Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Tis the season!

Winter's Veil is upon us and there are achievements to be had. Most of which I already did last year during my intense grind for the Violet Protodrake, but still. I posted a guide a few years back about this, but there have been a few changes made by Blizzard to help us out:

  • With the introduction of the Tome of Cold Weather Flight, Bros is a lot easier for Horde. Now you just need to be level 68, have the Tome and you can fly over to the airship to mistletoe Brother Keltan.
  • The Ogrila Bomb Them Again quest no longer requires you to complete the long pre-req chain requiring 5 people. Now just go to Ogrila, start with The Crystals and do the Our Boy Wants To Be A Skyguard Ranger chain to get Bomb Them Again!
  • Crashin' and Thrashin' is no longer part of the meta. Hopefully this means we will get a new gift!
  • BB King is a new achievement for points and fun!
I've already started doing these on my druid alt because I think I have achievement-itis!

Friday, 11 December 2009

Patch 3.3 impressions

Patch 3.3 is out and having had a few nights to play, here are my impressions of the new goodies.

Weekly Raid Quest
The old daily heroic quest giver now gives a weekly raid quest to kill some boss in a raid instance, this week on Aszune we had to take down Anub'Rekhan in Naxxramas. The reward was 5 Emblems of Frost and 5 Triumph. This appears to be a nice feature, we get to bosh old raid instances which are long forgotten. The run took only 10 minutes, was fun and profitable.

There is also a Looking for Raid tool to companion the new weekly quests, although I eventually found it hidden away in the Raid tab on the social panel, /lfr also brings it up. Given there was only 2 people looking for Naxx raids, I suspect the looking for raid tool is too well hidden at the moment, so pugging will have to be done via a global chat channel.

Dungeon Finder
After doing the weekly raid quest, I gave the new Dungeon Finder tool a spin. This promises to whisk you into a random heroic or dungeon of your choice, with a group formed from cross-server members, and give Frost for the first random instance and bonus Triumph thereafter. The tool itself appears solid, I was able to quickly queue for a random heroic. Even at peak time of 9pm I got into a party within 5 minutes, so the matching is good.

However there are issues. Having chosen Oculus for us, the familiar zoning screen appeared, then we were ejected back out again and the depressingly familiar "Additional instances cannot be launched" message came up. The response of the other party members was to drop the party, and I ended up with the Dungeon Deserter debuff and unable to queue again for 15 minutes. Luckily Blizzard are aware of this, but it is a somewhat predictable scenario with everyone running heroics and I am disappointed they didn't think this one through. Not giving the deserter buff when you are ejected through no fault of your own would be a pretty obvious start!

Blizzard Gear Checks?
Later I was in a party and brought the Dungeon Finder tool up again. Interestingly some of the alts in the group appear to cause certain instances to be locked out, giving a message of "player must obtain better gear" and actually identifying each player who is considered to have inadequate gear.

I can certainly have some fun with this one, imagine getting into groups with other players then using Dungeon Finder to "check" their gear as it were. Halls of Reflection locked? Maybe someone isn't quite up to scratch yet. Violet Hold locked? Get ye back to the questing, rubbish alt! As a way of embarrassing guildies, this will be an excellent tool :)

New 5 Mans
Patch 3.3 comes with 3 new 5 man instances and a nice quest chain which takes you through them. The Forge of Souls is a nice instance with some newish boss mechanics. The Pit of Saron was very cool, with a uniquely fun gauntlet and a suitably cool end boss.

There is also some nice loot in the instances, I personally am looking to upgrade my belt and boots to Spiked Toestompers and Belt of Rotted Fingernails (yuck). There is a nice ring I could use until I rep up with Ashen Verdict, but the trinket looks a little weak, proccing as it does with that least useful stat for Enhancement of Armour Penetration.

New Raid
Bored of a small, circular room? Wish there was more to raiding? Well lucky you, now there is, an actual new raid instance complete with stairs. Last night Elder Brethren had a crack at the 10 man, they lasted 3 minutes 26 seconds on the longest attempt on Marrowgar, so Icecrown Citadel appears to be quite tough on 10 man. I have yet to try although those who went last night got around 900 Ashen Verdict reputation, so even wiping is useful.

An Actual Raid Faction!
Similar to the Violet Eye in Karazhan, the new Ashen Verdict faction has a series of rings at friendly, which are quite frankly amazing. Unfortunately we start at neutral so must kill a fair amount of trash to get one, but I am really glad there is a point to killing trash again, as the Karazhan rings was one of the fun aspects of Kara.

Epic 251 weapon
Already being sold on the AH and Trade, the Battered Hilt is drawing the attention of entrepreneurs everywhere. This starts the Quel'delar quest chain which promises an iLevel 251 weapon at the end, the quests take part in the new 5 mans and around Azeroth so are entirely doable. It drops in the new 5 mans on heroic, so those selling it are making a quick buck, but I won't be paying for it. Certain guild members may be forking out I suspect. The item was also dropping more than it should have done on patch day, and has since been nerfed to a 1-2% rate.

New Buttons To Press
For DPS Shamans we get the new and improved Fire Nova spell to try to fit onto the action bar. I was trying this out last night as a filler spell when everything else was on cooldown - it certainly makes things a bit more interesting as I now have to place the fire totem carefully, and makes it very irritating if the tank moves the mobs out of range of my carefully-placed totems. From reading Elitist Jerks I probably need to respec to get 2/2 Improved Fire Nova to up the damage, but in AOE situations Fire Nova spamming and Magma Totem was very powerful.

The cooldown on the Fire Elemental totem has been slashed to 10 minutes, the cooldown on Reincarnation is down to 30 minutes, which proved very handy for repeated wipes in The Pit of Saron. I mean would prove useful, of course we never wiped ;-)

New Totem Art
My Troll and Orc cousins now have their very own totem designs. Unfortunately the only other Shamans I have grouped with have been Tauren, and Kam is Tauren, so I've only seen the bog-standard design. Still, I shouldn't be ungrateful because it will make grouping with other Shamans more interesting and varied, and that's a good thing. I'm also quite attached to the old Tauren totem poles so I don't mind keeping them.

New Disenchant Loot Option
One of the loot options, along with Need or Greed, is Disenchant, if you have an enchanter in the party (presumably of the right level to DE an item). You can hit the DE option and a DE roll happens, at the same priority as Greed. Whoever wins the DE roll has the item auto-magically disenchanted and they receive the shards or dust. This is a really awesome change, especially for the random greens which nobody wants any more. Now Kam has a fair amount of dusts and essences and has a chance at an Abyss Crystal every run, and I don't need to bother getting the greens DEed after a run any more.

Some Other Stuff
A new fishing competition, new vendor non-combat pets, a change in the ready check noise (most annoying), quest objectives on the main map, BoA faction helm and shoulder enchants (although they won't go on heirloom items), and much more besides. I've really only scratched the surface of what is on offer in 3.3, so I look forward to a lot more. Thus far it's been really fun!

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Tis the Night Before Xmas...

...or at least it feels like Xmas has come early, with the news that 3.3 will hit the EU tomorrow.

Luckily I have some play time on Wednesday and Thursday night, so my current plan is to hit the weekly raid quest and try out the Looking For Raid tool (or just the LFG group), then try the new Dungeon Finder tool to do a random heroic for those Emblems of Frost. I want to try the new Fire Nova spell to see what it and a Magma Totem can do to heroic trash. I'm well up for running through all 3 new 5 man dungeons on heroic mode - for the storyline, lore and some nice loot to fill the gaps I have in my armour. Finally I guess if I must I shall run endless heroics for Emblems of Triumph, at last count I require just shy of 120 of the buggers.

I also want to seek out the Quel'Delar quest chain and get started on it, a tasty iLevel 251 weapon awaits, and I'm a sucker for long quest chains. Kam will be seeing what the next step in the fight against the Lich King is with these new Ashen Verdict characters, and I might just even manage to step foot in Icecrown Citadel, although it's highly unlikely.

Rather than post a big patch post, I'll post some impressions of the 3.3 stuff once I've had the chance to explore it. Until then!

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

The death of the raid lockout extension?

By now everyone has read the plans to gate the Icecrown Citadel content. While I don't object to opening "wings" of the raid on a rolling basis, I have though of a consequence of the boss attempts gating:

The initial number of attempts provided for defeating Professor Putricide is only five. When Blood-Queen Lana'thel unlocks, the amount of total attempts remaining will increase to 10. Then when Sindragosa and the Lich King unlock, 15 total attempts will be available to defeat all four bosses.

I think this will be the death of the raid lockout extension, certainly in our guild.

Remember in 3.2 when they added the raid lockout extension feature? If you didn't have the time to kill all the bosses in Ulduar in 1 week, you could extend into the next week and have another crack.

Except now I am assuming your "boss attempts" will not get reset if you extend, so if you used them all up, what's the point of extending? You might as well reset and redo all the bosses again. Even if you used up 5 of the 10, I would think most raiders would want to hit the instance with all of their boss attempts available.

Say in one raid week you got a few attempts in on Lana'thel and now have 5 attempts left. You could extend into the next week and use those 5 attempts to try to down her. Or you could reset, clear the other bosses, assume a 1 or 2 shot on Putricide, then have 8 attempts left on Lana'thel. Even in our relatively casual guild, I think there will be a strong push for the latter approach. Worse if Sindragosa is available and we get stuck on Lana'thel with 5/15 left, we will definitely reset so we get more attempts on Sindragosa.

Goodbye raid lockout extension, though I hardly knew you at all!

Friday, 27 November 2009

TotC 25 is...

...harder than 10 man, was Kam's experience last night. Faction Champions are more numerous, have more health and thus take much longer to kill. I think I managed to pop Wolves 3 times!

Then there is Anub'arak who seems to have high DPS requirements, which our raid failed to meet. Still, compared to the pushover that is 10 man, it's a decent challenging fight.

I lost the roll on Death's Choice too. It would be my choice as well! However my philosophy is that I should be able to raid 10 man content with purely 10 man drops, so I should not need anything from 25 man to enter Icecrown Citadel.

Thankfully because it was a PUG, there is an amusing loot story to share. Apparently Ring of the Violent Temperament is ideal Mage loot, because it features critical strike and haste. Not sure how strength works on Mage, but I guess there is some Strength->Spell Power talent in those trees? :)

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Guide to Pilgrim's Bounty achievements

Given this one was not even on the PTR, I thought it would be good to post a guide up as I discover how to do the various achievements. Image courtesy of Hey Paul.

Taking place from 22nd November to 28th November, Pilgrim's Bounty will feature feasting tables just outside the capital cities where you can eat and share food with others. Each table gets a number of seats, one per food (Sweet Potatoes, Pie, Stuffing, Chutney & Turkey), which act like vehicles (single occupancy only). The controls allow you to eat the food of that seat, or pass the food to others seated. When others pass some food to you, the icon for that food is lit on your action bar and you can clicky to eat the food.

There are 5 daily quests from the feasting areas outside the capital cities, these are to bring 20 of a certain food to the quest giver. The rewards are a choice of pieces of Pilgrim clothing, or a Turkey Shooter which can be used to turn people into turkeys.

Completing the meta achievement rewards the title "Pilgrim" and a Plump Turkey pet. It is not part of the Long Strange meta meta achievement, but I wouldn't be surprised if at some point it gets added.

Sit at a table, select a player and hit the share option (number 1 usually). This should bounce the food off them rather than pass it.

Pilgrim's Paunch (Alliance)
You need to get the Spirit of Sharing buff from all the cities. This is a buff you get when you gain the Stuffed buff for Cranberries, Pie, Stuffing, Sweet Potatoes and Turkey. Sit at each seat on a table and feed yourself the food for that seat 5 times, then swap seats, repeat until you have all the food buffs. Or wait for some kind soul to pass you the other foods, at which point you will be able to eat them.

You can right click to cancel this buff, so go ahead and visit all the city tables in turn to do this one.

Pilgrim's Progress
Complete each of the dailies from the city areas. Most of the food required can be cooked up apart from "Can't Get Enough Turkey" which requires Wild Turkey, you will need to kill the Wild Turkeys which roam Tirisfal and Elwynn forest and loot them. However if you're doing Turkinator you will end up with a lot of turkey anyway.

With the exception of the turkey daily, the rest cunningly require ingredients which are not purchased from the vendor in the quest giver's city. For example, She Says Potato in Stormwind requires 20 Candied Sweet Potatoes, which need Teldrassil Sweet Potato... which are bought in Darnassus. So my tip is to buy 40 of the city-specific ingredients when you pass through every city, because you will need to do the dailies at least twice.

Also, there is a quest chain which needs 5 more of each food, so grab another 5, but do not cook them up as the quests require that you cook the food while you have the quest in your log.

Terokkar Turkey Time
Complete 2 dailies and get the Pilgrim's Hat and either a Pilgrim's Dress, Robe, or Attire. Then kill the Talon King. I'll probably drag a group through Sethekk Halls for this, but I may be able to solo it anyway.

Turkey Lurkey
Shoot rogues with the Turkey Shooter. This is gotten from completing a daily, one per daily, so you will need to do 8 dailies to get all the rogues. If you shoot one which is already a turkey I hear you don't get credit, so be careful out there. Also there is quite a long 2 sec cast time on the Shooter, so watch out for mobile rogues!

Personally I plan on camping Dalaran for this one. If all else fails, keep a look out for specifically-created level 1 rogues in the starter zones while you are touring friendly & enemy cities!

Now We're Cookin'
The vendor sells a big recipe book which contains all 5 recipes needed for this. You need cooking 280 to do this to cook up Slow Roasted Turkey, the ingredients for which are bought from vendors and the Wild Turkeys. The ingredients for the other recipes are sold on vendors outside the various capitals.

It also seems that these 5 recipes will let you level cooking to 280 by purely purchasing the ingredients, so any alts without cooking will benefit from this holiday, see Kaliope's for a good guide.

Pilgrim's Peril (Alliance)
Sneak or run to the table in the Alliance/Horde city and sit down, then probably die. You of course need to be wearing a piece of the Pilgrim clothes, anything except the hat is allowed. Best done in the wee small hours of the morning.

Sharing is Caring
Pass the dishes at a feasting table, by sitting in each chair and pressing the pass button (usually 1), so long as someone else is sat at the table.

The Turkinator
Kill enough Wild Turkeys in Tirisfal or Elwynn to get the buff... 40 kills are needed and you get 30 seconds after killing a turkey to kill another one. This will be tough if everyone else is hunting them, so try in quiet hours. I read a tip that Venomweb Vale in Tirisfal is good, it turned out to be quite a good spot, with no one else there.

With this one I found that if I ran up to a turkey, then spotted the next one to kill, THEN killed the turkey, I could always be on my way to another turkey. You get 30 seconds after a kill to travel to another one then find the next victim, so I got 10-20 seconds standing around to look for a turkey before I had to kill the one I was stood next to. Basically try to always have another turkey in your sights. They respawn too slow to stay in the same area so you need to move around a lot and do a route which doesn't cover old ground.

BBB also points out you can grab some Tracker Snacks and track those little beasts on the minimap. Or cook a load and sell them on the AH, you know whatever you feel like doing :)

This is the pita achievement for this holiday season for sure!

Other stuff
The Fully stuffed buff is good for rep grinding, and I have read claims that the cooking recipes will get you from 1 to 280 cooking just with gold to buy the ingredients, Kaliope has a good guide.

After this season I'll have done all the achievement holidays, so Kam will go cold turkey on them. Ho ho ho.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Don't panic! (yet)

According to Bob Turkey and WoW.com the prices for many Tier 10.0 items have been added to the PTR, which are 60 for the Gloves and Shoulders, 90 for Head, Legs and Chest.

Remember the old Tier 9.0 cost 30 Triumph for the cheapies and 50 for the expensive stuff, so what we have is a 100% cost increase for the cheap stuff and 80% for the other items.

In 3.3 on the PTR you get 2 emblems of frost for the first random heroic of the day, ie the same as we get now for the daily heroic quest. The new VoA boss is unknown but is likely to also drop 2 frost. Then there is that weekly raid quest which now gives 5 frost, but it will likely need to be done close to server reset day, so that there are enough groups running it to have a good chance of getting in. Pugging raids on the day before the server reset is usually a fruitless activity on Aszune. So to cope with the rampant inflation of Tier 10, non-raiders get the chance of 5 extra emblems of frost per week. Woot!

Before I panic, let me take a look at how many emblems of frost drop from the raid bosses in Icecrown Citadel, as this is the usual way I gain emblems. Recall that bosses in ToTC drop 3 Triumph each, so one might express the cost of Tier 9 as 10 boss kills for gloves, shoulders, 17 boss kills for the rest. After a google search and hitting wowhead & wowwiki, I can't find any information about how many frost drop from IC bosses so I won't panic... yet. If Blizzard want to keep the same number of boss kills as ToTC then I would propose 5 to 6 Emblems of Frost per Icecrown Citadel boss kill is reasonable. But given how hard they are hitting non-raiders, I am not hopeful.

At the end of the day, Tier 10 is only useful to me for making progress in Icecrown Citadel and then making it easier - there should not be anywhere to go after IC apart from a gear reset in Cataclysm. However there is always the heroic 10 man encounters, which should require better gear than Tier 9. Thus I am waiting for news of how much frost drops from IC bosses in massive anticipation!

Monday, 16 November 2009

DPS chain questionnaire

Death Goddess has changed the healer questionnaire going round into a DPS one and even got some love from WoW.com. So here are my answers from an Enhancement Shaman point of view.

What is the name, class, and spec of your primary dps?
Kam, Shaman, Enhancement (16/55/0).

What is your primary dpsing environment? (i.e. raids, pvp, 5 mans)
Raids are my favoured environment although I run those 5 mans for the emblems as well.

What is your favorite dps spell/ability for your class and why?
Tough one this, we have so many awesome spells like Stormstrike and Windfury and... hold on a damn minute... Bloodlust! it's just got to be BL. It's utterly iconic for the Shaman class, massively powerful and is just an amazing reason to group with a Shaman of any spec.

What dps spell do you use least for your class and why?
Fire Nova Totem is pretty much useless in PvE for Enhancement. If the mobs haven't noticed it and killed it before the massive 5 seconds it takes to activate, then the rubbish AOE damage will merely lightly tickle them. It's a really good job it's going away in 3.3 for something more useful.

What do you feel is the biggest strength of your dps class and why?
Some crazy buffing for fellow classes - Windfury and SOE totems make pure melee and tanks happy, Mana Stream totem is pretty damn handy for casters in the absence of Blessing of Wisdom, Flametongue totem is ok for spell casters. Fire, Ice and Nature resistance can be very handy, the fear breaking Tremor totem is valuable, Earth bind totem makes kiting zombies far more pleasant. Plus Unleashed Rage helps melee even more.

What do you feel is the biggest weakness of your dps class and why?
Apart from the wolves and Fire Elemental, the Enhancement spec doesn't have any "burst mode" different to "normal mode" DPS. By comparison the hunter class had a normal rotation which used mana at a reasonable rate and did good DPS (weaving auto shot and steady shot), but when needed, a high DPS rotation which chewed mana like a sod but did huge DPS (arcane shot, multi-shot and the rest). Enhancement is pretty much 100% damage all the time, which of course has other advantages. Damn I need a pop-able trinket!

In a 25 man raiding environment, what do you feel, in general, is the best dps assignment for you?
Having 25 man raided once (in Ulduar) I'm not sure I'm qualified to answer this :) In that situation it was definitely standing still behind the least mobile boss and kicking the s**t out of it, running around chasing stuff to DPS doesn't do much for our damage really. If some interrupts are required, I would claim that Wind Shear is an awesome interrupt - 6 second cooldown, not on the GCD, only costs mana which I have plenty of, small DPS penalty, so feel free to put me on interrupt duty on the boss!

What dps class do you enjoy dpsing with most and why?
Pretty much every DPS class/spec provides useful buffs to an Enhancement Shaman, however I guess I prefer an Elemental Shaman for a DPS class. Totem of Wrath is a nice buff to spell damage, but with someone else on spell caster buffing duty, I can run Magma Totem and boost my own damage and AOE by a quite large amount. Plus having 8 totems out is just funny.

What dps class do you enjoy dpsing with least and why?
I enjoy playing with all classes, so this is a tough one to pick. If we go on buffs I get it would be Death Knights I guess, purely because I don't benefit from Horn of Winter, whereas most DPS class/spec will give me something (or free food/health pot). But I'm not massively concerned about getting buffed or not.

What is your worst habit as a dps?
Using Maelstrom Weapon 5 charges on self-heals, chain heals or healing other people. I should be trusting the healers to handle it, but I guess I enjoy the "hybrid" part of my class far too much to ignore a fellow player who is dangerously low on health.

What is your biggest pet peeve in a group environment while dpsing?
DPS who don't watch their threat meters (Omen is required in our raids) and pull aggro. I feel that part of the skill is to do good DPS without killing yourself and everyone else standing near you.

Do you feel that your class/spec is well balanced with other dps?
At the 10 man level I play at, yes. I am highly competitive with other DPSers on the reports.

What tools do you use to evaluate your own performance as a dps?
World of Logs, those sort of combat log parsing for the DPS figures. Being alive at the end of the encounter and not taking any avoidable damage is what I look for to demonstrate my personal raid performance is good. Getting close to the simulated DPS figures in EnhSim shows I am doing the right keys at the right time. Finally if the encounter is beaten and I am doing comparable DPS to the others, I think I've done a good job there.

What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about your class?
That Enhancement Shaman are OP because we can do instant heals as well as DPS... really my heals are very ickle and small and I won't be worrying any healers any time soon. They certainly couldn't keep me alive while I was tanking anything!

What do you feel is the most difficult thing for new dpsers of your class to learn?
Gearing choices probably, as the RNG nature of the Enhancement Shaman makes it very difficult to pick which stat is the best. EnhSim, Pawn and Lootrank is my friend.

What dps class do you feel you understand least?
Mages as I don't have one, and have never played one at all. I understand some of them like tasty fire.

What add-ons or macros do you use, if any, to aid you in dps?
Totem Timers to keep track of those totems, ShockAndAwe to keep track of Maelstrom Weapon charges.

Agility over other stats or balanced stat allocation, and why?
First I'd recommend getting to the specials hit cap then the expertise cap. Then I would recommend simming your current setup and getting gear recommendations that way. Rawr is good as is EnhSim for this. Most melee stats are useful to me, in varying amounts depending on my gear level. Sometimes I'll end up upgrading a crit/haste item to a better one with arpen/hit or something like that, so my stats don't tend to be stacking any one thing. I think only my arpen is somewhat low compared to the other stats, and I'm fine with that as it seems a bit rubbish tbh.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Enh Shaman to use mana in Cataclysm claimed in Hunter thread!

This blue post was interesting:
Also, Enhancement shamans will almost certainly stay as mana-users but still share (non Int) gear with hunters. This likely means some kind of attack power to mana regen mechanic like Ret paladins have currently. However development on stuff like this is still early.

A Judgements of the Wise type mechanic where we proc Replenishment? Or maybe some sort of talent which gives mana regen on hit and scales with attack power? Then later we get:
I meant Ret is a spec of a mana-using class that gets everything they need from attack power gear. This is different from say Feral druids who don't use mana in their melee mode. Our assumption is that Enhancement shaman will wear gear without any Int on it but still use mana for their spells.

At least we will still be using mana, as I am quite addicted to the stuff. No real word on any cunning talents to regen mana more than SR, Imp SS etc. Still, an interesting thread even though it spends a lot of misguided time discussing hunters ;-)

PS I guess I'm the only one who isn't a fan of the full-face mask theme of the Shaman Tier 10 stuff!

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Simulating future gear choices using Rawr and EnhSim

Having scored a Blackhorn Bludgeon and Bracers of the Northern Stalker, and gotten enough Triumph for Thrall's Grips of Conquest, Kam's upgrade list is looking somewhat sparse. There are various contenders for raid drops, which I can nothing about except attend raids, then there are items available from Emblems of Triumph, which I can save up and spend.

The choices
So which of these items to grab first? They are as follows:

Thrall's Chestguard of Conquest - 50 Triumph
This scores merely 9.6 points more than my current chest, I think that's down to the lack of hit rating and it carries haste instead - even though Kam is over the soft hit cap, hit is still more valuable than haste. If I had 3 piece Tier 9 it may be worth getting to get the 4 piece bonus, although I suspect I'll be in Icecrown Citadel by the time I get near 3pcT9.

Thrall's War-Kilt of Conquest - 50 Triumph
This sits at 75 points higher than my current Emblems of Conquest legs and is actually a straight upgrade with all the same sort of stats.

Dexterous Brightstone Ring - 35 Triumph
95 points more than my weakest ring and again a straight upgrade with the same stats in greater quantities.

Mark of Supremacy - 50 Triumph
This trinket is 72 points more than my Mirror of Truth, but the scores lootrank assigns to trinkets have approximate values for the on proc component. It also scores 28 more than the Pyrite Infuser which is a better comparison, both have hit rating, PI has an internal cooldown of approx 50 seconds (according to wowhead) so thats about 10 seconds of +1234 AP every 50 seconds, whereas MoS is +1024 AP every 120 seconds (but you can control it for maximum fun in bonus DPS phases like the XT heart).

How to choose
So I could go for the ring first as it costs the least and seems to give the biggest upgrade. Unfortunately the "score" given to the trinket is approximate, and the scores given to various items are totally no guarantee that the item will increase your DPS by some given amount, relative to other scores. No, the best way I've found to tell is to go simulate what happens when each item is equipped in turn.

Using Rawr and Enhsim to simulate gear choices
The procedure is fairly similar to what is described in various posts except I turn to Rawr to get the stat values when Kam would be wearing a particular item.

From the menu I select File->Load from Armory... then enter toon details, click OK and wait.

Then I click onto the Buffs tab and select the ones I'd typically have - Rawr seems to default to most of them, so if you are 25 man raiding then you are probably set. Kam isn't so lucky and the raid makeup in 10 mans is somewhat random, so I end up turning most of the buffs off (sob).

Then I click onto the Options tab and a set of sub tabs will appear. I click on the Enhsim tab and the "Export Stats to EnhSim config file" and a load of stat values and buffs are copied into the clipboard, ready for importing into EnhSim.

I bring up the EnhSim GUI then hit the "Copy from Clipboard" button and those stats are imported into EnhSim, straight from Rawr. I then bump the "simulation time" up to something big like 20000 hours. I then save the EnhSim config, ideally to a new file, using File->Save As. Once saved, I hit the "Simulate" button and wait for the results. These are my baseline DPS results.

Now I can go into Rawr and start swapping gear in and out, export to EnhSim, run the simulation and note the DPS figures for each different piece of gear. Note when doing this I discovered an apparent bug in the EnhSim export - if you save the Rawr profile then reload it, after loading it the exported EnhSim config will have an invalid rotation which blows enhsim.exe up. For now the tip is not to Open a Rawr profile, but always start by Loading from Armory. This is fixed in Rawr 2.2.25 apparently.

The results

ScenarioDPSDPS difference
Mark of Supremacy replacing Mirror of Truth4399+25
MoS replacing Pyrite Infuser4382+8
Dexterous Brightstone Ring replacing Band of Draconic Guile4420+46
Thrall's War-Kilt of Conquest (same gemming)4403+29
Thrall's Chestguard of Conquest* (same gems)4524+121

*once I have the War-Kilt, the DPS figures are the difference between the figure for the War-Kilt and the figure for the Chest and Kilt.

But what about the cost?
So the above seems to indicate the ring is best, then the Kilt then the Chest, then finally the trinket. But given these items cost different amounts, I then work out the overall DPS increase per Emblem.

ScenarioDPSDPS differenceDPS per Emblem
Mark of Supremacy replacing Mirror of Truth4399+250.5
MoS replacing Pyrite Infuser4382+80.16
Dexterous Brightstone Ring replacing Band of Draconic Guile4420+461.3
Thrall's War-Kilt of Conquest (same gemming)4403+290.58
Thrall's Chestguard of Conquest* (same gems)4524+1212.4
Thrall's Chestguard & War-Kilt of Conquest (same gems)45241501.5

So this also shows the ring is the best DPS per emblem available to me at the moment, it is also the cheapest so really a no-brainer. Then the War-Kilt appears to be slightly better than the trinket in terms of DPS gain, although this does not take into account the fact that the trinket can be popped at certain times to increase overall DPS, such as the Heart phase of XT, or when I know I won't be running around a lot. Still I think if Triumph will drop from heroics, I can wait until 3.3 to grab the trinket.

The Chest is good but only to activate the 4pcT9 bonus - however the last line shows that to upgrade both chest and kilt at the same time nets 1.5 DPS per emblem, so that is a better DPS upgrade for the cost than buying the trinket anyway. Just that it will take far longer, at 100 emblems, to afford.

So why did I bother working out DPS per emblem, when the gear order came out the same? Who can explain the workings of the obsessive mind - in the past certain "obvious" choices are actually worse than a cheaper item which yields less DPS, this time that wasn't the case. Ho hum.

So for me the upgrade path is likely to be Dexterous Brightstone Ring, Thrall's War-Kilt of Conquest, Thrall's Chestguard of Conquest then finally Mark of Supremacy. Some of which will happen in a rush if Triumph starts dropping in Heroics come patch 3.3!

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Death to Onyxia redux!

Having killed Onyxia solo before she levelled up, Kam stepped back into her lair for a rematch, this time with 9 friends. Despite being similar to the level 60 fight, the increased toughness made it all the more delicious. Due to some fire damage going on, the raid-wide Fire Resistance Totem is recommended if no paladin is present to put up their aura.

Phase 1 or You Tank It and We'll Spank It
Phase 1 is just totally straightforward, the only tricky aspect is when the tank pulls Onyxia to the back wall, you have to be careful to run at her side. Getting too far in front gives you the chance to eat a Cleave which will likely kill you, getting too far behind and that massive tail can swipe you straight into the whelp cave. No one likes getting swiped into the whelp cave *blush*.

Once she is in position with the tank's back to the back cave wall, standing at her side hitting her soft ribs is the order of the day, liberal use of Magma Totem is advised.

Phase 2 or I Tire Of You Irritating Gnats!
At 65% Onyxia will wander off toward the entrance of her cave and proceed to take off. A Flame Shock and a bit of Lava Burst & Lightning Bolt action will show your disapproval, then it's into phase 2 proper!

Initially whelps will appear and pester the MT and OTs, but in all honesty apart from annoy a couple of them, there is very little for Enhancement to do here. I dropped Magma Totem to sear them lightly, but generally Kam is hanging around waiting for the...

Lair Guards who will spawn from the entrance every so often and get tanked away from everyone else. These are almost prime melee territory, apart from their ever-so-annoying Blast Nova which require you to run out of the Nova (so much like Emalon it's unfunny) then back in again to continue the pwnage.

Occasionally Onyxia will deep breath, that most terrifying of classic raid emotes. All you need do here is look at which direction she is facing, if toward you, the fire stuff will be on you, so it is essential to move to one side or another, so you are no where near the direction her head points.

This phase is pretty straightforward if on Guard duty - while I destroyed the Lair Guardians the ranged were dealing with whelps, racking up silly AOE DPS numbers and bringing Onyxia carefully down to 40% when nothing else was up because...

Phase 3 or Ph34r Teh Lavazor
Onyxia lands at 40% and immediately fears everyone, so Tremor Totem needs to be down before she lands or asap afterward. True pros can keep Strength of Earth up for phases 1 & 2 then switch to TT - I tend to miss the initial land, leading to calls of "do we have Tremor Totem down?" over vent. Tremor Totem is of course party only so those expert raid leaders will have you in a group with the tank and a healer or two.

Lava will also start spewing up from the cracks in the floor, but it didn't really seem to do much damage (around 5k without resistance according to WoWWiki) and I had Fire Resistance Aura from some paladin.

Adopt the side position, DPS Onyxia and have a relax during the running-around-feared bits and soon enough she should be dead. A good and fairly epic fight, although due to the length of the phases, quite a lot of trouble for 3 Emblems of Triumph! It was much easier when Onyxia was level 60, but grats on the ding anyway old girl.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Updated totem ranges

Thanks to a comment from an anonymous source, I've updated my old post on Totem raid wide or party wide to consolidate Poison and Disease cleansing into just Cleansing totem, still party only, and indicate that Mana Spring Totem is now raid wide.

The rest is still valid, so make sure you're in the right party for Tremor Totem use on Onyxia!

Friday, 16 October 2009

I can haz Mr Chilly!

This morning I logged in to discover Mr Chilly in my mail box, the "reward" for merging my account with Battlenet. Or is he compensation for the recent EU downtime due to the "improved" battlenet login servers? Either way, he is very cute and is far nicer than Pengu imo. He is BoA so can be mailed to alts, although they probably have also received a Mr Chilly in the mail, so I'll end up with about 10 of the little buggers! Sigh. Witness my limited Mr Chilly photo gallery below.

Mr Chilly occasionally preens himself!

Mr Chilly looks around sometimes!

Mr Chilly look straight forward sometimes!

Alas poor Pengu, you are no longer the cutest penguin in the land, in fact you are down right ugly. Back in your box Mr Pengu!

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Reincarnation to 30 minutes?

Reading MMO Champion this morning, it seems some nice individual has drawn up a list of self-res mechanics and how our one is a little... rubbish at the moment. This drew the following response:

Reincarnation cooldown
We might drop Reincarnation to 30 base, talented to 15. That's a slight nerf to the talent, but at the same time taking the cooldown that low might make an unattractive talent more attractive. source

[...] We were concerned that a really short cooldown on an ability that rezzes you and only rezzes you would lead to bizarre behavior. Shamans could just commit suicide every fight knowing that they could come back. Standing in the fire too long? No problem. Too far away from where you want to be? Just die. Out of mana? Just die. Yes you might lose dps or healing time, but we still think it would happen and we think it would look weird.

Soulstone by comparison can easily be used on the "wrong" person (if they don't die) and Rebirth can't be used at all if the druid dies. In some ways, Reincarnation is the only cooldown that you are guaranteed to see every fight as soon as it becomes that dependable. source

As the sort of nub who dies sometimes, I would greatly love Reincarnation to be 30 minutes instead of 60, so I can die more often on bosses but come back to finish them off! Just last week I missed a Legion Flame cos I was trying to heal someone else, died, but as soon as it disappeared, I was back, rocking Shamanistic Rage to get my mana up and up to full health. You look far more professional when you don't have to be scraped up after a boss kill.

Later on Ghostcrawler gets tough on QQ, tough on the causes of QQ!

Too much QQ in this thread.

I said I was going to spend less time trying to point out to players when their posts crossed the line from helpful to junk. Instead we're just going to lock threads that have become nothing but venting and bashing.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Is Love Is In the Air 2010 two weeks?

The latest build on the PTR has some interesting entries in the in-game calendar. Currently on live Love Is In The Air for 2010 is 11th - 16th February, an intense 6 days to grind loads of achievements.

On the 3.3 PTR Love Is In The Air for 2010 is 7th - 20th February, a much more reasonable 14 days. If this is intentional, then Blizzard have made a frequently requested change to lengthen the holiday, making it far easier to grind all the various achievements needed. But wait, there's more!

On live the Lunar Festival is 12th February - 3rd March, a frankly boring 20 days, but on the PTR it is 14th - 27th February, 14 days. Are the holidays being normalised to 14 days? These two were always a serious grindfest, no sooner was the Love Is In The Air grind over than we had to hit a hundred Elders in and out of instances. Now we get 1 week to do Love Is In The Air alone, 1 week overlapped with Lunar Festival to finish up and start on Elders, then 1 week for the Lunar Festival alone.

This is a really awesome change! Unfortunately, Children's Week is still a week :( Screen shot of the PTR calendar below!

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Back to the Heroic Emblem grind?

See MMO Champion blue tracker and the official forums. Bornakk says:

General reminder: Things can still change.

The current plan is to make Emblems of Triumph the "base" of emblems so everything that drops Emblems of Conquest would be changed to Triumph and then the new raid content would drop the new highest emblem along with things like the heroic daily and such.

I am ok with this change as now I don't need to be bummed I didn't get into Trial of the Crusader, because I'll just be able to grind heroics come 3.3 for full Tier 9.

However I am annoyed that I'll have to once again grind heroics come 3.3 for enough Triumph for full Tier 9!

Friday, 2 October 2009

Patch 3.3 PTR

Patch 3.3 is up on the PTR and the notes have appeared. Several blogs have already covered the changes, among them Big Hit Box, WoW.com, Windfury and Healing Way. Although I've refrained from commenting on PTR changes in the past, if I don't there isn't much really to discuss on patch day, cos its all been said before!

Sadly the premade character copy is full on EU, so I have transferred Kam the not-geared-for-Icecrown across to participate in the fun. Now I have a huge new hard drive, I am able to download the many gigabytes of patches required to get a 3.3 PTR client running. Just a pity I can't get a premade across, the best tactic is to constantly refresh the character copy page until the premade copy gets enabled.

So what are the interesting changes so far?


* Fire Nova now Causes the shaman's active Fire totem to emit a wave of flames, inflicting 893 to 997 Fire damage to enemies within 10 yards of the totem.
* Elemental Reach now affects Fire Nova
* Improved Fire Nova now Increases the damage done by your Fire Nova by 20% and reduces the cooldown by 2/4 sec.

The few times I've been AOEing as Elemental, I have been using Magma totem so with this change instead of waiting for CL to get off cooldown, I can be spamming the Fire Nova spell instead. The Elemental Reach change means I can still stand back from the action and get the Fire Novas off, although with a 20 second duration, I need to run back in a lot to relay Magma. Perhaps Blizzard could add a "Refresh Totems" spell to reset the counters on them all? Please pretty please?

My current Elemental build has two talent points spare which I couldn't really find anywhere DPS increasing to put. Not any more, they will go into 2/2 Improved Fire Nova for a chock-full build.

This may or may not affect Enhancement, see the Big Hit Box article for more details... discussions on EJ are still ongoing basically.

* Enchant Weapon - Black Magic now cause your harmful spells to sometimes increase haste rating by 250.

Possible replacement for Berserking!

Right, now to get that PTR client installed so the fun can begin!

Friday, 25 September 2009

I could say that this mount was rare...

But yesterday everyone at Krasus' landing seemed to have one! Still, I am glad the crazy seasonal achievements grind is finally over. Apart from the Pilgrim's Bounty. And any alts I might decide to try the meta-meta for.

For interest, here is the mail I got the beast in. Apparently Alexstrasza can't spell!

Good luck out there achievement hunters!

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Trial of the Cursed Crusader & Patch 3.2.2

Last night I got into the Trial of the Crusader run, Kam's first ever. With a group mixed from experienced ToTCers and people new to the place (including me), I was excited and ever hopeful of success, and being the only melee DPS in there, hopeful of some epics! And now this morning I see we've been hit with a new content patch with the dreaded Onyxia once gain overpowered.

Trial of the ChampionCrusader
Beware this contains spoilers for the events in ToTC.

The Beasts was a fun fight with lots of running around after Snobolds (and thus bugger all DPS), confusion over which Worm was which, then Kam was picked twice for a charge from the big Yeti, both of which he avoided! Suck it Mr Yeti :P I had read and re-read this Beasts guide from Shamen on Ramen which proved helpful. Those Beasts also dropped a nice neck piece which was a big score for me.

Lord Jaraxxus was a nice fight, if only because a Gnome died. I actually got something to do by being on interrupt duty for Fel Fireball, I could easily use Wind Shear to interrupt this every time. Pretty simple for melee this one, just stand and attack, occasionally running out when I got the flames, and crank those big DPS numbers.

The Faction Champions was predictably chaotic, especially for a PvE guild on a PvE server, and we eventually succeeded by killing their highest DPS first, the annoying hunter. Who can fire at point blank range, something my old hunter could never do. Despite getting them down in normal mode pre-nerf, I welcome the nerf bat as this encounter seemed to be the hardest one on the night, mostly because like, I don't do Arena, keep your PvP out of my PvE, etc etc ;) I did enjoy the heated banter between Varian and Garrosh however, it was pretty cool to see them arguing!

The Twin Val'kyr appeared complex on WoWWiki but was actually quite straightforward, and the Anub'arak fight was very cool, especially the start of the fight when the Lich King himself appears and drops us down to our doom in the depths of Icecrown. Fancy building the Coliseum on his land... epic fail! The giant bug was nice enough to drop the Frostblade Hatchet which I snapped up. Finally I can rid myself of the old Pride off hand, plus the axe looks bad-ass, which never hurts while posing around Orgrimmar. Erm, I mean doing srs bizns on mah auctions. Now I want two! I still have Aledar's Battlestar but the Tankard O'Terror is only looking like a slight tiny upgrade, so I may pass on that one.

I must admit, despite being a short raid and mostly in the same bloody room, I really enjoyed the atmosphere of Trial of the Crusader. There is almost a storyline which flows from encounter to encounter - fight the beasts you feed via dailies, a bungled summon, upholding the pride of the Horde by fighting the Alliance Champions, facing off against the "final" Val'kyr, then foil the Lich King's attempts to kill you all.


I would post patch notes and commentary on 3.2.2, but it looks like Windfury, Big Hit Box and Shaman on Ramen have it covered. Possible Enhancement rotation changes and the Glyph of Flame Shock being good are the headlines, along with a buffed Totem of Quaking Earth.

Having Soloed Onyxia recently I am really looking forward to facing a more dangerous version. I just hope the guild don't get fed up of me requesting Berserking mats if I win yet more weaponry.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Farming Deviate Hatchlings

The daily heroic was Occulus so rather than die lots on a vehicle fight, I chose to go try to farm up a Deviate Hatchling in Wailing Caverns. The accepted tactic is to clear the first room of raptors, loot and hope for the pet drop, run out and reset.

This was going a little slowly, so remembering that mobs in instances don't loose aggro over distances, I tried body pulling a few then killing them. For this I used Thunderstorm from my (new) Elemental off-spec. Run through some raptors, stand still so they catch you up, hit Thunderstorm = dead raptors.

This was going so well I thought I'd see how many raptors could be killed at once. The answer is the entire first room of raptors, plus assorted oozes and some Druids of the Claw who joined in the party. The only problem is it takes ages to loot all the corpses! Sadly for enhancers this doesn't work with the Magma Totem, because you need to damage to mobs to be able to loot them. Have fun!

Thursday, 17 September 2009

What's the going rate for the daily heroic these days?

Clearly when another Warlock in the guild gets a higher WoW-Heroes score than you, desperate measures are required to keep those Emblems of Triumph coming in.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Death to Onyxia!

After the news that she was going level 80 in 3.2.2, I thought I would try to kill Onyxia soon. Kam was already almost done on the UBRS key chain, so I pressed ahead with the Horde quests and finally got keyed for Onyxia.

Having stepped into the lair of the dragon, I followed this sage advice and 10 minutes later managed a solo kill on Onyxia. Bing achievement and future Feat of Strength, not hard at all. I can recommend the quest chain to all Horde-side lore monkeys, it is pretty cool, and having Thrall fawn all over you for killing her is ace.

In other utterly unrelated news Kam is pretty much done farming Heroics for Emblems of Conquest, except for these tasty legs. Then my mind will turn to whether its worth waiting for the 4 piece Tier 8 bonus, or going straight for 2pcT8 2pcT9. Given the recent change on the PTR, I shall be investing in a Totem of Quaking Earth first anyway.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Aledar's Battlestar in which slot?

I was lucky enough to get Aledar's Battlestar from Trial of the Champion last night, got it gemmed and enchanted up with Berserking. This thing is awesome, with hit, attack power, a socket and more DPS than anything from Naxxramas 10. Best of all it is one handed and not unique, which leads to me wondering which slot I should put it in.

In Kam's main hand we have Kel'Thuzad's Reach, taken from the man's cold, dead, boney Lich fingers. In Kam's off hand we have Pride bought with those retro Emblems of Heroism.

Simulation time!
To solve this, I turned to Enhsim (hey look is just out!) and the usual rotations etc, this time I put Ghost Wolves in as a priority. I also exported two configs directly out of WoW using ShockAndAwe - one with the Battlestar in Kam's main hand, one with it in the off-hand slot. See Integrating EnhSim, Shock and Awe, and Pawn on BigHitBox.com for more details about the whole process. The results were:

Battlestar in the Off Hand: 3137 dps
Battlestar in the Main Hand: 3152 dps

So those figures are pretty close actually, and my messing up in a raid may well make them equivalent. I think I might go spend some time on a target dummy to double-check. So what are the pros and cons?

Replace Main Hand
Pro: Hit rating. With the 50 hit from Pride and the hit on Battlestar, I could dump my Malygos necklace for the superior Ancient Pendant of Arathor, and still be spell hit capped. This would also make it easy to upgrade to Wailing Night (a no hit item for another no hit item).
Pro: Better simulated DPS overall.
Con: Upgrading the better item (Reach vs Pride) feels wrong.

Replace Off Hand
Pro: Upgrading the lower level item first. I could keep my tasty Kel'thuzad's Reach.
Pro: Like it or not, WoW Heroes scores are creeping into use in the guild to judge who is ready for a particular encounter. Replacing Pride would result in an overall score increase. Probably. Although if I could start using Arathor's Pendant it might not!
Con: Worse simulated DPS.
Con: I would loose 50 hit rating and be unable to start using a better neck piece, without expensive re-gemming.

No clear winner on this one, other than get another Aledar's Battlestar. I think I will be playing around with using it in both slots, swapping gear in and out, for a while before I make a final decision. I am heavily leaning toward replacing KT's Reach, WoW Heroes score be damned!

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Thoughts on Cataclysm stat changes for the Enhancement Shaman

At Blizzcon the new WoW expansion was announced, along with a ton of changes. There was talk of getting rid of stats on gear like Armor Penetration, Attack Power, etc and just having Agility give Shamans attack power.

No more Intellect on gear
But there was also some pretty significant changes announced for Hunters, who will no longer use mana, but instead focus similar to a rogue. So what, my hunter is retired right, what do I care?

I'm still using his gear, see. Well, ok, my enhancement shaman is using mail gear, with AP, int and all that good stuff on it, the same mail items that hunters currently use. The gear that, in Cataclysm, will no longer have any Intellect on it, because hunters won't be using it. Neither will Enhancement Shamans. The panel I watched on a stream said we were getting changes similar to Retribution Paladins (insert predictable Nerf joke here) to cope with pure Agility gear, so here are my thoughts on what this entails.

Talent-wise we currently have Mental Dexterity which converts Int into Attack Power, making the Int on mail attractive. We get some spell power and mana pool size from the Int on mail, but also attack power. Since 3.1, Retribution Paladins have Sheath of Light which appears to be the reverse, converting attack power into spell power (much like Mental Quickness). Ret Paladin gear doesn't have any Int, it is all strength and stamina (and those exotic stats which should be disappearing), so pure melee stats. I think our gear will be similar - with Agility and Stamina on it and no Intellect, so our spell power will come entirely from Mental Quickness, which will perhaps get a small buff.

However this leads to questions about our mana pool size. Kam has 11.7k mana, whereas our full-time Ret Paladin has 5.7k, so a whole lot less. How on earth does she not go OOM all the time? Firstly she has guaranteed replenishment from Judgements of the Wise and we all know how good replenishment is. Secondly she will be using Judgement of Wisdom in PvE for yet more mana return. Currently 11k is just enough for Kam if I use Shamanistic Rage on every cooldown, so if my pool gets cut in half something else needs to change. Will we also get a replenishment talent in common with our melee spellcaster hybrid brethren (please oh please)? Maybe a more effective Shamanistic Rage? Or maybe the new "Mastery" stat for the Enhancement tree will reduce the mana cost of spells? I can rule out a flat spell cost reduction, because Elemental use a lot of the same spells Enhancement do, and Elementals do fine for mana.

Personally I'm hoping for replenishment coupled with the current SR and Imp SS to make up for a smaller mana pool.

No more Attack Power, just Agility
Blizzard reckon they want Shamans to get 2 attack power from 1 agility, so they will put agility on gear instead of attack power. Except for maybe rings and things they want to share among melee classes (so cloaks, trinkets, necklaces and rings). Hopefully this also goes for critical strike rating.

Kam has 1885 of attack power from gear, if this were all from agility (at 2 ap per 1 agility) he would need an extra 942 agility. Now given agility also increases armour by 2 per point, critical hit change (83.33 agility for 1% according to wowwiki) and chance to dodge, either we will become critting, dodging, armoured machines of wind fury crits, or Blizzard are going to adjust some of these conversion figures. For interest, currently that 942 agility gives 1885 armour (21% extra), 22% extra crit chance, and ... some more dodge (the formula is complex, feel free to work it out yourself!), so clearly Blizzard will be adjusting things.

This new Mastery stat replaces Armour Penetration (hurrah) and "makes you better at doing what you do", so it will probably get assigned a weight relative to how much it improves our DPS.

I am a little confused over this one. On one hand they want spirit to be mana regeneration, but not for mages and warlocks. Blizzard said Haste improves the rate of regeneration of energy, runes, rage and focus. Because mana is not mentioned there, I guess us mana users will be relying on our active regen skills like Shamanistic Rage and Haste may be useless to us.

Well those are my thoughts, please share yours here or on your blog. For sure things are a changing.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Elemental Shaman spell rotations and enchants for 3.2

I've updated my posts about Elemental Shaman spell rotations and enchants for Wrath, because they still seem to be popular despite being an entire expansion out of date. I suppose the old TBC information is useful for levelling Shamans. Now they have shiny new Wrath of the Lich King information, although it is much like the TBC stuff.

In my research I rediscovered BobTurkey’s WoW Blog which has a nice post about gearing for raids including enchants, and an interesting post on Elemental Shaman Mechanics: The Hit Cap on Too Many Alts.

Friday, 14 August 2009

Patch 3.2 Notes

Now we've had 3.2 for a week or so and some of the guild have already collected all the Emblems of Conquest they will ever need, here are some of the official notes with my notes in italics.

  • Trial of the Champion

    • 5-player (normal and Heroic mode) dungeon.
    • There is already some pretty nice loot in the normal and heroic instances, so I shall be trying to run them whenever possible. Like, for example, Aledar's Battlestar which would be awesome to wield two of, and Banner of Victory.

  • Trial of the Crusader

    • 10 and 25-player (normal mode) raid dungeon.
    • From an initial look on Thursday, the 10 man version is too hard for our raid group, consisting of half Naxx 10 and Ulduar 10 gear. We are also quite low on Tier 8 so I would hazard a guess that a mostly Ulduar 10 geared raid, including 2 or 4 piece T8, is needed. A second attempt saw phases 1 and 2 of Beasts done successfully.

  • The Argent Tournament Expands

    • All new Argent Crusader daily quests and rewards have been added for players with the Crusader title. Rewards include a new Argent Crusader banner and tabard (which can port players to the tournament grounds), a mounted squire (can periodically run bank, mail or vendor errands for the player), a paladin-exclusive Argent Crusader Charger mount, and new heirloom items.
    • Hurrah for new Heirloom items! The new dailies for Exalted Sunreavers and Crusader are pretty nice, and also easy. This will make gathering Crusader Seals a whole lot easier.

  • New Dungeon Loot Feature

    • Players will now be able to trade soulbound items with other raid or group members that were eligible for the loot. This system will work like the Item Buy Back system and allow 2 hours for players to trade an item after it has been looted. Players who choose to enchant or add gems to the item will get one last confirmation before losing the ability to trade the item.
    • We thought of using this to speed up runs, by having one person loot and then trade later, but decided that we should give people time to consider their loot in Ulduar. So it is welcome for mis-looting, but nowt more.

Dungeons and Raids
  • Dungeon and Raid ID Extensions

    • In order to allow for parties and raids to progress through instances at their own pace, players can now extend an instance ID on an individual basis.

    • Existing or recently expired IDs can be extended via the Social tab under Raid by clicking on Raid Info.

    • The ID of any instance to which a player is saved can be extended. Doing so will extend the instance lock period by the same amount of time as the original lock (i.e. extending an Ulduar instance ID will add 7 days, a Heroic: Halls of Lightning instance ID will add 24 hours, and a Zul'Gurub instance ID will add 3 days to the instance lock time).

    • An ID can be extended more than once.

    • An extension can be reversed on an individual basis provided the player does not do anything in the instance during the extended instance lock period that would save that player to the instance.

    Hurrah for this. This change means we can move to a 2 week Ulduar cycle. If not enough of those pesky Keepers have been killed on the first week, we can extend and try to get them down. We have to be careful not to lock a raid to a lot of too-hard wiping, which is where some judgement will come in, and almost certainly some drama. Still, this is a good change overall because once we are ready, time in the instance will not be the limiting factor, only our gear and skill. Last night we did our first extended Ulduar - we started on Hodir and after some wipes, got him down and tried Freya. So the Emblems and loot gathering was not as good as a fresh instance, but someone got Tier 8 and everyone got to practise on a boss they may not have seen.

  • Emblem System Changes

    • Any dungeons that previously dropped Emblems of Heroism or Valor, such as Naxxramas or Heroic Halls of Stone, will now drop Emblems of Conquest instead. Emblems of Conquest can still be converted to Valor or Heroism.
    • This change is a good one overall, as it means we can collect Emblems of Conquest to buy some Tier 8.5 and the other bits, thus making our progress through Ulduar 10 a bit quicker.

      However, it will lead to a gear gap between those who play every day and those who raid and play infrequently. Already guildies are running 5-6 heroics a day and already some of them have collected their 2 bits of Tier 8.5 and Conquest gear and once again are relying on raid drops to gear up. Those of us who play less will still be relying on raid drops and will eventually maybe collect Tier 8.5 but not much more. So there will be a gap in gear between these two groups. I have no idea how large this gap will be, and if it will cause issues or not yet.

      Previously the limiting factor to one's gear was the number of Ulduar 10 raids you could run, but even then we were all progressing at the same rate just about. Now we will get a gear gap which will take time to close up. Just so long as our regular players are tolerant of this, all will be fine and personally I am quite pleased I will be able to collect toward some more Tier 8.

  • The Nexus: The Oculus & The Eye of Eternity

    • Drakes used by players in these instances will now scale in health and damage according to the rider's average item level.
    • They really could have done this change before I sweated blood and tears to get someone to come to the Oculus with me!

Races: General

  • Axe Specialization (Orc): The weapon bonus from this effect now applies to fist weapons in addition to axes.
  • Happy days for Orc Shamans with Kel'Thuzad's Reach and Pride.

Items: General
  • Mounts

    • Journeyman Riding (Skill 150): Can now be learned at level 40 for 50 gold. Mail will be sent to players who reach level 40 directing them back to the riding trainer.
    • My alts like this.
    • Expert Riding (Skill 225): Can now be learned at level 60 for 600 gold from trainers in Honor Hold or Thrallmar. Faction discounts now apply (Honor Hold for Alliance; Thrallmar for Horde). Flight speed at this skill level has been increased to 150% of run speed, up from 60%.
    • My alts like this.

  • Mana Regeneration: All items that provide "X mana per five seconds" have had the amount of mana they regenerate increased by approximately 25%.
  • This change does not help me, as none of my Enhancement items have mp5! Our resto shaman in heroics is saying he has no mana issues whatsoever any more.

Classes: General

  • Replenishment: This buff now grants 1% of the target's maximum mana over 5 seconds instead of 0.25% per second. This applies to all 5 sources of Replenishment (Vampiric Touch, Judgements of the Wise, Hunting Party, Enduring Winter Frostbolts and Soul Leech).
  • Ouch a bit of a nerf there, and I was just getting used to replenishment in raids.


  • A customizable totem bar will now be available for shamans allowing the storing of 4 different totems. These totems can be placed on the ground at once in one global cooldown for the combined mana cost of all 4 totems. The naming scheme of the spells to summon the different totem sets has been changed to make it less confusing for players:
  • This is quite awesome, but don't forget to visit the trainer to learn the spells! Otherwise you will spend a few minutes staring blankly at the screen like I did.
  • All Shocks now have a default range of 25 yards, up from 20 yards.
  • Won't affect melee much but I suppose our ranged cousins will like this.
  • Base health increased by approximately 7% to correct for shamans having lower health than other classes.
  • A small increase in health, welcome but not really enough to make a noticeable difference to me.
  • Chain Heal: Jump distance increased by 25% to 12.5 yards. In addition, the amount of healing now decreases by 40% as it jumps to each new target, instead of 50%.
  • This should in theory be good, because a lot of fights we tend to have to keep 10 yards apart. However, that is usually done by setting DBM's range meter to 10 yards, and I bet no one ever stops moving away when it says they are >10 yards, so I reckon people may end up spread out 12-15 yards which somewhat nerfs this change.
  • Earth Shock: Redesigned. This spell no longer interrupts spell casting, but rather reduces melee attack speed by 10% for 8 seconds (exclusive with similar effects such as Thunder Clap).
  • I thought this would be highly irritating, but actually it now means I always have an interrupt available while I carry on doing my normal DPS rotation. So win.
  • Ghost Wolf: Can now be learned at level 16. While in this form, snaring effects may not bring the shaman below base normal run speed.
  • Pretty good, means if you can get out of melee range on a mob, even if they stun you, they can't close the gap back again. For levelling this will help with the escaping of bad pulls a lot.
  • Wind Shock: Has been renamed Wind Shear and no longer shares a cooldown with Flame, Frost or Earth Shock.
  • A good change overall. Although I now need another button, I can always have an interrupt available without modifying my usual rotation of SS, ES, LL, etc. Before on fights I would need to interrupt, I had to not use ES which nerfed DPS a bit.
  • Talents

    • Enhancement

      • Maelstrom Weapon: Now also has a chance to reduce the cast time of Hex.
      • PvP change? Not really that useful in PvE.
      • Shamanistic Rage: Cooldown is now 1 minute, down from 2 minutes. Successful melee attacks now have a chance to generate mana equal to 15% of the shaman's attack power, down from 30%.
      • On the face of it this is sort of an equal change. However, before I would restore all my mana in the first 5-7 seconds of the 15 seconds duration, so the rest (for mana recovery) was wasted. I then got to wait 2 minutes before I could get more mana.

        Now although it may take 10 seconds or so to get full mana, which can prove annoying for very mobile fights, I get to pop SR twice as often. I have however noticed that without replenishment I seem to be using more mana than pre-3.2, so actually needed SR once per minute in the new 5 man. I will need to take more care when I pop SR in future, because I need to be able to melee for twice as long to get some decent mana back. In Ulduar last night I didn't need SR every minute (we had replenishment), but I did need to use it quite frequently, so I need to make a play-style adjustment.

    • Restoration

      • Ancestral Healing: The buff from this ability now reduces the physical damage taken by the target by 3/7/10% instead of increasing the target's armor.
      • I suppose this is more useful in actually reducing damage rather than making some big (or small) number a bit bigger, clothies will like this proc anyway.
      • Cure Poison and Cure Disease: Combined into a single spell, Cure Toxins.
      • Handy although I have Cleanse Spirit in my Resto build.
      • Earth Shield: Dispel effects will now remove charges of Earth Shield rather than the entire aura.
      • PvP change tho I can see how good this is.
      • Healing Way: Redesigned. Rather than providing a chance of increasing Healing Wave spells on a friendly target, this talent now innately increases the effectiveness of the shaman's Healing Wave by 8/16/25%.
      • I really hope I have this talent because a flat increase in effectiveness rather than RNG chance is goodness.
      • Mana Tide Totem: Totem health now equal to 10% of the shaman's health.

      • Nature's Guardian: Redesigned. Now has a fixed 100% proc rate, has a 30-second internal cooldown and increases the shaman's maximum health by 3/6/9/12/15% for 10 seconds.
      • Extra health for 15 seconds and a threat reduction, handy for when you pull aggro, but looks like the health isn't healed, only added temporarily, so you had best heal thine self PDQ. I didn't have the old talent but maybe for 5 mans I should take this, for the inevitable times when some mob comes to beat on me.
      • Nature's Swiftness: Cooldown is now 2 minutes, down from 3 minutes.
      • I use NS for an emergency heal, so can now cope with more emergencies. That's handy.
      • Tidal Waves: No longer reduces the cast time of Lesser Healing Wave by 30%. It instead now provides +25% critical strike chance to Lesser Healing Wave, along with the previous 30% cast time benefit to Healing Wave.
      • This sadly has removed a quick heal cast for those times you really need it (I'm thinking of KT Ice Tombs). I guess now it means you can crank out a big HW in a quicker time, or try to crit a LHW for the various effects.
      • Improved Water Shield: This talent now has a 10/20/30% chance to be triggered by Chain Heal, and the charges of Water Shield are no longer consumed by this talent.
      • Oh thank the maker for this change! Honestly one of the most annoying aspects of healing is having to refresh the sodding Water Shield just because I critted some heals. Triggering off CH is also very nice.

User Interface
  • Casting bars under the target frame, focus frame, and nameplates will now display as shielded if the cast cannot be interrupted.
  • This is very nice, as it means I don't waste a Wind Shear on an non interruptable cast.

World Environment
  • Wolvar and Gorloc orphans have arrived in Dalaran and need your help! Players can find out more by visiting the Eventide District (completing the quests being offered for this event will not count toward any Children's Week achievements). Players have a limited amount of time to care for these orphans before they take their leave. They will then return again for the regularly-scheduled Children's Week next year.
  • Been there, done that, got the free pet. Hurrah for free pets!

  • Herbalism

    • Increased healing from Lifeblood (Rank 6).
    • Handy in Kam's new guide as herbalist, Lifeblood often comes in handy during damage intensive moments.
    • Lifeblood now scales slightly with maximum health. No longer affected by global cooldown.

  • Mining

    • Toughness (Rank 6) provides more stamina.
    • I suppose this is useful, I only have mining for the gathering and money making aspects really.


  • Glyphs

    • Shamans

      • Glyph of Healing Wave: The amount of healing the shaman receives is now based on the entire healing amount, including over-healing.
      • This is a nice change and is making me consider picking up this glyph for 5 mans so I don't need to self-heal as much.

  • Non-Combat Pets: 8 new pets have been added (not including Argent Tournament rewards). Raptor Hatchlings can be found on rare and elite raptors throughout the game world. In addition, an Obsidian Raptor Hatchling can be purchased from Breanni in Dalaran.
  • I find my enthusiasm for non combat pets on the wane, it doesn't help that I'm not into the pet Fawn you get at 75 pets. Still, killing raptors is something to do if I want an easy grind.
  • Tome of Cold Weather Flight: New heirloom item. Players who have reached level 80 can now purchase this book for 1,000 gold from Hira Snowdawn, the Cold Weather Flying Trainer in Dalaran. Similar to other heirloom items, this item can be mailed to other characters of the same realm, account and faction. The book is consumed when read training the character in Cold Weather Flying. Requires level 68.
  • My alts will like this.

Of course one of the most important changes, they didn't mention they have changed the icon for the Totem of Dueling!

Monday, 10 August 2009

New Shaman Blogs

With patch 3.2 out for a few days, I've given up hitting refresh on the Curse WoW mod site to compile this list of new and recently found Shaman blogs. No warranty given, categories may be wrong, etc etc

I'm sure I had a patch 3.2 post lying around here somewhere...

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Pilgrim event starts November 8th, not part of meta

As part of my fiddling around in 3.2, I noticed that the new festival, Pilgrim's Bounty, had been added to the achievements list. Lo, in the in-game calendar it starts on Sunday the 8th of November and ends 1 week later in the evening of Saturday 14th.

The event looks like fun, however whats most important is, that for now, it is not part of the What A Long, Strange Trip It's Been meta achievement.

The only other noteworthy thing is the Day of the Dead event appears to be on November 1st lasting until the end of the 2nd, and has a little achievement associated with it.

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