Archive Page 2


Separation of P & E

I’ve only been back for a few weeks but already an old problem has cropped up, one that rears its ugly head fairly often for numerous different classes at various points in time.  Always a sad event heralded by much QQ on the forums, official or otherwise.  I speak, of course, of the dreaded nerf.  This time around it was the warrior crowd receiving a swipe of the bat as they had their ability to break roots and snares pruned back thanks to a Warbringer nerf.  Why did this have to happen?  Why couldn’t the warriors continue merrily breaking movement impairing effects in order to be better tanks during raids and dungeons?  Because of three little letters: PvP.

Now anyone who knows me knows that I am definitely not a fan of the PvP at all.  I much more enjoy getting loot from raids and the camaraderie of other players as opposed to small thirty second bursts where I’m frenetically trying to cast damage spells while getting stun locked for the entire “match”.  Arena is definitely not a place for the priestly crowd and I was more than willing to stay away and still am.  The problem though is not that there is PvP  in the world, but rather that it is effecting even those who decide to avoid it, making it something of a pox upon the raiding community.

Look, the deal is that when you have these two systems that are so very wildly different, you simply can not balance them between the two without destroying the integrity of one or the other.  Either you overbalance one class by giving them a PvE ability that causes them to absolutely own at arena (see: Death Knights 3.0) and overbalances the population in their favor, or you do what was done to warriors and nerf them back, making them balanced in the arena but killing some of their fun in other places.  It’s pretty much a lose-lose situation that Blizzard continually tries to make work, often leading to a river of nerdly tears and asthmatic angst.

Here's the saddest one of all, just not emotionally

The main problem is that Blizzard continually tries to balance these systems even though they’re obviously not working together and it’s gotten to the point that people just aren’t surprised by it anymore.  Oh, there’s still plenty of grousing going on and the blogs and forums definitely light up as the news filters down through the WoW community, but for the most part it’s met with a ho-hum sort of response with most people saying something along the lines of “this blows, but it’s what Blizzard does to us”.  This complacent acceptance must end!

The thing is, there’s an easy enough solution, one so simple that I’d be extremely surprised to find out is only being proposed here on my lonely corner of the web for the first time.  Blizzard, why don’t you simply make some abilities unavailable in arena?  I mean, if you can write into the code the ability to make mounts unavailable once you cross an invisible line to become indoors, why can’t you do it so that specific talents or abilities disappear once you enter arena?  I’ll admit that I’m not a programmer, but that seems like something that could be implemented that could go a long way to solve the problem.

Let’s go back to our warrior example real quick.  The talent Warbringer allows a warrior to use charge and a few other abilities while in combat that they could not before.  If they did, then those abilities would break any movement impairing effect in addition to their usual effect.  Because this was allowing warriors to break roots and snares in arena, which was considered an unfair advantage, Blizzard removed the impairment breaking effect.  Now it may be a little too much to ask for Blizzard to dissect a talent like this and remove part of the effect (breaking impairment) and leaving the other (using abilities in combat), but imagine how easy and cleanly the problem could have been fixed if they had done that.

Perhaps they could simply add two new talents or spells/abilities for every class with one only working in arena and one only working in PvE, then they can work on balancing those and leave the other stuff alone.  If they wanted to go even more extreme, they could introduce a brand new PvP talent tree designed to countermand PvE talents, or even simply introduce new talents into the existing trees.  A specced Mind Flay where the snare effect can not be broken would both cancel out the warrior’s talent and allow it be used in PvE at the same time.  Thing is, Blizzard is not a fan of solving problems like this, preferring more of a slash and burn method where they simply throw out what doesn’t work between the two.

I’ll reiterate it again and even go further: I’m not a video game programer or a dev.  I don’t fully know what goes on behind the scenes in Blizzard’s clandestine halls.  Perhaps what I’m suggesting here is so monumentally difficult it teeters on the realm of impossibility.  But the fact of the matter, Blizzard, is that you can not solve your PvP balance issues by removing PvE abilities from other classes because then you’re stifling a vibrant and, by your own admission, vitally important portion of the game.  This is compounded by the fact that those most effected by the nerf usually don’t even participate in arena.

Look, monsters don’t complain any time they feel like any particular class has an advantage over them, but I get that players do, and constantly.  However, any time a class is weakened as a whole in an attempt to placate the arena crowd, it effects not just the individual players of that class, but also the raid dynamic of their guilds and possibly even strats and gems and enchants.  You can’t justify such a massive shift simply because you’re not willing to seek alternative solutions to problems, at least not as frequently as it’s done in WoW.  So Blizzard, I think it’s time to put down the bat, take a breath of fresh air, and solve your problems with some common sense.  Ready?  Good.  Now put an arrow on the front of the circle that pops up under someone when you select them and give us back our inky black ball of doom, you sacks of shit.



Delirium won’t know what hit it

So like I said on Friday, I went ahead and apped to Rey and Scrat’s guild and began to prepare myself to once more plunge into the depths of Northrend’s chilled dungeons.  After a spirited montage of me taking it to the limit, Reyk was able to put in a good word for me and I got an invite to the guild.  Checking the calender I signed up for a couple of raids and happily went off to research fights.  Yes, I was a raider once more, albeit a much darker one than before, and I must admit, I was excited.


So last night I logged on and within a minute get a tell from the guild leader asking if I wanted to come run ICC ten man, which is an invitation you really shouldn’t turn down after only one day.  So I bravely stepped up to the plate and went on my first raid in over three months.  The group had already cleared the first wing and was moving directly onto the Plague Works wing.  We were able to kill Precious in one swing and wiped only once on Stinky and moved straight over to Rotface.  The fight was a lot of fun, kind of a straight tank and spank except for one tank who kites mobs and random members occasionally having to run to the tank and drop a slime off.

We wiped on him all night long, but it was a lot of fun just to be raiding again, embraced in the warm grasp of nine other people sharing my hopes and dreams.  And I did a respectable enough job, pulling around 37 to 3800 on most fights depending on how often I had to run a slime over to the off tank.  We only got the boss down to like 30% at it’s lowest, but at least the other group didn’t get him down either.  I also am definitely beginning to get a feel for shadow priesting and understanding what it takes to be a raider as dps.

First off, understanding your rotation is key.  As a shadow priest I’ve found that the secret is to get your timing down to the point where your dots are always up on your target, your mind blast is always on cooldown and you are always casting a spell.  To this effect I’ll always start with Vampiric Touch and Mind Blast to get replenishment ticking.  Then I’ll throw Devouring Plague and Shadow Word: Death up there and cast Mind Flay, which allows me to begin the regular rotation, constantly recasting dots just before they fall off and always interjecting Mind Flay when there’s no other spell to cast.

I also found that targeting is another factor that you must be aware of, able to switch when necessary to the correct target.  Though this particualr tip matters less in large geoups in which the only tip I can give is this: Mind Sear.  If there are more than two mobs still standing, cast more Mind Sear.  If your target dies, find another and cast more Mind Sear.  When you think you’ve been casting too much Mind Sear, cast more Mind Sear.  This spell makes me weep with the awesome potential and is the only reason I pulled over 4200 dps for the entire night.

Of course there’s the usual raider caveats such as being aware of where you stand and making sure to let the tank gain aggro first (that particular one I broke last night when I got a little over excited).  You’ve also gotta be aware of your oh shit buttons and when and where to cast them.  Bring consumables, yadda yadda, all that good stuff.  Also, do your research, I can’t stress this fact enough as I ran across this interesting little vendor for the first time since being back:

Woulda been good to know this information 200 badges ago

All I know is that I’m definitely ready for raiding again.  I just hope it’s ready for me.



Weekend Funny

Hey everybody!  Anyone who follows me knows that another one of my nerdly pursuits is Warhammer 40k, more to the point, painting the miniatures as I’ve never really played a game.  So while I was doing my usual Saturday morning coffee/blog surfing, I came across a pretty hilarious video about Fantasy Warhammer, the original, non-sci-fi version of 40k.  Since it’s pretty rare to find a medium other than just pictures about the subject, I thought I’d share it.  So I present to you My Dark Elf Army is the Greatest Power for Evil in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, enjoy!



To Raid Again

So I’m back.  For pretty much two weeks now I’ve logged on every day except maybe two and have made sure to run a random a day and lately have begun to run all the ICC instances looking for new gear (I swear, Ick drops his little fucking rotten thumb one more time and I’m gonna go ape shit all over the place).  But at the same time, I can still feel it there, over my shoulder and whispering into my ear, the dreaded Malaise of Warcraft.

Don't turn around!

The feeling of repetition and pointlessness.  Sure, I’m farming badges and working on getting slightly better loot in the new ICCs, but that goal has a foreseeable ending and after that, well, what then?  So I’m seriously considering apping to a new raiding guild, one that Scrat and Reyk have joined.  Apparently the guild regularly takes “casual” apps, and in face they only need casual priests at the moment.  This means that if I’m around, I would have a chance at raiding only if someone doesn’t show up and open invites go out.  I’m kind of ok with that.

So now that the possibility is there, I’m definitely going to have to start getting back into raid shape again.  I’ve already started with gear upgrades from the farming, obviously and am now regularly pulling between 3800 and 4000 dps in heroics regularly, and I can definitely feel it.  The adrenaline, the pull of the dark side, the pure power of it all, and the ultimate sorrow of losing our little black inky ball of doom and death, a true tragedy.

R.I.P., You left us too soon

So will I become a raiding priest once more?  Well, only time will tell, but I will probably be apping a little later this afternoon and we’ll see what the next few days will get us.  I’m nowhere near being a hard core raider anymore, and my gear needs at least two tiers of upgrades to be standard at this point, but that’s easily changeable after a few raids of ToC or maybe even getting to poke my head into ICC.  Eather way, I’m  back, gentle jerkwads, and for the moment, it feels good.

Go Shadow Dueg, go.



What a Difference Rotation makes

This bear taught me everything I know

So after eliciting tips in the comments section during my last post, I got more than a few good suggestions.  D, Bobturkey, the ever Pugnacious Priest, all three of these bloggers extraordinaire were kind enough to offer advice for a fledgling shadow priest, taking baby steps into a wide, scary world of dps.  Though all three of them gave me fantastic tips, Bobturkey’s link to his how-to guide for shadow priests was particularly helpful, especially where he lays out his rotation.

After adjusting for post 3.3, I compared it to mine.  Before this my rotation was SW:P, Devouring Plague, VT, Mind Blast, SW:D, and then Mind Flay for filler.  My thought process here would be to front load all my dots so that they started as early as possible and therefore did more damage, well, in my head anyways.  However, if you’ll note Bobturkey’s post, his rotation recommends getting VT and Mind Blast up front then putting on Devouring Plague and SW:P, along with the omnipresent Mind Flay, essentially reversing my rotation.  This was front loading all the direct damage and the turbo charged VT while completely removing SW:D.

I decided to go ahead and test it out in the field instead of just using a testing dummy like I normally would, and ran right out to do Crusader dailies with my new way of dealing damage.  Pleasant surprise was to ensue.  While killing the cultists I noticed that they were dead by the second tick of Devouring Plague, essentially within three or four spells instead of the usual full rotation needed to kill them.  So yes, it definitely delivers the goods right up front, but how did it work over time, with elite enemies instead of wiener cultists in Icecrown?

Well, the next step was running the weekly raid quest with Patchwerk on the menu for the badge-fest.  Luckily, this fight thought of as something of a dps test since it’s basically a hardcore tank and spank fight.  By this point I had a full day to work with the new rotation and map out timing to maximize damage.  The results, again, were surprisingly pleasant:


I went ahead and included both, but I’m pretty sure that the one on the left does not include pet damage, which is why it’s a little lower all around for most people.  So the result is that I am now pulling about 400 more dps than I was before simply by making slight changes to my rotation.  But one of the major ones and one that I’m only just now beginning to appreciate is the dropping of SW:D from my rotation.  After noticing that the spell does less damage than one tick of most of my dots, I realized that it was both a waste of mana and time to cast.

So the next step will be looking at my glyphs and seeing what should be changed with those.  I’m not aware if there have been any major changes yet with shadow glyphs (I know, I should have at least visited the AH by now to check), but I’ll definitely be turning a critical eye to the ones I have now.  I’m still pretty satisfied with my talents at the moment though.  If anyone has any tips again, I’m more than willing to listen since they’ve obviously worked in the past.



Shadow Priests do it in the Dark

Me, totally doing it

So it’s been more or less a week of shadow priesting for me, transitioning from creation to destruction, metaphorically speaking.  I will say that I am definitely enjoying the shadow side of things and relishing my new role as pew pew in groups.  Not to mention that this new style of play has somewhat revitalized my excitement for the game, as is evidenced by increased blogging activities.

So as I’ve been SPriesting (I know some people hate that term, but I like to think of it as Super Priesting), I’ve also begun to notice the subtext involved and major differences other than simply dps over healing.  It’s not all button rotation and spell power for shadowy priests, there’s some subtle skill occasionally involved.  I know, I was just as shocked as you were.

First off, I found that Mind Sear was truly one of the best spells the devs have ever graced a player with on WoW.  With this spell I’ve managed to hit 12,500 dps on a single pull (pretty much the only good part about Pit of Saron), and have been welcomed with the occasional “hooray, mind sear!” when landing in a random group.  As far as I’m concerned, where there’s three or more mobs, there’s Mind Sear.

I’ve also begun trying to make sure that replenishment is ticking as often as possible while I’m grouped, optimizing my rotation around constantly having Vampiric Touch on the target so that no matter when Mind Blast comes off cooldown, I’ll be refreshing it.  This helps to keep my mana more efficient (and I have run oom a couple of times, though never without my shadow fiend ready to go) as well as providing a boost for the rest of the group.

My other big tip is to try to balance your crit and haste.  Most places that I’ve looked have recommended a haste:crit ratio of 1:2, which I’ve been trying my best to get to through gear, gems and enchants.  As a holy priest, I was never too enamored with haste, but I’ve certainly changed that particular viewpoint.  However, it seems as though lately Blizzard is really cramming haste down our throats with almost every dps oriented piece of gear almost exclusively providing haste.

There’s also the issue of Spirit.  Frankly I love Spirit, it has a multitude of bonuses for holy priests and even some for shadow priests.  I’ve tried my best to get as much spirit as possible, going so far as using “healing” gear as part of my shadow set in order to up the stat and provide a further bonus for me.  Though I am pragmatic and if an obvious upgrade that does not feature Spirit fall into my hot little hands, I will almost certainly take it.

The biggest transition for me, however, was learning how to effectively target mobs.  Out of laziness I usually use the tab method to cycle through mobs, especially since I’m only usually cycling through mobs when I’m Mind Searing and don’t need a particular target.  I’ve heard that the best dps usually rely on click targeting in order to ensure accuracy, but I keep accidently clicking on the wrong mob or a group mate when I try that, even with nameplates up.

Of course, these tips are new to me and hopefully will evolve or change over time in order to provide for quicker and higher dps from ol’ Duegie here.  Though I feel as though I’m getting it, with my dps averaging between 34 and 3600 in most groups.  I’d also appreciate any tips any other more experienced shadow priests might have, even though I am rather perfect.



Silence, both Terrible and Awesome

PuG’ing has long been the antithesis to many people’s evenings in WoW.  Reasons ranged from hating running heroics to simply enjoying questing more to the most commonly cited reason: PuGs suck.  The main reason?  People suck, especially anonymous people.  Hell’s bells, the whole of human society is based around trying to find the group of people who least annoy you and banding together into a clique of friends that keep other, more annoying people at bay.  It’s a dance of sublime pains in my ass.

But I’ve noticed something as I’ve been doing this new round of PuG after PuG after PuG.  Thanks to the new group finding tool there is literally no required interaction between yourself and your group mates.  Scrat even pointed out in a comment a couple of days ago that grouping has almost become like soloing now, except with even less effort on your part to reach your destination.  People don’t really talk anymore because there’s really no incentive to do so.  Who cares what Group Member #4 thinks of you?  He’s from Boulderfist server and you’ll certainly never see him again, so why even bother?  Of course, this can be a good thing.

Some people just have potty mouths

I love that there’s no longer a reason for the tank to share his hopes and dreams of someday being a good tank with us all.  Gone are the days of awkward banter where people feel like they need to get a conversation going or else the group didn’t count for some reason.  Nowadays most groups are lucky for there to be a conversation past the initial “hello” thrown out, which is inevitably met with every other form of “hello” except the original (hola, hi, what’s up, howdy), an odd phenomenon.  But at the same time it’s almost like there’s something missing.

Groups have become much less personal lately, more about just getting down to business.  Since most people in the system are familiar with the old heroics at this point, there’s no need to stop and confirm if everyone’s done a fight, no explanations, no impetus to get the people communicating anymore.  Everyone just runs from position to position, doing the same dance they’ve done over and over before.  No friends are made, no connections to be had, it’s all run run run, fight fight fight, loot loot loot.

What it comes down to is that the new LFG tool has changed the game, made it stronger in the regards that high level loot is easily attainable by grouping regularly, which is now done at convenience.  However, it’s almost been counterintuitive with this increased encouragement to group met with a decreased reason to make lasting connections with your group mates.  This has weakened the game by making it so you can no longer subtly recruit new guild members by observing them during multiple dungeon runs.  You must now rely on what you gleam from an app doubled with the gear they’re wearing, though that is not really a good barometer anymore.

I suppose that in the end any sort of improvement such as the new group finder would end up being double edged in some fashion, but isn’t the social aspect of an MMO one of its drawing points?  Fun little exchanges at random always make my day, I know that much, and now they’re happening less often than they used to.  Ah well, in the end everything will have its price, I suppose, and my new trinket sure as hell doesn’t feel bad about all those missed conversations, so why should I?


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