Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

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Pumpkins with Class.

Hit Me

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Here is a good post over at Mystic Chicanery concerning spell hit in WotLK. It's good to know what we're going to have to shoot for. Notice the large number from hit scaling at 80. Also, it has a great list of what spell falls under which category. The important thing to note is that we'll need 432 hit points to cap at 80, or 356 hit points with Suppression specced. That is a LOT of hit points.

Some Thoughts

This makes suppression points all the more worthwhile when you hit 80 until you're spell hit is capped. With the added mana reduction bonus, I may just shoot to cap my hit with suppression taken into account (thus "eating" some destro spell misses). That will allow me to focus on other gear stats such as spell power after getting my hit covered. If you're going to keep points in there anyways for the mana reduction, might as well make the most of 'em.

This also shows another reason why I leave Immolate out normal spell rotation. Until I'm hit capped without suppression, it will miss more than my affliction spells, and thus needlessly hurt my DPS. Although, the same could be said about s-bolt spam, but that's why s-bolts get lowest priority. If you follow the same sense of immolate as a "filler" spell, it probably doesn't hurt to use it. I just wouldn't fret about keeping it up at the expense of other, more useful spells.

Dude, Where's My Sequence?

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So I finally got frustrated enough with my own clumsiness to sit down and do some math regarding the new spells and how they fit together. I mean, I guess I owe it to my blog to do actual math and research. Good bloggers can't just post all willy-nilly like, right?

To start out any true theorycraft section, you're gonna have to start with some assumptions. Here are mine:

  1. One may never, in any rotation, clip off the end of Curse of Agony. This would result in a large loss of damage as the spell is made to ramp up over time. Noob move fo'sho. All other spells can be clipped for the sake of a rotation. This should be minimized, but it CAN be done without being perfectly mana efficient.
  2. Haunt should be kept up as much as possible to maximize other any and all DoTs.
  3. The durations and cast times are correct as found on Mystic Chicanery. She is almost always on the ball, so I didn't double check. Plus most of my resources are blocked at work (where I do most of my thinking/posting).
  4. Damage coefficients are similar to those found on WoWWiki. This was the best information I could find, but it only really matters when deciding the "importance" of spells, which is sort of an opinion anyways.
  5. In a raiding environment, Curse of Agony, Curse of the Elements, or Curse of Doom may be used. No other curses see much use from me, so I didn't deal with them.
  6. My left hand is on the 1,2,3, and 4 keys during raiding. Thus, these are the keys open for heavy usage. Anything that needs to be used regularly needs to fit on these keys. The exception to this rule is AoE spells. I can slide over to a different section of the number bar for these spells, and they will not really be considered here.
  7. The cast sequence will probably not be simple enough to program on one key like I've done in the past, and will probably not be as simple as the one I posted from maxDPS earlier. Thus, I'm trying to think outside the box.
  8. Easier = Better. To an extent.

That is sort of a lot of assumptions, but I think they all make sense, or will here very shortly.

So, to cut down my focus even more, I'm going to assume the first rotation I want will be using Curse of Agony. Also, I have never liked Immolate in my rotation. Before the patch, this was mostly because I had a high stacking of shadow damage, and not a lot of fire damage. I no longer have such a neat excuse, so now I will just use the fact that it has the lowest damage coefficient at 65%, and I question its worth. Sure, it has that direct 20% instant damage crap, but is it worth the headache and potential loss of time to do other things (namely s-bolts)? Thus, IF I can fit immolate in, I may, but I'm not going to plan on using it for now. At least not until I see something concrete telling me "ZOMG I have to use this".

The first thing I notice is that there seem to be three spells with durations in multiples of 6: CoA (6x4=24s), Haunt (6x2=12s), Unstable Affliction (6x3=18s). I will abbreviate these as CoA, H, and UA from here on out. Since CoA absolutely cannot be clipped, I put it first and drew out a 24s window in which to organize my other spells. Just dealing with those three spells, here is what I got, with the numbers in parenthesis indicating "windows of opportunity":

CoA H UA (8.5s) H (6s) UA (~1s)
CoA H (10.5s) H UA (7s)
CoA H (6.5s) UA (2.5s H (9s)
Back to the top.

Next, I begin to fill in those windows with the other spells I want to cast: Corruption and Siphon Life (Corr and SL). Any remaining time in those windows can be filled with Immolate if you choose, Shadow Bolt spam, Life taps, or other filler. Thus, I get:

CoA H UA Corr SL (SB filler) H UA
CoA H SL (SB filler) H UA
CoA H SL (SB filler) UA H
Back to the top (minus Corr if you've been good about Haunt)

Well, this doesn't look "too" bad, but is obviously going to take some thought. Basically, if you start with CoA, you then cast the other DoTs you want to use and refresh as they run out, filling the remaining time with the filler spells. If you have a good DoT timer, this shouldn't be too hard. It is nice that Haunt will refresh Corruption, meaning you only need to cast it that first time.

With Curse of the Elements, it is slightly simpler since the curse runs for 120s and can be clipped if needed:

CotE H UA Corr SL (SB fill)
H UA (SB fill)
H UA SL (SB fill)
Repeat the last two lines until the curse runs out and then start from the top (minus Corr if you've been good about Haunt)

Similarly with Curse of Doom (which runs 60s):
CoD H UA Corr SL (SB fill)
H UA (SB fill)
H UA SL (SB fill)
Repeat the last two lines until the curse runs out and then start from the top (minus Corr if you've been good about Haunt)

Easy enough, I guess, but how to really implement this? Especially in a manner that doesn't get you completely lost. In part 2 I'll discuss how I'm setting this up on my buttons, putting it to work, and some ideas for trash. I was going to do it all in one post, but my work browser is acting up and chunks of text keep mysteriously disappearing... haunted work computer? Happy Halloween to me... grrr. More from home later tonight or tomorrow.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Comp Time FTW

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This from Blue:

Since the release of the latest patch, Echoes of Doom, we have gone through a series of optimizations in order to increase overall game performance. We've seen steady, stable populations and a flurry of activity and excitement during the Hallow's End event and the latest rumblings of zombie attacks. It's been an exciting time for us as we draw closer to the release of our second expansion, Wrath of the Lich King.

We've reached a point where we feel we can now accurately evaluate the events since the patch release. Though overall downtime has been minimal, players have experienced latency, inaccessible instances, and general frustrations. We are therefore announcing that we will be issuing compensation to accounts in all realms in the US, Oceanic, and Latin American regions. Accounts that are currently active and in good standing will be credited with an additional three days of game time.

We would like to thank you for your patience during this time and look forward to seeing you in game!

Hey, I'll take some free days.

Edit: A good question was asked to me, do we know how this is implemented for monthly subscribers? WoW payment gets about the same attention on my bill as my magazine/newspaper subscriptions (aka not very much).



Raid Beats Sleep Every Time

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I'm working on a rather heavy theorycrafting post regarding my recent experiments with a cast sequence both on paper and in a raid environment. I was able to run a full clear of Kara as RL, then follow it up the next night with a Gruul's Lair clear and three bosses in SSC (not as RL this time). The second night allowed me to focus a lot more on playing with my rotation both on bosses and trash. As a result, I think I have some good ideas and insight into "Affliction Warlocky WotLK Style."

However, this could prove to be quite a lengthy post, so I may not finish it today, or I may make a two-parter. So stay tuned if that sort of thing interests you.

To tide y'all over, here are some fun screenies from my recent exploits (in no particular order):

We caught a BIG one, then killed it.
Lurker was a particularly rough fight to try and keep a new, complicated spell rotation up, what with the jumping in and out of the water and adds and such. The cool part is if you get positioned so you are not line of sighted when you're under water, you can really go to town while he imitates a power washer. The good news on this fight is you don't have to pay attention to aggro if you're ranged, so just don't get sprayed and you're fine.


The boss formerly know as Prince.

This fight is a good one to just sit and focus on your rotation. Raid leading does not help this cause, but it was still good practice. I love how he died with his mouth open like fish out of water. Had to get a pic of it. I think his eyes should slowly fade after you down him like a Transformer shutting down or something.

Hydross, dispersed.

To me, this fight was sort of ridiculous as a warlock. There is some movement involved, plus some seeding for AoE damage, plus some straight DoTting. It was tough to really get into a rhythm here, but was a lot of fun and my first time. Actually it was my first time in SSC proper. You can see my lovely betrothed playing in the remains.

We decapitated Tidewalker.

This is a great fight to maximize your rotation on. As a ranged caster you pretty much sit in a corner and DPS away. You have to do normal things like watch aggro and keep your mana up, thsu, a good benchmark IMO. The only negative to your DPS should come from being "water tombed". This is where you get to look like Glenda the Good Witch in your blue bubble and can't move or attack. I was pushing a good 950 DPS on this and in the top three in Damage Done. I also felt a lot more comfortable with what I was doing.

Trash in all of the above instances was still pretty awful, though I have some thoughts on that. The only place the warlocks in the raid shined on trash was when we got to AoE. Then... pop! DPS. I suppose this is something to get used to, but I would like to be a wee bit stronger on trash pulls.

I also rolled and won the T4 shoulders, so you may have noticed the profile picture. I didn't take a picture with the "High" King, and Gruul has shown his ugly face before on this blog (once is enough). Like I said, more thoughts to follow on the casting sequence stuff as I get time to craft the post.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Say Thank You To Your Doorknobs

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If you're looking for something WoW related right here, I suggest skipping this article. Fair warning, this one is for me. You don't even have to read it, I just want to share. I would quote some line about "all work and no play", but WoW isn't really work and this wasn't really play, so just deal with. You've been warned.

If I've piqued your interest, please read on, I'll try to make this interesting :-).

So I've been puzzling real hard on my Cast Sequence and how to macro'ize it, but I tend to do normal things like eat lunch sometimes as well. So as I was returning from lunch, I did what every normal person does before getting back to work after lunch: I decided to use the restroom. I mean you can't very well focus with a full bladder right?

So I saunter on into the public restroom facilities at my place of employment, and the door is propped open by a common three ring binder. I think nothing of it, the actual porcelain is kept around the corner, so its not like my privacy is in jeopardy. I'm just gonna go up and do my business and continue struggling with this darned cast sequence (or work, depending on how motivated I am or who is waiting at my desk). Another gentleman enters behind me an kicks the binder out of the door. Apparently a corner is not enough for his peace of mind. That is fine, its not like he turned a locked the door or anything creepy. I can understand why someone would want the door shut. No big deal.

I finish the task at hand, so to speak, and go finish the public restroom ritual by washing my hands. I grab a paper towel from the automatic paper towel dispenser that is just supposed to sense when you're there, but never really works quite right. I towel off and toss the waste in the bin and turn to exit the facilities when I notice...

THERE IS NO DOORKNOB!

That's right, the doorknob has been clean removed from this particular door. There is no other door to this restroom mind you, just this one. Keep in mind, doorknobs have been around for a while, they are not a new convenience. We did not just invent them. As such, perhaps we take for granted each door being equipped with an appropriate knob. So, as any other rational person would do at that moment, I have a miniature panic attack: WTholyF is happening here? Am I stuck? Why is there NO KNOB?!

/Deepbreath 1, 2, 10

I guess I'm just going to have to stick my finger in this finger sized hole where the knob used to be, and shimmy this rig open. Yeah, finger in public restroom doorknob hole AFTER washing my hands... However, it is my only way out. Luckily, the binder was kicked on the inside of the exchange, so I jimmy-rigged it back open as it was. Whew! The other fellows in the room who were anxiously watching my progress and I look at each other and chuckle a bit, relieved. Wash hands again... good to go.

Now, we wouldn't have been stuck forever, there was no real danger. I want to assure you of this, reader, because I'm sure you were worried. However, if you have ever been a male in a public restroom (hopefully of the correct variety), you know it is not exactly the friendliest place to be stuck. One does not chat in there, it is a place of business. You go in, do your job and leave. There is no loitering in the men's room. We may run a hand through our hair, but that is about it. Being stuck in a men's room with a couple other complete strangers is not exactly a pleasant experience. This isn't to say anyone was particular upsetting in there, just... what do you say? Its like if an elevator breaks and you're stuck in there for three hours with people you can't relate to: you just want OUT. I'm no germophobe, but stick me in a public restroom for 5-10 minutes and I want OUT.

/sigh All's well that ends well or something.

I guess the moral of this story: Don't take the doorknobs in your life for granted, one day they may up and leave you.

Also, can you imagine the thoughts of the guy who actually pulled that handle off?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

More on Cast Sequence and Glyphs: Fun vs. Math

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Abigore (who posts as fear.win and has many names apparently) over at Fear. Dot. Win left some good food for thought for me on yesterdays post. I started to just comment back, but felt I wanted to say more. Hence, you get a shiny new post! Please direct all complaints over to Fear. Dot. Win. :-).

Sequential Thoughts

First, more about my cast sequence. I'm thinking I'm going to have to remove Haunt from my macro and give it its own button. Mostly, this is because of the 8 second cooldown. If I want to DoT multiple mobs, I don't like the cooldown getting in the way. I think I'll probably put it on button four and move my fire spells macro, since I don't use them that much.

I'm also rather annoyed at Everlasting Affliction. Has anyone else noticed that when it procs, it causes you to be unable to clip Corruption? For me, it tells me a "more powerful spell is active", which is the first time I've seen such a message concerning a debuff. I understand it is not mana-efficient to clip the spell, but I'm not losing any damage as I would with CoA. This causes another sticky point in my macro, though I've added a "shortcut" button to deal with this already. I won't hold my breath that this is a mistake and will be fixed, but I certainly don't have to like this oddity either.

Another big question mark is Immolate. Does this help or hinder a rotation? Where would this be placed? In the past I have found it hurt my DPS, but now I wonder if it hurts my DPS just because my rotation doesn't use it well. If I were going to use it, I'd probably throw it in after UA, but is it worth the extra headache?

Nibuca over at Mystic Chicanery has done a great break down of the current crop of Affliction spells. She uses immolate, and notes that it appears we have two different sets of spells lining up. I'm thinking about trying to put each of these rotations on their own buttons and try to mesh them in practice. Yes, it is imperfect, but does it give better DPS? There are a certain few spells that are "clippable" without a loss of damage. I may try to trade mana-efficiency for higher DPS here, clipping some spells to make the rotations mesh better.

For bosses, the goal is obvious: maximize the uptime of all the DoTs. A good secondary goal to keep in mind is to give yourself a window to do other things like s-bolt spam, life taps, or other necessities. Obviously, some fights are more involved than others and this time would give you a chance to catch your breath.

For trash, it may be good to start with haunt, then go Corr and UA to be follow with s-bolts. I would drop CoA from trash because, by the time it starts ramping up, the mob is dead. Also, you're probably only going to have time to get a couple DoTs off before you'll want to hit s-bolts. I like to keep haunt up as it gives you some decent direct damage, while also maximizing any DoTs you do get off.

My test method is hardly scientific. Since a big up-side of any rotation has to be its practicality in a raid environment, I'm just gonna try different rotations for an entire raid and see what numbers I get. I'll also take into account how comfortable they felt. That is to say, if I don't feel completely scatter-brained by the end of the night. Look for some more thoughts later, this is most certainly a work in progress.

Glyphs of Choice

Second, I'd like to talk about glyphs real quick. I currently employ the following glyphs:
  • Major Glyph of Corruption
  • Major Glyph of Shadowbolt
  • Minor Glyph of Enslave Demon

I have not filled the remaining minor glyph slots yet because none of the minor glyphs I want are available to me right now. I will probably have to wait until the expansion to get all the slots filled as I'd like. Future glyphs I plan to use:

  • Major Glyph of Unstable Affliction

  • Minor Glyph of Unending Breath

  • Minor Glyph of Souls

I like shortening my UA cast time, though I probably need to get my sequence settled before I really know if that's good for me. The two majors I already have are immediately useful. With Corruption the extra Shadow Trance procs are fun and a DPS boost, and with Shadowbolt the mana reduction is nice. Other majors to note would be Soulstone, Howl of Terror, and Felhunter. SS is a good buff to your stone, but I don't know how useful if you use your stone as wipe protection and not a battle rez (I would think most people use it for wipe protection). Howl of Terror can save you a talent point in the Affliction Tree, which opens up a whole world of opportunity to place it elsewhere. However, it remains to be seen if you could put that in something useful. Felhunter would be seem to be an obvious boost to DPS, so a simple choice if none of the above interest you.

I think the speed increase of the Unending Breath glyph would be fun and useful for when I'm farming water motes. Souls would save you a soul shard or two per raid, so might be a good utility. However, I'm reluctant to spend a slot on something that reduces the use of shards, as they are so easy to get on the fly. My current minor glyph isn't real useful either though, unless you happen to be fighting a lot of demons. Honorable mention goes to the Minor Glyph of Kilrogg, as this may be a nice utility to have as well. Though I suppose it would be mainly for fun instead of actually being useful. All in all, I feel like the minor glyphs fail to excite me on the whole.

That is really all I have at the current point in time. Am I missing some good glyphs? I hope there may be more to choose from (especially of the minor variety). I suppose I should have split this up into two posts... but too late now!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Cast Sequence Update: Carpal Tunnel for 'Locks?

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I wanted to make an updated post on how my cast sequence is working for me. To start, here is a rough picture from our recent ZA run showing my entire UI:

You may notice several familiar addons here:
  • X-Perl is my frame replacement addon. I love the large debuff icons with timers inside. Also, highly customizable. My one complain is that it does not show "readycheck" feedback.
  • Necrosis is my one-stop shop for warlocky needs. Glad they updated this one.
  • Dominos is my button bar manager. Very similar to Bongos if you had that one back before the patch. Highly customizable. You can see various self-created bars around the screen. I like the auto-fade options too, because you some buttons are a pain to go dig for, but you don't want clogging up your screen as well.
  • Fubar is at the top with various plug-ins. These are just nice to have: RaidFu, MoneyFu, LocationFu, DurabilityFu. I think that's what I have up there.
  • Questhelper is hidden. I'm also trying out the atlas map replacement addon. So far I like how it comes up in its own window and has instance maps. Auctioneer is another must that is hidden.
  • You may also notice that I've split my chat window in two. This isn't an addon or anything, but I like to have all my guild chat and party chat in one window and then all the other crap in another so it doesn't get so clogged up.
That's not really an in-depth look at a UI, but I may spotlight some addons at a later time. There are numerous other blogs that have done that though, so no need to reinvent the wheel. Feel free to leave a comment if you'd like to see more about a particular addon.

What I wanted to zoom-in on is my main action bar. Last time I just gave you the numbered buttons, but I thought I should add the whole thing:

You can see the same main bar I pictured before, plus the pet bar, and some bars of my own creation. One is a vertical bar on the left containing my banish and fear macros (I need to post my banish macro at some point), along with a summoning button. These are not used enough to get a key bind, but its nice to have them close by. On top is a bar that I use for miscellaneous crap that I feel the urge to use. Food and drink live there, as do my trinkets. You can see the mage-food I popped in there on the far right. Also, newly added: Haunt.

This brings me to the main point of this article. With the rotation macro I discussed in an earlier post, I find it necessary to refresh haunt on its own sometimes. I like to have the Haunt button for that reason. My goal is to start with haunt and keep it up the whole time in order to get the most out of my DoTs. Also, it's nice that it keeps you topped off if you need to life tap. A solid dose of Haunt will keep your mana pool from being exhausted even without tapping your demon.

For trash mobs, when they take longer than, oh say 2 seconds to die (which is hard to find nowadays it seems), the only DoTs I've been putting up (in order) are CoA and Corr after Haunt. Why? Because they are the two instant cast DoT's and the quickest to get me to s-bolts. With things dieing so quickly, its tough to justify DoTting it any further. For some of the tougher trash, I will use a full rotation. In short though, an aff'lock is gonna be hard pressed to eek out respectable DPS on trash mobs.

This makes focusing on the boss more important to salvage our reputations as killing machines.
My generic strategy for a boss fight is simple: get through one solid rotation, then refresh as you can. This is hardly news to any warlocks, and doesn't probably result in the best possible DPS, however it is practical. Even when completely focused and in my "element", I'm finding it much more difficult to keep all my DoTs up. I can't really see losing a DoT or two to make it simpler either. The bottom line is that Blizz has made the affliction warlock's job a very active one.

Is this bad? I don't really think so. It's challenging and I like a challenge. However, it can mean you feel like you're a complete noob when fighting some of the more difficult bosses. I've had occasions where I get lost in my rotation and just start it fresh for the sake of my sanity. This is greatly exacerbated when I raid lead or on fights with a lot of movement. However, the mobility of an affliction 'lock really helps in comparison to other classes on the same fights.

All that being said, I've seen some very respectable numbers on the meters. I use recount (not mentioned above), and have been consistently one of the top few in Damage Done. This means I must be doing a decent job of killing stuff. When you get right down to it, that's what matters: burning that SOB down.

Random thought(s): Does anyone know why that is abbreviated S.O.B and no S.O.A.B? I mean, is "of" really that much more important than "a"? *shrug*. Also, the zombies are getting particularly annoying, some are not immune to fear however. If you're quick upon landing to hit a howl of terror, sometimes you an avoid an unfortunate bite. Also, its funny to watch them all run and then kill them... slowly.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The World Outside of Kara

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I got the chance this past week to see some of the progression beyond Kara. This is the upside of "The Great Nerfing of '08". Even though I would have been previously undergeared for the higher stuff, I held my own. My best performance came throughout Gruul's where I was between 800 and 900 DPS and 3rd overall on the Damage Done meter. This is sort of how I gauge my performance.

Your DPS will vary with buffs, fight, and raid make up. Thus, unless you have a similarly geared 'lock with you, it can be hard to gauge where your DPS "should be". Overall Damage Done, IMO, is a more accurate depiction of performance when looked at in relation to the overall DPS of the group.

Say you're sitting at #6 on the DPS chart. This may be where you naturally fit in the group, with 5 people better geared than you, or better suited to the fight, or whatever. Then, if you show up as higher than #6 on the overall Damage, you have "out-damaged" others who are outputting higher DPS than you. This means you were more active, kept your DoTs up better, whatever. You just generally did a good job of making the most of the DPS you're putting out.

This isn't to say those other people were slacking, because heaven knows crazy things happen in battle that really mess up damage output. Some fights are definitely easier for some class types. But, you can rest assured that you were "pulling your weight" if you are out-performing your DPS ranking. At least that is my take on it.

The goal here isn't for "bragging rights" or anything like that. In a perfect group on a perfect fight, your DPS ranking would equal your Damage Done ranking. In a very good group, when things don't go perfectly, people will pick up the slack for other people who have been incapacitated or something through no fault of their own. This is what makes a good team.

So, your goal should be do be equal to or better than your DPS ranking, as this lets you know that no one has needed to "step up" for you. When it is not, you should try and think about why that is. Maybe you died early, maybe you didn't position well, maybe you were just silenced for half the fight. Whatever the reason, you can learn a little about your class and playstyle by thinking this way.

I personally "stepped up" in Gruul's Lair, but then sucked it big time in Tempest Keep. As an aff'lock, obviously I'm there for the hurt I can put on bosses (trash right now is rather weak for 'locks because it dies too fast). On both the TK bosses we attempted (VR and Solarian), I died early in the fights because of random things: AoE bombs on the part of VR and falling damage from Solarian's "time-bomb" that hit too close.

The good news is we had a great group, so we were able to down two of the three bosses we faced on the first try (VR included despite my poor performance). Solarian gave us a lot more trouble, and we still need to work on our strategy for that fight. A vast majority of people in the group were there for the first time (me!), so we weren't very fluid. It was my first time with all of these, so there are definitely things I could have done better. Avoiding AoE related deaths is one big one.

In any case, here are some cool screenies from our fun:

That Gruul is one ugly cyclops.

Love the voice overs in this, much like Curator. Killing a giant robot is fun.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Because System Requirements for WoW Do Not Include Tums

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Just before the patch (and the subsequent birth of this blog), there was an outbreak of drama in my guild. Now, as you may or may not know, drama is a contagious illness that affects the weak and strong willed alike. Side effects include: nausea, heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach, diarrhea, /gquit, /gkick, and a generally unpleasant feeling. Unfortunately, Pepto Bismol does not treat all symptoms of this disease.

As an officer, it is especially heart wrenching to see drama infect your guild, whatever the reason may be. I mean, these are YOUR PEOPLE. They are your friends and playmates. For some of us, we spend more time with them than our actual families. They are shoulders to cry on and people to vent to. Non-gamers never quite get that MMO's are about more than just "playing a stupid video game".

Like the fall being flu season, pre-expansion seems to be drama season. That is to say, guilds are just more susceptible to this disease. Why? Maybe its wanting to see all the content before it becomes obsolete. Maybe its just a general apathy since: "why does it matter when its all gonna change". Maybe its a bit of panic at the thought of having to change what we've grown used to. Maybe its just dumb old coincidence.

Whatever the reason for the season, it may help to know that drama seems to affect everyone equally this time of year. Some deal with it better than others, but the potential is heightened for everyone, and each guild has at least faced a few issues.

As such, I wanted to link a couple of articles that I found insightful/comforting...

First, on WoWInsider, there was a nifty article that describes some of the pre-wrath problems and suggests solutions from the perspective of an officer. I feel rather strongly about a point made in this article about not trying to "steal" other guild's players. It is this warlock's opinion: Alliances FTW. Burning bridges and creating enemies is just not the way to go. It doesn't help in-game and certainly isn't the way we should act in RL.

I suppose I expect a certain maturity amongst MMO'ers, and perhaps that is unfair of me since there are quite a few gamers who are not "of age". However, it has been my experience that often more drama comes from stressed out adults than kids. We have a couple of 13 year old players in our guild, and they have always been respectful and just there to have fun. If only all adults could have that same approach. I think we often find it more difficult to "just let go." With all the pressures that come with being an adult/parent/student/friend/partner, it is definitely a delicate juggling act, and time is always a premium.

After some of our drama got settled, we lost a number of good people and saw our raiding life threatened. One of the best things, IMO, for our guild is that we have always tried to keep an "open door" policy. There are intricacies to such a policy that are open for debate, but the short story is that many of our former guildies are still on good terms with us. Thus, we have a good number of friends in other guilds and this allows us to form some good alliances. As a result, even through the drama, our raiding has continued and we've gotten to see some cool content and taste success. This goes a long way to healing wounds too.

My advice to any other struggling guilds/officers: take care to not burn bridges when you can. I know sometimes people will deserve it, but to quote one of my favorite movies (It's a wonderful Life): "Remember no man is a failure who has friends."

A second article was recently on The Big Bear Butt Blog (or B^4 for the blogging public) and delves into the issue of conflict management within a guild. Mr. Butt explains well the different between a "personal" issue and a "guild" issue. This distinction can be applied to almost any area of life and is somewhat difficult for people to see clearly. For instance, lets talk politics for a second (*Gasp*). It seems a lot of people have some extremely strong feelings about politics and the upcoming election. However, it seems we sometimes fail to distinguish between a "political disagreement" and a "personal issue". Just because someone doesn't agree with you politically does not make them an "idiot" or a subject for you to "hate".

I'm not talking big party figureheads here, but on a more microscopic level. I've see co-workers or friends bicker over different ideologies and cause harm to an otherwise good relationship. Sometimes we just need to agree to disagree, and separate the personal attacks from the disagreements in philosophy. Believe it or not, you CAN be friends with a Pally if you rolled a Warlock (I'm marrying one). If the Horde and Alliance can band together against The Burning Legion, why can't we? Such an approach to conflict management really helps cut down on the surrounding BS and get to the issue at hand.

In the end, everyone usually has the same goal in mind: having fun and improving your gaming experience. Often times this coincides with improving the gaming experience for the guild as a whole. Guilds who can refrain from getting personal and stay adaptable to the ever-changing WoW landscape are going to be successful.

Not to get too sappy, because, as a Warlock... sometimes stuff just needs to DIE. To that effect, I hope to post some good pictures of dead things in the near future from my recent forays into Gruul's Lair and Tempest Keep.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Shiny New Buff

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As reported by Saresa over at Destructive Reach:

The famous ‘crabby blue’ has heard the wave of tears coming, and decided to address it before Blizzard get washed away by it all.

"We have finished a fairly comprehensive look at the dps of various classes and specs and are concerned that warlock dps isn’t quite where it should be. It’s not abysmal by any means, but we think it should be a little higher. To give warlocks a little extra nudge in PvP, we increased Soul Link up to 20% from 15%. You may already have this change. In PvE, overall, we just think a lot of classes benefited from getting the warlock buffs a little more than the locks benefited from getting everyone else’s buffs. So we decided to just buff lock damage across the board (which will also help in PvP somewhat). Rather than change damage and coefficients of a lot of different ranks of spells, we just inflated talents that we were almost certain you’d already have. Shadow Mastery, Demonic Tactics and Emberstorm were all increased by 1% per rank for 5% total. Let us know how that feels. The changes should go live before Nov 13."

Yay Blizz! And Danke Sehr!

This will make putting proper points into Shadow Mastery all that much more important for Aff'locks.

I had already done a slight bit of testing on the IF dummies. According to maxDPS, I should be outputting around 1100 DPS. We all know, that sort of optimal play just doesn't happen. However, with the cast rotation I mentioned, I pounded on that dummy while watching my recount. I saw my DPS peak at around 1000, so that's pretty darned good. All in all, I've seen about 100 increased DPS during raids since the patch (and have not had any significant gear upgrades). I'm certainly not efficient with the new rotation yet, but I've gotten more comfortable after repeatedly beheading the Headless Horseman, and think that's a pretty decent and adaptable rotation. This new buff business will only add to that.

/evilcackle

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Let's Be Hasty

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I came across some really intriguing research this past weekend and wanted to share it with y'all. This also kind of ties in to my musings about the spellstone yesterday.

With a looming expansion and a drastic patch, the WoW community is often reminded quite poignantly that we are not the true lords of our domain. That is to say, we must acknowledge the presence of our benevolent creators. Yes, I'm talking about the Blizz. Those blue-faced fellows that hold the keys to our future.

We puzzle: "What do the blue gods have in store for us?" What changes will they bring to our class, to our raids, to our environment, to our arenas?

Blue has been notorious for offering little as an oracle. We take what nibblets we can find and gobble them up and attempt to extricate truth. We do this in an attempt to predict the future of our gaming experience, in order to be better prepared for the change that lies ahead.

Which brings me to my little nugget. A very astute poster on the Warlock's Den thought of a clever way to "see into the minds of Blue". You see, each class has a tier set of armor created by the Blue man group. Thus, if we look at what that gear is "geared" for, we could maybe draw some conclusions about what the powers-that-be see in the future for our class. This is the basis of the little tidbit I now link.

If you follow that link you will some some very pretty bar graphs comparing stats for the tiered sets in TBC and WotLK. It is no news to Warlocks that Stamina will continue to be an important stat to us. Of interest, however, is the heaviness of Haste on the Warlock sets. What does this mean for 'locks? Are we going to see more benefits from this Haste? Could be.

Additional evidence can be found in the aforementioned spellstone. When I first read the tooltip, I was like "1% damage, cool, I'll take it" and skipped right over the bonus Haste. In the past, Haste hasn't been all that exciting for Warlocks in general. Sure its nice, but, like spirit, it can be ignored in favor of "more applicable" stats such as Crit, Hit, and Spell Power. Is this going to change?

Probably not, but we did see some bonus from Spirit in our reworked talent tree as aff'locks. While some argued that consolidating to Spell Power and other gear changes would result in a homogenization of gear, and thus less fulfilling game play, I offer that perhaps the intricacies of gear choice are now going more customizable by chosen spec. That is to say, instead of where one piece of armor was good for ALL affliction 'locks (or even locks in general), maybe we'll see further break down: it's good for all locks with a specific talent choice. This makes things a lot more interesting, IMO.

Like all forward looking statements, all of the above is subject to change. It may be complete BS. But if you dig game mechanics like I do, posts like I linked get your wheels spinning in a good way. Complex are the minds of the Blue and the ways of WoW.

If you're looking for a quick answer. I think I'm going to start using the spell stones now, as I think it may do me better than the Wizard Oil I normally use. I haven't really compared DPS and don't have any numbers to back that up, its just nice to be able to use something you create for free (basically). Has anyone done the math to figure out which is better? I look forward to someone else's number crunching so I can read it :-).

Haste can be addicting too, but perhaps I should follow the old saying: "Let's not get too hasty." I mean, we have enough on our minds right now, no?

Monday, October 20, 2008

That Crazy Voodoo You Do

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Since apparently we can now tap our staves/daggers with our stone instead of pouring expensive oil on them and carrying our stone in our off-hand, the Spellstone begs to be re-examined as a valid buff.

Malsorian made a post to this effect, and you can also see I made a comment, but look for a post from me in the near future (tomorrow if I get a chance) pondering the Spellstone and discussing some evidence I found that Warlock stat preference may be changing further in WotLK.

Control Piece of...

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If you have raided Kara recently, this probably means you've done the "new and improved" chess event. First of all, its been said before, but how can something be both new AND improved? I mean, if its new, its never been done before and therefore cannot be improved. I realize that is not original schtick up there, but it is a question that comes to mind anytime I find myself describing something as "new and improved".

ANYWAYS, if you've played chess, chances are you've beat it or died once. If you've done either of these things you may have encountered a freaky state of character stasis in the form of an apparently irremovable "buff" labelled "Control Piece". I'm not exactly sure what causes this, but other guildies and myself have experienced this sticky state.

It has been conjectured that a custom UI such as X-Perl (which I use and love) can cause this seemingly "unclickable" debuff.

While doing some research on this problem (after trying such "normal" solutions as throwing my keyboard, refreshing my beer, and, finally, reloading the game), I came across this little gem on some forum I was reading:

"To get rid of that Chess “buff” with a custom UI type: /cancelaura Control Piece "

Would have been nice to know YESTERDAY.

/deep breath 10, 9, 8....

I haven't had the opportunity to try this and verify that it works, but it makes a certain amount of sense. I'm sure there is a macro command for removing a buff that has NOTHING to do with your custom UI, and thus will bypass the problem. Next time this unwanted affliction strikes me, I will give it a shot, but I wanted to get it out there in case any of y'all are having the same fits I was.

EDIT: I was able to try this out on another buff (a costume buff) that seemed stuck with my UI as well. It worked very nicely (or I'd have been stuck as a bat when they wanted me to preform my civic duty and summon someone from the abyss). Bascially /cancelaura [Insert Aura Name Here] should work if your addon is giving you fits.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Maleable Macros: Cast Sequence for Aff'locks

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I wrote in some previous posts about my "Cast Sequence" macro, so I wanted to show what I've been using. I created this macro to be able to put all my DoTs on one button to make refreshing easier. As I noted previously, I like to add "shortcuts" in there so I can maximize up-time without taking up my entire button bar.

So to start, here is what my button bar actually looks like:


Obviously, I have more buttons scattered around my screen, but these are the "essentials", IMO. From left to right we have: "Shoot" to activate my wand, Shadow Bolt/Soul Fire macro, DoT macro, Fire spells macro, Drain spells macro, Soulshatter, Fear spells macro, Rain of Fire, Seed of Corruption, life tap/fel armor macro, health pot, mana pot. As you can see, this keeps a good majority of my spells at "fingers reach", so if things go south in a battle, I have a number of options available without rearranging bars or anything.

The button of particular interest today is bound to "3", and is my DoT macro. The actual macro text reads like this (feel free to copy and paste it in your own game, choose the ? icon and WoW will automatically insert the next spell up):

#showtooltip
/castsequence [nomod] reset=target/ Haunt, Curse of Agony, Corruption, Unstable Affliction, Siphon Life
/cast [mod:Shift] Haunt
/castsequence [mod:alt] reset=target/ Corruption, Unstable Affliction, Siphon Life

Okay, now lets break this thing down for those of you who aren't "macro savvy".

#showtooltip -> this just allows WoW to display the tooltip of whatever spell is coming up. This is the same tooltip you would see if you moused over a normal button.

/castsequence #1 -> the castsquence command looks for a few things. First, you can specify a modifier button (the default is none if you forget to add it). This is the part in brackets. I specify "nomod" to make it clear, and make sure there is no confusion between WoW and me. The next bit the command looks for is "when do you want to reset the sequence?" There are numerous things you could put in here, but I'm only interested in starting fresh on each target (i.e. whenever you change what you're targeting, the sequence resets), thus "reset=target". You may want to specify other criteria (i.e. reset=10), and I'm not going to pretend to know what all can go in there. In the past, another bit that I've used is to input a number there, which causes the sequence to reset after that many seconds. You can also specify multiple reset conditions, but again, I don't use that a whole lot personally. I'm mainly a fan of using "target". The "/" indicates that your modifier section is done, and now you can just list the spells you want to use in order. This is what finishes of that line for me, tweak this line as you tweak your spell rotation. This is where I'll rearrange things in order to test what works best.

/cast -> the cast command also looks for a modifier. Again, this is specified in brackets and you can see I use the "shift" button for this one. This allows me to quickly refresh Haunt whenever I want by just pressing shift to bring up the button and then clicking on it. Take care depending on what UI you're using, hitting "shift-3" may cause you to rotate to the 3rd action bar, and not cast your spell, which is why I click. Clicking will always work. I mainly use this so I don't have to have an extra button for those times I muck up my normal rotation and need to keep haunt up.

/cast sequence #2 -> similar to the first cast sequence, except this one uses the "alt" key as a modifier. Thus, if I were to hold down "alt" and spam the "3" button, this is the sequence I would expect to occur. This button basically allows me to skip the curse part of my normal sequence, in case I'm responsible for using a different curse (say CotE or CoD). This also comes in handy when you've refreshed haunt, but refreshing CoA isn't ready yet (the last tick hasn't occurred).

I've spoken before about not cutting off CoA, and that remains to be the only DoT that has such a limitation. I was reading some forums yesterday where a Blizz employee (blue-style) commented that Haunt's cooldown is going to be lowered from 10s to 8s and that refreshing before it comes up will caust the previous haunt to return and heal you, the refresh. Thus, clipping isn't an issue for Haunt. This is good for simplifying our cast rotation, as manuevering around CoA is hard enough.

And that is all. Kind of a long-winded explanation, but this is my main button during most fights. As an aff'lock, on most fights you will want to keep up your Dots and fling some s-bolts as much as possible. With my current set up, this lets me use my left hand to do all of these, leaving my right hand to be able to click or look around or whatever with the mouse. For AoE pulls I'll shift my hand over to the AoE section of my bar and play in a similar manner.

Did you find this helpful? What other macros would you like to see? I know when I was looking around for how to do these, it was sometimes difficult to get warlock specific macros. Feel free to comment with questions and perhaps I can explain further.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Addon Update

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Yes, three posts today. I'm a busy bee trying to get some content up.

In reality there are just a plethora of topics to discuss with all the crazy changes lately, it's not too hard to pound out some posts.

I just wanted to note that it had been brought to my attention by a fellow 'lock that Necrosis has been updated to work with the patch. This makes me happy and I will now go try it out.

I'm No Christopher Walken

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The Hallow's End event starts today. Head to your local inn for some candy. Also, check out Goldshire for some easy gold and fun quests. Finish it all up with a killing of the Headless Horseman in the Scarlet Monastery graveyard (peice of pie for 5 70's). Some fun stuff drops. I picked up a "Horseman's Signet Ring" which is gonna net me some more spell power :-). Here are some fun screenies:


Tis the season for 'locks. How can you beat a dreadsteed and a pumpkin head costume?

Flying brooms are fun too. It's a shame they'll only last the duration of the event. Anyone up for some Quidditch?

Evil Is In My Genes

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Recently, my cousin (who also plays an affliction 'lock) asked me a good question about my spec. Why did I avoid points in "Improved Shadow Bolt"? Here was my response:

That’s a good question. First, lets make sure we understand what that talent is doing: 2% damage increase each time a s-bolt crits, stacking up to 4 times. Now, as an affliction lock, I don’t really stack crit on my gear. Although, with the addition of “Pandemic”, crit takes on a little more significance in DPS (before DoTs couldn’t crit). Even so, I have my doubts about how effective this is. Not to say it isn't a great change, but I just wonder how effective it will make stacking crit vs. stacking any other attributes.

So, if it IS worth it, what points would I sacrifice for this "Improved Shadow Bolt"? I choose Bane over it because obviously more s-bolts means better DPS. If you want to sacrifice the improved fear or improved Howl of Terror, which I took for utility, you could justify putting those points here. However, you could also justify putting them in improved imp or demonic embrace too, depending on what’s important to you. Those all depend a whole lot on how you itemize your gear. If you’re like me and go for hit (until capped) > spellpower >> stam/crit/int/spirit (spirit has some use now too!), then I would question how much use it’ll be in bumping your DPS, as my crit rating just sort of "happens" with my gear choices.

Also, if you’ve picked up haunt, reliance on s-bolt spam has been greatly reduced. Formerly, we were seeing about 50% of our damage coming from bolts, but that is almost cut in half with the new spell rotation and skills. In my recent Kara raid, I found that I’m shooting only 1 or 2 bolts before refreshing dots, if I'm quick about it. The new rotation really keeps you on your toes and I love it; less s-bolt spam! It’s actually difficult sometimes to squeeze a bolt in before having to refresh haunt, etc.

Additionally, I was almost always using the bolt as a “finishing” move (right before it died). So, even if it did crit, I wouldn’t see a whole lot of benefit from that skill point anyways. Also, the Death’s Embrace skill already increases your damage when the mob is near death, so, similar to soul siphon, it’s probably made up for. I would guess this is very play style dependant though, but that’s my 2 cents.

I stand by my reasoning here until proven otherwise :-). I find, in speccing, there are a lot of talent points that are "no duh's". Therefore, the real thinking comes when looking at those talent points that are "on the fence". What are you finding it difficult to choose between?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Shout Out: Malsorian

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One of the good Affliction blogs that I try to keep up on is by Malsorian. His latest post on Glyphs is a great summary, IMO. Check it out.

My only comment is that I might want to try and switch the Glyph of Unstable Affliction for the Healthstone Glyph. I find that even if I get a chance to pop my Healthstone, the mob killing me is probably going to two/three shot my squishy butt anyways, and I don't know if 30% more health would help or not. A good question would be: does this transfer with your stone to other players? I'm guessing no.

Quicker UA = More shadow bolts I would think, which would mean higher DPS. I'll have to give a try to see if I likey though.

Also, for the minor glyphs, I really wanna try the Unending Breath Glyph since I'm always annoyed at how slow it is to swim. It might just be fun to have, but probably only situationally useful at best.

I Only Have So Many Fingers

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Okay, as promised, here are my thoughts on spell rotations.

First of all, I must point out that I am not always a maximizer. What I look for in a spell rotation can be summed up in one word: practicality. That is to say, I don't want to have to push 20 different buttons or be so scattered-brained that I'm losing track of things. I'm a heavy macro user (being a software engineer), so I look for a spell rotation that I can condense into one button. I like having many of my other spells available without having to switch bars or do crazy stuff while raiding. Usually I try to work it so I have one button that applies my Dots in a certain order, then I use a few modifiers so I can start at different places in that rotation. For instance, holding "alt" while using my DoT button skips the curse in my rotation (in case I want to choose a different one). Thus, I will have to play around with rotations for a bit to get a feel for where I might need to put these "shortcuts" in order to minimize DoT downtime.

That being said, I put my stats into the calculator over at MaxDPS and here is what it kicked out:

As you can see, I normally do not use immolate. I haven't used immolate for some time now because, prior to the patch, I had a heavy stacking of shadow damage and couldn't really justify throwing a fire spell in there. I may need to re-evaluate that choice, but since fire seems to be more of a destro 'lock's bag, I'm going to pass for now. So this sequence is what I put into my /castsequence macro (I'll do a proper posting on macros sometime in the future too).

In a raid environment, this cycle worked well for me. On trash, I tend to shorten it up and just do Haunt, CoA, and Corr. Then finish off with some s-bolts. This heavily depends on how quickly something is dying. If its real quick, I'll go straight to the bolts. If not, then maybe another DoT or two. You just have to feel it out.

For bosses, I find this rotation particularly fun, if a little bit challenging. As we all know, a HUGE warlock no-no is to refresh CoA before it finishes its last tick. If you do that, you're wasting a lot of damage because the curse ramps up as it goes, with the last tick accounting for a sizeable chunk of damage. Thus, how can I "one-button" this sequence without committing that faux paux?

As I was fighting the bosses in kara, I was trying to time up my rotation so as not to cut off CoA. It seems that since CoA is longer than Haunt, you will need to refresh Haunt about midway through the course of CoA. What I found that works well is to go through an entire sequence first, filling up the end with shadow bolts until Haunt runs out. Then refreshing Haunt, and s-bolt spamming until CoA runs out. After that, I quickly refresh the others, for two full DoT rotations with one button. This may result in a little Corruption down time, so I'll need to fix that (may be a good place for an interrupt). I will probably just put Corr, UA, and Siphon life on my "alt" alternative so that I can refresh those as I need to. I also my place a click-able Haunt only button somewhere on my screen, since it seems a good idea to keep that up at all times. Keep in mind that early refreshing the other DoTs does not affect their DPS, but only decreases your mana-efficiency. Since I don't seem to have a problem with mana on most fights, I usually sacrifice that a bit in order to make sure all DoTs are kept up.

For boss fights that last longer than two full cycles (most of them), I just need to click off to reset my macro. This is easily done in the shadow bolt spam phase, since shadow bolts have their own key for me. Thus, this lends itself well to repetitive application. I've found that this rotation is a bit more challenging than what I had prior to the patch without Haunt. It results in needed to use my "shortcuts" a lot more. It also really cuts down on the number of s-bolts I have time to fit in, which isn't really a bad thing. As I said, it seems like with the changes, affliction warlocks are becoming less-reliant on s-bolt spam as a main source of DPS. With my DoTs accounting for 75% of my damage done and my DPS increasing since the patch, I think the talent changes support aff'locks becoming more DoT-centric. Of this, I most definitely approve.

Obviously, my rotation is still a work in progress, but I wanted to share my findings so far in case it helps. Let me know what works for you. I'm sure a lot of this depends on what is important in your playstyle. Oh, and happy 'locking!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

/rant on

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Blizz, I promise to view your beautiful loading screen art often over the next few months. You don't need to get your quota in ALL IN ONE DAY. Thank you, that is all.

/rant off

And all I wanted to do was run some quick dailies and I got stuck on this screen for at least a half hour :-(.

Breezy Kara

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I ran Kara last night with guildies, and 3.5 hours later... we ran out of bosses. It started slowly at first. With everyone's addons being kaput, we were pretty much flying blind. But, then we just got in "the zone" and were downing mobs and bosses left and right. I'll be honest, we were completely careless. For instance, we pulled Curator while in the middle of killing some of those mana-feeders. Talk about chaos, we had mana-feeders and sparks flying everywhere. Somehow, no wipe, and one very dead Curator later... we were amazed. It felt like almost every class had been buffed across the board. I mean, I know they nerfed Kara boss health and melee power, but we were still seeing higher DPS numbers, better aggro generation (especially my lovely pally companion), and bigger healz.

As a lock, I was extremely out of my element. I used to rely on necrosis for a lot of things, and it is now borked. I got the addon "Dominos" (which I highly recommend if you like such things) and just kinda added stuff on the fly. I will make another post about the spell rotation I settled on soon, but suffice it to say I was almost giddy with noobishness. That is to say, I was just throwing spells left and right and not really worrying about what was "best" or what fit together well. I marveled at the wonderful new animations for our spells! Yay for no more boring faux lightning for drains! A quick view of recount showed me doing on average about 100 more DPS?! How could this be? I hadn't even settled on a spell rotation yet? All I can figure is the love shown to the Affliction tree is definitely paying off.

I got to play a little with the fear mechanism when I was asked to chain fear Roar for our Opera performance. I'm not going to say I'm sold, but the speed reduction was definitely nice when you have a big kitty running across the stage waiting to two shot you into the nether.

I also am in love with Haunt. Being able to shoot a spirit that flies into a mob and then returns with his health 12 seconds later is just plain fun, and why I love being a warlock. I also hardly life tapped or dark pacted. I felt very mana efficient, and when I felt a longing to tap, doing so right before Haunt returns is perfect. It's like cheating when you're 100%, tap, and still 100% but with more mana than before.

Like I said, I will post more about spell rotations, but I really noticed an absence of pure shadow bolt spam. Whereas before, s-bolts could almost account for 50% of our damage, it was almost halved on this run, with bolts only accounting for about 25% of my damage done. I often found it hard to squeeze more than a bolt or two into my DoT rotation. Of this, I approve. GG Bliz, yay more than one finger 'locking!

The only downside to last night was the mess that my UI is in. This is another item I need to work up a post on soon: addons. Right now I'm just feeling out what is working and what I can get away with. The loss of necrosis hurts, but I believe the only things I'll really miss are the friendly warnings for SS and Shadow Trance, as well as the shard manager. I'm sure I can get that stuff elsewhere. All the other buttons I can fabricate with Dominos and key bindings.

Oh, and I had always wanted to use my felhunter even before they buffed it in the patch. I have just always enjoyed the utility of it. Now, I have good reason to. The raid wide buff is nice, and I think they tweaked the AI of the pets some, as my puppy seemed much more well behaved. He seemed to "know" when to attack and when to stay without me having to order him around so much. I will have to do more expericrafting and wowreading about this some time, 'cause it could just be me, but maybe Felpup FTW? Also, if you have two locks, it may be great to have one with an Imp and one with the Felpup to get the "good stuff".

Look for less rambling posts soon on topics such as the following:
-Insane or Insightful: A revisit of why I left out some of the talent points I did.
-State of the UI: Why I'm addicted to addons.
-Spellstones: Worth paying attention to?!
-Spell Rotations and You: Digital Limitations Included.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Out on a Limb

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I wanted to make a quick post about the build I'm choosing to get me to the build I want at 80 and why. This will be the short version, since now that the servers are up, I want to go actually implement it:

Here is my Build at 70:


I tried to get all the heavy hitters for PvE to raid and level without having to respec a bunch. I'm going to steer clear of Amplify Curse and CoEx, because I just don't think they're worth the points. Same with Frailty. I can't see them being all that useful for a PvE raiding/leveling spec. I also passed on Soul Siphon, because I feel that I only use my Drains when either I'm close to dying or the mob is. The new Death's Embrace gives a nice buff to these situations, so I'm guessing that any loss I would feel would be mitigated by this, plus its going to give you a better DPS number in the long run. I passed on Malediction for now because I don't find myself using CotE very much for various reasons. If this is something you use a lot for your raiding, you may want this right now. I plan on getting it on my way to 80. Its the same story with Shadow's Embrace. Its good, just not THAT good. I also didn't fill up Eradication of Fel Concentration, which totals up to the 10 points that separate 70 from 80.

I probably don't need the improved Fear, I just wanted to try it out as I'm often called on to chain Fear mobs, and it looked fun. Those points could probably be better spent filling one of the above. Same with improved Howl of Terror. Those are just the crutches I fall back on when solo'ing. I must point out that when I level, I have a static Pally with me in Fuubaar. This means I don't do a whole lot of solo'ing and she is my personal tank. That makes my decisions a little different than those of you who plan to solo to 80. Keep that in mind, but I still like to have my Fears.

I take one point in Improved Healthstone because I like to be the "odd one". Usually this means my raid can have two stones. This would probably depend a lot on your personal situation. (Edit: I plan on either dropping this point or filling the talent up as the one stone per point rule is no longer in effect. Post patch 3.X, you can only have one stone, period. Thus, this is not really valid anymore.)

I find it very nice that they moved Bane up to Tier 1... thus I'm only spending those 5 points in the Destro tree. Everything seems geared to fire, and I don't do that. Although, to be fair, with all the gear being redone, my spellpower is consistent across all of the types of magic. Before, I was far to Shadow heavy to justify using Fire spells.

All in all, I'm very happy with the love they've shown to the Affliction tree, and I can't wait to try this out. More on spell rotations and stuff later when I have a chance to play with it. My guild is going to try and raid Kara tonight if we can get enough people on to the server at one time and not have everything borked in five minutes.

I'm shooting for a final build at 80 of:

Beginnings: Much Ado About Me

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Mission Statement (because every decent project must have a focus): To create an Affliction Warlocky blog for the information and entertainment of others.

Why?
Let me see. First, I enjoy writing [typing] and feel like trying my hand at this whole public blog business (I’ve had a personal online journal for some years now). Second, when I am home, I like to play. This leaves downtime at work to do most of my wowsearching and wowreading. My work adores censorship, therefore anything remotely related to WoW and gaming is blocked, except for blogs (don’t ask me why). In any case, I have noticed a distinct lack of active warlocky blogs that focus specifically on the affliction play style. That isn’t to say there aren’t any very good ones out there (there are and I shall link them early and often), but that I normally feel there are things I want to say as well. Finally, there are a handful of people who seem to ask me about being a Warlock and the theorycrafting that goes with it. I’m not claiming to be an expert, but if I’m going to be doing wowsearching and wowreading and wowcommenting and wowthinking, I might as well wowpublish some of it to get feedback and hopefully generate some good thought and discussion about my class of choice. I plan to focus on affliction warlocking mainly, discussing such things such spell rotations, macros, and specs in relation to WotLK and beyond.

Disclaimer (because every good thing has one):
1. I may discuss other things for reasons known mostly to me, but I do so with the intent of fulfilling said mission of this blog. That is, I shall focus on warlocky things, but may stray to other topics as they come up. Do not be concerned, I have medicine for this and it helps.
2. I will try to post 2-3 times per week, but the common misconception about gamers is that we have no life. That is just not the case as y’all know. More on that later.
3. Please maintain a level of respect on here. If you must be mean, I may or may not allow your comments to remain in my realm. With that said, please please please comment on things I get wrong or mess up. My goal is to help, not mislead or pass my word for truth. I try the best I can to understand my class, but not at the expense of fun. Fun has to come first. Fun for me is playing my best, so help me out and maybe we’ll all learn something.
4. I’m going to try to start with discussing things happening now. I was a late comer in TBC and a lot of really smart people covered a lot of it. With WotLK, I feel there is an opportunity to contribute to the wonderful WoW blogging community that I enjoy on a daily basis. Therefore, don’t look to me for TBC expertise, I can only point you to the places I looked.

About me (Fulguralis): I have a Fuubaar. She got me into this mess called “MMORPGs” and is my partner in crime. We are both twenty-somethings that are college educated and trying to build a RL while enjoying our shared hobby. Our MMO roots are in FFXI, but have seen us in many other online games. Apart from that, we play “normal” games as well. Who isn’t up for a good FPS or RTS game now and then? We’re also getting married soon… ding! She happens to be the Light to my Dark and plays a Pally. That may come into play on here. Also, in RL I’m an Engineer, which means I like to think a lot about game mechanics and design. However, I will try not to bore too much with those musings. My goal is to bring some humor and fun to the blogosphere while providing some good information about warlocky things. You can find me burning down mobs on the Lothar server as an Officer in the guild Generations. That is all for now, but I’m sure we’ll get to know each other more as we go along.

-Fulguralis