Friday, September 3, 2010

Paladin Sends Mage Alt Into Shadowfang Keep! Film at Eleven!

So what are you looking at?  Can't a guy send an alt into a 5-man without commentary?  Sometimes, you just want to stop playing your main for a little while.

Oh, right.  Most of my alts are Paladins too.

Well, I was up way late last night with sleep nowhere in sight*, so I got on WoW.  Instead of clicking straight through to Quintalan when I selected the Area 52 server, I paused.  My mage was staring back at me, with her Blood Elf snarky attitude, daring me to pick her instead.

Why not?  And why not actually try her on an instance?  At L26, she's ready to go, and I think I know enough about instances to handle ranged DPS.  ('Just keep yer threat down, willya?')  A place like Shadowfang, which is a straight shot without lots of trash coming at you from behind, seemed the perfect first instance.  Well that and that it's fairly short, and at L26 Neve is right at the maximum level for the dungeon.

I queued her up, and proceeded to wait about 1/2 hour for a group to assemble.  In that copious time, I
  • Conjured up about 100 Food and 100 Water, ready for when people needed it.
  • Cruised through the Barrens and Mulgore, working on the Exploration achievements for each.  After months of riding the Thalassian Mount and Charger, a hawkstrider just doesn't look right.  (Neither would a raptor, for that matter.  A worg?  Now that'd be interesting.)
  • Practiced on sacrificial raptors in the Barrens.  It had been months since I'd done anything with her other than level Tailoring and Enchanting, and I needed to get back into the swing of it.
  • Danced with the Flight Master in Camp Taurajo.  Hey, if you're gonna go, go out with a bang, right?
When the LFD tool finally assembled a group and we ported in, the instance was very nearly over before it began. 

I started buffing people with INT, and asked if anyone needed food.

"Do I look like a Mexican?" the warrior DPS snapped.

I'm still not exactly sure how, but I resisted my almost immediate urge to /drop group or /smack him for that crack.  "You look like an orc to me," I finally responded.  I made a mental note of the timer left on vote kick, because I wasn't screwing around with this guy.

At last the Warrior tank moved forward, and we got going.  He pulled the first group of trash, and I mentally counted out the time where I felt comfortable with his aggro lock, ran forward, and....


I immediately burst Frost Nova and skittered back to the edge of the group, where I remained.  Every chance I got, I found a corner to cast from, watching my threat the entire time.

Because I'd never run Neve through an instance before, I was pleasantly surprised when Healbot came in handy for her.  You'd not expect a healing add-on to give any extra boost to a decidedly non-healer, but when you right click on a member of your group on the Healbot bar, it's the same as using a macro to assist whatever they're attacking.  Very handy indeed, and saves me a key binding.  Decursive saves me another slot, because Remove Curse is used very heavily in Shadowfang Keep.

For the most part, I managed threat well; in fact, the only time I pulled threat was when the tank died, and being the one dishing out the most damage, I was the one that the mob aggroed on.  Scratch one squishy Mage.  The rest of the group finished off the mob, so it wasn't a total wipe, and the Tree was nice enough to raise me once the fight was over.  Not that I can't run back in Shadowfang, but let's face it:  a Mage is armored with glorified tissue paper, and wandering mobs are not soloable by a Mage.

The fight with Arugal, however, was a bit of a problem.  The tank left him on his spot at the top of the steps, and I couldn't get a good line of sight to cast at him without getting far too close for comfort.  Looking around for somewhere, anywhere to go, I saw the top of the steps that you entered with.  I ran over and up the steps, and I was in range for casting.  That was very considerate of Blizz to set that up for ranged DPS that way.

My only regret?  The mouthy DPS dropped before the kick timer expired.  He was earning a vote kick throughout the instance, but I never got the chance to initiate one because he dropped after the the tank death incident.

So, what did I think of something decidedly non-Paladin?  Not bad at all.  Once I got over my initial urge to go in there and mix it up in melee, I learned the joys of staying to the rear and keeping an eye over your shoulder.  You have to manage Blizzard --even if it is off cooldown-- because of the mana bite it takes.  You also have to stock up on mana potions, because you might just end up with a tank that won't listen to anyone and will just keep pulling.

I do have big issues with being so squishy, but I guess that's something I'll have to live with.  At least I won't feel guilty when I see her in the startup screen.

*The allergy medicine I was taking left me wired to the point where I couldn't sit still and read.  Not fun.


  1. Glad you had fun playing something other than a Pally. Being squishy isn't fun but I've found that I really like the pov that ranged DPS has. It allows you to play healer bodyguard which if you get a chance to perform that role will get you the #2 position on the healers priority list which will help compensate for the squishiness a fair bit. Plus saving the healer's bacon (and hence the parties) is fun.

  2. @Dyre42: Ranged DPS does have that "see the battlefield" view that I really enjoy. It does help me see things --like the trash coming up from behind-- that is much more difficult to see on melee DPS. Now I just need to create a macro saying "Incoming!" and I'll be set.

  3. It's funny but it took me almost the first 60 levels to enjoy the Mage. I hated being the first to die (and I was always dying or on the edge of pulling agro). And I died a lot.

    Then around level 60 I started to get some abilities/talents or.. skill?... and discovered that even though my Frost Mage was squishy I was also slippery as hell.

    With Polymorph, Blink and Frost Nova and hell now i have that procced stun from the last Frost talent (I forget the name!) with a couple instant spells to use on the run I'm nearly impossible to pin down even when I do have agro!

    Not to mention Ice Block + the Anti-Hypothermia thingy.

  4. @Cassandri: I think waiting until I've got a Ret Pally powerful enough gear to pull aggro has helped me a bit with Neve. I know how to watch my threat, pace myself, and manage mana.

    And Polymorph. Boy, I love that spell.

    Of course, I still have this tendency to want to run in and bash things, but I'm slowly weaning myself off of that.

  5. Agreed... my mage was the hardest toon to date that I leveled. Being squishy and pulling massive amounts of threat through dps can be deadly. But there is something very appealling about the class that keeps you going back for more!

    And a side note on the healy addon comment... I too find a healer's set up very beneficial for every role. It started out that I left Grid up on all my toons because I like continuity, and found it extremely useful to easily see who has aggro and who is taking dmg, so I know if I need to hold off AoE. If someone has a debuff I can dispel, I am good to go (like you had mentioned).