Hmm. Does itemisation count for adding new WoW classes?

Another happy random topic out on WowInsider – What classes would you like to see come to WoW? I wrote:

I think they got the monk very right, except that the Monk wears leather as implemented in WoW. The game’s presentation of monks before this (via Scarlet Mon and others) was as cloth wearers and it would have been interesting to see them as cloth wearers.

So hmm, on reflection my comment was not especially on topic, but I felt it needed to be said.

Itemisation in the game wold have to change a lot to add cloth which is agility based from level 2 upward, and it would also have not helped that only a small range of uses are out there for leather with intellect and spirit. So perhaps the leather wearing monks were an easier path to introduce.

(…note: I’ll say as a lead in to this post that I liked the amalgamation of armour type with stats that was performed. Having some classes gain Hit from Spirit to reduce the range of stat combos which needed to be supplied by boss kills was clever.

I’ll say too that I am mostly for leaving the classes as they are. This is more a post about options, rather than an actual wishlist. I got the Monk class I said I wanted, but now that I have it I’m not keen as it was implemented. That is all my problem, as I accept the choices that Blizzard made happily.

Lastly I know that opening all the classes to all the races is an option, and it is another option that I’d like to see never happen. The story reason for adding anything to the game should be profound and strong. A Pandaren Death Knight is just not likely, especially in the numbers of players who would do it. Saying no to that spread of class race mixes is not a bad thing.

The ideas below conflict with that. Sorry.)

So then now we could see (but probably won’t) a cloth wearing class added? Not so sure. We have 34 specs in play at the moment, with 3x wearing plate, 3x wearing leather, 3x cloth and only 2x wearing mail.

spirit-healer

We’ve had Monks and Death Knights as new classes, so having more plate and leather conflict is going to be disruptive. We still have a single class using Plate with Intellect (caster plate) though, and the same problem in Mail caster gear. Perhaps that is a major force in what class style is introduced – add something which has less major rework required at the low end, and can give diversity to the gear spread at the high end.

So if a class was to be added it could be added to the mail category wearing Agi based and Intellect based armour. Hmm, what classes might use intellect based mail armour?

  • Demon Hunter? Uhh blarg. Too much like hunter.
  • Warmage? Or call it a Warden. A dps caster, a healer, plus melee, plus Tank who wears heavier armour than cloth, but still not a plate wearing, weapon wielding melee guy. Mail suits that concept a lot. It might have 4x spec options to keep adding breadth of choice into the game. It makes for a further mess in the spec line-up.

And now onto even stranger thoughts…

Or perhaps a class is added where their armour sub-type changes according to their active spec? Just because we have the alignment to date does not mean it actually needs to be maintained. We’ve always seen classes change their choice in weapons to suit a role, so why not their choice of armour?

Or perhaps we might see every class which has current specs which are very similar redone? i.e. Fire mage vs Frost mage, vs Arcane mage is essentially a range caster dps with a flavour and play-style. Good on them. Same kind of thing with Rogues, and certainly same kind of thing with Death Knight unholy and frost. A disc priest and holy priest also both heal, but do so in very different ways.

What if those differences were rolled into the Talent choices in the early talent trees and new and very different spec choices were added? Such as:

  • Unholy DK becomes a range caster and summoner. It suits a nice little angle of on the lore which has always been present and I do not think it would hurt greatly. It also has the advantage of adding Plate Int a new use, although also makes itemisation in the class more painful. Perhaps they also use staves and such of the casters too. The cross-itemisation might make the fight for gear more prolific, but it would also widen the range of use.
  • One of Disc & Holy is subsumed and Priests get a melee “pugilist” spec. Friar tuck with a staff, maces, or some such? (very close to what I thought a Monk would be like)
  • Hunters get a spec where they have no pet at all, but instead move into melee mode. I know that “melee hunter” is a great meme, but it would finally make my Hunter playable o suit my style.
  • I don’t know what to do with Mages and Rogues, except to make their alt-odd-spec something which changes their mode of play. How do you alter a Rogue to be either range or a heal/tank? I don’t think it can be done well. Perhaps these guys are the real straight dps in their role.

And finally what other classes might we see have a go?

  • A summoner type. Ala the Witch Doctor in D3? Hmm a clothie. It makes a sort of sense except it feels overtly niche. What is the Warcraft lore reference?
  • An engineer-ish Tinker? Very odd cross-over with the Engineering skill, and it would make an overly bold steam/magic-punk addition for my taste.
  • Bloody Bards. As healers and damage they make sense, they could provide the cross range of buffs. Armor type for bards feels like Mail as well.

cropped-nerbian-entrance.jpg

Happy hunting.

Unholy vs Frost presence for PvE DPS

A quick note to help clarify something obvious. Cataclysm has totally changed the choice of which presence to use. We are in a new and highly logical world where the two choices are Frost or Unholy. Please do not use Blood Presence for DPS any more, its a Tank Presence now.

Update 26-Sep-2011: Use Unholy presence for DPS. The rest of this post is based upon old information, and has changed. I would not expect an update to this now until after patch 4.3, or even in the next expansion.

From now onward the choice of DPS presence is between Frost and Unholy. Generally if you are an Unholy DK, then use Unholy Presence especially where fights require a lot of movement. When doing AoE where you have time to switch out of Unholy, and will not be moving back to single target quickly you can switch over to Frost Presence.

Also if you’re a Frost DK then use Frost presence for dual-weild and Unholy for using a two handed weapon (see links for proof). This is a deliberate change in style so that the spec matches the presence.

So the DPS rule is now: 2h weapon = Unholy, x2 single handed weapons = Frost.

I posted a long time ago in Wrath about which presence to use, but that post is now totally out of date. I’m posting this now because my old post still gets a lot of traffic and it needs to be corrected, and also because I’m starting to play a DK again and I’m having to retrain myself as well. Heck – I still switch to Blood sometimes by habit.

Apologies if this is stating the obvious. Happy Killing.

Tanking as Blood mandatory in expansion

There will be blood.

Looks like the writing is on the wall for Death Knights who are not using a Blood spec to tank. Blood will be the Tank tree in Cataclysm expansion.

In Cataclysm, death knights will have a dedicated tanking tree, much like the other three tank classes. That tree will be Blood.

This is something that I did not think they’d do, but is easy to understand why. The differences between the tank classes were enough that giving them a semblance of parity was hard; and having DKs witk 3 talent trees just makes that harder still.

In Cataclysm, Blood will be the death knight version of a Protection tree. It will have passive talent tree bonuses that reflect tanking. It will have tools, such as a Demo Shout equivalent, necessary for tanking. Several of the more fun tanking talents from Frost and Unholy will be moved into Blood. We will be able to revise (or even remove) clunky mechanics like Rune Strike and focus on letting DKs generate threat with their normal Blood tanking rotation.

Which is why I can accept that something had to be done – but sheesh, it is a big call. Huge call, I expect to see some Death Knights who step away from the class due to this. Could be worth getting as much value from your non-blood tanking now. :)

So DKs will probably have a tank, pve, and pvp tree. I can see Unholy being the PvE and Frost as the PvP talent trees.

This is a tad too much of a change from the cool almost-any-tree which they have now; but then it would not be the first time a class has been totally re-worked during an expansion.

Does make me think that with Frost talents having dual wield, will we also see dual-wield as only viable in one spec, or will it be retained as a concept for both Tank and DPS, or even pvp and pve?

We’re just not sure yet on DW Blood tanking or 2H Frost dps. Certainly our main focus will be to make sure 2H Blood tanking and DW Frost dps work, but we’re not likely to crack down on alternate uses of those specs. We’re not sure that a Blood DW style could work without talents that allow for strikes with both weapons, but we’ll see. It should be a fun beta. :)

Like most posts this raises more questions for me than answers; and I can’t wait to see more. Can I get a beta key maybe? probably not, but one can wish.

  • Where will two weapon be used? I have 2x one hander ilevel 232 tank weapons that I’d like to take for a spin.
  • What happens to Frost presence as the Tanking presence?
  • Couldn’t the mastery bonus be based upon the presence that the DK uses, rather than the talent tree if they wished to keep 3 viable Tank trees?

Sourced from mmo-champion

Death Knight DPS spec change

dk-symbolA few posts ago I told folks that I’d be going Blood for dps in PvE in 3.1. And after a few runs it is just not fun, not my cup of tea. I find Blood dps messy, too opportunistic, and the rotations are intolerant of lag, and intolerant of interruptions. And that aint good.

I initially chose Blood as it was close to the diseaseless spec that I was using before that, but with or without DRW, UB, or any other combo – it just feels scattered. So my Blood vs Unholy choice comes out a strong Unholy.

My lag sits anywhere from ms 500 to 800, and in 10 and especially 25 man raids that means the UI is chugging to keep up, and my abilities do not fire with a sharp snap. Instead they tend to get queued, and sometimes fire and sometimes just disappear. The paranoid part of my brain says that Blizzard may have changed the way abilities get loaded to be even more optimised for great connections, but I have absolutely no proof of that. It just feels that way.

So now I’ve spec’ed back to Unholy for dps. Its odd, but Unholy dps feels good. I leveled as Unholy and the spec feels somewhat like what I have always expected. Like comming home. Unholy also seems more forgiving of lag, and the kind folks at EJ say that Unholy is also more forgiving of bad gear. Well my gear is good (thank you very much), and Unholy feels solid. Very very solid.

Key to my appreciation of the Unholy tree is:

  • the Improved Presence, where I can get the speed buff from Unholy while in Blood Presence. Almost all fights I see now have an advantage to having increased speed. 15% might not be much compared to Cats, but it counts.
  • Permanent ghoul, which costs nothing to summon and dismiss with the Glyph. That is a must have, and wonderful for Instance runs. I need to find a mod that tells me when my Ghoul is almost dead, so I can heal it, or wipe it for extar HP. (any ideas folks?)
  • Bone Armour gives a dps buff and slight help with inbound damage.
  • Disease spreading for AoE is stronger and Pestilance + UB is very strong AoE. Grated it blows a heap of runes really quickly, but thats the point. Unload a lot of AoE attacks early and then ping a target while the runes refresh.

The Death Knight is akin to a plate wearing Warlock, and unholy with perma Ghoul is as close as you get. It means that once again I switch my stats around a bit for more hit and AP rather than Crit (being as spell damage is from AP and spell hit). But hey, what raider does not regularly drop 100g a week in gems, patches, and enchants?

Performance wise I can’t tell you, yet. I think I’ve dropped a small amount of single target dps to gain a shit load of AoE capacity. If I get my rotations rolling and get lucky I don’t have to refresh diseases which means much more dps. If the Gargoyle was out at the same time, I think I’d be smashing mobs left and right.

And I can’t wait to see. Watch this space.

Patch 3.1 spec for Shadow Priest

priest_iconThere is not a huge list of talent changes for the Shadow Priests in 3.1, which means that the standard choices remain almost unaffected. I will not be initially buying dual spec, as I have to save up the cash. So when I have a 2nd spec to worry about I’ll post that. I’m thinking a heavy Disc build, but will have to see what the community thinks of the Holy changes.

My Shadow Priest is wearing crappy gear, and in no way represents the typical gear level, stats, or itemisation needs. Thus if you are well geared you will want to consider some serious changes. This spec is more for a Shadow Priest who is still getting to, or just questing at 80.

DPS: 14/0/57 Shadow with Inner Focus and no Shadow Affinity

Continue reading

Patch 3.1 spec for Death Knight

Update: As we’re well beyond patch 3.1, this spec advice needs to be reviewed and updated. I recommend jumping on EJ and browsing through their posts on the build you like. IMHO Currently Unholy 2H seems the solid top damage, slightly above Blood 2H.

The jury is still out on the absolute winners, and almost every spec option (1h vs 2h, blood vs frost vs unholy) is viable.

dk-symbolHere comes patch 3.1, and everyone is checking the web for patch notes and spec updates. For me this means choosing two specs for my Death Knight. I will be considering my DPS role to be my primary role, but now will be looking for Tanking opportunities too.

Death Knight specs are all stolen 100% from Skeleton Jack (note: SkelJ has basically stopped posting).

DPS: 50/0/21 which chooses Unholy Blight (UB) over Dancing Rune Weapon (DRW).

DPS notes:

  • This is for PvE DPS, not PvP.
  • I have not been enjoying the DRW of late, as some fights I don’t think I get the full benefit of it unless you’re standing still just pinging abilities. UB is used more often which I think gives it more versatility. I certainly liked UB when I was Unholy.
  • UB is also better for AoE than DRW, and I get frustrated when I get outpaced by Warriors using Whirlwind and all the other AoE heavy classes (Mages, Warlocks, etc). Some fights as DPS you’re standing in the middle of the hell storm of mobs, so UB takes full advantage.
  • I love Hysteria and the Improved Blood Aura in my current blood spec, so the choice between Unholy DPS and Blood DPS was easy.
  • With the Death Strike glyph, I’ll have to remember to keep 25 Runic Power around as much as possible.

Tank: 12/51/8 which is a pretty standard Frost Tank spec.

Tank notes:

  • It makes the most sense to me that Frost would be strong for Tanking, from a roleplaying perspective, and I made the choice of which tree to use basically because of this.
  • I could drop 2-H-Weapon in the Blood tree, and grab some other stuff. Acclimation in Frost, Butchery in Blood for the extra RP (I’m a RP whore), or Lichborne for the oh-shit factor. Not sure, but happy to see how this plays initially. But I do like hitting mobs with a huge 2H weapon.

General

  • I read almost everything on EJ, Deathknight.info, wowinsider, and the first few pages of Google searches, and could not find any information that was even close to what SJ has put together. Even if he is wrong by a few talent points here and there, its still the best post on DK specs I’ve seen. Kudos.

Wrath Raid Gear Requirements by Class

Update Dec 09: With the release of WoW Patch 3.3 and the iLevel gear starting at 219 and 232 for H dungeons, I think the typical level of expected gear has increased. The old Naxx guides are gone. Basically now you’re aiming for 219 in all slots as a start, and any casual with time should be able to get to 232 in almost every location.

That is a huge change from the iLevel 200 items that you got 1 per end boss at the start of Wrath at level 80. Tis a good thing too.

Raiding requirements are popular searches, I know as the raid requirement posts are still some of the most popular in this blog. And to my somewhat shame most of the information I post is a hash of other sources (Alt Doctor, EJ, wiki, etc).

And the Alt Doctor has done it again, posting his Raiding Requirements for Wrath.

If you’re wondering if you are read to run with the big monsters, this set of stats will tell you. Later I’ll review, but for now just read and make sure you know what you need.

If you’re short on some of the stats then check out Wow-loot, WoW Heroes, and BeImba for advice. All are good sources of item/gear advice.

Question: What spec to level as a Priest?

An open question to the Priest and/or wow player community: What spec to level from 70 to 80, and is a version of Disc a valid choice?

Certainly not pure Holy, as the damage output is pretty low. And the popular wiki/blog opinion from the 60-70 days was to take Shadow with a smattering of other talents. OK, but maybe Wrath has changed that.

Then a mate said yesterday, why not choose a Discipline built and mix in some holy. It works for pvp. Which makes sense as pvp is all about doing damage and surviving, which sounds to me also like a blueprint for pve leveling: get kills without dying.

It also got me thinking that a dps priest can fight for instance spots like anyone else, but a healing priest can pop into LFG and get runs very very fast. A lot faster than a Death Knight, as most groups already have at least one plate wearer, and often a DK.

So should I spec Dis/ Holy, and ping the instances to get my levels? Certainly will get some good drops if every day I’m in an instance.

If you’ve done this, or know of some stories of success and failure, I’d love to know about them. Your advice is appreciated and needed.

Death Knight Gear and Spec update

This weekend I was able to play for more than a few hours, and it was glorious. Six noteworth changes that brought a smile to my face.

1) New Death Knight spec

After an expensive (because Corpse Dust is 50s each) and frustrating (because I knew I could do better, but was confused) first run in Naxx I decided that Unholy/Blood was not for me in the short term, and re-spec’ed to focus on Blood. 2H Blood seems to be single target dps, and while I know full well it is inferior to Unholy 2Weapon or 2H – it appeals. I’ve gone for 51/13/7, for no other reason than the early Unholy talents are ok, and the later Frost did not seem to add anything significant. I’m not claiming the spec is perfect, but it does work.

Blood with a smattering of Frost and Unholy is more enjoyable to play than heavy Unholy. Its a little simplier, and you feel like you have a much better control of what and where you’re hitting. Unholy AoE is wonderful, but Unholy did AoE even when you didn’t want to, and the Ghoul is a situational pet now, so I don’t feel silly if I don’t use it. Its also great to use when a humaniod drops, as the DK feel is meant for this.

The upcomming patch will alter the class enough for me to review the spec again, but till then I’m happy.

2) New gear, from Guild folks and drops

Past 9 days have been upgrade days.

I still need to get the Bracers and Boot enchanted, but thats cheap by comparison to the mats the guild-folk spent for the Helm and Bracers.

3) Death Knight patch changes, in 3.0.8
In their current (updated) form we’re getting nurfed. These are not bad changes, and as wonderful as the experience of DK has been so far, I expected to get adjusted downward. I hope the Death Knight changes will be handled in a professional manner, and we’ll see small micro-changes to follow. If they got it right. If we get lucky.

What I expect to see is thousands of posts about how its not far enough, and other DKs foretelling doom of the class. We will see what they finally equate to when the patch is actually deployed and till then everyone should stop panicking. Save your hissy fit till after its real.

Or go back to whatever class you played before Death Knight, and leave the rest of us alone. Either way, STFU.

4) DeathNoobs, DeathTards, and all the other names.

The question that I ask when folks are griping about DK-noobs is am I one of those. Its a given that most folks think they are not, but its worth asking the question of yourself just in case. Keep yourself honest.

A handy checklist is at The Sourge and a few comments at Skeleton Jack – but face it folks we know the truth: you add a new class to WoW and you’ll see everyone try it. A large proportion will be terrible. Just like every Blood Elf was a fool, and most Jewelcrafters didn’t know their craft at all. Time will sort out the NoobTards from the rest.

The bad players will suck the same no matter what toon they play, and when they play a Hunter, Rogue, or Death Knight they have access to some really irritating abilities. I pug’ed Heroic with a Rogue in better gear than my upgraded set last night, who did not break 850 dps in any fight. That player failed.

5) Mining from 290 to 400, and Blacksmith from 250 to 275.

This takes ages. The weekends efforts in Mining was pleasing, and now I’m at least able to mine the nodes in and around the end quest areas. Getting to 425 Mining is not a huge deal for me, but breaking 400 was very satisfying.

Blacksmith is a prick to level, especially if you want to also do the crafting specialisations.

6) The Rocket Chicken Approves! (silly)

I had not noticed the Rocket Chicken in Booty Bay before, but darn me its odd. Rocket Chicken may well become my stamp for silly posts.

rocket-chicken-bootybay

This badboy gets 25 miles per gallon of goblin rocket fuel. No wonder the price of fuel is high.

Oh no, not again.

Seems that Ret Paladin are getting the nurf that the forums cried out for. And I don’t mean an adjustment, or a conservative change, or a series of tweaks. Its a fully blooded destruction of the class that reached beyond Ret pvp (where there were major issues), beyond Ret pve raiding (where there were adjustments needed), and right into Prot tanking (which was just getting good), and into Holy (which needed a dps boost).

Its right back to Blizzard saying they think they know where the class is going, and has a vision for it. Sure, I see your vision:

- Ret: melee dps without snare, cc, intercept, or flee abilities. Fun? maybe.

- Prot: tanking was really good, but being still grounded in abilities that are affected by every other spec change means that there is potential for damage to Prot in every other change. And then boosting aoe tanking of other classes (which needed it), and adding a new class to tank. Right, so who is looking for a Paladin tank when the other tanks are around?

- Holy: being a good single target healer. Same old story.

WoW Insider has a good post about this.

Continue reading