Archive for the ‘Shaman’ Category

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3.1.1 Elemental Shaman Spec

April 23, 2009

Right, I finally managed to remember to screenshot my talent trees as they were before the latest patch reset them all again. But I know where they’re going so that’s all well and good. For Major Glyphs I am running with Glyph of Lightning Bolt, Glpyh of Flame Shock and Glyph of Totem of Wrath. My current Elemental spec;

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This is pretty much a straight re-write of the old 57/14 spec that was doing the rounds before 3.1 hit, not a couple of the talents have been taken away or changed this is what I’ve come up with as a replacement, it covers all the basic damage boosting bases as well as adding in the staples of the spec. The biggest change between pre 3.1 and now is the addition of Booming Echoes. Boosting Flame Shock periodic damage by 20% is pretty awesome, especially as it now can crit, the cooldown is less useful though as the Glyph of Flame Shock means that Lava Burst isn’t going to be consuming it.

I’ve added in Glyph of Totem of Wrath, it provides a 5 minute buff equal to 30% of the spelldamage boost that you get from Totem of Wrath, I think this is awesome. Totems can be destroyed or you might be in a fight where you move a lot and (for whatever reason) get plonked out of range of your totem, but with this little buff you’re still going to adding some extra spell damage across all your spells which will stack with you dropping another Totem of Wrath later. With my normal gear, unbuffed, dropping a Totem of Wrath and the new buff pumps me up to over 2100 spellpower.

However, with all this messing around with talents I got to thinking (and this is a dangerous thing. I remember when Wrath hit and we got the new talent trees a discussion started up on Elitist Jerks on whether you could run a Shaman resto spec for Dual Wield with Earthliving Weapon on each. This got me to thinking about the possibility of an Elemental core spec but with Dual Wield and Flametongue weapon on each. Please note that this is pure theory, I have no idea even if FT on two weapons stacks at all, I’ve taken talents that increase the power of Flametongue totem as there just isn’t enough points to get Totem of Wrath, ok you miss the crit and some of the higher level Elemental talents like Lightning Overload, Lava Flows and Shamanism though.

Spec pasted below and I’d be interested in hearing anyone comments on this. A lot of the Enhancement here is filler to get up to Dual Wield, if I had an appropriate off-hand I could respec and try this on a dummy, I don’t and I’m too poor to be able to afford dual-spec to try this out myself. Hence the fact that this is pure theory, it may be that people look at this and laugh at how completely nonviable a spec it is, but I’m willing to take any discussion and help to iron it out if any of it looks worthy of a deeper inspection. I’m not imagining that this is the case but this is the first time I’ve really tried to come up with something completely new talent spec wise rather than going with the de-facto spec out there.

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I’m note sure if the trade-off in the +% damage bonuses on the those top tier talents are adequately compensated by the extra Flametongue on an off-hand though and my current Glyph of Totem of Wrath would need to go back to the old Glyph of Lava too.

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Memory Like a Sieve

April 21, 2009

As an aside today I was going to talk about the changes I’d made to my Elemental Shaman Lekktra over the weekend. I spent a bit of time out of the new project to look over the new Glyphs and I respecced from 3.1 hitting and resetting everything. A run on the target dummy saw me doing 2400DPS which isn’t bad from badge epics and a couple Naxx drops. (That’s unbuffed btw).

I was going to go through my talent spec and expound on some things but forgot to tag myself in the WoW armory and as I am posting from work (shhhhhhh) I can’t get there now to post things up.

I did swap out my Glyph of Lava for Glyph of Totem of Wrath though, 10% spellpower bonus for 1 spell against +30% spellpower for 5 minutes everytime I plonk a Totem of Wrath down was a no-brainer for me. I can hit a level 80 mob for over 75% of its health now with a Lava Burst crit, and my Lava Bursts ALWAYS crit.

My selling of Copper Bars and Light Leather from the gathering specs I grabbed on Greenborne have been uber-successful too, everything he put on the Auction House has sold, along with the green items I picked up from drops while questing. I have almost 60 gold already after having spent most of what I’d earnt from questing on glyphs already. Ten levels to my mount and I am hoping for continued success to mean I’m not going to have to wait for that Kodo.

Also, following comments on the voting for the Casual Horde thing I dropped Bind the Undead Mage and recreated the Mage as a Blood Elf called Snowborne. I doubt this character will see any play time but if the Druid falls through I have a backup. In true casual fashion I shouldn’t be on until Thursday night and that will be the only weeknight this week that I’ll be playing. Green will be hitting up the Stonetalon Mountains and the last sections of the Barrens according to TourGuide. I may actually start to write down my observations too, I come up with a lot of material but once I try and remember it days later for a blog post it’s all gone.

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Gear Upgrades NOMNOMNOM

April 6, 2009

I posted on Friday that I had applied to join another guild. <Naxxramas Bin Collection> started out as a group of friends coming back to the game after an absence. We’ve all done different things, some of us have switched classes and now we are all at different stages with what we want from the game.

On Saturday I got the invite to join <Inner Circle> as a non-raider to allow time for me to get the gear I would need to start raiding without being a drag on the rest of the group. They’ve all been a stand-up bunch so far and I’d have been happy to hit up anything of a 10-man variety rather than getting thrown to the wolves in a 25-man progression environment. So, how did my WoW weekend progress?

Over the past couple of weekends I’ve experienced some success in terms of getting some massive upgrades and doing some pretty awesome things. This weekend continued that trend, since applying to the new guild I started to focus on only running those places that would bring me closer to achieving the required standards for making a raider out of me. After all, I was still in a green chestpiece and both my trinkets were also greens, I was missing various enchantments on pieces of gear which may have given the impression that I wasn’t too serious or dedicated to the task at hand. Despite only getting around 3 hours play time on Sunday I actually managed to achieve EVERY single thing that I set out to do at the weekend. I’d like to give a shout out to those new guildmates who helped this happen.

To start out with I grabbed a belt buckle and threw a +16 hit gem in it. I spent Saturday doing an OS 10 man, Violet Hold, Halls of Stone and Nexus Heroics. I got nothing other than badges from all the instances except for the Nexus, where I picked up the +55 hit rating trinket. OK, it’s not really designed to be used with my class/spec but my primary stat is +hit until capped. I spent a lot of the day questing to get some money back in the coffers and also managed to ding Exalted with Alliance Expedition and Revered with Alliance Vanguard. That evening I got invited in one of the guild’s Naxx 10 alt runs, this would be my first time in the place and was still running with sub-optimal gear. I’d done the PUG raids in the previous week but this was something else, my performance here would mean something as these were my new guildies and I still needed to learn all these fights.

Around 4 hours later the whole place lay dead, we had one wipe on Gothik and one on Kel’thuzad when an over enthusiastic Fel Puppy decided to go make friends with some abominations. I had a personal brain fart on Thaddeus which saw me dead for most the fight, I’m still learning though and although I died once at the very first Heigan dance I got combat ressed and stayed alive through the rest of it quite happily. We even managed to get the “Hundred Club” achievement on Sapphiron because we totally forgot about Frost resists. All in all it was a lot of fun and at the end of it I’d made some lovely gold as well as grabbing a new Shield, Cloak, Ring and my T7 chest. The following day I grabbed enchants for all the pieces that were missing them (except for my shoulders) and gemmed what needed gemming to get my hit rating up as well as keep the Chaotic Skyflare meta-gem in my hat active. Overall it was a great night for me, I got to see the content I was after and it helped to eliminate a lot of my gearing issues and I now have the 2-piece bonus active from my T7. Equipping that chest saw me get the “Superior” achievement too.

Sunday left me with wanting to replace that final trinket or get a +hit neck, there is one available from badges (I grabbed the Mirror of Truth with badges from the Naxx run) and one from 25-man Sartharion. I queued up for the Obsidian Sanctum and grabbed the daily Heroic. I ended up going to Nexus after misreading which dragon to kill for the daily. I got some more badges and then sat in Violet Hold later on.

Now at this point I’m going to raise something up. I have done quite a few heroics and the ones I am running at the moment are mainly PuGs. I’ve not really had any bad experiences with them either, I was obviously lucky. I started the Violet Hold alongside a Death Knight tank, Affliction Lock, Hunter DPS warrior and a Holy Paladin. I’ve run this thing so many times now I can probably do it in my sleep. So we begin, I do my normal drop of Wrath of Air totem and then run into the portal and drop a Magma totem to help AoE the adds. It wasn’t long before I noticed that things were taking a long time to kill, never mind we were doing OK with very little overlap on the portals towards the first boss. Luckily we got Chaos Watcher which is an easy tank and spank and we downed him without much of an issue. Second wave starts and boss is Ichoron and he is getting released as we are still on the last 10% of the previous portal guardian. We wipe on the boss after no-one seems to worry about killing the little elementals.

I check out the DPS meter from Recount that is the only thing I keep running to make sure I’m doing my job. The tank is pushing out 1200DPS and is holding aggro nicely, the Paladin is right at the bottom as he is healing, however, our Hunter DPS warrior and Warlock are doing sub 1000DPS, the Warlock is under 900 and the hunter DPS Warrior isn’t much better… I’d heard of things like this but had never ever seen it in my life. Now I know there can be gear deficits, I had a lot of new stuff and was pushing out around 2400DPS, good stuff on my part. We restarted the instance but I thought I’d keep quiet and see if we could do it, after all, it was only the other two DPS that seemed to not quite be up to it. fair play to them all though, second time through we defeated all the bosses. Sure the other DPS were very low down on their DPS (I watched the Warlock stand in the middle of the room for 10+ seconds at a time between moving to new portals) but we managed to finish the instance and complete the daily. Bingo on 25 badges, bingo on getting the new +hit neck I needed.

My other goal I’ll come to later when I review the to-do list.

Before logging for the night I went to Ironforge and swapped one of my gems from a +8 hit & +12 Stam  to a pure +16 hit, I am now hitcapped!

(Updated as there was no Hunter in this group, it was my favourite class ever the DPS warrior. I checked Recount last night and I did a whopping 47.5% of the groups damage throughout the instance.)

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Gief Moar Raidz!

April 3, 2009

VoA 10 and 25man are now completed, nothing dropped of value for my beloved Shaman.

I am currently in the process of applying to a new guild so we’ll see how that goes.

Expect to see the Shaman Vs Priest part 2 next week as well as an update on how my to-do list is progressing.

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Shaman Vs Priest – Part 1

April 2, 2009

I have two level 80’s, both are Draenei, both are female, both are casters and both have a respected DPS and Healing spec. Let’s have a bot of a history lesson.

My first level 80 was Bouaza, started just after TBC came out (obviously) and levelled up the majority of the time with a Prot Warrior and a Rogue. We ran instances every night of the week so most of the time we were all in blues rather than quest greens. Levelling as a group was good fun, I was Shadow specced for my questing but would always heal in instances, it was a well composed group and we hadn’t actually planned what we were going to play, everything just kind of came about like that. Once we were all in Stranglethorn Vale in the mid thirties Lisuri joined us and Steller was playing on and off (mostly off) during this time too.  Eventually about six months after we started we were all level 70 and starting on the road to Heroics. Bo switched over to Holy at 70 to facilitate the no need to level and we had fun getting ready for raiding which we started in the October of 2007 with Karazhan, the entry level raid at that time.

As many of the people who know me are aware, I am an altaholic, Argent Dawn is full of characters, some of which haven’t seen any play time in at least a year and I’ve probably deleted as many characters as I have created. I think I’m on my fourth or fifth Death Knight and none has gotten past 60. I also have a personal hang-up about being the only one of my class, weird I know as in a guild environment you’re going to end up with multiples of the same. Normally when I see what other classes can do I tend to have an urge to go play that class. Bo went all the way through Kara and was present for a number of the guild firsts, from our opening night 9 manning of Attumen, through the Curator and all the way to downing Nightbane and Prince Malchezzar.

All the way through the levelling process we ended up with a bit of a meme developing during out instances (after all, that is where we spent a lot of our levelling time). This has continued even unto this day really, I am sure the RNG knows who we are. This trend is that 9 times out of 10 we’d get mail armour pieces dropping. If a Boss had mail in his loot table, we’d see it more often than not. I don’t know whether it is because of this or if the feeling had started when I was trying to decide what character to create, but certainly within Karazhan I was wanting to play a Shaman. I’d played a Tauren one into the low 40’s in Vanilla WoW but we didn’t have a resto Shammy in the guild and I had kind of plateaued with Bo, we were clearing all the content easily enough and Priest was getting a bit boring. So, I started the Shaman Lekktra at the tail end of 2007 with a mind to replacing Bo and adding another healing class/spec to the raid composition. The Prot warrior I mentioned earlier had levelled a Hunter to 70 and brought that character to raids when we had enough tanks on to cover so I knew it could be done.

Fast forward to January 2008, what started out as raiding two nights a week had developed into a four nights a week schedule with every other night spent gathering materials to support our raiding efforts. The rogue mentioned earlier is now the Death Knight Roop and in that first month we got talking and realised just exactly what had happened. I myself had a 30 days /played with my Priest in around a years worth of play and he probably had similar, WoW had taken over our everyday lives and it was all we ever talked about together. At this point we decided to stop. I played out the remainder of my play time by levelling Lekktra now and again, pretty much only at the weekends and spent the other days on other hobbies that took up less time and didn’t take over with the same focus that WoW had. Lekktra had hit the late Forties by this point.

A couple of months later we started an ill-fated casual group play attempt, recruiting those people we had been playing WoW with originally, most of whom are our real life friends. The guild was named <Friday Nite Project> and we planned to play on Friday’s only and just run instances together, we set level caps to make sure that no-one got too far ahead. Things started off well, although my initial Troll Rogue became a Blood Elf Warlock, we had too many people to fit in just one group so we decided to run two and I created an Undead Warrior. The 2 group thing started to flounder so I created a Tauren Druid to fulfill whatever role was required. Friday night play became Friday and Saturday and then things just died off.

I went and play WAR for a bit when that came out and then Wrath hit the shelves, I decided to return to WoW. Roop, Steller and Lisuri came back too. I had started off on another alt, my Hunter Janulian as I still remembered my lack of enthusiasm for the Priest, Bo. After an add-on crash I found myself playing Lekktra again and decided to go back to Shamanism after once again enjoying the experience. Due to some pressure from the old play mates who were already running around Northrend as well as thinking about how much I had already accomplished on Bo I respecced to Shadow and began levelling my Priest in Northrend. It was around levle 65 I switched to healing for a run through Azjol-Nerub, Steller had been healing to this point but wasn’t available so I just respecced to keep us going. We later convinced Steller to try Boomkin and I stayed as the healer. Things stayed this way until we hit 80 and then I switched back to Holy. I did some Heroics, got some gear and then went back onto Lekktra with the same goal, retirement of my Priest. Roop the Death Knight had been created to replace Fermat the prot warrior (not the same warrior from our starting days) and I thought that was my chance to get the alt levelled.

I think it took around two months to get Lekktra to 80, I do know that it was a lot faster than levelling the Priest, not just because I knew where everything was (in fact I did lots of different zones on Lekktra than the progression route I did with Bo) but my playstyle and the Elemental Talent Spec seem to gel quite nicely. Now Bo is retired and Lekktra has taken over as my main.

This post was going to be an analysis of the Priest experience vs the Shaman experience, but as you can see my waffle about the history behind this change in my main has kinda grown into a behemoth all of its own. Therefore I’m going to split this in half and come to the analysis later. I just wanted to lay down my experience with WoW and with the two classes. I realise that they are more different than they appear, although they can DPS and Heal a Priest is primarily a Healing class, whereas the Shaman is a hybrid.

Now I have the Shaman to 80 I’m very glad I made the change, this is the character I should have played at the start, it feels exciting and makes me happy to play it, outside of any factual analysis this sits very highly in how we should play. The Priest, although my first end game character always felt like something was missing. I am lucky enough to now have something that really makes me continued to be excited to play.

Watch out for part 2 soon, it won’t be as much guff as there is in this post!

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A Night of Achievement

April 1, 2009

Achievements, love them or hate them, I don’t think they are going anywhere and Lekktra is picking them up by the bucketload at the moment.

After BRK’s shock announcement of his retirement from WoW I stood back and looked at how much time I’m spending in the game. I asked my wife last night is she felt if her or our relationship was suffering because of my game time, she said it wasn’t and we set out that I’ll get a clip round the ear if things get out of hand. It’s also confirmed that this isn’t an April fools, it’s sad that one of the best WoW blogs out there is retiring but, to be honest, there is no better reason to be doing what he is doing than the reason he is doing it. I’ll give props to him for his blog and being one of the main inspirations for me starting my own little corner of the interwebz.

Last night saw Lekktra return to the world of PvP, thought I’d run some Arathi Basin before dinner, first match we won 2000 to 0 inside of six minutes, two more achievements there which saw me pass the total I’d amassed with Bo. I also got myself into an Obsidian Sanctum 25man and picked up the epic leather shoulders which finally replace the Heirloom item I’ve been wearing since level 49, they’ve certainly been put through their paces and can be passed on to whatever character comes along next. They have a +30 stam enchant on them so would be fantastic for a real low level character. I also splashed out yet more cash on picking up the Icewalker enchant for my boots and a +50 spellpower for my Nexus mace. I could link all the items but work bans all the really cool sites during the day when I write these posts. I came to realise at the close of my play time last night that I am pretty well geared to start raiding, quite a few enchantments lying around and the only green gear I have is my chest and two trinkets and I’m trying to save badges to deal with the chest first. After doing the raid there was an hour left till Wintergrasp so I went and ran Maraudon just to grab the achievement and get another dungeon ticked off my list (only BRD and Dire Maul remain). Went and did Wintergrasp, did the quests as a part of it which bagged me some cash and some more shards. To round off the night I joined a group for Heroic CoS, just as I’d joined them I got an invite to run Vault of Archaevon, that raid is high on my list of things I want to do, but as I’d just joined the Caverns of Time group I couldn’t be an ass and leave them searching again after I’d already said I’d do it.

We went off and finished it although we had one wipe, I already have the drake so am not too bothered about doing more timed runs but it’s always nice to try and push yourself. I finished having done over 2100dps so I consider that I am getting to a decent level now in terms of my damage output.

Over the course of the night then I got achievements for 2 things in Arathi Basin, 1 in Warsong Gulch (which I deserted for the OS raid), 1 for finishing off the Princess in Mara and 2 from OS itself (one for downing heroic Sartharion and one for my first “epic” emblem). Overall another good night’s play. Tonight I’ll be out so no playing for me as I make myself take a break in the middle of the week for a night, I’m also just waiting to see what my Oracle egg drops. I got lucky with Rivendare’s Deathcharger dropping quick and I’m hoping for a repeat to get the green Proto-drake. I’m happy enough with my Bronze Drake but would really love a Proto because I think they just look really cool.

Just need to finish off the last 70 or so shards now so I can also bag me a mammoth, choosing what mount to ride is becoming increasingly difficult and that situation doesn’t seem to be going to change anytime soon!

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For the Horde….

March 30, 2009

..or maybe the Alliance, it’s just that the exclamation sounds much better on the other side of the Azeroth warring faction divide. Therein lies a big clue as to what I accomplished over the weekend, but let’s start at the beginning shall we.

Over the last week I really didn’t get to do much WoWing at all, I just about managed to run the Oracles dailies and still fail miserably at trying to finish “A Simple Re-quest” I know the methodology just seem to get stuck with irregular play times. I’ve been speaking to Roop and Steller and they are both rather indifferent about WoW at the moment, they are good RL friends and will continue to be so, our bonds are not purely there because of this game, also I’ve been pretty much the only person online from the guild during the days I’ve been around. OK I’ll admit I wasn’t on really from Monday to Wednesday and Saturday my parents came round for dinner so I played a little in the morning but otherwise spent the day cleaning and prepping the house for mother-level scrutineering. Still, Thursday, Friday and Sunday were very, very quiet in our guild chat. I am still happy to keep on playing, we started a discussion last Monday about what to do with the guild and our people, we have friends in another guild that is much larger than ours but I’m not going to repost everything, I’ll skip all the waffle and get on with how I did against my goals.

I said late last week that I probably should get the tradeskills going, so, did I manage to max out mining or engineering? No, not even close, I think I did four gathers of Mithril the whole weekend…. I did however spend a good bit of time clearing more of Howling Fjord to increase my gold reserves. I was speaking to one of my friends who plays in the other guild mentioned above when I was at the store on Friday after work doing my shopping (he works there) and was explaining my thoughts about guilds and raiding etc… He gave some sage advice and on Friday night after taking two of our baby Paladins through some Auchindoun instances I got into a PuG for 10-man Obsidian Sanctum. I looked up the wrong loot table in Atlas-loot so until we got to the end I didn’t really have any idea what was going to drop and as this was a PuG raid wasn’t sure if it’d actually work. I’m also committing the cardinal sin of not being hit-capped, still having some green gear and having virtually no enchants. Still, it’s a PuG and no-one was questioning my gear or anything. Around 40 minutes later Sartharion was dead, it took a while to complete the group and get everyone there, but once we did it was a smooth run and I think only two people died through the whole thing and that was to the drakes. My first Wrath raid was a roaring success, I came 3rd on the damage charts (pretty respectable I think considering how many enhancements I consider myself to be missing) and got my T7 gloves and the 22-slot bag. I was very happy and thought the whole encounter was actually really good fun.

I spent some time later on re-gemming as I had a new slot to fill and slapped a +16 hit in the gloves slot, I’ve popped a Chaotic Skyflare Diamond in my meta slot and re-jigged some of the other gems to activate it while still maintaining +hit and am now seeing some juicy over 9k Lava Burst crits and I still have plenty of gear to come and enchantments to add to boost my Spellpower even further. Friday was a good  night!

Saturday didn’t really do much and I’ve found a problem with one of my graphics cards, I’m lucky (or mad) enough to be running SLi so kind of have an in-built spare so the one failing hasn’t really caused any issues and the performance difference in WoW is nothing. If I fire up Dead Space or Dawn of War 2 I might start to notice though.

Sunday, well, it took me most of the afternoon to diagnose the graphics issue but once I was back up and running I did a run through Gun’drak to clear some quests out of my log. After dinner I was wondering what to do with myself when the LFG channel started off with invites to a “For the Alliance” event. Normally these only start really late at night when I don’t have the time to do it, but this was nice and early so I bit the bullet (again, no other guildies on) and signed up. It took a while to fill up the 40 people but eventually we were all camped at Zul’aman ready to hit Silvermoon first. Maybe someone fraps’d it, I don’t know and I didn’t take any screenshots either but I have to say that it is probably one of the most epic events I have ever participated in. Shockingly (taste the sarcasm) the Blood Elf city of Cyb0rmo… sorry, Silvermoon was deserted of actual players. We ran straight into the throne room, AOE’d all the city guards that had followed us and then spanked the Blood Elf leader good and proper. From there we legged it through the sewers of Undercity to our next target. Sylvanas died to our onslaught and only a couple of brave Hordies decided to try and save the Banshee queen.

Two cities were down, two to go (damn I wish I’d have taken screenies). Orgimmar was next, 40 Alliance charging across the plains of Durotar is a stirring sight, to really rub it into the Horde we decided to take the front entrance too, riding right past the bank and auction house to let them all know we had arrived. Thrall was easy enough but we did have some more Horde players try to come to save their Shamanic leader, needless to say that attacking a full 40 man raid group in waves of two or three was not really going to make a dent in our formation. With Thrall dead we ran out the front entrance again and proceeded to interrupt the duels being fought outside the gates. Through a battle of attrition we were wittled down and regrouped back at Theramore. With many players experiencing a MacAttack we made all speed towards burger central. For the first time ever I used my Shamanic Far Sight spell to check out the defence around Cairn, four level 80’s. We charged in and I promptly DC’d….. bugger. Logged back in to find myself dead, so I ran back, ressed and ran back to join the group, only to get ganked from behind by a Paladin. Second corpse run ensues and I am right outside the city when the raid finally downs Cairn, achievements ping and I have a Black War Bear sitting in my mailbox.

There you have it, on my hotbar I have swapped out Baron Rivendare’s Deathcharger for my Black War Bear and am a happy camper. Over the weekend I did one PvE raid and one PvP raid, all in all, although I hardly did any mining I did have a lot of fun and that is really what the game is about. I don’t know what the future holds at the moment as regards to how my friends see the game but I am having a blast.

In response to Spinks’ question here of would I pick the same class again my Shaman definitely gets a yes vote!

FOR THE ALLIANCE!!!!