Thursday, 12 January 2012

The Way Of The Star Wars

Not a lot of updates around here recently. Sort of around the time 4.3 came out I have stopped. That's because I decided, as I was going to play some other game, I wouldn't start on 4.3 and Deathwing at all. A shame because I'd have liked to seen him killed, but I don't think it was a possibility without many months of gear grinding and Blizzard nerfing the final raid encounters many times (Icecrown buff any one).

So I have gone off to a galaxy far far away...

However, as usual, there are blogs and what not to wibble on. One such blog is Star Wars MMO, which talks about Star Wars The Old Republic and my experiences playing the Jedi Knight and Sith Warrior.

So enjoy WoW, I may be back to make a Kung Fu Panda, maybe not.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Blizzard Class Balance and Stuff Q&A

Recently there was a Q&A on class balance and other stuffs, and MMO Champion posted the transcript.
Q: Are there any plans to simplify the feral cat druid dps rotations or are you happy where they are right now?
A: The Feral rotation has been simplified slightly in 4.3 by renaming the Glyph of Shred and allowing it to trigger off Mangle instead. In addition, in 5.0 Mangle will no longer cause a bleed damage debuff and so no longer be required in the rotation. At that point, the two abilities will be interchangeable, changing only by whether a Feral Druid can attack from behind or not. That will make Feral easier to play in high movement encounters and encounters with facing restrictions. The current Feral Charge and Stampede talents are becoming part of Wild Charge, so you can select not to have that complexity with Ravage. Past that, we are pretty happy with the rotation and feel there is a strong Feral community that enjoys the current rotation.

Q: Moonkin are losing many of their core talents to the general "druid talent tree." How will they be compensated? It seems like we'll probably be forced to take these talents while the other druid specs will have options. Why were many more (500%?) balance talents taken away while talents from other specs werent?
A: If you look at the tree carefully, you will find that talents from other Druid specs were also placed in the tree, such as Tree of Life, Feral Charge, Feline Swiftness, and Nature's Swiftness. In general, if a Druid wishes to keep the exact same abiltiies they have today, they can, they are just locking themselves out of some of the new choices. In particualr, the level 60 row has Feral Charge vs. Tree of Life vs. Force of Nature. Each of the existing 4.3 specs has something in that row, and the exciting opportunity to take something that belonged to a different spec instead.

Q: With the previously mentioned removal of the +bleed debuff will Feral druids have Mangle taken away to become Guardian only and Shred lose its positional requirement. Without the bleed debuff and its obvious lower damage output than shred, Mangle is extremely situational especially when somebody else is already providing the ability. Or will Mangle debuff on the target just increase the feral druids bleeds and shred damage?
A: Mangle and Shred will both exist for Feral (cats). Mangle will no longer apply a debuff, but will be usable from any facing, whereas Shred will offer slightly more overall DPS if you are able to stay behind the target. Guardians (bears) will have Mangle, but not Shred.

Q: For the Druid talent: Incarnation, what does this talent do to Balance/Moonkin Players?
A: Incarnation for Balance transforms the Druid in to the Chosen of Elune Form, which currently increases spell damage done and Solar and Lunar energy generated. That is, of course, subject to change.

Q: Rogues and Feral Druids currently spend a good portion of their attack time just sitting and Autoattacking because they have to wait for Energy regen. Is there anything that you guys are thinking about to help lessen the waiting?
A: Honestly, we would prefer if all classes worked like that. The Energy model is the one that is most tolerant for lag, player error, movement and just giving players a chance to stop tunneling so much on the target and pay a little attention to the rest of the fight. We don't like it when any class fills every GCD. It works okay for casters, as long as they aren't using all instant spells.

Q: I think this is the main question that feral druids seems to have right now: when you said that Shred will do "slightly" more damage than Shred, did that mean that mangle is going to get buffed a little to provide less penalities in the several encounters we can't Shred? Because the difference between those skills is pretty big currently. ^^
A: Our own internal numbers show that once the Glyph of Shred works from Mangle as well as Shred, the difference between a Mangle and a Shred rotation is actually fairly small (in the 5% range).

Q: As a Druid, I feel that the level 90 talents feel too much like work. You guys put so much effort into making the Moonkin unique and more complex, so why force us to shift more often to "fill other combat roles?" Poor kitties are going to have a nightmare of a time dealing with this...
A: The level 90 Druid talents deliberately come in 3 different levels of work required. Heart of the Wild is perfect for an encounter where there is a period where increased healing is needed for a short time, and dps is not the need of the encounter. Something like the Chimaeron encounter where more healing is needed at certain times, and dps is less important. Master Shapeshifter targets the Druid who is willing to do a lot of work shifting back and forth or occasionally needs to heal or damage, such as Blood Queen Lanathel, where a Tranquility boosted by the talent would help your group a lot during her air phase. Disentanglement is there for the "lazy" Druid who doesn't want to do that work, but still gets some benefit from a well-timed shapeshift.

Q: A lot people are worried that with druids being able to do well at our other roles, we'll see the return of the "hybrid tax". It's the same old story: if we can perform any role when needed, raids will stack us, unless we don't do as well in our specific roles, in which case we're bad at what we most want to do. What assurance can we get that we won't have this problem?
A: We are very interested in opening opportunities for more hybrid gameplay in druids, as you can see in the level 90 talent tier, while still allowing an option for players who want to never do anything outside their role. We don't intend for that added hybridization to be offset by any sort of DPS nerf. While DPSing, a druid's DPS will be entirely competitive with other DPS. We hope to see druids that do things like, "DPS in Cat Form most of the fight, but during one phase, when healing is super difficult, pop out of Cat, hit Heart of the Wild, Tranquility, and spam heals on the raid to help top everyone off, then go back to Cat and resume DPSing." In that sort of the situation, the Cat will have spent less time DPSing than other DPSers, but his/her DPS while DPSing would have been competitive, and in exchange helped save the raid when healers were falling behind. You can probably think of many situations where this would be useful in raid content, or in some 5man content, and frequently in PvP. To clarify a bit further on how the druids will perform at their off-roles: Ferals and Guardians will have Nurturing Instinct, which increases spell power based on Agility, and Balance and Restoration will have Killer Instinct, which increases attack power based on Intellect. They will have a smaller toolbox of spells for their off-role, but the strength of those spells will be competitive, when under the effects of those hybrid talents.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Rock You Like...

The new Hurricane spell animation has been posted on YouTube by MMO Champion, and it looks very cool.

Now Blizzard just need to make it worthwhile to use!

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

The Way of the Raid Nerf

It seems that, from next week (Sept 19th), Blizzard will be nerfing the current tier of raiding.

With the final showdown against Deathwing approaching, we've been keeping a close eye on players' progress through the current Firelands raid content. Before patch 4.3 is released, we want groups who are working on Heroic-difficulty content to be able to get as close to Ragnaros as possible, and we want players who are tackling normal progression to be able to experience as many of the encounters as they can. To achieve these goals, we'll be toning down the difficulty of both normal and Heroic raids through hotfixes in the coming weeks. In general, we plan to reduce health and damage of all raid bosses in both normal and Heroic Firelands by around the same percentage we brought difficulty down for the original Cataclysm raids when Rage of the Firelands (patch 4.2) was released.
We're looking forward to seeing more groups of players face off against the Fire Lord in the weeks ahead. However, before we make these changes, we want to give everyone a final shot at the bosses at their current difficulty level -- so this is a heads up that we're planning to apply the difficulty hotfixes beginning the week of September 19. Stay tuned to the Patch 4.2 Hotfixes blog for these and other live updates to the game as they happen. 


This is interesting, in 4.2 they nerfed the Tier 11 raid, but that was old content and players could get much the same rewards from Justice Points. Now they are actually nerfing a raiding tier while it is current, and by the sounds of things, by quite a lot. The amount they nerfed the Tier 11 raids was quite noticeable, fight strategies changed and bosses often just rolled over and died. In my mind it was quite a hard nerf.

Part of me likes this change. It means our guild gets to see more of the bosses in Firelands and get them killed, and it may increase interest in raiding for the current tier.

Part of me doesn't like it though. One wonders if they have to nerf the content this hard, perhaps it was actually too hard to begin with, and they would have been better going with more bosses and a slower ramp up in difficulty.

This action also suggests an even slacker approach to the current tier of raiding. Why bother grinding against hard bosses for a tiny amount of Valor Points, when you can face-roll heroics for far more Valor Points? Why not just wait until Blizzard nerf the current tier of raiding, then go in there with all your Valor Point gear you ground in heroics, and face off against some far easier raid bosses, with the chance of far more progression.

Maybe because grinding heroics is boring, especially 2 troll ones. So although some raiders may well give up until 4.3 is nerfed, I may continue against Deathwing. I just hope there is enough content, and not a short and hard raid, intended to keep us "busy" until the next expansion.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Ghostcrawler on Tank Active Mitigation

Here we have a post by Ghostcrawler on Tanking and active mitigation, with some ideas of how they might go about making us press more buttons.

They have noticed that now tanks don't need to spam buttons to generate threat, we can actually take it easy and concentrate more on keeping defensive buffs up. I can now concentrate on keep my Demo Roar up and Pulverize buffs up, and not bother using Thrash for threat, saving the rage and GCD for other things. I can take this time to look around at what is going on, instead of spamming buttons, and plan where I might kite to, or watch or adds, or other tanky things. This is good, and I like having the time to consider the environment and the current fight.

GC discusses the three models, which are "Tank DPS matters", "DPS buttons provide mitigation" and "DPS buttons build up resources", where they will make us again press lots of buttons. I quite like "DPS buttons build up resources", where you build up some resource and can choose to spend it when you need it. I think of Lacerate building up stacks now, but instead of Pulverize increasing the chance of a random shield, it actually generating the shield right there. That would be pretty cool, as there are definitely times in a fight I could do with more mitigation.

I can't help remembering the last time the water cooler was posted, some changes were made almost immediately. I think in this case the changes will be in 4.3, so we won't suddenly have a different way of going about tanking. Hopefully.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Hmm yes that is an interesting concept for the future... what? You changed it now!? Deathwing?

Threat changes
The latest dev watercooler was certainly interesting, with talks of threat changes and active use of mitigations. Among them were some likely changes:

Hotfix: The threat generated by classes in their tanking mode has been increased from three times damage done to five times damage done.

In an upcoming patch: Vengeance no longer ramps up slowly at the beginning of a fight. Instead, the first melee attack taken generates Vengeance equal to one third of the damage dealt by that attack. As Vengeance updates during the fight, it is always set to at least a third of the damage taken in the last two seconds. It still climbs from that point at the previous rate, still decays at the previous rate, and still cannot exceed the current maximum.

So that was interesting and maybe I missed the "hotfix" part here. But I certainly welcomed the increase in threat generation in the future.

Lo and behold, today we have a hot fix where said threat changes went live!

This should mean that tanks in 5 mans can probably AOE tank stuff easier, with less chance of mobs escaping their attentions. It should also mean raids will become even easier threat wise on a pull, currently the pull is the only part where threat of my tank matters, after a few minutes of a fight I usually have a big lead and can actually slack off on the threat quite a bit and prioritize keeping Demo Roar and Pulverize up over doing uber threat/DPS.

I am quite surprised by the speed of the hot fix however, clearly the water cooler series is actually talking about features the development team have already decided to deliver. They are using it as a vehicle to explain why they are changing certain things, rather than showing how they are thinking and what might just change in the future.

I can't wait to try the threat changes out tomorrow.

Patch 4.3 The Wings of Death
In other news, it turns out that patch 4.3 is the Deathwing raid, which is a little soon, but this leads to some intriguing questions.

When is the next expansion out? If 4.3 is coming out, say Holiday 2011, to coincide with a certain other MMO which is releasing then, will the next xpac be 4-5 months after? Like in 2nd quarter 2012? Another certain MMO is releasing in April 2012, which is certainly in 2nd quarter 2012. Putting the Wow xpac up against that would seem to be a cunning move. So here are my predictions, based upon nothing but the release dates of other MMOs which Blizzard are sure to want to compete against. Plus that we are not interested in waiting 6 months between content patches.

Will they announce the expansion and its date at Blizzcon? I was expecting the xpac to be announced (as some Panderan thing), but a date would be super-handy for sure. After all, it should have been in development since Cataclysm shipped, so they might have a good handle on when it will be ready. are processing their video of the interview, so hopefully when that is put up we will have more information.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Tanking Shannox in Firelands

Given our guild is massively progressed with 1/7 in Firelands normal 10 man, why am I posting this information? Well, when tanking Shannox I have found the strategy guides somewhat less than helpful.

They describe the first phase of the encounter fine - tank him at 60 yards from the Riplimb tank, I find the RangeDisplay mod really useful for this, simply focus the tank and you can see how far you are from him, then set raid markers on your spots. Avoid fire traps at your feet, which DBM now calls out quickly. If Riplimb is coming back with a spear and there isn't enough time for your stacks of Tear to drop, kite Shannox away a bit, but stay in range of the healers. Again RangeDisplay helps here, set your healer as focus, then make sure it always reads 30 yards.

When Shannox gets enraged, don't worry, the extra healer for Rageface should now help to keep you up. Save SI for phase 2. It is when Riplimb dies and phase 2 is entered I struggled with.

Luckily last night we nailed it. In phase 2, Shannox stops throwing his spear and will just try to kill you by stabbing it into the group which does a Magma Rupture. This hurts but also repeats if you are still in range after he has done the attack. This leads to two 50k+ hits and given you have stacks of Jagged Tear, you are likely to die. I certainly did.

The trick here is, when Shannox casts Magma Rupture, strafe away from him as far as you can before he comes after you. You have a massive threat lead from phase 1 where you are just tanking him, I had 10k threat on him with the closest DPS was 4k. Backing up is too slow and you'll be in range of the second tick of Magma Rupture, no strafing at full run speed is definitely the way to go. Plus popping cool downs and the Mirror of Broken Images is very recommended here.

Once I stopped noobing it up and dying, the kill was easy and I even got some gloves too. Plus I almost beat a mage on the DPS meters with 9k of sweet Bear damage.

How about the Riplimb tanking job? No idea, we get the DK to do that one ;-)

Image from