Sunday, July 27

Instantatus Interuptus and Two Drunk Rogues

Well, crap. After two hours of waiting in LFG (gawd I hope they improve that soon), I finally got into the heroic daily. Last night it was Blood Furnace, which is a pretty good run with some interesting boss fights. The last boss Keli'dan the Breaker likes to suck you in and AoE the whole party, so ya gotta be quick on your toes.

Anyhoo, I get in and then get called away, so I had to drop. Luckily, Dark Clan Guildmaster, Voldar, was kind enough to fill for me. Which probably worked out better cause we were running the thing with two rogues and me for dps. No combat cc at all. :D Not recommended, but do'able if you hit fast and hard and have a solid healer. Oh, and to make it even more fun, both Rogues were drunk. I only got to run as far as the first boss, but it was a highly entertaining run, even with the wipes. The healer and Tankadin were very understanding. :D

On the Maker, the first boss, I got to kill our Resto Druid healer twice. Boss mind controls, btw. Gonna have nightmares about that. Here I am, spec'd and geared specifically to kill cloth and he sends me right at her and nails her with a nice hard Bloodthirst. She didn't even have a chance to Cyclone me. It was horrible. Heh. (We just burned him down on the second try.)

They did get through it, from what I hear, though it took awhile. A fun group and wish I'd gotten to finish. Next time...


Thursday, July 24

Battlegrounds Done Medium Well

k. So. You've learned the basics of each Battleground now, right? You're focusing on the flag and not fighting in the middle in Warsong Gulch. You're fighting at the flag and focusing on nodes in Arathi Basin and Eye of the Storm. You actually understand what someone means when they yell "Don't cap FWGY yet you freakin' noob idgit!" in Alterac Valley.

So let's look at some specific strategies and tactics ya need to improve your game and enjoyment of Battlegrounds. Still very broad, but things you need to work on. I'm gonna use AB as our example, but the concepts apply to every Battlegound. It's the concepts that important here, not the specifics of the example itself.

WTF is Going On???

Pop quiz, hotshot! Let's take the following for instance:

You're playing Alli in AB and you've just rez'd out of Stables (ST). Horde has Gold Mine (GM) and Blacksmith (BS) and the lead has just called out for an assault on GM. You know what to do, because you read our Beginner's Guild. You head to the ST/GM/BS crossroads and link up with two other team members. As you wait for more, the entire freakin' Horde (okay, let's say six) comes out of BS heading right for you. Do you:

A) Rush the Hordies and (try to) kill 'em all!?!

B) Rush back to ST and defend the flag?

B is obviously the correct answer. Definitely, absolutely, without a doubt... most of the time. What? Most of the time? You mean always, right Fri? Right? Well. Sometimes. :) Think about this: If you're fighting in the road and losing, and the opposite team is fighting in the road and winning, what do you conclude? You need to fight better in the road. And if you lose, it's be cause you were out geared or your teammates suck arse or whatever QQ mood you're in that day. All wrong.

They're winning by fighting in the road because they know WHEN to fight in the road. Yes, there is a situation where it's okay to fight in the road. But honestly, most PuGs are not going to be able to pull it off. Let's add to our example to illustrate.

A quick glance at your mini-map shows at least two team members already at ST. Two more are rez'ing within 30 seconds minus the time since you rez'd. And there's a dot nearing the bridge coming from Lumber Mill and closing on ST. So in less than 30 seconds, there's gonna be at least five at the node. On a good team, you and the people with you are going to rush the Horde in the road, try to get a mounted kill, at least take one or two with you, and still rez at ST to reinforce.

This is our first lesson. It's called Situational Awareness. To fight in the road like this you must know, beyond any shadow of doubt, that your team mates are going to do the right thing. The two at ST are going stay put. The two rez'ers are going to immediately go to the flag to defend. The reinforce from LM is going to join up with the defenders.

What's probably going to happen, though? The two at the flag are going to rush out to help you. Instant flag ninja from the Rogue who's been hiding in the bushes behind them for five minutes. The two rez'ers are going to rush out and help you. When they get there, your group is already dead and they die quickly. ST is now under defended. The reinforce from LM rushes past the flag and into the oncoming Horde. Dies instantly. Again, the flag is pretty much wide open. The Horde will cap it long before you rez to reinforce.

Thus the rule: Fight at the nodes, not in the roads.

What's suppose to happen? The two rez'ers and the reinforce from LM go straight to the flag and wait. You and your two compadres rush the Horde. You focus fire on their healer or MS Warrior, crippling the Horde assault. Yes, you die, but your job is to hamper and delay. Once you've accomplished your mission, wreck as much havoc as you can and then die. You've given the defenders plenty of time to pop totems, stealth and position, etc. and set up a flag defense. The incoming Horde don't stand a chance. All your defenders have to do is keep ass punching anyone who gets near the flag. You and your guys will rez at ST and act as reinforcements and clean up.

That's how fighting in the roads is helpful. But it's nearly impossibly to pull off for a PuG. If you rush back to the flag to defend, there's less time for the defenders to get ready... but you've got superior numbers and the rez point, so there's a high degree of success. Pulling off a road fight, as above, requires everyone to be on the ball and possess a huge amount of situational awareness. No time to discuss it or plan. Everyone involved has to just do it automatically.

The benefit of fighting in the road, in this case, is the incoming attackers are going to wipe quickly when they get to the flag. The defenders then immediately mount a counter attack on BS or GM. Fast and hard. The road battle becomes a turning point. If you run right back to the flag, you'll probably take more losses because the attackers are coming in full strength. You also give them an opportunity to delay you while they bring in reinforcements. Running back to the flag is the surest bet to hold it, but it's not the best bet to win. It's just defending until the situation changes to your advantage, if it ever does. The road battle is proactive. It's creating a situation where you can take advantage strategically.

Creating Opportunity To Kick Some Ass

That's lesson two. You have to look for opportunities to create advantages, not just hang on as best you can, or throw all your firepower at a situation. This is why "3 and Hold" doesn't work. That strategy relies on two very unlikely things. First, that 15 enemy players aren't going to attack 5 defending players (5 at each node). The math is on the attacker's side. Second, that those 15 enemy players are going to 2 and hold. I'm thinking not.

Finding those opportunities, strategically, requires a solid understanding of what's going on across the entire battleground. In a PuG there's no time for detailed communication, so you have to personally know what's going and what to do depending on the situation. Some things you should know all the time:

#1 Where's the enemy? It's not enough to call out incoming. You MUST call out enemy locations constantly, but you also need to include the number, where they're coming from, and where they're going. Short hand.

"2 inc bs from farm" = Two enemy heading to Blacksmith from Farm.

"inc st lock/pally from gm" = Enemy Warlock and Paladin heading to Stables from Gold Mine. When you specify the type of incoming you're telling your team that you're not going to be able to handle them.

"rogue lm" = There's a Rogue at Lumber Mill and I need someone who can detect 'em

This gives your teammates the information they need to act accordingly. Which brings us to...

#2 Where's my team? You need to be able to track your team mates' movements on the mini-map.

If you're solo defending ST and you call out incoming, you need to figure out what the chances are that you'll be getting a response. If you call out incoming ST and there's 10 people at Farm, guess what? You're on your own. You're gonna die, but you can delay so that your team gets maximum points, and you've also let your team mates know that ST is about to be toast and they can start mentally adjusting the strategy and what to do next.

But wait! GM has incoming at the same time. There's six coming to ST, but GM only has two incoming. And there's someone moving toward GM from the opposite side as well! Yup, unass ST and go help GM. Better to lose one node than two. Good call.

You need to call these decisions and situations out in short hand.

"ST clear."
"ST gone. Going GM."

Very briefly and concisely let your team mates know what's going on. This is not Good communication. Good communication would be everybody knows the plan ahead of time and is using voice. PuGs don't have the luxury of good communication. They have to communicate information quickly and each player has to know precisely what to do with it.

#3. Where's the opportunity? You have to use the information you have to best advantage. It doesn't do any good to respond to "inc BS" if there's 8 enemy players attacking and two defenders. Even if you're right there, your job is to stay alive and go defend the enemy's next logical choice. (We'll talk about that another time.) Always be looking for opportunities. Not gimmicks like ninja'ing a flag. Sure, do that if the enemy is dumb enough to leave it open. What I'm referring to is created opportunities.

For example, in every Battleground the rez points are probably the most important strategic resource a team has. And also its biggest weakness. Very few players on your team realize or understand this. A good team holding BS has a strategic advantage because they can reinforce any node quickly. It also becomes difficult to take because the holding team rez's there for the most part, which means a constant stream of reinforcements for the defenders. How do you capitalize on this?

If you're holding BS, you need to be able to effectively funnel people to the enemy controlled nodes is a systematic manner. Allis (and sometimes Horde) get into a horrible situation constantly where they bog down fighting for Farm before properly taking LM. Why? Because the enemy is rez'ing right on top of them. They lose BS quickly. On the other hand, knowing when to strike Farm from BS is all kinds of win. If properly done, you can shove the enemy into their starter area, or force them into a side node and they'll never recover.

Using the same example, if you don't have BS, you have an opportunity as well. You know exactly where the majority of enemy forces are going to be rez'ing. And you can see them quite easily. If they suddenly spread out, with troops running off in different directions, nail BS. Be ready for it because it almost always happens once or twice, even in a pre-made. You have to see it and react to it when it happens. You have seconds to decide, you don't have time to plan it or talk about it. You can also nail their weak outlying nodes. To do so, you have to have teammates moving to those nodes constantly, testing them, and calling out positions. You can't effectively mount an offense in AB and defend every node. Figure out where the enemy is weak and you can turn the tide quickly. Knowing there they rez is a huge advantage because you know where they're NOT rez'ing.

Good or Bad?

You'll know you're in a good PuG Battleground because the communication will be minimal and everyone just appears where they're most needed. It's magic. You have, literally, a few seconds to make a decision. When your team is making those decisions without being told, it's sweet. Even if you lose, it'll feels right.

You'll know you're in a bad Battleground when it's chaos. They'll be lots of unnecessary chatter, and plenty of QQ (set the latter to ignore, they aren't gonna help anyway). People will mill about at a node, not going anywhere and hesitating. You'll have multiple people calling out objectives, adding to the confusion. You'll find yourself torn in different directions trying to figure out what to do next.

But knowing the best thing to do, as an individual participant, can help any BG. A lot of it is experience, but a big part of it is just paying attention. You DO need to follow the basic rules of a BG. Being aware of what's going on, though, you'll know when to obey the rule and when to bend it to the situation. And what's a rule if it's not a little flexible? :)


Furious About Fury

Okay, not really furious, but the title was too fun not to use. :) I finally broke down and respec'd Fury yesterday. I haven't done that since, like, Level 45, so it was time to play with it and see what's up. I used the 17/44 DW Fury build. How'd it work? Meh.

Two things, about these "you-must-use-this-for-best-performance" builds that most players need to know. You get a lot "noob lol yur use wrong spec rofl noob." But you don't get a lot of answers as to Why.

First, these types of talent specs assume that you've maxed whatever stats they're trying to build to. MS Warriors are very concerned with Crit and Resil. Fury Warriors must have the proper Hit and AP. Tanks need to hit the magic number with DEF. And so on. So, if you're not maxed in these stats, these "top" builds are certainly going to help, but you're not really utilizing them to their full potential. Your mileage may vary. A lot.

For example, I'm in S1 gear with and S2 Helm at the moment. I don't have any other gear other than my Crap Tank Set that I've pieced together from instances, quests and rep. My gear is oriented very specifically to Resilience, which is necessary for Warriors in PvP. It adds a little Hit, but focuses mainly on STR, STA and Crit for it's other stats. I gem and enchant accordinly. All great, but doesn't really work well for a DW Fury build. I need badge/kara gear to get started with true Warrior DPSing. So I'm kinda hamstringing myself (unless I re-gem my gear, which isn't happening) by using this spec.

Second, most players (millions of them) are never going to get full use from a "top spec." The play is to varied, their activities change moment to moment, and what the player is doing is often situational. Last night while I was testing out my shiny new Fury spec, for example, I grouped with some guildies, two fire mages. Later we added a Shadow Priest. We:

* Did Sunwell dailies. Pretty much kill quick and lots. My first try with the new spec, though, so I spent most of my time getting the rotation down. DW Fury is, without a doubt, the easiest Warrior rotation. If you like to KISS, this is the spec to go with.

* Killed Fel Orcs on top of BT. Mob killing, but with wandering Elites and those stupid green-glowing-alarm balls. I think they make shots for that now. We also did the "free the Pit Lord" quest on the Belf side, but that was easy. Spec worked great until I aggro'd the Elite. Quickly ran out of options when the mages hauled ass. Died.

* Nuked pit lord bosses in Legion Hold. Tried tanking them. Effective, but not nearly as good as Arms (and obviously not even close to Prot). Easy to lose aggro. Managed, but more work.

* Cleared out the Death Forge quests for the SP. Pretty much a run through as fast as you can and slaughter anything that moves or even twitches. Fury shined in this one, particularly with some light HoTs on me.

With the firepower we were running around with, I could literally just stand there and loot occasionally. Each of those activities, though, is not really ideal for a DW Fury build. DW Fury requires time to get that DPS up to speed. In the situations I was in last night, I didn't have any time. If I wanted to participate, I had to spam Bloodrage every time it popped just to get a Blood Thirst and a Whirlwind off if I wanted to join the fight.

The build I'm using now is a very specific build. It's designed for high sustained DPS against raid targets. It's perfectly usable for quests and occasional PvP in Battlegrounds. But it only shines in it's specfic role, which is melee raid DPS. MS Arms spec is vital for arenas. It rocks in PvP where the warrior is focused pretty much constantly. But if you don't do Arenas, or only dabble (which is MOST players in WoW) do you have to have it? No. 31/30, or anything else you like, will serve you just as well.

Given these two caveats, taking a top spec for your talent tree of choice isn't a Bad Thing. But it's not a Necessary thing either, particularly if you're not doing whatever the spec is designed to do. You could, literally, do just as well making up your own spec and having fun with the abilities you like to use. Assuming you're not doing one of those very specific things all the time. Put the elitist tools on ignore and have a good time.

So, how'd it go? Like I said, meh. DPS wasn't particularly better than my customized 31/30 DW build. Burst damage wasn't even close. When I had the opportunity to get well into the rotation the DPS was high and consistent. But the trade offs weren't great. Fury is not for Threat generation, so mobs were constantly coming off me as double Pyroblasts came sailing over my head. This build, for example, has no Piercing Howl. Hamstring is the obvious choice, so it's workable in mob fights, but a handicap in PvP. Make sure you've got your boots enchanted with Boar's Speed because you're going to be running, a lot.

I didn't find BT any better than Mortal Strike. And no Sword Specialization made everything feel a LOT slower, even when Flurry proc'd. Rage generation was great, but only if I could stay in combat. I learned quickly to rush from target to target to sustain DPS and keep rage going. Basically the pace of actually fighting felt slower, but the in-between targets time was a lot faster. Rampage is nice. As if Bloodthirst, but ya gotta be hitting stuffs for it to work. Nothing to hit = no health.

I also found myself spending a lot of my time looking at my hot bar trying to find something to do while waiting for BT and Whirlwind to cool down. That, of course, is a largely an experience thing, but I still feel like I'm just standing there with a full rage bar swinging and waiting. There's several things you can do for Rage Dumps, but I mostly just smacked Heroic Strike.

Overall, it's a fine spec for someone who likes top damage and a simple rotation. Solo'ing it's quite acceptable. I particularly like the benefit from Rampage, and definitely like Bloodthirst without having to take Second Wind. Toe-to-toe with mobs was quite easy and I bandaged and ate a lot less than with an MS spec. This may be a spec you have to take for raiding DPS, but other players will like it as well, depending on their style. If you like to rush in, hit stuffs, and then rush off and hit more stuffs, DW Fury is for you.

It's not entirely my style... the pacing seem off because I've been Arms for so long. And it gives up, IMO, too much functionality for a small DPS gain. I really like that added bit Arms can add to a fight and the variety and adaptability that Arms can manage. But I can also recommend the spec to certain players. Definitely worth giving a try.

I'm gonna stick with it for awhile until I can fight my way to enough honor for my 2-hander. Hopefully, as I gain more experience with it, I'll have a few more thoughts. Wouldn't that be nice? :)


Tuesday, July 22

Wrath of the Alchemist!


Wotlkwiki posted some Alchemist info from the Beta, so thought we'd take a peek today. Nothing terribly exciting, but good to know to get ready.

(I'm not linking these yet, cause most of the tooltips from Wowhead aren't up. Update to come.)

Add 75 more points to your Alchemy skill, bringing it up to 450. Considering there's a lot of basic potions, most of them probably trainable, that shouldn't be too difficult to pull off. We become Grand Master Alchemists in the processes. Hooray! (Cannah get a title and tabard for that, please?)

Our new top-end Transmute is Eternals. And yes, we get to make Eternal Might! I only ever use the Primal Transmutes to get that one last bit for a Primal Might anyhow. Nothing too exciting here, but like Primals, watch for cheap conversions.

There's a new oil to make called Pygmy Oil and it's used in a few pots. Comes from the Pygmy Suckerfish. So, if you're like me and stopped leveling fishing when you could make all your oils, it's time to break out the ol' fishing pole and get to it. The tooltip for this stuff so far just says "Drink It." I'm really hoping for something hysterical. The obvious effect would be insta-gnome. heh... Imagine a 3' tall Tauren in T6 gear. Aw, cute! :)

Then there's the usual assortment of Elixir's, Potions and Flasks. Sorry, nothing really got me excited. Mostly just upgrades. Good. But I'm thinking Blizz isn't done with Alchemy yet. If they are... woe is me.

Herbalist will be getting some competition from Inscribers practicing the new Inscription trade. They can "mill" various herbs to get inks to do their work. Competition for herbs is going to get nasty. Prices will skyrocket. Stock up now? Yah, it's alt bank time.

I found these on Wowheads Wrath site. Hmmm... I wonder. :)

Overall, nothing huge. Again, though, this is obviously very early information and it's nice to know the basics are covered. And let's hope there's some Alchemy fireworks coming soon! Some stuff I'd like to see:

* More oils. Oils to apply to all sorts of stuff. We can't even make massage oil! Sheesh! There's plenty of beasties and plants out there we could be extracting oils from. Even a "milling/prospecting" ability would be good. And not just weapons, but definitely better weapon oils as well. Was there a weapon oil for BC? Basically, short term "enchants" that are as good as the real deal. Fun!

* Incense. Burn 'em during encounters for nice, fat AOE buffs. Yah, you'd have to carry around flint and tinder (does anyone do that anymore???), but for the right buffs, you bet. The limit would be they are only available to Alchemists. And think how much nicer battles and boss fights would smell! Apple-cranberry Illidan? Love it!

* More fun potions. How about illusion potions? Love potions? Puke potions? Potions for pets? Potions that change you different colors? Smoke bombs that drop aggro or blow in different colors as markers? There's no limit to silly, slightly useful though not really, pots we could make.

Alchemy needs a kick. I can has pots now?


DC Does the Don

I keep forgetting to take pictures of stuffs Dark Clan has done. Usually having to much fun doing it. I did manage to snap a shot of three of us with our shiny new hats from Don Carlos. He was added to Old Hillsbrad in the Caverns of Time in the last patch. It wasn't until after we'd already left and hearth'd that we discovered you could run the fight in heroic mode and get the hat that has a doggie pet, as well. Ah well, another adventure for another day.

The fight is pretty simple. The first time we did it I figured there were three of us. A 68 Lock (Undrenar), a 70 Fire Mage (Violetvega) and me (Arms/Fury) so that's plenty of fire power. No heals, but hey it's one guy right? Okay, he's not that tough. But he has this annoying dog with him. And then there's the bit about the Lordaeron patrol that you DO NOT want to Thunderclap and piss off. So with the guards joining in the fun, ahem, we wiped pretty hard.

Second round we got smarter. The dog sheeps nicely. We had Undrenar's VW tank the Don and we all just flat out DPS'd. Poor guy went down fast and we stole his hat. I felt a little bad about that, but it works out in the end. :) Oh and there's an outfit that goes with it that includes a jacket and pants. Violet, the tailor, is making those for us.

I'm pruposely not telling you about the quest because it's kind fun and cute. Go see Don Carlos out by the GY just outside of Gadget. He'll getcha hooked up. Here's hoping Blizz adds a lot more stuff like this.


Friday, July 18

Beta Arms Tree w/b Sweeping Strikes!!!

The Beta is on!!! And I didn't get an invite. Pout. I cried. Okay that's all the QQ today... on to the goodies. (You know I'm lying about the QQ, right? There's gonna be some QQ. Uh huh. Yup. It's comin'.)

I've just been playing with the talent calculators on WoWhead again. Some interesting possibilities. And yah, they changed slightly from the Alpha. Yah, expect more changes.

Note: All the mouse over tooltips are from the WotLK information on WoW Head, not actually in game. So these will look a little different than the talents and abilities you're use to.

Understand that all these builds are based on just having some fun. None of this is theorycraft becuase... well, I don't give a Druid's furry bear butt about theorycraft. I spec'd dual wield at 20 and never looked back. Why? Because my toon looks wicked cool and super hot chopping beasties to bits with those giant e-peen swords in each dainty hand. When I hit 70 I'd saved up a pile of marks and honor from fighting in the battlegrounds, so I immediately ran out and bought Bruce and two shiney, ginormous one handers. But I still spec'd Arms. I finally broke down and used a variant of the 31/30 spec, which is a hybrid, but it was as close as I was gonna get to DW Arms. I love Arms. I wanna stay Arms. Yes, I'll switch to a two-hander and I'm saving my honor points for that now. But it doesn't "feel" right for Arms. Anyhoo...

Some thoughts and builds from the Beta talent trees for Arms Warriors (all of these are at level 80):

Bloodletting replaces Improved Rend and the tooltip mentions a Bloodbath ability. Bloodbath adds to the "damage multiple targets at once" abilities of Arms warriors. At the very least, it gives us even more utility in multi-mob fights. We can hope cause there's lots of ways to enhance the "bleed 'em to death" abilities. And warriors need a nice big fat anti-lock/rogue debuff. Wouldn't it be nice to slap a Rend on that curse-casting lock and watch him bleed to death in a few seconds. I'm thinking /rofl-waffles. :) [Edit: 7/26/08 As of the last Beta Batch this has been renamed Improved Rend and got nerfed to no longer include a bonus to Bloodbath. So far, alas, Rend isn't looking great. But keep your fingers crossed.]

Unfortunately, 2H-weapon specialization is still stuck there at the top of the tree like an albatross. So Arms warriors are pretty much gonna be limited to lugging around a two hander. No easy-peezy DW builds, alas.

From the patch notes (I read them on 70 TW's site), Mace's got a bit of a nerf in that the stun proc can only happen every 6 seconds now. So no more multiple stuns in a row. Swords got the same treatment, so good-bye to that wicked Flurry/Sword Spec spectacle of death repeating constantly. 6 Second proc isn't too bad, but keep your fingers crossed they'll reconsider. Overpower got nerfed and now only does weapon damage, no bonus. In an interesting buff, not too bad, but there's plenty of nerfs and other changes for Warriors, so have a peek.

Full Arms Build

Just for grins, a full Arms build. I don't know how practical it would be for the "every ounce of number crunch you can get" crowd, but it sure looks like a lot of fun. It also appears to have plenty of utility, too. Which is what Arms is suppose to be about. Since there will be endless debates when Wrath comes out about which Arms spec is best for what, I plan to go back to "pure" Arms (with the extras in Protection) while I level to 80 just for fun. I got to 70 that way, what's 10 more? :)

DW Arms Build

This was as close as I could get. We pick up Sudden Death, Second Wind, Improved MS, and Sweeping Strikes. Which is great, but not going to be at all competitive with a DW Fury build. Unfortunately, you can't take Bladestorm and Improved Whirlwind. Which makes no damn sense at all.

Aside: The reason I tried this is because the current situation in the game doesn't make any sense to me. I see Fury warriors as Conan, the enraged barbarian charging through the battle swinging a giant hunk of metal and tossing his enemy's body parts around like rag dolls on fire. I see Arms warriors as the slick and fast kind of warrior that will cut you into little pieces with a fruity drink umbrella while you're still deciding if you're going to fight or not. All while sipping her tropical adult beverage and smiling politely, of course. Think Zoro. DW just makes more sense to me as Arms, not Fury. And no, Rogues shouldn't be superior, at all, to an Arms warrior as masters of arms. But as it stands, they're a lot closer than we are.

MS/Flurry Build

This one has BOTH Improved Mortal Strike and full Flurry. Pop in Sweeping Strikes and Improved Slam for good measure. I skipped Improved Overpower, but adjustments for it would be fairly easy. Basically, really fast, really big damage for PvE.

Arms Toughness Build

And finally, to make an Arms Warrior a little tougher, here's a nice build with Protection in it. (The two points in Incite are extras, so whatever... maybe a little Cruelty instead.) Something like this might be more interesting for Battlegrounds and Solo grinding. It's also possible to build an Arms/Prot build a little deeper into Protection by ignoring more of the deep tree Arms tree. You end up with a neat Improved MS looking build for Off Tanking and even Main Tanking 5-mans.

So my IMHO at the moment is that there's a LOT of potential here. I'm very please to see Arms getting some groovy new skills and, possibly, some upgrades to existing talents. But also think Bliz has a long way to go. They need to decide the "direction" of each tree. I'm not happy about the cross-utility plan they have. I don't think it will work, but hey maybe. Regardless, it's still a long way to release and there's plenty of things that could change. Let me know what ya think.

And, hey, we finally get Sweeping Strikes back! Hooray for our side! :D


Thursday, July 17

Recent photo stuffs

Haven't done screen shots in awhile, so here goes...

My S2 Helm the day they became available. I had been saving up for the S1 helmet anyhow, so it worked out nice. I don't display it though. It's freakin' FUUUUUGLY! Great stats, just horrendous to look at.

Did also get Exalted with Shatter Sun. Actually for awhile now. Got all excited to get the title and everything and then found out it was a vanity gold sink. Blah! So no title for me thanks. I'll keep working on Justicar, many moons down the road. I did get the tabard, though cause it's pretty good looking when ya need something formal or fancy.

The Fire Festival was a blast, and then I forgot which day it ended and all my blossoms disappeared. So I didn't get even one single reward. Very upset about that. Overall, though, the festival itself was a blast. More, Blizz! More!

I lagged hard on the way to the BG's and ended up mounted inside the castle. Heh! So here's me AND Bruce where he ain't spose to be. Ha Ha!

Damn lag.

Me in Warsong Gulch during a lag. It was a bad night. We still ended up winning four in a row. And then that was all the WSG I could stand for the night. Hate to quit on a winning streak, though. I try to play one of each of the BGs every night, plus the daily till I win. Though some days I'm in a mood and will only play one over and over again.

This is my "main alt," Neverontues. She's a Holy Priest about to start the 49 bracket Arathi Basin. The difference between playing a Warrior and a Priest may seem like night and day, but the synergy between the two classes is exceedingly important for both to understand. There's a strong symbiotic relationship between Priests and Warriors. They complete each other. Oh, and Priests kick ass in the Battlegrounds!

Just finishing up some quests from the Demon Hunter guy in Nagrand. He sends ya out to kill three baddies in different zones. Here's the ugly tongue guy in Zangar. These are cakewalk, btw. Easy to finish up at your leasure.

Another one of the baddies from the Demon Hunter dude. I just want to shake that guy and say "When do I get to play a Demon Hunter hero-class, ya igit!" This is probably the most challenging of them (though still silly easy) only because you have to clear out the Burning Legion mobs around her. Which just means more Marks of Sargaras for me! Woo hoo!

Dark Clan on the move in a fly-by of Wildhammer Stronghold in Shadowmoon Valley. I believe we're headed to Legion Hold here. We're currently working on making this a flight of Netherdrakes. :) That's guildmaster Voldar in the background.

I hate these guys at the Elemental Plateau in Nagrand, but they drop yummie motes I need to make Alchemy things. So give 'em up ya fire breathing bastich. Gimmee!

That'll do for now. :D


Monday, July 14

Battleground Bitchin' and Fixin'

Okay, I'll try not to bitch too much. Well, no, that's no gonna happen, so get your QQ tissues out. There's been some discussion about Battlegrounds on the official Blizzard WoW forums. I'll cheat and just link the post on WoW Insider today. Plenty of interesting thoughts on BGs there as well. The problems boil down to several issue: AFK honor farming, people who just jump in to get marks and don't really try, Pre-mades both winning and losing types, etc. To make matters worse, Blizzard doesn't seem particularly interested in changing the existing Battlegrounds.

But why not? In some cases, some simple changes would make the difference. Regardless of what some people want, this is a game and participation is required. I hate the term "welfare epics" for BG purples because many people fight thier asses off for them. We like Battlegrounds. It's fun. Or rather, it should be. And I think the people that are participating and having fun in the BGs are the people Blizzard should listen to and, yes, cater to. Everyone else should get a "tough s@#$!" As it is, we're the ones that get the "tough s@#$." That ain't right.

How to Make BGs Fun

There's lots of ways. Here's a few that would be fast, and very strong, improvements.

First, ellimininate pre-mades. Yah, I said it. Get rid of 'em. No pre-mades allowed. Que assignment should be completely random. PuG BGs can be fun, but not if every single one of them is complete wipe over and over again. It's pretty simple... It's NOT A GAME if both sides don't have a relatively equal opportunity to win. Read some game theory. If the activity is so over balanced to favor one side, it's NOT a game. Period. So get rid of pre-mades is step one.

Oh, butyou say, Friday you ignorant twit, YOU have just as much of an opportunity to make a pre-made as anyone else. Yup, I do. And if it's already determined that'll I'll be going up against another pre-made, you have a point. But WoW's que system isn't set up that way. It's set up to throw random people together, with a cludge thrown in to allow an exception. That's piss poor design and planning. So you're gonna allow pre-mades. Great. Equalize it. You should be able to choose to EITHER play in the open BGs, OR play in a pre-made BG. Very simple solution. We call the latter Arenas these days, but it could very easily be done for the existing BGs.

I like fighting in a pre-mades as much as anyone. But having been on both ends, I can honestly say that fighting on a pre-made is not even remotely fair for the PuG on the other side. I WANT to fight on a pre-made against other pre-mades. The battle should be about who plans and executes better. Who fights better. If both sides are pre-mades, it becomes an excellent fight. Pre-made vs. PuG is rediculous. And it's not a game. It's no fun nor is it challenging. It's just a job.

The solution is laughably simple. If you click on Join As Group you go into a different que than if you click Join Battle. Solo's all go into one que, Groups go into a different que. Done. Next...

The Great AV Nerf

Blizzard got tired of AV, couldn't make work, so they nerfed the hell out of it. As much as I love fighting AV sometimes, it's still rediculous. Both sides rush and first one to kill the other's boss wins. Woopee. Occasionally one side will turtle (or get forced into a turtle) and a grindfest occurs. Those are slightly more exciting, but not really about tactics and strategy. On the very rare occasion, one side's defense will actually recall, or back cap their own towers, and it turns into a more interesting fight. So why not piss more people off and make it right. Just set the towers to cap-over-time sliders. Control and fight for the towers to win or you aren't getting Drek or Van down and you lose. Mayhem ensues and it's a real battle. Done.

Balancing Act

This last one has probably been tested, but the reason it didn't make it was because que times would be too long. It's basically a balancing system to insure that like geared and/or skilled players are thrown together. Technologically it's not that tough to pull off (see also, Battlenet) so why isn't it done? Que times would get too long. I don't care. I'd rather wait for a good BG than play 5 bad ones in a row because one side is out geared or up against an experienced pre-made. Winning that way isn't any fun, and losing is even worse. (And if you're one of those people that DOES enjoy "winning" that way, you have no business playing ANY game. You're a sociopath and you need counciling.) I bet there's a pretty strong majority out there that feels the same. Put in a proper match-making system. Done.

Carrot On A Stick

Finally, to make all this work, you have to make it worthwhile. Reinstate titles. Not on the old system, but something that rewards players for actually playing. There's myriad of forumlas that would accomplish this and Bliz has already demonstrated that they can do it. So do it for BGs as well.

Also, SEPERATE battleground rewards that are as good as the previous season's arena AND special gear for the truely accomplished BG players. Different levels of gear would be required.
Why was S1 gear dropped, for example? Why not keep it in there. S2 gear should just be more difficult to get (or S1 gear made easier, whichever works best). There should be a relatively easy set of PvP gear to get. (Not the faction rep grind for the current stuff in BC. PVP gear.) And it should definately not LOOK like Arena gear. That's not right for Arena players OR BG players.

BG combatants that really play and apply themselves deserve something different from PvE or Arena gear. They deserve to have (very difficult to earn) titles. If you're going to do BGs properly, then there has to be a substatial reward for excelling in them. Done.

There's plenty of others, but I think these set things on the right track. Yeah, I've read the counter arguments a bazillion time. None are convincing, not even Blizzard's. And the majority of complaints and QQ come from the minority, though volcal, honor/mark farming dummies. BGs should not be a grind to get cheap honor and Blizzard CAN fix it so. Period. Done.


Wednesday, July 9

Arms Warrior Alpha Love

Oh and those other warriors get some love too. :) The information here is based on what's been released from WWI and the scant alpha information available. No, I'm not on the alpha or the beta and don't know anyone at Blizzard. So this all very much probably going to change. Actually, I can almost guarantee it will. Still, it's fun.

One of the QQs on the official Warrior forums was that "this is all alpha, it'll change, so quite griping about it" kinda of crap. Even some Blizzard Blues came out in support of this, with the (granted somewhat rational) explanation that they don't want to make game design decisions based on such an early build of the game. But... there's a reason WHY we have alpha tests, beta tests, and forums to discuss changes BEFORE they happen. So I say, yeah, get in there and discuss these and the other changes to the Warrior class. Only by talking about it now are we gonna have a voice in what we actually get.

WoWHead put up a Level 80 talent calculator with the information they gathered playing the Alpha from WWI and that's what I used to mess around. Try it. You can even spec out a Death Knight. :) Honestly, not knowing how these new abilities will play out, I had more fun using the level 80 calculator to beef up existing Arms specs. Yah, Improved Mortal Strike AND Flurry in the same build. Yummy!

But to Arms... Someone else will give a much better run down of all the changes than I can, so I'm just gonna hit the big ones.

Arms Goodness

Sudden Death - Every time you crit you get a (up to) 30% chance to activate Execute regardless of the target's health state. Now think about that. If you're generating massive amounts of rage and this thing procs... the damage swing would be massive! I don't see this one getting through to release, but keep your fingers crossed. Bye bye over powered clothies. Sundering down a Priest or Lock just got a lot easier. (I mean, c'mon... they should have a chance to escape, granted, but having to follow them around for 2 or 3 minutes to wail off thier mana??? If you've got 'em dead to rights, they should be... well, dead.)

Bull Rush - Increases the stun effect of Charge and Intercept up to 1 second. Like it. Would love more. It's deep tree, so you'll probably have to take it to get to the other good stuff. We've see worse have-to-takes.

Unrelenting Assault - Reduces the cooldown of Overpower and Revenge by as much as 3 seconds. Wowee! :) Having Overpower up that much quicker will be more a convenience, but a nice one. If it works well, might even see the Prot/Arms warrior coming more into play.

Strength of Arms - Trainable up to Rank 5, it increases your Strength and Health by 1-5%. Deep tree so you have to take it before Bladestorm. Again, not bad at all for a have-to-take. Stuff like this will largely depend on the caps needed to take down raid level bosses and max utility in arenas and stuff like that. But for the average Arms warrior, this looks pretty good.

Bladestorm - Better than expected. :) It sets off a Whirlwind every second for 4.5 seconds (so 4 Whirlwinds, I would assume). You can move, but you can't do anything else for the 4.5 seconds. Who cares right? You're firing off four freakin' back-to-back Whirlwinds!!! You're also immune to all fear and movement-reduction effects and the attack can't be stopped unless you die. I like it. A lot! Is it something that's going to be required? Not as is. I don't think PvP warriors are going to take it. PvP is too situational and moves a lot faster for this to be overly effective (your opponent will probably see it coming and just move out of the way. heh.) For PvE it might be more useful. Having the tank hold the bad guy's arms while you stand behind the boss and set this off could be pretty effective. Really, just sounds kinda fun to me. :D

Fury of Love!

Furious Resolve and Improved Berserker Stance - No threat dump alas, but these are a little better. Each reduces threat and increases Stamina and Attack Power (respectively). Very nice.

Titan's Grip - Deep tree talent that allows you to dual wield two-handers. :) The trade off is a 28% reduction in speed. I seriously doubt that will have much impact. Definitely an ability that will require a lot of testing. Theory? Could be the extra little bit Fury warriors need.

Heroic Leap - Jump in the air, slam the ground and cause 50% weapons damage and stun the crap of anyone in front of you, up to 5 yards. Ouchie! Good one. I'll spec fury for awhile just to do this. Should be in Arms though, just because I said so.

Protection Love

Sword & Board - Awesome. Basically it gives a percent chance, depending on level, to automatically refresh your Shield Slam AND give you a free one immediately. As in zero rage cost. Bad ass. More threat, more damage for the Prot Warrior.

Shockwave - Could potentially be awesome. Does damage based on AP, and stuns everything in front of the tank for 4 seconds. Nice and nice. And generates a huge amount of threat. Not exactly the AoE threat grabber tanks were hoping for, but could be good. A little extra minor benny is that it will be a nice AoE stun for P-Tanks in PvP.

Obviously, I didn't hit everything new here, or removed, or moved. Still very alpha and plenty of time to see what makes the cut, what doesn't, and how it'll all fit together. But we might as well start yappin' about it. :)

Now... I can has beta?