Removing class forums will kill classes

| Thursday, October 30, 2008
[edit] This whole post isn't much use anymore. Blizzard is keeping the class forums.

This was on the general forums for about a minute before it was either deleted or somehow lost to the currently screwed up forums. Looking a bit further, now that I can see posts again, sort of, it appears that Blues are trying to consolidate the protest threads. So, deleted, but not an excuse to scream about fascism. :P

Is a shaman a pair of DPS classes and a healing class? Of course not. It's all three mixed together. To try to separate out each role is a waste of time. They're not 100% separate. They overlap and interact.

Can you imagine paladins as three classes: a tank, a healer, and a DPS? But that's apparently how Blizzard wants us to see ourselves. From my own personal experience on the paladin forums for almost three years, this is one of our biggest problems: division within the class. We don't need Blizzard encouraging people to see only their own spec. We're all stuck together. The recent and upcoming nerfs to ret are hitting all three specs.

Are druids supposed to be all separate now? If anything, they are probably the worst class to divide up. Is feral supposed to split in half, one side bears and the other side kittens?

If classes are not meant to be viewed as an entity to themselves, why have them? If there are only rets and holys and protections, why have paladins? Why have priests if holy and disc go over here and shadow is over there, entirely separate? Should warriors split up too?

Having DPS, healing, and tanking forums is a good idea. It's great to bring classes together. I'd love to see paladins, warriors, druids, and soon, death knights, all working together to figure everything out. But why must this come at the cost of the classes? Something is lost when classes stop being classes, when we start putting spec ahead of class, when we all get split apart, and when respeccing means a total change of conversation.

The Problem with the Invasion

| Sunday, October 26, 2008
The number and frequency of mob spawns encourages and rewards those who act the worst. For an example, I'll use myself.

The infrequent attacks, combined with the limited number of mobs per attack, creates a need for intense competition. If you don't go out of your way to grab everything you can, you're likely to end up with nothing.

The invasion sites encourage people to tag as many mobs as possible with no regard for others. Normal farming isn't like this. Even if spawns are limited, they're not so limited that it's worth being an ass. But the invasion goes a step further. Enter the Shadows of Doom. These are summoned by spending 8 runes and will drop 30 and one of the BoP anti-undead pieces. This means them profitable, if you can get the one you summon.

There are two practices which make it hard to get the shadows. One is AoE spam by others, tagging the shadow first. I think this was fixed last night, but I'm not certain. The other problem is leashing. They won't go more than a certain distance from the center; they'll evade and reset. This can be forced by people trying to steal shadows from those who spent runes to summon them.

In my case, I've learned to never expect to get the shadow I summoned. It always gets taken. So I steal from others. That's right, I do exactly what I just said was an ass thing to do. What else am I to do, spend my time racing from site to site getting nothing? I use turn undead, over and over, until a shadow resets, then I grab it.

While waiting for shadows I've learned how to tag well. First off, if I get there early, I pull as much as I can survive. Once the zerg comes, then I move off tot he edge. Let people fight in the center for scraps. I have exorcism ready, in a convenient hotkey (I actually switch it with CS just for this). I see a spawn, bam, instant tag. I have to do this or else I get nothing.

This is wrong. People should be able to participate in this event without being forced to fight over every single mob, lest they end up with nothing.

[edit] One idea I came up with was to combine the invasion and zombie events. Allow zombie players to get runes from randomly spawned necromatic crystals near or in cities. These would increase their health significantly and run speed slightly as well as slowing the rate at which they decay and die. Killing a zombie with one of these would allow players to then loot the rune, similar to the looting of gold from corpses in BGs. Remove the gear from rare spawns at put it on the vendors for significantly higher prices. The goal is to make the gear possibly take the same time to acquire, but remove the current winners and losers system.

We don't need a bait and switch

I'll indulge the conspiracies for a few minutes. We're being buffed to get the class popular again and then nerfed back down. It doesn't work though.

The real paladins are the ones that stay around, through some up and down. Sure they'd leave if the class was nerfed *ahem* "to the ground," but they'll stick around through a lot. They want to be paladins and will be, even at the cost of some weakness. We don't need a bait and switch. All it does is frustrate us.

FotMs will love the buff phase though. They're the same people that rerolled warriors and druids. They were warlocks before that. They're whatever is strong this month. But they're a fickle group. By that I mean they have zero loyalty to any class, no interest in any particular role or play style. The second paladins start going down, they leave. Bait and switch gets them in for a few weeks.

Min-maxers are really little more than a variation of FotM, but they like to feel important, so I'll give them their own paragraph. They only care about the current use of a class. They'll throw aside anyone if they don't fit their formulas. Up and down just means an invite and a kick the next day.

Find our place and put us there. Roller coasters aren't good game balance.

I think they are actually trying, but...

Latest info shows a few buffs to ret. Apparently Blizzard noticed that PvE damage got hit hard by the nerfs, so they want to balance that out. I really do think they're trying to balance us, but they're still using the old ways of thinking, the ones that failed for the past few years.

To be fair they have changed their views on the utility penalty. We used to lose 25-30% damage because of our utility. If I remember correctly, now it's intended to be something like 5-10%. Combine that with utility and you're going to want a hybrid over a pure DPS for the first spot but the second spot is going to a pure. That's a nice balance idea, if they can pull it off.

We're still based on supposed durability and burst damage. This is a strange combination. One favors short fights, the other long fights. It's a contradiction of design. In practice it doesn't work out that way, since our durability is... plate, heals, and bubble.

The plate does nothing against casters. They happen to be our toughest enemies since they kite us. We do zero damage outside of 10 yards, excluding HoW (but how are you going to get them to 20%?), avenger's shield, and 30 yard judgements. Maybe you've noticed that this is about ret and not prot or holy? But back to plate. It helps us against melee, most of which will be wearing plate or thick skin in WotLK (DK, bears, warriors, paladins vs. rogues and shamans). But Blizzard intends for warriors and DKs to stand up to us in melee, so DS got nerfed. So much for holy damage bypassing plate and giving us at least one area in which we're strong. Rock-paper-mushrooms?

Heals are an area in which ret has gained a lot. Sheath makes them worth something and Art of War and the change to pushback means we can actually cast them. But with the nerf to JotW, we're going to be lacking mana just for damage, let alone mana-intensive heals. I fully admit that I think we were starting to show signs of the warlock problem (lifetap for mana, drain for health, last forever), but this is excessive.

Bubbles are nice, but against whom are they truly effective? Ranged should be staying at range and a few seconds at 115% runspeed aren't going to close that gap. Melee are hurt a bit more. But rogues can vanish to get out. Druids and shamans have speed boosts, though JoJ does nullify those. Warriors and Death Knights have the armor and health to take some hits. Warriors can intervene teammates if they really want out. This is group PvP, right? Even if we do catch up to ranged, mages can use their own impostor bubble and priests... don't make me say those words.

So people are outliving our bursts and bubbles, now what? Currently we can keep going thanks to JotW allowing us to cast some heals. That's going to go away. What do we do after the fight goes past 12 seconds? As fun as it can be to tear someone apart in five seconds, I've played a warlock, affliction, before BC and the many changes. I know exactly how fun it is to know that you won because you took control and kept control. Proper management of fear, seduce, deathcoil, my own trinket, and perhaps a nifty stopwatch... that was a sort of tactical fun that a 10k burst can never top.

The good, the bad, and the zombie

| Saturday, October 25, 2008
The zombie is the good, so I suppose my title is fail. The zombie thing is the best event ever. Nothing, absolutely nothing, comes anywhere close. I'd say this is a great time to be a paladin, except for: the bad.

Oh look, nerfs. Are these burst damage nerfs which I'd expect and not find entire;ly unjustified? Yes? No you say? Well that's strange. Oh they nerfed our regen. That makes sense. I mean, it's not as if paladins need to keep up a full, mana-intensive DPS rotation just to stay anywhere near the output of other classes. So much for not nerfing our DPS.

What's that, HoW only works at 20% now? Well I suppose that tones down our burst, but... HoW is also our highest DPS move against bosses under 35%. Taking out 15% from that means that we're losing a lot of PvE damage.

Oh hey, nerfed judgements as well. There goes more of our holy damage.

I wonder what they'll nerf next. At least they didn't nerf arcane mages. That would be terrible if they did anything about 2k non-crit instant ranged damage.

Choices, choices

| Thursday, October 23, 2008
Am I feeling mean today? I think I'll be Bloodsail Admiral Kelpsacovic.
But maybe I'm feeling nice and helpful, at least for other Horde. I'll be Ambassador Kelpsacovic.
Or if I'm really feeling nice: Kelpsacovic the Diplomat.
To show off my bling? Kelpsacovic of the Shattered Sun.

Indeed, titles are great. I got the diplomat one just today. With the rep buff for Timbermaw faction it took 8-10 hours. It could have been a little bit faster if the areas were farmed less.

Fix Zul'jin or give us free transfers

| Monday, October 20, 2008
ZJ has been running like shit this week. There are never enough instances, which screws with PvE and achievements. But even worse, it affects arenas. I queue, try to enter, it says instance not found, and about a minute later it adds another loss. That's really fucking stupid. Why am I losing because of the server being shit? Or sometimes it goes halfway and only lets in one member. Seven fucking games were lost this week either because both or one of my 2v2 couldn't get in.

Is this some sort of fucking anti-me conspiracy? First they freeze S4 when my class gets buffed, then they fuck my server so I can barely even get points. We were almost at 1600 and ready to go for 1650 when we started getting half teams and then lost 3-4 games almost non-stop.

Last night, Sundays, are the only night I can make raids. I get back from dinner and ZJ is down. For the entire fucking night. Honestly I'd not mind that too much, I realize shit happens, except that even when the server is up it runs like shit and steals my points.

If there were free transfers, I'd be gone. Hopefully my guild would go too, but between my bad schedule and server shit, I can barely play with them anyway.

So I gave holy a try

| Sunday, October 19, 2008
I apologize in advance for the length of this, but this is what happens when I try something totally new and it turns out to be awesome.

Some guildies needed a healer for heroic SL, so I thought I'd give it a try. I have no healed an instance in months, and that was on my shaman. My paladin hasn't healed anything in almost two years and that was Karazhan. I wasn't even holy then. In other words, I am a healing noob.

It actually went well. Well, it was messy. There were a lot of pulls of two groups, or groups and demon pats, or three demons and a group. I think I learned a lot, for example, I'm not as bad at healing as I used to think. Also now that I've actually played holy, I can have slightly less ignorant opinions.

Bacon: I love this spell. This is a game changer. I had to learn a new way of healing, which I'm still getting used to. Stick it on the tank and then don't heal the tank, heal everyone else as they take damage. The efficiency and output from it is impressive, as would be expected from an ability that effectively doubles heals. Healing the slightest bit of AoE used to be a pain. Now I honestly look forward to it so I can take advantage of bacon. Also I like the green pop up numbers. First it hits my target, then a second later there's a pop over the tank. It sounds silly, but it's strangely fun.

It's not perfect though. For one the duration is pretty short. I think two minutes would be a lot better. Five might be too long, ten is definitely too long. Still, it seems like the sort of thing that you almost always want up. If it was a blessing it would be more toward the blessing side rather than the now hand side.

It's expensive. I know the efficiency balances out, but it feels like a lot to be dropping 1k mana every minute. 400-600 would feel better.

Holy shock: this is not the crap that I remember. This actually heals! Crits get pretty big, and then allow for a fast holy light, so overall it can put out some major burst healing. The pew pew isn't too bad either, and I was surprised to see that offensive crits trigger infusion.

I can only imagine that sacred shield will make holy even more enjoyable and efficient.

After the run I tried out some AoE grinding for the sporeggar quest to kill Naga. It was a lot more effective than I expected. It was not even comparable to ret, but really, that's a high bar that I wonder if any class or spec could reach.

After that while flying back to Shattrath I noticed that Halaa had some action. My first move was to heal up a warrior getting beaten up by a ret paladin. My second move was stupid: I chased down the ret paladin. In retrospect, I'd have done better with a PvP trinket equipped since without HoJ I was able to survive his burst. Plate and heals seem to be the best counter to ret overpoweredness. P

I met a frost mage and eventually lured him to the ground. I think we was trying to kill the newb that I had just rezed. He popped his elemental, threw out a frost nova, and started trying to hurt me. Apparently he had very low health, because a pair of judgements a couple shocks, and a HoW were more than enough. My memory is blurring already, but one of those shocks might have been self-healing.

I dueled a guildy prot warrior after we capped. They have a lot of interrupts: shockwave and concussive blow, shield bash, which silenced me too. They hurt a surprising amount as well. And he kept knocking off my seal. I won, but I forced myself to bubble after shocking during spell reflect.

I noticed my G.N.E.R.D.S were going to run out by the time I woke up tomorrow, so I hopped into AV. I know I can get more with alts, but I was afraid I'd forget and then never get the achievement. The start of the battle was greeted with strategy spam from another self-declared master of BGs. Once seems fine, but it was at last 10 lines and he hit it at least three times, in between flaming people for being bad. We lost, but I got my gnerd rage. It was a surprising amount of fun, throwing around huge heals that turned fights around completely. 30 yard range on JoJ is great. Long range damage and neutralizing speed buffs? Wonderful. Holy shock did some decent pew pew as well. Hammer of wrath barely crit (after all, as ret I was running with over 80% on it), but it was still doing around 1-1.5k non-crit, a decent amount for being instant.

The high point was fearing a demon form warlock. I think he then died from DoTs from someone else. The irony made me giggle and clap my hands like a kid presented with cake and a carton of ice cream, with a bag of candy for dessert.

I'm going to stick with holy for a little while. If my schedule does ever fit raiding better, I'd probably have a guaranteed spot since everyone seems to be going ret.

As my final note, on the subject of ret, I tanked the headless horseman as ret. Aggro was extremely easy. Baseline 90% RF is great.

Retribution is overpowered, sometimes.

| Saturday, October 18, 2008
This is in response to Are Retribution Paladins Overpowered?

We are, except during the times when we are underpowered.

When we are in melee range, we are overpowered. We tear everything apart.
When we are bubbled, we are overpowered. We tear everything apart and are invincible.

When we aren't in melee and DS is down, we are weak. We have no abilities past 20 yards and no way to speed up to close the gap. We have only one ability past 10 yards and it breaks on damage. In melee range we have a stun on a 60 second cooldown, the previously mentioned incapacitate, a debuff that prevents running faster than 100%, and we can run at 115%. Oh, and also the previously mentioned tearing everything to shreds.

In the past I've heard people explain warriors tearing everything apart in melee by saying you shouldn't stick your hand in a blender. It's a nice analogy, except that warrior blenders can intercept and then snare, so you're not given much of a choice about distance from the blender. Paladins are blenders that can't chase you down as well.

We need a balance. We need less burst, but also more ability to deal with ranged classes. It's not fun for anyone to play when 20+ yards is a guaranteed win for range while 10- is a guaranteed win for paladins.

Here are my ideas to moderate this. The goal is to reduce the burst, but make it a lot easier to get in and stay in melee.

Reduce Forbearance to 30 seconds. Increase the cooldown on DS by a minute or two. Reduce the cooldown on DP to 60 seconds. Put a -25% damage debuff on both.

Reduce the cooldowns on sacrifice and freedom. Reduce the cooldown of repentance to 45 seconds and increase the range to 30 yards.

Remove the ability of instant attacks to trigger seals. Make CS and DS holy damage. Buff seals to balance out the loss of damage. This will also help holy while soloing.

Tonight's AV

| Thursday, October 16, 2008
I went back to AV (and BGs in general) for the first time in a month or so. There were a lot of ret paladins there. A lot were tearing shit up, but rarely did I see any that played the full class, using their support abilities. I saw one BoP, no cleansing or healing. I ended up wrecking a lot of them.

I noticed a few changes that I think helped paladins a lot.
1) Arcane shot no longer dispels. This means that in groups were a pretty good anti-hunter. BoP saves lives, BoF can actually close distances.
2) The new judge/seal system. Being able to judge justice instantly, without having to switch seals, is very powerful in AV.
3) I think it's from talent changes, but HoJ was landing all the time. I noticed one resist over two games, and not 10 minute games, at least 20-30.
4) Hammer of wrath scaling well and being instant meant that I could actually kill runners.
5) DS is a lot stronger than the forum QQ would lead you to believe. Against clothies it is like a train, or four trains, so it can hit four people at once. Against warriors, it's not so good, but then consecration and judgements really shine.
6) This is just my own habit, but I'm addicted to Art of War. I never expect FoL to have a cast time. The result is that I unconsciously fake heals, casting FoL and moving a tenth of a second later since I think it's already done. Once I realize what happened, I just cast holy light and giggle as my health goes to almost full.
7) On the subject of heals, I cannot believe how many people I was able to save by throwing a heal here and there. Holy light is slow, but it hits big. I've healing for probably double what I did before and I crit much more often too, and sheath of light is impressive.
8) Having mana. In the past I have lost a lot of fights in BGs simply because I started out with almost no mana after the previous fight. There I am drinking, trying to be ready to fight again, and then someone is getting a free crit.

Finally I ran into a Metamorphosis warlock. Unfortunately at the time I was charging the defense across the SP bridge, so I did not have a chance to fear him. However I did nail him with holy wrath, exorcism, and a divine storm. He died and it filled my heart with joy.

It's the crits, stupid

The nerfing of Divine Storm to physical damage is not as much of a PvE nerf as people seem to think. It's also not the change I would have made if I was trying to rebalance PvP without hurting PvE.

So, how is it not so bad?
Sunder armor. This is going to be up, or something equivalent, on all bosses. Reducing armor will make physical DS do damage closer to holy DS, with them being equal at zero armor. In other words, it's not a huge boss nerf. Trash won't get sundered as often, but it's trash. We didn't want to be trash tanks, why fight for trash DPS?

Who is to blame?
Well probably a dev who thought ret needed balancing. But people seem to like blaming classes, so we'll find one of them. Let's see, well mages cried a lot, so how about them? Nope. This change is only a tiny nerf against them since they have such low armor. How about warriors? Bingo. This takes them from 0% mitigation to 40-60%. Blizzard did say they they intend for warriors to go toe to toe with paladins and death knights. This change helps with that without having a huge effect against other classes against which we have always been weak.

What would I have done?
Leave DS as holy. Instead nerf the crit damage multipliers. Art of War gives 30%, Righteous Vengeance gives 25%. Drop those down by at least a third and make them affect all damage from the abilities they affect. This would reduce burst significantly without hurting average damage much.

Change the debuff on Divine Shield. Remove the melee slow. Replace it with a 10-15% damage reduction. The melee slow worked when we were auto-attack with SoC. Now we have controlled damage.

What is this nerf not affecting?
I've heard complaints that this removes the spell damage coefficient. There was no spell damage coefficient. Or maybe it was zero. They're effectively the same thing, though still different.
I've heard that this makes it possible to dodge, parry, and block it. Those were already possible. It's a lot like SoC, except without the spell damage coefficiant that SoC has. A better comparison would be SoB, so let's go with that.

If there was no sunder, how much damage is lost?
It would be a few percent. It hurts, but it's within the range of noise, so you might not even notice. For a rough estimate, I'll assume that it is getting cut in half against boss armor, becoming essentially an extra attack. I'll call attacks A. Over a minute there will be about 17 auto-attacks, 10 CS (which I'll round to 11A), and 6 DS (for an original of 12A, but now with a loss of 6A). Throw SoB on top for 35% of auto-attack, so about 6A.
17+10+6+6 = 39 The loss actually comes out to about 15%. Keep in mind this is a pretty worst-cast scenario, a boss with 50% mitigation, no sundering, and also no judgements, consecrate, or hammer of wrath. Adding all those in would drop the damage loss from 50% to only 15% or less, taking the overall loss to less than 5%.

Warrior AoE tanking

| Wednesday, October 15, 2008
I'm really happy about it.

1) It's good, easily keeping aggro off of healing and if I give a lead, it can keep aggro off of me. I think this will help a ton with the shortage of tanks for heroics. The friend that tanked it said it was a lot more fun now. Fun is good.

2) It's not too good. It's not going to put tankadins out of work.


I finally got on. I spent a bunch of time updating some addons and figuring out what still worked. Then I redid all but one of my bars. Unfortunately I'm having trouble seeing my cooldowns now since my bars are all a bit off to the lower left corner. I'm hoping to find a cooldown/debuff timer that works well. I have one now, but it's too complex for me and only works for my warlock. Maybe I'm just stupid. Oh well.

My paladin is using this build currently.
On the PTR I had Righteous Vengeance instead of kings, but there I was almost guaranteed to do nothing but soloing. On live I intend to do some grouping, notably convincing people to do old-world raids for the achievements. Vindication was because I had two points to spend and RV wasn't an option because I hate partial talents, except for reckoning which I have learned to accept.

If you're wondering why I have kings instead of BoM, scroll down a few posts. I've laid out a setup for blessings at 80. It works the same at 70 except ret loses some damage due to RV. At 80 I'm predicting a build something like this.

I'd already done it on the PTR, but once I was able to play again, I flew off to the Plaguelands to go kill Baron. Somehow, I managed to get myself killed. I think SoL ran out and I didn't notice. A reflexive click of 8 (mana tap) resulted in forbearance (divine protection), so I couldn't bubble. After a run back I slaughtered everything. The spider was an annoyance because he roots and runs around, getting adds, which also root, so I spent a lot of time stuck in place. The silence effect prevents BoF and I wasn't eager to use DS unless I really needed it. After that it was a smooth run, burning down abominations right and left. Then I did live side too, got the achievement.

I logged out near the back door. Tomorrow I plan to head to Scholomance.

In other news, the new mount/pet/currency system freed up something like 24 slots for me, about 5 of which were in my bags, so that's very valuable space to gain. My bank feels very empty now, which I like. More space for crap. :)

I've very optimistic. Also tired. Good night, sleep tight, when the rets come, remember to kite.


| Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Stuck at retrieving character list.

Working now. Woo.

Stuck at loading screen. I tried characters in Orgrimmar, Shattrath, and Undercity.
The WoW forums seem to be down too.

Tomorrow is Christmas!

| Monday, October 13, 2008
*looks at buffs*

Blizzard: NO PEEKING!

*scurries away*

Communism has finally come to WoW

No, it's not welfare epics. They aren't even like welfare, but I've already gone over this. It's not guild banks or 10-man raids.

It is the hybrids. We have seized the means of production and can finally be free of the bourgeois pure classes. We are all equal DPS. Somewhat.

Lolret will be over. "We need CC" is a thing of the past.

TBC was the end of serfdom and slavery, the end of healing. WotLK is the end of the capitalists, the end of the pure DPS.

Coincidentally, just as we reach the end of history, we are also closing in on what will most likely be the last expansion.

A shitty time in arenas

| Sunday, October 12, 2008
We started out with some back and forth, got within range of 1600. Then we pretty much lost 5 games straight.

What the fuck are a ret and holy paladin supposed to do about SL warlock and resto druid? We ran into the same team twice. Then there was the disc priest and mage, also twice. And the rogue and frost mage.

We'd get drained away with no interrupts and druids being completely fucking overpowered at healing considering their mobility. Then there's mana burn. Oh sure, LoS it, but I need to be in LoS to hit anyone and I have no regen, so there goes our damage. Finally it's the impossible to heal through combo.

They give titles and mounts and gear for this shit? Then there's a risk of paladins being useful in 3.9, so they suspend rewards. Fucking bullshit.

Yea yea, learn2play, stop posting whiny crap, etc. I just don't know why I bother. I don't really need the gear, it's not like I'm raiding and need upgrades. Huh? Oh it's supposed to be for PvP? Bullshit. Why is the best tankadin weapon a fucking rated PvP weapon? How does that make any fucking sense?

End rant.

My priest is almost 33. It's pretty nice having mounts so low. Running from one end of Thousand Needles to the other was not fun before.

I tried to do SM lib, but our warrior was garbage* and the hunter was retarded. That was a bit surprise for me. At least the druid would shift out to heal when we'd get two groups of adds plus a pat.
* He could not LoS pull at all, though he seemed to try. He did not pull back or at least hamstring (I'm pretty sure he wasn't in defensive stance, so this was an option), so runners were big trouble.

Oh yea, then someone started flaming me because I rejected a blind invite when my note clearly says to send a tell first. I put him on ignore after that. He tried inviting me a few more times today. It's a shame that if I used accurate words to talk to him, I'd be the one with a suspension.

Was that more rant? Sorry. I guess I'm just too pissed off. At least I stopped us before we dropped below 1500, but it's so annoying that we'd have been better off stopping at 10 games.

It's like a rainbow

So beautiful, so close, and yet, just far enough away to be too far away. Damn you, 3.0, damn you.

Totem Idea

| Friday, October 10, 2008
Apparently elemental sucks. That's too bad. So, I'm digging up an old totem idea that I had.
I can't find the post. I'll try to remember.

Totem would be like pets. You could have them follow you, stay, or go after other players. Ideally there would also be a command to follow a friendly player.
/petfollow [player].

Totem would have no normal attacks, but would instead have various abilities designed to mimic current functions. The 'auras' would become channeled, for reasons that make sense when I explain their spells.

Frost Resistance: The totem will channel a spell which gives frost resistance to nearby players.
Flametongue: The totem will channel a spell to add fire damage to friendly players' melee attacks.
Searing: The totem will attack the selected enemy with bolts of fire, similar to an imp. This makes them unable to cast their other spells, so you have to pick betweem searing and frost resist, as an example.
Magma: The totem channels a short-range fire AoE. It cannot move while it is casting. Think of it as a bit like hellfire, but without the suicide.
Wrath: Buffs crit and hit.
Nova: The totem detonates, killing it and doing fire damage to nearby enemies. After x seconds the totem will be reborn from its ashes.

The other totems would work similarly.

Since they're a bit more powerful, being mobile and therefore easier to deploy usefully, there would be a short summoning time, maybe 1.5 seconds.

I think I failed at really explaining it. Part of my idea was having sacrificial abilities. They'd be powerful, but carry a significant cost, such as killing your totem for a while. Fire would explode and there goes your buff for 30-60 seconds. Water would give a burst of mana, but would then take a while to reform after the wave spreads. Earth would stomp the ground, snaring people and stunning, but would get stuck and take a while to get loose again. Air would catch spells, but get scattered by the damage and take a while to come back together.

The animations could be really awesome. Think of a tidal wave rushing towards the shaman, then stopping, bowing, and reforming into a watery stick.


| Wednesday, October 8, 2008
When I first saw it, this sounded like the worst idea ever. Not only do I have to do the same crappy places over and over, but I need a specific tabard just to get the rep that I'd be getting anyway? This isn't a fun new mechanic, it's a pain in the ass.

Then I read it over again and looked at how other people interpreted it. After that I realized: this is a fucking great idea.

With this, I an pick which rep I get, no matter where I go. It doesn't work in BC instances, but I don't know the WotLK ones, so let's just pretend. SV isn't dropping my judgement helm, but I really need SSO rep. Just throw on the SSO tabard and boom, I can run SV for my hat and still get SSO rep. I trade a bag slot for... freedom.

This makes rep grinds a lot less irritating. It also makes a bit of sense when you consider that all our friends tend to be friends with each other, or at least share enemies. Thrallmar wants to see the Naga and Blood Elves defeated, even if the Fel Orcs are their main concern. The Cenarion Expedition would clearly be glad to see me deal with the Blood Elves or the Fel Orcs, in addition to their primary focus: the Naga.

This looks like yet another thing that Blizzard is getting right.


| Tuesday, October 7, 2008
This is copied from a post of mine on the paladin forums. I do this sometimes when I'm either afraid that my brilliance will drown in the forums so I want to save it here or just posting here will hide my brilliance from the masses, so I post there as well. Brilliance is fun to say. It's like a light bulb from the lungs.

Kings is causing a lot of trouble these days. Few people want to take it and few people think they have teh points for it. So what's the real problem and what can we do about it?

Let's start off with the issue of having four blessings, but a balanced raid would have at most three paladins. Something gets left out. It sounds bad, but is it really a problem?

There are two blessings that prot definitely wants: kings and sanctuary. Might would give an aggro/damage boost. Wisdom might give more aggro, if the tankadin is having mana problems. If push comes to shove, they can go without wisdom or might and I don't see any significant problems. There is a weakness here, but it's not as big as it would seem at first.

Ret would definitely want kings and might. Wisdom is useful when the paladin is going all out, especially against demons and/or mobs under 35% when there are so many attacks that mana is drained faster than JotW can regen. However ret has no DPS need for sanctuary. The damage reduction would be nice to have on everyone for AoE damage, but like with prot and wisdom, not a huge loss.

This may be one of those situations where we are supposed to make tradeoffs. We can't get every blessing we want, but we can at least get three 2-3 most valuable ones.

Still, there remains the issue of two blessings in one tree. Even worse, both are the critical blessings for prot. So what's to be done? Someone else has to get kings. From what I've seen, holy can't really spare the points, however ret can. But this would mean ret is getting imp BoM and kings, both of which are DPS blessings, so people want both. It's a repeat of the two blessings in one tree, except spec instead of tree.

Solution: ret doesn't get imp BoM, holy does. But holy also gets imp wisdom! Fortunately, there's not a huge overlap between mana and physical damage. Hunters, shamans, and paladins are the only classes that would want both, in addition to felguards. However in these cases, what's the loss? They don't have huge mana problems, so they wouldn't be hurt too much by getting wisdom from a prot paladin, kings from ret, and might from holy. I know, it's a strange system where no one is giving the blessing from their tree, but it would work.

But let's say we don't want to make these tradeoffs and Blizzard doesn't want us to either, then what? I've seen several solutions. One is to make kings into a talent that buffs blessings, something like "in addition to their current effects, your blessings also increase player stats by 2/4/6/8/10%" Another idea was to put kings onto devo aura. The most basic solution was to just remove kings and rebalance the game without it, though this could end up being the most work to implement.

We have more blessings than we have paladins. We can minimize weaknesses by choosing the three most useful blessings. Ret would pick up kings, holy would get imp wisdom and imp might. Prot would get sanctuary. Each spec would do that blessing, with the exception of prot which would be putting wisdom on physical DPS that use mana: enhancement shamans, retribution paladins, hunters, and felguards.

Soloing Onyxia

| Friday, October 3, 2008
I killed her a few minutes ago, after about 25 minutes. It was a lot of fun. She dropped Nemesis and Wrath and some assorted blues and greens. Oh, and 190g. That was great.

I'm you'll excuse the contradiction, the fight was both exciting and boring. The excitement was a mix of the thrill of taking on a raid boss solo, the tons of new abilities in 3.0, and the general movement of it all. Also I get really nostalgic. The boring part was that I was never really in any danger. I bubbled once, but after that I learned to kill the whelps faster and there was little risk of death. Between SoL/JoL, divine storm (this was especially effective against whelps), and instant FoL, I was able to keep my health up very easily.

Diminishing returns on pushback is great. I was able to use holy light, even with a bunch of whelps on me.

My gear was pretty much my normal ret gear, which I don't think I logged out in. It's a mix of S3, engineering helm, red belt of battle, and some badge gear. I did make some changes though. I traded my badge axe for a Suneater and Aldori Legacy Defender. The crit trinket from BM replaced the expertise one from H MgT. I felt the crit would be more useful since I use it to trigger instant FoL and for sheath of light. My crit on judgement libram I switched for the new libram of redeemed souls which increases FoL power by 89. That might have been a bad idea.

During the fight I used FR aura. JoL was up most of the time, except for mistakes and distraction from whelps. I mostly used seal of corruption, though during stage two I used SoL instead. Improved BoM and RF finished off the list, though I suppose RF was useless.

I was amazed at the power of retribution. While this certainly isn't a DPS test or a duel, I think this still demonstrates some of the damage, durability, and longevity of the spec. At the end I was fighting with the GCD, picking between CS, DS, FoL, HoW, consecrate, and JoL.

The little changes that recreated the class

Recently some holy paladins have been saying that their tree needs to be remade from the ground up. They need new mechanics, new spells, new everything. If history is an indication, they're wrong. Holy can be made to work, or may already work (I've not tried it yet), with the current mechanics or something very close.

Look at prot. Pre-BC is was pretty crappy. It was completely limited by its mana pool, so make a fight longer than 1 minute or two and it stops generating significant aggro. To make matters worse, there was not a prot tanking set. The overall effect was that regardless of the state of the prot tree, they couldn't hold aggro for long and they'd get torn apart in the process.

TBC turned that around completely. What changed? Well sure the tree got buffed, but except for the changes to reckoning and redoubt (which don't affect boss fights much anyway), not a ton changed. Paladins didn't switch to rage either. Instead they got spiritual attunement. This single ability made it so paladins could last. They finally got tanking sets, allowing them to be something other than mana sponges. SoR was buffed significantly, but I'm not sure that it was as big of a deal. Either way, just two or three changes, two of which weren't even anything radically new, transformed the spec.

Now I'm trying out ret and I'm seeing a similar pattern. There were not basic changes to mechanics. We didn't even get a ton of new attacks, pretty much just divine storm. So what do I think fixed it?

AP->SP talent: This isn't entirely new, being a talent that shamans already had. Still, this talent has a huge impact. It effectively means that our heals scale with attack power. It makes damaging judgements (which are now all of them) scale.

Judgements of the Wise: This is sort of new. The regen buff is a new concept in WoW, though clearly born from vampiric touch or mana tide totem. The huge regen for the paladin, that's big. No longer do we have a single mana pool that can be easily worn down, or even more quickly burned. We can keep going, no matter how long the fight lasts.

These two abilities combined to make us into what a lot of people think of us as: warriors with heals. We must now be fought in an entirely different way. Not only do we have multiple health bars, but we also have multiple mana bars. Now stuns must be used as interrupts rather than just a way to piss us off. We still can't interrupt well, but the higher damage from the new attack and from massively buffed judgements means that we can force other hybrids to shift from damage to healing.

I hope holy can get the same treatment, if it hasn't already. Identify the base problems from which all other problems emerge. Fix those with a new spell or two and some tweaking, and there you go, the class, despite the same name and basically same mechanics, is now entirely new.

Ret on the PTR

Wow. I feel powerful. I do tons of damage, I have practically unlimited mana, I can instantly heal myself with FoL and it actually does a decent amount.

When it goes live I'll completely redo my bars. So far I know I need two more slots of judgements. On the other hand, I can unbind my seals and just click them now since they last so long and aren't used up with judging. I'll definitely want FoL to be somewhere convenient, I'm using it a lot now.

The build I:m using is this:
I made a mistake and accidentally put a point in imp ret aura, so I dropped one from fanaticism.
At 80 I'll use something like this:
I'm not sure what to do with the remaining 5 points. Seals of the pure might be useful, though I don't know which seals people are using these days. Vindication might help with trash. I might also get Guardian's Favor since the BoP cooldown reduction can make a difference here and there.

I'm very optimistic about the future of ret. JotW and not refreshing seals so often are making mana a non-issue. In PvP I think the higher burst damage will help along with JotW and effective off-healing. The new E4E looks pretty cool too.

Treating the symptoms

| Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Blizzard has been doing a lot of this. WoW is sick and Blizzard keeps giving it sedatives instead of medicine.

Sunwell is a great example of this.

1: Gear inflation. Item levels must go up and up and up. The result was that tanks got to Sunwell and were almost impossible to even hit. How did Blizzard treat this? Did they reduce gear inflation (nerf gear)? Or better, did they shift the focus of progress away from gear? Nope. They just stuck a dodge debuff on players and increased the hit rate of enemies, adding up to a 25% avoidance loss. That fixes nothing except creating the image of even higher gear requirements, making the real problem WORSE!

2: Holy paladins. They are really awful at multi-target healing. Terrible. But fortunately they can heal one person really well. In fact, according to devs, too well. What would be the solution? Well I'd nerf their single target healing, but to keep them balanced, I'd give a bit of AoE healing or maybe a HoT. Blizzard just threw in tons of AoE damage. Now for one raid holy paladins are absolutely awful and the real problem of extreme focus on single-target healing is not addressed.

Gold inflation: Blizzard caused this. They control the money it and money out in the economy. So why did they cause inflation? Well, they still haven't figured out that farming for raids is not much fun. But they were nice and made it easy to make gold for repair bills, which honestly are not a huge deal (to me at least). The real cost is consumables. Dailies put more gold into the economy, which should make it easier to buy pots and gems, right? Wrong. Handing out loads of gold for dailies just causes inflation, making all gold worth less. But it gets worse. By handing out gold directly, the incentive to farm is reduced. That lowers supplies and drives up the prices even further. At this point there's only one way to lower prices: reduce demand for consumables. Blizzard could retune encounters, but I can understand that they need to factor in some consumable use, otherwise players will use them anyway and have unintended advantages.

They took the other route: kill raiding. They started by making arena gear much more powerful for the amount of skill required to get it. I have no chance in hell of getting T6, but I was able to get a few pieces of S3 and now I could even buy S4 gloves. Compare that to T4 and you can see why I might have a reduced incentive to raid anything pre-T5. But why go for T5 when I can do Kara for a few weeks and get better gear from badges? Oh right, but raiding, killing it reduces demand for consumables, pushing down prices. However since we still have inflation all this does is make alchemy less profitable.

But hey, WotLK will fix it all, right? I'm not being entirely sarcastic, Blizzard did fix a lot of epic fail in TBC so it is reasonable to assume that WotLK will reduce the fail even further. But they did also introduce arenas.

I'm going to go to sleep

When I wake up, I expect everything to be all better.

Normally I wouldn't say this...

But fuck you, Blizzard. Fuck you. Fucking fucks. Fuck.

For two fucking years you reward certain classes for a completely unbalanced PvP system. You knew this. Everyone could see it. Look at the statistics. Paladins were shit. Shit, like the stuff that comes out of your ass. That is not good stuff. Look at the fucking numbers. Do those look like they reflect anything remotely like balance? I'll be nice and give you two options.

1) Balance by even classes. Nine classes, if they're balanced you'd expect each class to be about 11% of the high-ranking arena population. But no, they're not even close. Druids are way way in front in 2v2 and 3v3. I'm not saying 12-15%, no, more like 20% or higher. That is not even close to balance.

2) Balance by population. That would put hunters and rogues a bit ahead of the rest, which rogues are. On the other side, druids would be a bit below average, which they are not. In fact, druids are more than double the amount as would be predicted by population.

For two years Blizzard has handed out mounts and titles based on an unbalanced system. Now it appears that ret is really fucking powerful. It's looking to be overpowered at 70, assuming your enemy is too dumb to kite you and you get the drop on them. This is our time to join the ranks of the overpowered, facerolling to title and cool mounts, right? Well, no. Apparently balance is now a serious issue, so all arena rankings are being taken the day 3.0 comes out and saved until the end of S4. In other words, the very day that paladins start being as effective as other classes, they stop being counted.

Fuck you, you fucking fuckers. Fuck. Stupid fucking shit. Fuck.

When TBC came out classes were unbalanced, but we still had arenas and rewards. Now suddenly balance is serious business. But it's even more ridiculous when you consider that back then the gear was a bigger deal. Now it's being received a few weeks before WotLK comes out and we replace half of it in the first week.

When gear matters and paladins suck, we are counted. When gear doesn't matter and we're badass, we are not counted.

Do me a favor and swear a bit, maybe scare some children. I'm too angry to be mad anymore.

Cause of this rant:

[edit] Oh did I mention that they are nerfing holy? Yes, the worst tree we have is getting worse. The least fun tree is losing the cool talents that might have made it interesting. This makes perfect sense! I mean... fuck I can't even be sarcastic.
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