Tag Archives: Blah Blah Blah

Anybody out there? (Out there? (Out there?))

18 Apr

/peeks in

/coughs at the dust

Wow. Okay, so see, I didn’t *intentionally* mean to leave this blog hanging for four months guys. Honestly I didn’t. I just kind of ran out of things to write about, but I didn’t want to fully close the blog… I figured I would come back to it sometime and pick up the writing again, and I think that today might be “sometime” finally. I may try to revitalize this website and redesign it sometime in the near future, but for now I’m just going to try and get back in the habit of kicking out a post every week or so. I hope enough of you guys are still around to appreciate what i’ve got to say.

First off – Tier 14. It was a little disappointing to me, not because the fights were bad or anything like that, but because of how we performed, and I feel directly responsible for that as raid leader. My guild really struggled with Heart of Fear. We had some pretty heavy attrition issues, and a lot of things were just… problematic. I think the biggest issue came in the fact that there are some fights where you’re penalized for your latency and twitch gameplay more than you are for understanding the mechanics of the fight. Let me tell you, i’ve done Blade Lord Ta’yak a thousand times, but I *still* get picked up by a tornado that I was nowhere fucking near sometimes, all because latency makes me look like i’m in a different place than I really am. The weird thing about it is? Once we got past Blade Lord Ta’yak, we really didn’t struggle *TOO* much with the fights. At least, not more than I feel like we should have. Garalon took us a couple weeks, but we brought him down straightaway after 5.2 launched. Wind Lord Mel’jarak we actually managed to kill un-nerfed even if it WAS post-nerf (because that first week they had bugged out the debuff on Ta’yak and Mel’jarak). Amber Shaper took a couple weeks of work (but I don’t feel like it would have taken much longer without the debuff), and Empress was roughly the same. So, on March 28th, we finally cleared Heart of Fear.

After all the trouble we had in Heart of Fear, Terrace of Endless Spring barely felt like a raid at all. We walked in, 1-shot Protectors, 2-shot Tsulong, 3-shot Lei Shi and had 2 pulls on Sha before our raid week was up (after clearing Heart of Fear again that week). The next week (April 11th) we cleared HoF in like 90 minutes wednesday. Owned Protectors, Tsulong and Lei Shi, and even went on to kill Jin’rokh in Throne of Thunder (something we had been doing for weeks anyway). This gave us a full 3 hours to work on Sha on thursday. So of course, we 1-shot Sha as well. And thus ended Tier 14, for all intents and purposes, for Stands In Bad.

I feel like we’re rebounding pretty well into Throne of Thunder, in spite of our rather late start and catchup time while they tuned down 10m normals. From what I hear, pretty much the only people that were progressing past Horridon in 10s were people that already had heroic gear from t14, so I think they needed to be brought down. Speaking of, we managed to kill Horridon last week, and made some pretty solid progress on Council of Elders as well. I think that, for the most part, we could be back on track with t15 pretty soon.

I guess that’s all I have for now. I planned on talking about Death Knights some more, but maybe in a future post. I don’t feel the need to overload you guys so much on my first post in 4 months. For those of you who’ve kept me on your feeds and kept checking in from time to time, I thank you greatly. It’s been really nice seeing the discussions brought about by my blog in the past, and I think I am in a bit of a better place to be able to bring that back.

Ask Achloryn

20 Dec

I was rampaging around twitter while at work last night, and looking over my search hits, as I am prone to doing from time to time. As I listed a few of them for my twitter people to see, I got this suggestion.

EUREKA!!!Well… I thought this was bloody brilliant! Maybe it’s something i’ll do once a month, or maybe i’ll just do it whenever I feel like it, and I am at a loss for actual things to blog about. So, I am not going to answer EVERY single search term (because I really do get a surprising amount, and that would take me forever), but I will go through and pick a handful out, and answer/rebutt them. So, without further ado, here we go!

 

“since when can a fucking druid fucking ice fucking block”

Resto druids get ice block from mages via Symbiosis. There seems to be nothing fair about this. Also, symbiosis is not a new spell, where have YOU been?

“good gear from rep for deathknight in mop”

I have several posts touching on this already. Here, is the main one. It may not be all-inclusive, but it’s a pretty solid list of what gear you can get from what reps. (That reminds me that I have not done one to add Operation Shieldwall/Domination Point yet. I should get on that)

“i want you to help me decide which”

…decide which what? I don’t know if you can’t answer me, random google user? DECIDE WHICH WHAT?!??!?!

“are dks good in mop”

This is a question I see pretty damn often. Yes, DKs are doing just fine. Tank balance is at an all-time high, and our DPS specs are performing quite well (with unholy, sadly, falling behind again it would seem)

“blood boil does so much damage”

Actually, it’s not that bad. I think it took a moderate nerf, and now it certainly doesn’t seem to hit any harder than Heart Strike does. As per the old standard, BB will be better with 3+ targets (and refreshing diseases if you’ve had bad luck with Crimson Scourge), and HS is good for 1-2 targets. Replace HS with Soul Reaper as often as possible sub 35%.

“mop solo chess event”

I’ve been soloing Chess (in Karazhan) since WotLK. It’s not terribly difficult if you use the right strategy and play smart. The problem is, that unlike everything else on the planet, you can’t just outgear the shit out of it. I may do a video, since this is another thing I see rather often.

“enter gruuls lair solo”

Yes, you can, as of 5.1. And you can solo it pretty easily too. Hell, i’ve done it on my alt warlock without any issues.

“worlds of the warcraft”

I think you may have it a bit backwards. Close, though!

“mogushan vaults last boss how to dodge”

Will of the Emperor’s is kind of a fun fight for tanks/melee dps. It takes practice is all I can tell you. Keep at it and you’ll figure out that A – there is no actual pattern that he does with the swings, and B – which swing visuals mean which direction he’s going. Practice it lots in LFR, that’s how I got better at it.

“wow where does spaulders of the scorned come”

They’re a world BoE drop, that can come from any level 90+ mob, it looks like. Good luck.

“dk t14 4 piece worth getting?”

I did briefly touch on this subject towards the bottom half of this post, but I would like to elaborate a bit more on it briefly. If you are one of those DKs who is going for a pure mastery > everything else build, then no. the 2p bonus is worth getting, but the 4p bonus is not. However, if you’re going with the hit/exp cap gearing strategy first, then the 4p bonus may be worth looking in to. The shoulders and helm have expertise, while the chest and gloves both have hit.

“how raid work in pandaria bloob (sic) knight”

…../falls off his chair laughing hysterically

“does starfall drop for blood dks?”

By “Starfall” I am assuming you mean Starshatter, and then answer is yes. There was a bug a while ago with blood DKs having 1h weapons show up in their gear list, but that has since been corrected, and I can assure you, you will see Starshatter in your list of drops while specced blood.

“is mark of the dancing crane warcraft ring unique”

No, it doesn’t appear to be unique. Have at if, if you need the JP upgrade.

“why dks suck in mop”

L2P. DKs are doing just fine. Maybe gimme an example of the issue you’re having and I might be able to help.

“why can’t i use insribed tiger staff on death knight”

For one, because it’s a staff. For two, it has agility on it. What why. I don’t. what? /flail

“which necklas should a hunter choose fron anji autumnlight”

(there’s only one agi necklace she offers)

…….I would like you to meet:

dk tank unyealding blood plate or breastplate of ancient steal”

you’ll get along famously, i’m sure.

(To answer the question, Unyielding Bloodplate, without question.)

“how do i stay out of ice blocks when soloing kt”

Worry  not. When soloing Kel’thuzad, he doesn’t iceblock anybody! That’s how you stay out :D

So, that’s it for this time guys! I hope you enjoyed reading them as much as I enjoyed did. Keep the crazy/funny/brain damaged google searches coming, and i’ll do my best not to laugh my kidneys out of my body before answering them. (But afterwords, i’m on my own I guess)

State of the Fuzzbutt

13 Dec

Wow. It’s been like 6 weeks since my last post. I knew the blog had gotten away from me a bit, but… Damn, sorry guys.

I suppose you have been wondering what I’ve been up to since my last post. Well, SIB officially started raiding on November 8th, and thus far we’ve been doing pretty damn well. Our first week, we killed the first two bosses, and then we floundered on Gara’jal for a week (and then Thanksgiving), and the following week we downed both Gara’jal and Spirit Kings. We’ve been sitting on Elegon for a bit, but this week, we didn’t have a healer with a DPS spec sign up, so we decided to go to Heart of Fear and put some tries in on Zor’lok. For all of 4 attempts, I think it’s safe to say we’ve got Zor’lok’s number pretty well, we just need to tighten up a couple things (attenuation and mind controls are the biggies at this point).

Raiding continues to plug along in genuine SiB fashion, in never failing to surprise me sometimes. However, I do wish to give my first Bag Of Angry Dicks Award to Elegon. (You may remember other such recipients of this award as Al’Akir, and… Well, I think he was the only other one actually)

Elegon: in a raid of encounters that were moderately challenging, without punching people in the face, you managed to be the Angry Teabagging FPS-player of Mogu’shan Vaults. And for that, I hate you. Fucker.

*ahem*

This weekend I also managed to snag a Brawler’s Guild invite. I have to say folks, as someone who’s been really big into soloing older content, this is fucking awesome. However, the fact that it’s Cross-Realm does tend to make it a bit buggy at times. (I was DC’ed a few times because of stupid shit like, being dropped into the ring when my turn came up. I mean, how dare I do that? Pfft). I didn’t manage to progress very far because the queues were getting longer and longer as the night progressed, it seemed. I did manage to go to rank 2 without any issues though. Y’know… aside from cross-realm-initiated-DC issues that is.

Speaking of soloing old-school raids, i’ve gone and done a couple of the Cataclysm bosses. Magmaw, Omnotron, and Halfus have all succumbed to my solo bitch-slappings. Maloriak is pretty much impossible to solo at this point. I can’t get past the Atramedes trash alone to try him (DAMN YOU EXECUTION SENTENCE!). Chimaeron is do-able, but you need to be EXTREMELY lucky and well… i’m just kinda succumbing to RNG every time.

WoWScrnShot_110312_173134 WoWScrnShot_110312_175315 WoWScrnShot_110312_194511

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you go check out my Youtube channel, you’ll also notice that i’ve got a few kill videos posted up there as well. I didn’t manage to get Spirit Kings on our first drop (because honestly, it surprised me that we got them that quick heh). I do have a video from last night (on 12/12/12 hah), but I have yet to process and upload it.

In other news of things i’ve been doing, you probably don’t care anyway. heh. I mainly wanted to post this because it HAS been so long since I’ve made a blog post, and I didn’t want people to think I had completely disappeared. I got a little frustrated with a lot of things, both in-game and IRL, so the blog sort of took a backseat for a bit. I think things are starting to get better, so I plan on posting more regularly again. I hope the long absence didn’t drive TOO many of you away ;D

 

The Death Knight Number Shuffle

28 Oct

I am not a theorycrafter really. I have a basic idea of how the stats work for the classes, and why we want some more than others, but I couldn’t tell you the exact values, or how people determine them, or even a vague idea of how people decide how to determine stat weights. All that having been said, I do want to talk about Death Knight stats for a few minutes. Basically, I am going to go down the line and list what each stat does for us (for each spec), why we would want it, and why we would not want it. I’ve noticed a rather disheartening trend among all of the so-called “guide” sites (noxxic, mr robot, EJ, icy-veins) in that NOBODY is giving the same information to the community. This is a problem because if 4 people are getting their information from any of the 4 different sites, who’s to say who’s wrong or right?

Strength: Initially, I wasn’t going to mention it, but I feel the need to do so because I *still* come across some numbskull DKs rolling on Agility rings or trinkets or what have you. Strength is our base stat. Long gone are the days of DKs using agility weapons, because we get absolute shit for benefit from them. If a DK is using an agility weapon, they’re doing it wrong. Some people have the sort of “golden rule” about a 3-tier improvement making agi weapons allowable based solely on weapon damage increases alone, but I think that’s shit. If you’re a DK, you should have strength on everything. All three specs get 2 AP (Attack Power) per 1 point of strength.

Blood – Blood DKs get an added bonus of having a parry rate conversion from strength. Roughly 90% of strength is converted into parry rating. To put this into easier-to-digest terms, if an item has 100 strength on it, and you’re a blood DK, it’ll give you the equivalent of 90 parry rating as well.

Hit: This is a simple one to explain. Hit lets you hit things more frequently. Easy, right? The percentage to never miss a raid boss-level mob is 7.5% (2550 hit rating at 90, or 2210 hit rating if you’re a draenei)

Frost Dual-Wield – Any dual-wielding class has things a bit differently. They will notice two sets of hit ratings on their character sheet when they mouse over it. Innately, it takes something like 15% hit rating to completely hit cap (aka “white cap”. Every attack that has white damage numbers is an auto-attack, whereas if it’s yellow numbers, it’s an ability). It’s worth noting that NO dual-wielding class will pour enough stats into reaching white cap. They will stop at 7.5% (“yellow cap”, or “specials cap”). The amount of hit rating it takes to white cap simply take too much away from the your other stats to be worthwhile.

Expertise: This one is relatively simple to explain as well. Every creature in wow (player-controlled or NPC) has a built-in chance to dodge attacks, and most have a chance to parry them as well (not all PCs do). Expertise removes the chance you will be dodged or parried (in that order). Now, prior to MoP, expertise was handled a bit differently in that up to a certain point, it would push some of both dodge AND parry off the table. Since 5.0, it is much more simply done. There is a maximum of 15% expertise. 7.5% (2550 hit rating at 90, or 2210 hit rating if you’re a have sword/axe/mace specialization and are using the corresponding weapon) will completely push dodge off the combat table, and the next 7.5% will push parry off the table.

Frost/Unholy – It’s worth noting that NO creatures can parry from the back or sides. If you are frost or unholy (or any other melee dps class for that matter), you should *always* be behind the boss whenever physically possible. Since you’re ideally behind everybody, you never have to worry about parry, so you can safely stop at 7.5% expertise.

Blood – Now then, obviously tanks don’t get that choice. They’re always in front of the boss, and as such will get parried sometimes. With this in mind, as a tank, you’re probably NEVER going to go for the 15% expertise level. The reason for this is because Death Strike cannot be parried. Basically, the most important ability that factors in your survival stops at 7.5% expertise, so why go higher?

Haste: Haste is a funny thing for Death Knights. Actually, it’s been a funny thing for a lot of classes since 5.0, but that’s not what i’m writing about. Haste makes our weapon swing faster, that’s the obvious part. Haste also plays a part in our rune regeneration, so it’s something that has the potential to be a big deal for all of the specs.

Frost 2-handed/Unholy – Haste is the biggest stat for 2-handers. Because of the way things work currently, haste will contribute more runes for you to hit the big button (either obliterate or scourge strike) more often. It also contributes more, proportionally, to your swing speed since you start off with a much slower speed.

Frost Dual-Wield - Prior to 5.0, haste was the big deal for all three DPS specs, but it doesn’t work like that anymore… more on that later.

Mastery: Mastery continues to be an interesting stat to look at across the board for all three specs of Death Knight.

Blood – Mastery is the king of the frickin hill for tanks. Death Strike is your mainstay of survivability, and mastery increases the percentage of your death strike that gets turned into a shield. For instance, i’m currently sitting at about 130% mastery, so to put it in easier to digest numbers… if my DS heals me for 10,000 then I will generate a shield for 13,000.

Unholy – Sadly, mastery is kind of the bottom of the heap for unholy specced DKs, and i’ll tell you why. Haste not only contributes to your swing speed and rune regeneration, but it ALSO contributes to your minion’s swing speed. It double dips, sort of. Crit has the same thing in that it increases your crit, as well as your ghoul’s crit. Mastery increases shadow damage, and while a significant portion of YOUR damage is shadow damage, your minion does NOT deal shadow damage.

Frost - Frost is a funny thing. If you are a dual-wielding frost DK, then mastery is going to be your kingpin. With Frost Strike being your heavy hitter (and dealing actual FROST damage instead of weapon damage like Obliterate), then mastery just makes your hardest hitter… hit harder. Conversely, for the 2-handed frosty DKs, frost strike is a much lower portion of your damage overall, so you don’t benefit as much from mastery.

Crit: Crit is, by and large, a pretty simple stat that is worthless to 3/4 of the Death Knight specs.

Unholy – As I mentioned before, Unholy is the only spec that really gets any actual benefit from crit. It’s not a strong a stat for you as haste is, but it IS stronger than Mastery in that your minion will double dip from any extra crit you already have. It’s relatively useless for Frost because most of your crits are going to come from Killing Machine procs, and it’s even more useless for Blood because your job is staying alive, not putting out big numbers… although we ALL KNOW that you’re tending to do both right now. So why do you need crit anyway, huh? Greedy.

Dodge/Parry: This is only going to be found on tank gear. If you’re an unholy or frost DK, and you have either of these on your gear, then you are doing it WRONG.

Now then, to break it down, the varied specs stat priorities SHOULD look like this.

Blood – Hit/Exp cap* > Mastery > Parry** > Dodge > crit/haste.

*I know that in a previous post I said that 7.5% hit/exp may not be the best way to go for raiding, and in fact I still stand by that feeling. However, to be completely optimal, you DO want to eliminate all chance for death strike to miss, so 7.5% hit and 7.5% expertise is the OPTIMAL way to go, but between 4-5% of each is definitely satisfactory.

**As it stands currently, Parry is more valued than dodge because we have a higher value of baseline dodge (with zero gear on). About twice as much, actually. That in mind, we want to have about twice as much parry as we do dodge, because it will take that much more for the diminishing returns to even out. It’s also worth noting that the 4% parry given from Rune of Swordshattering does NOT SUFFER from diminishing returns… it’s a free 4%.

Frost 2-handed – Hit/Exp cap > Haste > Mastery > Crit

Frost Dual-Wield – Hit/Exp cap > Mastery > Haste > Crit

Unholy – Hit/Exp cap > Haste > Crit > Mastery

It should be noted that these priorities COULD be wrong. They are based on what I know and understand about the various specs with my own personal experience, but I have no math to back them up because… well, honestly i’m not very good with the maths. I don’t have stat weights for any of these. They are just “X is better than Y” in black and white, because that’s generally how it works.

Mogu’shan Vaults gear for Blood DKs

19 Oct

Now that Mogu’shan Vaults has been live for a couple weeks, and everything is out on LFR, I figured now was as good a time as any to put together the next gear list for t14 raiding. I’ll make a new gear list for Terrace of Endless Spring and Heart of Fear in the near future (probably around the times that those hit LFR as well).

As always, I prioritize hit/exp and mastery on all my gear. Dodge and parry are still good stats, but mastery is the top of the food chain for DKs at the moment, and it doesn’t get any worse the better your gear gets like dodge/parry do (diminishing returns are a bitch).

I’m going to change it up a wee bit and go down the line boss by boss instead of by gear slot.

The Stone Guard:

Beads of the Mogu’shi – This one is pretty much the exact counter to the VP necklace, so if you find yourself needing more dodge or expertise, go with the drop. If you find yourself needing more parry or hit, go with the valor buy.

Jasper Clawfeet – These are clearly meant to be DPS boots, but the mastery still makes them desirable for us. Only take them if you’ve had absolute shit luck for boot drops, and you’re not taking them from a plate DPS who could put them to better use. The socket, and baseline mastery make them better than the Sha of Anger’s quest boots, but still… don’t take them from a DPS.

Star-Stealer Waistguard – This belt is just plain sexy. Two sockets (plus a third from the belt buckle) mean MASSIVE AMOUNTS OF MASTERY. Also, it comes with mastery on it. There’s no reason to bypass this belt. Roll on it and pray for lucky dice.

Feng the Accursed:

Bracers of the Six Oxen – These are about equivalent to the VP bracers, with the exception of the hit. If you need more hit, go with the VP buys, if not, go with the drop.

Gara’jal the Spiritbinder:

Sollerets of Spirit Splitting – If you’ve made it this far, these boots are worth waiting for, and definitely better than the Jasper Clawfeet off of Stone Guard.

The Spirit Kings:

Breastplate of the Kings’ Guard – This is another item, clearly meant for DPS (haste what ew), but is still pretty good for us, since it has buckets of mastery. There’s also a BIG number of haste to reforge into something more beneficial (296 rating to turn into dodge/parry/hit/expertise)

Shoulderguards of the Unflanked – Red sockets weird me out on tank pieces, but even still this is a good shoulder piece. No mastery in it though, which is a shame really.

Elegon:

Band of Bursting Novas – A pretty solid ring, which seems to be another slot that we are going to have trouble filling in this first raid. Better than nothing, I suppose.

Vial of Dragon’s Blood – This trinket is *awesome*. Seriously, loads of mastery, and a huge dodge proc, and nothing to use manually? *sexy*. I would burn multiple coins on this trinket if I could. Very amazing.

Starshatter – This being the only two-handed strength weapon puts us in an awkward place, because all the DPS warriors, ret pallies, and dps DKs will all be fighting over this weapon. Stand your ground though, because it is BiS for all of you (until Terrace and Heart are released anyway).

Will of the Emperor -

Chestguard of Eternal Vigilance – The only real tank drop off the final boss of Mogu’shan Vaults. At least it’s a pretty good one, but the red and blue sockets are still weird as hell to me.

 

Itemization continues to be a weird-as-hell thing coming into the first raid of this expansion. I did discover, arbitrarily, that about 90% of our strength is converted into parry rating, however. That would explain a lot of the “Strength” socket bonuses on tank gear i’m seeing lately, but it’s still just… REALLY weird I don’t even know. It seems like they’re trying to have something for everybody, and while that’s GOOD, it tends to make itemization weird for us DKs who prioritize mastery above the rest of the planet, compared to, say Prot Pallies who have a *really* weird stat priority system. (Apparently they like haste now? I don’t even know). Anyway, Terrace of Endless Spring and Heart of Fear are released in a couple weeks, so expect to see follow-up posts regarding those two raids in the near future!

Good Night, and Good Riddance

11 Sep

Two weeks until Mists of Pandaria goes live. Can you believe that shit? I think I am going to take a break from the useful information posts and get back to babbling a little bit.

I’m sitting here talking to Kia about it, and she made the comment that it seems like we’ve been waiting for it for 6 months. The more I think about it, the more I realize that she’s not too far off. See, as far as Stands In Bad is concerned, Cataclysm as an expansion has basically been over since February, when we first killed Deathwing. Or perhaps you could say it ended in April, when our lone rogue got her Fangs of the Father legendaries. I think what hit our guild the hardest was the May 15th release of Diablo III, and the vacancy (read: gaping vacuum) it left in our guild ranks for a while. Our guild-wide server move back in June did help bring some prodigal children back, and of course patch 5.0.4 definitely saw a lot of people crawling out of the woodwork, but I digress.

No doubt, the end-of-expansion burnout is a real thing. I felt it, my guildies have felt it, it’s nothing new. I do, however, want to take a minute to look at what was different this time around versus the last couple of go-rounds.

  • Dragon Soul, the last raid of Cataclysm was patched into the game on November 29 of last year. Mists of Pandaria goes live September 25.  That is a 10 month gap with absolutely no new content (save the pre-expansion patch).
  • Ruby Sanctum, the last raid of Wrath of the Lich King was patched into the game on June 22, 2010. Cataclysm launched December 7, 2010. That is only a 5 1/2 month gap of no new content. Even if RS was/is considered a stop-gap, or a holdover raid, it was still new content before the expansion.
  • Sunwell Plateau, the last raid of Burning Crusade was patched in, March 25, 2008. Wrath of the Lich King launched November 13, 2008. That leaves a (nearly) 8 month gap of no new content.

So, the first thing you notice is that Cataclysm will have gone the longest with absolutely no new content patched in. (Vanilla is a whole different, discombobulating story… and I didn’t play then anyway ;D) So it seems natural, of course, that this particular waiting game seems more miserable than those before it… right? Well… maybe. Let’s take a look at what ELSE came in with these patches.

  • Dragon Soul’s patch brought with it 3 new instances (End Time, Hour of Twilight, Well of Eternity), the introduction of the controversial (yet undeniably popular) “Looking for Raid” tool, and the obscenely popular Transmogrification/Void Storage abilities.
  • Ruby Sanctum’s patch the epically questionable Real ID feature to life. No other new content.
  • SWP’s patch brought with it the Isle of Quel’Danas daily hub (which had to be “taken back” in stages… a very cool idea that Blizzard tried to revisit in the Molten Front, but didn’t seem to pull off quite as neatly), and Magister’s Terrace along with it.

So, I think Cataclysm’s “final” patch brought arguably the most content to the game. (I *still* love the Isle of Quel’Danas though… I don’t even care) Theoretically, this should make that 10 month black hole easier to cope with, shouldn’t it? So what is it that makes this time around feel so much worse than the previous ones?

I think the biggest part, for me, is that Dragon Soul told the ending of a story I wasn’t very engrossed in in the first place. I didn’t want Garrosh to take over the Horde. I didn’t want to see Thrall get all green-skinned freaky with Aggra. I didn’t want to see the Dragon aspects lose their power and say “Welp, its your show now squishies… have fun with it!” And most of all, I didn’t really care what the hell happened to Deathwing. Cataclysm’s biggest failing, to me, was Wrath’s biggest success… Tying the entire story together, and making the player *care* about wtf is going on. Y’know what Deathwing is to me? He’s a Godzilla. He’s an angry, flying lizard who flew around Azeroth for a year torching cities and giving people stupid achievements that they could get by rolling into LFR and dying on Spine or Madness anyway (which is an almost certainty with most pugs nowadays).

Putting together the actual dragon soul, and helping the aspects empower it to use against Deathwing inside the raid was kind of cool. The dialogue was well done (Blizz has never been at a shortage for top quality voice acting), and there seemed to be legitimate urgency with the task we were given, but y’know what? I honestly didn’t care much about Deathwing. He didn’t have any motivations other than to destroy the world. And yeah, I get it… A dead old god drove him insane by whispering in his brain for many years and blah blah blah… but does insanity mean a character has to be stripped of all his interesting qualities? Just look at Arthas. He had been driven mad by Frostmourne’s voice for all those years, sitting on the frozen throne, dwelling on what happened to his home, and everything he had become. There’s no question, in my mind, that Arthas was insane by the time you broke Frostmourne at the end of the Lich King encounter, but he was still an *amazing* character.

Recently, I went and finished up Loremaster on my druid. Northrend was my last continent to clear out as I went along the way, and I have to say that the storyline in each zone was magnificent… and yet each zone was tied in to the next (sometimes, with great subtlety, I admit), and all of them were overarching and pointing in one direction… Icecrown. From discovering the corruption of the Vrykul in Howling Fjord and helping Thassarian rescue his sister in Borean Tundra, to helping the Avatar of Freya combat the scourge coming down the mountains in Sholazar Basin and re-discovering Arthas’ long-lost (and presumed dead) friend Muradin in the Storm Peaks. Everything ties in together, and drives you forward to wanting to make that sonofabitch pay for what he’s done. And the Icecrown Citadel raid was the perfect cap to such a long journey.

Dragon Soul had none of that. None of the Cataclysm zones had the feel of pushing you towards your final confrontation with Deathwing. Hell, some of them i’m *still* not entirely sure what they had to do with the overarching story (Uldum had about 2 quests with some vague indication of “Here, there be dragons”, and that’s about it). There was just no compelling reason to kill Deathwing other than “Oh, he flew around and gave me an achievement for inconveniencing me for 5 minutes”. It was disjointed, disconnected, and dammit I just didn’t care enough. I seriously hope that the Blizzard storytelling team takes a look back at what worked in Wrath, and applies it forward into Mists of Pandaria, because honestly… I haven’t felt much compelled as a character to do anything since our guild cleared Bastion of Twilight.

5.0.4 makes my blood boil!

29 Aug

Okay… I hope you’ll pardon the pun in the title. I’m actually quite thrilled at the DK changes i’ve run across. Crazy amounts excited about the blood DK changes. I spent some time playing with it last night, and some little things REALLY caught my attention that just made me happy. A lot of them are tiny little quality of life issues, but still, some of them are just AWESOME.

I went in and blew through Naxx 10 solo, just to get a feel for things. Initially, I was going to play around and test out the different rune regeneration talents (level 75 tier). The first one I went to check out was Blood Tap, and the first boss I went after was Patchwerk. I gotta be honest guys, after doing Patch with Blood Tap on, I was sold. I didn’t even WANT to try Runic Empowerment (because I already know how it feels, it’s what blood’s been using ever since release). Macroing Blood Tap into all of your main abilities really is the ONLY way to regenerate runes guys. It is so smooth and seemless…. it’s just awesome.

Another thing that I hadn’t really paid attention to before, but made itself ABUNDANTLY clear when fighting Patchwerk… Crimson Scourge is now baseline for blood DKs. Previously it was a talent that we didn’t really pick up because… well blood boil was kinda worthless, even with that extra damage. Well, now I can freely admit that blood boil STILL doesn’t hit very hard, but now, they’ve made a pretty big changed to Scarlet Fever… For those of you playing along at home who AREN’T clicking on links… Blood Boil now refreshes diseases.

Let me say that again, in case you just skimmed over it without paying much attention.

Blood boil. Now. Refreshes. Diseases.

Holy batshit you guys, that’s amazing. Not only does it solve the problem generated by moving Outbreak back to a 1 minute cooldown across the board, but when combined with the Scarlet Fever passive, it means that our diseases pretty much will NEVER fall off the target. Why’s that? Because you ALWAYS have blood runes to get rid of. The *easy* answer is that you can simply replace heart strike with blood boil, but that’s a relatively inelegant solution (although perfectly viable). Ideally, you’ll want to use heart strike as much as possible, only spending a rune on blood boil if your diseases are JUST about to fall off and you don’t have a proc. It is possible, but probably won’t happen that often. Generally, save runes for heart strike, and CS (Crimson Scourge) procs for blood boil.

Now, a caveat to the above statement. Crimson Scourge *also* gives you a free death & decay. It doesn’t reset the cooldown on it, but it’s extra damage. This is one of those things that Blizz gives you a way to seperate yourself from the pack. It’s perfectly acceptable to do nothing but blood boil. Your diseases will guarantee to never fall off, and you’re only sacrificing a modest amount of DPS. But the DK tanks who can properly weave in heart strikes, and even Death and Decay (I confirmed that it DOES do more damage, even on a single target at zero vengeance, than blood boil) properly will squeeze out that extra bit of dps. With the way vengeance no longer has a cap, I suspsect that it’ll become more and more significant as the content you run becomes harder.

Now… The other thing I noticed while playing, that I hadn’t noticed before, was the Scent of Blood change. Interestingly enough, this accrues with *every* auto-attack swing. This will be a little more curious to see how it plays out in the grand scheme of things, but I suspect that some of the absolute “Best of the Best” tanks will somehow find a way to time their death strikes properly after getting a couple stacks of this. Big damage incoming? Stave off the Death Strike for a bit and get a couple charges. Take the big hit, heal yourself back up massively, watch the healers go “wait what just happened?”, laugh yourself silly. Fun times for everybody!

This ties in to my (ever ongoing) indecision on which class i’m going to play for Mists. I figure I will spend a week on each toon (druid and DK), exclusively. Raid tank with it, run 5-mans with it, the whole shebang. At the end of each week, I will post my overarching thoughts, and then I will compare the two. My comparison may go into another blogpost, it may not… I haven’t exactly decided yet.

By the way… Pretty much ALL THE TIME, my DK will be on the Headless Horseman’s mount. LOOK AT MY HORSE, MY HORSE IS AMAZING!

The Battle Rages On

30 Jul

Fair warning ahead of time… this post will probably be pretty disjointed, and I think i’m going to end up talking about 3 or 4 different things in here. Consider this making up for not posting for 2 weeks.

I still don’t know what the hell i’m going to play come MoP. Right now, it’s a tossup between my druid and my dk. I decided to dust off my DK a few days ago and work on tanking with her again. It has been… a while since I gave DK tanking an honest shot, and man I had forgotten just how much fun it really was. So I poked Kia and asked if she wanted to run some dungeons with me. (For the record, her response was “/blinkblink…are you feeling alright?”).

So, I ran several dungeons, and absolutely NOTHING dropped for me. Go figure. So, LFR, I thought. “I’ve had no luck in dungeons, that must mean my luck in LFR will be better, right?” Well… I was half right. I picked up two upgrades in the first 4 bosses, and nothing in the last 4, but it still went pretty well overall… and I had a ton of fun. Also, I had a good reminder of just how damn powerful their defensive cooldowns are (HELLO ANTI-MAGIC SHELL!) when used at the right times. I also realized that I was pretty damn rusty at proper rune-gaming for Blood DKs, but thanks to a brief conversation with Rades I have that figured out pretty well also. (It takes work to do it “perfectly”, but it’s definitely much more effective than what I was doing.)

Well, after going and getting my DK some tanking gear, I decided that I wanted to transmog  her tank gear to look like an actual “blood” set (and this is the gear you see in her armory picture). This is a big part of what got me into the “OH MY GOD WHICH CLASS DO I WANT TO PLAY” conundrum I find myself faced with. Both the druid and the DK have some great bonuses, and some drawbacks. (One of the drawbacks of the druid is that I can’t see his mogged gear very much…  Go figure)

Also, over the last few days, i’ve spent a significant amount of time soloing old raid content. Partly, because it’s pretty damn good money (seriously, i made 5k in a day and a half on the DK), and partly to see if I could, and partly because raid bosses are having their gold amounts nerfed into oblivion adjusted to depend on the size of the party. I figured I might as well “get while the gettin’s good”… or something.

Man, it just felt wrong to type that, but I digress.

Soloing old raid content is a lot harder than I had expected. Well… some of it was anyway. I took my DK (who is considerably lesser geared than my Druid) into SSC, TK, and Naxx to see how I would fair. All told, I did alright, but I had to work a *lot* harder at it because of the gear disparity. Also, my druid puts out some *beastly* DPS for a tank, and my DK, who isn’t terrible by ANY means, just doesn’t compare right now. Taking the DK into older raids, however, DID give me the chance to see things that my druid might not have survived, and see things that my druid probably would have excelled at comparatively. It gave me more of a chance to see the variations between bear and blood rotations, and how they handle different problems. Also, it helped me realize that my DK needs a fuck ton more hit/expertise overall… sigh.

Sidebar on that topic: My druid is currently *bleeding* expertise to the point where it’s reforged off from every piece that has it, and i’m STILL over the soft cap. On top of that, he also has a modest amount of hit rating. My DK on the other hand is a draenei, so she has the built in 1% hit, and as a blood DK comes with 6 expertise or something like that, baked into the spec. My druid has 31 expertise, and about 3% hit, whereas the DK has 10 expertise and 1.48% hit. What the shit. Anyway.

Soloing old content is a lot of fun, but the money from bosses (like 130-180 from naxx 10, and 250 from BC 25 man raids) is about to go away, and that is sad. It’ll still be a good moneymaker if you can pull it off, between trash drops and gear being sold, plus you get a lot of practice at learning how to stay alive. All told, that in and of itself is very good exercise for a tank who wants to improve his game. Go solo Naxx or SSC or something. I would be willing to bet that you’ll find SOME way to get better. Hell, even if you don’t? You made a good chunk of change for your efforts. Win-Win situation.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go take my druid into the Battle for Mt Hyjal and see how that goes.

Did you think we had forgotten?

16 Jul

So, last night I got a wild bug in the backside, and decided that I was tired of staring at some blank achievements. You may remember several months back that I had made a post about starting loremaster. I was determined, my jaw was set, and I decided I was going to make Outlands wish it hadn’t trifled with me all those months ago.

asdflkjdsk AM I CRAZY?

There.. you see all of those time-stamps for when I did the achievements? That’s right. I did 5 zones in about 12 hours.. give or take. Now, to be fair I was about 1/3 done with Shadowmoon Valley, something like 52 quests into Nagrand, and (i think) 40 quests into Netherstorm.  I had a big fat goose egg in Blade’s Edge, and *man* was that place ever painful. It started off well enough, but the reservoir dried up as I closed in on the end of it. I had to finish my last 7-8 quests doing Ogri’la quests. Now, dailies don’t count towards loremastering zones, but when you FIRST do the quest and it’s a yellow exclamation mark, then it WILL count. Lucky for me, because I would’ve been pounding my head on the desk by now if I had to find those quests from other places.

 

not bad all things consideredNow, this shows what I have left in Northrend. 6 zones may sound like a lot, but let me break down what I have from levelling Fuzz up a couple years back. I have 84/115 quests in Dragonblight, 12/85 in Grizzly Hills, 21/100 in Zul’Drek, 62/100 in Storm Peaks, 59/140 in Icecrown, and another goose egg waiting for me in Howling Fjord.

I’ve never really cared much for Howling Fjord. I went through a few quests there once, way back when Wrath launched, on my mage, but it was meh. I like efficient levelling, and Borean Tundra seemed like the more efficient route. I’ve had several people tell me they prefer HF, and I may find that my first impression was wrong, so we’ll see. I am, a little bit, looking forward to getting in and REALLY delving into that quest lines.

Icecrown isn’t overly terrible, but it’s a REALLY big zone, and there was LOTS of group quests in there. I don’t mind group quests at all, but they’ve always kinda bothered me when you have so many of them pigeonholed into one zone. Of course, group quests for a levelling 78-80 toon won’t be a load of squat compared to a raid geared 85, but I know that’s one reason I have always tended to avoid that place.

Dragonblight and Storm Peaks are probably not much to worry about. Grizzly Hills and Zul’Drek will take some time, but they have solid breadcrubs, so i’m not worried about them either. All things considered, I have come to the conclusion that people who Loremaster once are out of their frickin minds.

 

It makes you take a look back at the differences between the way questing is done now and how it was done a couple years ago. Go into the pre-level-60 zones, or Northrend or a Cata zone, and everything is so streamlined and pointing you in the right direction. And then you go and do Outlands and it’s like getting punched in the face by 5 year old quest design. Now, don’t misunderstand me. I pretty much hit it right on the head. Burning Crusade *is* 5 years old, and it would’ve cost a LOT of extra man-hours to streamline those zones, especially when Blizzard barely got Cata released on time as it was, given the huge reinventing of pre-60 content. And for MoP, Blizz is focusing more on updating character models/skeletons (which they DESPERATELY need), so we won’t see it for the next expansion either.

It makes me kind of wonder whether we’ll EVER see a revamp of the Outlands quests.To be perfectly honest, I wouldn’t hold my breath folks.

The only exception would be if there’s another expac that has us going after Sargeras (which would probably be the very last expac for WoW, truth be told), and only then because it’s going to be story-wise relevant content. Illidan and Kil’Jaedan are dead, the Burning Legion have been beaten back TWICE from the brink of turning Azeroth into another planet-shaped-smear on their road map of intergalactic conquest, and a bunch of other stuff has happened that I can’t even think about right now because… well to be perfectly honest, i’ve spent most of the last 14 hours doing fricking Outlands loremaster, and i’m a bit brain addled.

Time to go lay down.. oof.

Max Level PvP

8 Jul

I’ve written several posts in the past about lowbie pvp and twinking and things like that. There’s been a big discussion on twitter this morning about max-level pvp, and I mentioned that none of my max-level toons have any pvp gear. This seemed a bit strange to me, considering my recent spazzmoid of lowbie pvp posts lately, so I sat for a bit and thought about *why* i didn’t get into capped pvp.

I actually tried to get into pvp on my druid back in Wrath. It was the end of the expansion, and while we were still actively raiding, we had ICC on farm and were mostly going back for achievements like Ulduar drakes and things of that nature. So, in my downtime between raids, I decided to go into BGs to see what that was like. Sure, I didn’t have any pvp gear, but i was a damn good geared tank, and I felt like I could be pretty survivable like that, meanwhile going into kitty and doing some pretty good damage (because agility conversions for ferals are win). And I did okay. I wasn’t spectacular, and I *definitely* wasn’t topping charts for KBs/HKs/Damage or anything of that nature, but I did… modestly well. I also found out that I absolutely LOVE Strand of the Ancients… but that’s beside the point.

To me, the problem with getting into max level pvp has always been the gating system. You need pvp gear to perform well in pvp. You *could* argue that the same is true for pve (whether it be heroics or raiding or whatever), and you would be right, but the gating system is a lot more severe into pvp than it is to pve. Let me put this another way. When you first ding 85 on your toon, if you want to go the PvE path, you’ve already got a bit of JP saved up (most likely) from doing 5 man randoms, and probably some halfway-decent dungeon gear. You may or may not be able to get into level 85 heroics as soon as you ding, but if you CAN’T, then it’s a pretty easy fix. Run a couple more regulars hoping for good drops, or go buy some BoEs off of the auction house. You then run heroics for Valor points and heroic drops, working your way into LFR level, which you run for LFR-raid drops, and take THOSE into normal raids (some people can bypass the LFR altogether, if their raid team isn’t overly picky. It just depends I suppose).

So that progression looks something like: Ding 85 > Normal 5-mans > Heroics 5-mans > LFR (optional) > Raiding

Now, let’s take this SAME fresh 85, and decide we want to pvp with him instead. Naturally, your first instinct is to just queue into BGs and run them until your head falls off. Or you get enough Honor/Conquest for some good gear, whichever comes first (to me, they’re almost parallel). You may be able to buy some BoEs off of the AH for some blue 372 (i think?) ilvl crafted pvp gear, and you may convert some of your saved up JP from running dungeons to honor (AT A LOSS mind you) to buy a piece or two of gear. Hell, you may even have some honor saved up from just doing BGs at the lower level queues, so you might be able to get yourself a good 3-4 pieces between honor, jp converted to honor, and boe crafted shit on the AH. So you step into your first BG with your horridly mismatched gear.

Now here’s where the roads start to pull apart, pretty heavily. See, the pve person knows what he’s getting into. He’s facing a normal/heroic 5-man boss, which is attuned to right around his gear level. The pvp person, on the other hand, has NO CLUE what he would be getting into when he steps into that bg. He may run across a couple other people who are similarly geared, but at the same time he may run into a raid-boss equivalent DK with full Cataclysmic Gladiator gear, and the top weapon from Dragon Soul raid, who will basically laugh at your attempts to stab/shoot/cast him, and blow you up like an old M-80. So your pvp toon needs to deal with all difficulties, gear levels, and all kinds of shit running the gamut from other fresh 85s to arena masters, and in doing so, scraping up enough honor for himself in between massive amounts of dying to buy himself some pvp gear and eventually stepping into arenas or rated BGs.

So the pvp progression looks something like: Ding 85 > Run BGs > Run moar BGs > Arenas = Rated BGs.

Are you starting to see the discrepancy here? Your pve 85 can’t step into Dragon Soul and expect to meaningfully contribute, but you also won’t be seeing Ultraxion when you queue up for Heroic SFK either. Conversely, your pvp 85 can’t step into any BGs and expect to meaningfully contribute, but there’s a VERY real chance that you WILL see an arena-geared individual… or several. Hell, if you’re really unlucky, you’ll step in and face a full on premade and at this point you might as well just expect to get blown up a lot and hope you can take a few of them down for some honor until they decide to win.

Blizzard has tried, and probably will continue to try, to make gating into PvP less and less painful, and to a point i’m sure they WILL succeed, but it’s always going to be the same way, because there is no logical “pre-heroic” step. The best way to get pvp gear is to just jump in and pvp, and get kicked around a lot until you can scrape together enough points to buy stuff that make you effective. It’s kind of a flawed system, and honestly I don’t have any legitimate way to fix it. Don’t get me wrong, i’m not saying that just any shmuck should be able to dive right into BGs at level cap and be able to own face the minute they hit 85, but I do feel like there should be another step *somewhere* in there, that doesn’t require saving up 4k honor, and 4k jp (to convert to MORE honor) before you ding 85. It’s a punishing system, and that’s mainly why I don’t get into pvp at max level.

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