Thursday, December 31, 2009

Lady Deathwhisper: a DPS DK Perspective

The second installment of Icecrown Citadel for DPS DKs is here!
While I've cleared the 10 man version weekly, it was just this week that I found a group to clear the 25 man version, so I'm sure I'll be finding further ways to optimize my play as we go. If anything major comes up later, I can always add a post.

The second fight in Icecrown Citadel is Lady Deathwhisper, a lich. As I'm sure you know by now, my goal is not to cover the fight in general as there is plenty of available info elsewhere. You're here for some thoughts on how to maximize your performance as a DK.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Home at last!

Yes! I've found a home for my DK!

.... and how were your holidays by the way? :)

My biggest wow present was finally finding a home for my Death Knight.

And what a long, strange journey it has been.

Here's the short version.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Time to Switch-Hit?

"Mom, Dad, sit down. I have something to tell you."

"What is it, Sweetheart? You know we love you."

"Um, er, well.... I can't keep it in any longer. I'm not an Alliance player any more. I play For The Horde, now."

*Mom faints*

First of all, this is far less RP than it sounds. In fact, it's quite the opposite.
In my search for a raiding home for my DK, I've met with nothing but ...... emptiness. My requirement that first pull be no earlier than 9:30pm PST exludes me from most serious raiding guilds. The few that have been recruiting are either full on DKs or (in one case) silent in response to my app. I have one last Hail Mary out there with an Oceanic guild - would be fun to run with some Aussies and Kiwis - but if that doesn't pan out..... there's always the Horde?!?

There are a number of Horde late night raiding guilds that start late enough that are currently recruiting. They have shown the progression I'm looking for (4/5 TOGC25, 4/4 ICC first week). Now that we have faction transfers, it's an option right?

Well, it hasn't been for me. I've always been an Alliance player. I've done my duty despising the Horde. If there was anything I've bought into the RP on, it was Horde-hatred. So for me to switch, well, let's just say I don't like the idea.

It would be un-RP for me play for the other side.
But I wants to raid!

I guess we'll see...

Monday, December 21, 2009

Lord Marrowgar: a dps DK Perspective

Icecrown is here! If you're a raiding DK, you've been inside to see what the fuss is about. If you're lucky, you've been able to clear the first wing, and are eagerly awaiting the second wing, coming soonTM!
In my guild limbo situation, I've managed to clear the first ICC10 wing on my DK and shaman, but not having a full raid means I've only managed to pug 25 man and only get past Lord Marrowgar.

In any case, it's time for the first ICC dps DK perspective!

The first fight in Icecrown Citadel is Lord Marrowgar, a nasty bone lord. I'm sure you know the fight in general, and there's lots of info out there now, so I won't review it. You're here for some thoughts on how to maximize your performance as a DK. I've got a few thoughts, and as we repeat the fight some more, I'm sure I'll think of a few more things. I'll probably revisist everything once heroic modes are unlocked. Feel free to chime in with ideas!

Frostmourne and primordial saronite

Talk about the ultimate gold sink.
Any warrior, paladin, or DK aspiring to Frostmourne can start their primordial saronite collection now.
On most servers, the item is running from 2500-4500 gold.

First of all, when I found out the item was boe, I thought "if Blizzard wants to eliminate gold selling, don't they realize this decision alone will provide a HUGE boost to gold selling?"

Susan, the ubiquitous gold selling advertiser in trade, /yell, and /say, advertises their gold at about $7-15 per 1000g.

If you have no gold to start with, assuming you pay $10 per 1000g, and pay an average of 3500g per Saronite, that's about $875 to buy the materials for Shadow's Edge! And the sad thing is, many people are going to do this. (side note, the non-raid version, Quel'Delar, is running about $10-15k for the battered hilt - about $100-150 real dollars if you buy the gold).

I don't like the decision to make the item boe, but it is what it is. It certainly makes 'farming' gold easy, when someone can do the random daily heroic on 5 alts for 12 days and have about 15,000 gold from the emblems -> saronite alone. When people start really grasping this, it will drop the prices of saronite somewhat, but I doubt it will go much below 1-2k on most servers.

At any rate, the first part of the quest for the legendary becomes 'soloable' - in that you can get the primordial saronite without being in a raid. After that, you do have to get a competent raid group that can kill some raid bosses and so on, but that part shouldn't be too hard.

In any case, I do plan to buy the occasional primordial saronite. I'm no Gevlon - I'm not gold capped and I never will be - but I do find it easy to make gold in game and have had ~30,000g sitting on my main bank alt wating for 3.3, so I'll buy them as the prices drop a bit and see what happens when shadowfrost starts dropping.

It seems at least Shadow's Edge is somewhat accessible, even if I'm very unlikely to personally sniff Shadowmourne until after the next expansion.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Chiming In

Probably the most popular blog topic of the week (and last) has been the new LFG system. What?!? Not the new raid Instance, Icecrown Citadel? We're talking about Practice (Iverson lovers/haters, unite) - we're talking about running old content, over and over and over, and we're obssessed with it!

Blizzard clearly has a win here, people. I doubt the 5-man heroics have been run more at any time in the game. The ease of matching, combined with the rewards means that virtually everyone with an 80 is at least going to do the random daily. Raiders kitted out in full T9 (and even the first few pieces of T10) are chain-running heroics. Wow. So the system works.

How about the quality of the experience?

It seems to be a bit of a mixed bag.

On a personal note

You haven't seen much of my primary focus topic here 
recently - raiding as a dps DK - because I still haven't
found a long term home for raiding. 


There are a few RL concerns, like working a fair 
bit of possibly getting a business started for my spouse, 
but mostly it's been that I'm in limbo. 

I've managed to do a couple quick n dirty ICC10 clears 
of the first 4 bosses, and last night did get Marrowgar 
down in a pug/alt run, but it's hard to think about and 
organize some good raid-related posts right now. 

Hopefully I'll have a home for Hinenuitepo soon and I 
can settle down to write some more about raiding.

Just a couple extremely brief comments here:
1. Unholy post nerf is doing ok, even though it feels
like it lacks a heavy hitter now, and single target 
dps took a big hit. I actually came second on the meters in 
a full TOC25 (non-heroic) run this week. Yes, to 
a mutilate rogue.
2. I think blood will be top single target dps in the 
second half of Icecrown, and late in heroic IC25, 
dual wield may become viable again. 
3. I see no reason to do frost right now unless your 
raid needs the buff or it's a huge preference for 
you in terms of playstyle. It just offers less in 
single target dps, sustained aoe, and simplicity of 
maintaining the dps priority. 

More on all of those later, when I sort out a few things. 

Friday, December 11, 2009

Tamarind's Topic

Or, Why Sissy Robe Wearers Should (Wo)man up and Do It From Behind.

Tam's 'gift' to us bloggers is to hand out topics for us to write on.
I could make the snide comment that he gets more traffic this way, but then I'd have to look at my stats and see that this little project will probably net him 3 referrals from me while I'll get a hundred from his site for this project. :)
That, and while I only have to write one blog in response, he has to read dozens of blogs, try to understand the Gestalt of the author, and then give them a topic that is appropriate to them. Dang good work, Tam.

For the record, here's his 'assignment:'

DPS, right – I don’t get it. I know you have a broad selection of alts but whenever you write about DK DPS you light up like some of pinball machine when you hit the high score so it’s pretty safe to assume that this your major WoW passion. I don’t get the appeal of making the big green bar go down as opposed to to all the little green bars go up – and certainly don’t get why you’d want to do so by hitting the boss in the backside with a sword, as opposed to safely, at a distance, with magic. What’s the appeal? Why does it draw you more than any other role? And why should a confirmed sissy-robe wearer give it a go?

So, I'll do my best here to answer the unanswerable: if you don't 'get' melee dps, how can I convey my love for the role in ways that might help you 'get it' - even to the point of giving it a go?

The Short Reason Nerfs are Good

Within 20 minutes of logging onto my DK post 3.3 patch, I knew Scourge Strike was going to be hit with the nerf bat. Forum threads and Elitist Jerks ballyhoo ("DKs are sooooo OP") confirmed it, and the nerf hit fast, taking only slightly longer to address than the bug dropping Frost Orbs from all random pugs.

And it's a good thing Scourge Strike got nerfed. It's fun to be overpowered (as a blue recently posted regarding the nerf), but I'm relieved Scourge Strike got hit as quickly as it did.


Short answer:
When facerollers - UNSKILLED PLAYERS - can top the charts, then it's time for a change.

I like to top the meters. I haven't been second on overall damage for a full raid in quite some time (I have, however, been lower on individual fights many times). Sure, I know I've posted that DKs aren't overpowered any more. And the evidence remained throughout TOC/T9. Until 3.3, DKs were still only about the 5th best dps class on WMO and WOR parses. For the past two days, only mutilate rogues have topped them. I LIKE having to work hard for top spot. I LIKE competing with the rogues, mages, warriors and what have you. So when an untalented player can come in and be second to myself on their lousy, poorly played DK (this happened Tuesday in Archavon), it chaps my hide. Because then players start attributing my success and the success of my class to being overpowered, instead of to my skill. When one tree is so overpowered (in this case, unholy) that DKs from the other trees start jumping ship, then it's clear something needs to be done.

Thank you Blizz for stepping in quickly. I'll sleep better tonight knowing I'll have to actually play well to be on top, and not just sit there and bang 4 keys in succession.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The 'New' GoD in 3.3

Just prior to 3.3 going live, the theorycrafters were suggesting the glyphs best used by Unholy dps DKs would be Icy Touch, Dark Death, and Ghoul.
Once live hit, it became apparent just how powerful the new Scourge Strike is (unfortunately, this has lead to rampant speculation that a nerf is incoming). As such, Consider's wonderful thread on unholy dps has concluded that we DO need to use Glyph of Disease instead of Dark Death.

I previously mentioned that it's no longer possible to 'roll diseases.' In 3.2, pestilence refreshed your diseases at your original attack power - for me this was typically around 11-12k. This was too powerful, so in 3.3 Blizzard changed it. Glyph of Disease now allows you to refresh your diseases on your primary target (saving you a frost and unholy rune), but at your current attack power. Nonetheless, on live GOD is still worth using apparently. This is because saving the FU runes allows one more Scourge Strike in the rotation, which is tremendously powerful right now.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Icecrown Cometh!

While I remain in limbo/undecided to some extent on the guild front, it was nice to set that aside for a night and focus on.... CONTENT!!!!

Well, I spent 4 hours first negotiating with my computer to get it to patch the game, but eventually I was able to log on and see what Icecrown had to offer.

Several of the Snickerfritz folks (my current tag) remained online from their 25 man raid, so we formed a 10 man raid and hopped into the new raid.

I'm sure within 4 months we'll be 'whinging' for new content, but as far as new content goes, Icecrown is very very nice! It's a 'true'instance in the Ulduar and Black Temple tradition.

No more instance in a box! Very nice artwork over all. The high points artwise were the elevator up from Deathwhisper's chamber to the Ramparts. Very evocative of SSC, but quite evocative in general. The skull columns are pretty cool. The other great visual experience is the gunship. It's a fun - if simple encounter, but it's just stunning visually to be flying around on the ship, and jumping back and forth between the two.

As far as mechanics go, the Saurfang fight is the best. Once you learn the first three fights, they're fairly simple and the healing/tanking/dps requirements are fairly low. In fine Blizzard tradition, however, Saurfang is a bit of a gear check. DPS needs to be reasonably high and healing through the marks is fairly intense.

All told, the first wing delivers, and delivers well in my opinion. :)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Falling out

Fallout is no more.

Raid night three last week came and no priest signed on, so the raid leaders decided not to attempt Faction Champs.
We went to Ulduar, ostensibly to work on hard modes.

Two things happened:
1) multiple racial/religious/sexual comments continued to be made in various channels by some guildies
2) we wiped, repeatedly, on Freya trash. Trash that my old guild was aoeing with few to no deaths months and months ago.

After the 4th or 5th wipe, raid was called, and it was suggested that the raiders determine if they wanted to raid, and that if we don't focus, we'll fail.

The GM whispered me and asked if we could chat, so we hopped into a seperate vent channel to talk.

More to follow.... very soon :)

Ah, tumult!
Thou art my friend!

I've been busy both in RL and in game, so I've been working on a few posts but haven't published them. Hopefully today and tomorrow I'll get a few out.

My second raid was also interesting and a very short 'second impression' is worth posting seperately here, although I've been writing a much larger post that will follow shortly.

We gathered in the box that is TOC, and Lord Jaraxxus quickly bowed to our gathered might. One-shot it was, and it felt good.

However, as we gathered ourselves for the assault on the Faction Champs, it was quickly becoming clear that all was not well in Fallout-land.

Guild hop Haiku

In search of more progression
Death Goddess Hinenuitepo journeyed far and wide
an Oddessey as yet unfinished

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The New Guild: First Impressions

I hope I made some positive first impressions myself.

The first raid, which was a full toc25 clear, heroic Beasts, and attempts on heroic Lord Jaraxxus, went reasonably well for myself last night. I did make some uncharacteristic mistakes, like dying to an Icehowl charge because I was stuck behind an elemental and couldn't see him, and a poor Twin Valkyr performance due to aggro issues. Still, I was pleased with my overall work. I only died early a few times - and that's a few times more than normal - but I also did top the meters overall and managed to do the few specific tasks I was given pretty well (occupying the rogue during faction champs).
What about my thoughts on the new guild?

They're not as 'nice' as my old guild. For some, this would be very important. On the other hand, their 'not niceness' was in a raid, and mostly focused on calling people out for mistakes. They were very efficient at recovering from wipes, and overall displayed a more 'hard core' attitude of seriousness about downing bosses. Overall, the healers top to bottom healed better, and the dps was much deeper - while I did top the meters, the 17th dps actually did pretty decent dps as well.

We had some problems getting heroic Beasts down, and Lord Jaraxxus didn't go very well, but all in all for a night's raid, I was pleased to see the potential for progression. We should get LJ down tonight on heroic and spend some time working on heroic Faction Champs.
I'm hopeful - and optimistic - that we're set up well for progression in Icecrown.

3.3 PVE specs

3.3 specs
With the likely introduction of Icecrown Citadel next week, we'll be asking the question of what spec will be the most effective once again. Since I'm new in my guild, I'll have to be careful about my experimentation, but I do plan to examine each of the major raid specs in a raid situation once 3.3 goes live.

Next week you can expect to see me running the Elitist Jerks cookie-cutter Unholy spec. You can review Consider's excellent description of the spec here. If there's too much info there, the biggest change is that Scourge Strike has been hugely buffed and the mechanics of the attack have been changed. In addition, glyph of disease will no longer refresh at the original attack power, rather, it will refresh at the current attack power, making it a much weaker glyph for non-aoe fights. As a result, I'll be going back to a 2-hander spec to get the most benefit from huge Scourge Strike crits. At any rate, over the next few weeks, stay posted, and I'll be reviewing the various 3.3 specs on live servers in 'real' raids soon.

Guild Applications: Run the Gauntlet

So you want to join our Guild eh?

My recent guild swap directed my focus to getting people to like me.

I've been on both sides of the recruitment page.

My frequent moves and schedule changes over the wow-years has forced me to change guilds several times, and being an officer/GM in the past has meant that I've spent hours with bleeding eyes reading applications from hopefuls.

In light of that, and a few reminders from being on the applicant side of things this past week, I thought I'd share a few thoughts on presenting oneself well when apping to guilds, especially when you don't know anyone in the guild you're applying to.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Turning a new leaf/leave

So yes, I did decide after discussing more with my spouse and the traditional 'vent interview' to transfer to to a new guild. I did one last raid with my old guild and said my goodbyes.

I still feel very sad and somewhat guilty about leaving them. But I am looking forward to seeing what happens with the new guild.

Obviously I'm predicating much of this move on progression. I hope I get along with the new guildies and I hope I can keep in touch with some of the old. But if my new guild doesn't do well, then it's clearly my bad decision to move.

What do I hope to gain?
1) progression. I want to clear Icecrown not just on normal, but on heroic.
2) new friends - even though I'll miss the old.
3) a tiny improvement in schedule. Being a bit later on start time means just a little more time with the spouse after the kids are in bed.

What do I lose?
1) A good guild that was solid, if somewhat mediocre. Of course, they could certainly reverse that and if so, I missed out on the opportunity to be a part of it.
2) most of all, I'll lose the friends. That can't really be overstated, but once again, my personal choice is to progress. Definitely a tradeoff.

I'll keep you posted. :)