Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Alpha Leaks: My Comments.

The WoW community has been buzzing about the leaked talents and spells from the friends and family alpha. And as any responsible blogger I feel the need to cover it. However, I feel the need to preface my comments, because I don’t think there is any reason to get excited about what has been leaked for a couple of reasons.

1. We have no have no real way to determine what is real and what is fake. Yes, Media outlets have confirmed that some of it is correct with sources, and yes, Blizzard did give it a lot of credibility by forcing said media outlets to take it off their fansites. However, we don’t now what was confirmed. It is possible that two or three out of twenty were correct and the rest is just hopeful suggestions.

2. We are in the Alpha. We still have a long way to go until release. Even if all of these changes and additions are a 100% real, the chances of them making it to the release in their current form is slim to none.

3. Before patch 2.4 some patch notes were leaked. Some of them made it into the patch. Some of them never saw the light of day again.

I am treating the leaked information as possibilities for discussion. More along the lines of is this good for moonkin or not. Here is what I think. Please feel free to respond to my comments. I would like to know what others think.

New Talents and Spells
Nature's Fury - Converts 2/4/6/8/10% of your bonus healing into bonus spell damage. In addition, your Wrath and Starfire spells have a 20/40/60/80/100% chance of applying the Nature's Fury debuff on the target. The Nature's Fury debuff increases Nature and Arcane damage done to the target by 2%. Lasts 10 sec. Stacks up to 3 times. – This seems to be two talents crammed together. Raiding moonkin have little or no +healing so the first half has no use for me but I could see where it would be helpful in PvP or a healer going Dreamstate. The second half is very interesting. This would improve my personal DPS along with any elemental Shaman and Arcane Mages. My main worry though is how many of those will w have in raid.

Starfall (Rank 1, Level 80, 866 mana, instant, 3 min cooldown) - You summon a flurry of stars from the sky on all targets within 30 yards of the caster, each doing 500 Arcane damage, and an additional 170 Arcane to all nearby targets within 10 yards. Maximum 20 stars. Lasts 10 sec. – I will admit that I am a little confused by this spell. It sounds like it does more damage quicker depending on how many people you have in the AoE. i.e. If you have 20 mobs in the area then they each take 500 from a Star then another +3000 from the splash of the other stars. If you only have 10 in the area then they each take 500 damage twice and splash damage over a longer period of time. A very interesting spell, but with a 3 minute cooldown it isn’t going to be all that useful in raiding.

Improved Moonkin Form - Your Moonkin Aura also causes affected targets to have a 33/66/100% chance to gain 100% spell haste when they critically hit with spells for 10 seconds. This effect cannot occur more than once every few seconds. – Maybe I am reading this wrong but there is no chance that this will make it to release in current form. 100% haste would make all spells instant cast and reduce the GCD for spells down to 1 second. This means you could spam 10 instant Starfires in 10 seconds. The damage would be godly but it would kill our threat and mana. It does provide an interesting idea though. I always liked the idea of receiving mana from crits but getting haste could be a good thing to.

Owlkin Frenzy - Attacks done to you while in Moonkin form have a 5/10/15% chance to cause you to go into a Frenzy, increasing your spell haste by 25% and increasing your damage by 10%. Lasts 10 sec. – A very reasonable talent that I think has a chance of making it to release. It would primarily be a PvP talent but may have some uses in PvE.

Eclipse - When you critically hit with Starfire, you have a 20/40/60% chance of increasing damage done by Wrath by 10%. When you critically hit with Wrath, you have a 20/40/60% chance of increasing your critical strike chance with Starfire by 10%. Effect lasts 12 sec. – I’m sorry but this is the dumbest suggestion I have ever seen. Switching back and forth between spells will make casting more complicated. It could also cause mana and DPS issued due to Wrath’s higher mana cost and lack of buffs.

Typhoon – You summon a violent Typhoon that does 745 Nature damage when in contact with hostile targets, slowing their movement speed by ?% If hit twice from the same typhoon the enemy will be knocked back 5 yards. Typhoon will travel 20 yards and last 8 seconds. – Has potential as an anti-melee PvP spell but I don’t see much use for it in PvE. Knock backs could have problems with pulling other mobs and I am sure that a lot of mobs will be immune to it. I also remember reading that it had a fairly long cooldown.

Gale Winds - Increases damage done by your Hurricane and Typhoon spells by 25/50%, and increases the range of your Cyclone spell by 10/20%. – What can I say? A talent that buffs two mediocre spells. Unless Hurricane is buffed and/or Typhoon has some use that I am missing, this talent will be skipped by most.

Master Shapeshifter – Grants an effect which lasts while the druid is within the respected shapeshift form. Bear form – Increases physical damage by 4%, Cat form – Increases Critical Strike chance by 4%, Moonkin Form – Increases Spell Damage by 4%. Tree form – Increases Healing by 4%. – Interesting possibility. Since I would go that far in to the resto tree for Intensity anyway, this is a good pick up as well.

I assume you know what the original talents and spells do. So I have only listed the changes.

Entangle Roots – Will now be castable indoors. – I like this change and have advocated for it for a while. Some non druids will hate this because it gives druids a viable instance CC, but I think they are over reacting. Entangle Roots is not like Sheep, Sap, or any of the other CC spells. All other CC completely takes the mob out of play. Entangle Roots only holds them in place. So CC a ranged class with it does nothing. I hope this makes it to release.

Hurricane – Cooldown removed. – Another good change that will help moonkin in those must AoE situations, but it is so mana intensive and unpowerful that it is not a huge change.

Improved Faerie Fire – Improves Spell Hit also now. - This would significantly improve its viability, but it isn’t hard for moonkin to hit cap. It is harder to hit cap for Mages and Warlocks but not unreasonable to expect it. I would assume that this change would have a greater impact on early raiding.

Nature’s Reach – Reduces threat by 30% - Frees up some points in the resto tree since we won’t have to pick up subtly anymore and it improves the over all threat reduction. Not a bad idea.

Brambles – Trents and thorns have a chance to daze for 3 sec. - This would probably make brambles viable for PvP. I don’t think it would help PvE at all though.

Dreamstate – Moved down a level. – Would help “Dreamstate” Healers use more points in the resto tree.

Imp MotW – Two points instead of 5 and increases affect by 40% instead of 35% - A nice improvement, but they need to really buff Mark of the Wild to make it a required buff.

Nature’s Focus – Moved down a level – No big deal. Just give you a way of advancing in the resto tree without putting points into a feral talent.

Subtlety - Moved down a level and only works on resto spells – Would have no impact on moonkin with the change to Nature’s Reach.

Toon Update:
Was a little bit of a ruff week for the guild. Due to the holiday and other things our groups were a little light this week and we didn't try Vashj or get any of the BT bosses down. I didn't raid much of at all because I had family in town. So there is nothing really knew to say about graylo. We did do Hyjal last night and the [Hammer of Judgement] did drop but I passed it to a Shadow Priest. Its not that big of a deal because there are only a few of us in the guild that would use it. I will get it soon. The only other thing Graylo did over the weekend was make bandages. A couple of posts ago showed you a way to make money off of First Aid. Well this weekend I made over 1000 bandages and probably made close to 100g.

Graypal: Ran Kara with him and got enough badges to pick up the [Carved Witch Doctor's Stick]. Most of the sites I have seen say this is the best DPS wand for quite a while. Not much to say other than that

Grayfel: He was pretty active this weekend. He is now level 51 and climbing fast. My goal is to have him to 70 by the end of August. His mining is doing pretty well also. It is now up to 250. The only nodes I can't mine now are the Rich Thorium Veins and I shouldn't have a problem getting them. As I have said before my main goal is to get his mining to 300 by the time he is in outland so that he can pick rocks there. With 9 levels to go I don't think it will be a big problem. Jewelcrafting on the other hand is lagging behind. I it is up to 200 now and I had to buy a bunch of Truesilver to get it there. I am almost positive that I am going to have to drop some cash at some point to power level it to 300. Once I am in outland I don't think it will be a huge problem.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Spell Damage vs Spell Hit (For Moonkin)

Note: This guide was written well before WotLK as released. The information and modeling done here is based completely on a BC version of WoW. While I thing this information is still generally correct, It does not apply direct any more. I do plan on writting a new guide and will post on my blog when it is done.

This is the most accepted rule within the Moonkin community. I don’t think I have ever seen it argued. However, it isn’t uncommon to see questions on the forums regarding Spell Hit. The general rule of thumb has always been that one spell hit is equal to 1.2 spell damage and that you should maximize your spell hit as soon as possible. I don’t disagree with that but I would like to provide a little more detail to explain why.

1. Spell casts that crit can also miss, therefore Spell Hit and Spell Damage are equally affected by spell crit. So, for the purpose of this evaluation Spell Crit can be ignored.

2. Spell Haste does not impact the amount of damage caused by Spell Damage or Spell Hit. It only affects the speed at which the damage occurs. Therefore it affects both Spell Damage and Spell Hit equally and will not be included in this analysis.

3. This analysis has been written using Starfire but all moonkin spells are equally affected by Spell Hit and our available Spell Hit buffs. Therefore this analysis can be applied to Wrath and other Moonkin Spells.

4. Calculations are made assuming the caster is max level and the target is a skull level raid boss.

5. All calculations will assume that Balance of Power is maxed out.

Talents and other Buffs Affecting Spell Hit:
Balance of Power – Talent - Increases a spells chance to hit by 4%.
Inspiring Presence – Buff – 1% chance to hit. Draenei racial group buff if Driaenei is a Priest, Mage, or Shaman.
Totem of Wrath – Buff – Increased chance to hit by 3%.

General Spell Hit Info:
* A spells base chance to hit is determined by the caster’s level relative to the target’s level. A spell is less likely to hit if the target has a higher level then the caster. Conversely a spell is more likely to hit if the caster is a higher level then the target.
* A caster cannot improve his spell chance to hit above 99%.
* Skull level bosses in raids are considered to be 3 levels higher than the caster. Therefore the caster has a base chance to miss of 17%.
* One point of Spell Hit equals 0.07927% chance to hit. Put another way 12.615 spell hit equals a 1% chance to hit.

The Math:
The value of Spell Hit and Spell Damage are highly dependent on each other. The value of Spell Hit is largely determined by how much Spell Damage you have, because Spell Damage is plays a large part in how hard your spells hit. The value of Spell Damage affected by your Spell Hit because if you cast long enough, eventually as spell will miss. So we can reduce the damage caused by the miss rate to find how much your spell will hit for on average..

How much additional damage will you receive from an additional point of Spell Damage?
Moonfury, Wrath of Cenarius and your hit rate all affect Spell Damage. Starfire has a base Spell Damage Coefficient of 1, and let X equal your hit rate. So the additional damage from one point of Spell damage is:

Damage = ((1 + 0.2)*1.1)*X, So if your hit chance is 95%, Then
Damage = ((1 + 0.2)*1.1)*0.95
Damage = 1.32*0.95 = 1.254 actual damage per point of Spell Damage with a 95% hit chance.

How much additional DPS will you receive from an additional point of Spell Hit?
First we need to figure out how much damage Starfire does when it doesn’t miss. It has two components, base spell damage and bonus spell damage. Base spell damage is the damage that comes with the trainable spell with no bonus from gear. A max rank Starfire can hit for between 550 and 646. It is increased by 10% because of Moonfury, so the average base spell damage for Starfire is 657.8. Bonus spell damage is what you receive from gear and is calculated on your character screen. It is modified based upon the base casting time of the spell and talents. Starfire has a Spell Damage Coefficient of 1, and it is modified by Wrath of Cenarius and Moonfury as I said before. So the damage of your average non-miss Starfire is equal to:

Damage = 657.8 + (Spell Damage)*(1 + 0.2)*(1.1)
Damage = 657.8 + (1000)*(1 + 0.2)*(1.1) = 1977.8, If you have 1000 Spell Damage

To get the damage of your average Starfire you have to include Hit. To do that, multiply the entire equation by your hit chance:

Damage = (657.8 + (Spell Damage)*(1 + 0.2)*(1.1))*(Hit Chance)
Damage = (657.8 + (1000)*(1 + 0.2)*(1.1))*(0.95) = 1878.91, If you have 1000 Spell Damage and a 95% hit chance.

Now, if we had one point of spell hit rating to the percentage then we increase the average damage per spell cast. To increase your hit chance by 1% you need 12.615 points of hit rating. So one point of Spell Hit increases your chance to hit by 1/1261.5 or 0.07927%. If you slip this into the equation you get the following results:

Damage = ((657.8 + (Spell Damage)*(1 + 0.2)*(1.1))*(Hit Chance + 0.0007927))
Damage = ((657.8 + (1000)*(1 + 0.2)*(1.1))*(0.95 + 0.0007927)) = 1880.48, If you have 1000 Spell Damage and a 25% base crit rate plus one more point of Spell Crit.

So from one point of Spell Hit you gain 1.568 actual damage with 1000 Spell Damage and 95% base Hit rate. Lets compare this value to the actual damage value I calculated for one additional point of Spell Damage.

1.568/1.254 = 1.25

So, at 1000 Spell Damage and 95% Hit rate, one additional point of Spell Hit is worth 1.25 points of Spell Damage.

I have calculated this value for several levels of Spell Damage and Spell Hit. Here is a graph that shows the results.

1. My results do confirm the relative value of one Spell Hit to be worth about 1.2 Spell Damage for your average raiding Moonkin with about 1000 to 1100 Spell damage.

2. Moonkin should start picking up Spell Hit very early in their raiding experience since it passes Spell Damage in value at around 600 Spell Damage. Moonkin should also try and Hit cap fairly early in their raiding experience since it pays to cap at about 750 Spell Damage. Both of these values are very easy to reach with out raiding. If you include normal raid buffs 99% raiding Moonkin should be past these levels of Spell damage.

3. Even the top tier of raiders need to worry about being really close to the hit cap. At the highest levels of Spell Damage, Spell Hit is significantly better than Spell Damage. Dropping a couple of points of Spell Hit for a little Spell Damage can be risky.

Additions thoughts on Spell Hit:
1. It has been suggested by some on the forums that you can drop a point or two from Balance of Power if you are 25 to 50 points over the Hit cap. It is true that if you are 25 points over the hit cap that an additional point in Subtlety, Imp FF or some other talent will server you better. However, I recommend against ever dropping points of Balance of Power. I say this because we really don’t have any other talents that significantly increase our DPS, and it is generally very easy to drop Spell Hit and increase other stats like Spell Damage and Spell Crit. If you are in a position where you have to make this choice, my first suggestion is to change all of your Hit gems to Crit or Haste. My second suggestion is that you look for lower level gear in Kara and other raids that is better than your current item if you exclude the Spell Hit from the item you currently have equipped.

2. Try and build a set of Spell Hit items and items without Spell Hit. I suggest this for a couple of reasons. First, it makes adding new pieces of gear to your set a lot easier. If a new piece pushes you over the Hit cap then you can switch around some of your other gear to lower your hit and increase your Crit and Spell Damage. Second, having a Draenei or a Elemental Shaman in your group will increase your sell hit and probably push you over the hit cap. In such a situation being able to change out a couple of items can increase your DPS.

3. Spell Hit only helps when you are fighting a mob that is a higher level then you are. Balance of Power will bring you up to the hit cap fighting a mob that is the same level as you. Plus, you don’t need much Spell Hit to Hit cap against a mob that is only one or two levels higher then you so you don’t need that much when instancing or doing raid trash. This is why I don’t ever put pure Spell Hit gems. Spell Hit may be more valuable against a raid boss but Spell Damage will help me in every fight including PvP.

Wrath of the Lich King News:
If you troll the forums and news sites you already know about the "Leaked" Talents and such. Obviously Blizzard wants to keep this stuff secret and have pressured many of the News sites to remove it from their sites and most have done so. If you would like to look at some of the "Leaked" info you can find it here. I do want to stress that this is a Wiki site so who knows how much is real. Also this is very early Alpha phase information. It is very likely that the real info will change before the release or may not be included at all. Don't get excited about what you see until we get more concrete info. That being said I will post my reaction to this info in the near future.

Toon Update:
- Raiding as usual. We ended up not getting Vashj down this week because we didn't have a good group for it. We tryied her on Thursday and did pretty well but had trouble getting the adds down quick enough. The difference would probably have been a shadow priest. An additional 15% for our warlocks and 5% for the rest of the raid is amazing. If you are a Shadow Priest looking for a guild. Click my Guild website link and App. We need more of them badly.
On a positive note we did get Shade of Akama down for a guild first kill. That fight is a joke. It took us a couple of trys to figure out the adds but once we did he went down with a quickness.

Graypal - Nothing really to say here. I didn't run kara with him and didn't get any heroics in.

Grayfel- Did a lot with him over the weekend. Got him up to level 47 and used up most of his Rested XP. His gear is pretty sad because I haven't really run any instance with him. I could go buy some from the AH but I don't really think it is needed. Anyway, He will be 60 in a month or two and will get tons of good gear. I think I have desided that I am not going to go to outland until he is 60 this time. I am doing this for a couple of reasons. First, I want to see WPL and EPL. I didn't do much in these areas with Graylo and none with Graypal. I have seen so much of the zones I have quested in so far it will be nice to see something new. Second, I hate grinding, and I had to grind in HFP a little bit with Graypal because I went there at 58 and some of the quests were not available until I hit 60. Third, the primary reason I have leved this guy is for gems. I want to make sure my mining is up to 300 before I get to outland and I am not sure I will make that if I go there early.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Making Gold with First Aid

I find it absolutely amazing that this strategy still works. I have seen it posted many times on the forums, have had numerious people tell me it in game, but I guess there are quite a few people that just don't pay attention.

It is a very simple strategy. All you have to be able to do is convert [Netherweave Cloth] in to [Heavy Netherweave Bandages]. This conversion almost doubles the vendor price of the cloth from 8 silver to 15 silver per piece. Just go to the AH buy every piece of cloth for less than 15s, make it into bandages, and sell them back to a vendor for profit.

On a good day I have made 20 to 30 gold by checking the AH just once or twice. It requires that you have a First Aid skill level of 360 or higher. If you don't have First Aid, go pick it up. It is a very useful profession for everyone including healers. Most serious guilds require every member to have it maxed out. On a bad day I can usually make atleast a couple of gold.

Why it works:
The main reason is people don't pay attention. They see that they can sell the cloth for 1.60 gold per stack and assume that anything higher is good. The second reason is that cloth is very abundant right now. The new SSO dailies have people killing tons blood elves and other mobs that drop cloth, and most people that use cloth don't need much of it anymore. Therefore people don't bank the cloth anymore and try to sell it. This has really dropped the price in the market place.

Toon Update:
Graylo - Raiding as usual. This past raid week felt a little strange. Since we killed Vashj on the first night of the raid week the rest of the week lacked a sense of urgency or need for progress. I think some people desided to take a small break after downing Vashj and took a night or two off. We also had several people that had RL commitments like mothers day and finals that have pulled them away from the game for a little bit. On Wednesday we downed Leo and Tidewalker. On Thursday we downed VR after a couple of attempts and called it early. Both nights we lacked tanks and or we probably would have attempted more bosses.

Though it may sound like it, I'm not complaining. A small break is well deserved by all. Its just interesting to see how such a big kill has affected us as a guild.

Things are ramping up again though. On Monday we went to Hyjal. It was a little sloppy and ended only getting Rage and Anetheron down. Tuesday was a much better day though. We one shoted both Rage and Anetheron and two shotted Kaz. We headed to BT on Wednesday. We two shotted Naj'entus for a guild first kill. He isn't hard if you have the right group make up (i.e. Lots of Healers). We then headed to Supremus and four shotted him. He isn't that hard either, but he requires the raid to pay a little closer attention. This was the most I really expected of the night but others were a little disappointed that we didn't get to do Shade of Akama also. Apparently he is really easy. Tonight we are scheduled to go to Vashj. Hopefully we will have a good raid make up and can get some more tokens.

Lootwise Graylo has only one new thing since I last posted. I picked up [Reins of the Raven Lord] last week helping a guildie get his epic flight form. Apparently it pays to be a Druid blogger since I am the second one I have heard about in the past couple of weeks. BBB picked one up a few weeks ago helping a friend. I haven't really used the mount much yet since I am mostly in outland, It does bounce around quite violently so I couldn't ride it in real life but is nice to have something rare. Now if I can get a bear mount before Wrath comes out.

Graypal - Once again he has improved quite a bit. First off, he is now exalted with SSO and I picked up the [Shattered Sun Pendant of Acumen]. A very nice neck that the DPS calculators are saying is better than the Kara neck. I ran Kara over the weekend. I didn't get the full clear because it was pretty late but I picked up [Harbinger Bands]. They are a very slight upgrade over what I had, but an upgrade none the less. The big news of the week though was that I got into a Heroic Magistar's Terrace run. The tank is a friend of mine, but was a little worried how I would do on an alt that was undergeared. Luckily they were willing to give me a shot and I think I did pretty well. I didn't kill the damage meters but I was decent and didn't make to many big mistakes. The really good news was that my efforts were rewarded with [Cudgel of Consecration]. I am very excited. This is about the best weapon I can hope for with the exception of the badge dagger, and I won't get anytime soon.

All in all, Graypal is almost as good as I can expect him to get. I still have a few upgrades to get from Kara and badges but none of them are huge. But the big upgrades are kind of out of reach. Most of them drop from ZA , TK or some other higher level raid that I have no hope of getting into on an alt. I really don't know what I am going to do with him when I get to that point.

Grayfel - I quested with him a little over the weekend but there isn't much to say here. I have been focusing a lot of my alt time on Graypal lately trying to finish the last few bits of his gear. I expect that Grayfel will be receiving a majority of my time soon.

Friday, May 9, 2008

New WotLK Info

For those of you that don't know Blizzard invited a couple of websites to come and look at the new WotLK content. So far Curse.com and Gamespy.com have posted reactions. There may be others that were involved also but I have not heard about them or their observations yet.

Obviously this is huge news for all WoW players. The reactions I have seen on the forums and other blogs is fairly vared so far. It will be interesting how this plays out.

The sources:

World of Raids
MMO Champion

My Reaction:

General Info
No real supprises were made regarding the general feel and layout of the game. Most of the general information we had heard before in some generalized form. However, some of the more common player questions were answered. The most significant piece of info here is that Flying mounts in outland will be unlocked at level 77 and that you will be able to use your pre-WotLK mounts. The other news is that Northrend will is significantly bigger than Outland and some of the zones will have sub-zones much like Terrokar Forest.

Death Knight Info
A lot of new stuff here that a lot of people are really excited about. Here are the highlights.
* It sounds like they have scrapped the idea to have a quest chain that unlocks the DK. Instead if you have a level 55 toon then you can start a DK on any server.
* DK start at Level 55 in EPL with their own quests to teach you the new Resource system.
* A new two tiered resource systems that uses cooldowns and "runic power" that behaves like rage.
* DK can rez both NPCs and PCs temporarily as a Ghoul to fight for the DK. PC will be able to control the Ghoul.
* Tanking abilities based upon parry and resisting magical attacks.

To be completely honest I am not all that excited about the DK class. I play caster DPS toons and DKs are melee. So I probably wont be rolling one the day the expansion comes out. However, some of the info provided sounds very cool. I can't wait to play a Ghoul at some point. This could be huge in raiding and ten times bigger in Arena. From a tanking perspective they sound like an off tank on most fights to me but may be ideal for spicific encounters. I also think that managing the new dual resource system could be a lot harder then people expect.

New Vehicle system:
This is really just an extention of the Siege Engines we have already heard about, but it is nice to see that they are thinking of other ways to use it. This could provide for some interesting new quests much like bombing runs did in BC.

Raiding and Instancing:
* Heroic dungeons in WotLK will have separate loot tables than their non-heroic versions
* Regular Instances are designed to be run in an hour or less.

I like these changes. I always hated how most of the H Mech loot is the same as the normal Mech loot. If the difficulty is increase then the rewards should be increase also, and badges and gems arn't enough.
With regards to the length of regular instances, this will be great if it works out. However, I think I have heard this before and it hasn't really worked out.

* All Raid instances will have a 10 man and a 25 man version.
* The two versions of the raids will have separate cooldowns.

Most people seem to think this is a great change but I have to disagree. It has a potential to be great but it has just as much if not a lot more potential to wreck 25 man raiding. What is the motivation to run 25 mans if you can see all of the same content in a 10? Yes, the gear will be better in the 25 mans butt how much better? After you do Naxx10 for a couple of months, why would you go to Naxx25 instead of 10-man raid #2 to see something new? I assume that the gear in 10 man #2 is an improvement over Naxx10, so whats the motivation?

Basically I don't see why I would want to run a 25 man other than to say I downed Boss X in Naxx25. Especally when you have already killed the boss 10 times in Naxx10. I think this could cause a lot of people to by pass 25 man content all togeather, making guild recruitment and that much harder. I also don't think this benifits the casual player all that much. There are plenty of casual raid guilds that allow people to raid only one or two nights a week. If they don't have the time to raid 25 man content casually now, then they aren't going to have time to raid 10 content casually

Edit: Alex Ziebart over at WoW Insider expressed my point much more clearly than I did. You can find it here.

Anyway, I'm not sure how set in stone all of this is. They also mentioned in the article that they haven't designed a single raid boss yet. Hopefully they will design it in such a way that makes the 25 mans interesting even though you have done the 10 man. It also might be interesting if they used rep grinds and rewards to push people to trying the 25 man content.

That is my reaction. Here are the reaction of other Bloggers. I will update the list as I find more.
World of Matticus

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

VASHJ DOWN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

/Moonkin Happy Dance

Oh man does this feel awesome. I went to bed happy. I woke up happy. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted from me. It is a little disturbing how big of an impact this is having on my day. However, it has been almost 5 months since the first time I attempted her before the breakup, and this fight did contribute to that break up to some extent. I guess my feelings come down to the fact that I wanted to down her for so long, but I was unsure if I would ever get the chance. Now that it has happened I am on top of Azeroth.

We tried her for the first time in over a week on Monday, and it went very well. An old guildie that now raids a warlock on another server logged into our vent and gave us a couple of good suggestions. After making a couple of changes we had our most successful night on her ever. In all of our other nights we only got out of phase2 once. On Monday we got out 3 or 4 times including a 1% wipe. (It seems like we always have to have a 1% wipe.)

We had an optimal group for Monday, so I was a little bummed that we didn't down her. Our main Shadow Priest wasn't going to be on again until Wednesday and a couple of people were pushing to try her again on Tuesday. I must admit that I was a little worried to try her again on Tuesday because we wouldn't have a shadow priest. Its not just the fact that Necrodamus is an awesome player, but the debuffs he provides are huge. We generally raid with 4 - 6 warlocks that benifit from Shadow Weaving, not to mention the extra 5% from misery for the entire raid. I was worried that without those debuffs we would have another bad night and people would get discouraged.

Well, two things happened. First, things went pretty well without a shadow priest. The striders were a little slower than Monday, but we did get to phase 3 a couple of times. Second, one of our old Shadow Priests returned from the dead. We were one healer heavy in the raid so we got the Spriest in even though he had never done the fight before. The switch paid off and we got Vashj down in 2 or 3 attempts. I have never been this excited about killing a boss before and it is awesome.

The only thing that could have made it a better night was if I had gotten my T5 helm but it was not meant to be. Here are the loots:
[Helm of the Vanquished Hero] x 3
[Krakken-Heart Breastplate]
[Glorious Gauntlets of Crestfall]

I was a little bummed to see 3 Hero tokens. I had hoped for at least one defender token to reduce my competition for future drops but oh well. I will get it eventually.

One last thing before I move on. I know that a couple of my readers are getting close to working on Vashj if you haven't started already. So I thought I would give a couple of pointers that we found very helpful.

1. Kiting the Strider - On our most successful nights we had a Destruction Warlock doing it, but we also had a frost mage and an Affliction lock spec Curse of Exhaustion. If you use a warlock to kite him I highly suggest a destro lock. When we did it with an affliction lock he couldn't build threat fast enough. Having the frost mage probably helped quite a bit also.

2. DPSing the Striders - If you are ranged DPS and don't DPS the Striders at least a little bit then you fail. If you can DPS the Striders then you need to. This includes healers. I am not suggestion that anyone should abandon their primary job. Healers need to keep their people alive, but you can spair two seconds to get off a SW: P or a Moonfire. Elemental DPS needs to get them down but the elementals go down really easy. You can spare 5 or 6 seconds to throw a couple of spells at the striders. In fact, if you are elemental DPS then you should always be DPSing something. It may be Elementals, Striders, or Naga, but there is always somewhere you can help out.

3. Tainted Cores - These will take a little bit to coordinate and master but it is important that you do it quickly. We tried it a couple of different ways and found that Elemental DPS and Elemental Healers have to be involved. At first we tried to have two people pick them all up and throw them to each other, but they couldn't do it quick enough. We ended up loosing a couple of cores that way. The way we did it in the end was having a designated person pick up the core and throw it to the Elemental Healer. The Elemental Healer then threw it to a designated person by a barrier.

Toon Update:
Graylo - Nothing really to add to the awesome work on Vashj. I am thinking about dropping my idol swapping macros though. It feels like I am losing some cast time. I need to go test it out on Dr Doom.

Graypal - Surprisingly, quite a bit has been going on with him. I ran Heroic Mech two nights in a row and he is now about 2800 rep away from Revered with Sha'tar. I was also able to pick up a primal nether to make the leg enchant. I was also able to hit exalted with Scryers thanks to Necrodamus. He is an old WoW friend of mine that goes all the way back to FoC. He gave me 100 Scryer signets to ding exalted. Now that I am exalted I picked up the Shoulder Enchant and purchased [Seer's Signet]. I also enchanted both of my rings. All of this combined and I am almost to 1000 shadow damage. His gear is getting very respectable. I might even be able to get him into ZA some time.

Grayfel - Building rested XP as usual.

Monday, May 5, 2008

General Updates

It has been a while since I have written an update as to what is going on with my toons and in my guild. So, I am dedicating a whole post to it. (It could also be that I am not ready to post Spell Hit Vs Spell Damage post yet. Expect it soon)

Guild Update:
I'll talk about the good stuff first. Wandering Alliance is now 3/5 in Hyjal. The guild took down Anetheron almost two weeks ago. Unfortunately I was not present for the first kill, but I heard that things went well. He really isn't a hard fight one you get the healers positioned correctly. About a week later we took down Kaz'rogal. This fight isn't all that hard either but it its definitely a step up from Anetheron and Rage. The Kaz'rogal trash is a significantly harder. It took us a few attempts just to figure all of it out. The actual boss is a DPS race. You have to kill him before he drains all of the raids mana which happens in around 3 minutes. The first time we got to the actual boss we wiped at 2%. We would have had him down but someone let there mana get to zero and they blew up a good portion of the raid. The next few times we tried him were a little more difficult. We had a hard time getting the NPCs involved and we didn't have a shadow priest for those attempts. The last attempt that night we got him down to 1%. The next night we got him down on the first attempt.
The down side from past couple of weeks is that we have not downed Vashj. As I said before we got Vashj down to 20% but the next night we went to try her again and couldn't get out of phase 2, and we haven't tried her since. There are probably a lot of reasons for this. First we only had two tanks for the second night. This didn't seem to have a huge impact from my point of few but it did cause our feral tank to do a lot of running around. Second we only had one Melee DPS on the nagas. Again I don't see a huge problem here but others did. Third we didn't have a resto druid in the raid. I don't know if this had an impact or not but we had issues with the Kiter dying and in the past we had a druid healing him.
The bigger problem with this night of attempts is that it exposed a rift with in the guild. It's not huge but it is something that we officers have been wrestling with a little bit. The question is, how often should we try Vashj and how many attempts is to many? I am going to have a hard time presenting the two sides fairly since I am firmly on one side.
On one side, some officers and members that believe that a high number of attempts and therefore wipes on Vashj demoralizes the guild and could cause people to stop showing up of to look for other guilds. They generally want to limit our attempts on Vashj and clear more of the farm content to improve the guilds gear. With better gear the guild will be more likely to down Vashj.
I understand their point and agree with it to some extent. However, I believe that they are trying to limit our Vashj attempts way to much. I think we currently have enough gear and there is nothing that we can farm that will improve our gear enough to make this fight significantly easier. Therefore, in my opinion, the only way we can significantly improve our chances of downing her is to practice and get more attempts in.
All that being said I know both sides have the best intentions for the guild at heart. Its just really frustrating because I know we can kill her. Guilds have done it with less, and I don't want to get to far into Hyjal and BT without having downed Vashj or Kael.

Toon Update:
Graylo - As it almost always seems to be the case, I don't have much to say here. I did a lot of farming over the weekend for the primals Graypal needed for his craftable gear. I also did a BG or two but I have lost interest in PvP for the most part.

Graypal - He had a pretty good weekend. First off he got three new craftable pieces of gear. I picked up the [Spellstrike Hood], [Spellstrike Pants], and the [Belt of Blasting]. This was a lot of farming but it improved my gear significantly. I am now almost to 900 Shadow Damage. With enchants I would be well over it. The his other big event over the weekend was that I finally got a run through Normal Magistar's Terrace. (thanks to Doom, Ardin, Dimplez, and Gaylin) I am now able to run it on heroic. Hopefully I will be able to get in there quickly and get the gear Items I need quickly.
So what do I need to do now? I need to pick up a [Primal Nether] to get the [Runic Spellthread] crafted for his new pants. I also need to get my Scryer's and Sha'tar rep up so that I can get the head and shoulder enchants. Other than that it is just running kara and stuff to improve my gear.

Grayfel - I got him to level 44 over the weekend. I didn't use all of his rested XP but I used a lot of it. I also did quite a bit to level his professions. I think that I am still behind but hopefully I will be where I need to be before I get t outland. Thanks to Aradane for sending me those Moss Agate. That helped a lot.