Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Frost specs - Zupa style!

Just a quick post to record my AoE grind spec, as requested by the illustrious Gnomeaggedon!

Key talents here are:
  • Frost Warding
  • Improved Frost Nova
  • Permafrost
  • Improved Blizzard
  • Improved Cone of Cold
  • Ice Barrier
  • Water Elemental

A link to the complete build is here

Basic Strategy for AoE grinding:

Find your mobs. Try to avoid ranged mobs and / or casters, they have a nasty habit of hitting you with ranged attacks and casting spells. This is not condusive to successful AoE grinding.

Plan your attack. Running in screaming LEEEEEE ROOOOY and spamming Arcane Explosion isn't going to cut it, you need to be aware of your surroundings if you are going to have a hassle free AoE experience. First rule - always have ice barrier up.


Naturally the first thing you do then, is cast ice barrier. Mount up immediately, and gather 4 - 6 mobs by riding over the top of them. (wait until you get the hang of things before you go rounding up a dozen, although that will be totally doable with a little practice) Drag them to the killing field. This should be a relatively clear and safe area nearby where you don't risk pulling adds or pats halfway through your AoE.

Iceblock and wait. All the mobs will surround you and group together in a nice tight bunch, which is exactly what you want them to do.

Release your iceblock and cast Frost Nova, then run two paces away from the group. At this point you need to do a quick check that none of the mobs have resisted your nova. If one has, use your macro for casting cold snap and frost nova to get another nova off instantly, trapping the loose mob and keeping the group together.

As you begin to pull larger and larger groups, you will find one mob resisting your nova more often, so it is vital to have this macro ready, as a single loose mob can be the difference between a successful AoE pull and death.

Now that all your mobs are safely grouped and nova'd, it is time to blink.

Don't blink into another group of mobs!

Run another step or two. This will put you at approximately maximum Blizzard range from your group of mobs (first 2 paces + blink + another pace) and cast blizzard on your pack of mobs. You want your blizzard to cover ALL of the mobs, but be as close to your toon as possible, ensuring the mobs have to spend as much time as possible running through your blizzard to get to you.

At this point, if you have the talent Frostbite, things will fall apart. Some but not all of the mobs will get snared by frostbite proccing off the blizzard. The group will spread out, preventing you from AoE damaging all of them at the same time. This is why an AoE grind spec cannot include this talent, no matter how cool it is.

Once your first blizzard has been going for about a second or two, all the mobs will have the improved blizzard debuff. Congratulations, that was the hard part. Next you cast another blizzard as soon as the first finishes, but this one so it is right in front of you.

By now the closest mob in the pack will be about to walk into your next blizzard, which will keep the debuff up and keep them walking at a snail's pace. They will get to you eventually, however, but since you have Improved Frost Nova your cooldown will be up, and you can snare the mob pack again.

After two full blizzards and two frost novas, the mobs are likely to be almost dead. Most of the time a crit-happy cone of cold on the freshly nova'd mobs at your feet will be enough to finish them off.

If not, don't worry, you just slowed them again with the CoC, so blink away and repeat.

Advanced AoE grinding tips and tricks.

Ok, so you can round up and destroy about 10 melee mobs of equal level to yourself and not die. Time to expand your repertoire young padawan!

How to bring them down faster:

There are a few ways you can kill your mobs a bit faster, and most of the time you should avoid using these methods as they generally result in some kind of negative trade-off for the quicker kill, in terms of excessive mana usage, excessive damage taken, or wasting a lot of cooldowns.

Sometimes, you have to employ thse techniques or you will flat out die. Best to know them, even if you don't have to use them. Of course, when you want to pull 25 mobs... You are going to need every trick in the book, so listen up.

Method 1: Hit me, I can take it.

Cast ice barrier, round up your mobs on FOOT using AE to damage as many of them as much as possible while you are gathering the mobs. Refresh ice barrier whenever possible (it is a good idea to cast it, then wait 20 seconds, then pull, so you can re-cast it as soon as it gets destroyed by incoming damage)

Do not use iceblock, once you arrive at the killing field, throw up a couple more AE's until the mobs are packed, then nova, blink, blizzard, blizzard CoC, AE, AE, AE, AE.

This method will kill the mobs faster, and unless something goes wrong you will probably only get one blizzard off. It will also hurt. Potentially a lot. I don't really do this unless I have to, as you also risk running out of mana at the worst possible time.

Method 2: It's not what you know, it's who you know.

As a frost mage, your Water Elemental is you bestest friend, and during AoE grinding things are no different. This method is great for the ridiculously incredibly big pulls. Got 25 mobs? You are gonna need help with that.

Here's how you play it. Start things off like a standard pull. Ice Barrier and mount up, then pull EVERY SINGLE MOB IN SIGHT (trying to avoid ranged and casters as mentioned earlier)

Iceblock to gather the mobs in the killing field. This is the part where you realise how many mobs you actually just pulled. It's OK, you have an entire iceblock duration to get used to the idea that you are surrounded by a very large number of (hopefully) melee mobs who are all going to hit you just as soon as you let them.

Nova, take a step, re-nova if you need to.

Blink! Now cast your Water Elemental, followed by a blizzard.

The beauty of this method is that you are now looking at a huge pack of mobs about 30 yards away from you, all are under the effect of improved blizzard and coming your way. When you use your Elemental to cast a Freeze on the pack, you can root them in place just as your initial frost nova is wearing off. This will keep them in place for another blizzard, and you will have plenty of time to re-nova them if you have to when they eventually get in range.

Another benefit of this method is when a mob gets loose and hits you, your water elemental will be all over it like a fat kid on a cupcake, leaving you to blizzard the rest of the pack in peace.


Commonly used on easy pulls where risk to the mage is minor, and there isn't really any need for any of that fancy kiting business. Gather with AE (Always have Ice Barrier up. Always!) Nova, flamestrike, CoC, Arcane Explosion until they are finished. Nothing too special about this method but it will get rid of a lot of pesky mobs in a hurry if they are upsetting you in any way.

Zupa's favourite AoE grinding spot @ lv 70

At level 70 a good location is between Kirin'var village and Manaforge Coruu in Netherstorm. Here you will find a bunch of sunfury researchers just waiting to be rounded up and killed en masse. A word of warning, however, they have casters patrolling around. These will need to be removed prior to your AoE killing.

Thankfully, being ranged, you can pull them with a flying mount by flying low over their heads, without disturbing their melee counterparts.

Drag your casters off to your killing field, kill them, then go gather the melee mobs. The respawn timers at this site are just about right for a single mage to grind here constantly. Once you start getting more and more accomplished at AoE grinding, you may find yourself waiting for respawns.

When this happens to me I just pop over to the Kirin'var villiage and farm some primal mana. All the mobs there drop motes and the drop rate is great. Mobs are only arcane resistant and go down easy.

Unfortunately this location simply cannot support two farmers, so if you see another farmer, particularly if it is a mage, either kill them, ask them nicely to find another spot, or come back later, depending what mood you are in.

edit: your cold snap + frost nova macro should look like this:

#showtooltip cold snap


/cast cold snap

/cast frost nova

edit #2: Here is a link to my Frost raiding spec, just for the sake of completeness.


Remember this post by Euripedes about the YEM and it's proliferation throughout the MMO world?
Well they are out there!

And I want one!

Desdarii spotted this one, and you can read about her hilarious experience here!

Also - hats are available here!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Spend em if you got em!

So, there will be no buying level 80 gear with arena points you earn while you are level 70.
Players who level past 70 will have their Arena points reset to 0 and be removed from all Arena teams in the level-70 bracket

On the other hand, this means I can SPEND them all with abandon. Brutal somethingorother coming right up!

Thanks Spooner for the info!

Ten Tons of Shame

Email written to in regards to this post made in his alleged arena guide.


I Just read this

"In addition, polymorph will not give you diminishing returns unless you have to do it at least 4 times (usually due to dispelling)"

Which is quite simply incorrect. I don't know what else to say. This type of thing can rob you of your credibility entirely, and indeed the entire tentonhammer site.

It isn't even a minor mistake. It is glaring evidence that you have zero experience playing a mage in any form of PvP setting let alone arena, yet you have written and posted a "Mage Arena Guide" which will no doubt be read by hundreds of soon to be misinformed mages.

Even though you have never played a mage in PvP, you could still have got away with writing this guide had you done the smallest amount of research at something like wowwiki, where the subject of diminishing returns for various spells including polymorph are well documented.

Kind Regards,



When raids fail.

Like most of us, I love to raid. While it isn't the be all end all of WoW, it is definitely one of the things that keep us all coming back for more. Over the past couple of days I have been in a very successful raid and a very unsuccessful one, and it got me thinking about the differences between the two.

I was reminded of Larisa's post about a raid's mental mana. A successful raid definitely needs to keep it's mental mana up, and while this is everyone's responsibility, there are definitely the spreists of the group who help everyone around them with mental mana regen.

These are the jokers, the ones with kind words and gentle encouragement, the friendly raiders who get on well with everyone. All successful raid groups have people filling this role, even if they don't realise it.

I can think of another analogy that is apt here as well. A raid needs mental mana to be sure, but it also needs attack power. I see a raids attack power as a measure of it's ability to hit bosses hard and fast with everything it's got. To build your raid's attack power requires a couple of things from everybody, mainly preparation and concentration.

As an example, last night Vision downed Kael'thas. A second kill for Vision, and a first for me. This was a super fun and successful raid, and while we did wipe a few times, this is Kael we are dealing with. Nobody was expecting a one shot, everyone was expecting a challenge, and everybody was hungry for the kill. Thus we came prepared, we were on our A game.

What we brought to the raid was our maximum attack power, ensuring maximum effectiveness from all 25 of us. People were focused. People were paying attention. People were concentrating, and giving their all.

Kael'thas died with 24 raiders left standing and plenty of mental mana left over.

There was much rejoicing and dancing in the Keep.

A stark contrast to our Sunday night raid..

On Sunday, there was a plan. Take out Fathomlord in SSC for those of us who needed him as part of the medaillion of karabor questline. From there we go to TK and down alar, also for the SR questline, and then we were to return on Monday to finish Kael, for those of us who still needed it for the Vials of Eternity quest.

Unfortunately, on the Sunday, the raid attack power was very low. The overall attitude wasn't right. People weren't focused, people weren't prepared. This raid was born to fail.

Naturally we wiped on our first attempt, even though this was only Fathomlord, a boss we have had no issues with for a long long time. At this point, we developed mental mana leaks.

If it weren't for the mana leaks, we might have got by, even with our relatively low attack power. Considering our current level of progression, even on half attack power Fathomlord shouldn't have presented a problem. Unfortunately, people started to get annoyed with one another. People weren't following instructions, attacking the wrong targets, standing in the wrong place. People's mana levels were very low.

Another wipe, worse than the first.

I noticed around this point that some of our key spriests weren't present. Nobody was settling disputes calmly and fairly. Nobody was trying to encourage the hopeless with positive words. Nobody was cracking jokes and keeping things fun. Things were going downhill fast.

After another wipe or two this situation deteriorated further until some raiders were starting to become outright hostile to one another and the raid leader himself was going OOM. Not good.

Personally im not the mental mana battery type. I tend to keep my trap shut and do my job, and focus on that. I look after my own mental mana but primarily I bring maximum attack power to a raid. I prepare, focus and concentrate. I'm not, however, always concious of how other people are doing, and I'm not the guy who makes everyone laugh out loud every night. Thus I didn't feel like I could do much to help this situation with Fathomlord, aside from doing my bit.

Thankfully, we eventually killed him. Something about the raid leader announcing that "this will be our last attempt" really gets us into gear as a group. It's almost like a flask for the entire raid. Everyone concentrates a little more, and tries a little harder. Once it looks like the entire night might become a complete waste, even the slackers get off their asses and give it their best shot.

I think after the first bunch of wipes the handful of newbies we had along also had figured out where to stand and what to attack. One way or another Fathomlord was down, and we were set to take out Alar, according to plan... just as soon as the loot got sorted out...

... Except we had a loot dispute. A stupid one as well. Unfortunately it divided the raid, as some believed that person A was in the wrong, while the rest of us thought that person A was doing the right thing and person B was in the wrong. I won't go into details of the actual dispute, as that isn't relevant. The effect of this dispute on the group, however, is.

It was the ultimate mana drain for the group. After 10 minutes of arguments over vent, our raid leader (bless his patient soul) was forced to call the raid. There was no way we were going to have any kind of success in our current state.

Raid officially failed.

Raid attack power too low, mental mana regen non-existant.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Make Love, Not Warcraft

My new goal?

Find someone in the guild "make love, not warcraft" which is on a server in my battlegroup.

kill them and hug them to achieve this !

Make Love, Not Warcraft
Emote /hug on a dead enemy before they release corpse.

Now who could I possibly find in a guild like that in my battlegroup to hug?


looking your way shorty

Friday, August 22, 2008

Will you re-roll in WotLK?

Wotlk. New talents. Omg. Etc.

There has been a lot of coverage of the mage changes in WotLK, and as exciting as they are, they are well documented and discussed elsewhere. I've done plenty of reading on the subject and I'm sure my audience has too.. haven't you!

Anyway last night I was discussing the expansion with some guildies as we were raiding BT, and I heard some interesting things from my warlock friends!

To a lock, they were all considering ditching their warlock in the expansion and instead playing their mage / hunter / healer / death knight.

I was a bit shocked, I have to say. People are talking about ditching their WARLOCK to play their MAGE.

Well wouldn't that be a nice change?

Are warlocks really getting nerfed that badly? I must admit I'm not nearly as up to date on warlock changes as I am on the mage ones, for obvious reasons...

On the other hand, plenty of mages out there are ready to shelve their mage semi-permanently until they are"fixed" at some later date. They hope.

I know a lot of us would keep playing our mages regardless of how badly they suffer at the hands of the nerf stick, simply because we love mages. Other altoholic types have a stable full of level capped toons and they are going to decide later which they will make their main.

Sometimes I envy them, mostly when im fighting druids in arena though. I would love a druid to pvp with, gather herbs and skin stuff.... Not so much that im willing to play one from level 1 - 80 though, that's for sure.

So is anyone else planning to ditch their main in favor of another class for WotLK?

Personally I expect to level my death knight for farming and crafting purposes only... Maybe!

Moar dots!

Thankyou Ratshag,

Without you I would never have found this.

And I would never have spilt my coffee while laughing my silly ass off at work,

and I wouldn't have a brand new keyboard as a result.

So thanks Ratty, bet you never woulda guessed you were responsible for that!

Just in case the forum page disappears soon, the original transcript can be found at Ratshag's blog here

And of course, Where it all began!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Cold as Ice

Right. It's on!

Gnomey and Larisa - time to chill out. Relax, have a drink.

You may call me cold hearted, but there is actually a war going on here... you know, an epic battle and all that? A fight to the death, several times over?

Fighting is srs business right, and there's a whole lotta hurt going on, every hour of every day, so excuse me if I don't get all romantic and emotional about my talent choices like Gnomeaggedon!

Seriously Gnomey, Look at you. Armed to the teeth with the biggest weapons you can get your little 3 fingered hands on! What's romantic about burning your enemies to a crisp anyway?

I have to agree on one thing though, Fireblast is pure win. Even untaltented, you can basically add an extra kick to any other spell you happen to be casting by adding a fireblast as the first spell leaves your two stubby fingertips.

The fireblast will connect a split second -before- your main spell, adding a nice bit of extra damage when you want it. It will, of course, trigger the global cooldown, and for this reason I tend to mainly use it for killing blows - certainly not frequently enough to warrant spending talent points on it, of course.

But thats just me ;)

Larisa, on the other hand, appears to disagree!
Fire blast is best used out of battle, because of it’s lack of mana efficiency.
How typical of the Arcane mage to bring up mana efficiency! On your mind is it? Of course it is, unlike the rest of us you have mana issues. Small price to pay to be just a little bit smarter than the rest of us right?

Even with your Arcane Mind and you are still first to go out of mana I'll wager. Fine for small insignificant fights I suppose, but what happens when it really counts? What happens on a long boss fight?

Arcane mages watch their mana, while Fire and Frost mages are watch their aggro and dps.

Unless, of course, the Arcane mage has a Shadow priest or Shaman in their group. Even then, going out of mana is something an arcane mage has to acutely aware of, in particular if they are sporting the mandatory two pieces of tier 5 gear, yielding the 20% increase in both damage and mana cost for arcane blast.

Lets be honest with ourselves, how much of the time are we actually in a raid? How often do we have a shadow priest and a shaman around to support us?

Ok maybe for Larissa this fortunate set of circumstances may occur quite a lot now that shes the rookie of the year in a new hotshot guild, raiding BT and Hyjal and wiping on Archimonde all night.

Does that apply to other mages?

A few perhaps.

Does it apply to a lot of other mages?

Hell no!

While it's impossible to quote figures, I think it's fair to say that the vast and I do mean VAST majority of mages don't have the luxury of a shadow priest or a shaman to help them with mana regen....

An even LARGER slice of the mage population simply doesn't have the two pieces of T5 that are required to make an arcane spec viable. Yes required. Haven't got em? Don't even bother with arcane until you do!

Enough about elitist arcane know it all mages, lets talk about...

The talent tree of the people.

Every mage needs some Frosty lovin' no matter how they might deny it. Take a look, the evidence is right there on the armory.

Gnomeaggedon has clearly been paying attention to this magebattle, and has taken heed of my very first talent chioce, elemental precision, and no doubt he is doing more DPS as a result...

Even the one and only Larisa herself has 21 talent points in frost these days, allowing her to take advantage of the All Powerful and Awesome Frost tree. Lets take a look at one of the talents chosen by Larisa, and many other arcane mages, not to mention a whole bunch of fire mages too!

Icy Veins

How super amazing do you want a tier 3 talent to be?!

No wonder any raiding spec worth it's salt uses icy veins, not to mention The Arena Build. No spell pushback due to damage in arena anyone?

Too good. Got cold snap? Do it again! Pop those trinkets! Pwn. It only lasts for 20** seconds, but thats still a huge amount of DPS in anyones language.

Icy Veins. Get it. Use it.

Win the game! *

*well u know. you dont win the game but you might win something.
** somehow I managed to put 10 seconds down in the original post. Thanks for pointing that one out Spicy

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Get your Gank On.

Short post day today. Checked out new thingo called It is an armory comparitoraterer and nice for keeping up with the neighbours.

My first search - mages in my battlegroup with lots of spellhaste. Just out of interest, it seemed like a good idea.

I wasn't expecting to see 2 familiar names in the top three, but there they were. Both are deep frost, both are world famous mages in their own different ways.

Go look, do a search on and see how you measure up!

And of course if you are wondering which famous mages have a crazy amount of spell haste well... One is a prolific blogger and the other has starred in any number of videos over at warcraftmovies... and my battlegroup is bloodlust!


I only have time to draw your collective attention


Normal operational status of this blog will be returned shortly. In the meantime, would you join a guild full of bloggers' alts? Would you keep playing on that sever for more than the first week? Would you transfer a toon you prepared earlier?

I really am very attached to my mage and he gets 100% of my WoW playtime, unless you count bank alts, but thats not really playing the game, that's playing the AH mini-game, which is a different game entirely.

So not sure if I would, or if I could. I'd feel better about it if it were Horde and on a US server, but my money is on it being a EU Alliance side guild at this point !

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

not site admin.

Did wordpress just die?

Was about to comment over at CriticalQQ and clicked my submit button only to be told that "i'm not the site admin"

Sure thing. Didn't want to be. You can keep it etc.

Then I tried again, same same. At this point I thought it was me, but then I notice gnomeaggedon and hoofnheals are all telling me that im not the site admin


I just wanna comment on some blogs y'know?

Warlocks getting blink?


WTH? Why not just give them polymorph and iceblock and be done with it?

reading this post seemed like just another recap of the various mage complaints which are ever so popular at the moment. It's all blah blah yadda yadda but the comments are slightly entertaining... you get people from all camps throwing in their 2 cents.

It wasn't until comment # 43 by namralaks2001 that I was actually surprised by anything. Warlocks getting blink in the expansion, and hunters getting invisibility.

Now I personally get tired of all the mage QQ but the general theme of the majority of complaints is along the lines of "there is nothing we can do that someone else can't do better, except for make water" This applies to PvP and PvE, AoE and Single target DPS, survivability, utility, crowd control and group support. As much as I hate to admit it, there is a point there.

Everybody wants to be wanted!

It's a large part of the game. Nobody wants to be the last person picked for the team, let alone skipped altogether. That generally doesn't happen as all classes have their special talents that they can do better than anyone else and are therefore highly sought after in group situations.

So, while I don't think it's a game-breaker, making two of our remaining unique abilities not unique anymore is bound to upset a bunch of mages, but to give someone else blink... thats the pits. Give them CC, give them AoE dps, give them decurse, give them AI, but give them blink? you bastards... and of all the classes to give a previously mage-only talent, warlocks? The one class that is most responsible for the marginalization of mages?

So, what remains to set mages apart from warlocks? We have.... mage table, ice block, umm.... mana shield? ice barrier if specced for it?

I'm sorry did I miss something? Are warlocks actually going to be able to do everything we can do short or conjure water?

Sure the green demon is at play here, but I ask you, what classes are jealous of mages and the cool stuff we can do that used to be theirs and theirs alone?

Once again sorry if im missing something but I don't see mages making other classes less useful, only the other way 'round.

Oh and one other thing. Blizzard are saying things like mages will have "jaw-dropping DPS" in WotLK. Tom Chilton or someone like that... but then follows that comment up with *cough cough* against AoE targets *cough cough*

Am I alone in saying that people who play mages don't give a shit about clearing trash anymore than anyone else, and being told we are to become the kings of killing lots of small insignificant mobs at the same time is sending the message that if you want what you say you want in all the mage QQ, what you need to do is roll a warlock.

Warlocks have what mages want.

Who wants what mages have?

edit: I forgot portals. My bad.


Kalgan (Tom chilton) posts on upcoming changes in November 06 and discusses how mages will play at level 70. Was he full of it then and is he now?

Wow insider post on WWI 08 Panel and questions asked. Doesn't really offer anything concrete at all.

Random MMO-Champion forum post about who will be the new DPS kings in WotLK. Lots of crap in here but a few links worth following...

Before I post this I just want to make one thing clear. I don't think mages are broken, but it annoys me that warlocks are going to get blink. Invis isn't important enough to care that they are giving it to another class... but blink!


Update #1

Demonic Circle: Summon (Rank 1)
15% of Base Mana
Duration 6 minutes
0.5 sec cast 30 sec cooldown
You summon a Demonic Circle at your feet.

Demonic Circle: Teleport (Rank 1)
100 Mana
Instant cast 30 sec cooldown
You teleport to your Demonic Circle.

Update #2

Quote: (from the forums)

I got my first forum ban ever for asking him how much money the players would have to raise to get him to quit Blizzard....

feelin that love Kalgan!

OMG thats classic

you mam are a saint :)
and yes how much would it cost...

Monday, August 11, 2008

Last time was SO much worse!

We are all hearing a lot about WotLK lately, and the impact it is having on the game as it is now.

Terms such as pre-expansion depression are surfacing, people are losing their motivation to raid, guilds are losing members, etc etc etc.

It was SO much worse last time. Like WAY worse. Hell, I quit the game in disgust last time this sort of thing happened, and I had very good reasons to do so.

So, here is my list of things that are better this time around.

Raid size is staying the same!

Well thank your divine being of choice for that! 15 core raiders got bumped from every guild a few months before the last expansion, once the word got out that naxx was to be the last 40 man. Suddenly everyone was either guaranteed on the team, or guaranteed off the team, or the very unlucky minority of people who just didn't know if they would have a raid spot or not after the expansion.

We are all used to sharding epics by now!

"Oh noes all my epix are about to become DE fodder" Yes. This is true, no doubt about it. All your gear = about to become rubbish. Yes I know you spent months and months aquiring it, and thousands of gold enchanting and gemming it to within an inch of its' life.

Still, how many years have you had your gear for? Oh less that one? Stop whining. Even though vanilla WoW was around only a few months longer that TBC, in Vanilla WoW epics were A LOT harder to come by.

No PvP epics except for the ultra-committed, and even then only after the first year and a bit. No badge loot. No epics in any kind of 5 man ever except for the ultra-rare and generally not that great world epics. Also no 10 mans dropping epics, let alone veritable purple rivers.... (ie Kara)

No, back in the olden days epics were next to impossible to aquire outside of 40 man raids. Tell me that sharding your epic wand from heroic UB is as heart breaking as sharding an Azuresong Mageblade from MC, and I will call you a liar. So suck it up. These epics you are about to shard came easy, and no doubt their replacements will come easier still.

I can't be bothered raiding anymore because the loot has a best-before date!

Well your attitude sucks. If you are raiding for the loots, there really is no reason to keep raiding. Quit your guild now, or just go AFK until WotLK. Don't worry, you might still have a raid spot when you come back at the end of the year.... (although not in my guild)

Now I'll never get a chance to raid MH / BT / SWP (or whatever) !

Yeah well so what? You aren't missing out on Naxx. How do you think raiders felt when they found out that Naxx was going out of style, before almost anyone had had a chance to get in there?

Naxx was possibly the greatest instance in the game, and also probably the one visited by the least number of people. This was due to its difficulty and also the timing of it's release - shortly before TBC. Suddenly nobody cared about raiding anymore so getting 40 people attuned and geared appropriately to have a decent crack at Naxx wasn't something the vast majority of guilds were capable of at the time, or have been since for that matter.

OMG new class must roll now, no time for raiding - busy levelling Death Knight!

Well you can start that death knight at level 55 can't you. Unlike your blood elf pally or draenei shaman, which of course you started from level 1 when TBC hit. 55 free levels FTW.

Which is also great if you really need to pick up some tradeskills but like me can't be bothered grinding an alt up to an appropriate level. Take one level 55 death knight. Spend a few days levelling, take your two brand new tradeskills to maximum level.

Did I miss anything?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Great DKP Divide

I have noticed this phenomena in all the guilds I have raided with over the years.

There is a core raiding group, usually about half the size of the raid, who have been around considerably longer than the rest of the guild, have accumulated at least double any one else's DKP, as such have the best gear in the guild, and the DKP balance to ensure they have access to any upgrade items that drop in future.

They have earned this position over a period of months or more likely, years.

I firmly believe they deserve this status within the guild. Without this type of member, guilds do not progress, certainly not into end-game content. This core group tends to be very committed, and available to raid most nights of the week. It comes as no surprise when a raid is being formed, that the core group is invited first. The raid leaders will then fill in the gaps with the newer guildies who are signed up and online.

What then inevitably happens is the core group accumulate DKP at much higher rate than the non-core, simply because they are always there. Their DKP is always increasing, as they generally cannot spend it as fast as they earn it.

Not so for the non-core raiders. Not only do they not raid as much, either because they can't or because they don't always get a raid spot, they will also typically be undergeared, as the only time they can receive gear is when nobody else wants it.

Despite this, they still struggle to accumulate DKP. No raid spots, or being subbed in late for partial raids, only cements their position at the bottom of the DKP standings.

So there becomes two real DKP tables. The core will never be out rolled by the non-core. The non-core will never get an item that a core raider wants, so they only really need to watch other non-core raiders DKP counts.

Now the thing about this DKP divide... is that the majority of people are always at the bottom. You just need a higher number of casuals to fill the same number of spots as they aren't around all the time.

Unfortunately those causals are second rate guild members.

Regardless of how they are treated on an interpersonal level, the systems that govern how the guild conducts its raids locks them into a cycle of not enough raid spots means not enough dkp means not enough gear means not enough raid spots means not enough DKP....

After this has been going on for a few months, the gap between the core raiders of a particular class and the non core becomes greater still, to the point where the non-core raiders can pretty much give up on any aspirations they may have had to become more involved with the guild unless someone they can replace quits.

The things about the core raiders, is they have been with the guild for a long time. Chances are they aren't going to quit. So what is the wannabe-core raider to do about this great DKP divide and the ramifications thereof?

Buggered if I know.

It can all be very frustrating if you dwell on it, so I think the thing to do is just play for fun, not for loot. Even disregarding the loot, however, it can still be too much to take for a lot of people after a while, and they tend to guild hop to a guild where maybe their class is in higher demand.

Nobody likes to feel inferior or useless to a group they are part of, particularly a guild.

Personally I have no time for guild hoppers and I value loyalty too highly to ever become one. If all my guild needs from me is to be the waterboy once in a while, so be it. If they still only need me to be a waterboy this time next year, it's probably time to stop playing WoW anyway.

So... is this phenomena as widespread as it seems? Is it just me or does this happen everywhere?

Any great ideas as to how a guild can keep the non-core feeling like they are part of the team and staying in the guild longer than a few months?

As for me, I'm just going to keep doing what I do. Give it my best when I am raiding, sign up as often as I can, and when I'm not needed for a raid, go PvP or quest or play AoC or otherwise entertain myself.

One thing I am looking forward to though, is the expansion. Not only will I have a guild full of great players at my level to grind to 80 with, when we get to the new level cap, all our gear will be relatively equal, so at least I won't miss out on a raid spot because I dont do as much DPS as the next guy who has better gear because he gets more raid spots and therefore... gets better gear, and more raid spots...

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Zupa, Control Freak

Warrior Friend: Hey Zupa, didn't you respec fire the other day? What's with all the frost bolts?

Zupa: Yea fire is nice and all, and dont get me wrong, setting people on fire in battle grounds is wicked, but you just can't be as pro unless you are frost.
To help explain what I mean't by this... Take a quick look at an inspiring article written by Euripedes the other day about The Nature Of Stuff, where he looks into the essence of what it is to be a mage.
"A mage doesn’t work with the elements, he enslaves them. Rather than work with fire, a mage subjugates it and uses it for whatever purposes the mage desires..."
For a Frost mage, this is only the beginning. Not only does a frost mage manipulate ice for his own ends, he manipulates his opponents. It might be a beast, a demon, a goblin or even a gnome, but rather than a simple "my gun is bigger than your gun" style shoot out, a frost mage will take his opponents gun away, in a metaphorical sense, and do whatever he wants after that.

For a frost mage, it's all about control!

Let's take a look at how some of my favourite vertically challenged mages take on their opponents, and then I'll shed some light on my manipulative side and some of the talents that make that possible.

As Gnomeaggedon explains, his best defense is offense. To that end he will stand 41 yards out thanks to Flame Throwing, and do his best to set his foes on fire before they have a chance to squish him. Ignite helps a lot here, and if that last fireball doesn't finish someone off chances are good they will burn to death before causing him any trouble.

Well I disagree. In my opinion, the best defense is not to be there!

Meanwhile Larissa is concentrating very hard to get the best out of her Arcane Mind, making full use of clear casting and putting the arcane smackdown on enemies large and small. Her Arcane Potency yields a fearsome amount of damage, delivered with a deft touch, causing minimal threat in the process.

With the right support, the Arcane mage is an absolute powerhouse. Left to their own devices, however, the Arcane mage might be in trouble. Not only do they have to get up close and personal with a max range of only 30 yards, you won't catch the Arcane mage slowing their opponent, or setting them on fire... Unless they connect with a massive PoM AP Pyroblast, the single highest DPS spell in wow.

Lets forget about damage for the moment. After all, which spec can pump out the most DPS varies completely depending on someone's gear, and even play style. Obviously if you have +frost or +fire damage gear, that tree is going to work out better for you. If you have two pieces of Tier 5 and lots of mana, then an arcane spec would probably reign supreme... It all depends.

Regardless of your gear, however, the frost tree will always give you more control over your enemy. This ability to manipulate your opponent is what really makes the frost tree stand head and shoulders above the others in PvP, as well as for technical fights in general.

Frost is of course the tree of choice for both kiting and AoE grinding, two pursuits which require complete control of the fight in order to succeed. So lets have a little look at two of the talents that make all this possible.

Possibly my favourite frost talent, even though I don't get to use it as often as I would like. Frostbite!

When fully talented, Frostbite gives your chill effects a 15% chance to freeze your opponent for 5 seconds. This freeze looks just like a frost nova, albeit a slightly different shade of blue. 15% may not seem like a lot, but keep in mind this applies to your Chill effects. Chill effects are triggered by oh I dunno, just about EVERYTHING a frost mage is likely to use in battle. Frostbolt. Ice Lance. Cone of Cold. Ice Armor....

So it tends to crop up all the time. You can spam level 1 frostbolts until it procs when kiting, then casually position yourself, and wind up a full strength frostbolt + ice lance combo in your own good time. After all you have 5 seconds before they unfreeze...

Not long enough for you? Never fear, permafrost is here!

Nice! Not only do all those chill effects now reduce target speed by an additional 10%, freeze effects now last an additional 3 seconds! You now have a grand total of 8 seconds to run away from your enemy and cast some spells when you proc a frostbite... and if it's broken early, no problem. Just use frost nova... it freezes your enemy in place for 8 seconds by itself, however permafrost will make that 11 seconds.

Feel in control yet?