Thursday, April 30, 2009

Loosing My Inner Demon

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I decided to spend my hard earned 1k gold from the Argent Tournament dailies on a dual spec for my warlock. My plan is to just use the second spec for enjoyment and to try out the other trees. Believe it or not, I have actually never played anything apart from Affliction on my warlock. I never really felt drawn elsewhere.

When they added the Metamorphosis talent though, I have to admit I was intrigued by the Demonology tree for the first time. I mean, turning into a demon is just plain cool. Still, by then I'd been playing as affliction for well over a year and had no desire to raid or level as anything but affliction, it being my true love.

Lucky for us, they implemented this dual speccing shenanigans. So far, I guess it's been pretty helpful and hasn't changed the way we raid too much. If anything, its made it much easier as a raid leader. Now, when you might need that extra tank, you always get the question: "want me to flip specs?" My normal answer is "do whatever you feel comfortable with." We're not "hardcore" and, as such, I've never really cared what spec someone is, as long as they can get the job done.

Anyways, I digress. I merely wanted to point out that I'm trying out Abi's demonology spec. You can find it along with a wonderful L2Play raiding guide here. I'm using his 3-53-15 build as linked in his post. It's a Meta/Ruin/Suppressionforhit spec. It's also the one with the Demonic Pact talent since I'm not counting on being with an Elemental Shaman at all times.

I have a crap ton (or if you prefer metric, .907 shat tons) of spirit (the glyph gives me like 150 extra SP), so I may pick up another Life Tap glyph, though I'm debating because this spec is mainly for fun which for me means running around town as a demon at odd times. Thus, I may take the meta glyph along with Immolate and Felguard.

The rotation is actually fairly similar in concept to the affliction one. Both require you to do different things at low life (for demo the mark is 35% not the 25% for affliction). Both have a pretty simple "normal" rotation where you throw up some DoTs and S-bolt. This demo build adds what I like to think of as a "special" button. If you ever played old arcade fighting games, you may be familiar with the concept of a "special bar". It's kinda like that, in that it beefs you up, lets you preform a few special things, but doesn't complete change your current rotation.

I didn't get a picture, but here's how I set up my cast bar from left to right (1-5): Corruption, Shadowbolt, Immolate, Curse Choice, Soul Fire. (Recall that my Affliction bar looks like: Corr/alt-CoA, S-bolt, UA, Haunt/alt-CotE, Drain Soul). Thus, I'm almost hitting the same buttons in the same order when I swap specs and bars. The rest of the bar has some of my demon form stuff and Rain of Fire for my AoE button (always 8 on my toons). It also has my Life Tap macro on 0 which is the same (lets you LT normal and hold shift to get your fel armor on). Then I have some clickable buttons around for the "cooldown" spells that I want to watch/click.

The point here is that I find it a lot easier if you can try to put similar spells on certain buttons. My DK even sort of reflects this so that I'm nearly hitting the same buttons in the same order. That way, if I have a brain fart, I'm not completely off and it seems easier to fall into a new routine.

I love having both intercept and charge too. I was always jealous off others having things to make them speed up when warlocks only get to run around at one friggin' speed. The best we could hope for is to swim faster in water with a glyph, which, lets face it, is completely worthless. Others can run on water... we swim fast with a glyph?

Anyways, I don't necessarily plan on using this for raiding right away or anything more than just making the dailies more interesting, but it is certainly a fun spec. Abi does a wonderful job of telling you "how to" loose your inner demonologist, so I won't rewrite what's already been done better. I just wanted to point out my initial thoughts about this spec and have an excuse to link this completely awesome picture:



Blood... On the Rocks

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

CYOA: Chapter Four - Cupid's Arrow

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Last time, on CYOA as written by Creep at Creep the Prophet...

And now, the exciting conclusion in Chapter Four - Cupid's Arrow


Collapsing to her knees, Sylphine's shoulders heave as she buries her face in her hands. To Corrigan, it appears as though she is weeping, though he is cautious as he approaches her. What if this Death Knight is merely ticking him? Can she really be resisting the call of the scourge? Of the Lich King himself? Could she really be his Sylphine again?

As if in response to his unspoken questions, Sylphine lifts her head and stares at Corrigan with dry, cold orbs of fire where once were beautiful eyes. Corrigan's head is awash in emotion as he stares back at his beloved, the one he had failed to save.

"Sylphine," he moans, reaching out to her, willing her to be the woman he loves. "Sylphine."

"Corrigan?" she replies uncertainly, but then both recoil at the unnatural, tinny sound of her voice.

To each, it is a poignant reminder that Sylphine is no longer the woman she once was. Shame fills Sylphine's thoughts and she buries her face in her hands again, shuddering as she tries to shake tears from her glowing eyes, tears than won't come. I can't even cry, she thinks, what else has the Lich King stolen from me. Surely Corrigan would not want a monster like me.

Regaining himself, Corrigan closes the distance between them and kneels down before her. Slowly, hesitantly he reaches out with his hand to caress her face. The coldness of her skin shocks him, and he fights the urge to flinch away. Cupping her chin, he raises her burning eyes to meet his own, trying in vain to find some trace in them of the woman he once adored.

The moment stretches out between them as Corrigan's spirits began to fall, guilt crashing back into the void left by his inability to protect what mattered most. In his hands, the personification of his failure stares back through inhuman eyes, burning his heart with the reality of his pain. In Corrigan's periphery, he catches a glimpse of ghouls closing in from either side, intent on finish the job their Death Knight could not. He searches for the will to fight, but comes up empty.

As his eyes begin to fall and the ghouls close in, the though of defeat and death's embrace begins to creep into his mind. What reason had he to prolong the inevitable? At least in death he might be reunited with his lost love, even if it means in the service of the Lich King. Sylphine's head droops to match his own, her lips pursing as she senses the futility of hope.

Her lips! The though is like a holy shock through Corrigan's brain, for the gesture is one he recalls from happier days. As he stares intently at her lips. He remembers! The curvature, the fullness. The heart never forgets a kiss. Her eyes may be foreign, but her lips are well known to him. Taking her head in his hands he pulls her face to his, pressing his own lips to hers with renewed vigor.

Although colder than he remembers, the familiar feeling unshackles his heart, sending it soaring with joy. This is his Sylphine, not lost, but found. A second chance. His hope becomes infectious as Sylphine finds her own cold heart warmed by his loving embrace. Pulling him closer, they huddle on the battlefield, remembering the love they once shared, protected by the bubble of Corrigan's renewed spirit even as the ghouls prepare to strike.

As they kiss, waves of light begin to radiate outwards from the Paladin, felling the ghouls that had been encroaching upon the two where the stand. Lifeless bones rain around the lovers as Corrigan finally withdraws from the kiss, looking at the new, yet familiar woman before him. They both stand, oblivious of the battle that rages around them.

"Commander," a cry resounds from across the field. Turning to look, the Corrigan spies Rondrey, the priest, atop a horse and riding swiftly in his direction. He points to Corrigan's right, indicating a lone Scourge archer with the Commander in his sights.

Even as he's watching, the archer looses an arrow aimed straight for Corrigan's heart. Reacting on instinct, Corrigan dodges to the right. A sickening, wet sound fills his ears as the arrow lodges itself in Sylphine's shoulder instead of hitting him. Her eyes widen as she stares at the arrow protruding from between plates of armor.

Letting loose a feral snarl, Corrigan turns and sends a bolt of white lighting towards the archer, catching it in the head and disintegrating it instantly, leaving behind a smoldering pile of dust. In a panic, he turns back to Sylphine to try and heal the wound. He will not fail again.

To his surprise, Sylphine is smiling at him. Grabbing the arrow with her right hand, she yanks the wooden shaft from her shoulder and a rune glows over her breast plate for a moment. Corrigan's jaw drops as he observes this strange new ability. Casually, Sylphine flicks the arrow aside and reaches down to pick up her discarded helm.

"It comes with the new body," she says, shrugging. Donning the helm, she retrieves her runed covered axe as Corrigan stands rooted in place, still dumbstruck.

Rondrey brings his steed to a skidding halt a few feet from the two, looking between them with one raised eyebrow. Shaking off his stupor, Corrigan reaches for his weapon and turns to face the priest.

"It seems we have some new allies," Corrigan points out.

Rondrey nods and replies, "Aye, a few of the others have turned and are moppin' up the remainin' forces in the village. It looks to be a victory, Commander."

A sudden, bloodcurdling screech startles them both. Whipping around Corrigan searches for the source of the noise. He watches as Sylphine lithely mounts a horrific steed that has just appeared at her side.

"You're not the only one who can summon a steed now, sweetheart," she says by way of explanation. "Quit gawking and lets go finish these bastards off."

Chuckling to himself, Corrigan summons his own steed and mounts up. Turning to Rondrey, he declares, "You heard the lady, to battle!"

"Ya know she sounds like she swallowed a tin can, right?" Rondrey points out in a hushed voice as they point their steeds towards the village. Corrigan glares at the cantankerous priest, glancing over at the women he loves.

"She may sound different, but that's her in there," he replies.

Sylphine looks at the two of them, rolling her burning blue eyes, "Can we go smash some heads now?"

"A slightly more violent her," Corrigan amends, smiling at his beloved.

"Aye," Rondrey says, shrugging.

With a couple heal clicks they each set their steeds off at a sprint towards the rising dust in the distance. The village is won shortly and news of the unbelievable victory begins to spread to neighboring towns, giving heart to defenders across the land. For the first time in a long while, the tides of battle seem to have swung away from the Lich King and in their favor.

At least for now...

Thank you for reading this first installment of Create Your Own Azeroth. For more information on how to become an author or future installments, check out our message board.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Affliction Rotation Update

12 comments
For today's discussion, I'd like to point you in the direction of a recent post by Nibs over at the MC regarding short term damage on mobs. The gist of it is that Haunt seems to reset the timer for a Corruption tick. Thus, my current rotation of Corr, H, SB would cause the first corruption tick to have an almost 2 second delay (depending on flytime). This is no bueno.

She lays out a couple of scenarios that are completely valid. I've always maintained my reason for casting Corruption first is my affinity for leading off with an instant cast. I just don't like wasting those initial seconds when I'm getting positioned (it's kind of like: CHAAAARGE, not WAITFORCASTBAAAR). Besides, if you're going to get that far down into the theory of the spells where you're worried about wasting 1 or 2 seconds of a Corruption tick, aren't you doing the same thing by waiting to cast anything until you get stationary.

I mean, if I begin my rotation 1.5 seconds later, then not only did I waste that initial cast time, but also delayed that GCD. Wouldn't I be, in effect, getting double dinged by that time, losing nearly 3s? And, in that case, what would it matter if Corruption resets itself? It's hard for me to wrap my mind around it, but the bottom line here is that Nibs does a great job of explaining a basic warlock spell mechanic that we need to understand in order to make the best decision for each of our own rotations.

Now, I thought about reversing SB and Haunt in my rotation as well, giving Corruption some leeway to tick. However, if you cast Corr followed by a ~1.5s GCD, followed by a ~2s SB (your corruption ticks sometime during the SB cast bar), followed by a ~1.5s Haunt cast with fly time... I think I'm going to fall in the same situation of "clipping" a Corruption tick due to refresh. So, that doesn't really gain me anything.

So, it seems that the only way to truly negate this effect is to cast Haunt before Corruption. Even then, whenever you refresh Haunt, you may run into this clipping issue, so you can only really avoid it on your opening rotation. I think this makes any overall effect on your damage minimal. Nibs seems to agree with this, pointing out that this really isn't important on long boss fights as the loss of one (really a half) tick is insignificant. The only place it may matter is on short living trash, and even then only to the tune of what one tick of Corruption might give you on the front end.

Thus, while nice to know, it's not really going to change how I do things. However, if other affliction 'locks point out to me that by leading off with Corruption, I may be clipping it with my first Haunt, I would have to agree. I've made my case above as to why I think it works out for me, but that doesn't mean everyone plays the same. If you're not casting Corruption while moving into position, for instance, it wouldn't make as much sense for you. In that case, you may think about leading off with your cast bar spells. It's just how my playstyle works, and I felt the urge to make that clear.

I'd like to finish with a /wave to Megs at Out Of Mana who recently announced her recession from the public eye. It is always sort of a shock to have our daily reading disrupted permanently like this. The warlock community in particular will surely miss her contributions. I wish her luck in her future endeavors and may God grant her the adventures she seeks. Fellow Catholic, fellow Warlock, fellow gamer, fellow blogger: /salute.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Evil Bunneh

2 comments
...iz hoppin' in ur townz, poopin' on ur porch, and stealin' ur eggz.



My favorite thing to do was stick my huge felpup on top of the egg spawn and watch the chaos that ensued. After about forty-two seconds of messing with people camping eggs, I decided the holiday wasn't for me. I wanted to, you know, like, hunt eggs. Not sit in one spot and watch for a spawn. So I went back to the Argent Tournament dailies and tried to finish the Sons of Hodir quest chain on my DK for those dailies.

I got enough gold to dual spec both of my toons now, so I'm going to try to give that some thought this week. Wedding planning aggro has totally been infringing on my game time. Darn your RL *shakes fist* (I'm lucky enough that my fiancee feels the same way so I can get away with saying that. Grrl Gamers ftw ;-p. Though I really felt like fwoosh'ing some stupid flowers this weekend).

I really need to down that VoA boss and get a peek at Ulduar too...

Friday, April 24, 2009

Jousting, Indeed.

5 comments
(Note: There's been a lot of serious posts on here lately with all the patch info, so I felt like doing something a bit lighter today. I don't do "RP" stuff usually, but I felt the urge for a funny story doubling as a sort of character study exercise or what-have-you. You know, get the creative juices flowing on a Friday. I might try to do more stuff in this vein if y'all find it enjoyable... or not, I could go either way. In any case, does anyone else wish the jousting was more like... I don't know... jousting?)

Stepping out of the large canvas tent, I flip up my hood against the sunlight. As usual, the giant freaking gem slaps down and hits me square on the nose. If it wasn't for how much more powerful the shiny stone made me feel, I'd get rid of the cursed thing. At least I can take the hood off when I'm inside. Outside, however, the sun can be quite annoying to a person who enjoys his shadow.

Walking over to a rack near the stables, I select a large wooden lance with a similarly wooden shield attached. The whole thing reeks of cheapness. It's painted all colorful and fruity. Count on the Argent to make a big production of a serious tournament. Can you believe all the damn vendors around here? They're peddling T-shirts over there. T-shirts! Seriously? This is a tournament of skill, not a freaking carnival.

*Fwoosh*

Aw hell. There goes the lance. See what happens when I get riled?

Shaking the ash off of my gloves, I reach for another lance. I look around for the nearest mount. There is a small stall of white horses to my right. I see numerous others hop lithely up onto the horse with their nifty lance and shield combo, heading for the other end of the tournament grounds.

Generic white pony... check. Glancing around self-consciously before mounting, I hike up my robe in a very undignified manner and leap onto the horse.

Why am I here again? Oh, right, they reward you for doing this crap.

The pale looking elf in the big-top tent had told me if I run around the practice area for a bit, taking the advice of the overly helpful instructors sitting around, he'd give me some gold and a shot to champion a city. Now, I don't care much about the whole "champion" thing, but that's where the gold's at. Any good warlock knows that the real way to win in life is to trick someone into believing you like them, then kill them when they least expect it. I'm not sure how that applies here, since I can't really do that to a whole city... Or can I?

*Fwoosh* Damnit!

Riding back to the rack, I pick up my third lance and head out to the tournament grounds. What I see confounds the senses. A whole herd of horses with idiots in the saddle parade around throwing things at targets and charging haphazardly at vaguely humanoid dummies. This IS a carnival.

Trotting the horse over to the nearest instructor, I ask him what he wants me to do. Quickly he begins to explain in a flat, bored tone that I need to ride over to "that there dummy" and, using both "this here" lance, proceed to "beat on" the wooden representation of conquest. At first, I have to remind myself that he is not referring to himself as the dummy to be "beat on", as I sense something vaguely condescending in his mannerisms. A small fire starts along the hand grip of the lance as I remove myself from the source of my consternation, having heard enough of the man's drivel and wanting to just get on with it already. I quickly smother the fire with my robe.

Looking down at my ash stained gloves, I shake my head. Lately, one of my commonly used spells of affliction had become even more unstable than normal, causing it to spontaneously combust when used in conjunction with my spell of immolation. The stupid thing now had the bad habit of just blowing up in my face, causing no pain and destruction whatsoever. Ashamed of my sudden inadequacy with controlling the immolation, I've just stopped using the two spells together. Apparently this has resulted in some pent up fire frustrations that have been manifesting themselves in very unfortunate places lately. Case in point: my third lance, or the line of charred critter corpses leading into the big-top tent back there.

Trotting over to the dummy, I size it up. The thing is rickety, in need of repairs, and rooted into he ground. It holds a dented wooden shield lashed to one appendage and an extremely menacing short, blunt, and splintered wooded representation of a sword lashed to the other. All that gnomish engineering crap and THIS is the best we can do?

In any case, you can tell it is quite apparent to me how this exercise will aid in my development as a jouster. Inanimate, stationary wooden dummy beat down... check. Sidling up to the dummy, I heft my lance and look warily at the dummy, half expecting it to fall over in a gust of wind. I mean, the darn thing looks like it'll break with merely the slightest strike from my lance. Reaching out with the lance, I lightly poke the dummy. It creaks, swaying, and the sword falls to the ground, the lashings having been frayed from overuse.

Stupid thing. Getting a small bit of forward momentum, I swing the lance harder this time, aiming for the large, well worn shield attached to the dummy's arm structure. My blow strikes true in the center of the shield, sending a resounding crack across the practice field. To my surprise, the shield recoils from the blow, swinging around quickly. A second too late, I realize the trajectory of the spinning dummy is bringing the shield directly at the back of my head.

*Crack*

Wood connecting with skull sends a much louder noise across the field. Stars burst in front of my vision and I am thrown from my horse, landing roughly on the torn up ground around the dummy. Rubbing the back of my head, I stand up and hear laughter behind me. Just, f-ing great.

Turning around, I see the instructor laughing at me. As my horse trots back to the stable on its own to get some feed, I try to brush the dirt off my robes and regain some sense of dignity. The creaking of the settling dummy behind me combines with the raucous laughter of the instructor to poignantly remind me that there's none to be found here. Swirling around in my robes, I face the dummy.

*Fwoosh*

The rickety piece of shit goes up in flames, crackling pleasantly as it burns. Discontentedly, I stalk off towards the tent. I seem to recall one of the other dumb elves saying something about killing scourge for money instead. That sounds more like my mug of Dwarven stout, anyways. The instructor yells after me something about having to pay for the dummy I just destroyed. Making a rude gesture, I don't even break my stride as I head back across the grounds.

Why did I want to do this again? Championing? Gold? Fire? Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't jousting where you ride AT another person, not a dummy, and strike them with the intent of knocking them off of their mount? I've read some tomes about it, I swear. That's the part I want to do! This dummy stuff was going to kill me though. I just don't see the point I guess. Besides, it's not like these instructors are exactly exalted warriors. I mean, I don't recall ever seeing them fighting Kel'Thuzad out in Dragonblight.

Hell, they've probably never even ridden a dragon. Now, THAT would be real jousting. Dragons and fire breathing. We don't even need lances. We'll just say the person who is not reduced to ash wins at the end. That's fair, right?

Arriving back at the tent, I chuck my lance angrily back towards the rack.

*Fwoosh*

Jousting, indeed.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Quick Thursday Randomness

12 comments
  • I forgot to add pictures yesterday when I got home. Apologies all around. It'd just be a damage meter anyways... woohoo, right?
  • I still haven't seen anything concrete to tip me towards CoD or CoA either way. I think what it boils down to is personal preference and what you preform best with. If someone can actually link maths, please do. Otherwise, I've mostly heard that CoD may or may not get all the buffs CoA does, but it starts out as a better spell per time anyways, so does that mean they end up almost equal? I saw some basic maths where CoD did more damage over the same course of time, but then I think people disagreed with the result because of buffs. I don't know, I'm a confused 'lock on this issue. For now, sticking with CoA.
  • I want to write something more formal about Affliction specific pet choices. The cliffnotes version I'll give you now: Succy, mix in DG and Infernals if you don't need the puppy buff. Puppy if you want the buff. The imp is a strong contender too. He'd be a good choice on Heigan since pets tend to die in green fire when not ranged on that one. If you get improved imp, he may even surpass the Succy in pure DPS. I saw a good EJ post about and may have to link that...
  • I plan to write up a "VoA Emalon Tips and Tricks" article. I've seen some decent strats so I won't completely redo a guide, but we've beaten our collective heads against that dude enough that I think I have some clever raid leading tips. Maybe not, you can decide.
  • Thank you to all the new readers and old commentors that have been stopping by this week. The traffic has really spiked and we've seen some really good questions and contributions. That's what this is all about.
  • Fuu is coming up with something Pally friendly for you soldiers of the light out there. I dunno when she'll get done with it, but if you like Pally tanking, stay tuned.
  • What trinkets did pick as a 'lock? Once I was able to make up the 74 hit (!) of the "Mark of the War Prisoner" (or whatever), I got rid of it in favor of a purple spell power trinket to go with my J'diddies bell (or whatever). On the advice of a mage (!) I picked up the emblem trinket with the "chace to increase your SP by 500" and the crit boost (she's a very good mage, mind you, and also plays a very good feral cat as well). I believe that one is the "sundial" and I choose it over the "Egg" one. The Egg seemed to be more of a healer trinket IMO... though neither particularly excited me. WTB good 'lock trinket. Any advice?
  • Random post is random.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

First True Test of the Aff'spec

14 comments
I finally (read: FINALLY) got to raid after all my speccing shenanigans (you know, just in time for Blizz to refund my talents so I could do it all again. Luckily, there didn't appear to be any tree changes that I'm aware of), and last night we were able to do our Naxx-25 run for the first time since the patch.

The cliffnotes version: so far, so good.

My average DPS for the night was good for 3.5k, bringing me in at number 2 on the overall damage done (my fave stat personally). My patchwerk DPS shot up to 4.2k and topped the charts. Good stuff indeed.

I've had a few gear upgrades just before the patch, so I feel I'm not able to clearly gauge whether the final verdict is "nerf" or "buff", but I feel more powerful. I think overall, the changes are a good thing.

I've had some trouble getting used to the new rotation. Partly, I feel lost sometimes like I should be doing more than I am or that I'm missing something. Often, I am missing something (like my curse) and have just forgotten about it. When one gets used to a rotation, you get used to seeing the same DoT timers up in the same order and it gets really easy to tell which spell you're missing. So far, I'm not consistent enough or used to the rotation enough to have the quick recognition factor on my side. The good news is that that will develop over time.

I have trouble remembering to lead off with a life tap. It's just not natural yet. Same with trying to spread my taps out regularly so as to space the buff nicely. I've been trying to do it right after casting each Haunt. That way, the returning haunt will heal me for almost what I lost due to the tap. Also, Haunt is refreshed about every 12s, so with the 20s glyph bonus, it should almost always be up. That seems to be the best way IMO, and usually precedes refreshing many of my DoTs anyways (if its not already up), so seems to be a good time to squeeze it in.

I have trouble mixing in Drain Soul at under 25%. Conceptually, its easy. Where you would be casting filler, cast your drain soul. Try to refresh DoTs that need refreshing right after you see one of those big 10k ticks. In practice? It's not so easy. Usually things tend to get more chaotic at the end of a fight, so I may be trying to do other things (especially as a raid leader) and forget to watch for a number to pop up or just time things poorly. One of the things I'm assuming is that we'd want to keep Shadow's Embrace up in the Drain Soul phase of fights as well. I can't see a reason why you would want to let that fall off, so that means you don't totally get rid of shadowbolts either and have to toss one in with a haunt every now and then to keep that refreshed as well. This can easily be done in your normal rotation, but causes me a bit of a brain confusion because, like, I'm supposed to be subbing for s-bolts, right? It's dumb, I know, but scatter-brained ftl. In any case, this is another area where it'll take some getting used to.

I have trouble deciding on a pet. As an affliction 'lock, I like to just pull out a pet and forget about it for most of the night, letting it do its thang. However, Blizz has succeeded in enticing us to pull out some of our "other" pets. I think this is a good thing, though kind of a hassle. Still, I'd rather have choices to make than just one way to have to play. For most off the night last night, I just ran with a Succubus. We had both a disc priest and a mage in the group (overwriting the felpup buff), so I figured it was a good night for some S&M Demonology. I also stocked up on infernal stones an demonic figurines in anticipation of pulling them out some (for bosses only).

Over the course of the night, I only pulled out one Doomguard and one Infernal. I just never quite "felt it". I saved the DG for the last boss of the first wing (figuring that was the best time to use the cooldown so maybe I could hit each "final" boss with a DG). We struggled to get focused early on, so the first wing (spider) saw a few wipes. I never really got comfortable with the chaos, so pet choice slid down on my priority meter and I just ran the Succy until that final spider dude (I can't pronouce or even spell the name... Maexxerna? Far too many x's. I guess if it were a triple-x spider though I'd want none of that, even on S&M Demo night, but I digress...). I used the DG on that, and it was good, then we had some afk issues before starting the plague wing... my remaining few minutes on the DG were wasted, which made me sad, but he did his job and boosted my boss DPS.

We refocused after a few and quickly one shot everything in the plague wing, meaning we hit the final boss without my DG refreshing. Thus, I decided it was a good time to try out the infernal. I think I pulled him out with about 15% health left on the boss, and that was just about the right amount of time to make nearly full use of his minute tenure in the world... of warcraft. Again, good times. However, unfocus had taken its toll and we were only able to go to patchwerk before calling it a night. We were trying to hurry up since it was getting late, so it was a quick buff and pull, meaning I didn't really have time to go through a ritual of doom and ran it with the Succy. Thus, I only used one of each alternate pet type on the night, but both seemed to be good for my DPS.

Part of it is getting comfortable enough to maximize when I throw them out. It's hard enough trying to remember to drain soul and keep all my crap up, then trying to gauge when to use what pet is just another headache. As I get more comfortable with everything, it'll stop being so much thinking and start being automatic, and then I can use that thought power on pet stuff. I just haven't gotten into that groove yet.

The bottom line here is that I'm far from playing perfectly yet. I was a lot crisper before the patch and I know it. I just need to work up to that again and get all these nifty little new nuances down. If the goal of Blizz was to make the affliction rotation more forgiving, though, they certainly did that, as even not playing my best, I feel like I'm doing more damage. This is why I would side with the "buff" opinion of the patch. Still, its not like we're seeing a destro-conflag sized buff, its more that the class was "refined" in the patch.

This brings me to an interesting point. We complained that the rotation was being "dumbed down", but I argue that in its place, other complexity has been added: Where to mix in life taps (especially for those of us who never had the tier bonus)? How to mix in big Drain Soul ticks while keeping Dots up at the end of a fight? When to use which pet as an affliction 'lock? CoA or CoD? These are questions with easy solutions before the patch. Now, I'm not so sure, and, to me, that's a good thing.

(Caveat: I need to read the article Abi linked in comments yesterday concerning CoA vs CoD. If it's as good as he says, I suggest other's check it out as well. I've decided to stick with CoA for now because I'm used to it and don't want to throw in too much newness at once. Also, I may try to add some pictures to this when I get home, I took some screenies but didn't send them to work...)

Unrelated - Small Plug For A Podcast:
If you like WoW podcasts, I got an email from friend-of-the-blog Syrana about one she'll be adding some warlockerly insight too. Apparently Epic Dwarven Blogger (Davlin) and 80 BloggerElite (Nexultor) have been doing some live podcasts for a while and she's going to contribute soon (like tonight). I personally fail at keeping up with podcasts (it's a challenge for me to keep up with all my reading alone!), but she is excited about being able to guest host and asked me to pass along the plug, and I always like to pass along cool stuff if I find it. If podcasts are your bag, definitely check it out. Here's the info she sent me:

Linky goodness: http://nukmnation.com - Livestream The show is scheduled for 8pm cst/9pm est on Wednesdays. There is also an irc chat on the site, which allows interaction with the hosts and listeners that join the chat channel.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Sometimes The Best Offense Is A Good "D"

14 comments
(Disclaimer: This is going to be more of a cry for help than informative. Feel free to answer and be my hero.)

Those D's being Drain Soul and Curse of Doom, both of which have seen some renewed interested in the post 3.1 world... of warcraft.

Drain soul is the obvious one. I has been buffed up to give us 10k crits and junk. Did I mention ever that you should use this jazz at 25% health? Definitely use it at 25% health and beyond. It's like, double your shadowbolts for nearly the same amount of time. Use that shizz... aight?

Here's the question I have about the first D: Do you have to make sure start it AFTER the 25% mark? Srsly, like if I start before 25%, even if it ticks into the 25% range, I'm pretty sure it doesn't get the bonus. Therefore, it is my belief that the spell damage bonus is calculated from WHEN YOU APPLY IT.

This would seem to be consistent with many of the other spell mechanics Blizz uses, but I've never seen someone explicitly say so. Therefore, I call upon the warlock community to verify that I'm correct in this. If I am, then that is an extremely important little tip there. Using Drain Soul too early will kill its destructive potential by 4x's (which is the bonus it gets under 25%). Don't do eet!

The second D... Doom. Perhaps one of the most easily forgotten yet blatantly cool spells we have. I mean, who doesn't like a huge time bomb every now and then amirite? Remember back in the Kara days when you used to queue one of these up to go off during the evocate phase? BOOM! DOOM! Woot!

With Amp'd Curse shortening the GCD of curses, I would think that CoD is well worth casting right now (especially if you're not sporting the glyph of CoA). Obviously you'd need to make sure whatever you're going to cast it on would live for more than a minute, plus you'd really need to watch your aggro for the big spike at the end of the tunnel. However, that's one less DoT to watch and worry about while you're at the beginning of a fight. Maybe it's a good thing to lead off with a CoD and then switch to CoA later in the fight... say at 25%?

See what I'm doing here? I have trouble sometimes reminding myself to make sure to switch my rotation up... however, if I tie my Drain Soul to a Curse switch as well... well that's just double reminder. I'm not sure what the maths say about that though. So I ask the community, is this a good idea?

Those are the two main things I'm going to try out tonight in my 25-man Naxx run. I mean, Drain Soul for sure, but I think I want to throw down on some CoD too. 10K ticks have got me itching for a time bomb!

Also, here are a few other things that are worth mentioning:

Pet Choice
To go along with the "D" theme... Doomguard. Use that pansy. He'll pop in for 15 mins and then run away like a little girl, but for those 15 mins he'll put out some good DPS. Remember to pick up your Demonic Figurine reagents though.

Realistically, you need to weigh the benefit of buffing the raid with your felhunter too. If you have both a mage AND a priest in your group, your FH's buff is useless. That is when you pull out the succy and go to town (or be sure to bring out your DG). The only other reason you may want to go with the felpup is to make use of his spell lock ability. I do this quite a bit to help with some messy pulls, but not so much in Naxx. Therefore, I'm going Succy/DG tonight if we have the priest and mage to overwrite me (more than likely in 25-mans).

SP Bonuses Galore?
Another new thing we need to be aware of as Affliction 'locks is the way SP bonuses work. We've always said to be sure to pop your trinkets before you start a rotation to make sure they get the bonus. Same goes for Life Tapping with the glyph (which I got yesterday). I believe I may have mentioned it before, but wanted to do so again.

After I got the glyph, I just started tapping around town because I was excited about it. Imagine my double excitement when one of the taps procced the effect of my Lightweave embroidery. Recall that they just changed this to have a chance to bump your SP up 250 too. This means, with my mostly Naxx-10 gear, I have enough spirit that the LT glyph shoots me up 15oSP and then my Lightweave shoots me up another 250SP. That's 400 extra SP! That's one helluva "trinket".

With that much extra SP, we need to be aware not only to try and get at least your LT bonus on prior to a fight, but also to try very hard not to clip your DoTs later. We've always tried not to clip things like CoA, but UA has always been open game. If you're not sporting the same bonuses you were when you started, refreshing may come at the cost of damage.

In the heat of a battle, there may not be a whole lot you can do about some of this, but it is good to know in the back of your mind, so at least sometimes you are maximizing your SP procs. I personally usually keep it a lot simpler than this (and plan to just LT at the beginning, but then just do it as needed after that until I at least get comfortable enough to have extra attention to pay to it), but I wanted to throw some of this stuff out there. The important point is to remember that damage due to SP is calculated WHEN THE SPELL IS APPLIED. Bonuses due to percentage mulitplies (like Haunt and Shadow's Embrace) will be calculated on each tick. Thus, you want to pop trinkets before applying spells, but can work in your SE and H bonuses later on.

For instance, in my rotation I lead off with Corruption. I would want to be sure to life tap and pop any trinkets before hitting Corr to maximize my SP before casting. I can and do, however, put up Haunt and SE after casting Corr without Corr missing out on those perecentage multipliers. (This is all to the best of my knowledge/observation, so if someone knows otherwise and can back it up, feel free to correct me.)

I've been having some great comments and traffic as of late, and am hoping that the trend continues. I don't always get things right the first pass, but I'm hoping by getting crap like this out there, we can discuss it a bit and really "compare notes" as Affliction 'locks. Only good (read: exceedingly evil and painful for mobs) things can come from that.

Oh yeah, and be aware that there is some patching going on today. Hopefully the servers will be stable tonight. You'll also get a refund of your spec points (after I fiddled around so much with mine too... :-/), so be prepared to respec. I'm not sure we should see any major changes...

Monday, April 20, 2009

Revised Warlock Post 3.1 Spec

23 comments
(Updated for 3.2 - there weren't any Warlock changes to affect this)

After Abi's comment last week and when I was able to get some time over my busy weekend, I took a good hard look at my spec. Abi's suggestion of taking the Ruin talent over in the destro tree was certainly a sound one. I had mentioned in my original short discussion on my spec that I had about five points of "optional" (read: non-raiding) crap that I have always taken just for the utility of it.

Then I got to thinking, I plan to dual spec soon and I've been scratching my PvP itch with my Death Knight. I really don't do much on my 'lock other than raid at this point. Sometimes I'll do some random dailies (and have started the Argent Tournament quests on him), but I hardly need my utility spec for that. Additionally, If I feel I'm missing some of those talents, I could always dual spec something less raid-worthy.

Add to this the fact that I'd felt slightly nerfed with the patch, plus I realized how much more dependant we are on shadowbolts. Prior to 3.1 and post WotLK, you were lucky as an Aff'lock to throw in two s-bolts per rotation. It was just hard to squeeze them in if not for Nightfall procs. However, with the simplified rotation, we have a lot more s-bolt time. Ruin was a good talent before, but now it's even more so, especially if I'm going to put ten points in the destro tree anyways.

So, I went back and squeezed out a new spec: 56/0/15. (I hope that link works because I used MMO-champion this time because WoWhead's talent thingy was still cutting off the destro tree, though I still ended up chopping the bottom on my own. Blame it on being on the travel laptop all weekend). Here's the work-friendly screenshot (you can click for a bigger version):
56/0/15
There are a few notable changes here. First of all, I knew I needed five points to fill out the ruin talent. That brought up the question of where to pull those five points from. I quickly found out that one of those "optional" points needed to be in there in order to progress my tree to the next tier (if I didn't have at least one of them, it wouldn't open up the next level of talents). So I removed the point in Improved Fear, but kept the point in Improved Life Tap. I like the Improved Fear talent for PvP crap, but I don't really do that on my 'lock anymore, so it was obviously a good idea to lose it. Life tap I will use a lot of, but I still wasn't sure I wanted it beefed up anymore since once I got the glyph, I'd want to be life tapping a bit more.

I still needed four more points. Looking right above the fear talent is Grim Reach. It is important to note that this talent improves your range for only your Affliction spells. Recall that shadowbolt is a Destruction spell. Thus, if I'm becoming more reliant on s-bolts, I have to stand in destro range anyways. What am I really getting out of Grim Reach? The chance to open up earlier? The points there don't really make sense unless you take the matching range bonus talent in the destro tree, and I wasn't about to do that. So there was two more points.

To squeeze out the last two, I took a hard look at my pet choice. I like running with my Felhunter. I like the utility he brings (I love spell locking to help my Pally tank familiar, since Pallies don't have a silence). However, in nearly all of our raids, his buff is getting overwritten. Also, I don't really have mana problems with him now that I life tap more. Finally, whenever I have a mage in group, I plan to use the Succubus or Doomguard anyways as their buffs are usually better (I had already been trying this out, but wasn't sold on the idea yet since I'm nostalgic for my pup). Taking all this in mind, the two points spent in improved felhunter can be easily foregone as well.

Thus, I had squeezed out my five points for ruin. Going back, I still didn't like the point in life tap, and realized I could take Amplified Curse instead and still progress the tree as I needed to. Amp'd Curse seems kind of "meh" to me. I mean it reduces your curse GCD by 0.5s. So every time you're casting your curse, you're getting a half second back where you can hopefully get right to casting other things. I don't know about you, but I'm rarely that precise as to make full use of an extra 0.5s. Some nights, when I'm really "on", yes. But other times, that's gobbled up by lag easily. Still, it's better to have than not, so I figured I'd give it a try and see how it affects me. Hopefully I'll be pleasantly surprised by the extra time of a shorter GCD.

Finally, I looked at the two points I had in Improved Howl of Terror, making it an instant cast. I decided to keep those, because that is really my only emergency button to get away from things out in the world. I like having an instant cast AoE fear at my disposal for a variety of situations and reasons. It is certainly not a big "raid" usage though, and if you're really looking to maximize your spec, you could probably take those two points and stick them on the first tier of the Demonology tree in something like Fel Vitality or the Stamina boosting talent. Neither of those will really help your DPS, but they do help with survivability (which we all know a dead 'lock/pet does no DPS). I haven't had life issues yet ('cept when it's a wipe), so I didn't feel the draw of those talents.

To wrap this up, I wanted to mention two more talents that I've seen different in other specs that I took in mine. First, I did NOT spec into the Fel Concentration talent. I have my questions about the worth of the talent, because I just don't feel that pushback is much of an issue for me, especially since the limit is now set at two "pushbacks" per spell cast. Add to that having instant and short casts, and I don't think I see a lot of use in this except maybe on heavy AoE fights. If a lot of my shadow bolts are getting pushed back, this may be something I consider putting those howl of terror points in as well.

Finally, I did spec into the Improved Drain Soul. I did this not so much for the mana return, because that really is a non-issue, but for the affliction spell threat reduction. I find myself constantly high on threat meters, so keeping that down is a good thing and means if I get a string of crits and nightfall procs, I shouldn't be in danger of pulling the boss off the tank. Also, some of those fights where your DoTs continue to tick during an "air phase" can get tricky too, so less threat is really a good thing, IMO.

I think this covers just about all the generally accepted "must haves" for a raiding Affliction 'lock, without having a whole lot of "fat" on the trees. The only points I might suggest spending elsewhere would be the howl of terror points. I think I'm certainly getting the most out of the rest of my points, which is good for a raid spec (which my first cut at a spec wasn't really a focused on).

I have actually respecced twice as part of my on-going debates, the last one having been purely to switch the one talent point into Amp'd Curse. I was only able to run something just before that last respec, so without the Amp'd Curse talent I was seeing DPS well over 3k (~3.2k), which was quite a jump from what I seemed to be doing before respeccing into ruin (~2.9k). That makes a certain amount of sense, but there are also other factors like having gotten my addons running properly in the mean time. Still, I was doing over 3k on the trash as well as the boss; there wasn't as big of a DPS drop off, which is good stuff. I'm not sure how much Amp'd Curse would help that, but it's certainly not going to hurt.

I plan to develop a more "fun" or "utility" spec when I get around to dual speccing in either destro or demo. With the way destro is sounding right now, it may be key to have a bursty spec for those fights where DoTs just don't cut it (think Gothik or KT wave fights, where you just tank in DPS because the crap dies too fast).

All in all, though, I'm still really enjoying my Affliction spec and it is still putting up some very good numbers. 10k Drain Soul crits... yes, please.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Frost DPS Death Knight Spec and Rotation for 3.1

23 comments
-Or- How I salvaged my Frost DPS spec.

In the second part of the two part series of 3.1 speccing and information, we'll talk about Death Knightery (not as catchy as warlockery I know... I'll work on it).

The Spec
I'm rolling out 3.1 with a 20/51/0 spec. My goal with this spec was to keep as much of my previous rotation as I could, since I really enjoyed the spec prior to the patch. Thus, I wanted to make Icy Touch viable, keep Howling Blast and Frost Strike available to me, and throw some points into the Blood tree for utility and DPS help. I also wanted to focus on a 2H build for now, since I don't really have any good 1 handers to pair up. Here is the work-friendly screenie:
20/51/0

Okay, so keep in mind that this is first and foremost a "fun" spec. I certainly have not focus as much on all damage dealing talents here as I would have on my warlock. I wanted to pick up some useful talents that could help in casual raids and casual PvP. For instance, that is the primary drive behind picking up both Hungering Cold and Chillblains. Neither of those really help DPS, but I like having them just to mess around with.

I steered clear of unholy because I don't want to be disease or pet dependant at all. I know there is more to that tree, but for this toon I'm trying to focus more on burst AoE and burst damage in general.

Similarly, I chose to take Rune Tap for the "free" healing. You'll see in the next section that I'm also grabbing the glyph, because I've really enjoyed being able to help out party members in a pinch. Usually it's like a free pot in a raid situation if things get hairy, or can save my butt in a PvP encounter.

If you're looking for more of a straight raid DPS spec, I'd probably take the points out of Rune Tap and Chillblains for sure and try to put them to use in the unholy tree prolonging your diseases or something of the like.

Other than the points I wasted in utility stuff, the rest are straight damage upgrades to the spells I plan to use. More on that in the rotation section

The Glyphs
Here are the glyphs I'm looking for to make this spec work for me:
Minors That Make a 'Lock Jealous


I pointed out earlier that one of my goals was to focus on a bursty, AoE type build. This is also reflected in my glyphs as I want DnD (I need to buy), I already have Pestilence (range extension is always good), and the new HB (might not be available for a while). All those glyphs should help my AoE damage.

Rune Tap is obviously picked for utility. If you don't like having that ability, there are definitely some other good glyphs out there. With how much I use Frost Strike, that glyph was a high contender for the spot.

Horn of Winter is a no brainer. Extremely useful, same with the Raise Dead glyph. Not having to carry around corpse dust? Yes please.

The Rotation
My rotation prior to the patch was pretty much IT > HB > BS > FS. Since this is primarily a "fun" toon, I didn't spend the time trying to match up cooldowns and come up with some perfectly fitting rune rotation. I've seen a lot of other blogs do that kind of thing and I don't really like it. It just seems to take so little to throw a lot of those rotations off. As such, I just wanted to find something that felt natural, lined up decently well, and wasn't a headache. Also, if things get hairy, I didn't want to be completely lost in a 8 button long rotation. Keep It Simple Stupid.

So my pre-patch rotation really exemplified this. It was a pretty simple priority based rotation, revolving around a few goals. First, I wanted to get my disease of choice up early since a lot of the other abilities had bonuses based off of it (this has since changed), therefore putting IT up early was a must. The bursty AoE of HB was then a next logical just to shoot every time it's off cooldown and frost fever is up.

I threw the Blood Strike in there to keep myself fresh with a death rune. I've found just doing one spreads them out nicely so I don't seem to run out of runes a whole lot. At the end of it all, I'll Frost Strike once or twice depending on where my runic power stands. Rinse, repeat. Simple.

Since IT has been nerfed and HB no longer receives a bonus based on the disease, I had to switch up my thinking a bit from before the patch. I still want to have my DoTs ticking becuase that's just a good idea. I decided though that the rotation could use a little something extra (and you'll see why), so now I'm going with this rotation: IT > Plague Strike > HB (or Obliterate) > BS > FSx2.

So this is a little more complicated. I added PS to put both of my diseases up. My OB seems to hit for a similar amount to my HB, so I mostly use HB unless AoE is a bad idea. When I do use OB though, it's good to have both diseases up. In that case, I'll throw in my BS before the OB so as not to waste the disease bonus. Otherwise, the same principles apply here and I'm usually racking up the RP for Frost Strikes quite nicely. We ran through OS-10 last night and it all seemed to flow very nicely without being too complex.

For AoE, I pretty much put up the diseases the same, then pop a pestilence to spread them, then HB. I'll throw down a DnD sometimes if I'm not worried about aggro (you have to be careful with it, since it is a high threat ability). The rotation doesn't really change a whole lot other than to make sure to get the diseases spread out. I haven't tried throwing in a blood boil either, though I might want to. Before it wasn't worth it, but it's been buffed a bit to offset the loss of pestilence damage.

It isn't the perfect gem of math that folks like The Stoppable Force might come up with, but it works and is a fun spec to play while doing respectable damage. How much? Well, lets move along to the last section I have for today.

Preliminary Damage Reports From The Field
Last night started off on my Warlock in VoA working hard on the second boss. I was very anxious to get some good, practical data as well as learn the new content. As with all learning situations, my numbers weren't going to be ideal representations of what I could do in this shiny new 3.1 world. We had a few good tries and the rotation definitely was simpler, easier to manage when you're learning new stuff. That's a perk. So was the 10k Drain Soul tick on trash. Overall though? I felt my numbers were a bit lower than expected.

I made some gear upgrades just before the patch hit that should have put me over the 3k mark for your average raid (doing a whole bunch more on gems such as Patchwerk). I expected to be above that mark, and I'm just not. I'm probably around 2.8k average. However, I have not been able to run a full Naxx yet, so its kind of hard to compare. I feel I need more data in a non-learning environment to really judge. The positive, though, was that with the simpler rotation, I felt that my damage numbers are evening out a bit. That is to say, I wasn't as abysmal on DPS even if I wasn't as high on the bosses. This gives me hope that in a better situation, I may find that I'm doing better on trash, worse on bosses, but the same overall.

When we went to OS-10, I switched to my DK to give it a try since my 'lock doesn't need anything in there. I'm still not very well geared, having about half my crap as raid items and the other half as quest blues and greens. A couple of the raid pieces are really tank pieces too. I certainly haven't gotten any tier gear yet. Even so, before the patch I was seeing numbers as high as 2.5k on my DK. It was completely OP. A similarly geared melee would be far far worse. I knew a nerf was coming and it did.

However, I'm happy to say that it really seems to be an appropriate nerf. I ran with a slightly better geared unholy/blood DK last night, and was fighting with him on the meters, hovering around a 2k average. This tells me that my spec is at least as viable as the cookie-cutter that he was using, so that's a good thing. Plus, the 2k number isn't unreasonable for my gear level. In fact, its pretty respectable. I was very pleased that I was able to keep the playstyle that I enjoy and not have found it nerfed to the ground.

In short, now that that servers seem to be evening out, I need more data. I need more runs. However, the preliminary indications are mostly positive. Even if both of my classes seem to have taken a slight hit, there are good things there and I'm confident it'll work.

(Update June 8, 2009: I seem to be getting a lot of traffic through here still, so I wanted to link to a post I made more recently in which I give an update on how I'm doing my rotation.)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Affliction Warlock Spec and Rotation For 3.1

19 comments
(Updated for 3.2 - there weren't any Warlock changes to affect this)

All right, this is it. The big one. Everything you want to know about how to set up your Affliction warlockery in the 3.1 World...of Warcraft.

The Spec
(Edit: This spec was more of utility spec and I think a lot of people were wanting more of a raiding spec... that can be found here, as I have since revisted and cleaned up my spec for raid purposes)
First off, spec. The tree didn't get a full makeover, but it did get airbrushed quite a bit. My pre-3.1 spec was a bit messy too, as I'd been holding off for the patch to clean it up for raiding. As of Tuesday, though, its here! So, after much thought, I'm running a 61/0/10 spec. Here is the work-friendly pic of that spec (wowhead was a bit messy, so my destro stuff got a bit clipped, I think it works though):
62/0/10

I didn't take the Amp'd Curse route or Recklessness, they're just not worth the points, imo. I also am not concerned about push back (especially with the new limit of 2 pushbacks per cast if you're getting hit), in a raid environment, I shouldn't get hit very much. Thus, not really worth the points either.

I'm still choosing to make up 3% spell hit with my talent choice. I've always felt it is better to spend the points here, get capped earlier, and then work on stacking spell power and other good stats instead of wasting time trying to find an excessive amount of hit, especially since it comes with a bonus mana-reduction (though that's not really a big deal). As I get better and better gear, the hit may come naturally, but I've shimmied it down in my stat priorities after capping in order to stack other stats and open up more gear choices.

I basically specced up to get haunt, getting all the talents that I felt improved the spells I planned to use in my rotation along the way, and then spent ten points in the destro tree before filling up my "optional" affliction talents. The ten points spent in destro are directly applicable to my shadowbolts, which are a must in the new rotation. Other than that, though, I didn't feel the urge to go any deeper into destro. Thus, I was sitting with some extra points on my hands.

I wanted to get my instant howl of terror because I feel safer with it, so I spent two points there. I popped one point in improved fear to be able to proc the nightmare slowing effect should I need to use fear. I picked up Demonic Pact because there are just some fights when I feel life tapping puts undue strain on my healers, or I'm just taking a lot of AoE damage and don't want to have to make a choice between dieing or being OOM. Perhaps it is because I don't manage my rotations well enough, but I've always just found it comforting to have.

At this point, I had one point left, so I slapped it in Improved Life Tap because I didn't really feel like putting it anywhere else. This is probably a questionable move since I ran without the talent before and never had issues. Plus, when I'm able to get the glyph (and maybe the T7 bonus too), extra life tapping isn't completely bad. Still, I think numbers have been shown that less life tapping is still better for your DPS. More on that in a moment.

Thus, I had 5 points that I would call "optional" for a raiding affliction 'lock. I think the other talents are all well worth the points, though I may be wrong. This is certainly the spec that fits my playstyle, and hopefully can at least get you started on your own. I'm definitely open for constructive criticism :-).

The Glyphs
Moving on to Glyphs, here is what I'm shooting for:
Out with the old, in with the new.

I currently have Corrpution, Drain Soul, Souls, and UB... as well as Siphon Life and Shadowbolt. Obviously I'm going to get rid of those last two in favor of the new ones as soon as I can. I will likely not use the Curse of Agony glyph because I always want to choose glyphs that I will get the most use out of. Curses are really my lowest priority spell (except in terms of making sure not to clip and such when it is up). I don't use them on trash a lot of times because it dies too fast, and on bosses, sometimes I'm the one putting up CotE, etc. I just don't feel like popping a glyph in there that may be useless for a lot (or even some) of the time. This may be a bad idea, but it makes sense in my head.

I really wish we got some new choices for minor glyphs. I keep looking at my DK ones and seeing how ridiculously useful they are (ghouls without dust, that's like a must have for any DK... why not demons without shards or something?). However, in the absence of good minor glyphs, the ones I have are situationally useful. I would still trade just about any of them in a heartbeat.

The Rotation
As you've probably heard for a while now, the Affliction rotation was greatly simplified in 3.1. Siphon Life was changed from a spell into a talent (update your macros!!), making its healing a side-effect of Corruption. Unstable Affliction and Immolate now occupy the same "slot" on mobs, meaning you have to choose between one or the other. Shadowbolting and Drain Souling were given some buffs to compensate for the removal of spells (as well as allowing Corr and UA crits). With all this in mind, and after some fiddling with a dummy, we now see a rotation that looks like this:

Corr > Haunt > Shadowbolt > UA > CoA > SB filler until refresh

As I've mentioned in the past, I put Corruption first to "set it and forget it". Normally this is done while positioning myself (thus I'm on the move and can't sit through the cast times for H and SB yet). For more complicated positioning I'll sometimes even put up my Curse early too, just to not waste that time. Other rotations may recommend leading off with H and SB to get your shadow's embrace effect up right away. That's fine, but you're not hurting anything by leading off with a couple instants as the subsequent ticks should be affected by the embrace (and the Haunt bonus) just the same (someone correct me if they know otherwise, that is how I understand the mechanic though).

This rotation is short enough that you will probably use the same idea on both bosses and trash (depending on length of life). For shorter living mobs, I'll leave off my curse first, then UA if its exceptionally short. Also, if I'm responsible for CotE, I try to put it up earlier in my rotation for the benefit of others, but if that throws you off, you can just sub it in for CoA. As I understand it, the curse of the elements mechanic is the same as Haunt and S-embrace (that is to say, they're not like a trinket which affects your base stats of spell power, etc, they are a percentage multiplier that affects each tick as long as they are active).

While we're on the topic of trinkets, lets look at that mechanic real quick. You should always pop your trinkets BEFORE casting your fist DoTs as trinkets modify the base stats (i.e. spell power) off which your DoT damage will be determined (how's the for alliteration?). In the same vein, the life tap glyph (and T7 bonus) operates like a trinket (as I understand it), thus it is a good idea to lead off with a life tap as well. Thus your baseline spell power will be at its highest before applied your DoTs (giving them the best possible ticks).

Currently, I macro any "poppable" trinkets to my Corruption key, so that when I lead off with Corr, it pops my trinket right before the cast (put the "use" function before the "cast" function and you should be fine). I actually don't think I have any poppable ones right now though. When I get hooked up with the Life Tap glyph, I plan on "leading off" with a quick tap before setting up my Dots to get the short spell power bonus. I may even switch my trinket bind to my life tap key (!), but I'm not that crazy yet.

As far as whether you should throw in a life tap EVERY rotation, I'm not so sure. Initially, I thought: Sure! I want to keep that bonus up. However, I've been since told that math has been done (I believe at EJ) to the tune that losing extra GCDs to unnecessary life taps offsets any bonus you gain by keeping that "trinket" popped. I don't personally have the information for it, and would invite any of my readers who do have the hard math to either let me know in comments or email as I'm sure there are a lot of interested warlocks.

As it stands, I plan to just life tap as usual (as needed) and enjoy the bonus when it comes, with the exception of leading off with a life tap immediately before a fight starts (thus no GCD is wasted because you did it before the fight), and trying to insert my necessary tapping right before refreshing any DoTs if I can help it.

Finally, whenever ANY mob is below 25% health, you want to replace your SB filler with drain soul ticks. Basically, when you get to the point your rotation where you would normally squeeze in a SB, you should pop on drain soul. I believe the ticks are between 2-3 seconds (depending on your haste), so it's almost a 1 tick for 1 shadowbolt trade (not quite, but close). And the damage! The reason we wait until 25% health is because that is the point where our talents improving the spell kick in. Thus, if my shadow bolt is CRITTING for 5k, I may see a NORMAL drain soul tick around 8-9K. That's 3k extra damage!

Obviously these numbers will change based on gear level, but the point is that draining takes the place of your shadow bolt spam because it just plain hits for more at that point per tick without sacrificing much time. Recall, however, that the damage is multiplied by the number of DoTs you have up, so you still want to keep all your DoTs up (and may want to toss a bolt in there in the normal spot of the rotation in order to keep SE up too), thus you will probably need to interrupt the spell with refresh casts (especially on longer living bosses). This is okay, just try to do it immediately following a tick. Look for the 9k monster numbers popping up for indication of a tick (depending on your UI setup, mine do the normal float-above-the-head thing).

Even with all this, the rotation ends up being easier in the long run since most of this stuff is what we'd be doing anyways. You still will want to throw in your night fall procs. You still want to avoid black holes of death. We're just watching fewer timers and having more time for filler and gathering our wits.

I didn't get to raid last night because our server was flaking out (so much so that I spent the night playing EVE instead because we got stuck in three different instances without being able to do much of anything). Therefore, I don't really have good test numbers yet, only what I've done in the environment and on dummies. Also, can someone who can access wowhead double check the tooltips for the two talents that modify drain soul? The lower tier one is soul siphon and the higher one is death's embrace, I believe. I thought I remembered reading that soul siphon kicked in at 35% health and am not sure about death's embrace. If so, we want to start drain souling at 35% and not 25% (as is popularly believed). I want to make sure I'm not telling everyone wrong here :-).

As always, feel free to leave me any questions or comments and I'll see what I can do. Tomorrow I plan to have the DK version of this marathon of information up.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Create Your Own Azeroth: The Man In The Shield

11 comments
Last time, on CYOA, as written by Samodean of Hardcore Casual: Click Here.

And now, as the saga continues to unfold:

Shaking his head, Corrigan reaches for his Shield. He surveys the front, catching his own disheveled reflection in the polished steel. Not liking what he sees there, he quickly throws his arm through the inner strap, slinging the shield over his right shoulder.

"What is a soldier of the light if not a shield for those in need?" he mumbles to himself in an effort to steel himself for what he knows is on the horizon.

Pushing back the flap of the tent, he exits into the bright sunlight, squinting as the rays assault his foggy brain. Surveying the walls of the hold around him, the Commander attempts to take a mental inventory of the situation.

Men, women, and children run frantically here and there about Corrigan as he stands rooted in place. The few soldiers that notice the Commander stop for a moment, looking at him expectantly before hustling away to continue whatever it was they were doing. The troops and citizens alike are very obviously at a loss for leadership, and Corrigan shakes his head again in disgust with himself.

The priest, Rondrey, appears at his side, having waited just outside the tent for Corrigan to prepare himself. He places his hand on Corrigan's arm and says simply, "As you can see, the men need you, Commander." He gestures vaguely towards the north.

A cloud of dust rises over the northwestern gate, and the sound of a struggle drifts from that direction, letting Corrigan know where the heat of the battle seems to be occurring. Even as he is watching, the wooden gate is beginning to deform against the onslaught. From experience, he knows it will only be moments before the scourge come pouring through the gate like a rotting river, come to claim more victims to bolster their grim ranks.

Looking up at the sky, he makes note that the sun is yet a few hours from its apex. Remembering what the old priest had told him, he fires back, "Rondrey, you fool, they will not be through in a few hours. They're coming NOW."

Even as he says this, a loud cracking noise resounds through the camp. Screams rise from the women as they cluster with their children. Savage roars burst from the throats of the men in response, their willingness to protect their loved ones driving them into a righteous rage.

Corrigan observes all this dispassionately, as he has seen it all before. He tries to find empathy in his cold heart, but finds only the dizziness of rum. Clearing his mind, he focuses on the task at hand. It is obvious the hold is to be overrun. What remains now is escape and taking as many people with him as he can. Disgustedly, he realizes he is not so much concerned with the lives of the people, rather he does not want to see the scourge force grow in number.

He decides now is the time for action. Sprinting forward, he quickly arrives before the gate, which has splintered down the middle. Valiantly, men fight in the breech, momentarily halting the forward progress of the enemy forces.

"Men," Corrigan bellows, "hold this front. Archers and scouts follow me, we shall evacuate the citizens. Once we are clear, make your retreat however you see fit. We shall rendezvous in three days time at the Temple." Perhaps the dragons will be of some assistance to us, he muses. "May the Light be with you!"

A pitifully small number of men break off from the defenders and follow Corrigan as he sprints towards the back of the hold where the women and children have gathered. Looking at the dishevelled townspeople in front of him, he feels his first pang of guilt at having let the situation deteriorate to this. Quickly, though, he pushes his self-loathing from his mind and makes a mental note of the number now under his protection.

"We are to make our way to the Temple," he announces. "Gather your belongings and prepare to move quickly. Take only what is necessary!"

As the citizens begin to group up, Corrigan directs half of the his troops to the rear and the other half to the front with him, sandwiching the citizens in between. Satisfied with the arrangement, he nods and turns to face Rondrey, who has been shadowing him at his side.

"Are you prepared, Priest," Corrigan asks.

"Sure, but the question remains: are you?" Rondrey fires back.

"Of course I am," Corrigan says, eyeing the Priest. "This isn't my first battle, Rondrey."

"Right, Commander," Rondrey says sarcastically, "then through which gate shall we make our timely escape. To the East, or to the South?"

YOU CONTROL THE FATE OF CORRIGAN AND THE TOWNSFOLK

If you choose East, the story continues here at Me and My Ghoul.

If you choose South, the story continues here at Circumspect Snug.

Interested in participating? Check out our message board. Always looking for more authors.

Initial Impressions

6 comments
I'm not going into detail today as I'm preparing posts for both Thursday and Friday about things such as 9k average Drain Soul tics, affliction warlock and frost dk specs, and my initial raid impressions, but I wanted to share a short first impression.

For Warlocks: I have a spec I really like, I will publish it probably tomorrow, and I'm raiding tonight to really give it the true test. With half of my addons still broken (including my all-important DoT timer and necrosis), I don't think I'm playing at full strength yet. We ran a ten man VoA last night (even attempting the new boss a few times) to get the hang of things, and so far I'm not sure. It certainly doesn't look like an overall buff. If anything my damage dropped or stayed the same. It's hard to tell right away. The rotation is definitely simpler though, almost to the point where I don't like it because I feel like I'm constantly missing things that need to be updated (part of that is probably due to my DoT timers being borked). More on this after I run a full 25-man Naxx raid tonight.

For DPS DKs: I basically kept my Frost DPS build with a slight PvP slant. I added PS to my rotation. I'll be publishing this spec and such on Friday probably. So far it feels like a nerf, but that was to be expected. I think it is an appropriate nerf, as before I felt I was doing far more damage than my crappy gear warranted. Now, I think its about right, and I get to keep most of the skills I enjoyed. I'm still running a 2H build as I just have better weapons for that right now. I probably won't get a good test of this spec in a raid environment for a bit.

The posts for tomorrow and Friday will probably both be large, and then I may refine them with subsequent posts, but I want to get the information out there to build on. I definitely love to hear feedback from the community, so feel free to drop a comment off if you see me doing something dumb :-).

CYOA is coming up shortly... hope you enjoy my little creative writing jaunt.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

3.1 Warlocky Patch Notes

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Darraxus the Warrior is my hero for reproducing the Patch Notes in their entirety... here are the aff'lock ones for your viewing pleasure in their raw form. For other classes, feel free to visit his site.

Warlocks
Banish: Now has a 6-second PvP duration.
Curse of the Elements (Rank 5): Increased to 13% spell damage, up from 10%.Curse of Recklessness has been removed.
Curse of Weakness: Now also reduces the armor of the target by 5%.
Drain Soul: Each time Drain Soul deals damage to a target which can grant experience, it now has a chance to generate a Soul Shard.
Enslave Demon: Spell haste penalty reduced by 10%. Melee haste penalty reduced by 10%.
Doomguard: Cooldown reduced to 30 minutes, down from 60 minutes. Damage reduced approximately 30%, and health reduced approximately 30%.
Warlocks now innately have an increased 10% spell hit chance on the Enslave Demon spell.
Fire Shield (Imp): You can now cast this ability on raid members, rather than party members.
Ritual of Summoning: The summoning of the initial portal is now instant cast, down from 5 seconds.
Soul Shard: This item now has a maximum count of 32 in inventory.
Voidwalker: The health bonus on this pet has been reduced from 60% to 10%.

Talents
Affliction
Eradication: Whenever you deal damage with Corruption, you have a 6% chance to gain the Eradication effect. The Eradication effect increases your spell casting speed by 6/12/20% for 10 seconds. Internal cooldown removed.
Haunt: Now only increases your shadow damage-over-time spells on the target.
Malediction: No longer increases the effect of Curse of the Elements, but now also increases the periodic critical strike chance of your Corruption and Unstable Affliction spells by 3/6/9%.
Pandemic: This talent has been reduced to a 1-point talent. Now grants your Corruption and Unstable Affliction the capability to critically hit.
Shadow Embrace: Now only increases the damage done by your shadow damage periodic spells.
Siphon Life: The Siphon Life spell has been removed. Siphon Life now causes your Corruption spell to instantly heal you for 40% of the damage done. In addition, the damage done by your Corruption, Seed of Corruption and Unstable Affliction damage-over-time effects is increased by 5%.
Soul Siphon redesigned: Increases the amount drained by your Drain Life and Drain Soul spells by an additional 3/6% for each of your Affliction effects on the target, up to a maximum of 9/18% additional effect.
Suppression: Now increases spell hit for all of your spells.Unstable Affliction and Immolation are now in the same exclusive category (both damage- over- time effects cannot be present at the same time by the same caster on a target).

ZOMG 3.1

14 comments
So it looks like I'll probably be playing EVE tonight ;-p.

If, by some previously unforseen stroke of luck, the servers are all working tonight, I will be speccing and trying out the new stuff. Tomorrow is CYOA day, so look for impressions on Thursday regardless of the status tonight. Wednesday night we raid anyways, so that'll be the "field test".

For Affliction Warlocks: Don't believe all the negative hype. We've always been better than it. Check the final patch notes, but we're probably moving to a five spell rotation to look something like this: Corr, Haunt, SB, UA, (curse)... refresh as needed. I always lead off with Corr while I'm getting set up, otherwise its good to put H and SB first for the embrace effect. Curse choice is completely still based on situations, sometimes I don't even use it on trash (if it's not going to live for >20s, it's probably not worth it, IMO). If you had points in the destro tree for SB spell hit, you may be able to move them around now. I'd suggest looking to improve your bolts in the destro tree with any extra points you have laying around, as I think we're going to be more dependant on them as filler. Don't freak out when SL is gone and you get healed by Corruption. (More specifics after I see the official notes and get to try it out)

For Frost DPS DKs: We're screwed pretty much from what is expected to hit. I'm going to try and figure out something where I can still use howling blast and frost strike along with IT in a rotation because I like them. It may or may not be top DPS viable. Expect wailing and grinding of teeth here. If all else fails... I'll go back to blood.

I haven't yet seen official notes and probably won't until after work since everything is blocked, so I can't say I know all the implications for sure, only what trends I've seen on the PTR with what it seems Blizz "wants to do". I think its obvious Affliction 'locks will get some DoTs removed from the rotation and will see increased shadow bolt usage. We may even be enticed to pull out some new pets. Be ready for your numbers to take an initial dip, but I think we'll figure it out. Also, don't be scared when all the destro and demo fanboys run back to their trees :-). The DK changes, on the other hand, are just too gigantic to wrap you mind around. Basically, DKs have been OP as we all know, and they're going to get reigned in and refined a bit. They're still a young class, so cut Blizz some slack. Look for the Frost talents to be slimmed down to be pointed more towards tanking and DW builds, though I'd still like to work some stuff out with 2 handers (they just seem to be easier to get).

My raiding outlet is just getting ramped up in 25-man Naxx, so we're probably still a ways off from Ulduar. I'll be looking for some of the best approaches and maybe getting a 10-man group going soon. I can't wait for my first look at it, though I'm sure others will be completely done by then.

It's 10AM... is anyone else ready to be done with work for the day and go home to sit at a loading screen? Or watch that site that tells you if the servers are up or down (yep, blocked at work)? Fuu, plan on ordering out tonight ;-).

Monday, April 13, 2009

A Case of The Mondays

4 comments
Last week Stop recommended the Mirror of Truth trinket for its 1000AP boost. I wanted to point out that there is another similar trinket at the PvP vendor in Wintergrasp, the Titan's Anvil. It is pretty much the same 1000AP boost with some resilience added on. Good stuff, especially if you're not badge heavy.

No one raids on Easter. We tried, but not enough people. 25-man Naxx continues tonight. *shrug*

I get the day after Easter off as a corporate holiday. *doubleshrug*

Wednesday will be story time here as I continue the "Create Your Own Azeroth" series. If you haven't seen any of them yet, the first installment can be found here. Every Wednesday, the next part should show up on the site that was tagged. This week it is me, so be ready for some story telling goodness to show up on Wednesday. I'm going to try and work on that today.

Also, don't be surprised if the patch comes out tomorrow or next Tuesday. Rumor has it that those are the likely dates.

Otherwise, not much else going on around these parts. Got any warlocky or Death Knight questions? Now would be a good time to shoot them my way :-D.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter

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From us here at KeS to you and yours: Happy Easter.

We hope the holiday finds you happy, healthy, and with those you love.

Friday, April 10, 2009

3.1 Toon Preview Brought To You By Fear.Win

1 comments
Abi has questions... we've got answers...

For Fulguralis:
  1. What spec are you currently? - Let me look... oh right, Affliction. Deep Affliction. To the tune of 63/0/8. I picked up only Bane and Cataclysm in the Destro tree for the obvious benefits. Other than that... straight affliction baby.
  2. How long have you used this spec and why did you choose it? - I've been Affliction since day one, almost a year and half ago now. I love my spec, no doubt about it. I'd have to say it was fate. When leveling, those talents just appealed to me, so I put the points there. Since then, I've tried other classes and specs and just never liked any of them as much.
  3. What are you most unhappy with in your current spec? - Like most aff'locks, I get upset that my DPS takes such a large hit from any interruption due to its complexity. However, I don't want to QQ to the extent that we lose our identity, since the complexity is part of what I like about it. It's a double edged dagger and we'll see how it turns out in 3.1. I also wish I didn't feel so useless on short lived trash. I'd love to have a bursty AoE like an arcane explosion only totally full of shadow and win.
  4. What spec will you be taking in 3.1? - I will be going with the same one. I was Affliction when it wasn't cool, I will always be Affliction.
  5. If you plan on dual speccing, what will be your offspec? - I'm going to muck around with a Meta/Ruin spec for PvP and perhaps PvE trash fun. Mostly I just want to be able to turn into a demon to scare people before I get clothie squished in BG's and such. I want to dual spec just to be able to play with my "non-raid" spec.
For Decedereful:
  1. What spec are you currently? - Frost, 18/53/0. I love the bursty AoE damage of Howling Blast and the simplicity of the spec. Plus I feel like I have a lot of utility in a PvP environment as a DK in general, but also with my Frost talents. I also picked up some of the useful Blood ones.
  2. How long have you used this spec and why did you choose it? - I changed from Blood about two levels before 80 because I had tried out a Frost spec on another server and loved it. I may go back to Blood after the patch (it may ruin my Frost build), as I really liked that spec too.
  3. What are you most unhappy with in your current spec? - Not too much, it's a great facerolling spec that allows me to do damage far above my gear level. I'm sure that's why it is getting nerfed in 3.1. I guess we'll see.
  4. What spec will you be taking in 3.1? - I'm going to try to salvage some sort of Howling Blast inclusive Frost spec first, then maybe go to Blood if its completely borked.
  5. If you plan on dual speccing, what will be your offspec? - I'll probably set up a tanking build for the utility aspect.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

3.1 Off-spec: What are you rollin with?

4 comments

Since Abigore over at Fear.Win is trying to figure out some fun facts about his readers and about the upcoming patch, I figured that I might as well humor him. Even though I’m a Paladin and not a snot nosed ‘lock, I will answer his questions none the less.

1) What spec are you currently?

I am currently running with the 5-60-6 build and I really enjoy it. It gives me everything that I need to mitigate a TON of damage while cause gobs of threat.

2) How long have you used this spec and why did you choose it?

Ever since I rolled my paladin, I’ve been Prot specced. Paladins have had their fair share of buffs & nerfs so of course there have been many respeccs. I’ve stayed with this build ever since WotLK.

3) What are you most unhappy with in your current spec?

To be honest, I am completely happy with my spec. I have the ability to Main Tank anything in Naxx (10-25 man) without too much fuss. I have plenty of “Oh S*%$” buttons at my disposal to get through enrages or times when the healer needs help. The only thing that I would really enjoy would be some sort of Silence for Caster pulls but I will be receiving that with 3.1. My Avengers Shield will be Silencing anything that I hit (well obviously if it’s not resisted or what not).

4) What spec will you be taking in 3.1?

Since I’m horribly in love with tanking, I will continue to tank throughout the rest of Fuubaar’s Wow career. I know that my tree is getting a makeover so I will probably be messing around with that for a while.

5) If you plan on dual speccing, what will be your offspec?

This will be the hardest question to answer. I know that I will probably dual spec some sort of Ret/Holy concoction that I can use in Raid for DPS when we don’t need me as a tank but I can off heal if the healers need a hand. I also like to PvP so maybe I’ll bring back the Shockidan? Who knows… I’m just excited that I get to be useful when an extra tank isn’t needed in a fight. I will definitely keep you up to date on my findings to my pursuit to the perfect off-spec for me.

Fulguralis will most likely make a post about this as well so I image when he wakes up, you will find his answers as well.

(Edit from Ful: I take no responsibility for Fuu's "snot nosed" comment. Please send all severed heads with attn:Fuubaar on them please. I'll use them for fun after she's be thoroughly grossed out. Also, look for my answers to pop up tomorrow.)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Short DPS Status Update

5 comments
Last night I got to run VoA and OS with both my Warlock and my DK. The 'lock was on the 25-man versions and the DK on the 10-mans.

For my Warlock, I'm topping out around 3.1k DPS for most boss encounters (in nearly all 10-man purples, I believe I have two heroic blues left, only two T7.1 pieces too). Trash hurts me, as I usually average around 2.5k. All in all, I was top five on the DPS charts all night, so I'm pretty pleased considering some of them had 25-man gear and I have yet to pick up such a piece. Our first allied venture into 25-man Naxx will be tonight, and it should prove to be a good one. I'm looking forward to the badges and the chance at gear, plus the challenge of something "new". Rumor has it Ulduar is coming in another week or so (perhaps next Tuesday?), and my Warlock can't wait. The changes may or may not be good, but he thrives on new content.

For the DK, it's good news all around. I picked up two new significant gear upgrades. The first is the 2H axe off of Kel'Thuzad "Death's Bite". Awesome axe. Then with my honor I picked up a cape with some hit rating and AP on it from the PvP honor vendors in SW. I slapped a haste enchant on that baby (cuz I had the mats and haste isn't bad for a piece of PvP gear), and then ventured into the instances. Keep in mind that I'm still sporting about half greens, yet I was solidly over 2k DPS for most of the night, topping out around 2.4k. The nice part is that my DPS seems nearly consistent across trash and bosses. I've never had that before, being an aff'lock my whole WoW life. On one hand, I'm sad not to see the boss DPS spike. On the other, it's nice to feel useful on trash.

My DK is dreading the patch, when my beloved frost DPS spec gets totally turned on its head. Right now I love it for both PvE and PvP. Frost strike will give you some ridiculous critage and is great for getting those killing blows.

I'm anxiously awaiting a post today by Samodean over at Hardcore Casual. When you see it, you'll know why, so I encourage anyone who doesn't routinely check out his site to head over there later today and see if his Wednesday post is up. I especially encourage WoW bloggers who may be interested in doing something creative and fun on Wednesday. In any case, I dont' want to spoil it before he's got it up...

Finally, if EVE Online has ever interested you, here is a website that was passed to me that has EVE questions for WoW players. There's some good info there on a good non-WoW blog if you're like me and think space is cool too. Plus, it has the added bonus of giving you something else to focus on instead of gnawing your figures off and QQ'ing to Blizz about getting that damned patch out. :-)