Friday, January 29, 2010

Mastering a Playstyle

I have been so bad at writing posts lately. I seriously have about a half dozen half-written posts that for one reason or another I just have not gotten around to completing, from how much I love the Blood Princes fight, to the level 32 tank who ran SM Library like he was an overgeared 80, to a set of diagrams on how I think the mechanics behind the LFD system works (for those rare times you end up not being the tank or the healer in a heroic run. yes, a heroic run, as in level 80).

But instead I'm writing this new post off the top of my head because of something Larísa blogged about. She was a little embarrassed to find herself in a heroic Forge of Souls run on her rogue alt, who only does heroics to earn frost badges that can be turned into Primordial Saronite for her main to use. It's not an uncommon practice. I know one guy who has five 80s and tries to run as many of them as he can through a daily heroic so he can get Saronite faster.

What I thought was interesting though, was that Larísa did not feel competent about playing her rogue despite having leveling it all the way to 80. She knows that she could improve her ability to play by reading up on the class and playing with Rawr, but she wasn't interested in that.

She listed her difficulties in playing a rogue and those reminded me of when my feral, Darkker, hit 80 and started doing heroics. The cat "rotation" is a bitch. No one tries to say otherwise. And plus we have to do it from behind. So when the tank's running around like a chicken with its head cut off or he can't decide which way he's going to face the mobs (I've had tanks that are extremely inconsistent about whether or not they'll turn the mobs' backs to the party), my dps shoots in the toilet.

Mobs run out of range and suddenly I'm not doing anything. My Swipe target's out of range, even though other enemies are not, and suddenly I'm not swiping. Or the tank only pulls the mob out of the "bad stuff" far enough that he's not standing in it, but there's not enough room for the dps to attack from behind.

I don't think I could ever be top of my game as a melee dps. Too much moving around.

But past our initial difficulties, that's where Larísa and I differ. Even though I do not expect to raid as feral, I like to "master" my spec, in so much as I can. I have Rawr set up for Darkker. I pulled down the BadKitty mod to track my bleeds and dots. I keep Recount up to see how I perform. I ask myself questions like "Is it better dps to Swipe when there are two mobs or should I single target at that point?" "How long does trash have to last to make it worth putting up Savage Roar?" "Is it better to Berserk before or after a Tiger's Fury?"

The upshot is that my non-raiding feral druid does much the same dps as my raiding moonkin in heroics. (I'm sure pitting them together in raids my moonkin would win because of the longer boss fights, but cat swipe spam is better heroic AoE and Berserk weighs short boss fights heavily in the feral's favor.) Most heroics Darkker dpses these days she's top of the meters and a favorite target of Vigilance from the warrior tanks, though I'm not entirely sure whether or not that's a compliment. I do try to avoid pulling aggro if I spot the risk in time.

And it's not just with my feral druid alt that I try to be a better player. When I went back to my warlock a while ago, after having not played her in months, the one of the first things I did was read up on affliction warlocks at EJ and check out a few warlock blogs. It might not be the best raid spec, but I like the affliction playstyle so I figure if she's going to be affliction she's going to be good at it. Three levels later my warlock is level 54 and loving her fel puppy to death.

Yes, I read blogs and EJ to figure out how I should talent my level 51, now 54, warlock.

But that's the kind of person I am. I like working on my rotations, my talent specs, learning how I can perform better as the class and spec I've chosen. One of my fondest memories was from my scrub days as a warlock (who was my second character ever and started with a ready-made guild of people I knew IRL).

A guildie/coworker found out I was struggling with leveling my warlock and I kept dying. Rather than help kill things for me (like most forms of help high levels give low levels), he took me out to Redridge where there were a lot of annoying gnoll mobs, some of which could not be pulled in groups of less than two.

There he taught me how to handle multiple mobs at once. He taught me how to pull, which spells to use and why. He taught me how to Fear one mob while dps-ing the other. He taught me how to bring back runners with Curse of Recklessness. He taught me how to manage aggro on multiple mobs with my Voidwalker. I would be responsible for killing the mobs I pulled. He'd only intervene if it looked like I was going to die.

I learned to play. More than that, my guildie had laid down the foundations for a potential warlock wrecking machine.

Though I found the lessons to be frightfully hard at the time, it's now common for my warlock to move from one mob to another before the last one's completely dead, and Fear and Death Coil are second nature. My warlock rarely dies while questing anymore, even when she's fighting multiple mobs above her level. She's taken out elites the same level she is.

I don't know what her performance would be in a raid, since she might never reach max level, but I like the feeling that I know what I'm doing, and I want the feeling with any character I play for an extended amount of time. I couldn't go to 80 on a character I didn't want to master. I might never get there, but I like to try.


Klepsacovic said...

That is a smart friend. I wish more people were like that!

Larísa said...

I wish I had more time at my hands. Then I would definitely put a lot more effort into my rogue alt. However - there is a limit of how much I can spend on WoW. I'm fine with doing research for one char, but if I'm going to do it for a stable of different classes - it will just be too much for me. That's what bothers me so much I guess. In the end I AM a performer, someone who want to be the best she could. Being mediocre isn't anything I'm proud of.

Hana said...

I probably spend too much time fiddling around with learning how to play characters. I even use Rawr when leveling depending on the circumstances. >_>

But I understand about the time and I don't mean to imply that you're lazy about your rogue.

I just really get a kick out of trying to be good. :)