Archive for October, 2010

Well it’s been nearly two weeks since The Patch, time enough to get a feel for what’s what.  So, armed with the experience of a couple of jaunts into heroic 25 man Icecrown Citadel, a couple of heroics and a whole lot of trips to Scarlet Monastery to kick the crap out of the Headless Horseman, here’s my view so far.

This World Will End in Flames!
Fire Mage AoE.  Wow.  Of course it couldn’t last forever.  With Fire Mages totally dominating dps on trash packs the inevitable QQ from everyone else resulted in the fastest nerf on Live since “To The Ground, Baby!”  Because, of course, Boss progression is totally dependent on how quickly you can kill the meaningless trash that pads out raids between bosses, isn’t it?  Oh wait, no it isn’t.  And here’s the thing, aside from the numerous instant area of effect bombs Fire mages have at their disposal, what really set us apart on large trash pack burns was one thing – Pyromaniac.  That’s 10% spell haste if three or more targets are taking damage from Fire dots.  10% spell haste.  That’s a metric butt-load of haste.  And here’s the problem with Fire, when you don’t have Pyromaniac up and running…  Fire sucks.  So that would be…  on just about every raid boss fight in the game.  Oh right, yeah, I see where you’re going with that.  Meanwhile, Arcane is just as boring a two-button spec as it ever was, except one thing immediately stood out…

I think we were on Saurfang, I forget exactly but it was probably Saurfang as I’d switched to Arcane to get the benefit of the built-in slow effect from Nether Vortex on Arcane Blast on the Blood Beasts, and one of the Shadow Priests whispered me “68k AB!”  Took me a while to figure out what he meant until I checked my damage logs.  Yep, I’d scored a 68,000 damage Arcane Blast hit.  Ouch.  That’s a lot of pain in one shot.  I started paying attention to my combat log after that and it got better.  Ladies and gentlefolk, I scored a 98,000 damage Arcane Blast that night, and no, it wasn’t on Blood Queen with the Vampire buff.  It was a Joe Average, run of the mill, regular old Arcane Blast.  98,ooo damage.  In one hit.

Arcane suddenly started being a lot more interesting.

Don’t get me wrong, Fire is fun.  Lots of fun.  And it’s going to get even more fun when we get Disco Ball at level 81, but 98,000 damage in one hit.  That’s a pretty compelling argument.  Doing heroics is a bit crappy, too.  Running a heroic as a Fire Mage is an exercise in tedium.  Do I drop that Blastwave/Flamestrike combo now, pull aggro off the tank and get squished or wait a few seconds and…  oh they’re all dead.  Here’s a boss, stick a Living Bomb on him, wind up a Fireball….  oh he’s dead.  Meh.  Obviously this is all going to change and probably become a LOT more fun once we start levelling to 85, but at the moment… meh!  Arcane on the other hand?  Pick a trash mob, one-shot it, pick another, one-shot it.

Meanwhile, Frost.  Where shall I start?  Well first, I have no experience of Frost at level 80 since The Patch hit.  Well, that’s not exactly true.  I have lots of experience of being utterly destroyed by Frost Mages in Wintergrasp while grinding out G.N.E.R.D Rage on Gorn and Galadan, but that’s not exactly the same thing.  At lower levels, however, well..  time for an interlude.

You Want the Gnome?  You Can’t Handle the Gnome!
It’s time I introduced you to Dingles.  She’s a Gnome mage who started out as a bank alt in my bank guild, The Royal Bank of Calli.  She got a bit…  well…  out of control.  You see the thing is, I started levelling engineering on her.  Yeah, all the engineers reading this are nodding their heads and laughing.  The problem was that engineering gadgets are a LOT of fun.  Using a Big Bronze Bomb to take out an entire pack of mobs the same level as you in one shot?  Yeah that never gets old.  But I needed to get to level 20 to learn Journeyman Engineering, and then I got stuck there until level 35 before I could learn Artisan Engineering.  Now she really needs to get to 50 before I can get the really good stuff.

So yeah, I have a level 43 bank alt and I’m not ashamed of it!  Well young Dingles levelled as Fire and struggled along as young Fire Mages always have.  She had a brief flirtation with Frost at around the level 20 stage and it was awful.  Just awful.  Here’s how your average fight would go:

Frostbolt – missed
Frostbolt – missed
Frostbolt – hit 60 (40 resisted)
Frostbolt – missed
Frost Nova – missed

And then we got The Patch, and everything changed.  For a start, you now get Hot Streak at level 29.  Yeah, really.  That alone is worth the entrance fee.  Sure, your crit rate sucks so you’re not proccing Hot Streak Pyroblasts on every other shot as you would at 80, but you pretty much get one every other fight, and trust me, that’s enough.  It also stays up long enough that if you finish a kill with Hot Streak still up, you can queue a Fireball/Pyroblast combo right away for your next attack.  Oh wait, that’s Fireball/Pyroblast!  Forgot the “!”  Also, Impact helps out a massive amount at low levels, and it goes off very reliably indeed.  You feel a lot more in control of the fights as Fire at low levels, which makes a really nice change, as Fire has never been about control until now…  more a case of “Kill it, kill it, quick!  AAARGH!”  So Dingles levelled to 40 as Fire and then bought herself a dual talent spec and I decided to see how Frost looked.

Oh boy.

Frost ROCKS!  Nothing, and I mean NOTHING touches a Frost mage.  With Improved Cone of Cold you effectively have double Frost Novas on an 8 second cooldown (three Frost Novas if you have your Water Elemental).  At a guess, I’d say that talent alone is responsible for 95% of the hate directed at Frost Mages in pvp.  Throw in Brain Freeze for free damage and Permafrost for even more slowing torment and anything that survives to get close enough to a Frost Mage to get hit by a Frost Nova is really going to wish it hadn’t.

Oh, did you know you can rename your water elemental?  Just type the following into chat:

/run PetRename(“NAME HERE”)

With the name of your elemental inbetween the ” and “.  Dingles’ elemental is Squirty by the way.

So yeah, Frost is cool.  Pun intended.

But what of the other classes?  Well Fingers has never been the same.  He and every other Combat Rogue have been crying into their beer, looking wistfully at scrapbook pictures of their Armour Penetration gems.  Let me assure you, regemming a Combat Rogue for Agility is an expensive, and ultimately pointless business.  Here’s the problem with Combat, and it’s all down to their Mastery – Main Gauche.  Here we have a Mastery that totally flies in the face of every talent in its own tree.  Main Gauche wants you to have a fast Main hand weapon to increase the chance it will proc and a slow Offhand weapon to get the most out of the proc when it happens.  But the signature move of the Combat Rogue – Sinister Strike, demands that you have a slow Main hand weapon and fast offhand to proc poison on that slow Main hand.  So you can use a fast Main Hand to support your Mastery and do shit damage with your main attack, or do decent damage with your main attack and have no use for your Mastery whatsoever.  Frankly, you’re better off avoiding your Mastery completely and reforging for Haste.  Or just accept defeat and respec Assassination.  I suspect it won’t be long before Combat gets a big old overhaul.  It’s so broken right now it’s not even funny.

Askara, on the other hand, had to be shown Blizzards webpage and forced to read the patch notes before you could convince her that there’d even been a patch.  She did wonder why she’d suddenly had to redo all her Restoration and Enhance glyphs, and wondered briefly what the Elemental Shamans were getting so excited about, but it’s a case of same shit, different day for her.

Shinano…  well, can we please have a minute of silence for Shinano.  She’s in mourning you see.  She recently lost a dear and beloved friend who’d been with her for years because apparently her 20% reduced mana costs for all spells and 6% bonus healing for the entire raid were simply a cosmetic effect with no bearing upon gameplay.  Rest in Peace, Tree of Life.  You will be missed.  Yes, I know, you don’t need to tell me, we’ve got a cut-down, drugged up on steroids, short term Tree of Life, but it’s just NOT the same.  Tree of Life was about doing the Twist with your Teldrassil Sapling, about having the best emotes in the game and making jokes about having Wood.  It was about the whole character of your Resto druid.  Try dancing the Twist in the burn phase of a raid boss when you need to use Tree form and watch your raid leader lose their sense of humour pronto.

Balance on the other hand, got a special delivery of YAHOOO!!!  I have just about no clue what I’m doing in Laser Chicken form anymore, but the numbers are big and the special effects sure are pretty.  It’s all something to do with casting nature spells until something happens and then casting arcane spells until somethng else happens and oh look…  a Solar Flare!  PEW PEW!!!  Woohoo!

Aluriel’s having a similar experience.  As a Discipline Priest she pretty much never casts a heal.  Yeah I know, when you write it down like that it does sort of leap right out at you, doesn’t it?  Shield, Smite, Smite, Smite, Archangel, Smite, Smite, Smite oh he’s dead.  Next!  Wait, wasn’t I the healer?  Actually, no, not any more.  Now I’m just really shit dps.  Well, in some of the groups I’ve done I’ve been the top dps, but that’s another story.  The point is…  well, I’m not really sure what the point is, but I know I didn’t roll a Priest so I could spam Smite until my fingers bleed.  If I wanted to do shitty dps I’d have rolled a Combat Rogue.  Oh, sorry, Fingers.  Didn’t know you were listening.  I may have to reroll Holy.

On the other hand, while we’re on the subject of doing dps…  shadow.  Oh wow.  Oh wow indeed.  There’s been some serious buffing going on there.  Aluriel’s in pretty much the same situation as Shinano in Laser Chicken spec, no clue what’s going on but shit, those numbers are HUGE!  And let’s just get one thing straight, for the record.  Shadow Orbs.  They’re shadowy, ok?  NOT PINK!  Right?   Right.

Aside from all the class changes, the world is definitely a lot prettier than it used to be.  For those whose graphics cards can handle it there’s some pretty sweet eye candy out there for you.  Here’s young Dingles enjoying a view of the new water effects in Stranglethorn Vale.

If that wasn’t the clincher, they even managed to make the Wetlands look pretty.

They’ve also done something pretty with the way sunbeams work, as you can see from this shot taken in Terrokar Forest.

And Now For Something Completely Different

On a slightly more light hearted note, it’s always reassuring to know that even the most intelligent and articulate of players can have the occasional blonde moment:

And it’s always good to see that news of Dickhead of the Week gets around.

And finally, Gnome Priests…  I’m telling you, they’re EVERYWHERE!


Okay, We Get The Joke Already!

Posted: 1 October, 2010 in Cataclysm, Mage

Those kerrrrrrazy funsters over at Blizzard have done it again!  Check out the sweet new mage changes on the Beta!

Mage (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)

Yes, Blizzard clearly subscribe to the theory that if a joke’s funny once it’s funny every time.   Way back in Patch 1.5.0, amidst massive swathes of changes for every class, you could have blinked and missed the attention that was being lavished on mages.  Squint hard enough and you’d notice it, though.

Mage Armour – Now has a new, unique, icon.

Ho ho bloody ho!  Yes, that was it.  Okay, it was pretty funny, but it’s become a running gag with the game developers.  When Wrath of the Lich King came out, mages could buy a new version of the Arcane Intellect spell at the reagent shop in Dalaran – Dalaran Brilliance.  The difference?  It was Arcane Intellect with a “new, unique, icon.”  Oh Ghostcrawler, you crack me up.  You pull the same joke twice but this time we get to pay for the privilege!  Okay so I get that the lack of mage changes means that we’re probably all done as a class and ready for Cataclysm, but with any other class all you’d see is “No changes at this time”.  But we’re special, we have to have the piss taken.

Watch this space for patch 5.0.1.  Mages get a new mana biscuit, “Warlock’s Tears”, the same as your existing maximum rank conjured food but with a new, unique icon.  Yours for a one-time fee of only 5000g at your nearest reagent shop!

Yeah, I’d probably buy it too.

Moving on swiftly, Calli’s been up to no good in Ulduar.  Algalon finally got his arse handed to him, we’ve been spicing things up before Cataclysm by revisiting old raids and farming achievments we missed first time around.  No matter which way you cut it, Calli definitely pulls off the Tier 8 look waaaaay better than that noob Rhonin.  Groovy new title too.

Rhonin, imma let you finish, but I look way cooler in Tier 8 than you do.

And in other news, my ongoing quest to furnish every alt with a mount that isn’t the Bronze Drake from Old Stratholme gathers pace as Shinano finds a new friend.

Fly, my pretty! Fly!

And a shocking discovery in the depths of Gnomeregan this week!  Examine these pictures in greater detail…

Power Word: Fortitude buff….  Casting Bar says “Heal”.  Both fairly signature abilities of a certain class

It's a gnome, Jim, but not as we know it!

The forum QQ over gnome priests can stop right now.  They’ve actually been in the game since launch.  Head down to Gnomeregan and see them for yourself!

That’s all, folks!