Friday, November 30, 2007

Moving

Not sure if anyone follows this blog anymore, as much time as I've not put in recently, but I'm moving it. I just have too many eccentric hobbies to blog about only one of them, so will doing the more general purpose blog type thing. Anyway, here's the address for those who care:
World of s4dfish pt. 2

Monday, November 05, 2007

Karazhan

So, Saturday night was our guilds first Karazhan run. A few people had pugged it before, but this was our first 'official' all guild raid effort. We ended up starting 45 min late as two of our three healers had RL issues that kept them late. Raid breakdown:

  • 2 Tanks (Protection Warriors)
  • 3 Healers (2 Holy Paladins, 1 Holy Priest)
  • 5 DPS (Rogue, Arms Warrior, BM Hunter, SV Hunter, Arcane Mage)
Only three of our raid had been in the instance before, and I think those three were the only ones who'd stepped into a Heroic either. So we were going in with a mix of PvP gear, 5 man blues and the occasional green.

Had one death on trash pulls before Attumen/Midnight. Quick regroup and 1 shotted Attumen/Midnight. Healer gloves and caster bracers dropped. Unfortunately for our Mage he had raided long ago and didn't realize that he couldn't release and run back in, so he missed on the bracers, Holy Priest ended up with both :P

Worked our way to Moroes with lots of Mage deaths on the AoE Pulls. Took three tries on Moroes, first attempt was going well until a shackle resist lead to a dead priest which lead to a dead tank and you can guess from there. We'd DPS'd down two adds and planned on keeping two CC'd until after Mores. Second attempt we tried to DPS down all adds before Moroes, which was horrid. Third attempt was like the first (2 CC: Frost Trap, Shackle) and worked fine. One thing we did which I haven't read was have our OT tank an add next to Moroes so he could build aggro via thunderclap and cleave (incoming damage from the add -> aggro), seemed to work fine. Emerald Ripper and Holy Paladin boots dropped. I snagged the dagger and we had a happy Pally.

Due to our late start we made an attempt on Maiden, wiped immediately as we were not 100% on placement. Tried again with another wipe as I pulled to early (swear I was in stealth) and called it a night.

Came back last night short our OT (hanging out at the mall, who does that?). Took three wipes with progressive success (60%, 50%, 40%) before we found out that everyone wasn't in cleanse range, not standing on the first step so we were losing DPS to the Holy Fire. Corrected that and we got him down. Of course this was the only attempt that I actually died on (double vanish FTW) as I stepped off the stair to bandage and was promptly Holy Fired... The shaman totem dropped (of course...) and something else which I can't remember, think it was mage loot...

By now our OT arrived and we worked our way to Opera. Trash hits crazy hard there, was a wake up call for us. Made it to the event and drew Wizard of Oz, which I think for our group was the worst we could have got. We settled on a strategy of DPSing down Dorothee (duh), OT picking up Roar initially then having our hunters chain fear him, Mage spamming scorch on the Strawman, MT tanking Tinhead, and OT picking up Tito when he pops. We wiped 3 or 4 times getting the strategy down pat. Seems like the Mage was key to our strategy. We ended up having the MT tank Tinhead near Strawman so that he could try to keep treat on both so that in the event of a resisted stun we didn't get a dead mage -> dead raid. We did manage to do it and I'm pretty pleased with our success. The libram and Wicked Witches Hat dropped. Neither Pally was keen on the libram so they /rolled for it and the mage wasn't convinced that the hat was an upgrade over his Second Sight hat, I made him take it anyway :P

Wanted to try Curator, but had people need to log, so called it a night. Hopefully next week we can get Attumen->Moroes->Maiden in one night then try Opera->Curator on the next. Not sure if we have the gear to do Curator, but might as well see.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Gear links

So, Zydari is now at 54 and looking at Outland and all those lovely quest rewards. So, I've made a list of stuff that I should keep a loot out on. Okay, technically wowhead.com made the list for me, but you know what I mean.

Plate quest rewards with +defense
Plate quest rewards with +damage
Shield quest rewards
Weapon quest rewards with +damage

Rare Plate drops with +defense
Rare Plate drops with +damage
Rare Shield drops:
Rare 1-Hand Weapon drops with +damage

Plate from Reputation with +defense
Shields from Reputation/Vendor
1-Hand Weapons from Reputation/Vendor with +damage

Friday, October 19, 2007

Pawn scales

So, I'm anal retentive enough to care about specifically how much my characters benefit from stat X vs. stat Y. The addon Pawn makes this easier, but you have to have the information to put in it to begin with. I'm also OCD enough to want it normalized against the item budget cost, non-normalized numbers are in parenthesis. The advantage for normalizing against the average budget cost is that you don't get much higher values with the presence of lots of stats. What I'd done in the past was simply add STA/Resilience to my DPS values, which was nice, but made it hard to compare the relative worth of an item across categories. Sure it was easy to compare for a set purpose, but to compare the multi purpose worth of an item got harder. It's not the big a deal for Sakuran, but for Zydari and Laic who both have 3 scales, keeping 3 'best' sets is silly when one item may be pretty good across the board.

Oh, and I'm pretty cheap so I only socket green gems at this point. As Sakuran starts using Kara gear I may invest in the blue gems... but 50g for only a slight improvement? Unlikely...

  • Zydaria, Enhancement Shaman. My wife's toon.
    • DPS - Pulled from the Enhancement thread on Elitist Jerks.
      • Strength: 1.38 (1.1)
      • Stamina: .42 (.33)
      • Agility: .88 (.7)
      • Attack Power: .62 (.5)
      • Crit Rating: 1 (.8)
      • Hit Rating: .88 (.7)
      • Blue Socket: 5.79 (3 STR, 4 STA)
      • Red Socket: 8.25 (6 STR)
      • Yellow Socket: 7.12 (3 Crit, 3 STR)
      • Meta Socket: 15.5 (Relentless Earthstorm Diamond)
    • Healing - Yes, she does heal as enhancement spec, STR and AP are included due to the 2.3 AP -> +damage/healing talent.
      • Strength: .38 (.27)
      • MP5: 3.47 (2.5)
      • Attack Power: .14 (.19)
      • Spirit: .69 (.5)
      • +Healing: .63 (.46)
      • Intellect: 1.39 (1)
      • Spell Crit: 1.39 (1)
      • Blue Socket: 7.89 (7 +healing, 1 MP5)
      • Red Socket: 8.21 (13 +healing)
      • Yellow Socket: 8.58 (7 +healing, 3 INT)
      • Meta Socket: 21.65 (Insightful Earthstorm Diamond)
  • Laic, Survial Hunter. You'll not that I don't assign a value for +hit, with survial spec reaching the hit cap is relatively easy, so assigning a value would make it more likely that I exceed the cap, I tend to shoot for a balanced approach moving gear around to get the higher hit % while not sacrificing my pawn scores).
    • DPS - Max damage with little regard for mana regen.
      • Attack Power: .6 (.51)
      • Stamina: .12 (.1
      • Agility: 1.18 (1)
      • Intellect: 1.04 (.88)
      • Crit Rating: 1.04 (.88)
      • Haste Rating: 1.35 (1.14)
      • Blue Socket: 4.02 (3 AGI, 4 STA)
      • Red Socket: 7.11 (6 AGI)
      • Yellow Socket: 3.55 (3 AGI, 3 Hit)
      • Meta Socket: 19.22 (Relentless Earthstorm Diamond)
    • Regen - Emphasis on mana regen, good for grinding or situations where I may not be able to stop drink.
      • Attack Power: .55 (.51)
      • Stamina: .11 (.1
      • Agility: 1.08 (1)
      • Intellect: .95 (.88)
      • Crit Rating: .95 (.88)
      • Haste Rating: 1.23 (1.14)
      • MP5: 3.79 (3.5)
      • Blue Socket: 3.68 (3 AGI, 4 STA)
      • Red Socket: 6.5 (6 AGI)
      • Yellow Socket: 3.25 (3 AGI, 3 Hit)
      • Meta Socket: 18 (Relentless Earthstorm Diamond)
    • PVP - increased weight for STA and Resiliance. Decreased weigh on regen, but still has a value for MP5.
      • Attack Power: .52 (.51)
      • Stamina: .67 (.67)
      • Agility: 1.01 (1)
      • Intellect: .88 (.88)
      • Crit Rating: .89 (.88)
      • Haste Rating: 1.15 (1.14)
      • Resilience: 1.01 (1)
      • MP5: 2.53 (2.5)
      • Blue Socket: 5.73 (3 AGI, 4 STA)
      • Red Socket: 6.07 (6 AGI)
      • Yellow Socket: 5.37 (4 STA, 3 Crit)
      • Meta Socket: 17.14 (Powerful Earthstorm Diamond)
  • Sakuran, Combat Dagger Rogue. At least for the moment, WTB excuse to go back to subtlety.
    • DPS - Pretty much straight from the spreadsheet.
      • Strength: .69 (.57)
      • Stamina: . 12(.1)
      • Agility: 1.2 (1)
      • Attack Power: .69 (.57)
      • Crit Rating: .84 (.7)
      • Hit Rating: 1.17 (.97)
      • Expertise: 1.25 (1.12)
      • Blue Socket: 4.09 (3 AGI, 4 STA)
      • Red Socket: 8.22 (6 AGI)
      • Yellow Socket: 7.11 (3 AGI, 3 Hit)
      • Meta Socket: 19.43 (Relentless Earthstorm Diamond)
    • PVP - Same as Laic, higher weight for STA and Resilience.
      • Strength: .58 (.57)
      • Stamina: .68 (.67)
      • Agility: 1.02 (1)
      • Attack Power: .58 (.57)
      • Crit Rating: .72 (.7)
      • Hit Rating: .99 (.97)
      • Resiliance: 1.02 (1)
      • Blue Socket: 5.08 (3 AGI, 4 STA)
      • Red Socket: 7.00 (6 AGI)
      • Yellow Socket: 6.05 (3 AGI, 3 Hit)
      • Meta Socket: 17.29 (Powerful Earthstorm Diamond)
  • Zydari, Protection Paladin
    • DPS - a hard set to come up with, basically I took my start from the Tanking stats and removed anything that was exclusively defensive while retaining things that can result in damage dealt. This is not a retribution DPS scale, they favor much different stats.
      • Stamina: .81 (.67)
      • Intellect: 1.22 (1)
      • Expertise Rating: .61 (.5)
      • Mp5: 1.52 (1.25)
      • Spell Power: 1.04 (.86)
      • Block Rating: .91 (.75)
      • Spell Crit Rating: 1.22 (1)
      • Blue Socket: 7.41 (4 +Damage, 4 STA)
      • Red Socket: 7.29 (7 +Damage)
      • Yellow Socket: 7.82 (3 Spell Crit, 4 +Damage)
      • Meta Socket: 19.61 (Swift Starfire Diamond)
    • Tanking - These values are based on ones I found on the Pawn forums, haven't seen a spreadsheet yet to give more precise values, but it works. Note that I'm not necessarily offering this as valid for a raid tank as all you want to focus on there is STA/Def/Block/+damage, but for 5 man grouping this should be better. The different ratings are based on the amount of avoidance you get per rating point, so block is the fastest way to get avoidance up, followed by Defense then dodge, and lastly Parry. Yes, Parry is better than Dodge, but for this exercise I'm ignoring it.
      • Stamina: .72 (.67)
      • Intellect: .54 (.5)
      • ExpertiseRating: 1.08 (1)
      • Mp/5: 1.08 (1)
      • ParryRating: .72 (.66)
      • DefenseRating: 1.08 (1)
      • DodgeRating: .85 (.78)
      • SpellPower: .93 (.86)
      • BlockRating: 2.04 (1.88)
      • BlockValue: .7 (.65)
      • Blue Socket: 6.51 (9 STA)
      • Red Socket: 6.6 (4 +damage, 4 STA)
      • Yellow Socket: 6.15 (3 Def, 4 STA)
      • Meta Socket: 13.02 (Powerful Earthstorm Diamond)
    • Healing - I ultimately plan to run 20/41/0 with Zydari, yes he won't main-tank, but he'll be fine as a 5 man tank and raid off tank, plus will be able to off-heal. I'm slightly favoring +Healing to +Spell Crit until such a time as my +healing exceeds 750.
      • Intellect: 1 (1)
      • Mp5: 2.5 (2.5)
      • Healing: .57 (.57)
      • Spell Crit Rating: .57 (.57)
      • Blue Socket: 6.48 (7 +Healing, 1 MP5)
      • Red Socket: 7.39 (13 +Healing)
      • Yellow Socket: 6.98 (7 +Healing, 3 INT)
      • Meta Socket: 17 (Insightful Earthstorm Diamond)
Eventually I'll come up with some for my Priest and other toons, but for now this is about it. Hope you enjoy it.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

100th post, and a substantive one at that (lol)

So, guess this is my 100th post. Which strikes me as odd as I can't imagine typing that many posts. Anyway, I'll keep plugging along, slowly but slowly, this post is mostly random junk, but stick to what you know.

Hunter licenses revoked:
So, I was in a SL group as my rogue with two hunters who I'll not name. I ended up dropping out right before Murmur due to RL issues (specifically a screaming two year old). I logged on later to see how they did. Dropped Murmer and WOOT Sonic Spear dropped. I wish I had a SS of the conversation, but the jist is that it was sharded. ONE OF THE TOP 5 HUNTER WEAPONS IN THE GAME WAS PASSED OVER BY TWO HUNTERS???? I was shocked to say the least. Now one of the two hunters in question is planning on DW, getting a Felsteel blade crafted (two lazy to look it up and link it), so I suppose I can understand that. But still... I'm pretty sure Big Red Kitty doesn't read my blog, but I'm half tempted to e-mail this to him as I think he was never able to get his (though is now wielding Legacy, so the sting will be less).

Arena
I'm loling my way through the arena for a few weapons. Sakuran is losing massive numbers of games on 2v2 and 3v3. 0-20 in the last two weeks. Of course I'm grouped with some guildies who don't PvP much and we're all PvE spec. Sak's going for the S1 offhand dagger (1.4 attack speed FTW). Laic is on a 2v2 with a Warlock in our guild who's much, much better at PvP than I am. He pretty much single handedly carried us to 6-4 which is saying something as I have about zero clue how to PvP as a hunter. Still trying to figure it out.

PvE Spec FTL
In case I haven't mentioned it Sak's combat daggers now. Which is fun in a group, but man does it suck to solo. Waiting for the 2.3 PTR to come up so I can see how buffed the subtlety tree is. If it's even close to competitive I'm respeccing, it's just too much fun. I've been having some frustration with her as I've got pretty close to as good of gear as I'm going to get, outside of heroics and raids (few pieces left to upgrade, I know), but my DPS still isn't where I'd like it to be, averaged 520 DPS on my last BM run. Laic, my Suvival Spec Hunter, is getting close to her DPS levels, averaging in the upper 400s, breaking 500 on some boss fights. And that's with worse overall gear. Who knows, maybe it's just my perception and dislike for Combat Daggers...

Was thinking about rambling on more, but maybe I'll just make it a new post. You know, start that next 100...

Monday, September 24, 2007

Ding 70, time to get to work...


So, Laic dinged 70 last night.

Now I get the wonderful task of grinding coin for a flying mount and working on gear upgrades. Using this list as my base guideline. I'm just listing stuff that is questable or non-heroic instancable. I'll try to include my pawn values and amend this post later.

Helm

Shoulders
Chest
Bracers
  • Currently using [Felstalker Bracers]. Not really looking for an upgrade especially as there aren't any outside of rep rewards or heroics.
Gloves
Belt
Pants
Boots
Melee Weapon
  • Currently using [Crystalforged War Axe] with Savagery (+70 AP).
  • Quest Reward: [Terokk's Quill] from Sethekk Halls and promptly through +35 AGI on it. Probably best pre-raid Survival weapon.
  • Drop: [Sonic Spear] from Murmur in Shadow Labyrinth. Arguable if this is better for a Survival Hunter. I'd only think about getting it if it was going to get sharded.
Ranged Weapon
  • Currently using [Valanos' Longbow]. There are lots of side-grades, but nothing that is an 'upgrade'.
Back
Neck
Ring
I'd go into Trinkets now, but I really need to get back to my day job...

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Farming FTL

So, Sakuran has been sitting at 360 LW for the past week or so. I managed to find the pattern for [Drums of Restoration] on the AH and was able to score the 2 skill points I needed to get to 360 for around 60g (which I promptly resold for cost, didn't realize they're listed as a 35g buyout...), which is much better than the 150-200g per point the skill ups would cost other wise.

So, sitting at 260 I have the option of competing with every other LW in the game for [Thick Clefthoof Leather] (which is stupidly overpriced), attempting to make Felstalker gear, or the Fel Skin set. Now, the Fel Skin set was the way to go until the drop rate for [Mote of Shadow] was nerfed. What used to be the cheapest and most abundant Primal is not a 14-20g buyout. Obviously I'm not the only LW leveling to 375, so the market can be flooded with certain items. Felstalker Bracers in particular and any of the Clefthoof pieces in general seem to be abundant. However, I haven't seen any Fel Skin in the last week or so. The abundance of competition has driven down prices to the point that Felstalker Bracers are selling for 30g when the mats alone would cost over 100g. So, my plan is to make Fel Leather Boots, a yellow pattern at 360 and sell them for my cost in mats. Without any competition I'm hopeful that I'll be able to charge a higher price and offset my cost and get to 375 (well, as high as I can before they go green) without throwing thousands of gold down the drain. Might even get my Consortium Rep up and make Fel Leather Leggings for a profit is this works out...

Back to the tile of the post I've been running laps around Oshu'Gun hitting the Voidies that spawn abundantly all around it. Drop rate and re-sapawn rate make for solid farming, can do a complete lap in 10-15 minutes and seem to average 10 motes per lap (AKA 1 Primal). Also had decent luck with greens and blues. My first foray resulted in 3 primal shadows, three BOE greens, and 2 BOE blue (one from a rare named, Voidhunter Yar) all in roughly an hours work.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Still dreaming of Terokk's Quill

Laic is still dreaming of [Terokk's Quill], but my play time recently has been little and none. Finally moved into the new house last weekend, which unfortunately meant a week without internet access. Now that my access is back, while I wait for a group I'm doing the quest than that ultimately rewards [Malefactor's Eyepatch], which is going to be a nice upgrade as I'm still using the [Helm of Lupine Grace] from Terokkar Forest.

Where Laic's at right now:

My guild is finally getting people attuned for Kara and look at starting to run it in a week or two. For those of you how raid actively, we are a real casual guild. Most of our members have way too many alts, very irregular play schedules, and little desire to take the game 'seriously'. Honestly I like that as it fits my view towards the game. That being said I'm looking forward to something a bit more coordinated and 'serious'.

As Sakuran is going to be my raid toon, I've been thinking about how to spec her. Up till now the 5-man content/solo stuff she's been doing hasn't required her to go for a pure DPS build. Her current 17/0/44 is working just fine and with some of our under-geared tanks I have to hold back my DPS. But when we raid I want to make sure I am capable of bringing as much to the table as possible. That being said I'm not sure I can stomach going back to a combat build (100-120 DPS increase). It's so...boring. So, as a compromise I'm planning on going to 30/0/31 which should allow me higher DPS (60 more according to the spreadsheet) while still allowing the luxury of my subtlety talents that I enjoy so much. I'll miss Shadowstep, but I did love Seal Fate back in the day and I'm sure it'll make up for it.

Here's Sakuran right now:

edit: Item linking courtesy of Armory Musings by way of BigRedKitty.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Yeah, I'm a nub

So, I've been using Pawn for my Hunter (well all my toons, but my hunter is most of my time right now). I've been using a scale with +hit valued, which is nice except that I'm a Survival Spec hunter with 3/3 Surefooted, so I can hit the cap somewhat easily. What this means is that a lot of time extra + Hit Rating does nothing for me. So what I did was add a second set of ratings with +hit having no value. So what I can do now is compare items in different lights. If I'm already at the cap (or close enough) I can make decisions regardless of +hit, but at the same time not completely disregard the stat as it's more important than crit until you hit the cap.

Little things in WoW keep me going :P

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Not dead yet...

I know it's been months since my last post. I'm still playing WoW, just life's been very crazy. Moved out of, and sold our house. Staying with family until our new house is ready (any day now, I hope). Hoping to get a new computer soon (24" iMac, /drool). For now I've kept myself occupied by grinding Laic (65 now I think) and Zydari (50). I've also redone my UI, again, so here you go:
Default lookParty Set-upRaid (not that I do, but I'm thorough)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Hunter fun

So, my hunter Laic is at 61 now, halfway to 62. Been spending a lot of time reading about hunter mechanics and thinking about how to utilize him best. I'm currently planning a bit of an odd-ball survival build 5/11/45. Most deep survival builds end up with some sort of 0/21/40, option for Scatter Shot rather than the last 6 points in Survival, which is understandable. At any rate, it'll be a fun experiment.

I picked up a crossbow quest reward last night and spent this morning leveling that skill, went 1-260 autoshotting a BL servent before I had to get to work and will probably hit the rest over lunch. Need to get on Sak to make a Quiver as I've been a gun hunter since oh, level 10?

Really looking for 62 so I can pick up Steady Shot and start getting used to working with a shot rotation, rather than just spamming Arcane/Multi shot when they're not on cooldown.

Pet wise I'm working on two pets. A level 61 blue ravage from western HfP, I like the alien look and gore is great DPS. Also have a level 58 or 59 blue carrion bird from Deadwind Pass that is working out great. Screech is an amazing skill hold threat like a champ and the AoE component seems to generate enough threat to allow me to throw a Mend Pet up without pulling adds.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

another 60, another epic, and soon another UI

So, Laic hit 60 this week. I'm again amazed at how fast the Outlands levels you. Levels 55-58 seemed to take forever. I dinged 58 on Tuesday of last week and hit 59 the next day. I then wasn't able to play for several days and I think 60 came about as fast. Simply amazing.

I also got my mining up to 290 in there so I was able to stop spending my lunch hour running around Burning Steppes searching for Thorium. Here's to Goblin engineering for +5 and enchanted gloves for another +5.

Tamed a Ravager at 59, which is lots of fun. Working on getting his loyalty up so I can max his skills. Not sure if I prefer him to my cat, but it's a nice diversion if nothing else.

I respecced back to Survival, I think I prefer it. I enjoy the utility of the build. DPS is nice, but I already have enough of that with Sakuran, so emphasizing utility differentiates the class for me.

I'm in the process of redoing my UI. I've got a layout in mind that I want to achieve, just need the time to make it happen. Here's a really bad MS paint (I hate Windows) bitmap of my plan:


My house is showing now with a vast majority of the large projects finished last weekend. This should allow me to get a bit more game time and, as such, a bit more blogging. Now someone hurry up and buy my house...

Oh, and on an unrelated note:
http://www.phoenix-rider.it/images/fumoffu.jpg

Monday, May 14, 2007

AFK

So, my wife and I are planning to move this summer. As such we're doing a large amount of projects around the house to get our ready to sell. Doesn't take a rocket scientist to discern that this will have a negative effect on my WoW time. So, don't be surprised if my infrequent, sporadic posting gets even more sporadic and infrequent. But, I'll be back, aren't you thrilled?

Friday, May 04, 2007

IMHO BG's > Arena

Yeah, I'm sure vast numbers of people will disagree with me on this one, and that's okay. I've just come to the realization in the last week that I find Battlegrounds much, much more enjoyable than Arena. I'm not saying that Battlegrounds are harder or demand better skill, I'm just saying for my personality type they're more enjoyable.

Generally speaking I'm not a competitive person. I'm not playing WoW to try and prove something, I don't think I need to be the best at what I do. However, when I'm part of a 'team' I can get fairly competative. Now, before I go any further, Arena doesn't feel much like a 'team' activity to me. Feels more like a glorified duel, which is something I don't particularly enjoy. Battlegrounds though, feel much more like a team sport to me. I think that, in large part, it's the presence of goals and objectives that change the feel for me. It's not just about beat the poop out of the other team before the beat the poop out of you.

As a rogue in PvP, I'm an opportunist. I don't run into the thick of things and try and beat someone down, I prefer to remain on the outskirts of combat, in stealth, waiting for an opportunity. I don't pursue the warrior/priest pair that's heading for my tower, I keep my eyes open for the lone shaman or druid who I can easily dispatch when caught unawares. That may not be 'fair' from other classes perspectives, but I figure that's what rogues are made for.

edit: I started this post last friday and promptly lost my train of thought, I'm trying to pick it up here and at least finish it, but no problems on coherency.

Battlegrounds, as opposed to Arena's, seem to reward this style of play. It's very possible for a rogue to remain hidden for a while and strike at the most opportune moment. I like the idea of a few rogues sneaking behind enemy lines and quickly turning the tide of a battle. I love sneaking over to the Farm in AB, swifly eliminating the opposition and capping the flag. That's what PvP should be. Good PvP requires a certain amount of fear of the unknown. Rogues, and druids to a lesser extent, are that unknown. Arena, being a closed environment by design, prevents this.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

L2PvP

So, Athpal and I set up a 2v2 Arena team last night for fun, In Hoc Signo Vinces (should have ran a search on the name before settling on it :P). I thoroughly enjoyed PvP before the 2.0 patch and look forward to it again now that I've hit 70. Ath did a bit of PvP with me back in the day, but doesn't have a great deal of experience with it. Anyway last night we did our first matches and discovered, unsurprisingly, how much work we need to do to even be competitive.

Match 1 put us up against a shaman and a warrior. I went for the Shaman while Ath got eaten up by the warrior. I managed to get the shaman down, but Ath fell to the Warrior who quickly made short work of me.

Match 2 was the same match up, might even have been the same players. Anyway they both focused on Ath and then then cleaned the floor with me.

Match 3 was a Rogue/Warlock combo. In my idiocy I tried to sap the Warlock instead of the Rogue. Anyway we died fast.

Match 4 put us up against a druid/pally combo. They had roughly the same gameplan as us, namely DPS down the softer target while the Pally heals. So, for about the first two minutes the druid and I just smacked each other while our respective pally healed us. I think I had the advantage here as my Wound Poison reduced the effectiveness of their healing dramatically. The druid decided somewhere in there to focus on Ath and try to burn him down. I kept smacking on him while Ath kept himself alive. I got the druid down eventually, but then the opposing Pally got a Hammer of Wrath on Ath and took him out to the game, leaving me with a 1v1 vs. a Paladin. I think this match was in my favor and I burnt him down through one bubble and two life bars. I ended up having dealt over 70k damage in that match, it was funny.

Anyway, we decided to end our night with our win and vowed to run many, many BG's to get some blue PvP gear and figure out what we need to be doing.

Things that stuck out to me about what I need to be doing better is 1) Cloak of Shadows, don't forget I have it 2) Blind whenever it's up and 3) I have preparation, abuse my cooldown abilities. The dynamics have changed a lot since November, and I think it'll take a bit before I feel as comfortable with it as I used to be.

On Styles of Play

This post over on Tobold's Blog got my thinking about the different types of players that Blizzard has to keep happy. Initially I think one can use three broad variables to look at players. Now, this is completely off the top of my head and everything therein is arbitrarily assigned.

  1. Amount of play time.
    Simply the raw numbers of hours you put it. I know several people in my guild play less than 10 hours a week, where as I probably play around 30 hours a week. I'm sure that individuals with minimal RL obligations could put in many more hours. I'd be willing to guess that the 'average' player puts in around 20 hours a week. If you wanted a numeric ratings, 0=5 hours of playtime, 10=40 hours of playtime. I'd put myself at 7-8 here.
  2. Frequency of RL 'interruption'
    As I mentioned, I probably play ~30 hours a week, however that time is very broken up with a variety of things. Wife needs a hand with something, son wants to play outside, food on the table, etc. About the only time I get more than an hour of uninterrupted play is if I stay up much later than my wife and son, and RL prohibits that accept on Friday night. On the other end of that spectrum is an individual who can realistically sit down and play for 5 hours with little more than a bio break. Again I'd suggest that the average player is somewhere between the two, perhaps being able to put in two uninterrupted hours when they do play. A rating here would represent the average amount of time one can play without serious interruption (one taking more than 15 min), 0=0 minutes without interruption (aka could be AFK at any time), 10=5 hours of playtime. I'd rate myself at a 4, I can reasonably expect 90 min uninterrupted.
  3. Attitude towards Warcraft
    Now, this one is a little bit more difficult to measure, and I may be presenting it all wrong. When I log into Warcraft it's to relax and have fun. I'm much less concerned about gear, advancement, or thinking I'm 'the best' than I am about just kicking back. On the other end of that spectrum are individuals who's basis for playing is advancement. I'd say that most, if not all, serious raiders play primarily for advancement. I'm not saying that's bad, just that it's not my thing. 0=Social gamer with little care of end-game, 10=extreme desire to be at the cutting edge of advancement. I'd assign myself at 4 here, I enjoy getting upgrades, but it's not my motivation really.
Now, of course this is an overly broad example and I'm sure there's plenty of cases that would contradict what I've proposed, particularly with my horrible category 3. However, I think they're good enough for the rest of my discussion. Blizzard has a vested interest in all ends of each of these spectrum. Let's see what is targeted by each type of activity in the game (for simplicity
  • Raiding
    I would say that Raiding is targeted primarily at those players who are concerned about in-game accomplishment (category 3), have large amounts of uninterrupted time (category 2), and moderate to large amounts of play time (category 1). I think it's most appealing for people at a 6 or higher in C3, but requires a 7 in C2 and 4 in C1.
  • 5-Man dungeons
    Appeals to a broader segment that Raiding. Takes less time (generally) and with fewer people involved can be more forgiving of interruption. I'd say it's targeted at people with between a 3-7 in C3, at least a 2-6 in C1, and a 4-8 in C2.
  • 5-Man non-dungeon content (particularly the new 2.1 content)
    More targeted at the 'casual' then the dungeon content, also generally requires less time. I'd say is mostly focused at 0-5 C1, 2-6 C2, 2-6 C3.
  • Daily quests and level 70 solo questing
    Again even more casual then above. 0-3 C1, 0-5 C2, and 0-4 C3.
So, with the examples above let's look at what patch 2.1 is offering:
  • The Black Temple, obviously targeted at the hardest of the hardcore raiders
  • Large amounts of non-instanced 5-man content, should be great for all the non-hardcore. As the content seems to tie into existing dungeons the appeal here should be broad.
  • Daily quests and solo content with the new factions, should be great for the most casual players out there.
I think Blizz is doing to hit a home run with this patch. BT may be coming too soon as only one guild has cleared SSC and nobody has cleared TK. But baring that I think the timing of the new 5-man content is nice as I'm sure it will appeal to a large segment of the non-hardcore population.

Monday, April 23, 2007

70


So, I hit level 70 Saturday night after a day of questing in Netherstorm. Most of the quests were easy, only a few necessitating the assistance of a level 70 Warlock chum of mine. I was impressed with a number of the rewards I picked up, particularly the X-52 Pilot Leggings.

Upon hitting 70 I promptly flew over to Shadowmoon Valley and bought myself a Snowy Gryphon. Flying is pretty cool, as I'm sure many of you already know, but it wasn't as impressive as I expected. I don't know why, but for some reason I expected it be game changing. While it is not doubt very cool, it doesn't feel as cool as my first level 40 mount did, but perhaps my opinion will change over time.

Anyway, now that I have leveling out of the way and my first mount purchased, I need to decide what to focus myself on. I think my first objective is going to be hitting exalted with the Aldor for my Vindicator's Brand. A crazy 20 DPS increase of my current weapon (I side-graded to a Nexus Claw, the .3 speed difference was big enough to offset my Mag'hari Fury Brand's higher DPS). The .2 speed difference will drop my AP contributed damage by around 18, but the average damage per hit will still net me more Hemo damage, not to mention much more white DPS.

After that I believe that I'm going to focus on leveling my Leather working to 375 so that I can start working on my Primalstrike set. The bracers should be easy to make with minimal farming, the other pieces are going to require heroics though, so that'll take a while.

A fiend of my, who plays a Holy Paladin, should be hitting 70 tonight, if he didn't last night. We're going to start a 2v2 arena team for fun. Both of us enjoy PvP, but don't need to be 'the best' to have fun, so it's a good combination. I'll spend some of my time in BG's to improve my PvP 'set', but doubt I'll take it too seriously. I don't often reference other blogs, but sounds like Ming is now thinking about a 23/0/38 build for 2v2, which is very close to what I've been thinking. May end up trying it out, but I love Shadowstep for grinding...

Other than that I'm looking forward to 2.1 as there appears to a lot of very casual friendly content. I like that it's non-instanced as I lucky to do one instance a week. The new 'daily' quests sound fun. An enjoyable rep grind would be a pleasant change.

Not much to report on the Dreanei front. Completed 4 (I think) initial quests in The Hinterlands, then made the run into the Searing Gorge. Ran the escort quest and was dismayed to find it bugged (the assassinated dwarf's parchment never spawned), 45 min and one GM later it looks like we'll have to abandon it and re-do it. Didn't expect much else, but man does that dwarf walk slow...

Friday, April 20, 2007

More Macros

So, not much going on this week.


Sakuran hit 69, bought some new gear (Fel Leather Boots and Legs) and promptly bought and socketed the wrong gems. Crit > Spell Crit... Also respecced back to Shadowstep/Hemo. 11/21/28 was nice, but I don't think that its DPS gain was worth the diminished fun that comes with Shadowstep. So, Sakuran is sitting 19/0/41 I think which should work much better than the combat/shadowstep I tried before.

Moving back to a Premed build led me to fixing a bunch of my macros. For all my openers I'm using somethig along the lines of:

  • /showtooltip Cheap Shot
    /cast Pick Pocket
    /stopcasting
    /cast Premeditation
    /stopcasting
    /cast CheapShot
It's a nice way to automate a lot of things. You'll never run out of lockboxes and Premeditation will always be on cooldown.

After finishing my openers, I thought I'd play with my finishers a bit. I'd tried also having my trinkets tied to my openers but I wasn't able to get a working macro. Seemed like trinket use would take you out of stealth, so might as well put them on my finishers. I ended up with:
  • /showtooltip Eviscerate
    /use 13
    /stopcasting
    /use 14
    /stopcasting
    /cast Eviscerate
This bad boy first tries to pop my fist AP/15 second trinket, then my other one, then cast Eviscerate. My theory being that I almost always end up with two finishers while grinding, so this should trigger after the first one and hopefully I'll gain the full benefit of it while finishing off the mob. There's a shared 15 sec cooldown on the trinkets, so the second can't trigger within 15 sec of the first, thus if I can hit my second finisher before the 'Ferocity' buff fades, I'll not waste a cooldown on a finisher that actually takes me out of combat. Didn't get a chance to play with this one, but I know that the trinket does trigger before the finisher. It gives the unpleasant error sound a lot, but I'll see what I can do about that...

Also, having Preparation is very nice, but only if you take advantage of it. I went ahead and tied my Vanish, Evasion, and Sprint to castsequences with Preparation. Thus if I try to Vanish and Vanish is on cooldown, I'll instead use Prep, a second press getting my vanish off. It automatically resets to Vanish when it's cooldown is up. As I'm typing it occurs to me that I no longer have Imp. Sprint, so Sprint probably isn't worth wasting Prep's cooldown. I may revert to a plain Sprint.
  • #showtooltip
    /castsequence reset=210 Vanish, Preparation


Zydari and Zydaria both dinged 45 after a full clear Zul'Farrak run. The rest of the party was slightly above 50 which helped immensely on the time. I think we were finished in a touch over two hours. I'm looking forward to the 2.1 patch as the Prot Pally changes should nice. Also bought several blue tanking items for Zydari's future. Don't recall what they are specifically, that's what I get for posting away from the game. Oh, I also replaced Zydari's Green Tower with the Blackskull Shield. An amazing 600 armor increase, at the expense of about 8 STA I believe.


Laic did a Jailbreak run the other night. I'm not sure if I posted it here, but I ended up respeccing him out of Survival to try BRK's BM/MM build. It's nice, and I have noticed a DPS increase, but I really miss Wyvern Sting. That's just one of those abilities I really got used to. A buff pet is nice, but I don't know how long I'll stick with it.

Friday, April 13, 2007

67, Durn the Hungerer, Ring of Blood, and Influenza

So, as I'm sure you've noticed, I haven't posted in a while. RL has kicked my butt for about the last three weeks. My wife came down with the flu in the end of March, then we got about 24" of snow which shut everything down for a few days, then I got the flu and had to stay home sick for a week. This week's just been crazy catch up for the 8 days I ended up missing all together. Finally got to the point where I have time to post, so hear goes. (of course as I type this my wife called to let me know she's going to the doctor to see if she has pneumonia, wonderful)

So, anyway, I was able to play some WoW while I was out. The two snow days I managed to get from level 64 (IIRC) to 66. Picked up Cloak of Shadows, which is just lots of fun. For those who don't know, it's a 1 minute cooldown ability that will remove all magical debuffs (basically anything but a rend) from me and increase my magical immunities by 90% (I think) for 4 seconds. Ignoring the amazing utility from a PvP perspective (haven't PvP'd in a while), it's a great PvE ability. It's nice to be able to effectively 'cleanse' myself while grinding, otherwise I'd have a lot more downtime as I waited for things to run their course.

Last weekend, when I actually felt well enough to spend a good amount of time in game, I hit 67 and made myself a few items: Fel Leather Gloves and Primalstorm Breastplate. I could have/should have down the Breastplate at 65, but hadn't gotten around to respeccing my LW (used to be Tribal, pre-BC). Both are pretty nice, though I wish the Breastplate had sockets. I just think I like everything more with sockets :P. I also bought a Mask of Veiled Death of the AH for around 25g, pretty nice. The lack of AGI is always conscerning, but it makes up for it with crit and AP, which is all AGI gives you anyway (well, that matters, I don't count dodge and armor as important for a rogue).

Wednesday night I was able to get groups together to finish Durn the Hungerer and The Ring of Blood, as such I replaced both of my weapons. My Shadowrend Longblade and Footman's Longsword with Mag'Hari Fury Brand and Hungering Bone Cudgel. That's about +10 DPS on my mainhand and +8 on my offhand. I just have to work now at getting my fist and mace skills up. Sitting at 319/290 right now, so I've my work cut out for me :P

If you check out my Armory Profile right now, you'll see where I'm at stats wise. As I type I'm sitting at 967 AP, 21.5% crit, +12.36% Hit (with 5/5 Precision), and 6.6k HP. You'll also notice that I've adopted a bit of an odd spec. At 67 I'm 11/21/26 instead of my prior experiment with 5/11/42. That old build put well over 1100 AP with 5/5 Deadliness and 5/5 Sinister Calling. Coupled with Shadowstep made for a very fun build. However, I really felt the lack of 11 points in Assassination. Relentless Strikes is simply a must have talen, and I don't think any build without those 11 points is worth doing, which is sad really. So I wanted to grab 11 points in Assassination and could have pulled them from Combat, but I liked the solid white damage combat gives, okay, not the way I had it, but you get my drift. So while researching builds I saw several references on Elitest Jerks about an 11/21/28 build. It gives the key 11 points in Assassination, solid talents in Combat through Blade Flurry, and a lot of the utility of deep Subtlety. I lost Shadowstep (/cry), Sinister Calling, Dirty Deeds, Master of Subtlety and Premeditation. It was a difficult adjustment process, but I picked up 5/5 Precision, 5/5 DW Spec, Blade Flurry, and Relentless Strikes. So far I think the trade off is worth it.

I'll discuss a couple of oddities of my build. First, I have 2/2 Imp. SS and Hemo. Typically they are viewed as mutually exclusive talents because very few talent build that have more that 5 points in Combat have 25 points in Subtlety, so you either get one or the other. Now, pre-BC you could get very slow (2.8, 2.9) one-handed weapons, as Hemo is non-normalized, it was effectively and extra 40-50% DPS contribution from AP for 5 less energy (if you had 100 DPS from AP, you'd net 40-50 more damage from AP per attack). This led to a lot of scenarios where Hemo could offer higher damage per energy than Imp. SS, if not simply more damage. However, in BC there are no rogue weapons slower than 2.7, making it much more difficult to overcome the +98 damage a max rank SS gives you. That being said, Hemo does offer faster combo point generation, and the Hemo debuff (which should not be ignored), so it does have it's uses.

Against like level mobs I'm usually hitting one 5-CP finisher and 1 3-CP finisher (on average). On my openers I have 2-3 CP (CS with Initiative), Hemo till 4 CP, Ghostly Strike for my 5th (about this time they break the CS, so I benefit from the increased dodge) then Eviscerate when I have the energy. Now generally speaking they've lost a lot of their life and it's unlikely I'll get back up to 5-CP so I switch to SS, which nets me higher damage per hit. I haven't sat down and done the math, but I think there is room in this build for both, so I grabbed both.

I've also spent 4 points reducing all my cool-downs significantly. Vanish, Sprint, and Evasion are at 3 minutes and blind is at 90 seconds. Coupled with Preperation, I'm never unable to use abilities as needed. I need to set Vanish/Sprint/Evasion up on /castsequence macros:

  • /castsequence reset=180 Vanish, Preperation
  • /castsequence reset=180 Sprint, Preperation
  • /castsequence reset=180 Evasion, Preperation
I've also got a nice Blind macro:
  • /cast Blind [target=none]
This allows me to blind an add without changing targets. I always forget I have it, but have used it with success a few times. Having Sprint as a root break should be nice, but again, I forget that it can do that. Having played without that utility for a year now will do that.

I anticipate getting back into PvP at 70. Anything other than the most casual raiding is out of the question for me, so PvP will again occupy my time I'm sure. Though the with Blizz releasing more PvE 5-man content in 2.1 I could be busy with that. Needless to say I haven't really touched any of the end-game PvE content yet, so who knows what the future holds. If I do get back into PvP in a significant manner, I'm not sure if I'll keep my current spec. Shadowstep for non-Arena PvP (which is what I see myself doing) is great. Allows you to pick and choose your targets in a manner previously only dreamed of. However, if I'm still doing significant PvE, I think my current build offers more pure PvE DPS. Gosh, who knows, I could end up going back to daggers, though at this point I'm hoping not to...

Monday, March 19, 2007

Subjective upgrades

Before diving into my topic, let me update you on my play for the last week or so, which hasn't been much. I actually dusted off Sakuran (my rogue) for the first time in close to a month to run some quests with a RL friend of mine who's finally caught up to me in level. Playing her after focusing on my tankadin is very odd. I feel very vulnerable, which is odd because Sak's build is deep subtlety (aka, lots of survival tricks), but at the same time I forget how much damage she can deal. I'd read that playing a Paladin involved casting a few seals/judgments and then leaving the room... It's a bit of an exaggeration, but there is truth behind that statement. Sak on the other hand is much more involved to play, and I have to be much more careful with her. I think I forgot that I have vanish and prep, ended up making visits to the GY that simply shouldn't have been. L2P, I know...

So, I had earlier found Tim's Trusty Helmet off a quest in Zangarmarsh and, looks aside, was pleased with it. After clearing a few more early quests in Zangarmarsh, I had the opportunity to grab Scout's Hood. For those who are too lazy to click the links, Tim's Trusty Helmet is probably a much better items, but Scout's Hood has three sockets (one per color). I found myself is a somewhat new position, not knowing what was a better item. I suppose I could have cheated and looked on wowhead.com to find that Tim's Trusty Helmet has a higher item level, but I haven't decided how heavily to weight the presence of sockets. Before socketing anything Scout's Hood is sitting at -5 AGI, -22 STA, -22 AP, and +12 Hit. The socket bonus is +4 AGI, so I only needed to make up 1 point there, the rest of the stats would be a bit more difficult. Looking at the vendor gems was not encouraging. I could pick up +6 STA of a blue, +4 AGI of a red, and +4 hit or crit off a yellow. Not bad, but not good. I then decided to give my trusty neighborhood Auction House a visit.

Now, as I'm sure you all know, searching for gems in the AH is next to impossible. No way to only look at gems without an addon, and to my knowledge, no way to view by gem slot. So, I resorted to wowhead.com which offered a very robust gem search. I ended up +3 AGI/Hit yellow gem, +6 AGI red gem, and +3 AGI/+4 STA purple gem. This brought the difference between the items to +11 AGI, -18 STA, -22 AP, +15 hit. So it's 180 HP and 11 AP vs. +15 hit and some crit (don't have the calculation infront of me). Pretty close, but what ultimately made the decision for me is that Scout's Hood hands down looks cooler. While Tim's Trusty Helmet has some decent stats, I actually had to turn off my helmet display as it was so ugly... I'm not normally one who cares what the gear looks like, but Tim's Trusty Helmet looks kinda like an old early 1900's football helmet...

So, this leads me to ask the question: How long should socketable items 'last'. In my example above I started with an item of lower item level, and with the addition of ~8g of gems made it superior (IMHO) to the item I had. Down the line as my lazy butt levels my main I'm sure I'll run into a head piece that is clearly superior to what I have. In this scenario should I 1) take the item and drop what I have, or 2) buy better/more expensive gems to make the item I have 'better'. The choice is easier if said item is also socketable, but it is certainly a new dynamic.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

And the winner is...Enhancement

So, upon dinged 40 over the weekend I went ahead and specced Zydaria into the 20/11/0 build that I mentioned last post. I explained to my wife what was different about it, emphasizing that she could now use two-handed weapons. After playing for a moment she informs me that she thought that what I was going to do was let her wield two weapons at once (dual-weild). I let her know that she could actually do that right now, but that would require taking all her points out of elemental and focusing almost exclusively on melee combat. She said that sounded fine so back to the trainer we went :P.

Specced 31 into Enhancement, picking up Dual-Wield initially, Stormstrike at 41 (which we dinged last night). After some time at the AH to replace the caster focused gear she had and grab an off-hand (mainhanding the Hypnotic Blade from SM, not good stats at this point, but decent DPS). The worked on the first two naga quests in Ferales, the first batch of Wastewanderer quests in Gadget and then over to STV to kill Naga for the horrible low drop rate Akaris Reed. Wowhead thinks it's a 25% drop rate, but I don't buy it....

Anyone who's played an Enhancement shaman will agree that pre-BC itemiztion sucks for Shammies. I'm not sure what I'll do for her, but currently a majority of her armor is low to mid 30's mail. We'll have to see what we can find from here on out.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Shaman builds

So, I've been theory crafting several different shaman builds for my wife. At level 39 she's exclusively been an Elemental Shaman, to the point of wearing cloth with +spelldamage. However, I was getting the impression that she'd rather be in melee combat. So, after some discussion it's clear that she'd like to 1) remain an effective ranged DPS class (AKA caster) and 2) be able to melee effectively. This has led me to look at a variety of hybrid builds for level 40 (no sense buying new gear at 39 that'll be replaced in a level).

The current build I'm leaning toward is 20/11/0. Deep enough in Enhancement to grab Two-Handed weapons and enough in Elemental to cover those initial bases (Convection, Concussion, Call of Thunder, Elemental Focus, 4/5 Reverberation). I'm thinking I'll fill Elemental till 51 where she'll be 31/11/0, then go back to Enhancement for a while. The problem I'll run into is at level 61 where she'll be 31/21/0. I really don't know what to do with those last 9 points. I could have her end up 40/21/0 or 31/30/0 or something in between. Heck, if melee is enjoyable for her might as well repsec towards 20/41/0. I just don't know how it'll end up.

With the change of focus I'm stumped on how to gear her up. A melee/caster hybrid seems to benefit from about all the attributes, but I think I'll lean towards STR/INT. Something along the lines of 1 INT=1 STR= 2 STA=2 SPR=2 AGI. I know that she's going to end not excelling in either regard, but hopefully she'll get a taste of both sides and be able to decide how she wants to play her class.

Any experienced shamans out there, please help me out. Me and my alliance chums just don't know enough about the class.

Too many sigs...

A few cool sigs that I found here:








Can you tell what toons I haven't been playing? Here's my wife's toons

Monday, February 26, 2007

How BC has changed me / Level 32 routine

No, not in big personal ways, but my gameplay has certainly changed since BC came out. The primary thing that's happened is that I'm playing more with my wife then without her. I'm not 100% what the difference was, but I think it boiled down to making a commitment to experience all the content in the Draenei starting zones with her. The reason I think this made the difference was that I was actively trying to get her to play. In the past when she's express an interest in playing it meant that I'd log off of my main and to play a toon I really wasn't too interested in with her. I'm sure it gave here the impression that I'd rather be playing without her, which (subconsciously) may have been true. I mean, I liked playing with her, but it was quests I'd already done, zones I'd already cleared, and playstyle that I'd already experienced. DPS and Warlock, done that do death...

Now, when I'm playing my 'main' it's nowhere near as fun. I'd much rather be playing with her, and I'm sure my general attitude has changed. I've really gotten excited about 'tanking' and the paladin class in general, both of which are 'new' to me. The synergy with the Shaman is also amazing, and unlike anything I've done before. While Paladins are the defensive hybrid (tanking/healing), Shaman's are the offensive hybrid (DPS/Healing). If you look at my three highest level toons (Rogue, Hunter, Shadow Priest) I've already played the DPS and Healer roles. The only role I really hadn't experienced was that of a tank. With my wife taking care of DPS and Healing, I'm able to focus on the one area do the MMO trinity that I haven't already done to death: tanking.

Speaking of synergy, Windfury Totem and Reckoning are just crazy fun. I've only got 2/5 in Reckoning, so it's a 4% proc rate, but when it does proc it's full strength. Windfury is a 20% proc rate on hit, so I've got a 59% chance of getting a windfury proc off one of my extra hits (1-(.8*4)) and roughly 30% (8!/(2!*6!)*(.2*.2)*(.8*.8*.8*.8*.8*.8)) chance of getting two procs. That translate to a pretty heavy spike in damage, and by extension, threat. It's not the flat 20% buff it is for warriors, but only because a significant portion of my damage dealt is reactive and not active (i.e. Retribution Aura, Blessing of Sanctuary, and my Shield Spike).

As I implied above, our Draenei are sitting at level 32. I think I've gotten 10 levels in the last week, so it's been very productive. The elite quests in Duskwood are so much easier with the two of us. We took out Morbent Fel at level 29 without a death. I've never seen him go down so easily. It was pretty scary at first with adds he comes with, but they were quickly attracted to my Consecration and coupled with the damage from my Aura, they quickly fell. I don't think we even focused damage on them, they died to my passive AoE. The Bride of the Embalmer went down just as easily, as did Stalven, all before level 30. Level 30 lead us to Southshore and more evil murlocs. At one point I had 7 on me while I dual boxed. I just through up all the totems, dropped consecration and whittled them down. It was a lot of damage to heal through, but it was successful. Magma Totem immediately after Consecration is great, a lot of damage. Oh, Blessing of Sanctuary is great. 10 damage less per hit really adds up when you're taking 5 hits per second (aka the murlocs) and almost assures that Redoubt is always up. Seal of Light is also nice. I'm trying to decide how when to use it in place of my normal SoR/JotC (or JoJ for runners). I'm inclined to use it when AoEing, as the added threat from Consecration offsets what I'm losing from not using SoR, plus the added healing adds a lot to my survivability. If the mob isn't a runner, and the mob hits hard, I'll use JoL instead of JotC.

Level 32 gave my wife Chain lightning which she's been happily accidental pulling with :P. Luckily my taunt effects all three of the mobs that are now really pissed at her. I think that the combination of my inherent AoE abilities with Chain Lightning, Magma Totem, and Fire Nova Totem, we should be capable of some mean feats of AoE grinding. Provided I don't die first.

My current Tanking routine:

  • Buffs
    • Righteous Fury
    • Blessing of Sanctuary
    • Aura of Retribution
    • Blessing of Salvation (wifey)
    • Windfury Weapon (wifey)
    • Food/Pots/Scrolls that are available
  • My Routine
    • Taunt mobs off my wife's pull
    • Consecration (if there's more than one mob)
    • Judge Light if the mob isn't a runner, Justice if they are
    • Cast SoR if the mob isn't a runner, SoL if they are
    • Back up a touch so that all mobs are in front of me (aka I can block).
    • If there are 3 or more mobs, I'll consecrate a second time
    • Otherwise just keep the mobs in front of me and keep my Seals fresh. I don't typically Judge SoR as often as I can. I generally let SoR run for 20 seconds so that I can get three ticks of mana regen before interrupting it again. Mana regen is very important for me as I don't have a very high mana pool, most of my gear is tanking gear, so +STA is a primary concern and I've been grabbing Spirit/Strenght/Int when available.
    • Obviously if my wife pulls aggro off of me I taunt them back and drop consecration to cement the taunt.
  • My wife's Routine
    • Pull with Lighting Bolt
    • Flame Shock the primary target (I taunt as soon as the shock goes off)
    • Drop totems (Stoneskin, Searing, Healing Stream, and Windfury)
    • Melee my target
    • Cast Chain Lightning when it's up
    • Cast Shocks when Available (Flame when the mob is above 80%, Frost on runners or ones are at or below 20%, Earth the rest of the time)
    • After my initial Consecration, drop Magma Totem
    • Drop Fire Nova Totem after Magma expires
    • Drop Searing Totem while the others are on cooldown
    • Heal me whenever I'm at about 50% health
    • Use Totemic Call (I really think it should be called Totem Recall) after the fight to restore a bit of mana, though with here Int/Spirit focus she's rarely /oom.

Realistic Expectations

So, I've been thinking a lot about what I hope to do in BC and what I doubt I'll do. I'm trying to be realistic, so you won't see things like "Farm Illidan" on my list. That may be realistic for some people, but not for me. Keep in mind that these are my goals before the next expansion, not goals for the near future.

Thing I don't think I'll do in BC:

  1. Step foot in Serpentshrine Cavern
  2. Step foot in The Eye
  3. Step foot in Mount Hyjal
  4. Step foot in The Black Temple
  5. Be competitive in the Arena
  6. Get more than three characters (Sakuran, Zydari, and either Repentant or Laic) to level 70.
Things that are likely to happen:
  1. Sakuran
    1. Level 70
    2. Clear Karazhan
    3. Blue PvP Set
    4. Few pieces of Tier 4
    5. Grind as many reputations as are available to me to exalted
  2. Zydari
    1. Level 70
    2. Tank some end-game instances (Heroic 5-mans if I'm lucky)
    3. Get my wife to be confident enough to actually do some instances
  3. Laic
    1. Get to Outland, maybe level 70
    2. Enjoy some PvP
  4. Repentant
    1. Get to Outland, maybe level 70
    2. Find a build that will let me solo effectively and still heal groups. Shadow's great, but I'm not sure I'll stay there.
Things I'd like to see, but am not 100% if they'll happen
  1. 25 man content in general. While I think we'll get to Gruul's lair, it's difficult for a guild like ours to do that kind of content. We may be able to get a group together every other week, but I'm not sure that'll be enough to actually get him down.
  2. Magtheridan. At the moment, he's unkillable. While I give my guild 50/50 odds on Gruul at some point in the future, I'm much less optimistic about our chances with Magtheridan. I'm sure the challenge will drop once the strategy is widely known, but it still sounds like he requires heavy consumables. I really don't see us casuals as farming consumables for nights of wipes.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Fixing SotC

From my post on the WoW Suggestion Forums.

Now, SotC is one of the most cast seals a Paladin has, but only for 2 reasons:
1) leveling weapon skills
2) immediate judgment
Now, what's missing here? There is basically no reason to actually let the Seal run it's course in actual play (not counting raising weapon skills). Every other Seal has some value in a real fight. Some are obviously more useful that others (I'll almost always choose SoR over SoJ), but there are situations where they are useful. In addition to each Seal having uses both as a Seal and a Judgment, each of a Paladins roles should have Seals that are useful for it. Tankadins have SoR and SoV and Retadins have SoC and SoB. Again, you'll notice that I omitted somthing: Healadins. They certain could use SoW if they are melee-healing, but I see a real opportunity for SotC.

JotC gives the Paladin a certain amount of +Holy damage to that target, what I would propose is that SotC give the Paladin half of that amount as +healing/damage. You could keep the increased melee attack speed, as the two benefits wouldn't really overlap much. If you're taking advantage of the +healing/damage you're unlikely to be concerned about attack speed and if you focus on attack speed you're unlikely to be too focused on the +healing/damage. What would happen is that a casting focused Holyadin would be able to keep SotC on themselves to augment their healing. Obviously the mechanic I propose would need to be tweaked to make it mana-efficient (not sure if that that value is enough to make it a cost effective endeavor), but I think if done correctly (aka, the +healing/damage amount is enough to not only offset the cost of the seal, but actually making it's use a step towards increased efficiency), it could be very useful.
Not sure if anyone will every see it, but I thought it was a good idea :P

Friday, February 16, 2007

Fame or Infamy?

Thomas mentioned a few of my posts regarding lowbie Paladin tanking, I'm glad to see others finding it useful as it's honestly been a blast for me to play. Only reason I'm posting is that his blog won't let me post a comment (keeps telling me I need to be logged into submit a comment). Anyway, two corrections: Zydari is Draenei, not a Blood Elf (though I do have a Blood Elf Paladin just for humor value), and my main is a Rogue, not a Druid. Though I often wish she was a druid, particularly with the love they've seen post-2.0...

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Lowbie Pally Tanking

So, my WoW for the last week has almost exclusively been on Zydari, my Paladin. He dinged 22 last night and he really is fun to play. Level 20 brought me Consecration which makes my job so much easier. AoE threat is great and coupled with Retribution Aura makes it nearly impossible for me to lose aggro.

I did a test last night on Retribution Aura. Had my wife body pull a mob while I had RA up. The damage being dealt by the aura did not pull the mob back onto me, so I conclude that it generates hate from the person being hit, not the person who casts the Aura. While this does lessen the skill's worth a bit, it's not enough for me not to use it. My tanking routine generally consists of my wife pulling from behind me, as the mobs I approach I use RD on her to get them onto me then immediately open up with a Consecration. Now the mobs are receiving damage from Consecration, attacking me which generates damage from my Retribution Aura, proccing Redoubt which ups my block rate a lot and means they'll get damaged from my Shield Spike. All that damage, except the Shield Spike, is Holy and as such generating much more threat through Improved Righteousness. So, even though if in the rare event that my wife pulls aggro off me she'd be getting more from being hit, RD is enough to get them back onto me.

I spent several hours yesterday dual-boxing with my wifes toon. I set up some macros for here to auto-follow and target me. One to cast Lightning Bolt on my target, one to stomp totems, and one to heal me. Worked very well and I was able to very quickly get through a level and work on some preliminary AoE tanking (preliminary only as I don't have Blessing of Sanctuary/Reckoning/Holy Shield). Was a lot of fun and with mobs ~2-3 levels lower than me I could easily take 3 on with my wife's toon providing the occasional heal. I think that with her actually playing and being able to pay full attention to one toon we could do three equal level mobs at once. With the AoE/reflective threat I generate, she should be able to drop the Fire Nova Totem whenever it's available to quickly burn down groups. Good fun.

One thing that has surprised me in the last week is my complete and utter disinterest with my main, Sakuran. She's been sitting at 63 for over a week now. I think that part of my disinterest stems from how much more fun I have playing with my wife, and as she's been playing a lot more lately, I find myself playing solo much less. Additionally I think that learning new mechanics and play styles is a lot of what I enjoy about the game. Yes, DPS will always have a spot in my heart, but there is something appealing to playing a tank and not focusing on DPS. I think this is the same reason that I was so stoked about the Druid a month or so ago. It was new and different. I think that with the added bonus of playing with my wife, this Paladin may become a much more regular toon for me.

The guild forum has been acting up a great deal and our Guild Master has been out of town. Stupid thing won't let me delete posts unless I do them one by one (which is not going to happen). I'm hoping that the newer forum software will end up being more reliable and allow me (as one of the forum admins) to actually do some adminning with out it being such an irksome task.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Pal-a-din > Puh-la-din

So, last night Zydari, my Draenei Paladin, dinged 17. I've been reading up a lot on Paladin strategies, particularly with the focus on tanking. My only other tanking attempts are with my Warrior Daroul (level 26) who's only real experience was one Stockades run (which I posted on back in...October I think), and Didgeridoo my Tauren Shaman who tanked Ragefire Chasm at level 18 (back when Rockbiter and Earthshock still had +threat).

Needless to say I've done a lot more tanking with toon than with either of the afore-mentioned ones. This guys is exclusively leveling with my wife's Shaman, Zydaria, so is basically tanking full time. Prior to level 14 I'd keep Devotion Aura and Blessing of Might up, judge Crusader, Seal of Righteousness and hope that we'd kill it before my wifes DPS pulled the mob onto her (she's a bit trigger happy). Level 14 gave me Righteous Defense, the three-mob Paladin taunt. It's wonderful, much better that the Bear/Warrior Taunt IMHO. It is different to use though, as you target a friendly player and force mobs attacking them to instead attack me, rather than directly targeting the mob. Could be tricky, but the following macro works wonders:

/cast [target=targettarget,help] Righteous Defense, [target=none] Righteous Defense

I simply hit the macro whenever I don't have aggro. If it's because my wife pulled aggro I just get them back on me. If it's because my wife picked up an add, I get the glowy hand (because the target of my target is me, it passes onto the second condition) and click her party frame.

Level 16 gave me two new skills that have helped my tanking. Righteous Fury increase all threat from my Holy damage by 60%. As a significant amount of what I try to do is Holy damage, this is quite the buff. Additionally I picked up Retribution Aura, which deals 5 Holy damage to anyone who attacks someone in my party. Now, I'm not quite sold on this ability. If I have aggro, it's great. They're getting 5 Holy damage (for 8 threat) every time they deal damage, may not look like much, but it adds up fast. Where I'm confused is how the threat is applied if the damage stems from a mob hitting someone else in the party. My thinking, and what I've read a few places, is that it is my aura that is dealing the damage, thus I'm getting the hate regardless of who the mob is hitting. But, a high level paladin in my guild doesn't think that is the case. More investigation is needed, but for now this is my default tanking aura.

Next level (18) I'll be getting Blessing of Freedom (situational), a new rank of Seal of Righteousness (yeah!), and Spiritual Attunement. That last spell is what I'm most excited about, 8% mana from any healing from an outside source may not seem like much, but I'm always grouped with a healer. Any healing she does on me simply increased the amount of damage I can deal. I'm sure it will be more useful as time goes on and the return gets into the double digits, but I will certainly have a reason to not be healing myself :P

Level 20 will give me Consecration, which should cement my ability to tank multiple mobs. That, coupled with Retribution Aura, should be loads of fun. Get my wife to drop some AoE fire totems and we should be able to do a lot of damage, real fast.

Looking down the levels I imagine that I'll continue to use the JotC/SoR combination (with JoR when ever its up). Seems like the best way to maintain threat and deal damage. Obviously other Seals/Judgments will have situational use, but that should remain my default. Looks like at 64 Seal of Vengeance will replace Seal of Righteousness as my default. I'm just tickled at the prospect, though level 64 is barley on the horizon.

My current spec (0/8/0), at 20 (0/11/0), 30 (0/21/0), 40 (0/31/0), 50 (0/41/0), 60 (0/41/10), and 70 (0/44/17).

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Altism

Kinless coined (to my knowledge) the term 'Altism' in a recent post of his. I think the term is appropriate, and I think I'm suffering from it as well. I'm just not in a hurry to get to 70. Sakuran is still sitting at 62, though she'll likely hit 63 tonight. I've certainly spent more time on my alts since my last post.

Repentant - 40 Priest
I managed to finally ding 40 with Repentant. I'd stopped soloing with him at 38 so I could have available to group with guild mates. Last week weekend we did a partial Uldaman run and worked on the elites in Stomgaurd. Dinged 40 halfway through there and promptly fell in love with Shadow Form. It certainly is nice to be able to farm with a rogue and a cat-form druid, keep everyone's health up with VE and compete with the rogue for top DPS. Having read about the rediculous amount of DPS Shadow Priests are putting out in endgame content I'm fairly certain that Repentant will never spec out of shadow. Oh, and I bought a horse. Is it just me, or are human mounts just 'meh'?

Laic - 51 Hunter
Haven't dinged on him in a while, but have started the Marhsall Windsor chain in BS and will eventually get in BRD for some fun. The more I play him, the less I like his build. He's currently 0/11/31, and I'm just not liking it. Don't get wrong, I love Wyvern Sting and Counterattack, but I'm not sure those two abilities justify the 29 other points I'm putting in the tree. Who knows...

It's interesting with the new BC items that are out there, I really find myself anticipating level 58. See, Laic will not be spending any time in the old end-game content, like Sakuran did. He'll ding 58 and say goodbye to Azeroth. I curious to see how much more of a difference replacing my gear will make with Laic. Sakuran replaced almost everything within two levels of hitting Hellfire Peninsula. I imagine Laic will just have a blast.

Sakuran -62 Rogue
I respecced Sakuran, again. I kept my primary tree pretty much the same, just swapped minor trees. She's now 0/11/42 which is the only build I've ever tried without points in Assassination. Lightning Reflexes is a fairly unpopular talent, but let me tell you why I picked it. Improved Gouge is nice for solo PvP, but I don't do that. I play on a PvE server and decline duos, only PvP I see is the BG's and perhaps a little arena at 70. In those venues it's unlikely that my gouge will last that long anyways as there's 9-39 other people out there who could be hitting my target. Improved Sinister Strike is great if you're using Sinister Strike. I actually spent some time wondering if it would make sense to drop two points there and forsake Hemo. My conclusion is that without 3/3 Aggression, Sinister Strike just doesn't do enough more damage to be worth while. I love having Riposte back, it's arguably my favorite talent point in the combat tree. Best damage per energy of any rogue attack plus the disarm.

With the additional 5% parry and 5% dodge, I'm looking at 45% mitigation before my armor kicks in. With Ghostly Strike I can increase that to 60% for 7 seconds out of every 20. With Evasion and Prep that can increase by 50% for 30 seconds.

My target build of 5/13/43 will put Vanish, Sprint, and Evasion on 3 minute cooldowns and Blind on a 1.5 minute cooldown. I think that the sheer amount of utility I will bring to the table will allow me to dictate the pace of most any fight I find myself in, PvE or PvP.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Week 1

So, a week has past since BC hit. The servers have had their ups and downs and I've been booted more times than I can count. All things considered though the launch was much less hectic than I anticipated.

Draenei
I've got to that I've really enjoyed the new starting zones. My wife and I have both leveled our characters to 12 (she might be 13...). The Paladin/Shaman combination is really quite astounding. My paladin is focusing on tanking the mobs/staying alive while she just focuses on killing things. Pretty amazing what we can survive. I've also leveled a shaman to 12, but am keeping behind the duo so I can experience the new content with her.

The quest rewards are all pretty good, much better than what I remember getting from rewards in the other start zones. Not to mention that the new quests are much more fun and innovative. The quest chain starting with Learning the Language is hands down the best chain I've ever done.

Hellfire Ramparts
I've run this 4 times now. The first time we started too late and I had to leave after the first boss. Second time went off without a hitch and we downed all three bosses without a wipe. Third time we just couldn't kill the dragon before the fire damage wiped the party. 4th time (last night) we wiped once on the dragon, adjusted and took him down.

If this instance is indicative of the remainder of instances in BC, I'm impressed. Just enough trash and then a boss when you start to get bored. The loot is also amazing. On my second run I picked up the Garrote-String Necklace, which is very nice. On my fourth run (last night) I snagged the Shadowrend Longblade, which at 52.9 DPS is amazing.

Oddity with the drops, I've seen the Scale Leggings of the Skirmisher and the Kilt of Rolling Thunders drop twice. The leggings were okay as they were grabbed by hunters both times, but the kilt is Shaman only. We had a Paladin last night who, if he could have, would have grabbed them for his caster gear. As far as I know it's the only item in the instance that is class restricted. There is even a staff that is basically only useful to a Druid (+AP in forms), but it's not class restricted. Oddness...

Now that I feel pretty comfortable with the Ramparts, I'm looking forward to running the Furnace. From what I've heard the pulls are actually a lot easier to set up, which will be nice as there are some tricky ones in the Ramparts. I'll have to run the Ramparts at least one more time as we've never got Prunella (priest) finished with the quest "Weaken The Ramparts". So the Furnace will have to wait till this weekend at least.

Rogue
So, as is obvious from my grabbing the afore mentioned sword, I'm no longer specced for mutilate. While I still love mutilate for PvP, I grew tired with it in PvE. I just did not like having to worry about positioning while questing and in the Ramparts. It's very burst damage intensive so it was easy to pull aggro, once I'd done that I was out of luck as my damage was gone, unless I was able to get behind the mob. So I specced back to combat, but since I wanted to try something new, I went combat fist and purchased a nice, green 48 DPS mainhand fist to go wit my Gargoyle Slashers that had been sitting in my bank from Strat (never even used). I played with that for all of one night before I discovered that combat rogue is pretty boring. Yes, it's nice not worrying about position and BF+AR+SnD=I win, but it was just...dull.

After much research yesterday I specced 11/0/41 for Shadowstep/Hemo. I've never before run a build with more than 17 points in subtlety (went 31/3/17 for a while, pre 2.0). Having done so, I've got to say that it's a lot of fun. I don't have to worry about positioning thanks to Hemo, I can burn cooldowns like they're going out of style. I always forget about Premeditation, but being able to Premed+CS->5 CP Eviscerate is just ridiculous. Of course I always forget that I have it... Shadowstep is just plain fun. It may not be effective in PvP, but it sure is fun in PvE. Last night I was able to Sap some very poorly placed mobs, just get near, Shadowstep->Sap and run. Loads of fun.. Sinister Calling and Deadliness put my AP through the roof (well, for me). I'm pretty sure that it net me 120 AP. I'm not sure if Deadliness increases the AP after my increased AGI goes in, but either way was nice. The 15% increase in AGI net me around 45 AGI, which is 45 AP, ~1.8 crit, etc.. I went from a bit over 800 AP to nearly 950 AP, and that was before the new sword :P. I'm sure for most raid equipped rogues that's nothing, but for me, who barely crested 700 AP pre-BC, it's night and day.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The morning after

So, as you all know The Burning Crusade launched yesterday. Before I dive into my thoughts on that I'd like to catch you with what I've been doing since my last post.

I've primarily focused on my hunter, Laic, I manage to get him up to 51. Ran an AV for the spear, dropped some coin at the AH for new gear etc. Laic is sitting on several Sunken Temple quests so I'm hoping that one run through would get him to 52.

Picked up my druid, Azariah, who I'd parked at 12 many months ago. Levelled him to 18 so that I could group with my wifes Warlock. I've been fortunate that I've been able to get her to play a lot more recently, so that pair has made it up level 23/24. I've got to say that I really do enjoy the druid in a group. I can already tell though that this is a much more difficult class to master than the rogue and hunter. Not that they were easy, but with the druid you have to balance each of their very distinct roles.

Sakuran was parked in front of the Dark Portal for several weeks waiting in anticipation.

So, back to the Burning Crusade.

Install went smoothly on all my machines. Stormrage was a fairly large queue (> 500 when I logged on), which isn't entirely surprising given that it was expansion day. First thing I did was roll my Dreanai. A male Paladin name Zydari and a female Shaman named Zodari. My wife also rolled a female Shaman named Zydaria (original FTW). So we spent much of the evening levelling my Paladin and her Shaman to 5. Yeah, that's right, 5. There were so many other Draenai there that we had to camp spawn points for the quests that required you to get so many drops due to the insane amount of competition for kills. I'm sure that in time it will ease out, but man, that was a long time to get those first 5 levels.

After my wife went to bed I logged on Sakuran and gathered quests in Honor Hold. Upgrade my Leatherworking, Skinning, and First Aid to the new cap (10g each!). Worked on three quests, kill 20 Fel Orcs, gather 1 tailsman for other orcs and light smoke signals at 4 towers. The lag in the Outland was nearly unbearable. For a class that depends on timing it made it very difficult. Sneaking up behind and enemy mob is one thing, but with the lag it was very easy to walk through the mob blowing your opening. Competition for kills was pretty intense here also. An Tauren Shaman with the Hand of Ragnaros and I ended up sharing one spawn point, he got the casters and I killed the melee. On a PvP server I'm sure it's a blood fest.

After not thuoughly enjoying the lag I decided to mount up and find Shattrah City. This gave me more of an opportunity to appreciate the upgraded graphics. Zangermarsh and Shattrah City are simply beautiful. Hellfire Pennisula has an amazing sky to look at, but the former zones are more environmentally appealing.

Interestingly, I didn't feel rushing through quests or grinding XP on Sakuran. Now that I'm able to level again, I intend to take my time. I really did rush a lot with her to get to 60, but I think I might focus more on enjoyment this time around. Do some quests, work on some professions, run some instances... You know enjoy the game.

This AM Stormrage was down so I rolled a Blood Elf Rogue (Chairi, Female) on Twisting Nether. I was curious to see how broken their racial ability is, and I"m here to say that it isn't. Yeah it's better than other races racials, but not by much. For a rogue you only get 10 energy per manatap, which is on a 30 second cooldown. That amounts to 3 seconds worth of extra energy every 90 seconds. I'm sure there will be a few PvP instances where it will be useful, but no more than the orc racial stun resist or the dwarf stone form. Mechanincs aside, the Blood Elves are pretty. The Draenai are certainly attractive in a alien way, but I do like the blood elves. And after reading all the QQ about the beefed up male Blood Elf, I certainly wouldn't have guessed it. They don't look like the male humans. They're still idealized, but not to the extreme that the other males are.