The Cranky Sysadmin A world of technology, fun, and ignorant rants.

February 29, 2008

Holy Crap! My talent build is awful!

Filed under: World of Warcraft — Cranky Sysadmin @ 9:16 am

In preparation for respeccing to restoration, I’ve been taking a close look at my talent build and my options in the resto tree. I’m noticing a mistake I made early, and a mistake I made recently. I also have some random points that I could have spent better, but aren’t a disaster.

My first mistake seems to have happened when I switched to dual wield at level 40. I didn’t respec and dump Shield Specialization. I also have a point in Anticipation and a point in Toughness that could be better spent on a totem talent like Enhancing Totems. My second major issue is now 3 points in improved lightning shield, which I never use since I got Water Shield at level 62. Since I’m trying to level to 66 or 67 before I respec to restoration, it’s probably not worth the time and money to correct these mistakes. If I were staying in the Enhancement tree, I would definitely fix those issues now.

The moral of the story is, no matter what class you are, if you get major new skills, or if you change your tactics in major ways, you should look at your talent build and respec if you can afford it. At least you’ll know where it is deficient for the next time you plan out your talents.

February 26, 2008

The Wonders of Water Shield

Filed under: World of Warcraft — Cranky Sysadmin @ 11:31 am

When Ep the shaman hit level 62, I started using water shield instead of lightning shield in the grind to level 70. Water shield is amazing! It allows for no downtime while grinding.

My grind rotation is now usually lightning rank 1 to pull, flame shock, storm strike whenever it’s available, and flame shock again when it runs out. I always recast water shield when the charges are used and I end the fight with full mana. I use a healing wave to top off my health, then move to the next mob.

I’m probably going to put full strength lightning on my hot bar again instead of rank one since I seem to be able to afford the mana. I may also put the highest rank earth shock back on my hot bar. I’ll see how the mana expenditure goes. With this shield, I’m going to start healing in instances again soon as I’m about to join a level 60+ raiding guild. My problem there will probably be threat more then mana now.


February 22, 2008

First time main healing an instance.

Filed under: World of Warcraft — Cranky Sysadmin @ 8:56 am

I main healed Ramparts last night and I did a poor to fair job. I saw a pug calling out for either a healer or DPS. Since I had the best healing gear, I got to try my hand at healing. My healing bonus ended up being about +350, which seems awful looking back. I used the grid addon to help manage the heals. The first thing I noticed is that I forgot to heal myself since I was focused on everyone else’s health bar. I probably need to fix that. The second thing I noticed is that I go through mana like college students go through beer. I thought having the max healing bonuses I could would make up for the lack of mana regen. Well, it didn’t. So now I think about how I prepare for my next main heal task…

  • I installed HealBot. It seems to be a great configurable addon which will cut down on the number of clicks and allow me to get better battle field awareness.
  • I am going to collect plenty of consumables for mana regen, like the mageblood elixir, superior mana oil, and some mp5 buff foods.
  • I need some healing enchants. The problem is that they tend to be expensive in materials for gear that I’ll likely dump soon anyway.
  • My hot bars need adjustment for group healing and DPS combination. I think HealBot will help since I won’t need a dedicated healing hot bar.
  • We had 3 healers in the group, and there was plenty of double and over healing going on. I didn’t know these folks, and I didn’t communicate too much about who heals what. I clearly need to do that.
  • If I main heal in instances, I’ll probably need to respec resto if I expect to be truely effective.

February 21, 2008

Leveling your Shaman

Filed under: World of Warcraft — Cranky Sysadmin @ 10:09 am

I’m not an expert on the topic of leveling your shaman from 1 to 60. There don’t seem to be many tips on efficient leveling of a shaman though, so I’ll present my uneducated opinions.

First, some general tips that apply to all classes:

  • Unless you have a high level toon to bankroll you, get 2 gathering professions like skinning and herbalism. They are great money makers, and you won’t waste time leveling an expensive crafting profession.
  • Do lots of quests. From level 20 to 60, the quest experience is amazing.
  • Use a leveling guide. like the ones found at
  • If you don’t use a leveling guide, an addon like lightheadd will help you study the quests without alt-tabbing out to a browser.
  • When you spend talent points, always look for max damage. No other talents matter as much for leveling as the ability to kill things faster. After damage talents, look for talents which lessen downtime. For a shaman, Shamanistic Rage is a good example as it lasts 30 seconds, regens mana, and causes you to take less damage.
  • Don’t buy any expensive gear as you level. It will become obsolete so fast that it will make your head spin, especially with the new experience system. Buy *cheap* greens if you find that your gear is really outdated.
  • Make a “bank toon” that sits in a major city and performs all banking and AH duties. I have a level 1 priest for this. Mail stuff back and forth between your main and your bank character. It’s amazing how much time this saves in travel.
  • Level your first-aid skill. Make bandages, use bandages, love bandages. If you use a bandage, you don’t have to waste mana healing or waste more time eating.
  • Level your cooking skill with meat you loot from animals. The better recipes will add buffs. If possible, you should always have a well fed buff.

Specifically for Shamans, here are some tips for the different level ranges:

Level 1-20: you’ll be doing a lot of lightning bolts and melee. Any gear that you buy or choose from quests should help the damage of these if possible. Nature damage bonuses and anything that increases melee damage is great. I spent my talent points in the enhancement tree, but I think that was a mistake. I probably should have gone for the damage talents in the Elemental tree. Enhancement really doesn’t seem to kick in the damage until around level 40 or 41 when you get stormstrike and dual wield.

Level 20-30: Be sure to train your travel form and use it all the time. It saves a lot of time moving from place to place. Get your totems as early as possible to get max XP from completing the quests. Start saving up cloth for turn-ins in the major cities. you’ll need a total of 240 each of wool, silk, mageweave, and runecloth. The XP received from the turn-ins is high and you get rep if you’re looking for that mount other then a kodo or elephant. You won’t be able to farm all of the types of cloth, and you’ll use some cloth for bandages, but keep these turn-ins in mind for the future so you don’t have to buy the cloth from AH later. At level 20, you’ll notice that the experience from quests goes up a lot. Skip any quests that are a pain or a waste of time. You really don’t have to do them. You probably won’t have to grind much either.

Level 30-40: Quest, quest, quest. Be sure to experiment with your new damage abilities to find the right combinations for you. Always have windfury applied to your weapon. It’s the best imbue you have. Remember your totems when you get in a pinch, especially stoneclaw. If you’re following Jamie’s leveling guides, you’ll find that you get way ahead fast. You can drop entire zones if you don’t like them. If you’re an herbalist, I suggest not dropping Swamp of Sorrows as there are a lot of nice herbs there that sell well on AH

Level 40-50: If you’re looking for the fastest possible leveling and you’re not enhancement, now is the time to switch. Be sure to pick up dual wield at 40 and stormstrike at 41. Get yourself some nice slow green maces or axes with strength, agility, and/or attack power bonuses. Have windfury on both weapons all the time. No other imbue is better at the moment. When grinding, use Shamanistic Rage every chance you get. It will reduce your downtime. If you’re feeling wealthy, or you have a wealthy high level, put firey or some other damage enchant on your weapons. If you’re cheap, don’t worry about the weapon enchants. The weapons will probably be obsolete in five or six levels anyway. Get your mount as soon as possible and say goodbye to ghost wolf form. Faster travel means faster leveling. Get the riding speed enchant on gloves, and the spurs for some boots. If you like instances, be sure to look up “carrot on a stick” on Start saving up for your your epic mount now. It’s around 600g total.

Level 50-61: You may be looking forward to the outland, but do all of the quests you can stand in azeroth as the experience you get for the old world quests is very high, even as you get above level 60. Get your epic mount as soon as possible. That thing is amazingly fast. When you hit level 57 or so, consider buying some greens from AH that come from the outland. The bonuses on the greens are much higher then anything you’ll find in azeroth, and the extra power will help you speed through the grinding quests. Once you’re in the outland, you may want to start looking on AH for the higher level blues for your chosen spec. You have plenty of time, so don’t buy something if it’s not cheap. When you hit the high 60s, you’ll have gear waiting for you that will help you contribute in instances faster, and get you into raiding faster… if that’s what you want.

February 20, 2008

What’s to love about Shaman

Filed under: World of Warcraft — Cranky Sysadmin @ 9:52 pm

I am enjoying leveling an Enhancement shaman. Ep is at level 61 and I’ve gotten a feel for the good and the bad. Here are the things I like about playing a shaman. Some or all of these may apply to other classes.

  • Resurrect really cuts downtime if you manage to die in a fairly safe place.
  • There are lots of totems that can help in a lot of situations.
  • The burst damage is great.
  • Shamanistic Rage.
  • Self healing.
  • Travel form at level 20.

There are more reasons I’m sure, but those are the big reasons I love my shaman.

February 16, 2008

Ep the Shaman hits Level 60 and Flees to the Outland

Filed under: World of Warcraft — Cranky Sysadmin @ 10:02 pm

I thought I was going to stick around in azeroth and do old world quests for a while when Ep hit 60, but the call of the Outland was loud, and now I’m wandering around hellfire questing and killing stuff. I’m collecting some healing gear and I’m setting up my healing hot bar since there always seems to be someone, “LFG healer for Ramps”. I can only muster about +200 healing right now if I swap out all of my stuff. Most of the gearing seems to be for enhancement and elemental shamans at this point. That’s nice for leveling, but it makes it tougher to switch to a healer role. I grouped with a warlock briefly to do some orc killing, and I’m seeing that my focus on DPS really harms my ability to heal. The poor Warlock died several times while I wasn’t watching the adds.

Well, I’ll have to learn healing soon, so Ramparts, here I come.

February 13, 2008

Outland Ho!

Filed under: World of Warcraft — Cranky Sysadmin @ 10:14 am

Ep is half way through level 57 and is looking forward to the Dark Portal to Shattrath run at level 58. After that run, I’ll be purchasing some cheap green outlands gear since all of my gear seems to be pre-level 50 now. Some of it is pre-level 40. I’ve started picking up some gear for Ep’s transition to restoration including a nice mace and shield. I’ll probably continue to work the azeroth quests as long as I can stand it since the XP bonus apparently still holds even after level 60.

My tactics haven’t changed much on Ep as far as killing monsters goes. I have the lowest rank lightning on my hot bar for pulling. I don’t body pull as much now. I also use only rank 1 earth shock to interrupt casters to save mana. Other then that, I still keep lightning shield up and do storm strike whenever it’s available. I use shamanistic rage if I’m low on mana and the mobs are close together. Usually I heal, initiate an attack, and activate rage. By the time I’m done killing 2 or 3 mobs, my mana bar is full. I’m going to miss shamanistic rage when I go resto.

February 4, 2008

Woohoo! Shamanistic Rage!

Filed under: World of Warcraft — Cranky Sysadmin @ 4:27 pm

Ep, the bluecow shaman dinged 51 this weekend. I picked up shamanistic rage at the top of the enhancement tree. It seems to be worth the talent points. I run out of mana a lot slower. I take damage slower. Currently, I just spam SR and storm strike when grinding and questing. I’ll be adding some smart macros for this soon. Now that I have the good stuff in the enhancement tree, I’ll be going down the restoration tree for survivability.

February 1, 2008

The Challenge of Getting into Kara

Filed under: World of Warcraft — Cranky Sysadmin @ 10:48 am

I’ve had my kara key for a while now and I’m still trying to help build a group for Kara. The problem is that as fast as folks hit 70 and get keyed, they leave for a progression guild. It’s a little frustrating, and I’m sure we’re doing something wrong in a esprit de corps sense. There doesn’t seem to be any. That’s probably partly my fault and I am looking for a way to fix it. My first try is going to be scheduling heroics and instance runs. If the schedule is available, and people have something to look forward to, maybe they will be willing to stick around. Our Guild master just hit 70, so I think that will help. I think she is looking forward to end game stuff and has been frustrated for a while about the exodus of 70s.

One of the guild assistants setup an addon called GroupCalendar. It looks like it will be perfect for scheduling events. The interface isn’t too awful, and you don’t have to alt-tab out to look at upcoming events. Here’s hoping we can do some fun events and get some of that esprit de corps flowing.

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