While continuing to work on a follow up for my previous column, Time is Money, Friend, I wanted to provide some thoughts on some observations over the past two weeks of my WoW experiences. I know that a few select bloggers such as Tobold have been given some degrees of negative feedback when discussing his characters and his experiences in the game. I really have no idea why people would get so hostile about his observations. Observation provides insight and without asking questions about these observations, one can never better themselves. This rings true in all aspects of learning, from WoW to University studies. As a corporate trainer by profession, I can say with a high degree of certainty that people learn in various methods and if Tobold wishes to use his blog as a sounding board for learning, then I'm all for it. Those who feel otherwise should simply stop reading his blog. The same will apply to my blog for this article. This article will be as personal as it is editorial.
Of all previous WoW patches, I have to say this patch has been the most exciting for me since the game started. The addition of a multitude of daily quests, non diminished returns for battleground combat, a new instance to explore and new 25 man raid content for raiding guilds make this patch a complete winner in my eyes.
The first major observation I have is that it is quite clear Blizzard is making a major step in eradicating or at least severely damaging RMT activity with regards to coin by adding super easy and relatively fast daily quests that require no prerequisite reputation grind. In most instances, all that is required is any flying mount. I have always struggled saving coin as a protection warrior due to potion costs, rep costs and a sheer disdain for anything grind related as the lack of efficiency combined with the lack of PVP survivability means a frustrating and unfun experience. In just a week of daily quest grinding, and when I say daily quest grinding I mean, I log on, do the dailies and log off, I've made about 1,200 gold in a week. This is roughly 90 minutes each day and I usually do it in small bursts between dealing with my daughter and work. This includes some primals from the Throne of Kil'Jaeden and Blade's Edge dailies and many greens turned Arcane Dust or Planar Essence from Sunfury Supplies. It's really hard to place any negatives with this for all players. Hardcore players can burn down as many as 25 dailies a day. I normally get 13-14 done depending on the Battleground daily (for whatever reason, my Battlegroup never wins WSG but nearly always wins Basin). With the new gold available, I can now afford to finish Blacksmithing and an epic mount in a reasonable time frame. If I ever get some extra time, I could even grind the dailies on both toons. From a math standpoint:
14 daily quests per day at roughly 10g per quest = 140g
Value of miscellaneous items accumulated through daily quest circuit = 25g
165g per day times 7 = 1,155g
Doing this with two toons per week = 2,310g per week using two toons. This is an epic flyer in less then two weeks.
What if we did all 25 dailies per day?
25 daily quests per day at roughly 10g per quest = 250g
Value of miscellaneous items accumulated through daily quest circuit = 45g
295g per day times 7 = 2,065g per week
Doing this on two toons = 4,130g per week. This is an epic flying mount in roughly 9 days.
The second major change I took with the onset of 2.4 is for the first time in at least a year and a half, I respecced out of protection for over a one day time frame. For a while, I was toggle respeccing for arena using an arms build but that was just to grind points and return to the land of tanking once 10-20 matches had been completed. This week, I respecced 17/44 fury and stayed that way for an entire week. The results were mixed to say the least.
Even with a marginal array of fury gear, grinding mobs has never been more fun and easy. Having been used to devastate dual wield or sword and board for so long made seeing four digit white damage swings and 2k bloodthirsts just awesome.
For whatever reason, a protection warrior in the world environment seems to attract gankers, particularly casters. Resilience renders high hp and armor values useless in PVP thus taking the only real strength a protection warrior had out of the equation. My spec was also highly PVE focused and as a result, I would take a long time to kill, but inevitably, I would die versus most classes simply because I couldn't damage them enough to make a difference. While fury specced, the number of gankers even in Quel'Danas was down and the wins and losses were much, much better simply because even with people in full resilience gear, I could do enough damage to dent their health.
In the last year and a half of being a primary tank, I have received a very small number of those infamous tells with the words "R U tank?" or "Tank?". However, I've had 14 of them in one 90 minute span and at least 30 of them this week alone. The saddest part was, over half were from other warriors. Clearly this was because people wanted to run the new instance Magister's Terrace and needed a tank. Needless to say, I have yet to see Magister's Terrace as a result of my week of fury fun and I find this as the only negative but this day qualified two concepts that were otherwise rhetoric spouted through various blogs without much in the way of qualification:
1. There truly is a tank shortage on Twisting Nether, if at nothing else, in the warrior population but likely applies to Paladins and Druids as well.
This leads me to believe the following is also true:
2. The mechanics of the protection warrior, while improved, are still flawed given the small percentage of players involved in this role.
Perhaps I will write an entire article devoted to it but it would be third on my list of projects at the moment. Regardless, I think this will be a topic at some point in the future.
I think it is safe to say I hit some tank burnout in the last few weeks. This is due to two primary reasons:
Lack of Guild Progression: One of my previous articles asked the question progression or preparation. Unfortunately, the disappointing lack of guild progression has me thinking that at this point, it is probably better to simply gear up for the impending level grind versus improving tanking gear via badges. At the rate of guild progression, gearing with t6 quality badge gear will render itself pointless. My gear as it stands is good enough to tank anything up to Halazzi in ZA, much less what we currently raid on a weekly basis. In all likelihood, a mix of badge and Karazhan gear will suffice for the first instances of WoTLK just as PVP/tier 1 served for BC. Using that logic as a basis for gearing, I am better suited buying t5 and t6 equivalent fury gear to allow the easiest level experience possible.
Lack of Diversity: Farming as a prot warrior can be done in one of two ways. If the gear is available, stack Shield Block Value, hit shield slam with a bunch of devastates and win. The other option is to equip the highest top end damage one handers available and spam devastate ad nauseum. From a practicality standpoint, stacking SBV is difficult without access to tier 5+ gear so that only leaves the dual wield devastate spam option. From a tactical standpoint, devastate spam is just miserably boring. It would be like moving the same pawn every move for every turn in chess indefinitely. At least with fury, I have to be cognisant of my Rampage timer, my whirlwind cooldown and my flurry procs, not to mention its just better for farming anyway.
I would be lying if I didn't say that I currently have more fun playing fury then protection. This is likely due to being protection for so long and seeing how easy it is to farm the daily quest circuit using a fury spec. So, for the time being, I will most likely split time between the two specs; Protection for raiding when necessary and fury for fun outside of raiding. The cost to respec given the amount of gold I can make per day is trivial. From a gear perspective, I will begin focusing on fury gear for the level grind, seeing that additional protection gear isn't necessary until further progression is made. I certainly still enjoy main tanking and if gear upgrades for main tanking present themselves, I'll pursue them; I just wish I could expand horizons with regards to the content I tank and at this time, I don't see much chance of that happening before WoTLK.