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The grass is always greener

4 Jul

It came to my attention recently that I am an extreme altoholic.

Startling revelation isn’t it?

See, I was playing my second shaman last night (since my first one is still on Azgalor, and i’m probably not going to pay to move him) last night and something (honestly don’t remember how it came up) kind of struck my brainpan and I wanted to play a warrior. Now, I should tell you, that I *DID* have a warrior back on Azgalor at level 85. Past tense. I deleted her for some reason… I don’t even remember at this point (probably having something to do with just never playing her).

It occurred to me last night that I like playing all the classes, not because I want to do all the things. A big part of why I do it is what I call the “grass is greener” effect. I like looking at the patch notes or something of that nature, and then I see something and think “man that (talent/ability/change) sounds so frickin COOL! Now I want to play a (anything but a rogue pretty much)!” And so, I roll one up and level him/her like a madman. Sure enough, i’ll reach whatever point has the new shiny i wanted to look at, and i’ll muck about with it for a while. I’ll probably have some giggle fits about it as well, and then eventually i’ll get the class to 85 and get bored with it because the thought of gearing up yet ANOTHER toon for raiding is nothing short of tiresome.

I have 3 toons right now that are “Destroyer’s End”‘s. I have a lot of other toons that hit 85 and just kinda sat there. Occasionally I will log onto them and try to pick them up again, but then I remember “oh right.. i have to gear them up. damn” and right back into the dustbin they go. It’s kind of a shame really, because i’ve spent so much time in them getting them to level cap, and they usually DO have some very cool abilities, but they just don’t hold my interest all that well, al things considered.

My current project, as I mentioned earlier, is a shaman. This is different than my previous shaman in that i’m levelling him purely as enhancement. This is a spec i’ve not played since early/mid wrath (back when dual wield was at 40 and elemental was NOTHING BUT shocks/lightning bolts until 70-something.) Even when I had my other shaman, i REALLY wanted to play enhancement, because I prefer melee to ranged, but I didn’t have the melee heirlooms, so I went ele/resto. I found myself really enjoying resto, and actually HEALED my way through Dragon Soul a few times.

By the way, I want to play a shadow priest when 5.0 drops, and I also want to roll a lowbie prot pally to be a designated flag runner for warsong gulch. DAMMIT WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME.

I blame Cynwise.

 

Lowbie PvP – Take 2

25 Jun

I’ve been spending a lot of time in lowbie battlegrounds on various toons. You may remember a few months back when I mentioned that I was twinking in BGs with a friend of mine on the horde side. Well, that ended up not lasting too much longer, sadly. I kinda lost interest in WoW for a while, and then I got back into it with other things in mind. You may also remember that I mentioned about a year ago that I levelled a warlock strictly through pvp a good chunk of the ways. (I would link the post, but damned if I remember WHEN it was, or what I might’ve titled it)  Since i’m not made of money, I only took 2 toons with me to Rexxar, and everything else is kinda getting shunted to the side. I may eventually bring another toon over, but right now I don’t have any plans to do so.

Before the server move was complete, I found myself levelling a hunter almost unexpectedly. Initially it was just a toon to check out Rexxar and see what it’s people were like, but I found myself really enjoying it. A wild hair crossed my brain and next thing I know, I am level  70 and XP locking him for some still-unknown reason and taking him into battlegrounds to see how I would fare (not well, I should say).

See, here’s a dirty little secret folks… I kinda like PvP.

Now i’m not a fan of world pvp, and I am still 110% in support of our move to a non-pvp realm. Ganking while questing and being attacked by someone in excess of 50 levels above me is not my idea of a good time. Blizz is trying to make world pvp MORE of a thing by putting in dismounting weapons and lowering the levels of city guards on pvp realms, and that’s just not for me. But battlegrounds? Controlled chaos, as it were… well NOW we’re talking.

I think I picked the hunter, at the start, because I know they can be pretty damn devastating at low levels. But then, level 70 is NOT “low level” anymore really. It didn’t take long before I had a full set of Brutal Gladiator pvp gear on my hunter (minus weapon and a couple offset pieces) and then I was in the battlegrounds… doing absolute bupkiss. I felt like a waste of space, even in spite of my gear. Well, that was frustrating. It wasn’t fun for me. I know i was CAPABLE of having fun in BGs, and my fun isn’t even always dependent on me being top of the leaderboard (although, I will freely admit, that DOES make things better.)

There was a little nagging coming from the back of my something-I-couldn’t-pin-down. And then it happened. That masterful wordsmith sonofabitch Cynwise made a short (for him) post on his tumblr. After reading this, I could finally pinpoint where that nagging came from… It was one of my (many) toons back on Azgalor that I had levelled some time ago, and gave up on shortly after hitting 85, Reloran my warlock. See, as I mentioned earlier, this guy was levelled up mostly through PvP. Well… all told it was about half and half. He made it up until somewhere close to the Outlands levels (I think I gave up PvP on him somewhere around 55) almost exclusively through BGs. That was by far one of the most fun levelling experiences I have *ever* had.

After reading, and re-reading Cyn’s post, that nagging in the back of my brain got louder and more persistent. “Remember how much fun you had doing those BGs?” “Remember how AWESOME it felt when you got your Wrecking Ball achieve? Or when you crossed 5000 HKs? Remember how much FUN you had just being a little ball of CHAOS out there, fearbombing, peeling, nuking, dotting, being generally underestimated and wreaking havoc across the levelling brackets?”

I do remember. I remember it fondly. And thus, Crakelbur was born, and I have been having a BLAST with him (although I do kinda wish I had gone with human again instead of gnome, but alas). Right now, he’s sitting at level 18, and it is officially too late for me to reroll him because he just crossed a pretty big threshold.

1000 Little Indians, lying at my feetI know 1000 isn’t all that big in the grand scheme of things, but for someone who is decidedly NOT a big PvP’er, it’s a pretty big deal.

Chronicles of Cataclysm

13 Jun

I realize I am most likely late to the show on giving a sort of “post-mortem” of this expansion, but then, i’ve never been one to do things just because everyone else is doing them. Well… not *always* anyway.

Cataclysm has been an interesting time for me. There’ve been highs and lows and extended breaks and everything in between. I don’t have nearly as much to say about what *I* did this expansion as I did when I wrapped up Wrath of the Lich King… but then, I did a LOT more stuff personally throughout that expansion, I think.

Cata was a very up-and-down time for me. I put the game on hold for long segments at a time, and at one point even considered leaving the game entirely. Of course, that’s no longer the case, but i’m suffering the all-too-common “End of Expansion Doldrums” that seem to be plaguing a lot of people at this point. It’s natural, of course, to feel that way I think. Especially when you’re a part of a raiding guild that A – doesn’t do heroics raids, but B – is competent enough to have cleared normal DS  in a rather timely manner. This leaves me in an awkward, and sometimes frustrating position. Don’t misunderstand me, I really enjoy my guildies, and I am not shopping for somewhere new or anything like that. But as raid leader in a VERY democratic guild, it frustrates me sometimes when people aren’t interested in going after heroic bosses. I don’t have any doubt that we could be 2 or maybe 3 heroic bosses in at this point (Ultraxion being one of them, because we have pretty sick DPS, as well as a LOT of people who could alternate Hour of Twilight soaks, but I digress) and that’s okay that they don’t want to, I suppose. I am far from the kind of person that wants progression to trump the fun and relaxed atmosphere we’ve built for ourselves over the last two years, but every now and again I get a little jittery.

I started this expansion as raid leader and main tank for Stands in Bad, and that’s how i’m ending it. That fact, in and of itself, is unusual for me. You may or may not know this about me, but I am an altoholic (noooooooo…), and in my 4 years of WoW playing, i’ve switched mains something like 42 times. While my alting ways have far from subsided, the main changing has been kept to a minimum throughout Cataclysm. I started on my druid, and ended on my druid, (although there was a brief period in T11 where I tanked on my DK as my main, but honestly it didn’t last all that long). Raiding, as a whole, has been kind of a strange beast for my guild. We went through tier 11 strongly, finishing all of the normal mode bosses just under the wire before the nerfs and t12 came out. But then we went to the Firelands and we didn’t so much hit a wall as much as we were forcibly ran face-first into it, arms twisted behind our back. We were 4 bosses in when the nerf hit. And I am actually uneasy saying that we were even 4 bosses in, since we only actually KILLED Rhyolith MAYBE twice? And we were unable to reach any sort of consistency doing so. We’ll say we were 3 1/2 bosses in. Sure we had the kill, but we never actually had the fight down pat. Take that how you will.

The experience of Firelands was kind of a major break point for me and my will to continue playing WoW. I downloaded Rift and was really getting into that game for a while, but it was just a sort of breather, I think. There were a lot of fun things going on in Rift, but ultimately it just wasn’t the same. Also, somewhere around this point in time was where I met Kialesse. Now, generally, I keep my personal life out of my online/gaming persona, and definitely out of my blog (mostly because i’m sure you people don’t give two shits to be honest lol), but I would be remiss if I didn’t say that Kia played a pretty big factor in getting me back into playing WoW again. She didn’t actively try to coerce me or convince me or anything like that, but she got me legitimately WANTING to play again. It was definitely a turning point for me… but that’s enough with all the sappy stuff.

By the time we finally got Ragnaros down, we were almost to the point of counting the minutes until Dragon Soul was released… We were THAT ready to be done with Firelands, and indeed, we didn’t set foot in there as a guild for a couple months. You see, we had this legendary thing we had to complete. We DID end up getting both a Dragonwraith, and the Fangs of the Father in all-guild runs, in all-guild fashion, and props to both Darktyme and Teenytyny (respectively) for their accomplishments, determination, and ultimately willingness to do the same shit over and over week in and week out for inordinate amounts of time just for shiny orange weapons and some guild nerd points. o/

As it stands now, SiB is closing in on our 2nd birthday (ironically, on July 11th, or in American notation, 7-11) and we’re preparing for a drastic change in lifestyle. You see, when SiB splintered off from Brotherhood of Oblivion, we were originally on a low-mid population pvp server known as Azgalor (and still are, for that matter). A great majority of us (myself included) came to this server BECAUSE of this guild. Also, most of us are NOT pvp’ers. I mean sure, i’ll go in and wreck a lowbie BG on my priest or something like that, but world pvp just doesn’t do it for me. Then, last week, Blizzard announced a few changes to the PvP paradigm that are to come in MoP. I was not pleased one bit. World pvp is one thing. If someone wants to go around and gank me as i’m out questing or whatever, that’s all fine and good. If someone wants to raid Stormwind and kill King Wrynn, then by all means, have at it. The sort of straws that broke the camel’s back… well there’s actually 3 things that REALLY got to me about this post. The first was Blizz’s announcement of an item that can pull people off of flying mounts and force them to fight you. Not cool. Second was their intention of lowering the level of city guards on pvp realms. Third was the (understandable) announced lack of guards in the Black Market AH.

Now I want to be clear about a few things. I don’t have any issue with these changes on the whole. If Blizzard wants to bring back world PvP in a big way, then these changes are fantastic ways of doing so, and the people who enjoy that sort of thing will probably be dancing in the streets and celebrating. And more power to them. The thing is, I *don’t* enjoy that sort of thing. I don’t like having my hair stand on edge every time I hear the stealthing sound and wondering if it’s a horde rogue coming to slice me from end to end. I don’t like having to sit and fight a bunch of people everytime I want to go kill a quest mob just because they’re on the same quest. I like being able to go out and farm herbs until the end of time without worrying whether some hordie is going to come kick my ass for daring to cross the same herbing route he’s taking. It’s just not my cup of tea. No disparagement to the people who DO enjoy that sort of thing, it just isn’t for me. So, as a guild, we’ve come to a decision that we’re moving to a non-pvp server. It looks like Rexxar is going to be the new home of Stands In Bad, and this move could be happening as soon as over the next couple weeks. I’m pretty excited, I’ve gotta say. Questing in peace. Levelling lowbies without having to worry about douchenuggets 50 levels higher than me. Ahhhh, serenity.

Anyway, I haven’t been playing WoW as much lately, but that’s mostly because i’ve been REALLY busy killing demons. Also, the whole “boredom with WoW” thing that’s going on. I also haven’t been playing the beta as much as I was previously. As I said last week, there’s a large part of me that wants to go in and test ALL THE THINGS and play around and see all the pretties and everything, but then I realize that if I did all that NOW, then I would just be exceedingly bored whenever Mists of Pandaria goes live. It’s a difficult decision to make, but I figure A – new content is best experienced when I can enjoy it and don’t have to worry about “LOL WORLD SERVER IS DOWN”, and B – i’m an informed enough person about my chosen class(es) that I can make relatively sound opinions (for the most part) based on datamined info, and what I already know from the bit of beta that I *HAVE* played. I may kick around the beta here and there if I find anything particularly entertaining that I want to try out, but by and large, I don’t feel like I will be logging on to it too much from this point forward. I’m not going to partake in raid testing, or even level 90 heroics testing. I may make a premade level 90 to play around with talents or something of that nature, but it’ll be very small doses, and mostly (most likely) sitting around Stormwind beating up on a training dummy or something.

So, all in all, Cataclysm’s coming to a close. I look back on the expansion relatively satisfied with myself and what i’ve done, but I am ready for it to be over. So ready… When did they say MoP was coming out again? >.>

I’m not dead, i swear!

5 Jun

There are certain points in time where it gets more and more difficult to find things to write about on this blog. The period of time JUST before an expansion can definitely be one of them. I find myself in an awkward place where I want to find out a lot of things on the beta, but I also don’t want to spoil TOO much for myself for when Mists is released. I have come to a compromise in that respect. I have been playing nothing but Diablo 3 for the last 3 weeks instead in order to keep myself from seeing ALL THE THINGS in the MoP beta. >.>

No really. Haven’t even logged in to WoW, live or beta version since May 15. Is that bad? Maybe so, but it’s left me with little to talk about on here. I know i’ve thrown the occasional Diablo 3 post on this forum before, but those were mainly introductory-types for, what i’m sure, is a LOT of people who received the game via Annual Pass, but were overly unfamiliar with the franchise. This is MAINLY a World of Warcraft blog… I mean hell, look at the title right? Don’t worry, I have NO intention of shutting the doors to this blog any time soon.

Anyway, in spite of my basically taking the second half of May off this blog saw record-breaking traffic for the entire month! That’s awesome guys, and I really appreciate all the views and links and stuff i’ve seen 😀 I have another post in mind coming over the next few weeks, to wrap-up the expansion, much like I did at the end of Wrath. I also have some thoughts to work out in my own head about some of the new PvP announcements made only today. They’re relevant, because i’m on a PvP server! D:

Right. This is a light post today, but I just wanted to put the word out there that i’m not dead, retiring, closing the blog’s doors, or anything like that. I just took some time to do a *lot* of demon killing (and if you’re interested, I have two toons in Act 2 of Hell right now. Hell may be about as far as I make it, but we’ll just have to see). I plan on commencing a semi-irregular posting schedule again in the near future.

Will the REAL Fuzzbutt, please stand up?

10 May

If you’ve been following me on twitter or my blog for a while, you may’ve noticed that I am somewhat impulsive. I tend to make rash decisions based on very little, empirical data… mostly relying on hearsay or VERY minor anecdotal evidence. I’ve spent a lot of talking about monks lately, and a tiny bit of time talking about DKs, but i’ve not spent a lot of time talking about druid-type things, because well… I wasn’t overly impressed with where they were taking the class for MoP previously. Since playing the monk so much, I figured it would be good to have a basis for comparison when it comes to tanking, so I dusted off my copied-over druid and shoved him into a few dungeons.

Keep in mind, first off, that this druid is considerably better geared than my monk is… he is at a 398 ilvl whereas premade toons start with a 378 ilvl, so that’s a relatively significant difference. Even with that in mind, holy shit on a cracker, what a difference there is in how the two tank. Right now, the monk’s rotation is panicky and spastic, and requires on a 100% uptime of one ability to even THINK about surviving (shuffle via BoK). When I took my druid into Temple of the Jade Serpent, it was like slipping on an old glove again. Bears on the beta feel smooth, and powerful and…

Wait, what the fuck is this? Lacerate is on a cooldown? Pulverize is gone? Swipe is (situationally) back in our single-target rotation? Wat the hell?

And what are these two new buttons i have? (Well.. actually only one is a new button, but Frenzied Regen has taken a SIGNIFICANT redesign from what it currently is on live.) Holy shit does that say 45% dodge? HOLY SHIT DID THAT JUST HEAL ME FOR 80K? /drool.

As you may have guessed, i’m starting to feel comfortable with the druid again (as it were). I may have been pretty rash in my earlier write-off of the class for Mists. Don’t get me wrong, i’m not writing off monks either, but right now they have a lot of work to do, and maybe I would do better sticking to what I know and simply adjusting… I mean it is kind of the druid way really. Take what we’re given, and make it work awesome.

So, let me take a brief minute and discuss what’s going on with bears in the beta.

Glyphs are in a decently fun place. There’s lots of actual CHOICE involved here, instead of “OH MY GOD YOU MUST TAKE THESE OTHERWISE YOU’RE BAD AND YOU SHOULD FEEL BAD”

Except of course the Glyph of Rebirth. Seriously… I don’t care what role you are, you *have* to have this glyph. My other major glyphs are Maul (an old standby, and probably one that most bears WILL take), and Survival Instincts. SI glyph provides an interesting form of choice here. Reduce the cooldown & reduce the duration via glyph? It’s worth testing, at the very least. Of course, there are plenty of other glyphs that are worth considering. I won’t go into each and every one, but feel free to check out the list and decide for yourself what may work for you.

Talents, at the moment, are a bit less ambiguous for bears, in my opinion. The level 90 talents have been under EXTREME amounts of discussion, dissection, and dissertation on the beta forums, and there is probably an entire blog post I could devote to just those talents… but I will leave those discussions to people far more eloquent and well-versed in theorycrafting than myself. With the exception of the level 60 talents, the ones that I picked are pretty much no-brainers for bears. I picked “Incarnation” because it’s basically a second berserk, without the added gigglefits of hitting 3 targets, but that’s neither here nor there. Force of Nature is pretty amusing… it’s basically a bear’s “Army of the Dead”. Drop treants, watch them run around taunting everything in combat, profit. Soul of the Forest is a hard talent to skip over, but it’s also hard for me to give it a place right now, as well, simply because mangle giving me rage in GENERAL is bloody fantastic… I haven’t felt myself overly starved for rage when in any 5-mans, so I don’t predict raids to be much different.

OH MY GOD WE'RE ALL GONNA DIENow, I fully expect this is going to change in the future, but hitting Incarnation and then having Kiril proc (making me DOUBLY HUGE) is worthy of mass amounts of giggling. I had to screenshot it while it was still a thing.

NO HE'S NOT OVERCOMPENSATING THANK YOU VERY MUCHIn other news, i’m considering making my druid back into a night elf. You may remember that I race changed him the very day that Cataclysm dropped, and i’ve been modestly happy with that decision. (Oh darkflight, you made Atramedes *POSSIBLE*) But as i’ve gone on through Cataclysm, i’ve noticed that capes and helmets all look like absolute shit on worgen. Night elves, on the other hand, look 84 kinds of awesome with both of them on. If I were to go out with no transmogged gear (except for the weapon, because Kiril is an ugly son of a polearm), this is what I would look like, on the left over here. Damn… that’s kinda hawt. Maybe i’ll race change him back to his original elven self.

Have I been labeled?

4 May

So, this morning before I went to sleep, the lovely Kialesse and I were discussing the idea of throwing guest posts on each other’s blogs, since neither of us particularly knew what we were going to write about for our own blogs at the moment. Don’t get me wrong, I am quite certain I could find something beta related, monk related, or something of that nature to comment about, and fire off another thousand words+ in that general direction, but nothing *inspired* me. Then I woke up this afternoon and started scanning my feedreader, and came across Kia’s latest post, added sometime while I was asleep. I read through the first couple of paragraphs and said to her “My blog isn’t a tank blog. It’s a blog run by a tank, distinctive difference.” Her response was “well yes, I know that… that was sort of the point of my post, that you’re more than just a tank.” So I read onward into this whole thing where Kia delved into the psychological effects of labeling people and things of that nature.

Now, i’m not here to completely that Kia is completely wrong or completely right. In fact, I am sure that she is right about a lot of these things, but I have to think that to a point *some* of these things don’t necessarily apply to the gaming/mmo world. For instance, Kia thinks of me as a tank. Y’know what? I am *perfectly* okay with that. Why is that? Because tanking is what I do most in WoW. It’s what I do best in WoW. Sure, I have a DPS DK that I tool around with sometimes, and a shaman healer that I bring if I have to, and i’m not particularly TERRIBLE with either of those toons, but I am by far the most comfortable being the one to get hit in the face instead of everyone else. I just… know how to react to things better that way. Maybe it’s a bit of a control issue that I have, but I think that to a point tanks should have that desire to control things. I’m getting a bit off the subject matter here. I’ve actually had a similar discussion with Jen before as well. Her main is a resto shaman, but occasionally she’s been called on to sub in as DPS when the signups were a little light. Now, I know that she doesn’t MIND DPSing as a fill in, but I also know that healing is where her heart is (for lack of a better term.) She’s told me on more than one occasion that even when she’s dpsing, she is far more aware of everyone’s health than she probably should be. She still has the healer mindset, and wants to make sure everyone is going to live through the next big bad ouchie, even when her job is to just PEW-PEW FOREVER OMG.

My point is, I guess, that while everyone may not let themselves get pigeonholed into specific roles, some of us DO. And it’s not necessarily a bad thing. I think the majority of us come across that one toon that just fits like an old glove, and we feel back at home in them. Does that mean we’re labelled by our role, or class as our entire identity? Maybe, maybe not. I have never claimed this blog to be a tank-specific blog, but I (probably) end up talking about it the most because it’s what I love doing. I don’t think that being “labelled” as a tank is a bad thing really. In fact, I take a bit of pride in being seen that way. It means I am doing my job well… when i’m actually DOING that job, that is. I apparently do my job so well that Kia has taken upon herself to make me tank even when i’m not tanking… I will admit that i’m not entirely sure WHAT to think about that.

Also, apparently me cursing over vent has some sort of Pavlovian response to make Kia feign death… I feel like I could abuse this from time to time.

Y’know… for funsies.

 

Digging a little deeper – DK talents reanalyzed

19 Feb

I  have spent the last few days (since wednesday, when I wrote my hurried updated talent analysis) trying to look at the DK talents a bit more in-depth. Why have I spent so much time with the DK talents instead of the druid ones, seeing as that’s… y’know.. MY MAIN? I’m not sure, honestly. I think a modest part of it may be SERIOUSLY considering switching to my DK for MoP (depending on how monks shape up in the next few months as well). I think another large part of it is that I don’t have NEARLY as much insight on the druid talents as a few other, FAR more knowledgeable people, do. The more I looked at the DK talents, the more a few things started to twitch in my general direction, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. Plus, I had since come across a few mistakes I had made the other day, and they’re things I wanted to rectify without editing my other post into oblivion… mainly I just have this thing about editing my posts in general. But that’s neither here nor there.

First, and most obvious correction, (because i DID edit it into the end of my other post) was the fact that Death Siphon, Soul Reaper, and Necrotic Strike are NOT cost-free as the talent calculator had initially shown. They each cost one death rune (which I still find to be EXCEEDINGLY powerful for Soul Siphon, especially in pvp… Expect that to be given a short/moderate cooldown in the future to sync up with the warlock’s current Death Coil.) Next, I mentioned that “Runic Corruption” was exactly the same in it’s iteration released on wednesday as it was 4 months ago when the initial MoP talents were unveiled, and that’s not true. In November, FS/RS/DC had a 100% chance to proc Runic Corruption. The new talents list it as a 45% chance to proc.

Now then, on to the heart of the matter. I failed to mention the change to “Ebon Plaguebringer” in the new talents. Live in-game today (and in the original MoP talents last year), EP was an 8% all-magic-damage increase, and a 30% baseline increase to our own dots. The change here is two-fold. In the new calculator, “Contagion” is an unholy-specific passive that increases our disease damage by 100% (!!!), and allows them to retain full strength when spread via pestilence (live, this is a 2-point talent, that JUST allows dots to retain full strength when spread via pestilence.) Ebon Plaguebringer, instead of granting the magic-damage debuff, has been rolled into the same sort of debuff as frost’s “Brittle Bones” (4% physical-damage debuff).

“Might of the Frozen Wastes” appears to have received a SIGNIFICANT change… at least from the live version. I will admit, I didn’t delve into the actual baseline and spec-granted spells much in the last release. Anyway… currently, MotFW (frost 2-handers only) has a 45% chance for your autoattacks to grant you 10 runic power. In this newest talent roll-out,  it simply says “Your … autoattacks generate 15 runic power.” o.O holy shit that is HUGE for frost 2-handers.

“Threat of Thassarian” (the dual-wield frost ability) recieved a similarly interesting change. Currently, it simply makes Death strike, Obliterate, Rune strike, Plague strike, Frost strike, and Blood strike hit with both weapons. In the new talent release, this ability ONLY applies to Death Strike, Obliterate, Plague strike, and Frost strike, but it *also* makes Frost strike, and all off-hand swings hit 50% harder.

“Improved Icy Talons” currently appears to be missing. I’m not how this is going to come into play, as the self-only Icy Talons buff still exists. I’m not sure what the purpose of this was, as Windfury Totem appears to have been removed as well, while Hunting Party (which is not only class-specific to hunters, but SPEC specific to survival) still grants the melee and ranged haste. I am assuming this is an oversight, and will be changed at some point, but as for right now it seems awfully counterintuitive to Blizzard’s normal philosophy.

Alright. As far as baseline and spec-specific spells, those are all the changes I can see. There very well could be some more that I have missed, but I think that’s everything. Now I want to poke about with the talents a bit more. I’m not going to go down every tier of talents, but I do want to point out a few… oddities I noticed, and the first one is in the very first tier. All things being equal, Rolling Blood, Vile Spew, and Unholy Blight are definitely not all the same. They are all new, and rather interesting ways of getting diseases across multiple targets quickly, but a few questions remain unanswered about them. For “Rolling Blood”, i’m curious whether or not that first blood boil will have the increased damage from diseases on the target or not. Overall, not a BIG issue, but a curiosity most of all. For Vile Spew… No cooldown? Really? I know I touched on that briefly the other day, but that REALLY seems pretty strong for heavy add-phase encounters (black blood on Yor’sahj for example), or maybe even pvp bottlenecks. Although, with unholy’s preference for death coils, I suppose the 30 RP cost is enough to dissuade it from happening TOO often, all things considered. Unholy Blight is the real chin scratcher here. Assuming you pop UHB at the right time, and ALL targets in the area are within the aoe for the full 10 seconds, does that mean the duration refreshes every second when it “ticks”? Will Festering Strike (a staple of the unholy rotation) continue to extend the rotation past the 30 seconds, or will it get reset to 30 everytime UHB ticks? If so, and we pop UHB on a boss encounter, should we just essentially skip festering strike for those 10 seconds, or would it be better to still use it and just deal with the “lost” duration? To be honest, the latter is probably the more accurate case, but it’s still an interesting situation to consider.

Next, I want to look at the level 60 talents. Death Pact, Death Siphon, and Vampiric Blood. The more I look at this tier, the more it bothers me. Vampiric Blood really doesn’t belong here, as it’s a pretty trademarked tank ability… I feel like it should *stay* a tank ability. Someone on the forums mentioned replacing it with the old school Mark of Blood ability, but I think, honestly, EVERY tank would take that, and it would be obscenely overpowered with their already amazing survivability and self heals. Maybe they should make it do something with blood strike… since that ability effectively ceases to exist after each spec gets a certain different button. Or even better, make it a change talented change to Anti-Magic Shell. Give it the “Magic Suppression” ability that only unholy DKs can currently talent into. (It would appear the RP generation of AMS is now baseline with the ability, just like it used to be in Wrath.)

The other things I wanted to touch on, quickly, have to deal with Remorseless Winter, Desecrated Ground, and Soul Reaper. Currently, they are all only 1 form of damage, either frost or shadow. Frost and Unholy’s current (respective) masteries increase frost and shadow damage. An unholy DK will get boatloads more damage from Soul Reaper, just from the mastery we have built into our gear. Desecrated Ground will also get the same benefit from Unholy, whereas Remorseless Winter will see a solid buff from Frost’s mastery. An easy fix to this situation would simply be to make all of these abilities deal shadowfrost damage. That way they can either benefit from both masteries, or neither one. Honestly, when I DPS, I go unholy simply because I like the playstyle. I don’t want to have to select Desecrated Ground simply because it’ll deal more damage because of (what is currently) a dump stat for us. I don’t like the idea of DG having to be slapped on the ground and just… being inflexible. We already have Death and Decay for that. Remorseless Winter seems like it would offer *way* more utility for heavy movement fights, and letting it benefit (or not) from mastery would make it an easier choice to make just in general. Also… soul reaper will *definitely* see nerf bats if it benefits from unholy’s mastery and not frost’s… This is something that will most likely change in the relatively near future, but I felt the need to point it out anyway.

Jeez, I don’t normally babble on like this. Thanks for sticking with me, those of you that did. You all get a cookie… at some point.

Intro to Diablo 3 – part 2 – Crafting!

19 Jan

Alright! To continue on with my “Intro to Diablo 3” series, i’m going to spend this post talking about the crafting system.

 This first screenshot is of your “stash”. This is basically your account’s bank. Unlike the banks in WoW, it is not character specific. This will span across every character you have on your account. There are also no “Bags” in the game. Instead, you buy pre-sized tabs (much more like a guild bank) with a certain number of slots (14) automatically given. There are 5 pages of slots of 5 14-box slots. Unlocking each one costs a bit of money (the first few are cheap, progressively getting more expensive as you open more pages).

 This screenshot is meant to point out the Nephalem Cube. This operates just like the “disenchant” ability from WoW. You click the cube, and then you click the item in your inventory or bank that you want to break down, and then crafting materials are automatically placed in your inventory. As you would imagine, the better items require higher end crafting items. UNlike disenchanting in wow, you can break down items of any quality (grey, white, blue, yellow, etc). Of course, disenchanting lower quality items gives you a higher chance of the “cheapo” crafting materials, and the higher quality items give you higher quality crafting materials.

 Throughout your travels, you will come across this item: a “Page of Training”. These are for your crafting NPCs, to upgrade the amount of items they can craft. 5 of these pages, when combined, will form:

 A “Tome of Training”, which is then something you give to your crafter, along with some basic crafting materials and a modicum of gold to upgrade them. In the two screenshots below, you will see the “Upgrade Crafter” screen, and the Crafting interface.

 When upgrading your crafter, you will see the recipes that he learns from the upgrade process. (For the record, my blacksmith is upgraded WAY beyond anything I can use in the beta. /sadface) When you upgrade the crafter, he “levels” up, giving him access to higher item level recipes. As you can see in the crafting interface, there are apprentice,  journeyman, adept, and master “level” items, which equates to their item level. This particular NPC is the blacksmith, who creates weapons, armor, as well as repairs your gear. The crafting interface is very similar to what you’re familiar with from any crafting done in WoW. Click on a recipe in the list, and it will tell you what materials you need, as well as the gold cost associated (which also increases with the higher level of item to be created). Also, as you can see, the recipes also show you how many of that particular item you can create based on the materials currently in your bag… it doesn’t take into account any crafting materials in your stash.

It is also worth noting that your crafters, just like your stash, are account-wide. When you upgrade your blacksmith on one toon, all of the new recipes are available for creating among each character. Also, along your travels, you can find crafting recipes, which you can simply give to the respective crafter (weapon/armor recipes to the blacksmith, etc). Crafting in Diablo 3 seems to be very simple, and if you’ve ever done any kind of crafting in WoW, then you’re already 4/5’s of the way to understanding this crafting system.

And now for something completely different…

16 Jan

A post on Diablo 3!

If you’ve been following my twitter, you may have noticed that (much to my GREAT enjoyment) I was picked for the Diablo 3 beta the other day. Let me just say that this game is *awesome*. As a big Diablo 2 fan, I can safely say that this has been worth the wait. I am so ready for it to go live. Anyway, I distract myself. I haven’t felt much to blog about in WoW lately, and since i’ve found myself to be one of the lucky few to test D3 out, I thought I would post about it. Some of you may have never played any of the Diablo franchise, so i’ll give a brief overview of the game. There’s a good chance this will be broken up into 2 or more posts, depending on just how verbose I get. These posts WILL be spoiler free in the sense that I won’t give away the story (such as it’s told in the beta), but I will be giving basic mechanics and class information. I will also be posting lots of screenshots (and possibly a youtube video or two, somewhere down the line). Enjoy them 🙂

Now then, the first thing I want to talk about is talents, such as they are. Why is that first? Because it’s a very similar system as what is to come in Mists of Pandaria, as far as I can tell, and feels like a good jumping-off point for a WoW-based blog to start talking about Diablo 3 (as if I really needed one).

So, here you see the talent tree of a level 12 Witch Doctor. The way it works is quite simple. You unlock hotkey slots as you level up, for a total of 6, active abilities. (levels 1, 6, 12, 18, and 24, with level 1 giving you two slots automatically). Those are the 6 slots you see descending from top to bottom. The 3 circular spots in the very bottom of the screen are the passive abilities. You gain 3 passive slots (at levels 10, 20, and 30). Each class has 3 different “schools”, but you unlock the ability to use every spell just as you level. There is no spec that you have to pick to unlock all the talents. You just get them all as you go, and you can mix and match them as you please, provided you’re at an altar in town.

It may not be identical to what’s going to happen in WoW (as there will still be specs, and such), but there are similarities in that abilities are just given to you right off the bat, for you to use. And there aren’t any talent points to spend, you just have to pick which abilities you want to use. In D3, there is no “wrong” answer. Whatever abilities you feel the most comfortable with, by god that’s what will work for you.

Here is a simple screenshot of the in-game UI. Not much to explain other than what’s on the screen so… Enjoy.

And now, let’s get into the fun shit of this game… the classes 😀  First, every class is a little different in that they each have their own resource system, and they all work a little differently from what the other classes have.  And without further ado, Let’s get to the first one… (Also, please pardon that the pictures aren’t all cropped to the exact same size. I fail at life :P)

Barbarian: The barbarian is, as predictable, a basic warrior/heavy melee class. Wade in and kick some ass. They can use either a 2-handed weapon, 2 1-handed weapons, or a 1-handed weapon/shield combo. Each have their benefits and drawback, as you could imagine.  The Barbarian’s resource is called “Fury”, and it works very much like warrior’s rage in WoW. Building up as you fight, allowing you to use abilities, and declining the longer you’re out of combat.

Demon Hunter: The demon hunter is the archetypal ranger class (only no pets, so they’re not WoW hunters). They can use a normal bow, crossbow, or (as you can see) specialized 1-handed crossbows that can be dual wielded… very badass. DH is unique in that it has a dual resource system: Discipline/Hatred. Hatred is quickly regnerating, and used to fuel your offensive attacks, whereas Discipline is very slow to recover, and used for defensive manuveurs and trapping.

Monk: The monk is, much like you would expect, the quick martial artist melee fighter. He can use fist weapons or a certain 2-handed called a Daibo. The monk’s resource is called Spirit, and it neither regenerates nor degrades in combat. The level of spirit you have is built around the abilities you use. Some (combo-type moves) build spirit, whereas others expend it. The spenders tend to be much harder hitting, but you’ll spend most of your time on the builders.

Witch Doctor: This is a personal favorite of mine. The witch doctor is a voodoo shaman sort. He plays a like a strange mixture of a warlock and a death knight, controlling zombies and spiritual fetishes to do his dirty work, while he sits in the back and throws things at you. The WD’s resource is simply mana. Nothing fancy about it. It regenerates relatively quickly on it’s own, as there are no mana potions in the game.

Wizard: The wizard is your archetypal caster/nuker class. They wield wands and orbs or tomes as their weaponry, standing in the back causing all varied kinds of madnes. Their resource is called “Arcane Power”. Arcane power regenerates quickly on it’s own, and is used only for their most powerful spells.

I think i’ve been wordy enough for one day… I will come back in a few days with a new post to go a bit more in-depth on the talents and how to play each class… maybe even some gameplay videos. 😀 Hope you all enjoy

 

ETA: I made a booboo. I originally referred to the barbarian’s resource as “Rage”, but it’s actually called “Fury”.. /facepalm. I made the change in the description.

Death Knight MoP Talents

11 Nov

A few weeks back, I decided to take a look at the potential talent setup for Druids in Mists of Pandaria. Today, i’m gonna take a stab at the DK talent tree, and do a quick breakdown of the choices as they relate to both tanks AND DPS death nuggets.

(Image courtesy of MMO-Champion)

Level 15: Rolling Blood – Corpse Explosion – Outbreak

As cool as it is to see Corpse Explosion back in the game, i’m saddened by the fact that it’s in the same tier as Outbreak. Rolling Blood is a decent secondary choice, in terms of trash packs, or heavy AOE phases, but by and large, Outbreak is the far and away winner for both DPS and tanks. Two global cooldowns, and 1 rune spent to apply both diseases to every nearby target (outbreak & pestilence) is ALWAYS going to win out over 3 GCDs and 3 runes spent. Kind of sad, but there’s really almost no choice here.

Level 30:  Lichborne – Anti-Magic Zone – Bone Shield

It doesn’t get much more clear-cut than this, role wise. Lichborne is almost certainly a pvp-centered ability, AMZ is great utility for dps, and Bone Shield is a solid, minor defensive cooldown for tanks. Depending on the fight, it could benefit tanks to take AMZ, but I can’t see many situations where DPS would pick up Bone Shield.

Level 45: Death’s Advance – Chillblains – Asphyxiate

Death’s Advance and Chillblains are currently rolled into the unholy and frost trees (respectively), and bring a bit of utility depending on circumstance. Asphyxiate, replacing Strangulate, is some interesting flavor… and seriously, who DIDN’T see the Black Knight do this in ToC 5-man, and think “DAMN why can’t my DK do that?”, but honestly it’s going to be more pvp centered. The missing wording (for until cancelled) makes it sound to me like the ability will be channeled, which is pretty much going to be useless in pve content. Death’s Advance could be *somewhat* useful, but situational at best, and Chillblains would have far more uses in pve, but even still is situational. Pick your flavor, I suppose.

Level 60: Death Pact – Death Siphon – Vampiric Blood

The change to Death Pact is pretty damn cool, in that it doesn’t insta-kill your pet anymore. This could definitely come in handy as an “oh shit” button, but more so for DPS I think, in higher aoe-damage situations. Death Siphon rings very similar to the warlock’s (pilfered) version of Death Coil, but i’m not seeing a cooldown for it. May not be a high damage situation, but if you could spam it 6 times (depending on your spec, and availability of death runes), I think it could be very powerful in pvp, or pve. Vampiric Blood is pretty much the same iteration that currently exists in game, and will be a strong cooldown for tanks. DPS have a couple options, but tanks, again, seem to be pretty clear-cut.

Level 75: Blood Tap – Runic Empowerment – Runic Corruption

I don’t like this version of Blood Tap. a 1 minute cooldown, on something that you have to “build up” into? I don’t like it. I much prefer the current version of  it.I realize that there’s not many situations where you wouldn’t have 3 charges to burn, as DKs use death coil, rune strike, or frost strike rotationally… so why make it a requirement? Runic Empowerment is currently a baseline ability for death knights of all specs, and unholy flavored ones spec into Runic Corruption, so that will make the choice more of a “pick your flavor”. The more I look at the specific wording (which is something that will probably change in the future), it seems like Runic Corruption has a 100% chance to proc when you use the corresponding ability. This could make rotations interesting, in order to maximize RC uptime instead of worrying about RNG to give you a rune back with RE. Probably the most difficult choice thus far.

Level 90: Gorefiend’s Grasp – Remorseless Winter – Desecrated Ground

Ah here we go. This is where the true awesome comes in… Gorefiend’s Grasp would be most useful to tanks, but it doesn’t mention anything about a targetting-focus (as is baked into Death Grip), so it could be useful to DPS as well, as a gap closer, or to bring casters in. It deals damage too! Awesome! Remorseless Winter *should* sound familiar to you, and again could be useful to tanks for the aoe damage/threat (rune free, it would seem!). The stun would only be effective on minor enemies, of course, but it seems like a pretty powerful ability overall, most likely taken by frost DKs to benefit from their mastery. Desecrated Ground has a bit of a pvp utility cooked in with the CC-immunity, but the damage component seems like a secondary Death & Decay, again useful for aoe damage or threat. GG or DG would be more appropriate for unholy DKs to take over RW as it will benefit from their mastery.

By and large, i’m a little bit let down by the illusion of choice offered to the Death Knights in the first 4 tiers. Again, there’s a lot of change that could happen between now and the next expansion, so this is all to be taken with a grain of salt, and a lot of patience. It just seems to me that there are so many “choices” (bone shield, vampiric blood) that are very specific to certain specs, or (outbreak) one that literally outpaces the other options without even a second thought.

The level 75 and 90 selections are by far the most interesting, but level 90 will probably again be culled to spec choice between the DPSers, at any rate (mastery-boosted damage). One way to fix that, I think, would be to have all three abilities deal shadowfrost damage, so that they benefit from both frost and unholy’s masteries, allowing for choice to REALLY be offered based on personal flavor It’s really a minor gripe, all things considered though. 75 has the opportunity to provide one of the most interesting playstyle differences. Runic Corruption could bring a more controlled, but difficult rotation that some people will really enjoy, whereas Runic Empowerment will be the “old standby”, if you will… a lower risk rotation that will be easier to pull off properly, but may offer a bit of downtime if RNG decides to dislike you.