Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Redesigning Professions

Last night, we were having a discussion in guild chat about some gems. Mainly it was a discussion about mage gems, but this topic certainly applies to all classes. Basically, it comes down to the whole discussion of what is a better stat to use. If, for example, you're a mage, everyone can agree that you need stats in +hit until capped, and then either haste or spell power (I think this changes with every patch). But as far as gear goes, Crit can be important... and I don't think Intellect has really been important since Arcane Mages in BC... your gear just generally has enough Intellect to cover stuff.

But with Cataclysm, Blizzard has already announced that they are working towards getting rid of a few stats. To be specific, they're looking to get rid of 5 stats. Attack Power, Spell Power, Armor Penetration, Defense Rating, and Mp5 are all going away (or at least, that's what they've planned). So, healers will have to get Spirit for mana regen and Intellect for Spell Power, which probably means that you can look at just how much mana a healer has to figure out their potential HPS. lol. Spell dps will need Intellect (again, looking at that mana pool), and then I guess hit and haste. All of this in an attempt to simplify gear, so people can actually tell what's an upgrade.

Now let me go on the record and say this is great. I think it's an awesome step for the game. I feel that I'm constantly consulting outside resources like Rawr to figure out if this higher ilvl item is actually an upgrade... even if they're both obviously shaman healing pieces... sometimes the lower ilvl item is better. It's all about stat allocation.

But... (and here's to the title of this post) this is really changing a lot of stuff to the game. Not only does Blizzard have to completely redo stats for all gear (which touches the professions of Blacksmithing, Leatherworking, and Tailor), but they'll also have to convert certain potions and flasks, and they'll be obliterating 5 core color gems. And with rough calculations, and not actually looking to see if all combination exist, that's something like 42 gem cuts, not including the original 5!

And now where dps Spell damage would have previously wanted red gems for spell power, they'll now want yellow for Intellect (which is also the same color for haste). Where melee dps wanted red for Attack Power, they'll still want red for Strength or Agility (depending on the class). And where healers previously wanted purple for mp5 or Spirit and Spell Power, they'll now want... green for Spirit and Intellect. Tanks will probably stay in the purple category to get Stamina and Strength/Agility for threat generation.

So... the only major change is really for spell dps. Let's look at this from another perspective. In a "standard" 10-man raid, you'll have 2-3 healers (green), 2 tanks (purple), 2-3 melee dps, including hunters (red), and 2-3 ranged dps (yellow). Maybe I'm wrong, but it really seems that they're trying to redistribute how gems are used.

And then I realized... they track this kind of stuff. Somebody pulls up a query and finds out that there's 5 million red gems compared to only 100,000 yellow gems, or whatever. And until this last patch, yellow wasn't really needed at all, but now haste is the latest thing, so yellow is useful again. They are in constant efforts to balance the economy... and gear... and different classes... And I imagine some planning meetings at Blizzard where they have the itemization guys vying for one thing, and the AH guys asking for something else, and the Profession guys wanting to make sure their babies aren't touched... Wow! There's simply a lot that goes into this game and the thinking... and we get to simply sit back and criticize enjoy the game that we play. I don't know... there's just something really cool about that.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Links Now in Custom Channels

This might be pretty minor news for the most of you. Heck, this may not even be newsworthy to some of you at all. Everyone is aware that they can create custom channels, right? You simply type /join CustomChannelName (CustomChannelName being pretty much anything you want) and voila! You're now in that channel. If somebody else already has that created, then you've now joined their channel. (As long as there isn't a password.) There's actually a ton of things you can do in these custom channels. Like a password, you can also ban players or kick players.

But that's not really the point here. If you want to know about any of those things, you can see all the commands on Wowwiki.

The point of this is that there are certain channels where things cannot be linked. General used to be one of them (I'm not sure if this is still true) and custom channels was another. So, in the custom channel I have with my closest friends, for example, I'd have to whisper-link any item to all of them; I couldn't just put it in the custom channel. But now, linking is available in these custom channels as well. Yeah!

That is all.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Old Habits Die Hard - The Cooldown Edition

I've found that I have a number of habits that have carried over from old skool Wow. Most of these have changed as the game has evolved (such as using my own epic flyer to fly some place instead of wasting the gold to use the taxi service), but some of them have carried over (such as continuing to use IF for the AH and visiting the same auctioneer every time).

But I found that one of my habits has to do with how I perform in the game. And this one is a bad thing. You see, I still remember the days when there were super powerful spells... spells that were so strong that they were almost like instant "I Win" buttons. These spells were so powerful that they got put on these ridiculously long cooldowns. Spells for example, that would blast a target with a pyro so large... that it would continue to burn long after impact, or a spell that would put up a shield that was as big as a wall, or a spell that would allow your to spiritually lay your hands on yourself or another player to instantly heal them for an insane amount of health. These spells would have cooldowns of days... or at least what seemed like days sometimes. But as we've progressed through the various versions of Wow, they've slowly lessened or removed cooldowns for these special spells.

But I still treat them as special. I still have something in the back of my mind that tells me that I should save them for special occasions. Certainly I'd use them for a boss fight, but trash? Unheard of!

And this habit carries over to new spells as well. Take Mirror Image for example. It's only a 3-minute cooldown, so I should probably use it pretty much every chance I get. Heck, if we're doing new bosses it guaranteed that the explanation alone will take more than 3 minutes. Furthermore, even on the boss fight, I'm afraid to use it until the right time. I want to wait for heroism.. I want it to be at the best time... Heck! If we're using heroism at the end of the fight, I probably can pop my clones towards the beginning of the fight and be able to cast them again once heroism starts.

Granted, I haven't been playing my mage much, so it's not like I recognized it from my lack of not playing my mage. No, this time I was looking at spell rotations for my wife's shadow priest. And for all things shadow, where do you turn? That's right, ShadowPriest.com. So, in the standard rotation, they start off with spells to start buffs and debuffs, get a little damage in, and then BAM! Shadowfiend. But... but... you're supposed to use that only when you're almost out of mana, right? Granted with a normal Shadow Priest, it's on a 3-minute cooldown, not 5. But it's not just about mana, it's also about increased damage. And it's not like it's a 30-minute cooldown, it's only 3.

So, while I'm sure that I'm the only that still has this "issue" remember to use your cooldowns on a consistent basis, not just when the raid leader yells, "pop all cooldowns!"

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Lovely Charms Fixed

Well, it looks like I've come out of my shell, started blogging again because of some silly holiday achievement, and then what did Blizzard do? They went and made it so that the party with the kill gets the Lovely Charm. GG Blizzard. lol.

Yes, so I was in a heroic last night, not even trying to kill anything, just keep everyone alive, and sure enough... I got a Lovely Charm. It happened a number of times during the night, so I knew it wasn't some fluke. Honestly though... I'm surprised they didn't think of that when they first implemented these charms. I mean... come on. 1 in 5 people in every instance party is generally a healer, so you'd think that would have crossed their mind. It's not like there's anything else in the game that operates off of killing blows. So, they would have had to program them in like that. Kind of strange, if you ask me.

This may sound silly, and I know it's pretty low priority, but I'm surprised I didn't see anyone else blog about this. Maybe I just missed it or I don't follow the blogs that mentioned it. Oh well... either way... glad it's over. :)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Lovely Charms for Healers

I was again lamenting last night at the fact that while I was keeping everyone alive in a random heroic, I wasn't getting any Lovely Charms as everyone else was. I even tried to get in the killing blows with a last-second shock spell to increase my chances, but it had very little effect. But then one of my guildies told me that we could collect them in Ulduar. So, 4 of us traipsed off to Ulduar to jump in some vehicles, kill a bunch of trash mobs and collect Lovely Charms.

If you don't kill the towers, the guys keep pouring out and you can kill until your bags are full. It's incredibly easy. I got the 120 that I needed for for Charming. And technically speaking, that should be all the Lovely Charms / Love Tokens that you need. You'll need 4 of those Lovely Charm Braclets to turn in to the 4 different faction leaders for Nation of Adoration. That will net you 20 Love Tokens. With those, you can buy a Lovely Dress Box for Lovely Luck Is On Your Side.

And technically speaking, that's all the Love Tokens you need. All of the other items can be bought off the AH, or borrowed from a friend. So all my complaining about missing my Aoe spells really wasn't necessary.

On a side note: we 4-manned Flame Leviathon. Shouldn't that be an achievement or something?

Monday, February 8, 2010

Mages are for Boom

Recently, I've almost 100% given myself over to the resto Shaman in Zanderfin. I have a decent Enhancement set that I've been building as nobody else wanted the item. But then arena season 8 hit, and one of my guildies had the idea to start doing arenas. I put my Enhancement gear in the bank, respec'ed my other spec to pvp resto, and started running WG and Battlegrounds like crazy. Knowing we had no gear for it, we weren't surprised when we lost our first 10 games last week. We'll get better as (A) we get better gear, and (B) we play against horribly ranked players like us.

But then Love is in the Air hit on Sunday. And I kind of committed myself to doing the holiday events now that I have the time. And for the first time in months, I actually miss playing my mage.

I really noticed this when doing the Crushing the Crown quest. The quest itself isn't bad... just kill 5 people. Sure it's a little slow, but it's doable. But since the respawn rate is pretty much insane with so many people also killing these guys, it's a great place to gather Lovely Charms for the daily quest to give a Bracelet to your local Faction Leader. And since you can also turn the Bracelets in for Love Tokens, you could conceivably finish this entire event in a short time... and one day... if you could only kill fast enough.

Well part of killing fast enough is tagging fast enough. I mean... you want to get credit for the kill, right? If only mages had a spell to be able to cast Aoe instantly, and maybe some good Aoe from a distance, and even a targeted spell with some instant delivery or one for quick tags. Maybe I don't know how to play my Shaman as a damage dealer, but I don't see a lot of the same options here. I see they have a shock spells with a 6 second cooldown. They have Fire Nova with a 10-second cooldown that will instantly agro a bunch of mobs to the totem, quickly killing it unless Stoneclaw Totem is up, and that's on a 30-second cooldown. Sure, I have white damage, and Stormstrike and Lava Lash, all being single-target and requiring close range... not to mention all being enhancement. While I'm on that, there's my dogs that I'll still need to hit the target it in order to get credit. There's also Thunderstorm for the Elemental side of the house... 45-second cooldown.

So, while I could easily take on elites in the outdoor world with the Enhancement shaman, I keep fixating on the fact that Love is in the Air would probably be a heck of a lot easier if I was trying to do it with my Glass Cannon.

On an unrelated point... maybe quest items should be BoA. lol.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Examples of When to Kick

I'm generally a patient guy when it comes to people. I understand that not everyone has the best computer, best Internet connection, or the best gear. I understand that people generally don't want to wipe time and time again, especially on a boss that should be considered "easy". I also understand that there's a pretty big difference in purples these days. Consider that there are items that are purple that are ilvl 200, and some that are 277. Simply put... there are a lot of variables in Wow.

Couple that with the fact that sometimes I'm a really lazy raid leader. I know that if there's a new encounter in VoA that I really should do some type of gear check. Ony 25, for example, can be a huge pain in the butt if you have a bunch of people that are still in quest greens. So, sometimes these "interesting" parts of Wow and my personality make for some "interesting" fights. (See "the best gear" link above for one of such examples.)

But sometimes these things are completely out of my control. Take, for example, the lfg tool. If I sign up for an instance with nobody else in my group, it's really just a roll of the dice if I'll get a good group or not. I know, at least, that I'll have a decent healer, but that's about it. (For those that haven't kept track, my mage is mostly retired, living with the other mages in Dalaran.) But other than that, I really don't know.

Like the other night that I got in a random instance of Heroic Old Kingdom. The entire group was obviously 80's. We certainly didn't have any problems downing any of the bosses. Heck, we could have 4-manned the entire instance. Come to think of it, we were. The hunter that was with us was so bad. His dps was in the range of about 200. Yes, I wrote that right: Two-Hundred. For a lvl 80. Heck, auto shot should do more than that. The guy was running in place a lot, and he'd blink from here to there every once and awhile, so I knew he was having problems. I'm not even sure what his gear looked like. I let it slide for a bit, but after no improvements, even after we downed the first boss, and he couldn't even walk with the rest of the group, I initiated a kick vote. It must have been unanimous, because he was almost instantly removed.

Now, don't think me heartless. We talked with the guy, or tried to at least. We waited and waited for him to get to the second boss. We addressed him multiple times in party chat. And then finally, it just wasn't worth it. Honestly, he really should have removed himself from the raid when he recognized his connection was that bad. What if Prince Taldaram did his vanish and accompanying Embrace of the Vampyr on him? And we'd have to run all the way over there... just didn't seem worth it to wait. We made the next hunter that came in through the random generator promise that he could do more that 200 dps before we attacked the boss, and we laughed about it the rest of the instance as it was easily cleared. (The new hunter was top dps IIRC.)

To expatiate further, last night, however, was mostly my fault. We've been trying to gear up for arenas, and so did WG last night. Thought we'd try our hand in Voa 25 for the better gear as well. The new boss is out, so why not go over there? After waiting for somebody else to start a group to no avail, the 4 or so guildies started our own group. And calls to "LFM 25-man Voa" were almost instantly answered with tells of "I'll go". The prudent raid leader would look at each of their gear scores on external web sites to verify that they're up to snuff. The lazy raid leader that I was last night, I invited anyone that whispered me. And after finally getting another 2 tanks and a few healers, we started the 25-man raid.

Don't get me wrong. This raid was probably destined to fail from the beginning. It's especially challenging when you have people standing in the sparks, or when ranged dps aren't killing said sparks. It's not a challenging fight as far as what needs to be done, but you still have to know the fight. It was typed out. We opened our Vent server. It was said on Vent. But still we failed the first time.

Now people start looking around at everyone's gear and damage meters and whatnot. One Paladin had a mix of spell power, attack power, and healing gear. I mean... he had a real mix. He had literally taken the meaning of hybrid and used it to a T. If I were a betting man, I'd say that his spec probably reflected the same, but I honestly didn't look. He had two green trinkets as well. I forget which, but again, one was spell power and one was attack power. And his numbers? 1200 dps and about 400 hps. Yep.. a hybrid.

So, after multiple requests for people to get on Vent, which he was not on, he was removed. When he asked me why he had been removed, I didn't want to take the time to explain gear to him, so I told him he wasn't on Vent. The sad part was, he asked me what Vent was. I told him to google it, and that it was a VoIP program so that we could talk to each other. *sigh*. I feel sorry for the guy, but really glad he didn't make a big deal about it. And yes, we were all noobs once... but he should have asked what Vent was way before the first boss fight.

To wrap up the story... we still had other fail dps (melee mostly), and we didn't get the boss down. Maybe I should really stop being the one to lazily invite people to raids. lol.