The Vale gets smashed!

New pics from wowhead’s digging on the ptr shows the Vale smashed up and broken. This is great. The baddies actually responded to us stuffing around on their doorsteps.

View all these and more on Wowhead

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

Pandaria Gathering Achievements

There are a set of gathering achievements in Pandaria which are based upon finding low and high quality items which appear randomly throughout the zones. These are generally the domain of the folks who love achievements like “The Loremaster”, which is to date one of the best titles I think there is in the game and which is also actually achievable without a world ending amount of hard grinding. These collection set is Bounty of Pandaria, Finders Keepers, Lost and Found, One Man’s Trash, Riches of Pandaria, and finally Is Another Man’s Treasure (wowhead has a good guide on this). The end goal for all of them is the in-game title “the Relic Hunter“. Another great title, more so because I think the number of players who have it will be rare (around 5%) but also because it demonstrates that the player is dedicated and probably slightly insane.

As of this post I have all those achievements done except “Is Another Man’s Treasure”, which requires the player to find 20x of the special BoA or exceedingly rare items which spawn randomly in the game world. At the moment I am up to 18 of 20 items. So close, which makes it frustrating and rewarding when I get each of the last ones.

Aside – I almost never actually do this type of completionist / gathering / farming / achievement stuff, but I love this type of thing when it gives quasi-tangible rewards. In this case a title, the gold from the low quality items, and the Bind to Account items from the good rares.I am going to pass the BoA items down to my alts, and also hang onto some of them on my Death Knight main as they are actually still oddly and slightly handy.

It feels like this set of “quest chains” were well designed and have tangible rewards directly related to the effort.

There are approx 5-7 more items I could find to get up to the 20 rares found which are needed, but they are the rare of the rare, and often very highly desired. That means farmers, campers, and lots of competition all the time. Even in the short time I’ve been watching some of them I’ve seen regular character also flying past in patterns very similar to mine.

On two occasions I got to an item with a few seconds of somebody arriving, and in one case was beaten to an item by the skin of my teeth.

I am enjoying the challenge immensely.

I am also considering trying to get more than one of some items on my account by farming them with alts as well. The Mining Pick is an example where it gives a +10 to mining skill when carried.

A character wielding two rare weapons might be a tad selfish for all the other Relic Hunters, and a character with two of the same rare can look darn good. A great RP set should try to make others jealous.

Happy Hunting, TyphoonAndrew Continue reading

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

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

A smattering of blue footprints

Here are a few of the blue posts recently, showing what is topical out there for Warcraft at the moment.

A few folks don’t like to wait for the Cinder Kitten pet, and there is the odd rant about it. The devs move forward their plan to do another fund raising venture because of the hurricane and folks get angry. A brilliant example of first world problems.

The extra rolls allowed from the coins could become satchels akin to the holiday boss specials, as a way to offer a wider spread of options, and solve some issues.

Zarhym – “The satchel is actually a point of reference for what we’re thinking.”

Posting about the game being World-of-Panda-Daily-Quest gets a locked thread, and a blue with a sense of humour. Nakatoir‘s nice touch.

And a few threads about the Brawlers Guild, including the note that there is no world first or realm first. One commenter wrote particularly well about their distake for the buying of invites from the Black Market AH:

Nessaja – “You may not have intended this to be something big, but it’s obviously extremely popular and anticipated content, and your unwillingness to budge from your wealth-centered content delivery mechanism is both disappointing and wholly unfair to the vast majority of your paying customers.”

BluePost – “After reaching a certain rank in the Brawler’s Guild, each of the new members can eventually earn one new invitation of their own to pass out to someone else on the same realm, so the Brawler’s Guilds on each realm should get progressively larger and larger over time. We may also investigate alternate methods of acquiring invitations or making them more plentiful”

Ream Maintenance for Tuesday 13 Nov starts typical time, and lasts 6 hours.

Hallow’s End – Free rings!

Update: The Petrified Band (str ring) is bloody rare for me. I’ve seen it drop twice in 22 runs. And watched as a Druid got the Plate Helm from the goodie bag. That is seriously stupid.

Hallow’s End should arrive soon (18 Oct), and that means we get the opportunity for a few “free” rings for our characters. If the same events and rewards hold there will be rings, plate helms, and agi swords up fro grabs again this year (see Wowhead’s old page and event page).

“It is over, your search is done! Let fate choose now, the righteous one!”

There is a chance I suppose that some items will not be updated, like one handed kegs from Brewfest were not updated. I’ll cry foul as that Plate Helm would be bloody wonderful for my Death Knight, even better if I can find a few of them for both tanking and dps roles.

It also might mean that given the switch in Scarlet Mon for the new instances that some other trash might be present, but probably not.

Boss Loot (please don’t be a total ass and roll on gear you’re not queued up for!).

The Str ring is good for DK dps, and might also be better for Tanking that what we have (especially after reforging), but in all seriousness it seems a dps item. I want that ring, a helm, and I’d take a Agi Sword so that I have a nice set for reforging.

Old stats:

Loot-Filled Pumpkin Loot

The strategy for the fight is very simple two phase fight, which repeats between the phases until either you are dead or he is.

  • Phase One: Kill the Horseman. The tank tanks, the healers heal, and dps nuke him back into the smoldering corrupted earth. You might need to avoid the fire on the ground, and even splash damage / AoE the adds so they don’t kill the tank, but generally it is an easy phase.
  • Phase Two: Kill the Head. The head detaches from the body, and the body becomes immune. It is in this phase that heavy damage is done to the head as your team chase it around the graveyard, and you’ll need to get through a few of the P2 sessions to get the job done.

Happy Killing, running, looting, and sharing.

Professions breakdown in Mists

As we have only a few days for the expansion to drop, here is a useful summary from Wowhead on professions. Particularly the good stuff that you’ll want to snaffle asap, as well as a general overview.

For my toons I’m looking forward to the level 85 Blacksmithing patterns which are direct upgrades on most gear, being level ilevel 415 items. It means anything that is non-heroic gear is replaceable. Mats are going to be worth a small fortune.

Archaeology also has a useful Trinket which might be worth torturing myself for.

Fishing looks to contain almost nothing worth rushed for, and Cooking will be where we grab our buff food from. Cooking grind, alas my poor time.

ps. Darn excited.

More…MoP Tools

I found a few more tools that are handy for wow players, which extend the list from just class planning and include some of the consistently good player tools external to the game.

  • Noxxic Guides, which are an alternate to the Icy Veins guides.
  • WoW Heroes, which is a respectable profile tool for your character that will recommend changes to get you to a best in slot setup.
  • World of Logs (for raiders), so you can compare fights to see which was better or worse.
  • Blizzard’s Armory (duh)
  • WoW Wiki, which is good for the pages on Hit and Expertise caps and other such stuff. When updated these are good for plain language explanations.

It is a meta-question for what resources to include which might be too focused, or instead overly well known. I think I’ll have a beer and ponder that today.

Previously