Light & Leafy

Archive for the ‘leveling’ Category

When I was a newbie priest, a certain someone hooked me onto WoW by promising two things: 1. he would level with me so I could heal all the way to 70. 2. I would have a  veritable menagerie of cute companions that could follow me around at all times. The second point was accumulated along the way, though upon my first login I was presented with a white kitten and a snowshoe hare =)

E. followed through on his end of the bargain; we leveled all the way to 70 together – he pulling every mob in site and me gleefully smashing as many of my heal buttons as I could to keep him alive. It was all I really knew (for awhile anyway). After awhile my isolated bubble of WoW existence turned into a running joke which then morphed into an issue of pride. Even now I can honestly say that Edainne (on Terenas, not her clone) has never once been spec’d shadow. And as silly as it seems, it’s so much a part of her character (or what I envision her to be), that it’s not something I want to let go of lightly.

So, part of my preparation for Cataclysm was to create a Disc/Holy oriented spec  to level with. And now I’d like to share it with all the other masochists healing enthusiasts out there who want to keep their beloved priests smiting away. A couple of notes before we begin:

  • This is my core spec starting at level 80. The talent points you gain along the way can be used creatively.
  • I am NOT gearing this towards people who will be chain running instances. Personally, I like experiencing the lore and story lines that go into questing. I also get endlessly frustrated by random dungeons, and this is supposed to be a FUN experience, not a hair-pulling one.
  • This is NOT the quickest way to level. If your goal is to get to 85 as fast as draeneily possible (or dwarvenly or gnomely or whichever race you choose to play), this is probably not the way for you.
  • On that note, from what I’ve seen in the Beta, it is a little bit slower going leveling as a healer. I think they purposely didn’t try to tune the outside world for healers to level with because duel specs are very easy to come by nowadays, and it would be perfectly reasonable to assume that most people have some sort of DPS offspec.
  • My plan for leveling is to use one of the below specs for questing, and then having a “normal” PvE spec for healing instances with.

Part One: The Discipline Spec

Pros: Bubbles actually last the duration of a fight; reflective shield is AWESOME ; more mana efficient; smite heals you!

Cons: Slightly less damage done than a holy spec; getting low on health can easily turn into a death sentence

The Spec, tier by tier:

Tier 1:

Improved Power Word: Shield (2/2) – Because when you’re fighting mobs that can actually kill you, you want that extra bubble!

Twin Disciplines (3/3) – More damage = killing faster = faster leveling and/or less time getting acquainted with the ground

Tier 2:

Evangelism (2/2) and Archangel (1/1) – Basically each time you smite, you gain a buff that will reduce the mana cost and increase the damage of your smite, holy fire and penance. When you activate Archangel, you’ll consume the stacks of Evangelism refunding 3% of your total mana pool for each stack. It not only keeps you from going out of mana, but the wings are SO pretty. /love

Soul  Warding (2/2) : Reduces the cool down of your shields!

Inner Sanctum (1/2): I used this to jump down to the next tier. It increases the effectiveness of your Inner Fire or Inner Will. If you’re having mana issues, another choice could be Mental Agility (1/3) to reduce the mana cost of instant cast spells.

Tier 3:

Renewed Hope (2/2) – Increasing the effectiveness of most of your heals on a target with Weakened Soul (i.e. you) just seems like a good idea when mobs can bring you to half health in one shot

Power Infusion (1/1)- Because who doesn’t want a mini heroism?

Atonement (2/2)- Your smites heal you! No more wasting time healing when you can just kill  your way back to full health!

Inner Focus (1/1) – Because having a free heal is always a good thing

Tier 4:

Rapture (3/3) – Your shields will break often while questing. Might as well have your enemies restore mana while they’re at it!

Borrowed Time (2/2) – Again, since you’re likely to be recasting your shields every time you enter (or are about to enter) combat, it just makes sense to grant your Penace/Holy Fire/Smite a bit of haste.

Reflective Shield (2/2) – Because who doesn’t love going “neener neener neener” when a Twilight Cultist attacks you only to be smote by the power of your holy goodness!

Tier 5:

Divine Aegis (3/3) – Because you can never have too many bubbles. And it leads to the only spell that made me consider going Discipline full time.

Pain Suppression (1/1) – This is just one of those obvious choices once you start questing in Hyjal or Vash’jr and repeatedly get your face pounded in by geblins or cultists.

Tier 6:

Focused Will (2/2) – It’s not really that impressive if an enemy can take 10% of your health in one swing, seeing as you’re light filled, cloth wearing squishy. Which makes it awesome that as soon as they do, you take reduced damage for the next 8 seconds.

Grace (2/2) – When you’re soloing, chances are this buff will only stack on you (unless you have a penchant for healing any random passerby which, hi! totally understand that!), and increased healing is always a good thing!

Tier 7:

Power Word: Barrier (1/1) – This spell makes me SO happy. And, while in the beta, it got me through a lot of quests I was convinced I wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise (not even Guardian Spirit was working on those pulls).

3 Remaining Points – What can I do!

My favorite choices for the last three points you have as a level 80 are either Darkness for the haste buff or Veiled Shadows for the increased uptime on Shadowfiend. Either should be fine choices. You can also put points into Divine Fury to reduce the cast time on your smite and heal spells.

Discipline felt like a great spec for leveling because I never felt the need to constantly heal myself or sit and drink between pulls. I did feel like I killed things a bit slower than I did as holy though.

Part Two : The Holy Spec

Pros: Feels like it hits harder than Discipline; bigger heals when needed; fun chakra states; Chastise!!!

Cons: Less mana efficient; smaller bubbles lead to more push back; no smite heals or power word: barrier /sad panda

Tier One:

Divine Fury (3/3) – Because who wants a slow smite?

Improved Renew (2/2) – Now with 10% more healing to keep you alive after the bubble fails!

Empowered Healing (3/3) – As a holy priest, you’ll be healing yourself more than your discipline counterparts (damn them and their bubble mastery!)

Tier 2:

Surge of Light (2/2) – Free  instant heals that proc when I cast smite?! Yes, please!

Inspiration (2/2)  – Damage reduction is always helpful while soloing.

*Editor’s Note* Yes, you can take Desperate Prayer (the instant self heal with a 2 minute cooldown), but I happen to prefer to put my points elsewhere since I already have 2 free heals from being a Draenei herbalist.

Tier 3:

Holy Concentration (2/2)  – As a holy priest, smiting isn’t exactly mana friendly, so the more in combat regeneration, the better!

Lightwell (1/1) – I found in the beta that if I put this in the middle of a group of mobs and then pulled them to me one at a time, I used a lot mess mana healing myself than alternating smite with heal.

Tome of Light (2/2) – The more often I can stun an enemy with Chastise and prevent them from hitting me, the happier I am!

Tier 4:

Spirit of Redemption (1/1) – The iconic holy priest flail angel! How could you NOT take it?

Serendipity (2/2) – When you’re really in a pickle, and flash heals just aren’t doing the trick, a quick greater heal is just the pick-me-up you need!

*Editor’s Note* Tier 4 for holy priest doesn’t offer much by way of offensive or defensive spells. If there are other talents in earlier tiers, go for them! I’m a sucker for nostalgia and nothing quite makes me think of a holy priest as much as Spirit of Redemption.

Tier 5:

Body and Soul (2/2) – When you absolutely, positively have to get there on time! (Or cleanse a poison….)

Chakra (1/1) – Chakra: Smite is an integral part of a holy priest’s arsenal while soloing, increasing damage done by holy and shadow spells by 15%

Revelations (1/1) – Switching your Holy Word: Chastise to correspond with your chakra state. I found it helpful to enter the prayer of healing chakra during certain encounters so that I was able to use Holy Word: Sanctuary as a boost to my survivability.

Blessed Resilience (2/2) – Like Focused Will, it’s dependent on taking 10% of your health in damage in one hit, which isn’t especially hard to do as a clothie. Another good talent for staying alive while questing.

Tier 6:

Test of Faith (2/3) – Increased healing when you’re below 50% health (it’s surprising how much harder it is to fill your health bar once it’s crossed the half-way point).

State of Mind (2/2) – Now you don’t have to worry about your smite chakra falling away so easily!

Circle of Healing (1/1) –  Because it’s fun, instant, and I love it!

Tier 7:

Guardian Spirit (1/1) – The ultimate “oh crap” button. Saving yourself from certain death when nothing else will!

Wait, what about all the extra points I have?!

I like going into any of the shadow talents above (especially veiled shadows because I find my shadowfiend to be a helpful companion in taking down the resilient cataclysm mobs). There’s also the option of branching into Discipline for Twin Disciplines and Improved Shields.

Leveling as a holy priest requires a lot more active healing than as a discipline priest. Bubbles seem to run out a lot faster than I had expected or gotten used to in Wrath. That being said, the smites do hit harder, and the chastise goes a long way in dealing with mobs. The best pattern I found for effective holy priest leveling in the beta was to cast two offensive spells, then a heal and repeat that pattern (putting up power word:shield and chastising whenever available) until the mob dies.

The glyphs for both specs are actually quite similar. I like using whichever Prime Glyphs are my favorites (for Discipline, it’s Barrier, Shield and Penance and for Holy it’s Guardian Spirit, Renew and Lightwell), and focusing on the major glyphs to take care of my smites – Divine Accuracy (so I don’t miss often), Smite (so I do more damage) and Psychic Scream (so I can have another way of keeping mobs from hitting me without accidentally aggroing more).

So this is my tentative plan for Cataclysm’s release on Tuesday. I’m pretty confident that I can level as a healer to 85 without chain running instances (I’ve done it before), and it’ll be one of those fun challenges I’ll look back on fondly once it’s over.

Or I’ll realize how absurd I’ve been acting. One or the other….

How are you all changing your specs around to accommodate your leveling styles?

My little not-so-little hunter and her bestest friend Desja, managed to make it out to Howling Fjord other night. But alas, it was time to cook dinner, so the little mage had to entertain herself while the hunter went off to the kitchen to make them some delicious baked potato soup. But a soup of that tastitude takes quite some time to make, even though the hunter came back every now and again to make sure her new puppy was still happy.  She found the puppy and the mage were in cahoots, determined to wreak havoc in the dwarven inn they were resting their tired heals!

Look at how Desja convinced Penelope to stand on the table so she could get on top of the inn’s lantern! The tricksy frost mage knew Hyacinthe couldn’t follow her on top of the candle!

When Hiacynthe came back from the sweltering kitchen, Desja was no where to be found! She searched at gnome level for nearly a quarter hour before Penelope barked cheerfully at the doorway. Hiacynthe slowly lifted her gaze much, much higher, and found the cheeky mage giggling from a top the doorway.

While Hiacynthe made her way back in to the kitchen to add the wild shoveltusk bacon to the bubbly stew, Desja craftily cast Invisibilty and snuck her way onto a shelf above the cutting block.

Desja got hit over the head multiple times with a frying pan when she scared the panties off of Hiacynthe. Luckily, Edainne was just a hop, skip, and jump away to bandage up Desja’s wounds.

And that, my dear friends, is what happens when you get an antsy gnome who asks her hunter to make dinner rather than just conjuring up some delicious strudel.

Damn you viruses for thwarting my dispelly goodness! Random side note – imagine if Blizzard invited viruses into their world. Hey, Arthas baby, instead of developing a plague that’s categorized as a disease (I know, because Professor Putricide routinely diseases my normally handsome boyfriend and turns him into a walking, nomming Abom…who is still kind of adorable in a really strange way), why don’t you do yourself a favor and invent a virus since the magic wielding classes haven’t figured out a way to get rid of those yet.

My raid was called last night due to sickness in multiple households. Primarily those of the main tanks and raid leaders. Really, raids are so much less fun when your warrior runs into Festergut’s room only to fall asleep at the keyboard from the codeine he’s taken to assuage his nausea and body aches. I volunteered to bring people into ToC25, or break into 10 mans. Unfortunately, we had no tanks. And extra dps. Not a good way to break up into 2 10 man teams. And no one really wanted to stick around for ToC 25 man. I swear our 2nd night of raiding is cursed. We’ll clear a good portion of a raid our first night, and be lucky if we ever get back later in the week…

And let’s be honest – I really don’t enjoy raiding very much when Osy isn’t there with me. I have no one to vent to. And in the midst of healing I usually fail to call out the important things. Like Vortices. Or Deep Breath. So, maybe I was being selfish switching to my Shaman and Pally to get their dailies done, then hopping on my baby hunter for the rest of the night. I’ve always advocated that officers of guilds are people too. We should be sure to have fun so we don’t feel burnt out on WoW when our guildies need us most.

But did I do the right thing? Should I have tried harder to get people into a raid, even if meant pugging a quarter of the spots? Should I have suggested going to an old world raid for laughs? Did I let down the people I’m supposed to be leading? I know most of them understand perfectly well when our tanks are sick, there’s not much I personally can do, except make tea and a pot of chicken soup. And I know most of them didn’t want to go into ICC to work on Festergut and Rotface with PuG tanks. That does seem a bit reckless.

I have an enormous guilt complex (I used to actually apologize for hugging people if I didn’t ask them first…). I’ve gotten better, but there’s still a nagging voice in the side of my head telling me I’m not doing enough for others. I mean, it took me almost a week to decide that, yes, it was ok to let my alt use the Battered Hilt she won rather than give it to a non-raiding guildie who mentioned he needed a better weapon. Do any other officers out there also feel a tinge of guilt after having to call a raid? Even when it’s out of your control? The only time I don’t feel bad is on patch day when most of our team is having issues staying online.

In Happier News

My hunter has grown 3 levels in about 2 and half hours of play time. Between heirloom items (she’s rocking the shoulder, bow, and chest piece) and the dungeon finder, I’ve been LOVING bringing her to instances. She’s quested some in the interim (gotta keep Sprinkles active so my cute turtle doesn’t get excessively chubby), but the one problem I’m seeing with all this dungeoning is that her professions have definitely started to lag behind. I don’t want to buy tons of herbs to feed her inscription, but at the same time, I haven’t had any drive to take her and make sure her herbalism has caught up. Right now, I’m eyeing the idea of playing her as I wish until 58, then not bringing her to Outlands until she has everything up to date.

Bailey, mah kitteh, and Sprinkles, mah turtle, are the same level now. So I don’t feel like I’m neglecting any of my pets. I feel like such an emotional pack-rat. I know of hunters who have swapped pets because of dps changes or because one looks cooler than the other. I can’t bring myself to do that yet. My pets are special to me. And I so wish I had more than 4 stable slots…

I think I’ve rambled enough for one day. I also think it’s time for me to go eat something for lunch =)

AND! IT’S (ALMOST) THE WEEKEND!!!! YAY!! Let teh fun begin!

I don’t know how to put this in a nice way. I’m a crappy 61 holy paladin.
It all started about 2 weeks ago. The whole point of leveling Nesme was to play a healer of each class at max level, now and after the new expansion. So why not buy her dual spec and heal some instances between now and end game. I had a productive couple of days in the last two weeks where I got her up from 54 all the way to 61. Sure, some guildies were sweet and helped me along the way (i.e. ran me through instances I had quests for). I even *gasp!* tanked a Sunken Temple!  
I was prancing around Hellfire Pennisula, slaughtering Crust Bursters (and muttering under my breath when I found I couldn’t skin them), when I get a tell from 64 Warlock wanting to know if I could heal Blood Furnace. Sure! I’m a healer! I’ve played my druid, shaman, and priest long enough! I know what I’m doing!
Wrong.
I felt sorry for that group, I really did. I wanted to bring Edainne in just to prove I didn’t suck monkey toes, but any 80 healer would probably be able to handle keeping people alive (and killing the boss simultaneously -_-).  They were really sweet about it though, and stuck through it. After hitting some rough spots, we eventually found out pace and knocked out the instance with smiles and some pretty new gear.
What struck me as interesting was I used to believe paladin healing to be boring because of the lack of spells. I mean, I have 4 at my disposal, and that’s counting Gift of the Naaru. But then you have to remember about beacon, judging for haste (man, when I started working that in did that make my life a little easier), hand of (insert freedom, protection, salvation).
Oh, and did I forget to mention when I reinstalled WoW after updating my operating system that I made it so that all my healers have mouse-over macros? All, except Nesme that is. I spent the first 15 minutes thinking I was healing the tank when in reality I was just spamming holy light on myself.
Yea, I’m that special.
So, now I realize that I can’t just fart around for the next 19 levels. I actually am going to have to practice (zomgnowai!)…

Luckily, a guildie decided she wanted to level her death knight while taking breaks from grinding out her Insane in the Membrane achievement. She doesn’t like the quests in Outland, so we’ll have plenty of instance runs for me to become accustomed (again) to healing.
And that makes me excited. Like a puppy seeing his human walking up the driveway. With a steak. For said puppy…
/getslostincuteimagery.

I honestly had hoped to spend more time leveling my paladin this weekend. Between installing Windows 7 (I ❤ the slideshow feature for my desktop!) and reinstalling all my games (and setting up UI’s…),  I ended up only playing little Nesme for a few hours on Sunday. She’s now 52 (yay!) and a bit scratched up from doing a few battlegrounds.

Sunday night, before I logged, I did do one last thing I had promised myself I wouldn’t do until Nesme was at least in Northrend: I spent the 1000 gold and bought her second talent set. I had gotten into a bit of a rut while questing and thought maybe some instances or battlegrounds would liven things up for me. Apparently, no one actually runs lower level instances anymore. So, battlegrounds it was! Prot-ing it up probably wasn’t the best choice for BGs, but I really didn’t want to respec since protection was making questing noob-level easy. The problem with PvP, when you’re on the low side of the bracket, is not really being able to do much of anything.

“LOL i just killed the 52 pally”

“L2play nub”

So, what did I do? I hopped on my shaman, sent Nesme 1000 of Sairyn’s hard earned gold and then got on Fluffi to buy the BoA Mail Spellpower chest….

I gave my paladin a healing spec. And did a single AV where I was busting out holy lights and holy shock.

Now, I can’t wait to get 8 more levels so I can have Beacon of Light to play around with. So, now I just need to remember where a good place for questing would be. I miss questing with Osy; he made everything so much more fun since we were doing it together. And he has a much better memory for quest hubs than I do….

Last night, while doing my Argent Tournement dailies (I want a unicorn, dammit!), a friend whispered me. Originally, I excitedly thought he was going to invite me to Vault on my resto shaman when he wanted to make sure I had one, but that was quickly put to rest with his next queston: “how do you play a resto  shaman?” Because I knew he had a discipline spec on his priest, I went directly to specifics (keeping up earthshield, chain healing, etc.). But then it struck me that he might not have been asking for himself. His girlfriend had recently gotten her shaman up to level 80 and decided she wanted to try healing. I started to consider what would be good suggestions for anyone playing a healer for the first time….

Know your healing priorities
Getting used to being a healer can take some time. You’re not always going to have a lot to do, and you’re always playing to suit the needs of the group. Unlike dps, you can’t always focus on one target and then move to the next. I find it helpful to keep in mind a heirarchy of heals, especially during times when the pull may not have gone as smoothly as you would have wished.
      1. Tanks – If the tank dies, it’s not a done deal that everyone around you will die. But, it will make healing a LOT harder on you, and everyone may in fact die, especially if the tank is dead soon after the pull. In a raid situation, you may not be assigned to be a tank healer, but even so it’s a good habit to keep track of their health bars and help out if you notice them hovering close to death or if their healers have died.
      2. You! Yep, you’re the second highest priority when it comes to healing. A lot of healers, old hats included, often forget to heal themselves. Maybe their player bar isn’t in a place they normally look, or they’re so focused on their target that they neglect themselve. No matter how you look at it though, if you die, no one is getting your heals. And that can lead to a lot of wiping, especially in 5 mans.
      3. DPS. You DO want them alive. They sure do make killing things easier. But if you heal them at the expense of killing yourself or the tank, you may want to reassess your priorities.

Mana Regeneration Tools!
Every healer has them. And most are really good about making the most out of using them. But in the heat of battle, it can be really easy to forget to use them. I like having Scrolling Combat Text’s sound turned on to give me audio warnings, but you can also pay attention to your mana bars just as much as you pay attention to health bars. The cooldowns, no matter which healer you play, are in the 3 minute – 5 minute range, so there’s really no excuse for saving them for any particular fight. I’m not advocating wasting them every time they’re off cooldown, but if you’re sitting at a quarter of your maximum mana at the beginning of a pull, it probably behooves you to get some of the pretty blue stuff back quickly. And don’t be shy to ask for mana regeneration tools from the druids and priests in your party; even if they’re dpsing, they can still innervate you and cast hymn of hope.

Using HoT’s/Shields
Using your heal over time and shielding spells can be one of the more difficult skills to learn as a new healer. Even though I had been playing my priest for over 2 years, when I started healing on my druid I found that I was constantly renewing my HoT’s much sooner than I needed to and was wasting a ton of mana in the process. On my shaman, I started having the same problem with my earthshield, but when I tried to stop the unnecessary overwriting I started to have periods where the tank didn’t have it at all. What this boils down to is creating a way to track your set-it-and-forget-it heals. I found setting up Power Auras and Grid for those specific spells  made it move visible to me to keep track my heal-over-times , but just keeping a sharp eye on  the buffs in your regular party frames also can do the trick. Patience, above everything else, is key to using spells that do not instantly heal your targets. I know it can be nerve-wracking to see people slowly regenerating health, but if you’re tossing the HoT’s around and then using larger single heals immediately after the fact, you’re probably overhealing a lot and not being very efficient with your mana consumption.

Dispel!!!!
Healers come with dispels. Depending on the class you play, you can only dispel certain types of the four dispellable debuffs (poison, magic, disease, and curses). Druids can dispell poison and curses, priests get magic and disease, shamans get poisons diseases and curses, and pallies have poison, disease and magic effecs. A lot of healers I know don’t usually think about dispelling diseases; they just heal through the damage. That’s  not necesarrily a bad thing I take that back. It is a bad thing. These debuffs aren’t always just things you can gloss over by healing people through. Sometimes they’ll leech mana or explode doing damage to everyone nearby. Knowing what you can dispel and dispelling it quickly can keep you from having to heal so hard and it can get rid of nasty debuffs that can mess with other people’s playing (slowing their attack/movement speed, interrupting them, draining their power source, etc.). Granted, there are a few things you DON’T want to remove (Grobbulus’ poison injection, a warlock’s unstable affliction), but those are exceptions to the general rule of dispelling everything to make your job and the jobs of your teammates, easier.

Yay for spell books!
If you have your spell descriptions turned on, you might find that reading them through will give you a better understanding of what you have in your arsenal of heals. Take some time to really look at all the spells you can use and think a little bit about how each might be valuable in a combat situation. When would you use rejuvination over regrowth? If only the tank needs a heal, is chain heal really the best spell to use? If the entire party is taking damage, when’s a good time to use circle of healing and when’s a good time to use prayer of healing? Getting to know your tools is kind of like getting to know friends; it might take some time, but when you really need them, you can count on them.

Cooldowns are important!
A lot of the really powerful, save your patootie spells have cooldowns. You probably won’t use them frequently, but they do exsist and you should be mindful of them. It might be worthwhile for some of them to see what glyphs and talents are out there to reduce the cooldowns and get you to use them more. Even if you were to keep them at their standard cool downs, it’s still pivotal to learn what each of your “special” moves can do and make sure you have them easily accessible in case you do need to use them.

Start small and move up!
Chances are if your a new healer, the first instance you go into should not be something like Trial of the Champion. The level 78-80 dungeons do have a bit of a ramp for players to practice in. Utgarde Pinnacle and Gundrak are a bit easier, while Culling of Stratholme, Halls of Ligthning and Trial of the Champion are a bit more difficult. Starting in a place with a lot of trash can also help you warm up before you start healing through boss encounters. Once you’re comfortable with these, moving onto heroics shouldn’t be a problem. It’s easy to get into heroics now that you don’t have to be keyed, but learning to walk before you run has its benefits. The same thing can be applied to raid healing. You may be a pro at healing 5-man dungeons, but sometimes it takes a lot of getitng used to when you start healing in raids. Even if you’ve geared yourself up nicely from an assortment of badges, you might want to step into a Naxx10 or Naxx25  before you go into Onyxia or Trail of the Crusader just to get the feeling of what its like relying on other healers as your teammates, rather than being the single person responsible for the lives ove everyone around you. 

Take some time to gear up!
When you first hit 80, it may be a good idea to try to find a group you can dps in to get your gear a little more situated before you start healing yourself. Another way to optimize this “gear” time would be to try to run with a healer of the same class and watch them as they heal. They may provide you with insight before you start throwing around heals yourself. =)

Like with any kind of new role, you’ll get better at healing the more you practice it. Playing with friends and guildies can help you overcome some of the anxiety it can bring (it is a pretty big responsbility) and can provide you a safe place to practice without others having high expectations of how the instance should run. Recognize that sometimes others will die, no matter how hard you try to save them, and don’t be too hard on yourself while you’re still learning. Every other healer had to start at square one as well, and with time and practice became the talented players they are now.

Every time I’ve leveled, I’ve done it in exactly the same way. I’ve picked a hardy spec (Enhancement, Boomkin/Kitty — Edainne was different because she had a warrior at her side), and I breezed through the typical route of Darkshire, Thousand Needles, Stranglethorn. With patches easing the requirements of leveling, and bind on account shoulders that increase the experience gained by 10%, my little paladin, Nesme, seems to go through her levels more quickly. Which is great, if only because the recent paladin change of making exorcism a 1.5 second cast make it feel even more like all I do is sit there and wait for things to die by the virtue of my large sword.

I decided to make things a little bit more interesting for myself by allowing my guildies to choose my questing destinations and my leveling spec. Now my little ret pally is finding herself ankle deep in Syndicate corpses amongst the ruins of Alterac. When Alterac was suggested to me, I didn’t realize that a. all the quests originate in South Shore, and b. there are all of 4 quests. The ogres infesting the ruins are a problem, so you’re asked to show them who the dominant species is in the valley and shoreline south of the mountain’s base. Really, it’s a pretty easy set of extermination quests that make you feel as if the situation is no better under control than it was before you started slaughtering the dim-witted humanoids. The other quest line that leads you into the mountains concerns the Syndicate, a rogue group of displaced Lorderon citizens led by the former nobles of Alterac City. Again, it finishes with a sense of wanting — you kill a few of the organization’s leaders and the constable in Southshore pats you on the head and leaves you be. If these desposed nobles were really a threat, wouldn’t there be more of a follow up?

I’ve finished all of Southshore’s other quests, and will be making my way into either Desolace or Stranglethorn next (Haven’t decided, though the idea of leveling somewhere new is appealing; I just hope it’s not as ho-hum as Alterac and Southshore were).

A few days ago, a friend with achievements on the brain ran me through all the Scarlet Monastery instances and Razorfen Downs; the rampant slaughter he wrought was enough to get me most of the way to level 35. I’m hoping to find some more time this week to get her up to level 40 and maybe re-spend her talent points in the Protection tree. Tankadining it up could be a lot of fun!