Thursday, 4 June 2009

It Looks Like We Made it to the End

That was brilliant.
We ran Halls of Stone, normal. As planned: the party summoned, I got the XP for exploration, I dinged. Awesome.

The party was Astrantia (Druid Healer), Spore (Druid Tank), Otoritakeo (Hunter DPS), Hunterette (Hunter DPS) and - of course - me. All Elunatics (thanks guild :).

The first run took around 45 minutes, and was pretty straightforward with no surprises or wipes.
At the end, recount was showing a dps of 657.

I went away, specced and glyphed for the first time - which felt good - and then returned to HoS. At this point - literally at the entrance to the instance - the server went down. A few frantic minutes of desperately trying to reconnect later, we're all back and ready to roll. Phew.
I specced Survival. For the record, I played Survival before it was cool :)
I like the traps. I reckon there's been a lapse in trapping since the changes in WotLK - I'm going to make them the focus of my spec (I didn't at the time). Let's see - I'll need Entrapment so it'll be worth getting the Frost Trap glyph, and the talent for extra crit against trapped beasties.
Bernard chose Ferocity spec, mainly because he hasn't worked out how to transform into another type of pet. Bernard is now fast, like a good wasp should be :)

The second run took about the same as the first. Again, for the record - there were no gear changes, no differences other than speccing and glyphs (all 'Major' - when they say minor they really mean it, don't they?).
At the end, recount tells me I did 1113 dps.

I make that a 70% increase in dps, not even having any experience at mashing the keys for Survival - and there are so many more keys. I really need to sort out my action bars! My 'rotation' just got 10 times more complex.

A few Talent-specific comments:
- I haven't had a chance to see what difference Black Arrow actually makes, and I hate that it shares CD with the traps - it seems so wrong!
- Is there any point having Arcane Shot on my bar when I've got Explosive Shot? I'll have to investigate. Aside from fire resistant mobs it seems like ES would be better every time.
- I don't remember Aimed Shot coming up as often as it is. Did that change?
- I know it must have been proccing quite a bit, but I never once managed to catch Lock and Load in time to fire off the extra shots! I remember it being more obvious before. I need one of the addons that kicks me when it procs.

After the second run was complete, I went Dual-spec. After over half a year Untalented, I felt the 1000g to have two sets was well worth it :)

Partly, I wanted to try Beast Mastery, which I've never used before. I didn't get much chance to test it out, but so far it seems a bit hands off for my style - I like to get more involved. I'm told BM is great for soloing, so I guess I can pull it out when the going gets tough. Given that having talents meant the going just got 70% easier, I'm thinking that might be limited to soloing lower-level instances. We'll see - I haven't written it off just yet. Though if I'm going to have Beast Mastery, I think it's time to get an exotic pet to go with it :)
I really like the caterpillar-looking worms in the Tundra, so I'm hoping there's a level 80 version of those to save training.

Whatever else happens, it feels great to have finally made it - to be able to bring something to raids rather than just filling a space; to take down mobs in almost half the time; to need less downtime between mobs; to easily chain trap; to not need to hold my traps in reserve in case of respawns (I can now take the first mob down before I handle the respawn, without dying in-between); to see Bernard get to the mob when I send him, not some time later.

It's all good.

Level: 80
Location: Halls of Stone
Theme: The Prodigy - Breathe
dps/ap/crit/hit: 1113/2041/15.35%/199

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

The End is Nigh

I haven't reported for a few levels, and yes, they were important levels. I haven't felt like there was anything much to say as regards any of it - well, anything that I haven't already said before. Different locations, same hard slog.
More than anything it's become a hard slog to the end, more a test of my endurance and will-power than anything else. At around 10 hours a level (more in many cases, and oddly only 8 and 6(!) in the cases of 78-79 and 79-80) 70-80 alone has been around 100 hours.

After over half a year of this, I'm literally at the finish line - I haven't crossed it, I'm saving that for tomorrow night.
I'm both savouring the anticipation and putting off the end.
The plan is this: I will ding, I will run an instance, I will finally (and for the first time) use my Talent Points, I will rerun the instance with the same party.
Then, with all pomp and majesty (what a bizarre phrase) I'll report back, here.
And it will all be over, completed.
I know it's just a game, but I have to admit to having mixed feelings about finishing; I feel elated at reaching the zenith of this task, achieving the final goal; I feel a little sad at reaching journey's end.
On the whole though I feel good about it. Lith will finally get to play with all the 80s that are forever having fun running instances; she'll be able to get reputation (and a mount that fits through doors); she'll be able to put out actual dps, rather than appearing just above the healers (actually there have been dps below her, but for their sake we'll pretend she was last).
I haven't decided what I'll do with the blog - I'll no longer be untalented (I heard that laughing, you, go and sit in the corner, now face the wall) so I don't know if it would make sense to continue with any more posts. I suppose there will still be opportunities to show progress and talk about differences between untalented and, well, talented, from the point of view of someone that really knows the hard way. So it's not quite over yet, just the hard part.

I'd like to thank those in the Elunatics that have been a major source of support throughout, particularly Astrantia, Otoritakeo, Hamek and Emmit, plus Ameliorata and Gwynce on the US servers (I hope they don't mind the mention :)
I'm hoping the first four (Astrantia et al) will be able to help me on both my final and inaugural run tomorrow :)
(final as untalented, then first as talented).
For those wanting to know, I'm going survival. I can't believe how much it's changed since I was playing my other hunter with talents. It's going to be fun relearning :)
For the record, Astrantia, no healer comes close, and Oto, no hunter either, you know your stuff.
Ham and Emm, you're just funny, but you can kind of play too :)
Am and Gwynce; thanks for everything, it's a shame it's not possible to transfer between US and European servers :)

Level: 79.9999999999 recurring (seriously, one kill and I ding).
Location: Dalaran
Theme: I think I've used it before, but - Life on Mars - it's the best track ever written.
dps etc.: tomorrow, for comparison before and after.