Alt weekend

I had a busy weekend in WoW. Nothing spectacular, just found myself with some windfall time on my hands and decided to spend it playing. As there is nothing much left for me to do with my main except grind out AP, I turned to my two most developed alts — balance druid and destro warlock. It was an interesting study in comparisons and contrasts.

Both are ranged dps, which is my solid role preference in WoW. I do have a couple of melee dps and healer alts, and they provide a nice break sometimes, but I always come back to ranged dps as my niche play style. Having said that, there are further distinctions among ranged dps, but the one that makes the greatest difference to me is mobility. Hunters used to be the most mobile of all ranged classes, and even after huge mobility nerfs to them in Legion at least BM hunters probably retain that distinction. So I am coming from that background as my baseline for determining “mobility”.

As I wrote last week, I have spent quite a bit of time lately developing my balance druid, and I am enjoying it. Her ilvl is around 890, but in all honesty she still has pretty crummy gear. Two legendaries, but one is just the crafted stat stick, worthless except as an ilvl booster, in my opinion. No tier gear, no BiS trinkets.

I was invited to a couple of mythics and mythic+ runs on her over the weekend. Pity runs, if I am truthful, but my guild is pretty good that way. Also, several of my guildies are building up alts now, too, so we end up taking turns running mains in order to carry some alts every now and then. My boomie dps was dismal, of course, but I was encouraged that it was not always bottom of the dps pile — there were moments of decent play.

The one thing that still dogs me with balance druid play is the extreme slowness of it.  Cast times just seem excruciating to me, like I could start the cast, go make a sandwich and get back just as it was finishing. I suppose this is an indirect reflection of my crummy gear — I have not even come close to really stacking the haste I need. The Icy Veins class guide goes so far as to rank haste and mastery above the primary stat of int (!) One of the consequences of this horrible slow play style is that I tend to overuse my instant casts — kill pace while soloing and even in mythic dungeons is such that there often is not enough time to get off a casted spell before the mobs die. So instant casts are frequently the only viable ones. Also, my muscle memory is hunter-honed, so I have a twitchy tendency to just interrupt a long cast in favor of an instant one. A lot. I am hoping I can get over this as my gear improves and I slap myself upside of my head often enough.

My lock also has crummy gear — even worse than my druid — right now hanging around 830 ilvl. Zero legendaries, not even a crafted one yet. But here’s the strange thing: even at a 60-ilvl difference, the lock feels much more powerful than the druid. I am relatively fearless at engaging mobs and elites with my lock, whereas with my druid I am super-cautious, almost always waiting for other players to show up before engaging anything higher than around 5 million health.

Some of that, I think, is because when I solo with my lock I run with a tank pet. Not only does this give me some breathing room when casting, but it is also the play style I have learned with my hunter since my earliest days of playing. So I am used to it.

But beyond the familiarity of using a pet, the lock play style — even though it is primarily a casted class — seems much more lively and engaging to me than balance druid. It seems mobile, whereas my druid does not. I am not sure why. Both balance druid and destro lock have casted spells as their primary power and some instant casts for setup or dots. Both require a certain rotational sequence to achieve high damage, and if that sequence is interrupted by the need to move, it suffers a bit. (Less so if you are skilled, more so if you play like I do.) Yet I find destro lock play not only more enjoyable than balance druid play but also more effective. Yes, destro lock has big casted spells, but the cast times seem reasonable, not M-A-D-D-E-N-I-N-G-L-Y S-L-O-O-O-O-O-W-W-W-W like for boomies.

The difference reminds me of the difference between BM hunters pre- and post-Legion. There is some major shift in play style, in class/spec philosophy. Prior to WoD, hunter development was guided by someone who understood the whole hunter “feel”. Starting in WoD, this was no longer the case, and hunter development seemed to be only about numbers no matter how awful the feel. It seems, from my very parochial view, that there is a similar lack of feel for balance druid play style, whereas those developers working on locks still retain it. Even though balance druid and destro lock have the same basic damage mechanics, one is horribly clunky in its implementation and one is lively and fun.

This, to me, perfectly describes Blizz’s problems with class development — they just do not get it for several classes, nor apparently do they care to, but for the ones they do get, it works out nicely. 

Last week I thought that my balance druid would become my primary alt as Legion progresses, but now I am not so sure. Don’t get me wrong, I am still having fun with it, but a weekend with my lock is starting to change my mind. (Yes, I am fickle. Sue me.) The one thing that has thus far soured me on my lock in Legion is — and I know this sounds stupid — the class hall. I have never been a fan of the dark, fire-and-brimstone-with-overtones-of-torture-and-anguish environments Blizz seems to love, and this dismal environment is only compounded by what I think is a horrible layout for the class hall. I am getting more familiar with it now, but I still wander around a lot looking for stuff. Honestly, a big reason I have not played my lock much so far in Legion is because I dreaded having to do business in that class hall.

At any rate, it was a fun and relaxing weekend. And my little kick-ass gnome warlock is back!

Being Boomkin

One of the nicer consequences of finally being able to fly in Legion is the gift of time. My very unscientific personal experience so far is that I can do approximately twice as much now in the same amount of time than I could do without flying. I am talking about activities like world quests, profession leveling and mat gathering, and of course the 7.2 Broken Shore dailies.

I have taken advantage of the extra time to pay some real attention to my druid. Back about a year ago, when it seemed possible that I would actually give up my beloved hunter in the face of what I perceived to be the total Blizz sellout of the hunter class, my first choice for a new main was my druid. I have always been fascinated by this class — the only one to offer every role in the game including both melee and ranged DPS — but I have never really gone beyond dipping a toe into it. When I first rolled my druid — years ago, as my second alt in the game — I did it as Resto. I got kicked from my first dungeon for being terribad and was so put off by the whole thing that it was years before I ventured into another instance with my druid. Mind you, the group was completely justified in kicking me. I had not grasped the whole steady-stream HoT method of healing and was trying to just react to health hits. The disaster was predictable, and one further consequence was that I came to think of druid Resto healing as very difficult.

Thus, when I leveled my druid in Mists I switched to Balance, mainly because I have always been most comfortable with ranged damage dealing. I had Resto as my secondary spec but really did not do much with it. I enjoyed Balance in Mists, and I came to really value the sheer versatility of the druid class, especially its wide array of defensive spells. I did level my druid in WoD, but I hated the Balance play style in that expansion — to say it was slow is a real understatement, especially given what at the time was a fantastically flexible and fast-paced SV hunter style that I had as my main. Still, I remained intrigued by the class, and I even ran a few alt run raids as Resto.

With my background of dithering between Balance and Resto on my druid, I was intrigued when Legion came along and introduced the attunement talent. As I am not really by nature a melee damage dealer, and I have never tanked, I was of course drawn to the Balance-Resto attunements. I got both artifact weapons and intended to  play as Resto, but I found the damage options — even with Balance attunement — to be far too puny for realistic soloing (world quests, etc.), at least for my taste. So I reversed and opted for Balance with Resto attunement.

After I first hit 110, I considered just dropping the whole idea, because my boomie seemed very squishy and almost as slow as in WoD. It was frustrating to play. But as I have geared up and gotten into my 7.2 artifact traits, I am finding it more palatable. It also doesn’t hurt that I have actually done some study of How to Boomkin (finally understand that whole solar-lunar power thing) and spent considerable time with target dummies and live target dummies (aka LFR). I am still not what I would call well geared at 880 ilevel, and of my two equipped legendaries, one is the mostly useless crafted one — good really only as a stat stick with 3 gem slots — but I can see the potential if I can manage to get to maybe somewhere around ilevel 900 or so. (This may depend on the good will of my guildies in carrying me on some Mythics.)

I am a bit slow on getting artifact traits because I am trying to keep my Resto artifact within 2-3 traits of my main spec Balance one. And most of the time I have to play my druid comes on the weekend, so it is not exactly a fast process even now with flying. (This is not good for LFR runs, though, as of course the weekend ones tend to be worse than the Tuesday or Wednesday ones.) My goal is to be a useful ranged DPS for our alt raids when we start them up, and to be a reliable fallback healer if needed. Also, I am hedging my bets for the next expansion — if Blizz once again really screws hunters, I want to be positioned to go with another main if necessary.

Probably the most tedious and annoying aspect of gearing up my druid is the whole class hall and profession chase. (It took me weeks to even find my way around the druid class hall, although now that I am comfortable with it I find it to be vastly superior to the hunter one.) I still am confused by what seems to be an endless number of quest lines and achievements necessary to get your champions, your third relic slot, your artifact research 7.2 addon, your class hall research, and so forth. I think I have gotten most of the important ones now on my druid, but I have not even begun to think about artifact appearance quests. (This is a holdover from my BM hunter, where I pay almost no attention to them because they are pretty bad and don’t even affect Hati.)

I have finally gotten level 2 on all my alchemy flasks, but I am not sure I will get the level 3’s just because of the hundreds of flasks you have to craft in order to get the rare RNG drop of the next level for each. And I am still working on my last herbalism level 2 — just can’t seem to get that dreamleaf quest to drop for me.

But overall, I feel like I am on my way to being able to play a decent Boomkin, and to be able to make myself useful as a healer as well. Balance seems solidly in the middle of the pack in terms of DPS charts, I doubt if there is any chance it will be a sought-after spec for top raiders in Legion, but I am fine with that. I only intend to do alt raiding with it anyway. And really, I am having fun with it, which of course I tend to forget is the point of this whole game.

When you think about it, what could be more fun than turning into a tree and healing your friends, and then turn around and start killing monsters as a giant chicken? And in between, turn yourself into a cat for quick getaways or a bear for maximum protection or a raven for soaring? It just doesn’t get much better than this!

Flasks, finally

Over the weekend I spent some time on a couple of alts, ones I am working on mainly for professions, but ones that I hope will allow me to get a break every now and then from the gear and rep grind on my main.

The alt I have spent the most time on so far is my druid — balance with resto attunement. She is an herbalist/alchemist, so that seemed like the most critical profession combo for me, at least the one that might save me the most gold in the long run. I leveled her over a month ago, but it has been a long slog to get her to the point where she can actually produce the pots and flasks I use on my main.

Balance has really improved as a play style in Legion, I think. Of course, this is the opinion of a rank amateur at the spec, but I find myself enjoying it far more than I did in WoD. While she is not well geared at all yet — 801 ilevel — I find both questing and herb gathering fun. The defensive capabilities are awesome when you need to avoid mobs or use the “run like hell” tactic, and having played a hunter forever, it is refreshing to be able to do so much self healing in order to survive some encounters.

The 7.1 change making Suramar and World Quests account-wide really helped, too. It allows me to focus on profession development and the factions that will give me some needed recipes, along with some modest artifact and class hall development activities. I don’t feel any real need to go beyond something like level 15 or 20 on my artifact traits. I will probably eventually get a resto artifact and level that to a minimum of 13-15, just to be able to heal some low level stuff in a pinch.

I did as much as I could with professions while leveling the druid, but there are level gates that prevent you from doing a lot until you have reached 110. And the crafting quest lines still seem far, far too onerous. There are something like 40 quests required just to get to the point where you can make basic combat flasks. While this in itself is not horrible — I am generally in favor of making people do some work to develop their professions — it is the nature of the quests that seems way out of line. For one thing, there seem to be a lot that require you to craft a significant number of relatively expensive and time-consuming items just to turn them in to the quest-giver. That is, unlike what has been usual in the past for professions (think engineering, for example), you do not get quest credit just for crafting the item but for giving it up. No longer can you craft 20 widgets, complete the quest, then sell or use the widgets. Nope, those are just freebies that get tossed into the bit bucket.

The other bad design — in my opinion — for crafting professions is the too-frequent requirement to do instances in order to complete a quest. And in at least one case for alchemy it is not just a matter of completing a dungeon but in fact you must unlock and defeat a special quest-related boss within the instance. This is the step that had been holding me back, and the one I finally completed over the weekend, with the help of a couple of generous guildies. The quest is Demon’s Bile, and I had tried it a couple of times using the group finder, only to have the groups pretty much laugh at me when I asked if we could do the special boss. No one wanted to take the extra time. Luckily, I always asked up front, so I was able to drop group when they said no. The quest is a critical step in being able to craft flasks, so without it much of your alchemy profession is useless. After this step, there are maybe half a dozen or more quests that make you run around all over Azeroth before you can get the desired recipes, but Demon’s Bile is a big hurdle.

I am not actually sure that going beyond Level 1 flasks is worth the effort at this point. I will be crafting them mainly for my own characters, so the fact that I won’t get the RNG drops of a couple extra here and there does not seem like such a big deal. I might try for a couple of Level 2s, which I think I can get via faction reps, but that is about it. It is not worth running mythics and high level group activities (for which you need decent gear, etc.) just for the off chance of maybe possibly getting a random drop of a Level 3 recipe.

Of course, without Level 3 recipes it will be basically impossible to reach 800, since the Level 1s grey out pretty quickly, but I am not sure I really care. I will not be able to craft raid cauldrons, but honestly there is not a lot of value in those in Legion anyway, in my opinion. They are horribly expensive to produce, and the flasks you get from them are no better than individual ones in terms of either stats or the time they last. Cauldrons in Legion seem designed as welfare for players too cheap to buy their own. So I really do not feel bad that I will not be able to produce them. I can make flasks for myself as well as donate some to the guild bank every week, so that is fine.

In general, I think I have decided that Level 3 recipes, and even reaching max profession level, is just not worth it for crafting professions in Legion. My main is a LW who is stuck at somewhere around 775. Eventually I will get the reps needed to fill in recipes for some pieces I don’t currently have, but getting the Level 2 recipes for some of the ones I do have is far too expensive (20 gems that still run into the thousands of gold each in the Auction House for one, for example) to be worth it. Especially since the gear I could craft with them tops out at 855. I can craft what I need by using a few more mats than it would take at Level 3, and so what if it takes more leather or scales to make — I have tons and tons of leather, scales, and Blood of Sargeras. I think it is too bad that maxing out professions is out of reach for a lot of players in Legion, but as I have pointed out before this expansion requires many of us to lower our game goals and expectations.

I do think it will be worth a certain amount of effort to max out gathering professions, though, and I intend to try for most of the ones I have. Gathering in Legion seems to take a lot longer than it did in Mists (I don’t count WoD where you could pretty much “gather” in garrison), and being able to get more items per node seems like a valuable skill to me.

Next up for profession leveling: my miner/JC, who happens also to be a hunter. I should reach 110 sometime this weekend. I have not really researched the quests required to learn useful gems, but I am expecting quite a lot of annoying requirements. And, like my other crafting professions, I doubt if I will progress beyond Level 1 recipes for many. (As an aside, my spec strategy for this, my second hunter, is to start out as BM and get my artifact to trait level 13 — BM being useful for leveling and soloing — then switch to MM as her main spec.)

Beyond these two alts, I think my third will be my Mistweaver monk, who has enchanting and engineering for professions. I am not too excited about engineering this expansion, but enchanting might be useful to me. I am not sure how many Bloods I will need for her, and getting them might be a challenge with no gathering skills (possibly have to depend entirely on world quests?). Also, being a healer, she should be more of a challenge to level up, but I will give it a try anyway.

Still, that is quite a ways off. For now, I am working on flask making and hoping there are not any more special-needs dungeon quests for the remainder of my baseline crafting professions. Diminished expectations ftw!!!!!

Prepping my alts for Legion

I spent quite a bit of last week going through what has become a fairly long process of preparing my alts for Legion leveling. I went through certain steps for each alt, namely:

  • Clear out all accumulated transmog gear in bank and in void storage, then equip the BoEs in the mailbox and clear that out.
  • Set up Ark Inventory for bag and bank. I love this addon, and the author has done a terrific job of working on it for 7.0, but the transition has been rather painful.
  • Select my spec.
  • Read up on current balance of talents, think about how I will be playing the alt, and select initial talents.
  • Check out IcyVeins for new stat priorities, then reroll stats on crafted gear, get new gems and enchants as necessary, and stock up on new food.
  • Have my inscriptionist send the alt a stack of tomes for talent switching in the field.
  • Again using IcyVeins, learn about starter rotations, cooldown usage, and priorities and use that to set up initial action bars.
  • Configure main addons to reflect the changes. This meant Weakauras for all alts plus Healbot for healers.
  • Head to the target dummies, try everything out, tweak/reconfigure as necessary. Rinse and repeat.
  • If I still felt really unsure after all this, I would do a couple of LFR runs to shake out the kinks and get a little confidence back.

As you can see, it was quite a long process, usually a couple of days per alt before I felt like I had something even minimally ready for pre-expansion events as well as for leveling in Legion. Some seemed to go a little faster than others, due I think to a combination of me being more confident playing them going in, and the nature and extent of 7.0 changes for each.

As a side note, I did finally say goodbye to my mage. After years of struggling to play her, I finally admitted that I just do not enjoy the play style, not any spec, not any expansion. Legion will be time-consuming enough without feeling guilted into leveling and gearing an alt I dread playing. So I sold off all her gear and professional cooldowns, cashed in her currencies for anything of value, sent her gold to my bank alt, and unceremoniously deleted her. I am loyal, it is true, but eventually I figure out when to cut my losses and admit defeat.

So I have a few anecdotal observations as a result of my prep process.

Demonology warlock is far more interesting than BM hunter. In fact, the demo lock play style is what BM hunter should be, in my opinion. The lock has far more intricate, interesting player choices than does the hunter, and honestly it seems to have more control over its dark beasts, too. Whereas BM hunter is all about whack-a-mole for hitting RNG-derived cooldowns as soon as they pop up, demo lock actually gives you some choices that affect your final damage efficiency. Demo lock is a skill spec, BM hunter is a lottery ticket spec.

Balance Druid might actually be a decent damage spec in Legion. I opted for Balance with a resto attunement, and so far I have been pleasantly surprised at the improvement in the spec. It seems to have more snap to it, a better feel than the lumbering slow play style I found it to be in WoD. (I can’t speak much for change to resto, but my personal impression is that it did not change nearly as drastically as some other specs.)

I like the new boomkin skin and art, too, although I have an  objection to one aspect of it —  if you take Blessing of the Ancients, the strongest of the level 90 talents, you always have a spectral form, there is nothing you can do to look solid. This annoys me to such an extent that I dumped the talent, even though nearly every site says it is by far the most powerful in that tier. I have never liked the “spectral” look of characters, and while I can put up with it for very short periods to reflect certain buffs or auras, I hate looking like that all the time. I created a good solid character, and dammit I jolly well want to stay that way!

Marksmanship hunter still feels clunky to me. I set up my “off hunter” as MM, just to try out the spec and see if it might be more pleasing to play that my main’s BM spec. So far, the answer is no for me. It seems more powerful than BM, but of course that is without artifacts yet, and also the power is once again dependent on selecting Lone Wolf. The spec is clearly meant to be a petless one, and it is obvious that Blizz only added in the possibility of a pet to try and shut up some of the hunter community whining over it. And yes, I was one of the whiners, but adding a pet while making it a net DPS loss just seems kind of spiteful to me.

MM hunter still does not flow well in terms of play style, it is cumbersome, less mobile than BM, and still too dependent on RNG procs for excellent damage. Of course, like all specs it is incomplete without the artifact weapon, but still it seems clumsy. Having said that, however, at least it offers more player choice than BM does. Skill in making the right decisions at the right time can (if the RNG gods are with you) make a difference in your play. Contrast this with BM, where in essence you have zero real decisions to make, you just punch the buttons when they come available.

Mistweaver monk has some real potential for fun. I actually liked the Mists and WoD style for MW healing, but I have to say I think the Legion changes are a net gain for the spec. It remains quite mobile, can function adequately either as a tank healer or raid healer, has a good array of spells available, and retains a very robust offensive capability. Whether MW monks will be able to compete with other, more traditional healers, in elite raid settings is a question, I suppose, but at the level I play, they will be just fine.

I was a little worried about the removal of Chi as a power source, especially when combined with the removal of Mana Tea as we knew it, but so far I have not found it to be a problem. I am a little annoyed at a few of the changes, though. Mana Tea, for example, does not in fact provide you with more mana now, it merely lowers the mana cost of your next couple of spells. That strikes me as false labeling, and if nothing else I would like the buff to be renamed. Also, I feel a tad betrayed by Blizz making the statue a talent instead of keeping it as one of the iconic features of the spec. Still, overall I really like the changes, and I anticipate making my MW my first alt to level in Legion, after my main.

Outlaw rogues seem incredibly complex to play. This is not to say they do not have potential for great fun, but I am having a devil of a time feeling even marginally comfortable with mine. The biggest change to this former Combat spec is the Roll the Bones mechanic. For those of you unfamiliar with it, basically the spell gives you one or more (up to three) of six possible random buffs. Each buff or combo of buffs affects one or more of your other spells. Thus, the outcome of RtB affects what your next spell or series of spells should optimally be. RtB has a very short cooldown, so if you do not like the outcome you can pretty much keep rolling it until you get one you do like — of course, your overall damage takes a hit if you are spending your time trying to get a good buff setup instead of doing, you know, actual damage.

While RtB is an innovative mechanic, I really don’t know how it will turn out for outlaw rogues. In its current incarnation, it seems too edgy and iffy to count on for even semi-serious raiding, dooming this spec to the clown spec, one chosen simply for the pirate motif. AAAAAARRRRRHHHH!! It is hard to envision group pleas for “Prefer outlaw rogue to fill melee ranks.”

I am not even sure it is possible to play RtB in any way except what the name implies: roll the dice and hope for a good outcome. It seems almost impossible to effectively select your next casts based on what RtB yields, given the large number of possible permutations and the relatively short available response times. A few elite players may learn to do it, I suppose, but the vast majority of players will just plant their faces on the keyboard and hope for the best. Of course, there will inevitably be an addon that “selects” for you, but even with that it will be virtually impossible to optimize your response, and nothing will compensate for a run of bad luck in terms of not getting the “best” RtB outcome. Thus, outlaw rogue, like far too many Legion specs, remains overly dependent on RNG for its damage potential.

I am still working on my rogue, and I have yet to start my pally’s Legion prep, but at least there is finally an end in sight. Not a moment too soon, either. With the introduction of Demon Hunters next week and presumably the pre-expansion events the following week, not to mention Legion itself two weeks after that, the pace of play is about to accelerate big time.

Who took the boom out of Boomkin?

Last night, just for variety, I decided to resume leveling my poor mistreated Balance Druid. She has been sitting at level 91 in the bare camping-out version of a garrison since sometime around February. I got her to Draenor then just left her alone, poor thing.

I have a sad history of similar behavior with this alt. She was actually my very first alt, rolled about the time my main hunter got to maybe level 60. I was fascinated by the possibilities of a hybrid class, imagining rapid switching among all the various specs. I thought it would be great fun to be able to do either ranged or melee damage, to heal, or to tank whenever I felt like it.

HAHAHAHAHA!

I was very shortly disabused of this fantasy. First, I realized I could only have two specs at a time, so already the possibilities were cut in half. Then the practical challenge of lugging around two sets of gear became clear to me. Not to mention the cumbersome re-equipping I had to do to switch specs — this was before I discovered Outfitter and other helpful addons. Not being a fan of melee play style, I settled on Balance and Resto as my two specs. My final realization of the challenges inherent in hybrids came when I blithely decided — some time around level 50 — to run a few dungeons as Resto.

Disastrous. With a capital D. I was unceremoniously kicked from three dungeons in a row. Within like the first three minutes in each. I can’t blame them, I would have kicked me too. I would have had to improve a huge amount to reach the level of “stink.” I had no idea how to heal a group, much less any clue about Resto healing. I was so traumatized by the experience that I have not attempted Resto healing since.

In fact, I had such a bad taste in my mouth over the whole idea of a Druid, that I made her my bank alt and left her parked in the Trade District in Stormwind for over a year. (To this day I don’t know why I did not just delete her as an alt, I guess because back then a level 50 character still represented a lot of time and effort, and I was cautious about throwing away several months of work.)

Finally, in Cata, I brought her out of exile, leveled her to max, got her some decent gear, and spent many happy hours flying herb routes in Uldum. I made decent gold with her combo of herbalism and alchemy, and I was able to do respectable DPS as Balance in LFR and a few guild raids. I did pretty much the same thing with her in Mists.

Once I got the hang of the slightly weird sun/moon thing, I kind of liked the rotation, and I really loved the self heals, the various traveling forms for Druids, and the awesome cat prowl mode for those times when you just don’t want to be noticed. It all made leveling and soloing pretty fun, although it was never as powerful as hunter leveling and soloing.

So last night I was expecting a bit of rustiness but also some leveling fun. I updated a few keybinds, checked my talents and glyphs, did a quick review of rotation recommendations on IcyVeins, and set off. Boy, was I in for a shock.

First, even though Blizz’s intent in changing the power schema for Boomkins had been to simplify it, I found it monumentally confusing, far more complex than the old style. In no way did it seem ” easy to learn, hard to master” which Blizz claims is their guiding philosophy for classes and specs. I am sure I will figure it out with study, new Weakauras, and a lot of practice, but it really does seem unnecessarily complex as a power mechanism.

But even more of a surprise than the power method was the long — as in geologic time scale — casting times for your basic rotation. As best as I could figure out, after setting your DoTs, you essentially alternate between 2-second and 3-second casts, with a chance of an instant proccing sometimes.

Do you have any idea how excruciatingly long a 3-second cast is? It feels like you can cast it, get up and go to the bathroom, duck down to the kitchen and make yourself a sandwich, and get back just in time to cast it again. Back to back long casts as a basic rotation just feels wrong to me. Especially when virtually every mob you ever encounter seems to have unlimited instant casts and no cooldown times for anything. (Why is that, by the way? Why is there one set of WoW physics rules for the mages you play, for example, and an entirely different set for the mages you have to kill?)

So last night I was out fighting mobs, and I would basically just stand there casting for forever while several of them would be unleashing continuous attacks on me.

Me:

(First cast)

One one thousand,

Two one thousand

Zap

(New cast)

One one thousand

Two one thousand

Three one thousand

Zap

Mobs:

Zap zap zap zap zap zap zap zap zap zap zap zap zap zap zap zap zap zap zap zap zap zap zap zap zap zap zap zap zap zap zap zap

I am sure most of my unease with my Druid is due to being spoiled by the awesomeness of playing a hunter as my main, along with my obvious lack of facility with the Boomkin spec. I actually appreciate complexity in a class — it takes time to get good at it, but once you do, there is nothing more fun than hitting your cooldowns and rotational interactions perfectly, time after time, especially in a rapidly changing environment. It’s a satisfying and mesmerizing rhythm when you get it right.

Or maybe I should give Resto healing another try.