Monday, October 25, 2010


I love what Blizzard has done to healing. =) I've been healing on my Paladin and my now L73 Priest as Discipline and they're both amazingly well-designed. The new healing model in general is just really well done -- fast heals actually feel meaningful with a significant heal, but a high price for the convenience.

Thank you for making me have to think. Discipline hasn't seen much change -- it's as CD focused as ever, but I can't imagine that any of the other healing classes are anywhere near as reactionary as the Paladin's is now. I mentioned the learning curve in an earlier post, and it's a spot-on assessment. This shit is going to take a bit of getting used to before it becomes second nature. I'm not going to be comfortable that I'm a competent healer until I can reach an incident of high party damage and not panic because I suddenly can't figure out what buttons to press for maximum throughput.

The DPS talents are a stroke of genius. And I know they're only there to placate bored healers when they overgear content. But I have to admit, I am placated as hell. =) That 2k of damage per second may not be what I'm used to pulling, but it keeps me sane by allowing me to try to DPS. I can engage my competitive DPS mindset at times when the healing one would only lie idle, lazily hitting a button every six to ten seconds. In the future I think I'm going to enjoy finding a combination of gear, glyphs and talents that will give me the most supplementary DPS without nerfing my healing too much.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Personal Responsibility post no. 1

I'm told that personal responsibility is something I tend to start ranting about a lot if someone gets me going, but that's because I tend to think that it's the root cause of all of society's problems. So I'll most likely return to this topic a few times.

In fact, personal responsibility is what the title of this blog is about, in case you missed it.

What got me going today is all the complaining about the current state of the game. I tired of it. People [by which I mean bloggers and forum-posters, mainly] are so focused on the extent of their perceived problems, but without actually looking for a solution.

I'm going to give you an example from Nils' MMO blog. I don't mean to pick on Nils specifically, but it's what in front of me right now.

In this post, our friend Nils talks about how overpowered his newly-rolled feral druid became at L10 when he gained Mangle and the mobs didn't survive long enough for him to get off a finishing move. He found this boring [which I'm sure I would too]. He took a good step forward in choosing higher level mobs to hit, but then decreed that having an inflated chance to miss made this no fun either. [Which I have to assume is due to his Pavlovian expectation that every button he presses should return an immediate reward and when this fails to happen it causes him disappointment and/or distress.]

What kind of boggles my mind, coming from someone I know is intelligent, is when he proposes the rhetorical question: "Now, that cannot be the designers' intent. Can it?"

No amount of sarcasm could properly answer this question derisively enough for my tastes. It implies an expectation completely disconnected from reality, and outrage at being forced to accept the imperfect reality.

This is just an example, but I'm sure there are many like it. Now I'm going to give you my own example.

Last week I tried tanking with my druid. I found that Swipe was woefully inadequate to hold AoE threat on mobs, so I started shifting out to thorns myself before every pull. I found this necessary two-global ritual quickly became very tedious to have to repeat constantly, and even with thorns I found I had to work far too hard to maintain AoE threat.

I stopped enjoying bear tanking. I don't think I'm going to go back to it until the designers make a significant change to this, or until I can get to L81 and learn Thrash.

Stopping tanking on my druid is not an ideal solution for me, but it's my only solution for not enjoying playing it. It's a solution. It's not getting mad at the designers because I expect the game to be perfect. Or continuing to do it while cursing the fact that I can't enjoy it properly. There are too many other things I can do that I will enjoy.

The game is in a weird place at the moment. I have immense faith in Blizzard to eventually balance everything, but for the moment it's all in flux. The only thing I as a player have control over is how I play it, and I only play it to enjoy it. Blizzard gives me a medium for play and it is my own responsibility to myself to enjoy it in whatever way I find. If by some strange turn of events I can't find a way to enjoy it, the solution is to stop playing.

The world* is not perfect, and it bugs me that so many people have the expectation that it should be. Regardless of who you think should be responsible for creating a perfect solution, it's only your own fault for not accepting the imperfect one purely on the grounds that there should be a perfect one.

Don't curse the darkness, light a candle.

* This also applies to any worlds which may be of Warcraft.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Reforging > Gemming

I would like to express how satisfied I am with the new Reforging system. It gives me a serious maths-boner.

With every gear upgrade you literally have to solve the equivalent of an algebraic equation to find the most efficient way to forge your gear to hit all the relevant caps and have the best combination of DPS stats afterwards. It's the kind of thing that I fully expect someone to create a mod to automate, where you enter your stat weightings and it tells you how to reforge optimally. Which will be a bit of a shame, because I had a lot of fun using an physical A4 notepad and pen to jot down notes while minmaxing my Warlock last week. Though I shudder a bit when I think of how complicated this equation would be for non-DW melee classes who will have both expertise and hit to contend with.

The best thing about this change is that it takes the pressure off gems to reach stat caps. Reforging will much more efficient and effective at hitting those numbers exactly, so your gem sockets can be better used to stack the non-reforgable Primary stats. So this change will probably negatively affect the market for gems, as they lose their previous place as the easiest [if not only] way to fine tune your stats, though straightforward gemming is going to be a really helpful thing for most players.

There is one more diatribe I would like to get out before I post, which is that Spirit really should not be a Primary stat.

No system in the game treats it like a primary stat any more; it shares its stat budget with "green" stats, Kings doesn't buff it, there's no restriction to reforging it, it is equivalent to mp5 for healers and equivalent to hit rating for others, and is basically inferior to primary stats for any class of any spec. When I see Spirit on gear, I have to try to visualise it down with the other green stats to get a sense of the item's value.

With this new re-working of the game to focus back on primary stats, I'm really disappointed that Spirit is still included as one. It's a green stat dressed up.

Yes, this is the kind of thing that irritates me. I am that type of person. Nerf my class if you must, but dammit the stats must be the correct colour. I also propose we rename it to Spirit Rating and make the number on the item three or four times removed from the actual benefit, just for congruency. =)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

In which Coreus offers his help to a noob.

Last night a Warrior whose name contained the words "tank" and "heal" and special characters posted in Trade requesting a Prot Warrior whisper him for advice. In a not unpredictable [for me] response, I wrote that I would love to help, but that his name strongly suggested he wasn't worth talking to.

There was a brief back and forth in which he whispered me;

"Nice insult, bro."

To which I replied;


He posted his request for advice again but this time he offered gold in return for help. So I whispered him again to ask him what he needed to know.

He said he was having issues with AoE threat after the patch, and that he was losing aggro to DPS, even to an Imp, which is pretty fail on the Warlock's part if you ask me, but I heard him out. His gear was mostly T9 level, he had a few misplaced talents and was using a dodge trinket, but he had a solid grasp of the fundamentals, so I took him through the rotation I use for AoE threat, recommended a couple of talent changes and showed him what glyphs I was using, and reminded him that him that fail DPS is fail and it's not his job to compensate for their terribleness. And he slipped me 40g after all was done, thanked me and remarked that you can't judge a book by its cover. I didn't really feel like correcting him.

The reason I find this story interesting is that it's a real example of a real person who is dealing with his small piece of the paradigm-shift that the game is undergoing. I've long ago come to the conclusion that the DPS' threat is always, always their own responsibility*, but this opinion is not pervasive among less-skilled players, and it going to be a tough pill to swallow for some people.

*For that matter as a healer I take the opinion that if someone dies, it's always their own fault for taking "unhealable" damage. -- Do you think I'm standing here with my thumb up my arse? If I could have healed that damage, I would have. Therefore the damage was unhealable.

Monday, October 18, 2010

In which Coreus offers his opinions on class changes in 4.0

In order of win:

Destro Warlock

Perfect. No complaints whatsoever. Everything it was before and more.

Prot Warrior

Little has changed, really. Still the most fun tanking class by far. The unthinkable has happened, as other tanks have had their spammable AoEs nerfed in to bring them line with Warriors. =) In fact, Warriors get a slight buff. You Rend before you Thunderclap and chain that thing [a la Pestilence] to dot up everything you touch. It’s almost a shame it doesn’t do more damage, because I love the mechanic.

Balance Druid

Fantastic improvements here. The core Eclipse mechanic of the spec is still there, minus its major drawbacks. DoTs are no longer worthless! Long range silence is very welcome, though the CD is long. It does kind of bug me that separate “solar” and “lunar” power generation is an illusion -- in practice the meter will only maintain its present "direction" and using the "wrong" spell just doesn’t affect it.

New line for emphasis: New Thorns = epic win.

Seriously, this spell is all amazing, all the time. Glyph it for ~80% uptime and put it on whoever the mobs are smacking. Its DPE makes it worth casting even in single target situations, and it's a threat Misdirect to the tank. It’s so good I’m fully expecting a nerf before too long. I also fully expect it to be fixed so that the reflective damage done is counted as belonging to the caster of the buff [like Earth Shield does now with healing] otherwise meter-conscious idiots will just ignore it.

Feral Druid Tank

Finally we can put Dodge Rating on our gear. Mitigation OP-ness incoming. =) I predict BiS for feral druids will always be whatever item has the highest single green stat that can be reforged into Dodge Rating.

Single target threat is very solid, but AoE threat is a huge, huge headache, and requires you to shift out to Thorns yourself and then shift back into Bear Form before every pull or your threat wont keep up with the DPS. Again, Thorns = win, and it’s good thing it is, because bears wont get their main AoE move until L81.

I'm trying to decide for myself whether Thorns being castable while in Bear Form would be completely overpowered, because that spell is way too useful in its current state, thus encouraging players to switch out constantly to take advantage of it.

I’ve also spent a short time in the following specs.

Holy Paladin

Instant spells up the wazoo and eight different procs that each buff a different spell in a different way. Also none of my UI mods seem to support Holy Power yet, so I'm forced to keep my default Player frame turned on, and constantly cast my eyes all the way up to the top corner of the screen to check my Holy Power level. Ugh, default UI flt. I’m looking forward to putting some dedicated time into tackling this learning curve, once I can work out the Holy Power display issue.

Ret Paladin

I like it. I always found the Ret spec to be utterly boring to play, but I like this. =) See above comments on Holy Power UI.

Fury Warrior

A bit broken at the moment, which I’m sure is the result of the spec being tuned for L85 Rage generation, less haste/crit and using more abilities such as Colossus Smash. I never before heard of a DW class wanting to cap out a full 27% Hit chance ahead of all other stats, and I’m sure this is unintended result of white damage currently being much higher than ability damage.

I’m really looking forward to playing Fury without the retardedness that is dual-weieding 2H weapons, so it’s a bit disappointing to realise that Single Minded Fury is going to be subpar until Cata gives us slow 1H weapons with Strength on them. Of course, not having a full set of plate DPS gear yet is probably a slightly bigger issue for me at this stage. =P

Enhancement Shaman

I haven’t actually gotten around to doing anything on my Shaman yet, but I smacked a target dummy for a minute or two, after which I fully understood those whining forum idiots’ complaints about going from being GCD locked to having nothing to press.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Shaman 4.0

I've seen a few people writing guides for playing the various classes after the 4.0 changes, since most WoW players lack the ability to read tooltips and need other people to tell them how to play. So here's my 4.0 guide to Enhancement Shaman.

Step one: Glyph your Lightning Shield

Step two: Swap out Magma totem for Searing totem.

Step three: Congratulations, you are now a ret paladin. If you are still reading this, your face is not on the keyboard and you are losing DPS.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Fail DPS makes my game more fun.

The current player mentality in WoW's endgame is unfairly biased to place responsibility on the tank and healer. The tank is responsible for holding aggro on all mobs at all times, and the healer is responsible for healing any and all damage no matter how preventable. I tend to think that this type of mentality is partially responsible for the shortage of people willing to play these roles -- some people either do not have the capabilities or simply lack the drive to develop them from scratch in a sink-or-swim situation with people who shouting things like “ur a fail tank y did i get agro u nub”.

I’ve come to realise something just at this moment -- I like it this way. Not as DPS, obviously; I already know how to target an AoE spell and doing it for the five-millionth time is not my idea of fun gameplay. But as a tank, this is brilliant. You need to use all the tools you have to control the whole playing field at once. As a healer, this is brilliant. You’ve got people who couldn’t take more damage if they tried and you’re the one who has to save them from death. When the DPS drops the ball, I'm forced to jump back and forth to keep it in the air, and this creates fun gameplay for me.

So now I’m filled with mixed feelings. I suppose at least playing DPS is going to be interesting again. And for that matter the healing game promises to require a lot more thought so it wont be so monotonous. But we’ll have to wait and see whether the changes in the tanking game are going to make tanking necessarily more fun, or just easier.