Bitterness, Take 2

23 07 2009

I saw this post on MMO-Champion yesterday and to be honest it made me die a little inside. As you may know, the Glory of the Ulduar Raider (normal and heroic) reward Proto Drakes are not going the way of their predecessors come 3.2. While I don’t like it when Blizzard flipflops around on their policies, I have to support this change. I posted about a different kind of bitterness earlier, about the mount changes, and this is a pretty similar thing, except, in my opinion, for less reasonable reasons.

The bitterness over the Proto Drakes comes from people wanting their special item to be rare, whereas the hubbub over mounts and epic flying came from how much gold one had to spend on the stuff. Personally, when I see a fancy mount that I want, generally it’s because I think it’s prettier than my current mount and also adds some variety to what flying mount I want to use. How many other people have the mount rarely comes into play when I decide to work on a mount. I want the Glory of the Ulduar Raider achievement because it’s a symbol of mine and my guild’s hard work, not because very few others have it. I wish people would suck it up and not be so damn silly.

My progress in the meta-achievement

My progress in the meta-achievement





When You’re Not Raiding…

9 07 2009

Right now, I like raiding. Trying out a new spec has been fun and challenging, and I have to say I get great pleasure in topping the DPS charts. Unfortunately, when it’s not raid time, and my Argent Tournament dailies are finished for the day, I really don’t have anything I want to accomplish in WoW. I can level my Warrior alt (lvl 47 at the moment), but when I get alts to 80 they simply sit in Dalaran doing nothing. I don’t need gold – I’ve got around 13k and nothing really to do with it – or mats for gear. I have two PvE specs at the moment (Frost and Blood DPS) so attempting to do PvP means swapping glyphs and talent specs a whole lot more than I want to.

So now I find myself browsing WoW-related sites, blogs and forums in my free time rather than playing. Blogging helps a great deal, giving me a WoW-outlet when I’m not raiding. But aside from this, there are few solutions I can think of to make me want to play more. I could apply to a guild that raids more often, but that’s always a ton of work and I would dearly miss the great people in my current guild. I could simply give up playing outside of raids.

That guy who only shows up for raids...is he really there?

That guy who only shows up for raids...is he really there?

What worries me about this feeling I’ve been having is not just that the current content (excluding raids) is unsatisfying, but that I don’t know what content could be added to heighten my enjoyment of the non-raid aspects of WoW.  What does the new patch have? More dailies, things to buy from Champion’s Seals, a new raid and a new 5-man. I look forward to the new raid/instance content, but the rest of it is trivial. I’m not a collector of pets, mounts, or tabards. Flavour items don’t interest me much. So it’s not so much that the patch notes for 3.2 disappoint me because they lack things I would enjoy, but rather that I really have no idea what Blizzard could implement to make non-raid content appealing.

I wonder if I am simply bored of WoW (or the whole MMORPG thing in general) and will soon quit, or if there’s something out there that could re-pique my interest.





The Vague and the Theorycrafted

5 07 2009

Since the new Frost-DW talent (Threat of Thassarian) was announced a few weeks ago, people at Elitist Jerks have been furiously hitting dummies and calculators (see this thread) to figure out exactly what the mechanics of the new talent are. I have the utmost respect for these people, but I can’t help feeling like the job of finding these things out is completely avoidable. Since Ghostcrawler revealed the details of how Armor Penetration, the game’s most complex stat, works, why not do this for other stats, mechanics or talents?

1+1= window?

1+1= window?

The main purpose of the EJ thread I linked earlier in this post is to determine what affects and what does not affect the damage of various DW abilities, such as Frost Strike and white damage. One example of this is whether sigils like Sigil of the Vengeful Heart and Sigil of Awareness apply their bonuses equally to main-hand and off-hand strike damage or with different numbers for each  weapon. There are numerous other mechanics being tested, some answered, some not. Once we know the mechanics and the math, we can then begin to delve into the actual game and mess with talent specs, gear and stat optimization and rotations.

So my question is this: does Blizzard want us (or at least those skilled in math) to have to jump the mechanics/numbers hurdle in order to play the game the best we possibly can? For a while now, EJ has provided readers and posters with math behind what talents/stats/gear are good and which are bad, and that’s not going away. But I fail to see the use in leaving these mechanics (such as those involved in Threat of Thassarian) vague, thus making people do exhaustive research on questions that Blizzard already no doubt has the answers to. If they gave us the math, we could get to the game faster and more easily.





Some News, Some Thoughts

30 06 2009

Option to change factions in the works (source)

Some may herald this as the downfall of WoW (as with so many other things, like the mount changes) but to me it’s another way for a) Blizzard to make money, since the transfer will probably cost 25$ and b) to make the playing experience more customisable and fun. It also basically doubles any given guild’s recruiting pool. Not only can you recruit horde from your own server, but it gives you far more transfer options. Maybe you’ll be able to combine server/faction switches, for ease of guild swaps. Wild speculation aside, this change falls in line with other things we never thought we’d see like PvE to PvP transfers and dual specs. I look forward to more changes along these lines.

New Wintergrasp gear, the emblem change and the “ease of getting gear” dilemma

MMO-Champion recently reported new items being added to Wintergrasp (see the new items here), stuff that is either ilvl 232 or 226. While I’m not surprised at this (it happened with 3.1 as well) there has been a significant lack of whining on my radar about this addition compared to the conquest emblems dropping everywhere. First, the two changes are connected. If you have a choice between running Wintergrasp, BGs and fail-arenas for points and getting ilvl 213-226 gear and running heroics to get ilvl 200 gear, well, which one would you choose to gear up to raid the fastest? My guess is PvP.

The change that makes all heroics and entry-level raids drop Emblems of Conquest is intended (I believe) to make sure people still run that content. It’s never Blizzard’s intention to have old content completely abandoned, especially for fresh 80s, so a change was necessary to incentivize people into doing that content.

The change to the emblem system also has the effect of making t8.5 and ilvl 226 gear available from running heroics. Some are bothered by this, feeling like it’s a kind of undeserved handout. Personally, I have everything I want from Emblems of Conquest on my main (and have for a while, so much so that I bought Emblems of Heroism with them) so this change affects my DK very little if at all. I believe the situation to be similar for all other guilds who are progressing well into Ulduar. In the next patch, when this change occurs, these raiders will be doing the Crusaders’ Coliseum rather than raiding Ulduar anyways, and Emblems of Triumph will be the ones we want, not Conquest. So basically my alts get gear faster and easier, which is a plus in my books.

Raid lockout extension

Cool. Probably not necessary in the next patch (the new raid instance has what, 5 bosses?) but again it’s nice to have control over stuff like this, especially for guilds like mine who only raid 9 hours of 25-man a week.

Common token for all tier pieces

Sweet. AWESOME. I love this change. If you haven’t looked at the stats for the DK t9, I’ll tell you that the one piece with ArPen on it is the legs. All the other pieces are decently optimized, with one piece that has haste (unfortunately) and the rest a mix of crit, expertise and hit. Streamlining the way loot works in this manner also plays into Blizzard’s idea that picking your upgrades should be a thinking process, which means they don’t want us assuming that every single new item that drops is an upgrade. While this change is great, it’s a bit lackluster compared to the state of loot overall.

Things like relics and mail with spellpower are very class-specific. If you either are that class, or your raid has none of that class, it can be quite frustrating. I think it would be best to put niche-items like tanking guns into professions like Engineering and Blacksmithing or into the emblem loot system.  This (or a similar change) would mean less wasted loot overall as well as fewer rotting badges.





Death Knight: [Obscure and Irrelevant]Q & A[That We Already Knew]

25 06 2009

Welcome, welcome! As you may have been aware of, Blizzard has been releasing class Q&As, and most recently the Death Knight version appeared. If you haven’t seen the thread yet, take a look, then come back and read why I think it was a big waste of time/anticlimax. I’m going to go question by question, starting with #1. (I’ll re-post the question and summarize the answer.)

Note: Square brackets are my snarky comments.

Q: Where do death knights fit into the larger scope of things currently and where do you see them going from this point forward?

A: Death Knights have a unique resource mechanic [I hadn't noticed this. Thanks for informing me, Ghostcrawler!] Nerfing AoE damage [Unholy Blight] and defensive cooldowns [he failed to mention nerfing our armor and HP this time I guess?]

Okay, so question #1 is broad and essentially reiterates what we’ve already gleaned from the patch notes, which is a reoccurring theme in this Q&A. Let’s move on and hope there are more meaty questions farther in.

Q: What is it that makes them unique compared to all other classes?

A: Unique resource mechanic. [Where have we heard that before?] Death Knights don’t have a dedicated tree for tanking, PvP, etc. [Only DW, amirite?]

GC’s answer to this question basically told us what we already knew about the class from release. Things are not looking good.

Q: How do we feel about the current viability of dual-wielding? Are there plans to improve it or have it fit a specific role for the class?

A: Repeat of things already in the 3.2 patch notes. Blah blah Frost is the new DW. We don’t really care about 2h Frost anymore (nerfing it is not a “goal” but neither is keeping it alive a priority). Blood and Unholy DW specs apparently stopped working all of a sudden [there have been reports of its success in Ulduar from the EJ forum] because Frost got a DW talent.

So GC doesn’t care about 2h Frost. What was that about no significant changes in patch notes anymore? Not having to completely rethink the way I play every patch? Hm.

Q: Do we have plans for any changes or improvements to Dancing Rune Weapon?

A: Read the patch notes, guys. [Maybe they should have released this before the patch notes, and then I would have cared.]

Nothing to say about this. It’s a question we already knew the answer to.


Q: What are our current thoughts on the status of death knight tanks and do we have plans for further changes?

A: DK tanks are overpowered [I thought warriors were tanking everything, GC?] and are really the only good choice for tanking hard modes. Nerfs incoming that we also already knew about.

See commentary above. 3.2 patch notes > Q&A (far less expectation of actual helpful information).

Q: Are we satisfied with stats such as Armor Penetration, Haste, and Hit having very different values depending on which talent spec a death knight is using?

A: No different tier sets for different specs. Making ArPen work for more than just Blood.

In what possible way could this be accomplished? Armor mitigates physical damage, and ArPen removes some of this mitigation, thereby increasing physical damage dealt. This is great for Blood, which does lots of physical damage, but for Frost and Unholy, where 50-60% of total damage is allocated to either Frost or Shadow damage, this stat is basically a joke. Unless they plan to somehow make it affect magic damage for Frost Strike and Scourge Strike (which are melee abilities) or make them physical damage abilities (boring), I’m at a loss. This needs to be addressed because of how prevalent ArPen as a stat is and how undesirable it makes many pieces of gear (read: all Ulduar plate DPS bracers except the one from Mimiron-25 hard mode).

Q: Would it be possible to save runeforge enchants to primary and secondary talent specializations or add rune forges to more convenience places than Acherus?

A: Runeforges are already good, no changes incoming.

Who cares? Most people have two weapons, and even if you don’t you’ll only need to change specs to go into an instance (most of the time) at which point other members of your group can just summon you back from Acherus. This leads to another problem with the Q&A: issues that are so unimportant I’ve never heard anyone QQ about them seriously.

Q: Are there plans to change or improve the Frigid Deadplate talent?

A: No plans.

WTF? Who was complaining about Frigid Dreadplate? No Frost tank ever avoids this talent or complains that it’s worse than Anticipation (dodge > miss), which was apparently a concern for GC.


Q: Is there any plan to improve Will of the Necropolis?

A: No plans.

See above.

Q: Is this a bug or something in particular we are investigating? (Referring to how sometimes the combat log records Mind Freeze as having interrupted a spell and yet the spell goes off regardless.)

A: Server-client disagreement, server wins.

I think we knew this about WoW already. Sometimes you lag behind the server.

Q: Do we have plans to change any of the death knight’s self-healing abilities?

A: No plans.

Apparently people think we can survive too long without a healer. Lots of classes can survive without a healer, we just do it differently. Rogues Vanish, Mages Blink, Paladins Bubble, Warlocks have an escape mechanism… etc. Since DKs don’t really have an effective way of running away, we get the ability to heal ourselves. Seems fair, right?

Q: Would you consider adding a Mortal Strike-like ability to death knights in the future?

A: Probably not, no.

I wasn’t ever expecting a Mortal Strike effect, and I doubt any other DK was either.

Q: Will Chains of Ice ever be subject to diminishing returns?

A: No[t yet].

It’s a snare that we can cast twice every 10 seconds, or four times every 10 with Death Runes. If we do that, our damage is completely gimped since we’d only be left with the runes to cast Plague Strike.


Q: Will ghouls ever get their voices back?

A: Long-term plan to bring them back.

I don’t care. I’ve got other issues! The overriding problems with this Q&A:

  1. Questions often already answered by 3.2 patch notes
  2. Questions and answers were uninteresting/uninformative
  3. Questions didn’t address any of the important issues in any detail (ArPen, itemization, tanking, 2h Frost…)

I’m left wondering what the point of the Q&A series really is. My initial reaction upon reading the DK version was that it could act as sort of a primer to new DKs, but that went out the window with the whole “ghoul voice” thing among other questions clearly not directed at new Death Knights. Calling it a class Q&A raises the expectation that it will answer important and useful questions about the class, rather than simply provide a bunch of repetitive crap and some stuff no dedicated DK really cares about. Better luck next time.





3.1.3, or How Will I Tank With 20% Less Bonus Armour?

26 05 2009

So tonight the patch notes for 3.13 dropped onto the interwebs from wherever Blizzard keeps them. Here are the two important Death Knight-related changes:

Frost Presence: Armor bonus is now 60% down from 80%.

Death Knight PvP Gauntlets: The chance to refresh a Frost Rune when casting Chains of Ice has been removed. When equipped, these gloves now generate 5 additional runic power whenever Chains of Ice is used.

I may look angry but nerfs make me cry on the inside.

I may look angry but nerfs make me cry on the inside.

The armour nerf (owie)

I’m not sure where this came from, to be honest. I also don’t know if this is aimed at PvP or PvE. The main complaint about DK tanking seemed to always be about the ability to negate burst magic damage through IBF, Bone Shield and AMS. This nerf won’t do anything to change these strengths. If the nerf is PvP-related, I can see the reasoning behind it. Being able to gain a ridiculous amount of armor with no real loss of damage dealing is very strong against Rogues, Warriors, and other melee classes. I know that’s my strategy in arenas, anyways. So much of tank-damage is magical these days that I’m not sure this will have a game-breaking effect on PvE DK tanks, but I’ll have to see if I notice a difference when the patch hits.

Onoes my PvP gloves!

I saw this coming a mile away. Granted, I didn’t expect a glove bonus that I would be incredibly meh about, but such is life as a DK. Ghostcrawler has been responding to QQ posts on the forums saying things like “What if it [the problem] is the glove bonus” (Source)? Granted, the current incarnation of the glove bonus was probably too strong, and likely a result of Blizzard not really knowing what is OP and what isn’t for DKs. For another example of this, see the original t7.5 bonus (+10 RP on Obliterate, Death Strike and Scourge Strike) which turned out to be incredibly awesome. Then look at the t8.5 4-piece, which is pretty much trash and barely even worth considering, especially as Frost.

Although I am not enamored of the new glove bonus, I am wary of it becoming powerful. The nerf means we can’t cast CoI quite as much, but we’ll also be generating more runic power, an ability which can often get out of control. See again the t7.5 bonus. I don’t think this nerf will damage a DK’s ability to kite all that much, but it might force more strategic use of Death Runes. Rather than always using them on a Scourge Strike or whatever attack your spec uses, it might be better to save the runes for casting Chains.

A happy note

Since this post has otherwise been about nerfs, here is a change that may make you happy if you are a raider.

The flight time of Rocket Strikes has been increased, and Rocket Strikes will try to prefer players at range.

The Leviathan Mk II component of the V-07-TR-0N will become stunned during Phase 4 when the VX-001 component begins to cast the P3Wx2 Laser Barrage ability.

Proximity mines now deal less damage and have a lower duration. A small arming time has also been added so proximity mines will not immediately detonate on creation.

All extremely convenient (and not uber-nerfs) to the Mimiron encounter. I hated running back to the boss only to randomly get mines tossed into my path killing me before I could move. Stupid mechano-gnome and his Voltron powersuit thing.





Woops, It’s Really 3.1.2…

19 05 2009

When I posted a while back about “3.2″ Frost rotations, I forgot that this patch is not Icecrown, but in fact 3.1.2, a minor patch that went live today. If you haven’t heard, you can read about the changes over at MMO-Champion. Since I made the previous post, I have gotten a few new pieces of gear, notably replacing my t7.5 chest with the t8.5 piece. This means that I’ve broken my 4-piece t7 bonus and now, for tier pieces, am using the t7.5 boots, shoulders and legs, t8 hat, and t8.5 chest. The 2-piece bonuses are not the most exciting things in the world, but I wanted to start getting used to a new, IT-heavier rotation.

I thought I would miss the RP from Obliterates more than I do, but the current rotation that I use only has 2 Obliterates per rotation and replaces the RP gain with the use of Death Runes on IT (IT glyph provides the RP). For reference, here’s the priority system that I’m running (like I said earlier, I suck at sticking to a static rotation):

  1. Frost Fever
  2. Frost Strike (if Killing Machine or too close to RP cap or all runes on cooldown)
  3. Blood Plague
  4. HB (if AoE is required)
  5. Obliterate (with Frost/Unholy Runes, not Death)
  6. Blood Strike
  7. IT (Death Runes up)
  8. HB (Rime proc)

After going to a few raids (two nights of Mimiron, one on 10man one on 25), I’ve found that Unholy Presence (UP) makes it a lot easier to run this rotation. In most Ulduar fights, if using Blood Presence (BP), it’s basically impossible to use up all your GCDs with this spec. You generate too much RP with the combination of the IT glyph and soaking it through timely use of AMS. When I used BP with the HB rotation, I could never use up my RP fast enough when I popped AMS to absorb Flame Jets or what have you.

Incremental magic damage like Flame Jets, Frozen Blows and Heat Wave are so perfect for UP, while BP will just end up wasting the RP by getting capped before you can use it up. Since these spells will tick every second, you’ll be able to FS along with each tick of RP AMS gives you. The damage increase is quite nice. In addition, you get the 15% run speed that is invaluable, at least on fights like Mimiron where you are running all over the place. The benefit of run speed isn’t solely in being able to get out of the fire faster, but also in returning to melee range 15% faster.

That said, it takes some practice to get used to running in UP if you haven’t before. I’m a little unfamiliar with it because since 3.1 I’ve been using BP, but before that I used the ITx6 rotation with Death Rune Mastery to produce tons of RP. The idea is the same, but with this rotation you’re substituting DRM for Virulence and 2 ITs for an Obliterate. If you’re encountering significant downtime, especially in the first rotation, try popping Death and Decay + Horn of Winter right before you engage, or even asking a Resto Druid specced into Revitalize to toss you a Rejuv. As fights progress, you’ll often be moving in and out of things and absorbing enough RP with AMS to make Unholy Presence worth the loss of BP’s 15% damage boost.

If you absolutely hate DPSing in UP, try BP and look at how often your runes sit ready while you dump RP. Or remember the times when you were just on the edge of getting out of Shock Blast, and wished you were wearing Nitro Boosters on your feet. It might convince you to give UP a try.

In other words, RIP HB glyph rotation. I miss you.

Run away little girl! Haha, I didn't say Simon says. You lose.

Run away little girl! Haha, I didn't say Simon says. You lose.








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