Why I hate Eye for an Eye

| Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Oh no no, not the talent. If I ever make a PvP build I'm sure I'll pick it up. Oh no, I mean the sinister spreader of memes at Eye for an Eye. He's gone and made me a scrapper, which I guess would make a pretty nice engineering title.

So, rule thingies... Man, I love copy-paste, I have no clue how I'd indent the numbers. I like that look. Maybe I should just start copying half of all his posts, just for the formatting. And loh and behold, I hit preview to see what it looks like and no indent. DAMN YOU E4E!

1. When accepting this auspicious award, you must write a post bragging about it, including the name of the misguided soul who thinks you deserve such acclaim, and link back to the said person so everyone knows she/he is real.

2. Choose a minimum of seven (7) blogs that you find brilliant in content or design. Or improvise by including bloggers who have no idea who you are because you don’t have seven friends. Show the seven random victims’ names and links and leave a harassing comment informing them that they were prized with Honest Weblog. Well, there’s no prize, but they can keep the nifty icon.

3. List at least ten (10) honest things about yourself. Then pass it on!

So, I am apparently awesome. By that I mean my awesomeness has been confirmed by the receiving of this award. However not to diminish the award, but in normal circumstances the award alone is not poor of awesome. In this case, the award was clearly, non-verbally, given with a message of "this is a more awesome award than usual for a person who is more awesome than usual." He even slipped a $20 bill in the envelope.

People.. 7 people? Crap. Well I'll just pull out my list of blog links and run down there and see who... Oh. They have it already. Hm...

Flash of Moonfire I just found this blog a few days ago, but I like the writing.
Due to insufficient ranting, I present to you: Ixobelle.
No one seems to have tagged Euripedes over at Critical QQ. His blog is cool, go read it. Bring a snorkel, it's written by a mage. :P
Player vs. Developer always has good posts, sometimes too good, the type that you feel by commenting on for fear of tainting them with a lack of proper writing.
Iapetes because I lack people who are wrong to argue with.
I wish I could add Larisa, but she's taken.

And now I think that has taken out the last of the blogs I read which haven't been awarded already. Uh oh. I could tag random blogs, but that seems dishonest and if there's one thing the internet encourages, it's honesty. Honestly.

Honesty! Honesty? Oh come on! This is a microcosm of a society, a mini-society if you will. A virtual one. We're the Tamagachi of society and I am a puppy. Just as you need to feed the dog, so must in society you lie. "How are you?" "Good, how about you?" Honesty would be bad, for one because then we'd start listing all the problems. Honesty means long lists and responses like "tl;dr." Or maybe that's just the result of my writing style. Is bad a style? Oh well... honesty here goes nothing.

1) If no one is around, I often argue with myself. I get very mad if I lose.

2) I dislike things that I'm bad at. This probably explains my views on arenas and healing. There are only a few exceptions, such as chess towards which I am a mostly positive, but apathetic view.

3) I never got past Razorgore in pre-BC.

4) I used to be totally indifferent to bugs: snakes, ants, bees, that sort of thing. Now they scare the crap out of me and I can't remember any experience which would have caused this.

5) I started college as a chemical engineering major, but partially due to excessive WoW, I did poorly, switched majors twice and am now a psychology major and recently added a minor in sociology.

6) I have a constant fear of doing it wrong. For example: are these suppose to sound like my life story in numbered form?

7) My first account was not my own, but was instead loaned by a friend (it was his friend's who didn't play anymore) so I could try WoW. I think it's been sold.

8) I really like lore. I read quests. I usually play with music on, but when I'm leveling somewhere new or doing one of the really deep quests, I turn it off and maybe turn on in-game music.

9) I feel guilty if I spec ret because my paladin was modeled after a prot PvP video from back when reckoning was good. Go look up Zalgradis PvP 3. It's very old, pre-1.9.

10) In retrospect, I used to be laughably bad. At everything. But as I pointed out in class yesterday when debating whether technology was making kids unable to communicate: we all used to be stupid, it's just part of being a few years ago.

I think I need a new blog name

| Monday, March 30, 2009
What's wrong with my current blog name? Well, procs and cons. That should say pros, but, why not show that WoW has ruined my mind and in another example I am unable to type instances... grr... instant-plural.

I find it slightly funny. It's mostly a reference to when troll racials were incredibly bad: throwing weapon spec being the most notable and probably worst in the game.

It references my year or two or by now maybe three years of posting on the paladin forum, as a troll shaman. Even after I had a paladin, after it was level capped (BC, so 70), even after it was my main, I still posted on my shaman.

I think it's somewhat unique in that it doesn't refer to a class spell or anything at all related to any classes.

It's vague: I think a more specific name would be restrictive. I'd feel like I was off-topic posting about my druid if I had a paladin-related name.

It's vague: Some blogs you can tell what they're about by the name. Blessing of Kings, I wonder, might that possibly be about paladins? Player vs. Developer, maybe possibly it's about game design and balance and... see there's a good name, it's open-ended but not ridiculously vague. Or for a vague title which admits its vague, try anything like "World of ___" or "___'s Adventure's in ____" You go to those expecting something a bit here and there. I have no clue what you expect from my title.

It's misleading: You'd think I'd at least talk more about my troll characters or use an accept or something. Oh then there's the address. Trollshaman, and yet I barely ever talk about my shaman, nor do I even play him much. Thinking about it, it's a pretty stupid address.

Now what?
I don't really know what to do. I thought Trollpaladin would make a better address, and it is available last I checked (checking involved for a very short time having a new address). It's not great, but at least it gets across the general paladin idea without totally restricting it to paladins, seeing as they can't be trolls.

For a title, I don't know what to do at all. I'm reluctant to go with something class-related since that's restrictive. I also tend to not read class blogs because they bore me. Oh hey, comments on the class I already play (or don't play and don't care about the latest news about), so what's new? That came off with far more condescension than intended.

I thought of some other ideas, but they tended to be lame or potentially offensive.
Bi-Spectual Hybrid: A role is a role.
Altitis is the Leading Cause of Reroll
A Paladin Killed My Shaman (this one is actually very true, my paladin is the reason my shaman is pretty much just a level 74 DE alt)

What's a blogger to do? Even if I did think of a good name, changing the address might wreck all the links to my blog. At last count I saw three, and one might be wishful thinking. Two broken links is serious business. My name, Klepsacovic isn't taken. Why didn't I just use that in the first place?

Incidentally my paladin is having another identity crisis since hitting things with an axe is a bit addictive, but I'm supposed to be prot (my paladin is loosely modeled after a paladin I saw years back in some PvP videos, back when reckoning was powerful).

Class idea: Chronomancer

| Sunday, March 29, 2009
I first made a post on this back in July. Since then I've thought of more to add to it. A recent conversation with fellow blogger Iapetes (who needs to post more) made me realize that manipulation of time could potentially affect anything, but especially in the areas of buffs and debuffs. This would be primarily a support class, though it would be capable of soloing.

Any time I give a duration or cooldown, don't take it as an absolute. They're just to give general ideas of "this is a short duration" or "this has a long cooldown."

Damage mitigation and healing
Imagine someone just got hit with 20k damage and died. Maybe it's a warrior on 3D Sarth or just the latest bad mechanic to encourage stam-stacking. Chronomancers would have various ways to deal with this.

Rewind: Chronomancers could, on a cooldown, reverse a fight by 10 seconds, allowing a raid to say "ooh, a bad thing will happen now, tank, pop shield wall this time."

Undo: The last attack didn't happen. This wouldn't undo death, but would act as a powerful heal.

Skip Ahead: Go back to a couple seconds before someone died and bring them to now. Think of it as a combat res with the added convenience of not requiring rebuffing. However debuffs remain, so someone will need to watch that cleanse button.

Time Mirror: Reverse the flow of time for a single spell. This is a proactive version of Undo, being used before the attack (spells only), which will cause it to cast backwards, damaging the caster. Think of spell reflect usable on a specific group member.

Obviously haste would be a standard buff.

Fast Forward: The next ten seconds are recorded and then repeated when the recording is over. This is their Bloodlust, but potentially much more powerful. Use this with every single cooldown you can imagine because it acts as 200% DPS for 10 seconds. There is a big risk though: it also records damage and healing on players, so if your tank isn't being kept topped off properly, he may be dead after the Fast Forward, along with anyone standing in a fire or anything else bad. This would have a sufficiently long cooldown to be unusable in arenas.

Generic single-target haste buff: Attack or cast faster.

Simpler Times: Delevel an ally, reducing all base stats. This is bad right? Well, not exactly. Throw it on a caster and when their base mana drops, so do their spell costs. The efficiency gain will offset the slightly lower stats.

Remember the Good Times: Grants the Nostalgia buff, making the target immune to fear effects.

It's Time: Resets all cooldowns on friendly players.

Show Death: Show the target when and how they will die, fearing them.

Delevel: Lower the target's level, but rather than affecting stats, it affects the hit table. This acts as both a damage reduction for them due to higher relative miss, crit, etc. and a damage buff for the group due to the opposite.

Premature Aging: The target ages rapidly, snaring it and reducing all stats derived from agility: dodge, crit, and armor.

Freeze Time: All enemies are frozen for 4 seconds, making them immune to all damage and unable to attack. If there are multiple Chronomancers in combat (or even out of combat if its arena), the spell will last for 4 seconds for each Chronomancer. Chronomancers are immune to time stop.

See You Later: Moves the target into the future, making them unable to attack or take damage for 6 seconds. This can also be used on allies and could be helpful for things such as surviving a large AoE when at low health.

Random abilities
Teamwork: Summons a future and past self to fight with the caster for 20 seconds. If the past self dies, the caster dies. In addition, the present and future selves are weakened by having too many selves at the same time. However both selves are hard to damage, frequently using most known abilities, especially Time Mirror. The benefit is more damage, but at an elevated risk of death since you now have two ways to die.

Get It Over With: Accelerates the speed at which a CC ends. It will not remove the CC, but it can turn a full fear into only a second or two.

Save: The Chronomancer can save a time and if desired, bring the raid back to that time. Think of it as a convenience spell: save before a boss fight and you won't have to run back after a wipe, save after the long rant at the start and you skip that next time. Or use it to reduce risk: save before a phase transition that you're still learning and then you won't need to repeat previous phases and risk earlier deaths.

Past Situation: This would be the primary nuke. It would work by grabbing energy from way the past and throwing it at enemies. The damage time is random and the value will vary more than a normal spell cast. This is because the caster just grabs whatever is going on at the time rather than searching around for the most destructive damage. This could also be used to grab enemy attacks from earlier in the fight and throw them back, so Chronomancer damage types would depend greatly on luck and the mob they're fighting.

For resources, I think an energy bar would work best. I don't want any scaling regen mechanic since the abilities are far too powerful to spam.

Nerd raging about old world content

| Saturday, March 28, 2009
Warning: contains nerd raging and old content. I will try to avoid swearing.

Naxx is clearly too easy. How can I tell? Take someone that has cleared Naxx and stick them in an old world raid and they will fail completely. I'd say they'd fail over and over, but they'd have left after one wipe. This has happened over and over. I'll go over some common failures.

Molten Core
Core hound packs must die within a few seconds of each other. Apparently this is too complex for DPS to understand. They pick a dog and stay on it. And stay on it. And as dogs res each other and I call for them to stop DPS, they stay on it. Eventually I started just soloing the packs.

Shazzrah: Is purge/dispel/shield slam really that hard? He can still hurt if you're letting him deal 50 or 100% more damage, I forgot which. The point is, it's a simple task and still people fail horribly.

Gehennas, Magmadar: Don't stand in the fire. Is that too complex?

Blackwing Lair
Don't stand in front of the dragons that do Shadowflame. I will tell you which ones. Don't stand in front of them. IT IS NOT COMPLEX. Also heal me rather than running around the corner because you're afraid of flame buffet. Yes, this happened and was the last straw to trigger this post, I kept dying because the healers were around the corner and the elemental shaman was too busy throwing lightning bolts. If I detect fail like that again I'm turning him towards the raid and bubble-hearthing.

Suppression Room: Keep moving. No really, keep moving. I know it's slow, but keep moving. Move. Move, move, move. I don't care that a whelp is biting you, keep moving so you don't fall behind. Now put your back to a wall so you don't get knocked off the edge.

Temple of Ahn'qiraj
Don't kill the MCed person.

Follow me so you stop getting lost. How hard is it to follow someone? Every time, someone gets lost. I don't know how. I mean, is it that complex to follow someone?

Interrupt the heal. Yes I know you're probably all the same noobs that want everyone in the game to have MS just because you're too terrible to interrupt heals, but for the love of god, INTERRUPT THE HEALS!

Stop complaining about mobs with whirlwind. Just don't stand next to them. If they attack you, run to the tank. Tanking classes, use your damn taunts. Yes, DKs, I know you're blood, but first of all, blood can tank, second of all, it's a level 60 mob and you wear plate, so taunt. Idiots.

Stop asking "why do you keep needing X?" Do you know what it is for? No? Then WTF do you care? I'll humor you. These are part of an old system of gear distribution. They are useless unless you have one of the tokens. If you get a token and don't drop raid the second C'thun dies, I just might give you all the little bits you need. Of course they're still useless because none of you have the slightest bit of rep because you just want to get run through once for the achievement and in the process get full 2.5, except you don't know what 2.5 is. And on that note, STOP NEEDING ON EVERYTHING THAT DROPS WHEN HALF THE TIME YOU CAN'T EVEN USE IT.

Twin Emperors: Stop asking why they are healing. Stop telling me to just pull. Stop AoEing the bugs. Stop using DoTs. Stop failing at listening. You know why I am taking so much time to explain the fight? Because it's almost complex. In fact, if not for the level difference, even ignoring gear requirements, it's harder than any fight in Naxx. Due to our level, it's not as complex as it used to be, but somehow people still fail.

Here's the idea: I tank one one side, another paladin tanks on the other. They go back and forth and they die. Heal us, kill bugs if they get mean, don't AoE, don't use DoTs because they screw up aggro. Don't lie to me as say you didn't use rupture when I can not only see it on the mob, but right after the teleport in runs straight towards you.

C'thun: Don't all run in at once after I say to wait. Pick up the damn cues and notice that no one else is inside the room, so don't go in. Hunters, don't do retarded crap with feign death. Kill the tentacles, kill him, don't stand in front of or behind him during glare, spread out. Yes don't stand behind, it's a bug, deal with it.

Angry Paladin is Angry
Why are people unable to do content 20 levels old? By now the fights are much simpler and half of them can be facerolled. But any fight which requires anything more than facerolling, people fail completely. Then they all leave. I think this is because of Naxx. It's too easy. People get mad if a boss takes more than one attempt. Should Naxx be hard? Not exactly. It is an intro raid after all. But as it is currently, it's far too easy. Maybe 20% harder would work? Whatever it is, a boss should not be a one-shot on the first attempt unless it's intentionally the one easy boss per raid. I think 2-3 attempts is a decent target for an intro raid. It's enough to challenge but not so much that it's an awful time sink with 100g+ repair bills and massive consumable requirements and all that.

Make Classic Raider a requirement to enter Ulduar. Make people do a challenging fight for once, especially a challenging fight that isn't just there to hand out loot. I did Kael'thas with my guild Wednesday night. It was a lot of fun. We died a couple times while learning it, but that just makes it more fun. I was happy when I died and when we wiped. Sure I wouldn't have wanted to wipe for three hours, but a couple wipes make the end result more worth it.

Bring back downranking, but nerf it

| Friday, March 27, 2009
I hate trying to start posts. I want to just repeat my title. It feels like a good first sentence. It gets to the point and doesn't ramble, unlike everything else I write.

So yes, why would I want this?

Why downrank?
Sometimes you just don't need a big heal. Sometimes even flash heal is too big.

This thought was brought on by a recent SFK run on my druid. A 41 shaman was running a warlock and I tagged along. It was pretty slow, partially because the shaman wasn't very good (strange spec, strange gear, and just slow moving). He kept telling me to heal because "I'm the weakest one." That seemed strange, since there wasn't much to heal. I thought, why not have him heal, I'd pull a bunch and tank it while the warlock was AoE. That sounded fast. But the shaman didn't seem interested.

In retrospect it wouldn't have worked well. The overhealing would have been massive and as a result the shaman might have been unable to keep up. Downranking would have helped then and I think it would help a lot now.

What's the nerf?
Downranking was removed, at least as far as I know, because it was giving ridiculous efficiencies. Lower ranks gained less from +healing, but not enough to offset the lower mana costs. So why not have the total healing reduced directly in proportion to the lower mana cost? This would mean no gain in efficiency. Instead healers could use this to reduce healing output for a lower mana cost. Currently this is possible, the it either involves changing spells or delaying casts. Neither is very good.

Changing spells, for example HL to FoL, will result in much lower spending but also much lower output. This is frying pan to fire: massive overhealing to massive underhealing (also known as a dead tank). Mixing would reduce the effect, such as alternating FoL and HL, but then this just means sometimes you underheal and sometimes you overheal. With luck the tank won't die from the underhealing times, but luck isn't always nice.

Delaying casts is even worse. Tanks tend to need healing now, or at least 1.5 seconds from now. Delaying heals means they don't get that heal. Even if the healing averages out properly, tanks don't live by average; they die by extremes.

Downranking would also allow for more flexibility. Do you want to skimp on regen, stack SP, and downrank? Or do you want to go for more regen and use higher rank heals? Maybe go somewhere in the middle and balance the two with a fairly high rank. This would also help to make Ulduar gear (at least as I remember it a couple weeks ago) more attractive. Downranking makes crit less effective compared to mana/5 and allows for an actual choice between the two rather than just crit>mana/5.

In the reverse direction, how about talents with effects like "increases healing by 50% and mana costs by 50%, lasts X seconds." Bad things are happening and you can respond to them, but this isn't something to spam. Or maybe it allows regen to be an output stat as well since it would allow a player to use this cooldown more often.

Maybe this is just the wishful thinking of a bad healer who wishes the game was more accommodating of his lack of skill.

Totem-stomping macros, not working as intended

| Thursday, March 26, 2009
This GC quote comes from a thread on the DPS forum titled: In defense of Totem Stomping Macros

From our POV, there is no defense of totem-stomping macros.

If you want to take the time to give your pet a command and a target to kill a totem, great. But to be able to neutralize a core mechanic of the class so easily because you are clever enough to copy a macro off of the Internet is not skill.

The only reason they still exist are technical limitations, not because we like the design. (And please don't feel the need to offer your technical suggestions. :) )

The OP argues that easily killing totems with almost no effort due to macroed pet commands is just balance, it's the counter to totems. This argument isn't too bad, except that it fails to distinguish between "counter" and "trivialize." A macroed pet could potentially kill totems as fast as they are created and suffer only a small DPS loss from the pet being busy.

But perhaps this isn't all that different from an enhancement shaman purging buffs. Or maybe it is. The two other specs of shamans would suffer DPS or healing losses from purging, due to being unable to cast. In addition, there are many dispel resist talents or even some talents which reactively punish dispel, such as unstable affliction or life bloom. In contrast totems have no defense against one-shotting by a pet.

Are there solutions? Totem stomper macros could be disabled by blocking anything at all like the names of totems form macros. But that would hurt shamans as well. References to attacking totems could be banned, but that would be very complex and probably end up just being the first solution.

The simplest is just to buff totems: give them enough health to survive a hit or two. Maybe give them 10% of the shaman's health. That would give them 1.5-2k health, or something, I have no clue how much health a PvP shaman has. The number can be adjusted, but the idea is that a wand or pet cannot one-shot the totem but a melee attack or a spell will have no difficulty at all. This makes totems easy to kill, but not free to kill. That seems balanced to me.

Ret tanking

| Wednesday, March 25, 2009
To start off: I am not going to worry about dev intention or not. They can decide if they want ret to be able to tank. This is purely about its ability to tank.

This is mostly based off my experience a few minutes ago tanking VoA as ret.

I'm not too concerned about aggro. Ret is definitely lower than prot. A lot lower. But, I think it's high enough. People might have to hold back at high gear levels, but it's not as if they're reduced to wanding.

Still, scaling is a concern. So much damage is based on crits and tanking gear lacks crit. In addition, SoV doesn't crit (well okay, the instant 4 damage can crit), so all the crit multipliers have a reduced effect. With the change of DS to physical, ret lost a big piece of holy damage and at this point is going to be doing quite a lot of physical, so the RF multiplier is weakened. Fortunately both specs get divine strength, so that scaling at least remains intact.

Adding RV to CS may help, increasing the chances that the holy DoT will stay rolling.

Ret takes more damage. It's a lot more. This is completely okay, after all, prot is the tanking tree. However I think ret in proper tanking gear can survive in easier content (such as VoA) or when overgeared (I was also overgeared).

Ret can pretty much use a modified 6-9 rotation. CS, judge, SotR, consecrate, CS, DS, SotR... It's not quite 6-9 since DS is 10, but with lag and slow reactions it fits.

This is a problem. I was feeling a noticeable shortage of mana even with DP. JotW wasn't enough. SA wasn't enough. I was losing mana pretty fast where as prot I'd stay about even or slowly fall. I think the biggest thing is the lack of BoS. It will get much worse when SA becomes a talent. Will buffed JotW offset this? I doubt it.

Overall I think ret is able to offtank if geared properly, but with 3.1 and SA moving to a talent I see potential trouble coming up.

Naxxramas and Retribution

Monday night my guild needed another for Malygos and I got in, partially due to having no paladins. I went ret for it. That gave me my first kill and the title Champion of the Frozen Wastes. Woo.

Last night we started Naxx 25 and again I went as ret. It was fun in a useless sort of way. By that I mean, as prot I had to be on top of things all the time, leading the pack, knowing everything. As ret, as DPS, I pretty much follow the assist, killing as I go. It's relaxing to have lower pressure.

Loot-wise I made off pretty well. I won a holy neck which I'll use as a FoL neck: comparison with badge neck. Though I wonder if it's just a straight upgrade even for HL. I got some blocking gloves which I plan to use mostly instead of T7: comparison. Then there was a tanking neck which was just a straight upgrade from the badge neck: comparison.

Then there are the 7.5 legs. These are a source of difficulty for me. I won them uncontested and with an offspec 'bid'. At the time I'd planned to use them for ret. However after the fact I realized I only had T7 for prot, so really they could be an upgrade for prot as well. So now I'm split. Do I do main (prot) or secondary (ret)? If I'd said they were for main it would be obvious: they go to prot. But I got them for ret. I also have the T7 glove token from a PUG, so I could get two pieces of the ret set instantly. Is that a big enough upgrade to balance the main spec upgrade?
Ret gloves
Ret pants
Prot pants

Maybe if I'm lucky VoA will give me ret pants so I don't need to decide.

In related news I finally saw, and won, the axe from H HoL.

I applied the lessons I learned from all my druid's macros to my paladin. The result is a much cleared UI. I took out 2-3 bars: around 30 buttons. My hotkeys are now move convenient. I changed some to consider the ease of use of modifiers with different button positions. Many are now macros. The only problem I have now is that 1 is mouseover cleanse and crusader strike, so I have to either place my cursor over a spell or hold down right click, otherwise people tend to wander across my cursor and 1 switched to cleanse and I can't CS anymore. I consider this a small loss compared to the huge overall improvements. Now I just need to figure out a good way to do BoF and BoP. Oh yea, and in the fail department, e used to be CS and ctrl-e was HoW. Now those are taunt and AoE taunt. This has caused some confusion.

Druid alt and macros

| Monday, March 23, 2009
I've noticed a trend with alts: the more I have, the more I learn about macros. In general I just get better at setting up my UI. Each new alt is a fresh start, a chance to not repeat mistakes, an "I'll get it right this time."

UI: The Learning Process
On my paladin I realized my layout made no sense. Reorganizing it accomplished two goals: (1) Not wasting hotkeys on heals when tanking and (2) moving common/immediate spells towards the left end. This resulted in a much easier layout to use, for example, cleanse is now 1, making it very easy to alt self-cast.

It was on my rogue that I learned to shift my action bars towards the middle, near my character. Why? It makes it easier to see cooldowns and to see when I have enough energy for an ability. Before this shift I'd have to glance all the way down to the left, meaning I wasn't watching the action closely.

My death knight made me start using macros in a useful fashion. I created a few useful ones, particularly for death coil. I eventually figured out how to add a mouseover function in order to use it as a pull even while targeting another mob. This was in addition to shift-casting which would automatically hit my ghoul, though that one needs work since it breaks if my ghoul gets a new name. Mouseover targeting for my ghoul's attack helped with solo pulling.

Now my druid has taken it further. I've created a set of macros which allow me to easily heal from forms, without taking up any bar space for separate healing buttons. They took a while to write and ended up teaching me a lot about how macros work. I'll show one since might help. Yes, a rare helpful post. :P

Macro: It's like programming, but not
This one follows the same pattern as two others. There's another that I use for faerie fire which uses a slightly different form, but the rules are the same.
/cast [modifier:alt, target=Elmu] Healing Touch(); [form:1, harm] Maul; [form:3, harm] Claw(); [noform][form:1/2/3, help] Healing Touch()

/cast is the standard way of saying "cast whatever is after this." In a simple macro the spell would come right after.

Brackets [ ] are where you add modifiers such as conditions for casting. In the case of the first one, it checks if I am using the modifier alt (pressing the alt key). If I am, it will then cast with the target being Elmu (my druid).

After the brackets is the spell, healing touch. The parentheses are where you can put a spell rank, this was very useful back in the days of downranking. You can instead put nothing and it will automatically cast the highest rank.

Finally there is the semi-colon which means "stop checking the condition in the previous brackets." If I just put a spell after the semi-colon then it would cast without checking any conditions, except if the previous spell did cast. To cast both spells I'd need to press the macro multiple times and meet both conditions, or more accurately meet the condition and fail to meet it.

After the semi-colon there is a new set of conditions. Form:1 means "are you in form 1?" For druids this means bear form." Harm means "is this something you can attack?" Note that this includes neutral mobs.
Blah blah maul claw blah...

Here's a useful one again: [noform]. This checks if you are in caster form, or for other classes with would mean not in ghost wolf or shadow form.
Then there's a second condition, but in separate brackets. This basically acts as an OR condition. If the brackets are met, it casts. If the second brackets are met, it casts.
Finally there's the form: 1/2/3. This checks "are you in 1 (bear) 2 (seal) 3 (cat)" and could continue on if I had more forms, with 4 being moonkin or tree, or maybe flight. You could get it by trial and error or by looking on WoWWiki. Help means "is this something you can heal?"

Finally note that conditions are checked one at a time. This is why the alt is first. I hold alt and it casts on me. I originally had it at the end and needed a bunch of added conditions to say "if I am NOT holding alt..."

The general function of the macro works out as this: If I hold down alt it will cast a heal on myself. If I am targeting an ally it shows a heal and pressing the hotkey will cast a heal. If I am targeting an enemy it will show a cat attack in cat form, a bear attack in bear form, and heals in caster form. I might change that to instead do offensive spells (this would bring it to four different abilities per macro).

The only complaint I have is that if I target no one the icon is a question mark. I'd like to figure out a way to make it the ability I'd be using, so claw in cat form and healing touch if I target an ally or press alt.

It's not as bad as I remember. Early on it always seemed like wrath, wrath, OOM, hit mob ineffectually with staff, drink. Maybe Blizzard buffed them. The heirloom shoulders probably helped, along with the four 18 slot bags from my priest leveling tailoring.

Roots is unbalanced for solo PvE. I was soloing rare elites constantly with little difficulty, except for one which had a ranged incapacitate and stealthed harpies kept flying on top of me, but she still died.

In groups I've had a lot of fun tanking. It's probably easier than intended since I have the maul glyph (hits a second target, it's my high-aggro move at this level). Though recently I got yelled at for tanking, apparently they preferred the prot paladin without any tanking talents and no shield that didn't use consecrate.

I've been leveling inscription and herbalism as well. They're pretty fun. I've been handing them out to lowbies that I run into. One gave me 5g so I gave her a stack of armor vellum as well since she was an enchanter.

Homogenization or Freedom?

| Saturday, March 21, 2009
Bring the player not the class is intended to give greater flexibility when forming groups. Has it also led to destructive homogenization?

Certainly classes are more similar. Well, at least we say they are. Is a frost bolt all that different from a shadow bolt? Was it ever? Those who complain about homogenization need to confront a troubling fact: it happened long before WotLK, before BC, before WoW even existed. When have there not been ranged physical, melee, and casters? Ultimately people are throwing around similar spells except for graphics and secondary effects. Or, I hate to use it, but let's look at real life. Look at how homogeneous bullets are: explosive in the back propels little piece of shaped metal into person. Why ever use different bullets?

A lot of everything is a lot like everything else.

Pardon the wording in this paragraph, but it's going to sound strange. Let's take warriors and paladins in vanilla (and ignore unpleasant details such as dresses). They're generally melee damage with plate and can also use shields and tank. There are only two major differences: heals and playstyle. Let's fast forward a few years to now. What's different? Well, they're a lot more similar now. They have strikes and AP buffs and a whole lot of damage and tanking and in many aspects are interchangeable. And yet, they're as different as they ever were. They still have a different feel. Despite JotW, mana is not rage. Play them both and you are lying or delusional if you think they feel the same. They have the same two-handed weapons as always, but they are still different, as they always were.

In other words: Classes always had overlap and that overlap hasn't changed much.

Now let's look at freedom. You are more free than you ever were in WoW. Why? Because we no longer need any given class (except priests on Raz). So how does that make us free? Here's how: play whatever class you want and it can do what you want to do (well, obviously priests won't be doing much tanking, but you get the idea). Or reverse that, pick a role and then pick your class. Want to tank? Great news, you're not stuck with only a warrior.

On the subject of warriors: why play one anymore now that three other classes can tank? Because you want to. Let's look at that again. You previously might play a warrior because you wanted to tank, and so you didn't actually want to play a warrior. Now though, you will play a warrior because you want to play a warrior. How is that not an improvement?

Call it homogenization, I call it nothing changing except greater freedom.

[edit] This isn't to say that homogenization isn't a concern. It is. But the homogenization argument is usually used too hastily, probably by those who are afraid of being players rather than classes.

[edit a day later...] This is an interesting and relevant post by GC.
We want you to get a spot because you know what the blank you're doing, not because your class is programmed to always do top dps or inflate raid dps through a miraculous spell that you impart by clicking a button every 30 min.

"Why don't you just buff everyone else?"

| Friday, March 20, 2009
I sometimes see this is response to nerfs. Say, hunters get nerfed because their DPS is too high and it's driving other people out of raids. Why not buff everyone else? Well there's a certain expected raid DPS for the expected gear level. Increase everyone's DPS and then the raid is too easy. Also PvP becomes a burst-fest and healers become useless, except possibly the bubble-tossing disc priests.

After reading a post about mage nerfs I started thinking, maybe the current idea is to nerf everyone. Mages get nerfed, ret gets nerfed, fury gets nerfed. Arms warriors are the only ones I hear getting buffed, though I must admit that I haven't read many patch notes and I avoid the DPS forum (it combines hunters, rogues, and moonkin in one place, how can that result in anything good?).

Maybe Blizzard caved to the elitist QQers who said that Naxx is too easy and with every scrub guild clearing it they no longer felt special. Well now they've fixed that and nerfed everyone. No longer will scrub guilds clear Naxx. Instead, they will die over and over, wondering what happened. Meanwhile the elitists will wipe their eyes and say how great they are, forgetting that the nerfs happened only after they had cleared. That's right, the people that burn through content as fast as possible got easy mode.

Or maybe it's just the usual roller-coaster of balance. On that subject, why does it seem so hard for Blizzard to balance the game? Surely by now they have a program which can simulate DPS, allowing inputs of variables such as gear, required movement, and non-damage related jobs such as interrupts or CC (or maybe that's the problem: Blizzard assumes people are using CC). This would obviously be an incredibly complex program to write and would take a lot of computing power to run, but surely it would be eventually be better than the constant roller-coaster. I suppose even with their financial resources there are only so many hamsters to go around.

On the subject of balance, I've come to understand City of Heroes/Villains and why my friend likes it so much: everyone is overpowered. There doesn't seem to be much need for teamwork when half the hard stuff can be soloed and the other half, you just aren't playing the right class to solo it. I think it's actually a great example of how easy and casual are not at all the same. They have no positioning, there doesn't seem to be any difficulty at all to the tanking, and even healing looks pretty easy. But their 'AH' is terrible. It has a limited display of auctions, so it's a lot harder to figure out a market norm, bidding and posting are done weirdly with a lot of potential for buyers overpaying by huge amounts, and prices are horribly inflated. I suppose that is somewhat inevitable since nothing is BoP, so the game seems to involve a lot of grinding and then blowing it all on the AH. It looks a lot like the terrible farming for old Naxx, but without even having the raid. So yea, it looks easy and very flashy and not much fun. I'm not sure why a post about nerfs turned into CoX bashing. Oops?

Getting back to WoW, we'd never see on the forums "rather than buff X class, why not just nerf everyone else?" And yet, we do see that. One class gets nerfed and immediately they go crazy wanting every other class nerfed. Mage nerf? Well nerf warlocks too. But if they go down, shadow too! If priests get nerfed, nerf ret too. And if ret gets nerfed then obviously DKs and warriors need a nerf too. Why should druids get a free ride? On that note, rogues need a nerf too. But why nerf rogues and not hunters? Obvious ranged bias is obvious, nerf hunters too. And there we go, by a simple chain of lack of logic we can nerf everyone.

I still want to see my dynamic nerfing system implemented: nerf everyone that I am not playing at the time, except for healers in PvE,but especially healers in PvP.

I don't think I'm doing it right

| Wednesday, March 18, 2009
For whatever reason I just can't seem to play correctly.

Good players would be farming or running heroics or something productive, I'm flying around Kalimdor with a new sombrero. When good guilds were in BT I was trying to PUG MC. Good players bring flasks to raids, the closest I can remember bringing are empty bottles and a character too drunk to see. Actually I can't remember doing that, but with drunkenness lack of proof is a form of proof.

Other people spend thousands of gold on the best enchants and surge needle rings while I buy elementium ore. While others ran around freely grinding Loremaster of Kalimdor I used a cloaking device to sneak past guards because I saw a neutral quest giver inside. Other people get epic crafted hats while I have a pirate hat stuffed in the bank.

My bags contain two level 60 weapons, both entirely useless now, except I sometimes use one. There are also three level 70 trinkets, plus a boomerang and an Onyxia scale cloak, just in case.

Other people post useful information about paladins with cool names that reference the class. My blog speculates on unlikely future lore and the most useful information I have is that with the right trinkets you can tank without pants and still hit the defense cap. The name apparently confuses people.

I must interrupt this post to express my anger that Firefox thinks pantless isn't a word.

I'm still an engineer. I was a shockadin before the spec even existed. When all the shamans were tauren, I was a troll.

Now I must go figure out how to improve my goblin rep. Somehow I am honored with Ratchet and hated with all the rest. Apparently good reputations don't travel as far as I'd hope.

Azeroth is on the verge of unimaginable chaos

Look around; there are powerful beings and forces all around. They are also in conflict. If you've seen Tales of the Past, the big danger was Arthas vs. Kil'jaeden destroying Azeroth. We're ready for something even bigger. Let's see who we can get into this apocalyptic battle.

Arthas and the Scourge: The undead are pretty obviously opposed to everyone else. While they were once the tool of the Burning Legion, Ner'zhul broke free and is definitely not letting himself be recaptured.

Burning Legion: They want to kill everything. This isn't complex.

Old Gods: I honestly am not sure what they ultimately desire. In the short term they seem to like chaos and corrupting lesser beings. Over the longer term they clearly want to get free of their prisons. It was indicated in War of the Ancients that they have some interest in taking over the Burning Legion, though I got the impression that it was for conquest rather than destruction.

Titans: They like order and will beat the crap out of anyone disorderly.

Dragons: They're supposed to be guarding Azeroth in the absence of the Titans, but lately they seem to have developed an interest in killing all of us.

Mortals: We're not interesting in dying and will beat the crap out of anyone that gets in our way. Internal divisions would seem to make us weak, but they also keep us ready and as we've seen from the various alliances we can unite when something bad enough comes along. Recently we're busy fighting each other, but I imagine the Garrosh and Varian might get the same treatment as Proudmoore.

So how is this all going to go down, who is going to hate who, and who could possibly form an alliance?

Scourge: Not the Legion. Not the dragons. I doubt the Titans would look favorably on the Plague. But what about the Old Gods? Having surrounded himself with Saronite (old god blood), Arthas may be feeling their influence and might be a bit more accepting of help against an outside enemy. Also call me crazy, but working with the mortal races does not strike me as entirely out of him imagination. In some strange way I think the Lich King may be simply trying to build up an army to be ready for the Legion.

Burning Legion: They want the Scourge back under their control. The dragons and Titans are their biggest enemies though, with even Deathwing ready to fight them, though for his own reasons. They might attempt to work with the Old Gods. The mortal races? I already stated our opposition to dying.

Titans: I'm afraid of them. How will they react to Azeroth being filled with beings who have been pretty severely infected with the Curse of Flesh?

Dragons: They keep deciding to kill mortals with the exception of Alexstrasza and maybe Ysera. But... I predict that Ysera is being corrupted even now and before long will be trying to kill us. Alexstrasza will take longer, but how long before she decides that the only counter to death is undeath?

Mortals: We like to fight, but once someone takes care of Varian I'm sure we'll be able to work together long enough to not all die. Then we'll go back to fighting. But there are always those who hunger for power at the expense of others...

How much can classes change anymore?

| Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Try to think of a totally new resource system for your class. Maybe it's shamans using a mojo system* or paladins using something like DKs. Think it's likely? I doubt it. The problem isn't with Blizzard having no new ideas (DKs have a pretty new system) or with refusal to improve (they've radically changed a lot, but still within bounds). Ultimately the problem is with existing players.

How would you react if one day your class functioned differently? Imagine warriors using mana-type mechanics or mages with energy. Many people would be delighted. But I imagine many more would be angry at their class being changed so much without any reference points for conversion (such as now I think of str as the new SP for prot). The majority would probably just be confused. What happens to rotations? Do we use the same stats? What is this oddly colored bar?

A few times I've suggested converting holy paladins to using ret gear: strength and crit for the most part with haste, hit, and ArP as secondary stats. This is actually what triggered this post, my attempt to respond to Rohan's latest post about sheathe of light. In response to responses some ideas bounced around my head: hit increasing intellect, ArP increasing the effectiveness of healing, varying with armor: the idea being that paladin heals can somehow use not just your own gear to gain power, but also use the target's armor like a giant antennae, and somehow ArP would help with this.

Then it got me thinking, what if intellect wasn't an issue? What if paladins didn't use mana, but instead something else? Imagine a system like rogues with attacks using energy and generating combo points which are then spent on special abilities, in this case heals, like the Ace's High drakes. There would be a lot of trouble. People haven't just learned the mana system for paladins, it may be part of the mechanic of why they play and enjoy them. For example, my inability to manage energy is why I barely play rogues, so converting paladins to that system might make me reroll. Could an innovative new system, intended to bring new life to an old class, actually destroy it?

We've seen a lot of changes over the years, but I don't think any changed how a class works. Stat values vary, but ultimately we're using about the same stats. Even in the case of paladins, everyone is still using SP, they just don't directly stack it on gear. Bringing this back to my suggestions to move holy to ret gear, they seem plausible, but anything more, any true mechanics changes, would likely never happen.

The current classes are already defined and to change them would potentially be very unpopular. This means that we're going to see more ideas come from Blizzard, new ways to attack and heal and defend with new ways to manage resources, whether they are cooldowns, mana, energy, rage, runes, or something entirely new; but unless we reroll, we're not likely to directly benefit. If that sounds pessimistic, look at the bright side: any new class is going to be filled with amazingness, just as DKs are, except hopefully with better balance.

* The mojo system, or something of a similar trollish name, was suggested years ago on the shaman forums. The general idea was a spectrum of mojo: good and bad, with heals moving your mojo towards good and damage towards bad. If you get too far, you can no longer cast spells of that type, so you are forced to mix damage and healing. I thought it was a pretty cool hybrid idea. RIP hybrids.

Why do I need naxx gear for heroics?

| Sunday, March 15, 2009
I did a slow, but steady Naxx 10 PUG this afternoon and managed to win Repelling Charge. This is perfect for my heroic set. Why do I need it? Well...

Now I can hit the raid defense cap while not wearing pants. I can also hit the heroic cap while using TF and also not wearing pants.

So next time you see someone indirectly claim that you need raid gear for heroics, accept that they are right and they're just trying to do it with style.

I have internet arguments IRL

However they are purely for ironic purposes. Well, there were exceptions. I occasionally run into extremely stupid and/or stubborn people. Since internet arguments are characterized mostly by their extreme stupidity and inability to ever be resolved, I classify these arguments with stupid people in the Internet Argument IRL category.

Text is not very good for irony though. Guild chat, is text. So it's pretty clearly that guild chat is a poor place for irony except between individuals who would know each other well enough to decipher said irony.

Where was I? Oh yes. The forums are full of whining. Sometimes it is whining of such silliness that my brain hurts. Fortunately this whining tends to stay on the forums, except for during the occasional argument with my friend who has no concept of balance. How can I tell? Well he disagrees with me. What more objective measure can you possibly find? Now where did my point go?

Yes, so, forum arguments and whining, very stupid. They do not belong in guild chat. Guild chat is for socializing and advice and organizing groups. It is not for comments about Blizzard dumbing down an already easy game. It is especially not the place for saying "there dumbing down..." and failing to see the irony. I should do a word count on that: irony. Maybe I should check a dictionary as well since it's one of those words that I think we all forgot the meaning of. Eh, it's a blog, it's supposed to be fast and real and totally inaccurate; like Fox News except without a schedule.

As you probably guessed I had a terrible experience today with someone whining in guild chat. My reaction was similar to how I'd react on the forums, or IRL. Or anywhere, such as Imagination Land where I argue regularly with caricatures of people I dislike and then settle all our differences with hot cocoa and snowball fights. Unfortunately it happens in that order to we just end up sick from all the sugar and exercise and also very cold. This is why we get grumpy and argue so much.

Anyway, something about the patch download starting already, maybe that was supposed to mean that it's almost done. I didn't quite understand. By the end I said something like "for someone who complains about dumbing down, you don't make much sense." He called me a dipshit, ignored me, logged for a few minutes, and people told us to stop. I took a couple tries to suppress my need to respond and explain my position, since they were clearly lacking in the proper perspective: mine.

Sometimes I think getting gkicked might not be so bad. I mean sure I'd miss the raids, that I miss anyway. And I'd miss the groups that never form anyway because I prefer to go to LFG first and avoid complications with things like someone wanting to go, but only if someone else is going, and next thing I'm wondering if someone is offended because I didn't invite them just because they're also specced for tanking. How could I go without a certain female guildy constantly flaunting her girliness with disgustingly forced childish affection? What would I do not having a guild tag over my head, forcing me to hold my tongue when desiring to respond to idiots?

On the subject, why does Blizzard insist on blanket application of obscenity rules? Life would be much easier if I could use appropriately effective words for describing those who attempt to ruin my time in game.

I suppose there's a thrill to getting gkicked. It's a shock, like a bucket of cold water. It's not too pleasant, but as far as game experiences go, it's one of the most... oh what's the word? Real? Making-you-feel-it-y? Green text scrolls, scrolls, scrolls, and then there's that little message and then stop. Everything just goes still and you go "hm, well now what?" Being guildless can be a bit liberating, like your third "three strikes" violation: you're going away forever anyway, so you might as well make it worth it. It feels weird though running into former guildies. Then you start wondering, do they remember me, do they care, were they around when I got kicked? It's a bit like one of those friends that you somehow just drift away from without really being separated (I don't mean like someone moving away) and then you see them in a hall and wonder if you nod or wave or in any way acknowledge them as someone you know, or are they just another person to avoid running into, yet another obstacle to movement down the hall?

Hm. So yes. Don't whine about patch notes in gchat. Most of us have different professions, play different classes, we might not even be the same level or running the same content. In other words, we don't really care. I mean sure, some people care in the sense that they care about you as a guildy, but the specific issue? Half the people probably haven't seen the notes and wouldn't notice if you weren't babbling about it, which is and ironic accusation considering the wandering of this post.

Raiding Sunday through Tuesday, I'll try to be on, let's see if I get in. Why must Thaddius only drop the defense trinket in regular?

Portal and Steam

| Thursday, March 12, 2009
I meant to go to bed about two hours ago, perhaps that is the simplest way to state it.

Steam is just plain cool. I don't know why, but I like it. I'm the type that hates extra software that pretends to be convenient, but Steam seems to work.

Portal is pretty fun. I like it a lot. As you can tell by my failure to go to sleep when I intended. I tried the demo and then decided to but it. Since it was only $10 more, I bought the Orange Box, perhaps I'll comment on the other games in a few days. Unfortunately there seems to be a problem with voice files not playing which didn't happen in the demo. I think I'm being cheated out of half the game without GlaDoS telling me terrible things.

I opened up the console and it's filled with errors, particularly with failing to load .wav files. When it doubt, reinstall.

It's working just fine now. Maybe there was a problem with the pre-downloading missing a few files.

Legendary scaling

| Tuesday, March 10, 2009
This came from a forum thread.

While scaling legendaries would work to my advantage, I think it would be counter-productive.

I personally saw that people were burnt out on MC. I had a hard time getting fun runs and ultimately learned to solo the bosses (though both bindings dropped while I was in groups). If MC became a requirement, even just in the sense of being an alternate progression path, I can see a lot of people feeling forced into it. While I think MC is still fun, most people seem to disagree and I think it would be terrible to 'force' people into it again.

Scaling would tend to dilute the legendary-ness of legendaries. They would become far more common and would be little more than another piece of gear to collect. As they are now they are rare and for the most part, useless except for appearances. As strange as it sounds, uselessness is one of the most special things in this game where people are so quick to jump on the easiest, best gear as soon as they can.

Forcing people into old content and turning legendaries into another piece of gear to farm would be terrible. It is unfortunate that people rarely do the old raids, but it's difficult to add incentives for old raids without create a sense of them being mandatory.

I wrote the previous part of this a couple hours ago. Since then I've warmed a bit to the idea. However the balance issues remain. If it scaled like an heirloom item then it would be outdated anyway, since heirloom items are slightly worse than equivalent blues. The scaling could be bumped up, but then it's starting to give gear rewards just for leveling up while the heirloom items are intended to make leveling easier rather than make leveling a replacement for instances and quests in terms of gear acquisition.

I thought of other scaling methods. One was to make them 10-15 ilevels behind the current BiS. However this means that they would get stronger just because a new raid came out and that makes no sense. They could scale with anticipated BiS for the expansion and then be further behind, but this would mean making them exceptionally powerful early on, and then Blizzard would be forced into a set gear range or else the weapon would end up either too powerful or too weak compared to the original intent.

Finally I settled on scaling with a current chosen weapon. This would use an idea I've seen floating around the forums: stat copying. Take a current weapon and map its stats onto the legendary, replacing current stats with the exception of any strange abilities such as the TF proc, Sulfuras proc, Atiesh on-use (and group buff), or the set bonus on warglaives (though they're not really legendary). This would allow players to use pre-existingg legendaries without gimping stats without giving the perception that legendaries are a requirement. The legendary itself would be effectively an aesthetic item rather than another stat carrot to chase.

Unfortunately that idea would probably be very hard to implement. While I'd love to see it, in the grand scheme of things its probably not worth the effort to implement.

My goal is to find a middle ground. I would like to see legendaries still used. However I don't want to see people forced into doing MC again. By stats I think legendaries should not be special, it should be by the way they are acquired (damn you, warglaives), appearance, and the special effects on them which cannot be found elsewhere. Perhaps the biggest split I have with people is that they think that legendary means eternally best in slight while I think they should be eternally cool and perhaps useful, but not at the expense of new gear.

I suppose I should apologize for the many posts about legendary stuff recently. I probably sound like I'm bragging. I assure you, only two of the posts are for bragging purposes (okay fine, that's still two too many). The rest are just ideas that came up because I was playing with my TF and thought of them. Or this one which was inspired by the forums as sometimes happens.

[edit: added sometime later, I don't know what time this site uses]

My latest thought would be to imitate gemming. Add a weapon socket to legendaries which would fit anything of that weapon size or below: so a 2h can fit anything, a 1h can only fit other 1h weapons; so no putting a betrayer of humanity in TF. Rather than complex stat copying, just let me stick my Red Sword of Courage into my Thunderfury and gain the stats, with the exception of weapon DPS which it would disable and replace. This would cause the socketed legendary to have slightly higher stats than the socket weapon (ooh, watch out of my extra agility and resistances!), but I think that is almost insignificant.

Dual specs and loot

| Monday, March 9, 2009
I'm going to work off the assumption that "mainspec before offspec" will remain. The thing to change is how we define main and off.

This may vary with the server or individual, so please keep in mind that this is just my own experience. However for purposes of being better than everyone else, I will assume that my experience is the right one and everyone else is doing it wrong.

What is a main spec?
In a PUG, it is the spec you came as, with the exception of respeccing specifically for the run.
In an organized group, either with a guild or friends, it is your most common spec. It may be a spec that defines your character.

What is an off spec?
Anything other than the main spec.

I propose that a new spec type will come to exist: secondary spec.
Main spec will remain the most common spec, a sort of RP-based identity, what you are most comfortable playing or that your guild expects you to play.
The secondary spec will be the alternate spec. You'll play it and you can become it in five seconds, but it's not your main. It will be a middle ground between the current main and off; closer to main, but not quite.
Offspec will be the third (or fourth, fifth, sixth... hybrids need decimal specs). It is not something that you can easily switch to, having the cost you see now when respeccing, but it will be more unusual than it is now since 5 second and free will be the new standard for role-switching.

Secondary specs may eliminate the current exception on mainspec before offspec: respeccing for the group. Now people are unlikely to fully respec and so it's hard to really say to outsiders what is main. I think PUG loot is going to start going by current spec without "I respecced for you, let me roll like my main spec."

In guilds, main specs will go first, then secondary, then offspec. If I am prot/holy and you're prot/ret, I win on holy gear, you win on ret, we are equal on prot.

New BG: CoT: BRM

| Friday, March 6, 2009
Acronym land!
New battleground: Caverns of Time: Blackrock Mountain.

For those of you who weren't around for vanilla WoW or were on a PvE server and might not have noticed: Blackrock Mountain was a natural PvP area. Until the release of Ahn'Qiraj, there were only two 40-man raids: Molten Core and Blackwing Lair. Both were reached through Blackrock Mountain. There was also a level 55+ instance which people ran frequently to get FR gear for those raids: Blackrock Depths. Finally there was Blackrock Spire, which was effectively two instance: Upper and Lower, both 58-60. The general idea is that two raids and three of 6 or so end-game instances were all in once place.

The result is that everything from 5 mans heading to BRD, 10 mans for LBRS, 15s for UBRS, or even 40s for the raids, are all going through a single area. Even better, they were effectively channeled to a single spot within the mountain, a rock that connects to a chain: up is BWL and BRS, down is BRD and MC. It was not unusual to see constant fighting, ranging from 8 people to 80. Or more.

Like I said, natural PvP. I don't think Blizzard tried to do this. It was too perfect to be intentional.

Bring it back, in a battleground. The idea is originally by Iapetes, but he was talking to me and I'm the person with rose-colored glasses, so I stole it.

The general idea is that each side starts at a doorway and then rushes for the raids. Then they try to capture them as you would a tower in EotS. The new part is that capturing a raid and holding it for a certain amount of time gives stat boosts, reflecting the increased gear. However it can't just be a zerg to the best spots. If you only have low gear, you will take longer to capture an instance. The idea is that initial fights would be over BRD, but the loser might jump to LBRS/UBRS and try to get a leg up. After that it's a huge fight over MC. Again, the loser can retaliate because even after getting MC, the winner will still need UBRS and, should they happen to lose BRD, they will more easily lose MC. The idea is to mimic the old progression and to also add some complex strategy.

Oh yea, and don't forget the risks of dueling on a narrow chain down to BRD and MC. If you're brave, try the lava. Priests, welcome to the glory days of mind control.

You can get any raid or instance at any time, but there are buffs to speed it up.
BRD speeds up MC caps.
BRS speeds up BWL caps.
All of them give gear which will give its own small increase to capping speed but is most useful for the fighting. The higher the instance, the faster the gear comes in the order of BRD < BRS < MC < BWL.
Just as holding an area speeds up caps, not holding it speeds up losses (duh) but also slows the gear gain from the higher area. So don't think you're going to grab BWL and MC and live it easy, not having BRD and BRS will prove to be your undoing.

If this is too complex, just run around killing people, it's what most people do in the other BGs anyway.

Thunderfury AoE mitigation

Obviously Thunderfury is an avoidance loss over a newer tanking weapon, however I see some potential for it as a mitigation weapon. The proc can be triggered by hammer of the righteous, hitting secondary targets. This means that the attack speed debuff can be on multiple targets at a time, even without switching targets.

I suppose it would be possible to theorycraft this. Compare the avoidance and block loss to the proc chance, the chance that it will hit a new target, and the anit-haste (which has the added benefit of causing HS charges to not get burned through so fast). Unfortunately this is a bit beyond my abilities. Maybe I can finally get recount and make it work properly and do some comparisons.

Or I'll forget and just keep using TF for style points. On that subject, why are people so obsessed with stats that they'll freak out over a weird item here or there? Sure TF is inferior to a new tanking weapon, but is it enough to make a difference? It's like they say: "Good tanking comes from happy tanks, and happy tanks have toys."

Prince Thunderaan

| Tuesday, March 3, 2009
I killed him and took his stuff.

I would like to thank the former members of Word of Redemption for joining me in MC over a year ago. That day Garr dropped the first binding I'd ever seen and the raid told me to take it.

I'd like to say rude things to the idiots that left because they claimed the guild was on an old world kick or something like that. Obviously one person starting a raid on a non-raid night is the same as guild direction.

Bank alts of Zul'jin, thank you for your contributions, including holding onto ore for three years in one case.

To anyone that was mad that they didn't get to be there, I'm sorry. I'd expected some amount of enthusiasm and found almost none. I wasn't in the mood for filling gchat with advertisements, especially not after I would try old world raids and get people arguing about it being a waste of time. After that it's hard to go looking for people.

I have a video of it, though it will need some editing to shorten it. I spent a bit of time near the end just maintaining health as best I could while waiting for a friend to get back online since I thought he might want to see the achievement. Eventually I had to finish off the last 500 health or die. I wasn't eager to see what happens if I die on him, such as the chain bugging out.

Maybe there's something to learn from this. Maybe orange text is somehow corrupting and makes people do mean things without realizing it. Maybe I'd have been better off never seeing that binding drop last winter.

Today's PvE

| Sunday, March 1, 2009
CoT achievement
Amazingly I found a CoT group that wasn't doing a timed run. So I ran with them for Zombiefest. The trick to it was to run normally until the second boss. Drag him into the inn and then wait for the zombies to all respawn. Kill him. When Arthas arrives, carry on as normal until the gauntlet and then stop. The tank then runs around the start area to round up every zombie, taking care to not kill them. Run back to the gauntlet and pull a few more zombies, 10-20 should be enough. AoE them all down and there you go.

Well, I did it wrong. I completely outran the zombies and pulled too much of the gauntlet. I'd been very clear about doing nothing, not even healing, until I said. So, I was dying. I yelled for heals, and got the, just in tome for the 85 zombies at the start to arrive. It's best to let them catch up a bit before pulling the gauntlet rather than having them show up 15 seconds late and beat the crap out of your healer before you can react. But I lived and despite thinking I'd failed my group, we got the achievement.

OS 10

Skill karma caught up with me and just as my mistakes killed my healer, so did the OS 10 PUG kill me. Apparently no one knew the drakes, so we wiped. Also despite having two warriors in the group, one prot one DPS, meaning battle shout > untalented BoM, the shaman kept demanding might. We tried to explain that BS was better. He said they stack. After a bit of people spamming to give him might I threatened to stab the RL: "I will put sharp things in you" and he said not to give him (meaning the resto druid RL) might. I was too confused to be annoyed. Then the spoils and bag were mislooted (someone got spoils instead of the bag). I walked out with T7 gloves (made them into holy),my first OS 10 kill, and my first time tanking either mode.

I was feeling ambitious and was still hated with the Brood of Nozdormu, so I did what any sensible person would do: went and did a raid that isn't two (three?) years old and instead did something worthwhile. Sorry, I mean I started a AQ40 PUG. It all went very well until Twin Emps. We skipped the optional bosses due to frost shock being our only frost spell and me forgetting that the bug trio exists (I later learned that I cannot solo them).

I tanked the left side, doing both caster and melee since we had very few tanks. The other side was supposed to be filled by a warrior and warlock. Unfortunately the warlock didn't know how to tank the caster, which in retrospect was probably because I never really told him. Oops. A few wipes ensued, many involving rogues spamming fan of knives into the scarabs (after I said no AoEs) and eventually a rupture (after I said no DoTs) causing major melee tanking problems (port->beeline to other side). Eventually they died after I had a DK tanking caster on the left with me tanking both on the right, though halfway in I had to send the fury warrior to go tank caster left because the DK couldn't get aggro. Yay dead things. I'll skip to the fun part...

C'thun's room: someone runs in, it chains to most of the raid, mostly wiping us.

Hunter feigns. Okay all good now? I pop SS. He sends in his pet to "finish it off." I die again. Due to not knowing about the sneaky dragons near the first boss, I run all the way back, having everyone else stay put so they don't get lost. We wipe again due to total fail involving eye beams. Then another time. I remember that it's bugged and shoots out the back as well. We start advertising for the last boss and get zerged with players. We go in with 20 people and down him in only a couple minutes, including the start of phase two doing raid-wise probably double-digit DPS. I then was blinded by the sight of 20 people getting the AQ40 achievement at the same time.

Unrelated News

In unrelated news I found another ore on the AH for 400g, so I'm at 5/10 ore. Trade chat turned up very little except someone that tried to charge 1000g each and then said I'd go no ore when I pointed out the two on the AH for 500g. I did eventually find someone who claimed to have a friend with a ton of ore for 500g each. I'll probably settle for that if my next BWL run isn't a finisher (5 ore in one run is pretty unlikely). Within a week I may be waving a legendary around and getting yelled at by guildies for wearing the wrong gear, because it will be paired with a few pieces of judgement, a force reactive disk, and a crown of destruction. But it's okay! I'll still be well-geared in my mind. Poor, poor healers...

On the subject of gold, I finally got back into the economy, selling off probably 1000g worth of various mats. Then someone traded all my titansteel for mats and 25g (each, 13 total), so that will keep me occupied for two weeks. Maybe this is why I'm so willing to drop 2500g for a pretty toy. I suppose that's cheaper than my mechano-hog.

I'm not sure what changed over the past few days, but WoW just seems to be fun again. Perhaps it's just luck that people are doing the kind of stuff I like: old raids and silly achievements.
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