Ordos is a funny encounter

I like the Ordos fight because it is simple. I dislike it sometimes because that simplicity makes people take the fight less seriously, which in turn make the encounter difficult. Essentially if Ordos’s mechanics were added into a traditional raid instance I think the fight would be considered easy.

Ordos requires one of your characters to have gained the Legendary cloak, run your way past a few fire creatures, and then dps him quickly, while moving the boss away from the huge pools of fire he drops, and having the Living Bombs applied to your raid members moved away from the rest of the people.

ordos-wide

It is in concept exceedingly simple. It is made difficult by being a primarily PuG fight where the quality of players is determined randomly. The fact that getting that Legendary cloak is required is not at all an indication that the player knows anything about what they are doing, and/or might be using a totally different character.

Last night for example I took my Druid as Boomkin to the Ordos fight. Now as a Death Knight in melee I know this fight is terrible because the Tanks don’t move and generally the living bombs go off amid the raid group. It is a cluster of fail. But hey, apparently we just run back and repeat wipe until it dies. That is PuG open world raiding (apparently).

As a Boomkin I was able to stand well back, stay away from everyone else, and dps. Twice I was selected as the bomb, but healed my way through the damage so I could keep fighting. It was easy.

It was so much easier as range dps that I cannot think why (if given a choice) anyone would do anything except stay back as range. That is what is so “funny” – the encounter is a repeated death run for melee but range get to sit back and ping and only stress about a single fight mechanic? Funny. Maybe I’m missing something. Maybe there wasn’t that post from Blizzard about melee friendly stuff. Or maybe they were not at all talking about Ordos. The kill grants huge ilevel gear (thunderforged 559!) so every PvE person will be trying to do this, and that the barrier to entry is so blistering low that we can expect all sorts of casual attitudes.

Good. Funny. I’m going to be a slacker now in Ordos too. The game wants a slack approach, then by golly I’ll live up to that challenge. Bring on the Alt Army of Noob.

I’ve parked that Druid right at the top of the stairs in front of Ordos, so I can switch, tag, kill, and loot whenever it pops each week. I’m going to park my noobie Warrior there soon too, and perhaps get a small bit of Thunderforged gear which will be great for transmog.

Grumble. Funny.

DK DPS on WoW Patch 5.4 … again

I shouldn’t look at DPS Rankings, as they are skewed in ways that mean they are one source of input for performance and are nothing like a perfect. That said, the recent updates from SimCraft are giving me deja vu.

I wrote about the 5.3 Dps rankings in August this year, and this post could use many of the same words. Meaning the upward geared DKs will be fighting harder to get the same dps as some other classes. Ref: http://www.noxxic.com/wow/dps-rankings/realistic#553. 

This is the Ranking for ilevel 553-ish gear, and I’m uninspired by how the ilevels scale.

5-4-dps-rank-553-gearWhat do we have here for Patch 5.4? Continue reading

Third 90 and more to come I suspect

My Druid ding’ed 90 in WoW last week, which makes a tally of three level ninety characters: a Death Knight, a Warrior, and a Druid.

Next will be my slowly leveling Shaman who is now level 71 (the toon in the top left if the image below) and a long time lost Shadow Priest who is level 82 (bottom left character).

In my character list I also have a handful of 85s and then each class smattered down to a lowbie Monk at level 13. I do not really want to repeat the 85-90 grind so many more times, but the leveling path in Pandaria is so fixed there is little choice. Perhaps I could level by only queuing in Dungeons and just farm my way through the Pandaria starting area for materials to sell. That will only be moderately dull as well but will ensure my lowbies have the ability to increase their professions.

The Wrath of the Lich King content on the baby Shaman is sensational by comparison to 4x more Pandaria zones and a Cataclysm story.

Mortigen, Raze, nagarj, Arkham, Aurac and Yeirah head shots

If I cannot raid regularly in 5.4 due to work & life, then I might as well start working on these alts. Getting through the levels is something I can do whilst also being interrupted, and it is not “hard” content to do. Continue reading

WoW patch 5.4 looks good thus far

There is a stack of new material to read for patch 5.4, and what I’m reading at the moment makes me think that it will be a good patch. Why? Because a lot of the material is further along that what we saw with the early v5 patches, which means I think I am getting a better view of things to come.

Linkage of interest (spoilers and opinions follow):

My highlights so far are:

  • There are new temporary titles for the people completing the realm best challenge modes, and the character only has the title while they hold the record. To keep the title you need to keep the record. That is so darn cool! i.e. “Darkmaster” for Scholomance. What warlock does not want the title Darkmaster?
  • DK have a change to Blood spec where Dancing Rune Weapon does not cost runic power anymore. Cool! I’m going to macro that puppy in now and use it all the time.
  • Interesting that Fel Armor for Warlocks, Shadow for priests, and Moonkin form for Druids no longer reduces damage taken, from 15% to 0%. The Hunter talent was reduced from 15% to 10%. Why the difference? Do Hunters still need protection from standing in bad and raid damage, but the casters are meant to know better?
  • Pvp Season 14 Armor for Warlocks is awesome looking. I want a t16 Warlock now.
  • Pve T16 for Mages is very beautiful. The glasses are a little odd, but the overall effect is stunning.
  • Flexible Raid will be interesting and I can see a huge potential for guilds to use this.
  • The “virtual servers” acting as realm combinations is a new feature which is interesting. Does this mark the unavoidable merge of low pop realms? It depends on how it is added, and what the effect is. i.e. If I join a guild on a different server using this virtualisation and then that realm becomes high pop, do I get unjoined?
  • The new solo content in the Proving Grounds is something I like to read about. Will the rewards be cosmetic (like Brawlers and Challenge modes) or gear-ups like Heroics and Scenarios?
  • The Siege of Ogrimar / Garrosh encounter is going the way I didn’t like, but hey – can’t have it all. Garrosh is corrupted/empowered by Y’shaarj who is one of the old gods, and gains all sorts of boosts from it. Reading the summary thus far the end fight in SoO might feel similar to the end of Ulduar. Not a bad thing, I would have preferred that Garrosh was a nasty bastard without having him “corrupted”. Why must our evil villains be corrupted to be evil?
  • Apparently support for dedicated sound hardware has been nurfed in WoW, and this makes the shitty chopping sound I’m getting since patch 5.3 make sense. I’ll have to research how to alter my sound config to not stutter now.
  • We have new item levels as:
    • 521 for Raid finder, 527 for Flex raids, 541 for Normal raids, 547 for Thunderforged, 554 for Heroic raids, and 560 for Heroic Thunderforged gear.
    • That means that the Normal mode gear you might have now (522) will be upgraded slightly by Flex, no real upgrade except the Tier bonuses for LFR.
    • Unless you’ve also already upgraded your 522 to 530, and then even Flex offers nothing except Tier gear. The numbers seem well thought through.
  • The Engineer’s SkyClaw mount might be in this patch.
  • Blacksmiths get another new daily transmute – the Balanced Trillium Ingot. I’m still transmuting the other stuff. Hopefully this is a useful waste of Trillium bars.
  • Les excited by a new Celestial Tournament, which will likely be the new daily quest hub. Probably also another bloody faction to grind up with. For pitty’s sake.

yshaarj-window

Lastly we have the Death Knight new Tier bonuses…

T16 PH – Death Knight DPS
2 pieces: Item – Death Knight T16 DPS 2P Bonus – Killing Machine and Sudden Doom grant 500 Haste or Mastery, whichever is highest, for ($hnd * 2 + 4) sec, stacking up to 10 times.
4 pieces: Item – Death Knight T16 DPS 4P Bonus – Death Coil increases the duration of Dark Transformation by 1.5 sec per cast. Pillar of Frost increases rune regeneration speed by 100% while active.

T16 PH – Death Knight Tank
2 pieces: Item – Death Knight T16 Blood 4P Bonus – Dancing Rune Weapon will reactivate all Frost and Unholy runes as Death Runes, and make your next 4 Death Strikes free.
4 pieces: Item – Death Knight T16 Blood 2P Bonus – Every 4 Heart Strikes, Rune Strikes, or Blood Boils will add one charge to your next Bone Shield.

For Blood I can see DRW being a bloody awesome Boom tool. It becomes a burst effect for either recovery or threat/dps. I really like that idea. The 4x set is also clever in terms of quality of life improvement where Tanks need to think about refreshing Bone Shield less.

For DPS the 4x set looks nice in terms of boosting dps on use, which is better than the current 4x set which I think is situationally great or average. Not sure on 2x set as yet.

GarroshKillEverything

Death Knight Tier 14, dress wearer’s set

Why is the DK t14 set wearing a robe/dress? (source)

It’s creepy, has skulls, and will be immediately recognisable. It does not suit the rest of the Death Knight style gear. Heck the Hunter gear looks more like DK gear than this. Perhaps there was too many Warlock sets crafted and they thought the feminine side of DKs needed a spin. I hate that dress.

Still in other T14 news the Monks are wearing lamp shades, the Priests have funny hats, and the Warlock looks awesome.

A defensive update on the patch

English: A line of M109A6 Paladin howitzers as...

Patch 5.0.4 brought us some changes, and its taking some players like me a while to understand and absorb them. I’m damned if I can fit 9 classes worth of changes in my head at once, so I’ve kept to just a few. My Death Knight main and a few of the toons that I tank with: DK, Warrior, and Paladin. I’ll get around to adding the Guardian Druid into that soon, and then also spec’ing the non-tanks like my Warlock and Hunter. I wonder if Hunters and Warlocks can pet tank / solo now.

One thing about the new Tanking model is that multi-mob tanking is much more viable, as long as the tank does not get stunned or overwhelmed. When either occur you are in deep trouble very quickly. DKs, Pally, and War all hurt when faces with 10+ mobs, and the old days of doing an instance in a single pull. Now if the mobs cannot hit your character for enough damage per second to chew through the shield, then your character will never get hurt at all. Generally that will never happen at level, and even (Level -10) needs to be considered. At (level-25) or less I think its the same old run and giggle mode, which is good. At level on normal mode all Tanks should be able to solo bosses like Slabhide with reasonable gear and use of cool-downs.

As a quick summary:

  • Death Knights – feel essentially the same as previous Blood spec did, and play very much like a dps character. Good solid fun.
  • Paladins – slow and steady damage, unkillable due to great cooldowns, highly controllable self heal. The cockroach is back.
  • Warriors – fast paced leaps, charges, and thunderclaps. High damage, lower survival. Best fun to be had by far.

Death Knight – overall nothing greatly changed, and everything did. The Blood style plays the same, and it is the other tanks who now are moved to an absorption/healing based actions (aka Active Mitigation). Essentially our world changed because we have moved from having a somewhat unique ability, to having just one of the best implementations of the soak/damage model. I liked it a a DK and like it on the others too. As dps the talents feel narrow.

I’m not sold on the concept of switching talent choices per fight, except to say that if a player can do that well they are a much greater asset to their raid than a player who specs once and never changes.

Paladin – I was newbie tanking in Outland back in the day, and loved the fact that mana was returned by getting hurt. Likewise now we get all sorts of resources back from being hurt. I’ve run a few old heroic 70 and 80 dungeons in solo mode to test the performance of the Tankadin, and while I think their overall damage is too low, the survivability is very strong.Cooldowns are needed for heavy damage spike fights and too many mobs can rip through the bubble very quickly.

Paladin’s strength is the control of when they can apply their heal, and the advantage of doing either a powerful shield strike or heal as a 3x holy power combo move. I found on bosses or big trash pulls that sometimes all I did was self heal, and the slow attrition of concentration and the AoE effects whittled down the creatures. The Paladin was never in trouble, but also never was near the DPS that the Warrior did.

Warrior – A Protection Warrior at the moment is crazy fun. They do as much damage as some lowbie dps and can head smash their way through mobs darn quickly. Having additional uses of charge via talents means that for now I grind quests as Prot. Never dying has many advantages. They are still a very agile tank, being able to move across the battle exceedingly quickly. Solo’ing was almost as easy as the others, but at times my health was dropping and it took special attention to snap it back up. Thankfully the cooldowns provide for some interesting power-ups, and I was also using Herbalism’s small heal and spare potions.

If I could somehow get a huge gear jump I think the Warrior would benefit strongly from a powerful set of items and correct re-forging. Parry and mitigation re-forging appear to make a large difference in the form discussions out there, and my Warrior feels like she wants to smash heads harder, but cannot just yet. The potential is certainly there.

But why have 3-4x tank characters?

Heroic Utguard Pinnacle (h-UP), Heroic Magister’s Terrace (h-MgT), and Normal Stonecore are all easily solo-able for all three classes, which means grinding for those elusive mounts is now easier as a character can be parked out the front of each to do each one each day with no travel time. Till the new world events this is what I’ll be spending free time on. I’m pondering adding the Druid to be parked in front of Molten Core, purely because the rare mats and drops from there still sell well.

In terms of comparison neither the Paladin or the Warrior can hold a torch to a Death Knight for solo’ing and damage. Some of that might be due to much better gear (ilevel 333 vs 378) and my familiarity with the DK class, but it seems the DK is slightly ahead for now. Warrior is probably a close second, but their healing is still not as exceptional or as controllable as the Death Knight. Things will be interesting at level 90 where we are meant to be playing, as I can see a Warrior becoming once again the powerhouse of Tanking. Having the only AoE taunt will be an exceptional ability, and as gear improves their block/soak mechanics will get stronger and stronger. A Paladin too might also be powerful again for the ancient reason they were awesome in the past, that they have so many cooldowns which increase survival. By comparison the DK cooldowns are just trivial. This is also good as I think there needs to be some separation between the tank styles and perhaps this is enough. Not sure as yet.

I’m looking forward to adding a Monk to the lineup too; 5x Tanks will be excellent.

What do I know about other classes and specs?

With the change in classes in the patch today we have all sorts of new stuff to learn. As a PSA I offer the following advice on the spec and classes. A sly review of the classes might be (ahem) useful.

DKst – Essentially there are two types, those you need to listen to because they are Tanking and they help the Mages and Hunters decide who dies first; and the rest. The first are called Blood spec, the second are called whatever you like. When I play my non-tank DK he names used are: “stop tunneling”, “move”, and “deathgrip it you tard!”. Most Dks do not know what DK stands for, but would guess Death correctly because its a leet word. Probably means Death Killerz.

Druids – Too many types, and way too many on the server. Lets face it – everyone has a Druid, and generally only the good ones get taken to raid; that is ex-trees and bears. Cats are misguided Rogues, and Boomkins are Mages who ate too many fish feasts. Get at least one in your raid and make them change spec every 3-4 trash pulls, they love that. Why else play a hybrid?

Hunters – There is only one type, and thankfully they will have no excuse to roll for non-missile weapons after patch 5.0. Handy at times for traps, and hated for the same reason. They perform their best at range, and I find the best range is about 10 miles from the raid team. A quick review of the armory indicates that Int and mana are still issues for some Hunters, so take one to a raid at your own risk.

Mages – Apparently the hardest class in wow to play well in Warcraft. I asked them. There are three types and many sub-types, but all you need to remember is that they can supply a buff and food, although both are rare. Arguments about specs is what keeps the Mage community flowing, and if you want to distract one then either get the Hunter to MD the boss to them before the pull and blame them, or tell them that an alt spec is superior and they need to re-work their toon. Typically awesome dps, and the class colour (blue for the cheap seats) looks wonderful in screenshots which is really all we need to know.

Monks – sorry what? I killed heaps of these things in SM over the years, and yet they keep persisting. As a class they will be uber powerful at everything they try, and will become the new DKs for MoP. This means they will stay awesome through they first two tiers of raiding until we’re meant to get serious about it, then they’ll be nurfed harder than Paladins on patch day and all the Monks will consider rolling back to their paladins. As they are new just assume that every monk can do all things, and yell when they can’t read your mind…you know, like Druids.

Paladins – Almost the definitive hybrid class, as they wear plate so they are less girly than other hybrid classes, but still somehow wear dresses. And no, it’s a dress not a kilt. They are made up of confused Priests which heal, confused Warriors who tank, and confused DKs who stand behind the boss and whine about moving out of the bad. Take one of the first two types to your raid. With the update to buffs we’ll likely see some really cool transmog sets and “roleplaying” in the Deeprun Tram, but very little real Paladins in raids.

Priests – the best healing class in the game with Holy, and the best animation in Shadowform. Shadow pets, shadow powers, shadow spells; see a pattern? A Shadow Priest is just emo enough to compete well with a Warlock, but not enough to re-roll DK. Way too squishy, so smack them first if you have to kill one in a team. Their most irritating feature is that their class colour is white, which makes pasting class notes from websites a two step process (one more step than they deserve). I’m sure there is a petition out there somewhere to make the class colour charcoal, so the SPr will be happy. Oh and I didn’t mention Disc spec as if you do they don’t shut the hell up. Sheesh. Put them on mute.

Rogues – Until the release of the legendary item in late Cataclysm the Rogues had gone on strike and refused to attend raids, generally being replaced by Death Knights and confused Shamans in melee. Maybe they were stealthed? If you like being sneaky and standing behind people then you will like the Rogue class and are also probably a creepy little sod. Who likes that? Makes my skin crawl. They are known for very effective stuns in pvp and for bringing nothing to the raid; ever.

Shaman – Totems are still awesome, and very confusing to non-shamans. Just assume that whatever buff, effect, or spell you need can be supplied by a Shaman and tap them on the head until you get it. Take one along, at worst they have a self res so you can wipe faster the next time. Spec wise they have more choices that is fair given they were a novelty idea in the original beta which was taken too seriously by some horde and would not shut up. Sometimes confused for Mages in screenshots and damage meters; if you see a blue bar that is doing less dps its a Shaman.

Warlocks – Incredible lore and bloody incredible emo whiners. Now I wouldn’t mean to offend, but Warlocks are just so easy to pick on that it is a shame not to. Ask a Warlock what happened post TBC to the class then walk away from the phone. In MoP they have been tweaked and buffed, primarily by updating some animations and spell effects. Very important stuff. Also voted most likely to re-roll Mage when they realise that Warlock rotations are god-awful complex, and Mages have a UI with two buttons. Oh, and they get the succubus pet which has two roles: dps and fap-fap-fap.

Warriors – A Warrior Tank is a god amongst insects in the tanking community. First and last the Warrior will stand with you through every wipe and res, until finally they crack the absolute shits and tell everyone how to play. Often they are right too, as they’ve watched the mistakes so often. A tank’s role is to stand still or walk slowly backward, and the dps try to spin in circles and roll Need on every two handed weapon in the game. They are a simple class for a simpler time, before DKs, Monks, and all the other pixel based distractions which is not old school raids. A Warrior will always be able to complete the sentence, “back in my day…”.

So yes, essentially I am unburdened by too much class knowledge. Enjoy the patch today.