Thursday, October 14, 2010

Shadow priesting 101 - Patch 4.0.1

Hello shadow priests and wannabes (locks)!

There is a lot of information out there on the brand spanking new patch 4.0.1, but I thought I'd compile and quick and dirty list of things you should know before delving into your new empty talent tree or your woefully-over hit capped gear.

Intro - some changes

  • Inner Fire no longer has charges - just buff and go for 30 minutes.
  • No more candles!  No more spirit buff!  Just fort and shadow protection, only one of each that works for raid or just yourself. 
  • You have to visit the priest trainer - do this as soon as you sign in.
  • Hit cap is now 17% for all priests except for space goats - for them only (it's not party wide anymore) it's 16%.
  • Before you do anything like regemming or reforging, put on your absolute best pieces (still with the 4-piece T10), disregarding hit or anything else.  You want to start from the best you've got - reforging really gives us an opportunity to tailor our best pieces to our own collection of gear.
  • Shadow Weaving is gone - we no longer have to wait on five stacks before applying our final Shadow Word: Pain.  Shadow Word: Pain, therefore, has become our second-highest-hitting dot up front, ahead of Devouring Plague.
  • When you go down this list, try to do things in order (gems and enchants before reforging).

 1.  Talents

This seems to be the consenses on the new level 80, pre-Cataclysm, non-leveling, PVE raiding spec, with two "optional" points.  Some will want to put them in Mental Agility, the mana-reduction talent for instant casts in the Discipline tree.  My choice, however, will be to put them in the ultra-useful Phantasm, in the third tier of the shadow tree.  What does Phantasm do?

  • Phantasm (2/2):  Your Fade ability now has 100% chance to remove all movement impairing effects.

As of a couple of days after the patch, shadow priests seem to have absolutely no mana problems whatsoever.  So why not take a mana-saving talent and swap that for something that might be useful for running out of The Bad?

2.  Glyphs

  • Prime:  Shadow Word: Pain, Shadow Word: Death, and Mind Flay (these three are the only three that offer dps increases)
  • Major:  Mass Dispel, Fade, Inner Fire (alternative for Mass Dispel or Inner Fire - Psychic Scream, will be handy for leveling but I'm not sure how useful it'll be for raiding at 80 .. but Mass Dispel would kind of be situational)
  • Minor:  Levitate, Shadowfiend, Fading (alternative for Shadowfiend or Fading - Shadow Protection)

3.  Gems

  • Chaotic Skyflare Diamond (unchanged from before)
  • Nightmare Tear (use only one in a blue socket, hopefully to obtain the most useful socket bonus you can - usually best in the helm slot)
  • Brilliant Cardinal Rubies in red sockets  (Runed Cardinal Rubies changed into these, so you won't have to regem your reds)
  • Purified Dreadstone in blue sockets (to meet the meta requirement or obtain a +6 socket bonus)
  • Reckless Ametrine in yellow sockets (only to meet a +6 socket bonus)

Ideally, you'll have the meta, one Nightmare Tear, one Purified Dreadstone, and all Brilliant Cardinal Rubies.  Sometimes, though, the socket bonus is worth using Reckless Ametrine or Purified Dreadstones for.

4.  Enchants

Chuck the head and shoulder enchants you've been using for forever, and get thee to Wyrmrest Accord for their head enchant.  Theirs is an Intellect+Spirit enchant, while the old one is still Spellpower+Crit.  Intellect gives spellpower PLUS mana, while spellpower is just boring old spellpower.  That being said, in your priority list, intellect > spellpower and thus Wyrmrest Accord enchant > Violet Hold enchant.  Similarly, you want the "healer" shoulder enchant from Sons of Hodir over your old "dps" one. 

Change your spirit chest enchant to Powerful Stats.  Other than those, everything else is the same - all spellpower, Tuskarr's Vitality (you've been using this, right?), and so forth. 

**** And for all of you lucky engineers out there - you can now keep your rocket boots/gloves/flying cloak engineering tools AND enchant your cloak, boots, and gloves.  Go for haste on the cloak, spellpower on the gloves, and Tuskarr's Vitality (or Icewalker, I suppose, though I'm firmly in the Tuskarr's camp) for your boots.****

5.  Reforging

When I first logged in, I was way, way, way over hit capped (like 25% hit) because of all the spirit on my gear.  As far as stats go, Mastery is junk at level 80.  So what you probably want to do is this, in terms of priority (if you can't do the first because the stat you are trying to reforge to is already on the item, go ahead to the next):

Hit to Haste
Hit to Crit
Spirit to Haste
Spirit to Crit

If you are NOT like me and need the hit, then do the following (after changing your helm and shoulder enchants):

Crit to Hit
Haste to Hit

You shouldn't have to do that, though.  Most folks will be way over hit cap.  Remember, put all of your best, highest level gear on before starting this process - with the new Reforging system, you can slap on that non-hit neck you won but couldn't wear because you were under hit cap without that lesser hit neck, and so forth.

Most items have either crit or haste on them, unless you are a lucky bitch who has best-in-slot and has all of the super haste+crit items anyway.  Reforging is pretty much a no-brainer - reforge what you don't have onto your gear, make sure you are hit capped. 

5.  Stats

Priority for stats is pretty much the same as before, until we start gaining mastery on our gear and crit becomes more important.  So:

Spirit or hit (until hit capped, but spirit is better than straight hit) > Intellect > Spellpower > Haste > Crit > Mastery

Crit is better than haste if you are focusing more on the last 25% and you are relying on Shadow Word: Death crits.  It'll probably be better as we edge towards 85, as well.  For now, though, haste is still our strongest stat behind spellpower.

6.  "Rotation"

Like before, we don't actually have a rotation so much as a priority system. 

Blizzard really bent over backwards to make sure we are using Shadow Word: Death again - it hits like a freaking truck.  It also crits a lot.  And it will kill us if we use it too much. 

With the glyph, below 25% health, there is no cooldown on the spell.  It'll hit anywhere in the 20k range when it crits (which hits us for about 10k).  Spamming it too much will of course wipe us out in due time.  Even though the risk is great, the reward is also great - if a shadow priest were to just spam Shadow Word: Death with a healer directly healing him, he could do some amazing, amazing dps. 

That being said, don't be stupid and think that a healer is going to be watching your back when your raid has Heroic Sindragosa down to 20% and everyone is taking frost damage and people are running around like crazy and the tanks are taking a buttload of damage to the face.  Again, DON'T BE STUPID.  Hit it once, MAYBE twice if your health was full to begin with and the first didn't crit.  Don't go hitting it three or more times when you know that it could potentially give healers a heartattack when you are full and suddenly you are on the floor.

So to make a long story short, priority:

(Above 25%) - Vampiric Touch > Shadow Word: Pain > Devouring Plague > Shadow Word: Death > Mind Blast (on cooldown) > Mind Flay (filler again)

(Below 25%) - Shadow Word: Death as much as you dare!! > Vampiric Touch > Shadow Word: Pain > Devouring Plague > Mind Blast > Mind Flay

Use Shadowfiend on cooldown, starting with near the beginning of the fight.  With our new talents and such, the cooldown on Shadowfiend can be lowered to around a minute, maybe less.  I have close to 30% crit and my little buddy was getting a cooldown of just over a minute.  Take advantage of this little guy!

Also, something to keep in mind - dots are no longer clipped (or they are not supposed to be, according to Blizzard - some speculation is suggesting that this is bugged for now).  If you apply a dot before the last tick, it will just tack the new spell's ticks onto the remaining ticks of the old.  Mind Flay also acts as a dot now, so you don't have to worry about clipping the last tick. 

That being said, don't waste global cooldowns trying to refresh dots halfway through their duration - wait until the last tick is ALMOST up, and THEN reapply.  You don't want any time to go by without your dots ticking, but you don't want to be reapplying too early, either.

7.  Consumables

Fish Feast is still tops (and the other spellpower foods). 
Flask of the Frost Wyrm is still our flask of choice.

The only difference is that now we pre-pot with Potion of Speed instead of Potion of Wild Magic, since Shadow Word: Pain crit modifiers do NOT get refreshed with Mind Flay.  The haste is better. 

A good question is whether or not the new haste-on-dots mechanic is applied to the entire duration of each dot while the haste modifier is up, or ONLY when the haste modifier is up.  For example, you chug a speed pot.  You apply your dots.  The speed pot boost falls off in the middle of your Devouring Plague duration.  Will the haste modifier remain until Devouring Plague is reapplied or falls off?  Or will the hastening end when the pot wears off?

I do not know the answer to this.  Any insights, shadow priests?


If you have any questions or comments, feel free to post them below.  I'm no numbers cruncher, though - I read a lot of blogs as well as pay attention to and elitist jerks.  I do my own tests, but I don't crank out numbers of every little thing.  I'm certainly not an expert.  I also may have some things wrong, like the crit modifier not getting refreshed on Shadow Word: Pain or the amount of a socket bonus that makes it worth gemming something other than straight intellect.  But my guide should at least get you started on the way towards pwning as a shadowpriest in your next raid.

At least until a fire mage shows you up by doing twice your damage.  :-(  (Yes, they are OP.)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Hullo? An update!

Oh, I know that no one follows this piece o' crap anymore, but what the hell - an update!  It's not that I've been gone/busy, it's just that things around the WoW-verse have been very boring lately.

So last time I wrote, I was working my way through hard modes in both 10 and 25 in ICC.  A couple of months ago, I was directed to go out of town for work for five straight weeks.  The guild was working on H. Putricide at the time, with only Sindragosa and Lich King left.  That's right - we were 9/12 25-man ICC heroic.  The 10 man groups were changing week to week, but there was a consistent group who lost a caster and got me in - we went 11/12 heroic modes.  The guild also trounced old Halion the first week he came roaring out in both 10 and 25, no problemo.

When I left, I did so with a heavy heart - I had visions of the guild getting heroic Lich King and Ruby Sanctum without me, and I very much wanted to be part of that (still do).  But the first week I was gone, about four or five regular raiders posted on the forums about being absent for that week.  The raids that week didn't happen.  The next week, a couple of the core members announced that they were taking a break until Cataclysm.  Two more core raiders announced that they had just been accepted to a higher-progressed guild and were moving on.  The guild got some recruits to fill in the missing slots, but progression went backwards - couldn't get heroic Saurfang down, not to mention Deathwhisper or the wing bosses.  The third week, a couple more people left. 

By the time I got back, the guild had been only sporadically raiding - only one or two of the three raid days per week.  I did do one raid night with them, where we wiped over and over on heroic Saurfang before changing it to regular.  We couldn't even get normal Lich King that night.

And that was it - several more people announced that they had apps in to other guilds, and the the guild leader spoke to the rest of us on Vent, stating that he didn't think we would pick back up on 25-man raiding.  In short, we were done for the rest of the expansion.  A mass exodus happened that night.

I stayed for a while, unsure of what to do.  I continued to work on heroic Lich King on 10 man with the regular 10 man group, who had all migrated as a whole to another guild.  I considered joining them, but they weren't doing 25 mans, and that's kind of where my heart was.  I joined a GDKP 25 man for a few weeks, that successfully cleared 8/12 heroic bosses and Ruby Sanctum, netting around 7-8k gold per person.  I was sitting with a ton on gold on Icecrown with D, my guild broken up, the majority of my friends back on Silvermoon with my alts, and wondering what I would do.

I was one achievement (the Sindragosa one) away from getting my 10 man bony dragon mount from ICC when I decided to app. with the top Alliance raiding guild back on Silvermoon (a long established guild that had a great reputation).  I thought, at the very least, that I could chill with D and get some gold back to my poor, broke alts.

I was accepted to trial with that guild - they were 11/12 heroic 25 man.  They had a very solid shadow priest, and when I got there, I saw that they had a shadow priest recruit as well.  Both have been trouncing me on the dps charts for the length of my trial so far - I am about one week in and already feel like a fish out of water.

How do you pull out of a trial without looking like a douchey douchebag?  I'm not sure, but I think I may have to do it before they kick me out in disgust - my dps is nowhere near what I know it can be, and neither is my performance.  Why?  I suspect it has to do with a combination of things - boredom of ICC, late hours (the raid time ends an hour later than what I had been used to - thought I could handle it, but maybe I was just deluding myself), and, oh yeah, Silvermoon is a west-coast server while I live on the east coast.

Stupid D!  My latency is horrible on Silvermoon.  Icecrown was a Mountain Standard Time server, which isn't that much closer but it DID make a difference, as my dps and latency on Icecrown was a lot better (as was my performance). 

I'm not a terrible player, so I've been completely and utterly ashamed at my performance in my current trial.  Clipped dots and Mind Flays, being hit by Malleable Goo on Putricide, dying to Pungent Blight just last night on Festergut because my Dispersion hot key didn't seem to work in time (super embarrassing for a shadow priest) ... it's been abysmal. 

So I think I might just pull out of the trial, take a break from raiding (but I really want to work on heroic Lich King, dammit), and wait for Kurn to get her guild ready for recruiting so I can apply to an actual East Coast server progression guild for once (and raid with someone I admire - I'm not a stalker, really!).  Why I started out on Silvermoon escapes me completely. 

In the meantime - if there are any guilds out there that could use a non-bad (I promise!) shadow priest (disc is my offspec, but I also have a holy set ... you might not want me healing, though .. just saying) for the rest of the expansion, hit me up!  Only CST or EST servers, raiding anytime during the evenings (anywhere from 7-12 EST) or anytime on the weekends, at least heroic Deathwhisper down (I think that's a good indication of a decent progression guild) or 8/12 ish in 25 man AND Ruby Sanctum normal 25, bonus for guilds that care about achievements and 10 mans (mounts, old content like ToGC, etc). 

I'm in full 264 and up gear, 4-piece T10 of course (all Sanctified), several heroic 25 pieces (wrists, DFO, neck), the nifty normal 25 Lich King staff, 1100ish haste unbuffed, 3200ish (I think) spellpower, hit capped (of course), and I have worked on all heroic modes on 10 man (including Lich King) as well as 10/12 heroic modes in 25 (I have never seen Sindragosa or Lich King on heroic mode in 25) ICC.  I have also completed Ruby Sanctum 10 and 25 on normal and pushed him to phase 3 several times in 10 man heroic (I think I've gotten hit by the cutters across all my attempts on all my toons less than five times - after working on it in heroic mode there's no excuse for getting hit in regular mode).  I have completed (more than once) OS 25 with 3 drakes (non-zerg fashion, yo) and ToGC 10 with no wipes (I have the mount as proof!).  I have also completed Algalon on 10 and 25 man, as well as obtained my stupid Rusted Protodrake on not only D but K.  I have the Undying title on K.

None of that last stuff matters, except to tell that I am good with mechanics of fights and not dying to stupid stuff.  No joke, I once knew someone that could not grasp how to do Heigan's dance or avoid flame walls on the Sarth fight even years after the content had been released.  That's not me!  It took me one wipe to get heroic Sindragosa, and that wipe was not even my fault (tank died).  One shot heroic Putricide the first time I saw the fight.  Really, I'm good with mechanics and a very fast learner. 

I like guild loyalty - I don't really fancy myself jumping from guild to guild for the rest of the expansion.  I was sad that my Icecrown guild ended, as I had no intention of ever leaving.  Before that, I was very sad to leave the guild that I was in on Silvermoon, as I had no intention of ever leaving that one, either, except that I was aching for more content and the guild was barely able to fill raids.  If I can find a solid guild that is capable of clearing all available content, I'm good! 

Er, so anyway, I'm ready to kill Mr. Lich King on heroic so I can be proud of myself and what I accomplished for my first WoW expansion. This lull peroid sucks!  I'm really, really looking forward to Cataclysm (no beta key, /sadface). 

Oh, but something I did get accomplished during my lonely days on Icecrown?  I got my blue dragonhawk!  100 mounts, yay!  What a grind, though (Argent Tournament, I hate you).  I finally got my white chocobo hawkstrider, too, after 54 Kael'thas kills.  Don't hate me, but the mount I didn't care about getting other than to count towards my mount total, Baron Rivendare's mount?  4 kills.  /ducks

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Kitties and cats

Restokin had an interesting post interviewing druids in her guild, and one interview in particular caught my eye. 
What do you like least about the druid class & your spec?
•Part of what I liked least was removed when they redesigned cat and bear forms. As we all know, Blizz still needs to improve boomkin and tree. In addition, I don’t like that there is no visual advancement to my character in the form I take 95% of the time. It’s the same cat that I have stared at since level 20. I’d love to see either some armor or have the animal become more tough-looking somehow.
Of course, this made me think of how cool it would be if feral cats started off as, well, KITTENS!!

Level 20:

Level 85:

Wouldn't that be kick ass?  I'd definitely play a feral cat.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Gunship (normal and heroic) cheese strat ftw

So lately, I've seen a couple of blog posts about "how" to win at Gunship heroic mode. 

The long and short of it?  "Do it like normal, just don't get hit by the cannon balls." 

Well, great ... but want an even easier strat that you can do for normal OR heroic mode, nab yourself the achievement, and, if done right, you do not even need two tanks for?

Sure you do!  Presenting the "cheese" gunship strat, as if it wasn't easy enough.

So here's a overview shot (stunning, I know) of the two ships - I am only Alliance, so I'm kind of guessing for the Horde strat here, based on the layout of the Alliance ship and what I know to be true about both.

So you have your one tank stay on your ship to handle the adds that spawn from the portal, just like normal.  Put two RANGED dps into the cannons (four on 25 man, of course).  Make sure all of your melee, the other tank, and one healer have their packs on.

When the mage comes out and freezes your cannons, have said other tank, all your melee, and one healer (can be your weakest healer, spec or class doesn't matter) hop over to the other ship.

Now look at the artwork above.  If you are Alliance, you jump over.  Your tank will grab Saurfang, HIT HIM A FEW TIMES WITH MELEE ATTACKS (super important), and then edge over to the ledge behind where Saurfang stands - camera positioning is important here, just have the tank rocket up onto the ledge (#1 on the Horde ship).  I suppose that if you are Horde and you jump to the Alliance ship, you'll see a similar ledge on the LEFT side of the ship, and will also have your tank jump up to #1.

If your tank melees the boss a few times, then said boss will follow the tank and try to get at him up close (instead of standing back and throwing axes/shooting at the tank). 

The thing is, the ledge the tank is jumping onto?  The boss can't get him them without running all the way around to where the ledge starts sloping up from the main floor of the ship.  This buys the tank a good few seconds to wait up on the ledge for the boss to run around and start up the slope of the ledge.

Once the boss gets about halfway up the ledge, have your tank either rocket pack themselves to #2, or simply jump down off the ledge. 

The boss then stops, turns around, and has to run down the slope of the ledge and around to where the tank is.

Once the boss gets a little away from the bottom of the ledge, have the tank rocket pack up to #1/the ledge again.

The boss will continue running around the edge of the ship to go up/come down the slope instead of jumping up or down, so your tank is always one step ahead of the boss.

If done right, the tank takes ZERO damage.  The healer will be very, very bored, but that healer is needed for the initial few hits.

If the tank gets perfectly comfortable with rocketting up and down and never getting hit, then your healer can just go back to help with your ship.

The key is, the tank continues to "kite" Saurfang/Muradin the entire fight, even when the mages are killed.  Your melee dps will also stay on the enemy ship, running around killing the rocketeers and axethrowers (or gunners or whatever) when a mage is not up.

This results in a faster kill overall.  The ranged dps not in the cannons on your own ship take care of the adds that spawn from the portal.

Simple, easy way to win and get the achievement, your tank doesn't take huge hits from Saurfang/Muradin, your raid members remaining on your faction's ship take less damage over all (because the axethrowers/rocketeers on the enemy ship are brought down a lot quicker) and there's less of a repair bill for the tank - extra win!

I'm going to assume that if you have a skilled holy paladin, you could have that person jump over and take over the "tank" role - pop a cooldown, melee Saurfang/Muradin a few times, then start the ledge jumping.  That frees one of your tanks to dps or heal.

Anyone else do it this way?  This way is so easy that we prefer this on normal AND heroic, 10 and 25 man.  I love being the "kiting" tank.  :-)  Pretty fun to see Saurfang freak out and run around trying to catch up with me.  Glad he doesn't have a rocket pack!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Attunements in Cataclysm (possible spoilers)

Newish Blizzard "blue" post:

Looking to Cataclysm, maybe you want to know that, for normal dungeons, players must discover the dungeon in the world prior to access it from LFD tool. It is possible that you could see attunements for heroics and raids (which would be similar to the one of Karazhan). Developers aren’t sure yet of whether they use attunements or not. However, heroic dungeons at level 85 would probably have more gear requirement (in comparison) than heroic dungeons at level 80.

So .. attunements.  Awesome.  For someone like myself who only had one level-capped toon at the very end of BC, the idea of doing quest chains to "open" a heroic or raid is interesting to me, and it would indeed prevent the noobs and baddies from just stumbling out of the greens-and-blues questing scene to heroics and raids.

Except ... what about someone like myself, who has four level-capped alts?  Doing said attunement chains would be fun and exciting the first time around, but the second?  The FOURTH?

Hell to the no.

So I propose this:

Do the attunement chain once, get the "key" for a particular heroic or raid at the end, and have that key be account-bound.  Have gear requirements for the heroics and raids, still, but make it so that alts don't have to go through the exact same long quest chains that were JUST DONE in order to get into something.

I wouldn't oppose the "key" being account-bound AND faction-specific, either, if they wanted to do a separate quest chain for the factions.  As long as I don't have to do the same quests over and over and over again.

I love the gear requirements on the harder heroics, like Halls of Reflection - sure, it prevents me and my guildies from "running" someone's alt through it to gear them up, but that's really no skin off my back.  :-P

What do you think?  Attunements?  Hell no?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Is Blizzard greedy?

This post sat in my drafts for a little while, unfinished because I got busy.  So .. late to the party once again.

So Sparkle Ponies were released, and everyone had an opinion.  The first day they came out, I was reading over my Google Reader and came across a long-time blogger who managed to put the words "Blizzard" and "greedy" in the same sentence, relating one to the other. 

I shut my Reader down in disgust.  I'm tempted to unsubscribe from their feed, to be honest.  Their walls-o-text are usually boring and I usually only skim them, anyway, but when they said that ... well ..

I don't want to talk politics here.  Not really.  I'm quasi-Libertarian, I'm against government bloat and waste and I'm for people taking care of their own damn selves, not looking to the government to wipe their asses for them.  I'm GLAD I live in America, where we are at least somewhat free from complete socialist control.

So, do I think Blizzard is being "greedy" because of this new RMT?  It's a pretty, shiny thing, no in-game advantage, just a simple skin over whatever mount you currently have.  If I had the extra $25, I'd buy one for myself without question - when I first saw pictures of it, I claimed that it was the second coolest mount I had ever seen for the game, after Ashes of A'lar. 

Blizzard sold a ton, no surprise.  They made a good chunk of change that day.  The price was out of reach or simply unacceptable to many, many people.  "Slippery slope" arguments abounded, with semi-good reason (my opinion - I get what those people were saying, but I really don't think this is a slope towards anything - Blizzard will not be selling gear or other items with an in-game advantage, I'm relatively sure of it). 

But the "greedy" comment .. really?  A private company, NOT a charity, in a country where capitalism is the name of the game, makes for purchase a small cosmetic item.  No guns to heads, no advantages to having it, no threats of purchase-or-die .. just a simple cosmetic, useless item offered for purchase that people can choose to buy or not. 

In a capitalistic society like ours, companies start up to make money, not to give away things.  That's what charities and, to a more frowned-upon (by me) sense, government agencies are for.  They continue to make money, they continue to operate, employing loads of people and putting out a superior product.  In Blizzard's case, they continue making this wonderful game with a relatively cheap suscription fee (I spend hours a day [can be unlimited] playing WoW for $15 per month, but I spend roughly 1 hour a week watching tv for $35 a month for basic cable, or spend $9 for a 2 hour movie, $50 for a day at the amusement park, etc. - what's the cheaper amount spent on entertainment out of all of those?).  Is that greedy?  Who gets the money? 

Why, it goes to overhead, mostly.  Paying for the facilities in which the developers work, and the salaries and benefits of those employees.  A large portion goes to taxes to the Royal Government, and yes Blizzard donates to charities.  I'm going to assume that like most companies, Blizzard rewards their employees with bonuses and perks for a job well done.   Like any company, no one person in charge gets to walk away with all the cash.  It gets SPENT, right back into the company to keep it running.

So what's all this "Blizzard is greedy" nonsense?  Seems that it came from some socialist-loving liberal who doesn't understand economics at all, in my opinion.  But what do I know?  I'm just another "greedy" person, taking home as much money as I can from my paycheck every two weeks - I'm not giving it away.  If I get extra, I'm treating myself for a job well done, not giving it to someone else.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

UI Post!

So I did a UI post way back in the day, but now it's completely different.  I found problems with Quartz recently - there are these little tiny bars that track my dots that appear on both the top right and bottom left of the Quartz cast bar, and for the life of me, I couldn't figure out how to get rid of them.  They screwed with my whole set up, and I completely deleted the UI in frustration and started over.

I downloaded Coehl's UI after it was featured on one day.  I kept finding that I had this weird need to have access to all sorts of actions and items even though I didn't need them necessarily in combat.  Coehl's UI was the answer - it's set up to where there's a bunch of buttons hidden behind the dps meters (in this case, Skada) so that you can merely click on a tab and have access to them if you need them, but you don't have to clutter your screen with extra action bars.  There's also some extra action bars on a sort of "sidebar" that is also hidden at any time with the click of a button (if you wish), and the minimap does the same thing.  I did not find everything that I wanted with Coehl's UI, however, so I erased some things and replaced others, and added yet a few more (ugh, I hate you PallyPower, but dammit you are necessary). 

Here's a screenshot of a very recent raid - last week's Heroic 25 man Festergut and Heroic 25 man Marrowgar, to be exact:

  • A.  Fortress - my Fubar thingy, I'm "meh" about it, really, and I've seen better looking ones, but I've been too lazy to go searching for a fix.
  • B.  CooldownButtons - I don't even know why I installed this, really - to keep track of the Rebirth cooldown?  I look at it for my Fear Ward cooldown, but that's about it - I need to consolidate this information into the "shorter" cooldown tracker
  • C.  Decursive - Ah, good old Decursive, how I love you.  I really prefer this method of dispelling poisons, diseases, and curses to tracking this stuff on Grid or some other method - the familiar sound it makes when something is applied to a raid member that I can remove/dispel, the little colored box (and number, if stackable) - this addon is essential for me
  • D.  Grid - I'm sort of apathetic about my raid frames - I want something that's not totally in the way when I'm dpsing or tanking, but I do want to be able to see everything I need to see when healing.  I can move this Grid frame out of the way or disable it if I need to, but it seems to really take up a lot of space.  I dunno.  Doesn't fit anywhere else for now.
  • E.  Chatter - my chat addon, gives a lot of information and filters, but I just use it straight out of the box and it suits me fine
  • F.  Heatsink - My cooldown timer.  ForteXorcist was giving me hives, was doing something wonky, so I removed it and switched to Heatsink.  I can't seem to figure out how to add abilities to track on it, however, and I think it's only tracking cooldowns and not actual dot durations like the duration of Flame Shock (it'll track the cooldown of general "shock" spells, but it won't tell me how long Flame Shock is ticking on my target), nor will it tell me what's ticking on mobs that I'm not targetting (though I think there's a way to add this).  I might try something else - seems like there should be something easy that tracks dots AND cooldowns.  My head is stuffy just thinking about configuring something like that for all of my toons and specs, though.
  • G.  Pitbull - my unit frames.  serviceable, I suppose, but nothing spectacular - does what I want, and that's good enough for me - G is me, G1 is my focus, G2 is my target's target (making sure my tank has aggro on what I'm attacking), and G3 is my target
  • H.  AzCastBar - I dumped Quartz to make out with this, though I'm not as in love with it like I was with Quartz.  Seems to do what Quartz did, though, so I'm not sure what it is about it that I'm not all that impressed with ...
  • I.  Bartender - I like Dominoes, since it's so easy to configure, but this UI package came with Bartender and I didn't have to configure anything, so I have no opinion of this
  • J.  (the one in the middle of the screen - I'm a noob and labeled two J.'s)  MFClip - just for shadowpriesting, but it seems to be very in your face, I don't know if I like it all that much
  • J.  (the one at the bottom right)  Skada - Recount+Omen in one, does everything except the pretty pie charts - this UI comes with a second Skada window (you can easily make one yourself, though) for tracking threat (J1) at the same time as dps, and it takes less memory that only Recount, much less Recount+Omen - I love it, and will probably never switch back, even if a future UI package comes with the two
  • K.  Mik's Scrolling Battle Text (MSBT) - my combat text, really easy to configure, the main thing I like to see on a combat text is how many targets my Mind Sear is hitting - everything else is just filler for me (though Mik's throws out the "____ spell ready!" messages that are handy
  • L.  Power Auras Classic - PAC is a proc tracker - I also want to roll this into my cooldowns and dots tracker, but for now, this works - the exclamation mark is telling me that Black Magic has procced (there's a timer for it, but it's hard to see in the shot) and I can refresh VT and DP and drop MB for the duration of it, and time another DP and VT at the end if I didn't get one in the beginning
  • M.  Deadly Boss Mods - my boss mod of choice - I've tried Deux Vox and Bigwigs, but nothing beats that "BURR BURR" warning sound telling me to get my ass out of the fire, etc
  • N.  pMinimap - resizes and moves the minimap and let's you configure what you want showing on it - nothing too exciting here
  • O.  TipTac - I love this tooltip addon, but don't ask me how to configure it
  • P.  Satrina Buff Frames - my buffs/debuffs tracker thingy, I like glancing at buttons more than bars
  • Q.  TidyPlates+ThreatPlates - LOVE this nameplate addon combo - big and green outline for mobs that I do not have the aggro of, red and smaller if I have aggro - can't be much simpler - very handy when I'm tanking and looking at a screen full of nameplates - I can just manually click on the green nameplates and taunt
So that's it - I like the layout, and everything I want is on the screen, but I dunno - seems a bit cluttered, and I'd like to consolidate my cooldowns, track my dots, and track my procs in one addon, if possible.  I also want an easier way to tell if I am missing a buff or not.  Any suggestions on improvement, simplification, or complete redos would be appreciated.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Cata class previews (spoilers!) and D's thoughts

Anyone else just skip right on past the blog posts featuring Cataclysm class previews?  Especially if they are for a class you don't play?  Yeah.

So I'm not going to regurgitate the blue posts - these are just some meandering thoughts on some of the "previews":

1.  I couldn't believe how bored I was when reading the priest preview - especially for shadow.  Floating orbs?  Really?  *snooze*  Mind Spike would be more interesting if it didn't have a cast time - I want something to spam while moving, dammit.  But at least we'll get to move faster.  And I don't heal much nowadays, but yay for Power Word: Barrier!  I have a sneaking suspicion I've heard about a spell like that before, though ...

2.  WHATISTHISIDONTEVEN!  Shamans already do poo damage compared to mages (similar gear and skill for both - don't lie, you know it's true), whether it's because of the bullshit "hybrid tax" or just because Blizzard sucks at shaman dps design.  Either way, now mages do more damage AND get heroism/bloodlust?  Maybe K will become my farming toon in the expansion - they already gave her totem buffs to other classes, after all.  Take away her heroism, and all she has left is poo damage (I do more damage on all of my other dps toons, after all, even though I'm better geared on her) and great healing (but I don't LIKE shaman healing, BLAH). 

3.  Oh, there were hunter, rogue, death knight, warlock, and warrior changes?  I didn't read them - anything cool?

4.  No more permanent tree form, QQ.  I can understand the "outrage", but really, I can understand Blizzard's side of things, too.  The tree forms look like soggy, days-old cooked asparagus tops - if they were flowering and lush and green and pretty, I could understand wanting to look like that all the time.  But really, threatening to reroll or cancel because you won't be a tree full time?  Seriously?

5.  Speaking of druids, I LOVE LOVE LOVE TANKING AS A BEAR.  I see absolutely zero problems with bear tanks - they are super awesome to play.  Okay, I take that back - on Lich King phase 1, I kept pulling threat off of our bear tank until I went and respecced with a point in that shadow threat reduction talent.  The bear is massively geared and very talented, and I was just doing my normal "rotation" (with Fade every cooldown) - so it definitely wasn't the bear's fault.  Glad to see that Blizzard is keeping bears in mind when trying to fix "threat".

Some of the elemental shaman changes do sound kind of cool, like that earthquake thing.  I just last night respecced enhancement back to elemental, just to try to not fail at it (again).  I don't know, though - it's the lack of mobility that really gets me (same with boomkins).  I know shadow priests have their rough spots while moving, but at least we have a way to regen mana (dispersion) and we have most of our damage tied up in dots which are still ticking during movement.  Balance druids (S's offspec) have only a couple of not-that-great dots, and shamans have exactly one (Flame Shock).  Could throw a Magma Totem down before moving (but that in itself would require moving - elemental shamans don't exactly stand right next to the boss most fights) and use Fire Nova on cooldown, but it's just not that much damage if you are moving and changing targets for most of the fight.  I guess I just can't really get into it as much as I can on D.

Plus, reading some of the changes, it seems as if Blizzard really wants to focus more on movement-oriented fights.  All those movement speed increases for all those classes should be telling us something.  Even priests get one.  But again, do shamans?  Balance druids?  Nada.  Unless they get roared on by a bear tank - but once again, when do ranged dps stand beside tanks/next to the boss?

Sounds like I need to focus on my 2-button arcane mage TW (now level 74) and my super cool rogue T (level 44ish I think).  I hate healing, anyway - not sure how all four of my level 80's happened to be the exact four classes that could heal. 

I'll almost certainly drop balance for resto on S, and I might race change him.  I love him as a night elf, honestly, but if we get to LOOK like a worgen even we are druids (I never understood the appeal of being a worgen druid, if you won't see the worgen form anyway) that would be pretty cool.  I'm still iffy on the worgens, though - I want to look like a worgen, but the casters seem kind of goofy (wolves in dresses) and I hate hate hate the human models (especially the males).  So I'd only want to be a worgen tank or melee dps, but druids will only have cat or bear, so you won't see the worgen forms anyway ...

Well, that was rambling.  Good to be blogging again, so you (all one of you) can read my thoughts and go "wha?"  Right on, D.

My next post will probably be on my fail UI, pictures and all.  It's serviceable, certainly, and I have definitely seen worse (did you see that one maybe two "UI Post"s ago?  Holy Moly!) but I get bored easily.  I like the minimalist ones, but always end up adding more stuff that I think I need, cluttering it up again.

So until next time, I'll leave you with a PUG story:

I see someone forming a group for Onyxia 10, and since I have never been on E (paladin), I whispered that I could tank it (my ret gear is so-so with two blue trinkets, while I've been tanking ICC 10 for weeks).  We form up, get there, buff up (four paladins in the raid, I'm the only one with PallyPower, and of course two different paladins decide that they should be buffing Might, leaving no one buffed with Wisdom) and I get ready to start pulling the first trash mob.  The other tank is right next to me.  The first mob and second mob are both coming towards us, so no problem - I move to pull them both and face them away from the raid, figuring the other tank would grab the second one off of me and stand with me.

Wishful thinking, of course - he does pull the second mob off of me, but he does not turn that mob around.  Four raid members get cleaved almost instantly.  He dies shortly after, since two were healers (what the healers were doing right up on the tanks, I have no clue.)  "WTF?  Why did you pull both?" asks one healer.  I calmly explain that both tanks were ready, one tank per mob.  "That's not how it works," the healer says.  "Only pull one at a time." 

"Well, since it's too much to handle for the healers for one tank to hold one mob each, I'll do it that way this time," I say as we're running back.  We rebuff, again with no Wisdom, and off we go.

Two mobs coming.  I hold back.  Other tank rushes forward.  Pulls the first mob, does not turn it around.  "Pull it back," order the raid leader.  "Out of the way, I'll pull him back here, everyone move back," I say, and taunt the mob.  No one moves.  People get cleaved.  The second tank still stands there, doesn't move, body pulls the second mob.  Wipe.

"You tanks suck," says the healer, and drops the group.  I follow suit without saying anything.  It's ONYXIA, not ICC.  It's not hard mode.  Two wipes on the first trash mob, and I look bad because of the other tank. 

To say the least, I was not happy.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Pwning your way through ICC - a shadowpriest guide to maximizing dps

These are tips and tricks I've picked up for Icecrown Citadel as a main spec shadowpriest - please feel free to leave any advice or suggestions in the comments, particularly if I forgot anything.

I know this was done on, but Fox Van Allen or whatever his face is left a few things out, so these are my own observations and things I've picked up while playing through these fights myself.

Make sure you have the following in your bags before the raid:

  • 2 x Glyph of Dispersion
  • 3 x Glyph of Mind Sear (you can start off with this one, but see Marrowgar points below - otherwise you'll need an extra Glyph of Dispersion)
  • a stack (or more, depending on wipes) of Potion of Wild Magic
  • a stack (or more, depending on wipes) of Potion of Speed
  • a few Flasks of the Frost Wyrm
Of course on the trash, Mind Sear ftw - trash isn't important in the grand scheme of things if your raid is filled with good people that know what they are doing, but you don't want to spend your potions (and save your flask for when you are about to engage Marrowgar) on this stuff.



-hopefully, your raid (minus the huntards) is stacked INSIDE of Marrowgar's red aggro circle - some raids do it with everyone spread out, though, and if your raid is one of them, swap your Glyph of Mind Sear for Glyph of Dispersion
-a good raid leader will give a short countdown before the boss is engaged - use this to your advantage by double potting: use a potion RIGHT before the boss is engaged, which doesn't count towards your one-pot-per-fight (freeing you up to use another potion during the battle)
-in Marrowgar's case, you'll want to start with a good Potion of Wild Magic
-while running in, use your instants to build up your five stacks of Shadow Weaving (DP, SW: D, 3xDP should be sufficient, although you should be able to reach him before the five - in that case I'd suggest an opener of DP, SW: D, DP, MF (2 ticks), then you can apply your SW: P and other dots as normal)
-Mind Sear during bone spikes (unless your raid is spread out or there's a hunter that is spiked - in that case, apply VT+DP on farthest spike, then VT on the second, SW: D on the third [by this time the spikes should be almost dead anyway, so no need in applying a dot] and back on the boss - be sure to use MF first to refresh your SW: P stack before it falls off)
-continue applying VT and DP while he's bone storming around, and keep MFing, but if you are low on health make good use of your Dispersion while moving into place for when he stops spinning
-use your Potion of Speed right after a bone storm ends - DP while getting back in his aggro circle and VT also while it is up - if you are already in place then VT and DP refresh as soon as you pop the potion, then reapply both right before the effect wears off (you should have a timer for this)


-Potion of Wild Magic right before the pull (you can actually pull yourself), normal opener (my preferred is VT, DP, full channeling of MF, then SW: P)
-hopefully, you are on the boss unless there's an Empowered/Deformed Fanatic up (or even better, on the boss full time, but your dps won't decrease that much by taking care of those particular adds) - if not, after applying dots to Deathwhisper, VT every Fanatic you see and Mind Flay the last one - it is imperative that you have a dot timer that tracks dots on multiple targets
-Potion of Speed at any time - usually groups pop heroism/bloodlust at the start of the last phase, so feel free to wait until after the effect wears off to use your potion, thus extending your haste bonus for what will most likely be the remainder of her health


-(assuming you are not assigned to the cannons and are not jumping over) stand on the edge, VT a few of the axethrowers, pick one in the middle (you should still have Glyph of Mind Sear), and Mind Sear until adds on the ship spawn
-for 25 man, Mind Sear the adds on the ship, then work on the axethrowers again
-for 10 man, VT the adds on the ship, then work on the axethrowers again


-Potion of Wild Magic before fight starts (should have a timer for "combat starts")
-VT the beasts (can tab target or click on them individually) if you are one of many ranged with slowing powers (shamans with earthbind totem, hunters with frost traps, arcane mages specced into Slow [unlikely])
-if you are one of only a few ranged with slowing capabilities, you'll need to actually help with slowing the beasts - SW: P first beast you target and MF until dead, then switch to next, etc. - make sure you clip a MF on the boss before SW: P falls off (your handy dot timer, remember?)
-use Potion of Speed either in the beginning of the fight or around 30% right after beasts are dead (some raids use bloodlust/heroism in the beginning and some at 30% or so, adjust your timing of Potion of Speed accordingly)


-stand near the edge of the ranged semicircle, if you wish - thanks to Dispersion, you do NOT have to group up for the spore innoculation
-Potion of Wild Magic before the fight starts, switch to Glyph of Dispersion
-if you get Vile Gas, feel free to use Dispersion ONLY IF IT'S EARLY IN THE FIGHT or very soon after a Pungent Blight (and only if you are glyphed) - if you are not used to the fight or using Dispersion during Pungent Blight, you probably want to not use it at all except during Pungent Blight
-of course, if you get the spore, you still have to group up with folks
-as soon as you get the warning that he is casting Pungent Blight, use Dispersion - feel free to right click it off as soon as it's over with, to get back to dpsing as soon as possible
-tip for DBM users that rely heavily on the sound warnings like myself - go into DBM and turn off "special warning for Vile Gas" - more than once I have cast Dispersion during Vile Gas that was on me right before Pungent Blight instead of at the correct time because I reacted on the sound warning (same sound as the Vile Gas warning) instead of visual cue (I know, I suck ... until I turned the special warning for Vile Gas off)
-use Potion of Speed early (after a spore is cast on the raid) but not at the start of the fight, unless you are absolutely sure that heroism/bloodlust will be saved for later in the fight (different raids do it at different times)


-still Glyph of Dispersion, still Potion of Wild Magic before the start of the fight
-use Dispersion to zoom through the huge slime puddles to get to where your ooze-kiting tank is
-use Potion of Speed right after he casts the disease on someone, relatively early enough in the fight so that the diseases are not coming too fast


-still Glyph of Dispersion, still Potion of Wild Magic before start of the fight
-use Potion of Speed right after an ooze is killed (but well before the phase shift - most raids use bloodlust/heroism in the last phase and it goes by fast, but feel free to save your pot for after it wears off if your collective raid dps isn't very high)
-Dispersion if orange ooze is chasing you and is getting close, and use it during phase 3 if you need to get across a slime puddle

Blood Princes

-still Glyph of Dispersion, Potion of Wild Magic before start of the fight ONLY if the Princes have been engaged before (and so are targetable before the fight starts)
-Dispersion if some dillwad runs too close to where you are standing during Empowered Shock Vortex
-Dispersion if you need to get to the other side of the room when target swapping
-you should not be on kinetic bombs, but if you are, MB, SW: D, the opening cast of DP, and wanding are effective, your dots are not
-use Potion of Speed right after a target swap when you are in range - it doesn't matter which target, really

Blood Queen

-still Glyph of Dispersion, still Potion of Wild Magic before the fight starts
-Dispersion when you get the link and have to move towards someone else (you are taking damage during it and you are moving, so there's really no better time)
-FEAR WARD yourself right before the fight starts (or sometime in the beginning of the fight) and reapply when the cooldown is up - you can continue dpsing during her air phase when everyone else is running around like nubs
-when (if) you get bitten, Potion of Wild Magic, reapply SW: P, and go to town!


-Glyph of Mind Sear!, and don't bother with wasting a potion before the fight
-Mind Sear the suppressors and the abom worms (Fade before the latter)
-VT+SW: P everything else, keep DP rolling on something (and apply all dots and regular "rotation" on Blazing Skeletons when they come out)
-Potion of Speed when a zombie is up, if you really want to (it won't make much of a difference, though, so you really could save it, or instead use a Potion of Wild Magic for abom worm Mind Searing)


-Glyph of Dispersion!, Potion of Wild Magic RIGHT before she touches the ground at the start of the fight
-Potion of Speed right after an air phase
-when you get the Unchained Magic debuff thing, continue casting and ignore the screams from DBM telling you that you have 6,8,15(!) stacks
-then when she pulls everyone in, Dispersion BEFORE your stacks explode and as you are getting back into position
-if you are careful, during iceblocks (if they are positioned sort of close together) feel free to Mind Sear instead of single targetting, but you HAVE to have some sort of way (name plates turned on, for example) to monitor the health of the other iceblocks so you don't kill them before they should be killed

Big Kahuna aka. Lich King

-Glyph of Mind Sear! and Potion of Wild Magic (and probably a well-timed Fade [your tank will be pulling him back most likely and will not have full threat on him while moving him]) before the combat starts
-use your Potion of Speed early, in Phase 1, right after he sticks that disease on someone - this will be the only portion of the fight where you will most likely NOT be moving, and there is no target switching on this phase
-reapply VT, DP, and MF clip him as he is running to the middle at the end of Phase 1
-VT some ghouls/Shambling Horrors while waiting for Raging Spirits
-during Phase 2, if your raid is doing it effectively and you have efficient slowing/stuns, Mind Sear the Valkyrs down using LK as your target (in 25 man - only one Valkyr in 10 man, so no Mind Sear need, just nuke the Valkyr down and make good use of your MF snare)
-Dispersion during any movement phase (such as at the transition between phase 2 and 2.5 when you are moving onto the ledge and he is blasting the raid with a lot of damage)
-Phase 3, this is what you are really glyphed for Mind Sear for - MIND SEAR Vile Spirits as soon as they spawn in the air


And that's it! Easy! (Ha.) Anything I left out, shadow priests? Anything mentioned here not as effective as something that you do differently? Please let me know in the comments.

Happy facemelting!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Over and .. back in?

Firewall mysteriously disappeared. Can access blog again. Have felt the urge to write again, and have felt like saying a ton. Yay for me, unfortunate for you all!

I might go back and revisit things that I've been wanting to talk about, but I think for now I'll tentatively open the old blog back up. Lots of updates.

In short since the last post, though:

D is now "the Kingslayer." I realm-hopped to a new guild after a frustrating few months of people showing up for Tuesdays (when we were routinely killing the Lower Spire bosses) and not much else (that guild had four 25-man raid days per week scheduled.) I wanted to kill the Lich King, so that was that.

New guild is on a server that shall remain nameless for now, in case any new guildies wander over here. I'm not yet sure if I want to talk openly about guild -related things. All I'll say is that this new guild is about 12th or so on the server Alliance-side (yeah, I searched for a while for a Horde guild, but couldn't find exactly what I was looking for - that troll haste racial would have been yummy, though) and we have 2 10-mans that have killed Lich King (I was part of one - they had not killed him before I joined, so I was lucky) and we JUST LAST NIGHT killed Lich King on 25 man after working on him for several weeks.

Er .. anyway, enough about that, though I fully intend to write a post about reading a WWS parse and increasing dps as a shadow priest. But I think we all know that I'm no expert. QQ.

Coming up: a post about the WWS parse and looking at it from a shadow priest point of view, a post about how to handle every ICC fight as a shadow priest, general thoughts about whatever fuckery they come out with tomorrow regarding priest Cataclysm changes, and thoughts about gnome dirty movies.

Okay, not the last one.

In super short: D's back! Woe to you all!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Over and Out

Yes, this is what it sounds like - as of today, this blog will be on hiatus. I may pick it back up in the future, but I can't be certain.

The reason?

The firewall at my place of employment has now blocked my blog. Not Blogger or Blogspot in general, but my blog specifically. I can update it, but without the means to look at comments or check if the photos look correct and all that, I don't feel like the old blog would be as efficient as it would be if I COULD do those.

And my at-home time is play time.

So no more blog, for now. Like I said, it may change in the future.

I can still read all of your blogs (adding new ones all the time) via Google Reader, and I will do so pretty much every weekday. I may comment if my work's firewall lets me, but most likely I will be unable to.

Anyhoo, sorry to the gobs one of you, but there are plenty of blogs out there to read.

I will still be around, like I said, and still playing the game. As of the date of this post, E the paladin is now 80 and in the process of gearing up to be a heroics tank for Emblem of Frost farming.

I may be inspired in the future to write something, but as of late I've been sort of "bleh" about the blog already - my interest was waning as it has been in the game itself. I'm still a raider at heart and will probably still be playing until Cataclysm.

EDIT: I deleted the part of this post about the names of my toons - will explain in the next post.

I'll still check this site sometimes, too, so feel free to drop me a line.

And with that, I'm out - keep writing and I'll keep reading!