Let there be loot!

The Draenor expansion’s absolute best thing is Findle’s Loot-a-rang. Did you kill something that’s surrounded by things you can’t or don’t want to kill? Send the loot-a-rang in to fetch the goodies. Did something you kill end up halfway down the hill with no way to loot it? Yup, you get your loot.

Hands down, without question, this little device made by engineers is a true treasure, worth the slot it takes up in your bag. Not only will it loot everything within killing range, it is usable by level 1 players.

Key layout is key

 

Overall layout

Overall layout

I’ve gone through a number of iterations of addons.  The one I’m most thankful for is Bartender 4.  For a newbie or someone who doesn’t see well, being able to move and expand the action bars is a godsend.

Closer look

Closer look

Having a mouse with enough buttons to handle all the toon’s movement (Anker 11 button gaming mouse) lets me keep my right hand for movement and pointing and my left for casting. Beauty.

How do you choose?

Before I get to the topic of this post, I want to say . . . I’ve decided to stop procrastinating.  I had originally intended to rewrite all the emails I’ve sent to various friends about my experiences in playing WoW, both the funny and the comically anxiety ridden but I will embrace that plan no more.  I hope to (eventually) drag those stories out of my email archive and share all the good stuff therein but for now I’m going to share what’s happening now and save what happened then for later.

After much consideration, I think I’ve finally got my cast of characters set.  I don’t have a Paladin or a Warrior but I can live with that.  I’ve got a wonderful elegant and serene druid, a powerful and stalwart hunter, a cunningly quiet rogue, a stoic and responsible mage, a carefree and crafty shaman,  a capable and practical priest and a serene and mighty monk.  I have deleted four hunters and shuffled my professions to cover everything.  The hunters were vital in learning to play the game, manage the professions and generally stay alive but their day of filling my slate are over.  I only need one hunter and my steady dwarf Frahngahg with her corehound Fluffy suits me perfectly.

Moema and the Fel Reaver

Moema and the Fel Reaver

I am currently running Moema, my gnome monk, through Hellfire Peninsula. I’ve been through this zone a number of times (3 hunters, a druid, a mage and a rogue) and with that level of exposure know it well enough to be fairly relaxed about questing here. Though I’ve been through it many times it’s still fun to play . . . it definitely is. Hearing the Fel Reaver up close and unexpectedly produces the same adrenalin spike as the first time through when the rat bastard stepped on Frahny and squashed her like a bug . . . <shiver> The continued interest in this zone is in the differences in the classes and core abilities of characters.  Each must approach the quests from a slightly different angle which adds a freshness to the fun.

Moema qualified for her flying license just before coming to Hellfire Peninsula.  With that license, because she’s a monk, she can use the glyph for zen flight.  Zen flight is interesting.  It’s like and very different from the druid flight form.  Moema can gather (fishing, herbs and quest items) using it just as the druid can, but unlike the druid flight form, there is no flight speed attached to this ability.  In zen flight, Moema flies at the same speed as her ground movement.  Before you think that makes zen flight worthless, read on.  Like the druid flight form, she can cast zen flight when she’s falling through the air or riding her gryphon.  She can cast zen flight from while on her gryphon.  Unlike the druid flight form, she can be knocked out of zen flight.  If she’s dismounted at sufficient height she parachutes to the ground.

While the flight forms have a few similarities, they are very different.  The monk in zen flight can cast quest items.  Moema was able to use the torch to burn the catapults in Hellfire Citadel.  Calfuray (druid), when she quested through, had to clear space around each catapult to safely cast the torch.  She either flew to the catapult, transformed to Moonkin and fought her way out (no casting flight form in combat) or she fought her way in, clearing the area so she could burn the catapult and cast flight to get out.  Moema flew in, hovered over the catapult, cast the torch to burn the catapult and flew away without killing a thing.  That’s not a plus if you like killing things, but it’s a fine option to have available if you don’t want to waste time killing everything in sight.

 

Because I’ve done this zone so many times, I don’t feel a need to do every single quest.  Once Moema’s leveled fit for the next zone, we’ll move on.  At this point it isn’t about the story, it’s about getting my girl leveled so we can go on to other things.  Once she reached level 60 she blew out of the Blasted Lands without retrieving, reassembling and resurrecting Loramus Thalipedes.  She skipped Surwich which is a quest chain I really dislike.

The point of the post is on choosing which race/class to build and play.  It truly is hard to choose.  I love them all.  They all have something that is unique.  A few have traits that are annoying.  The little “OOO” the gnomes make when they”re hit is irritating.  The lameness displayed by the draenai females is an unscratchable itch.  The sound dwarves make when they’re killed off is a bit off-putting.  But all in all, they’re fun, fun, fun.  So, how do you choose? In this I have no advice. An alt will get a new ability and I’ll think “this is SO cool!  How would anyone not want to play with this!?” and then I repeat the same thing with another race/class I’m leveling when a new skill arrives.  So, how do you choose?  No clue.

 

Oh, to be a rogue

When I first starting playing WoW I was truly overwhelmed.  I couldn’t keep my characters (commonly called “alts” in WoWland) alive.  For someone new to WoW there is so much you have to learn and your brain can only absorb a given amount at a time.  Every WoW player has been there.  The fortunate ones have a mentor, someone who had gone before (thank you Mickey) to ask.

Oighrig, level 74 rogue dwarf

Oighrig, level 74 rogue dwarf.  Do not ask me how she lifts her arms without impaling herself on the protrusions of her shoulder armor.  No clue.

By the time I got around to trying a rogue (sneaky backstabber class), I had played a number of different classes.  I had started and deleted a warlock (FYI, gnomes cannot see around their big blue demon sidekick which is a separate frustration), a mage (magic user who was so pathetic – totally my fault, not hers – she remained in the main Alliance city handling auctioning and never leaving town) and a bunch of hunters all at different levels all with different professions (alchemist, tailor, etc.).

By the time I started playing the rogue, and because the rogue made sense to me, I cruised along doing not badly until I hit Arathi Highlands and had to escort Kinelory (Night Elf druid) through a bad guy stronghold to grab plans from a wicked alchemist.  Escort quests are all about throwing you off the deep end with lots of people coming at you at once.  This is a quest I literally breezed through with my hunter so I didn’t give it a second thought.  After failing the quest three times in a row (either I died, she died or we both died, all of which equaled FAIL) I took a break to do some actual research on how you’re supposed to play a rogue.  Yeah, really.  Did I do it when I started?  Oh, come ON.  You know me.  I dove in head first and paddled like mad.  No one is surprised I drowned, least of all me.

So, how to play a rogue . . .

Rogues wear leather armor.  Okay, it’s better than cloth but it’s still one step up from tissue paper.  As an effective means of defense, it’s not cutting it.  This armor means, though rogues are a melee (up close fighting) class, they can’t take much damage before they croak.  If they stand in front of the bad guy and stab like mad they’re going to take damage and all damage costs coin to repair.  You’ve got to develop another way, something other than standing before the target with knife/sword/mace/axe in hand.  Points to me for figuring this out . . . yeah, I’m rolling my eyes at me too.

As I leveled my rogue I developed a style that let me do the job without taking a lot of damage.  The development of this technique happened over the course of leveling my rogue to the mid-sixties (levels are from 1 to 90).  After dying so ignominiously on the Kinelory escort quest, I finally started reading my spells and practicing different sequences to see what, for me, worked.  From that point on I started spending less on armor repair.  Who knew?

Rogues get sap and stealth early in the game.  Sap can only be used from stealth which means once the fighting starts, sap is off the table.  Sap, however, does have some pretty nifty uses.  If you have to take out a target and he’s in a group you can use sap to disable one of the group members thereby reducing the number to be fought by one.

Sap can also be used to make a target hold still so you can get a positioning advantage (behind them), pick their pocket and breathe before stabbing them in the back.  Go rogues!  So if you are working on a target group you can, one by one, sap them and pick their pockets.  Once all pockets have been picked, leave one sap-disabled before starting your combat.  Rogues get a lot of nifty junk boxes by picking pockets.  Oh, and extra coin.  Always extra coin.  Very occasionally they’ll get something really good.  I keep thinking if I sap one of the big guys I’ll get something good from their pockets but no joy.  Coin is all they offer.

Oighrig’s level 60’s rotation was premeditation (provides two pre-fight combo points which are vital for the use of kidney shot), sap (only if the target won’t hold still), ambush (extra points if dagger in main hand), kidney shot (disabling shot with duration based on number of combo points available), shadowstep (instantly behind target), backstab or ambush (depending on if stealth is still up) and, if the target hadn’t already dropped hemorrhage until it did.  In a level on level fight with a target she usually dropped her target before the cooldown on kidney shot expired.  This is with poison, sharpening and weighting buffs.  Go Oighrig!

If you’re playing a rogue, take the time to learn what your spells do and how your equipment plays into the damage you can inflict.  Rework your spell rotations each time you get a new spell or skill.  The goal is to drop the target as quickly as possible.  If your rogue is under level 90 and isn’t taking down most targets that were sapped before fighting in under five or six seconds, rethink your rotation. Use your grinding (kill 10, kill 15, etc.) quests to practice your spell rotations to see what works and get the timing down.  You have to be out there killing things, put the time to good use.