Thursday, 30 April 2009

Hold

Ten is currently not playing WoW for bad customer service reasons, thus this blog is on hold.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Where are we?

A quick update on our current state of being ;)

Rukie and I have Wrath now. We are full out focusing on getting Jil'nasas and Fedara'ine to 68 and I am leveling my Death Knight to 70 in the meantime, all for RP reasons.

In other words, before we hit 68 and can take a breather from these two, there won't be many news from us concerning duo-ing. Jil and Fe still blast through the quests yawnfully easy now. I am slowly switching my gear back to Holy priorities, thanks to the much better itemization in Outlands. Jil is .... still a mana battery.

And Frosty is painfully cute.

Friday, 7 November 2008

That patch, so threatening...

Rukie and I have been taking up to level Jil'nasas and Fedara'ine full swing the last weeks. (We are level 60, close to 61, as of this post). There are several reason we are concentrating on them right now, from RP that we have planned for Northrend, to the patched in quicker leveling pace from 60 to 70.

And the patch is exactly what also brought a huge change to playing these two, at least for me. And that is threat.
All tanks have been worked over and now have a much better threat gain. And I mean much better.

Effectively, this means that while these two were a very challenging duo to play before, they are now very simple and powerful. Rukie remarked a bit ago "I'm not getting any aggro warnings anymore!". It took me five minutes of trying to be 'helpful' to realize that she did not mean her Omen was broken.
I, on the other hand, tend to read my e-mail while tanking.

I also haven't run any tests, but I do feel that my spells became much more powerful. Where before my role was solely to keep the aggro whil Jin'nasas burned the mob down, I am now doing half of our DPS as well in most cases. And the healing. Jil? Jil's just my mana battery.

So here I change my recommendations for the Paladin/Shadow Priest Duo:
It's for those who really like burning down groups of mobs fast. And single mobs even faster. And who hate downtime.

Friday, 24 October 2008

Quick update about Addons

In relation to the Addon post Rukie made, here a quick update:

As of 3.0.2, AnnoyRP is defunct. Its replacement mod is Chatterbox, which functions pretty much the same. You can even import events from AnnoyRP (or so it says, I didn't try it myself.)

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Bring me the head of... Oh wait.

Or: Achievements, the patch, and Hallow's End

So the patch came in last week, and it has only been because I have been enjoying myself with all the new stuff immensely that I have been a bit distracted from writing *cough* With the patch came the achievement system, inscription, new talents and new spells. Hallow's End also started last weekend and is my personal favorite in-game holiday. So here's a little list of things that are new to the game that pertain to duoing in some way.

Talents and skills
The new 51 point talents are in! Maybe you might want to try a new build, or are eager to try new talents in your favorite tree. Now is the time to experiment with builds that you might consider using for leveling in Northrend. I've personally already gone 51 arcane with Kel'rinar and will stick with it until level 80 at the least. Lots of talents were changed to work better with other players, such as the replenishment system spread around to several classes. It will be fun to see how these changes affect our pairs in the future.

Inscription
One of the (many) perks to duoing is that you share your professions, and your partner shares theirs back. I would recommend inscription, as not only can you spread the love of glyphs to your friends and leveling partners, but you can also give enchanter friends vellum for enchanting, making trading around enchantments easier as well. It is also a very nice money-maker at the moment, which can help to pimp up your lower level duo teams. (Also, penguin, hee~)

Achievements
While a lot of achievements are able to be completed solo, or are PvP, or geared toward group/raid play, there are a few that are just plain fun to do with a partner.
- Exploration: It can get lonely running around alone. Travel with someone so you have someone to talk to. Who knows, you might stumble upon something neither of you knew about and you can go "Dude, whoa." together!
- Classic Dungeon Master: While it is probably too hard to duo the likes of Molten Core or Black Wing Lair, the original 5 man dungeons of Classic WoW can offer nostalgia while you blast your way through them with a level 70 pair. Taking a duoing partner with you not only makes this go faster, but makes it more fun too.
- Loremaster: Well you already leveled by questing, so why not go do a few more to get the loremaster achievements? This can be fun to do with your duoing partner, because you might just find some quests you had never done before.

Hallow's End
There are several achievements for this holiday, but probably the biggest perk to duoing that this holiday now offers are the candy buckets. I will say one thing about them: Duu eet! Duu eet nao! Ten and myself have been working through these with our teams, and the buckets from Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdoms alone give well over a level's worth of exp. There is no risk of going into enemy cities, just hop on a flight path and visit the buckets at the inns, get exp, win. And don't forget to trick-or-treat every hour!

Saturday, 11 October 2008

The Pew Pew and the Sticks

Or: A first look at Shaman/Hunter

Recently, we have finally started our Shaman/Hunter duos. I have to say, it's interesting how very different these two duos play out although they are the same class combination. Have a few facts.

Ekozhan & Merion (Horde)
- Ekozhan is an an Enhancement Shaman, currently using axe and shield
- Merion is a Marksmanship Hunter with a Dragonhawk Pet

Phiaas & Xataar (Alliance)
- Phiaas is a Beastmastery Hunter with a Crab Pet
- Xataar likes crabcakes is an Enhancement Shaman and currently uses mace and shield

Biggest Differences
- as you probably already expected: the crab mostly tanks. The Dragonhawk mostly doesn't.
- when playing Hordeside, we kill very fast, especially with Ekozhan using spells to enhance his damage output and the pet adding Firebreath. Allianceside, we play more for endurance, Xataar saving his MP a bit more for Healing and the pet being able to take a decent beating for its level.
- there are no Shaman trainers in Silvermoon or Undercity ._. (No shaman trainer make Eko crai ;_; )
- Since the Horde team DPSs so fast Ekozhan tends to not use his totems often, only if there are several mobs. Things die before the totems offer much use so it is usually better to save the mana instead.

Things in Common
- low levels suck for Shamans. They run out of mana very fast and can't really hold up to a focused beating from the mob.The outcome of fights often hinges on how fast the Hunter can pewpew the mob down.
- Pew Pew. Much pew pew. So much pew pew.
- Pew Pew, oh wait, did we already say that?
- Both pets are quite good at snagging aggro, so both tend to take the hits for the shamans. Only difference is that the Horde team DPSs faster because the Dragonhawk isn't as sturdy as the Crab.
- Due to a... strange and interesting bug, the pets will often run several yards away with a mob, making the shaman have to chase it. Gotta get that exercise!

I realized a few things that I learned for myself when we switched between the duos. Mainly, how much you can lose your feeling for what your partner does when you're at Hunter range. When we started out with Eko and Mer, I never noticed just how fast Ekozhan burns through his mana in order to deliver good DPS. All I remembered about Enhancement Shamans was from playing with one at endgame. What a world of difference. Switching to Phiaas and Xataar very quickly showed me that even when being conservative with spellcasting and totems, a low level Shaman could get in trouble when the fight took too long. Back on my Hunter, I took it to heart and paid more attention to my own DPS output, so I could relieve the burden a little.

I also learned a few things from being able to switch roles. Mostly I noticed how quickly a shaman can get in trouble when being the focus of attention, so (thanks to the draenei racial) I try to keep an eye on Xataar's health and mana and I can toss him a HoT now and again if things get a bit iffy. Wonder if this means I can claim 'huntar lewt' on the +healing items. :D Also after playing on the hunter and seeing just how much the HoT can help all around, I started to conserve mana a little more on Eko to make sure I always have mana in reserve for healing in emergencies, since the Horde team doesn't have the HoT racial.

Monday, 6 October 2008

Duoing Mods

Hi everybody! Rukie's here to tell you about some mods that can make leveling with a partner a little bit easier on the both of you. These mods can also often be useful during solo or bigger group play as well. Let's get started, shall we?

QuestsFu

Probably one of the most convenient mods for duoing out there. The greatest feature of this mod, apart from a lot of its other nice features, is the quest objective announcing. Ever been questing and constantly have to tell your partner "I need four more lion toes, you?" Well, say goodbye to that, because this mod will announce to a channel (I recommend /party instead of /say for... obvious reasons) your progress on your quests. This can be customized further to announce objective progress, objective completions, quest completions or any combination of the three. Highly recommended for people who play with a partner and would like to do a little less typing while questing. It also has other cool features such as showing you the progress of your individual party mates in the quest tracker, etc.

Dependencies: FuBar
Alternatives: If you don't want FuBar, or are just interested in the quest status announcements, you could try PartyToGo.
Rukie tips: The quest announcements are off by default, and I would highly recommend that you ask your leveling partner first if they mind such a feature being on, because some people can be quite annoyed by mod chat spam of any kind.

X-Perl Unit Frames

An enhancement of the regular Blizzard unit frames. This mod works well for solo and group play, but can be of particular use to healers if you are duoing as a healing class. With this mod you can resize and customize your character frame as well as the party frame any way you wish, leading to a lot less headache for watching your partner's and your own health, mana, etc. It also has a nice xp bar that shows your xp as a % which can help you to keep your xp close to your leveling partner's.

Dependencies: None.
Alternatives: Pitbull is similar, or if you do not want a unit frame overhaul but are interested in being able to move around and resize the interface, FluidFrames is a nice lightweight alternative.
Rukie tips: Do yourself a favor and find a layout that you like and save it. X-Perl has a nice feature of being able to load layouts from other characters, so that you do not have to arrange things for every single character.

Omen Threat Meter

A multi-functional threat meter. This mod will help if you are a more fragile character and you do not want the attention of mobs. While it is useful to everyone, this mod is really great for DPSers that are running with a designated tanking partner... and fire mages, definitely fire mages. *innocent smile*

Dependencies: None.
Alternatives: KLHThreatMeter, as well as the built-in threat meter that Blizzard is currently working on. We will have to see how well it works out.
Rukie tips: These mods come in very handy, but remember that you should know your own limits without having to have an alarm go off in your ears. If you must, run without a threat meter for a time to see when you pull aggro (but tell your partner if you are doing such a test =D). The goal of a threat meter is to be an early warning system, not a bar that you live (and die) by. In the end you want to gain a balance between effective DPS and not making the alarm bells sound.

AnnoyRP

An RP mod? What? Yes that's right! While not necessarily its intended function overall, this mod can come in handy while duoing. (Not really useful for solo play outside of an RP aspect, though). Why is this mod useful for duoing? The answer is this: You can set it to say things to any channel depending on certain events. Events can range from using an ability, to getting hit in the face. Are you a tank and you want to let your healer partner know when you use Last Stand? Set a message to it and off you go. Want to scream like a girl when your mage character (who should have "Handle with care" printed across his/her butt) gets hit? This mod can do that too. It can even set a limit on how hard you are hit (any damage greater than 100, for example) so that your partner can know when you are really getting pwnt in the face. Fun!

Dependencies: None
Alternatives: Macros, though I will explain below why AnnoyRP is superior.
Rukie tips: Ok so I bet you want to know why you can't just make a macro for these things? Well you can, but for one AnnoyRP automates these events for you and has many more cases than a macro can handle... and it also can guard against spam. Rather than saying a phrase on macro click, it only says a phrase when an actual event occurs. So if you slam your Last Stand macro over and over you are going to spam party/say/yell with "HALP LOL" But! If you use AnnoyRP it will only say it once, because the ability was only used once. See? Cool huh? And as always, with mods that speak to chat channels, clear it with your leveling partner before you use it, because not everyone is keen on these things.

That's all I have for now, perhaps Ten has a few mods he'd like to suggest as well!

Ten: Nope, nothing to add. There are more helpful addons for all kinds of things out there, but we're not an addon helper blog ;)
All I can add is that QuestsFu and AnnoyRP (what a misleading name, honestly) would be the most helpful of the bunch for specifically duo-ing in my opinion.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Myths about Duo-ing

Or Ten's List of Facepalms

Myth #1
It's hard to stay within level range, and nearly impossible to stay within EXP range.

This one makes me boggles in its wrongness, and yet it is the most prevalent one. No, it is not at all impossible, it's not even hard. Not even slightly bothersome. All it takes to stay within EXP range, and thus level range, is, hold on tight: playing together.
Yes yes, we all went 'Duh!' now, but the truth of the matter is that few people seem to actually grasp this. The whole point of a Duo is to play together. Not to occasionally cross paths, or to be online at the same time. When you take two characters and you play them together, in a snuggly little party, it is in fact very hard to not get the same EXP at the same time.
There is only one exception to this simple truth: class/profession/race specific quests. It may, in fact it will very likely, happen that your two characters have to depart at some point to learn how to raise the dead, summon blueberries, or make little statues explode into someone's face. Or how to make your cloth evil and your ore shiny. Here, it may happen that the two characters will not get the same EXP from their appropriate quests, and here, it can become a tiny bit bothersome. One character may have to solo for half an hour to catch up. Or skip on some random quests to let the other catch up.
Other than that, however ... staying within range comes naturally, provided you really duo, and don't just coincidentally /dance on the same mailbox every now and then.

Ten Tip: Many mods can show you your EXP as percentages, making it a little easier to know on first glance if someone needs to catch up.



Myth #2
Duo-ing is slower to level than solo-ing because you get less kill EXP

Yes, you do get less EXP per character for a group kill than for a solo kill. However, you kill twice as fast at least. Depending on the combination, it can be even faster. Many class combinations also cut down on your downtime. And remember that as two people instead of one, you can often tackle quests that are too hard solo and give very good EXP. In fact, I found that nearly all 'group quests' that aren't dungeon related are do-able with a good duo. TBC introduced many quests specifically for two people, too.

Ten Tip: With the increased EXP gain and the many added quests, you have the luxury to tackle quests as early as you dare and forego green or even yellow quests when they are out of the way or slowing you down for other reasons. Take advantage of being a mini party and hack away on those orange ones for nice juicy EXP.


Myth #3
Duo-ing only works when you have class combination x/y. Other combinations would just be a bother and you're better off solo.

Any combination works. Really, they do. Some not as amazingly powerful or fun as other, but they all work. The secret is ... not really a secret. It's something you will hear latest when you start raiding: know how to play best with the other class. And unlike raiding, you don't need to know up to 9 other classes apart from yours. You just need to know one. Know what you do best, know what the other does best. And if your classes are similar (or even the same), assign your tasks. You have two Holy Priests? No problem. Just decide right away who heals and tosses PW:S, and who, protected by aforementioned PW:S, smites and melts the everlasting hell out of the mob.
Of course, roles in a Duo don't have to be that rigid. Flexibility is a good thing. But deciding who does what in advance will save you a lot of headaches, and enable you to be successful with any combo.

Ten Tip: If you don't have a healer and you find yourself getting damaged often, consider leveling Alchemy and keep your First Aid up. Potions and bandaging are much more useful when you have a partner that can distract the mob for a little while while you heal up.

That's the biggest misconceptions I heard so far. Maybe Rukie has some to add.

Been thinking on this one for a while. Ten's covered the most common misconceptions as far as I can tell, so I'll supply one that might possibly come to people's minds, though it isn't one I have personally seen often.

The fastest combos are two DPSers.

At first glance this might seem true. You blast things twice as fast so questing will go twice as fast. But one thing to remember is that in the case of most DPSers (save for perhaps the pet classes) there is considerable down time now and then. Casters have to stop and drink and melee have to eat or bandage. Pairing up a DPSer with a tank or a healer can create great synergy that, in some cases, almost eliminates down time for both characters and thus creates a very flowing questing experience. Some duos will obviously be slower (two healers or two tanks), but this just comes back to what Ten mentioned above. There really is no magic x/y combination that works whereas everything else doesn't. Just put two classes together and have fun with it, you might be surprised at how fun it can be.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Duo In Detail: Jil'nasas/Fedara'ine

Another one from Ten! This time, you get a colourful mix of Light and Shadow.

And a colorful mix of text! (Red means Rukie!)

Personally, I think Jil and Fe are our most challenging duo so far. I contribute this both to the combination of classes and the suspicion that we both are playing something that does not come as natural to us as other classes.
On to the details!

1. I don't know about Jil, but Fedara'ine is in fact being pimped every now and then. Plate is freakin' expensive.
The majority of pimping that I have done for Jil so far is for his tailoring (My fourth time grinding tailoring, god I am a masochist). I have spent a little money on buying him new equipment but generally he sticks with what he picks up along the way of questing.

2. Fedara'ine is Holy specced, on the way to 50/11/0. I have taken it upon myself to be Holy all the way from start to finish, even though I am not healing yet. (Apart from myself.)
Fe's gear on the other hand is mostly tank gear, with sword and shield. Holy paladin gear is extremely rare before endgame, and I find using tank gear a good compromise with my spec.

3 Jil is a Facemelter. Rukie will give you his spec. I'm pretty sure he is specced and geared all for the ow.
Ow, ow, and more ow. Spell damage is a bit hard to come by at lower levels but I generally go for int and spirit (for the lovely Spirit Tap talent) and then pick up whatever spell damage/shadow damage I can muster. His eventual spec will be 11/0/60 come level 80 barring any changes to the priest trees.

4. Our professions play little to no role to us currently, though having a little puny enchant for 'free' every now and then is nice. ... in fact, I don't even remember Jil's second profession, beside Tailoring. (Rukie, you'll have to write a good amount this time!)
Jil sews and picks flowers. Yes, he is a manly man. c_c Currently his tailoring doesn't play much of a role since it is a little behind his level. I just use it to feed Fe's enchanting =3 Eventually it will make for some nice gear to be had. His flower-picking was because I couldn't think of anything else, and it sounded good at the time.

Pros of this Duo
- Honestly? The biggest pro to me is the fun of Consecrating.
- Both of us can heal the other when needed
- it's something unusual and thus interesting to play
- Face melting... Hey it counts as a pro!
- I also find the small set of shadow spells that priests utilize as a bit refreshing from the mass of spells most other classes use on a regular basis. He has a small skill set until he has to suddenly drop shadow form and heal.

- Considerable power against undead mobs, with the ability to CC and fear undead, as well as holy bomb them (by the pally). This will be nice come Wrath. Corpses are everywhere up in Northrend. Go figure.

Cons of this Duo
- even with Salvation and repeated Self-Healing from Fe, Aggro is a risky game for Jil, especially since Vampiric Embrace (Shadow Form has helped against this a little.)
- Fe has few "Oh shit my squishy!" skills and often blows one of them on AoE Aggro generation.
- both burn through mana fast
- Aside from Fade, Jil has little ability to drop aggro once he has it, or to snare for that matter. If I am out of it for whatever reason and hit Fade at the wrong moment I get up close and personal with monsters in ways I never wanted to experience in the first place.
- AoE fear is fun but should be used responsibly, kids. *finger shake* (read: Only when you are in the middle of a waste land with no other mobs for miles. And maybe you still shouldn't use it then either.)

Fun Factor:
High when you like a challenge, low when you prefer straightforward and/or relaxing game play.

Power:
Subtle, but considerable. While it does not feel like we kill very effectively (I blame the rather monotonous pally tanking), these two show their strengths especially in a pinch. Basically, they are two healers and two DPS, and can combine resilience with damage.
Both holy paladins and shadow priests suffer from 'bad gear availability' syndrome at low levels as well, to an even higher degree than some other classes. Holy plate gear is next to non existent, and spell damage gear has the same fate. A duo of this type requires some patience to push through Azeroth and feeling a little underpowered until reaching Outland where appropriate gear for the specs can be obtained. However, as Ten mentioned, they are by no means gimped and have survivability that is near the power of a double druid duo at times.

This combination is recommended for:
People who would like to break the classic combinations of 1Healer/1Tank/1DPS. Also, beginning Pally Tanks, to get some experience with one of the more underestimated aggro thieves out there.
Also, masochists ;)
Yeah that just about covers it. =D

If we were to do it over
I'd pimp Fe's gear even more and right from the start. It really makes the tanking role considerably easier to have nice stats.
I would have paid more attention to Jil's tailoring from the beginning so that I could make my own gear upgrades, and probably kept up with his herbalism as well to have herbs to sell on the AH for extra cash. Otherwise he has done fairly well so far.

All in all, this duo is more work than any other we got that far, but I wouldn't miss it for anything. WoW is a game of many habits and standard actions. This duo shakes the old ways up a little, and keeps us on our toes.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Duo in Detail: Neqal/Luzim

Hey all, Rukie here! The next duo up for discussion is Luzim and Neqal.

Ten comments in green. (See a pattern here?)

These two are the second duo we began to level with dedication, and are currently our second highest level active duo (Dor and Lael are another 70 duo, but they aren't really active with leveling or endgame at the moment). While Kel and Vi are probably our fastest duo to date, these two are our most resilient. Here's a few facts about them.

1. Since these characters were pretty much a completely fresh start over on Alliance side, they have had next to no pimpage from higher level characters aside from a gold transfer across the goblin auction house so that they could afford their mounts. We also had a lucky epic axe drop which was sold on the auction house for a bit of extra cash. Otherwise they have paid for their own gear upgrades and professions.

2. Sum durid iz bare. Luzim is a night elf Feral Druid, his planned spec for level 70 is 1/43/17. I plan to both cat DPS with him and bear tank, which will just be a matter of collecting the correct gear for each role.
His professions are herbalism and alchemy.

3. Sum durid iz tree. Neqal is a night elf Restoration Druid. (I will allow Ten to provide his build)
Neqal is a full blown tree, with the leafs and the bark and the 0/0/61 at endgame pre-Wrath. In Wrath, unless major changes occur, it will be 13/0/58)
His gear generally revolves around +healing (as much as you can get at lower levels), spirit, and int. This leads to him being forced into a lot of cloth gear at lower levels.
(Are you saying anything against my dresses, huh, huh?!)
His professions are skinning and leatherworking.

4. The professions for this duo currently are not that big of an influence. Luzim's potions are not much of an advantage to him due to being unable to use them in animal forms. Neqal tends to never run out of mana (ever) and on top of that has access to two innervates, so mana potions are not high priority to him. However elixirs are always welcome, and in the future leatherworking will provide perks such as drums and crafted gear.

Pros of this Duo:
- Did I mention Neqal never runs out of mana? He doesn't. Unless Luzim pulls half a zone, perhaps. Then he can just use innervate. If that is not enough Luzim has an innervate for him as well.
( ... I use mana? I thought these heals are an inborn ability...)
- Bear druids have easily generated threat through swipe, and thus many mobs can be rounded up and killed in large groups without worry.
- Crowd control: Two roots and two hibernates for a potential to crowd control up to four mobs at a time depending on location (outdoors or indoors) and mob type.
- Lots of ranged capabilities. Runners can be caught with roots, or with moonfire (pew pew).
- The tank can take over healing in a pinch if the healer is out of commission, or is in trouble.
- Battle ressing. Soon to be out of combat ressing in the future as well.
- Convenient travel through water, over land, through air, as well as stealth capabilities.
- Elites are a piece of cake.

Cons of this duo:
- While mobs can be rounded up into large groups, killing is still somewhat slower than other duos. Cat DPS is fast, but limited to one target, while bear tanking can take many but is weaker at damage.
- No potion consumption while in bear/cat form.

Fun Factor: Very high. There is nothing quite like rounding up five or six mobs and not even being worried one bit about it.

Power: Their power lies in their resilience. They may not kill as fast as two DPS, or as fast as a fire mage with a tank, but nothing is going to kill them. They also make up for their slightly slower kill speed with next to no down time. Mana and health is regenerated while moving from mob to mob.

This combination is recommended for:
Anyone who enjoys being versatile and unkillable. This duo is very relaxing, but knowledge of the class is essential because sometimes the game can throw a curve ball and some quick thinking is needed to pull off a druid trick or two. Some patience is needed because this duo moves a little slower at earlier levels, but begins to pick up later as better gear and talents are acquired.
(I would also recommend this combination for people who are a little tired/burned out from other classes or even raiding, but still want to play something. Once you got into the groove and past the first 20 levels, this duo can work with a minimal amount of attention, I'll be so frank to say it. It doesn't have to, but it can.)

If we were to do it over:
I would have kept up with my alchemy to have access to the buffing elixirs from day 1. Only now do I have decent buffing to contribute since I have caught my professions up. Otherwise it has all been a great experience.
I have nothing I would change. Neqal is so powerful in his role that I have the luxury to be somewhat relaxed about buffs and gear and all that jazz before end-game.

In summary, they can stand up to anything and take it down, so long as they have the time. Don't get us wrong... druid-duo-ing isn't super slow or anything. It is merely not quite as fast as, say, two Fire Mages would be. Though that kitty does rip things apart... Druids offer a relatively worry-free and relaxing play experience, as it is not hard to stay alive with them. We will most likely stick together at endgame with these two because they provide two of the most intense roles of a 5-man, and so it is only natural that they would instance together. (And finding three DPSers is much easier than finding a DPSer, a tank, and a healer.)

That's all for these two, Ten will probably add some comments in a little later.

Sunday, 31 August 2008

Duo in Detail: Kel'rinar/Vijanwi

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Rukie is having a little weekend vacation, so you'll get to bear with me some more. Today, I'll give you some details on the duo of Kel'rinar and Vijanwi.

Rukie: I have added a few notes of my own, you can find them as red text.

Kel and Vi were the first two we purposefully played as a duo. That we decided to stick to duo-ing is in no small amount thanks to the sheer fun and success we had with them. Let me give some information that might actually be interesting to the more number-inclined players among you.

1. Neither of these characters was twinked. The only time we sent them gold from our rich pimps high levels was for mounts or professions.

2. Vijanwi is a troll Protection Warrior. Both during leveling and at endgame. The spec I aimed for from the start and still have is a classic variant of 11/5/45.
Vijanwi's gear is and always was decent, but nothing breathtaking, always obtainable through a minimum of grinding.
His professions are and always were Herbalism and Alchemy.

3. Kel'rinar was a deep Fire specced Blood Elf Mage at the time. (He is now an Arcane/Fire hybrid, thus I do not have a link to his spec back then. Maybe Rukie will when she reads this the next time.)
Kel'rinar ran a heavy fire spec for most of his leveling, and ended with 2/48/11. He went through a couple minor variations but it is essentially what he has always had. Now with changes coming in the beta I am thinking of an arcane/fire spec, either deep arcane with a dabbling of fire, deep fire with a dabbling of arcane, or an arcane/fire hybrid. For leveling to 80 I will definitely do something akin to 51/20/0 just for a refreshing change. What I change to and stick with at level 80 is still up in the air depending on the final result of mages once the beta is finished. *end rambling*
Kel'rinar was geared for crit and damage, and just like Vijanwi in gear that was decently easy to obtain.
Kel'rinar's professions are and were Enchanting and Tailoring.

4. Our professions did provide a small advantage during levelling up, as we had the luxury to consume potions and elixiers, enchants and oils freely so to speak. (Not to mention very good gear for Kel at endgame.)

Pros of this Duo:
- a mage that has a dedicated tank running with him can go all out on the damage.
- tanking for a crit-heavy mage is very good training for instances.
- Not to mention playing a crit-heavy caster with the "Don't pull aggro" thought always at the back of your mind definitely teaches you how to be a considerate DPSer to your tank.
- mobs die very fast
- in the event of adds, Crowd Control is decent to great (depending on the number and type of adds)
- Group quests that involve elite mobs can often be done with this pair due to having a character that can take punishment with a character that is free to DPS down the elite without worry.

Cons of this duo:
- no healing beyond consumables (This is the down side to this pair when it comes to some quests that involve elite mobs. Sometimes the damage is just too much.)
- mana is burned rather fast, so drinking is needed every now and then

Fun Factor: Great! Both of us could play our classes to their full potential before endgame.

Power: Considerable. While magic gets resisted more often by higher level adversaries, a prot Warrior can take quite the beating to make up for it. Really risky were only mobs with very high burst damage (some elites) or high magic damage.
Grinding went rather fast with good food and water.

This combination is recommended for:
Everyone who enjoys fighting with full attention and a certain amount of dedication, and isn't adverse to eating and drinking every now and then when the mobs hit hard or are very resistant.
I would also recommend this pairing (or something similar) for anyone that is new to tanking and is seriously going to dedicate themselves to it at endgame, as well as anyone that is new to DPSing or is not quite 100% clear on how threat works. Even if the duo does not last from 1-70, just leveling in the dedicated tank and DPSer roles for short time can teach a lot of valuable information.

If we were to do it over:
I would give First Aid and Cooking more attention. I neglected these during leveling up (I hate cooking), and they could have considerably decreased my own downtime.
Otherwise, I wouldn't change a thing.
I would probably also have dedicated myself more to cooking along the way. I have leveled up cooking to 375 on Kel now that he is 70, so it will be interesting to see how this will benefit this duo on their journey from 70 to 80. (Lots of nice buff foods on the horizon, it looks like.) Other than that, I too wouldn't change a thing.

All in all, we flew through the content with these two, and we both gained a certain amount of satisfaction from being able to fully utilize our class. Every now and then, I curse at Kel'rinar for critting so much, but mostly in good will. He keeps me on my toes.
I crit out of love, I really do. :3
We still stick together with these two at endgame and tend to do most 5-mans with this duo. I cannot stress enough what an advantage it is to know your tank/one of your DPS 'intimately', their rhythm, strengths, weaknesses and habits.
The level of trust built up is vital as well. A DPSer that trusts their tank is more likely to bring a mob back to them, rather than turn and run, forcing the tank to chase the mob. A tank that trusts their DPS will be able to know that mobs will be killed in the correct order and thus can have a much easier time with their threat generation. This sort of teamwork also makes the entire experience easier on the healer. Everyone wins.

So much for these two. I'm sure Rukie will have some comments to add next time she can.

Saturday, 30 August 2008

The Ten

My my, quite the intro Rukie did there already. *cracks knuckles* Very well then.

Hi. My name is Ten. You killed my father- *ahem* My apologies.

So I am Ten. I don't have such an illustrious past with computer games. My parents were quite... traditional in that context and thought video games were a terrible thing that makes children dumb and lazy. So the first games I came to play at friends' places were already on the PS1. I only remember them all very vaguely, video gaming was just not part of my life for many many years.

When I eventually had my own console, I was already in my mid-teens. The real gaming era came when I started to live with my then boyfriend. His older brother was a sucker for shooters, and supplied us ample with such classics as Quake, Unreal, Half-Life etc., while I brought my Playstation to the table and played a lot of Final Fantasy and Tekken.
I wasn't really a video gamer though back then. My real passion was Pen&Paper. Among the systems I played a lot was Cyberpunk and Shadowrun, Earthdawn and DSA, Vampire and Kult. I'll leave it at that, since this is about WoW, not P&P gaming.

My journey into Online Gaming started when I finally moved, together with my boyfriend-now-husband, and we got our own computers. I had been aware of MMOs for a long time, had poked at the ones that were free back then, like Ragnarök Online, but being anything but social, I found them more scary than anything. Other people being able to watch me fail at a game? Didn't sound desirable. And then Final Fantasy XI came out. I was an FF fan. I couldn't ignore that. I played.

Looking back, I think that was the best thing I could do. The game was harsh on failure, and amazing on community. It taught me patience, paying attention and cooperation in ways that I don't think my later MMOS would have ever accomplished, and at the same time took my fear of playing with other people away. To date, FFXI is my favourite MMORPG of all times.
Still, I stopped playing, because my only friends there left for other games, and playing FFXI alone is... just no.

These other games happened to be WoW. I had dabbled in WoW before for a while, alone back then, on the EU Argent Dawn server. Night Elf Druid. Diancecht was his name. I'm a sucker for Night Elf ears. Total sucker. I stopped playing, again because I was alone. But when my friends from FFXI asked me to join them in WoW, it wasn't all too big of a transition for me. I joined them, played... and got stuck. We are WoW. Resistance is futile. ... okay okay, I took a long break for a while. But Blood Elves lured me back. Yeah yeah, I like them pretty. Shut up.

As you could probably already tell from Rukie's entry, we RP. That's what I play WoW for first and foremost, the RP. Unlike her, I am not terribly fond of the lore and background. I love trolls, and I like elves. Dragons are cool, and the Lich King is somewhat enigmatic as far as villains go. That's it. But a good RPer can make do with every background, and take the best for themselves out of it. And Rukie is a great partner, and my guild has good buddies.

Enough mememe babble. On to my characters. I'll just steal Rukie's format, mwahahahahahaha!

Vijanwi
RP:
A young Amani spy, sent out to Silvermoon to sniff out the elves' secrets. One could say kidnapping a mage for questioning was his undoing, as that action snowballed into a line of events that ended him up far away from home, deaf and peacefully picking flowers. But he's a fierce warrior, trust me. Rawr.
Gameplay: I made Vijanwi for the reasons many people eventually make tanks. Tank shortage and the desire to get into parties more. Now he's my second main, and I love playing him. Before WoW, I was always a tank/warrior player. In old world WoW not so much, as the only viable choice for the tank role back then, the Prot Warrior, is anything but what I expect from a Warrior class. Stances and skills and subtle tactics, not the game play I wanted. But my enjoyment of tanking in itself overshadows that.
Vijanwi will become a Death Knight tank come Wrath, as this class is far closer to the gameplay feeling I enjoy. Yes, I am in the Beta.
Duo-ing: Tanking for a Fire Mage is sometimes a lot of work, damn those crits. But I can only recommend it to any upcoming tank. You learn very quickly to optimize your threat generation. And how to quickly grab something off of your poor squishies. The first time I ever tanked a heroic, I would have probably mercilessly failed, if I hadn't come to expect high burst damage from Kel already and wailed on the mobs accordingly.
And I can tell you, mobs go down fast. To date, I would call these two one of our most successful duos.


Neqal Leafsong
RP: Neqal is Luzim's little brother. He suffers from a form of anemia, and if he had to smack mobs himself, he'd probably pass out every five minutes. So instead he heals his beloved brother.
Gameplay: Rukie already mentioned it... Night Elves were our secret vice. I missed my very first Nelf druid for a long time, and playing one again is somewhat nostalgic.
I also hate Priest healing, but love Druid healing. It's amazingly relaxing to just toss some HoTs and then make a tea. And man, did druid healing become powerful since old world days.
Duo-ing: These two just. don't. go. down. We were in many tight situations, adds, surprise attacks, high level mobs we weren't supposed to take on... and we managed them all. Two druids are like playing a complete party. That for a while during our leveling I accidentally used skills two ranks under my current max rank and didn't even notice, says everything, I believe. Especially with two Innervates at our disposal now, we could probably fight for hours. If we wanted to. These two are our other most successful duo, I dare say.

Fedara'ine Beaugeste
RP: A Knight-Lady of the Blood Knights, who isn't really a Lady. Fedara's father was slightly obsessed with the idea of having a daughter at Fe's birth, and Fe does him the favour. Ah, family loyalties. (In fact, Fe's in-game model is female.)
Gameplay:
Fedara is a Holy Paladin, made initially because I want to have one of each roles at my disposal for endgame, but I just can't stand Priest Healing, as I mentioned already, and I can't get myself to enjoy playing a Tauren at all. Shaman healing always appeared a little ... weak to me, so I chose a Paladin. While I level Fe, however, he plays tank to Jil'nasas.
Duo-ing: This duo is challenging for me. While I do gear Fe for tanking, I have taken it upon myself to keep speccing him for Holy. Combined with the somewhat unreliable aggro generation of a Shadow Priest and the not all too powerful tanking skills at Fe's disposal, this is one hard job. On the other hand, being able to take on groups makes the killing decently fast, and I can't say it's boring.

Lael'valin Skystrider
RP: Lael has a ton of background as he's my second longest played character. To make it short, he is father to an adult daughter, very attached to his demons, an Illidari, a dragon and would probably still be stuck in his midlife crisis if Dorenar wouldn't tag him along to his exciting (and dangerous) treasure hunts.
Gameplay: Lael was solo'd all the way to 70. Nothing special there, Demonolgy specced until 70, then Affliction. I love Affliction. I love it that I can kill an adversary even after my own death. I love that I can run around in a fight without losing my DPS. And I love that as a Warlock, I can take a beating. Unlike my weaksauce mage neighbour, who goes down when sneezed at.
Duo-ing: Lael hasn't duo'd on life yet, but I hope for some good gold making together with Dor in the future. I expect Dor's stun abilities to make up well for the lack of a real tank, and his damage working well together with my curses.
On Beta, Lael has run around a bit with Kel, Demonoly specced again there. Warlock and Mage have fantastic synergy I must say, not in the least thanks to the new Curse of the Elements. While my Felguard is a terrible tank against our combined damage, it doesn't really matter. Mobs die like flies.

Xataar Machani Elai
RP: Xataar is a space pirate. I wanted a space pirate. Fuck logic. Space pirate it had to be. Yes, it was mostly just a fun concept at the start. It works fine though, since I don't expect EVE online from him. No flying around in zoomzoom spaceships. He's on Azeroth because it's a promising place for... business.
Gameplay: Xataar started as a Warrior, but then I burned myself out on the class with Vijanwi. Now he's an Enhancement Shaman, because I love dual wielding, and I never managed to get a shaman beyond lvl 30 before. Totems are fun, but to be honest, I'd never want to have to set them down constantly and with terribly great care, so Raiding doesn't sound that fun. Yet. With totems going raid-wide in the future, it might just be bearable again.
Duo-ing: No duoing yet, but I am very curious about the Shaman Hunter combination. It seems unusual, and I honestly can't claim I know what to expect. Except that it may get exiting.

Merion Rubycore
RP: Merion is Lael'valin's brother-in-law. Also a Ranger. There is not much else to say about him. Sometimes, a character doesn't need more than that to be fun.
Gameplay: When I first played WoW with my friends (see above), I made a troll hunter. I loved the class, even though micro-managing a pet is not exactly a passion of mine. I played that troll for a long, long time, and eventually, I got tired of Hunter. But now Wrath is on the Horizon, with exciting changes for the class. I can't wait to tame a Jhormungar. I was never one to play cookie-cutter specs, either, and currently, Merion has a Caster pet, and I intend to keep it too, in expectation of the promising twin-speccing in Wrath. While I mourn my bagspace, flinging deadly arrows around is fun, no matter the rest, though.
Duo-ing: What I expect first and foremost from our Changed-Roles-Duos is that we will become better partners with these. The best way to understand how to work with another class is playing that class yourself.

Bohoun Korgan
RP: A 'bad guy' to boot, Bohoun enjoys hurting, scaring and unnerving others, but knows when it's safer to behave. Not only his name but also his behaviour and way of talking are anything but elven, and no one really knows who he is.
Gameplay: I agree with Rukie... Shadowform is badass. It's also a class I never touched in old world WoW, since Shadowpriests were a joke back then. I admit, I wouldn't manage playing him if I had to solo, weak little slow-killing squishy that he is. But things like Vampiric Embrace fascinate me. And Mind Control is absolute fun.
Duo-ing: Can we say "Ow, the shadow!"? I expect there will be lots of eating in between fights, some bandaging and potion chugging, but packing a Warlock and a Shadow Priest together seems to me like giving a Fire Mage a flamethrower. I hope we will have lots of evil fun, despite our squishyness.

So much for an overview over our characters. In the future, there will be entries about our experiences and opinions for the single duos (what an oxymoron) and I am sure we will also have a few words to say about our antics in Beta. Sometime during the day, I will also probably put up a FAQ.

~Ten

Friday, 29 August 2008

The Rukie

Hey all, this is the Rukie! I'm here to give myself an introduction, as well as talk a little about my characters and my thoughts/experiences on duo-ing so far.

I suppose the most logical point to start is the beginning. You see, in the beginning it was dark. Very very dark. All agreed that darkness pretty much sucked and so through a series of events that no one can seem to remember we came up with Earth.

Ok, maybe that's a little too far back. Ahem.

I got my start in gaming when I was very young, perhaps five or six years old. Yep, I actually owned a ColecoVision. Played Smurfs and everything, I was hardcore. Went through consoles as they upgraded over the years, until I was about twelve and discovered the Internet.

Generally I either chatted, played solo games, or participated in writing/RP groups and clubs. I got my first foray into MMO gaming with Ragnarok Online, and while it was fun while it lasted, looking back on it I sometimes think what gamers wonder when they think back about certain things: "Why did I ever pay money for that?" Either way, I learned the awesomeness that is MMO gaming. Since then I've found myself hard pressed to play single-player games as much as I used to. I've since tried several other MMO titles over the years. So far I've found myself generally settled into WoW, mostly because of my attachment to my characters, my overall fondness for the lore, and just because it relaxes me (most of the time).

I began on Shattered Hand, a US PvP server, mostly because it was where my brother wanted to go due to having a long time friend that was making a guild there. I was somewhat familiar with PvP, having done it to some extent in Ragnarok Online. Through playing on a PvP server I learned many valuable skills (read: When you see a red name, stealth and hide in the bushes and don't come out until it is gone. If you are on an escort quest... well... you poor sod.) Probably the most valuable thing I learned while playing on Shattered Hand was the value of having a partner while leveling. Myself and my brother have played games together for a long time, so we naturally played together in WoW. We kept within level range of each other and generally completed all quests together. We had a blast doing so and I couldn't ever imagine leveling my first WoW character alone. I would have been absolutely lost and spent a good amount of time dead, not to mention bored. This, out of all things, was probably the most valuable thing I took with me after finally deciding I had, had enough of a PvP server.

I turned to the RP servers instead, searching across them for where I thought I might find a new home. Being a general lore nut, and having a writing/RP background, I figured this would bring a lot more enjoyment out of the game for me. Finally I settled on a server and have been there ever since. After a few years of playing I met Ten, who has already introduced himself to a degree (I lub my widescreen =O ) And through RP interaction we got to know each other and each other's characters. From there we discussed the possibility of leveling together, gave it a whirl, and discovered we make a great team.

So that brings us up to the present, let's take a look at my characters!

Kel'rinar Silverardor

RP: Young, hot-headed, and bratty. He is of small stature and rather weak, but makes up for it to an extent with his magic that packs a punch. He has been a dedicated fire mage until recently, and will soon phase more into being an arcane/fire mage from an IC perspective (I have already switched him OOCly). While a spoiled rich kid, he is quite loving and starting to be much more honest and polite. He will hump your leg for any food loaded with sugar.
Game play: A fire mage leveling up, I just very recently decided to spec him arcane. It has been a refreshing change that I am adapting to and likely will stick with into the next expansion. Of all my characters he is probably the one I simply like playing the most. Nothing as relaxing as broadsiding an unsuspecting mob in the head with a fireball.
Duo-ing: Kel is paired with Ten's Vijanwi, a troll protection warrior. While mages make decent soloing characters in their ability to snare, nuke, and make their own food/drink, I had still tried leveling one solo in the past and eventually gave up. Willing to give it another shot I rolled Kel and caught him up to Vijanwi's level. To say that having your own personal tank while playing a mage is awesome is an understatement. It is phenomenal. It completely turned around my opinion on this class and since then mage has actually become my favorite class (when in the past it was the one I generally passed over in favor of melee).

Luzim Leafsong
RP: A very old druid, old enough to have been an adult at the time of the Sundering. He is patient, well-read, and quiet. Despite his very calm demeanor while in his druid form, he is a feral druid and can be a ruthless fighter in any of his animal forms. He enjoys spending time with his younger brother.
Game play: I had played a druid before on Horde side, leveled up to 70, and played as restoration. While I love druid healing, I could never fully get into it, nor have I ever felt as interested in tauren as I am in other races. So when I learned Ten liked night elf druids, I said I did as well and we had a brief "No wai!" moment, followed by the creation of Neqal and Luzim. I had always wanted a feral druid, and so I thought a different spec would make leveling a class over refreshing.
Duo-ing: As mentioned above, we had both harbored longings to play night elf druids, but the loneliness of the Alliance side (most of our friends and our guild reside on Horde) had kept us from doing so. In this case the friendship and partnership enable me to be able to play this character. Were I leveling alone, Luzim would either be level 10, or perhaps not even exist at all.

Jil'nasas Sheidore
RP: Another old man. He is a former Kirin Tor magus turned Argent Dawn agent that spies on the Cult of the Damned... well until recently at least. He is Kel's master and was convinced to lay off the espionage at his apprentice's request. He now spends most of his time drinking tea and annoying the hell out of Fedara'ine.
Game play: I decided to roll him out of RP reasons and because I wanted to play a shadow priest. I already have a level 70 holy/discipline priest, but I tend to not do spec switching, but prefer to just make another character of the same class if I want to play another spec extensively. That, and shadow form is sexy.
Duo-ing: Another instance of having a personal tank. So very, very nice. These two are somewhat opposite from Kel and Vi in that they came together to level first, and from that stemmed RP, whereas Kel and Vi were meant for RP interaction initially which led to leveling together.

Dorenar Silverardor
RP: The uncle of Kel. He is an all-around adventure type, loosely based on Indiana Jones and other such similar figures. He thrives on exploration and thrill-seeking, though in contrast he has allowed himself to settle down in a nice, quiet cottage with his partner.
Game play: I love rogues, always have and always will. Any MMO I play you can guarantee I'll play a rogue/assassin/sneaky-type-person-thing-that-steals-your-underwear-before-you-even-realize-it. Being hidden is delightfully funny to me, not to mention just plain fun. Dor is the third rogue I have played up to high levels in WoW.
Duo-ing: Dor leveled mostly alone (oh woe!) up to 70. I'm now eagerly awaiting getting to see how he plays alongside Lael'valin.

Phiaas Xel'air
RP: A young draenei who is around the 'teen' level in his mental maturity. He is shorter and thinner than the average male draenei as well. He is fascinated with machinery and first and foremost an engineer. He has a strong sense of adventure.
Game play: Another case of a reroll from scratch due to being generally unhappy with my old hunter. Moved my old 70 hunter into retirement and made this boy. For the most part I am excited about the idea of being able to tame exotic pets come Wrath of the Lich King. Though there are many levels ahead of myself and Ten before we get there.
Duo-ing: He has not yet truly begun to duo with Ten's Xataar yet, but I imagine the totem buffs and the occasional heal from a shaman will provide great synergy. Also another case of having someone to talk to on Alliance side. =)

Ekozhan
RP: A Zandalar scholar out on a pilgrimage to travel the world and collect as much knowledge as he can. He is a very new character so his personality and background are a shell at the moment that I will build upon as I play him.
Game play: I have played shamans before in the past somewhat, and hold a lot of interest in the enhancement tree.
Duo-ing: Paired with Ten's Merion, I think it will be very interesting for the two of us to have two pairs in which we completely switch roles in contrast to Phiaas and Xataar.

Natalia Las'ala
RP: An exiled former magistrix of Silvermoon. She participated in underground activities and schemes, and in the end picked the wrong troll to cross. She is now short a hand and looking for ways in which to regain some power and dignity.
Game play: Yet another reroll from scratch (see a trend here?). I had owned a 70 warlock before, but again just lost interest in the character in general. I have hopes for either the demonology tree or the destruction tree (seeing some nice changes to destruction in the beta).
Duo-ing: Just caught her up to Bohoun's level and I'm not lying when I say: Woot! Finally! I was getting lonely!

Well! That's all I got for now. I promise my posts won't generally be quite so long, but since this was an introduction I figured I should go into a bit of detail. *bows* I now give the floor to Ten to introduce himself and his characters!

-- Rukie

An introduction!

Hi everyone, this is Ten. I'll introduce myself at some later time, too, but for now, here's a quick overview over our duos! We will write more detail about them in later posts!
Personal note: can you tell who has the widescreen? Can you? *grumble grumble*poser *grumble*

Rukie: Luzim, Feral Druid
Ten: Neqal, Restoration Druid
Level: 50
Status: Leveling


Rukie: Natalia, Affliction/Destruction Warlock
Ten: Bohoun, Shadow Priest
Level: 34
Status: Not yet started duoing


Rukie: Kelrinar, Arcane/Fire mage
Ten: Vijanwi, Protection Warrior
Level: 70
Status: Endgame


Rukie: Phiaas, Beastmastery Hunter
Ten: Xataar, Enhancement Shaman
Level: 14
Status: Just started duoing


Rukie: Ekozhan, Enhancement Shaman
Ten: Merion, Marksmanship Hunter
Level: 12
Status: Just started duoing


Rukie: Dorenar, Assassination/Combat Rogue
Ten: Laelvalin, Affliction Warlock
Level: 70
Status: Endgame, not yet duoing


Rukie: Jilnasas, Shadow Priest
Ten: Fedaraine, Holy Paladin
Level: 43
Status: Leveling


Maybe Rukie will elaborate on them while I sleep. Because it's late late late here. Otherwise, I'll be posting the juicy details tomorrow.

~Ten

Note from Rukie: Wow, tiny Fe! You weren't kidding! XD

We have arrived!

This will become a blog about the authors' personal experiences duoing in WoW.

Trust me, it gets interesting soon.