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We’ve Moved!

As I threatened on Twitter, I’ve moved this blog to a new blog titled “Alterior Motive”. As the title suggests, Alterior Motive will be a blog about leveling alts in World of Warcraft. The reason for the move is that I want to be ready to write about more than just Ecgric when the time comes to roll a new character. But I want to keep everything I write in one place. I don’t want to have to start a new blog for every new character I create. Basically, Alterior Motive should give me room to grow.

The new blog can be found it at:

 

alteriormotive.wordpress.com

 

Ecgric will soon hit level 65, which means that I’ve now experienced almost 5 levels of play as a Protection warrior. Seems like I ought to have something to say about what leveling as a Prot warrior is like.

I’ll start off by saying that my big concern, when switching from Arms to Prot, was how quickly (or slowly) I’d be able to kill mobs. I tend to like to move through single-target mobs quickly. I don’t have a problem with harder (read: elite) mobs taking more time to kill. And I also understand that taking on multiple mobs at once will not be as quick as killing one mob. I was fully prepared for Prot to be slower than Arms, but if it was much slower, than I wasn’t sure I’d be able to resist the urge to respec back to Arms.

I am happy to report that Prot killing is not significantly slower than Arms killing. At least not at level 60+. It is somewhat slower, of course, but not so much slower that I can’t tolerate it. The big advantage of Prot, though, is survivability. And I’m talking about amazing survivability. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever experienced as much survivability in a pet-less class.

As an example, I decided to try soloing Blacktalon, a fight that I’ve found quite challenging to solo with other classes. I was level 64 when I made the attempt. Blacktalon is level 63, I believe. The first time I attempted the fight, I was killed because I ended up fighting both Blacktalon and an add. But even with the add, I still came close to winning. So I decided to try again (the add was dead, so I figured I’d only have to fight Blacktalon the second time). The second time around, I did have to pop Last Stand to buy myself enough time, but I managed to finish the fight alive.

Keep in mind that Ecgric’s gear is nothing special. Basically just quest greens. I have yet to take him into any instance to get better great. Even with just quest greens, he was able to kill Blacktalon without too much difficulty. I was quite impressed, to say the least.

In general, when fighting normal mobs, I never even have to look at Ecgric’s health bar. I also don’t have to worry about how many mobs I’m about to run into. I find that I can pretty much wade right in and I’ll be more than capable of handling however many mobs I end up fighting. Even if I get adds in the middle of the fight.

I’m still planning to write a post that goes into more detail about exactly how combat as a Prot warrior works. For now, I hope Kadomi (of Tank Like A Girl) doesn’t mind my quoting from a comment she made to a previous post:

As prot you use a priority system, that basically looks like this:

Shield Slam > Revenge > Concussion Blow > Shockwave > Devastate

When Sword & Board procs, always Shield Slam right away.

For AoE tanking, pull 4-5 mobs, Thunderclap, Shockwave, Demo Shout, alternate between TC and Cleave and weave in Shield Slams.

Kadomi’s advice has been working perfectly for me.

ganooshEcgric had his pictured taken with a clever fellow he met in Undercity. Yes, he’s a Gnome, but even with that going against him, Ganoosh is still an interesting character.

Which begs the question, who the heck is Ganoosh? Information about him is scarce and scarcer. I suppose he could have been put there for the humor value. I tend to think, however, that Ganoosh had a purpose, but his creators changed their minds about his purpose and left Ganoosh as a joke.

So what could his purpose be? I’m going to guess that he was going to help Horde players specialize in Gnome Engineering. I believe that task is now accomplished by talking to somebody in Ratchet. Which left poor Ganoosh out of work. He’s basically been reduced to beggar status. I imagine he also spends his days in Undercity desperately trying to avoid being kicked like a football.

Ding 60!

Ding 60!

The day has finally arrived. Ecgric is level 60. As usual, I have no screenshot of the happy event. But as you can see from the above picture, Ecgric is now the proud owner of a Purple Skeletal Warhorse. I’m pretty excited to be able to replace the regular mount for the epic one. Not only is it faster, but the Skeletal Warhorse is my favorite land mount in the game. Of course, now Ecgric is broke. Or he will be after he buys all that thorium he’ll need to finish leveling blacksmithing to 300.

A mount isn’t the only new thing Ecgric has. He’s also sporting a new spec. Protection, to be exact. I went ahead and took the plunge to Protection and now I’m desperately trying to figure out what his new rotation is supposed to look like. This is still basically leveling. I don’t know if I have the courage to attempt to tank something in a group.

Ecgric didn’t really have the gear for Protection. He was sporting a new 2-handed axe he picked up in Outland. What he needed was a shield and a 1-handed weapon. Fortunately, I’d had the foresight to save a shield I’d also picked up as an Outland quest reward. But I still needed a weapon. I took a quick look on the auction house, and found absolutely nothing in Ecgric’s level range. I had to widen my search quite a bit before I managed to score a level 49 sword for 7 gold. I’m sure I’ll pick up something much better in Outland, but I have to have something or I’m going to have a tough time killing things.

So, with sword and shield equipped, I ventured out into Western Plaguelands to see about trying out my new abilities. And immediately discovered the pain of trying to kill things with a weapon that I hadn’t skilled in over 30 levels. My strategy for skilling up weapons is basically to ignore the whole thing. I just go about my business killing and eventually the skill gets to where it’s supposed to be. This would obviously be a terrible strategy if I were in a group. But in solo play, it seems to work well.

I have a lot to learn, obviously, about all of my new Protection abilities, but I can already see that Shield Slam is going to be very important. I was seeing some pretty decent damage numbers from that. What I’m not sure about yet, though, is which of the new abilities are essential and which are really situational. For example, is there any reason to continue using Rend? Rend is critical for an Arms warrior, but I’m not sure it’s really all the useful for Protection. Nothing improves the damage of Rend, and I don’t believe I get any special procs from Rend either.

Once I have Protection better figured out, I’ll try to write a post about what I’ve learned.

Outland At Last

Ecgric is officially in Outland. /confetti

He’s even managed to knock off the first couple of quests. And he’s replaced his Whirlwind Axe that he’s had since level 41. It was a good friend, but it needed replacing about 5 levels ago.

Some Outland observations (and the end of talking about myself in the 3rd person). Experience is crazy. I started about 1/4 of the way to 59, but after doing no more than three quests in Outland, am now over 3/4 of the way there. I think I could easily ding 59 with one more quest. As I assumed would be the case, killing stuff is quite a bit harder than it was back in Azeroth. The main reason for this is that the stuff I’m killing is at or higher than my level. In Azeroth, I was mostly doing green quests, especially in the last few levels leading up to Outland, and the mobs I’ve been killing were mostly 4-6 levels below my own. So jumping into Outland to face mobs at my level or higher is quite a noticeable difference. Mobs still die, but I end battles with less health than I’m used to. And I’m in more mortal danger as well. Things will even out as I go up in levels and outfit myself in Outland gear. But there will be some rocky times ahead until that’s accomplished.

But I’m actually not planning to stay in Outland too much longer. I think I’m going to finish up a few more quests, and then it’s back to Azeroth for more questing and to finish leveling my professions.

Before I went to Outland, I thought I’d knock off a couple of the Western Plaguelands quests, in case they were in danger of going gray. One of those quests was the dreaded Scarlet Dirversions quest. Dreaded, because it is a royal pain in the butt, but it has to be done in order to unlock the cauldron quests in WPL. The quest is simple enough. Burn down a tent and plant a flag on it. The problem is that the tent is surrounded by Scarlet Crusaders. The worst of those are the Invokers and the Medics. The Invokers are mages and they usually hit you with Arcane Missiles that are quite nasty. And as fast as you burn down the Invokers, the Medics are healing them back up. Which means that killing Medics always must be the top priority.

Fortunately, at 58, I didn’t have too much trouble completing the quest. I moved around to the back of the tent, where there are fewer Crusaders, and only had to deal with a couple of Invokers and Medics. At 58, my aggro circle was small enough that  I could get close to the tent without pulling any of the Crusaders standing in front of it.

The thing that bothers me the most about Scarlet Diversions is that the Alliance equivalent, Clearing the Way, is cake in comparison. All the Alliance have to do is killing some ghouls. The ghouls aren’t particularly hard to kill and they aren’t standing close enough to chain pull like the Scarlet Crusaders are in the Horde version. It’s almost as if two different dev teams worked on the two different quests, and one of the teams didn’t understand the directions. Either the Horde version is a lot harder than intended, or the Alliance version is a lot easier. Or, more likely, Blizzard just likes Alliance more (I kid).

Now that I think about it, the whole experience reminds of a story in Ding! (be sure to page through a few of them; they are all funny).

Outland Soonish

Ecgric is about half a level away from being able to enter Outland. Unfortunatley, his professions won’t be ready when he is. I think my strategy will be the usual one of entering Outland to do the first couple of quests for gear, and then head back to Azeroth to finish things up. I’m thinking that I may even level through 60 in Azeroth. I will definitely need to go to Silithus to get my cooking to 300 (by making Smoked Desert Dumplings from the Sharing the Knowledge quest). And, of course, I need a ton of  Thorium to finish leveling blacksmithing. Mining shouldn’t really be a problem. I think Ecgric’s mining is already around 285, so by the time I finish up in Azeroth, it should be 300 or higher with no trouble.

And, of course, I can’t leave Azeroth without doing the High Chief Winterfall quest chain in order to get the Strength of the High Chief trinket (actually, the trinket comes from turning in a book that drops when you kill High Chief Winterfall, not from the quest chain). That trinket, and it’s caster equivalent are great to have going into Outland.

What’s In A Name?

I’m not a big fan of funny character names. I tend to give my characters names that I think the character might really have given the world he or she lives in. I tend to have two strategies for picking a new character name. The first strategy is to research names on the Internet. I tend to use this strategy when I have a theme I’m going for and I want to find a name that fits that theme. Wikipedia is one good place to look for names this way. For example, here is a page of valkyrie names in Norse mythology that might contain a name suitable for a WoW character. Another strategy is to use Google. For example, if you search for “old english names“, you’ll get back a number of interesting sites.

My second strategy for naming a new character is to use WoW’s random name generator. I use this strategy when I don’t really have a theme I’m going for, but just want a decent name that I can create fairly quickly. The problem with WoW’s random name generator is that the names it generates are usually unavailable. The trick is to find a random name you like and then modify it to create a name that is available. I named my bank alt, Belysa, using this strategy. The random name I came up with was, I believe, Belisa, which was already taken. So I replaced the ‘i’ with a ‘y’ and presto, a great name that was also available.

To create Ecgric’s name I started with a google search of “forsaken names” and ended up at the wowwiki page for ‘Forsaken‘, which actually does contain a short list of names. I wasn’t particularly fond of any of the names I found there, so I decided that perhaps an old English name might also be appropriate for a Forsaken. Searching for ‘old english names’ eventually brought me to a nice list. ‘Ecgric’ is one of the names on that list. Actually, ‘Ecgric’ is a variation of ‘Egric’. I would have gone for ‘Egric’, but it was unavailable.

It turns out that there was an East Anglian king named Ecgric. He even has his own Wikipedia page.

The one problem I’ve run into with the ‘Ecgric’ name is that nobody knows how to pronounce it, including me. I had been assuming that it is pronounced as either ‘egg-grik’ or ‘ek-grik’. But according to the Wikipedia page for Ecgric, the East Anglian king, the ‘ecg-‘ spelling is intended to indicate that the pronunciation should be ‘edge’. Which means, I guess, that the name should be pronounced ‘edge-rik’. Who knew?

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