Dec 212012
 

So, I was preparing some sparse notes, when…

Patch 5.2′s on the PTR! Changes! Discussion! Yay!

(Below is my quick parse and analysis of the changes, with the standard disclaimer that dataminers gonna datamine; don’t make it real.)

Talents

  • Displacer Beast no longer activates Prowl; instead increases the Druid’s movement speed for 4 seconds. (Well, THAT’s a little more useful. It’s now basically a monk roll, and the movement speed makes it useful as a PvP getaway tool for the caster druids.)
  • Cenarion Ward’s healing increased by 100%. (That just got tossed back into the discussion as a viable talent. Could be interesting if combined with DoC.)
  • Soul of the Forest‘s effect increased for Balance (post-Eclipse energy increased to 40 from 20), Guardian (3 rage from Mangle, instead of 2) and Restoration (haste buff after Swiftmend increased to 75%). (Now, I’m not as up on theorycraft for the non-feral specs, but the balance one seems pretty strong at first glance, especially because Incarnation is losing a bit of value due to the NV change. The rage buff for Guardians is still pretty crap, since most rage comes from autoattacks/crits. Resto…meh, depending on how much it boosts WG throughput.)
  • Mass Entanglement cooldown reduced from 2 minutes to 30 seconds. (RBG options just got a bit more interesting.)
  • Typhoon cooldown increased from 20 seconds to 30 seconds. (See above.)
  • Nature’s Vigil now increases damage/healing by 10% (was 20%) but has a 90s CD (was 180s). 25% off-healing/off-damage buff is unchanged.(This is interesting. DPS/PvP druids will dislike this because the value of the Incarnation+NV combo is diminished. From a off-healing (or off-damage) POV, though, you now get 33% uptime on the 25% buff, instead of 16.66%. That has a few potential applications.)

Bears (Ask @riftmaker, not me)

  • Thrash removed from Balance/Restoration Druids in Bear Form. (Shrug.)
  • Initial mastery bonus (+armor) increased from 10% to 12%. (No clue if they’re increasing scaling as well. If not, it’s just a small armor buff. If they are, mastery probably jumps to the front of the pack for hard-mode bears.)
  • The heal from Frenzied Regeneration increased by 20%. (I’ll let Arielle handle this one, since I know nothing about how well bears are scaling right now.)

Last but not least: MOTW and Revive got their mana costs slashed. Hurray for rebuffing in combat (and being able to rez two people back-to-back for non-resto!) Anything I missed?

(Oh, and one of these days I’m going to go update the Feral guide on the site/WoW forums. May proceed faster if cookies are submitted, just an FYI.)

UPDATE: Official (draft) notes posted. Things the datamine missed/got wrong:

  • Cyclone now has a 30 second cooldown and shares DR with a lot of stuff. (Have to think about this one; more later.)
  • Symbiosis Shattering Blow now has a cast time.
  • Mastery does now scale better, which does make mastery the god stat for bears.
  • Rejuv gets a 9% mana cost reduction, which should help Resto out.
  • Faerie Swarm now can be placed on multiple targets.
  • Force of Nature treants buffed (to an unknown degree, will have to look at this more closely).
Dec 152012
 

A I mentioned on WoM, I’ve been struggling with writer’s block lately. As I did there, I’m going to designate one day a week where I MUST write something (even if I think it’s terrible) in order to get something out there, even if it’s just an aggregation of links I find interesting.

(EDIT: Of course I would write this and then forget to hit Publish. That’s not very interesting. So, I added an interesting story to the d’oh thread linked below. :))

Rip Bug (Error in your Favor; Collect DPS)

So, I’ve deliberately kept quiet on this for a little bit to give those that found it some time to play with it, but it’s time to go public. :)

Stenhaldi (and others) discovered that if you cast Rip on targets inside an Ursol’s Vortex, that Rip becomes infinitely extendable via Shreds instead of just  That means you can prep a super-Rip (via trinkets, potion, DoC, etc.), apply it, and keep it rolling for as long as your energy/OoC procs hold out.

This isn’t gamebreaking by any means, as you won’t have the energy to keep the Rip rolling once Berserk/Heroism is over, but it’s certainly a damage gain. I’ve seen DPS increase estimates from 5% to 20%. Don’t get accustomed to it though, it’ll get hotfixed fairly soon.

More in the forum thread.

Talent/Trinket Rankings and Stat Weights

This thread is epic enough that it’s worth an article of its own, but I’ll just highlight it here and let you go read. Big thanks to aggixx for putting all this together.

Other Stuff

  • Weapons: N Tsulong’s staff (w/epic gem) beats H Spirit Kings polearm, LFR staff w/gem beats N polearm. Seeing that question a lot.
  • If you’re looking to spend VP on upgrades: Weapon >>> Trinkets > Other stuff. Of course, do your research and don’t upgrade things that you’ll be able to get a dropped upgrade for.
  • The d’oh thread keeps on rolling. :) Want to share about something silly you did during a raid? Post!
  • A good discussion on my forums about tips for harder bosses in Brawler’s Guild. (Need to figure out how much invites are running for that…but I may just wait until 5.2, as the consensus seems to be that you need raiding gear to finish through Rank 8.)
  • Congratulations to kaiadam (aka Dought) of our forums for snagging the World First Glory of the Pandaria Raider as part of his guild, Midwinter!
 Posted by at 8:30 am
Nov 282012
 

The only significant Druid change in patch 5.1 is the addition of Empowered Maul for Guardians, which Arielle over at TIB has already covered extensively, and Symbiosis buffs coming back for tanks. (All the ability “changes” are just tooltip fixes.)

So, instead of blathering, check this out (h/t Sunfyre for finding this). Treant Form + Fire = TOASTY! (someone needs to check if this works, that’d take this past awesome to hell yeah)

 Posted by at 1:44 am
Nov 182012
 

(x-posted on TFD and WoM)

One of the perks of an enforced hiatus to any activity is the ability to gain some perspective. It’s been a few weeks since I’ve logged in or done any writing. I expected to feel compelled to come back; oddly, though, I’ve felt almost relieved at the lack of pressure. Why has WoW (which, y’know, is supposed to be fun) become funless for me?

Well, no matter how I slice it, I keep coming back to the same point: it’s a multiplayer game. (Duh.) While the game offers tons of singleplayer endgame content (and I include things like random 5-mans/LFR as singleplayer, because you’re not really interacting with anyone there at any serious level), let’s face it; most of those experiences are nothing more than time grinds to obtain stuff. Sure, it’s stronger stuff, or prettier stuff, which is nice, but that doesn’t change the fact that the gameplay itself to get there is mostly an exercise in tedium. Repeating content is fun once or twice, but that’s it.

The worst part: it didn’t have to be this way. Unfortunately, in the name of “fairness,” Blizzard has elected to balance single-player progression solely on time invested, and not player skill. Gone are the group quests, soloable by a good, determined player. Gone are the large gold rewards earned from running dungeons solo (yes, AoE looting compensates slightly, but only just). Etc. The only difficult challenge I’ve had this expansion has been rare elites, and their non-scaling nature means the difficulty curve for those drops off quickly as well. I’m holding out hope for Brawler’s Guild, but unless they do a complete 180 on their current stance, I won’t be seeing that content for some time.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m perfectly okay with Blizzard taking this stance, and agree completely that it’s my erratic schedule that’s at fault, not Blizzard, for why I’m not “playing like I’m supposed to.”  I’d love to do a few challenge modes, for example, but I’m still not at the point where I can agree to set aside 1-2 uninterrupted hours to learn and do one. And no, this isn’t an “I quit” post in disguise. I still enjoy racing the clock in scenarios, outDPSing people who outgear me in LFR, and, quixotically, farming. I also think I’m going to take another stab at battlegrounds (now that I have a good connection and a good PC to play on) and probably mess around with pet battles. The things I don’t enjoy, though, such as powerleveling professions on alts, VP capping every week, or random 5-mans; I’m going to stop feeling like I “have” to do them…because I don’t. Seriously. Dailies? Dailies can kiss my human/elven ass. The Shado-Pan can hate me, and I’ll go on hating them right back. (P.S. your monastery sucks too.)

In writing terms: I’ll still be kicking around, writing about what interests me, and I’ll still write the occasional guide post from time to time. My dreams of being the pre-eminent analyst for  druids and monks, though, died next to a hospital bed about six weeks ago, and I’m surprisingly okay with that.  I’m just going to keep on keeping on, probably making things up as I go.

Then again, I’ve been doing that for the past two years and it seems to be working.

 Posted by at 9:57 pm
Nov 032012
 

(xposted on TFD and WoM)

The good news: my wife has recovered enough to go home. The bad news: there’s still a lot of adjustment we have to do. I didn’t really think it through, but I actually had more free time in the hospital to play/write because the nurses took care of her personal care. Now that she’s home, I’m having to help her with everything (including adjusting to life as an ostomate), so I haven’t touched a keyboard (until now) since we got home a week ago.

I’m still keeping up with goings-on via RSS on my phone…just don’t expect me to say anything meaningful for a while. Hope you guys are having fun in WoW!

 Posted by at 3:20 pm
Oct 142012
 

My column discussing the Heart of the Wild and Symbiosis hotfixes is live over at WoW Insider. Personally, I was hoping for more discussion about HoTW, but everyone still wants to complain about Symbiosis. :) If you haven’t had a chance to try super-saiyan-Wrath-spam (or the inverse, for your normal spell-flingers) you’ve got until maintenance on Tuesday to try it. After that, you can still do it, but it won’t be a DPS increase over your standard rotation (assuming the numbers work out). There’s a huge discussion about it going in the forums too.

Speaking of Symbiosis, I’d like to compile a list of good uses for Symbiosis per encounter (thinking a list for Challenge Modes and raids). Also, some generalized recommendations for PvP would be helpful. I’ve started up a thread in the forums to discuss it, so post your thoughts here or there.

 Posted by at 11:53 pm
Oct 092012
 

Thankfully, my wife’s condition is finally starting to improve, so I’m trying to get playing and posting again! Alaron’s currently level 86, and just about to start questing through Krasarang. I ended up taking my monk to 90 first (heresy, I know) just because I was so enthralled with the storyline, but now that I’m there I’m switching back to my favorite elf.

I gotta admit, though, I’m not real fond of leveling with the new form of Feral. I never used SR while leveling during Cataclysm (except for the occasional “boss” with extra HP), and the need for it now to do non-pathetic damage is annoying. Once the rotation is rolling, it’s fine, but you know how ferals aren’t great at target switching? Questing is like target-switching over and over again. :( I’m considering going Guardian, but I’d be interested in hearing what you guys thought about leveling as feral!

 Posted by at 5:46 pm
Oct 062012
 

(xposted on TFD and WoM)

Warning: Real life trauma ahead. This is not a happy post.

So, in my last post, I mentioned my wife was in the hospital. Well, things got worse.

Originally (last Monday), she was in for a routine intestinal hernia repair. No big deal, everything was great; hell, I brought my laptop in to her room, tethered it to my phone, and got the Realm First mining achievement Tuesday, plus a bunch of monk time. She was feeling great, so they discharged her and we came home.

Well, either during the surgery or sometime following (I’d say around Friday), she suffered an intestinal perforation. Unfortunately, I attributed her lethargy and fever to post-surgical blahs, and didn’t catch on that something else was going on until Tuesday of this week, when she spiked a 102+ fever. I brought her in to the ER, thinking she just needed some antibiotics or something; she was immediately admitted and sent off to emergency surgery. The intestinal perforation had caused contents to leak into the bloodstream, which caused her body to go into sepsis (infection of the blood) and then septic shock.

It’s now five days later. Things were very close for a few days; she’s had three surgeries since Tuesday to find the perforation, repair it, and attempt to fully clean the abdominal cavity of the infection. At this point, she’ll be okay, but she’s likely to be in the ICU for multiple weeks and the hospital for longer. She was airlifted to the Army medical center in San Antonio, so I’ll be living out of the San Antonio Fisher House for a while. I’d like to get back to playing and writing about WoW, so you’ll start seeing some more material here in a few days. (It’s either that, or sit here, stare at the wall, and mentally kick myself for not getting her to the hospital sooner.)

I’ve got about 200 emails/messages to get through, so if you’ve asked me a question, I will get to you, just give me some time. I’m finding it difficult to string higher-level thoughts together at the moment.

Chase (Alaron)

 Posted by at 4:40 pm
Sep 282012
 

(xposted on TFD and WoM)

So, the good news is I got two weeks off of work. The bad news is that it wasn’t to play WoW, it was because my wife is in the hospital again. :( Thankfully, since I have no plans to raid at the moment, I’m not under any social pressure, but man. Talk about your funsuckers.

Some quick-hit thoughts from the limited time I did have to play (RAF’d the monk to 80, working through Cataclysm content now):

  • I made a last-minute decision to play my Monk as my “questing” toon, and my Druid as my “dungeon” toon. So, Alamonk (creative, no?) will knock down all the story segments, and Alaron will relearn how to play all the non-feral specs in a group setting again. :)
  • So far, the monk’s been as fun as I expected from the beta, though windwalker remains kinda eh. It works, don’t get me wrong, but it’s still missing something. I’ll have to think on it a bit more. In contrast, Brewmaster is crazy good. I did a couple of Stonecore runs just for kicks, and the whole “manuever to pick up Gift of the Ox” orbs thing is pretty entertaining, especially when you’re AoEing so you get 10-12 lying everywhere. I wish picking them up would be a little more responsive, though.
  • Feral’s pretty fun, but I still don’t like having to SR “before” every questing pull. I’m still going Ravage/Rake/dammitSR.

Once I get to 90, I’ll likely be working on some Ovale scripts for monks, and tweaking all my guides. Anyway, what are your impressions so far?

 Posted by at 4:28 pm
Sep 162012
 

So, after saying I was going to do it for forever, I finally went ahead and put in a new forum theme. Go check it out.

A brief list of new stuff:

  • Shiny. Very, very shiny. I like. If you don’t and want it the old way, go into your User Control Panel->Board Preferences and change “My board style” back to Avalon Green.
  • New forums for Monks. Instead of setting up a separate forum entirely for World of Monkcraft, I’m just pointing them over here. I hear they’ve got booze!
  • Individual RSS feed for each subforum.
  • Ranks for posters: Honored/Revered/Exalted (because I’m boring).
  • You can now change your language/timezone from British/GMT and it won’t break things! Yay!

I still might trim the header length/width down a bit (I forget not everyone has a super-high-res monitor sometimes). If there’s anything else you’d like to see or any comments, let me know.

 Posted by at 12:37 pm