Monday, August 29, 2011

Prot PvP gear wishlist

I recently dedicated myself to Protection Warrior PvP, and so far I haven't regretted a moment of it. With the right gear, the spec can be incredibly bursty (not to mention more annoying than an itch under your shoe at a business meeting).

I am trying to find the right mix of Block Value and Armor Penetration. This is my gear wishlist:
I'll be trying to gem and enchant in order to have around 2500 Block Value and 30% armor penetration.

Friday, June 24, 2011

[3.3.5] Moonkin PvP [un]-talents

I often struggle to talk about Moonkin PvP without introducting at least some sort of complaint about its state. I suppose that being of French blood, I am an inherent QQer. In fact, I tend to QQ and rage in guild chat about the overpowered-ness of one class or another, while stubbornly defending the Balance Druid underpowered-ness. And despite I do not usually enjoy complaining and that I'm aware of the annoyance I may bring upon my guildmates, it is hard for me to look back at these times and think, "I was unjustified."

For example: Starfall spellpower coefficients were finally fixed on Molten-WoW - after I had been regularly asking for it for months - and it now greatly contributes to my PvP damage. Molten-WoW players, used to negligible damage, began to complain that Starfall is overpowered - and in fact, some of them believe that the current damage is bugged and are expecting a "fix." Against these people, I have been vigorously defending my stance that Starfall is NOT overpowered (I also feared that too much QQ from the community would cause the developers to revert the coefficients back to their bugged state).

How could it be overpowered? Just read the tooltip. If I mount or shift into Bear Form, Cat Form, Travel Form, Aquatic Form, or Swift Flight Form, the Starfall buff is cancelled entirely. If I am CCed, Starfall damage will be suppressed until the CC is over - but the timer will still count down for the duration. Any stun, fear, disorient, horror, or root effect will suppress Starfall - is it really overpowered that my only true DPS cooldown is so easily countered? And of course, it is limited by range and LoS just like every other spell out there, and it's not like I can keep you from using a defensive cooldown while it's up.

But this is actually deviating from the reason I wanted to write today. PvP balance in World of Warcraft can be difficult to achieve. Blizzard has to worry about 30 different specs within 10 different classes, who also need to perform a certain way in PvE. On top of that, it may be difficult to buff or nerf one spec without affecting another spec of that same class (in fact, Balance Druids often suffer from collateral damage of Restoration nerfs). Furthermore, balance shifts depending on the context - duels, world PvP, 2v2, 3v3, 5v5 arena, and battlegrounds will all make you experience PvP in a different way even while playing the same spec.

Irking Druid talents
My issue with Blizzard, however, is that there are some major discrepancies in the 3.3.5 Druid talent trees that could have been easily changed / fixed for the purpose of Moonkin PvP viability, without causing any negative / positive secondary effects on PvP / PvE for any of the Druid specs. Also, some things just don't make any sense. If you look at the Balance tree, you'll find that there are almost no utility / ease-of-life talents. Everything is a damage boost to compensate for poor baseline damage (because we are Druids).

Here are the Druid talents that really irk me:
  • Improved Barkskin. 160% increased armor while in caster Form or Travel Form, 10% extra mitigation from Barkskin, and 35% increased resistance to dispels. I do not understand why this talent is so deep in the Restoration tree. Barkskin is a Balance spell that does not even appear once in the Balance tree. Moonkins would greatly benefit from this talent if they could pick it up. Instead, we have to deal with giving all melees a 30% armor penetration buff at the time that it is the least beneficial to us and the most beneficial to them - when healing / Travel Form is required.

    Moonkins need to drop Moonkin Form all the time and it makes no sense to me that we should be so fragile outside of it. If a melee manages to catch us in a stun while not in Moonkin Form - which is very easy to do - they almost automatically win. Nobody else can be caught "pants down" in such a blatant manner.

    That said, I do understand the importance of this talent for Restoration Druids, as well. It is particularly useful in 2v2 arena where most Resto Druids do not pick up Tree of Life Form and instead pick up Insect Swarm in the Balance tree. Imp. Barkskin allows them to keep much-needed survivability against melees, and even if they do have the ToL talent, they can still shift out without much consequence to their survivability, to avoid being Banished or to Travel Form.

    It would be optimal if this talent was placed in the 2nd or 3rd tiers of the Balance tree, so that both Restoration and Balance Druids would pick it up. Feral Druids would not as they need talents in the Restoration tree and would not be able to spare the points.

  • Owlkin Frenzy. 15% chance to gain 10% damage, pushback immunity, and a tiny mp5 buff. Why? That's the last thing I want when I'm getting hit. Simply changing this talent to give Moonkins a damage reduction buff would go a long way toward their viability, and it would resemble several other talents that already exist in other trees (like Natural Perfection or Focused Will). This talent simply does not make sense to me. Blizzard doesn't seem to have evolved from this point of view in Cataclysm, either - our new PvP 4p bonus gives us Eclipse energy when other players crit on us. -.-

  • Eclipse. It is utterly broken for arena. It is our biggest damage boost and is required to be on par with other classes' DPS - yet we are in Eclipse maybe ~5% of the time in arena, and usually cannot even use most of the buff. However, fixing Eclipse would require a total overhaul. I had wished that Cataclysm would change it for the better - and although it was improved for PvE, it is now probably worse in PvP. I cannot understand why Blizzard continues to make us depend on Eclipse for damage while denying us any easy opportunity to proc it in PvP. Other classes have simple, on-use damage buffs to unleash their DPS at the time of their choosing. Moonkins cannot do this because of Eclipse.

  • Typhoon. Typhoon can be very fun and useful, but it is clunky and unreliable to use in serious PvP. It provides our only form of interrupt (short of Bashing in Bear Form, but good luck interrupting something immediately with that), yet has a travel time and will not interrupt instantly. Furthermore, the knockback is tiny, and it is nearly impossible to use it properly to peel off a melee turning circles around you. Finally, the damage is terrible, despite that the spell itself is very mana-costly (2.6k damage in full PvE gear for 875 mana).

  • Both Feral Druids and Restoration Druids can get an instant-cast Cyclone thanks to talents. Yet Cyclone is a Balance spell and Balance Druids do not benefit from this advantage. Why not? We already lack a stun or silence or any form of instant crowd-control - why not give us an instant Cyclone like the other Druids have? We do not even have a healcut. The least Blizzard could do is give us some sort of instant CC, even if it does make our target immune to damage.

  • Finally - and I have mentioned this before, and it is not related to talents - I still do not understand why haste is unavailable as a stat on PvP leather, and why leather caster socket bonuses are different (i.e. worse) than cloth socket bonuses. These are things that should be normalized, and demonstrates either inattention or stupidity on Blizzard's part. By default, caster Druids will have 204 less haste rating than cloth-wearers. We will have 204 more crit rating, but who wants that? Thanks to resilience, haste is by far the superior PvP stat - not to mention that clothies still have the choice that Druids do not. This is just pure nonsense.

Changing Improved Barkskin, Owkin Frenzy, Typhoon, and buffing Cyclone for Moonkins would have absolutely no effect on PvE, nor on Restoration or Feral PvP. The only outcome would be to buff Moonkins in PvP. So either Blizzard thinks they do not need buffs - which is silly, as they have needed buffs ever since Vanilla - or they do not care or pay enough attention.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Twink Guide: Lv. 49 Fire Mage

Twinking is something I love to do when I'm bored. I often find myself twinking a character when I have become unmotivated with leveling it. In this case - a Mage. Twice already, I had attempted leveling a Mage to 80, and twice I stopped having fun around level 40-50. Maybe it is because I had made the mistake of leveling as Frost both times.

So I twinked my Mage at level 49. He is now fully twinked, and I can take on multiple opponents at the same time in battlegrounds. That's loads of fun, so don't forget to visit the Experience Eliminator, and start twinking!

Things you should know before you twink
Twinking requires a lot of time and gold. Proper twinks will need enchants and rare items, some of which will require you to run dungeons of your level (or slightly higher). You can group up with other players, but this is hardly useful for farming and there may be competition for loot. High-level friends may volunteer to aid you, but the best method for farming dungeon loot on a twink is to have a level 80 character on a separate account.

Ideally, you would also want one on the same account so that you can send heirlooms from your main to your twink. You'll also need an escort if you plan on leveling up a gathering profession like Herbalism, as you cannot simply buy materials from the AH and skill up that way.

Finally, don't forget the Experience Eliminator, whom I mentioned above. There is one in Stormwind and one in Orgrimmar. For 10g, they will deactivate your experience gains. It would be a shame to twink your toon only to accidentally level him in the process.

Talent build
I played around with a lot of builds, and this is the one I ended up preferring. I didn't pick up Improved Fireball - I quickly realized that I never used Fireball. With the glyph, Scorch has the same DPS and a higher crit chance, and because it has a faster cast, it is less likely to get interrupted.

I tried a PoM/Pyro build, but I didn't like the limitation on the two-minute cooldown, and it felt too much like playing Arcane anyways (and I hate Arcane). I also tried a build that went as far as picking up Arcane Power (AP + PoM + Fireball is about the same damage as PoM + Pyroblast, but shorter cooldown with talents), however, I ended up finding out that PoM and AP cannot be activated simultaneously, so I gave up on it.

Gearing will require you to run a bit all over Azeroth. But that's good - because otherwise, if no effort is put into twinking, then how does it become rewarding at all?

I will list several items per item-slot. I will do this because some items can be rather difficult to acquire (or take a long time), and you might want to use another item in the meantime. For now, the list isn't complete but I will try to update it so that there are at least 2 alternative items listed per item slow.

Eye of Flame is by far the best helm for a level 49 caster twink, and you can usually find it at the Auction House.

The Amulet is easy to get, and you can usually find the Darkmoon necklace at the Auction House.

The PvP shoulder heirlooms have resilience, however you might not even need these as you will probably blow people up before they can even make you worry about your HP. However, it's not a bad buy if you have the Shards and not the Emblems.

    You will need to do The God Hakkar quest before you can summon the Shade of Hakkar.
    Enchant: Spell Penetration

    Enchant: Major Health, or Greater Stats

      Enchant: Spellpower

        Dreamwave Gloves have more spellpower, but Gloves of the Dune are better balanced.
        Enchant: Major Spellpower


          Spellshock Leggings are easily the best leggings for caster twinks in this bracket. However, it also happens to be the rarest BoE item in the game. If you are lucky, you might find it at the Auction House.
          Enchant: Rugged Armor Kit

            Enchant: Fortitude



              Enchant: Weapon - Spellpower


                You have a lot of profession choices, because at level 49 you can skill up a profession far enough to gain profession-only benefits (like spellpower enchants on your rings).

                Personally, I got a bit lazy and only got gathering professions. I currently have Herbalism 375 for a 1.2k heal, and Mining 375 for +30 stamina.

                These are two must-have consumables:
                Another noteworthy consumable is Juicy Bear Burger. However, it had reduced usefulness as the buff will go away upon death. This is also the case with the Black Label, but in comparison, the latter is very cheap and doesn't require any time to consume.

                I will leave that up to you :) Enjoy twinking!

                Monday, April 11, 2011

                Moonkin guides

                My apologies for the recent lack of posts. But I'm not gone! I've actually written two Moonkin guides, which can now be found stickied at the Molten-WoW Druid forums.

                Here are the links:

                Enjoy :) I might be back soon with a guide to Mage twinking at level 49.

                Wednesday, February 16, 2011

                Player types in World of Warcraft

                Tobold has made some good points, and I wanted to address them. A lot of the disagreements on the Morons & Slackers discussion are emerging from miscommunication. So - I wanted to write a brief overview on some of the major player types in WoW.

                Casual: This is the most common type of player. A casual player is one who plays for the sake of it. He expects nothing out of the game, except to have a simple good time. He plays for leisure. He may have short-term goals, like "get to this next level" or "do a dungeon tonight with friends," but nothing too in-depth. Casuals can be both good and bad players.

                Slacker: The slacker is almost only different from the casual because of his motivations. A casual seeks nothing more than his own in-game efforts can provide. A slacker, on the other hands, expects more out of the game than he is willing to work for. Most slackers are not good players (though they could be).

                Elitist: An elitist is one who sets high standards for himself (he also tends to expect everybody else to have the same standards, and may judge by them). Elitists are often the best players, and are the opposites of slackers. Note, however, that an elitist is actually not that different from a slacker - what separates them is that the elitist will actually work for the goals he has set.

                Moron: Based on the definition provided by Tobold (mentally disabled, IQ below 70), then yes, there are most likely no morons playing WoW. In fact, "moron" does not fit with any of the other categories.

                Take a look at the first 3 player types. They are based on behavior and expectations, and say nothing about one's intelligence. Calling somebody a "moron," however, is passing judgment on one's intelligence. But is it? Look at the context. When somebody repeatedly stands in fire and blames the healer for dying (or does not even realize it is the fire that is killing him), do we really think the person behind the computer has an IQ below 70? Do we really believe he is a drooling mental retard? I doubt it.

                We are calling the behavior of the in-game character moronic. Standing in fire is stupid. There may be many different real-life factors to explain why that player stands in fire. Most likely, that player is a real-life slacker. But in the game (from an RP point-of-view, if you will), his character is a moron. And it doesn't take an IQ below 70 to be bad at a game.

                So my main point is that Tobold is right (at least partially so): there are most likely no morons playing WoW. However, there are morons in WoW.

                EDIT: There is also the issue of age. A 12-year old with an IQ of 140 will still have less maturity, knowledge, and common sense than a 30-year old player of average IQ.

                Tuesday, February 15, 2011

                My real thoughts on Moonkin

                It occurred to me that I QQ a lot about Moonkin viability. And although some measure of QQ might sometimes be warranted, I feel that maybe I've done too much. So I decided to make a simple, short post, that sums what what I truly think about the viability of Balance Druids.

                Player vs. environment
                In PvE, we are fine. I've been paying close attention to my guild's meters (DPS and various others) in our latest runs, and I find myself always in the top 5 DPS of the group. I do at least 9k DPS on every fight, and that's with currently-bugged Starfall and Languish damage.

                Though it is true that Moonkins suffer from movement more than most, our DPS is fine, and we bring great raid buffs. In Cataclysm, we are just fine as well, if not better.

                In Heroics, we are downright amazing, as our offheals and CCs come greatly into play.

                Player vs. player
                In PvP, we are OK. I still think that if you wanted to do 2v2 arena, you'd be better off with a Shadow Priest, Elemental Shaman, Mage, or Warlock. However, we are still capable of doing well. Although all of these classes have better survivability, control, and burst, they will never have our excellent mobility and potent heal-over-time spells (though not very mana-friendly). There are also a few things that I do not find very fair (as explained in this post), but again, we are still decent.

                In Cataclysm, we are not doing so well. To sum it up in a few words, Cata's Eclipse is worse in PvP than WotLK's, our healing is gimped, and our control still pales in comparison to other classes. Also, our DoTs, which are a much bigger part of our damage than ever before, have no dispel protection, further reducing our damage (every team has a dispeler now), and cutting us off from important Shooting Stars procs. Wrath, Starfire, and Starsurge cast times are sluggish and nearly impossible to land in movement/interrupt-heavy environments, though we depend on them to reach Total Eclipse.

                So let us hope for some Cata PvP buffs!

                So overall, we are fine (in 3.3.5). We may be slightly underpowered, but it's not the end of the world. I am generally happy with my Moonkin these days. And if you ever question what I think about our feathery selves, come to this post. Ignore the QQ that may have come before.


                Friday, February 11, 2011

                "Morons & slackers"

                If you've ever read any Greedy Goblin blog post, you've probably heard of the notorious M&S - morons & slackers. This is a term Gevlon enjoys using, and that - from what I've been able to tell - is sometimes imported by other WoWers in the blogosphere.

                Somewhere in the comment pages, Tobold apparently stated he did not believe there was such a thing as M&S, and so in his last post, Gevlon disagreed and explained what it meant to be an M&S.

                As such, I wanted to post my say on the matter. Kinda funny, considering that neither of these people have a clue who I am.

                To be, or not to be
                First of all, it seems important to establish that M&S even exist. I would not have thought this explanation to be needed, but seeing as Tobold appears not to believe in them, there may be others out there who share his opinion.

                Being an M&S is the demonstration of either a choice or unintelligence. To say there are no M&S is to say that there are no stupid people, and no lazy people, which is simply preposterous. In our modern society of today, we tend to sugarcoat everything. We don't criticize anymore. Everyone is "equal."

                In reality, nobody is equal. Some people are utter failures. Some people are utter geniuses. Some people will show up the morning of an exam, not having spent even one second studying, and ace it. Others will have studied during the entire preceding week, and get something like a C or worse.

                It's difficult to talk of this subject without sounding insulting to sensitive ears. For example: I remember, back in high school, how my Algebra class operated. The teacher would explain a new concept each day, and assign homework for the next. The homework consisted of doing multiple problems related around that concept we had just learned about. The homework was repetitive - its purpose was to help anchor the concept in the student's mind.

                To me, it was dreadfully boring. I assimilated the concepts the moment the teacher presented them in class. Some other students, however, would listen to the teacher, take notes, do all the homework, read the book, and still seek aid from the teacher the next day, because they did not understand.

                What is the logical conclusion, here? I am smart, and the other student is stupid. But saying this to almost anybody is bound to invoke some negative sentiments. The common reaction is to think "you're no better than him" or "you're arrogant." But I am not trying to bring down the other student, or to make myself seem important. I am stating a fact.

                Funnily enough, most people react to "I am more intelligent" by interpreting it to mean "I am better." Just because I may be smarter than somebody does not mean I feel I am better than that person. For all I know, the other student could be an exceptional painter. People react like this because in our society, intelligence is often used to "rank" people, and because in reality, intelligence does tend to make you better off as a person.

                We have become too caught up in not hurting each others' feelings that we avoid reality. Yes, that 300lb person is fat. Yes, that teenager who got drunk and drove at a really high speed into a wall with his 4-wheeler is an idiot. Yes, that student who cannot understand simple mathematical concepts, despite constant studying, is stupid. It is not bad to say these things. It is the truth.

                But - back to the game.

                M&S in WoW
                In WoW, there are plenty of idiots, just like in real life. Statistically speaking, 50% of people are below average, and 50% are above. Based on standard deviation, 68% of all people have an IQ between 85 and 115. 16% have an IQ under 85, and 16% have an IQ over 115. I realize that some people think "IQ means nothing," but nonetheless, it is highly regarded as an accurate measure of general intelligence. IQ is like an average of your intelligence - there are different type of intelligences. The higher your IQ, the faster you will understand, retain, and adapt to information.

                I think WoW is comprised more of slackers than of morons. A lot of players do not feel as though a video game deserves to be the recipient of too much thought. Many people just play to relax, and could not care less whether their gear was enchanted or gemmed. These people are not competitive. Video games are relatively young in this society, and we still live in a world in which "competition" is something we expect to happen in physical sports or other "meaningful" things - not video games, unless you are doing a LAN racing game party, or something.

                A lot of players cannot associate the concept of fun with performance. For example, some players do not understand why they should use a DPS rotation. They feel that Wrath has the cooler graphic, hence they do not understand why they should sacrifice their fun of using it, over using an actual rotation that will benefit the group. Performance is not a goal to them. Because of their non-competitive nature, performance is not fun. To me, performance is extremely fun. Being the best that I can be - at anything - is exhilarating.

                This, however, does not necessarily make one a moron or slacker. This is mostly casual. What makes one an M&S is refusing to become better while still expecting some sort of group reward from the game. If you are doing a random Heroic and you are only pulling 1k DPS, you cannot expect to be rewarded for it. You're a 71/0/0 Mage and all you want to do is spam Ice Lance? Fine - but don't count on getting any loot. You don't want to listen to my polite advice on a better build and rotation? You're a slacker.

                A moron is someone who does not understand something even after repeated explanations. When my guild was still recruiting, we tried out an Elemental Shaman. On her first raid with us, we called out for Heroism, and she did nothing. After the fight, we pulled her to the side, and she told us that she did not have Heroism. I calmly explained to her what Heroism was, and where it could be found in her spellbook. Eventually, it seemed as though she had found it.

                On the 2nd attempt, we called for it again. Still no Heroism. It was announced in /raid, /rw, and /guild, to no avail. Her excuse that time: she was too busy focusing on stepping out of Coldflame. What? Heroism is instant-cast, and it should require no focus at all to press the button. You can cast Lava Burst and Lightning Bolt, can't you? Nothing stops you from casting Heroism! We gave her one last shot on Lady Deathwhisper, and once again, she never cast Heroism. I'm not sure she paid any shred of attention to anything going on while DPSing. That person is a moron, and we kicked her from the guild.

                There are plenty of morons and slackers in life and in WoW. The people who ride around on their mounts in the middle of all the PvP in WSG are morons. The level 80s running a dungeon who pull - on purpose (or out of repeated inattention) - packs of mobs while the group is already busy with another, is a moron. You've had plenty of time to understand that it is a stupid move. If you don't understand it, you are stupid. The players who refuse to go through the effort of improving their rotation, or to gem/enchant their gear, despite knowing that it will make them better players, are slackers. Especially if they still expect the same treatment as those who are actually making the effort to be good. The guildmates who constantly ask what raid to expect that day, and at what time, even though all of that information can be found in the Guild Information (and has been repeated several times), are both morons and slackers and should be kicked.
                "Moron describes the guy who doesn't move from the fire because he doesn't understand that it is causing his drop in health. Stupid describes the guy who doesn't move from the fire because "it's the healer's job to keep me alive." He knows that he can improve his (and his group/raid's) performance by moving, but he refuses." -Tonus
                Quoted from a commenter on Gevlon's comment page. I'm quoting it, because I feel he hit the nail right on the head.

                These people exist. Both the moron and the stupid are terrible players, and it is because they are M&S in real life. To say there is no such thing as M&S is to be delusional.