Welcome back to my World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King (WotLK) Beta Journal. This entry is a little different than the last few where I discussed leveling and questing in Northrend. That's due to Blizzard making level 80 pre-made characters available to test max level content and PvP aspects of the expansion. So in this journal entry I discuss the level 80 character creation process, gear and damage, and running an instance at 80.
A very crowded Dalaran
The first step after Blizzard having announced the level 80 pre-made characters is actually creating one. This was not a hard process but was a bit different than the normal character creation process. For everyone in the Beta that has not done it, it is worth talking about, as many friends did not know what to do.
Basically you just visit your account information screen and go to the beta section. From there access the character copy utility. You will see two options at that point, the first to copy characters across from your real account and the second to copy in a pre-made character. When you select the pre-made character copy you are presented with a list of choices that cover all classes, but only one race/sex per faction. For example I could not chose for my level 80 pre made Alliance Paladin to be a male Dwarf to emulate my main character Gradiel. The only option was a female Draenei. The races seem to be chosen for each class based on the best possible racial talents for PvP testing.
Once you have submitted your copy request, you simply sit back and wait. Once character that I copied in, you are allowed 3, appeared just an hour later. The other character waited in limbo for almost 5 days. Strange, but oh well. When they appear on your account you simply log in on them, change the name and start playing.
A Mix-Match of Gear and Still 1800 DPS
The characters appear in Dalaran at the inn and are aware of many of all the active flight points in Northrend, which is nice so you don't have to run around getting them. Being far more interested in PvE than PvP I took off to test my new characters, a resto Druid and a ret Paladin, in some PvE content.
The first area I wanted to explore to try out damage is an area I have heard a lot about called, Shalazar Basin. The zone is a cross between Stranglethorne Vale and Un'Goro Crater, both of which are zones I love. I explored the area a little and started getting used to the way the level 80 Paladin played. Shortly into playing I reset the DPS meter and started killing things.
I found it very easy to hit 2,200 DPS spikes and maintained almost 1900 DPS while grinding from creature to creature. This is obviously a bit high as the creatures were not level 80, but it provides a nice example of the DPS you can expect in starting raid/PvP gear at the new end game. I say starting as the gear provided on the Paladin was a mix of blues and epics that appeared to be the new reputation level PvP gear and some epic level PvP gear.
Next on my list of things to do was to test the level 80 druid and all his talents out. The first thing I noticed here was that he had substantially better gear than the Paladin had. More of his items were of epic quality, and all of them had graphics. The Paladin had shown up as if she was in her underwear with no gear showing other than her sword. The druid showed up in all his gear right off the bat. I guess Blizzard really does love Druids more.
Mal'ganis in CoT: The Culling of Stratholme
Anyway, the best way to test out a healer is to actually heal an instance run. This was a great excuse to run an instance that I have been jonesing to run since I first heard about it, the new Caverns of Time: The Culling of Stratholme instance. So I went straight to the looking for group tool and rustled up a group. After making our way there, we started the instance struggling through the actual story line startup which did not seem intuitive the first go around.
Once the instance started though, I was floored by a few things. The first was the instance itself, the story, the interactivity, the creatures, the fights, are all top notch. Getting to march through Stratholme culling the now undead population with Arthas is a blast. Maybe it just speaks to my evil side a little too much, but we all have that side and it's fun to indulge it every once in a while. Check back soon for a preview guide on the instance, but until then you can enjoy the images in our Culling of Stratholme Gallery.
Overall healing in the instance was very easy. The new Tree having no movement speed penalty is wonderful. It looks slightly odd waddling around at full speed, but I love it. The new abilities of Nourish and Flourish really make a difference when healing. I found that I was keeping more HoTs up on the tank instead of just life bloom, just that that I could toss out a nourish when needed to gain the bonuses. While I am not sure on the exact mana efficiency of doing this (that could be a whole other article), I sure feels good to throw our a huge heal quickly when you need it.
On the Area of Effect (AoE) heal side we now have Flourish. It became second nature almost immediately to start throwing it as a regular heal in my rotation when players were either suffering AoE damage or pulling aggro. Having everyone in PvP gear doing big damage and being over geared for the instance, players were constantly pulling aggro just for fun, so I learned a bit about using this as a general HoT to affect everyone every once in a while. The one thing to really note about Flourish however is the small radius of effect. I kept staying at a distance and casting it on the melee players and then wondering why it wasn't affecting me at distance. As Homer would say... Doh! I knew that, but you just get used to it affecting the rest of the group so quickly that you expect it to help you as well.
So far I have loved the level 80 content, but that's only been a few forays into the CoT and one brief ill fated venture into Naxxramas that was cut short by a server crash. I hope to do more looking at high level content, but so far the beta servers uptime and my play time have not done a very good job at meshing. Oh well, such is beta.
Disclaimer: The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Ten Ton Hammer network or staff.
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