Mar 042012
 

Some quick notes about the stat changes announced in the latest Dev Watercooler. (This “work” thing that adults do sucks. I’m in a ‘write, play, sleep; pick two’ situation right now.)

Spell Resistance

  • Spell resistance is gone. There are no buffs that improve it and there shouldn’t be much, if any, spell resist gear left. We always thought the system was hard to understand and we weren’t getting much gameplay out of it. Now taking a step back, we can imagine how to develop a game where you’d want various forms of resist gear for certain situations and opponents. Resist gear could potentially be interesting, but it isn’t currently in World of Warcraft — the game has just been moving away from that sort of thing for years.
  • In the absence of spell resistance, there is no need for spell penetration on gear, so we’ll remove it as well.

I’m mostly in favor of this, but I think it makes the game less interesting for tanks. There’s been several bosses where it was necessary to juggle magical mitigation with physical mitigation, which led to some hard choices (Heroic Sindragosa springs immediately to mind). I’m usually in favor of simplifying uninteresting mechanics, but I’m not sure this one was uninteresting. If anything, I’d have liked to see all the schools collapsed into a single “Magic Resistance” stat that didn’t function in PvP (because, yes, Spell Penetration was dumb.)

Hit and Expertise

  • We still think having stats that can be capped is a good game design. Rather than focusing solely on stacking your best stat, you have to decide how valuable it is to hit your target before you go back to stacking your best stat. However, we are making some changes.
  • Hit and spell hit will no longer be separate stats. The hit stat negates melee miss and spell miss.
  • Expertise will negate dodge and spell miss, then parry.
  • Expertise will be listed as a percentage, just like hit, instead of having an intermediary stat.
  • We are normalizing hit with expertise, so that 1% of each stat will require the same amount of rating.
  • We are normalizing melee and spell hit, so that spell miss is equal to melee miss plus dodge.
    • Against an equal level creature: 6% spell miss, 3% melee miss, 3% dodge, 3% parry (from the front only), 3% block (from the front only).
    • Against a +1 level creature: 9% spell miss, 4.5% melee miss, 4.5% dodge, 4.5% parry (from the front only), 4.5% Block (from the front only).
    • Against a +2 level creature: 12% spell miss, 6% melee miss, 6% dodge, 6% parry (from the front only), 6% Block (from the front only).
    • Against a +3/boss level creature: 15% spell miss, 7.5% melee miss, 7.5% dodge, 7.5% parry (from the front only), 7.5% block (from the front only).
    • Ranged attacks will be able to be dodged. Hunters will benefit from expertise and will have it on their gear, which will also allow hunters and Enhancement shaman to share gear more easily.

I like these changes. Essentially, they listened to my rant a little while ago about how it wasn’t fair that bosses could dodge melee attacks but not spells. :) Actually, I think that’d make even more sense from an intuitive perspective; make spell and melee miss the same, but make dodge apply to spells as well. Of course, that probably breaks other stuff I’m not thinking about right now.

Block

  •  The chance to block will be handled by a separate combat roll for each attack that is not avoided. In other words, we first determine if an attack misses, or is dodged or parried. If it is not, then the attack has a chance to be blocked.
  • This gives block a consistent value, regardless of avoidance. Currently block becomes more valuable the more you have.
  • Block will also have diminishing returns, much like dodge and parry. This doesn’t mean that the value of block will go down as you get more block. It means that it won’t go up by as much when you get more block.
  • We don’t expect Protection warriors or paladins to get “block capped” other than during temporary effects, such as mastery procs on trinkets. Block tanks will be balanced around this change. Our intent is to make playing block tanks more fun, not to nerf them.
  • Also notice how Shield Block and Shield of the Righteous have changed in Mists.

While I don’t think this change accomplishes what it says it’s going to (Theck has extensively discussed how changing to a two-roll system couples block to avoidance, and I won’t rehash that here), I’m not actively opposed to it. I do want to see how this affects masteries, however. If bullet 2 above read “This enables us to better balance tank mitigation for block and non-block tanks,” I’d have no problem with it. Really, the block problem wasn’t the implementation, it was the overly generous mastery scaling that allowed for capping. I’m not really seeing a change here; if wars/pals can get block capped with a trinket proc, then that better mean “in the last tier of heroic gear,” or they’ll just be capping again.

Criticals

  • All spells and abilities will crit for double damage, baseline. There are a few exceptions where crits can get larger, but the default is x 2.0 for everyone.
  • This means that Enhancement shaman spells and rogue poisons will crit for double damage. Rogue poisons will also use the melee hit chance.

No complaints.

Resilience

  •  We are renaming this stat to “Defense (PvP)” or possibly “PvP Defense.” All players will have 30% base Defense, the same way all characters have some base Stamina.
  • PvP gear will have Defense on it, as well as a new stat, “Power (PvP).” Power increases the damage you do to other players as well as the healing you do to other players in PvP situations.
  •  If you have a lot of Power, you’ll do more damage to other players, but they likely have Defense as well. If you fight players in lots of PvE gear, they’ll take more damage. Likewise, a player in PvE gear won’t have enough Power to effectively penetrate your Defense.
  • The names PvP Power and PvP Defense may not be final, but we’re leaning towards going with stat names that are obviously PvP-related, rather than “fluffier” names that might not be as easy to grasp. We want it to be clear to players that neither Power nor Defense have any relevance when fighting creatures, such as in dungeons or raids.
  • PvP gear will be lower in item level than PvE gear of an equivalent tier, however the Power and Defense stats will make sure that PvP gear is more powerful in PvP (both offensively and defensively) than PvE gear. In our budgeting system, the PvP stats will be free rather than causing other stats, such as Strength or haste, to be smaller as a result of including Power or Defense.
  • The goal of this change is to make it easier for a PvP player to participate in PvE, or for a PvE player to get started in PvP. Currently, we feel it is too large a barrier to go from one to the other, and the result has been that we see more and more players choosing to focus exclusively on only PvP or PvE. In earlier expansions, it was more feasible to use PvE gear in Arenas or Battlegrounds until you acquired the more useful PvP gear. The same was true of being able to use your PvP gear in a dungeon or raid until you acquired something better. In Cataclysm, stepping into PvP with no PvP gear would result in a player being so ineffective that it was difficult to even make progress towards acquiring PvP gear.
  • For the higher-end of PvP or PvE (say Gladiators or heroic raiders), we believe those players will still gravitate towards the dedicated PvP or PvE gear. It is the players who are working towards those two end games that will benefit more from some cross over.

Uhh….what? Can someone explain to me how bullet 3 (Players in PvE gear take more damage and do less damage, since they have less PVPP/PVPD) and 6 (We want players to be able to use their PvE gear in PvP) make any sense? Other than that, this change is mostly cosmetic, and makes gearing look very similar to SWTOR. I don’t really get the point of having two stats…why not just have the PvP stat (whatever you call it) buff both resistance and damage done? Reforging, perhaps?

Apr 272011
 

Hey everyone, I would like to announce a new area over on our forums.  Sylv’s Snippets.  This is a new area I have started for smaller articles that aren’t enough for a full article.  These are WoW, feral, and off-topic articles meant to start conversation and get some good discussions going.  Think of it as sitting around in a bar and talking shop.  Please stop by and join in.

As always be sure to subscribe to the RSSfeed and use the forums. Are you on Twitter? I am, follow me @Sylvaneart. Feel free to PM me with any questions you might have, but the forums on this site are your best bet. This will help to answer one question one time instead of one question multiple times. This site is a posting spot for many great cats. If you are the noob with a noob question and are a little embarrassed then a PM will do fine. I will never ridicule you.
Sylvaneart

Apologies

 Uncategorized  3 Responses »
Jan 192011
 

Apparently the trinket list in part 2 of my gear list broke IE browsers; as I use Firefox/Chrome, I never noticed. My apologies. (And, happily, the phpBB notification of new posts in the forum also broke. Bah. Thank you to everyone who tried to tell me.) I find it ironically funny that FF/Chrome has no problem with the extra spurious code from Microsoft Excel, but IE can’t handle it.  Until I can get home and fix it properly, I’ve dropped a text version of the post in the forums here.

If anything else on the site is causing problems, please let me know.

Difficulty in WoW

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Sep 162010
 

I commented on this (a bit) in my last post, but I wanted to toss out some further thoughts from an old post draft I had.

Difficulty Choice


Is WOW too hard or too easy? Well, it depends on your skill level. Skilled players get frustrated with “easy,” because it’s boring. Less-skilled players get frustrated with “normal” or “hard,” because they aren’t having any success. This is obvious. Of course, difficulty levels in multiplayer co-operative games like WoW get much more complicated, because there are SEVERAL different types of skill for the developers to test, such as:

  • Theorycraft Skill: can a player analyze and determine the best ability usage/gear selection for their class/role?
  • Time Skill: can a player invest enough time to acquire all the resources needed for optimum performance?
  • Arcade Skill: can a player implement their desired theorycraft in an encounter, while still following the encounter’s other rules? Can they manage scarce resources (mana/energy/rage/RP) successfully?
  • Reaction Skill: can a player interpret and react to changing conditions?
  • Recruitment Skill: can a player recruit enough players with similar skill to create a team, can he/she adjust that team as determined by assessment of the fight, and can he/she keep everyone happy?
  • Leadership Skill: can a player assess others (and himself) to determine improvement, and communicate that in a respectful way?

History of WoW Difficulty (skip down to the bottom if you don’t want to read some background)


With all of these factors in play, WoW’s designers were initially very hesitant to provide any type of “user-selectable” difficulty levels. The general idea was that the difficulty of the content would increase with progression, so that players could only complete content up to the limit of their skills. Looking at BC, this meant that your top 90% of guilds could complete Karazhan, top 50% could complete Gruul’s/Mags (going from 10man raids to 25man raids lost a lot), top 30% could complete SSC/TK, top 10% could complete MH/BT (and “finish” the expansion) and maybe 5% would finish Sunwell (the “second” ending.) Obviously, this pissed a lot of people off who liked raiding but weren’t good enough to finish the content. (Of course, it was never them, it was their guild/schedule/something holding them back.)

BC also introduced “heroic modes,” for 5-mans only. While this was billed as a user-selectable difficulty choice, it was something that had to be unlocked (typically by multiple runthroughs of the normal 5-man). This created a progression path: run all the normal 5-mans for experience and rep; run them again on heroic difficulty for the better gear; then start your raiding. Essentially, this made it not a choice at all; normal mode was a prerequisite, that once completed, was generally never returned to.

Patch 3.0: Achievements

WOTLK introduced the “new model” of raiding. Every raid was available in a 10man or 25man flavor. Content became generally easier to complete, but an optional set of tougher conditions was added, that if satisfied, provided the player or group with a reward. In most cases, the reward was not game-affecting (achievement points, tabards, mounts), with the exception of one encounter, Sartharion. “Sarth3D,” as it was typically known, provided the group with extra, higher-level gear (that boosted player performance) for approaching the fight in a more difficult manner; players could engage Sartharion’s three lieutenants individually for an easier fight, or with Sartharion for a harder fight.  As far as I’m aware, this was the first implementation of user-selectable difficulty in a raid. Blizzard had taken a few stabs at the idea before, but those challenges (DM tribute runs, ZA bear runs) were typically based around creating difficulty by decreasing time.

5-man instances also changed; there was still the normal/”heroic” split, but heroics were now free to enter at lvl 80, with no prerequisites. While this made selecting difficulty more of a choice, normal modes were generally ignored for maximum-level players due to the unsuitability of the gear (half of the normal WOTLK instances available at 80 grant rewards less powerful than that available from completing solo quest lines). Normal/Heroic really meant “introduction” and “normal.” (Well, excepting Oculus…which Blizzard changed after everyone complained.)

Patch 3.1: The Heroic Choice

When Ulduar came out, Blizz took its first baby steps towards standardizing selectable difficulty levels, by making most encounters in Ulduar similar to Sarth3D. You could simply kill the boss, receive the regular rewards, and continue, or you could kill the boss a certain, harder way, receive better awards, and get a bit more lore and story. Ulduar was difficulty done right. The very first boss had five difficulty modes; the easiest so easy that you could complete it without knowing any of the mechanics of the encounter; the hardest so hard that it was ranked as one of the toughest fights in the game. Each successive step up the difficulty scale added challenge, but also more/better gear drops. Finally, the choice was available immediately; no “unlocking” required. The best part was the “hidden” questline, that required defeating several bosses on “hard” mode in order to open a secret, final boss. Players interested in content and story got to see 95% of the storyline by completing the instance normally; players interested in full completion (and better gear) sweated through the hard modes.

Unfortunately, Blizzard didn’t agree. Setting the difficulty level involved a different process for each boss; what many players found “immersive,” Blizzard felt was “confusing to new players.” The trigger-based model of hard modes was scrapped, and vast changes were in store for Patch 3.2.

Patch 3.2: Redefining Badges, Heroic Means Something

The controversial 3.2 patch not only began the gigantic gear inflation currently found in the game today (via the obsoleting of lower-tier badges), it also completely redefined the nature of how Blizzard defined difficulty levels. Up to this point, the game UI referred to 10-man modes as “normal” and 25-man modes as “heroic,” even though they were supposed to be equivalent. Taking their cues from the design (which usually featured harder challenges and better gear in 25-man), most players had the same opinion as they did for 5-mans, seeing 10-man as “introduction” and 25-man as “normal.” 3.2 explicitly redefined Trial of the Crusader (the new raid content) into 4 different modes, 10/25 normal/heroic. Each mode was separate, meaning a raider could (and frequently did) clear TOC 4 times a week. This led to quite a bit of raider burnout, as many felt “raiding less” was not an option. (Can’t let your guildmates down, etc. Bah. If Gevlon’s taught me anything, it’s that raiding is based on skill, not gear). The choice was somewhat academic, though, as the heroic mode could only be unlocked by completing normal once.(Which, like heroics, meant that once the harder mode was available, there was no reason to go back to easy mode, excepting grinding for badges.) Of course, this hard mode wasn’t available until over a month past the release of TOC, since Blizzard decided to tightly restrict player’s initial progression.

Patch 3.3: Scaling ICC, Dungeon Findering

3.3 introduced the expansion’s final raid, Icecrown Citadel, and introduced a new time-scaled difficulty mechanic. On release, players fought in ICC at their normal power. As time progressed and their faction “gained ground” in ICC, they received a stacking buff that essentially made fights easier. This added another scaling factor concurrent with others (better gear, better experience with fights) that made the content much more accessible for all levels. Lesser-skilled players or latecomers can now challenge the Lich King with a 30% increase in character power, which markedly reduces the amount of time they need to spend on the other curves (gearing, gaining experience/skill). Generally, I think this is a good thing for the game. Unfortunately, on the tougher end of the spectrum, things were still tightly controlled. Content was tightly gated (the final bosses were not available for almost two months after ICC was first released) and heroic mode was locked until normal was completed.

The Future?


Well, now that you’ve sat through a tiresome rehash of raiding history, what’s my point? I think Blizzard has done a great job throughout the expansion of opening up raiding (the core WoW activity, though certainly not the only one) and making it more accessible to the masses. Unfortunately, the other end of the spectrum (the skilled players) has suffered. Gated content and a forced progression path bore skilled raiders until they hit content that matches their difficulty level.

(Yes, world’s smallest violin, I know. Hear me out.) Obviously, it makes good business sense for Blizzard to cater to the majority of their playerbase. However, the serious players are the ones who create the value-added services that the regular players use. All the blogs, strategy websites, item databases, addons, etc. are created by players who are deeply involved in the game. Too much simplicity will eventually drive them away. We don’t want to make WoW into FFXI, but we also don’t want Farmville. Here’s a few easy-to-implement suggestions:

  • Make heroic mode an actual CHOICE. Screw this “have to finish on normal first” crap. Make normal mode start out moderate-to-hard, which eventually turns into easy-to-moderate as some combination of better gear + more skill + scaling buff comes into play. (ICC is a good example of this.) Make heroic mode  start out “OMFG WTF hard” and end it moderate-to-hard, as you’re releasing the next tier. The hardcore players can start out on heroic and have “fun” wiping 50 times on the first boss, while everyone else proceeds as a regular pace. Of course, if you do this, you’ll run into the problem that many players will want to do heroic before they should. Here’s how you thin that out: Don’t incentivize heroic mode with gear a tier higher then normal mode. (Put down the torches.) Think of all the benefits from a design perspective. Players will only do heroic mode because they want it to be HARDER, not because they want better stuff. Most players will still with normal; and that’s fine, that’s why it’s NORMAL. Want to incentivize heroic? How bouth this: bosses drop EVERY item in their loot table. And theirs glow, or sparkle, or have spikes, or have something that clearly sets them apart, for a while. (And give an achievement, of course.) This lets players and raidleaders make a tactical choice (remember, that’s what we like doing). Try the heroic mode to gear up the guild FAST and look cool, or stick with normal and what you know will work.
  • Kill the forced gating, and just make it clear that the bosses on heroic will start out incredibly hard (think YS Zero-Light or HLK). Obviously, you want to scale it down eventually (or scale players up, like ICC) but make it at least possible to do.
  • Introduce new challenges as part of the new Guild UI. We’ve had timed achievements…why not build in a timer that starts when “instance door x is opened”  and ends when the instance is clear? Publish the times via Armory, and give progression guilds another things to compete over. It could definitely increase the longevity of older content. (Let’s split our 25-man raid into two teams and clear two Naxx wings simultaneously! Possible? Dunno. Fun? Oh yeah.)

Of course, I’m not a Blizzard designer, so this will never happen…but it’s nice to dream, isn’t it? Post your thoughts in the comments.

Mar 162010
 

I haven’t put pen to paper fingers to keyboard recently on this blog, since I’ve actually buckled down and started working on a new self-hosted site for it. It’s actually up and running now, but I still have a bit more work to do on it before going public (should be sometime this week). I’ve got several topics that I’m excited to be covering.

Screamin Mimi

 Uncategorized  1 Response »
Mar 122010
 

We were pretty stretched for people last night, due to some unexpected cancellations/issues, so  we decided to go do some Ulduar, after zerging Naxx for the weekly. (It’s a bit sad when you can down Anub’Rekhan in under a minute.) Apparently, CD had tried to get to Algalon-25, but never made it through Mimiron HM, and had set it aside when TOC came out. After a breezy clear, we get to Mimi, and our RL asks for those with healing off-specs to go heals for some learning attempts.

Now, I hadn’t healed in a while, but I still had a decent T9 set in my bags, so I threw that on, quickly set up my spell bindings in Vuhdo (lost all my settings in the move, haven’t healed since) and was ready to rock…I thought. (Note: I’ve never done 25M Ulduar past Auriaya, period.) Phase 1 wasn’t too bad, once we worked out spacing issues. Phase 2?

HOLY S***. HOW did people do this in Ulduar-level gear? My stream of consciousness was something like this:

rejuvrejuvgetoutoffirerejuvdodgerocketrejuvgroupdyingWGSMcraponfiremoverejuv
crapmeleeoutofrangemoveWGrejuvabouttodiebarkskinrejuvNSHT
dodgelasersmovecrapcleararcisburningrejuvWGwtf20%manainnervahhburnin….kindling.

Okay, our full-time resto druid can take over, I’m done now. Seriously. I looked at WoL, and the P2 raid damage is roughly equal to BQL raid damage, and burstier. Thank GOD our RL marked group leaders; it was all I could do to follow that triangle (and I failed a lot…I’m pretty sure I took the most flame damage for the whole raid)

We actually almost beat him; we lost half the melee to a frost bomb in P4 and couldn’t make the enrage timer. Bah.

(Hopefully, there’s a couple old cannon-cockers out there who get the title reference.)

Mar 092010
 

I’ve been waiting to comment on the new mastery system until we got a little more info, but I feel compelled to note Eyonix’s clarification today, as it directly affects feral druids.

First, the original Mastery summary:

…Here’s how the system works: As you spend points in a given talent tree, you’ll receive three different passive bonuses specific to that tree. The first bonus will increase your damage, healing, or survivability, depending on the intended role of the tree. The second bonus will be related to a stat commonly found on gear desirable to you, such as Haste or Crit. The third bonus will be the most interesting, as it will provide an effect completely unique to that tree — meaning there will be 30 different bonuses of this nature in the game. This third bonus is the one that will benefit from the Mastery rating found on high-level (level 80 to 85) gear.

Several examples were given in the original post, such as a holy priest which received +%healing, +mana regen, and small HoTs on direct heals. You will only get this bonus from the tree in which you have the most points, and there will be a cap to discourage 0/0/76 type builds. Now, while this is a good system, I (among others) were unsure on how it would handle ferals (and DKs) who have two separate roles within the same tree. Hence, today’s clarification:

2) Ferals will have passive bonuses that say Cat: melee damage done, Bear: damage reduction. For death knights we have a different plan in mind that we’re not quite ready to discuss. DKs are undergoing some slight changes so they aren’t so GCD constrained and are less limited by rune cooldowns.

So, presumably, bonus 1 will be Bear +damage reduction / Cat +damage increase, bonus 2 will be +agility, and bonus 3? Dunno. Maybe Cat +bleed damage, Bear +%HP? That sounds pretty good, and it also sounds like we’ll be able to continue with a limited hybrid spec for early content.

PP down

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Mar 082010
 

Well, that wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it was going to be. Got him on our ninth pull and had an hour left in our raid time to wipe on Sindragosa trash. :) We effectively 24-manned, since we had a healer auto-release (oops), so I think we would have still gotten him without the buff.

Fight tips:

  • Pick a strategy for experiment management and stick with it. We kept PP permanently on the green side; this let our melee stay stacked up to take a hit, or move with the slime and then jump in front for ranged. Gas clouds were easier; the target kites it past PP so the melee can break off and kill it quickly without having to run halfway across the room. It sounds complicated, but it’s not too difficult after a few attempts.
  • Managing phase transitions are a pain, but it’s important, especially going into P3 (you lose the abom, so no slows on the add). We were stopping DPS on PP at 36%, which worked most of the time. If you’re having problems with this, try splitting DPS with PP at 36-37% while a slime’s up. An add at 20% health isn’t a big deal, but an add at 100% health will probably wipe your raid.
  • Tanks really have to be on the ball for this one, kiting wise. The slime’s easy to stay out of; the choking gas bombs, not so much, but make the effort. Melee DPS will be target switching so much that they’ll have trouble tracking the gas bomb timers (I know I did). Our tank did an amazing job of kiting PP, and our other

Feral tips:

  • Bears make for a great OT here, since they can go cat and dps P1/P2.
  • Use your speed! You should be in on every slime stack (unless your strategy dictates otherwise). Pop Barkskin to help mitigate the damage. Also try to position yourself so that the explosion sends you back towards PP; if your DPS is reasonable (and it should be if you’ve made it here), the slime should be mostly dead at the first explosion, so you can just switch back to PP; this will save you some time.
  • Save FC/Dash for getting back to PP. Dash is also great for kiting the Gas Cloud (If it’s up, pop BS to help with the damage)
  • Berserk in P1 and on CD in P2; save the third for P3.
  • Do NOT get hit by Choking Gas in P3. The tank should be kiting away from them, but he’ll be constrained by slime. They’re almost impossible to spot (IMHO) if you don’t see them spawn, so keep your eyes open when the timer goes off.
  • I didn’t on the kill, but in retrospect, one of our previous wipes might have been a kill if I’d used Tranquility. With NI, you’ll be kicking out 10K hps for 8 sec. Great for keeping the tanks propped up for the final 5%. It’s especially good to do this if you get hit by the Choking Gas, as you’re pretty useless dps-wise until that wears off.

This and that

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Mar 072010
 

Not a lot to say tonight; just a few random thoughts floating through my brain that don’t really deserve their own post. We’ll call them postettes. (postellas?)

  • Personally, I’m pretty happy with the DPS I’ve been doing. I don’t have a good measurement for this week, but I did pull top DPS for my “segment” on BQL. (As in, I was one of the last 8 to get bitten, and I was ninth on overall DPS, just over 10k.) As much as I enjoyed shepherding my previous guild, it’s a welcome change to be nearer to the bottom of the DPS charts than the bottom. I should come up a little bit as well next week, now that my desktop has finally arrived from Korea…DPSing at 4-5 FPS is a challenge. I’m okay with the standard rotation, but as soon as I start having to move, things get ugly.
  • It’s a bit unfortunate that we chose BQL as our first end-wing boss to work on, as the 5% buff makes the gear check much, much easier. We had the mechanics down two weeks ago, but never the raw DPS/HPS (we’d always lose at least one person coming out of the 2nd air phase). We probably put in 30+ attempts over those two weeks (and there was more before I joined the guild) and the closest we came was 3% before our first kill last Sunday (pre-buff, FWIW). After the buff, we rolled in there with one less DPS than normal (went 7 heals instead of 6), with a few key people out, and 4-shot her. We also downed VDW for the first time…not a terribly difficult fight, it just takes a few attempts for the healers to get used to the portals/buffs. (And apparently, they’re hotfixing that to make it easier as well.) We’re taking our first shots at PP tomorrow night. I’m still amazed at the amount of progress we’re making though…we raid 8.5 hours per week, and we’re a top 5ish guild on our server. (Or maybe we’re just a backwater server…who cares.)
  • Speaking of the ICC buff, I don’t really have a problem with it; however, they really should have found a way to prevent it from being applied in heroic before they rolled it out. (At this rate, once the buff hits 30%, we’ll have people pugging the heroic version and skipping normal, just like heroics.) At the very least, have achievements that differentiate. Since it’s impossible to tell if a kill was done with it off, I predict that 99.5% of guilds will leave it on (and many of those will lie about it).
Feb 192010
 

I’ve almost finished Part 3 of my cat gear guide, but I’d like to share my preliminary conclusion now, as it runs counter to the conventional wisdom.

Don’t gem ArPen for 10M.

Why?

Our 4pT10 set bonus is amazingly good, and will boost your DPS by 4-8%. Before, Rake was one of our lower DPE abilities, enough so that FB surpassed it. Now, we’ll want to maximize our Rake uptime. (After Rip/SR, of course.) Rake does not benefit from ArPen.

Also, the real benefits from ArPen comes from having it close to the cap, due to its scaling nature. The softcap at 722 is nice (with NES), but 10M buffs and gear simply do not provide the supporting stats necessary to support stacking it in most cases, though it’s very close. (BS/JC may swing things…haven’t tested that scenario.)

However, until you get 4pT10, ArPen is relatively stronger, and will be slightly superior in many cases depending on your offset pieces and raidcomp. It’s up to you how much regemming you want to do.