Archive for Raids

Cataclysm raid redoubt

Posted in News, Raids and Instances, Theory with tags , on April 26, 2010 by Natarumah

Well, I think everyone caught the news by now – the raiding world is going to look a bit differently. Blizzard announced that they are planning to make 10 and 25 man raids share the same lockout and loot. To balance it, the 25man raids are to drop more items per boss, and have comparable difficulty to the 10man version. This has a couple of implications, both good and bad for the raiding scene.

Shared lockout, single raid guild

Let’s face it, many people join both 25 and 10man raiding guilds or communities, or even pugs. This is because some loot can only be had in one or the other, and to make the most out of your characters, you’d have to raid both. Add to this the opportunity to gain double the badges in a week (2 raids, and 2 raid weekly quests) and it really adds up. The people who benefit from this change will be the people who did not have the time or inclination to complete 2 raids, as they won’t run far behind from those who raid ICC twice a week hardcore. Those who draw the short end are those who love the fact that they are in two communities, or who love pugging on the side. It also means that you can put less effort into your offspec kit, because all your focus will be going into your main spec longer, considering your resources are less.

Same loot, different hairstyle

Having the same loot in each type of raid does mean you can enter any and get what you want – you are no longer obliged to run the 10man just for the spyglass. However, unless the 10 and 25man raids are as comparable in difficulty as is advertized, or the 25man does not drop 2.5 times the number of loot items the 10man does, you will see 25man communities bust up in favor of smaller 10man teams. In the end, it’s all about the gain.

Right in one go

One of the things that was nice of the 10man raids, was that you could use them to practice in, so you knew what to do when you faced a boss in the 25man version. This facility will be gone, so you actually will need to do your practicing in the raid you are signing up for. This means raids will take longer, and the time required to kill a boss is longer, comparitively. This can be a good thing, because it does make raid content last longer.

Conclusion

This system is designed so that those who run both versions of a raid no longer have such a tremendous advantage over those who can do only one of the two. It is also designed so that the raid as a whole drops one kind of loot (and its heroic version). All this is meant to slow down raids, and lesser the difference between casual and hardcore raiders. Nothing wrong with that, per se, but unless Blizzard makes sure that the rewards are comparable, I expect one of the two raid types to die off until the scales are balanced.

Features or Frills?

Posted in News, PvP, Raids and Instances, Theory with tags , , on June 30, 2009 by Natarumah

achievement_halloween_cat_01All is abuzz about the two most recently revealed changes for patch 3.2 to come: Raid lockout extension and Faction Change. Let’s look at a little depth what this means, so far…this information is parsed from the forums and MMO-Champion.com.

Raid Lockout Extension

It looks as if there will be the possibility to extend the lockout duration of a raid you are in by 1 week. By doing so, you will have the opportunity to spend more time on managing a certain hard-mode, or clear through a challenging dungeon longer. So far this is clear, but a few questions remain, which I will hope to answer here once it becomes more clear:

  • Can only the Leader of a raid extend it?
  • Does it apply to the whole raid at once? Must each member do it seperately?
  • Can it be extended only once for 1 week, or repeated?

The problem is that I can see people griefing their pug members if the answer to points 2 and 3 is yes. They could theoretically extend it continually for weeks, blocking a group of people from actually finishing a raid or instance. It is clear that the screen to request the extension also allows you to remove it, but probably within the same restrictions as mentioned above.

Faction Change

Ever wanted to join the other side? Well now you can. With an upcoming paid feature Blizzard is planning (but not 100% sure if and when) you can change yourself from one faction to the other, choosing a new race. I can see how this is a benefit if you want to play with friends on the other side, or if there is a horrible faction imbalance on a  server.

Some people have stated that perhaps your faction allegiance changes, but not your race. This however is severly against the lore, plain silly, and more than a bit unbalancing to the game itself. On a PvP server you’d go nuts because even your friends could become your enemies. Besides addicted, I can see people becoming paranoid because of WoW now as well. ^_^

On the flip side, it’s also another way for known Ninja offenders to hide their trail. Even websites like wowprogress will no longer be able to connect the 80 Tauren Warrior from a ninja guild hopping servers and becoming an 80 Gnome Warrior. I think this is a small concern however, for it will allow you to switch sides if you had the idea you really wanted to play something else, but did not want to start all over again.

People have been wondering why it is not possible to change from Gnome to Human, for instance. Well, crudely you could do it by changing from Alliance to Horde and back to Alliance. I have to say I am curious how this will work out, especially with pets, achievements and reputations.

Fact is, the greatest cost is not even the money, but the realization you might be forced to grind all your faction rep again.

It does offer some interesting Roleplay options and PvP options. I will leave most of such philosophizing to the real PvP jockeys, but it allows them not only to reroll FotM classes, but also races now, and even factions. This might even slowly drain the life out of the “nerf it, reroll” discussions, and the like. In roleplay, it allows you to play an infiltrator (not that you couldn’t before, but now you actually are) or a Human who changed into a Forsaken.

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.

Shadowpriests’ new threads: Raiments of Sanctification

Posted in News, Raids and Instances, Shadowpriest with tags , , , on March 19, 2009 by Natarumah

inv_shoulder_94Today, MMO-Champion released the looks and stats of the various Tier 8 sets. They’re not all there, but at least we can get a sneak peek at what our Tier 8 set will be like. Below a picture and the stats of the 10man version. I will post the 25man version when I can find it. Set bonuses will obviously be the same on both sets.

t8_10_priest_spelldpsValorous Raiments of Sanctification [Robe]

  • +81 Sta, +71 Int
  • Blue and Yellow sockets, socket bonus +6 Crit
  • +54 Haste, +68 Hit, +124 Spellpower

Valorous Pants of Sanctification [Legs]

  • +93 Sta, +76 Int, +52 Spi
  • Red and Yellow sockets, socket bonus +6 Hit
  • +70 Haste, +105 Spellpower

Valorous Circlet of Sanctification [Head]

  • +78 Sta, +7o Int
  • Meta and Red sockets, socket bonus +8 Int
  • +60 Haste, +65 Crit, +105 Spellpower

Valorous Mantle of Sanctification [Shoulder]

  • +48 Sta, +60 Int, +46 Spi
  • Red socket, socket bonus +5 Spellpower
  • +57 Crit, +83 Spellpower

Valorous Handwraps of Sanctification [Hands]

  • +57 Sta, +41 Int, +49 Spi
  • Yellow socket, socket bonus +4 Hit
  • +59 Crit, +92 Spellpower

Set bonuses

  • (2): Increases the damage of your Devouring Plague by 15%
  • (4): Your Mind Blast also gives you 15 Haste rating for until cancelled

Totals (Without gems and socket bonuses)

  • +357 Sta, +318 Int, +147 Spi
  • +68 Hit, +184 Haste, +181 Crit
  • +509 Spellpower
  • Meta socket, Blue socket, 3 Yellow sockets, 2 Red sockets

The 4-piece set bonus is worded very strangely. Taken literally, it would mean that the 15 Haste from casting Mind Blast will last for as long as you do not cancel it. Considering that 15 Haste is a rediculously small bonus, that would make this really not worth it. It’s just like having 15 extra Haste on your gear, except you have to cast Mind Blast to activate it.

Rather, I think that the bonus is applied to Mind Flay instead, making Mind Flay specifically faster without affecting other spells (as it will be cancelled again when you cancel Mind Flay). Even so, for a 4-piece set bonus, it is rather paltry. I’d imagine 30-120 rating, rather, making from 1% to 4% increase in channeling speed at level 80.

But, the set looks good. I like the designs for the tier 8 on average (except for Rogue), and I am glad to see the designs have been gotten some attention to detail.

Ninja Edit: As Nezoia pointed out in this post on MMO_Champion, the following buff is generated by the 4-piece set bonus:  Devious Mind.

Devious Mind increases Haste rating by 240 for 4 seconds.  Which would allow for some snazzy hyper-Mind Flay action. Just saying.

Ulduar loot preview, part 1

Posted in News, Raids and Instances, Shadowpriest with tags , , , on March 16, 2009 by Natarumah

Source: www.wowwiki.com

Time for some interesting loot for us Shades that will come rolling in once the 3.1 patch hits; filtered for perusal by Shades specifically. Note that these are not the final items, and that more may be added/tweaked as this progresses. First up, the loot from Flame Leviathan and Hodir, courtesy of MMO-Champion.

Flame Leviathan (10-man)

  • Lifespark Visage [Head] (+93 Sta, +73 Int, +45 Spi, +105 Spellpower, +63 Haste, Meta and Blue socket, socket bonus +8 Spi)
  • Combustion Bracers [Wrist] (+54 Sta, +41 Int, +44 Spi, +32 Hit, +77 Spellpower)

Flame Leviathan (25-man)

  • Embrace of the Leviathan [Waist] (+63 Sta, +64 Int, +62 Spi, +99 Spellpower, +49 Haste)
  • Constructor’s Handwraps [Hands] (+73 Sta, +62 Int, +58 Crit)
  • Glowing Ring of Reclamation [Ring] (+46 Sta, +49 Int, +44 Spi, +39 Crit)

Flame Leviathan (Hard Mode)

  • Boots of Fiery Resolution [Feet]  (+72 Sta, +72 Int, +64 Spi, +102 Spellpower, +55 Haste, Red and Yellow sockets, socket bonus +6 Haste)
  • Pendant of Fiery Havoc [Neck]  (+61 Sta, +51 Int, +75 Spellpower, +46 Hit Rating, +41 Haste, Yellow socket, socket bonus +5 Spellpower)
  • Shimmering Seal [Ring] (+63 Sta, +42 Int, +22 Spi, +74 Spellpower, Red socket, socket bonus +5 Spellpower)

Incidentally, the cloth pieces combined give the appearance of the blue version of the Priest Tier 8 set. Like the old T6 lookalikes in TBC raids, it seems they will have the non-set pieces looking alike enough to match with the Tier pieces.

Hodir (10 man)

  • Cowl of Icy Breaths [Head] (+78 Sta, +74 Int, +48 Spi, +60 Hit, +115 Spellpower, Meta and Yellow socket, socket bonus +8 Hit) – This hood resembles the mage Tier 8 hood. This could be a placeholder (like the Flame Leviathan loot looks like priest T8).
  • Icecore Staff [2hand staff] (+102 Sta, +105 Int, +76 Spi, +61 Haste, +520 Spellpower, Blue and Red socket, socket bonus +7 Spellpower) – The true caster staff that Hodir drops, with one blue slot which may give you half of what you need to activate your Crit metagem.

Hodir (25 man)

  • Staff of Endless Winters [2hand staff] (+111 Sta, +128 Int, +84 Spi, Crit +104, Spellpower +587, 2 Blue sockets, socket bonus +9 Spellpower) – may seem a healer staff at first, but with the Haste on all other pieces, we can use the crit. Also, socketing 2 blue gems here allows you to activate your Crit metagem.
  • Frozen Loop [Ring] (+49 Sta, +46 Int, +74 Spellpower, +36 Haste, +46 Hit)

It seems like the loot we get will have a lot more Haste on it, and a lot less Crit. I’d say that we can make up that Crit by choosing wisely in the trinket, cloak and weapon department. More Hit on some items also means we can consolidate Hit in a few items, leaving more room for more boom-boom while still being hitcapped.

In terms of looks, I hope they keep the T8 models, even though I suspect these are placeholders. They look pretty nice, and having non-set items match means we can shuffle our own outfits around (for those of us who like their toons dressed to impress rather than to raid or swing epeens at the Stormwind AH).

I will sift through the assorted loot mentioned at MMO, for the other Ulduar bosses, and see what goodies can come from that. Sadly, that will be a lot less precise, as a lot of items are still empty placeholders or not confirmed to a boss.