Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Alt Club

Rambly post is rambly, about alts and paladins and tanking and dps and gearscore and another baby and I don't know where I'm going with this but hey it'll be fun.

It seems like everybody in my guild has at least 5 or 6 level 80 alts.  I have 10 characters on Baelgun, but my reduced play time due to marriage and baby has meant that my alt-o-holic ways have been curtailed almost entirely.

Lately, though, since Kaethir has basically reached the point that even frost badges are useful for nothing except primordial saronites for LW patterns, or down-ranking for gems or heirloom gear, I have taken the time to work on my highest alt, Alrom, instead of repeating the same random dungeons with a supremely over-geared tank every morning.  A week or so ago, he finally reached the level 80 plateau, and started the rep/gear/badge/daily grind.  *Dance time*  I have finally joined the Alt Club!

I have made no secret of the fact that one of the things I love most about playing a Druid is the versatility of being able to play whatever role I choose (provided of course that I have the gear, spec, etc. available at the time.  It should be no surprise, then, that my first alt is from the only other class in the game that is capable of all 3 major raid roles, a paladin.  A dwarf, which I suppose is a little odd for most players, but, well, there it is.

Being a fresh level 80 with essentially a few quest blues and greens and 3 pieces of heirloom gear to his name, I have been queuing as ret with him, dealing with the longer queue times in order to be a contributing member of the group rather than a severe liability.  I suffered, the first few days as an 80, from being limited to normal dungeons due to Blizzard's insistence that you have a GS in the 2500-ish range before you get to go into a heroic dungeon.  Once I picked up a couple of decent low-level pieces and bought my first T9 piece, however, the heroic queue opened up for me and off I went!

Melee DPS as a paladin instead of a kitty is a world of difference.  No button-mashing, no energy management, no worrying about clipping a DoT, no worrying about losing a buff or a debuff or any of the other 100 things a kitty has to worry about.  Just hit whichever ability is left-most on my bar and not on cooldown.  If I've managed to flub that up and nothing is off cooldown at the moment, hit Divine Plea.  Wash, rinse, repeat.  Watch things die.  It's so easy and smooth it's sickening.  Of course, maybe that's because I'm in a heroic with overgeared players and it doesn't matter that I can't get above 2k DPS yet.  Heck, 1.5k most of the time.

By the way, that notoriously long queue as a DPS?  Meh.  8-10 minutes is the worst I've seen.  That's still forever, compared to sub-30 seconds as a tank, but come on.  Half the time I queue up, take a flight path, do one Tournament Daily, take another flight path and the queue hits before I land.  I suppose in today's 'gogogo' world where 20 seconds is too much time to wait, most people would be upset.  Me?  I'm more than happy, even though I can't tank yet and that's really what I want to do.

I have been working up a prot set and spec in the meantime, and although I'm not there yet being a lot of times the only player in a group that is still actually pulling upgrades from heroics, it is moving quickly.  I need to get Kaethir off his furry rear end long enough to buy and cut a couple of gems for Al, for the pieces that I don't expect to be replaced within a week or so (like that prot t9 piece I bought), and take the energy to find an enchanter to put something, anything, on those pieces I'm bothering with gems for.  I'm not even really close to the 535 defense I'm told I need for heroics, but once I get there, look out, there'll be a fail-pally tank on the loose.

Since I don't want to be a total fail-tank when I do get to delve into heroic tanking, I have been taking some of my questing time to put on all my prot stuff and see how it works.  It's quite painful, in some respects.  Part of a prot pally's mana regen is based on incoming heals - which you don't get running around solo.  I am satisfied with the survivability, but the loss of DPS just makes soloing too slow to be much fun, so I am only going to be soloing as prot to make sure I keep my weapon skills at a reasonable level with whichever weapon is currently my best prot weapon.

Tanking also seems a little more smooth with a paladin to me, but then, I haven't been put in a situation where I really have to use all the paladin's tools yet.  It is a little overwhelming how much is available when things go wrong - hands, seals, hammers, etc. - compared to the bear's available responses, which are: bash, growl, and make myself harder to kill.  I suppose on one level it's easier to bear tank, because when stuff goes wrong you just do more of what you were already doing anyway.  Of course, I'm probably just blowing hot electrons because this will all be moot come Cataclysm anyway, but still.

Awhile back, I wrote a post wondering about what I would do with Alrom once I got him to level 80.  Turns out he's going to be doing the same things Kaethir does, except while wearing plate, casting spells, and wielding weapons, instead of fur, roars, and claws.  I suppose there's some psychological or metaphorical connection I should be making here, but at the moment the only thing that comes to mind is that I like tanking, I like damage meters, and I like hitting things.  Or maybe it's more that I'd rather do that than play whack-a-mole.  Or whack-a-not-green-bar.  Whatever.

I do still enjoy healing, and I may in the future trade in one of my pally specs for a holy one to find out what it's like.  Frankly, not being able to be a proactive healer frightens me, but in a heroic I don't expect slow reaction times to lead to wipes, and I don't intend to use this character in raids except, maybe, for the occasional weekly raid quest or alt-able portion of our guild raids.  Time will tell.

On a completely non-WoW-related post, my wife is pregnant again, or so the little peed-on stick tells us.  Some people seem to think that we are crazy, but I like the idea of having our first two kids so close together.  My wife insists that we'll be waiting for awhile after this one before trying again, even though she's the one that wanted a big family when we started this whole shindig.  I can't help but think that she said that last time and, well, look where we are now.  Not that I'm complaining, I like fatherhood.  Here's to hoping my second child is as happy and easy to take care of as my first.

I don't know if it was fun for you, but it was fun for me!  Wwwhheeeeeeeeee!


  1. Grats on making more ankle-biters!

  2. Sometime I should really get a couple pictures of my little one linked up here.

    We started feeding her some baby food just in the past week. My dad got a picture of her during her first experience with peaches that is just priceless.