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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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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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    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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    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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    Mind the Gap

    Ok, back to discussing gear gaps and PvP.

    To my eyes, PvP and PvE are vastly different game modes. You need completely different gear, completely different specs, completely different skill sets and mind sets to succeed in each. There is little to no crossover between raiding and battlegrounds/arenas, in terms of tactics and strategy. Basic skills like being aware of your surroundings translate nicely, but things like using Death Grip as an interrupt don’t translate nearly as well.

    And that’s the way it should be. I support splitting PvE and PvP as far apart as possible, and keeping them as far apart as possible. If the developers need to go so far that they have to flat-out ban PvE gear in PvP and vice versa or have spells and various abilities do completely different things in each part of the game, so be it. They’re already leaning hard in this direction, why not just go all the way?

    I support such a split, and I think the PvP/PvE divide in WoW needs to be much bigger than it currently is. Not should be, needs to be.

    A perfect PvP game would have everyone on exactly the same level, with the only deciding factor being skill. I am more than mature enough to realize this isn’t possible within the confines of an MMO, and indeed shouldn’t be.

    The major issue around gear is in its implementation. As it stands now, you are at a massive disadvantage if you don’t raid. It doesn’t matter if you just hit 80 or rock a 5s team at 2200 rating. No matter what category you fall into, you are automatically at a gear disadvantage to your raiding brethren.

    This, to me, is wrong.

    What I’d like to see is gearing up for PvP by actually doing PvP, and gearing up for PvE by actually doing PvE, with absolutely no crossover or compatibility between the two. We’ve been slowly moving in this direction for several years now, I think the process needs to be sped up.

    If that means totally separate gear grinds? Fine by me. If that means you go from 264 epics in raid gear to 200 blues in PvP gear? Sounds perfectly fine to me. If you can’t use Shadowmourne in BGs? Sounds fair.

    I don’t expect people to agree with that.

    Cataclysm comes around…….. your in full wrathful arena gear for lvling to 85, cant do any 5mans though cause when you zone in your naked!

    That’d just be silly.

    ~ Shunyata, Suramar.

    I don’t see it that way. By allowing the gear to translate effectively from one area to another, there are all sorts of issues created.

    Last expansion, it forced raiders to do PvP in order to get reasonable gear. This was unacceptable to many people, rightfully so. This expansion, hardcore PvPers are forced to raid seriously in order to get reasonable gear. This should be unacceptable to many people.

    Obviously the gear doesn’t translate perfectly. Using PvP gear for raiding is an unattractive proposition, as PvP gear is, you know, designed for PvP. Resilience offers nothing for raiders, and all PvP gear lacks the offensive stats of their equal iLevel PvE brethren.

    Likewise, PvE gear is unattractive for PvP, or rather is supposed to be.

    The reality is far different.

    PvP gear isn’t that great for PvE, to the point where, say, a 226 PvE epic can replace a 245 PvP epic. This part is a success.

    However, PvE gear is still extremely attractive for PvPers of any caliber, mostly DPS classes. Consider the human mages that used dual Reign of the Dead (yes, the heroic and non-heroic versions stack). Consider the warriors who simply stacked PvE gear with armor pen on them.

    I never said I was against gear grinds. I never said I wanted top end arena gear to be handed out like skittles at a parade.

    What I advocate is creating a fairer environment. I want a world where gearing for PvP by doing PvP is a viable option, for every slot. I want a world where raiders don’t have an advantage over their fellow players by sheer merit that they raid.

    Imagine it like this, if you will.

    As a fresh 80, you come equipped with 200 blues in every single slot. You have a 2 minute PvP trinket with some resilience, a full set of resilience gear head to toe, and even a blue quality weapon with resilience. This is all gained by any method really, though my personal favorite are quests. There are a ton of “PvP” quests in Northrend, why don’t they award PvP gear?

    Picture that polearm Onyxia drops. You know how you can click it to get a second polearm with completely different stats? Imagine if you could do the same to the blue quality gear you get from quests. Sure, the quest awards blue bracers designed to get you started on the road of PvE, but with a simple click it becomes a starter PvP piece instead.

    Then, you have a series of quests you can do to score 213 PvP epics. Picture a quest like this:

    • Take a flag in Arath Basin, then be victorious in that Arathi Basin. Awards Deadly Gladiator’s Thing of Something

    A quest you can complete in ten to twenty minutes. Figuring in queue time, it’s very near to the same amount of time running a heroic would take to get the same level of reward. The quest not completing if you lose, then, would reflect wipes and bad PuGs, and even, to a lesser extent, RNG.

    The whole time you’re doing that, you’re collecting honor that you can then spend on your 232 main pieces and 245/264 offpieces. This is what we currently have. It could take you hours to get a single piece, but if you’re willing to wait, simply doing WG and its quests can get you a lot of honor quite easily.

    Once you’re kitted there, you move into the arenas. At low end arena ratings, you earn points, you pick up 251 main pieces and some 264 offpieces. You get some gear as early as 700 rating, then gear up and progress through the ranks. Once you start hovering around in roughly the 1400-1600 area, you can start getting the 264 main pieces and finish collecting the 264 offpieces.

    This would be for every slot, however, not just some slots. It should be entirely possible to gear for PvP without having to do any PvE just to be on equal footing.

    To recap, the gearing process would look something like this:

    • 200 blues – ridiculously easy quests in Icecrown/Stormpeaks, etc.
    • 213 epics – easy battleground quests, for example “capture a graveyard in AV!”
    • 232 epics – large amounts of honor.
    • 251 epics – low end arena.
    • 264 epics – high end arena.

    The last post on this subject garnered a lot of harsh criticism in addition to support.

    The primary criticism was “it’s already easy enough to gear up! Suck it up princess.”

    Let me be very, very clear here.

    I am not suffering from poor gear, nor am I advocating that current PvP gear be any easier to obtain.

    Before season 8 even started, I had two characters decked in furious and relentless gear. Both of these characters sported raid gear where PvP gear was not an option, both characters were wielding iLevel 251 weapons.

    Accusing me of simply wanting easy epics is pointless, as I had either best in slot or second best in slot for nearly every piece of gear across two characters.

    Now, of course, I can almost guarantee that I’m going to be accused of supporting welfare epics, despite my protestations to the contrary.

    Arena season 8 has introduced a strange new paradigm for Blizzard, this expansion at least. Have you noticed how many items are locked behind arena rating? Nearly nothing is. Wrathful Gladiator main pieces are, as is the wrathful belt and boots.

    But everything else is rating free, simply requiring honor and arena points to get. That’s it. Even relentless gladiator main pieces don’t come with an arena requirement attached, and there are finally Battlemaster trinkets available for honor.

    It isn’t the system I’d like to see. Current gear should require some participation in high end PvP, putting at least some barriers on it. Then again, have you seen the honor prices for this so called welfare gear? I don’t think we’ve ever had to work so hard to get welfare gear.

    Godspeed if you have more than one character to gear up.

    I see the reasoning behind such a change, though. More gear available to more people means more people are going to be participating in PvP, and it levels the playing field pretty significantly. I concede that it’s a good move, but I still disagree with it.

    Curiously, there are some gaping flaws in Blizzard’s new gearing ideas. Weapons below the level of the new Wrathful stuff are still missing, meaning players are going to have to run the new heroics as often as they can and pray for a Quel’Delar drop, or go raid.

    There’s also the ever present problem that raiders can bring their stupid powerful raiding trinkets and weapons with them into arenas and battlegrounds. Faced an armor pen capped warrior with Bryntroll and Deathbringer’s Will yet? No? Well, just wait a few weeks, you’ll get to fight an armor pen capped warrior with the heroic version of both of those things soon enough.

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    The Dunning-Kruger Effect

    Do you have an ego? If so, keep reading! Would you like an ego? If so, keep reading!

    This post is dedicated to us, the thinking, educated people. Pats on the back for everyone, we are all the best humans on earth. Go us.

    In short, the Dunning-Kruger effect is thus: a cognitive bias in which “people who are unskilled… reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the metacognitive ability to realize it.”

    Effectively, this is a strange behaviour where the incompetent do not realize their own incompetence, due to their incompetence. They never recognize they’re doing anything wrong, indeed they outright lack the ability to even reach such a conclusion. Thus, they think they’re doing fine, nay, fantastic, and as such develop a hugely inflated opinion of themselves.

    The inverse of this is also true.

    The competent do not realize their own competence, because they are competent. They see greater skill in others, recognize their own failures and mistakes, and thus try to improve. Inevitably they do improve, becoming much, much better than where they used to be.

    But the competent (usually) never realize it. They get better, yes, but they still think themselves the abject incompetent failure they used to be. They still make mistakes, they still see others better than they.

    The incompetent unskilled develop massively inflated opinions of their own ability, whereas the competent skilled vastly and consistently underestimate themselves.

    Just read the wikipedia page already.

    How many of you are nodding “that is so true”? I know I am.

    How else do you explain the absolute failtastic cock buckets pulling 2k DPS in 245 gear espousing their supreme uberness?

    How else do you explain how Tamarind who quite obviously is a fantastic healer continues to think himself largely incapable of healing a blade of grass through a light breeze?

    Consider. Let’s say you wipe. Everyone is dead, the boss is not. Where does the blame get shifted?

    Incompetent people will blame others. It’s not them defending themselves, or trying to shirk the blame, trying to deflect blame so their failure isn’t revealed in front of their peers. In actuality, they are incapable of even seeing their own failure. They can’t. They flat out cannot comprehend themselves failing in any way. It must be someone else who screwed up, because they didn’t make any mistakes.

    These guys do not improve, because they don’t see that there is anything that needs to be improved.

    Competent people will blame themselves. It’s not self loathing, or a martyr syndrome of any sort, they are simply capable of recognizing their own short comings. They know perfectly well they can fail, have failed, and will fail in the future. They second guess everything they’ve done, analyze their own performance and say “if only I did that, if only I did this.” They “logically” come to the conclusion that it was their own fault, that they failed and single handedly caused the wipe.

    These guys stop, think and talk it over, try new strategies, do research online, doing everything within their power to improve.

    To all of us competent players… cheers. We rule. Now if only we could get past that crippling self doubt thing, we’d be good to go.

    I tell you, right here right now, that you are awesome. You are a skilled player capable of great things. “But I-” NO! SILENCE! You are awesome! “But there was that one time where I-” OF COURSE there was! You think skilled players never make mistakes? You think skilled means flawless? NO!  Skilled players make mistakes, always have and always will. What makes a skilled player skilled is that they learn from those mistakes, that they can even realize a mistake was even made.

    WARNING: Critical levels of happy detected. Dumping joy to disc, loading QQ. Please stand by.

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    Disclaimer: the solutions I offer were all thought of by me in the past few days. I do not claim any of them to be original ideas. Maybe I invented them, maybe I read a suggestion on some forum somewhere a year ago, maybe I just borrowed a mechanic from another class.

    Problem: unpredictable and unreliable burst damage.

    Generally speaking, when a class wishes to burst, they push a couple buttons which massively increases the damage they are capable of pumping out. A warrior pushes Bladestorm, a frost mage pushes icy veins, arcane mages push arcane power.

    Fire does not have such an option. Fire has Combustion, which essentially creates guaranteed crits that crit harder than normal. This is going to become a common theme in the rest of the post here, the core problem here is too much RNG.

    When a warrior pushes Bladestorm, he is dealing tons of damage immediately, possibly to multiple targets. When a frost mage pushes Ivy Veins, he is casting much faster, resulting in a huge increase to effective damage output. He can also use Deep Freeze and shatter combos. This is all immediate, on demand burst damage. (more…)

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