Hearthstone: Post Naxx Warlock Zoo Deck

Hearthstone: Post Naxx Warlock Zoo Deck

Everyone enjoying the new Naxxramas adventure mode? Managed to breeze through the normal and class challenges fairly quickly. I’ll admit I was fairly stumped by the heroic bosses for a bit until I reconstructed my ranked decks from the ground up and made the connection that I wasn’t playing against live players.

To out gimmick a deck, you must create gimmicks of your own. I’ll provide a list later of decks I used against the heroic bosses later.

For now, I wanted to illustrate an evolution of the popular Warlock zoo deck with new Naxxramas cards. Lists similar to this have started cropping up throughout ranked play.

Post-Naxx Zoo by matticus
Class: Warlock

Warlock (8)

Neutral (22)

The main changes from the traditional Warlock zoo deck is the removal of Scarlet Defenders and Shieldbearers along with the addition of Nerubian Egg and Haunted Creeper. There isn’t as much of a worry about overextending because if the Eggs or Creeper go down, they’ll turn into additional minions on the board.

The overall strategy here is to make smart trades and establish board supremacy.

Your Nerubian Egg can be activated over a number of different ways. Abusive Sergeant, Dire Wolf Alpha, Shattered Sun Cleric, Dark Iron Dwarf, and Defender of Argus can allow you to trade your egg into an opponent’s early minion to get an early 4/4.

Should be fairly self-explanatory what to do with aforementioned 4/4.

Mulligan any expensive cards like Doomguards, Dark Iron Dwarf, and Defender of Argus out of your hand. You want cheap minions as quick as possible. Always keep your opponent’s health total in the back of your mind and weigh it against trading against their board.

So far so good! Managed to shoot myself up from rank 7 up to rank 5.

Good luck!

What You Should Know About Dark Intent

What You Should Know About Dark Intent

One of the burdens that comes along with being a healer is the unenviable task of buff management.  Druids have Mark of the Wild and can provide various buffs, depending on the form that they are in.  Paladins spent the last two expansions dealing with the constant bickering about which blessing each person in the raid wanted and coordinating that effectively.  Priests have Power Word: Fortitude and Shadow Protection.  Shamans have a similar responsibility to paladins, in terms of coordinating which shaman will drop what totem and which one doesn’t stack with which existing raid buff and so on.  Having people in your raid who are understanding and willing to communicate openly and amicably with you can certainly make this process much easier.

There are also buffs that can be provided to a raid that are not meant for the entire raid to have or to be able to enjoy.  Whereas the above mentioned buffs can be distributed pretty evenly to those in need, certain buffs can involve some amount of discussion and even competition for those resources.  These buffs can include, but are not limited to Power Infusion, Hysteria and Focus Magic.  One of the more highly coveted buffs, Focus Magic is a buff provided by arcane mages and works as follows:

In the past, the arcane tree was the clear choice for raiding mages and any mage worth their salt would carry around a Focus Magic macro, which would show who was going to receive each mage’s buff.  Sadly, it usually went a little something like this:

Mage 1 — >  Mage 2 — >  Mage 3 — >  Mage 1

Eventually, things changed and arcane was no longer the clear winner in the DPS race and was replaced by fire. Focus Magic was placed deep enough in the arcane tree where mages would not be able to spec fire and have enough points to reach down into the talent tree to take Focus Magic, too.  Despite a few mages clinging tightly to their arcane talents, due to believing the difference in DPS not being enough to completely rule the spec out, Focus Magic soon began to fall out of favor and its presence all but disappeared from raids.

In an attempt to homogenize classes and to ensure that certain buffs were not so class specific, Blizzard gave a similar spell to warlocks this expansion called Dark Intent and it looks a little something like this:

There are a number of immediately noticeable differences between the two abilities:

- Warlocks of all specs have access to Dark Intent, contrary to the tooltip that states Metamorphosis (a Demonology talent) is a pre-requisite.

- Only periodic damage or healing spells will trigger the effect.  Direct healing spells or direct damage that crits will not.

- Critical Periodic Damage can come from melee DPS, not just casters.

- The effects of Dark Intent can stack up to 3 times and increases overall periodic damage and healing done, not just the chance to crit.

So, warlocks have an amazing new buff to play with, that seems to appeal to a wider variety of classes and specs in the raid.  This undoubtedly brings up a number of questions.  Which classes or specs make the best choices to give Dark Intent to?  Should warlocks get to choose who they give their buff to?  Will Dark Intent really make that much of a difference in performance to make these questions relevant?  Let’s find out!

Who Should Get It?

One of my guildies linked a terrific guide found on MMO that shows the results of some theorycrafting that shows who the top choices are to receive Dark Intent.  The numbers are broken down, based on a number of criteria.  The results are separated based on overall raid DPS gain, depending on which spec the warlock in question is and then based on personal DPS gain.  The numbers showing personal DPS gain were not divided up, based on the warlock’s spec, because there was no difference in the results.

Regardless of spec, for both raid and personal DPS gains, shadow priests were the top target for this buff, followed by balance druids, fire mages and feral druids.  For raid DPS gains, typically a survival hunter would be your next best bet after that, regardless of the warlock’s spec.  For personal DPS gains, a frost mage would be the next best choice, due to their high crit rating and the DoT from Frostfire Bolt.  Interestingly, Dark Intent does not work to full capacity, when placed on another warlock.  The haste stacks, but the stacked increase to periodic damage and healing does not.  The two warlocks in question would receive 6% haste from each other and nothing else.  Therefore, they and the raid stand to gain much more from Dark Intent by casting it on someone else.

Since Dark Intent can also increase healing, there are situations where healers may make a better choice for the buff than DPS would.  Resto druids are the clear winners here, followed by raid healing holy priests, resto shaman and then tank or single target healing holy priests.  Discipline priests and holy paladins were found to be the least favorable healers to receive this buff, due to their minimal usage of heal over time effects (in the case of discipline priests) or the near absence of those effects (in the case of the holy paladins).

Who Gets To Decide?

The usage of Focus Magic was never something that was something that had to be controlled or watched over by an officer or anyone in charge in any guild I have ever been in.  Most people would roll their eyes and sigh when they saw mages spam their Focus Magic macro in raid chat and would think nothing more of it.  The truth of the matter is that the person giving the buff, be it a mage or a warlock, has a personal stake in who they give Dark Intent to.  If they give it to someone who has periodic damage or healing capabilities, but is not geared for or does not have enough crit to support the stacks that come with it, nobody wins.  They should have every right to make that call and decide who will give them and the raid the best bang for their buck.

The only time that I feel an officer should intervene is if they see the warlock using poor judgment in who they give Dark Intent to.  If you see a holy paladin receiving Dark Intent a half dozen times on a raid night, I would pull the warlock aside and give them a stern talking to.  If you see warlocks taking bids on who gets the buff and not considering what is the best thing for themselves or the raid, I would put my foot down on that.  Let the warlock use their best judgment, until you realize that maybe they aren’t.

Does It Make A Difference?

You betcha!  Taking into account that the theorycrafting was done using Tier 11 BiS gear (iLevel 372), thousands of DPS could be at stake here.  Thousands!  Affliction warlocks giving Dark Intent to shadow priests led to the highest increase of raid DPS at 4131 DPS, followed by moonkin at 3462 DPS gained.  Demonology warlocks posted the next highest increase in raid DPS by giving the buff to a shadow priest.  That combination led to an increase of 3270 raid DPS, with moonkin giving an increase of 2598 DPS.  Destruction warlocks showed noticeably lower numbers, with the highest raid DPS increase being 3076 DPS, again working in tandem with a shadow priest.  Each spec showed the highest personal DPS gain by working with a moonkin and showed an increase of 1999 DPS by doing so.

The bottom line, which has become a motto of sorts for this expansion is “Every little bit helps.” If using Dark Intent at the right time and on the right person is going to increase your chances to kill a boss faster or to heal through something with less stress and mana usage involved, I’m all for it.  I would not scoff at the increases you might see right now, just because they may not be as noticeable as the ones shown on the guide that I linked.  Encourage your warlocks to do the right thing and encourage those they decide to give Dark Intent to to use it to it’s fullest.  Having a buff that require two people to make the most of it only stands to increase the sense of teamwork and camaraderie that your raid as a whole should be experiencing towards each other.

It was always my understanding that warlocks were all about Fear and CorruptionWho would have thought such a class could be responsible for such warm, fuzzy feelings?

Cap on Rebirth and Soulstone?

Zarhym just dropped a bomb for us raiders. With Rebirth being restored to a 10 minute timer and Soulstone creation at 15 minutes, the devs have decided to add an additional limit.

You can only use 1 Rebirth or 1 Soulstone per attempt on 10 player raids and any 3 combinations for 25.

The design for combat resurrection effects has changed a good deal for Cataclysm, and we want to make sure players are clear on how spells like Rebirth and Create Soulstone now function. Rebirth has a 10-minute cooldown and Create Soulstone has a 15-minute cooldown. On raid boss encounters, you can only use one of these combat resurrection spells (so one Rebirth or one Soulstone) per attempt for 10-player raids. For 25-player raids you can use three forms of combat resurrection per raid boss attempt (so three of any combination of Rebirth and Soulstone). The count is incremented as soon as a player accepts a resurrection, so one can always choose not to accept if he or she wants someone else to get the resurrection instead. There is no equivalent of the Sated debuff (which tracks Bloodlust/Heroism usage), but you will get an error message if you try to resurrect too many players, and we might add tracking to our raid interface if there is demand for it. Outside of raid content, you can use as many battle resurrections as you have available.

Source

As a GM, I have a few issues with this. I understand the design intent behind it so that we’re not using 8 Druids in raids or anything. As it is, I feel that I’m burning through Rebirths more often then I like but I do enjoy having the safety net that they offer. Ultimately, we need to do better.

My question is what will happen with the Reincarnate from Shaman. I remember Divine Intervention was removed as a form of wipe prevention. I wonder if a Shaman will get exempted or it it will count. The limitation begins when a player accepts the resurrect not when it is cast upon them.

I’m hoping they’ll add a tracking interface to it. I had to use addons like RaidCooldowns to determine which Druids busted their Rebirths and who has theirs available. Ideally, the interface will tell me who used their Rebirth so I know who not to call on when I do need one. Speaking of hope, it seems a bit of a stretch, but I  hope our defensive cooldowns will not be limited in the same manner. Can you imagine only using a certain amount of Hymns or Pain Suppressions and Guardian Spirits per encounter? That would be a big problem.

We’re limited on second chances now if this gets final approval. We really need to pick and choose which players to select for a resurrect.

On Min-Maxing Professions

On Min-Maxing Professions

a-long-walk-off-a-short-cliff

Ever since her creation, Sydera has been a dual crafter. She toiled not, and neither did she spin. I’ve changed the specific crafting professions a few times for one raid advantage or another, but in late BC I decided on Enchanting and Alchemy. I took on Alchemy–without an herbalist alt–then for the Alchemist’s Stone, which was a best-in-slot trinket at the time. I still love Enchanting and Alchemy for raiding. They combine a raid advantage with convenience. The self-only ring enchants continue to be strong, and I love being able to disenchant my old gear and turn it into a useful commodity. Moreover, I always raid with a flask or dual elixirs, and I enjoy the boost to those consumables when it counts. My favorite raiding advantage, though, would have to be the four-hour flasks. The psychological effect is quite positive, and I would say that the boost to morale counts more than the actual gold saved.

However, the big disadvantage to Sydera has always been that she can’t extract anything useful from the game world while she’s questing. Lately I’ve been buying herbs and selling the resultant flasks on the AH. I always make a little bit of money, mostly because of the procs from being elixir-specced, but it’s nothing fantastic. The bulk of my gold earning in Wrath has been from selling the BoE Emblem of Valor bracers. However, it wasn’t quite enough for me.

Min-maxing for raiding is always my priority, but I need money too. The primary reason has nothing to do with me. Rather, the recent discussions of relative tank health among the four classes coupled with the imminent release of a more difficult raid dungeon prompted my A#1 Tank and Significant Other, Briolante, to make a plan to level jewelcrafting to replace his herbalism. The problem? My flask business and his glyph business didn’t make enough money to support a profession change, especially with Ulduar and its higher repair bills looming. So, enter Part B of the min-maxing plan: my under-utilized, underprivileged paladin alt, Marfisa.

professional-marfi

Marfi was my second WoW character, but she was the first one to leave her starting area. I raided with her in Classic, back when I didn’t know what I was doing, and I healed through Kara with her in early BC. She’s been Retribution since mid-BC, but I didn’t really do much with her even when Ret was the Flavor of the Month (for about 10 minutes at patch 3.0). In the last three weeks, however, Briolante and I tag team-leveled her up to 77, and she has a brand-new shiny fully-leveled herbalism to go with the mining she’s had since Dire Maul was a cool new place to go. As for Brio’s jewelcrafting, the last I checked, it was at 200, so we’re moving right along.

Now, I know I could have gone about this differently, focusing on earning money through the AH to buy ore and herbs, but I chose to level an alt for gathering because it’s a solution that will work not just for now, and for this profession change, but future ones should we choose to do so. In the next expansion, Marfi might be leveling skinning instead of herbalism, but now that she’s close to max level, she’s in a good position to be a helper-gatherer over again should things change. With Crusader Aura to help out and the movement speed increase for Ret, she’s an excellent choice for a hunt-n-fetcher as well. My warlock would have been a poor choice in comparison.

For me, leveling an alt just to service my household’s two raiding mains was an extreme move. Now I’ll use Marfi to provide herbs to Syd and herbs and ore to Brio. I have to say, I’m liking the convenience of it. I’ve already made some flasks on Syd just on the herbs I used to level, and I can tell you, I’m not going to be hoarding Frost Lotus anymore. But who knows when poor Marfi will hit 80! Probably in 6 months, when she gets there purely through killing those pesky mobs that like to stand next to my Icethorn.

Here’s what I told my guild when I dinged 450 herbalism. They were teasing me about my ambition to buy a Je’Tze’s Bell, which sells for about 8,000g on my server.

I said: “Now that I’m a gatherer, money is like dirt. There’s always more lying around on the ground.”

I’m proud to say that I came up with that truly terrible pun on the fly.

My question to you, dear readers, is this:

How far will you go to min-max your character?

Tier 7 Bonuses: A Guide to What’s Hot and What’s Not

Tier 7 Bonuses: A Guide to What’s Hot and What’s Not

tierpiece

Updates:: This is another classic example of me not fact checking my stuff. This post sat in my draft queue since early January. Other things came up and I set it aside for the time being. Patches 3.0.8 and 3.0.9 were released and I forgot that some changes were made. Resto Druids 2 piece, Feral Druid 2 piece notes have been changed. Stop’s opinions have been revised. I split the tanking and DPS feral druids accordingly instead of lumping them together. Added another Enhancement Shaman perspective. Sorry! :(

Tier pieces have a history of granting bonuses. Blizzard has an even more illustrious history of giving set bonuses that are really good and some that are really bad. I don’t know everything about every class. Yet, as a member of loot council, I should be aware of the strengths and weaknesses of the various set pieces. Like it or not, set bonuses do tend to have an impact on decisions. One of the Resto Shamans in my guild was the first to get the 4 piece (because Archavon was kind and dropped 2 Resto pieces).

To help you understand and decide on your set pieces, I’ve consulted my guild and several other prominent bloggers and players in the community. I don’t know as much as I would like about other classes and it wouldn’t be fair for me to make any assumptions (without asking others about it first).

This post will be broken down into 4 different roles: Tanking, melee DPS, ranged DPS, and healers.

Tanking

Warriors

2 piece: Increases the damage of your Shield Slam by 10%. Rating: Good

4 piece: Increases the duration of your Shield Wall by 3 seconds. Rating: Moderate

Several of the tanking Warriors I consulted weren’t impressed with the Warrior 4 piece. Prot Warrior blogger Veneretio only had this to say:

"It’s a great bonus if the 4 pieces fall into your lap, but the current non-set itemization is so strong that you’ll be hard pressed to even get the 2 piece. Basically, it’s go for the 7.5 gloves and another set piece (like shoulders or chest).”

Druid

2 piece: Your Rip lasts for an additional 4 seconds, and your Lacerate deals an additional 5% damage. Rating: Good (for both)

4 piece: Increases the duration of Barkskin by 3 seconds. Tiger’s Fury cooldown reduced by 3 seconds. Rating: Good for tanks

I had to consult Feral Druid Karthis about this one.

His thoughts on the 2 piece:

“While extra damage is always nice, Lacerate doesn’t form a crucial part of a bear tank’s output – Maul and Mangle generally outperform it (although Mangle is close).  Since threat is a non-issue in the existing content, this set bonus is even further trivialized.”

On the 4 piece:

“This unassuming-sounding set bonus is actually fairly significant.  Barkskin reduces damage taken by 20% and usually lasts for 12s.  It is a spell that every tank should be re-casting as soon as it is off cooldown.  Boosting the uptime to 15s only improves an already must-use skill, and further reduces the total incoming damage that must be healed through.”

Paladin

2 piece: Increases the damage dealt by your Hammer of the Righteous by 10%. Rating: Good

4 piece: Increases the duration of your Divine Shield and Divine Protection by 3 seconds. Rating: Moderate

HoR is good AoE threat. 4 piece is irrelevant to raiding. (Thanks Myze!)

From what I’ve been told, the 2 piece is good. The 4 piece appears to be just average. The situation seems to be similar to the Warrior 4 piece. Divine Protection is probably going to get used more often in the same was Shield Wall would be. Thanks Anna!

Death Knight

2 piece: Increases the critical strike chance of your Plague Strike by 10%. Rating: Moderate

4 piece: Increases the duration of your Icebound Fortitude by 3 seconds. Rating: Good

When Stop speaks, I listen:

2 piece: It’s still not fantastic… at all. Plague Strike is one of our lowest-hitting abilities, and improving its crit chance is not as useful as if they’d increased its crit damage. Basically, the 2-piece bonus is not worth going for.

4 piece: About the tanking gear 4-piece bonus: If you have to have a set bonus, this would be the one to go for. However, I don’t know if I’d pass up other gear just to get it, depending on your playstyle. Icebound Fortitude is basically Barkskin, and with some specs being squishier than others, some use it constantly while some use it like a moderately less effective Shield Wall. If you use IBF every time it’s up, go for this bonus. Otherwise, consider it a nice perk for getting this already-nicely-statted tank gear.

Melee DPS

Warriors

2 piece: Increases the damage of your Slam by 10%. Rating: Good.

4 piece: Your Bleed periodic effects have a chance to make your next ability cost 5 less rage. Rating: Moderate

Not that hot. Most DPS Warriors don’t have as much rage issues from what I’m told. But the Slam bonus is very nice.

Rogues

2 piece: Increases the damage dealt by your Rupture by 10%. Rating: Good

4 piece: Reduces the Energy cost of your Combo moves by 5%. Rating: Ugh

“The two-piece bonus seems pretty useful but I’m unconvinced about the four-piece.” Seri, Snarkcraft

“Just that the two piece is a huge bonus for rogues while the four piece is lackluster considering the amount of energy used to perform the combo moves.” – Cassio

Druids

2 piece: Your Rip lasts for an additional 4 seconds, and your Lacerate deals an additional 5% damage. Rating: Good

4 piece: Increases the duration of Barkskin by 3 seconds. Tiger’s Fury cooldown reduced by 3 seconds. Rating: Not great for DPS kitties

2 piece notes: “This is an important set bonus for a feral cat’s long term sanity.  Kitty DPS is stressful – there are four separate buffs/debuffs that need to be monitored.  By increasing the duration of Rip, a Druid is allowed more wiggle room to keep the other three (Rake, Mangle, Savage Roar) all active, which leads to consistently higher DPS.  “

4 piece notes: “It reduces the Tiger’s Fury cooldown by 3s. While TF is used every 30s, the top theorycrafters say that this new bonus is almost meaningless, clocking in at an extra 0.7% dps. There are much better gear choices that provide a bigger DPS boost than that.” (Karthis’ notes in the comments)

Shamans

2 piece: Your Lightning Shield damage is increased by 10%. Rating: Not so good.

4 piece: Your Flurry effect provides an additional 5% melee haste. Rating: Good

Not the greatest. Most Shamans don’t appear to pick up the Static Shock talent. Water shield is primarily used since they go through mana quickly. The 4 piece is decent as it results in overall faster hits.

On the other hand:

It is actually fairly good, static shock is a must take ability for an enh shammy. When I look at my WWS, lightning shield represents about 6% of my total damage output. Since I am at about 4k DPS right now that means my lightning shield is doing about 240 DPS.

Paladins

2 piece: Increases the damage dealt by your Divine Storm by 10%. Rating: Good

4 piece: Reduces the cooldown of your Judgment of Light, Judgment of Wisdom and Judgment of Justice by 1 second. Rating: Good

An overall net increase in DPS. Your Ret Paladins will love it. From what I’ve been told, Ret Paladins have this in their rotation anyway.

Death Knight

2 piece: Increases the critical strike chance of your Obliterate and Scourge Strike abilities by 5%. Rating: Good.

4 piece: Your Obliterate and Scourge Strike generate an additional 10 Runic Power when used. Rating: Moderate

DPS 2 piece: The only people who won’t benefit from this are dual-wielders. Every two-handed build in common usage uses either Obliterate or Scourge Strike, so for much the same reason as how Heigan’s sigil is great for pretty much every two-hander-using DK, this set piece bonus is fantastic for them. I’m still trying to get a set piece just for this bonus, in fact!

DPS 4 piece: I have no idea what they were thinking with this. I think they would’ve done better to try to rip off another class’s bonus, like, say, warriors? No DK should be having problems generating runic power, two-handed or dual-wield, period. Plus, again, this is useless for dual-wielders – both of the DPS plate set bonuses are geared exclusively towards two-handed weapon users. All that aside – I would never gear for this set bonus specifically.

– Stoppable force.

Ranged DPS

Priests

2 piece: The mana cost of your Mind Blast is reduced by 10%. Rating: Good

4 piece: Your Shadow Word: Death has an additional 10% chance to critically strike. Rating: Not so good

From my Shadow Priests:

The 2 piece is nice but is purely for mana efficiency on Mind Blast and doesn’t really matter much if you have stacked Spirit and Crit like most Shadow Priests do. The 4 piece isn’t worth it because with itemization there are many pieces that add more DPS than the 10% critical chance to Shadow Word: Death.

Druid

2 piece: Your Insect Swarm deals an additional 10% damage. Rating: Good

4 piece: Your Wrath and Starfire spells gain an additional 5% critical strike chance. Rating: Good

Boomkin ones are awesome all the way around. Insect swarm should always be up and 5% extra crit on our two major nukes is flat out gibbering insane. – Llanion, Moooonfire

Shaman

2 piece: Your Lightning Bolt costs 5% less mana. Rating: Moderate

4 piece: The bonus critical strike damage of your Lava Burst is increased by 10%. Rating: Good

I play an Elemental Shaman in my off nights and I absolutely love it. I don’t have a ton of mana problems in the beginning. Fights are short enough that I won’t be taxing my mana pool. The 4 piece set bonus is great for me. Flame Shock guarantees that my next Lava Burst will crit. This means Lava Burst will get an increase of 10% damage no matter what. Normally I’ll do around 8000 damage per Lava Burst. This shoots it up to a little under 9000. Fights like Thaddius or Malygos where your damage gets increased will have Shamans see an extremely noticeable amount (18000 with Sparks)!

Mages

2 piece: You gain 40% more mana when you use a mana gem. In addition, using a mana gem grants you 225 spell power for 15 sec. Rating: Moderate

4 piece: Your offensive spells gain an additional 5% increased critical strike bonus damage. Rating: Good

I consulted one of my Mages on this and he tells me that the 2 piece is nice for the extra mana boost. The 4 piece could potentially equal a 1%-2% overall DPS increase.

Hunters

2 piece: Your pet deals an additional 5% damage. Rating: Good

4 piece: Your ranged attack speed is increased by 20% while Aspect of the Viper is active. Rating: Good

2 piece bonus is nice for any spec, but it’s particularly good for MM or SV looking to close the gap in pet damage. The 4 piece bonus is kind of a nice boost to DPS while in regen mode, but nothing earth shattering, looks like. – Lassirra, The Hunters Mark

Warlocks

2 piece: Your Corruption and Immolate periodic effects have a chance to increase the next critical strike chance of your next Shadow Bolt or Incinerate by 10%. Rating: Good

4 piece: Casting Life Tap grants you an additional 300 spirit for 10 seconds. Rating: Good

“2 piece bonus is really good. 4 piece bonus is- OMG WHY DON’T I ALREADY HAVE THIS?”  – nibuca

Note: Nib immediately dashed off and could not be reached for further comment.

Healers

Priests

2 piece: Your Prayer of Mending will jump an additional time. Rating: Good

4 piece: The cost of your Greater Heal is reduced by 5%. Rating: No, not really

Personally, I’d say go consult your WWS on this. Try to get a feel for how often you use Greater Heal and see if you can justify it. I don’t use Greater Heal as often. When you think about it, 5% off of Greater Heal is about 50 mana or so. I don’t use this spell enough to warrant the free payback. But if you do, then it is something for you to consider. Otherwise, go for 2 sets then defer the rest to the other classes (like Warlocks or Paladins). Obviously if the 7.5’s drop and you have nothing else better in the slots (like heroic gear), go ahead and take a stab at it.

Shaman

2 piece: Your Water Shield is 10% stronger (each tick restores 10% more mana). Rating: Good

4 piece: Increases the healing done by your Chain Heal and Healing Wave by 5%. Rating: Good

Earthshatter set bonuses for Resto Shaman are awesome! Because they buff Water Shield as well as Chain Heal and Healing Wave, they manage to suit most of the various healing styles that Resto Shaman can perform (Anna, Too Many Annas)

Druid

2 piece: The cost of your Rejuvenation Lifebloom is reduced by 5%. Rating: Good

4 piece: Your Nourish heals an additional 5% for each of your heal over time effects present on the target. Rating: Good

2 piece is solid. Rejuvenation Lifebloom gets used frequently. With the 4 piece, Nourish becomes even stronger for Resto Druids. At least, this is what Syd tells me. Can’t go wrong here!

Paladin

2 piece: Your Holy Shock gains an additional 10% chance to critically strike. Rating: Good

4 piece: The cost of your Holy Light is reduced by 5%. Rating: Good

"Neither bonus is play-changing in the way that old set bonuses have been (4pcT5, anyone?) but both 2pc and 4pc bonuses are nice boosts to our mana-intensive spells." – Siha, Banana Shoulders

Hopefully this summary will help you in your loot decisions! For the DKP players, maybe it’ll even save you some points for other items instead!

Image courtesy of riyono

How to Be Evil in 5 Easy Steps

How to Be Evil in 5 Easy Steps

Hello World of Matticus readers! I’m Sydera’s warlock alt, Isidora, and for today only, I’ve locked her in a box in my basement (in case you were wondering, I put her on a shelf next to my collection of Bat Eyes and Gelatinous Goo). While Syd’s out of commission, I’m going to teach you all how to be an eeeeeeevil warlock alt.

There are other guides out there to initiate you into the ways of Evil. For example, I cackled in sheer dastardly joy when I read V’ming’s post on WowInsider a while back on how to cause grief and destruction for others. However, it seems to me that some of his advice is counter-productive. If other players realize how black and rotten my twisted little heart is, they’re not going to want to run me through dungeons any more. And yes, in the depths of my dark little soul, I’m all about the acquisition of shiny new purples, particularly evil ones.

Here are some ways to express your inner demon and take out your frustrations on the PvE world. Be careful! Some of the creatures you’ll be torturing like to bite. The trick is to make sure they bite someone else.

Tip #1: Keep Lots of Jars Full of Nasty Things

Any evil warlock worth her salt will comb through Azeroth’s flora and fauna for the most foul, most hideous creatures to hide in her pockets. I personally find the Imp in a Jar to be quite a hoot at eeevil cocktail parties. I’ve left J’eevee in there so long that he smells a little ripe, and let me tell you, he’s always a crowd pleaser. I’m also rather fond of my Pet Cockroach. Any time I stop by the Pig N Whistle for a cold beer and a grilled chicken caesar salad (it’s the signature food of eeevil), I like to take out Roachybuttons and sit him by the side of my plate. Then I jump up and down and start screaming–I’ve never yet had to pay for my lunch. Other disgustingly evil things in my pocketses include a rabid Worg Pup and a rotten Carrot on a Stick, which I never let my mount so much as nibble.

Tip #2: Always Add Insult to Injury

It’s not enough to blast your enemies into smithereens. The eeevil warlock always does so in style! Terrify the innocents you’ll be slaughtering with razor-sharp wit. For example, you might consider macro-ing a few choice quips to your most destructive spells. With my shadowbolt, I like to use: “Take that, you lily-livered bamboo-snorkeling piddle-drinker!” Don’t be afraid to change it up though. Since you’re an evil warlock alt, you certainly don’t need your macros interface for that cowardly cooperation session known as “raiding.”

Tip #3: Get in Touch with Your Greedy Side

Gold. Your main has it, and you don’t. Every eeevil warlock alt must practice the “I want” speech. This is best delivered while stamping your foot and wringing your main’s arm. Here’s a good example: “But Auntie Syd, everyone else has a pony! I NEED A PONY NOW! And it has to be on fire!” Rinse and repeat for your birdie, that rare minipet you’ve been eyeing, your hawt orange midriff top from the Deadmines, or anything else that catches your evil little eye. Your main will call in favors and get you whatever it is. If she’s anything like Syd, your main is a sucker. Which reminds me…some of my gear doesn’t have epic gems yet. As soon as I let her out of that box, she’s going to make a little trip to the gem vendor.

Tip #4: Pick on the Innocent and the Helpless


Repeat after me: “critters are for killing.” None of this /love stuff. If you see a huggable skunk or a fuzzy widdle bunny, you know what to do. A well-timed Corruption will never go amiss, and you’ll have the added bonus of listening to the poor creature scream in agony as the DoT slowly ticks away. As you grow in eeevil power, take on larger game. Any time you see a majestic animal going about its own business, it’s time to introduce it to the circle of life, demonology-style. As for me, I enjoy helping the polar bears of Winterspring earn their place on the endangered species list. For extra credit, don’t ever skin or eat what you kill. Leave its rotting carcass there to pollute the ground water.

Tip #5: Bite the Hand that Feeds You

Being an eeevil warlock means never having to say thank you. Sure, your main begged all his friends and guildmates to take you to Dire Maul to get your flaming horsie. Just be sure you are never, ever in a position to help them out! That’s your main’s job. Also, take care not to let your legion of demonic fiends get too comfortable in your presence. Yes, they take hits in the face so you don’t have to, but that doesn’t mean you should be nice! Practice kicking them while they’re down and jabbing them in their soft metaphorical underbellies (I’m not certain that demons have underbellies, and if they do, they might be covered in Fel Scales). For example, I like to “compliment” my succubus on her appearance. Every time I need her services, I like to say to her: “Hey Lynva, your butt looks really big in that outfit. Have you put on weight since the last time we did a dungeon together?” Let me assure you that the tears of demons are every bit as delicious as those of mages. They taste like cherry kool-aid.

Follow these five tips, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming the terror of Azeroth, or at least of your main’s character screen. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to get back to selling 400 individual pieces of Felweed at the Auction House for ridiculously high prices.

One Thoughters from Matt and is Your Class the Best Lover?

I used to do these. Wyn does them. Then Auz started it.

  • When did cookies become a sometimes food?
  • Raiders who raid often don’t want to. Raiders who don’t raid often, want to.
  • My coblogger gets more fame and recognition than I do.
  • Hey Auz, click here
  • How do wands work? Is there a button? Maybe a stun and kill setting?
  • Do Blizzard developers read WoW blogs?
  • What would a 10 man counter terrorism unit in WoW consist of?
  • I always finish the milk before the cookie. Ugh.
  • Mallet has 19 Exalted reputations. Too lazy to level Sporregar.
  • Jessica Alba’s 27. I need to find me a new poster girl.

So is your class the best lover?

Here’s the back story. Last Monday, I had watched something completely unexpected unfold before my eyes. Girl in front of me, on her Warlock, playing WoW. Saresa was fuming because I mentioned that Warlocks aren’t my type.

Big mistake.

She uses my own trademark list posts against me (score!) and provides 12 Reasons Why Warlocks are the Best Lovers.

So this begs the question.

Why is your class the best lover? Any amount, any reason. Feel free to comment it or (even better) blog about it. I think the Warlocks are covered. But maybe there’s a few extra features I don’t know about!

On another note, check back in about 5ish hours. That Sydera, I tell you, is one really ambitious blogger and when you see what she plans to open up with. All I can say is wow.

Myth busted: Canadian Chicks Play WoW

I know I’m soooo going to be asking for it and Wyn and Syd probably going to butcher me. I’m in my Psyc class and there’s a girl right in front of me playing WoW while the Prof is lecturing.

  • Looks like a 70 Warlock main
  • Enchanter
  • Has the ZA bag
  • Looks like the Mag Bag too
  • Has many alts
  • Alliance
  • Piling the IF AH with stuff

…Is it scary that I can tell that much information with just a simple and involuntary glance over her shoulder? Or am I just a really good stalker? It must be my Criminology training and eye to detail.

Yeah, thats it!

20 Questions with Temerity-Jane

20 Questions with Temerity-Jane

Every week, Matt gets a chance to sit down with a WoW Blogger chosen this week by Haris Pilton. Find out a little more about your favourite bloggers as he tries to get to know them a little more!

This week, TJ of her self titled blog Temerity-Jane dot com somehow miraculously found enough time to answer a few questions.

So how did temerity-jane.com come into being anyway and what motivated you behind it?

I’ve been blogging on and off for about 10 years now – the first site was one of those site builder AOL jobbers back in 1998 or something, followed by pitas, livejournal, and eventually a self-hosted site. I kept up with the self-hosted site for a long time, until the demands of writing, responding to comments, answering emails, IMs, and even hate mail, just became way too much and I quit in a fit of rage. Ok, actually I just stopped writing it. Between my last self-hosted site and this one, I still found myself blogging – on my myspace page, or even just emails to friends, and when the whole graduating college-getting a job-becoming a real live adult thing had settled, I figured, "Well, I guess I might as well do this again." I never really stopped, through the whole 10 years. Even at points where I didn’t have a blog online, there are notebooks full of stuff that I wrote – and oddly, none of it is personal – I mean like, personal diary entries about my feelings. (Haha, feelings.) Even when I was writing stuff that only I would see, I would write like I was trying to amuse someone. Why waste me on just me! Seriously, though, I have mentioned once or twice on my own site that I have a disorder, and because of that, I find it a lot easier to communicate through text than I do in my day to day real live life, and blogging, for me, is mostly selfish. It’s kind of a validation that I can be interesting, smart and funny, when I don’t really feel like I come off that way at all on a day to day basis.

tj-2

Think the Druids are going to be mad at you for killing so many trees?

I’ve been trying to lay low in Aetherial Circle, otherwise known as "Druidial Circle." A raid in our guild is not complete unless it’s 42% druid. Now I’m probably going to have nightmares of being beaten to death by the limbs of a heard of trees, like those mean ones in the Wizard of Oz, remember those?

Which came first in terms of WoW? BRK or TJ?

In terms of WoW? I believe I’ve been playing longer than BRK, but his blog has existed longer than TJ.com has existed.

Speaking of WoW, what’s a clear officeholic like you playing that highly addicting game anyway?

A few years ago, in the fall of 2005, I got really sick. Not like, the flu – I mean really, long term, in bad shape overall kind of sick. Even when I started to recover, I was too tired to leave my house and dealing with bad pain in my legs that made it so that once I got up to my attic bedroom (where I lived with my cats, no joke), I wasn’t coming back down until I had to. So, for the most part, I was pretty much homebound for a few months there. I’m not a hugely social person in general, but anyone will go a little nuts confined to their home long term. I was playing a lot of StarCraft at the time, but the people I played with weren’t always available – mostly college students who had to do crap like "class" and "studying" and "drinking lots of beer" and couldn’t always be around to keep me entertained. Someone suggested World of Warcraft as an alternative to keep me busy until I was up and about again, and said "But look out, it’s addictive." I rolled my eyes like, "Yeah, right," – like anything was going to take me away from my StarCraft addiction. I did pick up the game, though, and installed it on a Saturday afternoon, and the next time I looked up, it was dark. Whoops. Guess they were right, huh?

What is the history of the demonic ponytail? Has it been holy at one point?

The demonic ponytail is actually a Fio creation. We were chatting on gtalk one day, and, having seen the Mr. T commercial and been unreasonably tickled by it, I demanded Fio make a guild rank, just for me – Night Elf Mohawk. Fio, being the reasonable and logical type, said, "But you’re neither a night elf, nor a mohawk." NOT THE POINT, I told him, and continued to insist. Must be NIGHT ELF MOHAWK! "Human afro?," he suggested? NO! MOHAWK! "Demonic ponytail?" "NO! It– oooh! Demonic ponytail! YESSSS!"

Ever thought about writing a book?

Kakalaki asked me the same question a couple of days ago, to which I replied "Ha!" No, not at all. What would I even write about? And could anyone really tolerate me for a few hundred pages? Highly unlikely.

You mentioned to me earlier that you were entering a temporary hiatus from WoW due to work issues. Any plans on when you will be returning to Azeroth and the Outlands?

Work is keeping me pretty busy. It’s not even that the hours have been so long this year, thanks to some great part time help (not including Saturdays and the occasional Sundays) but the pace is so stepped up and the stress is running so high that I’m just exhausted all the time when I get home. My main, a 70 lock that I had been raiding with, has pretty much been shelved for the time being. I just can’t muster up the energy I need to not only last a whole raid, but actually, you know, contribute. However, I haven’t been completely absent from WoW – I picked up work on my priest alt, he just hit 61. Leveling is all right – I can log in and play for a couple of hours, or for 15 minutes if I’m just too worn out. I’ve also been playing with the Pox Arcanum people, though my schedule has lead to me dipping out on them twice in a row now and I feel like a total buttface. But that’s also been a lot of fun and a pretty cool experiment, and I’ve enjoyed a couple of hours with them here and there as we plan it. As far as raiding goes, you can see from the blogs of Doom, BRK, Brigin and more that AC has been plowing through the bosses, and I’ve not been there. My main is also sorely lacking in badges for any kind of badgey gear, so I’m just falling behind and falling behind. Busy season is over in a month, and after that, I’ll have to see where the guild stands and where my toon stands to know what’s going to happen from that point on.

Have you thought about taking any pre-emptive measures to minimize meeting random guys in traffic intersections from happening? I hear the KGB has some great tips like randomizing your route to work.

Just moments ago, Doom was helping me with knife shopping. It’s not that I think that this particular guy is a threat of any kind – he’s probably just an overly friendly guy. The thing is, these overly friendly guys don’t realize how they come off to women sometimes – if I’m alone in my car, or in a parking lot, or any place that’s not bright with lots of people around, I’m generally going to be really on guard if approached by someone. I don’t know if all women are like that, but I’m willing to bet that I’m not totally alone in that. I know the Guy in Car story is funny, I wouldn’t have told it if it wasn’t, but the truth is, I certainly didn’t enjoy the whole experience and do plan on buying a sharp object of some kind – not to defend against this specific guy, as I said, but because this kind of stuff – that is, being approached by strangers when I’m alone – happens to me and a lot of women on a reasonably regular basis. Certainly a lot more than I’d like, anyway. I don’t plan to stab anyone, but the whole Guy in Car thing made me realize I’d like to invest in a little more personal security, if you get my drift.

tj-1Several weeks ago, you suffered an attack upon your very own principles. It appeared that your belief in Pirates over Ninjas was beginning to waiver. What has transpired since then? Are you still wrestling with your own inner demons about them?

You know, I’ve really tried to be alone with my thoughts on this matter, after broadcasting my internal dilemma for the whole internet to chime in on. I still feel I strongly identify with pirates. I don’t feel as close to ninjas. However, looking at the two, pirates are starting to look less and less badass to me, and more like drunk crusty old men, whereas ninjas are the ultimate in badass. Not being very badass myself, you can see how I would be a bit intimidated by the ninja crowd. The allure is strong, though. 

I made the mistake of once asking this to BBB several weeks ago. Seeing as you’re not in the military, I think I’m in the clear this time around. Might you have a favourite WoW or a story involving BRK that no one knows about?

A favorite WoW story or a story involving BRK that no one knows about… well, my WoW life is, for the most part, pretty uneventful. As far as stories involving BRK, the only ones I can think of involve me shrieking "AND YOU CAN’T PUT THIS ON YOUR BLOG!" at the end. So I’m certainly not going to get into those.

Speed Questions

Hilary or Obama?

Heh. No comment.

Favourite drink:

Diet anything. Except Diet Dr. Pepper. Tastes too much like regular Dr. Pepper. Which I do like. But I want my diet soda to taste like diet soda.

Favourite WoW encounter:

I have a love/hate relationship with Molten Core, since the best times I had in the game were there, but gaaaah Molten Core. I did like the Magmadar fight quite a bit though, and the Baron was just a good time. I like any encounter that makes me feel confident, like I can handle it. Right now, I would say the Black Morass event right now. It’s so orderly.

When stressed, you ___:

Cling to routine.

If you could have ONE of your in game class abilities in real life what would it be and why?

The ability to summon minions. They don’t have to shoot fire at anyone, or chop someone up with their big axe. Maybe just fetch me a diet soda every now and then as needed.

tj-3 Sports? Hobbies?

I don’t play any sports, but I like to watch baseball and hockey. As for hobbies, is reading a hobby? I do a lot of that. And I work. I don’t know if work is a hobby, but if I tell myself it is, I don’t feel so soul-crushed after a 12 hour day. I also like to play poker. I am a better poker player than I have any right to be since, technically – by the book, considering odds and chances and risks and such – I suck. I’m bad. I make bad moves, risky moves, overly conservative moves, based on nothing but the whim of the moment. And I win more than I lose. 

Top 3 TV Shows

House, seaQuest DSV and… I honestly don’t watch TV much right now. I catch some episodes of things online when I remember to, and just watched all the episodes of MacGyver, Due South, Bones and Scrubs over the last few months. As far as current TV shows, I’m sadly out of the loop. And I’m not one of those snobby pseudo-intellectual types that likes to talk about how they don’t watch TV by inserting it into conversation at every possible opportunity – I love TV. I would marry TV. I am obsessed with TV. To dangerous levels, even. But I’m also lazy, as is my roommate, and we never hooked the TV in my bedroom to the cable. 

As a veteran blogger, can you share some blogging tips and ideas?

I really wish a lot of bloggers, in the WoW type area especially, would be more aware of what is being written around them. The WoW blog thing has really exploded lately, and it’s a pretty saturated market. When patch notes are released, I can pretty much bet on the fact that my feed reader is going to fill up with people posting the patch notes. Over and over and over. Thing is, you’ve got to look at what other blogs out there are doing – the bigger, more established ones for each class or niche are most likely going to write about these patch notes as well – a site you probably even read. Why would you duplicate that? I wish more bloggers would realize that the reason they’re not getting as many hits as they want, the reason they’re not getting the feedback they’d like to see, is because someone is already doing exactly what you’re doing and they have been doing it longer, and possibly better. In a subject area like WoW-blogs, you’ve really got to do SOMEthing to set yourself apart. The day to day leveling and questing experiences in WoW aren’t that interesting since we all do them, but Ratshag manages to make it interesting. That kind of thing – intentionally or not, most times you’re just copying the same information that’s going around and around and around. If you can’t say anything new, at least say it differently.

 

Most ridiculous fantasy ever:

Isn’t this a family blog? Aside from the usual connotations when someone asks about a fantasy, I mostly think about normal people things. Winning the lottery, maybe. And even then, my fantasies don’t get wild – I’d pay off my student loans, send my brother to college to cut my parents a break. I’m even boring in my own wildest dreams.

You were once a student. Any tips for Matt on successful time management? Or pulling all nighters. One of the two. Or both.

1. Honest and realistic priorities – for example, it’s nice to say "school work comes first, always and forever, amen" but for a WoW player, it’s not necessarily honest or realistic.
2. Don’t pull all nighters. It always ends badly. Develop good sleep habits and everything comes easier.
3. Schedule your days down to the minute until you develop a more natural habit and routine and can loosen up a bit.

Shout outs to:

All my jackals, who I am hoping will count this as a post from me for the day.

TJ’s Blog: Although it’s not entirely WoW related, she has a sharp yet entertaining wit all the same. Don’t forget to subscribe!