WoW p5.3 this week, highlights include

Patch 5.3 notes are out, for the Prod drop on May 21st. Ref: MMO-Champion – Patch 5.3 Live This Week for a full summary. I expect downtime to be bigish, with the downloader churning away. This means the cycle is less than three months between patches, and if the next patch comes quickly we might see a staggeringly fast end to the Pandaria story-lines. Blizzard’s website also has a nice prep summary.

garrosh Hellscream image from Blizzard's website

I’m pondering the amount of ilevel 500+ gear which is being made available in one time rewards, and perhaps it is time to consider the offset as a priority.

A few highlights for me are:

  • the return of the Item Upgrades, via that vendor. Yes, we can again decide if an existing upgrade is better than buying off-loot (” items upgraded with Valor will now cost 250 Valor Points to upgrade per 4 Item Levels, for a total of 500 Valor for 8 Item Levels per item “). Cool. Mr Robot and others will have their systems ready too if what I read is true.
  • the ilevel 600 cloaks from the Wrathion quest chain. ilevel 600 is huge, and worth it for everyone. I want it, and want three of them.
  • the Heroic Scenarios is a boon I’m looking forward to, not because I want to see that older content again, but because of the chance for the ilevel 516 gear. Including a quest that has a reward of a 516 built in. Wowhead has a comment which lists the rewards by armour type. Why on earth are these using the Pandarian models for blue and green loot? Lazy. A re-colour at least might have been nice – all emeralds and ruby.
  • the Heroic scenarios need item level 480 to enter, and use a pre-made team of three. Still hopefully should be not too hard at ilevel 510.
  • the new scenarios for the lead up lore/story to the Siege of Orgrimmar. Assuming that is the big deal in patch 5.4, this should get all the players happy with killing Orcs and agreeing that the War Chief is a bad guy, not a good-bad guy.
  • a quest has been added that reveals the final Sha and some ilevel 502 boots. Nice upgrade for the slow and unlucky guys like me. Shamefully I’m planning on getting better than this, so I might just take the Tanking option instead of the Dps option.
  • I know I should try the brawlers guild soon.
  • the Darkspear Rebellion Quartermaster will sell re-colour of popular old Tier gear, upgrades to ilevel 489 which is nice for the alts and new main toons. I don’t mind at all they the stuff is available in a different way. They’ve chosen some nice sets, and as a DK I had access to my set anyway.
  • we can now transmog from the Bank and Void Storage directly. Good. Nice change.
  • the Heirloom Shields are in. Great news for alts. I’ve been saving the odd Justice Point for this.
  • Lastly – I’d love a Hearthstone Beta. I’ve ripped on it recently as a distraction, but I am curious. HINT. Too strong? Nah. HINT HINT.

King Wyrnn and a Panda, they all look alike

Overall I’m looking forward to the 5.3 patch. It is not a huge patch for content, rather is a prep patch. It is a great patch for gearing your toons. The folk who don’t get much are those who are already geared up beyond 522 or higher. Sorry guys, only the cloak for you.

I did not finish collecting the Wrathion tokens from boss kills in patch 5.2, but will get there soon. I also don’t run the downloader often, so I’m going to kick that off before bed tonight.

Happy Killing, TyphoonAndrew

Whats next for upgrades?

dk-symbolThere is a new-ish site which indicates which item on your character will benefit from Valor Points the most according to your class and spec stat weightings. Wowupgrade.com.

Cool stuff, and a great idea. Check it out.

That said, the best use of Valor for me is buying new gear, not upgrading. I suppose it should be obvious, but I jumped straight at the tool to see where the bang-for-buck was, and initially forgot to consider the purchase.

eg. 1500 VPs to upgrade a 476, or 2200 VPs to buy a 489? Get the 489 every time, as it can be upgraded later to even higher. Then once all the purchasable VP gear is obtained, then start the upgrade spends as per the site’s recommendations.

This week if I cap the 1000 pt limit successfully, then I’ll be darn close to the 3000 hard cap as well. A spend is a must do. This is a great problem to have, as I can replace either a set of 476 Bracers or Legs.

The choice then becomes between the two items – the bracers have Exp and Crit, where the Legs have Mastery and Haste. No brainer – Legs. I have no idea what the dps increase will be by upshifting 13 item levels, but it moves to what are almost perfect DK stats. And when they get replaced by 5.2 stuff the Mastery might be re-used in a Tank set.

I’m soon off to spend VPs – Wheeeeeee.

Happy Killing.

Mathy question on DK set bonuses and gear item levels

dk-symbolOn first drop I was stoked – the tier gear is something that I crave due to the old days when the BiS gear was almost always Tier only, and all the rest of the gear was a poor shadowy reflection of the Tier gear. And the Tier generally was a great looking matched set and transmog was still a gleam in the lead dev’s eye.

I had the pleasure of getting a few Tier tokens from kills (four items in two weeks – DPS LFR Chest and Normal Gloves, and also LFR Chest and Gloves) and now have a ponder-some issue for DPS gear is due to a difference in item level between my current Chest item (489), and the Raid Finder DK set Chest (483).

TLDR = To get the Tier 14 2 set bonus I have to drop the chest item level down 6 item levels. Is the set bonus of +10% damage to key dps abilities better than 6 item levels of stats other stats?

I’m really not sure. It is likely an overall dps loss, but if so by how much? Does that DPS loss become mitigated by the 4 set bonus if I can get those drops instead? Hmm.

In thinking through the solution I compared the 489 Tier 14 with the 489 Breastplate I was using and they are almost on par, with the current one (King’s Guard) a smidge ahead. This however does not include the benefit of adding either of the Tier bonuses themselves, which I’d argue makes the Tier Breastplate at 489 better.

By comparison the items show a clear difference, which is to be expected with 6 ilevels.

questionT14-1

Left is the LFR T14 Chest, and the right column shows the 489 King’s Guard chest.

Overall gains of 62 Str, 590 Mastery, and 186 Haste vs the 694 Crit is the point of differentiation, as the Stamina and Armor is moot.

So then I thought to apply the stat weightings for  Frost DKs via Wowhead. The goal was to see what difference for teh item alone was, in terms of marginal upgrade or significant upgrade.

This showed the combined weighting value of 156,784 pts for the T14 LFR Chest, and 161,280 for the 489 Chest; meaning a difference of only approx 3% in the two items. Ignoring that this is probably not the way to use item weightings (?) it shows that the LFR item is only a minor downgrade.

It also made me realise that even if I know what the weighting is for the items themselves, I do not have a dps value to compare too, as I cannot ratify a specific DPS figure increase against items level without a set of repeated simulations (like SimCraft).  I don’t know a way to settle what the difference is. Fark. Continue reading

Cheeky Upgrade option in Character Screen

Aside

Those cheeky fellows working in Blizzard have plonked an ad for Mists of Pandaria in the character screen you see after login.

It is not subtle or unreasonable, and after my initial reaction of “what the f?” I considered using that to purchase my upgrade.

It makes me ponder if we will see character customisation, race change, name change and such in that screen too. Heck it would even be handy to be able to buy month-by-month time as well. The user is logged in, so might benefit from it. All the special offers for pets and such could be there too.

Are you pondering that already Activision?

Hallow’s eve arriving soon

The wonderfully macabre Halloween holiday event of Hallow’s End is set to start on the 18 October. Like previous years it will probably contain a set of quests based around the Headless Horseman attack, putting out fires, and vanquishing him in the graveyard of Scarlet Monastery. I suspecty Wowhead’s guide will be updated shortly.

For people who are chasing gear the event typically offers some role based upgrades at current Raid level. I’d bet we will not see patch 4.3 before the 18th of October, so that means the rewards are probably going to be around ilevel 365 items, as per the Brewfest and Molten Front level items.

Enough to get you into a Firelands normal run, but not de-value the current raid rewards (does it really de-value?…another time for that discussion).

What can you expect?

Some great Rings for most raid roles (melee dps, caster dps, and healing last year) which you can get a lot faster than the Daily quests in the Molten Front, a one-handed Sword (Agi based), and a Plate Dps Helm. Good stuff for almost all classes, although some specs don’t get love there at all. Continue reading

A rare Monday

Blackwing Descent loading screen

It is a rare Monday night when I can get home on time, cook diner, eat it without an inhaler, and then login. So with only a slight delay (which I apologise to my guildies for) I was not only well fed, but also logging into Warcraft.

All the folks were already on their way to the raid, so I trundled along and found my way to the instance through a little guesswork and some luck, and we got rolling. There were many pulls, some pulling of legs, and not just one but many inappropriate and darn entertaining comments through Vent. As the night progressed I got the hunch that as a collective we were a little off our game, but for me I was just happy to be inside the instance actually doing something – so I did not care in the slightest.

It was also a night playing again on my Death Knight rather than the Hunter which I’ve been leveling to raid with. It is an ironic twist of fate that all the while we’ve been trying to get players, now my DK is a viable raid toon again, with only a standard amount of competition for raid role-slot. I just laughed and said yes … the DK was always where the fun is. How could somebody not love charging into death wearing boiler plate and a grim smile? I love the fact that DKs have no threat wipe, it speaks plainly to how they are meant to be played: up front and at full speed. Mortigen is back baby!

Last night was a reminder of why I play. The rewards (see below) were nice, but the sensation of playing in a raid again was the real buzz. I think I’m still buzzing.

It was a good night. Continue reading

Cata Rep and Normal Gearlist

A guild forum discussion started about where to get gear while prep’ing for heroics. This will probably form the basis of my activity after hitting 85.

Here is a few WoWHead item searches listing all the Cata items obtained by Rep, ordered by slot. Use the class / spec select in the filter to change the priority of the items.

www.wowhead.com/items?filter=qu=3:4;sl=1…5:25:23:21:20:8;gb=1

Then the same search, with the items that drop from Normal dungeons added, so a list of gear to aim for.

www.wowhead.com/items?filter=qu=3:4;sl=1…5:25:23:21:20:8;gb=1

And now any items that also are crafted or quest drops, added into the mix.

wowhead

Happy hunting

Step up, take a hit, love it

Last week of irregular 5 mans and 3/12 impromptu ICC10 runs were enough to give me enough Frost emblems to purchase some tanking upgrades. It takes a while to acquire 120 badges of Frost, so I am rather looking forward to the difference that it might make to both tanking characters.

Death Knight Tank set upgrades for Mortigen – which somehow only inch my overall ranking forward slightly, but looking at the items a GS of around 5400 seems reasonable to me fro ICC10 man (yes I know gs is no measure of skill, yadda blah blah, but it does work if used properly).

  • Verdigris Chain Belt (60 frost emblems), which swaps this ilevel 264 monster belt with an old-ish ilevel 226. The change also dropped me a significant amount of hit, so I also switched to the Citadel Enforcer’s Claymore as the 2H of choice. Having two of those is a real advantage.
  • Scourgelord Pauldrons (60 frost emblems)

Druid-Bear Tank set upgrades for Quendalon

- Ikfirs’s Sack of Wonder, by donation from the Guild (ya, thats a huge gift!)

With all the upgrades it is time to Step-Up, Get Hit, and darn Love it.

Then the team was ready to roll into ICC10 and kill the LK again, right as my partner sprang a last minute critical task (ie. RL > WoW… grumble). So offline I go while the guys go to get the Kingslayer title. Shit, damn, bloody-hell, snap, etc.

But I am happy that they did it, and some nice loot was handed out.

Then we went through RS and killed Halion. For me that was a first too, as getting into RS has been a lower priority that other fights, so overall darn happy.

Then over the past few nights we did some hard modes in Ulduar, which was a huge buzz. Most I had never attempted, and all of them still hold some challenge as they require attention to strategy and awareness, not gear.

What was interesting is that now that we over-gear the instance so much, the strategy is still totally dependent on having the correct instructions, but needs to be modified so that the team does not do too much damage at once. Kind of funny to be saying “stop dps” in a hard mode fight. We missed the Kologarn hard mode for this reason, but only by a smidge (damn it).

  • Orbital Devastation
  • Iron Dwarf, Medium Rare
  • Nerf Engineering
  • Heartbreaker
  • I choose you Steelbreaker
  • Crazy Cat Lady
  • (and the Freya ones, all at once)

And Mimron-Firefighter kicked us around a lot, buy hey – its is darn worth it.

This week if the gods of MMO glory are kind to me, I’ll be a Kingslayer.

Happy killing.

How to choose gear upgrades?

Like many players, I’m always hunting for ways to play warcraft smarter, rather than just more often. A decreased amount of free time means that doing the right runs, to get the right gear is a priority. And as I’m gearing many toons at once I thought I’d share a little wowhead-fu, on how I decide where to run.

WoWHead has a ton of stuff that is exposed in the filters for gear, and when combined with Stat Weightings, this is easy mode for finding what instances to concentrate on, and where to spend your Emblems of Whatever.

Try this search as an example of Paladin Tank gear:

http://www.wowhead.com/?items&filter=qu=3:4;minle=213;ub=2;cr=105:106:118:118:118;crs=-2323:-2323:47241:45624:40753;crv=0:0:0:0:0;ma=1;gb=1;gm=3;wt=22:21:117:45:42:46:20:41:44:43;wtv=100:60:59:55:45:30:16:8:7:6

What does this little link do:

  • Shows all gear purchasable with Emblems of Triumph or below,
  • And also from any 5 man instance,
  • Which is ilevel 213 or greater,
  • Sorted by gear location,
  • Which a Paladin can use,
  • Sorted in priority of what a Protection (tank) spec paladin might be after.

Note: I’ve excluded the Frost Emblems, as they are slow to get unless you’re a regular raider, and I’m aiming for fast upgrades I can use as Emblems of Frost are gathered over time.

Now that I have a baseline search, there are tweaks to change that after the break; bit also consider these as shortcuts to gear:

Continue reading