So, patch 4.0.1 has been with us a few weeks and I’m starting to get used to the changes.
One thing is very clear at this point — I was not prepared.
I thought I was in good shape. I had looked at the new talent trees, read about some of the class changes and my inscriptionist knows every glyph. I figured it would be about on par with 3.0.
Now I realize exactly what needs to be done for each character spec before they are really ready for Cataclysm.
Being an altoholic, I have nine level 80 characters. Five of them are hybrid classes and therefore have two specs each, which means that the process below needs to be repeated fourteen times.
Step 1: Pick a spec
This took some thought on my druid and my paladin. I have healed, tanked and DPSed on both characters and have some level of gear to support the role. The druid in particular has three gear sets that outgear all but one of my other toons. In the end, I decided I didn’t really want to start Cataclysm with four tanks so both of them are healer / DPS.
I thought I knew what my hunter and warlock were going to be but I ran into problems on a later step and took them back to this one.
Step 2: Choose talents and glyphs
This was the step I was the most on top of, except when I got Step 1 wrong. However, my priest still has an untalented off-spec (intended to be shadow).
Step 3: Acquire glyphs
I still can’t work out why my characters started 4.0.1 knowing some glyphs and not knowing others, but there it is.
I also hadn’t quite realized that all the Glyphs were suddenly going to cost a lot more Ink and what I thought was a good supply would only be enough for two or three specs.
This lead to:
Step 3a: Farm lots of herbs
Fortunately, with 310% Flight Form and Cultivation, my main is a flower-picking machine.
Step 4: Sort out rotations and toolbars
This step is variably complex.
For DPS toons:
- Make some guesses based on how it used to work and what the tooltips say
- Visit a target dummy and spend some time attempting to beat the stuffing out of it, making tweaks as I go.
- Go kill some mobs in the outside world
- Ideally, run an instance (or at least the Headless Horseman) to see how it holds up
- Make some guesses
- Cast some spells on myself
- Run an instance — I got heroic Halls of Reflection on my pally’s first 4.0.1 outing!
- Make some guesses
- Visit a tanking dummy. I like these guys. They are close to Dalaran and you can easily grab one to three as desired.
- Run a guild-only instance
- Run a random or mixed run
Step 5: Decide if you like the spec
My survival hunter is now beast master and my affliction warlock is now demonology, though neither has quite finished going through the whole process again.
All other spec choices have held up so far.
Step 6: Sort gear
- Spending various forms of points
- Selecting gear sets
- (Re-)gemming and (re-)enchanting
Step 7: Decide on pre-Cataclysm goals
Besides getting to this step with all specs, I only have these on a few toons, though that may be enough to keep me busy.
Currently, my druid, warrior and paladin are the only ones that have completed this process. Their off-specs have not been thoroughly field-tested but they are probably good to go.
My hunter and warlock are on step five, though almost ready to move on to the last stage.
My priest is probably there with his healing spec but nowhere at all with his shadow spec.
All other specs are probably mired somewhere in step four.
Anyone else suspect that the Twilight’s Hammer is trying to bog us down in administrative tasks?