Thursday, February 25, 2010

Getting enough gold for a raider's appetites (or, 1k a day keeps the poorhouse away)

Much has been written on the subject of making gold and of course whole blogs have been dedicated to the subject.

Once upon a time the Goblin and Wowenomics were two of my favorite gold-themed sites. The former has generally stopped writing about making gold and the latter has unofficially closed it's doors (last post Nov 09). Wowenomics has a lot of really good links still to point towards a large number of money-making sites.

Currently I visit Marcko's site quite frequently to see what fresh gold-making ideas are out there. Contrary to what you might expect, however, I actively discourage taking the advice of MMO-Champion or on these topics, as they're so widely read that their advice tends to move markets to the point of unviability fairly quickly.

At any rate, if you are wanting to get into the Rockerfeller category, go to those other sites and do your own extensive research: my topic today is about making - for starters - enough to cover all the expenses of raiding semi to completely hard core.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

How much gold do you need?

Unfortunately this topic was doomed before I capitalized my "U," I know.
One always 'needs' more gold!

However, I'd like to take a quick stab at two simple questions that have not-so-simple answers.

..... and now that I'm actually writing the articles, this is going to be a two-parter. The latter question/answer will have to wait for a second post - coming soon! Anyway:

1) As a raider, how much gold can you expect to need to be able to do your job the best you possibly can, and 2) What are some ways to efficiently earn that amount. The latter, of course, is the source material for whole blogs, so I'll cover some basics, but leave the details to others.

So, How Much Gold Do You Need?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Blood Queen Lana'thel: a DPS DK persepective

Blood Queen is the second of the limited attempts bosses - of course, now that normal mode has that restriction removed, feel free to wipe on her as much as you like (unless doing her on heroic)!

This fight is a tank and spank - sort of. No adds to worry about, but several things will pull you away from consistent dps on the boss. The fight is also a dps race, but one you shouldn't have much trouble beating if your raid correctly deals with the fight mechanics itself.

Most importantly, and certainly most "funly," YOU GET TO BE BITTEN!!!

Well, off to the 'maximize your performance as a dps DK' part:

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Blood Prince Council: a DPS DK perspective

AKA, The "Twilight" Boss or the Cullen Brothers Boss.

You know, of course, that these are three haughty blood princes that we've seen before ("Naxxanar was merely a setback....."), that they share a health pool but that only one of them - the Empowered One - can be hit at any given time.

There's a lot going on, as each of them has their own abilities, but fortunately you can ignore most of it during the fight.

What do you need to pay attention to, and how do you best do your job as DPS DK on this fight?
Well, glad you asked!

Essentially this fight has only two requirements:
1) Don't die to the few actually dangerous things in the room, and
2) Do a modicum of dps to the appropriate boss (not even a dps race at all, really).

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Front-burner DPS DK issues in 3.3

This isn't meant to be a be-all end-all of the state of DPS DKs in 3.3, just a mention of a few topics that have been floating around on EJ and in my guild forums.

1. Blood vs Unholy for DPS. Note that I didn't mention frost. That's because frost still sucks as we can see in this thread at EJ. If you look at the tables compiled by Shrakz (a poster), you can see how DKs stack up by spec, but also against other melee classes. Somewhat ironically given our facerolling reputation, we're in the bottom half of the group, but it seems Blizzard has done a pretty good job of balancing overall.

Anyway, if you've read my blog for a while, you may recall I predicted blood would eventually overtake unhholy for single target dps. It's getting very close now. I'd bet when we see enough guilds with 2-4 pieces of 277 tier pieces blood will start to creep ahead. For single target low movement fights, blood should end up as king. For aoe and movement fights, however, unholy is likely to still come out ahead, and both provide very useful buffs. Take your pick.

The jury's still out on my other prediction that dual wield will become viable again towards the end of Icecrown.

2. Gargoyle is bugged. There has long been some odd behavior on the part of our favorite winged pet. More recently, however, the poor guy has developed the bad habit of staying close to the boss when summoned and meleeing, which is a big dps loss. It seems the gargoyle flies straight ahead of you when summoned. If the boss is there, it melees. So, remember to turn 90-180 degrees away from the boss before summoning - this should allow the gargoyle to fly away from the boss, turn, and start casting for crispy fried awesomeness. Hopefully Blizz fixes this soon.

3. Should we use Unholy Presence (UHP) on movement fights? This comes up every time a new boss with heavy movement requirements is released. The logic goes that more time on target = more dps. However, it's becoming more and more clear to me that the answer remains in every case: NO NO NO!!!! Don't do it! Blood and Unholy dps specs currently don't suffer from being gcd bound, so the rune cooldown decrease isn't helpful. Time on target is not increased by much even on high movement fights, and if you're really desperate you can either enchant speed to boots or take the talent improved unholy presence.
How do we compensate for any excessive dps losses on movement fights?

a) good positioning. In my guild, we tank Putricide right there volatile ooze spawns so we can immediately dps it down. In addition, we're tanking most of the adds at the top of the key on Valithria - less movement (only need to run to suppressors). Lich King movement is minimal when the Lich King is kited properly during phase changes, and Valkyr should be properly slowed.

b) proper anticipation and crisp target switching. I do well on Putri in part because I've noticed I'm often the first person on oozes, and know when to break off and run back to Putri, and use little tricks like position myself to be knocked back towards Putri by the volatile ooze just before it dies.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

What to do about 10-man raids in a 25-man Guild?

I was originally planning an ode to the awesomeness of belonging, finally, to a solid guild.

After all, I've experienced the limbo of not having a group to run with all too recently.
My best friend's real life situation keeps him from finding a 'proper' raiding guild, and getting into any form of raid for Icecrown is an exercise in frustration, and often, futility.
I'm thankful that I've found a guild that meets my unique set of needs - it's a good group of people, that aren't complete mysogynists. I can raid late at night allowing me my family time first. And we're progressing - not for world or even server firsts by any means, but Sindragosa is scheduled for some down time this week, and we have a reasonable shot at Arthas in the next week or so (on normal difficulty). I'm very happy with the situation.

There is however, a problem endemic to guild life: cliques. Let's face it: cliques are a part of guild life. Guilds are formed most often around people that know each other. Shared interests, play times, real life friendships, etc., all play a role in the smaller groupings that occur in every guild. These cliques lead daily to the kind of drama that has earned a regular column at (Drama Mamas).

However, I experienced a different kind of problem with cliques this week, and one that Blizzard has fed into with a major game design decision - that of maintaining both 10- and 25-man raids. While I understand why Blizzard maintains both levels of raid, and in general I think the reasoning is sound, this creates major problems.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Professor Putricide: a DPS DK Perspective

Professor Putricide: the first of the limited attempts bosses, and the first boss my guild didn't kill before new bosses were available (we got him the week after). Pleasingly complex, somewhat challenging in that plenty of things can kill your raid members, and a fairly tight enrage timer. Good stuff!

As usual, my focus here is not a guide for your guild to kill Putri, it's to do your job as DPS DK better.
To succeed against Putri Dish, you'll have to be good at avoiding the various potential killer abilities the Prof uses, switch targets quickly and effectively, and put out solid dps. As I mentioned a couple days ago, there's no reason for your first kill or two that you're not one of the last Orcs standing as the boss dies.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


I'm not much for reading non-Wow blogs, but I just have to make a short post to mention two astoundingly good blogs in this space.

Many of us were familiar with the erstwhile Big Red Kitty, one of the best wow blogs of all time. Dan Howell may not be Wowing any more, but he blogs his life on Brain Needed Space. His stories are funny and meaningful, and his interactions with his son are priceless and everyday at the same time. Add it to your regular reading list if you haven't already.

Purelandmountain offers an iconoclastic east-meets-west perspective, and, I suspect, a view from the height of a few more decades than most of the readership of Wow blogs are accustomed to. Delightful prose, and a sense of calm and enjoyment of life's little pleasures. GO READ IT!

Hope you enjoy those. I find them invaluable when I come up for air from work, wow, and family. ;)

Blizzard's Money Laundering Scheme

I'm going to leave this post up because I need to be reminded that there are some things I still don't know about the game. :)

I've tortured myself for ages on this one, but Tiger and Tam pointed out that you can decide how many badges you want to trade instead of doing it one at a time, which I didn't know. Silly me!

I'd still say Blizzard could make it easier as I listed below by not requiring us to trade down at all.

Anyone who's had to trade 20 or thirty Triumph badges to Conqueror's emblems to Valor to Heroism can FEEL MY PAIN. Clicking every single time is carpal tunnel-inducing, boring, and just plain wrong.

Periodically, Blizzard introduces a change where we all go "I can't believe they did it any other way!" "how did we live with that before?"

I used to hate how mounts dismounted when crossing streams, when we had to use an addon to equip our tank/healer/dps gear, and so on. This list is very long, but it's hard to even think of examples, because the type of changes I'm thinking about are the ones that make so much sense we can't conceive of it being any other way.

When Blizzard decided to drop higher-level badges from heroics, they realized some players might still want the lower-level badge items. Good for them. The Hammerhead Sharkskin Cloak is still the best rogue/enchancement shaman cloak available for badges until Frost emblems. However, to get it now one has to trade down through several tiers of emblems to get the right ones.

While there are several possible solutions to this problem, I think the simplest, most elegant and parsimonious one is to simply allow you to purchase any badge item with any combination of badges from that level or higher. So, instead of trading down to get 25 badges of heroism, I could have 5 heroism left over, 3 valor, 2 conq, and 15 triumph in my bags. The heroism vendor takes a looks and says, "bingo bango bongo! Enjoy your cloak!" Why wouldn't he be happy to give you a cloak for better badges than he's been selling the item for six months now?

I would love to just turn in my extra 30 badges for 3 orange epic gems. Or for rep tokens, or again, for that item my new level 80 alt would love to have.

I really hope Blizzard gets the picture soon and lets us stop laundering our money. My mouse clicking fingers could use the break.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The best Trinket Evar!!!

I'm still getting hits from search engines regarding DK trinkets, so if that's what you're interested in, proceed to the bottom of the page for a quick list on DK trinkets.

This post was originally made after DBW (normal) dropped for me in ICC25.


I'm tempted to call it the best item ever.... but the title surprises even me, because I lusted after the Dragonspine Trophy from silly old Gruul's Lair for soooo long (and never got the damn thing after scores of kills). I think I'd probably still have a more powerful response to a legendary weapon like Shadowmourne, but it's close.

Yes, I have to say Deathbringer's Will is a smash hit! (get it?)

It certainly fits the bill for best dps trinket of the Lich King expansion, providing a healthy dose of armor pen all the time - which scales extremely well in full ICC gear, but it also has the most enjoyable proc I've experienced yet in the game. The proc itself happens often, giving an amazing (in my DK's case) 600 haste, crit, or strength, and it lasts a full 30 seconds.

Best of all, it actually transforms you into a Northrend race for the duration of the proc!
Alliance version:
For haste, you get to be a Vry'kul (a little undersized imo).
For crit, you become an Iron Dwarf
For strength, you'll be looking at a fearsome Taunka!

It's a lovely, and enjoyable thing.

The only problem with the trinket that I hope Blizzard fixes soon is that whenever the proc occurs, you can't use mounts and some other actions become impossible. I can understand if Blizzard doesn't want me flying as a Vry'kul (sort of), but in instances it becomes a somewhat significant issue. For example, on Gunship, you can't use the rocket pack while the proc is active, so if you want to fly to the enemy's ship, or back again, you have to click off the proc (losing the buff and the cool animation) before you can fly.

In any case, I've still been having tremendous fun with it, and I look forward to my Beauty and the Beast proc for months to come!

Given that google searches tend to dump people here when looking for the best DK trinkets in Tier 10 content, here's my list (varies only slightly from what EJ says)
1. heroic Deathbringer's Will (I was fortunate to get this upgrade last week)
2. heroic Sharpened Twilight Scale
3. Deathbringer's Will
4. heroic Death's Verdict
5. Sharpened Twilight Scale
6. Herkumi War Token
7. heroic Whispering Fanged Skull
8. Death's Verdict

I arrived at this list by assigning values for each stat (attack power equivalence) based on several sims I use - similar to how Elitist Jerks does it. Then, you just calculate trinket uptime, arrive at a final AEP for each trinket, and voila!

Hope that helps for those of you looking for something like this and not just my gushing over a trinket I got months ago. :)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Dead DPS....... Don't.

It's one of the classic truths of the Wow universe. DEAD DPS DO NO DAMAGE PER SECOND!!!

Yet my much-revered site Elitist Jerks uniformly and reflexively sneers at any suggestion of talents or even playstyle that smacks of self-preservation. All discussion in the dps forums is about the best spec, the best rotation/priority, the best gemming and gearing, to put out the most single target (with the occasional nod to aoe) dps possible.

That's all to the good, however, it remains that most guild-first bosskills are accomplished with a handful of raiders alive at the end of the fight. Being able to do 10,000 (as opposed to 9k) dps on Saurfang is merely hubris unless it also serves to defeat a heretofore unbeaten baddie.

I pride myself on being one of the last Draeni standing at the end of fights like Putricide, where there's a tank, a healer, and.... me. On our first Valithria 'win,' our pally healer bubbled the last few seconds of the fight and topped off the lovely dragon, but I had gone down mere moments before, after the last tank and raid healer had already expired. DKs have a unique set of tools, and if we're dying early, we're failing to optimize our performance as a class.

I spend the vast majority of my time discussing the Holy Grail of max dps, but today let's talk about surviving.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Festergut: a DPS DK Perspective

Found it!

Here you go.

Time for Plague wing dps DK optimization!

As you know, my personal rule is to only blog on maximizing performance when I have at least a couple kills under my belt. I HAVE been able to kill Putri's pets, the putrescent Rotface and Festergut a good number of times now, so you get to hear about them!

Both of these bosses have different challenges that may pose different difficulties for various guilds, but I'll pick Festergut for now, as this the one Insomnia has had the easiest time with.

Festergut is essentially a tank and spank fight, with fairly tight dps requirements. If your guild doesn't have full T9 with some Icecrown gear, it may be difficult to complete the encounter in time.

Rotface: a DPS DK Perspective

I wrote draft posts about Rotface/Festergut while I was in AK, but I can't seem to find Festergut! If I can find it, I'll post it, otherwise I'll have to re-write it.
In any case:

Boss #2 in Plague wing is here for all you dps DK min/maxers! 
I've now had the opportunity to not just kill Rotface and Festergut a few times, we did manage to kill the Professor as well, so his 'guide' will be out shortly, along with Blood Princes who've also bitten the dust a few times for my guild (several kills now since I wrote this - along with Valithria but not BQL or Sind/Arthas yet).

Rotface has less dps/gear requirements than Festergut, but has considerably more coordination required, and has been killed by fewer guilds on most servers.

Out of Hibernation

(and that's not short for World of Warcraft).

Sorry folks for disappearing the past few weeks during my trip.
The dynamics of my location/times/work/etc weren't conducive to blogging. I was able to do some raiding, but generally after work/exercise/dinner with colleagues, I only had time to do my in-game stuff and then bed before the grind started over.
Strange how being in a hotel next to work, away from family and other stuff, it seemed I had less free time, not more.

In any case, apologies to all, and to anyone who's still stopping by, I do have a couple of my traditional 'DK optimization' posts ready to roll and a few other ideas in my head, so I'll be posting those soon.

Oh, and one other comment. I just realized my last post was #100! Today certainly isn't the day for a milestone post, maybe later. ;)

Anyway, it's good to be back home!