did not really delve into raiding until ToC. ICC has been the closest I have ever been to end-game. I have reached the LK but have not had the pleasure of defeating him. It kills me to hear about all this preparation with alts and new mains for Cataclysm while I am still stuck here...

A couple of months ago, before 4.0, we reached the LK and of all places for a guild to collapse, we chose this one. Little by little the guild lost the mains and we had to pug more and more. Obviously it did not go well. I don't think that fight lends itself well to pugging. I could not believe that after so much dedication and perseverance, people would scatter right as we could see the light at the end of the tunnel. After a few weeks of aimless activity, the guild pulled back together. Last Thursday I showed up for ICC raiding again, excited because we are back at Sindy and eager to once again face the King. Several members did not show and the other tank, lurking in vent but not online on WoW, reported he was too burnt out and needed a break. /sigh. I tried to vent running through a few randoms but after I was done I felt so defeated I impulsively went to and cancelled. I thought that I would have a few weeks left to play before my time expired, but as fate would have it, I only had hours left to play. I did not get a chance to even sort through my mail. It has not been a week, but I miss it dearly. It has gotten old to commit and dedicate myself to something this unreliable.

Why talk about this here? Now? I guess I just have to vent. Maybe someone will help me put it in perspective.

Pippet said...

I have the same struggle before each new expansion, working on my 7th max level character now. Having so many makes it hard to pick which one you want to have as your main. If you pick a DPS role, ore really any role, and you level an alt of the same and gear it up, I am usually able to switch to that one if I want to.
I find it easier if I start one and find it less interesting than I thought, to then switch quickly so I don't lose a lot of "wasted" time.

Mite said...

@Helion. I can really talk from experience on this one. I never even reached LK on my main. The main reason is burnout. There comes a time in which you realize that this is just a game, and there's no way that your ingame objectives could ever be so important that it's ok if they start to feel like obligations.
I won't lie, I want to kill the LK. But I'm more than happy to wait so that I'm doing more than just getting an achievement. I will do it only when I feel that it's something I will enjoy.