My guild is a very friendly, casual guild with a longer history and has had great success in previous tiers of raiding. We got hit hard by the end of expansion blues. Several of our more active players and officers took extended breaks, a few players quit wow, others had some real life issues take them out of raiding for a span. Several months ago, raiding almost completely stopped. We went from a 25 man guild progressing dutifully through ICC to not having the online members to fill a 10m ICC. At this point, we had downed 8/12 bosses in Icecrown in 25m and I believe our 10m group was 11/12. We were often tied or close for 3rd horde progression on our server. Admittedly, not a power-house server, but we were making progress. Even as we were doing fine, set to continue, the series of personal burn-outs and real life priorities reduced us to 1 of 6 active officers.
I didn’t too much max level content last night with the exception of a couple of weekly quests for some Justice points. I do have some thoughts relating to that, but I’ll get to it at the end of this post.
Lowbies are OP
You read that right. Low level characters are crazy over powered right now. I’m going to extend this to all the ones I played with or encountered last night; warlocks, priests, warriors, rogues, shaman, and especially paladins. On my warlock I queued up with a priest healer friend of mine and we tore up 7-8 instances last night. As healer, the priest was completely bored the entire time for lack of anything to do. All the runs were fast paced chain pulls and he barely had to drop an occasional bubble or renew. As a lock, I could pull ahead of the tank and eat the aggro without worry because most mobs would die before they ever got to me. Keep in mind, we’re not overgeared, twinked or even using heirloom gear. At level 22 we have only 1 ring each, no trinkets, no shoulders, no head-piece, and I’m using a melee dagger cause I’ve gotten nothing better from our chain runs. I do 100 dps at level 20 in destro. My immolate DoT can crit for 150+ and the initial damage has hit for 250. I’ve seen over 300 damage hits from my Searing Pain spell (which I can make automatic crits with my soul shards ability).
So Define ‘Overpowered’
One of our runs had a pally tank in full heirloom gear. I say tank because of the role but he was running in ret gear/spec. At level 20 he was averaging between 200-250dps. His Templars verdict ability that uses his holy power never hit for under 700. I saw it hit over 1100, almost one shot an elite mob and easily enough to one shot anyone in the group. I think being able to do 50-100% of a potential PVP enemy’s health in one move is overpowered. Of course, the priest with me could do 50% of our best geared tanks health in one crit. The relatively geared rogues in our groups between levels 16-18 were already doing 100 dps and could do finishers for 250+, or half of their health. Each instance, be the characters geared in heirlooms or mixed questing greens, was a mad chain pull with no deaths or wipes or breaks needed. We plain destroyed the content. Admittedly, it’s possible that every player in all the groups were total pro’s with 8 alts they’ve run through the content before, but that seems unlikely. More likely, is with the new level 10 talents and bonuses for picking a spec, lowbies are just OP compared to level appropriate content.
Outside of the instances, a level 1o shaman wearing heirloom gear that dueled me could do half of my level 18 health in 2 globals. Fortunately I didn’t lose, but a level 10 who can do 175 damage earth shocks is pretty intense.
Maybe it isn’t just low levels
Last night I joined a random group to do the weekly quest which was XT-002 The Deconstructor. This of course required us to do the vehicle boss fight vs Flame Leviathan. FL, as it has been for months, was terribly easy even with half of the players hardly doing anything. My issue comes up on our fight with XT. For those who don’t know the fight, there is periodically a phase where his “heart” is exposed and if you kill the heart during its timer, hardmode is triggered. Here we have a group that had enough gear to easily kill the heart, a feat which was considered a gear check at the time it was relevant because of the high dps required to do it, yet lacked the skill or experience to know they shouldn’t kill the heart. With gear inflation and boosts from talent points and scaling recently we’re able to hit harder and do more damage than our skill would otherwise represent. After the group killed the heart, even with at least one dps (myself) stopping and possibly another, the hardmode easily bested us as only two people there had any idea what the mechanics were at that point. Sounds like a case of “with great power comes great responsibility”. The characters are more powerful than the players know how to handle or when to slow down.
I know I mentioned yesterday about getting more into warrior or DK dps but, I didn’t play my DK at all (other than doing the Headless Horseman Daily) and didn’t really learn anything new about the warrior. Actually, I did learn I should watch my threat on my warrior now that he has decent gear, because dying sucks.
What I did want to talk about today is Retribution Paladins and how awesomesauce they are right now. Yesterday was my first time taking ret into a raid since the big patch. With 2 slight upgrades (251 to 264 boots and back) and the changes from 4.0.1, my ret pally went from ~9k dps on Toravon 25m in VOA to 11.5k dps on the same fight. We actually wiped once on him because a tank and heal went offline, though it gave me a chance to see a neat little comparison of my own dps. The first attempt I was using Seal of Righteousness because I forgot to turn it off after trash. This is the seal designed to be slightly bursty and hit multiple targets with the seal of command talent. I was a little under 9k dps using that seal. At first, I didn’t notice the wrong seal since my damage was comparable to the raiding damage I was used to doing.
After the first wipe and during the replacement of the offline players and ragequitters, I used my proper Seal of Truth. Truth, much like the former Seal of Corruption, leaves a stacking dot on the target which also increases the damage of your judgement. Checking recount after the second attempt and kill, Censure (the name of the Dot damage) was responsible for about 15% of my damage. This should give you an idea of how important it will be to maintain 100% uptime of this DoT. On single target, low movement fights it shouldn’t be an issue. In fights like Marrowgar where he moves away from you or in rotface that could require you to take a slime to the off tank, you should be very aware and keep the debuff up if at all possible.
The other important changes are too our cooldowns. Avenging Wrath (as I mentioned in my Top 5 New Paladin Talents post) now allows hammer of wrath to be used outside of the normal enemy < 20% health rule. This means, outside of tank threat issues, you open up boss fights with wings and your rotation changes to HoW usage on CD. Our new cooldown timing is a point of contention so far for ret paladins. Zealotry can be used when you have 3 holy power and for its duration makes each Crusader Strike grant 3 holy power instead of 1. Rotation during Zealotry should be Crusader Strike > Templar’s Verdict > CS > TV and so on til the buff wears off. The issue comes with the normal standard of stacking cooldowns. Using AW and Zealotry at the same time would mean buffed CS and TV along with the HoW, but you’ll be doing less of everything during that time. If you follow the CS > TV rotation during Zealotry, you’ll miss precious extra HoW hits, though if you do HoW on cool down like you should, you wont get as many CS > TV combinations off during the time.
I haven’t seen enough data into this to say definitively which is the right way to go. Personally, I open with AW and have a rotation something like HoW > CS > Judge > HoW > CS > TV > HoW, depending on Holy Power generation. HoW on cooldown, only delaying it if I have a Mastery proc for TV or full HP for TV. Immediately after my AW buff ends, I use Zealotry and am able to maintain very high DPS for the duration of both of my big cooldowns. On Toravon I was only able to use Zealotry once this way while getting 2 Avenging Wrath off. During a slightly longer fight I’d probably be able to get two of each even with this method.
Fury v. Frost – Sounds like an epic boxing match about to begin. As it isn’t a boxing match, it is probably unclear why I’d go out of my way to compare to unrelated specs on two different classes. Well, those specs are all I really had time to play yesterday so that’s what I’m going to talk about today.
I’m two-handed fury. None of these little rogue / insta-dead enh shaman one hander things for me. I’m a fury warrior; a raging beast dual wielding two small trucks, excited to bash just about anything. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry. My fury warrior is my freshest 80. He’s decently geared at this point through mainly heroics and one lucky ICC-10. He’s wielding Ramaladni’s Blade of Culling from ICC 10 and the Edge of Ruin from the ToC 5 man heroic. The rest of his gear is pretty representative of those. A mix between ilevel200 and ilevel264 pieces. He’s only partially enchanted and gemmed with mostly rare quality gems. In heroics, I do an easy 7-8k dps on trash pulls and single target bosses with cooldowns. With the right string of crits, i’ve neared 9.5k dps single target in a heroic. The rotation is mostly button mashing, then button mash whatever is flashing. Raging Blow during enrage > Slam when it procs > Bloodthirst > HS when at high rage. I’m not amazing at prioritizing my rotation so mines mostly faceroll. AoE packs are even easier, cleave > whatever > cleave. It’s fun, its easy. I do want to learn a little more about what I should be doing for a tighter rotation and stat preferences for gems so, read along with me:
Looks like people aren’t completely sure about stat weights and such. Ej doesn’t have anything definitive currently. Hit/Exp caps are a must though.
My death knight is a burly risen dead orc soldier. He brandishes a two-handed weapon and controls deaths icy powers. The new rune system adds a bit more downtime during a DK’s rotation than the global cooldown mashing fest that was in place before 4.0.1, at least for non dual-wielders. To compensate for this, blizzard made everything hit really hard. My main attacks in heroics – frost strike, obliterate, and howling blast – all crit for 13k+ regularly. The DK is using Tyrannical Beheader out of heroic Pit of Saron, he has 4 piece tier 10, and almost completely ilvl 251/264 gear in total. He has all the best enchants and gems. Frosts big hits of howling blast lead me to an easy 8k+ dps on trash pulls but I’m only sitting around 5-6k dps on single target boss fights. I can only assume that my rotation is sloppy, though Frosts rotation and needs are a bit more intensive than a Fury warrior. Frost must lay down both diseases on the target, use Obliterate as often as possible and during the 100% crit procs, Festering Strike to refresh diseases (they really need 100% uptime), frost strike to bleed off all that runic power, and blood strikes to use the blood runes that you’ll otherwise be wasting. Doing festering strike too often is a dps loss as it doesn’t hit as hard as your other strikes. Using FS not often enough causes diseases to fall off, wasting runes and cooldowns to reapply them. It’s a pretty fun spec with some procs to watch for and an interesting rotation, now I just need to get my stuff in order. Lets check out some resources for this and maybe I can find out why my lesser geared warrior does more single target than frost dk.
Both EJ and WoW Insider seem to agree that I could use more haste on my two-handed frost DK. I’ll try reforging that in the next couple days. The EJ link is a GREAT resource for rotation, gemming, glyphs, etc. Hopefully I can tone that DK up a bit and get his damage on par with his gear.
Fury Warriors and Frost Death Knights are both very fun and dynamic specs leaning on procs for best dps. Fury is a bit easier to do well, but if you want a more challenging spec to play and have (or might level) one of these two-handed weapon monsters, Frost might be your best bet.
Take a moment and notice the subject. There isn’t a Lake Tahoe in Warcraft to my knowledge. There is, on the other hand, one on the border of California and Nevada. “Why,” you might be wondering, “is the subject about something not in WoW on a WoW blog?” The answer is simple: Because I felt like it. A more specific answer is that I was in Tahoe all weekend and didn’t really get much WoW in, playing, AH, blogging or otherwise. Thus, not much new WoW to update about.
After getting back this afternoon I’ve worked on gearing up my warrior. I got him his ilvl 264 back piece from Justice Points and his wrathful boots for Honor points. I’m not really doing PVP on him but 264 boots of any physical dps type is much better than the blue he was wearing. And I must say, I’m really, really tired of these WotLK Heroics. I absolutely cannot wait until we get new ones in Cataclysm.
Should have a real post up tomorrow. Probably some more about the Warrior.
With such a host of changes in the 4.0.1 patch, a lot of little things can get missed as we talk about larger or more specific issues. Here’s a few of my thoughts that I think I’ve missed in previous articles so far.
- AoE – Blizzards design goals for the future of WoW is to limit the mass AoE pull fun-fest that Wrath has become. Most of their relevent changes reflect this. Paladin’s Divine Storm needs 3 stacks of HP before it does much damage, even then doing less per target that before, making it only very useful in large pulls. Hunters have lost their EZmode AoE trick – volley. Now multi-shot hits all targets but at much lower DPS (aside from maybe a SV hunter with key talents/glyphs). Warriors cleave and whirlwind now have a stacking buff that increases their damage done the more you use it, to the point that cleave is comparable single target damage to heroic strike even. Wait? How does that fit into the design goal? On my poorly gear warrior alt, cleaves can hit multiple targets for upwards of 13k each. Whirlwind is hitting about as hard as DS when both are buffed to 3 stacks, yet after WW gets its buff, its at full power til the trash is dead. So why is other AoE getting nerfed, while warriors AoE got buffed and most other classes (casters particularly) stayed the same.
- Damage Balance – Most people will have noticed by now, even with the damage pass that nerfed caster dps and buffed melee dps, caster dps is ridiculous. I watched a warrior with almost 1k resilience get hit for 36k by some mage. Admittedly, I’m sure the mage was geared, but there’s no good reason for a mage one shotting a warrior in almost all pvp gear. At equal gear levels nearly all casters are doing 25%+ dps of their melee counter parts. There is a decent change that this wont get really addressed until cataclysm.
- Tanks – Where are they? People just don’t want to tank anymore. While trying to form a 10m group for the weekly quest last night our group, and at least 5 other groups in trade looking, had no luck finding a tank for over a half hour. We even had 4 people capable of healing in the group, and no tanks. Whats the deal?
- Subtlety rogues don’t suck anymore. They hurt. Watch out for those extra sneaky back stabbers.
- Although mana isn’t too much of an issue for healers now because we overpower most of the content, I can see how it will be in cata. With the mana regen changes characters of mine that wouldn’t go under 90% mana are now having to use special regen talents to keep going during an average boss fight.
- Overall it seems like Blizzard is following through with their stated design goals for the expansion. Expect lots of CC, healers going OOM, huge health pools, and harder instances/raids in Cataclysm.
See you monday!