Saturday, January 30, 2010

Personal Max DPS

It's a snow day, and without much else to accomplish today, I decided to finally sit down and decide what gear will be best for me. I have a couple caveats now that I am no longer a raider, and while this depresses me, it sorta makes life easier. For example, I probably will never see Heroic ICC25. I will only have one real trinket upgrade ever again. I probably will never down Heroic Anub. I can fumble around all I want with my spec and glyphs, but my gear comes with my gold, and it matters now to make educated decisions on what I spend money on. I can't just give it away to another raider that might get a bigger DPS increase.

So with that, I tiptoed over to the handy-dandy online spreadsheet, and plugged in various pieces of gear that are accessible to me. I know to keep both two-piece set bonuses for T9 and T10 to use the exploit (refresh Serpent Sting every time the T10 2-piece procs), though a part of me wonders when basic stats on higher ilvl gear for helm and legs, in addition to the T10 4-piece, will outweigh the DPS increase of the exploit. Nothing is from Heroic ICC, since it is not available yet, and I doubt I'll be able to set foot even into 10man for some time (oh sweet Flying Spaghetti Monster, I miss being a raider). Talent wise, I have to keep TSA as a backup, just in case the raid doesn't have the option. I'm willing to move points back and forth from Focused Aim, but ideally I'd like to only have one point in the talent so I can have 3/3 Improved Steady Shot.

I also did one little trick to modify the default shot rotation, besides remove Arcane Shot: I moved Readiness to below Aimed Shot and found a 50 DPS increase on the spreadsheet. This mimics my rotation of Rapid Fire/CotW -> Chimera -> Aimed -> Readiness -> Chimera -> Aimed, etc, popping the next Rapid Fire as soon as the next one is up (assuming I know when Bloodlust is going to occur).

I did four different spreadsheets: Ideal Spec of 1/3 Focused Aim + 3/3 Imp Steady with Mjolnir Runestone, Current Spec of 2/3 Focused Aim + 2/3 Imp Steady with Mjolnirs, Ideal Spec with Whispering Fanged Skull, and Current Spec with Whispering Fanged Skull.

Here are the results for each:
Ideal with Mjolnir: 11642.9
Current with Mjolnir: 11656.33
Ideal with Skull: 11694.32
Current with Skull: 11725.83

All I have to say: Bah. My OCD hates having two talents at 2/3 instead of at least one full talent, but at least this saves me money from respecing. I also had hopes of maintaining an ArPen trinket to keep the soft cap, but it looks like the Skull outweighs Mjolnirs. Fortunately, it is a relatively small DPS loss (~70) if I can't get the Skull, and it is always best to keep in mind what gear you are likely to get as well. So here are my two BiS lists depending on trinkets:

Current with Mjolnir
Helm: Windrunner's Headpeice of Triumph (enchanted with Arcanum of Torment and gemmed with Relentless Earthseige and Deadly Ametrine)
Neck: Wodin's Lucky Necklace (gemmed with Deadly Ametrine)
Shoulder: Sanctified Ahn'Kahar Blood Hunter's Spaulders (enchanted with Greater Inscription of the Axe and gemmed with Fractured Cardinal Ruby)
Chest: Sanctified Ahn'Kahar Blood Hunter's Tunic (enchanted with Powerful Stats and gemmed with two Delicate Cardinal Rubies)
Belt: Band of the Night Raven (gemmed with a Glinting Ametrine, Deadly Ametrine, and a Delicate Cardinal Ruby in the belt buckle socket)
Pants: Windrunner's Legguards of Triumph (enchanted with Icescale Leg Armor/Nerubian Leg Reinforcements and gemmed with a Nightmare Tear and Delicate Cardinal Ruby)
Boots: Treads of the Wasteland (enchanted with Superior Agility and gemmed with two Deadly Ametrines)
Bracers: Scourge Hunter's Vambraces (enchanted with Fur Lining - Attack Power and gemmed with two Delicate Cardinal Rubies [one in a blacksmithing socket])
Gloves: Logsplitters (enchanted with Crusher and gemmed with three Delicate Cardinal Rubies [one in a blacksmithing socket])
Ring 1: Ashen Band of Endless Vengeance (gemmed with a Deadly Ametrine)
Ring 2: Frostbrood Sapphire Ring (gemmed with a Delicate Cardinal Ruby)
Trinket 1: Mjolnir Runestone
Trinket 2: Deathbringer's Will
Cloak: Recovered Scarlet Onslaught Cape (enchanted with Major Agility and gemmed with a Delicate Cardinal Ruby)
Stat-stick: Quel'Delar, Ferocity of the Scorned (enchanted with Massacre)
Ranged: Zod's Repeating Longbow (enchanted with Heartseeker Scope)
Food: Blackened Dragonfin

Current with Skull
Helm: Windrunner's Headpeice of Triumph (enchanted with Arcanum of Torment and gemmed with Relentless Earthseige and Deadly Ametrine)
Neck: Rimetooth Pendant (gemmed with Glinting Ametrine)
Shoulder: Sanctified Ahn'Kahar Blood Hunter's Spaulders (enchanted with Greater Inscription of the Axe and gemmed with Fractured Cardinal Ruby)
Chest: Sanctified Ahn'Kahar Blood Hunter's Tunic (enchanted with Powerful Stats and gemmed with two Fractured Cardinal Rubies)
Belt: Nerub'ar Stalker Cord (gemmed with a Deadly Ametrine and two Fractured Cardinal Rubies, one in the belt buckle socket)
Pants: Windrunner's Legguards of Triumph (enchanted with Icescale Leg Armor/Nerubian Leg Reinforcements and gemmed with a Nightmare Tear and Fractured Cardinal Ruby)
Boots: Rock-Steady Treads (enchanted with Superior Agility and gemmed with two Fractured Cardinal Rubies)
Bracers: Scourge Hunter's Vambraces (enchanted with Fur Lining - Attack Power and gemmed with two Fractured Cardinal Rubies [one in a blacksmithing socket])
Gloves: Logsplitters (enchanted with Crusher and gemmed with three Fractured Cardinal Rubies [one in a blacksmithing socket])
Ring 1: Ashen Band of Endless Vengeance (gemmed with a Deadly Ametrine)
Ring 2: Frostbrood Sapphire Ring (gemmed with a Fractured Cardinal Ruby)
Trinket 1: Whispering Fanged Skull
Trinket 2: Deathbringer's Will
Cloak: Recovered Scarlet Onslaught Cape (enchanted with Major Agility and gemmed with a Fractured Cardinal Ruby)
Stat-stick: Shaft of Glacial Ice (enchanted with Massacre and gemmed with a Deady Ametrine)
Ranged: Zod's Repeating Longbow (enchanted with Biznicks 247x128 Accurascope)
Food: Hearty Rhino

Phew! The most depressing part of the first list is the sheer amount of badges needed. Fortunately, it gives me plenty of time to build up a cache of primordial saronite.

If you are really bored and want to double check my work and/or see any glaring mistakes (because I don't read EJ as much as I should), typos, mislinks, etc. let me know!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


It is inevitable that when you are competing with other DPS for raid slots in PUGs, people will post their gear score and some number that they believe resembles their DPS. I've given up fighting this trend, but it still annoys me, particularly when it also has a habit of popping up in my battlegrounds.

Let me outline the features of a good raider, and since I've already done it once, I'll be brief here. Be prepared, be focused and in control of yourself, communicate, be aware of what is going on around you, and do what you are assigned to do. Of all of those things, only one has anything to do with your DPS, and not even fully at that. So you can pull off 8k DPS - good for you! Did you kill the adds you are supposed to? How about moving out of that AoE? Are you talking about an RNG right like Twins or Hodir? Did you move out of the raid when the boss gave you that debuff, or did you just sit there and pew pew? Did the healers have to come to you in order to be in range, or where you just out there doing your own thing?

I understand the love of big numbers, I really do. But since I uninstalled Recount, I just stopped caring. I know I have good DPS, but more importantly, I know I can be trusted to kill adds, move when necessary, support the healers, and do what is necessary to down the boss faster, and that's what every DPS' priority should be. It is tempting to say you can do a metric asston of DPS on Patchwerk, it is more impressive to say that you are raid aware and enjoy killing adds. In the end, that's what down the bosses, even those with hard enrages and are the so-called 'DPS races." For current content, if every DPS in raid can pump out the numbers, but they are incapable of coordinating the boss fight's debuffs or adds, then they will wipe, pure and simple. It is important to be capable of both, and in a sea of people spouting their numbers for generalized fights, it isn't your DPS that will gain you an invite.

The leader of the crossrealm battleground premades likes to talk, and he's also a hunter. This brings on many challanges for me, particularly on the 'staying silent' part. When he started on his DPS and general hunter DPS across the specs, I just couldn't keep my mouth shut. What the hell are you talking about, the MM rotation being more difficult than the SV one? MM you are prioritizing three different instant shots with the same CD, while SV deals with a 6 sec, 10 sec, and 30 second cooldowns on their shots, changing depending on your procs. How is that juggling less? What rogues are you beating and on what fights, exactly? Are you sure the rogues know what they are doing? He prattled on, trying to cover himself and make it out to know what he was doing, so in the end, I just gave up and zoned his voice to the background for following orders in AV. I predict I will have to do this frequently in order to keep my frustration low.

Everything has a strength and a weakness. As a raider, it is important you know what yours are and work to balance them out. Because in the end, your over 9000 dps doesn't mean shit if you are dead due to add.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Come, fly Proudfather Airlines!

Last night, I was feeling restless. All my alts were slowly earning their money, I had leveled my boomkin up to 63, and there was simply nothing I wanted to do on Neg. I was about to concede defeat, and log off to watch a movie, when trade chat got spammed for cross-server BG premades.

Sometime last week I had joined an EotS as a pugger with this group, and was pleased with the results. I asked for more info, and while I received it, I had a GDKP run in about an hour, so I couldn't take them up on it. Plus, I was nervous. I mean, how many things could go wrong with a bunch of random people (most guys) in vent? But last night I was feeling adventurous, so I logged in their vent.

It was all sorts of awesome. I had heard of cross-realm premades before, and while I knew they all mysteriously queued at the same time, I had never coordinated it myself and so was curious. They were all fairly courteous, and the "piliot" had several years of experience running these groups. When the time to queue came, he spoke quickly and confindently (not unlike a flight attendant) to coordinate the efforts. They had macros galore for each battleground scenario, and every thing was well planned out. They even had means to reduce Vent clutter to communicate if you got into the BG or not. I was wholly impressed.

When we did get into a battleground, it was like war. Everyone had their role and assignment, and they supported each other for the win. It was beautiful. We only lost once, to a server WSG premade. I had a ton of fun, even if waiting on Horde's painfully long queues was a bit tedious.

So, if you are on the US Bloodlust battlegroup, come and fly Proudfather Airlines for some premade PvP. If you love battlegrounds, you won't regret it.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Ninty-five badges down...

Finally, after squirming into guild ICC10s and braving GDKP ICC25s, I had 95 badges again, and I promptly bought a new chest with the token I stole for a mere 5000g:

Of course, this puts my ArPen in a delicate position. I use Mjolnir Runestone, and I probably will until the day I log off for good (since the odds of me getting Death's Choice and Deathbringer's Will - which I am saving up for, as you can see by the screenshots - are infinitesimally small), so my ArPen soft caps at 735. With the new chest and the ring I can now equip for the hit, this places me at 732. Oy.

Typically I eat ArPen food, over-capping me, but keeping agil as passive as possible. I still have two ArPen gems left, and I'm considering replacing at least one for agil and continuing to eat the ArPen food instead of agility. I suppose the spreadsheets will tell what's best in the end... but I think I don't want to check just out of fear that it is going to suggest going for the agil food instead, and that's a lot of fishing I don't want to do!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

I've always said it!

I was perusing through the headlines at slashdot, when I came across this article about a professor at Stanford who researched into how MMOs build leadership.

My favorite bit:

So if you say, ‘I’m a guild leader, and have been for the last nine months, of a 200-person guild that spans three continents,’ you’ve said, ‘I know how to make a website. I know how to motivate people. I know how to arbitrate a lot of foolishness with respect to who gets what when they do this.’

Now wouldn't it be wonderful, everyday for an hour, you and your officemates raid, or completely own a server's economy, or destroy a few battlegrounds? Conversation at the cooler would be "Damn, son, you totally owned that one Gnome warrior" - "Yeah, he was crunchy. Thanks for the heals" or "Hey, awesome job dealing with those adds yesterday" - "No problem - thanks for the taunt."

Now that's what I call a nice day at work.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

In over a hundred games of Wintergrasp...

I have never seen this:

Horde vehicles: 24
Alliance vehicles: 0

I didn't think that was possible, but apparently it is if this is the first round of defensive (beyond the first round of defense, I believe another workshop automatically turns over).

I so love being on a server that knows how to PvP.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

I fail to see the logic, and it makes my head hurt

One of the reasons I will not play into Cataclysm is the lore. I know, I know, we are going past anything the original Warcraft games have established, which means "new" lore is being made. I've resigned to the fact that concepts that really make no sense at all (like the Tauren sticking with the Horde once Cairne is killed, or Human/Undead hunters, which I greatly lament, and we all know better individuals that would make a better Warchief than Garrosh) are staying around, but I'm solving that issue by not giving Blizzard additional money to support it. Word from around many progressive guilds is that they will not continue into Cataclysm either, since the original lore will be done. However, when the lore fails to make a straight line in the game I'm currently playing, it irritates me nonstop.


Every time I enter Icecrown Citidel I'm reminded that Bolvar Fordragon will be the new Lich King. Remember that awesome cool cut-scene at the Wrathgate, where you got an achievement for watching it? In it some tall, bearded Alliance guy marched up and demands Arthas face them. He's joined by a brown-skinned Orc (Saurfang the Younger, soon to be Saurfang the Deathbringer), who is killed by Arthas, and presumably (unless you can read Draconic), that bearded Alliance guy (Fordragon) died too. Evidently not - the Lich King is still torturing away at him. You know that RP that you have to watch once in the Halls of Reflection, where Uther appears before your faction and says "there must always be a Lich King" and that "a grand sacrifice by a noble soul" must take up that role should Arthas be killed. Now, if that's not transparent, I don't know what is.

I'm okay with Arthas being killed. I don't particularly like it, I think they could have done something really original instead involving the Scourge and the Lich King, but I've accepted it. However, I find it disgustingly convenient that all you have to do to keep the Scourge under control is to kill the Lich King and replace him with another who happens to be on the leash called the Light. I mean, come on. The Lich King is conveniently not plowing over the entirety of Azeroth, despite the fact that is pretty much their only goal in existence - Uther says it's the human side of Arthas that is preventing this from happening; I say that it would considerably more entertaining and realistic if the Lich King were just toying with the races of Azeroth instead. After all, we know Arthas' humanity is gone - you should've been there during the pretty epic quest that established that.

So the Lich King dies. Okay, we now have the issue of the Scourge running rampant over Azeroth. That's a bad thing from our point of view, but I would venture to say that's not exactly a bad thing for the Scourge. In fact, I'm fairly sure that's all they really want to do. Uther says it's not happening because a non-existent part of Arthas is preventing it; I say it's not happening because it amuses Arthas to let us think we have a chance. He knows that if he dies, he still wins. Our ace in the hole is supposedly the ability to replace him with someone that won't let the Scourge annihilate everything. And we are supposed to believe that the same strength/soul that is preventing Fordragon from succumbing to his current torture is going to act the same as Arthas' current non-existant humanity, and keep a reign on the Scourge. Ew? How do we know that strength isn't going to be corrupted? Sure, he wasn't completely smitten by power when he was the regent of Stormwind, but he did allow a certain lady dragon whisper into his ear and sway his decisions. He's supposedly better than that now, with the entirety of the Scourge under his will? Doesn't it make sense that by rising him as the Lich King, it would be deja vu all over again? Fight Arthas, kill Arthas, fight Bolvar, kill Bolvar, fight...? Are we really expected to accept that we would have trust in a new Lich King? Of course, we have no idea the details to what happens next, but I feel that something equally as cheesy will be in store. But I hope I'm wrong.

Finally, it really irritates me that a Human has more inner strength than an Orc. Both are good people, neither fell prey to the influences of the Legion/Scourge, but it was the Orc that succumbed to the Lich King, not the Human. Wasn't this supposed to be a game about how both sides have their "humanity", dreams, ambitions, love, etc? Yet all through Wrath and into Cataclysm, that concept is falling apart, and the Horde are not staying on the high ground. Will there be no Hero of the Horde that will save the world, Alliance included?

Friday, January 8, 2010

The fact that I restrained myself proves I'm *not* completely jaded

Story time!

My random daily dungeon yesterday was Oculus. As I mentioned, I am no longer hesitant to join the dungeon any more for fear of somebody dropping in the first five seconds, so I plunged right in and started making conversation, most notably on how ugly the DK's tank shoulders were. When the first boss went down, and the drakes became available, I said, "One of each color," to nix any ideas of wanting to do the void achievements.

The reply was "I think we all know how to do Oculus. Thanks."


It was then that I noticed the other four members of the group were from the same server and the same guild, so I stepped back out of the leader role that the LFG system had assigned me and just left things on autopilot. But, I gotta say, if they all knew how to do Oculus, then they have the worst short-term memories I have ever encountered.

Two of them kept getting lost. Hardcore-lost, like not knowing whether to go up or down. It's forgivable - after all, unlike every other instance, you are not staying on the same dimensional plane. But not knowing how to get from boss to boss is sorta a indication that you aren't quite as familiar with the instance as your guildee has lead me to believe.

The healer didn't know to move out of the 120 degree array on the second boss, which wasn't a particular issue, but it did add unnecessary healing, particularly when we still had a drake they failed to kill still on us.

Finally, the other bronze drake obviously had never been on a bronze drake before. Sensing this, I offered to take the first timestop and the first channel. When my channel was completed and hers never started, I just kept channeling. When her turn to timestop came up and he stayed enraged for the entirety of the duration despite my urge to timestop, I facepalmed a little. But she did timestop on the third one, right alone with me!

Moral of the story, kids: Don't speak for your entire party when you are not aware they do not know how to do Oculus. Thanks.

I didn't say anything about the obvious fact that they didn't know how to do Oculus. I stayed silent, though the thoughts where there. I know I've become very jaded, very irritable, and just a little bitchy about the game, and for that I apologize. But while that side of me is being channeled through this blog, I've been good about it not showing to strangers ingame.

Guildees that do not use punctuation marks properly are still fair game.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I lol'd

To encourage players not to shy away from the many invigorating adventures to be had in The Oculus, we have applied a change to enhance the rewards players are provided when selected for this dungeon via the Random Heroic option in the Dungeon Finder. Once Ley-Guardian Eregos is defeated, one loot bag per character will be provided in his chest in addition to the current rewards. Each loot bag will offer players rare gems, two additional Emblems of Triumph, and a chance of being rewarded the Reins of the Blue Drake. These fine treasures could be yours should you honor your fellow party members by besting the challenges contained within The Oculus! Keep in mind, however, that these extra loot bags will only be awarded to each party member if Oculus is selected by the Dungeon Finder when players choose the Random Heroic option.

In light of this change, the Reins of the Azure Drake will now have a chance of dropping in both 10- and 25-player versions of The Eye of Eternity.

I never bailed on an Oculus before, but now I won't groan as much if the loading screen pops up. It is rather sad now much the instance has been nerfed along with all the other incentives they have to add to it in order to make it appealing. Really, it's a fun encounter, it just needs some design tweaks.

I asked our code quru what the logarithm looked like for determining the "random" dungeon, and he said that the instance you get depends on your gear level. Now, without delving further in (which is bad, but I'm in a rush today), I'd guess that the system looks at your gear and determined from the iLevel where you will get upgrades/be a little challenged. That's all well and good, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it plateaus around i200, which would explain that the only three instances I ever get are H:Halls of Stone, H:Oculus, and H:Halls of Lightning. Wouldn't a considerable improvement on this system have a next level of iLevel, where if your gear is above, say, i232, the dungeon you get is truly random? Or is this hypothesis completely wrong?

Anyway, good luck with the next wing of Icecrown! Hopefully our GDKP runs will be able to venture past Saurfang within a reasonable amount of time!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Looking out for Number One (again)

Probably my greatest annoyance with PuG raiding is the dominance of individual interest. Thankfully, it doesn't apply too much for the boss fights, where most people are more interested in completing the encounter than showing off on the meters. Too much, being the key words there. There are always people damaging the boss when they should be focusing on the spikes/acolytes/blood beasts, but for the most part, it isn't a problem. The raiders work together until the loot is announced, then it's every gold monger for themselves.

I think it is a combition of being on a loot council with my later requirement being able to min/max gear. I'm all too aware of what peices will be maximized for what class, and the stat priorities for each slot, so it frustrates me to see every class capable of wearing an item bidding on it. No care for main spec or raid role, no concern for mains over alts. If you have the gold, that staff five iLevels above your current one is all yours and that other guy stuck with a 213 will just have to wait a little longer for a lucky night. Rarely, just rarely, you'll see people stop bidding when they notice another guy needs the item more, but it is infrequent.

And they can hardly be blamed. Why be concerned about the needs of puggers? Yes, they are on server and a frequent participant of these GDKP runs, but they have the exact same opportunities as you do (legally, at least) to get the gold needed to bid. If they can't make it, then they need to find an actual guild run instead. If you are in a guild and meeting the requirements as a raider, then you can get loot by the consideration of others. If you are not, you get loot with your gold - everything else is void.

I don't like compromising my values, but if I want to raid on my server, I don't have much choice. Deathbringer's Will sold for 23500g last night (I made an honest bid of 8000g, all I had on me), and I had to look away in order to prevent massive flustering at the rogue names popping up on the screen as they bid. Since I lost, I bid instead on a tier token and won with 5000g - a total steal (the other one in the chest went for over 10k). It will go to my non-existant chest, since right now I only have around 20 Frost Emblems. Would I approve of this if it had been a guild run? Hell no. You get the tier token if you have the badges, and if nobody does, then it goes to the classes/raiders that earned it. But I have to take these opportunities as they come if I want to get gear. And, yes, I do hate myself a little for it. But I want to raid, dammit.

Just like when I raided with a progressive guild, I had to let my values of individual characterization die - now I have to let my values of team betterment die and become selfish again. It sucks.