I’m really bad at making sure I get a Daily Thoughts out each day. I considered changing it to “Almost Daily Thoughts” but it doesn’t flow quite as well that way. I tend to get distracted with playing WoW that I forget to write about it or, equally as often, if I’m too busy on a given day to get much playing done then I don’t have many thoughts on that days play. Yesterday was another busy day without much WoWing done, so today I wanted to focus the post on blogs themselves. This should be a good read for people interested in WoW blogs, both for writers looking for resources or ideas and readers looking for something new to read about. Join me after the break for a handful of great blogs and blogging sites along with a tip or two for writing and finding new blogs. (more…)
If I were standing in front of a crowd of WoW players, instead of writing a blog, and posed the question, “Who here likes getting Halls of Reflection as a random queue with a pug?”, I’d probably hear crickets. Except maybe the one masochist of a player near the back whose cries of agreement would quickly be snuffed out by lamentations of those around him. I’ve heard of those who suffer from severe flash backs of wipes cause by people who physically are unable to understand “line of sight” or those who still believe if you just wait behind the Lich King, he’ll leave without killing you. Maybe I’m being a little over dramatic with the description, but most players, myself included, at least groan a little when they chance into one of the hardest and least pug friendly of WotLK instances.
Then here’s me. Fresh resto shaman rocking a mix of cloth/leather/mail instance drops (very few from ICC 5-mans) and a PVP shield. My gear sports sparkling green quality gems and is completely void of enchantments. Go ahead and cry ‘cheap’ all you want, but I’ll be upgrading every piece within a few hours of playing. You’d think perhaps the gods of WoW and RNG might have some pity on this noob shaman, but no. Halls of Reflection will be my very first test of healing…
I must admit; I’m a little bit afraid of the coming end of the world. No, I’m not afraid of 12/21/12. I am though, somewhat, of 12/07/10 – the Cataclysm release date. Although the recent patch 4.0.1 brought about most of the major mechanical changes, Cataclysm will see the effects of those realised along with a host more. I going to talk here about healing/mana regen, sky rocketing health totals, and a couple other things.
I probably should add potential spoiler disclaimers to my posts, so here’s one for this. If you don’t want to risk spoilers for Cataclysm, you probably shouldn’t continue.
I was going to write a little about healing on the new resto shaman, but I didn’t really play the resto shaman any today. Well, I did one wintergrasp, but it doesn’t really count towards getting a grasp on my class and spec. I have a different topic in mind, inspired by a post made by a guild member that you can find the link Corath’s Blog – Melee State of Mind. I started to wonder, since it’s been a few years now, why a Paladin?
My very first Warcraft toon was actually a warrior, who since has become my 6th and most recent level 80. I played him to about level 26 back in the middle of Burning Crusade and quickly lost interest. Despite the heavy armor, I took a lot of damage and had to stop and eat often or waste gold on potions. I don’t much like stopping or wasting gold so I moved on to a class that felt like everything my warrior was – with heals. I tend to play plate-wearing burly monstrosities of power when I can in a game. Now I had a character that could not only wield a great 2 handed weapon, he wore heavy armor, hit really hard, and could keep himself alive. Perfect. This Paladin became my first max level character shortly after Wrath launched. I played him almost exclusively for a nearly a year, dabbling only occasionally in alts.
This actually was going to be used for something else a week or so ago, but it didn’t end up going that way and I wanted the article to be read.
On the whole, it feels like Deathwing has already brought a personal cataclysm and world-changing chaos to each of my characters. I don’t mean to say that this change is all bad. Like the revamping that will hit each zone of Azeroth come Cataclysm; many talents, abilities, interfaces and more have been added, improved or plain removed from the game.
- 310% flying is now in reach of everyone with 5,000 gold (4,000 rep discount). A lot of people, myself included, haven’t been lucky in getting a group to finish hard mode runs to get their 310 drake before patch.
- 100 Gold for dual spec. Been wanting to try healing but haven’t wanted to cough up 1,000 gold or lose that DPS main spec? At 100 gold, dual spec is now available to most players who want to diversify their characters.
- No more spell ranks! Finally we have reached a point where that one alt with an off spec will no longer get spammed with RankWatch every time it joins a group. Once you learn a spell or ability it will scale as you level so you don’t have to remember to make sure the most recent version is sitting on your bars.
- Shorter talent trees just feel a little bit empty. Not getting a point every level is a bit disappointing while leveling. Also, due to the shorter trees, characters under level 69 cannot get their “31” point talent. This leaves several classes and spec’s somewhat gimped of spells they used to have while leveling. My 64 warlock greatly misses haunt. As of 4.0.1 and before cataclysm, as level 80’s we’re unable to reach very helpful talents in other trees.
- The time for healers getting dungeon queues is higher than before. The time it takes to replace a tank is also delayed as tanks are hesitant to join instances with threat being somewhat inconsistent still and a general unfamiliarity with new abilities. Although not as bad as the 40+ minute que times to get into a battle ground the first couple weeks of the patch, most times I’m trying it’s still 25-50% longer than it was before. Maybe people are just unconcerned about PVP until rated bgs?
- Bugs, glitches and lag. All this is normal with large or content patches, but a couple of weeks or so after patch and I’m still experiencing random bugs. My warrior’s +5% crit buff has not displayed since patch and the inability to load dungeons at random, for examples.
Here’s some changes from one of the latest beta builds. Playing around with my holy spells a little bit and checking the tool-tips, these seem to be in place on the live servers as well. So what does this mean to you Holy Paladins? 30% increased base healing from all of your main heals. Read the changes and I’ll get to some explanations after.
- Holy Radiance‘s effectiveness now diminish on targets farther than X yards away.
- Divine Light base healing has been increased by 30 percent, from 8,538-9,512 to 11,100-12,366.
- Holy Wrath now scales from 61 percent of spellpower, up from 30 percent. Base damage is reduced by 22 percent, from 3,122 to 2,435.
- Exorcism now scales from 34.4 percent of spellpower or AP, up from 15 percent. Base damage increased by 15 percent from 2,343 to 2,741.
- Flash of Light base healing has been increased by 30 percent, from 5,313-5,961 to 6,907-7,750.
- Lay on Hands no longer restores mana.
- Holy Light base healing has been increased by 30 percent.
- Beacon of Light now lasts 5 minutes, up from 1 minute.
- Mastery: Illuminated Healing now absorbs 10 percent of the amount healed, up from 8 percent. Now lasts 8 seconds, up from 6 seconds. Each point of mastery increases the absorb amount by an additional 1.25 percent, up from 1 percent.
- Holy Shock base healing has been increased by 30 percent, from 3,033-3,285 to 3,943-4,271.
Outside of large base healing buffs to FoL, HL, DL, and HS, there’s a handful of other small nerfs and important buffs. Small nerf to the range on Holy Radiance, though who really cares? We want big tank heals, not weakish AoE heals on CD. We also lose the mana return from Lay on Hands. While this is technically a nerf to the spell, the new glyph allows for the spell pretty much puts it right back in, so we’re sitting good still. The biggest news here is the buff to our mastery. Not only does it absorb more than before up to 10% of the healing done from 8, it lasts two seconds longer. Each point of mastery is 25% more effective as well, potentially making it pretty worthwhile to stack some mastery through reforging.
Although Holy gets some use out of the buff to exorcism should help rets dps out pretty well with about a large increase to its scaling and base stats. Hopefully I can take these and test them out, but I’ve been a little more focused on gearing my new resto shaman. Having a lot more fun there than his other spec, enhancement. Probably some updates on that tomorrow!
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.