I did a lot of queuing with my Shaman and managed to get him up to level 26 by the end of the week though sadly the RNG managed to dump me into Stormwind Stockades something like five times, four of them in a row. It’s fairly impressive how different each run can be depending on the makeup of the party. For example we had one Warrior tank who was actually overpowered for the instance (level 30 I believe) and must have specific-queued for it so he could get some achievement or another, but at level 30 he was not quite soloing it which made the whole run a cakewalk for me since I basically kept Earth Shield up on him and /autofollow’d the rest of the way. It didn’t even matter what the DPS were doing since they were behind our level 30 tank in every category anyway.
But a couple of runs of the same dungeon later we had a Paladin tank who wasn’t familiar with it and pulled too much, lost aggro to the Hunter, kited the bosses around corners and out of my line of sight and generally wiped the party in spite of my best efforts to keep people alive. And by “best efforts,” I mean me casting four instances of Healing Surge, realizing it was hopeless and then spamming the party chat with my “Hope you like ghost running, chumps!” macro. As a matter of fact, the worst part about the Stockades (for Horde players) is that the stupid graveyard is way out in the middle of Elwynn Forest and since no one on Horde side spends much time in Stormwind it’s difficult to find your way back to the instance entrance to retrieve your corpse. It really only matters for the healers (of course) since once we’re in we can resurrect the rest of the party and naturally I was one of the n00bs who couldn’t figure out how to get back into the dungeon which meant about a twenty minute delay in getting back to the fighting, during which I endured a endless barrage of insults which were all less-than-clever variants of “You suck.” I didn’t feel it was necessary to point out more than once that if there hadn’t been some serious mistakes made in the first place, the run would not have been required.
The best run of the week was through Blackfathom Deeps, which is an instance I’m usually not crazy about but in this case it happened to land in that sweet spot for the whole party where it was challenging but not so much so that we were wiping more than a ragboy at a carwash. As long as everyone did their jobs we were fine—and you can interpret that to mean “as long as I kept the heals coming the bosses and trash would go down eventually.” Normally epically long dungeons irritate me (unless they’re awesome, like Stratholme) but in this case it was so much fun I didn’t mind and it was even in that terrific stage of level progression where, with the help of plentiful XP boosters, level ups come fast and furious. I dinged twice in the course of the run and I think if we’d cleared every last trash mob out I would have gotten a third level.
For a while there I was able to queue so quickly that I didn’t even have time to visit the trainer in between dungeons and went through a couple of instances without some spells I should have had. But, that was early in the week. By the time I hit level 25 the progression slowed and oddly so did the queues. I tend to log onto the Shaman after I’ve at least gotten my daily Heroic run done with the Mage which means often it’s toward the end of my play time and for various reasons it seemed that once I made it to level 25 I kept having to drop out of queues because something would come up and pull me away from the game, often because the 4-8 minutes I had gotten accustomed to waiting was stretching into 15-20 minutes. It’s interesting what a difference that makes in low-level dungeons: If you queue for under ten minutes and then drop into a relatively short instance like RFC or the Stockades, in ten more minutes you can be halfway done with the entire run and the whole process from entering the queue to collecting the final loot and teleporting out takes less than half an hour. On the other hand, a fifteen minute queue followed by even a medium-length instance (say, Shadowfang Keep) which takes 30-45 minutes since there are no skippable bosses easily doubles the time commitment to an hour. The main takeaway from this is that you can’t really be sure when you hit the “Enter Queue” button what you’re getting yourself into which is not really the case with the endgame dungeons (however, as I’ll discuss in a minute, those have their own variance potentials).
The main source of weirdness with the Shaman at this point is that I’ve been so focused on profession leveling that I keep outpacing my current game level. For instance, I’m running dungeons like Deadmines and Wailing Caverns which, when they drop cloth, has mobs dropping Linen Cloth while I’m needing Silk Cloth at least and can actually make use of Mageweave Cloth already. Most of my profession speed leveling has been done via farming with my 85 toons and copious use of the Guild Bank but now I’m wondering if my haste isn’t doing me a disservice because the whole point of choosing the dungeon-farmable professions was so I could do my own farming via the instances I was going to use for leveling. I keep hoping eventually I’ll catch up with myself, but now I’m wondering if that won’t really start happening until BC territory.
Oh, You Again
Since I’m trying to do What A Long, Strange Trip It’s Been with my Warrior, I tend to switch over to him whenever it’s a World Event week. Last week was Noblegarden, WoW’s Easter equivalent, and I spent the majority of the early week running around early zones collecting a zillion eggs. The fear I always have with these events is that there will end up being that one achievement I can’t get that prevents me from scoring the Violet Proto-Drake. Since it’s annual for each event, the only option would be to wait a year to try again.
Getting back on the Warrior was kind of weird at first because I keep running around in semi-decked out tanking gear most of which is middling quality at best for a guy who has been level 85 for most of five months. I say I’m a tank but I only tank on low-level instances with guildies and the challenge there is minimal plus it does nothing to help my gear. So I’m running around getting these eggs, feeling like it’s maybe pointless because who cares about a weenie non-tank even if he has a really sweet dragon to ride on. Then I start getting hit up by not just one but several random guild members who all want something from me because I’m a Blacksmith.
Now the first guy was very annoying in that he wanted me to drop everything I was doing and get him this blacksmithing stuff, not the least of which is the Elementium Earthguard, a shield it took me weeks to make for myself. I tell him I may be willing to do it for him but I’d have to run some heroics to get the Chaos Orbs because I don’t have any on hand. He keeps wanting to buy them off the AH for me and I can’t seem to make people understand that they’re BoP, visible to professionals who can use them only. No one else can even roll on them. No one seems to accept this. Anyway, he asks when I can run a heroic. I tell him I was thinking about trying one that weekend but he’ll have to wait at least until that evening because I don’t have time to run one just then. He keeps badgering me about it asking for times and schedules and everything until I finally make him some PvP plate just to shut him up (using my own mats of course) and log off out of frustration.
Later I find out that he was kicked out of the guild for driving everyone nuts with his begging for loot from all the professionals. Naturally I felt pretty good about having wasted mats on a loser like that. Then just as I’m licking my wounds I get two other people in the guild asking me for the same exact types of items. I tell them the same thing: I’ll try a heroic soonish but I need to make sure I get Noblegarden done. They’re not convinced and try to talk me into changing my plans, or, (sigh) buying Chaos Orbs themselves. I even get the guilt trip from one of them because he bought some mats sight unseen that I offered to use from my own reserves and he comes back with “Well great. Now I just spent all that gold on these for nothing.” Gee. Sorry for trying to be helpful buddy. I assure him if it means that much I’ll take the mats off his hands if—and only if—I get the orb and can make him what he wants.
So at last I decide to bite the bullet and run a heroic. Oh. My. Word. It was such an ordeal. It was one of those runs where nothing goes smoothly, the tank ragequits several times, we wipe on easy bosses because people don’t know the fight, the healer disconnects in the middle of a trash pull and we all have to pop every cooldown in the book to barely squeak out alive and on and on. It took forever. It was barely any fun. But I got the Chaos Orb.
Naturally, the very last thing in the world I wanted to do with it was just give it to some random guild dweeb. So I kept it. Mercifully it took me so long to get the thing that the people had mostly stopped asking about it by that point but I did have one of them ask about some swords I made for him so I hope he got the other gear he wanted in a different way but, man. I remember why I don’t like heroics with the Warrior. Melee DPS is blah and in heroics doubly so.
In between all this I was still collecting egg after egg and getting really sick of it until finally I had all the achievements for Noblegarden except this one: Shake Your Bunny-Maker. Now, most of them weren’t too tough but by the end of the week I had spent a couple of hours each at the Alliance camp in Tol Barad (which is where I got the other achievements earlier where you had to find specific classes or races), in Dalaran and doing flyovers of low-level Alliance zones (risking PvP death, by the way) and I still couldn’t find a stupid female Gnome. I know a lot of other Horde players on my server had trouble with the female Dwarf, too, but I lucked into that one since some kind soul parked a level 85 female Dwarf Hunter on top of the fountain in Razor Hill just so people could put bunny ears on her and get their achievements that way. A welcome gesture by a Hordie with an Ally alt, for sure, but not as helpful to me since I actually saw several Dwarves during my scavenger hunt but no stupid Gnomes. I’m sure if it had been a Gnome in RH the Dwarves would have been scarce because that’s the way it goes. But these are the kinds of achievements I forsee being my downfall in my quest for that stupid Proto-Drake.
I just hope I’ll find the time to keep trying later in the week.