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 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 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!
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