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Shadow’s Edge June 18, 2010

Posted by Bezurk in Death Knight, General, Raiding.
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Now, as you probably know, Shadow’s Edge is the axe forged out of the stupid amount of Primordial Saronites, along with Festergut and Rotface’s blood, and (for some reason, as a ‘template’) Light’s Vengeance, Artha’s old bashy stick. It’s the axe all Death Knights, Warriors and Paladins aspire to. After the long quest chain involving the end-wing bosses in 25 mans, killing 1000 mobs, and generally doing what Mr. Boss Mograine tells you, you get that even lovelier axe…. Shadowmourne (even if a part of me dies inside when a Paladin gems it with Armor Pen).

My Death Knight, Detriment, was fortunate enough to get the acids today in a ‘good’ ICC 25 PuG. Of course, that meant doing the 5-minute quest to kill an elite with 150k HP as well as about 10 billion ghouls, and of course I did it in my Unholy PvP spec, and bad PvP gear. It got done in the end, anyway. Then-

WHAAAAAAA!!111!!! zomg 25?!!!?!

I have 3 Primordial Saronite currently. While, if I work at it, I can manage at least 4 saronites a week through grinding randoms on my various 80s, the weekly raid and VoA when the oppurtunity arises, this will still take over a month to grind out. Ooof.

I’m not the sort that has money pouring out of every orifice either, so I could (maybe) buy another couple a week. That’s still just under a month. Just a little speculation (alright, outright QQ), but surely Blizz you could look at lowering the cost of the Primordials? Or make them easier to get? Kthx

But then, assuming they did do that (which they probably won’t), it would lose some of its prestige. You can look at it as a ‘wow’ weapon (Yes, it is in WoW), or ‘wtf did that guy buy gold llolololllool’, but judging by the stats, the epic factor and the questline, it’s looking like an awesome weapon and worth the gold / emblems / lucky rolls.

For tanking.

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Gearscore and Achievements June 4, 2010

Posted by Bezurk in General, Raiding.
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It’s like Marmite… you love it or you hate it. (Personally, I’m a fan. Of Marmite.) But it makes you wonder: How did we ever manage to play the game pre-3.2ish, and how did we ever manage pre-Wrath, before Achievements?

/rant
For me, the obsessiveness over Gearscore is downright annoying. Call me a hypocrite, yes, I do have the addon. But I use it to give a general idea of what a run ‘could’ be like, mostly in a PuG. When I run a raid, I don’t demand a certain level to satisfy egos, due to the fact it is a lie – Gearscore is not a measure of gear, it is an abstract measure of iLvl. Theoretically (though why eludes me) a plate wearer could have 6K Gearscore wearing cloth gemmed for Spirit with enchants for Stamina and Defense. Maybe if it was called ‘Item-level-score-but-only-item-level-don’t-bother-with-enchants-or-gems-Score’ I’d be more sympathetic (how many people would type that for a search?). But none of this is taken into account. Sometimes you’ll find an item with a lower Gearscore is better (cue Darkmoon Card: Greatness) than that of a higher Gearscore.

This brings me onto achievements. Now, when we win Wintergrasp for the first time that day, there’s a lot of ‘LFG VoA 10/25’. Then the raid leaders want an achievement to show you bumbled through a 4-boss dungeon (of which you maybe do 2) and are clearly pro because of this. Frankly, it’s moronic. It’s possible to receive boosts and be carried through raids by people that know what they are doing, but in doing so the guy who has spent weeks learning what to do, or has done it on 5+ other characters, will lose out to the noob who got a boost – all down to an achievement.

Don’t get me wrong – Gearscore and Achievements have their uses, but they should not be abused the way they are. Yes, you wouldn’t take someone with 3K into ICC 25 – they just aren’t geared. But you could probably have got that just by looking at their avatar / health / mana. And Achievements – the novelty ones that reward you for cool stuff are nice, like Loremaster or Master Angler of Azeroth, but again the necessity to get the achievement before you set foot in the instance is downright disgusting. It’s killing the game, and making it less fun. And not much is being done about it.

/closerant

You gotta do what you gotta do. June 2, 2010

Posted by Bezurk in General, Raiding, Rogue.
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Reset day – and we won VoA, oddly enough. Of course, as soon as we won droves of people spammed trade with LFG VoA 10/25. So, logging my rogue, I joined a 10 man, which then went on to do 25. Both raids were largely whine-free (i.e. less than half), no wipes, no spectacular good to pear-shapedness.

Now, the reason I bring this up is that it occured to me, that, a few weeks ago, I was pulling higher DPS. This week, on Tora 25 man, I was 6th DPS with 7.4k. Not too bad – but the week before I managed 8.2k, same gear, same instance, slightly different puggers, but virtually all buffs present and accounted for (there is an Armory link to the right if you don’t believe me 😉 ).

Why is this?

It occured to me I may have messed up the rotation, or just been trally unlucky with procs and the like, but then there was another. I’d just been going in, ‘dum-dee-dum’, not really striving to push what I could out (can be applied to many situations). But does that account for an 800 DPS loss?

Actually, yes. It does.

You have to want to push out the DPS. You have to want to smash that mob’s face in (or nip the back of its ankles, anyway). You have to have that desire to go ‘I will pwn you’. You can’t just semi-afk if you really want to do the damage.

And those damn legs still didn’t drop this week.

Death Knight Rune Management May 15, 2010

Posted by Bezurk in Death Knight, General, Raiding.
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I’ve taken to tanking on my death knight a fair bit now – it’s quite interesting, and something of a departure from the way a Warrior works. In the endgame,  a warrior spams Heroic Strike while using Revenge, Shield Slam, Devastate, Shockwave and Rend (and the occasional Thunder Clap). But Death Knights have the limitation of Runes and Runic Power.

While Blizz intends to fix this in Cataclysm, currently managing your runes is key to playing a death knight halfway decently. Currently, mine is dual specced for Blood and Frost tanking.

Why, you ask? Blood has excellent single-target capability through high damage via Heart Strike and Death Strike. Death and Decay alongside an improved Blood Boil make it possible to AoE tank – but it’s difficult to get instant AoE threat while you set up diseases. Personally, I like it for tanking bosses within raids that follow a largely tank-and-spank strategy while not having lots of adds.

Incidentally, that’s another thing – a Warrior can let Rend drop without suffering much, and Sunder Armour just happens while you deal threat via Devastate – but you must watch for your diseases dropping off (possibly one of the best glyphs ever: Glyph of Disease, refreshing diseases on your current target – essential for a fight that’s lasting longer than 20 seconds), because it incurs a heavy TPS (threat per second) loss; first, through the DoTs Frost Fever and Blood Plague not being active on the target, and secondly because Blood Boil and Heart Strike damage increases when your diseases are active.

Now, Frost doesn’t have the active cooldowns of Blood, or the self-healing, or quite so much single target TPS. But it does have excellent AoE capability (including instant aggro-grabbing threat) and it has the passive mitigation that Blood lacks. This means you can hold aggro on those pesky Warriors/ Paladins / <insert high damage instant AoE class here> that Whirlwind or Divine Storm straight off the mark.

This is going on a bit of a tangent from my initial point, however – Death Knights are limited heavily by their runes. On a ~10 second cooldown individually, 2 of Blood, Frost and Unholy runes means that you have to watch and understand how your runes work. On the surface it seems simple – but it’s actually quite difficult to get the hang of. Abilities like DnD offer that good high-threat AoE, but at a cost of 1 of each rune it’s expensive. Then each spec has access to a 1 Unholy 1 Frost ability (Death Strike / Obliterate / Scourge Strike for Blood / Frost / Unholy death knights respectively), which, while expensive, does a lot of damage – and for Blood, Death Strike gets you those all-important Death Runes. Then you have single-rune abilities, which you need to understand what each applies, how they work in conjunction with each other… and a miss / dodge / parry for those under hit and expertise caps messes up this carefully researched and planned rotation…

To cut my incessant rambling short, it takes a lot of work to maximise your capability as a Death Knight, against common belief. Working out when 6 runes will come off cooldown while watching runic power to see if you need to pop Icebound Fortitude – it’s quite intense. And it’s damn good fun. But I look forward to the rune changes, so that instead of 6 individual runes, 3 sets of runes will be available – if it works right, it should make the death knight a lot more forgiving to play.

Combat or Assassination? May 13, 2010

Posted by Bezurk in Raiding, Rogue.
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The eternal question. For much of 3.3 (until it took a mega nerf, especially to Hunger for Blood) any Rogue that knew their pointy sticks inside out would say ‘Assassination ofc’ (or in one case, Rogues are OP you moron). Now, it’s not so clear cut. Here’s a few reasons:

– Weapons. Within both ICC 10 and 25, both weapons that are optimal for Combat are available within the Lower Spire (10: OH axe Marrowgar, MH axe Gunship, 25: OH axe Gunship, MH sword Deathbringer), but, for Assassination, all bar one dagger in 25 man (Heartpierce on Deathwhisper) is available a ways into ICC, and not into PuG-friendly territory. Rogues, being so weapon dependent, can /cheer or /cry depending on their spec.

– Gear itemisation. Most pieces of gear have Armor Penetration on – a bad stat for Assassination rogues due to their reliance on poisons and Envenom ignoring armour. While not the worst stat around, it seems to be unavoidable at the moment. Combat sees far more benefit from ArP due to more reliance on Physical damage.

– Buffs and Nerfs. Quite quickly, HfB went from providing 15% additional damage to 10%, then only 5%. Combat, not having this ability, did not suffer so dramatically. Also, Rupture was buffed to crit on its ticks, and Assassination’s goal is to have Envenom up as much as possible (without Envenom clipping) which Rupture does not help with. For the Combat Rogue not gemming and stacking ArP on every piece of gear, Rupture sees a decent benefit from this.

All of these lead to the question – my conclusion is that Combat is easier to gear, and will provide the initial higher DPS, but in a guild with progression in ICC, Assassination will catch up. Assuming similar gear levels and the best itemisation as possible… it’s close. Mostly, I believe it will come down to which spec you are most comfortable playing in. If you like to go down the ‘ORC SMASH’ route then Combat’s the way – if you prefer the more typical image of the, well, assassin, then – here’s a shocker – Assassination is the way.

Subtlety doesn’t exist when you PvE, only in PvP.

Raid Leading Appreciation May 11, 2010

Posted by Bezurk in General, Raiding.
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You gotta feel for those raid leaders out there. They put together a raid, willing to take responsibility for the group going a bit pear-shaped. If it does, it all goes crashing down on their heads – if it doesn’t then there’s ‘maybe’ a ‘k thx’ from one or two people (admittedly you get the master looters who ninja the loot and have trade for the next hour or two whining about how they didn’t get their epix, but that’s another matter).

We won Wintergrasp, and oddly there were no VoA groups going (as Hordies on our server it’s rare that we don’t have Tenacity 3+), so I made a 25 man. It all went smoothly, no whiners etc, and people stayed for a 10 man class run, which went well too. Now, only one member that was in both raid offered up a thank you – I don’t expect people to bask in the glory of the raid leader and stroke their mighty E-peen for setting up a raid that lasts a couple of minutes for a lottery on the loot that week, but it did lead me to reflect on how undervalued a good raid leader can be (not that I am one) – it takes a hell of a lot of co-ordination, perseverance and general ‘cojones’ to be willing to take the flak if it all goes wrong. So, maybe, next time, give that lovely raid leader who wasn’t an utter loot-hungry moron a thank you, and appreciate that raid leader (especially in a guild run!).