Posts Tagged ‘raid’

h1

Musings on the WoW news over the weekend.

June 14, 2010

In case you’re unaware, Blizzard had a press even over the weekend and released a lot of information about the current status of Cataclysm and also answering questions that the players have been confused about. I wont kill you with a wall of text of recap. Just highlight some points that I found interesting. If you want the full news head on over to your favorite WoW news site.. the details are everywhere. Let’s dive in..

Heroic Shadowfang Keep and Heroic Deadmines should be shipped in Patch 4.1

Seriously? All I was expecting was a 85 heroic scaled version of the same instance. That shouldn’t take very long to do. So why the delay until 4.1? Could be that they are completely re-designing the dungeons, or it could be that they are trying to refrain from releasing too many dungeons at once. I don’t really know, but I think that this is pretty stupid. Not a big deal though.

Path of the Titans Removal
Okay.. now it just seems like they are cutting features all together. Instead of this we’re now getting “medium” glyphs. Which will be in between Major and Minor. These glyphs are “for fun” only, so they *should* have no effect on your character’s output.

Much more boring but serves almost the same purpose and takes 1/2 the time to develop. Sure.. cool by me. Give me my Libram graphic dangling from my hip!

Guild Talents are gone

Makes it much more boring, but I can understand why. They have enough trouble balancing the class talents. To make sure the guild talents weren’t too over-done they just got rid of them all together. Now we get abilities handed to us based on our guild’s level. Much as in other games. It’s basically the same thing, they just took choice out of the equation. *shrug*

Raid Changes

Here’s the bread and butter (to me) of the press release. We knew 10’s and 25’s were going to be equalized but we didn’t have the details really. Now we do. You can break down your 25 man raid into 3 separate 10m raid ID’s if you choose. Also, a change to how the lockouts work. Basically it doesn’t tag yourself to the zone, it tags what bosses you have killed. Therefore streamlining managing your Raid IDs. Especially if you do a lot of PUG raids.

25’s will drop approx. 50% more loot than 10’s. Which is good. Most of this 50% was strongly hinted at just being extra emblems. That’s kind of boring but ah well.

It’s been stated before that 10’s will be brought up in difficulty to be along the same challenge of 25’s, now we have official confirmation that this IS in fact the plan. This makes me giddy. Being someone who simply doesn’t want to deal with attendance issues, or that one bad player that just wont get better no matter how much you talk to them.. this is an awesome thing for me. 10 man cuts down on the stupid, which is good for my blood pressure. Up until (seemingly) now 10 mans have always been insanely easy compared to 25 mans. A good majority of this comes from the simple fact of their being less people. Less chaos.

If they are ramping up the difficulty on 10m, I’m curious to see how far they take that. Will it be easier because there is less people? Or will they tune the content right and make 10/25 equalized in difficulty? It’s hard to equalize something that gets harder the more players you throw at it. No matter how hard a boss hits, things will always be easier if you only have 10 people to worry about vs. 25.

The ONLY thing I can see as a downside here is the confusion that could come about with the 25 lockout being split in to 3 different 10 man lockouts. I’m not quite sure I understand how this works. Does it take groups 1 and 2 and give them a lockout, 2-4, 5-6, and such? If it does, that could be a raid balance and administrative nightmare.

Also.. in your typical 25m raid you generally have 3 tanks and 4-5 healers. Split the group up into 3 10’s and you don’t have proper raid balance for any more than 1, maybe 2 teams.

Basically, how I see it, is.. someone’s going to get shafted every week. And while Blizzard is implementing this for guilds like mine, who have full raids on Tuesday, but then struggle Wednesday and Thursday to get numbers. I still don’t think this is a good option for that type of group. It’s basically no different from how guilds handle 10/25 now. You have your 25 team, and an “A” 10m team, and possibly another “B” team.

But this causes a lot of animosity as we’ve all seen in the past in various different guilds. My guild has an “A” team that runs 10m on the weekends, they’ve killed LK10 and are working on heroics (and we have yet to kill LK25). It’s typically always the same people. We don’t have enough support/attendance to gather a “B” team on the weekends. So.. half of us that would like to raid usually end up sitting out. Bad policy imo.. but.. what else are bored people gonna do?

What I don’t understand is.. instead of Blizzard jumping through all of these hoops with the Raid IDs and coming up with all this crazy stuff. Why not just have the raid instances scale up or down based off of how many people you have?

10 people = 10m difficulty

14 people = 10m difficulty scaled up a tad

25 people = 25m difficulty

23 people = 25m scaled back a little

..you get the idea I think. This seems more easier to me than what they’re doing. Surely it’s not an easy task, but I don’t think it requires too much more work than what they are doing now.

I guess what I’m saying is.. make a raid just that. A raid. Minimum 10 players, max 25. Have the instance(and loot) scale off the number of people you bring in. There is quite a many games that use (or have used) some sort of auto-scaling (or manual scaling) for their instances. It’s worked out pretty well for them. Why wouldn’t it work in Azeroth?

The last thing I would like to touch on is the happenings with rated Battlegrounds. I’m no PvP’er.. but even I notice that not many people make pre-mades anymore. Or if they do, teamwork is usually pretty scarce. I like teamwork. If there was more of it in BGs I would enjoy them a lot more. Thats why I like the idea of making a BG team.. it sounds awesome and maybe.. just maybe.. it will turn my view of WoW PvP around.

h1

How to Holy

June 9, 2010

So you wanna be a healer? If this is your first time playing a healer type, know that it can get pretty stressful. Often times in a raid when the tank screws up.. people tend to just shrug it off and continue. DPS is always laying on the floor so no point in talking about them. Healers, the thankless job. Being a Healer in many MMO’s I’ve played is one of those “Puts in a ton of work for little recognition.” In WoW Tanks get recognition when they do their jobs well because they are in the spotlight. DPS gets recognition based on DPS scores (bonus epeen too) Healers however have a lot riding on their shoulders, but nobody (except other healers, and maybe raid leaders) is paying attention to your performance. You have one task. Keep people alive. If the raid wipes and it wasn’t an obvious reason, 9 times outta 10 the raid leader will be saying “Healers gotta step it up” even though we’re all probably mashing the crap out of our keyboards already.

A great Healer though can stand out and get recognition, but it takes time to prove your worth to your guild. I was Holy in BC and Wrath up to TotC. When we were pushing through Naxx at level 80 nearly 2 years ago, we weren’t having much troubles. Not many guilds were lol. Half the time in raid I would either be meleeing or tabbed out reading something else. There was just nothing for me to heal, and I’m not a fan of overhealing… it’s a waste.

So as time went on I got more and more bored, and started chain pulling for the tanks. The raid leader hated it at first, but once he understood that I was trying to get us to move faster he let me go. I knew what I was doing. What does that have to do with healing? Nothing. But, it showed my Raid leaders that I (and we, as a guild) are capable of more. After time building a relationship and trust with my tanks and leadership, I was able to convince them to let us try more tricky setups and strats.

I convinced them to let me solo-heal. All of our other healers went DPS and we started charging through the wings. We cleared all 3 wings, only leaving Military. The only fight I needed help from another healer on was Loatheb. It was that day I knew that I was a skilled healer. Yeah, cool story bro, what’s this got to do with being a Holydin?

The point I’m trying to make is that a good healer will always try to push his or her raid to use the least amount of healers possible. Maximize the DPS, and run your raid as efficiently and quickly as possible. In order to do this, you have to build trust with your leadership. We don’t always need 5 healers for 25’s.. as you progress you should (In my opinion) try to cut down on the amount of healers, and increase your amount of DPS classes.

Now that my little epeen introduction is complete, we can continue with the actual guide. Just as with my guide to Retribution, I’m not going to go into serious detail for two reasons. EJ’s already got all the info you need, and 4.0 is going to change a lot of the content in this guide. So I will give a link, and then just chime in with a few of my own words of wisdom.

Holy Paladin Thread for 3.3 curteousy of Elitist Jerks

First and foremost, there is two different ways to play a Holy Paladin. You have your Holy Light builds or your Flash of Light builds. They are equal in ability, but vary in play style is all. The FoL build concentrates on inflating Spellpower as high as possible and typically assigned to raid healing w/ Beacon on the tank.

The Holy Light build is for a Tank healing position. Though you can still raid heal with HL build, it’s less efficient than an FoL build. Chances are also that if you’re an FoL build, you wont have the HPS required to keep a tank alive. So your first decision should be what position you’ll be taking in your raids.

Stats

These are going to change based off of the build you choose. Priorities are pretty simple though:

HL Build – INT>INT>INT>Haste to cap>Crit.. you won’t be needing Mp5, so avoid it as best as you can. Gem for INT, strictly, unless it’s to nab a socket bonus of 4 int or higher, then you should use int + haste or int + crit gems, depending on what you need. You’ll get all the spellpower you need just by picking up gear.

FoL Build – SP>Haste>Mp5>INT>Crit. You want to stack as much SP as you can possibly get. Stack haste until AT LEAST your FoL’s are down to 1.0 second cast times. Rely on MP5 vs. large mana pool due to the efficiency of FoL.

A few things to clear up about the builds before we continue. Whichever build you choose, that is pretty much going to be your primary spell. Either way your going to be spamming 1 spell for the most part. It’s just up to you which spell you like to use more. If you’re the only Holy Paladin in your raid group, avoid the FoL build. Holy Paladins are arguably the strongest Tank healer in the game and should be a priority over a FoL Pally until you have one.

Abilities

Sacred Shield – Keep it on the tank you’re assigned to. When you see the shield proc try to throw a FoL at the tank with the shield to get the HoT rolling on him. This goes for both builds. FoL build just toss a quick one to the tank, HL build is a bit trickier. If you’re in complete spam HL mode, it will be hard to fit in a FoL to get the HoT up on the tank. Luckily for you the HoT wont matter that much compared to your raw HPS from HL spam. Still, if you find a opprotunity, take it.

Beacon of Light – When they introduced this spell with 3.0, it was a godsend. It’s one of the coolest parts about being a Holy Paladin and in my opinion is still largely overpowered. You can frikken heal 2 people at once! Overheal transfers as well. This is also why Holy Paladins make the best tank healers. Beacon the main tank, who will be taking the most damage, and HL spam the OT/Raid. Even if they aren’t taking any damage.

There are so many different and interesting things to do with this ability. It can transfer healing without Line of Sight. Meaning you can Beacon the tank and hide behind a corner and heal yourself while still keeping the tank plenty alive.

Or in a situation where things go wrong you can mix it up a bit. Beacon yourself and spam the tank/other party members. I’ve survived numerous almost wipes in 5 man dungeons (and some 10 mans) with just myself and the tank left standing because I was able to throw up Conc. Aura and just spam HL bombs on both of us at the same time. Another example is Faction Champions. I like to put my Beacon on a Resto druid during that fight because it always seems that that pesky Rogue is going after my trees.

It also works great while levelling if you like to have a partner around. Enough of Bacon though. Great ability, learn to use it smart!

Judgements of the Pure – You best be keeping this buff up on yourself, it’s a HUGE haste increase. You want to be judging Light, regardless of what build you are due to JoL proc heals scaling with Divinity.

Divine Plea – Another game changing ability we got with 3.0. Regens mana, scales off of INT. Decreases healing, so make sure you either use it during a pause in the fight, or use it in conjunction with Avenging Wrath to negate the healing debuff.

Holy Shock – Still pretty crappy. Good in a pinch because it’s instant, but it’s not efficient and doesn’t heal for very much more than a FoL. It’s great for 5 mans though, using the “Shock + Infusion” combo you can pretty much get through the dungeon just using that. Depending on your tank.

Divine Illumination – Yes, use it. As much as possible. Don’t wait to use it either, it can usually be used multiple times during a boss fight. Be weary of using it while tanks, or other healers are using their defensive cooldowns as it would be wasteful. Time it for when you’re going to be spamming for its duration.

Aura Mastery – 1 point for this talent? Yes. It does make a large difference too. It’s a defensive heroism. Pump up a tank’s armor, or the entire raids resists! Plenty of places to use this. Make sure if there is any other Holy pallies you coordinate.

Divine Sacrifice – Typically this will be taken by only Holy Paladins since it’s been changed so much from its original use. Not nearly as good as it used to be, but still a powerful ability. It should be fairly obvious when you should use it.

Seals – This is mostly a personal choice as it depends on which Glyph you choose. 5% increased healing with SoL glyph, or 5% mana reduction with SoW glyph. I think the SoW glyph is the best option due to being able to whack bosses with my stick and have infinite mana. There are quite a few fights where Paladins have infinite mana and most people don’t even realize it. Just a few.. Gluth, XT, Icehowl, Jaraxxus, Anub.. the list goes on. Pretty much if you can hit the boss a few times in between heals, it’s impossible for you to run out of mana. Always judge Light though.

Divine Favor – It’s a free crit, good to use in a pinch but, meh. If you’re a HL build, chances are you’re going to have pretty high crit ratings as is. I don’t keep this one on my bars, I feel it’s a practically worthless ability when you’re at 50%+ crit rating already, and spamming spells.

Gear

Short and sweet. The only Libram you will ever need is the Libram of Renewal. Yes, the T7 Libram. Best in the game by far. Get some good trinkets too.

Addons (Specific to Holy mostly)

Class Timers – For monitoring Beacon/Sacred Shields. There is a Paladin specific addon out there that does the same thing, but the reason I choose Class Timers is that it’s not specific to Paladins and it’s very minimalistic and customizable.

Grid + Clique – Before I started using Clique I thought my healing was fine. Then I started using it with Pitbull Unit Frames. I liked that a lot and it made me way more efficient and faster to react. Now I use Grid + Clique because Grid has a lot of different Plugins to show you a myriad of information. But Clique is the real key to healing success. It doesn’t matter which Raid Frames you choose.

A few examples from my Clique binds:

Left click – FoL, Shift+LClick – HS, Alt+LClick – HL, Shift+Rclick – Cleanse. I could go on, but I have nearly all of my abilities bound to mouse clicks as I like a minimalist UI, I only have 1 bar of abilities. The rest is hidden-keybinds or bound via Clique.

PowerAuras – This one isn’t as needed as the others are, but still handy to have. You can set up aura’s to follow Beacon, Sacred shield.. trinket procs, JotP.. anything.

PallyPower – A Paladin without this addon is just a DK in disguise.

General Tips

– Currently, no matter what healer you play, it’s just like a game of whack-a-mole. Health bars go down, you fill em up. The default interface doesn’t give you the proper tools to handle the load put on healers, so you have to be sure to make use of the tools available to you via addons.

– Try to train your eyes to watch the raid frames with your peripheral vision and keep your main focus on the other important aspects of the fight. This takes time and good UI positioning. Try to put your raid frames in the center of your screen, towards the bottom, or top.. whichever is easiest on your eyes. Practice on not looking directly at the raid frames. This will keep your eyes available to dodge things like fire on the floor, or malleable goo’s.

– If it’s time to move, it’s time to move. Remember that. If you’re mid-cast on a big heal that a tank needs, and a fire spawns beneath you, you have to make the choice and make it quick. You have to use your judgement on whether or not to finish the cast and move, or just move. BIG TIP: This goes for everyone. If a fire or some such spawns underneath you, DO NOT JUMP OUT OF IT. Just run out of it. The reason for this is the servers don’t register that you’ve left the fire until your feet hit the ground. Which means you could take an extra 1 or 2 ticks of fire.

That’s about that. I’m sure I’m missing a few things, or possibly have got a few things wrong seeing as I haven’t been main spec Holy since late Ulduar. So, I urge you to refer to the EJ thread if you have any other questions.

I will do a full re-write of this guide once we have more solid information on Cataclysm.

h1

Guide : Retribution (3.3)

June 8, 2010

So you want to learn how to Retlol? It’s a little bit more than just facerolling on the keyboard.. but not much! : D Since it’s 3.3, Cataclysm is on the horizon and everything is going to change again I’m not going to waste time with an “official” and “fancy” guide. Going to throw some links up here to already well done guides, and also give my 2 copper on some points covering the Ret play style.

Retribution Links

Retribution Thread at EJ – Honestly, this guide pretty much covers everything. The first page is current and accurate and has all the info you need not be a Retardadin.

My own thoughts

Just some general tips/expanding on the EJ guide.

– We don’t have a rotation, we have a priority list. The priority changes depending on how you’re geared or the encounter. EJ guide goes into this more in-depth.

– Stat priority goes: Hit(to cap)>Str>Exp(to cap)>Crit>Agi>AtkPwr>Haste>ArPen. Once you cap out Hit, Strength becomes our main stat and our primary gem. You want your STR as high as possible, but without neglecting the expertise cap. You shouldn’t gem for exp though, it comes naturally on gear and it’s not that difficult to get capped.

– Weapons : We want to use the slowest, hardest hitting 2 handers we can find. Enchant with Berserking.

Abilities and Tactics

Sacred Shield : For fights where it’s mostly the tanks taking damage, if you don’t have enough Paladins in your raid for every tank to get Sacred Shield then keep it on whatever tank needs it. If the tanks are covered do what you want with it. For heavy raid damage fights I like to keep it on myself, and for more focused damage fights, or fights with spawning adds, I’ll keep it up on a healer or a clothie.

Art of War : Don’t be afraid to use it as a heal instead of just waiting for Exo to come off cooldown and/or once you get your 2pc T10 (Exo becomes lowest priority at that point). We get this buff ALOT. If you find a “dead spot” in your rotation, take a glance at the raids health bars. Top someone off real quick, or hit yourself so you can take some stress off the healers. Your #1 priority though is Damage, so use your utility wisely.

Consecration : Watch where you scorch the ground with your holy powers. If your tanks aren’t smart enough to stack up all the trash mobs usually when Cons comes up in your rotation you can “back off” from your current target a little bit and make sure you drop Cons in the best possible spot to hit all the baddies. Same goes for Divine Storm.

Seals : Seal of Wisdom and Light you should never be using, unless you want to while leveling or some such. Remove from hot bars imo. Seal of Vengeance/Corruption, Righteousness, and Command are the only 3 you’ll be needing. (I miss Seal of Blood)

Use Righteousness when it’s a single target fight and the mob is not going to live longer than 20 seconds. Use Vengeance for single target fights lasting over 20 seconds. Use Command in situations with 2 or more mobs near you. Don’t be afraid to switch seals in combat. For example.. when fighting Emalon, and he charges up one of the elementals, while you’re running over to the adds you may as well throw up Command. With gear levels what they are, and how easy Emalon is.. it doesn’t really matter so much if more than one happens to die. Unless the add tank just sucks at picking up spawns. Anyways, when the elemental dies and you’re running back over to Emalon, don’t forget to switch back to Vengeance.

Judgements : Wisdom for PvE, Justice for PvP. Holy Paladins should take care of Light. In raid situations, usually it doesn’t matter as you will most likely always have 3 or more Paladins. If you don’t however, use Light, the other classes in your raid should be able to fill-in for Replenishment duty.

Cleanse : Seriously.. do it. Don’t let it drop your DPS, but cleanse when you can. Healers will love you for it.

Righteous Fury : Don’t forget about this ability. We wont be using it often as Ret, but there are some fights where strategies call for us to do strange jobs and RF can do wonders for kiting mobs around.

Hand of Reckoning : Yeah, it’s a taunt. No, you shouldn’t ignore it. 2 reasons. Say an add spawns and it’s headed straight for a clothie and the tank is pre-occupied, or just being a baddie. Save the clothie’s life by taunting that add and let it hit you. You wear plate, you’re not going to die as quick as some prissy Mage. It may be a thankless job too, since people may not notice during the chaos of the fight. But at least you can let it beat on you for a few seconds while the tank pulls his head out of his ass. The second reason I say don’t ignore this ability is it does damage! On certain bosses, very few rather, you can throw this out while waiting for other abilities to come up. Use this wisely though and make sure you know the thing you’re taunting isn’t going to turn around and whack ya dead. The only few fights I can recall this working on is XT heart phase, Mimiron 2nd phase, Faction Champs (doubles as a clothie save too), and the Gunship battle if you jump to the other boat. It’s a great ability and has a great range. Don’t neglect it.

Useful Macros – This block was taken from my Guild forums. One of our other Ret’s typed this out. So thanks to Maxxik for letting me be a thief 🙂

AW + Hand of Salv on myself:

#showtootip Avenging Wrath
/cast Avenging Wrath
/cast [target=Maxxik] Hand of Salvation

The nice part about this macro is if I hit it in between GCD’s then it doesn’t salv myself, so I can keep it free in case I need to salv a fury warrior or whoever later on.

Bubble:

#showtooltip Divine Shield
/cast [nobutton:2] Divine Shield
/cancelaura [button:2] Divine Shield

Left click bubbles yourself, right click dismisses it so you’re not gimping your dps for 12 seconds or however long it’s not needed.

Exorcism:

/startattack
/cast Exorcism

Just starts your auto-attack when you cast Exorcism. Basically if you have an AoW proc up and your switching to a new target to dps starts your white attacks, whereas Exorcism by itself won’t.

SoC/SoR seal and libram:

#showtooltip Seal of Command
/cast [button:1] Seal of Command
/cast [button:2] Seal of Righteousness
/equip Deadly Gladiator’s Libram of Fortitude

Left click for Seal of Command, right click for Seal of Righteousness. Also equips the deadly libram when either seal is selected.

SoV seal and libram:

#showtooltip Seal of Vengeance
/cast Seal of Vengeance
/equip Libram of Valiance

Obviously brings up SoV, but also equips the libram for use. Keep in mind for the above two macros, if you use them in combat they will burn a GCD, but since you’re using these macros the libram swap GCD and the seal GCD are being used at the same time, thus actually saving you one GCD if you need to swap in combat for whatever reason.

Sacred shield on yourself:

#showtooltip Sacred Shield
/cast [help,target=target] Sacred Shield
/cast [target=player] Sacred Shield

Basically the way this works is if you have a hostile target, when you hit this it’ll cast SS on yourself, but if you have a friendly target it’ll cast it on them.

Addons (Note: Everyone has their own way of tweaking their UI, I’m not going to list ALL of the ones I use here. Only the ones that pertain to Paladins, in this case, Retribution.)

Serious Help In Timing – Much like the old face-roller addon. Gives you a handy, scalable, movable bar that has 3 icons. Left icon is AW and gives a cooldown timer. Middle(Big) Icon is the highest ability in your priority list that is not on cooldown (I.e. use it) and the right Icon is what ability you should use next. It’s very easy setup, 5 minutes to position and setup your priority list to your liking. Alternative includes clcret. This addon was developed by the handy people on EJ and though I’ve never used it, it’s very similar to SHIT.

Grid + Clique

This is a must have for almost anybody, yes.. even Tanks. Grid gives you one of the best raid frame options out there, combined with the power of assigning spells to mouse clicks (requiring no targeting) streamlines the healing and/or cleansing process so much. For example, I have Shift+R-click set to Cleanse. So all I have to do is Shift+Rclick on someones raid frame and I never lose my target.

PowerAuras

A highly customizable addon that allows you to do a lot. It can be applied numerous ways to Ret pally’ing. I personally have it setup to show me “when the stars align” meaning I have it set to display icons when I gain certain buffs like Greatness and Berserk. When I see all my procs and buffs light up its AW time. PowerAuras can help you by showing you when things happen. It’s hard to see when you gain buffs mid-raid fight, so this addon can help you increase your efficiency and DPS and help you with timing your cooldowns.

PallyPower

If you’re a Paladin, and not using this addon. Please do. It makes managing blessings and auras SO much easier. If there is only one addon in this list that you pick, let it be this one.

Omen (Or Skada)

Threat meter.. gotta know your threat. Omen has done us well for years, Skada is a lightweight DPS monitor like recount, but has a built-in threat meter. So you can knock out two birds with one stone if you like Skada.

Class Timers (or ForteX)

For monitoring buffs/debuffs. Has timers for Player, Target, and Focus windows. Handy to have as Ret, better for other specs though. I’ve never tried ForteX, it sounds similar to Class Timers but there seems to be a few more options and configurations. CT is more simplistic I think.

Misc.

As I said, I’m not trying to write a complete guide just to have it all goto waste in a few months. When it gets closer to 4.0 and we have our mostly finished talent trees and info on new spells and such I will write-up and brand new, complete guide. So, some final notes to close this out with :

Don’t forget about your utility. Learn how to use it while still being effective in combat. Make macros (Clique or Buttons) for BoP, Freedom, even Sacrifice. Saving your LoH for emergencies is great, but not using it is just a waste of an ability. With the shorter cooldown there is no reason you shouldn’t be using it more often, even if it’s not totally necessary. Cleanse, cleanse, cleanse. Keep Sacred Shield up on someone at all times.

Last but not least is to really, really know your abilities. Spend some time making friends with the Training dummies and trying out new addons, gear, rotations.. whatever. Find out what works best for you. Grab a guildie or two and go into Molten Core to get a “live feel” for testing purposes. If you want to be good at your class you have to first know your class inside and out. And always, ALWAYS be sure to test out any changes you’ve made to your interface PRIOR to raiding with your guild. Go join a pug 10 man real quick and use them as the guinea pigs. There is nothing worse than getting into a raid, or just starting a boss fight to find out one of your addons is screwing up. Or you haven’t had enough practice using the new tools, so you fail your guildies. Test first!

So, until 4.0, I hope this has helped clear some things up for any of you curious Rets out there. Use the EJ thread. The first post is the wealth of info, and the discussion continues. So much valuable information in that thread for us. Including encounter specific strategies specifically for Rets.

Thanks goes to the EJ forum geeks, all the writers who keep the addons we use updated, and Maxxik the Lumberjack.

h1

Weekly Happenings

June 6, 2010

Since I don’t have much of a reader-base yet I can’t be cool like Tobold and have an Open Sunday Thread : ( So Sundays will be the day when I go over what I’ve been up to over the week, as well as any news in the mmo-space.

This week

Well I’ve been slowly completing quests for Loremaster between raids. It’s a grind now, and very mind-numbing but I’m glad to be doing it because I get to see some quests that I’ve never seen before. Read some decent lore and actually appreciate Vanilla WoW more. I’d rather be doing these quests at level though, some of them are very good quests and doing them at 80 just feels like I missed out. But, gotta take it all in before the Cataclysm!

There is an upside to the quest grind (besides the title) That is, it’s getting me more and more excited for Cata. As I ride around the old zones, I can’t help but wonder what ‘this’ or ‘that’ will look like in a few months. It really makes me want to start a baby Worgen, or a Dwarf Shaman when the xpac does get here. But I hate alts. Most likely I will do what I did when WotLK came out. First make sure my Paladin hits level cap and gets everything he needs from 5 mans. Then I made my DK, played through the starting area, thought it was very cool and well done. After they released me into the rest of Azeroth.. /delete.

So when Cata comes I’ll probably do the same thing. Create a baby Worgen, level to 60 and stop. With the massive amounts of Phasing (a feature which I love and hate at the same time) I’m very curious to level again. But once that’s all over with and it’s time to head to Hellfire, I’ll stop playing that toon.

Guild news! This week we killed Putricide on 25 for the first time. Yay us! Only 3 more to go! This week was also the first time I’ve done Gunship on 25, and it was also Heroic. It was also probably the dullest encounter ever. There was never a time when I felt like myself, or the raid was in any sort of real danger and the fight itself was just.. silly! On a side-note, why does Blizzard always feel it neccesary to put something in every raid zone that’ll just piss people off. I’m not talking about Frogger. I’m talking about that evil train in Ulduar. There’s always someone that falls, or misses the train. TotC, some yutz always starts the events before anyone’s ready. And now Gunship. Let’s put the two NPC’s you need to talk to for two completely different reasons RIGHT next to each other. That way when we’re on our 50th time through it and people are just on “autopilot” someone runs up and starts the event instead of grabbing a rocket pack. Oh look, 4 people are on the boat. Great. And it’s gonna be like 20 minutes before everyone gets back inside the instance because the damn boat takes so long to reset. /bird @ Blizzard

Ok, enough of WoW. Let’s talk about some other games.

Dawntide

This MMO has been in development for a few years already and is in the Closed Beta stage at the moment Open Beta as of Friday, you can get into the OB by creating an account and following the download link on the official forums. This title is, out of the 3 that I’m looking forward to, highest on the list. It’s a sandbox MMO, skill-based, open-world and no instancing. Here’s just a quick snippet of the features it teases:

Dawntide is an innovative new freeform MMOG being developed by Working as Intended, an independent studio based in Copenhagen, Denmark.

  • Player Cities with shops, crafting, military and many more buildings – plus upgrades!
  • Handcrafted island world with many exciting places to Explore and Conquer.
  • Fully Conquerable world with safe areas for new players!
  • Skill based progression. No more levels or classes!
  • Complex and fun Crafting allows players to create unique items with a wide range of materials.
  • Laws and guards allow players to truly rule the territory they conquer.
  • Deep and exciting background Lore to be discovered.
  • Single, uninstanced world makes your impact on the game meaningful.

I have no idea what combat is like, and I don’t care. I’ve been waiting for a game that puts emphasis on player interaction with the world itself since Star Wars Galaxies went to hell (NGE) /bird @ Sony. But, I’m not letting myself get burned again. I’ve learned. It took me a few heartbreaks, but I’ve learned never give into the hype. If they can pull this game off, it wont be any sort of WoW killer. Not by a long shot. But, it will fill a niche in the MMO market and as long as the game isn’t utter crap and bug ridden at launch.. and things go even relatively smooth. It should snag up a decent subscriber base, probably similar to the numbers of EVE.

This game wouldn’t take me away from WoW completely, unless it had some amazing PvE raids. Which most Sandbox games don’t even have what we call “Raiding” these days. Usually it either involves PvP raids, or just grabbing a group of people and going cave diving looking for something fun to kill.

Moving on!

FFXIV

Not much news with this game in the past week. A few of my intarweb buddies have been starting to get Beta keys via email. I have not been as lucky : ( If you don’t know much about this game, it’s basically a sequel to FFXI. Well.. it’s what EQ2 is to EQ1. Only hopefully Squeenix doesn’t completely bork the launch. Being an Eastern based game it’s undoubtedly going to have more of a grind than we’re used to with western MMO’s. I’m fine with that. But the developers have also stated that they are in the process of “Westernizing” the game a bit more for us. They haven’t touched too much on what exactly that means besides less grindy, WSAD movement and Jumping (did they add jumping or not? I know it was a HUGE turnoff for alot of people 6 months ago)

I do believe that this game is still slated for release on the PC and PS3, and based on the videos I’ve watched it actually looks like a MMO I might enjoy playing with a controller. Though not on my PS3. MMO’s belong on PCs in my opinion. The game is being developed for the platform side-by-side, so it will not be a port. There will be a PS3 client, and a PC client and they are being developed by two different teams. Let me make that more clear. It’s the same game, but they are developing 2 clients to ensure that it runs flawlessly on the PS3, and the PC. A good thing.

Other than that, there are some videos floating around of some combat. It’s slower combat than what we are used to in WoW, and many of the other newer MMO’s. Someone told me that the combat speed was somewhere in between Everquest and WoW. Which.. to me sounds perfect.

The graphics look AMAZING, as do the animations, models, and world. Not cartoony, but not trying to be overly-realistic. Well.. it looks like a Final Fantasy game should. If you’re a fan of the series than you should be pleased with the art in this game.

Squeenix has also stated that it will be more solo friendly than FFXI, but still a high emphasis on groups. What I took this to mean is everyone will be able to solo just fine, but the best and most efficient way to get things done will be with a group. Flip flop that and you have what most MMOs are now /bird @ Blizzard. I think that MMO’s are about group experiences, so there should be more emphasis on grouping. We’ll see how that turns out though.

Star Wars: The Old Republic

Everytime they release a new piece of news for this game I get a little less hyped for it. The more and more videos I see, and interviews I read make it sound more and more just like a multi-player version of KOTOR. Which isn’t totally a bad thing. I’ve talked about this in a previous post, and Syncaine at Hardcore Casual has written up a 2 part post about his feelings on SWTOR. I can’t really agree more.

It sounds like it’ll be a good play for a month or two, but I can’t see anything that would hold me (an possibly a good amount of others) to the game for any extended periods of time.

Bioware continues to try to hype the games storytelling more than anything else. Talking about it like it’s the new “end all, be all” feature of MMO’s. They claim to have something like “50 novels” worth of story content. Well.. so did Dragon Age. DA was a good game and alot of people agreed. What alot of people didn’t agree on about it was whether or not it was fun to replay to mix up the story. Which I assume is how SWTOR is going to fit their “50 novels” worth of story into the game.

It seems more and more that this game is geared towards the casual players, total Star Wars nerds who can’t get enough, and people who love to play multiple characters. I’m not doubting that it wont be a success (pending smooth launch), and I’m sure it will have a healthy number of subs a year after release. It just sounds like a psuedo-MMO to me though. I don’t need, nor want Bioware style conversations in my MMO’s. Alot of people do, and it’s awesome that they are (hopefully) getting what they want.

Guild Wars 2

Guild Wars is probably one of the only “Major label” MMO’s that I’ve never played. It’s heavy use of instancing originally turned me off from the game and I’ve just never really had any desire to check it out. Now, with what I’ve been reading about GW2.. I gotta say, I’m excited to see what they can pull off. The dynamic quest system they’ve spoken about sounds amazing if implemented well and has the possibility of setting a new standard for quests in MMO’s. The game world also looks beautiful. GW2 has made it to my watch list.

So that’s it for this week. Next week I think I’m going to try to cut down on my ramblings a little. Try to keep the posts under 1000 words haha.

~dorfeater

h1

Oh god what is he suggesting (Pt. 2)

June 4, 2010

So yesterday I talked about “my” PvE Arena idea and stopped myself before I rambled on too much. I try to keep to specifics and not “overflow” my writings, but.. I’m not a writer. So, deal with it! Just kidding, I’d like to keep whatever readers I can get, so I will try to make my writing more sensible. It’s not something that’s going to come over night though ; ) On to the good stuff!..

We’ve already gone over the basic outline on the PvE Arena. Let’s dive into some specifics and analyze. First off, and I’m sure what most would be concerned about is how would this effect the game as a whole? The answer.. very little. Even less than PvP Arenas have. There would be no gear rewards, nothing that you could use in normal PvE combat, and nothing that would give you any sort of advantage over the current PvE content. Everything attained by the “PvE Arena Currency” is merely for show or use inside of the Arena.

“But you said this would add another form of progression to the game?!”

Yes, I did. By having different modes and difficulties you inherently create progression content. The key is giving the players motivation to progress, and since every players motivation is different, it makes it rather challenging. So, what are the carrots?

– Titles, achievements, pets, mounts, tabards. These are good carrots for some people, and we all know how much Blizzard loves to add new pets and mounts to the game. It’s not enough for some though, what else?

– Rankings! Just like PvP Arena. Of course here it’s nothing more than an epeen booster. But.. some people love any way they can inflate their epeen.

– New/Different abilities. For use in PvE arena only. I could type out 3 paragraphs explaining what I mean by this, or I could just say two words. Limit break. How neat would it be if your had (for example) an ability on a 3 min CD AND minimum damage taken cooldown (ooooh something new??) More on this towards the end.

– The last carrot I can think of at the moment (aside from crazy fun!) is possibly once you attain the higher(est?) ranks of Gladitory combat your promoter will offer you an Epic questline (oooh?) This epic questline has nothing to do with Raiding, though it does go outside of the PvE arena. Mostly a Solo-5 Man quest, but not easy. Very long and will take a while to complete. Rewards a special title and possibly a Legendary, yes, even for use outside of the PvE Arena. (Can’t make it TOO special though or the Hardcore raiders would have a mental breakdown)

Ok.. enough carrots. Next.

Spectator mode! Yeah, that’s something new new (I think). If you’re heading into the PvE Arenas to show off your skills, you can invite your pals to come sit in the bleachers and watch. Or maybe you’re trying to give the new recruit in the guild tips, instead of just telling him. Let him watch! Or, take them in as a Duo and teach! This spectator-ship would be by invite only, and have a limit of 10 players (lets not try to kill Blizzards instance servers) Spectators would be able to talk, so they can cheer you on, give you tips.. or just be general asses hehe.

“Okay.. and what about all the classes? Rogues can’t tank a boss for long, and what would a Healer do if he went in solo? You did say this was supposed to be for everyone”

This is where things get a bit harder. Without changing all the class mechanics completely for PvE Arena (which Blizzard already stated they wouldn’t do for PvE/PvP, so they wouldn’t do it for this either)

With the randomness of the encounters there is no way to ensure that class a doesn’t have any advantage over class b. Some classes rely on gear to do their jobs more than others. While some simply just don’t have the ability to solo as well as others. We don’t want to give an advantage to the Rogues over the Priests.. as prestige and prizes are the carrots. If all the Rogues were able to do it faster and better than the Priests.. watch out Blizzard forums!

There are two ways I can think of that could work around this. A) Have the solo “bracket” divided up amongst the 3 archetypes. Basically.. an Arena for tanks, one for Healers, and one for DPS. Remove some encounters from the “random” list that a particular archetype just wont be able to defeat. There are two problems with this option though. It’s alot of work for Blizzard to do that, and.. as we can imagine the DPS “bracket” would probably be the most interesting.

The second idea B) design the “limit breaks” around the classes weaknesses. Let’s get an example for each archetype.

– Tanks : You could have limit breaks on shorter CDs, but with higher “Incoming damage” requirements. Something like this… 1 min CD, requires 20k Damage taken before able to be used. Once used, completely heals the  tank and give him a 20 second “Super-heroism” like buff. +haste, +damage, +defensive skills. At the end of the 20 seconds of “Super-heroism” the tank leaps high into the air and crashes down into the dirt of the Arena creating a shockwave damaging all enemies in the arena, stunning them for 2 seconds and dazing them for 10 seconds. Okay.. that sounds like one that would be fitting for Warrior tanks. A super flashy-cool version of Thunderstomp.

-Healers : This is a harder one to deal with because the damage output is lower than even the tanks, for most healers. But, even still, with some creativeness you can come up with a way for this to work. One thing about Healers is they can stay up for quite a while. So let’s play to that strength. For this “Limit break” we’ll go with 30s cooldown, requires 10k damage healed and 30k damage taken. When activated the Priest levitates off of the ground, and gains a “super shield” around them (make it look cool). 10 second duration, all damage the Priest absorbs while levitating is stored and released after the super bubble duration is complete. Also, upon explosion of holy-sauce has a 50% chance to make a random mob of the encounter a combat pet for the duration of the encounter or until it dies. Only 1 “pet” can be controlled at a time. If there is only 1 mob you will not get a pet, but the mob will get a 200% attack speed debuff for 15 seconds. If there is 2 mobs, they will gain debuff “Holy Confusion”, and square off against each other for 10 seconds.

– DPS : Since DPS classes obviously have the damage and killing speed advantage, the abilities given to them must be weighed properly as well. For this, lets use a Mage as an example. 3 min CD, requires 20k damage done, a minimum of 1k damage taken and maximum of 10k damage taken (meaning once you take more than 10k damage the ability is rendered not-useable) Upon use of this ability the Mage gains “Mana form”, Damage taken decreased by 70%,  movement speed slowed by 30%, and allows the Mage to take flight. This lasts for 5 seconds. During this time the Mage can “queue” up to 12 spells. Maximum – 4 Fire spells, 4 Frost spells, and 4 Arcane spells. Can queue spells while on the move. No GCD. When the 5 seconds is up the Mage releases all 12 spells at once, mana and cast time free. After the Mage uses this ‘limit break’ he is in a weakened state for 10 seconds. Suffers a 10% damage debuff, but gains a 80% Dodge rating.

Whew.. looks like this is gonna be a three-parter. Remember, these are just rough examples I came up with off the top of my head.. I’m sure REAL game designers could come up with much better things.

So for tomorrow’s post I will give you a rundown on how a standard PvE Arena run would work.

h1

Why does it always have to be about the shinies?

June 3, 2010

Over my long’ish zombie weekend, I am feeling a bit better and actually had enough brain power to come up with an idea. Well.. not really MY idea, but just like everything in the gaming industry.. sniping features and ideas from other games is not frowned upon.

So, there I was, plodding along in lowbie zones working on Loremaster (ugh) I figured.. I’d rather be punching small children than doing this. So I fired up the laptop and decided to multi-task a bit.

After a bit of web-surfing and a few episodes of The Twilight Zone, I got my brain tickin.

If Blizzard’s goal is to appeal to all of it’s players, and give everyone something to do. How come they’ve never tried implementing some sort of PvE Arenas?

WHOA WHOA..

Hold on. PvE Arenas? People have mentioned that before and it does not sound like a good idea.

Yep, you’re right. But read my version of how I would implement it into Azeroth. You may just say.. “Hey, that is neat!” or I’m way off.. whatever. Here we go.

PvE Arena

Step into the Arena. Prove yourself as a Gladiator in the pit against monsters found from even the darkest, deepest holes of Azeroth! We’ve built the Crusader’s Collesium, but now that the Lich King has been defeated, it has no purpose. Or does it? Prove your skill, see if you have what it takes to become a Champion. (blah blah onto the details)

– 3 Ways to play; Solo, Duo, 5 man. Each scaling difficulties to meet the group makeup.

– Gear doesn’t matter. You (and your group) are automatically scaled to a “baseline” level of ability.

– Completely separate sphere of gameplay from PvE, PvP, and/or Arena. available to players starting at level 40. Rewards scale based on level (for example, if you win the Arena at level 40, you get 50 “points” at level 80 you would get 150 “points”

– 3 new factions, choose your promoter!! With rewards and utility items to purchase.

– “Point” accumulation. Jump into battle, win over the crowds, please your promoters. You’ll get a special sort of income to do all kinds of things with. For example.. buying abilities (just 1 or 2 per class or spec) only available for use in these Arenas. Pets, Tabards, Consumables (PvE Arena only), Mounts. Etc… nothing would be available here that would effect any other sphere of gameplay (with the exception being Achievements)

– Have teams just like PvP Arena. Are you the wayward fighter just looking to make a name for himself or do you have allies ready to face any challenge thrown at them?

Now, the way this works. If you’ve played Final Fantasy 7 before, or perhaps even EQ2’s Splitpaw Saga adventure pack you know where I am getting these ideas from. Basically.. take Battle Arena, tweak it a bit, and throw it in WoW.

10 Rounds, 3 Difficulties, 2 modes. Break that down a little further for you..

10 Rounds – You(and your peeps) enter the Arena, you will face 10 waves of monsters found in Azeroth. Anything from Trash, to mini-bosses, to bosses from previous instances, and the ability to add new bosses if Blizzard so chose. Everything is scaled to your level/ability as previously mentioned.

3 difficulties – Easy, Normal, Hard (call it whatever) rewards scale based off of difficulty. Achievements and Titles placed accordingly.

2 modes – First mode is obvious. Kill everything. Second mode is what I like to call “Endurance” mode. Screw 10 waves, you’re going until you A) Lose or B ) Call it quits. This could be expanded on a lot, developing other “modes” to challenge your players.

Important notes :

Mobs are mostly random. Anything from kobolds to Sapphron. Of course you wouldn’t actually be fighting the famed Bosses. Just models, with similar tactics, scaled to “Arena” specs. Sometimes you’ll fight a copy of a Murloc Tidewalker, or teams of Kobolds, or scaled up versions of Hogger by himself.

Bosses would keep as much mechanics from the original fights as possible based on the scale (Solo, Duo, Group)

There is multiple goals for this system. Giving players more options for content is never a bad thing. Giving the solo/duo something specifically for them (besides quest grinding and PvP which isn’t specifically for them, except PvP arenas.) To show off your skill rather than your gearscore. And finally and possibly most importantly.. Training. I’ve seen a number of people talk about how to introduce people into Raiding and how difficult it can be. Given the option to hone their skills in a more controlled environment could ease them into real raiding much better.

Don’t get me wrong though, this is not just a training ground for raids. Everything would be mostly random, and you wouldn’t be picking your encounters. This is a separate aspect of the game, something new to progress through. And yes, you could actually form progression from this. If Blizzard dangled the proper carrots in front of our faces. Problem with that is the carrot changes based on the person. I personally like chasing titles, while other people only care about loot, or companion pets.. etc.

As my word count tells me I’m approaching a thousand, I’m going to back off for today and make a part 2 of this post for tomorrow. I don’t want to kill you with a wall of text and I apologize if you are now blind, or somehow slightly less intelligent for reading this.

TL;DR – PvE Arenas, small-scale raids with no gear rewards, but many other rewards. Cont’d tomorrow.

h1

You bring the spice, I’ll bring the womprat.

May 28, 2010

At what point does a simple cookout become a full fledged feast? 3 people? 5 people? 20 people? Who can say. I would say that a “feast” doesn’t require quantity of people, but quality of the party. And of course good food.

And now you may be going.. eh? Whats your point?

Bioware is climbing the development ladder with Star Wars: TOR. I’ll spare the details about the game. If you haven’t heard about it then maybe you’ve been living under a rock. Or in Guam. If you have heard about it, I’m sure you have drawn some sort of feelings toward the game. Anything ranging from “Total crap” to “omgpeemyself” Most of us are aware of Bioware’s track record making AMAZING video games like Baldur’s Gate and Knights of the Old Republic. We also know they LOVE to focus on in-depth story arcs and well done cutscenes. But with all the information we have of the game so far, does it really seem like it’s going to be what all the hype is making it to be?

Syncaine over at Hardcore Casual brings up some very good points about the game and it’s relation to an MMO.

How many times have you loaded up a single player game to farm one mob/area for a few hours? How many WEEKS have you spent in the same instance/zone/spawn camp in an MMO?

You can read the entire 2 part post at the link above. I thought it was an amazing read that brings up some great points on what it means to be a MMO, and also what is possibly in store for Bioware, and us players when SWTOR finally hits shelves.

Syncaine analyzes an MMO vs. a Single player game since Bioware is blurring the lines quite a bit with the largely important (and mostly soloable) storylines. He brings up the fact that most single player games offer up on average 40 hours of gameplay. Possibly some DLC later on. Where as MMO’s can give you much more entertainment, both for your time and money.

So far we have not seen, nor heard any news on any type of large scale grouping in SWTOR. They have not touched on if there will be raids or not. The group combat videos we’ve seen have been mostly just a pair of players in instances. The game is highly soloable, and you’ll have companions to help you do your biddings.

The game is being made with the premise that everyone can be the hero, and everyone gets there own major storyline. How much that storyline will differ between characters is yet to be revealed.

Age of Conan did similar with it’s Destiny Quests. From what I’ve gathered about TOR is YOUR quest is going to be 10x more epic than the DQ’s in AoC. I wouldn’t doubt it either. It’s frikken Bioware.

But how long could they possibly make the story? How long will it be before you’ve gone through it? What happens when you’re finished? How about replay value. How much is the storyline of the Smuggler going to be like the story for the Bounty Hunter? My guess is pretty different. It’s Bioware.

Yet still, story does not completely drive MMO players. Some ignore it completely, only playing for mechanics or.. whatever other reason. TOR will have to have great systems in place to retain players.

Or, as Syncaine suggests, maybe Bioware is trying to tap into a different part of the MMO-niche pool.

I can’t say either way really. I do think SWTOR wont be the game for me. But as far as it’s own success *shrug* I’m sure it will sell millions on release.. like every hyped up MMO, but can they hold their subs?

Anyway. I highly suggest you take a read over at Hardcore Casual for a more in-depth explanation as to why Syncaine thinks SWTOR will make for a terrible MMO.

~dorf