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Posts Tagged ‘Raiding’

Exams are done, for better or worse. I hallucinated spiders on my keyboard.

A day and a half to recuperate, and then Friday is moving day. And then no internet until May 5th! Oh noes! Such tumultuous change.

I’ve been awake for all of twenty minutes after sleeping all day (yes, literally) so thoughts are a little polar bear manifesto at the moment.

So two general thoughts.

-=-

I was at a friend’s place yesterday, so I tried out WoW and sure enough there was no lag to speak off. Well, I mean I was on a laptop and they were torrenting and stuff, so I was sitting at around 250ms, but still. No lag spikes, no disconnects. I got to raid again!

As frost.

I could have stuck with arcane, but meh. I don’t dislike any mage spec, and if I hadn’t gone frost a hunter would have had to go Survival. And frankly, having tried survival myself? I would never, ever inflict that on someone. Besides, the hunter in question has been die-hard marksman his entire WoW career. Warlord title, never once specced beastmaster throughout the entirety of TBC, you know the type.

So with a frost spec in hand, I shipped off to Icecrown Citadel and found out the hard way which mobs can be stunned and which can’t. Nothing is as heartbreaking as watching your 26k damage spell turn into a 5 second stun that deals nothing. Imagine blowing all your cooldowns as arcane, slamming arcane blasts into a boss, and then freaking out because everything’s critting for 2k. Then you come to the horrible realization that you’re casting rank 1 arcane blast for some reason.

That is how much it hurts.

Still, having a permanent Dribbles (I call him Dribbles, capital D, and don’t you forget it) to follow you around is plenty awesome. If only he would stop despawning whenever I took a portal or loading screen to somewhere. There were a few times where I noobed it up, forgot to summon the thing, and then he missed out on the wave of raid buffs.

Sorry Dribbles. I shall try to not be a terrible frost mage next time. You know, that little guy is truly the immortal one around here. Standing in whirlwind, casting happily along with 50 stacks of mystic buffet, and doesn’t afraid of anything.

Tangent: raiding as a frost mage is extremely strange, thematically. I am a frost mage, a master of ice and snow, the midnight sun and hot springs. And yet, in order to raid optimally, I have two roots and one snare. Both fire mages and arcane mages have access to those, plus frostbolt, and they can spec for even more.

It is very strange.

-=-

So 10 and 25 man raids are going to be normalized. They share lockouts, heroic modes are chosen on a per boss basis, and even the loot quality is exactly the same between the two, as is the difficulty.

Look, everyone from Tamarind to Honorshammer has bemoaned the fate of the 10man ghetto. You could either raid with the big boys in 25man, get the best of the best loot, experience hard core fights, or go 10man and be held in contempt as scrubs by fellow players and even the game itself.

10man raiding never really felt like raiding an instance for 10 players. Instead, we were traipsing through 25 player content that was lobotomized for us. Whenever we ran into difficult fights, we’d look at and research the fights on tankspot and elsewhere, to find strategies we could use. There we would watch a holy priest with val’anyr effortlessly healing through hardmode Anub’arak using nothing but shield and renew to keep the entire raid alive.

This strategy didn’t work. Not even close. Using nothing but renew and shield to heal someone results in that someone dying four or five seconds later.

It isn’t easy being a strict(ish) 10 man guild in Lich King. Our raid comp is nowhere near ideal (no shaman, for instance), and without the gear 25 man raiders use to carry themselves through 10man content we have to use some extremely weird strategies to defeat bosses sometimes. We’ve had to use Death Knights to juggle kinetic bombs and tank the shadow bolting boss, for instance.

For example, last night I was the only caster DPS in the raid. Me and a lone hunter made up the entirety of the ranged DPS. At least the druid got to be boomkin for the first four bosses, but after that it was full time tree.

Anyway, point is, 10man raiding never really was 10man raiding. It was 25man raiding with less players and worse loot.

I didn’t (and still don’t) care nearly as much as my fellow guildmates do. Being able to raid with 10 people trumps any consideration such as loot; doing 10man raids with 10man gear made for some interesting difficulty curves; and the respect of faceless others is so unimportant to me that the colour of my toothbrush is more important.

It’s easy to see where they’re coming from. Clearing ToC-10 and wondering why an iLevel 200 trinket is still best in slot. Watching strat videos just to watch the elite core of a 25man guild take the best possible raid comp into a 10man instance and crush it effortlessly with gear that is more than twenty item levels higher than your own. On and on and on. That gets frustrating after a while.

10man raiding can be difficult. It has been in the past. Remember Zul’Aman? There was nothing easy about it. Even the perfectly optimized 25 man raiders would head in there and struggle.

I suspect Blizzard’s goal with cataclysm is the same goal they had with lich king: offer 10man raiding as a legitimate thing to do.

Will this change sound the deathknell of 25man raiding?

I posit the question: why on earth would it? People who want to raid 25m do so, and suffer no penalty nor benefit from it. People who want to raid 10m do so, and suffer no penalty nor benefit from it.

Raid leaders shifting from doing 25m to 10m raids in order to lessen the stress of their job! Oh noes! So they have more fun raiding?

People who currently raid 25m, but don’t actually like it that much due to the social strains (or maybe they just do it for the loot), will be able to raid 10m without feeling like a ghetto raider and have more fun with their friends!

People who currently raid 25m and actually do enjoy it will be able to keep doing what they love in huge epic battles!

I don’t see a downside anywhere.

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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 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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    My level 74 marksman hunter averages 1300 DPS on a target dummy in quest greens and with aspect of the viper active easily 60% of the time.

    I have a guildie who’s warrior alt in absolute shit gear (and even the Bind to Account sword from WG) pulls 2200 DPS on heroic dungeon bosses.

    I healed a HHoS once, starring a rogue in iLevel 200 epics (his offhand was a 187 blue) and he was drunkenly stumbling about with around 900 DPS. After killing the rock guy, there was a comment made about being stoned, and this fail rogue said “i’m stoned irl”.

    So I said “That explains a lot”. He said “lol…”

    Then his DPS immediately spiked to 2300 and stayed there for the rest of the instance.

    -=-

    The closest we’ve come to downing Anub’arak hard mode is 10%. We’ve wiped at that number repeatedly. It hurts so much, to come so close and yet still be so far. Oh well, soon we will have our T10 gear and steamroll over the poor guy. Probably for the best, to be perfectly honest. After a night of heroic Anub’arak, our poor healers are rendered catatonic on the floor, blood seeping from their ears as the infinite abyss of sub 30% health bars claw at their fragile hearts.

    I can almost hear them weeping over the sound of my keyboard. A thousand lamentations of a thousand inadequate renews.

    -=-

    I got my 2piece for T10 finally. Took me long enough.

    The effect from the 2piece bonus is called “Pushing the Limit”. An appropriate name, for I get to cast 1.5 second ABlasts with its effect up. Needless to say, it is an extremely good set piece. Shall I compare it to a woman?

    She is a long lost lover, a lover I had been rudely separated from many many centuries ago. As fate would decree it, I was lost. Abandoned. An infinite sadness settled upon me, never had I felt such devastating loss. But I would not tire. I could not tire.

    For her love, it burned brighter than four hundred billion suns, a beacon reaching out to me across the murky depths of the world, across the sea of black that calls itself the universe. For eons, I searched the world, searching endlessly for my lost love, in the desperate hope that one day… one day we would be reunited.

    That day has come, and oh what a glorious dawn it is. See how the sun rises, its gentle light sweetly caressing her face. Tears stream down our faces, as we embrace for the first time in thousands of millenia. Part of me cannot believe that my search is over, that she is real.

    This tiny, niggling seed of doubt is swiftly quashed by the warmth of her arms, the silkiness of her skin, the faint scent of cinnamon in her hair. Never have I felt such all encompassing joy. I am home, at last, after so long.

    She softly whispers in my ear, her voice the most beautiful music I have heard since the dawn of time itself. She says…

    “I have a sister, you know. And she’s open to the idea of a threesome.”

    The siren call of 4piece T10 calls to me.

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    Adapting Specs For Your Needs

    A cookie cutter spec is not the end all, be all spec.

    A cookie cutter spec is a base line spec that will serve you well in any situation. It is an unmodified car, the basic WoW UI with no addons. It will get the job done.

    A cookie cutter spec, however, is not always the best spec.

    A raiding fireball mage, for instance, does not take blastwave or dragon’s breath. But… what if that fireball mage raids 10-man and is the only non-healer ranged class in the raid? Suddenly those two talents become extremely good for the Deathbringer Saurfang fight, don’t they?

    The cookie-cutter arcane spec, for instance, does not include Slow. But again, consider the Deathbringer example above. What if this mage doesn’t raid, but instead chain runs heroics? Slow is amazingly good in any kiting situation, whether that is due to a fight’s mechanic or tanks incompetence.

    Sure, you could use frostbolt instead. You could very easily simply use a spell that takes around a second and a half to cast with a 20% weaker snare. Slow is better, of course, and will make the fight far easier, but it is still possible to be victorious without it. (more…)

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    Talking About Forst Fro a Bit

    As has been noted elsewhere, there is a macro that the warlocks discovered that can be a rather large boost to frost’s DPS.

    I found a thread here, Lhivera talks about it here, and krizzlybear goes into great detail here.

    The jist of this whole crazy thing is that you macro your water elemental’s attack (/use waterbolt) into your frostbolt. This forces the elemental to cast more often than it otherwise would. It is always a DPS increase to do this, though the increase itself can vary greatly.

    It is very important you do not macro /petattack! If you macro that, it will constantly interrupt your elemental’s cast. Putting in /use waterbolt simply forces it to cast all the time, which it doesn’t do by default. For some reason. I don’t know why the elemental suffers from latency. This seems very odd to me.

    I cannot imagine this being intentional. It feels like some inscrutable issue with the pet AI that some poor newbie programmer is going to spend weeks smashing his head into. Good luck, newbie programmer. Bring redbull.

    I do not expect this issue to be fixed for quite some time, even the great “will fix every issue in the game ever” Cataclysm probably won’t fix this. In any case, frost needs every DPS boost it can get, so even if it is technically broken, a DPS boost is still a DPS boost. (more…)

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