Monday, November 2, 2009

Do You Believe in Magic, A Young Girl's Heart, and the Benefits of Good equipment?

(new vs old helm comparison)

Looking at the picture above, it may be obvious that this will be a bit of a numbers slog… but it won’t be THAT bad… I promise. Now, as for the amount of senseless back story & explanation, well, I make no promises there…

A while back, I mentioned both here in my blog, as well as comments I’ve made in other folks’ blogs, that I want to look at making Tank as my off spec, AND that I thought it would be interesting to try a BG or 2, with me simply working on healing as much as possible.

Without going dual spec with the protection tree, all I can do is get a second set of armor. Per commenter Sarge , the Cobalt set (not the spiked Cobalt, mind you) you can make a decent set of Tanking gear. So with this in mind, I ventured around Azeroth doing Smithing and stuff. I made the gloves, shoulders, helm and legs. I didn’t equip them, but stored them, and didn’t think about them for a bit.

Saturday night, I went into Alterac Valley (AV) with the intent of just healing, and fighting when needed. The results were surprising:

I was 6th overall (Horde & Alliance) in whatever order is “Default”
I was the Alliance member with the most honor (507)
7th overall in Killing blows
3rd overall in healing (I had 130,000, Kattastrophe had 300,000) Mine included 2 potions and 1 Lay on Hands. I couldn’t tell for sure, but 2/3 – 3/4 of my healing was done on others.

(sorry, I was too busy reading to think to take a screen cap or 5)

I found out the hard way that “heads up healing” (using the friendly bars, and no heal-bot or anything) is a MAJOR pain in the ass, when you have 20+ people in small areas. The health bars just jump around too much. Also, with limited Haste, and no real healing talents, it’s a challenge to get the heals onto the folks in need, fast enough.

AV worked well, since there are enough targets for me to heal, and I’m not likely to stand out as a target myself.

I tried it in Arathi Basin (AB) with horrid results. Even without the healing part, it was just a dismal showing by the alliance. I rarely even had the chance to play healer; I was too busy fighting and dieing.

So is healing an option for a ret pal? In a pinch, definitely. No way in hell could I fill the role of raid healer, let alone tank healer, but if a Boss fight were winding down, and the proverbial shit hit the fan, I could easily fill in a few gaps.

I have a point to this, I PROMISE, so please bear with me…
AAAAAnyhow… I then had my equipment failure (it’s an equipment failure, I tell you! A fishing pole does not a sword make!) I did a bit more smithing to level up enough to make a replacement 2H Sword; Forged Cobalt Claymore.

It was at this point I realized I could TOTALLY make this bitchin’ shield, the Saronite Defender. I had the needed Saronite, and I had the needed Cobalt. BLAMMO! Kickass shield. And an additional Smithing skill point.

Just pretend I’m James Burke, and this is “Connections”. There’s a point to all this, and I’m nearly there…

So, in a fit of boredom mixed with a tad of wanting to get richer, I made another foray into Wintergrasp to fish & mine. There were only a few minutes left until the next fight started, so I decided to skip the fishing and just run around looking for ore. I did manage to find a couple before the next fight started, and then


And I was ported out of the fight (I’m too low level AND I hadn’t queued up) I was on a ridge overlooking Wintergrasp, with one of the walls of Icecrown crowding over me. I couldn’t go into Wintergrasp, because I would get-


-Teleported back out.

I had used my hearth stone a short while before when something similar happened, so that left two options:

1 – sit and wait 20 minutes for my Hearth Stone CD.
2 – try to find my way out via Icecrown.

Remember, I’m level 74, so I can’t fly out, and the ridges here/there are jagged enough that you can’t travel on them. Also, I’m too easily bored to sight tight, so I chose…


I make it down off the wall, into the basin area, and get harassed by a few mobs, but I’m able to avoid fighting until I reach this door with (Leaving Corp’Rethar) and there are these four Abominations guarding the door.

I grabbed my 1H sword, shield, did my full buffing (food buff, potion, scroll) and waded into the fray. I only pulled one, and slowly killed him. I moved forward, started slowly killing the 2nd, when the first one respawned.

Oh, boy….

I grind them down and kill the second one, while dealing with the “third” one as well. I alternate Judge light (for health) and Judge Wisdom (for mana). While it’s tough going, I’m actually not doing badly. Especially when you consider they are 6 levels over me (which means I’m doing less than 350 DPS) I’m whittling them down, but it’s a slow crawl to zero mana and zero health. But, it looks like I’ll make it. Especially after bubbling and quaffing a mana pot (potion).

Here’s where I did a dummy: I didn’t keep going and walk far enough out of the doorway. And this means? You guessed it: the first (second?) abomination respawned and aggroed.

I was almost OOM (out of mana) and was dang low on health, so I just waited for the inevitable and died.

The good news was that, by now, my Hearthstone had come off cooldown, so I just hearthed back.

So what does all this drivel and long, meandering story have to do with anything? Well, as I said, I had also considered getting a tank spec, and with just how long I lasted against several over level mobs, I think it’s high time I actually put my money (and equipment) where my mouth is and “do it”:


Below are the character shots of me in both sets of equipment. I have Retribution Aura on with the 2H sword, and Devotion Aura (extra armor) with the Sword & board equipped. No other buffs, spells or anything were used.

Something I didn’t capture is that my DPS (melee) is about 295 DPSwith the 2H set, and drops to 245 DPS with the Sword & board. A ~20% drop in Melee DPS. But melee usually only accounts for 25-35% of my total DPS, which is what… a net 7% DPS drop overall? For a “DPS race” type instance/boss (most of them), that could be VERY important, but the overall survivability is through the roof. (ie, I would need less healing, even if I screw up)

I need to hit the test dummies and see how big of a difference this works out to be...

As the little summary below shows, MAN what a difference a few items can make. I *REALLY* need to take the tank set into a BG. The armor won’t make THAT big of a deal against casters, but I should be a not-so-holy nightmare for other melee classes…

One other thing though: the “tank” equipment lacks haste, so that the slooooow healing will be even slower.

So what does all this mean?

Regardless of skill, playstyle, or level, just tinker around. See for yourself what does and does not work.

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