A few changes…

Posted in General on February 16, 2010 by Flairn

So some good news and some bad news for all my avid readers (all 3 of you).  Chain Changes, as it curently is, is being retired.  I’ve found myself creating too many blogs… and it’s getting ridiculous.  But I’m not leaving!  No!  My three dedicated readers will be thrilled beyond all recongnition!

If you’ve read some of this blog and you want more of my genius, you can head to two places.  First, for more info on feral druids and their awesomeness in general, go to “Feral Aspect”, a hunter/druid blog I’ve started that is hopefully going to get up in the air soon- http://feralaspect.wordpress.com/

For more  of my adventures in PvEdom, (as a boomkin, I’m sorry to say.  I prefer ranged in PvE), you can check out my new blog with no name (so far) at http://flairn.wordpress.com/  The new blog is going to be covering going from square one as an absolute newbie in PvE (which I defintely am) to experienced raider.  I’ll walk you through all the steps, and hopefully, the community will find it fairly helpful.

Anyways, Chain Changes has been a blast, (a very short one), and I am not retiring!  I’m just moving.  Hopefully I’ll see you all again very soon.

~Flairn (druid extraordinaire)


So… now what?

Posted in General, Raiding with tags on October 17, 2009 by Flairn


Those of you familiar with Naxxramas will probably recongnize Maexxna, the third boss of the Arachnid Quarter.  For those of you who read my post about leveling to 80 you probably realize the implications.  Yes, I finally hit 80 on Monday the 13th, earlier this week.  No, I did not get the 6000g my guildy said he’d pay me, as I narrowly missed the deadline, which means grinding to epic flying to old fashioned way.  Nevertheless, it feels oh so good to finally hit 80.  Which means the news and updates you get from this blog will now come from a player who knows what they’re doing.  Doesn’t that come as a comfort to you?

After the historic ding, I was faced with a rather confusing question, which I’m sure every player asks themselves upon finally reaching the max level.  So… now what? All through my time playing the game, I’ve been preocupied with leveling.  I’ve been working on my druid since April 2009 (yes, I level slowly.  Painfully slowly) and while I may have participated in the odd lowbie-friendly guild event, my thoughts were always on that exp bar, willing it to reach the side of my screen.  Then I’d start over again.  80 times.

And, suddenly liberated of that oppressive bar, I was faced with complete confusion.  I sort of figured that upon reaching the max level some random npc would simply pop up and say “Oh, good.  You’re done your training.  Come with me.”  And port me to a hall filled with free epics.  Sadly… that didn’t happen.  And for those few of you reading this without and 80… epics are not free.  It’s a very sad thing, but it’s true.

My strange sense of humour aside… I feel like this is something that really needs to be addressed.  I’ve yet to find a blogger that had the gall to start a blog before having a max level character.  That’s not to say I’ve read every blog, I’m sure someone else has done it, but I’ve never seen it.  As a result, most blogs discuss strictly endgame.  Obviously I’m going to start doing that as I go, but I want to cover something that I feel is a little lacking the the online WoW blog world:  How to get started.

No, I’m not going to do a leveling guide, as that would require me to level another toon, which frightens me.  But, I’m going to talk about how to get yourself started with endgame.  For example, for the noob 80s out there… how do you get epics?  What’s the deal with Emblems?  WHAT exactly are raids?  I’m going to share it all over the next few posts.

To get back to the picture at the top of this post, yes, obviously, I took my first steps into naxx just a couple nights ago.  It was a very cool thing, and although I’m still going to be PvPing more than raiding, I think I may end up doing a bit more PvE through my WoW career.  At any rate, I’m going to end this one off here, but I felt the need to post about upcomming posts.  For truly valid information, stay tuned to Chain Changes.

The Many Complaints of Raiders

Posted in General, Raiding with tags on October 8, 2009 by Flairn

Raid Boss #1901721

Although in my last post I freely admitted that I’m not exactly an expert on current raiding (since my main is not yet 80), I do know a thing or two about the game.  Thus the creation of this blog.  And over the course of my time playing WoW, I’ve noticed several trends among ex-raiders, and even people currently a part of raiding guilds.  Particularly with players coming from a background in “hardcore” raiding, there seems to be a very common string of complaints that are registered by players about end-game PvE.  Today I’m going to go over a few of these complaints, and give you all my two cents.

The first, and probably most common complaint I’ve heard about end-game raiding, is the time commitment.  You get stuff like “Never become a raider, it’s a waste of time” from somewhat cynical ex-raiders.  I’ve heard of high-end raiding guilds holding four or five, often times even more, raids a week.  And if you don’t make it to a significant chuck of these raids… tough.  You’re out.

That’s a pretty brutal schedule.  What happened to WoW being a game?  Aren’t games supposed to be fun?  A very wise player once told me “It’s your $14.99, do what you want.”  That is, in my opinion, a pretty solid summary of what the game should be.  A game.  But here you’ve got people adding unnecessary stress to their lives, scrambling to make it to raids.  Why?  To get the latest shinies.

I totally disagree with this entire issue.  The reason being, that it shouldn’t be an issue at all.  Blizzard has put a lot of effort into opening up content for more casual players.  If you want to be a hardcore raider, and you spend enough time playing the game that making it to five or six raids a week isn’t a problem… great!  That’s your prerogative, and absolutely, make the most of the game.  But, if you don’t have time to do that kind of raiding… why are you in a hardcore guild?  Just go find a group of friends that share your ideas, and run progression with them.  There’s no rule that says you have to play with a hardcore guild.  I’m going to stress this: The game is supposed to be FUN.  The second it stops entertaining you, or doing whatever it is you love about it… it’s time to stop.  Just enjoy yourself.  If you don’t have the time… that’s fine.  Just don’t run with a guild that expects you to.

Another popular complaint:  Hard modes/ <insert tough boss here (ie. Yogg)> are/is too hard.  My response to this one has never changed.  Hard modes and high-end bosses are hard.  By definition.  That’s the point.  After all, who wants a game where you breeze through everything totally unhindered?  If you can’t handle hard modes… run normal modes.  Honestly this one should be pretty self-explanatory.  Gear up.  Get better at the game… then when you’re ready go take on the harder content.  Same deal with tougher bosses or raids.  If you can’t handle Ulduar right off the bat… run Naxx.  Farm heroics.Emalon

I’ve seen countless people try to skip ahead, and take on the toughest content right away.  News flash: the game isn’t built that way.  If you aren’t ready for some content… you will wipe.  Again and again.  And again.  Taking on stuff that’s too hard for you is just gonna make the game less fun.  And… the game is supposed to be fun.  I don’t know about you guys, but that’s why I’m playing it.

Complaint number three: “I ran Ulduar last night and <insert epic shiny thingee you’ve been trying to get> dropped!  It was amazing!  But then this jerk ninjaed it.”  Again, this is a problem you shouldn’t be having.  Unless you’re running Ulduar with a PUG (an experience I don’t recommend), you should be able to trust the people you run with.  If someone in your guild or progression group has a history of ninjaing loot… kick the bugger.  He’s just bringing you and your friends down.

The social aspect of WoW is something a lot of people really enjoy.  So, before you decide to spend your end-game career running with someone… make sure you really want to spend your end-game career running with them.  It doesn’t even have to be as obvious as someone who ninjas loot.  If you’re not happy with the group you’ve been raiding with… why are you raiding with them?

Next on the list… guild drama.   This isn’t so much related to raiding as it is to the game in general, but raiding often sparks this.  Personally, I absolutely love guilds.  They make the game even more fun for me.  Climbing guild ranks, and running events is something I love to add to the mix.  But, as much as I love guilds, I HATE guild drama.  The worst part is you can have a completely great group of people, but get drama anyways.  I’ve had troubles in my own guild, and I love them to bits.

When it comes to guild drama, the best approach is a preventative one.  If you’re raid leader, or guild leader, or an officer, or even just an ordinary member of the guild, and you see drama coming, head it off.  If someone starts a fight with you, ignore them, calm them down, whatever.  But I’ve seen the most petty debates humanly imaginable tear guilds apart.  And that’s not something anyone wants to see happen.

For example, let’s say Guildy A is part of a fairly high end raiding group.  They’re on the brink of finishing Ulduar on hard mode, and everyone wants to get One Light in the Darkness.  But, Guildy A is burnt out.  He’s been raiding like crazy for the past few months and wants a break from it.  He decides to take a brief break from raiding and mess around with an arena team.  Guildy A happens to be one of the main healers for the group, and Guildy B (an officer) says he can’t do that.  He has to stay on and raid.  Guildy A gets pissed and a fight ensues.  Eventually, the guild is divided into two groups (one for Guildy A, and one for Guildy B) and breaks up.  They never get One Light in the Darkness.  No pretty proto drakes for them.

This is a pretty random, and somewhat exaggerated example of guild drama.  But really, stuff like this goes on.  And it’s no fun.  So if you see your guild headed that way… head it off right away.  Because you don’t want to go where they’re going.  If it becomes unbearable, leave the guild.  Even if you’ve got history with them, it’s not worth making your game-time miserable.

Really, I could go on and on about this.  For most of the common raider complaints, I have an answer.  But what it boils down to is this.  People who raid (or for that matter, people who PvP, or do whatever) shouldn’t complain.  Whatever it is you’re doing, if it isn’t fun for you don’t do it.  If you’re tired of raiding, try PvP, and vice versa.  Enjoy yourself, and if you see someone dragging the rest of your guild, or group, or guild alliance (whatever) with constant complaints, pleasantly remind them that they’re not making it any more fun for the rest of you.

Plenty of people play the game to relieve stress.  The odd venting about “Pallies are OP” or even stuff totally unrelated to the game (ie. “I’m so sick of work right now.”) can be a great way of venting your problems, or whatever.  But, don’t make it miserable for everyone else, just because you’re unhappy.  If you aren’t happy, don’t play the game.

I’m sorry for my extremely long, somewhat rant-y post, but it’s something I feel needs to be said.  It’s a game people.  I think it’s high time some players started remembering that.

What a Long, Strange Journey it’s Been

Posted in General, Leveling with tags on October 7, 2009 by Flairn

Ding- 76

Now that bewfest is over, a good number of blogs out there have been bragging about their finishing all the holidays, and I’ve seen at least half a dozen with this title. I figured I’d follow suit, but not in the way you’d expect.

I’m what you would call a casual player. I don’t have a massive ammount of play-time and I do a lot of other stuff besides Wow when I AM at the computer (like… I don’t know… blogging?). I’m so much a casual player, that my main (although a druid) is not even 80 yet. I’ve been playing the game for comming up on a year and a half or so, but haven’t maxed out yet. I keep fooling around with alts, and such.

Finally, I got tired of it. My favourite server I’d player thus far, was The Venture Co (RPPvP US), and I already had what, at the time was, a wopping level 15 on the server. He was a Tauren Druid, and he’s now my main. That was back in late April of this year.

Fast forward life for five months and you’ve got me, with a level 71 Death Knight alt and my trusty level 74 Druid, both stuck in Northrend. I’m sick of leveling. I never want to see another experience bar. I never want to smell another experience bar. I want to disable it on Bartender and never look at the bloody thing again.

Meanwhile my guild is eagerly awaiting my reaching level 80 so I can start… well running stuff with them. We do a lot of PvP, but you still need bodies for that, and Arena teams are on everyone’s mind. In a desperate bid to make me max out already, a guild mate made me a bet. If I hit level 80 by October 13th, he’ll pay me 6000 gold to cover Epic and Cold Weather flying. Nice, huh?

So that got my spirit sparked again, and I’m desperately trying to reach the goal. I had a schedule (which I almost instantly fell behind) and now I’m leveling like a mad man trying to hit 80 in time. As I write this blog (also like a mad man, it’s pretty entertaining to watch) I’m level 76. And I had better make it!

So, while I take a break from power questing, I’ve decided to reflect on my long and strange journey to level 80, all the way from that fateful day in April when I picked up my level 15 baby druid.

I asked around, and my guild unanimously confirmed what I’d already heard, feral was the best leveling spec by far. So, I dragged my little bear form butt out there and started Mauling everything that moved. After a week or so of interminable auto attack and mauling, I made the greatest discovery of my druidic career. Cat form. I’ve had a long, faithful love afair with cat form, and it remains my favourite aspect of any class I’ve ever played to this day. To go from slowly staring at the screen till the mob died to running in and killing in the blink of an eye was an eye opener to me. Thus armed with an arsenal of Aquatic Form, Bear Form, and Cat Form, I struck out on my journey to 80.

Swimming Seal Thing

It was over the course of my leveling, that I was introduced by my guild to the joys of World PvP. My guild does a lot of that. And if you’re into it, The Venture Co is the place to go. There’s nothing quite like watching a wave of Alliance crash into a wave of Horde in some deserted town, or on some rolling plain.

And nothing really beats seeing that through the eyes of a level 30.

Yes, I spent much of my leveling career getting 1-shoted by 80s. I believe Turpster of WoW.com said on the first episode of the WoW Insider Show “I spend most of my time getting killed, really.” That was the story of my early levels.

But still, the strategies and the general awesomeness of World PvP kept pulling me in. And I got to be somewhat good at it. My time was balanced between leveling, PvP, and roleplaying (another thing my guild does a solid ammount of). Those were the days.

I remember my early instances with nostalgia, as I’m sure most WoW players do, and I ran a lot of those as well. One notable example, being trying to dps SFK in bear form (having not yet hit level 20). I’ve gradually gotten better at PvE, and with dual spec I can now heal as well as dps… but I’m still much too chicken to tank.

And so, I went up through the levels, dying, questing, dying, runing instances, dying, running battlegrounds, dying, and throwing my laptop out the window. Although I’m extremely sick of NOT being 80 by now, it was good times and I really enjoyed my earlier levels.

But I’m sure I’m going to enjoy level 80 even more.

So, to close of my crazy-long walk down memory lane, I’m putting a question out there to anybody who’s already discovered my blog. Do you look back on your early days of WoW fondly? What was your favourite part?

At any rate, I’ll keep you all posted, and let you know when I get that 6000 gold. For the time being, I guess I’m back to leveling.

The lowbie Tauren

The Joys of Four Feet

Posted in General, Leveling with tags on October 6, 2009 by Flairn

Well, I’m eager to get right into things with the new blog, so I’m going to follow up my intro post with a topic that actually bears more relevance to the point of the whole thing. A question many people have asked, and you’re probably asking now is- “Why should I play a Feral Druid?” I’m going to try and answer that question with this post.

Group quests? What’re those? The first reason to play a feral druid is simple. They’re amazingly good at soloing content. I tend to judge a class’ leveling capaicty based on its ability to solo group quests. Although there are certainly some elites that you can’t tackle solo (these are elites that essentially NO ONE can solo at the right level). Think: Ring of Blood and Arena of Anguish. I’m not saying a feral can just run in there and crush everything. But, when you’re leveling your baby druid, you’ll thank yourself time and time again for choosing feral, based solely on the great survivability. Which takes us into the nest point…

I’m not dead yet! Like pretty much all self-healing classes, ferals (and just druids in general) benifit from really solid survivability. Like the much despised retribution paladins, a feral druid can charge into a group of mobs in bear form, phase out, cast some heals on himself, phase back in, and keep on rolling. Although it is important to note that you can’t heal in your four legged forms, there are plenty of insta-heals, or very quick heals that will benifit you greatly. And on top of healing yourself…

Don’t QQ, you’ve got Pew Pew. Feral druids (especially cat form ones) are very capable of dishing out some major damage. Some people claim that beacuse druids have so much versality, they aren’t really good at anything. This is, in my slightly biased opinion, a load of crap. A well-played feral can take out a rogue any day. I’ve seen it done. And your dps won’t be anything to scoff at, although many druids (lamentably) go resto for end-game content, even after leveling feral. There’s no need to do this, unless you really want to heal. But since this is a FERAL DRUID blog, I’m asumming healing isn’t too high on your list of priorities.

Shifting Perspectives. A blatant rip-off from http://www.wow.com here, but it’s a good point to make when discussing ferals, or druids in general. The beauty of the class is that, if you get tired of dps, you can swtich out and tank. Or if you want to heal, you can do that too (although not with a feral spec, dual spec certainly makes it an option). So, mix it up, don’t be afraid to use all your forms. The World of Warcraft is at your fingertips.

The Begining…

Posted in General on October 6, 2009 by Flairn

Well this is it.  The first post of Chain Changes.  Everything has to start somewhere and this is starting here.  Does that make sense to you?  If it doesn’t, take a moment to consider just how deep that really was.  Or… you could just read on.  But hey, that’s your choice.

This blog is going to be your one-stop-shop for everything feral druid (except it’s going to be even better, since at this shop… it’s all free).  Yes, that means, if you haven’t figured it out yet, this blog is related to World of Warcraft.  If you don’t play the game, chances are you’ll find my posts slightly less enlightening.  Though I’m sure even non-WoW players will be more then happy to come here to bask in true literary brilliance.

Then again, maybe not.

I’m going to start things off by explaining what I’m sure plenty of people are wondering about.  The name.  “Chain Changes.”  Sounds a little odd, doesn’t it?  Well I’m going to break it apart for you.

Chain (noun) is a series of objects connected one after the other.  Change (verb) is to make the form, nature, content, future course, etc., of (something) different from what it is or from what it would be if left alone.  In other words, we’ve got a series of changes.  And it’s a blog about feral druids.  Seeing any connections?

If not… I’m sure it’ll come to you at some point.

Basically, I wanted a name unique enough that it will be original (which I think it is), but still simple and interesting enough that people will remember it.  Especially when it comes to WoW, with spells such as “Chain Lightening” and “Chain Heal” flying all over the place, I thought the name was appropriate.

Over the next little while, I’m going to be delving into everything that is feral druid.  From the inns and outs of cat form PvP, to the great mystery that is druid tanking (I’ll make sure to let everyone know when I actually work up the guts to try that one), everything you’ve ever wanted to know about the class/spec will be brought to light here.  And probably… a whole whack of stuff you didn’t want to know.  You’ll just have to sift through it.

What can I say?  I’m a wealth of information.