Tag Archives: Mists of Pandaria

Mists of Pandaria – Pre-raid gear for Blood DKs

21 Aug

I debated with myself for a while whether or not I was going to write one of these, but I figured, “why the hell not?” I’ve seen several gear lists floating around, but they’re mostly for healers and such. I honestly hadn’t seen a single pre-raid gear list for bears OR blood DKs, so… why not me, right? Anyway, gearing up a blood DK will, by and large, not be any different come MoP than it is today. There may be a little more call for hit/expertise, but generally it’s going to be Mastery > All else. Avoidance (dodge/parry) are still going to come out on top of hit/expertise, but by a lesser margin than before… although, admittedly, it will still probably be a larger margin than it is for bears.

Anyway, same deal goes here as it did for the bear list. This is all PRE-raid gear. Heroics, craftables, and BoEs. You *shouldn’t* have to step into any raid to get any of the gear on this list. That said, this is still beta info, and is subject to change at any time really. Here’s hoping that with just over a month till Mists, that this won’t change much. Any crafted epics (with the exception of trinkets) are pretty much ALWAYS going to be better than heroic blues simply because of stat scale. More stam and more str (which means more parry), and generally, better sockets as well.

Chestpieces –

Durable Plate of the Golden Lotus – Parry/Mastery, no sockets. Drops from a dungeon quest maybe?

Hateshatter Chestplate – Expertise/Mastery, red socket (60 str). Drops from Taren Zhu in H-Shado-Pan Monastery.

Canine Commander’s Breastplate – Dodge/Parry, blue socket (60 str.) Drops from Houndmaster Braun, in H-Scarlet Halls.

Breastplate of Wracking Souls – Parry/Expertise, blue socket (60 parry). Drops from Instructor Chillheart in H-Scholomance.

Breastplate of Ancient Steel – 476 epic. Dodge/Mastery, 2 yellow sockets (180 stam). Blacksmithing.

Unyiedlding Bloodplate – 496 epic. Dodge/Mastery. 2 blue sockets (180 stam). Blacksmithing.

As far as the blue items go, the winner of this slot is the Breastplate of Wracking Souls. 60 parry is a… weird socket bonus, but with a blue socket, you could drop a Mastery/Stam (green) gem in, or simply ignore it and go for pure mastery. The Canine Commander’s Breastplate is an oddity, at best, because it gives you a strength socket bonus, but has dodge and parry. It’s not terrible, really, but it would probably be one to avoid. Of course, if you can afford it, the Unyielding Bloodplate is unquestionably the way to go, just for pure stat numbers alone.

Boots –

Stonestep Boots – Dodge/Hit, yellow socket (60 str). Drops from Lorewalker Stonestep in H-Temple of the Jade Serpent.

Wraithplate Treads – Parry/Mastery, yellow socket (60 str). Drops from Jandice Barov in H-Scholomance.

More odd socket bonuses found, in two pieces that have CLEAR tank stats, but give strength for their socket bonus. I guess it doesn’t matter much, as they’re both yellow gem slots, so go to town. Technically, the Wraithplate Treads are better (because mastery), but you could pretty safely pick up either one and be okay.

Gloves –

Hive Protector’s Gauntlets – Hit/Mastery, no socket. Drops from Raigonn in H-Gate of the Setting Sun

Gauntlets of Resolute Fury – Dodge/Mastery, no socket. Drops from Mastery Snowdrift in H-Shado-Pan Monastery.

Axebreaker Gauntlets – Parry/Hit, no socket. Drops from Xin the Weaponmaster in H-Mogu’shan Palace.

Gauntlets of Ancient Steel – 476 epic. Parry/Mastery, red socket (60 dodge). Blacksmithing.

Gauntlets of Battle Command – 496 epic. Parry/Mastery, red socket (60 parry). Blacksmithing.

To be perfectly honest, either of the first two would be the ones I pick up. Dodge/Mastery wins out, but i’m sure you’ll want SOME amount of hit rating at the start of things. Make your own choice to fit your own gear. At first, I almost scanned right by the crafted gloves, but either one of those will do you better than any of the blues. Again, use your own judgement and based on what you can afford.

Helmets –

Sightfinder Helm – Crit/Mastery, meta, red socket (180 str). Drops from Commander Vo’jak in H-Siege of Niuzao Temple.

Helm of Rising Flame – Parry/Hit, meta, blue socket (180 str). Drops from Brother Korloff in H-Scarlet Monastery.

Reinforced Retinal Armor – 476 epic. Variable stats through cogwheels, meta & 2 cogwheel sockets (180 str). Engineering ONLY.

The crafted helm is probably better left to DPS, but you could put an obscene amount of mastery on this helm through cogwheels if you like. The Str/Stam is, of course, a solid amount higher than the heroic blues. Speaking of, at first sight, Sightfinder Helm appears to be better suited to plate DPS (and it probably is), but I included it for 2 reasons… First – it still has mastery on it, and second, there’s really only one other plate tanky helm if you’re NOT an engineer. Feel free to grab whichever one you prefer.

Leggings –

Sap-Encrusted Legplates – Dodge/Parry, blue socket (60 parry). Drops from Vizier Jin’bak in H-Siege of Niuzao Temple.

Legplates of Durable Dreams – 476 epic. Hit/Haste, no sockets. BoE.

Those legplates may be labelled epic, but they kind of fall short of really convincing me of it. No socket, whereas the blue pants DO have them? Also, hit and haste… You’d probably be better off going with the heroic blues instead… I know what I said at the beginning of this blogpost, but this time, honestly, you’re not getting anything BUT more str/stam. It hardly seems worth it. Don’t waste your money on the BoE’s unless you’re looking to fill out an offset (and even then, you could probably do better).

Shoulders –

Spaulders of Immovable Stone – Dodge/Parry, red socket (60 parry). Drops from Wing Leader Ner’onok in H-Siege of Niuzao Temple.

Vigorsteel Spaulders – Parry/Hit, red socket (60 hit). Drops from Darkmaster Gandling in H-Scholomance.

Spaulders of the Scorned – 476 epic. Parry/Mastery, no socket. BoE.

I’m a little thrown off by some of the weird itemization shown here. 2 out of 3 pieces with no mastery, red sockets on tank plate, one piece with a “Hit” socket bonus, and the highest ilvl piece with NO socket. /headshake. In spite of the lack of socket, the 476 shoulders are most likely your best bet, if you can find them. I don’t know where they drop, so prices will most likely be high for some time. Of course, the Vigorsteel Spaulders are still a fair alternative, because of hit rating as it’s side stat, and socket bonus. If you’re looking for blues, feel free to go whichever direction you prefer.

Belts –

Sparkbreath Girdle – Dodge/Parry, no socket. BoP zone drop from H-Shado-Pan Monastery.

Waistplate of Imminent Resurrection – Dodge/Expertise, no socket. Drops from High Inquisitor Whitemane in H-Scarlet Monastery.

This would be another flip of the coin, depending on if you prefer pure avoidance, or having some threat stats to help your self healing along. Sparkbreath will probably be easier to find, as it technically can drop off *any* mob in Shado-Pan.

Bracers –

Bubble-Breaker Bracers – Dodge/Parry, no socket. Drops from Hoptallus in H-Stormstout Brewery.

Ri’Mok’s Shattered Scale – Dodge/Expertise, no socket. Drops from Commander Ri’mok in H-Gate of the Setting Sun.

A lot of the same itemization. No mastery in this slot, again, has me a bit confused, but sure… why not. Pick up whichever fits your preference better.

Cloaks –

Soulrender Greatcloak – Dodge/Parry, no sockets. Drops from Thalnos the Soulrender in H-Scarlet Monastery.

Phantasmal Drape – Dodge/Hit, no sockets. Drops from Jandice Barov in H-Scholomance.

Zom’s Rain-Staned Cloak – 476 epic. Dodge/Expertise, no sockets. BoE.

Finally some pieces that favor dodge over parry… From what i’ve seen, you’ll probably be sitting on more parry than dodge, so any of these would be good to pick up (but of course, I could be completely wrong. Base it off of your own gear requirements, of course). The winner is, of course, the 476 purple.

Necks –

Necklace of the Dark Blaze – Dodge/Expertise, no sockets. BoP zone drop from H-Scholomance.

Armsmaster’s Sealed Locket – Parry/Mastery, no sockets. Drops from Armsmaster Harlan in H-Scarlet Halls.

Durable Necklace of the Golden Lotus – 489 epic. Parry/Mastery, no sockets. Quest Reward in Vale of Eternal Blossoms.

The 489 necklace as a quest reward is a curiosity (but it’s by far the best)… it makes me wonder if I bypassed one for bears when doing my other gear list (i’ll have to make another list because it turns out there ARE several things I did miss… I’ll make a secondary post to hopefully encompass both bears and DKs before this weekend, I think.) I’m assuming that quest reward is going to be your big thing for finishing the entire zone up, but it seems worthwhile, even bypassing the Raid Finder necklaces.

Rings –

Crystallized Droplet – Dodge/Hit, no sockets. Drops from Wise Mari in H-Temple of the Jade Serpent.

Lime-Rimmed Signet – Parry/Mastery, no sockets. Drops from Yan-Zhu the Uncasked in H-Stormstout Brewery.

Always go for the mastery, folks.

Trinkets – As per usual, folks, these are going to vary a lot depending on your personal preference, and your guild/raid group’s setup, as to which trinkets you prefer. I’ll do my best to list the viable ones, of course.

Iron Protector Talisman – 1270 Stamina, 15s dodge proc. Drops from Gekkan in H-Mogu’Shan Palace.

Heart of Fire – 847 Mastery, 20s dodge use. Drops from Master Snowdrift in H-Shado-Pan Monastery.

Bitterest Balebrew / Bubbliest Brightbrew Charms – 470 epics. 1356 stam, pointless use. Drops from Coren Direbrew (during Brewfest ONLY).

Brawler’s Statue – 470 epic. 904 Dodge, 20s dodge use. Drops from Coren Direbrew (during Brewfest ONLY)

Relic of Niuzao – 476 epic. 12s dodge use. Darkmoon Ox Deck.

As I mentioned in the Bear gear lists, the darkmoon trinket is exceedingly disappointing for it’s item level. Yes, the on-use ability is a LOT of dodge (about 10% if these numbers I have are correct), but with no base stats to back it up, and nothing to reforge into/out of, then that’s ALL it is… and that leaves it just being pretty mediocre, especially given what it’s liable to cost for at least the first few months of MoP. If it were me personally, i’d shoot for the Talisman and the Heart of Fire, and try to pick up the Brawler’s Statue as well to hold on to as back up (extra mastery, since you can reforge that base 904 dodge). Feel free to pick up whichever you like though.

Weapons – Weapons are funny things for DKs… they always have been. I’m not going to list every single 2h strength weapon, but if they have a stat we can make GOOD use of (mastery/hit/expertise/dodge/parry), then it’ll go in the list.

Warmace of Taran Zhu – Crit/Mastery, no sockets. Drops from Taran Zhu in H-Shado-Pan Monastery.

Lightbreaker Greatsword – Expertise/Mastery, no sockets. Drops from High Inquisitor Whitemane in H-Scarlet Monastery.

Mograine’s Immaculate Might – Haste/Mastery, no sockets. Drops from Flameweaver Koegler in H-Scarlet Halls.

Gravetouch Greatsword – Hit/Crit, no sockets. Drops from Instructor Chillheart in H-Scholomance.

Goresoaked Headreaper – Crit/Expertise, no sockets. Drops from Rattlegore in H-Scholomance.

Masterwork Spiritblade Decimator – Crit/Mastery, no sockets. Blacksmithing.

Mogu’Dar, Blade of the Thousand Slaves – 476 Epic. Hit/Crit, no sockets. BoE.

Aside from the 476 pulling away based on Str/Stam alone, your best choice here would be the Lightbreaker Greastword. Haste and Crit are useless stats for Blood DKs as a whole, and all of these items has at least *one* of them, except that sword. Expertise/Mastery is hardly the ideal combination, but given the cirucmstances, it would be the one to shoot for until the price on Mogu’Dar goes down, or you happen to have BOATLOADS to drop on a BoE… or you get painfully lucky.

Now then, I mentioned earlier that I would have to make a follow-up post to this, and I will… I discovered only a few hours ago that there will be items from rep vendors that will be purchasable at Revered with valor points. When I started making these gear lists last week, I *completely* omitted VP gear, because I wasn’t entirely sure where it was… it wasn’t showing up as it normally does in Wowhead’s gear listings, so I just completely overlooked it. Now that I know exactly what i’m looking for (rep gear, not vendor gear) I will make a follow-up before this weekend, probably encompassing both bears and blood DKs, covering the rep items I passed up.

Mists of Pandaria – Pre-raid gear for bears.

18 Aug

In keeping with tradition (I did it pre Cata, and when Firelands came out), I am setting up a shopping list for you Guardian types out there. This will consist of Heroic 5-man gear, and crafted epics only. I’m not including Raid Finder gear because well… it’s still raiding, isn’t it? ;D  Blue heroic gear is 463, raid finder non-tier gear appears to be 476, where as LFR tier sits at 483, and normal tier sits at 496. This list is as inclusive as I can make it, but there’s a good chance I will miss something, or get something wrong, because I have very little information on some items.

In case you’re wondering why i’m doing it in such an odd order, it’s the order wowhead has their filters set up. This way I don’t get myself mixed up (cause it’ll happen). When possible, I will also include where the item can be acquired.

Chestpieces –

Nimbletoe Chestguard – Crit/Haste, blue socket (60 agi). Drops from Ook-Ook in H-Stormstout Brewery.

Korloff’s Raiment – Hit/Crit, yellow socket (60 agi). Drops from Brother Korloff in H-Scarlet Monastery.

Delicate Chestguard of the Golden Lotus – Crit/Mastery, no socket. Unknown drop location at this time. (A dungeon quest maybe?)

Greyshadow Chestguard – 476 Epic. Crit/Mastery, 2 yellow sockets (120 agi). Leatherworking.

Chestguard of Nemeses – 496 Epic. Crit/Mastery, Red & Blue socket (120 mast). Leatherworking.

The obvious winner is going to be the Chestguard of Nemeses just for sheer ilvl/stats, but it will probably be scary expensive to craft for some time. The Greyshadow Chestguard is a much more reasonable (and STILL quite good) alternative, even if you’re losing out on quite a bit of stats. As far as the 463s go, I would pick “Korloff’s Raiment” above the others for the time being. Crit is turning out to be one of our most desired stats for rage generation, to keep Savage Defense uptime high, and Hit is… well… Hit. I can’t imagine we’ll be drowning in it through our first tier of raiding (we NEVER are), so that’s the option I would go with, dropping an agi/crit or agi/dodge gem into the socket. If you DO pick up the 496, then go with one straight agi red gem, and one agi/stam, agi/hit, or agi/exp for the blue socket.

Boots –

Boots of Plummeting Death – Haste/Expertise, yellow socket (60 agi). Drops from Xin the Weaponmaster in H-Mogu’shan Palace.

Dashing Strike Treads – Crit/Mastery, yellow socket (60 agi). Drops from High Inquisitor Whitemane in H-Scarlet Monastery.

Haste is still a stat we don’t have much need for, although the expertise is nice. I would still shoot for the boots from Whitemane.

Gloves –

Hound Trainer’s Gloves – Expertise/Mastery, no sockets. Drops from Houndmaster Braun in H-Scarlet Halls.

Tombstone Gauntlets – Hit/Haste, no sockets. Drops from Darkmaster Gandling(?) in H-Scholomance.

Greyshadow Gloves – 476 epic. Crit/Mastery, red socket (60 crit). Leatherworking.

Murderer’s Gloves – 496 epic. Crit/Mastery, blue socket (60 agi). Leatherworking.

Mastery > Haste, so go for the gloves in Scarlet Monastary if you’re shopping for blues. Otherwise, naturally, the 496 > 476 > blues.

Helm –

Windblast Helm – Haste/Mastery, meta/red socket (180 agi). Drops from Wing Leader Ner’onok in H-Siege of Niuzao Temple.

Soulburner Crown – Hit/Crit, meta/yellow socket (180 agi). Drops from Lillian Voss in H-Scholomance.

Agile Retinal Armor – 476 epic. Meta/2 cogwheels (180 agi). Engineering *only*.

If you’re an engineer, the choice is clear (hey that rhymes). If you’re NOT an engineer… well the choice is still pretty clear. Soulburner Crown wins out this battle of the blues.

Legs –

Wall-Breaker Legguards – Expertise/Mastery, red socket (60 mastery). Drops from Raigonn in H-Gate of the Setting Sun.

Ghostwoven Legguards – Crit/Haste, yellow socket (60 haste). Drops from Jandice Barov(?) in H-Scholomance.

As usual, leave all that haste to the rogues, kitties, and maybe monks. Go for the Wall-breakers.

Shoulders –

Fizzy Spaulders – Crit/Haste, red socket (60 haste). Drops from Yan-Zhu the Uncasked in H-Stormstout Brewery.

Doubtridden Shoulderguards – Hit/Expertise, red socket (60 expertise). Drops from Sha of Doubt in H-Temple of the Jade Serpent.

Seeing an item with expertise as a socket bonus is… weird to me. Nevertheless, those are the ones you want to pick up. Pure threat stats, with a threat socket bonus… weird.

Belt –

Belt of Brazen Inebriation – Hit/Expertise, no socket. Drops from Hoptallus in H-Stormstout Brewery.

Icewrath Belt – Crit/Mastery, no socket. Drops from Instructor Chillheart in H-Scholomance.

There’s really no wrong answer with these belts. If you want the pure threat stats, or if you want the mitigation stats… just flip a coin.

Bracers –

Saboteur’s Stabilizing Bracers – Haste/Expertise, no socket. Drops from Saboteur Kip’talak in H-Gate of the Setting Sun.

Lightblade Bracer – Crit/Mastery, no socket. Drops from Armsmaster Harlan in H-Scarlet Halls.

I think by now you can probably figure it out. Haste is bad, mmkay? ;D

Cloaks –

Wind-Soaked Drape – Crit/Mastery, no socket. Drops from Wise Mari in H-Temple of the Jade Serpent.

Aerial Bombardment Cloak – Hit/Crit, no socket. Drops from General Pa’valak in H-Siege of Niuzao Temple.

This is pretty well a tossup, depending more on how comfortable you are with your hit rating than anything else.

Necklace –

Engraved Amber Pendant – Crit/Haste, no socket. Drops from Vizier Jin’bak in H-Siege of Niuzao Temple.

Scorched Scarlet Key – Hit/Expertise, no socket. Drops from Flameweaver Koegler in H-Scarlet Monastery.

Another winning piece with only hit/expertise on it. No complaints here, because the lower tiers always seemed to be lacking hit and expertise in general anyway.

Rings –

Signet of Dancing Jade – Crit/Expertise, no socket. Drops from Liu Flameheart in H-Temple of the Jade Serpent.

Seal of Hateful Meditation – Hit/Haste, no socket. Drops from Taran Zhu in H-Shado-Pan Monastery.

Pulled Grenade Pin – Crit/Mastery, no socket. Drops from Saboteur Kip’tilak in H-Gate of the Setting Sun.

Seal of Ghoulish Glee – 470 epic. Hit/Crit, no socket. Drops from the Headless Horseman (Halloween event ONLY)

Perculia’s Peculiar Signet – 476 epic. Hit/Haste, no socket. World drop, i’m assuming? BoE so you’ll see it on the AH at some point.

Even though haste is “bad”, the extra agi/stam outweighs it, so if you can pick up the two epics without too much trouble (financial or otherwise) then by all means, use them. Otherwise, Dancing Jade, or Grenade Pin are the blue rings of choice here.

Trinkets – (It’s worth noting that these may be a little harder to quantify, and will most likely rely more on your personal tastes as a tank as to which ones you want)

Windswept Pages – 847 Agi. 20 second haste proc.

Searing Words – 847 Crit rating. 25 second agi proc. Drops from Darkmaster Gandling in H-Scholomance.

Flashing Steel Talisman – 847 Hit rating. 15 second agi use. Drops from High Inquisitor Whitemane in H-Scarlet Monastery.

Heart of Fire – 847 Mastery rating. 20 second dodge use. Drops from Master Snowdrift in H-Shado-Pan Monastery.

Iron Protector Talisman – 1270 Stamina. Dodge proc. Drops from Gekkan in H-Mogu’shan Palace.

Brawler’s Statue – 470 epic. 904 Dodge rating. 20 second dodge use. Drops from Coren Direbrew (Brewfest event ONLY)

Bubbliest Brightbrew / Bitterest Balebrew Charms – 1356 Stamina. Pointless use abilities. Drops from Coren Direbrew (Brewfest event ONLY)

Relic of Xuen – 476 epic. 956 Agi. 15 second agility proc. Darkmoon Tiger deck.

Relic of Nuzao – 476 epic. 12 second dodge use. Darkmoon Ox deck.

As I mentioned, a lot of these are going to vary based on personal preference, experience, or your group’s needs. That having been said, I would stay away from Relic of Nuzao unless you can get it EXCEEDINGLY cheap. For the 2nd expansion in a row, the tank-specific DMC is flat out disappointing (WotLK didn’t even *have* one)… and THIS one doesn’t even have anything to reforge out of that you could find useful. Save your money. Xuen, on the other hand, could be VERY good for agility-heavy bears. I tend to favor one stam, one avoidance/mitigation trinket. So for me, something like Iron-Protector Talisman and Heart of Fire would be the perfect combination. Mix and match to your tastes.

Weapons –

Ghostheart – Crit/Haste, no socket. Drops from Xin the Weaponmaster in H-Mogu’shan Palace.

Amber Spear of Klaxxi’vess – Hit/Haste, no socket. Requires The Klaxxi – Exalted.

Spear of Xuen – Crit/Mastery, no socket. Archaeology.

Snowdrift’s Bladed Staff – Expertise/Mastery, no socket. Drops from Master Snowdrift in H-Shado-Pan Monastery.

Firestorm Greatstaff – Crit/Haste, no socket. Drops from Brother Korloff in H-Scarlet Monastery.

Inscribed Tiger Staff – 476 epic. Crit/Mastery, no socket. Inscription (bind to bnet account)

If you have a scribe, for sure, go for the Inscribed Tiger Staff. If you don’t, then the Spear of Xuen or Snowdrift’s Bladed Staff are probably your best bet. As it is, you have plenty of options between staves and polearms, so you shouldn’t have any issues finding a solid weapon… just those are the BEST ones for bears.

As a side note, this entire list could, more than likely, be applied to Brewmaster Monks just as easily, but I didn’t specify them because I’m not anywhere near as familiar with their stat priorities. Do they like haste? Do they prefer more mastery and less crit? I honestly don’t know…  I haven’t much kept up.

One other thing to note is that NONE of these items are bought by JP. When I first wrote this gear list, I didn’t see any JP items for sale in the list, and only recently did I discover why. JP items are actually lower level than heroic 5-man drops. They are ilvl 450, and they ALSO all require rep. I won’t include the list here (because this post is long enough), but you can find the complete listing of JP/Rep 450 gear here. Also, as of the last beta build (it may have changed, but I don’t know for sure) the requirement for level 90 heroics was ilvl 440, and LFR requires 463.

You get to help me decide!

3 Aug

Blog readers! Twitters! Friends, guildies, and weirdos across the interwebs! Lend me your ears!

I need your help.

See, I think i’ve kinda decided on my DK. well… at least for now, until something comes along and makes me decide on my druid again, or makes me doubt my decision… any way I digress.

FOR NOW, i’ve decided to play my DK come Mists. But if I do that, I think I want to race change my DK. Possibly even gender change, but I haven’t decided on that for sure. So, this is where YOU come in fellow interwebbies! I have placed my DK’s current (bitchin’ killer awesome BADASS) transmog into wowhead’s model viewer and took 12 pictures, one for each alliance race and gender.

And I want you to help me decide which looks the best. (sorry ahead of time that they’re not all cropped to the same size, and it caused them to embed weirdly. I honestly have NO idea how to make it look better at this point haha)

So! With this, I give you a poll to help me decide. Vote on things and help me figure out what I should do! You won’t be the deciding factor, but you WILL weight in on my decision.

Okay, so since i’m a dumbass, i listed male & female gnome twice. Let’s take the bottom options, and make them worgen. I can’t actually edit the poll without mucking up the results, but as it stands, there’s only one gnome vote for all 4 categories. So the last two options are now

Male Worgen

Female Worgen

Sorry for the mixup folks. >.>

DK talents, Just in time for 5.0

1 Aug

It has been a while since i’ve broken down the DK talents, and some things have made me rethink some of my earlier positions on them, so i’m going to give it a go once more. (Also, I will freely admit that I am *still* staggered by the amount of blog hits I get on my older DK talent breakdowns, so I figured something more up-to-date is in order.) As always, I will be approaching the talents from a purely PvE/raiding perspective.

If you want to see the entire talent tree, and tooltips, go here.

Tier 1 (Level 15) – Rolling Blood – Plague Leech – Unholy Blight

None of these choices really wow me, as a whole. Unholy Blight, while it’s cool to see it come back in name, isn’t the same awesomeness it was almost 4 years ago when DKs were introduced. In fact, it’s pretty sub-par, all things considered. If you want to spread diseases quickly, Rolling Blood is the way to do it, since it causes damage to all targets at the same time. It’ll probably be the talent of choice for most multi-target fights, with Plague Leech seeing some use for DK tanks to hit an “oh shit!” rune tap or something… but even then, there’s better options. Take your pick, but this whole tier leaves me underwhelmed.

Tier 2 (Level 30) – Lichborne – Anti-Magic Zone – Purgatory

Utility talents, and it’s a pretty nice one. Lichborne and AMZ will probably see the most use by DPS and tanks alike. Purgatory is kind of an odd choice, because 3 seconds is really only enough time to get of one big heal, plus an instant cast. As a tank, I would personally stay the hell away from Purgatory, because the boss doesn’t stop swinging in that time you’re covered in the shroud. It could be good for DPS in the same way that Cauterize is currently used by fire mages to some success in certain situations. Lichborne will probably be taken more by tanks due to the death coil healing that’s been so popular for quite some time now.

Tier 3 (Level 45) – Death’s Advance – Chillblains – Asphyxiate

This is kind of a no-brainer as far as pve goes. I’m betting a solid 75% of raiding DKs, regardless of spec, will take Death’s Advance just for the free base movement increase. Chillblains could be nice for add kiting in some situations (a la Magmaw’s parasites in early t11), but in general, DA is going to be the way to go for everyone.

Tier 4 (Level 60) – Death Pact – Death Siphon – Conversion

I highly doubt that *anybody* will pick up Conversion. I don’t even understand what the point of it is, to be perfectly honest. It’s not like ANY of the specs are pooling large amounts of RP at the moment, so you can throw that one out. Death Siphon sounds good on paper, but it’s really quite underwhelming, especially considering (as of the last beta build) it costs a death rune, which will muck up your entire rotation, regardless of spec (maybe a bit less so for unholy). Death Pact is far and away the strongest choice in this tier. 50% of your health is *enormous*, especially if you’re a tank. It actually turns your ghoul into a survivability cooldown as well as a DPS cooldown, so have fun with it. 3 minutes may seem a bit long, but it’s no more so than the length of your minion’s cooldown, and it doesn’t insta-kill your pet like it does currently on live. Also, it’s free.

Tier 5 (Level 75) – Blood Tap – Runic Empowerment – Runic Corruption

Far and away the most talked about set of talents that DKs have. As it stands now, Blood Tap is pretty much a wild card. I will freely admit that I will miss blood tap’s current iteration on live, but this reworking of it is… mind boggling at best. I believe that math shows Runic Empowerment to be the best rune game for blood and frost, if you can play rune tetris properly (thanks to Rades for the phrase “rune tetris”). Runic Corruption is more of a “safe” bet, and it’s currently what works for unholy on live with a good bit of success. If you’re bad at the rune gaming, RC is the safer bet, as it simply accelerates the regenerating runes for a few seconds. For a while, Blood Tap was off the global cooldown, so it could simply be macroed into Rune Strike (or Death Coil or Frost Strike, depending on what spec you are), giving it a “fire and forget” feeling to it. However, I believe that this has been changed (and PLEASE don’t quote me on this as i’ve not played the beta in a while) so it has been made considerably weaker. Chances are, you’re better off sticking with what your spec has on live currently (RE for blood/frost, RC for unholy). I’m hoping they do something different with Blood Tap in the near future to make it more viable, but if it’s truly back ON the GCD, then it’s just very meh overall.

Tier 6 (Level 90) – Gorefiend’s Grasp – Remorseless Winter – Desecrated Ground

This tier remains a disappointment to me since all the damage was removed from it. Gorefiend’s Grasp will probably still remain the tank talent of choice, with a 1m cooldown being very short, all things considered. Remorseless Winter, also with a 1m cooldown will see limited utility on add kiting fights, giving the option to pick something aside from Chillblains, if needed. Desecrated Ground (with it’s 2m cooldown) may see some *very* limited use in fights, maybe with fear/MC mechanics, but overall it won’t see a lot of people picking it for PvE, I don’t think.

All told, the talents still kind of underwhelm me at times, but as a whole, DKs will continue to work in MoP, because they’ve worked thus far. There are very few actual rotational changes being made, so we should end up playing pretty similarly to how we always have. This is both good and bad, because the learning curve should be minimal for returning DKs. Bad because it’s easy to get bored playing the exact same way. Of course, the addition of Soul Reaper should definitely change up things a bit for post 87 play. Also, I like Blizz’s idea of changing the rune cost for Soul Reaper to depend on what spec you play (1 unholy for UH, 1 frost for frost, 1 blood for blood). It gives the ability a way to fit into the rotation without screwing things up. Hell, having it cost a blood rune for blood DKs means they won’t have to put off death striking because of it. Thumbs up.

As for me, this will probably be the spec I go with, as a Blood DK, and as an Unholy DK. Honestly, Tier 6 is so damned inconsequential as DPS, i don’t even care. I can’t get over my disappointment there, Blizz.

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? >.>

Did Blizz really screw up DKs for MoP?

12 May

It never fails to surprise me that every time I look at my dashboard, generally my highest searhced pages are my DK posts. I figure it’s time to update my talent analysis for some of the newer beta builds that have come out… BECAUSE YOU ASKED FOR IT! 😀 As always, I preface this with my notification that again, this is still BETA information, and is subject to change on a regular basis. Blowing a gasket will not help anything, as Blizzard tends to be 3 or 4 patches ahead of what is currently on the beta. THAT SAID, however, constructive criticism and helpful feedback will go a long way, keeping well in mind that Blizzard is well within their rights to disagree with you and go a completely different direction.

Now then… if you’ve stopped by the beta forums, you may have noticed a lot of animosity between die-hard DK lovers and Blizz at the moment, because they feel like there’s a distinct lack of direction for MoP. Generally I stay away from extreme hyperbole (the class is unplayable! they fucking suck now! neutered my class! etc etc etc), because it’s usually ridiculous. However, I *do* feel like Blizz is uncertain what they want to do with DKs for 5.0. I’ve played my DK a little bit in the beta, and found that both unholy and 2h frost play *exactly* the same as they do on live. While I am appreciative of “don’t fix what’s not broken”, there’s a LOT to be said for giving people something newer than what they’ve been playing for the last couple years. DKs are liable to see a significant exodus if nothing changes between 4.0 and 5.0, just because you can only play the same thing for so long before it gets stale.

Here’s the rub though. Blizz HAS given DKs a few new buttons to push. First is “Control Undead” (woo-fucking-hoo /sarcasm), and the second is Soul Reaper (goddamn bloody fantastic, AND fitting into the DK lore). On top of this, we were given a couple new utili-damaging abilities in the level 90 talent tier in the forum of Gorefiend’s Grasp, Desecrated Ground and Remorseless Winter… And then, they went and pulled the blanket off of what could’ve been the most anticipated talent selection… to make them all impotent. Or, to phrase it better, none of them deal damage anymore.

Now… before I get into a rampaging obnoxious rant about things, I would like to point out something. EVERY other class has a damaging talent or output (damage or healing) increaser, SOMEWHERE within the tree.

Warriors: Bladestorm, Shockwave, Dragon Roar, Avatar, Bloodbath, Storm Bolt

Warlocks: Archimonde’s Vengeance, Grimoire of Supremacy, Grimoire of Service, Harvest Life*

Shaman: Echo of the Elements, Elemental Mastery, Elemental Blast, Primal Elementalist, Unleashed Fury

Rogues: Deadly Throw, Shuriken Toss, Versatility**

Priests: Archangel, Twist of Fate, Power Infusion, Halo, Divine Star, Cascade

Paladins: Sanctified Wrath, Divine Purpose, Execution Sentence, Light’s Hammer, Holy Prism

Monks: Chi Wave, Zen Sphere, Chi Burst, Rushing Jade Wind, Invoke Xuen, the White Tiger, Chi Torpedo

Mages: Presence of Mind, Scorch, Ice Floes, Nether Tempest, Living Bomb, Frost Bomb, Rune of Power, Incanter’s Ward

Hunters: Wyvern Sting, Thrill of the Hunt, Readness, Fervor, A Murder of Crows, Dire Beast, Lynx Rush, Barrage, Powershot, Glaive Toss

Druids: Force of Nature, Incarnation, Soul of the Forest, Nature’s Vigil

Death Knights: Death Siphon

*Harvest Life replaces Drain Life, which is already a part of the warlock’s toolkit, so this may or may not “count” as far as we’re concerned. Even if we eliminate it from this list, they still have plenty of others.

**Versatility doesn’t offer a direct damage or stat increase, but giving Redirect no cooldown is definitely an overall damage increase for any fight with more than one target ever, so I think it counts.

It’s worth noting that some of the abilities I mentioned used to be in the talent trees as they exist on live currently, but a lot of THOSE cases make a difference because now they’re accessible to ANYONE who plays that class, regardless of what spec they are (Presence of Mind is no longer restricted to arcane mages, for example). Now then, after looking at all of that mess, do we see something a little bit out of balance here? Yeah. DKs have *one* ability that does damage, and it’s not a button most DKs are going to be hitting for the sake of DPS right now, it’s more a survivability/PvP ability (although, admittedly, not a bad one). I will freely admit that Rogues are the only ones who are probably as boned as Death Knights are in the form of damaging talents. I mean honestly, two ranged attacks, one of them a finisher? Urgh. BUT i’m not here to write about rogues, because I am mostly unfamiliar with them on the whole.

When the other 10 classes have extra buttons they can hit to deal damage or increase healing (or both, in some cases), and Death Knights are shown these really damn cool new talents at level 90, only to have their damage component cut off, it’s easy to see where a lot of the vitriol is coming from. I don’t think the DK community wants an entire overhaul of the class like Warlocks are getting, I just think they want a bit of variety and fairness. Add the damage components back to the level 90 talents, and that will bring things about equal with the other classes. A little bit of freshness can REALLY make a difference to a DK. Soul Reaper, while a *damn* cool ability, just isn’t enough when nothing else is different from how it’s been the last year or so.

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.

The problem with brewmaster monks…

28 Apr

So, my brand new monk hit 84, and promptly got stuck when trying to do the quest chain that takes him into Twilight Highlands… and since I would rather rub sandpaper on my nipples than level 84-85 solely in Uldum and Deepholm, I went ahead and made a template character. First thing I did with my brand new panda monk (spooneristically named “Metabonkey”) was to spec him brewmaster and queue for one of the new dungeons. Queue popped instantly and I was taken to Stormstout Brewery, where I promptly realized the big issue with Brewmasters in their current iteration

They are fucking squishy. Here’s why: My druid tank, in bear form, in ilvl 397 gear has 58422 armor on the beta. My monk, in 378 gear (admittedly worse, but not DRAMATICALLY so) is sitting at 11381 armor.

Now baseline, that’s roughly a 30% difference in damage reduction mitigated by armor. Per swing. Brewmasters DO have a lot of tools to combat this between Guard and Staggering damage, but therein lies the problem. NO one tank class shouldn’t have to use a minimum of 4 global cooldowns for his damage taken to be similar to that of the other tanks. 4 global cooldowns is the MINIMUM… That’s providing you start a fight with full chi and are talented into having a maximum of 5 chi. If you’re going in blank it could take as many as 9 global cooldowns (Keg smash, Jab x2, Tiger Palm x3, Keg Smash, Guard, Purifying Brew) . And that is IF every single blow lands.

That’s a long damn time for you to be getting your face pounded in while trying to be “just as good” as the other tanks. Now the guard gives you a bit of breathing room, and purifying brew will cleanse off any Staggered damage you took in that time frame, but unless you throw a blackout kick (2 chi, which means you need to generate 2 MORE chi somewhere in that 9s string of nonsense) somewhere in there, there isn’t any guarantee that you will stagger ANY hits. Which means you took at *least* 3 swings from a boss at “full strength” with your monk’s piddly little 30% armor. Which means your healers are panting and going “what the fuck y u so squishy!??!”

All things being equal, this is a problem in and of itself. I don’t think anyone will argue that, but here’s the rub. Keg smash has a cooldown. If you miss with it either time in those 9 seconds then you wasted a cooldown and now have to jab TWICE for two chi, instead of KS’ing ONCE. On top of that, your keg smash/jab cost 40 energy. Energy is kind of a funky resource overall because baseline it regenerates at 10/sec. Of course haste will change that, but the amount it does so is SO miniscule (10% haste = 1 extra energy/sec. HARDLY worth the hassle when you could look for so many better things on gear).

So, let’s look at this from another way, where energy actually comes into play in the above rotation (starting a fight with zero chi). Keep in mind, I am no hardcore theorycrafter, but all of this makes sense even to me, so it should be simple enough to understand. We are assuming 0 haste on your behalf (which we know will not be the case, because we’ll ALWAYS find SOME gear with garbage stats on it). e = energy, c = chi.

Keg smash (-40e) Jab (-40e) Jab (-40e) = -120 energy. Right off the bat, you’re ALREADY waiting for energy to regenerate. Now admittedly, you can throw your three tiger palms in after the first jab, so it would look like this. Keep in mind that the base regeneration rate is 10 chi per second, and the Brewmaster monk’s have a 1s global cooldown instead of 1.5 baseline like everyone else.

Fight: (100e 0c) Keg smash (60e 2c), Jab (30e, 3c), Tiger palm x3 (60e, 0c) Jab (30e, 1c)–and right here your stuck. The next thing you SHOULD do is keg smash again, but you don’t have the energy to do it. You have to wait a full second to get enough energy to fire off your keg smash… or even another jab. At this point the boss has swung at you roughly 2 times (we’re assuming a 3 second swing timer. Of course this could be higher or lower, but 3 is a nice round number, it’s an “average” boss swing timer, and it suits our purposes here). So at this point, we’re waiting for enough energy to keg smash, where we’ll have the chi to Guard and Purifying Brew.

Again, this is ALL assuming that you have enough hit and expertise to never miss, and never be dodged or parried. And all of this is to get our survivability up to where EVERY OTHER TANK is back at the beginning of the pull. This is a little messed up right now.

I feel like I should say this (as I always do), but this is BETA. I know things will be changed. Numbers will be tweaked. Blizzard doesn’t want ANY tank going underrepresented, especially not their new class for this expansion. I understand the point of not wanting to repeat their mistakes with Death Knights at the beginning of WotLK (where they were soloing raid bosses at level), but I feel like they swung the pendulum too far the other direction for now. Of course, this is a GOOD THING. Having a class that starts out feeling weaker and gradually bringing it up to everyone else’s relative position makes us feel more powerful. This is MUCH more preferable than having us feel like gods among men, and then feeling neutered when we’re actually IN LINE with the other mere mortals (again, see DK’s in early Wrath).

I’m not writing this as a bitchfest post or anything like that. I am writing it so that those of you without beta access, or those simply unwilling to get in the beta for your own reasons, have an idea of what’s going on and where things lie for the “newcomers” to Azeroth.   If Blizz balances Brewmasters out like I am *certain* they will, then I am about 75% that the Brewmaster monk becoming my new main for Mists. I’m excited by the potential of the Monk class as a whole… but it’s still pretty early in the day. I look forward to seeing the class evolve as Blizzard starts tightening the screws.

Roly Poly Patch Day

25 Apr

This is a beta patch, so don’t get excited. I wanted to discuss the new beta patch rolled out late last night/this morning. Actually, to be more specific, I wanted to take a look at the monk changes, since that’s pretty much the only thing i’ve spent any time on in the beta. So, away we go! (As per usual, I will focus on brewmaster, and maybe touch on some windwalker stuff… mistweaver doesn’t exist to me, as I don’t heal haha)

Baseline changes:

Blackout Kick – Now costs 2 chi, up from 1 chi. Base damage increased by 20%

Pretty good change, imo. The extra chi makes it feel more like a finisher, which is what it’s SUPPOSED to be (sub-50% health), and the damage increase helps offset the extra chi cost. Well thought out change for an ability that was in a bizarre place beforehand.

Crackling Jade Lightning – Now costs 1.5% of base mana, down from 3%. When dealing damage, you have a 15% chance to generate 1 chi.

The mana change is clearly directed more at misweavers, clearly, so it doesn’t matter to me. The chance to generate chi though is nice. Maybe this is starting to take a direction more towards Mistweaver, since it really seems useless for Brewmaster and Windwalker.

Detox – Now removes disease effects instead of bleed effects.

I saw this change coming from the moment I looked at the tooltip of this ability. Only having one class that can cleanse bleeds would cause all kinds of balance issues in pvp.

Fortifying Brew – Now increases your health by 100%, and reduces yoru damage taken by 20%. Lasts 20 sec.

A good change for an ability that really made no sense before. However, it’s another tanking cooldown for a class that, right now, is LOADED THE FUCK DOWN with tank cooldowns. I’m not sure I understand what’s going on there.

Grapple Weapon – Now grabs non-ranged weapons. If you steal a better main-hand weapon, your damage or healing will be increased by 5% or damage taken reduced by 5%.

The first part was most likely a pvp change to keep from making hunters and casters useless. The second half is most likely a clarification of what the ability does, because the previous tooltip didn’t make any damn sense.

Healing Sphere – Now costs 2% base mana up from 1.5% base mana. Now instant cast down from 1.5s cast. Now has a .5s cooldown.

A curious change. I can’t imagine they’ll want tanks casting this on themselves in the middle of combat all the time, so I don’t quite understand why they removed the cast time. IMO, if they’re going to nix the cast time, they should make that a mistweaver-only passive. 

Spinning Crane Kick – Now costs 2 chi, down from [sic] 1 chi. During Spinning Crane Kick, you can continue to dodge and parry.

I’m not particularly surprised by this change. SCK felt too powerful and spammable at a cost of 1 chi. Keeping the ability to dodge and parry just lets tanks use it to solidfy aoe threat. All the other tanks have aoe abilities that don’t remove their dodge/block/parry ability, so it only makes sense that this one wouldn’t either.

Tiger Palm – Now deals 50% additional damage if the target is above 50% health.

Another good change, probably made to counterbalance the change to blackout kick. They definitely want to make sure you use one above 50% health, and one below 50% health.

 Transcendence – Now has a 45s cooldown, down from 3 minutes.

I haven’t played at level 87 so I can only comment on this ability in speculation, so… Sure thing, alright then. lol

Talents:

Charging Ox Wave – Now affects all nearby enemies within 5 yards, down from 40 yards.

This makes a lot of sense. Having an ability that knocks back all enemies within 40 yards is a little ridiculous. 5 yards makes more sense.

Chi Torpedo – Chi Torpedo replaces roll.

I feel like this was most likely a pvp change, because having 2 rolls, with a movement speed increase, and then chi torpedo, and then flying tiger kick (or wtfever it’s called that windwalkers have) means WAYYYYYYYYYYYY too much mobility for monks. Just sayin.

Dampen Harm – Moved to level 75 from level 60. Now has a 1.5m cooldown, up from 30s.

30 seconds of the cooldown for this talent was WAY too good in pvp and for tanks. This makes a lot of sense. The change from level 60 to 75 is pretty much an indifference as far as I care.

Healing Elixirs – Moved to level 75 from level 60.

My guess is this was moved solely so you had it to compete with Dampen Harm. The two of them mixed together would just be too powerful.

Karma *new* – Reduces all spell damage taken by 90% and clears all magical effects on you, reversing them back to their original caster if within 40 yards. Lasts for 6s. 1 chi, instant 1.5m cooldown.

This is an interesting new talent (the tooltip shows at level 75 as well, so it makes sense to choose between this, Dampen Harm, and Healing Elixirs). I could see the cost being increased to maybe 2 chi at some point in the future, because this could be ABSURD in pvp against classes like DKs, warlocks, and shadow priests. I am also imagining the cooldown being increased, but it looks to be a fun addition to the toolbox.

Leg Sweep – Now lasts 5s, down from 6s.

Meh. An aoe stun is an aoe stun, and 5s vs 6s is really not that big of a difference if you ask me. 

Zen Sphere (Formerly known as Rolling Force Globe) – Summons a Zen Sphere at the target location. Deals (x) damage to the 3 lowest health enemies within 20 yards of the sphere every 1s. If the enemies die from the Zen Sphere, they combust, dealing (y) damage to enemies within 8 yards. Use Zen Sphere again while active to detonate it, instantly dealing (y) damage to all enemies within 20 yards. 1 chi, 40 yard range, instant.

If i’m reading the tooltip changes correctly, instead of having the Force Globe be a boomerang that combines healing and damage to anyone in it’s path, this is instead a stationary object that is strictly for damage dealing. Losing the healing aspect of this is a bit sad, as it could’ve been a fantastic little ability for monks of all specs to throw out on high-AOE damage times. Overall, not a terrible change.. 

Rushing Jade Wind – has been reworked and now has a 30s cooldown, down from 45s. Summon a whirling tornado that travels 0 yards in front of you, dealing 5454 nature damage to all targets in it’s path and increasing damage taken bu your Spinning Crane Kick by 30%. For 8s after you cast Rushing Jade Wind, you move at 200% speed while using Spinning Crane Kic, and reduces Spinning Crane Kick’s chi cost by 1.

This has “AOE fight” written all over it, and I really like the way it’s been reworked. It’ll probably be a staple for trash on dungeons, and on fights with lots of add phases. I’m certain this will see some good use.

Tigereye Brew – Now costs 3 chi, up from 1. Now has a 60s cooldown, down from 90s. Now increases your damage and healing done by 15%. (Level 60 talent).

3 chi seems like a pretty steep cost for a moderate dps/hps increase. It doesn’t show a duration in the tooltip, at this point, but that doesn’t mean anything. I’m sure it HAS a duration, because a stacking buff like this would just be way too strong to ignore otherwise. I’m betting it drops to a 2 chi cost at some point, because 3 is just.. a lot.

Tiger’s Lust – Now has a 30s cooldown, down from 60s.

I hadn’t paid much attention to this, but this seems wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy too strong to be on a 30s cooldown when compared to similar abilities like Will of the Forsaken and Escape Artist. I don’t know what they’re playing at here.

Brewmaster abilities:

Avert Harm – Now reduces damage taken by 50%, up from 20%

This is, most likely, to keep monks from getting exploded by large amounts of damage re-directed from everyone else (half of 80% is 40%, the old way. Now half of 50% is 25%, so it’s a net damage reduction for the entire raid)

Brewmaster Training – Blackout kick portion reworked – After you Blackout Kick, you gain Shuffle causing the 3 attacks taken to become staggered within $115307 (that’s really what the tooltip says atm lol).

This is a *fantastic* change. Blackout Kick was really just another way to deal damage before, and having it be chi-free when parried made it fit really oddly in the brewmaster’s toolbox. This makes a LOT more sense in the grand scheme of things. BOK will still cost 2 chi, but now it’ll be another form of “active mitigation” that Blizz is so into these days, and I think it’ll fit nicely into the toolbox.

Clash (formerly Clashing Ox Charge) – You and the target charge each other, meeting halfway and stunning all targets within 6 yards.

This still seems kind of like a wonky ability, due to the whole “meet halfway” mechanic. I haven’t actually been in the beta since patch yet to see whether they’ve fixed the bug of it not always working with casters, so we’ll see. The aoe stun portion is pretty nice though.

Dizzying Haze – Now costs 20 energy, up from 10. Now reduces movement speed by 50%, up from 15%. Misfire chance now stacks up to 3 times.

The energy cost of this was never the issue. Nor was the movement speed reduction. The fact that it’s still a 3-stack still is all kinds of weird to me, and I don’t understand why that’s the one thing that DOESN’T get changed. I just don’t understand.

Summon Black Ox Statue – Now instant cast, down from a 1.5s cast.

Brilliant. Having a tank cast in the middle of combat to put another one of these up is a surefire way to get his ass gibbed, and this is the perfect solution to that. Bravo.

All in all, a lot of these changes are really good. A couple of them don’t make any sense to me, but getting some insight in where Blizz wants to take the monk class is always helpful. My only complaint, really, is Dizzying Haze still. Argh.I really wish they would make DH just a 5% misfire chance with 1 stack, that way using the targeting reticle wouldn’t be so damned awkward. BUT i think i’ve ranted enough about that already. Also, this post has gotten a lot more wordy than I was expecting. Overall, I see a lot of things monks have to rejoice over right now. Running forward for 30 seconds and then taking a couple steps backwards (or more like sideways, in all honesty) is still a net gain in the end.

ETA: A few addendums i’ve noticed after playing in the beta for 5 minutes or so.

Shuffle, as an active ability has been completely removed. Instead it is entirely worked into Blackout Kick. Holy fuckberries you guys. If it weren’t for Tiger Palm increasing our Guard amount, this might eliminate it from our rotation altogether. Holy crap.

In regards to Dizzying Haze: They have reworked it slightly to where it DOESN’T stack, unlike how the tooltip (as per mmo-champion) reads. Instead it is indeed just one stack. Also, the reticle will stay up on your screen from DH allowing you to quickly throw it where you need without having to hit a button, click, hit button, click again. It now works like the Wild Mushrooms. Good change Blizzard. Very good job. I stand completely corrected regarding Dizzying Haze.

Breath of Fire has also been reworked. Instead of dealing more damage based on the stacks of Dizzying Haze (since it doesn’t stack anymore), it now deals a DoT over 8 seconds when it hits them. Whether or not they’ve fixed the conical aspect of the spell remains to be seen. Also, the cooldown appears to have been removed. *thumbs up*

All in all, this patch is a complete effing win for Brewmaster monks. Thanks be to the game designers.

DK Glyph Madness

23 Apr

I realize I have been basically babbling on endlessly about my monk for the last couple weeks… but damn if it isn’t a lot of fun! However, this isn’t a classist blog, and I can’t imagine it ever BEING a classist blog, so I will take a look at the DK (since I can actually *play* her on the beta right now)… more importantly, I will take a look at the glyphs they’re offering in the beta right now.

First thing’s first: If you didn’t know, glyphs are being redone completely. There aren’t going to be any more glyphs that are no brainers. Also, Prime glyphs are going the way of the dodo. Everything in the glyphs, much like the way talents are turning out, is just for the sake of flavor and cool shit. And as always…. THIS IS BETA. SHIT WILL CHANGE. /ahem. Some of the glyphs are the same (right now) in the beta as they are on live, so I won’t mention every single glyph. Anyway, on with the show.

Majors:

Anti-Magic Shell – Causes your AMS to absorb all incoming magical damage, up to the absorption limit.

(Absorption limit is half of your health. Without the glyph, I think it absorbs 75% of all magic damage. This may be as close to a no-brainer for glyphs as tanks get, depending on the fight.)

Dancing Rune Weapon – Increases your threat generation by 100% while DRW is active, but reduces it’s damage dealt by 25%

(Live version increases threat gen by 50%, with no damage penalty.)

Dark Simulacrum – Reduces the cooldown of Dark Sim by 30s and increases it’s duration by 4s.

(Pretty damn cool glyph… I always felt that the CD of Dark Sim made it way too wonky to be used properly. Also… the lack of spells you can copy)

Death Coil – Your death coil spell is now usable on all allies. When cast on a non-undead ally, DC shrouds them with a protective barrier that absorbs up to (x) damage.

(VERY cool little change to death coil. Situational, but still offers some nice utility)

Enduring Infection – Your diseases are undispellable, but their damage dealt is reduced by 30%.

(Could have interesting PvP ramifications)

Icy Touch – Your Icy Touch dispels one helpful magic effect from the target.

(Huh… this could be useful in pvp and on certain pve encounters too. Very interesting)

Mind Freeze – Reduces the cooldown of Mind Freeze by 2s, but raises it’s cost by 20 runic power.

(I haven’t played with DKs much, so this could come in handy for clutch interrupts, but the RP costs could prove… interesting, as it’s now RP free, baseline)

Shifting Presences – You retain 80% of your runic power when switching presences.

(I could see this having some benefit situationally. Nothing spectacular though, of course)

Minor Glyphs

Geist – Your Raise Dead spell summons a geist instead of a ghoul.

(No real benefit one way or the other, but some interesting flavor. However, the geist isn’t actually in the game yet. Just a way to differentiate yourself, I suppose. I wonder if it would look different under Dark Transformation)

Horn of Winter – When used outside of combat, your HoW causes a brief, localized snow flurry.

(flurry!) Oh look... it's snowing... /apathetic cheer

 

 

 

Tranquil Grip – Your death grip spell no longer taunts the target.

(Thank the sweet merciful lord, it’s about time this glyph was added. Holy hand grenade of Antioch is this obnoxious as a DPS DK)

All in all, as you can see, a lot of these glyphs are just there to give you extra choices in how to play. Do you want Mind Freeze on a lower CD at the cost of some runic power? Do you want Dancing Rune Weapon to double your threat at the cost of some extra damage? Do you want to have a geist or a ghoul as your summoned minion? It’s really all up to you. That’s the beauty of this new system. Mix up your playstyle without fucking up your damage output or survivability or whatever.