Sunday, February 8, 2015

How are the Other Classes Playing?

It's like Hollywood Squares, only cool.

I've spent so much time with Merinna this expansion so far, but there have been alts. For better or for worse, I almost never put much research into the alts. I do have fun with them, of course, but there's jus not really space in my head to min/max multiple classes.

As such, I don't really have much idea of an idea of what everybody else thinks about their classes and can only go with my own limited observations. That sounds good and scientific, right? Of course, right! So, let's look in on:

Ephaena the Hunter
Ephie has long been a gatherer character and was the first alt to get moving after Merinna due to the need to animal skins in Mer's leartherworking.  

Ephie has long been a gatherer character and was the first alt to get moving after Merinna due to the need to animal skins in Mer's leartherworking. 

And hoowhee, is that a job the hunter is really good at. And trapping. And cornering rare beasts in Nagrand to build up Steamwheedle Preservation Society rep. The only caveats to all this is using Beastmaster specc. I've tried a few times to tackle large numbers of beasts or other adversaries in Marksman but inevitably pull aggro off my pet. So, yeah. If you wanna hunt, I suggest BM with a big honking bear like Digby holding your front. And use a good misdirect macro so you can just spin around and poke something new to go wrastle with your bear.

And, uh... BM and MM are both working reasonably well for me in heroic dungeons. MM is a little stronger, but that has always been the way of things. It's just that most of the time when I zone into a heroic, the tank starts pulling before I can switch speccs, so I never do during that run and nobody has any problems. 

I can't remember off hand if I wrote about this, but I had a very hard time with Merinna in the proving grounds when she was trying to get her silver honors for damage dealing. It didn't help that I'd never run these scenarios before so I had to figure it all out. But for Merinna, it took more than a dozen tries on several different tries.  When I brought Ephi to the proving grounds, she went straight through bronze and silver on the first tries and most of the way through gold before tripping up. 

Analysis: Hunter DPS is soooooo easy. I'm not saying that there's not superb hunter players who work really hard to get exceptional DPS in progression raid, but it's so easy to see why this class is the most popular among noobs. It's got so much solo survivability and can generate reasonable DPS in instances. What's not to like?  Yeah, I can't think of anything either.

Eridar the Mage
I was just saying something about solo survivability, eh? Guess who doesn't have any.

Mages have always been known as glass cannons because of how much power they can dish out while being somewhat fragile. It feels like the glass got even thinner. Eridar has died repeatedly in all the same situations that Merinna and Ephi trooped through. Merinna can bring a variety of different pains to the fight and heal herself. Ephi has a tanking pet that is capable of shrugging off heaps of damage and just collecting adds to the fight.

Mages... I dunno. I've been bouncing between speccs and have found the most success (or maybe, least failure) with Frost specc because of Frost's ability can immobilize horrible creatures while the mage runs away to safe distance. And even that doesn't work very well because Frost's water elemental will just keep blasting away like an idiot and break the immobilization. 

Arcane specc has a slow spell and seems capable of bringing more burst damage, but that level of damage can't be sustained. 

Fire's got nothing. Just nothing. It also spits the least amount of DPS of any of the speccs when I've tried it. This is a crying shame because Fire's always been my favorite. And I can't figure out how to manage any effective AoE with this specc either.

It's odd: at this point, all three speccs feel like they have very similar mechanics. The Mage has a bomb (Frostbolt, Firebolt, or Arcane Blast) and they have a procc insta-cast (Frostfire Bolt, Pyroblast, Arcane Missles). There's something you can cast on the move with limited damage. But after that, there's all these spells to choose with talents and then modify with glyphs and since Eridar is a third tier alt, I haven't got time to figure it out. 

I've given Icy Veins a read and it didn't help much. While Fire is my favorite specc, I've disliked Frost and so playing this character just really isn't very much fun. I'm sure there are some nuts who love this play style: speccing frost and blinking all over the field of battle to keep the horrors from eating them. But when I do this, I just pick up adds and die that much more horribly. All things considered, the class doesn't feel capable enough. Once I've 1/2 beaten my original target, and picked up a couple of adds, there's no effective way to handle all this. The bread-and-butter bomb casts take a long time and the instant-casts, AoEs and movement-cast spells feel horribly ineffective. No fun.

Chisako the Monk

The monk attempted to be a healer in Pandaria but I never got that hang of fistweaving, so she is a tank this expansion. That has been pretty fun really. But she got to Level 100 and passed the tanking trials and then shouted at by DPS scum in LFG when I couldn't grab aggro fast enough or control some of the trickier situations. I'd love to get better at this, but again, I play for fun, not for self-betterment and I don't have any fun in LFG.

Out in the world, The survivability of the Brewmaster and the damage-dealing abilities of the Windwalker are not compatible. I can fight a hard fight and it takes forever as a Brewmaster, or I can get beaten within an inch of my life in a short period of time as the Windwalker. In instances, my Windwalker DPS is very unremarkable. The fact that I have a lot of tank-oriented gear on instead of DPS-maxxing stats, isn't helping. Though... having Bonus Armor on maybe 4/17 pieces really shouldn't be that much of a detriment. 

This is another fairly frustrating character only because I'm reluctant to tank with her and solo work is so uneven. Maybe some more iLevel will balance this out a little, however. 

Heh, on another point: Chisako is my team's jewelcrafter and has so little to do now. After nearly four months of Warlords of Draenor, I have seen exactly two jewel sockets, into which were popped a couple of boring old mastery gems. Blizzard has utterly destroyed the jewelcrafting profession. cutting out any of the details of this profession and having us process talasite instead of real jewels. Since everybody is working on a legendary ring, there's much less interest in those, and there's only about 10 million necklaces that drop in any instance. Processing Talasite instead of sifting for stuff in our ore feels somehow industrial as well which, again, sorta ruins the fun of this profession. Walk this one back, Blizzard!

Melodia the Priest

Mel (formerly Phoebe, prior to her serveral transfer) turned out to be one of my favorite alts to play in Pandaria and has fallen waaay off in fun here in Draenor. She's having the same survivability problems as the mage does although seems more capable committing damage speedily.

Mel came to Draenor primarily as my team's one alchemist and has been capable of doing just about everything I need at level 93, so there hasn't been a lot of impetus to keep playing her (see all that Timeless Isle gear from level 90 she's wearing)

Alchemy is in a weird place. It's mostly reliant on Alchemical Catalyst, but that's one of the few things that is generated in garrison and is not soulbound. So Ephi the gatherer has produced a butt-ton of catalyst so Mel doesn't have to. Making the catalyst is also dependent on gathering Frostweed. The downside is that Frostweed only proliferates in Shadowmoon Valley, the entry level zone and nobody really wants to spend any time there. Nobody spends much time in SMV so nobody collects much Frostweed. And thus, nobody is making much catalyst anymore. Melodia needs to level up though so I can expand both her herb garden and the alchemy shed and see if some sort of self-sufficiency appears as a result. This is another effect of the garrison: actually having to go out and gather resources feels interminable


  1. So, where's Speela, the Rogue? She is a herbalist/alchemist. But, wait, Speela is a Night Elf. Perhaps there's some Night Elf racism going on here?

  2. Speela is the bastard child of Nagrand, Soma, lol and is thus left because Guild Chat is no longer needed when all the friends are on B.Net :P
    I jest, I'm sure Mer will get around to giving Speela a well deserved lvl100 status :D