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Archive for October, 2007

Zul’Aman

I’ve been doing some running around on PTR, and got together with a few guildies and 1 pug for a 5-man Zul’Aman exploration. I must say it looks great.

I can confirm that the first 2 guards and adds do not require T4 or higher to beat – 2 tanks, 1 healer, 2 dps is enough with high-standard pre-karazhan and karazhan/heroic gear. I have however seen a few videos and texts about the 1st boss, and that fight looks pretty healer intensive.

Anyway, I’m hoping for some more PTR experience and can’t wait till 2.3 hits live.

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Tranquility!

I respecced today to heal in Karazhan, which wasn’t too bad. I fairly enjoyed myself keeping 10 people alive.

After the raid, some of us decided to go do an heroic. So there I was healing an heroic Slave Pens, which was fairly doable in the first few rooms. But then we got to the part where you have 2 non-cc-able mobs that hit ridiculously hard. We wiped about 10 times in total, but 7 of them were just random misshaps, and 3 of ’em were about these 2 annoying mobs.

So first I tried normal healing, stack up some Bloom’s, Rejuv – “Oh crap the cross is coming right at me!”. Then I tried waiting, bloom, healing tou… tank dead. And the final attempt was Lifebloom stack, run towards tank, use -threat trinket, Rejuv, cross coming at me again and wipe.

When we had some laughs about it and decided to give up – it hit me. 100% threat reduce on tranquility: 12 seconds of good healing to give the tank time to generate enough threat on both targets. That talent is worth it!

(Now I need to respec again because I only took 1 point when I hastily clicked on the talents a few minutes before the raid-kickoff.)

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Expertise impact

While not many items may have been affected by the new Melee Stat Expertise, it did bring some buffs to a few items.

It is said in the patch notes that (Melee) Weapon Skill ratings are now converted into Expertise. So it’s been generalized into 1 new stat basically. These Weapon Skills include things like Axe Skill, Dagger Skill, etc. but it also includes Feral Combat Skill as you can see on the new version of Earthwarden. The 24 Combat Skill is converted into 24 Expertise, and this stat is still useable for Ferals.

I feel this is pretty intensional and with it, the following random Karazhan drop has been changed from 15 Sword Skill, 15 Mace Skill, and 15 Dagger Skill – to 15 Expertise! It’s the Grips of Deftness. Improving this item for feral druids quite some bit

So, if you have those, don’t throw them away just yet. Gloves of Dexterious Manipulation may still be better however, but while you have to wait for it to drop – meanwhile the Grips are nice to have.

Other Niceties on PTR

I can very much confirm this works instant with 1 click on PTR. I’ve tested it while testing if the patrols in Auchenai Crypts were indeed Neutral – and they were, but the shadowcasters are still damn annoying even with my current gear copied to PTR.

#showtooltip Super Healing Potion
/cancelform
/use Super Healing Potion
/cast Dire Bear Form

It’s pretty cool, and I’ll be sure to make a million macro’s to do the same with healthstones, stoneshield and resistance potions.

Other things like the new instance/heroic/cooking/battleground daily quests, Zul’aman, new tracking system, etc. we all heard and read about it. What more is there to say. I must say the amount and qualitity of the new epics that can be bought from Badge of Justices are amazing.

I am however distraught about the fact that they lowered Heroic Keys to require Honored reputation, but I’ve ranted about that already somewhere else.

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Heroics

With all the complaints and questions around Restoration Druids in Heroic instances, I’m still wondering what the deal is with that. One could sum up some points about what to do when healing instances, but if they seem to fine with normal-instance healing, why should heroics be any different.

I think the main reason lies with PuG’s and general misunderstanding of Druid healing. They’re probably expecting something in the line of PoM’s and Shields, but a Druid can’t do anything similar. So yes, if you’re going into heroic SH, you’re going to need an appropriate strategy and not go charging in as a Warrior thinking you tank multiple mobs without them breaking loose and start beating up the healer.

The damage intake is much bigger in heroics – and unlike normal instances, your heals mostly will Not go into overheal, but will add to your threat on surrounding mobs. Basically the group and the tank will actually need to know what they’re doing, and I’m not surprised an average pug will struggle with that.

I have yet to experience heroic healing, but I don’t see how much different it is from normal game mechanics in action other then becoming more obvious. I’m not even going to explain what you could do or should not do, every Druid should know them – and that’s what scares me; if these complainers supposedly to their own saying know all about what they’re doing, what’s the cause of the problem they’re facing?

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Demon Badge

At 2 o’ clock AM I was trying to kill some summoned demons, along with a friendly resto shaman from our guild, along came some adds we unfortunately had to kill as well before they buried us under the crystalized surface of Ogri’la. I clicked need for the nice Apexis Crystal that dropped, so I could finally get my new Shard-bound Bracers in replacement of my Bracers of Maliciousness for dps-purposes, and the shaman stepped in to loot one of the other mobs

Rollscreen for: Depleted Badge!

I first cried out some exclamations of ‘omg’ and ‘omg’, then clicked Need, then clicked on the badge to fuse them with some Apexis Shards, and there it was… *equip* from 24k armor to 27k (or something similar). Hello!

I actually gave up on the badge thinking I was never gonna get it anyway, and “pfff, who cares, have enough trinkets as it is, don’t need it”.

So even though I should’ve went to bed way earlier, glad I didn’t.

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Mage Spells

Warning: this post has been flagged ‘Pointless’, it can and will potentially waste your time when reading it.

There are a lot of myths and opinions about what the best raiding spec is for Mages. I’ve been playing a mage for 35 levels, and while I shifted up and down from fire to arcane to frost, I’m not too comfortable to take fire.

The spells that a mage can use are however spec-independant, and basically revolve around 3 main spells: Arcane Missiles (channeling), Fireball (normal+DoT) and Frostbolt (normal). The only ones that can be actually compared are Fireball and Frostbolt due to missing ranks of Arcane Missiles.

You don’t need to be a rocket-scientist to figure out the math, but I haven’t seen much examples of it. However, this only indicates the base-damage the spells do, and it’s very simply said that the Fire spec is not only better because of it’s more dps-concentrated talents, but because the spell has a longer spell-cast-time and therefor will get more out of bonus damage stats on gear.

  Cast-time Min-Dmg Max-Dmg Avg-Dmg Mana
Frostbolt (Rank 13) 3.0s 597 643 620 330
Fireball (Rank 13) 3.5s 633 805 719 425

Those are the basics, straight from tooltips and wiki. Just facts. When we normalize them to 1 second cast-time, we get the following table. dps = 1 / casttime * damage, and mps = 1 / casttime * mana.

  Cast-time Min-Dps Max-Dps Avg-Dps Mps
Frostbolt (Rank 13) 1s 199 214 207 110
Fireball (Rank 13) 1s 181 230 205 121

So it’s 207dps versus 205dps – they’re pretty much equal, except for the fact that mana consumption over time is better for Frostbolt.

These table are basically Untalented and without Spelldamage bonusses, so the conclusion I’m happy to make is that if you’re naked and without talents: go for frostbolts!

/shock! but what is this?! A Damage over Time element for Fireball?! Outrageous! 84 damage over 8 seconds, lies, lies! 2/8*84=21 damage per tick, 10.5dps… meaning 205+11=216 dps… versus 207 dps…

We’re doomed!

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Rage and threat

There’s a lot of interesting talk going on in the world of blogs, and there’s a lot I’d like to emphasize or talk about. Though this bit caught my eye thinking: I can add something to that without having 2 pages of formula’s and tables. (not that I’m not a math-guy, I am)

Karthis rightfully concluded that taking damage is the best way to generate Rage. There are however from a tanking perspective some very annoying side effects from this fact concerning Shielding and Dodging.

Probably every rage-dependant tank has experienced it: a priest throws up a shield before you pull. You’ll gain absolutely no rage whatsoever for the duration of the shield. This means that you won’t be able to perform any kind of threat-generating ability except for your auto-attacks. And considering the speed of your paws in dire bear form, there’s no doubt about it that either a dps or healing party-member will gain aggro after 5 seconds where they had expected you to gain solid aggro on your mobs.

Any other druid would say: “why aren’t you using enrage then before the pull?”, well I do use it quite often, but you’ll always be in that fortunate situation where you’re OT and have pretty much no control over when the MT pulls. You could hit enrage the moment the MT pulled, but you’ll probably have to debuff it as soon as your designated target starts hitting you. (other question: why have I never thought about debuffing the shield?)

I’ll absolutely adore any priest who uses PoM, or Frisbee as Ego calls it, instead of a shield. It heals you for whatever damage you’re initially taking after pull, and the threat the healing generates is all yours.

The issue that’s equally annoying, is Dodge. Dodge not only makes low-level instances pretty much impossible to tank – without pulling multiple mobs, taking off some gear or just tank in catform – but it also has the annoying property to be there on the first few hits you’re going to take from a mob. The result is pretty much the same as a shield: you won’t generate any rage, because you’re not taking damage. The worst part of it is, is that you can’t help it, because you’ll need the avoidance dodge gives you throughout the fight.

Anyway, the best way I’ve noticed to come out of the icky situation of having no rage, is hoping you’ll get enough rage to hit a cheap ability like Lacerate, and then hoping it will crit. If it crits, you’ll get enough rage to be able to use Mangle, and if it doesn’t crit you’ll just have to wait a bit longer with the unfortunate risk of temporarily losing aggro.

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