Thursday, 30 December 2010

A Druidy Secret Santa

You may have seen other posts around the place this week from the Blog Azeroth Secret Santa. This year's was organised by Ophelie from Bossy Pally and when Santa visited me, I found this post from Gazimoff of Mana Obscura!  Enjoy!

I’ve been wracking my brains trying to come up with something to talk about. There was the idea of new druid forms, but I struggled to get beyond siege engine Mammoths. I was going to try a geeky play on words for Tree before I found out that xkcd had beaten me to it. I contemplated something about Gilneans being Gentleman Druids, all Earl Grey and Eton Mess complete with an image in my head of a bear wearing a top hat and monocle, carefully drinking from a bone china teacup. Pinky finger out of course.

In the end I settled on something I could actually talk about, even if it meant digging through my own Warcraft history. I’ve never played a druid properly (getting to 60 on refer-a-friend then mothballing the character doesn’t count), so I thought I’d talk about my experiences playing alongside them. These days having a druid in the group is great, especially if they’re dishing out Moonkin Aura like some kind of jolly avian Santa. It wasn’t always the case though: my perceptions of the class started off skewed and went downhill from there.

Back in Vanilla I saw druids as a multipurpose swiss army knife, a filler for the cracks and gaps in our raid. With a team of 40 people to organise the arithmetic was simple: each class gets five slots to distribute as they saw fit. Hybrids were largely seen as making up the numbers, occasionally allowing a priest to go shadow or a warrior to bezerk out for a while. The ‘hybrid tax’ seemed to reinforce this view. It looked to me like druids were intended to be inferior to other classes, paying the price for their flexibility in reduced threat generation, damage or healing output.

It’s only natural that this inferiority gave rise to players who went on a crusade to prove this wrong. The raidgroup I was in while we progressed through Molten Core and Blackwing Lair had their share of druids determined to show that they were able to compete with pure role classes. This usually took the form of bear main tanking on progression nights without being properly geared. Needless to say we wiped a lot.

The move into Burning Crusade laid the foundation of the now well-known mantra ‘bring the player not the class’. You can trace the changes from Scholomance and Stratholme class raids through to the rigid 5-man dungeons and 10/25-man raids as the starting point for this. Every class needed to play their given role on an equal footing, be it healing, tanking or dealing damage. It took a while for perceptions to fade but it began to feel like the hybrid tax was on the way out.

As the game has changed so has my attitude to Druids and other hybrids. Dual talent specialisation has made them one of the most useful classes to have in the guild – almost all are either capable tanks or effective healers regardless of their main spec. I think the attitude of druid players has also mellowed into one that’s prepared to be flexible in order to help the guild succeed.

From my cozy DPS bubble, druids seem to be in a great position at the moment. Veterans of the class seem to be reasonably comfortable at 85, while newcomers are trying out the class for the first time with the new Worgen and Troll forms. Levelling changes also mean that a lot of the traditional problems with getting a druid to Outland and beyond have been ironed out. It’s enough to even make me consider giving it another go.

To my inexperienced outsider’s eye, Druids have fought battles with game design and player perception, battles that have changed Warcraft for the better. I can’t say if the druid players of old agree, but the increase of bear tanks and tree healers means that raids are more likely to happen and that LFD queues are shorter. For this and more besides, we all win.

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Down in the Deep

Click the image for a 1600 by 900px wallpaper image.

Therazane's Throne, Deepholm

Want to see more pretty pictures? Visit R&R's Gallery Page.

Friday, 24 December 2010

Happy Winter Veil 2010

I wish you all a very Safe and Happy Winter Veil, whether you're in the tropical rain, driving snow, blazing sunshine or fiery elemental fires of Twilight Highlands.

I hope Greatfather Winter is kind to you!

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

One Year Already?

Today, the 22nd, marks a year since I started writing this blog.  Happy Blogaversary to me!

I'm not sure what it is about this time of year that makes people want to start writing, but there have been a number of Blogaversaries over the last few weeks. Perhaps it's the holidays coming up, the cooler weather in the northern hemisphere, sudden inspirations before Christmas... who knows?

It's also a year since I started playing again on a US server. A year ago, Mr Ang and I rolled two Druids and began our leveling journey again. In the last year I've leveled three characters to 80 (one to 85!), raided with two of them and killed a Big Nasty with one. I joined a lovely bunch of people in my current guild and really enjoy playing with them. I've explored the amazing World of Warcraft and tried to share a bit of my enjoyment of a beautiful game with you.

In blogging terms, this year has been very enjoyable! I've been able to have an outlet for my urge to write and even though it was pretty bad early on, I like to think that I've improved over the year. I've tried to create a site that provides some helpful and topical information, plus a bit of entertainment.  In the spirit of keeping light-hearted and friendly I generally try to stay away from strong topics and drama, although you may have seen me tweet about a few of those times along the way. In any case, I hope you've found something here that was useful or that made you smile.

I've gradually grown a nicely-sized readership, currently sitting at about 300 feed subscribers and plenty of people visiting each day. In total, I've had just over 50,000 unique visitors! Thank you all so much for visiting me!

I do owe readership growth to a few people and events:

  • Firstly, Lissanna from Restokin who was my Secret Admirer for the Love is in the Air event way back in February.  She featured my blog in a post and suddenly, I had more than 10 readers!  Thanks Lissanna <3

  • The two events I organised activities for attracted readers too - the Noblegarden Egg Hunt and the Harvest Festival Bake-Off, both of which had a brilliant response from the blogging and reading community and were great fun to put together.

  • My third major growth provider is Twitter. I highly recommend new bloggers to get involved in Twitter if you're not already part of it - the amount of support, networking and downright hilarity that comes out of Twitteroth every day just continues to amaze me. Thank you Tweeties, love you all!

  • A massive Thank You to everyone who has linked my guides on their blog or guild forum, especially the Gems for 4.0.1 post and especially Vixsin of Life in Group 5.  Wow, that was a big week.

  • I probably haven't been as involved in the community at Blog Azeroth as much as I should, but it has provided me with help and inspiration on a number of occasions now and I'm very grateful for that.

  • One more thank you to the folks at MMOmeltingpot, because they have linked me a whole lot recently and made me feel special.

There's a bit of a theme running through all that - Community!  Sharing and plotting with the people who also write blogs has certainly been my favourite part of writing one myself. I know it's been referred to as a bit of a circle-jerk but I just wanted you to know how much I appreciate you all, especially my fellow Resto Druid bloggers :) 

I also like to think of it as a bit of a (possibly dubious) achievement that the Community (blogs and links from guild forums) has provided all of the growth.  R&R has never been linked on WowInsider.  There are two reasons that I can think of for this: a) They don't know R&R exists, or b) They think it's rubbish and not worth linking to. I suspect the answer is a, but there's always that little voice whispering about b, you know? Never mind, the support around the community has been awesome and more than I could have asked for.

The next year will see some ups and downs I'm sure.  You may or may not know that I'm expecting in March, so the blog will either go on hiatus for a little while, or ramp up as I get bored during maternity leave. I'm certainly not intending to give up just yet, although my WoW time will most likely be reduced. Watch this space ;)

My Favourites

That's enough patting myself on the back!  As always, if you have any suggestions as to what you'd like to see on R&R or even just to say hi, feel free to email me or poke me on Twitter. 

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Mining Charts Updated

When Deathwing roasted Azeroth, he left fiery destruction in his wake. The volcanoes, tidal waves and rents in the crust thrust different metals to the surface, while melting others clean away.

I have now updated both my Mining charts, showing the post-Shattering zones where ores can now be mined, and my charts showing Gems from Mining and Prospecting.  

The current versions were created using current spawn count stats from Wowhead. I plan to revisit the charts in a few weeks once the stats get a little more mature. 

I hope you find the charts useful for leveling your Mining or Jewelcrafting!

Saturday, 18 December 2010

The Road to 85


Yes, a whole eleven days after the release of Cataclysm, Leesah has finally made it to level 85.

I'm a bit behind, especially since many were 85 within the first day of release, but this time of year is just plain hectic around here and when I can't skip sleep due to crashing early every night (energy vampire baby) I just had to fit in the leveling when I could.

I have to say, I have enjoyed every single bit of it so far! At first, the sheer number of people tromping through Mount Hyjal and fighting to tag each named mob got very annoying, but as I progressed through, the faster players sped on ahead and there were less and less to compete with.  Of course, then we were left with the insta-spawning mobs who could easily overwhelm a poor moonchicken on her own.

So where'd I go?  Mount Hyjal, Deepholm, Uldum and just a few quests into Twilight Highlands.

I thought Deepholm was very pretty but got a bit repetitive towards the end.  I LOVED all of Uldum, but then, I am a massive fan of both Ancient Egyptian culture and Indiana Jones!

So far I have only done Blackrock Caverns, Stonecore and Vortex Pinnacle normals.  Due to the nature of my play time this week I haven't really had time to devote to dungeons... but I expect to remedy that this coming week. Having said that, I have now replaced all my level 80 purples with greens and blues. I haven't visited the Justice Point vendor just yet.

Anyway now it's time to take my own advice and see how much of the gear I can pick up from my guides! I've reached the end, but it's just the beginning...

Friday, 17 December 2010

Balance Druid Gear Guide Updated

I couldn't leave out my more Balanced side so I have now updated my Moonkin gear guide to the

Balance Druid Cataclysm Pre-Raid Guide

Unlike the Resto version, I haven't given the items scores. The extra complexity in considering whether you're under or over the hit cap makes stat comparisons difficult.

Instead, I have listed available items more or less in order of item level, with priority given to items with Haste on them. This is not a BiS list - more of a shopping catalog to see what's available as you gear up.

I also marked the items with Spirit or Hit on them, to make them easier to identify. Since Spirit gives Moonkins Hit Rating with the Balance of Power talent, it means that we can almost use the same gear for both Resto and Balance spec. Convenient!

I hope you find it useful in planning for your Moonkin!

Wednesday, 15 December 2010


Click the image for a 1600 by 900px wallpaper image.

Nordrassil, Mount Hyjal

Want to see more pretty pictures? Visit R&R's Gallery Page.

Monday, 13 December 2010

It's Good to be a Druid

I've taken a break in my leveling to bring you this message.

If you play a Druid, you've probably already seen this.  If not, go and check it out.

Big Bear Butt reminded me today how awesome it is to be a Druid. It made me giggle with the exuberance of it all.

Here's the post, and here's the video that goes along with it.

Thanks BBB!

Sunday, 12 December 2010


This was the highlight of my weekend.

I was minding my own business, playing with archaeology in Tanaris to further Leesah's fossil collection, when the sky went all red.  I jumped up and down in my chair with excitement for a good 15 seconds, scanning around to see where Deathwing would come from.  A few seconds later I was dead.

If you're wondering how to get yourself toasted by Deathwing, the answer is... be in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Keeva has more information! 

In other news, Deepholm is pretty!

Friday, 10 December 2010

First Few Days

It's time for a meme!  This Cataclys-meme came from Janyaa of Muradin's Musings, although I read about it on Type "H" for Heals so it's doing a good job of being passed around so far. It also ties in quite nicely with this week's Blog Azeroth Shared Topic, suggested by Jaedia.
  1. Disk or Download?
    Download. It was the most smooth game purchase I think I've ever had - I didn't even notice it downloading anything!

  2. Did you experience any difficulties? IE: Login servers crashing, late delivery, etc?
    Nope, it was great. At 6pm my time on the 7th, I logged out with the rest of the US/Oceanic population and had trouble reconnecting for about 10 minutes. After that I was able to log in and train my flying right away. I'm feeling sorry for those people on high-population servers who have had hours of queues this week - I haven't seen one at all on Nagrand yet.

  3. What are you doing first? IE: Speed leveling to 85, rolling a new race, completely avoiding the new content, etc?
    Sadly I haven't had a lot of time to play this week so my Druid is still only level 82, but I will be leveling to 85 as soon as I can. I have been mucking about with Archaeology a little bit but haven't really looked at other professions yet.

  4. Mt. Hyjal or Vash’jir?
    Mt Hyjal!  As a Druid I felt it was my duty to head up there and see what I could do to help. I will probably take my Mage to Vashj'ir when I get around to leveling her.

  5. Worgen or Goblin?
    I rolled a Worgen, even though my other characters are Horde - I really wanted to see Gilneas and the other side of the quests I'd already done in Silverpine and wow, haven't they done a great job with that? It almost felt like I was playing a different game while working through the worgen quests. We'll see how much I actually get to play her. At some point I will roll a Goblin, but it's a little way down the priority list.

  6. Questing, dungeons or both?
  7. I intend to do both, although so far I have only been questing with Mr Ang.  I really wanted to do the first dungeons with guildies rather than randoms, but for some reason not many of my guildies have been online so far.  I'd really rather not pug the new dungeons but it might be the only way I get to see places like Blackrock Caverns while they're still relevant!

  8. What was the first piece of gear you replaced and with what?
    I replaced my Frozen Bonespike with Druidic Channeler's Mace.  It wasn't a huge upgrade, but I thought I might as well take it. I've since also replaced my Tier 10 head and Muradin's Spyglass!

  9. Did you take any time off from work or school?
    No. Since the game released at 6pm our time, I didn't need to miss out on work or sleep to play right away. The following couple of days I was pretty distracted, but it's been busy at work so I wouldn't really have been able to take time off.

  10. Will you be keeping the same spec and main, or changing to a different toon?
    My Druid is my main and will be for the foreseeable future.  I love playing her too much to change :) I'm leveling as Balance but will go back to Resto for dungeons.

  11. What’s been your favorite aspect of Cataclysm so far?
    Hmm, that's a tough question. I've liked pretty much everything I've seen so far - flight in Azeroth, questing in Mount Hyjal (sooo epic), Archaeology, the revamped zones including New Orgrimmar. I think my absolute favourite has been the visibility of major lore figures while questing in Mount Hyjal - they have never been so visible before, complete with voice acting for each.  It made me feel like I was actually a hero of Azeroth taking part in important storylines.
Bring on the next chapter of leveling!

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Licence to Fly

A little storytelling today, from my Druid, Leesah.

Leesah reached into the bottom of the backpack. Her nose wrinkled as she pulled out what had once been a wrapped package of Very Burnt Worg but was now looking slightly green and furry around the edges. It made a kind of wet splat as she dropped it onto the pile of rubbish she had just pulled out of her bags. Other items lay scattered around her where she sat on the floor of her room in the Valley of Wisdom.

"No wonder Max has been sniffing around the Kodo a bit more," she thought as she looked fondly at the little windrider cub, curled up asleep with the moonkin hatchling on a cushion nearby.

A loud screeching cry from outside in the valley made her look up in alarm.  "What in the world..." She quickly packed about her potions and other useful items back into one backpack and plonked the pile of rubbish into another. It was amazing what vendors would buy these days.

Leesah headed outside and looked up in wonder at the sky, her jaw dropping.  There were dragons, drakes, sparkly flying horses, windriders, gyrocopters, rockets and all sorts of other flying creatures and apparatus flying around the air above Orgrimmar, swooping and diving. She turned to a Tauren standing just outside the door and said, "What's going on?"

The Tauren shrugged and said, "I heard the Warchief had started allowing people to fly in Kalimdor airspace now, but you have to have a licence.  I'm not sure where to get them."

Leesah thought she could probably guess. A good number of flying creatures were hovering above the new flight master and Zeppelin towers on the top tier of the city.  She headed up the ramp to the lift.

As the lift reached the top of the shaft she was almost unable to get off it. An enormous crowd was gathered around the general location of the Flight Master, shoving, pushing, shouting, mounts crying out in panic and flying creatures squawking and screaming above. Someone riding a War Mammoth was trying to push through the crowd, and a large number of swearing people were busy ducking out of the way of the large tusks as the huge creature swayed back and forth.

Leesah joined the back of the crowd, peering over the heads of those in front of her to see what was happening in the centre. Gradually, she was pushed from behind towards the centre of the crowd, where she could see the Flight Master, Maztha, frantically scribbling on bits of paper and shoving them at members of the jostling crowd. A goblin standing just behind her was collecting gold from those lucky enough to be handed a licence.

"Do you mind, you're standing on my foot!" shouted an unfortunate Blood Elf who Leesah had been shoved into from the side.

"Sorry!" she said helplessly as another shove pushed her forward suddenly and she found herself with a piece of paper in her hand.

"Well?  Hand over the gold! 212 please!" The goblin was looking at her expectantly and holding out a hand. Leesah blinked and quickly counted out the coin, then realised she was free to go.  With a grin she muttered a few words and transformed into her Stormcrow form, shooting straight up above the crowd with a strong flap of her wings.

"Orgrimmar looks so different when you're not coming in on a zeppelin!" she thought as she circled higher above the city, then suddenly had to dive out of the way as some idiot on a Green Drake almost rammed into her from one side.

"Watch where you're going!" the orc on the back shouted, shaking one fist at her. She glared after him, then hurried back down to the Valley of Wisdom to finish her preparations.


Incidentally if you're having trouble clicking on an NPC for a quest or training because of people standing on them, try keybinding the "interact with target" command.  Type "/tar " then the NPC's name to target them, use your keybind, then step back and leave the suckers to it.

Thanks for the top tip, Sunfyre!

Monday, 6 December 2010

Cataclysm Survival Tips

There's only one sleep to go until Cataclysm is released (or depending on where you are in the world, no sleeps!).  Are you ready?

Here's a few links to information to help you prepare for the onslaught.

  • Firstly, MMO-Champion has the lowdown on all the new raids, dungeons, zones, professions (including Archaeology)... pretty much everything, in fact!  There is so much detail here that you may prefer to read other posts which break it down into bite-sized chunks:

  • Rakhman over at Flame Shock has prepared a Cataclysm Survivor's Guide which pretty much contains everything you need to know about new things in Cataclysm. Keep this handy!

  • Where to go once the Realms are open again?  Beruthiel posted this detailed guide to the new zones. Leesah will be off to Mount Hyjal!

  • MMO-Champion's Leveling Map should prove invaluable for those starting new characters right away (or those who already have).

  • A few last minute reminders: Empty your bags, clear your quest log. Do a few dailies but don't hand them in (if you're planning on racing to 85). Don't forget to update your addons before you log on, and to visit your trainers after you do, including the riding trainer.

  • And lastly, Redcowrise's awesome poem seems fitting today, even if the Shattering already happened.

Just a quick addition to say thanks very much to everyone who last linked my pre-raid resto gear list in their guild forums or on their blogs.  You guys all make me happy, thank you :)

Have a great Cataclysm everyone! Catch you on the other side!

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Cataclysmic Flower Picking

When Deathwing roasted Azeroth, he left fiery destruction in his wake. The volcanoes, tidal waves and rents in the crust changed the ecology of many zones, allowing different plants to flourish and others to die out of certain areas.

Suddenly my Herbalism charts didn't work so well anymore. I've now updated them, using a combination of exploration and the first batch of stats on Wowhead. It's still a work in progress and I'll be updating them regularly over the next month or so, until the stats in Wowhead have settled down and give a better indication of the numbers of spawns in each zone.

Leveling Herbalism: Cataclysm Edition

I hope you find the charts useful as you level up Herbalism!

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Be Prepared

Well, there are only five sleeps to go now until the big day!

People seem to be holding their breath waiting, while at the same time trying to cram in as much alt-play as possible before the time comes when we can dust off our mains and start leveling.

As we start to level again, there's no harm in being prepared, right? That's where pre-raid gear guides come in.

So without further ado, I'd like to present:

R&R's Resto Pre-Raid Gear List

I hope it helps you as you level up and run dungeons on your Druid to recognise the gear that will be useful to you. Remember that this time, we will need to gear up through Normal and then Heroic dungeons before we start to raid.

My list has a score for each item based on a stat weight, to help compare between options.  It is not really designed to be a best-in-slot list as I haven't done any modeling and I wasn't in the Beta, but hopefully it should give some idea of which items have more desirable stats than others. I do plan to update my Moonkin gear list as well before long.

I realise there are already several other lists out there now - Restokin and Maedred both published theirs this week, as well as this one over at the PlusHeal Forums.  I had already done the Wowhead-work for mine, so I thought I might as well put it together and post it in the spirit of having as many resources out there as possible.

I hope you find the gear list useful - please send me any feedback you may have!