For a change of pace, I have been levelling alts again. The current status is 8 at max level and a Druid that I expect to level in the next few days. The problem for a blogger of doing repeat content is that I have no new material or new experiences, but I am in a reasonable position to give a status on the classes from the perspective of a casual player.
Please bear in mind that I do not play a Priest on religious grounds, and that I am still rough around the edges on at least two classes, Rogue and Warlock.
HunterFirst up is my favourite class the Hunter. For the first time since the launch of Wrath of the Lich King, it is safe to play Beast Master and not be called a noob. With the rise of BM we have witnessed the fall of Marksman. MM has traditionally scaled better than any other Hunter spec and was always a popular choice at Raid level. I understand that Survival is making something of a comeback in recent months.
Hunters are possibly the benchmark class at the moment and are sitting fairly middle of the pack in terms of DPS output. The biggest problem is the size of the toolkit and the shear number of options in the rotation. This as resulted in BM being a very difficult spec to play well.
Levelling and general content has been pretty easy for Hunters, although the pets are taking considerably more damage than we have been used to previous patches. Self healing is still an issue for Hunters and with the prospect of cooldowns on Disengage and the removal of Readiness things are going to get worse. There are options for self healing but many involve a loss of DPS to achieve.
The next expansion will definitely see a streamlining of the toolkit as confirmed by Ghostcrawler.
Hunters are still a joy to play.
ShamanI have not played Enhancement since I levelled from 1-78. I have always chosen a combination of Elemental and Restoration, purely from a gear standpoint it makes more sense. Enhancement is apparently one of the top raid performers in Patch 5.3
Elemental is a streamlined rotation which is very bursty with a Flame Shock/Lava Burst combination, which is made lethal when Ascendance is active. It is a fun class to play without anything difficult to master, but the use of Totems as been a step backwards in my opinion. I am sure all Shaman are missing dropping 4 Totems at once.
Restoration seems to be a poor imitation of it's former self, and whilst it is still my favourite Healer spec it seems to perform badly compared to other classes in Raid content. I am not sure what the problem is exactly, but I have needed to keep a very careful watch on mana consumption.
MageJust like Hunter and BM, I have been a diehard Frost Mage, and for the first time ever they have a moment to shine in the sun. The rotation is fairly basic and still revolves heavily around keeping mobs slowed and in blocks of ice instead of standing on your toes.
A heavy hitting class they have been rocking the meters in this expansion, and if we are brutally honest Fire and Arcane have been near the top since Vanilla days.
Death KnightI have previously played only Unholy Death Knight, and have already discussed my conversion to the Blood side. The DPS appears to be low in the Tanking spec but the survivability is very over powered.
This is a lot of fun to play when the mobs are in big packs.
Levelling was very easy in Unholy spec, but it did suffer with gear deflation 85-87 was nice and smooth, but the 88-90 was not so pleasant. This would indicate a heavy gear dependency, and picks up dramatically at iLevel 468.
WarriorMy very first character was a warrior. I chose it because it should be the simplest to play, hit things over the head very hard. In truth I have never found warriors to be easy or to hit very hard. I have struggled at every level and have switch between Arms and Fury on many occasions, hoping that things will get better. It never as.
Warriors seem to lack a big punch, with the exception of Bladestorm coupled with Bloodbath. Apart from that they appear poor at self healing and ultimately one of the most boring melee classes to play.
MonksThe new kid on the blocks. Having to level up from 1-90 means that you get to spend a lot of time with this class. I have only sampled the delights of Windwalker, and have found it to intuitive in it's design and relatively easy to play. The levelling Blues every 10 levels help and the increased XP for 1 hour a day helps speed things along.
At raid level Windwalker joins a host of melee classes that are capable of doing some large numbers.
PaladinI have always had a soft spot for Retribution Paladins even in the early days when they were rubbish.
The modern version is a completely different beast and in many respects, I dislike the whack-a-mole game style. Start combat and wait for the toolbar to light up, press corresponding button. The rotation consists in using anything that is not on cooldown, and in many respect resembles the Death Knight faceroll when they were first introduced.
I endure Retribution now so that I can get some Holy gear, so far it is low on my list of priorities.
RogueStill in the early of MoP levelling, but Combat Rogue seems to be less difficult than usual. The issue with Rogues and levelling was always the amount of damage taken, ie. Leather wearing Melee class. Both Subtlety and Combat are performing well in raids, but then again Raid allows them to stand behind the boss and lets them go stabby, stabby, stab, stab.
No doubt I will provide a further review in a few weeks, when I am fed up of eating and using bandages.
WarlocksTo be honest I never really got on with the class. There are 3 specs all of which are totally unfamiliar due to the radical overhaul they received. This will definitely be reviewed as a noob guide to Warlocks. I am always surprised how bad a Warlock I have made in the past. Spell casters are much more my thing than melee.
In Raids all 3 specs seem to be very close dPS wise, which suggests that Blizzard actually did a good job with the revamp. The downside is that no single spec is dominating and all are middle of the pack.
DruidThis is where I am currently up to with my level 88 Boomkin. The sad thing is that I feel neither OoM or Boom with the Balance spec. Balance used to be very OP but quite dangerous. Starfall could turn a large angry gathering into a greasy smear, but could attract mobs in a nearby galaxy. Wrath was quick and not a big hitter, Starfire was long and slow and packed a punch. Now it is nothing more chasing eclipses, one way and then the next. The soul of the rotation is gone, and now Starsurge is the big hitter.
Balance Druid is not fun to play any more and used to be, which is very sad indeed.
SummaryIn many case rotations/priories are sanitised versions of their former selves. Arcane Shot, Frostbolt, and Lightning Bolt, are all pale imitations of their former glory, and now play the role of fill in spells. Big Damage comes from combinations and not from signature spells.
Some of the classes are now more desirable to play and some are less desirable, and it is nice to see Beastmaster Hunter and Frost Mage be acceptable raiding specs.
Blizzard have still failed to balance all the specs within a tight percentage deviation, and looking at the tables, Mages look like they need reigning in a little