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Posts Tagged ‘PvP’

Sick Muse

Again with the post title snagged from whatever was playing in winamp.

ON BIRTHDAY WISHES

Happy (belated) Birthday Krizzlybear!

I recently realized that last time I raided frost, my DPS was somewhat lower than I expected because I fucking fail at frost mage so very hard.

See, you know how the Brain Freeze lets you fire an instant cast Frostfire Bolt?

Yeah.

Uh.

Woops.

I have no birthday present to offer you, krizzly, just know that when I realized my fail, I facepalmed so hard I created a sonic boom, I thought of you.

Wait… what. No, that came out wrong.

Uhhh….

ON LOBOTOMIZED BLOGGERS

Hoo boy.

A disclaimer saying “this is a joke guys come on what the hell people” that takes multiple paragraphs to say in an effort not to offend the delicate sensibilities of the wow.com audience.

That is exactly why I like being a little blog with a little audience. No disclaimers here, oh no kind sirs and madams! I will call you my bitches, and I will mean it, and you will laugh, and then you will realize it was a Daikatana reference, and then you will cry. WELCOME TO CQQ.

And here I do quote what I would have done, had I been the mage columnist at wow.com and had to handle the wow.com readership:

To everyone who got so indignant after the warlockian Arcane Brilliance was posted, crowing over and over about how April Fools was last week and this is a news site, that you come here for news, not to be tricked, and you will now go elsewhere for your news: LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL.

Oh what? What was that? I insulted your sensibilities? Was your tiny delicate world upset by a tiny deviation in your schedule? Are you so fundamentally retarded that you actually consider wow.com a premier news site? (There goes my chance to ever write there, lol.) How many times were you dropped on your head as a child that such blatant sarcasm actually tricked you? How pathetic can you possibly be to think “/unsubscribe” is actually a threat to anyone?

OH NOES I HURT YOUR FEELINGS MY BAD HERE’S A LOLLIPOP.

wait what I didn't mean it that way oh god what is this my name isn't even henry WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOUR MOUTH

On a related note, why do warlocks complain so much about hunters? Warlocks screw hunters over so hard it’s barely even funny. Of course, hunters screw over mages so hard that maybe warlocks are just jealous?

Why don’t we all play nice and go dominate us some paladins, eh? Eh? Fine, fuck you guys too. Never liked you trigger happy gunmongers and fear spamming douchemonkeys anyway.

I tried to be nice, and look what it got me. Scatter trapped deathcoil feared can’t do that while silenced. FFFFFFF.

ON THAT ROBERT DOWNEY JR MOVIE WHERE EVERYONE PRETENDS HE’S SHERLOCK HOLMES FOR SOME REASON

I did like the movie. It was extremely faithful to the actual, original, non-white-washed-by-society Sherlock Holmes.

I never did understand why Holmes was ever made out to be some hoity toity lawful good uber hero. The dude gets so high he has magic adventures with watson and his magical mayonnaise unicorn when he gets bored. Holmes is the original gritty detective! He’d be right at home in Sin City!

But, as there is always a but.

Downey did not, to me, come across as Holmes. Everyone else was brilliant (especially Judge Law, that is his name right?), but… Downey did not make a good Holmes. I wasn’t watching Holmes and Watson shimmy about solving crime, I was watching Robert Downey Jr and Watson shimmy about solving crime.

I can’t really describe it beyond that. Downey just never convinced me that he was something other than Downey. His fault? Director’s fault? My fault? Don’t know, but hell that was hard to get past.

ON ROGER EBERT

“Vidja games ain’t bein’ art!”

Yeah, yeah, shut up ya old coot.

ON WOLVAR ORPHAN

I got this on the mage last year, and was thoroughly “meh” towards it. Busted it out a few times in Ulduar, but nowadays if I have a pet out it’s lil KT. Even after all this time, the laugh. The laugh!

Got it on the paladin this year. Now, somehow, this pet is completely different. Completely. It is exactly the same as it was when I did the quest on the mage a year ago, but somehow… somehow the paladin loves the little guy.

I gave him hugs (violent ones, I am a ret paladin you know), flew around on a dragon, pointed and laughed at the humans in Dalaran, mocked walrusmen… me and likkle Kekek had an absolute blast.

And when the quest was over… I dunno, apparently I had a stroke. I was genuinely sad that my adventures with little Kekek as at an end.

Apparently I forgot that he mailed himself to me not ten seconds later. I promptly treated him to a steak dinner.

Then I logged off and played my shaman for a while, and could not for the life of me remember why the hell I cared so much about some stupid non-combat pet.

Until I logged back into the paladin, summoned the thing, and my heart absolutely melted all over again and I found myself gibbering like a fool, running around in Thunder Bluff, likkle Kekek on my back, and we bustled around making cow tipping jokes.

Is… is this what RP is like? I feel like I am going mad.

And yes, I am avoiding battlegrounds completely due to orphan week.

I know, I know, everyone and their orphan are blithering about orphan week (AGAIN), but look. I PvP because it actually takes a reasonable amount of skill to do well at it. We can argue all we want about relative BG skill levels, but suffice to say playing a BG well takes significantly more effort on my part than questing, running dungeons or raiding. Hence my interest.

I have no interest in tearing into battlegrounds and destroying all the dazed and confused people just trying to get an achievement done. I’d go spend some time with a test dummy in Orgrimmar if all I wanted to do was beat on pinatas for a while.

Let’s be honest here. Quite a few of those trying to do this achievement are little more than pinatas. These are people who would otherwise never venture into a battleground. More often than not, they don’t even fight back. They just stand there, waiting for the inevitable end.

It’s worse when they do fight back. My heart is filled with pity. Just… what are you doing. It is absolutely sad to watch. Like watching some poor child whose mother drank herself to liver poisoning during each trimester; watching this child fail at the most basic of tasks; watching them struggle to even turn themselves around.

And I do quote myself, written May 5th, 2009:

What I mind is all these poor sods queueing up for battlegrounds that haven’t the foggiest idea how to PvP, whether it’s on the tactical or strategical level.

A mage sporting naxx-25 gear with some Ulduar stuff sporting a server first kill of Sartharion and a raiding arcane spec is an impressive sight, no doubt.

But on the PvP front? He becomes nothing more than a hunk of meat hurled at the jaws of a hungry dog. Honestly, with only 15k health and zero resilience, I’m watching him only to see how fast he can die.

Read the post in its entirety here. Still relevant today, despite being a year old. Fancy that.

It breaks my heart to watch. Honorable kill my ass, there is nothing honorable in defeating an unarmed cardboard box in a duel.

This year, I refuse to participate.

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Yes, this series is probably going to continue for some time. I have to talk about every class, and anything else I think of along the way.

So, druids.

I have not played a druid, nor have I played with one extensively in PvP, so my insights are probably going to be significantly less insightly this time around.

First up, moonkins. Poor moonkins.

Moonkins aren’t in a very good place, overall, and haven’t been this entire expansion. Or ever. Moonkins are generally inferior to their other caster brethren, enjoying limited success in the hands of excellent players in a couple comps in 2s and 3s, and like death knights are shunned from 5s. They do quite well for themselves in battlegrounds, largely because the best way to PvP as a moonkin is to shove people off cliffs, ledges and bridges.

The major problem facing moonkins is that they are a caster trapped in the body of a druid. They have snares, they have nuking capacity, they have crowd control, they even have a half decent defensive cooldown, but all of those are inferior to what their caster brethren enjoy. In addition, moonkin do not have access to something all the other casters have: an interrupt.

Mages, warlocks, shadow priests, and so forth all have numerous ways to shut down opposing casters and numerous ways to avoid being shut down by other players. Moonkins have neither. They have no meaningful interrupts and no reliable way to avoid being shut down by enemy players. To put it lightly, a moonkin is a caster with either no caster tools or weak versions of them.

Every arena comp I’ve played, whenever we come across a moonkin, we very rarely don’t hit the moonkin extremely hard right off the bat. The only defensive cooldown they have is Barkskin, which can be easily dispelled and doesn’t even provide a great measure of help anyway. Other than that, their only real major option is to shift and run away, which frankly suits us just fine.

Similar to how an arms warrior in defensive stance with a shield equipped stops being a major threat, so does a moonkin forced into caster form to heal itself or cheetah to try and run away.

Moonkin damage is alright, which is about the only thing they have going for them. Currently, with Starfall and trees popped a moonkin can deal respectable damage, but without that their damage is merely average. A lack of damage is not what is holding moonkin back from being a great PvP spec, a lack of burst damage is not what moonkin are hurting for. (Though a more reliable Eclipse talent would certainly be a big help.)

What the balance tree needs is some proper caster tools. A few defensive abilities, to use against both enemy melee and enemy casters, would go much further in helping moonkins than anything else. Barkskin is simply not enough, not nearly enough. Buffing the damage Starfall deals isn’t going to fix anything.

Hell, even letting barkskin provide 100% dispel protection while it’s active would be a major improvement. Which, apparently, is coming to druids in cataclysm. Little late for any moonkins trying to compete in season 8.

Ferals are in roughly the same boat as moonkins. A melee class without any of the melee tools. Which isn’t entirely true, as any mage can tell you from trying to fight the instant snare breaking polymorph immune bastards.

I can’t say much about ferals, for I don’t particularly know a lot about them. They are few and far between, the only time I can recall even seeing one per battleground was the first few months after Wrath shipped. Since then, I see one maybe every five or six battlegrounds, and even less often in arenas.

Generally though, their population trend is the same as tree druids. Prevalent in 2s, scant in 3s, and seeing one in 5s is cause for laughter and derision.

All I can really say is that feral druids are very tough melee characters. With numerous bear tanking talents at their disposal, they have higher than average armor, health, and critical strike chance reduction. They can shift into bear form for significantly higher survivability any time, they can shift out and heal themselves, and quite excellent mobility. They can stealth, though they lack a way to regain stealth during combat.

Near as I can tell, the lack of an interrupt and the inability to deal damage in a PvP friendly way is what is causing ferals to lag behind.

Ferals, from what I understand, rely on a significant amount of target uptime in order to get their various buffs and debuffs to actually start dealing heavy damage. PvP does not allow for a lot of uptime, any DPS class typically works in small bursts. Three seconds here, four seconds there. Situations where you can sit on a target for ten or so seconds, just hammering damage into them, are extremely rare.

And so, ferals are forced to do as much damage as they can in a few globals. Which is especially poor in their case, relative to other classes like warriors and ret paladins.

In any case, there aren’t a lot of feral druids running around in PvP. Perhaps because they all rerolled resto years ago.

Tree druids, on the other hand, are quite numerous. You can find them everywhere, really. They are in battlegrounds and a dominating force in 2s. Far less common in 3s, and rather rare in 5s.

This, I think, is due to a resto druid not having high throughput or group based defensive cooldowns. Resto druids have abilities and cooldowns that can defend themselves, but they have nothing to bring to the table when someone else starts getting blown up. The total lack of a magic dispel doesn’t help either.

They have numerous powerful HoTs, but HoTs cannot save someone immediately, they save someone eventually. A resto druid simply cannot keep up with the damage output in the 3s and 5s brackets, something shamans, paladins and priests can all do. In these larger brackets, the damage output teams can do is immense. A player can be taken from full health to a dirt nap in a matter of three or four globals. This is damage output druids cannot easily handle.

Druids can pre-HoT, yes, but their mana pool isn’t deep enough to pre-HoT everyone. Swiftmend and Nature’s Swiftness obviously are used plenty, but even that isn’t enough. Druids simply lack the healing throughput, and they don’t have the cooldowns to offset that. This is also why the only successful druid teams in 3s feature at least one partner that can seriously bolster their power. A ret paladin, for instance, has access to powerful team based cooldowns, shields and his own heals and dispels to help the druid.

However, a resto druid does have access to some offensive abilities. They have crowd control.

This makes them perfectly suited toward small scale PvP. This is why they are so strong in 2s. The amount of damage going out in 2s is far less than 3s and 5s, so the resto druid actually can heal effectively. And of course the fewer people there are, the more efficient crowd control becomes. Druids almost seem tailor made for the 2s bracket. Hardly surprising, considering druids have nearly dominated that bracket since season one.

One final note: Cyclone.

In my eyes, Cyclone is a broken ability for one reason and one reason only: it has no counters.

If you are hit with cyclone, your only option is to trinket. There are no other abilities you can use to get out, there are no abilities your teammates can use to free you.

You could say locking down the druid or using LOS to break the cast are counters, but those are also counters to every other kind of CC in the game. Every CC can be countered by locking down the CCer, breaking LOS or staying away from the healer, or removed once a player is CCd by any number of buttons.

Except Cyclone. Nothing counters Cyclone. This is broken.

Cyclone nullifying all incoming damage and healing is fine. I say, increase the duration of Cyclone to ten seconds, like the other forms of casted CC. However, Cyclone becomes a magic debuff, and thus can be dispelled.

What Cyclone does is fine. CC is CC, but most come with other little effects attached to them. Even locking out immunity buttons during Cyclone is ok, though it does make druids better at CCing paladins and mages than they would be against other classes.

The only issue I see is that Cyclone cannot be countered, which to me is extremely broken.

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Burn Pain Hugger

Cataclysm announcements are coming hard and fast, which is bloody fantastic. The beta has got to be dropping forthwith, just in time for me to ignore it completely. (Final exams, if you were wondering. Which you probably weren’t, but hey, I told you anyway because my primary hobby is putting douche into bags for your convenience.)

So let’s talk for a bit about the new dispel mechanics. Essentially, these are they:

  • All healers, and only healers, have defensive magic dispels
  • All dispels cost significantly more than they do now
  • Fire and forget dispels are being removed
  • You can waste GCDs and mana on dispels

And now I shall elaborate on those in reverse order, just to switch things up.

First, in our current WoW, you can hammer your dispel button as much as you want. The dispel won’t fire until there is actually something to dispel. This is changing, so that when you press dispel, it fires. If there is something that can be dispelled, it dispels it, if not, you just wasted a GCD and a bunch of mana.

Good change with no downside. Dispelling is thus a decision with ramifications for failure. Hopefully this will apply to the offensive dispels like Spellsteal and Purge as well. (more…)

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I Needed a Break

And that’s all the explanation you’re going to get.

|—|

So patch triple three came and went with no posts at all from me, and frankly I don’t have much to say because I haven’t played any WoW since the tuesday it dropped. Am I done with WoW? Unsure, probably not. I’ve taken breaks before, though previously it was because I went on vacation somewhere.

Gaming is an integral part of me, I’ve been gaming since I was but a little bitty human being, starting with the SNES and working my way upwards. I believe I started gaming around… somewhere around age seven, give or take a year, and I haven’t seen the sun since. Nine to twelve hour gaming binges were normal for me by the fourth grade.

Anyway. So WoW. Yes.

I didn’t get to toy around much with patch triple three, but what little I did see left me with a distinct feeling of bitter sweetness. (more…)

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The start of any expansion is a rough time for PvP. I only have two expansion packs to draw on here, but they both followed the same pattern.

TBC didn’t have any starter PvP gear. Nothing. If you didn’t still have your old Warlord gear from 60, you didn’t have anything. You PvPd with whatever you could glean from quests, heroics and Karazhan, picking up pieces where you could from there. It was possible to find nice pieces here and there, the odd quest reward or instance drop with resilience or a crafted piece of gear like the Unyielding Girdle.

Lich King was similar. Not exactly the same, but similar. Starter PvP gear existed, all easily crafted if you had a lot of gold to spend or a lot of time to farm and were or knew a crafter with the same. Hundreds of gold later you found yourself with a nice set of gear that was vastly inferior to the stuff raiders could get.

The overall trend, then, was that everyone PvPd with whatever they could pick up from heroics and Karazhan Naxxramas. Why spend hours and hours getting a PvP set together when you could just raid (which you were going to do anyway) and use epics 13 item levels higher?

The end result was an arena season that defined everything wrong with burst damage. Nobody was wearing resilience, and if they were it was only in small values, but everyone was wearing top of the line raid gear.

No resilience? Low stamina? Little to no survivability.

Raid gear? Very high DPS stats? Extremely huge burst. (more…)

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I suppose I should start with the obvious: Death Knights.

Death Knights… well, they didn’t actually do so great this expansion. They completely dominated in season 5, due to being broken, and then various fixes and nerfs brought them to being the lowest represented class in every bracket and utterly worthless in two brackets outright.

To make a quick point, there’s a difference between something being broken and something being overpowered. In season 5, DKs were so fantastic because the majority of their damage came from Icy Touch, a ranged instant ability that they can come really close to spamming if they wanted to. Which they did, because it hit really hard.

This, to me, isn’t an example of something that’s overpowered. Overpowered would be a 50% damage reduction Icebound Fortitude every minute. Spamming Icy Touch for massive damage was not overpowered, that was outright broken. It was never meant to work that way, wasn’t designed to work that way, and thus was (eventually, Blizzard was way too slow in nerfing Icy Touch spam) fixed so it didn’t work that way.

To give another example, Bladestorm dealing too much damage would be considered overpowered. However, popping Sweeping Strikes then Bladestorm because it deals more damage to a single target isn’t overpowered, that is broken.

Yes, a class that has broken abilities can definitely be overpowered. A bladestorming warrior using sweeping strikes to beat the stuffing out of a single target is definitely overpowered. But that bladestorming warrior isn’t overpowered because of bladestorm, it is because the interaction between bladestorm and sweeping strikes is broken. A fine distinction to be sure, but it is nevertheless an important distinction.

So, with that out of the way, back to death knights. (more…)

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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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