Guardian Talents in Legion

Welcome to the new digs! One of the reasons for the change is that my old site wouldn’t allow me to use Wowhead tooltips, which for a supposedly WoW-centric blog just won’t work. Links just aren’t as good as being able to look at the thing I’m discussing.

Patch 7.0.3 is live, and there’s a lot to love. The wardrobe function is awesome, and the Bear and Cat Forms got a nice lil’ polish, but I’ll get into that later. Right now I want to focus on the new talents that have dropped, and I hope to provide a different perspective on them than you might get from other sites and blogs.

I love the opening up of all specs; I want to give lazerchikin a shot at some point, just for the hell of it. Talents are closer now more than ever to what Blizz kept telling us they wanted them to be: something plastic, meant to fulfill the needs of the moment. I think the problem may be us old codgers, the ones who remember talents as being a very serious decision, something you had to pay money to change, and that you had to go all the way back to Stormwind or Org to adjust. We have a good deal of mental re-training to do.

I also think that we’re further away than ever from mandatory talents, although there will always be That Guy or Girl, the one who sees you in a regular dungeon and says,

[Dickholedps]: OMG I can’t believe you took [The Fun Talent]! Don’t you know [The Theorycrafted Talent] is a .000000000001% DPS increase if your in mythic gear with a BiS trinket proc on a single boss in the current endgame raid!?!?!??! Ur such a NOOOOOOOB XD

All data here is presented as experiential and anecdotal, coming as it does from the mind of someone who does not find Excel an even remotely sensual experience. Your mileage may vary, and if Icy Mr. Elitist Spot tells you something different, by all means listen. I’m looking at the talents from the perspective of someone who’s going to do regular dungeons and heroics, not raids. If you want raid-focused analysis and some stats to wank to, Arielle is right down the hall.

Let’s jump on in!

Level 15

While threat really isn’t a tanking issue anymore, part of me still uses good snap threat as a yardstick. I suppose it’s just my BC upbringing, but I hate to see a mob go after that mage who prematurely ejaculates his DPS all over the mobs I just pulled. Pop Barkskin, Wild Charge in, and that’s a ton of damage to epoxy those mobs to me. Bristling Fur looks like a new way to micromanage my rage (yawn), but Blood Frenzy looks like a nice passive rage bump, and a good reason to keep honest on my Thrash uptime, assuming it procs off off the Thrash DoT, and I can see no reason why it wouldn’t. I’ll probably go with Brambles until I hit heroics.

Level 30

Wild Charge is still the best one for me. If I were raiding I might pick Guttural Roars for the increased raid movement speed, but I don’t see myself choosing Displacer Beast for any extended period of time.

Level 45

Yay! the sort-of return of bearcat! The affinities give you an almost-complete toolkit for the other spec, enough that I most likely won’t be able to overtake a fully-specced cat on the meters, but I should be able to keep up. I got to play around with my talents in a couple of Timewalker dungeons this weekend, and I felt a bit squishy, so I think I’ll go Resto Affinity for now.

Level 60

Yawnsville. Mighty Bash, I guess, provided it’s a proper stun that interrupts boss mechanics like other tanks get, but if not, I’ve had some use out of Typhoon when trash pulls go sideways. Pop Typhoon, run like a scaredy-bear, and use Ever-Blooming Frond, which has now been consigned to use only in Draenor. Mass Entanglement seems to be maybe a world PvP talent, as it’s ill-suited to precision CC in a dungeon.

Level 75

I really like using Moonfire in Bear Form, especially after losing Faerie Fire, my only ranged pull. However, I also lost both Cat and Bear Berserk, and not having a rawr button is quite disconcerting, so I think I’ll go with Incarnation here. Galactic Guardian seems pretty cool, but a 10% chance is a bit too low for me, and then I’d have to make sure to pop a Moonfire right after to get all its benefits, and I have enough to worry about as it is.

Level 90

Earthwarden seems like baking the old Tooth and Claw into a talent, which I was never fond of to begin with. No tank ever said, “Damn! That last autoattack flattened me!” It’s always a magic attack or some special that smears tanks, but Ironfur and the new Mark of Ursol should make things much better. However, more damage reduction is an absolute good, so I’m going to see how Earthwarden feels. GoE and SotF aren’t bad options either. I’m currently using SotF, but I’ll try the other two to get a feel for them.

Level 100

Pulverize–the spell that just will not fucking die. It showed up, disappeared, showed up as a talent, vanished, and now it’s back once again. I may be more receptive to it since I’ve played a death knight with pre-patch Blood Tap and am now used to the “build up charges and use them” mechanic. Lunar Beam is fun, especially with Galactic Guardian to create the fabled discobear that Blizzard Watch describes, but it doesn’t move with me, which drops its value a bit. I’m currently running with Rend and Tear, but after a bit of testing I may give Lunar Beam another pass.

Next time I hope to be looking at the Feral talents and even the death knight as well, so stay tuned and please feel free to discuss below.

Getting in Deeper: Stellar Low F

I thought about the YouTube videos that I watched, and I noticed a theme: They were all of deeper-throated flutes in the B and F ranges.  This got me thinking that I might enjoy a flute with more bass, but that’s a serious purchase, and one I wasn’t willing to make without actually trying out a deeper flute first. I have no place nearby to try out one, which made me yet again curse the nowhere area of the South in which I live. Then, opportunity knocked: this spring Mrs. Matheo and I took a trip out to Arizona to see our old friends and guildies, Red and Pinky. I told Red about my new thing, and he knew of only one shop at the Scottsdale Fashion Square that might have what I was looking for.

 

I’ve always considered myself a die-hard Southerner, but Arizona in the springtime is vurrry nice. The whole Mesa/Phoenix/Tempe supercomplex was fun and very artsy. Their interstates are decorated with geckoes and sidewinders; ours are decorated with chunks of tire and McDonalds bags. Everything I could ask for was there, in a nice grid layout, without everything being named Peachtree. At night there were no bugs, and everywhere was bathed in the scent of neroli. It’s so hot there right now that Satan goes back to Hell for a cool breeze, so it ain’t all great, but I could totally see myself out there.

 

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Off Red and I went on a one-hour roadtrip, during which I found out why folks call it “Snottsdale”. About five minutes after walking into the mall, I was certain I’d be getting escorted out because the security scanners had run my credit upon entry. We peered amazed into the Tesla store, hit Sur La Table and left nose prints and drool on the knife displays (oooh Shuns), and then we made for our target, Indian Market.

We walked in, and sure enough there was a rack of flutes behind the counter. The very nice shopkeeper saw my eyes gravitate to it, and she handed me a piece of plastic tubing. I asked for the biggest flute, plugged in the hygienic tube and did a little improv, very aware that I was playing in public for the first time. “I should hire you to play out front,” she said, smiling. “What a nice lie,” I replied jokingly.

 

Apparently, I had stumbled across a High Spirits flute. Oh baby, it was nice: turquoise cabochons, carvings, and a lacquer job like it was dipped in liquid glass. I think the shopkeeper said it was a G, but I got distracted by how full and lovely the tone was. Then I got very quickly undistracted by the 230.00 price tag. “But I can take off 10 percent,” she said quickly. I felt bad for her; high-dollar musical instruments don’t fly off the shelves in knickknack shops, and she was genuinely trying to make the sale, but I just couldn’t spend that kind of cash and feel okay about it. I very gingerly handed back the lovely flute and bought this 30-dollar ironwood carving of a bear as a consolation prize, for both her and me.

 

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I love his amazed and baffled expression. It’s basically how I look at the world.
Though I was financially thwarted, it did confirm my suspicion that I prefer, both in flutes and women, something meatier. It was time to buy, but this time I’d be dropping what is for me some serious coin. I was also determined that I wasn’t going to go whole hog and blow tons of cash on a new thing. I had done that in the past, when I was younger, more impulsive, and had slightly disposable income at my sole command. Nowadays I’m beholden to the CFO for my spending, and I can’t just say, “Well, whores will have their trinkets” like Bernard Black would.

 

After a great deal of research I decided to go with Stellar flutes. I listened to their YouTube videos of all the different keys, and I went with an F, the lowest key they offer in their quite reasonable Basic line. I submitted my order, which totaled about 113 bucks with shipping, and was filled with anticipation. You know, I think suicidal people should buy things online. It would definitely be harder to kill myself if I were expecting a package. I’d have the toaster all plugged in and ready for a swim in the tub, and then I’d think to myself, “Y’know, I have that Amazon package coming. It’d be shame to miss it.”

 

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This is a big ‘ol flute, but again, it’s marveously light, and sounds as good as the arm holding it is hairy and pale–which is to say, very good.
Anyway, it arrived much sooner than I thought, considering it came all the way from Washington state. When I first got it out of the shipping tube, I was amazed at how light it was. My Big Bear is made out of some kind of hardwood, but this is eastern cedar, and it felt much more delicate, almost like a toy, but it’s a good bit tougher than it feels. I put it to my lips, and this un-toylike, mournful tone flowed out, clear and crisp. It sounds a lot more serious than the Big Bear. It’s really hard for me to make up happy tunes on it because they just don’t seem to fit its personality. It does really well with slow improvs and long, ringing notes. All in all I’m super pleased with my Stellar, and I hope to add more from them to my collection.

 

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The maker’s mark and production date, not stamped but written on with a Sharpie. I love this simple, personal touch. I like to think Lily wrote it just for me.

 

Now we come to a point of contention among some flute enthusiasts: Stellar Flutes does not market their creations as “Native American flutes”; that branding is reserved for flutes that meet requirements set forth by the Indian Arts and Crafts Act. Therefore, Stellars are “Native American style flutes”. To some this is a deal breaker, but I honestly couldn’t care less. They put the heart, respect and care into the work, and that gets my money. There are of course Native American makers out there that do online sales, but not lots, and even fewer with very accessible pricing. I did manage to find one, but that’s another post  😉

 

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I’d say I’ve got large hands and long fingers, but the reach on this one is quite unforgiving, and I often make mistakes with the lowest notes and get odd sqwonks and such out of it.

 

Since I’ve talked about the Arizona trip that really got me started down the road to wanting another flute, I thought it would be a good idea to center my next video around the other reason we were in Scottsdale: I wanted to visit Taliesin West. I’ve always loved Frank Lloyd Wright’s work, and I couldn’t pass up the chance to see his winter home, especially since it was an hour away from Red and Pinky’s place in Mesa. We’ve all seen images of Wright’s work, but the 3D experience is totally worth admission. I was amazed at the serenity, the care that had been taken not to impose a building on the land, but to build in harmony with the environment. Seeing one of Wright’s masterpieces in person nourished my soul, and I hope these images can do the same for you.