Monday, 29 September 2008

Healing through Coren Direbrew

Finally on Sunday Kam managed to get into a group to go do the new Brewfest boss in the Blackrock Depths bar. The group consisted of a Warrior tank with a Mage, Rogue and Warlock for DPS. Kam had the quest to save brewfest and after insulting Coren Direbrew, the fight started.

Initially Coren starts with 3 non elite friends, he summons more throughout the fight who appear in mole machines which will do a knock back if you are standing on the spot; cancelling a heal. He also does a whirlwind attack which hits people in melee range. He then summons a barmaid at 66% and 33% health, who sometimes throw kegs into the inventory of random players; if the kegs aren't drunk then the player is stunned for 5 seconds. The barmaids will also CC a player for 6 seconds!

I knew none of this, so was quite unprepared for the chaos that followed as the DPS tried to keep the adds down, kill the barmaids and kill off Coren. However I spend most of my time watching the Grid UI anyway. Things I learnt:

  • The whirlwind does a load of damage. At several points, the rogue would lose around 75% of his health from a whirlwind, requiring an emergency heal. From what I've read, this is avoidable, so please avoid!
  • There is a lot of group damage. This required pretty much back-to-back chain heals, putting a serious strain on Kam's mana.
  • Mana Pot and Mana Tide early. Due to the heavy casting of spells, Kam needed loads of mana and so I had to use a mana potion very early so a second one would be available toward the end of the fight. Mana tide totem was also needed.
  • Keep an eye on Water Shield. Again the mole machines or dark iron adds would sometimes get a hit or two on Kam - resulting in Water Shield charges being used. I had to keep a close eye on Water Shield as it kept on disappearing.
  • Use Mana Spring Totem. I tried one fight using Healing Stream Totem. It did not go well; mana usage is high as everyone is taking damage and Healing Stream just can't keep up. I stuck with Mana Spring after that and things went a lot better.

The results of this little foray into BRD were a nice Beer maiden, a tasty Melee DPS trinket for off-spec, plus the healing trinket which I had hoped to get. The Brewfest Kodo also dropped, but Kam lost the roll. There is always another day though. The fight itself was pretty neat and it was really good to see the inside of Blackrock Depths again after so much time.

Friday, 26 September 2008

Back to Resto

Due to a combination of suspecting Brewfest PUGs might need a healer and switching my raiding night to the early Karazhan night, Kam found himself hanging outside Thrall's throne room, respeccing back to Resto. He is once again 8/0/53 because it worked so well last time.

Now armed with a couple of tasty raid epics no one else wanted, Kam's healing is over 1200 with 150+ mp5. Hopefully I can get in on an entry level Karazhan raid soon to try out some raid healing, as well as healing up some BRD bar action.

On the Brewfest front Kam now has 113 tokens so he is back on track to join the Brew of the Month club before Brewfest ends next friday night.

Thursday, 25 September 2008


Banana Shoulders has a really good guide to Brewfest, describing how to prepare to grab the Brewmaster title come 2009, and it seems you need to start now.

So Kam has set out grinding Brewfest tokens with an aim to getting into the Brewfest Beer of the Month Club, although I don't think there's time for him to get any clothes this year. Oh that and trying to get to see Coren Direbrew in the BRD bar. Thus far Kam has 76 tokens and we are almost half way through the 'fest.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Elemental shaman spell rotations

Update: This post was about spells for The Burning Crusade. In 3.0/3.2 much of this is now wrong, for instance we have a Lava Burst spell.

In Wrath it all boils down to a priority system. You need the Glyph of Flameshock, otherwise you will need to recast FS too much. Then you do:

- Flame Shock
- Lava Burst (LvB)
- Some Lightning Bolts

Then when LvB is back up, recast. When FS falls off, recast FS. Rinse, repeat, profit. You need FS on the target before casting LvB, otherwise you do not get the guaranteed crit.

For burst mode I guess you can do Chain Lightning instead of LB, and maybe drop some Earth Shocks (so long as you can recast Flame Shock when it drops off the target).

Old post for TBC (for interest)
The following is in the context of the Elemental talent spec for TBC. I thought I'd share what little I've picked up about spell rotations as Elemental. If anyone has more info to share please do! On with it...

Mana Efficiency

For maximum mana efficiency, the "rotation" is very simple. Lighting Bolt followed by Lighting Bolt, repeat. In a raid usually I am standing too far away to put a Flame Shock onto a boss, plus it does damage is low compared to lightning bolt.

For long fights or phases where low damage is needed (for example Prince phase 1), I use lighting bolt spam and it takes a very long time for me to run low on mana. It's just not very much fun.

Maximum DPS Attack

When I need to put out some big DPS, I use 3 Lighting Bolts followed by a Chain Lightning. Lightning bolt rank 12 does 563 to 643 damage, chain lighting rank 734 to 838 damage for the first hit plus extra damage if it hits more targets. So chain lightning does more damage even on a single target and is faster to cast than lightning bolt. However the mana cost is more than twice that of lightning bolt. Thus this rotation uses more mana.

Chain lightning has a 6 second cooldown so I can theoretically cast 3 2-second-cast lightning bolts before another chain lightning, but with a bit of lag the time for the 3 bolts is usually more like 7 seconds. However, I don't think it is worth doing 2 bolts then waiting for chain lightning to be up; that 1-2 seconds of not casting will cost you in damage.

Suffice to say this rotation not be used when crowd controlled mobs are nearby! This rotation is also good on trash when an off tank is tanking a mob nearby; you can damage the MT and OTs targets, getting some extra damage "for free" as it were. Plus you can drink between trash pulls, which I usually need to if I've been spamming the chain lightning a lot. On a boss fight a short fight, high mana regeneration or lots of mana potions are needed to keep this rotation up.

This rotation is a lot more interesting than lightning bolt spam, because it *is* a rotation, plus throwing lighting bolts onto several enemies is cool, Star Wars Emperor-stylee.

High Mobility Fights

Shocks, given their high mana cost, do little damage compared to the equivalent number of lighting bolts you can cast with the same mana, and have range issues, so they are generally not worth using. However, in fights where I am running around like a lunatic, I find popping a Shock onto the boss to be beneficial. For example, on the Shade of Aran fight, I will throw in a Flame Shock when running away from a Blizzard.

Burst Damage Mode

One of the most fun moments is when some burst damage is called for! It is the time to pull all the stops out and own those Demon Chains. I tend to activate Elemental Mastery then cast a chain lightning, because it does more single-target damage than a bolt, so the guaranteed crit will hit harder. I'll then hit the target with a shock, usually Earth Shock because it does slightly more damage than Frost Shock.

Elemental Mastery does not trigger the Global Cooldown so you could write a macro to do the elemental mastery and chain lightning with one button press. If you have time, a trinket which increases spell damage would be good to use before popping elemental mastery, for example just before a Curator evocate.

Then it's time to wait for the shock and chain lightning cooldowns to finish, while spamming Lightning Bolts.

Using Elemental Mastery

As I mentioned, Elemental Mastery gives a guaranteed crit, so ideally I use it before casting chain lightning in a spell rotation, most especially if I am going hit multiple targets. However when there are crowd controlled targets about, chain lightning is a no-no (unless I am feeling quite brave or reckless).

How about shocks? Usually I'm standing at the back, out of range of a shock. However, if chain lightning cannot be used and I am in range, is a shock a better idea?

Elemental Mastery and Shocks vs Lightning Bolt

An Earth Shock (658–692 damage) or Frost Shock (640–676 damage) does more damage than Lighting Bolt (563-643 at Rank 12). However the Lighting Overload talent gives a 20% chance for a half-damage bolt when casting lightning bolt. According to Wowhead the free bolt is not guaranteed a crit. So...

Half lighting bolt damage is = 281 - 321 damage.

Lightning Overload will give approximately 1 fifth of that on average which is 56 - 64 damage (this may be quite far off but my understanding of statistics is highly rudimentary).

Making total of a lightning bolt crit on average of (1126 - 1286) + (56 - 64) = 1182 - 1350 damage.

Versus a simple earth shock crit of 1136 - 1384 damage.

Here I am assuming the effects of any +spell damage gear will apply equally to earth shock as it does to lightning bolt. So I'd stick with the earth shock if in range, purely due to the simplistic nature of the thing. That and earth shock costs more mana than lightning bolt so you "save" more mana. Additionally the cast time of earth shock is the GCD of 1.5 secs versus the 2.0 secs cast time of lightning bolt, so earth shock is faster too.


All that stuff about range and whatnot is good for instances, but how about when its Shaman versus Mob in the great outdoors? For a single mob I usually get to maximum range, then pull with lighting bolt, repeat until the mob is in melee range, then flame shock and stab it with a flametongue-imbued weapon till it be dead, refreshing flame shock when needed. I read that the fire damage done by flametongue increases with your +damage, an elemental shaman generally has a lot of +damage, so that's why I use flametongue rather than windfury.

Usually I spec Eye of the Storm for soloing, so when the Focused Casting effect procs, I can cast lightning bolt in melee without interruption which is a nice mana-efficient way to damage the mob.

Kiting is also an option; I've tried this where I put an earthbind totem between me and the mob, then pull with lightning bolt, frost shock when the mob gets in range, turn and run away to range, then repeat. This is quite effective, unfortunately frost shock costs a lot of mana and I use lots of lightning bolts so mana usage for this tactic is quite... horrendous.

For multiple mobs pulling with a chain lightning and trying to burn the primary mob down with shocks and lightning bolts, then healing myself while stabbing the second one to death works ok. Even better with an elemental mastery + chain lightning pull. Alternatively pull the first with a lightning bolt, drop a stoneclaw totem and use the brief respite it affords to kill the first mob before you get hit by the second one.


That's my look at Elemental Shaman spell rotations, overall the class has a fairly boring mana-efficient spell "rotation" but things get more interesting when high DPS or burst damage is called for. If anyone has more info to share please do.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Barbary on the PTR, Intoxication on live

Trolling around on the PTR Kam has been checking out a few things, none of which are directly Shaman related.

Barber shop

I'm still not sure what the big draw of this is; Kam could choose his horn style, colour and facial hair, much what he could do when he was created a few years ago. I guess if something has been bothering you it can now be changed. Plus there is an achievement for getting a hair trim!

Hide down ranks in the Spell book

The spell book has a handy new feature where all Kam's low rank spells can be hidden away, just showing the ones with the big booms. Quite useful if downranking is truly dead. Also it really helps to find obscure spells I suddenly need, I really hate paging through loads of low rank spells just to find the one I'm after.

Cool new icy login screen

Strangely enough, the login screen is now Wrath-style, with an icy theme. The music is also different, although it doesn't sound quite as rousing as the old Burning Crusade music did.

Brewfest starts today, so Kam will be hoping to hit the bar in Blackrock Depths to see if the latest holiday boss will be as easy as a Headless Loot PiƱata or as hard as an Iceberg.

Friday, 19 September 2008

The non-combat pet interface

How be this Shaman related? Shaman be havin' non-combat pets, aye? Anyway on wi' 't...

This be th' new non-combat pet interface live from th' PTR. All them wee pet containers, belts, whatere, became an item which, when used, taught Kam the'r pet. Th' pet then appears in this wee area an' can be summoned. Th' neatest feature be that ye get a preview o' th' pet when 'tis selected. Ye can spin 't, be seein' its animations, 'tis very cute.

Th' tab also shows mounts which be learned in much th' same way, an' show up in th' "Mounts" sub-tab. I be hopin' I can then drag them onto me task bar fer a convenient way t' get mounted. I been checkin', I can!

Th' new pet interface be pretty cool, but th' bag space savin' be e'en better. Unfortunately at th' moment, when a pet be learnt th' item stays in yer inventory. Kam raises a suggestion t' remove spake item.

Ouch I need t' keep off th' Savoury Deviate Delights.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

We can haz moderate to light drama

The Casual Raid Leader has alt loot issues. He isn't alone, in fact reading his post it's like he plays in our guild.

My guild has effectively done as much of the 10 man raids as it can; Karazhan is cleared and we've done the Bear and Eagle bosses in ZA. Interest in ZA dropped off because the rewards seem a bit rubbish, I mean 1 Badge of Justice for the bear boss, who is harder than Prince, come off it Blizzard!

One player appeared to be taking an endless succession of alts through Karazhan, each time grabbing mucho loot from long-suffering mains. This in itself wasn't a massive problem because we have no raid progression to get on with. However it is a little hard to master playing a class when you play so many others, and it was noticeable that each alt was a little less well-played than the one before. The conclusion was that the player was told they couldn’t take any more alts through and had to stick to their 3 main characters. Yes 3. They thus made a post on the forums saying they were only going to use these 3 toons for guild runs, although they wanted to progress their other toons, they would use PUGs and PvP to gear them. It wasn't really a narky post thus the light to moderate rating.

We are now making people nominate a “main” just for guild rank purposes. But in the expansion this will have to take on a different purpose if we decide to go for 10 man raid progression, where we will have to concentrate on busting up progressive content, do less farming of the instances on farm and giving loot priority to mains. I'm not sure how well this fits into the relaxed atmosphere of our guild either; back in the day we did UBRS in 10 man raids for fun and a lot of laughs it was too. Now we treat Karazhan in much the same way, having a laugh at Moroes' expense. Potential drama is brewing over this for sure.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

What will I be doing...

... when the world ends? The current world that is, with a new shiny continent open to me. This is my somewhat late response to a Blog Azeroth shared topic from Dechion of Be Nameless/Dechion's Place.

I had previously thought I would be fiddling around with the new talents and spells, but it seems these will be upon me far earlier. Now my cunning plan is thus:

  • Get trained. Step off the zeppelin and go find the profession trainers straight away. Kam is at mining and skinning 375 and will need the next skill to 450 before he goes mining and skinning in the new areas. Otherwise he'll be wasting potential skill-ups. And I absolutely hate to waste a potential skill point, it makes me feel all sad inside.
  • Hit every node I see. With new maximum levels in all the professions, suffice to say there will be a great demand for raw materials. Which means great gold for those who will be gathering them. I'll be grabbing every mineral node and skinning every corpse I can lay my sticky large hooves on. Although I might send all the leather to my friendly neighbourhood leatherworker. Due to my generosity, and mebbe my inevitable need for hawt leatherworking goods.
  • Get questing. The actual day-to-day business will of course be some questing and a bit of instancing. I'm really hoping to find some big quest chains, and the promise of some Tauren lore is quite exciting.
  • Talent Spec. Hmm undecided really. Levelling as Resto might be more painful than some sort of self-surgery, however if the spell power changes prove to give reasonable damage, I might try it. I am really hoping that the rumoured twin-spec thing (whatever that turns out to be) will help so I can level as a DPS spec and then heal up some instances. If the guild proves to have a ton-load of healers all busting for a go, I might also have to instance as DPS.
  • Bank clearance. I might devote some time to clearing out the total clutter of mathom that is my bank, although I suspect I'll be too busy enjoying the new stuff to care.

Will this all come to pass, or is it just fantasy? Only 2 months will tell.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Goodbye green soloing weapon


Based on this evidence The Essence Focuser, previously a healing mace, now beats Kam's old green spell damage dagger on the PTR. Also notice that the enchant on the Focuser is +43 Spell Power. That used to be Major Healing with +81 healing and +27 damage. So does this now give the same healing but more spell damage? Very nice if it does.

Tips for PTR testing

Here are a few tips I've figured out from my literally many hours of PTR testing. I'm only on the servers for 10 or so minutes at a time, but I tend to log onto them to see the new shinies.

  • Copy early. Usually the character copy is available before the PTR is up or the client can be downloaded. Keep an eye out on WoW Insider or some other news site for when the US copy is up; in my experience the EU one is up too. The wait time when the client isn't available was 4 hours for 3.0.2.
  • Patch often. You download the PTR client, install it, logon, then you get a patch. You install the patch, logon then you get another patch. You don't log on for 5 days and get another patch. It is best to logon every day even if you aren't actually going to play on the PTR just to get any patches.
  • Download a PTR patch while playing real WoW. You cannot log onto the PTR and real WoW at the same time, but you can get the patch downloader started, then play WoW.
  • Log on even if you have no toons. You can log onto the PTR even if your characters are not copied across. This will get any patches downloading. So if you have the PTR client and are waiting for your toons to be copied, log onto the PTR anyway and grab those patches.
  • Report everything. I tend to report anything I find however minor. The reporting interface is pretty good and quick to use. For obvious stuff, other people have probably already reported it, but maybe not. You can report anything which seems odd or wrong as a suggestion; I hope Blizzard take notice of such reports, after all they have added a suggestion feature to the PTR client.
  • Clone your gold. Send all your gold to the toon you are copying. Make a copy. Make another copy of the same toon. Repeat until you have enough gold on the PTR for whatever you want. When on the PTR, send all the gold to the one toon. Voila, mucho cloned gold.
  • Have fun. Obvious really :)

Anything else anyone has?

Monday, 15 September 2008

This 302 PTR client is somewhat big

It seems to be installing a completely new copy of WoW into a subdirectory, the installer even asked me where to put the PTR client. Usually they just get on with it and make a "Wowtest" directory. And it is taking ages. But I'm sure once this is installed there won't be any more patches for me to pick up and I can jump right in and check out the new stuff.

Edit: hah after logging in I get to download another patch. But here's the interesting thing, the login screen is not the Burning Crusade one, oh no we have the Icy Northrend login screen, complete with flying thingie. Most cool.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Let's go Public Realm Testing

Grr argh.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

An open letter to the Kirin Tor

Dear Sirs,

As a deputized agent of the Violet Eye, charged with keeping Karazhan free of the Burning Legion, I wish to complain about the lack of assistance rendered to myself and other agents by the Kirin Tor.

Despite the dangers, I and many others selflessly keep the tower clear of Demonic Presences, we continuously Assess the Situation and have retrieved several ancient artifacts, among them Keanna's Log. This we do because we believe in the great responsibility bestowed upon us to stop the Burning Legion.

There is however a growing dissatisfaction among my fellow agents over the lack of assistance given to us when we travel to Karazhan to bravely defend Azeroth. The remote location of Deadwind Pass discourages casual visits, the route from the Outlands is quite arduous, even though we must fight the Burning Legion in the Outlands.

Other factions are more willing to assist their agents; the Bronze Dragonflight have recently stationed a representative in the World's End Tavern, who will teleport those in good standing to the Caverns of Time. The Shattered Sun Offensive faction Maintain a Sunwell Portal in Shattrath city for quick travel to the Isle of Quel'Danas.

Your own Supreme Commander of the Alliance Expedition, Archmage Khadgar, has opened portals in Shattrath city to major cities. Perhaps he is not aware of The New Directive which sends many agents into the accursed tower time and time again, otherwise I feel sure he would open a portal to Deadwind Pass.

There are rumours that the Greatstaff of the Guardian Medivh, Atiesh, still survives and can be used to teleport a group of agents to Karazhan. However relying on rumour and supposed legend is folly.

Already interest in fighting the Burning Legion in Karazhan is waning, I urge you to act before the agents of the Violet Eye turn their attention to fighting other threats, and the Burning Legion renews its attacks while you stand powerless in the sidelines.



Image courtesy of Lainey Powell.

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Guild bank security - what if someone was hacked?

Recently we have had an account hacking incident in our guild. One of the Officers who had just left was hacked and their alt was able to clean out our "Last Chance" tab where all the vendor trash is stored. They also removed their maximum allowance from the "Free For All" tab, the Jewelcrafting and the Enchanting materials tabs. We also have an "Ask an Officer" tab where all the good stuff is stored, but only Officers can access that. Luckily we didn't loose too much and it wasn't worth a lot anyway.

However, some of our Officers have up to 7 alts, all with Officer access to the guild bank, access which lets them withdraw up to 7 stacks of items from each tab. If they were hacked, well, they could grab a lot of goodies from the guild bank. So something had to be changed.

After some head scratching, AblazeTheMage our guild bank man and one-of-4 GMs, came up with the following scheme:

  • All Officers have 1 character with Officer rank, their main. This rank has the same privileges as before, so this is what Officers use to withdraw items from the Ask-An-Officer tab for guildies.
  • All alts of Officers have the rank Officer-Alt, which can take only 1 stack from each tab, apart from the vendor trash tab, where they can take 10 stacks. The maximum damage which can be done now by a hacked Officer is 1 withdrawal from the Officer tab per alt.
  • All members have 1 character with Member rank, their main. Accesses are as before; they can take only from the enchanting, jewelcrafting and free-for-all tabs.
  • All alts of members have the rank Alt, which can take only 1 stack from the enchanting, jewelcrafting and free-for-all tabs. Again if a member was hacked, the number of items they could withdraw is limited.

Hopefully this will protect us a little from hacked accounts. I've heard the WoW bank UI is a lot rubbish and it seems very odd that you cannot restrict withdrawals to a number of items, only stacks, because a stack of Large Prismatic Shards is fairly valuable.

So I urge anyone setting up a Guild Bank to consider not just what a trusted guild member could remove, but what could they do if their account was compromised.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

I am becoming... Prepared! (updates)

In the endless quest to become prepared for some major world-changing event coming real soon now, I have been levelling my Druid enchanter to 50, which the sharp-eyed might have guessed from my comments on 4tehfite. This is because the minimum character level to raise tradeskill professions above 300 is level 50, so that's what I need to be able to disenchant most Northrend greenies.

I am levelling as feral and mostly cat; a lot of melee combat broken up with some self-heals and a bit of magic. Sound familiar? The experience has given me a taste for melee combat, so I am itching to try out the Enhancement spec on Kam, for soloing and, if I can hoodwink convince our Raid Leader, in some raiding action.

To get enchanting up ten levels, I also need vast amounts of Illusion Dust. From what I've read this is best obtained in level 60 old world instances... such as Blackrock Spire. How handy that I need to complete the Onyxia chain for Kam, and am crazy enough to try to solo it.

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