Ah the joys of leveling a new alt. Soon after you begin your new journey you find yourself at level 10 and with it comes that very first talent point. Deciding in which talent tree this point will go is a very important decision for most people just starting out, but for me and my new lock this was a no brainer. My first talent point went into Improved Corruption and so I began my trip down the Affliction tree.

From the moment I created my Warlock, I knew her spec was going to be Affliction. The whole reason I created the character, aside from Warlocks being awesomesauce, was because I was intrigued by play style of the class. Warlock’s are the masters of DoT’s and having played a class that was all about straight up nuking its target into oblivion, I was looking forward to the change of pace. After doing a bit of research and running down the talent trees, it was obvious to me that Affliction was the tree that was most focused on managing DoT’s and would be the tree to give me the Warlock experience I was looking for.

Outside of game play reasons, Affliction appealed to me for another reason. I have a tendency to RP my characters in my head. Each of my characters has their own distinct personality and reasons for doing the things they do. Faelican, my druid, is a tree hugging nature worshiper concerned with returning balance to Azeroth by forcefully removing those who are upsetting said balance. My Death Knight Athena is solely focused on exacting her vengeance from Arthas for turning her into the monster she has become. I am well aware that this may be a tad over done in most RP circles but quite frankly my dears, I don’t give a damn. Gingerlei is border line psychotic and delights in pain. She delights in the pain of others or her own, she is not picky. The slower, more excruciating the pain, the more she savors it. The ability to use multiple spells to prolong her victims demise to the point where death is a welcome release from the suffering she is inflicting upon them made the Affliction tree perfectly suitable to her sick little desires.

Currently, her recipe for a well prepared enemy is as follows. Apply liberal helpings of Corruption and Curse of Agony. Immolate for crispy shell and to seal in all the juicy flavors. Sprinkle on Shadow Bolts to taste and serve. Works great with all varieties of monsters and gnomes. So now my dear readers, I’d like to hear about what drew you to the Warlock class and your particular spec in general. Was it strictly a game play decision or are you a closet RP nerd like me? Look forward to seeing your comments.

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Five man instances.  That part of the game that almost all players seem to encounter at some point in their WoW careers.  Whether people enjoy raiding, levelling, PvP, or any other activity, we will all set foot in most every dungeon in the game at some point in our WoW careers (especially in the expansion packs with the introduction of heroics).

So, what are the best five man instances?

5.  Zul’Furrak

I remember feeling so awed the first time I stepped into ZF.  Holy crap, I can mount in here!  Oh wow, look at the Egyptian theme… And I do have a massive thing for Trolls, I’ll admit it (if I ever make a Horde character, I’ll totally be a Troll).

Zul’Furrak was also my first real introduction to the massive powers of AoE.  My boyfriend at the time was levelling a Mage, and (urgh… I feel dirty) I couldn’t help but be amazed at the massive AoE pewpew powers of his rather ridiculous looking Gnome.

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Ghaz’rilla, the smilingest Hydra in the game.  Look at those grins!

Of course, the best part of Zul’Furrak is the staircase.  That staircase was intimidating as all hell pre-heirlooms.  I remember the first time I went in there… trying not to pull aggro, trying to have stuff die without it eating the tank or healer… it was so much fun. ZF established my love of gauntlet events in 5 mans, and it only grew from there!

4.  Gnomeregan

I will always have a soft spot in my heart for Gnomer.  Sure, it’s massively long.  Sure, leper Gnomes are kinda freaky.  All this is immediately compensated for by the presence of amazingly cute little machines (even the annoying alarm bots), the thrill of killing Gnomes on a massive scale, the wonder of Gnomes demonstrating their stupidity by mistaking most everyone for a trogg, and being the only 5 man with a cute, useful safe zone half way through the instance.

Yep, I heart Gnomer.  I want that on a T-Shirt.

mekkatorquewantsyourlt I’m going to miss you, Gnomeregan.  *Plots destruction of the Gnome Uprising*

3.  Caverns of Time: Escape from Durnholde Keep

Yeah, I’ll admit it.

Rescuing Thrall kinda turns me on a little.

Seriously – who doesn’t want to have a giant green hunk of an Orc owing them their eternal gratitude?  *purr*  “Why, Mr Thrall, have you ever wondered what a Warlock wears under her robes?”

… ahem.

Durnholde Keep took me a little while to warm to.  Initially, I hated the place. It made me want to gnash my teeth and wail.  Why, oh why Thrall?  Why must you be so stupid?  Why must you get yourself cornered in every single building?  Why must you piss off dragons who can silence me?

And then… I explored a little.  And I found Southshore.  Holy Lore People!

WoWScrnShot_083010_195149 Dude, you are NOT going to be happy the next time you see meSeriously.  By the way, I’d highly recommend following these guys around for a little while.  They have a rather interesting conversation

WoWScrnShot_083010_195427 I don’t know why, but it always tugs at the heartstrings when I see undead guys in their Human form.  Except for Kel’thuzad.  He can go suck my DK’s giant popsicle of doom.  As for Bilger… I’d turn to the booze as well, the poor bastard.

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Well, lookie here.  Seems like these guys are having a nice lil ol’ gossip.  What’s that you say Alexandros*?  Northrend has fallen to the Undead?  Fancy that!

Oh, Abbendis: word of warning.  I’d invest in a decent piece of neck armor. Or, you know… not become a psychotic Scarlet Onslaught evil bitch.  Seriously.  What is with these people?

There’s a couple of interesting children you might find familiar if you wander around there long enough.  It’s well worth a visit.

2.  Shadow Labyrinth

Shadow Labs was a source of much frustration.  It tested most every ability I had as a Warlock – extensive crowd control while DPSing, trying not to die when you get half your health Life Tapped away while mind controlled, splitting DPS between a boss and adds in an efficient manner, running in and out of the bad – Shadow Labs had it all.  Not to mention packs of skeletons.  I do love my men carting some bone around with them.

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And it still has it all!  There is little more entertaining than killing everyone in your group when you run a bunch of lowbies through Shadow Labs.  I do love messing around with Murmur ‘Run in!  Run out!  Run in!  Run out!’  It’s the Hokey Pokey on steroids and with randomly exploding dance partners.

1.  Caverns of Time: Opening the Dark Portal/Black Morass

Oh, Black Morass.  My poor, dim memory vaguely recalls BM as being the hardest 5 man for me to get past.  My guild got stuck at BM for quite a while in our attempt to get everybody their Karazhan key.  Those damn dragons!

I always felt a vague sense of pity for Hunters, who usually got stuck with protecting Medivh from those damned annoying small adds while the rest of us got to focus on the big ones.  Not that the larger tethered trash mobs were much fun… they liked to smack my poor Druid around a lot when she was learning to tank, and I pulled aggro on a few of them more than once.

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And the bosses!  Oh boy… Blizzard let you off easy with Chrono-Lord Deja, but then smacked the snot out of you with Temporus.  Anyone else have painful memories of wipes on Temporus?  That damn debuff on the tank… urrrrgh.  Getting told to up your DPS because the healer is having trouble – only to pull aggro and die.  Oh how I wished he was tauntable!

Still, I guess the leather made it great for our guild skinners.

Runner Ups

Caverns of Time: Culling of Stratholme: The talking did this one in for me.  Seriously.  First time?  Awesome!  Every time after that?  Please please please spare me.

Scholomance: I will always love Scholo.  The only reason it’s not on the list is because of its prior 10man status.

The Mechanar: A Warlock’s heaven.  I don’t think I will ever see a room a Warlock can solo in an instance ever again.

The Violet Hold: A great idea, let down by its ‘WTF that easy?  Really’ factor.

Shattered Halls: That gauntlet *swoon*.  Nothing will ever top the sheer horror of that gauntlet, the feeling of awesome wonder when you survived it.

So, what are your top instances and why?

*Alexandros Mograine may not be familiar to players who haven’t played through the Death Knight chain (no, I am not spoiling that for you), or who haven’t done Vanilla Naxx.  Poor ol’ Alex became one of the Four Horsemen in original Naxxramas, but he vanished mysteriously… to be replaced by everyone’s favourite mount grind, Baron Rivendare.

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ZzzzZZZZzzzzz

 

… more range….

 

ZzzzZZZZzzzzz….

 

Perhaps I shouldn’t be too disappointed at the heinous oversight that is my lack of beta invite after all!

 

In other news, I’m looking for opinions on what you guys will want in Cataclysm.

Levelling guides?  *eeep*

Talent analysis?  Spell analysis?

Raid guides (subject to my guild raiding again at the time… might be difficult otherwise)?

More random nonsense?

What will be most useful to you?  What will you want to read?  I’m hoping Cata comes out roughly near the Christmas holidays, when I have little better to do than sit under the air conditioning, in my house in the middle of nowhere, and tap tap tap away at my computer like Poe’s raven on steroids.

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OK, OK.  I have tried really bloody hard not to end up writing about this whole gender thing that seems to be the big issue in the WoW Blogosphere at the moment.  It’s so spread everywhere that most people probably feel saturated by the whole affair.

However, I’m going to blather on. 

I’ve got broad shoulders, so I’m going to admit that I am the person being called out here.  Kudos to her for not identifying me (although, hey, almost all of you would have seen the conversation on Twitter about it!)  If you want the full back story, scroll to the bottom.  If you want your delightful Warlock author to still smell of fel roses in your mind, don’t bother.

Essentially, I had an issue with the idea of a post that Ophelie and Matt were discussing about ‘The Male Experience in WoW’ as a part of a discussion that seems to be happening with feminist issues in WoW.  I still do honestly believe that such a post has an incredibly high risk of taking all the wonderful discussion that has been going on around women and feminist issues in game, and undermining them for the sake of men saying “But what about us?  You want equality, no?  Look at how we suffer!”  It really is the most classic way I can think of to undermine or derail someone’s discussion or argument – some times it is well intentioned, some times it is not, but it is almost always effective.

Really, that would be like me writing a post on the trials and tribulations of being a well educated, middle class white person.  Yeah, I know that everyone who isn’t one of those things has problems to overcome, but what about me?  If we are going to be equal, then damn it, you have to listen to everything that sucks about my life too!  Next thing you know, we have a mass of people ‘in my boat’ going “Oh, yes, what about me?” and before you know it the original issue has been lost in a storm of ‘let’s feel sorry for the ones who probably need it least’, or, even worse, forgotten entirely.

Yes, I said that there would be ‘nothing to say’ if you did a gender post about men.  I’m kinda looking forward to seeing a gender post about men, as much as the whole idea aggravates the hell out of me, because to this point I can’t think of any real major issues (apart from the ridiculous body image problem in the game that affects both genders) men would have.  Sure, women aren’t ‘rare’ in WoW anymore, but we aren’t commonplace either.  Men still maintain the majority.  Men still have a lot more privilege than women in this game.  I know after reading all the wonderful comments over at Ophelie’s blog that many people say they don’t understand privilege.  Many people don’t believe in privilege.  Some days, I have trouble understanding it myself, and some days, I get bothered when my privilege gets used against me (see: my typical work day).  However, my understanding or lack there of does not change the fact that it is there, and it does cause some of the problems.

So, yes, I get incredibly irate when I see a male reaction of ‘I’m going to talk about men in WoW’.  I get equally irate when I see women encouraging such a derailing action.  And that will cause the reaction outlined below, in the italics.  Sure, it’s not fair, or pretty, or very bloody nice at all.  Having all that privilege doesn’t make me a perfect person!

As for my views regarding the game and feminism?  Oh boy…

Don’t expect me to start going on about how men treat women badly in WoW.  You know what?  I honestly believe most of them don’t.  Sure, I’ve been sexually harassed (albeit awkwardly), I’ve listened to things that would make a sailor blush (but I’m a school teacher, that’s a daily occurrence for me).  However, most men I have dealt with in the game have been wonderful people.  Most women I have dealt with have been equally wonderful.  Sure, there are going to be a few dodgy ones of either gender in the bag, but you deal with that and move on.

Most of the issues I have with the game are not the community – they’re within the game itself.  I’d love to have a strong female character who doesn’t go bonkers.  I’d love for Blizzard to think about events like the bunny ears at Noblegarden.  I’d almost roll over and beg if they had a think about some of the flirt emotes and perhaps gave the male and female characters some equally ‘domineering’ ones.  However, while they have the mindset that they are catering to a male audience, and that the female audience isn’t significant enough to worry about, they will continue doing these things.

Might I be painting a poor picture of men by implying that they welcome these things?  Possibly.  However, I really do believe this is the reasoning, if there was any, behind some of Blizzard’s poorer choices.

Ophelie would probably be interested to know that I actually agree with her with a lot of her post.  Yes, if we continue painting women as victims, we aren’t going to get anywhere.  I wouldn’t say that all women should be more aggressive in their reactions to discrimination or harassment (that would be lovely, but I do understand that some people lack the confidence to do that, or are in situations which make it difficult for them), but the women who are that confident should stand up and do something.  I can’t comment on the ‘talking on vent’ situation, simply because I did avoid talking on vent for most of my WoW playing life, but for a different reason.  Even now I am awfully quiet on vent, but that has a lot less to do with my gender than the fact I just don’t like contributing useless noise in the middle of a raid, and I have always been lucky enough to have raid leaders who notice everything, so I don’t ever need to call stuff out.

Similarly, I refuse to blab on about ‘I’m a girl I’m a girl I’m a girl!’  Yeah, I’m female.  Yeah, I am a guild master (although my wonderful ‘essentially a guild master without the name’ does most of the work for me at the moment <3).  Yeah, I play a class that is stereotypically perceived as ‘female’ for some reason.  But who cares?  I’ve had people tell me I won’t be able to handle raiding.  I’ve had them tell me I won’t be able to handle blogging.  I’ve had them tell me I won’t be able to handle leading a guild.  I just shrug them off (just like I shrug off every ‘but you’re a girl’ comment and take no notice) because I know what I can and can’t do.

I’d love to know why being a hardcore WoW player as a female is even seen as a ‘feminist’ thing, or a ‘stand for women’.  Huh, what?  When I was a hardcore raider, I never once thought that I was proving anything about women. I was just raiding and having a damn good time doing it.  Now I am in a casual guild, I kinda resent the implication that I am ‘doing what is expected of me’.  The reason I chose to be in a casual guild has nothing to do with my gender, and everything to do with the fact that I lead a stupidly busy life.  The reason there are less women in top guilds than men, I suspect, is because a) there are less women in the game and b) (look out, sexist alert!) women typically seem to end up doing the usual household ‘stuff’ (dinner, kids, cleaning up, etc) after dinner.  If we fix that problem in the greater world, then yes, we might be able to start fixing that problem in WoW.

At the end of the day, I don’t care who or what you are.  You could be a spotted dinosaur for all I care.  Do whatever the hell you want to do in the game, and out of it.  Don’t let anyone tell you to do more.  Don’t let anyone tell you to do less.  Don’t let anyone say that you can or you can’t because you are male, female, black, white, yellow or purple.  At the same time though, don’t judge those who feel that they can’t do those things because of their gender or their race or their social class or anything else.  You don’t know what it is like to walk in that person’s shoes.

 

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Hi guys!

I’m kinda new around here.  I mean, I’ve been around for a while, but I’ve been a bit nervous about coming here.  It smells kinda sulfury, and I hear that the usual owner is a Crabby McCraberson.  However, I’m a brave wolf (regardless of what you may have heard otherwise), and I really do owe my Mum a thank you.

We all know how much Mum hates BRD.  Can’t stand the place.  “It’s slow,” she moans.  “It’s boring,” she whines.  “It always attracts the strangest people,” she mutters loudly.  However, this doesn’t stop her from running it time after time after time.  The only thing I can come up with is that she knows how much I like it.

BRD offers two amazing things, two things which can not be gained soloing:

1.  Hawt bitches who love to chase me around

2.  Unrivalled ass sniffing opportunities.

Seriously, the women love me in that place.  All I’ve got to do is walk in to the first room and they’re on me, barking and giving me love bites.  Sure, they might hurt a little… I guess that’s just the way they like it.  I came so close to taking one home the other day… then Mum shot her in the head.  Again.  Damn it.

… is it bad if she fed part of the dog to me later?  She was just as tasty in death as she was in life.  Mmmmmm yum!

Next time maybe.  Mum is a little protective, and she made remarks about diseases and things.  She doesn’t like me bringing strange girls home *sigh* (If you too are a hot bitch and you are reading this, I swear I am vaccinated!)

Bitches aside, I swear I have never smelt so much butt in my lifetime.  When Mum and I go out on our own, I don’t get much of a chance to have a smell.  It’s always ‘kill kill kill, business business business’ with her.  She caught me sniffing around in cities, so now she stays on her mount and hides me whenever we are around people.  It’s hardly fair!

There isn’t much she can do when we are grouped with Rogues though.  I might look like I’m attacking, but really… mmm delicious Rogue behind.  Dwarf Rogue butt is my favourite, personally (so deliciously earthy!)  Gnome Rogues, of course, are too low to the ground – I didn’t really want to smell the hair on your head, thanks anyway.

So, thank you Mum.  I do love how you indulge my proclivities.  I promise I’ll behave from now on… and I won’t ever pee on the King’s throne again.  Swear on my favourite bone.

Trajan.

See, this is why BRD should be destroyed.  That place sends you crazy – a good 20 levels of BRD runs on my Hunter, and this is what you get: a letter from a butt sniffing, hornbag dog.

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I’ll be away for a week.  May or may not be blogging in that time.  May or may not schedule posts in that time.  All depends on whether this crazy thing that is my life sorts itself out.

You have a hankering for my whining, feel free to read my dreary self on my personal blog.  Or go through the archives and marvel at what a witty, delightful soul I once was.

I’ll still be tweeting from my phone (and from my computer over the next couple of days).  Don’t expect a great deal of cheer sorry – life is still its usual messy and complicated horrible self.  Good ol’ life, the worst raid boss of all!

Keep safe, keep setting monsters on fire :-D

<3 Sar

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Yep, I’ve been unfaithful.

hunter

My small, poorly specced Hunter is almost ready for Outland.  Just 2 small levels to go!  Trajan and I have been slaying Dark Iron Dwarves endlessly, chasing people who have no idea where they are going endlessly, getting lost ourselves endlessly, pulling aggro endlessly… yeah, we’ve been doing a lot of BRD, you get the point.

I’m completely embracing the ‘I have no idea what I am doing’ nature of levelling a new class.  Yep, I’m a noob and I am proud.  See, with every single one of my characters, I’ve embraced the following philosophy while levelling:

So long as shit is dying and that shit isn’t me, I’m doing OK.

I  like sitting there doing research.  I like reading.  Even more than these things though, I love discovering things for myself.  I love playing around with spells, and doing things a little more unusually than most people.  I love trying to discover a use for something that feels senseless, rather than dismissing it as boring or stupid because EJ said so.  Sure, it means my bars are cluttered.  It means I’m probably using the wrong shots.  I’m probably levelling the wrong pets.

I also don’t care!

Don’t worry too much – Sar has only been retired until Cataclysm.  Raiding is snoreworthy at the moment.  I’m tired of everything revolving around raiding or progression.  I’m having too much fun rediscovering the light side of the game – even if the light side has me running BRD for over 10 levels straight…

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So, Twitter introduced this simultaneously awesome, yet irritating-as-a-Gnome ‘Follow These People!’ thingamajigger.

So far, I’ve found some cool people.  I’ve also found some people that I do not want to follow, not that Twitter gets the god damn point there.

But, today?

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What the?  Follow myself?  What sort of crazy world is this?  I mean, for starters I wouldn’t recommend me to anyone, ever.  I’m not all that exciting on Twitter (it’s the equivalent of watching a small child discover a video camera for the first time – when you play it back you get a whole heap of nostril shots, maybe something of the cat getting chased, and then more nostril before finally getting dropped on the ground and sat on). 

So, I’m a little offended that Twitter thinks my taste is so poor that I would even want to follow myself.  Seriously.  I follow quality, damn it…

Wait… does this mean Twitter thinks my follower pool is so small and straggly that I have to resort to following myself to bolster the numbers?  Seriously guys – that hurts.

Maybe Twitter has just realised that I spend most of my time talking to myself, and we may as well make it official.

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The following is a guest post from one of my potential minions *cackles*, who I stupidly forgot to get a pen name from, so this will be edited later with an actual name attached instead of being by ‘Random possible future minion model number 27454A’.  Enjoy!  Be sure to leave any thoughts, theories, questions and queries in the comments at the bottom.  <3 Your evil overlord(ess), Sar,  (Yeah, if I get myself a minion, it means I get a title as well.  I deserve it).  P.S.  And I came up with the shitty title, so no blame on anyone else for that.  What can I say, it’s been a long week at work…

PvP has always been an odd animal for me, especially Battlegrounds. My first experience was as a lowly mid-teen druid in Warsong Gulch. All it took it was two or three matches of getting steam rolled by twinked out rogues to forever swear off pvping. Fast forward two years later and I was starting to get the hang of this whole BG business and even dabbling my toes into arenas. Currently I have two max level toons, an 80 Druid and an 80 Death Knight. My time in Battlegrounds was entirely spent either using an axe to perform facial reconstruction surgery or rejuvenating every ally in sight with my leafy heals.

As entertaining as it was to cleave someone in two then use their still bleeding corpse as an IED on the rest of the Horde in the vicinity, it didn’t leave me with the feeling of true evil I expected of the Death Knight class. After careful consideration, and the thought of becoming the co-blogger of a blog dedicated entirely to Warlocks, I decided to dust off a little lock I had started playing a few months back and give her the love and attention she truly deserves. One of my first orders of business with my Warlock was to give Battlegrounds a try. My experience as a caster DPS in BG’s was full of all sorts of frustrations as shifting into Moonkin form on my Druid pretty much just screamed “Hey! Think of how awesome my antlers would look as a trophy on your wall!” to any Horde in the vicinity. I was determined to make sure this would not be the case with my lock.

My spec of choice for my adventures in Arathi Basin, because there was not enough tequila on hand to get me to willingly go into Warsong Gulch, was and still is Affliction. The whole reason I created a Warlock in the first place was to watch my enemies die as slow and as painful a death as possible so Affliction was the way to go. My strategy in the Battlegrounds was really quite simple. DoT everything in sight and stay with a group. It seems like common sense but in my experience it’s something a lot of locks seemed to disregard. Success in Battlegrounds is really all about coordination and carrying out the objectives of the map which also seems to be universally disregarded amongst most of the WoW player base. Going off alone usually results in a trip to the spirit healer and upwards of 30 seconds to think about the mistakes you’ve made or to rant in general chat about what a bunch of bads everyone on your side is. Player experience may vary.

Now that I had a basic idea of what I was going to do, I needed to figure out which demon to use. From prior experience, I developed this belief that the PvP demon of choice for Warlocks was the succubus. Not sure why exactly I believed this but I did and having just finished the annoying quest line to obtain said succubus I was more than happy to summon her out. After the first wave of Horde attackers at the Goldmine, I figured this wasn’t the best course of action. From my understanding the big appeal of the succubus is Seduction, which allows you to crowd control an opposing player. At my current level the succubus is sadly missing this ability and thus next to useless for me. So I swapped her out for the go to Warlock demon, the imp. Now I was really putting the hurt on folks and rode my DoT everything in sight strat with my imp out to a record of 15 killing blows, 5 deaths, and 56 honor kills. Not bad for my first Arathi Basin run as a lock.

Basic strat in hand and choice of demon settled for the moment, it was time to expand upon the foundation strategy. Once I had Immolate, Curse of Agony, and Corruption on every target in the area what is there left to do? One option is to fire off a few Shadow Bolts until something dies. Not a bad idea but not really taking full advantage of the warlock toolkit up to this point. Drain Mana and Fear are two very useful abilities that sometimes get overlooked in favor of trying to climb up the damage done chart. Most coordinated attacks in AB will contain at least a couple of DPS and at least one healer. That one healer could very easily turn a simple attack into an all-out massacre of you and the rest of your teams defending forces. Any time I was on defense and I saw a team of attackers coming with healer in tow, I made it my personal mission to take that healer out of the fight. First order of business was to get all my DoTs on the healer so that even if I was the only one in my group focusing on the healer, he was still taking damage and was forced to make decisions. He could heal himself, heal the rest of his party, or start dispelling my DoTs. Now it’s time to throw another wrench into his plans with Fear. Even with the DoTs reducing Fear’s duration, you’ll still have taken the healer out of the fight for a couple of seconds and will have given them sometime to run their course. By this point everyone in the attacking party should hopefully be looking pretty grim and I can either start finishing off some attackers with Shadow Bolts or relieve the healer of some of his mana via Drain Mana and put even more of a squeeze on him.

Most of my strategies here may not apply to those of you rocking level 80 Warlock and full Wrathful gear. But if you’re like me, rolling your lock for the first time then hopefully you’ll find something of interest here.

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octopus

Y’know?  The One I mentioned here?  And here?  The one I want on a shirt?  The one that basically represents ME writing?

That’s him/her/it!

Unfortunately, no, it is not a psychic octopus.  Alas.

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