A Latisha update (for reals this time)
Now that I’ve gotten my silly cheesecake post for her out of the way…if you remember, Latisha Morganson is my little experiment to test how well my own So You Want to Be a Prot Warrior guides work. I am leveling her according to the guides, straight up from 1 to 80 (or until I lose interest, whichever comes first). When last we saw her, Latisha was level 22 and splitting her time in between Menethil and Lakeshire.
Now, a few weeks later, with 2 days and 12 hours played, Latisha has just hit level 39 and is, for now, going to be based out of Theramore while I rapid-fire the various Dustwallow/Mudsprocket quests to try and push to 40. She is, as per the SYWTBAPW guide, 0/0/30, and now stands 62,000 or so xp away from the big Four-Zero, the ability to wear skimpy plate bikinis as opposed to chainmail halter tops (sigh, Blizz, just sigh), and most importantly, the Holy and Inviolate Shield Slam.
I’ll admit, I borrowed my wife and her level 80 shaman to blast me through Scarlet Monastery and pick up a few things. Those are Scarlet Gauntlets and Scarlet Leggings she’s wearing, along with Herod’s Raging Berserker’s Helm, and her weapon is the SM quest reward sword, the very nice Sword of Serenity. (No, she can’t kick ass like River Tam when she wields it.) The rest of her stuff is a mixture of 30ish greens, either AH purchases or quest reward items like her Crest of Darkshire shield. I haven’t been able to keep her quite as upgraded as I’d like, mainly because of the utterly ridiculous prices that mail and plate warrior items command on the Feathermoon AH. Seriously, guys, WTF. 30 gold for a level 30 green set of boots? Two hundred and sixty gold for a level 40 plate breastplate “of the Bear?” Do people actually pay those stupid prices? Well, maybe they do, but I don’t. I’ll muddle along without, and so far, so good.
Nothing that’s happened to her so far has really caused me to change my original premises in SYWTBAPW. Yes, you can level with a full Prot spec and have fun doing it. No, you won’t kill as fast as a DPS warrior or any other class except maybe a prot paladin or holy priest. Yes, you can survive stuff that would kill those other, higher-deeps classes. But actually going through the steps myself has shown me a few things that may be helpful for anyone else wishing to walk the first portion of the Way of the Meatshield…
- Your #1 problem, if you choose to level via the sword-and-board route, is going to be rage generation. I can’t understate how horrible your rage gen is in the 20s and 30s when using a single one-handed weapon. You must learn to be extremely judicious with your special attacks because you won’t have the rage to spam anything. Going in Battle Stance and using a two-hander–pretending you’re an Arms warrior–gives you much better rage generation and higher DPS, but you trade it off against taking more damage and needing more downtime. The choice is yours. Personally I have done most of my work with Latisha using 1H+shield, and just accepted the lousy rage generation.
- One rage strategy that’s easy to learn is this: Switch to Battle Stance when targeting a mob, get in Charge range, hit Charge, and as you start moving, hit Defensive Stance. If you time it right, you’ll shift into Defensive Stance before your first weapon hit lands, preserving that rage. Even if you mistime it, you’ve closed the distance to the mob, stunned it momentarily, and bought yourself 10 rage.
- Rend is more useful than I gave it credit for being. I still have it on her bar, although it may go away when she hits 40 and gets Shield Slam. Most of your fights will last long enough for it to tick its full duration and it’s a good bunch of extra damage for the rage cost.
- Shield Block is so your friend at these levels. Basically, with any sort of reasonable gear, hitting Shield Block will give you 10 seconds of effective frontal invulnerability against all but the strongest melee mobs. In addition, it guarantees at least two, usually three Revenge chances in a 10-15 second span, and until you get Shield Slam, Revenge is your big whammy. By level 30 you’ll have it talented down to 40 seconds cooldown; since you kill slowly, you’ll have it ready almost every fight. This is an absolute lifesaver when you’re pulling an entire camp. Shield Block early and there’s a good chance, with all those Revenges, that you’ll have one mob dead or seriously injured quickly. Plus, again, since you do not kill quickly, you’ll probably have Shield Block back up later in the fight when you need the damage mitigation.
- I went with the Improved Disarm version of the Prot build, taking two points out of Toughness and moving them over to Improved Disarm. This gives a 40-second cooldown on Disarm and causes the mob to take 10% more damage while disarmed. I don’t remember to use it that often during normal grinding, but against things that are 3 levels over me, or the occasional elite, it’s very handy. I’ll probably swap the points back sometime in her 40s.
- Get used to missing. It’s hard for me going from an Ulduar-geared prot warrior who’s very close to both the hit and expertise caps, down to a mildly-geared alt with no +hit and only the human racial +expertise with her sword. She whiffs and clanks her swings. A LOT.
- Shield Bash isn’t just your primary caster interrupt. It’s also your best way to handle runners. Go upside their head when they’re at about 20-25% health, since you can’t Hamstring in Defensive Stance. And if Shield Bash is on cooldown, there’s always Concussion Blow. CB hits hard enough that it’ll probably kill a runner instead of just stopping him.
- Glyph of Revenge is awesome for leveling. With your rage so hard to come by, a free Heroic Strike after each successful Revenge is too good to pass up.
- Don’t be afraid to pull more than you think you can handle. More than likely, you’ll surprise yourself with how capable this class/spec combination is. Just scout out a good spot to pull the mobs to to minimize or eliminate getting any adds, and also a spot you can safely rez if you do indeed bite off more than you can chew. If you’re lucky enough to have a healer friend? Pair up with them and you can work on your tanking skills while tearing a path of total destruction across the landscape…albeit slowly.
- One day, I’ll figure out why Blizzard had such a boner for putting +spirit on low-level warrior gear. Spirit. On warrior mail. And it’s everywhere. So not only is she running around in some bizarre scalemail version of bondage gear, it’s poorly itemized too?