HoTs and DoTs: A Restoration Druid and Shadow Priest

Weak as a Kitten
and Questing in Mount Hyjal


One of my favourite Mount Hyjal quests. I don't think I'll ever get tired of Just How Stupid Are Ogres quests.

I am one of those people who reads quest text from beginning to end before I hit the Accept button. I don’t know when I became one of those people. I know I didn’t start out like that.

I’ve also noticed a disturbing new habit that I’ve developed since the release of Cataclysm: I talk back to NPCs. (The quest givers seem so surprised when you are able to complete a quest it’s insulting!)

I wanted to savor the new parts to the story as I leveled from 80 to 85. And I also really like to run dungeons – almost as a mental brake from reading questing – which probably explains how I can be level 83 and only now just completing the first questing zone: Mount Hyjal.

My gear hasn’t changed. The mobs haven’t gained more health or learned how to hit back harder. The only thing that has changed as been that number: my “level”.

With each level up I drop about 1500 dps. Instead of picking up a couple of mobs and using Psychic Scream to hold them for a few seconds until death (don’t worry, it’s glyphed) I now need to throw out a steady stream of Mind Flays to finish off an enemy.

Vampiric Embrace isn’t enough to keep me healthy. I need to use Power Word: Shield, or ditch Shadowform momentarily to heal myself before I can go on. Even at level 82, before I was popping extra heals, I was starting to run short on mana: cycling Dispersion and Shadowfiend as soon as they came off cooldown.

At level 83 I picked up my wings. I always thought Archangel was designed to give us a much needed, on demand, burst ability. But right now I’m popping my wings as soon as they’re available – even if I’ve just left combat and my party is running to the next group of enemies – just to recoup some mana.

I have to eat and drink whenever I can find a safe spot to stop. I have to drink before a boss pull in a dungeon. I’ve been shying away from Mind Sear and Mind Spike simply because they cost so damn much to cast.

I ran out of mana killing the final boss in Stonecore the other day: barely scraping together 7000dps and unable to AoE the last packs of Devout Followers while I waited for Shadowfiend, Dispersion or Archangel to come off cooldown.

I know this is the game readjusting me to what I’ll be able to do at level 85: with each level you need a ton more stats to get the same output. But it’s certainly no fun becoming weaker with each level “up”. And it’s particularly biting that the new UI tells you “You have become more powerful” when, in fact, the opposite is true. And it’s only going to get worse.

There’s something absolutely un-fun about it.

But it’s not all bad news. Around the time that most of my guildmates (and perhaps the battlegroup?) were reaching level 85 I was still queuing for Blackrock Chasm. I healed a few runs early on. The queues for DPS were 40-50 minutes long. And there were quite a few occasions when I would get through that 40 minute queue only to be dropped into a near complete dungeon: when other DPS had dropped out post-wipe. I’ve come into Vortex Pinnacle to wipes right before the final triangular-lightning-grounding-totem mobs and wipes in Stonecore before the last boss.

5 minutes of XP gains for a 50 minute queue? No thank you.

In an act of desperation I logged onto my Mage to see what the Random Wrath Dungeon queues were like for Damage Dealers. I thought they’d be horrible. Surely everyone would be too busy leveling their mains in the new Cataclysm zones and dungeons to muck around with alts and Wrath of the Lich King content?

Well, I’m happy to say that I was wrong! Hello 10 minute queues. I ran dungeons back to back and went from 78 to 80 in record breaking speed (well for me anyway).

The funny thing is, at level 79, I went to the Auction House and bought up a set of uncommon Cataclysm cloth armor. For a couple hundred gold I think I tripled my stats and damage output.

Now that was a level up that didn’t lie: You have become more powerful. Yes, indeed.

Cataclysm Quests

For all this complaining, I am liking the quests in Cataclysm. But I don’t like how linear the quest progression path is becoming: it seems very anti-MMO to me.

When I started playing World of Warcraft just finding the good quests was part of the fun/difficulty/intrigue. I liked that you could run into the backwoods of Eastern Plaguelands and find some farmer standing there with a pitchfork and a shiny exclamation mark above his head.

Perhaps it’s because they’ve used more phasing, I don’t know, but there seems to be a set order in which you can complete quests in Mount Hyjal. And it seems the most glaring when you make a mistake and – god forbid – don’t realise that you’re carrying around a core pup that you need to “activate” (I mean, really, how is it possible to carry a giant dog in your bag and not know about it) it and feed it the meat also in your backpack – and suddenly your Twilight Hammer Trainer won’t talk to you anymore. I was left foundering for several seconds trying to work out why, after handing in a quest, my Trainer didn’t want to give me a new chore and, in fact, none of the NPCs in the area had anything to give me.

Of course by then I was jolted out of the story long enough to discover that I had done the hard part of a silly, mostly unrelated quest, but not technically satisfied the criteria and hadnt actually handed it in at all. Apparently not feeding meat to a corehound is enough to halt the recapture of Mount Hyjal.

When I first read Save the Wee Animals I immediately turned to my roommate, lover of Hello Kitty and all things cute, and said “you have to do this quest in Mount Hyjal”.  She was part way through her first quest zone, Vashj’ir, and asked me:

Can I just come and do that one quest? Or do I have to do other stuff first?

Honestly, I didn’t have an answer. Even though this quest has so little relevance to the overall story of reclaiming Mount Hyjal from Twilight’s Hammer and Ragnaros and Deathwing something tells me you can’t just fly in and pick up where to start.

Most Memorable Quests

Fly over Mount Hyjal

Look! I'm right in the cinematic!

The entry into Mount Hyjal is breathtaking: you start with a quest that flies you over the entire zone to survey the damage. I snapped up a beautiful screenshot of Ragnaros and Deathwing chasing after me as we flew away from Sulfuron Spire.

I felt like I had been dropped straight into the cinematic!

There are so many run of the mill quests in Mount Hyjal that I just loved for the tiniest little reason. Sometimes it was just a quest name that made me smile (Fighting Fire with… Anything, In the Rear With the Gear) or when the quest givers disagreed with each other (Ysera’s response once you’ve spent a fair bit of time hiding a Night Elf gone bad by taking him into The Emerald Dream “Alysra’s decision might not have been the wisest, Cassandri“).

I also loved Salome’s greeting when you first meet her to hand in Fact-Finding Mission:

What, Omnuron calls this a ‘fact-finding mission?’ Bah! Facts are best found on corpses. Let’s do some damage.

Salome understands us gamers, that’s for sure! Unfortunately I found the Sethria’s Roost quests near impossible to complete. There were about 10 Horde and I squished into a little 30×30 yard area waiting for mobs and armor scraps to spawn.

As usual, I love any quest in which I get to go out into the field and save fallen heroes (or Trapped Mammoth Calf as the case was in Borean Tundra). And, as usual, it was a little bit painful to then head right back out to pick up arrows and simply step over any near-death Wardens that happened to get in your way (nobody is that heartless!).

Absolutely the worst quests by far were the ridiculous flying+jousting quests in the second Flamegate. I suck at anything that requires that much three dimensional coordination. Spamming a button to simulate beating your wings might be an accurate interpretation of what it’s like to fly as a bird but it really just felt like I was trying to space jump with too much gravity pulling me down.

Seriously, whoever came up with that quest chain sucks. Might have sounded good in theory but it’s really not fun at all. No wonder they give you a pet and an achievement to compensate you for your troubles at the end.

I was quite surprised when you were asked to make a moral choice in A Bird in Hand: to kill the misguided leader of the harpies or let her go free. The cynical part of me was convinced that, whatever I chose to do, the game response to either choice would be identical. I still dithered over my choice for a good few seconds anyway. I’ll let you guess what my decision was :)

I thought A Prayer and a Wing was one of the most ridiculous quests I’ve ever been asked to complete: let’s try and bring our All Things Flying Goddess back to life and then get her to fight for our cause. And the best way to do that is to summon and kill the guy she’s been with for the last 10 000 years! (Of course it’s all okay because he’s gone “mad”).

A few quests tripped me up.

The most embarrassing one was failing – and dying in the middle of a no danger zone – the Twilight Hammer IQ test. I never noticed that my action keys had been replaced so I could use 1 for a “yes” response and 2 for a “no” response. Instead I fumbled around for a bit and typed out “/say yes?”. I died pretty quickly. The punishment for not hitting the right 1 or 2 key is pretty severe.

When I came back for a repeat I was really getting into the swing of it. My question set went something like this:

  1. Is fire hot?
  2. Do rocks float in water?
  3. Is fire hot?
  4. Do dogs bark?
  5. Is fire hot?
  6. Do liars speak the truth?
  7. Is fire hot?
  8. Is fire hot?

… and by this point I was seriously hoping that they were trying to recondition my brain to think that fire was, in fact, not hot and give me a follow up quest to /hug the fire elemental that I had run away from in my earlier training sessions.

Alas the correct answer to the question “Is fire hot?” remained “yes”.

I also fumbled my way through my Graduation Speech and to this day I have no idea how you’re meant to know what to say. I think I leaned heavily on “Incite”. I did love how Cassandri(damus) was able to spout absolute nonsense for a good 5 minutes and nobody seemed to notice. I also really loved the tooltip on “Pander”:

These people are insane. You need to play along with it.


The blissful moment right before I charged in...

I failed spectacularly in the epic fight (Cassandri, Cenarius, Malfurion the Good Brother and that Shaman guy) against Ragnaros. You see, I stood side by side with Cenarius as Ragnaros started mouthing off and Cenarius never told me he was tanking. Yep, a second later and Ragnoros becomes attackable and I’ve proximity pulled him.

Ragnaros lifts his mace thingy. Cassandri has died.

I never even saw it coming.

Since it looked like the quest was going to fail only after a good long while I abandoned it, recovered my body, flew back to pick it up again, and then reentered the gate into the Sulfuron Spire. Except when I re-entered Cenarius and Rag were going at it and Cenarius was already on half health. I stepped up, hoping that I could get the quest completed anyway.

I dodged the lava waves, I killed the adds attacking my teammates when the UI warnings came up and told me to do so. I hesitantly dropped Shadowform and threw some Greater Heals on Cenarius when the warning came up to heal Cenarius (what, they’re customising quests so hybrids have to heal now?). Anyway, between the DPSing and healing and form switching and lava dodging it wasn’t long before I was out of mana and out of options. I was a bit peeved, a bit confused and very surprised when I successfully completed the quest anyway.

I’m still not sure if I was meant to heal Cenarius or not. Can’t the game detect that I’m a Shadow Priest?


ps. Perhaps juggling your mana is fun for healers. But it really isn’t fun as a Damage Dealer. It really isn’t. Using spells as though they are Shadow Priest mana pots instead of potential damage boosts sucks. That is also not fun.

19 Responses to “Weak as a Kitten
and Questing in Mount Hyjal”

  1. RedbeardNo Gravatar says

    Cassandri, you experience doesn’t bode well for my experiment going straight into the Cata zones after dinging 80 (with no Cata gear). I’ve got a baaad feeling about this.
    Redbeard’s last post: True Stories

  2. LathereNo Gravatar says

    I also struggled with both the IQ test (though I didn’t die from it!) and the graduation speech (that one i got so confused by i ended up abandoning and picking it up again after going and looking it up on WoW Head).

    The only extra quest I had an incredibly blond moment on was the drop bear one where you have to rescue 6 cubs who somehow managed to climb up and get stuck in the trees. I couldn’t for the life of me work out how to get up the tree! In the end a guildy pointed out to me when I was complained in gchat that there are ladders which you have to click on…. I was pretty embarrassed!

    • CassandriNo Gravatar says

      I, um, also struggled to climb that tree (another occasion when I didn’t know my action keys had changed!)

  3. ambientNo Gravatar says

    I was thrilled to get my shadow offspec back for the start of Cata…until I ran some normal dungeons and had to drink or disperse after every pull. I couldn’t figure out how I was screwing the rotation that badly. I had to glyph Dispersion and use SW:D on cooldown, even though that often prevented me from using it during execute.

    Yesterday I realized I could pick up the Spirit Tap glyph. I hated the old Spirit Tap talent because I felt the DPS increase wasn’t worth the point investment. That dislike carried over into ignoring the glyph. This was foolish! The glyph doesn’t increase your Spirit anymore, it flat-out gives you mana if you get a SW:D killing blow.

    Suddenly I’m ending trash pulls at over 90%. I can actually use the execute they *finally* gave us. Group comp is very influential on how often I’m able to get the killing blow (ele shamans rock due to lack of instants, damn rogues steal nearly every kill), but when I’m in the zone I don’t need to drink the entire dungeon. The mixed elite/non-elite pulls are also a blessing, since no one pays much attention to the low-health mobs and I can easily snag a kill.

    I feel silly that my misery was fixed by such a simple change, but at least I can share the wealth!

    • CassandriNo Gravatar says

      Hmmm I’ve been using Shadow Word: Death to finish off mobs a lot, and have glyphed for 2x Shadow Word: Death. Perhaps I need to look into swapping to other +mana glyphs? I hadn’t considered the Spirit Tap glyph mostly because it’s a bit too random when you’re in a party. Perhaps I’ll rethink it for solo-questing.

  4. VidyalaNo Gravatar says

    I’ve struggled with parts of the leveling experience too, Cass. :( The fire tree *expects* heavy AoE for trash – but half the time I can’t use anything that will spread damage around because it’s too close to CCed mobs. I’m drinking after every pull, although sometimes it feels like that’s just me. I don’t know.

    And, Red, I don’t think you’ll necessarily have it harder than the rest of us. I’d replaced almost all my fancy raid gear by the time I’d hit Deepholm. My 80 warrior is killing things (slowly) in Vashj’ir as she mines, wearing only the barest gear. She mostly stood around Dal for all of Wrath. The sad thing is, I don’t know that you’ll necessarily be slower than the rest of us. =/
    Vidyala’s last post: Pre-Raid Mage Gear List

    • CassandriNo Gravatar says

      What I noticed is that at level 79 you can buy up uncommon gear good enough to bring you up to the raid gear I had on my main. I think you’d be crazy to consider starting Mount Hyjal without uncommon green gear around the 250 item level mark. But I also don’t think having raiding gear from ICC is necessarily a bonus either.

  5. ZyNo Gravatar says

    My horde druid (feral) dinged 80 three days before Cata hit and she went to Hyjal last weekend while still wearing heirlooms. I won’t lie, it sucked. She died regularly. At times I was thankful having tons of people around me because it thinned out the mobs and meant I had to deal with less!

    On the plus side, she has replaced pretty much all her gear at this point with quest rewards and is just as well geared as my alliance druid who is/was wearing T10. Both of them are at roughly the same point questing now and there’s very little difference in their survivability and how fast they kill things. So if you can gut it out the first half of the zone or so you’ll be fine.

  6. JaediaNo Gravatar says

    When it comes to mana issues, use SW:D. I was amazed by how much mana it gives you. Of course, if you’re mid combat while questing and struggling for mana to heal yourself it’s not gonna work so well but in instances – nomnom. That and it’s as bursty as ever, starting to get the 34k crits again during execute phases and it’s absolutely brilliant. And I don’t really bother with Mind Sear any more, those mobs in Stonecore, maybe a couple of other bosses around the place, but generally it’s really a waste of mana for how much it’s been nerfed.

    As for the linear quest lines, while it does make things a bit more boring (I always preferred the pick and choose layout of Borean Tundra to the phasing in Dragonblight in Wrath), I do like how everything leads on from one part to the next easily so the story doesn’t get jumbled and confusing. That’s pretty cool.

    The one thing I’ve noticed about Cataclysm questing is just how IMPORTANT you feel. It’s almost like you’re the most important hero in Azeroth, even bigger than Rhonin in the lore *gasp* It’s nice but very, very weird.

    All in all, I loved Mount Hyjal questing, especially the ending except.. sorta didn’t realise there was a damage increase buff on the last quest.. Shadow Priest.. you can guess what might have happened. :p Luckily I was grouped so when I ran back in and was killed by the giant wall of fire (oops), I sat on my corpse, watched the RP and handed in the quest (after running back again). *high five..?*
    Jaedia’s last post: Shadow Priest Cheat Sheet

    • CassandriNo Gravatar says

      Who told you that you’re the Herald? I am the Herald!

      Yes the story is certainly clear, but I don’t think that necessarily makes for a more meaningful experience/story, either. I like the Choose Your Own Adventure style of questing, when you can get to max level and have extremely different stories and quest chains completed on each character.

      I think WoW still has that in the 1-60 zones, simply because they’ve updated those zones and reduced the amount of XP required to reach level 60 so really you’ve got a hell of a lot of choice in which zones, which quest chains you choose to follow and which you leave behind. Class quests also help each character feel like they got to be the hero they are in their own way.

      • JaediaNo Gravatar says

        ^^ I think it’s a strong case of “each to their own” really, but I do hear what you’re saying. The first one or two times through it’ll be great, maybe later on after a break, but when you have a lot of alts you’re wanting to level through to 85 and don’t have it in you to do that from dungeons since that would take so long, you start wondering if it is such a great idea.
        Jaedia’s last post: Baradin Fox Kit

  7. Dyre42No Gravatar says

    “Spamming a button to simulate beating your wings might be an accurate interpretation of what it’s like to fly as a bird ”

    Its an accurate interpretation of what it was like to play the video game Joust back in the 80s. What Blizzard did was make it 3D and put it in WoW. Nobody I know of likes that quest.

  8. ShafterNo Gravatar says

    Strangely thought it was appropriate since I decided to return to the world and give Cata a shot, and then I remembered you girls.

    Do you know how horrible it is being a blood elf? I dont even have a beard anymore! – all these bloody little fairie men can grow is a tiny little tuft on their chin. AND THEYRE HORRIBLY POINTY ASWELL!

    What right do they have to weild a mighty sword and board to stand at the maw of a mighty steeljawed dragon and call upon the power of the light to protect the great that follow!

    personally, I would prefer being a goblin, you just know that all goblin men are thinking about is how to put their little pecker into you while youre not looking and then tell you about it while laughing after the fact

    as if I want to be a Tauren or a blood elf


    I miss you two women a lot, you probably dont, but its just not the same raiding without the mumfulness of Philly or that chirpiness of Cass.

    Secondly, i think that while this expansion was okay. doing less than 40 quests in hyjal to get from 80-81 sorta ruined the expansion.


    I did 5 dungeons between 80 – 85, all the quests in hyjal vashyr 30 in deepholm 50 in uldum and 50 in twilight highlands putting me at at 85.

    Suddenly, the expac is over and im back to the same endgame grind that became all the expansions before it?

    What i miss is the overwhelming feeling of “whoa im never going to get to 85 because the experience requirement is so high”

    sure 9 million from 84-85 seemed high? 50 quests later however…

    I fear that even double the experience requirement would still have felt quick – I caluclated less than 1 days gametime from 80-85.

  9. WeatherlightNo Gravatar says

    Quick suggestion on the mana issues/long time to kill a mob while leveling.

    Use Mind Spike, a lot! Really, it’s your best spell for killing a mob. Much cheaper than MB, deals a ton more damage and is spammable. Glyph of SW:D and Spirit tap and you shall never drink again while soloing, or even use Dispersion, well once or twice maybe.

    Now I didn’t find out about this until level 85 while doing some dailies. I suggested to a fellow guildie that asked for some advice (he was lvl 83 as you) and acording to him: “It Rocks!”

    The idea is to Mind Spike at least 2 times so you get the instant MB with added crit chance and MB then. If you picked Paralysis you gain time to push in SW:Death or another MS. What you need to do to make it shine is use MS until you know the instant MB (100% crit if you did at least 3 MS) will take the mob to the 25%hp mark and then SW:D once or twice to finish him.

    Try it out. Maybe it will ease your leveling.

    PS: I miss VE… :’(

    PSS: Just noticed your most recent achievements. Guess the advice is out of date but maybe some other fellow Shadow Priest will find it usefull. And how are you finding those heroics?

  10. RickNo Gravatar says

    I’m a “slow leveler” too. I don’t quite understand the need to rush rush rush my way through the game. I like to read each quest and try and get involved in the story. Mindless grinding isnt my style.

  11. A lot of of what you mention happens to be supprisingly precise and that makes me ponder the reason why I had not looked at this in this light before. Your piece really did switch the light on for me personally as far as this topic goes. But there is 1 factor I am not too comfortable with and whilst I try to reconcile that with the core idea of your position, let me see what the rest of the readers have to say.Very well done.

  12. PhilomenaNo Gravatar says

    because a lot of the time Like things Microsoft,
    you will become at it while you keep deploying it!
    Philomena’s last post: Philomena


  1. [...] while BTH’s Paladin, who was doing the quest at the same time and fumbling about much like Cassandri describes, took a minute or so longer to finish. Then again, perhaps having already spent time as a member of [...]

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