Archive for the ‘Abilities’ Category

PTR 4.0.1 is Active

401_Northrend

For those not yet privy, the 4.0.1 PTR servers are up and active. This means that you can go try out the new Cataclysm powers, specs and interface (yay!) but not the new beta-centric world changes, races and zones (boo!). In short, it’s the WoW you’re playing now but with new powers and a modified interface. I popped Gavelier in (known on the PTR as ‘Gavalier’ due to a naming conflict) and trained his ret spec as I’d decided I would while toying with Wowhead’s talent calculator. Or, I tried. You see, this PTR makes use of the new streaming feature. That, combined with the 16 GB download time meant that I hopped in before everything was loaded (I ought to be done downloading sometime in October, by the way). This meant that I didn’t actually have all the data I should have and the game glitched. Restart.

Back in, I got my spec set and was ready to test my powers on some hapless mobs in Storm Peaks when I realized I was missing some of my key new abilities. Stuff like my new main damage seal for one (that’s kinda important) and the new Word of Glory heal. Off to Dalaran, and then to Stormwind. Once in Dal I stood for about three minutes waiting for the portal to show up. Once it did I popped through and hopped on my Albino Drake atop the Mage’s Tower… and promptly fell about forty feet straight down. Ok, so no flying in the old world yet (yes, I know there’s a new ability that needs trained, but it wasn’t at the Dalaran flight trainer). It’s actually funny to see folks running around on their flying mounts, hopping up and down with them, vainly trying to get airborne. Anyway I got my new abilities and ‘ported back to the Argent Tournament grounds. Or I tried to. The game froze and I was back at the character select screen. I reselected Gav and sat at the finished loading screen for a few minutes before giving up. Restart.

I finally loaded up at the Tournament grounds and took a few dailies to practice my pummeling on the Cult of the Damned dudes. My first thought was that the game does an awesome job letting you know when a proc’d ability is available. For example, with Art of War my exorcism spell glows so I know to hit it. Very nice. Also, the new holy power mechanic kept my eyes off the battle more then I would have liked, keeping an eye on my new bar so I could know when to hit Divine Storm, Word of Glory or Templar’s Verdict. In all though, I seemed to be doing more damage then before. Of course, without a DPS meter it’s hard to tell for sure.

I hearthed back to Dalaran and took the portal back to Stormwind. Here’s a few more random pics I took while  n Goldshire.

401_Stats

The new stat window is great at telling you what you need to know without you having to do on-the-fly math or looking things up online. It will tell if you’re hit-capped for your level (and levels above you) for example.

401_Spec

Here’s the talent spec window. Nothing fancy but very functional.

I’ll have more tidbits as I continue to play.

Not Quite Noble, but Very Deadly

I just spent three and half hours playing WoW, and still didn’t accomplish what I set out to do. My goal was to complete the Noblegarden meta, but I came up one Blushing Bride short. I thought that Dressed for the Occasion was needed for the meta, so I spent two-plus hours farming eggs around Kharanos, outside Ironforge. When I finally figured out it wasn’t needed, I’d gotten 275 chocolates, two white tux shirts, a pair of black tux pants, three spring circlets, four spring flowers, three blossoming branches and five spring robes, but zero elegant dresses. I had found my spring rabbit’s foot earlier, so I got that achievement, and I met some random dwarf priest out in Un’Goro Crater and we helped each other get hard boiled.

I then wandered back into Dalaran, and opted to go to Wintergrasp and see about maybe joining a Vault of Archavon raid. I didn’t, but while I was sitting peacefully in Wintergrasp Fortress’ inner sanctum, I was jumped by an Orc warrior. He got me pretty beat up, but I got to the transporter and  escaped outside the inner room to heal. I buffed myself up and then headed back in to face him one-on-one in a fair match. He was pounding on an AFK dwarven hunter, so I hit him with Hammer of Justice and promptly beat him down. Yes! The dwarf gave me a high five as he got back to his keys while I was finishing the Orc. With healing spells, a good stun, and strong melee powers (plus the ever-popular bubble), some days it’s good to be a paladin.

Gav Tanks a Run?

KingDredDies

I learned something tonight, something wholly unexpected – I can tank for short periods with my current gear. lol I went into Drak’Tharon Keep tonight – more on why in a minute – but after the second boss, our tank bailed. The healer asked me to tank for a while, so I switched to my prot spec, fired off Righteous Fury, pulled out my Teldrassil Protector and my Titansteel Shield Wall and we were off. I had no real problems and we got to King Dred in short order. I’d have done better without my PvP-based setup, like Glyph of Avenger’s Shield, but we had no trouble at all. By the time we got to King Dred, a new tank showed up but he didn’t give me time to go back to ret prior to pulling Dred, so we two-tanked him. After that I went back to ret but then another player dropped, this time our hunter. Something about not running with some certain guild name… we weren’t sure who he was talking about.

Oh, and as for why I was running another dungeon tonight, it’s because I was just a few Emblems of Triumph from getting Turalyon’s Shoulderguards of Conquest.

NuShouldersYes! I’ve finally upgraded from my stupid Spaulders of the Giant Lords. Nice, huh?

It’s Budman!

BudmanTeleAnybody recognize this handsome devil? It’s Budman of Gavelier’s World of Warcraft fame! I haven’t played him in ages so he was still a lowly level 16 when I signed in on him the other day. Now, he’s level 20 and is playing with his teleportation spells and blinking all over the place.

He’s now a frost mage vice an arcane mage, and has become more and more so as I’ve played him. I was going to put my 19th and 20th talent points into Improved Fireball 2 and 3 (I already had one point in it), but I was getting such use out of my one point in Frostbite so I opted to max it out instead.

I’ve learned a few things while playing him the last day or two. For one, arcane missiles is a mana-killer. I used to love it but now I avoid casting it to save mana. Secondly, I do want to max Improved Fireball at some point because the spell Fireball takes forever to cast. Lastly, I love teleporting because it means I can set my hearthstone to minor settlements and still have access to the capital cities.

All in all, I’ve enjoyed my time as Budman. So much so, actually, that I haven’t played Gav for a few days. Oops!

Holy Gaveliers, Batman!

Last night saw an interesting shift in Gavelier’s adventuring career. My guild leader made mention that we only had one healer in our 60+ members, so I opted to drop my prot spec for holy. I’d never actually healed before, but Gav was holy spec through his 20s, so it wasn’t a totally alien concept. So, with great anticipation, I went to Ironforge and respecced my prot to holy.

The first thing that struck me is that I knew next to nothing about the talents in the holy tree. I spent a good half hour just reading them and seeing how they would affect me. Once I was set on my talents, I spent another hour arranging them on my action bars for ease of use. Out went most of my damaging spells and in went healing powers. I moved Flash of Light and Holy Light to prominent positions on my main action bar, and put Holy Shock center stage. However, the spell sucked. I wondered if it was just my gear that was causing it to do only 519 healing/340 damage. I finally remembered I had to go train it, at which point it hit full stride.  I was scared to leave town, though, since I was effectively damage-neutered. What I needed was someone to heal. I logged for the night without firing even one of my new spells once.

Popping in this morning, I swapped back to ret to run some dailies. When I got back to Dalaran, I was ready to queue with the masses for Wintergrasp when I had an epiphany: Take Holy to WG! There’s allot of healing to be done there! And so it was.

My biggest problem was my severe lack of caster gear. I had only managed to secure some new glyphs, and that was it. I was hamstrung with less then 7k mana, which seemed way short. I held strong to my conviction, though, and went for it. Holy Shock became my primary healing spell, with Flash of Light during HS’s cool downs and Holy Light for big heals. I was following the front line when I noticed a death knight with under 1k HP. I fired off my Lay on Hands spell for them, setting them right. I also cleansed quite a few players, keeping them alive. In the end, I was the third most successful healer in the raid, having healed over 176k HP of damage. I also wasn’t on the leader board for overheals, meaning I wasn’t wasting my time or mana.

It was a fairly successful trial by fire, I felt. There was a big ‘yeah, healers!’ after the battle, so I felt good. Maybe I’ve found my niche at last.

Latest WG Results Show Pathetic Performance

I was back in Wintergrasp today and had my ineptitude driven home. We won another close defensive battle by blockading the one broken wall to the inner section of the fort where the inner sanctum’s wall/door is. We’re getting good at that, it seems.  Anyway, what I was saying about my ineptitude was that afterwards, a couple people posted their recount stats. The leaders showed players with 13k+ total damage done. I checked mine (I recently switched to Recount instead of Skada), and I had done less then 1.2k. I also died three times. I guess that’s my answer then. I really can’t compete there any more. Keep in mind that I was prot again (I think I fit a better utility role that way), not ret, so my damage was down from that alone, when you factor in stats, talents, and gear. My only bright spots were holding my own against a swarm of Hordies on more then one occasion. Once, I was fighting an Orc, when a Blood Elf came in, another Orc, and finally someone’s pet (a Devilsaur, of all things) before I had to bubble and heal. The bubble wore off, and I was again assailed, this time by the first Orc, a Tauren, and that Devilsaur again, at which point I finally fell. Not bad holding their attention that long, but c’mon, is it really worth bragging about taking longer to die? I’m supposed to kill them, not take solace in being a difficult target. Anytime I went to the front lines I died (or nearly did) in seconds. A few times I was able to run back and heal, or use my Lay on Hands or bubble spells, but that meant I was occupied and not doing anything to help.

I mentioned filling a utility role when specced prot. That’s because I can use Avenger’s Shield, augmented with Shield of the Templar, to silence three foes at once at a distance. My Titan-forged Rune of Determination helped allot, cutting down on time I spent stunned. I guess if I’m satisfied not being a key part of the attack, I can keep coming back. I just can’t expect to be anything more then a utility player/distraction.

The Fall of Artruis

What’s the difference between a level 78 paladin and a level 80 paladin? Gear and experience. I learned this tonight when I put Artruis the Heartless is his place. You may or may not remember my frustrations with him, and how once I got help and killed him, I was stuck with the Frenzyhearts when I wanted the Oracles. Well, I was tolerant of that because the main reason I wanted the Oracles was for the chance at a Green Proto-drake Mount, found at a 2% or so clip inside the Oracle’s Mysterious Egg. At the time, I couldn’t have flown the thing if I’d gotten it, so I reluctantly moved on.

Times have changed. I now have my Artisan Flying Skill, and as such could take that Green Proto Drake for a spin, should I someday be lucky enough to get one. However, one obstacle stood in my way: Artruis. Like Luke Skywalker with Darth Vader, I had to face Artruis again. I decided to solo him, but with a new strategy. For one, I’m ret again, whereas last time I was prot. I simply couldn’t wear him down last time. For my second trick, I was going to use my Seal of Vengeance on him for it’s stacking damage increase, versus my Seal of Justice or Martyr (the former is useless since he can’t be stunned, while the latter simply wears down my health bar too much). Lastly, I knew this time going in that he was primarily a frost mage, so I used my Frost Resistance Aura to counter that. This, along with my Icebane Girdle gave me over 200 points of frost resistance. I fired up my Blessing of Kings, pulled out my Claymore of the Prophet (vs. the Savage Cobalt Slicer from last time), took a deep breath, and made the leap.

The result? He could hardly get me under 95% health this time. Hell, yeah! I wore him down in no time to the point where I had to pick my captive to kill. This is where I almost died, actually, since I was having trouble isolating the Frenzyheat captive in the scrum. With both of them beating on me, I dipped below 40% health before the Frenzyheart hoodlum was dropped. The Oracle captive covered for me while I tossed off a Holy Light spell to get myself back up to snuff. Not long after, Artruis was no more. I was so psyched, I almost forgot to accept the Oracle captive’s quest. That would have been a royally boneheaded move, there.

I feel redeemed now. I’ve fixed the biggest error in Gav’s adventuring career to date, and I did it by myself. I feel like I’ve accomplished something. Now, only four more days or so of doing their dailies until I can hit Revered and start entering the Proto-Drake lottery. It never ends, does it?

Testing Ret Paladin Damage on PTR

Ok, I’m not the best at this, but I decided to test a paladin’s damage output on the PTR vs Live, given the changes to our seals (non-random damage on Seal of Command, no more Seal of the Martyr). Here’s what I’ve found.

(My testing was done on the lvl. 80 testing dummies rather then mobs or NPCs, for the sake of consistency. I used Skada to gather the data)

  • On live, Seal of the Martyr was by far my best DPS seal at 1.84k DPS. The seal itself accounted for about 25% of the damage done, with base attacks second at 16.7% and Divine Storm at 13.2%. The Judgment of the Martyr did only 7.2% of the damage.
  • Seal of Command on live was a steep drop off on damage, making for only 1.54k DPS. White attack damage stood for almost 25% of the damage, with Consecration second at 22.1% and Judgment of Command third at 13.3%. The seal only accounted for 8.8% of the damage.
  • Seal of Vengeance on live was better then Command, but not by allot, at 1.61k DPS. Again, white attack damage made up most of the attack, at 21.8% of the damage, with Consecration second at 14.8% with Divine Storm  third at 14.3%. Holy Vengeance was third at 13.5% while Judgment of the seal was worth only 9.9%.
  • Now, on the PTR, I first made a mistake. I thought my DPS had jumped allot, but… I was attacking lvl. 70 dummies. That makes me a dummy. Once I figured that out, I was able to get these numbers.
  • My consistent DPS did jump, though, with Seal of Command making for 1.93k DPS. The  seal actually made for 22.8% of the damage now, with Divine Storm next, accounting for 18.9% and Consecration third at 16.7%.  Judgment of the seal was only good for 5.9% though.
  • Seal of Vengeance’s damage on PTR was also up, with 1.88k DPS. Here, Divine Storm was worth 19.2% of the damage, the seal next at 15.9% and white damage worth 14.9%.  Holy Vengeance was worth 12.2%, consistent with what I found on live.

What have we found out?  Well, burst damage is down. I was unable to lay on a ton of damage in a second or two like before, but in protracted battles, ret pally damage is up. Seal of the Martyr did better burst damage, but the improvements to Command makes it good for normal battles, while Seal of Vengeance would be good for long fights where you can stack it the five times needed for full damage.

Exorcism, Now PvP-Free

Is exorcism overpowered in PvP? Blizzard seems to think so. They’ve slipped a nerf into their latest 3.1.1 patch that invalidates it in PvP. Now, someone explain this to me. Are there any other powers in the game not available in PvP that work in PvE? My opinion is that Blizzard still finds pallys a little too bursty. How, I don’t know. The highest played other classes is up to level 20 (my human warlock Crane), but there my biggest difference I noticed was that the cooldowns/DoTs crossed up and you didn’t end up with everything on cooldown at the same time and have to rely on white damage from your weapon for a short time until something is ready again. At that point pallys roll through their rotation again and wait. Again. My answer would be to either switch up the cool downs, make pally powers work differently enough that we’re forced to decide what to use when, or add more DoTs. As a newly prot-specced pally, I’ve found that I need to hold back on Avenger’s Shield for when I need it’s silencing effect because of the longer cool down. That’s one idea that works. How could the other spells be improved as such? I don’t have an answer. Does anyone else?

Gav Toys with Prot of the PTR

The PTR is likely winding down, but I had to log on and try out the rebuilt Protection tree for paladins. Word had it that protection was the tree for pallys to take, overtaking ret. I must say that I begrudgingly agree. As much as I like ret, this spec actually allowed me to do more damage, and it’s new buffs are vicious. Hammer of Justice every 20 seconds gives me something I’ve wanted for a while; a steady stun. Combining that with Hammer of Righteousness and Avengers Shield allows me to take on masses of mobs much more easily then before. Blessing of Sanctuary is also an… *ahem* blessing for my survivability. My biggest problem was running out of mana, despite Divine Plea replenishing upon striking a foe. I was always having to stop and drink.

The problem is that I love ret. I would miss the increased crit, the mana regen, the benefits to Retribution Aura and my instant Flash of Light spell. I’m not sure I’ll switch from ret to prot come  patch 3.1, but once I nab my dual spec, prot will definitely be one and ret will be the other. I’ve never actually been a prot spec on live server. I’ve done holy for a while, and ‘I’m normally ret, but I’ve never done prot. I’m not interested in tanking, to be honest, so it comes down to whether I think I can dish out enough damage in prot to stay DPS. If I’m determined to keep doing Wintergrasp, I may have to go prot, due to the interrupt and stun capabilities of the spec. Will I stay ret, or will I betray my roots and go prot? We’ll see.

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Hi, I’m Alphasim . I’ve been playing World of WarCraft for four years now and my main is a level 85 human paladin named Gavelier. Gav features prominently here at Alazar so you'll get to know him and his guild.

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