Tobold's Blog
Friday, September 30, 2016
Frost mage - take two

My main character in Legion is my fury warrior, who just got his "Battlelord" title from finishing his class campaign. He is doing some world quests every day, but not all of them. I got 4 out of 5 pillars of creation already, with the 5th not being patched in yet. And I'm not a huge fan of grinding reputation, or doing dungeons and raids. Which means that my main doesn't occupy me 100% of my time any more. So what to play next?

I couldn't find really good data which classes and specs are really good for Legion leveling. A Google search revealed some opinion pieces, but of course they all disagree. And while playing Draenor a lot resulted in me coming into the expansion with 6 level 100 characters, that doesn't cover all possible classes, and I don't want to level yet another toon to 100. I have a paladin, warlock, mage, priest, druid, and a freshly minted demon hunter. My guess, after my experience with the warrior, would be that the pally would be quite good for solo leveling, but then I might want to change style. So after some indecision I decided to try my frost mage again.

I had tried to play the frost mage right at the start of Legion, but had gone with bad advice on talent choices and pretty much gimped him into a glass cannon that died at the first sign of trouble. Now I have chosen talents with a focus on survivability instead of on raid dps, the mage was already working much better. And then I decided to use my piles of gold to buy something else than just WoW tokens and spent 100k on BoE epics (which weren't commonly available in the AH at the start of Legion). With those instead of the pre-patch invasion gear the frost mage now pretty much rocks. He doesn't even have to kite all the time, being able to withstand being hit for a while. The ice block self-healing is great, and most of the time the mobs don't even manage to kill my water elemental while I'm regaining health. The damage output is better than that of my warrior, so I'm killing mobs faster. And as the mage has both teleports and access to the mobility toys my warrior earned (Emerald Winds, Skyhorn Kite), traveling is also very fast. So right now I'm quite happy with my choice. I assume that some of the advantage of epic gear will diminish with level, but right now I'm confident I can get the mage to the world quests stage.

The mage also gives me the opportunity to play around with different professions. I'm not happy with the way Blizzard handles professions: In every expansion different professions become useful, while previously useful ones become useless. While I had the good idea to retrain mining up with my warrior before Legion hit, I'm not really happy with the blacksmithing profession that goes with that. Between world quests and class armor I already have quite good armor, and the best freshly crafted armor is worse than that. I would need to craft tons of armor, use the bugged Obliterum Forge to turn it into obliterum, and then use quite a lot of obliterum just to make one piece of crafted armor better than what world quests give me. On the mage I had tailoring and inscription. I already dropped tailoring in favor of herbalism, because herb prices are so high that I don't want to fuel my inscription with bought herbs. But the more I look at it, the more I start to wonder if I shouldn't ditch inscription in favor of alchemy. With Legion having eliminated glyphs that actually do something not cosmetical, I'm not sure inscription is still of any use.

Like many expansions, professions are filling gear holes. Mostly for raiders. Despite being a flawed system:
- You can create (or buy) an 815 item with the exact stats you want, and then upgrade it to 850 (855 in 7.1). Since its RNG based, you can either obliterate the bad results (if the mats are cheap enough) or sell it on the AH. Its an alternate way to get a BoE. But if you aren't a raider, Titanforged drops from Heroics, gear from Mythic+ dungeons and WQs are probably cheaper given the time.
- It gives you are reason to get level 3 blue cloth/leather/mail/plate recipes because it increases the efficiency of making Obliterum. Given how cheap cloth is tailoring is probably the most cost effective way for doing this. Heck, some of the 815 gear might be cost efficient given how much ash they give.

Blacksmithing hasn't been bad for me making money. Between Blacksmithing and Cooking I've made about 500k since launch. Not the millions the herbalist have, but the armor ocassionally sells, as does Demonsteel bars, stirrups and hoofplates. Plus as a blacksmith the stirrups and hoofplates last 4x as long for me.

Inscription does have it uses, but not sure its useful for personal use. In addition to cosmetic glyphs, there are toys, songs, darkmoon cards, 805 relics, Vantus Runes and Tranquil Mind tomes.

Every expansion has its challenges for professions. Professions are rarely useless, but they can have mediocre money making and/or personal use. So I tend to not flail as much. Otherwise it feels like I'm constantly dropping and relearning stuff. And the grass is rarely greener on the other side. And if its greener, then its likely more crowded.

But if you think you'll have more fun and get more use out of Alchemy, then go for it.

You can obliterate the easiest recipe (Ancient Healing Pot) for 1.5 Obliterum Dust per (100 dust makes an Obliterum.)

And once you level, you can obliterate the trinket for 120 Obliterum dust. But you can't make those constantly as you need rare / gated items.

The crafted armor currently goes to 850 with Obliterum, which seeing as you don't raid, will be higher than you can otherwise get, and I expect "Obliterum Mark II" will be introduced in future patches to drive that even farther.
I say stick with Inscription, at least for gold income. The fact that glyphs are mostly cosmetic actually makes them MORE valuable. As Bill points out, there is still a long list of Inscription items which will sell on the AH. You have already seen with Blacksmithing that the "useful" gear is in practice actually useless. Smokeman makes some decent points with Alchemy, but I can't really see you doing the long, long grind for Obliterum gear. The only profession that I think makes more than Inscription right now is Enchanting.

Of note, if you have a level 700 Enchanter among your alts, they can disenchant all the Legion gear without any leveling (mine is still sitting in his garrison), and the dust sells for quite a bit. Also, Draenor enchants still sell quite well right now, because Legion enchanting materials are absurdly expensive, so they provide the "cheaper" enchants.
Samus is right about the cosmetic glyphs.

I was discounting them because I have no interest in cosmetic glyphs... which is really hilarious considering I so diligently transmog my gear. But hey. we're all stupid and delusional in our own way. But yeah, I see people selling them and asking to buy them often for 1K, 2K gold. If you're into that, it could be a fun way to roll some gold.

I started my level 100 Hunter alt in Legion that has enchanting and jewelcrafting. It is really nice to be able to funnel the greens through it for DEing, and again, as Samus suggests, that's a valuable resource. I'm hoping to find some Obliterum making items in there, and want to make my own enchants. Gems are easy, the lowest level Legion gem is +100 in a stat and sells on the AH for only 80 gold. That's good enough. I obliterated 2 of them as a test, and only got 1 dust per, so the health pot is still king. But I can see a future where the gems are in huge piles and worthless.

Side observation: Hunters are OP. You get a free tank that does what you tell it and as MM get a bad-ass bow. As long as you exercise even the slightest care with barrage, you kill stuff with stupid alacrity. I named my Bear tank "Grylls" because he's such a survivor.
I know you are beyond group content but Legion introduced keystones which means you can easily get a carry.

You just have to do 1 mythic dungeon once per character to get your first keystone. After that camp the dungeon finder, there are plenty of groups "we carry you if you bring a key". Get a carry once a week for a guarenteed 850+ epic and a chance on loot from chests inside the dungeon.
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