You know I have always had my ups and downs with druid gear looks and some sets eventually grow on me .. like the blue winged bird-suit from the first tier of Cataclysm, but apart from Tier Six, I will admit I have never seen a druid set and just said to myself “that looks awesome”, until today .. the Season 14 Druid set looks awesome, and for the most part I have really liked the upcoming armour. There are a few exceptions but I will mention that later.

druid s14
Avoiding class changes, upcoming raids, scenarios etc .. I can’t help but look at two new features and say thank you Blizzard. What am I talking about? Virtual Realms and Proving Grounds. I think both will in the end prove beneficial .. at least to my way of thinking.

Virtual Realms. We are given a brief introduction from blizzard that describes what they are aiming for ..

” Virtual Realms are sets of realms that are fused together, and will behave exactly as if they were one cohesive realm. Players on the same Virtual Realm will be able to join guilds, access a single Auction House, join arena teams and raids, as well run dungeons or group up to complete quests.”

Now granted these may never ever make it to live, as we have seen quoted to many times today .. the PTR is a petri dish. But let’s think about it anyway. The whole idea seems a huge leap forward in building larger communities. But is it a good thing. For me .. yes I believe so. Some people will decry that CRZ was terrible .. and after fighting with people from other realms over farming nodes on that end I can’t argue, I mean when I go farming I want to be able to harvest something. These same people will argue that Virtual Realms will increase the problem. Worse, that economies will suffer because AH prices will go down (I have seen this comment several times on the forums already), to which I can only sit back and think .. thank the lord for that. I don’t have time to be an auction house pioneer, most of my paltry amounts of cash come from dailies and group activities, and while I have studiously ground out enough money for things like the vendor mammoth and yak, I do not want to spend hundreds of gold on a few paltry stacks of ore, cloth or other material for items I will not be keeping permanently. I can’t wait for the market crash.

Getting away from that aspect though, the ability to join a single guild or guilds with toons from across multiple servers, and then talk, quest, do dungeons, scenarios, raids and other varying time fillers is a fantastic idea that I welcome. Mostly because I am one of those people who have always wanted to be able to have ALL of my toons on one server, and this is as close to that as things can get.

Back in Wrath when we had three raid teams, and several teams worth of end level alts playing in guild we decided that we would start an Alliance guild up .. journey through the other side, sort of thing. While we actively played this it was quite fun, but the death of one of our members sought of put a halter on this and since we have hardly played as a group over that side. What happened in the beginning though is instead of setting it up on our main realm where my brother is an officer in an Alliance Guild and whom we generally refer to our Sister Guild (because they are alliance ninnies and to sissy to be a brother guild), we started on another realm, mostly because those of us doing it had so many Horde toons we didn’t have room for Allies on our main realm, otherwise we would just have made them and joined the brotehrs guild.

Well with Virtual Realms coming .. we may be able to finally join out toons into my brothers guild, whom we have come to know well through real id, guild meets and varying pvp activities and although my brothers Guild leader may panic over the though of a Horde Controlled raid team eventually surpassing their main raid group the influx and ability to go beyond the normal pool of their current raiders is a huge boost. A boost through people they know .. by tieing up realms and realms, it also increases recruiting pools for raiders in general and the ability to find those hard sought roles .. which surprisingly in my guilds case tends to be dps, or occasionally tanks.

It also means any low level ‘fool around’ toons I make for simply replaying zones or trying to see if I prefer a similar class but a different race, can be safely cocooned in a guild where I won’t be bothered by dozens of random and anonymous guild invites every 5 seconds. Whomever made those add-ons that automatically send invite to guildless people needs a swift kick up the .. well you get the image.

In any event, I look forward to seeing how they work out, and hope they satisfy at least some of the needs people feel to play with people from other servers, or to have all their toons in one place.

Proving Grounds. This is an idea I have wanted for a while. Why? Because I suck at tanking .. badly. There are probably a few people out there that still huddle in a terrorized ball when they think of me tanking Sethekk Halls, on heroic once back when we hit level 70 for the first time. It doesn’t help that I also tend to not worry about offspec gear sets. In any event one of my biggest obstacles to tanking is I hate pugging .. I loathe it, but when you are levelling there isn’t always a guildy to help you practice, and in so many cases you have sped so fast through some dungeons the healer could be tanking for all anyone knows based on how quickly the mobs die.

These days you can seem to power to virtually end level without needing to learn what your class does. I have for example a warrior whose offspec is prot, when I swapped to tank spec the other day I was literally going “holy crap whats this spell” and then felt chagrined when I realised I had it on the dps spec as well for several levels but hadn’t realised because it was gained in a dungeon and well .. who has time to look at things when you ding in a dungeon! Now I know it’s there, and I know what the rest of the tanking spells and actions are proving grounds will provide a way to introduce myself to real tanking rather than what I have had to do in the past (which normally started with someone shouting .. quick go bear it only has 5% left).

Hopefully though it will be more than just the basics. I’d like to see if you go in as a dps if it provides fights where you have to learn to utilise your utility spells .. I mean its amazing how many pve moonkin out there have said to me “I don’t have any cc” .. what? I know its easy to miss spells when levelling, I have admitted to doing it., when you get to end-game though and are raiding and doing heroics you should have at least a vague idea of your class .. saying you have no cc, or interrupts or any other number of gimmicks when its known by many your class does is more than a tad embarrassing, hopefully proving grounds will enable people to get past this.

All I can say is I am looking forward to seeing how these work, and how .. viable, they become in helping people learn their classes.

Gear. Ok, I have said that this latest round of gear looks overall pretty good .. and while there are some exceptions in my opinion, its pretty outstanding. The Warlock sets in both PvE & PvP look incredible, and the mage set, while not great on a troll would suit most humanoids and even pandas very well. I can’t begin to describe how awesome the druid and shaman PvP gear is and I hope that the PvE gear is as good coz lord knows I will never get the PvP ones.

The Plate gear though as usual leaves me a bit mystified .. mostly because I play Tauren for the 3 main plate wearing classes, and while this time round the DK helm doesn’t look too bad as usual with so many pf the plate sets once again the helm for Warriors and Paladins looks like my poor Tauren suffers from some form of gigantism .. but only around the cranium. Looks like I may have to stick with the old tier 12 stuff for my warrior. Overall I like it but this head things leaves me dismissing it as a look for my characters.

The one type of gear I do take exception to this time around is hunter gear. Some of the hunter sets are a bit hit and miss but this time i think they have missed on both accounts. The PvP gear looks like some weird deformed worm has been used to make the armour, and I have no idea is the head represents it mouth or its other end, but either way looks really odd for a hunter. The PvE gear though .. can anyone tell me they honestly didn’t imagine your typical cycloptic robot from some bad scifi that shoots lazors from its main eye. I took one look and thought, holy hell .. they just gave my hunter a frikkin lazer beam socket for my head , I am so totally ditching my bow and rifle.

rogue s14
Overall I love the gear, and like the look of a lot of what is coming in the next patch .. but most of all after seeing the above I still wish they would bring in damn Tauren Rogues.