Shaman Tier 10 Lodur’s Thoughts

Shaman Tier 10 Lodur’s Thoughts

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So where has Lodur been you might be asking? Well I’ve been a busy Shaman. For those of you who may not know I am now the co-host of a weekly podcast called For The Lore. We transmit every week live on Monday’s at 6:45pm EST over at our Ustream Channel. We cover all aspects of modern gaming and some of the old school, we talk about more then just the lore of these games but the story is honestly a big part of why we play these games. Needless to say I’ve been quite busy with that and keeping the ball rolling over there. If you have time feel free to check us out live Monday evening’s or download us for free through iTunes and listen to your friendly neighborhood Shaman speak his mind.

Now while I have been busy with that among several other projects, I have not been living under a rock. I did see the Shaman tier 10 models and I dare say that Blizzard put it up rather shortly after my Cardboard Samurai post because I think they realized the natives were restless ;) Lets take a look at it in it’s full glory shall we?

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This thing kicks allllllll kinds of tail in my opinion. Personally I think we won Tier 10. It’s stylish, the color scheme is awesome the placement of the ice is tasteful and well…lets be honest the shoulder effect is about as sweet as I’ve seen since Warlock Tier 6 bat wings. The only other armor set for tier 10 that comes close is the Warriors, but even that falls short in my opinion. Compare tier 10’s look to tier 9’s

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Aside from the kilt, this set is identical to the hunters tier 9. It didn’t look very shamanistic, and to be honest it was pretty ugly. I wish I could hide my t9 or have a vanity set shown over it because it’s not that great. Tier 10 feels very shamanistic, lets not forget that Ner’zhul was a shaman before he became the lich king, so the tier 10 armor has this erie shamanistic feel to it. It has the icicles around it randomly for the elemental feel of water, and the bones are that of what appears to be a Shoveltusk. Stags, Talbuk and Shoveltusk have always been representations for the Spirit of the hunt or spirit of the wild for shaman, so it seems only fitting to have not only their bones but the spirtual image of them pushing outwards from the shoulders.

I’m impressed and honestly very very happy with it. I think this was blizzards way of saying “we’re sorry for tier 9 guys, here… look awesome” and I say to them. Thank you. I’m quite pleased with how tier 10 came out.

What about you guys? What do you think about the Shaman tier 10? Think it looks good, bad, meh?

until next time, happy healing

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all images courtesy of MMO-Champion.com

Oculus Gets a Facelift

Oculus Gets a Facelift

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Image credited to Blizzard Entertainment

Since the days of Burning Crusade, we’ve seen the rise of the Heroic.  Five brave heroes banding together to take on our favorite dungeons, but the foes are much more formidable.  The badges/emblems, the epic loot, the reputation, the Nether/Orb, and the Heroic Daily.  These have become staples of our WoW community.

My personal favorite?  In BC, I loved Shadow Labs.  People whined about it taking too long, but I loved it.  In WotLK, it’s hard to choose a favorite.  Nexus, Utgarde Pinnacle, and Halls of Lightning certainly rank among my favorites.

However, as a WoW player from any walk of life, you’ve probably been a part of this conversation:

“Hey, does anyone wanna do the daily?”

“Sure, I’ll go!  I still need emblems for my heirloom piece.”

“Yeah, me too!”

“Has anyone checked what the daily is?”

“Lemme check.”

(Pause for dramatic effect)

“Oculus.”

“….F*** that.”

“Yeah, forget it.”

Oculus is the second dungeon in Coldarra, the subregion in northwest Borean Tundra.  There it sits, laughing at all of us.  It touts itself as the most hated heroic we’ve ever set foot in.  Even Heroic Shattered Halls was manageable once you got geared enough.

Trouble usually comes from coordination and orientation.  Being the first 5-man to introduce flying mounts, I’m grateful that I can’t lose my driver’s license by the horrible flying I do in Oculus.  And trying to get a PUG, or even a late-night group of post-raid guildies, into a focused mindset to handle the rotation needed to down Eregos is a chore unto itself.

Combined with a slew of other issues we’ve all come to hate, Oculus has become the least-run Heroic in the game.  People loathe it.  Forums and blogs feed the hatred.  I have yet to complete Proof of Demise, simply because I can’t stomach the thought of doing Oculus.  Even in my guild last night, I heard someone say, “I’ll run any Heroic but Oculus.”

A Brand New Day

Thankfully, Patch 3.3 is going to bring us some treats to ease our anger.  It was just announced in the patch notes that Oculus is getting nerfed.  **Pause for roaring applause**

  • Many bosses and creatures have had their total health reduced.
  • Several bosses and creatures have had cooldowns on specific abilities increased, effect durations reduced, and damage on some of these abilities reduced.
  • Ring-Lord Conjurers and Sorceresses now hang out in packs of 4 instead of packs of 5.
  • Vehicle scaling on the drakes based on the rider’s item level has been increased to make them more powerful.

Perhaps Blizzard has finally noticed the dust collecting below the portal of this monstrosity.

Oculus was by no means impossible, but it definitely was a bit too challenging for its level.  Especially now with the Emblem grind going full force, this shift puts Oculus into the mix of “Chain Heroics”.

I’m looking forward to trying out the new Oculus to see if I can heal through it without wanting to pull my hair out.  I also look forward to trying my hand at some fancy achievements that I never got to try before, such as Amber Void, Ruby Void, and Emerald Void!  Another step toward my goal: Glory of the Hero.

Do you agree with the negative stigma surrounding Oculus?  Are you looking forward to its facelift in Patch 3.3??

ThespiusSig

Email me: elder.thespius@gmail.com  |  Tweet me: @Thespius

Chill of the Throne and It’s Future

Chill of the Throne and It’s Future

As Matticus has just reported, Daelo and the Dev Team have unveiled a new mechanic that tanks and healers are going to experience in Icecrown Citadel.

The new mechanic is a skill called “Chill of the Throne”, and it’s applied to all enemies in the zone:

The spell, called Chill of the Throne, will allow creatures to ignore 20% of the dodge chance of their melee target.

Healers have grown accustomed to the heart-attacks caused by massive spike damage and carefully timed cooldowns.  There is a thrill accompanied with the notion of needing to stay on top of things to an extreme degree like that.  However, the reality is “Can the dps kill the boss before the healer runs out of mana spamming their biggest heals?”  We’re pigeon-holed into praying and hoping our heals land at the right time so our main tank doesn’t eat two 25k hits in a row.

Chill of the Throne allows the size of the hits to become smaller, rather than huge hits that hit every so often (via a tank’s mitigation).  If RNG fails, a tank is dead.  We, as healers, now get to heal a steady stream of damage, instead of breaking down with panic attacks.

Where does this go from here?

Devs have been talking about introducing a way to incorporate expertise in new bosses.  Although it seems that system isn’t viable for Icecrown, we may be able to see it in Cataclysm.  The  idea is for bosses to scale in skill, not just in health and damage done.  This could definitely open up more possibilities for damage management in the future.

ThespiusSig

Handling Icewell Radiance

Props to this guy for coining the term.

Daelo announced earlier in the day the implementation of raid wide buff called Chill of the Throne. What does it do?

The spell, called Chill of the Throne, will allow creatures to ignore 20% of the dodge chance of their melee targets. So if a raid’s main tank had 30% dodge normally, in Icecrown Citadel they will effectively have 10%.

Similar in concept to Sunwell Radiance, the reason it was implemented was to lessen the overall spikiness of incoming tank damage. Spikiness refers to something like a tank taking constant streams of 15k damage here, 14k damage there, and then suddenly plummet after a 44k hit of some sort. Sometimes it was predictable and in other cases it was not. It’s a large and often unpredictable hit that is capable of flooring a player.

I call it the Chuck Norris effect.

For present healers, the current way to deal with this is to use defensive cooldowns in tandem with tanking cooldowns. If tank avoidance isn’t high enough or if cooldowns aren’t used, they can easily get 2 shot in a manner of seconds.

With luck, this will be the last time we’ll ever see a buff like this in the game. Going forward into Cataclysm, the idea is to raise the health pool of tanks. Right now our overall approach to healing is to spam really fast heals, really large heals, or AoE heals depending on the situation.

While tank health pools go up, healing spells will scale up but not as sharply. The ratio of healing done on a tank vs tank health won’t appear to be the same as it is now. Let’s say a Greater Heal can cover 60% of a tank’s health right now. When Cataclysm hits, Greater Heal might only heal for 35% or something. The approach is to make overhealing a real risk to the point where healing spells can’t be spammed just to get through the boss fight.

That’s going to present an interesting change. It feels as if it’s going to be a hybrid between Vanilla-esque healing and TBC-era healing. I daresay those were the two extremes. In Vanilla, you had to rotate out with other healers and regen for a minute before tagging back in. In Burning Crusade, you could get away with Circle of Healing spam. It looks like in Cataclysm, they just might make overhealing mean something again since we can’t spam heals nor can we switch out with other healers to come in for us.

Social Study: The Wrath Effect Part 1

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This is a guest post by Mimetir, an oversized owl of a raid leader on The Venture Co (EU). You can find her twitter feed.

Here’s a dangerous statement: Wrath of the Lich King (Wrath) made World of Warcraft/Crack/Crass(WoW) too easy.

It’s one you’ve heard before, of course. But have you thought about the impact that had on players?

WoW’s player base is numerous enough to man a small empire complete with its own inter-tribal competitions, family feuds and military factions. So to bandy such a statement about – even to whisper it – is enough to have it echo around the becrooked spires and bounce between yon bloodied hillsides and have warcries ululated in its wake. Yet many people have said something akin to that statement since Wrath hit our beloved World. Surely there must be some truth to it? Surely, too, players must have been affected by such a shift in play – but how?

One of Blizzard’s biggest goals with Wrath was to make raid content more accessible to players who wanted to raid in The Burning Crusade (TBC) but didn’t have the time to invest or guild to support them. Wrath meant the TBC days of needing to be in a large, battle-honed raiding guild whose Z raiding team were armed to the dyed and pointed teeth, were gone. WotLK was one giant step towards not only ensuring that everyone saw at least some of the insides of raids but felt the sense of achievement as they progressed through them at whatever pace. This was likely a result of a continuous background hum, developing into an angry buzz, from would-be raiders during TBC’s raid progression lifespan. The longer TBC went on the more spectacular the content was; The Battle for Mount Hyjal and Sunwell Plateau were things of beauty, but would-be raiders had increasingly slim chances of seeing such places.

The level of the bar was certainly changed in Wrath. I think there is enough evidence to say that some players felt the unstated rules of WoW had been re-written overnight using pictures sketched with crayons. Other players felt that the rules were crystal clear for the first time. They were now understandable and applicable to them, not just to the few players on their realm who had reputations of being armed to the dyed and pointed teeth. The idea that Wrath’s content was generally accessible to all quickly took root in the WoW community’s shared consciousness.

This idea didn’t automatically mean that all players knew how to approach the now accessible content or what sort of challenge they faced at the beginning of Wrath. I saw a lot of players encounter the new raids; all armed with a new spec, new stats and uncertain expectations. Many players were perhaps unused to being in this position. Perhaps they didn’t understand their spec yet, perhaps the new stats hadn’t sunk in. Perhaps they weren’t used to thinking about raiding and the very idea of conquering them was a seductive yet terrifying high. What I believe Wrath did mean was a sudden internal crisis of confidence throughout the WoW community: the content bar may have been lowered but the pride and competition bars were raised.

Less experienced players could suddenly take part in the same fights as the legendary players of their realm. They may even have felt pressured to do so because players was scoffing at how easy the content was. They might wonder what was wrong with them as a player if they couldn’t do it or couldn’t get to grips with the changes to game mechanics: changed mechanics yes, but apparently such easy mechanics that Dalaran was dead quiet two weeks into Wrath because half the realm had run out of things to do and had retreated behind an army of previously abandoned alts.

Take Heroics as an example: they are considerably easier in Wrath than they were in TBC. The fact that you had to grind reputation in order to get into Heroics in TBC meant they could be a reward in themselves. Many of them had some challenge to them – I for one never finished Durnholde Heroic. Not only was there was a sense of achievement on completing some of them but it was acceptable for a group to be torn apart by wild dogs, because there usually were groups of wild dogs so battle hardened that groups needed to fight them individually and hope for the best. Wrath’s batch of Heroics are quite the opposite: easy and quick, many experienced players find no thrill or challenge in them. A melee player who doesn’t know to get out of poison nova in Heroic GunDrak will probably die and be given short shift for it. Likewise I’ve often seen tanks who kite Xevozz incorrectly in Violet Hold be met with "omg dont u no to kite nub".

Firstly I’d like to know where this monster called "nub" which they want kited resides, and secondly I’d really wish players would remember that not everyone has done all the content and learnt all the tactics already. A quick check to make sure everyone knows a dungeon or is comfortable to ask and answer questions in a friendly manner will go a long way to building trust in a group. It may only take 20 minutes to run the Heroic but a helped player will know what to do for next time, and will feel secure in their ability to give it a go.

My guess is that the experienced raiders have and had their own pressures when Wrath appeared. They had honed their skills and proudly won their rewards – taken down so many difficult challenges during TBC – and now the content is, to their standards, laughable. This may have had a variety of effects on them, including making both them and their past achievements feel depleted. Even achieving completion of the new content and getting the grips with the new mechanics seems trivial. Their reason for raiding was diminished – content was already bested, loot was sometimes not worth farming. The level of teamwork required in TBC raids? Not needed in large chunks of Wrath. Just bring brute force. Naxxramas now floats lonely as a cloud over yon hills, full of drops no experienced raider needs and many didn’t need at the start of Wrath, as a reminder of how abandoned some raiders feel. Players drop out before we get to Archavon every time I run VoA. The unspoken question in these players’ heads is likely "is there any point in this content still existing when no-one needs the loot?"

…and that’s it for this week. Next week we’ll continue in this vein by looking at the extent of Wrath’s effects as a deep rooted problem affecting players’ attitudes and interactions. What do you think so far? How easy is WoW these days, and how do you feel about it? How did you feel about it when Wrath first arrived? Do you think WoW needs to be easier, more difficult or just be given a chance to stabilise? Did *you* finish Durnholde Heroic in TBC?

Trophy vs Token

Trophy vs Token

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When Burning Crusade touched down we received a token system. The system tied multiple classes to a single drop from a boss. This allowed for less loot being sharded or discarded and allowed for quicker gearing as a guild. The tokens could then be turned in for your tier set pieces. A lot of people were afraid of this method, but it worked out really really well. Guilds were able to gear out their raiders quickly and efficiently and very little loot was left to rot. We began to see the starting of this in Vanilla WoW in Naxxramas and the tier 3 raid sets and AQ40 with the 2.5 pieces. “Token” bosses dropped two tokens a piece and everyone was generally happy.

When Wrath of the Lich King came out, it was more of the same. Naxxramas and Ulduar continued the token system along, but added with it two levels. A 10 man level and a 25 man level that we affectionately refer to as tier x and tier x.5. The system continued to work well. Bosses that were token droppers continued to drop two of them and it was even made so that we could purchase tokens with badges for two of the slots. Gearing was a bit faster now thanks to the addition of two purchasable tokens and content flew by for a lot of people.

Then patch 3.2 hit, and brought with it Tier 9 content. Trial of the Crusader distributed loot in a very, very strange manner. First of all the Tier 9 gear was split into three item levels of quality. We’ve been referring to them as Tier 9, Tier 9.25 and Tier 9.5. Tier 9 can be bough fairly cheaply with Badges of Triumph, the next level up 9.25 requires an amount of badges and a Trophy of the Crusade which can only be obtained in the 25 man version. The tier costs can better be broken down by this:

Tier 9 = ilvl 232 Tier 9.25 = ilvl 245  Tier 9.5 = ilvl 258

Head: 1 x Regalia of the Grand Protector(item level 258) or 75 x Emblem of Triumph + 1Trophy of the Crusade (ilvl 245) or 50 x Emblem of Triumph (ilvl 232)

Hands: 1 x Regalia of the Grand Protector (item level 258) or 45 x Emblem of Triumph + 1Trophy of the Crusade (ilvl 245) or 30 x Emblem of Triumph (ilvl 232)

Chest: 1 x Regalia of the Grand Protector (item level 258) or 75 x Emblem of Triumph + 1Trophy of the Crusade (ilvl 245) or 50 x Emblem of Triumph (ilvl 232)

Legs: 1 x Regalia of the Grand Protector (item level 258) or 75 x Emblem of Triumph + 1Trophy of the Crusade (ilvl 245) or 50 x Emblem of Triumph (ilvl 232)

Shoulders: 1 x Regalia of the Grand Protector (item level 258) or 45 x Emblem of Triumph + 1Trophy of the Crusade (ilvl 245) or 30 x Emblem of Triumph (ilvl 232)

Confused yet? Most people are. The stat difference between ilvl 226 gear (25 man uld) and ilvl 232 gear is not that big of a jump. going from 226 up to 245 is a big jump for most people. Enough of a gap that most pieces are clear upgrades. So why is this a problem? Trophies only drop from 25 man ToC. You get 1 per boss and a variable amount per tribute chest based on how many wipes you have. There are only five bosses in the instance. (Beasts, Jaraxxus, Champs, Twins and Anub). We’ll go with the model of running 25 man raids. You have 25 people, who all want that trophy. Being only 5 in total that means only roughly 20% of your raid a week can get them and upgrade. Lets look at Ulduar Five bosses drop token pieces, and two tokens per boss which is a theoretical 40% upgrade rate for your raid. The trophy system slowed gearing up way down because most people, especially those progression minded will be focusing on upgrades that can be obtained with Regalia (and it’s like tokens) from Trial of the Grand Crusader or Trophies and badges from Trial of the Crusader.

You can argue that with the drop increases from the tribute chest that better raids are rewarded based on performance, and that is true, but it does not really have any room for guilds that are done with Ulduar but not quite at Trial of the Grand Crusader (example would be guilds that just got a series of new recruits that need to be geared up before ToGC). This however can be chalked up to time spent in a normal version to gear people up, and get them used to the fights before heading into ToGC.

My main problem is the level of competition this generates in a raid. Right now in Ulduar if Gloves the the Wayware Protector drops, you know it’s going to a Warrior,  a Hunter or a Shaman. When a Trophy of the Crusade drops, everyone in the raid is sending tells. Everyone wants them over just regular tier 9 badge gear. I’ve seen this cause resentment and bitterness already in a couple people, and it can lead to bigger problems down the line. How do you distribute loot fairly? What is considered fair?

It’s for this reason I’m not a fan of the trophy system. I’m ok with working on harder content for a bigger reward. That is fine and dandy, but when I see an entire raid of people sitting, waiting, wondering if they’ll get the item it becomes a problem. I never saw this problem with a token system. Players might be mad at the game for dropping Vanquisher over Protector but it was RNG and nothing could be done about it. It’s a different story when you’re eligible for the item and watch other people get it over you. It’s a lot easier to accept something out of immediate control like RNG.

It’s not a bad idea in theory. It allows you to select the item you’re upgrading, it allows you to make sure anyone and everyone can use the items instead of seeing them rot due to RNG but I personally feel the token system is the way to go. While loot distribution is always an issue for any guild, I think the trophy system has too much potential to cause harm and additional stress that is unneeded in a raid / guild environment. I asked a question on Twitter about what people thought about the Trophy system. I got a surprising number of replies with people who just won’t run the content or have all together stopped raiding as  a result. I’ve also heard reports of guilds having to re work their entire loot system and policy because of this tier content, and that’s not good.

What do you think? Do you like the trophy / badge / three levels to the tier set? Do you hate it? Have you had any interesting stories revolving around loot distribution in tier 9 content?

Well, that’s my two cents on the subject until next time Happy Healing

Sig

Head 1 x Regalia of the Grand Protector(item level 258) or

75 x Emblem of Triumph + 1Trophy of the Crusade (ilvl 245) or 50 x Emblem of Triumph (ilvl 232)

Hands 1 x Regalia of the Grand Protector (item level 258)

45 x Emblem of Triumph + 1Trophy of the Crusade (ilvl 245) or 30 x Emblem of Triumph (ilvl 232)

Chest 1 x Regalia of the Grand Protector (item level 258)

75 x Emblem of Triumph + 1Trophy of the Crusade (ilvl 245) or 50 x Emblem of Triumph (ilvl 232)

Legs 1 x Regalia of the Grand Protector (item level 258)

75 x Emblem of Triumph + 1Trophy of the Crusade (ilvl 245) or 50 x Emblem of Triumph (ilvl 232)

Shoulders 1 x Regalia of the Grand Protector (item level 258)

45 x Emblem of Triumph + 1Trophy of the Crusade (ilvl 245) or 30 x Emblem of Triumph (ilvl 232)

Give Me Patch Notes and I’ll Give You Totems!

Give Me Patch Notes and I’ll Give You Totems!

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As I’m sure many of you know by now, the PTR is live bringing with it a wonderous amount of changes to pretty much everyone. I’m going to focus today on a few things, Shaman changes and tier 10 set bonus for Restoration Shaman. First let’s take a look at the set bonuses for tier 10 Restoration shall we?

Shaman T10 Restoration 2P Bonus – Your Riptide spell grants 20% spell haste for your next spellcast.

Shaman T10 Restoration 4P Bonus – Your Chain Heal critical strikes cause the target to heal for 25% of the healed amount over until cancelled.

Hmmm, interesting set bonus. Two piece gives you more haste very much like how Tidal Waves reduces the cast time of your Healing Wave by 30%. Personally I love haste, and rolling Riptide should be a part of any Shaman’s normal healing arsenal so this set bonus really appeals to me. The four piece bonus is also very intriguing. The wording is a little weird and so it will have room for interpretation. Is it placing a HoT on a target for 25% of the amount healed similar to how Earthliving Weapon places a HoT on the target? Will it give an instant heal for 25% of the total? My moneys on a HoT. Personally I like these set bonuses. I think they are solid additions to our repertoire. Looking at them though we can take a guess at what type of damage we’re going to be seeing… I’m guessing lots of raid damage. Giving us haste, adding an additional heal component to our chain heal this just screams to me tons of raid wide damage (thoughts of Sun Well suddenly jump to mind). Now I’m looking forward to the aesthetics of the set. Hopefully we wont look like a mix between bugs and sand people.

So our set bonuses are shaping up nicely (which is pretty par for the course for us at this point). Lets swing our attention over to the patch notes shall we?

Not much is changing as of yet, of course as you know that may or may not change. For now though here are the bits though.

Orc and troll shamans now have their own unique totem art.

Shamans

* Fire Nova Totem: This totem has been replaced with a new spell, Fire Nova, which is available at the same ranks as the old Fire Nova Totem. Existing characters will automatically learn this new spell in place of the totem. With a Fire Totem active, shamans will be able to use Fire Nova (fire magic) to emit the same area-of-effect damage as the old Fire Nova Totem from the active Fire Totem, not consuming the totem in the process. Fire Nova will activate a 1.5-second global cooldown when used and has a 10-second spell cooldown. The caster must be within 30 yards of the totem to use this ability, but does not need to be within line of sight of the totem.

I’ll leave the totem art aside for a second, first lets talk about Fire Nova.

This one is… interesting. Basically getting rid of a totem that some of us were using to help with AE damage in fights like Thorim’s arena. It lets us not have to cast a different totem, but instead we can center an AE spell off our current fire totem. This still requires you to run into melee and drop said totem, but it’s a nice touch. I can run in set my totems and then when needed blast out some AE damage to help thing the gaggle of bad guys we’re killing. I’ll have to play with it more, but so far so good.

Now, onto totem art. Orcs and Trolls it has been long overdue that you guys get your own. Lets take a look at them real fast

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The Orc one is pretty gnarly. Not only is it a totem but it can double as an axe! It seems to fit to me.

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Trolls are pretty cool too. Troll fetish hung from the totems looks like the shadow hunter’s totems in WC3.

All in all pretty good job. Now if I may I’d like to take a second to rage about another set of totems. The Dwarf Shaman Totems. Now I know that Cataclysm (or at least 4.0) is a while away, they… bother me.

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I understand the concept behind it. It’s a hammer with Gryphon feathers. I’ll be honest though, as someone who is going to race change into a Dwarf Shaman I’m a little disappointed. I mean I can see the correlation between axes and Orcs, fetish masks and Trolls and I can understand the correlation of hammers and Dwarves… kinda. When I was at blizzcon and they were talking about bringing Dwarves into the fold of Shamanism, they mentioned making sure they had unique totems. They said they wouldn’t be kegs (which made us all sad) but that they were looking at maybe rune stones. I look at the above totems and that doesn’t scream Dwarf to me. Had they been chunks of stone with glowing colored runes in them I’d have been content. I mean look at the Draenei’s totems

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They pretty well scream Draenei. They have holographic rings around oddly shaped stone with the element present above it. Even the *Now* Tauren Totems fit their race

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So… why can’t Dwarves get something stone related? I mean think about it. They live in the mountains, they have a racial ability called Stoneform, they are known for their Gryphons, but only one clan (Wildhammer) and they aren’t playable, but we hear about is how they are awesome miners. Sure we hear about their forges and smithy’s but I think the totems could be a bit better suited to the race (read more metal/stone and less wood please).

Don’t get me wrong. I’m happy I can finally be a Dwarf Shaman. I’ve wanted to be a Dwarf Shaman for a long long time. I thank Blizzard for that, but that doesn’t mean I won’t weep a little bit every time I drop a set of hammers on the ground. Trolls and Orcs won out with some pretty good totem design and Tauren get to be unique snowflakes again with theirs. Overall I’m happy with it. Giving each race’s Shaman’s a unique totem is a good step. But if Goblin Shaman get cool looking gear totems, I don’t know what I’m going to do. Maybe throw my hammer at them. Maybe cast Wrath of Carpentry.

Although maybe I can rename myself Captain Hammer and invite people back to my Hammer Cave to show them my Hammer….

So what do you guys think so far? Like the new totems, dislike the new totems? Like the set bonuses?

Until next time, Happy Healing

Sig

Images courtesy of Dr. Horrible sing along blog, WoW.com, and WoW guru

The One That Got Away

The One That Got Away

The other day I had the good fortune of talking with our friends over at Wow relief and our conversation got me thinking about something.
Some of us have been around for a long long time in this game. We’ve lived through PTRs and Betas and now two expansion with a third on the way. We’ve seen many things change and many things come and go, and things that were promised to us never come to be. I got to thinking what I would love to see added to the game for my class. The answer actually comes from the Wrath of The Lich King beta.

Back in Beta, restoration shaman had a rather interesting 51 point tallent to play around with. It was unique and new and fresh and odd and I loved it.

Spell_Shaman_SpiritLinkSpirit Link (Rank 1): You link the friendly target with two nearby targets, causing 50% of the damage taken to be distributed to the linked targets. After 2200 damage, the link will sever.

This little baby was awesome in my eyes. The concept behind it and the possible strategic uses of it, especially considering the health pools of both Druid tanks and Death Knights  intrigued me. It wasn’t your normal everyday spell. As a healer we’re used to playing healing triage as well as Cast X spell get Y result + / – a little. This you know the values but you can effectively use this to shift some raid damage around. Alas this was not meant to be and it was replaced by Riptide, which is a very good spell, but doesn’t lend itself to the same sort of mysterious awe that Spirit Link gave me. With cataclysm coming back I’d love to see this come back as a mastery spell or some such. It was a fantastic concept that I’m sad to say got left on the cutting room floor.

So, with that I turn it over to you our readers. Anything you want to see desperately added to the game? Why? Did you find something in a Beta or PTR that you wish would have made it to the live servers?

That’s all for today, until next time Happy Healing!

Sig

Healing Crusader’s Coliseum: Lord Jaraxxus

jaraxxus

Lord Jaraxxus is the second boss that will be available this week for Coliseum raiders. Take a look at the video below. Be advised that it’s in German. Couldn’t find any other ones around (if you manage to find one, please post it in the comments below). The video shows the Lord Jaraxxus fight from a an off tank perspective. It looks to be a very healing intensive fight.

Breaking down abilities, execution, and healing below.

Abilities

Fel Fireball
Inflicts 18038 to 18962 Fire damage and an additional 7800 to 8200 Fire damage every 1 sec for 5 sec.
Fel Inferno
Periodically inflicts Fire damage to allies within 15 yards for 6 sec.
Fel Lightning
Strikes an enemy with Legion Lightning that arcs to another nearby enemy. The spell affects up to 5 targets.
Fel Streak
Inflicts 8288 to 8712 Fire damage.
Incinerate Flesh
Burns the flesh off your bones! Absorbs the next 70000 healing received and decreases damage dealt by 50% for 15 sec. If Incinerate Flesh is not removed before it expires it will cause a Burning Inferno.
Burning Inferno
Burning Inferno inflicts 3120 to 3280 Fire damage every 1 sec for 5 sec to all friendly targets. The Burning Inferno is caused by Incinerate Flesh not being removed before the duration expires. Incinerate Flesh is removed after absorbing 30000 healing.
Infernal Eruption
Lord Jaraxxus summons an Infernal Volcano which causes Infernals to spawn.
Legion Flame
The Legion Flame inflicts 3900 to 4100 Fire damage every 1 sec, also you are creating a Legion Fire every 1 sec for 6 sec.
Legion Flame
Inflicts 6825 to 7175 Fire damage.
Nether Portal
Lord Jaraxxus summons a Nether Portal.
Nether Power
The Power of the Nether increases magic damage dealt by 20% for 30 sec.
Touch of Jaraxxus
The Touch of Jaraxxus inflicts 3900 to 4100 Shadow damage for 12 sec and causes nearby players to be effected by Curse of the Nether.
Curse of the Nether
Inflicts 4388 to 4612 Shadow damage every 1 sec for 15 sec.

Mistress of Pain

Mistress’ Kiss
Next spell with a cast time interrupts that school for 8 sec and causes 8288 to 8712 Shadow damage.
Shivan Slash
A whirling attack that deals 75% weapon damage and pierces through armor.
Spinning Pain Spike
Leaps towards an enemy, grabbing them and inflicting significant Physical damage.

Execution

You’ll need 2 to 3 tanks for this. Have your main tank set up shop directly in the middle of the arena. The ranged and the healers will need to fan out to help mitigate Touch of Jaraxxus.

Melee DPS will be interrupting Fel Fireball. If it connects, it needs to be dispelled.

It looks to be a fairly simple tank and spank encounter.

But wait! There’s more!

You thought Black Temple was the last time you’d see these lovely ladies. Your off tank needs to keep his eyes open for a portal. A Mistress will emerge from one and it will need to be picked up. The video shows the Mistress being tanked on top of Lord Jaraxxus. Presumably so that melee DPS will be able to add extra damage from AoE hits and the like. The pain strike move appears to be random. Casters (healers especially) need to keep their eye out for Mistress’ Kiss. I’m assuming it will wear off after some time. Don’t cast if you’re hit by one.

There’s also Infernals that need to be tanked. I’m not sure if it’s possible for Infernals to appear at the same time a Mistress of Pain is up. It’s always a possibility. The 10 man video shows 3 Infernals that spawn. Not sure how the 25 will be like. The Infernals could have more health or there could just simply be more of them.

I suggest melee players divide themselves up in two groups not exceeding 3 players. Put 1 group on each leg of Jaraxxus to help mitigate the Fel Lightning attack (Chain Lightning).

One more mechanic is the Legion Flame. If a player gets it, they will be generating flame patches on their position. Whoever gets it needs to get clear of everyone else and just start doing circles to get the patches away from the rest of the raid. Luckily it only lasts 6 seconds.

Healing

I’d suggest stacking 6-7 healers the first time through.

2 healers on the main tank, 1 on the off tank and have the rest on the raid. Advise even placement of healers across the room: 2 on the left, 2 in the middle, 2 on the right.

I think the melee players are going to need a dedicated healer but I’m confused by the wording of Fel Inferno (damage to Jaraxxus allies or to us?).

There is a lot of raid damage coming in. It looks to be a brute force healing type of encounter.

The biggest threat to the raid is largely going to be from the Incinerate Flesh + Burning Inferno combination. Whoever gets affected by Incinerate Flesh needs to be healed up. 30000 damage. Shields won’t count I don’t think.

Healers, you are going to need to do some think-healing on the go. It’s very difficult to set up healing assignments for a fight like this as there’s so many sources of damage coming in. Play it by ear. Take initiative and don’t be afraid of healing the wrong person. It doesn’t matter what the name of the spell is since they’re taking damage anyway.

Good luck in there! Again, post any observations you see in the comments below (corrections are good too)!

Patch 3.2 in Review

Patch 3.2 in Review

bucket heads

Warning: Fanboys and Fangirls beware, as this is not a post you will like. I am about to criticize Blizzard, and if that offends your sensibilities, go ahead and mark as read. I don’t mind.

For the rest of you who are still reading, I want to take a hard look at a few aspects of patch 3.2. I am going to try not to wax poetic about how wonderful the BC patches were–in a sense, that was a different game for a different time, and I was also a different player. What I am going to do is talk about Blizzard’s successes and failures under the current design ethos, which I will sum up as Time Sinks for All Players.

Under the somewhat tongue-in-cheek category of the time sink, I comprehend raiding, dailies, instances, and overall reward structure. Let’s look at each of these aspects of patch 3.2 and examine whether Blizzard succeeded in their global goal of keeping their millions of players interested in their game. Notice that I’m not going to talk about class balance, which is a necessary part of any patch and which will be ongoing. I’m talking only about the New Cool Stuff that came in last Tuesday.

The Crusader’s Coliseum

Let me use my Mystic Orb of the Walrus (actually, a bouncy rubber ball full of green sparklies) to channel for you the Crusader’s Coliseum development meeting.

“You know, we really should make a raid instance for this patch.”

“Yeah, something like Zul’Aman. That was really great.”

“Nah, that took us forever to design. We need something easier, like a 5-man.”

“We put a lot of work into those 5-mans! I just don’t think that we can spare that much time.”

“I’ve got it! Why don’t we design an instance with just one room? We can make one room in like, a week.”

“Yeah, YEAH! And oh, let’s make them run it four times per week instead of just two.”

“Excellent. Also, we should make it take four weeks to get each tier piece, even if the bosses are pretty easy. Let’s require an emblem turn-in for each tier piece–that way it will be like old ZG rep gear, and some of them will never get it!”

“Aren’t they going to riot?”

“Well, as long as we let them get some emblems from the heroic daily, we’re good.”

When I walked into the Crusader’s Coliseum, I had a moment of panic as I realized that I was going to be spending 4-5 months of raiding within its hexagonal walls. When I panned my camera upward, I noticed that, far off center in the Alliance cheering section, there were 6 identical Syds cheering me on. I was so creeped out that I got a haircut right after the raid. In an instance where design has been reduced to brown walls and even the spectators are not individuated, how can I have any hope for interesting boss mechanics?

The Crusader’s Coliseum is, quite simply, lazy design.

The Daily Drudgery

Daily quests ought to be fun and easy. If I’m a farming type player, which many are, I’m much more likely to repeat something I find pleasant. I like the Dalaran cooking dailies, for example. They don’t require too much running, and the rewards are sufficient for the time spent. The gold standard of dailies will always be the SSO dailies of Quel’Danas. They used to be so quick, fun, and convenient that I did them on three characters. I will admit that my interest in the game is much lower now than it was back when my guild was working on Illidan. However, I’m pretty sure I’d grind at least one character through similarly well-designed dailies. The Coliseum-area dailies do not measure up. They are quite widespread and hard to do on one’s own. I particularly find the revised version of Battle For the Citadel a pain in the arse to solo. In order to kill 3 commanders, I have to clear any number of lieutenants and get my ass kicked multiple times by respawns. Don’t even get me started on Threat from Above! Dailies should be a solo operation, as they’ve historically been one of the few things one can do in WoW at 4am. As for the new dailies, I’ve only done a couple of them, and they take you a bit far from the questgivers for my taste. Out of ten or so possible dailies, the only one I really love is Among the Champions, where I get to school some NPCs in the joust. I particularly enjoy beating the stuffing out of the uppity Undead guy–if, indeed undeads have any stuffing left after the whole decomposition thing.

The trend in Wrath seems to be to design dailies which take more time and return proportionally less gold. In turn, the non-currency rewards (pets and mounts) are much better than they were in BC. The dailies are almost a pure time sink–and regrettably, I just don’t have that time. For earning money, the AH is the only way to go. I don’t think 6 or so dailies per day, four days a week, would actually pay for raiding, while two hours a week of selling flasks certainly does.

5-man Instances

I hate to say that I haven’t tried the new instance yet. I’m glad there is one, and I’m sure I’ll get there if it ever comes up as the heroic daily. Because of the reward structure, I try to do the heroic daily whenever I’m on (which is….not that often). I don’t want to be the absolute last person in my raid to buy a tier piece (though truth to tell, I’m in competition for that bottom spot). The thing is, Blizzard de-incentivized their 5-mans during Wrath. Naxx 10 was very easy and accessible compared to the heroics. However, its design was ugly as mud. Meanwhile, the art design for 5-mans was excellent. Most of us saw this beautiful dungeon art only a few times due to the lackluster rewards compared to Naxx. From all reports, the new 5-man is pretty easy, so it’s no Magister’s Terrace. I found Magister’s Terrace to be both challenging and beautiful, and I ran it with all three of my characters (one in tier 6, and two in…crafted purples and Kara gear). I think that Blizzard has–to their own detriment–gone away from the older design of heroics, which allowed some to be much harder than others. I find the hardest Wrath heroic to be Oculus–and I managed to complete that one the day I turned 80.

Rewards and Other Phat Loot

Developers be praised, we’ve got another armor tier to acquire! I love gear. I’m glad that the stats for the three iterations of Tier 9 are actually an upgrade on Ulduar gear. My greatest disappointment with Ulduar (which I love on all other points, including art and gameplay) is that the stats on the gear were such small upgrades from Naxx stuff that I actually didn’t get to see my character improve in noticeable ways even after equipping my new pieces. The only real performance upgrade that I was able to feel was the 4 pc bonus–which for resto druids is widely considered OP. This new patch is just the opposite–I can tell that at least the middle and upper varieties of T9 are going to make a difference in my power and sustainability. I’m jazzed about that. It’s too bad the armor designs themselves are, well, lazy. Many people have commented on this, but suffice it to say, in a few months of work and struggle, Syd is going to go from a gorgeous, glowing creature whose attire includes motifs of branches, leaves, moonlight, and starlight to, well, a Buckethead. Morever, we’re all going to be Bucketheads. I refer you back to the article header should you have any question as to what one’s head looks like when a bucket is equipped in that slot.

Well, let’s say that I can ignore the ugliness of the “new” armor art. There are still many non-gear rewards to be gained in 3.2. The one thing I actually care about, the Ulduar drake that I’ve been working for, is still available (thanks!). It will take a lot of hard raiding to get there–my guild, for one, is not anywhere near done with Ulduar hard modes. There are also new horsies from the Coliseum, mounts upon mounts from Champion’s Seals, more cute pets (even a wyrmling of a different color–who cares, but thanks), and even more tabards (that look pretty much like the old tabards). The game seems to be focused on acquiring volumes of things right now. It’s not “let me get this one beautiful unique mount” but “let me grind for 10 mounts so I can add to my achievements.” I have to say, I’m not too excited about all of it, because too many things seem to be reskins of the same old stuff. My preferred mount grinds are Winterspring Frostsaber (the only kitty with no armor), which I’ve done on one character and started on another, and the Stratholme speed run for Rivendare’s horsie, which I’ve put a few tries into on Syd and ultimately intend to acquire.

How could WoW have hooked me into grinding for new rewards? Well, they could have made them…really new. Let me grind for a raptor mount, and let the horde grind for a Winterspring Frostsaber. That would be pretty sweet. Let me buy the horde mounts for Champion’s Seals. Better yet, make me an entirely new mount–how about a rideable Jormungar? I guarantee you, my play time would have gone up! The new orphan quest is an example of a “good” reward. The gorloc and wolvar pets are pretty unique, and I stayed up an hour later than usual to get my cute little baby oracle.

No More Lazy Design!

The take-home message here is that developers need to spend time and resources on their game. Period. No game is so good that a patch can bring out more of the same and expect to reinvigorate the masses. I think the art budget in particular for WoW needs to go up exponentially.

What is the one thing that I love in patch 3.2? New druid forms! They’re really quite nice (and no, I was not one of the people who complained that they weren’t done right). In my mind, Pink Kitty is pretty much the best thing ever, and I even changed my much-beloved seafoam hair in order to gain access to it. The druid forms are a good example of what happens when you give the community something they’ve asked for and actually spend a little time on it. You get Syd, happily running around in cat form, which has pretty much never happened before. I can has cheezburger naow?

Here’s hoping that the devs announce something astounding at Blizzcon. Something must be done to make up for the overwhelming mediocrity of 3.2…unless, they really do want us to run out and buy Aion come September.