Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Arena Build

The first thing you need to know about the arena build, is that it is The Arena Build, and thou shalt die if thy talents are not 17/0/44.

Naturally this will change when Blizzard unleash the new talents, but until such time, spec this before your arena matches or fail.

Why? Why would almost 100% of respectable arena mages use the same spec?

... Because it is the only way to get the best arena talents!

which are: Improved Counterspell and Summon Water Elemental. Obviously you get Ice Barrier as well, and Cold Snap, on the way to your elemental, which are super uber arena talents in their own right.

Improved counterspell needs no explanation. It does, however, need 17 points spent in arcane

On the plus side you can afford to spec Arcane Fortitude. Ummm.. yeah.

I can't overstate how awesome the elemental can be in arena. There are a few ways in which I like to use him, depending on who we are facing. I'm sure there are others and would love to hear about how you guys use him in arenas, and also if you think I'm doing it right.

In most arena matches I will be invisible when the gate opens. This means I am relying on my team as my eyes and ears and communication is vital. I will often break my invis by summoning my elemental. I will then set him on one of two targets - whoever the team has nominated as first to die, or whoever needs to be hassled a bit while I'm doing something else, but isn't someone I'm planning to sheep.

Hunters and rogues often cop this one. They are just such pains in the ass I like to give them something to worry about instead of letting them chop up our team at their leisure. In these cases I set the elemental on one, sheep another, then join the team in taking out our nominated First To Die. (FTDs tend to be high threat and low survivability targets. Not always a healer, never a warrior.)

More likely, however, I will use it as additional DPS & of course for shatter combos and causing general havoc and disruption on the other team. If my first target needs to die in a hurry, usually a priest or druid, I will quite happily summon the elemental, send it off to attack my target, then look around and figure out where that target is, get into position and start blasting away.

I use Proximo for that by the way. Saves me having to actually know where someone is before I target them, which is extra useful in situations where I have just popped out of invis and need to send my pet off to kill someone. It's also great for picking a sheep target out of a pack of enemies. I can't recommend it highly enough for anyone playing arenas.

Anyway thats just for openers, what about my second elemental? This one I tend to use to finish off the other team or to save my bony ass. I usually find myself popping ice barrier, perhaps a nova, then using coldsnap, summoning my elemental and jumping into an iceblock. I like this little trick because it forces the other team to make a decision, and I have a plan regardless of what they choose to do. They can wait for my iceblock to finish and resume pounding me, they can go after the elemental I just summoned who is now attacking them on my behalf, or they can forget about me and my elemental and attack someone else on my team.

The first and worst option is to wait for my iceblock to finish and then kill me. This is super dumb but people still do it. While they are waiting for my iceblock to finish they aren't hurting my healer who is hopefully going to have me back to full health before the iceblock is over. They also aren't doing anything about the rest of my team who is -SO- going to smash them in retalliation for what they did to me. Oh and did I mention I summoned a second elemental just before the iceblock? Great for 1v1 situations where I'm almost dead, the elemental can do significant damage while im safely entombed in a block of ice.

I have won arenas by doing this when I was the last man standing. Especially helpful when your iceblock and your elemental are quite a distance apart, and that warrior knows that he only has to hit you once to win the match... They are likely to try and wait out your iceblock to land that killing blow, meanwhile your pet is pounding on them...

Then, if you blink nice and quick and time it right, you will not only get away unscathed, you can then freeze them and wind up a match-winning shatter combo. This is awesome fun. Nothing quite like being the last man standing, on next to no health, odds against you, and then pulling a win out of nowhere by using some basic kiting and enemy manipulation.

So in summary, if a mage iceblocks, don't keep hitting him, do something useful like get in his healers face or take out his elemental... I don't think im giving too much away here.

Ok, so the second and less stupid option is to take this opportunity to kill my elemental. The elemental dies really fast if someone is actually trying to kill it, and if I've had to iceblock and the other team wants him dead, he's pretty much gone. This does buy me some time, and I can use freeze to buy still more time. I will hopefully have copped a heal and will have reapplied my ice barrier as soon as the iceblock is over, so trading my elemental's life for mine isn't a bad thing at all. If my life isn't at risk, and you go after my elemental, I will generally end iceblock early, then blink away to safety, or my personal favourite, end iceblock early and unleash 31 flavors on whoever just turned their back on me and are now after my elemental. Still tends to work out in my favor.

And the third option I give the opposing team, if they dont want to touch my elemental or me, is to switch focus to someone else on my team. This is the best thing they can do, and it's pretty easy to know when this happens, so ditch that iceblock straight away, retarget your elemental if necessary, and enjoy not being the focus of the other team for a while. I am usually able to pump out a bunch of frostbolts and instants before someone decides to go back to killing me.

Remember, as soon as nobody is threatening you, release that iceblock and kill somebody.

With these strategies only possible with a frost spec, and Improved counterspell being as important as it is in arena, it's easy to see why there is only one Arena Spec!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Actual Damage = Spell Damage + (Spell Coefficient x Bonus Damage)

Whoa, slow down egg-head!

But srsly. That's how it works, and while you don't need to know the hows and whys, it can't hurt to get a handle on the whats, and so here is everything you need to know, and nothing you don't, about Improved Frostbolt.

Yes! That's what this is really all about! There is a Spell Slingin' Stand-off happening here after all, also known as The Big Battle of the Mages !

See... Once upon a time, back in the days of WoW 2.0.suck, this Tier 1 talent got pwned by the nerfbat. (Ouchies)
As of Patch 2.0.6 each rank of "Improved Frostbolt" now reduces Frostbolt's spell damage coefficient by 2%.
Now in these days of post there is no such issue! (Winrar)
Patch 2.3.0 removed this "damage tax".
Which makes Improved Frostbolt 100% worth getting for any Arcane Frost, Elemental Frost or Deep frost build. Pretty much anyone who is going to fire more than 3 of these babies in a row should have this talent.

Now I'm all about practicality, in a "what does it mean to me, and it better be good or I'm not interested" kind of way.

So lets say I have 1000 spell damage....

... I go down to the altar of shadows one day and theres this fire elemental giving me dirty looks see... now I don't take to kindly to their type to begin with, so mebbe I started it and mebbe I didn't, but one thing led to another and this fire elemental... well lets just say he was very apologetic in the end, but in the middle part, well he was downright vicious, and I was forced... I say -forced- to blast him all the way to netherstorm and back with a storm of frostbolts.

And then it was all over, just as quickly as it started. Now lets have a look at why he got so sorry so quickly, without getting too deep in to scary mathematicals that don't belong in an automagical world.

Each spell in WoW has a co-efficient. Rather get caught up in the how and the why, lets look at the what. Rank 13 frostbolt has a coefficient of 81.43, which means each frostbolt receives 81.43% of your bonus spell damage.

Just trust me. Srsly. Would I lie to you?

I know it isn't a nice round number like fireball with its nice easy-to-calculate coefficient of 100, but well... it just isn't. its 81.43 and thats final. (Actually it's only final until we get Empowered Frostbolt, however, that's a discussion for a later stage - scared yet gnomes?)

So why did the Enraged Fire Spirit die so easily? He had about 6600Hp before his unwise decision to get smart with me, and 3 or 4 frostbolts later he's goneski. Lets look a bit closer.

First of all Frostbolt:

rank 13 frostbolt - 3.0 seconds cast time, 597 - 643dmg (620 average dmg)

So we have 1000 spell damage, therefore an average frostbolt hit is 1434dmg.

damage = 620 + (1000 x 0.8143) = 1434.3

crit damage = {620 + (1000 x 0.8143)} x 200% = 2868.6 thanks to Ice Shards of course.

Looks like our firey friend copped a bit of a critical hit! No wonder he only lasted for 4 frostbolts. Of course in that time he put up a wee bit of a fight, and perhaps I used counterspell, perhaps I used fire ward, perhaps I just stood there and took it like a zombie... Same result.

Zupa 1 - Enraged Fire Spirit 0

So, without further ado, let me introduce
Improved Frostbolt.

Each point spent reduces the cast time of frostbolt by 0.1 seconds up to a maximum of 0.5 seconds.

Don't forget that it keeps the same spell damage coefficient even though the cast time is reduced!

To illustrate how important those tenths of seconds are, lets consider a slightly longer fight, lasting for 1 minute. Without improved frostbolt, zero lag and no interruptions, we could cast 20 frostbolts in 1 minute.

With improved frostbolt we are looking at 24 frostbolts in the same minute!

Looks good already doesn't it! But wait, we have approx 25% crit chance... so chances are one of those 4 free frostbolts is going to crit... and with 1000 bonus spell damage we are now looking at an additional 7172 damage in a 1 minute fight! (3 normal frostbolt hits and 1 critical frostbolt hit)

Not bad for a Tier 1 talent ay?

Lets see what the Gnomes have to say about that!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Back when I was young, I used to be a fire mage.

Back then, fire mages used to dominate in PvP, and an AP PoM Pyro was about the most scary thing to have flying at you on the battlefield.

How times have changed! The pre-bc talent tree revamp, with the changes to ice barrier and the introduction of the water elemental, amongst others, made that frost tree very attractive. I was still raiding against a whole lot of fire-resisting mobs in those days, so the decision was easy. Deep frost all the way.

... Then I had an extended break from the game, only to return and discover that fire now sucks for pvp, and frost isn't the most popular raiding spec. In fact it's not even close. I hardly see another frost mage these days.

Of course I toyed with the idea of going back to fire, all kinds of dps calculators indicate that it is the highest damage output raiding spec. Unless, of course, you happen to be toting a frozen shadoweave set, as I was shortly after hitting 70.

I figured that I'd hang in there until I replaced those +frost damage items and then I would have a crack at a fire spec, and maybe an arcane spec, and see what happens.

Well that day came and went, and with much trepidation, I visited the mage trainer. I actually downgraded my shadoweave boots to the veterans PvP ones, which wasn't a massive nerf and I figuered would be worth it for the extra super uber fire dps I was going to be doing. Since I lost my ghost hit, I had to use the scryer bloodgem for extra +spell hit. Another nerf that would be worth it right?

I have also picked up both the Tymbals focusing crystal from H MgT (I know I said I wasn't going back but a guildie asked nicely, and what could I say?)... and then as I hit exalted with scryers and SSO on the same day and bought the Shattered Sun pendant of accumen.

I chose fire with icy veins (2/48/11), stolen from the most powerful mages in my guild, then headed out to area 52 and started pounding away on that mob with the bombs who you can test your dps on. I was looking forward to my trinket and neck proccing all over town and adding huge amounts to my DPS. As the trinket only procs of periodic damage it's useless to a frost mage, and scoring this little guy had a lot to do with my decision to respec. So - testing time!


Like totally, not happy. Fireballs take AGES to cast. Like FOREVER. Even with icy veins it's slow, and then they go and crit for less than my frostbolts used to. What the hell? I kept clearcasting, but still managed to use a mana stone and go out of mana in no time at all. That trinket does one tenth of next to nothing in terms of DPS from the proc, and the neck is equally worthless.

Damage from arcane bolt and shadow bolt (procs from the trinket and neck) accounted for not more than 2% of my overall DPS by the time I ran out of mana (which wasn't particularly long)

Previous tests as frost had me spamming away for what seemed like 10 minutes, using my elemental and cold snap to full effect, popping crit after crit after crit and generally carving it up.

Not so as a fire mage.

Something was definitely wrong here.

So I went back to the drawing board, and realised I had forgotten about scorch altogether. Oh right. Fire mages have to do that dont they.

Ok lets try that again. DPS was better. Crits were bigger. Ignite does a lot of damage, but I still wasn't happy, it still felt weak, and I still went OOM in no time at all.

Since that trinket isn't worth respeccing fire for, I'm going to do some more testing, try it out in some raids, then respec back to frost and demonstrate the superior nature of the frost spec :) I'll post my damage meter breakdowns for all to see later this week.

According to magegraf and the theory-craft-omatic, the fire spec gives me a smidgen more damage, something like 3% or 50 dps depending which calculator you ask. They all agree that that extra damage is going to cost me a huge amount of mana. Have a look at the graphs above. Surely no shield, no elemental and no mana isn't worth such a minor damage increase? If I run out of mana I'm not doing much damage at all am I?

So go on, convince me fire doesn't suck!

Aside from that did I mention I now get totally pounded in PvP? No ice barrier is just horrible. Even in raids I am completely reliant on the healers to keep me up, i'm used to having my shield available at any time to keep me alive, but no such joy with this spec.

One thing I like about this spec.... I do rather enjoy setting people on fire.

Oh and the arena winner, my water elemental, is now retired.

R.I.P. squirtle.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Mage > Warlock?

In the hands of a skilled player, Nick over at Stayin' Frosty believes so.

I agree. Go read his post here

Unfortunately the vast majority of players are not what I would consider "skilled" and as such will have much more success playing a warlock. Unfortunate for them at least.

I just wish they would quit bitching about mages being broken and underpowered.... but that's ground I've already covered.

edit: So I just went to check out vontre's magegraph to test some things. I decided to click ALL the boxes. Warlock DPS with my gear is horrible.

What's all that about?

Would you like some cheese to go with your WHINE?

Why must mages complain so much?

Oh and it's patch day...

What's in it for me? Not much. My various armors can no longer be dispelled. Super.

Invisible players with Hunter’s Mark can see the hunter that put the mark on them. Awesome.

Actually that totally might even come up in a battleground one day. Maybe. I probably won't notice it though.

So - not much interesting going on for mages this patch. They are still the biggest bunch of crybabies on the forums and I really think that if more mages learnt to live with their quirks, rather than complaining about them, they would see that mages are powerful and fun to play in all contexts, and be happier people in general.

I won't promote QQ forum threads by linking them here, but anyone reading the mage forums would know what I mean. They are even complaining about stuff that isnt implemented yet, like frostfire bolt, which nobody really knows anything about.

The amount of time and effort that is spent bitching about things like blink not porting you the full distance if the terrain is uneven, and having a cry that iceblock is a way of CCing yourself. (Oh noes. buff iceblock pls. let me run and jump and sing and dance while encased in a solid block of inpregnable magical ice...)

As for blink... Perhaps mages cant teleport through anything except thin air? ie: not through trees, rocks, fences or hills. Since I started playing years ago blink has always been the same and I have always accepted it. One needs to have a clear uninterrupted line of sight to the spot where you are blinking to. I can live wtih that. I don't blink at times when it wont work, and so it doesn't bother me.

I have adapted, which is a much more fun and enjoyable option, than bitching and moaning and screaming to nerf warlocks. Try explaining that to a mage who is mid-cry about the mana cost of spellsteal, or some other rubbish... Actually don't - it's an excercise in frustration and a waste of your valuable time, but you know what I mean.

Ok, sorry guys. I got a little carried away there - lets look at patch notes.

No buffs for mages worth writing home about, so next on the list of relevant information is who got nerfed and will now be easier to kill?

Pugnacious Priest is happy bout the rogue nerf

Say what?

Let me re-read those patch notes ... if you havent already had a look-see yourself, prepare to be happy!

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.
Oh my. Oh dear. Unlucky!

Hate to be you guys! Cheat death is still awesome but it's totally not going to upset me as often as it used to! I hope not anyway. I have lost arena battles due to cheat death in the past and I have found this rather annoying.

So... Not much else, you can buy a 22 slot bag for 1200g from Haris Pilton... Personally I have a huge amount of things higher on my WTB list than more bag slots. I just abuse the mail system instead! I can also think of worse things than having mountains of cash when the expansion hits, so I'll be doing my dailies, wheeling and dealing on the AH, and saving my coppers.

I still don't even have an epic mount. Gems and enchants and such always seem more important, and Im far too busy with raiding and PvP to spend all my time farming.

Anyone know if / when they are going to reduce the cost of epic flying training? That would be nice =)

Ok I gotta go catch a plane now. Looking forward to getting home to my PC, my internet connection, and downloading this patch!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Undead Flying Mount: Update

Just caught this post from spooner over at where you can see a few updated pics of the undead flying mount which we will be seeing in the expansion.

Suffice to say it looks mean and is clearly what I've been looking for in a mount, being undead and skeletal and all, just like me and mah hoss, George.

I will get one and I will call her... Jenny.

ah luv you Jenny!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Azgalor no more!

Vision made another first kill last night, and I had the honor of being present, being ALIVE, and doing respectable DPS throughout. I've said before that there is nothing quite as much fun in WoW as the first time your raid is successful at a particularly challenging encounter, and last night was no exception.

It might be Prince in Kara, It might be Onyxia in her cave, but there's always something special about that moment when a team of 10, 25 or 40 people achieve victory after seemingly endless attempts. Everybody cheers, everybody feels good. Petty squabbles and personal disputes are put on hold while the raid (and guild) celebrates, takes pictures, jumps around a lot and is happy in general.

So Azgalor. My first step into Hyjal, my first boss fight in Hyjal. There was a fairly steep learning curve! It became apparent after the fight began that everyone else was there on Wednesday when they cleared the first few bosses. The raid leader must have assumed I had been there before also and knew what to do. Oh how very wrong he was!

For those who haven't seen it, the Azgalor fight is akin to the Black Morass. Waves of mobs come in, you kill them, then a boss comes along, and you kill him. You get minimal time to med up between waves, and a tiny bit more time before the boss fight starts.

Now while we are going over the boss fight strat, there was no mention of these waves. I jumped over to mmo-champion to have a look at the positioning for the fight, what to do when you get the doom thingo on you, etc etc. Also no mention of any waves. It's all boss abilities, postioning, raid make up, etc.

Why didn't anyone say "oh but before the boss fight we are going to take down about eleventy billion mobs which come in waves every few minutes"?!?

Instead RL says "right, everyone in your positions... pulling now"

wait.. what? right. Ok, lets do this.

*wave of about 20 mobs comes in*

Hang on what's with all the little guys?
(by 'little' I actually mean freaking huge and scary with 100 - 200 thousand HP... but in relative terms, they were little guys)

Some are tanked by the MT close to the entrance, others are taken up the back where it looks like some of the NPCs who are on our side are fighting them. I'm far too busy at this point to worry about whats going on back there, im trying to figure out what mob to target. I think I heard somebody say something about Thrall. What? err.. not my job, worry about Thrall later*

Keep in mind we just spent 10 minutes talking about the boss fight, I have no idea about the waves of mobs or anything, so im kinda just winging it at the moment. I tried my standard trick when i'm not sure what to do, which is to target a more experienced ranged DPS. Steal their target. Fire frostbolts. Generally works pretty well and I can totally appear to know whats going on even if I don't... sometimes.

Not so much this time! Every single mage, warlock and hunter had a different target. What the hell is going on? Why is there no skull? Why is there no X? Why didn't anybody say anything about this before, and where is the boss?

Another wave of mobs! This time its freaking giant elementals falling from the sky! and massive felhunters! Things are happening quickly here but I manage to shoot a quick tell to another mage since he is dead I figure he can help me out a bit... "So... umm what the hell is going on and what do I kill here?" His reply was simply "AOE where the consecration is"

And that, my friends, was all the instruction required. Bring out the blizzard, and things started going much much better. So that first 2 or 3 minutes was a bit crazy but by this stage I had figured out what was going on, what I was supposed to do, and where I needed to stand, everything was fine.

After we eventually burn our way through 8 waves, it's been like 20 minutes maybe? and then FINALLY the boss decides to put in an appearance.

'Bout time you big slow ugly lizardman thing!

Ok now this is a FUN fight! I found the perfect spot to stand, just outside of his rain of fire, just inside max range, I didn't move an inch during the entire fight, I just sat there and pounded out the damage. I think I did over 300k damage during that fight, although to be honest I don't remember the figure very well. Perhaps when I look at my screen shots it will be there in my damage meter. I did, however, maintain 1200 odd DPS for the entire fight which was a decent effort I thought. The fight does take a while. I managed to use up my entire emerald plus my ruby and an evocation, 1 cold snap, 3 pets, 3 icy veins and who knows how many times I used my trinkets.

At last he was dead. We received our first T6 items, and the first of the first went to one of the mages! (Gratz Themo) All in all it was great fun and I look forward to doing it again next week.

Will we tackle Archimonde? Will we keep pushing through BT? After all, we did get Gorefiend** down to 4% after finishing Azgalor, and that really should have been a kill...

Lady Vash is also still standing in SSC... So plenty of new acheivable first kills on the horizon for Vision!

*Turns out Thrall was totally on our team and totally badass. He didn't get involved with the boss but I'm sure that he and his buddies were helping tank some adds or something.

**More on the Gorefiend fight later!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Cheap Sheep

Oh. My. God.

Once in a while you learn something that you just can't believe you didn't already know. So much so that you are immediately suspicious as to the validity of said new fact.

This just happened to me. I'm not sure if I should be ashamed that I didn't already know this, or if I should go do some testing before I go shooting my mouth off. Naturally im going to blog first, test later, and post a follow-up if required.


OK. So maybe it's not such a big deal.

Cast time is the same and I save ooo... ummm like 90 mana... and I have almost 10k mana. Perhaps I cast polymorph 10 times in an arena.... at most, so I can see why I might not have known about this fun way to save 90 mana now and again.

Still. Now I know.

Jolly good, class dismissed.

Quote of the Day

Is it worth running Kara week in week out, hitting every daily heroic to pickup the badges to buy the gear to run the raids that had the gear that isn’t as good as the gear you just bought with your badges?
- Gnomeageddon

I did, and it was.

Only because the loot is only one reason for running the raids. All those badges helped me become powerful enough to be a worthwhile addition to any raid this side of sunwell... As a result I've been everywhere but Mount Hyjal, and that's only a matter of time. Seeing the instances and the boss fights has been worth all the badge grinding, while also allowing me to save up my DKP for something -really- nice. I haven't spent any since joining Vision, because anything that dropped was either trumped by badge gear or went to someone else in the guild.

Friday, July 4, 2008

/jump: bandwagon

Everybody's doing it! Opt in for the WotLK Beta, just visit the Blizzard official WoW site and clicky clicky, you now have a fraction of a snowballs hope in Ironforge of becoming an official beta tester for WotLK.

Which would be pretty cool you have to agree...

So what are you waiting for?

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Hoof n' Healz does Kara

Just a short post to draw your attention to this blog.

There you will find a nice rundown of the various boss fights in Kara. It's a worthy resource for those new to Karazhan, and even if you have been there, done that, it's still a good read.

Lift your game!

Are you performing at your peak?

Ok so im a couple of weeks late with this, but I just caught up with this one today.

Jezrael at DPS: We Deliver asks an interesting question in this post on the 20th June.
If a player experiences their own progression via farm raiding does this lead to a tendency towards laziness in terms of gear itemisation and etc?
Typhoon Andrew over at Eye of the Storm believes there is no excuse for being slack, as the time and effort required to perform at a higher level by using item enhancements and consumables is not really that much. Check out his gearing attitude post from the same day.

A few days later WoW Insider chimed in with this post, suggesting that if you are likely to upgrade an item in Kara, it's not worth enchanting / gemming.

To which I say BOLLOX!

Get a cheap enchant, or a green gem if you must. The cost isn't significant, and is within everyone's reach.

Personally I think it's down to the individual, and how they see their role in the group and their goals in the game. As such I believe that a slack player will not make the same kind of effort as a committed player, regardless of the context.

An example to illustrate this point, and something I'm sure a lot of us have seen. A raid is wiping on a progression boss. Some people in the raid are using consumables, some aren't. Some players are making an effort to perform at their absolute peak, while others aren't prepared to spend extra money to get extra performance. They are waiting for others to do this, and then they can get free upgrades in the form of new gear.

As Andrew says, enchantments and gems just aren't that expensive. Gold is stupid easy to come by in outland, and nobody has an excuse for not spending that 20g on pots for the raid. I cannot emphasise enough that this was not always the case. The economy pre-bc was such that raiders would simply have to farm a LOT to perform at their "peak" by using consumables as we have been discussing.

The result of this in our guild was simple. People farmed as much as they had to. They knew the non-core raiders were lining up to take their spot, and they had better earn their keep, we had no room for slackers and I am proud to look up Alter Electus on Wowjutsu, see a lot of the same names there and note that they are continuing to make great progress and are among the most progressed guilds down under, having cleared every single boss outside of Sunwell.

I know I am always spending money on elixirs, oils, food and enchantments. You can safely say that any item I use in the game will have its potential maximised unless it is clearly about to be swapped out for an upgrade. I have even put some spellthread in my blue PvP pants, because I know I will be wearing them for at least a couple more weeks.

You wont catch me in an instance without a superior wizard oil applied to my weapon at the very least. You wont catch me in a raid without an elixir, food and oil in use together. My measley 999 frost spell damage will typically be in excess of 1100 whenever it counts in PvE.
  • superior wizard oil - 42dmg
  • brilliant wizard oil - 14 crit and 36dmg (the theory-craft-o-matic actually tells me this oil is slightly better for dps, however the difference is minscule.)
  • elixir of frost power - 50dmg
  • adept's elixir - 24 dmg and 24 crit (or something)
  • spell dmg food - 23dmg and some spirit.

I will always use some combination of the above. I will spend an hour before the raid killing crocolisks for spell damage food or farming netherweb spider silk to keep the bag factory rolling. I buy stacks of elixirs and make the oils myself.

Now, if I didn't do all these things, would the raid be sucessful? Yes. At least almost all the time, definitely yes, and that I feel is the reason others won't bother.

So why would I do all this? To be better, to live longer, fight harder, and make the biggest possible contribution to the raid.

And why do that? Its certainly not to be noticed, as that doesn't really happen. It's because it's FUN!

I wanna do the most damage, I wanna be the last man standing, I want to set new crit records for myself! I want to be the most powerful mage I can be!

It's just how I play, and I think it's just how I am. I can't imagine convincing a near-enough-is-good-enough style player to come around to my way of thinking, nor can I imagine playing the game on cruise control the way a lot of people do in raids.

So if you are frustrated that people are letting your raid down, perhaps you can inspire and enthuse your co-raiders to go the extra distance, or perhaps it's time you moved up in the world, because at the top, I guarantee, nobody is taking it easy, and if you want to progress, you need to Lift Your Game!

Blizzard's next MMO

I'm not even sure where I came across it, but word on the webz is Blizzard are working on a new MMO.

Currently they have in the works:

Starcraft 2
Diablo 3
Wrath of the Lich King
another mystery MMO!!!

This post over at shacknews led me to an interview with Rob Pardo from where he discusses what blizzard are up to these days.

The main things I got out of this interview is... not that much. All I know after watching it is that there is another development team working on another MMO, it shouldn't affect the work any of the other dev teams are doing on the other three soon to be released titles, oh and some of their developers left, that gets a mention also.

That's about it, but still it makes me wonder which way they will go. Will they remake wow but bigger and better? Will it be more AoC style without factions and pretty colors? Will it be a starcraft MMO or something completely new?

Whatever it is, they have god knows what kind of budget, and its pretty clear what they have to beat.

They have to beat AoC and Warhammer online... Do they have to beat WoW as well?

Should they just suck it up and start work on WoW 2?

Would a starcraft online game appeal to the same number of people in the same way that Warcraft does?

Does starcraft have the lore to support an MMO on the scale of WoW, or AoC or Warhammer for that matter?

Time will tell... Let me know if you find anything out there and link it up! Blizzards mystery MMO is surely going to be a hot topic from now until it eventually hits the shelves. which is no doubt still a long long way off.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

10 WoW Memories

Gnomeaggedon (thats him in the pic.. awww cute lil gnomey) ... just got me thinking with this post over on his blog. He has listed his 10 most memorable WoW moments, so of course I started thinking about what mine were. I chucked them in a comment on his post, and you should do the same!

WoW vs DotA

This article over at WoW Insider is the most exciting piece of possibly-not-news I've read lately, and discusses what could be a leaked map of the next WoW battleground, and how it might be inspired by DotA!

I only play a few computer games, and generally only one at a time. Let me give you an idea... starting with Quake 1 in 1996, when online gaming became a reality, (trent reznor did the soundtrack, being an avid NIN fan at the time, I downloaded the demo the day of release) through to today, I have only played; Quake, Unreal, Counterstrike, Counterstrike Source, WoW, DotA and battlefield 2142.

Thats it. That's only 7 games in like 12 years or something, and the top three by a huge margin are CSS, WoW and DotA.

So you can imagine what I think of making a WoW battleground out of the DotA map! For those of you who haven't played DotA before, it's kind of like WoW, but you go from level 1 to level 25 in about an hour, can choose from about 90 different characters each with 4 unique spells, you can farm and build all kinds of items and in the end, one team of 5 wins, and the other loses.

Yes thats right, you can WIN THE GAME. (unlike our never-ending favourite mmo)

So a WoW battleground based on Dota? I think it would be super awesome! Destroyable buildings would be cool and taking out your enemys base would be a fun objective, and would require a more cohesive team effort to succeed... but what I would -really- love to do would be zone into DotA on my mage. Real DotA.

I'm imagining the map with all its elements as it stands now, but being able to run around inside it instead of looking from the top down. Being able to fight the neutral mobs with AoE spells, and ninja behind enemy lines to take out unsuspecting heros. That would be something special!

So, when the wow grind is too much, fire up your warcraft III Frozen throne, hop over to, get the latest map and play from start to finish in an hour or less. Battle is intense, dying once or twice can cost you the game. Getting a kill is a much bigger thrill and staying alive is way more important that it could ever be in WoW. Oh, and dont expect to be getting kills in the double figures for a while after you start playing. That's right you can play for an hour and only get a handful of kills.

I have to say WoW rarely gets my pulse racing the way a down-to-the-wire life or death, win or lose DotA battle does.

Does anyone else play DotA on Tuesdays? or when there are no raids and you cant face more primal farming? What do you do during maintenance?

For me, it's usually DotA. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Can't Touch This!

Resilience? Say what now?

Back in my day, resistance was resistance. Stamina was stamina, damage was damage and crits were crits!

18 months can do a lot to an mmorpg, and the 18 months I missed was when it all happened. I came back to discover that end game tier sets didnt make you god in the battleground! Amazing!

I also couldn't figure out why almost everybody was a private. I later discovered that they ditched the ranking system shortly after my departure, invented arena, resilience and other new fangled things like spell hit and heroic mode dungeons. o.O

So what's resilience all about anyway? I certainly didn't bother with it as I leveled my way to 70, nor when working my way through all the new instances and raid dungeons, which kinda brings me up to now, and as of last night and my Merciless Gladiators Raiment purchase, I have 272 resilience!

This seems to finally be enough to make some difference. I wouldn't be the first to say you can "feel" it working as you take less damage. Perhaps its just the stamina though? I'm nudging 9k now, so perhaps thats why im staying alive so much longer than I used to?

Lets do a quick breakdown.

272 resilience =?

resilience rating 272 @ lv 70 = 272/39.4 = 6.9 % resilience. (for the maths head to WoWwiki)

Wonderful. So now what?
  • chance to be crit reduced by 6.9%
  • crit damage reduced by 13.8%
  • dot damage reduced by 6.9%

Ok back to reality, all that maths belongs somewhere else. (there was more but I ditched it. maths is boring!) Lets talk real world for a minute.

I want to know what practical difference this resilience is going to make... So lets say Im fighting an equally geared mage. Lets say he hits me with a frostbolt...

As I said maths belong elsewhere, so trust me when I say that in my pvp gear a frostbolt will
crit for somewhere in the vicinity of 3.5k...

So if I have no resilience. I get hit for 3.5K. No calculator required.

But what if I have 100 resilience. This is about what you can get with two or three pieces of
blue pvp gear, which is well within anyone's reach.

(now bear with me while I go do maths some place else)

Right. With 100 resilience I got hit for 3325 instead of 3500.

That still hurt. In fact it hurt so much, it's almost as good as a full damage crit, nothing a quick icelance can't fix... zzz

Ok but 100 resilience is rubbish, you wouldn't expect it to do much. Lets try where Zupa is at the time of writing, 272 res.

... The frostbolt crits me for 3017...

Still hurts! although now its not hurting quite so bad. 500 hp extra is good to have, but
would I be better off with an extra 50 stamina? Guess its not quite that simple...

In fact its very much not quite that simple, because there is more than one frostbolt going around, and resilience reduces crit chance also. Lets talk 100 frostbolts now, thanks to my resilience I will dodge 6 or 7 of them, taking only normal damage.

What I've done is reduce my opponents 18.6% unbuffed crit chance to only 11.7% Hah! sucker!

Since @ lv 70 22.1 crit rating = 1% crit... so my resilience has affected my opponents crit rating to the tune of -152. take that!

Ok lets go perfect world. Same tests, but this time with resilience at the cap of 492 / 12.5%... so -25% damage and -12.5% crit chance.

3500 crit frostbolt now crits for 2625 IF it happens which is only going to be 6.1% of the time. So 6 times out 100 he crits me for 2625 instead of 19 times for 3500.

resilience cap ftw! Oh and it also reduces DoT damage! And makes you breakfast!

well almost =)

Your last five hours in WoW

Initially I came across this post from Larissa at the Pink Pigtail Inn as I meandered my way though some blogs... but it wasn't until reading about it again here at the hunter blog 35 Yards that I thought much about it.

"Let’s hypothetically assume Blizzard goes out of business and decides to shut down their servers and WoW for good. You have 5 hours before the server shutdown is permanent. What would you do in 5 hours?"

The original question was asked by Matticus in an interview with Phaelia early this year. There are some interesting comments on both entries, and like myself Gnomer over at Gnomeaggedon has decided it's a subject worth looking into. Jump here to his entry.

Personally I would like to visit Onyxia again in her cave, with the motley crew of misfits and wannabes from Blackrock that I first had the pleasure of taking her on with. None of us had ever so much as set foot in her cave before, let alone experienced the various phases of the fight, or the multitude of exciting and fun ways to wipe the entire raid.

We spent a good few weeks discovering these... It seemed like no matter how hard we tried, there was always -someone- who couldn't manage to stay out of her flame breath. Always -someone- not spreading out enough during the airborne phase. Someone standing on a crack in phase three. People aggroing the whelps as we enter the cave to take our initial positions, but perhaps the most common wipe of all was when Ony would casually swat a careless player with her tail, sending them tumbling into the whelp caves of death.

All this lead up is what made the kill so sweet in the end. We actually downsized to a 28man raid for "one last crack at it before bed" and somehow, we got her down. Only a handful of us were left standing after 10 minutes, the rest watching on the edge of their seats. Unbelievable tension. All quiet on vent except a few commands from the raid leader but by the end we were well into phase 3, everyone knew what to do and where to stand. It became a war of attrition, until at last after what seemed like an eternity on 1% Onyxia gave up the ghost, and victory was ours!

Vent errupted. Cheering, yelling, and even singing the like of which I've not seen since and doubt I will again. This was the defining moment for me in WoW. This was when I became a raider. The bar was raised, never to be lowered, and the depths of Molten Core beckoned.

Unfortunately that guild broke up a couple of weeks later. Perhaps the strain was too much for us, even though we were eventually successful. I regret that I'm no longer in contact with any of those players from Blackrock, however I'm sure not a single one of us will forget that moment, that sense of triumph, of teamwork, that taste of victory.

Of course.... 5 hours is a long time. Ony wouldn't keep me busy for that long, even if I was back in my level 60 blues with the original crew... So what else would I do?

Epic World PvP in Hillsbrad!

Anyone who was fortunate enough to experience this phenomena would have to agree that WoW has not been the same since. There was definitely something awe-inspiring about cresting that hill on some quest or other as a lowbie, and seeing hordes or horde to the north, and masses of allies to the south, with a 50 or 60 yard dead zone between the two armies.

And then a warrior charges, and then its on! I only wish I made it to level 60 before the advent of battlegrounds so I could have been more involved...

What about this one.... with 5 hours of game time left, what would you absolutely, positively, NOT do?
  • fishing?
  • PuG H MgT?
  • farm primals?
  • LBRS?
  • mediate guild dramas?