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Archive for February, 2010

The actual dps increases are something more like adding Pyroblast to Torment the Weak and Empowered Fire. That may have missed the most recent patch notes.

Buh.

Yes, ghostcrawler, a change this huge did miss the patch notes, just a little bit.

So uh.

Yeah.

Pyroblast added to TtW and Empowered Fire.

Now when I say a huge change, I mean “significant DPS boost”, take that however you want. Obviously Pyroblast will not be worth casting as part of a rotation, it’s still strictly Hot Streak only.

But, when this patch gets released, those Hot Streak procs are going to hit significantly harder. How significant? Well, depends on your spellpower, really.

Adding Pyroblast to TtW is an excellent short term solution. A flat 12% damage increase to Pyroblast, boom, done, easy buff, and hey hello fire PvP buff too. Good job, all around.

Where I see a problem is with the TtW talent itself. That talent has been drastically overbudget for a long time now, and all signs point to it staying that way until Cataclysm at least. I’ve complained about TtW before, so suffice to say: the design of it sucks, but you still have to take it because the damage boost is so huge.

Adding Pyroblast to Empowered Fire is also a very significant boost to the damage Hot Streak can do, but this one will depend on how much spellpower you have kicking around.

Just to use a strawman, say you have three thousand spellpower raid buffed. 15% of that spellpower is going to be added to whatever damage your Pyroblast deals, so an extra 450 damage to every single Pyroblast you fire. The number could be different from 15%, of course, I’m not on the PTR, I can’t tell you for sure. In any case, good change is good, DPS increase is a DPS increase, hurray huzzah for Pyroblast’s hitting much harder.

Oh yeah, and Combustion is now a 2 minute cooldown.

Now the inevitable question: does this make fire viable again?

The inevitable answer: fire has always been viable you twat. It just hasn’t been as good as arcane, is all. You want to talk about fire being oh so terrible? I think your fellow frost mages might have something to say to you.

Just because something isn’t #1 DPS doesn’t mean it isn’t viable. If arcane is beating fire by a margin of 8% DPS, give or take depending on the nature of the fight and how hard arcane can abuse IA, that doesn’t mean fire is absolutely terrible. All it means is that it isn’t as good as arcane is.

Now, if we were to go back in time half a year and watch frost mages flail wildly about at the bottom of the theoretical DPS charts, now there you could make an argument for non-viability.

Now, to answer what you meant to ask: does this make fire and arcane closer to each other, DPS wise? Is there a significant difference?

Yes, these changes bring fire and arcane much closer together. My initial assumptions and ridiculously fast napkin mathcrafting conclude that fire and arcane are definitely sub 10% in DPS difference, though fire is still behind arcane, even considering the IA nerf. I’d say fire is about 4 or 5% behind arcane on an average fight.

To me, that is an insignificant difference. To me, that says “pick whichever you prefer”. Arcane and fire have different specialties and completely different playstyles and gearing decisions, so pick the one you want to play.

Fire is better at AoE, provides better sustained single target damage, superior range and mobility, and can dominate fights with continuous multiple targets (Kologarn, Twins where the two are tanked close together). Arcane can switch targets much faster, due to having no ramp time, has much stronger cooldowns (and thus far greater burst) and doesn’t suffer from DPS “lag” as fire does with ignite and living bomb.

Or go frost, if you like.

A tree does not have to be optimal to be viable.

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So there exists an addon called “Underachiever”. What this addon does is allow you to link fake achievements.

Let’s say I want to do Digimon, the latest boss in Archavon’s vault. I whisper a raid leader, and he says “whisper achiev or no inv”. But I haven’t done the guy yet! What do I do now?

Well, you could always just not get the invite because the raid leader is an idiotic prick. The guy probably backpedals in PvP! But then… what does that gain you? You miss out on a dull, boring loot pinata boss, but then again, you aren’t looking to raid VoA for actual difficult content, are you? No, you are there for the loot pinata, not the loot hungry-man-eating-jaguar-hiding-in-the-jungle-somewhere.

Solution? Grab the Underachiever addon, and you will automaticall win any and every epeen contest without any difficulty. As much as I despise curse.com, here’s a link. Terrible site, but the addon is worth it.

Anyway, this Underachiever thing is a very robust addon. You can link any achievement in your log, and it will show up to anyone who clicks on it as if you had completed it. You can specify the date, even specify some parts of an achievement complete and others not, and even fake achievements for other players if you so wish.

And yes, it comes with a complete list of every single Feat of Strength in the game, so you can link those too. Did you earn the Scarab Lord title? Well of course you did, you High Warlord and Gladiator in every season you. Hell, link the “Server first level 80 warlock!” when you’re playing a level 45 paladin if you want.

(Note: it can’t ordinarily link achievements you haven’t “unlocked”. For example, you can’t link the Tribute to Insanity achievement if you haven’t done the Tribute to Skill first for ToGC. BUT. If you have Overachiever installed as well, you totally can, as that shows you every achievement in the game regardless of what you have actually accomplished. And of course, Underachiever can fake all of those easy.)

You ask, what is the point of such an addon? I tell you: EPEEN.

Amongst the unwashed masses, the size of your epeen is the end all, be all stat. It doesn’t matter that you have 4pt10 and can pull 11k DPS on Putricide. What matters is the size of your dick.

With Underachiever, your dick can be however large you want it to be.

See a couple guys arguing in trade chat? They’re linking the “Boned!” and “I’ve Gone and Made a Mess” achievements and slapping their wowcocks all over trade chat?

Link your Lich King 25man kill achievement! The sheer size of your dick smashing into their poor faces will silence them utterly.

You can’t educate these people. You can’t make them smarter, or deal rationally with them. It is foolish and pointless to even try.

The only language they understand is penis.

So link them your Scarab Lord, your Sunwell clears, your Tribute to Insanity 25man achievements.

“But what if they armory me?”

Haha! Ahahaha! Hahaha! Good one!

Well, the chances of a wowcocking moron even considering attempting even the most rudimentary of research is laughably low, but if they do… well, the armory is a pretty buggy thing, isn’t it? I mean it isn’t even showing my 4.2k rated 3s arena team!

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There is, in fact, nothing about Batman in this post or patch 3.3.3. Que Disappoint!

Currently I am blasting Motley Crue’s Dr. Feelgood as loud as these here computer speakers can go. Why do I do this? Because I’m excited, that’s why! Buffs, buffs for everyone, a new BG system hip hip hooray!

First up, the new Random Battleground feature. This will work roughly the same as the current dungeon finder system does, in that the first one you do awards you with a dumptruck filled with honor, and each successive win pickup trucks filled with more honor. There are no bonuses for picking specific battlegrounds, UNLESS it is the holiday weekend! Or Call to Arms, as it’s called now, in which case the holiday BG will award the same bonuses as picking a random BG.

BG marks are also being eliminated completely, and everything that used to cost marks will cost honor instead. Thank god, finally. This clunky system fully deserves its death. Oh yeah, and the amount of honor awarded from HKs are being doubled.

Net result is hopefully significantly more people actually playing BGs overall (meaning lower queues for everyone), significantly higher honor gain for anyone playing BGs, which hopefully will lead to better geared people playing in BGs.

Before you say “won’t this just devolve into everyone farming kills?”, bear in mind that every single objective in PvP, from capping a flag to taking a tower, are all based on a set number of HKs. Thus, every single PvP objective is also doubling in the amount of honor they award.

The only downside I can see are mass quits if someone gets a battleground they don’t like popping up. Imagine zoning into Strand and then half your team evaporates on you.

On a side note, what’s up with all the hate for Strand? It is, by far, the easiest and least complicated BG in the game, and incredibly fast to boot. It’s literally impossible for a game to last longer than 24 minutes, including preparation/load times and assuming neither side manages to cap anything.

Anyway, BG change is excellent overall, and I also suspect that by simply having the random BG option, it is going to be impossible to queue for multiple BGs at once. The patch notes don’t outright say it, but this seems like what’s happening. You only get the one BG, and if you don’t like it, tough. So less people randomly quitting midfield to go fight somewhere else.

But enough PvP, on to the important stuff.

Culling of Stratholme

  • Players may now skip the initial introduction dialog to this dungeon once they have completed it at least once.
  • YES.

    YES!

    YYYEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!

    BEHOLD, FOR THERE IS A GOD, AND LO, FOR A MERCIFUL LORD IS HE!

    Frostbolt: Spell power scaling on this spell has been increased by approximately 5%.

    I’m not entirely sure what they mean here, but it sounds like they are simply increasing the coefficient of frostbolt by 5%. Unless my memory fails me, which it often does, frostbolt currently benefits from 81.4% of your spellpower, so what, precisely, does “approcimately” mean here? 85%? 86%?

    Either way, flat out buff to frost mages everywhere. A small buff, yes, but enough small buffs piled on top of each other works out to a far greater whole.

    I call this whole “FOUR VIABLE SPECS, SUCK IT”.

    Arcane Empowerment: This effect is now passive instead of being a proc off of critical strikes. The self damage buff remains unchanged.

    In other words, not a proc, just a passive 100 yard aura. Not a buff, not a nerf, just a rather nice change. Nearly every other “buff on proc” effect is getting the same treatment across the board. An interesting shift, but I can’t say I’m particularly mad that 3% of the entire raid’s damage being contingent on my own personal RNG is getting the boot.

    Incanter’s Absorption: This talent now only grants additional spell power when damage is absorbed by Mana Shield, Frost Ward, Fire Ward, or Ice Barrier. The limit of 5% of the mage’s health on the spell power buff has been removed.

    And so, Incanter’s Absorption dies a swift death. Rest in peace, comrade. I knew you only a brief time, but your power was unmatched, and you served well.

    /mourn

    In all seriousness, you couldn’t really have expected Blizzard to simply let this ability exist as is, could you? Be honest, IA was overpowered and this is a well deserved nerf.

    It might still be worth using with Fire/Frost Ward, but without the added boost from disc priests/val’anyr, this talent seems like it has been gutted completely. Nerfed too far? Yeah, yeah definitely, but it still needed to be nerfed.

    Burning Soul: Threat reduction is now 10/20%, up from 5/10%.

    Well deserved buff. Fire has been a threat machine for no reason for an extremely long time.

    Brain Freeze: This talent now allows your next Fireball or Frostfire Bolt to be instant and cost no mana. There is a small internal cooldown to keep the Frostfire Bolt from immediately triggering Brain Freeze again.

    How long we have been asking for this? How long have we said “Fireball doesn’t scale! Just give us a FFB! Put like an ICD or something on it!” How long has it been, my frosty brethren? How long we have stalked the shadows, disguising ourselves as Frostfire mages or arcane mages just so we can walk in public?

    No more! NOW IS THE WINTER OF OUR DISCONTENT!

    Seriously, literally every major buff thrown at frost recently has come in the winter months. Coincidence? I think not!

    Glyph of Fireball: No longer increases critical strike chance of Fireball. Instead, it now reduces the cast time of Fireball by 0.15 seconds.

    …!

    Wow.

    Now that, that I was not expecting.

    A buff, flat out, over the old glyph, though how much of a buff will depend on how it interacts with haste, namely where the reduction in cast time is calculated. I’m guessing it will be before haste, in which case we can basically treat it as a 5% haste boost to fireball, or basically trading 5% crit for 5% haste.

    Napkin math, I’m showing a slight DPS increase for having a faster fireball. Not huge, roughly a 5% increase I’d say. Keep in mind that this is a flat reduction to cast speed, so all of your haste rating, all the haste you get for being in a raid, all of that is applied after this cast time reduction is factored. Probably.

    In any case this seems like it would work out to about a 5% increase to fire mage DPS (it iss called napkin math, but really I’m using a calculator and Notepad. Theorycraft is fun!). Less crit on fireball might result in some losses of Hot Streak procs here and there, but having a multiplying haste effect seems to counteract that loss easily and provide a slight buff too.

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    Friday Fiction: A Thousand Things

    This is a story. I wrote it. It is WoW fiction, read at your own risk.

    I’m sure I have mentioned this before, but like many bloggers I have certain aspirations to, perhaps, write things in a more professional manner at some stage in my nebulous future. Thus I practice things, so here is some of my practice.

    Any and all criticism is worthwhile. I also have a “writer’s commentary” at the end of the story, so you can hear my thoughts on my own work.

    =========

    Once upon a time, they had made a cute couple.

    Two young things. The Man, perhaps having drank slightly too much dwarven ale, grinning like the love struck idiot He was. The Woman, Her cheeks so full of the vigor of life, coloured both by alcohol and the undeniable intoxicant of love.

    He thought it was just for fun. Perhaps a little fling on the side, just a summer thing. He, a knight in the service of King Terenas on well deserved leave; She, the daughter of a baker from Stratholme. Brought together by sheer chance at the Darkmoon Faire, where Her father had hawked his “world-famous” cinnamon buns.

    They were excellent cinnamon buns, that much was true. Probably the best He had ever tasted. Being a young single lad on vacation, however, He had a whole different set of buns in mind, and the baker’s daughter had enthusiastically complied.

    When His leave ended, He didn’t want to leave. He tried to tell himself it was nothing, that He would get over it. The universe had other ideas in mind. He cried. She cried. But She, the baker’s daughter from Stratholme, returned home, and He, the brave knight from Lordaeron, could no more shirk His duty to the king than could a stone sprout a mouth and sing songs.

    He wrote letters to Her. She wrote letters to Him. He cherished the only photo He had of Her, not once letting it leave His immediate person. He even bathed with it, pleased to discover the goblin wasn’t lying about the waterproof properties it had.

    He and She would visit the other as much as possible. Every time the Darkmoon Faire was around, He made excuses, She made excuses, and then several hours later those excuses were repeated all over again, only with more rumpled clothing the second time.

    And so it was that He had made numerous excuses, gracefully exited service of the king, and left for Stratholme. He wasn’t stupid, He had already purchased a nice home for Himself and His bride to be and had lined up a position as a journeyman blacksmith.

    A thousand things He wanted to say. A thousand thousand days He had planned to be with Her.

    The dreams of His dreams had been realized, but as with all tales that begin with once upon a time, the nightmares of His worst nightmares were soon to follow.

    He later learned they were called the Scourge. Nightmarish creatures from across the sea, they swarmed across Lordaeron like… well, like a Scourge. He had died fighting on the road, alone, against an enemy He did not even begin to comprehend.

    Many months later, He wandered a plagued and destroyed countryside, His right arm still holding His sword, His left arm clutching a faded photograph. A zombie with purpose, He searched with an unwavering will that only the undead can possess.

    As fate would have it, He found Her.

    There She stood, on a hilltop, the sickly sun silhouetting Her armor clad figure. There She stood, her red armor stained, Her white tabard spattered with blood and gore.

    He tried to call to Her, but all that came out was “Aaawwwhh!”

    When She sank to Her knees, wracking sobs ripping through Her body, He tried to comfort Her, but all that came out was “Hhhh”.

    When She drew Her blade and attacked him, tears still flowing, He tried to stop Her, tried to tell Her it was Him, but all that came out was “Wwhrrruuu”.

    When He defended himself out of instinct, when His sword ripped through Her body, when She bled to death on the road, He tried to say every one of the thousand things He wanted to say.

    Will you marry me.

    Stay with me forever.

    I love you.

    But all that came out was “Hh… hh… uuuuhhh!”

    =========

    The difficulty with writing short stories is that they are supposed to be short. Something light and sweet, something you can sit down and read in a couple minutes. There isn’t a lot of room for anything besides the core of the story.

    Picture a scoop of ice cream. This is the story. You can add jujubes, sprinkles, chocolate sauce, change the flavour of the ice cream if you want. It’s still a scoop of ice cream, no matter how many details you add.

    With a short story, you can’t add sprinkles. There just isn’t room. You need to cut out as much as possible and simply tell the tale you want to tell. Anything else is a waste of time and space. You’re trying to eat ice cream here, not a bunch of sprinkles and cookie crumbles with some ice cream buried underneath, and you are trying to eat this ice cream in one bite.

    “A Thousand Things” was significantly longer in its original version. Instead of one continuous romantic tragedy, it was made up of multiple scenes and even had multiple characters. The core story you see above, for instance, was originally a flashback. The Man character had a name, was a Forsaken warrior, and was visiting a graveyard on the anniversary of the first time he met the Woman.

    The story I wanted to tell had nothing to do with that graveyard or the forsaken Man. It was about the tragedy itself, and there was no point in using a flashback to tell the story when I could just tell the damn story straight up.

    Eliminating names was a tough decision, but again I felt it detracted from the story, so they and all dialogue got the old backspace button. There was also originally an old forsaken man by the name of Ogie who acted as a sort of guide for the Man character when He regained consciousness. As much as I like Ogie, the story wasn’t about him, so heave ho! Ogie and his undead mule got cut.

    I hope it was fairly clear that the Woman character was a member of the Scarlet Crusade. If it wasn’t, well, now it is. At least it was clear that She hadn’t been turned, had survived, at least long enough to die at the blade of Her true love. There was originally an explanation of how She survived, what She was doing when He found Her, there was a bunch of other crusaders present, etc.

    Delete, delete, delete.

    The dialog at the end (where He tries to talk to Her) was extremely difficult to get “right”. It needed to be sad, heartbreaking if possible. It needed to show that communication is quite literally impossible in this situation, which you’d think would be pretty easy with a starring character having no lower jaw.

    The difficulty came in trying to make this dialog serious and sad rather than hilarious. I’m not writing a story about Galertruby. So, His dialog ended up matching phonetically the sounds one makes when they are about to cry. It seems to work from my perspective.

    Overall I’m pretty happy with this one. Easily near 80% of what I had originally written was cut, and I think this little story is much, much better for losing the excess weight.

    I’m also very proudĀ  of “sickly sun silhouetting”.

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    Escapism

    The background for this post can be read here and here.

    WoW is an escape for many people, myself included. I daresay the majority of WoW players are using WoW as an “escape” from “real” life. Quite a few of them probably feel guilty about it, or type /played and have this hollow sensation of time wasted. Probably even more WoW players have family and friends that constantly deride them for spending so much time on a “stupid game.”

    I don’t really understand why liking WoW and playing it a bunch is somehow a bad thing. The stigma held by outsiders and many insiders is utterly perplexing to me.

    Tell me. If you weren’t playing WoW in your free time, what would you be doing?

    Watching TV? Movies? Reading a book, perhaps? Baking cookies? Building model airplanes and flying them? Getting drunk with friends all the time? Gardening?

    How, exactly, are any of those different from WoW?

    A videogame is just an enabler, an outlet, for any number of things. It’s just a hobby, something you do to pass the time, to have some fun, to provide an outlet for some emotional trouble. (more…)

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    Three Dimensions

    This is largely going to be in response to “The Third Dimension” over at Blessing of Kings.

    Consider a puzzle with chopsticks for a second here.

    You are given three chopsticks. Make a triangle, one chopstick for each side. Trivial, right?

    You are given five chopsticks. Make two triangles, again with one chopstick for each side. Still trivial!

    Alright, try this one. You are given six chopsticks, now make four triangles, once again with one chopstick per side.

    Uh oh. Anyone run into trouble here?

    Go on, I’ll give you some time to try and make four triangles using six chopsticks (or toothpicks or pens or whatever you have).

    How many if you got stuck?

    How many of you realized this puzzle was also trivial, if you but think in three dimensions?

    Making four triangles with six chopsticks is easy. Three resting on the ground, one triangle. The other three then form a tetrahedron. Voila, six chopsticks, four triangles. (more…)

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    Cataclysm Will Fix It!

    (This rant was written many weeks ago, so complaints about PvP burst may seem a little hollow now, but hey, QQ is QQ and that’s why you’re here, right?)

    I’m getting really tired of this sentiment.

    An open note to Blizzard:

    WE ARE NOT PLAYING CATACLYSM. WE ARE PLAYING WRATH OF THE LICH KING.

    I have problems with DPS!

    Don’t worry, we have plans for Cataclysm.

    Such and such is an unwieldy, stupid mechanic!

    Don’t worry, we’ll get it fixed for Cataclysm.

    Healing is so spiky and spammy. This isn’t fun at all!

    Don’t worry, we’ll increase health pools in Cataclysm.

    PvP is way too bursty!

    Cataclysm will fix it.

    My class is terrible!

    Cataclysm will fix it.

    That class is overpowered!

    Cataclysm will fix it.

    We aren’t having problems tanking the packs of adds Ragnaros summons. We are having problems tanking now. Death Knights aren’t having problems producing snap aggro on an add Digimon the Flaming Hamburger spawns in Molten Core Two: Revenge of the Core Hounds. Death Knights are having problems producing snap aggro right now.

    Healers aren’t having problems with tanks getting two shot in Cataclysm. Healers aren’t forced to spam in Cataclysm. PvP isn’t too bursty in Cataclysm.

    We aren’t having any of these problems in Cataclysm, because we aren’t playing goddamn Cataclysm!

    We are having these problems in the game we are actually playing, right now.

    I get it. I understand. You can’t just start sledgehammering changes into the game. You can’t just, say, double the damage reduction resilience provides without serious testing first (oh wait…).

    But, you gotta do something. Repeating “Cataclysm will fix it” over and over again is getting extremely old.

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    Lulz

    Wait for it…

    Perhaps I’d make a good goblin yet!

    This is just too damn funny for words. Do these people even realize how easy it is to farm those things? Not that I’m going to tell them, oh no! 19 gold for about five seconds worth of effort is just so great. I guess I told you guys though. So there’s that.

    Shout to ma peeps on Duskwood! Respect y’all! We be piling up da gold in diz hizzouse! What the hell does crunk even mean?

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    I Cannot Use Apostrophe’s

    “It’s” means “it is”, whereas “its” signifies ownership. The apostrophe only shows ownership when it’s used with any word that isn’t it. It’s confusing sometimes, but it should be taught to students from a young age, so it shouldn’t be a problem, should it?

    I, for one, struggle greatly with getting it’s/its correctly, and I have been corrected for it many times by helpful commenters. Seriously, I mean it. I type these blog posts up so fast and only proofread them maybe once or twice, of course mistakes are going to get through. It’s inevitable. Posting a comment like “you spelled dysfunction wrong” isn’t going to hurt my feelings or anything.

    Point out mistakes, I’ll correct them. Or ignore it and leave it in it’s original state for laughs (oh meta humor). And besides, let us be honest here, somebody who actually gets offended or hurt from having a spelling mistake pointed out to them likely has a whole host of issues beyond typing too fast sometimes.

    In regards to it’s/its, well… I have an excuse as to why I make that mistake more often than anything else!

    See, I was originally taught way back in grade school that “it’s” is only used to mean “it is”. “Its” being strictly for showing possession.

    However, in grades four and five, I was taught that “it’s” shows possession AND means “it is”, the word “its” not appearing anywhere in the english language. Apparently. (more…)

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    I will be discussing the overall arch of Wrath herein, including the end video of the Lich King encounter. If you have not seen it and do not wish to be spoiled, well, I’m not really going to be saying anything that would spoil it really. More than likely anything I mention you would have already guessed by now anyway.

    Still.

    Leaving some blank space so you don’t actually have to read anything if you don’t want to. (more…)

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