Friday, August 29, 2008

Racial Imbalance: Alliance in General

We've all felt the imbalance, usually while PvPing.. (because honestly, who feels racial imbalance whilst in the midst of PvEing? A few of you do, undoubtedly, because no one is the same, but really... do you sit there casting Starshards and think about how awesome Devouring Plague would be instead?)

However, in PvP we've all felt the sting of the other side's racials. And yes, I am biased. I'm Alliance. Therefore, I feel the Horde racials are bigger, better and more useful. If the Horde think the same thing about Alliance... they're pulling your leg while internally laughing at the joke of it all. The worst thing to happen to the Horde went away when they gave the Horde Paladins. (To be fair, the worst thing to happen to the Alliance went away when they gave the Alliance Shaman. Blizzard can't help that the Horde are better at PvP... oh wait. Yes they can.)

(Well, they can help a little bit. They can't help that Alliance PvP is made up of dimwits who think it's cool to make premade losing teams.)

(And poop! I was so proud of myself. I was making a table and I put all the values in so I'd look all spiffy, and though I typed in the html all the way it said I should, blogspot added a whole bunch of other values, that no matter what I try, I can't get to STAY AWAY, and it screws up my whole table. Poop poop poop.)

So here goes, the less spiffy and more haphazard presentation.

(Let's play a game. A matching game! I list the races, the abilities and what they do, and you connect them!)

(Just kidding. I'm not that ambitious.)

Dwarf: Stoneform: Immunity and dispelling of poison, disease and bleed effects + 10% armor. 8 second duration, 3 minute cooldown.

This ability is quite useful in the Moroes fight for removing Garotte. And I suppose when leveling if you aren't a dwarf paladin or priest in removing some of the nasty things afflicting you before you die. In PvP, it can be useful to get rid of a few things... but they're just going to get reapplied, you know it. And on a 3 minute cooldown...

It removes all bleed effects (rip, rend, deep wounds, rupture and garrote), poisons (cripping, deadly, wound, mind numbing, etc), hunter stings (serpent, viper, wyvern, scorpid and snake trap poison) and diseases (devouring plague).

Gnome: Escape Artist: Any immobility or movement speed effects are removed. 1m45s cooldown.

The quick cooldown is a nice little pat on the back for an ability that I've heard most gnomes say doesn't work as intended. Perhaps this is because a lot of immobility effects or movement speed effects stun or aren't actually 'immobility' or 'movement speed effects'. Wording is very specific.. thus, very important. At least it can fail frequently!

Things it works on! Frost Armor, Slow and Frost Nova, Root, Hamstring, Earthbind Totem, Frost Shock, Concussive Shot and Frost Trap.

Things it doesn't work on! Sleep, Sap, Sheep, Fear, Death Coil, Warstomp and a rogue with Vile Poisons.

Human: Perception: Increases stealth detection radius/ability. 20s/3m cooldown.

Really? In a world of Shadowstep rogues, really? For 20 seconds, 3m cooldown... very useful in PvP. Highly. Stupendously. Occasionally would be useful in PvE. Like in Arc with the invisible succubi, or Blackheart the Inciter's chamber in SLabs.

Because rogues don't have the patience in PvP to wait until the little 'perception' buff goes away after 20 seconds to sneak up and sap your ass.

It does see through MoD, so if you're about to kill a rogue and they vanish, pop it and you'll be able to whack on them some more.

Night Elf: Shadowmeld: When you are immobile and out of combat, you can be stealthed. Passively it increases stealth level of rogues and kitty druids.

This is about worthless for anything. The only bonus I found for it is when you're guarding a base or something in PvP and you aren't a rogue or druid... and you have nice juicy bait sitting there, all alone, no one else around... The surprise you can imagine on their face when they get charged into by a warrior that was stealthed is priceless. While the clothy bait dances in glee. Whee! Otherwise... pop it after you sit down to eat and drink and you can be stealthed while you snack! Uber! Just don't mount up or sneeze, because BAMF... visible in all your glory! (put your pants back on, pervert.)

Druids and rogues can pop it while their stealth is on cooldown, and it works as a stealth button.

It's usable by laser turkeys and trees as well.

As a bonus! Ooh, bonus! You can log out while in Shadowmeld form! SA-WEET!

Draenei: Gift of the Naaru: A 35+15/level over 15s heal. 1.5s cast time/3m cooldown. (potential for a holy spell lockdown for priests and paladins)

This is a nifty little ability that can come in handy for those draenei players who don't come with an innate ability to heal. In the case of mages with good gear, the healing bonus boosts the spell enough to give some mages the giggles as they see themselves on the healing charts. In terms of PvP, I'm not sure if it can be dispelled (I'd be surprised if it couldn't) and as previously mentioned, there's the chance for it to lock out other holy spells if you're caught casting it.

Nice, but hardly essential (or overtly useful) in PvP, in PvE, sometimes it's the difference between life and death... cast it, go attack, cast it again when it's up if you're still fighting in 3m... hey, it saves on a bandage or a food item!

It cannot crit and costs no mana, so it's only effected by +healing and threat reduction.

Bonuses from a Priest's Silent Resolve, Healing Focus and Spiritual Healing. A shaman's Healing Grace and Purification.

As always.. comments, questions, opinions, criticisms... bring it on! :)

(and more poop! I tried to break my sections with little lines... but that also didn't show up. What's the point of me learning some basic html if it doesn't work here.)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

To imp, or not to imp: that is the question:

I've touched on this in the past and have agreed to disagree in the past with other warlocks over this subject.

I originally posted it because we had a low performing warlock in our Karazhan runs that was demonology/destruction. And they'd bring out and sac their succubus instead of giving the tanks the Blood Pact buff.

I had someone, presumably a high performing demonology/destruction warlock tell me that warlocks shouldn't feel obligated to sacrifice their DPS to give the tanks a fort buff.

I disagreed then and I still disagree now (with qualifiers, as most things have).

Blood Pact at max rank (non improved) gives 66 stamina. Improved it gives 86.
Stamina improves health by 10 health points per one point of stamina (10.5 if you're a tauren!).
Feral druids recieve an additional 20% if they have Heart of the Wild (tauren druids 25%).

(In an aside, c'mon Blizzard. Favor Horde much? ... Ooh, next blog idea. Racial imbalance.)

That's 660 health or 860 health depending on if you have an improved imp or not. I don't do math, so I'm not going to figure out how much feral druids would get.

(caveat: My values are obtained by research through WoWWiki. Please point out any errors.)

So the question becomes... when does it become more valuable to a raid to have a demonology specced warlock keep out (or sacrifice) their minion versus keeping an imp out for blood pact?

That's a very tricky, subtle, variable line.

Master Demonology gives you a variety of buffs if you have out certain minions (or if you sacrifice certain minions with Demonic Sacrifice).

Demon: . . Master Demonology: . . . . . . . . . . .Demonic Sacrifice
Imp: . . . . .Decreases threat by 20%: . . . . . . . Fire Damage increased by 15%
Succubus: Increases (spell) damage by 10%: Shadow Damage increased by 15%

In the beginning, when we were starting Karazhan, our tanks needed every little bit of health they could get, to counteract long drawn out boss fights and low healer mana pools (and low tank health pools). Underperforming DPS raidwise that couldn't be made up by one person increasing their damage by 10 or 15%.

Now, our runs are staffed by awesome healers and tanks that are close to 19k-20k health buffed (14-15k unbuffed). Is that extra bit of health worth it? Not for the tanks necessarily, but I still say it's situational.

Splash damage can effect the 8k health priest, who may benefit from that extra 600-800 health? (Counterargument is that healers should be able to keep people up, and there's a reason we have minimum health requirements for raids. Additionally, a high performing warlock that's performing even higher? Possibly the difference between a raid wipe and a raid success.)

(Case in point: This last weekend we downed Halazzi in ZA. Both tanks were dead at 4% boss health. We still downed him. One of the last DPS still standing was our Demonology warlock. Was that the difference? It's unlikely that the blood pact buff would have saved anyone in that group, but the extra DPS could have been the difference!)

For the warlocks who complain that they have to hit soul shatter early and then back off on DPS because they're hitting the threat cap ... having the imp out for the reduction in threat (20%!!!) may be beneficial, and then they can buff the group as well.

We ask people all the time to not DPS to their utmost for the benefit of the raid. We have mages in ZA who spend several fights doing nothing but chain-sheeping mobs. We sometimes need to have hunters chain-trap mobs in the Moroes fight if we're short on priests.

Do we need to have them do it all the time (mages in ZA, sorry.. you're out of luck!), no. But we don't hesitate to expect someone to stop DPSing to help the raid.

A drop in 10 or 15% of their damage to benefit the raid (or allow them to keep DPSing with that tasty 20% threat reduction)... where do you draw the line? When do you say their DPS isn't as important as the extra health?

Has anyone calculated how much more damage they could do if they could go nuts on the boss with 20% threat reduction? In addition to the 30% of salvation? The 2% on their cloak? If they have Destructive Reach, 10% on their SB and Immolate?

C'mon, who isn't drooling at the thought of a 52/62% threat reduction for their top damaging class that sometimes has to simply STOP damaging at all to stay below the tank in threat?

So I've moved SLIGHTLY from my original thoughts.

At very high health pools on tanks and healers and DPS, the small amount of health from blood pact may not be worthwhile ...

(though we still expect our Kings and Fortitude buffs. Why don't we say that little bit of health isn't worthwhile, either? Where do we draw the line on that? We eke out every last little benefit we can get to buff ourselves, why are we not demanding Blood Pact? And yes, I hear you demonology people going: We're ekeing out the most of our damage with that tasty 10-15% damage increase!)

(Maybe the difference is that Kings and Fort doesn't negatively affect the classes casting them, whereas Blood Pact could technically negatively affect the warlock as they then lose out in proverbial damage done.)

... while the increase in damage may be.

At lower health pools or where lots of people may be taking damage or for the mage tank in Gruuls...

Do you see my point? (Rambling and tangental though it may be.)

Where does the benefit to the raid outweigh the benefit to the individual? When does the benefit to the individual outweigh the benefit to the raid?

Such are the questions of our lives. I'm happy to hear comments, criticisms and thoughts! Because honestly.. where do YOU draw that proverbial line? And what is your rationale for drawing it?

Monday, August 25, 2008

70 Retribution Paladin: J.O.A.T.

A JOAT is an acronym for Jack of All Trades.

The end to that is: Master of None.

A retribution paladin is, in my opinion, a joat. We don't do the best damage. We don't do the best healing. We don't do the best tanking.

But by God, do we help out in all three fields when needed!

To quote RetLoL (my inspiration and source of all knowledge... well, not really, but it's a good plug?) about Ret Pallies in 5-mans.

"Here your job will be firstly, to provide blessings, because likely as not you will be the only paladin in the group. So make a note of what Blessings your party wants and keep them up all the time. But be prepared to pro-actively change them mid fight – healer low on mana and using Blessing of Kings? Switch him to Blessing of Wisdom. DPSer asked for Blessing of Might but is constantly aggroing mobs? Switch her to Blessing of Salvation. DPSer got a bit carried away on the boss and pull aggro? Drop them a Blessing of Protection. This fluidity is what will give you a name as a good Retribution paladin, the ability to adapt to the situations, and do it quickly.

Another thing you will provide is wipe recovery, if a team mate dies be ready to Resurrect them – don’t expect the healer to do it “because it’s the healers job”. And of course if the shit hits the proverbial fan you also have to be fast to get that Divine Intervention up on a healer to save your repair cost… I mean… save the group from a corpse run. Yes, that’s what I said. Helping prevent wipes in the first place, with skilled use of Blessing of Protection, Righteous Defense (in none heroics only) and off healing can also get you a reputation for being a good Retribution paladin.

.~~. (removed nonessential paragraph)

Where auras are considered you are likely to have Sanctity Aura up all the time for the extra DPS, however during some boss fights you may need to swap to a Resistance aura for example, or even Concentration Aura for your healer and casters benefit. Again adaptability is the key."

In my oh so humble opinion... every player that enters an instance should have a certain awareness and adaptability of what is going on around them and to the other people in their group.

Now, sometimes having that awareness won't help anyone at all. But those times, in my opinion, are exceptionally few and far between. This is vitally true for classes who can help by changing their role slightly.

The warlock who steps in and fear yo-yo's something that is too much for the hunter to handle or when the sap breaks early or at a poor time.

The hunter who not only traps one mob, but then kites another that was eating the healer.

The tank who keeps an eye on the life of the group and turns to investigate why someone else's health is dropping so prodigiously.

The boomkin or feral kitty who pops out of form to help heal or who keeps an eye on decursing and removing poison.

The rogue who saps, then blinds the sap, then gouges the sap, then kidney shots the sap, then gouges, then kites, until the tank can pick the sap up.

And the retribution paladin that uses blessing of protection, righteous defense, healing spells, judgements, hammers of justice and wrath, repentence, divine protection and makes sure to keep everyone buffed appropriatly...

Let's face it, have YOU run with such a creature? You have if you've run with me. (shameless plug!)

Sure! 98% of my time playing is spent doing a combination of seal->judge, crusader strike, +/- exorcism if it's a demon/undead, +/- hammer of wrath if it's almost dead.

But the 2% of the time where I'm doing everything and it's brother is the time where you're thankful you have a retribution paladin versus a rogue in your group!

It's a change for me, to go from trying to be the tippytop of the DPS meter, to being content where I wind up being. Because I'm useful. I do decent DPS (400-600 instance depending) when I am able to DPS. Sometimes I'm being the catch-all for whatever is going on.

(Ooh, ooh! In Slabs, against those big pulls of skeletons? Consecration + Holy Wrath = 1500 DPS. *squee*)

It's a subtle role and a lot of people probably miss it. However, I make sure that the people I party with don't miss it because I'm a verbal attention whore. "Did you see what I did there! You are SO lucky that I'm in the group with you!"

(Just kidding! Though I have been informed that when I do blessing of protection on someone who is not the healer, I need to let them know so they can remove it to continue to cast. So I do have a little bit of 'I just bubbled you (name).' advertisement.)

Retribution paladins have a hard role to play. Our contributions to the group are subtle, especially in the heat of the moment. Can a group survive without a retribution paladin? Yes, naturally (duh!). What we bring to the table may not be needed if instead you have another CC class or a straight kick-ass DPS class.

And I hear all the talk about how retribution paladins are getting buffed in WotLK. And I'm happy for that. Yet, I think ret pallies ARE already viable. Hard to play? Yes. Easily put into one group role? No. But viable in 5-mans. Probably also a handy thing to have in 10 and 25 mans, too.

I really need to work on a healing set... not to mention just find something to swap out weapon wise when I wind up being primary healer when the real healer bites the dust! Because 0 bonus healing... not so good.

Things to think about when you're being a retribution paladin.
- You are not going to top the healing or DPS charts and you are not going to do more than tank something for two seconds before probably dying. So don't try. Just do your best to be your best. You are not a tank. You are not a healer. Let these people do their jobs and help only when needed. The tank is not going to thank you for pulling aggro from him. The healer is not going to thank you for sucking up their time and mana from damage you really shouldn't be taking.

- You are going to go through a lot of symbols of kings. Because everytime you have to cast blessing of protection on the DPS, or blessing of protection on the healer... you're going to have to rebuff their usual buff.

- Understand that you are NOT the tank. Sure, righteous defense is a GREAT tool, but keep in mind that the tank is probably (hopefully) already aware of the situation. Only use righteous defense when it's really needed. The tank has a ton of stuff on their plate, the healer is getting eaten, pop righteous defense. Ideally, you'll be standing next to the tank anyway. So the tank can hopefully pull it right off of you without having to run all over the place trying to get aggro. Let the tank know when you are doing this.

- Divine protection is also a great tool. If the healer is swamped and people are taking tons of damage everywhere, pop your shield. Heal yourself. Heal someone else. Then either continue to heal if needed or remove your shield and start DPSing again. That little bit of time where you can't take damage will allow you to heal yourself, let the healer focus on someone who is taking damage, and let you get a little bit of breathing room to help out.

- A lot of tanks will switch targets just before the target dies, to start generating threat on the next target. Some high DPS will also do this. Why is the warlock going to waste their time casting a shadowbolt that hits for 3k, when the mob may die before the bolt actually hits, and the mob only has 1k health left? Waste of time! So everyone leaves except the melee. Sometimes, this mob decides to run away. Hammer of Wrath is your friend in this instance.

- Repentence only works if no one is hitting the mob. The best time to use it is at the start of a pull when the mob isn't near the tank, or if it's an add that's wandering in from somewhere else and is running madly for the healer. This move also only works if you let the tank and DPS understand that you're doing this. It gives them only 6 seconds of wiggle room, but ask any husband... 6 seconds is more than enough!

- Hammer of Justice is saved for interrupts of heals, or stopping it from hitting the priest, or running away or anything else you want it to be for, including a temporary CC. I've done it where I repentence and then hammer - 12 seconds of time out.

- Sometimes you'll want Kings. Sometimes you'll want Wisdom. And sometimes the tank will be a crybaby and you'll need to have on Salvation. Sometimes you'll need to swap buffs for other people as well. Sometimes the hunter will be happy with Might. Sometimes they'll need Salvation because FD is on a 2 minute cooldown and they need the extra threat reduction because they're a hunter that isn't human!

- Pally Power is a must. Must. MUST. Do I need to repeat myself? It's simple. It's easy to use. It lets you figure out who what where and how frequent. It tells you when buffs are wearing off. It's a one click solution so you can free up some of your hotbar places because it's got what you need!

- Other useful things are Grid (I like to have it up on any character that can heal, it's easier for me to see the boxes than for me to see a line of health) and Decursive. Sure, Paladins have one button to hit, but instead of hitting cleanse and finding the person, or finding the person then hitting cleanse, I like the simplicity of left clicking on the highlighted little box at the bottom of my screen and cleansing whomever of whatever. Be careful though, if you have multiple alts that have decursing/debuffing/dewhatevering options, you'll wind up Abolishing Poison when you should be DeCursing on your druid, or Abolishing Disease when you shoud be Dispelling Magic on your priest. Paladins are simple. Cleanse.

(Boon will tell me that Grid and Decursive are crutches. I USED to be able to heal and decurse and dispell all without the use of add-ons. He and I are OLD SCHOOL. But just because old school worked just peachy and fine and was wonderful doesn't mean we shouldn't avail ourselves to the benefits of modern technology. And for new healers and people who have a lot of stuff on their screen and a lot of things to do... anything to help organize and highlight issues that you need to take care of is a bonus. It doesn't play FOR you (big no no!) but it issues the information you need to see in a format that's easy TO see.)

(By the way, Boon is magical. Seriously. He's the fastest cleanser in the West! And don't get me started on healing. Oy. Blizzard needs to nerf Boon.)

So... yet more rambling about non-warlock related things from me. I'll probably post something warlock related in the next few days. I'm eyeing the uses of imps in raids versus the increase in self-damage from demonology-specced-non-imps. I may have posted this before. But I'm going to post again. Because this is my blog and I can.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Casual Raiding: Progression

Yet another article in my 'Casual Raiding' line of misinformative blogs!

As you know, we've been hitting ZA for two hours on Sunday nights. We usually hit Nalorakk and Akil'zun and call it an evening.

Last night, we cleared to Nalorakk in record time... and then had a mage take an emergency phone call. We tried to bull through 9-manning it, and though we didn't actually wipe, we wound up losing out on the chest anyway because and I don't know how... we managed to pull Nalorakk along with the last mob that was sheeped.

We're special.

One wipe on Nalorakk due to bad luck in terms of his deafening roar and low health on the other tank.

We did the gauntlet without any wipes and killed Akil'zun without any wipes.

We had almost a half hour left of our allotted two hour time!

We decided to try our hand at Halazzi again, the Lynx boss.

I don't recall now if it was 2 or 3 attempts, but regardless... second to last attempt: 13%.

Last attempt: 4%. We'd have done it too, if it weren't for you kids!... er, if the rogue hadn't died at the first spirit split. Stupid Lynx.

Oh... and I tanked it. RAWR. And got the Charmed Amani Jewel put into my Tameless Breeches. Yay nummy stamina. Nom nom.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Second String

Most of us have one main, and a scattering of lesser geared alts.

The second string is defined as: The group of players that substitute for the starting players or from which substitute players are drawn on a sports team.

By that definition, the unspoken but true rationale is that your second string players aren't as good as your first choice, but are what you have left over.

Now in the world of professional sports, the second string players are still a skill level of a few galactic magnitudes above the rest of the world and are probably not that far behind in skill from the first string.

In the World of Warcraft, the second string players, our alts, are usually really not as good as our main characters. We don't devote the time to them to get them the gear, to get them the gems, the enchants, to learn how to play one effectively.

In short, second string WoW characters are usually craptacular.

Thus, when you find a second string (aka: Alt) person that is kicking ass, taking names and doing their makeup while driving down the road on the cellphone... you wonder what their main is like!

Now, this may be because despite their main being their main and their alt being their alt, they really are better at their alt than their main. We've all encountered this... the healer that couldn't heal their way out of a paper bag, but stick them on their dps character and they're solo-killing Brutallis while offtanking Magtheridon.

On the other hand, you have people who, though dint of trying, skill, knowledge of game mechanics and no life... who are pretty damn good at any character they put their hand to.

And yes, I do mean me! :D


(No, I'm not.)

(You believed me? I'm kidding!)

(... you believed that? *snicker*)

Now, I don't delude myself into thinking Kava the rogue is in the same league as Kikidas the warlock, immolate/spell rotation questions aside!, but I do think I make an okay rogue. I do think I make an okay hunter. I do think I make an okay (insert class here). Why is that?

Well, okay instead of OMFGWONDERFUL because of gear and time spent playing and researching. But I do read my stuff, I do research basic talents and builds and information on the class I'm intending on living in for the next little while.

I learn what attributes I want to emphasize, what hit rating I need to get, what talents are especially useful, what talents are a big waste of time, what pets are best to use when, what gear I should be looking for... etc.

Not everyone does that for their second string. Their second string are strictly for farming or for holding items or bank alts or for goofing around and dying on.

I suppose my point to this is... we're starting a second Karazhan run in our guild. We have only two warlocks, who also double as tanks. Kikidas/Kathe and Absitively/Posolutely. What this means is that unless we pug a warlock (or somehow recruit one or have someone make one), we're always going to be stuck in our DPS position as a warlock. In Abs/Pos' case, not a big deal, he doesn't have a second string DPS.

In my case, it's a little frustrating. I have people I want to get into Karazhan, some who are working towards that goal and will probably never get there (Kiya the hunter, we already have a ton of hunters and Kvasira the ret pally, because who would take a ret pally over another DPS.) and others who are working towards that goal and I'd like to get in there (Kava the rogue is at Kara level and I've been in there twice, eventually Karitei the mage and Karika the resto shaman. Additionally, I have Keyami the prot warrior, but she still needs a bunch of work.).

Thankfully, this week will work for me in our Wednesday/Monday run. We're splitting it - to Curator the first night, past Curator in the second evening. I was able to take Kava to the first half, no real need for a warlock... and we have a pug warlock coming in for the Monday half, which means I can still take Kava since we'll have a warlock for Illhoof.

In general though, I expect I'm going to be very frustrated with the fact that I'm going to get stuck with either my healer Kiljara, warlock Kikidas or rawr tank Kathe. Now, badges are nice, don't get me wrong and I want to take Kathe when a tank spot is available.... but dang. It would be nice to not have to be limited.

People who ONLY have one character that's Kara ready... well, they get to go. Because they don't have someone they could be otherwise. So... they get to go as that person, all the time. People who have multiple 70's who are Kara ready... we get the short end of the stick. We're stuck waiting to see what gets filled so we can fill in what's left, unless we say, "I want to go as this person.", and then we feel terrible when the spot we declare we want to take... leaves someone else out. :(

Sucks to be second string. :(

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Moardots! Increasing DPS and Damage Done

No, I didn't respec UA, don't get your hopes up.

However, based on what I reviewed earlier, about spell rotation and the website I had found, I made a few changes to my casting rotation.

I removed Immolate. I added CoE. I slapped up Corruption and Siphon Life and then I SB spammed until it was time to slap up Corruption and Siphon Life again.

Due to this, not using improved CoA... I wonder if I should respec slightly, since the only reason to use Amplify Curse is on Curator for CoD and for CoA. I shall have to ponder.

What I noticed is that instead of about 35% of my damage coming from SB, it jumped to nearly 50%.

I also noticed that I was getting more use out of the Improved ShadowBolt debuff, as I was able to almost always hit the mob with 4-5 SB's by the time it wore off.

Now true, some of my increase in damage tonight in ZA was due to shamelessly gleeful use of SoC. *nummy* But one fight where I wasn't AoEing, I topped 1k DPS. *squee*

What doesn't help me is that every so often in a boss fight, I have to just stop casting. I'll have already used soulshatter, and I'm still passing the tanks on Omen.

Just imagine what I could do if I didn't have to stop casting. Or just imagine what I'd have to NOT do if I didn't have salvation and subtlty on.

Love. Warlock.

By the way, I switched to Recount. I really do like it. Not only does it tell you what your overall DPS is, you can select current fight, overall information AND if you select your name, it breaks down what abilities you use for the damage... and if you select an ability, it breaks it down for you in terms of hit, crit, miss, resist, etc.

So, just a friendly reminder kids... even if you think you're already doing the most awesome and the best and there's nothing you could possibly change to do better...

Yeah. You probably could do something better or different or tweak yourself just that extra little bit. Sometimes the difference between a boss dying and a boss living is a holy night elf priest using Starshards everytime it's up. (See, tweak! It isn't very many of the night elf healy priests that use Starshards whenever it's available. It's a skill that now costs no mana to use and is no longer channeled. So, unless you're having to spam heal your tank (which is sometimes what is going on!)... why not use it?)

Grow and evolve. Provide moardots. Make your raid leader happy. Make yourself happy!

There's a lesson in life in this too. This doesn't apply only to the game. Now, naturally, you can't really cast Starshards on your boss, as much as you wish you could... but in every aspect of your life... there's always room for improvement, even if you're already awesome. :)

Saturday, August 9, 2008

PvP: Do or Do Not, there is no Try

My last post on PvPing had... a lot of comments! And not just from my sphere of guildmates that read my blog religiously (and by religiously, I mean if they don't, I will bug them mercilessly until they read it, so they pray that they get a chance to read it before I actually spot them and can needle them), but from strangers! Friendly strangers. I think one offered me candy...

The comments I recieved were ... well, similar to what I posted, which is to be expected. Quitters, naked parties... sounds like college, actually.

Now, people can take the famous quote: "Do or Do Not, there is no Try" to mean several different things.

If you can't succeed, don't bother trying. That's Do Not, right?
If you can succeed, that's when you try. That's Do, right?


Success isn't what you're doing or not doing. You do your best. Or you do not do your best. You don't try to do your best.

It's something I see a little bit in myself, in friends, and in ... everyone. We all have this trait.

If we aren't good at a game, we stop playing it. I don't play chess or Monopoly for just that reason (unless the chess is 'Eat Me' and I'm just being the banker in Monopoly, I like to forclose on houses! Muahahaha!), because I'm just plain not very good at those games. And honestly, it isn't that much fun to keep losing.

More than merely stop playing it, you tell everyone, 'Oh, I'm terrible at chess!'... and then you don't even try to do well, which results in a swift victory for your opponent, which validates your opinion! 'See, I'm horrible!'.

It's a natural thing to do. We stop playing the things we're good at, or only do it if we're dragged into it, kicking and screaming and not doing our best, and we only willingly do the things we are good at.

This is natural. This is why we have professional baseball players and board certified surgeons in specialized fields. They were good at it, they kept doing what they were good at, and they got better.

Unfortunately, the game is not like real life. Even more unfortunately, BG's are more like baseball than the surgeon. I could be the best PvPer in the galaxy... but I'm partnered up with 9 scrubs who want to dance naked in Trollbane Hall... gonna lose.

Now, this isn't true for everyone. Some people willingly go ahead and realize that if they don't keep trying at something, they will never get to be good at it. They do their best, even if their best isn't very good, and they keep doing their best. Sometimes they learn, sometimes, they'll laughingly admit that they just don't have what it takes... but they'll do it anyway, because they enjoy the game that they play and the people they are with.

PvP unfortunately, boils down our personality traits and leaves us with the bare minimums.

Take me, for example! I have two modes when I PvP. I turn into Tourette Girl in the privacy of my own home and stay silent on the BG chat or I turn into the class clown, making funny remarks, lightening the mood and keeping everyone happy, even if we're losing.

The reason I keep PvPing, was because I needed some gear and because there's an addictive quality to some BG aspects, more pointedly when I was resto/balance. How many HK's CAN I rack up, doing nothing but tossing HoT's on people? Holy hell. That's a lot.

Being feral in WSG... yeah, just TRY to stop me from running the flag across to our base. Maybe we can't cap it because most of my teammates can't find their asses if you gave them a guided tour, but damnit, I'm getting it to our base.

My point... I'm not the best PvPer. I admittedly state that I do not have the mindset for individual one on one combat, when the person doesn't follow a set rule that I can understand. I can't build threat on him. I can't keep the healer CC'd reliably. I can't... PvE it. It's PvP. If it wasn't for Kathe needing BG gear, I'd still be sitting here vehemently stating that PvP is a nightmare (still is... but... eh.) and that I'd never do it! NEVER EVER EVER! NOooooooOOO! I WILL NOT GO! *nail marks being dragged into the cement*.

However. I do my best. I do not expect to succeed. But I do my best. I do my best because anything else is a failure on my part. I give my best because that is my nature to do. I do not quit. I do not give up. Even if everyone around me is dancing nekkid... I do my best. Because I am not a quitter. Because I am not an Alliance Loser. Because I am K. And K is great.


The attitude of Alliance players makes SENSE, even if I don't agree with them. It isn't any fun to LOSE all the time, even if they TRY (evil evil trying! nooo!), or rather, especially if they try!


So, since some of them are in it for the long (or short) haul of a goal in mind (I need just 10 more badges! Just lose real quick so I can go to my next BG...), they turn it around. Losing despite trying sucks. Losing because you admit that *tittertitter* I'm so terrible at this game! *gigglegiggle*, isn't so bad. Losing because you CHOOSE to lose, even better! It's a loss on your terms. It isn't because you SUCK, it's because you lost on purpose! Huge difference, even if you aren't thinking of it in those terms.


Now, you and I, and everyone else who is probably a bit more mature than your average PvPer... realizes that ... what I wrote just above ... is a load of crap.


You make of your life, of your game, of your Battleground, what you put into it. If you put crap into it, guess what you get out of it?


If you put your best into it, even if you LOSE, you get the best out of it. You really do win.

Fuzziness on the Blogging Scene

Anyone know why, at least half the time, when I post a picture in one of my blogs, it messes up the title of that blog, and will sometimes mess up the blog I post afterwards?

By mess up, I mean you can't see what is there unless you mouse over it?

Rawr Tank

Gauntlets of Malorne and Tameless Breeches are now mine.


Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Merits of Gear

It has been the frustration of many a tanking druid that we seem to be s.o.l. for leather tanking gear, outside of 25 mans. Karazhan only has two T4 pieces for us.

Heavy Clefthoof only gets you so far.

Heroic drops only get you so far.

You'd have to run badge run after badge run in Karazhan and heroics to get the super-awesome-omg-I-love-you badge reward gear. Which is well worth doing and should be done.

But until then, I decided to plug my holes with PvP gear.

The nice thing about druid tanks is that we're the only tanking class where resilience works as well as defense... especially since not a lot of leather pieces have defense on it. :P We can't block or parry, so we dodge like Neo. And we can reach uncrittableness either through 415 defense(with 3/3 Survival of the Fittest) or 100 resilience... or some combination thereof.

But some of the pieces we need... like our T4 pieces, can only be found in 25 mans. Which makes your average, ordinary druid s.o.l.

Now, don't get me wrong, you can get very nice drops in Karazhan, without any badge pieces or other heroic gear. Helmet, gloves, neck piece, cloak, rings, trinket and boots.

Heroic pieces of note: Tree-Mender's Belt from H.Ramps
Barkchip Boots from H.UB
Feral Staff of Lashing from H.Bot -- if you're still struggling with defense and armor however, Earthwarden is still the weapon of choice.
Forestwalker Kilt from H.MT
Forestheart Bracers from H.Shattered Halls
Cloak of Blade Turning from H.MrT
Commendation of Kael'Thas from H.Dead Mines (what... shut up. He could be there. They brunch on Tuesdays.)
Yor's Revenge and Nexus Prince's Ring of Balance from a quest to summon Yor in H.MT

Crafted pieces of note:
Boots of Natural Grace is a BoP LW recipe.
Belt of Natural Power is a BoE LW recipe.
Resolute Cape is a BoE Tailoring recipe.
Hard Khorium Band and Hard Khorium Choker are BoE JC recipes.
Figurine - Empyrean Tortoise is a BoP JC recipe.

Everything else... is 25 man or PvP gear.

So, in my quest to finally get out of the Heavy Clefthoof Leather I've been wearing 4eva! I've been badge running Kara and heroics and PvPing until my eyes have bled and my admittedly limited patience for PvP has completely disappeared.

But, I was shocked and horrified to discover that my "upgrades" from PvPing ... were almost downgrades! Actually, in one case, it was!

The Merciless Gladiator's Dragonhide Leggings have a lot less armor and a lot less stamina than Heavy Clefthoof Leggings. A lot less stamina because if you figure that you're gemming Solid Star of Elune's in two of the three spaces, that's .. a lot less stamina. Or even in all three. Or if you were crazy enough to socket Solid Empyean Sapphire or Eye of the Sea.

However, the Tameless Breeches, given that they're 100 badge piece rewards, are a much bigger upgrade than both.

So what's the problem, I hear you say. Just get the breeches. The problem is that I was PvPing to get the PvP pants, figuring they were better without actually checking. Because I can sometimes be an idiot.

So I go looking.. I have all this honor to buy something, and only 92 badges (so close to 100 piece.. must... instance... arrrgh!). So I can't get both the breeches and the Embrace of Everlasting Prowess that I was wanting to get.

However, the Merciless Gladiator's Dragonhide Tunic, while not as good in terms of armor as the Heavy Clefthoof Vest is clearly an upgrade in all other attributes.

So I bought that, and have changed from planning on buying the 100 badge chest piece to planning on buying the 100 badge leg piece. Once I get 8 more badges.

And then I get to start badge-collecting.. all.. over.. again.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

PvP: Attempt to Win, or Attempt to Lose

Back in highschool, there was a version of chess called 'Eat Me' that the chess club had it's stupid members play. I excelled at Eat Me.

Basically, it was a game to see who could lose the fastest. By this, the goal was that any piece of mine that I put in a position for one of your pieces to take, you had to take it. That was your move. The winner was the person who lost at chess.

Lately, in PvP, I've been seeing people who, not even with us losing the battleground, state: "Let's just lose".

W. T. F?

No wonder Alliance is horrible, half of the people in any given battleground probably aren't really trying, they're just doing token crap to avoid being reported /afk. Because it's a given that the Alliance will lose, right?

If that's your thought... why are you there?

Some people are farming battleground marks and to them, a fast lose is better than a slow lose or even a slow hard fought win. (nevermind that you get more marks if you do a fast win... that's just too hard to do though, it requires an ATTEMPT. We can't do that! Geez.)

Some people are there to farm honor and HK's. Ookay. I do BG's to farm honor, but you get more honor by winning. Heck, you get more bonus honor by TRYING in a losing BG than by merely letting the other side win. A close run will have the losing team still getting almost 200 bonus honor from the BG. As for HK's... go to AV and play defense.

But some people are PvPing for marks, honor and because it's what they like to do. And you, Mr. Quitter, are taking that away from them by not doing your best, the way they are doing their best.

Sure, sure, it's everyone for themselves! (We all have to be the hero! No team play ever. Focus fire on their healer? Why, I almost got this rogue dead! ... crap, how'd he survive? Why am I dead?)

We're going to lose anyway! (And I wonder how the Alliance got the rep for PvP that we do... geez.)

My thought on it, even in the face of obvious defeat... keep trying. Why? For a variety of reasons.

Practice makes perfect. Practice like you play. Both espouse the same thought. If you 'practice' poorly, and don't try, and don't give a damn because this isn't a real game or whatever you are thinking, you won't get better. You don't push yourself, guess what? You stay where you are. An Alliance Loser.

Learning Curve. Some people have a higher learning curve than others. Sure, you can be sitting there going, "OMG. Don't they know 'Fight at the node, not on the road!'", but it could very well be someone who is new to PvP or battlegrounds or that battleground. They may NOT know the rules. So take a chill pill and just say it with a smile. Watch them die up the road from the flag. Comment in battlegrounds, "If you come to the node, we'll help you kill him." or "If you come to the node, I'll heal you.". They'll learn. And you don't continue the cycle of stupid BG remarks like, 'omfg u nubs. l2pvp. lolz. f*ing moron.'

Strategy. The more often I do various BG's, the more often I see a variety of different strategies. Group 1 here, Group 2 there, Group 3 there. Group 1 Defense, Group 2 Offensive. Groups 1-4 Galv, Groups 5-8 RH.

I see which ones work better, I see which ones work worst. I see which ones have no chance of working when your group is made up of 5 warriors, 5 hunters, 2 feral druids, 2 rogues and 1 paladin. (that was a very bad AB for the Alliance. We got hosed. They had 4 paladins, 3 priests and 3 shaman.)

And I learn. And in some battlegrounds, where everyone is trying, and a strategy that has a hope of working is laid out -- like the bg leader actually arranging the groups so there's a healer in each group -- we stand a chance to win.

One thing the Horde have... is strategy. And frakin paladins. Dear lord, every base and node has a freaking holy paladin sitting there just screwing up your attempts to cap. What a good idea to have! Too bad we don't ever learn from our mistakes. We're so busy giving the victory to the other side to bother to see what they're doing or learn from it.

They have roving defenses in AB. So even though the node only appears to have 2 people at it, in about three seconds, it's going to have 8. (Which would be a perfect time to hit something ELSE, but nooo, let's just keep bashing our head against the wall.)

It's frustrating to be Alliance when trying to PvP. It really is. But when it works... we're just players who actually are trying.

If you walk into a battleground expecting to lose... you will.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Spell Rotation and You

You can look on WoWWiki and find nothing in there that directly links to an entry called 'Spell Rotation', or 'Casting Rotation', but if you scroll down what they DO have, you'll see every class represented (including melee!) with an ability rotation.

If you google it, you get even more random information!

Spell Rotation, as I define it, is the rotation that you cast/use your spells/abilities to maximize your DPS/TPS/HPS in the most efficient manner possible.

Each class, indeed, each SPEC has their own spell rotation. There will be some variation in how individual people cast their spells or use their abilities. No one, afterall, is perfect. (except me, but c'mon, this isn't titled Spell Rotation and K, this is titled Spell Rotation and You)

There are websites out there that you can plug in your gear, abilities, etc, and it will tell you the optimal spell rotation to use. You can play around with it. See how it differs from what you personally use.

According to that website, with some other warlock putting up curse of elements, I should be running approximately 1300 DPS. (on raid bosses)

If I have to put up CoE, I should be pushing approximately 964 DPS.

If I ignore CoE and use CoA, I should be pushing approximately 991 DPS.

So obviously, I'm not as perfect as I thought. This is a major life changing moment here... I don't think I can continue.


Okay, all better.


But you see, what this means is that everyone can improve their spell rotation with either outside help like the website I linked, or just by knowing your abilities!

Siphon Life works BEST if you have all your affliction spells up on the target.

Improved Shadow Bolt can put a debuff on the target that increases shadow damage.

(I just learned that Immolate... doesn't change my DPS one bit if I include it or not. That tells you something! Bye bye Immolate!)

For mages, frost mages want their target to be frozen (or something!) to increase the damage of their water elemental. Fire mages want their target scorched to increase their fire damage. Arcane mages have their own particular rotation that they need to increase their arcane damage.

And I could go on and on and on. But I'm not feeling that generous today. You'll have to imagine what I'd say about rogues, shaman, shadow priests, etc.

Tanks need to generate a certain TPS to maintain aggro over their casters. Some people have macros to always have up shield block or maul/mangle, or trinket use.

Some of TPS is gear and hit rating dependent, as well, naturally, talent dependent.

Bear tanks should be mauling every chance they get. Just click it, and it'll go off when your next melee attack would be, in the mean while, mangle whenever it's up and lacerate in between.

Warriors have devastate and revenge and shield block and their own rotation. Paladins, likewise.
Roars, shouts, blessings, judgements, faeries... all of that goes into a tank's 'spell rotation'. 'Said, if you're gonna play the game, boy, ya gotta learn to play it right. You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away and know when to run.'
So true, Kenny... so true.
The three tanks need to gear up differently (obviously, since bears can't wear plate), but paladins should not be gearing up the way a warrior gears up. They generate their threat differently, they have different talents that redirect the damage incoming differently. Etc. But that has nothing to do with ability rotation and more to do with knowing what you need to gear up your tank. Nothing makes us more sad than to see a paladin trying to be a warrior.

Where we get into the fudgy part are healers. How do you calculate a spell rotation when what spell you need to cast depends on how much damage your tank is taking or the group is taking? It's a moment by moment question.

I'm talking raid boss encounters, since arguably, any trash or multiple mob encounter is going to have every class doing something different. Mages aren't going to be only IB or FB, they're going to be sheeping too, which changes their cast rotation. Etc. Etc. Blah. Blah. So, raid bosses where there's just arguably one person and DPS just have to focus on not overtaking the tank.

The different healing classes have different methods of healing, different efficiencies. A paladin should be spamming flash of light. A priest should be using mostly greater heals and renews. A shaman uses healing wave and earth shield. A druid is most effective by staying in tree form and casting regeneration, regrowth and lifebloomx3 on their target.

A priest casting flash heal is going to be less effective (albeit, faster at getting some health to the target) than a priest casting greater heal (even a downranked greater heal). A person with only 2k damage (not tank) from splash damage doesn't need a flash heal. Doesn't need a greater heal. Heal Rank 4 or Renew is more than enough to top them off. Now, again, this varies depending on what fight you're in.

For example: Nalorakk in ZA. He charges the DPS once and then goes right back to the tank. The DPS gets walloped for 2-4k. Does the group healer need to be flash healing OMG! to get them back up? ... No... a renew will work just fine or a heal rank 4. Less mana used. It doesn't get them topped off fastest, but it does what you need it to do, and a renew allows your passive mp5 to continue to keep your mana bar full.

Akil'zun in ZA requires a different method. The static charge that hits several people makes prayer of healing (especially during collapse) especially useful! (Or circle of healing if you are specced that far). And given that you can't tell where the static charge will hit or when a bird will come by and whack said DPS, that's when faster heals are probably more useful than a longer cast spell.

Now, this isn't saying that flash heal doesn't have its use.... after a roar by Nalorakk, the tank is going to be pretty low on health, so low the paladin next to you is going to be swearing up a blue streak. Flash heal to get him to a place where the paladin spamming his flash of light is enough to keep him alive while you hit him with a greater heal.

My shaman isn't high enough yet for me to comment on the healing differences between lesser healing wave versus healing wave. But to my knowledge, they're using Earth Shield to keep the tank up while their big slow heal is incoming, with a bonus from lower ranked Healing Wave's causing their big heal to be even bigger. I'm sure there are times when you need to hit the tank with a fast little heal to keep them alive long enough for a larger heal to go through. Naturally, shaman also have the nifty ability to instantly cast one of their spells.

The paladin spell of choice is flash of light. Boon says he can just cast that until the cows come home and he'll never run out of mana. Now, that's a slight fallacy... the longer the fight goes on, naturally the lower his mana will run. But for the most part.. yeah, he can chain cast flash of light for steady, fast, single target speed healing. Paladins however, do not excel with multiple healing targets.

Druids are kings of HoT's. Their most effective way of healing is tree of life form and not using their healing touch spell, but instead using their HoT's. Just stacking it and stacking it and stacking it. Not even specced resto, my druid can stack regrowth, rejuvination and lifebloomx3 and heal a nice chunk of health rather quickly. Druids also have the instant cast spell if they need to whack someone with a big Healing Touch for some super fast heal, as well as swiftmend.

So, spell rotation for healers... really depends on the fight, other healers in the raid with them, and who is taking damage from what.

I guess for healers... it's potion rotation! If it's a long fight, you pot as soon as you're down 2-4k mana. For my priest, my first 'potion' is my shadowfiend. Then two potions, then shadowfiend again.

I heart Shadowfiend.

Friday, August 1, 2008

9 Level 70s

By the time WotLK comes out... I want to have 9 level 70's.

I'm well on my way. My issue is that for my last three characters, my husband has made me promise to not level without him.

Which has slowed down my progress considerably! He wants to do other things like instance or heroics. Bah!

He is destroying my dream!

So, I have to urge him onwards, or convince him that playing with his wife is really overrated. Any suggestions? Maybe take him out to Red Lobster every time we complete a level... that's a total of 28 times!

I cannot have anything under level 70 by the time I get my Death Knight. CANNOT! ... do you know your scores?

Yesterday we were running Sethekk -- our tank was underleveled for the instance, but the rest of us were appropriate. 66 tank, 67 paladin, 68 priest, 70 warlock and 70 mage.

The mage told us he was an alt. We chimed in with, "So are we!" and then he asked us if we knew the site. We responded with, "Yup.".

He then told us what his score was ... presumably off the top of his head. I can't remember my score. I'm lucky I can remember my ATM pin number!

I felt a little ashamed... like maybe he was thinking 'Sure, they have alts. Right. No one who is really an alt would have a ret paladin because they know how stupid ret pallies are! Duh!'.

I have... a lot... of alts. I can't remember all their scores. Do you?

Besides which, I kinda like the setup of WoW Heroes better.

And actually, I'm going to change my armory profiles on my level 70's to profiles from WoW-Heroes.

Kvasira in the End Game

No, I'm not there yet. But I will be shortly.

I've persevered and though I'm not the top of the DPS charts in the runs I'm in, I'm not that far behind... and I serve group utility. I off-heal. I buff. I protect (blessing of protection on the priest is very handy!). I sometimes taunt. And I do damage. Decent damage.

At level 67 (I'm 68 now), I was pushing 270-300ish DPS in Durnhold, Crypts, Mana Tombs and Sethekk Halls (the lower the level of the mobs, the higher my DPS, as is typical).

In one instance, I outDPSed the rogue we were running with. In another, I was keeping pace (lower than, but pacing) a level 70.

My next step is to figure out where I fit into end game raiding and playing. I have no illusions about my abilities, but I also have no illusions about my chances of getting into the PuG heroics I'd like to run. Will my group run with me? Yes, they will. And I will run heroics as often as that group decides to run them.

But the downside to a retribution paladin is that we are gear dependent, much like a rogue and other melee classes. Every level, I go to the auction house and I upgrade whatever gear I can. In the past, with other characters, I'd let two or three levels pass before I visited the auction house. But my DPS goes down the tubes if I don't stay on top of the gear that I need.

One thing I've discovered, by just looking at PvP weapons (which I've read are probably the best a RetPally could probably have), that a lot of the PvP level 70 gear ... looks like what I look for on the auction house.

Strength and Intellect. (Stamina)
Crit Rating
Variety of things like increased damage from Judgement of Crusader and cooldown on Hammer of Justice.

I was looking at the Merciless Gladiator's Vindication set, the Gladiator's Greatsword, Vindicator's Scaled Belt, Vindicator's Scaled Bracers and Vindicator's Scaled Greaves.

Now.. this is a LOT of PvP.. and for someone who reportedly hates PvP. I calculated it... 133222 Honor, 90 AV, 90 AB, 50 WSG and 40 EOTS.

Now, as I'm rereading what I typed, some of the gear is showing up on WoWHead as Arena gear, some of it is showing up as tier tokens. And maybe they are, but then I can't figure out why I saw them in Stormwind?

Now.. here's the real shocker. I'm finding that I don't mind PvP all THAT much. I still don't have the mindset for it. I can't kill anything to save my life (get it, can't kill to ... nevermind). But I'm good at screwing up other people's goals! Oh, are you trying to heal... FERAL CHARGE or BASH! Rawr. Or when I was resto/balance... Entangling Roots, Cyclone and LifebloomLifebloomLifebloom!

So, just maybe... maybe... it won't be so bad.

Now, obviously, this gear has nothing on it for Hit Rating, for which I figure what I didn't have in other gear (cloak, neck piece, etc), I'd make up for with gems.

Now, this is a pipedream.. I know this, you know this. But at least it gives me a goal to work towards on gearing Kvasira up outside of heroics with my friends.

Still working on Badge Gear and a few more PvP pieces for Kathe.

But ... there it is. Kvasira is viable in PvE. Once I get Kings (it's my level 70 talent point), I'm set.