Daily Thoughts: Item Level is the New Gearscore

To be oh so cliché, the more things change the more things stay the same. WoW is no exception to the rule. I’m not talking about whether or not new bosses or gear are too similar to old ones, which are complaints I’ve heard from a couple of fellow players who’ve been wowing since vanilla. Nope, I’m instead here to talk about players and how regardless of what is added to the game, we’re always going to act the same way. Prior to cataclysm and 4.0.3 I suppose, gearscore ruled pugs. The gearscore addon, which attributed a point value to each piece of gear and gave a “score” for each player based on that gear was the loathed standard from which players were judged before being invited to a random group or raid. Not content with mere players making their own system for judging the “goodness” of others, blizzard implemented the average item level. Viewed on both your character sheet and on your armory profile, it is the new number from which all characters must be judged. I say this sarcastically of course, as there are much more important factors; see: Skill. Now instead of a gearscore requirement, we see “looking for heals for *instance*, 350ilvl or higher”

Along the same lines are the recruiters for small or social guilds and their message. Prior to cataclysm we’d see “Friendly leveling guild looking for members of all levels. Have tabard and 4 bank tabs, pst xxxx for invite”. Quite often after spamming a couple of those, random /trade trolls bash the poster, mocking their guild tab message. Usually undaunted, they continue the recruitment spam. Now the trolls have a new topic to mock the social guild recruiters for, “we’re a level 4 guild…”

Anything else you can think of that we keep doing over and over as players? Aside from standing in fire.

Daily Thoughts: The Cataclysm Paladin

I’ve spent a lot of posts recently talking about zones (and yes I’m still going to do that Twilight Highlands review at some point), factions, and other such things and not much time on the actual playing my class. The big changes specifically to Paladins in cataclysm (if you don’t count Holy Power from 4.0.3) are the new spells:

Inquisition is our new self buff. It increases all holy damage by 30%. Retribution gets a talent that extends the duration of this buff to 10 seconds per Holy Power used to trigger it. This is meant to be kept up as much as possible similar to Slice and Dice for combat rogues and is a pretty significant DPS loss if not used.. Holy Radiance is pretty much making us a moving healing stream totem, and does an AOE heal to nearby targets. I haven’t got much play testing with this spell, as I’m running ret main now, but I really haven’t heard anything too exciting about from those doing Holy main spec. Finally, Guardian of Ancient Kings is amazing. This buff has a long (5m) cooldown, but skyrockets a ret paladins DPS when used. From what I hear from the other specs, it seems it’s a better friend to ret than the other uses. Each spec gets a specific purpose, one for taking, extra heals for holy and more damage for ret. Follow me after the break for some more…

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Daily Thoughts: Fear the Reaper

Yes, fear the reaper. My rogue hit 78 last night and although he isn’t the one-shotting-everything-that-moves powerhouse that he was through most of the leveling process, he is still a stealthy ninja-like force to be reckoned with. I can top the meters in instances in my combat spec, but what I really want to focus on today is the fun of the subtlety spec and the new PVP brackets.

PVP as a Subtlety rogue is fun. Sub is the spec that has always played the way I feel a rogue should. Sub emphasises effectiveness and deadliness from the shadows. We get the +30% to stealth movement speed in sub, which is absolutely essential to not being horribly frustrated trying to catch people in a battleground. Of course, we can’t forget to mention sub’s signature ability: Shadow Step. It is buckets of fun to teleport behind an unsuspecting victim and slash him with Ambush, using the increase damage bonus from SS. Further, SS gives a run speed bonus for a few seconds after it’s used, making it a mini sprint that talents to a 20 second cooldown. Not only does this make Shadow Step a great offensive skill, but it can be used when running away from a large pack of enemies by teleporting to the furthest player and then using the run speed to get away. Hopefully this gives you time for Vanish to come off cooldown. Sub rogues just have such a cool toolbox for pvp play, but they suck at PVE right?

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Daily Thoughts: Warrior 4.0.3a

Most warriors know by this point that blizzard, using their mighty nerf hammer, struck furious down the haughty warriors and nerfed their precious damage into oblivion, leaving warriors impotent and senile. Or did they? Check the patch that has sent many a search to this blog (and many others I’m sure, but I don’t have their statistic pages) asking, “fury warrior nerf 4.0.3”. Actually, about 50% of all the search terms used to find my blog since 4.0.3a are in regards to the Great Warrior Nerf of 2010. I must admit, I was even a bit concerned seeing a 17% nerf to most of the fury dps toolkit.

So how demolished was my warrior dps after all? Well…It wasn’t. That’s right, you can put your warrior fears to rest. At least fury ones, I hear arms is pretty bad again, but I don’t play that to test it myself. All in all my damage on a test dummy was between 5-10% lower so yes, a nerf, but not world ending. I saw a lot less of my attacks hitting over 10k, which isn’t surprising. On the other hand, I still topped damage in the 3 heroics I did, pretty much every pull. I have to worry about pulling threat from decently geared tanks still, which makes me happy.

So in short, Fury warriors are OK after all. You might not be quite as much of a beast as before, but don’t think you need to go roll a mage now in order to get a raid slot.

 

4.0.3a Hotfix Nerfs Dungeon Quest XP

Although I don’t necessarily disagree with this change from a designer/balance standpoint, I know all my leveling toons under 60 will be very disappointed. Oddly, this hotfix is not included on the list of hotfixes that blizzard links at the bottom of their post, as of now anyway. The original text can be found HERE.

We are applying a hotfix today to all level 1-60 dungeon quests for Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdoms dungeons which will significantly reduce the amount of experience they award.

While dungeons should remain integral to our evolving storylines, and great places to collect gear in cooperative environments, we need to make sure each player’s questing progress remains relevant as dungeon quests are completed. In many cases we’re seeing players enter dungeons to complete quests, only to come out ahead of the leveling curve for the zones they’re in.

This change should allow players the opportunity to reap the benefits of running dungeons, while not outpacing the leveling flow from levels 1-60. At this time there are no plans for making any adjustments to dungeon quest experience for Outland, Northrend, and level 80+ Cataclysm dungeons.

You can find a list of all of the latest hotfixes here: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/blog/1232869

The Shattering: Before and After 4.0.3a

WoW Insider has a great selection of “before” screen shots available HERE

Some of my screen shots of changes can be found at the following Links:

Org:

Durotar/Northern Barrens:

Southern Barrens:

Stormwind:

*Updated* Ashenvale/Tanaris

I’ll try to add to this post as I get more of my own screens posted. I am having trouble finding a nice comprehensive collection of new screen shots, or even a handful of non-comprehensive collections to link. So I implore you to send me or comment links to blogs you have or know that have some of these screens

Postcards from Azeroth – as always another good place to find artistic screen shots.

4.0.3a – Some New Stormwind Screen Shots

I realized upon looking for the changes that I wasn’t that familiar. After my pictures I’ve included a link to a site that did a much more thorough job putting in before and after photo’s, but it’s from the beta not live patch. The huge broken city wall is one of the major highlights.

 

Ten Ton Hammer – Stormwind City Preview