Dear EH, please DIAF

| Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Dear tanks in PUGs,

I realize that heroics are serious business. Honestly for me they are, I've been to Naxx only once, for once boss and some trash. Where was I?

Oh yes, heroics are serious business. However if you're uncrittable, nothing (except maybe that damn dinosaur in DK) will hit so hard that your effective health is an issue. You will survive the next hit, and the next, and the next. I could not heal a decent tank for probably ten seconds, on a boss, before it was a serious issue.

What I'm trying to say is that gemming for stamina is not the greatest idea. Get some damn avoidance. I don't care if I can not heal you for 20 seconds, but then you need constant heals after that because you have 20% combined avoidance.

Avoidance is unreliable, but it averages out well over time. It reduces the heals you need. Get more avoidance!

A Formerly Holy Paladin

P.S. Okay fine, I'm almost never holy, but I enjoyed it for a while, until I got sick of tanks that needed way too much healing.

The Little Things

| Sunday, December 28, 2008
I really like how after Witnergrasp people don't all vanish. When a BG ends, it empties out in seconds. After capturing or defending, people tend to stick around for a few minutes to turn in quests, buy new loot, or start raids. Sometimes people celebrate a little. It makes it feel like we actually captured something. I suppose it helps that we do, at least for the next few hours.

Dalaran is compact, so it seems like a busy city. Shattrath was huge and the player population couldn't really fill it, so we ended up with tons of NPCs. Dalaran has no shouting Draenei.

NPCs fly in and out of Dalaran, again making it feel like a busy place, but without adding a ton of useless NPCs everywhere.

Holy shock lists friendly and enemy cast ranges.

I Hate Oculus

It's a cool place. I like the drake idea. It just doesn't work.

The last boss doesn't seem especially hard to me, but there's no way to compensate for noobs through either gear, CC, or picking up slack. This means that either everyone plays properly (good luck with a PUG) or you fail over and over until the trash repops and everyone leaves.

Maybe people can offer some advice and check if my general strategy makes sense.

Red: Tank. Keep up martyr, giving it favor on the GCD. Focus on whelps since the flame jumps and multiplies.
Green: Healer. Transfer health to the tank (red) and regen with the leeching poison.
Amber: DPS. Use the channeled spell to stack charged, then burn them. Use time stop during the enrage, indicated by the shout.

When orbs, come, everyone scatters and then when they're about to end, regroup on top of the boss so martyr can hit everyone again. Maybe a better method would be to have everyone follow the leader in a circle, but the general idea is that people avoid orbs and are close together when that phase ends.

Is there something else I should know? It just seems like Oculus means a slightly challenging run to the last boss, then an hour of wiping before the trash respawns.

In unrelated news, I get annoyed when I see tanks skip stamina bonuses to stack... stamina gems. It's a waste of a free stat just to gimp their avoidance in order to boost a single number.

Ever more unrelated, I'm really having fun figuring things out with my DK. Now it's looking like I should be using my converted blood->death runes as blood runes for Blood Strike rather than always using the converted runes for Scourge Strike. The damage per strike is lower, but it costs half as much and it ensures that the blood stay converted, so I always have free frost or unholy for refreshing diseases or corpse explosion.

Epic drops from Teldrassil

| Thursday, December 25, 2008
I hope everyone had a nice Christmas. Mine was fun. My brother and his wife gave me the War of Ancients trilogy. My parents gave me an ice cream maker. I suspect they are trying to kill me by tricking me into freezing myself to death. I received other presents as well, but I've decided that my present for you: people that pretend to read my posts; will be a post that can be read before you forget the point, and I can also write it before then.

If you're a Christian, congratulations on the arbitrary birthday of your Savior. If you're not, have a good day anyway. Why not join in the fun a bit?

If you hate the commercialization of Christmas, good for you. If you hate Santa, die in a fi... snow bank.

And on that happy, hateful note, Merry Christmas!

Apparently there's deflation

| Wednesday, December 24, 2008
There are more than a few people posting about this. For starters there the Greedy Goblin. He's clearly a heartless jerk and also wrong. There are others on Blessing of Kings, but this is my place to tell you what to think, so stop clicking links for a minute. Or ten. I'm wordy.

So deflation, why? I see two general causes: Less money and more products. I'll start with products.

BoE rares are dropping from the sky. The blues aren't half-bad and they're all over the place. I've even gotten a decent pair of pants from fishing. Also a set of utensils with no spoon. What happens when the supply goes up? The price goes down. Early on I imagine people expected BoEs to be about like they were in BC: somewhat rare and worth a bit of gold if you're not getting run through Kara. This would drive a high price early on, until people noticed the huge supply and prices dropped.

Gathered materials are more common. Why? It's because of how quest hubs are laid out. How many nodes did you hit doing the SSC dailies? Maybe two or three if you're lucky. How many nodes do you hit flying from Dalaran to Dun Niffelem (Sons of Hodir) to Dragonblight (Wyrmrest and Tuskarr) to Borean Tundra (Tuskarr and Wyrmrest) to Icecrown (Horde/Alliance, Argent Crusade, and Ebon Blade)? A lot more than two or three.

People realized that heroics are a joke and that there are a ton of miners. Initially people were just hitting 80 and heroics were still slightly intimidating. Now people run them like they're regulars. The result is a flood of frozen orbs. For miners, their titansteel cooldowns are worth something, but when there are so many competing for business, prices drop. If they don't sell the cooldown directly,t hey use it to convert their own mats. Either way, lots of miners made the arcanite of WotLK into a comparatively cheap material. Why so many miners? Mining has always been profitable, but gathering professions came at the cost of stats from crafted gear. Now gathering professions have innate bonuses, like additional health.

As far as gold goes, the supply went up, but the used supply went down. What? I'll use myself as an example. I made the engineering mount, handing 12.5k gold to a vendor. While getting gold for this I effectively had a 12.5k debt to pay off since I wasn't going to be buying anything except repairs until I had my mount. So while leveling filled my pockets, the mount emptied them far more. Comparing another gem to a mechano-hog, I went with the hog, and the result was a lot less money being moved around. Other people have similar 'debts' like the traveler's mammoth, or even the smaller ~1k gold mounts. This should not be treated the same as normal money sinks like repairs. Those come incrementally and do not give a perception of a massive cost to be saved up for. However something big creates a focus on the goal, and people will radically change their behavior when they accept a goal, including refusing to spend dozens or hundreds of gold on AH items.

Leveling also threw a ton of gold at people, which would have resulted in inflation, except that it allowed for more epic fliers (and the relatively cheap cold-weather flying) which lead to much faster farming. In this case, the leveling gold increased the supply of gold, but it also increased the supply of materials, so the result is no real change in prices. However there is always a price spike at the start of new content before people adjust to the shiny new items.

Getting back to the spread out dailies, being spread out like that discourages doing them. People don't do them and gain no gold and gather no mats, or they do do them and they bring in gold and mats. Either way, they're not going to push inflation much. Another discouragement is championing. Why run around trying to do the Argent Crusade timer when you can just throw on a tabard and get faster rep in a heroic? The major rep grinds, except for Sons of Hodir, can all be done inside instances. I'm counting the Tuskarr as minor since they don't offer much which I see as 'needed.' Besides, they give barely any gold anyway. Stingy bastards.

So, there's deflation. I've explained why. So what? Well, if you like making profits by contributing absolutely nothing, go play the market. Buy the cheap mats now with the gold you have and resell them when prices go up (new raids will push mat costs, though BoEs will probably just drop even more). Congratulations, you're a leech.

Death Knights: a class done right, except for tanking

| Tuesday, December 23, 2008
This post is not intended to compare DKs to paladins. That's overdone and usually pretty stupid. I instead want to compare DKs to every other class, and show that in some ways they are far better. It's not about class strength (I make no claims on balance or lack thereof), it's about how well the class works with itself.

I've heard runes compared to energy. Runes are far better than energy. They're flexible. Abilities have costs, but they aren't always at the cost of each other. Rogues almost work in opposition to themselves. You need combo points for finishers and to get those you need to use special attacks, but they all use the same energy source. The result is that to be able to use a finisher you have to burn the resource you use for that finisher. Sure it regenerates quickly, but it still feels counter-productive.

No class fits together as well as DKs. Their abilities complement each other. If a talent replaces a baseline ability, it truly replaces it, without ambiguity of one spell being better here and the other there and I guess I can find another hotkey somewhere... (I'm looking at you, seal of command) Did I just say they complement each other and then say they replace each other? Oops. Back to compliments: I am a fantastic person.

I play unholy, so this may be a spec-specific thing. Frost looked weird and Blood felt too much like a ret paladin. But some of this is general. The disease-strike combination works very well. It's almost like combo points, except not so limited. You can use strikes any time, they'll just be noticeably weaker and using a different strike isn't going to ruin the diseases you built up. What other class builds up like this? Oh sure, there are things like curse of shadows (elements? What is it these days?) or the old judgement of the crusader, but they're so simple that they feel less like a synergy and more like just an opener that does no damage.

Now there is a bit that may seem confusing. The diseases generally require frost or unholy runes. My biggest strike for unholy uses both and works off diseases. This is counter-productive, right? Sort of. I have a talent which converts my blood runes into death runes (universal runes) when I use a weaker strike. Every two times I use the weaker blood-based one, I convert enough runes to use my frost/unholy-based strike. The weaker one uses different runes, so it's able to be used while I'm waiting for frost and unholy runes to come up. It's actually a great combination, while my strongest ability is down, I can use a slightly weaker one at effectively no cost and it converts new runes needed for my strong attack.

I did not emphasize that the death runes work universally and can be used as unholy. What does this mean? It means more corpse explosions!

The rune conversion reminds me a bit of the old mojo system that someone suggested for shamans. You do one sort of activity in order to fuel another and they complement each other. In the case of shamans it was healing and damage each reducing the cost of the other. For unholy it is blood attacks increasing resources for frost/unholy attacks. It also works for additional blood attacks, but if you're only using blood runes for blood attacks, why bother with the talent? It's a flexible system and quite a bit of fun.

These get a heading because of TL;DR.
There doesn't seem to be a 'correct' spec, yet. This is great because it allows people to play what they want to play, how they want. There's only one way of being ret DPS or a prot tank. There's only one shadow tree and one rest tree (okay two, but you can only pick one). DPS classes have had this for a while, this variability of choice for how to play within the same role. But they obviously have had higher and lower trees. Some specs were for PvP and others for PvE. DKs don't appear to have this problem. You play what you want and it's the best spec you could have.

I'm sure part of this is ignorance. DKs are still new. Their resource system is very complex. There are not the clear specs of other classes which have been developed for four years and simply updated each patch. Maybe there is a best DPS spec and a best tanking spec. But, we don't know and I doubt we will for a while.

Spec freedom, truly choosing how to play, that is a great thing. No other class has that. Above the synergy and lore and cool animations, this is what makes the class work better than any other.

I don't like the feel of DK tanking very much. Hopefully this is due to inexperience and being only 63. It feels too much like when I'd tank as ret. I didn't feel like I had tank abilities, I just held aggro. DKs hold aggro. They have all sorts of activated mitigation, but I'm too used to warrior and more recently paladin activated abilities: you save them for really bad times. I constantly forget bone armor. I should be using icebound fortitude every other pull, maybe. I don't really know. The lack of a shield, or turning into a near, is what throws me off. I know that I have increased armor in frost presence. I know that I have increased health. I know that I parry more than normal. But still, where is my damn SHIELD!? Maybe I'll get used to it eventually, but in the meantime it feels weird to me.

I guess that's karma?

| Sunday, December 21, 2008
My crime:
My DK is in ramparts to get the quest done. The first boss dies and someone in the group says "that's mine" and tells us to give it to him. Now I'm normally the sort that let's people get stuff if it's not much of an upgrade to me. If he had said "mind if I need that?" I'd have definitely passed. But no, he didnb't say that. So, I needed. It was an upgrade, just not a major one. I won and he went apeshit, calling me all sorts of names, some more offensive than others. Supposedly he'd been running ramparts for a month for the sword. That didn't make much sense.

My punishment:
Heroic Azjol'Nerub.
I decided to try the achievement and mentioned it to the group. Now I can't remember the order, but near the pull, either directly before or after, I said to not kill the watchers. Then I said it some more during the fight since the mage was nuking a watcher down hard and kills it. We eventually reset it and I try to figure out what was wrong with the mage. He says I didn't say it ahead of time and he doesn't read chat during fights. So, I kicked him for being an idiot, both for not paying attention and for arguing when clearly I am right (isn't that a given?).

He pulls the watchers again and tries to wipe us. I had partially anticipated this and was out of combat and quickly ran away, so all that happened was a perfectly innocent group member got killed.

Right, the punishment. We get a new mage and killed the boss with little difficulty. We then wipe during the event for the next boss. He leaves for a guild run. But the punishment part...

We get another mage and kill the boss. In the process he barely does any damage due to being perpetually OOM. The warrior dies because he stood in a poison cloud. I did not see him even turn on auto-attack. The boss died and the stam trinket drops. As far as I know, this is the highest stam trinket in the game. Tank trinket, right? The mage rolls need, He doesn't ask before or even say anything until we call him out on it. Apparently it's a mage PvP trinket. I lost the roll, kicked him, called him something mean but not offensive, and then ignored him.

I set master looter for the last boss. The plate healing wrists dropped, which would have been a huge upgrade for me. Holy will probably be my second spec. I gave them to the holy paladin after asking to make sure he wanted them.

So, my paranoia is all set. I probably won't stop pugging, since my guild isn't exactly huge and constantly ready for heroics. But I will have ML on set to blue. It pisses me off that I'm doing that again. I just want to run instances and see what I can get, have some fun, not deal with inconsiderate noobs that can't see past their own screens to see that they aren't in a single-player game where they get to grab everything.

On a related subject, they need to fix mob movement. It's really messed up and it's getting people killed. During one of our failed attempts at the last boss he popped up, looked at me, and then, targeting no one, ran to the other side and pounded the warlock and holy paladin. We wiped. This isn't an isolated incident. Mobs in general have been moving strangely. When I tried heroic HoL, Loken took forever, partially because it was almost impossible to get him to stand in the right spot. So, he'd end up sometimes slightly too close or too far and in general I was distracted by the annoyance of fixing his location. Eventually he died, but it took longer than it should have because of that. Oh, and mobs are still chasing pets across the map, which almost got my DK killed today if not for a prot paladin that happened to wander by.

What can we solo?

Yesterday I found myself a bit short of gold due to my new mount. I was sick of dailies, since those were what paid for that elementium-plated exhaust pipe. So, I went soloing... in raids.

-My first stop was the easy one: panther boss in ZG. This was an easy fight at 70, with the only potential danger involving me forgetting to bring enough shields. Now it's even easier and much faster thanks to unlimited mana and controlled damage.
-Tiger was next, which failed because I got sick of killing one, maybe two axe throwers, and then dying due to a long chain-stun. Later I killed tiger with some guildies who I noticed farming for the mount and weren't saved yet.
-The fishing boss was a challenge, and also an achievement. Fitting with my random luck (yes, random luck, would you like any more redundancy? Perhaps a short gnome?), the turtle tome dropped. I tried 5000g (the deposit is about 50s, so it's worth trying), then noticed that the going rate is around 1500g. Oh well, it's still a lot.
-Broodlord was a challenge, a very fun one. It was also a slow fight, sustained with divine plea and based mostly on auto-attack and shield of the righteous. Both of those spells are really transformational for soloing, I could not have anticipated the power of them. He dropped nothing too great except a paladin token that I can't use yet because of rep.
-Spider was a joke. The adds are weak. The health drain that used to seem like such a problem (OMG ROGUES, KICK!) is cleansable. Her health isn't even all that high.
-Venoxis (snake, but for some reason I actually know his name) was very slow. First phase he heals. And heals. And heals. Eventually he went OOM and I was able to hit him into snake phase. Then it was a merry-go-round of getting out of poison clouds. He died much faster (thanks to enraged attack speed and no heals). Then I died from a poison cloud.

What failed?
-Bat did more damage than I could heal through due to the long fight. If I had a shorter interrupt cooldown I could solo her with only a bit of difficulty, but the long cooldown means that I would have to outlast her mana, which could take a very long time. I easily killed her with the help of a guild shaman and warlock.
-Tiger I already explained with axe throwers. Did I mention that the tiger cubs flee and the stun causes the throwers to run to ranged and aggro nearby groups?
-Hakkar I didn't even bother to try and my guildies weren't eager to help, I was lucky to even convince them to do bat.

Onward to Karazhan.
Pre-Attumen trash was easy, but drops very little gold or even expensive greys. Attumen was a bit tricky since he hits harder than I block and the stun hurts. However sacred shield is a huge help since this can absorb a surprising amount of damage. That's another spell that I did not anticipate being such a huge help for soloing. He failed to drop the mount or scope schematic (I saw it only once, lost it to a really low-skill engineer, got very pissed). Now that I know I can solo him, I will be going back.

Pre-Moroes trash might be worth farming. It's like 100 mobs which drop 30-70 silver and die very easily. I didn't bother to pull anything on the way to Opera/Maiden, but that also could be fairly profitable. Moroes himself was too much of a challenge. I gave him two tries, got to 30-40% before dying. This seems very possible with better gear since at a certain point I can eliminate just about everything except the garrote which SoL/JoL can probably heal through or at least buy enough time. Also better gear means adds dead sooner. In the future I might also leave the prot warrior alive to feed reckoning charges.

After that I headed to Onyxia. She was faster than at 70 when I was ret, but still seemed slow, I suppose because 25 minutes it a fairly long time. The whelps were an annoyance as ret, as prot they were a chance to use sanctuary for regen and more targets for HotR to trigger SoL. I really should remember to farm her regularly. 200g for half an hour, not including DEing the BoEs, isn't too bad, and it's sure more interesting than most farming.

I wonder what the full limits are for a level 80 paladin. I can easily solo Garr in MC. Baron seems possible as holy with FR gear; as prot I lack the regen since I still need to actually heal. Shazzrah doesn't sound too hard. I expect that Gehennas would be easy if not for the stun. With a ret spec that might be survivable due to the short stun break on BoF and the reduced duration from prot. The rest are all mysteries to me, except Magmadar who I got down maybe 20% before hearthing out. Easily duoable, but I'm not sure how much gear could help since so much damage is fire, but FR means lost avoidance so then physical hurts more.

I find a sort of excitement in finding strange ways to farm that take advantage of our unique combination of durability, AoE damage, and varying levels of healing. Why be like everyone else killing mobs for motes and the same daily over and over? A profitable challenge with some bragging rights attached, how can you possibly refuse that?

Paladins in a Time Machine

Every now and then I see a spell damage non-armor item, such as a ring with spell power and crit, and think, what would a paladin three years ago think of this? I remember Judgement being so awesome, and part of it was because of the spell damage (yes, I did just totally ignore that it is the best-looking set in the game). It gave some burst, helped with heals, and due to the DRs on stacking stats, it made sense to ave a tiny bit instead of strength (well, after hit and crit, which weren't present in large amounts, so I guess overall the spell damage ended up being weaker than hoped).

They'd be so giddy. Ooh, BoEs with lots of crit and hit and stamina and strength, intellect too! I can see the old-school paladins jumping all over each other for the stuff while current paladins stood there amazed. What, our heroes are being noobs?

It's funny how that has happened. You look at say hunters or rogues, and they're fairly consistent. Oh sure, relative values of AP, crit, and agility change, but overall, they still like crit, AP, and agi. Then look at paladins. Spirit was bad, but it was the only regen we had except for chain-potting (anyone remember Illegal Danish with the druid tier 0?). Now spirit is so amazingly bad that it's a convenient noob check. Spell damage used to be somewhat useful and now it's another noob check for ret and prot, partially because they both get it for free. It seems like shamans have that too, but only recently. It used to be that strength was a big stat for us because we got 2AP per str. Now it's only one, and agility gives one too, plues crit, dodge, and armor. We used to wear hunter gear because it was all we now, now it's the best we have.

Perhaps that's a way to measure change: how noobish people in the past would look today. Most DPS would be alright, just different stat balances, and of course confusion at the lack of weapon skill (Rogues: "but what about glancing blows!?") Shamans and paladins would look pretty dumb. Casters from way way back might look dumb since for a long while the philosophy was to focus on base stats, not spell damage. That's back when 23 spell damage was a 4-piece set bonus and often that was all you had besides maybe a dozen on a weapon. MC brought more spell power, but still people were badasses with 200.

Imagine everyone running around specced prot for PvP and ret for raiding, since kings was badass and you barely needed any points in holy anyway; paladin healing really meant cleanse spam. I still remember arguing in favor of whatever the holy talent was that increased judgement duration. Kinda funny now that holy has multiple decent judgement-affecting talents.


| Friday, December 19, 2008
I has one.

Ads on the WoW forums

| Thursday, December 18, 2008
They look really awful.

Fail Fleet Song

Some people have a fail boat. But that's not enough for me. To carry the fail of this bloke, you need an entire fleet.

Yarr thar goes my health bar, I went out of light of sight. But why not anticipate, I do this every fight.

They say pull two so I pull three. I show up PvPed. Fix my gear it's a parachute cloak, but then I'd fit a boat.

Started a captain, sailing the failing sea, worked my way up high. To be an admiral takes perseverance and inventive ways to wipe.

Death Knight and more

I think my death knight may be finished. It's not the class or spec. Unholy has been fun. I really like corpse explosion. It fills me with a joy that I've not felt since I first AoE tanked SH and watched the pop pop pop of seed of corruption.

The problem is Outland. I'm sick of it. I want to punch Hellfire Peninsula in the face. Or better, kick it, because I'm not very good at punching. If I could at least get to Nagrand or try some instances it might be okay. I'll probably push my way up through the levels eventually, but I don't anticipate a quick process. Once we have Wintergrasp back I'll get the heirloom shoulders. Those will help my warrior and DK, so the investment isn't too bad. Besides, what else would I spend the tokens on?

Recently I got an answer to my question: "What happens if two people are grouped up and in different phases?" It turns out they can't see each other. This made for an interesting challenge when trying to guide a friend to a quest mob in Icecrown. This also explains why Icecrown felt so empty, lots of the people were in other phases. I wonder how this affects mobs and skinning. For mining I've actually run into nodes being mined by someone else. At first I thought it was just lag, but repeated "already in use" and nodes with a single tap on them seem like pretty convincing evidence.

Championing hasn't turned out like I expected. I thought it would be a flexible way to gain rep with whoever I wanted. I was wrong. See, I didn't think it through fully. I never thought of all the times I did an instance and got no rep because I was already exalted. I didn't realize the speed of rep gain caused by concentrating the gains, instead of three instances going to three factions, or maybe none, instead three instances go to one faction. Rep overall might also be slightly buffed, since I seem to be getting 1.5-2k per heroic, which feels high. I will be surprised if championing doesn't turn out to be one of the biggest and best changes in WotLK, though obviously beaten by phasing.

Back to my DK and unholy, I finally see the point of Reaping: More unholy runes mean more corpse explosions. This maybe be the second greatest talent ever, second only to corpse explosion.

My Death Knight and more

I think my death knight may be finished. It's not the class or spec. Unholy has been fun. I really like corpse explosion. It fills me with a joy that I've not felt since I first AoE tanked SH and watched the pop pop pop of seed of corruption.

The problem is Outland. I'm sick of it. I want to punch Hellfire Peninsula in the face. Or better, kick it, because I'm not very good at punching. If I could at least get to Nagrand or try some instances it might be okay. I'll probably push my way up through the levels eventually, but I don't anticipate a quick process. Once we have Wintergrasp back I'll get the heirloom shoulders. Those will help my warrior and DK, so the investment isn't too bad. Besides, what else would I spend the tokens on?

Recently I got an answer to my question: "What happens if two people are grouped up and in different phases?" It turns out they can't see each other. This made for an interesting challenge when trying to guide a friend to a quest mob in Icecrown. This also explains why Icecrown felt so empty, lots of the people were in other phases. I wonder how this affects mobs and skinning. For mining I've actually run into nodes being mined by someone else. At first I thought it was just lag, but repeated "already in use" and nodes with a single tap on them seem like pretty convincing evidence.

Championing hasn't turned out like I expected. I thought it would be a flexible way to gain rep with whoever I wanted. I was wrong. See, I didn't think it through fully. I never thought of all the times I did an instance and got no rep because I was already exalted. I didn't realize the speed of rep gain caused by concentrating the gains, instead of three instances going to three factions, or maybe none, instead three instances go to one faction. Rep overall might also be slightly buffed, since I seem to be getting 1.5-2k per heroic, which feels high. I will be surprised if championing doesn't turn out to be one of the biggest and best changes in WotLK, though obviously beaten by phasing.

Back to my DK and unholy, I finally see the point of Reaping: More unholy runes mean more corpse explosions. This maybe be the second greatest talent ever, second only to corpse explosion.

What is a casual?

| Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Apparently people actually did read this. Wow. Now I have to make a new post for my death knight. Jerks.

This was triggered by a recent post by Coriel:
Not mocking casuals is listed as a requirement for an ideal guild. Based on the heading I said "well great, I'm all for that." Then I read more and the example was a paladin with spirit gems. That's not a casual. That's someone that lacks basic understanding of their class.

So what is a casual?

So far I've seen many ways of rating people on the casual-hardcore continuum.
Time played, either per day or week or longest time at once. Whatever it is, a hardcore would play a lot.
Skill/Progression: Highest raid completed, highest arena rating. A hardcore would be higher.
Posting on the forums is for hardcores, even if they claim to be casual.
Game knowledge: casuals don't know anything while hardcores know everything.
Priorities: casuals play WoW for fun when they have some spare time while hardcores play WoW for everything (including, but not limited to: fun, ego, social interaction). This ties into the time played a bit.

None of these really work for me. For one, I don't fit any of them properly. In the past I played constantly, 8-12 hours a day, probably more on weekends, every day. And yet, I was wiping on Razorgore, low-ranked in PvP (under the old system which mostly rewarded time and connections), and generally ignorant of everything. I didn't fit the previously mentioned measures for casual or hardcore.

Now I still don't fit. I play less, in the past few weeks a lot less. I played pretty much every day, but sometimes it was just to do the cooking daily and maybe smelt titansteel. Before that I played more, but my schedule did not fit my guild, so I didn't raid much at all and didn't really care. However I think I knew a lot more and was not only better geared than in the past, but also more intelligently geared, a difference which I hope you understand.

Ideally we'd just not label people. What does it accomplish? Not much. But we do label people and make assumptions based off those labels, so at the least we can use more accurate labels.

Let's go back and look at the measurements.
Time: At first glance this seems obvious, more = hardcore-er. But what about someone with nothing else to do? A better measure might be a percentage of free time wich could be used for non-WoW activities. If you have one hour of free time a day and it's always used for WoW, the absolute time is low, but the relative time is 100%. Expanding it, taking away non-free time is even more hardcore, or probably just irresponsible since I am counting things like a minimum amount of sleep and work/school. Taking time away from important things is hardcore, but also stupid.

Skill: Worthless as a measure. A person can be good without being hardcore, or can be bad without being casual. See: me a couple years ago. Hardcore and bad. Practice helps, but that's a matter of time and should be measured as time, not skill.

Forums: Crappy measure too.

Game knowledge: This is a weak measure. It does take some amount of effort to learn details like uncrushable (RIP) or uncrittable (540 for raids, 535 heroics), but it's not a huge amount. Or it could even just be learned by someone telling you or asking for advice, no need to run over to Elitist Jerks for info. However I'd say that deep theorycrafting is somewhat hardcore, unless you're just a very bored math geek. Finally, there are some very hardcore people that know nothing.

Priorities: This seems pretty good. Don't ask how important is WoW, but how important is it relative to other things. Is work/school more important? I'd hope so. Family interaction? Ideally none of these are totally neglected for WoW, but obviously there are some tradeoffs. If givena choice between hanging out with friends and playing WoW, wich do you pick? WoW would be hardcore, friends would be casual, however I'd like to add that taking a bit of time from either isn't hardcore or casual since it's understandable to not want to hang out every night or raid every night (though if you did, that would be a bump on the hardcore measure).

There aren't really good definitions for casual and hardcore. Time helps, but may be just a measure of the rest of life, not the importance of WoW. Game knowledge is a little (tiny tiny tiny) bit hardcore, but it's a weak measure. Priorities seem to come out on top. What and how much will you give up for WoW? How much of your self-worth and mood are affected by in-game events; I mean things like losing 10 straight games in arena, not social things like difficulty in an online relationship.

Labels suck.

Of the Day's Annoyances

That Jabba the Hutt still lives. Oh, sorry, wrong universe.

Heroic Oculus: The whelps at the start are a pain to tank. They're spread out casters with no useful LoS. I have to start the pull by running around whacking them to get aggro. It's dumb.

I want to be able to kick people from heroics and have them OUT. Warlocks should not be rolling against resto druids for mana/5 trinkets.

I want dual-specs already. In fact, I want specs equal to the number of class roles plus one. Warlocks, magi, rogues, and hunters get two. Warriors, DKs, and shamans get three. Paladins and druids get four. This way everyone can fill their PvE roles and have a PvP spec. Also I want a free respec when this happens because my prot spec is messed up.

Give an option to disable DK emotes. I dislike the male belf laugh. It's even worse as a death knight.

Make druids be cool again. I used to like them. They were fun people. Now I despise them. I blame arenas and flight form not acting like a mount. It's ridiculous that druids can hit PvP objectives without dismounting and flee at the slightest sign of trouble.

Fix the judgement bug. Increase the durations too.

Let me use SotR while silenced.

Remove the cast time on LoH. I mean fix the server lag.

It all makes sense now

| Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Arena requirements on honor gear confused me for so long. But now, now it has all come together.

Arenas are for noobs. Yep, that's it. Arenas are for noobs and battlegrounds are for the real badasses.

Follow this.

You want to raid Naxx. Or go back in time and do MC or Karazhan. What do you need? Those quest greens aren't going to cut it. Instances. You need regular 5-man instances, maybe some heroics. These are clearly intended to be the noob places where people gear up for the serious business of raiding and the associated gear.

So what are arenas? They're the noob places where you get points and ratings so you can go to BGs and get the real stuff: honor for honor gear.

Or my logic is completely flawed and arena ratings on honor gear actually make no sense at all.

On the plus side, my new death knight is pretty fun. I tried blood and didn't like it. It felt like it worked against itself with stealing runes from other types, but then needing those runes. Frost just doesn't make sense to me. Unholy just looks awesome.

Overall it feels like some sort of rogue-warlock mix, which is mixed for me since I don't like the rogue style much, but I love warlocks. Onward to Outland...

War with the Titans? [Possible Spoilers]

| Friday, December 12, 2008
It seems possible that if the Titans return, they might feel included to start killing us all. Why?

Well first off there's the Curse of the Flesh. At the least it appears that dwarves and definitely gnomes are corruptions from the Old Gods. Reversing the curse could be fatal. Or we'd fight against it, triggering a war. However I must admit to not fully understanding this. It appears that Loken and his minions are waging a war against the squishies (us) and are trying to convert the gnomes back into mechanical beings. However he's been corrupted by an Old God, and it's the Old Gods which created the curse in the first place. Maybe I misread the lore or I'm making a false assumption somewhere.

Humans may also be a part of this corruption. From quests that I've not done, but heard about, it seems that they may be deformed Vrykul. Again, this is a problem possibly caused by the old god whose name I can't spell but whose blood I make into arrows.

Elves? Trolls? They seem linked to each other, with trolls being first. So what are the origins of the trolls? Based on their extremely savage nature and tendency to summon big and evil things (Hakkar) or just do generally destructive things (killing their own gods), they may be in some way linked to the Old Gods.

The presence of Draenei and Orcs might not sit so well. Let's be honest: they're aliens.

Moving on, let's try to step back from our perspectives. The dragonflights are here to protect Azeroth, to maintain it. We have repeatedly gotten into fights with them. The black dragons are the obvious one. Despite their leader being insane and evil due to corruption by the Old Gods, the Titans might not see things so much in our favor. Then there are stories of heard of killing Malygos, the leader of the Blue flight. That's a big no no. Throw into the mix the many lesser minions of the dragonflights we've killed. Oh, and I have an important green dragon's essence in my bank.

On the other hand though, maybe the Titans will see our value. Despite the corruption, we are the ones fighting back the Old Gods. We are maintaining balance far better than might be expected. Sure we brought the Legion, but we also beat them off. Repeatedly. We're hardly perfect, but for a lot of untrained, cursed beings, we've done a decent job. Compare proto-drakes and dragons. Could that be the next step for the sentient races? I wonder if the mages of Dalaran would replace the Blue flight. Perhaps shamans could take over for the negligent Black flight.

I suppose we'll see as more content comes. Or it never happens and two years from now we invade upside-down Azeroth and we're all back in Karazhan.

People who don't get it

| Thursday, December 11, 2008
It's about 1am here. I have two finals tomorrow. All of finals week quiet hours are 12-8.

The person in the next room over was playing some poppish 90s music. Loudly. And singing along. Badly.

So I put on a shirt and ask him to quiet down. He says he'll put on headphones. Fine, that works.

He's still singing. Badly.

I'd go over there again, but I hate being the person always asking people to lower music. Also his room smells amazingly bad and when he opens his door it makes me want to throw up.

I had my first time in new Naxx today. My guild needed a tank, so I hopped in for Loatheb and was the off-tank, and unnecessary. I'd have stayed for the death knight wing at least, but my friend needed help with a presentation. So I watched season 2 of Red vs. Blue with him and from that he derived all the needed inspiration to talk about artistic creativity and cognition with regards to a painting machine/computer (robot?).

I might not go ret any time soon. Prot and holy might be my specs, since it's so easy to get groups and prot is okay at soloing, at least it's not holy.

Beacon of Light Ruined Holy

| Tuesday, December 9, 2008
It all made sense.

Paladins were not AoE healers. They were single-target healers. More specifically they make a /cast [target=nameoftank] Flash of Light macro and then poke that button for a few hours. It was amazingly boring. It was amazingly bad at anything else. It was amazing like a terrible movie that you somehow can't stop watching.

Then Blizzard ruined it all.

Paladins are sort of AoE healers. But they are still single-target healers. I blame Beacon of Light. It made everything backwards. Now the best way to heal is to heal everyone except the tank.

What's next, they turn into a melee spec and heal through melee attacks? Will they punch people to life? If you're confused on the concept, watch episode 15 of Red vs. Blue for a demonstration of the proper technique and effectiveness.

Nerf paladins

| Sunday, December 7, 2008
See the address name of this blog? Troll shaman. That's the original WoW me. I've not seriously played said shaman in at least a year. This is the shaman that I lost after my original account was locked. No questions. I remade it. Everything, almost, was the same. I think the hair ended up slightly different. Also I leveled better. But the intention was the recreation of what I lost.

I lost my shaman again, to something called a paladin.

What happened? The current answer would involve flexibility and the joys of tanking. I can do anything. Tanking, DPS, healing. My shaman can't tank. DPS are a dime a dozen. I find healing stressful or boring, with very little middle ground. In other words my shaman is either unwanted by me or by groups. My paladin is always wanted.

Tanking, it is a joy that cannot be described. They call sheep CC, crowd control. Ha. I am crowd control. I go into a crowd and I control it. No silly AoE or heartbeat resists will interfere. I control my group. I decide if they live. Oh, you think the healer does? Let me introduce you to a joy specific to paladins: bubble-hearthing. Oh, I rarely do it, but the knowledge is there: I can cause their deaths with no reciprocation. Or they can do it to themselves. Ever seen what happens to a clothy that pulls and I suddenly become a pacifist? Never again will you see such death and violence caused by pacifism.

So, my paladin killed my shaman. I want to play my shaman again, but he's crap. Nerf paladins, save the shaman.

Battle for Dalaran?

| Saturday, December 6, 2008
On the general forum it was pointed out that Dalaran has a grey tower. This is the same symbol used for towers in EPL and the Bone Wastes. Does this mean that Dalaran could be a potential capturable city?

Probably not. It's probably just a way to mark the location of the city and it is grey because that is neutral. But... what if it could be captured?

I can see it now.

Epic battles in the streets. Mages and warlocks from both sides throwing spells at each other from the tops of the towers. A rogue sneaks up and pushes one off. The city itself shakes from the noise.

It looks to be almost even. Then the Horde gains a slight advantage. But no, it was only a trap. The Alliance manages to capture the tower through which the levitating magic of the city is controlled. Now they effectively control the city since they can also selectively levitate anything within it. Once they figure it out, they can start throwing the entire Horde army over the edge and remove all competition.

In the confusion a lone male runs forward to guide the city/fortress. He grabs the controls and...

There is a flash. A roar. A crash. Screaming fills the air, then goes silent. Only a few moaning voices remain.

Old hatreds are forgotten as all races work together to pull each other from the rubble.

Then there is an uproar. A draenei woman shouts at her husband: "What have I told you about flying? DON'T TOUCH ANYTHING!"

Prot PvP

| Friday, December 5, 2008

Okay, you can stop laughing now.

So how is prot doing in PvP? Well, like any class/spec, it depends on who you fight.
So far I've found that I tear apart melee, even more than before.
Casters are not so good. I can't effectively interrupt or reflect, but I do have a decent bit of health, so I can survive some damage. It's an uphill (cliff) battle, but I can still hurt them a decent amount.

So what changed? What are these great new spells that saved the day?

Instant Avenger's Shield is a big help. It's a ranged attack, something which paladins lack. It's a snare, another thing we lack. The damage isn't amazing, but I've seen over 2k on crits, so it's not insignificant. All in all, it's pretty powerful. Unfortunately the mana cost is pretty high.

Shield of the Righteous makes a defensive stat, block value, into a quickly scaling offensive stat. It's also very cheap, less than 200 mana without benediction. The result is an attack that scales well (I want to come back to this), ignores armor, is inexpensive, and has only a 6 second cooldown. Attacks range from 1.3k to 4k, depending on various buffs, but no, there was no berserking or wings involved.

Hammer of the Righteous is another attack which is on a short cooldown and is fairly cheap, though not quite as cheap as SotR. This works nicely because it triggers both seals and judgements, rapidly stacking corruption or healing a bit with SoL. Also it hits three people, which is nice when you end up in a pile of melee.

Blessing of Sanctuary makes for some pretty decent regen against melee. Previously mana was a terrible problem for prot. It's still tough, but it's nowhere near as awful as before. Also 3% less damage is nice to have.

Surprise: People just do not expect someone who is practically invulnerable to melee to start throwing around 2-3k damage per crit.

In terms of successes and failures: I've torn apart a few melee, rogues, warriors, ret, death knights, no enhancement yet. Or, they tore themselves apart and I helped out with a couple smashes with my shield. I had very little luck against a moonkin, though it was likely that he had tenacity and was more powerful than normal. I somehow managed to kill an elemental shaman tonight, though I think that said more about him than me or protection. It would have gone better in my favor if not for some well-timed lag spikes.

Overall prot PvP is pretty much a win-lose, either you slaughter the melee or the casters slaughter you, but the caster-prot gap seems smaller than the melee-prot gap, so overall we might actually be decent. This clearly does not apply much to arenas where there's little incentive to not just let us wander around hitting people, taking the place of someone else with interrupts or MS or more damage. The addition of new attacks makes it feel a lot more controlled, like you're not at the mercy of the RNG and your enemy being nice enough to hit you so you can hit them back. Shield of the Righteous is just plain fun.

Getting back to the scaling on SotR, I wonder if it might scale with strength better than Crusader Strike. That would be strange, to say the least.
2 str = 1 BV = 1 damage
2 str = 4 AP = .286 DPS which at 3.5 normalization is 1 damage
So... there we go, Shield of the Righteous scales with strength as well as Crusader Strike, before considering other talents. I guess it should be easy to throw on the various multipliers, if I could remember if they add or multiply with each other and if shield spec is working with strength yet. Either way, it's pretty strange to think that a tanking talent scales for DPS as fast as a DPS talent.
Oh wait, SotR ignores armor, so that would push it over. Except I managed to forget that CS is 110%, not 100%. Either way, the scaling is similar to be surprising. I won't complain too much, this means that prot aggro will scale very well with DPS increases.
Powered by Blogger.