Archive for the ‘Talents’ Category

Patch 4.2 and PvP Madness

Chaos

The first news from Gav’s recent exploits is that patch 4.2’s new quests and quest hubs are fun. Some are total chaos,

TP_Run

Other then that it’s been PvP for me. I went ret to Twin Peaks and while I died a few times we won, 3-0. That was a nice change.

TB_Skelly

In contrast, it was a blood bath in Tol Barad, as you can see.

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TB_Dammit

I was obviously a casualty. A repeat casualty. Dammit. We kept getting beat and killed and someone commented that we could really use some heals.

Uh oh. Can it be?

HolyGav

Yup, it’s the rebirth of the holy-s***-adin! I spent over a thousand gold on gear and glyphs, respecced my prot spec, and now I’m ready to heal! First up, this week’s Call to Arms, Alterac Valley.

AV_HolyGav

Did  I know what I was doing? Hell no! Did I let that stop me? Hell no!! I wound up 2nd on our team in heals and we won. Yay! The bad part is that over 50% of my heals were done to myself. In the 2nd half of the battle I got caught fighting a never-ending swarm of NPCs and didn’t have much of a chance to heal anyone else. I caught a Tauren warrior out by himself, and with some help brought him down, too. Not a bad start. We’ll see how it holds up to Tol Barad later.

Attack on Tol Barad

Tol Barad Attack!

Tol Barad! I entered my first match today and with two other players I got two kills with no deaths. Go me! However, I arrived at the last minute. Literally – there was only sixty seconds left when I got there. Damn it all.

Ghost Buster!

I had earlier been busting ghosts on the Peninsula, and that was fun. It wasn’t too hard, but when I was killing folks in that nearby ‘hood I got attacked by a villager and three bandits, all at once. Thankfully, a combination of Avenging Wrath, Hammer of Wrath, Sanctified Wrath, Divine Storm and Lay on Hands saw me through it. Yay!

You may notice that in the top picture I’m carrying a shield. Yes, I’m going prot for PvP again. However, I’m also considering trying to tank for the guild. We have a critical tank shortage so I’m considering learning how to do that. Wish me luck – I’ll need it.

Alazar’s Party Starter–Looking Back and Leveling

I got thinking this morning about the early-level changes to the classes in patch 4.0.1 and how they would have effected me while I was starting out. I was wondering what I would have done differently, and what would have stayed the same, primarily with my first two toons, Lug and Gavelier.

Thanks to the little icons on the talent trees specifying them as either tank, DPS or healer trees, Gav likely would have chosen retribution or protection for his tree rather then leveling into his early 30s as holy. I thought that I needed all the healing buffs I could get to survive and didn’t understand that increased durability or sound damage-dealing can also help keep my ass  ambulatory. I truly didn’t know what the ret or prot trees did, just that they didn’t give me healing improvements.

The addition of Crusader Strike as a baseline pally power would have sped my leveling up dramatically, and getting Templars Verdict or Hammer of Righteousness at level 10 would have made it even easier. Leveling with auto attacks and the occasional judgment was slow going.

The change for Tauren hunters to start the game with a tallstrider pet wouldn’t have changed Lug’s experience much since his first pet was a tallstrider named Stridy. It may have made the early game a little faster since I would have a pet’s DPS as well as my own, but the big change would have of course been the removal of ammo. Countless times early on I’d be out in the field fighting only to run out of ammunition, at which point I often died. The change to focus wouldn’t have made a big difference then either because well, Lug was my first character and the concepts of rage, energy and mana kinda blended together in my head. It was only after playing rogues and warriors (and later Death Knights) that I would have understood the difference.

It’s going to be interesting to un-mothball some of my low-level toons like Goldfox my lvl 12 gnome rogue,  Priset my lvl. 11 undead shadow priest or Slew my lvl. 14 Draenei Shaman to see if I can re-spark my interest in them. When Cataclysm hits, I’m sure they’ll get some burn.

After Gav hits level 85 that is.

The Patch 3.x Days are Over

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For whatever reason I opted to ride WoW down to the server shutdown tonight, enjoying my last action in the Wrath of the Lich King, patch 3.x era. I have amazing memories from this series of patches. I went hit levels 60, 70 and 80 during these patches. One of my very first posts here covered the changes in the original Wrath content patch. I ran my first dungeon, heroic dungeon and raid during these patches. I fought my first battlegrounds during the 3.x run, and of course, I fought relentlessly in Lake Wintergrasp.

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Actually, that’s one of the things I did while riding the Wrath patches to their end. The Alliance again successfully repelled the Horde, even though they had a tenacity of 10x (and health in the 100k range). I went as prot again and had fun. Once that was over, though, I opted to go to Ironforge to wait to train.

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While waiting for the server to shut down, I fished for Old Ironjaw. No luck, as you would imagine.

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There Gav now sits, waiting for the servers to go live with patch 4.0.1 so he can train his new skills. What will he do with them first? Maybe Wintergrasp again, maybe a random heroic. Only time will tell – and the time will come tomorrow.

Paladin DPS on PTR 4.0.1

I finally got a DPS meter onto the PTR to check Gav’s damage dealing capabilities, and the results were surprising. I had the exact same gear on both Gavs, and both had their main damage seals up (Seal of Command on live, Seal of Righteousness on the PTR) and Blessing of Kings on.  One difference is that on live BoK gives 10% stat boosts, but on PTR it’s 8%. Slight difference. The testing procedure was simply rampaging around the Cult of the Damned camp above the Argent Tournament grounds. Here’s what I found out.

It seems that the downtime on PTR spent waiting for holy power to gather so you can cast Templar’s Verdict or Divine Storm does hurt your DPS. You need to wait for Crusader’s Strike’s cooldown to end twice before you can get to your bread-and-butter attacks. Sure, you judge as well (which is helpful for ret pallys to close gaps), and ret pallys can occasionally mix in an exorcism but it still takes a while to gather full holy power, all the while the mob is pounding on you. You also need to judge when to use said holy power to heal. It’s an interesting dynamic, but it does hurt your DPS – but by how much?

Personally, in the above scenario, it hurt me to the tune of 8%. Eight percent less damage per second on the PTR. That hurts allot. I don’t know if other classes are suffering the same fate, but if they aren’t paladins are going to fall by the wayside as viable DPS.

I do want to point out that Blessing of Kings was buffing my strength and agility by 2% less the usual, so that accounts for some of it. Also, Seal of Righteousness just feels weaker then Seal of Command to me. It may just be me, but I’m worried. Despite any excuses, paladin DPS is down, and I don’t see an immediate cure.

Druids Hate Me

Wrain

This was supposed to be a post where I discussed the changes to druids in patch 4.0.1. I was supposed to discuss the changes to balance and the addition of the new solar/lunar power bar. I was going to talk about how I liked the change of bear form to cat at level 10. But it’s not going to be. Old grudges have resurfaced, and old wounds reopened. I’m going to vent instead.

I hate druids. I always have. Now, I even hate my own druid, Wrain. Wrain is my level 16 night elf balance druid who I popped onto the PTR to test low-level druidic play. I specced him balance and came to enjoy the spell that came with it, Starsurge. I didn’t really understand the solar/lunar power bar, and I still don’t. It’s not explained to a low-level druid what the changes do, so I kinda ignored it. I also played with cat form, and found it to be a better aid at my level then bear form.

Here’s where it all went to hell. After an hour or so rampaging through Darkshore I wanted to hearthstone home. But what’s this? No hearthstone?! WTF?? I checked everything in my little bags, and no hearthstone. Now that doesn’t make sense. Oh well, I thought; I’ll teleport to Moonglade and fly home. I was grumpy to find that the druid flight point wasn’t working (or missing, one of the two – I’m not sure where it’s supposed to be but there wasn’t one anywhere to be seen) so I had to hike it to the Alliance flight point just like Gav did back years ago. Once there I found that I didn’t have the money to fly home. Dammit! It’s just one thing after another!! Grumbling all the way back to town about having to run around for nothing, I played with my graphics settings, resetting my interface in the process. I don’t know whether it happened from that or during the loading screen, but I saw that my hearthstone had returned once I got to town and tried to sell things. What the hell?! Now thoroughly irritated, I hearthed back to Auberdine and logged off.

What is it with me and druids? Why do I always run into trouble with them and their stupid Moonglade?

I think druids hate me.

Budman Tries out Mage Changes on 4.0.1 PTR

401_Budman-ArcMis

I popped Budman onto the PTR today, and you can see the results above. Budman specced as a Frost mage upon arriving, earning a Water Elemental in the process. They no longer have a time limit to them, and seem to have monster range on their Water Bolt. I started having RandomPetName (my Water Elemental’s actual name, and no I didn’t name him) pull while I moved and stood some 30 yards from him.  That allowed me space to work when I would eventually pull the mob off of him. It was an odd mechanic, but it worked.

Arcane Missiles were a fun and dynamic mechanic whereupon I would get the above eye catch to let me know I could cast the spell. When it proc’d I could then work the spell into my rotation.

Two changes I wasn’t so fond of were the increased level requirement for summoning refreshments. Level 38?! I never carried food or drinks with Budman and I was out in the field when it occurred to me that I didn’t have my food conjuring spells, leaving me with nothing to easily return my health. The second thing I wasn’t as happy with, also pertaining to increased level requirements, were the teleport spells. I was unable to teleport back to town because the spells – as I found out – required level 24 (and Budman’s level 22).  Dammit.

So the Mage changes are looking good, for leveling frost mages at least. I  can’t say for end-game or fire or arcane mages, so I’ll leave that to the dedicated mage blogs – I don’t want to step on any squishy toes with my heavy plate-wearing paladin’s boots.

Klug and Krayne hit the PTR

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Here’s ‘Klug,’ Lug’s PTR alter-ego. I found that I love the new Focus mechanic over mana for Lug. I also picked him up a decent bow to replace his gun now that weapon skills are gone, meaning that I didn’t have to train Lug’s bow skill. Pig was in rare form and we killed random mobs even easier then we do on live, but Stridy was MIA. I had a button that said, ‘Call Stridy,’ but it didn’t work. Stridy’s button under the new ‘Summon Pet’ button didn’t work. I’ll have to submit a ticket on that.

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Here’s ‘Krayne,’ Crane’s doppelganger.  He trained up as a demonology warlock and promptly got a Doomguard. Wow. Kirashak is powerful, and the new tricks (like the new soul stone/soul burn mechanic) were cool, but what amazed me was my ability to nearly ignore my mana bar.  Normally Crane has to watch his mana bar closely because I’m almost always short but here I just cast away with impunity.

To this point, I really like the patch’s changes, and I can’t find serious a fault so far.

PTR 4.0.1 is Active

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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.

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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.

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

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

Cataclysm: Talent Overhaul

cata-general

Blizzard has hit Cataclysm with a major change to it’s talent system. For one, they’re cutting the number of talents about in half and doling points out every other level instead of every single level. Another change is that you pick your spec before using your first talent point, and doing so unlocks your tree’s signature ability. You can then only spend points in that tree for the first 31 points. By my math that’s 62 levels. Lastly, the new Mastery feature will no longer scale. It will be a single, solid stat/figure set as soon you choose your spec.

I’m not sure how I feel about this. I like their efforts to solidify the different specs, and to make them feel more unique, but I worry for the free-form feel that WoW has always had. In the end, I think it will be better for the game since I’m all for making the different specs stand out, so I look forward to seeing/hearing of it in action.

I’ve included the full Blue post after the break.

Read the rest of this entry »

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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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