Below the Gargoyle’s Chin

Last night I experienced my first genuine OH NO, OH NO, OH NO moments with my hardcore solo, self-found wizard. Yes folks, it was CLOSE. Just how close? Let’s just say my wizard’s health dipped below the gargoyle’s chin.

That’s how close.

Had it not been for the fact that my wizard had just over 38k health at level 56 she would have died a very sad death in the sandy desert outside of Caldeum. A frozen, shielding, jailer champion pack of Lacuni Warriors along with some Lacuni Huntresses and a handful of Sand Wasps almost did her in.

Act II has always proven to be a fairly large step up in difficulty over Act I and thought my wizard was geared enough to handle it, but alas it appears that my wizard will need to spend some more time in Act I farming the Butcher in a desperate attempt to get some better gear.

I know, I could hit up the auction house and just blow through the remainder of Hell. I know I can. I just don’t want to. I want the satisfaction of overcoming the trials and tribulations of relying on finding ALL of my hardcore wizard’s gear. I may even attempt to do this in Inferno as well … well maybe, we’ll see.

In the meantime I did decide to switch up my wizard’s build and gear a little. Gone is the wand and triad off-hand, replaced with a two-handed staff with 4.7% life steal. Still using Electrocute – Forked Lightning and Blizzard but I switch out the rune on the latter to Stark Winter for the larger area coverage. Swapped out Ice Armor for Energy Armor – Energy Tap and replaced my beloved Wave of Force with Familiar – Sparkflint.

There was a (very) brief stint where I got the bug to attempt an Archon build, but without having +24% movement speed quickly killed that idea. I was finding myself spending a lot of time outside of Archon waiting on Critical Mass to pull it off of cool-down so I just decided to keep Diamond Skin – Enduring Skin and be on my merry way.

So far I’m still pretty happy with how things are going, but it’s becoming increasingly obvious that my wizard will likely hit 60 before venturing into Act II Hell. At least not without a metric ton of luck in having well rolled rares drop for me that drastically increase her damage and survivability. It’s a real shame 1.0.8 won’t be bringing much in the way of itemization changes. Oh well … at least I like Act I and it’s different than endlessly running the same areas in Act III.


I have never been as geared as I am right now with my rogue. With each base level emblem change that came with each of the major patches during WotLK it has never been easier to gear up my toons. I’ve never had multiple max-level toons before and never has my main had multiple tier pieces before. If all goes according to plan, each of my “main” toons will be max-level with at least t9 equivalent gear well before Cataclysm launches.

Let’s let that soak in for a second … multiple max-level toons in t9+ gear. Absolutely unheard of for me, the uber-casual/hardcorde-wannabe player. I may even get a chance to see the Lich King defeated in-person by the end of the expansion. Holy crap right? Madness.

This is a reality that is shared amongst many other casual players and it is changing the landscape of WoW completely. My rogue is currently able to pump out anywhere between 3.6k-6k (I even broke 7k dps on Gal’Darah w/ bloodlust) on single-target dps fights. The range of dps disparity usually depends on movement, boss up-time, buffs from the party, and debuffs on the boss.

Again, let’s let that soak in for a minute. That is incredible dps for a staunch non-raider. I absolutely love it, even if it doesn’t quite feel like an accomplishment considering how easy it is to get geared nowadays. That being said, though, player skill is still tantamount to performance and I should be proud that I can pump out that much dps.

I can also feel good about my knowledge of most of the heroics now and how to best pull the most dps out of my spec and gear. For example, when I blow my combat cool-downs on the first of the forges in FoS I can hit over 10k dps if the tank stacks the mobs together.

Then there was the fateful fail-pug that could with my rogue pulling a lot of the weight. The fail-adin kept forgetting to put up righteous fury and I’d routinely pull aggro off of him without my tricks being up. We managed to limp along and even pulled victory from the teeth of defeat on the Devourer with my rogue wearing the hat of dps and tank after said fail-adin died within the first 15 seconds of the fight.

So while I may feel a little dirty for having incredible gear, I’m still a quality player.

But there’s another angle I’d like to take with this topic, namely what will leveling from 80 to 85 in Cataclysm be like? With a much larger population having access to incredible gear as we approach the Cataclysm, will leveling be trivial? I can’t imagine that Blizzard would tune the new leveling zones hard enough to present a challenge for t9/10 geared players. Doing so could potentially make the leveling curve too difficult for new 80s heading into the new leveling zones without chain-running WotLK heroics.

Then again, with the dungeon finder tool, will any of us be questing to level at all? It will be entirely possible to level from 80 to 85 without placing a foot in the new zones, (excluding the inevitable corpse runs back to instance portals). I could see myself chain-running dungeons in Cataclysm to level and then questing at 85 for the boosted gold from quests.

Then again, I did love leveling as my rogue through WotLK experiencing everything WotLK had to offer. If I were to chain-run dungeons, I’m sure I’d be missing out on quite an experience of doing quests at-level. Although you could argue that this time, I’ll be so over-geared for the at-level quests, that they’ll be trivial anyways.

It is definitely a strange and different world we’re living in, but I can’t wait!