Melee friendly raids, ah, cool, pardon, come again?

Ah, such wonderful flame-bait, blogger-bait, and diversive material; how-do-we-define-melee-friendly from WoW Insider’s post and the related interview from Blizzard. I’m blogging it as it is an ongoing joke amongst some of the melee folks I regularly chat with. I love it when I hear a fight is melee friendly, especially when it comes from a non-melee (really healer, its not easy up the backside of this giant ogre). The WI blog is a long post, and worth a read if you have not looked.

Then join me here as I meander through my thoughts a bit…

Q. How do you know if a fight is melee friendly?

A. If the dps contribution on excellent attempts or a range of kills does not have melee behind in the overall damage done then the fight is probably not unfriendly to melee or range.

Any other measure is not based on what the players are doing, and should be questioned. It is overly melee friendly if the range dps cannot keep up with the melee, and vice-versa.

Q. How do you design for melee (or range) friendly?

A. At a high level view, not in a minute by minute breakdown.

I think it is ok for fights to have bias. The balance should be across the raid instance content, and also hopefully across the phases; but not stress about within one phase, or even one fight.

I love a good melee fight. Primarily that is because a lot of my time over the years has been played on a Death Knight. Before that I played on a Warlock or a Paladin, but only rarely did dps as the Paladin because early days the Pallys were not so hot in dps. So at the time that Wrath came out I switched to a DK and have only hooched around on a Boomkin, Warlock, or Shadow Priest as range dps since.

Secondly I’ll add to that I’m a little lazy these days in fights, or said another way I prefer fights that have mechanics that make sense, and that when combined form complexity in the encounter.

A principal example is Lei-Shen from Throne of Thunder. I think it is a great fight because:

  • As an end boss it is unforgiving of mistakes. Good. It frustrates the absolute crap out of me that a player can grief his team by repeatedly making mistakes, and sometimes even dedicated players make mistakes (that might feel like griefing), but it is worse when a fight is too easy, and I support end bosses being tough.
  • Almost every attack or mechanic has been used before on the raiders in trash, pve areas, or a previous boss. Bloody excellent. No excuse for not understanding the basics. The complexity comes when responding to multiples at the same time.
  • With the exception of the “blue swirls of ephemeral bad” near the boss, the bad poo on the floor is blisteringly obvious. When one quarter of the floor space lights up and sparkles just after the lightning reactors overload…yes, you, you’re standing in bad stuff. MOVE. B-res pls lol.
  • If done well, both Range Dps and Melee Dps have roles to do which means that no style is significantly disadvantaged. In LFR and Normal that is, I never saw Heroic mode, but can imagine it is as much fun, expect with razor blade thick-shakes and booster rockets.

Continue reading

Looking back to the beginning of Wrath

What are your fondest memories from the beginning of this expansion?

  1. I thought I’d only play the Death Knight as a distraction, and it became my new toon. I came very quickly to love melee dps, and the DK combined all wonderful things of the Paladin Tank with the Druid-Cat dps. Leveling through 68-80 was time consuming because we were playing catch-up to the guys who started at 70 – that said, I didn’t mind.
  2. I wanted to see Naxx in the flesh, and was not disappointed. Naxx is a wonderful instance.
  3. I thought Ulduar would be game changing and was let down. It was fantastic, but also so large and time consuming that it was very difficult for me to see most of it. General Vez is as far as I’ve seen and I doubt I’ll see further.
  4. The storyline was very enticing and exciting, and I think this has been maintained well over the course of the game.
  5. I was stoked about new gear, but think the gear has also been too spread apart, which now means we are seeing iLevels beyond what I thought was possible. For example an early epic to be around iL 200, and we can now get 265 gear! Makes you wonder what level the L81 Blue items will be.

… a shared topic on the Blog Azeroth Forum

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.

Count down to Wrath release

A cute link that tells me exactly how long till Wrath of the Lich King is released. I really wanted a timer to display in the post, but can’t wangle the WordPress voodoo or the coding voodoo to get that done. Good thing the free time and calculator websites have already expended the voodoo for me.

Picture a big shot clock, the letters all icy and gothic, with a draco-lich holding the panels in its glinting claws. We could even have a low moaning and hiss soundtrack, to add ambience. Hey – does MySpace off this type of time-wasting rubbish….?

Link will have to do. 😦

We have a week people. Start buying hotpockets and headache tablets now.wrath-7-days

Paladin class gear in flux

Paladin gear to have Strength rather than Int and Spell Damage in the current Wrath Beta. Interesting.

The class is basically in flux, and the feedback thus far in the community has been either “This Sucks”, “Trust Us”, or “Come Back Later”. I realise this is a Beta and that means its ok to be unpolished, but in my never humble opinion the degree of change demonstrated is so huge this should have been altered way before now. This is an Alpha level change. Continue reading

The Future of Tanking

An interesting Tank post on the Official WoW forums, posted by Ghostcrawler. This mirrors in a very timely manner a post by Sheepbreaker that asked about the role of Tanks in terms of which is the best choice.

Blurb from the official post, skip past if you want my humble opinion. The quick version is that I’m excited by the potential, wary of the way change has been managed before, and taking everything with a grain of salt.

Till a month after launch nothing is really known. Continue reading

Wrath Beta on, patch notes up

The NDA is lifted and Alpha test is closed so expect a flood of conjecture and comments about the expansion.The Beta is also open and emails from Blizzard will be sent to the lucky few. Feels very much like a golden ticket from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – I wonder if somebody will have a transporter accident like in the old film?

My quick summary of the Wrath update is as follows:

  • Its all hearsay and rumor, and even the official patch notes are subject to major changes. So take everything with a huge bucket of salt.
  • Paladin’s Seals are getting a major overhaul, which I don’t like the sound of, but will watch with interest. The change to Salvation in particular seems to be a huge screw-up, and I have to wonder out loud if Salv is actually hated in its current form by the Devs. You don’t make Salv into a 10 second affect, which also reduces dps and healing without something being really odd.
  • A massive list of spells have had their cooldowns altered, or been tweaked. Its really worth scanning the class list to see whats affected and of interest to you. You’ll say holy-cow at least once I promise.
  • Enchanters will be able to use Scrolls created by Inscription to share enchantments between your own toons, or sell them in the AH. That is awesome.
  • Toons can change hairstyles, so you can finally opt away from that bad hair day that might have been funny for 10 days, then got tired.
  • Paladin Auras affect everyone now in a raid. Good.
  • All Pet powers for Warlocks are automatically known.
  • Professions will go to 425, but I’ll wait to see the actual items and gear before getting excited about that.

Wrath hype has me hyped

All the new news about Wrath of the Lich King has worked; I’m hyped. I feel like I’m a teenager again looking forward to the new Bard’s Tale game, or hearing that Terminator 2 will be released soon (a bit fanboy, but that’s what its like).

Go a Googling if you want to read all about the Deathknight, so many sites have the content now that I’m expecting to read it on a t-shirt any day now.

The new Northrend zone map looks great. WoW Insider has a post with the opening music (updated link), which has a true Blizzard feel. Not to mention that the start of this feels so close to the Conan-movie-ish music that Blizard has used since day one, that the makers of Conan must have some interesting music to differentiate themselves.

Gameriot also has some patch notes, which smell official and offer some pretty sweet abilities for out classes. If they are fake they are a good job, and either way it makes me smile to think about.

I’ll get back to running in circles, giggling like a school girl. Yay!