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60 And Counting…

You Know…

…you’re going to suck at all classes when you try to Life Tap on your druid between pulls in ICC.

The Most Important Role Of All

OK, so Gordon ignited a spark under our collective blogging butts which turned into a raging wildfire over the past week with his guest post. The first time I read it something bothered me, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. And to be honest, I thought of it as just another post expounding on the idea that tanks and healers have the most difficult roles and sort of let it slide.

Then the proverbial manure hit the fan! Blogger after blogger had their own say on the topic although the topic has about run its course. Some responses were quite harsh and some were mild, but I think the general feeling is that Gordon is in the wrong.

I know Gordon was only trying to start an interesting conversation, but after reading SlikRX’s post (which I completely agree with btw) it finally dawned on me why Gordon’s comments bothered me.

Tanks and healers are the most important classes for any group. Tanks set the pace of the group, the flow of experience and man the vanguard as they lead the team into battle. Healers mend the broken bones of their companions and keep the tanks a live – without the healers there could be no tanks and there could be no group. These are the two most important classes that exist in any MMORPG. But the DPS? They’re just meat in the room.

This is Gordon’s opening statement. This set the tone of the post. This is why I have a problem with it.

Tanks and healers are the most important classes for any group.

This statement bothers me. To top it off it’s the very first sentence. But before I go on as to why it bothers me let’s look at why Gordon believes it so.

Tanks set the pace of the group…as they lead the team into battle.

I think we can agree this is a pretty important thing to have. But it isn’t tanks that should set the pace,it’s the Raid Leader. Ironically, it just so happens that a good majority of raid leaders are tanks. I firmly believe that tanks and healers are raid leaders and guild leaders because the personalities of those attracted to tanking and healing are more often than not the personalities of leaders. I’ve not personally run into a raiding guild led by a pure dps player that didn’t fail within two months. I have to believe they exist, but I haven’t personally run into one.

Healers mend the broken bones of their companions and keep the tanks a live – without the healers there could be no tanks and there could be no group.

A very true statement. Healers have an extremely important role and I think we can all agree with that. Because of the way the game is set up, there really wouldn’t be a group without the healers.

But the DPS? They’re just meat in the room.

Manure incoming! DUCK!!!

This is the statement that I think really got everyone’s goat and for good reason. He just said that dps doesn’t matter. If this statement were really true, then I want to see an ICC10 raid with 4 tanks and 6 healers. Now I’ll bet there is perhaps a group out there that could figure it out, but I’ll bet 95% of us couldn’t make that work.

Perhaps he meant that DPS are a dime-a-dozen, which is a pretty prevalent sentiment. But the bottom line is he obviously believes that they are less important.

Tanks And Healers Are The Most Important

BULLCOOKIES!!!

We spend a lot of time with our online avatars. We invest a lot of energy, emotion, and pride into them. It becomes very easy to look down on the other guy. It’s human nature to point the finger. It’s human nature to want to feel important. And this is where the whole game falls apart for me.

Why do so many people believe that they’re any more important to the game than any other? What happened to teamwork? Are we all star athletes such that WE individually are the team and the others don’t matter?

It’s a concept that I have a harder and harder time understanding as I get older.

EVERY single player in your group is important. EVERY single player in your guild is important. EVERY single role has worth.

As a healer, I guarantee you that if the DPS doesn’t avoid fire/aggro/baddies, then they will eventually die as I make choices to save others and/or run out of mana. As a healer, I guarantee that if DPS dies and/or overall dps is lower, then I will not be able to heal through the enrage. As a healer, solid DPS players are just as important to me as solid tanks and healers.

NO ONE is more important. It’s the team that counts.

For All You Paladins

Please note that Oswalt is a paladin. I was in a VoA several weeks back and ran into this. For all you non-paladins, Pally Power is a definite must have addon that assists paladins in giving out buffs.

Abbreviations

Be careful how you abbreviate “things”. 🙂

Back To The Grind

Welcome back, everyone! Hope everyone had a good holiday weekend. It’s always amused me that it’s called Labor Day and yet we take the day off from work. 😛

labor-day

Well like I said last week, the bid date for the project I’m working on was moved back a month and I’m already done with my stuff. That means I’m probably in for a long month of grinding boredom. Feast or famine. Sheesh!

So what did I do with my weekend? Well, unfortunately my wife had to work Saturday, Sunday, and Monday so we didn’t do anything. That did leave me with a lot of time with the kids and WoW. Enter level grinding! 🙂

Druid_CatForm-NE

Friday evening my druid was level 48 and since there weren’t too many guildies on at the time I decided to spend some time leveling her. I got caught by a massive leveling bug, because as of today she is one quest away from 63. A few guildies were somewhat surprised. So how did I do it?

First, no I did not use recruit-a-friend. That would be awesome! My wife would kill me though. That said, I have to say that with two heirloom items and the rested experience that lasted almost two levels, leveling still has never been easier! I will also state that even though I’m leveling as kitty, I have no qualms about wearing the spellpower cloth shoulders to get my extra 10%. 🙂 On top of that utilizing this guide hasn’t hurt either. I think it might be slightly dated due to recent patches, but it still works rather well.

While leveling I avoided all dungeons and related quests, group quests, and quests that had me go from one end of the world to the other. If I had room for those types of quests and knew I’d be in the area soon anyway, I kept them. With the added XP bonus, you don’t need to complete each quest in a zone. Also, the time it takes to do low-level dungeons just isn’t worth it. Questing is really what it’s about.

The trick is to use a quest addon like Carbonite or Questhelper and then to make sure you hit every possible quest in a particular area you can before moving to the next. I often look at the locations of where I’m to go and then plan a route ahead of time. You’d be amazed at how much time you actually spend by running back and forth turning in quests versus completing all quests before turning them in. After having leveled so many other toons through the same areas, I’ve become quite adept at ignoring the quest and just knowing which one it is by the highlights on my map.

Anyway, I’ve had a lot of fun leveling my druid. It’s gotten faster and now that I’m in Outland, I expect it’ll go a little faster again since the quests have better drop rates, designs, and are a lot more local than Azeroth. And people thought I was dumb for not waiting until Cataclysm when leveling will be easier. That’s at least a year off! I’ll be 80 by the end of the month. 🙂

toucansamOh and Flight Form? SWEEEEEET! Besides, the ability to just fly up and over mobs to get to the quest area being easier, it’s so unfair that I now get to pick up quest items without dismounting. It also just seems cooler than a flying mount which is stupid considering it’s the same mechanic and no different than just flying on a mount’s back, but I’m absolutely loving it!

Patch 3.2 POTENTIAL (oh dear Lord) Paladin Changes

Damn Amber for bringing this to my attention! But she wanted to know what I thought and since she’s Amber I’ll answer. 🙂 As taken from MMO Champion and my comments in blue.

We know it’s hard to evaluate the Retribution changes without understanding how the Seals now work. Here is how they work.

Seal of Command

OLD: Gives the Paladin a chance to deal additional Holy damage.

NEW: All melee attacks deal additional Holy damage.

Rarely use this in favor of Seal of the Martyr due to the “chance” issue. So this is a favorable change, especially considering they are removing Seal of the Martyr (see below) and I’M DEFINITELY NOT HAPPY ABOUT THAT!

Seal of Vengeance / Corruption

OLD: Fills the Paladin with holy power, causing attacks to apply Holy Vengeance which deals additional holy damage over 15 seconds. Holy Vengeance can stack up to 5 times.

NEW: Fills the Paladin with holy power, causing attacks to apply Holy Vengeance, which deals additional Holy damage over 15 sec. Holy Vengeance can stack up to 5 times. Once stacked to 5 times, each of the Paladin’s attacks also deals 33% weapon damage as additional Holy damage.

Used to use Vengeance alot while leveling, but did away with it in favor of Martyr. The change is a nice little buff that may have me reevaluating whether this is worth it. Remember, I’m not big on numbers, etc. I’ll leave that up to the smart guys and I’ll just try things out and see what works.

*****

We have several big changes coming up for the paladin class in patch 3.2. The paladin class Q&A is still in progress, so rather than making you wait, we wanted to give you a preview of what we’re trying to do with all three paladin talent trees. We thought some of the patch notes might not make sense until you understand the design goals. Sometimes the design goals don’t make any sense to us either…

Some of these changes are still in progress and may ultimately end up in a different form or with different numbers. We definitely want to see these changes in action on the PTR (Damn I’d hope so!!!) and we will iterate on them accordingly based on player testing and feedback. None of this is set in stone. The main reason I hate commenting on potential changes. Why get worked up for nothing? Furthermore, assume that talents, glyphs or set bonuses that affect any impacted abilities will also be changed accordingly. Finally, don’t expect that every class will see this many changes. Why would we? Paladins have always seemed to be the most broken class of them all. We are making far fewer changes to class mechanics overall in 3.2, but paladins in particular have some issues we feel are in need of being addressed.

Protection

To be honest, I know very little about pally tanking so I’ll keep quiet for the most part.

Currently, we think paladin tanks are almost there and that they just need slightly better cooldowns to handle some of the tougher boss fights. Rather than add a new ability that felt like a clone of another class’s ability (why start now? I thought we were homogenizing all the classes? “Bring the player, not the class”, right?!), we decided to buff an existing talent that was no longer cutting it. Ardent Defender has two important changes. The first is that the damage can no longer “skip over” the 35% health level – it will always be reduced. Secondly, it has a new effect that if a blow would kill you, it instead sets you to 30% health. This portion of the ability cannot occur more than once every 2 minutes. Think of it as a Last Stand that you don’t have to push.

A second change to Protection is we want to make sure Blessing of Sanctuary is always the tanking blessing of choice. A likely change here is to have it boost stamina as well.

We also recognize that block does not provide the mitigation it once did. While we have long-term plans to change the way block works entirely, in the short term we are doubling the effect of bonus block value on items (so jewelry, but not shields).

Holy

We like that Holy paladins have a niche as single-target healers. The problem is we think this niche is a little too narrow at the moment. Furthermore, paladins don’t have a wide arsenal of healing spells so it’s important that all of them are being used. Personally, I don’t know any paladins that don’t use all their spells. Even in Ulduar I’m using Flash of Light almost as often, if not as often, as Holy Light. I use Holy Shock as appropriate and Beacon almost all of the time.

First, we are changing Flash of Light so that it places a heal-over-time effect on any target with Sacred Shield on them (the effect will be similar to Sheathe of Light). This should make Flash see a little more use. If this causes any paladin to actually use Flash of Light more than they already are, they need to re-roll. It’s definitely an added bonus, but I doubt it’ll change the use of my spells at all. Besides who are you Sacred Shielding? I for one usually shield the tank for extra mitigation. I know some use it on the DPS that can’t avoid aggro or can’t get out of the fire, but I figure if those guys die they deserve it anyway.

Second, and more importantly, we are changing the way Beacon of Light works. Currently, it does not count over-healing on the target. We are changing that. In other words, if you place Holy Light on a rogue who is already at full health, it will still have the full effect on a tank with Beacon of Light on them. This is a huge buff (Umm, yeah it is! Can anyone say “Nerf incoming”?! Actually I’m trying to remember when this spell first came out. Didn’t it already do this and they got rid of it? I’m at work and can’t research it.), particularly when you consider the Holy Light glyph which allows for a small amount of “splash” healing. This effect isn’t common when you use Holy Light on a tank because the tank is often standing alone. But if you heal the melee, you are likely to get a lot more total healing from this effect (while still healing the tank through Beacon of Light). We are also going to try to allow a target to have more than one beacon (i.e. from different paladins) on them. I like this idea. I think it should have been that way from the start, however I can also see how it could get too OP. Can you imagine this in PvP? I told Amber it’d be another nerf later on and she said, “F……….” Well you can imagine what she said. But when has Blizzard not nerfed something that was balanced for PvE and not PvP?

Many players may surmise that this change would make paladins far and away the best healers in the game. This is partially because paladin mana regeneration is so potent. That isn’t an issue when the paladin can generally only heal the tank. With the Beacon of Light change, the paladin can provide a lot more raid or party healing. To adjust for this, we are going to reduce the amount of mana returned by Illumination. If you use Holy Light too recklessly (such as on targets who don’t require that much healing) you do risk burning out of mana too quickly. Of course, they will still have Divine Plea and other mana regeneration mechanics.

OK this really pisses me off! I’m already a paladin that raid heals. Sorry Amber, I can’t help it. I learned to pally heal in Kara with another priest. We only ever had two healers. I had to raid heal, especially considering that the other priest was lousy. No offense because I really liked her, but she wasn’t any good. She got to raid with high end guilds on my server, out-geared me, and should have by all accounts beaten me on heal meters. But she was always at half the heals I was by the end of the night with twice the overheals. I don’t normally use Holy Light for raid heals, sometimes on melee, so maybe this won’t affect me much, but I sure as hell ain’t happy!

Yeah I’ve gotten really good at mana control even in Ulduar, but nerfing Illumination makes me want to scream! I’m a pally healer and no I won’t quit, but it does make me want to gear up Maed and Erd awfully fast!

As a footnote, we are also likely to slightly adjust Replenishment and buff the amount of MP5 on gear. Yeah cuz nerfing Illumination and buffing MP5 will even things out. WHEN THE FUCK HAVE YOU EVER SEEN A PALLY SIT THERE AND NOT HEAL?!!!

These changes should lead to healing as Holy being more dynamic (Dynamic? Is that the politically correct term?) – you are going to be targeting a lot more group members than just the tank (I already do thank you very much!), while still providing massive healing on the tank. However, you won’t be able to just constantly spam your biggest heals (Never been able to do that, although I sure as hell tried to get my crit high enough!), at least not on the more challenging encounters. There is an opportunity here for skilled players to really do some outstanding healing as paladins, but it’s going to take a little more effort. I don’t mind effort. In fact, I enjoy it. Healing Naxx is a bore. This is something a lot of players have been asking for so we hope that it delivers without completely changing what some paladins enjoy about their healing style. “Without completely changing”, WTF DO YOU THINK MP5 IS?!!!

Retribution

Depending on who you ask, Retribution paladins are either perceived as being in need of improvements to make them stronger (/raises hand. Hey, who doesn’t like to be OP?) or are in need of changes to make them less powerful. We are really happy with the overall changes to the Seal and Judgement system from Lich King. However, Ret still has some problems. There aren’t enough buttons to push and they are all limited by cooldowns, allowing Ret paladins to have a lot of up-front burst without requiring a lot of skill or timing to actually hit those buttons (now after the opening moves of a fight, we think things get a lot more interesting because now the paladin’s defenses, healing and dispelling can come into play). We have other problems to fix as well. Exorcism currently can’t be used on players, which we think is a weak design. Amen. We have also become less enamored with the drawback to Seal of Blood / Seal of the Martyr causing damage to the paladin. You know? I didn’t like it either, but after I was geared to a certain point, it actually works quite well. I suppose that’s why we have Seal of Command and Seal of Vengeance. Alternatives in case we want them. Oh wait, they don’t want alternatives which is why they’re changing Holy to help us utilize more spells…wait…what?!

Here are the design changes we hope will fix all of these problems:

First, Exorcism has a cast time of 1.5 seconds but can be used on players again. This will let paladins use it in PvP, but not while moving towards a target. This is actually not a bad thing. It ain’t great, but it ain’t too bad given the next item.

Second, we are changing The Art of War to make not only Flash of Light instant, but also Exorcism. And this is why the cast time isn’t too bad. Otherwise I’d still be pissed. Choose healing or damage. Paladins will have to watch for this proc and use Exorcism when it happens. The spell itself is still ranged, but the proc will only occur when the paladin is already in melee.

Third, we are lowering the cooldown and damage of Crusader Strike to four seconds from six seconds. I like that the CD is lowered and if the damage is still the same on a per second basis, then I’m happy about this change. This accomplishes a few things. It lowers burst, it gives the paladins more buttons to push since they aren’t always waiting on cooldowns (always a plus), it requires a little more skill since the player will have to choose between Crusader Strike and other attacks more often (such as the new Exorcism procs) (Is that how we define skill? Choosing button A or button B? No wonder this game is so easy.), and it gives Retribution a chance to get more damage out of their Seals (providing a sustained DPS boost for PvE).

CharlieBrownFourth, we are removing Seal of Blood and Seal of the Martyr. The damage recoil increasingly felt like a liability in PvE, and wasn’t serving to offset the massive burst damage capable in PvP. I suppose this is why I like it. I do more PvP than PvE and now that I have sufficient PvP gear and stam, I see little effect from the self-inflicted damage. We are buffing Seal of Vengeance / Corruption and redesigning Seal of Command with the expectation that these are now the seals of choice for PvP and PvE. Righteousness can remain a tanking seal. I guess if it does the same amount of damage, I really don’t care.

Finally, we are replacing the current effect of Vindication with an attack power debuff that works like Demoralizing Shout. In PvP, Ret paladins can still debuff melee targets, while in PvE they can provide another necessary debuff in the case that the tank is not a warrior or druid. In addition, the talent may be more attractive to Protection paladins.

These changes do not close the door on adding additional attacks, PvP utility or even the oft-requested Crusader Strike debuff. If the changes outlined above finally accomplish the goal of balancing Retribution in PvE and PvP (you’ll excuse me if I don’t hold my breath), then we can start exploring those other design issues.

Again, these are our current plans and they may change based on testing and feedback. The changes to all three trees are things we are working on right now. Some of them might not work out quite the way we intended and will have to undergo iteration before finally showing up in 3.2. Even once the patch goes live, we are still likely to have to tweak numbers. This is simply a preview of what may yet come and we hope that it will be viewed as such.

This is why I shouldn’t read pre-patch notes…

Manic Monday

Real Life

This week is gonna be hell for me. The bid on a project for the Government at Aberdeen bids on Friday…given that another amendment isn’t issued pushing it back…AGAIN!!! Fortunately I’ve completed my scopes and just need to work out a couple of last minute take-offs and contact all the subs, but it’s still gonna be hell.

As such, I don’t know how much content I’m going to have this week. I’m going to do my best to keep the posts up. On the other hand I have been doing a lot with my AH experiment and maybe it’s time to share some insights. Which brings me to a little bit of a rant.

Frustrated Shammy

frustrationAnyone else leveling alts and having a hard time getting them into heroics? I cannot for the life of me get my shammy into anything. I have run heroic UK once. One f’ing time!!! Soon after hitting 80 I tried for two hours each day to do something with him. I was in almost all greens, but now I’m in almost all blues and still can’t get into anything! It’s frustrating me to no end.

Why? Because Ky doesn’t need anything except a tier 7.5 helm and only needs that so he can use one of his two supposed upgrades from Ulduar without breaking the 4-set bonus. So no real drive to do anything with him. Sure it’d be nice to get some raiding achievements, but frankly I’m not in a guild capable of doing most of them let alone in a guild that has the desire to go after them. Don’t know that I have the desire to go after them either to be honest.

I guess I could PvP with Ky. I’m now in guild 2-man and 3-man Arena groups, but my resilience is only around 530 and BGs have worn me out. I’ll probably run a few this week though.

Maedchen’s geared for Ulduar and her upgrades are there as well, with the exception of needing some healing gear, but sadly most of the upgrade healing gear comes from 25man Naxx as even her +hit gear is better than most 10-man gear. And even though I could try to pug her into Ulduar, the words pug and Ulduar don’t yet go together for me quite yet. Besides, the guild might need her some night so there’s no way in hell I’m going to get her saved.

So that leaves me with Erdkrieg. Level 80 and can’t do shit! Granted I don’t have healing gear yet so I’m still running as Enhancement and only 1.1k dps which is sad, but it’s heroics and not even the hard ones! Seriously it’s like no one runs heroics on my server anymore! Anyone else having that problem?

So that leaves me with leveling alts and running my AH experiment.

My AH Experiment

Week 2.7 - Sunday morningDamn is it going well! 😀 I bought a crapload of herbs off the AH on Friday and this guy contacts me on his DK to sell me herbs at 12g/stack. I think I’ve bought 2k worth of herbs off him now. He’s happy! I’m happy! The 1200g I spent yesterday morning was earned back by early afternoon. I bought another 600g worth off him this morning. Still working on getting my inventory all up to 20.

Although I’m not making as much as I’d like to yet, I’m making more than I thought I would after the first week. So I’m really happy about how it’s going. There were roughly 3800 glyphs on the AH this morning (if I wasn’t too tired to remember that correctly) of which roughly 500 were mine. So I have a decent share of the market and I really only have 4 competitors that are posting on the scale that I am. Everyone else seems to be specializing in a few particular glyphs or posting glyphs while leveling.

Leveling Alts (among other things)

I was so bored Friday night that after playing the AH, I decided to log over to other toons. I leveled a mage from 2 to 3 before getting bored with that. I can’t remember what I did after that, probably played Call of Duty: World at War on the Xbox. Oh wait, I did do that, but I also leveled a rogue to 8.

Saturday morning I played around with the AH again and leveled my mage to 7, my baby pally from 14 to 15, and then went and hung out with my family at a railroad festival in Manassas all day. Sunday wasn’t much better. I logged in for the AH a few times, but I spent the day cleaning house, doing dishes, cooking, playing with the kids, and playing Call of Duty again.

Problem is as much as I want to level alts because I do have fun with it, the quests in the Old World are horrendous. I can’t stand the quests that send you half way around the world to complete one stinking quest, so I usually skip those and trudge through the awful quest designs that are available. Outland quests are better as they generally keep you closer together, but the ganking is pretty bad and I never liked Outland leveling even when it was new. Actually I wasn’t a fan of Outland much at all. Nagrand was the only zone I liked. But then there’s Northrend. Northrend was a lot of fun the first two times and still fun the third time, but I wonder how much fun it’ll be the fourth time? Although I still don’t have a flyer for Erdkrieg and haven’t touched Storm Peaks or most of Icecrown. 😀

Oh and as a random side thought, I want to strangle a guildie that was trolling trade chat this morning. He brought up an issue that he brought up in guild the other day. He thinks that as a mage he’s there for cookies, ports, and dps. He’s a dps class and that’s what he should do. He thinks pallies are healers and they shouldn’t be ret or tanks. In fact he thinks all healer classes should be just healers, warriors are tanks, etc. He started a big brouhaha last week about spriests shouldn’t dps and should only be holy. He refused to believe that spriests were awesome in Naxx. I don’t know what it is, but I just want to f’ing strangle this kid!!!

Weekly Recap

So what did I do all week? Each day I spent time milling, crafting glyphs, posting auctions, canceling auctions, collecting the mail, etc. I calculated that I spent 7.5 hours doing that all week.

On Monday and Wednesday I raided Ulduar. On Tuesday I spent time doing the JC daily for Erdkrieg and wasting time trying to get into something. On Thursday, I tried to get into a Naxx25 run by a guildie. I wanted to take Erdkrieg, but he’s not really geared for that and my spriest was wanted. But that run was already nearly an hour behind in getting started as they tried to find additional healers and I asked them to remove me from raid while working on the AH since it was getting too late to start for me. And I’ve already talked about Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

I had a conversation with my wife last night and she’s happy that I play a lot less than I used to. So am I to be honest, but that makes it all the more frustrating when I’m trying to accomplish things in a shorter period of time.

Anyway, sorry about the rant, but that’s been brewing for two weeks now and I needed to get it off my chest.