Archive for Patch 3.2

B is for Badass

Posted in News, Raids and Instances, Shadowpriest with tags , , , on July 3, 2009 by Natarumah

ability_ambushMMO-Champion released the pictures of the Tier-9 sets which will be featured in patch 3.2: Call of the Colliseum. I just wanted to share a moment of meditation with you before showing you what they are like. Breathe in deeply, and hold your breath. Feel at one with the cosmos. For just a moment, resist the urge to peel layers of thought from other people’s minds in vindictive and creative ways. Are you ready?

t9-priest2

Can you say Badass? Can you feel the Badass?

t9-priest3

This…is awesome. I feel a tear burning, itching to trail across my cheek as I contemplate what this will look like in Shadowform. And if they have a purple version of this, I’d better bring a change of shorts when we start raiding Colliseum.

t9-priest^_^

Shadowpriest (unofficial) Q&A

Posted in News, PvP, Shadowpriest, Theory with tags , , on July 2, 2009 by Natarumah

inv_offhand_stratholme_a_02Purplecadet, a Shadow Priest, has been posting some of his concerns and questions on the forums here. While initially ridiculed for “fishing for blue posts”, GhostCrawler did deign to respond to his questions. Below is a transcript of the questions and answers, after which I will be giving my thoughts on this.

Question 1: What does blizzard see as shadow priest roll in pvp or pve situations?
PVE: I dont pve much but from my understanding there are aoe monsters is this the niche you intended them to fill in pve? I once saw a blue saying that they didn’t want anyone filling that niche!
You’re a dps class that focuses on dots and “stealing energy” from opponents. I’ll write a prettier version for the official Q&A. Shadow priests can do single target damage and now in LK can do AE damage as well.

PVP: As you all may know Priest are the only class with TWO healing trees. Did you want our dps tree to also have a strong healing component through Vampric Embrace? I often hear shadow priest refered to as the Pre-BC caster tank, are there any intentions of turning shadows priest back into this role anytime soon?
Yes on the VE part. “Caster tank” as a role is a little risky. It basically means that melee have to close the gap to finally do damage to you, yet once they do… they still have trouble hurting you. I know that makes you want to say “But melee are crushing us right now!” That might be a problem, but doesn’t mean the right answer is to have non-fragile casters. You are probably tougher than mages, and still have decent escape mechanisms with Dispersion and fears.

Question 2: Was mind flay always intended to be our “filler,” damage spell instead of a nuke or was it ment to be a mainly pvp spell? If it wasn’t are you intending to give us a nuke? I ask because to my understanding shadow priest scale very poorly with haste which brings me to my next question.
We don’t really design every caster around nukes. That’s kind of a mage deal where they emphasize one main spell. We want the other casters to feel differently, to have rotations. Mind Flay is part of that.

Question 3: Does blizzard intend to make haste effect dots? As you all may know this would help with some scaling issues and I don’t see why they couldn’t do this, they already did it with crits!
It’s something we’re talking about. Haste is a problematic stat for a number of reasons. It isn’t always good for example if you don’t have enough room in your rotation to fit another spell. It isn’t good if you’re GCD capped. Now, it’s okay — in fact preferable — that stats aren’t equal for everyone. We like that not all casters would look at say a ring with haste, crit and spirit the same way.

Question 4: Does blizzard think that dispel protection is a problem for dot heavy casters? If you do what are you planning to do to fix this? If you don’t why not? I understand that vampiric touch has a penalty for being removed but I just don’t feel like it is strong enough or even compares to it’s much stronger version unstable affliction.
We think the whole dispel protection game needs to be overhauled. Buffs should be valued for their buffs, not for whether or not they can protect other buffs. We need to change this whole system to something more sane. Whether or not you have a dispel, and whether or not your target is vulnerable to it has just become way too important. You are right that the VT penalty is so low as to be silly, and that’s something we would like to boost for 3.2.

Question 5: Alot of players feel as though replenishment should belong solely to shadow priest, we understand that you would like to “bring the player not the class,” but honestly could you say that having a unique class/spec ability is such a bad thing?
Yes, it’s a bad thing. It’s good if you’re a shadow priest wanting a raid slot. It’s bad if you’re the druid or warrior who can’t come because the raid leader feels like they must bring the shadow priest in order to raid. We want the challenge to be the encounters, not the logistics of building the group.

Question 6: It takes shadow priest significantly longer to set up our damage than other classes. Would it be in your intentions to add an initial damage component to vampiric touch and make it instant cast to help alleviate some of the wait-time for damage?
I think there is something to the set-up-your-damage issue, but at the same time, dots also have a lot of benefits over direct damage spells. We would not want any spell that Shadow priests felt like they could just cast instead of doing their rotation, and if the instant-damage spell was weaker than the rotation, it would likely see only situational use (though maybe that’s a fine niche).

Questions 7:Are you planning on implementing a snare/root for shadow priest? Shadow Priest is currently the only caster that has no snare/root abilities. These types of abilities are essential when we are not able to tank damage and wear cloth.
We don’t want to give every mechanic to every class if we can help it. Just above you asked if it was a bad thing to have some unique mechanics. Saying no isn’t the same as saying everyone can have some mechanics. We intend for the Shadow CC to be things like Psychic Horror and Silence, and to a much lesser extent, Mind Control.

Question 8: Shadow priest are always triggering our global cooldown but have no way to make it shorter. Are you planning to implement maybe a talent to reduce our global cooldown?
We wouldn’t do it through a talent, but we might let haste do it. Remember, the global is there for a reason. Having too many abilities short-circuit it will ultimately have consequences.

Question 9: : As you may know shadow priest have a fair amount of mobility issues, are you planning on adding a short immunity to snares after fade is used? ( Improved Fade ofcourse.)
No. We would be more likely to nerf snares. We don’t want to have an arms race of snares, then snare immunity, then the snare that can’t be made immune, and so on.

Question 10: Are you planning to add Body and Soul to the shadow tree?
No.

Question 11: The fear/blind DR has severely destroyed a lot of synergy shadowpriest and rogues shared, are you planning to revert this change next season?
No. The game needs more DR on crowd control, not less. Using your crowd control at the right time is awesome. Chaining different forms of CC together to keep an enemy from ever being able to move is a lot less fun.

Question 12: Dispersion a lot of people feel the abilities strength does not merit it as a 51 point talent, are there any plans to move this to a lower tier in the shadow tree? Will there be any plans to remove the silence effect it applies in the future?
We don’t want to remove the silence for the reason we’ve never wanted to remove it — we want Dispersion as an escape mechanism, not an offensive cooldown. We might lower Dispersion’s cooldown though. We want it to do it’s job, not get marginalized in the tree.

Question 13: Was the disarm on Psychic horror intended to occur after the “horror,” or during? Is there any intention of removing the travel time on Psychic Horror, If not will you add an animation?
What do you mean by animation? To the projectile or the target? The disarm was intended to occur during the horror.

Question 14: Psychic Scream is a very powerful spell for getting attackers off of you, but there are various ways to counter it. Would it be reasonable to add a penalty for removing this spell early, maybe a 2 second stun or a snare.
We do the dot / hot penalties because its a weakness of dots. We’re not crazy about going down the road of making all CC have a kiss / curse element with its removal.

Question 15: Most damage over time spells just tick with no special effect with an exception to a few. In order to help us damage better could we get more “effects” on our damage over time spells such as ticking hard initially and damage slowly wearing off.
This might be something we’d consider. I understand the concern.

Question 16: From my understanding there is a cooldown on Devouring Plague to keep us from putting it on multiple targets. Couldn’t you just make Devouring Plague only usable on 1 target at a time and remove the cooldown?
Yes. I’m not sure many players would consider that a buff though.

Question 17: Mind Control although this is a fun spell it isn’t very useful in pvp situations because it leaves your character immobile for however long and randomly breaks. Could mind control make the controlled target your pet but movable by using the same mechanic used to place a death and decay?
We might do something like that for pets in general. Mind Control however is a really powerful ability. Not only does it prevent the target from doing anything, it also lets you use their abilities against their allies. It’s going to be hard for us to remove too many downsides from the effect.

Question 18: Are you planning on giving spriest a new 51 point talent?
No. We want the 51-pointers to be very attractive, but not necessarily the most powerful talent in the tree. A great number, if not a majority, of Shadow priests have Dispersion so it’s hard to argue it isn’t attractive. I understand some players want the 51 to be a big damage spell for damage-dealing specs, but that just isn’t always what we think the tree needs. I’m not saying we are going to take the talent trees to 61 or 71 points soon, but if we did, just think of the expectation. Does the 71 pointer need to blow all of the previous talents out of the water? Do deeper talents need to become more powerful at the same time the character gets more of them? That leads to a lot of power inflation. We think talents probably account for too much of a character’s power already.

Natarumah’s thoughts

There are some interesting points made, but nothing really shocking. My pet irk is that GC claims we have a rotation, while we obviously have a priority. We have too many cooldowns and DoTs ticking to rotate them properly.

As for the Haste part; our scaling of Haste is indeed bad on our DoTs, since they will not tick faster. If there would be some talent akin to the Druid’s Gift of the Earthmother (which reduces their global cooldown on certain HoTs) it would certainly make me happy, but also devaluate Haste even further. We’d be gearing more and more like restoration Druids.

The part where we have to take some time to properly set up our damage also has an up side; because of this, we may lack initial output which limits our use on trash, the longer a fight lasts the more damage we will effectively deal. We have some serious mana regeneration, replenishment and Shadowfiend to keep us going for quite some time, so we slow start but are pretty heavy hitters overall.

I have to laugh at calling Silence, Mind Control and Fear our CCs. While they may have their value in PvP, they are limited in PvE content. Silence is a necessity on Hardmodes to be able to interrupt properly, yes, but it also requires us to dump 2 points into Improved Psychic Scream, which is not helping us. I know I’d probably get a stern talking-to if I decided to use Fear as a CC. And Mind Control…well…unless it severely makes the encounter easier (or is required, such as Instructor Razuvious) I’d avoid it. It is easy to break, and the aggro we get from it is quite impressive.

Mind Control in PvP is such a double-edged sword. You trade your damage potential for the gimped potential of the one you MC. It is extremely strong if opponents are alone, but most PvPers I know will geek your stationary, helpless ass if you try this to their friends.

Dispersion actually is quite a bit more useful than I had given it credit for before Wrath. Even though the silence means our damage stops for a short while, it has saved my bacon quite often, and it is easy to pop it when you can’t do anything anyway (such as in Ignis’ flag pot) and get some precious mana back. If they lower the cooldown, I think my mana would never run out again…

There is a suggestion to make out DoTs tick harder in the beginning and more weakly as the spell progresses, similar to how Wild Growth’s HoT mechanic works. One word:

No

For the love of god, no. Not only will this mean that we will be having tons of theorycrafting calculating the exact moment to refresh the DoT early for maximum damage uptime, followed by the discussion of “5 stacks of Shadoweaving then refresh Shadow Word: Pain early then Mind Flay to keep it up 2 times but no longer except when you have gain a Crit buff because then you have to refresh again…” and such drivel which will make our role a chore and about as much fun as having your tongue pulled through your intestines and used as a midnight snack at our rear end.

Also, if this was done, we’d be slapped with cooldowns on our DoTs to prevent this from happening (like Wild Growth) which means our rotation gets even more complex. If this were to happen, I’d go bonkers.

Conclusion

I will reserve my judgments primarily for the official Q&A session for priests, but it seems than we are actually in line with GC’s expectations of our class. We provide Replenishment as one of the few, we have good survivability and deal adequate damage. Sure, we´re no mages or warlocks, but we have our place and are appreciated.

While Purplecadet puts forth some interesting notions and valid concerns, I believe that if these suggestions would be implemented, we´d be a class that could only be played by people with chronic OCD.

Patch 3.2 sees Shadowpriests unchanged

Posted in News, PvP, Raids and Instances, Shadowpriest with tags , , on June 22, 2009 by Natarumah

natarumah-128Well, the first signs and steps for patch 3.2 have been made, and they are things to be really excited about; we get mounts earlier for our alts (yay riding through Stranglethorn) and a whole new instance/raid (Colliseum). Also, we get some very nice profession changes (basically all “ultimate bonuses” such as ring enchants, shoulder glyphs, dragon’s eye gems and the like will be buffed a bit).

Mages and Shamans get a bit of overhauling, other classes get nerfed, and lifebloom takes another hit with the big stick (I guess Druids were still using it too much).

In all of this, it seems the priest changes are rather minimal, with a slight increase in the coolodown on Penance. In other words, a slight nerf to Discipline priests, and nothing else. Us Shadowpriests, long the token providers of Replenishment, now have that system changed again. Rather than 0.25% of max mana per second, it now provides 1% of max mana per 5 seconds. A slight nerf (which is what people have been asking for in PvP as well) but a clearer system, since it is now effectively MP5 and easier to calculate.

Let’s just make a list of the most major things to come our way:

  • The crusader’s colliseum, a series of instances and raids. There will be 5man, 10man and 25man instances, and each will offer the possibility of a “hard mode”. Using this hard mode allows for only a limited number of attempts, so players must choose between breezing through, or being blocked from making any appreciable progress.
  • Tier 9 will drop in the raid instance. Too soon, according to a lot of people.
  • The isle of conquest BG is added, which seems to be a cross between Wintergrasp and Alterac Valley; capture resources, and defend your keep and general to win.
  • New daily quests, pets, tabards and mounts oh my!
  • Cat and Bear forms are getting a make-over, and their appearance is determined by the appearance your character has in caster form. Taurens now get the ability to customize their fur color.
  • Portals from Stormwind and Orgrimmar now lead to the Dark Portal, and the Flight Master there will connect directly to Shattrath. A new zeppelin is added between Orgrimmar and Thunder Bluff.
  • All items that provide Block value have had it doubled; items that provide block value on use get an increase in the effect’s duration instead of a doubling of the value – seeing as how some Paladins already get Full Blocks, this should be…interesting.
  • All “old” heroics, Naxxramas, Malygos and Sartharion will now drop Emblems of Conquest! The old Emblems will not drop anymore (but you can convert to them at the Emblem vendors in Dalaran).
  • MP5 on gear is increased by 25%
  • Resilience will now reduce all damage equally, as well as its old function of reducing Crit% and Crit damage, as well as mana drain. This replaces the old clunky system where DoTs were affected by two different systems and people got confused and angry.
  • Death Knights are completely overhauled; check the list. I am not in the slightest aware of how a DK works aside of being a heavy cooldowns-based Melee class, so I cannot comment on them.
  • Hunter traps now exists in three categories, and the hunter can have one of each active at any time. Something tells me this makes Survival an even greater threat (fun?) than before.
  • Shamans will have the ability to place their totems in a small bar (totem baggy?) which they can dump on the ground all at once for the combined mana cost. This seems like a speed increase for preparation for heavy movement-based fights, as well as lessening frustration overall.
  • Illumination is reduced in power so Holy paladins regain less mana for it; in combination with the 25% increase of MP5 on gear, it seems Blizzard is hellbent on getting Paladins off their crit habit, into rehab, and come out with MP5 gear.
  • The Horde will get their long-awaited Ravasaur trainers in Un’goro…woohoo!

It seems as if this patch is less focused on adding actual content (basically a set of instances and some dailies) but more about smoothing the gameplay, and making the game more fun to play rather than a chore. I can see a lot of these changes making people breathing a sigh of relief, especially our totem-spawning brethren. Of course, there are still no definite notes on hunter ammo or warlock shards, but as this is only the first PTR active, a lot can still happen.

Call of the Crusade

Posted in News, Professions, Raids and Instances, Shadowpriest with tags , , , , on May 25, 2009 by Natarumah

inv_letter_18Hints are coming down on the next patch, 3.2: Call of the Crusade. Highlights include the expansion of the Argent Tournament into a real colliseum (with corresponding Arena) and a nerf to jewelcrafting. Oh, and some vague promises of class balance.

The Argent Tournament

As the Argent Tournament progresses with its colliseum, it is now available for arena fights to determine to meanest and toughest of heroes. New dailies and new rewards are to be expected. With a bit of luck, these will be designed in such a fashion that they bridge the gap from Naxx-10 to Ulduar-25, allowing people who jumped ship from 10mans to 25mans (like me) to catch up without being forced to PuG Naxx-25 because no progression guild will run it anymore.

The Colliseum itself will feature 5man, 10man and 25man challenges, similar to Ring of Blood and Amphitheatre of Anguish. The idea sounds kind of fun, I have to say. I liked the idea of chain-linked challenges a group overcomes, without tsunamis of trash in between.

This also heralds the start of season 7, and a continuation of Blizzard’s attempts to make PvP gear viable. With an increase in resilience/stamina, which is pretty inevitable, they’ll probably hope to get people to stop stacking the offensive stats and favour defense a bit.

Professions

Jewelcrafting will be nerfed. Blizzard has set a dangerous precendent with their wording of it, though.

“In the next major content patch we will be removing the prismatic quality of the jewelcrafter-only Dragon’s Eye gems. Like other gems, they will have to match the socket color to receive a socket bonus. When this change occurs, players with qualifying jewelcrafting skill will be provided a yet to be determined amount of Dalaran Jewelecrafter Tokens as compensation.”

This is big, no, Huge. I know many, many Jewelcrafters who use these gems to qualify for their Metagem’s sometimes very difficult requirements. Some gems have requirements that are easy to achieve when you are a healer, for instance, but as DPS you have to twist yourself into a pretzel to get it right.

I present to you, the justification:

Q: “Is it really that bad to have a best profession”

A:”Yes, we think so. A key to games being fun is feeling like you have a choice. If you aren’t making decisions then you aren’t really playing a game — you are watching something as a viewer not participating as a player. Game design has proven over many years that when you have choice A and choice B where choice A grants more power and choice B looks cooler or grants almost any other kind of benefit, a vast majority of players will choose A. In their minds there is no choice. It has to be A. Likewise if humans were the most powerful race and mages were the most powerful class then WoW would not be very diverse. We want tradeskills to be a choice. Having a best profession means that choice does not exist.”

What is the danger here?

If Blizzard says that having a best profession is bad, then the conclusion is also that having a worst profession is bad. While the majority of the professions fall in the “viable” league, two things stand out. The combination Blacksmithing/Jewelcrafting is what is overpowered here; the ability to add sockets to items combined with the availability of awesome gems.

The most underpowered profession in the game right now is Engineering. While it has fun trinkets (most of which are useless, replaced or no longer function around Naxx-10 level), a mailbox and repair bots (for which you only need 1 engineer raid-wide, assuming people are too lazy to walk to the repair guy standing in or close by most modern raids), that’s it.

So the moment that Blizzard decides to nerf Jewelcrafting because it is overpowered, then these words obligate them to “fix” Engineering to make it more viable. Because if they don’t, they are not holding true to this new philosophy of “there should be choice”. Let’s face it, the only reason I have Engineering on my Druid is because I like the little trinkets for RP and such, but I am not seriously using them in a raid…

Personal situation

I have been accepted into the Unity raid community on my server. I am greatly appreciating this, but I have to get my butt in gear to continue to meet their expectations. Currently, in mostly 10-man gear, I do 3.5k to 4k DPS in 10mans. However, due to the increased lag, bouts of 3 FPS and the insecurity on what goes on in 25mans, I barely manage to scrape 3k intermittently in Ulduar-25.

I am trying desperately to keep focus, maximize my DPS time and flatten my learning curve, but still I feel like I suck hairy balls. This is a big-time issue for me, so I am trying to remedy that situation. I’ve completely remade my UI (Pictures to follow) and cleaned up my PC for speed. I try to minimze the time my PC runs before a raid, to keep the time until I start flatlining my FPS minimal. I read the guides, watch the vids, and DPS my eyeballs off.

God I hope it’s enough.

The symptoms of my FPS (my worst issue, cuts DPS in half) are as follows: I have 61 FPS when moving around, 30 when fighting mobs. However, now and then during bossfights, my FPS drops to about 3-7 and stays there for a minute or so. Then it picks up again to 30 for a minute, then drops down again.

Main reason to fix this is that I sometimes can’t even move around, and get caught in AoE, and die. This makes me look like a freaking idiot, which I’d like to avoid. If someone has any clue what could cause it and what might fix it I’d be very appreciative, as I’d hate to have to say that I cannot perform at 4K or above DPS due to this. It will be only a matter of time before they say I perform badly and would be asked to leave.

I am currently working on a Shadowpriest-specific guide to the bosses in Ulduar; I am finally getting in a state where I feel I know enough to do it; raiding with Unity has allowed me to see all bosses except for General Vezax and Yogg-Saron (and Algalon, of course), and I am starting to get a feel for what to do and how to do it.