It All Alts Up

For this entire expansion, I have been a one-trick-pony.  My paladin was my only leveled and geared character, with holy being her only leveled and geared specialization.  There’s a lot of reasons for this, all of which deserve whole blog posts of their own so I won’t get into them now, but the end result is that I have been without alt up until this point in Battle for Azeroth.  As much as I love my paladin, I’m glad this is changing. 

Thanks primarily  to a little zone named Nazjatar, I have pulled my monk and my mage, two of my oldest and most favorite alts, out of obscurity.  It took about a week of work – world quests, dailies, and even a few Timewalking dungeons – but I’m now a good chunk of the way towards actually being able to bring them into endgame content.  Both started at around ilvl 290, outfitted purely in questing greens. I managed to push up my monk to ilvl 394 and my mage is only a few points behind at ilvl 391. And man, can I feel the difference.

Playing a paladin as I do, and one that can heal at that, I tend to throw myself around pretty recklessly in-game.  I’m definitely that person pulling every mob I need for the quest all at once and then slowly hammering them down, mostly because my plate armor allows me to do so.  I’ve got a million ways to stay alive and, regardless, stuff just plain doesn’t hit me that hard. As it turns out, that experience is not at all universal.

When I first started gearing up my monk, the very first thing I did was pull a bunch of mobs like I would on my paladin.  Big mistake. A few moments later, I was smooshed on the ground like a sad gnome pancake, wondering where I went wrong in my life.  As it turns out, both my monk and my mage are a bit more squishy than my paladin.  Actually, scratch a bit and put a lot.

At first, I was a touch irritated by just how vulnerable my alts were.  Even when I put them in the basic Benthic gear, they would easily wipe if I pulled more than two mobs.  How am I able to just zone out, listening to a podcast while I grind my quests? After a period of readjusting however, I began to get back into my rhythm.  Old survival habits returned. I still died, don’t get me wrong, but it was happening a lot less.

What was even better was that with every gear upgrade, I could clearly tell just how much more powerful I was becoming.  My spells hit harder. My health pool increased. I lived longer. I’m so used to the imperceptibly small raiding gear increases that I was completely floored by how obvious my alts’ gear increases were.  Logically, when you upgrade 100 ilvl points in one item change, you’re going to see a difference. Emotionally however, I was completely surprised.

My end goal, as always, is to be able to raid on these characters but I’ve found myself enjoying the steps towards raiding far more than I expected to.  I know exactly how many of a certain thing I need to gather or how many quests I need to complete to get an upgrade. When I do finally score that new item, it’s immediately apparent how much better it is.  No RNG, no incremental increases, just pure exponential progression.  

The next major step on the docket will be to actually start venturing into more serious group content again.  For some reason, I always have a bit of a mental hurdle here – I know the dungeons and raids on my main like the back of my hand and yet running the same content on my alt feels like unfamiliar and dangerous territory.  That being said, it’s a hurdle I’ve overcome each expansion on multiple characters, so I’m sure I can do it again. The gear grind must go on!

A Whole New Guild

WoWScrnShot_020515_204251I’ve been having a ball in WoW recently.  No, I haven’t been raiding. Or PvPing.  Or even on  my main characters that much.  No, I’ve been in the WoWInsider Blizzard Watch guild ‘of The Queue’.

I rolled a draenei mage named Fussypants (surprise surprise) shortly after hearing about the guild.  I had created a character more just to have one in there, pop in occasionally, and stay connected to the Queuevians.  What I didn’t expect was for me to log onto that character everyday.

When I joined there were about 20-30 members; not huge but considering the guild was a day old, not too shabby either.  But over the next couple days, the guild grew explosively.  I think right now we are at about 270 some members.  And very few of those are alts.   So with about 200 active members, you can just imagine what chat is like.  Yup, solid wall of green.  Often times there are two if not three different conversations going on at once.  People are chatting, joking, and laughing at all hours a day!  For someone who has never been in a huge guild before, this is a pretty cool thing!

At first I was logging on just to level, read the chat, and occasionally contribute.  I sent out a lot of green linen shirts as a joke, but other than that I didn’t do too much with the guild. I was content to be a lurker.  But everything changed when I proposed an idea.
Of The Queue Guild SSAs a goodbye to WoWInsider, I set up and organized a guild screenshot to submit to Around Azeroth (and yes, it got chosen!)  All the members of the guild met up at the steps of Stormwind Keep in their best guild tabard and outfits, and we took bunch of screenshots.  It was a ton of fun and a huge success!

Shortly after this, I was offered, and accepted, a promotion to officer.

Now I’ve been spending most of my time sitting by the Stormwind fountain, chatting in /g, whispering various people, and setting up guild events.  I never knew how much fun it was to be a contributing factor in a huge guild.  People want to do things together and are always full of ideas!  I’m really enjoying just talking with so many people at one time.  I rarely ever level now; I just stand in one spot!

I won’t say that I was burning out on WoW, but I was definitely less motivated to log in.  I was slowly leveling up my toons, but not really for any reason, more just to have them all at 100.  Even PvP, my newly discovered hobby couldn’t keep me occupied for long.  I guess what I needed was a huge change up.  And the Blizzard Watch guild was just that.

So this is what I’ve been doing with most of my WoW time.  Socializing.  Heh, never thought I’d say that! I’m happy that this guild is working out thus far as its a really fun place to hang out!  I love my main’s guild too; its great to be in two different guild both full of great people!

Come join us! ‘Of The Queue’ is always recruiting any readers, lurkers, or commenters from WoWInsider Blizzard Watch! We are located alliance side on Nesingwary/Vek’nilash/Nazgrel US realms.  If you need an invite just make your way to the Stormwind fountain and, odds are, you will find me or some other member there!  Oh and yeah, we have a pretty spiffy forum page too!

Transmog Time!

I have this mindset that once I make a new character that I intend to play with any regularity, I have to make a transmog set for that character. Have to. So, when I made Ranzine I realized that she too would need at least a couple possible sets made for later use.

Then I ran into a problem. Do you know how difficult it is to make a transmog set for undead characters? It’s insanely hard! Almost every decent looking set is completely ruined by undead knee bones. I had played around with a few sets, but they looked either boring or kinda crummy. Then I created this.

Ember Armor 3 ViewEmber Plate Set

Shoulders: Gladiator’s Plate Shoulders (warrior only)

Chest: Warmaul Breastplate

Shirt: Antiseptic-Soaked Dressing

Gloves: Warmaul Gloves

Belt: Warmaul Belt

Pants: Warmaul Legplates

Boots: Warmaul Greaves

Weapon: Felsteel Longblade

Shield: Garret Family Crest

I really love how this set turned out. In my mind, it really captures the spirit of an undead warrior, ragged but awesome!


After I had made my ember set, I decided to try my hand at a very classic set idea. The Scarlet Crusade. What I ended up with was not your typical Scarlet Crusade get up, but I really like it!

Scarlet Crusade Armor 2 ViewScarlet Crusade Set

Head: Formidable Circlet

Shoulders: Alabaster Plate Pauldrons

Chest: Grimscale Armor

Shirt: Red Workman’s Shirt

Tabard: Tabard of the Scarlet Crusade

Gloves: Rockwurm Plate Handguards

Belt: Boulderfist Belt

Pants: Greaves of the Martyr

Boots: Lavawalker Greaves

Weapon: Firebreather

Shield: Bloodforged Shield


After making all these sets for Ranzine, I realized that my disc priest did not have a transmog set picked out! I quickly corrected the error, and came up with these two!

Buckleboot Armor 3 ViewGolden Buckle Set

Head: Craftsman’s Monocle

Shoulders: Elegant Mantle

Chest: Elegant Tunic

Tabard: Tabard of the Shattered Sun

Bracers: Wraithcloth Bindings

Gloves: Black Mageweave Gloves

Belt: Akama’s Sash

Pants: Elegant Leggings

Boots: Quicksand Waders

Weapon: Matsuba’s Breadmaker

I actually based this entire set off of the boots. My only dislike with it is the amount of skin showing. I prefer my characters to be covered up, but I definitely think the tabard helps. Other than that, I really like this one!


I'm getting really good at this photoshop thingJourneymen’s Set

Shoulders: Rime-Rift Shoulders

Chest: Journeyman’s Robes

Gloves: Exiled Dabbler’s Gloves

Belt: Belt of Ominous Trembles

Boots: Toxic Tornado Treads

Weapon: Scepter of Creation

Off Hand: Shomi’s Fan

With this set, I was trying to take an older green item and mash it up with some of the newer gear. This one was my favorite of the cloth bunch and needless to say, I will be using it for transmog. As a plus the set is very easy to obtain.


I’m really happy with how all of these sets turned out. What do you guys think? What suggestions would you make to improve these looks?


They call me…. Tank?

I did it.  I queued up as a tank.  I tanked an entire dungeon.  And then I did another.  And another.

And I figured out the trick.

You see, it doesn’t matter at all how good your gear is, or how well you keep aggro.  No, tanking is all about knowing how to communicate with and manage people.

I’ll use my experiences as an example.  The first run I did was Deadmines.  I zoned in, grabbed my quest, and began to explain to the group that I was new to tanking, but before I could finish a dps pulled and I dashed off to get aggro.

The entire dungeon went like that.  Me frantically trying to keep up with this rather rude heirloomed monk and keep the aggro.  It was stressful, tense, and frankly crappy.  At the very end of the run, I asked the dude why he pulled like he did.  His response was noncommittal and brief before he left the group.  So, I was shaken and nervous to say the least.  That had to have been one of the worst experiences tanking I’ve ever had, and it sucked that it was my first one.

However, I could not wallow in self-pity.  I had promised to you blog readers and to the Internet that I, Fussypants the Holy Pally, was going to tank.  So I gave it another shot. This time I zoned into The Wailing Caverns.  The big difference from the first time though, was that I was able to get that first message off.  I was able to explain to the group that I was new and that I would probably be slow.  They were perfectly fine with it.  We ran the dungeon, and while it was still difficult for me, it was nowhere near the level of panic in the first dungeon.

The huge change between dungeon 1 and dungeon 2 was communication and management.  The first dungeon was terrible because I did not explain to the group my predicament.  I did not inform them of my need to go slower.  I had no management over the group.  The second dungeon was just the opposite, I communicated and could manage the situation pretty well.

Another big part of tanking, is realizing that you are the defacto leader.  You set the pace, you pick the route and the bosses hit, and you ultimately make any executive decisions for the group.  With my healer mindset it is very hard for me not to take the backseat and just follow.  For, as the tank, I am the leader.  I choose when to engage in every mob and I get to decide how fast or slow.  Knowing what I can handle, and more importantly, what the group can handle is key.  If I am going too slow the dps will start pulling.  But if I am going too fast I will lose aggro or my healer.  Balance is vital and as the leader you must maintain it

Going back to my dungeon runs, in the first one, I did not take leadership, and basically was not able to tank effectively.  But in the second run, I grabbed leadership and was able to control the run significantly better.

The last important part of tanking is rhythm.  This is the one part that I still struggle with, and I think will come with time.  As a tank, I found it important to maintain a certain speed with my attacks.  Okay, Charge in, spin the mobs so that their backs are facing the dps, Shield Slam, tab, Thunderclaps, start walking back to the next group while I spam my other abilities.  This was my ‘rotation’ of sorts, and once I figured it out, I was golden.  No, I am nowhere near perfect in execution, but I know what I should do and when.  As a tank, it’s important to know what your rhythm is, and if it will mesh with the group.

At this point, I’ve leveled from 24 to 34 purely by tanking.  I’ve figured out the basics and have gotten pretty fast and relatively good.  And most importantly, I’m having fun.  I love the flipping animations of undead females as I bounce from mob to mob.  I crave the exhilaration when I charge into a group, knowing full well that I’m not going to die.  I revel in the speeds at which I can run a dungeon.

So, this is your advice from a noob warrior tank.  You are the leader as a tank, so you must communicate, manage, and control the others in your group and the speed at which you go.  Do this, and the experience will be far less stressful, and much more fun!

Tanking the Future

Hello all! I'll be your tank for this dungeon

Hello all! I’ll be your tank for this dungeon

It seems I’ve done it again.  Only a few short months after leveling my druid to 90, I’ve embarked upon another leveling quest.  Ranzine, fierce undead protection warrior has risen from the grave to fight for the Dark Lady.

This is becoming somewhat of a problem.

But, Ranzine won’t become merely another healing alt (I mean, she is a warrior), no she is destined for much higher heights of greatness.  For, you see,  Ranzine will become my first real tanking character!

This whole fiasco started on Fussypants, way back in the day (it couldn’t have been more than a year ago, really.  Early MoP at the very earliest).  There is a little known fact that Fussypants, my somewhat famous holy paladin, was actually a prot pally.  Yup, I tank almost solely up to level 70 on her.  Then, something happened.  Something terrible, yet wonderful.  I discovered the wonders of healing.

And I never looked back.  That one spec selection has since birthed three separate healing alts, and a rather talented healer.  But wait, what about Fussypants’s tanking?

Well, that’s where the problem lies.  I am now too scared to try tanking again.   From what I now realize of my tanking exploits, I was bad.  I was really bad.  My rotation was made up of ‘glowy button! oooh! more glowy button!’ and my gear anything with the highest amount of +green numbers.  I’m pretty sure I walked around in a mixture of mail, plate, and leather.  And by that point, I knew what the difference was.

So, I kind of have this stigmatism that if I were to ever tank again, that I would suck.  That all those little mistakes would be called out and ridiculed, and that people would kick me from group and insult me.  And that terrifies me.  It’s utterly ridiculous; I face almost the same consequences on my healers, and yet I’ve never been nearly as frightened of healing.

This is where Ranzine comes in.  I’m going to try to level her exclusively through tanking, and whenever I hit max level, continue tanking.  This whole thing could blow up in my face, or I could really learn to love tanking again.  I’m going to do it.  No backing out, no switching to healing, just tanking.  And I’m going to stick with it, no matter how many groups I get kicked from.

In my mind, the best way to try something new, is to just throw yourself out there.  So that is what I’m going to do.

Addendum: So, if any of y’all have horde side characters on US realms, I’d love to come tanking with you.  Currently I’m level 24, so if anyone wants to dungeon crawl with me, I’d love to have you!  You can email me or leave a comment if you are interested.

Supporting an Army (of alts)

Image Source: World of Warcraft Official Game Site

Image Source: World of Warcraft Official Game Site

When thinking about the upcoming expansion, Warlords, my thoughts turned to my and Fussypants’s stable of toons.  We have a lot!  Now most of them are low to medium levels, but several are 90’s.   They are of a few different classes. More importantly, we have nearly every profession covered, and they are all max level. Only blacksmithing lags behind, but that’s mainly due to time. I’ll get that one up to max level as well.

So why all this alt talk?  I am hoping that Blizzard will not only make the new expansion alt friendly, but also encourage synergy between the alts.  We are starting to see that a little already. Heirlooms were the first step. They were designed from the beginning to encourage players to make more toons alongside their main.  Heirlooms also were designed to be shared amongst the alts as well, being account-bound.  Account-bound items were a brand new idea and, I think, the first step by Blizzard to promote synergy between alts.

Now, most players with alts, if they have any interest in professions, will have different profs for different toons.  This has been the case for a long time, long before the introduction of heirlooms.  For us, Fussypants can make the flasks for the alts and Yotaan can produce the leatherworking leg enchants.   Blizzard began to make this even easier when they introduced immediate mail delivery between characters in the same account.   Without needing a guild, our toons can farm or produce many different kinds of items and nearly instantly mail them to the other toons in our account.   So now we have another kind of synergy.

Blizzard needs to take this to the next level.  Since they are encouraging the playing of alts and providing ways for them to synergize, Blizzard ought to do more.  I think a potential place to do that is with Garrisons.  We don’t have much information on this feature.  Unfortunately, the way it sounds now indicates that it won’t be alt friendly. Every toon would have their own garrison.  The garrison will be able, like the current farm in Pandaria, to produce some basic mats. I don’t like this.  Wouldn’t it be better if each account had one garrison that all your toons could access?   The garrison could have all the options that have been proposed even.  Then, of course, Blizzard could expand on it.  How about a “stash” as in Diablo III, where prof mats and items could be stored and easily accessed by all account toons?   Or prof items that need two professions to make them?   There are so many possibilities…

So, what do you think?   Should Blizzard expand this idea and promote more synergy between alts?  Would Garrisons be the answer?

This article was written entirely by Yotaan.