Alaron

Dec 312013
 

15732588-happy-new-year-2014-message-over-black-backgroundI already talked about the personal stuff in the last post. So, what did I play this year?

Winter (is coming…yeah, it’s old now)

I was still very into WoW at this point. I rejoined a raid team for Throne of Thunder (a decision that, in retrospect, was probably foolish) and did quite a bit of soloing old raid content (25m Naxx for green Druid T7, which is the best looking armor you can still get). I also really enjoyed Isle of Thunder, which is my favorite zone of the expansion. The gating was well done, the introduction of random rares for VP was great, and dat Saurok jump.

Outside of WoW, I played Dishonored, but quit it early on. I need to give it another try – the game itself was fascinating, but I 1. don’t like stealth games very much and 2. always feel compelled to play the “good” side for morality-choice games, which quickly led to frustration. The world-building was excellent, though. I also played some Secret World, which was entertaining, but the hotbar combat felt too close to what I was already doing at the time. That’s on my list for another look.

Spring

WoW in this season was more ToT raiding  (polished off Lei Shen around June/July) and getting into pet battling. I got REALLY into pet battles for about a month, but once I had a good selection of pets at level 25 and had finished the quests, I was basically done. I mean, I get the concept of horizontal progression, but once you get more than ~50 pets, I felt I was fighting the UI more then actually having fun battling.

Other games included Borderlands 2, which was stellar, and Bioshock Infinite, which was less so. BI was visually spectacular, but the gameplay was meh and the storyline took a few too many leaps. BL2, meanwhile, hit the perfect combination of number geekery and action. I also got my son into Skylanders, which was a great time. (Though the Skylanders rubber-band system of co-op was incredibly frustrating, especially with no jumping.)

Summer

I essentially retired from WoW after ToT was over; I hadn’t planned on it that way, but my wife and I a big fight over continuing to raid. She had a valid point – being as she’s wheelchair-bound, asking her to keep an eye on our son while I raid is stressful. I made a few quick sojourns later to Timeless Isle (decent, but no IoT) and Proving Grounds, but that basically finished off my WoW playing.

Otherwise, this was BL2 and Indie season. Played some Gunpoint, Rogue Legacy, and Dust; also spent a few mindless days embroiled in idlegames (Cookie Clicker, Candy Box, Anti-Idle, etc) and flash games on Kongregate.

Fall

Birthday time! Since I was feely overly depressed, I threw my usual financial caution to the winds and dropped about $1000 on a new desktop PC and monitor. Of course, I then got into the Hearthstone beta and have been mainly playing that nonstop, which definitely required that power. :) This month, I picked up Skyrim for $6 and Tomb Raider for $5 during the Steam sales, so I finally have something pretty to play on my new 1440p screen. Don’t really like Skyrim (blasphemy, I know) but I’ve been enjoying Tomb Raider so far. Apparently, I need a runny jumpy shooty stabby game at least once a year. (I had the Assassin’s Creed games on my short list of games to pay full price for, but ACIII ended that trend.)

Looking ahead to 2014

Blizzard-wise, I’m eagerly anticipating the Hearthstone open beta and then release, to bring more players into the game and hopefully some non-PvP content (which I would happily pay for). This may be the first year I don’t pick up a WoW expansion pack on relea….*snort* yeah, I’ll still buy it Day 1, even if I’m not raiding anything. I’m very hopeful for more of a difficulty range for 1-player content that isn’t just a one-off gimmick (Brawler’s Guild, hey). Otherwise, I’ve felt zero compulsion to go back to Diablo 3 since abandoning a character in Act 2 of Inferno a few weeks after release; I’ll probably put some time in with the new gameplay systems there and see if I feel Reaper of Souls is worth a purchase. Still don’t own any Starcraft games. :)

I don’t get excited about upcoming games anymore, really (odds are I’m waiting for a sale anyway), but if I had to pick a quick list, I’d say Transistor, Watch Dogs, Child of Light, and the further progression of Star Citizen, though I don’t expect a release there until 2015.

I hope everyone has a Happy New Year!

 

 

 Posted by at 10:54 pm
Dec 272013
 

Hearthstone LogoHi, all! For today’s post, I’d…
*cough*
What?
Hey.
Hey yourself, brain. I was talking to my readers…
Readers? Pfft. You’re still alive?
Yes, little voice, I’m still alive.
Are you sure?
Yes! No. Maybe? That’s way more metaphysical than I was aiming for with this little intro.
Sorry. Maybe you should explain where you’ve been for the past three months?
Sigh. Fine, little voice, I’ll do that.

The spiral of sadness

Over the past year, my wife’s condition has deteriorated markedly. (I’ll spare you the details; let’s just say I wasn’t prepared to deal with wheelchairs and daily nurse visits at 30.)  In retrospect, I went through the classic stages of grief, starting a year ago with denial. Intellectually, I could see how things were getting bad, but I just pretended they weren’t happening. I signed up for raids all the time, was working on collecting every pet, alted it up. Then, boom. After a few ugly fights, I realized my wife’s condition wasn’t going to get better, and I had to start adjusting to the new reality. I did…but I got mad about it. It wasn’t “fair” that I had to stop raiding, it wasn’t “fair” that I had to take over all the household chores, etc.

Then I started my new job, with a much more…direct…boss. Stress level went to 11 and available free time went to 0. I skipped the bargaining stage and went straight to depression. Depression manifests differently in different people, but to me, it was totally withdrawing from interactions. I retreated to my Steam library of single-player games and stopped posting, stopped Tweeting, hell, even stopped talking to real-life friends. Sleep–Work-Eat-Sleep-Repeat. I stopped playing WoW entirely; I never even finished Siege of Orgrimmar on any difficulty. I considered coming back to write things at some point, maybe some post-Blizzcon thoughts…but what was the point, really? Everyone writes better than I do, so why bother? The more depressed I got, the worse I felt my writing was, which depressed me more, and CYCLE.

So ends the year.

Thankfully, there’s a new one coming up. I’ll save the walls of exposition and just say that I’ve gotten through most of the black clouds, accepted the situation as it is, and am ready to get back to participating in my Internet-life again. :)

Moving on

I likely won’t be writing about WoW for a while. Let’s be honest – if you don’t have an active guild/community to participate in, the parts of WoW that are left are not all that entertaining. Questing is far too easy, crafting is pointless, and gearing up is irrelevant. About the only reason for me to keep pushing was Brawler’s Guild, and I got frustrated with the wait times for those. I’m staying openminded about the new expansion, but from what I’ve seen so far, it’ll be more of the same. Of course, the forums will stay open, so the people who really know what they’re doing can chat, and I’ll update the beginner guides for WoD when that comes out.  

I have, however, been bitten by the Hearthstone bug. (Makes sense; the game is basically lots and lots of numbers in a Warcraft-candy shell.) After the first of the year, I’ll be writing Hearthstone guides and posts primarily, as the game gets closer to open beta. (Sadly, I have no beta keys to give out, though they’re apparently much easier to come by now; also, the open beta will likely occur within the month.) I’ll also be making some updates to the website and forums to support the change, as well as some general maintenance.  As always, feel free to PM me on the forums or send me an email if you’re looking for a personal response. I’m also actively looking for people to chat with in HS, so feel free to send me a friend request at Alaron#1198, and I’ll see you at the tables/realms!

 

 Posted by at 9:07 pm
Sep 102013
 

It’s normally a tradition of mine to do a “what you need to know” post and a “gear list” post for each major patch that comes out…but real life is still kicking my ass, so you get this abbreviated list of mostly links to better resources.

    • For a general list of things that’ve changed, my 5.4 changes posts on WoW Insider from a couple months ago are still relevant. (part 1, part 2)
    • DoC vs. HOTW vs NV: After spending most of the PTR being inferior to HOTW, a late buff pushed DoC back on top and NV into spitting distance of HOTW. Same guidance from 5.2 applies – Take DoC if you can manage the additional rotational complexity (either via player skill or an easy fight), take HOTW if you don’t want to risk the DoC rotation or you have a use for the HOTW cooldown. I personally run HOTW. Nature’s Vigil is now decent if you use it on cooldown. More discussion here.
    • SotF vs Inc vs FoN: Incarnation still sucks (and it actually is worse now than it was in 5.2). FoN and SotF are now roughly comparable – FoN pulls ahead slightly (2-3%) if  you have Rune of Reorigination and drop all the treants during a Rune proc. More testing is needed to see if it’s superior for all gear configurations.
    • Nature’s Swiftness is gone and is replaced with a passive slow HoT, Ysera‘s Gift. The optimal choice will be based on encounter. For steady incoming damage, use YG; for frequent bursts of damage, use CW; for infrequent heavy bursts, use Renewal.
    • Trinkets: VERY complicated topic, but a rough stab at an order would be Rune, Ticking Ebon Detonator, Haromm’s, Assurance of Consequence, H Renataki’s, H Juju, Thok’s, Discipline of Xuen. Raffy has a list of pairs here, which is a better way to sort these things. Catus has also been updated to v15 with 5.4 support. Really, you need to do a trinket priority list for each encounter – I suspect AoC will be more broadly useful than Haromm’s even if Haromm’s is slightly better in the sims.
    • Also from that thread, Raffy’s rough guess at a BiS list is below. There’s lots more gear discussion in this thread. Enjoy!

Head: [574] Headpiece of the Shattered Vale
Neck: [580] Immerseus' Crystalline Eye
Shoulder: [574] Spaulders of the Shattered Vale
Back: [608] Fen-Yu, Fury of Xuen
Chest: [574] Raiment of the Shattered Vale
Wrist: [580] Bomber's Blackened Wristwatch
Hands: [574] Grips of the Shattered Vale
Waist: [580] Cord of Black Dreams
Legs: [580] Riou's Vigilant Leggings
Feet: [580] Pandaren Roofsprinters
Finger 1: [580] Kil'ruk's Band of Ascendancy
Finger 2: [580] Ring of Restless Energy
Trinket 1: [549] Rune of Re-Origination
Trinket 2: [580] Haromm's Talisman
Main Hand: [582] Hellscream's Pig Sticker

 Posted by at 1:34 pm
Aug 112013
 

A quick personal note: I am no longer going on my unit’s deployment. Instead, I’ve been kicked up the ladder and am doing the same job I was doing at a higher-level organization. (I hesitate to call it a “promotion” because even though it’s a job with increased duties and responsibilities, the concept of promotion has a specific meaning in the military.) Between untangling all of the new work issues I get to deal with, preparing  for a move to a (hopefully) handicapped-accessible house, and getting my son ready to start school, I’ve been so slammed that I haven’t even touched WoW for weeks, let alone raid. As always, the forum is staying active, so keep on keeping on and I’ll rejoin the discussion at some point in the future. Hopefully.

I am planning on updating the guides on the site for 5.4 in the near future, but I’d like feedback on the gear list. That’s typically the thing that takes the longest amount of time to do, and I’d appreciate any input (of course, if you don’t use it and prefer wowhead or AMR, that’s also relevant input. :)) Updates to non-feral material will depend on time/motivation, neither of which I have in abundance at the moment.

 Posted by at 8:16 am
Jul 262013
 

As 5.4 looms, the Isle of Thunder is yesterday’s news. Been there, done that, got the Saurok shirt, right? Well, that lack of popularity means the old Isle is the new spot for farming up some quick VP, with no muss, fuss, or group members to get in your way. Sure, forming a solid group to knock over heroic scenarios or challenge-mode 5-mans is faster, but not everyone can schedule those kinds of events. Don’t sigh and run dailies for the 100th time (ugh) or queue for LFR AGAIN (double ugh) — go knock out some rares and go home.

 

Why?

Okay, so if there previous paragraph and my mad MS Paint skills haven’t convinced you, here’s why you should give this a try.

  1. Pretty much, every other method of earning VP requires contributions from other players, either willingly (the groups mentioned above) or self-interestedly (LFR, scenarios, 5-mans). Your success or failure on these minibosses is totally up to you. Kill Ramuk extra-fast because you ran the Bloodlust buff to him? You. Go splat into the ground after you get punted off the mountain by Progenitus? Also you. 
  2. Your speed of completion (and thus, VP earn rate) scales directly with your skill and gear. Get a weapon upgrade, and you can roll through the run a minute or two faster. This feels awesome. LFR, OTOH, is going to take about an hour to finish regardless if your ilevel is 450 or 550, just because so much relies on other players who have little incentive to do their best. This sucks.
  3. (While gear scaling also applies to dailies, you can feel the difference a lot more here since so much more of the time is combat, compared to dailies where so much is simply travel/clicking times.)
  4. Each boss drops 2 Lesser Charms, on average. While Battlefield: Barrens is arguably a faster source, that’s going away next patch, making this likely to be the most reliable method.
  5. Some of the bosses drop other cool stuff. Ra’sha, in particular, drops a very handy suicide dagger, as well as a 30% chance of dropping a supply bag, while the Construct has a 20% chance to drop a pet.
  6. My estimates are that the VP gain rate from this is equal or slightly higher than the rate received from a scenario or heroic…but only for the first time you do that scen/heroic. After that, the IoT rares pull way ahead. (Heroic scenarios, even multiple, are the best option…but it can be hard to find a good group to knock them out.)

Prerequisites

  • You need decent gear. It doesn’t have to be full heroic TF-bling, but realize that many of the bosses have some kind of stacking buff or periodic damage mechanic that’ll serve as a soft enrage of sorts. You need to be able to pull about 50k DPS solo, so if you’re not at that level yet, keep working.
  • If you haven’t completed all the introductory scenarios for the Isle of Thunder, you’ll have to do that too. It doesn’t take long (especially if you have the gear from the last point), just go knock it out. If you have stealth, you can skip a lot of stuff and just go pull the mob you need to kill.
  • Rather obvious, but you need a low-pop server, or just an off-peak time. The rares do spawn quickly (45-60 minute respawn timer), but this strategy loses a lot of value if you’re chasing respawns.
  • Not mandatory but helpful: Have completed the Saurok quest to unlock your Saurok disguise; exalted with KT/SR and completed the final KT/SR quest for a 15% damage buff; something to increase your water speed.

Strategy 

Isle of Thunder Rare Spawn Map

thanks to wowrarespawns.blogspot.com

There’s not really that much strategy involved: you’re just exploiting the fact that nobody comes here anymore, so you’ve got an island full of rare spawns that have HP values tuned for characters in 5.2 gear. Plan a route and go, killing every boss you come to.
Still, since it wouldn’t be much of a guide without it, here’s the route I use as Alliance, along with tips for each boss; Horde will likely run it the same, just in reverse order.
  1. Start at your faction hub. Buff up, repair, make sure you have some inventory slots free, etc.
  2. On the way out, run by Jaina to get the 30m Thunder’s Boon 15% damage buff. Horde will run by the Anima Golem for Blessing of the Animus. If you haven’t reached exalted with KTO/Sunreavers and finished their final quest,  never mind this; you can’t get it yet. Continue.
  3. Run down the stairs, make a right, and stop. You see those little orbs scattered out with a couple NPC’s nearby? Clicking one of those will give you a 30% haste buff for 1 minute. Grab the buff, and run north up the coast and through the ruined wall to Ramuk. He’s quite easy, just interrupt his Crouch when he starts channeling it, and avoid the Pound.
  4. Mount up, run through the door Ramuk is guarding, and make a hard left to climb the slope here. Once you get to the top, make a U-turn and run along the top of the wall to find Molthor. He has an interruptable fear (Twisted Visage) and a cone attack (Thunder Crash) that hits decently hard. Oh, and some annoying but irrelevant adds. Occasionally, Molthor spawns at the back of the Swollen Vault instead of in the tower; I don’t bother with him if that’s the case.
  5. Do another U-turn, run back along the wall the way you came, and make a left at the long stairway leading up to Nalak and the entrance to ToT. Go down the stairs and look to your left; in the large hollowed-out tree will be Goda, the giant turtle.  All he does is a Shell Spin, which knocks you back; you can stun him out of it for extra DPS time. Probably the most annoying boss, just because he has the largest health pool of all of them.
  6. Run back up the stairs, and make a left at the place you came in out. Pass by Fleshcrafter Hoku and head for the forge on the far wall, where Lu-Ban will be waiting.  He periodically activates Skyforged Hammers; stun him and/or pop defensive cooldowns during this phase, as he hits pretty hard while it’s active.
  7. Run down the stairs, bypass Mono-han and run into the Lightning Vein Mine. Go straight, follow the S-shaped curve around, and head for the back entrance, where Backbreaker Uru is patrolling. (Until you get a hang of this area, take it slow and kill your way through instead of running, as these mobs are ranged and have stealth detection.) Uru will periodically cast Break Spine, which roots you, and then Massive Stomp, which does roughly 50% HP damage if you don’t jump to avoid it. Either use one of your class abilities to block/escape the root and jump the Stomp, or use defensive CD’s, your choice.
  8. From Uru, mount up and take a running jump off the back of his platform, aiming for the rocky plateau. If you make the jumps, you can ride the short distance to Al’tabim; if not, just drop into the water and swim around. Either way, once you get there, the only ability you have to worry about it Meteor Shower. These fall randomly so aren’t much of a threat, but pay attention as they do hit hard and 2-3 hits will kill you.  This ends the northern leg of the trip.
  9. Now, you have two choices; you can either beacon back to the start and start with Progenitus, or keep going and start with Mumta. I’ll assume you’re continuing where you left off. Mount up and heard toward the Court of Bones. (Incidentally, if you have any Incantations in your bags, here’s where you can use them.) Run up the stairs of the largest crypt and engage Mumta on the roof. He summons a Wailing Spirit add that moves slow but hits hard (so kite away from it) and channels a nasty damaging spell that either be interrupted or LOS’ed around one of the pillars in the area.
  10. Once Mumta is down, climb down from the roof of the crypt and head south, through the troll areas, to the beach. (If you’re an awesome engineer like me, pop your Glider and fly most of the way there.) You’ll find Ku’lai and his Tamed Pterrorwing walking around here; kill the Pterrorwing first, then Ku’lai, stunning him out of his whirlwind.
  11. Run east along the beach, then take a quick swim around the rocks to get to the cave where Ra’sha lives, guarded by two nasty elites. Bypass them however you see fit, and then kill Ra’sha (who’s a pushover).
  12. From Ra’sha, run north and into the Ihgaluk Crag area. After a few seconds, you’ll transform into a Saurok. Leap through the area heading east, and keep an eye out for the ramp heading up to Progenitus. The big threat here is Unleash Blood, which is an AoE that powerfully knocks back anything within 10 yards. Since you’re fighting on top of a mountain, this likely kills you. Keep an eye our for the red circle, and run out when it shows up.
  13.  Last but not least, head south to face the Haywire Construct, who patrols the beach area of Ihgaluk Crag. His main ability, also called Haywire, is uninterruptable and does a lot of damage over 20 seconds; just use survivability cooldowns, and heal up when it’s over. Also, be careful of adds. Probably the hardest rare to kill, so if you’re undergeared, don’t feel bad about skipping him for a bit.

That’s it! 11 bosses, 165 Valor Points. I find it entertaining to push myself to see how fast I can complete the entire run; my record (starting from Jaina and ending with the 11th boss kill) is 21 minutes. I’ll throw out the challenge: Can anyone pull a sub-20 Isle rare run?

 Posted by at 10:00 am
Jul 022013
 

leishen4273

 

Okay, so it’s not exactly cutting edge…but it is ahead of the curve. (C’mon, I’m entitled to one brag post now and then…just ignore all the skeletons in the background.) Congratulations to all my fellow raiders!

Some stats since I like them:

  • Total time to complete tier from launch: 17 weeks, though launch week was spent reclearing 5.0 content, so 16 weeks total. Since we raid 4 hours/week, that’s 64 hours. (An interesting experiment would be for someone to scrape WOL and analyze boss kill dates in the context of time spent raiding. Sure, your 12-hour/week guild may have killed LS in 8 weeks, but if it took you 96 total hours…? Of course, that’ guild has the disadvantage of fewer drops, VP, etc.)
  • Hardest bosses: Horridon, 4 weeks; Dark Animus, 3 weeks
  • Easiest bosses (first pull and kill in same week): Jin’rokh, Primordius, Twin Consorts
  • GuildOx ranking: ~12,000. Seems low, but if you consider ~32,000 guilds have killed Jin’rokh and ~25,000 have killed Horridon, we’re basically right in the middle. Given those numbers, flex raiding makes a lot more sense to me then it did previously. It seems most of us who read WoW blogs and are “plugged in” to the community, so to speak, are all naturally more interested in the game and thus gravitate to more “challenging” content, but there’s a vast audience of people out there who’ve raided a couple times and had to give it up, for whatever reason. Horridon killed 7,000 guilds; Council and Tortos 5,000 more; Megaera, Ji-Kun, and Durumu another 5k. I don’t feel like it’s difficulty killing these guilds, though, I think it’s just natural attrition, and Blizzard is hoping that flex will let guilds recruit as many players as they want (ish) for raiding so they can have a buffer to absorb manning problems.
  • Average ilvl of common raid members at time of Lei Shen kill: 523.7 (I just finished legendary, so was highest at 528)

Oh, and one obligatory DPS chart from our kill. Don’t let anyone tell you ferals aren’t viable.*

LeiShen DPS

*Excepting heroic raiders because you guys are crazy anyway…except I’m about to be one of those now. Hmm. Okay, back to work.

 Posted by at 1:38 pm
Jun 272013
 

How in the hell is it June 26th? Anyway, I got a surprise pulling of the wisdom teeth this week (surprise!), which has actually given me an opportunity to consolidate all the half-written drafts sitting on the server into one long ramble while I sit here and self-medicate with ice cream. Today, I’ll talk about the current Patch 5.4 developments on the PTR.

PvE changes

Feral didn’t get much in the way of changes (unlike the mana specs, who got big fixes), so what’s here is mostly PvP nerfs. The few PvE changes:

  • Nature’s Swiftness is gone (becomes resto spec innate) replaced by Ysera‘s Gift, which is a passive 5% heal every 5s. Ugh.

    First, that talent is terrible. Good for leveling, sure, you’ve already got a lot of other buttons to worry about when learning, and this keeps you topped off from mob to mob. In any type of endgame content, though, what kills people is burst damage, which this is NOT a preventative tool for. Renewal is, but most fights with damage spikes occur more frequently than every 2 minutes  Second, the loss of NS hurts a lot for off-healing potential. I’ve saved plenty of raiders with a clutch NS+HT when they drop low (or myself, heh). Can’t do that anymore on command; sure, you still get PS procs, but that’s not guaranteed when you need it.  Finally, no more using it to help power Dream of Cenarius, so that’s a DPS nerf (albeit minor).

  • DoC got redesigned to be for all specs, with the Feral version being nerfed to 15%. Then, they reverted the Feral change back to what it was originally. No idea what the hell will happen at this point.
  • The glyph of Ferocious Bite is doubled in effectiveness, which means I’ll think about it twice as long before rejecting it. Still, there’s not a ton of good third-glyph options, so you may as well select it if you don’t use the Glyph of Shred.

PvP changes

  • Cyclone no longer has the 20s CD for feral, but can also no longer be instacast with Predatory Swiftness. Overall, I’m okay with this change from a PvP standpoint; since they’re moving away from a design that focuses on instant casts, I was sure that wasn’t going to stick around,
  • Faerie Fire’s duration reduced to 20s (was 40s) in PvP. This is actually a buff, believe it or not, as you can always re-FF someone, but there’s not much you can do when YOU are FF’ed.
  • The Force of Nature treant now casts Entangling Roots instead of Bash. No comment on duration, but this is another PvP nerf, albeit a needed one.
  • Innervate is tweaked and restricted to resto/balance. Not really a big deal, as the only time I use Innervate now is right after a spec switch so I can rebuff a few seconds faster.

There’s a few other minor changes as well, hit the notes for the full details.

Set bonuses

The 2piece bonus is interesting, but I expect it’ll get nerfed for PvP reasons. Remember, you still keep the effect of the OOC proc (free next ability). That combined with 50%+ Mangles? Burst city, Batman. If this stuck around, you’d definitely see an ICD get put on the buff. The 4piece is less interesting, and frankly, pretty terrible from a game design perspective, as it forces the player to make a choice with no good answers. “I’m at 3CP, low energy, TF just came off CD. Do I waste CP by hitting TF now, or waste TF uptime and energy and wait until I can drop a finisher and pop TF with 0 CP’s?” Do not like.

Either way, I’m certain we’ll see the numbers get moved around (for both talents and set bonuses) as the PTR develops. It’s not time to panic yet; set bonuses get redesigned all the time.

T14 agility trinkets

Wowhead datamined the initial drafts of the agility trinkets in the last patch. Here they are (please ignore the numbers, let’s just talk about the effects for the moment):

  1. Equip: Increases the cooldown recovery rate of six of your major abilities by 39%. Effective for Agility-based damage roles only. Equip: Your attacks have a chance to grant you 11759 Agility for 20 sec. (AFAIK, it’s TF that would get the CD reduction, along with SI, Barkskin, and Ursoc.)
  2. +1959 Haste Equip: Your attacks have a [99 / 10]% chance to trigger Multistrike, which deals instant additional damage to your target equal to 1/3 of the original damage dealt.
  3. +1959 Crit Equip: Your attacks have a [161 / 100]% chance to Cleave, dealing the same damage to all other nearby targets.
  4. +1959 Mastery (3.27 @ L90)
    Equip: Your melee and ranged attacks have a chance to grant you [1068 * 20] Agility for 20 sec. Each melee or ranged attack you make reduces this effect by 1068 Agility.
  5. +1959 Agility
    Equip: When your attacks hit you have a chance to gain 11759 Mastery for 20 sec.

#1 is the most interesting one from a design perspective. Reducing TF from a 30s CD to a 20s CD “feels” like a major buff, vs. all the others which are just bigger numbers. More TF’s means more energy means more abilities means more active time, which is fun. (DPS wise, it’s not bad either, since you’re increasing the TF buff uptime from 20% to 30%.)

#2 is fairly boring, since there’s no real way to strategize it and it’s just random extra damage.

#3 is cool because they’re clearly trying to incentivize switching trinkets around on a per-fight basis.

#4 could be extremely OP for ferals if the agility reduction only happens on specials (yellow), but I seriously doubt that. As such, I think this’ll be our least valued trinket due to our high white attack speed.

#5 is also boring, but likely very strong due to the mastery proc.

Still nothing about them nerfing Rune of Reforg…err, Re-origination. It’ll happen, but hopefully it’s before people start passing on drops.

Legendary cloak procs

Included in today’s datamine was the procs for the legendary cloak – here’s what the agility one looks like. (As above, ignore numbers.)

Flurry of Xuen: Your damaging attacks have a chance to trigger a Flurry of Xuen, causing you to deal 60% weapon damage to all targets in front of you, every 0.5 sec for 3 sec.

Hmm, where have I seen this ability before..let me think…oh, right! Fists of Fury! The windwalker ability that is generally despised because it locks down your mobility! Hopefully, it’s not quite that bad; I’m assuming it keeps going if you move, otherwise it’ll be insanely frustrating. I mean, it’s a free proc, there’s no reason NOT to put it on your cloak, but let’s add another thing to the “annoy me because it procs right as I’m running out” list. Yay. Have we gotten anything to look forward to yet? Other then the fact I can now be Alaron the Crazy Cat Man?

As an aside, raids  tend to have a mechanic that the designers are focusing on. Dragon Soul was movement; MV/HoF/ToES was interrupts; Throne was avoidable damage (arguably, haven’t seen heroic). I have a feeling Siege is going to be “add killing and personal survivability,” which is going to be…fun. We’re good at one of those, and it’s not the one that raid leaders focus on.

 

 

 Posted by at 11:46 pm
Jun 062013
 

frustrated catFirst off, my apologies to anyone who attempted to get to the website last Saturday. My hosting provider decided that my site was using too many resources, so they blocked my site and sent me an email…at 6 AM on Saturday morning. Right, I’m going to be on that one immediately. :) Thanks to Twitter friends, I found out what was going on,  made a few tweaks and got them to unblock it Sunday morning. That said,  this is the third time it’s happened, and it’s really annoying that they don’t give me a prior warning so I can figure out what’s causing the resource usage spike. (Remember, Saturday at 6AM…not likely to be user activity, so must be something misconfigured somewhere, but I can’t fix it unless I see the problem happening.) Anyway, I will be looking into new hosting providers to hopefully prevent this from happening again; hope nobody needed an emergency Catus reforge on Saturday.

I’ve got about a month to get things sorted, as I’ll be transitioning in mid-July into pre-deployment leave/pre-deployment prep/deployment. Unlike last time, I won’t say my goodbyes; I have a much better idea of what I’m getting into, and I know I’ll have time to blog once all the dust settles from the move. (Hopefully not famous last words.) Either way, though, I won’t have much to say from mid-July through mid-September, or therabouts.

In cheerier news, I’ve finally secured a 502+ helm, so I’m seeing the benefits of the metagem for the first time, and it’s quite nice. Other than that, though, I’m already bored with 5.3. The stuff in the Barrens is fun once, but there’s not enough depth there to encourage replayability; now that I’ve completed it twice, there’s not even a meaningful reward to earn save transmog gear and Valor Points.  I loved the few heroic scenarios I did, but interest in those has dropped off; I can’t find people in Trade anymore who want to run one, and my guild of working professionals is hit-or-miss on when they’re around. So…yeah. Still need to do the new Brawlers bosses, though, so at least that’s something. Keeping a feral rotation going on Hexos is frustratingly fun. :)

Oh, and before I forget, the Team Waffle podcast is hosting a Feral Roundtable this Saturday at 11 AM PST; there’s an active thread on the forums here for question submission, so feel free to ask whatever suits your fancy. Our own Tinderhoof (yes I still claim him) will be participating, along with several other heroic PvE/high-rated PvP players. I’ll link to it again when the recording goes up, but if you don’t get your question into the thread, feel free to pop into their twitch stream during the broadcast and ask then!

(I also forgot to link Edgy’s interview a few weeks ago; check it out for some more perspective on Catus and the hard-knock feral life.)

 Posted by at 12:08 am
May 212013
 

Made a to-do list for myself for whenever I finally get into patch 5.3, and figured I’d share.

  1. Go get your 3 MoguCoins (because you’ll forget if you jump right into all the shiny new stuff)
  2. Spend your VP on upgrading whatever you want to upgrade. Priority should go to the items with the most stats, aka weapons, trinkets, chest/pants, etc. Upgrading is fairly cheap, so I wouldn’t worry too much about upgrading something only to replace it later.
  3. Queue for Pinnacle LFR (because I still need runestones and a helm for my legendary meta). If you’ve finished through Chapter III of the legendary questline, go talk to Wrathion. Datamined info says that next step is a solo scenario where you visit one of the Celestials, with each Celestial offering a different challenge based on role (melee/ranged/tank/heal). Reward is an ilvl 600 cloak.
  4. Go talk to Loremaster Cho to start the new Battlefield Barrens questchain, and do the two required scenarios.
  5. Port to Barrens and complete quests there. Once complete through Battlefield: Barrens, you can come back to Pandaria and do a quick finishing quest to get some 502 boots.
  6. Find 2 other people and queue for a heroic scenario. The first one you complete has a guaranteed random ilvl 516 item; after that, the first one each day has a chance at a 516, so might start trying to round people up on a nightly basis until I’m in full 522’s/upgraded 502’s.
  7. At some point, go clear out Kara/SSC/TK for the new battle pets, and give the new Brawler’s Guild a try. Got Rank 8 before, interested in seeing the Rank 9-10 guys.
  8. Oh, and check out the new version of Force of Nature.
 Posted by at 3:26 pm
May 202013
 

It’s PATCH DAY TOMORROW! I’ll run down what ferals need to know real quick.

Savage Roar now increases physical damage done by 40%, instead of 30%.

Feel the love! This won’t be quite a 10% damage increase, but it’ll be close to that. Don’t expect to shoot right to the top of the meters, though, as pretty much all the melee classes (excepting warriors, rogues, and DK’s) got some buffs too. No nerfs, as far as I can tell, so raid DPS should go up across the board.

Tranquility now targets 12 raid members (up from 5) each time it heals when used in a 25-player instance. This change also applies to players using the Symbiosis version of Tranquility.

This change equalizes the power of Tranquility in both 10’s and 25’s, and is a large change to the better for those ferals in the larger raids. Tranquility is now a definite option as a raid cooldown.

Force of Nature is no longer on global cooldown and summons a single Treant. The Treant no longer has a control bar, immediately uses its special abilities on the Druid’s current target, and accumulates 1 charge every 20 seconds up to a maximum of 3 charges.

I’ll have to play around with this and see what I think. It won’t outstrip SOTF for overall damage, but should be interesting for dailies/scenarios where stuff dies fast. Does it still have a targeting circle? If not, it can be macroed. I think this will probably get used for the stuns more than everything else.

Mark of the Wild had its mana cost reduced to 5%, down from 10%.

Yay for rebuff on spec switch.

Guardian Mastery: Nature’s Guardian is now 33% stronger (2% per point instead of 1.5%).

While mastery is still pretty bad for guardians, this does help the offspec tanks like me who can’t be bothered to reenchant all our feral gear.

Lots of other goodies out there too, of which the big one is the return of item upgrading, at a much cheaper price. Which item to upgrade should be pretty self-explanatory; stick with anything you won’t replace anytime soon, and prioritize items that are more important, such as weapons and trinkets. I’ll take a more detailed look at that soon. If you’re looking for a rundown of patch changes for the other specs, here you go: Sunfyre’s got moonkinBeru’s got restoration, and Arielle’s got guardian. The full PTR patch notes are here.

Personally, I’m just waiting for Jin’rokh to drop that helm so I can use my legendary metagem. :(

 

 Posted by at 3:02 pm