Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Avoid Your Moody Blues, but Still keep Your Balance



In my recently "Tamarized" post, You're so 133t, You're Simply Irresistable (Tamarind linked/recommended it) I mentioned gear inflation, and the importance of it was pointed out even more in the comments I received (Thanks Shintar & masith!)

Bascially, the reality as it is now, is that for any given expansion/patch level of dungeon, there is enough gear available inside for everyone to slightly out gear it. Especially once the dungeon gets slightly nerfed. And the problem only gets worse once a given set of raids is superceded by a newer release.

And still, there's a need to keep gear (and the ensuing raids) accessible to the ravening horde er, masses.

And release newer, tougher instances.

And provide newer shinier loot for each instance.

And prevent instances from getting too easy.


Um, I'm glad I'm not Blizzard. From what I can see, at least on the surface, it's impossible.

On the one hand,

If the raids are tuned (and stay tuned) for high end raiders, with the bare minimum of available loot (to prevent the dropped gear from overpowering the instance)

AND the followup instances are kept only *slightly* more difficult, and with a similarly "sparse" loot table.

AND the gear progression between the instances is kept low/small/whatever. (basically, instance one drops i290 gear, the next drops i293, and the next drops i296)

Then the older instances will still have a fair amount of challenge for the players.

Except for 2 things:

We have been trained by Blizzard to lust for gear, and the increased power it
gives us. If gear really isn't much of an upgrade, how interested will folks be
in the quest to get it? (conversely, if instances are tough enough, then even
small upgrades will be sought)

While nice for the top end raiders, the
above scenario will basically be a return to Vanilla WoW, and 90-95% of players
won't have access to the content, because the "middle" (average) players simply
can't won't be able to play at the level needed to succeed or make any
progression.


Another option

This is similar to what we have now, with hardmodes as well as the slow(?) steady nerfing of the instances so that over time the instances become more accessible.

BUT, you maintain the gear "sparcity" (or just very small gear bonuses/increases)

The problem here is that with nerfing, eventually the raids get "too easy" for the top tier players. Especially if the nerfing gets to the point that even hardmodes become readily accessible.

Now, I DO have a couple suggestions...

1 - keep hardmodes and heroics hard, BUT DON'T GIVE BETTER LOOT FOR THEM. I think the 10 vs 25 man equalization Blizzard has done is a great step in this line of reasoning. If people are truly serious in that what they really want challenging instances, well, tune the dungeon such that normal mode gear is sufficient for a good team to complete hard modes, but will make it hard enough that "the unwashed masses" won't.

This will help prevent gear inflation since there won't be extra (half) tiers of gear. Also, without the lure of better gear, "normal" folks won't feel obligated to run them, and they won't cry (as much) for nerfs.

A slight downside is that "good" players/guilds will be able to finish the normal modes without getting much (if any) of the new tier gear. But, assuming the hardmode is the "feather in the cap", then that should be fine.

2 - Realize that no matter how much folks want to avoid it, gear inflation WILL happen. If new content needs to be tougher than the old, (which usually necessitates newer, higher level gear) then it's bound to happen. Especially when multiple new raids get released. Even if Blizzard had made the difficulty jumps between raids smaller (ie, Ulduar was a smaller increase over Naxx, etc) it would still be a given that, once you had completed ICC, you would completely outgear Naxx.

3 - Realize that there will be content that not everyone sees, BUT ONLY HARDMODES/HEROICS. If the gear that drops between normal & hardmode, between regular & heroic are the same, then this should be fine.

If all of those are done, then I think that the difficulty of the various instances will still be fair/moderate, even at the end of the Cata expansion.

BUT, there is still a downside.

In general, the "progression" characters make as they gear up (currently) is something like this:

Quest blues/greens
Regular 5 man
Heroic 5 man
10 man regular
25 man regular
Heroics (10 or 25, depending)

If we followed my suggestions, it would be a *little* different...

5 man
10/25 man
10/25 man Heroic

Is that a good thing? I don't know, but I honestly think it could keep "most" players "mostly happy". Hey, this is a massive group of people, and it is impossible to keep everyone happy.

I would guess the top end raiders wouldn't like the "normal Joes" getting the same loot with less work, but I would also guess that the "normal Joes" would be somewhat unhappy that there would be content that they would likely never get to.

Then again, hardmodes/heroics are generally very VERY similar, with maybe one or two slightly different fight mechanics, with the vast majority of difference being how hard things hit. It's not like completely missing content, just not getting smashed as hard.

Are there other options? Yeah, but I'm not sure they could accoomodate the vast number of often contrary requirements that players put onto the game.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy Halloween

I'm one of those weird adults that still enjoys getting into costume for Halloween.

Any cool Halloween coolness from the Blogoshpere?

I decided as half of my favorite TV show... (and pose a Myth)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Don't You Know You are a Shooting Star?



Yep, that's Balth on his Headless Horseman's steed. And yes, that is him keeping up with a Violet Protodrake. No, I didn't pay 5k for the pleasure.




And, well, mounts and achievements have been a nice little distraction lately:





A wee bit grindy? Um, yeah. Especially the Wintersaber. Kattastrophe & I have been working on it since we found the trainer 16 months ago while levelling (16 months or there abouts)

Next up?

I'm 23/25 on my Exhalted achievement, with 3 different factions well into the Revered level. (Honor Hold, Shattered Sun and maybe lower City) I'm not sure which I'll finish. If I can get Honor Hold rep in regular Ramparts, that will likely be one.

Also, I've been helping Kattastrophe get her Rivendare mount (she now knows her way around there well enough, so I may not go much more). We have also been farming for the Zul Gurub Tiger (I got the lizard already) and we've also been working on the Ravenlord (so I may get Lower City Exalted in the process as well)

As far as RAIDING goes, I'm still a temp player on our main (only) raiding team, and we are now 3/12 in heroics (we gave Saurfang one attempt before calling it a night last night). There is talk about somehow helping other guildies (like me) get to see and hopefully kill the Lich King. Possibly an alt group or something. But we shall see. The last couple times a second raid group formed we ended up losing those players to new guilds. Also, since it would likely be alts of the main raiding group, I may STILL have problems getting in.

As far as the new ret stuff...

  • I reforged about 100 Expertise points into Haste, and that seems to be helping a bit (I went from 580 or so, up to 680 or so) I'm still expertise capped, so it was "free" Haste.

  • Rotation? I am getting better at it, but that's about the best I can say. I still dumb-thumb the hell out of it, and it is STILL super clunky.

  • Output? On Test Dummies, I am get ~6,300 DPS. In ICC last night, I managed to be 1st overall in Damage (and waffled between 2nd & 4th in DPS) We have a Fury Warrior (wow-heroes GS of 3224, compared to my 3188) that is sligtly better than me single target, but KILLS me on the small groups, small single target, "target switching" stuff. Single target I can pull a solid 10-11k. Taqrget switching, small mobs gets me down to 3-4k range (remember, this is with the ICC buff!) My Ret survival abilities and some reasonably head's up playing is what enabled me to be top damage dealer, but my actual fight by fight throughput still has me bugged.

  • Gear? I now have enough Justice points to buy my 4th piece of T-10(i251). The bummer is that I already HAVE an i251 chest with slightly better stats/etc: Blade-Scored Carapace Do I want to "waste" those justice points for a slight (and completely theoretical) DPS bump? Do I want to buy 2 new gems PLUS an enchant? I don't know. Especially with level 81 looming in 6 weeks or less.

  • Tanking: I haven't even talented my Prots spec yet. I could use those Justice points here as well, but my tepid interest in tanking right now, as well as the "free" level 81/82,etc greens on the horizon make it a difficult choice as well. Though, if I ever intend to get back into tanking, getting in the swing of things sooner rather than later would be a good thing.


We shall see...

Monday, October 25, 2010

Geek Is (By Chris Metzen)

I made mention of this in my earlier post, and realized most folks have no clue what I'm talking about. During the opening ceremonies, Chris Metzen spent a few minutes talking about a word. A word filled with lots of connotations.

GEEK.

And so, his presentation is a slide show of a bunch of cool things that to Chris, exemplify what "Geek Is"



(I haven't watched this to see how well the pictures are visible, but the camera does pan over)

OH! I forgot to mention, Kattastrophe Frap-sed a number of opints in the Blizzcon presentation, so if you want tosee some of it head on over. LINK

Sunday, October 24, 2010

I am Geek


Kattastrophe & I watched Blizzcon on TV on Friday and Saturday, and I have a few thoughts...

Honestly, I debated posting this because, as any readers may have noticed, I've already been rather negative as of late, and some of my strongest feelings after watching Blizzcon are somewhat in the same vein.

But, on another bend: I really enjoyed listening to Chris Metzen. He seems to me to be one of the more personable folks I've seen and heard from Blizzcon. His "Geek" commentary was interesting and definitely got a number of warm fuzzy memories flowing. His opening presentation, along with the occasional comments I have heard him make just seem to say that he's a really neat/nice guy.

Some of the graphics for Diablo 3 are looking fantastic. (though I have to be honest, how can they maintain a fanbase when their installments are 5-10+ years between releases?) I don't think I would buy the game (not my cuppa), but it sure is purty...

Oh, one other interesting tidbit: The Diablo guys have stated over & over, much to the dismay of one guy asking them about it: Diablo 3 will NEVER have the core game play adjusted such that ANY PvP aspect will be allowed to affect how the PvE game is played. Hallelujah!

The full preview of the Cataclysm cinematic was very cool. I don't care for Darkwing's jaw (an admittedly minor knitpick), but other than that, he's one baddass cool looking dragon!

...

During the last couple years since I've become interested enough in WoW to know who Ghostcrawler is, I've realized I don't care for his online persona. I don't remember seeing him at last year's Blizzcon or really recall seeing him in interviews before, so I was hoping that my online interpretation of the guy was wrong.

Well, it wasn't.

The guy is a self important prick. If you were to take a couple of his comments out of context, it might seem like he's just goofing around "My name is Greg Street, and I nerf Paladins."

But, if you remember his "to the ground" quote from last year, followed by the implementation of exactly that, and his often snide off handed comments (not just about pallies, but just stuff in general), I've just come to realize, he really is like that. You know, the kind pf person that when you meet them, you have the nearly uncontrollable urge to introduce their jaw to your knee, in a rapid fashion?

Hmmm.

Then again, I thought much of the "professionalism" as seen on a couple of blizzard panels (the WoW class and WoW open Q&A sections in particular) were just painful and had me shaking my head.

One woman asked (paraphrased) "When can we have a strong female character that doesn't look like she came out of a Victoria Secrets catalogue?"

The answer? "What catalogue would you like her to come out of?" with a lot of chuffing and guffawing by the all male panel. I was half surprised there wasn't any fist bumping after that reply.

I guess the boys club is alive & well down in Irvine... I wonder why more women don't work there... *facepalm*

And then there is the generic pally hating/disparaging (first highlighted by GC, as I mentioned above) It even permeated Priest discussion. In one case, a guy was bitching about pallies getting some damage from Holy (ie, it's impossible to resist). The reply was "if you're losing to a paladin, it's not the Holy aspect that is the problem." (ie, if you lose to a paladin, you suck)

And there was another guy talking about paladins, and he basically had to apologize for playing a paladin before he actually asked his question. (the crowd was rather nasty, and the panel just laughed) He questioned the "fun" aspect of the new Holy Power mechanic, and was told that it's working the way they (Blizz) want it to.

I have noticed a slight schism in regards to who (overall) likes the new Holy Power mechanic, and who does not. In general, it's the better (or fucking great) players that like it. And, it's generally the average (and worse) players that do not. This kind of falls into my concern I brought up where I mention that the difference between average and good Paladins has the possibility of making a large chasm in in-game-effectiveness between average and good players. (ie, if you're good, you can perform reasonably or even well, but if you're average or worse, you will absolutely suck)

The sad thing is that it must be intentional. How do I come to that conclusion? Because for TANKS, the Blizzard panel actually said that they want to make it so that an average/so-so player could still be effective, even when compared to a good player. For DPS/Ret Paldins? No comment. Sucks to be you.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

London Calling, Now with Questions!

Last night I was able to join an ICC guild run.

We had started it last week (Wednesday), with the intent of downing Marrowgar in Heroic, and seeing if we had gotten our toons/specs/etc semi-organized.

During the pre-Marrow trash (where they stack on top of each other) I was top DPS at ~7,800-8k.

"Looks like Bal has things worked out" was one comment made. It was nice, but felt empty since I would get 10-12k on the same trash pre-patch.

I don't remember any specifics about Marrow (we wiped several times before backing down from Heroic to regular) but I was still near the top.


Fast forward to last night, where it was the regular ICC team, plus 3 alt guildies (I am one of the replacements)

We tried Lady Deathwhisper (LDW) 7 or 8 times on heroic before (again) giving up and swatting her on regular. (we could probably do it on Heroic, but with the DCs, and a lack of familiarity, as well as getting late, we just wanted it done) On DW (and her trash adds), I was struggling to get 4k DPS. The tanks were doing more DPS than I was.



We then moved towards Heroic Lootship. On the way there, we dropped that dragon (no clue what the name is...)

I was late getting into that fight (connection issues) and participated for the last ~10 seconds or so.

And pulled down 11k single target DPS. With a 32k Templar's Verdict crit.

?!?!?!?


I didn't pay much attention to the meter on Gunship since it's such a unique mechanic, that DPS is almost irrelevant (I am on the away team and canon operator)

A couple observations here, with questions nearer the end:

  • During ALL the Lady Deathwhisper fights, I had Art of War (AoW) proc MAYBE 3 times.

  • Lots of small, fairly quick dying, INDIVIDUAL targets means lots of movement with little ramp up, or AoE opportunities.

  • I hate running that fight (LDW) with a DK tank. (I have troubles distinguishing the various ground effects and who cast D&D, etc)

  • I would lose Holy Power (HP) stacks between some mobs, at least occasionally.

  • Having guildies use large AoE abilities on a boss that has melee DPS that is MCed is a bad thing.

  • I have no clue how to really deal with groups of trash, let alone single trash mobs.

  • I don't use wings on most (single mob especially) trash since over half of it is wasted while I run from mob to mob.

  • If I'm lucky and the stars align, Ret *can* do some crazy stupid DPS, but aside from that rare occurrence, we (or at least *I*) am struggling.

  • It's nearly impossible to get into any kind of rhythm. Either you sit there spamming 1 or 2 keys, or you are overwhelmed with multiple procs, totally limited due to GCDs.

Overall, I was using CS and Judge, followed by DS or TV when it came up and Holy Wrath for good measure. If there were other mobs near, I would drop consecrate. I had Seal of Righteous active.

I switched to Seal of Truth for LDW herself (or any boss) and would do the sme, except I would swap exclusively to Templar's Verdict in place of DS. I would keep Consecrate up as long as mana wasn't a concern.

Oh, I would pop wings at the start of the boss, and occasionally hit zealotry. In my brief stints at the test dummy, I just haven't seen it help that much, and it can really complicate our rotation with little or no benefit.


So here are the questions for anyone (Ret) that might read this...

  • What is a good seal & HP combo and basic strategy to use against multiple, separate, "easy" mobs?

    How do you have your bars set up?

    Do you bother with Zealotry?

    How can I save 15% on car insurance?


Lastly...

I've been readin a couple of Ret Paladin threads on various sites, and it's really disheartening. (this relates to Tam's post from yesterday, and my reply to it HERE)

Generally, the "top" type players are really enjoying the new sensory overloaded, complicated aspects of the new Ret system. (they aren't fans of its over-dependance on randmomness, but that's minor) They love the fact that to be half way competant, you need to spend lots of time practicing this & that (hours & hours on a test dummy) and then be really great at having raid awareness, Proc awareness, etc.

I would guess that a REALLY good player would beat my DPS by 20-30% right now. (assuming same gear) Pre- patch I think it would be 5, 10, or MAYBE 15% better.

Don't get me wrong, I realize that good players DESERVE a return on their abilities, time spent, etc. BUT, that type of disparity between good & average** could easily mean that a VERY large portion of players won't have the option to play new content. They'll be relegated to running content 2+ tiers (or levels) after it's "current".

Either that or Blizzard would need to nerf the content so much that those very same top players will bitch & moan that everything is (legitimately) too easy for them.

Which then leads me back to what is (IMHO) the best option: reduce the skill/benefit curve.

Oh yeah, and fix Ret. I despise the holy power crap. I don't want stacking combo points. PERIOD. That's fine & dandy for rogues and kitty droods, but (beating the dead horse) if I wanted that I would have rolled one of them.

There's a reason that paladins have remained so popular, despite being (often) underpowered: they are (or were) a fun and relatively easy class to pick up and play. There was an awful lot to gain by going from "mediocre" to "average", and still more to gain by getting "good" at the class, but still, it was a straight forward, sword & "sorcery" class. Now it feels a bit like "Street Fighter" with this combo BS.

If I am unable to "get over it" or if Blizz doesn't relent (basicaly a given) I don't know what class I would play. I like melee, but hate the whole rage thing (again, like HP, you start with zilch) I have a fundamental distaste for DKs and I obviously don't want a rogue.

Ranged (casters or Hunters) don't really interest me either.

And somehow, I don't see me healing...

**(yeah, I conisder myself average, though current issues may be lowering my self esteem a bit)

Friday, October 15, 2010

It's a Mad, MogWorld...



The subtitle for it should be:

(Un)Dead and hating it


Some (Many? Most?) of you may recognize the author, Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw, and know him as the sardonic, ascerbic, witty reviewer of games from his “Zero Punctuation” game reviews. (I’ve embedded his review of Fable as a point of reference)



Recently, his first novel, Mogworld, has been published, and a bit more recently, I finished reading it. In a word; VERY enjoyable. OK, that’s two words, but still.

The book keeps a reasonable pace throughout, with a couple slower portions (me and my ADHD will often skim parts that get a wee bit slow, so this is a small bugaboo for me) Regardless, Croshaw’s odd viewpoint and pretty darned eloquent (though oft blunt) dialogue and prose makes for a really damned good book. In one of his Q&A vids Croshaw mentions that one of his sources of inspiration is/was Douglas Adams. I think he did admirably in that pursuit, as even Adams has his occasional slow bits.

So what’s it about?

Jim is a second year student at St. Gordon’s Magical College. His stay there is interrupted due to his untimely death.

Now, this could make for an extremely short novel except for one small thing…

“I had passed from life, from the world of struggles and hardship and big fat
women with annoying laughs, and entered a glorious new existence of utter peace,
and joy and love.

And then some git brought me back to life”

Jim had been brought back (mostly) from the dead and was a tad irked and wanted to get back to all the peace, warmth and love. Twas not to be…

During a brief stint as an undead minion for a great evil master, (in between attempting to die permanently) and especially towards the end of his employ, Jim discovered that all was not right with the world; nobody was dying (at least not permanently) and other strange things were happening. Something was rotten in Denmark. (or whatever the name of the place was)

Once out of the employ of the great evil, Jim (along with the "de rigour" small group of ragtag hangers on) went to find out the source of the immortality, and things get even more bizarre, complicated and utterly weird.

And that’s where I’ll stop my description. If you have not read any other reviews of the book, I would ask that you tread carefully. Most of them contain a MASSIVE spoiler.

Annoyingly, the spoiler is even on the back cover of the book. Fortunately, I didn’t read the spoiler until nearly the time I discovered the plot point for myself.

Does the spoiler ruin the book? No, because there’s still half+ of the book remaining, but still, (for me) avoiding spoilers is a big deal.

So:
1 - don’t read any other reviews
2 – READ THIS BOOK!!!!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sitting in the Morning Sun...


I was able to log on last night with the patch installed and messed around with Balth in his Ret spec. (I didn't bother with prot, since I am still new to it, and I had heard some NASTY stories about Prot Pallies having some massive threat issues)

Anyhow, here are my thoughts and observations from the perspective of a Ret pally.


Talent Tree

Um, well, this is rather odd, since the talent tree is designed around a level 85 toon. You really need to pick & chose your talents. Here's my current talent tree: LINK (and strange, it shows I don't have the top tier Ret talent, which I do. Weird)

Since I'm 80, I don't have to deal with the "wait until level X before you can use talents from other trees" but that kind of bugs me. But eh, it is what it is. I may tinker around myself, or I may just wait until EJ or others get it figured out.


Spells/Abilities and Rotation

Hmmmm.... This will require some getting used to. Art of War now has this bizarre on-screen signal thing, and took me a bit to figure out what it was.

The basic rotation is boring.

Judge, CS, Exorcism CS, CS TV (Templar's Verdict) and keep going while watching for HP procs and AoW procs. Oh, and throw in the occasional Hammer of Wrath (when you hit Avenging Wrath) and an occasional Holy Wrath.

If you are fighting multiples, replace TV with Divine Storm.

It's still pretty much an FCFS rotation. Just that Art of War now procs a lot less, AND you need to monitor your Holy Power.

Watching Holy power so that you can use it only when you have 3 stacks is a pain. Having to watch for that, as well as the rare AoW procs and yet still run an FCFS makes it difficult to maintain raid awareness. Do-able, but tedious.

I know I will miss the AoW proc for Flash Heal, but maybe the HP use for the new heal (can't remember what it's called) will be an adequate replacement. We shall see.

The good news is that there's no longer blessing of Wisdom AND blessing of might. Both are now one in the same. And it lasts 60 minutes. That's nice, but our seals still only last 30.

The seals seem (from a practical standpoint) unchanged.


Glyphs

You now have three levels of glyphs, instead of two:

Minor, major and Prime. Eh, kinda cool, and a bit more customization, but minor seems to be completely useless, and major is slightly less useful. So, it seems like same as before, but with more trash-glyph options. A wait and see is in order for ay final verdict.


Gearing

Well, the idea of reforging is cool, and Mastery could be neat as well. The only problem is that you are very limited in what stat you can give up, in order to gain something else.

Most of my items allow me to give up Crit or Haste, and replace them with a boatload of semi-useless stuff. (Mastery may very well be great) The only problem is that I desperately need crit (to keep/improve my AoW procs) and now that Haste affects Crusader strike, I can't really afford to lose that either.

I do have one item that allowed me to convert 20 points of Hit. The only problem was that I was then a tad below hit cap. (I had a 0.01% miss on level 83 bosses) I reverted it without testing.

BIG NOTE Librams (for paladins) now can accept gems!

Also, the T-10 bonus (2 pc) is no longer that annoying Divine storm CD reset, it's a flat 5% damage buff. I just hate wearing an effing skirt.


Look and Feel of the interface, etc

There are some nice changes. The mouse over and slide out info on the Character Sheet are very nice, and the tips and info there is pretty helpful.

It will take a while to get used to the new party/raid group thing. I am really used to the old style. This new one looks like an improperly locked frame from Vuhdo and will definitely take getting used to.

Overall, it's probably fine.


Overall

So, what's my DPS? Against a dummy I used to be able to get 5,900 or so, with only self buffs. (no food, etc) Last night I was struggling to stay above 5k, with the occasional nibble at 5,100.

There's some ok and interesting stuff here, but overall, I'm just not happy.

I have talked with a couple others, notably a rogue and a warlock, and they seem fairly happy with things. Per the Rogue:


I'm enjoying all of the changes. Though, the only thing that actually
changed for my rogue was my DPS. I went from averaging 4.5k to now averaging
5.5k. Rotation and all that other mumbo jumbo stayed the same.



How are things in your Baileywick?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Crying... crying... What else is there?



LINKY

Today (Tuesday, October 12, 2010) is the day I've been dreading since the first mention of Holy Power. From everything I read and see, it seems about as bad as I expected/guessed. (well, PvP is actually worse, if that's possible, but hey, nobody's guesses are perfect...)

Folks have bitched at how "boring" Ret rotation was. If you watch the video above, with the "new & improved" rotation, it seems focking horrid. It's unbelievably reliant on random procs, and you spam the same spell over & over & over again (crusader strike).

Wow.... color me impressed. (yes, you cast other spells, but egad, what a clunky, random POS rotation it is)

And the news from the Beta and the PTR (public test realms) is that Ret Pallies are having problems getting into Raid PUGs because of piss-poor DPS. (I've read numbers between 30% and 50% reduced DPS)

To top it off, Rets are getting sodomized in PvP because we can't dispel dots (or anything else), we can't close gaps, and we just get kited to death. Oh, and because we get kited, we can't get any attacks, which means NO Holy Power, which then translates into long cast heals and BLAMMO: deal pally.

Happy Fucking Birthday.

Wait, what's that painful thrusting sensation I'm feeling? Ewww, it's Ghostcrawler... and his T-shirt; "nerf them to the ground".

If you didn't get your Lich King kill before tonight, I guess you will have to wait until you hit level 83 or so.

Um, Blizzard? Pulling crap like this is NOT the way to get people out of the end of expansion blues.

It's very true that Paladins aren't the only ones getting cornholed here, but it doesn't change the fact that the one toon I enjoy playing has been made essentially ineffective. Not to mention the fact that I've spent the last 18+ months learning to play my class effectively, and you decide you want to completely change the way it plays, rendering my previous time & effort just about worthless.

Believe me, I had no interest in learning to play a new MMO (a major reason I never looked into LoTR Online). Now it looks like I have no choice. (not if I want to play with Kattastrophe)

The idea of Cataclysm sounded really cool. The reinvention of the geography and "political" scene seemed EXTREMELY neat. However,the reinvention of huge parts of the game mechanics is just painful. I want to play to relax and enjoy myself, not struggle to re-learn to play the same game I've been playing for nearly 2 years, let alone feel that my favorite in-game character is now sub-par, regardless of gear or skill.

I think I see HALO Reach and Forza 3 in my future.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

It's More Than a Feeling: She's dead, Jim!



So, I made it back into the "main" guild run a week ago Monday, and we slew the fel beast.

The "regulars" were back, but since we had helped the previous week, and hadn't done it yet (and the regulars already had a Sindy kill) the formerly missing regulars had to sit out until the ragged wings lay dormant, NAY, DEAD! on the icy edifice.


I then dropped group, but the raid leader invited me back for a little sight seeing.




I said it before, but I'll say it again here: I don't know if I'll ever have the chance between now & the end of WotLK to see Arthas again (let alone have a chance to kill him) but it's nice.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

You're so 133t, You're Simply Irresistable.

I've an update regarding Sindy, but I seem to have a mental block that prevents me from sending the screen caps to work (where I do my blogging) So, this won't be a self congratulatory post or anything about that. I shall go in a different direction, but, um, it gets a bit ranty.

Recently, whilest pondering my willy nilly progression through ICC I started thinking a bit...

Then, to compound my wee thoughts, I ran across a link to a vid of a bunch of wipes on a boss in the Cata Stonecore heroic. The video poster was Milquetoast or Floating_air_bisquit or something in that vein. (if you read blogs, I would guess you know who I mean)

And the video was pretty well done, narrated and described.

But then I read the comments. (well, a few dozen out of the several hundred)

Among them:



They better not make ANYTHING in the endgame content of cata easy. i hated wrath having no challenges.


And...



I don't know. I'm thinking many breeze by these so called, "hard"
bosses once the final game releases. Bliz will likely cave in to the crying of
"it's too hard" and I imagine addons will push the difficulty of these
encounters more in the player's favor.

In fact this game would be a lot
better if addons were removed entirely.



And in the few times people mention that with such a massive difficulty spike, a HUGE portion of folks (ie "lolcasuals") will be unable to do much of anything either with "lame" guilds, let alone the whole PuG thing. They got lit up. BY THE VIDEO POSTER.

Witness:


Normaldude 1
2 days ago Eh, the people i end up getting pug'd with wont be able to handle this.

So flip out at me, its Blizzards fault they made WoTLK a fat joke it terms of difficulty.

Milquetoast
2 days ago @normaldude 1 So stop pugging.

Normaldude 2
2 days ago @Milquetoast "So stop pugging"... what is that? Seriously, take a moment to reflect on that point of view. I hope you'll realize just how extreme it is. And how unrealistic. Given the nature of WoW, given the unbalanced population distribution on, oh, I don't know, at least half the realms out there. Again, just think about it for a bit. 5 man content should be puggable, the alternative is unthinkable - the 5 man content being inaccessible to a lot of players.

Normaldude 3
2 days ago @Normaldude 2 Absolutely agreed! You are 1000% correct!

Milquetoast
2 days ago 40 @Normaldude 3 You're hilarious. You think that being in a guild is an 'extreme' attitude. I guess you started playing during Wrath.



It went downhill from there, and "Milquetoast" got a bit nastier (as did others). But the basic fact is that so many elitst assholes seem to think that if you aren't in a top-ish tier raiding guild, with super deep knowledge of the game and your class and every encounter, if you don't eat, breath and sleep WoW, you don't DESERVE to see and/or complete any content.

Because, you know, WOtLK was so easy. After all it only took Paragon how long to complete LKH25?

Oh, wait...

And how many guilds have completed all hardmodes again? WITHOUT THE BUFF

Oh yeah...

But... but... the Brewfest boss is too easy with my 6k GS toon, and killing him only takes 15-20 seconds.

Really? If you have a 6k GS why are you even bothering? You sure as hell don't need the emblems for gear...

It's like going into (current) Deadmines and bitching that Cookie is too easy as a raid geared 80.

wtf?

And even if there might have been a desire (by Blizzard) to re-tune the brewfest boss, there's this little "patch" coming out in a few weeks called Cataclysm that *might* be taking up manpower/resources.

Please, get over yourselves. The last major expansion in WotLK took top raiding guilds MONTHS to beat. And most "fairly hardcore" guilds took weeks-months after that.

And several "serious" players (decent-very good) players simply don't have the option to be in a great guild.

There are a fair number of serious, hardcore guilds, but the vast majority seems to be populated by self centered assholes that ONLY care about the progression, and "people" are just an impediment. If you want to do progression AND be treated like a decent human being, you're shit outta luck.

Yes, quality, "balanced", hardcore/good/fun guilds DO exist, but they are few and far between.

So... you end up with lots of players pugging, playing in less than ideal guilds, etc and struggling with content (even to just see it, let alone complete it). I would guess 50% or more are reasonably skilled players that want to see content, but are in this "less than ideal" situation. And are paying for the pleasure.

Yet the uber-leet hardcore assholes feel that the WoWworld SHOULD revolve around them. Fuck everyone else that can't be bothered to take the game as seriously as they do. You can't dedicate 20+ hours a week for gearing, farming and raiding? TOUGH SHIT!

Somewhow, I doubt that the vast majority of paying players (ie, the source of corporate profit) fit into those cute little molds. Like it or not, keeping THEM happy is what has paid for this upcoming ex*-pak. Not your 1,000 days played, not your 6,200 GS or your top ranked guild.

I realize that WoW is important to you folks. I realize you enjoy a challenge, and I fully understand and respect that. I also think Blizz HAS delivered a great challenge, with Naxx, Uld and especially with ICC (ToC was tough, but yeah, annoying). It took MONTHS for world best guilds to complete them. What else can you reasonably ask for? Even now, with the massive buff, a LOT of us are STILL trying to get our first Arthas kill. So I'm not sure what all the hatred is for.

Easy heroics?

Really?

Fuck, they've been easy for all the "reel srs rayders" since they completed Naxx, let alone once Ulduar gear became common. Prior to gear inflation, they WERE really tough.


But I really don't think that the above factors are the real reason the "uberleet" are so worked up. Why? Because “logically”, the above arguments/explanations can’t explain the venom and vitriol with which the “leet” scream and yell about how easy everything is. The last 12 months have had a TON of difficult, challenging content. Yes, older content has become easier, but as I mention, so has Deadmines! It's a simple fact: leveling and gearing makes ALL old content obsolete. And, if I may be so bold, expecting Blizard to re-tune each and every instance and encounter, just to stay "up to snuff" with the latest and greatest gear is just absurd.

But, even though there are folks that scream and yell for more challenging content, I'm not so sure that's really what they want. (after all, there's probably difficult content still left for many them to accomplish, AND Cata is just around the corner)

My honest, heartfelt guess is simply this: that they want to feel special and superior. That only THEY should get access to the biggest, baddest fights and weapons. That since THEY are willing to walk, uphill, both ways, in 6 feet of snow, that they and only they should reap the "real" rewards (ie, pixels and titles/words) for all their hard work.

In the past, they could (and did) because of the massive reliance on massive amounts of game play to be able to progress, and the huge disparity of progress between the “leet” and the “casual”. The less dedicated (or skilled/experienced) players simply had no way to play the content, gain the gear, etc, etc, etc… (I seem to recall reading that only ~6% of vanilla players got to see end game content – so it truly is a “special” group that made it ... in a rather real -ingame- sense they were special, and superior)

That was then... this is now.

Since Blizzard DOES cater to (or at least considers and tries to accomodate) a more casual, less intense player, it just infuriates the leet. Because the great unwashed masses get to be just as special as they are. Even though they didn't dedicate the hundreds of hours, and aren't cutting edge skilled, they too can haz epics! They too can haz “Kingslayer”.


Oh the humanity...



After all, there ARE titles that us peons will never get (Starkiller, The Immortal, etc). We will never have any real ranking as a player or guild on our server, and server (let alone world) firsts are something we only read about. We won't get our hands on Frostmourne or get 12/12 on hardmodes. So, there ARE a lot of things that only dedicated raiders will accomplish.

And still you guys want more.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Strange Thing Happened to Me on the Way to Brewfest Last Night

Sindy's Lair


As you may or may not recall, I haven't played much lately, and while I want to learn to tank, my gear is still a tad iffy, and my skills & experience are green at best.

And so it was with more than a little shock when the Guild Leader whisped me asking what my tank gearscore was. (roughly 4825)

"Cool, would you mind off-tanking Sindy tomorrow night?"

*blink*

*blank stare*

Before I could type anything back I get

"We have a couple folks missing from our regular raid team, and we're short a tank. Wow-heroes says you're geared enough..."

So I accepted the invite and kind of dreaded coming home from work tonite. I bought a few flasks and a couple other accroutrement before heading to bed.

Today at work, I watched the "How to /Sindragosa" vid, and all the other Sindy vids I could find.

How did it go?

Well, the trash had me a bit scared, since multi-mobs are NOT my speciality, but as OT, I only needed to pick up stragglers.

After that, phases 1 & 2 went pretty well. (it also helped that Kattastrophe was sitting next to me giving me propmts)

Then phase 3 hit, and I mis-stepped and got ice tombed.

It didn't wipe us, but it sure didn't help.

After a couple more wipes, I started to get the hang of it, but was still having troubles watching my debuffs.

With all the buffs, debuffs & such, my debuff listing got shoved down below where my DBM warnings are. I couldn't tell when I was safe to taunt off the MT.

And (for whatever reason) there's no DBM button around my minimap.

I finally remembered to try "/dbm" and I was finally able to try draggin my stuff out of the way.

It took a couple fights (moving DBM bars is a pain) but I finally got it cleared and was able to actually handle the taunts correctly.

We did pretty well. Especially since a couple of us had never seen her before. One attempt we got her down to 65,800, but that was our best.



(I still hadn't moved my DBM bars in this screen cap...)



Ah well, I still haven't beaten the Professor, or Dreamwalker, or even seen Blood Queen and a couple others, but it was interesting.

I'm getting better at the 969 (even though I have to watch my bars) and I'm managing my CDs and other stuff better.

N00b tank?

Yep!

Fail tank?

Not quite as much.

The one downside is that they are staying saved and not resetting, so I won't be having any chance to get any better tanking gear. I don't even have the good tank trinkets. (my fully raid buffed, and 30% ICC buffed) health is only 52k.

For a skilled tank and raid, that should be easy sauce, but we're still learning. (me in particular)

And I've been tentatively invited for Monday.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Who Can it Be, Now?

Me, that's who...

So, some time in the last few weeks, my total page visits brok the 10k mark. Woohoo!

Sadly, I wasn't around to notice. (As of writing this, it's at 10,036, so it was likely in the last few days)

What's been going on with me in WoW?

Nottalotta.

After several months of running Marrowgar - to - Rotface (and only getting t see Putricide twice) life in WoW got a tad bit boring:

- Do some dailies to get enough gold for raid stuff (pots, scrolls, etc)
- Hope I got selected to do the weekly run
- Run the same few encounters, and wipe on Rotface
- Rinse, repeat, ad nauseum.

Argh.

(Drat, I forgot that yesterday was international talk like a pirate day! YARR!!!)

Anyhoo, I watched Kattastrophe and her imploding guild, and just couldn't bring myself to look for a more "serious" guild, especially whenI wasn't exactly Mr. Dedicated.

So, I just didn't play. I think I've logged maybe 2 hours in the last 2 months.

So what now? Why am I cluttering up the feedreaders?

Because I will be playing a wee bit, though my goal and intent is rather narrow:

Brewfest (followed by Halloween)

Prior to some server reset/glitch, I had done about half the Brewfest achievements and a bit less than that for Halloween. Sadly, NONE of that shows up.

You see, these are the last things I need for my 310 speed mount. What a long strange road indeed. At least I will have completed something.

So, I started up WoW over the weekend, at least long enough to get the patches (wtf was up with the crap updater? I had to log onto my machine as Admin, and run WoW from the depths of my Program Files folder) and then shut down. At least I'm now ready to chase the Brewmaster title en route to getting the long road achie.

Am I "back"? I don't know. With the pending close of the Betaclysm and the world reset of the upcoming Cataclysm, maybe I will. Or not.

Cheers!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

I Walk Alone - A Difference of Opinion



I seem to be the only Ret Paladin blogger that I know of that is NOT looking forward to the upcoming Holy Power mechanic.

In case you aren't aware, Holy Power is a stacking effect that is accrued via a couple of different abilities (Crusader Strike is the primary one) and is consumed by doing other abilities. It is pretty much the same idea as Death Knight Runes or even, to an extent, Rogue combo points. I don't want to play a DK. If I did, I would roll one. Or if I wanted a rogue (other more than a bank toon) I would level one.

I really don't understand all the love folks have for "complicated" fight mechanics, and at the opposite end, uber simple "rotations":

11121112111 OH PROC! 3 1112111211121112

Yeah, that sounds fun. I guess it's different than the "FCFS hunt & peck" where you simply push the one that's off cool down.

We now attacks that are more tailored for multiple targets versus single targets, so we now get *2* attack rotations/FCFS combobulations.

We still have to manage mana, and as a melee hybrid, we are sort of responsible for self healing, and now we have to track something else, a 1-3 stack power, and manage with everything else...

yay?

We are losing our cleansing ability, and our convenient instant heal (Flash of Light, when talented into Art of War) our Divine Intervention is gone, Divine Protection now only mitigates 20% (instead of 50%) Divine Shield only lasts 8 seconds (instead of 12) and Divine Storm has lost all its teeth. Lastly, our Holy Wrath now does the same damage, single versus, AoE.

What do we get in return?

  • Simplified Blessings and Judgements (only need Light, since the wisdom part is now built in and the replenish is not talentable)

  • Our Divine Protection & Shield no longer shares a cooldown with Avenging Wrath (Paladin Wings)

  • Crusader Strike gets some major teeth and becomes our primary damage dealer.

(I got a lot of my info from mrgummage over at worldofraids.com in his very thorough description of Ret HERE)

So, with that boatload of nutkcicks, and an additional layer of hassle, we get a few (very minor) benefits. In my honest opinion, complexity, just for the sake of complexity (ie, with no real benefit) is a waste of my time and energy.

If, we had a small nerf, with baseline similar damage/utility, BUT, if you tracked this complicated BS, you then got some BENEFIT, I would be much more interested. But, adding the extra BS, just to stay where we are?

Um, no.

Keep in mind, I have not heard anything about Blizzard removing "the hybrid tax". You know, the effective loss of DPS that Deeps hybrids have to live with, because we have other abilities (healing, CC, cleansing, etc)

This means that Warriors, Rogues, Hunters, Mages and Warlocks ("Pure" DPS) will continue to kick our teeth in, in our primary (DPS) role. And now with removed instant heals and no more cleansing, what is our utility again? IF we have no utility, and our DPS sucks, WHAT will be the point of Ret again? On the surface, balance seems like it *COULD* be a major issue.

But, for the sake of argument, lets ignore the whole potential balance issue, ok?

OK. Moving on.

I really don't get the interest on losing/reducing the FCFS, losing our mitigation and getting it replaced with a "single target rotation" and a "multi target rotation" while still managin mana, AND now having to manage another mechaninc (Holy Power)

If you are really watching your FCFS, (and FCFS DOES vary from fight to fight) AND maintaining raid awareness AND doing all the other stuff (cleansing, occasional healing, etc) I think that the current situation is already reasonably complex. After all, it's not like Mage, 'Lock, Warrior, Priest nor any other class has a really complicated rotation/routine.

Am I pissed? Not at all. Am I excited? No. It seems to be added levels of hassle/BS with no real benefit. I still remember GhostCrawler's "Nerf them [Ret] to the ground" comment from last year, so I am FAR from optomistic.

"Annoyed" is probably a more accurate word.

As far as Battlegrounds and all that, PvP sounds like a mess. Kite Dot Kite Dot Dead.

If you are a Ret, and you like the Holy Power aspect, can you explain, please? Cuz I really don't get it. I guess I'm missing something.

Friday, July 30, 2010

What a difference a Day Makes and Other Trivialities



So I went crazy last night and gemmed myself up. (And got enchants for my new items) I picked up the Emblem of Conquest tank belt, and won an actual tanking neck in ToC (H)

The net result? (sorry for the periods, but blogspot hates lots of spaces)

..............Before....After
Str.............1290........1427
Agi ............139...........129
Sta............ 2112.........2758
Armor.......24632......24727
Def.............539..........548
Dodge........24.0%......25.6%
Parry.........20.7%......20.4%
Block..........12.6%......10.9%
Hit .............323.......... 323
Expert.......189........... 132

That took 8 new Stam gems plus a couple stam enchants.


In other news, we had an interesting Pit of Saron run last night. One guildie tanked, and three others of us DPSed. We had to PuG/LFG our healer.

We zoned in and groaned a little. None of us are huge PoS fans. We look for, and find our healer; a Priest.

With a 3190 gear score.

We were on vent where we commented on this, and we all agreed "give her a chance, but MAN that's really low gear for this run"

And we ran with it.

On a couple of the trash groups heading towards Garfrost, we had a couple semi-close calls, and the healer was practically OOM after each pull. (and the tank was being careful not to pull too much)

Just for caution's sake, I pulled Exorcism off my actionbar and replaced it with Flash of Light an instant cast heal. (I do this for Threat from Above, and it just puts FoL into my rotation, which makes for an easy solo)

We work our way to Garfrost, let everyone mana up, and start the fight. Fortunately we had Vent, because it saved our butts.

About halfway into the fight, our tank calls out "Oh shit, the healer's down! Guess we're gonna wipe."

One of our other DPS was down as well.

I called out "Ok, I'll pull back a bit and heal." If not for vent, I would have probably missed it, or would have noticed too late.

Anyhow, with a mana pot, Lay on Hands for the tank, a bunch of flash of lights and a bunch of Holy Lights, we dropped Garfrost. It was a VERY satisfying boss kill.

The sad thing about it was the healer simply wasn't up to the fight. I would really like to know how LFG put her in there. It wasn't fair to her, and it wasn't really fair to the rest of the group either.

We chatted with her a bit and she agreed to drop group. She was still on the "drop group and you get shit on" timer, so we kicked her to save her that trouble. That was not a fun vote. :( I know folks bash the whole gearscore mentality, and that "it's the player, not the gear", but there are times when you simply do NOT have the gear to handle the content, regardless of how good you are. I think she was "good enough" (though not great) if she had adequate gear. And since I was the only one in the group that REALLY over-geared the place, we couldn't carry her.

So, we re queued and got a Pally healer, this time with 3900 GS. We all cringed a bit, but it went well enough after that. She/he knew their class and spec, and had enough gear.

Well, except for the wipe on Ick & Crick. The pally was all "You guys all got one shotted. I didn't have time to heal..." trying not to get bitched at.

My response was "I didn't avoid the poison nova. You can't heal through that. Not a healer issue" and another guildie said basically the same. (I'm not sure what the deal was, but a couple of us had problems in that fight with not seeing any DBM notification. I'm not sure DBM was wonky, or what, and I *do* keep my game sound quiet, so I never saw/heard the cues)

The rest of the run went pretty easily. We took the ramp slowly, "pwned" Tryrannus and got our Frosties.

An interesting night.

Oh, and just in case you aren't a regular reader of the Pink Pigtail Inn, you HAVE to go over there and read TODAY'S POST. It's a great blog, and today's post (written by Tam from Righteous Orbs) is simply comedic genius. Truly!

Oh, and in the spirit of "Gnomenclature" I offer two comedic gnome gnames for anyone to run with:

"Gnomdacratch" (pronounced "nom da crotch") He's a gnome who was bitten by a Worgen, and got better. Mostly. He still has an unhealthy habit that shows up during melee combat...

And for our Russian gnome aficionados "Gnomenklatura". He's a Belf born in a Gnome's body, and he's making everyone around him pay for the indignity. Just remember; he's better than you are.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Multiple Tanking Sets? DON'T BRING ME DOWN!!!!!



Over the last two days, I managed to pick up the two tanking items I was saving for over the last couple weeks. (and for once, I logged off with my Tank gear equipped, so I can actually look at it in an easier to see place)

What I got were:

Saronite Sword Breakers (wrist)

and

Boots of Kingly Upheaval (feet)

(actually, I got them in the reverse order, which caused me a bit of an arrythmia. My old boots had defense, the new ones don't - EEK! Fortunately, the new wrists do, and my old wrists didn't)


If you click on the picture above (a screen cap of my equipment from wow-heroes.com) you will notice that I am missing 3 gems and 3 enchants (well, I'm a blacksmith, so it's actually 4 gems and 2 enchants, but eh...)



And yes, it's on my brand new items. Given what I know, I am mulling things over.

mull

mull

mull

See?

Eh-hem.


Anyhow, there are 3-4 MAJOR stats for pally tanks: (and are important for other tanks, just the numbers vary)



  • Defense (prevents bosses from get crits on you - Capped at 535 or 540. I've heard both)

  • Hit (lets you not miss, which helps immensely with threat. Melee capped at 230 for a Drae Pally)

  • Expertise (helps reduce/eliminate parries, blocks and misses on the boss - 26 is soft cap, 54 is hard cap )

  • Stamina = Health


If you look at my stats above, you will see:

I am one point below def cap (or 4 points over) Regardless, a single gem swap will fix that. (yes, there are 4 blue items on me, and I have two rare gems on that blue belt :P I never wanted to invest an epic gem on a blue item, to increase defense by 4 points)

  • I am hit capped

  • I have 189 Expertise points which is roughly 24 rating.

  • I have 27k unbuffed


Clearly, I am not "all the way there" yet.

What is kind of scary is that, at a 4,700 Gear score (whatI have now) I am considered "ok, but rough" for doing ICC 10, which would say I significantly over-gear Naxx and Ulduar, yet I would need to gem for even MORE expertise to hit soft cap, which would limit me to only 2 more stamina gems, and not that much more health...

Back in the Naxx/Uld days, how the f**k did tanks get by with that low of health, barely being hit & def capped, and no WAY were they expertise capped?!?!?

Yes, I know they would have multiple sets of armor:

  • one for EH (effective health, which is basically stamina and armor)

  • one for avoidance (there are also stats for dodge parry and block, which I'm not even going to touch here)

  • one for threat

  • and maybe one or two or three with various resists (nature, shadow, fire, etc)

So, you could optimize one set with mega stamina and armor, while perhaps being below def cap, or hit cap or expertise cap, and have another set with defense, parry, dodge, and another with hit, expertise and strength boosts.

But wait, I *ALREADY* have 3 sets of armor - DPS, Tank and PvP. SO no, I'm not going to have multiple tank sets. Not only because of bag space, but also because I simply can't afford to buy (or farm for) multiple sets of gear.

So, I'm going to try to make a single "best of all worlds" Tank set and live with it.

As it stands I desperately need 3 new tanking pieces:

Waist
Neck
Back

(remember how I keep stressing that you should use wow-heroes/etc to check your gear occasionally? This is what happens when I don't can't easily check my tank gear)

I could also use a couple new rings, but eh, it is what it is. The bummer is that PvP gear is useless for tanking gear. It can work well for DPS, but not so much for tanks...

I t hink I'll just fix my one Def gem, add one expertise gem, and push everything else into health/stamina.

Unless anyone reading this hasa better/wiser suggestion?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Viva Li Vida Azeroth - But I'm Still Lost



Just like the HAL 9000 is a "one off" from IBM (subtract 1 from each letter, and IBM becomes HAL) that 2001 a Space Odyssey made, WoW took the +1 approach for Lost. (and I assume that Lost's writers were, in turn, making another homage by using the number 42)

Anyhow, I was farming for some saronite and a bunch of crystallized earth last night when I ran across something strange. It wasn't the hatch I saw, but it was the little box with numbers in it that I noticed as I (evidently) moved my mouse around. It took a second to "re-find" the spot on the screen that caused the pop up, a moment to fly down and see the hatch.

The smile, however, was pretty much instantaneous.

I'm not the biggest fan of Lost, and haven't watched it since early season 2, but I can still apprecieate the reference. As I sat smiling last night, I tried to recall any other pop-culture references I've noticed in-game. I know there are a ton, but this is the only one I can remember seeing and noticing without being prompted or reading about it.

OOH! The Shop Smart, Shop "S" Mart achie. (I loved Army of Darkness)

Even all of the ones I've read about, off-hand, I can only remember the Stargate SG-1 reference, where all/most of the folks in SI-7 have names mimicing,/derived from the SG-1 characters. (they used an anagram for Teal'c)

Or, I guess "Good news, everyone!" would also count.

After thinking about it, I googled for WoW Pop Culture references, and (of course) there's a ton. In case you were wondering, here's the wowwiki link LINK

If you want to take a moment to read them, I'm sure a bunch of them will "click" and bring a smile to your face.

I hope that this type of humor, thoughtfulness and such continues in Cataclysm. As much as I, and others, rage about Blizzard, it's still seems that the lunatics are still in control of at least SOME areas, and I would hate to lose that...

[EDIT] - sorry for the fubar formatting - that's what happens when I write it "native" and not in the html screen *stupd stupid stupid*

Monday, July 26, 2010

Dawning of Aquarius, and Reality.

I didn't get a chance to raid with the guild this weekend, even though I was briefly in the raid. Too many melee, and all that. I ended up in a whisped conversation with a friend afterward. And one of the topics was on the possibility of this guild ever seeing (or defeating) the Lich King.

This person's feeling was that no way, no where, no how was it going to happen. Sadly, I agree.

In my 10-mans, there are usually only 2 of us putting out "good" DPS numbers. Even with the 25% buff, it's STILL a race to kill Festergut before the enrage. We've failed because a single 4k DPS person died. At this point with gear and buffs, that's a bit disheartening.

Tanking is usually goood enough, and healing can be iffy.

A large portion of this, is that the guild rotates folks in & out of the raids week to week. Partly this is intentional (we are, afterall, mainly a social guild, and we want everyone to participate) and part of it is just some folks can't raid every day/week we are scheduled (I missed 2 weeks, due to camping and visiting family) And overall, this doesn't bug me much.

Until I read about other bloggers making it to Sindy, etc whilest in a PuG.

It's not that others can do well in a PuG that makes my shoulders slump. It's that we can't do well in a complete Guild run that is depressing.

What happens to cause us to fail?

(I should say that we can usually make ot past Fester in 10 man, though not always. I have seen Putricide once)



  • We rotate our team, and usually have at least one person that has never seen this content before. And even though we don't swap toons mid-run (unless someone can't make it the second day) it still means our team's composition is ALWAYS changing, and usually has folks that are still fairly new to the fights.

  • The fact that most of our players are not at all hardcore, and are not uber-geared has an effect. Pungent Blight is a nasty nasty thing when your tanks have less than 40k health (buffed), and your healers can't each push out 10k heals/second.

  • While great gear isn't necessary, it helps overcome less than perfect gear/spec/rotation that most folks have. (I am lumping myself in there)

  • To put this in perspective, in the last 10 man I ran (20% buff) I was doing 7,500 DPS. A slightly lower geared Warlock (I'm at 5,600 GS and she's at 5,400 GS) was the only person at that level. Depending on the fight, we would swap #1 in DPS.

  • We do have a couple others that can dish out the DPS, but I rarely run with them, so the rest of the DPS starts getting a tad low.

  • We have new tanks that take a while to learn the swap, or are a little squishy.

  • We have people standing in the bad. (either new, not paying attention/whatever)

  • We have folks not using appropriate add-ons.

If you combine all this, even a 30% buff will be tough to progress with.

Earlier, I had thought the weekday group was doing a lot better (they have actually beaten Putricide) but it turns out that isn't the case. The only real advantage they have is that they will often run 3+ days a week.

Part of me would like to take the 10 best players in our guild, and take a few weeks to see how far we can progress. The problem is that would severely hurt the chances for the other team to do much of anything. Not to mention that there's no guarantee that we could get all 10 to show up each and every day for multiple weeks. Again, this is a social guild, and real life takes priority


On a side note, I had an offer (actually, nearly a beg) for me to tank ICC 10 man for Kattastrophe's guild, in an alt run. As much as part of me wanted to go, I had to beg off.

  • While I *am* def capped, I am not hit capped, so my threat gen is hampered.

  • I have 29,000 health, self buffed, and only 37k fully 10 man buffed.

  • My tank GS is about 4,400.

  • Doing the pre-Marrowgar trash is a cat-herding fest, which I am NOT good at.

  • Everyone was playing alts, which meant that there was nobody uber-geared to help pick up my (or anyone else's) slack.
Based on my own lacking, plus (the assumed) lacking of the rest of the group, I just didn't feel like beating my head against a wall for 2-3 hours. (plus, there are a couple members of that guild that I REALLY do not like, and at least one of them was in the group)

In another day or 2, I will have some better gear (one more piece of primordial saronite, and I will have ICC boots!) I will also have to see if I can get a set of ToC wrists, which aren't TOO expensive (especially with all my frozen orbs)

So, instead of the ICC group, 4 other guildies & I did a fun-run-mount-run. We did Magister's Terrace, The Ravenlord run and Zul'Gurub. None of the mounts dropped, but still fun.

Oh, and on a final note, Kattastrophe got her Cata Beta invite, and has been playing it a fair amount. I may "see if I can get her to play a pally" (eh-hem) and possibly get a feel for the new Pally mechanics. I don't want to know ANYTHING about the new areas, redesigned areas, or any of that, but getting a chance to "see it being played" (wink wink) as a REt-Pal will be worht a quick check-out.

She has been playing a Goblin Rogue (the Worgen have been disabled for some reason) so I have been trying to avoid watching (and listening) to what has been happening on her screen. ONe slight spoiler: Goblins have a TON of vehicle related quests. (ok, a few, which is still a bunch, for WoW)

Laters...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Get Down with the Sickness - Optimize your Ret DPS

A few weeks ago, a guildie asked me my spell rotation and all that. Alas, it's too much to type out in whisps, so I had to point him to this blog first, and then...

I eventually wrote a longish post on our forums (that, as far as I can tell, nobody read) but I thought I would bring it over here, since it's appropriate and reasonably helpful (or so I hope)

To whit:

As I’m sure most folks know, there isn’t any “real” rotation for Ret pallies. It’s “First Come First Served” aka “FCFS”. This just means using whichever spell is available, as they come off cooldown.


Where it gets complicated is in what are referred to as “clashes”. This is where two spells are ready at the same time. Figuring out which spell to use (prioritize) can make a big difference.


Without looking at gear and set bonuses (T-10 stuff especially) the “standard” order of priority for Ret spells is as follows:

#1 - Hammer of Wrath (HoW) – note – this is only used once target is below 20% health
#2 - Judgement of Wisdom/Light (Jud)
#3 - Crusdader Strike (CS)
#4 - Divine Storm (DS)
#5 - Consecration (Con)
#6 - Exorcism (Ex)
#7 – Holy Wrath (HW)

I used this rotation until very recently.

Now, once you start getting higher gear, and different set bonuses, it gets REALLY complicated. Each spell uses a slightly different set of numbers (stats/abilities like STR) to determine damage done, and each of those abilities changes with better gear, and each of THOSE is weighted differently by each ability.

Like I said- complicated.

I do not, and have never attempted to theorycraft the perfect rotation, so I am left trying to figure it out by brute force. This means either running a lot of raid and keeping track (and hoping the situations are close enough to compare)

Or using Test Dummies.

Test Dummies are far from ideal, but the one thing they do VERY well is to give you absolutely reproducible circumstances. I will do this for testing spell rotations and also for testing out new /different gear combinations. Here’s how I do it.

1 – Go to Darnassus. (I do not know the equivalent for Horde) The test dummies there are the least used, and you will have the least chance of having to wait or deal with jerks. (they are just east/before the large Colonnade as you enter the city from the “wilds”, as opposed to entering from the flight path)

2 – Reset Recount (or Skada or whichever DPS meter you use) If you don’t have at least one meter to keep track, you won’t be able to do this.

3 – I will make a choice to go in unbuffed (ie, just using one blessing, no food, pots, etc) or I will go in fully buffed. Ideally this means you will use all the food, potion and scroll buffs you can get, plus (ideally) Kings and/or Sanctuary. Kings is easy if you buy the drums, but if there are any guildies on, you can ask for them

4 – Put on your Seal of choice. For single target I use Vengeance, and for multiples I use Command. Either way, just apply it once, and it will work for you for the next 30 minutes. Casting them more often does nothing.

5 – Stand a ways behind the test dummy (dummies can dodge and block from the front!) far enough that you don’t start to auto attack.

6 – Select/click the target, move close in, and start your rotation.

7 - Keep going for at least 60 seconds. The longer the better.

8 – When you are done, move away from the test dummy (I run forward) and click to unselect the dummy, and wait a second or two so that Consecrate and any other DoTs have time to wear off.

9 – Record the overall DPS number somewhere.



10 – Bring up the specific damage done page and look at the order in which each spell/ability does damage and write the order down as well.

11 – Mana up, and make sure all your CDs are ready, make sure that no procs are still in effect (Vengeance is the big one that stays for a while) and make sure that you are still buffed exactly the same.

12 – Repeat steps 5-11 two more times, taking notes of all the relevant info. (overall DPS, most damaging spells, etc)

13 – Review the order of spell damage (what was highest, etc - see my screen cap at the bottom) Are they in the same order as before, or at least close? (or at least if two abilities are within a couple 0.1% or so) If they are close, move on to step 14. If not, repeat until you get repeatable results.

14 – Adjust your spell rotation (for me this means adjusting my action bar) such that the most damaging spell is at the top of the priority, with the next highest ability being next, and so on. (or if you are trying different gear combos, switch your gear)

15 – Repeat steps 5-12 with the new spell rotation/gear set, whatever.

16 – Compare the results between the two sets of data. Did the new rotation help? If so, review your DPS by spell/ability again. Are they still in the same order, or did things change? If they are pretty much the same, you’re done. But if there is a big change, you should probably try changing things up using the new order.


Now, a couple things to keep in mind that will, of course, make things more difficult.


- Test dummies are not real mobs, in a real raid, etc, so your results will never match exactly what happens in your raids. Try to remember to compare things after you have just finished a “real” fight. One thing to remember is that some fights are not good ones to use for evaluation (saurfang, because of the no/minimal AoE used, or any fight where you end up running/moving a lot and not attacking)


- Watch your mana and/or health, and take note of where your Judgment of Wis/Light is in your rotation. In any Boss fight, the Judgement assignments should be:

1 Paladin – Judge Wisdom
2 Paladins – One each judging Wisdom and Light
3+ Pallies – One each judging Wisdom and Light


With this in mind…

I know that I can actually boost my DPS by using the following rotation/priority:

1 – Hammer of Wrath
2 – Consecrate
3 – Divine Storm
4 – Crusader Strike
5 – Judgement of Wisdom
6 – Exorcism
7 – Holy Wrath

But there’s a problem: I will run out of mana after ~3-4 minutes, even with using Divine Plea.

Not only that, but EVERYONE in the raid suffer from reduced mana, since it gives mana back to everyone in the raid. So, if I am the only Paladin, or am one of two Pallies, that isn’t good enough.
So, even though it is a net loss of DPS, I still keep Judgement of Wisdom as my main priority (if you ignore HoW) As of now, my rotation looks like this:

1 – Hammer of Wrath
2 – Judgement of Wisdom
3 – Consecrate
4 – Divine Storm
5 – Crusader Strike
6 – Exorcism
7 – Holy Wrath


If I am in a group with 3+ Paladins, it would probably be safe to go to my “best” priority, but swapping action bars for an occasional fight isn’t worth it. (however, I *DO* have one actionbar version set up for the Saurfang fight, with my AoEs moved out of the way)

Side note -

Did you know you have 2 “easy access” action bars? The first one is the one you always see. However, if you hold down the [shift] key, and use the scroll wheel on your mouse, you should see an extra, empty set of bars. This is the one I use for Saurfang. If you also notice, you will see that if you keep scrolling, you will see your other bars (side, bottom, etc) cycle through as you scroll the wheel.

One last note.

If I am in an “easy” fight, where all I need to do is hit the boss, I will be careful and take my time getting every cast/spell in the proper order.


However, if I am in a more “head’s up” fight, where I need to pay a lot of attention (have a lot of raid awareness) I will “drum” my spells. (I've shown you that short Youtube vid a couple times now)

The drumming requires that I have my spells arranged in proper order on my action bar: (this is a screen cap from some testing) I have my left pinkie on #6, and just drum 6789 6789 6789 6789 6789 6789 6789 quickly and repeatedly. I will manually look for HoW and Exorcism to become available, and hit them as they come up.





Oh, and don't forget that Holy Wrath will do AoE damage to mobs as well (not just the undead, which it will often stun) so it can add an extra 2-3%, if you are interested.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Security Alert - no song title here...

Well, best to quote it from the horse's mouth:


Symantec says it has unearthed a server hosting the credentials of 44 million
stolen gaming accounts -- and one of the most surprising aspects of it is that
the accounts were being validated by a Trojan distributed to compromised
computers.

LINK

Symantec Link

This means that 44 million gaming accounts have had their information hacked, and a trojan is being used to see which stuff is valid/real/usable.

Please, please PLEASE! be careful which websites you surf, where you put your personal information, and make certain you are using up-to-date anti-viral software.

AND GET AN AUTHENTICATOR!

I am still (slowly) working on my talent stuff, and some other posts, but real life has intruded (I'm now working on a resume) and also, with all the beta talent tree info out there, my post is seeming more than a day late & a dollar short.

Cheers.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Glass Cannon with a Heart of Glass

A little while back, my guild was wasting time around a raid (can't remember if it was just before, or just after a raid) and a few of us were meandering around the Dal Sewers.

While I will run the occasional BG (Wintergrasp in particular) I VERY rarely duel. However, a guild mage, and a guild warrior (among others) were bashing each others' heads in

I swapped over to my PvP gear, and went at it with the Fury Warrior. I won by about >< that much. (he was in PvE gear, so he hit like a truck, but had no resilience) and then went up against the mage.

Blink/stun/ice/stun/trink/HoF/bam

He was dead after not THAT long of a fight, and I was still well over half health.

I swapped gear, and let my cooldowns cool off, and the mage & I went back at it. He pretty much 3-shot me.

Granted, I did NOT use my stuns as well as I could have, but I hardly had a chance to get near him to even use them. In the first fight, I could be a bit sloppy, and survive long enough to get close to him. The second time around, not so much. Ouch. I was dead and he still had 90% health (or there abouts)

And by the way, Seal of Justice is pretty dang useful, especially against a caster. It gives me 3 extra stuns (though they are short and kind of random) which helps interrupt AND gets me 2-3 extra attacks.

But yeah, the mage & I were both shocked at how much of a difference my gear sets made. (and it was a big difference)

I also think that he wasn't "ready" for a Ret during the first fight, so I had an easier fight the first time. I was able to get in close, break LoS by running through him, etc. Whereas the second fight, he maintained a good distance and wasn't even really even threatened. Gear was one part, but he also fought better the second time.

As it stands, I have ~850 resilience in my set: LINK

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Start me Up! (it's from the old Windows commercial)


Dear Blizzard,

I know in your heart of hearts, that you want nothing more than to protect us from our trollish selves and to ensure we have the most social experience possible.

I know with absolute certainty that you have our best interests at heart with your proposed changes to WoW with respect to RealID. I would never for a second believe the lies that you are only in it for the money, and that your customers are simply there to be bilked.

But, let's say, for the sake of argument, that none of the above is true, and that you are only in it for the money, and customers be damned.

I mean, is there possibly a way for a large, multinational software corporation to have a massive online gaming experience, with strong social interactions built in? (oh, like AOL instant messenger, faceboook, twitter)

Could this exist with reduced trolling in the forums, linkage to a specific customer account with ban abilities and strong parental controls, yet still allow folks to have a user chosen ID and strong privacy protection?

Hmmmm... I wonder... is such a thing possible?

Nah, fuck it. Who am I to try to imagine such aa crazy, "out there", implausible idea?

Sincerely,
Balthazario

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Time, Time Time... What has Become of Me?


We don't have the "real" hoverboards, but clothing HAS become rather sloppy and baggy.

Yes, today is the day the Doc Brown wanted to arrive in the future, via the movie "Back to the Future". (Marty ended upin 1955 instead, but still)

Twenty... Five... years... ago...

Yikes. I was in highschool at the time.


In WoW?

Lessee...

Balth got a nice DPS necklace off Lady Deathwhisper's corpse, and is now in completely PvE gear. Nary a drop of resilience on him.

w00t

I needed one more lousy pet for my 75 pet achievement, and I learned that there is a pet floating skull pet available from one of the vendors in the sewers (in the poison vendor room)

The weekly 10 man in ICC got cancelled, so me and 4 other guildies started working on our "Glory of the Hero" achievement. We ran 4 different heroics, and completed 6 achies. (I already had 4 of them, so I only got "Abuse the Ooze", and "Watch Him Die", both of which were rather tough.

A couple pointers to anyone trying these:

Watch Him Die - Defeat Krik'thir the Gatewatcher in Azjol-Nerub on Heroic Difficulty while Watcher Gashra, Watcher Narji, and Watcher Silthik are still alive.

First, we tried Zerging twice (came close, but not quite)

Our second tactic was to have me (as OT) pull everything, then have the main tank pull Krik, and then have me survive the rest. Ah, not so much. We tried it twice with slight variations, and either I couldn't maintain SELECTIVE aggro, or I simply couldn't survive long enough.

Third tactic was to have the MT pull each group one at a time, and then have me taunt the watchers off, one at a time, as the rest of the group killed the remaining adds. THEN have me hold (and survive) the three watchers while they burned Krik. I think this would have worked if we had tried it a second time. It was elegant, tactical and cool. We failed the one attempt, and didn't try it again.

The last tactic was just back to zerging. We just burned him down. I ended up getting eaten by the adds (my consecrate & divine storm pulled them all on to me, instead of the others, which was actually a good thing) and we dropped the bad boy.


Abuse the Ooze - Defeat Sjonnir the Ironshaper in the Halls of Stone on Heroic Difficulty and kill 5 Iron Sludges during the encounter. The "funny" thing is that I had never seen any oozes before we tried it (neither had anyone else) which caused our first wipe.

What we didn't know was that the oozes don't spawn until Sjonnir drops to <40% Once we knew that, we adjuested our tactics, and that was that. It took two more times to get the mechanics right, and we got this one. Not hard, per se, but not easy, either...

Experienced Drake Rider (defeat Malygos while riding each color drake) I have done amber & ruby, but not emerald. I have recently done some Coldarra quests, so that I can now do the "Aces High" daily quest (ride drake and kill 5 drakes) so I have a *slightly* better feel for the green drake, but that will be tough. I think the best bet for this would be for us to run a "Amber Void", with 3 tanks (Ruby) and 2 Emerald (one of which would be me) which would give me some leeway to learn how to actualy fight on the green.

Emerald & Ruby Void - Actually, if I can convince guildies to just run 5 ambers, this won't be *that* hard. It just takes a little cordination. We *almost* had it in a PuG a while back, but some weird stuff happened and we went "back to normal". Between this one run, and an amber void, we could get all three voids for guildies in only 2 runs.

Zombiefest - The only hard part is collecting enough zombies without killing them. Killing 500 in one minute would be easy, if you could find them. 100 is only difficult because of collecting them.

Better Off Dred - Not hard (I don't think) but we just need to take it slowly enough that 6 of those drakkari dudes have time to spawn.

Chaos Theory - I'm not sure. Could be easy. I think it's just a healer fight, but not sure.

Incredible Hulk - Kill a Scourge Hulk with Svala's dropping sword. Shouldn't be *too* hard, as long as you can position the Hulk in the correct place AND get him to 8-10% health before the sword drops.

Less-Rabi - Ugh. I've been in two groups that tried a few attempts to get this. Trying to interrupt that third transformation is basically blind luck, and we haven't been lucky.

Another alternative would be to delay the 1st two interrupts for as long as possible, POSSIBLY allowing the group to burn him down before the third one even has a chance to start. You need a LOT of DPS. If you can get a mage to spellsteal (8 second delay) then 20k DPS *could* do it.



In other news

Iggy went into Scarlet Monestary at level 31 (whichever one was first, graveyard?) and the group ran it twice, then wanted to run library for a third run. I dinged level 32 in Library, but let me tell ya, a level 32 mage (let alone level 31) has a hard time hitting level 34 mobs.

We made it, even though we had a flub in the next-to-last fight. Either a mob ran in fear and aggroed the final boss, or my casts were shooting 90* left and targetting the boss. (I noticed one of my casts went sideways, but didn't notice who I actually targeted *DOH*) Regardless, we had a massive scramble at the end, and I died.

The entire final area was a bit of a miscue. We over aggroed too many mobs, and the tank couldn't keep them all in check. I had to pop iceblock, went OOM twice (I used my mana pot, mana crystal and mana regen - whatever the name is) even before the boss got pulled. So, by the time he got pulled, I was about done (and he doesn't get trapped in Ice Nova, if you are curious)

Still, it was an interesting group. For the entire set of 3 runs, I was averaging 93 DPS or thereabouts. We had a warrior tank, elem shammy, rogue, me, and another shammy. I was fighting for 2nd place in total damage with the shammy, and the warrior was WAAY up there. All of us we 30, 31 or 32. (all of us had a fair amount of heirloom on as well) It was crazy that as a group, we were pulling >300 DPS.

Rested EXP is nice.

I also levelled his Jewelcrafting up a bunch. He's now at 155 or so, and his enchanting is at 200. The last couple hours of gaming last night were running Balth around Barrens farming tin so that Iggy could prospect out the needed gems. (it was strange last night on my server, even shadowgems were selling for >1 gold each, so just buying gems wasn't really viable)

I am still working on the Talent tree post, and I have another "short" post about a reasonable way to optimize RetPal rotation. I'm not sure which will be first, but they are planned.