Sunday, 29 June 2008

Expansion rogue changes

Hot on the heals of the druid changes announced at WWI here's my view on the announced rogue changes.

Sap anything with a brain and a skull, as it was phrased, is a great boon to rogue cc in an instance and should hopefully remove problems such as that faced in karazhan where priests and hunters have to keep adds under control. Obviously this means our raid leader will give me the most awkward mob to sap and distract will resist on half the group, but it's still going to be more interesting that just attacking mobs in sequence and watching threat.

Fan of Knives is described as rogue AoE and should provide a bit of variety when questing and instancing but I don't believe that it's going to be used more than once every so often, or to annoy the mages a bit more.

Windfury, so good I can mention it again. Making it a player buff rather than a weapon buff means that it'll stack with poisons or sharpening stones for extra damage potential. Also the combination of Strength of Earth and Grace of Air means we rogues won't be denied the totem because the feral druid needs the agility more.

It'd be nice to think there's going to be some more dagger love coming up as I find sword spec a bit dull even if it's the best damage output for raids. Mutilate required so much more to play well in terms of timings and combo point management that it feels wrong that rogues aren't able to use it especially when there are those very very shiny daggers available from end game raids.

Saturday, 28 June 2008

Expansion druid changes

So the Worldwide Invitational is currently running and a QA with the development team has listed some interesting changes for the druid class.

First what isn't changing, Cyclone, having learnt this at 70 I've not actually used it whilst questing or in an instance. So the lack of changes aren't really affecting my game style but arena players might have something to say about it.

However a fantastic change is removing the outdoor requirement for Entangling Roots. Suddenly there's more crowd control available in instances. As a feral tank it's probably only going to be used as the start of a pull, much like Hibernate, but will keep a melee unit out the way and build some threat on it. A resto druid could keep something constantly rooted until it's time to kill it, but that would be something I'd avoid on my instance runs due to the healer having higher threat than me on a mob.

Secondly, Windfury!!, I love having this buff when playing Crash in an instance/raid and the fact that a feral druid in bear/cat form can use it could be just as cool. It would be interesting to see which is better for a druid tank, windfury or the extra agility totem which adds to dodge and attack power.

Finally 3 words; Dire...Cat...Form, a new model hopefully and a chance for Tauren druids to have a really cool looking model. We don't know what this form will mean but just the thought of it is enough to make me want the expansion now rather than later this year (or more likely early next year).

Edit: It's been pointed out to me that one of the other shaman changes was to combine Strength of Earth and Grace of Air on the same totem, so it might not be a case of choosing between agility and windfury but we can have both. /hug totems

Thrall saved by random PuG

So there I was, finishing up some quests in Terrorkar to try and ding honored with Sha'tar for the shoulders BBB recommended for entry Kara tanking when a random tanking whisper arrives.

While it didn't necessarily match my suggestions it was for an instance I wanted/needed to do; Old Hillsbrad in the Caverns of Time. The group consisted of two druids (one feral, one resto), two hunters and a warlock. I wouldn't say it was the smoothest run in the world and marking, cc and patrols tended to make things interesting. We however took out all the bosses without any major hassles, and there was only one death when we were taking out the waves of dragonkin before the final boss. Not sure why but it's likely that one got away from me and Thrall and wasn't trapped. Not a major problem, combat rez from the resto druid and he's back in the fight.

Annoyingly the nice tanking ring didn't drop but it was a smooth run and means that I'm all set up to do Black Morass once I've got all the key fragments for Kadger.

As a final plea, if you're going to put yourself into LFG for Old Hillsbrad please have done the walkaround quest, it can seriously wind up the rest of the group if we're having to wait whilst you get the guided tour.

Thursday, 26 June 2008

The Sound of Drums

One of the nice things about being a leatherworker are the rather nifty raid consumables that you can produce in the shape of drums. There are four recipes which can all be bought from vendors either at the right rep or from the leatherworker trainer.

Drums of Battle - Simply the best drum there is, haste rating and spell haste rating for your group for a whopping 30secs. I use this on Crash whenever heavy burst damage is required or on fights like Aran where threat isn't an issue. Pick this recipe up from the Sha'tar once you've ground your way to honored.
Drums of Panic - Pretend you're a warlock/spriest and have your enemies running around in fear. Ideal for battlegrounds if you need a few seconds with people off your back or just getting that warlock in trouble in a raid. Available at honored rep with Keepers of Time and a great recipe for getting those last skill points up to 375.
Drums of Restoration - A group wide potion effect for mana and health which doesn't share a cooldown with any of the other goodies such as potions or health stones. Available at honoured reputation from your faction representative in Nagrand.
Drums of Speed - Sprint in musical form, again this is a nice PvP buff esp if you've been brave enough to venture into WSG. Again you can pick this up from your faction rep in Nagrand once you're honored.
Drums of War - The first recipe you'll pick up from the leatherworker trainer and provides a nice AP buff which stacks with any other buff you can get your hands on. Crash uses this in preference to the haste rating on the Prince fight, when melee haste on our tank might cause an extra parry or two which can lead to a bit of a mess.

A brief outline but hopefully enough to encourage everyone that can to make and carry these whilst instancing/raiding or running a battle ground.

Monday, 23 June 2008

Purple is in fashion this season

Another evening, another group of brave adventurers and once again we are trying to stop the Twilight's Hammer from summoning Lord Ahune into the world and destroying it by having him fight Ragnaros.

This time was a bit more of a balanced group, feral druid, hunter, holy priest, warlock and enhancement shaman. This of course meant that I had to do the tanking which was a bit scary with the debuff that spawned elite puts on you, but having a fully equipped healer and suddenly finding myself with 16k health (Blood Pact, Fortitude and Mark of the Wild) and 21k armor was fairly useful.

Add killing was a breeze with the shaman going nuts whilst not having to worry about threat, and again playing the hybrid once meant I could go cat once the elite was down and attack the little spawns and the core once it was exposed.

This time we opened the spawned chest and lady luck smiled down on me, Icebound Cloak, no pet but a very nice tanking cloak that saves me 25badges once I get into heroics and Karazhan.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Shared Topic: Preparing for Wrath of the Lich King

This is a response to a Blog Azeroth shared topic.

The original plan once I knew the expansion was more than just vapourware was to level my new druid alt to 70 and get him geared to act as a tank. While the levelling is done there is still gear and practice to be done and it would be really nice to get him into Kara to at least try out against the early raid bosses, plus the possibilities of some extra shiny tanking gear. My primary professions are maxed on both characters and a couple of the secondary ones are there as well. A few mats will be horded to try and kick start with the new recipes and I'm hoping that the current plan where a lot of the good leather tanking gear is BoE.

The changes to raiding with a proper 10-man progression through all the raid instances looks to be a great change. Our guild only really has enough balance to run 10 man raids and having nearly cleared Karazhan and spotting just how tricky Zul'Aman can be (given that it's more T5 level content rather than direct progression) is making things tricky in terms of what to do. Having tried a couple of 25man raids I tend to find them too pressured and am less able to have fun and a laugh with people while playing a game. Having fun is quite a key thing, especially when I'm trying to explain tactics and ensure everyone is in the right place during a fight. Also getting to see some of the key lore items in the expansion (and possibly Arthas himself) really adds to the excitement.

Finally having levelled both characters almost exclusively by questing and having missed out on most of the instances on the way, it'll be good to get some instance runs in at the right level and as part of the aventuring in that zone.

Regardless of when the expansion comes out there's still plenty to do and with the inevitable class changes that will come along there'll still be plenty to talk about on this blog.


Saturday, 21 June 2008

Playing a Hybrid

It's midsummer in Azeroth and the fire festival is in full swing along with a new summonable boss in Slave Pens. Trying it today for a chance on the epic tanking cloak which drops from him we had what was a less than optimum group (1 tankadin, 2 feral druids, 1 resto shaman, 1 BM hunter) but did manage it once, but required me to be switching around all over the place.

Most of the time I was running around in Cat form tanking down the tiny adds but given the length of the fight and the damage the group was taking our healer was finding mana a problem. The two innervates were in use and timed roughly the right amount of time apart, so that wasn't a problem shifting out, dropping the innervate and shifting back however when mine was on CD and one was still required the other druid was carefully tanking the spawned elite. ok shift to bear, taunt it off him and allow him to drop the innervate and shift back to cat once it's been taunted off me.

While we only managed the kill once, and the cloak didn't drop but it certainly opened my eyes to some of the extra difficulties to playing a class with multiple roles rather than just stabbing things with daggers/swords and trying not to steal aggro from the tank.

Thursday, 19 June 2008

The times they are a changing

So half my list of WoW blogs has had something to say about the PTR patch notes for 2.4.3 and I thought it was about time I posted something about rogues so here we go.

There's a solitary change listed so far and I'll copy it here so you don't have to go off following links:
Cheat Death: This talent has been rebalanced significantly. Killing blows are no longer 100% absorbed. If the Rogue is below 10% health, the killing blow is still completely absorbed; if the Rogue is over 10% health, enough damage will be absorbed to reduce the Rogue's health down to 10%. For the following 3 seconds, damage is not always reduced by 90%; it is now reduced by a maximum of 90%, depending on how much resilience the Rogue has. The damage reduction will be four times the damage reduction resilience causes against critical strikes.

Now there's a lot of stuff there and I'll attempt to dissect I a bit, if only just to describe my own thoughts on this change. I've specced into Cheat Death for a weekend of BG honor grinding before now and when it procced and a healer was prepared to use some Mana on me it was awesome. Generally some DPS warrior has just charged in swinging his big two-hander like some demented pillock and looks confused as his execute fails to kill me, and I plainly refuse to die before suddenly having health again.

The first part of the change means that even when you cheat death on a massive crit from your enemy you're still gonna end up at 10% health rather than just shaking it off and doing something sneaky in return. Now this isn't a massive problem as you might just have a chance at that point to pop a potion or vanish or have a heal land, but it's still gonna be a bit scarier when it happens.

The second part just seems nuts to me, in order to get the full benefit of this talent you need to be stacking enough resilience to reduce incoming crits by 22.5%. Given the resilience cap is 25% that's a heck of a lot, and some back of an envelope maths (and wowwiki) seem to indicate you'll need to be stacking 444 resilience rating. Now I'm not a massive PvP player but that seems rather large, in a BG it might not be a massive problem but I can see this could be a big change for arena rogues. Not having played arena at all I'd be interested if any other rogues out there who've dabbled in arena have any major views.

As a conclusion I'm not entirely sure why this change has come in, it feels like a big nerf, and likely to be one from some other class who's vocal players have problems beating rogues who know how to play their class well. We shall have to see if this change goes through to the live realms unchanged, personally I hope not but having got through the last couple of patches untouched something big was clearly on the horizon for rogues.

Stick to the shadows, it's so much easier to hide and pick out the weak one there ;)

Sunday, 15 June 2008

And then there were two

After a weekends dedicated questing Medrare hit the big 7-0 and equipped the rest of the clefthoof set in preparation for some end game tanking.

Interestingly the macro to check for critability indicates that I'm already uncritable which surprised me, but must be the resiliance that my rings and trinket along with the defense from gems. 13K health and 17K armor mean that I can probably do the early level 70 instances (mmm Steamvaults for CE rep) but Kara will have to wait awhile longer. Also given that our raid leader has decreed that characters still need to be keyed even though Blizzard have removed the attunement so I'll be running the 5 instances required by that.

I've certainly enjoyed levelling a druid, there's more variety in the fighting, plus being able to heal rather than relying on bandages or food reduces down time. The biggest advantage was running through stuff I'd already done but there were a few quests to try now the mobs were no longer elite, and I'm all set up to finish the Greatmother chain of quests in Nagrand, which is really cool given that I missed this on Crash the first time round.

Here's looking forward to some end game playing on a new character, and remember the suggestions for whispering druids randomly in game ;)

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Careless Whispers

Well this has probably been blogged about before, but as it's still happening (and more importantly to me) here's my view.

So just recently I'll be questing away in a zone when out of nowhere I'll get a whisper along the lines of "r u feral". That's it, no hello, no explanation, just a question of how I've spent my talent points. Generally I assume it's because someone is trying to put an instance run together and are looking for a tank (or healer).

Now it's not that I mind being asked to help out, heck I might even be tempted if I was going to be online for a bit and bored, but interrupting my play time without so much as a hi/hello isn't likely to get a favorable response from me. This also happened when I was levelling up Crash, but that just tended to be the abbreviation of the instance being PUG'd.

Right, so now we know what won't work as a way of getting my attention, what might. Well here's a 3 point plan
  1. Be polite - you don't know what I'm doing and will most likely be in the middle of something when you send that whisper.
  2. Use proper words - if you take the time to write a proper question, I may well take the time to right a proper response.
  3. Be original - You won't be the first person to send a request so make yours stand out from the crowd.

Finally an apology, if you've done all that and still not got a response please don't take it personally, I may well have missed the whisper in amongst guild chat, officer chat and other spaff. Good luck with your adventures and remember not to break the cc

Friday, 13 June 2008

I believe I can fly

Medrare has dinged 68 and that means one thing in the life of a druid, a quick trip to the class trainer to get Shapeshift: Flight Form and quickly hearth back to Shattrath so you can try it out. Here he is in all his storm crow glory

It's a bit frustrating to only be going at 60% speed, when Crash is off zooming about on his epic flyer, but grinding SSO rep for the glyph and possibly the uber alchemists stone should help raise the rest of the gold. LFG Heroic Setthek Halls anyone?

Thursday, 12 June 2008

I can haz WoW Blog

Right, this is going to be the generic intro post, who I am, what I play and what I might blog about. Well the who isn't that important, but I'm a IT professional who after holding out for a couple of years finally got into this crazy MMORPG world of warcraft and soon found the joy of playing and developing a character slightly addictive.

I currently (actively) play a Blood Elf Rogue (Crashandburn) and a Tauren Druid (Medrare) in a small social raiding guild on the Aszune-EU server. I've tried a couple of other classes but the appeal of being right up in a mobs face doing a lot of damage quickly really appeals, and might have some deep psychological meaning but we won't go into that.

Really I'll probably be just posting relating raiding tales from when Crash ventures in and stabs monsters, or trying to l2tank on Medrare as he finishes the levelling grind up to 70.

So come along for the ride and don't forget to Vanish when it looks like everything is about to go horribly wrong.

(and if you hadn't got the blog title reference, do a quick google for "Alamo teeches yu to play durid!", yes I could link it, but go do some work yourself)