Archive for March, 2009

Hilariously Awful

Sometimes you get trapped in a run that turns out to be horrifyingly bad. You tell your friends, and you all have a good laugh about it later.

Ever get trapped in an instance run that’s so bad, it’s hilarious, even while you’re wiping?

Good friend of mine says “looking for DPS and heals for 10man Naxx!” I respond, of course. I haven’t had a chance to wipe endlessly in Naxx this week, so I went for it.

So here’s our group. Me, the token arcane mage. My two awesome buddies, one a feral druid (Sequelhoof) and the other a healy shaman (Oskmo). Both of them are ridiculously competent, have a bajillion alts, and both have a mage alt that outgears me. /sad

Death Knight tank,unfamiliar with the fights, but a fast learner and very good at picking up adds quickly.

Two healy paladins, both well geared and alert.

Two fury warriors, also both well geared and alert.

A DPS DK, reasonable gear, also unfamiliar with the fights. Nearly completely screwed us on Faerlina, but more on that later.

And then the other mage… (more…)


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There’s really nothing interesting going on.

There’s been no mage relevant news in days and days, no new mechanic changes, not even a hint that the problems this class is facing has even been acknoledged.

I guess there’s Shattering Throw? Sure, let’s talk about that.

Shattering Throw is a new warrior ability that allows them to remove an invulnerability effect. Normally, the spell ability deals damage and reduces armor by 20%. But if the target is affected by an immunity, it removes it instead (5 min cooldown).

Now I know what you’re thinking. “HOLY GOD ALMIGHTY MY ICE BLOCK! /wrists”. Am I close?

Relaaaax. It’s not that bad. An ability like this won’t have much of an effect for 5v5 and 3v3 arena teams. There might be some initial shock when teams first encounter this ability, but strategies will evolve and soon this will simply be another tool to counter in a fight.

2v2 mages are getting shafted, of course, but hey, even that doesn’t matter too much. Mages aren’t exactly doing so hot in the 2v2 bracket;  neither are warriors, for that matter. (more…)

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The Mana Loom: Aegwynn

A long, long time ago, I got to blather for an hour or something on the Twisted Nether Blogcast. One of the many strange and disturbing topics I brought up was the sheer power that mages hold over all of the other, lesser mortals.

So, for all of you out there who aren’t up to snuff on the lore of Azeroth, here’s a new series of posts detailing the exploits of mages past.

Some of them are dead, some of them are alive. Some of them tried to destroy the world and everything in it, some of them tried to save the world. Some of them lived for centuries, some of them were time travelers.

In all cases, however, anyone who called them water vendors met with a rather sudden end.

Aegwynn, second last Guardian of Tirisfal

A quick history lesson. The Order of Tirisfal was an organization founded by both humans and high elves with the hope of creating ridiculously powerful mages to defend the world against demonic forces.

Apparently the Burning Legion has been attempting to destroy Azeroth for a very long time, and constantly fails like a Saturday morning cartoon villain. (more…)

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Random PTR Observations

I hate to use the word gimmicky to describe a particular raid encounter.

Frankly, any encounter that isn’t a straight up tank and spank is a gimmicky fight, thanks to all the… well, gimmicks. Even Patchwerk is, technically, a gimmicky fight thanks to the Hateful Strikes.

But I really can’t come up with a better word for the encounters in Ulduar. Gimmicky is just… so… fitting.

There are fights with constant movement. Fights with deadly AoEs that you then need to take advantage of to win the encounter. Fights with a bajillion adds. Fights where the raid has to split up. And multiple combinations thereof.

And this is before people start messing with hard modes.

It’s hard not to think of the repercussions all these gimmicks will have on preferred specs for the future of mage raiding.

First concern.

Evocation. Even when stacked with Icy Veins, it still takes many seconds to cast, depending on how much haste you have. Could be anywhere from 5-6 seconds, maybe four if you stack it with Bloodlust/Heroism too.

In any case, it’s still a relatively long time. (more…)

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The new Impact looks like this:

Gives your damaging spells a 4/7/10% chance to cause the next Fire Blast you cast to stun the target for 2 sec.

Random stuns are bad. Anyone who PvP’d at all in the age of Roflherald and Mace spec rogues and warriors knows this.

Blizzard knows it, so they took steps to eliminate totally random stun procs in LK.

There were still a few hold outs here and there. Impact was intact, Blackout was intact, paladins could still use one via a seal.

Those have been largely eliminated. Blackout was simply removed completely, and Shadow Priests received a talent that gives them a hefty boost to DPS instead.

We mages get to keep our stun, it’s just the randomness of it has been reduced somewhat.

To our opponents, it’ll still feel random. (more…)

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Mages aren’t alone in this whole “talent bloat” issue, either.

Pretty much every class has this issue with some talents being completely mandatory.

Druids were brought up last post, specifically the talent Omen of Clarity. For those of you unfamiliar with the talent, OoC is basically Arcane Concentration, except it costs 1 talent point rather than 5.

Yeah, it’s an awesome talent. Yeah, pretty much every druid on the planet includes it in their spec.

So Blizzard decided to make the early resto tree a little less useless to the feral and boomkin druids heading down there for a single talent.

Furor, for instance. Right in the first tier. A feral druid can pick this up, essentially guaranteeing a feral tank at least 10 rage when a fight starts. A moonkin can invest here, too, boosting the value of their intellect by 10% for doing so.

And if that wasn’t enough, patch 3.1 is letting Imp. Mark of the Wild improve all of the druids stats by 1% per rank.

In the second tier, feral druids can pick up Naturalist, which gives their physical damage a hearty 10% boost. All druids can pick up a talent that reduces the mana cost of shapeshifting. (more…)

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Mandatory Talent Bloat

Hi there. Welcome to Critical QQ. This is a blog written by streams of QQ pouring down the face of a very sad person who plays WoW.

Prepare for QQ.

There will be a LOT of it in the following days.

First, a couple things Ghostcrawler has stated.

One. A tree is considered “bloated” if, after taking all of it’s mandatory DPS talents, it only has 2-3 points left to spend on random stuff, like utility and so forth.

Two. Any player can sacrifice small amounts of DPS in order to gain some utility. For instance, a frost mage can drop a point in Arctic Winds to pick up Deep Freeze.

These points are important, please remember them. There will be a test.

So then. Let’s take a look at some numbers, just tree by tree for now.

Arcane needs to spend a minimum of 53 talents in it’s home tree to pick up all the important DPS talents.

Fire needs to spend a minimum of 51 talent points, and you can make a very strong argument for 54.

Frost, too, needs to spend a minimum of 53 talent points.

So far, so good. (more…)

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