Thursday, 30 April 2015

New blog: Cloud and Tech

Off topic, but I have started a new blog called Cloud and Tech, where I will be posting about Cloud computing and various tech items of interest to me!

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Be Evil In Star Wars

Not a lot of updates around here recently. Sort of around the time 4.3 came out I have stopped. That's because I decided, as I was going to play some other game, I wouldn't start on 4.3 and Deathwing at all. A shame because I'd have liked to seen him killed, but I don't think it was a possibility without many months of gear grinding and Blizzard nerfing the final raid encounters many times (Icecrown buff any one).

Seeking some evil combat, DK style, I have gone off to a galaxy far far away...

However, as usual, there are blogs and what not to wibble on. One such blog is Star Wars MMO, which talks about Star Wars The Old Republic and my experiences playing the Jedi Knight and Sith Warrior.

So enjoy WoW, I may be back to make a Kung Fu Panda, maybe not.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Firelanda raid nerfs incoming!

It seems that, from next week (Sept 19th), Blizzard will be nerfing the current tier of raiding.

With the final showdown against Deathwing approaching, we've been keeping a close eye on players' progress through the current Firelands raid content. Before patch 4.3 is released, we want groups who are working on Heroic-difficulty content to be able to get as close to Ragnaros as possible, and we want players who are tackling normal progression to be able to experience as many of the encounters as they can. To achieve these goals, we'll be toning down the difficulty of both normal and Heroic raids through hotfixes in the coming weeks. In general, we plan to reduce health and damage of all raid bosses in both normal and Heroic Firelands by around the same percentage we brought difficulty down for the original Cataclysm raids when Rage of the Firelands (patch 4.2) was released.
We're looking forward to seeing more groups of players face off against the Fire Lord in the weeks ahead. However, before we make these changes, we want to give everyone a final shot at the bosses at their current difficulty level -- so this is a heads up that we're planning to apply the difficulty hotfixes beginning the week of September 19. Stay tuned to the Patch 4.2 Hotfixes blog for these and other live updates to the game as they happen. 


This is interesting, in 4.2 they nerfed the Tier 11 raid, but that was old content and players could get much the same rewards from Justice Points. Now they are actually nerfing a raiding tier while it is current, and by the sounds of things, by quite a lot. The amount they nerfed the Tier 11 raids was quite noticeable, fight strategies changed and bosses often just rolled over and died. In my mind it was quite a hard nerf.

Part of me likes this change. It means our guild gets to see more of the bosses in Firelands and get them killed, and it may increase interest in raiding for the current tier.

Part of me doesn't like it though. One wonders if they have to nerf the content this hard, perhaps it was actually too hard to begin with, and they would have been better going with more bosses and a slower ramp up in difficulty.

This action also suggests an even slacker approach to the current tier of raiding. Why bother grinding against hard bosses for a tiny amount of Valor Points, when you can face-roll heroics for far more Valor Points? Why not just wait until Blizzard nerf the current tier of raiding, then go in there with all your Valor Point gear you ground in heroics, and face off against some far easier raid bosses, with the chance of far more progression.

Maybe because grinding heroics is boring, especially 2 troll ones. So although some raiders may well give up until 4.3 is nerfed, I may continue against Deathwing. I just hope there is enough content, and not a short and hard raid, intended to keep us "busy" until the next expansion.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Ghost Crawler on active mitigation and DK tanks

Here we have a post by Ghostcrawler on Tanking and active mitigation, with some ideas of how they might go about making us press more buttons. There is a massive description of how Blood DK tanks work at the moment and how they might change them in the future.

They have noticed that now tanks don't need to spam buttons to generate threat, we can actually take it easy and concentrate more on keeping defensive buffs up. I can now concentrate on keep my Diseases up and just spam Death Strike when needed or runes are ready and thus going to be wasted. I can take this time to look around at what is going on, instead of spamming buttons, and plan where I might kite to, or watch or adds, or other tanky things. This is good, and I like having the time to consider the environment and the current fight.

GC discusses the three models, which are "Tank DPS matters", "DPS buttons provide mitigation" and "DPS buttons build up resources", where they will make us again press lots of buttons. I quite like "DPS buttons build up resources", where you build up some resource and can choose to spend it when you need it. It is quite a pain having to save runes for a Death Strike just after some damage, whereas having another resource you can use for a self-heal would solve this problem.

I can't help remembering the last time the water cooler was posted, some changes were made almost immediately. I think in this case the changes will be in 4.3, so we won't suddenly have a different way of going about tanking. Hopefully.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Firelands raids and dailies rewards for Death Knights

Now is the time to take a look at gear from the new raiding Tier. This is from raid bosses, BoE drops from farming trash and thus the auction house, Avengers reputation from farming trash yourself, valor points from farming heroics, and Hyjal dailies rewards. Plus some crafted stuff.

Firelands and Hyjal dailies unlock various item level 365 stuff, which is a mere 6 point upgrade over Tier 11 i359 stuff, but an upgrade nevertheless. If you never raided, this stuff is solid gold and a big bump over 346 heroic items. My plan is to take everything!

Getting to the Molten Front
Fireheart Necklace
Pyrelord Greaves

Vendor (Additional Armaments):
Meteorite Ring
Ricket's Gun Show
Rickety Belt

Vendor (Filling the Moonwell):
Moon Blessed Band
Moonwell Phial

Vendor (Calling the Ancients):
Nemesis Shell Band
Lygar Horn Ring
Dwyer's Caber
Relic of Lo'Gosh
Relic of Tortolla

So I'll be unlocking the Calling the Ancients vendor first, purely because they sell the most items.

BoE trash drops
Bored? Join a trash run for reputation and a crack at some BoE drops. Rich? Head on over to the Auction House or trade channel for the chance at some expensive BoE epics.

Scales of Life
Heaving Pauldrons of Protection
Apparatus of Khaz'goroth
Obsidian Cleaver

It is definitely worth doing some trash farming, for BoEs and the reputation items.

Avengers reputation
While running that Firelands raid trash, you can haz Honoured reputation with The Avengers of Hyjal. But no more, unless you can kill bosses. No sign of Emma Peel either, which is a shame.

Friendly: Bladed Flamewrath Cloak
Friendly: Durable Flamewrath Greatcloak
Honoured: Cinch of the Flaming Ember
Honoured: Girdle of the Indomitable Flame
Revered: Essence of the Eternal Flame
Revered: Stay of Execution
Exalted: Adamantine Signet of the Avengers
Exalted: Obsidian Signet of the Avengers

Valor points
Not killing bosses? Don't let that get you down, just grind 7 heroics into the dust for Valor points! Then die lots in the new, long and quite tricky Zul'* heroics!

Chest (2200 VP): Elementium Deathplate Breastplate
Chest (2200 VP): Elementium Deathplate Chestguard
Gloves (1650 VP): Elementium Deathplate Gauntlets
Gloves (1650 VP): Elementium Deathplate Handguards
Legs (2200 VP): Elementium Deathplate Greaves
Legs (2200 VP): Elementium Deathplate Legguards
Neck (1250 VP): Stoneheart Choker
Neck (1250 VP): Stoneheart Necklace
Ring (1250 VP): Deflecting Brimstone Band
Ring (1250 VP): Serrated Brimstone Signet
Relic (700 VP): Deathclutch Figurine
Relic (700 VP): Relic of the Elemental Lords
Bracers (1250 VP): Bracers of Regal Force
Wrist (1250 VP): Gigantiform Bracers

Neither the Tier 12 head nor the shoulders can be bought with Valor Points, you need a token from Ragnaros and Staghelm respectively. The Legs and Gloves could drop from the new boss in Baradin Hold, Occu'thar. The bracers are BoE, so they could be gotten from the AH eventually (at great cost).

Patterns for the crafted items drop from trash in Firelands.

Feet: Mirrored Boots
Feet: Warboots of Mighty Lords
Hands: Fists of Fury
Hands: Eternal Elementium Handguards

Patterns from the vendor from the Firelands dailies:
One Hand weapon: Elementium Edged Scalper
2 Handed weapon: Masterwork Elementium Deathblade

Boss drops
The least likely thing to get, at the moment for our guild, is the boss drops. Mostly because a boss has to drop dead before we get a chance at their shinies.

Wrist: Earthcrack Bracers (Lord Rhyolith)
Hands: Fireskin Gauntlets (Lord Rhyolith)
Ring: Alysrazor's Band (Alysrazor)
Wrist: Bracers of the Fiery Path (Staghelm)
Chest: Breastplate of Shifting Visions (Staghelm)
Chest: Carapace of Imbibed Flame (Beth'tilac)
Feet: Cracked Obsidian Stompers (Lord Rhyolith)
Bracers: Earthcrack Bracers (Lord Rhyolith)
Hands: Fireskin Gauntlets (Lord Rhyolith)
Hands: Flickering Handguards (Baelroc)
Helm: Greathelm of the Voracious Maw (Alysrazor)
Helm: Helm of Blazing Glory (Baelroc)
Helm: Helm of the Fiery Vanquisher (Ragnaros) (Tier 12)
Legs: Lavaworm Legplates (Alysrazor)
Legs: Legplates of Frenzied Devotion (Shannox)
1 Handed weapon: Mantle of Beth'tilac
Shoulders: Mantle of the Fiery Vanquisher (Staghelm) (Tier 12)
Neck: Necklace of Fetishes (Shannox)
Shoulders: Pauldrons of Roaring Flame (Ragnaros)
2 Handed weapon: Skullstealer Greataxe (Shannox)
Shoulders: Spaulders of Recurring Flame (Alysrazor)
Trinket: Spidersilk Spindle (Beth'tilac)
2 Handed Weapon: Sulfuras, the Extinguished Hand (Ragnaros)
Waist: Uncrushable Belt of Fury (Shannox)
Trinket: Vessel of Acceleration (Ragnaros)
2 Handed weapon: Zoid's Firelit Greatsword (random Boss drop)

All these items are of course awesome, but given I don't raid on the DK, I won't be seeing any of them at all.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Patch 4.2 for Death Knights

Patch 4.2 is live now. What impact will it have on the Death Knight?

    *     New Daily Quests: The Regrowth and Molten Front
          o         A large assortment of all-new daily quests and rewards are now available in Hyjal, where players can help the Guardians of Hyjal push back the allies of Ragnaros and establish a forward operating base in the Firelands! In order to partake in the Regrowth and Molten Front daily quests, players must have at least completed Mount Hyjal up to and including the quest Aessina's Miracle. Once this quest has been completed, players should speak with Matoclaw in the Sanctuary of Malorne to take part in the Regrowth efforts.
These new dailies will eventually reward item level 365 gear, in the ring, trinket slots plus one other, depending on whether you are tank or DPS. So there is a lot of grinding to be done (around 31 days to unlock one vendor and thus some rewards but not all), but the rewards are there if you are into soloing or just running 5 mans. Raiders may not bother.

New Quest Chain: Elemental Bonds
    *         A New quest line is now available to level-85 Horde and Alliance characters, bringing brave adventurers to Thrall's aid. The Call of the World-Shaman, the quest which will point players toward Thrall and The Nordrassil Summit, can be obtained at the Earthshrines in Stormwind or Orgrimmar.
Lore-tastic, but also for the loot whores among us, the quest rewards an item level 365 cloak at the end, with a choice of tank or DPS item. So this one is well worth doing. Even maybe for raiders!

Classes: General
  Crowd Control
    *         Many crowd control abilities no longer cause creatures to attack players when they are cast. The creature will not attack the player when the crowd control wears off, and nearby creatures will not become hostile to the player either. However, if a visible player gets too close to the target creature, the creature will remember and attack the player when the crowd control effect wears off. The intent is to make it easier for dungeon groups to manage crowd control assignments and pulling packs of hostile NPCs. The abilities affected by this change are: Hibernate, Entangling Roots, Wyvern Sting (will still cause hostility when it begins to deal damage), Freezing Trap, Polymorph, Repentance, Shackle Undead, Blind, Hex, Bind Elemental, Banish, Seduction.
Now this, if you are a tank, should make heroics easier, if you bother with crowd control at all. Certainly I've seen that no one does bother with crowd control in 5 mans, and I hear not even in the new Troll instances. If you are DPS, move along, we have no crowd control to apply anyway.

    *         The Aggressive pet stance has been removed and replaced with the Assist stance. This stance will cause the player's pet to attack the player's target. The pet will not change targets unless the master attacks a new target for a few seconds.
    *         The Defensive pet stance will now only cause the player's pet to attack enemies which attack the pet or the master.
Now for those Unholy Death Knights with their Ghoul pet, this change has potential. Assist sounds lovely for instance work, and no more Aggressive means no more pet running off aggroing everything.

    *         Death knights, paladins, and warriors no longer receive any bonus to their chance to dodge from Agility. Their base chance to dodge is now a fixed 5%.
    *         Death knights, paladins, and warriors now receive 27% of their Strength bonuses as parry rating, up from 25%. This conversion still only applies to Strength above and beyond their base Strength.
This means you should never use Agility on anything, Strength all the way. It also looks like a small buff to parry rating.

Death Knights

# Obliterate base damage has been reduced to 150% weapon damage, down from 160%.
#     Talent Specializations
    *         Frost
          o             Hungering Cold now has a 1.5-second cast time.
          o             Might of the Frozen Wastes now increases two-handed weapon damage by 3/7/10%, down from 4/8/12%.
    *         Unholy
          o             Unholy Might now increases Strength by 20%, up from 5%.
#     Glyphs
    *         Glyph of Dark Succor has been redesigned. Rather than placing a 15% maximum health floor on Death Strike healing while in Frost or Unholy Presence, it causes the next Death Strike within 15 seconds after killing a foe that yields experience or Honor Points to heal for at least 20% of the death knight's maximum health (still requires Frost or Unholy Presence).
#     Death Knight Bug Fixes
    *         The talent Killing Machine can now properly be triggered from off-hand attacks as well as main-hand attacks.
The Frost patch notes have already been hot fixed, so are just included for reference. However the Unholy change to buff the strength increase of Unholy Might by 15% is new for 4.2. What this means is that maybe Unholy is back to being the "best" DPS spec, maybe Frost is. The Elitist Jerks threads seem to indicate that its either Frost Dual Wield or Unholy 2 Handed, but only raid logs will tell.

The Hungering Cold fix was for PvP, which means 1.5 seconds plus some being beaten on while you try to get it off, but hopefully won't affect PvE too much. Apart from it being bloody annoying to have a cast on Hungering Cold.

The Glyph of Dark Succor change means its only useful for PvP or soloing, but even only soloing after you kill something. It is making Death Strike pretty damn useless during soloing or instancing for recovering health, if you are DPS spec. This is mildly frustrating but I guess I'll have to learn to run away instead.

Valor & Justice Points
    *         All existing Valor Points in the Currency tab have been converted to Justice Points. Any points above the Justice Point cap will be converted into gold at a rate of 47 silver per point and mailed to characters.
    *         The maximum number of Valor Points which can be earned in a week from any and all applicable dungeons and raids is now 980, down from 1250.
          o             The maximum number of Valor Points awarded for completing Rise of the Zandalari dungeons remains at 980.
          o             The maximum number of Valor Points awarded for completing Heroic dungeons remains at 490.
          o             The number of Valor Points awarded for killing a boss in the Firelands is 120 in 10-player mode, and 140 in 25-player mode.
          o             The number of Valor Points awarded for killing Occu'thar in Baradin Hold is 120 in 10-player mode, and 140 in 25-player mode.
          o             The number of Valor Points awarded for killing a boss on Heroic difficulty in The Bastion of Twilight, Blackwing Descent, and Throne of the Four winds is 35 in 10-player mode, and 45 in 25-player mode.
Is someone trying to drag out Tier 12, by limiting how quickly people can gather Valor? Looks like it, doesn't it? If you are over 4k Justice + Valor, best spend some before the patch drops.

Dungeons & Raids
Baradin Hold
   *         Occu'thar has broken free from his cage and presents an all-new boss challenge to players in 10- and 25-player arrangements who control Tol Barad.
   *         All Tier 11 raids nerfed by 20% (my words)
A new boss to pug in Baradin Hold, plus all Tier 11 nerfed by 20% means grinding this content in PUGs has become easier. Sadly Tier 11 normal now only drops Justice points, so you are better off using the Dungeon Finder to run some heroics.

# If a player wins a Need roll under the Need Before Greed system on a Bind on Equip item, the item will become Soulbound to that player. The item will remain unbound if won via a Greed roll.
So no more needing on BoEs to sell on the Auction House, now the only place you'll be selling them is the vendor.

#     Applicable tier 11 items now cost Justice Points.
Rendering all the changes to crowd control utterly pointless, soon everyone will be in 3 piece Tier 11 (I assume the token pieces are not applicable) and associated boots, cloaks, trinkets, etc. Thus crowd control is no longer needed in instances, and we can face roll everything! (This is sarcasm). Still, now there is once again a reason to run heroics, plus the JP I stock piled beforehand can be spent on something shiny and epic.

#     The Keyring bag slot has been removed to make room in the user interface for new features.
    *         Keys which no longer serve a purpose in the game will be removed from player inventories. Compensation for the keys will be automatically provided in the form of each key's vendor sell price in gold.
    *         Keys which are obsolete quest items will be removed from player inventories.
    *         Keys which may still be of use to players will be transferred to regular inventory space. If a player's bags are full, these keys will sit in a backlogged inventory until sufficient space is made available. Once space is opened, the keys will appear in regular inventory upon the player logging out or switching zones.

I remember when they added the key ring to the game, before then my bags and bank were choked with bloody keys everywhere. Now they are taking it away, but giving me back any keys I need? I am really hoping there are no keys I still need, otherwise I'm going to be quite mad I've got more useless keys to fill my bank up again.

    *     All character races now have a /roar sound.
/ flex!

User Interface
           * The order in which characters are listed at the Character Selection screen can now be rearranged and saved.
Best feature of the patch, right there.

So general impressions then. The patch introduces a small number of changes for Death Knights, but no massive heart-tearing rewrites, so that's good. The new dailies are a hell of a grind, but do at least give non-raiders something to do, plus there is a lot of Valor point items on the JP vendor to go hit heroics for. Sadly there are no more Archaeology items, so I guess the best you can get without raiding is still 359 and 365 from the Firelands dailies. The new Thrall quest line looks like it will be very cool, plus there is an epic at the end, so that's all good.


EJ Unholy DPS thread
EJ Frost DPS thread

Friday, 17 June 2011

Ghost Crawler explains 4.2 changes

We have a nice post up explaining the tweaking that has been going on with the Death Knight class in Wow 4.2.
We added the cast time to Hungering Cold for PvP reasons. It is one of the most powerful forms of crowd control in the game, especially in Battlegrounds, and yet was impossible to prevent.
Unfortunately this is a direct nerf for PvP which annoys in PvE, even though it wasn't needed in PvE. Still, I guess we can get used to a small cast time, right?
The nerfs to Obliterate and Howling Blast were made because Frost damage was too high in both PvP and PvE. Note that these values were hotfixed -- you shouldn’t see damage drop further when 4.2 goes live.

The Glyph of Dark Succor change was to keep Death Strike from providing so much healing in PvP.
They nerfed the self-healing from Death Strike, but sadly this again stops it doing self-healing in PvE too. Given the heroics these days involve the DPS not taking any damage, this change is a pain because at the moment I can get some health back using Death Strike, using it instead of Obliterate.
The Might of the Frozen Wastes change was a small tweak to help keep one-handed Frost relatively competitive with two-handed style.
This is intriguing, DW was better in 4.1, however in 4.2 it will be interesting to see if 2 Handed Frost is better or not, given equal weapon item levels. I'll keep my eye on the Elitist Jerks thread.
The Unholy Might buff was to help catch Unholy up to Frost in PvE. Interestingly, we didn’t nerf Unholy damage at all in 4.1, but you can still see a small drop in their DPS because so many talented DKs went Frost. I’d love to have the discussion some time about how close two similar specs need to be before players will play the one that is most fun for them and not the one that does theoretical higher damage. Is it 5%? 1%? 0%?
Well, if you continue to design the game to be unforgiving of mistakes, the answer would be 0%. Otherwise more DPS is always better, given that Frost and Unholy both have their play style issues, I'm fine playing either. Plus I get to dual wield in Frost, and that is cool.