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

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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

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.

Raze – the Dungeon Warrior

After capping out on Valor points on Mortigen primarily by running the ZA/ZG instances over and over, I decided it was past time to continue to level something else. I turned to my Warrior, recently renamed to Raze.

Raze - Warrior at level 82 in random drops

Raze wearing random drops. Fist weapon as a Tank? Hell yeah.

After a quick review of gear I decided that a small expenditure of Justice points and some new AH green gear will see it well resourced to finish the late level 70s. It worked so frigg’n well that I passed through to 80 without really noticing.

Being a Tank at 70s to 80 was much better than I remembered. All the instances were still very quick to queue up for, and it didn’t take much to remind me of the strats for Wrath normal dungeons. For the most part the dungeons were the same speed as when we did them as over-geared 80s.

As ping’ing 80 was so exciting, I jumped straight into a few Cataclysm dungeons and found that they were harder, but still ok. I was surprised as I recalled the 80-85 normals to be a total wipe fest, and it was totally the opposite as a Warrior Tank.

Three runs later I had 4 upgrades for my Tanking gear. Booya. Pinging the Warrior through normals will be a great fun distraction I’m adding to my week once Mortigen has his weekly Valor cap. Bring on the beautiful rested xp, the awesome range of Warrior control cooldowns, and some mean dps in tank spec. The Warrior is now 82, and I’ve got to discover the entrances to the next set of dungeons so I don’t just keep killing the same two sets of bosses over and over.

How good are too many Warriors? (distraction)

World of Warcraft has once again pulled me in, and got me thinking about all sorts of strange and new ways to sit still indoors in a chair for hours.

Last night while consuming the last half of a bottle of sharaz, I grouped with an odds party mix: 3x Warriors, a Paladin, and a Warlock (me).

On single mobs:
It got frustrating as I could not dish out damage fast enough to keep up. By the time my 3 second Shadowbolt went off, the mobs were either dead, or so close it was a waste of manna. So the warlock was a little wasted. A bit of comic releif was all I could offer as these guys help me finish up quests.

On groups:
Awesome fun! With so many hitters running around I could pretty pick any mob, and it would have a few Sunders on it. This meant much spam Shadowbolts, and the odd Seed or Corruption. The Tab key on my keyboard finally got a good workout.

My fav combat was the one where I got a few Seeds cast, and they all went off together, and the warriors were already up to their knees in mob blood so it was over quickly.

Conclusion:
These other guys were well geared and really know their classes, they also often have a few alts, who are also well played.

Too many warriors is never enough. And I need better gear; which is funny because I seem to attract everything except cloth drops.