Friday, September 28, 2012

It's Like Death Knights All Over Again

The post title was a comment I made in an instance last night regarding people playing monks.

Back when Wrath of the Lich King was released, there was a proliferance of Death Knights. I never created one (still haven't), but as they all hit level 80, suddenly the instances were filled with them. Unfortunately, they hadn't figured out how to play the class just yet and they were using Death Grip on everything they could because it was just so cool to do. Quite often, they'd do this when they were DPS, before the tanks pulled getting themselves killed in the process and making mobs go everywhere.

The new class also apparently brought out all the idiots. Every one that played a Death Knight had apparently forgotten how to play the game in general. They forgot that standing in fire was a bad idea. They forgot that running everywhere without paying attention to aggro range was stupid. They forgot that you should keep an eye out for patrols.

If you saw a Death Knight in a group, you had about a 90% chance of them being a complete dumbass.

The same is true for the monks.

While they don't seem to have nearly as many annoying talents that get them aggro after the tank pulled, the people playing them seem to all think they're tanks. With Death Knights, at the very least, they would be plate wearers, so they could take a bit of a beating, but the monks wear leather and it's only the skills of staggering the damage that make Brewmaster (tank) monks viable.

But most monks I've been playing with seem to just charge right in, and nearly get themselves killed. When playing with non-monk healing classes, healers have seemed to keep up. Disc priests are still my favorite healer to see with me. But monk healers at low levels have just seemed woefully underpowered. As I hit level 30 last night, they seemed to get a very notable increase in their healing power, although I'm not yet certain what it was. I did make my offspec Mistweaver, so I'll be trying healing myself sometime, but I haven't collected enough suitable gear just yet to want to try it out.

Ultimately, I did find one good group last night and they stayed in group while I queued for 3-4 instances in a row. At level 20 and 30, monks get a quest to go back to Pandaland for some spiritual training which results in a bonus 50% xp for an hour with a daily quest that does another 2 hours. So with this buff and some instance grinding, I made it to level 37 last night. I'll probably be doing the same tonight, but once I start hitting the upper 40's I start going through the annoying dungeons like Black Rock Depths which are huge. Already I've had several Gnomeregan runs which is a pretty dreaded instance. For some reason, people just can't figure out their way around it, even with the map. At least with BRD, I know my way around because I solo'd it a large number of times for rep on my main Tia.

Still haven't tried out the pet battles and I can't wait to start hunting the new pets. I heard rumor there's a giraffe. I think I need him. And every other new pet. But I'll get there.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

And We're Back

After letting my account expire last year, I took a year off playing. My long time guild had fallen apart. I'd joined a new one and had some fun for awhile, but they too had problems getting groups together consistently. I'd finished most of the achievements, including the difficult It's Over Nine Thousand!. It got boring.

So I quit. I played Old Republic for several months, but the extremely poorly organized launch with servers that were utterly barren killed that game. The raids were not too bad, and it's actually a very fun game to level in, but the endgame just wasn't there.

Then a few weeks ago, one of my friends in the real world completed heroic Deathwing and suddenly I missed raiding. So I resubscribed (sadly, I didn't use a scroll of resurrection), rerolled on her server (Aggramar). I considered transferring my characters, but to both server transfer and faction change was ridiculously expensive, so I started over.

I considered going the familiar route of Shadow/Disc priesting as I had with my old Tia, but the class has changed so much from what I loved about it, I decided against it. When I began, somewhere around the middle of Burning Crusade, classes only got one spec, and I went Shadow. At that time, Shadow wasn't much of a DPS spec. They were very weak, but their main value was as a support class. While they were weak themselves, they were able to help replenish the mana of others in their party. This meant mages and warlocks could DPS balls to the wall and not worry as much about running out of mana. This boost in their DPS ostensibly made up for the lack of DPS from Shadow Priests.

But eventually other classes got this ability, and Shadow Priests DPS gained, and mana became a non-issue in most cases. Shadow Priests became just another ranged caster class. So I figured there was no reason for me to continue. Instead, I created another paladin, although I did keep the trend of keeping "Tia" in the name as "Tiadin" as I'd done with my previous paladin.

I made it to lvl 65 before Mists of Pandaria was released yesterday, and it was time to try out the new panda monks. So far I've made it to lvl 19 and I've got a few first impressions.

Thus far, I've only had the chance to run one instance. I ended up in Deadmines, with a group of, surprise surprise, 3 other monks and a shaman healer. As a monk tank at lvl 15, I had a lot of troble maintaining aggro. At that lvl, monks only have one multi-taret damage attack to keep AOE threat and it has a long cooldown. However, the damage from the 3 DPS monks was so high, things were dying before they could do any damage worth mentioning, so threat wasn't really that important.

I'm not at lvl 19, and at 18, gained Breath of Fire which is a very strong ability that does a front facing AOE. It also combos with the previous AOE (which applies a debuff, slowing enemies) by lighting them on fire for a hefty DOT. With these, I have far less worry about maintaining aggro.

The other issue I've been noticing is that, at least with the gear the quest chains have been providing, monks on level have difficulty hitting their targets. I'm sure this will resolve itself with better gear and levels, it's extremely difficult as it's made killing quest mobs far more challenging than it should be otherwise.

I also feel painfully slow. With the Paladin, at lvl 15, I could pick up Pursuit of Justice which increases my base movement speed my 15% + 5% more for each charge of holy power. Since I tend to have quite a bit leftover after a battle, that's a 25% speed increase pretty much all the time. Sure, it's not a mount, but for those 5 levels between 15 and 20 when I was mountless, it was great. The same thing in caves or instances where I can't use mounts.

Monks, on the other hand, get a Roll ability which is a short speed boost. Much like Link's in the N64 Zelda games. But it has a very long, 25 second cooldown, although you can use it twice. At lvl 15, you can get the Momentum skill which gives you a stacking, 25% each time you use roll, which means you have a temporary speed boost. But the cooldown is pretty killer. Plus you have to engage it actively. Not a huge boost.

I'm pretty close to 20, so I'll get my mounts back. Which is fantastic. I really like that pets and mounts are shared across the entire account now. It's made moving to a new server much more bearable. Especially given that I'm such a huge pet collector.

Speaking of pets, I'm quite excited to try out the new pet battle system, but am not wasting any time doing so until I've maxed my monk. I'm excited to get back to raiding and hopefully I'll be having fun with my Kung-Fu panda.